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Keeping Track of Change

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Posted on Dec 5, 2008
Clinton and Obama
AP photo / Charles Dharapak

Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton walks with President-elect Barack Obama as they leave a news conference in Chicago on Dec. 1.

Eugene Jarecki

For anyone seeking real reform of America’s foreign and defense policies in the years ahead, the introduction of Barack Obama’s national security team last Monday was a mixed bag. Set against an increasingly worrisome national security environment—from the mounting tensions between India and Pakistan to The New York Times’ Nov. 29 front-page story about epidemic U.S. military-industrial corruption to last week’s Washington Post story about Pentagon plans to station 20,000 U.S. troops in the American homeland by 2011—it was at least refreshing to see a new row of faces to replace those who have brought us the tragic missteps of recent years. Yet what these appointments really suggest about Obama’s broader prospects for reform requires vigilant public attention.

As someone who seeks fundamental reform of so much of the American system, I’ve been heartened to see a growing number of voices on the airwaves and blogosphere express concern at certain choices made by the Obama transition team that are hard to reconcile with the public’s hopes for change. This kind of unrelenting pressure for reform is vital and has already provoked an entirely healthy discourse even among Obama’s most ardent supporters between those who seek far-reaching change and those who see themselves as more pragmatic. Since Obama has not yet even been inaugurated, these voices can only speculate on what his governance might look like, and there’s a danger of being either prematurely critical or overly complacent. Still, it’s never too early to be vigilant. Let us not forget that it was Obama himself who invited each of us to fulfill our end of the contract between citizen and president in a historic effort to bring about change. 

For my part, I like making lists. So rather than over-interpret any single decision, I thought it would be a good idea to catalog some key appointments and policy statements thus far—the promising alongside the worrisome—to take stock of and prepare for the bigger picture the transition has begun to paint of what lies ahead. 

First, the good news:

Continuing Inspiration for Change. Obama continues to inspire millions to believe that change is both necessary and possible. His transition team reports having received 200,000 applications for jobs in his administration.

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Economic Crisis Leadership. Obama has swiftly made key appointments and policy statements to fill a “leadership vacuum” to calm domestic and global economic jitters.

Expanding U.S. Employment. In an echo of the New Deal, 2.5 million jobs will be created to improve U.S. infrastructure.

Revoking Unconstitutional Bush Policies. It’s been suggested that work is already under way to reverse politically motivated executive orders ranging from climate change and reproductive rights to stem cell research.

Ethical Hiring Practices. The transition team is said to be subjecting candidates for administration posts to unprecedented ethical scrutiny.

Improving International Relations. Reciprocating the world’s resounding approval of his election, Obama is expected to appoint ambassadors who are experienced diplomats rather than follow his predecessor’s example of awarding ambassadorships to big campaign donors.

Guantanamo Closure. Obama has stood by his campaign promise to close Guantanamo and end U.S. torture practices.

Transparent Governance. The announcement of Obama’s plan to give weekly updates on YouTube—a high-tech echo of FDR’s fireside chats—is inspiring.

Restoring Cabinet Level Status for U.N. Ambassador. Signaling real change in America’s approach to foreign affairs, the appointment of a new and improved Dr. Rice to the role of U.N. ambassador was compounded by the announcement that the position will also be restored to Cabinet rank.

Now, the developments that are, at minimum, twists on the spirit and pledges of the campaign and, at maximum, a troubling departure from them:

Protracted Iraq Timetable. Though opposition to the Iraq war was a defining feature of Obama’s early candidacy, his position on a timetable for withdrawal has grown elastic with time. Though he had already begun to retreat from his original 16-month troop withdrawal commitment long before last week’s Status of Forces Agreement was struck with Iraq, this agreement, which makes Dec. 31, 2011, a date certain for withdrawal, may spare Obama the awkward work of having to explain a softening of his originally firm commitment.

