Archive for the ‘News’ Category
MADRID, Spain – Lavapies a labyrinth of narrow alleys and sloping streets that attract huge crowds of people every Sunday to the Rastro flea market is also home to a large immigrant community that has long resided in Central Madrid’s cultural melting pot.
On Saturday morning demonstrators gathered in Plaza de Lavapies in a demonstration of solidarity with the neighborhood’s immigrant community who have come under recent attack by anti-immigration groups.
Activists described the gathering as a “counterprotest” following a spate of xenophobic actions carried out by ultra right-wing groups. On February 21 members of the National Democracy party fired flairs at the headquarters of the antiracism organization SOS Racism, and hung a mannequin with a noose around its neck from a balcony above. They also raised a banner marked with their insignia that read, “You denounce those who protect our border. Stop the invasion. Spaniards are also drowning. SOS Racismo, Anti-Spanish Organization”, a reference to controversial actions taken by the Spain’s Guardia Civil in last month that resulted in the deaths of 15 immigrants who were trying to swim to the coast of Ceuta in southern Spain after crossing the Mediterranean.
Tensions continued to mount this past week as the National Alliance, an ultra right-wing party affiliated with National Democracy registered to stage an anti-immigration protest in Lavapies on March 8. Reviewing the party’s request for a protest permit on Thursday, the Superior Court of Madrid refused to grant it, ruling that the protests “were intended to disturb public order, and endanger persons and property”. Cristina Cifuentes, delegate to the Government of Madrid noted that the ruling “took into account the protection of equality and dignity of all persons, regardless of their place of birth, race, sex, religion, opinion, or any other personal or social condition or circumstance.”
In a manifesto, publicly available on the organization’s webpage, National Alliance espouses that only “jus sanguinis” or right of blood should be used to determine an individual’s national origin in addition to calling for the expulsion of all immigrant groups that threaten national unity.
This struck a chord with residents and activists who began organizing Saturday’s demonstration through popular assemblies and social media upon hearing National Alliance’s announcement to stage their anti-immigration rally.
“So a bunch of neonazis are going to march into the heart of Lavapies with their banners? I don’t think so. Our people are here to keep things peaceful”, said Esteban, a resident who only gave his first name.
Around 1 o’clock the gathering began to dwindle. A few clusters of participants remained standing in front of their own banners: “Not in Lavapies not in any place. We defend our neighborhoods from Racism.”
Under intense rain hundreds marched through the streets of Madrid demanding the abdication of King Juan Carlos. The event, dubbed “Jaque el Rey” was organized by 25S, the coordination committee of diverse political associations and activist organizations to mark the one year anniversary since the group surrounded Spain’s Congress of Deputies in protest of massive privatizations, public expenditure cuts, corruption and the general “plundering of finance capitalism.” Although the protesters planned to conclude their march in front of the Royal Palace police cordons set up along access streets prohibited protesters from reaching their destination. 1,400 anti-riot police formed barricades across the city using metal fences, vans and their armored bodies to confine the protesters to designated areas and limit their movement across the city. Above the roar of helicopters flying overhead people shouted “policia fascista” before turning back towards the Opera House to convene a general assembly.
Speaking through a megaphone a protester acknowledged the overwhelming police presence: We would like to break the siege and enter Plaza de Oriente, but today is not the day. The police forces impede us.” Plaza de Oriente is the public garden in front of the Royal Palace. Another protester who declined to give his name stated, “the new law recently approved in congress makes crossing the police cordon a crime punishable by up to four years in jail.” He was referring to the controversial new laws making their way through parliament that clamp down on rights of assembly. “Once implemented,” he continued, “they will be able to imprison you for up to a year if you have posted information related to unlawful protests on your twitter account.”
As the rain continued the protesters dispersed, some shouting “we’ll be back”. Waiting at Puerta del Sol, the major public square the protesters had to pass through before going their separate ways, were phalanxes of police guarding every street leading to the heart of Madrid.
The bomb blasts that shocked Boston on Monday were horrific and undoubtedly cruel. The stories of compassion and empathy that have surfaced as the city copes with the catastrophe are especially touching. May the victims and their families continue to receive the support they will need to help them through the aftermath of violence.
Yet it’s still to soon to draw conclusions about what exactly occurred in Boston due to lack of evidence. Nevertheless, the usual reactions to all kinds of violence except for school shootings, cinema massacres, gang warfare, police slayings of minorities, neighborhood vigilante murders of black kids, and all other “non-terrorist” related acts of violence could be observed in the moments immediately following Monday’s explosions.
