Posts Tagged ‘mediocrity’

Comic Relief?

November 8, 2010

 

AGAINST MEDIOCRITY, THE PHILOSOPHERS THEMSELVES CONTEND IN VAIN:

We hear everywhere that Barack Obama is a very smart man, an intellectual, and that makes him aloof, and misunderstood by the "folks".

And then there is what we hear, from the horse’s, or shall we say, the ass’ mouth (the ass being, appropriately enough, the symbol of the "democratic" party in the USA). Obama gave a long interview on "60 minutes" [November 7, 2010]. Here is a sizable extract, for people to appreciate the astounding mental meandering of Obama’s flabbergasting rambling:

"60 minutes" Interviewer: People have made the argument you lost control of the narrative. You’ve let other people define you. That you haven’t sold your successes well enough.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I think that’s a fair argument. I think that over the course of two years — and I mentioned this during the press conference — we were so busy and so focused on getting a bunch of stuff done that we stopped paying attention to the fact that we yeah, leadership isn’t just legislation. That it’s a matter of persuading people. And giving them confidence and bringing them together. And setting a tone. And making an argument that people can understand. And I think that we haven’t always been successful at that. And I take personal responsibility for that. And it’s something that I’ve got to examine carefully as I go forward.
You know, now I will say that when it comes to some of my supporters, some of my Democratic supporters who express some frustration, part of it, I think, is the belief that if I just communicated things better, that I’d be able to persuade that half of the country that voted for John McCain that we were right and they were wrong.
And, you know, one of the things that I think is important for people to remember is that, you know, this country doesn’t just agree with The New York Times editorial page. And, you know, I can make some really good arguments defending the Democratic position, and there are gonna be some people who just don’t agree with me. And that’s okay. And then we’ve got to figure out a way to compromise. But even as we acknowledge that, this is a big country. And that, you know, there are conservatives who are good people, who feel very strongly about their ideas. That I’m never gonna persuade on some issues.
I think what’s still fair to say is that I can do better than I’ve done in painting a picture for people about where we need to go. That pulls people together as opposed to drives them apart. And that’s one of my central tasks over the next couple of years."

What did the great man say? He said he did not make an argument that people understand. That, indeed is hard, to make an argument that people can understand, when there is no argument at all.

Asked why he did not nationalize the banks, as Scandinavian countries did in the 1990s, Obama laughed, and gave Summers’ talking point: Sweden had only 4 or 5 banks. So Obama called on a basic racist argument: let’s make fun of the foreigners. A xenophobic slur replaced a serious financial and economic debate.

Conclusion: 5 trillion dollars, for the banks, and counting. and an economy thrown to the plutocratic wolves, among which the Wall Street types (unjustifiably rescued with people’s money in 2008 and 2009) gave themselves about 300 billion dollars in bonuses, in two years, from, ultimately, people’s money.

The truth: Sweden had 147 banks, and the rest of Scandinavia, much more. Sweden nationalized only two large banks (and made hefty profits selling them much later). Great Britain nationalized much more giant financial institutions in the last 3 years. The USA nationalized around 2,000 banks during the Saving and Loans crisis two decades ago, and that inspired the Scandinavians to follow suit, when their own bust, also caused by a housing crisis, happened a bit later.

The truth: the economy of the USA is stuck, because all the money is going to 19 giant banks and their hyper wealthy co-conspirators (the other 8,000 banks are too small to profit from the largesse of the Fed). The support for these financial vultures is on-going, and about 5 trillion dollars so far, as I said (more than a third of GDP, about 7 times TARP, which is used as a lying decoy). Obama paid for nationalizations, many times over, and keeps on paying. Or, more exactly, the American people does. And, in a sense, the entire planet (as the US payments to giant private American banks create global financial imbalances more responsible countries have to work hard to counteract).

What did the great intellectual say? He said that his supporters are "frustrated" (Obama’s preferred emotion) because Obama did not "persuade that half of the country that voted for John McCain that we were right and they were wrong".

Why would Obama’s supporters want Obama to persuade those who did not vote for him "that we were right and they were wrong"? Why would the supporters want that? Does Obama think his supporters are crazy? Obama thinks his supporters voted for him because they hoped that, once elected, he would persuade those who did not vote for him that they were wrong??

What does Obama think a leader is supposed to do once elected? Persuade those who did not vote for him that they should have voted for him? Does not Obama know that the election actually happened, and is over with?

The truth: People who voted for Obama hoped that Obama would rescind many of the policies of Bush.

In truth, Obama’s only serious deviation from Bush was about Afghanistan, where Obama more than tripled the war, while extending it clumsily to Pakistan. Even Bush was not that dumb. On the rest, be it the giant bank holding companies, or Wall Street, or Iraq, Obama followed Bush’s policies.

The truth: Obama is not the only one culprit: in four years of controlling Congress, the democratic asses have proven unwilling to augment the extravagantly low taxes of the top financial manipulators (those low taxes for plutocrats are around 10% on their highest rate, using technicalities such as "carry interest" and converting all their incomes into long term capital gains). This is not just unfair, their activities, in conspiracy with the banks, monopolize the money creation process, starving the rest of the economy.

