Tag Archives: White House

President Obama tells undocumented transgender Jennicet Gutierrezas that the White House is not her house.


So President Obama silenced a heckler by telling her “This is my house”, sorry, um, no. Immigrant and LGBTQ rights activist Jennicet Gutierrezas was vetted by security and was a guest of the president, to engage as a host would hope his guests might. The theme was Gay Pride! According to Obama, an invitation to the White House means you eat his hors d’oeuvres and drink his booze and shut your mouth or be thrown out. I doubt President Obama was saying anything more important than Gutierrezas, who spoke up for the plight of transgender deportees. In fact Obama misspoke. To his First Daughters he can say “you’ll follow my rules when you live in my house”, but to a fellow American it’s not his house but OURS.

You might correct me to say that Gutierrezas was not a citizen-subject but an undocumented immigrant, to which I say, the greater the shame on President Obama, smug in his disregard for those with no agency.

I applaud Gutierrezas who braved the President talking over her, and defied a crowd of Pride celebrants drowning her out with the three-beat chant normally the repertoire of anti-activists. The other guests showed no solidarity but laughed and applauded President Obama’s condescending repartees. The event left Gutierrezas heartbroken.

Have you seen the footage? Obama is a dick. And goddamn the Pride celebrants who immediately booed Gutierrezas. One might think they were being feted at the White house for their activism.

When the president threatened to have Gutierrezas “taken out” I cannot have been the only one to wonder if Obama dispatches his Kill List with the same callous mirth.

“Going postal” takes aeronautic twist: Campaign reform whoop-whoop de doo

Common American highschoolers have eclipsed what used to be the purvue of disgruntled post office workers: GOING POSTAL. Norwegian post-adolescent Anders Breivik could even be said to have “killed it”. So leave it to a mail carrier to set the new trend in making a mess of things to make a point. Retired mailman Doug Hughes thought outside the semi-automatic box to conceive an unconventional package delivery system for his letters to Congress. Hughes piloted a gyrocopter unto the White House grounds as his take on Mister Smith Goes to Washington and we wish him all the best. Hughes has a website The Democracy Club and because he didn’t kill anyone, or because his issue is merely campaign finance reform, the site was not taken down and the media is not calling his material a manifesto. Whoop-whoop whoop-whoop-de-doo. The White House nevertheless sidestepped the topic. When asked what President Obama thought of Hughes’ stunt to call for campaign finance reform, the president was said to remark: “what’s a gyrocopter?”

Hey, let’s go? Are you frigging kidding me Mr. President?

I got the strangest email from President Obama over the weekend… Maybe it impressed you too. Its subject was “Hey“. Probably his ghostwriter phoned it in. It began: “Eric — I need you with me on this one.” Okay, what’s the issue? Oh, money. Can you say I need you with me about money? If you’re saying ante up I suppose, but poker’s not a team sport. “Tonight’s deadline is our biggest yet, and I need everyone pitching in. Give $3 or whatever you can: [www.etc]“. Why? –is the question that springs to my mind. As a sign of good faith it would help if our president was pitching in, doing whatever he can. He finished “Let’s go,” signed “Barack“. LET’S GO?! Even being told APRIL FOOLS wouldn’t wipe that exhortation of its implied extortion.

Sarah Palin mouthing off with more racist crap

So, who is surprised by that? Anyway, she now believes that she has some kind of say over who can or cannot be a guest at the White House. This time in response to a Rapper. The AP (Arrogant Propaganda) News has it that “Obamas defending having a rapper as guest” WTF? There’s not a damn thing to defend. It’s THEIR freakin’ house, until President Obama leaves office. Simple Sarah hasn’t got a God-Damn thing to say in the matter. Hell, George Bush entertained Murdering War Criminals like Cheney and Ollie North. Reagan too. Hell, Bush even had HER arrogant racist bitch ass at the White House.
And the SUBJECT? A Negro singer. Wait a minute… how is that NOT racist again? Reagan had Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles as guests. People on whom Mrs. Palin depends for politico-religious opinions, like Pat Robertson, are only slightly less Klan-like in their attitude since the 60s… That crap about the Vodun connection to the Haitian earthquake, he used to say that about Ray Charles’ music. ALL Rock, Blues, Jazz, Swing… supposedly to lure White Kids into the Negro Lifestyle of drugs, wild sex… and voodoo. It’s looking like the RepubliKlan Party IS going to try to win the election with only White votes.