First, the blame-the-Muslim scenario unfolded in textbook fashion. Within two hours of the bombs’ detonation the media was all over the Muslim terrorist plot. As the New York Post reported on Monday:
Investigators have a suspect — a Saudi Arabian national — in the horrific Boston Marathon bombings, The Post has learned.
Law enforcement sources said the 20-year-old suspect was under guard at an undisclosed Boston hospital.
It was not immediately clear why the man was hospitalized and whether he was injured in the attack or in his apprehension.
The man was caught less than two hours after the 2:50 p.m. bombing on the finish line of the race, in the heart of Boston.
So anytime a bomb goes off, investigative procedures apparently require the rounding up of any Arabs/Muslims/Both in the area for interrogation or worse. Failure to immediately apprehend Arabs in the near vicinity would predictably lead to a media firestorm with anti-Muslim pundits repeating the mantra “this is how you keep America safe?…by not questioning potential perpetrators in the name of respecting civil liberties?” To avert a public relations catastrophe the Boston Joint Terrorism Task Force acted routinely and arrested a man with no other name than “a Saudi Arabian national”. Obviously, the attack could very well have been carried out by a Muslim terrorist organization, but you didn’t see the immediate rounding up of white people and the reflexive insinuation by the media of a radical right-wing white Christian group planting bombs and maiming people. It wasn’t too long ago that the media instantly blamed Muslim conspirators in a bombing later discovered to have been carried out by Timothy McVeigh.
Second, the usual pattern (terrorist attack, rapid response, followed by new rights diminishing “anti-terrorism measures”) is bound to continue if recent history is any guide to future events. You may have noticed that Obama’s first public statement did not mention the words “terrorism” or “acts of terror”. Those words came later, that is after Fox News blared headlines about Obama not calling the explosions acts of terror. In an autonomic response to the media’s suggestion that the bombings were “clear acts of terror”, despite the fact that evidence had hardly begun to be collected let alone analyzed, the White House dashed to the cameras to condemn the bombing as a “heinous and cowardly act of terror”. In short, the Obama administration has moved quickly to capitalize on the horrific event creating the fear and hysteria that will be needed to sustain the administration’s justification for increased surveillance, continual curtailment of civil liberties and permanent war with the Muslim world. If there is anything we have learned since the 9/11 attacks it is the government’s inveterate exploitation of these events to increase authority, expand powers and limit individual rights, in particular those related to privacy.
Third, widespread disgust about the kind of bombing that occurred was expressed across the media. Al-Jazeera interviewed an orthopedic surgeon who ran to assist blast victims after the explosions. He described what he saw as the kind of explosion “you see killing troops in Afghanistan. It was like an IED explosion”. Others were disgusted with the second blast that was, commentators expressed, intended to kill first responders. Is that any different from the drone attacks America carries out in the Arab world daily? Does a secondary blast “intended for first responders” really differ from the indiscriminate slaying of 12 people in New Baghdad – including the two Reuters reporters covering the US-Iraq war- by an American Apache helicopter? The first group of victims was mowed down by machine gun fire and when a father and his two sons came in a van to recover the bodies moments later they were “engaged” and riddled with bullets as the infamous “Collateral Murder Video” Bradley Manning released to wikileaks in 2010 shows.
Finally, I touched upon this at the beginning of this article, the outpouring of compassion for the victims of the attacks is as inspirational as it is needed for grieving loved ones. Glenn Greenwald put it best in his piece written yesterday:
it was really hard not to find oneself wishing that just a fraction of that compassion and anger be devoted to attacks that the US perpetrates rather than suffers. These are exactly the kinds of horrific, civilian-slaughtering attacks that the US has been bringing to countries in the Muslim world over and over and over again for the last decade, with very little attention paid.
Coming away from the horrors that shook Boston this past Monday we would be wise to not give into overblown fears about “jihad in America” or the illusion that is already being re-conjured of an America under constant threat by “terrorists who hate freedom”. As horrible the carnage of the Boston Marathon bombings it is far more likely that the government will use this opportunity to expand it’s powers than another public bombing of this sort will occur in a city near you. Furthermore, if we could expend just an ounce of the compassion and empathy we have seen so genuinely expressed to the victims here at home to the increasing numbers of victims in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and everywhere else the United States carries out its own bombings in the name of freedom rather than terror, we might gain a greater insight into the wickedness of bombings period.
