President Barack Obama



Obama's War on Whistleblowers and Journalism | Obama's Secret Terrorist-Tracking System | Chris Hedges on Obama/ Obama's Legacy

The President came into office the darling of the progressives and the left because of the promises he made. As his administration has aged, however, he has become a disappointment to many. Here are some of the stories:

"The United States spends over $87 billion conducting a war in Iraq while the United Nations estimates that for less than half that amount we could provide clean water, adequate diets, sanitations services and basic education to every person on the planet. And we wonder why terrorists attack us." - John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

Obama administration arms sales offers to Saudi top $115 billion - report:

U.S. President Barack Obama's administration has offered Saudi Arabia more than $115 billion (86 billion pounds) in weapons, other military equipment and training, the most of any U.S. administration in the 71-year U.S.-Saudi alliance

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/obama-administration-arms-sales-offers-saudi-top-115-191753580.html

Obama: Americans Too 'Lazy' to Know Anything About the Rest of the World:

President Barack Obama said Americans can be "lazy" because we are so big we think "We ''t have to know anything about other people."

http://tinyurl.com/z5ucvml


email from Popular Resistance, 1/16/17

President Obama ran as an antiwar candidate against Hillary Clinton in 2008 because she voted for the Iraq War and has been incorrectly painted as someone who restrained the US military. But President Obama is far from antiwar. The numbers tell a very different story:

In 2016, Commander-in-Chief Obama dropped 26,171 bombs on seven nations.

US Special Operations forces are in a record 135 of 195 countries — an 80% increase over the last five years.

Obama sold more weapons than any other US president since World War II, selling over $200 billion between 2008 to 2015. Arms sales to Saudi Arabia alone ballooned to $115 billion.

Saudi Arabia used those weapons in a brutal two-year bombing campaign against Yemen. Obama sent special operations forces to assist in that war, which has seen over 10,000 killed, 2.2 million displaced and nearly half a million children on the brink of famine.

Obama promised a new era of “nuclear sanity” but instead he put up missile defense shields in Europe, which Russia knew could be turned into missile offense, that kicked off a new arms race pushing Russia to upgrade the offensive capabilities of Russian nuclear missiles and deploy Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad.

In 2014, Obama began a mammoth program to “modernize” the US nuclear arsenal – one trillion dollars over the next 30 years. That means the US will spend roughly $4 million on nukes every hour for three decades.

Obama normalized robotic killings through the drone program. Every Tuesday Obama authorized drone killings, that often-included civilians near the target, resulting in wedding parties, funerals and other public events being bombed. Up to 8,000 people have been killed by drones since 2004, including US citizens.

There is much more to point to during his presidency that shows an escalation of militarism, e.g. the record funding to Israel, the destruction of Libya, but the numbers above summarize the story.

Obama has been a severe disappointment to all progressive thinkers in virtually every possible way. He now goes out of power with absolutely no grace and in a storm of delusion and deceit. His purpose is apparently to weaken Trump politically, but to achieve that at the expense of heightening tensions with Russia to Cold War levels, is shameful. The Issue Is Not Trump, It's Us By John Pilger [an Australian journalist based since 1962 in the United Kingdom. Pilger has been a strong critic of American, Australian and British foreign policy, which he considers to be driven by an imperialist agenda.] January 16, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - "teleSur"

One of the persistent strands in U.S. political life is a cultish extremism that approaches fascism. This was given expression and reinforced during the two terms of Barack Obama. "I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being," said Obama, who expanded the United States' favorite military pastime: bombing and death squads ("special operations") as no other president has 'e since the Cold War.

Following the public relations disaster of George W. Bush, Obama, the smooth operator from Chicago via Harvard, was enlisted to restore what he calls "leadership" throughout the world. The Nobel prize committee's decision was part of this: the kind of cloying reverse racism that beatified the man for no reason other than he was attractive to liberal sensibilities and, of course, U.S. power, if not to the children he kills in impoverished, mostly Muslim countries.

