A Case Against Obama Nation

Obama Girl says in her video It’s Hopeless, directed at Hillary Clinton, which made ABC News back in March,

It’s become an Obama Nation…
We all have a crush on Obama

Anyone reading this, contrary to the perspectives behind those notions and the new swiftboating book Obama Nation, is not likely altogether convinced Barack Obama is a different kind of politician, or represents the kind of change one can believe in. The change he represents, I have heard it all before. He is a kinder gentler figurehead of the corporate state. His candidacy is different, not because he is such a different kind of Democratic politician, but his perspective is not that of a white man. His erstwhile primary opponent shared that distinction. This is significant, but their moderate posture is not otherwise groundbreaking, not the kind of root change needed to solve the problems of this time, slightly more rational on domestic policy, but on foreign policy, more of the same, while shifting primary focus of the war efforts from Iraq to what some call the just war, or real war on terror, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

This is from a recent flyer asking for money, substituting bold for underlined. What is it with is for these slick Democrats? Here is the Obama brand of change as of that flyer, already slightly revised for the next, the underlined is noticeably absent.

Change is a tax code that rewards work instead of wealth. Change is a health care plan that guarantees insurance to every American who wants it, and an education policy that gives every child a chance at success.

Change is ending a war in Iraq that should never have been authorized, and finishing a war against al-Qaida in Afghanistan that should have never been ignored.

(My name), that’s what change is. And that is the choice in this election.

It’s more of the same versus change. It’s the past versus the future. This choice has confronted generations before us. And now it is our turn to choose.

His message for a recent Democratic National Committee fund raiser substituted:

Change is an economy that rewards not just wealth, but the work and workers who create it. Change is a health care plan that guarantees affordable coverage to all who want it. And change is ending a war in Iraq that should never have been authorized and never been waged and that distracted us from winning the war against al-Qaeda. That’s what change is.

When the proposed future looks like the usual stale veneer of a kinder gentler version of corporate empire, Democratic style, a different kind of choice confronts the people. More of the same, with a slight swerve toward moderate politics, or turn it all around to clean up this mess politicians like these choices have fostered while pretending to the public, everything is under control, there is no cause for alarm, the experts know what they are doing. Obama thinks he can send some more troops to Afghanistan and its people will come around, the job can be finished with military victory there, terrorists smoked out of Pakistan, and friendly Iraqis running Iraq? Obama is dreaming. I can say that with confidence, because I am a dreamer. The Free Soil plan to end the war on terror is more visionary and feasible than his, no comparison. Obama is predictably selective about who is eligible for negotiation, and under what conditions. Free Soil supports a full accounting of all the war crimes on all sides. That means stopping this pretense to hold the moral high ground, negotiating with those these politicians dismiss as envious evil terrorists, the ringleaders Obama and McCain promise to eliminate. USA has lost whatever shaky claim to moral high ground staked after agents of blowback delivered that act of war that could not go ignored, even by a complacent citizen of empire.

Obama finally renounced his Pastor Jeremiah Wright, not for things he said that made me bristle, but for reiterating some inconvenient truths about US foreign and domestic policy. The war on terror is doomed to defeat, because it is battling rebellion against empire. No empire can stand for long, and these days any attempt will fall amazingly fast, this one already showing manifold effects of internal rot, its economy tottering precariously on a house of cards as mountains of junk debt devalue, while a few mostly white men get richer. To maintain the Obama image matters more than truth, so he can say he will finish the war on terror. How he expects anyone with an ounce of sense to believe that shows his arrogant disregard for reality. What does he mean, finish the war? I shudder to imagine what Obama might do to show how tough he can be on those terrorists. From Bloomberg, July 13

“I continue to believe that we’re under-resourced in Afghanistan and that that is the real sediment for terrorist activity that we have to deal with, and deal with aggressively,” Obama told reporters while campaigning in San Diego today.

Afghanistan is notorious for not staying conquered. What makes Obama think this time will be different? How does he expect to find the recruits to expand the ground forces? This is from the text of his remarks on Iraq and Afghanistan published in the New York Times on July 15.

