Wednesday, December 3, 2008

OMNI newsletter Obama from Dec. 3, 2008

From: Omnicenter Communications ( on behalf of Dick Bennett (
Sent: Wed 12/03/08 2:34 PM

OMNI NEWSLETTER, OBAMA WATCH 2 FOR A BETTER PRESIDENT, Compiled by Dick Bennett, December 3, 2008, For a Culture of Peace and Justice.
The following is part of a letter from Senator Obama's campaign asking for a donation: "Tuesday we will do nothing less than choose a course for our country. And the feeling in the air right now makes me very hopeful that we will choose a different course this Election Day. Now is our nation's chance to finally live up to our promise as a world leader for freedom and democracy. Now is our chance to say "No!" to more divisiveness, more shrinking of our rights, more abuses of power. Now is our chance to take our country back." These are stirring hopes. Who would not wish these wishes could come true.
The Berlin Wall, built to isolate East Germans from the West, was both a symbol and an instrument of violations of the rights of the East German people. The US celebrated the removal of the Wall. But for many decades the US has been building its own walls to similarly restrict the liberties of people here and abroad. The Pentagon and the CIA, although established to prepare for war, were given the titular wall of Department of Defense to contain the Soviet "enemy" of those days. Simultaneously developed McCarthyism, which became the wall of US homegrown repression that has lasted sixty years and recently under the Bush Administration, the Patriot Act, and Homeland Security distinctly worsened. Also during the last sixty years the US foreign security apparatuses—Pentagon, CIA, NSA--functioned preemptively to intervene in and invade other countries. I have been describing the bipartisan US National Security State.
Now with Obama we hope again. Despite the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, and the first posting of a military unit on US soil assigned to control civil "disturbances," we have achieved another peaceful transfer of presidential power. And who a year ago would have imagined the election of a Negro as President?
"Now is our chance to take our country back"—yes. But this will be more difficult that the enthusiastic campaigner imagines. Back? From the walls of warrantless surveillance, denial of habeas corpus, and torture, from a militarized economy, invasions, and global antagonism, and from financial collapse?
All of us old enough to remember what happened under President Clinton must feel an uneasy hope, despite the nation's financial success under his leadership. Remember his embrace of anti-democratic measures in the dark year of 1996: anti-terrorism legislation (leading to the Patriot Act), ending the aid to dependent children programs (without adequate transition assistance to the mothers and children), the Telecommunications Act (accelerating monopoly). Remember the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, signed by Bill Clinton in 1999, repealing the Glass-Steagall Act, ending the separation of commercial and investment banks, and leading to the financial disasters and bailouts of 2008. Remember the bombings of Serbia in violation of international law. The same forces Clinton obeyed then remain in power today.
The National Security Corporate-Congressional-Presidential-Warfare-Mainstream Media State remains regnant, and President-Elect Obama did not reject it. During his campaign, President-Elect Obama repudiated neither the corporate state system nor the surveillance /war system. Given the interrelated, concerted power of both, we know he could not.
Still we yearn to take our country back from anti-democratic forces corrupting our nation with money--with lobbyists and large campaign contributions. We want a president who will return to a progressive agenda designed for the people. But President-Elect Obama for his campaign took in millions of dollars from corporations, to which he is now beholden. Now as President he must listen to the thousands of lobbyists of the same corporations that destroyed the people's movement and its living wages and livable pensions.
And we want to hope what the Obama campaigner wrote: "Now is our nation's chance to finally live up to our promise as a world leader for freedom and democracy." But by re-appointing Secretary Gates we know with certainty he listens to the Pentagon. Barack Obama does not, cannot intend to alter anything fundamental in the all-powerful Corporate-Pentagon-Executive-Congress-Mainstream Media Complex that has illegally intervened in and invaded over forty nations since WWII.
"Now is our nation's chance." I understand these words as addressed no more to President-Elect Obama than to me and you and you. The forces of wealth and military power will be too much for our President--unless We, the People now engage in politics like we never have before. You and I exemplify We, the People, the fourth branch of government—the civil society—intended to check and direct the other three. We should stand by our Constitution, look squarely at our country's history and the Corporate-Pentagon System it has produced, understand the strengths and weaknesses of President-Elect Obama and Congress, and organize to help them be wiser, caring defenders of peace, justice, and the environment—to regain a just social contract, to reconfirm the balance among the branches of government. Exhausted as we may be, we must face the reality that the campaign for Barack Obama as a progressive president is actually only just beginning.
What follows is a collection of writings that lay the foundation for the struggle to persuade President-Elect Obama and Congress to be the agents of change candidate Obama claimed to be.
"Let America be America Again" (Langston Hughes, 1938).
"Let America be America again. Let it be the dream it used to be."
See Cynthia Peters' article on the pressure from the grass roots needed for serious change.
Here is the email address for Obama's Transition Office. Let's flood it with letters and phone calls beginning today.
Blum, William. Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II. Common Courage, 1995.
Buchheit, Paul, ed. American Wars: Illusions and Realities. Clarity, 2008.
Carroll, James. House of War: The Pentagon and the Disastrous Rise of American Power. Houghton Mifflin, 2006.
Greider, William. "The Marathon Man." The Nation (Nov. 17, 2008) 7-8.
Hertsgaard, Mark. "Wanted: A Climate Bailout." The Nation (Nov. 17, 2008) 7-8.
Hughes, Langston. "Let America Be America Again," poem. Originally published in Esquire and in the International Worker Order pamphlet "A New Song" (1938). Set to music by Kelly Mulhollan.
Rasmus, Jack. The War at Home: The Corporate Offensive from Ronald Reagan to George w. Bush, Economic Class War in America. KP, 2006.
Speth, James G. The Bridge at the End of the World: Capitalism, the Environment, and Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability. Yale UP, 2008.
Stiglitz, Joseph, and Linda Bilmes. The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict. Norton, 2008.
(Of course these topics do not cover all of even the most important. The third newsletter will fill in gaps. Contact Dick with suggestions; forward good materials about Obama's decisions, appointments, revisions of Bush laws.)
Obama's Hope
Hedges' Critique
Cockburn's Analysis (Nov. 10, 08)
Adolph Reed Jr.'s Analysis (Fall 2008)
"Democratic Vistas" Editorial (Nov. 10)
FCNL: Reclaiming the Balance of Power (Oct. 08)
Book: Undoing the Bush-Cheney Legacy
Editors of The Nation for a Progressive Platform (Sept. and Aug. 08)
Progressive Change
Liberal Critics of Obama
Peace and Justice Movement Engages Obama (Summer 08)
Obama Does It All!