This is the Call of Obama. It is not unlike a dog whistle: inaudible to most, irresistible to the besotted and boneheaded, especially "liberal brains pickled in the formaldehyde of identity politics," as Luciana Bohne put it. "When Obama walks into a room," gushed George Clooney, "you want to follow him somewhere, anywhere."

The seeds of 21st-century fascism were planted, fertilized and watered by the Obama administration and the politically bankrupt liberal elite."

The seedbed is Obama's Weimar Republic, a landscape of endemic poverty, militarized police and barbaric prisons, the consequence of a "market" extremism which, under his presidency, prompted the transfer of US$14 trillion in public money to criminal enterprises in Wall Street.

Perhaps his greatest "legacy" is the co-option and disorientation of any real opposition.

The obsession with Trump is a cover for many of those calling themselves "left/liberal," as if to claim political decency. They are not "left," neither are they especially "liberal." Much of the United States' aggression towards the rest of humanity has come from so-called liberal democratic administrations such as Obama's.

Obama Just Signed off on a Shadowy New 'Anti-Propaganda' Center That Will Be Handed Over to Trump Without meaningful debate, the provision was included in the 2017 defense bill.

The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act that was signed by President Obama on December 23 greenlights the creation of a new federal center ostensibly aimed at countering foreign “propaganda and disinformation.” Termed the Global Engagement Center, the body is granted broad and ill-defined powers to surveil the “populations most susceptible to propaganda,” compile reporting and social media messaging critical of the U.S. government and disseminate pro-American propaganda.

The center will also be tasked with monitoring and tracking “counterfactual narratives abroad that threaten the national security interests of the United States and United States allies and partner nations.” While the precise meaning of this language is unclear, such instructions could be interpreted as targeting information and communications critical of the U.S. government.

The surveillance powers granted to the center are sweeping. The body is instructed to, “Identify the countries and populations most susceptible to propaganda and disinformation based on information provided by appropriate interagency entities.” It is not immediately clear from the text how the government will determine which populations qualify for this escalated surveillance.

Exit Obama in a Cloud of Disillusion, Delusion and Deceit By Craig Murray [an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and Rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010. https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/] January 01, 2017 "Information Clearing House"

There could be no evidence because in reality these were leaks, not hacks. The report is, frankly, a pile of complete and utter dross. To base grave accusations of election hacking on this report is ludicrous.

Obama has been a severe disappointment to all progressive thinkers in virtually every possible way. He now goes out of power with absolutely no grace and in a storm of delusion and deceit. His purpose is apparently to weaken Trump politically, but to achieve that at the expense of heightening tensions with Russia to Cold War levels, is shameful. The very pettiness of Obama’s tongue out to Putin – minor sanctions and expelling some diplomatic families – itself shows that Obama is lying about the pretext.

If he really believed that Russia had “hacked the election”, surely that would require a much less feeble response. By refusing to retaliate, Russia has shown the kind of polish that eludes Obama as he takes his empty charisma and presentational skills into a no doubt lucrative future in the private sector.

Under Cover of Christmas, Obama Establishes Controversial Anti-Propaganda Agency In the final hours before the Christmas holiday weekend, U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday quietly signed the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law—and buried within the $619 billion military budget (pdf) is a controversial provision that establishes a national anti-propaganda center that critics warn could be dangerous for press freedoms.

The Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act, introduced by Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, establishes the Global Engagement Center under the State Department which coordinates efforts to "recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United Sates national security interests."

Further, the law authorizes grants to non-governmental agencies to help "collect and store examples in print, online, and social media, disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda" directed at the U.S. and its allies, as well as "counter efforts by foreign entities to use disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda to influence the policies and social and political stability" of the U.S. and allied nations.

The head of the center will be appointed by the president, which likely means the first director will be chosen by President-elect 'ald Trump.

Obama extends global reach of US Special Operations death squads In major actions reported only briefly by the establishment press, President Obama has given vast new scope to the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), authorizing it to carry out assassinations across the globe.

Obama has approved a proposal to give JSOC independent authority to operate outside the regional commands, essentially as a globalized assassination force. JSOC units will bypass the regional commanders and report directly to Special Operations Command (SOCOM) in the Pentagon.

