Obama Year Two: Continued Betrayal and Failure (Part II)
Obama Year Two: Continued Betrayal and Failure (Part II) - by Stephen Lendman
Part II concludes an assessment of Obama's year two.
Lessons from the Gulf
The aftermath of last April's Deepwater Horizon disaster left Big Oil again triumphant, thanks to the Obama administration's close industry ties, conspiring with BP in the greatest ever environmental crime. At the time, Public Citizen's Tyson Slocum said BP has "the worst safety and environmental record of any oil company operating in America."
It's been cited numerous times for willful negligence, shoddy maintenance, environmental crimes, neglecting worker safety rules, manipulating energy markets, and making a mockery of good industry practice in a business devoid of standards and ethics.
It'll be years before the full extent of damage is known. However, it's already clear that BP turned much of America's Gulf into a toxic wasteland. Independent scientists confirmed the disaster, citing fouled waters, beaches, marshes and wildlife, the extent and level of toxicity extremely hazardous to human, fauna, and flora life and sustainability.
The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) warned that hydrocarbon/dispersants contamination "direct(ly) threat(ens) human health from inhalation or dermal contact." Millions have been exposed. A future public health disaster looms. An epidemic of diseases are expected, some potentially lethal like cancer.
Administration-BP complicity caused it, followed by coverup and denial, when independent research showed most oil remains. It still does. Moreover, Corexit dispersants increased toxicity manyfold. As a result, seafood is contaminated and unsafe. Vast areas of the Gulf and shorelines are hazardous to human health. The seabed is covered with an oily fluid. Oil and gas leaks continue unabated. Dispersants spraying continues. The Gulf's Loop Current has been disrupted, weakening the Gulf Stream. Global waters and weather patterns have been affected, perhaps catastrophically.
The long-term human, wildlife, and environmental harm potential is vast and serious. The disaster effects are increasing, not diminishing. A chain reaction of unpredictable phenomena may cause droughts, floods, crop failures, and global food shortages. Already many illnesses have occurred. Massive fish kills continue, and life along Gulf coastal areas may be threatened for decades.
The administration's response: On August 14, Obama gave the all-clear, saying oil no longer is flowing, and "as a result of the cleanup effort, beaches all along the Gulf Coast are clean and safe and open for business."
He lied as he always does willfully and repeatedly on all administration policies - foreign and domestic, war and peace, human health, welfare and safety, and everything of public concern, defrauding and betraying Americans, what he does best.
The Obama administration authorized CIA operatives and Special Forces death squads to kill US citizens abroad, suspected of terrorist involvement. Hollywood tough guy Chuck Norris responded, saying:
Obama is "abandon(ing) our Constitution....based on nothing more than" suspicion. "That's right. No arrest. No Miranda rights. No due process. No trial. Just a bullet," bomb or slit throat, Washington's new approach along with torture as official policy. It's justice, American-style under Republicans and Democrats. Obama is even more extreme than Bush. He flaunts the rule of law, disgracing America and making the entire world unsafe.
Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a US citizen in Yemen, was first named, targeted for opposing US belligerency, not crimes. All Americans are at risk globally, based on suspicions, not proof.
Moreover, in September 2009, it was learned that Central Command head General David Petraeus issued a secret directive, sending covert US Special Forces to friendly and hostile states in the Middle East, Central Asia, the Horn of Africa, and by implication anywhere in the world to "penetrate, disrupt, defeat or destroy" terror threats and "prepare the environment" for planned military attacks.
Overall, the Obama administration significantly expanded America's secret war against Al Qaeda and other named terrorists, using Special Forces in 75 countries. By now it's perhaps even more, usurping greater power than George Bush. Involved is gathering intelligence and using drone attacks and other methods against civilians, killing thousands, including targeted US citizens, denied due process and judicial fairness. It's more proof of eroding constitutional freedoms.
Destroying Public Education in America
Continuing Bush's No Child Left Behind (NCLB) fraud, Obama is spearheading his own Race to the Top, using failed NCLB practices, including rote learning, testing, teaching to the test, school choice, and (short of real achievement), market-based reforms.
In an unprecedented assault on public education, he's pitting one state against another, promoting school closures, mass teacher/staff layoffs, and wage and benefit cuts - arguing for draconian measures and privatizations to qualify for federal funding.
