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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Winding Down Obama

As published in Common Dreams, Dissident Voice, CounterPunch, OpEd News and Intrepid Report, 3/26/11:






Occupying Iraq, the U.S. spends about $300 million a day. For Afghanistan, it’s $200 million. These numbers are approximations because the Pentagon doesn’t really know how much it has spent on anything, or how many it has killed in its several wars, big and small. It doesn’t really care, I don’t think. Imagine a team of alcoholics parked permanently at the bar, downing pints and shots with an open tab into infinity, or until the Second Coming, at least. In 2001, Donald Rumsfeld admitted that $2.3 trillion were unaccounted for. He blamed it on sloppy bookkeeping. It must be hard to keep track of so many digits.

As firemen and cops are being fired across America, as teachers are being told they must accept austerity measures, the country is broke, after all, as public radio and television, with their supposed liberal bias, lay on the chopping block, as more homeless sprawl and tent cities spring up, as casinos, a sure sign of desperation, mushroom, the United States has entered another costly war without any fanfare or discussion whatsoever. Obama didn’t have to persuade anybody, no sending a Secretary of State to make a fool of herself in front of the United Nations’ General Assembly, no congressional vote, which, last time I checked, was supposed to be a Constitutional requirement, no media blitz. No lies even. He simply ordered more than a hundred Tomahawk missiles, so far, to rain down on Libya, with many more to come. In any case, this it not even a war, but merely a “kinetic military action,” according to an Obama aide. Such straight faced butchery of language, even as one butchers real people, shows that the United States has entered a deep psychotic state. Upon winning the Nobel Peace Prize, Obama himself declared, “I am living testimony to the moral force of non-violence.”

If this is Obama pacified, I hate to see him riled up, but of course he doesn’t get riled up. Suave, articulate and personable, Obama is proving to be just as deadly as Bush, but clearly more cynical. A great, loyal tool of the establishment, Obama has dampened protest from American liberals. Though they know he has betrayed them, they’re reluctant to show appropriate outrage because, not that long ago, they have cheered and wept for him so openly. The day after Obama won, Rebecca Solnit burbled in the Nation,“ Citizenship is a passionate joy at times, and this is one of those times. You can feel it. Tuesday the world changed. It was a great day.”

The President of the United States is a traveling salesman for the military industrial complex. In 2010, Obama came to India to visit the Mumbai home of Gandhi, a hero of his, someone he would most like to dine with, very touching, before announcing a mega arms deal of GE fighter jet engines and Boeing military transport planes. Now, as he bombs Libya, Obama tries to sell F-18 fighter planes to Brazil. According to an aide, “President Obama underscored that the F-18 is the best plane on offer” as he made a “strong pitch” to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

The President of the United States is also a spokesman for murderers and crooks. He doesn’t rule, but obeys. His main job is to deceive the masses as he serves his enablers. He can say anything at any time, and means none of it. The President of the United States is the world’s most visible actor, in short. Campaigning in 2007, Obama said, “If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself. I’ll walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States.” Quite a performance. This year, as Wisconsin teachers fight to retain their right to collectively bargain, Obama has said absolutely nothing. One would have to be a fool to think he would join them.

Offshoring began under Clinton, and has continued unabated. Under the banner of free trade, the only goal of Globalism is to couple capital with the cheapest labor available. Since organized workers are anathema to the bosses, American companies have moved their factories to totalitarian countries where workers have little rights, where they cannot be unionized. The idea is to roll back the clock to the earliest days of industrialism, where workers toiled all day long for next to nothing. In February, a bill was even introduced in Missouri to eliminate child labor laws. It seeks, in part, to get rid of “the prohibition on employment of children under age fourteen. Restrictions on the number of hours and restrictions on when a child may work during the day are also removed.” Don’t laugh. This may be a sign of things to come.

As for work that can’t be outsourced, foreign workers are allowed or even invited in. U.S. borders are not porous out of charity or ineptness, but because this benefits American businesses. During the recent housing bubble, builders employed countless Mexican workers, and every stateside restaurant these days seems to be staffed by Mexican busboys, cooks and dishwashers. Chinese engineer students can stay after graduating from American schools, and Indian doctors and nurses are given special visas. There are certain jobs, however, that can’t easily be given to aliens, such as teaching, for example. If Albanians could be imported to teach English and American History to American kids, it would have happened already. The latest attack in this relentless war against American workers is the announcement that Mexican truckers will soon be allowed to drive into the U.S. Though ignored by the mainstream media, this calamity won’t just put tens of thousands of American truck drivers out of work, but also many American dock workers. Containers can be shipped to Mexico, then trucked into the U.S. by cheaper Mexican drivers.

Again, American borders are porous by design, just as other countries’ borders are routinely violated by the U.S.A. There is a huge difference, however: when Americans enter another country illegally, it’s never to empty foreigners’ bedpans or to wash their dishes, but usually to kill them.

