Things Obama Should-But Won't-Do

By Kenneth J. Theisen

Barack Obama was elected by people who hope that he will change the political direction which this nation has taken over the last seven years of the Bush regime. When he takes office he will have the power to undo some of the damage of the Bush administration. But he will not do so because he does not owe his political allegiance to the majority of people in this country, but rather to the small class of people who live on the exploitation of the masses here and throughout the world. These are the people he will serve, regardless of the wishes of millions who voted for him. He may tinker with some of the programs of the Bush regime, but he will fail to reverse the fundamentally fascist trajectory.


Keeping Gates: Robert Gates, as Bad as Rumsfeld?

By Ray McGovern

"As Bad As Rumsfeld?" The title jars, doesn't it. The more so, since Defense Secretary Robert Gates found his predecessor, Donald Rumsfeld, such an easy act to follow. But the jarring part reflects how malnourished most of us are on the thin gruel served up by the Fawning Corporate Media (FCM).

Over the past few months, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has generated accolades from FCM pundits-like the Washington Post's David Ignatius-that read like letters of recommendation to graduate school. This comes as no surprise to those of us familiar with Gates' dexterity in orchestrating his own advancement. What DOES come as a surprise is the recurring rumor that President-elect Barack Obama may decide to put new wine in old wineskins by letting Gates stay.


Obama: Know Him by the Company He Keeps

by Dennis Loo

Obama, under fire, rightfully so, for his cabinet and advisor picks, defended his picks on Wednesday on the grounds that the vision for change comes from him and that he needs experienced people to staff his cabinet. The vision for change, he said, "comes from me."

This is an interesting claim by a man who throughout the campaign stated that this was all about the people and not about himself. It is, however, consistent with the cult of personality that he has cultivated about himself. "I am above and more powerful than the people I am surrounding myself with. I, not they, will call the shots. I, not they, am the decider."


Rahm Emanuel: Obama's Enforcer?

By Kenneth J. Theisen
It has been three weeks since Obama won the election. Millions of people who voted for him still believe that Obama will be altthe "savior" who will rescue us from the fascist political direction begun by the Bush regime. But in one of his first actions Obama made it clear to anyone that is really looking, that despite promises of change, we are really only being shown a new face for old-fashioned U.S. imperialism. Right after the election, Obama announced that he had chosen Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff. In this position Emanuel will be in charge of the day to day running of the White House and will be Obama's "gatekeeper" and "get it done guy." Emanuel is not an agent of change that is in the interests of the vast majority of people here or in the world.

Let us look at some of Emanuel's history that should give us an indication of where the Obama administration is headed.


Fronting for Paramilitaries: Holder, Chiquita and Colombia

By Mario Murillo
First the good news: We're two months away from President George W. Bush's last full day in the White House. The countdown for the end of the nightmare has begun in earnest.

Now the bad news: As Barack Obama puts together his cabinet and eyes a slew of former Clinton officials for key staff positions, it is becoming ever more apparent that all those calls for change coming from progressive circles in the U.S. - and abroad - have fallen on deaf ears.

Most striking, at least for the time being, is the soon to be named position of the top law enforcement official of the country. It looks like the first African-American President will appoint the first African-American attorney general in the coming days, something that on the surface looks like an advance, but should actually sound alarm bells for anybody seeking true change in the way things are done in Washington, especially when it comes to bringing corporate criminals to justice.



Obama, Diamond, and Real Change

By Robert Weitzel
On Election Day, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! went to Malcolm X Boulevard in Harlem to interview voters. She asked 18-year-old Diamond, a first-time voter, why she voted for Barack Obama: "Because  he's the best . . . Obama's going to make a change, going to cure everything, make everything perfect. I believe in him."

Listening to Diamond and her friends, with shouts of "yeah Obama!" in the background, one might have gotten the impression Goodman was interviewing the just-saved at a pay-for-heaven revival instead of young voters in a historic presidential election. Diamond's palpable enthusiasm and her refreshingly naïve faith in her candidate are, paradoxically, both reassuring and unsettling.


Obama: No War Crimes Charges Against the War Criminals

by Dennis Loo

The news just keeps getting worse for those who have been expecting or hoping that Obama would make right that which has been so monstrously wrong. The following story is the latest evidence that what Dr. Philip Zimbardo observed about his famous Stanford Prison Experiment remains true: while not all guards in the experiment were sadistic in their treatment of the prisoners, not a single one of the "good guards" intervened on behalf of a prisoner against the "bad guards."

Failing to prosecute and hold accountable war criminals means that the Bush Regime's actions can be repeated in the future, whether under the Obama administration or by some future president. In other words, any tyrant can do anything he or she wants because the Bush Regime did it and got away with it.

