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West writes: "What a sad legacy for our hope and change candidate - even as we warriors go down swinging in the fading names of truth and justice."

Barack Obama. (photo: Olivier Douliery/ABACAUSA.com)
Barack Obama. (photo: Olivier Douliery/ABACAUSA.com)


Pity the Sad Legacy of Barack Obama

By Cornel West, Guardian UK

09 January 17

 

Our hope and change candidate fell short time and time again. Obama cheerleaders who refused to make him accountable bear some responsibility

ight years ago the world was on the brink of a grand celebration: the inauguration of a brilliant and charismatic black president of the United States of America. Today we are on the edge of an abyss: the installation of a mendacious and cathartic white president who will replace him.

This is a depressing decline in the highest office of the most powerful empire in the history of the world. It could easily produce a pervasive cynicism and poisonous nihilism. Is there really any hope for truth and justice in this decadent time? Does America even have the capacity to be honest about itself and come to terms with its self-destructive addiction to money-worship and cowardly xenophobia?

Ralph Waldo Emerson and Herman Melville – the two great public intellectuals of 19th-century America – wrestled with similar questions and reached the same conclusion as Heraclitus: character is destiny (“sow a character and you reap a destiny”).

The age of Barack Obama may have been our last chance to break from our neoliberal soulcraft. We are rooted in market-driven brands that shun integrity and profit-driven policies that trump public goods. Our “post-integrity” and “post-truth” world is suffocated by entertaining brands and money-making activities that have little or nothing to do with truth, integrity or the long-term survival of the planet. We are witnessing the postmodern version of the full-scale gangsterization of the world.

The reign of Obama did not produce the nightmare of Donald Trump – but it did contribute to it. And those Obama cheerleaders who refused to make him accountable bear some responsibility.

A few of us begged and pleaded with Obama to break with the Wall Street priorities and bail out Main Street. But he followed the advice of his “smart” neoliberal advisers to bail out Wall Street. In March 2009, Obama met with Wall Street leaders. He proclaimed: I stand between you and the pitchforks. I am on your side and I will protect you, he promised them. And not one Wall Street criminal executive went to jail.

We called for the accountability of US torturers of innocent Muslims and the transparency of US drone strikes killing innocent civilians. Obama’s administration told us no civilians had been killed. And then we were told a few had been killed. And then told maybe 65 or so had been killed. Yet when an American civilian, Warren Weinstein, was killed in 2015 there was an immediate press conference with deep apologies and financial compensation. And today we still don’t know how many have had their lives taken away.

We hit the streets again with Black Lives Matter and other groups and went to jail for protesting against police killing black youth. We protested when the Israeli Defense Forces killed more than 2,000 Palestinians (including 550 children) in 50 days. Yet Obama replied with words about the difficult plight of police officers, department investigations (with no police going to jail) and the additional $225m in financial support of the Israeli army. Obama said not a mumbling word about the dead Palestinian children but he did call Baltimore black youth “criminals and thugs”.

In addition, Obama’s education policy unleashed more market forces that closed hundreds of public schools for charter ones. The top 1% got nearly two-thirds of the income growth in eight years even as child poverty, especially black child poverty, remained astronomical. Labor insurgencies in Wisconsin, Seattle and Chicago (vigorously opposed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a close confidant of Obama) were passed over in silence.

In 2009, Obama called New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg an “outstanding mayor”. Yet he overlooked the fact that more than 4 million people were stopped-and-frisked under Bloomberg’s watch. Along with Carl Dix and others, I sat in a jail two years later for protesting these very same policies that Obama ignored when praising Bloomberg.

Yet the mainstream media and academia failed to highlight these painful truths linked to Obama. Instead, most well-paid pundits on TV and radio celebrated the Obama brand. And most black spokespeople shamelessly defended Obama’s silences and crimes in the name of racial symbolism and their own careerism. How hypocritical to see them now speak truth to white power when most went mute in the face of black power. Their moral authority is weak and their newfound militancy is shallow.

The gross killing of US citizens with no due process after direct orders from Obama was cast aside by neoliberal supporters of all colors. And Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Jeffrey Sterling and other truth-tellers were demonized just as the crimes they exposed were hardly mentioned.

The president’s greatest legislative achievement was to provide healthcare for over 25 million citizens, even as another 20 million are still uncovered. But it remained a market-based policy, created by the conservative Heritage Foundation and first pioneered by Mitt Romney in Massachusetts.

Obama’s lack of courage to confront Wall Street criminals and his lapse of character in ordering drone strikes unintentionally led to rightwing populist revolts at home and ugly Islamic fascist rebellions in the Middle East. And as deporter-in-chief – nearly 2.5 million immigrants were deported under his watch – Obama policies prefigure Trump’s barbaric plans.

Bernie Sanders gallantly tried to generate a leftwing populism but he was crushed by Clinton and Obama in the unfair Democratic party primaries. So now we find ourselves entering a neofascist era: a neoliberal economy on steroids, a reactionary repressive attitude toward domestic “aliens”, a militaristic cabinet eager for war and in denial of global warming. All the while, we are seeing a wholesale eclipse of truth and integrity in the name of the Trump brand, facilitated by the profit-hungry corporate media.

What a sad legacy for our hope and change candidate – even as we warriors go down swinging in the fading names of truth and justice.


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+168 # ronnewmexico 2017-01-09 11:44
Excellent stuff well said.
Cornell West continues to amaze and inspire me.
A true progressive in these sad dark days of false prophets claiming that throne. We need more like him.

You go cornell, may you live forever.
 
 
+69 # HowardMH 2017-01-09 15:06
I totally agree with you. Cornell absolutely nailed it about Obama the Wimp.
 
 
-30 # reiverpacific 2017-01-09 15:25
Quoting HowardMH:
I totally agree with you. Cornell absolutely nailed it about Obama the Wimp.


I just KNEW that you couldn't resist y'r usual rant!!!!
 
 
-17 # Caliban 2017-01-11 01:59
West is jealous. He (CW) made it big in academia, but Barak Obama made it big in the world of global history. Big difference, and West can't stand it.
 
 
+1 # jimbeama 2017-01-11 15:22
I didn't read Dr West's comments as saying Obama was a wimp at all. He was just on the wrong side in the cases he points out.
 
 
+12 # mmc 2017-01-10 12:19
OK Mr. Wild, you have given your opinion on the past: interesting, but not particularly relevant to the current need to save our country. People on this site obviously respect you, so how about a thoughtful blueprint for the future? What are the pragmatic, realistic steps we must take to throw off the kleptocracy? What uniting policies can be set forth and carried out that will unite "progressives", "dems", "liberals" and every other American who truly understands our Constitution, our freedoms, our democracy and our compassion for all Americans? We are all yammering, but pointing out that Trump and his cronies are scum is not advancing the ball: for one thing it's too easy, every hour a new act of vileness is committed by at least one of them. I personally support a guillotine for all Republican politicians, but that's just the fantasy of a retired guy no one knows. What we need is a positive plan, and leaders to lead. You have a platform, please use it to join people together.
 
 
+6 # Henry 2017-01-10 13:46
Quoting mmc:
OK Mr. Wild, you have given your opinion on the past: interesting, but not particularly relevant to the current need to save our country. People on this site obviously respect you, so how about a thoughtful blueprint for the future? What are the pragmatic, realistic steps we must take to throw off the kleptocracy? What uniting policies can be set forth and carried out that will unite "progressives", "dems", "liberals" and every other American who truly understands our Constitution, our freedoms, our democracy and our compassion for all Americans? We are all yammering, but pointing out that Trump and his cronies are scum is not advancing the ball: for one thing it's too easy, every hour a new act of vileness is committed by at least one of them. I personally support a guillotine for all Republican politicians, but that's just the fantasy of a retired guy no one knows. What we need is a positive plan, and leaders to lead. You have a platform, please use it to join people together.


