…annus horribilis… 2014, annus mirabilis?…

…Pretense of ‘Beacon of Democracy and Freedom’ discarded, the US is easy Victor Ludorum of Annus Horribilis for 2013, and in all categories, the especially bad ones…

The US President denies vehemently ever telling the US public that they could keep their existing health plan with the launch of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), that eponymous ‘Obamacare’. Reality: plans canceled, sudden increases in health premiums. Which results in,

‘Lie of the Year’ prize goes to Obama

And how had the the real world been seeing this? One example, Obama denies he made a promise that was videotaped two dozen times. You see it and you ask, ‘How do they do it? And with a straight face?’ The alarm bells were there for some years, from Marcy Wheeler in 2009 to Glenn Greenwald in December 2012, with his Obamacare architect leaves White House for pharmaceutical industry job, with two excerpts

…As Baucus himself repeatedly boasted, the architect of that legislation was Elizabeth Fowler, his chief health policy counsel; indeed, as Marcy Wheeler discovered, it was Fowler who actually drafted it. As Politico put it at the time: “If you drew an organizational chart of major players in the Senate health care negotiations, Fowler would be the chief operating officer.”

[snip]

More amazingly still, when the Obama White House needed someone to oversee implementation of Obamacare after the bill passed, it chose . . . Liz Fowler. That the White House would put a former health insurance industry executive in charge of implementation of its new massive health care law was roundly condemned by good government groups as at least a violation of the “spirit” of governing ethics rules and even “gross”, but those objections were, of course, brushed aside by the White House. She then became Special Assistant to the President for Healthcare and Economic Policy at the National Economic Council.


A health insurance by and for the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries. Technical experts to schedule and do systems tests, system corrections or fine-tuning? Any surprise? Instead of a much less expensive universal health care plan or its approximation came a mishmash, flaws and all, for which especially those curiously inattentive individuals must also now pay? Thus, if the US shows such respect for its own citizens, what then for the world, especially the non-Western?

Easy winner in yet another category, the categorical denial of the US conducting wholesale, blanket surveillance of everyone, everywhere, not just of the manufactured so-called terrorists who are so unimaginably profitable to a class of exceptionals. Things were going along so swimmingly that we even had this famous statement amid total posturing of righteous indignation, Obama to confront Chinese president over spate of cyber-attacks on US. And so the drumbeat would continue until early June 2013, when along would come Edward Snowden, and the jig was up and much more than that jig. (ICT companies complicit in the surveillance would, unsurprisingly, pay and continue to pay the penalty, loss of business overseas for their unconscionable betrayal of customer trust.)

And here Juan Cole ‘calls in’ an Obama partisan to review the thing, Jon Stewart: NSA Totally Doing all those Things Obama Admin denied they were Doing. And what makes matters worse is that with every ‘statement of fact’, every ‘this time comes the truth, really, really’, another devastating revelation would come forth in contradiction, and the hypocrisy would continue with undiminished brazenness. And speaking of yet another revelation, NSA Program Stopped No Terrorist Attacks. And this from the very mainstream, NBC, as DS Wright over at firedoglake reports,

Remember when those NSA officials and President Obama claimed they needed to spy on Americans because it would prevent terrorist attacks? Even saying it already had prevented attacks and “saved lives”? Yeah, about that, actually not true. Obama, NSA, and friends were lying.

According to NBC News one of the White House Panel members on the committee to reform the NSA has disclosed that not one-single-solitary-attack was stopped from the NSA surveillance program.

So yet another ‘misstatement’ as the included video clip shows.

In another category, unquestioned winner of Hypocrisy of the Year award. For starters, it was the very composition of that US delegation in the President’s entourage at the memorial service for the late Nelson Mandela. Then there was the US President, of little to no accomplishments and still Nobel Laureate for Peace, who would dare to compare his own efforts to emulate Mandela, while, in stark contrast, Raúl Castro, clearly more deserving to comment, would merely speak of Mandela’s accomplishments. All that came as the world at large was fully aware of who was responsible for the capture of Mr Mandela.

And for supreme irony of that grinning ‘selfie’ at the memorial service with the UK PM and the Danish PM is that the Danish PM is the daughter-in-law of Neil Kinnock, a former UK Labour Party leader. Kinnock’s work was plagiarised several years earlier by one famous US politician.

Then we would have this recent of many such outrages, more wanton murder of innocent people, Attack on Wedding Convoy One of the Worst in History of Drone War in Yemen, and that with such curious rhetoric at that memorial service still fresh. And the routine silence would continue after each event, with the corporate media in tacit acceptance, just as the UN. What really is this macabre obsession with ‘droning’ weddings in these Moslem countries? On that Tom Engelhardt tries a different tack, How many American Weddings would have to get hit by Drones before they were Banned? Surely, there surely must be some special Glee Club formed for this bold initiative, with meetings held on ‘Terror Tuesday’?

A potential candidate for Psychopath of the Year was announced as Psychopath Alert – Joe Klein defends the murder of children. And, no, this was a different slaughter. But so routine, and so deadly, these drone strikes against the innocent and some ‘suspects’ (anyone in the teens or over) that the US President, who suggests equivalence with Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela and now Pope Francis, is said to have proudly claimed, ‘I’m really good at killing people’ – book claims Obama told aides. Such a boast or ambition, clearly anathema to the moral character and philosophy of those three.

So, then, truly character defining performance for 2013. As the ovation continues for the heroic Edward Snowden and his revelations, and for the refreshing appearance onstage of the BRIC, an appearance that could not have been more timely for the world, the opportunities for and from a multi-polar world. And to lend mighty sustenance to the dispossessed and voiceless, and to condemn the evils of the capitalist religion of senseless violence and instability, that tyranny of corporate greed, there was, yet again, that Pontiff, Pope Francis.

The year 2014 is indeed the year of great potential for the transition to a less unstable, less violent world, that long overdue Annus Mirabilis. The chorus is queued to sing lustily, Mirabile dictu.

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