…’free’ trade, ‘the defining issue of our time’?…  

…surely, this is no ‘pivot’?…

The perils abound. Only ‘look forward’ the US President had so grandly exhorted then as he failed to act on such wanton slaughter, destruction and torture; and increasing inequality and festering unemployment domestically. Unfortunately, there has to be some context, especially where a justice is being denied; and lives and livelihoods in peril; and reputation and credibility of policy-makers, even if not prospective rewards, in jeopardy.

Those who wisely choose to ignore that counsel to only ‘look forward’ can remember the Pope’s comments on inequality, and the US President’s immediately seizing upon them, and his sudden, albeit momentary and very politic, ‘pivot’ to inequality on which he pronounced with such stentorian gravity.

From WaPo would come, Inequality is ‘the defining issue of our time’

The LA Times would confidently report, Obama takes populist economic message to the heartland. With the impressive (violins?),

Growing inequality “is the defining issue of our time,” Obama said in a nearly hour long address here Tuesday. “This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and all those who are fighting to get into the middle class. At stake is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home and secure their retirement.”

Even the Financial Times of the UK falls for the blather, Inequality is ‘defining issue of our time’, says Obama

Blogger Kathleen Geier who writes on issues of inequality would report, President Obama: economic inequality is “the defining issue of our time”.

And Ms Geier would seize on key points and extol their virtues, confident of some, any, action. Of course, the corporate US MSM would dutifully package and amplify the speech, seemingly transforming words into deeds, as they would promptly move ‘forward’ onto more lucrative and distracting matters to engage a distracted US populace and even the outsiders.

In a world where there are those sceptics, those iconoclasts who look beyond the words, beyond the rhetoric, for performance, for results, what do we have?

The blog, the daily beast, wastes little time, with, The Truth About Obama-Era Inequality. Key observations in the article of 5Dec13,

The president calls income inequality the ‘defining issue of our time.’ So it seems fair to grade him on his success at addressing it. By any measure, he has failed spectacularly.

Maybe it’s the Christmas season. But when December rolls around, President Obama’s thoughts seem to turn to income inequality.

[bold added for emphasis]


But this president? He spends the days before Thanksgiving raising money for campaigns he’ll never run in the mansions of millionaires. Next December he’ll probably give another speech on income inequality. Then perhaps one more in December 2015 and maybe one final hurrah in 2016.

After that, what will count is not his speeches but his record. Right now he’s on track to be one of America’s worst presidents on a subject he calls “defining.” If so, how will he be defined?

The blog, truth-out, is also not impressed, not accepting that ‘free’ trade such as the TPP is a synonym for inequality, Obama’s Aversion to Income Inequality Doesn’t Extend to TPP.

And to address the matter of ‘defining’, we have a cross-post at common dreams from Katrina vanden Heuvel, A Progressive’s Lament about the Trans-Pacific Partnership. We get to ‘defining’ both of issue and character,

Democrats are stunned by the intensity of the lobbying effort mounted by the administration. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), a staunch supporter of the president, noted that Democrats have been “talked to, approached, lobbied and maybe cajoled by more Cabinet members on this issue than any issue since Barack Obama’s been president. That’s just sad. I wish they put the same effort into minimum wage. I wish they put the same effort into Medicare at 55. I wish they put the same effort into some consumer strengthening on Dodd-Frank.”

[bold added for emphasis]

So we have clear refutation of ‘free’ trade (TPP  or TTIP) being any synonym for inequality, even in the politician’s thesaurus.


The issue of character and honesty comes to the fore with this, and is a cautionary tale of avoiding the philosophy of tabula rasa, even with the loyal promotion by media.

… When Warren said in an e-mail to supporters that the president’s claims couldn’t be verified since “people like you can’t see the actual deal,” the president said, “it’s dishonest” to call this a secret deal, since “every single one of the critics . . . could walk over and see the text of the agreement.” Warren and Brown responded by calling the president’s bluff: If the treaty isn’t secret, then make its provisions public so that Americans can see it before the vote on fast track. (In fact, the treaty, still in negotiation, is classified . Legislators can see it, but only with a trade official, and with no aides, no notes, no experts, no copies and no repeating of details that are classified.)

As we see, the past can await the unwary, with discomfiting results, We see this unerring Parthian shot from DS Wright at fdl, which ends the farce, Obama Laments Poverty In Baltimore While Pushing TPP

In a surreal moment at Tuesday’s joint-press conference, President Barack Obama addressed the unrest in Baltimore by lamenting the effects of poverty in America’s inner cities which was then immediately followed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pronouncing his support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement destined to exacerbate poverty in America.

President Obama noted that the problem of poverty had to be an integral part of any discussion about the situation in Baltimore and that creating economic opportunities was part of the solution. Obama even went on to cite the destruction of America’s manufacturing base as one of the culprits for stagnation and despair.

All this while pushing TPP:

The question: will victory arise from apathy or activism? Triumph of corporatocracy or awakening and resurgent democracy?

…time ticks away…