Cornel West does not write for RSN, nor does he come here to read comments. Cornel West is republished here by RSN, that is all.
 
 
+124 # ronnewmexico 2017-01-09 13:09
My particular "moment" on Obama was when he instead of letting the Bush era tax breaks for the rich just expire on its sunset clause he signed a bill which extended many of the breaks given to the rich. A bipartisan bill. McCaine was beside himself in glee when he did that. And Obama about five minutes after he signed that giveaway to the rich got on the airwaves to rale against the tax breaks for the rich.

All he had to do was let them expire. So began my eventual disassociation from the Dems, over time. Clinton for all his faults had a progressive tax policy which did balance the budget and was producing surpluses. By taxing the rich. We could have returned to that. All the had to do was do nothing. A sunset clause in a bill means on this date it expires, the bill.
AS regards politics that was the sadest political day of my life.
Bush's tax bill had hit its sunset time specification.

I'm sure others here have similiar stories when the moment occured to them Obama was not progressive. The rhetoric did not match the real.

I coninued on but eventually my area was redistricted and I was moved out so to speak. Glad that happened actually I clearly saw what was to come. The party had begun to grossly overtly corrupt. For every Bernie there are a hundred Hillary's standing in the wings. Used to be it was about split.

So sad they are seemingly all we have. So sad.
 
 
+88 # Kootenay Coyote 2017-01-09 15:47
Nor did giving Torture President W Bush & his cronies a clear break improve the moral tone of the nation.
 
 
+19 # davehaze 2017-01-09 19:51
My moment was when he went obviously to the right the day after he won the primary. End of hope and change. Never even occurred to me to vote for him.
 
 
+31 # curmudgeon 2017-01-09 21:35
I am with you...

He dumped the advisers that got him nominated.....

and brought Hillary's aboard along with some of George W's minders from the White House.

And if you looked closely, the same moneybags that backed GW , started backing Obama

All red flags to me.....
 
 
+20 # RLF 2017-01-10 05:26
My moment was when the Wall ST. Banksters that got bailed out for their, at the very least, incompetence, went on to give themselves huge bonuses and said it was necessary because they were indispensable. Absolutely nothing was done and then, not long after, the tax breaks were continued. I knew we had just another Harvard lawyer in office.
 
 
+10 # madame de farge 2017-01-11 08:57
two things for me, the appointees Timmy Weasel Geithner and Larry Summers... and then the Attacks on OWS that were coordinated by the FBI and police...
 
 
+5 # Brice 2017-01-10 05:48
Yes, so many moments lost by Obama ... or rather forces on him by the oligarchic elite. I wonder if he will ever level about what it looks like as President to the American people.

The other thing though was that the moment Obama was elected people just went back to sleep. Every election they voted in lesser numbers and just complained bitterly - but never voted.
 
 
+7 # GoGreen! 2017-01-10 14:00
Brice, don't blame this mess on the fact that fewer people bother to vote. Our electoral system is fatally corrupt. All we get to do is chose the lesser evil. A lot of us find that a total waste of time. Many people vote by political party, thinking one is better than the other -- but we don't check on the voting record of our 'representative s'---and they DON'T REPRESENT THEIR CONSTITUENTS. They vote as directed by their major donors--bribing an official is a very successful thing to do.

No one yet has mentioned the terrible decline in any moral or ethical rules of behavior. In the United States the purpose of life is to make a profit. Any way you can increase your profits is just fine. To act otherwise is just STUPID. Look where that has gotten us. We must demand that our representative listen to the people and vote as directed by the living people who live in the district. Corporations are not people and must not participate in the government OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE AND FOR THE PEOPLE.
 
 
-5 # Caliban 2017-01-11 00:38
"No one yet has mentioned the terrible decline in any moral or ethical rules of behavior": Interesting comment.

But are you referring to the poor moral character of members of Congress or suggesting that the American people as a whole do not behave in a manner that you approve?
 
 
0 # Brice 2017-01-21 23:33
Voting is a like a public place ... a street. When people use it nothing much happens because everyone keeps an eye on it for everyone else. When people desert the area the riff-raff and the unsavories come in to pick things over, and as the people have abdicated our electoral system to the parties, or allowed themselves to be "abdicated" from it, it has become like a crime zone. It did not work well in the primary season, and it worked ever worse in the real election ... and this was the 1 in 4/8 election for President, and Democrats still did not show up.

It takes such little effort for the average person to vote, there is just no excuse other than people are tired, lazy, don't care or they think things are great - and they do not vote.
 
 
+2 # heartofnests 2017-01-11 14:09
My particular moment, after being a limp-wristed liberal until Billary and Hillary, then became an independent. However, I voted enthusiasticall y for Barack's cute black guy charm and loquacity, which dwindled down to suspicion and then disgust when I realized he had deported 2.5 million people. And kept Guantanamo open, never spoke out about waterboarding. And then Chemical Bank chose both his Cabinets. So Trump is the next level of corruption and deterioration, the devolution of the species in a betrayed democracy.
 
 
+2 # jimbeama 2017-01-11 15:40
My moment was when the Obama justice department continued to fight on grounds of national security the tossing out of a lawsuit that people were being spied on. As I recall the judge assumed they would drop it so he questioned them again if that is really what they wanted to do. I knew then that GWB/Cheney had created something that would be nearly impossible to destroy.
 
 
+92 # CDMR 2017-01-09 14:29
"The age of Barack Obama may have been our last chance to break from our neoliberal soulcraft. We are rooted in market-driven brands that shun integrity and profit-driven policies that trump public goods. "

As it turned out, Obama was nothing more than one of those market driven brands with no integrity and motivated only by the neoliberalism many of us thought he opposed.

Ironically Trump is not a neoliberal and not a neoconservative . He may be the hope that Obama was not. But let's wait and see. Trump may turn out to be worse than Obama. Many people on this website expect he will.

Cornel West is great. I remember when Obama was first elected I thought he would ask West to take some role in the new White House, maybe a special advisor of some sort. But Obama snubbed West in a very rude and blunt manner. This to me was the turning point in my view of Obama. He used West to help his campaign and when the campaign was over, he brushed off West as if he were nothing.

I totally agree -- what a sad legacy and what failed hopes.
 
 
+11 # ericlipps 2017-01-10 07:04
Donald Trump "may be the hope that Obama was not"? Hope for what?

When Trump was elected, neo-Nazis openly proclaimed "victory." My hope is that they were wrong.
 
 
+13 # dascher 2017-01-10 09:18
"donald j. trump may turn out to be the hope that Obama was not" - if you hope that an ignorant, illiterate, outstandingly incompetent (lost almost $2.5BILLION running casinos!, never made a cent on any of his retail ventures) delusional, egocentric, megalomaniacal, liar will somehow save this nation and the world from all the disasters that threaten it. Such a hope is pretty desperate.
 
 
+87 # djean102 2017-01-09 14:46
My break with Obama came early. I campaigned for him and then, just as now, I watched him install all the insiders, some republicon, but all connected to the neo-cons and Wall St. Now it's worse with multi-millionai res and billionaires waiting for approval by republicons who are salivating at the thought of all they can do, legal or illegal, moral or immoral to further their own aims and enrich themselves further. This is the end of democracy. I believe there will be a revolution eventually, but I also think we will fall further and further into the abyss before that happens.
 
 
+45 # danireland46 2017-01-09 15:01
We, or at least I, expected a lot from Barack Obama. As time went on it became apparent that he wasn't who we thought he was.
I remember a smart lady telling me before the end of his first term, that my expectations were too high. I thought he'd be an agent of change; she said he was a Community Organizer. Obama was singing Kumbaya, when I wanted him to lead the charge.Good man, great First Family, POOR progressive leadership.
 
