Obama’s Legacy But Clinton’s Judgment

Exclusive: President Obama calls on blacks to vote for Hillary Clinton to protect the first black president’s legacy, but there are questions about Clinton’s judgment and Obama’s legacy that deserve answers, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern

Speaking at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation dinner on Saturday, President Barack Obama warned, in what has become for him a typically regal manner: “I will consider it a personal insult, an insult to my legacy, if this [African-American] community lets down its guard and fails to activate itself in this election.”

After a round of applause, Obama added: “You want to give me a good sendoff? Go vote.”

President Barack Obama concludes a National Security Council meeting in the Situation Room of the White House, April 19, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama concludes a National Security Council meeting in the Situation Room of the White House, April 19, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

While urging people to vote is fine, there’s something troubling about how the President phrased it: that a person’s decision to vote for Hillary Clinton should be determined by the need to protect his legacy. And, in the context of speaking to African-Americans, Obama was telling them that his blackness and theirs made a vote for Clinton necessary.

A similar call to identity politics troubled me, too, when Hillary Clinton sought to play the gender card. I would have been equally offended if when I became old enough to vote, my Irish-American relatives told me to vote for an Irish Catholic named John F. Kennedy because of our shared ancestry or religion. I would have found it condescending – infantilizing even – if anyone warned me that s/he would take it as a personal insult, were I not to vote for Kennedy.

I voted for Kennedy based on what I saw as his merits as a leader (and consider it the major tragedy of my lifetime that he may well have been killed for those merits).

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said: “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” But most of us know that basic article of fairness – or should know that. Neither race nor gender should be the touchstone in voting this year or any year. Nor should white males vote for Donald Trump because he’s one of them.

Yet, on the race side, Obama came perilously close to the gender comment made in February by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Challenging young women who were showing a preference for Bernie Sanders, Albright told them: “You have to help. Hillary Clinton will always be there for you. And just remember, there’s a special place in Hell for women who don’t help each other.”

Au contraire: I might argue that if there is a Hell, there’s a special place for a U.S. diplomat – in the person of Albright – who argued that the sanctions against Iraq, which the United Nations calculated had claimed the lives of 500,000 Iraqi children under five, were “worth it.”

Clinton – with her hawkish behavior on Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan and her similar disregard for those human costs (even while professing to care so much for the innocent civilians) – appears to share Albright’s view about using geopolitical power even when it results in the deaths of children. Even the usually timid Catholic bishops branded Albright’s position “unconscionable.”

Content of Obama’s Character

As for the President and his imperious behavior, my friends and I have been debating whether Obama was always a fraud or whether he succumbed to Lord Acton’s adage: “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Or was he a talented outsider who – because of his race and humble background – desperately wanted to be accepted by the Establishment and feared that even as President he would be judged harshly by important people with blue-ribbon credentials and blue-blood pedigrees? Earlier in his presidency, I even speculated that Obama was physically scared of crossing the Establishment too directly, for fear of ending up like Kennedy and King.

One could argue that aspects of Obama’s behavior as President fit all these possibilities. He does not appear to have sincerely believed many of his early pronouncements, such as the value of transparency in government and the importance of whistleblowers. He quickly morphed into one of the most secretive U.S. presidents and went after whistleblowers with a vengeance.

His war on whistleblowers also could be interpreted as a case of presidential powers going to his head. Or was he trying to prove to the Establishment that he, the son of a Kenyan student and a white mother in Hawaii, could protect the secrets even more aggressively than a white scion of the Establishment, like George W. Bush.

At times, Obama has complained about feeling trapped by the expectations of the Washington Establishment, saying in a 2016 interview with The Atlantic that he once challenged the Washington “playbook” that favored responding to international crises with military force by balking at demands that he bomb the Syrian military in 2013.

That the President would still be boasting about that one decision as his “liberation day” – almost three years later – says a lot about his failure to continue standing up to the pressures brought to bear by Washington’s Establishment. Even on the few occasions when he did show some nerve, such as by pressing for the Iran nuclear deal in 2014, he followed up by making major concessions to Israel and Saudi Arabia, two Mideast governments with lots of clout in Washington.

And maybe some physical fear went with his fear of personal rejection. After all, as a black man who reached extraordinary political heights, he was aware of the violence that had cut down many other blacks who dared make far more modest intrusions into the white power structure.

So, what was driving him when he expanded the war in Afghanistan (in 2009) at the bidding of his hawkish “subordinates” who were much more comfortable inside Official Washington’s hierarchy, such as Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Gen. David Petraeus and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton?

The Libyan Disaster

Obama deferred to the judgment of others again in 2011 when Hillary Clinton and some fellow hawks wanted another “regime change,” this time in Libya. Obama let Clinton prevail over his more sensible advisers and undertook an invasion (under the cover of a “humanitarian” mission) that decimated Libya’s army; allowed extremists to capture, torture and murder Gaddafi; and left the country in shambles, giving the Islamic State a foothold in north Africa.

Ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi shortly before he was murdered on Oct. 20, 2011.

Ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi shortly before he was murdered on Oct. 20, 2011.

Ironically, after exaggerating and lying about the “humanitarian” crisis facing Libya in 2011, the Obama administration let the country slide into a real humanitarian catastrophe with the Islamic State chopping off the heads of Coptic Christians and desperate people taking to the Mediterranean in fragile boats that have sent an untold number to their deaths.

According to former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s “Pottery Barn” rule, if you break it, you own it. So that would mean that since Secretary Clinton was significantly responsible for breaking Libya, she should now own the catastrophe. But she not only refuses to own it, she refuses to own up to it.

Last April, Obama conceded to Fox anchor Chris Wallace that his worst mistake was “probably failing to plan for the day after … in intervening in Libya.” But the real “mistake” was invading Libya under false pretenses, as a new British parliamentary study has confirmed. It was a deception that paralleled Bush’s lies about Iraq.

Further on the side of the scales judging Obama as fearful of the Establishment is his bowing to CIA covert action operatives. Obama seems to have done all he could not to get crosswise with the folks who – for generations – have been the world’s leading king-makers and king-breakers.

Thanks to Spencer Ackerman of the Guardian, we now know how Obama pulled out all stops to thwart publication of the findings of an exhaustive Senate Intelligence Committee investigation, based on original CIA banality-of-evil cables, describing the most sordid and grotesque kinds of torture by the CIA under President George W. Bush.

Minimizing those crimes for which no one has been held accountable, Obama chose to “look forward, not backward” and admitted, dismissively, “We tortured some folks.” This from a politician who led us to believe he was really, really against torture.

But with very meager and misleading media coverage as to whether torture “works” – and with no one prosecuted for the crimes – popular reaction has been confused, with many Americans cheering Donald Trump’s promises to resume waterboarding and even more extreme types of torture.

It does not speak well for the “content of his character” that Obama decided to kowtow to those responsible for torture and head off their richly deserved disgrace. Thankfully, Obama met his match in Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, who published a redacted-but-nonetheless-stomach-turning executive summary of the Senate report in December 2014, just before the Senate changed hands to the Republicans.

Hamlet on Syria

Even as his presidency nears an end, Obama seems to remain frozen by the fear of crossing the powers-that-be, especially if he might get portrayed as “soft” on one of America’s “enemies,” such as Syria or Russia.

U.S.-backed Syrian "moderate" rebels smile as they prepare to behead a 12-year-old boy (left), whose severed head is held aloft triumphantly in a later part of the video. [Screenshot from the YouTube video]

U.S.-backed Syrian “moderate” rebels smile as they prepare to behead a 12-year-old boy (left), whose severed head is held aloft triumphantly in a later part of the video. [Screenshot from the YouTube video]

Obama has allowed bureaucratic warfare to break out between Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter over what to do in Syria. Kerry has pressed, successfully, for Russia’s help in putting an end to the carnage; but Carter and the military would rather not cooperate with Russia – no matter what the White House might wish.

So as Obama waffles – and the U.S.-led air war over Syria massacred scores of Syrian soldiers on Saturday – the hopes for a limited cease-fire have collapsed. Even if he summoned the courage to tell his inept national security adviser, Susan Rice, to tell Secretary Carter and the Pentagon to get in line, it probably wouldn’t help at this point.

One of Obama’s greatest fears seems to be that Israeli leaders will denounce him and whip up another political-media storm against him. Obama has been stung by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s animosity before, such as when Netanyahu embraced Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in the run-up to Election 2012.