According to the Washington Post, “The missions could occur well beyond the battlefields of places like Iraq, Syria and Libya, where Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) has carried out clandestine operations in the past.

When finalized, it will elevate JSOC from being a highly-valued strike tool used by regional military commands to leading a new multi-agency intelligence and action force.”

The mandate of the new formation, to be called the “Counter-External Operations Task Force,” or Ex-Ops in Pentagon jargon, will embrace the entire planet. This means US military death squads could be sent to virtually any location, from European cities to South American jungles, INCLUDING THE UNITED STATES ITSELF.

Citigroup chose Obama’s 2008 cabinet, WikiLeaks document reveals By Tom Eley 15 October 2016 WSWS

One month before the presidential election of 2008, the giant Wall Street bank Citigroup submitted to the Obama campaign a list of its preferred candidates for cabinet positions in an Obama administration. This list corresponds almost exactly to the eventual composition of Barack Obama’s cabinet.

The email was sent at the height of the financial meltdown that erupted after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers on September 15. Even as Citigroup and its Wall Street counterparts were dragging the US and world economy into its deepest crisis since the 1930s, they remained, as the email shows, the real power behind the façade of American democracy and its electoral process.

Citigroup’s recommendations came just three days after then-President George W. Bush signed into law the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which allocated $700 billion in taxpayer money to rescue the largest Wall Street banks. The single biggest beneficiary was Citigroup, which was given $45 billion in cash in the form of a government stock purchase, plus a $306 billion government guarantee to back up its worthless mortgage-related assets.

Then-presidential candidate Obama played a critical political role in shepherding the massively unpopular bank bailout through Congress.

Will the Gulf of Mexico Remain a Dumping Ground for Offshore Fracking Waste? Federal documents obtained this year by the Center for Biological Diversity revealed that the Obama administration approved more than 1,200 offshore fracks in 630 different wells in the Gulf from 2010 to 2014. The fracking took place off the coasts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama — with no public involvement or site-specific tests 'e beforehand to evaluate the environmental impact.


Map of Fracked Wells in the Gulf of Mexico

Given that it takes millions of gallons of water to frack a single well, and that on its way into the earth to force out oil or gas reserves the water becomes contaminated with radioactive elements, heavy metals and other toxic compounds, you might wonder: Where is all that offshore fracking wastewater going?

Directly into the Gulf, as it turns out.

You Must be Kidding! Adventures in an American World of Frustration By Tom Engelhardt September 23, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "Tom Dispatch"

Here are a few recent examples from the world of American-style war and peace. Consider these as random illustrations, given that, in the age of Trump, just about everything that happens is out-of-this-world absurd and would serve perfectly well. If you’re in the mood, feel free to shout out that line with me as we go.

Nuking the Planet: I’m sure you remember Barack Obama, the guy who entered the Oval Office pledging to work toward “a nuclear-free world.” You know, the president who traveled to Prague in 2009 to say stirringly: “So today, I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons… To put an end to Cold War thinking, we will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy, and urge others to do the same.”

That same year, he was awarded the Nobel Prize largely for what he might still do, particularly in the nuclear realm. Of course, that was all so 2009!

Almost two terms in the Oval Office later, our peace president, the only one who has ever called for nuclear “abolition” – and whose administration has retired fewer weapons in our nuclear arsenal than any other in the post-Cold War era – is now presiding over the early stages of a trillion-dollar modernization of that very arsenal. (And that trillion-dollar price tag comes, of course, before the inevitable cost overruns even begin.) It includes full-scale work on the creation of a “precision-guided” nuclear weapon with a “dial-back” lower yield option.

And that brings me to the September 6th front-page story in the New York Times that caught my eye. Think of it as the icing on the Obama era nuclear cake. Its headline: “Obama Unlikely to Vow No First Use of Nuclear Weapons.” Admittedly, if made, such a vow could be reversed by any future president. Still, reportedly for fear that a pledge not to initiate a nuclear war would “undermine allies and embolden Russia and China… while Russia is running practice bombing runs over Europe and China is expanding its reach in the South China Sea,” the president has backed down on issuing such a vow. In translation: the only country that has ever used such weaponry will remain on the record as ready and willing to do so again without nuclear provocation, an act that, it is now believed in Washington, would create a calmer planet.

