• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    insightanalytical on Happy Fourth of July!
    William on Happy Fourth of July!
    Propertius on Focusing on the Wrong Thi…
    Propertius on Focusing on the Wrong Thi…
    William on Focusing on the Wrong Thi…
    Propertius on Focusing on the Wrong Thi…
    Propertius on Focusing on the Wrong Thi…
    William on Focusing on the Wrong Thi…
    riverdaughter on And so it begins…
    lililam on Somewhat Brief Reflections
    Propertius on And so it begins…
    insightanalytical on And so it begins…
    Propertius on Somewhat Brief Reflections
    Propertius on Somewhat Brief Reflections
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Today’s bright spot
  • Categories

  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    October 2009
    S M T W T F S
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – July 3, 2022
      Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – July 3, 2022 by Tony Wikrent   Strategic Political Economy “America Is Sliding Into the Long Pandemic Defeat” Ed Yong [The Atlantic, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 6-28-2022] “In 2018, while reporting on pandemic preparedness in the Democratic Republic of Congo, I heard many people joking about the fictional 15th articl […]
  • Top Posts

Can you stand just a little more Nobel Peace Prize talk?

Deserving Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Deserving Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Matt Taibbi has a great post up about Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize.

It’s hard to believe, but there have been sillier moments in the history of the Nobel Peace Prize than this recent fiasco involving Barack Obama — it’s just so hard to remember them when you’re rolling around on the ground and spitting up greenish foam in a state of shock, as most of us were this past weekend as the news of Obama’s amazing award rolled over the airwaves.

The Nobel Peace Prize long ago ceased to be an award given to people who really spend their whole careers agitating for peace. Like most awards the Prize has evolved into a kind of maraschino cherry for hardcore careerists to place atop their resumes, a reward not for dissidence but on the contrary for gamely upholding the values of Western society as it perceives itself, for putting a good face on things (in Obama’s place, literally so).

“Putting a good face on things.” Could there be a better description of what Obama is all about? Basically, he was put in the White House to carry on George W. Bush’s policies, but make it seem like they aren’t as bad as when Bush was pushing them.

With Obama, it’s all about looking good–reality is irrelevant. All that matters is surface appearance. Congress spends months debating “health care reform,” and comes up with a bill that doesn’t reform health care in the slightest and instead promises to further enrich the health insurance companies.

Truthfully, no one really knows what will be in the bill, but it has been presented as “reform,” along with all kinds of promises about what it will do. The fact that it won’t really do any of those things doesn’t matter. Obama has created the *appearance* of health care reform, and many Americans who haven’t been paying close attention have the *impression* that we are going to get health care “reform.” By the time they find out that they’re really getting royally screwed, Obama will be well into his second term and approaching lame duck status.

The chairman of the Nobel committee defended the choice of Obama by describing the award as “aspirational.”

In remarks in Oslo, Jagland said the committee was “not awarding the prize for what may happen in the future but for what [Obama] has done in the previous year,” but then went on to say, “We would hope this will enhance what he is trying to do.” Jagland also noted that the Peace Prize has been awarded in the past to recognize opportunities created rather than achievements: In an editorial supporting the award, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin in the President’s native state noted that West German Chancellor Willy Brandt received the prize for opening up channels of communication with the East. “Brandt hadn’t achieved much when he got the prize,” Jagland said, “but a process had started that ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall.”

So they really didn’t award the prize for “what may happen in the future,” but then again they did–“to enhance what he is trying to do.” Let’s recall that what Obama says is meaningless. He never follows through on any of his glorious promises. Therefore, the Nobel Prize went to Obama for looking good while making a bunch of promises that will never be fulfilled. Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize for some pretty speeches, and the Nobel Committee is trying to “put a good face on” their silly choice.

Not all such “aspirational” Peace Prizes have turned out to be prescient, though: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains intractable in part because of actions taken by 1994 co-recipient Yasir Arafat, then head of the Palestinian Authority, after signing the Oslo peace accords that earned him, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres the prize.

