July 04, 2008

Green Party (Obama exposed!) update


Cynthia McKinney Deserves Your Support, Obama Does Not Wednesday,
02 July 2008 A Campaign Foreign Policy Focus by BAR executive editor
Glen Ford

Former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who seems poised to
capture the Green Party presidential nomination, in Chicago, this
month, "is at this juncture in history the only vehicle through
which progressives can both register their outrage at Barack Obama
and begin the process of rebuilding a mass, Black-led movement for
real social change." Meanwhile, the frequency of Obama's Right turns
seem to increase in direct proportion to the nearness of the general
election. "Surely no one with a brain any longer believes that Obama
is a closet progressive, or even a genuine liberal." The question
is, How many progressives will put their votes and resources to
honorable use?

Cynthia McKinney Deserves Your Support, Obama Does Not A Campaign
Foreign Policy Focus by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

"Cynthia McKinney's campaign is the last opportunity to threaten
Obama with a backlash against his betrayals of progressive principles.

"We have to bring the war in Iraq to a respectable, responsible and
honorable end," said Barack Obama, sharing a platform with Hillary
Clinton in Unity, New Hampshire, last week. The list of qualifiers
and impediments to a quick exit from Iraq lengthens with each Obama
lurch to the Right. The closer the Illinois senator gets to the
White House, the farther he projects the Iraq occupation into a
future just as murky as that envisioned by George Bush and John
McCain. In Obama's endlessly conditional world, withdrawal from
Iraq must be done "responsibly" - meaning, in actuality, that the
U.S. must retain the power to keep the Iraqis "responsive" to
American military, economic and political demands. A U.S. military
pullout (of who knows how many troops, since Obama has always been
elusive on the question) must be "honorable" - meaning, it should
not give the appearance of weakness or admission of criminality.
Most important, the U.S. must emerge from the withdrawal (or
reduction, or draw-down, or other conjure-word) in a position of
"respect" - a total impossibility, unless respect actually means
evoking terror throughout the neighborhood at the very thought of
ever again provoking the Americans into violating the laws of modern

Such is the endless elasticity of terms like "peace" and "withdrawal"

when mouthed by Barack Obama, a master of bait-and-switch, a game
he apparently believes he can play indefinitely on the people of
the United States and the planet. The general debasement of language
in the U.S.

political culture - a degeneration that devalues meaning and facts,
cause and effect, in favor of bells, whistles, hype and prettily-packaged
but hollow "hope" - provides a perfect soundstage for Obama's
politics of vapidity, in which no term has reliable, lasting
definition. Only in a flim-flam market culture, in which old products
are packaged as "new and improved" and senile reactionary farts
like Ronald Reagan are deemed "revolutionaries," could Barack Obama,
Hillary Clinton and Democratic congressional leadership masquerade
as proponents of peace - even as virtually the entire senatorial
Party endorses another $162.5 billion for Iraq-Afghanistan war

"Barack Obama is a master of bait-and-switch."

Obama is confident he can retain the "peace candidate" label while
erecting successive obstacles to actual, physical withdrawal from
Iraq, and while simultaneously pledging to add 92,000 troops to the
U.S. Armed Forces in order "to fight two wars and defend our
homeland." His confidence is well-placed, not just because he is
the Big Money Candidate in the current historical shift of corporate
dollars from Republicans to Democrats - money that buys a mass
version of reality - but because generations of two-party homogenized
gibberish has rendered millions of Americans incapable of distinguishing
between fact and fantasy, between waging war and pursuing peace.

The true voices of peace speak clearly, in simple language. "The

should withdraw all troops and mercenaries from Iraq in as orderly
a fashion as possible," says former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia
McKinney, candidate for the Green Party's presidential nomination.
"This withdrawal should be quickly accomplished, since the troops
and the equipment were all pre-positioned in the area to start with,
at the start of the invasion."

