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Resolution about US military spending, for Rep. Adam Smith

WHEREAS the United States spends more on its military — about $700 billion in 2018 — than the next 11 countries combined;

WHEREAS over 50% of federal discretionary spending goes to the military;

WHEREAS the 2018 attempt to audit the Pentagon was unsuccessful: the Pentagon could not account for $21 trillion in budget items, with Senator Charles Grassley (R) saying that the Pentagon’s “resistance to auditing the books runs deep”;

WHEREAS “the ridiculously huge plugs [fabrications] in the Defense Department’s budgets are never even questioned at Armed Services or Budget Committee hearings” (ibid);

WHEREAS the Pentagon buried evidence of about $125 billion in waste;

WHEREAS there is a revolving door between the Pentagon and defense contractors;

WHEREAS according to Politico, “the United States still maintains nearly 800 military bases in more than 70 countries and territories abroad” ;

WHEREAS U.S. wars in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Indonesia, Libya, Syria, South America and elsewhere killed millions of people, wasted trillions of dollars, created enemies, emboldened terrorists, and caused massive suffering, migration and consequent destabilization of societies;

WHEREAS President Trump plans to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and to upgrade U.S. nuclear weapons capability;

WHEREAS President Trump has slashed staff and funding for non-Pentagon federal agencies, including the State Department, which was already seriously under-staffed even before he took office and has gotten much worse since then;

WHEREAS a 2014 Gallup poll of 65 nations found that the United States was far and away the country considered the largest threat to peace in the world, and a Pew poll in 2017 found majorities in most countries polled viewing the United States as a threat;

WHEREAS Rep. Adam Smith (WA, 9th CD) is the Chair of the House Armed Services Committee;

WHEREAS Rep. Smith is coming under tremendous pressure from his campaign donors and from what Dwight Eisenhower called the “military industrial complex,” to increase military spending and to overlook accounting fraud and obsessive secrecy;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that we Democrats of the _____ call on Rep. Adam Smith to oppose increases in the Defense Department budget and to aggressively hold hearings about Pentagon accounting practices.


Contact me ThinkerFeeler@gmail.com for a pdf or word version of the resolution, with hyperlinks as footnotes.

My taxes pay for Pentagon waste Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War, by James Risen.

This issue is central for Democrats, progressives and all Americans.  The fight against Trump must not be an excuse for neglecting the fight against permanent war. This is where the rubber meets the road. If we don’t act, who will?

It might be reasonable to edit the THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED to call for a decrease in defense spending.

“Those of us who love peace must organize as effectively as the war hawks. As they spread the propaganda of war, we must spread the propaganda of peace.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Relevant links

Rep. Adam Smith is called a progressive, and a great hope for pacifists, in this Politico article Democrats going nuclear to rein in Trump’s arms buildup.

Adam Smith wrote an article in Defense One decrying Pentagon secrecy: The Pentagon’s Getting More Secretive — and It’s Hurting National Security.

The Risks of Permanent War by the RAND Corporation

Book review: How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything

New watchdog report decries ‘revolving door’ between the Pentagon and defense contractors (from http://defensenews.com)

America’s Permanent-War Complex, from the American Conservative.
“Eisenhower’s worst nightmare has come true, as defense mega-contractors climb into the cockpit to ensure we stay overextended.”

Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War, by James Risen.

See this related resolution by World Without War.

This article in The Atlantic, The Democrats Keep Capitulating on Defense Spending, discusses how Congressional Democrats agreed to increase defense spending in early 2018:

In the run-up to the deal, Nancy Pelosi’s office fired off an email to House Democrats proclaiming that, “In our negotiations, Congressional Democrats have been fighting for increases in funding for defense.” Chuck Schumer’s office announced that, “We fully support President Trump’s Defense Department’s request.” Not all congressional Democrats voted for the budget agreement: Thirty-eight percent of Democrats backed it in the House [Adam Smith opposed it.]  and 76 percent did in the Senate. But even those who voted no mostly did so because they were upset about its lack of protection for immigrant “dreamers”—not because they oppose a higher defense budget. Last year, in fact, when Democrats were offered a standalone vote on big increases in military spending—in the form of House and Senate defense authorization bills—large majorities in both bodies voted yes.

What makes this so remarkable is that the arguments for a large increase in defense spending are extraordinarily weak.


