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What have voters wrought with Obama?

For Barbara Amiel the president remains an enigma: an elegantly mannered man who behaves abominably


 

Canadian Press

Anything can be found on the Internet, so it should come as no surprise that there’s a brisk business in sites proclaiming President Barack Obama as the Antichrist and Satan incarnate. More surprising are the regular folk who see Obama as Mephistopheles. American businessmen, including some who raised money for him, arrive here in Florida for a weekend of golf and spend their time exchanging tales of the Obama Shoah.

Never mind the proposed new financial regulatory agencies, Obama’s kiss of life to American unions is sending shivers around. On March 27, Obama made recess appointments—beloved of virtually all presidents—and put Craig Becker on the National Labor Relations Board after bipartisan rejection in the Senate. Unsurprisingly, Becker was not seen as even-handed. At the time of his appointment, he was lawyer for both the American Federation of Labor & Congress of Industrial Organizations and the Service Employees International Union. Unions have been unsuccessful in getting rid of the secret ballot in organizing employees, but only just. Now those U.S. industries which have chugged along without unions, like some of the largest coal-mining companies, see different times ahead.

Pissing off businessmen has always been easy for Democratic presidents, but this seems to be an equal opportunity piss-off. There were cheers among America’s prison population when Obama was elected. Given that about one in every 31 American adults is ensnared in the justice system—whether probation, prison, jail or on parole—and three out of four prison admissions are either African-American or Hispanic, they thought the day of liberation was at hand. Barack Obama, a community organizer and one of their own, would speed sentence reform and reinstatement of parole (federal prisons don’t have parole, just a possible 15 per cent good time allowance). Instead, Obama’s okayed the building of more prisons, which pleases the powerful correctional officers lobby. Currently, the U.S. Department of Labor lists the job of correctional officer as a growth occupation stemming from “rising rates of incarceration.”

Remuneration for correctional staff begins as low as US$29,490, which reminds me of one of the statistics beloved by America’s doomsday theorists: namely, around 47 per cent of the working population pay no federal income taxes while the top one per cent of earners pay 40 per cent of the income tax revenue. This is not a happy state of affairs, I grant you, but it isn’t quite as stark as it seems. Most of the people paying no federal income tax earn less than $30,000, which gets them under the line for the tax but they do have Social Security payroll taxes deducted. Still, a country cannot be healthy when 47 per cent or more of its adult population make no contribution to the cost of federal infrastructure—such as defence, health and interest on the national debt.

Behind the satanic label is the fear of what Obama’s desire for “change” really means. Is this the “socialist utopia” that Americans fought so hard to defeat in other lands, now arising golem-like inside its own borders? Obama stirs up class warfare against the rich while rapidly creating a nomenklatura of bureaucrats, lobbyists and union leaders in Washington, complete with a presidency having more centralized power than any before him. Astonishingly, 18 states are already challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare, but the cold fact is that Americans will have to buy health insurance whether they want it or not. If they don’t, they get punished by the IRS. In Washington, always a template for federal rule, the school voucher program that helped minority kids has, to the delight of the teachers’ unions, not been renewed.

Obama remains an enigma to me on every level. He has the appearance of an elegantly mannered man but behaves abominably. Ejecting the Epstein bust of Churchill from the Oval Office is one thing, but sending it back to the British after they offer to extend the loan is simply a wilful child’s nose-thumbing. Leaving a political leader, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, cooling his heels in order to have dinner with Michelle and the kids is not moral suasion, it’s schoolmarmish pettiness. Nor would any mannerly person announce that his grandmother was a racist (inaccurate on the basis of his account, anyway).

What have the voters wrought with this man? The founding fathers wanted to create safeguards against the capture of the country by one system or person, and that became the checks and balances of the constitution. Earlier societies relied on preventing centralization of power by splintering it: city states, regions, warlords or families held power. This was often lawless, but it prevented one person from grabbing everything. The genius of America was to create a system that prevented the power grab but not at the cost of lawlessness. Yet Obama, the man from nowhere, seems poised to single-handedly “change” this very essence, all in the name of levelling inequality in America.

De Tocqueville may have got Obama’s number over 150 years ago. Writing about democracy in America, he praised “the manly and lawful passion for equality,” but warned, “there also exists in the human heart a depraved taste for equality, which impels the weak to attempt to lower the powerful to their own level and reduces men to prefer equality in slavery to inequality in freedom?.?.?.?in a state where the citizens are all practically equal, it becomes difficult for them to preserve their independence against the aggression of power.” Difficult but not, one prays, impossible.


 
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What have voters wrought with Obama?

  1. I don't understand why we are giving more and more money towards the prison system and not towards our childrens education. Don't you think it would be a smarter move to prevent them from getting to prison by allowing them to have a great education by paying our teachers and investing in our schools rather than new prisons or longer sentences that just cost tax payers more and more money. Give the prisoners a chance to do right and not just keep them locked up because you think that is the easier way to do things. Everyone deserves a chance at a better life no matter if your young or old. Make our tax money count put it towards the future instead of keeping prisoners behind bars longer than needed.

  2. Did Barbara put out a similar column warning about American democracy in peril when President Bush was busy spying on his own citizens with wiretapping that wasn't authorized by any court, or by trying to prevent detainees at Guantanamo from having habeas corpus rights, or any Constitutional rights for that matter?