Plain Old Bombing: Recall that in October 2001, when the Bush administration launched its invasion of Afghanistan, the U.S. was bombing no other largely Islamic country. In fact, it was bombing no other country at all. Afghanistan was quickly “liberated,” the Taliban crushed, al-Qaeda put to flight, and that was that, or so it then seemed.

On September 8th, almost 15 years later, the Washington Post reported that, over a single weekend and in a “flurry” of activity, the U.S. had dropped bombs on, or fired missiles at, six largely Islamic countries: Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia. (And it might have been seven if the CIA hadn’t grown a little rusty when it comes to the drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal borderlands that it’s launched repeatedly throughout these years.)

Meanwhile, President Obama has personally helped pioneer a new form of warfare that will not long remain a largely American possession. It involves missile-armed drones, high-tech weapons that promise a world of no-casualty-conflict (for the American military and the CIA), and adds up to a permanent global killing machine for taking out terror leaders, “lieutenants,” and “militants.” Well beyond official American war zones, U.S. drones regularly cross borders, infringing on national sovereignty throughout the Greater Middle East and parts of Africa, to assassinate anyone the president and his colleagues decide needs to die, American citizen or otherwise (plus, of course, anyone who happens to be in the vicinity).

The president is now not just commander-in-chief but assassin-in-chief, a role that no imaginable future president is likely to reject. Assassination, previously an illegal act, has become the heart and soul of Washington’s way of life and of a way of war that only seems to spread conflict further.

The Well-Oiled Machinery of Privatized War: And speaking of drones, as the New York Times reported on September 5th, the U.S. drone program does have one problem: a lack of pilots. It has ramped up quickly in these years and, in the process, the pressures on its pilots and other personnel have only grown, including post-traumatic stress over killing civilians thousands of miles away via computer screen.

Selling Arms As If There Were No Tomorrow: In a recent report for the Center for International Policy, arms expert William Hartung offered a stunning figure on U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia. “Since taking office in January 2009,” he wrote, “the Obama administration has offered over $115 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia in 42 separate deals, more than any U.S. administration in the history of the U.S.-Saudi relationship. The majority of this equipment is still in the pipeline, and could tie the United States to the Saudi military for years to come.” Think about that for a moment: $115 billion for everything from small arms to tanks, combat aircraft, cluster bombs, and air-to-ground missiles (weaponry now being used to slaughter civilians in neighboring Yemen). Of course, how else can the U.S. keep its near monopoly on the global arms trade and ensure that two sets of products – Hollywood movies and U.S. weaponry – will dominate the world’s business in things that go boom in the night? It’s a record to be proud of, especially since putting every advanced weapon imaginable in the hands of the Saudis will obviously help bring peace to a roiled region of the planet. (And if you arm the Saudis, you better do no less for the Israelis, hence the mind-boggling $38 billion in military aid the Obama administration recently signed on to for the next decade, the most Washington has ever offered any country, ensuring that arms will be flying into the Middle East, literally and figuratively, for years to come.)

Handle With Care: American Psycho System A 'Co-worker Of God' By Finian Cunningham September 22, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "RT"

US President Barack Obama made his eighth – and final – address to the United Nations General Assembly this week. What a relief, not to be subjected to any more florid speeches filled with vacuous, psychopathic lies.

Unfortunately, his successor – whoever that is – will pontificate more of the same. For the American psycho power-system is delusional about being a force for good.

As usual, Obama delivered another one of his soaring rhetorical pirouettes. The American Conjurer-in-Chief presented a sweeping vista of history that was a travesty of reality. Sweeping American global crimes under a carpet of lies.

What is nauseating about an American president standing up in front of the world’s nations at the opening of the UN annual assembly is not merely having to tolerate listening to such venal verbiage. It is an insult to common human intelligence to witness such brazen falsification of world conflicts – and specifically the sickening self-exoneration of American responsibility.

