Monday, June 27, 2011

Ten Amazing Obama Facts

Amazing Fact #1. In order for President Obama to be defeated, someone must beat him.

With his poll numbers flat-lining, the economy in the tank, and the government on the verge of shutdown, things look rather bleak for NeO. But before Rethugs get too happy, to paraphrase Guru from Gangstarr: Who's going to take the weight? After all the speculation and punditry, someone's got to step to the podium against this dude. Who is going to be able to not get blowed away? This fact segues nicely into the next...

Amazing Fact #2: People who bet against NeO tend to lose their money.

Jesse Jackson
Hillary Clinton
Somali Pirates
Bill Clinton
Donald Trump
Jim Demint
Osama Bin Laden


Amazing Fact #3: Incumbent presidents hardly ever lose.

Not only do they have access to the full resources of the United States government, they also have considerable power in shaping the national conversation. Plus, if the President is serving the interests of the rich elite, they are going to give him their economic support instead of supporting an unknown quantity. Tax rates are lower than ever. Corporate profits are at near-record levels. The war business is booming. Isn't this the change that the economic elite believe in?

Amazing Fact #4: Killing Bin Laden will not get Obama reelected.

As much as people imagined that Osama Bin Laden's death would ensure President Obama's reelection, they fail to realize that NeO won't get credit for it because it doesn't fit the narrative we have for him. Dubya was the cowboy, busting his guns, scalping Injuns. In the last act of his presidency, after billions of dollars spent and thousands of lives lost, he was supposed to be able to bring Bin Laden's head home for the wall collection. Instead, the more he tried, the more the terrorists laughed and called him a dumbass.

Frankly, by the end of his term I just felt kind of bad for the guy--in that Tiki Barber/John Edwards/slow-motion-car-crash kind of way. Bin Laden (and Bin Laden's colleagues at the CIA) so obviously outsmartted Dubya that it didn't seem fair, cruel even. The American people were ready to move on in some respect. New movie, please.

Obama killing Bin Laden is kind of like Superman killing the Joker. There's no emotional subtext to the thing. I mean, thanks and all, but what does Seal Team 6 have to do with Dreams From My Father?

Amazing Fact #4: Osama Bin Laden was assassinated, and we're all cool with that. 

According to, "assassination" is to kill suddenly or secretively, especially a politically prominent person. But assassinate is such an icky word, right? It doesn't seem appropriate. An assassination has a "victim," and a "perpetrator". Bin Laden was evil, so he couldn't have been a victim. America was in the right, so we couldn't have been perpetrators. So, instead, we'll just call it a "military action." Ah, that's better.

The first accounts of the military action had Bin Laden going out like Tony Montana, guns blazing. And then it turned out he was unarmed, but was "going for something." And then one of his wives said that he was actually in custody when he was shot. And then finally the military said they weren't going to comment further. It's amazing that Bin Laden didn't know better than to listen when the Navy Seals asked him to take out his license and registration. They been getting brothers like that for years. Word to Diallo.

But when you get right down to it, this amounted to nothing more than another instance of CIA downsizing; a former employee got cut from the payroll. Bin Laden joins a long line of other former employees who have suffered similar fates: Saddam Hussein, Manuel Noriega, Pablo Escobar, Freeway Ricky Ross, Rafael Trujillo. All given similar pink slips. Don't call us, we'll call you.

Amazing Fact #5. The President is a blues comic.

I saw the Obama impersonator who got pulled off stage at the Republican Leadership Conference and I was impressed. The President can be a bit stoic sometimes, so it's understandable that a lot of impressions are overly wooden, but this guy was putting on that Barack Bright Boy comedy swag. Although the audience was initially uncomfortable with the racial themes of some of the jokes, the loud guffaws reflected the reckless abandon one might enjoy at a Republican event, free of the harsh gaze of sensitive Negroes.

Even though the jokes (Barack celebrates half of Black history month; Barack's mom loved a Black man, but her name wasn't Kardashian; Barack and Michelle as Esther and Fred from Sanford and Son) weren't the most clever in the world, they were cringe-inducing like the best of NeO humor. He has a way of implicating his audience in a joke. Kind of like Richard Pryor in Live on the Sunset Strip, joking about the jokes people told after he caught himself on fire freebasing. He tells the joke to not only make you laugh, but also shine a light on what you're willing to laugh at. I think that's also called the blues.
What's that? Richard Pryor running down the street.
Remember the time he went on national TV, called a policeman stupid, and joked that the Secret Service would shoot him down if they thought he was trying to break into the White House?

