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Obama v. Romney on Issues Mattering Most

Obama v. Romney on Issues Mattering Most


by Stephen Lendman


Both candidates represent duopoly power. They’re two sides of the same coin. Differences between them are minor. On issues mattering most, they’re in lockstep.


In January 2013, America will be run by rogues whoever wins. Under either party, expect the next four years to be worse than previous ones.


Lame duck Obama will be unrestrained. Religious extremist/corporate predator Romney promises the worst of his agenda and then some.


Money power runs America. Wall Street owns both candidates. Whatever giant banks want they’ll get. Expect victory for whichever one they prefer. They get to choose, not voters.


Interlocking directorates assure all major corporate interests are served. Bottom line priorities matter most. War profiteering boosts them. Expect permanent ones because they want them.


Both candidates assure them. Differences between them reflect tone and nuance, not substance. Romney talks tough. In late August, his campaign co-chair Governor Tim Pawlenty (R. MN) said diplomacy is running out on Iran. It’s time to “start the clock ticking.”


Options so far haven’t worked, he said. He wants Congress to pass an authorization to use military force. Doing so assures it. Millions of potential deaths don’t matter. Nor do rule of law principles about attacking a nonbelligerent country posing no threat.


Romney’s policy is bombs away. So is Obama’s. His softer tone conceals it better. It hides what he has in mind. Occasionally he makes overt threats. They reveal his real intentions.


Last March he said he won’t “hesitate to use force” to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons. He knows none exist or a program to develop them but won’t say.


Instead he states “all options are on the table….That includes all elements of American power,” isolating Iran, “a diplomatic effort to sustain our coalition and ensure (close monitoring), an economic effort that imposes crippling sanctions, and, yes, a military effort to be prepared for any contingency.”


“Rest assured,” he added, “the Iranian government will know of our resolve.” Days ago, he laid down “red lines.” They’re triggers for war. They likely advanced the timeline. Long ago it was planned.


Expect it post-election or perhaps sooner against Iran and Syria. Whether one precedes the other remains to be seen. Each nation is targeted for regime change. Both parties endorse it. Obama or Romney makes no difference. It’s baked in the cake.


Not according to Nation magazine. Its editorial policy scorns truth. Since the 19th century, it turned reality on its head. Early on, it was unapologetic about slavery. It fell short of supporting labor, minorities, and women’s rights.


It championed 19th century laissez faire. It attacked the Grangers, Populists, trade unions and socialists. It 1999, it called NATO’s Serbia/Kosovo aggression “humanitarian intervention.”


Post-9/11, it backed the Big Lie. Initially, it supported imperial wars on Afghanistan and Iraq. It claimed no evidence showed America’s 2004 presidential election was stolen.


In January 2006, it ran a full-page “Arabian Fables” ad. It claimed Palestinians are prone to violence and deception. Weeks later, it said Haiti’s Jean-Bertrand Aristide was “feared and despised.” It blamed Haitians for their own misery.


It urged ending “Qaddafi’s despotic rule (and) sav(ing) the lives of those bravely resisting his onslaught.” Doing so ignored clear evidence of imperial ravaging another nonbelligerent state.


It twists reality on its head about Syria. It calls a Western sponsored invasion a “violent (sectarian) civil war.” It suggested Lakhdar Brahimi’s appointment might make a difference. It ignores his role as Washington’s point man. Like his predecessor, he’s a reliable imperial tool.


It’s less than candid suggesting Obama doesn’t want war on Iran. It doesn’t explain its lawlessness against a nonbelligerent country threatening no one. It downplays illegal sanctions. It stops short of denouncing Netanyahu’s hawkishness and Israel’s ruthless agenda.


It unabashedly supports Democrats. It pretends they’re different than Republicans. It called Obama sellout on healthcare “a historic (victory) for reform.”


It described Democrat convention phony populism as “Change We Can Believe in, 2.0.”


Editor Katrina van den Heuvel wrote it. She’s an establishment figure. Her background is elitist. She appears often on corporate TV. She gets regular Washington Post op-ed space. She’s a Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) member. It shows in what she endorses.


She said Democrats reminded us “that elections matter.” She called Obama “our first community organizer president.” He’s “against the plutocrats who want to buy our elections.”


He’s “committed to ‘We the people’ and a challenger convinced that ‘corporations are people.’ “


Romney/Ryan winning “would spell full-spectrum disaster. An Obama victory….would bring few guarantees….(N)o person makes change alone…..But a second term presents an opportunity for change.”


She called one of his campaign speeches a “barn-burn(er).”


“Hope - not rosy optimism but the belief that hard work and commitment makes changes - springs eternal.”


Her unabashed support ignores four lawless years, a president beholden to big money, a consummate con man, a serial liar and moral coward. He exceeded the worst of George Bush. Imagine what he has in mind if given four more years.


