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It's Time for Action Against Obama Policies
Extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy is only one of the many ways Obama has betrayed the visions and expectations of his campaign for president. It is time now to actively protest.
By Ed Knudson
It is difficult for me to admit that my support of Barack Obama has been in vain. On issue after issue he has actually adopted the perspective of Republicans. The more the right wing calls him a socialist the more he believes he must demonstrate that he is pragmatic, which means: take the Republican side on an issue. He passed a health care plan based on previous Republican proposals and even lied about the so-called public option, which was the only way health care costs could actually be contained. Just today he has concluded a trade policy with Korea which does not contain key elements to make trade more fair; he is continuing the Bush era trade policy. He hasn't changed security policies substantially from those promoted by Bush neoconservatives and even expanded war in Afghanistan. He cannot be trusted to bring a Democratic perspective to his plans to overhaul the tax system. He has adopted the Republican belief that tax cuts will improve the economy. He appointed a deficit commission whose leaders want to damage Social Security. He backs away from issues, talks one way and acts another, and has become defensive against the very people who supported him.
It's time now to protest. Below is a letter, a way to start, at Protest Obama.
Letter of Protest of Obama Administration Policies
This letter is a call for active support of protest to Michael Moore, Norman Solomon, Katrina van den Heuvel, Michael Eric Dyson, Barbara Ehrenreich, Thomas Frank, Tom Hayden, Bill Fletcher Jr., Jesse Jackson Jr., and other high profile progressive supporters of the Obama electoral campaign.
With the Obama administration beginning its third year, it is by now painfully obvious that the predictions of even the most sober Obama supporters were overly optimistic. Rather than an ally, the administration has shown itself to be an implacable enemy of reform.
It has advanced repeated assaults on the New Deal safety net (including the previously sacrosanct Social Security trust fund), jettisoned any hope for substantive health care reform, attacked civil rights and environmental protections, and expanded a massive bailout further enriching an already bloated financial services and insurance industry. It has continued the occupation of Iraq and expanded the war in Afghanistan as well as our government’s covert and overt wars in South Asia and around the globe.
Along the way, the Obama administration, which referred to its left detractors as “f***ing retarded” individuals that required “drug testing,” stepped up the prosecution of federal war crime whistleblowers, and unleashed the FBI on those protesting the escalation of an insane war.
Obama’s recent announcement of a federal worker pay freeze is cynical, mean-spirited “deficit-reduction theater”. Slashing Bush’s plutocratic tax cuts would have made a much more significant contribution to deficit reduction but all signs are that the “progressive” president will cave to Republican demands for the preservation of George W. Bush’s tax breaks for the wealthy Few. Instead Obama’s tax cut plan would raise taxes for the poorest people in our country.
The election of Obama has not galvanized protest movements. To the contrary, it has depressed and undermined them, with the White House playing an active role in the discouragement and suppression of dissent – with disastrous consequences. The almost complete absence of protest from the left has emboldened the most right-wing elements inside and outside of the Obama administration to pursue and act on an ever more extreme agenda.
We are writing to you because you are well-known writers, bloggers and filmmakers with access to a range of old and new media, and you have in your power the capacity to help reignite the movement which brought millions onto the streets in February of 2003 but which has withered ever since. There are many thousands of progressives who follow your work closely and are waiting for a cue from you and others to act. We are asking you to commit yourself to actively supporting the protests of Obama administration policies which are now beginning to materialize.
In this connection we would like to mention a specific protest: the civil disobedience action being planned by Veterans for Peace involving Chris Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg, Joel Kovel, Medea Benjamin, Ray McGovern, several armed service veterans and others to take place in front of the White House on Dec. 16th.
Should you commit yourselves to backing this action and others sure to materialize in weeks and months ahead, what would otherwise be regarded as an emotional outburst of the “fringe left” will have a better chance of being seen as expressing the will of a substantial majority not only of the left, but of the American public at large. We believe that your support will help create the climate for larger and increasingly disruptive expressions of dissent – a development that is sorely needed and long overdue.
We hope that we can count on you to exercise the leadership that is required of all of us in these desperate times.
Sen. James Abourezk
Margaret Flowers M.D.
Kevin Alexander Gray
Edward S. Herman
Jeffrey St. Clair
Please sign the Open Letter to the Left Establishment.
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