The Empty Suit(s)

Recently, Teodrose Fikre wrote a very interesting and insightful article about former President Barack Obama, titled, The First Bank President. Even without seeing Obama's picture at the top of the article, I knew that it was about Barack Obama. The funny thing is in that my first glance at the article, I had misread the title to be "The First Blank President." In retrospect, either title would be appropriate to describe Obama and his Presidency.

As I read through Fikre's excellent article, I remembered reading a scathing article by Paul Street at Counterpunch a while back and so I searched for it as a companion piece to that by Fikre. The title of Street's article was Obama: A Hollow Man Filled With Ruling Class Ideas. Street's article was both a review of David J. Garrow's massive biography of Obama and Street's own analysis of Obama as a President and as a person. Street writes how Obama is portrayed in Garrow's book.

The subject of Garrow’s meticulous history is a single-minded climber ready to toss others (including family members, lovers, and close friends) aside in service to an all-consuming quest for political power fueled by a belief in his own special “destiny.”

But the issue of Obama's failed Presidency goes far deeper as Street notes later in his article in which he takes note of Adolph Reed Jr.'s prescient take on Obama very early on.

Reed’s prescient verdict more than 12 years before Obama became president brings more insight to the Obama tragedy than Jager’s reflection five years into Obama’s presidency. Obama’s nauseating taste for supposedly (and deceptively) non-ideological “get things done” “pragmatism,” “compromise,” and “playing it safe” – for “accepting the world as it is instead of trying to change it” (Jager) – was not simply or merely a personality quirk or psychological flaw. It was also and far more significantly a longstanding way for “liberal” Democratic presidents and other politicos to appear “tough-minded” and stoutly determined to “getting things done” while they subordinate the fake-populist and progressive-sounding values they mouth to get elected to the harsh “deep state” facts of U.S. ruling class, imperial, and “national security” power. A “pragmatic,” supposedly non-ideological concern for policy effectiveness – “what can be accomplished in the real world” – has long given “liberal” presidents a manly way to justify governing in accord with the wishes of the nation’s ruling class and power elite.

Among journalists, Fikre has emerged as one of Obama's greatest critics even though, at one time, Fikre was one of Obama's biggest supporters.

I know this article will induce agita upon the legions of Obama’s loyalists and some will try to discount what I write as some “right wing hit piece”; which overlooks the fact that I ran to be Obama’s delegate and was once one of his biggest supporters. The truth is that none of us really knew Obama when he launched his campaign; to this day, very few know his past and even fewer know what he stands for. Obama is a billboard who morphs into whatever personality is needed at the time—he is a political actor unlike any we have ever witnessed.

Obama ensured that the bankers would be made whole and more through his policies that rewarded the casino tactics used by the banking industry while ignoring the needs of vast numbers of Americans whose lives, livelihoods, and futures were destroyed by the vultures of Wall Street.

To say that Obama was a Wall Street toady is a most extreme of understatements. Using pyramid schemes and monetary scams like Quantitative Easing, Zero Percent Interest Rates and a sea of bailouts, Obama shoveled tens of trillions of dollars to the moneyed gentry while giving the middle finger to the rest of us. He used the bottom 99% as sacrificial lambs in order to feed the wolves of Wall Street. Not only did Obama not end “too big to fail”, he actually augmented this “win win, lose win” paradigm by assuring the big banks that US tax payers would be on the hook and let the banking mafia gamble with free money.

Teodrose Fikre and other notable blacks, such as Dr. Cornel West, Glen Ford of the Black Agenda Report, activist Niko House and Tim Black, been at the forefront of black writers, journalists, and commenters who were once Obama supporters and are now calling out, not only Obama, but the entire Democratic party for cynically using identity politics as a cudgel against black voters. Fikre writes:

Saddest of all is that Obama was able to accomplish this level of fraudulence by treading on the pains of African-Americans and his most loyal supporters. He pretended that he was “one of us” and down for the cause when all along he was a wolf in shepherd’s clothing. He calculatedly took pictures with African-American grandmothers and young “black” kids to present himself as a redemptive story of hope and restoration. He was and is a charlatan who would go on to stick a knife in the backs of the very people he pretended he was for by implementing economic policies that shackled tens of millions of Americans into poverty and sentenced countless many into a life of hopelessness.

