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25 January 2010

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lina

I guess I'm supposed to conclude from this fluffy piece of prose that the writer falls into the "Rahm as Rasputin" camp. We used to be divided by party. Now we're divided by faction.

Binh

Malcolm X was once a hustler, and whatever one thinks of him, I don't think anyone can say he didn't change.

JohnH

Touché! It's amazing how few have noticed the disparity between Obama's campaign style and his governing style. On the campaign, which was all about self-promotion, he was full of energy and driven to energize and organize others on his behalf.

When it comes to governing and promoting policy, Obama gives every indication that he finds it distasteful. Somehow he can't seem to put that golden tongue and community organizing talent to use solving problems. There is no fire in the belly to do anything that doesn't enhance Obama's immediate image, even though he must know that success in the pursuit of a challenging legislative agenda would make him shine eternally.

I'm beginning to regard him as a pathetic figure.

Paul

A perfect description of the Wall Street gang.

DE Teodoru

Exquisite! But you left out the religious article of faith that there's a sucker born every minute. You also should extend your remark to apply to a corps commander at a time when constipation and shoulder-parrot mentality freezes the Joint Chiefs while command retirees serve as agents of foreign powers. Then the hustler comes forward as the "intellectual" in the service, the answer man who turns everything he touches into victory, ie. With the public ready for yet another hustle while someone else's kid dies in the hustler's foolish paradigms-- paradigms that he never revisits once set in motion except for photo-ops.

VietnamVet

Colonel,

So pertinent today.

There are always Hustlers around war zones loving the absence of law and order. In the recent wars they have been getting DOD contracts. The higher proof versions migrated to Wall Street.

The one thing that Corporate Media does not mention is how Hustlers have taken control of American finance and government. This is the real reason that the Middle East Wars continue unabated and the Democrats whimper as Health Care Reform is aborted. Washington DC politicians have all awoken with a Horse’s Head in their beds, and willingly take the kickbacks and marching orders from their crony capitalists.

mlaw230

Wow. Does the esteemed Professor Brenner offer any support for this slander?

He is long on record as opposing the "Mary Antoinette" camp but this one seems almost Olbermanesquely "over the top" as a foreign policy guy does psychobabble rant.

jonst

Wow! Not very eloquent of me, but it was the first thing I thought of after reading it. That, and man we are in trouble. From the blundering, blustering, spoiled child, coke head incompetent.....to the hustler.

And this came out on the same day.

http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2010/01/gitmo_obamas_si/

A devastating set of indictments.

walrus

A subset of the Narcissistic personality disorder phenotype previously commented on.

You forget the other side of the Hustler coin: "It's not enough that I win, others must lose."

BillWade, NH

Early this morning I read this in the Huffington Post:

"Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, in a recent interview with Mike Allen of Politico warned that the financial markets could react negatively if Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke isn't confirmed for a second term."

Now, later in the day, I see this on AOL's Financial news:

"Stocks are recovering Monday from last week's bruising as prospects brightened that Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke would be appointed to another term"

Sounds like a hustle to me.

I've been reading some "previews" of the upcoming "State of the Union" address, doesn't sound like much of substance, sorta tepid really.


JerseyJeffersonian

Grifters have been our companions for awhile.

In recent times, we had the wise guys working their magic in the leveraged buyouts in the 80s, gutting the industrial base of the nation, and taking all of the jobs along in their slipstream. Then on to the savings and loan scam. Then NAFTA and the WTO batting cleanup to stomp down the industrial base for good and all. Then the Tech Bubble, and after that had worked its havoc, on to the Housing Bubble (Thanks, Greenspan!). But let me be understood, going by this list, grifting is a bi-partisan activity, and equipped with a self-supporting infrastructure. And now, thanks to the Supremes' latest decision, corporate personhood will be even more entrenched than heretofore, which is really saying something.

I am mindful of the words of a song from The Who's masterful album, Quadrophenia, wherein the old, battle-scarred working class Da tells his son a bitter truth:

"You've been screwed again,
If you let them do it to you,
You've got yourself to blame,
It's you who bears the shame,
It's you who feels the pain.

