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Thread: What An Asshole #24- Barack Obama

  1. #401
    White House Explores How to Make 'War on Terror' Policies 'Permanent'
    - Jon Queally, staff writer

    Though the Authorization for Use of Military Force—a joint resolution passed in the days following the 9/11 attacks—has been repeatedly reauthorized by Congress, officials inside the White House reveal that the Obama administration is having specific conversations about how to both expand the law's authority and make certain aspects of the US "global war on terror" permanent.

    Known as the AUMF and considered the piece of legislation most responsible for the ongoing and seemingly endless use of military force abroad, new reporting by the Washington Post examines how even government insiders supportive of the ongoing military operations say the law is being "stretched to its legal limits."

    Motivated by those concerns—and perhaps due to the mounting public and congressional opposition to Obama's use of predator drones and claims of executive authority—the administration is now debating how to "turn counterterrorism policies adopted as emergency measures after the 2001 attacks into more permanent procedures" that can sustain its desire to continue the military "campaign against al-Qaeda and its affiliates" and, as the Post vaguely reports, "other current and future threats."

    Despite the passage of time and an increasingly war-weary public, however, the 'War on Terror' endures precisely because of the open-ended nature of the hastily written law. As the Post explains:

    The [AUMF] placed no geographic limits on that power but did not envision a drawn-out conflict that would eventually encompass groups with no ties to the Sept. 11 strikes. Instead, it authorized the president to take action “against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks.”

    The authorization makes no mention of “associated forces,” a term that emerged only in subsequent interpretations of the text. But even that elastic phrase has become increasingly difficult to employ.
    According to the Post:

    The authorization law has already been expanded by federal courts beyond its original scope to apply to “associated forces” of al-Qaeda. But officials said legal advisers at the White House, the State Department, the Pentagon and intelligence agencies are now weighing whether the law can be stretched to cover what one former official called “associates of associates.”

    The debate has been driven by the emergence of groups in North Africa and the Middle East that may embrace aspects of al-Qaeda’s agenda but have no meaningful ties to its crumbling leadership base in Pakistan. Among them are the al-Nusra Front in Syria and Ansar al-Sharia, which was linked to the September attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya. They could be exposed to drone strikes and kill-or-capture missions involving U.S. troops.
    And, as Glenn Greenwald wrote recently:

    The polices adopted by the Obama administration just over the last couple of years leave no doubt that they are accelerating, not winding down, the war apparatus that has been relentlessly strengthened over the last decade. In the name of the War on Terror, the current president has diluted decades-old Miranda warnings; codified a new scheme of indefinite detention on US soil; plotted to relocate Guantanamo to Illinois; increased secrecy, repression and release-restrictions at the camp; minted a new theory of presidential assassination powers even for US citizens; renewed the Bush/Cheney warrantless eavesdropping framework for another five years, as well as the Patriot Act, without a single reform; and just signed into law all new restrictions on the release of indefinitely held detainees.

    Does that sound to you like a government anticipating the end of the War on Terror any time soon? Or does it sound like one working feverishly to make their terrorism-justified powers of detention, surveillance, killing and secrecy permanent? About all of this, the ACLU's Executive Director, Anthony Romero, provided the answer on Thursday: "President Obama has utterly failed the first test of his second term, even before inauguration day. His signature means indefinite detention without charge or trial, as well as the illegal military commissions, will be extended."
    Put in the context of a new US drone base being built in the west African nation of Niger and a recent declaration by US Attorney General Holder that the president could, in theory, target US citizens suspected of terrorist activity for extrajudicial killing, the US faces a scenario in which "permanent" policies would dramatically alter long-held understandings of civil liberties, international law and constitutional authority.

    In addition, by making the "war power authority" permanent, such policies would subject the US economy to continued lavish spending on a military apparatus and set of practices—such as drone attacks amid civilian populations—that many experts contend are making US citizens less, not more, secure.

    According to the Post:

    The outcome of the debate could determine when and how the war on terrorism — at least as defined by Congress after the Sept. 11 attacks—comes to a close.

    “You can’t end the war if you keep adding people to the enemy who are not actually part of the original enemy,” said a person who participated in the administration’s deliberations on the issue.

    http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/03/07-8

  2. #402
    Do unto others comment is apt and one I've resorted to at county/town board meetings...especially when they have a prayer to JC at the beginning. I'd like to do unto some...
    engage, enrage, inspire, act

  3. #403
    Quote Originally Posted by chlams View Post
    White House Explores How to Make 'War on Terror' Policies 'Permanent'
    - Jon Queally, staff writer

    Though the Authorization for Use of Military Force—a joint resolution passed in the days following the 9/11 attacks—has been repeatedly reauthorized by Congress, officials inside the White House reveal that the Obama administration is having specific conversations about how to both expand the law's authority and make certain aspects of the US "global war on terror" permanent.

    Known as the AUMF and considered the piece of legislation most responsible for the ongoing and seemingly endless use of military force abroad, new reporting by the Washington Post examines how even government insiders supportive of the ongoing military operations say the law is being "stretched to its legal limits."

    Motivated by those concerns—and perhaps due to the mounting public and congressional opposition to Obama's use of predator drones and claims of executive authority—the administration is now debating how to "turn counterterrorism policies adopted as emergency measures after the 2001 attacks into more permanent procedures" that can sustain its desire to continue the military "campaign against al-Qaeda and its affiliates" and, as the Post vaguely reports, "other current and future threats."

    Despite the passage of time and an increasingly war-weary public, however, the 'War on Terror' endures precisely because of the open-ended nature of the hastily written law. As the Post explains:

    The [AUMF] placed no geographic limits on that power but did not envision a drawn-out conflict that would eventually encompass groups with no ties to the Sept. 11 strikes. Instead, it authorized the president to take action “against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks.”

    The authorization makes no mention of “associated forces,” a term that emerged only in subsequent interpretations of the text. But even that elastic phrase has become increasingly difficult to employ.
    According to the Post:

    The authorization law has already been expanded by federal courts beyond its original scope to apply to “associated forces” of al-Qaeda. But officials said legal advisers at the White House, the State Department, the Pentagon and intelligence agencies are now weighing whether the law can be stretched to cover what one former official called “associates of associates.”

    The debate has been driven by the emergence of groups in North Africa and the Middle East that may embrace aspects of al-Qaeda’s agenda but have no meaningful ties to its crumbling leadership base in Pakistan. Among them are the al-Nusra Front in Syria and Ansar al-Sharia, which was linked to the September attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya. They could be exposed to drone strikes and kill-or-capture missions involving U.S. troops.
    And, as Glenn Greenwald wrote recently:

    The polices adopted by the Obama administration just over the last couple of years leave no doubt that they are accelerating, not winding down, the war apparatus that has been relentlessly strengthened over the last decade. In the name of the War on Terror, the current president has diluted decades-old Miranda warnings; codified a new scheme of indefinite detention on US soil; plotted to relocate Guantanamo to Illinois; increased secrecy, repression and release-restrictions at the camp; minted a new theory of presidential assassination powers even for US citizens; renewed the Bush/Cheney warrantless eavesdropping framework for another five years, as well as the Patriot Act, without a single reform; and just signed into law all new restrictions on the release of indefinitely held detainees.

    Does that sound to you like a government anticipating the end of the War on Terror any time soon? Or does it sound like one working feverishly to make their terrorism-justified powers of detention, surveillance, killing and secrecy permanent? About all of this, the ACLU's Executive Director, Anthony Romero, provided the answer on Thursday: "President Obama has utterly failed the first test of his second term, even before inauguration day. His signature means indefinite detention without charge or trial, as well as the illegal military commissions, will be extended."
    Put in the context of a new US drone base being built in the west African nation of Niger and a recent declaration by US Attorney General Holder that the president could, in theory, target US citizens suspected of terrorist activity for extrajudicial killing, the US faces a scenario in which "permanent" policies would dramatically alter long-held understandings of civil liberties, international law and constitutional authority.

    In addition, by making the "war power authority" permanent, such policies would subject the US economy to continued lavish spending on a military apparatus and set of practices—such as drone attacks amid civilian populations—that many experts contend are making US citizens less, not more, secure.

    According to the Post:

    The outcome of the debate could determine when and how the war on terrorism — at least as defined by Congress after the Sept. 11 attacks—comes to a close.

    “You can’t end the war if you keep adding people to the enemy who are not actually part of the original enemy,” said a person who participated in the administration’s deliberations on the issue.

    http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/03/07-8
    This is the "out in the open" legalization of empire. The only way to have an empire, these days, is to have one based on the use of and (but primarily) the threat of military force. In order for that threat to be legitimate, the US must - must - throw around its military might. This means killing large numbers of people in various, and changing, parts of the world. The US empire is a dominion empire, a hegemonic empire - purely a pristine, capitalist empire. The American public (who ultimately pay for this empire and must - must - support it) have to be shown its legitimacy, legality, and its indispensability. The US government will (if it hasn't already) look to Mussolini's Italy for how this is done. The problem will come with how impoverished will the population allow itself to become for this capitalist empire to endure, an empire that they reap no benefit from, only responsibility and obligations for.
    "In its essence, dialectics is the direct opposite of metaphysics." J. V. Stalin, 1938

  4. #404
    Quote Originally Posted by Dhalgren View Post
    This is the "out in the open" legalization of empire. The only way to have an empire, these days, is to have one based on the use of and (but primarily) the threat of military force. In order for that threat to be legitimate, the US must - must - throw around its military might. This means killing large numbers of people in various, and changing, parts of the world. The US empire is a dominion empire, a hegemonic empire - purely a pristine, capitalist empire. The American public (who ultimately pay for this empire and must - must - support it) have to be shown its legitimacy, legality, and its indispensability. The US government will (if it hasn't already) look to Mussolini's Italy for how this is done. The problem will come with how impoverished will the population allow itself to become for this capitalist empire to endure, an empire that they reap no benefit from, only responsibility and obligations for.
    Not to worry, the Paul boys got our backs on this one.........

    How low can you go?
    Social relationships have their inherent logic; as long as people live in given mutual relationships they will feel, think and act in a given way, and no other. Attempts on the part of public men to combat this logic also would be fruitless; the natural course of things (this logic of social relationships) would reduce all his effort to nought. But if I know in what direction social relations are changing owing to given changes in the social-economic process of production, I also know in what direction social mentality is changing; consequently, I am able to influence it. Influencing social mentality means influencing historical events. Hence, in a certain sense, I can make history, and there is no need for me to wait while "it is being made."

  5. #405

  6. #406
    Gezz, don't even know what to say about the article, the author- a liberal hisself and the commentTATERS:

    A President Who’ll Cut Social Security – And Liberals Who Love Him Too Much

    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/03/08-2

  7. #407
    GG stated:

    "

    "...Public pressure from Democratic voters could stop this headlong rush into a decision that will harm America’s seniors and disabled – and save their party from a potential political catastrophe…."

    -This tells you where Eskow is really coming from: what he's mainly scared of is the "catastrophe" of Democrats losing an election.

    IOW, though Eskow deserves some credit for recognizing the outrageousness of Obama's intention to cut SocSec, his (Eskow's) perspective is still that of an ardent Lesser-Evilist. He knows Obomber is a P.O.S, but he's still mainly terrified of the "catastrophe" of the Democrats' losing the next election.

    So he wants "public pressure from Democratic voters" in order to save the Dem Party from Obama's "misguidedness." But this raises the question of what there really is to save.

    The word "misguided" is an unjustly-chosen euphemism for Obama. His planned attack on SocSec is not an "innocent mistake" -- it's perfectly in synch with what the guy is -- a vicious agent of Wall Street. Trying to pass this off as mere "misguidedness" is itself dishonest. I'm sure Eskow wouldn't apply the same word to a Romney or a Ryan.

    Another bit of BS in the quote is that there is actually no such thing as "public pressure from Democratic voters." That's a fairy tale. The Dem Party doesn't give a fig what the voters think, want, or need."

  8. #408

  9. #409
    http://stpeteforpeace.org/obama.html

    When Bush Did What Obama's Doing, Were You Mad? (FLYER)
    Among other things since becoming president, Barack Obama has:

    20,000 Airstrikes in the President's First Term Cause Death and Destruction From Iraq to Somalia.
    Signed the NDAA into law - making it legal to assassinate Americans w/o charge or trial.
    Initiated, and personally oversees a 'Secret Kill List'.
    Waged war on Libya without congressional approval.
    Started a covert, drone war in Yemen.
    Escalated the proxy war in Somalia.
    Escalated the CIA drone war in Pakistan.
    Maintained a presence in Iraq even after "ending" the war.
    Sharply escalated the war in Afghanistan.
    Secretly deployed US special forces to 75 countries.



    Sold $30 billion of weapons to the dictatorship in Saudi Arabia.
    Signed an agreement for 7 military bases in Colombia.
    Opened a military base in Chile.
    Touted nuclear power, even after the disaster in Japan.
    Opened up deepwater oil drilling, even after the BP disaster.
    Did a TV commercial promoting "clean coal".
    Defended body scans and pat-downs at airports.
    Signed the Patriot Act extension into law.
    Deported a modern-record 1.5 million immigrants.
    Continued Bush's rendition program.

    Here's a partial history of Obama's dealings - listed (roughly) chronologically, most recent first:

    News after Obama was elected to a second term

    MLK: I have a dream. Obama: I have a drone
    Obama administration to let spy agencies scour Americans' finances (READ).
    U.S. Steps Up Aid to Syrian Opposition, Pledging $60 Million (READ). Previous related: Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri has called on all Muslims to back the rebels in Syria in the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad (READ);(READ).