Earlier, there were additional WHEREASs:

WHEREAS the $21 trillion in federal debt is being used as justification for calls to make cuts to Social Security and Medicare, despite our having paid for those programs out of our paychecks;

WHEREAS the debt was caused largely by tax cuts for rich people, bailouts for corporations, a for-profit health care system, and fraudulent, disastrous wars;

WHEREAS 121 retired U.S. generals have written a letter opposing cuts to foreign aid;

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Russigate Denial

On many left-wing blogs, such as OpEdNews, there’s a large group of Russiagate-deniers. I don’t know if they’re trolls or if they just hate the Dems, the Deep State, and the cold war.

A friend, Lansing Scott says, “Yeah, I know several people like that. They believe that any talk about Russia is either to deflect blame from HRC for losing the election, or else warmongers trying to reignite a Cold War. They follow folks like Glenn Greenwald (legit) & Caitlin Johnstone (less legit), who have been railing against Maddow, Mueller, the Dems, the FBI, & anyone else who has sought investigation into Trump-Russia connections. Those Russia-deniers may have had a point worth considering in 2016, but now anyone who still holds those views is looking pretty foolish.”

I agree.

And Glenn Greenwald has now changed his opinion and believes Russiagate is for real (as reported in an article about him in The New Yorker).

See Hey, Russiagate deniers, it’s time to throw in the towel.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-campaign-russia-contacts-cap-report_us_5c36e939e4b0c469d76af276

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Link: Donald Trump’s Companies Destroyed Emails in Defiance of Court Orders

Donald Trump’s Companies Destroyed Emails in Defiance of Court Orders

Over the course of decades, Donald Trump’s companies have systematically destroyed or hidden thousands of emails, digital records and paper documents demanded in official proceedings, often in defiance of court orders. These tactics—exposed by a Newsweek review of thousands of pages of court filings, judicial orders and affidavits from an array of court cases—have enraged judges, prosecutors, opposing lawyers and the many ordinary citizens entangled in litigation with Trump. In each instance, Trump and entities he controlled also erected numerous hurdles that made lawsuits drag on for years, forcing courtroom opponents to spend huge sums of money in legal fees as they struggled—sometimes in vain—to obtain records.

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All in for Washington: Fighting Washington’s Upside-Down Tax Code

All In For Washington is a statewide effort to clean up the tax code so that all communities in Washington thrive. We know we can do great things when we all chip in our resources together to achieve the amazing things we could never accomplish alone.

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Expert on wall construction explains why the wall is a bad idea

Amy Patrick
January 8 at 7:52 PM

Howdy.

To recap: I’m a licensed structural and civil engineer with a MS in structural engineering from the top program in the nation and over a decade of experience on high-performance projects, and particularly of cleaning up design disasters where the factors weren’t properly accounted for, and I’m an adjunct professor of structural analysis and design at UH-Downtown. I have previously been deposed as an expert witness in matters regarding proper construction of walls and the various factors associated therein, and my testimony has passed Daubert.

Am I a wall expert? I am. I am literally a court-accepted expert on walls.

Structurally and civil engineering-wise, the border wall is not a feasible project. Trump did not hire engineers to design the thing. He solicited bids from contractors, not engineers. This means it’s not been designed by professionals. It’s a disaster of numerous types waiting to happen.

What disasters?

Off the top of my head…
1) It will mess with our ability to drain land in flash flooding. Anything impeding the ability of water to get where it needs to go (doesn’t matter if there are holes in the wall or whatever) is going to dramatically increase the risk of flooding.
2) Messes with all kind of stuff ecologically. For all other projects, we have to do an Environmental Site Assessment, which is arduous. They’re either planning to circumvent all this, or they haven’t accounted for it yet, because that’s part of the design process, and this thing hasn’t been designed.
3) The prototypes they came up with are nearly impossible to build or don’t actually do the job. This article explains more:

Writing on the Wall: Report Suggests Border Project Is Off-Track and Over Budget

And so on.

The estimates provided for the cost are arrived at unreasonably. You can look for yourself at the two-year-old estimate that you see everyone citing.

Bernstein Materials Blast: Who Would Profit from The Trump Wall?

It does not account for rework, complexities beyond the prototype design, factors to prevent flood and environmental hazard creation, engineering redesign… It’s going to be higher than $50bn. The contractors will hit the government with near CONSTANT change orders. “Cost overrun” will be the name of the game. It will not be completed in Trump’s lifetime.

