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Happy New Year with the Obama effect Happy New Year with the Obama effect
by Thanos Kalamidas
2013-01-01 10:25:00
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Happy New Year. Traditions and customs demand to start the year with a wish. This wish. Happy New Year. But life nowadays has proved that wishes and hopes are not enough. And the last two decades have been hard, very hard for all of us. Wishes and hopes don’t work any more. Now we need action. It’s the time to demand action and leave hope and wishes for the gabblers.

The last ten days I’ve been thinking if it was worth to write something about the persona or the event of the year and I have to admit that I had some ideas with the name Barack Obama staring in some of them. Times magazine was there with a picture of the American president in the cover page. But why Obama …again? Perhaps it is because his 2012 re-election inspired a heated conversation even here, in Ovi magazine. And perhaps because Barack Obama wanted it or not he has become the point that marks the end of the wishes and hopes era and the beginning of the action era. Perhaps.

One thing for sure is that history is going to judge the American president and not today or tomorrow but long time after today. But what we can do is that can talk and judge the Obama effect that is in action the last six seven years and I think its coming to its pick the New Year, now. I think it all started with the 911 and the hit to the twin towers. This is the point where every side bared their teeth and their clear intentions. The war that started that day in 2001 was in many levels and fronts not only between the Bush family and Bin Laden. The war between America and Europe was going on for years with its most dangerous point the period of the George Bush senior’s administration in USA when we literally reached the point of an actual war. But after 911 it was not covered with smiles any more. But don’t think that the Europeans are innocent to all that mess. It was a good chance for some of them to work on their agenda openly. To manipulate and drive a whole continent for interests far away from the European unity and solidarity; far away from its fundamentals. The gap between north and south became a canyon and with the economic crisis the canyon became the chaos still unveiling its depth.

But 911 didn’t only bring the western part of this globe in crisis, the east side changed as well. Alliances changed, old enemies became friends and old friends became foes. The enemy of my enemy is my friend became global dogma and the most unsuitable companions found them in the same bed. China proved that money is the ultimate power even with the most anti-capitalist countries and that can help you even invade the leading capitalist country. India proved in just many ways that old habits die hard. Australia strangling between a political isolation and identity crisis and back in Europe UK still celebrates the new member of the royal family’s pregnancy like it is the end of all problems. South America balances dangerously between nationalism and drugs both in an endless war occasionally with the state and while parts of Africa literally die form HIV other parts slowly try to grow economically following old recipes where the poor get poorer and the rich richer and slavery gets new names more politically correct.

In the meantime the majority of the people live in the fear of unemployment, poverty and an insecure future, dispirit for some hope. And this is when the Obama effect started working. Obama came to bring hope and tell people that they have the power, they are the majority, they can demand. Yes, they can!

Perhaps the American president meant that the American people can. Perhaps he meant that his country’s people can. If he meant that the timing was definitely wrong because the message spread all around the world and the candidate of the American presidency elections became the white knight all the world was waiting for; he liked it or not. Again it wasn’t the people’s fault. After all the last two decades three administrations tried hard to shows us all in the era of globalization that America holds the wheel. After all in the name of global peace and global leadership the American troops liberated Iraq, Afghanistan and there are a few more candidates left for the future. So Obama, he wanted it or not he liked it or not, became a global symbol for change and in his face – literally in his face, the face of the first black American president and all that this symbolizes – they saw hope for liberation from all these things that enslave them. From the banks to the industrialists and from the often ruthless state to the heartless boss. I suppose you can see the semantics of time, place and the fact of the first elected black American president. And actually I believe that this Obama’s legacy. Not what he did or what he’s going to do but the Obama effect. And then the Nobel Prize committee came to add more weight and give to the Obama effect dimensions of the big bang.

And here we are now. 2013! Obama has been re-elected with a marginal difference that forces him to focus more into the internal problems if he want to see the changes he did the last four years – for example the magnificent health care – work one day. Europe has fundamental problems and it has turned into a battlefield between banks, rating agencies and personal agendas. Africa is the battlefield for medicines – medicine industry has shown the worst possible face in the poor continent – diamonds and oils, the old diseases. Middle East continues to be a battlefield literally and Asia has become the battlefield of the thousands wars secretly or in the open. Oceania is lost in its identity crisis and South America continues be the battlefield for drugs and poverty. In the meantime millions become homeless every single day somewhere in this world and 30,000 kids die every single day somewhere in this planet.

And here come two more candidates for the persona of the year and both connected with the Obama effect. The dispirit and the occupy movement, the indignant Citizens Movement; the faces covered with and a Molotov in hand. This is the end of the wishes and hopes and the beginning of the demand for action. And the Molotov is definitely not an answer but the angry face can motivate this world’s leadership including Barack Obama to stop wishing hope and act. NOW! Before it is too late. So we can all have a better new year!

