Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Guess who I didn't vote for today!

Those who knew me during George W. Bush's presidency and were familiar with my opinion of his administration might expect that I'd be inclined or predisposed to championing Obama. In actuality, I voted for a third-party candidate in 2008, but tepidly welcomed Obama's innauguration with a healthy mix of hopefulness (heh) and scepticism.

By the outset of 2012, it was obvious to me that my scepticism was warranted; Obama had given me several really big reasons to oppose him, and virtually no reasons to support him. I've stayed consistent, while all of the people at the anti-war protests in 2003 have proven fickle and blinded by partisanship.

When it comes to the crimes and injutsices Obama has commited, let  me count the ways:

1. Not just renewing Bush's reviled Patriot Act, but expanding it, too.

2. Bush sold war as war. Wannabe neocons/wannabe war hawks ate it up. Obama has continued and amplified Bush's interventionist, "We're the BIG GUYS on the block!" foreign policy, but he's been far more covert about it ... and that which he does acknowledge to the public, he spins as humanitarian efforts.

First of all, in 2007-08, Obama ran as an anti-war candidate, and made promises to return U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. He, his administration, and his campaign say that he's came through on Iraq, and play up that they have some sort of really nifty, brainy longterm scheme to withdraw U.S. troops gradually ... when in actuality, they significantly escalated and prolonged the war in Afghanistan.

The Obama camp's line on Iraq is particularly disingenuous -- dubious, even. Consider: on February 7th, 2012, the Washington Post reported that "[t]he CIA is expected to maintain a large clandestine presence in Iraq and Afghanistan long after the departure of conventional U.S. troops as part of a plan by the Obama administration to rely on a combination of spies and Special Operations forces to protect U.S. interests in the two longtime war zones."

To make this easier for myself, I'll copy and paste some of stpeteforpeace.org bulletpoints from their "Obam Fact Speech", piggybacking their built-in links, some of which have further links, so you can follow the trail yourself and discover that this is actually verifiable, on-the-record information.

  • Waged war on Libya without congressional approval.
  • Started a covert, drone war in Yemen.
  • Escalated the proxy war in Somalia.
  • Escalated the CIA drone war in Pakistan.
  • Maintained a presence in Iraq even after "ending" the war.
  • Sharply escalated the war in Afghanistan.
  • Secretly deployed US special forces to 75 countries.

I'll let Webster Tarpley elaborate:

Speaking of anti-war activism, remember Cindy Sheehan? She's still anti-war, and so, logically, she's anti-Obama. Here's Tarpley and Sheehan on the matter:

The left didn't want Sheehan around anymore, once Obama was elected. Being anti-war had become just so passe:

3. Very shortly after taking office, Obama signed an executive order to shut down Guantanamo Bay. Things looked good: the anti-war humanitarian Obama of his campaign was proving to be the real deal. Now, in Guantanamo, detainees -- who are allegedly suspected of being bogeymen terrorists (and probably a whole bunch of Middle Easterners whom U.S. intelligence officers know full well aren't terrorists, but the CIA is a really twisted bunch) -- are denied the innate rights of due process and humane treatment.
Four years later: Guantanamo is still in full operation. I can't help but picture Obama, when in private, crows uproariously over how he suckered with all that "Can't we all just get along?" baloney.
4. Obama actually has a -- get this -- a "secret kill list". Sounds like the behavior of a caricature of a tyrannical dictator in a dystopian novel or film, right? Or like something all those kooky anti-government militia types in the middle of the country would dream up, right? (Actually, there's anti-government types who are softspoken activist filmmakers who are commendable researchers and are working to expose injustices and not let the perpretators go accounted for.)

5. Obama likes killing innocent civilians by remote control. Here, instead of getting impatient by my fumbling attempt to teach you about this subject, I'm sure might find it more palatable if it's relayed by Abby Martin.

Abby's acutely aware of the irony of Obama having won a Nobel Peace Prize. (It's a lot like ... well, George W. Bush winning a Nobel Peace Prize.)

And here's Ben Swann, a local TV news reporter from Cincinatti (and an outstanding one), covering this issue:

6. This past New Year's Eve, when few would be paying attention, "President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), codifying indefinite military detention without charge or trial into law for the first time in American history. The NDAA’s dangerous detention provisions would authorize the president — and all future presidents — to order the military to pick up and indefinitely imprison people captured anywhere in the world, far from any battlefield."