Fiscal cliff, Taxmageddon, and a committee of CEOs commissioned to assist lawmakers in reducing the deficit is a combination found exclusively in two places: Idiots Guide to Plutocracy and the United States of America. The corporate CEO’s who have made their way into deficit negotiations by way of billionaire and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce under Nixon Peter Peterson’s Campaign to Fix the Debt and it’s self-proclaimed CEO Fiscal Leadership Council all with the obsequious approval of Congress flouts the fact that these same people are substantially responsible for the bloated deficits they are suddenly responsible for trimming.
These guys, 80 plus CEOs from America’s most powerful corporations are charged with the role negotiating a debt deal that continues to provide corporate tax breaks and corporate subsidies while shifting costs to the poor and elderly. The central tenet to their deficit reduction plan is to enact enormous cuts to “social safety-net programs/” It’s bad enough that the banksters and corporate elites at the center of the 2007 financial meltdown have any say at all in fiscal policy. What’s worse is that their recommendations hold real weight with the legislators they are courting, who will, of course, be rewarded handsomely for advancing the campaign’s tax agenda.
The Institute for Policy Studies released a report illustrating how this CEO-led initiative is exploiting the “fiscal cliff” as an opportunity to secure tax-code changes that would result in a multibillion dollar windfall for all 63 corporations represented in the campaign:
The 63 Fix the Debt companies that are publicly held stand to gain as much as $134 billion in windfalls if Congress approves one of their main proposals — a “territorial tax system.” Under this system, companies would not have to pay U.S. federal income taxes on foreign earnings when they bring the profits back to the United States.
The CEOs backing Fix the Debt personally received a combined total of $41 million in savings last year thanks to the Bush-era tax cuts. The top CEO beneficiary of the Bush tax cuts in 2011, Leon Black of Apollo Global Management, saved $9.9 million on the Bush tax cuts. The private equity fund leader reaped $215 million in taxable income last year just from vested stock.
Of the 63 Fix the Debt CEOs at publicly held firms, 24 received more in compensation last year than their corporations paid in federal corporate income taxes. All but six of these firms reported U.S. profits last year.
Goldman Sachs’ Lloyd Blankfein and Honeywell’s David Cote have done a tour de force PR campaign advocating massive spending cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security as the sole option to reduce the deficit. Cote took to the airwaves in a CBS news interview not only lobbying for “entitlement” cuts and slashing “low priority spending” but in another interview, when asked by CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin what he thought the effective tax rate should be for corporations Cote responded, “zero.”The Huff Post noted that Cote walks the walk and talks the talk:
“At Honeywell, Cote practices what he preaches. Between 2008-2010, the company avoided paying any taxes at all. Instead, the company got taxpayer-funded rebates of $34 million off of profits totaling nearly $5 billion.”
Obama sought advice from Cote on the economy last week.
A look at the campaign’s member corporations, from military contractors GE, Boeing and Textron-some of the biggest recipients of corporate welfare and entirely dependent on Congress and the White House to maintain defense spending that translates into lucrative federal contracts-to the financial powerhouses, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and Bank of America shows the disdain the ruling elites have for those they govern. As the “fiscal leaders” barnstorm the media, a cynical attempt to convince people who aren’t on their corporate boards that they should foot the bill for the federal and corporate largesse that has created this situation, they lift their shoes and tell us we should be honored to taste their soles. As Obama confers with Monsignor Cote, dotes on Bryan Moynihan and gives Lloyd Blankfein carte blanche to voice his vision of how the economy should operate he and the coterie of elites surrounding him and his administration give a warm and sincere fuck you to America’s most vulnerable. This peek into what’s happening behind the “closed door” deficit discussions is a sham. CEO as economic adviser is an incommensurable duality. CEO as policy dictator is more fitting. The priests of Cybele flagellated themselves in violent frenzy before castrating themselves in honor of their goddess. Watching the corporate elites silently as they attempt to hijack fiscal policy once again reminds us that we aren’t too far behind the priests of Cybele.