    Obama sends U.S. troops to Niger to set up drone base (READ).
    Obama's Possible Frack-Friendly Energy Plan a 'Nail in the Coffin' for Climate: Choice of MIT professor Ernest Moniz, known for championing gas fracking, as head of Department of Energy receives rebuke (READ).
    Obama Maneuvers to Keep Kill List Memos Permanently Secret (READ).
    Obama OKs $50 million to assist France in Mali (READ).
    In State of the Union, Obama Misleads on Foreign Policy. "Over the next year, another 34,000 American troops will come home from Afghanistan," the President said. But Obama is overselling this withdrawal: by the end of this year, the number of troops in Afghanistan will be about equal to the number that were there when Obama was elected. This is only a “withdrawal” because he decided to triple troop levels in an ill-advised military surge (READ).
    Barack Obama is Pushing Gun Control at Home, but He's a Killer Abroad (READ).
    White House: Drone Killings ‘Ethical and Wise’ (READ).
    US responds to Israeli attack on Syria by warning Syria (READ).
    Obama's nomination of Mary Jo White for SEC chief reveals the president still isn't serious about cracking down on big banks (READ).
    Obama Inaugural Speech: US to Maintain Global Military Presence (READ).
    The Untouchables: How the Obama Administration Protected Wall Street from Prosecutions (READ).
    MLK: I have a dream. Obama: I have a drone (READ).
    The Pipeline President: Obama’s Keystone XL (READ).
    Three Ways Obama Carried Bush’s Tyrannical Torch, in Just One Week - Warrantless wiretapping of American citizens, Indefinite detention without charge or trial, Targeted killings of suspects by drone, without any pretense of due process (even if they are US citizens) remains none of the American people’s business (READ).Bush, Obama, Same Old Drama. Obama is a puppet of the U.S. Empire. "That's part of what makes us special as Americans. Unlike the old empires, we don't make these sacrifices for territory or for resources. We do it because it's right."
    Obama signs 2013 NDAA - blocking closure of Gitmo (READ).
    Amy Goodman: Obama’s New Year’s Resolution: Protect the Status Quo - a number of bills were signed into law by President Barack Obama that renew some of the worst excesses of the Bush years (READ).
    The Obama Administration deported more than 400,000 undocumented immigrants in the 2012 fiscal year, the most in the nation’s history (READ).
    Announced on Christmas eve: The U.S. will be sending Army brigades into as many as 35 African nations in early 2013 (READ).
    Obama Administration Snubs Risk, Set to OK 'Frankenfish' (READ).Obama 6 Bush 4
    The US is going to “substantially increase its military presence in the Philippines, increasing the number of troops, aircraft and ships which routinely rotate through the country,” - a reason given: to “serve The Philippines when struggling against natural disasters.” (READ).
    Obama's Deficit Proposal: Cut Social Security Benefits (READ).
    Remember All the Children, Mr. President. Remember the 35 children who died in Gaza this month from Israeli bombardments (with your approval and U.S. weapons). Remember the 168 children who have been killed by US drone attacks in Pakistan since 2006. Remember the 231 children killed in Afghanistan in the first 6 months of this year (READ).
    Barack Obama's tears for the children of Newtown are in stark contrast to his silence over the children murdered by his drones (READ).
    Obama sends 400 troops to Syrian border (READ).
    Obama grants unprecedented powers for warrantless surveillance. The rules now allow the little-known National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) to examine the government files of U.S. citizens for possible criminal behavior, even if there is no reason to suspect them. Now, NCTC can copy entire government databases—flight records, casino-employee lists, the names of Americans hosting foreign-exchange students and many others. The agency has new authority to keep data about innocent U.S. citizens for up to five years, and to analyze it for suspicious patterns of behavior. Previously, both were prohibited (READ).
    Obamacare Architect Leaves White House for Pharmaceutical Industry Job (READ).
    US to leave 10,000 troops in Afghanistan past 2014 (READ).
    Obama 'drone-warfare rulebook' condemned by human rights groups (READ).
    Obama says he is "fully supportive" of Israel's attack on Gaza. “There is no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on from outside its borders" (We wonder if Obama applies this logic to Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan where the U.S. is raining down missiles on those countries) (READ).
    Obama Administration: Hamas to Blame for Gaza Violence. Says Israel 'has the right to defend itself' (but makes no mention of Palestinians having the same right) (READ).
    Obama-appointed Afghanistan commander supports troops there past 2014 (READ).
    U.S. expands counterterrorism assistance in Cambodia in spite of human rights concerns (READ).
    Julian Assange: Reelected Obama a 'wolf in sheep's clothing'. “All of the activities against WikiLeaks by the United States have occurred under an Obama administration.” (READ).


    News prior to Obama being elected to a second term

    4 More Drones! Robot Attacks Are on Deck for Obama’s Next Term (READ).
    Obama and Civil Liberties: The Prospect of Four More Years (READ).
    US-backed regime in Bahrain bans all protests. Obama continues to support the brutal Bahraini dictatorship, valuing ruthless control of the Persian Gulf over democracy (READ).
    UN Official: Aspects of US Drone Program Clearly 'War Crimes' (read). (Which makes Obama a war criminal.)
    Obama Moves to Make the 'War on Terror' Permanent. Complete with a newly coined, creepy Orwellian euphemism – 'disposition matrix' – the administration institutionalizes the most extremist powers a government can claim (read).
    U.S. Begins Talks to Extend Troop Presence in Afghanistan Beyond 2014 (read).
    Obama implements additional Iran sanctions (read).
    Electronic monitoring by Justice Department on the rise under Obama, ACLU says (read).
    At UN, Obama Falsely Claims America Sides With Democratic Change in Mid East (read).
    New Stanford/NYU Study Documents the Civilian Terror from Obama's Drones (read). ‘Counterproductive’ drone war "terrorizes" civilians in Pakistan. The drone war has given rise to "anxiety and psychological trauma among civilian communities".
    Obama wins right to indefinitely detain Americans under NDAA (read).
    Obama administration to spend an estimated $350 billion on nuclear weapon upgrades (read). (But the US doesn't acknowledge its hypocrisy in sanctioning & threatening Iran for pursuing nuclear energy).
    AIPAC thanks Obama for 'steadfast support' (read).
    Obama Admin Appeals Overruling of Indefinite Detention Under NDAA (read).
    Rahm Emanuel: President Obama supports me against striking teachers in Chicago (read).
    Obama has kept his promise to not prosecute CIA torturers, leaving them unaccountable (read).
    Suspected U.S. drone strike kills civilians in Yemen, officials say (read).
    Obama Gives Shell Green Light to Start Risky Arctic Drilling (read).
    Obama sends 200 Marines to Guatemala to fight drug trafficking (read).
    Obama authorized covert support for Syrian rebels, sources say (read).
    Obama signs law increasing aid to Israel day before Romney trip to Holy Land (read).
    Obama in Yemen: Killing Civilians, Bolstering Dictatorship, and Bombing in Secret (read).
    Obama signs executive order giving himself control of all communication systems in America (read).
    U.S. beefs up Persian Gulf forces (read).
    Lesser of Two Evils Contest Winners
    Thanks to everyone who submitted slogans and voted for the best way to respond when someone says, "I'm going to vote for Obama because he's the lesser of two evils." As voted by you, here are the winners of the contest.
    If you vote for either man you vote for more war
    Voting for the lesser of two evils may be acceptable to you, but it's not to the people around the world who are being bombed by Obama
    Obama 2012 - Four More Wars!
    U.S. eyes return to some Southeast Asia military bases (in Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines) (read).
    Obama Ignored CIA Report Against Afghan Escalation (read).
    Under Obama, the export of American arms to countries around the world -- even those actively repressing their own citizens -- is booming. The United States is the world's top provider of major conventional weapons (read).
    C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition (read).
    Drone strikes threaten 50 years of international law, says UN rapporteur (read).
    Obama asserts presidential powers he once spoke critically of (read).
    Obama administration rejects FOIA requests from NYT, ACLU for "targeted killing" papers (read).
    Ex-CIA Official Slams Obama's 'Indiscriminate' Use of Drones (read).
    What's behind Obama's new military base in Chile? (read).
    The U.S. is NOT leaving Iraq or Afghanistan, as Obama claims
    Feb. 7, 2012 - The CIA is expected to maintain a large clandestine presence in Iraq and Afghanistan long after the departure of conventional U.S. troops as part of a plan by the Obama administration to rely on a combination of spies and Special Operations forces to protect U.S. interests in the two longtime war zones, U.S. officials said (read).
    Jeremy Scahill Says Obama Strikes In Yemen Constitute 'Murder' (read).
    "As shown through his stepped-up drone campaign, Barack Obama has become George W. Bush on steroids." (read).
    Obama order set off wave of cyberattacks against Iran (read).
    Obama Personally Oversees 'Secret Kill List': NYT (read). Obama and Drone Warfare: Will Americans Speak Out? (read).
    Obama OKs Proliferation of US "Hunter-Killer" Drone Technology - Administration plans to arm Italy's fleet of Reaper drones (read).
    Obama touts American exceptionalism, 'end of wars' in Air Force graduation speech (read).
    Top Obama Officials, Secretive Process Create 'Assassination List' - President Obama's counter-terrorism chief has "seized the lead" in secretly determining who will die by US drone (read).
    Obama's 'Poverty-Relieving' Plan for Africa a Profit Boon for Giant Agribusiness (read).
    Obama has opened three new military bases in Honduras (read).
    Ex-CIA Interrogator: Obama's War on Terror Is Less Ethical Than Bush's. "We don't capture anybody any more... [Obama's] default option... has been to ... take no prisoners...How could it be more ethical to kill people rather than capture them?" (read).
    Jeremy Scahill: US Has Become 'Nation of Assassins' (read).
    The Drone-Happy President: Obama Escalates in Yemen – Again. Obama allows the CIA and the military to fire even when the identity of those who could be killed is not known (read).
    Obama Administration Again Proposes Polar Bear Extinction Plan - New Rule Echoes Bush Plan Ignoring Polar Bears' Plight (read).
    The Obama administration has already launched six times as many drone strikes as the Bush administration in Pakistan alone, killing hundreds of innocent people and devastating families (read).
    Strip-Searches: Obama Wants You to Bend Over (Or Squat) and Spread ‘Em (read).
    Air Force ramps up drone war. New documents reveal plans to more than quadruple Reaper missions by 2016 (read).
    Obama Signs "Fraud-Friendly" JOBS Act into Law. Economist: Bill will bring fraud, destroy jobs (read). Why Obama's JOBS Act Couldn't Suck Worse (read).
    U.S. draws up plans for nuclear drones (read).
    Our government is watching us more. New guidelines permit the federal counterterrorism investigators to collect, search and store data about Americans who are not suspected of terrorism, or anything (read).
    U.S. joins effort to equip and pay 'rebels' in Syria (read).
    Drone strikes in Yemen soar as U.S. stokes 'secret war' - America has dramatically stepped up its "secret war" in Yemen with the U.S. ordering dozens of drone attacks on al-Qaida hotspots, which have also killed scores of civilians (read).
    Obama to fast-track segment of Keystone pipeline, other energy projects (read); Native Americans Forced to Protest from 'Cage' (read).
    Bush's "Total Information Awareness" data mining program revived by the Obama administration (read).
    Obama signs Executive Order allowing for control over all US resources (read). Related: "Obama's Creepy Executive Order: Permanent War Economy" (read).
    Obama signs anti-protest trespass bill into law (read).
    Obama administration moves to aid Syrian opposition (read).
    Obama's Attorney General says U.S. can assassinate American citizens abroad (without being charged with anything or given a trial) (read).
    White House helps pay for NYPD Muslim surveillance (read).
    US drones circle over the Philippines. A United States-supported airstrike that destroyed with causalities an Abu Sayyaf hideout on the remote island of Jolo in the southern Philippines represented the first known use of the unmanned aerial assault craft in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) counter-insurgency operations against terrorism-linked rebel groups (read).
    Obama sees single-candidate election in Yemen as 'model' for Middle East (read).
    Obama: U.S. in 'lockstep' with Israel on Iran (read).
    U.S. drones targeting rescuers and mourners in Pakistan; Obama indirectly admits that U.S. strikes have killed civilians by claiming the drone campaign a “targeted, focused effort” that “has not caused a huge number of civilian casualties”. . . . (read).
    We're #47! After Occupy Journalist Arrests, US Plummets in Global Press Freedom Rankings (read).
    Yemen dictator allowed into the U.S. A day after he was granted immunity by the Yemeni parliament, Yemen's presumably-departing dictator of 33 years, Ali Abdullah Saleh is on his way to the U.S. for treatment (read). (Comparing Yemen's Saleh to Libya's Moammar Gadhafi: Saleh killed his own people - people who peacefully protest his tyrannical reign. Gadhafi killed his own people - people who violently rose up against him. Saleh gets to enter the U.S. Gadhafi got murdered - SPFP)
    10 reasons the U.S. is no longer the land of the free (read).
    Has Obama taken Bush’s ‘preemption’ strategy to another level? (read).
    Obama sending 5 US military officers to South Sudan (read).
    The White House has declared the government of South Sudan eligible to receive weapons and defense assistance from the U.S. The announcement came amid an outbreak of violence between two South Sudanese tribes that may have left thousands dead and some 50,000 people needing aid (read).
    The White House has declared the government of South Sudan eligible to receive weapons and defense assistance from the U.S. The announcement came amid an outbreak of violence between two South Sudanese tribes that may have left thousands dead and some 50,000 people needing aid (read).
    President Obama Signs the NDAA Indefinite Detention Bill Into Law. The statute contains a sweeping worldwide indefinite detention provision. “President Obama's action today is a blight on his legacy because he will forever be known as the president who signed indefinite detention without charge or trial into law,” said Anthony D. Romero, ACLU executive director (read).
    Weapon's proliferation: In same week $30 billion weapon deal with Saudi Arabia is finalized, Pentagon reaches $3.5 billion weapon deal with UAE (read).
    White House rejects calls for oversight on drone killings (read).
    TSA spreading its wings beyond airports (read).
    The Obama administration has decided in principle to allow the embattled president of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to enter the United States for medical treatment (read).
    National Defense Authorization Act - By signing the 'anti-terror' bill the president could end up being worse than his Republican predecessor on civil liberties (read).
    The Zenith of Civil Libertarian Anger at President Obama (read).
    Secrecy defines Obama's drone war (read).
    Obama asks Iran to return downed U.S. surveillance drone (read). Stealth drone highlights tougher U.S. strategy on Iran (read).
    Obama Promises to Label GMOs (read).
    Inside Romania's secret CIA prison (read).
    Obama: U.S. to expand military in Australia (read); 2,500 US Marines to be stationed in Australia (read).
    Obama Administration Delays Keystone Pipeline Decision to After Election (read).
    Obama's Offshore Oil Plan a Disaster for Wildlife, Climate (read).
    Palestine Wins UNESCO Membership... And Obama Withdraws (read).
    Obama's new war in Uganda (read).
    Obama's proposal would gut Freedom of Information Act (read).
    As troops pull out of Iraq, Obama plans more combat forces elsewhere in the Middle East (read).
    The U.S. will maintain a presence in Iraq even after "ending" of war (read).
    New Obama Foreclosure Plan Helps Banks At Taxpayers' Expense (read).
    US Troop Deaths in Afghan War Under Obama Now Twice That Under Bush (read).
    Obama sends 100 US combat troops to Uganda to help fight 'rebels' (read).
    Obama vows to seek 'toughest’ Iran sanctions to punish Iranian officials whom he accused of complicity in an alleged plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States (read).
    Obama Waives Penalties on Countries That Employ Child Soldiers – Again! (read).
    U.S. drone strike in Yemen kills U.S.-born Anwar al-Awlaki. The lethal strike marked the first known case in which the Obama administration tracked down and killed a U.S. citizen. The raid also killed a second American, Samir Khan. (read). With the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki, the due-process-free assassination of U.S. citizens is now reality (read).
    Obama accommodates Turkey's request for drone aircraft in fight against Kurdish separatists (read).
    Photos & videos of Bin Laden's killing should not be released because they would reveal military and intelligence secrets and could lead to violence against U.S. personnel, the Obama administration argued (read).
    Obama quietly renews U.S. embargo on Cuba (read).
    U.S. drones attack in souther Somalia (read).
    Obama secretly sold bunker-busting bombs to Israel: report (read).Photo: Al Jazeera

