Tuesday, August 19, 2014
The Lesser of Two Evils Is Still Evil: An Interview With St. Pete for Peace
As the old saying goes, “the greatest trick that the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist”. It is remarkable as to how applicable that this saying is when applied to President Barack Obama. Obama was widely hailed as the man who would lead the nation out of the dark wilderness of the Bush-Cheney years of war, torture, mass-surveillance, destruction of civil liberties and grand scale theft by the jackals of high finance. Now it is apparent that Obama is not only a fraud but is arguably far worse than Bush and Cheney because El Presidente kills with a smile. Ever more so when it is the extrajudicial murders of American citizens who just happen to be on the “kill list” that is brought to him alongside his morning orange juice.
Fozzie Bear fascism has been a hot seller in the USA! USA! USA! under Obama and far too many fail to realize that there has been not only a seamless continuity bridging the road to hell of Bush-Cheney but actually a codifying of their worst policies. President Barack Obama and his criminal administration have enabled the worst thieves on Wall Street, enhanced and expanded the NSA’s surveillance and data-mining operations, enabled and supported war criminals conducting ethnic cleansing and murder operations in Gaza and Ukraine and currently has the country on a path to World War III with Russia.
The corrupt state-corporate media never calls bullshit, instead covering up for the worst of Obama’s policies and acts while focusing on minutiae, spinning identity group issues so as to cover his previous indifference - for example to gays - and painting him as a victim of a deeply entrenched racist opposing party hell-bent at undermining his agenda. Nothing could be farther than the truth - Obama is carriyng out his exact agenda and outside of the political circus of the dueling cults of the red elephant and the blue jackass there is rock-solid bipartisan support for what really matters to these people: war, fascism and wealth extraction.
With the dismal failure of the media to provide honest coverage it is always great to see grass roots groups who are dedicated to freedom, justice and dignity getting their message out. As George W. Bush once flippantly remarked - “you need to catapult the propaganda” he was onto something.
Following up on an article that I recently wrote on a Florida activist group’s efforts to get out the word on the U.S. support of Israeli war crimes and genocide in my piece "Florida Group Bypasses Media to Get Word Out on Israeli War Crimes" I am proud to have been able to participate in an email interview with members of St. Pete for Peace. The group is currently engaged in an informational campaign to spread awareness that the Democrats are truly no better than their more overtly fascist counterparts when it comes to the business of America: WAR. The group is also running a contest “NOT The Lesser of Two Evils” which this writer strongly encourages that you take a look at.
DONN MARTEN: Why is St. Pete for Peace doing this contest?
CHRIS ERNESTO: The contest was designed to get people to think about the still rampant believe among many liberals and progressives that the Democratic Party is better than the Republican Party.
For almost 12 years St. Pete for Peace has been presenting facts to dispel this myth, but we felt we needed to take it up a notch and challenge people via this contest. The contest is also designed to give people an outlet for expressing their disgust with the one party system here in the US.
DONN MARTEN: You say that Democrats are just as egregious as Republicans. Why is this?
CHRIS ERNESTO: St. Pete for Peace is non-partisan, which means we can be objective, unlike most people who label themselves Democrats or Republicans. Because of this objectivity, it's been very easy to conclude that Democrats are at least as egregious as Republicans.
Look no further than Barack Obama’s foreign policy. We believe war is the worst possible thing that can happen in society. In part because war inevitably includes death, suffering, poverty, sexual assaults, depression, homelessness, child abuse, environmental destruction, drug addiction, disease, misery, anger, and much more, all of which is bad.
Many people believe Obama less of a warmonger than George W. Bush, but Obama has dropped bombs on 6 countries compared to the 4 countries bombed under Bush.
And Obama has simply replaced US boots on the ground with drones, mercenaries and Special Ops. In fact Obama has deployed US Special Forces to 134 countries - compared to 60 under Bush.
He has significantly increased the US military footprint in Africa - at least 27 African nations now have a US military presence.
He has waged war on Libya without congressional approval, he tripled the troops in Afghanistan, he sharply escalated the drone wars in Pakistan and Yemen, he's continued the proxy war in Somalia, he tried to start a war in Syria, he supports Israel's war on Gaza (as did every Democratic US Senator), and now he's started another war in Iraq. And yes, it is a war in Iraq - anytime you drop bombs in a country it is a war.
Obama's Bush-like rhetoric regarding Iraq is particularly disturbing. You would think Dick Cheney is writing the president's speeches again when you hear Obama mocking Americans by saying the US is just sending military “advisers” to Iraq to stop ISIS because they are a threat to national security. He even has the nerve to package US airstrikes as a “humanitarian” effort. What’s next, having an orgy to encourage celibacy? Or having a keg party to promote sobriety?
It’s bad enough that Obama’s followers give him a pass on his hyper-violent foreign policy and the corresponding deceit, but for them to sit back and remain silent as Obama and the US are on the same side as ISIS in Syria and now are bombing them in Iraq is sickening. But the Democratic Party knows their constituency will just covers their eyes and ears. They know their voters prefer to be willfully ignorant.
And to top it off, the Obama administration is supporting neo-Nazis in Ukraine. Can you imagine what Democrats would be saying if a Republican president supported neo-Nazis? But again, their guy does it and they either deny it or look the other way.
St. Pete for Peace knew Obama was not a person of peace after reading his words in 2002 in which he stated, “I don’t oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war.” Can you imagine if he replaced the word “war” with “child abuse” or “sexual assaults”? Are child abuse and sexual assault worse than war? Of course not, since all wars include child abuse and sexual assault, as was stated earlier.
For years we’ve heard Democrats say they “can’t risk having a Republican in office” for fear of what that might mean for domestic issues. We believe it’s time for people in this country to look past their own noses for a minute and to consider what the party they voted for is doing to other people around the world.
