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Obama's Intelligence Agenda: More of the Same from the "Change Administration"
#11
Myra Bronstein Wrote:And I've reached the stage where I find his rhetoric laughable and his silence a sad confirmation of business as usual.

The question then arises - what is to be done? Well, one useful place to begin is at the inauguration. A very large, very silent protest: let the banners do the talking. And after?
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#12
Paul Rigby Wrote:The question then arises - what is to be done? Well, one useful place to begin is at the inauguration. A very large, very silent protest: let the banners do the talking. And after?

And after the bannerfest at said inauguration dear boy, Obama and his team will go back to the White House, pour themselves a large bourbon, sip it, smile, and then go about doing what they've been hired to do.

None of which has anything whatsoever to do with what the US voter wants him to do or voted him into power to do.

The entire election process in the US is a serial Circus Maximus with sly clowns predominating.

But on a more humourous serious note, I watched Robin Williams in concert last night. He sounded like an Omaba groupie with Obama this and Obama that and Obama everything - ending with a gag about Obama having Kennedy blood.

Don't these showbiz guys ever get embarrassed hiking up their petticoats to give their favourite politicians a quick glimpse?

Damn! There's my cynical slip showing again...
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
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#13
David Guyatt Wrote:And after the bannerfest at said inauguration dear boy, Obama and his team will go back to the White House, pour themselves a large bourbon, sip it, smile, and then go about doing what they've been hired to do.

None of which has anything whatsoever to do with what the US voter wants him to do or voted him into power to do.

The entire election process in the US is a serial Circus Maximus with sly clowns predominating.

But on a more humourous serious note, I watched Robin Williams in concert last night. He sounded like an Omaba groupie with Obama this and Obama that and Obama everything - ending with a gag about Obama having Kennedy blood.

Don't these showbiz guys ever get embarrassed hiking up their petticoats to give their favourite politicians a quick glimpse?

Damn! There's my cynical slip showing again...

Dave: It's just that Americans so want to believe our pols can and will make a difference. We all fall for it, even those of us who are aware of the powers that be. And I think some come to the office with every good intention. Jimmie Carter, Bill CLinton ( well then there's Mena...) and certainly Obama. So I am keeping an open mind. While cynical. Only I call it informed.
Dawn
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#14
David Guyatt Wrote:And after the bannerfest at said inauguration dear boy, Obama and his team will go back to the White House, pour themselves a large bourbon, sip it, smile, and then go about doing what they've been hired to do.

Bourbon? For Clinton retreads? Nah.

You're quite right about the certain indifference of the "new" masters of the (shrinking) universe, but they're not the target audience: We need an early dramatisation of the forthcoming betrayal for the benefit of the poor sods who put their trust in Wall St.'s Team B.

Then there needs to be some new thinking and genuine creativity. The challenge is considerable - how to create, or merely simulate, in the absence of any kind of "left" in America, a bloc that will act as some kind of counterweight to the corporate gangsters.

The answer has to lie in a combination of the wallet and US international credibility as a democracy. Suggestions solicited.

As are cheques, but no balances.

Paul
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#15
Paul Rigby Wrote:http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=10948

Obama's Intelligence Agenda: More of the Same from the "Change Administration"

By Tom Burghardt

Global Research, November 14, 2008

http://www.chris-floyd.com/

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Plus ça change: "Progressive" Leaders Ride War Machine Deeper Into Darkness

by Chris Floyd


Quote:Armed with the same invincible ignorance and arrogance that have for generations led their imperial forbears to bitter defeat in Afghanistan, Barack Obama and Gordon Brown have both pledged themselves to a substantial escalation of the Anglo-American adventure in Central Asia. Thus these two self-proclaimed "progressive" champions of benevolent change are guaranteeing more of the same bitter fruit already produced by this misbegotten enterprise: more death, more ruin, more suffering, more corruption – and more violent extremism.

