U.S. President Barack Obama has blocked accountability, everywhere he can.
(2) Obama did it also for the top officials who had caused mega-banks to crash in 2008 (whose crimes have, in turn, led to taxpayer-bailouts of the banks that they ran and often still run, all courtesy of Bush-Obama). In order to keep their Ponzi-economy going, his Administration (including his Federal Reserve) is now letting Wall Street’s federally-backstopped mega-banks “Enron”-ize the commodities markets: oil, gas, coal, metals, even uranium, and (yet again) electricity.
(3) Obama did it also for the top officials (led by G.W. Bush himself) who had caused a certain country, which posed no threat to us, to be invaded by us in 2003, and subsequently to produce over $3 trillion in economic losses for the U.S., plus thousands of pointless deaths, and millions of unnecessary refugees, and the resulting development of today’s fanatical ISIS: this country that was raped by the U.S. is, of course, Iraq — and an unprovoked and totally propaganda-based invasion of any country is an international war crime, but the U.S. did such a thing, and no one has been punished for having done it, nor even (such as Condoleezza Rice) for having participated in it.
Obama blocked accountability, even for that enormous crime, which was a crime against not only Iraq, but also against America itself, especially against the veterans, who suffer greatly, even today, from the hell Bush and his co-conspirators wrought there.
The masterminds, the planners, and the liars, for that invasion, have all been unprosecuted by Obama, just as they were unprosecuted by their originator and mega-criminal, President George W. Bush.
By contrast, to compare against Obama’s record of non-prosecutions against these elite mega-criminals — these people who were never held accountable for anything, but who produced immense damages to Americans and to people around the world — Obama is simply an ordinary President in his record of charging and prosecuting crimes by the far-more-numerous categories of non-elite crooks, these being the violators who had failed their responsibilities, as opposed to those elite criminals, whom Obama prohibited from being prosecuted for having violated their accountabilities. (As examples of Obama’s enforcing responsibilities, consider that, on 31 December 2008, 21 days before Obama became President, the total population in U.S. federal prisons was 201,280. By the time of 31 December 2012, after four years with him as President, it was 217,815, or 8.2% larger. But, then, both federal and state prison populations started a decline; and, as of 16 October 2014, the federal prison population is 213,901, which still is 6.3% higher than when Obama first entered office. So, when an American has failed his responsibilities under law, Obama has been fairly harsh, he has not left those crimes unprosecuted, and unpunished.)
To investigate and prosecute only crimes upward (violations of responsibilities), and no crimes downward (violations of accountabilities), is profoundly unjust, especially because the many trillions of dollars, and the millions of lives, that are transferred or lost in downward crimes, and especially in the most-elite ones, dwarf the financial and human transfers in upward crimes, the run-of-the-mill crimes. Furthermore, downward crimes exacerbate wealth-inequalities, whereas there is no such general tendency on the part of upward crimes.
Obama talks a storm against widening wealth-inequality, but his actual policies widen it still further, as if he doesn’t really believe what he says, or care about it. He made a decision to continue his predecessor’s bailout of the mega-banks and their top (inside) investors, rather than of their victims the defrauded home-buyers and outside investors; and the natural result of that choice on his and Bush’s part is this widening wealth-gap.
No U.S. President in history (not even Bush) has the extreme record of selective prosecution (against lower-level crooks) and non-prosecution (protecting elite crooks) that Obama does. Obama is the all-time-record pro-aristocratic, anti-public, U.S. President. To use the word “Justice,” in relation to his Department of ‘Justice,’ is to insult and demean that very term, and not merely to miss-call that Department.
Compare Obama’s record of enforcing responsibilities (obligations upward, to employers or others who are higher in the power-structure), versus his total protection and non-prosecution of the elite mega-crooks, the individuals who had violated their accountabilities (obligations downward, to employees and to others who are lower in the power-structure, including to customers and to outside investors): Both the top bank executives, and the top Federal executives, who had masterminded and overseen elite mega-crimes — some of which mega-crimes (especially the financial ones) were extremely profitable for their masterminds — have all gotten off scot-free, because of Obama’s protecting criminal elites from any accountability whatsoever, as will now be documented fully, via the links:
Consider that, when Obama came into office in 2009, there were torrents of elite crimes to be prosecuted, such as illegal waterboarding — it is banned under both U.S. law and international law. But, as McClatchy Newspapers noted on 16 October 16 2014, “Obama opposed any further inquiry. … He also ruled out future prosecutions” for it. (There had been no past prosecutions of these executives, the ones who planned and oversaw it, though there had been prosecutions of some low-level troops, who had violated their responsibilities.) Headlining “Senate’s inquiry into CIA torture sidesteps blaming Bush, aides,” McClatchy’s reporters wrote that, “It’s not as if there wasn’t evidence that Bush and his top national security lieutenants were directly involved in the program’s creation and operation. … Bush opened the way in February 2002 by denying al Qaida and Taliban detainees the protection of an international ban against torture. … Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld relentlessly pressured interrogators to subject detainees to” perpetrate waterboarding and other illegal “interrogation” means, which were claimed by the Bush Administration to be necessary for extracting the truth from detainees, but which actually did not extract any truths from them.