Think not? I’ve heard, not just in my lifetime but actually in the past decade, Rock music described as “Nigger Music”. Mrs Palin didn’t seem to have any objections to Pat Robertson’s Racist Bitch Ass being in the White House as a guest.
She really needs to get a tighter grip on reality and Obama needs to refuse to apologize or even answer to her or her Racist Freak supporters.

Yes it was the iconic reaction shot


The White House Situation Room group photo of everyone fixated on the live video feed of Operation Geronimo was “iconic” alright, in composition virtually Alfred Aisenstaedt’s original. Your eye is drawn to center right where Hillary Clinton recoils not sure what to think, she’s a foil to the uniform enthusiasm. Scanning the background as we read a page, Biden knows they’re going to hell, Obama is the everyman caught mid-gasp, he reflects us. The rest are the upraised arm, cheering with ass-kicking glee. In Paris they were watching St. George slay the dragon, puppets no less –how far we’ve come– though Punch & Judy would have been analogous enough: a Navy Seals home invasion, Fort Benning School of the Americas style; a night-visioned, take-no-prisoners death squad, riding in on not just the proverbial black helicopters, but apparently a black-budget three-rotor model never yet publicly unveiled, literally, bin Laden was shown it and they had to kill him.

US tells Wikileaks: “do the right thing” though deaf to the concept otherwise.

What does it mean to have the criminal US regime tell you to “do the right thing?” As if a spokesmen for a morally bankrupt war machine assert any inherent understanding of right and wrong. But this request was expressed more like “gimme you lunch money.” If you doubt this is meant more as an offer Julian Assange cannot refuse, the follow up statement explained that the US government would explore whatever other means it has to make Assange comply. It reminds me of George Bush snickering as he declined to elaborate on what eventually was exposed to be a CIA assassination program.

NY Times pretends the Afghanistan War Logs is news that does not fit

Is it surprising that the US newspaper of record, the NYT which prints all the news that’s fit, should declare of the Wikileaks Afghanistan War Logs: there’s nothing much new there? Oh REALLY? Point me to a NYT headline that read US Death Squads, or Civilian Casualties: We DO Body-Counts, or Insurgents Armed With Heat-Seeking Missiles, or War Crimes Being Committed Daily. Are we to accept that the NYT knew about these, but thought wisest not to report them? The only revelation which has been known, Pakistan Directs Taliban, is the leak they’re running with, because those reports are founded on intelligence, ie dubious conjecture, to discredit the others based on first hand accounts, and to rationalize more attacks on Pakistan.

I’m galled even that Wikileaks chose to let the NYT in on the advance team. Of course the NYT went right to the White House and Pentagon to warn them of what was about to be unleashed.

The files were given to three news organizations simultaneously to limit the spin each might try to apply. The move to involve the press in advance was for stories and their context could hit the ground running.

It’s curious that most columnists and news blogs are favoring the Guardian’s analysis the logs, over the NYT’s.

In spite of the peer review, the NYT is pushing back harder the the White House, which isn’t disputing the authenticity of the material, only their outrage that the facts are being made public. Small wonder.

Worse than denying them, the NYT is dismissive. No big deal. And it’s working. The rest of the MSM is characterizing the “alleged” logs as “accusations.” Despite the un-argued official admission that these are the unadulterated records.

Most of the discussion is about the leak itself, and Julian Assange’s motive as an activist. No mention he’s anactivist for “justice.” Not partisan, not pacifist, but moral. You’d think that shouldn’t differentiate him from a journalist.

The NYT has some nerve to pretend the logs aren’t going to bring on a sea change of despondency about the war, even in Iraq. In particular with the soldiers’ families starved for news, who will recognize from the reports the snippets of sensitive information they get from their individual soldier, with no idea it forms the character of the whole picture. We’re fucked. We can’t throw more at it, we can’t fire truer, wiser, safer. This is unwinnable.