 
+16 # John Cosmo 2017-01-09 21:23
Throughout his two terms, I kept lowering my expectations about Barack Obama and just how much he might accomplish. Somehow I could never keep up and my expectations could never get low enough.
 
 
+6 # savagem13 2017-01-10 12:08
Quoting danireland46:
Good man, great First Family, POOR progressive leadership.


Like your expectations, your opinion of Obama is too high. Not a good man.
 
 
+9 # Maybe 2017-01-09 15:11
Sorry, Mr. West, You did a thorough job of relating all the broken promises, and strangely you seem to hold Obama personally responsible for them all. Not once did you mention a "just say no" congress and Senate, not once did you even imply that Obama tried ,,, and tried ... and tried to get the right thing done just to be shot down by the Congress. The Black community is mad at him for being too white; the White community is mad at him for being Black, but not being Black enough. You illuminate actions that struck every liberal in the heart. You give him no credit for reasonably going after the possible. He gave us hope and light after eight years of Dick Cheney and his puppet. And you and I and the general public have no idea what roadblocks he had to maneuver to fix America's deep slide into ruin. You're honest, if biased. Be fair.
 
 
-14 # bardphile 2017-01-09 15:31
Right. He wasn't perfect, but the fact that he's vilified more or less equally by right and left suggests that he probably hit it about right. He did what he could. In retrospect, he probably should have spent his political capital going after Wall St. and saved health care until he could line up a consensus for a better plan, rather than the sausage the process gave him. And his FP failings have been whipped hard on this site. But history will be a lot kinder to him, with reason, than many here.
 
 
+54 # harleysch 2017-01-09 16:24
Sad to see Obama apologists still fail to get it. He was never the man his rhetoric led many to believe in. That was a cover for a continuation of Bush and Cheney policies. Look at how he expanded the drone program, how he has expanded the use of special forces in Africa, his Libya fiasco, just to name a few.

Those who counter by saying he is a "good man" hampered by bad Republicans seem to forget that he had Democratic majorities in both Houses when he took office. His failure to act against Wall Street in the first months showed what a fraud he was. With those majorities, his personal popularity, and the "bully pulpit", he could have at least fought for Glass Steagall, instead of banker-friendly Dodd Frank; for single payer, rather than Romneycare; for closing GITMO, etc.

It is not a failure of a message of "hope and change", but a sign of the failure of Progressivism, that people continue to defend him, after his horrendous Presidency. And that failure is still evident, in the RSN promotion of the CIA/Deep State line against Russia and Putin.

Good for Cornell West to courageously exposing this fraud.
 
 
+12 # John Cosmo 2017-01-09 21:25
Obama was/is "Black George W.," although he is certainly more articulate.
 
 
+10 # dascher 2017-01-10 09:30
obama waited for almost 2 years for Congress to develop a health care plan, while keeping quiet about what he wanted the plan to include. A few blue dog dems needed to be corralled to suport health care reform, but the final ACA plan, enacted after the death of Ted Kennedy and the dumb loss of that seat to Republican non-entity Scott Brown, included several features that were put in to get support from some GOP lawmakers. Not a single GOP lawmaker actually voted for it, nor did they pay any price in the form of any retribution from the President. The final form of the ACA was written by and for Big Pharma and the Insurance industry and Obama put a smiley face on it.

His election completely gutted the American antiwar movement which was coopted to support his election and most of which excused his every aggression and support of aggression by our "allies". There was virtually nothing of that movement left to stop Trump.
 
 
+16 # dquandle 2017-01-09 21:08
Obama came in extolling the virtues and prowess of his idol, Ronald Reagan, and now the same "Liberal Democrats" who were so thoroughly delighted with that, are gung-ho to defend the heinous CIA and the "Intelligence" community as they practice their art of subverting governments, spreading red-baiting propaganda to gin up Armageddon with Russia. Obama will now take up the corner office opposite that other renowned layer-down of the law and judicial scholar, "too big to prosecute" Holder, and under the tutelage of the Saudi/Clinton Foundation "advisors", sit and watch the $millions roll in.
 
 
-4 # Caliban 2017-01-11 14:45
Great comment, # bardphile.

It's encouraging to see that there are some astute and fair-minded commenters truly appreciate this fine president and the fine work he has done in some bad circumstances.
 
 
-7 # WallStWallFlowerGirl 2017-01-09 16:18
Maybe- "...you and I and the general public have no idea what roadblocks he had to maneuver to fix America's deep slide into ruin." Precisely how I feel.

Of course I'm disappointed that hope is still far away. The failure to hold Wall St accountable, gluttonous military spending, punishing whistleblowers, our police state and drone murders- to name a few. But as our first black president- I've no doubt he faced threats we may never know. That he accomplished what he did with the McConnell gang sulking for eight years that they couldn't stop him at four, is testament that the hope and change we voted wasn't just a catchy slogan. If not for those in power who loathed him for the color of his skin (not 'playing' the racist card, just looking back on the past 8-yrs) instead of what he stood for, America would be a leading example in true democracy today.

I'm not looking at him like a mesmerized groupie following a rock star- but I also don't abide by every word Dr. West writes. I admit that Washington Dems, not all but too many, did not take T-rumps appeal seriously; while many are indeed deplorable- more are unhappy with the status quo. T-rumps true contender, the candidate who stood with the Common Man and not Wall St- was Bernie Sanders.

If Barack could run today, I'd vote for him. And in time, if T-rump doesn't annihilate this planet, I believe Obama's years in office will vindicate his transgressions.
 
 
-6 # ansleypk 2017-01-09 17:53
Thank you "MAYBE" for bringing just a bit of reality to these writers who only see one side of everything. There is such a thing as CONTEXT, which you bring forward. For just one of the many attacks West makes on Obama, take Obamacare. Obama tried for a year to get a bipartisan bill. The Republicans kept insisting on their inputs and then ended up not voting for it. Do you think he wouldn't have preferred a single payer system???? Good old Bernie can proclaim his desires but a single payer system is not going to pass congress--at this point. When you run for President, you are a partisan and when you are elected you are the President of all people. The writers here slinging arrows at Obama, like saying he has no integrity. Wow. I'm stunned you can say (or believe) this. All I can say is JUST YOU WAIT. You will be on your knees begging for Obama back in the Whitehouse. I stopped reading or listening to West a long time ago, though I did skim the article and a few of the responses but stopped in disgust. Happy New Year.
 
 
+12 # dquandle 2017-01-09 20:54
Upon assuming office Obama had solidly "Democrat" majorities in both House and Senate. He and these "Democrats" went out of their way to start and amp up wars and mass murder programs, massacring tens of thousands, droning weddings and hospitals, whose "terrorist" affiliations were "verified" by the same CIA currently working with the Clinton/DNC central to start WWIII with Russia. These "Democrats" with Obama at the helm offered sickening apologetics for the Bush/Cheney wars, atrocities, and torture, and handed Wall Street $trillions in bailouts after they had already stolen $trillions from Americans and wrecked millions of lives and futures. He never TRIED to do anyhting right. Instead of trying to give us healthcare, he gave us corporate-led government enacted extortion, ramming his vile Heritage Foundation/Romn eycare program down our throats, after sticking his name on it, with the full backing of such Liberal luminaries as Chief "Justice" John Roberts, who was intelligent enough to not look a huge golden gift horse in the mouth, and instead realize that forcing people to buy sh!t "insurance", via government extortion, would net hundreds of $billions for the corporations who bought him the position. Obama came in as a happy neocon warmongering corporate-toe-s ucking tool, and will go out as such. A despicable man and a heinous regime.
 
 
+1 # madame de farge 2017-01-11 09:11
Now tell me how you really feel...
 
 
+13 # PCPrincess 2017-01-09 21:17
Maybe- Is it okay with you and your defenders if we hold Obama accountable, at the very least, for those PROMISES made and the ISSUES he professed to care about while on the campaign trail?