Donald G. McNeil reported in the New York Times this morning that Mark Dybul, “the Bush Administration’s global AIDS czar” was named as the new executive director of the Global Fund to Fight Aids. McNeil was surrounded by controversy during his stint with the Bush Administration related to abstinence policies and anti-prostitution pledges legislated by reactionary lawmakers. Furthermore he was required to enforce the Jesse Helms law a series of stigmatizing laws that restricted non-US citizens with AIDS from entering the country if they did not sign waivers that required them to provide invasive details about their health and be subjected to government surveillance as well as face deportation for compliance failures. China doesn’t even have laws like this. The only other countries that have such leper laws are Iraq, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Sudan and those laws by design individualize those who are to be excluded from category “normal.”
Dybul resigned in 2009 after the Obama Administration appointed Jeffrey Crowley to the position of director.
Congratulations and all Mark and best of luck to you and your projects but that sucks you’ve been referred to as the “AIDS czar.” Did that epithet stick after you got stuck between darling foreign policy liberals eager to “save Africa” and evangelicals eager to convert Africans, a strange one night stand that led to the following conditions to receiving US AID to combat AIDS: “a third of the money spent on prevention had to be used for teaching abstinence until marriage; groups getting funds, including those helping prostitutes, had to sign a pledge condemning prostitution; and no money could be spent on clean needles for drug addicts. In separate studies, the Government Accountability Office and the Institute of Medicine found that the abstinence earmark unnecessarily tied the hands of fund recipients, especially in countries where AIDS was concentrated among drug users and prostitutes.”
Remember what happened the last time a czar had his hands tied?
Last night Providence’s Cafe AS220 welcomed WGBH radio show host Mark Levitt, human rights specialist Tara Melish, Yale professor Jennifer Klein, and author Eve Sterne to the Action Speaks series Underappreciated 20th Century Dates That Changed America: Private Rights and Public Fight. The conversation revolved around the question: can and should the government guarantee economic security? A look at FDR’s 2nd Bill of Rights ensued framing the question historically to confront present economic realities.
On January 11, 1944 President Roosevelt gave his State of the Union Address. The Second World War was still raging and America was five months from D-Day when Roosevelt made a plea to the nation to continue the politics of sacrifice. A mass tax was levied to fund the war effort. Back then America paid for its wars up front; future generations weren’t the collateral of war mongers. In return for their sacrifices Roosevelt called for the implementation of a “second bill of rights” arguing that the political and civil rights guaranteed by the constitution and the Bill of Rights had “proved inadequate to assure equality in the pursuit of happiness.” Roosevelt’s remedy was to declare an “economic bill of rights” that guaranteed: decent employment, housing, medical care, education and social security and the freedom for businesses to compete in a competitive market place. Roosevelt sought to redress the economic fears of old age, sickness and accidents by creating governmental programs to protect society’s most vulnerable individuals. Beyond providing a basic safety net Roosevelt also thought recreation was a fundamental right. That same year a monumental work in political economy was published by Freidrich Von Hayek, The Road to Serfdom,in which he “warned of the danger of tyranny that inevitably results from government control of economic decision-making through central planning.”
Hayek’s work is central to libertarian thought. The Road to Serfdom argues that abandoning individualism and classical laissez faire liberalism would result in the loss of personal and political freedoms. A small minority of central planners would have to coerce individuals into submitting to their program. Propaganda would be used to make individuals feel the state’s goals were theirs and as Hayek admonished after studying the rise of Nazism the state will ultimately rely on brutal methods in the service of “social welfare” or the “good of the community.” For Hayek Socialism and Fascism meet at the back door.
Critics of Roosevelt’s New Deal and the “economic bill of rights” he pushed for wielded the same arguments advanced by Hayek. Public relations campaigns waged by the business community and the politicians who supported their interests depicted Roosevelt’s initiatives as a “creature of leftist forces” labeling the New Deal and the economic bill of rights socialist programs that threatened America’s future prosperity. Millions of working class people, small business owners and soldiers returning home to start a new life saw it differently.
The social forces that compelled the Roosevelt administration to establish a liberal version of social democracy stemmed from an organic bottom-up movement. Individuals organized collectively to protect themselves from the turbulent market forces that contributed to massive unemployment and the Great Depression. Unions formed to protect workers from exploitative bosses. As economic woes continued on into the 1930’s and America came nearer to WWII a public discourse was created that centered on: focusing resources on poor and unemployed, bringing radical change to agriculture by limiting production, regulating business and banking practices, “in general promoting schemes for a more participatory form of government that includes the citizenry in economic decision-making process.” Contrary to what Hayek envisioned, a wayward state seizing property and taking money from its workers via punishing taxes to fund its programs and impose the “will of the small minority upon the people”, the people interacted with the state to create programs that would protect them against the dislocating effects of unregulated markets and guarantee them a say in deciding the country’s policies.
