Leaving Obamaland

now leaving obamaland

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Democrats could accomplish nothing during the Bush years, they told us, for the first six years because they were a minority, and during the last two because Republicans could filibuster.  Now, with both houses of congress, a filibuster-proof senate majority and a "transformative leader" in the White House Democrats can only continue the wars, the privatizations, the torture, coverups and kidnapping.  In power, Obama and Democrats can bail out Wall Street but not homeowners; they cannot accomplish anything voters want, like universal health care, Medicare For All.  Some Democratic activists are sobering up, looking around, and heading for the exits.

Leaving Obamaland

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

"...it's not the president's fault if he appears to moonwalk away from a health care bill to a health insurance bill, from single payer to a public option, to insurance co-ops..."


Somewhere there's a president who stands up for homeowners facing bankruptcy and eviction. Somewhere there is a transformative leader who fights to deliver hope, universal health care and equal rights for everybody, who will bring the troops home from Iraq and other places and who is a relentless foe of Wall Street's excesses. This president's very career is a repudiation of racism, ancient injustice and unearned privilege. Of course, that guy is not the president of the U.S. He's the president of an imaginary realm we call Obamaland.

In Obamaland, the president never keeps the truth from us except to deprive the nation's enemies of more bad things to say about us, because he's so busy looking forward. Crimes maybe, are in the past, hope is in the future, right? In Obamaland the president isn't to blame if the wars continue and the troops don't come home, and the government keeps kidnapping and torturing people --- he didn't exactly say all that would stop right away if at all anyhow, did he, really? In Obamaland,all this can be overlooked or forgiven, or at least put off till Democrats somehow obtain a bigger advantage than a mere crushing majority in the House, sixty votes in the Senate, and a new president.

And in Obamaland, even though the president told us to judge his first term on whether he delivers effective, affordable health care to millions of Americans including the uninsured, it's not the president's fault if he appears to moonwalk away from a health care bill to a health insurance bill, from single payer to a public option, to insurance co-ops, and to a plan that doesn't cover the uninsured till 2013.

We could go on for quite a while --- and actually we have been for several years now, about how this mystical, magical place called Obamaland was conceived and constructed, and marketed as the answer to the abuses of the Bush years.

Back in June of 2003, when Glen Ford and I introduced Barack Obama to our audience at Black Commentator, he was a Democratic primary election candidate for the US Senate in Illinois. Candidate Obama, we noted at the time, seemed to be playing a double game. He offered progressive, black and antiwar constituencies a hook just big enough to hang their hopes on, while through his affiliation with the right-wing Democratic Leadership Council, Obama actively courted the support of the full range of corporate America, from the energy, insurance, military contractors and financial sectors to the airlines and Wall Street. This video clip of a much longer interview with BAR executive editor Glen Ford explains how we discovered Obama's affiliation with the Democratic Leadership Council, along with his apparent repudiation of his previous criticism of the Iraq war in the wake of Bush's declaration that Iraq was a “Mission Accomplished.”

Being named one of the DLC's “100 To Watch” as Obama was in 2003 signifies that a candidate has been extensively vetted by a broad range of corporate interests as completely trustworthy and utterly loyal to their agendas. Having obtained the indelible seal of approval from Wall Street, insurance companies, telecoms, military contractors, airlines and the like who sit on the DLC's board, denying it all was the safe and sensible, if dishonest thing to do, and Obama did just that. He claimed the DLC had conferred this distinction upon him with no advance knowledge on his part, and that he would gladly renounce it, as if such a repudiation could ever be taken seriously.

In the interest of clarifying Barack Obama's place on the political spectrum, we posed three “bright line' questions to him.

1. Do you favor the withdrawal of the United States from NAFTA?  Will you in the Senate introduce or sponsor legislation toward that end?

2. Do you favor the adoption of a single payer system of universal health care to extend the availability of quality health care to all persons in this country?  Will you in the Senate introduce or sponsor legislation toward that end?

3. Would you have voted against the October 10 congressional resolution allowing the president to use unilateral force against Iraq?

The three questions were chosen with some care. Earlier in his political career, Obama had taken a position forthrightly against NAFTA, had endorsed Single Payer, and had cast himself as an opponent of the war. But in the heat of a contested race for the US Senate in which Obama was absolutely dependent on a large and unified black and brown vote, --- those being the constituencies most opposed to the war and NAFTA, and who would most benefit from Medicare For All, --- and in which he also needed to get all of the antiwar, anti-NAFTA white vote, Obama's answers were visible evidence that he was already moonwalking away from Democratic voters and toward his elite campaign contributors. Instead of sponsoring single payer in the senate, Obama said he favored “universal health care” and would work to get SCHIP funded.

I favor universal health care for all Americans, and intend to introduce or sponsor legislation toward that end in the U.S. Senate, just as I have at the state level.  My campaign is also developing a series of interim proposals – such as an expansion of the successful SCHIP program”

Instead of repealing NAFTA, he said “renegotiation” might be necessary, another position he repeated when convenient in his presidential campaign four years later, and later abandoned altogether.

...I believe that free trade - when also fair - can benefit workers in both rich and poor nations, I think that the current NAFTA regime lacks the worker and environmental protections that are necessary for the long-term prosperity of both America and its trading partners.  I would therefore favor, at minimum, a significant renegotiation of NAFTA and the terms of the President’s fast track authority...  "

2003's candidate Obama affirmed, with some qualifications, that he would have opposed the authorization to use force against Iraq.

His answers were larded with weasel words. We knew it, and so did anybody who read our work then, or reads it now, several years later. But they were just enough so that given the entire political situation, we felt we had to endorse Obama's campaign for the US Senate. My colleague Glen Ford calls it an ethical dilemma, but I prefer to believe it was a political one, in which we conducted ourselves as honest journalists. We caught him with his pants down and called him. We posed the bright line questions. Candidate Obama was forced to answer them for the permanent record, a record which indicts President Obama today, and prefigures his conduct on health care, NAFTA, the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, government torture and kidnappings, the right to organize unions, his Wall Street bailouts, his endorsement of Bush educational policies and much more. The fact that Obamaland has turned out to be a delusion is no surprise to us, and to many others. It's a reality that dawns upon more and more of us as time goes on.

So the very best our popular president with whopping majorities in both houses of congress can do is not single payer. It's not universal health care at all, but “health insurance reform” as the president calls it, a bailout for private insurers”


The Democratic Leadership Council is almost irrelevant today, a victim of its own success.  It was established in the wake of Jesse Jackson's presidential candidacies in the 1980s, when white, right wing Democrats felt themselves an endangered species.  Their goal was to enable Democrats to compete with Republicans for corporate funding by promoting Democrats who were just as pro-corporate as any Republican.  By now corporate Democrats are the rule, not the exception, and the career of Barack Obama is the crowning example of the DLC's complete victory in freeing the Democratic party from the wishes of Democratic voters, even if Obama denies the DLC brand itself.

The fight for universal health care has blown away the illusions of many. Though months behind schedule, the Democratic health care legislation appears to be where and what our Democratic president wanted all along.

So the very best our popular president with whopping majorities in both houses of congress can do is not single payer. It's not universal health care at all, but “health insurance reform” as the president calls it, a bailout for private insurers, under which millions will be forced to purchase junk insurance, some with government subsidies funded by Medicare and Medicaid cuts. The president is even open to taxing employer-furnished insurance benefits, a position he ridiculed McCain for during the campaign. Drug prices will remain high thanks to a deal cut with Big Pharma, and the public option, originally conceived as a Medicare-scale government run insurance plan competing with private insurers to drive their costs downward, was thoroughly gutted, eviscerated and watered down before the White House declared it “not essential” to its vision of national health care at all.  What remains of a health care bill is what Detroit Rep. John Conyers has called "crappy."  But it's what the president wanted all along.

It is evident now that President Obama has simultaneously played both the good cop and the bad cop on health care, using the excuses of Senate and blue dog intransigence and Republican opposition in order to shed provisions of the health care bill the White House did not favor. We all learned in sixth grade civics class about “co-equal branches” of government, but like a lot of things we learned in childhood, the reality is something else. Outside of Obamaland, the president, any president, possesses levers of vast executive power that can be utilized to bring any mere congressman or senator back onto the reservation. The White House, according to California's Lynn Woosley, routinely bares its fangs at junior members of congress who hint at voting against the war budget, but never threatens to depose stubborn liars in the Senate or call to heel the blue dogs of the House, whose careers are literally the handiwork of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

It's morning in America again, and this time a hung over morning. The left, and most of all the black left, is only beginning to rouse itself from the Obamaland stupor and stumble out into daylight. The president after all, is not necessarily an ally in the fight to deliver health care, or education, or halt privatizations, bankruptcies, foreclosures or unjust wars, or most of the other things that need delivering or need stopping. Now progressives and the wide awake are beginning to leave Obamaland in droves, abandoning the automatic stance that the president is an ally in the struggle for peace abroad and justice at home.

We still need medical care for all. Seventy percent of US bankruptcies in 2009 will be from unpayable medical bills. This won't be the first time in our long, history of struggle that the president is not necessarily on our side. As more of us wake up, smell the coffee and head for the exits from Obamaland we know there are plenty of our people still there.

