Cornel West: Obama is for Big Business, Not the Jobless Posted on April 1, 2011 by Yves Smith On Naked Capitalism, we tend to focus on how terrible Obama’s economic and financial policies have been for the middle class. This video reminds us that they are even worse for those further down the food chain. Hat tip Rob Johnson: Post navigation ← Links April Fools Day Alabama Judge Accepts New York Trust Theory, Dismisses Foreclosure Action for Failure to Comply With Pooling and Servicing Agreement (Updated) → Subscribe to Post Comments 73 comments Petey April 1, 2011 at 1:46 pm That’s a beautiful clip. I do love Cornel. sgt_doom April 1, 2011 at 2:55 pm Effing A, Cornel be the MAN! Truly, the only individuals worth following today in Amerika are the super-economist, Michael Hudson, brilliant philospher thinker, Michael Parenti, Glen Ford (blackagendareport.com), Glenn Greenwald (brilliant talk he gave recently in Santa Fe (see site below, please), and Chris Hedges. There’s really not much left anymore in Amerika, sadly! http://podcast.lannan.org/2011/03/13/glenn-greenwald-presentation-8-march-2011-video/ DownSouth April 1, 2011 at 9:40 pm Check out Scott Noble and his new video on Obama Lifting the Veil. It’s pretty damned good stuff, and he covers most of the bases. DownSouth April 1, 2011 at 10:24 pm You might also want to check out this interview: In an interview with Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman, Dr. Cornel West discusses his…epic dispute with White House economic adviser — then Harvard President — Larry Summers. “Larry Summers, I think, he had a long history of arrogance and relative ignorance about poor people’s culture and working people’s culture and so forth,” West told Goodman. Their dispute began shortly after Summers was appointed President of Harvard, and ultimately led West to leave Harvard and join the faculty of Princeton. According to West, Summers accused him of canceling classes and called his interest in hip-hop an “embarrassment,” among other slights. West added that he was surprised when Obama selected Summers for his council of economic advisers: I said, here’s somebody who has no history whatsoever of sensitivity to poor people or working people, who had been supporting deregulation for a long time as a Clintonite, in the Clinton administration. What is going on here? Or has Obama already become so comfortable with the establishment that you had to have an economist who was legitimate to the establishment in order for him to get his regime off the ground? OK. I mean, if that’s the kind of argument you have, then put it forward. But don’t tell me you’re a progressive, then, and generate that kind of support or major advisers speaking to you–speaking to you every day. Jerry 101 April 1, 2011 at 2:56 pm Andrew Jackson, yes. But JFK? no. I think that what we really need at this time is for a new Huey Long to emerge. Someone who can really scare the bejeezus out of the oligarchs. Someone who really wants to gut the system. Then, maybe, just maybe, we can get a Roosevelt (either one, or a combination of both – The New Dealer and The Trust Buster) to start cleaning up this mess. Tertium Squid April 1, 2011 at 2:59 pm I think the modern analogue for Huey Long is Hugo Chavez. Woo hoo Hueygo. James April 1, 2011 at 8:47 pm Alas, Cornel West always strikes me as “academically naive.” Perhaps that’s even a complement. Charles April 2, 2011 at 12:39 pm I agree, Cornel is more than naive he is an ignorant academic that is consumed with race victimization. Not to say that it does not exist, but we are really dealing with the power class that is commanding our government and eroding our democratic institutions, Cornel is unable see to past the color line. craazyman April 2, 2011 at 2:53 pm Sometimes Everything Just Makes Sense I do agree with much Professor West is saying, even though I ribbed him yesterday. But these discussions get me thinking deeply and thoughtfully about the serious issues affecting our society. And so I’ve been really puzzling over this question. “Why is a person who plays the piano called a pianist but a person who drives a race car is not called a racist?” If anyone can help me answer that in a spiritually enlightened way, I’d appreciate it. bowhahahahahah ahahahah ahahah!!!!!!! craazyman April 2, 2011 at 3:00 pm And speaking of society’s dysfunctions. I came across something yesterday that made a great deal of sense to me. It makes more sense to me than organizing people by their skin color or their sex. This is a question that might reasonably occur to good people everywhere . . . Why do they put pictures of criminals up in the Post Office? What are we supposed to do, write to them? Why don’t they just put their pictures on the postage stamps so the mailmen can look for them while they deliver the mail? bowaha hahaha ahahah ahahah!!!! Professor West should be glad he has a nice head of long hair. He still looks like sort of a cool dude that I could have a beer with. Or maybe smoke a joint. Not sure if he’s into blunts or not, but he might be. I don’t want to presume one way or the other. When I channel him I get the sense that he’s basically an OK fellow. If he got drunk and puked someplace, he’d be the kind of person who’d feel like he really should clean it up himself, I think. F. Beard April 1, 2011 at 1:47 pm “Chains you can believe in” Poor Obama. It would take an Andrew Jackson or a JFK to deal with the bankers today but I guess Mr. Obama will settle for being the last black President for the next 100 years. Find your backbone, Mr Prez; your time is running out. James April 1, 2011 at 7:06 pm “Mr Prez” Clearly that’s an honorary title. Too bad for all of us normal people Obama’s been anything *but* honorable since taking office. And as we’re all now belatedly waking up to realize, he never