After Obama prevailed for reelection anyway, you might have thought the President – arguably at the height of his political power – would have given Netanyahu the cold shoulder. Instead, Obama rushed off for a three-day visit to Israel, behaving as some kind of supplicant begging forgiveness rather than the leader of the most powerful nation on earth.

Having taken a measure of Obama, Netanyahu brazenly opposed the President’s nuclear negotiation with Iran, even appearing before a joint session of Congress to call on America’s elected representatives to side with him against the U.S. president.

Obama responded by giving Israel a $38 billion arms package, the largest ever. No matter the affront, Obama has never stopped looking over his shoulder at Israel and its powerful U.S. lobby. Indeed, one could argue that Obama’s feckless policy toward Syria has served Netanyahu’s interests very well by destroying and destabilizing another Arab nation on Israel’s borders.

Though Obama did resist pressure from Clinton and other hawks to engage in a more aggressive military operation against Syria, he secretly agreed to arm and train anti-government rebels who then joined with Al Qaeda’s affiliate. However, when Al Qaeda’s spinoff terror group, the Islamic State, began chopping off the heads of Western hostages in 2014, Obama authorized aerial bombing and Special Forces operations inside Syria against the Islamic State.

The Israeli Motive

Though Israeli leaders and their friends in Washington sought instead the outright overthrow of Syria’s government, Obama’s waffling has achieved Israel’s primary goal of weakening a sometimes hostile neighbor and ally of Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia. That, in turn, has bought Netanyahu more time to expand Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Nov. 21, 2012. [State Department photo]

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Nov. 21, 2012. [State Department photo]

In candid moments, some senior Israeli officials have admitted that their preferred outcome in Syria is “no outcome,” as reported three years ago by the New York Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief, Jodi Rudoren.

“More quietly, Israelis have increasingly argued that the best outcome for Syria’s two-and-a-half-year-old civil war, at least for the moment, is no outcome. … This is a playoff situation [between Sunni and Shia] in which you need both teams to lose, but at least you don’t want one to win — we’ll settle for a tie,” said Alon Pinkas, former Israeli consul general in New York. “Let them both bleed, hemorrhage to death: that’s the strategic thinking here. As long as this lingers, there’s no real threat from Syria.”

Another senior Israeli, then-Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, offered a slightly different preference, that the Assad government, with its alliance with Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, would be overthrown even if that meant that Al Qaeda would prevail in Syria.

“The greatest danger to Israel is by the strategic arc that extends from Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut. And we saw the Assad regime as the keystone in that arc,” Oren told the Jerusalem Post. “We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.”

But such frank assessments by Israel received little attention in the U.S. news media and Israel’s stake in the Syrian chaos was quickly forgotten.

Today, some partisan Democrats argue that a clear-sighted understanding of the Syrian and Libyan messes – along with discussion of the Iraq disaster – could undercut Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and that such truth-telling could contribute to the election of Donald Trump.

But what if Clinton wins without having been pressed to speak honestly about her role in these catastrophes and to say whether she has learned any lessons? As president, is she likely to compound or repeat these errors?

During the campaign, Clinton has continued to defend her advocacy for the invasion of Libya, using what the British investigation has concluded was the exaggeration of Gaddafi’s threat to civilians. Clinton still insists that Gaddafi was “genocidal” when that clearly was not the case. She also has continued to call for a more aggressive U.S. military intervention in Syria, albeit coded in words like “safe zones.” And she has vowed to take the U.S.-Israeli relationship to the “next level.”

Indeed, there is no sign that Clinton has changed her approach toward the Middle East in any significant way from 2002 when she voted to authorize the invasion of Iraq. She now calls that decision a “mistake” but there are serious questions about whether that was a political “death-bed conversion” because she had little choice but to disavow the vote when running for the Democratic nomination in 2008.

As Secretary of State during Obama’s first term, Clinton slid back into the ranks of Democratic hawks, joining with neoconservatives and other hardliners in advocating a “surge” in Afghanistan, leading the charge for another “regime change” in Libya, pressing Obama to mount one more “regime change” intervention in Syria and taking an aggressive stance vis a vis Russia.

So, is it wise to ignore Clinton’s judgments on questions of war and peace, especially since as President, there will be no one to slow her down or prevent her from starting another war? Should Americans stay silent because of the risk posed by the buffoonish Donald Trump? Is the danger of an “insult” to Obama’s legacy sufficient to justify silence about issues of life and death for so many people around the world?

I believe that nothing but the truth will set us free. And that means that Americans must evaluate the “content of the character” of not only Obama but his designated successor, Hillary Clinton.

As Dr. King recognized, there is a necessity in clearing the air when it surrounds a festering sore. Or as he wrote in his Letter From the Birmingham City Jail:

“Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its pus-flowing ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.”

Ray McGovern, a CIA analyst for 27 years, works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was born in the Bronx, when membership in the Democratic Party was almost conveyed at Baptism, but he has since annulled his party membership.

image_pdfimage_print

74 comments for “Obama’s Legacy But Clinton’s Judgment

  1. Winston
    September 19, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    Face it: it’s been downhill since Kennedy.

    • BJLC
      September 20, 2016 at 1:12 pm

      Oh…….puleeeez………..critiques are all well and good but let’s face the reality of this election and not further suppress the vote for Hillary. There’s another time to dig deep.

      • John
        September 26, 2016 at 3:23 pm

        The reality of this election is that Hitlery is telyong on “fear of the other” to get people to vote against their interests.

        It is Jill Stein’s votes that are being suppressed by the likes of you, insisting that somehow people only have the choice of a corrupt, warmongering, ecocidal superpreditor, or a buffoon.

        As I have yet to find a single person who intends to vote FOR Hitlery (though many who intend on voting against Drumpf think that this is their only option), yet I find many who like Stein, but have been sold on the myth that she does not have a chance, it is indisputable that the vote being suppressed is the one for Stein (who people actually are voting for, because of her positions).

        But hey, if you want to actively support a lying war criminal who calls black children “superpredators”, then you should revel over the blood on your hands that you gain by doing so. Just don’t insult our intelligence by pretending that your bloodlust is somehow moral or noble.

  2. Jim Hannan
    September 19, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    I think Obama is the best American president since FDR. And everything he has accomplished will be lost if Trump wins, so it’s very much part of his legacy to help elect Clinton. Luckily, African Americans get this. In 2012, African American voting turnout was 66% versus 64% for white voters. My sense is that 2016 will show similar turnouts.

    Trump represents a more primitive type of human, mostly reptilian brain in action. Jane Goodall recently wrote that Trump’s behavior is similar to a male chimpanzee.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-chimpanzee-behavior_us_57ddb84fe4b04a1497b4e512

    In contrast, Obama has proven to be a much more sophisticated, analytical leader. I will miss him very much.

    • September 20, 2016 at 12:17 am

      Jim Hannan, so you think FDR’s New Deal is on a par with what? Obama’s drone “kill list” (of even American citizens without due process or even charges), or maybe it is Obama’s failure to close Guantanamo as he had promised, or his troop surge in Afghanistan (past even George W, Bush’s deadline for leaving Afghanistan), or his re-entry of US forces into Iraq (never mind that that there are more private security [taxpayer-paid mercenaries] now employed by the US in both Iraq and Afghanistan than “official” US military personnel), or his proposed $1 trillion upgrade to US nuclear weapons in clear violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty with the goal of making their “tactical” (like drones) use more probable, or this Nobel Peace Prize winning President starting wars against Libya (granted at the insistence of his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – who wears the cojones?) and Syria, and provocatively expanding NATO to Russia’s very borders (contrary to the Reagan-Gorbachev agreement to allow German reunification – but the Indigenous nations of America know how the US adheres to its treaty obligations, including up to today), or his support for the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) so-called “free” trade treaty which, negotiated in secret by representatives of 600 corporations, will give corporations sovereignty over not only US law, but state law, and local law, that is corporations will be able to invalidate environmental protections, worker safety laws, consumer protection laws, anything which might adversely affect their profits. No doubt then that you prefer Hillary who has the demonstrated capacity to carry further these same policies (oh, because you fear Trump who is presented as the great demon, but he exists only as a result of the Clinton/Bush/Obama legacy which Hillary will carry on). Did you ever hear of an alternative to this madness called the Green Party and Dr. Jill Stein?

