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Obama’s condescending words, not AP’s rendition of his words, offensive

Barack Obama’s weekend lecture to the Congressional Black Caucus still is in the news.

There’s even chatter that some consider the way that The Associated Press quoted him to be racist.

The AP quoted Obama as saying to the members of the CBC: “Take off your bedroom slippers. Put on your marching shoes. Shake it off. Stop complainin’. Stop grumblin’. Stop cryin’. We are going to press on. We have work to do.”

Some believe that in journalism you always should fix others’ grammar, but I take issue with that stance. (Possessing a bachelor’s degree in journalism, I’m not talking out of my ass here.) When you put quotation marks around something, that’s supposed to be an exact rendering of what that person actually uttered. I might argue that to fix someone’s grammar in order to paint him or her in a better light actually is to show a bias.

And context is everything. As a journalist or writer you might choose not to clean up someone’s grammar in order to paint a more accurate and complete picture of that person’s personality and background. For instance, it would be, in my book, a gross distortion to write that someone uttered, “I am preparing to run for the presidency of the United States of America” when what that person actually uttered was, “I’m a-fixin’ to run for president of these here United States.”

Speaking of the president of the United States, it’s OK to quote the U.S. president verbatim, I think. There is a difference, I think, between cleaning up a rather unknown individual’s grammar for a news story and cleaning up the president’s.

What I took the AP to mean by quoting Obama that way (“Stop complainin’. Stop grumblin’. Stop cryin'”) when I read that AP news story is that Obama was trying to be all folksy with the members of the Congressional Black Caucus. If my impression is correct — and the video of Obama speaking those words to the CBC in a folksy accent that he never otherwise uses certainly seems to confirm my impression — then that is indicative that Obama has a sickening way of talking to people the way he thinks that they want him to talk to them. And because he very apparently actually thinks that that transparent bullshit actually works, that indicates to me that he’s a condescending prick.

When Billary Clinton was talking like the common folk in order to try to get their votes in the waaay-too-drawn-out 2008 Democratic Party primary race, I found it nauseating. I mean, it’s not like no one is going to notice when Billary suddenly gets a drawl or Obama suddenly starts a-talkin’ like this.

But fuck how Obama said the words or how the AP wrote that he said the words. The words themselves are sickeningly condescending: “Take off your bedroom slippers. Put on your marching shoes. Shake it off. Stop complaining. Stop grumbling. Stop crying.”

Obama, just like his brain-dead supporters do, always tries to find a way to try to blame his critics for his shortcomings. It’s not his fault. It’s your fault. Somehow. So stop grumblin’ and stop cryin’.  And put on your marching shoes.

Oh, except that Obama the hypocrite won’t slip out of his bedroom slippers himself.

In 2007, when he was making the plethora of campaign promises that he wouldn’t keep, Obama promised:

“If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I will put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself; I’ll walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States of America. Because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.”

Nice words, but when Wisconsinites’ right to organize and collectively bargain was under serious attack earlier this year by Repugnican Tea Party Gov. Scott “Dead Man” Walker & Co., Barack Obama didn’t show his face in the state once. Not once. I guess that he couldn’t find his marching shoes that he’d promised to don.

Yet now Obama is lecturing the members of the Congressional Black Caucus — who surely don’t need a lecture by the man who in 2008 only rode all the way to the White House on the wave that Howard Dean, not he, created– to “put on [their] marching shoes.”

Barack Obama doesn’t lead by example.

And the only thing that he does well is break his campaign promises.

He’s all talk and no action.

But it’s all our fault.

We should stop complainin’, stop grumblin’ and stop cryin’.

Yes, we do have work to do. A lot of work to do. Unfortunately, Barack Obama is working against us, not with us or for us.

Only when it’s election time is he suddenly one of us.

The rest of the time, it’s pretty fucking clear whom he’s working for.

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‘Vast majority’ of ’08 donors haven’t ponied up for Obama’s re-election bid

The New York Times ran an interesting article yesterday that reports that “a vast majority of [President Barack] Obama’s past donors, who number close to four million, have not yet given him any money at all [for his re-election bid].”

