Where I live there are wild turkeys everywhere, strutting their stuff and leaving their guano. They are fun to look at, but every once in a while one flies up and hits your windshield. Suddenly you're covered in powdered glass, wondering what happened.
My husband has been predicting that the working poor who voted for the demagogue with bad hair will look up one day covered with powdered glass, wondering what happened. I tend to doubt it. I think the fake news will tell them to blame immigrants or terrorists or some other boogie men.
I base my belief on the fact that liberals are still posting adulatory pictures of those good looking Obamas, and in eight long years have never quite connected the dots between the permanent state of war plus our creeping police/ surveillance state with the man who has presided over them.
So probably I'll mostly be preaching to the choir here as I take a moment pre-inauguration to consider the crimes Obama can be rightly charged with. Crimes against humanity, crimes against democracy, crimes against the truth. Bear with me, this could take a while.
"Mass incarceration and children's outcomes: Criminal justice policy is education policy" is a report by the think tank Economic Policy Institute. I think this line from the executive summary sums it up nicely: "The discriminatory incarceration of African American parents is an important cause of their children’s lowered performance, especially in schools where the trauma of parental incarceration is concentrated." Also,
Key findings include:
Sanctions against Russia based on undisclosed "intelligence" report of tampering with the election. Matt Taibbi's article for Rolling Stone "Something about this Russia story stinks" offers a good analysis of what we don't know and why we don't know it.
This is the part where I acknowledge that the president has not been a decider, simply a spokesperson for the decisions of his -- and our -- shadow government masters. But if you're going to embody the regime, you may have to stand in the dock representing as the regime is charged with malfeasance.
Sanctions are bad and expelling diplomats (which he also did) is also bad because they are the precursors of war. The war on Russia was actually launched in earnest a couple of years ago when sanctions against Iran were lifted, a claimed "win" for the peace movement in the U.S. but I am doubtful. Behind the scenes what this meant was that Russia's revenues from supplying Europe with gas could be blocked by instead removing economic warfare measures that had blocked Iran from selling gas to Europe.
Proxy war in Syria, unending war in Iraq and Afghanistan, support for violent allies attacking civilians e.g. Israel attacking Gaza and the West Bank, Saudi Arabia attacking Yemen. These hot wars are causing immense suffering and refugee movement of unprecedented scale.
Obama has also presided over the exponential growth of the flying killer robots commonly known as drones, and the extrajudicial assassination program they carry out. He has signed legislation every year making sure the military got more than half the pie, while child poverty grew by leaps and bounds.
The Pentagon's 54% slice of the pie does not even include "aid" to countries like Israel. Such aid is actually a form of corporate welfare in that it has U.S. taxpayers pick up the bill for Israel's weapon purchases to maintain its violent occupation of Palestine and apartheid state in Israel.
Banks got bailed out, we got sold out Practically his first act in office was using taxpayer funds to bail out Wall St. financial institutions, thus ushering in austerity for the masses as the solution to the Crash of '08. Capitalists rebounded nicely from this hand in the White House which helped privatize the profits but socialize the risks of high finance gambling.
Occupy Wall Street broke out in cities across the nation vocally opposing these policies, but as camping regulations were more fiercely enforced than banking regulations, occupiers were violently evicted in attacks by militarized police that were coordinated by the federal government.
The poor and working poor have never recovered from the '08 crash, and many who were middle class when it started lost their homes to mortgage fraud.
Writing of the lost opportunity early in his first term when his party held majorities in the Senate and the House, Lance Selfa observed ("The Obama years of squandered hopes" in Socialist Worker):
With the economy teetering on the brink, Obama continued to implement the Bush team's bailout of Wall Street and reappointed Bush's Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke. With the U.S. bogged down in two failed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama reappointed Bush's Defense Secretary Robert Gates to run the Pentagon.
The Affordable Care Act finished the working-two-jobs-but-barely-making-it class off as they were forced to buy health insurance from for-profit corporations which left them with enormous out of pocket costs and caused many a bankruptcy. Many will list the ACA as one of Obama's accomplishments but I, along with many concerned physicians, beg to differ.