The truth: Nancy Pelosi is a socialite, not a socialist. Among other things, she owns a ski resort in California, and has known money, politics and privilege all her life (she was a wealth riser for politics before running for office herself). The top democrats never wanted to change the system. Whereas the basic Tea Party and Obama supporters do; they have nothing to lose. But of course, both the Tea party (Koch brothers) and Obama had major plutocratic supporters. And the agenda of the later is generally at odds with the base.

The great man is completely obnubilated by compromising with "conservatives who are good people, who feel very strongly about their ideas. That I’m never gonna persuade on some issues…there are gonna be some people who just don’t agree with me. And that’s okay. And then we’ve got to figure out a way to compromise."

And there is the air, and that’s OK, and I will compromise, and breathe water, and that’s okay too.

You want more platitudes? The great man never runs out of them: "But even as we acknowledge that, this is a big country. And that, you know, there are conservatives…"

I can say even worse; and there is the universe, it’s a big country, and we will compromise, the folks will be frustrated, but you know, there are conservatives.

Obama was elected by his supporters, obviously, so that Obama could only think about the "conservatives". Or, at least, that is what Obama thinks. Thinking may be too strong a word. I will have to take heed from the great man, and become more conservative in the way I express myself, looking forward.

The truth? What is needed is someone who knows what ideals to fight for, and loves combat. The greatest beliefs, and the right ones, and the greatest fights.

Health care could have been done in 5 minutes: just sign an executive order expanding and opening Medicare. That would have killed four birds with one stone (financing Medicare, separating health insurance from employment, converging towards making healthcare universal and cheaper, weakening the healthcare plutocracy).

From the point of view of a seducer of the conservatives, a drawback, naturally, would have been the ire of the plutocracy, as it would have seen some of its income vanish.

The financial reform could have been done in five minutes too: just sign an executive order to separate BANKS FROM SPECULATION. That is called an IDEA. President Roosevelt had it in 1933.

Summers demolished that idea during his great career as the ultimate plutocratic agent, under presidential puppets and actors, starting with his boss Ronald Reagan (oh yes, because Summers, as Reagan’s demonic adviser, also collapsed the Saving and Loans, through his usual trick of deregulating. Interest? It served Summers’ master, Rubin, head of Goldman Sachs, creator of Citigroup, treasurer of Clinton, one of Obama’s puppet masters).

Generations of religiosity worshipping plutocracy, decerebration and castration have resulted in producing a timid "leader", obsessed by not appearing to be an "angry black man". A leader of the sheep, anxious to extend kindly his little hoof to the really dark plutocratic wolves, in the hope that accommodating them is the essence of wisdom.

Obama has been surrounded with sycophants who thrived at his expense. Obama really believes Summers "in all fairness, did a heckuva job", and that his health care bill (to be reversed in a few weeks) is "historical" (although it cut Medicare).

In the same "60 minutes" interview, Obama proudly informed everybody, that the little austerity the Tea Party wants is nothing. Obama intends to out Tea Party the Tea Party, by being more austere, and "cutting entitlements".

So Obama intends to be more conservative than the craziest conservatives themselves. Maybe he could get a job at Goldman Sachs (Goldman, although not a bank, was rescued as if it were a bank, because Goldman has a lot of friends; cut Medicare, by 550 billion over ten years, but don’t cut the Goldman bonuses, which, over ten years, are, unbelievably, of the same magnitude… Medicare, Obama can do less of it, Goldman, never enough).

So what does the great leader do? He goes to Los Angeles to play to see Jay Leno, a xenophobic humorist, but he has nothing to show, except that he is a "black" man with an enormous smile. Then Obama flies back in Air Force One, watching five hours of basket ball… Straight. With the CIA Afghanistan specialist watching too. Obama hid the CIA guy inside the plane so that the generals at the Pentagon would not know he wished to form his own opinion about the war. But, in the end, the generals needed not to worry: to a boy, basketball is more interesting.

Does Obama know who is the boss?

The entire scene reminds me of Louis XVI of France, a simple man fascinated by locks. A simple man who meant well, and bankrupted France. A simple man who had the courage to make great economists such as Turgot and Necker finance ministers. The philosophers applauded.

Once they were appraised of the unfolding economic catastrophe, both Turgot and Necker opposed the American war, because it was ruinous. But Louis XVI was also a simple man who did not have the intellectual courage, or comprehension, to oppose the plutocracy, or to show the real cost of the American war (which was kept secret, hidden in secret books, for ten years, because France would have been bankrupted the next day, had the real cost been revealed). So Louis XVI preferred to sack Turgot, Necker, and the truth, rather than reform, and oppose the conservatives!

Louis XVI kept on compromising with the conservatives, and not engaging in the needed reforms to repair the catastrophic deficit (by rising taxes on said conservatives and plutocrats). In the end, pleasing the conservatives led the simple man to high treason of the new constitutional monarchy he himself headed. The simple man climbed the scaffold very courageously, though. He meant well. He was just in well above his head. It’s all about the head.

Against mediocrity, the philosophers themselves clamor in vain.

Patrice Ayme


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