Monday, November 5, 2012

Obama supporters prepare to be betrayed

Obama supporters mobilize for him and prepare to be betrayed
Webster G. Tarpley
Sat Oct 27, 2012

Compared to the euphoria created in 2008 by Obama’s messianic and utopian posturing, his supporters are now a chastened crew, and this could well lose him the election."

In a turn of events which once again shows the absurdity of Wall Street’s current US two party system, supporters of Barack Obama are mobilizing to re-elect their candidate, and at the same time planning a campaign to prevent Obama from stripping them of their hard-won rights under Social Security, Medicare, and related safety net programs.

For some of these groups, the anti-Romney demonstrations are scheduled to morph just a few hours after the polls into demonstrations against Obama’s planned sellout, known as the “Grand Bargain.”

Wall Streeter and Republican candidate Mitt Romney, joined by his extremist running mate Paul Ryan, is running on an openly advertised pledge to voucherize Medicare, privatize Social Security, and vaporize the social safety net - meaning that they intend to euthanize large numbers of working people in the name of deficit reduction. Ironically, the economic stupidity of Romney-Ryan is so stubborn that, despite the immense economic damage and human suffering they will inflict, their approach will actually increase, and not decrease, the US federal budget deficit, for reasons well known since they 1930s.

But Obama has based his campaign on a pledge to defend the New Deal and Great Society reforms against Romney-Ryan, and is appealing to the 65% to 80% of the US population who oppose any cuts in the social safety net. At the same time, Obama has left no doubt among careful observers that he is determined to drastically cut, although not fully privatize, Social Security, Medicare, and related programs.

If Obama manages to win the election, the result may well be a historic crisis of confidence, in reality a true constitutional crisis, as Americans finally give up on the two existing parties.

Obama has not made his savage austerity plans the centerpiece of his campaign, but he has not totally hidden them either. He believes his austerity commitment is attractive to the so-called independent voters. Obama talked austerity cuts last week in an off-the-record interview with the editorial board of the Des Moines Register, an influential newspaper in Iowa, a Midwest farm state which is among the 9 or 10 swing states where the outcome of the election is likely to be determined.

Obama spoke confidentially to these editors in the hopes of winning their endorsement. But then a blogger for the Des Moines Register complained in public that Iowa voters deserved to know the contents of the interview. Obama, eager to please this newspaper, then had little choice but to release the transcript.

As a result, the US public now knows more about Obama’s brutal austerity plans. Obama told the editors: “We’re going to be in a position where I believe in the first six months we are going to solve that big piece of business. It will probably be messy. It won’t be pleasant. But I am absolutely confident that we can get what is the equivalent of the grand bargain that essentially I’ve been offering to the Republicans for a very long time, which is $2.50 worth of cuts for every dollar in [taxes], and work to reduce the costs of our health-care programs.”

Here Obama’s treachery was clearly displayed, along with his tendency to grant massive concessions to his adversaries. Why not demand tax hikes on the rich and exclude the entitlements from any austerity deal, since that is what three quarters of the American people want? Why not transform the situation by raising the issue of the Wall Street sales tax? As for reducing health care costs, the only way to do this without genocidal measures is to invest boxcar sums in biomedical research to find cures for the dread diseases - something Obama is plainly unwilling to talk about?


The AFL-CIO trade unions are working hard for Obama, but they also know their demands are on the chopping block. Writing in Politico, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka condemned Obama’s Grand Bargain as “lower tax rates for rich people - paid for by benefit cuts for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. These are precisely the issues that are being debated so vigorously in the campaign, and voters do not want anything to do with such a deal.” Sounds OK, but those who want Trumka to call a national general strike against austerity have been waiting in vain so far.

As The Hill pointed out, “The AFL-CIO has planned a series of coordinated events around the country on Nov. 8, two days after Election Day, to pressure lawmakers not to sign onto any deficit-reduction deal that cuts Medicare and Social Security benefits by raising the Medicare eligibility age or changing the formula used for Social Security cost-of-living adjustments.” So the transition from backing Obama to fighting Obama will be seamless.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who caucuses with the Democrats, understated the obvious when he noted that “Unlike four years ago, the president has not been outspoken in saying he’s not going to cut Social Security.” Sanders talked about the broad rejection of Obama’s austerity obsession among Democratic constituency groups, noting that “you can have virtually all of the senior groups, you can have the unions, you can have some of the veteran groups as well coming on board.” He added: “… I think you’re going to have a whole lot of people beginning to stand together and say, ‘Sorry, at a time when the wealthiest are doing phenomenally well and so many people are hurting terribly because of this recession, you’re not going to balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, the children, the sick, the poor, the disabled veterans.’” And this is exactly what Obama wants to do, and Sanders supports him anyway.


Given Obama’s track record of treachery against his own base, Roger Hickey, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future, was only being realistic when he commented: “There’s going to be a major effort by lots of groups to make sure people we vote for don’t sell us down the river. People, groups, organizations and networks are working very hard to get Obama and the Democrats elected, and yet we are worried that it is possible that we could be betrayed almost immediately.” Hickey’s group will soon release a letter signed by 350 economists pointing out the danger that austerity measures could cause a new economic downturn.

Compared to the euphoria created in 2008 by Obama’s messianic and utopian posturing, his supporters are now a chastened crew, and this could well lose him the election. Nancy Altman of the Strengthen Social Security Coalition hinted at the cold indifference of the elitist Obama, saying she thinks “the president has shown more concern about the deficit than we think is warranted, and less concern for how crucial these programs are.”

In this grim panorama of cruelty and betrayal, one bright spot is the upcoming founding conference of the United Front Against Austerity (UFAA) in New York City on October 27. UFAA plans to unite anti-Wall Street forces to support and broaden isolated local struggles, while equipping them with the programmatic demands they need to win. UFAA will also pressure union officials like Trumka to use tactics and strategy better suited to the current desperate situation.

Born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, 1946, Dr. Webster Griffin Tarpley is a philosopher of history who seeks to provide the programs and strategies needed to overcome the current world crisis. As an activist historian he first became widely known for his book George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography (1992), a masterpiece of research which is still a must read. AB Princeton 1966, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa; Fulbright Scholar at University of Turin, Italy; MA in humanities from Skidmore College; and Ph.D. in early modern history from the Catholic University of America with emphasis on the role of Venice in the origins of the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648). During 2008, he warned of the dangers of an Obama presidency controlled by Wall Street with Obama: The Postmodern Coup, The Making of a Manchurian Candidate and Barack H. Obama: The Unauthorized Biography. His interest in economics is reflected in Surviving the Cataclysm: Your Guide Through the Worst Financial Crisis in Human History Against Oligarchy. His books have appeared in Japanese, German, Italian, French, and Spanish.

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