For following contents go to OMNI's website:

Video Analysis of Obama

Mainly International:
Treaty with Iraq
Pentagon, US Warfare State and Nuclear Weapons
Obama's Voting Record for Military
Cluster Bomb Treaty
Appointment of Gates
Nuclear Weapons and War
Nuclear Disarmament
National Security State, Imperialism
United Nations
Palestinian State and Israel

Mainly Domestic:

Impeachment and Prosecution of B&C
Health Care
Energy, health, environment
Faith-Based Programs
Open Government
Justice Dept.
Obama's Progressive Base
Adolph Reed, Jr.
Obama and McCain

SENATOR LINCOLN (202) 224-4843 Fax: (202) 228-1371.
Fayetteville office: 251-1380;;;
SENATOR Mark Pryor: Phone: (202) 224-2353 Fax: (202) 228-0908. ;

Dear friends,
The Global Message to Obama Wall in Washington DC is becoming a powerful symbol of unity and reconciliation between the US and the World. Follow the link to sign it online:
Take action now!
In just 24 hours, over 150,000 people from 189 countries have signed and sent a message for Barack Obama to our huge global wall in the centre of Washington DC, and it has been covered on CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera and in the US on front pages of two of the biggest newspapers and on the evening news!
Together, we're helping to seize Obama's election as a major global moment for unity and reconciliation, when the US can finally join with the world community in facing our common challenges together. Our message congratulates Obama on his election and commitments to stop climate change, withdraw from Iraq, double aid for poverty, ban torture and more.
Avaaz's Global Message to Obama Wall in Washington DC has become THE place for citizens around the world to speak to Obama. If you haven't already, follow the link to add your name, and send this email to friends and family who might want to join in:

Change will not come easily to the US or its foreign policy. Entrenched interests -- including oil companies, war contractors, and neo-con ideologists -- stand in the way. But those interests have always sought to divide us -- the greater international unity and goodwill we have, the better we'll be able to confront the challenges head on and make progress as one world. The Global Obama Message Wall is a symbol of change and an investment in the new goodwill between the US and the world -- with major global climate change negotiations coming up next month, it will not be long before that good will is tested. Let's get to a million messages to Obama!
With hope, Ricken, Graziela, Iain, Brett, Paul, Alice, Milena, Paula, Ben and the whole Avaaz Team.

