Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local Stories, Events

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Books, Films, Arts & Education
Letters

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

09.23 Nasa launches satellite to precisely track how Earth's ice is melting

09.23 Climate study ‘pulls punches’ to keep polluters on board

09.21 Greed is killing Alaska's salmon habitat – but we can still save it

09.21 Trump administration poses new threat to birds in allowing ‘incidental’ killings

09.20 Al Gore Is Still Optimistic [24:06 video; rather than future Frankenstein governments, how can we better ensure having brilliantly efficient & competent governments?]

09.20 The $11 trillion question Chris Cillizza can't answer

09.20 Florence sparks pollution fears after excrement-filled 'hog lagoons' overflow

09.20 EU must end new petrol and diesel car sales by 2030 to meet climate targets – report

News Media Matters

09.22 Progressives to DNC: It Would Be 'Insane' Not to Hand Over Twitter Account to Ocasio-Cortez

09.20 Morning Edition’s Think Tank Sources Lean to the Right

09.19 Taibbi: Bernie Sanders’ Anti-Amazon Bill Is an Indictment of the Media, Too

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

09.23 MARYLAND GOVERNOR REBUFFS CALL FOR CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION INTO BRETT KAVANAUGH ATTEMPTED RAPE ALLEGATIONS [Republicans above the law...]

09.23 Trump Is Strangling the U.S. Refugee Program to Death

09.23 Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 11/9" Aims Not at Trump But at Those Who Created the Conditions That Led to His Rise

09.23 The Trump Administration's Latest Tax Scam for the Rich [video]

09.23 One Tiny Tax Reform, Billions for America

09.22 As Right-Wingers Push Trump to Fire Rosenstein, Here's What to Do If He Does

09.21 400,000 Americans in 900 Cities Ready to Take to Streets If President Trump Fires Rosenstein After NYT Bombshell

Justice Matters

09.22 Making Tariffs Corrupt Again

09.22 Why isn't Mark Judge testifying about Kavanaugh? He is an alleged witness

High Crimes?

09.20 Trump Should Be More Worried About the Brennan Dossier

09.19 'Killing a generation': one million more children at risk from famine in Yemen [Does America's government have empathy? Does it understand the concept of morality? The Saudi Air Force would be ineffective without U.S. military assistance...]

09.19 ‘Tied to trees and raped’: UN report details Rohingya horrors

09.16 Merchants of Death Profit from the Bombing of Children as a US-Backed War Goes Largely Ignored

Economics, Crony Capitalism

09.23 The Spider’s Web: Britain’s Second Empire [1:18:01 documentary video]

09.23 Why We Have To Break Up Amazon

International & Futurism

09.23 For This Year’s International Day of Peace, Korea Takes the Lead

09.22 Which nation is 'most generous' to refugees? Certainly not the US

09.18 Racist rioting in Chemnitz has reopened Germany’s east-west split [After 10,000 generations, we are all mixed-race. So let's become friends with our cousins instead!]

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web
  Print view: Challenging Obama's Anti-Progressivism
COMMENTARY:

Challenging Obama's Anti-Progressivism

by Stephen Lendman
Tuesday, 7 December 2010
Obama's speechs are progressive, but his record is anti-progressive. Judge him by his advisors and top officials. Their policies are pro-war, pro-business, pro-super wealth.

Believing Obama is progressive is like calling a cat a dog. Only the delusional think so. He's, in fact, hard-right, a neocon, a warrior president, a corporatist pursuing anti-populist policies favoring wealth and privilege, not social justice when more than ever it's needed.

He's a fraud, an elitist, chosen years ago, then put on a fast track to power. Big monied interests love him. So do war profiteers and members of America's aristocracy. He's one of them.

Only the voting millions who backed him were defrauded. Will they awaken, finally understand, and express their ire publicly more strongly than in mid-term theatrics, throwing out bums for new ones. It's high time. A year two Obama assessment is coming. Watch for it, parts I and II. A year one analysis can be accessed through the following links:

Definitions of Progressivism

Merriam Webster defines it as people "believing in moderate political change and especially social improvement by governmental action." The Oxford Dictionary says it's anyone "advocating or implementing social reform or new, liberal ideas." Wikipedia calls it a "political attitude favoring or advocating changes or reforms through governmental action."

Progressivism began in the 19th century to end slavery, support women's rights including suffrage, small farmers, and political populism - namely:

  • social reforms benefitting ordinary Americans;
  • citizens having more control over government;
  • establishing comprehensive education as a universal right;
  • curbing excessive corporate power;
  • eliminating corruption and waste;
  • supporting organized labor;
  • laws to prevent child worker exploitation;
  • environmental conservation, and more stressing social values above financial gain.

Obama's agenda is mirror opposite - anti-progressive/populist/liberal. Judge him by his advisors and top officials. They support power, not working Americans. Their policies are pro-war, pro-business, pro-privilege, pro-super wealth, anti-dissent, anti-democracy, anti-freedom, anti-civil and human rights, anti-environmental sanity, and anti-government of, by and for the people. They oppose virtually everything most people want, need but don't get under either party, one a near clone of the other.

After eight Bush/Cheney/Republican years, Americans wanted change. Obama's promise won the most sweeping non-incumbent victory in over 50 years, along with congressional Democrats gaining large House and Senate majorities.

