Against the advice of my doctor, I often listen to the news (which should just be called the lies) while I’m at work and am frequently infuriated by the propaganda and lies told by politicians and rebroadcast by presumably neutral networks such as PBS, the BBC, and KQED (an NPR-member radio station which claims it is publically-funded yet accepts donations from corporations that sometimes underwrite their stories, and whose news reports are much different than KPFA – a truly independent and respectable Berkeley-based listener-funded radio station). Yet nonetheless I listen in attempt to gain an understanding of the bullshit the average American is subjected to and to then arm myself with additional information (either omitted from or twisted by mainstream media news stories) from independent media sources in order to counter (however unpersuasively) the perspective held by people that I sometimes talk to about the news. Last Tuesday, I heard a particularly egregious and hypocritical remark from our President who was on the campaign trail for Hillary, and in his criticism of Trump (neither of whom I will be voting for), Obama said:
If you disrespect the Constitution by threatening to shut down the press when it doesn’t say things you like or threaten to throw your opponent in jail or discriminate against people of different faiths… if you do that before you are elected, then what are you gonna do when you have actual power to do those things?
One problem inherent in Obama’s statement is his “when you have actual power to do those things” line. While I would prefer not to put words in the President’s mouth, I will in attempt to paraphrase what I interpret his message to be, in which seems he seems to be saying: “what would Donald Trump do if he were to become president and thus granted the power to do the aforementioned things (shut down the press, discriminate against others)?” Obama seems to suggest that when the president holds a position of power they presented with an opportunity to violate the law and get away with it because they are, well, in power. True, the president of the United States is elected a position of power, but this doesn’t give them the green light to abuse that power, which president Obama has done repeatedly, including in the exact ways that he is accusing Trump of potentially doing.
Obama's drone strikes have killed at least 176 children in Pakistan alone.
In his two terms in office, President Obama has overseen eight consecutive years of continual war in the Middle East. Instead of prosecuting former Bush administration officials (whom were the progenitors of this chaos) for war crimes, he kept key appointments and advisors onboard, thus the wars continued and expanded. Like Hillary Clinton, he is a professional liar whom genuflects to the war machine, approving the greatest weapons sales in history to Saudi Arabia – a country run by a regime that treats women and homosexuals as horribly as the dogs abused in that country – while pretending to fight for women’s and LGBT rights at home. This man who pushes for the TPP and TTIP speaks of press freedom whilst running an administration that has prosecuted more whistle-blowers than all previous presidents combined. He has condoned the NSA surveillance state and the militarization of domestic police forces. You have to hand him, for Obama is the greatest politician in modern history (I realized that we were faced with a choice: McCain or Obama, but there were also third party alternatives), for he still maintains a great deal of support from people who would call themselves “progressive” (a testament to the propaganda success of the neoliberal establishment) and whom call to nominate his wife as a future presidential candidate.
U.S-backed Saudi "double tap" airstrike on a funeral hall in Sanaa.
He speaks of respect for the Constitution after having waged unconstitutional wars against Libya and putting boots on the ground in Syria, after boosting the troop presence in Iraq and Afghanistan (steps the Obama administration justified and authorized by the 15-year-old Bush-era “War Powers Act”), and operating numerous drone strike campaigns throughout the Middle East and the Horn of Africa. Despite bombing twice as many countries as Bush, having a “kill list,” and signing off on drone strikes which have killed hundreds of innocent people (one of whom was a 16-year-old American citizen), Obama went on the win the Nobel Peace Prize (if he thought he didn’t deserve then why not refuse it?). He speaks of discrimination as the head of an Empire perpetuating war against millions of Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Libya, and Yemen and allying itself with some of the most discriminatory regimes on the planet: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, Bahrain, and Qatar. Obama speaks out against throwing people in jail while his administration has viciously prosecuted Chelsea Manning and other whistle-blowers whilst condoning coups in Honduras, Egypt, and, and Ukraine. Yes, Trump is a man who has fascism written all over his face, but Obama has proven than he is no better. For him to claim that Trump will take actions that undermine the Constitution and harm innocent lives while he himself has done precisely that is a hypocritical, arrogant, and manipulative attempt to whitewash his record which is stained with blood and tarnished by lies.
Image from Adbusters.