The Guardian: Obama Allegedly Plots Pivotal Role in Democratic Primary

There's a disturbing entry in the Guardian's liveblog of today's news, in a summary of an article from The Atlantic. Apparently there is a strategy being discussed among Obama and his aides how Obama might decide the outcome of the primary election for 2020, just in case some one who is "divisive" or "unelectable" ends up being a probable winner. They want Obama to have a major role as a "broker" in deciding the Party's nominee in the event that there is a contested convention, and want him to be the ace in the hole in case the voters want an undesirable nominee. After all, why allow mere mortals who vote have too much sway? Too much democracy is dangerous.

So it's business as usual. It's not that it comes as a surprise the Democratic party elites would put their fingers on the scale (again) in the latest presidential Democratic primary. What's new about that? Nothing at all. It's business as usual, but I just hope people are ready for some new voices in nominating a president and that this kind of back-room manipulation gets some push-back. With the climate crisis looming, and our very existence threatened, and with us once again on the brink of a new war in Iran, we need a bold choice.

Because, fuck this shit.

One can dream that this dreadful descent into center-right politics of Democrats (desperately touted as progressivism by the dimwitted purveyors of the status quo in the blogosphere) will come to an end and finally allow some sanity to emerge, but I won't hold my breath.

The Guardian, May 23, 2019

There’s an interesting article in the Atlantic about how Barack Obama is “more popular than Jesus” among Democrats, but the crowded field seeking the party’s nomination for the 2020 election doesn’t quite know what to do with his popularity:

Obama remains firm that he won’t endorse soon, while aides are stressing that he might get involved later in the process—presumably, the thinking goes, to stop a candidate he sees as too divisive or likely to lose from becoming the nominee. (This hasn’t been specified, but most assume it would be to stop Bernie Sanders.)

Obama and his aides have carefully guarded when and how to deploy him; some have even theorized he could be called on to broker who the 2020 nominee is, if the primaries finish without a clear winner and Democrats face a contested convention.

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The Sixth Mass Extinction is occurring now, in our time. The situation is dire. We must act to avert the worst of what is to come, and it may already be too late.

Eagles92's picture

Step One: Assure no clear primary winner by stocking the clown car with "Presidential hopefuls" who already are whipping the (D) base into a frenzy of fragmented support rooted -- as far as I can tell, anyway -- in identity politics and the cult of personality.

Step Two: Bring in Obama.

Step Three: Hello, "Nominee" Biden.

It's been the plan all along.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Eagles92

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Anja Geitz's picture

because I suspect we aren't the only ones who are gonna say "fuck this shit' when he comes in to broker lets-do-the-same-fucking-thing-as-2016-and-lose-again-Biden as the nominee.

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Play me another broken record Joe. Maybe then I'll learn why we pay twice as much for healthcare as everybody else in the world. ~ Not Henry Kissinger

Eagles92's picture

@Anja Geitz

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Anja Geitz's picture

@Eagles92

How about a limerick listing the many ways karma could bite these monstrous people in the ass? Something pithy and gruesome with a jaunty iambic will do nicely.

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Play me another broken record Joe. Maybe then I'll learn why we pay twice as much for healthcare as everybody else in the world. ~ Not Henry Kissinger

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Anja Geitz

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3 users have voted.

Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

edg's picture

Many people considered Obama unelectable in 2008. He's black. He has an Islamic name. He had little experience. So it's especially ironic that he wants to decide who is and isn't electable.

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Not Henry Kissinger's picture

unintentionally of course:

The success of Michelle's book is giving Barack writer's block.

Of course, before any serious endorsement conversation can commence, Obama has to finish his book (between rounds of golf and raising millions for his foundation). The writing has been going more slowly than he’d expected, and according to several people who have spoken with him, the 44th president is feeling competitive with his wife, whose own book, Becoming, was the biggest release of 2018 and is on track to be the best-selling memoir in history. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, like others in this story, these sources note he’ll occasionally point out in conversation that he’s writing this book himself, while Michelle used a ghostwriter. He’s also trying to balance the historical and political needs of a project that will be up to his standards as a writer, and not 1,000 pages long. Obama’s research process has been intense and convoluted, and it’s still very much ongoing, from the legal pads he had shipped to Marlon Brando’s old island in French Polynesia, where he spent a month in March 2017, to the interviews that aides have been conducting with former members of his administration to jog and build out memories.

Nice that a man who brought Hope to so many billionaires can write his memoirs comfortably on his own private island and still find time between golf and gold plated speeches to throw shade at his wife for being more popular than he is. Don'tcha think?

The way Biden is campaigning, though, Obama is a regular presence on the trail. On his first day in the race, Biden told reporters that he’d asked Obama not to endorse him (despite firm statements from Obama’s orbit making it clear that he’d decided himself not to endorse his former veep).

Biden: Barack, can you not endorse me?

Obama: I wasn't going to, Joe.

Biden: Great!

Which doesn't stop Biden from running as Obama 2.0:

But to paraphrase a Biden joke from 2007, Biden’s 2020 campaign so far is almost a noun, a verb, and Barack Obama. Biden talks about his old boss in nearly every speech, using him as a validator, a shield from criticism, and a way of summoning nostalgia.

The article then goes on to talk about all the corporate Dems who AREN'T running on Obama's legacy, which completely undermines the article's initial (and wholly unsupported) claim that Obama is "more popular than Jesus" among Democrats.

After all, if Obama is so popular, why aren't more Dem primary candidates glomming onto his legacy?

We all know the answer to that, but if I were Obama and had just emerged from my White House bubble to discover the rubes I had conned for so many years had finally got woke and turned on me, I'd want to run away to some private island too.

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Peace Sells

Anja Geitz's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger

As the benevolently god like savior to the deluded.

Nice that a man who brought Hope to so many billionaires can write his memoirs comfortably on his own private island and still find time between golf and gold plated speeches to throw shade at his wife for being more popular than he is. Don'tcha think?

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Play me another broken record Joe. Maybe then I'll learn why we pay twice as much for healthcare as everybody else in the world. ~ Not Henry Kissinger

Not Henry Kissinger's picture

@Anja Geitz @Anja Geitz

if he just chucked it all in and . . . took up painting.

I was going to say, "built affordable housing", but you know a yuppie narcissist like Obama isn't going to waste his prime post-Presidential years helping other people like that.

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Peace Sells

snoopydawg's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger

houses for the needy. He's too busy tearing down Jackson park for his library to hold his memoirs of how he squandered the chance to be the second FDR and instead screwed those that gave him the chance to play president.

Love your commentary on the article!

Smile

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

@snoopydawg
same box as his comfortable shoes.

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The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.

Shahryar's picture

@UntimelyRippd

I'd forgotten that one.