    US Resumes Arms Sales to Bahrain. Less than three months after including Bahrain on a list of human rights offenders requiring the United Nations' attention, the Obama administration seems to have changed its mind (read).
    Obama silent as U.S. murders Troy Davis (read).
    Peace Prize-Winner Obama Savages Somalia (read).
    U.S. assembling secret drone bases in Africa, Arabian Peninsula, officials say (read).
    "Obama cozies up to Uzbekistan dictator" - lobbies congress to sell more military equipment to one of the world's most repressive leaders (read).
    U.S. to build new massive prison in Bagram, Afghanistan (read).
    New American Ally in Somalia: ‘Butcher’ Warlord (read). (Also check out Jeremy Scahill's extensive piece on U.S. history in Somalia).
    The United States reserves the right to pursue terrorists unilaterally in other countries, White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan said in a speech at Harvard Law School (read).
    The Obama administration has significantly increased the frequency of drone strikes and other air attacks against the al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen in recent months amid rising concern about political collapse there (read).
    Obama Pushes NAFTA Style Trade Policy Despite 2008 Promise (watch).
    Obama said that if the Palestinians try to achieve statehood in the UN Security Council, the US will oppose the proposal (read).
    Obama abandoned a contentious new air pollution rule, buoying business interests that had lobbied heavily against it, angering environmentalists and rejecting the advice of his top environmental regulators (read). Related: Obama asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw a plan to limit smog pollution that was projected to prevent as many as 12,000 premature deaths from heart and lung complications (read).
    US kills 30 in airstrikes on Yemen (read).
    Jeremy Scahill: What's happening in Libya is essentially a "NATO enforced regime change" and that President Obama is "implementing the Bush domino agenda in the Middle East" (watch).
    Obama Goes All Out For Dirty Banker Deal (read).
    A secret war in 120 countries: Somewhere on this planet an American commando is carrying out a mission. Now, say that 70 times and you’re done ... for the day. (read).
    Progressives Complain Obama's Debt Deal 'Trades People's Livelihoods for the Votes of a Few Unappeasable Right-Wing Radicals' (read).
    Rep. Luis Gutierrez Arrested Outside White House Protesting Record Deportations Under Obama’s Watch (read).
    Obama exploits the tragedy in Norway
    "It's a reminder that the entire international community has a stake in preventing this kind of terror from occurring," Obama said prior to learning the identity of the assailant, clearly trying to justify his military strikes in 6 Muslim nations. No doubt Obama was later stunned, if not disappointed, that the person responsible for the killings in Norway was a non-Arab Christian, and not a 'Muslim terrorist'.
    Obama's escalating war in Yemen - As its government teeters, the impoverished and chaotic Gulf nation is the focus of a U.S. bombing campaign (read).
    Obama's approval ratings across the Arab World are 10% or less, according to a Zogby study of about 4,000 people (read).
    CIA Exhales: 99 Out of 101 Torture Cases Dropped (read).
    U.S. millions fund world’s newest army, South Sudan, despite worries of its human rights abuses, including killings, most recently in April when hundreds of civilians were killed or wounded by the U.S. ally (read).
    The Obama administration is expanding its drone war to Somalia, which makes six countries where the United States is using drones to conduct lethal attacks: Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq and Yemen (read). Also, the US is supplying drone aircrafts to Uganda and Burundi to help them fight in Somalia (read).
    Obama Admin Warns of “Fines and Incarceration” if U.S. Citizens Set Sail with Gaza Aid Flotilla (read).
    "Yet tonight, we take comfort in knowing that the tide of war is receding," Obama trumpeted in his speech announcing his plan to withdraw some U.S. troops in Afghanistan (read). (Given that George W. Bush had about half as many troops in Afghanistan as Obama will after the withdrawals, this claim is disingenuous. But what takes Obama's assertion to the level of Orwellian, is that he makes this claim while he has started new wars in Libya and Yemen, has escalated drone strikes in Pakistan, has ramped up the U.S. proxy war in Somalia, and has begun funding the new army in South Sudan.)
    Just prior to Obama's speech on withdrawing some troops from Afghanistan, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $14.2 million contract to a Turkish company to construct an eight-building barracks complex for 12,000 troops at Bagram Air Field. Completion date is scheduled for fall of 2013 (read).
    Former CIA Director Hayden: Obama follows in Bush's footsteps on War Powers (read) in Libya. In a campaign marked by stinging criticism of President George W. Bush's alleged executive excess, then-candidate Obama wrote: "The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation." Yet Obama is now claiming authority to bomb Libya.
    Obama overruled 2 top lawyers on War Power in Libya (read).
    Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul and eight other congress members file lawsuit against Obama for taking military action in Libya without first seeking congressional approval, an apparent violation of the 1973 War Powers Resolution (read).
    Noam Chomsky: "Both Bush and Obama are terrified of the Arab spring. And there is a very sensible reason for that. They don't want democracies in the Arab world. If Arab public opinion had any influence on policy, the US and Britain would be tossed out of the Middle East. That's why they are terrified of democracies in the region" (read).
    Whistleblowers Suffer More than Ever Under Obama (read).
    Obama's support of the repressive monarchy of Bahrain: The Obama administration approved $200M in military sales to Bahrain in run-up to violent crackdown (read). Bahrain crown prince meets with Obama in DC - Officials reaffirm the strong US commitment to Bahrain (read).
    Chicago Tribune editorial writer: Obama and the pursuit of endless war - starting new fights and prolonging the old ones (read).
    FBI to Expand Domestic Surveillance Powers as Details Emerge of Its Spy Campaign Targeting Activists. The F.B.I. is giving its agents new leeway to infiltrate organizations, search household trash, use surveillance teams and search databases in domestic investigations. FBI agents will now be able investigate people and organizations “proactively” without firm evidence for suspecting criminal or terrorist activity (watch/read).
    As chaos engulfs Yemen, the U.S. is diabolically intensifying a secret campaign of airstrikes, according to the New York Times.
    Report: Over 2,600 Activists Arrested in US Protests since Obama took office (read).
    In 2007, then-Senator Obama said: "If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I will put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself, I will walk on that picket line with you as President of the United States of America. Because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner."... In 2011, President Obama did not find his shoes to join the massive protests in Wisconsin (read).
    Pentagon to consider cyber attacks an act of war (read).
    Obama signs Patriot Act extension into law (read).
    White House: No need for congressional approval for Libya (read).
    Obama administration praises Israel for its restraint after it kills 20 on the "Nakba" (read).

    Obama to Israel: Take whatever you want

    Obama to AIPAC, May 2011: "So make no mistake, we will maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge" (read).








    May 2011 - Obama's hypocritical speech on the Middle East
    "The United States opposes the use of violence and repression against the people of the region" claimed Obama, while simultaneously dropping bombs on the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Libya.
    Read statement from ANSWER coalition Director Brian Becker (Read)

    U.S. kills Bin Laden hours after NATO killed Gadhafi's son and 3 grandchildren (read).

    It's moments like these that some people expected Barack Obama to act differently than George W. Bush or John McCain
    After killing Bin Laden, Obama could have claimed victory and announced that the wars would come to an immediate end. Instead, he's doing what Bush or McCain would have done: Continue the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen; pronounce that Bin Laden's death justifies all the wars; repeat the lie that 9/11 was the start of the war; and declare that the 'war on terror' must continue.

    Obama administration refuses to accept the Palestinian unity deal which brought Hamas and Fatah together (read).
    Obama approves of armed Predator drone strikes in Libya (read).
    WikiLeaks: Obama administration tried to stymie U.N. probe of possible Israeli war crimes in Gaza (read).
    "Don’t Punish the Poor" Economist Jeffrey Sachs Slams Obama-GOP Budget Deal (read).
    Obama's military action in Libya contradicts his words from 2007: "The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation" (read)
    Obama Administration Approves Fourth Gulf Deepwater Drilling Permit (read)
    Obama Defends Detention Conditions for Bradley Manning (read)
    Obama Approves Indefinite Detention Without Trial (read)
    America's secret plan to arm Libya's rebels: Obama asks Saudis to airlift weapons into Benghazi (read). (This is the same Saudi Arabia who in the same week declared all protests illegal).
    Obama honors George H.W. Bush with Medal of Freedom. "We celebrate an extraordinary life of service and of sacrifice” (read).
    Obama’s $3.7 Trillion Budget Calls for Military Spending Increases and Deep Cuts to Social Service Programs (read). Obama Budget Proposal: Cuts To Target Working Poor, Middle Class & Students (read).US Deaths in Afghanistan: Obama vs Bush. Click here to learn more.
    Obama heaps praise on Ronald Reagan: Reagan advanced "the cause of freedom, democracy and security around the world" (read), and Reagan was a man with a "unique ability to inspire others to greatness" (read).
    The Obama administration has publicly confirmed it is continuing the Bush-era policy of opposing the return of Haiti’s ousted former president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was overthrown in a 2004 U.S.-backed coup (read).
    Obama Eyeing Internet ID for Americans (read).
    The Obama administration is telling federal agencies to take aggressive new steps to prevent more WikiLeaks embarrassments (read).
    Obama Gives 'Lump of Coal' to Polar Bears (read).
    Obama administration readies indefinite detention order for Guantanamo detainees (read).
    Big Brother gets bigger under Obama. The FBI is building a database with the names and certain personal information, such as employment history, of thousands of U.S. citizens and residents whom a local police officer or a fellow citizen believed to be acting suspiciously (read).
    Obama Flip-Flop: FCC Vote Could End Net Neutrality (read).
    Obama's VP Joe Biden likens WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to a "high-tech terrorist" (read).
    Obama calls WikiLeaks "deplorable" (read).
    Expansion of Anti-Terrorism Law Will Target Activists (read).
    Obama reaches agreement with congressional Republicans to extend Bush's tax-cuts for the wealthy (read).
    The Obama administration has abandoned its effort to persuade Israel to renew a settlement construction freeze (read).
    Obama administration orders government workers not to read WikiLeaks cables - even from home (read).
    Obama and GOPers Worked Together to Kill Bush Torture Probe (read).
    The Obama administration launched a full-bloodied assault on Wikileaks (read).
    Obama proposes salary freeze for 2 million federal workers - excluding those in the military (read) [NOTE: Obama said the salary freeze would save $28 billion over 5 years -- that amount is about what the U.S. spends on war every 2 weeks.]
    Obama stands by controversial air security screening methods - says body scans and pat-downs necessary (read).
    White House Says Child Soldiers Are O.K., if They Fight Terrorists (read).
    Obama Administration Claims Unchecked Authority to Kill Americans Outside Combat Zones (read).
    The US is building a $12 billion super military base on the Pacific island of Guam. Another $200 million will go for upgrades to U.S. base in Diego Garcia (read).
    U.N. votes 187-2 to end Cuba trade embargo - U.S. and Israel lone dissenting votes (read).
    WikiLeaks Docs Raise Questions of Obama Policies -- Despite Obama's public commitment to eschew torture, U.S. forces turned detainees over to Iraqi forces even after signs of abuse (read).
    Obama administration pushing for wider role of CIA in Pakistan - efforts rebuffed by Islamabad (read).
    Obama administration to sell $60 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia (read). The sale, which is the largest overseas deal in U.S. history, is part of a strategy spearheaded by the George W. Bush administration and expanded by President Barack Obama (read).
    Obama administration lifts deepwater drilling moratorium (read).
    Report: White House squelched reports of BP oil spill estimates (read).
    Obama endorses new film "Waiting for Superman" which attacks teacher's unions and promotes charter schools (read).
    A UN probe said there was clear evidence to back prosecutions against Israel for killing and torture when its troops stormed a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in May. The vote was 30-1, with the U.S. as the lone dissenter (read).
    Obama's government attacks dissent. As the Obama administration escalates its undeclared wars in Pakistan and Yemen under the guise of protecting freedom and democracy, the administration is simultaneously escalating its attack on activists in the US who exercise their First Amendment rights. St. Pete for Peace stands in solidarity with activists in Chicago and Minneapolis whose homes were raided by the FBI (read). This is particularly troubling but sadly just the latest attempt by the government to silence dissent:
    The Obama administration is drawing up legislation to make it easier for US intelligence services to eavesdrop on the Internet, such as social networking websites like Facebook, messaging software like Skype and email transmitters like BlackBerry (read).
    The Progressive Magazine's Matthew Rothschild revealed that a recent FBI report shows the ease in which political protesters are labeled as "terrorists" (read).
    A report that the Pentagon’s spy unit has begun rebuilding the controversial TALON database that was shut down three years ago after it was used to monitor US peace activists (read).
    The ACLU recently reported that the Obama administration is permanently enshrining into law many of George W. Bush's most controversial policies (read). (And of course, there have been no attempts to repeal the Patriot Act.)

    Bush's Rendition Program Remains Unchecked (read).
    Secret Assault on Terrorism Widens on Two Continents. In roughly a dozen countries — from the deserts of North Africa, to the mountains of Pakistan, to former Soviet republics — the United States has significantly increased military and intelligence operations (read).
    The Obama administration is deporting record numbers of illegal immigrants and auditing hundreds of businesses that hire undocumented workers (read).
    Obama lifts ban on Indonesian Special Forces Kopassus, despite their brutal human rights record (read).
    Obama sends 46 Navy warships, 7,000 marines to Costa Rica (read).

    White House Enacts Rules Inhibiting Media From Covering Oil Spill (read).
    Former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya accused the United States of being behind the 2009 coup that ousted him (read).
    US Ignores Calls for End to Gaza Siege. The Obama administration is refusing to join international calls for a complete end to the Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip (read).
    The Pentagon’s spy unit has begun rebuilding a controversial database that was shut down three years ago after it was found to have been used to monitor US peace activists (read).
    Obama Administration Keeping Blackwater Armed and Dangerous in Afghanistan - another $120M contract awarded (read).
    With Rumored Manhunt for Wikileaks Founder and Arrest of Alleged Leaker of Video Showing Iraq Killings, Obama Admin Escalates Crackdown on Whistleblowers of Classified Information (read).
    With a strong push from the Obama administration, the United Nations Security Council voted to impose a fourth round of sanctions on Iran (read).
    Obama Administration Might Hold Non-Afghan Detainees at Bagram Indefinitely -- Administration Should Not Re-Create Gitmo, Says ACLU (read).
    Obama secretly deploys US special forces to 75 countries across world (read). The dramatic expansion in the use of special forces go far beyond the covert missions authorized by George W. Bush. Countries include Iran, Georgia, Ukraine, Bolivia, Paraguay, Ecuador, Peru, Yemen, Pakistan and the Philippines.
    In the days since President Obama announced a moratorium on permits for drilling new offshore oil wells, at least seven new permits for various types of drilling and five environmental waivers have been granted (read).
    James Carville on Obama's response to the Gulf oil spill: He is risking everything with 'go along with BP strategy' (read).
    U.S. troops executing prisoners in Afghanistan: Seymour Hersh (read).
    Obama gives CIA authority to expand strikes by unmanned aerial vehicles in Pakistan (read).
    Government Exempted BP from Environmental Review (read).
    An amendment to increase Congressional oversight of the Federal Reserve failed following pressure from the White House (read).
    Obama approves targeted assassination of an American citizen (read).
    Obama signs law allowing weapons in National Parks (read).
    Obama: Drill, Baby, Drill. Obama to open offshore areas to oil drilling -- In June 2008, then-Sen. Obama told reporters in Jacksonville, Florida, "when I'm president, I intend to keep in place the moratorium here in Florida and around the country that prevents oil companies from drilling off Florida's coasts" (read). Obama said offshore oil drilling is "not risky" (read).
    Obama: 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan by summer 2010 (will bring total to about 100,000) (read).
    Bush Obama imperialism mask http://www.ironrail.org/blog/uploade...ism-747174.jpg
    US-backed Indonesian armed forces, who carried out a series of assassinations of civilian activists in late 2009, are slated for renewed aid by the Obama administration (read).
    US-Backed Somali Troops Prepare Major Offensive (read).
    Obama signs Patriot Act extension without reforms (read).
    Obama unveils plans to build new nuclear power plants (read).
    School bombing exposes Obama’s secret war inside Pakistan (read).
    Obama administration raises stakes on Iran by sending in ships and missiles (read).
    Obama administration steps up arms sales to Persian Gulf allies (read)
    Obama seeking $44 billion increase in military budget - including $5b for nuclear arsenal (read).
    15 killed in US drone strike in northwest Pakistan (read).
    Blackwater in Pakistan: Gates confirms (read).
    U.S. Moves Missiles And Troops To Russian Border (read).
    France accuses US of 'occupying' Haiti as troops flood in (read).
    Obama Ordered U.S. Military Strike on Yemen (read).

