Some comments on Obama

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Some comments on Obama

Post  VicarJoe on Mon Aug 03, 2009 8:11 am

This is political, yes, but it's been on my mind, so here goes.

A month and a half ago, I realized that we were no longer hearing about the big tax cut he promised last year. Last summer, I heard Obama supporters day after day constantly crowing about the 95% of Americans who would get a big tax cut under Obama, sending everyone to the official Obama tax cut calculator web page to find out just how much money we'd get back. "Vote for Obama, it means a tax cut for everyone but the very richest people!" I was curious. I went to the tax cut web page. It said my family would get a $3,000 tax cut. "We shall see," I thought.

Well, there's been a lot of silence about those huge tax cuts, so around 8 weeks ago or so I tracked down the calculator at http://taxcut.barackobama.com/, and gave it a try. Here's what it said:

"Obama-Biden Tax Calculator. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will cut taxes for 95% of working families, and provide at least three times as much tax relief for middle class families as John McCain and Sarah Palin. The Obama/Biden plan provides $1,000 of tax relief for workers and new tax benefits to help families pay for college, childcare and save for retirement.

"Obama tax savings, $1000"

That's odd, I thought. It used to be more! How did it go from $3,000 to $1,000?

So I went to a web page the administration could not have altered, http://alchemytoday.com/obamataxcut/. It had not been touched since last summer. And it said: "These numbers come directly from calculations by the independent, non-partisan Tax Policy Center. They estimate that your taxes in 2009 will change by $2,945.73 under Barack Obama."

"The results are in...Your Obama Tax Cut: $2,945.73"

That's what I remember. A $3,000 tax cut, not the measly $1,000 the official Obama web page now said.

But just a few weeks later, I went back to taxcut.barackobama.com, and it said "server down." What? Why?

And now the server is GONE. It no longer exists.

One of his central campaign promises shrank and shrank and now has disappeared. Like magic.

Just for fun, read what used to be said:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8BDyz4J-QA

Pretty soon, no doubt, youtube will be stripped of any memory of the tax cuts, too.

Oh, and that "non-partisan" Tax Policy Center is run by the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institute, who are both liberal. But the media said it was non-partisan.... Yeah, thanks mainstream media.

I mention all of this, partly, because as I read about regimes from North Korea to Romania to Albania, one thing they all practice is this "disappearing truth" maneuver, where you start to feel like you're losing your mind because the past is always being edited by the present to make the leader look good.
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This is creepy.

Post  cradlerc on Tue Aug 11, 2009 2:57 pm

cyclops

I think this kind of thing happens all the time. But I'm cynical.

(Cyclops courtesy of daughter #2)
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I realize now in re-reading

Post  VicarJoe on Wed Aug 12, 2009 8:24 am

that I was perhaps a bit too focused on Obama, too partisan. But the point for me was that it is maddening when things that were once everywhere disappear suddenly, and everyone acts as if they never existed. It's kafkaesque, really. There was another instance of the same phenomenon at the same time, with the Henry Gates incident, where initially the stories mentioned that there were three cops (like a bad joke, there was a white guy, a latino, and an African American). But as the meme developed, there was only one cop, the white guy, and the other two (who totally backed up their colleague) were, as it were, erased. They no longer seemed to exist. It was just white cop vs black "victim" (a familiar enough narrative). These kinds of erasures start to gnaw at me when I think about them.
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I'm surprised Joe

Post  Thereforeiam on Wed Aug 12, 2009 8:55 am

that this strikes you as somewhat unique. It became apparant to me as a college student digging further into the real backround and details of the Viet Nam War. That's why the Pentagon Papers and other documents caused such a stir.
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I don't know that it strikes me as unique

Post  VicarJoe on Wed Aug 12, 2009 8:57 am

but it strikes me that the more we become an "information society," the more dangerous it is that information be viewed as so pliable.
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Pliable?

Post  Thereforeiam on Wed Aug 12, 2009 9:05 am

I prefer to call it subjective media brain washing rather than what their job should be and that is just reporting the news.
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But there is something disturbing

Post  cradlerc on Wed Aug 12, 2009 12:12 pm

about what seems to be an increasing malleability in the way information can be erased or altered. On the other hand, it occurs to me that the kind of thing Joe noticed might have gone completely undetected even just twenty years ago. I'm reminded of a story in Susan Griffin's book A Chorus of Stones, where a man who was exposed to radiation and, he believes, experiments he did not agree to, tries to track down a picture of himself in a local newspaper. The copies disappear--and then the entire issue of that paper goes AWOL. It also makes me think of the fact that I live near the site of the second worst nuclear meltdown in our history--and who knew, until recently? Not me.

So in some ways, the internet leaves traces of information that might otherwise simply disappear.

Kafkaesque is right. Susan Griffin actually talks about Kafka and how prescient he was about how the following century would shape up. What complicates things as well, I think, is how easy in this atmosphere it is to create conspiracy theories--because some conspiracies and erasures do actually exist. So the internet, especially, becomes this sea of free floating debris, some fact, some fiction, some in-between.
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I was perhaps especially sensitive at the time I wrote the first post

Post  VicarJoe on Wed Aug 12, 2009 1:37 pm

because I was reading about how, in old Warsaw Pact countries, there'd be a picture of the president and the prime minister, and then after the prime minister was shot as a traitor, he'd be airbrushed out of the photograph so that he was "never there." It's that way of treating the past that freaks yours truly out.
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And me, as well.

Post  cradlerc on Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:20 pm

Doesn't Kundera address this in Laughter and Forgetting?

And I think your point, joe, is important--because unlike the Bush Jr. administration, which was widely accepted to be disingenuous, with Cheney as a rather Nixon-like operator, this administration operates under the facade of being completely open and truthful, complete unlike its predecessors. I suppose my cynicism in all things political comes from my core belief that large enitites, like Big Pharma and multinational corporations, run the show, and that our administrations are always in bed with them, to a greater or lesser degree. But, indeed, a wolf in sheep's clothing is more dangerous than a wolf, any day. As you know, I voted for this administration, and I think some of the wackier conspiracy theories out there consititute a lot of foaming at the mouth, but that doesn't mean I'm not simultaneously alarmed by the collective need to deify our present leader. It means no one will report on your discovery--until, perhaps, the pendulum swings in the other direction, and the next set of cagey politicians uses it to proclaim their own holiness.
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I think that's where I first encountered it

Post  VicarJoe on Thu Aug 13, 2009 11:38 am

The way that the Prague Spring was airbrushed out of history. Yes, I think I read Kundera at a time in my life (undergrad) where it really shaped the way I viewed the world.
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