I will restore our strength by ending this war, completing the increase of our ground forces by 65,000 soldiers and 27,000 marines, and investing in the capabilities we need to defeat conventional foes and meet the unconventional challenges of our time.

He sounds like another warmonger to me, but he wants to fight the real war, hoping a US friendly Iraqi government and army will be able to take over there. I see parallels to Vietnamization. It might be possible, if the occupation ended smoothly, but not if US keeps meddling and blaming Iraqis for the violence and not meeting milestones, like that peculiar oil sharing agreement to divvy up oil profits, intended to give control of Iraqi oil to transnational oil companies. These milestones were not meant for the benefit of Iraqis, as they would see it. The point is this change Obama touts is another bunch of timid pseudo solutions people who can remember have come to expect from Democrats, lofty promises never meant to be delivered. Obama talks about health insurance for all and a chance for success for every child. Success as a cog in some corporate machine, or an education policy that gives everyone a fair and reasonable chance to develop their talents and skills? Free Soil has a few things to tell Senator Obama about the meaning of change. There is no need for health insurance if necessary health care is taken as a basic right, as an essential consequence of the right to life.

That right was not meant for a fetus, but Obama thinks if the fetus is far enough along, so-called partial birth abortion can be declared illegal unless birth would endanger the health of the mother. The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act Congress passed in 2003 is vague, banning a medical procedure, with no health exception, not only used for late-term abortion, so what late means is up for dispute, the label just another distortion to inflame people against abortion. Obama is the new Mr. Slick, pretending to have a perfect pro-choice record, ignoring the twists thrown on the common sense notion that women should not have late-term abortions unless necessary for health reasons, since after viability the procedure is generally more hazardous for a woman not otherwise expecting complications than carrying the baby to term. The procedure is rarely used, but is sometimes the best alternative before viability, so it is not a trivial matter if Obama would support this bill, with a health exception. It does appear he would not oppose a ban after viability with more limited mental health exceptions than exist in present law. Then there were controversies about him saying sweetie to a reporter, coded language about Senator Clinton, and his present votes in the Illinois state legislature, instead of no on five anti-choice bills, on request of Planned Parenthood as a practical political strategy, but protested by NOW. Is this practical politics at work? Since his supposed trustworthiness on abortion and other feminist issues is a big Democratic selling point for women, one might wonder, what principle will he not sell out in his quest for the center of conventional wisdom?

From a July 1 interview with Relevant Magazine, when asked to clarify his stance on on third-trimester and partial-birth abortions,

I have repeatedly said that I think it’s entirely appropriate for states to restrict or even prohibit late-term abortions as long as there is a strict, well-defined exception for the health of the mother. Now, I don’t think that “mental distress” qualifies as the health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term. Otherwise, as long as there is such a medical exception in place, I think we can prohibit late-term abortions.

(Note: The link to Relevant Magazine has expired, but the above quote was quoted here) This got worse. It seems unclear whether he supported the principle behind the national bill, which bans a procedure, or bans on abortion of viable fetuses, or both. This article analyzes some implications of his suggestions that trouble Jan Crawford Greenburg, posting Obama revisits abortion on her blog Legalities Life, Politics and the Law From ABC News Correspondent Jan Crawford Greenburg, July 5.

Speaking to reporters on his campaign plane, Obama said mental health exceptions—which are a real battleground issue in the abortion debate–can be “rigorously” limited to only those women with “serious clinical mental health diseases.” He said mental health exceptions are not intended permit abortions when a woman simply “doesn’t feel good.”

“It is not just a matter of feeling blue,” Obama said.

Here’s the problem with that, and why Obama’s remarks are so startling. Obama is trying to restrict abortions after 22 weeks to those women who have a serious disease or illness. But the law today also covers some women who are in “mental distress,” those women who would suffer emotional and psychological harm without an abortion.

