Wednesday, April 29, 2009

100 Days Down, 1361 to Go...

I constantly find myself explaining why President Obama, and Democrats as a whole, make me physically ill. I try to come up with little analogies, try to stick to facts, try to reason and rationalize, try to appeal to common interests... these conversations are always futile and I've pretty much given up trying. Obamaites are blind and I think they kinda like it that way. The whole "hope" concept is just so warm and fuzzy that it's far preferable to our sadistic reality. It's also a lot easier to "hope" than it is to "change"... oh, right, that one has been coopted, too.

I received a 100-day report card from the US Green Party and thought it summed up just a few of the reasons why I'm not jumping on the icky Obama bandwagon. The people who already agree with it will continue to agree and the people who are obsessed with Obama will continue to be defensive and creepy. I figured I'd throw it up here regardless.

After 100 days of Obama's presidency, it has become clear that we are a far cry from where we need to be as far as civil liberties, the environment, the economy, health care, and the military. The Green Party has real solutions to the problems at hand. Please look over the 100 Day Report Card below. Keep in mind that C is "good enough"; in percentages, in order to get a "better than average" grade, you need to score 80%.

Civil Liberties: F
The Executive Branch is finally following the law by releasing and repudiating the Bush Administration's legal memos that attempted to justify torture. The President also raised the possibility of prosecuting those responsible for providing that justification.

However, the Obama Administration defends the illegal wiretapping program, leaves the door open to outsourcing torture through "extraordinary rendition," and argues that prisoners can be denied habeas corpus if they are shipped to the Bagram prison in Afghanistan instead of Guantanamo! The Administration also opposes a Congressional truth commission to investigate torture by the Bush Presidency, although citizen pressure may successfully force an investigation.

Obama supporter Glenn Greenwald, who writes for, recently wrote: "What's being asserted here by the Obama DOJ is the virtually absolute power of presidential secrecy, the right to break the law with no consequences, and immunity from surveillance lawsuits so sweeping that one can hardly believe that it's being claimed with a straight face."

The Green Party supports a ban on torture, the repeal of the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act of 2006, and opposes the warrantless surveillance of US citizens, 'extraordinary rendition' of prisoners to extract information, and denial of habeas corpus and due process.

Environment: D+
The Obama Administration has taken some positive steps on global warming by allowing the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases as pollutants, initiating legislation to reduce greenhouse gases, and providing funds for alternative energy in the recently passed economic stimulus bill.

Unfortunately, the Administration has committed to spending only $145 billion on alternative energy over the next 10 years, about 0.1% of our country's gross domestic product (GDP). In contract, the proposed military budget for 2010 alone is $664 billion. The Administration supports nuclear power and "clean" coal, and its proposed cap and trade scheme is vulnerable to abuses such as free giveaway licenses for utilities to emit greenhouse gases. In the European Union, free licenses have resulted in increased emissions from coal plants that have offset the reductions gained from new wind power.

The Green Party advocates a moratorium on new coal fired power plants, ending subsidies to the nuclear and fossil fuel industries, increasing CAFE standards, and ending mountaintop removal mining.

Economy: D-
The Obama Administration's economic stimulus bill is headed in the right direction with new infrastructure projects that can put Americans back to work. Plans to let the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire are also encouraging.

However, the stimulus was too small and too focused on tax cuts. The Administration's plans for repairing the financial system are likely to result in a great deal of wasteful spending, reward those who got us into the current economic crisis, and ignore the fundamental problems. It is unfortunate that the Administration has rejected calls to nationalize the largest and most insolvent banks in favor of a plan that loans nearly $1 trillion to hedge funds to indirectly subsidize the banks. By contrast, Wall Street Journal recently reported that only "10% of borrowers in some stage of foreclosure appear to be eligible for the federal aid to homeowners program."

The Green party advocates ending trade in the highly speculative financial instruments that helped cause the crisis, restoring regulations on banks, breaking up financial conglomerates, promoting small local banks and credit unions, implementing a much larger public works program, and working to build a steady state economy based upon sustainability.

Health Care: D+
The Obama Administration has proposed substantial increases in federal spending in order to extend health coverage to more Americans. The Administration's spending plans will extend coverage only to about one-half of uninsured Americans are are short of effective methods for cost control.

The Green Party continues to advocate the single-payer health care systems as the most efficient and effective way to deliver health care to all Americans.

Foreign Policy/Military: D
The Obama Administration has taken a few encouraging steps, such as starting to at least open talks with foreign leaders. The President has shown an increased willingness to negotiate with Iran, and has stated plans to discuss nuclear arms reductions with Russia. However, there are numerous loopholes in the agreement to withdraw all troops from Iraq by the end of 2011, and the Administration is re-deploying some of the troops to Afghanistan. The US is also continuing to launch military operations in Pakistan that have killed and displaced many civilians and contributed to destabilizing the country. The Administration also plans to maintain unnecessarily high levels of military spending.

The Green Party advocates the complete and immediate withdrawal of all US troops and contractors from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq and deep reductions in military spending.