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What you should know about Barack Obama

By       Message Miles Mathis       (Page 1 of 4 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   30 comments

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Webster Tarpley has done a lot of research and presented a strong case against Obama (1,2), but his style is too dense for most. He hits too many topics too quickly, assumes too much knowledge from his readers-of fairly difficult and unfamiliar subjects-and refuses to try to simplify things. He will say that world politics and economics and history are not tidy subjects: they require years of study and cannot be vaporized down into easy-digested sound bites. True enough. But a fully functioning democracy must be run from the middle-at least to a much larger extent than it has so far-and for that to happen the argument has to be put in terms that the majority can understand. If you make too many references and mention too many names, most people will simply lock down. This is true even of highly intelligent people. Most highly intelligent people will not know lists of names and facts beyond their areas of expertise. Tarpley's areas of expertise include history and economics, but the argument must convince even those who know little of either field.

Let me lead by saying that this paper is not being written to convince you to vote for McCain. That is the last thing on my mind. I am writing this to convince you to vote for neither party candidate, since they have both been hand-picked by the powers-that-be-by factions that do not have your interest anywhere in their agendas. You have been groomed to think you have no viable choice outside the two parties, and I am attempting, first of all, to ungroom you.

We have been told that Obama is the candidate of change. Based on what? Based on the fact that Obama puts that slogan on his banners? You can have banners printed that say anything. You yourself could go out tomorrow and have a million banners printed that said you were the lovechild of Michael Jackson and Charles Nelson Riley, but hopefully that doesn't make it so. Banners and slogans don't mean anything. Likewise, anyone can give speeches and make claims. After the events of the last 50 years, only the most gullible person would trust a political candidate, from either party. For this reason, we should ignore the sloganeering and the canned speeches and the scripted debates. These speeches and debates are very short on substance and long on airy clichés like "hope" and "change" and "for our children's futures", and so forth. We should all be offended by these empty phrases and tugs on our heartstrings. We should be wary of any talk that even approaches the flavor of this political speechifying. We should say, "Enough of that blather already. Anyone can smile and say pretty things and pat babies on their heads. We are past that. We are better than that, frankly. We don't trust ads and speeches. We don't trust banners and bumper stickers. We don't trust the press to ask questions, either, since the press was bought out long ago. We don't want opinions from editors or academics. We want facts!"

What is more, we want pertinent facts, facts that have not been spun or manufactured. For instance, as one of these primary "facts", we are told that Obama must be impressive because he graduated from Harvard Law School. But that fact arrives pre-spun. Is Bush impressive because he graduated from Yale? Of course not. I am not claiming that Obama got into Harvard on a quota. I am just pointing out that graduating from Harvard means nothing, in itself. Good people graduate from top schools and bad people graduate from top schools. A diploma is an indication of nothing. Maybe Obama got into and out of Harvard on his own, maybe he didn't. We have no way of knowing. It doesn't require a quota system to sully Obama's diploma. It requires strings being pulled, like they were pulled for Bush. Tarpley proposes that Obama was recruited by Zbigniew Brzezinski* while he was an undergraduate at Columbia (3). It is known that the CIA and other intelligence agencies recruit heavily at both Columbia and Harvard, and Brzezinski has taught at both places-he was teaching at Columbia while Obama was there. I am not going to make that argument here. I am just pointing out that unless we know the facts with more detail, a diploma from Harvard could either be good or bad. It could mean Obama is a very smart guy with a lot of initiative. Or it could mean that he is an ambitious little phony with good connections. Given the level of Tarpley's research, it is difficult to say precisely what Harvard means on Obama's resume. We have some prima facie indications, of a rather strong nature, but we don't have any proof. We cannot say for sure that it is a red flag rather than a green flag, but we must be aware that "Harvard" may be a red flag. Like anywhere else, lots of strange things go on at Harvard, and the strange things that go on at Harvard have greater consequences than most other strange things.

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As another primary "fact", we are told that Obama is impressive because he is a charismatic speaker. But I seem to remember that Hitler was a very charismatic speaker. Obama is often compared to Martin Luther King (MLK), but MLK is not judged on his charisma, he is judged on the fact that he told the truth in the face of great odds. This is how we should judge a speaker. Not on how he looks in a suit or by how few speaking errors he makes or by how nice his voice sounds, but on the content of his words. I have not noticed that Obama's words have much content. In fact, he has avoided content like the plague. To curry favor with the broadest range of voters, he, like all other "first-tier" politicians, must avoid content. In modern politics, you only get content in the margins, from marginalized candidates like Dennis Kucinich or Ron Paul.

We do not get any real content from speeches or ads, and cannot expect any, so we must go elsewhere. If we cannot get any content from the mainstream media (since the mainstream media has been bought out by the powers-that-be), where can we go? Most people are wary of the alternative media online, and with good reason: it is a mixed bag, difficult to sort through. Someone like Webster Tarpley can sort through it with ease, since he knows enough about the contemporary political world to spot a lie immediately, but most of us can't do that. You will think this is Catch-22, but it isn't, since there is a little site online called Thomas**, and Thomas cannot be dismissed by anyone as a conspiracy site or as a nest of cranks. This is because Thomas is the website of Congress. It is a record of all bills and all votes. You don't have to trust Congress to trust Thomas. You only have to trust that the bills and votes are being reported accurately, and I haven't heard any evidence they aren't. Congress may be a nest of villains, but Thomas is one simple way to catch them in their villainy.