    Obama is a puppet of the U.S. empire

    Conservative praise for Obama's Nobel speech. “If Bush had said these things the world would be filled with violent denunciations... when Obama says them, people purr. That is fine by me.” (read).
    Obama signs military bases agreement with Colombia (read).
    Obama Seeks PATRIOT ACT Extensions (read).
    Administration Seeks to Keep Terror Watch-List Data Secret --As of last Sept., the list included 1.1 million names and aliases corresponding to 400,000 individuals (read).
    Radical Cheerleaders Say U.S. Out of Afghanistan! St. Petersburg, FL, Nov 13 2009 in front of Baywalk
    "[Afghanistan] is not a war of choice, this is a war of necessity. Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which al-Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans. So this is not only a war worth fighting. This is fundamental to the defense of our people." (read).
    Obama administration asks Supreme Court to block release of torture photos (read).
    Obama’s Military Is Spying on US Peace Groups, by Amy Goodman (read).
    The Obama administration has declined requests from U.N. human rights investigators for information on secret prisons and for private interviews with inmates at the U.S. military detention center at Guantanamo Bay (read).
    Obama announced the nomination of Robert Hormats, a vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International, to a top economic position at the State Department (read).
    Senior Obama Official Backs Cheney and CIA, Says Concealment of Assassin Program Legal (read).
    Some Guantanamo Bay Detainees May Be Held Indefinitely (without prosecution) (read). Also, military tribunals at Gitmo resume (read).
    Obama Goes to Bat for Bush Wiretap Program (read).
    Obama Slides Further Down Bush’s Hill on Indefinite Detention (read).
    About Face: Obama to Proceed with Bush-Era Cybersecurity Plan (read).
    Obama Administration Backs Bush White House on Cheney Interview (read).
    Obama administration seeks to quash suit by 9/11 families (read).
    In his May, 2009 speech in Cairo, Egypt, Obama denounced retaliation and force in discussing how Palestinians should respond to Israel. Given that Obama's government sells weapons to Israel, has escalated violence in Afghanistan and has increased the number of drone attacks in Pakistan, his request of Palestinians is void of any credibility. Obama also proudly proclaimed that US troops would be out of Iraq by 2012 (as if three more years is acceptable), and he again did not mention how many mercenaries would remain, and of course, he didn't discuss US military bases in Iraq.
    Obama OK's Mountaintop Removal. With the election of Barack Obama, environmentalists expected to see the end of the "Appalachian apocalypse" -- their name for exposing coal deposits by blowing the tops off of whole mountains. But in recent weeks, the Obama administration has quietly decided to open the way for at least two dozen more "mountaintop removal" projects. (read).
    Obama embraces Bush's immigration policy. In recent days, for example, the administration has announced it will expand a $1.1 billion program begun under President George W. Bush to check the immigration status of virtually all people booked into local jails over the next four years. Obama will continue a "zero-tolerance" program that charges and jails any illegal immigrant caught crossing parts of the U.S.-Mexico border. And the administration will resume construction of a $8 billion "virtual" fence of tower-mounted sensors and cameras along the border (read).
    Obama pledges to keep U.S. 'dominance': We will maintain Americas military dominance and keep you the finest fighting force the world has ever seen. (read).
    Obama administration sides with Bush, Cheney and Rove in the case of outed CIA agent Valerie Plame (read).

    Obama unicorn. JibJab.com

    Obama to Keep Israel's Nuclear Secrets (read).
    Obama Endorses Indefinite Detention Without Trial for Some. President Obama acknowledged publicly for the first time yesterday that some detainees at Guantanamo Bay may have to be held without trial indefinitely, siding with conservative national security advocates (read).
    Obama does U-turn on Guantanamo Bay terror trials - will restart military tribunals for a small number of Guantanamo detainees, reviving a Bush-era trial system he once assailed as flawed (read).
    Little Known Military Thug Squad Still Brutalizing Prisoners at Gitmo Under Obama (read).
    Afghan President Hamid Karzai called on the U.S. to halt air strikes in his country (read). Unfortunately, the Obama administration rejected Karzai's demand and said that U.S. airstrikes will continue (read)
    Obama renews U.S. sanctions on Syria (read).
    Photographs of prisoner abuse which Barack Obama is attempting to censor include images of apparent rape and sexual abuse (read).
    McCain backs Obama (read).
    Obama pledges to protect CIA torture operatives (read).
    President Obama is asking Congress for $83.4 billion in funding for the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. The request marks a complete reversal for Obama from two years ago, when he voted against war funding as a senator under former President George W. Bush (read).
    Obama Administration Embraces Bush Position on Warrantless Wiretapping and Secrecy (read).
    Replace "Afghanistan" with "Iraq" and Obama sounds like Bush . Barack Obama made an impassioned plea to Americas allies to send more troops to Afghanistan, warning that failure to do so would leave Europe vulnerable to more terrorist atrocities (read).
    Obama quietly gave Blackwater $70 million in February, despite Iraq saying it doesn't want the company there (read).
    President Barack Obama declared today that the United States will maintain our military dominance. We will have the strongest armed forces in the history of the world. And we will do whatever it takes to sustain our technological advantage and to invest in the capabilities that we need to protect our interests and to defeat and deter any conventional enemy. (read).
    Obama extends sanctions against Iran for one year, saying it continues to pose a threat to US national security (read).
    Even though Obama has repeatedly pledged to ban congressional earmarks, his Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has 16 such projects, worth about $8.5 million, in the bill the Senate is considering (read).
    Suspend Military Aid to Israel, Amnesty Urges Obama after Detailing US Weapons Used in Gaza (read).
    Obama backs Bush: No rights for Bagram prisoners (read).
    Obama Sides With Bush: Tries to Kill E-Mail Case (read).
    Obama Expands Missile Strikes Inside Pakistan (read).
    Obama Lets CIA Keep Controversial Renditions Tool (read)
    Obama lawyers set to defend Yoo (read).
    Obama Energy Secretary Nominee: Coal, Nuclear an 'Important Part' of Power Mix (read).
    Obama picks Raytheon VP as deputy defense secretary (read).
    Obama attends neo-conservative dinner party with William Kristol, David Brooks, among others (read); but refuses to meet with Hamas or to criticize Israel for Gaza attacks (read).
    "His task, will be to develop an overall strategy for America in this period, when really a New World Order can be created. Its a great opportunity it isn't’t a crisis. He (Obama) has appointed an extraordinarily capable group (of advisers and staff) in both foreign and economic fields" ~ Henry Kissinger (YouTube)
    Obama Wants Bush Pentagon Appointees to Stay (read).
    Cheney lauds Obama's choice of national security team (read).
    Obama choice of evangelical pastor to give invocation at his inauguration has gay rights groups angry (read).
    Obama's Pro-Nuclear Pick for Energy Secretary Steven Chu has a keen interest in energy efficiency and solar power and other clean forms of renewable energy, Chu is a staunch advocate of nuclear power (read).
    Obama's Dept. of Ag. choice Vilsac is pro-GMO.
    Campaign Promises on Ending the War in Iraq Now Muted by Reality
    "I said that I would remove our combat troops from Iraq in 16 months, with the understanding that it might be necessary - likely to be necessary - to maintain a residual force to provide potential training, logistical support, to protect our civilians in Iraq," Mr. Obama said this week as he introduced his national security team (read).
    Barack Obama's kettle of hawks
    The absence of a solid anti-war voice on Obama's national security team means that US foreign policy isn't going to change - "What does it say that, with 130 members of the House and 23 in the Senate who voted against the war, Obama chooses to hire Democrats who made the same judgment as Bush and McCain?" Neoconservative leader and former McCain campaign staffer Max Boot summed it up best. "I am gobsmacked by these appointments, most of which could just as easily have come from a President McCain," (Jeremy Scahill, 12/1/08).
    Karl Rove praises Obama's economic team - "Thanksgiving Cheer From Obama - He's assembled a first-rate economic team" (read).

    "Hawks For Hillary" The New Republic: Why Are Conservatives Praising Obama's Pick For Secretary Of State? Newt Gingrich, Iraq war architect Richard Perle (read).
    Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona is reportedly set to be offered the position of Homeland Security secretary. She is a two-term governor, as well as a former US attorney and state attorney general for Arizona. She was the first governor to call for National Guard troops to secure the US-Mexico border (read).
    President-elect Obama is also expected to tap billionaire Penny Pritzker to serve as Commerce secretary. Pritzker is a longtime friend of Obama's and served as his national finance chair. Pritzker was involved in running and overseeing the Illinois-based Superior Bank, which collapsed in 2001. The bank has been described as being at the forefront of turning sub prime loans into securities, the risky practice at the heart of the financial crisis (read).
    Obama sends Madeleine Albright to represent him at the G20 summit. Albright is the person who, when told that a half million Iraqi children had died due to sanctions, said "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price--we think the price is worth it." (read).
    Obama continued the fear-mongering that pushes this country into multiple wars when he told 60 Minutes: "I think it's important to get a national security team in place because transition periods are potentially times of vulnerability to a terrorist attack," (read).
    Obama reportedly to keep Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense (read).
    University of Chicago economist Austan Goolsbee will be U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's choice to lead the White House economic team (read).
    Obama wants embattled U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman to remain in the Senate Democratic caucus (read), and fellow democrats follow and allow Lieberman to keep a key chairmanship (read).
    Obama vowed to shut down Guantanamo - this is good news, and maybe something a John McCain presidency wouldn't have done. But what is Obama going to do with those held without charge at Guantanamo? And what about torture centers at Bagram and Diego Garcia? And will he shut down the School of the Americas torture training center in Ft. Benning, Georgia? And what about the torture American prisoners face in US jails?
    Chomsky on Obama appointments
    "Obama's choices to [run his economic team] were Robert Rubin and Larry Summers from the Clinton--Secretaries of Treasury under Clinton. They are among the people who are substantially responsible for the crisis. One leading economist, one of the few economists who has been right all along in predicting whats happening, Dean Baker, pointed out that selecting them is like selecting Osama Bin Laden to run the war on terror." (read or listen to the entire speech).

    Obama supports $700 billion bailout of toxic financial institutions. (Sep '08)
    Barack Obama has now declared -- to Bill O'Reilly on Fox News, no less -- that Bush's "surge" in Iraq has "succeeded beyond our wildest dreams." He also proclaimed his "absolute" belief in the "War on Terror," and said "we have to go after them" (in Pakistan and Afghanistan). (WATCH or READ)

    As riot police were assaulting and arresting innocent activists outside the Democratic convention, Joe Biden was inside saying "Barack will put more cops on the street" (Aug '08)
    Georgia/Russia: Obama sides with Georgia - position similar to Bush and McCain. (Aug '08)Obama and McCain as kings. JibJab.com

    Would keep a residual force (possibly 60,000-80,000) in Iraq after 2010 to train military personnel, provide security for U.S. interests and thwart terrorist threats. (Jul '08)
    "A nuclear Iran would pose a grave threat and the world must prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon," "Iranians need to understand that whether it's the Bush administration or the Obama administration, this is a paramount concern to the United States," (Jul '08)
    Wants 10,000 more troops for Afghanistan. (Jul '08)
    Making sure Iran does not have the capability to build a nuclear weapon would be "a number one priority" in an Obama presidency.... Iran policy must "combine much tougher threats of economic sanctions with direct diplomacy," (Jul '08)
    Supports legislation granting legal immunity to telecommunications companies that cooperated with the Bush administration's program of wiretapping without warrants. (Jul '08)
    Wants to expand faith-based programs. (Jul '08)


    9/28/08 St. Pete for Peace statement on Obama following the first Presidential debate

    Dear friends of peace,

    The presidential debate on Friday night confirmed our previous statements about Barack Obama - he is not an antiwar candidate. St. Pete for Peace, in the strongest terms, condemns Obama's positions on Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Russia, Venezuela, and Iraq, among others. Like John McCain, Obama is pro-military and pro-empire. And just like the Republican Party, the Democrats are not representing the people, as further evidenced by the Democrats who pushed at least as hard as the Republicans for the $700 billion Wall Street bailout.

    Some people believe Obama is just making pro-war statements to get elected, but if that were true, how do you know he's not also being deceitful about the things he says in which you agree? And if he's saying things now just to get elected, how do you know he wouldn't say those things to get re-elected? Some say that an Obama presidency would mean that their antiwar voice has a chance of being heard. How can this be true if he's not listening to your voice now when he's trying to get your vote?

    "But he's better than McCain" is the reason many give for their support of Obama. Yes, that's true. But, if somebody knocked on your door and said, "You can either give me your children, or you can give me every dollar you earn for the rest of your life" what would you say? You would say "neither" and shut the door. It's time to shut the door on the Republicans and Democrats until they start representing the people. Of course, John McCain and the Republicans are dangerous and should not be in power, but acceptance of the "lesser of two evils" philosophy is one reason we continue to be stuck with two evils.

    So, what do we do? Well, if you support the Democrats and Obama, then at least demand they start representing you, or abandon the party. This is not a call to join some other party - election politics should be just one small part of participating in your country's affairs. This is a call to consciousness. What you do once every four years pales in comparison to what you do every day.

    Peace

    Voted in favor of $162 billion more for Iraq & Afghanistan wars. (Jun '08)
    At his first stop after winning the primaries, Obama wore a U.S/Israeli flag lapel pin at AIPAC. (Jun '08)
    Neoconservative leader William Kristol said: "Obama's not for pulling troops back from our forward positions around the world, with the exception of Iraq. Obama and McCain don't actually differ, at least on paper, even on Iran" (Jun '08)
    Reverses his pledge and opts out of public financing. (Jun '08)
    "But as president of the United States, I would be willing to lead tough and principled diplomacy with the appropriate Iranian leader at a time and place of my choosing if and only if it can advance the interests of the United States." (Jun '08)
    "I have said repeatedly that I think that the death penalty should be applied in very narrow circumstances for the most egregious of crimes," (Jun '08)

    Supports a military 'surge' in Afghanistan. (May '08)
    "I will maintain the embargo (on Cuba). It provides us with ... leverage..." "Never, in my lifetime, have the people of Cuba known freedom. Never, in the lives of two generations of Cubans, have the people of Cuba known democracy." (May '08; also, read Fidel Castro's response)
    Obama Exposed: Facts about Obama from the African People's Solidarity Committee
    "I think that when you look back at George H.W. Bush's foreign policy, it was a wise foreign policy. In how we executed the Gulf War, how we managed the transition out of the Cold War, I think it's an example of how we can get bipartisan agreement." (Apr '08)

    Would "take no options off the table when it comes to preventing [Iran] from using nuclear weapons or obtaining nuclear weapons, and that would include any threats directed at Israel or any of our allies in the region." (Apr '08)

    "The truth is that my foreign policy is actually a return to the traditional bipartisan realistic policy of George Bush's father, of John F. Kennedy, of, in someways, Ronald Reagan." (Mar '08)Obama - Peace Candidate?
    Said the 2008 violence in Gaza was the result of Hamas’ decision to launch rocket attacks on Israeli civilians (Mar '08)
    Said the US should not meet with (the democratically elected) Hamas leadership (Mar '08)

    Would not rule out using mercenaries (private military companies) like Blackwater in Iraq. (Feb '08)

    Said that US troops should be "relieved of the burden of policing someone else's civil war," and that Iraqis need "to take responsibility for their own future.” (Jan '08)

    He skipped the vote on Attorney General Michael Mukasey. (Nov '07)
    "It is important to have tough sanctions on Iran, particularly on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which supports terrorism," (Oct '07)
    Voted to expand NAFTA to Peru. (Oct '07)
    Would not pledge to have all troops out of Iraq by the end of his first-term. (Sep '07)
    Was "a strong supporter of the war in Afghanistan". (Aug '07)
    “I strongly support the expansion of our ground forces by adding 65,000 soldiers to the Army and 27,000 Marines." (Apr '07)
    “We lead the world in battling immediate evils and promoting the ultimate good,” said Obama. “We must lead by building a 21st-century military... to advance the security of all people.” (Apr '07)
    "No President should ever hesitate to use force unilaterally if necessary to protect ourselves and our vital interests when we are attacked or imminently threatened." (Apr '07)
    Said the United States must be willing to strike al Qaeda targets inside Pakistan. (Apr '07)
    "[W]e must preserve our total commitment to our unique defense relationship with Israel by fully funding military assistance and ... related missile defense programs, he said. This would help Israel maintain its military edge and deter and repel attacks from as far as Tehran and as close as Gaza." (Mar '07)

    Voted for Robert Gates (of the Iran-Contra scandal) to be Defense Secretary. (Dec '06)
    "[L]aunching some missile strikes into Iran is not the optimal position for us to be in given the ongoing war in Iraq. On the other hand, having a radical Muslim theocracy in possession of nuclear weapons is worse. So I guess my instinct would be to err on not having those weapons in the possession of the ruling clerics of Iran." (Oct '06)
    Voted for building a fence along the U.S./Mexican border. (Sep '06)
    Said the government must crack down on employers who hire 'illegal immigrants'. (Sep '06)
    Supported Israel's war against Lebanon. (Aug '06)
    Voted for Patriot Act II. (Mar '06)

    Voted for Bush’s 2005 energy bill which sent billions of dollars in subsidies to oil companies. (Jun '05)
    Barack Obama Fact Sheet - Is Obama a Peace Candidate?
    Voted to allow credit card companies to raise interest rates to over 30%. (Mar '05)

    "Military strikes on Pakistan should not be ruled out if violent Islamic extremists were to take over" (Sep '04)
    "[T]he big question is going to be, if Iran is resistant to these pressures [to stop its nuclear program], including economic sanctions, which I hope will be imposed if they do not cooperate, at what point . . . if any, are we going to take military action?" (Sep '04)
    "There’s not much of a difference between my position and George Bush’s position" on Iraq. (Jul '04)
    Said it was time "to end the embargo with Cuba" because it had "utterly failed in the effort to overthrow Castro." (Jan '04)

    Two weeks after the Iraq war started he said, we "absolutely want to make sure that the troops have sufficient support to be able to win." (Mar '03)

    "I am not opposed to all wars, I'm opposed to dumb wars." (Oct '02)

  10. #410
    Outstanding compilation, kudos to the author(s).

