NOVEMBER 3, 2012 8:53PM

Excerpts from 'Your Brain on Obama' by Randy Shields

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Cindy Sheehan labeled it "hopium" long ago.  Here are some excerpts from Randy Shields' brilliantly scathing Your Brain on Obama, worth reading in its entirety here at counterpunch:  

This is your brain on Obama:

Smoking Obama increases apathy and reduces empathy, regardless of race, creed or color. Now blacks, as well as whites, don’t care in the least how many dark-skinned people America kills throughout the world. .... For American capitalism, that Obama is some good shit.

Using Obama makes some people prone to wild mood swings and abrupt changes in personality. In their brainwashed cult-like state, Obama users have turned on friends and colleagues who kept their principles regardless of which capitalist flunky commits the crimes. What were shameful atrocities ten minutes before Obama was inaugurated suddenly became badges of “toughness” after he swore to uphold/destroy the Constitution. ....


Sometimes the initial Obama trip will ruin a life for years. After that first big hit of Obama on election night four years ago, liberals soon papered over their “Question Authority” bumper stickers with a smorgasbord of new ones: “War Is Oftentimes The Answer,” “Love Your Mother Drone,” “All Options Are On The Table,” “Visualize World Domination,” “Live Simply — That’s All You Can Afford Now, Assholes,” “The Earth Does Not Belong To Us — It Belongs To The US,” “Please Spy On Me And Strip Me And Check My Cavities And Make Me Safe,” and “Indefinite Detention And Execution Without Charge Or Trial: Fuck Yeah!

Mainlining Obama emboldens liberals to express their racism in the socially-acceptable way of hating another “other,” the Muslims, whose women cover up their heads and sometimes aren’t allowed to drive, things that keep white liberal women awake at night. These liberals are righteously certain that head scarves and no learner’s permits are bigger problems for Muslims than racist American goons kicking down Muslim doors at midnight and taking away adult males to be tortured and jailed for years without charge or trial, or Muslim children living in constant terror of America’s flying killer robots that circle the skies above their schools and houses. ....


Throwing back too many cold wet Obamas can make union members forget that the current administration never lifted a finger to get the Employee Free Choice Act passed even though unions gave millions of dollars to Obama’s previous and current campaigns. See, junkies aren’t always skinny shadows in an alleyway — they can also be potbellied autoworkers taking a forty year spin, if they’re really lucky, in the walking dead wage slave treadmill.

Breathing in secondhand Obama makes right wing politicians absolutely crazy — they’re getting nearly everything they want but they hate it coming from a black man — so they become even more outrageous to justify their purpose and donations. What will they do in January when Obama starts shot-gunning them with Social Security and Medicare cuts! OMG, just close your eyes and enjoy it, Mitt and Newt, and all you other unelectable Republicans with ridiculous names. ....


William Burrough’s explained Obama’s “Naked Lunch” presidency a long time ago: 1) “Never give anything away for nothing” — like drawing down in Iraq while doubling up in Afghanistan and expanding war into Pakistan, Yemen and Libya.  2) “Never give more than you have to (always catch the buyer hungry and always make him wait)” — like: after eight years of the Bush/Cheney rampaging evil, give back some verbal crumbs but nothing tangible.  3) “Always take back everything if you possibly can” — like Social Security and Medicare, promised prosecution of CIA torturers and spying telecom companies, or offers of a public option in healthcare and closing Guantanamo.

So there you are, America: jonesin’, begging for a taste, standing on the corner on November 6, waiting for the Man.


... This is where Obama leads. Kicking Obama may result in four years of the DRs (the delirium romneys) that some people feel they won’t survive. However, many people are not, now, surviving Obama and the survivors are compromising away their lives, freedoms and living standards year after year, surrendering to the lesser evil du jour of the capitalist class. We have to get out of this sick dysfunctional relationship we have with the bad cop Democrats and worse cop Republicans. We have to stay away from them so that our heads can clear. 


I also understand Obama’s Harvard law professor, Roberto Mangabeira Unger, saying in this astounding video, why it’s important that Obama lose, even though it means Romney winning, something crystallized again this week after seeing rancid pundit Joe Klein defending the drone killing of Muslim children on MSNBC — this is a mindset that needs jumped on with both feet. (It was up to MSNBC conservative Joe Scarborough to bring a touch of sanity by questioning Barack Obombit’s kingly murder spree across the globe.) The weakest arguments are for voting for Obama. If you believe in voting, shouldn’t politicians who don’t do anything you want be limited to one term? Fool us for four years, okay, but nobody should ever get the opportunity to fool us for eight. If there’s no electoral punishment, why would these politicians/criminals ever change their ways? Shouldn’t the attitude be: have some goddam self-respect — and bring on the next Devil?