Obama even had the gall to quote Martin Luther King by calling on nations to join with the United States as “co-workers of God”.

President signs most significant reform to FOIA since its original passage June 30, 2016 – Today, the President signed the FOIA Improvement Act, codifying into law comprehensive bipartisan reforms to the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for the first time in nearly a decade. The signing of the bill comes days before the 50th anniversary of the FOIA, signed into law on July 4, 1966.

The FOIA Improvement Act is the result of a herculean effort on the part of Congressional leaders, staff members, and open government advocates who have been working to push the FOIA reform legislation that is critical to ensuring government accountability.

There is No U.S. War Against ISIS; Instead, Obama is Protecting His “Assets” By Glen Ford [Glen Ford has been a journalist and political activist – a provider of “information for liberation,” as he puts it – for over 40 years. Host of The Black Agenda Radio. Co-published BlackCommentator.com (2002) and BlackAgendaReport.com (2006). Ford has served as a White House, Capitol Hill and State Department correspondent and Washington Bureau Chief] June 03, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "BAR"

Two years ago, President Obama said he had no strategy to combat the Islamic State. The U.S. is still not waging war against ISIS or “jihadists of any brand in Syria.” The international jihadist network is a U.S. imperial asset. “The general aim of the Obama administration’s jihadist policy, now deeply in crisis, is to preserve the Islamic State as a fighting force for deployment under another brand name, under new top leadership.”

The U.S. claim that it is waging a global “war on terror” is the biggest lie of the 21st century, a mega-fiction on the same historical scale of evil as Hitler’s claim that he was defending Germany from an assault by world Jewry, or that the trans-Atlantic slave trade was a Christianizing mission. In reality, the U.S. is the birth mother and chief nurturer of the global jihadist network – a truth recognized by most of the world’s people, including the 82 percent of Syrians that believe “the U.S. created the Islamic State.” (Even 62 percent of Syrians in Islamic State-controlled regions believe this to be true.)

Only “exceptionalism”-addled Americans and colonial-minded Europeans give Washington’s insane cover story the slightest credibility. However, it is dangerous in the extreme for any country to state the fact clearly: that it is the United States that has inflicted Islamic jihadist terror on the world. Once the charade has been aban'ed; once there is no longer the international pretense that Washington is not the Mother Of All Terror, what kind of dialogue is possible with the crazed and desperate perpetrator? What do you do with a superpower criminal, once you have accused him of such unspeakable evil?

It’s actually a desperate effort to balance U.S. interests in preserving ISIS as a American military asset, while also maintaining the Mother Of All Lies, that the U.S. is engaged in a global war on terror, rather than acting as the headquarters of terror in world. To maintain that tattered fiction, at least in the bubble of the home country, requires the maintenance of a massive and constant psychological operations apparatus. It’s called the corporate news media.

Who’s the Fascist? By Margaret Kimberley June 04, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "BAR"

Barack Obama charges and convicts whistle blowers with the little used espionage act from the era of Woodrow Wilson. He claims and has exercised an invented right to kill Americans. His predecessor invaded and occupied Iraq but he continues the dirty deed there and in Afghanistan. He tries to fool the public by assassinating “al Qaeda number two,” over and over again.

“It is a Democratic president who brought back a cold war against Russia and recklessly brought troops to the edge of that country’s borders.”

Trump says he wouldn’t cut Social Security while Barack Obama famously declared that he and his 2012 Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, agreed on the need to cut this program that was once called the “third rail” of politics.

Every president since the 1980s has grown the horrific mass incarceration industry. Using wars on drugs as a pretext they have locked up 2 million people, half of whom are black. No one comes into office with any intention of undoing America’s leadership as the world’s worst jailer.

If Trump is protested, Obama ought to be as well. He is spending his last year in office on an imperialism tour. He goes to Hiroshima for photo opportunities with atomic bomb survivors while building more nuclear warheads than any other president. He tells endless lies about Russian “aggression” but he is the provocative head of state.

Trump should be disliked by Latinos and everyone else when he says that Mexican immigrants are rapists and murderers. But Obama is the deporter in chief, sending a record number of Latino immigrants out of the country with dubious rationales, devastating them and their families.

