OK, OK, I've heard it all, especially from the left wing loons on Daily Kos: "Barack Obama has only been in office less than a year." "He hasn't proven himself, yet." "At least his name isn't George W. Bush." All true yet all bankrupt of reason and willfully blind to the facts at hand.
Now, Barack Obama, like all of us, thinks he's the cat's meow, someone who thinks he's worth more than he's getting paid. On the 22nd, he pretty much gave himself A pluses
across the board, citing his Wall Street bailout as the most important achievement in his first year. I'm sure many on Wall Street if not those "recovering" without jobs or homes will heartily agree. However, I'm sure there are many who would disagree with our bipartisan president when he says that he didn't compromise too much in his agendas. In fact, this is what Obama said over the phone to the Washington Post
(probably because he knew he couldn't keep a straight face in person):
Overall, if you had a checklist of promises made, a lot of those promises have been kept. When those things are complete, and I think they will be, we will have achieved a fundamental shift in health care, energy, education and our financial regulatory system that will put this economy on a firmer footing to grow over the long term.
Uh huh. Well, I think these past 11+ months have given us enough of a sample to be able to safely say that Barack Obama is not merely sandbagging us until he gets re-elected in 2012. We're not talking about Jack Kennedy waiting until the '64 election before pulling our troops out of Vietnam because by the time Barry hits the stumps again, we will have been in Iraq for close to a decade. So, while carefully avoiding the talking points of the loons on the far right who shriek about birth certificates and the like, here are my top ten reasons why our arbiter of change and hope ought to be tossed out on his well-toned ass in the 2012 election.
Consider this an appendix to the recent 2009 Assclowns of the Year, one starring Barack Hussein Obama II.10) Disloyalty
I'm actually somewhat surprised that Obama didn't divorce Michelle when Larry Johnson at No Quarter began flogging a nonexistent tape on which she was purported to have said "whitey." Because every single person who's ever been singled out for blame or some transgression by the GOP or some mouthpiece for them has been swiftly thrown under the wheels of the bus.
The Rev. Wright is the most classic case. The minute the right wing and Fox "News" denounced him as some rabid black separatist for statements he made when Obama wasn't even there, Obama almost immediately fired him as his pastor and he stopped going to his church. However, because the right wing didn't have much of a problem with Rick Warren, Obama somehow found the strength to resist outrage from the liberal blogosphere of which he was recently a part.
When Glenn Beck denounced with McCarthyesque fervor Van Jones being a Socialist or worse, Obama gratefully accepted Jones' resignation without even bothering to defend Jones from Beck's clearly insane accusations. After all, considering how polite and cooperative the GOP had been toward the Obama WH, I can understand the president wanting to preserve that calm and tranquility.
At least Bush knew a thing or two about loyalty, to judge by all the actual criminals he had working for him. 9) Bipartisanship
Imagine Joe Lieberman stuck in a tanning booth for a month and you'll have Barack Obama. From the beginning, Obama took a road that appeared to be the high one in not resorting to negative campaigning and attack ads. But then something strange happened after the election. Obama got it into his head that bipartisanship may actually work.
This despite the fact that Sarah Palin said he "palled around with terrorists" and E. D. Hill made mention of his "terrorist fist jab" with his wife. Right wingers called him "racist", "Socialist", a "Muslim" even a "Communist." On election night, Rush Limbaugh actually hoped he'd fail. High-ranking birthers like James Inhofe actually fueled the nontroversy of Obama's "missing" birth certificate. Joe Wilson called him a liar to his face during a nationally-televised address when he spoke the truth. He couldn't even address our nation's students as had HW Bush to give them platitudes about staying in school and doing their homework assignments. His every agenda, save for sending more troops into Afghanistan, has been universally blocked by the GOP.
He let the minority GOP cut over $100 billion from the stimulus package so the Senate could get three votes, had them over the White House for drinks and still they clamor for his impeachment.
Obviously, we need a liberal in the White House who won't cave in to a tyrannical minority at every available opportunity. 8) Fearing Teh Gays
It can't be said that Barry broke many campaign promises regarding gay rights other than pledging to end DADT
and he went on record while on the campaign trail as calling DOMA "abhorrent." Obama, as with Biden, as with Hillary, as with McCain, never told anyone he was in favor of same sex marriage. Quite the contrary.
