Monday, 9 January 2017

Pity the sad legacy of Barack Obama, Cornel West, on Neoliberals

quote [ Our hope and change candidate fell short time and time again. Obama cheerleaders who refused to make him accountable bear some responsibility ]

I'm not sure I agree with all of this but I do think these are mostly valid complaints about the Democrats and why some people misguidedly voted for Trump. In short, Obama set the stage but Trump stole Hilary's spotlight.

‘Most well-paid pundits on TV and radio celebrated the Obama brand.’
Contact author
@CornelWest
Monday 9 January 2017 05.00 EST Last modified on Monday 9 January 2017 10.47 EST

Eight years ago the world was on the brink of a grand celebration: the inauguration of a brilliant and charismatic black president of the United States of America. Today we are on the edge of an abyss: the installation of a mendacious and cathartic white president who will replace him.

This is a depressing decline in the highest office of the most powerful empire in the history of the world. It could easily produce a pervasive cynicism and poisonous nihilism. Is there really any hope for truth and justice in this decadent time? Does America even have the capacity to be honest about itself and come to terms with its self-destructive addiction to money-worship and cowardly xenophobia?

The age of Barack Obama may have been our last chance to break from our neoliberal soulcraft. We are rooted in market-driven brands that shun integrity and profit-driven policies that trump public goods. Our “post-integrity” and “post-truth” world is suffocated by entertaining brands and money-making activities that have little or nothing to do with truth, integrity or the long-term survival of the planet. We are witnessing the postmodern version of the full-scale gangsterization of the world.

The reign of Obama did not produce the nightmare of Donald Trump – but it did contribute to it. And those Obama cheerleaders who refused to make him accountable bear some responsibility.

A few of us begged and pleaded with Obama to break with the Wall Street priorities and bail out Main Street. But he followed the advice of his “smart” neoliberal advisers to bail out Wall Street. In March 2009, Obama met with Wall Street leaders. He proclaimed: I stand between you and the pitchforks. I am on your side and I will protect you, he promised them. And not one Wall Street criminal executive went to jail.

We called for the accountability of US torturers of innocent Muslims and the transparency of US drone strikes killing innocent civilians. Obama’s administration told us no civilians had been killed. And then we were told a few had been killed. And then told maybe 65 or so had been killed. Yet when an American civilian, Warren Weinstein, was killed in 2015 there was an immediate press conference with deep apologies and financial compensation. And today we still don’t know how many have had their lives taken away.

We hit the streets again with Black Lives Matter and other groups and went to jail for protesting against police killing black youth. We protested when the Israeli Defense Forces killed more than 2,000 Palestinians (including 550 children) in 50 days. Yet Obama replied with words about the difficult plight of police officers, department investigations (with no police going to jail) and the additional $225m in financial support of the Israeli army. Obama said not a mumbling word about the dead Palestinian children but he did call Baltimore black youth “criminals and thugs”.

In addition, Obama’s education policy unleashed more market forces that closed hundreds of public schools for charter ones. The top 1% got nearly two-thirds of the income growth in eight years even as child poverty, especially black child poverty, remained astronomical. Labor insurgencies in Wisconsin, Seattle and Chicago (vigorously opposed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a close confidant of Obama) were passed over in silence.

In 2009, Obama called New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg an “outstanding mayor”. Yet he overlooked the fact that more than 4 million people were stopped-and-frisked under Bloomberg’s watch. Along with Carl Dix and others, I sat in a jail two years later for protesting these very same policies that Obama ignored when praising Bloomberg.

Yet the mainstream media and academia failed to highlight these painful truths linked to Obama. Instead, most well-paid pundits on TV and radio celebrated the Obama brand. And most black spokespeople shamelessly defended Obama’s silences and crimes in the name of racial symbolism and their own careerism. How hypocritical to see them now speak truth to white power when most went mute in the face of black power. Their moral authority is weak and their newfound militancy is shallow.

The gross killing of US citizens with no due process after direct orders from Obama was cast aside by neoliberal supporters of all colors. And Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Jeffrey Sterling and other truth-tellers were demonized just as the crimes they exposed were hardly mentioned.

The president’s greatest legislative achievement was to provide healthcare for over 25 million citizens, even as another 20 million are still uncovered. But it remained a market-based policy, created by the conservative Heritage Foundation and first pioneered by Mitt Romney in Massachusetts.

Obama’s lack of courage to confront Wall Street criminals and his lapse of character in ordering drone strikes unintentionally led to rightwing populist revolts at home and ugly Islamic fascist rebellions in the Middle East. And as deporter-in-chief – nearly 2.5 million immigrants were deported under his watch – Obama policies prefigure Trump’s barbaric plans.