Some are careerists, who have or hope to get jobs or contracts or preserve their livelihoods by toeing the administration line, or at least not being publicly critical of it. It's a tough world, and we can understand their position.  All job applications in the administration, after all, demand an applicant show his or her Facebook and MySpace pages, and all internet and other writing of a political or policy nature. Some Obamaphiles are the old black misleadership class. Other Obama supporters are the counterparts of George Bush's fan base, who still believed the man was President Jesus to the very end. But most of those still stuck in Obamaland are only half asleep. Until more of them are awakened, we won't stop the wars or the torture or the kidnappings or the creeeping privatization of education and everything else that isn't nailed down. Until we wake up a lot more of them, we certainly won't extend Medicare to everybody.

As Glen Greenwald and others point out, the excuse for not getting things done in the Bush years was that we didn't control the Congress.  When Democrats swept the Congress in 2006 the excuse was that we had to hold our fire to make sure the right presidential candidate got in, and anyway the Republicans could filibuster anything they wanted.  Now with a Democratic president, a House majority and a filibuster-proof majority the excuses are House blue dogs, Republican birthers, and a few right-wing senators of both parties.  In Obamaland these are sufficient and suitable excuses for nothing being accomplished.  But not in the real world.

We have to tell the truth as we know it, and engage them, persistently, respectfully. Some won't hear us, some won't even respect the exchange but that's OK too. We have to engage them as though someone else were listening, and often enough, somebody else will be.  And more of us will sober up, and head for those exits.

Bruce Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and based in Atlanta.  He can be reached at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.


Pls expand on "head for the exits" (for this old head)

I like the commentary.  (Am online a bit less than 2 years,
reading BAR most of that time.) 
One add-on: I went thru bankruptcy caused by my
severe illness over a decade ago (still ill).  I had health
insurance thru an art group (lucky, that), and  got/social
security disability (SSD), by paying in/surviving long
application process, as an artist
(lucky, that, too - who knew?) - but still needed to go
thru bankruptcy: couldn't work, so had to live on plastic
while going thru all the paperwork, etc.  I am never
"the only one".  So going thru bankruptcy due illness, is
not just directly from medical bills.

Since Obamaland is an hallucination....

the "exit" from Obamaland is anyplace one enters, or re-enters the real world.  If you're fighting for health care for everybody, for instance, you exit Obamaland when you stop acting as though the president is an ally instead of an adversary.  That's when you re-enter the real and useful world.

So there are many possible exits, many possible exits, and more are finding them every day.  It's up to us to help others find their exits from this delusional realm. 

thx. I was sure some folks would call it an exit from Dems.

Thanks.  There's such a media-mess: no real analysis
in corporate media of policies.  So BAR is very important.
(As is Glen Greenwald, Paul Street, David Swanson,
"This Can't Be Happening" ...and a few others.  I do
like the  political analysis here.  Finding myself more and
more left......)

Obama campaign for the

Obama campaign for the presidency would have been viewed by the masses to be exactly what it was and still is: well scripted theater staring a wolf in sheeps clothing. Hopefully more and more Black folks and other progressives will admit that Mr. Dixon and company at BAR were right about Obama all along and walk out on this horrible play and force the curtain to fall. editor html

The Illusion Should have been peeled back...

When Obama WENT ON FOX NEWS, and declared that "The Surge has succeeded beyond our wildest dreams."  Obama didn't just endorse the "surge" and admitted he was wrong, he endorsed it with the utmost ENTHUSIASM.  In effect, to any astute political tea reader, Obama not only heretofore ENDORSED THE IRAQ WAR, he foolishly, but for political reasons ENDORSED 8 YEARS OF BUSH MILITARISM AND WAR CRIMES and the Phony WOT.  Reflect on the fact that the so-called "success of the surge" is the only aspect of Bush's worst foreign policy decision in US history that still has legs.  Especially so with Thom. Ricks (the court scribe) and others lionizing Paetreus, turning him into Julius Caesar while ignoring the General's failed counterinsurgency f****kups in Ramadi (a continued hot bed of resistance to this day).
Obama consciously, tactically endorsed Bush/Cheney's War Crime of the Century with the nonsense, the lies and capitulation that the "surge succeeded beyond our wildest dreams."  He could have taken the tact, the historically correct one, the politically sound and progressive one, that Bush weakened America by invading Iraq, that Bush fomented more terrorists (as even Rumsfield admitted) by invading Iraq.  But no, he didn't, he CHEERLEADED A WAR CRIME. 
The reality is the last 2 presidents were/are cheerleaders, Bush at Andover and in college and Obama as a agent of the Neocons and Oligarchs.
Each and every day as I scour other political blogs I grow increasingly confident that the charade is coming to an end.  More and more posters are outright rejecting Obama and the Dem Party and will abandon them come hell and high water.
I also notice that several citizens of Obamaland, while not perhaps abandoning the "City" clearly have taken shelter in "vacant and dilapidated" properties.  We don't hear from them here at BAR as we did in the days preceding the election, giving cover and all manner of excuse for the fraudster and con man.  Many have obviously (though not overtly) awaken from their sleep and discovered the gas has been disconnected and the electricity shut off in their vacant and dilapidated abodes in Obamaland.
And the cowardly, intellectually challenged, chickenshit bastards still haven't answered my question that is powerfully touched on this essay:
"Name one act, one bill, one piece of legislation, one muscular act of politics by the Dems during 8 years of Bush's unlawful presidency?"
Carl Davidson and "Progressives for Obama,"  "where are you chumps?" 
Obama might as well grow a pair, he's a one and doner for sure.  But as I ALSO said repeatedly during those debates, "Homeboy is just patently weak and stands for little."  I don't see the "Tin Man" getting a heart, a brain or a "pair" from the Wizard in my or his lifetime.

EC said: Each and every day

EC said: Each and every day as I scour other political blogs I grow increasingly confident that the charade is coming to an end.  More and more posters are outright rejecting Obama and the Dem Party and will abandon them come hell and high water.
I wish I could share your confidence about the state of the electorate. I wonder though, if the "progressives for Obama" are just saving their energy for the next election. I'm sure if Palin were to get the nomination, the same ol "lesser of two evils" argument will rear it's ugly head again. It might even come from my own mouth if not for the fact that I don't give a shit about what happens to America anymore.
We should keep in mind as well that there is at least one group of African Americans who haven't drank the Obama-aid.
Black Republicans.
As much as I enjoy deriding their silly asses, they have actually figured out a couple of things that it's important for African Americans to understand: The Democrats ain't got nothin for us; and entrepreneurship (actually community building) can help to break our dependance on the state, political saviours, and white folks in general.
Unfortunately they've jumped from the frying pan to the fire, but at least they understand they're in a frying pan. Many of us do not (more so amongst the white liberal population who think they can save this god forsaken country).
Without an well organised third party or grassroots alternative the disgruntled may just fade into the woodwork.


I can't say that I'd bet the farm on my preposition, your counterpoint has merit.  What is very fluid, however, is that despite the apologists at Moveon.org, or the Nation or elsewhere, the posters are now rapidly losing faith.  For many health care is/will be a litmus test.  In addition, the Af-Pak misadventure is going badly, opposition increasing, with Europe poised to pull the plug on the ill-fated enterprise by either 2010 or 12.  There is a general pessimism crossing all political spectrums; there is a collective sense that the stakes are higher although the angst derives from different corners depending upon your politics.  The Democratics could diminish as a result of sheer apathy if not by 3rd Party opposition.  And more and more liberal essayists are speaking up and, pardon the pun, "calling a spade a spade."  What "may" make the current situation unique is a combination of the RAPIDITY and SCOPE of Obama's betrayal exacerbated by the continued deterioration of the country.  It has created a greater sense of urgency and anger??
Countervailing factors include the inability of the GOP to "rebrand" itself into a national party.  The Dems understand and coopt "the center" whereas the GOP "base" is "doubling down."  Where the message can be more effectively tailored to local conditions, the GOP will do well in 2010, whereas on a national platform most people ain't buying what they selling and will most likely default to "lesser vs. evil."  I will always believe it was McCain's to lose had he selected a competent running mate.
I agree that the disgruntled could fade in the woodwork and the media will aid and abet that by non-reporting.  Ironically, it may (as I have argued previously) rest with the Grand Old Party to lead the rebellion.  I assure you they are locked and loaded, both literally and figuratively.  It might start with (what the media will describe as Right Wing) tax revolts.  Don't be surprised if your town council meetings start getting a little heated, don't be suprised if (God forbids) somebody gets "capped" at the local government level in "broad daylight."  It might be the Right Wingers that provide the spark.  The "fear and loathing" emanting from the health care town halls is just the jumping off point.

No need to worry about the USA becoming like Guatemala...

