You are hereBlogs / Stephen Lendman's blog / Hail to the Chief: Spinning Obama's Presidency

Hail to the Chief: Spinning Obama's Presidency


By Stephen Lendman - Posted on 31 December 2010

Hail to the Chief: Spinning Obama's Presidency - by Stephen Lendman

As if on cue, major media reports hailed "the Comeback Kid." In Obama's December 22 press conference, Reuters' Caren Bohan asked:

"You racked up a lot of wins in the last few weeks that a lot of people thought would be difficult to come by. Are you ready to call yourself the 'comeback kid?' "

CBS News anchor Katie Couric gushed about how "the president isn't calling himself the 'comeback kid,' but some other folks are."

From ABC News came Jake Tapper offering "congratulations," and George Stephanopoulos saying:

"The president takes a victory lap. How the Christmas season became what he called a 'season of progress.' Will it continue in the new year?"

New York Times writer Michael Shear added:

"But Mr. Obama rejected an opportunity to gloat about the success of the past several weeks by declaring himself the 'comeback kid,' telling a reporter that the results are 'not a victory for me. It's a victory for the American people."

A chorus of other media reports echoed the same sentiment, including USA Today citing a "political rebound," the Christian Science Monitor praising his notable legislative and other victories, and the Los Angeles Times hailing "image-altering successes."

Even hard-right Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer titled his December 17 article, "The new comeback kid," saying:

"Obama had a bad November," taking a midterm election "shellack(ing)....Now, with his stunning tax deal, (he's) back....His comeback is already a year ahead of Clinton's."

On December 21, Nation magazine writer Ari Berman headlined, "Is Obama Really the New Comeback Kid," saying:

Hold the cheers. "Obama's presidency didn't end after the midterm election and it hasn't been revived during the lame duck session of Congress....Let's hold off, please, from anointing Obama the comeback kid until we know what the full extent of that 'comeback' actually entails."

Nonetheless, Christmas came early for Obama, never mind two years delivering lumps of coal for American workers and promises for worse ahead, what media hype won't explain.

Yet some accounts even compared his record to Roosevelt's New Deal and Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. Reality and mythmaking are farcically at odds, including Nation magazine editor Katrina vanden Heuvel headlining her December 23 article, "Action, Hope, 2011," saying:

"Looking forward to 2011, there are many ideas....worth fighting for," listing five worthy ones, but omitting crucial others as well as exposing Obama's dark side, what for two years she's been loathe to do, save for occasional criticisms far less than deserved.

In his December 22 article headlined "The Progressive Honor Roll of 2010," Nation writer John Nichols named Bernie Sanders "most valuable senator," distorting his record that includes:

-- rhetorically backing universal single-payer healthcare, then voting for rationing and enriching drug companies, insurance giants and large hospital chains;

-- supporting Wall Street empowering financial reform, institutionalizing business as usual;

-- backing agribusiness-friendly food safety legislation, harming small farmers and consumers; and

-- supporting the stalled Senate cap and trade bill to empower polluters, raise energy prices, and provide a potential $10 trillion speculative carbon trading derivatives market, among his other notable "successes," while claiming peoples' senator credentials, which ones not explained.

More often than not, Nation magazine writers are on the wrong side of issues, running cover for Democrats indistinguishable from Republicans. Both parties support privilege over progressivism, imperial wars, hammering dissent, and waging war on Islam and Latino immigrants for political advantage.

In its December 22 issue, self-styled feminist columnist Katha Pollitt added her own insult, siding with Swedish prosecutors charging Julian Assange with unlawful coercion, sexual molestation and rape, no matter his persuasive denial, calling the accusations politically motivated. Pollitt, however, assailed WikiLeaks supporters who've "misrepresented the allegations, attacked the women and made light of date rape," when, if fact, charges clearly seem bogus.

In a December 29 report, investigative journalist Wayne Madsen said insider sources told him that "the CIA used Sweden to launder the transfer to WikiLeaks of carefully screened and redacted State Department cables and the subsequent release of the cables to pre-selected corporate news media entities. Sweden was chosen (for) its so-called 'press freedom and freedom of expression' traditions" to give the releases more legitimacy.

