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The worm is turning on Obama

I’m getting that vibe.  It’s like the country is starting to realize that, Oh. My. God., we might be stuck with this loser for four more years.  How did this happen?  I have a hypothesis that the last time Americans picked a president was in 1996 but I’ll save that for another time.

What I’m surprised to see is how many opinion makers are now turning on him.  There was The Daily Show last week when Jon Stewart pointed out that a felon in the West Virginia primary got 40% of the Democratic primary votes.  There was Kristen Schaal disgusted with her choices this year and pleading, “Please run for Office, Hillary Clinton”.

And now we have Richard Cohen.  Wait, did he make the wanker of the decade list? Turns out he did coming in as 6th runner up.  Congratulations, Richard! Well, nevermind that, his latest column was unexpected.  Richard is basically saying, “Obama smells, he’s got no friends and nobody likes him.”

Last week I asked a member of the Senate if he knows of anyone who really knows Obama. He said he does not.

Washington is thick with stories about Obama’s insularity and distance. We hear how he does not listen to criticism — he sometimes just walks out of the room — and how he sticks to a tight circle of friends. His usual weekly golf game is mostly limited to the same people — and when he played a round with House Speaker John Boehner(R-Ohio), it was treated as an exceptional event. When, for whatever reason, Politico analyzed Obama’s golf outings (June 6, 2011), it found that Obama’s “golf circle has actually gotten much tighter over the past 212 years” — none of them politicians or, heaven forbid, journalists.

 […]But Obama cannot or will not indulge in the sort of face-to-face politicking that Johnson so favored. He has not stroked important contributors — one bundler told me he never hears from Obama. As the New York Times put it recently in an article about his fundraising on Wall Street, Obama himself has “a reputation for being cold at small gatherings.” “I just don’t think he likes us,” one fundraiser is quoted as saying.

The best that can be said for Obama is that he treats everyone with about the same degree of distance. One important Democrat used the term “cuckoo-clock events” to refer to White House receptions where Obama robotically appears, says a minimal amount of words and then disappears. He does not mingle — or, if he does, it is as little as possible. Bill Clinton, in contrast, was the host from hell. The party never ended.

I highlighted all of the negative words and phrases.  Considering the length of the post, this many negative phrases should sound alarm bells for his campaign.  Reading this, you get the feeling that Obama is callous, cold, insensitive to the feelings of others, and really doesn’t like people.  He’s a bit of a misanthrope.    There’s even a comparison to Bill Clinton who seemed to be warm, gregarious and a people person. Cohen seems almost wistful about the endless party that was Bill.  Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone…

There’s more to that column about LBJ.  I’m listening to Robert Caro’s book on Johnson, The Passage of Power, and I can definitely see the characteristics of JFK in Obama.  He’s surrounding himself with the smartest guys in the room who have absolutely no idea how to deal with Congress.  Like JFK, Obama spent most of his time in the Senate interviewing for his next job.  JFK never passed a significant piece of legislation and was not known to be a “workhorse”.  You could cut Kennedy a break because of his constant illnesses but what’s Obama’s excuse?  Four years ago, we here at The Confluence predicted that he would have trouble working legislation through Congress because he’d never really had to do it and how could it have been otherwise?

But what we have here in Cohen’s column is cocktail party talk.  This is the voice of the Village who now do not want Obama at their lunch table.  It’s sophomoric and petty but when the press starts to turn on you, it can get ugly fast. The New York Times is calling him “cold at small gatherings”.  That can’t be good.

The second worm that has turned as been Yves Smith.  I know she has been critical of Obama in the past but her post today makes it sound like her hair is on fire.  It’s hard to pick excerpts from Barack Obama, the Great Deceiver, the whole thing is good, so run over there and read it yourself.  Here’s a taste:

Engelhardt depicts a malevolent leader without using that word. It is hard to see a policy of drone strikes that have and will continue to kill innocents, a continuation of extraordinary renditions, and assassinations of American citizens merely suspected of terrorism, in any other light.

But his actions are detrimental not only for their overweening, super-hero-like force, but more often, for serving vested interests by being deliberately weak, badly watered down versions of real reforms (and correspondingly, notice how often Obama maintains he was boxed in by intransigent Republicans, when in fact they serve as convenient scapegoats for what he wanted to do anyhow?)

And by taking as much debate and energy as the genuine remedies, they prevent the topic from being revisited for years, if not decades. The frequently criticized Dodd Frank is one example, but the poster child is Obamacare. The program manages the difficult feat of worsening the fundamental problem of our health care system, which is bad incentives and resulting out-of-control costs. It enriched Big Pharma and the insurers rather than bringing them to heel. The result will be overpriced insurance that covers little. We’re seeing that start now as the FDA is looking into make a number of widely used drugs, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol medications, over the counter, which would mean they would not be covered by health care policies.

Readers of this blog are likely to argue that they have a jaded view of Obama, but still regard him as preferable to Romney. But they seem to fail to appreciate another layer of Obama’s deception, that his charm and unflappable demeanor mask his ruthlessness. It’s no accident that he chose Rahm Emanuel as his initial chief of staff, an enforcer and by all accounts one of the members of what was an unusually tight inner team. The Democrats are now indistinguishable from the Republicans in their mastery of Rovian playing on identity politics. Obama has also proven adept at neutralizing well positioned actual or potential threats, such as David Petraeus, Elizabeth Warren, and Eric Schneiderman.