    Lesser of two evils my ass.
    Social relationships have their inherent logic; as long as people live in given mutual relationships they will feel, think and act in a given way, and no other. Attempts on the part of public men to combat this logic also would be fruitless; the natural course of things (this logic of social relationships) would reduce all his effort to nought. But if I know in what direction social relations are changing owing to given changes in the social-economic process of production, I also know in what direction social mentality is changing; consequently, I am able to influence it. Influencing social mentality means influencing historical events. Hence, in a certain sense, I can make history, and there is no need for me to wait while "it is being made."

  11. #411
    Obama’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Protects Bank Fraud and Insider Trading
    Obama's New SEC 'Sheriff.' No Conflict of Interest When it Comes to Shielding Wall Street's Pin Striped Mafia
    By Tom Burghardt


    One indelible sign of state capture by pirate corporations and the financial jackals holding sway on Wall Street and the City of London is the ease with which former “regulators” slip into plum positions with the firms whom they supposedly “regulated” as “public servants.”

    While the drone kill-crazy Obama regime has done yeoman’s work cementing in place extra-constitutional policies first enacted by the Bush gang–only to exceed Bushist depredations by a whole order of magnitude–kool-aid sipping “progressives” and troglodytic “conservatives” have given the president a free pass when it comes to policing the financial criminals who blew up the world economy.

    But when it comes to US spy agencies probing and sweeping up your financial information, well, the sky’s the limit!

    As Reuters reported last week, the administration “is drawing up plans” to give securocrats “full access to a massive database that contains financial data on American citizens and others who bank in the country, according to a Treasury Department document.”

    That Treasury plan would give secret state apparatchiks, including those ensconced at CIA, NSA and the Pentagon free reign to rummage through the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s (FinCEN) massive database of “suspicious activity reports” routinely filed by “banks, securities dealers, casinos and money and wire transfer agencies.” The FBI and DHS already have full access to that database under the Orwellian USA Patriot Act.

    Under the proposal, FinCen data will be linked “with a computer network used by US defense and law enforcement agencies to share classified information called the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System,” according to Reuters.

    And since requirements for filing SARs are “so strict,” banks often “over-report,” this “raises the possibility that the financial details of ordinary citizens could wind up in the hands of spy agencies,” where it will live in perpetuity, “criminal evidence, ready for use in a trial,” as Cryptohippie famously warned.

    Got that? While Wall Street drug banks are handled with care because of the “collateral consequences” that might result from a criminal referral for laundering billions of narco-dollars, the average citizen’s financial data will be fair game.

    Which brings us back to Obama’s anemic regulatory regime and the “sheriffs” eager to do the bankster’s bidding.

    Wall Street’s Choice

    As one of the filthiest dens of corruption in Washington, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is in a league of its own.

    In late January, when the president announced he was nominating former federal prosecutor Mary Jo White to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), The New York Times, as they are wont to do, proclaimed that the “White House delivered a strong message to Wall Street.”

    A rather ironic assertion considering the tens of millions of dollars “earned” defending Wall Street criminals by Debevoise & Plimpton partner Mary Jo and her millionaire lawyer husband John, a partner at the white shoe corporate litigation shop Cravath, Swaine & Moore, as Above the Law disclosed.

    Keep in mind that White will soon lead an agency that for years covered-up financial crimes by routinely shredding tens of thousands of case files on everything from insider trading, securities fraud, market manipulation and the Madoff and Stanford Ponzi schemes, as a 2011 Rolling Stone investigation disclosed.

    As I reported nearly three years ago during my investigation into now-convicted fraudster Allen Stanford’s ties to the CIA over his role in laundering oceans of cash for the Agency’s narcotrafficking assets, the SEC’s Fort Worth office “stood down” multiple probes “at the request of another federal agency,” which regional head of enforcement Stephen J. Korotash “declined to name.”

    Indeed, a 2010 report by the SEC’s Office of the Inspector General found that another “former head of Enforcement in Fort Worth,” Spencer C. Barasch, “played a significant role in multiple decisions over the years to quash investigations of Stanford,” and sought to represent the dodgy banker “on three separate occasions after he left the Commission, and in fact represented Stanford briefly in 2006 before he was informed by the SEC Ethics Office that it was improper to do so.”

    Barasch eventually paid a $50,000 fine for ethics violations and “moved on.”

    Despite the SEC’s documented history of sleaze and lax enforcement of rules that would earn the average citizen a one-way ticket to the slammer, on March 19 the Senate Banking Committee approved White’s nomination by a vote of 21-1; the lone dissenter was Sherrod Brown (D-OH). A vote by the full Senate could come as early as next week and she is expected to be confirmed easily.

    As a former US Attorney for the Southern District in New York (1993-2002), White has been described by corporate media as a “tough as nails” prosecutor for her role in bringing down Mafia wise guy John Gotti and for running to ground criminal mastermind Ramzi Yousef, the architect of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. (For a gripping account of how the FBI and US prosecutor’s office botched that investigation and “foamed the runway” for the mass murder of 3,000 people on 9/11, readers should train their sights on Peter Lance’s exposé, 1000 Years for Revenge).

    White’s record when it came to holding financial criminals to account however, was even more dubious; in fact, for more than a decade she’s defended them.

    Times’ stenographers dialed back their glowing encomiums for the Obama nominee, writing that “translating that message into action will not be easy, given the complexities of the market and Wall Street’s aggressive nature.”

    As reliable hands on the financial beat, Dealbook reporters routinely trumpet everything from the Justice Department’s sweetheart deal with drug money laundering and terrorist coddling banking giant HSBC to kissing Jamie Dimon’s hem over billions of JPMorgan Chase losses last year in what were euphemistically described as a “bad bet on derivatives.”

    In the January puff-piece, reporters Ben Protess and Benjamin Weiser outdid themselves, claiming that with the White nomination “the president showed a renewed resolve to hold Wall Street accountable for wrongdoing.”

    However, a less than laudatory piece published by Bloomberg News took those fatuous claims to task. Financial columnist Jonathan Weil observed that while “The Securities and Exchange Commission couldn’t get Ken Lewis on any securities-law violations after he helped drive Bank of America Corp. into the ground as its chief executive officer,” the agency “is poised to get his attorney as its new chairman–and Morgan Stanley’s, too.”

    But hey, it’s not like the SEC is chock-a-block with conflicts of interest, right? Well, if a bracing read is what the doctor ordered, then turn your attention to a damning study released last month by the Project on Government Oversight (POGO). Entitled, Dangerous Liaisons: Revolving Door at SEC Creates Risk of Regulatory Capture, author Michael Smallberg takes us on a 60-page tour of insider dealing and corruption that would make a Roman emperor blush.

    According to Smallberg: “Between 2001 and 2010, more than 400 SEC alumni filed nearly 2,000 disclosure statements saying they planned to represent employers or clients before the agency. These alumni have represented companies during SEC investigations, lobbied the agency on proposed regulations, obtained waivers to soften the blow of enforcement actions, and helped clients win exemptions from federal law. On the other side of the revolving door, when industry veterans join the SEC, they may be in a position to oversee their former employers or clients, or may be forced to recuse themselves from working on crucial agency issues.”

    Talk about an agency blind in both eyes by design!

    A Counsel with ‘Juice’

    One of the more egregious cases which came to light was SEC’s handling of a 2005 insider trading case involving former agency enforcement head, Linda Thomsen, White and her client, Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack.

    Before her tenure as the agency’s chief enforcement officer, Thomsen was in private practice at the powerhouse New York law firm, Davis, Polk & Wardell. During the capitalist financial meltdown, the company represented upstanding corporate citizens such as AIG, Freddie Mack, Lehman Brothers and drug-tainted Citigroup. Bulking up a stable of attorneys well-versed in regulatory matters, the firm has hired other former SEC officials, including Commissioner Annette Nazareth and Linda Thomsen.

    Before sailing off to greener shores at Davis, Polk, Nazareth’s claim to fame was standing up a voluntary “supervisory regime” for the largest “investment bank holding companies” who “policed” themselves by cratering the economy and costing taxpayers trillions in bailouts.

    That program, the Consolidated Supervised Entity was scrapped in 2008. Why? According to a press release by then SEC head Christopher Cox (no slouch himself when it came to defending his corporatist masters): “The last six months have made it abundantly clear that voluntary regulation does not work. When Congress passed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, it created a significant regulatory gap by failing to give to the SEC or any agency the authority to regulate large investment bank holding companies, like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, and Bear Stearns.” (emphasis added)

    A “gap” large enough to fly a fleet 747s through and still have enough wiggle room to launch a dozen Saturn 5s into deep space!

    And that insider trading case?

    According to Matt Taibbi’s Rolling Stone investigation, in September 2004 SEC investigator Gary Aguirre was tasked to look into an insider trading complaint against “a hedge-fund megastar named Art Samberg. One day, with no advance research or discussion, Samberg had suddenly started buying up huge quantities of shares in a firm called Heller Financial.”

    Samberg was the founder of the multibillion dollar hedge fund, Pequot Capital Management, a firm which invested in a multitude of private and public equities and what are known as “distressed securities.” These are investment instruments held by firms or government entities (paging Fannie Mae!) that are either in default, under bankruptcy protection or will soon be heading south. The most common securities of this type are bonds and bank debt (think residential mortgage backed securities and other toxic assets). Since the financial crisis, a booming market in distressed securities have earned savvy hedge fund mangers billions in fees as they seek influence with regulators over how that debt is restructured.

    And since “influence” in Washington and the “juice” that comes with it on Wall Street is the name of the game, well, you get the picture.

    “‘It was as if Art Samberg woke up one morning and a voice from the heavens told him to start buying Heller,’ Aguirre recalls. ‘And he wasn’t just buying shares–there were some days when he was trying to buy three times as many shares as were being traded that day.’ A few weeks later, Heller was bought by General Electric–and Samberg pocketed $18 million.”

    “After some digging,” Taibbi wrote, “Aguirre found himself focusing on one suspect as the likely source who had tipped Samberg off: John Mack, a close friend of Samberg’s who had just stepped down as president of Morgan Stanley.”

    According to Taibbi, “Mack flew to Switzerland to interview for a top job at Credit Suisse First Boston. Among the investment bank’s clients, as it happened, was a firm called Heller Financial. We don’t know for sure what Mack learned on his Swiss trip; years later, Mack would claim that he had thrown away his notes about the meetings.”

    Rather conveniently, one might say.

    In any event after returning from his Swiss Alps sojourn, in a classic case of “you scratch my back” Samberg cut his buddy Mack into a deal with a tech firm called Lucent, “a favor that netted him [Mack] more than $10 million.” Shortly thereafter, “Samberg began buying-up every Heller share in sight, right before it was snapped up by GE.”

    An insider trading case worthy of further scrutiny, right? But when Aguirre told his boss [Robert Hanson] that he intended to interview Mack and the other principals, “things started getting weird.” Taibbi noted that Aguirre’s boss told the investigator that Mack “had powerful political connections.”

    Indeed he did. Like other Wall Street banksters, Mack had been a fundraising “Ranger” for the 2004 George W. Bush campaign, and when it became clear that a new product line needed to be rolled out, Mack crossed party lines and backed Hillary Clinton’s ill-starred 2008 bid for the Oval Office.

    How’s that for clubby “bipartisanship”!

    A 2007 report (large PDF file) published by the Senate Finance Committee titled The Firing of an SEC Attorney and the Investigation of Pequot Management, disclosed that “at least three experienced SEC officials believed in the summer of 2005 that questioning John Mack was an appropriate next step in the Pequot Investigation.”

    Indeed, Senate investigators revealed that “the most significant aspect” of Mack’s 2006 SEC testimony (after the statute of limitations for prosecution had expired) “is his acknowledgement that he went to Switzerland to discuss becoming CSFB’s CEO from July 26-28, 2001.”

    “In view of the fact that Mack also spoke with Samberg immediately upon his return to the United States on July 29, 2001,” Senate staff disclosed, “the trading day before Samberg began heavily betting on Heller Financial stock, and on the same night Mack was permitted into a lucrative deal, there was more than a sufficient basis to justify taking Mack’s testimony in the summer of 2005.”

    After first being given the go-ahead to interview Mack, “Aguirre’s direct line of supervisors” including Hanson, Mark Kreitman and Paul Berger, got cold feet. Unfortunately for Aguirre, this came after he had briefed attorneys at Mary Jo White’s old stomping ground and “criminal authorities in the Southern District opened their own investigations” into dubious deals between Samberg and Mack.

    At that point, Senate investigators averred, “his supervisors’ attitudes shifted dramatically,” that is, “when officials from Morgan Stanley began contacting the SEC to learn about the potential impact of the investigation on its prospective CEO, John Mack.” Only then did Hanson warn Aguirre that “it would be difficult to subpoena John Mack because of his ‘powerful political connections’.”

    Aguirre told Senate investigators that “in a face-to-face meeting” with his boss, “Hanson said it would be very difficult to get permission to question Mack because of Mack’s ‘powerful political connections’.”

    Hanson however, denied everything and said during his Senate testimony “That doesn’t sound like something I would say.”

    “As a general matter,” Hanson testified, “I try to alert folk above me about significant developments in investigations that may trigger calls and the like so that they are not caught flat footed. I also think that Paul [Berger] and Linda [Thomsen] would want to know if and when we are planning to take Mack’s testimony so that they can anticipate the response, which may include press calls that will likely follow. Mack’s counsel will have ‘juice’ as I described last night–meaning that they will reach out to Paul and Linda (and possibly others).”

