Damn Commie Pinkos!
What is it with the American fetish for painting opponents red by calling them Socialist, Communist, etc.? It would be hilarious, if it weren't such a bad joke. Obama is a Socialist? Seriously?
I don't know why I'm amazed that this has gained so much traction in what passes for political discourse, but then I suppose I have to consider the source. Americans, by and large, are greatly ignorant of their own history. Actually, that unfairly gives them too much credit because (given polling results) most Americans show precious little capacity for independent thought, never mind taking the time to do any research beyond the top three Google results. Very few have examined what was called the Cold War, its origins, the dynamics of domestic and foreign policies, or the use of it to manipulate public opinion and manufacture consent - not just during what is called the McCarthy era, but today as well - more than 60 years later. Despite facts, many honestly believe that Reagan ended the Cold War.
According to Wikipedia, Socialism is defined as follows: Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership and/or control of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy, and a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises, common ownership, direct public ownership or autonomous state enterprises.
That is a fairly concise explanation that should be easy to understand. Now let's apply it to what Obama has actually done while in office. The following are just some examples of Obama 'accomplishments' during his first term (borrowed from David Swanson’s review of Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank) As Swanson notes, "the book is not organized by topic; it's a random, if chronological, ride through a catalog of catastrophes. But it's united by the theme of horrendously bad government in the age of Obama. It ignores the mythology and treats Obama based on his actual performance." I’ve sorted these items by category.
Got that, kids? Performance counts, myth does not. So let's begin, shall we? Here’s a list of what Obama has done contrasted with what the Socialist Party advocates. Note: the Socialist Party are real Socialists! Before we begin, does anyone care to guess how many times Obama parallels the Socialist platform? …. I didn’t think so.
Environment - Energy
· Obama facilitated the kind of drilling that created the BP oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico, and then sought to cover up the extent of the damage.
· Obama has championed nuclear power.
· Obama has made anti-environmentalist corporate tools the heads of the Departments of the
· Obama has gone around Congress and the courts to approve of Monsanto's GMOs.
· Call for public ownership and democratic control of all our natural resources in order to conserve resources, preserve our wilderness areas, and restore environmental quality.
· Demand that the U.S. must immediately return to participation in international agreements, such as the Kyoto Protocol, limiting carbon emissions, and accept a major role in worldwide efforts to control global warming.
· Call for placing full financial responsibility on private companies for prevention and clean up of their own toxic wastes and for full compensation of workers and residents adversely affected by environmental hazards.
· Oppose any new nuclear power projects and call for the rapid phasing out of all nuclear power plants, and a ban on the export of nuclear technology.
War - Foreign Policy
· Obama has taken massive funding from war profiteers and worked in their interest, empowering a collection of war hawks from the George W. Bush and Bill Clinton eras, and including no opponent of militarism in any high office.
· Obama abandoned the people of Gaza to their fate beneath Israeli bombs.
· Obama has served Israel at the expense of human rights, peace, and democracy.
· Obama delayed de-escalation in Iraq and tried every way he could to avoid complete withdrawal.
· Obama's administration facilitated and accepted a military coup in Honduras.
· Obama tripled the size of the war on Afghanistan.
· Obama has pushed U.S. weapons sales on foreign nations.
· Obama has punished Iranians with sanctions while threatening war.
· Obama has backed murderers in Colombia and put U.S. troops into that country in the interests of big oil.
·Obama has dramatically escalated drone killings, developing a new type of war.
· Obama has expanded the weaponization and the use of nuclear power in space.
·Obama has continued pointless killing in Afghanistan on the basis of false pretenses.
· Call for the closing of all U.S. military facilities at home and abroad that train foreign military and paramilitary personnel.
· Call for the United States to immediately and unconditionally withdraw its forces from Iraq and Afghanistan.
· Call for an end to the U.S. occupation of the province of Guantanamo, Cuba.
· Call for an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank-East Jerusalem and Gaza, and an end to all U.S. aid to Israel, as a precondition for peace.
· Stand for unconditional disarmament by the United States.
· Call for an immediate 50% cut in the military budget, followed by additional cuts, with the aim of rapidly reducing the military budget to less than 10% of its current level, with the "peace dividend" directed to essential social services and to the cost of cleaning up contaminated military sites.
· Obama has expanded secrecy, sought retribution against whistleblowers, expanded warrentless spying, protected confessed torturers, revived military commissions, and expanded the military.
· Obama has claimed the power to torture and to "rendition" prisoners and kidnap victims to other countries that torture.
· Obama has tortured Bradley Manning.
· Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012. Section 1021 of that law permits the indefinite military detention of American citizens on a mere suspicion of a connection, however remote or unintended, with a terrorist group. It was the death blow to a Constitution that was already on life support.
· Condemn the so-called War on Terrorism and call for the immediate repeal of the U.S.A.P.A.T.R.I.O.T Acts and the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act.
· Call for the elimination of the Dept.of Homeland Security and the sweeping police powers accorded to it.
· Demand the exclusion of the military from domestic law enforcement.
· Call for the abolition of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
· Oppose so-called anti-terrorist measures and criminal code reforms that restrict legitimate dissent.
