My plea to people voting for Obama. Can't progressives do better?Submitted by JTTC on Mon, 11/05/2012 - 21:42
Let me start out by saying it is a foregone conclusion that Mitt Romney should not be our next President. However, that doesn’t mean we should be voting for President Obama. Will you help perpetuate the 2 party system of abuse, or will you help bring about real change?
Let’s look at some serious issues.
1) War. President Obama’s foreign policy is far too similar to George W Bush’s, if not identical. The cornerstone of President Obama’s foreign policy has been the continuation of unconstitutional wars and the continuation of policing the world. Obama drastically increased drone strikes(http://www.propublica.org/special/obama-vs-bush-on-national-...) into Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. Not only does doing this make him an international war criminal, it also makes him a violator of the US constitution. Only Congress has the ability to declare war, and I’m pretty sure those drone missiles aren’t filled with cotton candy, flower blossoms, or unicorns.
Additionally, it is well known that we have thousands of paid mercenaries still in Iraq. Ironically, Obama likes to take credit for ending the Iraq war when in reality we were kicked out(http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/10/us-troop...).
Some will try to tout Obama’s killing of Osama Bin Laden. While Bin Laden likely got what he deserved, even Bush handed over Sadam Hussein for trial. One can only ask if our singular objective in the Middle East was taking out those responsible, why did we go in the first place to remove whole governments? Why are we still there? And most importantly, doesn’t anyone see the hypocrisy and impossible task of spreading democracy by force?
2) Civil liberties. It sounds impossible, but somehow President Obama managed to be even worse than Bush on civil liberties. President Obama, a former constitutional law professor was vocally critical of the unconstitutional civil liberty abuses of the PATRIOT act. However he broke his promise to fight against these abuses and renewed the PATRIOT act( http://rt.com/usa/news/broken-promise-obama-reauthorize/). Just to name few terrible things in the PATRIOT act – self-written warrants for entry and searches of homes with the ability to prevent you from telling anyone about it including your spouse or lawyer. This breaks the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 6th amendments to the US Constitution. No excuse.
Kill lists. President Obama has publicly acknowledged and justified his kill lists. Not only is assassination unconstitutional (no trial and/or no declaration of war), it is done without any judicial oversight and it includes American citizens; we have separation of powers for a reason. One particular case was the assassinations of Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16 year old son Abdulrahman. If you aren’t familiar with this story, you should grab a barf bag now. Anwar al-Awlaki was an American citizen who preached hate against America and allegedly tried to incite jihad against the US. We can argue the validity (or lack thereof!) of his assassination on a whole slew of constitutional grounds, but let’s assume for a moment that he got what was coming to him. The ACLU and Anwar’s parents (the grandparents of Abdulrahman) specifically requested (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/08/world/middleeast/08killing...) that the US government not make any attempts to assassinate their son. This was thrown out of court. Presumably they never imagined their innocent 16 year old grandson, an American citizen, would be separately targeted and assassinated 200 miles away and 6 weeks later.(http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jul/18/us-citizens-dron...)
One might argue that Abdulrahman was collateral damage. Well why not just say so? Interestingly, Robert Gibbs, the White House Press Secretary for Obama helped answer this question. When asked about the murder of 16 year old Abdulrahman, he did not say anything about whether he was collateral damage or an active member of Al-Qaeda. Instead, Gibbs said Abdulrahman’s problem was that Abdulrahman should have "had a more responsible father."(http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=7MwB2...) start watching at 2:00. How utterly disturbing is that? Yes, assassinated for the crimes of the father.
But the targeted drone strikes don’t just end there. While this is arguably more apt for my first point about continued war, under Obama we have also started targeting funerals(http://www.salon.com/2012/06/04/obama_again_bombs_mourners/) and people who attempt to rescue their neighbors(http://www.salon.com/2012/02/05/u_s_drones_targeting_rescuer...) from rubble.
