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Reader Query: What Sleazy Con Artist Does the Obama “Greatness” Campaign Evoke?

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Just when you think things have gotten as bad as they can, whether in matters of great import of small, they manage to get worse. I should be inured to relentless Obama propagandizing by now, but to make sure the public doesn’t miss the fact that they are lucky enough to be governed by someone possessed of true genius, the pre-election PR is now taking on heavy-handed cult of personality overtones. As if Obama has enough in the way of personality for anyone to notice.

For instance, I’d like to know what sexual favors were exchanged to get this Washington Monthly puff piece published: “The Incomplete Greatness of Barack Obama.” And no, this isn’t meant to be ironic. The artwork depicts Obama being added to Mount Rushmore.

And Glenn Greenwald put out a red alert on a 17 minute Obama hagiography scheduled for release next week, via an advance skewering by Piers Morgan of the cloying leader worship displayed by producer David Guggenheim:

Now of course, we know how this sort of messaging is supposed to work. When the Bushies tried selling the falsehood that Saddam Hussein was in cahoots with Osama bin Laden, it worked in part because efforts to debunk the connection wound up reinforcing the message merely by virtue of associating them. But the sort of people who were persuaded presumably didn’t know all that much about Hussein plus they’d probably been conditioned to the idea that random bad guys could be linked since cross franchise connections are increasingly common (see Alien vs. Predator).

But Team Obama presumes the “Great” branding means only good when we also had the Great War (restyled as World War I), the Great Depression, and the Great Famine (the Irish potato famine). What we now call the Black Death was the “Great Pestilence,” the “Great Plague,” or the “Great Mortality” at the time.

But one of basic precepts of marketing is not to misrepresent the attributes of your product in a fundamental way. And one of the hallmarks of Obama is that he is a lightweight physically and politically. He walks from fights (or more accurately, uses complicated rationalizations for refusing to fight as cover for selling out ordinary people). He gets pissy when criticized (contrast that with FDR’s “I welcome their hatred”). His “accomplishments” are overly complex, poorly rendered Potemkin versions of real initiatives. And the Teleprompter head bob is getting tired.

The anti-gravitas of Obama comes from his insistence on putting cerebral versions of happy faces on a society that is rotting from within. You can’t expect good long term outcomes from a culture whose elites are as openly corrupt as ours are.

Yet in the World of Obama, something that touched on seamy realities, say like this:

Would be prettified into something cheerful that suggested you just needed to get with the program, like this (note O Lucky Man is a brilliant little picture but I never did understand the Greek chorus cutaways to the band):

Now of course, the use of Kurt Weill and Lindsay Anderson is more upscale than the rank hucksterism that are about to have visited upon us. What do you deem to be more fitting cultural references for Our Reverend Leader and his camp followers?

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158 comments

  1. G3

    David Guggenheim is the guy who did the hit piece “Waiting for Superman” demonising public schools and teachers’ unions. All he showed in his doc was public schools in struggling communities while not mentioning one single thriving (read suburban)public school . Diane Ravitch, former deputy Sec of Eductaion under Poppy Bush did a royal takedown of the doc (she was for “free market” public edu initiatives before she turned against it) :
    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/nov/11/myth-charter-schools/

    So Guggeinheim is not new to peddling toxic sludge.

  2. G3

    Naomi Klein compared Obama to a shallow corporate brand way back in 2008. And his camapign came up with the hopey-changey slogan complete with a brand. Like a corporate brand, he appeals to our emotions while hoodwinking us. Like a shallow corporation, he wons nothing but a brand and slogan. NK didn’t elaborate in her Democracy Now interview. SO I am expanding : he doesn’t own policies. He implements Republican policies. He outsources decision-making to whom ever – Republicans, Congress, Wall Street, or his coporate buddies.

    1. Rotter

      To be fair, his campaign actaully STOLE the dopey-changey thing from Clinton Internationale’s “change you can believe in” ad campaign, as Hilary liked to, very bitterly, point point out from time to time in 08.

      1. rexl

        Really? I thought it was a direct and obvious steal from Cesar Chavez, Si se puede! Yes you can!

  3. Conscience of a Conservative

    Reagan may have been the great communicator, but Obama is the great campaigner. The Axelrod/Plouffe team must be working over-time. Wonder if these guys sit in on every meeting.

        1. ambrit

          Chorus; “I dream in colour, they dream in Black and White. Can’t find a better man.”

          1. Up the Ante

            Here’s one, ‘I’m your Prof., here to be Occupied with incredulous disbelief.’.

    1. Nathanael

      Honestly, Obama’s not that much of a campaigner.

      He’s been facing lightweights. I have no idea why he didn’t have any Democratic opposition this year.

      In 2008 he had to beat Hillary Clinton, an extremely poor campaigner; everyone else in the Democratic race was deliberately forced out by a complex media campaign orchestrated by the 0.1% who owned the TV stations. That sort of media destruction of candidates will continue to be possible for a while, but not for that much longer.

      Of course the Republicans haven’t been able to field a plausible candidate since 1992. They had to steal the election in 2000; 9/11 helped them with 2004, but the evidence is that they had to steal that one too, in Ohio. And it’s been getting worse and worse. The Republican Party is now a lunatic death cult where you have to out-crazy everyone else in order to be considered at all.

  4. bulfinch

    Thanks for the high-fiber late-ight food for thought.

    PS- I always thought those Alan Price sequences were perfectly plaited with the narrative.

    Revolution is the Opium of the Intellectuals

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Oh, don’t get me wrong, I love the music in O Lucky Man. On the one hand, it’s gratifying to see the director make sure viewers paid attention to it. But it makes the movie feel like a series of vignettes with some morals or summaries via the interludes. I assume he wanted that effect, rather than seeing it as a tradeoff, but it distances the audience.

      1. ambrit

        Maam;
        I saw the Picaresque nature of the film as its’ great theme. Something like how Shakespeare was (purportedly) originally produced. A true “Rakes Progress.”

      2. Chauncey Gardiner

        Sweet. How many news headlines do you recall from 1973? As a young black man told me, “Film is the most powerful medium. That is the reason it is so expensive to produce, and marketing power and distribution is so concentrated and tightly controlled.”

        1. Fíréan

          I nealy threw up when the main character, played by Malcolm McDowell, found the person with a pig’s body transplant. An empty cinema saturday afternoon viewing on it’s first release date in the UK. Great film, with actors playing more than one character ; classic sound track.

  5. Max424

    YS: (see Alien vs. Predator)

    Too funny. Too coincidental!

    I caught about half an hour from the middle of one of the A vs P movies the other night (there is more than one, I believe?). What surprised; one lone Predator was worth at least 22 Aliens. That’s how many Aliens my Predator killed in the 30 minutes I watched him rampage his way about the Big City.

    And it got me thinking; hey, 22 to 1, roughly the same ratio as in the War on Terror! We eliminate approximately 22 terrorists –and accomplicesssess to terror!– in every Predator drone strike.