· Oppose all forms of censorship both legislative and institutional
· Obama has taken massive funding from Wall Street, appointed Wall Street executives to top positions, and followed their lead, to the benefit of banksters and the detriment of the rest of us.
· Obama bailed out AIG, but not you or me.
· Obama has kept tax breaks for billionaires in place, persuading his followers to continue calling them "the Bush Tax Cuts."
· Obama has pushed deregulation as a solution to the problems caused by deregulation.
· Obama, despite promises the contrary, has put lobbyists in positions of power in his administration. Senator Obama's corporatist vote for the Class Action Fairness Act was in line with the rest of his performance as senator and later president.
· Demand the immediate withdrawal of the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), and oppose the creation of a widened Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).
· Call for a minimum wage of $15 per hour, indexed to the cost of living.
· Call for a full employment policy. We support the provision of a livable guaranteed annual income.
· Call for all financial and insurance institutions to be socially owned and operated by a democratically-controlled national banking authority, which should include credit unions, mutual insurance cooperatives, and cooperative state banks. In the meantime, we call for re-regulation of the banking and insurance industries.
· Call for a steeply graduated income tax and a steeply graduated estate tax, and a maximum income of no more than ten times the minimum. We oppose regressive taxes such as payroll tax, sales tax, and property taxes.
· Call for the restoration of the capital gains tax and luxury tax on a progressive, graduated scale.
· Oppose the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization as instruments of capitalist oppression throughout the world.
· Call for a National Pension Authority to hold the assets of private pension funds, and a levy against corporate assets for any pension fund deficits.
· Call for increased and expanded welfare assistance and increased and expanded unemployment compensation at 100% of a worker's previous income or the minimum wage, whichever is higher, for the full period of unemployment or re-training, whichever is longer.
· Support a program of massive federal investment in both urban and rural areas for infrastructure reconstruction and economic development.
Support tax benefits for renters equal to those for homeowners.
Call for the elimination of subsidies and tax breaks that benefit corporations and all other forms of corporate welfare.
· Oppose the court-created precedent of “corporate personhood” that illegitimately gives corporations rights that were intended for human beings.
This is the real bug-a-boo that gets the rightwing fanatics frothing at the mouth with panicked screams of “Socialist, Socialist, Socialist!”
· Obama championed corporate health coverage (a.k.a., Obamacare) over Medicare for All.
What this means is that you, the taxpayer and worker, are obligated to purchase health insurance. This money goes to insurance corporations. It does not lower your care costs, nor does it provide care (a very important distinction). Employers may face penalties if they hire a subsidized (i.e., poor) worker and do not offer a health insurance plan. In reality, costs are paid by workers in the form of lower salaries/wages, and the consumer in the form of higher prices. Meanwhile, the insurance industry gets a windfall. The only thing that comes close to being Socialist in nature, is that the Obama plan increases Medicare coverage for the poorest Americans.
· Stand for a socialized health care system based on universal coverage, salaried doctors and health care workers, and revenues derived from a steeply graduated income tax.
· Demand that critical support is given to the demand for the immediate abolition of all private health insurance companies through the creation of a single-payer health system. We see single-payer as an important step in the direction of a fully socialized national health program with full standard and alternative medical, dental, vision, and mental health coverage for all. This system would be publicly funded through progressive taxation and controlled by democratically elected assemblies of health care workers and patients. The National Health Program should improve, and replace, Medicare and Medicaid.
· Call for a health care system that emphasizes preventive care, respects patients' privacy, gives special attention to the needs of the physically and mentally disabled, and conducts treatment and research unimpaired by sexism, racism, or homophobia.
It shouldn’t be too difficult for anyone to reach the conclusion that Obama is no Socialist. Far from it, he’s done little to suggest that he isn’t a dyed-in-the-wool Capitalist. Economically speaking, how could anyone call a champion of Wall Street and the banking industry a Socialist? With a straight face, that is.
War (sarcastically known as “defense”) - Fuggedaboutit! Obama’s foreign policy is more hawkish than Bush, and indeed the US is engaged in more wars (Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, as well as pushing the limits of reason against Iran). This does not include US military operations in Africa or Latin America, of which there are many. Presidential assassination lists, drones, etc.
Civil Liberties - Are you kidding me? The NDAA is totalitarian! It gives the US military the power to arrest anyone, a citizen of any country (including American), anywhere in the world and detain them indefinitely - INDEFINITELY - without that person being allowed access to the charges or evidence against them. You could, theoretically, post a blog piece criticizing the US government and be arrested. No joke.
So what’s the result of this? It probably won’t convince a single red-baiter, because frankly I don’t think they have the intellectual wherewithal to understand the glaring contradictions between the reactionary rhetoric they feed upon, and reality. It also happens to be more politically-correct to hate a Socialist, than to hate someone based on their skin color. Ultimately, ignorance reigns supreme.
So why America, do you think Obama is a Socialist? Because you're a dumbass!
As the song goes, "You ain't done nothing, if you ain't been called a Red!" The problem is, what Obama has done is what Socialists, and all people with a conscience, oppose.