Radio host Alex Jones was on top of this right away, posting an alarm-sounding YouTube video on New Year's Day:

Here's an NDAA tutorial courtesy of, again, Ben Swann:

Abby, of course, also knows what's up:

And, tying in some of the above-discussed jobs, here's Swann being heroic:

Now, if you're an Obama supporter, a lot of this might be new to you. You might be convinced this is rightwing propaganda. It's not. These are all matters of fact (regardless of the opinion of anyone appearing in any of the videos I've linked), and I'm not villifying Obama just because he's a Democrat. I have staunch anti-war, pro-human rights principles. That's where I'm coming from. It's true that I resent Obama for his crimes and his supporters for their ignorance, so it may seem like I am an "opponent". Given all of free passes and continued adoration he gets, can you blame me?

Here's a clever experiment executed by Luke Rudkowski of WeAreChange: approach people in Times Square and ask if they support Obama. If they say yes, cite all of the things discussed above (drones, the NDAA, the kill list, etc.), but attribute to Romney. Even though this is the first time they've heard about any of this, they immediately accept it as fact and are not shy about adamently decrying these policies. When Luke reveals the truth to them, their reactions suggest the proverbial deer in headlights. Some even do a 180 and accuse Luke of lying, even though they had no qualms about taking Luke's word for it when they thought they were being fed new reasons to revile Romney.

No matter what the outcome of today's electio, this will stand as a summation of what I observed last year, and the conclusions I could only draw. If Obama wins, some of the rabid abortion-on-demand-demanding Obamanoids that I know would surely relish me "losing". They'll be shoot out of luck if they expect me to scrap my principles and ethics, though. As a civil rights activist from our shared history said, "you can't kill an idea."

I'll leave you with a short video making light of all of this madness. Ceasing to be against stuff that you used to be against -- or at least quieting down about it -- when "your" party is in power is inane. Here's Alex Jones, capturing the absurdity of partisanship (and not principle) perfectly:

See you tomorrow, when we'll know (well, maybe...) the election results...

-- Ryan


  1. Boy, you must not hang around on too many leftie blogs if you think that Obama supporters as a group are not extremely cognizant of the numerous problems with the man. Of course, it's the case that there are also low-information voters; there are for any candidate. But let's not get carried away.

    An' I must say, your vision of Obama bwa-ha-ha-ing about having fooled everyone strikes me as bizarre. I picture him more like Tommy Carcetti from The Wire--an idealistic man whose principles erode as he bows to what he perceives as political necessity. I do wish we could have a better American President. Then again, I also wish we could have a better American people.

    I have to accept that as a big ol' commie, I have no representation in American politics (and I'm not registered as a Democrat, for whatever that's worth). Nonetheless, I took stock and realized that on every single issue I cared about, Romney would be exponentially worse than Obama, and voted accordingly. Do I LIKE such compromising? Not really. But it's just a vote. It was totally painless and took less than a minute. It's not like I pledged my heart and soul to the man. And I won't deny that, under the circumstance, I'm deeply relieved by the results.

    I do entirely agree with you that that Nobel Prize was grotesque, however.

  2. I have a hunch you're talking more of the academic left. I should've distinguished that I was talking about the proletariat Obama supporter. The WeAreChange video that I included shows that the average person is completely unaware of these issues.

    The reason I don't hang around such leftist forums is becasue I couldn't stomach intellectualizing these crimes against humanity as mere "problems". If those kind of things earned Bush aspiring dictator comparisons (as well they should have), Obama's not exempt from the same standards.

    Before the election, I'd heard various people, from friends to family, say that that they were truly dreading a Romney presidency. I'd understand that, if Obama's presidency had been in keeping with his '08 campaign. But Romney's campaign platform indicated that on foreign policy and civil liberties, his presidency would've been "more of same". He's been explicitly clear that he'll continue Obama's drone policies, and that if he had been president at the time, he too would've signed the 2012 NDAA, with its dubious provisions intact.

    With that in light, I certainly never expected a Romney president to be anything resembling "good". But given everything that I cited/linked to in my post, I'm completely lost as to what exactly had people convinced that a Romney presidency would be a nightmare. It would, but at a minimum, only as much a nightmare as Obama's has been.

    Of course, I realize that your reasons surely account for the disparity in concerns that make you a socialist and me libertarian. And others on the left would fit a similar profile. But as a former lefist, I'm convinced that in the past four years, a considerable chunk of the left can no longer recognize up from down. (But perhaps I was never as much a liberal as I thought I was, but I needed a catalyst to sharply accentuate how I was the proverbial square peg.)

    -- Ryan

  3. re: "Obama bwa-ha-ha-ing". With each passing year, I'm more and more convinced that many or even most world leaders, given all the blood on their hands, must out of necessity have a vastly different, more sociopathic psychology than you or I.