Gates and Lieberman. To further dilute Obama’s once-impassioned anti-war position, his decisions to keep Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, an opponent of any date-certain withdrawal from Iraq, and to come to the defense of Joe Lieberman maintaining his Senate chairmanships, may be politically shrewd but are dissonant with the anti-war spirit of his campaign.

FISA and Wiretapping. Obama dismayed many supporters when he voted for last summer’s FISA legislation, granting telecom companies legal immunity from prosecution for wiretapping. More broadly, there has to date been no evidence of any movement to redress his predecessor’s far-reaching assaults on civil liberties.

War Crimes Accountability. This is a particularly disheartening area. The Obama Justice Department is not expected to launch criminal probes of forged intelligence, torture and other unlawful practices undertaken by the Bush administration. But without real accountability for these trespasses, what motivation will there be in Washington for reform?

Continued Tax Cuts for Wealthy? There have now been indications from Obama’s advisers that may allow a Bush tax cut for the wealthy to expire on schedule in 2011 rather than repealing it sooner, as previously promised.

Lobbyists Appointed to Transition and Cabinet Positions. Despite his lauded vetting practices and his campaign pledge that “no political appointees in an Obama administration will be permitted to work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years,” Obama has selected a number of people for his transition team and Cabinet (including Tom Daschle) who have served as lobbyists or worked for lobbying firms in the fields in which they will be involved.

Clinton-Era Appointees. Without speculating on the pros or cons of any single Cabinet appointee, the number of Clinton-era Cabinet appointments so far, from Hillary Clinton to Rahm Emanuel to Eric Holder to Robert Rubin protégé Timothy Geithner, is surprising and certainly raises the question of how much change is likely to come from an abundance of representatives of an old guard.

Misplaced Rhetoric Toward Russia. During the late phases of his campaign, Obama escalated his rhetoric toward Russia in the wake of its five-day war with Georgia in August 2008. Given the now growing evidence that Georgia initiated the conflict and that the Bush administration concealed this from the American public, Obama’s anti-Russian rhetoric represents both a non-change from the belligerence of the Bush years and seems to betray the undue influence of longstanding Cold War strategists among his advisers.

A Nuclear Double Standard Toward Iran. When, just days after his election, Obama declared it “unacceptable” for Iran to possess a nuclear weapon in a world where other nations including Israel have nuclear weapons, he sent a signal that echoes the position taken by the Bush administration over the past eight years. Right or wrong, this position is read around the world as a double standard on nuclear policy. Had Obama instead spoken of the need for global nuclear disarmament (Iran, Israel and the U.S. included), this message would have been a departure from the posture of the Bush years.

Surging in Afghanistan. While the matter of the worsening situation in Afghanistan is a sensitive one, Obama’s late campaign call for a surge in the war-torn country was a departure from the anti-war platform on which he first appealed to the American people. It seemed instead to suggest a shifting of certain troops from Iraq, where Obama had opposed such a surge, to Afghanistan, rather than simply bringing those troops home. Another model for implementing a peacekeeping presence in Afghanistan might have been more compatible with the spirit of Obama’s original commitments to reducing unilateral U.S. military activity overseas.

Saber-Rattling at Bin Laden. While a police action to capture al-Qaida leaders should have been America’s first priority after 9/11 and it remains a stain on the Bush administration that it knowingly distracted the nation with other pursuits, pursuing Osama bin Laden, who is believed to be in Pakistan, implies expansion of U.S. military activity into the territory of this increasingly unstable nuclear power. Though it is hard to argue with the need to capture Bin Laden and hold him accountable, Obama’s sweeping statements about killing the leader raise the question: At what cost?

(Note to reader: If, while reading the above list, you feel I have omitted something, positive or negative, please post a comment to that effect so we can begin to build a comprehensive “change checklist” as the new administration gets under way.)