Personally, I'm angry at Obama because he was a proficient politician; by that, I mean he was good at making promises to ensure votes, and keeping NONE of them.
 
 
+8 # gaga1996 2017-01-09 15:12
Oh no, don't lose heart. Obama accomplished exactly what he was supposed to. He helped set the stage for the powers that be to falter and fall. It may seem like hope is lost but that isn't the case. The scum is rising to the top where it can be seen by the naked eye, even by the blindest citizens. Now we will have the opportunity to skim it off the top!!! Just watch and see! President Obama did not fail us.
 
 
+7 # dquandle 2017-01-09 21:10
Exactly which position do you hold in Goldman Sachs?
 
 
-8 # ericlipps 2017-01-10 07:07
Quoting dquandle:
Exactly which position do you hold in Goldman Sachs?

Around here, the "line" seems to e that everyone connected with GS should be taken out and shot, or perhaps burned at the stake.

And I can't help wondering if attitudes would be different if its name were Smith Jones instead.
 
 
-4 # Activista 2017-01-10 23:11
Agree ericlipps - some of the readers here still believe in the class war - Bolshevik revolution.
 
 
+4 # madame de farge 2017-01-11 09:13
Gold and Sacks....says enough... you are correct, smith and Wesson would be better
 
 
+21 # dotlady 2017-01-09 15:16
Still think there was a very decent man inside Obama trying against threatening odds to come out. Yet - one does wish a man to take a stand even in the face of defeat. He is taking some good if belated stands on his way out the door.
 
 
+33 # RagingGrannyVicki 2017-01-09 15:23
Too little too late, I'm afraid. The blood of thousands who died undeservedly is on his hands.
 
 
+13 # economagic 2017-01-09 17:30
I think Penny Pritzker and other One Percenters offered him a Faustian bargain and he took it, with the Devil and Dr. Faustus being almost the only "winners."
 
 
+7 # dquandle 2017-01-09 21:18
He came in with precisely those ideas himself, and then went and found filthy rich backers, like Gates, Blankfein, Dimon, Pritzker, Soros, and the whole of Wall Street, etc. etc. etc to aid and abet his crimes
 
 
+11 # dquandle 2017-01-09 21:15
Decent men do not engage in mass murder and brag about how good they are at it.
 
 
+4 # savagem13 2017-01-10 12:11
Quoting dotlady:
Still think there was a very decent man inside Obama trying against threatening odds to come out.


Jesus! The capacity for some people to make excuses is astounding!

This:

"Decent men do not engage in mass murder and brag about how good they are at it."
 
 
+3 # madame de farge 2017-01-11 09:14
The numbers of black men incarcerated for petty crime while Wall Street Mafiosa repeatedly violate the law is a sign to the entire world about this state of this country.
 
 
+25 # lorenbliss 2017-01-09 15:30
I actually campaigned a bit for Obama -- talking up his candidacy enough to win him probably 30 or 40 votes -- first time I'd done anything like that since Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was running for the nomination in 1968.

Hence when it became clear "change we can believe in" was the most malicious Big Lie in USian presidential history, I felt not just personally betrayed, but guilty and filled with sorrow I had lured those other 30 or 40 voters into betrayal as well.

Hence too my response, noting how cunningly he used his persona of Obama the Orator and his African-America n skin to hide his fascist, white-supremaci st heart, and then, once we were entrapped, promptly shape-shifted into his true persona, Barack the Betrayer.

And that -- Barack the Betrayer (traitor to his race, nemesis of the 99 Percent,) -- is how I will think of him from now on.

For if his job was what I now believe it was -- if his One Percent masters' orders were to ensure the presidency has all the powers previously possessed by der Führer and then help leverage Trump into the White House -- he surely performed those tasks to absolute perfection.

Barack the Betrayer indeed: may history thus eternally damn him.
 
 
+15 # hipocampelo 2017-01-09 17:40
lorenbliss: We see this situation the same.
 
 
+20 # ronnewmexico 2017-01-09 20:03
Thought I may mention Loren. Back in that day I also was very involved.
Here in New Mexico I helped with the primary. Obama was the radical and Hillary the conservative. Conservative voters tend to vote early and liberals late after work and such. That is a well known of political truism.

What was done was they did not give us enough ballots to end out the day. We tried to get more, I send a person and she replied to me, it was like the central office of the Dems they were laughing and joking, they did not care. And they did not give us enough. So naturally we ran out. Most all ran out. Some took to printing out their own ballots which of course were invalid as they were not registered ballots.

End game was Hillary took NM just barely. The liberal Obama voters were not allowed to vote. many of them.

Flash now to this past event. Seems Hillary in other states was up to her old tricks. Bernie never had a chance.
At the state convention the leader of the state DEm party who ran the primary when Obama first ran….he was given a standing ovation..

I am glad this stuff is now coming to light. It was not a new thing at all. They fix things so the deck is slanted. Obama won and we still lost as it was a tidal wave they just could not stop but it should not be that way. Not at all.
The emails speak to a truth that needed telling.
Did Obama not know or care how they slanted the deck against him…I wonder.
 
 
+5 # dquandle 2017-01-09 21:19
Amen
 
 
+36 # goodsensecynic 2017-01-09 15:47
Bracketing Obama's presidency is the torture site at Guantanamo - his first promise broken, his last promise unkept.

Meanwhile, neoliberal policies remained in place and his signature legacy, "Obamacare" - a poor compromise written largely by the insurance, pharmacological , and health "industry" predators it was supposed to control - was allowed to launch (ineptly) without even a "public option," the LEAST Americans deserved and is now apparently about to be (perhaps mercifully) put to an end.

Whether Obama's failure was a matter of a lack of courage, a lack of support, a lack of imagination or merely the fact that he was "a free market kind of guy" from the start, what Sarah bin-Palin called the "hopey-changey- thingie" was an empty half-promise all along.

Too bad so much of working class America took out its frustration by shooting itself squarely in the foot.

What is to be done?

If nothing else, the nature of the beast has been irrevocably revealed and the opportunity for REAL hope and change is apparent.

What Sanders started, others must take up - and, of course, the Senator from Vermont should remain in a strong leadership position.

As a fine old philosopher of religion (George Grant, 1918-1988) told some aspirant world-changers in 1965 - I was one of the several thousand in an old ice hockey arena: "Moral outrage is too precious a commodity not to be used in the service of reality."

The reality couldn't be more clear. Now, organize!
 
 
-3 # Caliban 2017-01-10 03:43
The President does not have the authority to close Gitmo and transfer the detainees elsewhere without Congressional approval. But despite great opposition from Congress, Obama has greatly reduced the number of detainees and thus the importance of the facility.

Unfortunately for those detainees still in the Cuban base, President - Elect Trump "has vowed to keep the prison open and to use it to detain "bad hombres" including American ISIS supporters".

So those concerned should now start complaining to the new guy in town.
 
 
+21 # generationcopy1@hotmail.com 2017-01-09 16:02
Very well stated Mr. West.
 
 
+28 # Femihumanist 2017-01-09 16:15
"Wimp" is the right word. He wouldn't argue or fight back, when being told to kill people in the Middle East or confront Repugnants' objections.

The best example of the latter was starting with his compromise position on health care. Instead of starting with universal health care and eventually compromising down; he started with the compromise and eventually got to the Plan originally proposed by the Heritage Society and implemented by Romney in Mass. Then he had to take the hate comments when he implemented their plan.

When he came to office, we thought the country was at the bottom and he could have achieved anything. HE DIDN'T EVEN TRY. Economically or by war. He made wars because the war industries backed him for doing so. He was too wimpy to argue with them.

The man, in effect, got a Nobel Prize for rhetoric. Unlike Bush, he wasn't stupid; he was very smart and knew what needed doing. Yes, this is very depressing especially when we realize that the alternative we'd been given would have just kept up our descent (instead of plunge which I now anticipate).
 
