It was a very pretty speech that Barack Obama gave tonight. There was some substance that was very important and welcome. However, while everyone is celebrating and feeling rosy about change and hope again, I want to take note of some things that weren’t in the Obama’s speech:
- Barack Obama talked about not torturing, but he didn’t talk about steps his White House has taken to keep secret torture committed by the Bush Presidency.
- Barack Obama talked about closing the torture prison at Guantanamo Bay, but he didn’t say a word about closing the torture prison at Bagram in Afghanistan. In fact, President Obama’s lawyers have argued that prisoners alleging torture there don’t have any right to petition the U.S. government for redress.
- Barack Obama talked about clean energy, but he didn’t talk about how his White House is trying to get passage of funding for dirty old coal and expanded offshore oil drilling.
- Barack Obama didn’t say a word about ending George W. Bush’s Big Brother spying program. President Obama seems determined to keep the warrantless wiretapping, home invasions, office searches and electronic surveillance of the Internet going.
- Barack Obama said nothing about reforming the corrupt Office of Faith Based Initiatives. That office unconstitutionally directs public money to support religious activities. What’s more, the office gives money to support religious discrimination in hiring. During the campaign, Barack Obama promised that he would reform the Office of Faith Based initiatives to do away with such discrimination, but the fact is that Obama has expanded the religious kickback scheme to make them larger than they were under Bush, without any reforms whatsoever.
Don’t let Obama’s personality and speaking ability distract you. Keep your eye on the ball. There are some very important, and very disturbing, aspects in which the Obama Administration is not a change at all from the authoritarian, corrupt politics that were practiced under George W. Bush.