No, no - not mine! This is from Russ Baker, recently posted on smirkingchimp.com ('Why Obama Cannot Undo The Surveillance Society - But We Can):
The blog basically examines the real limits on Obama's power, as I already suspected - which is why more than once I alluded to giving him the benefit of the doubt. Anyway, some excerpts from Baker's piece:
"As history shows us, when it comes to the overall direction of American governance, absent generally minor tweaks of foreign policy and somewhat more robust swings on certain domestic issues that rouse voting bases (notably things like gay and reproductive rights and, lately, immigration) presidents of both parties rarely deviate from a kind of “consensus” cobbled together by people in academia, media and government, a consensus that almost always serves the interests of a fairly small number of wealthy people and interests.
This is not a partisan issue. It doesn’t matter who is president. No “ordinary American who can dream of one day becoming president” is in a position to alter the basic equation, which would involve bucking the vast military-financial-industrial-academic complex that drives the American economy, funds our political elections and keeps people in line through any means necessary."
"President Obama, who presumably believed in and hoped to achieve some of the promises he made as a candidate, has no choice but to try and keep people complacent, for he is essentially helpless. This is in part because of the power-brokers to whom he owes his political success—figures from the liberal end of the same status-quo-benefiting money spectrum—bankers, investors, corporate attorneys—who always run things. He has almost no wiggle room."
"Steven Aftergood of the Project on Government Secrecy told the Times, “If President Obama really welcomed a debate, there are all kinds of things he could do in terms of declassification and disclosure to foster it. But he’s not doing any of them.”
And indeed, he could do them in principle, but he cannot do them in reality. One of the many things he supposedly could do, but inexplicably has failed to do, is to declassify the remaining files on the JFK assassination.
If he were to release records on the national security apparatus during this, the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of another president, what a powerful statement that would be. And it would perhaps open doors to greater understanding of exactly how and when a military-intelligence clique answering to moneyed interests seized de facto power in this country.
But of course he can’t. Study the JFK assassination, the RFK assassination, the MLK assassination. Those bullets were pretty effective messages. Take a look at this video of John F. Kennedy’s Secret Service protection melting away just before he is assassinated. (For a comedian/social commentator’s take on the implicit message, watch this.)
From his first moments in office, as we have reported in the past, Obama has been sent plenty of unsubtle messages himself about the need to tread carefully. (See this and this)
As I noted the whole piece can be read at the link - top of post.
Having seen all this was sobering to say the least. I promise I will go easier on Obama from now on!