And those are the reports our government has been seeing. Maybe that’s what the NYT means to say, we/they already know this material. Our leaders have been reading these reports daily and they don’t dispute that. Their glass-half-full projections for success in Afghanistan is half-full with blood. Now we know it.

That’s the sordid quality of these revelations. Soldiers lives FUBAR. These are more than the Pentagon Papers, these are American war-making unspun, undone.

NYT et al, will have us blame the messenger, condemn Private Bradley Manning for his breach of security. Our national security depends on keeping secrets is their unchallenged theme. Do you believe it’s the media pressing that point? These assholes are embedded so far into America’s military export industry, we need to look elsewhere for the news that’s fit.

Photos from DC antiwar actions

First bust on National Mall
WASHINGTON DC- First citation issued to Camp Out Now, unloading Funk The War sound gear on northwest quadrangle of National Mall.

Washington DC protest in Faragut Square
My PEACE NOW design for the SDS Funk The War BAD ROMANCE march on Friday.

Antiwar drum circle
Conclusion of Saturday A.N.S.W.E.R. march on the White House, before the eight arrests. Cindy Sheehan’s account here.

More pictures on Facebook.

Camp OUT NOW delayed for St Pats

Peace of the Action with Cindy SheehanPEACE OF THE ACTION and Cindy Sheehan had to delay their March 13 start by two days, to accommodate the Washington DC’s St. Patrick’s Day. Parade organizers objected to sharing the National Mall with an antiwar protest encampment. Deja vu? Camp OUT NOW will raise their tents on March 15 on the lawns between the White House and the Washington Monument, to protest America’s ceaseless war-making. Sheehan and co will direct civil disruptions of DC activities and don’t plan to strike the tents until troops -and drones- are OUT. Join them!

Call the White House for carry out

If you think you can influence Obama to get out of Afghanistan, by all means CALL THE WHITE HOUSE NOW! That’s 1-202-456-1111.
Rita Ague reports: “Hi Sisters and Brothers in Peace and Justice Movements: After many attempts, I got through to the White House at 12:45 PM Mountain Time. I said I spoke for many in Colorado and for numerous organizations, including my fully disabled vet brother. I mentioned how many are unable to get through on this heavy call-in day.

“I identified myself as an Old White Woman for Obama, said I’d worked my tail off for him during the campaign, and, like so many, many others, want the U.S. to get out of war mode. End the wars rather than sending more troops. I finished with asking that the Pres. listen to Colin Powell who recently warned about the “terrorism/industrial” complex. I ended with: HEALTH CARE NOT WARFARE! The volunteer at the White House was most receptive to what I said. I sensed smiles and nods of approval. Rita Ague”

From the UFPJ:

While some news reports suggest President Obama is likely to send additional troops, there is still time for the American people to influence this decision! The President must know that there is NOT support for continuing this war that is costing billions of dollars, thousands of lives and increased hardship both in Afghanistan and here at home. The first step is to not send more troops. The next step must be the withdrawal of the troops currently there.

This is the moment when we can have an impact.

Call the White House – 202-456-1111- and tell President Obama:

· No additional troops to be sent to Afghanistan.

· Start the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

· Begin serious diplomacy and dialogue with all parties to the conflict, internal and external, as well as independent Afghan women leaders, without preconditions.

· Redirect the tens of billions of dollars spent yearly on Afghanistan war funding to human needs in Afghanistan and at home

Next to the White House

While visiting Washington DC in March, I found it interesting to note the edifices closest to the White House.
The Executive Office Building

EAST, WEST
The neighbor to the immediate East of the Obama’s White House is the Department of the Treasury. Is that any surprise? Of course not, but how bourgeois! I could imagine Scrooge McDuck sneaking across the White House garden twice a day to check his reserves. To the West is what we now call the Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building. It’s the site of the suspicious office fires which may or may not have masked a recent vice-president’s misdeeds. The edifice looks straight out of A Series of Unfortunate Events, and check out the plaque which commemorates what the building used to be called:

State War and Navy Departments

Probably that should be no surprise as well: the White house sandwiched between Treasury and War. “State, War and Navy.” How so much less duplicitous than the “Department of Defense.”