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Murray Hunter2013-01-01 11:34:02
Dear Thanos,
I was looking for some of Obama's great achivements and found one. Hidden in section section 1021 (b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act is the power for the US President can detain without due process and/or execute citizens.
I think Obama has been able to redefine liberalism in a way that no other person ever has been able to do.
So maybe this president will end up having more long term effect on future society than any other president in history.
Again this is my opinion and I dont expect all to agree with me.

Thanos2013-01-01 16:58:42
Let’s see, I will start a bit differently. The worst damage anybody has done to USA – always my opinion - is George W. Bush. For decades democrats replace republicans in the presidential seat lowering tax laws and state influence the republicans and increasing tax for social issues and do more for state influence for the democrats. The biggest difference was in foreign policy with both working hard for their foreign influence. And that from Roosevelt’s times to Bill Clinton’s with his apologies to countries American policy damaged. Even during Reagan’s times – I’m still in shock when I hear or read people praise him as a …democrat, liberator or man of peace – his administration did little to change the internal “normality”

Now George W. Bush did everything possible and impossible to destroy this certain status quo in every single part of the US life including health, education, economy, society. The man didn’t govern; he just acted as a trafficker between lobbies and interests leaving to their agendas USA. Even his wife’s “philanthropic” interests march his always battling for the good of the rich Americans. I was actually surprised he didn’t move the capital to Dallas and didn’t force everybody to wear cowboy hats. He was also the president which with policies including the expansion of the dogma “don’t ask don’t tell” from the army and “with us a patriot or against us a traitor” to all the levels of the American society he made the gap between white America and all the others much bigger.

Thanos2013-01-01 16:59:22
So Obama actually received a country with huge internal problems and actually based a big part of his first campaign into those problems and their solutions and been black – another turn – he had to meet a united reactionary America. Oddly Obama did something that only Roosevelt had done before. To unite not only the republicans but all the right side of the conservative America from the white power and supremacists to evangelists and conservative puritans and traditionalists. For that the republicans must love him.

The thing is that while trying to recover a country – always according to his believes – Obama couldn’t fulfil the expectations built for him all around the globe. And in many cases he actually failed them. His election inspired revolutions like the one in Egypt and then these people waiting for him to help found themselves in worst situations. Coming now to his internal changes. I still believe that his health care changes are magnificent and it is hard for the rest of us to understand them for the simple reason that what he tried to give to the poor mainly Americans we have it and we never missed it. And the Americans for the same thing they have two problems. First of all it will take time till they see it in action hoping that the next republican president will not pull a “Bush” trick and ruin everything. And then the people who will really profit from these chances are the ones who according all stats the last three decades …don’t vote for a variety of reasons. You see that’s why I think it will take time for history before we have a judgment about Obama but the same time the “Obama effect” is here has given results – I agree that most of them are failures based on fault expectations most likely – and can lead us to conclusions and perhaps to lessons.

Murray Hunter2013-01-01 17:16:23
I certainly agree on your comments about Obama.
Re: George Bush he was led by ideology and dogma which went something like this: Bush and those around him firmly believe that the second coming of Jesus Christ will happen when the third Jewish Temple is built in Jerusalem. Hence they unquestionably support Israel, the Jewish take over of the entire Jerusalem and they fervently hope and believe that the eschatologically decisive third Temple will be built. This will be their moment of truth which they are constantly preparing for. When they will be saved and all the heathen will perish with terrible death. Their whole life and church worship is centered around to be ready for the second coming, so they saved as described in the Book of Revelation. Consequently the world can only be saved if everybody is converted by them. Those who resist will suffer terrible death at the second coming of Jesus. This drove his whole foreign policy.
Re: Reagan - I just love the whole con of the strategic defense initiative or Starwars myth that he created to convince the Soviet Union that the whole game for them is a loser. Unfortunately he was never given the academy award for such a great performance. Reagan also believed in the 3rd Temple as do 60 million Americans.

Thanos2013-01-01 17:30:05
I have to admit that the day he said that he spoke with god …terrified me and I thought that the man is in need of serious psychiatric help. I hope now in his retirement he’s getting some help.

David Navarro2013-01-01 20:05:50
I don't think anybody who considers themselves progressive or liberal can be anything other than disappointed between the gap between Obamas promise (beyond his actual *promises*) and what he's been willing or able to accomplish as POTUS.

Having said that, I don't think anybody who considers themselves liberal or progressive would swap four years of Obama for four years of John McCain or Mitt Romney.

Thanos2013-01-01 20:46:14
No doubt David!!! LOL

Emanuel Paparella2013-01-02 09:00:14
A comment on the first comment above.

Indeed, we are all entitled to our opinions, our interpretations, our slant on events, even our myths and our fantasies, but we are not entitled to fabricate and then claim historical facts.

