Everyone Pushing New Boundaries on Obama

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Since the Republican red tide swept across America on November 2nd, President Obama has been threatened by Republicans who want to roll back key provisions of his health care reform, are threatening to derail the START Treaty, and want to pull the plug on as much Obama-crafted policy as possible.
On the international front, the Germans, Chinese and Japanese are resisting America’s proposals on economic rebalancing — i.e., they buy more and we spend less; the South Koreans play hard ball and resist provisions of a free trade agreement that they used to want; the North Koreans commit the worst act of military aggression since the 1953 armistice; and Israel continues to defy White House pressure to act responsibly in the peace talks process.
Obama just isn’t having an easy time — and now as CNN’s Ed Henry reports, one of his own friends gives President Obama an elbow in the mouth — requiring 12 stitches.
The President needs to take a time out and come out with a new team and new plan to take on, well, just about everybody — friend and foe alike.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

15 comments on “Everyone Pushing New Boundaries on Obama

  1. replice vertu says:

    But crime prevention isn’t the FBI’s thing, agency and budget promotion is. So they work the kid for a year or so, get him to do a deed and then bust him with the result that the kid spends the rest of his natural life in federal prison.
    Welcome to the world-wide war on terror.
    Next case.

    Reply

  2. replice vertu phone says:

    But crime prevention isn’t the FBI’s thing, agency and budget promotion is. So they work the kid for a year or so, get him to do a deed and then bust him with the result that the kid spends the rest of his natural life in federal prison.
    Welcome to the world-wide war on terror.
    Next case.

    Reply

  3. replice cell phone says:

    But crime prevention isn’t the FBI’s thing, agency and budget promotion is. So they work the kid for a year or so, get him to do a deed and then bust him with the result that the kid spends the rest of his natural life in federal prison.
    Welcome to the world-wide war on terror.
    Next case.

    Reply

  4. Don Bacon says:

    “So what really is the FBI doing?”
    What the FBI is doing is promoting the FBI in order to enhance FBI budget requests. That’s what government agencies do.
    How far will the FBI go to promote the FBI?
    Gerry Spence, the famous trial lawyer: “I found that the minions of the law–the special agents of the FBI–to be men who proved themselves not only fully capable, but also utterly willing to manufacture evidence, to conceal crucial evidence and even to change the rules that governed life and death if, in the prosecution of the accused, it seemed expedient to do so.”–From Freedom to Slavery, p. 27
    In the current case the typical law enforcement officer faced with a rebellious teenager whom the officer learned had threatened some illegal act would call him and his parents aside and read the riot act. Straighten up, kid. If I catch you so much as spitting on the sidewalk in the next five years I will personally make your life miserable. I am watching you. Dismissed.
    But crime prevention isn’t the FBI’s thing, agency and budget promotion is. So they work the kid for a year or so, get him to do a deed and then bust him with the result that the kid spends the rest of his natural life in federal prison.
    Welcome to the world-wide war on terror.
    Next case.

    Reply

  5. questions says:

    Don Bacon,
    Up to a point, of course it’s entrapment. No doubt most of these “plots” are right up there with the FBI sex stings where “14 year old girls” post in chat rooms and lure horny, aging and bulging lonely guys across state lines for a good time and Federal charges.
    Yes entrapment, BUT, I kind of doubt that FBI agents could make most people want to blow up anyone or cross state lines….. It’s not part of most people’s character in any way.
    So what really is the FBI doing? Creating? Occasioning? Being extra alluring because they know a whole lot more than actual teens or terrorists?
    Who the hell knows.
    Eventually, maybe the message will get through that if you contact anyone about blowing anything up or for meeting 14 year old girls, probably it’s an FBI sting and you should go back to your ordinary daily fantasy life and leave reality alone.
    And maybe we need a whole new set of fantasy structures so there’s something to think about to idle away the days.
    I really never know what to make of these “plots.”

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  6. JohnH says:

    “The Pacific Northwest has been too complacent about terror.” Yep, no good symbolic targets, except maybe Mount Hood or Mount Rainier. No serious terrorist would ever bother with the Pacific Northwest…which I guess is why a terrorist had to be coddled…to show America that no one is safe, everyone should be afraid.
    But afraid of whom?