"comfortable shoes"
shilling for BP
dropping the public option
"don't be sanctimonious"
stalling tactics and inaction on the Dakota pipeline

this list could on for a very long time

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Bollox Ref's picture

@snoopydawg

His 'library' will not hold his presidential papers. It's a hollow vanity project for a hollow vanity project.

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Gëzuar!!
from a reasonably stable genius.

snoopydawg's picture

@Bollox Ref

The Obama presidential library will be nothing than an Empty Suite with nothing in it. Just like his legacy for us little people is empty of accomplishments. How long until the poorer people of Chicago can no longer afford to live in the area where he's building it? Isn't that one of the reasons he's building it there? To gentrify it? Lordy what a hollow man. That people still think that he's the best president since FDR is beyond my comprehension. I saw someone write just that on DK a few weeks ago.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
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karl pearson's picture

@snoopydawg Obama's library is not going as smoothly as he'd hoped.

On Tuesday, a federal judge bit on this process claim. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois ruled that a lawsuit can proceed over the decision to build the center in Jackson Park, dealing former President Barack Obama and the city a setback. The city had asked the judge to throw out the case.
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snoopydawg's picture

@karl pearson

“That lakefront land is priceless and irreplaceable,” says Herbert Caplan, the president of Protect Our Parks, plaintiff in the case, speaking of Jackson Park. “It enjoys a national and international reputation as a twin of sorts to Central Park in New York.”

The site for the Obama Presidential Center (Tom Rossiter/The University of Chicago)
They are indeed twins: Olmsted and Vaux designed both Jackson Park and Central Park. The former was dedicated to Chicago following the World’s Columbian Exposition (better known as Chicago World’s Fair) in 1893. The park was established after a years-long struggle over Chicago’s lakefront, which culminated in Illinois Central Railroad Co. v. Illinois, a case heard by the Supreme Court in 1892. Chicago is the birthplace of the modern public trust doctrine, an argument rooted in Roman civil law that places public land-use rights above private claims. Public trust doctrine governs everything from beach access to wildlife conservation today. Protect Our Parks sued in part on the grounds that the construction of the Obama Presidential Center would violate the public’s claim to Jackson Park.

On Tuesday, Judge John Robert Blakey agreed that the group had standing on this point. “[Plaintiffs alleging that ‘lands held in the public trust are imminently in danger of being altered by the actions of defendants’ have identified a ‘concrete injury’ that can be ‘redressed by a favorable court decision,’” reads the decision.

So Rahm offered up the park free of charge? I don't think any one person should be allowed to do something like that without the consent of the people of the city. At least Rahm tried to make Lucas pay for the land he wanted. $1.00. This would certainly have helped the city create programs that help the poor. Not.

Thanks for posting the link.

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Bollox Ref's picture

@snoopydawg

All Hail!!

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8 users have voted.

Gëzuar!!
from a reasonably stable genius.

@Not Henry Kissinger
Instead of building an Egyptian temple to himself on a site used by endangered birds. And used as a city park by black kids whose mothers didn't marry an Indonesian millionaire.

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Anja Geitz's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger

Could host a beer and paint session together and invite Dick and Hillary along. Subject of painting yet to be decided.

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Play me another broken record Joe. Maybe then I'll learn why we pay twice as much for healthcare as everybody else in the world. ~ Not Henry Kissinger

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger

the American people liked Michelle Obama some years back, when it became clear that there were few famous Democrats left that the American people liked.

It seems her popularity has many uses.

obamahug_0.jpg

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

Oh Condi...um er... Michelle.... wanna piece of candy?

New soap opera... As the Stomach Turns.

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"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Fishtroller 02

Although actually, my first thought was not sexual, but more of a little boy--that's what his expression suggests. Like a boy with his mommy. Which for me makes a double ew.

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5 users have voted.

Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

But if that was a mommy fixation, you are right... eeewwwww!

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"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

Lily O Lady's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

is, is even creepier!

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"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Lily O Lady

"OK, I've got to do this to support my husband's political career, but ew." But I'm afraid it's not and they're all just jolly together.

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5 users have voted.

Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

What exactly did he do for anyone that wasn't wealthy?

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Eagles92's picture

@gjohnsit The polls are manufactured.

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JekyllnHyde's picture

@Eagles92

This article takes a closer look at the "Biden lead." See the below graph that explains what's really going on at this stage of the primary contest.

Analysis of Undecideds Suggests Biden’s Support May be Exaggerated

A strong plurality of voters, 8-12% more than prefer Joe Biden first, are undecided ahead of the 2020 Democratic primary according to a YouGov Blue poll fielded and released quietly after Joe Biden’s entry into the race. YouGov’s partner, Data for Progress, helpfully took the rare step of releasing the raw data for the poll when it was published online at Rolling Stone last week. Dem primary voters with no first choice made up 33.8% in the raw sample, 30% as I have weighted the poll to match age, gender, and race/ethnicity data from the 2016 Democratic primary.* Meanwhile, just 21.4% in the raw sample, 22.4% by my weighting, selected Biden first.

A number of other polls have put Democratic undecided figures between 20% and 35% over the last month: USC (27%), Monmouth (20%), Ipsos/Reuters (21%), ABC/Washington Post (35%), all nationally, and then the state polls from Suffolk in New Hampshire (27%), Firehouse/Øptimus in South Carolina (20%), and Tel Opinion Research in Florida (28%). Several polling firms simply do not report undecideds, culling them from the sample before reporting on decided voters, while others press initially undecided respondents hard for which way they are leaning. CNN (7%) and Quinnipiac (8%) represent the very lowest end of those reporting undecided numbers.

As I have argued previously, in accurately projecting the 2017 United Kingdom general election, undecided voters matter enormously. Simply excluding them, particularly when they are large in number, is a way to artificially boost the leading candidate or party.

As weighted by Data for Progress, with undecideds simply excluded, Biden led with 33%, followed by Sanders (17%), Warren (16%), Buttigieg (9%), Harris (7%), and O’Rourke (4%) with 13% selecting someone else [pdf].

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A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma

Eagles92's picture

@JekyllnHyde And yet more evidence of what "They"'re up to. It's all totally out of our control.

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@JekyllnHyde
And Hillary is the big whiner.

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Eagles92's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@JekyllnHyde

where they only sampled people over 50?

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

mimi's picture

@gjohnsit
a long, long time. It took me way too long to understand what he has done, basically matter of factly only til I read here and expecially yesterday's EB video by the intercept's Jeremy Scahill made it so excellently clear what Obama had done. I was awed-shocked by Scahills video. Though I became aware of a lot of things much earlier, but very few wrote critically about him back then. May be because I didn't quite get what TOP was all about for much too long. Or because my reading comprehension in English is pretty low, especially the funny English is hard. Wink

Have mercy with the foreign little dummies. We need clarity in writing more than anyone else. Thanks.