It's an insidious scheme to end a 375 year tradition. Today it's being incrementally destroyed to commodify education, end government involvement, make it another business profit center, benefit the well-off, revive a separate and unequal nation, consign poor kids to low-wage, no benefit service jobs with no future so why educate them. It thus puts the American dream out of reach for millions, besides destroying it altogether, except for children from super-rich or rich families.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan heads the effort. Formerly Chicago Public Schools CEO, he wrecked them by closures, teacher firings, budget cuts, militarizing city high schools, and privatizations, including nearly 100 quasi-private charter schools, many run by for-profit companies. He plans the same for America, replacing public education with marketplace inequality, what poor kids across the country can expect.
Targeting Net Neutrality and Privacy
Obama maintained Bush administration policy, expanding intrusive government surveillance, including by monitoring personal Internet communications. Moreover, despite a campaign pledge to support "network neutrality to preserve the benefits of open competition on the Internet," he reneged across the board. As a result, a free and open Internet is now threatened, including under provisions of S. 3804: Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) if enacted with a similar House bill.
It aims to break the Internet one domain at a time, by requiring domain registrars/registries, ISPs, DNS providers, and others to block Internet users from reaching certain web sites. In other words, if passed, COICA will let Washington suppress free speech and block access to non-infringing and other material, inflicting enormous constitutional damage in the process.
In addition, a leaked September 2010 House Energy and Commerce Committee draft bill, if enacted, will let cable and telecom giants establish, among other provisions, premium higher-priced lanes (two Internets), effectively destroying Net Neutrality, compromising the last free and open space. Despite his campaign promise, Obama supports these measures. If enacted, they'll institutionalize thought control, the main weapon of police state authority.
Note: Net Neutrality is a defining issue of our time to keep the last public space free and open, letting users access all content without restrictions, limitations or restrictions, maintaining a level playing field for everyone.
On December 21, that ended when the Democrat-controlled FCC bowed to giant cable and telecom demands, compromising Net Neutrality. Corporate interests got control. Another Obama promise was broken, subverting digital democracy for profit and the ability to block unwanted content.
A full account of what was feared can be accessed through the following link:
High Court Injustice
The entire court represents elitist, pro-corporate, imperial interests, including Obama's two appointments, notably Elana Kagan. As Solicitor General, she argued that combating terrorism takes precedence over First Amendment rights. As Harvard Law School dean, she hired Bush's outgoing Office of Legal Counsel director, Jack Goldsmith, to teach law, a man Professor Francis Boyle calls "a war criminal."
She also endorsed Bush's bogus "unlawful enemy combatant" notion, what Boyle calls a "quasi-category to create an anti-matter universe of legal nihilism where human beings (including US citizens) can be disappeared, detained incommunicado, denied access to attorneys and regular courts, tried by kangaroo courts, executed, tortured, assassinated and subjected to numerous other manifestations of State Terrorism."
It brazenly violates fundamental constitutional protections, ones shredded post-9/11. Kagan strongly supports it and other illegal measures, including presidential power, the "unitary executive" kind under Bush and now Obama, as well as any practice fighting terrorism. Her presence further solidifies extremist High Court control.
Targeting Whisleblowers, Endangering Truth
On April 27, 1961, Jack Kennedy said:
"The very word secrecy is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighs the dangers, which are cited to justify it."
In a free and open society, principled leaking is vital to expose abuses of power and help make rhetorical democracies real ones. However, more than ever under Obama, those doing it are targeted, publicly denounced, pilloried by the media, fired if journalists, and at times arrested and prosecuted. The Obama administration has been more aggressive than his predecessors - going further than Nixon or Bush, including against Thomas Drake.
A former National Security Agency (NSA) senior executive, he was bogusly indicted on April 15, 2010 on multiple charges of "willful retention of classified information, obstruction of justice and making false statements."
Julian Assange perhaps now is threatened for revealing hundreds of thousands of diplomatic, as well as Iraq and Afghan war documents - by candidate Obama promising transparency, accountability, and reform of extremist Bush policies. Instead, he systematically hardens them, usurping surveillance powers, including warrantless wiretapping, accessing personal records, monitoring financial transactions, and tracking email, Internet and cell phone communications to gather secret evidence for prosecutions. He also claims Justice Department immunity from illegal spying suits, an interpretation no member of Congress or administration ever made, not even Bush or his Republican allies.