    If she did, then I can say even if I feel she's being rather misguided in her paranoia against Obama, at least she's being consistent. If not, then she's being hypocritical, and also wilfully blind. Bush and Cheney were far greater threats to American democracy and its constitution then Obama ever will be. If anything, many American liberals and progressives take issue with Obama with not rolling back fast enough the power abuses of the Bush/Cheney regime.

  3. Obama is the spider in a web of George Soros funded Marxist groups, with one thing in common. They hate America, and they especially hate successful and independent Americans. The purpose of Obama's big government is to squish the life out of us all. Drones. They like the blank dead eyes of the subjected. Freedom in our country is hanging on the cliff of "social justice and economic justice". Translated…..Obama will decide how much of your money he wants to give to others, based on race or ineptitude. At the same time, these pseudo egalitarians line their pockets with taxpayer money and exempt themselves from the laws they impose on everyone else.

    November 2010. Vote and take a friend.

    We're not buying your reality, Obama. We know who you are now.

    • "…line their pockets with taxpayer money and exempt themselves from the laws they impose on everyone else." I thought, from the referencws to Obama, that you are criticizing him. Why, then, the inclusion of this Republican Party policy statement? After eight years of Bush letting his pals raid every cookie jar in the nation – let's start with Haliburton – it takes a lot of gall &/or self-delusion to accuse Obama of the above.

      While I'm not as enamoured of Obama as I was (and I wasn't among those who thought he'd be some kind of superhero to begin with), he's still far, far better than Bush. Not that being better than Bush is much of a hurdle to clear…

      • Two wrongs do not make a right! Think what you will of Bush, he's history and the whole world can hate him now but it's of no avail. Obama is real, he's here and he is "subversive" to our country, perhaps you should actually read the Constitution of the United States and not let your petty dislike of Bush to control your thoughts and ideals, unless you are a "Socialist" as is your present Commander in Chief, which would explain your attitude. Believe me you or I don't want our country to become a Communist State.

    • Here, here happydance, I suggest bringing two friends!

  4. I find it amusing that after almost 16 months of "hope 'n change" in action, Obama's fans can only resort to Bush-bashing – rather than addressing the content of the post to which they are purportedly responding.

    But speaking of the content of the post, I find that Ms. Amiel was far too kind in her assessment.

    What has spoken the loudest to me about Obama during and since his ascendancy is the knowledge that he sat for 20 years in the church of Rev. Jeremiah Wright with effusive admiration, dedication – and without protest.

    And I"m not so sure about her depiction of him as "having the appearance of being elegantly mannered". It's only valid as long as he has a teleprompter in front of him. Take away the teleprompter and there is very little elegance to behold.

  5. Barbara Amiel is a good writer.It is her bias that renders many of her articles worthless. Being rabidly pro Zionist, one would exspect her to support a Hitler type, were he in power in Israel.
    She "wonders" why people earning less than 30,000 Dollars pay no taxes in the US of A, and why the rich have to pay 40% of all tax revenue. Well, the first can't afford it and the others can! I am sure the term Social Justice does not mean a thing to her. Is she aware that the tax system in the USA is imposed by a democratically elected government ? Does she think the Canadian system is better because it taxes people with incomes below the poverty line ? What a perversion! Und how self serving !!! And what a waste of writing talent !

    • i agree. You need only to look at who Ms. Amiel is married to ('Lord' Black-the felon) and how many $700 pairs of shoes she has to understand her perspective. Her word pollution is total right wing, rich get richer, screw the little guy, crap. She is so out of touch with reality that Canadians are embarrased by her (and 'Lord' Black)

  6. Obama and Bush: two sides of the same coin. Corporatists to the core.

    Fedup: the next time you pass by a panhandler, be sure to give him the shirt off your back. You can afford it!

  7. Prof. Daniel Coleman of McMaster University claims that in Canada white identity is defined and defended through a discourse of civility. 'We' are more civil than 'them' and this is why 'we' must rule them or convert 'them' to our way of life. The codes of civility become not-so-subtly codes of race and power, ways of marking who counts as 'civilized' or as able to enter into civil society and reap its rewards. His book is called 'White Civility'. I'd always been unsure about this theory until I read the recurring strands of civility that run throughout this preposterous article:

    "Obama remains an enigma to me on every level. He has the appearance of an elegantly mannered man but behaves abominably. Ejecting the Epstein bust of Churchill from the Oval Office is one thing, but sending it back to the British after they offer to extend the loan is simply a wilful child's nose-thumbing. Leaving a political leader, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, cooling his heels in order to have dinner with Michelle and the kids is not moral suasion, it's schoolmarmish pettiness. Nor would any mannerly person announce that his grandmother was a racist (inaccurate on the basis of his account, anyway)."

    What being mannerly has to do with Obama's political plan or ideological position is beyond me. This just reads like Baronness Amiel pining for the days when people of her pallor and tax bracket were the ones calling the shots. Pine on you crazy diamond.

  8. Didn't I read somewhere that Barbara Amiel use to live above a brothel? She's pathetic. She thinks she is part of the "elite" but they will always laugh at her behind her back. No one cares about her opinion. Maclean's why do you keep her on? Her time has come and gone.. We need some sound opinions not biased, Zionist, one dimensional rhetoric.

  9. Sadly Barbara's prose is not as insightful and biting as it once was.
    Perhaps worrying about her husbands anal-virginity has taken it's toll. I hope that when they are reunited, she can relax and regain her former glory. Sad also that she had to marry that corrupt wanna-be-royal in order to maintain the lifestyle to which she had become accustomed. Nothing like a little hunger to sharpen the pen!

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