    So, how prescient was that movie? Or movies? I don’t know if the kill ratio holds true throughout the franchise. Perhaps the dumb Aliens figure sh+t out in Part II (or III?). Change the foolhardy, straightforward tactics that are getting their asses slaughtered.

    Or maybe they acquire some anti-Predator weaponry, and the knowledge to use it! That would help the Aliens, big time.

    1. Max424

      The Aliens did seem to have a distinct edge over the Humans, however. In fact, they were killing them, or cocooning them, or doing to the Humans whatever they do, every chance they got when they weren’t getting slaughtered by Predator.

      So, if I was Predator, I would hang out and relax while the the Aliens killed all the Humans (let the dumb ass Aliens do all work!) THEN, I would kill the Aliens.

      Once my enemies, and the enemies of my enemies, had been eliminated, I would be … top of the world!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bytoID_SNnE

      1. BondsOfSteel

        Actually…. since the Aliens need the humans to reproduce, the logical thing for the Predator would be to kill all the humans then take out the Aliens.

        Of course, this is assuming that the Aliens reach critical mass. Until then, destroying just the Aliens would be the shortest path.

        1. Max424

          Good point! I forgot about the host thingy.

          And how easy would it be for Predator to kill all the Humans? Pretty damn easy; especially now, with Arnold in semi-retirement.*

          *Or is Schwartzie in full-retirement … living off his Social Security checks? I haven’t heard a peep about him. Arnold should maybe brainstorm with Jesse Ventura, get some late career revival ideas.

  6. skippy

    Damn women, all I can add to your tour de force is some old school from the other end of the spectrum.

    The Stranglers – (Get A) Grip (On Yourself)… the moneys no good…

    Didn’t have the money round to buy a Morry Thou
    Been around and seen a lot to shake me anyhow
    Begged and borrowed sometimes, I admit I even stole
    The worse crime that I ever did was playing rock ‘n roll.

    But the money’s no good
    Just get a grip on yourself
    But the money’s no good
    Just get a grip on yourself

    Suffering convictions on a two-way stretch inside
    The air in here is pretty thin, I think I’ll go outside
    Committed for insanity and crimes against the soul
    The worst crime that I ever did was play some rock ‘n roll.

    But the money’s no good
    Just get a grip on yourself

    But the money’s no good
    Just get a grip on yourself

    And you should know

    Now I find from week to week the sentence sticking fast
    Turn the corner, rub my eyes and hope the world will last
    Stranger from another planet welcome to our hole
    Just strap on your guitar and we’ll play some rock ‘n roll

    But the money’s no good
    Just get a grip on yourself
    But the money’s no good
    Just get a grip on yourself

    And you should know

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNGdkR7lVSs&feature=BFa&list=AVGxdCwVVULXdYiZFhSJ4uG-ANQgkb94rr&lf=list_related

    Skippy.. the lovely coast..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mv60L5YK0lE&feature=autoplay&list=AVGxdCwVVULXdYiZFhSJ4uG-ANQgkb94rr&lf=list_related&playnext=2

    PS. Yves who knew with the aid of a brunet wig such was possible, luggage and attire, woof.

    1. James Cole

      Awesome Stranglers reference. Here’s what I think of:

      (Candy man)
      (Hey, Candy man)
      Alright everybody gather ’round
      The Candy Man is here
      What kind of candy do you want
      Sweet choc’late
      Choc’late malted candy
      Gum drops
      Anything you want
      You’ve come to the right man
      ‘Cause I’m the Candy Man

      Who can take a sunrise (who can take a sunrise)
      Sprinkle it with dew (sprinkle it with dew)
      Cover it with choc’late and a miracle or two
      The Candy Man (the Candy Man)
      Oh, the Candy Man can (the Candy Man can)
      The Candy Man can
      ‘Cause he mixes it with love
      And makes the world taste good
      (Makes the world taste good)

      Who can take a rainbow (who can take a rainbow)
      Wrap it in a sigh (wrap it in a sigh)
      Soak it in the sun and make a groovy lemon pie
      The Candy Man (the Candy Man)
      The Candy Man can (the Candy Man can)
      The Candy Man can
      ‘Cause he mixes it with love
      And makes the world taste good
      (Makes the world taste good)

      (The Candy Man makes everything he bakes)
      (Satisfying and delicious)
      Now you talk about your childhood wishes
      You can even eat the dishes

      Oh, who can take tomorrow (who can take tomorrow)
      Dip it in a dream (dip it in a dream)
      Separate the sorrow and collect up all the cream
      The Candy Man (the Candy Man)
      Oh, the Candy Man can (the Candy Man can)
      The Candy Man can
      ‘Cause he mixes it with love
      And makes the world taste good
      (Makes the world taste good)

      (The Candy Man makes everything he bakes)
      (Satisfying and delicious)
      Talk about your childhood wishes
      You can even eat the dishes

      Yeah, yeah, yeah
      Who can take tomorrow (who can take tomorrow)
      Dip it in a dream (dip it in a dream)
      Separate the sorrow and collect up all the cream
      The Candy Man (the Candy Man)
      The Candy Man can (the Candy Man can)
      The Candy Man can
      ‘Cause he mixes it with love
      And makes the world taste good
      (Makes the world taste good)

      Yes, the Candy Man can
      ‘Cause he mixes it with love
      And makes the world taste good
      (Makes the world taste good)
      A-Candy Man, a-Candy Man, a-Candy Man
      (Makes the world taste good)
      A-Candy Man, a-Candy Man, a-Candy Man
      (Makes the world taste good)
      A-Candy Man, a-Candy Man, a-Candy Man

    1. problem is

      [X] L. Ron Hubbard

      I vote for chris. The only one so far to make me laugh out loud at the true irony of Obama Bin Lyin’ empty suit extraordinaire…

  7. jake chase

    I am 69 years old and cannot remember a single American politician who ever told the truth about anything, even when there was no sensible reason to lie. Presidential politics has always been a clown show. BHO is the latest Barnum creation. He was never anything else. Blame yourselves if any of you were ever fooled.

    1. Crazy Horse

      You obviously haven’t been paying attention to the campaign for Grand Marshall of the GOP. Romney’s weakness as a campaigner is that he tells the truth on a regular basis. You,know— “I don’t give a s*** about the poor”, Or “my wife drives two Cadillacs and a bunch of other cars”. Of course he can be forgiven for occasional breakdowns in his programing since he is a cyborg attempting to pass as Human. The GOP should have hired programmers from Anonymous instead of relying the hacks that did their Diebold programming in the last election.

      On the other hand Obama never makes the mistake of telling the truth.

      1. Mark P.

        Not a cyborg. Mitt aspires to be, if I’m not mistaken, our first Aspergers prez — which is kind of interesting — as well as our first Mormon.

        1. Nathanael

          You’re mistaken. Romney has none of the characteristic traits of people with Asperger’s.

    2. CB

      I’m 68 and your point is well taken. Are we still looking for Kennedy’s missile gap? Sucessful politicians have a keen sense for what the audience wants to hear.

    1. Anonymous Jones

      I also agree with jake. It confuses me that anyone over 35 could believe a politician enough to ever be disappointed by him or her. The lying is (or has become) inherent in the position.