As a result, no one is safe, including human rights activists, political dissidents, anti-war protestors, Muslims, Latino immigrants, lawyers who defend them, journalists exposing federal crimes who don't disclose sources, and whistleblowers like WikiLeaks, army Pfc. Bradley Manning, and government insiders, privy to lawlessness they want revealed. According to Obama prosecutors, they're enemies of the state for supporting a free and open society, one endangered, in fact, without them.
Note: On December 10, the Senate passed S. 372: Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2009 (introduced on February 3, 2009).
The National Whistelblowers Center issued a red flag alert, saying:
"S. 372 is a bad deal for whistleblowers." Two "poison pills" undermine the bill's minor benefits. Specifically, for the first time, federal employees aren't protected, in violation of an earlier federal court ruling ordering corrective action for a whistleblower. "The provision also runs counter to every major study on how to detect fraud," including a recent one by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. It and others concluded that protecting whistleblowers is the best way to expose it and those culpable.
The second rollback gives the "broken" Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) greater power instead of reforming it. It lets MSPB dismiss whistleblower cases without hearings.
There's still time for the House to act responsibly. Public pressure alone makes it possible.
Political Prisoners in America
America has by far the world's largest prison gulag with over 2.4 million held in federal and state facilities, local jails, Indian, juvenile, and military ones, US territories, and numbers held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Half are for nonviolent offenses, many for political activism, others for political advantage to incite fear and hysteria for the bogus war on terror. As a result, large numbers have been wrongfully convicted, including many dozens for murders they didn't commit.
Post-9/11, Muslims became the target of choice, many hundreds hounded, vilified, rounded up, persecuted, and either deported or imprisoned on bogus terrorism charges.
They're also illegally entrapped, Obama's Attorney General Holder letting enforcement officials or agents induce, influence, or provoke crimes that otherwise wouldn't be committed. It's routine practice, an "essential law enforcement tool" to invent terror attacks, then prevent them, duping people to believe they're safer, unaware that Washington is the real threat, not innocent victims, rotting in prison to prove it.
In addition, Blacks and Latinos are victimized by racist drug laws, get tough on crime policies, a guilty unless proved innocent mentality, three strikes and you're out, or simply too poor for a proper defense.
Confinement conditions are harsh and abusive, including long-term isolation, poor medical care, physical abuse including torture, and perfunctory parole hearings denying their right to justice.
Obama prosecutors continue these practices ruthlessly, including torture as official state policy. War on terror priorities take precedence over lawful practices, no longer assuring safety in America under a president as disdainful as his predecessor, even worse in disturbing ways.
Food Fascism Legislation
In July 2009, the House passed HR 2749: Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009. It's code language for its real intent - to assure greater agribusiness consolidation and empowerment at the expense of small farmers and producers, as well as consumers.
In March 2009, the Senate version was introduced - S. 510: FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. After consumer groups exposed its true purpose, it stalled but didn't die.
On November 30, New York Times writers Gardiner Harris and William Neuman, announced the bad news, headlining "Senate Passes Sweeping Law on Food Safety," saying:
"The bill is intended to keep unsafe foods from reaching markets and restaurants, where they can make people sick - a change from the current practice, which mainly involves cracking down after outbreaks occur."
Once again, The Times lied, displaying its support for wealth, power, and global corporate predation, endorsing S. 510 instead of exposing and condemning it. It did mention a problem, however, explaining the bill could die for lack of enough lame duck session time for House and Senate versions to be reconciled.
To solve the problem, "Top House Democrats said....that they were considering simply passing the Senate version to speed approval but that no decision had been made."
Still another problem remains, Roll Call's John Stanton saying S. 510 "violated a constitutional provision requiring that tax provisions originate in the House. By pre-empting the House's tax-writing authority," the bill was temporarily in limbo without resolution until the House passed it on December 8 in an amendment to HR 3082: Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010.
On July 10, 2009, the earlier version passed the House. On November 17, 2009, the Senate approved its own bill. Obama never signed it because (on December 10, 2009) both Houses passed HR 3288: Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010, signed by Obama on December 16.
In the lame duck session, HR 3082, including amendments, is being used as a vehicle to pass a one-year Continuing Resolution (CR) for discretionary government funding through FY 2011. Included is amendment language to resolve the tax origination problem, assuring S. 510 passes and becomes law.