      • Brad Owen
        September 20, 2016 at 4:28 am

        Thank you. Saves us a lot of time in rebuttal. Obama is a stinking disgrace to the office. He did the bidding of “those savvy businessmen” of the Street and “too big to fail” banks. He’s worse than those do-nothings, Herbert Hoover and Calvin Coolidge, a war criminal on top of it all. He and the Clintons have nailed the coffin lid shut, on the Democratic Party (and Trump and the Bushes for the R-party). Good riddance to both of them and their disgraceful Legacy.

      • ignasi orobitg gene
        September 20, 2016 at 11:57 am

        I very much agree with you.
        Too many years full of lies, torture and war

      • Helen Marshall
        September 20, 2016 at 1:17 pm

        Thank you for this terrific summary. Let’s add in the most extensive use of the Espionage Act, against whistleblowers; the most secretive presidency despite the claim of being the most transparent…the most heavy-handed use of deportations, and detention of families seeking asylum…and let’s remember that this Community Organizer was supported from the beginning by billionaire Pitzker, rewarded by being made Secretary of Commerce. She apparently recognized something about this man’s character that it took some of us a longer time to see.

        Long ago I read a comment that this Constitutional Law expert studied the Constitution in the same way that a robber studies a safe…to break it.

      • Jim Hannan
        September 20, 2016 at 6:23 pm

        Obama’s legacy is clear, he took office under the worst economy in 80 years and masterfully navigated us to a 4.9% unemployment rate. He saved the American auto industry. He instituted the first comprehensive health care insurance in America, something no other president was able to accomplish. His appointments, both judicial and executive, were stellar, and there has not been one scandal of note in his 8 years involving his personnel.
        On foreign policy, he has resisted both the neo con Washington establishment and the humanitarian imperialists like Samantha Power and Susan Rice. His foreign policy meme, as explained to Jeffrey Goldberg in the seminal Atlantic article, is “then what happens?”. He has wound down two disastrous wars, but we are still reeling from the Pottery Barn effect. His masterful Iranian nuclear deal means for the first time a budding nuclear power has taken that option off the table. His Cuba opening has put America back into good graces with all of our Latin American neighbors.
        He has also done all this with the most unrelenting political opposition of any American president in modern history. He has done all this with a calm, effective demeanor.
        As for Jill Stein, we’ve seen this movie before, in 2000. A Green vote in 2000 was idiotic, in 2016 it’s even more so.

        • Dogtowner
          September 20, 2016 at 8:48 pm

          Those who vote for war criminals are complicit in war crimes.

        • Brad Owen
          September 21, 2016 at 6:53 am

          TO people who read this. Check out Shadowstats. Real unemployment (the way it used to be figured) is 23%. Obama is a Michael Jackson “moonwalker”; Talks progressive, walks regressive. A complete liar. To those who’ve had it with the lying Establishment, go Green and Jill Stein. It is time to DO something about the grossly delusional Establishment. Start with a party that REFUSES corporate bribes; the Greens. Make them grow over the next few election cycles. Send them ten bucks a month. Think of it as “Citizens’ Political Union” dues to KEEP corporate bribery away. Ten bucks times 20,000,000 citizens= $200,000,000 a month; $2.4 billion a year; $9.6 billion every presidential election cycle. THIS is people power that the oligarchs can’t keep up with. But abandon them the minute they take corporate donations or “speaking fees”.

          • Dogtowner
            September 21, 2016 at 7:37 pm

            Thanks for the reference to actual unemployment. Anyone who thinks unemployment is low is living in a very comfortable ivory tower.

          • bill peppin
            September 22, 2016 at 11:54 pm

            I agree that tremendous criticism can be brought forward against Obama/Clinton and what they have done in the last 8 years. But the reality is … we have a duopoly. Voting for any of the alternate choices is a vote for drumpf. No matter how bad Obama has been, or Clinton might be, neither can compare with the havoc to be visited upon those of the wrong skin color or economic class, should he win… to say nothing of the world at large. I think Bernie has the best comment. Vote in Clinton, then work like hell to mobilize the changes that, simply, MUST be made on the basic issues. And I grok that there might now be a critical mass of young people who would join in this effort, bringing the idealism and vigor of young people into the fray. Starting with: climate change. Then: single payer. Then: appropriate appointments to SCOTUS that will allow some of the terrible damage wrought by the Scalia cabal in the court since Bush bloody One! But it will take a MAJOR grass roots effort of the Bernistas and allies to get things moving in any direction any of us might want. Otherwise, we march toward the human Rapture, except none will fly up into heaven without clothing. As Tom Lehrer says in his great closing line: “When the air becomes uranious … we will all go simultaneous … we all will go together, we will all go together, we will all go together when we go.” The issue will not be bombs, but probably some sort of disaster caused by a new and untreatable disease that spreads so rapidily abroad that we will have no time to respond.

        • Brian Bixby
          September 25, 2016 at 10:22 am

          “Obama’s legacy” of 4.9% unemployment can more properly be attributed to David Stockman, who changed how unemployment is measured. The ranks of the long-term unemployed is higher than any time since the Great Depression, and the “minimally employed”, those who work more than one hour but less than ten per week, is the highest ever. Part time work (<33 hours/week) has become the rule for blue collar jobs, and salaried workers now average more than 49 hours/week. Real wages are still below their 1970s average. Yep, that's a great legacy there.

    • Patricia P Tursi, Ph.D.
      September 20, 2016 at 10:47 am

      I especially “appreciate” his determined persecution of whistleblowers, his secrecy, his many presidential” “royal edicts, his determination to do away with national control of courts, environmental issues, workers rights, etc, by pushing through TPP and telling Congress to push it through WITHOUT being allowed to read it, then when they were allowed to read it, to forbid note taking and having to read it (over 1000 pages) in a room rather than allowed to read their own copy. Then there is the pushing of fracking and having Clinton as a SOS so she could take out elected governments in Honduras, Ukraine, Libya and others. Also so she could set up pay for play, as Wikileaks has indicated the White House has done in awarding ambassadorships, etc. I especially “appreciated” that on his very first day in office, after promising Truth in Labeling, he appointed the first of 20 some Monsanto officials and cronies to head up the USDA. That is when I knew I had been had. TPP is NOT a trade deal..as Assange has pointed out, only 5 chapers deal with trade. The rest deal with sovereign issues which are to be handed over to corporations. I cried for joy when Obama was elected. I lived in Atlanta. I knew Martin Luther King, marched with him and he was, and is, my hero. MLK would be marching against Obama. To evaluate someone by the color of their skin and not by their deeds, is racism …whether the evaluation is positive or negative. Now, he is giving control of the internet out of the USA control. Wait until you have to pay for your clicks. Wait until you can’t find the info you want. Total control.

      • backwardsevolution
        September 20, 2016 at 1:45 pm

        Patricia – well said. Everyone was “had” by Obama, when we all had high hopes.

        • Dogtowner
          September 20, 2016 at 8:51 pm

          I was not “had” by Obama. I looked at the list of his advisors prior to the 2008 election: a list of financial and war criminals. I listened to part of one speech and found it empty and meaningless. Not one liberal I knew who voted for Obama had any interest in the fact that his advisors were utter scum (Brzezinski, Rubin, Summers, etc).

          • Cal
            September 21, 2016 at 4:04 pm

            ” Dogtowner

            September 20, 2016 at 8:51 pm

            I was not “had” by Obama. I looked at the list of his advisors prior to the 2008 election: a list of financial and war criminals.>>>>>>>

            I did too, thats why I didn’t vote for him—-I wrote in a name.
            Obama was a Trojan Horse—–brought in by the usual suspects of the Chicago crowd and has danced with them all the way –every time his presidential power went to his head they reeled him back in.
            No guts.

          • Dogtowner
            September 21, 2016 at 7:39 pm

            Yes, Cal, he struck me as extremely weak right off. Anyone who saves his venom for Dennis Kucinich is nothing but a nasty, cowardly bully.

          • Brian Bixby
            September 25, 2016 at 10:25 am

            I didn’t even have to examine him that far. No one has a meteoric rise in Chicago politics without first proving that:
            1) they’re utterly corruptible
            2) they stay bought
            3) they can be blackmailed.

      • bill peppin
        September 23, 2016 at 12:00 am

        Obama really looked good on paper to me, and had some real cred as perhaps the best speaker to the common man that has been around POTUS since FDR. That Obama got a Nobel Peace Prize is an absolute atrocity against good sense, and in my view, has greatly demeaned the value and prestige of that prize. He has basically chosen not to use this his greatest gift to try and speak to the people about the big issues. It is strange to see this behavior in a guy who so obviously is dedicated to his family, and clearly understands issues of people who have been marginalized by the neoliberal system that rules: thanks Milton Friedman, you creep!