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  7. Don Bacon says:

    I hope the Repubs take on the US government’s terror actions, not only overseas but at home.
    Here’s Teddy Patridge at FDL on the recent Northwest “terror plot.”
    quote:
    So, for eighteen months the FBI has developed this disaffected young man, having started by posing as a member of a terror network. Then they groomed him to identify a target. As they continued meeting with him, alone and with no other co-conspirators, this young man

    Reply

  8. questions says:

    “Yurkonis, who is taking classes in finance and accounting, holds a part-time job helping new students find their way through registration. He sees lots of construction workers coming in.
    “I see tons of guys who are exactly like me. They’ve been doing construction jobs their whole life and raking it in,” said Yurkonis, who was earning about $75,000. “We thought it was never going to end. But now they don’t even know how to work a computer. They don’t know what a mouse is. They look at the thing and say, ‘What the heck is this?’
    “I see them coming through the front door here, and they just look lost,” he said.
    Even so, some of them, like Yurkonis, decided there were few other options than to go to school.
    “I just walked in here and said, ‘Listen, I got to find something else to do.’ ” ”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/26/AR2010112605087_4.html?hpid=topnews&sid=ST2010112605159
    (Link is to page 4 of a long article on community colleges’ being oversubscribed and turing away students. Even as we need more slots, we have fewer. Maybe we should be looking at branch campuses of state universities, along with community colleges.)
    (Oh, and Obama isn’t supposed to change register when talking with people who don’t “know how to use a mouse”??????? Wonder if that’s true or an exaggeration for effect.)
    ***********************
    And there’s this, too:
    “Workers such as “Big John” Filmore, a 28-year Campbell veteran, huddle every day with management in situation rooms before their shifts to find ways to save money for the company. Rising productivity is helping boost profit margins here in Maxton, where 858 workers turn out a billion meals a year, and at most of the 243 non-financial companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index with rising profit margins. ”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/26/AR2010112604854.html?hpid=sec-business
    ********
    So we don’t need as many workers, and we don’t retrain the ones we have, and Bromwich, dear dear David Bromwich, figures Obama has a personality deficit!
    Too funny by half!
    ************************
    On another topic, I have just started Zizek’s new book “Living in the End Times.”
    It’s typically brilliant, utterly worth sitting down with even if you lack a deep understanding of Lacanian psychoanalysis, which indeed most of us do lack.
    Zizek, a Slovenian scholar of philosophy and psychoanalysis, supplies endless jokes and analysis, films and analysis, cultural moments and analysis. His analysis is always spot on, his twists from the expected are ever brilliant.
    He tosses out casually endless important ideas in a sped up whirlwind tour of great thinking.
    On the covering of Muslim women in France — he touches on Freud’s and Levinas’s readings of the “face” and notes that there are very few Muslim women in France who actually wanted to be covered and so the actual threat seems out of line from the response. So what is it about the face as mask that is then masked that freaks out the French? What do we want from someone else’s face? Do we want to rip that off too, to see what’s really inside?
    He structures the book around the 5 stages of mourning, with inner chapters dealing with related topics. Insights into post-communist longings and capitalist longings and the search for some source of renewed energy abound.
    The complete humiliation that the TSA is visiting on us makes a veiled appearance (the book was out before this current brouhaha erupted) — out of the total humiliation of the people by those in charge may arise some new form that may increase freedom rather than restrict it.
    His sense of irony is highly developed — as in, we attain our greatest liberty by the struggle that ends up killing us, and we do indeed struggle for liberty.
    I would dearly love to see an untimed symposium featuring Pape and Zizek if they could at all bridge the gap between their discourses. They are on different planets, but they speak about similar issues in a way.
    Who knows if they could actually pull it off, but I get the feeling it would be an amazing experience to witness, and NAF would be breaking ground to sponsor it!
    Psychoanalytic readings of events can shed significant light on what we do in response to the structures we face.

    Reply

  9. questions says:

    Not sure about the LRB/Bromwich piece on Obama. He’s a little fast and loose with some significant institutional structures in American politics and so he ascribes to Obama a set of personality structures as explanatory mechanisms while missing completely the context in which Obama practices his political life.
    Personality is, of course, some part of every administration and every politician. But it’s not at all the only part, and probably not even the most important part.
    The curious set of advisers, the multiple reasons for passing health care (it’s a right AND it’s good for the budget) are not symptoms of a personality disease.
    Keeping a list of accomplishments is not a sign of a disease or dissociation. In fact, I would guess that being president is so endlessly complicated, multi-tasking, and basically impossible that a list would likely help bring a little focus and clarity in an otherwise crazily diffuse experience.
    The lack of Obama’s mentioning King George — geeze. Clearly a personality defect!
    Bromwich’s characterization of Obama’s characterization of Macondo and the wars is also a little off. Bromwich is happy to blame particular individuals for all of this, but again, the structures and the system we inhabit create us even as we create them. To pick out particular people for blame rather than to see the systemic causes (read: “The Way We Live Now”) as the problem is really to narrow one’s view of the world to the point of there being no point in having a view. (Hope that makes sense!)
    The multiple languages/idioms/registers issue is also silly. EVERYone speaks in different registers, different levels of formality depending on audience. Our accents change, our diction changes, our syntax changes. Geeze, clearly a personality defect!
    Bromwich himself seems to be a peculiar person as he presents his view of the views of Obama. More particular at the end of the essay than I would have thought at the beginning.
    The ahistorical reading, coupled with an absolutely claustrophobic read of the president as isolated from any other structure (world trade relations, international security concerns, the huge alterations in production and consumption and productivity across time, the vastness of the financial sector and its incredible power to sit on trillion(s) while the rest of us drown) — geeze. Poor Obama. His personality would seem to be defective.
    Or perhaps: Poor David Bromwich, his political sensibility is flawed. I have admired his writing in the past. I have had high hopes for what he’s added to the conversation. But now, I guess I’ll just wait for the next pretty smart lit prof from Yale.
    (How often did the word “I” and the words “David Bromwich” appear in the same sentence in my “speech”? It’s telling. Very very telling!)

    Reply

  10. John Waring says:

    Another good article in the London Review of Books:
    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v32/n22/david-bromwich/the-fastidious-president

    Reply

  11. sanitychecker says:

    Cameron’s spokesman: “I don’t want to speculate about precisely what is going to be leaked before it is leaked,” Field said.
    This is worthy of Woody Allen. If I tell you what will be leaked then it won’t be leaked any more.
    The same MSNBC article tells us that Berlusconi worries that the leak might tarnish Italy’s international image. I wonder if he had his hookers by his side when he expressed his worry.
    The world has become a giant, tragic farce.

    Reply

  12. Don Bacon says:

    Another elbow on the way–
    WASHINGTON – Classified U.S. diplomatic cables reporting corruption allegations against foreign governments and leaders are expected in official documents that WikiLeaks plans to release soon.
    Three sources familiar with the State Department cables held by WikiLeaks say the corruption allegations in them are major enough to cause serious embarrassment for foreign governments and politicians named in them.
    The detailed, candid reporting by U.S. diplomats also may create foreign policy complications for the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama, the sources said.
    Among the countries whose politicians feature in the reports are Russia, Afghanistan and former Soviet republics in Central Asia. But other reports also detail potentially embarrassing allegations reported to Washington from U.S. diplomats in other regions including East Asia and Europe, one of the sources familiar with the WikiLeaks holdings said.
    http://tinyurl.com/343y63f

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  13. Don Bacon says:

    In international affairs the elephant in the room is of course Afghanistan. A recent Pentagon report has indicated that the Taliban insurgency has spread to more of Afghanistan in recent months, violence has reached new highs and the best the Pentagon can say? — SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: “First of all, I’ve already said that I’m not going to predict what’s going to happen in 2014.” — Talk about an elbow in the mouth.

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  14. JohnH says:

    Apart from the split lip, Obama’s problems stem from the fact that everyone now knows that he is the Great Appeaser–Wall Street, GM, BP, the military, and the health insurance oligopoly. Bush advocated giveaways to most any rich and powerful group, particularly the military and “defense” contractors. Now Obama takes the tack that “we have no choice” but to give all these parasites whatever they need.
    But it is Israel that has taken appeasement to a new level–$3 billion of free F-35s for a 90 day settlement freeze. Next–$100 billion for not building illegal settlements on the Sabbath?
    With Israel now leading the charge, you can bet that every parasite in town is lining up with its extravagant demands. And why not? Obama is sure to appease them, however ridiculous the demand.
    And it will continue until the vultures pick the Treasury clean of whatever is left on its carcass.

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