Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Luther For President in 2016

"The White House Correspondents' Dinner has become a strange event. It is, ostensibly, an evening when the president and the press can come together to share a few lighthearted laughs. But it's evolved into a recital of brutal truths — albeit one neither side ever really admits happened.

The joke of President Obama's performance on Saturday was that he wasn't joking. Everyone just had to pretend he was. Take this section, from the official White House transcript:

After the midterm elections, my advisors asked me, "Mr. President, do you have a bucket list?" And I said, "Well, I have something that rhymes with bucket list.’" (Laughter and applause.)

Take executive action on immigration? Bucket. (Laughter.) New climate regulations? Bucket. It’s the right thing to do. (Laughter and applause.)

The tip-off there is, "It's the right thing to do." That's not a joke. That's Obama's actual justification for the aggressive executive actions of his second term — "fuck it, it's the right thing to do." But the norms of politics are such that he typically has to frame his actions as routine, dull, even necessary. He has to search for precedent and downplay the consequences.

It's only on the evening of the White House Correspondents' Dinner when he can say what everyone already knows: his actions are huge, they are controversial, they push the norms of American politics, but fuck it, at a moment when American politics seems increasingly broken, Obama has decided to just go ahead and do what he thinks is right.

Then there was this line:

A few weeks ago, Dick Cheney says he thinks I’m the worst President of his lifetime. Which is interesting, because I think Dick Cheney is the worst President of my lifetime. (Laughter and applause.) It’s quite a coincidence.

It's funny, sure. But he's not kidding. It's just the thing Obama can't usually say. The humor is in the shock of him actually saying it.

But the place where Obama stopped being polite and started getting real was when he brought out Luther, his personal anger translator. This was, itself, a way of giving up the game. The Luther joke comes from the Comedy Central sketch show Key and Peele, and the point of it is that Obama, as the first black president, is not allowed to express his anger, as America is terrified of angry black men. And so he's got Luther — the angry black man who can say what he can't. . .

There are no jokes there. There's just Obama saying what he has to say and Luther saying what Obama actually believes.

And what Obama believes is that the press is often sensational, trivial, and fearmongering. He thinks they hype negative stories for weeks on end and then refuse to admit their mistake when the horror fizzles. He thinks he gets the blame for catastrophes but little credit for solutions. He thinks the media has a deep bias toward negative stories (which, of course, we do).

But if Obama is annoyed at the press, he is appalled at Republicans who deny climate change — and are trying to block him from taking action to stop climate change. Obama believes global warming a generational threat, and so when he sees James Inhofe, the chair of the Senate's Committee on Environment and Public Works, throwing snowballs on the chamber's floor, well, his thoughts on that would likely be seen as unpresidential if he gave them voice."

Read Vox, The joke was that Obama wasn’t joking

Thank God We Saved the Banksters, But Why?, Cont.

UPDATE:  Get a job at the U.S. Treasury, use the treasury to bailout the Banksters, and then retire from government and the Banksters hire you for an obscene salary. 

And they call it 'public service'.

Read the Washington Post, Ben Bernanke scores another Wall Street payday, which notes that this is "yet another example of the revolving door between Wall Street and Washington. Just to name a few, former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has joined the private equity firm Warburg Pincus, former Fed governor Jeremy Stein has enlisted with the hedge fund BlueMountain Capital Management, and former Office of Management and Budget chief Peter Orszag has jumped on board with Citigroup." 

"The Federal Reserve lent billions to rescue banks during the financial crisis, but it has done little to help American taxpayers." Read The New York Times, The Rescue That Missed Main Street.

The 'low-down, no-good godawful' bailout worked (for the banksters).