Peace.

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TTTT (too tired to talk)

@mimi what Obama was up to and really don’t want to know. They’re perfectly fine thinking he did the best he could except those mean old Republicans kept getting in his way.

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snoopydawg's picture

@Dr. John Carpenter

before he even started playing strip poker with them. People say that he pre caved, but Obama never tried to get more from the republicans then he could. Poor little Barry couldn't get anything done because the republicans were mean to him. Wah!

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

@snoopydawg

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"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

snoopydawg's picture

@Fishtroller 02

Someone posted it here previously. More like he went to the game with his shirt off. Either way it sure sums up the joker doesn't it?

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

@snoopydawg

My spouse does negotiations all the time for his job. He made that observation about Obama in his first administration after watching him "negotiate" with the GOP over budget issues. At the time the dems held not only the Presidency but the House and Senate as well. His comment was, "that guy is a weak negotiator. He's the kind that comes to the strip poker table with his shirt already off."

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"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@gjohnsit

Therefore, accolades galore, regardless of whatever else he does or doesn't do.

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2 users have voted.

Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Wait, give me a few minutes....wait, wait,....umm coming up blank here.

Oh, this is the guy that convened the Simpson/Bowles Cat Food commission. He got behind cutting benefits for a self funded, self administered program in place since the 1930's, a democratic party triumph in it's time. Obama firmly believed cutting Social Security was an important step to reducing the deficit. Even Paul Ryan couldn't vote for it.

I imagine Obama will do the same due diligence for the democratic party. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of people.

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snoopydawg's picture

@Snode

Obama decided that to help people recover from it he would freeze wages at the federal level for two years. And now we're finding out that the banks didn't get bailed out to the tune of $700 billion, oh no, they got bailed out with $29 trillion!
Besides the hideously flawed ACA and Lily Ledbetter just what did he do that helped us? Bueller?

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21 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

@snoopydawg How were we betrayed? Let us count the ways...Dreamers, Gitmo, minimum wage. The r's have a one vote majority and act like it's a mandate. The, d's no matter how big the majority just can't do much of anything that doesn't help someone who doesn't need it.

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15 users have voted.

Agree.
Fuck that Biden "calm down" shit.

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15 users have voted.

I truly despise the lying bastard - more than Trump. Trump is despicable, but Obama tops him for most evil.

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"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

@dkmich Obama, most disappointing prez easily of my lifetime, yes.

But most evil?? Trump, W, Nixon lead the pack. Some troublemakers like myself would also put Lyndon in that latter category, for starting a totally unnecessary and disastrous foreign war that nearly brought civil war to this country, among other high crimes and many misdemeanors.

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snoopydawg's picture

@wokkamile

People say that Trump is doing evil things, but many of them were done by Obama first. Did any other president admit that they were good at killing like Barry did? When his drones killed innocent males he just rearranged them to be enemy combatants. Then of course there is his actions in Libya that brought slavery to the country. Think about that. The first black American president brought slavery back to Libya. Oh yes..evil.

He could have passed single payer health care and done many things that helped keep people in their homes, but he let his Citibank cabinet talk him out of it. Evil.

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20 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

@wokkamile @wokkamile

Obama lied his way into office and betrayed everyone. I never believed the huckster, but millions fell for his lies. He wasted a mandate and a majority, single handedly resurrected the GOP within 20 minutes of the nation voting to obliterate Bush/Cheney, and pissed off an opportunity to truly save the middle class and the planet. Instead, he sold them out for a private island and a boat load of cash. He paved the way for Trump and his abuses in more ways than one. Just because Obama is smarter than Trump doesn't make him any better. How many wars did Obama start? People did he drone? Homes and families did he destroy when he bailed out the banks and threw the people under the bus? Nixon looks like Mother Teresa compared to Obama, and Trump is Obama's creation and legacy.

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18 users have voted.

"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

@dkmich replying to me above: I wasn't arguing Obama didn't do wrong, many times, and some of those decisions led to some terrible outcomes. But he didn't start/continue a major war (Lyndon, Nixon, W) leading to hundreds of thousands and millions of needless deaths, he didn't entirely (or nearly) lose the confidence of the majority of the population (LBJ, W, Nixon) because of his tendency to lie. He didn't threaten to undo the fabric of our (remaining) democracy by steadfastly refusing to abide by the law (Nixon, Trump). He didn't recklessly escalate tensions with the Russians by sending arms into Ukraine (Trump) or withdraw from an important nuclear treaty (Trump, W). And so on.

Disappointing is more the term to use in referring to Obama. He squandered his chance to do far more for the people. 8 years and only Romneycare and a couple of mid-sized foreign achievements (Cuba, Iran agreement) to his credit. Huge blunder with Libya, not standing up against the hawkish regime change voices of Hillary, Rice and Stephanie Powers. Weak-willed he was , on Libya and other matters dealing with FP. But I don't think he anticipated human slave auctions as the result.

Deep disappointment in his DP, with some naiveté shown in his ACA "negotiations" with the Rs and the medical insurance cos where he came to the table asking only for a slice of bread.

Twice the disappointment with Obama compared to another disappointing prez, Carter, as much more was expected of O and the economic situation as he arrived was far more serious than for Jimmy.

Let's see what the dude will say in his defense with his memoirs -- if he can manage to write them w/o a ghostwriter. Actually, for the $36M he was given for the book contract, there should have been a clause requiring him to write by himself.

My dos centavos.

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snoopydawg's picture

@wokkamile

But he didn't start/continue a major war (Lyndon, Nixon, W) leading to hundreds of thousands and millions of needless deaths,

He not only continued the Iraq war he also started the ones in Libya and Syria and both of them on false pretenses. He said that Gaddafi's troops were raping women and other things that never happened. Using drones in countries that were no threat to us is considered a war in my book and a war crime according to the UN and Nuremberg laws.

Huge blunder with Libya, not standing up against the hawkish regime change voices of Hillary, Rice and Stephanie Powers.

Blunder? He was the president not Hillary and that war would never have happened if he didn't okay it.

He didn't recklessly escalate tensions with the Russians by sending arms into Ukraine

He overthrew the Ukraine government and then helped install the same type of neo Nazis that Russia and the world fought against in WWII. Think about that. He put troops into countries that border Russia, but he did draw the line with sending weapons to Ukraine. He thought that would upset Russia too much. But speaking of weapons he sold the biggest weapons deal of all time to the Saudis. He was the president that decided that we would help them with their war on Yemen. He declared a national emergency so that he could put sanctions on Venezuela.