Yet after he was done paying lip service to voters after election day, we saw an emerging administration that was nothing less than overtly hostile to gay rights. Last June, his DOJ filed a brief
not only standing up for DADT and DOMA, one likening same sex marriage to pedophilia and bestiality but the president actually defended it to enraged gay rights groups.
Of course, the disenfranchisement of the LGBT community started while Bush was still packing up his pork rinds in the Oval Office when Obama insisted on using the rabidly homophobic Rick Warren to deliver the Inaugural Invocation. Not only that, as the President-elect's office began naming nominees to fill key positions, it became clear that no Cabinet-level seats would be filled by openly gay people.
DADT is still in effect, by the way and ENDA, to Obama's obvious relief, is still on cinder blocks. This means essentially that gay rights has hardly advanced an inch since the Bush years.7) Bailouts
It's hard to tell which financial institution is the most perfect poster child for the bailout. We could point to AIG, which, the minute it received the first of three bailout checks from Hank Paulson, immediately splurged $440,000 on a retreat. Or BofA chief John Thain who spent $1.2 million renovating his office and accelerated the bonus schedule before the Merrill Lynch purchase so that several of his buddies got their million dollar bonuses. But that was all during the campaign.
During the Obama administration, we saw another round of TARP bailouts go out with virtually no meaningful oversight or pre-conditions from either the executive or legislative branches. Obama's Treasury Secretary, the upwards-failing Tim Geithner, has more than once came out swinging against any cap on executive pay and it came out during the holidays that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae's CEOs
will make an estimated $6 million apiece this year. This is largely possible because the insider-infested Treasury Dept.
recently lifted the $400 billion cap on bailout money. Which is odd considering that even the Treasury is saying that there's virtually no chance of troubled corporations receiving anywhere near that much. It's also an odd development considering that, despite Fannie's and Freddie's stock doubling in value recently, they've yet to enjoy a successful year since receiving bailout money.
In other words, they own the joint
just as securely as they did during the Bush years. And, uh, NAFTA is not only still in effect, no one in the Obama White House has lifted a finger to renegotiate it despite campaign pledges to.6) Iraq
We now currently still have roughly as many boots on Iraqi soil (126,000) as we did when George W. Bush announced his surge on January 10, 2007. Yet this is in spite of the SOFA agreement that mandated US troops were to begin withdrawing from certain cities such as Baghdad by June 30th 2009. The biggest troop reduction we've seen thus far in the Obama administration is the one taking at least 30,000 troops off US soil to put into Afghanistan, another nation we had no business invading.
The government of Yemen also revealed recently
that the Obama administration worked out a secret deal with them that's resulted in little more than the drone strike killings of innocent civilians, many of them women and children. No, that's Pakistan and Afghanistan you're thinking of. This is Yemen, a suspected al Qaeda stronghold, which automatically makes collateral damage acceptable.
Which, besides Saudi Arabia and Israel, is one spot on earth that hadn't been turned into dog shit by the Bush WH that Obama had somehow managed to find.5) Tolerance of War ProfiteersJeremy Scahill through Rebel Reports
posted an amazing story recently about exactly how many taxpayer dollars are getting funneled into Afghanistan in the Obama years. Claire McCaskill's Senate Contract Oversight subcommittee discovered that nearly 70% of the Pentagon's entire workforce is made up of contractors. Sen. McCaskill's report went on to state:
From June 2009 to September 2009, there was a 40% increase in Defense Department contractors in Afghanistan. During the same period, the number of armed private security contractors working for the Defense Department in Afghanistan doubled, increasing from approximately 5,000 to more than 10,000.
We can assume those figures also include the secret war we're paying Blackwater to fight for us from their secret stripped-down base in Karachi
We now have roughly 68,000 troops in Afghanistan with no exit strategy in mind and 104,000 contractors. It's estimated by the Congressional Research Service that when Obama's 30,000 troop surge kicks in, that will automatically result in 56,000 more contractors, which is almost a 2:1 ratio.