No flim-flam, no equivocations, no inventing of excuses to prolong
the crime against peace (a Nuremburg capital offense). McKinney
speaks as both a former U.S. Representative and a movement activist,
one of the architects of the Reconstruction Party's Power to the
People Platform, which declares:

"We need an end to all wars and occupations by U.S. forces, including
in Iraq and Afghanistan. We need an immediate cessation of funding
for war. We need prosecution for all individuals guilty of violating
the law, including having committed or authorized crimes against
humanity, crimes against the peace, torture, or war crimes. We need
a complete renunciation of the pre-emptive war doctrine. We need
an end to all wars and war's utility. We need to dismantle the
apparatus that implements schemes of regime change around the world,
and that instead assists in self-determination of all peoples."

The platform on which McKinney runs is straightforward, eminently
understandable, and in conformance with the substance and spirit
of international law. It is what Barack Obama used to pretend to
say, in front of progressive audiences, only without his mitigating
language designed for ease of reversal - commonly called flip-flop,
but more accurately, betrayal - terms that ultimately smother peace
in a pillow of words like "respectable, responsible and honorable."

This is how Obama uses his impressive language skills: to lure
constituencies that seek peace into the maelstroms of war; to assault
the integrity of language itself with his relentless tinkering with
meanings, until finally, his original peaceful promises turn into
their warlike opposites.

Obama's modus operandi is consistent and, especially after his
recent flurry of policy reversals, transparent to all who care to
observe him dispassionately. He is a word-hustler, a slickster, a
politician/actor who has always been eager to serve the global aims
of the very rich. That's why, back in the summer of 2003, while a
candidate for the Illinois Democratic U.S.

senatorial nomination, he had to be pressured (by Bruce Dixon and
me) to have his name removed from the corporatist Democratic
Leadership Council membership list. And that's why, five years
later, he stripped off his anti-NAFTA clothing to announce on CNBC,
the businessman's cable source: "Look. I am a pro-growth, free-market
guy. I love the market."

"The U.S. should withdraw all troops and mercenaries from Iraq in
as orderly a fashion as possible,' says former Georgia congresswoman
Cynthia McKinney."

As Naomi Klein wrote in "Obama's Chicago Boys" (June 14, The Nation),
Obama "is thoroughly embedded in the mind-set known as the Chicago

established by Ronald Reagan's favorite economist, Milton Friedman,
at the University of Chicago, where Obama taught constitutional law
for ten years.

Obama's chief economic adviser, Austan Goolsbee, is on the faculty.
It was Goolsbee who, back in February, urged the rightwing Canadian
government not to pay too much attention to Obama's campaign critiques
of NAFTA, explaining that the candidate's rhetoric was "more
reflective of political maneuvering than policy."

Goolsby spoke the truth. Obama has maneuvered himself out of the
anti-NAFTA camp, entirely. As he told Nina Easton of Fortune, the
quintessential ruling class magazine:

"Sometimes during campaigns the rhetoric gets overheated and

he conceded, after I reminded him that he had called NAFTA
"devastating" and "a big mistake," despite nonpartisan studies
concluding that the trade zone has had a mild, positive effect on
the U.S. economy.

Does that mean his rhetoric was overheated and amplified? "Politicians
are always guilty of that, and I don't exempt myself," he answered.

Obama used to say he would reexamine NAFTA in its totality. Now he
says, "I'm not a big believer in doing things unilaterally." He has

But there is an unwavering progressive in the race. "The practical
effect of NAFTA is that it is an anti-union policy," says Green
candidate Cynthia McKinney. "Why US unions would support a political
party [the Democrats] that has decisively contributed to their own
demise, is beyond me.

I support the international right to unionize. My legislation, the
Corporate Responsibility Act and the TRUTH Act sought to compel US
corporations operating abroad to abide by U.S. labor, environmental
standards, thereby lifting up workers in other parts of the world,
not exploiting them. The Reconstruction Movement Draft Manifesto
also calls for repeal of Taft Hartley, to strengthen workers' rights
in this country."

McKinney cites the Power to the People Platform: "We need to promote
and enact laws for U.S. corporations that keep labor standards high
at home and raise them abroad. Toward that end, it is clear that
we need a repeal of NAFTA, CAFTA, the Caribbean FTA, and the U.S.-Peru
FTA and justice for immigrant workers, including an end to the
guest-worker program riddled with abuses."

"No one with a brain any longer believes that Obama is a closet
progressive, or even a genuine liberal."

Both Black and white progressives deliberately made themselves
irrelevant to the Democratic campaign by failing to challenge Obama
before and during the primary season. Now there is one remaining
chance to put a healthy fear into Obama and to help build a Black-led
movement that will fight for progressive values after the election
is over: solidarity with Cynthia McKinney.

Surely no one with a brain any longer believes that Obama is a
closet progressive, or even a genuine liberal. Last month he finally
confessed that Black Agenda Report has been right about him all the
time: he's Hillary Clinton's political clone "If you look at my
positions and Senator Clinton's, there's not a lot of difference,
which is why it's so easy for advisers, senior advisers of Senator
Clinton, to support my candidacy," said Obama, unveiling his roster
of national security advisors.

And what a "Back to the Future" crew of Bill Clinton and Bush #1
retrograde hacks he has chosen! Obama's core group of foreign policy
gurus is non-change personified - U.S. imperialism from the pre-Bush
#2 era in the flesh. (See "Background of Obama's Foreign Policy
Group," Institute for Public Accuracy.) Endless war is written on
their faces. Progressives should have taken Obama seriously when
he announced to everyone who would listen, back in March, "The truth
is that my foreign policy is actually a return to the traditional,
bipartisan, realistic foreign policy of George Bush's father, John
F. Kennedy, of in some ways Ronald Reagan."

Obama had the gall to praise Reagan and the elder Bush while on a
"Stand for Change" bus tour.

Cynthia McKinney offers real change - peace for a change.

"The United States should and must engage the world, but not in
empire, not in military," said McKinney, who was first elected to
the U.S. Congress from a suburban Atlanta district in 1992. "Ninety
percent of the US security budget is dedicated to some military
engagement with the world. The United States should stop arming
factions, supporting factions, new elections should be held [in
Iraq] with international advisors, and the "coalition of the willing"
should work with the United Nations to disarm and restore to the
extent possible the Iraqi civil sector. The Reconstruction Draft
Manifesto calls for an end to US militarism and the establishment
of a Department of Peace by restructuring the US State Department."

So it does. The manifesto is a comprehensive movement document, a
basis for political action beyond the narrow confines of electoral

"Sadly," says the manifesto, "the Bush - Pelosi war policy is a
formula for endless global conflict, deterioration of the rule of
law among nations, and growing impoverishment, indebtedness and
evisceration of civil liberties at home."

More and more each day, "the Bush-Pelosi war policy" is also Barack
Obama's policy, as further evidenced by his about-face on Bush
spying on U.S.

citizens with the aid of U.S. telecom companies.

In going the extra, unrequested mile for AIPAC, the Israel lobby,
Obama moved to the Right of every U.S. president in history. Obama's
blustering vow that Jerusalem will remain forever an "undivided"
"Jewish" city would lock the U.S. into a position unacceptable to
every Arab or Muslim government on Earth.

His bellicosity regarding Iran differs from John McCain's, only in
that Obama would theoretically deign to hold talks with Iranians
"at a time and place of my choosing," while refusing to rule out a
preemptive strike.

"The Bush-Pelosi war policy" is also Barack Obama's policy."

Every Obama foreign policy instinct seems to support the "special"
and unlimited "relationship" with Israel, robust defense of American
Manifest Destiny, ever-increasing war expenditures, and inherent
supra-national, extra-legal U.S. rights - formulas for planetary
doom. On not one major foreign policy front does Obama any longer
advocate positions consistent with peaceful planetary development.
Not one!

It's time for people claiming to be progressives who supported
Obama, to accept that they were bamboozled by a champion slickster.
Actually, that's putting the best face on the situation, since most
of Obama's progressive credentials were simply wished into existence
by folks who were tired of even pretending to fight. Obama now dares
to drop all pretense of progressivism, trusting that there will be
no ramifications on the Left, especially among the otherwise most
dependable progressive constituency, African Americans.

Will the next few weeks and months prove Obama right? Cynthia
McKinney deserves Black and Left support, while Obama manifestly
does not.

McKinney, whose last act in Congress was to submit articles of
impeachment against George Bush in 2006; who courageously questioned
the White House version of events before and after September 11,
2001; who acted as a one-person conscience of the House Armed
Services Committee, speaking out against corporate and military
mega-theft under both Clinton and Bush; who has with amazing
consistency always placed principle above her own personal and
electoral fortunes, is at this juncture in history the only vehicle
through which progressives can both register their outrage at Obama
and begin the process of rebuilding a mass, Black-led movement for
real social change.