This standard has long been understood to require less than “serious clinical mental health disease.” Women today don’t have to show they are suffering from a “serious clinical mental health disease” or “mental illness” before getting an abortion post-viability, as Obama now says is appropriate.

And for 35 years—since Roe v. Wade—they’ve never had to show that.

So Obama, it seems to me, still is backing away from what the law says—and backing away from a proposed federal law (of which he is a co-sponsor) that envisions a much broader definition of mental health than the one he laid out this week.

That proposed federal legislation, the Freedom of Choice Act, refers to the key Supreme Court case on the issue, which was decided the same day as Roe v. Wade in 1973. In that case, Doe v Bolton, the Court said a doctor could decide to perform an abortion based on “all factors—physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age—relevant to the well-being of the patient. All these factors may relate to health.”

Subsequent cases in the Supreme Court and lower courts have said states cannot ban abortions where the doctor deems them necessary to protect a woman’s physical and mental health. Lower courts have taken that to mean a state cannot prohibit an abortion—even one post-viability–if the woman would suffer severe emotional harm without it.

Nowhere do those cases impose criteria of “serious clinical mental health diseases.”

That’s not what the law is today. The Court has said the Constitution prohibits states from banning post-viability abortions unless those laws contain a broad mental health exception—one that includes mental distress and severe emotional harm. Abortion rights groups have fought for decades to preserve these exceptions, and I’m awfully curious what they will think about limiting them to women with mental disease or mental illness.

Then there was that touchy moment with the Congressional Black Caucus after Senator Clinton conceded. It was reported that he suggested women think about John McCain to help them get over it. This is from ABC News

Sparks Fly at Black Caucus Meeting

…Sources at the meeting said that Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, a Clinton supporter, expressed the desire that Obama and his campaign would reach out the millions of women still aggrieved about what happened in the campaign and still disappointed that Clinton lost.

Obama agreed that a lot of work needs to be done to heal the Democratic Party, and that he hoped the Clinton supporters in the room would help as much as possible.

According to Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., Obama then said, “However, I need to make a decision in the next few months as to how I manage that since I’m running against John McCain, which takes a lot of time. If women take a moment to realize that on every issue important to women, John McCain is not in their corner, that would help them get over it.”

Rep. Diane Watson, D-Calif., a longtime Clinton supporter, did not like those last three words — “Get over it.” She found them dismissive, off-putting.

“Don’t use that terminology,” Watson told Obama.

Thanks to Rep. Watson. Obama needed to hear that, but I doubt he is listening. He will say things hoping to mollify concerns of women that he is also not in our corner. He is a charmer, but these efforts should fail. He is moderate through and through, no threat to rock the boat of corporate power. The Free Soil candidate is radical, with a platform based on rooting out the source of problems. John McCain has a slight maverick streak, enough to initially give some credence to the Al Gore initiative to phase out carbon fuels for electricity in a decade. Obama supports that in theory, but is a long time supporter of corn ethanol and stuck on agrofuels.

Obama hopes he can obfuscate his positions on issues important to women so he and the party platform can say a few things to placate women, while he manages his time, concentrating on running against the other guy, read for male votes, so women have to choose him by default, since McCain is worse than the unknown. I would not dispute that, but what I do know about Obama troubles me deeply. I have many issues with Democratic policy as well as Republican, but Obama seems to think he can work with Republicans to get things done. That is not the change many women are hoping for, and plenty of his idealistic male backers are at least a bit taken aback by peeks at his true colors. This article is meant to be a selective compendium of peeks, betrayals of principles important to me by this man of lofty rhetoric.