In just the last 40 years American presidents or their allied partners in crime have killed people in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Congo, Somalia, Haiti, Grenada, Gaza, Kosovo, Serbia, Sudan, Syria, Libya and Yemen. What do they have to do to be called fascists? Showing bad manners seems to be the only thing that sets off expressions of outrage among Americans.

There is already fascism in the White House, the Justice Department, the State Department and Congress. The only question is who will be the next person to keep that sick machinery running.

U.S. Expands Secret Wars In Africa By Justin Yun June 04, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "Chimes"

The secret expansion of U.S. military bases and special operations in Africa has initiated a new and lightweight style of warfare and welcomes the next phase of American military imperialism. Unlike the highly publicized U.S. military “pivot to Asia,” the proliferation of drones, special ops, mercenary spies, classified bases, proxy fighters and cyber warfare constitute what the journalist Nick Turse calls a “new light-footprint Obama doctrine”

On any day, elite U.S. forces conduct covert missions in an estimated 70 to 90 countries. According to Turse, special forces have been sent to an unprecedented 147 countries — 75 percent of the world’s nations last year alone. This is a 145 percent increase from the rate of operations conducted under the Bush administration.

Wars conventionally fought by large infantry forces and full-scale invasions of foreign countries have made way for a new style of fighting — one that has become increasingly dependent on special forces, drones and private defense contractors. Because of the confidential nature of special ops, the Pentagon can essentially keep foreign military involvement secret from the American public.

JSOC — a clandestine organization that carries out kill/capture missions. JSOC has been called “an almost industrial-scale counterterrorism killing machine” by counterinsurgency advisor John Nagl and many have described it as the president’s “private assassination squad.” The group reports directly to the White House. It is the military’s secret military.

With military presence in 53 of 54 of Africa’s nations, the American empire has emerged to pick up where the former European colonial powers have left off.

Silencing the United States as It Prepares for War By John Pilger May 27, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "teleSur"

Take Obama. As he prepares to leave office, the fawning has begun all over again. He is “cool”. One of the more violent presidents, Obama gave full reign to the Pentagon war-making apparatus of his discredited predecessor. He prosecuted more whistleblowers – truth-tellers – than any president. He pronounced Chelsea Manning guilty before she was tried. Today, Obama runs an unprecedented worldwide campaign of terrorism and murder by drone.

In 2009, Obama promised to help “rid the world of nuclear weapons” and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. No American president has built more nuclear warheads than Obama. He is “modernising” America's doomsday arsenal, including a new “mini” nuclear weapon, whose size and “smart” technology, says a leading general, ensure its use is “no longer unthinkable”.

James Bradley, the best-selling author of Flags of Our Fathers and son of one of the US marines who raised the flag on Iwo Jima, said, “[One] great myth we're seeing play out is that of Obama as some kind of peaceful guy who's trying to get rid of nuclear weapons. He's the biggest nuclear warrior there is. He's committed us to a ruinous course of spending a trillion dollars on more nuclear weapons. Somehow, people live in this fantasy that because he gives vague news conferences and speeches and feel-good photo-ops that somehow that's attached to actual policy. It isn't.”

On Obama's watch, a second cold war is under way. The Russian president is a pantomime villain; the Chinese are not yet back to their sinister pig-tailed caricature – when all Chinese were banned from the United States – but the media warriors are working on it.

His [Trump's] views on immigrants and Muslims are grotesque, yet the deporter-in-chief of vulnerable people from America is not Trump but Obama, whose betrayal of people of colour is his legacy: such as the warehousing of a mostly black prison population, now more numerous than Stalin's gulag.

Obama Administration Finds New Way to Let Criminal Banks Avoid Consequences by David Dayen. Three top Democrats are accusing the Department of Housing and Urban Development of quietly removing a key clause in its requirements for taxpayer-guaranteed mortgage insurance in order to spare two banks recently convicted of federal crimes from being frozen out of the lucrative market.

HUD’s action is the latest in a series of steps by federal agencies to eliminate real-world consequences for serial financial felons, even as the Obama administration has touted its efforts to hold banks accountable.