      What confuses me even more is the mistaking of a personal distaste of someone into thinking one’s own opinion is a widely held view. I mean, look, it’s fine that *you* think BHO doesn’t have any personality, but you do realize that doesn’t mean that everyone else holds that opinion, right? It might be more important what the most commonly held opinion is. No? Yours is the only the one that counts? [For you, it is (or could be), I get that.]

      I don’t understand these people’s opinions, either. He is, as YS says, very reluctant to engage in a real fight and seems like a wimp to me, but whatever, most of my friends find him engaging and charismatic.

      I don’t understand why the Transformers franchise pulls in the most (or second most) box office receipts in its respective season, but I’m not stupid enough to ignore that those facts are telling me something. I mean, people are paying to go see this movie. That’s slightly more important than my one-off opinion on the matter.

      Sure, some opinions are more “informed” by the facts than others, but so what if many people are ignorant? Many people are ignorant. That’s not going to change. Their experience and life is no less consequential or more inconsequential than yours or mine.

      I find it rather a waste of time to sit around here onanistically telling each other our opinions of someone’s charisma or personality, but again, I don’t run this site.

      1. Binky Bear

        On the other hand as a Gen X middle aged guy I was horrified that my already high level of cynicism was insufficient to predict that Obama would be worse than Bush on every issue of importance. It’s like living a slow version of Homage to Catalonia crossed with 1984. Gen Y are lambs…

        1. JTFaraday

          No, they’re not! It’s just that their rebels were picked off one by one. No burgeoning anarchist youth movement in the Bush I recession that started the slide of even the educated classes in the US.

          I’m currently reading Camus’ The Rebel, among other things, so rebellion is on my mind.

          1. Nathanael

            Oh, there’s a “rebel” movement all right, it’s just not organized yet. If the elites keep this nonsense up, it will be soon enough.

      2. Stratos

        BHO doesn’t exactly run from a fight or wimp out. He is a master of the sneak attack, a veritable Underminer in Chief. Look at his behavior with the Keystone XL pipeline: He “suspends” a decision for the full pipeline and then a few months later inaugurates the leg of the pipeline that runs from Oklahoma to Texas.

        No doubt, after the election, he will inaugurate leg after leg until the entire environmental travesty is built—–unless citizens wise up and stymie his efforts in the upper midwest, state by crucial state.

    2. Mike M

      I too, as an oldster, agree. Just had to shake my head as I watched all of these kids get so enthusiastic about this guy. You would think the appointment of Geithner and Summers would have stopped that silly behavior, but, there still seems to be some sort of enthusiasm, for some reason. But, you have to admit, it’s nice to have a president after all this time speak so well from behind a podium. And, c’mon, that Al Green imitation was pretty cool, too. That has to be worth something. A little.

      1. James Cole

        This line of criticism of the young’uns is akin to criticizing a victim of a crime who is walking alone in the middle of the night through a bad part of town–you are ceding the territory that is rightfully ours–the public discourse–to the liars. I would rather live in a world where I and my fellow-citizens’ expectations of honesty and virtue are consistently disappointed than one in which we have no such expectations.

        1. Mac

          In my 76 years I have never come to expect “honesty and integrity” from those we elect!
          A good example is the UN I recall as an early teen that I viewed that as a cruel joke and still do.

      2. ohmyheck

        As one who is between the ages of 35 and 73, I admit to have drank the Obama Cool-Aid in 2008.

        “You would think the appointment of Geithner and Summers would have stopped that silly behavior”

        That, I can also admit, is exactly what happened to me. Those appointments, as well as Hilary Clinton’s, yanked the wool from my eyes but pronto. I was had. I got over it at that moment. No need to rationalize it, it would have been a waste of energy, because facts are facts.

        OWS improved my mood, though.

        1. Procopius

          Well, I turn 75 before the election, and I confess I too drank the Obama kiil-aid in 2008. I realized later I should have known from his vote for the FISA Amendment Bill, after promising to filibuster it, but his 2006 speech on his religious beliefs pushed my hope button after Bush’s embrace of the fundies. So now things are the worst they’ve ever been in my lifetime and the trajectory is downward when a majority of Americans don’t see anything wrong with his assassination program. OWS may kindle a little hope, but I’m afraid it’s going to take a century of suffering and struggle to get back to a Teddy Roosevelt — and HE was a fookin’ Imperialist!

          1. Nathanael

            “I realized later I should have known from his vote for the FISA Amendment Bill, after promising to filibuster it, ”

            Actually, that was precisely when I knew he was evil and was going to copy George W Bush.

            Still, McCain was calling for starting WWIII, so… the problem is the two-party system. Which leads us back to Duverger’s Law….

  8. Dan B

    “But one of [the] basic precepts of marketing is not to misrepresent the attributes of your product in a fundamental way.” Exactly. The best propaganda has some truth content or at least “truthiness”; it delivers something positive or worthwhile to those being propagandized. Propaganda is not passive, it is a form of interaction. The obdurate reality is that Obama has no genuine policy answers. To the extent there are answers they lie in localization, managing contraction, and radical wealth redistribution, for starters.

  9. Art Eclectic

    Jake Chase is right on. Anyone who thinks any politiican anywhere is telling the truth is clueless. Take a good look at human nature and it becomes obvious why politicians are they way they are. “The People” want lawmaking that benefits them and they have the votes. The businessess want lawmaking that benefits them and they have the money.

    So the name of the game is to lie to get the money and lie to get the votes, then govern somewhere in between.

    1. nonclassical

      Art,

      ..exactly…so the real project is to, ala Canada, remove the $$$$ from the process..$$$$ is PROPERTY-not $peech…publicly financed campaigns will also break the grip of corporate media on propaganda…

      1. Attitude_Check

        ABSOLUTELY. While this wont remove the lies and corruption, it will decrease the destructive severity, and overall corruption.

    2. Aquifer

      Hmmmm, seems to me “the people” oughta start using their votes to actually GET what benefits them …

  10. Otto

    These are sad times in America. It is one thing to be disgusted with a president like you are with Obama, but it is quite another to watch the ruthless carving up of the middle class, the consuming of the carcass by the rentiers in an orgy of “perfectly legal” lawlessness, the shedding of the Constitution like it is the old skin of a snake, and the political theater that distracts us with fear of plantation owners that would be even worse than what we have now. We are on a death march into day labor under complete right wing corporate control, with the privilege of paying dearly for all of life’s necessities and indignities just like we did in the days of the company town and the company store. Since 1974 every economic crisis and subsequent recovery left the middle class smaller, the working class poorer, and the social fabric more tattered than before. Now we have militarized police forces, an upper class that has declared war on any public institutions from schools to hospitals that stand in the way of a more perfect union of state and feudalism, and a nation that no longer qualifies as an advanced civilized nation relatively free of corruption and with a dignified and high quality of life for all its citizens. We have a population that is cheerfully participating in the war among ethnic and economic groups as we all fight for the morsels of an ever-shrinking pie blaming each other and seeing “final solutions” for social problems in such measures as building walls, drug testing, zero tolerance policies, death penalties, carrying guns, and the greatest proportion of people in prisons of any industrialized nation. It is sad indeed when the shrill voices of the likes of Paul Krugman, Glenn Greenwald, Jonathan Turley, Yves Smith, and Occupy Wall Street are the last vestiges of truth and adherence to the fundamental ideas that made this nation great and propelled it into economic and moral leadership after World War II. In revulsion the people voted to try to reverse this course in 2008 only to be nudged back into line by Obama, as the feudalists pick off, corrupt, and compromise one leader after another with gifts of personal privilege and wealth. Thank you, Yves, for your voice and for your outrage when you see that American law so blatantly and openly no longer applies to so many powerful people.