As the Democratic party moves forward towards 2020 Presidential election, we still see identity politics in full view taking precedence over real substance. As early as 1996, Adolph Reed Jr. clearly understood what was going on with the Democratic party and the politicians they were cultivating when he wrote the following:

“In Chicago…we’ve gotten a foretaste of the new breed of foundation-hatched black communitarian voices; one of them, a smooth Harvard lawyer with impeccable do-good credentials and vacuous-to-repressive neoliberal politics, has won a state senate seat on a base mainly in the liberal foundation and development worlds. His fundamentally bootstrap line was softened by a patina of the rhetoric of authentic community, talk about meeting in kitchens, small-scale solutions to social problems, and the predictable elevation of process over program – the point where identity politics converges with old-fashioned middle-class reform in favoring form over substance.”

Obama is now collecting $400,000 per speech to the very bankers he helped protect and hobnobbing with the wealthy, it is very obvious that, regardless of his flowery speeches to the public, he never really cared about the people. This was a man who offered up the social safety net on more than one occasion to attempt to get his "grand bargain." He was an empty suit who led the people to believe that he was for them while he was stabbing them in the back.

Obama is also the prototype politician for an empty suit political party devoid of any ideas or policies to help the citizens of this country. With the United States becoming less white, the Democratic party has put all its efforts into continuing to cultivate identity politics instead of strong policies with the newest crop of empty suits speaking platitudes of meaningless words. Look no further than empty suits Kamala Harris or Corey Booker.

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Bollox Ref's picture

Ken Silverstein wrote an article for Harper's Magazine entitled:

Barack Obama Inc.
The birth of a Washington machine

(Found a link)

https://anewworldsinbirth.wordpress.com/2011/07/06/2653/

I still voted for the guy in 2008. Silly me.

I recommend the article. We should have known better than to have voted for the fraud.

Amy Klobuchar is just as much of an empty suit as Harris and Booker (not that she's going to go anywhere).

(Edited)

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Gëzuar!!
from a reasonably stable genius.

@Bollox Ref and the speeches were inspiring, what we needed, wanted to hear. You don't know you're being lied to until it's too late.

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@Snode
I should have known.

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

gulfgal98's picture

@Snode what happened to me. I was mesmerized by his speeches. Adolph Reed Jr. saw right through him in 1996, but most of us did not, including Dr. Cornel West who originally supported him. To his credit, it did not take Dr. West long to see through Obama.

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Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

Pricknick's picture

I have to believe that most of my support for obummer was the hope that he would prosecute the bush cabal for what they had done and put the duopoly on notice.
How was I to know that he was part of the rot?
Side note: Your link to Adolph L. Reed Jr. has one too many Jrs.
Is this what you wanted?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolph_L._Reed_Jr.
Thanks again for some forgotten past.

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

gulfgal98's picture

@Pricknick I corrected the name and then went back to the link and there was nothing there of value, so I deleted it.

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Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

If you didn't support him, you were a racist even back then. Of all the Presidents of my lifetime, I despise him the most. More than Bush, more than Reagan, more than Bill Clinton, more than Trump.

How long do you think it will take for truth to claim the crooks legacy?

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

gulfgal98's picture

@dkmich I was very naive in 2008 and thought that Obama was going to be a great President of the people. It only took a little time before I realized that I had been had and the people had been duped.

I have far more respect for a politician with whom I disagree but who is up front about who they are than one who lies to the people.

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Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

dance you monster's picture

@gulfgal98

Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr., Obama, Trump, all liars. Outrageous liars. Obama hurt because he raised the hope of something better. The FISA vote in June 2008 should have cleared that up, but everyone was desperate for something better and chose to overlook it. I wasn't naive, just disappointed that when Americans needed an FDR the candidate/elected chose to be anything but.

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@dance you monster

to a Trojan Horse. He was more like a snake in the grass. Bed bugs!