On a host of other issues from the drug war to the death penalty to the Patriot Act to military-industrial and other corporate corruption to gay marriage to reproductive rights to gun control to gays in the military, it is not yet clear to what extent Obama will defy or fulfill the hopes expressed by his supporters during the campaign. But broadly speaking, what the various Cabinet appointments and statements of policy above illustrate is an administration and worldview that are simply more centrist than change-oriented. To those who are critical of this, it represents a retreat from the inspiring passions of the campaign. To those who support it, the choices simply reflect the necessary pragmatism to get things done in Washington. They see Obama as avoiding the error of Bill Clinton’s first term, in which Clinton’s early struggles were attributed to an overabundance of inexperienced Washington players on his team. This may be a smart lessons-learned strategy, but when there have been virtually no reform-oriented or progressive candidates appointed or even floated as names for Cabinet-level posts, one has to wonder whether the pragmatism argument isn’t perhaps being overplayed.

To his credit, Obama addressed this in a two-part answer at last Monday’s press conference when asked about the impression of centrism in his appointments. First, he recognized the need to balance the impulse for change with a measure of pragmatism, stating that his administration would “combine experience with fresh thinking.” That’s reassuring. But he then went further, making the bolder statement that, notwithstanding his Cabinet appointments, “the vision for change … comes from me. That’s my job, is to provide a vision in terms of where we are going and to make sure, then, that my team is implementing it.” After eight years of vaulting executive power exercised by a “decider” in the White House to whom Congress and the public gave so much power, being told by a leader basically to trust him is uncomfortably familiar. Worse still, it contradicts the crowning message of the Obama campaign. 

“I am asking you to believe,” candidate Obama rousingly told us, “not just in my ability to bring about a real change in Washington, I’m asking you to believe in yours.”

Well, there’s the rub. For what Obama correctly recognized as a candidate he—and we—must now remember that no person, no matter how talented, inspiring or well-intended, can single-handedly bring about the kind of far-reaching reforms that our deeply wounded society needs. It will instead require unrelenting vigilance from all of us—including making ourselves heard when Obama’s path appears more inclined toward conciliation than reform. When in recent weeks comparisons to Lincoln were drawn to explain some of Obama’s counterintuitive Cabinet appointments, Congressman John Conyers offered the wonderful retort, “it tells me I’m going to have to be Frederick Douglass to his Abraham Lincoln.” Recalling the pressure Douglass exerted on the 16th president’s policymaking, Conyers did us the great service of speaking to the much-needed Frederick Douglass inside each of us, underscoring that we the public must be prepared to commit ourselves—beyond any level of civic engagement we’ve known before—to exert pressure on our political leadership to make the changes we seek. For it was Douglass, after all, who noted that “power concedes nothing without demand.”

Eugene Jarecki’s 2006 film “Why We Fight” won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival as well as a Peabody Award. His new book, “The American Way of War: Guided Missiles, Misguided Men, and a Republic in Peril,” has just been released by Simon & Schuster/Free Press. 

 

 


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By michael roloff, December 13, 2008 at 12:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

FIRST OF ALL, A REPLY TO “MAANI” ... THE economic team is pretty much out of the Rubin bag, np. I don’t dispute either Rubin’s or Summer’s accomplishments during Clinton II, however the policies they set with deregulation and failure of oversight of the derivative instruments had not really hit home though there certainly were some ominous events. Volcker brought down interest rates on the back of labor and destroyed the Mexican peso! So this wrinkle of going back to the ye olde days of Clinton is not very imaginative. But I am willing to sit back and see what these saviors of capitalism will wreak.

Now as to the “surge” in A’stan:

US military prepares for Obama’s expansion of Afghan war


US General David McKiernan, told journalists: “I don’t like to use the term ‘surge’ here, because if we put these additional forces in, it’s going to be for the next few years, this three- or four-year period. It’s not a temporary increase of combat strength.”

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2008/dec2008/afgh-d13.shtml

Obama consulted with Petraeus, no? He is keeping Gates, no? same old empire drive! Three four years, until the next election and then some.

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By franz angst, December 12, 2008 at 10:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

IS RAHM THE CHANGE WE WANT????