    1. Crazy Horse

      Ironic isn’t it that the best daily reporting and analysis of the world financial system is on Capital Report, a program carried on the Russia Today network—. Hosted by a hot woman in a short skirt with more brains in her little finger than the entire consortium of mainstream media talking heads.

      1. Bam_Man

        Agree. And you’re right – those hot RT anchorettes are something else. I think Putin was at least partially correct when he said (I’m paraphrasing) “There is no homosexuality in Russia. Russian women are the most beautiful in the world. Why would any Russian man want to be homosexual?”

        1. ambrit

          Cuz;
          Interesting point, cause I heard that all the Pink Sissies moved on down to Georgia. Now that’s a Party Comrade!

          1. Crazy Horse

            There are several levels of irony at play here.
            1- For superior reporting of daily financial news * we have to turn to a news network owned by a former mortal enemy who’s economic system is even further from the Capitalism of the economic textbooks than ours.
            2- Lauren Lyster, the American woman who headlines the Capital Report has movie star looks but she chooses (or is required to) wear skirts so short that they distract from the fact that she has the sharpest mind in live TV journalism.

            *no no slight intended, Yves! I see Naked Capitalism as having a much different intent and focus than Capital Report.

        2. F. Beard

          Maybe it ain’t fair but health, looks and ability often go together. Symmetry is a sign of health and is considered attractive by most and ability is a function of health too.

          Moral character is a different story, I’d bet.

    2. nonclassical

      Otto,

      70′s-80′s PolySci called this NEO-feudalism…derived from NEOcons, succinctly
      enough…

      1. jake chase

        Otto, your concept of the past is somewhat romantic. It is true that an American middle class reemerged between 1946 and 1970, but this was largely an unintended and temporary consequence of the physical destruction of European capital in WWII and of the annexation and temporary shutdown of the Japanese industrial machine by the United States. American industrialists were compelled to relax resistance to union wage demands, and a temporary labor aristocracy was created among machine tenders encouraged to believe that the war had been won by them. The machine tenders cooperated by voting Republican and smashing the heads of Vietnam war protestors, and the industrialists showed their appreciation by accelerating foreign investment and eliminating machine tender jobs at the earliest opportunity. The remainder of your middle class consisted primarily of academic scribblers, governmental busy bodies, accountants and lawyers. Many of these are still cashing in, although their days are probably numbered. Incidentally, throughout this halcyon period, income taxes seriously interfered with any form of middle class wealth formation other than the mortgaged personal residence. Twenty percent of a generation or two got its head financially above water, mostly at the expense of those among the bottom eighty percent.

        1. robert157

          There is another thing many people forget about this mythical period of past greatness — during that time Texas was the world’s source of crude oil, oil was as cheap as we wanted it to be, and there was very little concern about energy supplies in the future. The society we consciously and purposefully built at that time, with sprawling suburbs, and the concept of personal gas-guzzlers, made a short term economic boom and a long-term disaster which is playing out now.

          1. Binky Bear

            Not true about the oil worries. Might recall that after WWII we realized that the next war would also be about oil after all the effort to bomb Ploesti and prevent the Reich from reaching Azerbaijan.
            We spent the 50s on securing our oil supplies by overthrowing governments (Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, etc.) and fostering dictators, much as we did for other resources like copper (Allende in Chile), fruit (Arbenz and on and on), tantalum, on and on.

          2. robert157

            Reply to Binky Bear:

            That’s a very good point.

            I guess the real difference is that the machinations of the 1950s, in addition to still-rising domestic production, allowed the US govt. to more or less control the price of oil. Even after the ’73 embargo and ’79 loss of Iran to the Iranians, the US was able to manipulate the price through the Saudis, with a backdrop of strong non-OPEC supply from Alaska and the North Sea.

            Now, the ability of US officials to control the price of crude oil (despite domestic production rising again) is out the window. We have gone from energy hubris to energy desperation. Big difference there.

        2. Up the Ante

          “.. an American middle class reemerged between 1946 and 1970, but this was largely an unintended and temporary consequence ..”

          Allen Dulles anticipating the Occupy movement in “Germany’s Underground” is stark testament to that, jake.

          Modern day clones of Allen like Charles Koch and the much weakened germ-line of Romney are testament that the effort is ‘alive’.

          lol

        3. Nathanael

          Jake, an American middle class actually was well on its way to arising thanks to direct political action at the end of the 19th century. It didn’t help that Woodrow Wilson passed half the progressive agenda and then decided to implement a police state and terrorize anyone who was further to the left… and the reaction was the “business Presidents” of Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover.

          But frankly, the creation of a middle class was pretty much necessary, due to the excessive looting of the elite during the previous period; the alternative political outcomes were a Communist revolution (which would have created a fairly large middle class) and a fascist revolution (which would have ended with collapse and redistribution of property).

          The fact that the middle class became relatively *rich* is an artifact of the post-WWII period, but the levelling of wealth and power was inevitable. When wealth — or power — gets too concentrated, it’s unsustainable.

          Smart elites know how concentrated it can get and don’t go further than that. This seems rare.

    3. Prairie Rose

      This is quite simply one of the best written paragraphs I’ve ever read. Thank you, Otto. I hope you don’t mind if I share it.

      And I would only add that the majority of our populace is paralyzed, suffering the effects of a massive consumerist hangover and the constant running in place on the gerbil wheel. We are now professional victims. The destruction is almost complete since and we now welcome our slavery. Ask anyone who is truly in the Middle Class if they have half a million dollars saved for retirement and they will either cringe or laugh in your face (as I do). It is a farce.

      The reset will be brutal.

      1. F. Beard

        The reset will be brutal. Prairie Rose

        It need not be. A ban on further credit creation plus an appropriately metered and equal bailout of the entire population including non-debtors would fix everyone from the bottom up and WITHOUT price inflation risk.

        Why do people think that a problem created with credit can’t be fixed with fiat since they are both created from nothing?

    4. robert157

      Otto, I think you are fooling yourself about any fundamental moral greatness that the US leadership supposedly possessed after WWII.

      Failing societies always harken back to some mythical period of past “greatness.” Of course, it never existed.