SOUTHWEST
Behind the former War offices, to the Southwest of the White House, lies the war memorial to end all war memorials. It’s the WWI Memorial, of considerably diminutive size compared to those commemorations of subsequent wars which have spilled unto the Mall, but its form followed the convention of the typical Great War monuments erected throughout Europe among the nations who had participated.

WWI monument to US Army Expeditionary Force

Except the American version is dedicated to the “Expeditionary Forces” which I just love. That’s what WWI was about for the US. The trenches of Europe were no place Americans needed to defend their freedom. The troops we sent, to relieve France and England, represented a foreign expedition, exactly that. More precisely, our troops were an R&D expedition for our blustering capitalists.

(This may be no time or place to note that history books do not link America’s WWI experience with the Influenza outbreak of 1917-18, which began in the barracks of US soldiers being mobilized for war. American soldiers took their flu to Europe and ultimately killed 50 million people. Those were not the days before we knew better to stay home to prevent infecting others.)

The US entry into WWI was bitterly opposed by a peace movement which the war-opportunist-profiteers maligned as isolationist. Selfish globalization-denying isolationism has been the slander ever since, used against anyone who tries to block military interventions in all their guises.

Ultimately WWI was no affair of ours, had the Huns emerged victorious, American foreign affairs would hardly have changed. Our foreign trading partners would have numbered more Germans, that’s all. But it’s useless to compare alternative outcomes of WWI, all things staying constant, because America participated and profited wildly.

If American investors had not jumped in Over There, the greatest business opportunities of blossoming industrialism would have been missed. The opportunities offered by the Europeans fighting amongst themselves, proved to have been momentous.

And here was the monument to those lost American lives, sacrificed so that American industrial might, in particular the new banking monopolists, could seize the European spheres of influence throughout the world. Of course the lost lives of the American Expeditionary Force were remembered thus:

“…WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE WORLD WAR THAT LIBERTY AND THE IDEALS OF OUR COUNTRY MIGHT ENDURE”

It would take another World War for the US to appropriate the colonies and oil fields by means of contracts and loans, with the leverage of coming to their aid again, this time armed with lend-lease bills.

SOUTHEAST
To the Southeast of the White House, across the back lawn, lies the monument antecedent to the Great War. It’s the Civil War Memorial, atop which rides the triumphant General William Tecumseh Sherman. (Who, to be fair, presided over the War Department for a long stretch after the Civil War, actually this nation’s longest peacetime period.)

Sherman monumentCurious that I chose to crop his personage from my pictures, but my eyes were drawn to the lesser figures around the base of the monument, in particular, a half naked woman.

The memorial seemed to include various uniformed Civil War participants. How egalitarian to include a woman. But this woman was no French Revolutionary with breast bared oblivious as she rallied her comrades to victory. This delicate woman was unarmed and stripped to the waist, her children in tattered rags at her feet.

Could this statue be offering another conceit to the reality of war, to Sherman’s March to the sea, to the burning of Atlanta, to the shameful destruction he visited on the secessionist South? Was this a nod to the real role given to Women in war, their sons and husbands taken from them, a non-combatant left helpless to defend her children or herself. Did the shirt torn from her body confess to the woman’s rape?

More probably the feminine likeness personified man’s attraction to war, a soldier’s predilection for her beauty. How many war monuments memorialize as they also beacon?

Much of the terrain around the White House grounds is blocked off by secondary and tertiary security perimeters. But for the arrival of bus unloadng its visitors to see it, the Civil War Monument is normally cordoned off. When I had passed it earlier, a balaclava-clad guard was blocking the only entrance.

SOUTH
The grassy expanse immediately South of the White House, permitting the First Family an uninterrupted view of the National Mall, has actually been given over to parking permits. The loop of asphalt across the lawn, with cars strewn diagonally along the edges, gives the unfortunate impression of overflow event parking. In any other neighborhood, the crowd of cars would be a dead giveaway that someone on the block was having a party.

Barack Obama: Next Year in Jerusalem

President Obama and family marked the start of the Jewish Passover by hosting a traditional Seder ceremony at the White House, apparently in fulfillment of a campaign promise. Last year Obama participated in a similar dinner with Jewish campaign workers, and when reciting the Haggadah which ends with the wish “Next Year in Jerusalem,” Obama tacked on “Next Year in the White House.” If we assume he didn’t need to add that wish this time, did the White House prayer end: Next Year in Jerusalem?
Jewish Seder hosted at the White House

I find the official photograph released by the White House disturbing all in itself. The higher resolution image reveals that the Obamas and friends are reading from Haggadah pamphlets published by Maxwell House Coffee, a free hand-out at supermarkets. Wouldn’t you imagine the White House has its own printing wing for such occasions? Aren’t most presidential guests expecting to come away with something more than a promotional brochure for a White House dinner keepsake?

And there’s something a-kilter with the dining furniture. The observation has been confirmed in the blogosphere that everyone’s sitting on plastic catering chairs. The chairs are uncomfortable obviously, because everyone’s using cushions behind their backs. These plastic chairs are presumably what you’d use when you have to set extra places. In this case, an entire extra table. Nothing odd about an extra table, but not where you’d expect to have to bump the First Family. Which family is seated at the main table?

Was it deemed imprudent to depict the first Presidential Seder at the formal table, with all the dignified trappings of a White House occasion?

Assuming there’s an art director behind every detail, including the mixed-bag assortment of pillows used to cushion the chairs, the Obamas appear to be cast into a less-than-affluent kitchen table scene, perhaps out of sensitivity for our nation’s recent hard times. It’s a look that might mimic a Depression Era dinnertime, but I cannot conjure when austerity ever reflected a modern White House. Was even down-home Jimmy Carter ever directed to pretend he was more Good Times and less like the Huxtables?

President Obama can’t even buy a dog

Portuguese Water DogNATO CONFERENCE, STRASBOURG- The subject came up again –how cute– when President Obama took questions from European students in Strasbourg, about whether the White House has gotten its dog. Obama’s answer was still “not yet,” sidestepping more substantive topics. Let’s play into Obama’s sleight of hand for a moment because there is something telling about this dog-less pony show. Everyone thought it was our sky-high expectations which made Obama appear stuck at the gate. We count the days for his administration to do this, and undo that, meanwhile Barack Obama can’t even buy a dog.

It takes only bipartisanship of the domestic variety to establish whether a household can handle a pet, and once the decision is made, who can’t go buy a dog before lunch?

Obama wants a year to close Guantanamo, more to get out of Iraq. He’s on a negative schedule with Afghanistan. Ditto with righting his predecessor’s unconstitutional acts. Despite a landslide election and his party’s majority in both House and Senate, Obama’s insistence on consensus with his Republican adversaries stands in the way of passing anything, as long as the American public accepts that excuse.

What is Obama’s excuse for not having found a dog, except that keeping the issue up in the air means it remains a convenient doe-eyed diversion? Since his announcement in Grant Park, that his daughters could get a dog, Obama has been able to soften his media appearances with the kitschy sideshow.

Roughing it in DC

WASHINGTON DC- We caught the Metro, dragged our bags across the streets and sidewalks, but alright, we haven’t exactly been roughing it.

Map of Washington DC hotels
First stop, the Capitol Hilton, from which we can promenade to the White House. It’s a stuffy hotel, with historic presidential-themed porcelain plates on display featuring an eagle that would look more comfortable on Luftwaffe place settings.

Marie arranged the other couples nights at the St. Gregorys, the nearer to hang around the university and explore Georgetown.

St Gregory Hotel, Washington DC
The St. Gregory Hotel was reputedly a favorite of Marlyn Monroe’s. Which I suppose is enough to explain the life size statue of Monroe in their lobby. Monroe stands poised above the famous subway vent, her dress permanently fixed immodestly. Billy Wilder had the good sense to shot the scene from the front, but the St. Gregory didn’t have that foresight, and they’ve bent this Monroe forward like a hood ornament, for short customers maybe.

I’m not sure the titillating sight is something to complain about. Call it a land mind for involuntary ogling. Easily avoided once you know it’s there, but if your mind is on something else, a conversation for example, Monroe’s pose catches your reflex unawares.

Obama presidential address to Congress addressed to dueling teleprompters

Obama addresses tele-prompters instead of Congress
I’m sorry, but I can no longer be awed by Barack Obama’s unfaltering eloquence, I’m too distracted. When our impressive speaker in chief addresses an audience, he looks from side to side, but never in between. Have you noticed that? We think he’s politely avoiding looking into the camera, but everyone sitting directly in front of him must feel like chopped liver, struck by how enamored he is of the teleprompters.