Additionally, Obama specifically requested the 2012 NDAA to include the indefinite detention of US citizens without trial.(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0LMqIgRXP8) But don’t worry he promised never to use it.(http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ceobs...) Never mind that he can’t be president forever and the next crook could use it. When the indefinite detention was later ruled unconstitutional, the administration fought to have it reinstated.(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/14/ndaa-case-indefinit...) But don’t worry, he clearly doesn’t want to use it.
There are other terrible civil liberty infringements, such as the banning of protesting near the President,(http://rt.com/usa/news/348-act-tresspass-buildings-437/) but I think the list is long enough as is.
3. Transparency. President Obama ran as having increased transparency. Instead his administration has bragged(http://www.barackobama.com/truth-team/entry/fact-check-presi...) about its record in attacking whistleblowers and using the Espionage Act, saying they have used it twice as often as all previous administrations combined.
His war on whistleblowers has been truly ghastly. When President Obama threw Private Bradley Manning into Quantico military prison, I could hardly believe it. To simplify the story I’ll recount here what transpired in a greatly abridged version. We have an active military member who sees corruption within our military and foreign policy that increases the cost of our militarism by lives and dollars while undermining the national sovereignty of many foreign nations. Allegedly, Private Manning released the information to Wikileaks. This information was not secret base locations or launch codes to nuclear missiles, but rather the under-the-table and backroom dealings that our government partakes in to keep a vice grip on our global militarism. The American people deserve to know how our government is engaging in foreign affairs when it will cost us money, lives, and our liberty.
While I am shortening this travesty to a few paragraphs let me finish with a few more points. Firstly, the decision was made to try Private Manning by military tribunal. Not shortly after, the Commander in chief of the U.S. military says on television that Private Manning broke the law.(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfmtUpd4id0) So much for a fair trial. I will not argue whether or not Private Manning broke the law, but rather whether or not he deserves to be praised. Without a doubt Private Manning deserves our support. Administration corruption may come and go, but there is nothing so disturbing as an administration that prosecutes whistleblowing. We ought to applaud those who bring government corruption to light. That is not the case, however in President Obama’s administration. As a personal hero of mine says, “Truth is treason in the empire of lies.”
4. Continued Corporatism. Many people, including the Occupy Wall Street Movement, were infuriated with the bailouts of Wall Street. Obama supported these bailouts as both a Senator and as President. Many will look at the bailouts as a raging success. “Hey, lots of the companies would have gone under but they got bailout money. And what’s better, many have paid it back already!” This is so ethically wrong and ignorant on so many different levels. First you have fat cats enjoying the cash flow while the times are good and getting bailed out when the times are bad. Secondly, if you gave hundreds of billions in loans to massive corporations, they will make huge investments and turn around and pay you back as well while making a *killing* in profits. This is precisely what happened. And now we have institutionalized that they will make billions when they make good decisions and bad decisions. We have incentivized their risk. But while many people were upset about the hundreds of billions of bailouts from the US government, what about an even more serious bailout? The amount of money given to Wall Street by the Federal Reserve is astronomical. Over $16 TRILLION for banks(http://www.infiniteunknown.net/2012/09/02/gao-audit-of-the-f...)
And the President’s response? Chirp….chirp…chirp. Until we have a serious attempt to control the private central banking cartel known as the Federal Reserve, no one can EVER claim that any Presidential candidate cares about the middle class. After all, as Mayer Amschel Rothschild said, “Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes the laws.”
5. War on drugs. While running for office, President Obama specifically said he wouldn’t use the Federal Government’s resources to go after medical marijuana and marijuana dispensaries. “I would not have the Justice Department prosecuting and raiding medical marijuana users. It’s not a good use of our resources”(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/02/lawmakers-in-5-stat...). Not only did he break this promise, he broke it terribly. His attack on medical marijuana far exceeded that of George W. Bush.(http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/obamas-war-on-pot-...)
So what’s the point of all of this? I sincerely hope you will consider voting 3rd party. Seriously consider candidates like Gary Johnson for the Libertarian Party and Jill Stein for the Green Party. Call me strange, but I consider it a pre-requisite that the person I choose to vote for doesn't believe they have the right to indefinitely detain me without trial or assassinate me. YES WE CAN be indefinitely detained. Thanks, Barack.