He did many of the same things Trump is doing with immigrants including locking children in cages. The pictures people were posting after they learned what Trump was doing came from the time his administration was doing it. He fought to keep children locked up longer than the law allowed. It was during his administration that children were sent to trial without lawyer.

He signed the NDAA which means that any president can order someone arrested and then keep them locked up indefinitely without charges or access to a lawyer.

If you're interested in seeing how bad his tenure was read this.

When you say that you miss Obama

There is a huge list at the end of this article that shows the many things that happened during Obama's tenure. The reason people think that he was a good president is because the media didn't tell people what he was doing.

As I've said numerous times Trump is not doing anything that didn't happen during Obama's tenure or Bush's. Except that Obama dropped more bombs than he did and he deported more immigrants than any other president. Trump still has some catching up to do.

ETA. Obama armed, trained and funded Al Qaida and watched as ISIS continued to grow in strength and numbers. He supported the coups in Honduras and Egypt.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
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snoopydawg's picture

@wokkamile

Obama prosecuted more whistleblowers under the espionage act than any other president combined. This is part of his legacy that he left in place for Trump.

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15 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
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@snoopydawg

...and the financial ruin of the 99% than virtually any single president in history, perhaps with the exception of Reagan. This (previous) simple sentence is easily proven...in at least (more than) a few hundred of my posts over at the other place. Very simply, nowadays, the U.S. really is (what Princeton Professor Sheldon Wolin described it as) an Inverted Totalitarian society.

(I was blown away when Hedges appeared in a multi-part series on the Real News, back in 2013, and RNN used my Daily Kos post on Wolin's definition of Inverted Totalitarianism as a background graphic, while Hedges discussed the subject! I will find it and post here ASAP.

Meanwhile, here's A LINK to another one of my posts on the subject. And, immediately below, another significant chunk of a Hedges' piece on Wolin, from Truthdig, a year or two after that.)

Sheldon Wolin and Inverted Totalitarianism
Chris Hedges
Truthdig.com
November 2, 2015

Sheldon Wolin, our most important contemporary political theorist, died Oct. 21 at the age of 93. In his books “Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism” and “Politics and Vision,” a massive survey of Western political thought that his former student Cornel West calls “magisterial,” Wolin lays bare the realities of our bankrupt democracy, the causes behind the decline of American empire and the rise of a new and terrifying configuration of corporate power he calls “inverted totalitarianism.”

Wendy Brown, a political science professor at UC Berkeley and another former student of Wolin’s, said in an email to me: “Resisting the monopolies on left theory by Marxism and on democratic theory by liberalism, Wolin developed a distinctive — even distinctively American — analysis of the political present and of radical democratic possibilities. He was especially prescient in theorizing the heavy statism forging what we now call neoliberalism, and in revealing the novel fusions of economic with political power that he took to be poisoning democracy at its root.”

Wolin throughout his scholarship charted the devolution of American democracy and in his last book, “Democracy Incorporated,” details our peculiar form of corporate totalitarianism. “One cannot point to any national institution[s] that can accurately be described as democratic,” he writes in that book, “surely not in the highly managed, money-saturated elections, the lobby-infested Congress, the imperial presidency, the class-biased judicial and penal system, or, least of all, the media.”

Inverted totalitarianism is different from classical forms of totalitarianism. It does not find its expression in a demagogue or charismatic leader but in the faceless anonymity of the corporate state. Our inverted totalitarianism pays outward fealty to the facade of electoral politics, the Constitution, civil liberties, freedom of the press, the independence of the judiciary, and the iconography, traditions and language of American patriotism, but it has effectively seized all of the mechanisms of power to render the citizen impotent.

“Unlike the Nazis, who made life uncertain for the wealthy and privileged while providing social programs for the working class and poor, inverted totalitarianism exploits the poor, reducing or weakening health programs and social services, regimenting mass education for an insecure workforce threatened by the importation of low-wage workers,” Wolin writes. “Employment in a high-tech, volatile, and globalized economy is normally as precarious as during an old-fashioned depression. The result is that citizenship, or what remains of it, is practiced amidst a continuing state of worry. Hobbes had it right: when citizens are insecure and at the same time driven by competitive aspirations, they yearn for political stability rather than civic engagement, protection rather than political involvement.”

Inverted totalitarianism, Wolin said when we met at his home in Salem, Ore., in 2014 to film a nearly three-hour interview, constantly “projects power upwards.” It is “the antithesis of constitutional power.” It is designed to create instability to keep a citizenry off balance and passive.

He writes, “Downsizing, reorganization, bubbles bursting, unions busted, quickly outdated skills, and transfer of jobs abroad create not just fear but an economy of fear, a system of control whose power feeds on uncertainty, yet a system that, according to its analysts, is eminently rational.”

Inverted totalitarianism also “perpetuates politics all the time,” Wolin said when we spoke, “but a politics that is not political.” The endless and extravagant election cycles, he said, are an example of politics without politics.

“Instead of participating in power,” he writes, “the virtual citizen is invited to have ‘opinions’: measurable responses to questions predesigned to elicit them.”

Political campaigns rarely discuss substantive issues. They center on manufactured political personalities, empty rhetoric, sophisticated public relations, slick advertising, propaganda and the constant use of focus groups and opinion polls to loop back to voters what they want to hear. Money has effectively replaced the vote. Every current presidential candidate—including Bernie Sanders—understands, to use Wolin’s words, that “the subject of empire is taboo in electoral debates.” The citizen is irrelevant. He or she is nothing more than a spectator, allowed to vote and then forgotten once the carnival of elections ends and corporations and their lobbyists get back to the business of ruling.

“If the main purpose of elections is to serve up pliant legislators for lobbyists to shape, such a system deserves to be called ‘misrepresentative or clientry government,’ ” Wolin writes. “It is, at one and the same time, a powerful contributing factor to the depoliticization of the citizenry, as well as reason for characterizing the system as one of antidemocracy.”

The result, he writes, is that the public is “denied the use of state power.” Wolin deplores the trivialization of political discourse, a tactic used to leave the public fragmented, antagonistic and emotionally charged while leaving corporate power and empire unchallenged.

“Cultural wars might seem an indication of strong political involvements,” he writes. “Actually they are a substitute. The notoriety they receive from the media and from politicians eager to take firm stands on nonsubstantive issues serves to distract attention and contribute to a cant politics of the inconsequential.”

“The ruling groups can now operate on the assumption that they don’t need the traditional notion of something called a public in the broad sense of a coherent whole,” he said in our meeting. “They now have the tools to deal with the very disparities and differences that they have themselves helped to create. It’s a game in which you manage to undermine the cohesiveness that the public requires if they [the public] are to be politically effective. And at the same time, you create these different, distinct groups that inevitably find themselves in tension or at odds or in competition with other groups, so that it becomes more of a melee than it does become a way of fashioning majorities.”