The reason Thomas takes us past the Catch-22 in this case is that Obama has been a Senator since 2005. So we can easily fact-check many of his assertions. If he says he is for change, we can go to Thomas and see if any of his votes in the past four sessions have been for change. So let's do that.

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The first thing we notice if we go to Thomas is that Obama began voting in 2005. We are reminded immediately of Obama's true level of experience. Senators serve for 6 years, but Obama has been a Senator for less than four years. The second thing we notice is that Obama pretty much stopped voting in the summer of 2007. An overview of his voting record shows clearly that he voted for 2.5 years and then began running for President full-time. He didn't bother to return to the Senate for most votes, even the big important appropriations bills (I will show this in detail below). So Obama's experience in the Senate consists of 2.5 years of votes. That is astonishing, if you think about it at all. It leads you inexorably to certain questions, the first of which is this one: of all the Senators and Representatives and Governors, why Obama? Why did he think he was qualified to run? Why did he imagine anyone would take him seriously? Even more to the point, why did anyone take him seriously? He had done nothing to distinguish himself as a junior senator from Illinois. He was not a firebrand or a maverick or even an admired speaker. He was not a stand-out in any way. He doesn't even fill his suit out as well as some, or have hair as memorably coifed as others (the apparent standard of many voters). He did not sponsor any important legislation, not even legislation that failed (as someone like Russ Feingold did). He mainly kept quiet and voted like he was expected to. It all seems rather mysterious, both that he should run, and that he should prevail. Given the small talents he has, and the small experience, we must assume he has some very powerful allies and backers. But why are they backing him? Could it be because he is not a maverick, because he is not a known quantity, and because he does not have any content? I will show that, given the facts, this is a likely scenario. Obama was chosen as Department of Defense candidate #2 precisely because he was so nearly a nothing. The flabbier the balloon, the more you can fill it with any air you like.

To show you exactly how status-quo, how anti-change, Obama was from the start, let us look at the voting record in some detail. In his first year in the Senate, in one of his first major votes, Obama voted for one of the most important bills of 2005, the (HR1268) Supplemental Defense Funds for the War on Terror, which provided funds for the Department of Homeland Security DHS) among many other things. Obama also voted for the Bayh amendment to this bill, which added another 213 billion for the procurement of armored vehicles for the army, the Warner Amendment, which added another 288 million for the maintenance of the aircraft carrier USS JFK; and other amendments which added other military pork. Obama claims he wants to end the Iraq War, but from the beginning he voted to fund it in full. As I will show, he never once voted against a military spending bill, or anything related to defense or security.

He voted for the Energy Policy Act of 2005, so if you are not happy with the current energy policy of the United States, do not imagine that Obama will change it. He voted for the Interior and Environment Appropriations that year, so if you are unhappy with the Environmental policy of the United States, do not imagine that Obama will change it. He voted for appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for 2006 (HR2360), so if you are unhappy with the DHS, do not imagine Obama will change it. He voted for funding of the Justice Department, including all restrictions of that funding, so if you are not happy with the Justice Department (HR2862), do not imagine Obama will change it. He voted for the FDA and Agriculture bill that year, so if you do not like their policies, do not imagine Obama will change them. He voted for the big military appropriations bills of September, October and November of 2005 (HR2528, HR2863 and S1042), so if you are unhappy with the way the military has spent you money, do not imagine Obama will change it. He voted for the Transportation, Treasury and HUD bill of that year (HR3058), so if you are unhappy with the way that treasury and housing have gone lately, do not imagine Obama will change it.

In 2006, he confirmed Robert Gates to be Secretary of Defense; he voted (HR4659) to extend the sunset of the Patriot Act (which means he voted to extend it); he voted to reauthorize the Patriot Act (S2271); he voted to beef up the Patriot Act (HR3199); he voted for the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense and the Global War on Terror; he voted for the Immigration Reform Act (S2611), which basically gives more money and power to the Department of Homeland Security and its secretary, Michael Chertoff; he voted for the Defense Authorization Act (S2766), which increased spending for the Iraq War, and the Defense Appropriations Bill, which did the same thing (HR5631); he voted to increase spending for the Department of Homeland Security (HR5441); he voted for the Safe Port Act, which gives more money to the military and the DHS;

About the only good vote of 2006 was Obama's vote against the Military Commissions Act, which passed anyway by a vote of 65-34. This is the act that nullified habeas corpus and put us all in danger of imprisonment without due process.

In 2007, Obama voted for the first major bill of the session, the ironically titled Honest Leadership and Open Government Act. If you are satisfied by the honesty and openness of your government, then you should definitely vote Obama! That bill worked wonders, didn't it?

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Obama then voted to increase the federal minimum wage. Sounds lovely until you find out that the bill increased it to $7.25, effective this year. That is still at least 50% less than it should be, according to other first-world country wages. Obama claims to be a progressive, interested in change and in fair wages and in lowering the difference between rich and poor, but he gave no speeches on the Senate floor, angry or otherwise, pointing out this fact and demanding that we try to match the fair wages of France or Sweden or Belgium.

He voted for the ADVANCE Democracy Act (S4), an Orwellian title, since it does the opposite. This act ties into the DHS and increases funding for all types of police, military, and covert operations to spy, collect, and share information.

After voting against the joint Congressional Budget in 2005 and 2006, Obama voted for it in 2007, in preparation for his run for the Presidency. Although his record could hardly be called revolutionary in his first two years, he needed to become even more status quo. His votes in the first two years could be seen as a small protest against the "ways and means" of the Congress as it knelt to Bush (a small protest since the Budget passed anyway). But in his third year, Obama became even less interested in change.

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