Guatemala barely exists...the HEAD OF SALES of the CORPORATIST STATE and the reliable Robert Gates, James Jones, Henry Kissinger, Blackwater and god knows who else already took care of Sr President Colom's government using covert ops under the new "War On Narco Terrorism" linkage to "The War On Terror" which the preening narcissist HEAD OF SALES granted himself.  Think more in terms of Costa Rica or even a poorer dumber more vicious (if that's possible) Israel.  I am an Ashkenaz in Panama so I have no illusions about Israel.  I'm a pan-semite and have to tolerate ethnic-cleansing of my brothers supposedly in MY NAME because I'm of Russian ancestry.  This subject makes my blood boil but when I start I can't stop.  All I can say is "bless you, Cynthia McKinney."
Guatemala, Honduras and now Switzerland would make three coups in less than 8 months.  I'm sure Henry Kissinger is very proud of his protege, the agent of change.
I've found this site and the editors', writers', and fans' comments and youtubes make me feel like there some hope for the USA and that this wretched sadistic corporatism will have to stop at some point.  We in Latin America -- rich, poor, right, left, white, black, mestizo, semita, persian, whatever -- need your help. The Obama Adminstration has increased Plan Colombia beyond what Bill Clinton funded it with, beyond what George W. Bush expanded it to, beyond even what John McCain announced he would do at the "Cuban Independence Parade" in May of 2008 -- "crack down on radical trade-unionist and communist drug dealers, while using our friends the Colombians in our struggle against the communist Hugo Chavez..."  Obama's gone beyond all that.  They've reported in the US media that one new miliary base and 500 active duty personnel will come down at a later date.  That's a lie. 10 bases, 1000s of troops and 20,000 contractors or more with offensive plans against Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia using Colombia as a base.
There is a problem that maybe Henry Kissinger and Gates have considered but the American kids aren't aware of this.  Colombia is not welcoming this with open arms.  Obviously, Sra Senadora Cordoba has a fine relationship with Jesse Jackson, Jim McGovern and Bill Delahunt as do both Carlos and Cesar Gaviria, so it's not ALL AMERICANS that Colombians hate -- just those who are a threat.  Now, I have no idea how much or little anyone knows about the civil war there but it has produced in a modern, highly educated, socially diverse country, a degree of affectlessness and nihilism that I'd imagine only the poorest in the projects of East St Louis or Camden, NJ, in America can know -- among the bourgeoisie! Imagine what the poor and the AUDs and FARC are like.
The best example is this.  I know a Jewish-Colombian woman from Medellin who lives in Panama and is an investment banker. She's about 40, leans sort of center-left politcally, has an MBA from like Duke or something. She comes from a wealthy family nd has done well for herself in her own career. Nice woman. Well read. Whatever. OK, so the evening I'm introduced to her at a party we get to talking and she tells me she and her father are the only members of her family that haven't been murdered and that she herself had been kidnapped twice and had been freed by cousins with AK-47s who were killed in the process. She tells me this in Spanish in the tone of voice someone would use telling a stranger about their pets!
Then, in the same voice, she says "I can't believe I lived to 40, but it really would be better for me and all of us just to be born dead."  I've santized this story for the sake of not being overly dramatic.
I wrote it to someone on a social network site who is part of whatever's left of the USA peace movement who follows Latin issues.  I got DEATH THREATS from White Suburban "Liberal" Obama Fanatics! If it weren't so absurd and amazingly funny in a twisted Garcia Marquez way, I'd be very angry.  From what I can tell, the Barack Obama "movement" is a White one.  A White fake liberal one.  I've met many Black Americans and I've yet to meet one who likes to pay high taxes to support wars of choice and who enjoys being lectured at in that repulsive way of Obama's.  When you meet him or her, let the Smithsonian Institution know about it because that person would be UNIQUE.
I don't mean to be dismissive of Barack Obama.  Or what he means to anyone on any sort of level.  Ethnic issues, though, take a back seat to class issues in South America and so when I write in English I express myself in a way that doesn't take into account American culture even though I was educated there.  I never actually believed that he would end Plan Colombia as he said he would in the debate with McCain, but I certainly didn't expect THIS.  I expected him to let the issue lay at George W. Bush levels until late in his second term but not stand in the way if let's say Uribe, Cordoba, Chavez, the Gavirias, Jesse Jackson, Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan or even Brent Scowcroft were part of a real peace process that would have all "secuestrados" and all "presos politcos" released, a complete-cease fire, a decriminalization of drugs, and a Truth And Reconciliation Commission.  I assumed Obama would like to be part of that himself maybe if only for ego. 
I didn't expect him to be a cheerful butcher.
Thanks for reading my boring words. I know I go on. Please keep up the excellent work.

Only Solidarity will defeat a threat worst than GWB

Many posters at BAR rejected the "lesser vs. evil" argument by elevating their analysis one step further.  They posited that "Obama would be a greater threat, danger, worse than GWB."  That factor alone gave them much courage and wisdom to reject identify politics and "lesser evilism."  My goodness how prescient they were!  I didn't vote for the empty suit, but I must admit not even an "enlightened cynic" like me could predict the rapidity and scope of Obama morphing into a Neocon/Neoliberal war monger and statist.  Or the boldness of his betrayal to progressive causes.  I thought he would be more incremental. 
As a TROJAN HORSE, Obama is more dangerous than GWB for reasons to obvious or in no need of restating.  There is no better example of this than the health care "debate" where he and his puppet master Rahm sidelined single payor and "liberals" as they coddled and sucked up and schemed in drafting legislation written by the pens of HMOs and Big Pharma.  As a Trojan Horse, Obama obscures real debate and critical thinking, gives cover to the meanest Right Wing Reactionaries.  Of course he is aided and abetted by the fake liberals.  I fell out of my chair laughing when you wrote:
I got DEATH THREATS from White Suburban "Liberal" Obama Fanatics! If it weren't so absurd and amazingly funny in a twisted Garcia Marquez way, I'd be very angry.
All I can say my friend is "welcome to the crowd."  While I never got death threats I never failed to get a good "scolding" from the fake, psuedo-racists who chastised my "radicalism" in tones deserving of a 3 year old.  What  wonderful people, these PATERNALISTIC Mercedes Socialists and closet racists and statists.  Welcome to Amerikka, a nation with a recessive gene and mean streak.  A  sanctimonious cesspoll of hypocrisy, duplicity, and illusions of grandeur.  "Liberal democracy my ass."  I guarantee you won't get death threats from posters at BAR. LOL   And while I will personally never cease to promote Black nation-building or self-help (call it what u want) as a necessity not an ideology nor negate the overarching racism here, we can only hope we reach a day when class solidarity trumps racial solidarity, that goes for Hispanics, Blacks and Whites (and White females) beholden to bullshit "identity politics."  We all could be more hopeful if class solidarity were the US of A's starting point.
Hats off to those who stopped sipping the Kool-Aid. Credit is deserved for using critical thinking skills to discern a threat worse than GWB, manifested in stark facts such as the militarization of Latin America and the expansion of the fake WOT into Africa, and Af-Pak.  If Bush did this the "fake liberals" heads would be popping.   If Bush transferred trillions to the banksters (as opposed to funneling billions to "contractors") the fake liberals would be marching on D.C.  I believe there are an increasing number of "converts" out there, and I don't know but I suspect they are committed to abandoning the democratic party.  As the prescient ones at BAR posited, and it's becoming more obvious, the "lesser evil" argument is rank bullshit, is nothing but a Big Lie, is contingent upon fear and a lack of courage or principles.  I believe a lot of people are moving beyond "lesser evilism" to another place.  It might just be the "f***k it mode" . 
There are all sorts of reasons Obama (IMO) will be a one termer.  Race, betrayal of the progressive base, and even things more fundamental such as a weakness of personality, an absence of principle, a horrible decision-maker, a total capitulator.  If we can survive this front man (and that's a BIG if) we might just see "the cracks widen" as Mzimkhulu says.  As a cynic I'm not looking for transformation or revolution, but perhaps we can put some brakes on the train, driven by Obama, that is heading out of town and off a cliff.  The Dem Party will suffer from his abject failures as well.
Only SOLIDAIRTY will defeat or restrain a threat greater than GWB.  It's interesting you note the sentiments of the Columbians regarding Amerikkans.  That sentiment is shared world wide despite the tired-ass "hearts and minds" as we kill and destroy you bullshit parading our air waves.  There are millions in the States who are against militarization of Latin America who stand in solidarity to Latin Americans.  Only delusions of grandeur and supremacy are keeping our military adventurism afloat, but since the Iraq War Crime, we have been eating and grinding up our troops.  The politics and fiscal condition will constrain some (not all) privitization of the military, the draft is the next default position.  When these bloodthirsty bastards try to bring back the draft, the drive out of Obamaland and the American Imperium will be a bumpy one.

Thanks, Englightened Cynic!