And of course there’s no end to the Republican devils that Demoncrats can scare us with: The Republican hydra-head recently sprouted again with Indiana US Senate candidate Richard Mourdock who said, “Even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, it is something that God intended to happen.” Why does God never intend for the American people to be given a living wage or single-payer healthcare or affordable housing? No, God always insists that Americans be raped, because white midwestern yahoos say so.

God, in His commendable compassion, always speaks to the stupidest motherfuckers alive because no one else will talk to them. Amber waves and fruited plains of flyover country nut jobs like Mourdock seem to guarantee coastal liberals in the bag for Ovomit no matter how many Afghani children he murders.

Righteously condemning Mourdock was DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz who claimed on camera a few weeks ago that Obama doesn’t have a kill list. Since she missed it the first time on the front page of the May 29 New York Times, she’s just been given another chance to believe her lyin’ eyes with the October 24 front page story in the Washington Post, detailing Obama’s Orwellian death squad presidency. .... 


Here’s my miscellaneous thoughts about voting or not voting or What To Do in general: There’s no harm in admitting that we are currently powerless over capitalism, that nothing works, voting doesn’t work, armed struggle doesn’t look promising, and general strikes and destabilization (ala the Vietnam years) are not on the horizon. Late stage American monopoly capitalism is one of the most effective slaveries in the history of the world. It’s absolutely totalitarian in that nothing positive is allowed to happen for the working class majority.

It’s a madhouse where every law is written by the criminals themselves whether it’s prescription drugs, healthcare, forests or banking, and every protest movement (when there is one) is spied upon, infiltrated, disrupted and thrown into chaos until it’s silenced, co-opted or disappears entirely. And, yet, the demented slaves believe they are free and trudge onward with faith in their masters’ 3B Plan for spreading “freedom” throughout the world: brainwashing, bribery and bombs. Powerful nations like Russia and China continue to be encroached on and encircled by US military bases — and watch America destroy nation after nation in the Mideast — but have a puzzling lack of interest in slowing down the US juggernaut.

And America isn’t “lost.” The Skinner box of America is working beautifully for the ones who operate it. We’re lost because we keep wandering in a maze of hope and change and reform, encountering funhouse mirrors of greater and lesser evils, ever changing, morphing and repeating. We mistakenly believe that our identities are tied up with staying in the funhouse, we can’t imagine what we would do outside the funhouse, so we haven’t had the courage to shatter the glass and leave. ....


... We need to start living for the world, for what’s right in the world because there are many right things in the world — we forget this because these things aren’t in America. Remember, we’re in lock down, every day we’re simply on guard, trying to avoid that next capitalist ass reaming around the corner — an unaffordable illness or injury, a job loss, a car repair that’s worth more than the car, Social Security and Medicare cuts, crashing deflation in everything we own and relentless inflation in everything we need (gas, food, medical care, health and auto insurance), an economic pincer movement whose message — to the old, the very young, the sick, the infirm, the crazy, the beat and anyone else who’d like to “cooperate” — is: get the fuck off the planet.

The Republican and Democrat duopoly’s pretend presidential debates, like their conventions, are just another of their portable prisons that they drag with them everywhere, where nothing positive can be heard or said or done. There are many nations that have made tremendous gains in healthcare, literacy, living standards, income equality and land distribution. There are many empowered people in the world, but they seem to only become that way when their backs are against the wall. There’s no systematic, well-known and well-articulated plan for socialism, but millions have learned what’s hopefully a basic unforgettable lesson: that the more capitalism and the profit motive are pounded down, the more elevated is the mass of humanity. 


Although I’m voting, I recognize it as being pretty meaningless. But I think not voting is pretty meaningless, too, because the ruling class doesn’t care how illegitimate their elections are — what can you say about the US Congress which has a lower turnover rate than the old Soviet Politburo? Not voting doesn’t mean anything in and of itself — it only means something if it’s backed up at some point by armed force and rebellion — something “illegal” — against a totally illegitimate system. America could deteriorate to the point where only the 10,000 wealthiest families voted and, if there was no violent protest, it would continue indefinitely.

I vote for “illegality” when I’m able to. The Green Party’s ticket of Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala got my vote when they got arrested trying to crash the fake Obamaromna debate. I want to encourage more “illegality.” ...


...Stein and Honkala’s arrests are what leaders do in a corrupt society where no “legal” change is possible — real and honorable leaders commit “crimes” and go to jail. Real dishonorable criminals “legalize” their crimes and stage manage the world to make sure that they are never confronted with their actions. Whether the certified war criminal or the uncertified war-criminal-in-waiting is elected, what we know for sure is that the vast majority of Americans do not want either one of them to be president.