I've compared him broad brush to a pedophile in the past, and then worry I've lost my mind. Having said that there is some parallel. He didn't care about the boomers when campaigning. They were the parents, many of whom were still loyal to their values from the 60s and didn't trust him. His target was the young and naive who were just old enough to vote and enthralled with him. His other target was black people who were so proud of him and what they thought he represented for them. Once he got what he wanted, he kicked them all to the curb for Wall Street and his own personal greed.

Young people love Bernie and that's ok because his intentions are honorable. You can trust him with your kids when you aren't around. This is the same reason so many black people now support Bernie.

To quote Jane Fonda on Justin Trudeau, but it could easily apply to Obama:

“I guess the lesson is we shouldn’t be fooled by good-looking liberals no matter how well-spoken they are,” Fonda said.

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

gulfgal98's picture

@dkmich for the National Portrait Gallery reminded me of a snake in the grass. I do not know if that was the artist's intention, but regardless, that is exactly how I saw it.

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Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

Socialprogressive's picture

@dkmich
being the first POC (President of color).

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The fact there's a Highway to Hell and only a Stairway to Heaven should tell you something about anticipated traffic.

CB's picture

bamboozler.

bamboozle(v. a.)

Synonyms:
deceive, cheat, dupe, beguile, mislead, inveigle, gull, trick, chouse, overreach, circumvent, defraud, diddle,

Walter Lippmann:

Successful ... politicians are insecure and intimidated men. They advance politically only as they placate, appease, bribe, seduce, bamboozle or otherwise manage to manipulate the demanding and threatening elements in their constituencies.

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Obama did even more, for all his inspiring campaign speeches, in the end he broke the trust forever that the democratic party had with voters. Like Trump and the republicans, it became Obamas party. Worst, the democrats built their own wedge issues. They did it in the 70's when the hyphenated Afro, Italian, Hispanic whatever Americans broke into factions.
Then they jettisoned the left, the Great Society, the New Deal, the middle class.

30 years later it's a formula. Notice they have no problem voting with republicans on military, banking and commerce issues, and against anything that smacks of the left. On issues the republicans cherish the democrats are powerless, powder dry, don't have the votes, don't blame them. As long as they pander to women, LGBT, the poor and POC and keep the outrage machine humming that will be all they need to look like they're doing something. That's the real democratic party platform.

It's only my guess, but all the "investigations" Pelosi is going to mount won't indict any republican. It'll be all show to embarrass as many as the democrats can, and vindicate Clinton, then move on.

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snoopydawg's picture

So many things to despise about him as dkmich said. Promising to filibuster the FISA bill and then not only voting for it, but to take it further than Bush did was my last straw for believing that he would do anything to stop the erosion of our liberties.

Pricknick:

I have to believe that most of my support for obummer was the hope that he would prosecute the bush cabal for what they had done and put the duopoly on notice.

This for me too. I think many people thought that the Bush presidency was an aberration and that the next president would fix what he had destroyed. Especially the war crimes and economic meltdown. That he did nothing for millions of Americans who lost their homes, jobs and pensions is one of his biggest crimes against the American people. Transferring trillions to the banks while doing nothing as wealth inequality went up. Not doing a damn thing about climate change while knowing and watching it get worse is another. Plus he put an end to the anti war movement. People who criticized Bush's crimes went silent when Obama continued them.

Snode:

Obama did even more, for all his inspiring campaign speeches, in the end he broke the trust forever that the democratic party had with voters.

This too. This is why people are calling Harris the female Obama. The ones who are awake know that she can promises everything, but will deliver nothing. The screwing of Bernie by the DNC also showed people how broken our democracy is.

Well done!

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Rhett Butler contemptuously reminded Southern secession hot heads “There’s not a cannon factory in the whole South.”

It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

not because I thought he was going to bring the US to a better place.
It was because he was black.
I voted for Jesse Jackson in a primary years ago for the same reason.
Yes. Identity politics.
I live about a mile from where blacks had their cattle stolen by the county sheriff. I am friends with the black woman who gave birth to a son when she was 13. When the sheriff died, his obituary recognized that deceased son, but not the fact the sheriff was 30 at the child's conception. The woman and the late sheriff lived about 3/4 of a mile from me. I know the white man who tied up the black kid and beat him with a bull whip for stealing food. I can point out the tree. The white man was hailed as a hero for standing his ground. I am 10 minutes away from where a black kid drowned. He couldn't swim. The 2 white teens present were the son of a county judge and of a county commissioner. Ruled an accident.
Please forgive me for the vote that meant nothing, in the electoral vote scheme of things, but I had to do it, had to do it twice.
That is why, that is what may flash through my head, just before I die.
The kid who couldn't swim was Thoroughgood. Ironic name.
His Mom and I will never, ever get over it.