was. Imagine that! A lying politician (and from Chicago of all places)! Who would have guessed? East Coast Cynic April 2, 2011 at 1:16 pm JFK tried, not only to deal with the bankers, but with the military/intelligence complex, and we know what happened. Maybe a President isn’t allowed to govern unless he gives his balls over to the CIA, the Pentagon, and the Financial Elite. craazyman April 2, 2011 at 7:32 pm Beard if you made that up by yourself, I’ll drink a Bass Ale in your honor. “Chains you can believe in.” That is Good. Jojo April 1, 2011 at 2:02 pm Throwing a little more tinder on the fire: ———– March 31, 2011 Many Jobs Seen as Failing to Meet the Basics By MOTOKO RICH Hard as it can be to land a job these days, getting one may not be nearly enough for basic economic security. The Labor Department will release its monthly snapshot of the job market on Friday, and economists expect it to show that the nation’s employers added about 190,000 jobs in March. With an unemployment rate that has been stubbornly stuck near 9 percent, those workers could be considered lucky. But many of the jobs being added in retail, hospitality and home health care, to name a few categories, are unlikely to pay enough for workers to cover the cost of fundamentals like housing, utilities, food, health care, transportation and, in the case of working parents, child care. A separate report being released Friday tries to go beyond traditional measurements like the poverty line and minimum wage to show what people need to earn to achieve a basic standard of living. The study, commissioned by Wider Opportunities for Women, a nonprofit group, builds on an analysis the group and some state and local partners have been conducting since 1995 on how much income it takes to meet basic needs without relying on public subsidies. The new study aims to set thresholds for economic stability rather than mere survival, and takes into account saving for retirement and emergencies. “We wanted to recognize that there was a cumulative impact that would affect one’s lifelong economic security,” said Joan A. Kuriansky, executive director of Wider Opportunities, whose report is called “The Basic Economic Security Tables for the United States.” “And we’ve all seen how often we have emergencies that we are unprepared for,” she said, especially during the recession. Layoffs or other health crises “can definitely begin to draw us into poverty.” According to the report, a single worker needs an income of $30,012 a year — or just above $14 an hour — to cover basic expenses and save for retirement and emergencies. That is close to three times the 2010 national poverty level of $10,830 for a single person, and nearly twice the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. A single worker with two young children needs an annual income of $57,756, or just over $27 an hour, to attain economic stability, and a family with two working parents and two young children needs to earn $67,920 a year, or about $16 an hour per worker. … http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/01/business/economy/01jobs.html Hal Horvath April 1, 2011 at 3:11 pm Isn’t the median wage (different from the household median income of course, as households have an average of more than 1 worker) about $26K or so? MyLessThanPrimeBeef April 1, 2011 at 3:14 pm The economic strategists all agree it’s unwise to fight economic war on two fronts. Military wars – it seems possible these days. So, it is hard to envision how to emerge victorious combatting ‘outsourcing of jobs’ and ‘insourcing of cheap labor (legal and illegal)?’ It’s possible that if we let them all in, we can make it just a one-front struggle – no more worrying about outsourcing. Cedric Regula April 1, 2011 at 5:31 pm There is a fast track to legal US citizenship…join the military. So there is a method to their madness…. Not to mention the defense industry has been hiring Indian and Chinese engineers on work visas as soon as they graduate college. Back in 70s at my Alma Mater, Purdue, located in the eastasia province of Indiana, routinely had a MS graduate class consisting of about 80% rich kid Indians and Chinese on foreign government scholarships. Could have been Korean or Taiwanese, I guess. Hard to tell from the graduating class pictures. But it does make me wonder what was going on at CA universities. Bill April 1, 2011 at 7:56 pm Those numbers seem a little high for my area. On 60,000 per year here, a young couple with two children can own a home, provide for all expenses and still sock away 20 to 25k per year for retirement. The one thing that could really hurt is a catostrophic illness that our health care only pays 90% of. That could bankrupt us quite easily. Wendy April 1, 2011 at 2:07 pm I am going to suggest this at the originating site but would also like to suggest here, that being pro-management or pro-owners is NOT being “pro-business”, any more than being pro-labor is “pro-business” (and probably less so). the term has been co-opted to throw workers in a bad light – any opposition to worker demands is called “pro-business” and workers themselves (or those who want jobs) are somehow “anti-businesss” but this is incorrect, as well as very misleading, as well as awarding honor (to management/onwers) when the opposite is what is deserved. Hal Horvath April 1, 2011 at 2:18 pm Obama is in a form of ‘regulator capture.’ One of the prime responsibilities of a President is to be a kind of super- or meta-regulator. I figure the cognitive capture is largely via the very convincing Timothy Geithner, who is himself in cognitive capture. What’s the antidote? Only 2 I can think of: direct experience in small business (more than a few months), and/or having some kind of unusual experience and then an epiphany. Could Obama have an epiphany? Well, it’s not impossible. — btw, on a previous topic, for those interested in a convenient way to learn about radiation risks, NPR’s program “Science Friday” today is exactly about that, via interview with neutral expert. I find this kind of thing useful to allow me to take care of mundane tasks while learning something valuable and immediately relevant. bob April 1, 2011 at 3:03 pm http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2Wsy8jHPk4 Tertium Squid April 1, 2011 at 3:07 pm “Find your backbone, Mr Prez” “Could Obama have an epiphany? Well, it’s not impossible.” The dream dies hard. I know it wasn’t till Katrina (“Hecuva job, Brownie!”) that the scales fell from MY eyes about the Bush administration specifically and the conservative movement generally. …and that their actions, haphazard and chaotic as they may have been, were a very accurate reflection of what they wanted to do. Don’t worry, you’ll get there. If Libya isn’t enough I’m sure something even more outrageous is coming at us. F. Beard April 1, 2011 at 7:09 pm The dream dies hard. Tertium Squid I never had the dream; I wrote in Ron Paul in 2008. Still I had hope for Obama; at least he wasn’t McCain. James April 1, 2011 at 9:45 pm Still I had hope for Obama; at least he wasn’t McCain. Faint praise that. Still feel so good about your decision? Me neither. Jojo April 1, 2011 at 11:16 pm I think many more people are disappointed in Obama because our expectations were so high after 8 years of Bush. OTOH, McCain would have been plain awful. But then we would have expected that. Craig A. Jenkins April 1, 2011 at 3:14 pm Mr. Obama became president at a crucial moment in our history. The “Great Recession” of 2007-2009 was the second great failure of essentially laizze faire capitalism of the last 70 years. Clearly, the business of America needed to be done differently. Rather than leave consumers to be preyed upon by business entities, a new partnership was needed. The false dichotomoy of management v. labor no longer works, especially not for the working people of America. Instead, management must recognize “labor” is not just the hands who make the products or provide the services, but are also the consumers who comprise the domestic market which businesses need to survive and to thrive. Mr. Obama, by linking his future to the very interests who caused the recession, has not only squandered this moment of history, but set-up the nation for even bigger failures in the future by not reining in the banks and other institutions which nearly burned the world’s economy to the ground. The corosive effect of money in national politics, which will only get worse as corporations pursue their new found freedom to support candidates after the Citizens United decision, means money talks and the concerns of the generally poorer public are secondary concerns at best. This would be class warfare if the middle and working classes resisted the tide of the monied classes. Sadly, we are not. Yet. nonclassical April 2, 2011 at 2:07 am Folks, The historical documentation=truth. U.S. “democratic” capitalism only “re-sets” when everyone has lost everything. Allowing those “in charge” to remain so, belies transparency, oversight, accountability. Read Geisst’s, “Wall $treet-A History”. We have ignorantly allowed corporatocracy to move us from FDR’s “New Deal” to robber baron’s “Old Deal”. Propping up what remains is no answer. Dave of Maryland April 1, 2011 at 3:38 pm Obama is a boot-licker. Say it. Say it OUT LOUD. Obama is a boot-licker. ********************* Obama also collects titles. He’s now got the two most impressive titles on the planet: President, and Nobel Prize Winner. Elsewhere Yves has wondered about females & cups of coffee. No, Obama is not a skirt-chaser. Like Sarah P., Obama never stays with anything. Will he run next year? Obama’s never run for re-election in his life. He’s got the title. That’s all he wanted. Betcha he pretends to run, and then bows out at the very last minute. He doesn’t want the office. Just the title. Too bad we can’t persuade him to resign now. Yves Smith Post authorApril 1, 2011 at 7:47 pm I was not accusing him of being a skirt chaser, merely using an unflattering metaphor and making sure it was memorable. I suppose I could have used a sports metaphor instead, like saying he claimed to have won a blue ribbon for every race he entered. James April 1, 2011 at 10:28 pm All due, calling NoBama a “boot-licker” is merely calling – forgive me here – a spade a spade, is it not? No use belaboring the obvious is there? NoBama! Once upon a time I(we) was(were) young, stupid, and naive. Yes indeed! Those were the days! No sir, we won’t get fooled like that again, NO SIR! Not until, oh, I dunno, at least 2012 I guess at least. HELL NO! We’ll show ’em them for sure we will! Bastards! Dave April 1, 2011 at 3:38 pm You find more coverage of poor people overseas from the MSM, than even a mention of the poor people in this country. Even Obama doesn’t mention the poor, only the middle class. Joe Bageant, who sadly recently died, chronicled the plight of the poor white class in this country. What, there’s a poor class in America, the greatest country ever? What a joke. America’s going to burn again, and it’s just a matter of time Michael H April 1, 2011 at 4:25 pm Thanks Dave, for mentioning Joe Bageant. I’d never heard of him until he died recently, since then I’ve heard the name mentioned once or twice, and after reading your post I decided to look him up and found this: “…He tells of that huge class of unnoticed people in America, the white underclass of a thousand small towns and countryscapes…He had no patience for smug commentators in Washington who talked at half a million bucks a year…. “His politics may have confused the chattering classes. Joe was the least racist guy who ever lived, but