Jose

As an ardent supporter of Foolbama, despite being a registered Republican, I have to agree that Professor Brenner is correct.

These people make Bill Clinton look like an amateur at playing the "game".

Remember the savings and loans scandal of the Papa Bush era, how many bankers were prosecuted and placed in jail?

Name one banker brought to justice under the Fool's regime?

Name one promise kept?

America deserves better than the past three morons elected to the highest post.

"Change we can believe in!"

jonst

jonst

Lina wrote: " We used to be divided by party. Now we're divided by faction.".

Yes, well when parties merge together on fundamental questions of the day, financial deregulation, national security, perhaps broaden executive authority, labor issues, off-shore trade agreements, intellectual property, and such, all one really has left ARE "factions".

MLaw 230.....unless these words were spoken, and transcribed here, you must mean libel, as opposed to "slander', correct? And in any event, to the extent you are using the term in the legal sense I think you must realize there would be at least 3 defenses that spring to mind to repudiate the allegation you allude to.

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Cynthia

According to the New York Times (see link below),

"Mr. Obama endorsed a bill scheduled for a Senate vote on Tuesday that would create a bipartisan budget commission and require that its recommendations for slashing deficits would get a vote in Congress this year. But he remained ready to establish a panel by executive order if the vote falls short, despite his support."

The way I see it is that Obama tried to quell the masses by hiring a pay czar to put an end to the practice of using taxpayer dollars to enrich our already enriched banksters. But at the end of the day, this czar of his has done nothing to end this and other forms of corporate welfare.

Now Obama is trying to quell the deficit hawks by supporting his fellow Democrats in the Senate to create a deficit commission to cut the fat out of government. But because deficit hawks tend to be Wall Street tycoons who are heavily invested in the defense industry which makes a killing by keeping us bogged down in worthless wars around the world, they won't demand that cuts be made to the military budget, much less demand that we put a stop to corporate welfare in America. Instead, they'll demand that cuts be make in Social Security and Medicare: the two federal programs that do the most to meet the needs of ordinary Americans.

What's even worse about all of this is that it reinforces the myth held by tea partiers that the Democratic party advocates big government. The truth is that the Republican party advocates big government just as much as the Democratic party does. So it's too bad that we don't have a progressive populist counterpart to the tea partiers to let them know that the Democratic party is now playing second fiddle to its Republican counterpart as the party for the rich and only for the rich. Tea partiers need to know that thanks to Robert Rubin and his band of neolibs under Clinton's leadership and now to Rahm Emanuel and his litter of blue dogs under Obama's leadership, the Democratic Party is no longer the party that represents the non-rich of our country.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/24/us/politics/24bernanke.html?hp

Cold War Zoomie

First quibble: if Dr. Brenner thinks hustlers are unique to these here United States, then he's never had a few pints with ex-cons in Peckham, South London.

I don't think Obama's any more of a hustler than any other politician. 'W' hustled a useless war, for cryin' out loud.

I do think he will be a one-term wonder, especially now that those people called corporations can band together and drive the entire election narratives from here on out.

Paul in NC

I don't find this to be a persuasive description of Barack Obama at all. Newt Gingrich? Maybe.

Mark Logan

Saw Krugman's comment that
he is beginning to think Obama is not "the One" (the horror...) over the weekend too. Seems disappointing the left only took about year.

An exceptionally fast dog
who caught the car is how I view his troubles to date,
not a pure huckster. I'm going to give him some more time to figure out what he is going to do with it. Not much choice, really.

He just might figure out how to lead. I can't tell for sure yet.

mlaw230

Jonst: I was not of course speaking/writing in the pure legal sense. Frankly, I have found no evidence that professor Brenner ever actually uttered these words- yet I assumed that he did because the Colonel quoted him and because there is no written record at his website. I assumed (I know, I know) that this was a quote from a speech.

Nevertheless, you are technically correct, although it is a distinction without a difference, a spoken defamation is a slander and a written or otherwise published defamation is a libel.

I frankly do not think you have a "truth" defense, but to argue it would be to concede the point; the President is clearly a NYT public figure, ; and it is arguably opinion although clearly thinly garbed in "uppity" euphemism as a statement of fact.

