Sunday, October 28, 2012

False Savior: Barack Obama (7)

"Forward."

-----Barack Obama, re-election campaign theme.

"How can I go forward when I don't know which way I'm facing?"

-----John Lennon

"You argue that the son of a single-working mom can't be an elitist. But it's not where you start in life; it's where you end up. After a prestigious prep school, Colombia, and Harvard, you've ended up with the values of Cambridge, San Francisco, and Hyde Park. So you're doing badly in Scranton, Youngstown, and Erie, where ordinary Americans live."

-----Karl Rove, letter to Obama, May 2008

Among Obama's myriad false claims are that the killing of Osama bin Laden took place during a "fire fight," when in fact he had ordered the shooting of an unarmed man, a cowardly feat of which he is greatly proud. The killing and sodomization of Libyan leader Moamar Qaddafi is also an Obama "triumph," one that has predictably left Libya at the mercy of brutal Islamic factions, as well as U.S. diplomatic personnel, recently murdered in Benghazi. For the record, Defense Secretary Robert Gates admitted in advance that a "no-fly zone over Libya would be an 'act of war.'" So the war was yet another act of U.S. aggression, not the "humanitarian intervention" it was sold to the U.S. public as being.

Meanwhile, Obama did not condemn the repression and government killings of protesters in Bahrain using U.S.-made tanks and weapons, because that is where the U.S. Fifth Fleet is stationed. Nor did he issue a critical word about Yemen, a close U.S. ally that kills and wounds protesters while the U.S. president looks on impotently.

When the "Arab Spring" emerged, offering hope of a sliver of democracy for long-suffering peoples in North Africa and the Middle East, the Obama administration moved to strangle it. President Obama never criticized the 30 years of U.S. support for Hosni Mubarak, nor Mubarak's collaboration with Israel, which was strongly opposed by the majority of Egyptians. This collaboration was sustained by dictatorship and attendant state terror, including torture, both given economic support courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer. Somehow, this did not qualify as an occasion for delivering "change you can believe in."

Economist Edward S. Herman aptly summarizes Obama's continuation of George W. Bush's "war on terror": "Obama has extended and deepened the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, greatly enlarged the use of drones for use in war and to fight terror (i.e., terrorize) across the globe, and he has fought, and continues to fight, de facto wars in Yemen, Somalia, and Libya. . . . Obama has enlarged AFRICOM and advanced the U.S. military penetration into Africa. He regularly assails and threatens Iran and he continues the encircling and threatening of Russia and China . . ."

Perhaps Obama looks better on domestic policy? Not really. Obama's deficit commission was what initially established the suicidal dogma that a minimum of $4 trillion must be cut from the U.S. federal debt, (but not by eliminating empire-building and the grotesquely wasteful private medical system, the twin drivers of deficit spending). This was the number proposed by Obama last February 2011 in his annual budget. Huge cuts from Medicare-Medicaid were later agreed to in the August 2011 budget deal, and more cuts are on the way. Obama and Biden have consistently offered hundred of billions of dollars in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, without asking for a single Republican concession in return. This severe austerity can't help but wreak havoc on ordinary Americans, and Obama well knows it. But he has made a career of sticking it to ordinary people in order to help wealthy people who already have more money than they are willing to productively invest. Meanwhile, U.S. annual spending on war is between $900 billion and one trillion dollars, every penny allegedly helping to "keep the American people safe." Sure.

For the record, the causes of U.S. deficits and cumulative debt are (1) wars and runaway military spending; (2) the Bush tax cuts, extended by Obama (80 percent of which benefited wealthy investors at a cost to the federal government of $200 to $270 billion a year); (3) the bailouts of banks and corporations; (4) the fiscal stimulus packages of both Bush and Obama - neither of which produced economic recovery; (4) the four years of keeping 25 million American workers unemployed; (5) price gouging by health insurance and service providers.

Meanwhile, profit margins are at an 80-year high, while real earnings continue to fall for 90 million workers and middle class households.