    5. Damian

      Otto- very well done !

      how long is the next phase?

      i have thought for some time that they want to “murder by neglect” 160,000,000 who are increasingly redundent and no longer of use to the system nor their offspring.

      jobs will shrink “up” the food chain now at accelerating rate – as velocity of money continues to decline and create fewer and fewer transactions – even the lawyers and doctors servicing this current level and all white collar will have less and less purpose as discretionary income continues to be concentrated among fewer people.

      is this march 50 years or 100 years as they take it apart?

      will it make a difference as to speed whether republican or democrat controlled?

  11. Min

    I am not interested in reading drivel, so I’ll skip the “puff piece”, thank you. However, my first reaction is that anyone presenting the idea of putting Obama on Mt. Rushmore is attacking him, meaning to evoke the reaction, “Who does he think he is?”

    1. Yancey Ward

      It was definitely not an “attack”. It was quite serious about it’s proclamations. However, I think Glastris’ head is so far up his ass that he isn’t even aware how his piece plays.

  12. Erinys

    Look on the bright side. Obama’s brittle above-it-all pose and his obedience in a kiss up, kick down ruling class makes him the perfect scapegoat for when times change. After all, Obama meekly took on the role of GW Bush’s sin-eater by breaching the Convention Against Torture and the Hague Convention, assuming perpetual legal exposure under universal-juridiction law. Obama drove the getaway car for banking kleptocrats and war profiteers, abusing his official function with unprecedented corruption to run out the clock on the statutes of limitations. When the wheels fall off and popular rage becomes uncontainable, Who better to blame than a powerless suckup, a made man who let his ceremonial puppet status go to his head?

    In 2017, when the functions of the Nuremberg Tribunal get institutionalized with adoption of Rome Statute Article 8 bis, and Uncle Sam needs to clean up his criminal-aggression act, a couple of token heads might have to roll before we get back in good odor. It’s sure as hell not gonna be a Bush. It’s gotta be someone disposable. Republicans won’t mind a bit if America’s First and Last Criminal Aggressor is a black guy. Hey, Republicans don’t even mind the ICC any more, as long as they only prosecute Africans.

    Cmon, you know you want to see him try and make that phony noble face in the dock.

  13. ambrit

    Reader Querry: What Sleazy Con Artist…
    How about “Dare To Be Great?”
    (I was going to say Benito Mussolini, but remembered that Il Duche made ‘the trains run on time.’)

  14. brian

    i use to think burt lancaster as elmer gantry
    but that slanders a good actor

    now more cleavon little as the sherrif in blazzing saddles
    riding into town
    its citizens looking and behaving very much like a broad cross section of contemporary America

  15. Mike M

    Piers should be more careful mocking the president’s propaganda machine. As a former News of the World editor, I’m sure the FBI is looking at him very closely. Don’t want to ruffle any feathers here in the land of the free, Piers.

  16. Occupado Amiga

    Your petition doesn’t mean Democracy. Don’t let non-sequitur delusions get in the way of the show. If you really had a choice.. oh fuck it, Mark Twain said it better many years ago.
    look it up. We need an 100% increase in non-violent dissent, starting right here pal! HAI FBI!

  17. Aquifer

    Shucks, I’ll go with the obvious – Jim Jones – remember what happens when you drink the Kool-Aid …

  18. El Snarko

    You need to seriously need to relax. This truely surprises me. While you are 99% correct in this criticism, you are committing what may be some type of fallacy of compositon thing. It is the nature of the beast. Politicians are politicians and as long as we elect those, we have to expect they will act from their natures. This will change when Satan turns a triple Lutz, and hospital administrators encourage pay cuts for themselves because they are largely nonfunctional.

    Whether elephant or ass, all animals have to be cleaned up after, especially if you let them parade upon the streets of a civilized society.

    There are alternatives, but are likely to occur after finance is made to be regulated and prices of goods reflect their true and complete cost of production and disposal.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Differences in degree are differences in kind. Tell me the last time a politician so misrepresented his fundamental position as Obama did in his 2008 campaign. He even made specific promises as to what he would do when he got in office, ones that were actually credible for him to execute (signing statements, not the usual vague promises). These were studied, gross lies, well beyond the usual politician puffery.

      1. jake chase

        How about LBJ who ran against the VietNam war in 1964 and began escalating it within his first year. Oh, yeah, it was about the Gulf of Tonkin explosion (or maybe the sinking of the Luisitania?)

        1. ambrit

          Mr. Chase;
          So??? I seem to remember a few other ‘accomplishments’ on LBJs’ watch, like: The War on Poverty, Civil Rights, etc… What has B.O. done for us lately? Oh, yeah, mandated the poorer of us to buy overpriced “Health Insurance.”

      2. Nathanael

        Last time a winning Presidential candidate was *this* dishonest?

        Tough call. Bush II was of course a pathological liar — “a uniter, not a divider”? He also campaigned on an isolationist platform.

        Reagan lied constantly and habitually, perhaps because he couldn’t tell truth from lies.

        Before that…

        Woodrow Wilson. That re-election campaign. “He kept US out of war”. His opponent said outright that Wilson was planning to get the US into WWI. Wilson *was* planning to
        do so, and he lied through his teeth about it.

        Oh, there are other examples of Wilson’s lying — and his authoritarian behavior. It’s not a coincidence that the most tyrannical laws being used to silence whistleblowers were passed by Wilson to silence opposition to World War I.

        Yet Wilson was cannier than Obama (and far cannier than Bush II); he knew when to make a major populist move. He opposed votes for women, but recognized which way the wind was blowing after some of the most massive protests in front of the White House ever. He seized on progressive taxation, which wasn’t really his thing either. He knew how to grab hold of a popular movement and benefit from it. Obama… sort of did that, but not nearly as competently.

  19. ronbon

    As I consider who might qualify as the WORST president in U.S. history, being hampered by not living during James Buchanan’s debacle, my answer comes down as “THE LAST FIVE”.

    Reagan for obvious reasons (but not as bad as generally thought); Bush I as having no undergirding principles to guide his course (evidence his flip-flopping on abortion); Clinton for signing both NAFTA and GATT; Bush II for having an IQ which might have reached as high as 80 on a good day; and Obama for being the most un-principled serial liar since Ananias.

    ….and now we are to be saddled up for another four years?? Thank god that I was fortunate enough to also have lived (and SERVED) under their polar opposite, FDR !!!

    1. F. Beard

      under their polar opposite, FDR !!! ronbon

      I suppose he was the best that could be hoped for under the circumstances.

    2. Up the Ante

      Sorry to pop your bubble, ronbon, but I’m of the camp that’ll refer you to Robert Stinnett’s “Day of Deceit”. Keep in mind the book was formed thru FOIL requests, that year of publication’s version of FOIAs.

      Polar opposite ?

    3. Nathanael

      WORST depends on your judgement of “worst”. Buchanan and Pierce were clearly the *least competent* Presidents in US history.

      However, Bush II and Andrew Jackson probably did the most *damage* to the United States (honestly, it’s closely tied between those two).

      Often forgotten amongst Jackson’s other crimes (such as, you know, violating Supreme Court orders in order to cause the Trail of Tears), Jackson famously replaced government by experts with “give my cronies government jobs” government and we’ve *never managed to reverse that*, though the Civil Service Acts helped somewhat.