In classical totalitarian regimes, such as those of Nazi fascism or Soviet communism, economics was subordinate to politics. But “under inverted totalitarianism the reverse is true,” Wolin writes. “Economics dominates politics—and with that domination comes different forms of ruthlessness.”He continues: “The United States has become the showcase of how democracy can be managed without appearing to be suppressed.”

The corporate state, Wolin told me, is “legitimated by elections it controls.” To extinguish democracy, it rewrites and distorts laws and legislation that once protected democracy. Basic rights are, in essence, revoked by judicial and legislative fiat. Courts and legislative bodies, in the service of corporate power, reinterpret laws to strip them of their original meaning in order to strengthen corporate control and abolish corporate oversight.

He writes: “Why negate a constitution, as the Nazis did, if it is possible simultaneously to exploit porosity and legitimate power by means of judicial interpretations that declare huge campaign contributions to be protected speech under the First Amendment, or that treat heavily financed and organized lobbying by large corporations as a simple application of the people’s right to petition their government?”

Our system of inverted totalitarianism will avoid harsh and violent measures of control “as long as … dissent remains ineffectual,” he told me. “The government does not need to stamp out dissent. The uniformity of imposed public opinion through the corporate media does a very effective job.”

And the elites, especially the intellectual class, have been bought off. “Through a combination of governmental contracts, corporate and foundation funds, joint projects involving university and corporate researchers, and wealthy individual donors, universities (especially so-called research universities), intellectuals, scholars, and researchers have been seamlessly integrated into the system,” Wolin writes. “No books burned, no refugee Einsteins.”

But, he warns, should the population—steadily stripped of its most basic rights, including the right to privacy, and increasingly impoverished and bereft of hope—become restive, inverted totalitarianism will become as brutal and violent as past totalitarian states. “The war on terrorism, with its accompanying emphasis upon ‘homeland security,’ presumes that state power, now inflated by doctrines of preemptive war and released from treaty obligations and the potential constraints of international judicial bodies, can turn inwards,” he writes, “confident that in its domestic pursuit of terrorists the powers it claimed, like the powers projected abroad, would be measured, not by ordinary constitutional standards, but by the shadowy and ubiquitous character of terrorism as officially defined.”

The indiscriminate police violence in poor communities of color is an example of the ability of the corporate state to “legally” harass and kill citizens with impunity. The cruder forms of control—from militarized police to wholesale surveillance, as well as police serving as judge, jury and executioner, now a reality for the underclass—will become a reality for all of us should we begin to resist the continued funneling of power and wealth upward. We are tolerated as citizens, Wolin warns, only as long as we participate in the illusion of a participatory democracy. The moment we rebel and refuse to take part in the illusion, the face of inverted totalitarianism will look like the face of past systems of totalitarianism.

“The significance of the African-American prison population is political,” he writes. “What is notable about the African-American population generally is that it is highly sophisticated politically and by far the one group that throughout the twentieth century kept alive a spirit of resistance and rebelliousness. In that context, criminal justice is as much a strategy of political neutralization as it is a channel of instinctive racism.”

In his writings, Wolin expresses consternation for a population severed from print and the nuanced world of ideas. He sees cinema, like television, as “tyrannical” because of its ability to “block out, eliminate whatever might introduce qualification, ambiguity, or dialogue.” He rails against what he calls a “monochromatic media” with corporate-approved pundits used to identify “the problem and its parameters, creating a box that dissenters struggle vainly to elude. The critic who insists on changing the context is dismissed as irrelevant, extremist, ‘the Left’—or ignored altogether.”

The constant dissemination of illusions permits myth rather than reality to dominate the decisions of the power elites. And when myth dominates, disaster descends upon the empire, as 14 years of futile war in the Middle East and our failure to react to climate change illustrate. Wolin writes:

When myth begins to govern decision-makers in a world where ambiguity and stubborn facts abound, the result is a disconnect between the actors and the reality. They convince themselves that the forces of darkness possess weapons of mass destruction and nuclear capabilities: that their own nation is privileged by a god who inspired the Founding Fathers and the writing of the nation’s constitution; and that a class structure of great and stubborn inequalities does not exist. A grim but joyous few see portents of a world that is living out “the last days.”...

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"Freedom is something that dies unless it's used." --Hunter S. Thompson

snoopydawg's picture

@bobswern

I did read it when he wrote it. The part about inverted Totalitarianism is definitely where we are as a country.

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16 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

Anja Geitz's picture

@bobswern

on the state of our government. This in particular resonated with me:

And the elites, especially the intellectual class, have been bought off. “Through a combination of governmental contracts, corporate and foundation funds, joint projects involving university and corporate researchers, and wealthy individual donors, universities (especially so-called research universities), intellectuals, scholars, and researchers have been seamlessly integrated into the system,” Wolin writes. “No books burned, no refugee Einsteins.”

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5 users have voted.

Play me another broken record Joe. Maybe then I'll learn why we pay twice as much for healthcare as everybody else in the world. ~ Not Henry Kissinger

snoopydawg's picture

@dkmich

How Obama Failed

This is basically about his domestic policies and boy is it good. I didn't know that Podesta was in charge of his transition team. The article says that because of this Obama's presidency was the third term of the Clintons. It was also the third term of Bush's too.

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11 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

@snoopydawg Matt Stoller has been saying publicly that Obama was a failure for some time now. Even a Salon article in 2012 arguing the left should not vote for Obama. Stoller mentioned this writer, and I forgot his name. Thanks for posting the link. Will definitely read the article and the book.

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4 users have voted.

@snoopydawg and book rec, snoop. And it all actually reinforces my point -- Obama is described as a major disappointment, a failure even, but not in much harsher, truly extreme terms like "evil".

Great point made that the author, an ex Obama guy ferchrissakes, considers Obama as a continuation of the Clinton years. He really should have made Hillary his VP, or even co-P (as Lyndon wanted to be with JFK), if all he was going to do was give us a 3d and 4th term of Clinton. Who better to know how to do Clinton than another Clinton?

Will order this one, read, and put on shelf to rec to all my Obama-worshipping Dem friends whenever they start once again on the tiresome second-coming attitudes.

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snoopydawg's picture

@wokkamile

When you say that you miss Obama. It's a doozy and there are more links inside of it. I send it to people who say that or that he left office scandal free. I guess it depends on what one thinks a scandal is.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

Pluto's Republic's picture

@wokkamile

...subjective way, especially when it comes to Presidents. People have an innocence and a deep trust about their country and culture that they carry their whole lives. But that innocence can be abruptly crushed and destroyed by certain Presidential behaviors at key moments. To your point, Lyndon Johnson was a crude, socially ignorant, brutish psychopath who carelessly murdered a generation of young men. I can see how he would be designated as evil.