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/chi-kass-12-dec12,0,723256.column

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By michael roloff, December 11, 2008 at 6:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A FEW OTHER OMINOUS SIGNS THAT THERE WILL BE MORE CONTINUITY COMES FROM RAY MCGOVERN REGARDING “TORTURE LIGHT”
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2008/12/11-10

Ray McGovern | Will Obama Buy Torture-Lite?


AND GREG PALAST THAT NY SCHOOL CHANCELLOR KLEIN
MAY BECOME THE SEC OF EDUCATION

Greg Palast | Obama’s “Way-to-Go, Brownie!” Moment?
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2008/12/11-1

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By Maani, December 10, 2008 at 9:43 pm Link to this comment

Breaking news on the issue of this thread (keeping track of change).  Obama has just announced his “environment and natural resources team,” and it looks quite unique:

Energy Secretary, Steven Chu.

“One of three scientists who shared the Nobel Prize for physics in 1997…Professor of physics and molecular and cell biology at UC Berkeley.  Director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory since 2004, where he has pushed for research into alternative energy as a way to combat global warming…[I]n recent years under Chu [LBNL] has been at the center of research into biofuels and solar technologies.”


EPA Administrator, Lisa Jackson.

[F]irst black person to lead the EPA.  Former NJ DEP commissioner who worked at the federal agency for 16 years, including under Browner when she was Bill Clinton’s EPA chief…A New Orleans native, she grew up in the Lower Ninth Ward, the area stricken by Hurricane Katrina. She holds chemical engineering degrees from Tulane University and Princeton University.”

Energy Czar, Carol Browner.

“EPA chief under Clinton, will…oversee energy issues, an area expected to include the environment and climate matters.  Now chair of the National Audubon Society and on the boards of several other environmental groups, Browner has been leading the Obama transition’s working group on energy and environment.”

Council on Environmental Quality, Nancy Sutley.

“[D]eputy mayor for energy and environment in LA…is the first prominent gay to earn a senior role in Obama’s new administration. She was an EPA official during the Clinton administration, including being a special assistant to the EPA administrator in Washington. She also previously served on the California State Water Resources Control Board and was an energy adviser to former Gov. Gray Davis.”

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By Maani, December 10, 2008 at 9:18 pm Link to this comment

Michael:

“Anyone who thinks that obama knows what he’s doing by having the same people back aboard must be seriously deluded.”

You are being somewhat disngenuous here.  First, neither Rubin nor Greenspan are part of the Obama economic team.  And while Summers is, he has not been put in the primary role (Treasury Sec’y), but rather as “head” of the National Economic Council.  As well, let’s not forget that Summers was also instrumental in helping Clinton balance the budget, pay down the national debt, and leave a surplus of many billions of dollars.

Indeed, Obama did not even make Summers head of the Economic Recovery Advisory Board, which is being headed by Paul Volcker, about whom the very article you cite says, “Volcker had done what central bankers are supposed to do. On his watch, inflation had been brought down from more than 11 percent to under 4 percent. In the world of central banking, that should have earned him a grade of A+++ and assured his re-appointment. But Volcker also understood that financial markets need to be regulated. Reagan wanted someone who did not believe any such thing, and he found him in a devotee of the objectivist philosopher and free-market zealot Ayn Rand.”

Rubin and Greenspan have no role.  Volcker has a big one.  That should prove that Obama DOES know what he’s doing.

Peace.

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By MICHAEL ROLOFF, December 10, 2008 at 6:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

HERE IS JOSEPH STIEGLITZ:

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2008/12/10-1

“As we stripped back the old regulations, we did nothing to address the new challenges posed by 21st-century markets. The most important challenge was that posed by derivatives. In 1998 the head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Brooksley Born, had called for such regulation-a concern that took on urgency after the Fed, in that same year, engineered the bailout of Long-Term Capital Management, a hedge fund whose trillion-dollar-plus failure threatened global financial markets. But Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin, his deputy, Larry Summers, and Greenspan were adamant-and successful-in their opposition. Nothing was done.”

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2008/12/10-1

anyone who thinks that obama knows what he’s doing by having the same people back aboard must be seriously deluded.