At the Jerusalem Post, Shmuley Boteach laments the “decline and fall of the Nobel Peace Prize.”

I used to wait expectantly for the Friday morning in October when the Peace Prize was announced. And as a teenager, when I dreamed of what achievements my life might bring, the Nobel Peace Prize was at the top of the list, even ahead of the presidency of the United States.

But what a drag the past few years have been! For me it began when the prize was awarded in 1994 to Yasser Arafat, the godfather of modern terrorism, whose lasting legacy is the army of suicide bombers he launched against the Jewish state to dismember pregnant women and disembowel helpless children.

Boteach has apparently forgotten that evil war criminal Henry Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize way back in 1973. But here is his recommendation for Obama:

The president should of course accept the prize; it is not his fault that the committee awarded him something he has not yet earned. But it would be noble if he utilized his speech in Oslo to tell the world that when it comes to people dying and cities being pulverized, words are never enough.

Condemning the darkness is not the same as saving the dying, and repudiating the aggressors will never protect the innocent.

But but but…if Obama said that, it would be just words. He never follows through on his promises. So how would that change anything? I think I’m just too old for this postmodern world….I’m just so confused….

Back to Taibbi:

This is what Barack Obama did to “earn” the Nobel Prize. He put the benevolent face back on things. He is a good-looking black law professor with an obvious bent for dialogue and discussion and inclusion. That he hasn’t actually reversed any of Bush’s more notorious policies — hasn’t closed Guantanamo Bay, hasn’t ended secret detentions, hasn’t amped down Iraq or Afghanistan — is another matter. What he has done is remove the stink of unilateralism from those policies.

They’re not crazy-ass, blatantly illegal, lunatic rampages anymore, but carefully-considered, collectively-run peacekeeping actions, prosecuted with meaningful input from our allies.

You see the difference? The Nobel committee sure did!

No. I don’t see the difference? Is there something wrong with me?

digg!!! tweet!!! share!!!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Furl | Newsvine

51 Responses

  1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Obama was pushed by the upper crust as a PR change for America. Same policies, different image.

  2. We need to embrace the inevitable, turn the entire country into a giant PR firm, and make Don Draper President. It doesn’t matter what you do, what matters is how cute you look to the credulous denizens of Whole Foods Nation while doing it. God Bless America.

    • Our society has become so artificial that most people can no longer distinguish reality and fantasy, words and actions. All is artiface.

      • Our society is sick and frankly depraved in too many ways to count now. Honestly, I had not planned on retiring in the US but, considering the worth of the dollar, may have no choice.

        That is really even more depressing.

        • Just look at the way Booman defended the award:

          “You call him a warmonger, but he gets the Nobel Peace Prize.”

          It’s all just appearances. Of course he’s a warmonger. He hasn’t done anything to get us out of Iraq or Afghanistan, and he’s threatening Iran. But he won the Nobel Peace Prize, so he must not be a warmonger, depite his actual behavior!

          I can’t take it anymore!!

          • What’s depressing is that we’ve always been at war with Eurasia–except maybe we’re not. If you can send your PR flack over to NBC and ask them to black out the footage and dial back the coverage–well, then, maybe we’re not at war at all. And if peaceniks feel better about carnage when it’s coming from a cool guy (emphasis on guy) with better fashion sense and great taste in music, then those screams don’t make a sound.

            No wonder they want to ban Chomsky. They don’t just think they can manufacture consent, they think they can manufacture reality.

          • I’m about as close to done as possible myself. Our whole government seems to be bought and paid for stooges.

            But in that regard, Tom Coburn is no doubt a right-wing senator but I like part of his agenda, including transparency in government. Especially since no one else seems to be pushing for it, I’m definitely on his side, here only though.

