Obama's Second Term: Four More Years of Groundhog Days

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

President Obama has nearly consummated his long courtship with the GOP, yet Black and labor leaders continue to pretend that he is a bulwark against austerity. In an even more nightmarish version of Groundhog Day, "the behavior of the Black and labor leadership actors remains the same, as the economic and political landscape crumbles around them.”

Four More Years of Groundhog Days

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Obama is ‘free at last’ from ever again having to depend on African American voters.”

In the 1993 movie Groundhog Day, the Bill Murray character finds himself repeating the same day over and over again. (William Shatner wound up in a similar scenario in Nick of Time, a 1960 Twilight Zone episode.) The endless looping eventually causes Murray to reexamine his life, and set a new course.

After four years of calamity for African Americans, one would think that at least some elements of

the Black Misleadership Class would be threatening, ever so softly, to break the cycle of reflexive subservience to Power in a Black face. Unlike Murray, however, our misleaders show not even a hint of honest introspection, much less genuine self-criticism for having failed to make a single serious demand of the First Black President through two election cycles. The clock has run out on those who purport to be Black power-brokers, now that Obama is “free at last” from ever again having to depend on African American voters.

Organized labor has also shot its wad – and many hundreds of millions of dollars – in servile allegiance to the corporate Democrat who is brimming with confidence “that we can get what is the equivalent of the grand bargain that essentially I've been offering to the Republicans for a very long time.” Blacks and labor are about to be shoved off the fiscal cliff, possibly in time for Christmas.

Yes, we’ve seen this story before. However, the groundhog days of Obama’s second term will be far more horrific than the cinematic version, because the objective conditions of life in which the story unfolds deteriorate with every passing day. Only the behavior of the Black and labor leadership actors remains the same, as the economic and political landscape crumbles around them. Now, that’s a real nightmare.

The clock has run out on those who purport to be Black power-brokers.”

As Obama prepares the public for the imminent consummation of his romance with the GOP – a case of incest, since both lovers are spawns of Wall Street – labor is reading the same old script. “We expect to have the president’s back on the agenda that the voters just declared support for,” said Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, as if she had just experienced the election of 2008. “The president has always said he needs a movement behind his mandate.” Apparently, in her world, a “movement” is anything that moves in tandem with the Democratic president, including into bed with the Republicans.

Labor fails to make a distinction between the president’s back and his backside, which is what he has actually been showing to working people for four years. The SEIU announced that it is sending letters to Congress, urging that “any deal” should protect Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. The truth is, most Democrats in Congress could be expected to circle the wagons around these programs – except when their leader in the White House orders otherwise. The SEIU has it ass-backwards, and the outcome is numbingly predictable.

National Urban League President Marc Morial is hoping for a “fair and sensible” plan to get over the fiscal cliff. Morial told US News and World Report “he is worried that the fiscal cliff would disproportionately affect African Americans because budget cuts would likely slash jobs in state and local government. African Americans make up a disproportionately large share of the public sector workforce.” Caught in a groundhog day, Morial cannot remember that President Obama took the initiative to freeze federal workers’ wages in 2010, and extended the freeze in August of this year, despite (or maybe because of) the disproportionate harm done to Black employees.

Not a word will be uttered in favor of publicly warning Obama not to sell out Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.”

Black Leaders to Discuss Fiscal Cliff,” reads the press release for a forum staged by the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and labor’s A. Philip Randolph Institute, in Washington, November 14. The notables “will also discuss tactics to keep their people engaged in the political process so they hold elected officials accountable and increase black voter turnout in the 2014 mid-term election.” You can bet Romney-money that not a word will be uttered in favor of publicly warning Obama not to sell out Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Instead, the notables will pat each other on the back for beating down the Republican electoral challenge to… Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. It’s in the script – reality be damned!

In October of 2010, the usual misleadership suspects among Black organizations and labor staged a One Nation rally on the Washington Mall. It was a pep rally for Obama, although his austerity initiative was already well underway, having targeted entitlements for slashing even before taking the oath of office. He followed through with his Deficit Reduction Commission, which recommended draconian cuts, mostly to domestic programs.

Wars had proliferated under Obama’s watch, but there was no complaint from the One Nation speakers, with the exception of Harry Belafonte. As we wrote at the time: “After spending millions to assemble a multitude, Big Labor, the NAACP and the usual Black entertainers - Reverends Sharpton and Jesse Jackson - could not fix their trembling lips to utter one demand to the Power in the White House, whose disfavor they fear even more than they dread the white nationalist hordes of the Tea Party.”