"Barack Obama is a secret Moslem and terrorist who supports terrorism, an illegitimate presisent born in Kenia" is not a fact, it is a loony’s fabrocatopm and it is a lie to boot. It may even be an ax to grind.

The principle of non-contradiction is a logical fact, the law of gravity is a scientific fact and they remain such till one can show that those laws are falsifiable, as Popper taught us. So even science is ultimately subject to Truth with which philosophy is concerned. If that is not the case, then to manipulate science as Stalin did, is to also manipulate reality itself and go down the deep end of absurdity and nihilism, a schizophrenia that mistakes truth for propaganda, and proclaims two cultures, the scientific one and the literary one (see C.P. Snow's Two Cultures) living in paralled looney universes that shall never meet.

Thanos2013-01-02 12:00:52
Emanuel, you live in USA and definitely have better view of the internal changes Obama has done. Probably we cannot see or even understand most of those changes abroad, after all and as I noted in my article and the comments, his campaign and his presidency was based in those internal problems and their solutions. But that doesn’t mean that they weren’t built certain expectations from him, expectation he failed probably without even knowing because as I said in the eyes of the most his coming was like the white knight’s who was going to save us from all our problems and slaveries. Again I’m pointing that most of it is NOT his fault or his choice.
But I don’t think anybody here used the Muslim or Kenyan born argument since we all know that these are manufactured lies and goebbelisms (sorry for the improvise of the word).

Thanos2013-01-02 12:02:55
Plus, only the idea of Mitt Romney as president brings shivers to my spine.

Thanos2013-01-02 12:23:39
One more thing, the truth is that out of USA we don’t really understand how the legislative system or even the administration works and embarrassingly I have to admit that I fully understood some things a few years ago watching a television series “West Wing” where you see how lobbies and balances between unions (that’s another major difference for example, how unions work in Europe) and associations even the meaning of institutes and the influence they have.

Emanuel Paparella2013-01-02 13:59:55
You are quite right Thanos, the preposterous propaganda-like statements on Barack Obama’s birth and legitimacy were not made by anybody at Ovi; not did I wish to imply that they were. I apologize if that is what came across.

However those proposterous statement did not proceed from my fantasy. If we need to put authorship on them Donald Trump jumps to mind immediately, the entrepeneur benefactor of mankind and job creator... I was speaking in general terms of exalted fantasies presented as facts by some loonies. I for one when I come across those kind of people, simply mistrust their credibility in just about everything else they say.

However, to keep insisting that Obama not only used to pal around with subversive leftists when a social worker in Chicago and is now a terrorist helping other terrorists in Syria is also, to my mind, to become suspect of the same.

And here we come to the other side of this coin. Just as it is a fantasy to think that Barack Obama is a terrorist, a liar about his birth and an illegitimate president, it was also a fantasy before his election four years ago to put so much Messianic expectations on him and then be disappointed when it was realized that he was another man and could not walk on water and did not have a magic wand to fix all the problems of the US, never mind those of the world. He was a good man and a good alternative to McCain and Pelin, that’s all and did many good things (such as the universalization of Health Care) that would not have been accomplished with a McCain or a Romney for that matter. He also considerably cleaned up the US image around the world which the Bush years had placed in the toilet. Which of course does not mean that he cannot continue to be symbol of hope and good faith, which, if I understand you correctly, is what you are proposing.

Thanos2013-01-02 15:49:16
Absolutely. We cannot blame Obama for the messiah treatment and the expectations built on his coming. But two things. First he could have done some use of that expectation – of course history is not made of ifs and could – at least pushing a few things a bit more and secondly even though the people built this expectation the former American administration helped a lot. Remember back in 2004 in his re-election campaign with John Kerry when we all saw campaign posters in the center of Paris, London, Athens, Bonn, Berlin, Helsinki and other cities in Europe and all around the world? I think we both commented at the time and we all thought that for the first time in the history America was showing openly and global a power of a dominion including all of us in something so internal. Of course the excuse was the compatriots abroad but the same time it was a propaganda trick making George W. Bush a home figure everywhere. Two years after that and with the memory of the posters still fresh, the change of our lives after 911 and the influence the Bush policies had even in domestic issues – a Finnish PM at that period had to resign two months after taking over just because she talked publicly about the secret talks the former Finnish PM had with George W. Bush – it was natural in the people’s mind Obama to look like the liberator. Especially looking at the semantics of a black president.

So despite his not volunteer involvement, he is part of it.

Emanuel Paparella2013-01-02 16:10:02
Points well taken, Thanos. Now that he doesn't have to worry about reelection any longer let's hope Obama delivers more generously in areas such as immigration, tax reforms and foreign policy. As already mentioned, if he does that minimum he may go down in history as a great president, aside from the fact that he was the first black president. Of course time will tell. Hope springs eternal.

Thanos2013-01-02 16:28:18
Actually this is where I have put my hopes. After all Clinton's golden era was when he stopped worrying for his re-election.

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