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11.18 How Extreme Weather Is Shrinking the Planet

11.18 Air pollution levels ‘forcing families to move out of cities’ [like from desertification, lack of drinkable water and rising oceans, there will also be pollution-caused immigration until humans fix things]

11.17 Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds [Climate catastrophe is increasingly likely without worldwide organization, funding and commitment to winning THE WAR AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING.]

11.16 Scotland was first Industrialized Country to Run wholly on Wind in October

11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]

11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]

11.15  The long read:  The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]

11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]

11.15 Trump administration to cut air pollution from heavy-duty trucks

11.14 Backed by Ocasio-Cortez, Youth Climate Activists Arrested in Pelosi's Office Demanding Democrats Embrace 'Green New Deal'

11.13 What would a smog-free city look like?

11.13 Global report highlights Australia’s renewables potential amid mixed signals for coal

11.13 Interior department whistleblower: Ryan Zinke hollowed out the agency

11.12  This Land is Your Land:  The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.12 Planned Parenthood's new president warns of 'state of emergency' for women's health

News Media Matters

11.19 The Biggest Threat to Free Speech No One Is Talking About

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

11.19 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver 11/18/2018 (HBO) [29:26 video]

11.19 Michael Bloomberg: Why I’m Giving $1.8 Billion for College Financial Aid

11.19 Trump’s Diminishing Power and Rising Rage

11.19 Trump Says He Was 'Fully Briefed' and Also 'Not Briefed Yet' But Either Way Saudi Crown Prince 'Absolutely' Not Involved Because Trump Knows 'Everything That Went On' Without Listening to Tape of Khashoggi Murder

11.19 'We Need New Leaders, Period': Progressive Newcomers Urge Democrats to Embrace Bold Agenda or Face Primary Challenges [Current Democrat leaders are highly compromised by corporate donations]

11.19 SNL explains Jeff Bezos and Amazon’s HQ2 strategy: trolling President Trump [2:55 SNL video]

11.18 Trump says Pelosi deserves speakership, offers Republican votes [An affirmation of Pelosi's unsuitability]

11.18 Khanna to Pelosi: Don't Just Create Green New Deal Select Committee, Make Ocasio-Cortez Its Chair [Will Pelosi earnestly change, or end her career in disgrace?]

11.18 Chuck Schumer, Feckless Hack [Neoliberal Democrats must go!]

11.18 What the State of the VA Tells Us About Trump’s War on Welfare [Privatizing often results in outright fraud and higher costs by private prisons, privatized health insurance and health care, privatized public schools and online "colleges" like Trump University]

11.17 What the State of the VA Tells Us About Trump’s War on Welfare

11.17 As Energy for Medicare for All Explodes, Steny Hoyer's Plan Includes Waiting for Trump to Help Make Obamacare Better [Another who is unfit to be Democrat leader]

11.17 'A Staggeringly Bad Idea': Outrage as Pelosi Pushes Tax Rule That Would 'Kneecap the Progressive Agenda' [Unfit to be Democrat leader]

11.17 Trump Is Starting to Panic

Justice Matters
High Crimes?

11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]

Economics, Crony Capitalism

11.19 Bankrupt Sears wants to give executives $19 million in bonuses [blatantly immoral and sick to richly reward those who led the company into the bankruptcy]

11.18 Big Pharma Bankrolled Pro-Trump Group As Trump Pushed Pharma Tax Cut [Corruption Central!]

11.16 Amazon’s HQ2 Will Get a Tax Break Designed to Help the Poor [a Republican program that directly helps participating wealthy companies—but only helps workers if and when 'trickle-down' occurs.]

11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]

International & Futurism

11.18 New Evidence Emerges of Steve Bannon and Cambridge Analytica’s Role in Brexit

11.18 France demands UK climate pledge in return for Brexit trade deal [Excellent!]

11.17 Saudi crown prince's 'fit' delays UN resolution on war in Yemen

11.17 Thousands gather to block London bridges in climate rebellion [We're losing WWIII because the enemy is invisible while we're like frogs slowly cooking. We aren't informed enough to be alarmed, but must get organized and motivated to fight back. We need a War Plan to ruthlessly pursue the fight of our lives!]