Two months later, Obama agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts. By the summer of 2011, the president was offering the Republicans $4 trillion in cuts: the “grand bargain” that he last week reminded us was essentially what “I've been offering to the Republicans for a very long time.”

Somehow, none of this computes for the Black and labor leadership classes. They are trapped in a loop, oblivious to the rubble that surrounds them as they stumble through the last days before the austerity hammer drops.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].


I know from groundhogs - I'm Jew,UPDATES, screamng

DAILY UPDATES below:I don't see another spot to put this on.  I just read on the Guardian website www.guardian.co.uk that Israel is attacking Gaza again.  I am an (atheist) Jew.  I have relatives.  I know from groundhogs.  How to get Obama to do something to stop Israel government policy? (1)  (Congress is irrelevant.  I skip the all the theoretical rants re "zionism".)  Let's get to basics: end the occupation and "outdoor prison" of Gaza. and most immediately now, end the attack on Gaza. How?

 And I want to head off one more tangent: 69-70% of Jews just voted for Obama for a second term.  Down an estimated 4% from 2008 - The 69% is the number given for Jews in Florida and for Ohio, also.  That means Jews who vote did not pay any attention to AIPAC, Netanyahu, Jews in Israel who, websites (such as the Guardian), said to vote for Romney or Republicans.   And before anyone goes off of a tangent about Noam Chomsky, he  was a contributor to Intifada, as was Edward Said ,a book on Palestinians' resistance to Israel; they were friends.  Google Edward Said.

New: Some good articles (3) have come up on Znet today - home page of Znet.  Peter Boyle is part of one of them.  But not much protest in U.S. yet that got any mention that I've seen. Znet  http://www.Zcommunications.org/znet

(1) Update: (to borrow a favorite word of Glenn Greenwald) - Glenn Greenwald has a column now on the Guardian, from which I quote.  Greenwald, "I want to focus on the U.S. response to all of this.  U.S. policy always lies at the heart of these episodes, because Israeli aggression is possible only due to the unstinting financial, military (2) and diplomatic support of the U.S.  Needless to say the Obama Administration wasted no time expressing its 'full-throttled' support for the Israeli attacks."  Glenn Greenwald, 15Nov 2012, www.guardian.co.uk home page top left link.  I disagree with Greenwald's next sentence that Obama didn't have a choice.

(2)Phyllis Bennis reminds of some of the U.S. made weapons that are probably being used against the people of Gaza. (Znet article on history) ((I was just throwing away papers and found a photo of me on a vigil that I came upon protesting Israeli attack on Lebanon in 2006 at Union Square and joined.  I saved the photo.  Not able to get out to any demos/vigils at this time.)) Update II: Saturday 11/17/2012: Noam Chomsky has statement :It is Murder and more, on Znet home page center - see link to znet  above in comment. More articles added. 

UPDATE III: See Amira Hass article, top of Znet home page on Gaza, Nov. 18, 2012  on Znet www.zcommunications.org/fear-and-loathing-in-gaza-as-offensive-continues... (If too long, so hit Znet in top banner on page coming up)  Amira Hass writes a daily column for the Iraeli newspaper Ha'aretz.  She writes about the West Bank and Gaza.  Hass has lived in Ramallah, West Bank sinee 1997. Ali Abunima, (co-founder) of The Electronic Intifada writes on the blog of Hass being censored in July, 2012.  Ali Abunimah
 writes a new update (14 hours ago and newer video) http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah  

  Glenn Greenwald's new piece on the Guardian, Nov.18, now www.guardian.co.uk is listed on the home page, top left story on the Israeli attack on Gaza, his column is in the list of stories as Glenn Greenwald:the US is an enabling force which links to his column, which is titled "Stop pretending the US in univolved"

In keeping with the movie theme...

The "Fiscal Cliff" Is a Hoax ... and a Mel Brooks Routine 



Nobody Move

This phony crisis is a lot like this scene in Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles, where Cleavon Little as The Sheriff pretends to take himself hostage to escape an angry crowd. You may remember the gag line, which included a word we won't use: "Nobody move or the $^((*&^(* gets it."

Brooks crafts his throwaway lines pretty carefully, too. Look for the earnest man who says "I think he means it," or the woman in the crowd who says "Won't somebody help that poor man?"

Here's how the "fiscal cliff" scam's being played: Congressional Republicans are holding the guns to their own heads. Democrats are the town leaders, dutifully laying their weapons down.