In this sense, the guilty plea has become as meaningless to banks as their other ways of resolving criminal charges: out-of-court settlements, or deferred prosecution agreements. “Too Big to Fail” has morphed into “Too Big to Jail” — and then again, into “Bank Lives Matter.”

 

The Politics of Betrayal: Obama Backstabs Kurds to Appease Turkey The Kurdish militias (YPG, PKK) have been Washington’s most effective weapon in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. But the Obama administration has sold out the Kurds in order to strengthen ties with Turkey and gain access to Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base. The agreement to switch sides was made in phone call between President Obama and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan less than 48 hours after a terrorist incident in the Turkish town of Suruc killed 32 people and wounded more than 100 others.

The bombing provided Obama with the cover he needed to throw the Kurds under the bus, cave in to Turkey’s demands, and look the other way while Turkish bombers and tanks pounded Kurdish positions in Syria and Iraq. The media has characterized this shocking reversal of US policy as a “game-changer” that will improve US prospects for victory over ISIS. But what the about-face really shows is Washington’s inability to conduct a principled foreign policy as well as Obama’s eagerness to betray a trusted friend and ally if he sees some advantage in doing so.

Obama's War on Whistlebloowers and Journalism

Obama's Escalating War on Freedom of the Press from Huffington Post's Norman Solomon. "The part of the First Amendment that prohibits "abridging the freedom ... of the press" is now up against the wall, as the Obama administration continues to assault the kind of journalism that can expose government secrets... Last Friday the administration got what it wanted -- an ice-cold chilling effect -- from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled on the case of New York Times reporter James Risen. The court "delivered a blow to investigative journalism in America by ruling that reporters have no First Amendment protection that would safeguard the confidentiality of their sources in the event of a criminal trial," the Guardian reported... The Executive Branch fought for that ruling -- and is now celebrating... Journalists who can be compelled to violate the confidentiality of their sources, or otherwise go to prison, are reduced to doing little more than providing stenographic services to pass along the official story. That's what the White House wants."

Obama’s war on journalism by Salon' David Sirota. "Out of all the harrowing story lines in journalist Jeremy Scahill’s new film “Dirty Wars,” the one about Abdulelah Haider Shaye best spotlights the U.S. government’s new assault against press freedom... Shaye is the Yemeni journalist who in 2009 exposed his government’s coverup of a U.S. missile strike that, according to McClatchy’s newswire, ended up killing “dozens of civilians, including 14 women and 21 children.” McClatchy notes that for the supposed crime of committing journalism, Shaye was sentenced to five years in prison following a trial that “was widely condemned as a sham” by watchdog groups and experts who noted that the prosecution did not “offer any substantive evidence to support (its) charges.”.. What, you might ask, does this have to do with the American government’s attitude toward press freedom? That’s where Scahill’s movie comes in. As the film shows, when international pressure moved the Yemeni government to finally consider par'ing Shaye, President Obama personally intervened, using a phone call with Yemen’s leader to halt the journalist’s release."

Obama's Destructive War on the Media by Bloomberg's Albert Hunt. "Few presidential candidates enjoyed better press than Barack Obama in 2008. He reciprocated by promising unprecedented "openness in government" and a new era of transparency... He has fallen far short of the promise. This administration has prosecuted more whistle-blowers for leaks and gone after more journalists than any of its predecessors."

James Risen and Phil 'ahue on Obama's War on Press Freedoms the Obama Administration... its efforts to compel New York Times reporter James Risen to reveal the source in his 2006 book that detailed botched attempt at sabotaging Iran's nuclear weapons program.


 

Obama's Secret Terrorist-Tracking System

Barack Obama's Secret Terrorist-Tracking System By Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux5 Aug 2014, "Of the 680,000 people caught up in the government’s Terrorist Screening Database—a watchlist of “known or suspected terrorists” that is shared with local law enforcement agencies, private [military] contractors, and foreign governments—-more than 40 percent are described by the government as having “no recognized terrorist group affiliation.” That category—280,000 people—dwarfs the number of watchlisted people suspected of ties to al Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah combined... the Obama Administration has presided over an unprecedented expansion of the terrorist screening system.