Since the New Deal was enacted the Right has tried to systematically dismantle what they see as an unwieldy state apparatus that undercuts economic productivity by interfering with markets, a perceived assault on “freedom” according to the staunchest ideologues. The gains working class people and small business owners made during this moment in history are underappreciated today because of how the ongoing debate about the role and size of government has been framed. Panelist Jennifer Klein described how “today policies are perceived paternalistically as hand-me-downs to freeloaders”. Tara Melish noted “it makes a difference whether or not you frame rights as a governmental responsibility or as [social] tools for the people to demand rights.” We forget how the dynamics underpinning the social movements during the New Deal era were the outcome of people empowering themselves as political agents so that they could demand what kind of rights were appropriate in their society.
In a society where the “sole political definition people have of themselves is as a tax paying home owner”, it’s hard to imagine a political movement that could be as effective in transforming the socio-economic landscape as the union mobilizations and mass political organization of the 1930’s and 1940’s. Melish emphasized the way “cultural memes” are utilized in political rhetoric to associate words like “social program” and “safety net” with “socialism and laziness.” Owning the language with which we describe the economic realities of the 21st century, as the business class and their political party the Republicans do allows vested interests to avert addressing questions like those raised by Action Speaks. Observe how the word security is always addressed by the ruling elite and the Beltway media as an issue of national security. The conversation about economic security has been swept under the rug of terrorism. Notice how today’s public discourse has been reduced to a gallimaufry of culture war sound bites and tax policy battle cries.
Last night’s Action Speaks program aimed to engage the public in a meaningful conversation about the role government should play in 21st century America. Are the laws and rules that govern our country and regulate our economy as Roosevelt said in his State of the Union Address “inadequate to assure equality in pursuit of happiness?” This conversation, adjusted to the historical moment we ourselves are now situated in has been strategically averted for three decades. While rapacious corporations “rebuild” Iraq and Afghanistan as devastated former coal miners hang on for life in sacrifice zones, while stock traders invent and exchange imaginary “products” and millions lose their homes, while public schools are devolving into dropout factories and levees are breaking and bridges collapsing and temporary employees work for a decade at subsistence pay with no benefits and students live as indentured servants with garnished wages by JP Morgan Chase, and people are imprisoned without access to an attorney or due process because they wear black shirts and brew craft beer, and small businesses are devoured by federal subsidized Walmarts and Bass Pro Shops, a national conversation like that held on January 11, 1944 is imperative if we are to confront the economic, political and social realities of America today. These conversations force us to confront ourselves, our propensity for denial and the possibility that we are responsibility for the society we live in.
There is no reason why, in a society which has reached the general level of wealth ours has, the first kind of security should not be guaranteed to all without endangering general freedom; that is: some minimum of food, shelter and clothing, sufficient to preserve health. Nor is there any reason why the state should not help to organize a comprehensive system of social insurance in providing for those common hazards of life against which few can make adequate provision.
Hayek put it more succinctly than I. Let’s change the topic of discussion before we are devoured by our illusions of empire and drowned by our delusions of innocence.
In the wake of Christopher Stevens’ murder in Benghazi the Romney camp has been striving to cast President Obama as the dovish milksop.
Romney took a recent jab at the Obama administration’s foreign policy, blaming the President for not pressuring Arab governments to reform, a preventative measure Romney argued that could have prevented the Arab Spring all together, let alone the fatal attack in Benghazi. “President Obama abandoned the freedom agenda” Romney chided before the newspaper Israel Hayom.
Yet the popular uprisings that have ousted dictators from Tunisia to Yemen, Libya to Egypt were an expression of freedom from tyranny regardless of how the power vacuum was filled in the aftermath. If the uprisings ousted tyrannical leaders like Ben Ali, Saleh, Qaddafi or Mubarak to make way for popularly supported governments throughout the Arab world we can hardly say that Mohammed Bouazizi’s public self-immolation was in vain or that the uprising were not yearnings for freedom.
Election year politics have a way of distorting the reality that events in the Middle East were something other than publicly supported popular uprisings.
