Even for someone as jaded about this president as I am, the pace of scams emerging from this administration so early in December is breathtaking. First we have Obama’s escalation in Afghanistan. You have to know that something’s up when neoconservatives approve. Right now, I’d have to say Conn Hallinan has the most thoroughly devastating critique I’ve seen. Bob Herbert deserves mention, however, for his description of the impact of repeated deployments on a tiny fraction of the U.S. population, whose sacrifice allows the rest of us to satisfy ourselves with mere prattle about “supporting the troops” we repeatedly send out as cannon fodder and who come back deeply in need of psychological help but face abuse and inadequate resources instead. Meanwhile, we are treated to double-talk about an end to even this particular bit of madness.
Second, was the three-part exercise in hot air production with Obama’s pretense at concern for the unemployed. Nobody seems satisfied with what came out of the jobs summit and the plan he announced yesterday at Brookings Institute simply flies in the face of facts. Obama apparently listens only to his gilded advisors; even former Labor Secretary Robert Reich can’t get a word in, let alone John Cavanagh and Sarita Gupta. There’s no talk here of relief for states and local governments who are effectively countering the stimulus with their own cutbacks and there is an absolute refusal to even discuss a real jobs program. Chris Hedges points out that the least he could do is something about NAFTA. But “free” trade stupidity lives on. Paul Craig Roberts points out that there are other priorities and Bob Franken is blistering as he highlights the betrayal of the unemployed. Obama doesn’t even make sense about this if you ask him to his face and while he probably thinks he can get away with it, the less awful news on jobs this month was about temporary workers and government jobs. But if there’s an uprising to come against the bankers whose travails received so much more prompt and diligent attention, be aware that they’re arming themselves.
On climate change, a draft agreement appears to exempt the European Union from doing even as much as it has and to barely reduce United States emissions at all. But Western nations seem to be relying heavily on a carbon trading scheme that means no real reductions whatsoever. And Paul Krugman should be ashamed for his failure to recognize this.
I don’t want to talk about Obama’s forthcoming acceptance of a Nobel Peace Prize either.
George Bush is fortunate to be back in Texas. His incompetence was so astonishing that I thought I’d never feel as sickened again. But Obama doesn’t have Bush’s excuse and I am even more nauseated. (By the way, I knew that some were defending Obama’s record, but apparently a few are, and Glenn Greenwald, whom I’m admiring more and more, handles this nicely.)