    • Nancy
      September 20, 2016 at 11:45 am

      Jim, Obama’s charisma has confused many. Trump aside, will you not recognize the weight of the article?

    • Fuzzy
      September 20, 2016 at 12:58 pm

      You really should stop reading the Huffington Post!

      • bill peppin
        September 23, 2016 at 12:11 am

        Red herring. Anybody who follows stuff from a variety of sources knows of the problems with Obama or Clinton, notwithstanding the endless Faux Noise demonizing of the Clintons, Obama, and any powerful democrat (or any powerful person not agreeing with the Thuglican Power Cabal.) So I would not counsel anybody to stop reading HuffPo. I recommend placing credence only in those commentators who have first-hand knowledge of a situation. Good example was Dar Jamail (sp?) on Iraq and now climate change. I must say Krugman has lost me at this point. Chomsky is kept out of the news on purpose, but I think is the most insiteful political commentator we have, and remembers just about everything he reads, a tremendous resource. His books and articles are full of well-developed arguments and relevant facts. Also, the guys who are on the Arctic and Antarctic ice studying the very rapid melting of the ice near the poles. Also, any of the people who come onto Huffpo and talk about real science, e.g., stuff in evolution to counter the Gawdwalker folk, and who speak at all times against the basic and dense ignorant of the American voting public of the big ideas of science that we all ought to become well informed about before it is too bloody late.

    • potshot
      September 25, 2016 at 8:21 pm

      Wasn’t aware of a single Obama accomplishment. Slashing military spending? Increasing spending for programs of social uplift? Closing Guantanamo? Employee Free Choice Act (Union Card Check)? Impeaching the Bush regime for unprecedented war crimes and crimes against humanity. A ratcheting down rather than up of the wars in the Middle East and North Africa? Prosecuting the gangsters on Wall Street? Facilitating peace talks between Palestine and apartheid Israel? Drawing down on the 800 foreign military bases across the globe? Obama’s done none of that and less.

  3. Joe Tedesky
    September 20, 2016 at 12:12 am

    Giving Israel 38 billion dollars over the next ten years is like being taken for a fool by the world’s best con artist. If you believe like I believe that Iran back in 2003 had given up the idea of having nuclear weapons, then by having Iran sign an agreement to not produce nuclear weapons that Iran wasn’t going to make anyway, is but an exercise in false perception. I mean getting Iran to promise not to do something that Iran decided not to do in the first place is like grinding your wheels just for the sake of grinding your wheels. Think about it, what is to be gained by preventing to stop something that wasn’t moving to go anywhere? Netanyahu knows this, but still his ranting in front of the American congress did serve him well to accomplish one thing, and that is Israel will be abundantly compensated for this Iran deal, no matter what. What a way to get a raise. Israel while appearing to be highly offended and left to be hung out to dry, receives 38 billion dollars for the trouble they have been put through. I’d say, that’s a win, win, win, if ever there was a win, win, win.

    As far as this election goes, I’m done with it. If I go vote it will be to vote for Jill Stein. As of this moment anything you say to a Hillary supporter that differs from you voting for Hillary is a vote for Trump. My poor liberal friends, whom I love dearly, are but stressed to the brim over the idea of America having a President Donald Trump… I get it, but why is it that they can’t see the horrors that await our country by electing Hillary into the Oval Office? All I keep hearing is the importance of a Democrat appointing Supreme Court Justices, who will protect Roe vs Wade, and Same Sex Marriage. I honestly think that these two issues will be left alone, because without them what does the conservative politicians have to run on. Of all the presidential elections over my life time, I think it safe to say that this presidential election is built upon voting to keep a certain someone out of office, as opposed to voting for the candidate you feel will represent your own values to the best of their ability.

    Great article Mr McGovern!

    • backwardsevolution
      September 20, 2016 at 6:38 pm

      Joe – very interesting comments re Israel and Iran. If that is the case, then really Obama has accomplished nothing.

      I agree that Hillary in the Oval Office would be a disaster. I think there are some things your friends could or should actually get behind Trump on: getting rid of the TPP (unless your friends work for the government and aren’t afraid of having their jobs offshored) or aren’t afraid of having another court, one above U.S. courts, decide on disputes. Trump is for negotiating with countries, not fighting with them. I guess he doesn’t realize the money some are making in selling arms and weapons; to them, war is wonderful. Maybe he will take on the military-industrial complex, where Obama wouldn’t. Maybe Trump is willing to risk shaking things up.

      For those two reasons alone, he is worth considering.

      • Joe Tedesky
        September 20, 2016 at 10:35 pm

        There was a period in my life where I had become apolitical. The presidents that were elected when I didn’t vote were Carter, Reagan, and Bush 41. When I returned to voting, I reached into my empty pocket, literally for real, and pulled the lever for Ross Perot. Ross said, he was going to lift the hood and fix the darn thing, and I believed him. I skipped voting in 1996. I shouldn’t admit this, but after eight years of Clinton, and believing in compassionate conservatism in 2000 …yes I vote for knucklehead W.. Then Kerry, and of course twice for Obama. So with a track record like this, it maybe better I don’t vote.

        I don’t know what the future brings, but I’m still and always will be an American. I just wish our electoral choices were better than what they are. Thanks for the Trump plug, but I maybe sitting this one out, again.

    • bill peppin
      September 23, 2016 at 12:23 am

      I disagree with your first two examples. The Israeli deal is just politics as usual. All US politicians understand that the Israelis control our foreign policy, and are like “She Who Must Be Obeyed” in the Rumpole series. So not out of stupidiy or gullibility do ALL US politicians sign these ridiculous deals with Israel, but also Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other oily Muslim countries. I think the Iran agreement is a major step forward, not by reason that it will alter Iran’s future decision to acquire nuke bombs, but simply because it represents a major attempt by big powers to resolve a potentially major international issue through negotiation. (I also appreciated that it was a great big In Your Face to Israel, that you cannot come and give speeches in the Congress lobbying for something which we find that is not in our interests,and bypassing normal protocol to involved POTUS in such a stunt.) What other option was available: just blow them up, even as counseled by some of the Very Important People? (Well, we are certainly very, very good at blowing things up, whether with intended, or with unintended, consequences.) My comment still stands: a vote for Jill Stein is a vote for Drumpf, and THAT particular Evil is certainly the greatest that the world has faced since 1 September 1939 in my opinion. This guy is a power keg driving around on a car with matches perpetually lit all over the place.

  4. curious
    September 20, 2016 at 1:16 am

    Thank you Ray, for a very good article and condensation of the issues at hand.

    What is interesting is that Obama is now playing the ‘race card’ opposed by him in the past, so voters could vote ‘black’ and that means Hillary somehow.

    And Hillary has the ‘gender card’

    Two cards in a corrupt deck. And you are so correct that Obama seems to have feared a bullet and just played along without actually doing anything to stop the bloodshed and the madness that has nothing to do with US ‘defense’ Sadly, Obama has no legacy outside of caving or bending to the subliminal powers in his ear and if there is a legacy at all, it is increased death and destruction, with a lack of will to rebuild the damage caused by the previous administration. Killing and death have now become a form of US strength, rather than the more productive form of negotiation, diplomacy , and compromise . He has continued the insanity and it is somehow a current resolve of his administration to reduce the election to his own personal offense if someone of color doesn’t vote for the very lady who drove the agenda on his ‘admitted’ worse moment in his presidency, Libya.

    This last point is the height of irony and hypocrisy we have seen for years. Vote for the very same person who gave me my worst moment as president. This in itself is quite amazing.

    • Bart Gruzalski
      September 20, 2016 at 5:12 am

      curious,

      well put. You are absolutely on target, on the money, put in the 8-ball… what stranges firgures of speech! My least favorite: killing two birds with one stone. I’d rather pick two strawberries with one pick.

      You think Parry will allow my two comments to stand? Can you look at Trump’s policies intellectually?

      • Curious
        September 20, 2016 at 10:54 pm

        Bart, thanks. As far as Trump is concerned, it’s difficult for me to get past the self promotion so engrained in his psyche to ferret out the “intellectual” part. Although, now that I think of it his hair does look like…… sorry, drifted off topic.