From what I've observed, people can be disillusioned by a president at any age or not at all; it can happen at 15 or 75. People's serenity and trust are ripped away, and they never see the country or the government the same way. What I know for sure is:

1. This very real sense of evil in a President only impacts a few people, I'm guessing less than 20 percent of the politically engaged.
2. It's never partisan. It can be any President of either Party, but commonly the evil President and the person impacted share the same Party. People who rage over a particular President from a particular Party have a propaganda disorder.
3. It's slightly more personal than political, and manifests as anger, cynicism, hurt that comes from betrayal, hostility toward politics, and total withdrawal.
4. It's subjective and situational, but not random. It can be any President, they're all psychopaths to some degree, willing to murder people and destroy lives for revenge or expediency. What matters is the sudden and violent ripping away of illusion or trust from the person perceiving the evil.
5. It lasts a lifetime and is always felt intensely.

(I happen to be researching a related topic.)

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10 users have voted.

The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.
– Albert Camus

@Pluto's Republic Lyndon's major crimes, putting him (imo) at least in the discussion about truly evil presidents. Thoughtful post which I appreciate. Many libs have bought into the recent historical revisionism about LBJ, mostly boiling down to: Sure he made a mistake about VN and he was flawed in other ways, but he gave us Civil Rights and many other liberal programs. A very simplistic reductionist rendering, primarily designed to deeply discount his horrible VN War calamity and overlook his many personal crimes and corruptions.

It's worthy of a longer discussion, for another time, but basically, within the context of how he came to power, and how he was soon handed a working liberal majority in Congress, he was in no position to do other than complete JFK's domestic program. And almost as often as not, it was the liberal majority in Congress that was pushing these liberal measures and not Lyndon (e.g., the Voting Rights Act). In sum, any Dem president this side of Strom Thurmond coming to power under those unusual circumstances would have done what he did domestically, and it didn't take a legislative genius (which Lyndon was not) to figure out how to pass liberal legislation with a liberal majority.

As to the rest, my main objection here was to push back against what I consider a devaluing of the term "evil" as it was applied to Obama, and I would note, to challenge the notion of subjectivity, that there is probably a general understanding among most people as to when it's appropriate to use it -- i.e., in cases of intentional major wrongdoing which causes substantial death and destruction around the world. Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Genghis Khan, Ted Bundy are names most people associate with evil -- intentionally inflicting harm or death on many people with indifference for or even satisfaction in their suffering.

Obama, for all his flaws and bad decisions, just doesn't nearly come close to being a good fit for this select group. I don't see the intentionality factor being present for instance -- did he anticipate Libya (not a "major war" involving the US as we generally understand it, but rather a US-assisted regime change war) would become what it did and find satisfaction in that? I doubt it.

Calling Obama "evil" just goes way too far in its cynicism for me. He does fit nicely into the Disappointing President category, maybe even into the Disappointing, Failed President category if judged by the amount of time he had (the max) and the number of major accomplishments he had (few). Another consideration -- did he enjoy the support of the majority of the population? -- is in his favor.

Also whether Obama respected the democratic norms during his tenure -- again check, never in doubt. With the evil Nixon, up until the very end there was concern that he would use extraconstitutional measures to avoid being ousted from office, until finally he was compelled to obey the law. With Trump, a developing evil presence in the WH who doesn't seem to respect our democratic traditions and institutional norms, there are even greater concerns about whether he would leave office peacefully if he is defeated next year or impeached.

I think it's slightly more likely than not he would not exit the stage if, say, he legitimately loses in 2020 but by less than 5m votes. Finally destroying what was left of our democratic processes and in effect becoming an American Dictator would be another way to achieve evil status. Conman Trump is on that path to infamy.

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Eagles92's picture

@wokkamile

Obama, for all his flaws and bad decisions, just doesn't nearly come close to being a good fit for this select group.

You are absolutely entitled to it, but your above assertion is just that: opinion.

I'm also not really sure what purpose you're trying to serve here by trying to argue semantics. Obama has, as already pointed out many times in this thread, caused considerable death and destruction. Who gives a shit if he killed fewer innocent people than Hitler or Nixon or LBJ? Why should it matter that he only tortured "some folks" in defiance of international law? What if one of those "folks" who died or was tortured was a family member of yours? Wrong is wrong is wrong. Period. Barry doesn't get a pass on this.

And that's my opinion.

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7 users have voted.

@Eagles92 and subtle, was that there is a threshold that is reached, taking quite a bit of effort usually and only after a considerable body count frankly, after which we can properly consider putting such person into that special notorious category. It should be reserved only for the most unworthy of human beings. Obama clearly is not one. And we all understand that in the course of just about every president's tenure, certain decisions he will make, usually not good ones, will result in the death of a number of innocents. This goes with the territory. The total in death and destruction does matter.

Even the most benign of presidents, most anti-unnecessary war or conflict, Jimmy Carter, has to answer for the stupid and reckless decision which resulted in the deaths of US military personnel in the hostage rescue attempt. Probably we could throw in his looking the other way, or maintaining plausible deniability, as the CIA tortured by rendering to other countries and similar non-pleasant occurrences. Yet no reasonable person would put him in the evil category and rightly so.

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Eagles92's picture

@wokkamile I'm losing patience with you, and don't take well to being "schooled."

.. only after a considerable body count frankly, after which we can properly consider putting such person into that special notorious category. It should be reserved only for the most unworthy of human beings. Obama clearly is not one. And we all understand that in the course of just about every president's tenure, certain decisions he will make, usually not good ones, will result in the death of a number of innocents. This goes with the territory. The total in death and destruction does matter.

(Emphases mine).

Seriously? I'm beginning to doubt your ... sincerity.

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Anja Geitz's picture

@Eagles92

is apparently subjective. Those of "us" who describe carnal butchering, torture, and abject human suffering caused by illegal wars as part of a President's job, are clearly not having the same conversation you and I are having.

In fact, I think it would be more precise to say that some voters threshold for what is immoral is so loosely measured that 10,000 starving orphaned limbless children can be described as an "unfortunate" consequence of a President's job. However, if we increase that number to 50,000, then we can begin to discuss what constitutes an evil Presidency?

Relative mumbojumbo disguised as a reasonable construct? You be the judge.

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Play me another broken record Joe. Maybe then I'll learn why we pay twice as much for healthcare as everybody else in the world. ~ Not Henry Kissinger

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Eagles92

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Anja Geitz's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

Those who are doing this? Or the people who are ignoring it, rationalizing it, and lying about it.