PS: here are 10 key campaign promises made by Barack Obama, you can see his full platform here :

1. Reduce the US's carbon emissions 80% by 2050 and play a strong positive role in negotiating a binding global treaty to replace the expiring Kyoto Protocol
2. Withdraw all combat troops from Iraq within 16 months and keep no permanent bases in the country
3. Establish a clear goal of eliminating all nuclear weapons across the globe
4. Close the Guantanamo Bay detention center
5. Double US aid to cut extreme poverty in half by 2015 and accelerate the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculoses and Malaria
6. Open diplomatic talks with countries like Iran and Syria, to pursue peaceful resolution of tensions
7. De-politicize military intelligence to avoid ever repeating the kind of manipulation that led the US into Iraq
8. Launch a major diplomatic effort to stop the killings in Darfur
9. Only negotiate new trade agreements that contain labor and environmental protections
10. Invest $150 billion over ten years to support renewable energy and get 1 million plug-in electric cars on the road by 2015
ABOUT AVAAZ is an independent, not-for-profit global campaigning organization that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people inform global decision-making.

Also see:

Chris HEDGES' LIST of Obama's key votes and other actions (Hedges is author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning and Collateral Damage)
1. He's been lauded by the nuclear power industry which is resuming an attempt to build nuclear power plants all over the country (calling it "Green Energy")
2. He's voted to continue to fund the Iraq war.
3. He opposed Murtha's call for immediate withdrawal.
4. He didn't join the 13 Senators who voted against confirming Condoleezza Rice.
5. He voted in 2005 to re-authorize the Patriot Act.
6. He did not support an amendment that was part of a bankruptcy bill that would have capped credit card rates at 30%.
7. He opposed a bill that would have reformed a mining law of 1872 that essentially allows mining companies to lease federal land for pennies an acre (which is a complete rip-off of the American taxpayer).
8. He did not support the bill Kucinich and Conyers introduced for "Single-Payer health care."
9. He supports the death penalty.
10. He worked to support a class-action reform bill which allows financial firms to escape accountability (a huge lobbying effort by the financial industry who are Obama's second largest donors) by effectively shutting down state courts as venues to hear class-action suits (this has long been a goal of corporations and the Bush administration). This bill effectively denies redress in state courts where most cases have a chance of defying powerful corporate challenges and moves them into corporate-friendly Federal courts which are now dominated by right-wing Republican judges (even Hilary Clinton voted against this bill which allows corporations to engage in flagrant discrimination, consumer fraud, and wage violations).

ALEXANDER COCKBURN, "Against Obama," The Nation (Nov. 10, 2008). Obama is Bush business as usual in several central ways: I. Continuation of Bush militarism/imperialism. He supports the Pentagon budget, the empire, would enlarge the armed forces, pledges to escalate the US war in Afghanistan, to attack Pakistan's sovereign territory if it obstructs US "war on terror," to wage that war in a hundred countries. II. Continuation of assault on constitutional liberties. He voted to reaffirm the Patriot Act and for warrantless wiretapping. The rest of the (one-page) article presents a sweeping, severe attack on Obama. Is it accurate?

"Democratic Vistas" editorial in The Nation (Nov. 10, 2008), contrasts the undemocratic and degrading GOP and McCain to the encouragingly democratic Obama, but reminds us that, "vital though an Obama victory is, it is only the beginning of what's needed to roll back the policies of the Bush years and begin to enact a progressive agenda." Because he "will face massive entrenched power," he will need "a movement that stands up for those without wealth and power," to create "the engaged and expanded democracy that Whitman envisioned a century ago."

Here is the email address for Obama's Transition Office.

(FCNL Washington Newsletter, Oct. 2008).
"Reclaiming the Balance of Power: An Agenda for the 111th Congress." "Congress Needs to Stand Up."
The anti-democratic Congress ceded far too much power to the anti-democratic President. Will Obama turn to democracy? See Undoing the Bush-Cheney Legacy: A Tool Kit for Congress and Activists, ed. Ann Fagan Ginger, analyzing all the Bush laws that must be reversed.