As for Assange's entrapers, Anna Ardin left the country for the West Bank, and apparently no longer is cooperating with authorities. Sofia Wilen is his other accuser. Swedish sources say:

"both women....were part of a carefully arranged plot to bring sex charges against Assange in order to discontinue the WikiLeaks Swedish asylum operation after the ultimate purpose was served: a major international news event designed to provide global support (for) draconian curbs on the Internet," including in Sweden, Britain and America.

On December 21, the FCC siding with telecom and cable giants against Net Neutrality corroborates Madsen's view. Ahead, expect two Internets (fast and slow lanes) and online discrimination, including possible censorship. Accusing Assange of sex crimes was a ploy for planned political harshness.

Obama Reality Exposes Media Crafted Illusions

A two-part Obama Year Two assessment explains a record that would make a despot proud, accessed through the following links:

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/12/obama-year-two-continued-betrayal-...

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/12/obama-year-two-continued-betrayal-...

Part I has links to a Year One assessment, a pattern begun straightaway since taking office on January 20, 2009, seamlessly continuing his predecessor's agenda, and in many ways exceeding it destructively.

Paul Craig Roberts' December 28 "2011" article is right saying:

"The year 2011 will bring Americans a larger and more intrusive police state, more unemployment and home foreclosures, no economic recovery, more disregard (of) US law, international law, the Constitution, and truth, more suspicion and distrust from allies, more hostility from the rest of the world, and new heights of media sycophancy" about a president who should be condemned, impeached, and prosecuted for domestic and imperial high crimes and misdemeanors.

Roberts believes 2011 will be American democracy's '"terminal year." In fact, it was stillborn, had rare progressive moments, but in recent decades eroded to today's farcical state, a rhetorical, not real democracy. America is one-party duopoly with two wings. A corrupted judiciary and Congress support power, privilege and capital, not popular interests.

Obama is its titular head, but it hardly matters. Systemic power rules. The best democracy money can buy governs. Might over right marauds globally, invents terror threats to enlist support, crushes domestic dissent, spurns rule of law order for brute force, and threatens humanity with repression or possible extinction if not stopped.

Roberts calls America's future Winston Smith's world - "War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength," but as Orwell explained: "In a time of universal deceit (more relevant than ever in modern America), telling the truth is a revolutionary act." In police state America, it's also a crime.

Obama, Congress, and right-wing courts oppose human rights, civil liberties, democratic values, equity and justice, the rule of law, labor rights, equal protections, peace, environmental sanity, regulatory restraints, free thought and expression, and truth.

Power for the privileged, marketplace fundamentalism, and super-wealth rule alone matter. So do illusions about the best of all possible worlds, substituting images for a harsh, repressive reality leaving millions of Americans on their own and out of luck because a president promising change spurned them.

Hold the cheers. He plans worse in 2011 and 12, hopefully his final ones if enough awareness understands that change comes bottom up, never top down, what only people power can bring. Isn't it long overdue time they tried, but wishing won't make it so or backing America's duopoly on election day.

A Final Comment

Rarely is there good news to report, but here's some, regardless of the less than honorable motive. An earlier article explained the shocking injustice against Jamie and Gladys Scott, sentenced to life imprisonment in Mississippi, for an $11 crime they didn't commit. The true story can be accessed through the following link:

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/08/scott-sisters-victimized-by-americ...

On December 29, Gov. Haley Barbour, with clear political motives, announced the following:

"Today, I have issued two orders indefinitely suspending the sentences of Jamie and Gladys Scott. In 1994, a Scott County jury convicted the sisters of armed robbery and imposed two life sentences for the crime. Their convictions and their sentences were affirmed by the Mississippi Court of Appeals in 1996."

"To date, the sisters have served 16 years....and are eligible for parole in 2014....The Mississippi Department of Corrections believes the sisters no longer pose a threat to society. Their incarceration is no longer necessary for public safety or rehabilitation...."

Disgracefully, Barbour, a hard-right politician, stopped short of full exoneration for a crime neither sister committed. At least, however, they'll be free, especially Jamie who needs life-saving kidney transplant surgery with one Gladys will provide.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

"‘Second chances’", by Cindy Sheehan, Dec. 31, 2010

http://onlinejournal.com/artman/publish/article_6742.shtml

In case you don’t know, Michael Vick is the current starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, but while he was QB of the Atlanta Falcons, he was arrested, tried and convicted of running a dog-fighting ring that contained some of the most vile torture, cruelty, and death to mans’ “best-friend” that were tragically bred for Michael Vick’s sick and twisted pleasures.

