“Betrayal”– President Obama–is the Saddest Word

BETRAYAL.

One word but perhaps the saddest in the English language, as are its equivalents in all other languages. It means trust violated, friends abandoned, ideals left behind.

Webster notes that the Latin root for betray (tradere) means "traitor". Webster fleshes out the term with: "to deliver to an enemy by treachery"; "to fail or desert especially in time of need"; and, "to prove false."

BETRAYAL.

The saddest word.

The concept predates language so not surprisingly examples of it are found in the mists of our past. One of the best examples comes from Greek mythology and involves multiple betrayals surrounding the Trojan War. Helen betrays her husband Menelaus for Paris of Troy. The Trojan Horse which helped resolve that war also epitomizes betrayal so much so that today a kind of malware that appears to perform a desirable function but instead is harmful has been named after it: so we have "trojan horses" in computing.

BETRAYAL.

The saddest word.

Numerous examples of betrayal occur in the Bible. Certainly the most famous involves Judas Iscariot. "Judas" itself in Hebrew means "God is praised" so is it not ironic that one of the twelve apostles should betray his master for 30 pieces of silver? The "kiss of Judas". The Judas tree. The Judas peephole.

BETRAYAL.

The saddest word.

An early example in recorded history comes from Roman history with the assassination of the most famous of the Roman Emperors: Julius Caesar. Caesar had not only trusted Marcus Junius Brutus but had favored him as a son. According to Roman historians, Caesar had first resisted his assassins but upon seeing Brutus among them, he gave up, uttering the famous line: "You too, Brutus?"

BETRAYAL.

The saddest word.

Shakespeare was fascinated by the concept and the powerful emotions and feelings it invokes. His plays abound with multiple betrayals. Julius Caesar. Multiple betrayals in Macbeth. The seeming betrayal of King Lear by his favorite daughter but in reality, utter betrayal of the aged king by those who pretended to be most loyal to him. As a result of betrayals, Lear’s world was turned upside down with a "fool" providing him guidance. With Othello, Shakespeare presents one of the great villains of all time, a master betrayer: Iago.

BETRAYAL.

The saddest word.

In early American history we find Benedict Arnold. Still a synonym for:

BETRAYAL.

The saddest word.

In the cinema, multiple acts of betrayal occur in Billy Wilder’s classic film noir, "Double Indemnity". While this is an insurance contract term, the title also evokes the concept of the Germanic "Doppelganger" the sinister double-self that is a betrayal of the original. Coming from Berlin, Wilder (along with Orson Welles one of the two greatest directors of all time), was aware of this.

In "Double Indemnity" the Fred MacMurray character and the Barbara Stanwyck character team up to betray the latter’s husband. They kill him. MacMurray, meanwhile, betrays the man who treated him as a son, his boss Edward G. Robinson. A small time con artist, meanwhile, attempts to betray Robinson’s insurance company through a scam but Robinson catches him. But the femme fatale, Stanwyck reaches new heights of betrayal. It turns out she betrayed and killed her first husband while serving him as a nurse, no less. She then betrays her daughter by wooing her daughter’s boyfriend. She betrays MacMurray in the end by trying to kill him.

BETRAYAL.

The saddest word.

Almost a year ago, a young Black American took our highest office having won a landslide election based on the promise of change, a new approach to government, new faces in power, the most open and transparent government of all time.

But Americans have witnessed the journey of Obama especially on health care reform. Early on, Obama betrayed one of his chief campaign promises and met behind locked doors in secret with the representatives of insurance and pharmacy groups. His administration denied these meetings until the New York Times broke the story.

Thereafter, he began talking not about health care reform but about "insurance reform". The notion of the public option was floated as a compromise from "single payer" but after a few weeks Obama himself in Colorado declared the "public option" to be but "a sliver" for his real intentions. Meanwhile, he and Rahm worked behind the scenes to kill any public option. Senator Russ Feingold candidly has said that Obama was not helpful on health care reform and the bill coming out of the Senate is what Obama wanted all along.

In the past day or so, Obama has declared his intention to support the Senate’s bill tax on "Cadillac health plans". The House version instead would have taxed wealthy Americans. So once again, Obama has betrayed a campaign promise (not to raise taxes on the middle class with his health care plans) when another option could have prevented that. In so doing, Obama betrayed organized labor which strongly disagrees with this approach and the American people.

BETRAYAL.

The saddest word.

Obama has not been alone at betraying America. The process started with Reagan almost three decades ago. Our masters (the big banks and corporate America who own Obama)would love to send everything to the authoritarian state of China were there is no dissent, no unions, no rights. What will be left behind is utter devastation.

That process started long ago with the ‘free trade pacts’ with outsourcing, with the intentional loss of our entire manufacturing capacity. Nixon knew what he was doing and every president since him has accelerated the trend. Soon, the entire country will become Michiganized. We already have a term for it: "the rust belt". If you look at Michael Moore’s commentaries and films, he shows that devastation in his own state. It’s been going on for decades but Obama is heightening the trend

BETRAYAL.

The saddest word.

One can see now that there seems to be less and less fight in the American people by the day. An excellent diary running now at FDR asks, for instance, "Where are the Primary Challenges"? Americans of all stripes including progressives have been turned into sheep and this, most recently and stunningly, by a supposed Democratic Administration!

What a betrayal. In fact, my contention is that Obama has been a Trojan Horse all along. He was identified as a good speaker and charismatic by Robert Rubin (former CEO of Goldman Sachs and Citibank) early in his Senate career sold out to Rubin and the people surrounding the Hamilton Project. (For more on the importance of the Hamilon Project, see these diaries.) Given that Obama is really a conservative, a Rockefeller-Republican type, his skillful public relations team knew he needed to mount a stealth candidacy to gain the Democratic presidential nomination. Obama’s thin resume helped them shape his amorphous persona (recall all of those "present" votes while he was in Illinois?) into a liberal based mostly upon a single vote cast against Iraq (but none against war time appropriations).

Look carefully at Obama’s record and there is little else there to support him as a progressive. Instead, his record upon close examination reveals an ambitious man willing to jettison people and causes to get ahead. His true master is Robert Reich and the bankers like Goldman Sachs.

For the real Obama, see Paul Street’s excellent essay and Ken Silverstein’s superb article in Harpers, "Barack Obama Inc.:"
Blogger Hugh, who often posts here, has a detailed blog listing Obama’s deceptions or betrayals (he calls them "Obama’s Scandals") and as of November 29, 2009, he has detailed documentation on 101 of them (his list needs updating by the way).

By posing as a progressive, moreover, Obama has perhaps driven the final nail into the coffin of progressivism and real change because the impetus for reform happens infrequently. We stand, for instance, about 45 years away from reform attempts in the 1960’s. The stars were all aligned for real change: a Democratic President, a Democratic Senate, a Democratic House. But it turned out Obama was a stealth candidate, a Trojan horse for the bankers and Wall St.

BETRAYAL.

The saddest word.

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