I’m a structural forensicist, which means I’m called in when things go wrong. This is a project that WILL go wrong. When projects go wrong, the original estimates are just *obliterated*. And when that happens, good luck getting it fixed, because there aren’t that many forensicists out there to right the ship, particularly not that are willing to work on a border wall project— a large quotient of us are immigrants, and besides, we can’t afford to bid on jobs that are this political. We’re small firms, and we’re already busy, and we don’t gamble our reputations on political footballs. So you’d end up with a revolving door of contractors making a giant, uncoordinated muddle of things, and it’d generally be a mess. Good money after bad. The GAO agrees with me.

And it won’t be effective. I could, right now, purchase a 32 foot extension ladder and weld a cheap custom saddle for the top of the proposed wall so that I can get over it. I don’t know who they talked to about the wall design and its efficacy, but it sure as heck wasn’t anybody with any engineering imagination.

Another thing: we are not far from the day where inexpensive drones will be able to pick up and carry someone. This will happen in the next ten years, and it’s folly to think that the coyotes who ferry people over the border won’t purchase or create them. They’re low enough, quiet enough, and small enough to quickly zip people over any wall we could build undetected with our current monitoring setup.

Let’s have border security, by all means, but let’s be smart about it. This is not smart. It’s not effective. It’s NOT cheap. The returns will be diminishing as technology advances, too. This is a ridiculous idea that will never be successfully executed and, as such, would be a monumental waste of money. 🤷🏻‍♀️

This is set to public. Have a blast sharing it.

Border wall: https://www.flickr.com/photos/54593278@N03/24075842318/
(Source: public domain: https://www.flickr.com/photos/54593278@N03/24075842318/)

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More fliers from neo-Nazi Patriot Front group

A friend reports that the white supremacist group Patriot Front dropped hateful propaganda in neighborhoods and on porches last night in Tacoma, Edmonds, West Seattle, and Bellevue.

Nate Bowling has tweeted about this: https://twitter.com/nate_bowling/status/1081959317392093186

Someone else reported seeing them in Olympia. And someone reporting seeing them in Everett.

Patriot Front literature: Better Dead than Red

A related group did similar drops in July of 2018. See Anti-immigrant “Blood and Soil” leaflets in Clyde Hill.

If you do a google search for https://news.google.com/search?q=%22patriot%20front%22%20fliers&hl=en-US&gl=US&ceid=US%3Aen you see many similar fliers have been placed nationwide in the last few months.

#NoPlaceForHate. #NeverIsNow.

This article covers the story: White nationalist fliers discovered in West Seattle

Here is background information on Patriot Front: https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounders/patriot-front

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Why Dems should be furious at Obama

Alternative title: The triumphant, tragic presidency of Barack Obama

Historians will look back at the presidency of Barack Obama as one that was both triumphant and tragic.

It was triumphant for the obvious reasons: Obama is a brilliant orator and a decent human being.  He is the first black man to win election to the highest office. He saved America from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, bringing on economic growth that continues until now.

Historians will point to the real, if partial, victories of the Affordable Care Act, re-regulation of Wall Street, and increased environmental regulations.  They  will point to the intractable wars that Obama inherited and to the relentless and almost unanimous wall of opposition from Republicans in Congress and from right wing media.  They will point to the racism and birtherism that he had to face.  They will say that his progressive critics had too high expectations for what he could achieve.

Yet the tragic thing about the presidency of Barack Obama was that he was given a once-in-a-generation opportunity to control the narrative,  expose GOP corruption, establish a strong Democratic majority and save America from the forces of corporatism and militarism.

Obama barely even tried.

A review of the evidence shows that Obama failed to take advantage of the opportunities he had available, with the result that most of his legacy is now being destroyed.

In short, he didn’t fight.

Due to an excess of moderation, idealism, naiveté, and/or cowardice, Obama disheartened his supporters, confused the public about which party would serve their interests,  allowed the Republicans to control the narrative, and facilitated the handover of the White House, Congress, the Supreme Court, and a majority of state legislatures to extremist Republicans.

Specifically, the Democrats lost 900 seats in state legislatures during Obama’s presidency. “At the beginning of Obama’s term, Democrats controlled 59 percent of state legislatures, while now [in early 2017] they control only 31 percent, the lowest percentage for the party since the turn of the 20th century. They held 29 governor’s offices and now have only 16, the party’s lowest number since 1920.” (source: Barack Obama Won The White House, But Democrats Lost The Country: What Happened?

And Donald Trump is now president.