I assumed my words wouldn't offend anybody here.  As I wrote, its one of the sources of information for Americans who want the truth.
The ideas and concepts you write about and advocate here are already settled law and shared values in most of modern Latin America.  Even Peru, a US-client state, run by a serious butcher, Alan Garcia who ran death squads during the Reagan years, has a fantastic single-payer plan which everyone likes.  Every country has telecommunications privacy laws that are absolute.  Only Peru has the death penalty.  If not for the USA, there would be very little if any political violence.  Alvaro Uribe, Bush and Obama's great friend, as authoritarian as he can be, is very evolved on gay and lesbian issues and has a government dependent economically on gay and lesbian rights and liberties.  It's just a cultural value that smart business people have leveraged in an environment when the cost of capital can be high because the true economic activity in Colombia can't be officially reckoned in the National Income Accounts.  Reason=U.S.A. War On Drugs. 
I've read a lot of American doctors and researchers make a clear medical case of the stupidity and cruelty of "the War On Drugs" inside and outside the U.S.A. These are not issues of morality.  They are issues of brain, blood and body chemistry.  As a general matter, South Americans tolerate the active ingrediet in coca easier than Americans do.  So, there is not much of a cocaine addiction problem down here.  On the other hand, there is an alcoholism problem because South Americans as a general matter don't tolerate alcohol well.  So, someone trying hard booze for the first time will REALLY get messed-up and if he or she likes that, addiction will follow quickly.  Smoking rock cocaine does not produce those kinds of social ills here.  It just isn't that much of fun high that people seek out.  It's the equivalent of drinking one Lite Beer. It's take it or leave it, who cares kind of thing.
So, the U.S.government is using some idea that THEIR ideas and morals and body reactions to coca HAVE TO APPLY TO COLOMBIA, BOLIVIA, ECUADOR and PERU? Or to Venezuela, Brazil, Panama, or Uruguay? It's absurd.  It's also a lie. We know this.  We know it's about dollars and political control and has nothing to do with drugs.
Believe me, I'm a non-partisan, apolitical moderate down here.  My views are considered COMMUNIST in the USA.  The propaganda on Chavez is beyond absurd by the way.  If you look at the CIA's own World Fact Book, you'll see that while his budgets have a large social sector and about 30% of the productive capacity is collectively-owned, he's one of the more fiscally and montarily conservative heads-of-state in the world.  If he were such a "communist" I highly doubt the Ford Motor Company would have floated stock and  bond issues on the Caracas exchange to finance factories to produce low-and-no-emissions sedans.  Why did Allan Mullaly do this? Because Bush and Obama  wouldn't let him do it in America.  Obama especially.  He gave Mullaly no end of drama for refusing to  take a govrernment handout!
When I think about stuff like this, I get depressed again.  A White, Ruling-Class, CEO of an automotive manufacturing company just using financial common sense is more aware of the benefits of peace, freedom, and pleasant trade relations than all of these self-proclaimed "Liberals" and "Socialists."  That is Amerikkka, I guess. And it's why I sure have no problem with Black Nationalism or self-sufficiency or a Black Power movement.  It's kind of the common-sense response.  Even a Latino Right-Winger would understand that.
The hypocrisy on Mel Zelaya of Honduras was unbelievable.  When he was elected, every the alternative media complained that he was too pro-business and all tied in with the Russians and this and that.  Following the coup, he's their darling! I had no opinion one way or the other on Zelaya as a president of Honduras. I don't live in Honduras.  It seemed like the country was getting stronger economically during his presidency and there was an upcoming ballot measure which if he was doing a bad job Hondurenos could have used to deny him what he sought.  He was term-limited anyway.  But the US had to get involved.  I'm convinced it was a US coup.  Just as I'm convinced that the de-stabilization of Guatemala was a coup as was the UBS ruling a coup against the democratically-elected Merz government of Switzerland.
No matter what the media tells you about Obama having a "great new beginning" with Latin America, you're getting the facts from someone on the ground right here.  Nobody likes him.  Some hate him.  Many are scared of him.  All are perplexed by him.  He has not RAISED THE IMAGE OF THE USA here.

The cracks are real!

The black republicans are not smarter for jumping from they frying pan into the fire! They think they are jumping into the hands of the physicians and nurses of the burn unit of some hospital in the grand canyon. The more Obama exposes his true colors, the more people will realise what he truly stands for. That has begun to happen!  Granted, it will not take us to some revolution but true progressives have an opportunity to push harder for the cracks to widen. Who knows what will happen after that?

Obamaland was soooo obvious

Other than myself, I don't personally know any blacks who didn't vote  for Obama. I  was very leery of him from the beginning and remembered  Malcolm X's quote that " when whites start telling  you how  great some black  politician or "leader" is, its someone they control." I simply followed the money, via the web, and quickly discovered that Obama was nothing but a frontman for corporate america and the israel/jewish lobby AIPAC. Obama was essentially given  his senate seat when the republicans selected Alan Keyes, instead of a credible opponent. With the  exception of Rev Wright, Obama was  given a  corporate media free pass with all those feel good speeches and softball guestions.What  was so amazing is that all these  blacks and whites actually believed Obama's incredible rise to the  Senate & presidential nominee was the result of a genuine grass roots movement. Do  you really believe the powers that be would even  allow Obama's name  to be mentioned , in the major media, as a serious presidential contender, or for the senate, if  he wasn't thoroughly vetted, as  far as  maintaining the status quo? I actually  know  people who attended  parties on inauguration  night to  celebrate the anticipated "change we can believe in."I voted Nader and recieved a  lot of flak  for doing  so; and damn near everything he said about Obama and the democratic party has  quickly been proven  to be on  point. I have no regrets.

I had to pull a u-turn in the grass (don't tell the staties!)

I became skeptical of Obama mid way through his campaign, but I too a sip too much of the campaign liquor and voted for the brotha. I didn't give him any money though (hahaha). I was going to give him 200 days, instead of the traditional 100 days. TWO WEEKS IN I was absolutely assured that this brotha was not gonna act G. Tax cheats like Tom Daschle for Health and Human services Secretary, $102,000 in back taxes? Even Tim Geithner, the Treasury secretary, owed $30,000 at the time of his nomination. (Treasury secretary runs the IRS, by the way. Come on now- that's called the fox running the henhouse.) Then the lobbist nominations...I took a day by day assessment of the Obama administration, and decided that I best to get back on the right track ASAP. I voted for Nader in 2004 and probably would have voted for him or McKinney if I wasn't 'drunk'.
My people, it's been a scenic ride on this first Black president tip, but for real: turn around on the overpass at this health care ramp! Like Winnie the Pooh says: "Think...think..." It's not too late to leave Obamaland!!! Don't act all lost, y'all hear?

Joell, I remember seeing on TV the famous speech he gave...

...at the 2004 Democratic National Convention and I remember thinking "this is kind of speech Endara gives!" Guillermo Endara was once a puppet president of Panama installed by Bush Sr and Colin Powell after the massacre of El Chorillo.  In 2004, Endara ran for president from the PVMP ("Moral Guardian Of The Fatherland Party") against Martin Torrijos of the PRD ("Revolutionary Democratic Party") and luckily Torrijos won pretty easily.
I wanted to test my evaluation of the speech because once it was over, the TVN coverage switched back to local issues and I watched the "analysis" on CNN.  They said it was the "greatest political speech of all time" and this and that.  So, I check the American political sites the next day and sure enough there was a post on National Review's website which called it perfectly: "Right Man, Wrong Party."  Apparently, they heard the same speech I did, but LIKED it, whereas I was nauseated by it.
Malcolm X also had a quote about America compared to apartheid South Africa which goes something like "I have more respect for a man who lets me know where he stands than one who pretends to be an angel but is nothing but a devil...America is as racist as South Africa it just preaches democracy and integration and doesn't practice it."
I kept my eye on the US election from mid-2007 onward. In November of 2007 at Obama's low-point, right after Kucinich and Clinton absolutely cleaned Obama's clock in the Las Vegas debate, the first TV interview Obama gave was to Pat Robertson's network.  Well, that sort of cleared away any doubts for me about what kind of person he was.  Then, I read about the AIPAC connection.  I'm Jewish and all, but there is no organization as opposed to peace and freedom as AIPAC is.  I'm a total anti-Zionist.
But I'm lucky to live in La Ciudad de Panama, because we have complete pan-Semitism here.  Arabs and Jews could not possibly be closer.  We hang out together, live in the same neighborhoods, go to the same clubs, intermarry, all that stuff.  And nobody talks about Israel policy -- "mierda de afuera...no tiene nada que ver con nosotros" (outside bullshit that doesn't have anything to do with us) -- other than to say how crazy it is.
From what I could tell, Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul were the only major party candidates offering anything different.  Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader were interesting third party candidates.  In retrospect, even the nauseating Bob Barr was better than Obama or McCain.  People forget that McKinney and Barr were pretty serious front-benchers in their respective parties back when.  If not for Obamania, there would have been a lot of interest in the off-party candidates, I think. 
I would have voted for McKinney if could vote in American elections.  I would not have been wrong to do so!

If only the "Antiwar Movement" was as busy as the "Candidate"

 Justin Raimondo, at antiwar.com. does a masterful job describing how Obama is "outBushing" GWB in fighting the sacred and vaunted WOT (read energy war).  Justin is right about how the "Antiwar Candidate" could morph into Julius Caesar (or for those struck on "identity" politics, Ptolemy I), this could happen "Only in Obamaland or Bizarro World" and Lord help us poor captives  and innocent victims of both.  Is Obama more reckless and insane than Bush or is he naive and feckless? WTF was he reading on Martha's Vineyard???  Rudyard Kipling and Samuel Huntington, or was it Dr. Suess,- "The Cat in the Hat?   You be the judge, read Raimondo.  Kudos and Big Ups to Raimondo who offers insights on the Left/Right divide also:
II.  On a "milder note."  How do you like this one for a future look at "soft" totalitarianism, from Mr. "Transparency" in the White House.  If I keep reading shit like this, I might just leave them "birthers and deathers" alone.  I might just start scoping that "New World Order" shit on the internet (before it's shut down)  I'll be damned if perhaps they aint onto something???
"Internet companies and civil liberties groups were alarmed this spring when a U.S. Senate bill proposed handing the White House the power to disconnect private-sector computers from the Internet."
First Telcom immunity and Constitutional Scholar coverup of Constitutional Law Violations.  Murdoch is making his sheeple pay for on-line usage.  HOW LONG WILL IT BE BEFORE "MR. CHANGE"  sells net neutrality to the multi-national Goebbels perpetrating as news??  Maybe Amerikkans will finally wake up when they can't get on-demand porn; that might be the internet equivalent of instituting the draft.  God Bless Amerikka.
Update:  More "media" (read Propaganda and content) consolidation on the way.  If the Democrats wanted an counter-institutional mechanism to Right Wing Media, why aren't they doing something to regulate media monopolies/consolidation?  Does it not make tactical political scense as well as the right thing to do legally?
Update II: 
 Big Brass Bull: Pentagon Deceit on Media Manipulation Confirmed

You want answers? Well, so does he...