Obama's January 2011 State of the Union address promised a five year freeze in domestic spending (federal), which is flatly incompatible with his promises to improve education and help rebuild a decaying infrastructure. His support for massive military spending and permanent war prevents resources from being delivered to a crisis-ridden civil society, even as he talks hypocritically of "solidarity." He has repeatedly failed to address the massive unemployment, housing, and insecurity problems of millions of Americans, the growth of inequality, and the further consolidation of the "too big to fail" banks. He expressed great pride in keeping the U.S. "competitive," which means cheap labor, no benefits, and increasing privatization of education. He has praised his accomplishments in extending "free trade" agreements to Latin America and South Korea, with their attendant exploitation of the poor.

Meanwhile the big business critique of Obama is that he has gone "too far," straying from the proven principles of free enterprise with major tax increases, massive deficits, and "job-destroying regulation." The solution for them is capital flight to force down workers' wages still further and eliminate all social democratic protections. Obama is their stealth agent, not the lesser evil, but the more effective evil than Mitt Romney, who will have liberals on guard against budget austerity if he wins the elections, whereas Obama gets a free pass on the issue.

But surely Obama is good for the environment? Not hardly. Six months before the BP oil disaster in the Gulf, Obama and his secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar colluded with the oil behemoths to permit exactly the kind of drilling that produced the catastrophe. And when Japan's triple-meltdown occurred at Fukushima, Obama went off to Chile to promote an expansion of nuclear power.

Chile is one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world and had recently suffered a massive earthquake, 8.8 on the Richter scale.

Forget Obama. Vote for the Green Party.

Sources: (Note: these sources have been drawn on to complete all the "False Savior" blog posts related to President Obama).

Grossman, Jerome, "Over There, Over There," Z Magazine, January, 2010

Burbach, Roger, "Honduran Coup Tries to Halt Advance of Latin American Left," Z Magazine, September 2009

Chomsky, Noam, "Turning Point? - Analyzing the Obama-Netanyahu-Abbas meetings in May 2009," Z Magazine, July/August 2009

Conteris, Andres Thomas, "From Coup-lite to Truth-lite: U.S. Policy in Honduras," Z Magazine, February 2010

Petras, James, "The Obama Doctrine," Z Magazine, January 2012

Davies, Nicholas, "The Victory of Popular Resistance In Occupied Iraq," Z Magazine, January 2012

Davies, Nicholas, "Investing In Weapons, War, and Obama," Z Magazine, May 2012

South, Dennis, "Barack Obama: The Murderer-in-chief," Mathaba News, February 11, 2012

McClellan, Phillip, "The Obama Syndrome - Surrender at Home, War Abroad," Z Magazine book review, January 2011

Ramzy Baroud, "Iraq War Declared Over, but War Party Persists, Z Magazine, December 2011

Larson, Rob, "Obama's Ironic Public," Z Magazine, April 2010

Donohoe, Martin, "Combating Corporate Control," Z Magazine, September 2009

Strauss, George H. "Bamboozled Nation and the Power Elite," Z Magazine, July/August 2009

Quigley, Bill, "Criminalization of Dissent and Militarization of the Police," Z Magazine, January 2012

Rasmus, Jack, "Economis Crisis in 2010 and Beyond," Z Magazine, January 2010

Rasmus, Jack, "The Real Causes of Deficits and the Debt," Z Magazine, December 2011

Rasmus, Jack, "Obama's Jobs Proposal," October 2011, Z Magazine

Rasmus, Jack, "Epic Recession: Prelude to Global Depression?" Z Magazine, March 2010

Rasmus, Jack, "Emerging Labor Responses to the Economic Crisis," Z Magazine, September 2011

Rasmus, Jack, "Double Dip Recession On the Horizon," Z Magazine, July/August 2011

Rasmus, Jack, "Obama's Horns Predictions 2011," Z Magazine, January 2011

Rasmus, Jack, "Obama's Failing Recovery," Z Magazine, November 2010

Rasmus, Jack, "Financial Fragility, One Year Later," Z Magazine November 2009

Rasmus, Jack, "An Economic Crisis Balance Sheet," Z Magazine, July/August 2010

Rasmus, Jack, "The Greek Debt Crisis As Harbinger of Things to Come," Z Magazine, April 2012

Rasmus, Jack, "Obama's Busted Bank Bailout," Z Magazine, April 2009

Herman, Edward S., "Internal Refugees and the War System," December 2011, Z Magazine