Breaking yet another big promise, Obama presided over the very opposite of what he promised, which was a reduction of nuclear weapons and more structures to prevent their use. Instead he traveled the globe pressuring other nuclear allies to arm up, and he steered billions in research and development funding to "modernize" the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
Oh, where to begin. Maybe the segue from Obama's ignoring of the continuously unfolding Fukushima nuclear meltdown disaster to his international promotion of fracking via his Secretary of State Mrs. Clinton would be a useful transition here. Also on his watch: federal lands were opened up to energy extraction and mining, and several controversial pipelines were built. Native people trying to protect the quality of water FOR EVERYONE had their heads bashed in, were doused with fire hoses in freezing weather, and had dogs set on them at Standing Rock. Obama's response to the latter: Let's wait and see how this plays out.
I would be remiss if I did not note that by continually funding the Pentagon at high levels, Obama thus supported the most carbon belching organization on the planet. I have pledged to connect the dots between climate chaos and Pentagon climate crimes. You can, too, by clicking here to take the Natural Guard pledge.
Immigration If I were putting these in order by the number of people adversely affected, this one would be at the top of the list. Obama has been the most deporting president ever, and has broken up record numbers of families with immigration raids followed by lengthy incarceration in holding centers that operate outside the protections of the U.S. Constitution. Obama has militarized the Mexico-U.S. border and already built part of the wall that figured so prominently in the demagogue with bad hair's stump speeches.
Surveillance and an official Ministry of Truth Obama's first vote in the Senate after receiving the Democratic Party nomination in '08 granted immunity to the big telecom corporations that had spied on all their customers during the Bush years. He went on to torture and imprison Chelsea Manning as an army whistleblower, exile and threaten with death Edward Snowden as an NSA whistleblower, and threaten Julian Assange and Wikileaks with economic sanctions and trumped up rape charges. As I'm sure you know, Assange remains in sanctuary at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, which he dares not leave. One of Obama's last acts in office was signing the National Defense Authorization Act for 2017 which established government oversight of news organizations.
If the first casualty of war is the truth, and the U.S. has been at war 93% of the time since its founding, it is highly unlikely that the federal government is going to stop the spread of fake news. A Ministry of Truth does create a good platform for going after those who dare to share real information, however. Stay tuned.
Student debt crisis Banks got bailed out, but those up to their ears in student loan payments they can't make on McJob wages certainly didn't. This might be a big source of bankruptcies (like getting seriously ill is) but Congress made these loans exempt from relief. Parents of deceased children even are held liable for student debt their loved ones incurred. Obama did absolutely nothing in eight years to fix any of this. Unless you count his scolding black people for not valuing education for their kids.
Do black lives matter to Obama? Plenty of public tears and eloquent phrases combined with very little action on behalf of the unarmed black men, women and children gunned down by police over the past eight years. Here are the stats for a recent year:
At one point Obama lectured black fathers and admonished them to do a better job -- meanwhile incarcerating them for petty crimes that left their children home fatherless.
Ta-Nehisi Coates noted in The Atlantic
the aggression the administration showed to bail out the banks and the timidity it showed in addressing a foreclosure crisis, which devastated black America (again).
A person could write a whole book about why Obama's eight years in office were a dismal failure, and I'm sure many will. I'll stop here and end with this gem I saw in a post by facebook friend Timmy Smart:
Governance by Wishful Thinking. | vs Clownium
The of hyperreality will change under the Evil Clown King. We had eight years of and we can already see patterns emerging in the changing style of public relations: Clownium.
Hopium may be a term coined by the former governor of Alaska in remarks she delivered in 2012; at least that's the first reference I could find for it. An article reporting the remarks included a comment calling a right wing media pundit the latter term, coupled with an insulting tag involving a part of human anatomy.
Whatever their origin, the terms are useful at expressing the zeitgeist where news is mostly entertainment and managed information about whom to admire and whom to despise. False dichotomy and the personification of everything political will continue to distract the masses as they sink deeper into the morass of austerity that awaits us (almost) all.