he wrote about the white poor, whose very existence runs against hallowed doctrine. He was also explicitly in favor of the Second Amendment, noting that ninety pounds of dressed venison matters a whole lot to many families. These are families that reviewers of books have never heard of.” http://www.joebageant.com/joe/2011/03/bageant-moves-on.html#more I’m adding Joe Bageant to my list of recent American writers who write about poverty. And it’s a very short list. nonclassical April 2, 2011 at 2:09 am Thomas Frank has heard of them… optimader April 2, 2011 at 11:25 am Joe Bageant was heroic and is missed notexactlyhuman April 1, 2011 at 5:32 pm Just yesterday received Bageant’s Rainbow Pie: A Redneck Memoir. From a preliminary perusal, it appears the new book may well be even better than Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America’s Class War. Joe was one of the greats. Anyway, on another note, from Taibbi: “Exactly how tough do you think all these ex-Wilmer lawyers will be on current Wilmer clients like Goldman, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, General Electric, Credit Suisse, and practically every other major financial services company? The shamelessness factor is growing by the minute. ” http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/the-s-e-c-s-revolving-door-from-wall-street-lawyers-to-wall-street-watchdogs-20110330 craazyman April 1, 2011 at 6:32 pm I guess there aren’t any poor white people in Princeton. The professor needs to get out and about. LOL. acontra April 1, 2011 at 7:09 pm I’m sure Prof. West is aware of the existence of poor white people. However, it’s a much more endemic problem for non-whites: poverty rates: white — 13% black — 35% hispanic — 36% Source: http://www.statehealthfacts.org/comparetable.jsp?ind=14&cat=1&sub=2&yr=199&typ=2 kevin de bruxelles April 2, 2011 at 4:49 am Yes but even with those percentages, the overall numbers of poor are not kind to whites. And in a democracy, where overall numbers count, it seems foolish to split the poor by obsessing on race. Obvously there is ambiguity with Latinos since it is not a race and many would be considered white. But ignoring that we get the following total numbers: Blacks at 13% of population at 35% poverty rate equals 4.5% of 310 million equals around 14 million poor blacks. Latinos at 16% of population at 34% poverty rate equals 5.4% of 310 million equals around 17 million poor Latinos. Whites at 65% of population at 13% poverty rate equals 8.45% of 310 million equals around 26 million poor whites. Personally I would be doing everything I could to combine the 14 million poor blacks with the 17 million poor Latinos and together with the 26 million poor whites. Working together gives us around 57 million poor people fighting the rich. Obsessing on race means we have about 31 million fighting against 26 million and basically just cancelling each other out. James April 1, 2011 at 7:43 pm Poor people pointing fingers at each other is *exactly* the goal of TPTB. Poor is poor. Where do our *real* allegiances lie in the modern world, at least once the shit-on poor are smart enough to realize it? Nation states? Are you kidding? Local states/villages? Maybe, depending on your specific situation. Talk to me about social/economic opportunity and your speaking my language. Every truly poor and oppressed minority knows this already in their bones. *Rest assured*, every rich and privileged majority in this world will *very soon* come to know the truth of those words. kevin de bruxelles April 2, 2011 at 3:58 am I too was disappointed with his rather foolish decision to split the poor in half by referencing race. That is not to say that he is factually wrong, I’m sure black and brown are disproportionately poor. But the overall numbers, depending on how you define poor, will come out with at least as many poor whites as poor black and browns. So he handed the wealthy a nice little strategic victory by refusing to focus on class alone but instead falling into the trap of splitting the poor in half by obsessing about their race. I mean how did a poor white person feel listening too him – is his poverty somehow more acceptable due to his lack of melanin? What you don’t see is the rich dividing themselves up by race. So I suppose tenure at an elite university comes at a price. In any case Obama is happy to have blacks attack him; just like he strongly encourages the retarded left to beef with him. All that talk in 2007 about Obama not being an authentic African-American certainly did him no harm. It just helps validates him to “centrist” voters. Because at the end of the day, since the poor refuse to organise and vote for a Social Democratic party, where in the hell else are they going to go on election day? They have zero leverage on Obama and the Democrats. At best they can stay home but if the Republicans continue their attacks on unions, then Obama can count on plenty of scared people voting for him, hoping against hope that he will serve as a defensive bulwark against the change coming from the Right. EMichael April 2, 2011 at 11:23 am I would rewatch the clip of Mr. West if I were you. And also try to find other comments from him that include “it is not just about poor blacks”. abelenkpe April 1, 2011 at 6:53 pm That is a great clip. We certainly do need a jobs program in this country. Thanks for posting! James April 1, 2011 at 7:31 pm It’s hard to take this post seriously, in that the only people who could not know the truth of it from their own day to day experience are NoBama’s remaining loyal constituents – the Wall Street and MIC plutocracy – or his most heated enemies – the very people this post points its finger at, but for many reasons too deep to explore here (but have been explored nonetheless by many a political/sociological tome) are simply too damn stupid to notice that they’ve been targeted by BOTH political parties. All that said, what’s to be done about it? How do you educate a populace that’s simply too damn stupid to realize that they’re merely lambs being led to the slaughter (a *totally* convenient religious metaphor that – imagine that! – has been called into service of the cause), especially when you consider that big money driven marketing campaigns delivered through TV and internet are the modern equivalent of “big brother?”