Barack Obama

The Revolution with No Name

March 11, 2014

When it seemed to some at the end of the Cold War that we had also reached the end of history, more than ever, every act of rebellion and revolution seemed cause to celebrate an elevated human spirit. After a long winter of merely staving off an enemy’s further success, now freedom was rising with [...]


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A Second Look: Thinking Through the Iranian Dilemma

December 16, 2013

I posted the following on March 19 of last year. Nothing that has transpired since, not even the recently achieved, yet still not implemented short-term deal – which I think a basis for justified future military action just as it is, more hopefully, a foundation for peaceful resolution – has changed the balance of views [...]


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The Trope Dope: “Check Your Privilege”

December 9, 2013

In the final analysis, Madame Bovary is just another trope. Unknown academic wag. dope: an illicit, habit-forming, or narcotic drug; a stupid person; [slang] the inside scoop, the poop, the skinny, the lowdown Cant kills ideas. Leaves them dead in the field, their tongues swollen and hanging. Flies buzzing. (They fell in love too easily. [...]


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Syria, the Limits of Interventionism, and the International Order

November 11, 2013

Noted in the comments to the previous post, “A Plague: Contesting Syria, in Context,” is the posting of a reply to it at his blog from my ever wry blogging compadre, Snoopy the Goon. Please do  read it here. Below is my response to, ahem, the Goon. Dear Snoopy, How do we go on after [...]


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A Plague: Contesting Syria, in Context

November 4, 2013

Context They are always there, sitting on both shoulders, sounding into your ears. On either side, they buzz insistently their ceaseless drone. Now, they speak of Syria, whisper and wheedle action or inaction as they wish. They have been singing their songs of superpower or imperial America since the end of World War II. In [...]


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A Second Look: The Honor of the Mascot, or A Team by Any Other Name

October 8, 2013

The latest publicity over the very name of the Washington Redskins is only the most recent eruption in a longtime simmer. As recently as 2009, the Supreme Court refused to hear a case dating back to 1992. This should not surprise given that the Supreme Court has never overturned Johnson v. McIntosh, its 1823 decision [...]


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Masters of War

September 11, 2013

 “Masters of War,” compellingly titled, fortuitously timed in its creation, ranks among Bob Dylan’s most jejune songs. The apparent good fortune of its historic timing emerged out of a natural uprising from circumstance. Given that circumstance, and the song’s generalized complaint, how, it almost seems, could the United States not have become fully drawn into [...]


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A Second Look: The Brotha & the Otha

August 21, 2013

President Obama’s summer vacation just concluded, there was a fair amount of attention to the frequency of his golfing: courses traversed, rounds played, partners played with. ABC News even gave us “Obama’s Vacation by the Numbers.” He made FIVE outings to local restaurants, including TWO dinners with friends, ONE intimate night out with the first [...]


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The Obama Doctrine

May 24, 2013

. There is one. It is not simple and direct like the Monroe, Truman, or Carter doctrines. For this reason, those who are Obama’s foes and those who have always underestimated him, or who fail to see the world as he does, can easily caricature the manifestations of it. The Obama doctrine is more complex, [...]


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Obama’s Male Gaze

April 15, 2013

. We forget it about Barack Obama. Amid his first-black-American-presidentness. His Africanness and his historical otherness. His – by American standards – worldliness. The youth in Indonesia and the exposure to Islam. The exotica, to mainlanders, of the upbringing in Hawaii. The life with a single mother. The academic achievement, the sometimes aloof scholarly mien. [...]


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The Voting Rights Act and the Consequences of Our Actions

February 28, 2013

. A little over a year ago, to counter a vein of left criticism of President Obama during the election year, I wrote, of the 1968 presidential election, Significantly, while Nixon won 86% of the registered Republican vote, Humphrey won only 74% of registered Democrats. Democratic division before and after the ’68 convention [primarily over [...]


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Finessing Foreign Policy

January 25, 2013

. In his testimony at yesterday’s hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry said, It is also imperative that in implementing President Obama’s vision for the world as he ends more than a decade of war, we join together to augment our message to the world. President Obama and every one of us [...]


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Inaugurations and Occasional Poetry

January 23, 2013

. How shall we receive Richard Blanco’s poem for the occasion of President Obama’s second inauguration? Occasional poems – poems written in honor of an occasion – may be as old as poetry itself. They have a great tradition, but quite arguably that tradition has significantly diminished. Why? One easily distinguished difference in the origination [...]


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Why Obama Hearts Hagel

January 14, 2013

. This commentary first appeared in the Algemeiner on January 11.  The last time I wrote about President Obama’s then only rumored selection of Chuck Hagel I said two things I knew I would wish to revise. The first, rhetorically, was the question: “What was he thinking?” The second was a quotation from Gil Troy’s generally very good writing [...]


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The Gun Party Crazies

January 8, 2013

. Talking Points Memo has a piece today about how “The White House Just Set Gun Rights Activists Ablaze.” Over the weekend, the Washington Post reported the gun violence task force led by Vice President Biden is considering gun legislation “far broader and more comprehensive…than simply reinstating an expired ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition.” …. [...]


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The Hagelian Dialectic

January 7, 2013

. This commentary first appeared in the Algemeiner on January 4. Today, President Obama announced his nomination of Chuck Hagel to be the next Secretary of Defense. The Chuck Hagel trial balloon has been aloft for weeks now, not to burst or land – since its lofting was never officially acknowledged – until either he [...]


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The Hastert Rule

January 3, 2013

. It is such a given so little reflected upon by its participants and observers, that political life leads to cynicism, that even when reflection periodically takes place, much is lost in the glare. Consider in this regard the already commonplace observation that in clambering back atop the “fiscal cliff” on Tuesday, the GOP-controlled House [...]


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Conquest Leaves a Sour Taste

December 8, 2012

. Who’d a thunk it? Five hundred and twenty years of military assault, ethnic cleansing, physical and cultural genocide, theft, lies, deception, dishonor, broken treaties – oh, you can’t even count the number of broken treaties – broken trusts and misappropriation of funds, and nothing seems to work quite right. Things are – how do [...]


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Glenn Greenwald criticizes Bibi AND Obama’s “policies” of intentionally killing innocent Muslims

November 16, 2012

. Cross posted from Cif Watch by its managing editor, Adam Levick. “Every person has their own definition of terrorism.” -Glenn Greenwald. Glenn Greenwald makes characteristically hysterical claims about Israel and the US in his latest ‘Comment is Free’ piece titled Obama’s kill list policy compels US support for Israeli attacks on Gaza‘: Here are the most [...]


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Compromising with Reality

November 8, 2012

. I spent less than the usual time on social media yesterday – I took a kind of day-after breather – but I devoted most of what time I did spend to venting. You can see it in my twitter feed down on the right. It was not my larger self on display, but “moderation [...]


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The End of American Democracy

October 31, 2012

. A dissenter will call it hyperbole, an opponent hysterical, some of its targets sensational. We will all or we will not find out – any of us today, I mean, for confirmation may take far longer to receive than the length of our short lives. Rome, you know, word is, was not built in [...]


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