As Obama fizzles out, as he loses legitimacy, the power brokers will come up with other figureheads and slogans for American liberals and conservatives to become passionate about. These candidates will jabber, jab and insult each other. As in professional wrestling, the battle will appear fierce. Barack, meanwhile, can look forward to a lucrative memoir and six-figure speaking fees. Even that man of malapropisms and snafus, the much despised Bush, is getting $150,000 each time he opens his mouth these days.






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12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kudos.

The clearest and most precise description of what what is going on that I have seen so far.

Linh Dinh said...

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

It's so gratifying to hear one's own thoughts reverberating in the writing of another.

Thanks, Linh Dinh for this observation, and for calling Obama exactly what he is.

Now if we can only get the Nobel Committee to ask for BHO's prize back. (I guess you remember the comment by one European journalist at the time -- something to the effect that giving Obama a peace prize was like the Literature Prize being given to a novice writer in the expectation that he would one day write a masterpiece...)

Rather than being on the roster of Nobel Laureates, BHO should be right behind Bush and Cheney, Colin Powell, D. Feith, P. Wolfowitz and Don Rumsfeld on the list of war criminals for whom some foreign judge (forget about our suborned and pusillanimous judges here) will issue arrest warrants. Heaven preserve Judge Garzon, Bradley Manning & Julian Assange!

Thanks again, Linh Dinh.

John Caruso said...

Outstanding article, Linh--spot on.

Cathy said...

You are one of my favorite writers. In relatively short articles you express so clearly and completely what so many of us are seeing. Porous borders by design -- right on.

Joyce L. Arnold said...

Excellent. Thanks so much.

BadTux said...

"when Americans enter another country illegally, it’s never to empty foreigners’ bedpans or to wash their dishes, but usually to kill them."

Americans per capita kill more of each other than citizens of any other nation on the planet. That is truth, easily verifiable by looking at murder statistics. Why should we be surprised that when they go overseas, it is more of the same? After all, we are talking about a nation where it is ridiculously easy to find, with a simple Google search, page after page of young American pre-teen girls posing happily with weapons designed for one and only one purpose -- to murder other human beings.

Mimi said...

I know so many who are honestly bewildered by Obama's actions, but cling to the belief that, somehow, he'll straighten up and fly right soon. Or that he's been led astray by others. Or that he's unable to overrule the powers that be. And my favorite: He has a secret plan to stop the wars, end the bloodshed, and lead America back to morality--BUT all this takes time and effort and it's not quite ready to execute.
It's seems impossible for Obama worshippers to let go of their almost-religious devotion to him. How does one combat this idiocy?

Anonymous said...

I assure you it is not impossible to turn away from a man who shows himself to be a liar. What bright promises he made. How tarnished he has become.

Many of us will fall away from him before it's over.

His actions regarding Haiti did it for me.

I hope he spares us the embarrassment of running for a second term.

Larry Calloway said...

Mr. Dinh:

I just read this piece in the compilation book, Hopeless, Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion.

You nailed it - I'll look for your work in the future.

I never bought into the Obamamania anyway (heresy for a black man, by the way), but it saddens me that so many others are still delusional
in coming to grips with the fact that his is just the bagboy for the murdering thieves running this country.

Linh Dinh said...

Hi Larry,

Like you are saying, we must look beyond race to see the bigger issues at play, issues that bind us all together. I've also written about Obama:

"This Obama presidency has been a brilliant move by our ruling class, for this black, personable decoy has managed to pacify vast swaths of an otherwise restless constituency, while enraging others for the wrong reason. Although Obama’s blackness is irrelevant, it has become a fixation to both his detractors and supporters, so that it has become a point of honor to defend or depose this man for his blackness alone, when in truth his race does not factor at all in any of his decisions. One should not care that he is black, because Obama does not care that he is black, and not in a good way either. Obama is not here to rectify whatever ails the black or any other community. He is only here to facilitate the wishes of the Military Banking Complex, and he’s willing to trample on you all, black, white, brown or yellow, to achieve their goals."

http://linhdinhphotos.blogspot.com/2012/04/know-thy-enemy.html

Anonymous said...

To me, what a pathetically illusional mind!

He has to pick up pieces from the former and tries to play it up, at least, to the US and the world. So that if an American who is travelling oversea won't get kicked in the behind and spitted on.

Now, it's said, you get the gut to spit it at him. Where these people are coming from? Hell? I guess.

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About Me

Born in Vietnam in 1963, I came to the US in 1975, and have also lived in Italy and England. I'm the author of two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), five of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007) and Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009), and a novel, Love Like Hate (2010). I've been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, among other places. I'm also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013), and translator of Night, Fish and Charlie Parker, the poetry of Phan Nhien Hao (2006). Blood and Soap was chosen by Village Voice as one of the best books of 2004. My writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and I've been invited to read in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Reykjavik, Toronto and all over the US. I've also published widely in Vietnamese.