See similar petition here
Whereas candidate Obama promised to bring real change to our nation's politics; and
Whereas tens of millions of Americans donated their time and money to his election and trusted Mr. Obama to live up to his word; and
Whereas President Obama violated Democratic ideals and aided Republicans by:
- Escalating and widening the disastrous, corrupt war in Afghanistan, causing attacks on civilians, cover-ups, and further hardship and casualties for our troops (bin Laden is dead, and al Qaeda is elsewhere -- why are we even there?).
- Secretly sending special forces to 75 countries -- see this article.
- Expanding drone attacks, causing many civilian deaths.
- Supporting neo-Nazis in the civil war in the Ukraine and surrounding Russia with NATO forces.
- Authorizing assassination without trial, even of US citizens.
- Increasing total defense spending to nearly a trillion dollars a year.
- Authorizing an attack on Libya without prior authorization from Congress, in violation of the War Powers Act.
- Twice delaying the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, and continuing the use of private mercenaries.
- Continuing overseas rendition, torture, the Guantanamo prison, and domestic spying;
- Choosing as his health care proposal a plan designed by the Heritage Institute; it enriches insurance companies and fails to contain a public option, not to mention single-payer.
- Choosing conservative Democrat Max Baucus, his advisor Jim Messina, and the other members of the Gang of Six to design the Senate's health care compromise; Baucus had brokered the passage of George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cuts and 2003 Medicare prescription drug plan, and had spent the better part of the Bush presidency cutting deals with Republicans and infuriating fellow Democrats. Other transgressions included voting for the war in Iraq, the energy bill, the bankruptcy bill and to confirm Supreme Court Justice John Roberts. (source). Jim Messina later became a chief campaign strategist for David Cameron and the UK Tories; see Former Obama Campaign Manager Led Austerity-Loving Tories to Victory.
- Extending President Bush's unjust bailouts of the banks and Wall Street.
- Failing to prosecute criminality in the banking industry (see Eric Holder: The Reason Robert Rubin Isn't Behind Bars).
- Proposing a budget deal more regressive than Pres. Reagan's (see evidence).
- Opposing a bill that would have imposed windfall taxes on Wall Street bonuses.
- Surrounding himself with military, legal, policy, and economic advisers held-over from the Bush Administration and from the right wing of the Democratic Party.
- Allowing the Affordable Care Act to contain anti-labor provisions ("Union health trusts will actually have to pay a temporary tax to subsidize private insurance companies selling individual coverage on the exchanges." [source], and "It is no exaggeration to imagine the ACA having the effect of destroying unions, by destroying the incentive to be in them [Compromised: The Affordable Care Act and the Politics of Defeat]).
- Allowing many of the architects of the Affordable Care Act to obtain employment with health industry corporations after leaving government service (source: Compromised, ibid).
- Allowing the FBI, under the direction of Bush hold-over Robert Mueller, to spy on domestic peace activists and to raid their homes, as reported here and here.
- Cutting back-room deals with Big Pharma and Big Insurance that eliminated a public option, prevented re-importation of medicines, and benefited the corrupt and inefficient health industry, in violation of his campaign promise (see also this).
- Repeatedly firing progressive staff members, including Van Jones and Shirley Sherrod, based on distorted right-wing smear campaigns, without giving the accused a chance to defend themselves.
- Allowing anti-choice provisions to be included in health care reform, despite his campaign pledge to "make preserving women's rights under Roe v. Wade a priority as president".
- Threatening war with Iran (though more recently his has been a voice of moderation).
- Disallowing single-payer advocates a seat at the negotiating table (unclear whether Obama himself made this decision) and reneging on his promise to support a public option.
- Supporting assassination of an American citizen residing overseas; see Glenn Greenwald's analysis.
- Failing to support the Employee Free Choice Act, despite union support during his election and his promise to "to fight for the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act".
- Proposing to open sensitive coastal areas to offshore oil drilling.
- Favoring $50 billion in government subsidies for nuclear power but not for green energy.
- Announcing in November, 2010 a two-year freeze on federal workers' wages. "This action -- negligible in its effect on the federal deficit -- affixed the presidential seal of approval to the strategy of handing workers the bill -- and the blame -- for the economic havoc caused by Wall Street fraud, corporate tax relief and war" (souce).
- Expanding the definition of terror to include domestic nonviolent civil disobedience, see this article.
- Working with Republicans in the Deficit Commission to gut Social Security, relying on false claims of pending insolvency, and ignoring the option of eliminating the income cap on social security taxes (see this and this and the editorial Whacking the Old Folks from the June 7, 2010 issue of The Nation).
- Supporting corporatist, conservative Democrat Blanche Lincoln against progressive challenger Bill Halter in the Arkansas Senate race; see Biden Sends Fundraising E-Mail For Blanche Lincoln.
- Failing to push for meaningful action about climate change at the Copenhagen conference.
- Appointing pesticide pusher Islam Siddiqui as chief agricultural negotiator in the office of the US trade representative.
- Supporting the court martial of Bradley Manning, who leaked the "Collateral Murder video" and documents about the war in Afgahnistan; see also this.
- Pushing for strong enforcement of federal marijuana statutes US vows marijuana enforcement regardless of California vote, Medical Marijuana Industry Is Unnerved by U.S. Crackdown ("Medical marijuana advocates accuse the Obama administration of going back on earlier promises not to go after groups abiding by local laws."); see also this article and this article. "The president campaigned on the promise that he'd stop federal raids on medical marijuana operations that were in compliance with state laws, a vow that Attorney General Eric Holder repeated after the election. But then the Obama administration raided more than 100 dispensaries in its first three years and is now poised to outpace the Bush administration's crackdown record." (source)
- Overseeing the merger of Comcast and NBC Universal, despite his June 2008 statement: "I strongly favor diversity of ownership of outlets and protection against the excessive concentration of power in the hands of any one corporation, interest or small group. I strongly believe that all citizens should be able to receive information from the broadest range of sources. I feel that media consolidation during the Bush administration has had the effect of eliminating a lot of the diversity of information sources available to persons who have to rely on more traditional information sources, such as radio and television broadcasts and newspapers."
- Prosecuting whistle-blower Thomas Drake, who exposed fraud, corruption, and illegal surveillance in the NSA "Trailblazer" program; "Even neo-conservative secrecy advocate Gabe Schoenfeld, whose far-flung idea it was to use the Espionage Act to prosecute leakers, calls Obama's conduct 'draconian.'" (See The New Yorker's Damning Dissection of "Leak" Prosecution of Thomas Drake);
See Obama's Crackdown on Whistleblowers.
- Nominating George Beck as US Attorney in Alabama (see Obama Proposes a Wretched Nominee for Controversial U.S. Attorney Post).
- Approving the use of taxpayer funds for religious schools (Solicitor general surprises justices in religious schools case)
- Compromising with Republicans on extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich; Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said this about the estate tax provision included in the tax cut compromise: "We had the president -- George W. Bush -- we couldn't get it done then and we're getting it done here."
- Choosing JP Morgan banker Bill Daley as chief of staff, despite Daley's approval by the Chamber of Commerce, "Daley publicly pushed the line that Obama and the Democrats overreached with healthcare reform; opposed the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency....[and] kvetched about the electoral plight of centrist Democrats in a December 2009 Washington Post op-ed." (source)
- Failing to support Wisconsin workers whose collective bargaining rights were taken away by Governor Walker, the Koch brothers, and Republican legislators. This despite his earlier promises to support workers. See Shoes for President Obama.
- Failing to prosecute Bush-era crimes, thereby aiding Republicans and allowing them to hide the truth about their policies from the American people ("...the incredible lengths to which Obama has gone in his crusade to fully protect Bush, Cheney, and their co-conspirators, an effort that has included making threats to England should it be so uncouth as to reveal any evidence of wrongdoing", from An Honest Look at Obama's First Year); see also Obama, Press Ignore GOPer Use of DOJ to Cheat Voters, Taxpayers; WikiLeaks has now revealed that Obama worked behind the scenes to prevent the Spanish judge from prosecuting Bush &ammp; Cheney for war crimes; '"The only people Obama has prosecuted are the whistle-blowers" .
- Compromising early and unnecessarily on raising the debt ceiling. "President Obama initially tried to strike a 'Grand Bargain' with Republicans over taxes and spending. To do so, he not only chose not to make an issue of G.O.P. extortion, he offered extraordinary concessions on Democratic priorities: an increase in the age of Medicare eligibility, sharp spending cuts and only small revenue increases. As The Times’s Nate Silver pointed out, Mr. Obama effectively staked out a position that was not only far to the right of the average voter’s preferences, it was if anything a bit to the right of the average Republican voter’s preferences." (Paul Krugman); "It is now beyond dispute that President Obama not only favours, but is the leading force in Washington pushing for, serious benefit cuts to both social security and Medicare." (Glenn Greenwald);
- Suspending a federal scientist for publishing a paper about the effect of climate change on Arctic wildlife (see Federal polar bear scientist back on the job).
- Blocking investigation of foreclosure fraud; see Why is the Obama Administration Trying to Block Investigation of Foreclosure Fraud? and this.
- Backing down on strengthening Bush-era smog standards, despite EPA director Lisa Jackson's statement that the current standards are "not legally defensible given the scientific evidence on the record” of dangers to human health" (source). In rejecting the stronger standards, Obama repeated Republican talking points by citing "the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty" -- despite "the EPA's own studies show that a tighter standard could have created $17 billion in economic benefits" (source; see also here).
- Supporting free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, despite the opposition of many Democrats and despite the approval of most Republicans (Trade Deals Wed Obama to Republicans as Democrats Vow to Oppose).
- Allowing a contractor working for pipeline developer TransCandada to conduct the environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline (source).
- "Siding with insurers rather than patients, the Obama administration also changed the rules to prevent patients from appealing contractual disputes, such as a particular service or medication is covered in a policy." (source).
- Deciding not to investigate possible police brutality in the crackdown on Occupy Oakland; see Despite Iraq Vet’s Cracked Skull, DoJ Sees No Evil in Occupy Crackdown.
- Pressuring state attorney generals to accept a deal with Wall Street companies that, in the view of many, largely exonerates the criminals on Wall Street (see See Glenn Greenwald at about 54:00).
- Trying, but failing, to extend the occupation of Iraq (see (Ibid, 57:00)).
- Illegally defunding WikiLeaks, without due process (see (Ibid, 59:00)).
- Overseeing the coordinated crackdown on Occupy protesters (Ibid, 59:00).
- Restricting access to the morning after pill (see Health Secretary blocks wider access to morning-after pill).
- Being "just as zealous as George Bush in stripping away environmental, health and safety protection at the behest of industry" (source).
- Naming former Wall Street defense lawyer Mary Jo White to be the Chair of one of the Securities and Exchange Commission (petition).
- Nominating Jerome Powell to serve on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. "Powel served as the undersecretary for finance under the president George H. W. Bush and was a partner of The Carlyle Group. The Carlyle Group is a massive private equity firm and one of the largest defense contractors in the world" (source).
- Failing to pursue prosecution of big banks for robo-signing (see Insight: Top Justice officials connected to mortgage banks).
- Negotiating a free trade agreement, called the Trans-Pacific Partnership: "TPP has been under negotiation for three years and, unlike in past trade negotiations, Congress has been denied access by the executive branch to the draft agreement text. The few TPP texts that have leaked suggest that TPP would not only replicate the job - offshoring investor protections of NAFTA but expand on them while also undermining Buy American procurement policy, imported food safety rules and medicine price containment policies" (source); see also this.
- Agreeing to a "fiscal cliff" deal on New Year's Day, 2013 that made permanent 82% of the Bush tax cuts. The deal lowers tax rates for incomes up to $400,000/$450,000 instead of $200,000/$250,000. (Rep. Adam Smith said that the compromise made in return for an agreement by Republicans on a two month delay before sequestration kicks in).
- Giving Shell Oil approval to drill beneath the Arctic Ocean off Alaska and blocking global action in Copenhagen and Durban (RootsAction). "The Obama administration on Monday gave conditional approval to allow Shell to start drilling for oil off the Alaskan coast this summer, a major victory for the petroleum industry and a devastating blow to environmentalists." -- source: New York Times.
- Selecting John Brennan as the nominee to head the CIA; see As Brennan Tapped for CIA, Case of Somali Detainees Highlights Obama’s Embrace of Secret Renditions.
- Loosening media ownership rules; see Obama Administration Seeks to Strengthen Rupert Murdoch.
- Nominating Jack Lew for Treasury Secretary (see Failure of Epic Proportions": Treasury Nominee Jack Lew’s Pro-Bank, Austerity, Deregulation Legacy).
- Nominating Ernest Minz for secretary of energy; see Energy Nominee Ernest Moniz Criticized for Backing Fracking & Nuclear Power; Ties to BP, GE, Saudis;`:w
- Appealing a federal judge's ruling that lifted age restrictions on the morning-after pill (see Women's health groups slam Obama administration's decision to appeal morning-after pill ruling).
- Nominating Tom Wheeler, a former lobbyist for the cable and wireless industry, to run the FCC (see Uh-Oh: AT&T and Comcast Are Ecstatic About the FCC’s New Chairman).
- Nominating former Obama fundraiser Penny Pritzker for Commerce secretary, despite her family's history anti-unionism and shady, subprime business dealings (see also this; as Brendan Williams wrote, "Upon President Obama nominating billionaie, union-fighting hotel heiress Penny Pritzker as commerce secretary, Dana Milbank of the Washington Post wrote that it '[t]urns out the wealthy didn't lose the 2012 election; rather, the Republican rich lost to the Democratic rich.'").
- Personally intervening to stop Yemen's president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, from pardoning Abdulelah Haider Shaye, "a Yemni jounralist who in 2009 revealed a US airstrike that killed fourteen women and twenty-one children" (source: The Nation, March 25, 2013, p. 3).
- Nominating Jason Furman for Chief of the Council of Economic Advisers; the American Enterprise Institute says of Furman: "He has written on the importance of fiscal discipline, the need to undertake entitlement reform sooner rather than later, the role of international trade in improving living standards, and the benefits of Wal-Mart in boosting living standards for low-income Americans." (source: Jason Furman would serve with distinction as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers).
- Calling for extradition of whistle blower Edward Snowden.
- Signing "into law the $633 billion defense authorization bill despite provisions that block any attempt to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center and try detainees on US soil" (source).
- Choosing Larry Summers as front-runner to head the Federal Reserve, despite Summers' ties to the worst Wall Street abuses (Congressional Dems forced Obama to nominate Janet Yellen instead).
- Weakening public education: "A feature of the Obama presidency has been his campaign against the American public school system, eating way at the foundations of elementary education." (source).
- Nomimating Ted Mitchell, a supporter of privatization of education, to become Under Secretary of the Department of Education ("an alarming sign that the administration is favoring greater privatization of public education".(
- Appointing conservative judges to the federal courts ("According to a February analysis by the Alliance for Justice, a coalition of environmental, consumer, civil rights, and women’s groups, 70 percent of Obama’s judicial nominees are former corporate attorneys. " Obama's Judicial Nominees: Liberals Are Upset With Them, Too).
- Threatening to jail veteran New York Times reporter James Risen if he doesn't reveal a confidential source; a recent report by the Committee to Protect Journalists shows that the Obama administration's efforts to prosecute leaks and control information are the most aggressive since the Nixon era.
- Nominating Antonio Weiss, a former Wall Street investment banker, as Treasury Undersecretary for Domestic Finance, despite's Weiss's getting up to $21 million from his employer if he gets the job; as reported here, Weiss helped Burger King merge with a Canadian company to avoid paying its fair share of U.S. taxes.
- Nominating anti-abortion legislator Michael Boggs to be a federal district court judge.
- Running HAMP (the Home Affordability Modification Program) in a way that benefited bankers, not homeowners, contrary to earlier agreements. David Dayen in American Prospect, winter 2015, writes, "HAMP cannot be justified by the usual Obama-era logic, that it represented the best possible outcome in a captured Washington with Republican obstruction and supermajority hurdles.... It was entirely a product of the administration's economic team, working with the financial industry...".
- Supporting high-stakes testing that weakens public education and unions.
- Working with Republicans in Congress to pass the TPP against the opposition of labor, environmentalists, and most Democrats (Obama vows to help pro-trade Democrats fight off the left wing).
- Comparing progressives such as Elizabeth Warren to Sarah Palin because of the progressives' opposition to the TPP trade deal (Obama goes after Warren: ‘She’s absolutely wrong’ on trade and Obama’s war with Elizabeth Warren is heating up). As The Other 98% said of this, "When President Obama campaigned for office, he promised to reverse NAFTA on dozens of occasions. Now, he's using his recent popularity to attack his own party from the headquarters of a sweatshop corporation [Nike in Oregeon]. If only Obama worked as hard preventing people from losing their homes or jailing banksters..."
- Distorting the truth about the secrecy of the TPP. Obama said: "When I keep on hearing people repeating this notion that it’s ‘secret,’ I gotta say, it’s dishonest, And it’s concerning when I see friends of mine resorting to these kinds of tactics." In fact, the text of deal is not open to public and is viewable by members of Congress only with heavy restrictions.
- Supporting charter schools, which are destructive of public education and the interests of teachers; see As Obama Admin Seeks More Funding for Charter Schools, Questions Raised over Billions Already Spent and Obama vs. teachers unions: It's still on.
- Blocking adoption of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Review Conference's consensus statement. See Obama Administration Sabotages Nuclear Nonproliferation Conference.
- Failing to put expansion of Social Security on the agenda of the White House Conference on Aging (July 13, 2015), despite support of almost all Senate Democrats and 116 out of 188 House Democrats (source).
Whereas the President's centrism, his failure to lead, and his unwillingness to decisively break with conservative policies and framing have confused the voters and allowed our opponents to portray the Democrats as servants of the rich and the powerful; and
Whereas the President's unsatisfactory leadership stifles hope, divides the Party, and contributed to the "shellacking" of Democrats in the midterm elections; and
Whereas the fact that Republicans are worse is an unacceptable excuse;
Whereas President Obama said of himself, "My policies are so mainstream that if I had set the same policies ... back in the 1980s, I would be considered a moderate Republican.";
Whereas ignoring his failures just because the President is a Democrat would amount to tacit complicity in injustice: we must hold him accountable to prevent future wrongdoing;
Whereas Preseident Obama has said, "We must form grass-root structures that would hold me and other elected officials more accountable for their actions" ;
Whereas hiding our heads in the sand and pretending, for the sake of party unity, that all is well is counter-productive, since people will abandon the Democratic Party if they perceive that its members compromise their principles in order to win elections;
Therefore we express extreme sadness and disappointment at President Obama's repeated betrayals of Democratic ideals and ask the President to pursue more populist and progressive policies that will benefit all Americans.
This petition and the list of signees will be sent to media outlets and to the White House.
Mail me here if you have trouble with this form.
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- In Obama's Obsession With Confrontation Against the Left (UPDATED), David Sirota writes, "Yesterday at OpenLeft, I wrote a post about how the Obama administration unduly shies away from confrontation with Republicans and conservatives.... This president goes out of his way to be very confrontational towards progressives."
As William Kuttner of The American Prospect says, "Let's stop pretending. Barack Obama is a disaster as a crisis president. He has taken an economic collapse that was the result of Republican ideology and Republican policies, and made it the Democrats' fault. And the more that he is pummeled, the more he bends over. "
In Obama's "bad negotiating" is actually shrewd negotiating, Glenn Greenwald writes, "Whether in economic policy, national security, civil liberties, or the permanent consortium of corporate power that runs Washington, Obama, above all else, is content to be (one could even say eager to be) guardian of the status quo. And the forces of the status quo want tax cuts for the rich, serious cuts in government spending that don't benefit them (social programs and progressive regulatory schemes), and entitlement 'reform' -- so that's what Obama will do."
- Dan Froomkin writes, "In a lot of ways, we’re worse off today than we were under George W. Bush. Back then, Bush’s extremist assault on civil liberties, human rights and other core American values in the name of fighting terror felt like an aberration. The expectation was that those policies would be quickly reversed, discredited -- and explicitly outlawed -- once he was no longer in power. Instead, under President Barack Obama, they’ve become institutionalized." (from Obama Makes Bushism the New Normal)
- Katrina vanden Heuvel Lays Out the Unfortunate Truth About Obama
- Why Progressives Should Run Against Obama and "Blue Dogs" in the 2012 Democratic Party Primaries By Rabbi Michael Lerner
- Olbermann on how Obama has betrayed both his base and his country
- Seymour Hersh unleashed
Hersh, whose exposés of gross abuses by members of the U.S. military in Vietnam and Iraq have earned him worldwide fame and high journalistic honors, said he was writing a book on what he called the "Cheney-Bush years" and saw little difference between that period and the Obama administration.
- Seymour Hersh on Obama Being "Dominated" by the U.S. Military"
- Obama Scraps Iraq Withdrawal
- After Reporter's Subpoena, Critics Call Obama's Leak-Plugging Efforts Bush-Like
- Obama's DOJ vs. the First Amendment
- Obama's Drug War Budget Looks a Lot Like Bush's "President Obama's newly released drug war budget is essentially the same as Bush's, with roughly twice as much money going to the criminal justice system as to treatment and prevention," said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the non-profit Drug Policy Alliance. "This despite Obama's statements on the campaign trail that drug use ... See Moreshould be treated as a health issue, not a criminal justice issue."
- Are Democrats screwed in 2010?
- Obama's War on the Press Continues
- Obama endorses deficit commission plan
- Obama leans towards centrists on new deficit-reduction panel See also the June 7, 2010 article "Whacking the Old Folks" in The Nation; the editors are highly critical of Obama's stance on Social Security.
- For a Year and a Half, No Signs of Torture Ending, Willful Self-Delusion That Torture Has Ended
- Obama secretly deploys US special forces to 75 countries across world
- The Stealth Attack on America’s Best-Loved Program
- Obama’s Health Care Bill Is Enough to Make You Sick
- Obama's FCC disappoints on media, Internet policies ("Obama appears to be no different from his two immediate predecessors,")
- The Warren Mystery Paul Krugman speculates whether the Obama team are "idiots."
- Curbing supporters' enthusiasm
- Treasury Makes Shocking Admission: Program for Struggling Homeowners Just a Ploy to Enrich Big Banks
- Why Obama can't blame the GOP for his inability to pass progressive legislation"
- Kabuki Democracy, by Eric Alterman
- What Created the Populist Explosion and How Democrats Can Avoid the Shrapnel in November
- Rabbi Michael Lerner, in Healing from Post Traumatic Abandoned-by-Obama Syndrome, writes, "Many are suffering from post-traumatic Obama abandonment syndrome--an ailment that came from being severely traumatized by Obama's political moves in the past thirteen months. A palpable sadness, depression, anger and even despair carried by many who had worked for Obama and now felt betrayed by his choices in his first year in office was mixed with compassion and a strong determination to not allow the political Right to use our despair as their ticket to a political revival." Unfortunately, if anything, the President has become even more conservative since Rabbi Lerner wrotw those words in February 2010.
- The Obama Deception: Why Cornel West Went Ballistic
According to African American Princeton Professor Cornell West, President Obama is "a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats. And now he has become head of the American killing machine and is proud of it."
This was maybe America’s last chance to fight back against the greed of the Wall Street oligarchs and corporate plutocrats, to generate some serious discussion about public interest and common good that sustains any democratic experiment," West laments. "We are squeezing out all of the democratic juices we have. The escalation of the class war against the poor and the working class is intense. More and more working people are beaten down. They are world-weary. They are into self-medication. They are turning on each other. They are scapegoating the most vulnerable rather than confronting the most powerful. It is a profoundly human response to panic and catastrophe. I thought Barack Obama could have provided some way out.
Cornell continues with, "But he lacks backbone." But the more likely explanation is that Obama is simply conservative in outlook, as described in the next item below.
- Psycho-Babbling Obama "Rather than face the fact that Obama is not a friend of the people, leftish commentators insist on conducting a psychological analysis of the president."
- Can OWS be turned into a Democratic Party movement? describes how President Obama has been a great friend of Wall Street. He surrounded himself with senior Wall Street Executives, accepted huge donations from them, supported their bailouts, and voted to protect their profits. Moreover, "Obama recently opined -- even while there are supposedly ongoing DOJ investigations -- that Wall Street’s corruption was, in general, not illegal."
- Dem berates Obama for 'quiet' signing of trade deals