Obama also speaks in this fund raiser of a planet in peril, as if he will be a wiser steward. Yet building more nuclear power plants is part of his solution to global warming, along with other bad ideas, more of the same. The solutions are here now, just some engineering improvements beyond being cost competitive now, even under the economic model known as corporate capitalism, where fouling the nest cuts costs and boosts the bottom line. Nuclear power is one of the worst examples of science corrupted by military and financial conflicts of interest. Genetic engineering is another, and what is the bold advanced plan for cellulosic ethanol? Engineering some plants to make ethanol production appear cost-efficient. What was this noise about clean coal, carbon credits, burying carbon dioxide underground? Obama and his party make a big deal of their claim to care more about the environment. On these issues, their policy is virtually indistinguishable from the new Republican environmentalism, McCain style. Neither deserves one bit of credibility, jumping on the Gore challenge bandwagon. Now perhaps people will stop saying this is not practical. I am kidding about that. The skeptics are jumping out of the woodwork. Here is one story about Gore throwing down the gauntlet from the San Francisco Chronicle

Al Gore lays down green challenge to America
Zachary Coile, Chronicle Washington Bureau
Friday, July 18, 2008

Former Vice President Al Gore, seeking to shake up an energy debate that is focused mostly on drilling, challenged the United States to shift its entire electricity sector to carbon-free wind, solar and geothermal power within 10 years, and use that power to fuel a new fleet of electric vehicles.

The goal is the most ambitious energy plan by a major U.S. political figure – and one many energy experts say is unrealistic. Gore insists the only real obstacle is the reluctance of America’s leaders to seek bold solutions to high energy prices and global warming. He likened his challenge to President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 call to put a man on the moon.

“This goal is achievable, affordable and transformative,” Gore told more than 1,000 cheering supporters at the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall in Washington. “It represents a challenge to all Americans in every walk of life: to our political leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers and to every citizen.”

A centerpiece of Gore’s plan would be to help beleaguered U.S. automakers produce a new national fleet of plug-in electric vehicles. Foreign competitors, especially Toyota, have taken a lead in selling fuel-efficient hybrids. Gore said U.S. automakers could regain their edge with new electric cars that can be plugged in at night – saving consumers money while reducing air pollution and U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

Reactions quoted in the article included:

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, Democratic presidential candidate: “I strongly agree with Vice President Gore that we cannot drill our way to energy independence, but must fast-track investments in renewable sources of energy like solar power, wind power and advanced biofuels, and those are the investments I will make as president.”

Arizona Sen. John McCain, Republican presidential candidate, on Gore’s goals for more wind and solar power: “There may be some aspects of climate change that he and I are in disagreement (on),” but “if the vice president says it’s doable, I believe it’s doable.”

I am not convinced charging electric cars at night is the way to go. I think fuel cell cars have a future, and could be charged with fuel produced at homes. Excess fuel could be stored for use for night or winter power or heat. Hydrogen has a reputation as a dangerous gas, and as any flammable substance it requires handling with respect, but it is not unmanageable. A new catalyst making the breakup of water for fuel far more cost-efficient was announced on July 31. I think the Gore plan is a start, but within ten years the world could phase out carbon and radioactive fuels for transportation and electricity, if the political will were tapped. Too bad Gore did not get some real action going to encourage renewable energy, as Congress debated to death several energy bills with the conventions looming. Nice try, Mr. Gore. Your fellow politicians needed that wake-up call, but they are not listening. There is nothing balanced or environmentally responsible about nuclear energy, or engineering plants or trees to make ethanol production cost-effective. Those technologies should never have gotten a shred of consideration, let alone off the ground, dependent on heavy public subsidy.

Obama has different ideas. From the July 15 remarks cited above

I’ll invest $150 billion over the next ten years to put America on the path to true energy security. This fund will fast track investments in a new green energy business sector that will end our addiction to oil and create up to 5 million jobs over the next two decades, and help secure the future of our country and our planet. We’ll invest in research and development of every form of alternative energy – solar, wind, and biofuels, as well as technologies that can make coal clean and nuclear power safe. And from the moment I take office, I will let it be known that the United States of America is ready to lead again.

We’ll set a goal of an 80% reduction in global emissions by 2050. And as we develop new forms of clean energy here at home, we will share our technology and our innovations with all the nations of the world.

The Gore plan is considerably more ambitious, but though Obama says he agrees with the plan, he has to throw in the nuclear and advanced biofuel kickers, which means as environmentalists go, he is just another slick greenwasher. Presumably he means to share those advances as well with the rest of the world. Already there are experiments well under way with trees engineered with weaker cell walls for ethanol production.