            Coburn brings Senate to a halt

            At issue is one of Coburn’s top issues — greater transparency in government — as well as his sworn enemy, the powerful Appropriations Committee. Coburn had added to the energy and water bill a provision requiring reports that agencies are required to send to the appropriations panels be made available to other lawmakers and to the public. It’s part of his drive for greater transparency in government.

        • The mainstream media is the main cause for the disinformation and confusion over what Whole Foods Nation, Wall Street, and the DC beltway are doing to screw over the majority or Americans along with other victims in foreign lands. They are also to blame for the creation of our obsession with celebrity culture, superficiality, and lowering the self esteem of normal non-supermodel women.

          Today’s distraction was the stock market cracked 10000. Hooray. The bankers win again and can reward themselves with more million dollar bonuses. Meanwhile in the real world the economic crisis is far from over. http://www.eschatonblog.com/2009/10/not-over.html

    • “make Don Draper President”

      Wow! It would be both very scary and very exciting to have Don as POTUS. If only …

      • I had to google who Don Draper is. Heh. I obviously do not watch enough teevee.

        (actually we only watch NCIS nowadays. My 8yo was watching tv and they showed an ad for that Freaky Friday version with Jamie Lee Curtis & Lindsey Lohan and 8yo got all excited. “Look, mom, it’s MR. GIBBS!”)

  3. Hillary is 44 presents some theories and explanations about the Baucus health care bill. I agree that most Americans don’t have a clue to what will be in the bill or how it will improve health care in the US.

    Meanwhile, the insurance companies and their lobbyists are totally playing Obama even though they are going to benefit the most from the health care bill. Here is their latest ad:

  4. Has anyone posted this yet? My first reaction: after he was handing out money in Detroit last week, this just smacks of buying votes to me. It reminds me of kids in grade school who give money and gifts to other kids so they’ll be liked. He is screwing seniors with this lousy legislation, and tossing them a bone to pacify their anger. Yuck.

    Obama calls for $250 payments to seniors

    WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama called on Congress Wednesday to approve $250 payments to more than 50 million seniors to make up for no increase in Social Security next year. The Social Security Administration is scheduled to announce Thursday that there will be no cost of living increase next year. By law, increases are pegged to inflation, which has been negative this year.

    The White House put the cost at $13 billion. Obama said he would not allow the payments to come out of the Social Security trust funds, further eroding the finances of the retirement program. Social Security already is projected to pay out more in benefits than it collects in taxes in each of the next two years.
    However, Obama did not offer any alternatives to finance the payments. A senior administration official said Obama was open to borrowing the money, increasing the federal budget deficit. The official, who requested anonymity, was not authorized to speak on the record.


    • Good to see them using the very latest technology to spread the “walking around” money.

    • $250 is definitely a bone and a very bare one at that. Why doesn’t he spend less on cash for clunker type programs and meager cash refunds that only provide temporary relief and spend the money on initiatives that will actually CHANGE the system and the way of life for millions of people for years to come? Single payer health care would do that. Fixing the education system would do that too.

    • Hey, didn’t W give us more cash? And it wasn’t just for senior then. (How much was it, like $300?)

      • $250 last year, too. However, the seniors who got it will be paying it back in their taxes this year. It was just a “loan”.

        And, the reason they expect more money paying out in SS than being collected in taxes for the next two years is because they are not now, nor do they plan to, doing anything to reverse the unemployment trend.

        Only thing I’ve seen Obama do so far was to try to get some huge contracts for his developer/construction buddies in Chicago by encouraging the OIC to put some Olympics in his town.

  5. Olympia Snowe is boss, Joe Lieberman plunges the dagger, Obama claims victory through retreat, the great liberal revolt begins

    Make no mistake, the president wanted to kill the public option from the beginning, to give it away, notwithstanding his rhetoric for it, to get Republicans to support the bill. I don’t know what is worse: that unlike LBJ fighting for Medicare the president would give away the most important provision for a fig leaf of Republican support, or the fact that the president is so focused on image and public relations that he will try to sell himself as getting a bipartisan bill, with only one Republican, a truth in advertising farce.