I’m beginning to wonder if Obama spoke this way from the start at the 2004 DNC, because now it seems he never doesn’t.

Press conference
Even at his first presidential press conference a couple weeks ago, Obama’s head swiveled from side to side, his eyes never panned. From other television camera angles we could see the reporters were arrayed right in front of him. Can you imagine sitting across the table from a dinner companion who can’t stop talking to his knife and fork?

A friend of mine was impressed that Obama’s answers were nine minutes long. I was starting to wonder at the inconsistency of the president choosing questions from reporters in the center, but then proceeding to mimic what I can only presume was a campaign whistle stop posture, speaking from the back of a train caboose, alternately addressing people on one side of the track, then the other.

Address to Congress
The image above, by the way, is grabbed from a network broadcast of last night’s address to Congress. This angle wasn’t shown on the White House streamed video, nor that of C-Span. Every TV director’s cut of our new president’s speech featured plenty of his DC audience, rising and clapping repeatedly, but the official version completely avoided this specific vantage point. As far as I could tell, it was the only angle they excluded.

Care to imagine why? I’m thinking it’s why I insisted on finding the sequence to illustrate this post. I caught sight of the tell-tale spectacle on an evening news recap, and then hunted until late for the footage. Throughout the address, from plenty of angles, the teleprompters were plainly evident. It’s not like the cameras avoided them. But this was the only view which showed Obama’s line of sight.

This shot makes plain what Obama was looking at, juxtaposed against the mass of legislators, cabinet members, and Supreme Court justices, at whom he wasn’t.

I’ll leave it to another time to question why the networks supplemented their coverage with this shot, three times, instead of going with the official feed.

It could owe also to the non-novelty of everything Obama is saying, but I’m just bored. Now his mechanical turning to and fro compels me to think we’re both watching a slow-motion tennis match. And instead of following the ball, our eyes linger on the players, as if the goal of this game is to compare what the players are wearing to determine whose tennis white socks were the ones bleached with Clorox and whose were not.

Teleprompters

President Obama’s gaze was bouncing back and forth between the teleprompters obviously. And what’s wrong with reading a speech anyway? That Obama was reading was obvious by the occasional false starts he made. I noted the omission of a consonant which produced an incongruous word choice, and a missed punctuation, among others. Neither would be errors made in extemporized locution or a recitation of memorized text.

We can see the smoky plexi-glass plates on stands positioned at each side of the podium. Angled at 45 degree to the floor, they reflect whatever is transcripted from projectors below, without blocking the view of the audience, and creating the illusion that the speaker is looking through the glass. The panels bookend the podium at something like 60 degrees to either side of the speaker, which means his head has an approximate 120 degree range of motion, except really only at the two extremes. The entire panorama in between, as Obama’s quick head turns suggest, remains perilously unprompted.

Does it seem to you like Obama retrieves only a solitary phrase from each side? As near as I can measure, Obama turns his head with the same frequency that George Bush used to take a pause. Bush started to make fewer gaffs when he stuck to: short phrase, breath, short phrase, breath. Now it looks like Obama could have served as Bush’s metronome. At least Obama’s delivery demonstrates a stronger lung capacity; and I think we’re all thrilled with the more sophisticated grammar. But has the new president as limited an audio-memory as our previous idiot in chief? I’m afraid to think it.

I am still impressed by President Obama’s projected confidence, and I am not about to confuse him for a moron, but that first press conference worried me. Why is it, and how is it, that Obama would be fielding questions with the aid of a teleprompter?

Remember when simpleton Dubya was stumped by an unexpected question and told the correspondent that he wished he’d received his “written question beforehand?” It’s not difficult to imagine that questions are submitted ahead of time, nor might it be so unreasonable, when the Free World hangs on a US president’s every utterance. But I did imagine that Obama was up to the task of responding with an answer. He needn’t improvise one, but you’d think he could trusted to remember it.

Are the teleprompters there to assist the president with his phrasing, or are they there to enforce that his answers, like the correspondents’ questions, stick to the script?