On December 19, it did in new form (unanimously with no recorded vote), as an amendment to HR 2751: Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act, passed by the House on June 9, 2009. On December 21, the House followed suit, Democrats (including Obama) as eager as Republicans to empower agribusiness at the expense of small farmers and consumers.
Earlier, Obama urged action, saying:
"With the Senate's passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act, we are one step closer to having critically important new tools to protect our nation's food supply and keep consumers safe."
False, according to the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF), calling House and Senate bills "food tyranny," giving the corporate-run FDA sweeping new powers:
"to criminalized and imprison farmers and food producers while doing absolutely nothing to address the real root of the food contamination problem: Factory animal farm operations (regulated by the USDA, not FDA)."
"If you're in the food business," said FTCLDF, "better begin preparing now to avoid the FDA SWAT teams" from cracking down on small farmers and producers, while letting their corporate allies operate freely. As a result, expect more harm, not improved safety, as well as greater than ever consolidated control of America's food - instead of decentralized production, processing and distribution, assuring safer, cheaper, more reliable products.
Obama's Failed Ecuadorean Coup Attempt
What worked in Honduras, failed in Ecuador, President Raphael Correa lucky to survive a plot to oust (or perhaps kill) him. Coup plotters shut down airports, blocked highways, took over an airbase, parliament, and Quito streets, the pretext being a law restructuring police benefits despite Correa having doubled their wages.
In fact, Washington's fingerprints were all over another Latin leader removal plot, less than 100% supportive of neoliberal extremism. For Correa, it's not his domestic austerity and pro-business policies, but his ties to Hugo Chavez and Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas (ALBA) membership, a WTO/NAFTA alternative based on fair, not corporate one-sided free trade, the curse of Latin and other states for decades.
Correa survived, perhaps chastened enough to shift increasingly right, sacrificing more popular interests to keep power. If not, Washington's long knives remain sharp and ready to try again to oust him. Obama has proved as ruthless as Bush.
Provoking North Korea
Last March, Pyongyang was falsely blamed for sinking a South Korean ship. At the time, evidence suggested a false flag, manufactured to stoke regional tensions. The incident occurred near Baengnyeong Island opposite North Korea. US Navy Seals and four US ships were conducting joint exercises in the area. The torpedo used was German, not North Korean as claimed. Germany sells none to Pyongyang. Yet it was blamed for what it didn't do, a clear case of Pentagon-manufactured mischief.
On November 23, another incident heightened tensions after North Korea shelled a South Korean island, AP reporting:
"The skirmish began when Pyongyang warned the South to halt (provocative) military drills in the area, according to South Korean officials. When Seoul refused and began firing artillery into disputed waters, albeit away from the North Korean shore, the North retaliated by bombarding the small island of Yeonpyeong, which houses South Korean military installations."
Despite repeated warnings, the South provoked the North, likely wanting a hostile response at the behest of Washington. The pattern follows how the 1950 Korean War began, getting Monthly Review co-founders Leo Huberman and Paul Sweezy, in 1952, to cite I F Stone's belief that it was the greatest swindle in military history, blaming the North for what the South initiated in cahoots with the Truman administration wanting war.
Stone called it international aggression. So did Huberman and Sweezy 14 months into the conflict saying:
"....we have come to the conclusion that (South Korean president) Syngman Rhee (a US puppet) deliberately provoked the North Koreans in the hope that they would retaliate by crossing the parallel in force. The northerners (who wanted a unified Korea, not war) fell neatly into the trap," giving Truman the war he wanted.
At issue now is whether Obama wants another one despite waging two unwinnable wars. It seems unlikely, but little by this administration surprises after nearly two years of out-of-control belligerency.
On December 4, it continued as US and South Korean forces conducted live fire naval maneuvers in the Yellow Sea, provoking an angry Chinese response. At the same time, Pentagon and Japan's military held one of their largest ever joint military exercises with thousands of troops, hundreds of aircraft, and the USS George Washington, a nuclear armed aircraft carrier, and its accompanying ships.
On the same day, South Korea began week-long live fire drills in waters off North Korea's coast. More are planned, and according to Kim Kwan-jin, the South's new defense minister, "I don't care about North Korean responses and they are not worth considering." He also vowed to bomb the North if Pyongyang again attacks.