        I think it is a challenge for me to intellectualize a lot of what he says. And I’ll blame that on my 30 odd years of theater and TV self-promoters. So I am a bit too jaded by the bloviators in my past to actually get past his antics as I see his tactics too clearly. I think also he has an issue getting cornered into a concise, thoughtful policy that has merit, so far. He’d rather ‘make it up as he goes along’ sort of person. He’ll say a decent point, like NATO is arcane and is only looking for targets to keep their budget going, but the following week say the military needs more money (since they lost 6.2 trillion somewhere, somehow) So, there are plenty of examples of policy discrepancies in his jargon, and didn’t Mark Cuban offer up 10 million to a charity of Trumps’ choice if he could define his policies?

        Even for $10 million, I couldn’t define his policies, and his comments about fellow humans also clouds any real ideas that trickle out of his mouth.

      • Curious
        September 20, 2016 at 10:56 pm

        Bart, thanks. As far as Trump is concerned, it’s difficult for me to get past the self promotion so engrained in his psyche to ferret out the “intellectual” part. Although, now that I think of it his hair does look like…… sorry, drifted off topic.

        I think it is a challenge for me to intellectualize a lot of what he says. And I’ll blame that on my 30 odd years of theater and TV self-promoters. So I am a bit too jaded by the bloviators in my past to actually get past his antics as I see his tactics too clearly. I think also he has an issue getting cornered into a concise, thoughtful policy that has merit, so far. He’s a ‘rather make it up as he goes along’ sort of person. He’ll say a decent point, like NATO is arcane and is only looking for targets to keep their budget going, but the following week say the military needs more money (since they lost 6.2 trillion somewhere, somehow) So, there are plenty of examples of policy discrepancies in his jargon, and didn’t Mark Cuban offer up 10 million to a charity of Trumps’ choice if he could define his policies?

        Even for $10 million, I couldn’t define his policies, and his comments about fellow humans also clouds any real ideas that trickle out of his mouth. Maybe when he gets out of the Twitter attack mode he is always in…. or not.

      • bill peppin
        September 23, 2016 at 12:31 am

        I really would like to know: what ARE his bloody policies? There is so much contradiction and statements of things that absolutely have no chance at all to pass any reasonable muster, e.g., banning entry into the US of all (Muslims? people who come from dominantly Muslim countries?) His tax plan, very generally stated, looks to be a Ryan-on-steroids kind of proposal that helps especially himself and his other enterprises. And of course, his choosing not to disclose his tax returns ought to really cause people concern. This to me is a much bigger deal than ranting on about Clinton’s emails, because I think that probably 99% of the stuff that is classified poses no security risk to the US, but much of it, and clearly, is aimed at scaling back “embarrassment” of govt officials having to explain one or another abhorrent matter of policy or drone killing. I think there is a good argument that can be made for dropping ALL! secrecy classifications of any document, procedure, weapon, or whatever. I won’t broach that Bad Boy here, it is too controversial, but I can go on for a long time in defense of this kind of proposal.

    • backwardsevolution
      September 20, 2016 at 1:58 pm

      curious – good points. I have another reason why Obama is towing the neocon/Wall Street line: he’s thinking of his future. After a President leaves office is when he seriously starts to “cash in”: lucrative speech circuit, obscene corporate or Wall Street positions, boards of directors.

      Think about it: he’s gone along for what purpose? Perhaps it was to save his life, but I think he went into the job knowing that if he ruffled feathers, he would be just another corpse. I think this was a “known” fact before he ever ran for President. No, I strongly believe that he’s thinking of his future, what he can cash in on.

      He is a player, and that’s precisely WHY he was CHOSEN by the elite to be their man. They got behind him with serious money. Sometimes we can’t see the snakes behind their suits.

      Obama has not changed at all. He is doing exactly what he signed on for.

      • Cal
        September 21, 2016 at 5:00 pm

        ‘ No, I strongly believe that he’s thinking of his future, what he can cash in on.”

        Yep, just another opportunist. They want to stay and play.
        The Obamas get tackier and tackier.
        But he might not get the big speaking fees and gigs he thinks he will……he may now have outlived his usefulness to his masters.

        Obamas to rent 9-bedroom house in quiet neighborhood in northwest …
        http://www.cbsnews.com/…/obamas-to-rent-9-bedroom-house-in-quiet-neighbor...
        CBS News
        May 27, 2016 – The Obamas have selected a nine-bedroom $22,000 month mansion to move into after they … the quiet Kalorama neighborhood in the northwest quadrant of Washington, … Mr. Obama will be the first president to stay in D.C. since Woodrow

      • bill peppin
        September 23, 2016 at 12:37 am

        I do not believe this is true. And I do not think he has the same apparent interest in doing the Beltway Bee-Bop for Kash that so many others on the famous Revolving Door are into. If I am wrong, I have completely misunderstood the nature of who he is as a person. That said, you are certainly right in that what he has done could have been scripted by the Chicago Boyz and their ilk. He equally services both the Neocons and the Neolibs, a sort of equal opportunity lender of offal to these Power Cabals.

  5. Michael Morrissey
    September 20, 2016 at 4:29 am

    Excellent review of Obama’s failure by the man who (in my dreams) will be appointed by Pres. Jill Stein as CIA Director and who will then abolish that nefarious institution. Daniel Ellsberg pegged Obama from the start as a “con man.” I put my own misgivings in a poem titled “Waiting for Obama” in Nov. 2009:

    Waiting for Obama to turn the tide
    is like asking the horsemen for a ride

    to the Apocalypse. White or black,
    red or pale, George or Barack,

    the harbingers of doom will take us to the brink
    until one day soon, without a thought left to think,

    we have nothing to look forward to but dying
    to the tune of gunfire, chains, and children crying.

    If Obama were Kennedy he would be dead.
    It’s a plot to get us all, as Johnson said.

    They weren’t fooling when they stole Obama’s plane
    and buzzed Manhattan, with an excuse so lame

    about it being nothing but a photo op
    you’d have to be a moron to believe such slop.

    We had a moron and thank God we replaced him
    with a man of style, a brain, and good intention

    but that’s not nearly enough to stop the spooks,
    the media mafia, the congresswimps and kooks

    who worm their way onto and up the ladder
    lying and caring about nothing but getting fatter.

    Now we ask the poet what to do,
    what is the best way forward, as if he knew.

    “Stop signifying, give us something concrete.”
    “We the people,” he begins, “on the street”

    “And who will lead us,” we interrupt him, “you?”
    “Or are you just another one without a clue?”

    “I’m afraid there’s no one coming,” says Mr. Blue,
    “and if you know that, you know what to do.”

    “They’ll gun us down like dogs and taser us
    and thrown us into FEMA camps for all our fuss,

    take our homes and give them to the bankers,
    bail out the bosses and the Wall Street wankers,

    turn the lights off or invent some disease
    and blame it on Socialism or Iraqis.

    send anthrax to put congressmen in terror
    crash their plane and blame it on pilot error

    bomb our buildings and rush us into war
    with fairy tales and arguments rotten to the core.

    “Yes,” says Mr. Blue, “that is our curse.”
    “Why else do you think I would write verse?”

    With that poet and reader join hands
    and watch the news about Afghanistan.

    (For embedded links in the above text see http://www.opednews.com/Diary/Waiting-for-Obama-by-Michael-David-Morr-091106-56.html)

    • Bart Gruzalski
      September 20, 2016 at 5:22 am

      Either Obama had good intention or he didn’t. What do you think?

      As for Jill Stein, I wrote over ten articles for her in the 2012 election and volunteered to daily take care of a “board” that would list everything published on her anywhere in English. The point–I could give a short synopsis and supporters could use what’s out there as models for their own letters or op eds.

      They were hiring people at the time as asked if I was applying for a position. With a Ph.D., I was a little overqualified and anyway I was living in Ireland. I made it clear I was “applying PRO BONO” for that post.

      Jill didn’t even make 5%. I suggested that “we” do a post-election autopsy to see what we could have done better. One of her top paid people wrote back that we wouldn’t do such a thing.

      Jill Stein is no longer the candidate of the moment. Voting for her IS throwing away your vote. Really, as remarkable as it seems, Trump’s foreign policy is like the Libertarians and his domestic policy is at least as good as Sanders.

      I wonder if I’ll have four comments up on this site by dawn tomorrow?

      The energetic and shining star Green? Songster and Earth First!er Daryl Cheny.