    Make no mistake, healthcare reform has been gutted and stripped by lobbyists from every interest group making a fortune from the current system. Universal coverage is dead. A mandate for coverage is dead. The major reforms to lower healthcare costs are dead. Backroom deals rule the day. Healthcare consumers will pay the price. Premiums will skyrocket and industry profits will shoot to the moon under this so-called reform.

    • A commenter named Brent brings up the superficiality and PR stunts that define the Obama administration that we’ve been discussing in this thread:

      I dont know what is more ridiculous, Republican leaders and the right foaming at their mouth with anger at Snowe because she voted with Democrats, or the President who will literally do anything, and literally fall to his knees ifhe must, to keep his Republican on board.I will guarantee to an almost moral certainty that Obama privately told Snowe that he will sell out the public option to keep her vote.John you are absolutely, totally right. With Obama it is all about persopnal image, public relations and a very superficial politics. His polls and focus groups, which he hilariously pretends to never look at, tell him that people want bipartisanship so he will pay any price to keep even one Republican so he can pretend this is bipartisanship.If Democrats controlled 99 Senate seats Obama would give anything to get the one Republican. I have never seen anything like this…

      • Brent should have paid more attention to we bitter knitters. I don’t know how many times we explained exactly what would happen.

      • Yet the sellout is so transparent that anyone who still can’t see it must be either drunk on koolaid or stupid. Come to think of it, both groups are stupid.

      • I believe there was a mention in WaPo about an Obama statement way at the beginning of the healthcare debate – that he’d rather have 85% of it with bipartisan support than 100% without.
        And this timeline from Greenwald


        As for the “you-have-to-wait” justification, here’s the time-line of the Democratic Party mentality on all such matters:

        2004-2006: “You have to wait until we win a Congressional majority in the 2006 midterms.”

        2006-2008: “You have to wait until we win the White House in 2008.”

        January-May, 2009: “You have to wait until we have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.”

        Currently: “You have to wait until after the 2010 midterms so we preserve our majority” or “you have to wait until Obama is safely re-elected in 2012.”</blockquote

        • Great history of the Dem excuses AND a Dem excuse update! Your future news today! Dem Excuses!

      • Why would the Republicans be mad at Snowe for anything? She got their bill passed by a majority Dem committee and is the headline across the country being considered a credible spokesperson on the evils of a public option?

    • That was a really great article by Budowsky, who is normally a pretty reliable Obama shill. Let’s hope for the liberal insurrection.

  6. Sigh. The bad news just keeps on coming so I can’t believe when I hear the corporate media shills talk about the recession ending, and Wall Street rebounding, and the economy recovering.

    Tell that to the millions of unemployed competing for a job:

    • It’s pretty obvious that there has been a nasty divorce between Wall St and Main St. Wall St got the goodies and Main St got the debts.

      Who cares if the Dow is 20,000? If you can’t find a job and aren’t living off investments, screw it.

      • They’re just hoping to encourage the last of the fools who haven’t figured out the scheme to turn over their cash before the market plunges deep into Wall St pockets, again.

  7. Almost hate to say this but Arianna HuffnPuff has a pretty well argued article on Afghanistan. She says that Biden should resign in protest if Obama further escalates the Afghan war.

    Link is to HuffPo, but it’s worth a read fwiw.

    • I’m not a Biden fan at all, but this is just another way to absolve Obama of all responsibility. She goes on about the policy and barely mentions Obama. And putting tge onus on Biden IMO is like saying Hillary is responsible for any policy of Bill’s anyone disagrees with because she didn’t call a press conference to ream him out. If it’s true Biden’s doing what he can behind the scenes, good for him. Some dramatic declaration and resignation wouldn’t accomplish anything really.