Remember his first presidential press conference when he called himself a mutt?

And who can forget his "I-don't-come-to-your-job-kicking-****s-out-of-your-mouth" moment at the White House Correspondents dinner? Trumpwnd. 


This Chinese ad for KFC is not only fantastic because it features the President getting squashed by a fried chicken sandwich, it also shows Americans having more enthusiasm for the offending sandwich. And although it's probably racist (having the first Black President assassinated by a piece of chicken is all types of messed up) it seems more like a scathing critique of how dumb Americans are. Good one, China. Oh wait, isn't Kentucky Fried Chicken an American company?

Amazing Fact #6: Lupe was right.

Lupe Fiasco recently called NeO a terrorist. Actually, he said that President Obama and all the past and future presidents of the United States have used and will use terrorism to advance American interests. This statement may be shocking to some, but in the words of Gil Scott-Heron: "America leads the world in shocks. Unfortunately America does not lead the world in deciphering the causes of shocks."

Although he is the first Black President, Obama is beholden and controlled by interests that continue to deploy terrorism to achieve their aims. I think we're sadly learning that the adjective (Black) hasn't done much to modify the noun (President).

Amazing Fact #7: Being an Obama supporter ain't what it used to be.

So, refresh my memory. What does it mean to be an "Obama supporter" nowadays? What exactly are you supporting? I've been thinking about that a lot lately. I had an earlier post about how NeO was encountering the "Presidential" narrative, which is pretty much like the Western Cowboy narrative. Swagger into town, kill some brown skins, and save the day. These days the Obama doctrine sounds more like an OutKast remix: Bombs over Baghdad. Bombs over Waziristan. Bombs over Sana'a. Bombs over Helmand Province. Bombs over Tripoli. Is he going for the record of brown people bombed at the same time? Sad to say, but I think he's got W beat already.

Of course there are reasonable justifications for every one of those conflicts. Something about democracy. Something about terrorist infrastructure. Something about protecting civilians. Something about surgical strikes. Something about insurgents. Something about rebels. Something about regime change. To paraphrase Zora Neale Hurston, these are just "words walking without masters, all together like harmony in a song." However you sing it, the song is about the control of natural resources at the expense of human life.

 Powerful you have become, the dark side I sense in you
The depressing fact about our President is that he's good at his job. What other human on the planet would be capable of coping with the kind of crisis that this brother has dealt with? He's phenomenal at his job, but the job is imperial in nature. John Wayne had to bust guns to be John Wayne. And somebody's got to be at the end of that gun. That works for the movies, but it has little to do with ensuring democracy or human rights. So even though a part of me really loves the brother and wants his narrative to keep on teaching and inspiring me, there's an ugly element to this narrative that's more troubling by the day.  

Amazing Fact #8: The President, for one, welcomes our robot overlords.

Did we really need to reauthorize the Patriot Act by robot? Has everyone forgotten that Skynet went operational on April 19th and by now is well on its way to annihilating human civilization? As if we didn't have enough to worry about.

Today's Word: Judgment Day

Amazing Fact #9: NeO can still save America.

The health of American democracy depends on the balance of powers. NeO has failed so far to reign in the executive branch. We've got more secrets. More wire taps. More restrictions on civil liberties. Less transparency. This type of environment lends itself to the type of efficiency that is attractive in times of crisis. However, this type of environment serves to weaken democratic institutions in the long run, and it ironically foments more times of crisis. Whatever you may think of NeO, you have to concede that it could always get much worse. If he doesn't work to restrain executive power we'll be destined to have a crazy president with immense, unchecked power. Need an illustration? Three words: President Michelle Bachman.

In related news...

Amazing Fact #10: He's probably not going to do that thing that you thought he was going to do.

Remember that thing that you were really hoping NeO would change way back on election day in 2008? If he hasn't done anything on it in his first term, it's probably not going to happen in the second term either. Just so you know.

Amazing Fact #11: If he doesn't do it, we have to do it ourselves. 

As true today as it was in 2008 or 1908 or 1808.