"I'll be damned if perhaps they aint onto something???"
Indeed, Enlightened...we are on top of all of this shit. Indeed, our country is on the way to being neck deep in 'green' crap. Alex Jones' Infowars.com is WHAT'S UP. I wouldn't be listening to him and his guests or read his site if I thought he was some bigot, as those who would have him slandered would want me to believe- and there are many who dismiss him out of hand because of his harsh rants at times. Nonetheless, his presentation of the facts is impressive in my view.
Pay attention to the men behind the curtain...Question the Man's motives. Remember the Maafa...Remember Crispus Attucks...Remember Jim Crow...Remember the Tuskeegee Experiment...Remember the CIA and crack cocaine...Remember Katrina...
I was not born to be subjected to the indignities devised for ever increasing aspects of my life. I was not born to be a slave to the political and financial elites. My unborn children and grandchildren will not be subect to these indignities either. Before respect is given back dignity must be given first.

Info Wars precede Real Ones: Totalitarians write the script

The "WAR" is all about information.  Which is why I try to constantly remind folks (not the posters here so much) that what perpetrates as "news" is straightup propaganda. (The remaining "broadcasts" simply appeals to prurient interests).  How in the hell are "public airwares" monopolized?  I thought the law defined airwaves clearly as "public goods?"  Why don't the Dems use anti-trust laws, FCC, legislative muscle to kill Right Wing Media?  Why do the Dems b.s. about net neutrality, no clear stance?
Answer: Because they have no interest in creating counter media and political institutions to the facists now stewards of this country.  It boils down to:  Right Wing R Us, for the Dems.  I read as much as I have time for, including Info.wars, Black Listed News, Global Research Ca, Dissident Voices, Asia Times, and on and on.  We are fighting, afterall, goddamnit, an Info War.  The Info Wars always precede the real ones, the "hot" ones, history has taught us again and again.  It's going down right now with Iran.  The War Mongering Whores and Vampires ignore the nations highest intelligence source/document:  The National Intelligence Estimate.  What the lying bastards aim to tell us is that El Baradei is all f***ked up, unreliable, sleeping on the job, biased, blah blah blah ad nauseum.  Amazingly the Neocons have not only lived another day under "The Antiwar President" truth of the matter is they are flowering under the Antiwar President., reaching an apex.  A remarkable feat of history only possible because they are winning the Info War and have willing accomplices in the Prez and the Dems, and of course the fake-ass "antiwar" contingent.
I say read what you want, discard what you will, think, debate and rethink.  During the presidential elections I would cite Raimondo all the time.  Antiwar.com is a invaluable source, check it out and tell me if you conclude otherwise?  But posters got caught up in Raimondo's "Libertarianism" (and perhaps gayness?) and the "purity" of it all, similar to the manner in which they ignored Ron Paul, who was accused of being a bigot too.  Frankly, I didn't give a shit if he was bigoted anymore than Bush, I mean damn, most white folks are bigoted (Just kidding, sort of).  The Libertarians have history on their side when they argue that wars bankrupt governments and impinge on civil liberties, sap creative energies and investment capital, threatens the Republican form of government.  In fact, anyone who got at least a B- in Western Civ. should have learned same.  But the "purity" of "Libertarianism" bullshit got in the way of their logic.  "Winning" was the shit.  The Be All End All.  Now we see how that all works out in the end?

Yes, indeed, Ron Paul and the "labels"!

Everybody in Latin America who is aware of Ron Paul likes him.  It's obvious he knows what he's talking about when it comes to peace and freedom.  He advocates in terms of USA Latin policy what everyone wants, except for the Colombian and Peruvian far-right who are actually much more in favor of peace than Barack Obama is.
I read the weirdest criticisms of Ron Paul in American blogs.  The Republicans don't like him because he's for peace, freedom, rights, and a rational criminal justice system plus he's anti-imperialist.  The Democrats don't like him because, well, I don't know why exactly.  Maybe because he's a Republican.  Maybe because he's a Christian.  Maybe because he has free-market economic ideas.  Big deal.  Hugo Chavez has some free-market economic ideas, too.  This is real life not some silly classroom exercise of who's more "true to the game then whom."
I know what the Republicans stand for and I don't like 99% of it.  I don't have the faintest  idea of what Democrats stand for.  I couldn't begin to explain Barack Obama to myself let alone someone who speaks no English.
I know that during our presidential election Barack Obama was so very on the side of Martinelli and the PP that Balbina Herrera had to go to George H W Bush, her most hated enemy during 1989-1992 to see if he could put some stopper on Obama's Panama policy no matter if she or Martinelli won the election. Believe me, I like Balbina Herrera a lot and consider her loss to be a bad thing and doubtless there's no person in the Democratic Party to her "left" on any issue, I'd also consider her in world and Panamanian terms to be a "moderate."  Martinelli's to her right, but I don't HATE him.  I doubt he'll make any radical changes to the national health or the privacy laws or anything.  I'm scared that we might even NEED George Bush Senior's help! What a sick thought that is.
I've joked with American friends before that I could make a Republican hate Alvaro Uribe with one sentence and make the biggest liberals HATE Hugo Chavez with one sentence.  Neither sentence would mean terribly much about the key issues in Colombia and Venezuela.  Ready?
ALVARO URIBE has been a strong gay-rights advocate in policy and practice during his presidency.
HUGO CHAVEZ loves hunting and fishing as hobbies.

Ain't that a Bitch? F****ed, - - AGAIN- - by the Dems!

Banks 'Too Big to Fail' Have Grown Even Bigger
Behemoths Born of the Bailout Reduce Consumer Choice, Tempt Corporate Moral Hazard
By David Cho
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 28, 2009

"When the credit crisis struck last year, federal regulators pumped tens of billions of dollars into the nation's leading financial institutions because the banks were so big that officials feared their failure would ruin the entire financial system.
Today, the biggest of those banks are even bigger.  The crisis may be turning out very well for many of the behemoths that dominate U.S. finance. A series of federally arranged mergers safely landed troubled banks on the decks of more stable firms. And it allowed the survivors to emerge from the turmoil with strengthened market positions, giving them even greater control over consumer lending and more potential to profit."
Many of the largest banks reported a surge in profit during the most recent quarter, including J.P. Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs. They are prospering while many regional and community banks are struggling. Nearly three dozen of the smaller institutions have failed since July 1, including Community Bank of Nevada and Alabama-based Colonial Bank just last week.
If the government continues to back big firms over small, regulators worry that reckless behavior could return to Wall Street."
No shit, Sherlock. But take heed, yea of little faith.  Waxman is going to have hearings on the salaries of health care CEOs.  I can't wait for those probing, hard hitting questions.  Like the ones directed to the banksters. LOL
Ben Bernanke and Lil Timmy SAVED THE WORLD!!  LOL  How many years did it take the end the Great Depression?  And these m.f.s end it in 6 mos.?  Now, if you've got sterling credit you can get a loan from the increasing number of banks "too big to fail."  Never mind your "shareholder status" as represented by your proxies, Timothy and Benjamin.  But of course given layoffs, tax increases, loan defaults, shutdowns, foreclosures, bankruptcies, medical calamaties and the sort, your broke ass got bad credit.  Too bad, "that's your personal responsibility."  Just don't you dare shirk your responsibility to bail out the bigger than ever banks AGAIN.  They'll need your help once more, just as soon as the Stimulus Bubble burts, round about next Spring.  (Thought I'd share something you wouldn't hear from Erin Burnett, Ron Insana, or Mad $$ Cramer.)
New World Order Baby!!! (I read up on it yall,  bf they shut down the internet)  LOL

Enlightened Cynic...

I'm beginning to enjoy what you write now that I know who you really are. I was initially perturbed by the advent of the Enlightened cynic and his not- so-hidden imitation of you. I went to the extent of thinking that you had abandoned us because of this new format which seems to have scared many a poster away. Glad you didn't!

Big "M"

The format did scare away some posters as BAR worked out the kinks.  I really miss Ndifor's screeds.
Being technologically challenged I had problems with the password process and feeling that old compulsion to write, I simply invented a new nom de guerre out of desperation or was it exasperation?  EC is not that bad a handle, if you don't mind me saying so.

Hope, Change, Yes We Can: Theater of the Absurd

If not for the corporate media's planned embrace of it, and the Black Mis-Leadership class bowing in submission to what they certaintly understood was classic snake oil selling just to get the first Black man elected President, the Obama campaign for the presidency would have been viewed by the masses to be exactly what it was and still is: well scripted theater staring a wolf in sheeps clothing. Hopefully more and more Black folks and other progressives will admit that Mr. Dixon and company at BAR were right about Obama all along and walk out on this horrible play and force the curtain to fall.

