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Obama, the Great Dis-Equalizer

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by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Barack Obama has used up his people-friendly rhetoric over the past five years, and is now repeating promises he’s already made and broken: to raise the minimum wage, strengthen worker rights, establish truly universal health care, and fight for the common man and woman. Obama’s new rhetorical target is gross income inequalities – a catastrophe that has worsened on his watch.

 

Obama, the Great Dis-Equalizer

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The president’s rhetoric is nothing more than noise, totally disconnected from actual policy.”

President Obama, the Grand Facilitator of the greatest consolidation of financial wealth in human history, began his sixth year in office declaring that income inequality is “the defining challenge of our time.” The Grand Bargainer who saved George Bush’s bank bailout and presided over the (ongoing) infusion of tens of trillions of dollars into Wall Street accounts, and who bragged less than two years ago that, “Since I’ve been president, federal spending has actually risen at the lowest pace in nearly 60 years,” now calls for government action to reverse the momentum of his own policies. The Great Pretender, who in 2008 called for an increase in the federal minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by 2011, and then did absolutely nothing to effectuate it when Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress, now proposes to raise the bar to $10 an hour in order to embarrass Republicans in an election year. The Daring Debt Buster who, on his own initiative, has frozen federal workers’ wages since 2010, and worked hand in glove with Republicans to gut social programs in the name of fiscal restraint, laments “growing inequality and lack of upward mobility” among the masses.

The chief executive who lifted not a finger to pass “card check,” the Employee Free Choice Act of 2009, that might have given organized labor a fighting chance to survive, now pretends to be a born again champion of collective bargaining and yearns for the days when “you knew that a blue-collar job would let you buy a home, and a car, maybe a vacation once in a while, health care, a reliable pension.”

Meanwhile, Obama’s Justice Department sided with the Republican-appointed Emergency Financial Manager of Detroit, who was seeking to impose bankruptcy on the mostly Black city and raid retiree’s pensions – revealing the administration’s true colors.

Obama has frozen federal workers’ wages since 2010.”

The nation’s First Black President admits that “African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans are far more likely to suffer from a lack of opportunity – higher unemployment, higher poverty rates,” and claims he’ll push for “targeted initiatives” to combat this “legacy of discrimination” (although all the proposed targeting is in the form of tax incentives for business). Yet, nearly five years ago, in a press conference marking his first hundred days in office, Obama categorically rejected targeted aid for Black communities, thus ensuring that the cascading effects of the Great Meltdown would plunge African Americans deeper into the abyss. Obama said:

“So my general approach is that if the economy is strong, that it will lift all boats as long as it is also supported by, for example, strategies around college affordability and job training, tax cuts for working families as opposed to the wealthiest that level the playing field and ensure bottom-up economic growth.

“And I'm confident that that will help the African-American community live out the American dream at the same time that it's helping communities all across the country.”

By 2009, according to economist Pamela Brown, white household wealth was 19 times that of Black households, “and is probably even greater now” – compared to a ratio of 12 to 1 in 1984 and down to 7 to 1 in 1995. The collapse of Black economic fortunes has been catastrophic, yet Obama offers only tax cuts for corporations, streamlined business regulations, undoing of sequestration, more rhetoric about ending off-shoring of jobs, and stronger application of antidiscrimination laws.

The president wants us to forget that he was the one who proposed sequestration in the first place, in an effort to force a Grand Bargain with Republicans; that his economic advisors are secretly meeting with hundreds of corporate lobbyists to shape a jobs-destroying Trans Pacific Partnership that is “like NAFTA on steroids,” and then fast-track it through Congress; and that Obama has nominated two Republican prospective judges from Georgia to federal courts, one of whom fought to keep the Confederate banner in the state flag, while the other was the lead lawyer in defense of Georgia’s Voter ID law. The Obama administration has many priorities, but nondiscrimination is not one of them.

The collapse of Black economic fortunes has been catastrophic.”

Whatever Obama means when he says “targeted assistance,” it seldom translates as actual money for non-corporate persons. Back in April of 2012, his administration was cited for failing to spend almost all of $7.6 billion that Congress set aside to help communities and homeowners hardest hit by the housing crisis – a cohort that is disproportionately Black and brown. Obama’s Treasury Department offered no explanation other than they had not put together a proper spending plan. However, it is obvious that Obama’s people wanted to avoid doing anything that might interfere with the banks’ foreclosure processes, so as not to disturb Wall Street’s manifold schemes to further rig the market.

