Lots of hoopla about; though the obstinate bleating of Hope! Change! are dying down a little, n’est pas?
I can't shrug off this feeling of unease I have, deep in the old gut. That the very worst hasn’t remotely happened yet. That none of the real issues are being dealt with. Everywhere in North America infrastructure is being touted as the saviour of the economy. More roads, more lanes, more construction. To what Happy McMansion with what Happy McCar?
Yeah, the daughters are cute, the wife brilliant, the dog adorable but the 100 Day record is now standing bleakly by itself, like a shrine to his predecessor.
However, the brilliant John Pilger says it so much better than I can:
In his first 100 days, Obama has excused torture, opposed habeas corpus and demanded more secret government. He has kept Bush’s gulag intact and at least 17,000 prisoners beyond the reach of justice. On 24 April, his lawyers won an appeal that ruled Guantanamo Bay prisoners were not “persons”, and therefore had no right not to be tortured. His national intelligence director, Admiral Dennis Blair, says he believes torture works. One of his senior US intelligence officials in Latin America is accused of covering up the torture of an American nun in Guatemala in 1989; another is a Pinochet apologist. As Daniel Ellsberg has pointed out, the US experienced a military coup under Bush, whose secretary of “defence”, Robert Gates, along with the same warmaking officials, has been retained by Obama.
And here we have the President’s stance on Gaza and the atrocities there:
All over the world, America’s violent assault on innocent people, directly or by agents, has been stepped up. During the recent massacre in Gaza, reports Seymour Hersh, “the Obama team let it be known that it would not object to the planned resupply of ‘smart bombs’ and other hi-tech ordnance that was already flowing to Israel” and being used to slaughter mostly women and children. In Pakistan, the number of civilians killed by US missiles called drones has more than doubled since Obama took office
And no one is leaving Iraq even though the soldiers there are now knocking each other off.
Perhaps the biggest lie – the equivalent of smoking is good for you – is Obama’s announcement that the US is leaving Iraq, the country it has reduced to a river of blood. According to unabashed US army planners, as many as 70,000 troops will remain “for the next 15 to 20 years”. On 25 April, his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, alluded to this. It is not surprising that the polls are showing that a growing number of Americans believe they have been suckered – especially as the nation’s economy has been entrusted to the same fraudsters who destroyed it. Lawrence Summers, Obama’s principal economic adviser, is throwing $3trn at the same banks that paid him more than $8m last year, including $135,000 for one speech. Change you can believe in.
And I find it particularly hard to stomach Obama’s new best friend: Henry Kissinger, the despicable war criminal.
Much of the American establishment loathed Bush and Cheney for exposing, and threatening, the onward march of America’s “grand design”, as Henry Kissinger, war criminal and now Obama adviser, calls it. In advertising terms, Bush was a “brand collapse” whereas Obama, with his toothpaste advertisement smile and righteous clichés, is a godsend. At a stroke, he has seen off serious domestic dissent to war, and he brings tears to the eyes, from Washington to Whitehall. He is the BBC’s man, and CNN’s man, and Murdoch’s man, and Wall Street’s man, and the CIA’s man. The Madmen did well.
Read complete article here.
And don’t get me started on the Goldman Sachs’ ex-staffers sprinkled all over the Obama cabinet, holding out their hands for more bailouts, more bonuses, more leeching at the till of good tax payer money being poured down the bottomless pits of CEOs’ pockets.
Policies that are extraordinarily favorable to the financial elite that were put in place over the past month by the Obama administration have fed a surge in share values on Wall Street. These include the scheme to use hundreds of billions of dollars in public funds to pay hedge funds to buy up the banks’ toxic assets at inflated prices, the Auto Task Force’s rejection of the recovery plans of Chrysler and General Motors and its demand for even more brutal layoffs, wage cuts and attacks on workers’ health benefits and pensions, and the decision by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) to weaken “mark-to-market” accounting rules and permit banks to inflate the value of their toxic assets.
Wall Street has infiltrated every aspect of the ‘new government’. While:
At the same time, Obama has campaigned against restrictions on bonuses paid to executives at insurance giant American International Group (AIG) and other bailed-out firms, and repeatedly assured Wall Street that he will slash social spending, including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
The case of Lawrence Summers, director of the National Economic Council and Obama’s top economic adviser, highlights the politically incestuous character of relations between the Obama administration and the American financial elite.
Last year, Summers pocketed $5 million as a managing director of D.E. Shaw, one of the biggest hedge funds in the world, and another $2.7 million for speeches delivered to Wall Street firms that have received government bailout money. This includes $45,000 from Citigroup and $67,500 each from JPMorgan Chase and the now-liquidated Lehman Brothers.
For a speech to Goldman Sachs executives, Summers walked away with $135,000. This is substantially more than double the earnings for an entire year of high-seniority auto workers, who have been pilloried by the Obama administration and the media for their supposedly exorbitant and “unsustainable” wages.
Alluding diplomatically to the flagrant conflict of interest revealed by these disclosures, the New York Times noted on Saturday: “Mr. Summers, the director of the National Economic Council, wields important influence over Mr. Obama’s policy decisions for the troubled financial industry, including firms from which he recently received payments.”
Summers was a leading advocate of banking deregulation. As treasury secretary in the second Clinton administration, he oversaw the lifting of basic financial regulations dating from the 1930s. The Times article notes that among his current responsibilities is deciding “whether—and how—to tighten regulation of hedge funds.”
Summers is not an exception. He is rather typical of the Wall Street insiders who comprise a cabinet and White House team that is filled with multi-millionaires, presided over by a president who parlayed his own political career into a multi-million-dollar fortune.
Michael Froman, deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs, worked for Citigroup and received more than $7.4 million from the bank from January of 2008 until he entered the Obama administration this year. This included a $2.25 million year-end bonus handed him this past January, within weeks of his joining the Obama administration.
Citigroup has thus far been the beneficiary of $45 billion in cash and over $300 billion in government guarantees of its bad debts.
David Axelrod, the Obama campaign’s top strategist and now senior adviser to the president, was paid $1.55 million last year from two consulting firms he controls. He has agreed to buyouts that will garner him another $3 million over the next five years. His disclosure claims personal assets of between $7 and $10 million.
Obama’s deputy national security adviser, Thomas E. Donilon, was paid $3.9 million by a Washington law firm whose major clients include Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and the private equity firm Apollo Management.
Louis Caldera, director of the White House Military Office, made $227,155 last year from IndyMac Bancorp, the California bank that heavily promoted subprime mortgages. It collapsed last summer and was placed under federal receivership.
The presence of multi-millionaire Wall Street insiders extends to second- and third-tier positions in the Obama administration as well. David Stevens, who has been tapped by Obama to head the Federal Housing Administration, is the president and chief operating officer of Long and Foster Cos., a real estate brokerage firm. From 1999 to 2005, Stevens served as a top executive for Freddie Mac, the federally-backed mortgage lending giant that was bailed out and seized by federal regulators in September.
Read more at Global Research
But there are rumblings of distress amongst the populace who are beginning to shrug off the election torpor of Happy Days are Here Again. Even with the red alert of The Big Swine Flu Distraction.
Guns and ammunition are disappearing off the shelves. Dry goods are being accumulated by those who have a few pennies of their own left.
The harsh and painful reality of millions of homeless, foodless and jobless, corruption at the highest level and no one taking care of the store at home is finally beginning to sink in.
We are on our own. Pass the Koolaid.