A campaign trail of broken promises
Promise: Barack Obama promised to end the US occupation of Iraq and get US troops out by the time he became president.
What actually happened: Barack Obama left behind 18,000 State Department personnel to run the garrison fortress in Baghdad (officially an 'embassy'), America's largest in the world, along with thousands of armed private contractors who protect US corporate interests in the country. US Special Forces continue to be deployed to Iraq to ensure the puppet regime's full compliance.
Promise: Barack Obama promised to end the decades-long embargo on Cuba when he became president.
What actually happened: Obama Quietly Renews U.S. Embargo on Cuba, September 13th, 2011
Promise: Barack Obama praised the 2008 Supreme Court Boumediene v. Bush decision, which ruled that Gitmo detainees - who had been caged indefinitely without charge or trial - could challenge their detentions in US courts. Further, he promised to close the Guantanamo Bay torture facility altogether when he became president, and to restore habeas corpus.
What actually happened: Far from closing the prison camp as he promised, Obama returned Guantanamo to the secretive internment camp that he vilified as a candidate. A number of detainees were released as Obama's reign got underway, but since then habeas corpus rights for those accused of terrorism have been revoked and detainees have died in detention.
The Obama GITMO myth
Promise: Barack Obama promised to restore habeas corpus when he became president.
What actually happened: He signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law, granting his government powers to indefinitely detain citizens and making it legal to assassinate Americans without charge or trial, all.under the guise of protecting Americans under the continuation of the Bush era 'War on Terror' policies.
Promise: He promised to end the 'extraordinary rendition' of Muslims into the global gulag system of secret locations where suspects were tortured until they confessed to plotting against the US.
What actually happened: Barack Obama continued Bush and Cheney's despicable program, and also into other countries; secret torture facilities are still coming to light to this day.
Somalia's Prisons: The War on Terror's Latest Front, June 27th, 2012
Promise: Barack Obama promised to end wiretapping of US citizens' communications when he became president.
What actually happened: He quadrupled warrantless wiretaps from their Bush era levels.
Promise: He promised that the US would stop torturing people when he became president.
What actually happened: Despite the closure of some facilities, the Obama administration's use of extraordinary rendition has simply 'outsourced' human rights abuse to other countries.
Promise: Barack Obama promised to crack down on the corporate lobbying and secrecy behind the US legislative processes.
What actually happened: Lobbying expenditures increased in Obama's first year in office, while measures he introduced actually made it harder for public-interest advocacy to be heard.
Promise: As a candidate in 2008, Barack Obama promised that if he was elected president he would not issue obscure declarations known as signing statements that thwart the intent of laws passed by Congress.
What actually happened: On at least 20 occasions since becoming president in 2008, Obama has embraced the same tactic he criticized George W. Bush for using, not least signing the NDAA into law on New Year's Eve, December 31st, 2011.
Promise: Barack Obama promised to throw out the "tired old ideas" of neo-liberal economic policy, which assumes that wealth "trickles down".
What actually happened: He fully embraced neo-liberal economic policy, implementing devastating shock therapy on millions of working and middle class Americans while Wall Street and US mega-corporations enjoyed more leeway then ever before to fire people at will and outsource American jobs.
Promise: He promised as president to stop bailing out banks and enriching CEOs.
What actually happened: Bailout money to Wall Street under Obama dwarfed that given out by Bush and CEOs' salaries catapulted to new heights.
To his broken promises, we can add the following: [List copied and updated from here]
- Initiated, and personally oversees a 'Secret Kill List'.
- Waged war on Libya without congressional approval.
- Started a covert, drone war in Yemen.
- Thwarted genuine revolutionary momentum behind the 'Arab Spring' by selling billions of dollars' worth of weapons to Bahrain and Egypt.
- Launched a proxy war on Syria.
- Escalated the proxy war in Somalia.
- Escalated the CIA drone war in Pakistan.
- Sharply escalated the war in Afghanistan.
- Secretly deployed US special forces to 75 countries.
- Sold $30 billion of weapons to the dictatorship in Saudi Arabia.
- Signed an agreement for 7 military bases in Colombia.
- Opened another new military base, this time in Chile.
- Touted nuclear power, even after the disaster in Japan.
- Opened up deepwater oil drilling, even after the BP disaster.
- Defended body scans and pat-downs at airports.
- Signed the Patriot Act extension into law.
- Deported a modern-record 1.5 million immigrants.
This film explores the historical role of the Democratic Party as the "graveyard of social movements", the massive influence of corporate finance in elections, the absurd disparities of wealth in the United States, the continuity and escalation of neocon policies under Obama, the insufficiency of mere voting as a path to reform, and differing conceptions of democracy itself.