Sunday, October 10, 2010

"Change You Can Believe In" is now Fairy Dust

Obama campaigned on bringing more transparency to government, bringing accountability, to helping make government more democratic by getting ordinary people a more responsive government. Those were the promises.

So what got delivered? A few tidbits of better government. But nothing like the rhetoric of "big changes".

Here's the icing on the cake. The Obama administration treated the Gulf oil spill like all previous administrations: it hid, it lied, it faked data, it misled, etc.

From Yahoo, an AP (Associated Press) report:
The Obama administration blocked efforts by government scientists to tell the public just how bad the Gulf oil spill could become and committed other missteps that raised questions about its competence and candor during the crisis, according to a commission appointed by the president to investigate the disaster.

In documents released Wednesday, the national oil spill commission's staff describes "not an incidental public relations problem" by the White House in the wake of the April 20 accident.

Among other things, the report says, the administration made erroneous early estimates of the spill's size, and President Barack Obama's senior energy adviser went on national TV and mischaracterized a government analysis by saying it showed most of the oil was "gone." The analysis actually said it could still be there.

"By initially underestimating the amount of oil flow and then, at the end of the summer, appearing to underestimate the amount of oil remaining in the Gulf, the federal government created the impression that it was either not fully competent to handle the spill or not fully candid with the American people about the scope of the problem," the report says.
There's more, read it here.

Or read the article in the Guardian:
The White House blocked government scientists from warning the American public of the potential environmental disaster caused by BP's broken well in the Gulf of Mexico, a report released by the national commission investigating the oil spill said yesterday.

The report, produced by a panel appointed by Barack Obama to investigate the spill, said that about two weeks after the BP rig exploded scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) asked the White House for permission to release their models showing their worst case scenarios for the spill.

The White House office of management and budget, which is a traditional clearing house for decisions, turned down the request, the report said, quoting interviews with administration officials.
This reminds me of JFK's promise of a new and better government. And what did he deliver? Well some good things. The space race and the Peace Corps. But he brought government assasination with the CIA-assisted killing of the US stooge Ngo Dinh Diem and many attempts on Fidel Castro. He made a big show of bringing democracy to Latin America with his "Alliance for Progress" which was mostly smoke and mirrors. He was a foot dragger on civil rights. He spent more time chasing skirts than trying to govern.

Obama is only the latest in a long line of "leaders" who promised the sun, the moon, and the stars to get elected. Remember the "secret plan" for peace in Vietnam of Nixon in 1968. Pure hogwash. Remember Reagan's administration selling missiles to the same fanatical regime in Iran that seized American hostages in 1979 so that it could buy rockets to give to anti-Sandinista rebels in Nicaragua in a secret operation which broke the law and set the precedent of a rogue executive branch that flaunts the "balance of power" built into the Constitution with the three branches of government. Remember Bush's administration's "private war" against the CIA done by "outing" Valerie Plame? Sad.

Obama promised to "close Guantanamo". He didn't. He got elected on the promise to get out of the fruitless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He hasn't. He was elected to prevent the economic collapse that 8 years of radical Republican deregulation and pro-government policies had brought. But he has done little or nothing to rein in Wall Street or to get Main Street on its feet again. Tragic.

The American electorate goes to the polls and votes for one thing and then discovers that the politicians lie in their campaigns and have no intention of fulfilling their promises.

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