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Ed Harges's avatar

By Ed Harges, December 9, 2008 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment

re: eileen fleming, December 8 at 7:00:

Great information and insight - and your website has gone straight to my favorites. I was aware in a general way how Israel has been selling its own lousy system as some kind of badge of supercompetence, a half-century head start in the war on terror, as you write.

After 9/11 they were chirping with glee: “See, now you need to be just like us - totally militarized, with paranoia and sanctimonious victimhood as your national religion, keeping everybody under constant high-tech surveillance, and throwing anybody in prison who even looks funny… Come, we’ll show you how to do it - but you have to pay us lots and lots of money - that’s in addition, of course, to all that ‘aid’ money you routinely give us out of the goodness of your cretinously sentimental little hearts - and by the way, we need more, much more….”

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By Maani, December 9, 2008 at 10:24 am Link to this comment

rage:

I can’t believe I am in total agreement with you!  Are you on some new meds or something?  LOL.

Peace.

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By Libarchist, December 9, 2008 at 3:58 am Link to this comment

I guess what I would add to the list; is in order for “peace and prosperity”  to come to the United States, we need to become deprogrammed.

Frankly, most Americans are brainwashed, and need to start the process to unlearn the slogans, mantras of the Military-Industrial/Congressional-Complex beast.

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By Folktruther, December 9, 2008 at 2:24 am Link to this comment

Prole has said it all.  Obama’s appointments aren’t a mixed bag. They are a continuation and consolidation of Bushite polices.  As for the breaking of his campaign promises, this is routine in the US electoral process.  As political scientists say, the rhetoric of candidacy diverges from the discourse of governance.

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By prole, December 9, 2008 at 1:57 am Link to this comment

“For anyone seeking real reform of America’s foreign and defense policies in the years ahead, the introduction of Barack Obama’s national security team last Monday was a mixed bag”...they range from bad to worse. It wasn’t very “refreshing to see a new row of faces to replace those who have brought us the tragic missteps of recent years”...and replaced with many of those that have brought us the tragic malefaction of past years. To even use such exoneration as “tragic missteps” once again implies the old alibi that it was all just right intentions somehow gone awry - not deliberate wrongful aggression in the first place. “Yet what these appointments really suggest about Obama’s broader prospects for reform requires”... vigorous public resistance. The resistance movements around the world will obviously have their hands full with this new ‘inclusive’ ‘multicultural’ imperialist cabal. So First, the so-called “good news”:
>200,000 apps for jobs:  patronage is the name of the game in any political machine just ask Obama old chum, Mayor Daley
  >key appointments of old faces that helped to create the seeds of the mess in the 90s
  >there is no guarantee that any 2.5 million new jobs will be created;he’s merely dumped that arbitrary figure in his advisers laps and asked for a plan Most of the rest of the so-called “good news” consists of ...“it’s been suggested”...”, “is said to be”, “is expected to” intimations and is topped off by the bizarre notion that You Tube cameos equate to “transparency in govt”.  Lists of course can be conveniently superficial so rather than underinterpret each tentative point, let’s look at one for example:  “Signaling real change in America’s approach to foreign affairs, the appointment of a new and improved Dr. Rice to the role of U.N. Ambassador”. Rice comes from the elites (see Hedges column), her father was a Wahington banker and Fed Reserve governor, her hubby is an ABC news producer, so she should get favorable coverage. She’s another Clinton retread having served as Asst. Sec. of State for African Affairs; and is a close family friend of her political patron Madeline Albright. Incredibly enough the link to the NY Times article describes her as backing “action against mass killings”, referring to Darfur. But during her stint at State, the Clinton regime was carrying out some of the worst mass killings in modern history with its sanctions against Iraq. And on her own beat in Africa, with her enthusiastic support, Clinton launched a cruise missile attack in Aug. ‘98 in Khartoum on Sudan’s only pharmaceutical plant, and source of anti-malrial vaccine.  Foreign observers termed it an act of state terrorism that is estimated to have resulted in thousands of preventable deaths later from malaria. Rice, like Albright, was not well regarded at State and once admitted in a Wash. Post interview, “Many of my colleagues on Africa have a degree of understanding and expertise that I can’t pretend to have.”  But she apparently does have some “expertise” in covert action, reputedly being deeply involved in clandestinely supplying rebel terrorist groups in separate proxy wars against the governments of both Sudan and Congo during her Clinton years. More recently, as adviser to Obama Copacabana, she waffled on ‘residual’ troop levels to remain after Iraq ‘withdrawal’ saying only, “It depends on the circumstances on the ground…, it would be dangerous, to put a hard number on the residual forces.” Robert Gates or Joe Lieberman could have said it.  Some withdrawal. And earlier this year she was part of a study done by an Israel lobby group of a report, ‘Strengthening the Partnership: How to Deepen U.S.-Israel Cooperation on the Iranian Nuclear Challenge’. Not much “new and improved” about this warmed-over Rice. And these are only some of the “good things” about the new regime, we haven’t even gotten to all the bad stuff yet.

