Princeton professor Cornel West says President Obama is not only "no messiah," he's a "war criminal." West, the prominent black academic and activist who has consistently been a harsh Obama critic, took issue with the White House's covert drone program, saying that "the chickens are coming home to roost." Appearing on Tavis Smiley's radio program on Thursday, West said: "We’ve been talking about this for a good while, the immorality of drones, dropping bombs on innocent people. It’s been over 200 children so far. These are war crimes.”
Expectations were very high in January 2009 when Barack Obama was inaugurated...too high. Barack Obama was/is not the world's savior. However, at the very least, the expectations were that President Obama would not carry on former President Bush's Constitution shredding and military industrial complex empowering policies. Closing Guantanamo Bay, ending the war in Afghanistan, restoring habeas corpus, reversing the power grab by the executive branch, and putting a halt to the all-encompassing "big brother" surveillance grid were just a few of his campaign promises. Yet, Guantanamo Bay remains open, habeas corpus is not even close to being restored, and the all encompassing "big brother" surveillance grid grows bigger everyday. Add to that, "kill lists", undeclared wars all over the world, an escalated drone program, his unprecedented prosecution of whistle-blowers, more Wall Street bailouts, and it's as if Bush never left office. I mean, just look as some of his cabinet choices, unaccountable/un-vetted/unconfirmed czars (often labeled as policy advisers, thus failing to fall under the Freedom of Information act, not required to testify before Congress), special advisor's, and 'officers' he has chosen to come to the White House to have direct access to him.
Just a few examples:
John Holdren, science czar, a neo-Malthusian who advocates for population control using the most extreme measures, such as mandating the number of children Americans can have. He is also a proponent of 'de-developing' the US, sending its agricultural practices and technology back to the 19th century, and suggested that infants and chronically ill elderly do not fit his definition of 'human,' and therefore can be expendable.
Timothy Geithner, and Larry Summers, both deeply involved in crafting and implementing the policies that led to the 2008 meltdown. This is when I knew we were in trouble the minute Obama appointed his economic team.
Gene Sperling, a Goldman Sachs adviser appointed head of the National Economic Council, replacing Larry Summers who made millions as the economy tanked in 2008. According to the Huffington Post, "[he] has overseen monumental deregulation of the financial sector, but has also collected hefty paychecks from its leading firms."
John Brennan to be CIA director.
"I’ve known John Brennan since 1990. I worked directly for John Brennan twice. I think that he is a terrible choice to lead the CIA. I think that it’s time for the CIA to move beyond the ugliness of the post-September 11th regime, and we need someone who is going to respect the Constitution and to not be bogged down by a legacy of torture." -- John KiriakouThere is no doubt that the Republicans have been reprehensible from the very beginning of his presidency, but he did start out with a super majority in the Senate, not to mention, it's very clear that on many issues, such as bank bailouts, social spending austerity, war and human rights violations, Obama has been front and center, pushing the hard right agenda, which, of course, the Republicans, who love to criticize Obama, stay silent.
Is he the worst president in recent times? No, but probably the most disappointing because he seemed to embody his message of "Hope and Change." But what has really changed? The rich keep getting richer, the poor keep getting poorer, and the middle class continues to shrink. In other words, keeping the wars and the profits going.
"This White House openly brags about its “Terror Tuesday” meetings in which US special forces and drones have been dispatched to and from dozens of undisclosed countries to kidnap, torture or murder thousands of people, in the case of drone strikes mostly innocents, to the cheers and jokes of cruise missile liberals like Ed Schulz and Bill Maher, who calls Obama the “black ninja president.” The potent symbol of a black face in that high place has normalized the conduct of lawless aggressive war and secretive state murder among parts of the population which had no trouble calling a crime a crime when committed by a white Republican. In that sense, the First Black President is a little bit unlike, but mostly very much like his nefarious predecessors.
It's worth noting that in the debates between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, kill-at-will drone wars, the militarization of Africa, Wall Street's immunity from prosecution, and the push to privatize and charterize public education were points upon which both candidates were in complete agreement. But if Mitt Romney were president today wouldn't many more of us be in the street about these things? Black apologists, as Davey D notes, try to shut criticism of this president down in the misguided name of black unity, and some white activists stay home because they don't want to be seen as racist whites hating on the black president. -- Bruce A. Dixon