Regardless it is an unsupported assertion of the most defaming kind.

Redhand

It's amazing how few have noticed the disparity between Obama's campaign style and his governing style. On the campaign, which was all about self-promotion, he was full of energy and driven to energize and organize others on his behalf.

When it comes to governing and promoting policy, Obama gives every indication that he finds it distasteful. Somehow he can't seem to put that golden tongue and community organizing talent to use solving problems. There is no fire in the belly to do anything that doesn't enhance Obama's immediate image, even though he must know that success in the pursuit of a challenging legislative agenda would make him shine eternally.

Well, I haven't failed to notice. But the bizarre passivity of recent presidents in pushing legislative agendas -- leaving it to Congress to slice and dice -- isn't just an Obama phenomenon on "comprehensive health reform" (CHR). Bush had fairly early announced that he was for "comprehensive immigration reform," (CIR) and then did nothing through two congressional sessions.

That said, the policy disparities between Obama the candidate and Obama the President are far greater than the stylistic differences. The areas where he's been a great disappointment to me are:

1. Re-establishing the rule of law in America as it relates to torture, warrant-less surveillance, indefinite detention without trial of terrorist suspects, "state secret" privileges, etc. Bush made myriad unconstitutional power grabs; Obama is in the process of institutionalizing most of them, while turning a blind eye to real crimes committed by the prior Administration.

2. Financial reform. Frank Rich's column in the NYT yesterday says it best: "Obama’s plight has been unchanged for months. Neither in action nor in message is he in front of the anger roiling a country where high unemployment remains unchecked and spiraling foreclosures are demolishing the bedrock American dream of home ownership. The president is no longer seen as a savior but as a captive of the interests who ginned up the mess and still profit, hugely, from it.

Contrary to his many protestations, Obama doesn't "get it."
He won't prove to me that he's interested in real reform of Wall Street until he gets rid of Larry Summers and Tim Geithner, and even them I want to see the fine print.

3. Comprehensive Health Care Reform (CIR) itself. Obama has nobody to blame but himself for letting the Congressional Demos dither. His sleazy and unprincipled betrayal of the public option says it all. He didn't even try.

4. Afghanistan. As we shadow box in Iraq while withdrawing "with honor," Obama caved on Afghanistan. Admittedly, he never clearly said he wouldn't commit there, but the strategy he is pursuing is all wrong, at least I as surmise from reading these pages. I can't believe that our currenty strategy is anything other than a prescription for wasting more American lives while we kill countless civilians with drones. Surely, there must be a better way to achieve our national security goals in AFPAK.

That's all that strikes me for now, but isn't it enough?

Patrick Lang

mlaw

"the Colonel quoted him" No. I posted Dr. Brenner's article at his request. That is all. pl

fanto

how bad will economy need to be, before the whole nation (dems and reps...)"will get it" and rebel en masse??

par4

Three more years of this crap administration and then we will probably get a worse one.

rick

Excellent Rorshach test of a piece.

rick

"America deserves better than the past three morons elected to the highest post."

If by "deserves" you mean 'could use' or 'would be much better served by', you are absoultely right.

If "deserves" is supposed to mean 'have done the hard work so that we can reasonably expect better than we have gotten previously', I think you're pretty wrong.

What has changed since we elected "the last three morons"(notice I say "WE elected", it did not just happen) to make anyone think we will do any different in the future?? If anything, I think it's worse. We've gone from "Hope you can believe in"(which as stupid and hatefully stupid as I find that slogan, it's at least...you know...hopeful), to the new "Anger you can Act On". This does not auger for governments in the future that are what we happy few here at SST might broadly agree are "better".

jonst

MLaw, ah, "uppity" is it? The race card is dropped on the table.

Not much to say after that.

To the other commentators: if the reports I read about Obama's SOU speech are true he intends to institute a "spending freeze" on depts other than Defense, Homeland Security, other "veterans related spending" .

Maybe he is not a hustler, a description I certainly buy about Rahm much easier than Obama, by the way. Maybe Obama is simply Jimmy Carter, all over again. Obama's message is now simple....cut domestic spending, increase military spending.

Let's see how that plays with his base. And then lets see how his base plays with him.

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