11.17 CIA finds Saudi crown prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi killing – report

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

  • outdid George Bush by exceeding his harshness, lawlessness, belligerency, and public trust betrayal;
  • 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;
  • looted the nation's wealth, wrecked the economy, and consigned growing millions to impoverishment without jobs, homes, savings, social services, or futures;
  • let hunger, homelessness, poverty, and those uninsured grow to unacceptable levels;
  • backed Wall Street's financial coup d'etat by greater Fed empowerment, as well as institutionalizing speculation, "too-big-to fail," super-wealth, and big money power;
  • plans new global monetary measures to control the world's money;
  • continued America's permanent war agenda by expanding imperial adventurism, increasing covert and overt aggression on new fronts with out-of-control military spending, exceeding the rest of the world combined at a time America has no enemies;
  • became the latest war criminal Nobel Peace Prize recipient;
  • executed his first successful coup d'etat in Honduras against its democratically elected president, then backed the fascist regime replacing him;
  • failed attempting regime change in Iran;
  • continued providing military, economic and political aid to the world's most ruthless, corrupt despots;
  • maintained a longstanding policy of supplying Israel with annual billions, more on request, other add-ons and extras, interest-free loans, the latest weapons, munitions and technology, unrestricted US market access, free entry of its immigrants, and unbridled support for its illegal belligerence, occupation, and crimes of war and against humanity;
  • presides over a bogus democracy under a homeland police state apparatus, sacrificing due process, judicial fairness, and other civil liberty protections in the name of national security;
  • continued torture as official policy, extraordinary rendition to prison hellholes, and for the first time, targeted US citizens for assassination;
  • invoked the state secrets privilege to prevent lawsuits by victims of rendition, torture, abuse, and those opposing warrantless wiretapping;
  • targets whisleblowers, dissenters, Muslims, environmental and animal rights activists, anyone challenging state power, and civil rights lawyers who defend them too vigorously called terrorists or threats to national security;
  • endorsed preventive detention without charge for those at Guantanamo considered dangerous, but no evidence allows prosecuting them;
  • expanded Bush administration spying and secrecy;
  • refused to prosecute its officials, suppressing proof of their culpability;
  • planned cybersecurity tyranny, threatening a free and open Internet, consumer privacy, and civil liberties; more on how below;
  • waged war on organized labor through fewer jobs, less pay, reduced benefits, and gutted work rules, including health and safety on-the-job protections;
  • tried controlling the media more aggressively than Nixon;
  • denied budget-strapped states financial help, forcing them to slash welfare programs, education, health care for the poor, and other vital services when they're most needed;
  • continued to commodify public education, end government responsibility for it, and make it another business profit center;
  • promoted dangerous vaccines for a non-existent threat;
  • promoted health care legislation that rations care; enriches insurers, drug giants and large hospital chains; places profits above human need; and keeps a dysfunctional system in place; Peter Singer's July 15, 2009 New York Times article endorsed administration policy, headlined: "Why We Must Ration Health Care," saying it's essential to apportion a "scarce resource" to those who can afford it; others will get only what they can pay for;
  • on the pretext of improving food safety, enacted agribusiness-friendly House legislation, harming consumers, small farms and food producers without improving America's industrial food system; on November 30, the Senate passed its own version; more on that below;
  • wants so far not passed legislation to let corporate polluters reap huge windfall profits by raising energy cost, while creating a speculative bonanza through a new carbon trading derivatives scheme;
  • cracks down harder on undocumented immigrants than George Bush, deporting a record number in FY 2010; others are held in over 300 detention facilities in nearly every state in the country, treated like criminals or terrorists; and
  • promoted a national ID card for all citizens and legal residents to be able to monitor them everywhere at all times.
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:

  • empowering a financial aristocracy;
  • letting Wall Street run the country;
  • institutionalizing fraud, speculation and bailouts;
  • leaving executive pay, bonuses and perks untouched;
  • letting credit agency scams continue;
  • permitting giant banks, insurers and other financial firms to get bigger; and
  • establishing a toothless Consumer Financial Protection Bureau along with other anti-reform provisions.

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.

 



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