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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Obama: Our “Seamless” President Elect

by Sarah Meyer
Index Research

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With Bush, we had sentimental creepiness & neo-con lies; with Obama we have rhetorical hypocrisy. With many appointments now made, we can see that Obama is indeed trying to please the “48% that didn’t vote for me.” To complete his team, he might as well nominate Cheney as head of Homeland Security and Sarah Palin (with bear rugs) as Secretary of Agriculture. To placate the disgruntled anti-war movement, he could then ask “progressive” power-happy HuffPo Arianna Huffington [ “I only text three people – my two teenage children and Barack Obama.”] to be his press secretary.

Following are some comments from The Disappointed and Angry. These articles represent the 53% of the US public that voted for Obama, hope and "CHANGE."

Obama's Foreign Policy Team
23.11.07. Robert Dreyfus, The Nation. So are we surprised that now, as president-elect, Obama is selecting people whose views are coherent with Obama's frequently stated views? Are we surprised that the views of Obama's conservative and centrist advisers are, in fact, coherent with Obama's own? And are we surprised that his choices for his foreign policy and national security appointments are drawn exclusively from conservative, centrist, and pro-military circles without even a single -- yes, not one! -- chosen to represent the antiwar wing of the Democratic party? No, we are not.

Obama's Foreign Policy: The Case for Pessimism
24.11.08. Justin Raimondo, global research. The new president's appointments resound like slaps in the faces of his liberal supporters / In that alternate universe, where up is down and black is white, it makes perfect "sense" for a president to appoint people to key posts who oppose his policies. In our own world, however, such an approach would be crazy – yet it seems to be happening right before our eyes.

Obama Plans to Retain Gates at Defense Department
25.11.08. P. Baker, T. Shanker, NY Times. In deciding to ask Mr. Gates to stay, Mr. Obama put aside concerns that he would send a jarring signal after a political campaign in which he made opposition to the war his signature issue in the early days. Some Democrats who have advised his campaign quietly complained that he was undercutting his own message and risked alienating war critics who formed his initial base of support, especially after tapping his primary rival, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, for secretary of state.

Obama's Treasury Pick Has All the Wrong Ideas
25.11.08. William Greider, The Nation/alternet. Timothy Geithner is an architect, and now an enabler, of the unfolding crisis.

Obama appointees signal continuing aggression and war
26.11.08. WSWS. Barack Obama’s vague campaign promises of “change” are rapidly evaporating as the key positions in the next administration are filled with veterans of the US political establishment. Far from ending war abroad and social reaction at home, Obama’s choices underline the essential continuity with the policies of the Bush administration.

Watch out for Obama's Team Selling Conservative Policies as Progressive Politics
26.11.08. David Sirota, Open Left / Alternet. Obama's early list of names for his staff doesn't bode well for all the progressive policy promises Obama made during the campaign.

Starving for Change
24.11.08. Chris Hedges, Truthdig. The swelling numbers waiting outside homeless shelters and food pantries around the country have grown by at least 30 percent since the summer. If Barack Obama continues to turn to the elites who created the mess, if he does not radically redirect the nation’s resources to assist the working class and the poor, we will become a third-world country.

Obama Chooses Wall Street Over Main Street
25.11.08. Robert Sheer, Truth Dig. Why then has he appointed the very people responsible for this disaster to now make it all better? Why not ask him? Heck, yes, it is time for the many of us who responded to his e-mails during the campaign to now challenge our e-mail buddy as to why he suddenly acts as if the interests of Wall Street and Main Street are one and the same.

You ain’t seen nothing yet
26.11.08. Mike Whitney, Peoples Voice. Obama hasn’t even been sworn in yet, and already the Wall Street cheerleaders are celebrating his first great triumph. According the pundits, the stock market staged a surprise 494 point rally last Friday because -- get this -- it was announced that Timothy Geithner would be appointed Obama’s Treasury Secretary.