Wow.

The Times also reports that

Through June 30, the close of the most recent campaign reporting period, more than 552,000 people had contributed to Mr. Obama’s re-election effort, according to campaign officials. Half of them were new donors, and nearly all of them gave contributions of less than $250.

This doesn’t require a shitload of analysis — just a little bit of awareness. Obama burned those to whom he repeatedly had promised “hope” and “change,” and, according to the Times, about half of his current donors are newbies. (I surmise that they haven’t been paying much attention since Obama was inaugurated in January 2009, and/or the specter of a President Perry or President Romney “inspired” them to give money to Obama, even though he hasn’t delivered upon his much-hyped promises of “hope” and “change.”)

We see this in our daily lives: Those who go around burning people always have to obtain fresh victims to burn.

Only now that his re-election looks less likely over time has Obama promised to be the president that he’d promised us back in 2007 and 2008 that he’d be. He now promises, in his third year in office, to finally do something significant about unemployment and he now promises to make the rich and the super-rich pay their fair share of taxes, even though it was only in December that he allowed the Bush tax cuts for the rich and the super-rich to continue for another two years, violating yet another of his campaign promises.

Meh. I don’t believe him. I don’t believe that Obama would do much more, if anything more, in a second term than he has done thus far.

I think that he’d say anything to get re-elected, but the millions of us who haven’t given him another penny since the 2008 cycle — yes, that includes me — recognize his false promises as the false promises that they are.

Obama’s only hope for re-election that I can see is that the fear of a President Perry or a President Romney “inspires” former supporters to pony up and/or to vote for him again.

But that’s not a strong re-election slogan: “Re-elect Barack Obama: He’s Not As Bad As the Other Guy.”*

I surmise that more people voted against George W. Bush in 2004 than who voted for John Kerry — that is, their fear of a second term of the unelected Bush regime was greater than was their enthusiasm for Kerry.

The calcified (well, calcified except where it needs to be calcified: its spine) Democratic Party establishment sorely needs to go back to the drawing board and ask itself if it wants to return, ever, to the progressive policies and the willingness to fight tooth and nail for those policies, as was the case for the party’s leaders in the distant past, or whether it is safe for the party’s continued existence for its leaders to continue to believe that it’s enough to only continue to point out to the voters that the Repugnican (Tea) Party candidate is even worse than is the Democratic candidate.

I, for one, am willing to suffer through another Repugnican presidency if that would mean that the Democratic Party finally got its fucking shit together and stopped expecting us to expect nothing in return for our money and our votes.

But I don’t think that I’m alone. Apparently, thus far, anyway, at least a few million others are with me.

*If you think that I’m exaggerating, you should read this Associated Press news article from today:

Seattle — President Barack Obama charged [today] that the GOP vision of government would “fundamentally cripple America,” as he tried out his newly combative message on the liberal West Coast.

Aiming to renew the ardor of Democratic loyalists who have grown increasingly disenchanted with him, the president mixed frontal attacks on Republicans with words of encouragement intended to buck up the faithful as the 2012 campaign revs up.

“From the moment I took office what we’ve seen is a constant ideological pushback against any kind of sensible reforms that would make our economy work better and give people more opportunity,” the president said at an intimate brunch fundraiser at the Medina, Wash., home of former Microsoft executive Jon Shirley.

About 65 guests were paying $35,800 per couple to listen to Obama at the first of seven fundraisers he was holding from Seattle to Hollywood to San Diego [today and tomorrow]. The three-day West Coast swing, ending Tuesday in Denver, offered him the chance to re-engage with some of his most liberal and deep-pocketed supporters. … [Entire article is here.]

This really does appear to be Obama’s “argument” for re-election: “If you think that I’m bad…”

That’s an incredibly weak, deeply uninspiring talking point.

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Team Obama’s response to Dittygate only proves protesters’ point

I was going to write about it right after it happened, but I didn’t, but it’s back in the news again, so now I will.