Ugh.

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4 users have voted.

Play me another broken record Joe. Maybe then I'll learn why we pay twice as much for healthcare as everybody else in the world. ~ Not Henry Kissinger

snoopydawg's picture

@wokkamile

Evil either is or it's not. Bombing countries knowing that people will be killed is evil. Withholding foods and medicine because of sanctions is evil. Sitting bye as millions of people lose their homes because banks are allowed to continue committing fraud is evil. Obama was responsible for all those things and more. Kill one person and you're a murderer.

only after a considerable body count frankly, after which we can properly consider putting such person into that special notorious category. It should be reserved only for the most unworthy of human beings. Obama clearly is not one.

Kill millions and you're commander in chief...

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5 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

@snoopydawg was FDR evil? A murderer? How about a mass murderer?

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snoopydawg's picture

@wokkamile

Even though FDR did some great things while in office he also did some horrible ones. There is evidence that he knew about the concentration camps in Germany well before people here did, but did nothing about them. People died because of it. There is also evidence that he knew that Japan was going to bomb Pearl Harbor and let it happen so Americans would be willing to enter the war. This I would call evil. Remember that FDR put US Japanese citizens in camps here and confiscated their property. This is evil. No Germans were incarcerated or any other citizens of different races.

I don't think that there was one president that didn't commit war crimes and crimes against humanity. I think Zoe's comment summarized my thoughts quite well. How many people have to be killed before you call them evil? Ted Bundy was evil even though he killed less people than any president in just this century. I just don't think evil can be quantified.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

Jen's picture

@wokkamile From the first president to the current are mass murderers.

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Anja Geitz's picture

@Eagles92

as being beaten to death with a 10 foot bat versus a 30 foot bat. You're still dead either way, so who gives a fuck if it took less strokes to kill you?

I agree with you, Barry owns the consequences of "we" tortured some people. Just as he owns signing our rights way to habeas corpus. I'd be fascinated to hear what adjective "we" could come up for a President who perpetrated that act and all it's life altering implications.

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Play me another broken record Joe. Maybe then I'll learn why we pay twice as much for healthcare as everybody else in the world. ~ Not Henry Kissinger

Pluto's Republic's picture

@wokkamile

Just want to say that I really don't think you need to be concerned about Trump leaving office. He will leave if he's impeached and he will leave when it's time to go. He may even leave before his term is over. Fear not.

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1 user has voted.

The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.
– Albert Camus

@Pluto's Republic conclude so optimistically, and hope you are right. I don't think Donald is the type to follow traditional norms and procedures. It's likely, if enough financial docs are discovered, that he will be shown as the grifter and crook many of us suspect he has been for years. And if the spineless Dems ever get off their fainting couches to impeach him, and somehow make it stick in the senate, there's doubt whether Donald will consider the process legit.

Such people just don't play by the rules, as they have had success all their life evading them with impunity. He will refuse to leave. And then what? Call out the military, the police, and the bikers to act as his protectors? Civil war?

I see a bad moon risin'. I see trouble on the way ...

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1 user has voted.

@wokkamile "traditional norms" people talk about are nothing more than cover for a government that has always been about power and money and protecting that for those who have it, period. Read some Howard Zinn. The idea that these vaulted "norms" are in any way democratic or fair is really one hell of a good joke on the American sheeple. Now that the mask has been ripped off by the latest moronic loon in the White Hut, everyone wants to scream that this just can't be so, it MUST be an aberration as this just can't BE America. But this IS America, for all to see. The rest of the world knew what America was a long damned time ago but the American people will simply not allow that TRUTH to enter their empty heads.

As for Mr Obama being some innocent babe in the woods, overpowered by the Deep State and going along with them oh so reluctantly, please. If we believe that then we truly apparently do believe removing Trump solves all problems. Never mind that Christo-fascist waiting in the wings, he of the "even temperment" and radio personality voice, it'll all be OK once that Orange Buffoon is gone. Yeah. Sure.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@wokkamile @wokkamile

Even when you consider Cambodia, the seven wars we have going in the Middle East probably will outpace Nixon's death count, and five of those are at Obama's feet. Then there's "Torture Tuesdays" and "Yeah, we tortured some folks. But don't get too sanctimonious about it."

Or we could just admit that the president of the United States doesn't determine policy and is more of a figurehead than anything else. Obama would still be a horrible asshole in that case, but not because he decided to kill people, because he decided to be a figurehead for murdering bastards.

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7 users have voted.

Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal casualties in VN, Cambodia, Laos and whatever other countries I'm forgetting during Nixon's tenure would be interesting to see. My guess would be Obama's death and destruction toll would be considerably below that of Nixon or Lyndon. My recollection is that it was under Nixon that the US undertook to undermine and oust the lawful leader of Cambodia which then directly led to instability and the rise of the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot which led to millions of Cambodians murdered. If I'm correct, then we can go ahead and put those deaths on Nixon's leger.

Torture: happened as a matter of US policy in VN, the CIA's Phoenix Program, using SVN military as proxies. The numbers are likely in the many thousands. I doubt if the torture that occurred under O was nearly as much. Dozens or perhaps hundreds is my guess. It's to be determined still, when more proper histories of his presidency have been written, to what extent Obama knew about all this. We can be certain, however, that Nixon was aware and certain also that he didn't phase him morally, assuming the Trickster had any developed sense of humanity.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@wokkamile

by other people as a result of actions taken by a president, we can include all the deaths committed by the Islamic State on Obama's ticket too.

As far as a straight-up comparison of the number of bodies created by Nixon in Cambodia and Viet Nam to those Obama created with his five additional Middle East wars goes, I'd say you have to wait a bit. Nixon's wars in SE Asia are over and aren't going to create any more corpses except for the occasional person to step on a land mine. Obama's wars are going strong and there's no sign of abatement. And if we're going to blame the massacres of the Khmer Rouge on Nixon, we can hardly stop blaming Obama simply because his second term ran out. The wars he started are still raging on.

Of course, like I said, it probably isn't really Obama who caused these wars anyway. Once you start getting into generals telling the president "Well, we might obey this order. We don't like it," you're into a whole new world.

But the worst thing Obama did is making pre-emptive warfare and torture something a good guy does. Normalizing those things is a big step toward the destruction of civilization. Some would say it is the destruction of civilization. It's no surprise that we are now invading embassies and talking openly about Who Will Get Venezuela's Oil? If you can be, not only a moral good guy, but an unimpeachable moral good guy who can't be criticized except by racists, all while torturing people and blowing their countries away with the biggest military in the world, then, to quote Al Gore, what can't the President do? What is morality? Does it exist?

