Like many people who voted for Pres. Obama in 2008, I was upbeat that much needed changes were just around the corner. Pres. Obama’s soaring speeches gave us much to look forward to. Surely there were some successes in his first term such as the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act , the Fair Sentencing Act , the Hate Crimes Prevention Act , broadband coverage to low-income rural families, Payment to Wronged Minority Farmers, the Children’s Health Insurance Authorization Act, repealed Don’t ask Don’t Tell, boosted fuel efficiency standards & increased support for veterans. That Pres. Obama was able to accomplish anything at all with such widespread animosity along racial/political lines is another thing one can add to the list of successes. All of these notable successes, however, are overshadowed by the darker powers that have always had control over the executive/legislative/judicial branches of government (since corporations became “people“). The list of Obama’s capitulation to these darker powers is a mile long, but the ones that really get under my skin at the present moment are:
(1) Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)- This consequential trade pact has been described “NAFTA on steroids. ” With the U.S. and 10 other nations along the Pacific Rim, the TPP has the likely potential to increase offshoring of jobs to places like Vietnam and Malaysia. As highly profitable corporations seek larger profits through outsourcing, the casualties won’t just be the average blue-collar worker (at home and abroad), but the professional, white-collar U.S. worker as well. These people just don’t give a f*** about us, folks.Either Pres.Obama is oblivious or he’s drunk on the punch he’s been given.
(2) National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) – Chris Hedges nailed it on the head in this article. Imagine a system of military justice that allows the military to police the streets of America to detain U.S. citizens & residents in military prisons – and these prisons could be here or abroad. Imagine no due process & a secret, lawless world of indiscriminate violence, terror and gulags – that’s what the NDAA stands for. So start crawling on your knees, wrap tape over your mouth & pretend not to know what is going on – it’s intended for you to stay quiet & distracted
(3) Whistleblower Protection Under Attack- The Obama Admin. has prosecuted more government whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than any of the previous presidents combined. This prosecutorial abuse & overreach is outrageous when you look at the facts presented. Examine the cases of John Kiriakou, Bradley Manning, Thomas Drake, Aaron Swartz, Shamai Leibowitz…..The common denominator in all of these cases is conscience. We are living in a fateful era where the sacred rights of conscience is looked down upon with frightening and murderous contempt. Who could have predicted that a former community activist & constitutional scholar would one day attack the very foundations of the Constitution?
(4) The Drone Program- Pitch Interactive did a masterful job in creating a stunning infographic of every drone strike in Pakistan since 2004. Of the estimated 3,100 people killed in those strikes, only 1.5% were identified by U.S. officials as “high-profile” targets, or suspected legitimate bad guys. The rest were children, civilians, and “other“ – those identified by the Obama administration as alleged combatants simply because they are adult males, regardless of what they may or may not have done. Evil.
(5) Free Trade Agreement w/ EU – Another giveaway to the big corporations to do whatever the hell they want to for profits. “The dirty little secret about [the US-EU negotiation] is that it is not mainly about trade, but rather would target for elimination the strongest consumer, health, safety, privacy, environmental and other public interest policies on either side of the Atlantic,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “The starkest evidence … is the plan for it to include the infamous investor-state system that empowers individual corporations and investors to skirt domestic courts and laws and drag signatory governments to foreign tribunals.”..These fuckers are dirty.
(6) Monsanto Protection Act – Did you catch the in-your-face signing of the Monsanto Protection Act? And do you recall Obama’s promise to “immediately” label GMOs upon his election? In case you are not up to speed, Monsanto, for nearly two decades has exercised monopolistic control over American agriculture (aided and abetted of course by bent-over politicians and regulatory agencies, supermarket chains, giant food processors, and the so-called “natural” products industry). While the EU bans bio-engineered food, we in the US are totally at the mercy of what they put into our food supply. No one knows what the long-term effects are with regards to this tampering, but consider the statement made by Norman Braksick, president of Asgrow Seed (a subsidiary of Monsanto): “If you put a label on genetically engineered food you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it.” Millions around the world are protesting against Monsanto’s demonic overreach, but Obama seems not to care or is too timid to challenge their power.
It is way past time to disengage ourselves from this creepy cult of personality & critically examine what is going on both domestically and internationally in our name. Although Pres. Obama inherited a house in shambles & has had to deal with the most vitriolic attacks on his person (mainly because he is black), this should not disable us from turning up the heat. At the same time, we have to understand that the problem is not simply his policy choices- the real problem, in my opinion, is corporate power & greed which surround him & our fledgling democracy – and if we are not careful, will destroy us all if we don’t wake up & raise our voices……