Tuesday, June 02, 2009

US and Them again?

Bernard Hickey has posted up a vicious and eloquent economic argument on why NZers should fall out of love with President Obama. Here's a sample, but go read the whole thing:
It’s clear to me he is a liar and a fool. New Zealanders should protest his economic and trade policies at every step. Our Prime Minister John Key should use one of those precious few minutes on the phone with the gilded one to tell him to rack off with his protectionism and his bailouts. They damage America and they damage the rest of the world. The honeymoon is over.

He is a liar because he promised a change to the status quo in Washington and he promised not to make the same mistakes from the 1930s that helped turn a recession into a depression. Yet he has done just that. He is a fool because he appointed exactly the wrong people to run his economic policies and has not intervened to stop them doing even more of the ruinous things started under Bush and Cheney.

There's increasingly smaller differences in the political management between the Bush/Cheney years and the Obama regime. Bush put up steel tariffs. Obama is protecting the sacred cows of US Dairy and the dogs of automobile manufacturing:
Mr. Obama and his advisers expect G.M. to emerge from court protection in a few months as a new, radically smaller company owned by the federal government, the United Automobile Workers union and its bondholders.
The economic damage is going to be painful enough, but there is little hope or change elsewhere either. Airport security continues to devise more circles of hell, from naked body scanners to fingerprinting outgoing Americans. Wiretapping of US citizens is continuing. There's talk of rape photos from Abu Ghraib being suppressed by the White House, on the grounds that they would "further inflame anti-American opinion" and "put our troops in danger."

Israeli PM Netanyahu has ignored Obama's call for a halt on new settlements on Palestinian land, favouring "natural growth." You'd think that with America's budget worries, there would be justifiable pressure brought to bear on Israel, seeing how Israel relies on the US for money just like Cuba used to with the Soviet Union.

Because only Jews are allowed to criticise Jews, here's Jeffrey Goldberg summing up the settlers' logic:
The settlers are arguing that their human rights would be violated if they were made to move to Israel. That's right. It used to be that a person could fulfill his Zionist destiny in a place like Petah Tikva, but no more: Now, it's a sin against God, apparently, to live anywhere but in a government-subsidized trailer on a barren hill in the mountains of Samaria.
Is Obama's hand constrained by Chief of Staff Rahm "son of Irgun" Emanuel at all? His brother, Ari Emanuel, is the inspiration for Jeremy Piven's Ari Gold character in the TV series Entourage. Clearly there's enough Cheney-like arrogance in the family to get what they want:

So I'm with Bernard Hickey. President Obama, the love has gone. I'm looking forward to hearing Terry Michael, founder and executive director of the Washington Center for Politics and Journalism, at the inaugural American Politics Appreciation Society meeting tomorrow. The subject is Obama's first 100 days. Should be fun.