December 22, 2009

BLUE ON BLUE VIOLENCE:

Obama Year One: Betrayal And Failure (Part I) (Stephen Lendman, 22 December, 2009, Countercurrents.org)

As a senator, Obama's voting record told all, that he supports power, not progressive change, but few took the trouble to check it:

-- he backed Homeland Security funding that, like the Patriot Act, violates constitutional rights by centralizing militarized law enforcement under the executive;

-- he voted to reauthorize the Patriot Act in July 2005 and did again recently as president; more on that below;

In her book "The Twilight of Democracy," Jennifer Van Bergen said the 2001 act (still the law) gives:

"tremendous powers to central authorities, undermine(s) civil liberties, and enable(s) suppression of opposition. (It's the) mainstay of government oppressive power (as it) authorizes and codifies a near-absolute and permanent invasion of (our) private lives, sets vast precedents in immigration law....dissolves....human rights (civil liberties, and erects) a massive law enforcement apparatus (targeting) immigrant(s) and citizen(s worldwide)." This act alone gives the executive unchecked power, erodes due process, free association, and the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

It eviscerates fundamental Bill of Rights freedoms, ones Obama voted to sacrifice and does as president by agreeing with Congress to extend three Patriot Act provisions set to expire at year end - to let government operate roving wire taps, search any person's business, personal, and library records by authorization of a national security letter, and spy on foreign nationals with no known links to terrorist designated groups.

-- in 2006, he campaigned for extremist Joe Lieberman over anti-war candidate Ned Lamont;

-- despite earlier and current rhetoric, he supports permanent wars and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan with no withdrawal timetables;

-- he advocated adding 100,000 combat troops to the military at a time America has no enemies;

-- he's unreservedly pro-Israel (a leader James Petras calls "America's first Jewish president"), including continuing the annually supplied billions and latest weapons and technology for its imperial agenda and occupation of Palestine;

-- he stayed silent during Operation Cast Lead; pays disingenuous lip service to the peace process he renounces; and favors destabilizing Iran, perhaps attacking its nuclear sites, and deposing its leadership in support of the Israeli Lobby and imperial American interests;

-- he opposed an amendment capping credit card interest rates at 30% and still does; and

-- he backed George Bush's "No Child Left Behind" scheme to destroy public education and now has his own.

He supported:

-- medical providers in wrongful injury cases;

-- the right of mining companies to strip mine everywhere, including on government lands;

-- the Bush administration's 2005 Energy Policy Act in spite of critical campaign rhetoric; it was secretly drafted and provides billions in industry subsidies;

-- vastly expanded nuclear power; lax industry regulation; billions in subsidies, and numerous other benefits to promote a dangerous technology;

-- harmful biofuels production and other agribusiness interests, including global GMO food proliferation, known to harm human health and should be banned;

-- privatized healthcare despite the benefits of universal single-payer he rejects as well as real reform;

-- free, not fair, trade deals like NAFTA and the WTO;

-- the death penalty and America's prison-industrial complex; and

-- repressive immigration legislation targeting Latinos, including militarized borders, police state raids, roundups, imprisonments, and deportations.

He opposed the 2006 Military Commissions Act but supports military tribunals and preventive detentions for torture prison detainees.

He waffled on CIA interrogation practices and won't prosecute offenders.

He voted to expand NSA eavesdropping powers while rhetorically opposing "excessive secrecy, indefinite detention, warrantless wiretapping, and enhanced interrogation techniques like simulated drowning that qualify as torture through any careful measure of the law or appeal to human decency." More below that as president he authorized these and other abhorrent practices he disingenuously condemned as a candidate.

He voted to approve rogue Bush administration appointments, including Robert Gates as Defense Secretary, John Negroponte as Director of National Intelligence, and Michael Chertoff as Secretary of Homeland Security.

He backed the 2007 Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act (S. 1959), called the "thought crimes" act. It passed the House but not the Senate.

He opposes impeaching Bush and Cheney or prosecuting all high-level torturers, and overall had a more Republican than Democrat voting record. It's unsurprising as on war and peace, Israel/Palestine, Wall Street, and most things business, it's hard telling the difference.

In the Senate, he earned his bona fides, showed he was "safe," and once elected hasn't disappointed - the powerful, that is, not the people growing increasingly discontented for being betrayed by a leader no different from the rest.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 22, 2009 7:25 PM
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