Bernie Sanders gallantly tried to generate a leftwing populism but he was crushed by Clinton and Obama in the unfair Democratic party primaries. So now we find ourselves entering a neofascist era: a neoliberal economy on steroids, a reactionary repressive attitude toward domestic “aliens”, a militaristic cabinet eager for war and in denial of global warming. All the while, we are seeing a wholesale eclipse of truth and integrity in the name of the Trump brand, facilitated by the profit-hungry corporate media.

What a sad legacy for our hope and change candidate – even as we warriors go down swinging in the fading names of truth and justice.
[SFW] [politics] [+8 Underrated]
[by lilmookieesquire@6:33pmGMT]

Comments

bbqkink said[2] @ 7:52pm GMT on 9th Jan
Barack Obama was no Liberal...he was and is a Centrist. But more importantly he did not want to be seen as the Black President he wanted to be seen as the President who happened to be black.

It is the Jackie Robinson Story all over again. It held him back at times but I also think it made him a better president. And did the one thing he wanted more than anything opened the door to the next guy...blew it wide open.

It also opened the door to the alt right...racist jokes were OK again, Muslim were open to ridicule because.... Hussein!

Well that is coming to an end and I've got news for you the job Obama see himself in is the leader of the black wing of the Democratic party. He still isn't a liberal but you are going to be damn sure he's black.

And Dr. West, I love ya, but you have to always take it one step to far.
HoZay said @ 8:14pm GMT on 9th Jan
Cornell West should run for office. Or just go fuck himself.
7 said @ 10:37pm GMT on 9th Jan [Score:1 Insightful]
It’s much easier to criticize. Of course, that’s his right, and I suppose it’s also his right to see the glass as half-empty. I’m not sure that doing such a fine job of criticizing your own party is such a wise thing to do. I don’t see how anyone but Cornel West will benefit from it. I don’t see a message here that’s beneficial to the future of the party. If anything, it will probably just serve as fuel against the party, fragmenting instead of unifying.
raphael_the_turtle said @ 11:52pm GMT on 9th Jan
I and many others (Dozens of us!) did not vote for Hillary Clinton because of her supporters' unwillingness to acknowledge her faults while claiming she was going to spearhead a progressive movement of which she we was a primary obstacle. If you're not going to criticize your politicians, if you're not going to acknowledge their faults, then you CANNOT AND WILL NOT hold them accountable.

American Politics 101: Two statements are all you need!
Don't criticize [insert name here], you're dividing the party!
How can those [insert disparaging adjectives here] [insert opposing party here] keep voting against their own self interest?
7 said @ 11:59pm GMT on 9th Jan
And how has the party benefited from your actions? By making sure she wasn't elected?
raphael_the_turtle said @ 12:22am GMT on 10th Jan [Score:5 Underrated]
Who says my actions have to benefit the party? The party doesn't align with my values so I left the party. I don't owe my allegiance to any political organization.