 
+2 # madame de farge 2017-01-11 09:21
HE DIDN'T EVEN TRY, he didn't even care....Get it you little people.. The only thing the rich care about is getting more moola..why do you think LIFE EXPECTANCY is dropping in the US?
 
 
+19 # economagic 2017-01-09 17:36
William Rivers Pitt, on another news-aggregator website most people here are familiar with, posted a critique yesterday, quite different in tone and style, and noting some significant steps taken, but ultimately reaching very similar conclusions.
 
 
-5 # hipocampelo 2017-01-09 17:45
Obama was a nightmare; hopefully, Trump will
be only a bad dream.
 
 
+12 # economagic 2017-01-09 20:55
Yeah, maybe he is giving us the spinach out front, with the chocolate cake to come later. The only ray of hope is that his very volatility may open some cracks through which some good outcomes may seep.
 
 
-3 # Caliban 2017-01-10 11:11
Spinach is good for you.

But Donald is actually offering cake that I fear he can't deliver ("Make America Great Again").
 
 
+34 # FarMor 2017-01-09 18:26
I believe that if Obama had gone after the banksters immediately when the people's outrage and frustration were at their height, he would have amassed enough popular capital to have been able to push through many more progressive initiatives. Likely, prosecuting a few bank CEOs would have been popular enough to help usher in more progressive (Dem.) Congress members.
 
 
-22 # Caliban 2017-01-09 20:35
If the Obama administration had "gone after the banksters immediately when the people's outrage and frustration were at their height", he might have gotten some cheap popularity, but the impact on the banks and on the financial system could have been disastrous to the US economy in ways none of us now imagine.
 
 
-4 # Skippydelic 2017-01-10 02:24
And the impact of the Crash WASN'T disastrous to the U.S. economy?

Admittedly, there was a LOT that Obama could have done to hold Wall Street responsible! On the other hand, what would have happened with McCain, who TRIED to swoop in like a white knight to save the day, only to be rebuffed by HIS OWN PARTY?

George W. Bush put the American economy into a power dive, then handed the controls over to Obama JUST as it was crashing! Has ANY other President had to contend with such an economic disaster on Day One?

What COULD have been done that would have held Wall Street responsible WITHOUT creating MORE harm, though?
 
 
+8 # dbrize 2017-01-10 08:49
Answer:

Let them fail, mark their assets to market and the resulting fire sale would have taken a year or less to restore order and teach them a few lessons that they still haven't learned.
 
 
+5 # madame de farge 2017-01-11 09:23
Bubbles always end badly.. and this was a whopper with Fraudulent Appraisals demanded by the banks, Fraudulent Mortgages GENERATED by the banks, and Fraudulent Reps and Warranties demanded by the banks so they could offload the bad debt....and that doesn't even start to include LIBOR ETC....
 
 
+14 # economagic 2017-01-09 20:51
There is reason to suspect that he was recruited by a loose consortium of One Percenters to do more or less exactly what he has done.
 
 
+9 # John Cosmo 2017-01-09 21:30
Yes, he almost seems positively Manchurian.
 
 
+11 # lorenbliss 2017-01-09 22:37
@JohnCosmo: Yeah, from that "Manchuria" across the Potomac at Langley.
 
 
+11 # John S. Browne 2017-01-09 19:08
#

Legacy? Certainly only 98% of a negative legacy. "Odrona" the mass-murderer. Any defense of him is complicity in his many crimes, and is nothing but deep avoidance and denial of truth, justice and what is only supposed to be the true American way. He never represented that. He represented corporate-fasci sm from the get-go, and it was easy to recognize if most of his supporters had opened their eyes and hadn't been living in deep denial and avoidance of the truth for the "sake" of getting a "black" candidate into the "White-washed House" no matter what, regardless of what compromises with, and acceptance of, evil supposedly "had to be" made.

Yes, as one of the last commenters before me said, and as he or she is being voted down by the brainwashed "Odrona" apologists and fanatical worshipers for, "Obama was a nightmare". American citizen children, not to mention thousands of other innocent civilians, were mass- murdered by drone attack because of presumption of guilt for "terrorism" just because they were family of so-called terrorist fathers who were murdered prior to their children being blown to bits themselves. And you willfully-idiot ic "Odrona" supporters support that?!

(Continued below)
 
 
+10 # John S. Browne 2017-01-09 19:09
#

Where is the conscience and morality of Americans, especially so-called "liberals" and "progressives"? ? Where has True Justice gone?? And where has the American refusal to tolerate any such un-American actions as war crimes, human rights violations and crimes against humanity gone?? Did the majority of Americans ever really stand against these travesties of anti-Americanis m, under either left-wing or right-wing administrations ?? In truth, the left-wing has been just as much the party of war as the right-wing, if not more so.

Thus, "Odrona" has absolutely no positive legacy, except for the fraudulent one created through false-propagand a and belief in lies. He was a complete sellout and fraud long before he ever reached office; and once he obtained office, he nothing but sold us out over and over and over again. How anyone can defend him and continue to believe that he was allegedly a "great president" is beyond any relevant and sane rationalizing. Not only should he have been impeached, he should be tried, convicted and imprisoned for life without parole for mass- murder. But no, we "Amerikans" now reward mass-murderers and refuse to face the reality of their horrendous and horrific crimes.

(Continued below)
 
 
+7 # John S. Browne 2017-01-09 19:27
#

"Odrona" also sold out our True Liberty(ies), Freedom(s) and rights too, and signed into anti- and un- constitutional "law" more draconian travesties preparing to indefinitely imprison innocent American citizens for "perceived threatening conduct", "unprivileged (supposedly having no rights) enemy belligerence" and "terrorism" for simply non-violently exercising their rights and duties to stand up against all of this totalitarian fascism that is taking over completely, and making all promotion of the truth out to be "fake news" and "false propaganda", and only government and its propaganda arm, the mainstream media's, propaganda and lies to be the "truth", and the only information to be tolerated.

And you "'Odrona'-bots" claim that he has any positive legacy?! He is simply just another representative of "Big Brother" corporate-fasci st government ever-more-serio usly locking us down in the opposite of freedom and liberty, and under a totalitarian militarized police state, seeking through globalism to make our entire world, as in Orwell's "1984", into such a "freedom-free" fascist state, and make us all into nothing but "involuntary servants", aka slaves, of evil disguised as "freeing" and "saving" the humanity and the world, no matter how many billions of innocent people "have to" die in the process. This is what "Odrona" apologists and worshipers support.

http://us4.campaign-archive1.com/?u=f6eb78f457b7b82887b643445&id=7246848c89&e=30fe85827b

#
 
 
+3 # madame de farge 2017-01-11 09:25
Kind of reminds me of Tony Blair.
 
 
+9 # dquandle 2017-01-09 21:25
The "Liberals" are now whole-hog backing the CIA/Clinton/DNC and the "intelligence" deep state, in their ongoing mission to attempt extinguish life on this planet. Please give generously.
 
 
+4 # dquandle 2017-01-09 21:22
Yes indeed.
 
 
+22 # Kropotkinesque 2017-01-09 19:24
At last: RSN publishes a piece of real, honest, critical journalism. Why such long drought & relentless sand-storm of fake news & propaganda?

BRAVO, Professor West. I offer just a few suggestions.

We must acknowledge that Obama continued ILLEGAL wars in Afghanistan & Iraq, wars of aggression, the worst war crimes. Every death was murder committed by Obama; every maiming Obama’s felony; every displacement his war crime.

We must acknowledge that Obama committed like crimes in Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, and Syria and was accessory to Israel's genocide committed against Gazan & West Bank Palestinians & Lebanon’s people. We must acknowledge that Obama conspired to violate international law by planning & helping to effectuate the neo-Nazi Ukraine coup & murderous neocon coup in Honduras.

