" His Justice Department has granted blanket immunities from prosecution in both "Scandals of the Century.'"
As much as 80 percent of the public supports Social Security and Medicare, including the entirety of the president's Democratic base. Yet, it was Barack Obama who began the current austerity offensive in the weeks before delivering his first inaugural address, informing the New York Times and Washington Post editorial boards that all entitlements would be on the table for chopping during his administration. He followed through by appointing a Deficit Reduction Commission chaired by a far-right Republican and the farthest-right Democrat he could find (Simpson and Bowles), who crafted the blueprint for austerity that became Obama's model for a grand bargain with the GOP. The deal fell through in 2011 when Republicans balked at even "modest" tax increases on the rich, but there is not a scintilla of evidence that the president has abandoned his long, ideologically-based opposition to the safety net as presently constituted.
Only last month, he offered to alter the way Social Security benefits are calculated -- as an opener to negotiations. Obama has shown, by word and deed, that he poses the greatest threat to Social Security in its history -- far greater than George W. Bush, whose assault on the New Deal program met ferocious Democratic resistance. Obama will carry much of the Party with him -- which is why we at Black Agenda Report call the First Black President "the more effective evil."
" There is not a scintilla of evidence that the president has abandoned his long, ideologically-based opposition to the safety net as presently constituted."
So, when Obama uses a ceremonial occasion to declare that: "The commitments we make to each other through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, these things do not sap our initiative, they strengthen us" and ""a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life's worst hazards and misfortune," it is only cheap rhetoric, signifying nothing. Obama claims he wants to "reform" entitlements in order to "strengthen" them -- which is precisely the Republican line. By cheering the inaugural speech, progressives are only encouraging Obama's gaming and mendacity.
And so it goes. The Great Deporter becomes the great protector of immigrant rights. The man who killed the Kyoto Agreement is heralded as a champion of the environment because he expresses respect for "science" and pledges to somehow "respond to the threat of climate change." The mention of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s name signifies"what? Nowadays, not a thing.
It is true: Obama is the most gay-friendly president to date. I don't think U.S. imperialism and Wall Street hegemons have a fundamental problem with that, either.
Apparently, being gay-friendly is all it takes to be considered a champion of a "progressive agenda" in 2013.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com .
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