The growing crisis of income and wealth inequality is a result of the internal logic of capitalism under the hegemony of Wall Street. Obama’s fix for the vast social carnage the banksters leave in their wake, is to forge a State that is even more dutiful in propping up “the markets” and stripping down the public sector. There is no room in that presidential mission for even modest amelioration of the public’s pain. The president’s rhetoric is nothing more than noise, totally disconnected from actual policy. The Lords of Capital – for whom Obama is a servant – have nothing to offer but more austerity and war.

They must be disempowered, root and branch, and society “reformed” in their absence.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

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He done it again.  Everyday,

He done it again.  Everyday, Droneman finds another way to outdo Reagan and Thacther.  See the following Counterpunch.org article by Mike Whitney:

Obama's Corporate Plantations

The man who promised to restore hope and bring change to America, has announced a plan to open five corporate plantations in the United States. On Thursday, President Barack Obama, whose policies have resulted in the greatest number of public sector job losses in US History (Public sector jobs have declined by 718,000 jobs since Obama took office.) announced the opening of five “Promise Zones” located in San Antonio, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, southeastern Kentucky, and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. According to an article in USA Today:

“Under the proposed Promise Zones, the federal government plans to partner with local governments and businesses to provide tax incentives and grants to help combat poverty.” (“Obama to name 5 ‘Promise Zones’ for assistance“, USA Today)

Combatting poverty’ has nothing to do with it. Obama plans to shower the nation’s biggest corporations–which recorded record profits in the last year and are presently sitting on more than $1.3 trillion in cash–with more lavish subsidies and tax breaks while providing an endless source of cheap slave labor to boost future earnings. The president believes that the wealth generated in these profit zones, er, promise zones will trickle down to the area’s residents, even though–as the Christian Science Monitor notes–”it can be hard to tell whether a program’s benefits reach the poorest people, rather than flowing largely into the hands of the business owners who get the tax credits.”

Here’s more from USA Today:

“Obama said his administration plans “to partner with 20 of the hardest-hit towns in America to get these communities back on their feet. We’ll work with local leaders to target resources at public safety, and education, and housing.” (USA Today)

Translation: The Obama administration is committed to assisting the corporate oligarchy whenever possible even if it means further eviscerating the rapidly-diminishing US middle class and reducing millions of hard-working Americans to grinding third world poverty. Deregulation will allow corporations to privatize policing, education and any other lucrative public resource or service. According to the New York Times: “White House officials said the Promise Zones initiative would not provide new money, rather it would be aimed at providing the local governments and agencies “aid in cutting through red tape to get access to existing resources.”

No new money??

How do you like that? So, the man that helped push through the multi-trillion dollar Wall Street bailouts is not going to give one red cent to the nation’s poorest and most needy people. Instead, he is going to do whatever he can to eliminate the rules that keep voracious corporations from feeding at the public trough.

Conservative Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky — “praised the proposed Promise Zone for Eastern Kentucky saying:

“I wrote a letter last year supporting this designation because this region has suffered enormous economic hardship over the last several years,” McConnell said in a statement.”

Mitch McConnell likes Obama’s plan. That says it all, doesn’t it?

Plantations were a familiar feature of the antebellum South, but were abandoned following the Civil War. Now a new generation of corporate kleptocrats want to revive the tradition. They think that weakening consumer demand and persistent stagnation can only be overcome by skirting vital labor protections and shifting more of the cost of production onto workers. Obama’s promise zones provide a way for big business to slip the chains of “onerous” regulations and restore, what many CEO’s believe to be, the Natural Order, that is, a Darwinian, dog-eat-dog world where only the strongest and most cunning survive. This is a world in which Obama has done quite well, although he’s had to distance himself from his political base and throw friends under the bus (Jeremiah Wright) in his relentless climb to the top. Even so, selling out has never been an issue for Obama.

Special economic zones are not a new idea, in fact, they’ve been tried in the UK, Australia and other places where the global bank cartel exerts its grip. In Tokyo, last month, right-wing PM, Shinzo Abe announced the launching of his own “Special Economic Zones”. Here’s a short summary of Abe’s plan from an article in the Japan Times:

“Special zones aimed at spurring corporate investment through deregulation and tax incentives are to be created in Tokyo as well as Osaka and central Aichi Prefecture….Other deregulation steps to debut in such zones will let private firms operate public schools, let experts without teaching licenses teach classes, expand the scope of treatment that can be administered by non-Japanese doctors and nurses, facilitate the use of foreign drugs and increase the number of hospital beds.” (Japan Times)

Sound familiar? Deregulation, privatization, and cheap labor; the toxic coctail that has vaporized the US middle class and wiped out a good portion of the developing world.