People who answer polls may not want to say what they really think of Obama.  They don’t want to be called racists.  But it’s not about race.  It’s about getting the feeling that, somehow, you’ve been had.  Yes, I think malevolence is not too far off the mark.  It started in the primaries of 2008.  It was the hooliganism of his on the ground supporters at caucuses, the fact that he took his name off the ballot in Michigan in order to monkeywrench the primary process, that he never stood up for the voters of Florida and Michigan and how he and his party treated his competition at the convention, with contempt and driven to humiliate.  Those of us who were not starstruck watched it in horror because we couldn’t seem to stop it and make people come back to themselves.

Back then, Yves was a cautiously optimistic Obama supporter.  Not anymore.  And once you see what you’ve been trying to avoid, you can’t unsee it.

Expect more of the same over the next couple of weeks.  The reality of the next four years is setting in and so is the slowly escalating anxiety and fear of what’s to come.

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It looks like the White House unleashed DHS on Occupy

Lambert at Corrente has the goods that were discovered thru a Freedom of Information Act request from Michael Moore:

A new trove of heavily redacted documents provided by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) on behalf of filmmaker Michael Moore and the National Lawyers Guild makes it increasingly evident that there was and is a nationally coordinated campaign to disrupt and crush the Occupy Movement.

Nonetheless, blacked-out and limited though they are, [PCJF National Director Mara Verheyden-Hilliard] says they offer clues to the extent of the government’s concern about and focus on the wave of occupations that spread across the country beginning with last September’s Occupy Wall Street action in New York City.

The latest documents, reveal “intense involvement” by the DHS’s so-called National Operations Center (NOC). In its own literature, the DHS describes the NOC as “the primary national-level hub for domestic situational awareness, common operational picture, information fusion, information sharing, communications, and coordination pertaining to the prevention of terrorist attacks and domestic incident management.”

The DHS says that the NOC is “the primary conduit for the White House Situation Room
” and that it also “facilitates information sharing and operational coordination with other federal, state, local, tribal, non-governmental operation centers and the private sector.”

So, the Occupy Movement was considered a “domestic incident” that needed to be “managed”, probably at the request of Wall Street.

If the White House knew and requested help to smash Occupy, there are two disturbing thoughts that come immediately to mind.

1.) It’s too stupid to realize that letting Occupy stand and gather strength would have given it some popular anger to fling at Mitt Romney and the Republicans, even if Occupy stayed politically neutral.
2.) it doesn’t matter to the White House that people are unhappy enough to Occupy. Business as usual is more important than the right to protest.

You pick. Either one should keep you up tonight.

Monday: Structural unemployment is a lie

It’s bullshit.

For those of you scratching your heads, it’s the idea that the reason so many people are unemployed is because they don’t have the right skills, education and technological training or they’re located in the wrong places in the country.

I can only imagine the titans of industry at the job junkets where they go to speak to former presidents and cabinet members, whining about how if they could only find more graduates in STEM fields, they wouldn’t have to send all this work overseas or import so many H1-B visa workers.  Woe is they, crocodile tears, wringing of hands.  It’s just pathetic.

And it’s a lie.  It’s the biggest lie in the country these days.  Lie, lie, lie.

Paul Krugman doesn’t believe it and has been writing about it for the past couple of weeks.  He thinks unemployment is a problem caused by lack of demand.  But even that doesn’t tell the whole story.  In the STEM fields, unemployment is a deliberate, calculated, psychopathic and destructive strategy for reducing costs at the expense of the research industry and consumer health.  It’s just a way of extracting wealth.  There’s no demand problem.  There are more than enough projects to keep every scientist alive busy for the rest of their lives.  And there certainly is no shortage of people suffering from diseases.

And now, here comes Zachary Karabell in Newsweek who disagrees and says that we have a structural unemployment problem and who has apparently not been following Pharmageddon:

Distressingly, this framing of the debate limits so many options. You can view the waves buffeting society as structural and long-term and then argue for cogent government action—and yes, spending—that acknowledges and addresses that reality. But where can that view be found in the current policy framework? You could argue for aggressive government action to manage a generational shift, to seek productive employment for the unemployed à la the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s. After all, if we are going to spend tens of billions a year on unemployment benefits, and if those benefits make people feel simultaneously helpless and worthless, why not spend the same money allowing those people some gainful use of what skills they have? And if there truly is a generation lost in the transition, then we owe that generation a solid net—but we do not owe that to the generation now emerging. Instead, they deserve the opportunities to acquire the skills and training that they will need in a post-manufacturing world as surely as those farmers in 1900 needed new skills in a 20th-century manufacturing world.

Ok, he’s got the first part right.  We need a WPA program for unemployed scientists so we can use the skills we already have.

But he totally fails when he ignores the reason for the generational shift (greedy bankers and shareholders) and says that we need more skills and training.  We have hundreds of thousands of people who are plenty skilled and trained in science and technology who can’t find jobs or can find jobs and are willing to move, or have moved and find themselves laid off again.

What we really need is a leader who is determined to put his or her foot down with the finance guys and has a vision of the future of American recovery where we use the people we already have.  Otherwise, when the finance guys have done drinking the milkshake of pharma and come to the realization that they need American researchers just like the good old days, there won’t be *any* STEM workers because the next generation won’t be caught dead in a lab in a dead end job and no job security.  Then structural unemployment will have become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

STEM students aren’t stupid, you know.  Well, not anymore they’re not.

***************************

For those of you who haven’t been following the saga of Trustus Pharmaceuticals, here’s a recap of the chocolate cookie of the apocalypse:

First, the bad news that the company is going with throttle up on the alpha12 project:

Second, the sign of the endtimes for the alpha12 project- the project polo shirts (I’ve been there but on our case, it was shirts and color changing coffee mugs with comic book character graphics and ads that would have made Don Draper proud.  And that compound looks very familiar, probably a HTS screening hit I threw out.):