    And who was Mack’s “juiced” attorney? Why none other than Mary Jo White!

    Unbeknownst to Aguirre, his supervisors were trading emails about his imminent firing from the agency. “With no knowledge of those emails,” Senate investigators disclosed that Aguirre wrote Hanson again stating, that “before and after the Mack decision, you have told [me] several times that the problem in taking Mack’s exam is his political clout, e.g., all the people that Mary Jo White can contact with a phone call.”

    At the same time that Aguirre was seeking to subpoena Mack’s testimony, Morgan Stanley’s board hired Debevoise & Plimpton to vet their soon-to-be reinstalled CEO. “Only two days after being retained,” the Senate reported, “White did what the SEC did not do until more than a year later. She questioned John Mack: ‘The other thing that I did for the board to gather what information I could on that time frame was to interview John Mack himself,’” White told investigators.

    But she did more than that, demonstrating she indeed had plenty of “juice.”

    “That evening,” the Senate disclosed, “White sent Thomsen an e-mail message marked ‘URGENT’ and asked that Thomsen return the call ‘this evening.’ Aguirre complained that the next day White delivered the e-mails that he had subpoenaed from Morgan Stanley directly to Linda Thomsen.”

    “On June 27,” Aguirre testified, “I learned that Mack-Samberg emails, which I had subpoenaed from Morgan Stanley, had been delivered directly to the Director of Enforcement, Linda Thomsen. Neither I nor other staff had heard of this happening before. Indeed, the subpoena explicitly stated that the documents were to be delivered to me.”

    Evidence reviewed by the Senate Finance Committee “suggests that the reluctance to question Mack represents a much more subtle and pervasive problem than an individual partisan political favor. SEC officials were overly deferential to Mack–not because of his politics–but because he was an ‘industry captain’ who could hire influential counsel to represent him.”

    “In a shocking move that was later singled out by Senate investigators,” Taibbi wrote, “the director actually appeared to reassure White, dismissing the case against Mack as ‘smoke’ rather than ‘fire’.”

    “Aguirre didn’t stand a chance,” Taibbi noted. “A month after he complained to his supervisors that he was being blocked from interviewing Mack, he was summarily fired, without notice. The case against Mack was immediately dropped: all depositions canceled, no further subpoenas issued. ‘It all happened so fast, I needed a seat belt,’ recalls Aguirre, who had just received a stellar performance review from his bosses. The SEC eventually paid Aguirre a settlement of $755,000 for wrongful dismissal.”

    It gets better.

    In a subsequent piece, Taibbi followed-up and discovered “not only did the SEC ultimately delay the interview of Mack until after the statute of limitations had expired, and not only did the agency demand an investigation into possible alternative sources for Samberg’s tip (what Aguirre jokes was like ‘O.J.’s search for the real killers’), but the SEC official who had quashed the Mack investigation, Paul Berger, took a lucrative job working for Morgan Stanley’s law firm, Debevoise and Plimpton, just nine months after Aguirre was fired.”

    As it turned out, at the exact moment that Aguirre’s investigation was being sabotaged, Senate investigators “uncovered an email to Berger from another SEC official, Lawrence West, who was also interviewing with Debevoise and Plimpton at the time.”

    “The e-mail was dated September 8, 2005 and addressed to Paul Berger with the subject line, ‘Debevoise.’ The body of the message read, ‘Mary Jo [White] just called. I mentioned your interest’.”

    Taibbi observed: “So Berger was passing notes in class to Mary Jo White about wanting to work for Morgan Stanley’s law firm while he was in the middle of quashing an investigation into a major insider trading case involving the CEO of the bank. After the case dies, Berger later gets the multimillion-dollar posting and the circle is closed.”

    In later testimony to the Inspector General into Debevoise & Plimpton’s eventual hiring of Berger by a firm that boasts on their web site that she leads a “team” which “includes eleven former Assistant US Attorneys,” White’s comments on whether Berger was considered too “aggressive” in prosecuting Wall Street criminals is all-too-revealing.

    “You always have a spectrum on the aggressiveness scale for government types and was this an issue that was beyond real commitment to the job and the mission and bringing cases,” White affirmed, “which is a positive thing in the government, to a point. Or was it a broader issue that could leave resentment in the business community or in the legal community that would hamper his ability to function well in the private sector?”

    “It’s certainly strange that White has to qualify the idea that bringing cases is a positive thing in a government official–that bringing cases is a ‘positive thing . . . to a point’,” Taibbi noted. “Can anyone imagine the future head of the DEA saying something like, ‘For a prosecutor, bringing drug cases is a positive, to a point’?”

    And what about Linda Thomsen? In 2008, the SEC’s inspector general, H. David Kotz, urged disciplinary action against her over her role in Aguirre’s squashed investigation of Samberg and Mack. While Samberg was eventually forced out of business, barred from working as an investment adviser and paid a $28 million fine for his shenanigans, Thomsen landed on her feet.

    After refusing to answer relevant questions in 2009 before the House Committee on Financial Services probe into the SEC’s failure to investigate the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme, due to a “collective desire to preserve the integrity of the investigative and prosecution processes” mind you, Thomsen resigned and rejoined Davis, Polk and Wardell.

    Later that year, Kotz released a report to Congress of the IG’s investigation into a “Senior Officer” who provided “inside information” to a “former official.” As it turns out that “Senior Officer” was Linda Thomsen and that “official” was her former boss Stephen Cutler who had jumped ship and joined JPMorgan Chase.

    According to The New York Times, “Kotz said his office has concluded its well-publicized investigation into whether the SEC’s enforcement director, Linda Chatman Thomsen, inappropriately provided inside information to her former boss, Stephen Cutler, now the general counsel of JPMorgan Chase, amid the bank’s negotiations to buy Bear Stearns in March 2008.”

    “The inquiry,” the Times reported, “which began in response to an anonymous tip, confirmed that Mr. Cutler sought assurances from Ms. Thomsen before the takeover that JPMorgan would not be sued for prior actions by Bear Stearns.”

    And who was representing JPMorgan Chase in the wake of the Bear Stearns collapse? If you guessed Mary Jo White, you’d be right again.

    Less than three years later, during Senate Banking Committee confirmation hearings, White told the panel that “the American people will be my client, and I will work as zealously as possible on behalf of them.”

    But when questioned by Sherrod Brown (D-OH) whether or not White agreed with US Attorney General Eric Holder’s statement which affirmed that “federal prosecutors are instructed . . . to look at . . . collateral consequences” should a financial institution or its officers be criminally charged, White agreed.

    In a follow-up question, Brown wondered whether there is “a two-tiered system where we exempt the biggest banks because they have the most employees and shareholders who could be affected by criminal prosecution?”

    White’s answer pretty much sums up everything that’s bent about Washington’s culture of impunity when it comes to the Wall Street crimes: “It’s a factor that prosecutors are directed to consider.”

    “I do think the deferred prosecution instrument,” White asserted, “has been used a great deal on a number of companies, [and] was designed to be tough in terms of monetary sanctions, monitors–everything but the charge itself that might cause what the prosecutor might consider to be negative and undesirable collateral consequences to the public interest.”

    But what about harsher sanctions such as stripped assets, handcuffs and a jail cell for drug money laundering and securities scamming banksters, punishments that might actually deter corporate crime?

    Forgetaboutit!

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/obamas-...rading/5328252

  12. #412
    More 'Corporate Welfare': Obama Signs 'Monsanto Protection Act' Into Law
    Just signed provision prevents federal courts from stopping the planting of genetically engineered crops, despite health, environmental consequences
    - Andrea Germanos, staff writer

    President Obama signed what has been dubbed the "Monsanto Protection Act" on Tuesday, legislation critics say amounts to "corporate welfare" for biotechnology corporations like Monsanto, and puts farmers and the environment in jeopardy.

    Summing up the provision in H.R. 933: Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, Eric Darier, a senior campaigner on sustainable agriculture at Greenpeace International explains that it

    will effectively bar US federal courts from being able to halt the sale or planting of genetically engineered (GE) crops even if they failed to be approved by the government's own weak approval process and no matter what the health or environmental consequences might be.

    The rider from H.R. 933 reads:

    Doug Gurian-Sherman, a senior scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, writes that the rider presents a "threat to farmers and the environment," and that while the rider's language indicates that steps will be taken “…to mitigate or minimize potential adverse environmental effects…,” historical evidence shows that there are indeed risks. In 2006, for example,

    unapproved GE rice owned by Bayer, probably originating from a small, short-term controlled field trial in Arkansas, was found to have contaminated the U.S. rice supply. That little incident resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in lost rice exports and farmer lawsuits that continued for years. [...]

    A similar threat exists to the environment in the form of gene flow—the transfer of genes from one organism to another—from crops to wild cousins, or from poorly domesticated cultivated plants like forest trees or grasses grown for lumber, pulp, or biofuel.

    In fact, gene flow of glyphosate herbicide-resistant creeping bentgrass has already occurred…twice. This also happened from temporary field trials that were conducted in Central Oregon and nearby Idaho specifically to prevent gene flow! USDA mandated an isolation zone of 900 feet around the trial, but gene flow occurred up to 13 miles from the Oregon site.

    There could be "long-lasting and serious consequences" from the rider, writes Appetite for Profit author Michele Simon. "This list of pending petitions to USDA to approve genetically-engineered crops includes new versions of corn, soybean, canola, and cotton. Once these crops get planted, it will be too late to do much about it."

    The Center for Food Safety writes that it was Senator Barbara Mikulski, the Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee (D-MD), who allowed the legislation to move forward without hearings and without bringing it in front of the Agriculture or Judiciary Committees.

    “In this hidden backroom deal, Senator Mikulski turned her back on consumer, environmental, and farmer protection in favor of corporate welfare for biotech companies such as Monsanto,” Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety, said in a statement.

    This is the kind of deal biotechnology corporations have been hoping for, according to Food Democracy Now!, a group that has been campaigning against the GE rider. "Since losing a court case in 2010 to Center for Food Safety for the unlawful planting of GMO sugar beets, Monsanto and other biotech companies have been desperate to find a way around court mandated environmental impact statements required as a result of a U.S. district court’s ruling," the group writes.

    Gurian-Sherman writes that the rider has biotechnology corporations' fingerprints all over it:

    It was introduced anonymously, without accountability. But let me stick my neck out and say that it is highly likely that the biotech industry influenced the introduction and passing of this rider. Monsanto spends more money influencing our government than any other agriculture company. It spent millions, more than any other firm, to defeat the efforts in California to label engineered foods.

    In her post titled "Monsanto Teams up with Congress to Shred the Constitution," Simon adds that this is "such a big deal" because

    The court system is often our last hope, with Congress, the White House, and regulatory agencies deep inside industry’s pocket. Several legal challenges have resulted in court decisions overturning USDA’s approval of new GMO crops, for example, sugar beets.

    So the biotech industry, unable to make its case to a judge, figured why not just rewrite the Constitution instead...

    Darier concludes that the 'Monsanto Protection Act' ultimately shows the power corporations wield at the expense of democracy:

    This should also be a reminder to all of us across the world of the ability of some corporations like Monsanto to influence policymakers to adopt measures that are against sustainable agriculture, farmers, consumers and the environment. And let's add now to this list: independent judicial review! A very sad day for democracy and the future of our food.

    http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/03/28-6

  13. #413
    Add it to the list. Is it okay to call this the Hopey-Changey version of incremental Blue Team fascism?

    Here are some of the other achievements from the Democrats during Obama's "Lesser Evilism Reign of Terror Traveling Road Show."

    Here are some facts though the list is not exhaustive by any means and it's only recent history:

    Part One: Obama and the Dems Fascist Maneuverings

    Obama used an Executive Order to create a Cat Food Commission stacked with anti-Social Security / Social Program corporatists.

    Obama's White House was opposed to bringing back Glass Steagall.

    *WARS fully funded and EXPANDING- see AFRICOM.

    *Trillion Dollars given to friends and campaign contributors on Wall Street.

    *Military Spending INCREASED.

    *Trillion+Dollars given to the Health Insurance Industry.

    *Kill the possibility for a REAL “Public Option” or REAL Universal Health Care for at least another generation, and begin the “Entitlement Reform” defunding of Medicare (-$500 Billion).

    *Block ANY re-regulation of BIG BANKS and Credit Cards.

    *Protect the Bush War Criminals and Torturers from JUSTICE.

    *Expanded Drone Assasinations.

    *Reinforce the worst Police State provisions of the Patriot Act.

    *Expanding government surveillance.

    *EFCA (Employee Free Choice Act) killed in the crib

    Free Trade Job Off-shoring.

    Supports De-regulation (see: Clinton & Death of Glass-Steagal)

    NDAA / Expansion of Government Power.

    Bernanke, Geithner. Holder.

    Monsanto @ FDA.

    Linking Social Security to the Deficit via the Payroll Tax “Holiday”

    Coordinated the crackdown on Occupy via Obama’s Homeland Security.

    Attacks Whistleblowers, a-la Bradley Manning & WikiLeaks.

    Shielded BP for its Gulf Disaster

    Pushes through the Trans Pacific Partnership

    Obama Promotes Surge in State Terror

    Obama Expands Military Involvement in Africa

    Obama education plan boosts privatization, victimizes teachers

    Obama Puts Pesticide Pusher in Charge of Agricultural Trade Relations.

    Obama indefinitely imprisons detainees without charges

    Obama:

    -- embraces militarism, imperial wars, and lawlessness like his predecessor;

    -- keeps looting the federal Treasury for Wall Street;

    -- targets whistleblowers, dissenters, Muslims, Latino immigrants,
    environmental and animal rights activists, and lawyers who defend them;

    -- illegally spies on Americans as aggressively as George Bush;

    -- backs so-called reform that will ration care and enrich insurers, the drug cartel, and large hospital chains;

    Obama's promotes the Militarization of Mexico

    Obama supports the Permanent War Budget

    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 as president;

    Obama:

    Despite earlier and current rhetoric, Obama supports permanent wars and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan with no withdrawal timetables;

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

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

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

    Obama 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;

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

    20,000 Airstrikes in the President's First Term Cause Death and Destruction From Iraq to Somalia.

    Signed the NDAA into law - making it legal to assassinate Americans w/o charge or trial.

    Initiated, and personally oversees a 'Secret Kill List'.

    Waged war on Libya without congressional approval.

    Started a covert, drone war in Yemen.

    Escalated the proxy war in Somalia.

    Escalated the CIA drone war in Pakistan.

    Maintained a presence in Iraq even after "ending" the war.

    Sharply escalated the war in Afghanistan.

    Secretly deployed US special forces to 75 countries.

    Sold $30 billion of weapons to the dictatorship in Saudi Arabia.

    Signed an agreement for 7 military bases in Colombia.

    Opened a military base in Chile.

    Signed the Patriot Act extension into law.

    Deported a modern-record 1.5 million immigrants.

    Continued Bush's rendition program.

    Obama sends U.S. troops to Niger to set up drone base

    Obama OKs $50 million to assist France in Mali

    Warrantless wiretapping of American citizens, Indefinite detention
    without charge or trial, Targeted killings of suspects by drone,
    without any pretense of due process (even if they are US citizens), I could go on all day. These are not opinions these are ordinary facts- if it smells like fascism...

  14. #414
    Quote Originally Posted by chlams View Post
    Add it to the list. Is it okay to call this the Hopey-Changey version of incremental Blue Team fascism?

    Here are some of the other achievements from the Democrats during Obama's "Lesser Evilism Reign of Terror Traveling Road Show."

    Here are some facts though the list is not exhaustive by any means and it's only recent history:

    Part One: Obama and the Dems Fascist Maneuverings

    Obama used an Executive Order to create a Cat Food Commission stacked with anti-Social Security / Social Program corporatists.