And the American media are the gullible townfolk, carefully writing in their notebooks about the "looming" threat to their sheriff.


A Gun to the Head

The motives for the hoax are easy to understand. As a Campaign for America's Future/Democracy Corps poll reaffirmed after the election, the public overwhelmingly opposes any of the fiscal measures being negotiated as the result of this fictitious "crisis." A majority of voters, cutting across party lines, opposes virtually all of the ideas being discussed - including cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits, and reductions in anti-poverty programs.

Voters strongly support some steps that aren't being debated because of this phony "crisis," like increased investment in jobs and economic growth. These negotiations are likely have the opposite effect instead, leading to more cuts in these programs. In fact, of the many "debt deal" provisions being debated today, only tax increases for the wealthiest Americans have the majority's approval.

No wonder Congressional Republicans are holding a gun to their own heads.

Unfortunately it's pointed at our heads too. If Republicans get their way the entire country will be hit with austerity cuts that increase the poverty rates, hurt most people's standard of living, and create even more unemployment.

This phony crisis is the GOP's way of saying "Nobody move or the country gets it." And if the public doesn't make its voice heard, it will.

Bob Woodard Leaks some of the "Grand Bargain"

Ass Backward, Backward Ass and Ass Clowns

Thanks Glen for speaking the truth about the fiscal cliff bullshit.  The word fiscal cliff is some phraseology use to push a certain psychology.  It is used to frame a issue and narrow the topic, in other words control the discussion by turning it into a monolog not a conversation (a conversation is two or more folks presenting multiply points of views).

As you have clearly stated it is a ass backward to approach this verbal shake and bake move by Obama by agreeing with it and giving it any credibility at all, it is a grand psyops in real time that suggests one thing while all the time doing something else (giving the Rethugs EVERYTHING they want)!!!

What Obama wants is a monolog, he (and his chosen mouthpieces) does all the talking and we the people just go along and get led over a Fiscal Cliff (How ya like me now)???  The Black backward ass misleadership is just repeating what the HNIC is saying reinforcing the phraseology, the psychology and the end game.  If Obama wanted to back up from the supposed fiscal cliff (that the public DID NOT PUSH the country to the edge of) he could….

Get out of all the unfunded undeclared wars we’re involved in (think Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Syria Yea that is us too).  Think that might save us a few dollars???

He could cut the over blown obscenely corrupt Pentagon budget.  Think that might save us a few dollars???

He could prosecute some of the wall street gangstas (IE Jamie Diamond, Lloyd Blankfein John Corzsine just to name a few).  Think that might GET us a few dollars???

He could stop the UNGODLY war on drugs that has destroyed millions of people’s lives militarizes law enforcement and along with stop and frisk have turned police into bounty hunters that are HUNTING young black and Brown men down like dogs.  Go here to see an example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rWtDMPaRD8

He could put the brakes on the prison industrial complex which is spawned by the war on drugs.  Think that might save us a few dollars???

And last but not the least he could let the Bush tax cuts expire that would save us about a TRILLION dollars!!!!

And all this can happen WITHOUT raising taxes (I know you lying)!!!!

Some might think that I’m just talking out of my head.  So here is a link to Cenk Uygur from TYT and he will explain it in a way that might make more sense with numbers to back up what he is saying.


The question is are we the people are going to behave ass backwardly by believing the fiscal cliff crap and listen to the backward ass Black misleadership (or any other backward ass talking heads)???  Or are we going to start calling out these ass clowns and expose the Fiscal Cliff for what it really is, another parade of bullshit that is being used to misinform misdirect we the people while the oligarchs/plutocrats continue to rape pillage and plunder the nation aka we the people.

LOL Please help us All

S Murph

And yet …

despite the truth of Mr. Ford's column and the truth of the comments, we can daily hear that Obama is a socialist, a communist, a man who is willing to turn the country over to the 47% who are too damn lazy to do anything for themselves, who lounge around while the "good" people strive to overcome the damage done by our socialist president. Does anybody see a chance of getting out of this with any semblance of concern for our fellow human beings?

Nothing to Lose !

I suspect that the politicians have let their overconfidence blind them to the reality that when the people of this country have nothing left to lose, they will lose it ! Any revolt would most likely involve the military choosing sides and they have always hated being tethered to the multimillionaires that the people of this country repeatedly elect to office. We may end up with a military dictatorship but considering the current state of this government that has sold out to the wealthy, that might be a vast improvement. After all, we rarely admire a politician but we have always had nothing but the highest respect for all our people in uniform !