  20. Lambert Strether

    Obama cult of personality? Shocker. Nobody could have predicted, especially given his supporters in 2008. Take Ezra Klein — please!

    Obama’s finest speeches do not excite. They do not inform. They don’t even really inspire. They elevate. They enmesh you in a grander moment, as if history has stopped flowing passively by, and, just for an instant, contracted around you, made you aware of its presence, and your role in it. He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh, over color, over despair. The other great leaders I’ve heard guide us towards a better politics, but Obama is, at his best, able to call us back to our highest selves, to the place where America exists as a glittering ideal, and where we, its honored inhabitants, seem capable of achieving it, and thus of sharing in its meaning and transcendence.

    Did I warn you to put down your coffee? Oops, no. Sorry.

    1. F. Beard

      Already having a God to worship, I never fell for Obama though I did feel he would be slightly better than Killer (Mc)Cain.

      It’s sad to see people who won’t worship God, worship a mere man instead:

      I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. John 5:43

    2. EmilianoZ

      The thought of Obama alone fills my soul with inexhaustible joy. I pity you if you don’t understand that.

      1. ambrit

        Sr. Z;
        Much as I regret bringing this up, all that proves is that the Criminal Elites are “Equal Opportunity.”

    3. dSquib

      I love that. Always makes me chuckle. The hard-nosed policy analyst!

      The “triumph of word over flesh” line is a great unintended putdown of the cult of Obama.

      Ezra seems to perceive of lefty critiques of Obama as emotional, unrealistic, knee-jerk. He and Delong, Herzberg and legions more – they will always summon the mawkish when it suits them. They will then decry the naivete of the “disappointed” Obama voters they must assume were all swayed by this sort of drivel, the very stuff they were happy to perpetuate.

  21. Lambert Strether

    Here’s another gaseous effusion, this from one David Decker in Salon:

    In Wilber’s philosophy, he describes how the universe has a telos. Everything in it moves from simple states to complex ones that are capable of so much more: From atoms to molecules; gasses to stars; plants to animals; unconscious states to sentience; from clans to societies and countries. Even our inner life, our developmental states do this – move from the simple to the wondrously complex. The inner-life of our societies develop much the same way. And all these things evolve – not by discarding the old and becoming something new, nor by reverting to an older possibly fondly remembered version – but by including the previous state on the road to transcending it.

    Hearing Obama speak often shows how he innately understands this telos of the universe. During his campaign for the presidency over the past two years his message, style and substance have changed little. This, it seems is the man. Even in the heat of debate, his temperament remained constant, beyond the needs of ego. His ability to lead and inspire comes not by brute force but through an almost serene depth and eloquence. There’s strength in his wisdom and compassionate understanding in his eyes. Time and again he’s talked of uniting parties, peoples and countries in order to accomplish the daunting tasks at hand. Transcend and include.

    Despite our current dire troubles, we can find hope in many things today. But something that may yet carry us to even further shores might have appeared as well: a bodhisattva President, someone who may be wise enough to help us begin that journey we’ll eventually have to make if we hope to survive – one that will one day transform all of humanity into a flourishing world society. And that’s a future worth dreaming of for our children.

    1. pdx

      I just don’t get it. Never once have. I’ve never been able to listen to more than 5 words out of this guy’s mouth. Nary a soaring syllable has gotten through–just deeply disgusting, content-free, depressing blahblahblah. I leave the room, switch off the radio, or whatever it takes to make it stop.

      Must be the racism, huh?

      1. CB

        I’m with you. I tried, boy, I tried, to listen thru a whole speech, but I couldn’t do it. Couple of minutes in and his vapid, full of himself condescension did me in. On top of that, he’s so damn boring. Get a load of Adolph Reed here: http://coreyrobin.com/2011/08/01/572/

    2. Doug Terpstra

      Yuck, Lambert. You’re on quite a roll today. Since you did’t include links, I have to assume you’re making this bile up just for the sick pleasure of watching readers retch ;-)

        1. Doug Terpstra

          D’oh! My bad, skipped over the single word links. But that’s okay, I really didn’t really want to go there after you excerpted the best parts.

    3. Jill

      Lambert,

      This is the kind of stuff they play on a tape loop in the 9th circle. Cut it out!!!

  22. Chris

    Any confidence game requires a willing mark, a dupe who is so naive or innocent that they simply can’t see what’s coming.

    In this case the American people are the dupe. But if they chose to re-elect this grifter, they certainly can’t claim innocence, or even naiveté.

    I may be only in my forties, but I’ve seen my share of lying politicians. Yet I can’t recall any of them having the breathtaking audacity to run their entire campaign on the premise that the policies of their opponent were to blame for destroying the middle class, and then go on to continue the very same policies. And similarly, to continue to treat the US constitution and the Bill of Rights as a piece of worthless toilet paper. Knowing full well that those actions not only continue to debase and degrade the rights of US citizens, but also set a precedent that will certainly be used by their successor for even darker purposes.

    To give this man another 4 years would be the moral equivalent of suicide.

    1. Prairie Rose

      And the alternative would be whom, pray tell?

      Never mind. It doesn’t matter anymore. They all dance to the same puppeteers.

    2. Flying Kiwi

      But the much-vaunted democracy of the US will only allow the people to vote for this guy, some other guy who by every possible measure is even worse or give up on democracy by not voting at all.

      1. Nathanael

        Exactly. Nobody else even ran for the Democratic Presidential nomination; the Republicans range from psychopaths to apocalypse-desiring fanatics; and every other party is systematically shut out from ballot access let alone media attention. (Not that most of them are any better.)

        I’m probably voting third party for President anyway, but I might just have to leave the slot blank.

    3. ohmyheck

      ‘Scuse me, but you left out ‘Constitutional Law Professor from University of Chicago who continues’… “to treat the US constitution and the Bill of Rights as a piece of worthless toilet paper.”

      1. ambrit

        Dear ohmyheck;
        “University of Chicago,” hmmm, where have I heard that mentioned before?

        1. ohmyheck

          Methinks he must have minored in Uncle Miltie’s Economics.

          I used to think he was just ignorant of economics altogether, but playing stupid doesn’t pass the smell test. He is a “genius” don’t you know? Ask any Obamabot.

          Uncle Milties’ acolytes have taught young grasshopper well.

    4. different clue

      You have a point if the Republicans nominate a Romney ticket. If the Republicans nominate a Christian Supremacist
      ticket then a lot of people will vote Obama again to save themselves from a future of Militant Christianite Backwardite Stupidism. If I am faced with the alternative of Obama or vile filth like Santorum or Paylin or Bachmann;
      I will vote Obama to avoid the greater risk of suicide from a Christian Fascist Republican ticket.

      That is why people who want to see Obama defeated really need to get Romney and a Romney-lite ticket nominated over on the Republican side.