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"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

mimi's picture

@on the cusp
was a mixed-race child of an African father (didn't see him as a black Afro-American at all) and realizedd that most Americans didn't see him the same way as I did.

I have just lost a very long comment with regards to why Americans today feel more painfully betrayed by President Obama in comparison to other US Presidents. I was curious about Obama and later a bit disappointed about the question: "Is he black enough? But, I am tired now. May be I try again, but the comment was at least worth a series of essays.

While I researched for the comment I lost, I ran into this video. If you have lots and lots of time, I think it was an educated lecture by Jeffrey Engel about GHW Bush and German reunification and more.

George H.W. Bush and German Reunification

Jeffrey Engel, director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University, talked about President George H.W. Bush’s motivations behind his push for German reunification in 1990. The event was hosted by Southern Methodist University.

I am still listening and am surprised how much of what Jeffrey Engel (Jeffrey A. Engel
Associate Professor (Former) Texas A. and M. University (College Station, TX)) said in this video is still foreseeing and leading to discussions today. The lecture is worth listening to.

PS: I wanted to say how excellent the essay of gulfgal is. Thank you for it, gg. Triggered so many thoughts in my mind. Haven' digested all of them though.

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mimi

Bollox Ref's picture

This, from Valerie Jarrett, is a 'keeper':

“I think Barack knew that he had God-given talents that were extraordinary. He knows exactly how smart he is. … He knows how perceptive he is. He knows what a good reader of people he is. And he knows that he has the ability — the extraordinary, uncanny ability — to take a thousand different perspectives, digest them and make sense out of them, and I think that he has never really been challenged intellectually. … So what I sensed in him was not just a restless spirit but somebody with such extraordinary talents that had to be really taxed in order for him to be happy. … He’s been bored to death his whole life. He’s just too talented to do what ordinary people do.”

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Gëzuar!!
from a reasonably stable genius.

gulfgal98's picture

@Bollox Ref the takeaway I got from reading it is that for Obama, it is all about HIM, not anyone else. In other words, based upon Valerie Jarrett's description, it appears to me that Obama is very much a narcissist.

I think that he has never really been challenged intellectually. … So what I sensed in him was not just a restless spirit but somebody with such extraordinary talents that had to be really taxed in order for him to be happy.

Obama was challenged to help the American people, but he lacked the courage or the will to even try because his Presidency was not about us, but about him. He chose to protect and favor those who could provide him with future income and favors rather than meet the challenge for which the people elected him.

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Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

@gulfgal98

Some smart and talented people do good, and others turn into serial killers. He preyed on people who believed and trusted him with their most precious possessions, their lives, and children's futures. He knowingly lied and manipulated his way into their confidence just so he could take advantage of that trust for his own personal gain.

He is the lowest of the low lives. As someone here said, he destroyed and set to flame the last veneer of trust people had in this evil party. Instead of fighting for control of the GOP where they belonged, they decided to prey on the weak and vulnerable and steal their political party, the only vehicle for hope they had.

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

@dkmich but as with Trump Derangement Syndrome, it cannot really all be laid at Obummer's feet either. The lies have been going on forever in this country, we're just seeing that for what it is now. Billy Bob Clinton did us no favors and even Jimmy Carter helped usher in more neo-liberalism. Obama is, to me, merely another product of our shitty dishonest system, just like Trump. They are ALL to be despised for what they've done to ordinary people in this country and all over the world.

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Only a fool lets someone else tell him who his enemy is. Assata Shakur

@lizzyh7
He started the move to neo-liberalism. But he honestly believed it was in the best interest of the bulk of the American people. You won't see him walking from bank to bank with a platinum cup.