? Answer: In the short term at least, you can’t, and the battle – to be brutally honest – cannot and will not be won. That simple bit of bracing reality is the best message that can be transmitted for the foreseeable future. Absent a *transformational* political and sociological awakening in the US (particularly) immediately, we are *all* about to go down some alternative paths that almost all of us are not going to find *at all* agreeable. Jason Rines April 2, 2011 at 3:30 pm You are correct James. The danger of Facism which is nothing more that an attempt at halting decentralization cycles (necessary evolution) is world war. I expect by 2021 to be rebuilding the world brick by brick. Installing a 4d model instead of the pyramid will give mankind a bit more time and better process of dealing with the next inevitable decentralization cycle. I have chosen in response to this likely outcome to get to know my neighbors and be far more active in the local community where I live. This is where opportunity will reside in the future. Until then it is just fending off wolves while working on the foundation wanted later and educating ‘those with an ear’. Such a minority will be the next era’s leadership. Patrick April 1, 2011 at 7:32 pm The campaign slogan was “Yes, we can”. The result was either “No he couldn’t, or No he wouldn’t”. I can’t make my mind up which it is, but with every passing day I’m leaning towards the latter. The joke is that come 2012 the bankers he’s helped to protect will put a large part of their “taxpayer” money behind his opponent. Masonboro April 1, 2011 at 7:39 pm Not to pick nits but using Michael Jordan as an example of rising from poverty is not a good choice. I worked with James Jordan (Father) for a number of years at the local GE plant and he was a manager with a decidedly middle class lifestyle when Michael was at Carolina. Great guy and hard worker BTW. Jim Mr. Incognito April 3, 2011 at 3:12 am Wow! You knew James Jordan? Shame what happened to him. I was in grad school last year and was telling my RA, who was about 10 years younger then I, about his murder. Really messed up. gil mendozza zuntzes April 1, 2011 at 7:58 pm hum… hum… Subprime Bonds are coming Back!… Federal Reserve Bank Board Chairman, Ben Bernanke speaks in Washin-gton yesterday to Snister,Swindler & Lier Barack Obama, Bernanke says; Recession very unlikely to be over… Bad for U.S. economic recovery. Suprime can trigger another financial crisis. New home sales fell 15%; the lowest level since 2008, and Oil prices had risen sharply, Crude Oil Barrel could top $200 by the last quarter of 2011. He could not guarantee any expectations for a dull recovery–Bernanke said will be hard to get credit for consumers and businesses and He believes the economy won’t turn around untill the year 2015; and that the United States is coming apart. Jason Rines April 2, 2011 at 3:35 pm No worries, they will just be renamed war bonds soon. Ya know, all for the good of the country and all that. Reminds me of Monty Python and that skit in The Meaning of Life. Denise April 1, 2011 at 8:29 pm @ Patrick: The bazillionaires and corporatists won’t have to put their money behind Obama’s opponent for a second term. He is their candidate. He’s done everything they wanted. It’s no coincidence there isn’t yet a declared Republican candidate. Obama will coast to a second term, no problem. Of course there’ll be a big show put on for We The Sheeple but it’s a foregone conclusion. This is the first time I’ve heard of Cornell and I do like what he’s got to say. Yves, I only recently became a huge fan of Joe Bageant’s and am sorry at his passing. Absolutely one of the most brilliant writers I’ve read. Glenn Greenwald is brilliant also, as is Michael Hudson (to agree with a previous poster). Paul Tioxon April 1, 2011 at 10:39 pm Well it’s official, the He’s not Black enough for me from the more Mau Mau than thou- argument. Most people in America after going through the political uprisings of the 60’s have seen the office of transgressive behavior go the rich white boy in the room who was first to say “As I look around this room, I don’t see any people color”. This first commandment handed down to the immediately impressed allowed the Great Announcer the power over the group by showing, beyond a shadow of a doubt, their failure in not recognizing that they were all white, and did not even have enough revolutionary fervor by which to tap their radical Black Compatriots. Well, with all due respect to Mr Harrison, who appears to be Black by the picture he provides us, Cornell appears to be the first official radical Black ass you have provided for your Wall St and other viewership. A new step forward for NC. And no doubt, the political cover necessary for all of the white people who post here who just can’t stand Obama because his policy choices just suck ass. And I feel your pain. It is the Obama administration, and the 2 year Democratic legislative majority that has failed to do much, if any, of the heavy lifting to transform the nation. And let me put my cards on the table. Obama, if we was going to transform society, he would do exactly what Hugo Chavez did, and nationalize the oil, coal and gas industries. After all, most of it is owned by foreigners. This gusher of cash sold to China, India and