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By rage, December 8, 2008 at 11:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Whatever Obama does will be a change from the whole lot of nothing Dumya has been wasting time and resources doing over the last eight years. Furthermore, whoever Obama selects for his team is going to be better than whatever we had on the Bush Cheney Team. So, enough with the line-by-line scrutiny of plans that aren’t even in place yet. That’s just the useless killing of time and wasting of print space with crap that quite possibly won’t even be applicable by Januanry.

Everyone wants to speculate over who will have the reigns of the nation during the Obama Presidency, while little of that scrutiny was exercised over the Bush 43 Administration. Once Al Gore conceded, Bush went on vacation after vacation until right before 9/11, with everyone making a big ass joke out of the Chimperor’s wasting so much time cutting brush in Crawford. Few questioned Dumya’s absence or whereabouts during his first year in Office. Bush took forever to make the transition from Governor of Texas to President. Once he did, though, he returned to Texas to ‘work from home.’

Now that Dumyaand Pickels are packed for Dallas, the expectation is that Obama will step up to assume executive responsibilities before he even takes the oath of Office. Everyone has hundreds of questions about what Obama’s going to do. Worst is the close critical scrutiny of his every word and move. Obama gets dinged for crap his predecessors never faced before the 100th day of their Presidency.

I don’t recall the expectations being this high for any of the past Presidents, especially three weeks before taking the oath of Office. The truth is I don’t recall the pressure being this great on most of them a year into their tenure in Office. We rarely hear much from Presidents-Elect between their acceptance speeches in November and their Inaugural galas. Most new Presidents take the first four to six months to pull their teams together.

Granted Obama won. Still, let him take oath before we start holding accountable for putting out all the burning bags of poop Dumya and Cheney left in every precarious place they could imagine. I don’t expect him to have this mess figured out and resolved in his first 100 days. America is a real mess with a whole lot of crap going horribly wrong. Obama will be doing well if he accomplishes anything much during his first 365 days, let alone his first four months. In the meantime, we need to be reasonable and keep the crap feasible. Fixing everything Dumya has broken to pieces in our government and our economy is going to take a little more than a couple hours and a few tubes of crazy glue. It’s going to take some time and patience. We granted his predecessors that much. Do Obama that same solid.

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By samosamo, December 8, 2008 at 10:47 pm Link to this comment

I don’t doubt that there will be a substantial group of people watching with unabated anticipation of what direction we will be going starting, I think, no sooner that 1.20.2009. But for a large part is the media doped segment that just will not understand or just not care or actually not know what they are supporting IF the same corporatocracy remains around calling the shots. I don’t trust hillary one damn bit as her loyalties lie with the corporations, I mean would either clinton want to give up a $100,000,000.00 yearly income; she will protect her’s and billy’s vested interests.
And then there are the other appointees from the federal reserve or any of the big financial houses on wall street. As honorable as obama’s presidency may be, I have yet to see much in the way of stopping the corporate manipulation that is cause and continuation of a doomed economy.
I hate waiting for something this important to show itself for good or bad. There is still too much time for worse things to happen and all the good intentions of people-elect may not stem a collapse.