He, more than any other president, stood up to Israel, put the focus on illegal settlements, and moved the process forward. He has spoken out regularly since and called the illegal settlements the primary obstacle to peace.

I disagreed profoundly with many of his policies, but being wrong is not the same as being a corrupt sellout.

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mimi's picture

@dkmich
to his white American grandfather and grandmother was and what his relations or imaginations were he had about his own African father? Or some idea about how his own mother might have confused him, while being in Indonesia with him as a young child, without her and him being conscious about it?

I remember nothing from the little bit I once read about Obama, written by himself (nowadays I wonder when Obama actually had written his first book), but there was something he was disappointed in his grandfathers persona. I remember he realized racism in his grandmothers views. He was very disappointed in his own father and I don't think he had any clue of what he was all about. Obama I think has discovered Africa, when he was already in the cameras' and media|s limelight. That made everything staged, though I don't believe that people realized that back in those times

Being a highschool student in Hawaii, he was not considered as someone 'smart or talented' at all by his white or Asian peers. (I saw raw footage of interviews of his schoolmates when he was young - in German TVs archives).

Just asking. If Obama was the ultimate master of bamboozlement among all the ohter US presidents then I want to know who taught him the tricks and tools of professional bamboozlementism. It must have come from somewhere, it's not a thing of dna, right?

So, why was Obama worse than GHW Bush or GW Bush or Clinton or Reagan, I ask. Can't help it.

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mimi

gulfgal98's picture

@mimi his hardest core constituency (blacks and poor) with his policies. The disgust toward Obama by many of us here and by many black commenters is for that main reason alone. When Obama refused to prosecute the bankers (and yes, he could have had Holder do so and he could have nationalized the banks), but instead made them whole while allowing millions of Americans suffer loss of their homes and jobs as a result and blacks were disproportionately affected. Obama called the bankers into the White House shortly after being sworn in and told them that he was the only thing standing between them and pitchforks.

Further, when Obama offered up the social safety net in exchange for his grand bargain, he was offering up Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid which are programs that benefit the poor and elderly. Obama was not looking out for the people. He made the Bush tax cuts, which greatly benefited the wealthiest, permanent in exchange for short term continuation of unemployment benefits. The wealth gap exploded under Obama

I wrote a long series on neoliberalism here a couple of years ago and how it has hollowed out the middle class and how no one even cares about the poor. Re-read Adolph Reed Jr.'s commentary on Obama written in 1996. Reed is a black writer and thinker.

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Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

mimi's picture

@gulfgal98
here and elsewhere and agree with it and of course an Afro-American person has way more intense feeling of having been betrayed, as Obama didn't hide that he run on the mantra of being the first black president in spe, back in the days. I also remember your series about neoliberalism, but back then it was a little beyond my focussing capabilities and paygrade or understanding. I will re-read.

Just one question then, how do you know a person who makes comments here, is black or not?
Either you know that through in person contact and have met and talked to that person, or someone has him/herself presented as a black (Afro-American) person online. (Which I don't consider a proof).

Frankly I don't know, who here is black or who is not. All I remember is that I was releaved after GWBush to have someone campaigning, who at least could talk somewhat eloquently without a teleprompter. Other than that I was interested in Obama because him being a child of an African who was mainly MIA. I was influenced by his book and from that one I concluded that he didn't know enough about European and African history and lacked caring sensitivites for those population groups in the world. I don't blame him for that, but I consider it important.

That was it and it was only a reaction in comparison to his predecessor GWBush. All the social and economic policy programs and legislations he pushed through or was not caring for, I learned just very slowly about as time passed and read more. There are too many legal and economic details, who you all know and write about, but I don't. I will try harder in the future... Smile

I am just a little amazed about the intensity of the feelings over Obama's presidential actions in comparison to what people have said about their feelings about the other Presidents.

Peace - no more wars - no more profits from war.

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mimi

mimi's picture

@gulfgal98

Thanks for pointing me to him.

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mimi

WaterLily's picture

@Bollox Ref

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of Bill Clinton by a friend of mine, a lawyer I have tangled with for 33 years, who grew up with Bill, attended school with him.
My friend ate pizza, drank beer in the White House when Bill won, spent a night in it.

