Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Where do I even begin?

From Booman's latest rant:
You call him a warmonger, but he gets the Nobel Peace Prize.
So what? There is no end in sight to the military presence in Iraq (nor to increases in the Iraqi civilian casualty rate), and last time I checked, the administration was escalating things in Afghanistan along with the requisite escalation in death tolls for US troops and of course Afghan civilians. So Obama gets a Nobel Peace Prize. Isn't that special. It's been said better by others that it is practically impossible to be nominated by either the Dems or GOP without an enthusiasm for waging more and more war. At this point in our empire's twilight, that would appear to be a truism.
He ends torture and allows his Attorney General to investigate it, and you call him a torturer.
Did his administration really end torture? That's never been entirely clear. The expansion of the gulag in Bagram is not an especially good sign. And although any AG investigation is a good sign, the tendency of Obama to take a "let's put the past behind us" mentality to the use of torture by the previous White House is not a good sign.
He tries to enact health care reform with a robust public option and you accuse him of seeking every opportunity to sell-out to the insurance industry.
Obama's own rather tepid pursuit of such reform was quite the give-away, don't you think? Personally, I haven't been disappointed on that front since I expected so little from this administration in the first place on the matter of health care reform. If anything, I think the administration and Congress have done better than I had hoped, though still constrained by our own brand of capitalist orthodoxy. I don't consider the dude a sell-out in the sense that there was nothing to sell out.
He bails out the cratering financial services industry and prevents a second Great Depression, and you accuse him of selling his soul to corporate CEO's.
That bail out was largely a Bush II creation, and like any monstrosity from that era, it managed to transfer wealth from workers to the CEO class. The tepid discussion of more oversight and regulation of what has essentially functioned as a casino on Wall Street has been an ever-so-slight step in a positive direction, but I have yet to see any real indication that those bailed out have learned their lesson - if anything, the lack of behavioral change suggests the contrary. As to preventing a second Great Depression, that seems more the talk of fantasy than reality. The reality is that things have stabilized globally for the last few months - but something similar happened initially after the stock market crash of 1929, before the global economy plummeted further. I'm under the impression that if anything, we're a long way from being out of the woods. A stronger stimulus bill earlier this year would have helped the US somewhat more than the weak stimulus bill that we got instead. I'd invite Booman to read Calculated Risk or Naked Capitalism for a while, and see if he could maintain his optimism about avoiding a second Great Depression.

Again, I'm not seeing any change I can believe in, but then I really didn't expect much. I agree that Obama is no sell-out, but only because his actions betray that of someone who truly believes in American Exceptionalism and neoliberal (or what others call neo-classical) economic orthodoxy.

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