And to those people who claim that John McCain or Mitt Romney would have bombed even more countries than Obama has bombed, well, Obama has already bombed two more countries than Bush bombed, so that claim is baseless.
DONN MARTEN: So, is it just Obama’s foreign policy that makes you believe he and the Democrats are at least as bad as Republicans?
CHRIS ERNESTO: Definitely not. The Obama Fact Sheet on the St. Pete for Peace website maps it all out. It includes news reports from the past six years detailing things Obama has done. Here are some of the lowlights.
Obama has a “secret kill list” that he discusses on “Terror Tuesdays”, and he has assassinated at least 4 US citizens without trial.
Obama fully defends the NSA spying program and mandated the Insider Threat Program, which orders federal employees to report suspicious actions of their colleagues.
He has waged a war on whistleblowers like Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden.
He signed the Monsanto Protection Act into law, giving Monsanto complete legal protection as they poison our food and crush family businesses.
He has deported a record-2 million immigrants.
He did a TV commercial for “clean coal”, he touted nuclear power even after the Fukishima disaster, and said that offshore oil drilling is safe even after the Gulf oil spill.
He is pushing the TPP, which is essentially NAFTA on steroids.
He sold $30 billion worth of weapons to the Saudi Arabian dictatorship.
He defended body scans and pat downs at airports.
He signed the Patriot Act extension into law.
He planned $355 billion for a nuclear weapons program.
More than 7,000 people were arrested during the Occupy protests under his watch.
Many people say that the Republican Party is scary and dangerous. We agree, so why has Obama given Bush and Cheney absolute immunity for everything they’ve done?
Obama keeps pushing the perilous notion of “American Exceptionalism” and the false, jingoistic concept that the US military is a force for good and is “protecting our freedoms.” Following the disastrous Bush years, Obama could have easily taken the US down a different path but he has instead pushed the same ideals as Bush, just in a more intelligently spoken, charming way. Manifest Destiny and xenophobia are principles that could have been laid to rest, or at least diffused. Instead, Obama and Democrats have normalized them.
DONN MARTEN: OK but if a Supreme Court Justice retires while Obama is president, you'd have to admit this would be better than a Supreme Court Justice retiring when a Republican were president, right?
CHRIS ERNESTO: The Supreme Court has the final say in the law in the United States, a self-described “country of laws.” If the United States were a democracy, the people of the US would get to vote on who becomes a Supreme Court Justice. And the people of the US would be able to throw out of office a person who’s on the Supreme Court. But we don’t because we don’t have anything close to a democracy. Given the recent passage of Citizens United and McCutcheon, the only people who will be elected into Congress or the White House will be those who raise the most money, and the vast majority of that money will come from corporations, not everyday people. Similarly, corporate money, not a particular party will determine who becomes the next Supreme Court Justice, regardless of who’s in the Oval Office.
But even if it did matter, can you live with yourself knowing that you voted for a murderer just because you think she or he may possibly appoint someone to the bench who is more aligned with your domestic views? What message does it send to our children if we say it’s OK to vote for someone who murders just because you may get something out of it?
DONN MARTEN: What about gay marriage? Obama has done better than a Republican president would have done on this issue, correct?
CHRIS ERNESTO: During his first term, when Obama was opposed to gay marriage, St. Pete for Peace was supporting actions and groups who believe in full equality for everyone. Prior to his re-election, Obama obviously was told he needed the votes of the LGBTQ community, so he changed his position. Of course this is good news, and you see what can happen when the President does the right thing -- being pro-gay marriage is now cool. Wouldn’t it be nice if he did the same thing for other issues, like how the FBI uses false sting operations to target Muslims in the US, or how police in this country have become so militarized that young black men and protesters are treated like 2nd class citizens?
DONN MARTEN: But Democrats are better than Republicans on gun rights and a woman's right to choose, doesn't that matter?
CHRIS ERNESTO: If a Republican President tried to overturn Roe v. Wade there would be millions of people on the street. People would stop going to work, the economy would slow down and there would
be a near revolution. The same holds true for if a Democratic President tried to overturn the 2nd Amendment.
Both parties know this. So, when the Republicans need to energize their voting base, they start telling people “Obama wants to take away your guns.” Democrats do the same with the abortion issue.
On a state level, it is a different story, but when it comes to Congress and the White House, the issues of guns and abortion are simply a way to maintain the Republican vs. Democrat paradigm, and to trick people into plugging their nose and voting for “the lesser of two evils.” But it’s just a ruse.
DONN MARTEN: OK, regarding your contest, how will the winner of the contest be selected?
CHRIS ERNESTO: A committee from St. Pete for Peace will read through all of the submissions and determine which response best describes why Obama and the Democrats are “NOT the lesser of two evils.” All entries will be viewed anonymously and extra weight will be given to brief responses – we’re looking for talking points more so than essays. You can enter the contest at stpeteforpeace.org/contest.
DONN MARTEN: Finally, Chris, if you only had 10 seconds to challenge a Democrat today, what would you say?
CHRIS ERNESTO: Hop to it, Democrats, or you’re going to make many of us cheer for an all Republican Congress and hope that the next President of the United States is a Republican. At least that way, maybe Democrats will become "antiwar" again.
The only true “hope” and “change” will come to America when people begin to turn off their television sets and find out the real truth about who is really running this country. It is because of groups like St. Pete for Peace and other dedicated activists, independent participants who put country before party and alternative media journalists, bloggers and media savvy volunteers who are able to circumvent the corrupt state-corporate media to spread the word that all is not as it seems.
LINK: Tampa Bay Independent Radio Station WMNF 88.5 interview with Dina Formentini of St. Pete For Peace.