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"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

janis b's picture

I think the majority of the population think of Obama as the first black president. Racists and bankers both grew stronger in his presidency. What a terrible legacy that was left, one that’s just gotten worse with Trump and his followers capitalising on it.

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snoopydawg's picture

@janis b

is a direct result of his and Hillary's coup on Gaddaffi. Not sorry enough about the pain and misery he brought to the Libyans he immediately went into Syria. The arming and funding of AQ and ISIS and conspiring with the U.K. to create the White Helmets knowing damn well that they were AQ and were terrorizing civilians in the towns that they took over.

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Rhett Butler contemptuously reminded Southern secession hot heads “There’s not a cannon factory in the whole South.”

It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

janis b's picture

@snoopydawg

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detroitmechworks's picture

@snoopydawg It's "Why do you hate the Refugees we desperately need to bring into Europe?"

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

mimi's picture

@detroitmechworks @detroitmechworks
and why do you think offering skilled workers from other countries in your own country a place to live and work is a sin? I guess I haven't understood your comment. Can you clarify, please?

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mimi

detroitmechworks's picture

@mimi "misleading" according to snopes. Then the rest of the article goes into a nice long rant about how none of the photos really mean what you think they do, instead it shows how awful people are for not wanting boatloads of people.

Short Version: Their response to a crisis manufactured by American Wars abroad is to blame Europeans for not wanting to deal with the fallout.

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

mimi's picture

@detroitmechworks
Do These Photographs Depict the Libyan Slave Trade?

Well, the photos are explained in the article. The conclusion of that article is:

No doubt the slave trade was a real and disturbing phenomenon in Libya and Niger in 2017, as migrants from the rest of Africa passed through the country in an effort to reach Europe. The International Organization for Migration and CNN documented that in detail. However, there is no evidence the photographs in Rayon Pyne’s viral Facebook post depict that slave trade. Five out of seven of the images are definitively unrelated to the subject.

I believe that the highlighted conclusion above is correct. If there was a real slave trace in Libya and Niger in 2017, I don't know, but I doubt there was one before 2012, if at all. These pictures depict situations that could have occurred in most of the African countries.

Just saying ... from someone who accompanied someone who worked in Niger, Cameroon, Benin, Ivory Coast and for all those hated organizations like the African Union, the IMF, the World Bank and saw those conditions sometimes first hand, these images could have been taken in any African country depicting police brutality in prisons, camps or during civil unrest, against whoever the current dictators of those countries didn't like and feared. The brutality is just beyond FUBAR.
Bomb But I am for peace so forget my bomb, I am against bombs ... Diablo I am against brutality too.

Remember also that for example Germany under Angela Merkel was not complaining of dealing with those refugees flooding Germany, a fact the United States didn't like too much. I think they would have preferred, if she had shown more full anti-immigrant / anti-refugee / xenophobe credentials that people by default associate with Germany. Meanwhile the situation in Europe has worsened in relation to tensions with migrats from former East European countries to Western European countries and the EU member states want to 'close their southern borders" so that fewer refugees/asylum seekers can 'sneak in illegally' from Africa and the ME. 'Closing borders' sounds familiar to my ears ... and the efforts to do so is as futile, useless and inhumane as ... over there at your side of the pond. Dash 1

I have a headache now, the snopes site is quite 'noisy' ... hmmm, if you know what I mean.
Shok (I am not sure I know myself what I mean, but ... it's not all the US fault for those conditions the photos depict to happen)

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mimi

detroitmechworks's picture

@mimi Discussions about slavery changed to a nice hot button topic that will keep the lower classes fighting while the rich continue to pillage and ignore guilt for their actions.

First thing on a search about Libyan Slavery. Not discussion of Clinton or the "Non-War". Africa has always been a hell-hole... except when it isn't and we'll soon fix that... And then conveniently forget that it was ever a nice place. Rinse repeat for the next one.

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

Anja Geitz's picture

Than the cynical self aggrandizing political career of Barack Obama. A stunning feat on the part of unctuous insiders preying on our emotions and using IdPol to its greatest effect.

