Aipac puts foot down — on Obama

Is Benjamin Netanyahu taking heat from U.S. legislators for publicly disrespecting Barack Obama? Are you kidding? Congress is too busy bowing to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel lobbying group, which just happens to be meeting in Washington this weekend. More here.

Obama: Love me, I’m a liberal

Phil Ochs has been dead for decades, but he has Barack Obama's number

How much longer are Robert Reich and other commentators going to pretend to be stunned by this spineless purveyor of false hope and empty promises? Right up till the election, no doubt. More here.

[I posted this one again because I didn’t link it correctly the first time. Sorry about that.]

Feingold just said ‘no’

A profile in courage: Russ Feingold, the only U.S. senator to vote against the Patriot Act, back when there was overwhelming pressure from the George W. Bush administration to crush civil liberties. A profile in political expediency: Barack Obama, who last year signed into law a four-year extension of the Patriot Act.

From Raw Story:

Civil liberties advocates have condemned the [Patriot Act] because it allows authorities to conduct surveillance without identifying the person or location to be wiretapped, permits surveillance of non-U.S. persons who are not affiliated with a terrorist group, and allows law enforcement to gain access to “any tangible thing” during terrorism investigations.

Let’s not forget who stood up for us, or who sold us out.

My empire, right or wrong

It was hard not to cringe while listening to Obama speak like the stereotypically insecure Democrat, seemingly desperate to convince right-wingers that he’s the fiercest hawk in the room:

Former presidential candidate Ralph Nader railed against President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address during an appearance Wednesday on Democracy Now.

“I think his lawless militarism, that started the speech and ended the speech, was truly astonishing,” he said. “I mean, he was very committed to projecting the American empire, in Obama terms.”

“He should be ashamed of himself that he tries to drape our soldiers, who were sent on lawless military missions to kill and die in those countries, unconstitutional wars that violate Geneva conventions and international law and federal statutes, and drape them as if they’ve come back from Iwo Jima or Normandy.”

Nader, who has run for president five times, had tried to organize a primary challenge against Obama to “bring the best out of him.” But the effort never materialized.

It was the threats against Iran, it was the overall belligerent tone of Obama’s foreign policy remarks. This is the same man who promised, in the same speech, to streamline the military.

‘Yes He Can,’ but will he?

Has Barack Obama ever acknowledged Robert Reich’s steady stream of criticism regarding Obama’s apparent lack of interest in putting the real economy back on track? He seems to have shunned the former Secretary of Labor, and to have ignored anyone urging accountability for Wall Street crooks.

Regardless, the accountability issues will be raised again today at “Yes He Can” events around the country, good opportunities to ask Obamabots why their man has shirked his responsibilities.

Footnote: In Philadelphia, has arranged a protest at noon, at the Bank of America’s 16th Street and JFK Boulevard branch, followed by a march to Obama headquarters at 15th and Chestnut streets to deliver petitions demanding an investigation of the role played by banksters in the crash of the housing market.

NYT to readers: Do facts matter?

Daily newspapers subscribe to the notion of objective reporting, and newspaper editors are always eager to defend this foggy notion. Which makes it all the more curious that New York Times Public Editor Arthur Brisbane recently asked readers whether “news reporters should challenge ‘facts’ that are asserted by newsmakers they write about.”

WTF! Brisbane, whether he knew it or not, was calling attention to the facade that the mainstream media constructed long ago to guard against the charge that their main function is to defend the status quo. In doing so, he chose a good example to illustrate what’s wrong with the mainstream mindset:

…On the campaign trail, Mitt Romney often says President Obama has made speeches “apologizing for America,” a phrase to which Paul Krugman objected in a December 23 column arguing that politics has advanced to the “post-truth” stage.

As an Op-Ed columnist, Mr. Krugman clearly has the freedom to call out what he thinks is a lie. My question for readers is: should news reporters do the same..?

Note that Brisbane quickly jumps back behind the facade, ignoring the question of whether Romney’s accusation against Obama is based on fact. He says reporters have been trained to not ask this question, even if evidence exists that could answer it. However, it’s OK for a columnist to ask and even answer the question, because columnists merely state opinions. As if opinions and facts necessarily dwell in different realms.

More here.

Obama tax Wall St.? Fahgetaboutit!

Can you imagine Barack Obama cracking down on financial speculators rather than giving them White House jobs? Jeff Cohen can’t:

With U.S. media obsessing on the fight here at home among conservatives vying to become president, most of them missed some big news about France, which already has a conservative president. This week, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced that he would take the lead — even go it alone within Europe, if need be — in introducing and pushing a Financial Transaction Tax in his country.

That’s right — the conservative president of France wants to tax the financial traders and speculators.

Referring to the tax as a “moral issue” and blaming deregulation and speculation for the global economic meltdown, Sarkozy has said that traders must “repay for the damage they have caused.”

What does it tell us about U.S. politics that the conservative president of France – on this issue and others — is way to the left of President Obama? The U.S. president has not publicly promoted a Wall Street transaction tax (even though U.S. financial institutions, not the French, were largely responsible for the global crisis).