Obama vs. Obama
A major peculiarity of Obama's recent promises involving his upcoming "Year of Action" is that the chief enemy he's sworn to overcome is none other than... Barack Obama.
Consider "income inequality." As far as this can be said to actually exist, it's a function of certain sectors of the financial industry reaping massive windfalls over the past few years while the rest of the country has stagnated under the burden of the recession.
So who is responsible for this state of affairs? Consider the trillion and a half dollars handed over to the banks and other financial institutions shortly after Obama took office. This money was supposed to be extended as credit to businesses -- including small businesses -- in a bid to supercharge the economy according to the old Keynesian formula.
Instead it went directly into the markets, where it triggered the growth of the current market bubble, generating plenty in the way of paper profits, bonuses, and so forth along the way.
Also consider the $65 billion a month handed to the banks in the form of "quantitative easing." This was supposedly the brainstorm of Ben Bernanke. But Bernanke is nobody's idea of an independent agent. Any notion that he was acting outside of a framework created by Obama is ludicrous. This money did more of the same -- slipping essentially unearned income into already well-upholstered pockets, and all at the bidding of none other than Barack Obama.
Turning to the NSA, Obama promised to straighten that matter out last Friday, only five months after the scandal first broke. Incisive media reportage has made it seem as if the scandal has its roots in the Patriot Act and the machinations of George W. Bush, a complete imbecile except when planning pure evil. But during the Bush administration, the nation's intelligence systems were under the oversight of serious professionals, including Dick Cheney and Colin Powell, who would not have tolerated abuses. Beyond that is the fact that the media was eagerly watching for any missteps. The standout here is the odious Bill Keller, who, as managing editor of the New York Times released a number of exposés concerning intelligence in defiance of the fact that they endangered American lives (not to mention Iraqis and Afghans). Under those circumstances, it's unlikely that anyone would have taken the chance of pushing signals intelligence to the point of tracking every last individual in the country.
No -- this reeks of the Chicago method, which is to learn everything about everybody and use it, no matter what the limits or the legalities may be. Once completely unraveled, the NSA scandal will be understood as a product of Barack Obama and his appointees, who turned the American intelligence establishment into a political weapon, much the same as they did with everything else they ever got their hands on.
So it becomes obvious that if Obama seriously wants to overcome income equality and surveillance abuse, he has to challenge one particular individual: Barack Obama.
That Obama should climax his days in office by shadowboxing with himself is about par for the course, the only appropriate ending for an administration that has plumbed the depths of incompetence, ineffectiveness, and sheer cluelessness. The chief executive of this country is now chasing himself through labyrinths that he himself devised. I'd like to say it doesn't get crazier than this, but I'm certain I'd be proven wrong.