"The people who say I am shifting to the center apparently haven't been listening to me." ... Barack Obama
If you're like me I've had difficulty supporting the policy positions of Barack Obama lately. Suddenly he's transformed himself from a candidate of change to the disingenuous, calculating politician he actually is in hopes of winning the broadest possible voter appeal in the Fall.
The Democratic presidential candidate's favorite son recent tour of the Middle East/Europe supports my contention and was momentous for obvious reasons. Foremost was to rekindled Obama's commitement to bring the troops home from Iraq. However, observers exercising judicious skepticism couldn't help but notice similarities to Bush's rhetoric from the previous seven years. It was designed to buttress any lingering doubts global capital financiers might have about further investing in our warfare state as silent partners. This shrewd, smooth-tongued politico from Illinois conveyed to the gilded parasites exactly what they wanted to find out as well.
For example, speaking in Berlin last week the suave Obama reiterated many of the same persuasions used by the avowed outlaw he hopes to succeed offering similar assurances that he's COMMITED to the ongoing terrorist war. Interspersed amongst his flowery presentation were assurances the United States would remain dedicated to a "new dawn" in the Middle East by transferring the militarist front from Iraq to engagement in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Adopting another line from Bush he implied it's our "shared destiny" to remake the Muslim bloc countries into an open-ended vision western nations find more patronizing to their interests. For the corporate elitists listening in the audience that was the compelling statement they were waiting to hear, affirmation they could continue profiting from Bush's morass of greed.
These proclaimations alone should have been a harbinger of where Barack Obama intends to lead the nation if elected President but earlier renunciations prior to departing on the audition tour overseas were prognostic indicators of his imminent shift in political beliefs for the sake of national Party expediency. Betting an inattentive public would be desensitized by media coverage or (lack of) the tiresome trivia devoted to the general elections, consultants serving his executive bid dazedly advised him to reposition himself on such stalwart domestic issues as campaign finance, handguns, prisoner executions, NAFTA and FISA in anticipation discontented autonomous and Republican voters would find refuge with him.
Although tweaking disputable political questions is nothing new for our major party affiliations to give them the appearance of accoutability, FISA is where I refuse to concede. There can be no wiggle room for either the executive branch of our government or Congress who's required to keep the former in check by upholding the basic Constitutional doctrines they swore to keep intact.
Amy Goodman of DEMOCRACY NOW ! recently posted an exchange of two Obama supporters whom she interviewed for her radio program on July 26 which capsulizes the utter divide this quarrel poises. Glen Greenwald, a blogger at Salon Magazine defends the Constitution while a legal scholar, Cass Sunstein tries to justify the candidate's recant of his former position.
Sunstein: Yes, I think it's -- this is widely misunderstood. What the bill isn't is basically a bill that -- whose fundamental purpose is to give immunity. It's a bill that creates a range of new safeguards to protect privacy, to ensure judicial supervision, to give a role for the inspector general. So it actually gives privacy and civil liberties a big boost over the previous arrangement.
It also does contain an immunity provision, which Senator Obama opposed. He voted for the substitute bill that didn't have that. But he thought that this was a compromise which had safeguards for going forward, which made it worth supporting on balance, compared to the alternative, which was the status quo. So there's been no fundamental switch for him. He's basically concerned with protecting privacy. And this is not his favorite bill, but it's a lot better than what the Bush administration had before, which was close to free reign.
Greenwald: Well, you know, it's one thing to defend Senator Obama and to support his candidacy, as I do. It's another thing to just make factually false claims in order to justify or rationalize anything that he does.
The idea that this wasn't a reversal is just insultingly false. Back in December, Senator Obama was asked, "What is your position on Senator Dodd's pledge to filibuster a bill that contains retroactive immunity?" And at first, Senator Obama issued an equivocal statement, and there were demands that he issue a clearer statement. His campaign spokesman said -- and I quote -- "Senator Obama will support a filibuster of any bill that contains retroactive immunity" -- "any bill that contains retroactive immunity." The bill before the Senate two weeks ago contained retroactive immunity, by everybody's account, and yet not only did Senator Obama not adhere to his pledge to support a filibuster of that bill, he voted for closure on the bill, which is the opposite of a filibuster. It's what enables a vote to occur. And then he voted for the underlying bill itself. So it's a complete betrayal of the very unequivocal commitment that he made not more than six months ago in response to people who wanted to know his position on this issue in order to decide whether or not to vote for him. That's number one.
Number two, the idea that this bill is an improvement on civil liberties is equally insulting in terms of how false it is. This is a bill demanded by George Bush and Dick Cheney and opposed by civil libertarians across the board. ACLU is suing. The EFF is vigorously opposed. Russ Feingold and Chris Dodd, the civil libertarians in the Senate, are vehemently opposed to it; they say it's an evisceration of the Fourth Amendment. The idea that George Bush and Dick Cheney would demand a bill that's an improvement on civil liberties and judicial oversight is just absurd. This bill vests vast new categories of illegal and/or unconstitutional and warrantless surveillance powers in the President to spy on Americans' communications without warrants. If you want to say that that's necessary for the terrorist threat, one should say that. But to say that it's an improvement on civil liberties is just propaganda.- Advertisement -
Obama's centrist strategy was preordained from the time he won the Democratic nomination and entered into the general primary for the Presidential sweepstakes. Some call it smart politics but recent history reveals both Al Gore and John Kerry lost by employing this tactic. I prefer the term betrayal of the public trust to describe the course of action he's pursuing and predicted last November the eventual nominees of either party would embrace such methods. Eight months ago I wrote:
"I'll be voting for the individual who has presented me with the best plan to restore democracy to America. The first year agenda must include the prosecution of Bush/Cheney for war crimes, reinstate citizens' privacy rights, suspend international trade agreements, criminalize offshore banking, close loopholes in campaign finance laws, reverse the deregulatory policies of the present Administration and withdraw from unwarranted international engagement so our tax dollars can pay for the needs of our own people."
None of the present candidates for PRETENDER TO THE THRONE meets these expectations. They recite ad nauseam, soundbites written for them designed to mollify both the media and the message they convey to voters who are starving for substantive plans to address the escalating problems of the nation. That was the false promise Barrack Obama conned us into believing and reneged on while McCain has only failed, recycled GOP ideas from the past to offer. Billary was previously exposed as an enabler of worldly solutions in the primaries.
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