On Thursday, April 21, the Obama administration was pretty fucking embarrassed when a short video of an incident at a fundraiser in San Francisco leaked out.

Obama wasn’t at the fundraiser to discuss anything controversial. He was there to collect his loot and go.* It was supposed to be a carefully controlled event — like one of “President” George W. Bush’s.** However, his fundraising spiel was interrupted by a group of protesters who started singing a little song about the Obama administration’s inhumane treatment of Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is accused of illegally leaking information to WikiLeaks.

Their lyrics conclude thusly: “We paid our dues; where’s our change? We paid our dues; where’s our change?”

Yeah, that’s what millions of us whom the Obama administration has punk’d would love to know.

If you haven’t already watched it, you can watch the short video here.

In the video, Obama obviously is pissed off, but he has come this far in politics by pretending to be cool in all situations, no matter fucking what — he apparently calculated long ago (correctly, probably) that an “angry” black man never could be president of the United States (an angry white man like John McCainosaurus, who nearly had strokes from his fits of rage during his presidential debates with Obama, however, can be president).

Of course, I prefer honestly expressed feelings of anger over insincere bullshit that is a transparent effort to cover up one’s anger, which is what Obama demonstrates in the video. After the protesters sing their little ditty, he says, quite insincerely, “That was a nice song. You guys have much better voices that I have,” and even says “Thank you very much.”

“Thank you very much”?

These protesters infiltrated Obama’s swank fundraiser only to remind him that there are some of us who feel that we paid our dues but have yet to see the promised change. And the short video of the protest song went fairly viral.

The Obama administration’s only saving grace is that this incident didn’t really hit the national news until Friday, April 22, so the story didn’t become the national story that it otherwise would have had the incident happened earlier in the week.

The Obama administration should have let Dittygate go, but instead it apparently chose to start a fight with The San Francisco Chronicle — whose reporter got the video.

Reports The Associated Press:

San Francisco — The White House says a San Francisco Chronicle reporter broke the rules when she put down her pen and picked up a video camera to film a protest. The newspaper says the Obama administration needs to join the 21st century.

The conflict hit the newspaper’s front page [yesterday] with a story about coverage of the protest during President Barack Obama’s speech last week at a private fundraiser.

It highlights the perils that arise when traditional arrangements between news organizations and politicians meet the modern reality that anyone with a smartphone can become a video journalist.

Reporter Carla Marinucci had White House permission to cover the fundraiser as a so-called “pool” reporter, meaning she could attend as long as she shared her notes with the White House to distribute to other reporters. Pool reporting is a common arrangement among media organizations and in-demand politicians to avoid overcrowding of smaller events.

Marinucci was covering the event when about a half-dozen protesters who paid a combined $76,000 to attend the breakfast broke into a song chastising Obama for the government’s treatment of Pfc. Bradley Manning, an Army intelligence analyst suspected of illegally passing government secrets to the WikiLeaks website.

“We paid our dues; where’s our change?” the protesters sang.

Although a print reporter, Marinucci is seldom seen without a small video recorder while covering politicians. She captured video of the protest, which was posted with her written story in the online edition of the Chronicle and on its politics blog.

White House officials say that breached the terms of her access, which stated Marinucci was to provide a print-only report.

“The San Francisco Chronicle violated the coverage rules that they — and every other media outlet — agreed to as part of joining the press pool for that event,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said. “If they thought the rules were too restrictive they should have raised that at the beginning.” [Yeah, so their reporter could have been tossed out, right?]

Editor Ward Bushee said in the Chronicle’s story [yesterday] that the paper acted within its rights to cover the newsworthy incident.

He also said White House officials in off-the-record conversations Thursday threatened to bar Marinucci from pool coverage of future presidential appearances. He added that the officials, whom Bushee did not name, threatened to freeze out Chronicle and other Hearst Newspaper chain reporters if they reported on the threat against Marinucci. [Emphasis mine.]