On the war on terror, Obama wants to change the main front, otherwise he wants to work with allies and is slightly more willing to talk to certain enemies. For Europe, this is enough to seem a complete turnabout, though a slick warmonger does not seem so different to me from the current crude one. Different style, similar policy. He backed the FISA compromise, after some fancy footwork to placate his base and the swing voters looking for signs of weakness on terror. Obama is at least as slick and smooth as the alleged first black President, and his policies are disturbingly familiar. There can be a new direction, he says, his party will show the way. This new direction is just a meandering distraction from what he means by getting things done by working with Republicans, same old cowardly opportunistic unprincipled triangulation. Where is the change, Barack Obama? Not on Hamas, according to this April 11 story from Reuters

However, Obama has said he would not meet with Hamas.

He reiterated that position on Friday, saying that Hamas was a “terrorist organization.”

“It is not a state and until Hamas clearly recognizes Israel, renounces terrorism and abides by, or believes that the Palestinians should abide by previous agreements … I don’t think conversations with them would be fruitful,” Obama said.

During his recent trip, his campaign directed reporters accompanying his entourage to Jordan and Israel not to wear green, because that color is associated with Hamas and Islam generally! Obama may be self-conscious because of absurd suspicions he is a closet Muslim, but this is beyond ridiculous!


Obama ban: What not to wear where?

By CARRIE BUDOFF BROWN & BEN SMITH | 7/21/08 6:42 PM EST

AMMAN, Jordan—An Obama campaign ban on green clothing during the candidate’s visits to Israel and Jordan has created wide puzzlement among observers of the Middle East.

In a memo to reporters, described as “a few guidelines we sent staff before departure to the Middle East,” Obama advance staffer Peter Newell laid out rules on attire for Jordan and Israel.

First among them: “Do not wear green.”

An Obama aide explained to reporters that green is the color associated with the militant Palestinian group Hamas. But while the color does appear on Hamas banners, there is no particular symbolism to wearing green clothes, experts said.

Moreover, green is more generally seen as a symbol of Islam.

Mohamad Bazzi, a professor of journalism at New York University and former Middle East bureau chief for Newsday, called the instruction “very strange.”

“I guess green is the ‘Hamas color’ — but it’s also the color of Islam!” Bazzi said in an email from Beirut. “That’s one way for the Obama campaign to alienate 1.4 billion Muslims worldwide.”

Uzma Aslam Khan, a Pakistani novelist and essayist, got an incredible open letter to Barack Obama up at CounterPunch March 15.

Where’s the Change, Barack?

Let’s talk more about actionable intelligence.

Back in September 2004, as a Democratic Senate candidate, you made four revealing points in an interview with the Chicago Tribune. First, you favoured using “surgical” missile strikes against Iran if the sovereign country refused to obey the US and eliminate its nuclear energy program. Second, you criticised the Bush administration’s war in Iraq not because it violated every article in the Geneva Convention and every International Law, but because it drew away attention from “greater threats” such as Iran, North Korea, and Pakistan. Third, you linked Iran and Pakistan under the banner of “Islamic world”. Fourth, you favoured attacking Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, if Pakistan’s self-appointed president, Pervez Musharraf, was overthrown by Pakistanis who have every reason to want him gone and every right to struggle toward this goal. I quote you: “I think there are elements within Pakistan right now-if Musharraf is overthrown and they took over-I think we would have to consider going in and taking those bombs out, because I don’t think we can make the same assumptions about how they calculate risks.”

You didn’t care to elucidate what you meant by ‘elements’ nor whom you meant by ‘they’. Pakistan has 160 million people. I think we have a right to know exactly which one of us you meant. I think we have a right to know how you calculate risks.

Your 2008 presidential election slogan is CHANGE. How can there be change, when your views on foreign policy are no different from that of President Bush? You frequently say, as proof of difference, that you didn’t vote for the 2003 Iraq War. Of course not. You weren’t in the Senate at the time.