I vote for Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala’s civil disobedience and arrests. I would have liked Rocky Anderson and Gary Johnson and multitudes of their followers to charge the debate site and get arrested as well. The Republican and Democratic presidential debates are elaborately packaged deceptions with everything negotiated in advance. Cowards like Obama and Romney would never sit down for an hour on national television with an informed questioner like Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian — they only have the “courage” to bomb Pakistani, Afghani and Yemeni children from 10,000 miles away. The sexual predators of children are called pedophiles but what do we call the serial murderers of children? That’s easy: President of the United States of America. 

Look it up — it’s in the newspapers every week. If I haven’t told you yet today, America: fuck you. I rain thunderbolts on you. You don’t care about sunshine anyway, you like the funhouse darkness, your play world of fake images of yourself as big and powerful and free and noble and good. But outside in the sunlight, the world sees you as politically, morally, intellectually, socially, industrially and financially bankrupt. All that you have left is your dollar reserve currency status, backed up by drones, death squads, secrecy, surveillance and totalitarian stage management. Everything else is gone. Poof! Round up, stop, frisk, detain, deport, disappear, imprison, infiltrate, entrap, terrorize, dehumanize, scapegoat, render, torture and bomb the usual dark-skinned suspects, from sea to shining sea.

According to counterpunch afternote:  Randy Shields can be reached at His writing and art is collected at

For some further brilliant satire from our own Bart Hawkins Kreps I recommend his "Disposition Matrix could fall into wrong hands, Obama warns". 



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The present American mind-set will never allow the kind of nation that you envisage. Every last American citizen understands that he/she can NEVER expect to obtain wealth/power-over-others in a truly egalitarian society.

Power and wealth, no matter how unlikely, is what each individual American has been conditioned to believe WILL BE HIS at some future point.

As long as having power over others and "more" than others is seen as a good thing, it will be sought after by pretty much everyone.

Any number of people have pointed out the flaws in this 'reasoning'. Any number have also said that "this isn't what America is all about." BULLSHIT!.... This is EXACTLY what America is all about. It's what America has ALWAYS been about. It's what the fathers of confederation were all about.

The purpose that has been served has ONLY been that of determining who will rule - have the power and wealth - over all others.

The purpose that ought to have been served, that of organizing a society to meet the needs and wants of its members - the people (remember them?) - has become the territory of the largely ignored, radical, anti-Americn, decent-hearted few.

And that isn't going to change in a moment. Not in a year either; nor in four years, nor in four centuries. Not where almost the entire population has had their own personal little tiny bit of natural greed tweaked and prodded, praise and lauded, until it is their prime motivating urge.

Mankind has within him some wonderfully great potential good. He also has some horrible notions and feelings as well. Our society has pandered to the horrible and made it the be-all and end-all of our social philosophy. The good in the citizens is derided as "weak" and the concept of working together to create and manage a society of equals is considered utopian fantasy.

We have become a slimy mass of worms crawling all over each other in a permanent quest for individual advancement no matter who it fucks over.

The worst among us - the elite - are now preparing to feast upon the very system that allowed them to reach their great heights - competitive capitalism. Now that they've "got theirs" they want competition to end and they to forever sit at the apex of their pyramid of power/wealth.

Is it not a strange thing that those who do so well in a competitive system are always the first to want to end that system's opportunities for others once they've gotten to the top themselves?!

Are they really so greedy? Or do they, deep down, know perfectly well that they do not deserve their high place and great wealth? That they simply "got lucky"? Some, those who worked for it, know perfectly well that work alone wouldn't have done it. Luck played a role. They fear being displaced by someone even luckier or who has the same luck but works harder.

Others, those who inherited (the vast majority of the elite) great wealth can only recognize their good fortune for what it is or claim that some god or other deemed them 'worthy' of that un-earned wealth and power.

Can we not see how sick this all is? What insanity! What hubris!

It is not amazing that we have such a bad society for most of the people - it is amazing that we have any society at all!
Good one, Libby, see what you got out of Sky. R

@ Skypixieo,
Hell of a comment, Sir; well said.
Great post, Libby. I love the sentence "God, in His commendable compassion, always speaks to the stupidest motherfuckers alive because no one else will talk to them." It's pure genius. I watched Unger's video and agree with him totally that a Romney victory is preferable to four more years of Obama. One advantage he didn't mention is that it will draw the antiwar movement out in the streets again. At present that movement is so dominated by Move-on and other Democrat-controlled organizations that no one is willing to do anything that might embarrass the current president.
I love the bumper stickers and I would love to have Glenn Greenwald eviscerate Obama and Romney on national TV. I'd even fork out dough if it were on pay per view. Thanks for posting this. I was not familiar with Randy Shields.
Opiate of the masses... R&R ;-)
The Left was poised to rise, indignantly and long, when Mr. Reagan won.