      • If it’s not Rahm, it’s Reid, if it’s not Reid, it’s Biden. It’s never the fault of the Whiner in Chief (I think I’ll keep Nichols’ title)

      • Good post. It’s always someone else job to mop up after the One

        …..Some dramatic declaration and resignation wouldn’t accomplish anything really

        everyone will say he’s a nut and he’ll be ruined for nothing as the circus train moves forward without him.

    • Thanks for that link but it is something most of us here have believed for a long time and the main reason why so many Clinton supporters did not want Hillary to take the SoS position. Anyone who wants to save their political career and legacy as a Democrat should resign from the Obama administration. This applies to both Biden and Clinton. If Biden resigns he should get the Nobel Peace Prize. His resignation would send shock waves throughout the world. A U.S. vice-president speaking out against escalating a war and showing his disapproval by resigning from his position. Hillary should think about doing the same but I doubt she will. The Obama taint is something she’ll have to deal with if she decides to run for president again or for governor of NY. I think Obama making a mess at home is one of the reasons why Hillary keeps a low profile and focuses on her work while keeping a distance from being associated with Obama’s decision on Afghanistan or anything that is happening at home. Obama is a mess and the Clintons know it. They are just being good Dems and keeping their mouths shut while Obama digs himself deeper in doodoo.

      • think Obama making a mess at home is one of the reasons why Hillary keeps a low profile and focuses on her work while keeping a distance…..

        Indeed. I think it’s one of the reasons she took the SOS job. As SOS she not allowed to comment on domestic politics. That must be nice when you see this easily predictable hot mess called Barry’s first year .
        She’d be in a pickle as either a Dem NY Senator or as Barry’s SOS….but as SOS she at least can get shit done . On the hill she’d be frozen out even more than she is.

    • Oddly, she had some really well-reasoned criticisms against Obama last Sunday on This Week, too.

  8. Off topic: Maggie Jochild of Group News Blog will undergo major surgery in a few days. Here’s a link to the story, with a place to donate if you have the will and the $$$.


  9. Want a laugh? Kos is really really angry at Harry Reid.


    Not one mention of the fact that Reid is just doing Obama’s bidding!

    Dear Lord, will this nightmare ever end?!

    • Well, at least poor Rahm is not the only scapegoat anymore. Poor Obama, how many bad people would tie him up in the basement and do their own thing?

  10. The Nobel discussion will be relevant throughout. Especially when the laureate ducks…anti-war protesters

  11. Also, that Taibbi article reminds me of a Mr Fish cartoon at the start of the primaries last year which has Obama saying – among other things:
    “and when I say new direction, I guess what I really I mean is the same direction, except I hope to bring a fresh charisma to doomsday”. It’s when Bobots banned mr Fish. Taibbi was one of them at the time.

    • ….It’s when Bobots banned mr Fish. Taibbi was one of them at the time.

      shhhh!….. You’re not suppose to remember that! lol!

  12. Straight up, bb. I’m not sure the nightmare will ever end. Not in 2010, 2012 or ever. But thanks for the link to Taibbi and the great photo of a TRUE peace activist.

  13. Something that keeps getting left out is the continuation of Bush’s eavesdropping programs. Where are the court challenges? Where’s the left’s outrage? Guess since its Obama,everthing is hunky dory.

  14. I don’t understand why people just don’t leave pres Obama alone. It really bothers me that we have nothing better to do but talk shit about each other.


    • I don’t understand why people just don’t leave pres Obama alone

      I wish he’s leave me alone! It would be nice to get though a week without his back and forth tennis match teleprompter dance on the TV .

      oops did I say that out loud?

      Can he at least pretend to work for awhile??

      Thank you

  15. don’t understand why people just don’t leave pres Obama alone. It really bothers me that we have nothing better to do but talk shit about each other



  16. You know, we hated George Bush,

    His agenda, we never could push,

    We give you this prize,

    Your ego to rise,

    Did we say we hated George Bush?


    They gave him the prize Nobel,

    Their view of the world to sell,

    You’re just one in the world,

    Stars & Stripes, keep it furled,

    To belong, just do as we tell.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: