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In 2011, Obama continued the destructive pattern he followed in years one and two. Throughout his tenure, he's done what supporters thought impossible. |
Across the board on domestic and foreign issues, he governed to the right of George Bush. He's waged multiple imperial wars, plans others, looted the nation's wealth, wrecked the economy, consigned growing millions to impoverishment without jobs, and institutionalized tyranny to target dissenters challenging political corruption, corporate crooks, or abuse of power lawlessness.
He also promotes regime change in Syria, Iran, Venezuela, Lebanon, and other independent states. In addition, he targets Russia's military strength and China's growing economic might. At the same time, he supports ruthless, corrupt tyrants.
Moreover, he authorized indefinitely detaining anyone called a national security threat without charge (including US citizens). He continues Bush's rendition and torture policies, authorized killing US citizens abroad, (like Anwar Al-Awaki for opposing America's belligerency), and deployed Special Forces death squads covertly to 120 or more countries.
Notably, he destroyed hard won labor rights, wants education commodified and made another business profit center, and wages war on whistleblowers, dissenters, Muslims, Latino immigrants, and environmental and animal rights activists called terrorists.
Throughout his tenure, he's governed lawlessly for the monied interests that own him. He hasn't disappointed at the expense of core constituents and others deserving better.
Year three: Obama's destructive agenda continued.
Obama's Anti-Progressive Agenda
In year three, like years one and two, he's been anti-progressive, hard-right, reactionary, belligerent, and pro-corporate. He's pursued anti-populist policies favoring wealth and privilege, not social justice when more than ever it's needed.
In contrast, progressive change demands social reforms benefitting ordinary Americans, citizens having more control over government, establishing comprehensive education and universal healthcare as fundamental rights, curbing excessive corporate power, purging corruption and waste, and ending imperial wars that ravage the world one country at a time or in multiples.
It also advocates supporting organized labor, preventing exploitation of children, workers and minorities, environmental conservation, equity and justice, and other democratic values.
In contrast, Obama supports wealth and power, not populist change. Throughout his tenure, he's been pro-war, pro-business (with Wall Street atop the pecking order), anti-dissent, anti-democratic, anti-freedom, anti-civil and human rights, anti-environmental sanity, and anti-government of, by and for the people.
After winning the most sweeping non-incumbent victory in over 50 years, he broke every major promise made, imposed austerity when stimulus is needed, escalated imperial wars, and hardened repression to curb popular anger.
James Petras calls him "the perfect incarnation of Melville's Confidence Man. He catches your eye while he picks your pocket. He gives thanks as he packs you off to war."
He spurns human need, rule of law principles, other democratic values, and right over wrong. Supporters expecting change in year four or a second term are delusional and misguided. In fact, his worst policies lie ahead.
Obamanomics: Waging War on American Workers
In April 2011, Obama announced $4 trillion in largely social spending budget cuts over the next 12 years. In December 2010, with Democrats controlling both Houses, he extended Bush's super-rich tax cuts after saying he'd end them.
He also agreed to $38 billion in vital social services cuts after promising to preserve them. They include:
$3.5 billion from Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) funding;
$2.2 billion from nonprofit health insurance cooperatives;
$600 million from community healthcare centers;
$1 billion from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and other disease prevention programs;
$1.6 billion from EPA's clean/safe drinking water and other projects;
$950 million from community development grants;
$504 million from nutrition aid for poor Women, Infants, and Children (WIC);
$500 million from education programs;
$390 million from home heating subsidies to the poor, as well as $2.5 billion for the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) announced in February;
$350 million from labor programs, including grants for community service jobs for seniors;
other social service cuts;
$786 million from FEMA first-responder funding;
$407 million from energy efficiency and renewable energy programs;
$260 million from National Institutes of Health (NIH) medical research;
$127 million from the National Park Service; and
billions less for public infrastructure and transportation spending, while increasing war appropriations by multiples more, including for conquering and controlling Libya.
Moreover, Obama agreed to more draconian FY 2012 cuts and corporate tax breaks as part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling before reaching its mid-May limit. More as well over the next 12 years, including:
$4 trillion overall;
$770 billion from education, environmental, transportation, and other infrastructure cuts, as well as lower wages and benefits for federal workers when they need more, not less;
$480 billion from Medicare and Medicaid, besides another $1 trillion from Obamacare;
$360 billion from mandated domestic programs, including food stamps, home heating assistance, income for the poor and disabled, federal pension insurance, and farm subsidies; and
$400 billion from military-related spending from unneeded weapons, as well as healthcare and other benefits for active service members and veterans.
Priority Pentagon items remain untouched to assure annual budget increases, generous supplemental add-ons, and secret open-checkbook intelligence allocations for numerous nefarious purposes.
As a result, people needs are on the chopping block for elimination to satisfy the insatiable appetites of Wall Street, war profiteers, other corporate favorites, and America's super-rich. Obama's fully on board.
Eliminating Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Public Pensions
Political Washington hard-liners want them ended to transfer maximum public and private wealth to the recipients explained above.
Claims about Social Security and Medicare going broke are duplicitous. In fact, both programs are sound when responsibly administered. Nonetheless, they're on the chopping block for elimination, beginning with benefit cuts, then privatizations to let corporate crooks profit at the expense of beneficiaries.
Obama tasked two deficit hawks for the job. They head his National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (NCFRF) - former Senator Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, former Clinton White House Chief of Staff. They're part of an 18-member team of like-minded members.
They recommended sharp tax reductions for business and super-rich elites. They also want deep Medicare cuts, co-pay increases, Social Security's retirement age raised, and lower cost-of-living increases among other draconian proposals harming ordinary people enormously.
They're coming and much more under bipartisan agreement to slash trillions of dollars from domestic spending over the next decade.
By law, automatic $1.2 trillion in cuts over 10 years will start in 2013. They're to be equally divided between defense and domestic programs.
In fact, expect sustained military spending at the expense of gutting America's social contract. Either way, lost purchasing power means less spending, fewer jobs, and greater public anger than today's high levels.
In fact, deficit cutting is secondary. Key is protecting corporate handouts and Bush era tax cuts, as well as expanding them for business and upper-bracket earners.
Obama supports making ordinary Americans and seniors bear the burden so corporations and rich folks are spared. As usual, he talks tough, then caves, no matter the harm and injustice caused.
America's Permanent War Agenda
In inflation adjusted dollars, annual defense spending more than doubled under George Bush. They've kept rising under Obama despite growing budget cutting pressures, at a time America's national debt burden is much higher than acknowledged.
It hardly matters, given the military/industrial complex's power to demand what it wants with Obama in tow to provide it. He also advanced America's imperium destructively across North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia to Russia's borders.
After a decade, Afghanistan is now America's longest war. No end of conflict is in sight. Withdrawing US forces from Iraq concealed their regional repositioning and continued presence on major bases America will keep operating.
In fact, increased force levels are planned on one or more Libyan bases, larger contingents in Kuwait, expanded ties with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE and Oman, and a greater overall regional footprint to establish an enhanced "security architecture" to integrate air, ground, and naval units for future combat missions.
Throughout 2011, Obama bears direct responsibility for committing one of history's greatest crimes against Libya. NATO's killing machine under US direction dispatched truth by calling naked aggression against a nonbelligerent country the responsibility to protect.