Begins with an editorial praising the Dem. Platform as superior to that of the GOP (on SS, healthcare). It points out what is encouraging to the peace movement that some of the planks of the party so far have been the result of progressive pressures (trade, rights of workers). But the editors describe the platform "tepid," pulling "too many punches," and failing to create a "new social contract." They call on Obama and the Democrats to "do more to distinguish their agenda from McCain's empty rhetoric." Democrats should seize this "teaching moment" and "present a bold governing program," and they list four on energy, infrastructure, jobs, and health/retirement. "As we argue in this special issue, these times demand a popular movement on behalf of a vision as bold as the New Deal, Fair Deal, and Great Society."

"Change We Can Believe In," The Nation (August 18-25, 2008). After pointing out his "moving away from the core commitments shared by many who have supported your campaign," the editors state four key positions Obama must maintain.

"Change We Can Believe In: An Open Letter to Barack Obama," The Nation (August 18-25, 08). Calls for Obama to stop compromising and flipflopping, to hold to the key positions that have inspired the vigorous backing of his supporters, the grassroots base that will be necessary to "counteract the forces of money and established power that are a dead weight on those seeking real change…." (Key positions: war: withdrawal from Iraq by timetable; economy: reduction of rich-poor gap, job creation, infrastructure, etc.; universal healthcare; sig. reduction of CO2.)

Thursday 11.27.08
Left Strives To 'Keep Faith' As Obama Manuevers
Obama Answers Liberal Critics on Personnel Choices

The pje organizations did not sit on their hands during the presidential campaigns, but have plunged into the middle of them. Since neither of the two major Party candidates are adequate in various ways and degrees, several pje organizations I have checked recently have intensified their "educate the candidates and Parties" campaigns.

Most dramatic is Amnesty International, which displayed a full-scale replica of a Guantanamo prison cell at both nominating conventions, to demand of the candidates emphatic opposition to torture, to prolonged detainment without charge, to unaccountability of high-level officials, and other human rights abuses. Larry Cox is Exec. Dir. of AI.

Like AI, Friends of the Earth believes that we cannot take for granted that a change of Administration or of Congress will change the carbon regime to the degree that must happen if we are to bring down CO2 to 350 PPM quickly enough. The Lieberman-Warner energy bill was proposed, but defeated, and anyway it was deeply flawed and would not require the real changes needed to stop climate change. So FOE is keeping the pressure on not only the Bush Admin. but also on Congress and the presidential candidates, to make sure they face facts and seek real solutions, not greenwashing. Brent Blackwelder is President of FOE.

For a third example, the Friends Committee on National Legislation, in their July/Aug. 2008 Newsletter focusing on nuclear weapons, will not "wait until January," but have already started "urging presidential and congressional candidates to embrace a vision of a world free of nuclear weapons." We cannot count on this president and Congress to reverse US nuclear weapons policy, unless we show them we want that change to be much more than generalities—complete nuclear disarmament, no first use policy, renegotiate START, ratify the CTBT, and rescue the NPT.

Actually these campaigns are not new, for these organizations and hundreds of peace, justice, and ecology organizations have always been in the middle of politics against the special interests that bribe our politicians, rob the people, and endanger the planet, and especially during presidential campaigns. Let us join with them in educating President Obama and our Congressional delegation about human rights, global warming, nuclear weapons, and other urgent matters, including the power of corporations to determine national policies. If we do not, we can be sure the forces in politics for personal profit and international aggression will fill our vacancy.

Obama's Transition Office.


* PDF:
* For video updates:
* Contact:

Early this morning, commuters nationwide were delighted to find out that while they were sleeping, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had come to an end. If, that is, they happened to read a "special edition" of today's New
York Times.
In an elaborate operation six months in the planning, 1.2 million papers were printed at six different presses and driven to prearranged pickup locations, where thousands of volunteers stood ready to pass them out on the street.
Articles in the paper announce dozens of new initiatives including the establishment of national health care, the abolition of corporate lobbying, a maximum wage for C.E.O.s, and, of course, the end of the war.
The paper, an exact replica of The New York Times, includes
International, National, New York, and Business sections, as well aseditorials, corrections, and a number of advertisements, including arecall notice for all cars that run on gasoline. There is also atimeline describing the gains brought about by eight months ofprogressive support and pressure, culminating in President Obama's "Yes
we REALLY can" speech. (The paper is post-dated July 4, 2009.)
"It's all about how at this point, we need to push harder than ever,"said Bertha Suttner, one of the newspaper's writers. "We've got to make sure Obama and all the other Democrats do what we elected them to do. After eight, or maybe twenty-eight years of hell, we need to start
imagining heaven."

FOR THE WHOLE NEWSLETTER GO TO At bottom of home page click on periodicals.

Dick Bennett

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