    Obama's White House was opposed to bringing back Glass Steagall.

    *WARS fully funded and EXPANDING- see AFRICOM.

    *Trillion Dollars given to friends and campaign contributors on Wall Street.

    *Military Spending INCREASED.

    *Trillion+Dollars given to the Health Insurance Industry.

    *Kill the possibility for a REAL “Public Option” or REAL Universal Health Care for at least another generation, and begin the “Entitlement Reform” defunding of Medicare (-$500 Billion).

    *Block ANY re-regulation of BIG BANKS and Credit Cards.

    *Protect the Bush War Criminals and Torturers from JUSTICE.

    *Expanded Drone Assasinations.

    *Reinforce the worst Police State provisions of the Patriot Act.

    *Expanding government surveillance.

    *EFCA (Employee Free Choice Act) killed in the crib

    Free Trade Job Off-shoring.

    Supports De-regulation (see: Clinton & Death of Glass-Steagal)

    NDAA / Expansion of Government Power.

    Bernanke, Geithner. Holder.

    Monsanto @ FDA.

    Linking Social Security to the Deficit via the Payroll Tax “Holiday”

    Coordinated the crackdown on Occupy via Obama’s Homeland Security.

    Attacks Whistleblowers, a-la Bradley Manning & WikiLeaks.

    Shielded BP for its Gulf Disaster

    Pushes through the Trans Pacific Partnership

    Obama Promotes Surge in State Terror

    Obama Expands Military Involvement in Africa

    Obama education plan boosts privatization, victimizes teachers

    Obama Puts Pesticide Pusher in Charge of Agricultural Trade Relations.

    Obama indefinitely imprisons detainees without charges

    Obama:

    -- embraces militarism, imperial wars, and lawlessness like his predecessor;

    -- keeps looting the federal Treasury for Wall Street;

    -- targets whistleblowers, dissenters, Muslims, Latino immigrants,
    environmental and animal rights activists, and lawyers who defend them;

    -- illegally spies on Americans as aggressively as George Bush;

    -- backs so-called reform that will ration care and enrich insurers, the drug cartel, and large hospital chains;

    Obama's promotes the Militarization of Mexico

    Obama supports the Permanent War Budget

    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 as president;

    Obama:

    Despite earlier and current rhetoric, Obama supports permanent wars and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan with no withdrawal timetables;

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

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

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

    Obama 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;

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

    20,000 Airstrikes in the President's First Term Cause Death and Destruction From Iraq to Somalia.

    Signed the NDAA into law - making it legal to assassinate Americans w/o charge or trial.

    Initiated, and personally oversees a 'Secret Kill List'.

    Waged war on Libya without congressional approval.

    Started a covert, drone war in Yemen.

    Escalated the proxy war in Somalia.

    Escalated the CIA drone war in Pakistan.

    Maintained a presence in Iraq even after "ending" the war.

    Sharply escalated the war in Afghanistan.

    Secretly deployed US special forces to 75 countries.

    Sold $30 billion of weapons to the dictatorship in Saudi Arabia.

    Signed an agreement for 7 military bases in Colombia.

    Opened a military base in Chile.

    Signed the Patriot Act extension into law.

    Deported a modern-record 1.5 million immigrants.

    Continued Bush's rendition program.

    Obama sends U.S. troops to Niger to set up drone base

    Obama OKs $50 million to assist France in Mali

    Warrantless wiretapping of American citizens, Indefinite detention
    without charge or trial, Targeted killings of suspects by drone,
    without any pretense of due process (even if they are US citizens), I could go on all day. These are not opinions these are ordinary facts- if it smells like fascism...
    Ya know the guy, deep down in his heart, is really a liberal. As liberal as JFK or Woodrow Wilson, as liberal as Nelson Rockafeller. Thems that call themselves liberals and deny that he is one of theirs don't know their asses from first base. Their conception of 'liberal' is but one facet of the whole, that misrepresented in itself and overshadowed by the rest in action. All of the above, liberalism in action.
    Social relationships have their inherent logic; as long as people live in given mutual relationships they will feel, think and act in a given way, and no other. Attempts on the part of public men to combat this logic also would be fruitless; the natural course of things (this logic of social relationships) would reduce all his effort to nought. But if I know in what direction social relations are changing owing to given changes in the social-economic process of production, I also know in what direction social mentality is changing; consequently, I am able to influence it. Influencing social mentality means influencing historical events. Hence, in a certain sense, I can make history, and there is no need for me to wait while "it is being made."

  15. #415
    Senior Member TBF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chlams View Post
    GG stated:

    "

    "...Public pressure from Democratic voters could stop this headlong rush into a decision that will harm America’s seniors and disabled – and save their party from a potential political catastrophe…."

    -This tells you where Eskow is really coming from: what he's mainly scared of is the "catastrophe" of Democrats losing an election.

    IOW, though Eskow deserves some credit for recognizing the outrageousness of Obama's intention to cut SocSec, his (Eskow's) perspective is still that of an ardent Lesser-Evilist. He knows Obomber is a P.O.S, but he's still mainly terrified of the "catastrophe" of the Democrats' losing the next election.

    So he wants "public pressure from Democratic voters" in order to save the Dem Party from Obama's "misguidedness." But this raises the question of what there really is to save.

    The word "misguided" is an unjustly-chosen euphemism for Obama. His planned attack on SocSec is not an "innocent mistake" -- it's perfectly in synch with what the guy is -- a vicious agent of Wall Street. Trying to pass this off as mere "misguidedness" is itself dishonest. I'm sure Eskow wouldn't apply the same word to a Romney or a Ryan.

    Another bit of BS in the quote is that there is actually no such thing as "public pressure from Democratic voters." That's a fairy tale. The Dem Party doesn't give a fig what the voters think, want, or need."

    Obama's intention to cut social security has been a problem all along - it is not an "innocent mistake" by a constitutional scholar. In the very first State of the Union address he spoke of having "a conversation about Social Security" when no one else was talking about it. This is a personal goal of his. It is more obvious than ever that there are no economic policy differences between the two major parties in this country.

  16. #416

    President Barack Obama meets with Honduras President Porfirio Lobo in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011.

    Will Congress act to stop US support for Honduras' death squad regime?

    In Honduras, Reagan-era atrocities are back as the Obama administration funds a state implicated in murdering opponents

    ...

    Now, the Obama administration is coming under fire for its role in arming and funding murderous Honduran police, in violation of US law. Under the Leahy Law, named after Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, the US government is not allowed to fund foreign military units who have commit gross human rights violations with impunity. The director general of Honduras' national police force, Juan Carlos Bonilla, has been investigated in connection with death squad killings; and members of the US Congress have been complaining about it since Bonilla was appointed last May. Thanks to some excellent investigative reporting by the Associated Press in the last couple of weeks – showing that all police units are, in fact, under Bonilla's command – it has become clear that the US is illegally funding the Honduran police.

    Why would the Obama administration so stubbornly support a death squad government in Honduras, going so far as to deceive and defy Congress?So, now we'll see if "rule of law" or "separation of powers" means very much in a country that likes to lecture "less developed" nations about these principles.

    Why would the Obama administration so stubbornly support a death squad government in Honduras, going so far as to deceive and defy Congress? To answer that, we have to look at how the current government of Honduras came to power, and how violent repression of any opposition plays a big role in keeping it there.

    The government of Honduran President Pepe Lobo was "elected" after a military coup overthrew the democratically elected government of President Mel Zelaya in June of 2009. Zelaya later told the press that Washington was involved in the coup; this is very believable, given the circumstantial evidence. But what we know for sure is that the Obama administration was heavily involved in helping the new regime survive and legitimize itself. Washington supported Lobo's election in 2009, against the opposition of almost the entire hemisphere. The Organization of American States and the European Union refused to send observers to an election that most of the world viewed as obviously illegitimate.

    The coup unleashed a wave of violence against political dissent that continues to this day. Even Honduras' Truth and Reconciliation Commission – established by the coup government itself – found that it had "undertaken political persecution … and that it was responsible for a number of killings committed by state agents and those acting at their behest, in addition to the widespread and violent repression of rights to speech, assembly, association."

    This was noted by the Center for Constitutional Rights, in New York, and the International Federation for Human Rights, in Paris, in a report (pdf) submitted to the International Criminal Court. The CCR/FIDH report also identifies "over 100 killings, most of which are selective, or targeted killings, occurring even after two truth commissions concluded their investigations". Their report goes through October 2012:

    "The killings are one horrific manifestation of the broader attack which is also characterized by death threats against activists, lawyers, journalists, trade unionists, and campesinos, as well as attempted killings, torture, sexual violence, arbitrary arrests and detentions. The True Commission [the second, independent Truth Commission] described the regime's "attack" as one of using terror as a means of social control."

    Which brings us the elections scheduled for later this year. Once again, a social-democratic party is in the race, including people who courageously defended democracy against 2009's military coup. Its presidential candidate is Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, the wife of the president whom Washington worked so hard to get rid of. This party is among the victims of the government's political repression: in November, LIBRE mayoral candidate Edgardo Adalid Motiño was gunned down after attending a rally for Xiomara Zelaya.

    So there you have it. A death squad government may not be the Obama administration's first choice, but it prefers it to a leftist government that Hondurans might elect if they were to have a free election. The current government belongs to Washington, just like the US military base that the Pentagon would like to keep in Honduras indefinitely.

    If all that sounds disgusting, and reminiscent of President Reagan's death squad governments in Central America, it's because it is both. The question right now, as in the 1980s, is what will members of Congress in Washington do about it?

    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/03/30-3

  17. #417
    Obama Deports Record Number of Immigrants, Using Scary Private GEO Group to Get the Job Done
    The largest deportation prison in the U.S. is a former jail in the hyper-corrupt City of Adelanto, California, where public officials are often criminals.
    March 31, 2013 |





    This article was first published by Not Safe for Work Corporation.

    Last year, the federal government deported roughly 400,000 people, the highest number of deportations in U.S. history.

    A generous portion of these poor saps came through a brand new private processing and detention facility located in the remote and fairly unpopulated High Desert of California. Operated by Geo Group — remember that name — the prison is now the largest immigrant detention center in the Golden State. And it’s located only a few miles my house, on the edge of a miserable little suburb city by the name of Adelanto.

    Adelanto means “progress” in Spanish.

    According to the town’s official biography, Adelanto was founded by Earl H. Richardson, inventor of the first electric iron, the Hotpoint. His outfit, the Hotpoint Electric Heating Company, later merged with GE and churned out electric irons by the hundred of thousands. The invention made Richardson rich. It also gave the kindly old bespectacled gentleman visions of grandeur. His dream: to buy land way out in the Mojave Desert, lay the foundation for the first master-planned community in Southern California and sell it off piece by piece to veterans returning from trenches of World War I.

    For some reason, the vets had no interest in living hundreds of miles from civilization, preferring instead to convalesce in bungalows on the beaches of Venice and Santa Monica. But Adelanto wasn’t a total loss for Richardson. World War II broke out, and the federal government took a bunch of land off his hands to build what would later become the George Air Force Base. Adelanto remained a military support settlement until the base closed in 1992.

    The city has grown since then, tripling in size since the late 1980s. Now, Adelanto is a cheap suburb of Victorville. There’s no shape or organization to it, no master planning in sight—just patches of subprime subdivisions, apartment complexes and warehouses scattered in the desert. All that growth didn’t bring prosperity; it only accelerated the city’s slide into corruption, poverty and violence.

    In 1997, Adelanto’s police chief was convicted of embezzlement and sent to jail. That same year, one police officer was convicted of child molestation, while two otherswere found guilty of beating and torturing suspects in their custody. In one case, they hauled someone in on a drug offense, attempted to beat a confession out of him and, when the guy started bleeding on the floor, made him lick up his own blood. One of the officers — Thomas Boyd Chandler — then threatened the suspect that he’d be shot and buried in a hole in the desert if he squealed to anyone about the enhanced interrogation techniques used on him in custody. To drive the point home, Chandler took a bullet from his gun. “This bullet has your name on it,” he warned.

    Despite a shakeup, in 1998, both Adelanto’s sitting mayor and the city attorney were convicted felons. And a grand jury investigation found evidence of election fraud and rampant corruption.

    “This is one of the most crooked places on Earth,” said 20-year resident Roger Ayers told the Associated Press in 1998. The AP article noted that the town had a bingo parlor and a strip club, but no restaurants or supermarkets.

    Adelanto was also being infiltrated by the Taiwanese mafia, which was operating an ammunition factory in the area.

    Here’s the Associated Press again:

    Federal and county law enforcement officials have questioned the opening of J.J. Ammo Inc., a bullet factory with connections to China. A principal in the firm, Wah Nien "Johnny" Chiang, is a Taiwan native who authorities say is tied to Asian organized crime. "We're well aware of Johnny Chiang and that he's making ammunition out in Adelanto. We're not sure why," said Sgt. Tom Budds, who heads the Asian organized crime unit of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

    Chinese-Taiwanese mafia churning out bullets in Adelanto? I guess anything’s possible out here on the frontier of SoCal’s suburban sprawl.

    Today, of the 32,000 people who call Adelanto home, nearly 60 percent are Latino and a large number of those are undocumented. Per-capita income is just under $12,000—nearly three times lower than California average. One out of every three people live under the poverty line, and 5.4 percent of the population is what the good folks at the census bureau classify as “institutionalized.” Which is just a bureaucratic way of saying that one out of 20 Adelanto residents is currently rotting in jail—at a rate that’s five times higher than the national average. That’s not surprising: until recently Adelanto had been home to three prisons: one county, one city and one private.

    After the real estate bubble popped, Adelanto teetered on the verge of bankruptcy. By 2010, the city was essentially out of money, and had only $100,000 in its reserve fund. On top of everything, California started releasing nonviolent prisoners to relieve the state’s overcrowded penitentiary system. And that meant Adelanto was on the verge of losing a major source of revenue: a city-owned minimum security facility that housed state inmates and brought in nearly $2 million in pure profit. But there was a way out…

    As luck would have it, a private prison company called Geo Group happened to be in the market for a detention facility located in Southern California.

    California might have been downsizing its prison population, but the federal government was ramping up its deportation operations and needed private contractors to handle the logistics of housing and processing immigrants. Geo Group—the second-largest private prison company in America, with roughly 60 facilities and 40,000 souls under its care—was always eager for more business, and Adelanto’s prison was exactly what it needed to get in on the action.

    In 2010, Adelanto sold its prison to Geo Group for lump payment of $28 million. As part of the deal, Adelanto helped the new buyer secure a contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), for which the city negotiated an additional payout of $50,000 a year from Geo Group.

    Geo quickly expanded the facility to hold 1,300 inmates, making it the largest private deportation center in the state California. It projected an annual revenue stream of $42 million (at a rock bottom rate of $99 per detained immigrant per day). And according to its cushy contract with ICE, Geo was guaranteed a 75-percent minimum occupancy rate, meaning that the feds agreed to pay the private prison company $36 million a year to run its Adelanto facility, whether it contained immigrant detainees or not. All this, of course, is being funded by hardworking American taxpayers.

    Remember Adelanto’s majority Latino population, a large number of whom are undocumented? Now, they suddenly find themselves living in the shadow of the largest deportation center in the state, dedicated to concentrating and kicking out people just like them. A speeding ticket is enough to initiate deportation these days, and it doesn’t matter if the immigrant has children or family here: recent stats show that a quarter of people deported are parents with children who are U.S. citizens.

    Be afraid, be very afraid.

    Geo Group’s Adelanto project was still in the works when I lived out here in 2009, so last week I decided to take a drive out and see how the finished product looks.

