Humankind cannot stand very much reality. T.S. Eliot

It is Friday, May 1, the sky is gray, there is a gusty wind of more than 20 kts, the temperature is around 70F. I never used drugs, I don’t get drunk, I consider myself a rational person, and I assume that I’m not dreaming right now. Therefore, I’m convinced of my weather observations. I bet than any other person, in the same mental condition, who observed in the same space and time, would agree with me on the current weather.

It is supposed to be logical, that everybody who observes reality would arrive at the same conclusion — that our current president is one of the worst ever, and that his policies will be a source of sorrow for generations. Yes, I expect the question: Why the obsession with Obama, why not wait another three years and eight months for a “better” president? Well, here is the rationale. True, there have been many bad presidents, but few were at the controls during an emergency landing without an airfield in sight. (Clinton was a disaster, too, but the sinking plane was still at 30,000 feet. Besides, he had an artificial economic boom — pulling the control yoke with no additional power — so those who didn’t look out the windows were happy). There is no supporting data to predict that Obama is going to be better than, say, Bush or Kennedy, the presidents who generated big wars. But we are not talking only about wars. We are talking about the economy, personal health and security, education, and more; the failure is colossal. It is hard to imagine a president that had so much free credit as Obama. He can do practically anything. The public is ready and will accept (with the help of the media, of course) real changes. Missing this rare opportunity is unforgivable.

Unfortunately, many people don’t see the problems with current policies. Even those who claim to live by the motto “question authority” fall silent when it comes to Obama; they have no idea what we are talking about; they are voluntarily blind. And, even worse, criticizing him, that is, telling the truth, is like telling a Christian that Jesus was a false messiah.

We are living in an era of almost unimaginable manipulation of public opinion, and the proof is very simple — most do not understand what I’m talking about. Obama’s approval rating is 62% (Kennedy’s was 83% ). The major media give him a grade of “A.” Since the American people are not exactly freethinkers and do not have the time or the will to check and validate what they are told, they simply consume it. And politicians can say: the American people are not stupid, they “understand” that we are taking the right actions.

And you know what? Maybe Obama doesn’t consider himself the Messiah. Maybe he is merely a disciple of Ivy League capitalism and imperialism. Maybe he doesn’t want to be the Messiah. But it doesn’t matter so long as the people consider him the Messiah. Remember Monty Python’s Life of Brian?
Brian: I’m not the Messiah! Will you please listen? I am not the Messiah, do you understand? Honestly!
Girl: Only the true Messiah denies His divinity.
So what can poor Obama do? His believers want him.

I’ll go issue by issue, but for the impatient, I’ll try to summarize the problems. Please forgive me for my blasphemy. The problem with Obama is not his speaking talent, nor his political ability, nor his dedication and hard work. The problem is his state of mind. He believes in defensive imperialism. He believes in militarism. He believes that the US should be the policeman of the world. He believes in preserving the current mechanism of American capitalism — banks, insurance companies, big corporations. He has the state of mind of a corporate lawyer. He has no opposition, and mainstream media is promoting him. Above all, he is attractive to those who live in a soap opera — to the majority.

Nothing (except Wall street) has improved during the last 100 days. More wars, more militarism, more unemployed, more uninsured, more deficit. We are crash landing, and the passengers cheer the amateur pilot; they love him. He is handsome, he has a pretty wife and nice kids, he has a famous dog. But he has no idea how to land a plane.

So here is a challenge to the Messiah followers. Read the following issues and convince me that I’m wrong, convince me that I’m dreaming. Maybe you are right. Please use rationality and explain to me where I’m wrong: (In the following, I refer to Obama as “he.” I learned in second grade never to say the explicit name of God).

– He promised to win the war on terror. Really? Winning the war on terror can happen only in the Lord of the Ring; “winning the war on terror” is semantically wrong. The war on terror only generates more terrorists (on both sides).
– His “war on terror” is based on a children’s story that a man living in a cave, far away in Pakistan, managed to put enough explosives together to completely destroy three heavily secured skyscrapers in New York.
– He has no idea what a war is; he never fought in one, he was not even a simple soldier. So like other chicken hawks, he loves the military and is eager to have the biggest military on the planet. And how is the military — a huge consumer of oil, and a polluter (bombs dropping, poisoned chemicals, depleted Uranium, etc), good for the environment? We all assumed that he was for the environment, didn’t we?
– He is confident that, by being himself, he can be the first one in history to win a war and an occupation of Afghanistan. I read in an Israeli newspaper that he wanted relations with Iran in order to use Iranian territory to attack Pakistan. This is his state of mind — peace is an opportunity for war.
– He has already killed hundreds (thousands?) of people in Pakistan with his drones. He has created thousands of refugees. His hands are bloody, but only a few see it.
– His war is creating instability in Pakistan. He is talking democracy but is communicating with the Pakistani military.
– He has no intention of leaving Iraq (actually, he never promised to end the Iraq occupation). Instead, the US will likely stay in Iraq forever, or at least until the collapse of the American empire. He is laughing at his “anti-war” voters, those who helped to put him in power.
– He has no problem with the 700+ American military bases around the world; they are compatible with his state of mind.
– Our economy was destroyed by the banks and financial institutions. His solution is to “stimulate” the banks and other parasites with hundreds of billions of dollars that could produce real jobs and real industry, to give to parasites who produce nothing. And where is the money, in a nation so heavily in debt, to come from? Out of thin air; after all, he is the almighty.
– He got the OK of God to pardon war criminals. In his words: “we have made some mistakes – that’s how we learn”. And we naively assumed that he studied law.
– His education solution: he assumes that increasing the number of Americans with university degrees will improve the nation’s education. Consequently, he offers scholarships for online degrees. He considers education a piece of paper (in this case a pdf file) called a degree. And in what areas? MBAs, health management, law. A pity. It is like his other assumption, that printing more money will increase the common wealth. Both will merely generate inflation.
– He promised to help science, so he is giving some scientists stimulus money, but with an attached string: they have to use it before September, 2010. He can’t understand the basic nature of scientific work, that even a million monkeys can’t write Shakespeare in one year.
– He doesn’t offer any real help to the unemployed. He could help professional people in career changes, in real education (a win-win solution for the people and the future of the economy), but this never crossed his mind.
– He is against single-payer health care; he is on the side of the insurance companies. Well, it is hard to blame him; insurance companies are his supporters and contributors.
– And, unfortunately, there is so much more.

There is another problem. No opposition. No feedback mechanism. People are still in a state of hypnosis. The “anti-war” movement is paralyzed (it is politically incorrect to accuse Obama). The government has never been so powerful, and a president has never had such Carte Blanche. It is scary, these days, to be a decent American, and it is frustrating, these days, to be a thinking person.

joshua ashenberg

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