China called for emergency Six-Party Talks, including both Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and America. Washington, Tokyo and Seoul rejected them, holding their own instead, excluding China, a clear affront not soothed by Obama calling Chinese leader Hu Jintao. On December 6, China's People's Daily highlighted deteriorating Washington/Beijing relations in an op-ed titled, "How should China handle America's 'return to Asia?' " Given America's penchant for belligerency, China has clear reason to worry.
Choosing saber-rattling over diplomacy, regional tensions are now heightened. The Obama administration is using the South and its own area forces as weapons against the North with no reason to want conflict. Washington may have other ideas.
Obama's Repressive Immigration Policy
Since taking office, Obama made America more than ever a police state, including by targeting immigrants, holding thousands in hundreds of unlisted, unmarked detention facilities in nearly every state before secret courts deport them, at times stranding them far from home countries.
In 2009 and 2010, record numbers were deported, including many long-time residents contributing to their communities productively. No matter. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) goon squads reign terror on them, targeting homes, work places, and other locations where they congregate.
In detention, their conditions are inhumane. Secret courts deny due process, and dozens of deaths have occurred in captivity. Women are especially impacted, vulnerable to sexual harassment, rape, and loss of their US-born children, American citizens, seized in raids, and put up for adoption.
Overall, Obama's immigration agenda is brutal and unjust, normalizing police state tactics, forcibly separating families, destabilizing workplaces and communities, and committing widespread civil rights abuses, treating aliens like criminals, not with respect they deserve.
Obama Capitulates to Republicans
Unsurprisingly, a corporatist hard-right president favoring wealth and power over social justice and popular need broke another campaign pledge by capitulating on extending tax cuts and other benefits for the rich, while offering working Americans chump change.
His deal is worth up to $1 trillion, the lion's share to corporations and the nation's wealthy, promoted as stimulus to create jobs and revive economic growth. In fact, it's roughly neutral, offsetting stiff, growing headwinds that otherwise would have had greater impact without something counteracting them in place.
However, make no mistake. Obama took care of his own, a strategy he hopes will assure another four years and get enough Democrats elected with him. As for his base, he wants their votes, even lying to hide his betrayal, including class warfare planned during the next two years. More on that below.
Greater Homeland Repression Ahead
Former Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), now serving in Chicago's People's Law Office, Michael Deutsch, believes hardened "anti-terrorism" laws are coming against activists seeking social justice.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) is using the Supreme Court's June 2010 Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project decision. It called nonviolent First Amendment speech and advocacy "coordinated with (or) under the direction of" groups designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) criminal activity.
Under the 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, Congress made it a crime punishable by up to 10 years, later 15 for anyone providing "material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization or attempts or conspires to do so." The statute defines it as:
"....any property, tangible or intangible, or service, including currency or monetary instruments or financial services, lodging, training, expert advice or assistance, safe houses, false documentation or identification, communications equipment, facilities, weapons, lethal substances, explosives, personnel and transportation except medicine or religious materials."
In fact, many groups and individuals providing peaceful advocacy are threatened, including Jimmy Carter for training all Lebanonese parties (including Hezbollah) on fair election practices. He submitted an opposition amicus brief.
CCR called the ruling "one of a very few times that the Supreme Court has upheld a criminal prohibition of speech under strict scrutiny, and the first time it has permitted the government to make it a crime to advocate lawful, nonviolent activity."
Deutsch now believes Obama's Justice Department will target political groups and activists, using their First Amendment rights in support of liberating struggles, including against Israeli apartheid and occupation. Under material support's new definition, anyone backing (rightly or wrongly) designated terrorist groups may be prosecuted as criminals, no matter their just cause. Obama is even more lawless than Bush. As a result, expect harder-line enforcement to come.
Obama's Neoliberal Austerity
Instead of vitally needed stimulus to revive a troubled economy, Obama plans austerity, using the pretext of deficit cutting urgency to shift more public wealth to super-rich allies already with too much but want it all.
As a result, two deficit cutting commissions proposed punishing social cuts. They barely touched defense, endorsed corporate and super-rich benefits by lowering income tax rates dramatically, and recommended a national sales tax, harming working households most.