(Ralph Nader cannot, for reasons of temperament and race, achieve
such dual purposes.)

On Venezuela, the difference between Obama and McCain is narrow,

Obama has reflexively included popularly (and repeatedly) elected
President Hugo Chavez among the world's "rogue" leaders, deriding
his "predictable yet perilous mix of anti-American rhetoric,
authoritarian government, and checkbook diplomacy," while McCain's
pitiful verbal skills at first allowed him only to sputter that
Chavez is "wacko." More recently, McCain vowed to "work to impede
Venezuela and Bolivia from following the same path of failure that
Castro followed in Cuba." McCain criticized Obama for, again, being
theoretically prepared to meet with Chavez. Not to be outdone, Obama
held a match to the region, condoning the Colombian narco-state's
armed intrusion into the territory of Ecuador, a nation friendly
to Venezuela.

McKinney's position on the region is as follows:

"It is totally irresponsible to call Hugo Chavez an 'oil tyrant'
as published some time ago. Totally irresponsible to support the
violation of the territorial integrity of Ecuador, a country that
has signaled its desire to join the framework for peace and against
destabilization by pulling out of the school of the Americas....
I pledge untiring support for self-determination in Bolivia, wracked
now by a secessionist-type 'autonomy' movement, probably fomented
outside Bolivia's borders."

Obama wholeheartedly backs the militarization of Africa through the
new U.S. Africa Command, AFRICOM. "There will be situations that
require the United States to work with its partners in Africa to
fight terrorism with lethal force. Having a unified command operating
in Africa will facilitate this action," said Obama.

"The McKinney campaign is the only vehicle through which progressives
can both register their outrage at Obama and begin the process of
rebuilding a mass Black-led movement for real social change."

McKinney has acted as a sentinel for Africa, on guard against U.S.

recolonization of the continent. She correctly regards AFRICOM as
a threat to the region. "More than likely, this force will be used
in just the same way as Plan Colombia is used -- to police dissent
and punish the innocent solely for pecuniary reasons. The last
thing Africa needs is AFRICOM, U.S. soldiers, or a School of the
Americas-type relationship with Africa."

When Obama is not carrying imperial water in the bullying of weaker
nations, he is silent on burning global issues - especially those
of keen interest to African Americans.

The December 2006 U.S.-instigated Ethiopian invasion of Somalia,
which according to the United Nations created "the worst [and still
ongoing] humanitarian crisis in Africa," elicits not a peep from
Obama. In fact, the only comments from Obama on Somalia that we
have found are his complaints about pictures taken during a trip
to his father's homeland, Kenya, depicting Obama in the ceremonial
tribal garb of the overwhelming Muslim Somalis.

McKinney has repeatedly denounced the U.S. overthrow of Haiti's
elected government in 2004, the kidnapping and exile of President
Jean Bertrand Aristide, and Brazil's and the United Nation's role
in occupying the country on behalf of the Americans.

Obama's last recorded comments on Haiti, from 2005, were summarized
on his Senate web site:

"Obama said he favors a congressional fact-finding mission to Haiti.
He said additional aid is needed there, but it must come with strings
attached to ensure it is used properly and not to line the pockets
of politicians, as happened in his father's native Kenya."

This is apparently all that Obama has to say about the bloody
suppression of the Haitian nation by the U.S. and its allies.

"The last thing Africa needs is AFRICOM."

There can be no effective reasoning with those African Americans
who want only that a member of The Race occupy the Oval Office -
no matter the character and politics of that Black individual. But
self-described progressives of all races cannot excuse their own
docility in the face of Obama's rightward lunge - especially when
there exists one last opportunity to threaten the Democratic
nominee-to-be with a backlash against his betrayals of progressive
principles - one last chance to affect Obama's behavior before
Election Day, November 4, and beyond. Cynthia McKinney has made
herself available to the Green Party's convention in Chicago, July
10-12, and will almost surely be their nominee.

If progressives cannot bring themselves to vote honorably, they can
at the very least go to McKinney's campaign site and send money.
Even a little principled behavior is better than none at all.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at

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