So what is different about you? What’s the change? The question was put to your fans during the New Hampshire primaries in Jan 2008, and the results are posted on The Real News website. When one supporter was asked what kind of change you represent, she replied: “He comes from a completely different background. He’s international. He’s interracial … He represents everything that is America and that is the World. That’s what we need right now. He will change the way America is seen in the World.”

To me this sums up the enormous gap between how your supporters see America and how others see America. I know some of your supporters. I’ve asked them why your position on North Korea and the “Islamic World” isn’t seen as xenophobic and imperialistic within the United States when outside the United States, it is. I’ve asked them why your racist wartalk isn’t called racist wartalk within the United States when outside the United States, it is. Like the supporter above, they cite your international and interracial background as proof of difference. This is almost as insulting as Geraldine Ferraro saying you are where you are because you’re black. You’re not a candidate for change because you’re black anymore than you’re ahead in the polls because you’re black. You are where you are because, as far as world peace is concerned, you’re not a candidate for change. If you said, for example, that the country with the most nuclear weapons in the World must first eliminate its own nuclear program if weaker countries are to do the same–well, see what I mean? You wouldn’t be where you are.

Over three years have passed since your above mentioned interview with the Chicago Tribune. Some may argue that you’ve changed since then, that your world view has matured and you wouldn’t favour military action against Iran or Pakistan today because the people of Iran and Pakistan are no less important than the people of America. On the contrary, the views you’ve endorsed since then are no less alarming.

In August 2007, when Senator Hillary Clinton accused you of being naïve about foreign policy, your mannish response was to reiterate your 2004 views and take them to a higher level, as it were: “If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets in Pakistan and President Musharraf won’t act, we will.” Suddenly, those ‘elements’ you vaguely mentioned in 2004 weren’t only a threat if they overthrew America’s man, Musharraf. You said you’d “act” whether or not Musharraf agreed!

It’s worth adding that Clinton criticised you for this comment, though later the same day, she told American Urban Radio Network, “If we had actionable intelligence that Osama bin Laden or other high-value targets were in Pakistan I would ensure that they were targeted and killed or captured.” She also praised her husband Bill Clinton’s 1998 attack on Afghanistan, in which Osama was neither killed nor captured. The only reason this letter is addressed to you not her is because you’re winning. It’s probably you against Senator John McCain, and McCain ain’t gonna change. Maybe you will.

Please consider this: Pakistan has always been a US ally. It was an ally during the 1979-1988 Afghan War, when the US gave billions of dollars to the Islamic Jihad to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. Militant Islamic movements are a product of the US financing of the Islamic Jihad. Osama is America’s creation. You want change? Be the first US president to acknowledge this link. The United States has a responsibility to Fess Up, and a responsibility to address its past mistakes without killing more innocent civilians. It’s Pakistanis who’ve had to watch Pakistan destroyed because of the US-funded Jihad. It’s we who’ve been living in the debris of your Cold War.

To add insult to injury, Pakistan is also a US ally in the War on Terror. We’re also living in the debris of this war. Our own internal conflicts, which multiplied during the 1979-1988 Afghan War, have multiplied even further. You want change? Be the first US president to understand these internal struggles. They include: the struggle for better health care, better education, access to drinking water, access to electricity (power cuts this winter averaged 10 hours daily), the sanctity of the judiciary, the end of military rule, greater emphasis on cultural activities–on literature, music and things that bring people peace–class equality, women’s rights, minority rights, that minor thing. We need to focus on our interests no less than you need to focus on yours. Pakistanis are sick of bowing to US command and sick of putting our struggles on hold for your wars.

To add more insult to more injury: We have done your bidding for as long as we know; in return, you threaten to bomb us. Which part of terror do you not understand?

P.S. You look nice in Somali dress. Why has the photo embarrassed you?