Global Warming President Presides Over Drill-Baby-Drill America: The Obama administration is on course to increase oil production on U.S. territory in every way imaginable. by Michael Clare for Tom Dispatch. Sep. 4, 2014. "While President Obama once spoke of the necessity of eliminating our reliance on petroleum as a major source of energy, he now brags about rising U.S. oil output and touts his efforts to further boost production...

Here are some of the other measures recently taken by the administration to boost domestic oil production, according to a recent White House factsheet:

*An increase in the sales of leases for oil and gas drilling on federal lands. In 2013, the Bureau of Land Management held 30 such sales -- the most in a decade -- offering 5.7 million acres for lease by industry.

*An increase in the speed with which permits are being issued for actual drilling on federal lands. What’s called “processing time” has, the White House boasts, been cut from 228 days in 2012 to 194 days in 2013.

*The opening up of an additional 59 million acres for oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, the site of a disastrous BP oil spill in April 2010.

In other words, global warming be damned!


"And while Romney was... exposed as a shallow hypocrite, Obama is in a class by himself. There is hardly a campaign promise from 2008 that Obama has not broken. This list includes his pledges to support the public option in health care, close Guantanamo, raise the minimum wage, regulate Wall Street, support labor unions in their struggles with employers, reform the Patriot Act, negotiate an equitable peace between the Israelies and the Palestinians, curb our imperial expansion in the Middle East, stop torture, protect reproductive rights, carry out a comprehensive immigration reform, cut the deficit by half, create 5 million new energy jobs, and halt home foreclosures... as president he would fight for the right of collective bargaining... promis[ed] to defend Social Security" (Hedges, xii).

"The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency under Obama has... expelled 1.5 million immigrants" (Hedges, xiii).

"Obama's assault on civil liberties outpaced that of George W. Bush. The refusal to restore habeas corpus, the use of the Authorization to Use Military Force Act to justify the assassination of U.S. citizens, the passing of the FISA Amendments Act to monitor and eavesdrop on tens of millions of citizens without a warrant, the employment of the Espionage Act six times to threaten whistle-blowers inside the government with prison time... give you a hint of the shackles the Democrats, as well as the Republicans, intend to place on all those who contemplate dissent" (Hedges, xiv).

"Obama is not in charge. Romney would not be in charge. Politicians are the public face of corporate power. They are corporate employees. Their personal narratives, their promises, their rhetoric, and their idiosyncrasies are meaningless" (Hedges, xiv).


First Look: How Obama’s Proposed 2016 Budget Targets YOUR Retirement Account Forced Use of Inherited Accounts. If you inherit a retirement account from a loved one, the proposed White House Administration plan could force you to empty that account out in 5 years or less. “No matter how you look at it, our government is broke. And there’s nothing more dangerous to you and your money than a broke and desperate government.”

Worse than pussy grabbing Later, I read about the event. Of course, the president repudiated Trump: “You '’t have to be a husband or father to say, ‘That’s not right. You just have to be a decent human being.’”

Let’s hear it for Obama’s decency. For example, when he gloated, during a 2012 meeting with aides discussing drone policy: “Turns out I’m really good at killing people. Didn’t know that was a strong suit of mine.”

I understand the assault; both physical and psychic and acknowledge that women '’t have equal status. Abuse of authority is epidemic, and not gender or age specific. It’s just that when I think of injustice, I see men and women murdered for being Black or I stare at the photographs of Syria’s youngest victims, see the eyes and blood-and-tear-stained faces, the small bodies washed ashore.

If this isn’t horrendous enough, there’s that other huge: the poisoning of our planet. Radiation leaks into our oceans. Toxins invade our atmosphere, our rivers, the soil, our pipes, our food, our children. Scientists disagree on whether we’ve passed the brink, yet even if there were time, even if there were a viable strategy, a global consensus would be essential.


REFERENCES

Hedges, Chris. The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress. NY: Truthdig, 2013.


Send comments to co@dadbyrn.com, Colby Glass, MLIS