The efforts I expended volunteering for his campaign in 2008, the tears of joy I shed the night he became President-Elect still resonate with me today, but in a very different way then they did back then.

The first cracks in the facade appeared in the first 100 days of his administration when he extracted ZERO concessions from the bankers who robbed millions of people of their pensions and retirement funds and were responsible for a financial tsunami that sent shockwaves throughout the global economy. The anger was so palpable after the government bailout, even the bankers themselves could feel it. And yet, what did our glittering mega-star "President of the People" do? He sent those same bankers off on their private planes with golden bonuses on top of our tax funded bailout and then pretended the rest of us didn't even exist.

Now we know why.

By the time he got around to suspending habeas corpus for U.S. Citizens in 2011, the writing was already on the wall and the political paparazzi was gearing up for the 2012 election. I became persona non grata with friends, family, and asylum inmates over at TOP whenever I openly questioned what Barack Onama said and did. I did not vote for him in 2012, but by then it was already too late. The wheels were already set in motion.

Barack Obama's Presidency was a watershed moment for me and portended what was to come in the 2016 Election in ways I'm still grappling with.

Thanks for the essay and the great resources for future reading.

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

@Anja Geitz I took a wait-and-see approach. As soon as I saw his financial team, I knew the gig was up.

And man-oh-man, his defenders were shrill when people began to see through him. I remember listening to Randy Rhodes on the radio and she was screaming at people for like the troops in Afghanistan. Thom Hartman made him a major moral voice who got us out of Iraq (somehow missing that Obama did not want to get out of Iraq.)

After 2008 have voted Green for president.

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Anja Geitz's picture

@MrWebster

I bought their line about "the experts knowing how to get us out of the financial mess the experts got us into" when he selected a team of bankers for his cabinet posts.

But, yeah. It was pretty blatant what he was doing.

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

enhydra lutris's picture

the man was a "town hall" that "move on" did with several possible candidates. I couldn't watch, but figured that it is always better to go with transcripts anyway. Effluent, glib, skilled rhetoric can easily have a major impact on what one hears, but not so much on what one reads. The topic, generally, was ending and getting out of Bush's war in Iraq.

Wheeeoo. He barely escaped bottom spot, thanks to Hillary grabbing it. Evasion, sidestepping and equivocation, but a certain slyness to it. I voted for somebody who had already dropped out in the primary to express my contempt for the whole remaining field. It was, as I recall, also something of an anti-war vote. After all, I've been a peacenik since the early sixties at the latest.

In the general, after haring some of his speeches, I recall thinking that maybe, just maybe he'll turn into the youngsters' JFK, but, what the hell, it is time to elect a POC to the Presidency. I was quickly disappointed as I saw the tricks and sneaky rhetoric played out in the worst way. And Rahm. Fuck Rahm.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

WaterLily's picture

@enhydra lutris AKA North and Bosworth.

Wish I'd known it in 2007. As it was, I was thrilled -- when traveling in Morocco -- to be able to say I wholeheartedly supported Obama in response to the natives' questions. After many previous and unpleasant experiences as an American traveling abroad -- one who had been openly blamed for "W" even as I defended myself as not having voted for him -- I felt pretty righteous.

Doggamn, what an idiot I was.

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@WaterLily he was until after 2012, although I was starting to see some cracks in the façade. I still hoped he would come out and DO something as a lame duck, how naïve I was, as well as horrified by the Mittens and the Tea Party as well. It wasn't until after he was re-elected that I really read enough to truly see just what he was. And by then I really had started to see that Democrats themselves are merely a façade, they got me with the ID politics big time, always have been a sucker for that. I was amazed the night Obama was elected, happy, felt like history was being made and it was. But it changed nothing, obviously.

While I now loathe Obama I loathe them all as well. And the party politics, my God it's hard to let go of and I still struggle with wanting to blame the Repugs for it all, such a nice simple answer, but it is not in any way partisan for our owners. They gin up the outrage and sit back and laugh while robbing us all blind and killing this planet. It is very hard to be hopeful about any of them now and I really can't even say it was only 2016 that did it. It's all of it, this country has never been what it claims to be and it has never truly been different than it is today.