Where is the change, asks this woman writing from Pakistan? I doubt Pakistan has been reassured by developments since then. Obama has a lot of nerve telling people what change is, then proposing more political hack timid pretend solutions. Do people know who is consulting for him? His corporate cronies did a slick marketing job promoting his image. Let us take a closer look at Barack Obama, Inc. There is this matter of all that money coming from common folk, the average less than a hundred, though it may have shifted after the primaries ended. People in his camp make it sound like the bulk of his funds comes from people donating less than a hundred. According to the Hightower Lowdown, based on opensecrets.org, as of the end of April, people donating less than the reportable minimum, two hundred, accounted for 43% of his funds. Jim Hightower, a lukewarm Obama fan, says,

Obama’s grassrootsiness shows up in this table, showing that almost half his money has come from $200-or-less donors.

As opposed to Hillary Clinton and John McCain, getting 27 and 20 percent from the smaller donors. Obama needs the big money, and those giving him ten or twenty odd bucks account for far less than that. Three million people donating at that level could account for half the first hundred million of his take, but evidently the majority donates more, and the bulk of the funds still comes from people who can afford to shell out over two hundred, despite numbering less than ten percent of the donor pool.

This is part of my last comment on In Support of Hillary Rodham Clinton: Good-bye to All That, Part II, by Robin Morgan on the womensspace blog, early spring. The Obama speech referenced is his acclaimed speech on race in March

Hillary Clinton is not about rocking the boat. Obama showed some courage in that speech, taking measured risks, saying what he thought he could to reach minds who could be touched by his appeal. What I call doubletalk typical of Democratic politicians was specifically the part I quoted, the way he made a big deal of how wrong Pastor Wright was to say these things. In the future he will refer to this speech to dismiss any association with Wright. Comparing him to a family member is too convenient, shunting him off like a crazy uncle? What gives? I think this is a sign, he will only go so far to create the impression he is on the side of minorities and women. I have to question what he is really saying. Then there is this big deal about no money from lobbyists. This claim is true, technically speaking. If one looks closely, there is money associated with lobbyists, but not in the name of official registered lobbyists. Some friendly lobbyists quit lobbying to become advisers. He still strikes me too much as a mainstream Democrat, promising minor reforms to business as usual, not to rock the boat. He voted for that class action reform bill his rich buddies wanted so bad, stopping those uppity states pursuing class action claims. That bill on radiation leaks was classic say one thing and do another, yet he still had the temerity to mention the bill on the campaign trail. He may have learned from that mistake. I question how anyone can have the nerve to say he is for protecting the environment while promoting nuclear power plants, clean coal, genetically engineered crops, and corn ethanol.

Pastor Wright went too far at the National Press Club, so they say. One thing he said was,

The prophetic theology of the black church is a theology of liberation; it is a theology of transformation; and it is ultimately a theology of reconciliation.

The way I read it, that was what the speech Wright gave was all about. What resemblance does that have to how Obama characterized it?

Pam Martens, who worked on Wall Street for 21 years, had a two part expose of the links between Obama and big money posted at CounterPunch this May. These excerpts are all from the first part.
Obama’s Money Cartel and
The Obama Bubble Agenda

Seven of the Obama campaign’s top 14 donors consisted of officers and employees of the same Wall Street firms charged time and again with looting the public and newly implicated in originating and/or bundling fraudulently made mortgages.

The Center for Responsive Politics website allows one to pull up the filings made by lobbyists, registering under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 with the clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives and secretary of the U.S. Senate. These top five contributors to the Obama campaign have filed as registered lobbyists: Sidley Austin LLP; Skadden, Arps, et al; Jenner & Block; Kirkland & Ellis; Wilmerhale, aka Wilmer Cutler Pickering.

Far from keeping his distance from lobbyists, Senator Obama and his campaign seems to be brainstorming with them.

The political publication, The Hill, reported on December 20, 2007, that three salaried aides on the Obama campaign were registered lobbyists for dozens of corporations. (The Obama campaign said they had stopped lobbying since joining the campaign.) Bob Bauer, counsel to the Obama campaign, is an attorney with Perkins Coie. That law firm is also a registered lobbyist.