“We expect our reporters to use the reporting tools they have to cover the news, and Carla did,” Bushee said in the Chronicle story. The White House rule against print reporters shooting and posting video is “objectionable and just is not in sync with how reporters are doing their jobs these days,” he said.

After Josh Earnest, another White House spokesman, told the Politico website that officials had not made such threats, Carney said in a statement [yesterday] that “no reporters have been banned from covering future presidential events.”

“The White House of course would have no problem including any reporter who follows the rules in pool-only events,” he said.

The White House should rethink those rules in an era when few reporters limit their coverage to just one medium, and when several other attendees not with the media were taking their own video of the protest, Bushee said. The protesters’ own footage ended up appearing on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”

The fundraiser came a day after Obama appeared at the Palo Alto headquarters of Facebook, praising the social media giant for enabling a more open, two-way conversation between citizens and politicians. The president said he was interested in holding the event, billed as a social media town hall, because young people especially were now getting their information through a range of different media. [Emphasis mine.]

Dan Gillmor, a media critic and head of the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at Arizona State University, said the White House needs to update the rules for its pool reports to match the realities of 21st-century reporting. …

It’s not really that, that Team Obama is composed of a bunch of luddites. It’s that the Chronicle had the audacity to embarrass The Great Obama of Oz. The Chronicle pulled back the curtain to reveal the petty, vindictive, insincere little man behind the curtain. The Chronicle, with the video, showed us something that we never were supposed to see.

A mere written description of the protest at the fundraiser wouldn’t have fully captured it, and while a mere written account of an event can fairly easily be disputed, a videorecorded account cannot so easily be disputed — which is why the “transparent” Team Obama maintains that only written descriptions are allowed: to avoid embarrassment and poor P.R., not because they don’t understand today’s communications technologies, which they fully exploit in their record-level fundraising, for fuck’s sake.

Ironically, in its response to Dittygate, Team Obama has only strengthened the protesters’ charge, “We paid our dues; where’s our change?” Yes, one of the many things that Barack Obama promised but has yet to deliver is a more transparent presidency.

Instead, we’re seeing more of the same, with Team Obama threatening to punish the Chronicle — and indeed, its entire parent company — because one of its employees actually made something transparent. (I believe the Chronicle over Team Obama, hands down, by the way; I believe that Team Obama threatened to exclude the reporter from future events and then threatened to exclude the entire media organization if their threat to the reporter were made public.)

And Team Obama can’t blame the Chronicle for embarrassing Obama.

It’s not the Chronicle’s fault that Obama has reneged on so many of his campaign promises to the point that protesters paid more than $75,000 to crash his exclusive little cash ’n’ carry. The fault for that lies squarely in the lap of Obama.

Barack Obama embarrasses himself.

*I know that this is how it is with the Clintonistas, the DINOs, such as Barack Obama.

Back in the day I coordinated Meetups for John Kerry’s run for the White House. (Howard Dean was the favorite of the “netroots,” but I viewed Kerry as much more likely to be able to deny George W. Bush a second term.) When I coordinated the monthly Meetups for several months, the participants talked about those issues that concerned them. They appreciated having such a forum with like-minded others.

But after it was clear that Kerry, who came back from political death like Lazarus, was going to win the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination, a self-serving Democratic Party hack hijacked the Meetups and made them all about fundraising. She was in it for herself, even going so far as to tell the participants that when they donated money to the Kerry campaign, they needed to use a special code to designate the region when, in fact, it designated her as an individual fundraiser.

In a nutshell, under the hack’s “leadership,” the Meetups became fundraisers. Her contempt for others is what we see in the DINOs, who regard others only as ATMs.

Speaking of which, in my many months of helping out with Kerry-for-president efforts, I was quite disappointed by the Kerry fundraising events that we of the middle class, which the Democratic Party is supposed to be all about, cannot afford to attend. The Chronicle reports that “high-end” tickets to the Obama fundraiser at “the swank St. Regis Hotel” in San Francisco on April 21 “started at $5,000 and went up to $35,800.”