      • Michael Morrissey
        September 21, 2016 at 4:24 am

        Good intentions are what the road to hell is paved with, and anybody can have them. I think Ellsberg was right about Obama, and I would still vote for Stein because the process is more important than the (corrupt) product. None of the candidates (including Stein) have focussed nearly enough on the two most important issues: war (especially with Russia) and the environment. These are the two threats most likely to wipe out earthly life as we know it within the next 50 years, and none of the other issues mean anything at all by comparison. Why not a platform promoting cooperation with Putin? (Trump has come closer to this than anyone else, but not close enough, and he ruins it with his other stuff and guff.) Are Americans so propagandized that they would be incapable of seeing this as sanity rather than quislingism? The mass media are programmed this way but an election could be used to break out of the box. The one issue of “Putin — Devil or Friend?” could put things in perspective if the strangle-hold of the media moguls could be broken. Not likely, but what choice do we have? Why not tell Stein, Ok you’ve said it all, it’s on the website, now just say one thing: “Work with Russia.” What a revolution that would be. Even if she lost, at least one (most important) point would have been made.

  6. Bart Gruzalski
    September 20, 2016 at 5:28 am

    Oops: Daryl Cheney–check out “You Can’t Clearcut your Way to Heaven” on Youtube.

  7. James lake
    September 20, 2016 at 5:47 am

    Excellent piece.
    Obama the fraud will be at the UN fir the final time. He has been a failure and a disaster.
    I just fear what comes next if the establishment candidate – clinton wins.

    • Patricia P Tursi, Ph.D.
      September 20, 2016 at 10:29 am

      I fear Clinton much more than Trump. I have witnessed that carnage that she created and then laughed about. Chilling.

      • Bart Gruzalski
        September 20, 2016 at 11:14 am

        Patricia P Tursi, Ph.D,

        I was a Bernie supporter but I am a public policy professional who is even more a conceptual analyst. Bart Gruzalski, Prof. Emeritus, Northeastern University, Boston. I’m also writing a book on Trump called “’America First’: How Donald Trump Builds on Tradition and Plans for a Pro-worker and Antiwar Future,” forthcoming. What field are you in?

        So far I’m the only senior Ph.D. from the blue-blood Boston area who is a supporter of Trump.

  8. elmerfudzie
    September 20, 2016 at 8:14 am

    Excellent article Ray, permit me to add two youthful voices of conscience concerning Hillary and her ilk, both are satirical and poignant. The first, a black poet by the name of Benjamin Zephaniah, a Millennial, he sings a tune, Rong Radio Station, it’s a rap/somewhere between Hip Hop and Beatboxing?..can’t really keep up with it all anymore, I’m way back there with the Beatles..visit his worthwhile performance at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3HjMcY50Kc Then there’s a very popular (white) Generation Z gal by the name of Paula Priesse and her hilarious put downs of Hillary Clinton at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGl-RVUVM2pUsRdwmp663Lw?v=RF28vkQBHnI. Both artists have something VERY important to say about the political and moral direction of out country’s leadership! Mr Zephaniah, a UK citizen, had unfavorable judgements about the British Monarchy as well, his turning down an OBE, it too can be reviewed by searching YouTube.

  9. Peter Loeb
    September 20, 2016 at 9:05 am

    “The greatest danger to Israel is by the strategic arc that extends from Tehran,
    to Damascus to Beirut. And we saw the Assad regime as the keystone in that arc…”
    Michael Oren, cited above

    There should indeed be a “greater danger to Israel”. After all, Israel is not entitled
    to exist despite the fact that it does, in fact, exist. The idea that a group (Jews were
    redefined as a single organic “race” in accordance with Germanic antisemitic
    constructions) and was toreloace Palestinians—complete with an
    Opera, said Theodor Herzl—- and displace, dispossess and exterminatge
    the indigenous population was a horrid example of European colonialism,
    Even when not following the Viennese-Germanic structure, the development
    of labor privilege differed only in form from usual forms of racism expression
    complete with arrogant exclusivism and discrimination.

    Since the strategy adopted by the Israeli labor movements involved the
    involvement and support of major outside powers, Israel murdered and
    massacred and disposses at will and with impunity.
    More radical Israeli voices —from the so-called “revisionist” traditions
    are today in the ascendancy.

    With US support and funding Israel gets the better of both
    labour and revisionary worlds.

    Since the remnants of the “arab” nations around it are by
    definition ezcluded, they cannot be satisfied , not even
    the few tails wagged by the dog (Israel) and its master
    (the US and west).

    The excluded “arabs” have been conquered and contine
    to live only at the (temporary) mercy of their oppressors
    and are often in disagreement with each other if not
    at war with each other.

    It is only slightly encouraging that a few are getting together.

    —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

    ADDENDUM:

    Ray McGovern’s analysis of Obama’s “legacy” is on
    target. The fact remains that persons of color perceive Barack
    Obama as a “savior” when he has not been. That is a fact.

    I supported Jack Kennedy (once my Dad’s “boss”) but have since
    read Noam Chomsky’s reanalysis of Camelot. I voted for
    Obama in 08 but not in 2012.

    I am not sure if “fraud” is the appropriate word. I think he was more
    an opportunist, a characteristic found almost always in political
    circles. There has been writing on his contacts with those of the
    wealthy Jewish donors (eg Pritzger) as to appropriate topics
    (not Palestinian rights, not universal health care). Like McGovern,
    I believe race was a factgor as it invariably is.

    ..

  10. Patricia P Tursi, Ph.D.
    September 20, 2016 at 10:26 am

    A great analysis, including the question of whether Obama succumbed or whether he was a fraud all along. The only thing that I would add is Gen Wesley Clark’s sharing of the plan to take out 7 countries in the Mid East. This has been in the works long before 2011.The politicians appear to be puppets with the strings attached to the ones who really run the show. This includes the secret society groups, The Bilderburgers, the Club of Rome, the Illuminati, The Club of 300, etc. Also, according to some, the Kharsarian Mafia. The shipments of arms to Syria was reportedly going on in 2011 and going to the radical Islamists who were supported by the US and, of course, Saudi Arabia. The taking out of Libya was the loss of the buffer, as Ray has pointed out. Who are the terrorists? Ask the families who watch their children get bombed by the drones. Ask the drone pilots who committed suicide after observing the carnage close up as no airplane pilot has ever done. During WWII, we weren’t lily white, and if you look at the punishment given to the Germans after WWI, the Allies were not all blameless. There is no good and bad…only two sides of the picture. If you search for all the experiments the US government has preformed on it’s unaware citizens, you will find that we may not have skinned people alive, but injecting them with radiation and biological diseases comes in a close second. Hopefully, there will be a new level for humanity. The hubris and ignorance of the USA citizens as to the reality of our true history and the assumption that we have freedom and fight for freedom is nothing but pure poppycock. Ask Native Americans. The US has broken every treaty made. It wouldn’t matter who was president of Syria. We like to put in our own bought and paid- for puppets..so we can take ’em out when desired.

    • Bill Bodden
      September 20, 2016 at 2:38 pm

      The politicians appear to be puppets with the strings attached to the ones who really run the show.

      For the most part, the politicians are always puppets with the strings attached to the ones who really run the show.

    • Rikhard Ravindra Tanskanen
      September 22, 2016 at 9:04 pm

      The fact that you mention right-wing conspiracy theories makes you lose your credibility. And what’s this babble about a “Khazarian Mafia”?

    • bill peppin
      September 23, 2016 at 12:45 am

      On these points, I recommend those who have not read it to consider “A peoples’ history of the United States” by Howard Zinn. It rather covers some of our personal history well, and places many comments here in sharp perspective.

  11. Lin Cleveland
    September 20, 2016 at 11:24 am

    Earlier in his presidency, I even speculated that Obama was physically scared of crossing the Establishment too directly, for fear of ending up like Kennedy and King–Rat Mc Govern

    I know what you mean, Ray. I remember when Hugo Chavez asked Obama, “Is someone holding a gun to your head?” You know? The president doesn’t personally hire his secret service and I thought about that. His wife, his daughters and even himself are under their “protection” and what if . . .? However, I now suspect Obama put one over on us. I sent a small donation, ($50.00) to his 2008 campaign because Obama “said” he wanted to get big money out of politics, but I soon learned that he accepted donation from those TBTF like Goldman Sachs. Obama chose to bail out these so called “elites” while citizens lost their homes. Also, Obama kept so many cabinet members from from the G. W. Bush reign.

    Health care? the first words out of the new president mouth were, “Single payer is off the table!” He has continued the Empire’s illegal wars of aggression and quickly supported the military coup in Honduras. Guantanamo Bay? Still open and on foreign soil.

    On many left-leaning sites I read post after up-voted posts who like the Stein/Baraka platform. I suspect there’s more public support for the Greens than that private corporation which sponsors the presidential debates admits. I’m seeing evidence that the Democrats are running scared.

    • Bob Van Noy
      September 21, 2016 at 8:54 am

      ”I’m seeing evidence that the Democrats are running scared.”

      Thank you Lin Cleveland, I’m seeing the same thing. It “feels” a bit panicky to me…

  12. John Lovejoy
    September 20, 2016 at 11:43 am

    So, can we, or should we, vote for a third-party candidate, thus helping to ensure that Donald Trump becomes our president? The choice is stark: Hillary Clinton or Trump. If Hillary wins, things won’t get much better, or perhaps they’ll get worse. But what happens if the buffoonish fascist Trump gets in? It boggles the mind to think of all the hellish scenarios. It’s the old rock and a hard place thing.

    • Lin Cleveland
      September 20, 2016 at 1:17 pm

      So, can we, or should we, vote for a third-party candidate, thus helping to ensure that Donald Trump becomes our president? The choice is stark:“–John Lovejoy.

      Funny story, John. A couple of weeks ago my neighbor, a devout republican, stopped by for a chat. I asked Pat what she thinks of Trump and she replied that Trump is worrisome. So, I jumped on this opportunity to say we have viable 3rd party options. I told her I like Jill Stein, but suggested that she and Art would like Libertarian, Gary Johnson. Libertarians caucus with the republicans, you know? “Oh no!” she knee-jerked, “They, (? fox news?), tell us a vote for Gary is a vote for Hillary!”

      I responded that no longer shall I allow Fear to lead my decisions. The reason 3rd parties get so little press isn’t because their platforms are not popular, but just the opposite. The in cahoots duapoly is afraid to debate these intelligent, humane and conscientious people on a public forum. Anyway, think about it, John, let the Love and the Joy rule over your heart.

  13. David Smith
    September 20, 2016 at 11:58 am

    President Obama is not a man who by his wits and ambition achieved high political office, does not make any decisions, and was never in danger of assassination. Obama is a nothing and a nobody carefully nurtured from youth by The United States Propertied Class, a sort of “Chauncey Gardener”. He receives orders and he carries them out, it is easy to see from his behavior, he is merely a “made man” incapable of providing authentic authority in a group of people. This is very obvious if you have had the experience of leadership in a difficult, uncertain, fluid situation commanding the normal run of arrogant incompetent humanity. I am an American living in Canada. In the summer of 2007, I visited my mother, the first night I watched C-SPAN. The next morning I said “I know who the next President will be, some guy named Obama”. She didn’t believe me and had never heard of him either. Obama was an experiment by The United States Propertied Class in creating an entirely artificial entity, unknown to anyone, and foisting him on the American people. How he receives his orders would be very interesting to witness.

    • Brad Owen
      September 20, 2016 at 4:22 pm

      Very astute observation. I’m inclined to agree…an empty suit-for-hire.

    • backwardsevolution
      September 20, 2016 at 6:47 pm

      David Smith – I agree. Obama was invited to a Bilderberg meeting, and all of a sudden he was the darling. Seemingly out of nowhere, and being the right color, big money piled in behind him. He is, as was Bush and Clinton before him, nothing more than a puppet. Who are the people pulling the strings?

      • David Smith
        September 20, 2016 at 9:50 pm

        The people pulling the strings are employees of The United States Propertied Class. In America, it is not permitted to utter the phrase “Propertied Class”, and certainly not permitted to study them, despite the fact they own all significant productive property and NOTHING happens without their consent(including dead Kennedys). They send lackeys like Kissinger to Bilderberg, they have better things to do.

        • Brad Owen
          September 21, 2016 at 3:53 am

          Better things to do like keeping a constant watch on their ill-gotten gains, while preparing for the inevitable karmic back-lash against these rentiers. We hardly need do anything but notice and witness.

  14. Dorsey Gardner
    September 20, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    No one at WAPO or the NYTimes comes close to Ray McGovern.
    Forget subscribing to those Ziocon mouthpieces and contribute to Consortium News.

  15. Dennis Rice
    September 20, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    Quoting Patricia Tursi (above) “The politicians appear to be puppets with the strings attached to the ones who really run the show.”

    “Why of course the people don’t want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don’t want war neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” —- Hermann Goering

    The “common people” in this country are more concerned about who is going to win the 2017 Superbowl than the loss of American soldiers bleeding and dying in distant wars protecting ‘our’ “American” corporations (who hide their profits in offshore accounts rather than pay their lawful taxes on them).

    The “common people” depend on our Mainstream Media to be honest with them, and do not learn any lessons when that Mainstream Media lies to them.

    And Ray McGovern is correct; “Earlier in his presidency, I even speculated that Obama was physically scared of crossing the Establishment too directly, for fear of ending up like Kennedy and King.”

  16. Bill Bodden
    September 20, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    Too late, Mr. President. Your legacy, absent some heroic action during the next four months, is already set. To be kind to someone who has been merciless to real patriots blowing the whistle, your legacy is a mixed bag with a limited amount of events to be proud of.

  17. backwardsevolution
    September 20, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    Great article! Thank you.

    “Obama has allowed bureaucratic warfare to break out between Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter over what to do in Syria. Kerry has pressed, successfully, for Russia’s help in putting an end to the carnage; but Carter and the military would rather not cooperate with Russia – no matter what the White House might wish.”

    I don’t buy that Kerry and Carter are seriously at odds. It’s just a show. I think Washington’s policy is and has always been to take out Assad, to have regime change. They’re just jerking Russia around, pretending that there’s a rift. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has written an excellent article on what is really going on in Syria and the Middle East: “Syria: Another Pipeline War”.

    http://www.ecowatch.com/syria-another-pipeline-war-1882180532.html

  18. F. G. Sanford
    September 20, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    Cul de sac pandering, cheap Roman Circus, all a distraction corrupt and amurcous,
    A high-minded bust, Bernie’s optimists clung to an “Occupy” fantasy ripe to get stung.
    Cynics are scolded as skeptic naysayers, while failure unfolds amidst copious prayers,
    Astrologers claim the September eclipses foretell great achievement in Jill Stein’s affairs.
    Those of us prone to archaic delusion outnumber the rest in prodigious profusion,
    Offering glimpses perception portends, an indelible legacy packed with illusion!
    Let’s put aside the irrelevant issues, crumbling roads and those nuclear leaks,
    Lead in the water as bridges collapse, Fukushima is melting…or so say the geeks,
    We’ve got to get serious, grapple with reason, deal with the things Bill O’Reilly opines,
    The left leaning liberals need to be blunt, this election is all about Hillary’s…hunt.
    She’s seeking consensus for global endeavors, policies where her foundation aligns,
    That’s why she still favors moderate rebels…liberal rebels have evil designs!
    Forget all those Neocon fifth column lackeys, they don’t believe life matters much to Iraqis,
    That’s why the GOP’s upping its antes, their panties are twisted and stuck in their crackies!
    Global initiatives solve all these problems, but some say those attitudes serve to demean us,
    While Democrats rally to Hillary’s…front, The Republicans glorify Donald Trump’s…genius.
    Those settlers blazing development trails face hostility, hardship and critical slander,
    That pioneer spirit is all that sustains them, it takes lots of chutzpah to specify pander,
    Razing those wigwams out on the frontier takes some Kosher conviction, that can’t be denied,
    The threshold it seems would require an oven, otherwise none may invoke genocide!
    Palest Indians out on the Gaza frontier keep rebuilding their teepees, they don’t blow us kissies,
    Palefaces armed with the bombs we provide display manifest destiny, that’s not for sissies!
    Putin is twisting and hung out to dry, we insist his approval rate must be a lie,
    George Soros is angry his NGO schemes must now register agents when changing regimes.
    So his Moscow connections will wither and die but we all know that Donald’s the real Russian spy!
    Both parties dabble in hacker vote rigging, but neither will dump out the bag with the cat
    Preemptive aspersions that implicate Putin protect the duopoly’s fraud from all that;
    They’d rather not protest when rigging is found; their funding would dry up the next time around.
    The last thing the plutocrats want to expound is the truth that democracy’s horserace is fixed
    So vote for the lady that put blacks in jail, or that black guy she hates gets his legacy nixed!
    Hillary’s turnout would cancel the margin if votes flipped from Stein are too few to prevail
    Votes flipped from third party stooges insure deep state picks for the winner can’t possibly fail
    But speaking of stooges and what they entail, we’ve got head-chopping rebels and CIA plots,
    Our bombing campaigns and our drones killing lots, but it’s never enough to get rid of Assad-
    So that’s when discussions hit thirty eight billion by blackmailing Congress to cough up a wad!
    Yes American voters are truly bamboozled, they sit back and masturbate watching TV-
    We’ve got five percent of the worlds population, we’re fat dumb and happy and think we are free,
    But the world is fed up about bearing the brunt, they’re not so enraptured by Hillary’s…spree,
    The Russians don’t like Nazi goons at the door, Germans lose trade deals and wonder what for,
    China suspects that the South China Sea might be named for a reason we choose to ignore!
    A mandate from voters makes all this endure, like the fraudulent legacy threat to protect.
    So I’m giving up on this phony deception, the electoral process is fit to reject.
    In all of my readings and study to date, the vote fixing scandal gets little debate.
    A vote for Jill Stein grows the flippable pool hiding rigged machine tallies intended to fool
    Vote crimes are spotted, but no charges filed, corruption proceeds both at local and state-
    Sooner or later, the world will respond, if the Neocons win and our deeds are repaid,
    Revenge looming large is a prospect indeed, and a mandate from voters may help it proceed.
    A vote cast for war is a criminal deed when a boycott could topple the plans they have laid.
    Stripped of consent by a mandate denied is a message both criminal parties would heed.
    It’s your choice but we’re all in the same fragile boat. My gut suggests we should boycott the vote!