After spending 23 months both in prison or under house arrest, Michael Vick was signed to play for the Philadelphia Eagles and he earned the position of starting QB with a seven million dollar, two-year contract.

I believe prisons should be rehabilitative and not punitive, but was justice served and did Michael Vick pay his debt to society for his horrendous crimes? Is he redeemed? Of course, what he did was heinous and inhumane and thinking about it fills me with disgust, but our president is not similarly conflicted. On Sunday, from Hawaii, Obama reportedly called Jeffrey Lurie, owner of the Eagles and huge donor to Barack Obama and other Democrats to “thank” him for giving Vick a “second chance.”

Hmmm -- “Second chances” are almost miraculous for some people and impossible for others. One similar call could take Mumia off of death row, or pardon railroaded defense attorney, Lynne Stewart, or get Pvt. Bradley Manning out of his inhumane imprisonment (this list could fill a book, I am afraid, so I’ll stop now).

Also, a study by the Independent Committee on Reentry and Employment, for example, found that up to 60 percent of ex-cons in New York was still unemployed one year after release. Stats on this are difficult to find, like most statistics on unemployment (which only count those that are receiving unemployment checks, or applying for them), but I am almost 100 percent sure that 100 percent of the 60 percent are not Michael Vicks or fictional, Gordon Gekkos, looking for multi-million dollar salary scores after incarceration. Most certainly, many of these “ex-cons” looking for work didn’t commit as heinous of a crime as Vick did, either, but that’s something we can only speculate on.

(snip)

The rest of the article is about the US wars on Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and US practice of torture, et cetera.

I expect that perhaps many so-called leftists won't like this article by Stephen Lendman because of what it says about The Nation Mag. as well as Sen. Bernie Sanders. Blind leftists, like those who could only see Obama as good during the 2008 presidential campaigns, opposing all unfavorable criticism of him as presidential candidate, might have a lot of trouble with some of this article, but I don't. It's definitely not the first time that I've read about The Nation Mag. and Bernie Sanders in the ways this article informs readers of, and what it says unfortunately and verifiably is true; a little too repeatedly, too. Many voters don't like bothering with vetting political candidates though; evidently not caring about truth that's verifiable and which illustrates that they're wrong.

In its December 22 issue, self-styled feminist columnist Katha Pollitt added her own insult, siding with Swedish prosecutors charging Julian Assange with unlawful coercion, sexual molestation and rape, no matter his persuasive denial, calling the accusations politically motivated. Pollitt, however, assailed WikiLeaks supporters who've "misrepresented the allegations, attacked the women and made light of date rape," when, if fact, charges clearly seem bogus.

There are no charges of rape against Julian Assange and from what I've gathered. And there also aren't charges of sexual molestation; if I correctly recall and understood. The only thing that I believe to have read about being held against him is that he used a condom after it broke, after intercourse was already consensual. And there's possibly another accusation of having refused to use a condom, but I don't this this accusation holds any weight. If it does, the intercourse was nevertheless consensual; but I'm pretty sure that the accusation simply does not hold at all.

I have some critical questions about him and Wikileaks, but these are about one or two aspects of WL management, having nothing to do with the contents of the documents released by WL and nothing to do with his sex-capadism in a country like Sweden; well, besides the question of why a person in his position as founder of WL bothered to even have sexual relations with women he basically didn't know (in weird Sweden!). That question is not one I treat as important, and maybe he didn't know how Sweden is unique in Europe regarding sexual relations even between consensual adults (what a weird country!).

My question, for the time being, is about some financial accounting and related accountability to supporters who donated to WL.

In a December 29 report, investigative journalist Wayne Madsen said insider sources told him that "the CIA used Sweden to launder the transfer to WikiLeaks of carefully screened and redacted State Department cables and the subsequent release of the cables to pre-selected corporate news media entities. Sweden was chosen (for) its so-called 'press freedom and freedom of expression' traditions" to give the releases more legitimacy.

That's certainly possible, but is it true? The original copy of the article at WMR requires paid subscription and I'm not a subscriber.

"December 29-30, 2010 -- Sweden co-opted by CIA/Pentagon to launder Wikileaks cables"

www.waynemadsenreport.com/articles/20101229_1

Google turns up links to some copies and below are two of them.

https://groups.google.com/group/total_truth_sciences/msg/a0874110fd013cf5

http://wearewideawake.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1932...

I'm not sure how credible Wayne Madsen is on Wikileaks. Like many other people, he faults WL for not having released diplomatic cables directly unfavorable for the Israeli government and I've read over the past few days that Julian Assange has said that there are many (around 2,000) of these cables that will eventually be released. If that's true, then why WL is delaying the release of these cables is an other or additional question, because a lot of people have been criticizing WL and JA for not releasing cables that are unfavorable for Israel, while releasing plenty that, when read for what they say, when left unvetted, support Washington with respect to countries or governments Washington and US imperialists target. On. Dec. 31st, the home page of WMR currently has/had one article for which the link's text read, "Selective Wikileaks cables show U.S. displeasure with Egyptian military. Where are the cables about Israel Assange? Bibi got your tongue? Did he fatten your wallet?".

WL withholding the cables unfavorable for Israel while releasing many favorable for Washington vis-a-vis governments targeted by US elites definitely gives cause for these attacks on and questions about WL.

The copy of the article about Sweden and the CIA/Pentagon at WeAreWideAwake.org is the one I read and it definitely is one to read; but, WL fans should be prepared for a little "shock & awe".

Stephen Lendman:

As for Assange's entrapers, Anna Ardin left the country for the West Bank, and apparently no longer is cooperating with authorities.

WMR's above article says she "has apparently left" for the West Bank, not that she definitely and/or verifiably did.

Stephen Lendman then says the following and we can clearly enough understand this from the WMR article, which I recommend reading.

On December 21, the FCC siding with telecom and cable giants against Net Neutrality corroborates Madsen's view. Ahead, expect two Internets (fast and slow lanes) and online discrimination, including possible censorship. Accusing Assange of sex crimes was a ploy for planned political harshness.

Several or more people have justifiably written warning about this consequence or likely consequence of increasing Internet restrictions. And these people weren't saying that this should be used as a reason to not support WL releases; it's just that they warn of the possible consequences.

Power for the privileged, marketplace fundamentalism, and super-wealth rule alone matter. So do illusions about the best of all possible worlds, substituting images for a harsh, repressive reality leaving millions of Americans on their own and out of luck because a president promising change spurned them.

But Obama brought change; of the worsening kind. It was supposed to be good, he acted as if it would be good, and it clearly and definitely hasn't been; but it's been change. When you drive a car going at a certain speed and you then press down on the accelerator, you experience a change in speed. Obama escalated the bad; extremely unwelcome change.

A Final Comment

Rarely is there good news to report, but here's some, regardless of the less than honorable motive. An earlier article explained the shocking injustice against Jamie and Gladys Scott, sentenced to life imprisonment in Mississippi, for an $11 crime they didn't commit. ...

That indeed is an atrocious, disgusting injustice. Even if the two sisters had committed a robbery worth $11, it definitely did not deserve anything more than a few polite words of reprimand; far less than prison sentences. If they were guilty, then they should have simply been told to reimburse the $11 and told to try to avoid other liftings. It could help courts to avoid having a bunch of bitching paintiffs complaining over petty things.

This country is a SICK joke. Count the ways in which that's true. I don't want to do that. It's much easier and quicker to count the ways in which the country is not a sick joke. We'd be lucky to count to 3, 4, maybe even 5. I can only think of one way; the country has [some] citizens of sane, mature conscience.

UPDATE:

The WMR article about Sweden and the CIA/Pentagon against Wikileaks mentions, among other important things, Karl Rove's relationship with some Swedish leadership people and a lot of people might doubt what WMR says about this, but I just came across the following article that's about Rove's relationship in Sweden.

Note: I have never heard of or seen any references to the following blog, before, so I'm not saying that what it says is true. If people doubt what it says, then the information should be verifiable. If it isn't, then it's not my fault; I didn't write the piece, don't know the author or blog, and am not going to take extra time to try to verify what the piece says. I would not be surprised that it's right, though; as criminal as "Bush's brain", Karl Rove, is known to be, provably.

"Rove Might Be Trying To "Pull A Siegelman" With Julian Assange"
by Roger Shuler, Legal Schnauzer, legalschnauzer.blogspot.com, Dec. 30, 2010

www.uruknet.info/?p=m73418

This article has the needed supporting links. I haven't read any of those articles, but they're linked in this one.