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Only a fool lets someone else tell him who his enemy is. Assata Shakur

Stoller has an article that was attacked heavily.

Democrats can't win until they recognize how bad Obama's financial policies were

Early on, I thought that Obama was like the character Meursault in Camus' The Stranger.

Meursault is a detached figure who views and describes much of what occurs around him from a removed position. He is emotionally indifferent to others, even to his mother and his lover, Marie.

Obama was the first existential, absurdist president.

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snoopydawg's picture

@MrWebster

But Obama can’t place the blame for Clinton’s poor performance purely on her campaign. On the contrary, the past eight years of policymaking have damaged Democrats at all levels. Recovering Democratic strength will require the party’s leaders to come to terms with what it has become — and the role Obama played in bringing it to this point.

Nuff said.

Okay. A bit more. Which I think everyone can agree it was the worst things he did. Rather he didn't do.

Two key elements characterized the kind of domestic political economy the administration pursued: The first was the foreclosure crisis and the subsequent bank bailouts. The resulting policy framework of Tim Geithner’s Treasury Department was, in effect, a wholesale attack on the American home (the main store of middle-class wealth) in favor of concentrated financial power. The second was the administration’s pro-monopoly policies, which crushed the rural areas that in 2016 lost voter turnout and swung to Donald Trump.

Obama didn’t cause the financial panic, and he is only partially responsible for the bailouts, as most of them were passed before he was elected. But financial collapses, while bad for the country, are opportunities for elected leaders to reorganize our culture. Franklin Roosevelt took a frozen banking system and created the New Deal. Ronald Reagan used the sharp recession of the early 1980s to seriously damage unions. In January 2009, Obama had overwhelming Democratic majorities in Congress, $350 billion of no-strings-attached bailout money and enormous legal latitude. What did he do to reshape a country on its back?

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Rhett Butler contemptuously reminded Southern secession hot heads “There’s not a cannon factory in the whole South.”

It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

gulfgal98's picture

@snoopydawg The problem is that Obama was a presented an opportunity for greatness that required the courage and will to exercise but he chose to make the banks whole and ignore the people.

But financial collapses, while bad for the country, are opportunities for elected leaders to reorganize our culture. Franklin Roosevelt took a frozen banking system and created the New Deal. Ronald Reagan used the sharp recession of the early 1980s to seriously damage unions.

Obama was given the opportunity of a lifetime to act with greatness on behalf of the people. There were many things he could have done by executive order or by enforcing the laws. And he chose not to. Obama promised "hope and change" but he failed to even TRY to deliver on that promise. They were empty words but empty words do not pay the bills, or give people their jobs and homes back.

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Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

gulfgal98's picture

@MrWebster and very insightful of not only Obama, but the politicians being groomed and promoted by the feckless Democratic party.

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Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

BAR executive editor Glen Ford made the following presentation at the Left Forum, Pace University, New York City, March 17. On the panel were Gloria Mattera, Margaret Kimberley (BAR), Suren Moodliar, John Nichols, and Victor Wallis. The discussion was titled, The 2012 Elections: Lesser Evil or Left Alternative?

“He has put both Wall Street and U.S. imperial power on new and more aggressive tracks – just as he hired himself out to do.”

Power to the people!

Let me say from the very beginning that we at Black Agenda Report do not think that Barack Obama is the Lesser Evil. He is the more Effective Evil.

He has been more effective in Evil-Doing than Bush in terms of protecting the citadels of corporate power, and advancing the imperial agenda. He has put both Wall Street and U.S. imperial power on new and more aggressive tracks – just as he hired himself out to do. "
https://blackagendareport.com/content/why-barack-obama-more-effective-evil

I certainly agree with Glen Ford and it is true on any subject you choose whether it be environmental, human rights,Civil Rights, torture,war, war criminals,Social Security,Food stamps, whistle blower prosecutions,global warming,education, indefinite detention...you name it and you can bet Obama was the 'most effective evil' in each subject.

This woman on twitter posted a great collection of Obama facts.
https://twitter.com/eshaLegal/status/1026188716807729152

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gulfgal98's picture

@aliasalias Everyone should read it.

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Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

divineorder's picture

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A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.