LIBERAL? PROGRESSIVE?

Obama Year Two: Continued Betrayal and Failure (Part I)

by Stephen Lendman
Monday, 27 December 2010
The opposite of a yesteryear Democrat, Obama maintained a 30 year agenda of shifting public wealth to the rich, as well as supporting capital, not public welfare, including targeting middle class households for destruction.

Last December, a two-part article discussed Obama's year one betrayal and failure, accessed through the following links:

In year two, the pattern continued, revealing domestic and foreign policies that:

Year two: Obama's destructive agenda continued.

Militarizing and Exploiting Haiti

An earlier article explained that Haiti is no stranger to adversity. Except for a brief time after its successful 1791 - 1803 revolution turning slaves into citizens and during Jean-Bertrand Aristide's tenure, it's experienced over 500 years of severe oppression, slavery, despotism, colonization, occupation, reparations, embargoes, sanctions, deep poverty, starvation, unrepayable debt, and natural calamities from destructive hurricanes to powerful earthquakes, most recently on January 12. It devastated greater Port-au-Prince, killing up to 300,000, leaving around 1.5 million Haitians homeless with little aid and no help to rebuild.

Some countries reacted quickly, mostly a few Latin American ones, including Cuba and Venezuela. Washington did nothing, deploying marines and paratroupers instead, militarizing the country, obstructing, not providing aid, promising $1.1 billion, delivering none, planning only exploitation of Haiti's resources and cheap labor.

Haiti was opened for business, occupied to be plundered, its people on their own, sink or swim under circumstances assuring mass suffering, starvation, disease and for many, death. Only corporate interests mattered at a time of dire need.

Eleven months later, Haiti is still plagued by rubble everywhere, extreme deprivation, promised aid undelivered, none from Washington, 1.5 million without shelter in streets and other open spaces, and now raging cholera, and the aftermath of a sham election, institutionalizing coup d'etat rule.

Washington's imperial hand orchestrated it, denying Haitians any chance for real change. It represents another betrayal by a president showing contempt for essential needs, human rights, and basic freedoms, at home and abroad, even under the most dire conditions.

America's Permanent War Agenda

America glorifies wars in the name of peace, historian Gore Vidal titling his 2002 book, "Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace," saying:

"Our rulers for more than a century have made sure that we are never to be told the truth about anything that our government has done to other people, not to mention our own."

It's persisted mainly since Franklin Roosevelt goaded Japan to attack us. It then continued in Korea, Vietnam, numerous proxy wars, the Cold War until the Soviet Union's 1991 dissolution, and now Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and new wars to be launched at opportunistic times against unnamed enemies.

Obama is America's latest warrior president, talking peace, waging war, packaged as liberating ones for democracy, freedom, and justice against bogus threats, when, in fact it's an imperial agenda for wealth, power, and unchallengeable global dominance.

He lied calling Afghanistan a "war of necessity, not choice," doubled the force contingent since taking office, yet stays mired in an unwinnable quagmire. He also destabilized Pakistan, plans control over the Caspian Sea's oil and gas riches, as well as energy routes to secured ports for export.

He approved US military bases encircling Russia, China and Iran, obstructing their solidarity and cohesion. He promised change and delivered betrayal, nearing year three of his tenure. Like his predecessor, he aroused global anger, his agenda endangering everyone, including Americans, heading the country for tyranny and ruin.

Enacting Obamacare

An earlier article called March 21 a day of infamy when House and Democrat leaders bullied, bribed, cajoled, muscled, and jerry-rigged Obamacare to pass, despite most Americans opposing it with good reason. Ralph Nader called it a "pay-or-die system that is the disgrace of the Western world," costing double what other Western countries spend and delivering less, rationing care to enrich corporate providers while making a dysfunctional system worse.

Henceforth, junk insurance policies will leave millions underinsured. Costs will remain out-of-control. Insurers can still deny care by delaying, contesting, preventing or over-charging people from accessing it. Everyone must have coverage or be penalized if opt out, a provision many states are contesting. A Virginia federal judge just ruled it unconstitutional, a battle the Supreme Court will decide. Company-provided policies will be taxed as ordinary income, harming working households most of all.

Physicians for a National Health Program denounced it, saying the new law "will enrich and further entrench (private insurers, forcing) millions of Americans to buy" defective coverage leaving most worse off than before at a cost of hundreds of billions of tax dollars given predators to game the system for profit, the public losing out. Moreover, 23 million Americans will remain uninsured, "translate(d) into an estimated 23,000 unnecessary deaths annually and an incalculable toll of suffering."

Obama's centerpiece domestic policy scammed the public with a package of expensive mandates, new taxes, and sweetheart deals, creating a fragmented, dysfunctional, unsustainable system, denying Americans what they urgently need - universal coverage, an expanded, improved Medicare for all, everyone in, no one out, what neither party or Obama delivered.

Capitulating on Financial Reform

Omitting real structural reforms, Democrats, Republicans, and Obama agreed on a patchwork of half-measures. Instead of restraining financial fraud, too-big-to-fail empowerment, an out-of-control Fed, and casino capitalism's ability to game the system with public money, it institutionalized business as usual. The Financial Times (FT) quoted a Wall Street banker saying "We are all breathing a sigh of relief here....we can live with this." Indeed so since Wall Street lawyers wrote it. The FT added: investors believe the "overhaul in financial rules would not have a significant impact on the industry's structure and profitability."

Indeed not by:

Bottom line: the worst of bad practices will continue, besides teams of lawyers devising ways around whatever regulations emerge. According to University of San Diego Law Professor Frank Partnoy, "Wall Street has always been very skilled at getting around rules, and this law will be no different," especially with its loopholes, half-measures, and overall weakness. Bankers got the best deal big money can buy. The public again was scammed.

Part II concludes Obama Year Two: Continued Betrayal and Failure.


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.



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This story was published in the Baltimore Chronicle on December 27, 2010.