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:
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org . 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.