Obama calls these promise zones. We think corporate plantations is a more fitting moniker.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

promise zones

Reminiscent of his Chicago days.

Well, keep speaking the truth man. I totally agree,

with your summation (and the rest).

"They must be disempowered, root and branch, and society “reformed” in their absence."

How to do that is another story,  But it's clear the rich control everything and if we don't stop them, nothing can change.  We might get crumbs, "let them eat cake", but that's all. 
We should know that by now. 

I said years ago that Obama should be considered a kind of gift of enlightenment.  After all his speeches, all the crying and praising the Lord, he turned out to be the same old shit. We shouldn't get fooled again, should we? 

Forward March

Onward to their disempowerment, extirpation, and society's reformation!  

A bizarrely evil system

The bizarrely evil SCOTUS ruling of a couple of years ago in the so-called "Citizens" United case - ruling that corporations are persons and money is speech - was just the icing on the cake in a long-running conspiracy to give the almost-totally-white Top1% and the criminal capitalist corporations they control total control over Amerikkka's so-called democracy.

While right-wing nutbars worship the U.S. Constitution for giving today's paranoid white supremacists the unfettered right to keep and bear automatic assault weapons - not to protect themselves against governmental tyranny, as they hypocriically proclaim, but to ease their irrational fears of darker-skinned people in their communities - they pussyfoot around the simpe reality that the only reason the 2nd Amendment was passed was solely to enable the slave-enforcement militias in the Deep - and deepening - South to continue savagely brutalizing the Africans who had been kidnapped and brought to Amerikkka to provide the bone-crunching labor necessary to build their masters' great fortunes.

They also choose to ignore the reality that the all-white so-called "Founding Fathers" never meant for Amerikkka to ever be a democracy. The original un-amended Constitution allowed only wealthy white males not only to hold public office but even to vote. It took 200 years of massive tears, sweat and blood - mostly shed at the hands of police, military and corporate brutality - before all adult Americans, as well as Amerikkkans, at least nominally had the right to vote. But no sooner had the masses won the centuries-long battle for "universal suffrage" before the almost-totally-white Top1% and their puppet political prostitutes began finding new ways - such as strippping convicts of their constitutional right to vote and voter ID laws meant to deny millions of minority, elderly, young, poor and working-class Americans of their right to vote - to once again give the vote back only to those who could be trusted to always support the cruel, racist, misogynistic, homophobic corporate capitalist agenda.

With that psychopathically evil Top1% now once again in complete and total control of the entire electoral system, it was inevitable that Barack Obama or any other man elected to the White House - regardless of his skin color - would never be anything more than the Top1%'s "boy in the White House."

Barack Obama sold his soul back in 2007 when Larry Summers - acting on behalf of the gangster banksters - negotiated the deal whereby the banks would raise $750 million to finance his first presidential campaign - which they did - in return for Obama making his first act as president the placement of Timothy Geithner in charge of the whole economy.

Just as the gangster banksters kept their word to Obama, Obama kept his word to the gangster banksters. But there was a hitch. Geithner refused to take the job unless Obama agreed to make protecting the multi-million-dollar annual bonuses of the already-criminally-wealthy bank and corporate executives who were bankrupting their own companies the administration's top priority and to provide almost no relief whatsoever to the 5 million American families whose homes were going to be stolen from them by the banks through their fraudulent mortgages. Obama instantly agreed.

And that's why African-Americans have fared far worse economically under Barack Obama than under any other president in the past 100 years and why the gap between average African-American household wealth and average European-Amerikkkan household wealth has grown wider under Obama than it has ever been.

Given the total control the Top1% has now over the entire electoral system and their ability to buy every politician in Amerikkka - with just a small part of the money they should be - aren't - paying in taxes - there is now no possibility whatsoever that meaningful change can ever again come about through the electoral system. And this holds true not only in the U.S. but also in Canada, in almost all of Europe, and, indeed, in almost all of the world.

Meaningful change will only ever come after the poor, the working class and even the middle class - across the entire world - unite as one - regardless of race, color, creed (or lack thereof), gender, age, Gdjj8sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, or physical and/or mental disability - in a global revolutiion that will smash the entire corporate capitalist edifice, strip the Top1% of their ill-gotten gains and severely punish them for their massive crimes against humanity, and put the world back on the path of the pursuit of worldwide social justice. www.WRISEUP.COM



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