When Congress had enough pro-single-paye r votes to pass a single payer health care law, Obama muscled Harry Reid to lie to the Senate to get Obamacare passed. Reid said more single-payer-pl an fine-tuning was needed & assured the Senate he would submit a single-payer bill in 6 months. That was 7 years ago. Obama had met with Health Insurance firms & Big Pharma & made a private deal with them. Obamacare gave those leaches what they wanted — a huge & growing profits-hike.

And, rather than react to Trump as if he were an evil monolith, we must join Bernie Sanders in supporting Trump’s good, even progressive policies, while protesting his bad CLEAR intents & wrongful official acts.
 
 
-11 # ericlipps 2017-01-10 07:10
"When Congress had enough pro-single-paye r votes to pass a single payer health care law, . . ."

When was that, and in what alternate universe?
 
 
+3 # Kropotkinesque 2017-01-10 15:04
ericlipps 2017-01-10 07:10

PART 1

In 2009, a "Public Option" bill — H.R.4789 [111th Congress (2009-2010)] — passed through House committees and was introduced on the floor and passed the House in a larger bill that went to the Senate. H.R.4789 provided that all citizens and permanent residents could "buy into" Medicare.
https://www.congress.gov/111/bills/hr4789/BILLS-111hr4789ih.pdf

Previously, and notoriously, Obama had met with coteries of Health Insurance and Big Pharma high executives and lobbyists and struck deals with them. The deals anticipated passage of Obamacare.

Harry Reid (then Senate Majority leader) supported the Public Option. But, after meeting privately with Obama (who had twisted Reid’s arm), Reid argued that the Public Option needed much refining before it could attract enough Senate centrist votes. Reid’s argument gained political credibility from Joe Lieberman’s threat of filibuster if the Public Option were included in any Senate bill. Olympia Snow, too, objected vigorously to inclusion of a Public Option. The Lieberman threat and Snow’s position bolstered the pressure Obama was able to level on Reid.

Reid prevailed in the Senate Finance Committee, a majority of which voted against the Public Option.

CONTINUED WITH PART 2
 
 
+2 # Kropotkinesque 2017-01-10 20:02
Please disregard this comment. I tried to delete it, but the delete button does not appear. Please see, instead, my 2-Part comment starting at Kropotkinesque 2017-01-10 19:18, below.
 
 
+2 # Kropotkinesque 2017-01-10 15:05
ericlipps 2017-01-10 07:10

PART 2

But head counts indicated that very likely a Senate majority would vote for a Public Option by way of "reconciliation " (of House and Senate positions).
Compare, e.g.,
http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/83641-sanders-senate-has-the-votes-to-pass-public-option-via-reconciliation
AND http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/who-are-the-13-senate-democrats-holding-out-on-the-public-option
AND
http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/82397-reid-hints-he-could-back-public-option-

After consulting a shaman & a crystal ball reader (rather as had the Bush v. Gore Supreme Court when it predicted Florida vote-tally outcomes), Obama discouraged the Public Option by insisting it could not win enough Senate centrist votes. And, obeying Obama, Reid repeated Obama’s vision and refused to include the Option in "reconciliation " — but promised to permit its re-introduction in 6 months.
 
 
+2 # Kropotkinesque 2017-01-10 20:03
Please disregard this comment. I tried to delete it, but the delete button does not appear. Please see, instead, my 2-Part comment starting at Kropotkinesque 2017-01-10 19:18, below.
 
 
+4 # Kropotkinesque 2017-01-10 19:18
ericlipps 2017-01-10 07:10

PART 1

In 111th Congress 2d Session, the House passed a Public Option ["Option"], H.R. 4789, included in a larger bill sent to the Senate. The bill provided for "buying into" Medicare.
https://www.congress.gov/111/bills/hr4789/BILLS-111hr4789ih.pdf

But late 2009 & early 2010, the Option suffered obstructive White House & Washington Establishment tactics.

Harry Reid, then Majority leader, supported the Option, until Obama twisted Reid’s arm to twist Reid’s position. Obama had met with coteries of high executives & lobbyists of the Health Insurance industry & Big Pharma & cut a deal that involved pushing Obamacare. Reid capitulated & adopted Obama’s assertion that the Option could not win enough Senate votes.

Reid told the Senate Finance Committee the Option would need much refinement to win enough votes. The Committee’s majority voted against the Option. And, per Reid’s maneuvering then further maneuvering of the Democrat Establishment & the White House & a filibuster threat of Sen. Lieberman (& possibly 2 others) & marked resistance of Sen. Snowe, the bill seemed dead.

But Senator Bernie Sanders announced that the bill had enough votes to pass in budget reconciliation — which would avoid filibuster & need only 50 votes.

Obama continued insisting the Option lacked enough votes, and, yielding to Obama, Reid said the Option needed much refinement to pass — refinement requiring time more than left in the session.

CONTINUED
 
 
+3 # Kropotkinesque 2017-01-10 19:20
ericlipps 2017-01-10 07:10

PART 2

Under continuing & heightened White House pressure, Reid — & Democrat Establishment Senators — blocked the Option’s being given reconciliation vote. But Reid assured the Senate he would let the Option be reintroduced in 6 months.

The Option continued to enjoy sufficient support (219-212) in the House. But Pelosi bought Obama’s scam — or his shaman’s or crystal ball’s prediction — that not enough centrists or moderates would support the Option in reconciliation, and she killed in the House, too, the chance of reconciliation vote.

Compare these:

http://www.salon.com/2010/10/05/public_option_24/

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/83641-sanders-senate-has-the-votes-to-pass-public-option-via-reconciliation

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/82397-reid-hints-he-could-back-public-option-

https://shadowproof.com/2010/03/10/bernie-sanders-contradicts-obama-says-senate-does-have-50-votes-for-public-option/

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/who-are-the-13-senate-democrats-holding-out-on-the-public-option

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2010/03/12/public-option-democrats-scam-becomes-more-transparent

http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/29/6/1117.full

http://www.salon.com/2010/03/12/single_payer/
 
 
+16 # madams12 2017-01-09 20:12
Most decent upright thinking folks hoped that he'd keep his campaign promises, especially closing Gitmo and restoring a sense of playing by the rules...but he did not, though many apologists explain that he could not ...was being held to a standard...he was expected to fulfill..howeve r perhaps the fact that he pardoned Jonathan Pollard whilst holding Leonard Pelletier despite FORTY + years, age, ill health and missing exculpatory evidence offers a clearer image of this 'pretend' Constitutional lawyer...? I am grateful that I dont have HIS 'legacy'.
 
 
+8 # dquandle 2017-01-09 21:30
But think, with his legacy, you could hold dual positions, occupying a corner office in a $1500/hour white shoe law firm, saving corporations from human beings, while also churning out mega-death-maxi mizing global "strategies" at Rand or Stratfor...
Think of the stunning opportunities.
 
 
+10 # John Cosmo 2017-01-09 21:35
It is so sad that in the Democratic party legitimate criticism of Barack Obama is dismissed as "racism," just like legitimate criticism of Hillary Clinton was dismissed as "sexism."
 
 
+6 # lorenbliss 2017-01-09 22:46
@JohnCosmo: The great irony of both dismissals achieves its true grotesqueness in the fact the Betrayer -- exactly as intended -- not only intensified the potentially violent racism that rules most of the white population but, by the bad example of his defiantly deliberate embrace of Evil, set back African-America n political potential by probably an entire century.
 
 
+4 # Skyelav 2017-01-09 22:35
I guess nobody knows the US government is run by a shadow government of plutocrats, the American oligarchy, with some of the oldest money in the world pulling the strings. All they did to poor old Obama was show him the Zappruder movie and tell him who was in charge and how he would be receiving his orders. My son, a gun-conservativ e said he watched tv one day, and it was the day he knew Obama had just been briefed.
 
