Glenn Greenwald notes that even Democratic party loyalists are getting fed up with Obama’s Bush-like actions:
Even the most loyal establishment Democrats are now harshly denouncing the president for his war on transparency ….
This secrecy has become so oppressive and extreme that even the most faithful Democratic operatives are now angrily exploding with public denunciations.
(Greenwald gives numerous examples.)
The Hill reported last month:
A majority of voters believe President Obama has been no better than his immediate predecessor, President George W. Bush, when it comes to balancing national security with the protection of civil liberties, according to a new poll for The Hill.
Thirty-seven percent of voters argue that Obama has been worse than Bush while 15 percent say he has been “about the same.” [In other words, a total of 52% think Obama is just as bad as Bush. That was before the drone controversy - discussed below - went viral.]
The results cannot be fully explained as party line responses. More than one in five self-identified Democrats, 21 percent, assert that the Obama administration has not improved upon Bush’s record. So do 23 percent of liberals.
Indeed, more and more Democrats are waking up the fact that Obama is doing a lot of the same stuff Bush did.
Bush was a horrible president. His warmongering, disrespect for civil liberties, redistribution of wealth from the poor and middle class to the super-elite, and obsession for secrecy were all abysmal.
But how does Obama stack up by objective measurements?
Let’s compare …
Favoring the Super-Elite the Expense of Everyone Else
Income inequality has increased more under Obama than under Bush.
Under Obama, the richest Americans have captured more than 100% of all income gains (and see this).
Liberal Nobel prize economist Joseph Stiglitz said in 2009 that Obama’s toxic asset plan “amounts to robbery of the American people”.
Bailing Out the Big Banks
While everyone knows about the $700 billion “Tarp” bailout which started under Bush, a top banking analyst puts the current bailouts under Obama at more than $780 billion each year. (Background here.)
Protecting Financial Criminals
Obama has prosecuted fewer financial crimes than President Reagan, Clinton or either of the Bush presidents.
Obama’s chief law enforcement officer – the Attorney General of the United States – has publicly stated that he won’t go after big banks.
Obama has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all other presidents combined.
Obama – even more than Bush – is protecting criminal activity by prosecuting and harassing whistleblowers.
Indeed, the Obama administration is are literally treating whistleblowers as terrorists.
Using Government Secrecy
In March 2010, AP documented that – under Obama – 17 major agencies were 50 percent more likely to deny freedom of information requests than under Bush.
An ACLU staff attorney puts it:
In some ways, the Obama administration is actually even more aggressive on secrecy than the Bush administration.
A new AP investigation published last week shows that the Obama administration has recently become more secretive than ever.
Trampling Liberties and the Constitution
Liberals rightfully hate Bush for trampling liberties. Bush even called the Constitution a “God Damn Piece of Paper”.
But Obama has gone much further than Bush ever did by:
(1) Declaring the right to assassinate Americans living on U.S. soil (no … this was never disclaimed) without any due process of law
(2) Declaring that he can indefinitely detain Americans on U.S. soil without any due process of law
(3) Spying on Americans more widely than Bush (the former head of the National Security Agency’s global digital data gathering program – William Binney – says that he pervasiveness of spying under Obama has only “gotten worse”)
(4) Bush destroyed much of the separation of powers which made our country great. Under Obama, it’s gotten worse. For example, the agency which decides who should be killed by drone is the same agency which spies on all Americans
(5) Otherwise shredding the Bill of Rights
Starting Military Conflicts In New Countries
Liberals rightfully lambast Bush for getting us into the disastrous Iraq war.
But Obama has in fact launched wars in Libya, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan … and up to 35 African nations (and see this).
Obama – citing a Nixon administration official’s justification for invading Cambodia – has claimed his power extends into every country in the world … well beyond those where we are engaged in hostilities.
Obama has dramatically escalated the use of drone assassinations, which are creating many more terrorists than they are killing. The former chief military prosecutor at Guantanamo says that Obama’s drone surge is as damaging to our country as Bush’s torture program. I think he’s actually underestimating damage from the program, as drones have become the number 1 recruiting tool for Al Qaeda (especially since children are now being targeted for drone assassination … Oh, and torture is still happening on Obama’s watch...