Is Karl Rove helping to export American-style political prosecutions to Scandinavia? Is "Bush's brain" trying to fashion a bogus criminal case in Sweden against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, much like the one he helped build against former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman?

The answer to both questions appears to be yes, based on a recent report by Andrew Kreig at Huffington Post. On top of that, we have information from Rove's own Web site that confirms his close ties to Sweden, the subject of an earlier Legal Schnauzer post. And we have unearthed a video from Rove's 2008 visit to Timbro, a "free market" think tank in Sweden.

Kreig, director of the D.C.-based Justice Integrity Project, says the Assange arrest in Sweden has many of the hallmarks of the Siegelman case. And he notes that Rove has strong ties to Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, who has been called "the Ronald Reagan of Europe."

Here is what might be most disturbing about the Assange story: Rove appears to be working with the Obama administration to help muzzle WikiLeaks and its founder. Reports Kreig:

(snip)

The WikiLeaks case could have major repercussions for journalism in America and abroad. A source tells Kreig that the Assange arrest has some familiar footprints on it:

(snip)

WikiLeaks already has revealed that Reinfeldt is working with the U.S. to circumvent his country's system of checks and balances:

(snip)

"Guantánamo Is “A Piece of Hell That Kills Everything”: A Bleak New Year Message from Yemeni Prisoner Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif"

by Andy Worthington, Jan. 1, 2010

www.uruknet.info/?p=m73477

The article has links.

On Christmas Day, I wrote an article reminding readers of the plight of the remaining 174 prisoners in Guantánamo, and specifically focusing on the case of Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, a mentally troubled Yemeni prisoner who has attempted to commit suicide on several occasions. Despite being cleared for release in 2007 by the Bush administration, and winning his habeas corpus petition in the District Court in Washington D.C. in July 2010, Latif remains in Guantánamo, as, distressingly, the Obama administration has chosen to appeal against his successful habeas petition.

Even if the Obama administration had not taken this inexplicable — or deeply cyncial — step, Latif would still be held, because of a moratorium on releasing any Yemeni prisoners from Guantánamo, which was issued by President Obama last January after a hysterical response to the news that the failed Christmas Day plane bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, had been recruited in Yemen. This is unforgivable in and of itself, as it consigns the 58 Yemenis "approved for transfer" by the President’s Guantánamo Review Task Force to the status of political prisoners, detained through an unacceptable belief in the collective guilt of the Yemeni people.

With just ten days to go before the 9th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo, Latif’s attorney, David Remes, has released an unclassified letter from his client, in which Latif expresses his despair at his abandonment by the US justice system — and by his own country.

I am cross-posting the letter below, in the hope of awakening outrage in the hearts of at least some members of the American public who have decided that the ongoing injustice of Guantánamo is somehow irrelevant.

A letter from Guantánamo, by Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif

To Attorney David Remes who dedicated his efforts to work on my dead case. The case that has been buried by its makers under the wreckage of freedom, justice, and the malicious and cursed politics.

Testimony and Consolation

I offer my dead corpse to the coming Yemeni delegation.

They agreed on the torture and agonies that I went through all those years.

They knew that I am innocent and at the same time ill and that I left my country to seek treatment.

This is also a message to the Yemeni people who bear the responsibility of my death in front of God and the responsibility of all of the other Yemenis inside this prison. This prison is a piece of hell that kills everything, the spirit, the body and kicks away all the symptoms of health from them.

A Testimony of Death

A testimony against injustice and against the propagandists of freedom, justice and equality.

Adnan Farhan Abdulatif while in the throes of death.

156

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed (and I can also be found on Facebook and Twitter). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in July 2010, details about the new documentary film, "Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo" (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, currently on tour in the UK, and available on DVD here), my definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all my articles, and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.

As published exclusively on Cageprisoners.

Hail to the (new) "Chief"!

May hail fall from the heavens on him until he's buried alive in it.

Support WarIsACrime



Donate.








Tweet your Congress critters here.


Advertise on this site!




Facebook      Twitter





Our Stores:























Movie Memorabilia.



The log-in box below is only for bloggers. Nobody else will be able to log in because we have not figured out how to stop voluminous spam ruining the site. If you would like us to have the resources to figure that out please donate. If you would like to receive occasional emails please sign up. If you would like to be a blogger here please send your resume.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.