Korea would balance a lot current accounts in favor of team USA. Furthermore, if he was going to transform society, he would place health care as a right by amending the constitution, as it is in the United Mexican States and setting up single payer government managed health insurance. And of course, all of the gun toting rioting tea baggers would be locked up and beaten by the police and finally discredited. But that did not happen. And the betrayal of the rule of law in face of the galactic scale of economic theft and destruction seems to be the biggest problem for most NC viewers. It is a problem. But the reformist nature of the demands here and the underlining debunking of neo liberalism and the Washington Consensus serves up only a surgically repaired and physically rehabbed doomed system. Doomed, not by historical determinism, but by the analysis here and in other rigorous social science studies. Obama is none other than a capitalist politician, but clearly, not one that will change the system into something else, more egalitarian, more liberating or economically stable. He is in the tradition of the old Liberal consensus, where you could smell freedom, blowing in the wind from just over the horizon, just a further bit down the road, but not quite there yet. But, in the mean time, a measure of dignity, a small but more than adequate slice of the pie in the sky, but here on earth in back yard bar b ques from sea to shining sea, next to 2 car garages. He is practitioner of the disjointed incrementalist approach to talking about progress, actually allowing some of it and repairing the cracks in the system while holding back the reactionary capitalists that will more than gladly turn the politics over to brutal, violent, terrorizing oppression, in order to ensure the system goes on for another day. Yes, you are all not insane, he is protected the unjustifiable looting of the nation and world by banks. It is also, for now the only system we have. The small steps he has taken, in allowing for 99 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits, expanding the Pell Grants to take young Americans off the street and job market as well as nationalizing the student loan system are small potatoes. I can not over estimate the serious disaster of the alternative. We have only seen the sneak preview trailer for republican world. I urge many of the people here to not give up and allow even more republican control, and if anything, get into the democratic party and take as much control of it as you can at the level you can. If the militant right wing of the republican party can do it, you can as well. Cedric Regula April 1, 2011 at 10:56 pm Well, ok…but can we still have municipal golf courses? nanute April 2, 2011 at 12:40 pm Cedric, You never disappoint me. I can be reading the most depressing account of the state of affairs, and you always remember to keep it all in perspective. If Paul had his way, Augusta will be municipal. Paul Tioxon April 2, 2011 at 4:53 pm http://www.golfphilly.org/index.php Of course Cedric, I am not a monster, but a man just like you. I slice just like you, I shank just like you, I am just like you. liberal April 2, 2011 at 1:45 pm And let me put my cards on the table. Obama, if we was going to transform society, he would do exactly what Hugo Chavez did, and nationalize the oil, coal and gas industries. That’s the Marxist approach, ie the wrong one. The correct approach is the Georgist one—let them have their profit on capital investments, but tax the natural resource rents at 100%. Paul Tioxon April 2, 2011 at 4:54 pm Profit. like property is theft. required April 1, 2011 at 10:44 pm I’ve been calling obama a FR$UD for almost two years now – mainly for not prosecuting the fraud. Salviati April 1, 2011 at 11:50 pm What many self proclaimed ‘black academics’ like Cornell West failed to acknowledge in the run up to the 2008 selection was that Barack Obama represented the ultimate realization of Malcolm X’s worst nightmare. Here was a man that ran on a platform rhetoric of “change”, and has very cynically manipulated the politics of race to shore up and maintain support from the communities that he turns around and screws. As a result progressive politics is in shambles while the poor, working class and primarily people of color are being devastated. Perhaps this is a price worth paying to have the first black president. I don’t know, I wish it were different. scraping_by April 2, 2011 at 7:03 pm Identity politics has never been kind to the progressives. In the early 70’s Affirmative Action alienated a lot of the formerly upwardly mobile. In the late 70’s the question of torture by Israel split off a lot of Jewish support. In the early 80’s abortion chased a lot of Catholics to the sidelines. In the late 1980’s employers sent people to “sensitivity sessions” and watched us walk out pissed at the world. They still do that, by the by. In the 90’s NAFTA was sold as screwing industrial workers, but enhancing the position of “creatives” and other paper-pushing groups. The Revolt of the Elites, as Christopher Lasch has named it, seems to have gone forward when boundaries and barriers are set up the people did not want but cannot ignore. Divide and Conquer begins with “Divide.” Martin Finnucane April 2, 2011 at 12:12 am I’ve always found Cornel to be a bit jejune. But maybe I’ve been wrong — I find that I agree with every bit of this. President Obama has given us a peculiar, perhaps post-modern, version of racial uplift: lots of warm-hearted photo-ops and imaginary race conciliation, but with a most-definite “screw y’all” to poor youth, who are disproportionately black, brown, and red, as Professor West says. Professor West is also an enemy of Larry Summers, which makes him okey-dokey in my book. Random Blowhard April 2, 2011 at 12:34 