 
-1 # John S. Browne 2017-01-09 23:27
#

That would be true if it wasn't for the fact that, as a result of his being raised in an "al CIA- duh(!)" family and being trained and brainwashed in what's what, and having a fraudulent "al CIAduh(!)" identity created for him, he already knew all of that many years before your scenario. He has no conscience, and is completely controlled by evil, so he probably wouldn't even ever be tempted to blow the whistle. It's all made him a very famous and rich man, and very popular amongst the "liberal" majority of the brainwashed citizenry, and thus given him everything he could ever dream of, along with lifelong protection by the brainwashed, sanction- ed mass-murderer dregs of the earth. He's one of them. Their god, Satan, has made them all feel like they're part of the greatest, most wonderful privileged club on earth, for its best good, and that anything goes in their fraudulent pursuit of supposedly "saving humankind and the planet".

#
 
 
-4 # Caliban 2017-01-11 00:41
Are you suggesting that Obama had never seen the Zapruder footage before 2008?
 
 
-1 # dotlady 2017-01-10 00:09
I think some of these comments are way over the top. 1)Obama lived in various parts of the world as a kid, saw a lot of different cultural ways than just those of our island, and so has a broader worldview than most of our leaders. 2)Think of being a newcomer to Washington in the midst of an existential financial crisis. Wouldn't you listen and finally give the people who knew the insides a chance to restore some order rather than let the largest economy in the world fail? Do we know how close to total collapse of the dollar we may be nearing? 3) I hate drones and the idea of mechanistic death from faraway, like safe target practicing, but I got thinking - if he'd sent troops or special forces into all of these situations, how many more on both sides would have died? These are not decisions I would be want to be paid to make. Some men enjoy making them, maybe those with low blood pressure can withstand the stress. Just saying... There's much we peasants don't know about the reality of seeming options.
 
 
+3 # ronnewmexico 2017-01-10 00:56
Dot no offense, you have a theory, and possibly a good one.
But a look at some of the critical issues and it starts to become less than viable.

Most importantly the bail out had happened before Obama ever attained office. That was the moment of criticality. If not performed we were a hairsbreath away from all shipping stopping due to bills of laden not being able to be filled. There would be no proof of payment ability, no bank to trust.

The question after that when Obama took office ,was what to do after the bail out had ensued. Two options were present to nationalizw the banks or leave them as is and continue with some safeguards. He choose the latter.

The peoples he choose were the peoples who were directly responsbile for the crisis. The supporter of the repeal of glass s. Summners and them were the braintrust of the school of thought that produced the crisis.

At Obama's initiation the economy was fragile but no where near failing.
His lack of pursuance of the principals responnsible for the vast frauds guaranteed a repeat will occur. It has occured in fact. Various banking frauds are occuring at least annually. WellsFargo fake accounts is the most current. Till they are prosecuted they will continue. Manipulation of libor is probably the most egregious. But even things of importance such as gold value have been manipulated for gain illlegally by the banksters.
Obama is solely responsible for the lack of criminal penalty applied to these bankers.
 
 
+6 # RLF 2017-01-10 05:46
Then we should be told. I'm sick and tired of the secrecy to "protect" me. There is almost nothing that needs protecting left! Tell me WTF is the truth or go the hell home!
 
 
-9 # openbordersneocon 2017-01-10 01:00
He appointed Dick Cheney's very own Robert Kagan's wife to be Ambassador to Europe. Her efforts to start WWIII with Russia are unrelenting and well pleasing to the NY Times. Obama thinks his record shattering book deal will serve his daughters well, but it seems a certainty that Obama, like Clinton, Bush, and Trump will have Jewish grandchildren.
 
 
+8 # davehaze 2017-01-10 01:07
Etta James was a big supporter of Obama until he chose Beyonce to sing "At Last" at the inaugural ball imitating Etta James singing "At Last". She was humiliated and disgusted.

And that, folks, sums up the man. A prize sellout.
 
 
+3 # Skippydelic 2017-01-10 02:27
Yeah, I was kinda pissed about that, too!
 
 
+5 # Caliban 2017-01-10 04:08
But wasn't Etta James sick with Alzheimers in 2008? She probably couldn't have performed even if asked.

And I expect Beyonce saw her performance as a tribute.
 
 
-7 # Brice 2017-01-10 05:41
I don't think he was a sell out, but I do think that he acted more to show his independence to black people than he did to stand up to the system. I don't think we ever got a glimpse as to what was in the head of Obama, I don't think we understand him, and he did not want us to understand him. He wanted to be President and to do the job and be the man ... not be great, it was great enough just to meet expectations - but the Republicans were bound to deny him even that.
 
 
+4 # Brice 2017-01-10 05:29
I use to see Cornell West on PBS shows, even with Conservatives on them, and I thought he was just on there because he is a kind of token black guy that white people can condescend to because he looks funny.

Yet, Cornell West has been accepted by those very people, and they listen to him and they are inspired by him, as I have been and continue to be.

I believe at the core of my being that Cornell and I agree that the world is so messed up because people do not come first, power, money, greed selfishness, taking out emotion on others is what drives this world, and it is wrong.

All we have to do is to find a way to keep man's worst influences out of the picture when we do something that affects us all, like say invent a government. Like when we see children misbehaving, they should get a time out. Right now, Republicans should be sent to their rooms, but Democrats need a stern lecture as well.

Our Founding Fathers did as well as they could for the times they lived in, and since them, except for a brief vision of light under FDR our country, millions of us past and present, have done precious little to bring people and their rights to the forefront of our nation.

Brother Cornell is awesome, he comes from the heart, and that is the lesson we all must learn.
 
 
-5 # Brice 2017-01-10 05:39
Oh, and as to the subject of the Obama Presidency ... it would be really interesting to know what was in Obama's head all this time, and what he thought he was doing?

The thing that is indisputable about Obama is that he was the country's first black President, and he is smart too.

So then, why did he never connect to the people? Why did he never stand up and try to challenge Republicans? Nothing is going to change now, and I like the man.

It may be that country actually fell apart under Bush, and that Obama was a brief respite of responsible but boring and kind of acceptance of that fact, before we just break up and fall apart.

Obama gave us normalcy of a kind, and that was something, but I wish he would have tried for more. If we had Single Payer health care, the Republicans would not have a single leg to stand on in terms of striking it down.

If he had leveled with the American people about taxes and inequality we might have not got such an unfair tax system that seems on the verge of getting even worse.

Obama will always be a well-meaning tragedy to me.

I wish the man well, and I hope Barack Obama is able to distinguish himself in something in his post-Presidenti al life in a way that he was not able to as President.

It may be that the energy required of any one man to even try to lead a nation is an impossible task, and that to even try it in these modern days is absurd. We see now why Republicans with a huge backing the greedy do so well.
 
 
-6 # ericlipps 2017-01-10 07:13
"If we had single Payer health care . . . "

Republicans almost threw the country into debt default in their desperate effort to stop the far less ambitious Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")-- so what makes you think they'd have permitted single-payer to pass?
 
 
-2 # Brice 2017-01-10 11:14
It was some Democrats like Max Bauckus and others who were the barrier to Single Payer ... remember Obama was in a very good position politically after Bush broke the economy ... and he did not press it like the Republicans always do. But I was speaking rhetorically, meaning that if Obama had at least tried to represent the working and middle classes he would have gotten a lot more support.
 
 
-6 # Caliban 2017-01-10 11:20
Excellent question, # ericlipps.
 
 
0 # Brice 2017-01-21 01:54
ericlipps - because then Obama could have said he at least tried ... but he didn't, and he didn't want to. Obama was basically "timid" as President.
 
 
0 # RLF 2017-01-10 05:43
While I'm disappointed by Obama's legacy and performance...I must say...as a 50's white guy...that I was proud to vote for him and that he got elected. I get nothing but disappointment from this country. Sad.
 