That means, at a pace far more accelerated than under Bush, we're rapidly creating a super class of mercenaries and PMC's, not to mention green badgers in the intelligence community who presently work for the government only for money rather than patriotism and honor. People who are now entrusted with secrets that are above top secret can take them with them and to the highest bidder when their contracts end.4) Global Warming
The incremental change administration of Barack Obama received another black eye in the international community when his proposals at NATO's Climate Change summit in Copenhagen earlier this month were almost universally rejected and even ridiculed except by the world's biggest polluters
While countries like China and Canada, to name just few, are trying to walk away from their voluntary commitments to shrink their carbon footprint and sky dumping pollutants, Obama walked in with wishy-washy concessions as if he was addressing the GOP. During the auto bailout, Obama could've made giving them the money conditional on refitting their factories to produce greener, more fuel-efficient cars, which would've saved jobs as well as get a fingerhold on cleaning up the atmosphere. Instead, he did nothing and just handed them the money without even imposing any binding restrictions on executive pay and compensation.
Granted, Obama promised
to do whatever he could to get power companies to generate a quarter of its electricity from at least 25% renewable sources in the next 15 years and Congress is blocking it
. Yet it can't be said that Obama seems too heartbroken by this disappointment that affects all 6+ billion of us and I don't recall him resurrecting this plan at Copenhagen, do you?
And, uh, just as in the Bush years, we're still the only nation on earth that hasn't signed on to the Kyoto Protocol. 3) Israel
As with every single president since Truman, Barack Obama has essentially sucked up to Israel and let them literally get away with murder. During the campaign trail, while Olmert was calling Bush off a podium in Philadelphia to order him to order Condi Rice not to vote for a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip at the UN, Obama was proposing raising our annual gift to Israel from $3 billion to $30 billion.
And even though he was sniped at by Joe Lieberman afterwards, Obama reaffirmed his ignorance regarding Iran when told AIPAC in a video conference call that he'll get hawkish on them over their nonexistent nuclear weapons program.
Which was a tack that was revisited time and again by the Bush "Saddam's got WMDs!" White House.2) Health Care Reform
Dear God, where do we start? Any stupid Iowa tourist at an Arabian bazaar in Marrakesh knows that you start haggling at the highest (or lowest) figure then work your way down (or up). If Barack Obama was at such a bazaar, he would've taken home a papier mache elephant that would've cost him $2000.
Instead of bargaining from an obviously controversial (if necessary) bargaining position such as single payer, he would've given himself room to get chewed down by the human jersey barriers of the GOP and the equally corrupt Blue Dog Democrats. Instead, Obama said from the gitgo that single payer would be too wrenching for our poor HMO-dominated health care system, publicly nixed the idea of co-ops competing with HMOs then said a public option wasn't even a necessary component in a bill he'd sign.
Then there was the news that the WH had struck a secret deal with Billy Tauzin's lobbying group PhRMA that essentially took power out of Congress's hands by not allowing them to impose more than $80 billion on reimbursements Big Pharma would've made to the government. God forbid we should also allow the government to negotiate drug prices on behalf of those who have a problem paying $10 for an aspirin.
Instead, it looks as if we'll be saddled with a plan that will be hailed with full-throated praise by Obama and Democrats that will criminalize noncompliance with those who still can't afford health care, thrusts on us an individual mandate without a public option to speak of and doesn't provide any subsidization for necessary abortions. In other words, everything Joe Lieberman didn't want in the Senate version got left out.
Which is how he got to be the fair-haired golden child of the Bush junta.1) Embracing Torture
Two weeks ago today, the Supreme Court upheld a decision
from a lower court that said essentially that terrorism detainees aren't persons and are therefore not covered under the protections of the Constitution, the Geneva Convention or even the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
OK, that was a Supreme Court decision and has nothing to do with the Obama administration, you may say. Well, I wish that was the case but it isn't because the case was brought before the SCOTUS on behalf of Obama's laywers in the DOJ who aggressively wanted to keep those Kafkaesque Bush-era policies in place.
Now, don't forget to contrast this with what Obama said
about torture while on the campaign trail and as President-elect
and what we're seeing now from a WH that plainly has no appetite
for prosecuting the fascist war criminals of the Bush White House.
No wonder Obama suddenly didn't want these torture photos and videos to come to light- The time stamps may say anything from 1/20/09 on.
So there you have it, folks: We now officially live in a country in which faceless, soulless corporations have personhood but not tortured American citizens and others falsely accused of terrorist acts. God