Failed Empire

Chronicling the collapse of a failed society

Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Rumsfeld Confirms Obama is Bush III

creepy Donald Rumsfeld

Rumsfeld knows a fellow Corporatist when he sees one:

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says President Barack Obama has come to accept much of the Bush Doctrine out of necessity, despite what he campaigned on in 2008.

Rumsfeld said that Obama needed to keep the Guantanamo Bay detention center open because of national security concerns, and it was the best solution among a host of bad options.

“They ended up keeping Guantanamo open not because they like it – we didn’t like it either – but they couldn’t think of a better solution,” Rumsfeld told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren on Tuesday.

Rumsfeld then listed a handful of other Bush administration policies that have continued into the Obama administration, something that he sees as vindication of the policies.

“The same is true with the Patriot Act, and military commissions, and indefinite detention. All of those things were criticized but today are still in place two-and-a-half years later because they are the best alternative to the other choices – and they are in fact successful in keeping America safer,” he says.

As usual, of course, Rumsfeld and his ilk are incapable of refraining from twisting the truth in some way or another.  For Rumsfeld to suggest that Obama campaigned against the Bush Doctrine is disingenuous, as Obama’s campaign was little more than a collection of vacuous platitudes.  “Yes, we can” continue our multiple wars of terror; “Yes, we can” ignore the rule of law and illegally detain people without charge or recognition of basic human rights; “Yes we can” continue a 30+ year streak of government policies that strongly favor the rich while decapitating America’s middle class.

And then we have Rumsfeld’s bogus assertion that the Bush Doctrine and its associated tenets – Guantanamo Bay, indefinite detention, the Patriot Act – are somehow the “best alternative to other choices.”  Of course, the vagueness of the term “other choices” leaves open the slimy possibility for a sliver of truth; but to what other choices are we referring?  Mass genocide?  Mandatory castration?  Government-imposed lobotomies?  (Actually, a form of nationalized lobotomy already exists; we call it public school.)

Obama never campaigned against the policies of the Bush administration, because he never had any intention of implementing anything different.  We have been living under a One-Party State since at least the Reagan administration, but that single Party has been becoming more and more brazen in its attempts to enslave the masses for the benefit of the Elite.  The Obama administration represents perhaps the most blatantly corporatist regime in the history of our nation – which says a lot, considering the notoriety of its predecessors.

U.S. elections are now and have long been a sham, and they will only continue to degenerate thanks to the preposterous Citizens United Supreme Court decision.  There is no meaningful difference between the Republicans and Democrats and has not been at any time in the modern era; to vote Democrat is merely to enable to the continuance of our long, dark slide into the depths of the dismal Right, where corporations hold more rights than humans, and the common good is sacrificed for the ever-growing profits of the Elite.  Any person who willingly identifies himself as a Democrat or Republican, and votes accordingly, is a part of the problem, and should be held accountable.

Boycott the One Party State.

House Approves $649 Billion Military Budget as Austerity Measures Loom

tomahawk factory

Forget the sick and elderly, we have wars to fight:

The US House of Representatives has approved a 649-billion-dollar military spending bill, increasing the Pentagon budget while the country is facing austerity measures and huge debt crisis.

The bill, passed with an overwhelming vote of 336-87 on Friday, boosts the Pentagon budget for the 2012 fiscal year beginning on October 1 by some $17 billion compared with the current spending, Reuters reported.

The measure, which was about $8 billion less than what President Barack Obama had sought, would provide $530 billion for the Pentagon’s primary budget and $119 to cover the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The approved bill excludes funds for US nuclear programs or military construction which will add another $33 billion to military spending in later bills.

The increase in military spending comes while huge budget reductions are expected in other agencies, affecting food aid for low-income women, health research and energy efficiency.

And while Barney Frank is a bit of a tool, he really nailed it on this one:

“The military budget is not on the table. The military is at the table, and it is eating everybody else’s lunch, “Frank said.

There’s not much more for me to say about this, folks.  This is a theme I have pounded into the ground over and over again, but nothing ever seems to change.  It’s a bit nauseating to observe the American public fervently buying into the fabricated budget crisis, arguing about arbitrary debt ceilings and deciding which important social services should be cut, but the military machine churns on unhindered all the while.

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Obama Boasts of Troop Reductions in Afghanistan, The Machine Trudges On

Tahrir Square

For the last ten years, we’ve been hearing about troop withdrawals in Afghanistan.  It’s not at all surprising that politicians will try to manipulate the masses with promises of an end to the war, but it is somewhat shocking that we seem to fall for it over and over again.  So with the latest reports that Obama is pledging a reduction in troop numbers in Afghanistan, it’s a good idea to ignore the corporate puppet and listen to what Pentagon officials have to say:

 U.S. Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy reminded lawmakers the U.S. troop force in Afghanistan will still be larger than it was when Obama took office, despite the President’s pledge to reduce the military presence in the country.

Michele Flournoy: “Even after the recovery of the surge forces, totaling about 33,000 troops, we will still have 68,000 U.S. service members in Afghanistan. That is more than twice the number as when President Obama took office. Clearly, this is not a rush to the exits that will jeopardize our security gains. More importantly, at the end of summer 2012, when all of the surge forces are out, there will actually be more Afghan and coalition forces in the fight than there are today.”

We’re not leaving Afghanistan, or Iraq, Libya, Yemen or Pakistan at any point in the foreseeable future.  As long as there is something to be gained by maintaining a troop presence, we will be there.  Such is the nature of empire, and ours is no different.  It doesn’t matter if the nation bankrupts itself in the process, because the wealthy elites that are pulling the strings have rigged the system in such a way that they always profit.  When the masses lose, they win.  When we’re struggling to survive on the unemployment line, they’re greedily lining their pockets with our national wealth, and laughing all the while.

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American War Crimes: U.S. Military Forces Deployed Cluster Bombs in Libya

cluster bombs

Perhaps not the most unbiased of sources, but it offers a perspective worth considering:

 The HRI said it has convincing evidence that the cluster bombing blamed on pro-Gaddafi forces was actually carried out by the US navy.

The report says at the time of the attack, Human Rights Watch and a reporter working for US media immediately blamed forces loyal to Libya’s embattled leader Muammar Gaddafi for the cluster bombing that threatened civilian lives.

According to the report, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay and the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were quick to condemn the act. …

The Libyan regime had flatly denied reports that they have used internationally banned cluster bombs in the ongoing clashes with revolutionaries.

As I’ve stated previously, Gaddafi is a war criminal and deserves to be treated as such.  But the standard corporate narrative that portrays the United States as being a pinnacle of justice and a defender of human rights is utterly laughable, and needs to be challenged at every step.

It is quite probable that the United States has used cluster bombs in Libya, as it appears they have done in both Iraq and Afghanistan.  Cluster bombs are against international law and their deployment should be considered deplorable, as they are a particularly brutal form of weapon.  However, focusing on the type of weapon used misses the larger issue.  War of any kind is reprehensible, and any entity which engages in warfare should be considered, by definition, guilty of war crimes.

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Mike Flugennock on Obama’s 2012 Re-Election Campaign: Are You In?

Mike Flugennock: Obama 2012 - Are you in?

Once again, Mike Flugennock nails it:

The “official” unemployment rate is nailed at around 10%, the foreclosure rate is climbing, bankers are getting fatter than ever, Bush’s tax cuts for the rich are still in place, the healthcare system is still in the hands of corporations, we’re up to our asses in three wars, the concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay is still open, our civil liberties are in worse shape than ever, Obummer’s just rolled over for John Boehner on the budget deal — and now Obummer’s got the sheer gall to ask me if I’m “in”.

In the absurd fashion of American politics, the 2012 presidential election campaign has already kicked off, some 18 months before the actual event.  The slick, corporate publicity machines now have nearly a year and half to tweak and refine their mind-numbingly vacuous political platform, endlessly shoving it down our throats all the while, until Americans are united in two camps of catchy three-word slogans.  Yes, we can!

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ICC Should Remove Double Standard Before Prosecuting Gadhafi

The International Criminal Court is preparing to indict Moammar Gadhafi:

In asking for the arrest warrants, Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said the evidence is clear: Moammar Gadhafi personally ordered the attacks on unarmed civilians that have been taking place since the uprising began in mid-February.

“He committed crimes with the goal of preserving authority. He has absolute authority. He uses that authority to commit crimes,” said Ocampo.

Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo said Mr. Gadhafi ruled through fear, that his security forces opened fire onto demonstrators, used heavy artillery on funeral processions, and used snipers to shoot worshippers leaving mosques.

Gadhafi is without a doubt a war criminal, and should be treated as such.  But the ICC will remain a mockery until it seeks to apply international law to citizens of all nationalities, and not just those of the developing world.   I am referring here, of course, to the most obvious example of crimes against humanity in modern history:  the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the extra-judicial assassination of Osama bin Laden.

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Noam Chomsky: Bush War Crimes Greatly Exceed Those of Bin Laden

As usual, Chomsky nails it:

We might ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic. Uncontroversially, his crimes vastly exceed bin Laden’s, and he is not a “suspect” but uncontroversially the “decider” who gave the orders to commit the “supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole” (quoting the Nuremberg Tribunal) for which Nazi criminals were hanged: the hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of refugees, destruction of much of the country, the bitter sectarian conflict that has now spread to the rest of the region. …

The imperial mentality is so profound, throughout western society, that no one can perceive that they are glorifying bin Laden by identifying him with courageous resistance against genocidal invaders. It’s like naming our murder weapons after victims of our crimes: Apache, Tomahawk … It’s as if the Luftwaffe were to call its fighter planes “Jew” and “Gypsy.”

There is much more to say, but even the most obvious and elementary facts should provide us with a good deal to think about.

Rarely is Chomsky’s analysis so overtly hostile; his anger here is tangible – and rightly so.  The U.S. assassination of Osama bin Laden raises countless concerns but offers nothing remotely worth celebrating.  Violating basic standards of ethics and human rights, the United States has executed an individual, without trial, in an unauthorized invasion of the sovereign nation of Pakistan.

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Celebrating Death with Religious Fervor is the American Way

Yesterday, news broke of the alleged death of Osama Bin Laden.  The announcement was greeted with unrestrained jubilation, as thousands of Americans took to the streets, wrapping themselves in American flags and chanting, “USA! USA!”  Is this really how we wish to define ourselves as Americans?  Regardless of what atrocities Bin Laden may have committed in life, how can any thinking person take pleasure in the death of another human being?  And does it really solve any of our problems?

The answer, quite clearly, is no.  If anything, the announcement of Bin Laden’s death will simply create more problems.  The image above from New York’s Daily News adequately sums up the the crassness to which Americans have stooped, reveling not just in the physical death of a human, but also in the fictional afterlife in which he will face eternal suffering.  And it is the reference to this fictional afterlife, a religious symbol, that is truly disturbing, as it paints American actions in the Middle East and Afghanistan in religious terms.  Bin Laden, an Islamic leader, was killed by a nation which, according to most of its politicians, professes to be Christian, while the US media proclaims his everlasting condemnation to the Christian hell.

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Obama Reports Death of Osama Bin Laden – Why Should We Care?

In late 2003, I was working in a supermarket meat room slowly saving money to fund a trip to Asia.  My coworkers were quintessential working class Americans, staunch believers in the virtues of Capitalism and the existence of the American Dream, self-professed conservatives to the core who firmly supported any and all military action undertaken to defend “our freedoms.”  And so it was not surprising when, on December 14, I clocked in to work to be greeted by the exultant manager.  “We got ‘im!”  he proclaimed gleefully.  For some inexplicable reason, he and my other coworkers seem to have derived some sense of self-worth from the capture of a Middle Eastern dictator who had previously had the tacit support of our own U.S. government.

My response then was the same as it is today, in the wake of the fresh claims that Osama Bin Laden has been killed in Pakistan:  who cares?  Just as the capture of Saddam Hussein bore little relevance to the concerns of ordinary Americans, so too does the purported death of Bin Laden – also a one-time ally of the United States – have little impact on the life of the common person.

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Mystery Budget Cuts Guaranteed to Shaft Americans Everywhere

the American way

Following yesterday’s passage of the temporary budget bill that includes a disputed $38.5 billion in spending cuts, like many Americans I wanted to know precisely what had been cut.  Mainstream media coverage contains only vague language about “social programs” and various “health benefits” being slashed, but offer almost nothing in the way of specifics.  The narrative is almost always the painfully familiar story of Democrats versus Republicans, and the epic battle between these seemingly diametric forces that took place before the passage of the final bill. The consensus within the MSM is that the Republicans were victorious in this round, although there is no real indication as to what that victory actually means.

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