The Benghazi attacks that occurred on September 11th were part of Arab world’s sustained protest against Western society and its contemptuous disregard for Middle Eastern people’s and the values they espouse. While the conception of freedom the protestors rallied for on September 11th, freedom from Western denigration of Muslim culture, may seem at odds with America’s conception of freedom of expression, the dynamics that led to the mass demonstrations are far more complex.
Reports of the attacks that occurred two weeks ago in Benghazi are already being spun by mainstream news outlets, casting the event into a national security prism. Such oversimplifications of international events benefit our politicians eager to rack up points in a heated presidential contest. The big debate unfolding in the mainstream media today is whether or not the attacks were a synchronized terrorist effort or a “spontaneous response” to a perverted Youtube video that turned the Muslim world on its head. Tailoring the debate to the classic false dichotomy provides leeway for President Obama and candidate Romney to eldue the real questions about what is happening in the Middle East.
The inflammatory Youtube video The Innocence of Muslims, was little more than a rallying call to unite the Muslim world against the West. What underlies the mass mobilizations that led to attacks at embassies across the Muslim world and culminated in the death of Stevens at the consulate in Benghazi is the unrelenting rage many Muslims harbor against the West and the American foreign policy that imposes it.
It’s one thing when your friend calls your mother fat. It’s another when a bully hurls the same insult. That’s why when the Romney camp exploited the recent events in the Middle East to win political points he was adding salt to a wound that has been festering for decades. Barack Obama “does not want America to be the strongest nation on Earth” Romney ejaculated, implying that Obama’s foreign policy has been too soft for a power wielding America.
However a closer look at Obama’s foreign policy tells a different story. The grievances Obama’s foreign policy has produced throughout the Muslim world may shed light on the underpinnings of the recent anti-American rallies that engulfed the region.
For starters the Obama administration has still not closed the Guantanamo prison facilities that have been anathema to sovereign nations worldwide. Despite effusive promises to shut down the scornful effigy of Bush’s War on Terror the Obama administration continues to violate Habeas Corpus detaining prisoners without charges, trial by jury, access to legal counsel or any due process rights enumerated in American and international law.
Secondly, America’s continuous presence in Afghanistan has exacerbated resentment towards the U.S. military occupation. Although American military operations have been reduced significantly and now serve more as training and personnel support for the fledgling Afghan National Army, the sustained U.S. presence has been mired in scandal. Abuse of Afghan military trainees by American superiors has soured relations between the joint military forces responsible for securing the war torn nation. The Koran burning by U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan incited Taliban fighters to wage attacks on American installations and prompted outcry that resonated from the government in Kabul across the Muslim world. Making matters worse last January a video of U.S. soldiers urinating on dead Afghani bodies surfaced, enraging the country and reinforcing the perspective that America is callous, perverse and reckless towards the “unpeople” of the world.
Obama’s use of drone attacks has been rankled in controversy. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports that since 2004 at least 2,347 people have been killed in Pakistan alone (http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2011/08/10/most-complete-picture-yet-of-cia-drone-strikes/). Of the 347 strikes that have occurred since Bush’s drone war began in Pakistan in 2004 Obama has been responsible for 295 of those strikes which have also resulted in up to 884 civilian deaths. That figure includes the 176 Pakistani children whose lives were also taken been drone blasts. While the exact numbers on total deaths by drone strike in Pakistan remain murky, even to the pentagon, those numbers elevate when the deaths caused by drone fire in Yemen and Somalia are also included.
That sovereignty is transgressed every time an American drone flies through foreign skies, scouring the lands below for Obama’s handpicked targets is bad enough for Muslim countries like Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. But the gross loss of innocent life is where the real outrage resides. Woman, children and innocents from all walks of life have been the murdered victims of Obama’s covert Drone War.
To top it all off a video produced in the United States that denigrates the prophet Mohammed goes viral at a time when anti-American anger had already been stewing. Obama’s foreign policy which includes the indefinite detention of foreign prisoners suspected of ties to terrorism, a more limited but sustained presence in Afghanistan and the heavy use of drone attacks to combat terrorism in the Middle East is more boss than Bush, at least in the tactical sense.
Romney’s saber rattling rhetoric on the campaign trail misconstrues Obama’s foreign policy undermining its fatal potency and ignoring the resentment it has stoked in the Middle East. It’s not so much that Obama “has abandoned the freedom agenda”. It seems rather that he never quite let it go. For much of the foreign policy agenda that the Obama administration has pursued was born out of the neo-conservative cauldron stirred by Bush II.