Rabbi Michael Lerner writes in Liberals and Progressives Happy but Not Elated About Obama’s Re-Election, describing the Obama administration’s failure to provide a genuine alternative to republican privilege, moneyed interest and hawkishness at home and abroad.
For all Obama’s rhetoric of change and progressive reform, the truth of his inability or unwillingness to fight for and change the things that are important to most liberals is worrisome. People with the best intentions want to change the world for the better, but once inside the machine get eaten and controlled by it. Otherwise it is difficult to survive. President Kennedy and his brother may have been heroic examples of that.
Obama will do nothing to provide mortgage relief for those still suffering from the irresponsible behavior of banks and loan companies. He will talk cap and trade for an environment that can only be effectively protected by a serious tax on carbon emissions and by aggressive restraints on the oil, gas and coal companies that are at the forefront of environmental destruction. He will continue his assault on whistleblowers, allow his Justice Department to harass medical marijuana providers even in states where the voters legalized it, continue his drone attacks with their murderous impact on civilians, and allow Monsanto and other large corporations to shape his agricultural policies. And he is unlikely to seriously restrain Netanyahu’s desire for a war with Iran that might eventually drag in our troops, and he almost certainly will not publicly demand that Israel end the occupation of the West Bank. He will compromise before fighting for liberal or progressives program and will avoid challenging the dominant worship of the marketplace that has become the mantra of all Republicans and the right wing of the Democratic Party. His conception of educational reform as measured by test score outcomes will continue to frustrate teachers and students alike, and it will be justified in terms of Obama’s goal for the United States to continue to dominate the global economy (rather than calling for global cooperation in which our success is linked to the well-being of everyone on the planet and on the well-being of the planet itself, rather than just on making the United States number one in its economic, political, military and media powers over others).
Let’s break it down.
The banks and loan companies committed massive fraud by making loans to millions of unqualified homeowners, many with deceitful balloon loans suckering people in with low initial loans, only to see them rise in a few years beyond their ability to repay them. (The people who borrowed money they couldn’t afford to repay must also accept some responsibility, but the onus of responsible lending is on the professional lender, not the borrower with cheap money dangling in his face.)
Banks then exponentially increased injury to the financial system by repackaging these irresponsible loans into mortgage-backed securities that were sold as investment grade instruments to other investors, banks and brokerages.When homeowners began defaulting on their loans the trillion+ dollars in derivatives began to collapse. This was a major cause of the global financial crisis of 2008-09.
The US government under republican president Bush and a republican congress threw their empty rhetorical chants of laissez-faire capitalism to the wolves and decided to bail out all their banking friends by printing trillions of taxpayer funded dollars and purchasing the toxic debt from banks and insurance companies, while the top management of these companies were continuing to draw multi-million dollar bonuses.The homeowners who were essentially hoodwinked into irresponsible borrowing and purchase of homes they couldn’t afford should also see some relief from the government in the form of relaxed or renegotiated loan repayment plans. The Federal Reserve just announced open-ended QE3, committing to buying 40 billion dollars of toxic mortgage securities from banks, while the underwater homeowners will continue to be neglected by the Obama administration. Big business wins, the common citizen loses.
The environment will continue to suffer massive degradation and global warming will continue on its path of global destruction as Obama refuses to take on big oil companies and force them to pay for excessive pollution through a strict but fair carbon tax. This tax would be used to fund alternative clean energy initiatives. Instead, he will continue allowing big energy polluters to play “cap and trade” games which allows some companies to pollute a little more and others a little less but in the end everyone pollutes too much. Big business wins, everyone loses.
Despite the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, and Obama’s recent issuance of a policy directive seeking to extend needed protections for those in the intelligence and security fields, Joe Wolverton writes that “President Obama’s policy of zealously pursuing, prosecuting, and punishing those who report abuses in government is remarkable for its relentlessness.”
Peter Van Buren paints a more ominous picture of a man, and a government, spiraling out of control.
What lies at the nexus of Obama’s targeted drone killings, his self-serving leaks, and his aggressive prosecution of whistleblowers is a president who believes himself above the law, and seems convinced that he alone has a preternatural ability to determine right from wrong . . . the president has definitively declared himself (and his advisors and those who carry out his orders) above the law, both statutory and moral. It is now for him and him alone to decide who will live and who will die under the drones, for him to reward media outlets with inside information or smack journalists who disturb him and his colleagues with subpoenas, and worst of all, to decide all by himself what is right and what is wrong.
When you consider this, along with Obama’s signing of the National Defense Authorization Act, his proclivity to protect and expand unchecked government power is more than worrisome, it is a threat to freedom and democracy in America that should have every citizen up in arms.
Scott Morgan writes in Huffington Post in Mid — 2011 that “recent months have brought about what can only be described as the rapid collapse of the Obama Administration’s support for medical marijuana. Following dozens of aggressive DEA raids, along with some unusual IRS audits, the Dept. of Justice has now begun openly endeavoring to destroy carefully regulated state programs.”
Smoking some pot and doing a little “blow” didn’t seem like such a big deal to Obama when he reflects upon his earlier days, as he writes in his memoir; “Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it.” Groovy man. So why are you bringing the hammer down on pot smokers now? Ethan Nadelmann discusses Obama’s Hypocritical War on Marijuana and points out that “Half of all U.S. drug arrests are for marijuana — more than 850,000 Americans were arrested for marijuana in 2010 alone, 88 percent for mere possession.”
With the increasing use of drones in the military, some such as Ethan Casey argue that the impersonal nature of the killing makes it easy to downplay the threat to innocent civilians.
Drone attacks are wrong. I’m sure to be called an appeaser of terrorists for saying that, particularly in light of the latest events in Mumbai. But I think it’s important for Pakistanis, who are on the receiving end of the humiliation and much worse that drone attacks inflict, to hear an American say it. Hopefully some Americans will read this, too. First and foremost, whatever the official pablum or even the truth about “suspected militants” or “alleged al Qaeda leaders,” innocent civilians are being killed.
Obama is in bed with Monsanto and other agribusiness giants who are genetically modifying your food for profit without first testing whether or not there is a safety risk. David Icke writes, although I don’t know who he’s quoting and my friendly neighborhood Chinese censors won’t let me find out at the moment:
‘Michael Taylor was just appointed senior advisor to the commissioner of the FDA. This is the same man that was in charge of FDA policy when GMO’s were allowed into the US food supply without undergoing a single test to determine their safety. He “had been Monsanto’s attorney before becoming policy chief at the FDA [and then] he became Monsanto’s Vice President and chief lobbyist. This month [he] became the senior advisor to the commissioner of the FDA. He is now America’s food safety czar. This is no joke”.’
Obama does not have the backbone to stop Israel from dragging us into a war with Iran to destroy their nuclear capability. While I agree we shouldn’t let Israel dictate foreign policy, I do think the Iranian threat worthy of a united global effort to stop it, soon.
Obama will not pressure Israel to stop the occupation of the West Bank, what Noam Chomsky calls
the world’s largest open-air prison, where some 1.5 million . . . are subject to random terror and arbitrary punishment, with no purpose other than to humiliate and degrade . . . Sourani, the human-rights advocate, observes that “what has to be kept in mind is that the occupation and the absolute closure is an ongoing attack on the human dignity of the people in Gaza in particular and all Palestinians generally. It is systematic degradation, humiliation, isolation and fragmentation of the Palestinian people.
While the Israeli-Palestinian issue is complex and beyond the scope of this post, everyone is appalled at the living conditions for Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. It’s hard to believe the world hasn’t been able to resolve this ongoing crisis at all. This is a disgusting travesty for everyone who has the power to end the suffering.
Obama will never really challenge the entrenched status quo of multi-national corporations, lobbyists and influence-peddling, and our national obsession with money and consumerism structurally woven into the fabric of our financial system as represented by a Federal Reserve compulsively printing monopoly money to pay our debts, at the expense of spiritual values, quality of life and the integrity and strength of the US dollar.Our national obsession with test scores as the arbiter of academic success prevents true education reform that will create citizens for a global village who understand that cooperation is often superior to competition in business and international relations. We should let go our obsession with dominance over others and learn to create a caring society in a mutually supportive global village.