The Senate also received a desperate plea from more than 40 civil rights and labor organizations, including the NAACP, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Human Rights Campaign, American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Justice and Democracy, Legal Momentum (formerly NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund), and Alliance for Justice. They wrote as follows:

Under the [Class Action Fairness Act of 2005], citizens are denied the right to use their own state courts to bring class actions against corporations that violate these state wage and hour and state civil rights laws, even where that corporation has hundreds of employees in that state. Moving these state law cases into federal court will delay and likely deny justice for working men and women and victims of discrimination. The federal courts are already overburdened. Additionally, federal courts are less likely to certify classes or provide relief for violations of state law.

This legislation, which dramatically impaired labor rights, consumer rights and civil rights, involved five years of pressure from 100 corporations, 475 lobbyists, tens of millions of corporate dollars buying influence in our government, and the active participation of the Wall Street firms now funding the Obama campaign. “The Civil Justice Reform Group, a business alliance comprising general counsels from Fortune 100 firms, was instrumental in drafting the class-action bill”, says Public Citizen.

Where is the change? There will be change regardless of who wins, reality will demand that, but Obama is not the new kind of politiician he hypes, and his vaunted change is more about hype than actually new ideas. Voters can exercise alternatives. Register Your Protest!

4 Responses to “A Case Against Obama Nation”

  1. Aletha Says:

    I just sent Senator Obama the following message through his web site.

    I know you have your hands full responding to Republican distortions, but since you found time to respond to the diatribe by Jerome Corsi, I would appreciate a response to my article A Case Against Obama Nation, which you will find at my blog at http://freesoil.org/wordpress/?p=50

    Any corrections or clarifications would be greatly appreciated. I challenged your fans at the Randi Rhodes forum to identify any inaccuracies, but they either could or would not.

    Aletha

  2. Aletha Says:

    I got a response from the Obama campaign, which I have also posted at womensspace, at Had Enough of Politics as Usual?

    Response to your message to Obama for America

    Dear Friend,

    Thank you for contacting us, and for your interest in learning more about Barack and his running mate Senator Joe Biden, what they stand for, and ways to get involved. We encourage you to explore http://www.barackobama.com, where you will find these pages:

    (List of 13 pages they recommend I explore)

    We also link to some news stories on the front page. Check back frequently for new material in all these parts of the site, and special sections highlighting individual issues. You can also read Senator Obama’s books, Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope. The website and the books combine to give you a strong sense of Senator Obama’s experiences, positions, and leadership. You can also make DVDs from the videos to hand out at events in your area.

    Barack is running for president because America is facing a set of challenges we haven’t seen in a generation–challenges we haven’t solved because of failed leadership and a smallness of politics that obstructs common-sense solutions to pressing problems. The only way to meet these challenges is to bring the American people together behind a new kind of politics that places our common interest above partisanship and special interest. Senator Obama is confident that his life experiences will allow him to bridge these divides and lead this country.

    Thank you again for contacting us.

    Sincerely,

    Obama for America

    What would I have to do to get a real response? The book Obama Nation by notorious Swift Boater Jerome Corsi got a long detailed refutation. Is that the ticket, write a bunch of lies? I do some actual research to put together a detailed critique based on real issues, and this is the response I get? Obama might as well have told me, I should trust him, and not worry my pretty little head! This almost tempts me to carry out the bemused threat I made to the Randi Rhodes forum to tip off John McCain about my article, since the people there were so sure my article was right-wing propaganda! If his minions started making ads from my material, Obama would have to pay some attention!

    I suppose this response is better than nothing, and it did come faster than I expected, but I am feeling really insulted.

  3. m Andrea Says:

    How do I keep managing not to bookmark you? That has been rectified!

  4. Free Soil Party Blog » Blog Archive » How Democrats Manipulate, Manage, and Control Movements Says:

    [...] pestering Mr. Messina or the White House for comment. I imagine I would get the same kind of stock non-response I got to my request for comment on A Case Against Obama Nation. Did people think the Democratic [...]

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