am Almost correct, Obama is for WALL STREET only. EVERYONE else gets the trickle down. abcx April 2, 2011 at 1:09 am It amazes me sometimes how prescient the Who were back in the day. Bunch of kids but their words stand the test of time I think. We’ll be fighting in the streets With our children at our feet And the morals that they worship will be gone And the men who spurred us on Sit in judgment of all wrong They decide and the shotgun sings the song I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution Take a bow for the new revolution Smile and grin at the change all around me Pick up my guitar and play Just like yesterday And I’ll get on my knees and pray We don’t get fooled again Don’t get fooled again Change it had to come We knew it all along We were liberated from the fall that’s all But the world looks just the same And history ain’t changed ‘Cause the banners, they all flown in the last war I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution Take a bow for the new revolution Smile and grin at the change all around me Pick up my guitar and play Just like yesterday And I’ll get on my knees and pray We don’t get fooled again Don’t get fooled again No, no! I’ll move myself and my family aside If we happen to be left half alive I’ll get all my papers and smile at the sky For I know that the hypnotized never lie Do ya? There’s nothing in the street Looks any different to me And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye And the parting on the left Is now the parting on the right And the beards have all grown longer overnight I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution Take a bow for the new revolution Smile and grin at the change all around me Pick up my guitar and play Just like yesterday Then I’ll get on my knees and pray We don’t get fooled again Don’t get fooled again No, no! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! Meet the new boss Same as the old boss Patrick April 2, 2011 at 7:10 am Cornel still trying to be the corner hipster of the 60’s. In the end he will vote for Obama regardless of his short comings. He knows it and so does Obama. Dan Duncan April 2, 2011 at 9:53 am A Baby-Boomer-Blogger links to a Baby-Boomer-Race-Baiter, to the bellow of fellow Baby-Booming-Beatnik-Bloviators. The Me-My-Mine-Generation that will go down forever as The Peter Pans That Could…and then couldn’t. The Peter Pans who made it out of adolescence–barely–only to languish as Perpetually Entitled 20 Somethings. The Generation of Brats that wantonly destroyed everything in its path. It’d be easier to get some scuba gear, an underwater writing pad, and teach a school of fish about the concept of water than to get Boomers to understand the concept Selfish Indulgence. Baby-Booming-Beatnik-Bloviator April 2, 2011 at 12:50 pm Patrick Bateman: Did you know that Whitney Houston’s debut LP, called simply Whitney Houston had 4 number one singles on it? Did you know that, Christie? Elizabeth: [laughing] You actually listen to Whitney Houston? You own a Whitney Houston CD? More than one? Patrick Bateman: It’s hard to choose a favorite among so many great tracks, but “The Greatest Love of All” is one of the best, most powerful songs ever written about self-preservation, dignity. Its universal message crosses all boundaries and instills one with the hope that it’s not too late to better ourselves. Since, Elizabeth, it’s impossible in this world we live in to empathize with others, we can always empathize with ourselves. It’s an important message, crucial really. And it’s beautifully stated on the album. Patricia April 2, 2011 at 1:17 pm You go, Dan Duncan. Get that scuba gear. Fish have about the right amount of intelligence to accept the narrow rigid lessons you have on offer. chrislahaie April 2, 2011 at 1:59 pm Wow. only took a few years for him to come to this conclusion? Why would anyone think an elitest who has never really had a job in his entire life, gotten a free pass to the white house, and has gotten rich by writing a book about how “extraordinary” his life has been….. Please will all the gullible people please wake up this time around……It is been obvious since before the election that obama had no interest in helping the people. He is an elitest and has never had to work for anything in his life. His work ethick is even questionable and there is no way he could have gotten through law school without favorable treatment. This president is no where near genius and that should be more clear now than ever. LifelongLib April 2, 2011 at 2:20 pm FDR had a much more privileged life than Herbert Hoover, but who’s economic policies would you prefer? It’s the policies that count, and it’s not always easy to relate them to biography. Psychoanalystus April 2, 2011 at 3:02 pm Wait a minute! Obama has done plenty for young black people age 16 to 24. He is building 2 new prisons per month and has just started a war in the African nation of Libya where patriotic black men and women can now return to their ancestral continent and bravely die in battle representing the military industrial complex of the nation that kidnapped and enslaved them 200 years ago. Isn’t that enough? Psychoanalystus cosmo1 April 2, 2011 at 9:11 pm Obama will be the Republican nomination for 2012 election Glenn Condell April 2, 2011 at 11:28 pm Barack Obama is the greatest disappointment in history, and may end up one of it’s great disasters. Like Tony Blair he arrived at a crucial juncture with the hopes and goodwill of billions behind him and the contours of a better future ahead. Like Blair he was not just found wanting, but is upon closer inspection an agent of his own failure, not as an unwilling participant but the lead actor (though never the director, let alone the producer), not the patsy but one of the grifters, a Straussian adept with the