After Nixon, people thought what Nixon did was wrong. It took decades of media work to start making him look imperfect and misunderstood instead of guilty. After Obama, not only did Obama still hold a high place in people's regard, he remained uncriticizable--you criticize Obama's policies, and it boomerangs immediately onto you in the form of a character attack. That means everything Obama did is similarly immune to criticism. That means torture and pre-emptive war are immune to criticism. People keep bitching about where the American anti-war movement is. Isn't it interesting that it collapsed right about the same time Obama started using his political and moral capital to make war and torture something you can't criticize or you're a racist?

Watergate and the fall of Nixon were actually victories, wonderful victories for the American republic--its last victories too, though people didn't know that then. We re-established what our core values were, and what constituted good and evil by the definitions of our culture. There should have been a nationwide celebration. It's too bad the American people were so authoritarian back then that instead they wasted their time mourning the fact that a corrupt man could become President when they should have been thrilled that a corrupt President could be driven from office by his crimes.

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3 users have voted.

Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Big Al's picture

is the fact that Obama's approval rating among democrats has been mostly above 80% for both terms and continued today. I would imagine most of that 80% would gladly vote for Obama another term if they could. Of course, keep in mind that democrats make up about 28%, and shrinking, of the voting population now. Always, keep that in mind.
So for the democrats and their democratic party, Obama coming to the rescue during the time of Trump would be a dream come true. Whatever he says, the people will be saying hallelujah. With tears streaming down their face and their fucking arms raised to the fucking sky.

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11 users have voted.
Pluto's Republic's picture

@Big Al

So for the democrats and their democratic party, Obama coming to the rescue during the time of Trump would be a dream come true. Whatever he says, the people will be saying hallelujah.

The Democrats will select a center-right clone of Obama for their 2020 candidate. An incrementalist.

Their thinking is that they will get the extra votes they need to win from their fellow centrist Republicans who don't like Trump's style. Didn't they like their tax cuts? And their Supreme Court judges? They'd give up their Republican principles and perks just to get rid of President Pumpkinhead?

As for the American Left inside their Party and outside, whom they completely despise by now — they say, where else are they going to go?

Looking forward — If their Obama Unit (let's say Biden) wins: we hang out with the Dems and bitch and carp because we got no single payer health care and millions can't afford the rate hikes.; an entire generation is defaulting on their student loans; and the planet is still dying. Even if a dynamic Leftist candidate emerged for 2028, he'd have no Party because the Dems would sabotage his campaign.

If Donald Trump (or Mike Pense) wins — we still hang out with the Dems because at least they have a Party, and we bitch and carp because they made the same mistake that they made the last time. The hysterical Dems claim that the Russians meddled again, call for a new investigation of the social media giants, and occupy themselves with Impeachment 2.0 for the next four years.

What do we do?

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The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.
– Albert Camus
Big Al's picture

@Pluto's Republic Not sure what you're saying. Lesser evilism? Not for me. It doesn't matter, until a movement like the Yellow Vests gets started demanding democracy, it's all the same bullshit. To me it doesn't matter what Obama does because I wouldn't support any democratic party politician for president.
The only choice is to change this political system because we aren't going to get what we want with it.

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Pluto's Republic's picture

@Big Al

God knows, the US needs a Left Wing Party more than it need two right wing Parties.

I am thankful thst the fire of revolution burns in your heart — but that is not what the American people are made of. They've been cultivated into a people who will bend and adapt to anything imposed on them. All the vision has been bred out of them. They are addicted to their devices and they will conform.

Your Revolution is going to be a party of one. Who are you going to shoot? Your political opponents or the police? You block traffic, they'll bring a tank and blow you to smithereens. Look for an alternative. You need to be as sneaky as your oppressors are.

If the Yellow Vests come to America, Americans will stop their cars and let them cross the street.

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The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.
– Albert Camus
snoopydawg's picture

@Big Al

People say that Obama's tenure was scandal free. I posted a big list of his scandals above that for some reason people have either forgotten or didn't care about when he was president. Have you read the "when you say that you miss Obama" article?

Obama refused to be the president we thought we elected . Okay this isn't the title, but it could be. If it wasn't Obama coming to the rescue it would have been Hillary for some people. I think that is one reason people glommed on to Russia Gate so easily. They thought that once Trumps crimes were exposed then Herheinous would get to be president. The thing is that she would be doing lots of the same things Trump is doing, but not many people would care. Remember how upset people were when Obama was doing much of the same things Trump is with immigrants? Yeah me neither.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

Pluto's Republic's picture

@snoopydawg

The thing is that she would be doing lots of the same things Trump is doing, but not many people would care.

If you're talking about international murder and mayhem in smaller, defenseless countries that can be used as proxies and exploited — that's the only thing that Democrats like about Donald Trump. His willingness to kill.

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The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.
– Albert Camus
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@snoopydawg

How dare you point out that the first black president put immigrants in cages. You must have a problem with black male authority.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Big Al

Of course, keep in mind that democrats make up about 28%, and shrinking, of the voting population now. Always, keep that in mind.

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5 users have voted.

Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Obama, Biden, and the democratic party leaders and elites oversaw major electoral defeats since 2010.

The democrats are inept. Oh, Obama may in fact decide who is the primary nominee, but then that person must face the general election. It is easy for democrats to cheat progressives in the primaries, but the general election is another matter.

During the 2016 democratic primaries, poll after poll showed Bernie beating Trump. And the party chose Hillary. I suspect there will be a repeat.

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@MrWebster Bernie, let alone Tulsi, winning the nom from a party whose centrist corporate wing still controls the levers of party power and which is backed to the hilt by the corporate MSM. Bernie and Tulsi are still top contenders for my vote, but I'm a pessimist and rarely do my favorites emerge victorious.

The 2010 midterms? A footnote, if even that, for most Dems today, who generally still hold very positive attitudes towards walk-on-water Obama, on whose watch that occurred. Almost ancient history. Generally most Dems remember better times in the WH -- a kinda cool guy who was intelligent, measured and steady, responsible and who improved things for many with his ACA. The other particulars of his 8 years are not known or forgotten. Biden and his camp are right politically to continue to associate Joe with Barack -- a winning strategy -- which is the main reason why Joe should not be underestimated in his chances to win the nom.

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Pluto's Republic's picture

@wokkamile

the likelihood of Joe becoming the Presidential nominee.

Joe should not be underestimated in his chances to win the nom.

It's his chances of winning the election that are doubtful.

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The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.
– Albert Camus
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Pluto's Republic @Pluto's Republic

Including the primary election, because it should be obvious to all of us that you don't have to win the primary to become the nominee.

Although they may have baked in enough advantages that they won't have to obviously, openly cheat like they did last time. Put a few more candidates into the race! That's the ticket.

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3 users have voted.

Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem