- Promising change after eight Bush/Republican years, Obama
- With congressional Democrats, he exceeded Bush's harshness,
lawlessness, belligerency, and public trust betrayal.
- He violating every major domestic and foreign issue promise
made. As a result, he's been complicit in:
- looting the nation's wealth, wrecking the economy, and
consigning growing millions to impoverishment without jobs, homes, savings,
social services, or futures;
- giving Wall Street crooks greater money power, disguised
as financial reform;
- waging multiple imperial wars and occupations, spending
more on militarism than the rest of the world combined at a time America
has no enemies;
- belligerently ousting Honduran President Manuel Zelaya
and Libya's Gaddafi;
- promoting regime change in Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Lebanon,
and elsewhere against independent leaders, while continuing support for
the world's most ruthless, corrupt tyrants;
- presiding over a bogus democracy under a homeland police
- continuing Bush's worst lawless policies; adding more
of his own, including indefinite detentions without charge, and deploying
Special Forces death squads in over 120 countries to kill targeted suspects,
- targeting whistleblowers, dissenters, Muslims, Latino
immigrants, and environmental and animal rights activists called terrorists;
- illegally spying on Americans more aggressively than
- destroying decades of hard won labor rights;
- waging class war to destroy Social Security, Medicare,
Medicaid, public and private pensions, as well as other New Deal and Great
- wanting more aggressive media control than Nixon, according
to veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas;
- stiff-arming budget-strapped states and distressed households;
- four years into a Main Street Depression, none of the
millions of promised new jobs were created at a time real unemployment
- imposing austerity when vital stimulus is needed;
- planning new cuts to sustain Wall Street, militarism,
favoritism, waste, fraud, and other rewards for America's top 1%;
- wanting education commodified, government's responsibility
for it ended, and making it another business profit center;
- enacting healthcare reform that taxes more, provides
less, places profits above human need, and leaves a broken system in place;
- promoting "shared sacrifice," forcing worker
sacrifices to let America's super-rich share.
- As a result, Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protests fill hundreds
of cities nationwide, raging against an unjust system too corrupted to
- OWS activists "protest for an American revolution,"
because nothing less will work. Mayors deploy goon squads against them.
Violent police crackdowns follow.
- On October 26, Oakland, CA police attacked nonviolent
protesters with tear gas, flash grenades, beanbag shotguns, and rubber
bullets. Officers also threatened use of unspecified "chemical agents."
- Palestine came to Oakland's 14th and Broadway. Veterans
Against War member Scott Olsen sustained a serious skull fracture when
struck on the head by a tear gas canister. He remains hospitalized awaiting
- Ahead of the incident, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan defended
city police, saying:
- "I commend Chief Jordan for a generally peaceful
resolution to a situation that deteriorated and concerned our community."
- Later she defended police violence, claiming they acted
defensively. She lied. So did police officials saying protesters threw
rocks, bottles and paint.
- Across America, police violence and brutality are commonplace.
Daily incidents occur. On January 1, 2009, Oakland police murdered Oscar
Grant. Videotape evidence proved it. Five bystanders taped it.
- Cops rarely are held accountable, even for cold-blooded
murder. Endemic police violence brutalizes Americans. Eye-witness and videotape
evidence shows nonviolent people tasered with 50,000 electrical volts.
Deaths and injuries result.
- Other incidents involve false arrests, painful cuffing,
beatings, shootings, tear gas, stun grenades, rubber bullets, menacing
attack dogs, and other forms of violence against society's most vulnerable.
They include people of color, students, workers, and others wanting social
- On February 4, 1999, New York cops shot African immigrant
Amadou Diallo 41 times. Nineteen bullets struck and killed him while he
stood unarmed peacefully in the vestibule of his apartment building.
- On December 4, 1969, Chicago police murdered Black Panther
activists Fred Hampton and Mark Clark while they slept.
- Thousands of other nonviolent political victims fill
America's gulag prison system, the world's largest by far.
- In 1994, Congress passed the Police Accountability Act.
It was incorporated into the 1994 Violent Crime and Law Enforcement Act,
requiring compilation of national data on excessive police force. Nonetheless,
Congress refused to fund it.
- Moreover, local police aren't required to keep records
and submit them on Justice Department request. Nor is police violence and
excessive force criminalized. Enforcement mechanisms are absent, and national
security and border integrity related matters have carte blanche authority
to commit murder.
- Anything perhaps also goes to protect Wall Street and
other corporate favorites from beneficial social change.
- DOJ/FBI Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) data include thousands
of police misconduct reports, many thousands of affected victims, hundreds
of fatalities, and an average 15 or more known daily incidents, or one
very 96 minutes.
- This, in fact, represents the tip of the iceberg as data
collection falls way short. Evidence also shows coverups, lax discipline,
and failure to adhere to official policies and processes.
- As a result, serious civil rights violations are commonplace,
and why not. America became a police state, especially post-9/11 when repressive
laws trashed constitutional freedoms.
- The USA Patriot Act alone violates key Bill of Rights
- Fifth and Fourteen Amendment due process rights by permitting
indefinite detentions of undocumented immigrants that now apply to anyone
anywhere in the world, including US citizens for any reason or none at
- First Amendment freedom of association rights the Supreme
Court considers essential free expression. Now anyone may be charged and
prosecuted for their alleged association with an "undesirable group."
- Fourth Amendment protections from unreasonable searches
and seizures. As a result, personal privacy rights were lost.
- Authorized unchecked government surveillance powers to
access personal records, monitor financial transactions, as well as student,
medical and other personal records.
- "Sneak and peak" searches are now permissible
- "delayed notice" warrants;
- roving wiretaps;
- email tracking; and
- internet and cell phone surveillance.
- In addition:
- secret evidence may be obtained lawlessly and withheld
from defense lawyers;
- immigrants may be denied their right to counsel if unable
to provide their own; and
- built-in safeguards are ended to let domestic criminal
and foreign intelligence operations share information so CIA can now spy
- For the first time, in fact, the Act also created the
federal crime of "domestic terrorism," applicable to US citizens
as well as aliens.
- It states criminal law violations are considered domestic
terrorist acts if they aim to "influence (government policy) by intimidation
or coercion (or) intimidate or coerce a civilian population."
- As a result, anti-war, global justice, environmental
and animal rights activism, civil disobedience, and dissent of any kind,
including OWS protests, may be called "domestic terrorism."
- Notably under the Patriot Act's Section 806, with no
hearing or notice, authorities may confiscate or freeze all foreign and
domestic assets of any individual, entity, or organization accused of engaging
in, planning, supporting, concealing, or perpetrating any act called domestic
or international terrorism against America - even by protesting nonviolently.
- Other provisions are just as harsh, using vague language.
It gives authorities wide latitude to twist the law perversely and advantageously
against anyone for anything called terrorism, whether or not true.
- Bipartisan complicity passed other police state laws.
Any may be used against peaceful OWS protesters, especially if their numbers
grow and stay the course for uncompromising social changes.
- Earlier reports hinted at what's coming. In December
2007, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination published
one titled, "In the Shadows of the War on Terror: Persistent Police
Brutality and Abuse of People of Color in the United States," saying:
- "Since this Committee's 2001 review of the US, during
which it expressed concern regarding incidents of police brutality and
deaths in custody at the hands of US law enforcement officers, there have
been dramatic increases in law enforcement powers in the name of waging
the "war on terror (resulting in) the use of excessive force against
people of color....(It's not only continued post-9/11), but has worsened
in both practice and severity" - a NAACP representative saying it's
"the worst I've seen in 50 years."
- On April 4, 2007, Northwestern University Medill School
of Journalism's Ryan Gallagher headlined, "Study: Police abuse goes
- From 2002 - 2004, over "10,000 complaints of police
abuse were filed with Chicago police....but only 19 resulted in meaningful
disciplinary action, a new study asserts."
- According to Gerald Frazier, president of Citizens Alert,
it reflects "not only the appearance of influence and cover-up,"
but clear evidence that city residents are being abused, not protected,
despite the department's official motto being "We Serve and Protect."
- Police notoriously attack nonviolent global justice protests
against the IMF, World Bank, G-8, G-20, and WTO. Others demonstrating peacefully
at national political conventions also harsh police crackdowns and mass
- In 2005, the New York ACLU's "Rights and Wrongs
at the RNC," reported on New York police attacking peaceful protesters
at the Republican National Convention.
- Free expression and assembly rights were denied. Over
1,800 arrests were made, including observers, members of the media and
bystanders, the most ever at a national political convention.
- Mistreatment resulted, including detentions in unsafe
conditions, denial of medical care, painful handcuffing for long periods,
and other lawless abuses.
- At issue is protecting wealth and privilege from populist
change. Social justice activism is suppressed. Those with power want to
keep it. Nothing's yielded unless forced.
- Wall Street tops the pecking order. Money power in private
hands to make more of it lets them occupy and control Washington.
- What they want, they get. Ordinary people lose out. Rage
against the system demands change. Getting it requires focusing on issue
one - returning money power to public hands as the Constitution's Article
1, Section 8 mandates.
- Succeeding demands organized people putting their bodies
on the line against police violence. Key is staying the course, knowing
that social justice depends on returning money power to public hands where
- If that's achieved, everything else is possible. Otherwise,
- A Final Comment
- On October 25, a new Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
report showed America's richest 1% tripled their income from 1979 - 2007.
They also doubled their national income share at the expense of the bottom
80% losing out.
- Findings also concluded that the top 20% of US households
increased their national income share. The other 80% declined. Inequality
grew to unprecedented levels.
- People of color and youths are hardest hit. Notably the
study ended before Main Street's Depression began in 2008. Updated findings
will show greater than ever disparities.
- Obama's done nothing to address them. He's beholden solely
to America's monied interests, notably those on Wall Street.
- In the 1960s, economist Arthur Okum began calculating
America's Misery Index by adding unemployment and inflation rates for a
sense of public pain or lack of it in good times.
- In October, it hit a record high above 25%, exceeding
its May 2011 25% and earlier June 1980 22% peaks. Given current conditions
absent policy measures to improve them, analysts see it going higher.
- Yet, on October 18, Obama outrageously told ABC News
he supports OWS protesters, saying:
- "The most important thing we can do right now (is)
letting people know that we understand their struggles and we are on their
- For nearly three years, he systematically waged war on
working Americans, targeted organized labor for destruction, and focused
solely serving wealth and power.
- That's his legacy of shame. Polls show OWS protesters
know it. Some people can be fooled some of the time, others all of it.
- However, Fordham University Professor Costas Panagopoulos
surveyed New York protesters and found three-fourths angry about Obama's
- His research's only surprise is that all of them don't
condemn his fealty to Wall Street and other corporate favorites at their
- Give it time. Perhaps later nationwide OWS surveys will
show practically no one supports him. Why should they when he spurns them
on all issues mattering most.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
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