Posts Tagged ‘Obama’


Let’s face it: Barack Obama paved the way for Donald Trump. Trump would never have been elected without Obama.

I’m not talking about the overt, always blatant racism of Trump and (since the mid 1960’s with its “Southern Strategy”) the GOP. That’s a given. Divide and conquer, a strategy they’ve been pursuing relentlessly since the ’60s, with great success. They’ve bullshitted their racist victims into voting for them and directing their anger onto scapegoats.

How do the Democrats fit in, how do they help convince the victims of economic injustice and exploitation to kiss the butts of their victimizers?

Going back just a decade, it’s easy now to see how Obama and his Wall Street backers did it: In 2008 the economy was in freefall, and with plentiful corporate money behind him Obama served up heaping helpings of vacuous “hope and change” bullshit. He won big, but didn’t deliver. He betrayed the people who elected him.

It would have been remarkably easy for him to have been a transformative president, to do great good. But, despite his rhetoric, he had no intention of doing so. He had huge majorities in Congress, could have raised the minimum wage, instituted mass public works projects that would have put millions to work, given relief to foreclosure victims, and at least tried for Medicare-for-all.  Instead, he chose to be Mr. Do Nothing, Mr. Status Quo. He proposed and got a stimulus just big enough to save the big banks, but not the eight million Americans who lost their jobs and/or houses. (About eight million jobs vanished and there were about eight million house foreclosures.) So, since Obama did nothing to help them, those who lost their jobs and homes sank into an economic abyss. He very evidently didn’t give a shit about them, and as a result they didn’t give a shit about him, and either sat on their hands or voted against Obama’s party two year later.

Instead of real change, he delivered a quarter-of-a-loaf healthcare package that left tens of millions uninsured and preserved the profits of the parasitic insurance industry and big pharma, with the pathetic real benefits delayed until 2014. What an achievement.

Not a one of the banksters who caused the collapse was ever charged with a crime. Not one. In the greatest financial crime in human history. Not one, thanks to Obama.

As for the disaster in 2010, he’s entirely responsible. People knew he’d betrayed them and stayed away from the polls in droves or voted for the Republicans. There’s no way to disguise this. (Hillary Clinton, the ultimate status-quo candidate, whose slogan should have been “No we can’t!” also bears large responsibility for the election of Trump and the Republican congress in 2016.)

When you see entertainers and pundits such as Steven Colbert and Rachel Maddow cozying up to Obama and Hillary Clinton, please remember that they have historical amnesia, are cozying up to those responsible for the 2010 and 2016 disasters, those who paved the way for Trump. And if the Democrats nominate another corporate tool, such as Booker or Biden, they’ll pave the way for a less personally loathsome, but smarter and even more dangerous fascist than Trump.

Obama et al. paved the way for the electoral disasters in 2010 and 2016. The first step to avoid an even worse disaster (and I very much hate to say this) is getting out and voting in November.

Do it. Vote the Republicans out. Then let’s organize for real change.

 

 


Bond

“Obama is to the Tea Party as the full moon is to werewolves.”
–Julian Bond (1940-2015)


heretic2

by Chaz Bufe

References to fascism abound in American political discourse. Unfortunately, most of those using the term wouldn’t recognize fascism if it bit ’em on the ass, and use it as a catch-all pejorative for anything or anyone they dislike. But the term does have a specific meaning.

Very briefly, as exemplified in Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Italy, it’s an extreme right political-economic system (which Mussolini dubbed “the corporate state”), the key features of which are strident nationalism, militarism and military worship, a one-party state, a dictatorial leader with a personality cult, a capitalist economic system integrated with state institutions (to the mutual benefit of capitalists and fascist politicians), suppression of independent unions, suppression of civil liberties and all forms of political opposition, and an aggressive, expansionist foreign policy.

But getting to the headline topic, just how similar is the present-day U.S. to Nazi Germany? Let’s look at specifics:

Nationalism

Corporate Capitalist Domination

  • Nazi Germany: Check. The German industrialists (notably the Krup armaments company) were key Hitler backers.
  • U.S.: Check. Obama’s primary 2008 backers were Wall Street firms and the pharmaceutical companies; Bush/Cheney’s were the energy companies’ boys, etc.

Militarism

  • Nazi Germany: The Nazis  constructed the world’s most powerful military in six years (1933-1939)
  • U.S.: U.S. military spending currently accounts for 43% of the world’s military spending, which is more than the next than the military spending of the next ten countries combined.

Military Worship

  • Nazi Germany: Do I really need to cite examples?
  • U.S.: “Support our troops!” “Our heroes.” Tune in to almost any baseball broadcast for abundant examples; this worship even extends to those on what passes for the left in the United States: Michael Moore, Stephen Colbert, Rachel Maddow.

Military Aggression

  • Nazi Germany: “Lebensraum”–you know the rest.
  • U.S.: To cite only examples from the last half century where there were significant numbers of “boots on the ground,” Vietnam (1959-1973), the Dominican Republic (1965), Cambodia (1970), Grenada (1983), Panama (1988-1990), Kuwait/Iraq (1991), Afghanistan (2001-present), Iraq (2003-2011).

Incarceration Rates

  • Nazi Germany: The Nazis built concentration camps holding (and exterminating) millions.
  • U.S.: In comparison, the U.S. merely has by far the highest incarceration rate in the industrialized world, with only Russia’s rate being anywhere near.

Justice System

  • Nazi Germany: The Nazis had a three-tiered “justice” system: one for the rich and powerful (who could get away with virtually anything); a second for the average citizen; a third for despised minorities and political foes.
  • U.S.: Obama’s “Justice” Department hasn’t even investigated the largest financial fraud in world history that led to the 2008 crash; prosecutors routinely pile on charges against average citizens to blackmail them into plea bargaining and pleading guilty to charges of which they’re not guilty; and the Obama Administration viciously goes after whistleblowers and reporters, who have exposed its wrongdoing–Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Thomas Drake, James Risen, et al.–with a meat axe.

Suppression of Unions

  • Nazi Germany: In Nazi Germany, the government tightly controlled the unions.
  • U.S.: In the U.S., the government merely suppresses strikes when “in the national interest” and allows corporations to crush union organizing drives by firing anyone who dares to attempt to organize.

Free Speech

  • Nazi Germany: Total suppression of free speech; direct government control of the media.
  • U.S.: Corporate control of the media. Suppression of free speech when it shows the faintest sign of threatening the government or the corporations that control the government. Obama’s war on whistleblowers and reporters is only the latest example.

Other Civil Liberties

  • Nazi Germany: Total suppression.
  • U.S.: Suppression when individuals exercising those liberties show the faintest sign of threatening the government or the corporations that control the government. The coordinated suppression (by the FBI, local governments, and corporate security agencies) of the Occupy Movement nationwide is the latest large-scale example.

Government Spying

  • Nazi Germany: The government had a massive eavesdropping operation. No citizen was safe from government scrutiny.
  • U.S.: Obama’s NSA makes the Nazis look like amateurs.

Free Elections

  • Nazi Germany: Total suppression
  • U.S.: The opportunity to vote for the millionaire representatives (over halfof congress at last count) of the two wings of the property party: one wing being authoritarian, corporate-servant, crazy theofascists (yes, they meet the definition), the other wing being merely authoritarian corporate servants who routinely betray those who elect them.

Yes, there are very significant differences between Nazi Germany and the U.S. But there are also significant similarities.


 

(Parts I & II dealt with Barack Obama’s apologists, his base, the racist opposition to him, and why he’s an ideal front man for corporate capitalism–why his base takes so much abuse from him, yet keeps coming back for more. Today we’ll look at exactly how he’s betrayed them.)

How exactly has Obama betrayed the people who elected him? It would require a book to detail all of the ways. In the interest of brevity, we’ll only hit some of the low points.

During his 2008 campaign, Obama promised that his administration would be the most open in history and that he’d protect whistleblowers. The reality? He’s run the most secretive administration in history and has systematically and viciously persecuted whistleblowers. He’s even repeatedly used the Espionage Act of 1917 (an Orwellian piece of legislation originally designed to crush dissent during World War I, and used to throw into prison those who openly opposed U.S. entry into the war). He’s used this despicable, free speech-suppression law to ruin the lives of those who were _not_ engaged in “espionage” to benefit the “enemy” (whoever or whatever that might be, now), but rather who exposed government wrongdoing to public view. Whistleblowers Obama has targeted include Thomas Drake, Bradley Manning, Jeffrey Hammond, Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, and Barrett Brown, among many others.

And it’s even worse than that. Obama promised to respect individual rights and civil liberties. Instead, as the recent NSA leaks have revealed, he’s delivered a total surveillance state that would put East Germany and the Stasi to shame. Now, almost unbelievably, in the wake of Ed Snowden’s (and Glenn Greenwald‘s) NSA revelations, Obama is making speeches about reining in the surveillance abuses he himself created.

Obama promised accountability. To date, his “Justice” Department has done essentially no investigation of two of the greatest crimes in U.S. history: the stampeding of the nation into an illegal war of aggression and the most massive financial fraud in world history. The war resulted in 4500 U.S. dead, over 100,000 Iraqi dead, millions more driven from their homes, and ongoing sectarian mayhem. The financial fraud resulted in a worldwide financial crisis, $70 _trillion_ in losses, and millions upon millions losing their jobs and homes. Yet Obama has refused to investigate these atrocities, let alone prosecute the perpetrators. Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder has even stated that the major banks, largely responsible for the financial crisis, are “too big to jail.”

During the 2008 campaign, Obama promised healthcare reform, including a “public option.” Once in office, he took the public option off the table almost immediately. He didn’t even try to get it. Didn’t even use it as a bargaining chip. Instead, he delivered a Heritage Foundation plan that threatens neither private insurers nor the pharmaceutical industry. As Michael Moore put it, Obama delivered “a quarter of a loaf.” (The only other things he’s delivered on have been social issues, e.g., gay marriage and scrapping “don’t ask don’t tell”–things that his base supports and that in no way threaten corporate interests; and even there he’s been a day late and a dollar short.)

Obama promised to fix the economy. He had his chance when he came into office. He could have asked for, and quite possibly obtained, a stimulus package adequate to jump start the economy and put millions back to work. Not incidentally, his campaign economic advisors, notably Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman, were advocating precisely this. But once in office, Obama immediately ditched Krugman and his other progressive advisors and replaced them with Wall Street insiders such as Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers. Under their guidance, he asked for a stimulus package big enough to save the banks and prevent total collapse of the economy, but not big enough to put much of a dent in sky-high uenmployment. Obama asked for and delivered a stimulus only one-third to one-quarter the size that his former progressive economic advisors advocated. We all know the results.

There are many other instances where Obama has betrayed those who elected him, but this is a blog post so I’ll stop here.

If you’re an Obama supporter, face it: he’s betrayed you.

The Republicans appeal to the very worst in people: racism, misogyny, homophobia, sadism, callousness, religious zealotry,xenophobia, and a boot-licking, blustering, bullying nationalism. By and large, they deliver what they promise.

In contrast, the Democrats, and Obama in particular, appeal to the best in people–compassion, tolerance, a desire for justice and fairness–and rarely if ever deliver. Instead, they routinely betray the hopes they’ve raised.

You decide which is worse.

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(Continued from Part I posted Sunday August 11. In Part II we deal with Obama’s apologists and his contempt for the people who elected him. In Part III, appearing Tuesday August 13, we’ll deal with exactly how Obama is betraying those people. )

As you’ve probably guessed, we’re referring in Part I to George W. Bush, Barack Obama, the electorate, Hilary Clinton and Joe Biden, and Obama’s apologists.

Let’s first deal with the apologists, the Ed Schultzes, Stephanie Millers, Martin Bashirs, Al Sharptons, and other pundits feeding at the corporate media trough. They have an exceptionally easy task, given the racist nature of much of the Republican opposition to Obama. And let’s be clear about this: a great deal of it is racist. This is very obvious. (Just tune in to any of the Obama supporters on MSNBC, and you’ll become well informed on the matter in remarkably short order.)

Today, the hyena hasn’t changed its stripes; but rather than howling “nigger!” it now hides behind code words: “food stamp president” (Gingrich), “Halfrican” (Limbaugh), and the like. The most obvious racists are the birthers. One can almost hear them breathing hard,  spluttering: “He’s a n– n– n– n– Muslim!” “He’s a n– n– n– n– Kenyan!”

This nauseating racism predisposes any decent person to defend Obama, to cut him a remarkable amount of slack. And he’s taken full advantage of that. He’s repeatedly stabbed the people who elected him in the back through his actions, while he’s continued to tell them what they want to hear. And, remarkably, some continue to believe him.

A recent instance of Obama’s manipulation of his base comes in the wake of the atrocious Zimmerman murder trial verdict and the sickening, racist character assassination of the victim–one example being privileged, puffed-up Ted Nugent’s evidence-free sliming of Trayvon Martin as a “gangsta wannabe.”

Obama responded in characteristic fashion. He gave a great speech on race, on what it’s like being a black man in America, while at the same time sources within his administration floated New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, whom Obama called “well qualified,” as the possible new Homeland Security chief. It would be hard to think of a more mixed message, given that Kelly presides over the largest systematic racial profiling program in the country. Short of actually nominating Kelly, it would be hard for Obama to come up with a more blatant way of saying to his supporters, “Fuck you, punks. What are you gonna do about it? Huh? Huh?! Abandon me? I don’t think so!”

(This series will conclude tomorrow.)