@ Pana Semita

Welcome "home" to BAR where your comments and insights are appreciated.   A lot has been learned from your viewpoint already, intricacies and nuances of Latin America we don't get from "Matt & Merdith."  And unless it's a missing white woman in Guadalajara or Ecuador, same for Larry King,CNN and the rest of the Right Wing Media. 
It's been several days and counting and still "no death threats."  A positive sign you've been accepted into the fold? LOL
As to not understanding what the Dems stand for, don't be so modest.  They don't stand for a damn thing.
To parapharse Mzimkhulu, "are the cracks beginning to widen?  The polling on opposition to the Af-Pak adventure would indicate so.  As the US military death toll increases with the "surge" (read ESCALATION) of another 20 to 40K American troops, and unemployment and business closures continue unabated, how long will it be before the masses say enough is enough?
How about this as a "rule" of warfare and "counterinsurgency:"  Starving populations don't fight so well or as zealously.  And last time I checked the US doen't get a free pass on that one.  Maybe the War Mongers need to expand their reading to some old sources?
Raimondo:  "Yet the real change, and far more significant, is the one taking place in the population at large, among Republicans as well as Democrats. A new Washington Post/ABC News poll finds, for the first time, that a majority of Americans think the Afghan war is "not worth it." The breakdown is even more ominous for the Obamaites: of the antiwar contingent, 41 percent feel strongly, while on the other side, only 31 percent feel that way. The belief that the U.S. and its dwindling band of allies can reasonably expect to win the war is similarly wavering.
What support the president has managed to maintain on this issue has a soft underbelly highly vulnerable to continued bad news from the battlefield – which is one reason why the administration has hired the Rendon Group, whose marketing job for Ahmed Chalabi worked out so well, to vet "embedded" reporters in Afghanistan. The Obama crowd, like its predecessors, knows full well the value of controlling the narrative. Now if only they can declare a "cyber-emergency" and seize control of the Internet, as Jay Rockefeller’s bill envisions!
Yet not even that would succeed, I’ll wager: the American people are sick and tired of constant wars, and it doesn’t matter if the commander in chief is a Democrat, a Republican, or a Vegetarian."

Me alegro! Jajaja! But...

...who's "Matt & Meredith?" 
There was some big scandal here about a White woman who got killed by some Colombians, but the whole thing wss absurd.  Against her realtors advice, she bought a house next to where some very dangerous people lived.  Of course, it was a beautiful house in a luxurious suburb!  The Colombians offered to pay her TWICE what she had paid two weeks earlier for the house.  She refused.  There was some gossip that her husband took advantage of the situation to kill her.  I don't know what happened.  All I know is  I heard it created a lot of anti-Torrijos anti-Panama sentiment in the US.  
I did see the interview with Martin Torrijos on CNN at Obama's inaugural.  The reporter asked him "aren't you thrilled that Barack Obama is president and can aid your struggling nation with economic support?" Torrijos is a very quiet guy. Probably the quietest, least egotistical, politician I've ever seen. His English isn't super-duper unaccented like Michelle Bachelet's is, but it was enough for him to get a Master's from UT or Texas A & M or something.  He said "Well, I'm happy for him.  He seems like a nice man, but Panama won't be a burden on President Obama; we've grown at a non-compounded average rate of 9.5% over the last five years and even 2009 will come in around +4% or so."  He smiles.  She says "maybe you didn't understand me, I asked aren't you happy that you'll finally get some help for your weak economy from a president who wants a new beginning with Latin America?"  Torrijos says "Pardon me, my English is not so good.  I meant to tell you that nothing new is needed.  We're just where we want to be economically..."  She asks him again.  He answers again.  She asks again. He excuses himself.
Today took the cake.  Alan Garcia of Peru indeed did come out against Obama's Plan Colombia, despite his being a US-backed butcher, despite his having an FTA with the USA.  When your Latin policy is too aggressive for Alan Garcia, you have accomplished a rare feat indeed.  His reasoning was sound.  He wanted no refugees and he didn't want his tense relationships with Ecuador and Bolivia to be put under any more pressure when he and Correa and Morales had just been able to put years of hatred behind them and talk common Andean issues.  He also did not want to risk surrendering whatever sovereignty Peru even had left. 
Yes, ENLIGHTENED CYNIC, I've noticed that I've written a few things now and have received no DEATH THREATS! Jajaja! I do have to admit though that such an experience was so funny and it's such a great story that I'm almost glad.  I'm sorry of course because if White Suburban "liberals" feel so imperial and enveloped in this Obamaness thing that they would dare do such a thing, then Mr Obama has license to run wild all over the globe.  I'm imagining these "liberals" going to some Army/Navy store getting their gear for their assault on my condominium! They've committed a crime, you know, under Panamanian law, too.  The statutes here are very gentle on victimless-crimes (not even crimes) and non-violent crimes, but the police and the "fiscalia" take violent crime and threats of violence very seriously.  They even have a QC system to try the most violent criminal cases do there's no hint of government involvement or anything like that.  And, of course, no death penalty, no life sentences or KKK-N-Yer-Out.  And CERTAINLY no incarceration of minors! Or privatized prisons.  What's going on with that? It's barbaric. Noriega's criminal justice policy wasn't anything near as bad as Bush's or Obama's.  Not close.
Well, I hope that MERCOSUR can convince Obama to back off on this.  This is a world of pain and the Americans who will suffer will be US Servicepeople and tourists, neither of whom "want" to fight in a civil war which doesn't concern them, I assume.  Remember a wealthy Colombian woman who'd been through it all told me "it would be better for me and all of us to be born dead."  If they think IEDs in Iraq are a problem wait until they see a country of 40 million intelligent well-armed affectless nihilists.  They're lovely people but they've all grown up with this bifurcated life of normality punctuated by unspeakable violence.  There are causes like trade unionism and the rural grange movement and of course legalization or decriminalization of coca.  One of the interesting ideas I read from a Conservative Sub-Minister of Finance was to create an open-outcry futures market in the raw coca leaves.  Mainly, the Colombians' cause is JUST TO BE LEFT ALONE.  And they don't care about who dies to make that happen.  The smart thing would be to encourage a peace process but outside of the peace movement and some libertarians does anyone in America even have common sense?

"Green Shoots" or "Gangrene?"

Here's the memo you didn't get from CNBC, the pretty-ass brunettes (aka Trish Regan, Erin Burnett), and Mad $$ Cramer.  It is "greenshoots" or "gangrene" that's manifesting???
MEMO TO:   American Taxpayer
SUBJECT:    How far can the "Gov'mint" put it's foot up your ass?
DATE:          Any day of the week
FDIC Insured Institutions have $13.3 Trillion in Assets. 8,195 Banks and 116 Institutions Hold $10.2 Trillion of Those Assets. One out of Four Institutions Unprofitable. 1,000 Banks Will Fail or Merge.
"When we look into the latest banking data, we realize that over 1,000 of current banks will fail or merge with a too big too fail bank.  In fact, the total number will be over 1,000 simply because the “not too big” to fail banks heavily bet on commercial real estate loans that amount to $3 trillion. Recent data shows that approximately 25% of all the banks insured by the FDIC are unprofitable.  That number tells us that some 2,000 banks cannot turn a profit.
This is probably one of the more telling charts.  We have 8,195 institutions.  3,010 of those have less than $100 million in assets.  4,487 have between $100 million to $1 billion.  582 fall between $1 billion and $10 billion.  Those over $10 billion?  116.  This is incredibly disturbing and shows the monopoly that a few big banks have.  116 banks make up 77 percent of all total banking assets in the United States!  So you can have the lower 8,079 banks fail and you wouldn’t even lose 25 percent of the total assets of the banking system.
Psssst, btw, the an Atlanta Fed official says the TRUE UNEMPLOYMENT RATES is around 16%.  But don't tell anybody, don't tell them the local bank is poised to fail, hold onto those collapsing dollars. 
"The real US unemployment rate is 16 percent if persons who have dropped out of the labor pool and those working less than they would like are counted, a Federal Reserve official said Wednesday.
If one considers the people who would like a job but have stopped looking -- so-called discouraged workers -- and those who are working fewer hours than they want, the unemployment rate would move from the official 9.4 percent to 16 percent, said Atlanta Fed chief Dennis Lockhart.
He underscored that he was expressing his own views, which did "do not necessarily reflect those of my colleagues on the Federal Open Market Committee," the policy-setting body of the central bank.
Take this 16% figure with a grain of salt mind you, IT'S NOT OFFICIAL.   And please monitor your upcoming Holiday Spending, "Uncle Same wants you-- to ante up some more of your "green shoots."  LOL

I don't understand the expression "green shoots"

I take it to mean that Obama's various corporatist "stimulus" measures which gifted the nation's wealth to the richest 1000 families is producing economic growth down-bracket, yeah?
Too silly to talk about.  I've been in finance and gambling my entire professional life and I have an MBA from UCLA in finance and applied math.  I also am in the Electronica Latina music lounge business as a financier.  Therei IS NO SOVEREIGN CURRENCY TO BE FOUND. There is one currency, the US DOLLAR, because there are so many of them and nobody is so stupid as to part with their or the bonds they own in their own country's currency.  Just toilet paper dollars flying around.
And all this despite every Latin country LENDING money to the USA every month for their wars and reverse Robin Hood Bullshit.  They criticize Hugo Chavez? If I were them I'd kiss his ass! He's doing them the favor of soaking up all these dollars and lending them back.  He could cause a massive problem for the USA if he were REALLY the ogre he's made out to be. 

"Green shoots" misunderstanding? Nada.