That never happens when the US Right wins.
Hellzapoppin – this is the most righteous rant I've read since "Howl". Thanks!
Here's the intro from James Petras of "From the 'Lesser to the Greater Evil'and the Demise of Critical Liberalism" over at dissident voice:

"There is ample evidence that the Obama Presidency has pulled the US political spectrum further to the Right. On most domestic and foreign policy issues Obama has embraced extremist positions surpassing his Republican predecessor and in the process devastating what remained of the peace and social movements of the past decade. Moreover, the Obama Presidency has laid the groundwork for the immediate future promising a further extension of regressive policies following the presidential elections: cuts in Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. Incumbents and their opposition compete over hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign funding from wealthy donors, which they will have to repay in the post-election period in billion dollar handouts, subsidies, tax abatements, anti-labor and environmental policies. Not a single positive proposal was put forth by the Obama campaign but numerous militarist and regressive social policies were articulated. The Obama campaign ran a fear campaign, playing off of the reactionary proposals of the Romney-Tea Party alliance: a cover for his own record of unprecedented military spending, sequential wars, immigrant expulsions, mortgage foreclosures and Wall Street bailouts.

"In the process, critical liberals have crossed the line, surrendering their integrity by deflecting attention from Obama’s militarist-socially regressive policies to focus on “opposing Romney” as a “greater evil”: progressives and critical liberals have multiplied and magnified the duplicity of the Obama political apparatus. In the name of opposing the current ‘greater evil’ (Romney) they dare not enumerate and specify the wanton political crimes and monumental socio-economic injustice perpetrated by their “lesser evil” candidate (Obama). Will the “progressives” ever play honest and publicly state: we back Obama in “swing states” because he has “only” murdered 10,000 Afghans, 5,000 Iraqis, is starving 75 million Iranian’s via sanctions, gives $3 billion for Israeli displacement of millions of Palestinians, personally oversees the arbitrary executions of US citizens and promises an extended kill list … because Romney promises to be worse … Expecting honesty from the proponents of ‘lesser evils’ is as farfetched as taking serious their criticisms between elections."
Sky, thoth's right! very eloquent and impassioned writing and thinking! Your statement "We have become a slimy mass of worms crawling all over each other in a permanent quest for individual advancement no matter who it fucks over" is pretty saddening (is that a word?) I keep praying and hoping and wanting to trust that there will be more collective empathy and consciousness! best, libby
Thanks, Thoth!

Stuart, that was my favorite sentence, too! I am so disgusted with the "lesser evilism" rationale covering up 4 years of BETRAYAL by Obama. And I have no doubt the crumbs will be even smaller the next 4 years if he wins. It amazes me, Stuart, how so many people put their confidence in corporate media that is totally dedicated to ignoring the needs of the citizens in favor of the 1 percent! And when we are presented with an option for a real leader and the corporate media goes to tremendous lengths to ignore her -- I mean EXTREME lengths to black her out (I'm thinking Jill Stein) the faux-progressives are more loyal to the idiot box than to their own bottom-line needs, the very needs of the planet. Obama got Oprah to vet him and the rest is history. Oprah is a nice lady who lies about the qualities of movies to her audience because she is loyal to her famous friends even though they have starred in "dogs. There was a big clue, huh? best, libby
AP, thanks! Wouldn't it be wonderful to see Greenwald "eviscerating" the legacy party candidates! The debates and even the conventions are scripted and controlled to an inch of their lives -- or non-lives is the right word for how stale and phony they are. Sigh. Randy Shields blew me away with this one. Am not familiar with him, either, but appreciate his timing! best, libby
jmac, "opiate" of the masses!!!! what a good one!

hey jonathan. thanks for commenting. too bad progressives are so personality codependent, I'm thinking. Obama admired Reagan and has out-tefloned him. Obama like Reagan makes great use of media as a propaganda tool and plays it, though I think Reagan was more committed to his beliefs, anti-citizen as they were, than Obama who is a gamesman and is more like a chameleon -- IN A HEAVY FOG! Let's media and followers project what they want from him onto him and counts on them ignoring REALITY. Obama kinda also reminds me of that old Peter Sellers movie, Being There. The amiable "vacuum". best, libby
Bart, thanks for commenting. yeah, very cathartic that rant!

toritto, thanks. well and concisely put! aghhhhhhhhh! American exceptionalism ... what will it take to break the grandiosity of the collective ego (I at first freudianly typed evil not ego) doing so much evil to so many? best, libby