Here’s a particularly outrageous example of Obama’s bad choices. As reported in Politico (Biden: McConnell stopped Obama from calling out Russians), three weeks before the 2016 election, Obama and Biden wanted to inform the American people about Russian interference in the election. But they allowed Mitch McConnell to veto the announcement. About a week later, Obama allowed James Comey to announce that he was re-opening the email investigation against Hillary Clinton.

Biden said he and former President Barack Obama worried that without a united front of bipartisanship, speaking out before the election would undermine the legitimacy of the election and American institutions in a way that would play into the Russians’ larger ambitions.  (source)

This is the same Joe Biden who, as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee that was holding hearings on the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, decided against allowing women other than Anita Hill to offer testimony about Thomas’s sexual harassment.

Why don’t Democrats fight?

Republicans in Congress had opposed virtually every policy position of President Obama. The Senate threatened filibusters on numerous bills.  In March of 2016, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court;  the Senate, under the leadership of Mitch McConnell, refused to hold hearings on the nomination. Yet three weeks before the 2016 election, Obama and Biden still wanted to be bipartisan and still deferred to Mitch McConnell?!

There are dozens of similar inexplicable cowardice or excessive moderation on the part of Obama. See the list below and this petition.

While writing this article I watched a video of former President Obama’s wonderful speech to students at the University of Illinois. In the speech President Obama eloquently denounces the current occupant of the White House. It brought me to tears to realize that such a brilliant, gifted, sensible, lovable man could be followed in office by such an incompetent, repulsive scoundrel as Donald Trump.

Compare how Obama led to the masterful tactics of Mitch McConnell, who engineered the placement of two Supreme Court justices and then convinced Senate Democrats to allow fifteen more federal judges to be confirmed as a condition for his letting Senators return to their home states to campaign.   Why didn’t Obama fight like that?

If Obama is a closet conservative, then some of his choices make sense. But from a purely political, strategic point of view, many of his choices were just dumb and naive.

In 2008 America was ready for the change that Obama promised.   The economy was in deep recession. Corporate America had come begging to Uncle Sam for bailouts. The war in Iraq — launched on false pretenses —  was going badly.  The war in Afghanistan was unresolved. Wall Street was exposed as corrupt and under-regulated.  Scandals and criminality in the Bush administration and the GOP (Tom DeLay, etc) made Americans yearn for a strong, ethical, populist Democratic leader.

Obama campaigned as such a leader and had a mandate —  certainly in terms of the electoral college vote:  365 to 173.  The popular vote margin was respectable but not overwhelming: 52.9% to 45.7%.

Signs of trouble appeared early after Obama won election. Before his inauguration in 2009, when President-elect Obama was asked by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulo about whether there would be investigations and prosecutions for Bush-era criminality, Obama responded, “we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards.” In 2012 Obama again tweeted: “We don’t look backwards, we look forward.”

Apparently, Obama didn’t look forward far enough. Else he would have foreseen the Republican takeover of the House in 2010 and the election of Donald Trump in 2016.

Obama was a brilliant and inspiring speaker. But, once elected, he barely used his oratorical skills to sway public opinion. His successful campaign organization, Obama For America, devolved into the  ineffective Organizing for America.  He often betrayed his base: progressives, environmentalists, women, labor, educators, and pacifists.

Here’s a partial list of Obama’s betrayals and mistakes:

  • Prosecuting whistle blowers
  • Protecting war criminals and Wall Street crooks
  • Surrounding himself with Wall Street cronies
  • Supporting the charter school movement
  • Bankrupting and weakening the Democratic National Committee and state parties (see below)
  • Continuing the Bush bailouts of Wall Street, not Main Street
  • Failing to support the Employee Free Choice Act, despite union support during his election and his promise to “to fight for the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act”.
  • Appointing conservative judges to the federal courts (“According to a February analysis by the Alliance for Justice, a coalition of environmental, consumer, civil rights, and women’s groups, 70 percent of Obama’s judicial nominees are former corporate attorneys. ” Obama’s Judicial Nominees: Liberals Are Upset With Them, Too).
  • Pushing for strong enforcement of federal marijuana statutes US vows marijuana enforcement regardless of California vote, Medical Marijuana Industry Is Unnerved by U.S. Crackdown
  • Stacking the committee responsible for designing the Affordable Care Act with conservative Democrats, resulting in a health care bill similar to what Republicans had proposed: a gift to the private insurance industry
  • Supporting conservative Democrat Blanche Lincoln against progressive challenger Bill Halter in the Arkansas Senate race; see Biden Sends Fundraising E-Mail For Blanche Lincoln.
  • Compromising early and often on taxation and other issues, in a vain hope to garner Republican cooperation;
  • Compromising with Republicans on extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich; Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said this about the estate tax provision included in the tax cut compromise: “We had the president — George W. Bush — we couldn’t get it done then and we’re getting it done here.”
  • Nominating Jason Furman for Chief of the Council of Economic Advisers; the American Enterprise Institute says of Furman: “He has written on the importance of fiscal discipline, the need to undertake entitlement reform sooner rather than later, the role of international trade in improving living standards, and the benefits of Wal-Mart in boosting living standards for low-income Americans.” (source: Jason Furman would serve with distinction as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers).
  • Promoting the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a neo-liberal “trade deal” that was more about giving power to corporations than about promoting free trade