Out with the old. In with the new. Everything changed but stayed the same. In fact, it worsened with perhaps greater harshness coming in Obama's next two years, including escalated imperial wars, neoliberal austerity, greater than ever impoverishment, desperation and despair, as well as hardened repression to curb popular anger.

Surprisingly, however, Obama's approval rating still hovers close to 50%. On December 6, the conservative Rasmussen Reports Daily Presidential Tracking Poll said "47% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the president's performance. Fifty-three percent (53%) disapprove." It also found 28% strongly approve, 41% strongly disapproving, "giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -13." It's about the same one he's had all year despite greater numbers being harmed, a trend showing no sign of abating.

One progressive, Tikkun's Rabbi Michael Lerner, expressed concern in a December 4 Washington Post op-ed headlined, "Save Obama's presidency by challenging him on the left," saying:

"People who used to say, 'Give (Obama) more time' when (he) was criticized for capitulating to the right, or who argued that (he) must have a plan to turn things around, are now largely depressed and angry."

If so, polls like Rasmussen's don't show it, at least not convincingly. Lerner, however, believes "many liberals and progressives" are mad about Obama's unwillingness to veto "tax relief for billionaires," besides continued imperial wars, escalated in Afghanistan, abandoning the healthcare public option, refusal to prosecute Bush war criminals, and his overall unpopular agenda.

Instead of condemning Obama and congressional Democrats, Lerner worries mostly about "a full-scale Republican return to power in 2012." A "disaster" he said, given their economic policies and environmental record, as well as disdain for social justice and world peace.

Clearly, Lerner's been largely AWOL during the past two years, mindless that Obama's extremism exceeded Bush and that Democrats overall are as hardline as Republicans. Their rhetoric alone differs. On core issues like war and peace, corporatism, police state repression, and environmental pillaging, there's not a dime's worth of difference between them, what Lerner and other progressives should understand, highlight, repeat, and preach to their faithful, not believe leopards can change spots.

He does, wanting Obama to be "the candidate whom most Americans believed they elected in 2008:" the myth, not the man whom James Petras calls:

"the perfect incarnation of Melville's Confidence Man. He catches your eye while he picks your pocket. He gives thanks as he packs you off to" imperial wars. The "first Jewish president," he "unconditional(ly) support(s the) pro-Israeli Lobby and the colonial expansionist and bellicose policies of the Jewish state."

Liberals, progressives, and intellectuals who "support a politician who publicly and openly embraces new wars, billionaire bailouts," and mass privatizations, including essential services like healthcare, Medicare, education, perhaps Social Security, and more are "what C. Wright Mills called 'crackpot realists.' " Their followers are what Walter Lippman described as the "bewildered herd," clueless of the world around them, mostly how gravely they and their loved ones are harmed.

No matter. Lerner, and others like him, want Obama's presidency saved - "by challenging him in the 2012 presidential primaries with a candidate who would unequivocally commit to a well-defined progressive agenda and contrast it with" his.

Those Democrat, however, don't exist, and progressive independents aren't welcome in a party embracing Democrat Leadership Council (DLC) extremism. As neocon as Republicans, they're anti-populist, anti-environmental sanity, anti-labor, anti-welfare, anti-peace, pro-business, pro-privilege, pro-war, pro-Israeli belligerency and occupation, and pro-imperial zealotry for global dominance.

They support super-wealth and oppose social justice for Blacks, Hispanics, Latino immigrants, Muslims, working Americans, the poor and disadvantaged, consumer protections, populism, progressivism, honest elections, human and civil rights, and democratic values.

Obama buys it, governing accordingly. Believing he can be shoved to the left is "crackpot" lunacy. So is thinking congressional Democrats can, any of them. They cannot, what checking their voting records show, supporting pro-war defense budgets, Obamacare, pro-Wall Street finance reform, pro-agribusiness food "safety," pro-Big Oil/Wall Street cap and trade, and much more.

Progressives? Hardly! They're not likely to change - not now, next year, in 2012 or thereafter. They won't follow Lerner's platform embracing "love, kindness and generosity....a new New Deal....(a) Caring Society: 'Caring for Each Other and the Earth.' " They support same old, same old, business as usual, softened only rhetorically.

It's high time Lerner and other progressives understood, concluding other ways must be found for change outside the two-party dictatorship - independents committed to populism, real elections, excluding big money donors, social justice, civil and human rights, democratic values, and unconditionally ending imperial wars and occupations immediately, as well as slashing the defense budget, closing all overseas bases, and cutting force levels, no ifs, ands or buts.

In today's environment, however, achieving those goals is enormously challenging. But it's no reason not to try! To borrow a phrase, there is no alternative.

A Final Comment

On December 6, The New York Times reported Obama's capitulation to Republicans on extending the Bush tax cuts for the super-rich on income, capital gains, and dividends. Also on their federal estate tax that lapsed at the start of 2010. Despite their rhetorical disapproval, congressional Democrats will likely concur, while at the same time agreeing to deep austerity cuts for working Americans.

Obama again showed his allegiance to wealth and power. The two-party dictatorship is venal and broken. Replacing it with real progressive change is vital. Indeed, there is no alternative!


Stephen Lendman

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His blog is sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to Lendman's cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



Copyright © 2010 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.

This story was published on December 7, 2010.
 

Public Service Ads: