It has been a long eight years under the Obama regime. He is now officially a lame duck, and it’s time to look back on the cult of personality that surrounds the Obama family. It is also time to look at the guy’s record. It simply doesn’t square with all the hero worship. There is one thing I’d like to address first to get it out of the way. I do not want it to become the focal point of this article.
I will agree that the Obama family has done nothing to embarrass itself on a personal level over the two terms. However, to just simply state that they are the perfect family and that they are not dysfunctional is a bit much. None of us actually know the Obama family, really. They have a public persona. That’s what we know because that is what they want us to know. We know nothing of what goes on behind closed doors, nor should we. I would imagine, however, that they are dealing with the same stuff other families deal with every day. That’s it. End of story. So, now on to the hard stuff.
If there is a prototypical con man in the political world, Barack Obama is that man. Never has a man who offered so much promise delivered so little, and still lived to receive unparalleled hero worship. When Obama ran for his first term, I was a supporter of Dennis Kucinich. You remember him. He was the Ohio Congressman and the former mayor of Cleveland. He was also a progressive and, as you might guess, the Democrats threw him under the bus. Just like they did Bernie Sanders this past cycle. Nope. The new Democratic Party has no use for real progressives. That’s why it chose Barack Obama. Slick. Ambitious. And someone who could be counted on to deliver for the Democrats’ new base: The corporate state, Wall Street and the one percent. They wanted a neolib, and they got one. All Obama had to do was sound like a progressive while he was running. And boy, did he ever deliver on that one.
I supported Barack Obama in the primaries after Kucinich dropped out. I supported him because, quite frankly, there was no way I was going to support Hillary Clinton. My lack of enthusiasm for the woman goes back a long way. But that is a different story for a different day.
The joke was on us: Wall Street vs. Main Street
Obama had everyone believing he was going to reign in Wall Street. Remember that tough talk? Main Street, not Wall Street? No more playing fast and loose with other peoples’ money. As soon as he made Timothy Geithner Secretary of the Treasury, I smelled something really bad. However, when Lawrence Summers became the Chief White House Adviser on Economic Policy (and Director of the National Economic Council), I knew Barack Obama was full of shit. These were the two thieving marauders who helped to deregulate Wall Street under Bill Clinton. Now they were being directed to “fix” their mess? Yeah. Sure. As for “reigning in” Wall Street and the banks, consider what Robert Kuttner wrote about Obama and his administration back in 2010:
Kuttner writes damningly of both Summers and Geithner, describing the former as a zealous deregulation advocate and tone-deaf bully with “the tragic flaw of certitude,” and the latter as a hapless apparatchik who “epitomized the politics of continuity with Bush.” He’s also no fan of Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke, whom he argues was asleep at the switch during the economic crisis, nor White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who recruited and enabled the “Wall Street Democrats” that have blocked or stalled major progressive reforms. As a result, Kuttner argues, we got a feckless mortgage rescue plan that did little to help struggling homeowners, a stimulus package that was too small to lift the country out of recession, two huge taxpayer-funded bailouts with scant accountability for Wall Street and a severely compromised healthcare bill diluted to please the insurance industry.
What resulted was an enormous bail-out of the banks and Wall Street, somewhere in the vicinity of $29.5 TRILLION dollars, which is more than double America’s GDP. TARP was only a small portion of the payout; the majority of it was handled through the Federal Reserve. The majority of Americans have no idea that this is the case.
Unlike the giant bailout for the financial elites, his mortgage rescue program designed to help the victims of this greed and avarice was barely a help to homeowners struggling to hang on. The stimulus package? Forgeddabout it. It stimulated nothing because the investment wasn’t big enough. After all, this package wasn’t designed to help the elites of our society, just the average American — the group of people that Obama sold his bill of goods to in order to get himself elected.
Obama also struck out on the second part of this financial collapse scenario. You know, the part where he promised to hold the greedy perpetrators accountable for the 2008 financial collapse. Now, let’s make no mistake about this. There is no question that what these scumbuckets did was anything but criminal. That cannot even be disputed. However, not only did Obama’s DOJ not prosecute anyone, they actually shielded them from prosecution. The DOJ used the excuse that obtaining convictions would be too difficult, in spite of the fact that there is a healthy paper trail proving that these greed mongers committed fraud. In essence, the DOJ never even tried to get a conviction. This shouldn’t surprise anyone who has been reading WikiLeaks for the past several months because one of its most important revelations is that Wall Street actually chose Obama’s cabinet for him.
Needless to say, Wall Street and the banksters have continued on as before, with little to no regulation in their way. In fact, in 2011, MF Global suffered a $40 billion collapse (with anywhere between $700 million and $1.2 billion in client funds missing, I might add) at the hands of CEO Jon Corzine, formerly of Goldman Sachs and the former Governor of New Jersey. And banks continue to sell toxic mortgages, reach agreement with fines to the government, and continue on with nothing to curb their bad behavior. Many financial experts predict yet another crash coming.
The “Constitutional scholar” repeatedly violates Constitutional law
Barack Obama was packaged for the public as a Constitutional lawyer and scholar. We now know that he actually was a lecturer. His title was never “professor.” Regardless of that little technicality, candidate Obama promised to return the nation to the “rule of law,” including what happens in the oval office. Obama also initially indicated that returning the nation to the rule of law would mean investigation of the Bush administration for potential war crimes. (In fact, there was and IS a huge amount of evidence of war crimes, unlike the supposed evidence that Iraq had WMDs.) However, those were the retractable ravings of candidate Obama, relevant only before his inauguration.
After he became president, Barack Obama decided he’d rather be magnanimous and look forward in order to heal the nation as opposed to looking back. How poetic. The only problem with that flawed logic is that if nobody is held accountable, criminal and illegal behavior is validated and continues to get worse over time. It didn’t take us long to find out that Barack Obama had no intention of either investigating or prosecuting anyone from the Bush administration for war crimes. In addition, Barack Obama derailed several investigations being conducted into Bush administration war crimes by other nations, like Spain. Obama was smart enough to know that he couldn’t run his secret prisons indulging in torture if he opened a case against the previous administration.
As it turns out, returning the nation to the “rule of law” was just another one of those empty campaign promises that all politicians make. His administration had no intention of following the rule of law. Indeed, not one but two, eminent liberal attorneys came out against Obama’s abuse of the Constitution in 2015. Four years earlier, in 2011, Jonathan Turley (one of those two) asserted that the Obama administration already had a disastrous record on civil liberties. This is but a few years into his presidency. Not only did he extend many of the Bush administration policies, Obama fortified many of them. While George Bush did set up the “assassination” list, it took Barack Obama to use it. Think about this. This gives the president alone the right to kill an American citizen if he finds that he or she meets “terrorist” criteria. This makes the president the judge, jury and executioner.
Guantamano is still open, and Obama has continued the military tribunals that deny people basic civil rights. I know the response here: The GOP wouldn’t allow him to close Guantanamo. Listen, again, for the first two years he had a majority across the board. He had a mandate to make change and this was one of the things Americans wanted him to do. Let’s stop the nonsense. In fact, just as his administration never even tried to bring one Wall Street banker to justice, Obama never really made a serious attempt to close Guantanamo. You can be sure that the bullshit that went on there under Bush continues on under Obama.
Still another area where he has expanded on the Bush administration policies is spying on American citizens. The Snowden revelations were all on Obama. He signed the directive expanding the program, not George W. Bush. In fact, I’m including a link to a great timeline that shows Obama’s personal “evolution” on the subject of mass government surveillance as a member of the Senate, as a candidate for the presidency, and as president. He’s like a human chameleon as he gets closer to the center of power. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has, however, produced an amazingly detailed timeline of the entire history of NSA activity on surveillance.
With the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Barack Obama slipped in authorization for indefinite detention of U.S. citizens on American soil without legal representation or charges. This has been reauthorized in all subsequent NDAA versions since then, and remains in the 2017 version as well. Also in the 2017 version of the NDAA, is something at least as insidious buried deep inside the bill. In essence, almost right out of a Harry Potter movie, we have created our own Ministry of Truth. We are just days away from the thankful end of the Obama regime, and the only solid legacy I can find is his full-frontal assault on our civil liberties.
Speaking of Snowden and other whistleblowers, candidate Obama made a promise to expand protections for national security whistleblowers and grant them access to court. By 2009, Obama had completely reversed his position. President Teflon received praises for the Enhancement Act, but it stripped out protections for NSA, CIA and other agency employees, and his spokesperson was amazingly nonchalant about his administration going back on a promise. Frankly, my dear, Obama didn’t give a damn. Obama was in favor of transparency as long as it was someone else’s administration being exposed. That’s why Chelsea Manning is suffering in prison and why Edward Snowden is on the run. The imperial president doesn’t like his administration being exposed for what it is. Chew on this statistic: More whistleblowers have been charged and imprisoned under eight years of Obama than any other president since the Espionage Act was signed in 1917. None of these whistleblowers — not Chelsea (back then, Bradley) Manning, Edward Snowden, John Kiriakou, William Binney — none of them are “traitors.” And if you want proof that there are two sets of laws in this nation, take a look at how Obama has protected administration insiders who have revealed state secrets. If you want the personification of what a traitor is, I suggest you do some research on these folks: Robert Hanson, Christopher Boyce and Andrew Daulton Lee (aka, The Falcon and The Snowman), and Aldrich Ames. These people are traitors who sold out state secrets for the almighty dollar.
From Nobel Peace Prize winner to warmonger beyond comprehension
From day one the Democratic loyalists have been blinded by Barack Obama. He’s affable and a great orator. He’s also the nation’s first black president, although during my trip to New Orleans I had the pleasure of meeting a young and informed black man who insists that Obama is not really black. I knew what he meant. He wasn’t talking about the color of the man’s skin.
Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize just months after taking office, with absolutely no credentials to warrant such a prestigious award. Today, the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Winner leaves office and can claim that he has bombed seven Muslim nations. The pinpoint accuracy of his drone warfare program — drones hit innocent people 90% of the time — has resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent people.
It is literally mind-boggling to me that he could be awarded such a prize, at least in part, for his position on nuclear nonproliferation. This was one of the criteria cited by the committee. He claims that he is working toward a nuclear-free world, but has reduced our nuclear arsenal by a mere 5%. Today Obama is leaving office having committed $1 trillion to modernizing our nuclear arsenal, including development of new bombs. Did you hear anything about this during the election season? No? I’m not surprised. If that isn’t enough, he is the lead architect of the new Red Scare shooting through America, accusing Russia of hacking our elections and installing Donald Trump based on virtually no evidence. Shades of Iraqi WMD. Obama is, in short, a dangerous man playing a dangerously stupid game with our lives. Thanks for nothing.
Obamacare is to the nation what Romneycare was to Massachusetts, but it is not “health care reform”
The issue of health care and Obamacare is not appearing here in the article based on its importance on the list of Obama failures. Far from it. It simply is where it fell when my brain was expelling thoughts. In my mind, this could have been the defining issue of this man’s administration. Instead, it has been referred to as a scam , and I have to agree. From the very beginning, Obamacare has been nothing but a goldmine for the insurance industry.
Obama’s health care positions have been all over the place during his career. It really just depended upon where he happened to be ‘politically’ at any one time. He was once a proponent of single-payer. However, the longer he held his hand out to big pharma and the health care insurers, the more he backslid. He abandoned single-payer in favor of health care reform that included a “public option” where the public would be given the option of purchasing medicare coverage from the government. (Keep in mind that this was not guaranteed free universal health care that other nations offered their citizens as a right, but was being sold to the public as a “back door” route to single payer.) In reality it was part of the con job being sold to the American public.
“Abandoning the public option” is the wrong terminology. The fact is that the Democratic leadership never intended it to be part of the ACA from the start. It was a threat or, if you’re more comfortable with it, a “bargaining chip” used against the insurance companies. Once they complied with a few requests, Obama threw the public option into the gutter in deference to the insurance companies’ wishes. That’s because he took $20 million from the health care industry during his 2008 run. Follow the money. Anybody who thinks that private industry simply gives money away without any strings attached is a blithering idiot at best. Anybody who really thinks that Obamacare is “health care reform” is a stooge. If people are still being forced to purchase insurance from private providers and penalized by the IRS if they don’t comply because they still can’t afford it, how can anyone in all conscience call that health care reform? Give me a break. It’s extortion of the American people, particularly the poor.
In other nations people have access to full health care as a right, not a privilege. In America, our health and well being are but chess pieces in a money- and profit-tainted political game. It has remained so under Barack Obama, in spite of what he and his spin doctors have trained the sheeple to believe. Just as Wall Street basically picked Obama’s cabinet, those who profit from our health care system have written the Affordable Care Act.
I keep hearing about Barack Obama’s legacy. I’m not sure what that legacy encompasses for others, but for me he’s simply a con man. End of story. Barack Obama gets a “pass” on a lot of things because of his image. Let’s take immigration as an example. In spite of his promise to stand with immigrants when he first ran for the presidency, Barack Obama has not delivered on that promise either. While we’re all fixated on, again, Donald Trump, we’ve lost sight of the fact that Obama is on track to deport almost more people than all other presidents combined from the 20th century. In fact, let’s clarify a misconception about the Democratic Party in general where immigration is concerned: The Democrats are not immigrant-friendly.
Come on, America. Photos of presidents with babies has been going on for literally decades. There’s nothing new or revealing about that. It’s called a photo op. First families have been sitting together at functions for decades as well. It doesn’t prove that they’re not dysfunctional. And you can call Barack Obama a ‘progressive’ and the ‘best president ever’ but his record proves otherwise.
President Cool and his lovable sidekick, Joe Idiot. People would love to have them back for another four years, particularly now that Donald J. Trump is the president-elect. But seriously, George W. Bush would look good compared to Donald Trump, and Bush’s cabinet would be more tolerable than Trump’s. And you know it.
Author’s Note: I know that there’s literally a plethora of other issues I have not mentioned here, such as the vast wasteland of election fraud left in the wake of the Democratic primary, Syria, Libya, the overall war on terror, Obama’s obstruction of justice in the Clinton investigation. I often worry about length and the ability of people to devote time to such a document. What I tried to do here was highlight the issues that Obama himself raised and ran on as a candidate versus what really happened during his eight years in office. There were the issues that the voters gave him a mandate to change.