In addition, they want deep Medicare cuts and comprehensive tort reform to make it harder for aggrieved patients to file malpractice suits. They proposed raising the Social Security retirement age to 69, while at the same time, reducing cost-of-living increases, now based on annual (jerry-rigged low) inflation rates.
Other recommendations included ending home mortgage and most other deductions and credits, taxing employer provided health insurance to encourage less comprehensive coverage and make healthcare cost more, freeze vital non-defense discretionary spending for four years, then cap it according to GDP growth, and various other schemes hitting working households hardest.
On December 3, Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (NCFRR) voted 11 - 7 for a national impoverishment plan to make super-rich allies richer. Fourteen votes were needed for congressional consideration, yet supportive "liberals" like Illinois Senator Dick Durbin called it a major victory.
Another faux progressive also endorsed it, North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad, saying in a December 1 press release:
"he supports the far-reaching debt reduction package produced by the President's (commission, calling it) a moment of truth....to avert a national fiscal crisis."
Even opposing members expressed overall support, signaling what's likely once the 112th Congress considers the plan next year. In a December 4 press release, Obama also effectively endorsed it, saying:
"I want to thank the (commission) members....for their important work in highlighting the magnitude of the challenge before us, and outlining an array of options to confront it....we simply cannot allow our nation to be dragged down by our debt. We must correct our fiscal course....our success depends on our willingness to engage (in) honest conversation and cooperation....we will all have to budge on long-held positions."
In other words, tax working Americans more, shred their social safety net, leave disadvantaged people on their own, while maintaining out-of-control militarism, support for criminal bankers and other corporate favorites, as well as super-rich allies by lower taxes and other benefits.
The latest example: Obama capitulating to Republicans on extending Bush's tax cuts for the super-rich on income, capital gains, and dividends. Also on their federal estate tax that lapsed at the start of 2010. Despite rhetorical disapproval, Democrats concurred, while at the same time agreeing to address deep austerity cuts for working Americans.
Overall, class warfare is planned for a future America unfit to live in, worse than now, a time of economic crisis, permanent wars, and increased homeland repression against dissent.
The class struggle between haves and have-nots keeps escalating. Already powerful winners have emerged. Wealth disparity extremes are unprecedented. Expect mass impoverishment, greater crises, and increased worker exploitation ahead. Congressional "progressives" and unions like the AFL-CIO effectively support it. So does Change to Win's four affiliated unions:
-- International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT);
-- Service Employees International Union (SEIU);
-- United Farm Workers of America (UFW), and
-- United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW).
Changetowin.org's web site describes the organization as:
"5.5 million workers united in Change to Win to build a new movement of working people equiped to meet the challenges of the global economy and restore the American Dream in the 21st century," apparently by wrecking it.
Their goal: cut wages and benefits to make US exports more competitive. Sacrifice worker needs on the alter of capitalist excess, their pain the price for its gain. It's a shocking indictment of a destructive system, winning bipartisan congressional and administration support, as well as union bosses betraying their rank and file instead of backing constructive alternatives.
New Start Treaty
On December 22, the Senate voted 71 - 26 to pass Start, what The New York Times called Obama's "most tangible foreign policy achievement." Thirteen Republicans joined Democrat unanimity, exceeding the constitutionally required two-thirds majority.
In fact, the treaty is more hype than substantive change. Serious nuclear reductions or disarmament aren't envisioned or planned. New modernized weapons will replace outdated ones. Dangerous testing will continue, and billions of dollars annually will be committed to proliferate a globally destructive first-strike capability, including from space.
The only common sense solution was ignored - full verifiable nuclear disarmament to avoid any possibility of nuclear war. Obama's year two ended as hypocritically as it began, promising little better going forward and likely worse.
A Final Comment
After nearly two years in office, Obama's been shameful, destructive, and criminal, sacrificing popular interests when most needed, pursuing an agenda heading America for tyranny and ruin unless stopped. A earlier 12 month assessment concluded that he wrecked America for a financial aristocracy; embraces a permanent war policy; flaunts human rights, civil liberties and constitutional freedoms; exceeds the worst of George Bush; and mocks democratic freedoms under a repressive police state apparatus.
It gets worse. Midway through his tenure, he's got bipartisan support to destroy America's middle class, create a nation of serfs, continue permanent wars, harden homeland repression, and solidify Orwell's dystopian future of "a boot stamping on a human face - forever," by a president promising change.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.