Stoneleigh swirling in the Big Picture Pantomime

(2PM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

Many of us puzzle over why Obama is such a…disappointment.

Some lay it entirely on his character, or lack thereof:

To tell you the truth, though, I’m still not convinced that Obama actually wants anything, at least not in a political sense. He seems to me an utter blank. He’s a self-propelling election device that exists solely to get itself elected. It continues to amaze me that so many people somehow thought this empty suit was a savior. Even his campaign message was just a recycled leftover from one of Axelrod’s earlier clients.

Possible, but I still have a hard time believing Obama is that emotionally bleached.  Others attribute his apparent paralysis to systemic issues, which rings truer, to me:

My own guess is that he’s been informed that the system is so fragile that if he dares to disturb even one teensy-weensy part of it — for instance, by throwing some executives from Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, et cetera, into federal prison — that said system will fly to pieces in a fortnight. So Obama’s main task for a year and a half has been to desperately apply baling wire and duct tape to the banking system while telling fibs to the public about a wished-for recovery to a prior state. Unfortunately that prior state is the ecstasy of a self-swindle in the moments before it unravels… the sublime feeling of having gotten something wonderful for nothing. We’re beyond that now and nothing on the age-old shelf of nostrums, spells, prayers, and miracle-cures will avail to bring that moment back, though the public does not know this.

The latter view makes much more sense if one can wrap one’s head around the Big Picture reality, which is all too slowly dawning upon us all.

Nicole Foss, aka “Stoneleigh,” former editor of The Oil Drum, and current co-editor of The Automatic Earth, talks about “The Biggest Big Picture,” of politics, finance, and carrying capacity.  She dishes on deflation, oil, debt servitude, socioeconomic complexity, and collapse…Pow!  Right in the kisser!

The radio format is probably not the easiest introduction to these ideas, as she hits the ground running and alights on many dense topics as if swirling in the pantomime, but it’s worth a listen (If the extemporaneity is overwhelming, She and Ilargi have primers on most topics at their blog.)

Update:The transcript is now here.


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  1. of their actions, which seem decidedly cruel under the circumstances.

    • Edger on September 5, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    the conclusion that either Obama or the presidency is either completely corrupt or completely powerless?

    If either one is powerless, what would be the point in all the tens of billions of dollars spent to get him into office?

    I think as I’ve said before that he is not incompetent at all, but quite the reverse.

    He has a track record of setting big goals and achieving them. He made it to President, after all.

    If he keeps on getting the results he keeps on getting, it’s probably it’s because those are the results he was aiming for…  

  2. … with the second characterization — I remember after the big bank crash when Schumer came out of a meeting “white faced” implying the damage was so awful that we regular citizens couldn’t even imagine it, blah blah blah.

    It’s not just Obama who’s acted in accordance with the second theory — it’s most of the Dems in government.

    Even now we are seeing this scenario with BP threatening they won’t be able to pay out what they promised unless they can continue to receive new well permits to drill.

    It’s a paradigm that is as disgusting as it is insidious.

    • Xanthe on September 5, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    is that he is a Chicago Pol who doesn’t understand that the game is almost over.  Chicago politics don’t work anymore – we on the edge here.  

    After he trades off SS and Medicare, what does he have?  He’s got to go, albeit with a nice pension.

  3. government begin to collapse. Through its history, the U.S. has been able to overcome quite a bit due to its ability to endlessly expand and accrete wealth. After WWII the U.S. sat alone on the top of the geopolitical pyramid. BUT, the long period of internal expansion had finally run its course, and the rest of the world would not remain weak and malleable forever.

    But like every empire before it, it operated on old assumptions; that the U.S. would always expand (somehow)and accumulate wealth while always dominating all other economies. Republicans and Democrats could be relatively civil (for the most part) and act with confidence that American Exceptionalism was real. Well things have turned upside down. The movement toward an egalitarian society with civil and reasoned discourse has stopped dead in its tracks.

    Federalism is disintegrating, and the National Govt’s printing press is the only things holding the country together. However, I shouldn’t neglect the military as the traditional, last resort for the pride of empire. Just look at Obama’s last pathetic speech. Nor should I neglect the effort of the corporate world frantically trying to convince everyone that they alone represent the true measure of “American Wealth”. What a joke!

    We now must look inside, away from the illusion of ever expanding wealth. It is time to look toward a reassessment of values. Obama, along with almost the entire Federal Government (all 3 branches) will fight this recognition to their last breath. It is systemic denial. As William Blake would say, bound by our own “mind forged manacles”.

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