Herman, Edward S. "Toward a Homeland 'Favorable Climate of Investment'" Z Magazine, March 2011

Herman, Edward S., "Bailouts and Sellouts," Z Magazine, January 2009

Herman, Edward S., "Obama and the Steady Drift to the Right," Z Magazine, March 2010

Herman, Edward S. "Bombing for Ethnic Cleansing and Hegemony Rights," Z Magazine, April 2012

Dimaggio, Anthony, "The Neo-Cons Never Left: Obama War Crimes in Afghanistan and Around the World," ZNET, January 14, 2012

Petras, James "Multi-Billion-Dollar Terrorists and the Disappearing Middle Class," Z Magazine, September 2011

Fantina, Robert, "What Could Have Been: Lost Opportunities of Barack Obama," Counterpunch, September 22, 2011

Lindorff, Dave "Same Crimes, Same Misdemeanors: The Case For Impeachment of Barack Obama," Counterpunch Weekend Edition, April 2-4, 2010

McCloskey, Stephen, "Palestine at the Crossroads," Z Magazine, March 2010

Street, Paul, "The End of the Road - Obama Should Quit," Counterpunch Weekend Edition, September 23-25, 2011

Street, Paul, "Obama's Violin," Z Magazine, May 2009

Street, Paul, "The Enemy At Home," Z Magazine, March 2010

Street, Paul, "Corporate-Managed Democracy," Z Magazine, September 2009

Street, Paul, "The Great Obama Auto Bailout," Z Magazine, April 2012.

Bond-Graham, Darwin, "Succeeding Where Bush Failed - The Obama Administration's Nuclear Weapon Surge," Counterpunch Newsletter, March 29, 2012

Macaray, David, "Obama and Labor: Friends Without Benefits," Counterpunch Newsletter, Vol. 18, November 16-November 30, 2011

Valentine, Douglas, "Provincial Reconstruction Teams," Z Magazine, February 2010

Bybee, Roger, "The Jobs Crisis & the Wall Street Occupation," Z Magazine, November 2011

Bybee, Roger, "Apocalypse Now in the Industrial Midwest," Z Magazine, December 2009

Bybee, Roger, "Affordable Care?"; Z Magazine November 2009

Bybee, Roger, "Lessons from the Big Auto Bailout," Z Magazine, April 2009

Bybee, Roger, "Obama Discovers Inequality," Z Magazine, March 2012

Zeese, Kevin, "Health Care: What Did We Get? Where Do We Go From Here?" Z Magazine, May 2010

Nagel, Fred, "The Long Term Assault on Civil Liberties in America," Z Magazine, June 2011

Deutsch, Michael "Ominous Expansion of 'Anti-Terrorism' Law," Z Magazine, February 2011

Riley, Rebecca, "Barack Obama's Nuclear Rhetoric," Z Magazine, June 2020.

Flowers, Margaret, "Misguided Plans for Medicare and Medicaid," Z Magazine, June 2011

Bix, Herbert P., "What the Past Teaches About U.S. Democracy," Z Magazine, July/August 2010

Nall, Jeff, "Obama's Betrayal of Peace," Z Magazine, January 2010

Brunwasser, Joan, "Single Payer/Medicare For All - An interview with Margaret Flowers," Z Magazine, March 2011

St. Clair, Jeffrey, "The Politics of Make Believe - Barack Obama Changeling," Counterpunch, July 27, 2011

Cockburn, Alexander, Counterpunch Diary, Weekend Edition, April 6-8, 2012

Shapiro, Peter, "Mew Bill Does Not Fix the Health Care System," Z Magazine, June 2010

Shoup, Laurence H., "The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Responds To The Crisis of Capitalism," Z Magazine, March 2011

Shoup, Laurence H., "Finance Capitalists, the CFR, and the Obama Administration," Z Magazine January 2010

Books:

Chomsky, Noam, "Hopes and Prospects," (Haymarket, 2010)

Chomsky, Noam, "Making the Future - Occupations, Interventions, Empire and Resistance," (City Lights, 2012)

Parenti, Michael, "The Face of Imperialism," (Paradigm, 2011)

Street, Paul, "Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics," (Paradigm, 2009)

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