The latter, of course, is where we came in, with the Carter-Reagan marshalling of extremist jihadis -- known as "freedom fighters" in those days of yore -- to hotfoot the Soviets and their secular Afghan clients. Indeed, the entire arc of America's bipartisan policies in the region over the past 40 years can be seen as the elaborate construction of a gargantuan, self-propelled blowback machine, producing an endless effluent of violence, threat, chaos and crime that is now sluicing through the entire world. But blowback, as we all know, is not a design flaw of imperial policy, at least not for the most part; it is a design feature. No War Machine without perpetual war and rumors of war; no war profits – and no war powers – without the War Machine.

So perhaps we do wrong to criticize Obama and Brown, on policy grounds, for their intention to kill more civilians and kindle more hatred and sorrow in Afghanistan. After all, we are told over and over how very intelligent these two leaders are, how well-read, how penetrating, far-seeing and deep-delving they are, especially in comparison to their fatuous predecessors. The glaringly obvious folly – in human terms, and on the moral plane – of escalating the war in Afghanistan, and possibly expanding it into Pakistan, cannot have escaped such perceptive men. Therefore, we can only conclude that their policies, like those of their predecessors, are based on altogether different considerations, ones in which the lives of the Afghan people, and the genuine security of their own people, are of little concern.

For this is the hard truth – the blood-and-iron truth – that our age has taught us so well: war is always a win-win proposition for the corporate-militarist state that has devoured the American Republic. Even if the particular conflict itself ends badly or inconclusively, it always engenders vast profits and increased power and privilege for the corporate-militarist elite -- and the temporary managers they graciously allow the American people to "choose" from a rigorously sifted, highly circumscribed menu of "viable" candidates. So it doesn't matter if this war or that war is "ill-conceived" or "badly managed" or a "serious mistake" or "the wrong war at the wrong time," or if its public justifications are based on lies or ignorance or arrogance, or if it bankrupts the treasury, beggars the citizenry, and destabilizes the world. The small, golden, coddled circle still reaps dividends of profit and dominance.

Naturally, this kind of thing can't go on forever; history is replete with examples of imperial elites who eventually bled their nations dry and saw them fall into ruin or curdle into a fearful insignificance. But I think that those who believe – either hopefully or in despair – that the American empire will shrivel away anytime soon are badly mistaken. The war machine and the security apparatus are not shrinking; they are growing by leaps and bounds, and Obama has promised to make them even larger. The economic disaster doesn't threaten the position of the imperial elites at all. On the contrary, as we have seen in the last few weeks, the Obama-backed "bailout" plan has enriched the already rich and powerful to a staggering degree. As CNBC reports, the government has spent more on saving the rich from the consequences of their greed than it spent in winning World War II: more than $4 trillion so far, with much more to come. This astonishing theft – the largest gobbling of public loot by a rapacious elite in the history of the world – will only further cement the powerful in their entrenchments on the commanding heights of society. The nation may rot beneath them, may be roiled by storms of blowback; but that is not their concern, it is no defeat for them. You can lose; they do not.

This is not to say that our elites don't tell themselves any number of flattering, self-justifying fairy tales about the boundless nobility and righteousness of their intentions. They can do this because they identify the interests of the system of elite rule (and the comfort, power and privilege they personally receive from the system) with the common good of the nation, or the world, as a whole. This allows them to pursue truly monstrous policies without regarding themselves as monsters. This allows them to order actions, such as the escalation of the destructive, destablizing conflict in Afghanistan, which they know, with absolute certainty, will needlessly murder innocent women, children and men -- and still talk earnestly and sincerely about their hopes for peace, their concern for humanity, their deep, abiding faith in a loving God. But again, as we have said over and over here, what matters are not the rhetorical justifications of power or the stated intentions of power -- or the charisma, likeability or compelling story of the wielders of power; what matters are the operations of power, its actual effects on the human beings on the receiving end of its machinations. Like love, power is what it does, not what it says.

Any discourse that omits this perspective seems to me to be lacking in rigor and realism, and leaves one highly vulnerable to delusion and manipulation -- and complicity in evil.
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#16
Good overview on the incoming Administration, as it now stands...and may well fall....
http://www.democracynow.org/2008/11/20/a...lintonites
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#17
Dawn Meredith Wrote:Dave: It's just that Americans so want to believe our pols can and will make a difference. We all fall for it, even those of us who are aware of the powers that be. And I think some come to the office with every good intention. Jimmie Carter, Bill CLinton ( well then there's Mena...) and certainly Obama. So I am keeping an open mind. While cynical. Only I call it informed.
Dawn

I think that's really the bottom line--exactly what Dawn says. From what I've seen many Americans decide what to believe based how how the information makes them feel. If it makes them feel bad they tend to recoil from the truth. The 'big bad' is too awful to let in.

Other Americans manage to open their minds to horrible truths even though it's traumatizing. I think they're in the minority.

Is that peculiar to Americans, or is it typical of people everywhere?
I wonder if other nationalities use this emotional filter to the extent that Americans do.
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#18
Paul Rigby Wrote:...

As are cheques, but no balances.

Paul

Nicely said Paul.
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#19
Myra Bronstein Wrote:I think that's really the bottom line--exactly what Dawn says. From what I've seen many Americans decide what to believe based how how the information makes them feel. If it makes them feel bad they tend to recoil from the truth. The 'big bad' is too awful to let in.

Other Americans manage to open their minds to horrible truths even though it's traumatizing. I think they're in the minority.

Is that peculiar to Americans, or is it typical of people everywhere?
I wonder if other nationalities use this emotional filter to the extent that Americans do.

Denial is 'where its at' - just too scary for most to contemplate and doesn't fit the mythology about America they've all been immersed in. I've lived in a few countries and have found others that share this trait to some extent [I lived in Sweden for a while and most there couldn't handle entertaining any 'real' conspiracy in the Palme assassination]; that being said, I think Americans have especially strong rose-colored glasses. Germans, Russians, Czechs and many others I've met in their own countries have NO illusions as to how evil and far from the 'official version' true history can be. Americans want to be naive, are naive and have been propaganzied to be naive [in general]. Yes, some significant minority can see 'behind the curtain' and through the MSM/Mythological fog - and it isn't pretty. Deep Political viewing is a very painful place - but once you 'see' there is no way back to the fairy tale. No wonder depression and cynicism is endemic in our minority community.
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#20
Peter Lemkin Wrote:Good overview on the incoming Administration, as it now stands...and may well fall....
http://www.democracynow.org/2008/11/20/a...lintonites

http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=11056

Obama’s transition: A who’s who of imperialist policy

by Alex Lantier


Global Research, November 19, 2008
wsws.org

Quote:The contradiction between the aspirations and hopes of millions of Americans who voted to repudiate the Bush administration's policies of war and social reaction and the class character of the incoming Obama administration has become increasingly clear over the two weeks since Election Day.

The filling out of Obama's transition team with a cast of financiers, lobbyists and defense operatives gives tangible evidence of what is being prepared. The makeup of the team, which Obama has said is working to make "as seamless a transition on national security as possible," shows that his administration will consist of proven veterans of the Washington establishment who are deemed more competent, but no less ruthless, than the Bush administration in defending the interests of US imperialism.

Previous incoming administrations made concessions to public sentiment, appointing figures with popular appeal to second-tier posts. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter, whose administration marked a significant rightward shift by the Democratic Party, nevertheless named one-time civil rights activist Andrew Young as US ambassador to the United Nations—a post from which Young was fired after meeting with the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Relying on the overwhelming hatred of American people for the despised Bush administration and his status as the first African-American president, Obama does not feel the need to make such an appeal. Indeed, he has gone out of his way to solidarize himself with right-wing politicians. On Monday, Obama met in Chicago with John McCain, his Republican opponent in the election. In an interview the previous evening on the "60 Minutes" television program, he affirmed his decision to appoint Republicans to his cabinet, and his advisors have widely floated the possibility of his retaining Robert Gates as secretary of defense.