    • Dennis Rice
      September 20, 2016 at 5:19 pm

      “Stripped of consent by a mandate denied is a message both criminal parties would heed.”

      >We could wish, I suppose. I don’t think they would give a damn.

      “It’s your choice but we’re all in the same fragile boat. My gut suggests we should boycott the vote!”

      >Some will. Others see it as a mandate to vote for one choice or the other; not realizing they have any other choice.

      If I have learned anything about our “Secret Government”, no president controls them, nor do congressional committees.

      They do what they damned well please and our soldiers and this country suffer the consequences.

      > For me, NO Hillary. NO Trump.

  19. Bob Loblaw
    September 20, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    Thanks again Ray for your crucial writing.
    You are a direct witness and victim of Hillary’s legacy, it is the disgrace of American ignorance that nobody knows who you are or the brutality her goons foisted upon you at her speech.

    It appears that American stupidity may usher in a clownish buffoon versus the anointed queen of death. What is more powerful? The stupidity and gullibility of, or the ignorance of the American voter?

  20. backwardsevolution
    September 20, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    Interesting re the U.S. killing of Syrian Army soldiers this past Saturday.

    “As to whether the attacks were “intentional” or not; military analyst Pat Lang posted this illuminating tidbit on his website Sic Semper Tyrannis on Saturday:

    ‘The SAA (Syrian Arab Army) has been occupying these positions for six months or so. Presumably US imagery and SIGINT analysts have been looking at them all that time and producing map overlays that show who is where in detail. These documents would be widely available especially to air units and their targeteers. US coalition led air has not struck previously in the Deir al-Zor area.’

    So, yes, the attacks might have been a “mistake”, but the chances of that are extremely slim. The more probable explanation is that the orders for the attack came from the highest levels of the senior command, probably Ash Carter himself, whose determination to derail the Obama-Putin ceasefire agreement may have been the impetus for the savage bloodbath that took place in Deir al-Zor on Saturday.”

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/09/20/rogue-mission-did-the-pentagon-bomb-syrian-army-to-kill-ceasefire-deal/

    So even though they would have known where the Syrian Army was positioned (and had been for the past six months), they still fired on them. Unbelievable! And Obama came to an agreement? He gave his word? What does his “word” even mean? He’s let everybody down by not keeping his word, by not going after Wall Street, by being a strong advocate for the TPP (more offshoring of jobs). He might have given his word, but his word means nothing. He would have just been stalling for time, calling for a ceasefire in order to enable ISIS to better position themselves. U.S. always calls for a ceasefire when they’re losing.

    This Syrian war is the U.S./Israel/Saudi Arabia/Qatar/Turkey/Jordan lined up against Russia/Iran/Syria. Russia should do its own thing and go after the so-called “moderates” with all they’ve got. They should refuse to talk “ceasefire” with the U.S. any longer.

  21. David G
    September 20, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    I don’t find Obama’s appeal to “identity politics” in the opening quotation particularly egregious, but the solipsism is breathtaking.

  22. MEexpert
    September 20, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    Great article indeed , Mr. McGovern, however, you forgot Ukraine.

    What legacy? What has Obama done for his race? The black people are worse off now than before Obama. The real insult is Obama asking black voters to vote for Clinton. Obama was insecure, terrified, and incompetent. In my opinion the worst president of them all. He was totally under the clutches of the establishment. He was always fearful of Netanyahu and AIPAC. I suspect Israel to have some kind of hold on him, that is why he always caved in to Israel. The only legacy Obama could claim is the Iran deal but as pointed out above it was not a deal at all. How do you stop some one from doing something when they are not doing it in the first place.

    Obama was a total failure both in domestic and in foreign affairs. Clinton will follow the same policies and more.

    The only reason I am voting for Trump is to break the insiders’ hold on Washington by stopping Hillary Clinton. As for the Trump rhetoric, the congress will not let him do anything anyway.

  23. Dr. Ibrahim Soudy
    September 20, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    The trouble with my American Friends is that they think that all they need to do is elect the right person to the oval office and then He/She will fix everything while they are entertaining themselves watching sports or movies or drinking or what have you……….The system is stinking from the very bottom all the way up to the very top……….Keep dreaming……….

  24. Zachary Smith
    September 20, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    Earlier in his presidency, I even speculated that Obama was physically scared of crossing the Establishment too directly, for fear of ending up like Kennedy and King.

    ““““““

    And maybe some physical fear went with his fear of personal rejection. After all, as a black man who reached extraordinary political heights, he was aware of the violence that had cut down many other blacks who dared make far more modest intrusions into the white power structure.

    It’s my own opinion that Obama is a tangled mess in terms of psychology on account of his race and upbringing, but Mr. McGovern nails it with the physical fear angle.

    Recall all those Secret Service scandals in his first term.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=Obama+secret+service+scandal&btnG=Search&hl=en&gbv=1

    It’s my opinion that a number of those were reminders that if he didn’t behave, something bad would happen. Already there was the established background theme of the crazed racists who were outraged the White House was occupied by a black man. In other words, the cover story was ready!

    So except for a few minor blips like Obama’s resistance to do a full monster mash on Syria, or to attack Iran, he’s been a good boy. Hillary ran amok, and lately the entire Pentagon has revolted. A real president would ‘Pull A Truman’ and start firing people, but I don’t expect that’s in the cards. Ashton Carter will probably keep his job, and so will the other military neocons who are directly disobeying.

    So this reinforces my own nagging belief that Obama is a figurehead who happens to be living in the White House. The real power is elsewhere. Now I don’t have the faintest idea who has the final say in what gets done, but I’m darned sure it’s not Obama. He’s demonstrated to me that he’s merely a good-sounding spokesman for whoever it is.

  25. Bill Bodden
    September 20, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    If he is not of the traditional majority, he cannot truly think like and represent the majority group, who, for the moment, are still white European-Americans, the settlers and builders of this country.

    Like the Bush Family, the two Dicks – Nixon and Cheney, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Henry Kissinger, Ronald Reagan, Madeleine Albright, George Wallace, and too many others to name.

  26. September 21, 2016 at 7:56 am

    Nice article! Yes Obama thinks he is Pharaoh, and much like Pharaoh he has no regard for the people. I personally don’t think we have had a president that cares for the Republic or the people since JFK. Our US government has done nothing in at least 50 years that could be considered anything other than corrupt. https://waitforthedownfall.wordpress.com/government-lies/

  27. Cal
    September 21, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    ” Obama was telling them that his blackness and theirs made a vote for Clinton necessary.”>>>>>

    Outright racist appeal….vote your color.

    Never seen a.n.y.t.h.i.n.g as dirty and disgusting as the ‘race baiting’ and race pandering done by the Dems and Hillary in this election…never.

Comments are closed.