A hot wind is blowing through Florida this week.
...and we're not talking about Tropical Storm Isaac.
GLN permalink 8-28-2012
While the Republicans use their convention to rant about "family values" and using the American military to dominate other peoples of the world, people are out in the streets demonstrating for civil rights and against war. They are demonstrating against the Republicans and their candidates, Romney and Ryan, for their support of the 1% and their pro-war, pro-Wall Street policies. The demonstrators are spot on.
But on September 3-5, when the Democrats meet for their convention in Charlotte, NC, the main left-of-center demonstration will have a very different tone. The North Carolina demonstrators have chosen to focus on what they call "Wall Street South" -- going out of their way to not directly confront the Barack Obama and the Democratic National Convention.
After 3-1/2 years of the Obama administration, with its escalated wars, bank bail-outs, attacks on civil liberties and nationally coordinated attacks on the Occupy Movement, this is a disgusting abrogation of political responsibility.
While President Obama throws himself a big commercial during the DNC in North Carolina, we will be presenting a Bill of Grievances against his administration at the Obama National Campaign Headquarters in Chicago.
This President has escalated most of George W. Bush's wars -- Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, a new American military force on the African continent. He has continued to arm Israel while it robs even more Palestinian lands.
He has threatened, and carried out, new illegal wars on other nations. He violated the War Powers Act to launch a sustained war on Libya. He looks the other way while the brutal Saudi Arabian dictatorship foments civil war in Syria. He refuses to rule out war, including use of nuclear weapons, against Iran.
He supports dictators and military coups against elected governments abroad. He recognized and arms the military coup governments in Honduras and the Maldives, and the "constitutional" coup in Paraguay. He arms the Saudi Arabian monarchy as it brutality suppresses its own people and invades Bahrain to support that dictatorship's crushing of its pro-democracy movement.
He sends troops to occupy countries that don't want them there. U.S. troops occupy 130 countries, violating the wishes of the vast majority of most nations they occupy. Obama's drone attacks far exceed those of George W. Bush. His "enemies list" of people to kill abroad and assassinations of them represents an escalation on Bush's "extraordinary renditions" of people to torture chambers run by U.S. secret forces and U.S.-allied dictators.
He neglects the urgent needs of the 99% at home and abroad while spending a record amount on the military. He enthusiastically supports the world's largest-ever military alliance, NATO, while spending 67% of the federal budget on current and past wars. He spends as much on the U.S. military as the rest of the world combined, while half the world's people live on less than $2 a day.
He has promoted the 1% in finance and other big businesses, while barely lifting a finger for the 99%. He and the Bush administration gave trillions to bail out Wall Street, and stuffed his administration full of many of the leading crooks who precipitated the financial meltdown in the first place. While he makes campaign gestures towards the 99% now that his own job is on the line, where has he been for the last three-and-a-half years?
He has stood by while Republican governors have attacked public workers' rights, and through his "Education" Secretary, has attacked teachers' unions more vigorously than any president before him. During the 2008 campaign, he and Secretary of State Clinton both pledged to at least modify, if not repeal, NAFTA, but didn't. He promised to make it easier for workers to democratically decide to form unions by signing "card check," but didn't.
He has escalated George Bush's attacks on civil liberties, increasing Bush's surveillance inside the country, persecuting whistle blowers like Bradley Manning and his supporters, while taking a pass on prosecuting Bush administration officials who ordered torture and launched wars that killed countless thousands of people. He has reauthorized the PATRIOT Act when he pledged to oppose it. He, as a former constitutional law scholar at the University of Chicago, has helped destroy habeas corpus, the right by which people cannot by imprisoned without charges or trials, by signing the National Defense Authorization Act.
He poses as a friend of immigrants after he has deported more undocumented people from the United States than any president since Herbert Hoover. His recent executive order stopping deportations of children of the undocumented was an election year gimmick that offers no path to citizenship, and was only conceded after doing far greater harm against immigrants than even the preceding Bush administration. It was his moving dramatically to the right on the issue in the early years of his administration which legitimized the savage attacks of many Republican officials in states and localities around the nation.
He has used LGBT rights like a political football, supporting equal marriage rights early in his career, then opposing it. After doing nothing to oppose the anti-gay constitutional amendment in North Carolina, he endorsed gay marriage, but at the same time endorsed a bogus "state's rights" approach to the issue. But it was the Democrats who gave us the Defense of Marriage Act in the first place, which he refused to repeal when his party held both houses of Congress. And Don't Ask, Don't Tell - again a product of the Democrats - was only repealed when a gay Log Cabin Republican suit, opposed by Obama, looked set to overturn the policy.
By endorsing corporate attacks on the environment at practically every turn, he has enabled the Republicans to move even further right on the issue. Cap and trade, a rightwing fantasy under Republican administrations, is now "mainstream." Despite weeks of high-profile protests, he opened the door to the Keystone pipeline. Fracking, without even disclosure of the toxic chemicals used, is expanding greatly under his EPA. In his eagerness to shill for corporate interests, he's pushing for the new first nuclear power plants in a generation, and the BP oil disaster in the Gulf was preceded just a few weeks earlier by Obama's announced opening up of huge areas of the eastern seaboard to drilling.
There are very few respects in which the current administration is better than the last one, and many more respects in which it has been even worse, betraying the hopes of millions who mistakenly felt that 2008 represented a fresh start in American politics.
We will not opportunistically oppose only the crimes of the Republicans while ignoring the crimes of the Democrats. We will not put the Democratic Party's interests above those of the 99% at home and abroad. We will oppose the pro-1% policies of the sitting President in his home town on September 4th, the first day of the Democratic National Convention.