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By MICHAEL ROLOFF, December 8, 2008 at 9:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

what might be the criteria for holding obama to that rather vague promise of change he made which however did contained a few specifiics:
windfall tax on oil - welched on this in no time.
a slight increase in the tax on the wealthy: welched on that too..
is using the same rubin foxes that engineered the catastrophe really the best way to get us and the world out of it and repair the entirely broken financial system
right now it looks that with the anti-labor free trade people he is bringing in there is only strict continuity with bush. a belief in refilling those bladders that did what you know… under the aegis of “keeping the financial system” intact… does anyone expect a new ideas from all these super millionaires??? no stieglitz even. no one from labor which was instrumental in electing him and assuring its members that it was fine to have a more colored president ...

actually, bernanke going makes it worse

hilary allegedly was the wrong kind of hawk during the campaign!

is there actually anyony who still thinks obama would not have voted for the iraq war if he had been in the senate at the time?

volcker back? the same guy who broke labors back back then?

this is a continuation of the imperial presidency with its 750 bases all around the word.

what did you expect that all those finance people who bundled hundreds of millions of dollar for his campaign are going to support someone who in any way proves dangerous to their way of life???

and a’stan will be the undoing of his presidency as iraq’s was bush’s…

those are all cold warriors in the foreign policy post…
this is strictly about continuity with some manicuring going on

one acid test that remains is whether with all those clinton people around him he will continue clinton’s NATO expansion and surround of Russia for the sake of central Asian oil…

Brzezinsky was his chief foreign policy advisor….that’s the fellow who brought the world a nation of 25 million his cynical destabilization… now if that is not a war crime, a crime against humanity of the highest order i dont know what is. gates was part of that deal too, back in the late 70s.

At least I will not be disappointed, since I didn’t buy this cool aid…

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By eileen fleming, December 8, 2008 at 8:00 pm Link to this comment

All good Eugene.

I add that since our economy is driven- and our civil rights imperiled- by The Industrial Military Media Security/Surveillance Complex, we need to change course from FEAR and Paranoia to Dialogue and Diplomacy with our ‘enemies’

Let us also recall Pogo:

“We have seen the enemy and he is US.”

Naomi Klein wrote:

After the dot-com bubble burst in 2000, Israel’s economy was devastated, but then came 9/11, and “suddenly new profit vistas opened up for any company that claimed it could spot terrorists in crowds, seal borders from attack and extract confessions from closed-mouthed prisoners…


Many of the country’s most successful entrepreneurs are using Israel’s status as a fortressed state, surrounded by furious enemies, as a kind of twenty-four-hour-a-day showroom—a living example of how to enjoy relative safety amid constant war…


Israel now sends $1.2 billion in “defense” products to the United States—up dramatically from $270 million in 1999…That makes Israel the fourth-largest arms dealer in the world…


Much of this growth has been in the so-called “homeland security” sector.


Before 9/11 homeland security barely existed as an industry. By the end of this year, Israeli exports in the sector will reach $1.2 billion—an increase of 20 percent.


The key products and services are …precisely the tools and technologies Israel has used to lock in the occupied territories. Israel has learned to turn endless war into a brand asset, pitching its uprooting, occupation and containment of the Palestinian people as a half-century head start in the “global war on terror…

Israel’s policy of erecting walls and checkpoints to seal off the occupied territories are also “laboratories where the terrifying tools of our security states are being field-tested Palestinians—whether living in the West Bank or what the Israeli politicians are already calling “Hamasistan”—are no longer just targets. They are guinea pigs…”

 

excerpted from


http://www.wearewideawake.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=860&Itemid=198

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By DocReality, December 8, 2008 at 7:24 pm Link to this comment

Obama is a front man. Why all the hoopla? We’re screwed and the leftists don’t give qa damn, they are still high on the Obamatron.

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