incalculable gift of colour, his destiny never to wrest democracy back from power but to serve as the steward of it’s shackling, providing plausible cover with his nice family, furrowed brow and an endless stock of weightless bromides. I find contempt a lot easier to come by when I consider the Obamas and Blairs and Clintons as opposed to your Bushes and Cheneys and Palins, though I realise this is irrational. Both are controlled by the same people, one plays good cop, the other bad and my emotive reaction to so obviously being had is what’s intended. Perhaps next time I’ll vote for the other mob so I can be rogered by people who make no bones about it, only to be disillusioned and even more unfree four years on, so that I can be tempted to consider voting for the next good cop, probably a Latino woman this time, and so on. Rinse and repeat, ad infinitum. It is a shame to see West implicitly make a distinction between black and other victims of Obama’s betrayals, though it is entirely understandable given their backgrounds. But then, a non-unionised self-employed Tea Partyite’s vehement diatribe against greedy unionised public workers is understandable also, but that too is a shame. Both reactions are predictable and indeed relied upon. The parable about the Tea Party type and the unionist sitting at a table with ten cookies on a plate alongside a banker who takes 11 and whispers to the Teabagger ‘watch out, that union guy is taking your cookie!’ applies here too. We’re all being robbed blind by a few but the authorities, the media, the whole culture in general encourages the belief that whatever groups you do not belong to are to blame, and that the fire of your ire be directed at them full bore. And vice versa. The only hope may be that the carefully tended below-stairs conflagrations that result end up combining and destroying the top floor, so that the house can be rebuilt from what’s left of the foundations. People like Obama and Clinton and Blair will not be invited to any housewarming. There will be Wanted posters up for them around the perimeter, alongside the Summerses and Greenspans, the Paulsons and Geithners. Probably they’ll be safe in some elite compound with like-minded grifters and grift-meisters, sipping champers uneasily as the massive and eternal security surrounding them silently eliminates threats to their well-being. In a few years we will see the Obamas, having negotiated the tortuous steps that lead up to and through the Beltway, jet-setting around to ski and shop with those they have protected and enabled. Maybe a holiday with Silvio here, a stint on the Carlyle board there, you know the drill. It just seems so quotidian, so inadequate, this social-climbing, dynasty-creating rationale for the betrayals our political hope-carriers visit upon us, but in our cherished political dreams we forget that even, perhaps especially those with power are driven by personal rather than political imperatives. What suckers we are, but is it really asking too much, is it really too naive to actually hope that a genuinely selfless political power could arise and not be safely re-trained and co-opted? ‘Truly, the only individuals worth following today in Amerika are the super-economist, Michael Hudson, brilliant philospher thinker, Michael Parenti, Glen Ford (blackagendareport.com), Glenn Greenwald (brilliant talk he gave recently in Santa Fe (see site below, please), and Chris Hedges. There’s really not much left anymore in Amerika, sadly!’ Not true. There are literally millions of ‘individuals worth following’ in the US. The owner of this site and a healthy majority of her home-grown readers qualify, and this applies to thousands of bloggers and activists and just normal people right across the USA who have heir heads screwed on right. It’s just that none of them ever get within coo-ee of genuine power, and of they tried some method would be found to waylay or stymie them. Or worse. Every decent human being, every non-fox even rumoured to be under consideration of a post in a goverment henhouse in the US, can expect the shaft at some point. Look at Chas Freeman, Brooksley Born back then and Elizabeth Warren now, Krugman and Goolsby and even Volcker for God’s sake. Most of the good ‘uns don’t even get that far. But the John Yoos and the Brownies and the Rahms and the Summerses and the countless minions manning imperial posts too lowly to see, all they have to do is not pose a threat. Which makes Obama’s election the emblematic ne plus ultra, the epitome and final word in the rat-cunning of the US governing class. If you can agree that no-one who posed any potential threat to that class could ever hope for elevation to candidacy for President, it follows that while a critical mass of voters saw through tears of joy his nomination and then election as proof that America could still deliver on the promise of it’s founding, on the Dream of itself that it fervently even desperately nourishes through it’s culture, high and low, every day, that while that was occurring there was another, much smaller group of Americans who were also congratulating themselves, not without justification, on having once again ‘pulled it off’, managing to make the people feel good about themselves and their country by virtue of their free elections delivering the Presidency to one of ‘them’, when he was one of ‘us’ all along. Doug Terpstra April 3, 2011 at 1:04 am Very well said, Glenn. The greatest disappointment in history is right: the historic promise that’s been willfully squandered and perverted through outright deceit is staggering and unpardonable … tragic, especially during a convergence of great global crises. It can only mean there is truly tectonic change ahead—as foreshadowed by shocks in the Middle East. Comments are closed. Tip Jar Please Donate or Subscribe!