I take it to mean that Obama's various corporatist "stimulus" measures which gifted the nation's wealth to the richest 1000 families is producing economic growth down-bracket, yeah?
Yeah?  HELL YEAH!  You summed it up.  And undoubtedly you understand the world of US finance/capital markets since you not only have an MBA in finance but also experience in GAMBLING.  LOL. No offense, but with your background you are well equipped to ply your wares at Goldman Sachs. Afterall, what is the US Economy besides a mixture of ponzi schemes and gambling, and bursting bubbles?  LOL.
To get the thread back closer to the subject of Obamaland.  Why is it that Latin Americans can see through the fog of butchery and warmongering perpetrating as "hope" but so many Americans can't?  You've stated that even some of the righists elements in Latin America disdain US foreign policy. Did your experience at UCLA give you any insights on the political pulse of the States?  Latin America has always (historically) experienced huge class divides, --the landed aristrocracy vs. the unlanded masses, aided and abetted by the IMF, World Bank and Neo-liberal policies of every administration, a media infrastructure that arguably is not as developed as the US, and yet it appears the average citizen is more progressive than here?
Why are Americans so reactionary or damn stupid?  Is it a regressive gene or lack of education?  It is a lack of truly understanding the complexities of the world? Is it the US media's fault?  Do you see Americans leaving Obamaland?  And, if so,  what fork in the road will they take?  Why can't true Liberals/Progressives in America align with same in Latin America and create a variant of Pan-Africanism or their own more humane North American trade pacts?  Do you see the framework for dollar decoupling, the dollar loosing it's luster as a fiat currrency? Lots of questions I know.  But I have confidence you can meld them all into a coherent answer.
With your first-class American education (LOL) I know you can handle it. 
p.s.  Small wonder you got "death threats" telling my beloved fellow citizens to "kiss Chavez's ass."  That was a blood libel my friend.  HA   Perhaps you can email the Congressional Black Caucus and get their ignorant asses to work with Chavez on some cheap home heating oil or gasoline subsidies??   Viva Chavez!

Putos No Faltan Lo Que Faltan Son Financistas

I've been front and center for most of this.  I finished my Master's in 1993.  I was recruited to trade for JP Morgan, Toronto Dominion Bank, Swissbank/O'Connor and....ENRON!!!  I had big credentials in Latin and American horse and sports betting worlds before B-school and was a serious student so they made me good offers but I come from an anti-authoritarian family and have always had these views myself.  Look, I learned a lot of the quantitative gambling analysis stuff from two serious comunistas del Partido Obrero Progresista.  At any rate, Swissbank and Enron would have given me the most freedom.  Both essentially said "build a black box model and win with it."  Enron was out because while the guy who recruited me was a quant like me, the rest of the place was SERIOUS FUNDAMENTALIST CHRISTIAN.  Swissbank/O'Connor's much more relaxed but I had never worked for anyone before so I wasn't about to start.
I ended up running a sports-betting crew and then a Russian equities and debt fund.  Then I did a small market international f/x, debt and derivatives fund with an Uruguayan friend who had started the Asian options business at JP Morgan.  We did well and busted in 1998 when the whole thing went tits-up and our two anchor clients quit us the following year but quit too soon and we ended up winners for the whole shooting match because of some defaulted Russian government paper that ended up paying 39p/pound.  Given that history, you can see why NOBODY HATES CORPORATISM MORE THAN ME.  I smiled when I won.  I paid when I lost.  I was always available to clients and I KNEW MY HUEVO PUTA MARKS-TO-MARKET EACH DAY! These people are different. They get rewarded for situations where I might have a MINUS YEAR! That's that.  Oh yeah, I did one cool thing.  When James Wolfensohn was head of the WB/IMF he invited me a couple of times to present scholarly papers which had been published in RISK magazine.  They all ATTACKED the IMF approach to emerging markets as gangster cartelism and theft.  I speak unaccented English and Spanish so it was no problem.  And I had a reputation in the finance world for being the most annoying aggressive "socialist" in the whole scene.  He's a corporatist bastard Wolfensohn but I give him credit for giving me the stage because I'm a pain in the ass.
I shat them for letting Vivendi take Ecuador's water supply and privatize it. I shat them for letting Cargill take over Venezuela's ag sector. I shat them for using a currency and interest rate model that was pure sophisty: Current Account Balance CAUSES F/X moves.  Absurd. And I had all the math to back up my views and I could take the cat-calls.  So, I got to debate as "the left" a few times on a BBC radio finance show.
American politics is a charade. It's a show and Barack Obama is the apotheosis of it.  Now, I know South America well.  I obviously know more about Central America than most Americans but it's not my area of expertise.  I don't have any reason to go there.  You know the colonial history.  You know the dictatorships which were US-supported.  You know the "dirty wars," which were the weirdest of all because Pinochet regarded fellow European rich-people although left-wingers like Allende and Bachelet (the father) and students, intellectuals, Ashkenaz Jews and Arab Muslims, generally well-off people as a greater threat to him than the poor mestizos whom he could fool with his faux-populism or the indigenios whom he just slaughtered and didn't bother bringing "liberal" Robert Gates to help Romo set up the rape rooms.  That was  reserved for the "intelligentsia".  Same deal in Argentina.  Paraguay. Uruguay. Ecuador.  Venezuela. Bolivia.  Peru. Brazil but with more of a focus in those countries on killing the poorest mestizos and indigenios FIRST.
Noriega was Ralph Nader compared to that bunch!
But even though 1-family dictatorships were going on in all these countries they always had a peace movement and liberal party and a leftist party and various revolutionary parties.  South Americans are very very well-educated and strong people.  They take no shit.  Even during the dictaduras they'd make their voices heard.  I was in the States for most of this.  I wanted no part of any of it.  But the mistake that Americans make is trying to box up the South American left into these neat packages of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. OK. They have a lot of symbolic importance but when finally the center-left wave came in the late 1990s you really didn't have any radicals in the bunch.  Chavez is very, very bright and tough as nails but he puts on a show for the American corporate media which they lap up which doesn't reflect reality.  Just as John Pilger said about Obama "this works for right and left."  The right have this "communist" bogey-man.  The left have this "new Fidel."  Until Obama came in and now it's just the peace movement in the US who get what Chavez is about because all of the liberals follow Obama's lead and he's against all Latinos.  Even the far-right whom he uses.  In a way far more aggressive than Bush had imagined trying.
There is very much as sense of pan-Latinism and with Chavez, Correa, Morales, Lugo (who cracked a 70-year dictatorship by beating Duarte Ovelar in the election), Bachelet, Fernandez de Kirchner, Vazquez, Torrijos before he was term limited, and Lula da Silva there's a sense of being AHEAD of the rest of the world in finding ways to blend socialism and libertarianism to promote wealth creation and limit wealth concentration.  AND GET THE FUCKING IMF OUT!  I made this case to the IMF.  It's not even a smart economic play.If you can crush every union and oppress everybody, you're going for your lungs on this in the debt markets.
The class divides still exist but what Chavez was great at was creating 1000 new millioinaires out of factory workers by their collective ownership which is ALWAYS better than creating or gifting another billion to an aristocrat.  Of course, this works perfect for American liberals because now with Obama they can hate Chavez for being "too capitalist" and liking the idea of Obama the working man's crusader.  See, this is the stuff we don't understand.  And the cultural stuff? Forget it.  Try explaining to Piedad Cordoba who is the biggest peace advocate on the continent that she can't go hunting or fishing! She'll turn from cool fez-wearing activist lady to Rakataka Yasuri Yamileth on your ass really fast!  Seriously, there's stilll an aristocracy which I'll never be a part of.  I'll never even make enough to be admitted into the Jewish/Persian fancy clubs.  The serious divide is city/country.  And European-Middle Eastern, Mestizo, Asian and African more favored over indigeneous, but ethnicity -- like sexual orientation -- are really not factors in South American urban life anymore.  The divides are based on class and the indigenios have the worst of it.
The dollar is a joke as I told you.  It's play money.  Nobody will part with their sovereign currency because it's too valuable and safe relative to the dollar and this and cocaine are what Plan Colombia are really about.  The Kissinger Cartel in the White House wants to be able to fuck all the healthy sovereign currencies before the dollar gets fucked.  This, again, is why COOPERATION with Chavez was the way to go.  TOMMOROW, he could void himself of dollars and US guvvies and you'd have food riots in a week up there.  As for heating oil, tell it to Obama not me.  Chavez was doing the CITGO program at the end of the Clinton years and in the first couple of Bush years until the coup attempt when he told Bush to screw himself.  He assumed things would be better with Obama but when Gates sent the US Navy into Caracas harbor after Obama got elected and Obama said some stupid "trash-talk" insult to him like "i'm LeBron James and I do your momma" or something equally tedious, Chavez didn't SAY anything.  He called Medvedev and asked for 10 Russian battleships to patrol the harbor and 20 Tupolev fighter jets which he got.  THEN, he called Obama and said "Son, don't mess with Venezuela...don't follow the stupid path of your predecessor..."  Obama was his usual self and Gates said some things, so Chavez didn't even get mad.  He just told him "you're poor are NOT getting one drop of free heating oil EVER.  You got explain to them President McCain how you screwed up."
Finally, YES I think the dollar will break sometime before 2012 and it will be hideous for the USA. You'll have RECESS-FLATION. With none of the normal tools to deal with it. The IMF will have to come in to rescue and put Europe's handcuffs on you!

I would like those answers about Americans from you!