      1. JCC

        Why would Obama’s clone, Romney, be better than Obama? Mish Shedlock hits the nail on the head with all these articles:

        http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2011/11/not-your-grandfathers-republican-party.html

        http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2012/02/damn-voters-full-bailouts-and-existing.html

        http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2012/03/mitt-romneys-foolish-pledge-to-re-fight.html

        http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2012/02/obama-seeks-to-prove-he-is-more-like.html

        Siding with the Democrats against the Republicans…

        or siding with the Republicans against the Democrats…

        either way, it’s a guaranteed losing battle.

        I had a conversation this AM with a local rabid Republican where he stated that “We have to vote for Romney in order to get rid of Obama.” My answer was, “I’m tired of trying to figure out the “lesser of two evils”. After 40 years of voting in Presidential Elections all I’ve ended up with is evil. I’m writing in someone this time.” He replied, “But that’s what ‘they’ want, you’ll contribute to splitting the vote!”

        In other words, I’ll still lose. But so what? At least this time I can feel that I’ve done the right thing… For A Change :)

  23. Lambert Strether

    On the query, though: “What sleazy con artist does the Obama greatness campaign evoke”?

    I’m not sure I have an answer. Jim Bakker, perhaps, for the smarminess and the fraud. But Bakker doesn’t evoke target killing of US citizens, drone strikes, the retroactive legalization of accounting control fraud and the theft of trillions, etc.

    So Bakker’s not a figure of a world-historical scale, like Obama. On the other hand, Obama’s not on the scale of the great evil-doers of the world who were also con artists possessed of delusional adherents, like Mao, Stalin, Hitler or, on a less grand scale, Franco or Mussolini.

    Perhaps the best place look would be tinpot second-world dictators who also fostered leadership cults. Peron?

      1. Max424

        Both.

        I would say, just Eva, but she died too tragically young to make a real difference while she existed.

        Still, Juan kept her dead but glorious memory alive in his bosom, and through this bemedalled breast, she continued to lift* the hearts of Argentines –long after she was gone.

        *That’s lift, as in lift; not lift, as in, “I lifted his wallet.”

        Or do I have that backwards?

  24. ep3

    “plus they’d probably been conditioned to the idea that random bad guys could be linked since cross franchise connections are increasingly common (see Alien vs. Predator)”

    awesome Yves, well done.

  25. Doug Terpstra

    Glastris dishes out acute gastritis with the “The Incomplete Greatness of Barack Obama”. He’s right of course, but the subtitle needed a ‘minor’ fix.

    “He’s gotten more [regressive, militarist crime] done in three years than any [GOP] president in decades. Too bad the American public still thinks he hasn’t accomplished anything.”

    There’s the rub. Our dear leader is NOT a do nothing president, a harmless animated mannequin. In point of fact he makes the transparent hypocrisy of Republicans, including his so-called oppostion, look positively amateurish. This is the messiah Wall Street and Israel have been waiting for — a snake in the grass with a silver forked tongue, a ravenous wolf in sheep’s clothing, and a master of lies masquerading as an angel of light.

    One wonders about the reign of terror in 18th century France, but our own stubborn, blind aristocracy reveals its genesis clearly. When this present darkness passes—and it will—MSM courtiers and collaborators like Gastritis and Gaggenheimer will be marched up the scaffold right alongside their great O. And their pieces of silver will be flung into bloodthirsty throngs.

  26. ltr

    David Guggenheim is the guy who did the hit piece “Waiting for Superman” …

    [What an awful pretender Guggenheim is, but all the Obama folks care for is selling the image.]

  27. I have a d, I have a d, I have a d,

    No actually what he’s like is if you dug up Kwame Nkrumah, mounted his embalmed hide on an audio-animatronic MLK from Disney, and hooked it up to a joystick in Lloyd Blankfein’s office.

  28. propertius

    I think Alien v. Predator is the perfect analogy for the (eventual) Mitt versus Barry 2012 election contest.

    I just can’t figure out which is which.

  29. Anthony Wonkleden

    You people have some messed up priorities.

    The unfathomable pile of corpses in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Somolia, and soon to be Iran isn’t enough to convince you that this man is a monster?

    Your callousness towards the taking of human life is morally repugnant. Morally upstanding individuals do not even attempt to defend those who murder children, nor those who order other men to do so.

    Until you reject violence as a solution to social problems, you are a morally broken person, and you will never achieve true peace or happiness. I pity you, but not as much as I pity those who were murdered as a byproduct of your ignorance and brokenness.

    1. Jeffrey Lubmeier

      No no, he’s got something there. Obama is a war criminal too, strictly speaking. Planes, bomb, the Pentagon and the security state. How do those get paid for?
      Most Americans are indifferent and unaware of the carnage, cost, bloodshed or the connection to US banking. Iraq is a spectacular disaster, a tragedy unmitigated by a torrent of media obfuscation, embedment and support. (The likes of which our horrible crimes in Southeast Asia never had) 10+ years of war and war on the middle class. These things are all taboo, not to be discussed.

    2. ohmyheck

      Please note the Occupy Support Banner on the upper right corner of the page. You are preaching to the choir here, sir.

      Most, but not all, NakedCapitalism readers do not support the warmongering excesses of the Administration, the Congress and the MIC. This is evident in the daily links pages and the ensuing comments.

  30. So Cal 7

    “..comes from his insistence on putting cerebral versions of happy faces on a society that is rotting from within. You can’t expect good long term outcomes from a culture whose elites are as openly corrupt as ours are.”

    ..and the FED plays the “Bad Cop” role with ruthless efficiency.

    Yves, you have outdone yourself here.

    Thank you.

  31. Hugh

    It hardly matters whether Obama is an empty suit à la Reagan and Bush II or if he is “smart” in the tradition of Clinton and Bush I. He is simply the current face of the elites. Whatever he does or does not do, it isn’t for us but for them. He is there to distract us and defend them, and their looting. No more, no less. It doesn’t matter whether he is weak, cautious, playing eleven dimensional chess, or endlessly cunning. It doesn’t matter if he is branded a liberal, a centrist, a conservative, or a socialist. It doesn’t matter that he is compared to both FDR and Herbert Hoover. It doesn’t matter that he invariably says one thing and does another, what used to be called lying.

    That he has, in fact, been called all these things simply shows how well he has performed in his job of distracting us.

    Like many others here, I never thought to see such times. If I had to compare Obama or any other President of the last 35 years to anyone or anything, it would be Zaphod Beeblebrox in the Hitchhiker’s Guide:

    The President in particular is very much a figurehead—he wields no real power whatsoever. He is apparently chosen by the government, but the qualities he is required to display are not those of leadership but those of finely judged outrage. For this reason the President is always a controversial choice, always an infuriating but fascinating character. His job is not to wield power but to draw attention away from it. On those criteria Zaphod Beeblebrox is one of the most successful Presidents the Galaxy has ever had.

    We have become as absurd and ridiculous as something out of an absurd and ridiculous novel.

    1. Up the Ante

      That first day on the job, and it’s not like the newly elected don’t anticipate it, appears to be growing more abrupt.

  32. OregonTime

    The references about Clinton are key. To this day I know people who long for Billy boy and I tell ‘em he was the guy that brought on the corporate cabal in a BIG way. When the left was fighting tooth and nail against Bush SR and NAFTA there was not a peep as Clinton pushed it through. The Obama handlers are using the Clinton playbook and it will be quite beatific and glorified ’cause they won’t have near the damage control that was required to sell Billy Boy.