Some people still hope

Obama's choice of a team of rivals says much about the president he will be
26.11.08. Jonathan Freedland, Guardian. We're still waiting for change because Obama is not yet president. George Bush is still in the White House and will remain there for nearly 60 more days. / ... Obama understands that servants need not be identical to their master, so long as they can implement his will. / ... More widely, the incoming president is betting that he can still cast himself as the new broom come to sweep out the Augean stables, even when he's surrounded by a team of Washington insiders. . So he has turned to the former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle, a Capitol Hill fixture, to reform healthcare. / .. The true believers on the liberal left/ ... are enraged by the proliferation of ex-Clintonites in the incoming administration ... / But this concern probably rests on a misreading of the way Obama sees his cabinet and circle of advisers. His longtime strategist David Axelrod gave the clearest clue at the weekend, when he said: "He's not looking for people to give him a vision. He's going to put together an administration of people who can effectuate his vision." In other words, he's not hiring Daschle or Summers or Clinton for their ideological colour. He's hiring them as political professionals who will take a brief - ultimately authored by him - and get the job done. / Perhaps that is a gamble on Obama's part, to imagine he can construct a progressive administration staffed by those in the centre and even on the centre-right. / ... The traditional reading of this would be as a sign of weakness, suggesting Obama feels compelled - New Labour style - to keep right-leaning opinion on board. But it could just as easily be read as evidence of tremendous confidence: that he is sure enough in his own convictions to be surrounded by those who are far from nodding yes men. / ... The Hillary nomination is the one that gives me pause. But the other signs are encouraging. The only real criticism of Obama's presidency? That it hasn't started yet.

I do not have such hope as Mr. Freedland. The 'root' problem lies within THE SYSTEM.



Naomi Klein and Jeremy Scahill (Miami Book Fair)

Obama Introduces his economic team

Danny Schechter's promo film for his book, PLUNDER. Sign up for Danny's superb daily 'Dissector' on the financial problems here.



Who Is The President Elect - Obama or AIPAC? (10.11.08)

US Martial Law Timeline, November 2008

For Obama’s National Security Team War Experience Trumps Change
26.11.08. anti-war. When President-elect Barack Obama announces his national security team next week, the most obvious break ushered in will be from his promise for dramatic foreign policy change. For while Senator Obama ran his campaign around a mantra of change, his team will consist without exception of experienced, and hawkish, elder statesmen who seem set to drive America’s foreign policy around the same old, familiar roads that Obama ran so firmly against.

Obama Addresses Worries That There Isn't Enough 'Change' in His Cabinet Picks
26.11.08. Steve Benen, Washington Monthly, Alternet. During the Q&A, CNN's Ed Henry asked if there were enough new faces on his team to fulfill Obama's pledge to bring change to Washington. The president-elect first noted it would be even more jarring if his team didn't include officials with experience from the Clinton administration. ... / t was the first real inkling that Obama is aware of the media chatter, and he hopes to put some of this to rest, reminding his audience that he plans to "combine experience with fresh thinking." The change, according to his argument, will come from his vision, not his cabinet picks. [we shall see?]

Obama’s Budget Head Would Cut Social Security
28.11.08. Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive/ alternet. On Tuesday, Obama picked Peter Orszag to direct the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Orszag believes that Social Security benefits should be cut back to help balance the Social Security Trust Fund over the next 75 years. He spells out his views in a paper he wrote with Peter A. Diamond for the Brookings Institute back in 2005, called “Saving Social Security: The Diamond-Orszag Plan.” In it, they call for “a reduction in benefits, which would apply to all workers age 59 and younger.”

Radical Solutions for a Crazy Economy
28.11.08. Nouriel Roubini, Forbes / alternet. [Nouriel Roubini, a professor at the Stern Business School at New York University and chairman of Roubini Global Economics, is a weekly columnist for] The fight against a deadly combination of stagnation/recession and deflation has to be unorthodox.

Obama's Bush Doctrine
28.11.08. E. J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post. In electing Barack Obama, the country traded the foreign policy of the second President Bush for the foreign policy of the first President Bush. / That is the meaning of Obama's apparent decision to keep Robert Gates on as defense secretary and also to select Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. / With strong ties to the military and a carefully cultivated image of tough-mindedness, Clinton will protect the incoming president's back from those on the right ready to pounce at any sign of what they see as weakness. / As for Gates, Obama has found the ideal figure to help him organize his planned withdrawal from Iraq, and to bless it. / Ironically, Obama is likely to show more fidelity to George H.W. Bush's approach to foreign affairs than did the former president's own son. That's change, maybe even change we can believe in, but it's not the change so many expected.

The Custodians Of Empire
28.11.08. Tom Engelhardt, New Republic / ICH. Obama's "New" National Security Team Is Not Very New. On Hillary Clinton, General James L. Jones, Robert Gates, Yochi Dreazen; Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mike Mullen, Centcom Commander David Petraeus, Generals Raymond Odierno and David McKiernan, the U.S. commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan -- all second term Bush picks; others.


Sarah Meyer is an independent researcher living in the UK.

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