    Obama, "idealistic"? Well, so was his college buddy Bill Ayers, and the other conniving members of the Weather Underground. The kind of idealism that inspires you to draw up plans and schemantics for putting everyone in the country that you disagree with (libertarians and conservatives) in reeducation camps, and killing off all the hopeless cases. Of which I'd be one, 'cause I could never be "reeducated" to submit to that kind of authoritarianism and thuggery.

    -- Ryan

  4. My big reaction to the re-election was, "Now What?".

    I'm convinced Romney's big mistake was that he made only token efforts at connecting with the Middle Class, Lower Middle Class, Working Poor and Unemployed - he always had to wink back to the Upper Class Conservatives. And Paul Ryan turned out to a block of deadwood. Also, Mitt should've visited NY and NJ during Sandy (this would not have been impossible - I doubt he woulld've been turned away if he drove in with a convoy of food, electric generators and blankets out of his own pocket)- forget what anyone says to the contrary - he seemed very "My Pet Goat" currying favor in Florida, which turned out to be a fool's errand in the end.

    The big problem I have with Obama is that his plans for change are all dependant on the usual suspects: the same people and ideas that responsible for this mess, as if it's all bound to work over time. More tax breaks for the wealthy! More short-term employment to keep the numbers high! Rasie taxes! More incentives for outsourcing and higher cheap labor! Made in USA? Yes, but who are they REALLY hiring in the USA to make things here?

    We need to think seriously about who's in charge of all the money, we need to offer incentives that will pull the coat of companies who don't give back to the economy of this country, hiring cheap immigrant labor and outsourcing everything to avoid offering vacations, pension and health benefits and we need to stop looking at offers from people/agencies with questionable data gathered from fast food franchises and retail stores. We still have a lot of people claiming there's plenty of jobs out there - but who's REALLY getting hired and for what?

    As for all this recent spin of "The Latino vote"? Well, I didn't know so many latinos were in the Electoral college! That's very good news! Or were they refering to the popular vote? But wait a minute? That's not what's really did it..

  5. Awww, Ryan... Don't make me start regretting my vote, less than 24 hrs later!

    Rather, ask yourself who would you prefer to pick the next couple of Supreme Court Justices?

    Whatever your views (he tries to say apolitically), that's good enough reason for me!

  6. Joe,

    Never regret your vote! You made an informed decision.

    Geo mentioned having to compromise, and that's, unfortunately, what it comes down to for many (most?) of us. Supreme Court appointees are a very common deciding factor ... and understandably so.

    My post dwelled on very specific issues. These policies upset me, but I have to recognize that they're not what everyone else is focused on. And as I mentioned, Romney's proposed foreign policy and national (in)security policies were little different, so it actually makes sense to look at another factor to make a distinction and then decision. (My deal is just that I thought Obama was supposed to not be like that, and so I'm especially hard on him for it.)

    I strongly believe that if this country's going to turn around for the better, more citizens have to reject the establishment media telling us there's only two "real" candidates in each election and to pick A or B, and instead embrace third party candidates. But at the same time, I understand why this doesn't happen, because as an election draws nearer, it's almost a survival instinct that pushes us into panic mode and we give into the "lesser of two evils" mindset.

    It's interesting to note, though, that in the third party debates this election cycle, almost all of the candidates were in complete agreement in their opposition to drone warfare and the NDAA. Imagine a world in which most left-leaning citizens voted Green and most right-leaning citizens voted Libertarian: there'd still be differences on economic policy, but our elected officials as a whole would be far more ethical and humanitarian than are those we have now when it comes to innate human rights, both at home and abroad.

    And they'd actually be able to cooperate, rather than having completely polarized House and Senate votes. (For example, Ron Paul on the right and Dennis Kucinich on the left, as two politicians who have managed to spend their careers largely sticking to their principles and not selling out to lobbyists, have at times successfully cooperated on measures they agree on.)

    -- Ryan

    1. The needless existience of a Third Party Candidate is what gave us President George W. Bush and "Senior-President" Dick Cheney.

      For better or for worse, we are a two-party system. Anyone else is just a spoiler for another candidate.

    2. On the flipside, I would say that the system is the spoiler ... for any uncorrupt, principled, honest, well-meaning person who wants to run for office.

      The two-party system that we know today wasn't taking shape until roughly a third of the way into the 1800's. The Constitution didn't mandate a two-party system. The Dems and the GOP are predominant is because that way, it's much easier for the lobbyists and corporate donors to which they're beholden to sustain their influence.

      -- Ryan