    It was right around sunset time, and everything was awash in an orange-red light radiated out from behind the San Bernardino Mountains. Geo’s Adelanto facility is located on Ranchero Rd, on the western edge of Adelanto. Just one block past the prison, the asphalt ends and the street turns into a dirt road that disappears into the desert on horizon.

    The road leading to the prison was mostly empty. A big rig or a truck rumbled past once in a while. Warehouses flanked the prison complex. There was some sort of pump substation across the street, and a big cluster of high-voltage transmission cables and transformers a little farther down. A gentleman’s club sat on a lot behind the prison, in sight of its fortified courtyard. Two dancers stood out back by the club’s service entrance, smoking and looking out at the brightly lit detention center in front of them. Other than that, there was nothing but desert scrub and Joshua trees for miles around.

    At first I passed the prison completely, mistaking it for a cluster of warehouses. It was only when I saw the high metal fence surrounding an outdoor area lit up with blinding flood lights that I realized what I was looking at.

    I doubled back and parked on the side of the road across the sprawling prison complex.

    There were a couple of blue “Geo Group” signs. Shuttle busses of various sizes were clustered in a side parking lot. A dozen or so cars were parked in the lot out front, and two or three people were slowly walking toward the main entrance.

    If I didn’t know otherwise, I never would have guessed that I was looking at the largest deportation facility in California. It could have been anything: a distribution hub, a warehouse or a large office complex. Hell, it could have even passed for a community college.

    Unlike the imposing slab structures of federal prison complex a couple of miles to the east, the bland nondescript facade of Geo’s detention facility masked its brutal function, and gave no indication about the dark and bloody history of the company that ran it.

    Y’see, Geo Group isn’t just any private prison operator. It started life as a subsidiary of the Wackenhut Corporation, the shady quasi-government security company founded in the 1950s by former FBI agent and fervent McCarthyite George R. Wackenhut.

    Wackenhut packed his company with rightwing generals, John Birch Society leaders and future leaders of the military-security establishment, including William Casey and Frank Carlucci. He fashioned Wackenhut Corp into a modern version of the Pinkerton Agency, providing various security and espionage services to both the government and private clients.

    It has defended U.S. Embassies all across the world, protected domestic nuclear facilities and currently guards our nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve. In the 1960s, Wackenhut spied on antiwar activists, infiltrated protest movements and compiled dossiers on 2.5 million suspected dissidents. Mining companies hired Wackenhut goons to serve as strikebreakers.There’s even a good chance Wackenhut was involved in transferring chemical weapons from the U.S. to Saddam Hussein in 1990, as reported in a 1992 SPY Magazine investigation titled “Inside the Shadow CIA.”

    “It is known throughout the industry that if you want a dirty job done, call Wackenhut,” a retired FBI special agent William Hinshaw told SPY. In the 1980s, George Wackenhut opened up a new subsidiary, the Wackenhut Corrections Corporation, to take advantage of new and exciting lucrative business opportunity: private prisons.

    We can go down a deep rabbit hole chasing Wackenhut’s spook connections. But the main thing to note is that the company feeds on and profits from military conflict, social unrest, economic hardship, paranoia and fear. And its private prison operations are simply the newest outgrowth of that business model.

    With Wackenhut’s history as a violent rightwing paramilitary organization, it’s track record in prison management quickly became littered with corpses, broken bodies and rape victims. It racked up such a bad rep that the company was forced to change its name from Wackenhut to Geo Group.

    There are too many incidents to list here. But a recent Department of Justice investigation into Geo’s Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility near Jackson, Mississippi, gives a glimpse of the kind of conditions inmates face in Geo’s for-profit prisons.

    Here are few tidbits, courtesy of the Southern Poverty Law Center:

    Guards frequently doused young men with pepper spray as a first response, rather than a last resort. Youths were routinely sprayed simply for refusing verbal commands, such as failing to remove their arms from food tray slots while locked in their cells – something they sometimes did to get attention for medical emergencies… .

    … Fights were common, occurring almost daily. Cell doors could be easily rigged to remain unlocked, allowing youths to leave their cells and enter others at will. Guards were often complicit in attacks. Weapons were readily available. Emergency call buttons in the cells didn’t work… . In addition, guards “frequently and brutally react to low-level aggression” – such as using profanities or reacting too slowly to an order – by “slamming youth head first into the ground, slapping, beating, and kicking youth,” the DOJ found…

    … Some guards apparently saw their charges as sexual prey. Sexual misconduct between staffers and youth occurred on a monthly basis – “at a minimum,” the DOJ found. But GEO did little or nothing to prevent it, other than firing those caught in the act – like the female guard who yelled “close the door” at another guard who saw her engaged in intercourse with a youth in a medical department restroom…

    … Violence by youths and guards wasn’t the only problem. Neither were the gang affiliations of some guards. Or the grossly inadequate medical and mental health care. Or the proliferation of drugs and other contraband. Or the lack of educational and rehabilitative programs. Or the wild overuse of pepper spray on passive youths.

    Indeed, the DOJ found that sexual abuse – including brutal youth-on-youth rapes and “brazen” sexual misconduct by prison staffers who coerced youths – was “among the worst that we have seen in any facility anywhere in the nation.”

    Geo Group is very aware just how much it depends on a harsh, punitive criminal and immigration laws for survival.

    Here’s how Geo described its position to investors in a 2012 10K filing:

    In particular, the demand for our correctional and detention facilities and services, electronic monitoring services, community-based re-entry services and monitoring and supervision services could be adversely affected by changes in existing criminal or immigration laws, crime rates in jurisdictions in which we operate, the relaxation of criminal or immigration enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction, sentencing or deportation practices, and the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by criminal laws or the loosening of immigration laws. For example, any changes with respect to the decriminalization of drugs and controlled substances could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, sentenced and incarcerated, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them. Similarly, reductions in crime rates could lead to reductions in arrests, convictions and sentences requiring incarceration at correctional facilities. Immigration reform laws which are currently a focus for legislators and politicians at the federal, state and local level also could materially adversely impact us.

    Geo Group is candid about all this. It has to be: In 2011, the company depended on the deportation of immigrants for 14 percent of its business. Something like 88 percent of its $1.6 billion in revenues that year came from federal and state government agencies. And that’s what so troubling about President Barack Obama’s promise to enact “meaningful” immigration reform. After Obama took office, Geo’s stock price rebounded from a low of about $10 a share in 2009 to nearly $33 in January 2013, tripling over the course of Obama’s first term. And here’s the frightening thing: the stock price didn’t even budge last week, after Obama announced his intent to push through immigration reform by the end of spring this year.

    This means one of two things: Either the multibillion dollar hedge funds and private equity firms that own 97% of Geo Group’s stock don’t know what they’re doing. Or they know exactly what they’re doing, and are confident that — despite the bipartisan rhetoric around a kinder, gentler, less deporty immigration system — Geo Group’s deportation facility in Adelanto is still looking forward to a long, prosperous future.

    http://www.alternet.org/immigration/...one?paging=off

  18. #418
    everyday is april fools' day, under the obama presidency

  19. #419
    Obama Budget to Include Cuts to Programs in Hopes of Deal

    WASHINGTON — President Obama next week will take the political risk of formally proposing cuts to Social Security and Medicare in his annual budget in an effort to demonstrate his willingness to compromise with Republicans and revive prospects for a long-term deficit-reduction deal, administration officials say.

    In a significant shift in fiscal strategy, Mr. Obama on Wednesday will send a budget plan to Capitol Hill that departs from the usual presidential wish list that Republicans typically declare dead on arrival. Instead it will embody the final compromise offer that he made to Speaker John A. Boehner late last year, before Mr. Boehner abandoned negotiations in opposition to the president’s demand for higher taxes from wealthy individuals and some corporations.

    Congressional Republicans have dug in against any new tax revenues after higher taxes for the affluent were approved at the start of the year. The administration’s hope is to create cracks in Republicans’ antitax resistance, especially in the Senate, as constituents complain about the across-the-board cuts in military and domestic programs that took effect March 1.

    Mr. Obama’s proposed deficit reduction would replace those cuts. And if Republicans continue to resist the president, the White House believes that most Americans will blame them for the fiscal paralysis.

    more......

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/05/us...anted=all&_r=0

    And they thought it couldn't happen here....

    Social relationships have their inherent logic; as long as people live in given mutual relationships they will feel, think and act in a given way, and no other. Attempts on the part of public men to combat this logic also would be fruitless; the natural course of things (this logic of social relationships) would reduce all his effort to nought. But if I know in what direction social relations are changing owing to given changes in the social-economic process of production, I also know in what direction social mentality is changing; consequently, I am able to influence it. Influencing social mentality means influencing historical events. Hence, in a certain sense, I can make history, and there is no need for me to wait while "it is being made."

  20. #420
    Obama Wants to Be the President Who Rolled Back the New Deal

    The president wants to cut Social Security and Medicare to protect the investor class.
    April 7, 2013 |







    There is no more pretense possible. As we’ve warned for some time, Obama is eager to put a notch on his belt by being the President that rolled back the New Deal programs that helped create broad-based middle-class prosperity and dignity. He’s cast himself as an adult inflicting discipline on profligate Americans. But in reality, the profligacy was most concentrated among elite financiers who used leverage on leverage vehicles to stoke liquidity that led to worldwide underpricing of risk. They paid themselves record bonuses in the years immediately preceding the crisis, and then in a grotesque display of ingratitude, did so again in 2009, able to do so only thanks to massive taxpayer support, alphabet-soup special borrowing programs, and the tax on savers known as ZIRP. And the direct result of their looting exercise that produced the crisis was the explosion in government deficits, due to a collapse in tax revenues and a rise in payments under countercyclical programs such as unemployment insurance and food stamps.

    But are the real perps the object of Obama’s disciplinary impulses? No. He seems spectacularly unwilling to take on anyone even remotely approaching his size (as if a President should be cowed by senior banker bullies like Jamie Dimon). The President’s failure to reprimand the financial CEOs who dissed him by refusing to attend his address on the first year anniversary of Lehman was a tacit acknowledgement that they were really in the driver’s seat.

    Keep in mind what is happening here. We are not in the realm of Obama kayfabe, where he pretends that those big bad Republicans forced him to do what he wanted to do all along. This is Obama’s budget offer, not the result of pretend hard fought battles over positions that are at most 10 degrees apart. As the Grey Lady describes it:

    President Obama next week will take the political risk of formally proposing cuts to Social Security and Medicare in his annual budget in an effort to demonstrate his willingness to compromise with Republicans and revive prospects for a long-term deficit-reduction deal, administration officials say…

    Besides the tax increases that most Republicans continue to oppose, Mr. Obama’s budget will propose a new inflation formula that would have the effect of reducing cost-of-living payments for Social Security benefits, though with financial protections for low-income and very old beneficiaries, administration officials said. The idea, known as chained C.P.I., has infuriated some Democrats and advocacy groups to Mr. Obama’s left, and they have already mobilized in opposition…..

    Mr. Obama will propose other spending and tax credit initiatives, including aid for states to make free prekindergarten education available nationwide — a priority outlined in his State of the Union address in February. He will propose to pay for it by raising federal taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products.

    I assume Obama’s flacks understand full well what an extreme porcine maquillage exercise “in an effort to demonstrate his willingness to compromise” is. We now have the absurd spectacle of Paul Ryan’s budget being to the left of Obama’s on the issue of Social Security and Medicare. If the Republicans have an iota of sense, they’ll take full advantage of the weapon Obama has handed them. Every poll ever done over the last 50 years shows substantial majorities favoring continuing and increasing Social Security and Medicare provisions, and either increasing taxes or cutting other spending to do so.

    And Obama will pay for kiddie photo ops by increasing regressive taxes. Charming.

    If it is any consolation, the chattering classes are ripshit. The article went up at the Times after 12:30 AM. By the time I saw it, about an hour later, it had 48 comments. Of them, 46 were disapproving, ranging from resigned to ripshit. A few examples:

    J Wolfe: Keep the stupid stuff but get rid of things people really need. Free pre-k schooling (ie., free daycare) but toss retirees (ie, boomers) under the bus. Nice. Does this president have any clue at all how to lead and manage anything more than a street rally? He is one of the most clueless, inept and unqualified presidents ever. I don’t see any cutbacks in his lavish 1% lifestyle even though people can barely afford to buy food and gas these days. Pathetic.

    kamilyon: I am outraged: We don’t need a deficit reduction deal at all!!!

    We need a strong economy through jobs, jobs, jobs! And reducing wealth inequality! And providing strong financial foundations for our people through safety-net programs so that we can be healthy, provide for our children, and take business risks, all while knowing we can survive with dignity into our old age!!!

    Why did you even run as a democrat?

    Thom: All democrats should be livid that President Obama is the one to propose the beginning of the end of important social programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

    This is yet another example of Obama saying one thing and doing the opposite – Gitmo, transparency, saving the middle class; now Social Security and Medicare.

    Shame on you President Obama, once again you betray the ideals and hard work of the democratic party and the needs of the vast majority of Americans.

    There was a lonely true believer:

    HB: I don’t like these cuts, but I trust President Obama.

    Maybe he’s making this compromise because he thinks it’s better for ordinary Americans on net, or maybe he’s bluffing as part of a political strategy to box in the other side. Either way, I won’t pretend to know better.

    He understands the issues, he understands the politics, and he cares about ordinary families. I trust my president.

    And the other approving comment was from someone taking the realist line. The thumbs ups on the comments so far were consistent: lots of approval from the readership for the critics, no affirmation for the lonely Obama stalwarts.

    But Obama wants his legacy and the public be damned. And Bill Clinton proves that being a front person for neoliberalism is a very lucrative post-Presidential line of work.

    So the question is who is going to join Obama in this wildly elite-serving budget? Will Congresscritters fall in line with what big donors want, or will they be chastened enough to remember the 2010 midterms, where the Obama-aligned Blue Dog Democrats were routed, but the more liberal Dems for the most part survived? Obama has never been very good about taking care of anyone but Obama, and Jeff Connaughton’s book The Payoff made clear that goes double for Biden.

    In other words, the battle to get Obama’s fondly-desired Social Security cuts passed means persuading legislators to take a memorable vote that their constituents are likely to hold against them. Obama, as a lame duck, has fewer levers to pull than he once did. So this will be a test of the 11 dimensional chess view of Obama. Does he have the authority and bargaining skills to pull this one off, or will he beat a retreat and need to pretend it was a victory?

    To be honest, I’ve never bought the 11 dimensional chess palaver. My wee theory is that Obama has a picture in his closet. In Oscar Wilde’s story, Dorian Gray sells his soul so that his portrait will age while he remains the beauty of the original image. Gray becomes increasingly debauched and his picture becomes more grotesque. Even an effort to reform makes the picture more frightful since Gray took up the idea only to see if it might reverse the uglification of his painting. Grey stabs the painting. His corpse is so withered and aged that it barely identifiable, but his picture has reverted to its former beauty.

    My pet construct is that Obama has a picture too, but it’s a lucky paining, not a beauty painting. It makes Obama look like a winner, so Obama wins. His bad luck goes into that portrait in his closet. But I’m not sure he sold his soul (maybe it was just in indentured servitude) since it does not seem to be working so well of late. Obama had a reversal of his characteristic good fortune when the Supreme Court declared recess appointments to be invalid, which is a serious complication for him.

    This “have old people die faster” plan will be contested. The normally complacent public is unlikely to sit by quietly and have its ox gored. Even the Times is not trying to soft pedal what is going on; it’s not using the anodyne language of “chained CPI” but “cutback” and in the headline, no less. Obama may still pull this off, but this will be his most uphill battle to date, and the second-term timing does not favor him. And we can only hope that any magic on his side is ebbing as well.

    http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-pol...eal?paging=off

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