Republicans, in contrast, are bashed. Nation editors call them “the Post-Truth Party.” Obama’s lies are ignored. Republican ones are highlighted.


They “pose a real challenge for the Democrats (not to) get bogged down in the minutiae of every” one….(T)here are too many of them.”


Democrats by implication are squeaky clean. In fact, they’re in lockstep on destroying social America. Medicare, Medicaid, and other New Deal/Great Society programs are on the chopping block for elimination.


Job creation is moribund. Both parties oppose creating them. Since Obama took office, 261,000 fewer exist. Tax cuts for the rich, banker bailouts, other corporate handouts, and permanent imperial wars come at the expense of popular needs gone begging.


Half the country is impoverished or bordering on it because both parties planned it that way. Obama’s no less ruthless and heartless than Romney. He just hides it better.


Nation editors claim Democrats made a good start toward financial reform. Wall Street wrote the legislation. It benefits them. Grand theft remains policy. Neither party curbs it. Crooks when they’re caught aren’t punished.


Since crisis conditions emerged in fall 2007, no high-level corporate official faced prosecution. They’re free to keep stealing because who’ll stop them. The Libor scandal alone revealed government/banker complicity.


Nothing changed. The dirty game continues. It’s institutionalized. Both parties endorse it without saying so. Nation editors pretend Democrats are different. They call Republicans liars.


They claim Obama’s “telling the truth.” Doing so reveals an agenda supporting his, and the worst of what political Washington represents.


On September 6, Nation’s John Nichols headlined “Obama Manufactures an Argument for His Re-election,” saying:


He stands in stark contrast to “Romney’s empty rhetoric.” His convention speech “touched the important themes” for reelection. He “made the case for himself as a job creator.”


In all respects, he’s a destroyer, not a creator. He’s a demagogic con man dressed up in well-scripted political mumbo jumbo. His speech was duplicitous from start to finish. Reality faced by millions of households was ignored.


Working people have no friend in Obama. He’s gone all out against them. He wage war on labor rights. He’s dismissive of popular needs. Apologists claiming he’s different than Romney accept illusions about a heartless, soulless president.


Both parties represent two wings of money power. Privilege matters, not people needs.


“Obama talked the talk Thursday night,” said Nichols. He made promises he’ll likely keep. So far he broke every major one made. Nichols thinks, or perhaps hopes, this time is different.


He told voters they have to “choose between two different paths for America.” He was right, said Nichols. “The choice between an Obama-Biden future and a Romney-Ryan (one) is stark.”


“His speech was a start.” He has to show he “really does worry more about Main Street than Wall Street.” He’s done mirror opposite.


Give him another four years and he’ll outdo the worst of what he’s done so far. What does he have to lose? Faux progressives support whatever he does. Why anyone believes them who knows.


A Final Comment


On war and peace issues, Obama and Romney are in lockstep. Obama’s softer rhetoric belies his belligerence. Romney is blunter. He supports direct intervention against Syria.


He calls Iran an existential threat to Israel. Its ballistic missile capability endangers Europe and eventually America. It’s provoking a regional arms race. It’s creating “a nightmarish cascade of nuclear tensions in the world’s most volatile region.”


He accused Iran of sponsoring international terrorism. He calls doing so “terrifying.” As president, he says, he’ll “end Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon, eliminate the threat of Iranian nuclear terrorism against the United States and our allies, and prevent nuclear proliferation across the region.”


Iran must understand that “a military option to deal with (its) nuclear program remains on the table. This message” has to be more than tough words. Actions must follow.


Romney wants tougher sanctions, absolute support for Israel, and war if other policies fail.


He and Obama know no Iranian threat exists. America, by its presence, and Israel are the only nuclear armed and dangerous regional countries. They’re the only regional menaces. Their history reflects belligerence.


Iran endorses peace, not war. So does Syria. Neither nation shows hostile intent toward anyone.


Whether Obama’s reelected or Romney succeeds him, expect more regional war than already. Doing so risks potential catastrophic consequences. Cooler heads understand what neither candidate publicly admits or implies.


Expect nightmarish conditions ahead exceeding the worst of what’s already happened. At issue is whether humanity can survive. There’s no guarantee.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected]


His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”


Visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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About The Author

Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960.   After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967, remaining there until retiring at year end 1999.   Supporting progressive causes and organizations, he began writing in summer 2005 on a broad range of issues. Topics regularly addressed include war and peace; social, economic and political equity; and justice for long-suffering peoples globally - notably, victims of America's imperial wars, Occupied Palestinians and Haitians. In early 2007, he began hosting his own radio program. Currently he hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. Airing three times weekly, it features distinguished guests discussing vital world and national issues in depth. Today perhaps more than ever, vital social, political and economic change is needed. What better way to spend retirement years than working for it. We owe at least that much to our loved ones, friends and humanity.

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