When I went to college and grad school and ran the betting crew in the states, almost every American that shared my interests was a bright, nice, open-minded, free-thinking person, regardless of politics or "identity group" or whatever.
Something happened that was very weird.  I think it happened during the race for the presidency in 1992 and slowly gained steam until it popped on 9/11.  I think of -- just going by the American History class I took in college -- 9/11 as the final battle of the U.S. Civil War sealing up Jefferson Davis's (Geroge W. Bush's) win.  That's my only way of understanding it.  I don't remember it being like this at the end of Reagan's presidency or during Bush Sr's.  Or even in the first couple of years of Clinton's, although in retrospect, DESPITE El Chorillo, I think that Bush Sr was a more morally-centered man than Bill Clinton was.  Hart's campaign against Mondale was nauseating.  Gore's campaign against Jesse Jackson and Dukakis was also unsettling (I'd never seen SUCH overt Zionism in any public figure in my life before Gore and Zionism makes me insane with anger, especially as an atheist askenaz).  But Clinton's was psycho.  This "Sistah Souljah" thing was something I cannot explain to non-English speakers and luckily I guess it didn't get wide play in the Spanish language press, leaving South Americans to have a largely favorable impression of the Clintons which in truth has more to do with Clinton's friendship with Jesse Jackson because Clinton was worse than Reagan or Bush on Colombia.  Jackson's a guy who has a lot of respect here because of how comfortable he is with himself and his sense of humor fits well with the sense of humor here and he loves it here. He loves it all over South America.  And he has a proven record as a facilitator of peace down here and that's all that counts with me, which is why I like Ron Paul and I don't care what any American thinks on that subject.
Since 9/11 Americans have become proud Nazis.  When Bush was president it sort of fit together.  With Obama, it's just too weird for me to make any sense of.  I had a blog back and forth about race in America (the "American Dream" with Cynthia McKinney was great, btw) and I said that there's a Black holocaust slow motion style.  Again, it was one of those tiresome White liberals who got very mad at me. No DEATH THREAT but mad at me.  I laid out the facts that are obvious to everyone in Latin America.  When you have 1/3 of a whole population going into PRIVATIZED CONCENTRATION CAMPS and 100% of that culture affected by the prison system through family and friends, you have a holocaust.  45 mm or so black Americans. 15mm in the SYSTEM.  And all affected adversely? Nevermind the systemic problems in life-expectancy and lack of pay equity but just the criminal injustice system.  Those numbers are very EUROPEAN LIKE. This doesn't make me a radical.  This makes me a Panamanian moderate who can add, subtract, multiply and divide.  I said I was lucky enough to be born with a lot of ambition and drive and my parents were workaholics too so I got there but I said to the guy that he was damned lucky how TOLERANT of this all over "the other America" has been.  So, what does he write back? "Barack Obama proves you're an idiot.  And you're also a racist."
How can one argue with stupidity like that?  I've know a zillion black americans and none of them disagreed and Cynthia McKinney and Glen Ford sure didn't on that show.  So, I'm left feeling up is down and down is up and it's all like a very UNFUN funhouse mirror in America.  Some other do-gooder liberal asked me if Panas of African descent were thrilled about Obama.  I said "about as much as Panas of mestizo  or european descent are...we're wary but expect some incremental change."  Intolerable answer.  I'm a racist and a right winger and I don't know what I'm talking about, Obama's beloved around the world da da da da.  I said "whatever...you know more about Panamanian people who have brown skin than I do, chalk one up for yourself, man."  But the racial and ethnic thing up there NO ONE UNDERSTANDS because it's just so different here. And all the divisive social issues are all settled and done with, here under the Privacy Of Contract law, or the National Health or Ley 442 de la sexualidad humana.  Or whatever.  It's live and let live and it's relaxed in a way an American can never experience.  And will never experience.  Colombia? Whole different story.  But I'd say Panama was like the rest of South America culturally. With very specific differences, of course.

leaving Obama Land

As progressives, whatever that  term means because it does not say much about who we are politically, I prefer to used socialists or volutionary; ,but then I guess all who call themseves progressives are not socialists or revolutionaries, then the question is, what are they? anyway, we must never, ever again endorse a democrat, or any other representative of the beougouis democratic establishment  under any circumstances whatsoever.  To do so is to confuse those we wish to recruit our cause and sabatage our efforts to galvanize support for a really progressive agenda  to seize state power. We can not have one foot in and one foot out of the system.  We are either about it or we are not, simple.
We must make it clear to everyone, our intentions to build a movement that is oppossed to capitalism and imperialism in whatever form and whatever face, black,brown, blue or purple it attempts to portray itself; anything else is opportunism and does not advance our cause.
If we have not learned that by now, then there is no hope for the masses of African and working class people around  the world to finally be rid of this rotten and hellish system once and for all in the coming millennium.

leaving Obama Land

As progressives, whatever that  term means because it does not say much about who we are politically, I prefer to used socialists or volutionary; ,but then I guess all who call themseves progressives are not socialists or revolutionaries, then the question is, what are they? anyway, we must never, ever again endorse a democrat, or any other representative of the beougouis democratic establishment  under any circumstances whatsoever.  To do so is to confuse those we wish to recruit our cause and sabatage our efforts to galvanize support for a really progressive agenda  to seize state power. We can not have one foot in and one foot out of the system.  We are either about it or we are not, simple.
We must make it clear to everyone, our intentions to build a movement that is oppossed to capitalism and imperialism in whatever form and whatever face, black,brown, blue or purple it attempts to portray itself; anything else is opportunism and does not advance our cause.
If we have not learned that by now, then there is no hope for the masses of African and working class people around  the world to finally be rid of this rotten and hellish system once and for all in the coming millennium.

Looking at the "entrails" of US Politics: 2 Questions?

I.   Is Obama more dangerous and reckless than GWB? (or simply naive and feckless), and
2.  Are we entering an era that portends the demise of "identity" politics?
I.  Pana Semita, thanks for sharing your insights.  As someone who's interested in and occassionally taught Latin American Culture at the community college level as an adjunct your views are fascinating, pungent.  If you are not already familiar with him, you will love the writings of Pepe Escobar.  Some of the things you write sound right of out "Globilistan."  I share Pepe here to ask the question again:  Is Obama more dangerous and militaristic than GWB?  To hint at my own answer let me just say "read em and weep."
"Most of all, the underlying logic remains divide and rule. As for the divide, Beijing would call it, without a trace of irony, "splittist". Split up Iraq - blocking China's access to Iraqi oil. Split up Pakistan - with an independent Balochistan preventing China from accessing the strategic port of Gwadar there. Split up Afghanistan - with an independent Pashtunistan allowing the building of the Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline bypassing Russia. Split up Iran - by financing subversion in Khuzestan and Sistan-Balochistan. And why not split up Bolivia (as was attempted last year) to the benefit of US energy giants. Call it the (splitting) Kosovo model.

Kosovo, incidentally, is known as the Colombia of the Balkans. What Washington calls the "Western hemisphere" is a sub-section of the New Great Game. The linkage between the recent military coup in Honduras, the return of the living dead - that is, the resurrection of the US Navy's Fourth Fleet in July 2008 - and now the turbo-charging of seven US military bases in Colombia is not to be blamed merely on continuity from president George W Bush to Obama. Not really. This is all about the internal logic of Full Spectrum Dominance."
II.  Will Obama's betrayal and failures and the lifting of the "historical fog" of a "Black President" spell the end of "Identity" politics.  I still maintain that the Obama "patina of hope" is turning into anger and desparation, at a minimum the curtain is being drawn back.  Check out Glenn Greenwald who does a grand smack down of the "Liberal Media" Big Lie viz the Wash Post, but more importantly, read the comments of the posters.  I don't know where disgruntled progressives will end up, but my confidence increases that they won't end up in the camp of the Dem Party.  It's become evident to critical thinkers that Obama vs. Hillary vs. GWB is a meaningless analysis,-- false dichtomies.  And the "euphoria" of a "Black President" is rapidly crashing.  (My 20-something son called me a month ago to talk about Obama and the "New World Order", something he and his friends were watching on video).  I tried to explain what that meant, point is skepticism is growing. 
Saturday Aug. 29, 2009 11:30 EDT
The Washington Post's Cheney-ite defense of torture
III.  @ Pana Semita...  "Seeking answers from Americans...." 
Will try to respond later today or Thurs. and I hope others will attempt as well.  I have no special insight.  There's a lot to think and weigh.  However, I'll give you a couple hints into my evolving thoughts, think:  (a)  American Puritans and the Salem Witch Trials.  (Some will say "huh?", but its quite sublime, not complicated.)  And (2) National Security State rise and dominance post WW-2. (Operation Mockingbird, Operation Paperclip:  hint: "Facists R Us.")
You can't understand the GOP "base" without reading at least snippets of Altemeyer's, "The Authoritarians."  Nobody understands the "authoritarian mindset" better than the National Security/Corporate State.  It's why Limbaugh, Drudge, and Beck "rule" despite overwhelming evidence, critical analysis to the contrary.
Remember, the US for all of its grandiose rhetoric about his path and trajectory as a democratic nation was the last country in the Western Hempisphere to outlaw slavery.

And in Obamaland, even though

And in Obamaland, even though the president told us to judge his first term on whether he delivers effective, affordable health care to millions of Americans including the uninsured, it’s not the president’s fault if he appears to moonwalk away from a health care bill to a health insurance bill, from single payer to a public option, to insurance co-ops, and to a plan that doesn’t cover the uninsured till 2013.

IT Department testking , testking 642-902 USA