Another reason, probably, that cameras weren’t allowed…

**And Team Bush was fairly good at making sure that only loyal fans ever made it inside any of Bush’s appearances, but perhaps because he wasn’t on his own home turf, Bush did have, late in his unelected rule, that Iraqi guy throw a pair of shoes at him…

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War on Libya just another of Obama’s broken promises

Obama Clinton Bush two.jpg

AFP photo

Three peas in a pod.

I have yet to write on Barack Obama’s War on Libya. This is because admittedly, I haven’t kept up with what Moammar has been up to these past many years and because I more or less wanted to see how things were going to pan out before making a comment.

But more and more, Barack Obama’s War on Libya seems like a Clintonesque “wag the dog” scenario, in which military action is meant to make Obama look like a bad-ass and/or give him some other political benefit at least as much as it’s meant to do any actual good.

And remember George W. Bush’s “coalition of the willing,” a pathetic attempt to give the appearance that his Vietraq War had widespread global support, instead of the support pretty much only of Britain? Obama’s “coalition” against Moammar Ghadafi is almost as pathetic.

And war is always a great distraction, as the treasonous, unelected Bush regime knew fully well, although somehow when a Democratic president wages a war these days, the war doesn’t get very high ratings.

I don’t assert that Ghadafi is a great guy, but I have to agree with pundits’ assertion that Obama violated the U.S. Constitution when he took the U.S. to war (even an apparently minor war) without the approval of Congress. A president may take the nation to war without the approval of Congress only in cases of actual national self-defense. Obama said so himself in a presidential campaign questionnaire put before him by the Boston Globe in 2007 (this via Glenn Greenwald):

“The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

“As commander in chief, the president does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the president would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent.

“History has shown us time and again, however, that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the Legislative branch. It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action.”

As Libya poses about as much of a threat to the United States as Iraq did before the Bush regime launched its illegal, immoral, unjust and unprovoked Vietraq War in March 2003, we can only conclude that Barack Obama has reneged on yet another campaign promise.

(Ironically, Obama’s answer to the abovementioned questionnaire’s last item included this gem: “[Every] president takes an oath to ‘preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.’ The American people need to know where we stand on these issues before they entrust us with this responsibility – particularly at a time when our laws, our traditions and our Constitution have been repeatedly challenged by this [the Bush] administration.”)

Of course, this is the very same Barack Obama who also in 2007 promised, “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 of America because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.”

Of course, Obama didn’t even send Vice President Joe Biden or another proxy to Battleground Wisconsin, but instead he left what is left of the labor movement (after Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush spent almost three decades dismantling it) on its own. Just like Bill Clinton would have done.

Barack Obama promised “hope” and “change,” at least implicitly promised that he was the next Howard Dean, the anti-Clinton (indeed, he was running against a Clinton in the drawn-out Democratic presidential primary season), but he is, for all intents and purposes, just another fucking Bill Clinton (at best), never missing an opportunity to sell out his base, which includes those of us who are against war except in clear-cut cases of national self-defense (and in limited instances otherwise — and only then with the consent of Congress) and who support the labor movement.

Barack Obama is dead to me, frankly. To me he is a sellout, just another fucking liar in Washington. However, unless he faces a strong challenger for the 2012 Democratic presidential nomination, just like it was with Bill Clinton, we most likely will be stuck with Obama — about whom, thus far, the only remarkable thing that history can record is that he was the first black president* — for another four more years.

Because Obama pretended to be another Howard Dean and thus inherited Dean’s base of support — without which Obama never would have made it to the White House — it seems to me that Howard Dean is the best candidate to try to knock Obama off of the presidential ballot in 2012. It seems to me that Dean’s former supporters — and they are legion — would prefer the real Dean to the cheap Dean knock-off that is Barack Obama.

At this point, however, I’ll support even a long shot, such as U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, over Barack Obama, who isn’t getting another fucking penny from me, and certainly never again will he get my vote.

*And by itself, this just isn’t nearly fucking enough.

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