Posts Tagged ‘president Obama’

Capitalist Anarchy, Climatic Anarchy, Ukraine and New Threats of War and Fascism

March 23, 2014

The Keystone XL pipeline

President Obama appears to be nearing a decision on approving what is called the Keystone XL pipeline. This proposal by the TransCanada Corporation calls for a pipeline to be built that will, if Obama gives the green light, transport “heavy oil” produced from tar sands in the Canadian province of Alberta to refineries in the U.S. Midwest and along the Gulf Coast.

The U.S. president had indicated that his approval would depend on a State Department report on the proposed pipeline’s effects on the Earth’s climate. Opponents of the pipeline pointed out that the refining of heavy oil releases more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than the refining of “sweet oil” does.

In late January, the State Department released its report, which claimed that the pipeline would have little if any adverse effect on the climate. The State Department reasoned that even if the pipeline was not built, the Alberta tar sands would be used for oil production anyway. The resulting heavy oil, according to the State Department, would in the absence of the XL pipeline be transported by rail. So, the State Department concluded, there would be little adverse effect from the proposed pipeline project. These conclusions put heavy pressure on Obama to approve the construction.

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Behind the Austerity Drive

January 20, 2013

January 2013 marks the beginning of the sixth year since the last crisis began in August 2007 and the fifth year since the crisis reached its climax with the panic on Wall Street in September 2008. Compared to the stormy events of those years, recent weeks have been relatively quiet.

The European debt crisis has at least momentarily eased with the decision of the European Central Bank to expand the euro-denominated monetary base—though much of the European economy remains in the grip of recession with unemployment still rising. In the U.S., the economy remains sluggish as the leaders of the ruling class seek ways to accelerate growth in order to halt and reverse U.S. de-industrialization and prevent a serious social and political crisis.

This is therefore a good time to take a larger view of the current economic situation within the broader long-term evolution of the capitalist system. This month I will focus on the U.S. government deficits and the current austerity drive.

The U.S. federal government is now carrying a debt of over $16 trillion and is fast approaching the current legal maximum of $16.4 trillion. The financial situation of the federal government doesn’t affect only the United States but the entire world, since not only is the U.S. government the world’s biggest borrower, it is also the center of the entire world imperialist system.

Real versus manufactured crises

On New Year’s Day, just as I predicted last month, a last-minute agreement was reached between the Obama administration and the congressional Democrats and Republicans to avert mandatory tax hikes and spending cuts that would have withdrawn as much as $800 billion of purchasing power from the U.S. economy over the next year. If such a withdrawal of purchasing power had actually occurred, the U.S., and perhaps the world, economy would have been thrown into an artificial, government-induced recession that would have aborted the current global industrial cycle. Exactly because of this, there was virtually no chance this would actually happen. Far from seeking to induce a recession, the political leadership of the U.S. ruling class is attempting to accelerate the slow rate of growth of the U.S. economy.

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Obama’s Re-election and the ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Fraud

November 25, 2012

Despite polls that showed the U.S. presidential election very close, President Obama was re-elected, though by a narrower margin in the “popular vote” than in the 2008 election. Obama won 50.6 percent of the popular vote, while Mitt Romney obtained 47.8 percent.

Obama’s record

In foreign policy, Obama for the most part continued the polices of George W. Bush. This is not surprising. U.S. foreign policy reflects not the personality of the current occupant of the White House but the needs of the giant monopoly banks and corporations that form the core of U.S. imperialism. The interests of these monopolies are ultimately rooted in the very nature and contradictions of monopoly capitalism and do not change when a new occupant moves into the White House.

In addition, every U.S. president is surrounded by “advisors” who have dedicated their lives to increasing the power of “the Empire.” Then, there are the vast bureaucracies of the “national security state”—the Pentagon, CIA, FBI, NSA and numerous other “intelligence” agencies, whose personnel remain as presidents come and go.

In the unlikely event that a U.S. president ever attempted to buck the interests of U.S. imperialism, the market for government bonds would bring him or her back into line. In any event, there have been no such “problems” with the Obama administration, which has presided over the strongest government bond market in decades.

If the above were not enough, all serious candidates for president from the ranks of either the Democratic or Republican parties are individuals who have shown in practice that they are devoted to the interests of the U.S. world empire. Notwithstanding his African heritage on his father’s side—his mother was white—Obama is no exception to this rule.

The administration claims that it has withdrawn all U.S. troops from Iraq—which no doubt played a significant role in Obama’s re-election. However, there are still U.S. mercenaries and possibly CIA troops operating in Iraq. Most importantly, the U.S. is still very far from recognizing the right of Iraq to self-determination, not to speak of agreeing to pay reparations for the tremendous damage done to that country not only since it was invaded by the U.S. in 2003 but since 1990 through air strikes and sanctions.

In mineral-rich Afghanistan, Obama has actually escalated the war through a Bush-style “troop surge,” though he promises to withdraw “most” U.S. troops by 2014 and end the direct involvement of the U.S. in combat by that date. Obama also launched an air war against Libya in support of a U.S.-inspired rebel movement that in an attempt to win a mass base resorted to racism aimed at Libyans and immigrants of sub-Saharan African descent—a fine role for the first African American U.S. president.

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