How has blind obedience benefited a party that has lost 900 seats in state legislatures since 2009? Clearly something is broken, yet by your logic, they should keep doing exactly what they are doing no matter what the haters say. And given many of the democrats I know and their agreement with you about criticism, they probably will.
7 said @ 2:10am GMT on 10th Jan
You’re not really following my comments, just using them as a launching point for what you keep repeating on this site. I’ve read it before and I’m not impressed or interested.
raphael_the_turtle said @ 2:19am GMT on 10th Jan
Yes, yes, full speed ahead.
steele said @ 3:23am GMT on 10th Jan
So, slightly related. I could've sworn that in Dark Money there was a section that discussed Obama's administration being so overwhelmed by the Kochtopus that they didn't even bother campaigning for anybody during the midterm elections. Does that sound right or am I misremembering?
raphael_the_turtle said @ 3:56am GMT on 10th Jan
I don't know for sure. It would've been 2010, if it was. What sticks out in my mind was the guy from the Koch org talking about it was going so well that they were basically running up the scoreboard.
sanepride said @ 12:20am GMT on 10th Jan
Generally speaking, Hillary Clinton's supporters were far more forthcoming about acknowledging her faults than Trump's supporters were about acknowledging his, despite his faults being far more egregious and alarming.
And we know how that turned out.
raphael_the_turtle said @ 12:25am GMT on 10th Jan
Statement three which is really just a sub-statement of statement two: But the other guys!
sanepride said @ 12:44am GMT on 10th Jan
Not really my intention. More along the lines of 'why bother holding your politicians accountable, when it seems increasingly clear that accountability is for losers?'.
raphael_the_turtle said @ 12:54am GMT on 10th Jan
Then why bother at all? I'm in it to further my values, not for some meaningless win.
sanepride said @ 1:29am GMT on 10th Jan
Under the current depressing circumstances it's a totally valid question. The results from this election certainly weren't meaningless, the takeaway is that values are for losers.
raphael_the_turtle said @ 1:46am GMT on 10th Jan
Then throw your values away and you can win all you want. You could be winning right now. If you find that thought disgusting, then you know how I felt every time I heard a plea for the lesser evil.
sanepride said @ 2:00am GMT on 10th Jan
Hmm...'the lesser evil'. Funny how after only two months this term seems so quaint and antiquated now that we're facing a whole new metric of evil.
As for my values, I'll just keep them in cold storage for now. Maybe they'll see daylight again one day.
raphael_the_turtle said @ 2:23am GMT on 10th Jan
A whole new metric of evil! Mass surveillance, drone attacks, wars, deportations. Oh, wait.
sanepride said @ 2:30am GMT on 10th Jan
Exactly. Just wait.
raphael_the_turtle said @ 2:55am GMT on 10th Jan [Score:3 Underrated]
I've been waiting 8 years for Democrats to remember they were against those things. Progress!
sanepride said @ 2:10pm GMT on 10th Jan
Congratulations. Now let's sit back and watch the progress.
raphael_the_turtle said @ 2:34pm GMT on 10th Jan
Thanks, but I'll leave sitting back and doing nothing to you and the rest of the pity party patrol.
hellboy said @ 11:14am GMT on 10th Jan
Considering we have Hillary to thank in part for Libya, Iraq, and the Syrian refugee crisis (just to name some greatest hits), I'd say "lesser evil" was pretty apt.
sanepride said @ 2:09pm GMT on 10th Jan
Not much point now defending Hillary's record, real or imagined. No doubt President Trump will embark on a bold, visionary approach to all of these frought areas, judging especially from the help he's soliciting.
And you're still arguing some degree of equivalency of evil? But hey, at least it's a rejection of the status quo. Drain the swamp!
hellboy said @ 10:09pm GMT on 10th Jan
When you figure out the difference between "lesser evil" and "equivalent evil", then we can have an adult conversation about Hillary's willingness to wage war and her failure to learn the lessons of regime change.
sanepride said @ 10:52pm GMT on 10th Jan
I'm assuming here that given the choice between Trump and Clinton you voted for neither. So by doing so, you effectively regarded them as equivalent.
hellboy said @ 11:24pm GMT on 10th Jan
Well that was foolish of you. I wasn't given a choice between Trump and Clinton. My vote was meaningless thanks to the poor excuse for democracy we currently have.

Just because Clinton would've been better than Trump doesn't mean Clinton would've been good. Pointing that out isn't supporting Trump.

This is the conversation you keep trying to have:

you: Wouldn't it be good news if we just bombed Syria instead of both Syria and Iran?
me: No. We shouldn't be bombing either one.
you: So you don't mind if we bomb Iran.

Failure to listen to criticism is part of the reason for the current fiasco. That's West's point, but as long as the Democrats continue to ignore it, shit like this is inevitable.
evil_eleet said @ 8:36pm GMT on 9th Jan [Score:5 Underrated]
"First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can't agree with your methods of direct action;" who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a "more convenient season."

Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection."
midden said @ 9:03pm GMT on 9th Jan
While I agree that much of the Obama presidency has been terribly disappointing, I suspect that his legacy will be like Carter's; one that continues to develop for decades after he leaves the White House. I don't think he's going to fade into the woodwork like most former Presidents. He has learned an awful lot in one of the toughest jobs in the world. It will be interesting to see what he does with that knowledge and skill, unfettered by the bonds of public office.
7 said @ 10:09pm GMT on 9th Jan
I'm very curious to see what he'll do. I doubt he will be able to make as big of a turnaround as Carter did. I'm hoping he'll be a big thorn in the side of the new administration. He made some comments about being freed from his constraints of office.
foobar said @ 9:26pm GMT on 9th Jan
I'm still holding out for this:

Sisko punches Q
7 said @ 9:48pm GMT on 9th Jan
I guess now Obama needs to tweet that Cornel West is overrated.
steele said[1] @ 10:15pm GMT on 9th Jan
Kama-Kiri said @ 4:08am GMT on 10th Jan
How about "Pity the legacy of the Republican senate and congress."? What have they accomplished over the last 4/8 years?
mechanical contrivance said @ 2:56pm GMT on 10th Jan
They've obstructed Obama.

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