Obama's transition team is of a piece with these maneuvers. It is co-chaired by Valerie Jarrett, a Chicago real estate magnate and confidante of Obama, and John Podesta, former chief-of-staff for President Bill Clinton and head of the Podesta Group, a Washington lobbying firm. The transition team employs 450 people and has a budget of $12 million. It includes several "review teams" to prepare recommendations for the incoming administration's nominations and policy.

The co-chairs of the US Treasury review team are Josh Gotbaum, an investment banker at Lazare Frères who served in numerous positions during the Clinton administration, and Michael Warren, chief operating officer of Washington lobbying firm Stonebridge International LLC.

The co-chairs of the State Department review team are both former Clinton administration State Department officials. Tom Donilon is a former top lobbyist for US mortgage giant Fannie Mae, recently bailed out with US taxpayer funds, and now a partner at law firm O'Melveny and Myers. He is a member of several influential foreign policy think tanks. Wendy Sherman is a top employee at the Albright Group, an international lobbying firm founded by Clinton administration Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

The co-chairs of the Department of Defense review team are John White, who served as deputy secretary of Defense in the Clinton administration and recently headed the Kennedy School's Middle East Initiative at Harvard University, and Michèle A. Flournoy, deputy assistant secretary of defense in the Clinton administration and president of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) think tank.

Members of CNAS, a rather small Washington think tank with a staff of 30 employees founded in 2003 by Podesta and Flournoy, play an outsized role in the Obama transition team. Obama advisors told the Wall Street Journal that Flournoy might become the first female US defense secretary. Wendy Sherman, who serves on the CNAS board of advisors, is expected to receive a top State Department job. Two CNAS advisors, Susan Rice and James Steinberg, are reportedly on Obama's short list for national security advisor.

So many CNAS members are likely to join the Obama administration that CNAS officials told the Journal they were concerned the think tank might fold after Obama's inauguration. However, they added, they hope to recruit Bush administration officials leaving office to fill the CNAS vacancies.

CNAS publications, many of which are publicly available on its web site, make it clear that the Obama administration's foreign policy will have a thoroughly imperialist character. A June 2008 CNAS report authored by Flournoy and other CNAS staff calls for a "conditional engagement" of US troops in Iraq and opposes a fixed timeline for a US withdrawal—a position now adopted by Obama. It advocates the large-scale deployment of US ground forces to Afghanistan and Pakistan to pursue an Iraq "surge"-style policy of buying off local military leaders and massacring those who resist.

The CNAS also favors a policy of using Japan and India to contain China in East and South Asia. On November 11, it published a report on US naval power, warning of a potential great power war in the Pacific Ocean and calling for the US Navy to stay ahead of the Chinese Navy. The New York Times' November 16 editorial, "A Military for a Dangerous New World," echoed these recommendations, warning against China "expanding its deep-water navy," saying the US cannot "cede the seas," and adding that it cannot "allow any country to interfere with vital maritime lanes."

Obama's consideration of Hillary Clinton for the position of secretary of state further underscores the falsity of his pose of opposition to the Bush administration's militarism. During the Democratic primary campaign, he attacked Clinton for having voted to allow Bush to attack Iraq, calling it a strategic blunder. He also denounced her for voting in favor of a Senate resolution branding the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. During the primary campaign, Clinton declared that the US would "obliterate" Iran if it attacked Israel. Now Obama is considering placing her at the head of US diplomacy.

These developments illuminate a fundamental political truth: Obama was the choice of a faction of the US political establishment that saw him as the ideal figurehead for the repackaging and recalibration of US imperialist policy.
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