The above is just a sample of his betrayals. See this petition for a much fuller list.

Under Howard Dean, the Democratic National Committee had pursued a successful 50-state strategy. Obama weakened the DNC and state parties, making sure that most money was fed to his re-election effort and to the re-election campaign of Hillary Clinton. As it says in the Rolling Stone article Can Democrats Fix the Party?

The 50-state strategy devolved under Obama into a presidential-battleground strategy, leaving state parties starved for cash and leadership. “Obama didn’t put resources into local parties unless it was for his re-election effort,” says the former party chair. Making matters worse: Obama tapped ambitious Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz – a favorite of White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett – to run the DNC in 2011. “That congresswoman had no idea what she was doing,” adds the former chair.

Wasserman Schultz went rogue. In a rift with the White House that spilled into a story on Politico, she was criticized for using the DNC as a vehicle for self-promotion, hoping the office would serve as a springboard into House leadership. The White House made overtures to oust Wasserman Schultz, but she dug in, promising an ugly fight that could tar the president as both anti-woman and anti-Semitic. (Wasserman Schultz, who was forced to resign in the aftermath of the Russian hack of the DNC, declined to participate in this story.)

Obama dodged that fight, and instead fostered Organizing for Action, the grassroots group born of his campaigns. “They had a mirror organization that did just their politics, and it weakened the DNC,” says a source in House leadership. “It directed money elsewhere and was not in the interest of the long-term stability [of the party]. It was a selfish strategy.”

In Donna Brazile’s account of her the role in the 2016 campaign, Hacks, the Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House, she wrote, “Obama left the party $24 million in debt — $15 million in bank debt and more than $8 million owed to vendors after the 2012 campaign…. As I saw it, these three titanic egos — Barack, Hillary, and Debbie [Wasserman Schultz] had stripped the party to a shell for their own purposes.”

A DNC member in Washington State said the same thing to me: Obama left the DNC weakened and broke.

In Land of the free? How Trump Has Put America’s Identity in Peril, Ben Fountain writes

Obama was elected on the shoulders of an incipient movement that he allowed to languish once he became president. It started early, even before he took office. Locked in a runoff for the Georgia senate seat held by a Republican incumbent, the progressive Democratic nominee, James Martin, begged the popular president-elect for help. A Martin win would have given Democrats a crucial 60-vote supermajority in the Senate, but even with the stakes so high, Obama, reluctant to spend any of his considerable political capital, limited his support to a single radio spot. Martin lost, and the template was set.

“Obama’s whole approach was to minimize opposition, rather than to maximize support,” said Martin Ganz, a union organizer and Obama adviser, and so it would go for most of Obama’s presidency. His reluctance to take his case directly to the people, allowing his opponents to control the narrative. His muddying of what were in fact sharp partisan distinctions, including his maddening restraint when it came to the politics of class. His tenderness toward Wall Street, which was hardly reciprocated. His feckless pursuit of common ground with the Republican opposition long after their hardcore obstructionism had become painfully clear. It’s a matter of record that the Republicans’ deliberate, unwavering, freely admitted strategy was to destroy the president by thwarting every single measure he put forward, even those previously supported by the GOP. In fact, even those that originated in the GOP; the Affordable Care Act was based on a plan developed by the hard-right Heritage Foundation.

Such was his practice of the politics of moderation that Obama lost even when he won. The “shellacking” that the Democrats took in the 2010 midterms was due in no small part to Republicans’ successful demonizing of the Affordable Care Act. The popular mobilization that twice elected Obama president might have, with sustained, vigorous support and forceful leadership, matured into the kind of mass movement that creates lasting change.