Even if, for the sake of argument, Obama doesn't torture and doesn't spy upon all of us during his term(s), the failure to prosecute Bush et al for what they have done means that the only way to insure that these war crimes, crimes against humanity and breaches of the public trust and of the rule of law can be prevented in the future is by electing individuals who promise to refrain from doing these monstrous things. We can only count on their promise and their self-regulated behavior because the mechanisms - impeachment and prosecution - to ensure that illegal and outrageous behavior doesn't occur have been left to rust by the Democrats and mainstream media as curious historical relics.

The rule of law no longer applies if Bush et al are allowed to go away without being prosecuted. This is what Obama and his party have given us. Regardless of what they do, good or bad, this one failure to act represents a stain and a shame the consequences of which are impossible to overstate.

How many of us were holding our breath this last election, worried that yet another election might be outright stolen? Do you really want to go through that over and over again? Is that any way to handle crimes against humanity? Yet this is the only thing we can count on within the parameters of official politics.

How do you like the politics we're allowed to believe in now?

If Obama is allowed to do what his people are signaling that they intend to do this also means that horrid injustice and crimes will go unpunished, irrespective of the consequences down the road.

Unfortunately, this news is not surprising. It is entirely consistent with the stance that Obama has been taking since being a US Senator: when he had the chance, the legal and moral responsibility to stop the torture and spying and so on, he demurred.

There's a changing of the guard coming but the new guards are still guards.

Yes, Virginia, this is "change we can believe in."



Election Night in Harlem

By Malcolm Shore
Sometimes, a wave of truth can be found within a sea of illusions.
Case in point: When millions of Americans, together with the nation's talking heads, describe Tuesday November 4, 2008 as "historic," they are not wrong. I have no doubt I will remember that night for the rest of my life. Should I have grandkids, I fully expect to tell them about being in Harlem at the moment the United States elected its first Black president. How I saw people dancing in the streets and crying tears of joy, and how I witnessed white youth streaming into the nation's most famous African-American neighborhood to high-five Black youth. How I heard people exclaim, "We did it!" "The Dream Has Come True," and "I See The Promised Land!"
But it occurs to me that, one day, this political moment will be viewed as historic for a far different reason than the current conventional wisdom allows. In sharp contrast to the pronouncement of the powers-that-be and their mouthpieces in the major media-that Barack Obama's election marks a major advance and a new beginning for the United States-I wonder if, someday soon, we will look back and marvel at how far humanity has come from November 4, 2008; at how radically the consciousness of millions has changed and advanced since then, how much higher people's sights have risen, and how dramatically the terms of political discourse in this country have shifted.



What Now - The Difference Four Years Can Make

By Malcolm Shore



Stricken with despair.

These are a few words to describe the way tens of millions of Americans felt on November 3, 2004.

Beneath all of those words was a basic question: How? How?! Throughout the United States and the world, that question kept echoing as an angry, desperate, demoralized scream. How, after Bush stole the 2000 election in broad daylight" after it had long been blatantly obvious there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq" after the Patriot Act " after Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 became the highest-grossing documentary of all time"and only months after the release of the Abu Ghraib torture photos, which shocked the conscience of people throughout the globe"


The Storms to Come: the Elections, a November Surprise, and the Aftermath

by Dennis Loo

I have appended two news stories, the first from The Hill, "The Police prepare for unrest," and the other from the Washington Post, "On Al-Qaeda Websites, Joy Over U.S. Crisis and Support for McCain."

The GOP ticket's in a heap of trouble, with Palin hurting the ticket, and McCain appearing increasingly desperate and being forced to try to defend traditionally rock-solid GOP states in the face of a surge of support for Obama after the Wall Street crisis struck.

Revulsion for the Bush regime and for McCarthyist baiting by the GOP is evident everywhere.

At the same time, the reactionary and fascist wind being whipped up by the GOP and its supporters is intensifying. At Western Carolina University in North Carolina on Monday, for example, a murdered bear cub wrapped in Obama posters was discovered.

Some people are exultant that Obama's going to win. He's clearly got a lead that, barring a dramatic event, should, if the votes are even mostly counted, give him the presidency.

However, as the two following stories underscore, a November surprise is going to happen, one way or the other, whether Obama wins or he doesn't. Even though he is clearly backed by very powerful ruling class interests and even though his politics are solidly and entirely in the service of their interests, the fact remains that in the minds of the most backward sectors of the society, he's still a black man.

The people who stole the last two elections are still around and are still hellbent to take permanent control over the society and the world. They believe that they have God on their side. They have demonstrated time and time again that they regard no trick, no stratagem, and no action beneath them, including torture, assassination and murder.


Dear Dave and Howard - On Your Obama Vote

by Dennis Loo

Both Dave Lindorff and Howard Zinn have written new pieces about Obama and why they're holding their noses and voting for him.

Howard has been consistently and correctly saying that the key is mobilizing the people in a powerful extra-electoral social movement. But he nonetheless sees Obama as the "lesser evil."

Dave's piece, I'm sorry to say, is something that makes me want to put my arm around his shoulders and say: "Dave, what are you thinking?"



World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.