 
+4 # Timshel 2017-01-10 08:37
It is hard to see fully what Pres. Obama intended and the good and the damage he ended up doing.

But vigorously championing, not just agreeing with, TPP made it clear that he was one of the more hurtful Presidents we have had. And as we get nostalgic about him when Trump shows he is even worse, we should remember TPP would have:

1. caused a much greater loss of jobs than NAFTA.

2. nullified the Buy American Act of 1933 which requires purchases by gov’t of domestically produced products.

3. allowed corporations to sue in partly corporate tribunal for lost ANTICIPATED profits, if environmental, safety or labor laws get in the way of profits. TransCanada Corporation is now suing U.S. gov’t for loss of $12 billion in profits under a similar provision in NAFTA because Pres. Obama stopped Keystone Pipeline.

4. allowed into U.S. foods that do not even meet minimum health standards without inspection.

5. provided patent protection against generics for five years and enforced high prices overseas.

6. had no exemption for educational use of copyrighted materials limiting political discourse.

7. and had no expiration date!

8. with Fast Track vote given authority to ANY President to add new nations with minimal review.

Pres. Obama VIGOROUSLY campaigned to pass TPP. Had he gotten his way many working men and women would have despised him for decades. Just his stance on TPP made me sure that his Presidency was mostly quite hurtful and paved the way for Trump.
 
 
+3 # madame de farge 2017-01-11 09:42
thank you for such an excellent comment about TPP.
 
 
+1 # deadhead 2017-01-11 10:04
Nafta & TPP are red herrings when it comes to job loss. Corporate greed is THE factor. Capitalism, as practiced in the US is a MAJOR contributor.

Greed is good, as Gordon Gecko said and while that dispassionate statement is appalling, it actually works as a motivator. And as long as there are strict regulations regarding a whole slew of corporate misbehavior and results in community largesse, a la JOBS, motive is and should not be any concern.

On paper, it sounds great: everyone is free to take their own shot and succeed or fail. What is not taken into account when setting up this (or any) financial system, is cronyism, unfettered criminality and lax regulations . . . and finally . . . ahem, political marriages between government & corporate entities (I did not say Fascism, did I?)

I am a Socialist capitalist. I have had a business that turned a profit, but I also believe in sharing the shit. There are people that are not going to be entrepreneurs, nor will they be able to shield themselves from criminality. Hence regulations and the marriage of the two systems, a la Bernie.
 
 
-2 # deadhead 2017-01-11 10:06
As for copyright "usage" . . . be a photographer, writer, musician on FB and whine then about "educational" use.
 
 
+3 # davidh7426 2017-01-10 11:21
Maybe Obama did help usher in a time of 'hope and change'... By showing the world what the US has become.

And along with Clinton et al, trashing the Democrats. Trump I believe will end up doing the same to the Republicans.

With both parties trashed, and America and it's reputation in the toilet. The people may finally wake up and see what THEY, THE PEOPLE have allowed to happen. And then maybe get up off their collective arses and work together to build a better world.
 
 
-3 # dotlady 2017-01-10 21:54
Note to RonNewMexico: It is hard to know why Obama didn't prosecute the bankers - but the longtime story of that (my) generation had always been that the economy runs on banking and Wall Street, and I think Obama's nature as a negotiator and community organizer made him want to pick up the pieces and move forward to health care instead of spending his presidency basking in hatred and recrimination over the past. Instead, he got his share of that anyway by backing off some issues, for instance from holding us back from war in Syria, I thought wisely, at the time of the "red line" which our military was so hot to exploit, whether the facts being reported were true or not. He got the chemicals out of there.

As to the TPP, I imagine Obama was more drawn to the geo-politcal aspect of forging stronger ties in Asia to contain China in the long term than recognizing the horrors of the agreement, which was intended, I think in his mind, to raise labor levels all over by the US being part of the standard-settin g. Again, the mistake was letting the corporations write it. Why did he allow that? Have to admit it seems he didn't have the impulse or the nerve to fight Corporatia. He slalomed around the obstacles instead of smashing into them. They used to say "discretion is the better part of valor," and I think that was his path and nature. After hearing his forward-looking , inclusive farewell speech, I know I'm going to miss him despite his mistakes.
 
 
-6 # Activista 2017-01-10 23:14
Obama was great president - in some sense he reminds me of Gorbachev - it is amazing that such a moral man grew up in America (or Gorbachev in Russia/communis m). It looks that a World (Nobel Price) appreciated him/will respect more than US.
 
 
-6 # Activista 2017-01-10 23:27
Obama was/is good president - strong man without the hate.

listen - www.nytimes.com/2017/01/10/us/politics/obama-farewell-address-speech.html
 
 
-8 # deadhead 2017-01-11 09:45
AS much as I respect Brother West, I find this article repugnant. In fact, I find nearly all far left bashing of President Obama repugnant and ill-informed.

Notwithstanding his lack of perfection, President Obama will go down as historically heroic in both his principled stands on Middle Eastern war engagements as well as social measures taken and made with 6 years of absolute conscience-less obstruction by a far right fascist-leaning "Congress". That and his courageous executive orders protecting precious wildlife and historic sanctuaries are historic and brave enough on their own merit.

His standing is further strengthened by his superb, courageous grace, ennobled in the face of latent and overt racism. Add to that the piling on by his own constituencies and we are left with a towering figure of a President who performed very well against mighty odds.

And I say all of this without a hint or whiff of jingoism or irony. Lincoln, himself (an imperfect man. too , to be sure) a victim of backbiting and second guessing by his own "allies", and Barack Obama share equal grace and greatness.

This lefty infighting - and ill-advised third party timing - has mightily contributed to leading us from a country that, for 2 full election cycles, did not concern itself with the color of the President's skin, to one that leans fascist far-right.

Warnings existed, but were ignored. Reap what is sown, brothers & sisters . . . but quit beating up a noble man.
 
 
-4 # Activista 2017-01-11 15:56
Thank you for your eloquent and valid appraisal of Obama. He is very strong man without exploiting hate - USA is full of.
FOX propaganda exploited their football channel - Americans confuse election with football game - where the nastiest is the best.
 
 
+3 # policymaven 2017-01-11 19:59
What I find so fascinating in the comment section is how many people actually thought Obama was going to really put in the change that every president promises. Goodness, even trump has promised dramatic change, but now we see just more of the same of rule by the 1% and the military-indust rial complex. Nevertheless, it is good that many Democrats are waking up to the reality that we are the Empire, and that any president rules the Empire in the name of our pseudo-democrac y. The last time we actually approached democracy in this country were the 3 years of the Kennedy presidency. Yes, despite his many mistakes and flaws, JFK was actually taking on the military-indust rial-intelligence apparatus which got him killed, and later also led to his brother's assassination by the same forces. Don't believe me? Try reading the devil's chessboard by David Talbot. A deeply respected investigative journalist, who now writes for the San Francisco Chronicle. His previous book, The Brothers, captures those years during and following the Kennedy assassination, and makes no bones about it. It was a conspiracy. Heist-the movie.com
 
 
+2 # glyde 2017-01-11 20:09
[quote name="CDMR"]"Co rnel West is great. I remember when Obama was first elected I thought he would ask West to take some role in the new White House, maybe a special advisor of some sort. But Obama snubbed West in a very rude and blunt manner. This to me was the turning point in my view of Obama. He used West to help his campaign and when the campaign was over, he brushed off West as if he were nothing.'
just as JFK did to Frank Sinatra.
 
 
0 # ChrisCurrie 2017-03-04 09:01
Based on the morally depraved conduct of our Republicans in Congress so far, the Democratic Party SHOULD be able to take over both Houses of Congress in the 2018 elections. Hopefully the learned from their gross (and predicted) mistakes in 2010, 2014, and 2016. To really win, they have got to campaign against REPUBLICANS IN GENERAL!
 

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