Obama promised openness on national security matters but instead enforced secrecy.   “Obama’s transparency phase did not last long. His administration secretly subpoenaed reporters’ phone records and brought at least nine leak-related prosecutions, more than all previous administrations combined. ”  (source: the New York Times)

The same New York Times article summarizes the Obama administration legacy on the war on terror:

In all, what Obama left behind was a troubling inheritance — vast, secret and mostly unilateral powers to spy and to kill in the name of fighting the global war on terror, powers that depend more on the good intentions of those who wield them than on any written law. Listening to Obama’s early rhetoric, it was easy to think that he was going to do something to pare those powers back and remove the country from its permanent post-9/11 war footing. The war against Al Qaeda would continue, he said, but with “an abiding confidence in the rule of law and due process; in checks and balances and accountability.” He would pursue “the strongest and most sustainable legal framework,” a legacy “that outlasts my administration, my presidency, that endures for the next president and the president after that.”

But in the end, Obama’s record on counterterrorism was one of continuity, not change. Guantánamo shrank; it did not close. Obama responded to Edward Snowden’s disclosures by throwing his weight behind the National Security Agency. The C.I.A. kept its drones and signature strikes. Efforts that might have been intended to scale back the drone program wound up codifying it; the series of speeches that Obama presented as part of his “framework” — road maps to reform — had the effect of normalizing and putting a humane face on a policy of quasi assassination. During the final months of Obama’s second term came a gesture toward transparency, an executive order requiring the White House to release annually the number of noncombatants killed by drone strikes outside war zones. Their estimates for Obama’s years in office were far lower than those compiled by outside groups.

President Trump has now loosened the rules for drone strikes and used the other powers established by Obama.

The lost opportunity of the Obama administration is particularly painful to behold, because of the damage that was done by his predecessor and that is being done by his successor, and because Hillary Clinton could be president now, had Obama made a few small moves.

A sympathetic assessment is that Obama was a decent man, of moderate temperament.  He was not up to fighting the vicious and relentless forces arrayed against us.  In the end, he and Hillary were swiftboated into defeat.   Her email scandal was minor compared to the scandals around Trump.   But, again, the Democrats let Republicans control the narrative.

I believe the sympathetic assessment is too kind.   It is a mystery to me that a man with such gifts and such an opportunity threw it all away and allowed the Republicans to regain control.

Glen Ford, of Black Agenda Report, wrote an incisive article Psycho-Babbling Obama in 2010 — about the same year I realize that Obama had sold progressives under the bus.    Ford’s devastating words ring true today with even more force:

For two years we watched Barack Obama undercut the left wing of his party at every turn, with a disdain so palpable his minions could not resist insulting leftists in the most juvenile terms. For two years we watched the First Black President facilitate the greatest transfer of wealth in human history – $12 to $14 trillion – to Wall Street, and we watched as he put the U.S. war machine back on the offensive in the world. For two years we heard Obama say over and over again that he had no intention of taking targeted action to help Black and brown communities that had been targeted for destruction by banks. After two years, one would think that folks on the Left would have gotten the idea that Obama is pro-Pentagon, pro-Wall Street, and doesn’t have a transformative bone in his body regarding either race or class. But, for many, the message, however obvious, has not sunk in. Rather than face the fact that Obama is not a friend of the people, leftish commentators insist on conducting a psychological analysis of the president. They seem to be trying to find some quirk in Obama’s personality that can by corrected in time for the Armageddon showdown with the Republicans.

Still unwilling or unable to admit that they were “psyched out” by Barack Obama and his corporate handlers, Lefties search for psychological reasons that the First Black President has been such a disappointment. It’s the failure to fight thing, or the lack of vision thing, or the failure to communicate thing, they say. [But i]t isn’t that Obama has trouble conveying his vision, it’s that his actual vision is unacceptable to progressives. As for his willingness to fight, Obama fought his own left wing, and stomped their butts into the dirt over his corporate health care plan.

It’s hard to be angry at Obama, because he is brilliant and decent. But looking at his record or compromise and accommodation, it’s also hard not to be angry.

Sure, there were many causes of the 2016 election debacle. (Hillary, for her part, had the hubris to think she didn’t need to campaign in the swing states.) As sitting president and head of the Democratic Party, Barack Obama bears a particularly heavy responsibility.

 

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