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Jan 23 2015

Electoral Victory

State of the Union 2015: Lethal, Predatory, Delusional

by Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report

Wed, 01/21/2015 – 16:32

Tuesday night, in his next-to-last State of the Union address, President Obama flashed the suckers a bag of tricks that has no chance of passing the Republican-controlled Congress, but will allow his apologists to claim that the genuine, more progressive Obama is revealing himself in his final two years in office. Of course, the final-years Obama could have accomplished his modest 2015 agenda, and much more, back in 2009 and 2010, when Democrats dominated both the House and the Senate and the Republicans were in despair and disarray. Which is precisely why Obama chose, instead, to put his party’s perishable congressional majorities at the service of bankers, Wall Street, private insurers and Big Pharma. Now that Democrats are the endangered species on Capitol Hill, Obama hangs a piñata of subsidized community college education, additional tax deductions for child care, seven days paid sick leave, higher capital gains taxes on the wealthy, and billions in fees on casino bankers.

On closer examination, his grab bag of bills and requests for legislation contains even less than advertized – a vapor-thin rhetorical veneer for a center-right presidency whose real accomplishment has been to re-inflate the Wall Street casino, flush the last vestiges of secure employment out of the economy, and put the imperial war machine back on the offensive. Corporate pundits describe Obama’s antics as an appeal to his party’s “base.” In a world in which words actually mean something, a politician’s base would be composed of the people whose interests he actually serves, rather than those he victimizes. But, such logic does not apply in late capitalist America, where both parties cater to the needs of the moneyed classes; one, shamelessly, without inhibition, the other through deployment of talented liars like Obama.



Obama celebrated the “resilience” of the “strong, tight-knit” American family, exemplified by a Minneapolis couple that have both regained employment. “Our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999,” said Obama – bad jobs, in a nation of growing inequality. For Blacks, wages relative to whites have regressed to 1980 levels, and Black household wealth has collapsed so completely there is no statistical possibility of ever reaching parity with whites under the existing economic system – period.



Thousands of U.S. troops now man the machinery of war in Iraq, where the U.S. was compelled to withdraw, five years ago.

Obama has no plans whatsoever to leave Afghanistan, where about 10,000 U.S. troops, largely Special Forces, remain on indefinite assignment. Yet, he begins his State of the Union address with the lie: “Tonight, for the first time since 9/11, our combat mission in Afghanistan is over.”

What is over – kaput! – is the U.S.’s ability to compete in a world that is breaking the chains of Euro-American imperial bondage. Washington can muster no response, except war. Neither can it maintain living standards for the vast majority of its own people, whose interests are diametrically opposed to those of the financial ruling class to whom the Democrats and Republicans answer.

As he prepares for transition, two years from now, to more lucrative position in service of the Lords of Capital, Obama harkens back to his national television debut, at the Democratic convention, in 2004. “I gave a speech in Boston where I said there wasn’t a liberal America, or a conservative America; a black America or a white America - but a United States of America.”

He was lying back then, just as he lied Tuesday night when he promised “to reform America’s criminal justice system so that it protects and serves us all.”

So said the man who gave the final coup de grace to due process and the rule of law with his preventive detention bill, his Tuesday assassination sessions, and his ever expanding Kill List.

It’s Time for a Revolution: Bankrupt Policies, Historic Losses Call for New Generation of Leaders

By Bill Curry, Salon.com

January 18, 2015

Progressives have long cohabited with Democrats. The relationship, while abusive, is hard for them to quit. Starting over is always scary, and building movements is hard even in good times, so the temptation is strong to keep on doing what they’re doing. Besides, how can you tell the Democrats are really dead? You can’t call in a coroner or poke them with a stick. It’s simple, really. All you have to do is look.

Life is change and these Democrats never change. It’s like watching “Groundhog Day” but without laughs, a love interest or a learning curve. Democrats in Congress ran the same race in 2014 they ran in 1994, lost badly, and then reelected all their leaders. Obama handled the budget this year the same way he does every year, with the same result. Hillary Clinton is poised to run the same awful race in 2016 she ran in 2008.

In 2014 Democrats were supposed to hold a populist revival. Aside from a few tinny sounding ads, they didn’t. Tied to the tracks with a giant locomotive barreling down on them, they couldn’t bring themselves to cut their Wall Street ties and dodge otherwise certain death. Now, after six years of blown chances, they say they’re ready to act as our tribunes and ask us once again to commingle our hopes and dreams with theirs. I say not so fast.

Obama has made more populist gestures in the last two months than in his first six years as president. It’s why his popularity’s rising. Some say it’s the economy, but the economy rose for some time without the middle class or Obama’s ratings being much helped by it. Proposals to fund universal access to community colleges and tax Wall Street speculators to finance a middle class tax cut are catnip not just to the left but to the middle class. The question for us all is whether this populist charm offensive signals real change.



The cosseting of the rich is more brazen now and more subversive of the public interest, and people hate it.

Worst of all was the Democrats’ complicity in passing a corrupt, shameful budget. Aside from its senseless priorities – wars are winding down so let’s give the military some more dough – it curtailed efforts to slow global warming, restored Wall Street grifters’ ability to shift their losses onto honest wage earners and weakened what’s left of campaign finance laws. Without scores of Democratic votes it could never have passed.

Within weeks of an inglorious defeat the Dems had a chance to hit the reset button. Instead they gave Republicans priceless cover while making it harder for their own members to go on posing as populists. They bartered their honor and got nothing in return. Someone should tell these “realists” that their compromises are killing them.

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