  33. Ishmael

    Yves — Special showing of O Lucky Man in Santa Monica next week with Malcolm giving an appearance. Usually in such things they get up and give a little talk about thinking behind the movie. Saw Clockwork Orange again with Malcolm there and I have to tell you that is one movie that represents current times more than back then.

    I always thought the cut away to the band in the movie was also kind of strange. I believe Malcolm was the writer and it was kind of a parody on his life.

    1. Fíréan

      David Sherwin was the writer of the script, though the original idea was that of Malcolm McDowell. A read up of David’s life at the time might give some further perspective.

      And though this going a little off-topic, excuse me. does anyone know what happened to the planned film “Going Mad in Hollywood” ? Maybe, Ishmael, you could ask Mr.McDowell ?

      1. Ishmael

        Firean — Will do even though I am getting some resistence from my SO about goung since we rewatched O Lucky Man about a year ago when Yves past postings wet my appetite to see it again.

  34. Patrick

    G3,
    I’m glad you made the connection to “Waiting for Superman”, a documentary whose credibility has been shredded by Ravitch and others. It was really nothing more than a commercial for Obama’s basketball buddy Arne Duncan who’s track record in Chicago was miserable. Nothing like failing upwards in America, it’s a great gig for those that have it.

    Guggeinheim and many of the bozo’s that surround him are nothing more than the Democratic Pravda. They are paid propagandist and their rationalizations are embarrassing. Both parties are so embarrassing at this point, that a current day Ross Perot could possibly win the election.

    1. G3

      “Failing upwards” – very apt. Only acceptable for the 1% and their lackeys like Guggenheim. All the while crowing about “accountability” for the little people like teachers. Amreeka the Great ! USA ! USA!

  35. Maximilien

    “The Incomplete Greatness of Obama”? Must be a typo. I think the headline was supposed to read, “The Great Incompleteness of Obama”.

  36. dSquib

    Of course anyone cynical about Obama, the Democrats, must perforce be broadly cynical in nature. That’s the going assumption. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve debunked some Obama “achievement” or made an observation that did not reflect well on his nature and role, and in retort be fatuously asked how my cynicism is “workin’ out” for me. It may be true that Obama’s lefty critics are more generally “cynical” (in one sense) than his supporters, I don’t know, but the unspoken, most sinister assumption is of the monopoly, or strangehold, that the Democratic party have on “hope” for liberals. Indeed, how could anyone ever think anything could get materially better for Americans or the world except through the wisdom and skill of elected Democrats?

    1. different clue

      The next time someone asks you how your “cynicism is workin’ out for ya” you could try the following experiment if you wish. You could say: “not too bad, really. How’s your sheepleism working out for you?” See if it hits a nerve . . .

      1. Nathanael

        I always say “My cynicism’s made me a fortune on the stock market. How’s your delusional optimism doing?”

  37. different clue

    Well . . . when I first read the question (reader query), I thought of that CosCot guy ( “Dare to be great!”) but I see that someone mid-thread thought of that first. (Mr. CosCot Guy ran a pyramid marketing scheme involving selling some kind of cosmetics based on weasel oil and muskrat juice , or some such thing as I remember).

    So I can’t really say what con man Obama reminds me of.
    But I can offer a music video which reminds me exactly of Obama, even though it was made years before.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vgQalXaIxs

    It would be so great if someone with enough time and web skills ( who isn’t already using those skills to the max already . . . like Yves Smith, John Robb, Ran Prieur, and so many others already are) were to create a website assembling all of Obama’s lies and deceits and double crosses in one easy-to-navigate website. Anyone who wanted to look up Obama’s lies could find them all presented in easy-to-find layout and arrangement. Anyone who wanted to find something to weaponise against Obama could go to that website and find it and take it back to their secret brainwar laboratories for weaponization and dissemination.
    That website could perhaps be called Barack The Magic Liar.
    A name like that would make it easy to remember and find.
    Anyone could just whip up a website address (or whatever those things are called. Maybe it would look like this:
    http://www.barackthemagicliar.org If that comes up “blue” and “clickable” in my comment, consider it my gift to a waiting world. Anyone can take it and register it and run with it. Or if not, not.

      1. different clue

        I will take a look at the website. I hope it will be subdivided into easily useable subject-matter sections. I hope one of those sections will be the lies he told and tells specifically. I hope it will provide easy one-stop-shopping access to videos like the one Yves Smith provided about Obama bragging about lying to get elected and just how far into the video the money-quotes are.

  38. ks

    I’m guessing YS is thinking of that other famous film-making propagandist starting with G. Funny old world we live in.

  39. Ms G

    “Pusherman” the movie and the song (Curtis Mayfield). He was sort of a community activist making helping out the peeps with goodies that made reality just a little less harsh.

    Yves — agree with the other posters — you really have outdone yourself here — and that’s saying a LOT!

    1. Ms G

      … “community activist helping out the peeps” . . .
      (drop “making”) . . . stupid typo.

  40. Jill

    I think Guggenheim’s movie is a godsend! Just add new visuals to the narration–it could be very enlightening. Even the interview could be worked into accuracy this way.

    It is difficult to get footage like the following but it is possible–warisacrime.org showed a whole village the US govt. bombed out of existence, just a big hole in the ground where an entire group of people had been living a day earlier. A few weeks later the hole was being buried over with bulldozers. Problem solved, no embarrassment for the US about war crimes and stuff, right? Well, wouldn’t that be an interesting juxtaposition with Mr. Guggenheim’s statement that he couldn’t find anything negative (ie: truthful) to say about Obama and his handlers?

  41. Mike

    Come on sheeple

    Obama some genius? He never released his grades. They also played algore as some kind of techno wonk, yet his grades were lower than W’s.

    What we do know of BHO was ignored. No experience in anything except stirring up resentment among the races, a mentor for twenty years who is big a racist as any kkk klansman. Obama is a bigot too. Just look a little closer.

    Obama may not have caused the economic crisis, but he has doubled down and made worse. we never be able to recover. The economic illusions you see now are only the result of the fed printing of worthless paper. It won’t last. As Barry’s buddy once said, ” the chickens will come home to roost”!

    1. Nathanael

      Al Gore actually *was* a techno wonk. He wasn’t brilliant, but he was wise enough to figure out who *was* brilliant and listen to them.

      W, in contrast, was a legacy admission to Yale, a cheerleader, and a drug user, and his “gentleman’s C” grades are a result of grade inflation, “gut” courses, and most likely cheating (Skull and Bones, like most secret societies at colleges, is suspected of enabling cheating.)

      This is not to say good things about Obama. Obama is following 99% in G. W. Bush’s footsteps, for whatever stupid reason. (It’s not even wise from a strictly power-hungry point of view.)

      Gore, however, is pretty damn awesome. He’s the best Presidential candidate in my lifetime, being the only one who actually recognizes that *science tells you about reality, and reality doesn’t care what polls well*.

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