Such tortures “extracted” mis-information — waterboarding caused the detainee “to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear” — perhaps even such things as that “Saddam Hussein paid us to do it,” or anything else to stop the moment’s suffocation via waterboarding. Vanity Fair’s independent investigation, of the torturing, interviewed:
“numerous counterterrorist officials from agencies on both sides of the Atlantic. Their conclusion is unanimous: not only have coercive methods failed to generate significant and actionable intelligence, they have also caused the squandering of resources on a massive scale through false leads, chimerical plots, and unnecessary safety alerts–with Abu Zubaydah’s case one of the most glaring examples. Here, they say, far from exposing a deadly plot, all torture did was lead to more torture of his supposed accomplices while also providing some misleading ‘information’ that boosted the administration’s argument for invading Iraq.”
So: in terms of the top officials who were involved in this, especially the President and Vice President (both of whom received periodic reports on it), this torturing program was actually two crimes in one: it was not merely torture itself, which is illegal; but it also was part of the entire larger Bush operation to obtain a pretext for invading Iraq, by tying Iraq to 9/11. That’s abuse of office — abuse of power — in two ways, and not merely in one.
As early as the start of April in 2009, was reported that the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee investigation into the tortures had concluded that these techniques “were ineffective. That’s not all, it also says these techniques had no connection to the intelligence that ultimately netted Osama bin Laden.”
Then, the FBI agent who had handled the CIA’s detainee Abu Zubaydah, told the U.S. Senate that, by the agent’s using the standard FBI professional psychological method of interrogating Zubaydah, he had extracted from Zubaydah the truthful leads that produced the identifications and ultimate captures of both Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and Jose Padilla, but that then Bush’s torture-team came in, under instructions from the White House, and took over with Zubaydah, and started by humiliating him and then ultimately waterboarding him, but “The new techniques did not produce results, as Abu Zubaydah shut down and stopped talking.” Even after hundreds of waterboardings, Zubaydah refused to say anything: not even such things as “Saddam made us do it.”
This FBI agent then provided to the Senators irrefutable documentary evidence that the White House had been lying. He said: “As you can see from this timeline, many of the claims made in the memos about the success of the enhanced techniques are inaccurate. For example, it is untrue to claim Abu Zubaydah wasn’t cooperating before August 1, 2002. The truth is that we got actionable intelligence from him in the first hour of interrogating him.”
In other words: The Bush White House’s law-breaking effort to obtain evidence incriminating Saddam Hussein failed, but the FBI agent’s law-compliant effort to obtain truthful evidence regarding the 9/11 attacks succeeded; and it did so almost immediately but was quickly halted by the White House, which wasn’t interested, really, in truthful evidence, about anything. They were looking for pretexts that they could trumpet to the public, to invade Iraq.
Barack Obama, instead of enforcing the law, which is the President’s chief obligation (both his chief responsibility to the Constitution, and his chief accountability to the public), blocks prosecutions of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Tenet, and the others who were involved in that operation to use illegal tortures in order to obtain whatever pretexts they could, to invade Iraq. Two massive U.S. and international crimes in one — the tortures of detainees, and the lying to invade Iraq — were perpetrated, and yet Obama blocks prosecutions of both.
One of the world’s greatest investigative journalists headlined “10 Torture Myths Debunked,” and presented crushingly powerful evidence against the Bush Administration on that matter. This was simultaneously a crushingly powerful case against Barack Obama, because Obama has served as an accessory-after-the-fact in this entire matter, by failing to fulfill his Oath of Office, to “preserve, protect, and defend, the Constitution of the United States.” He was discriminatorially enforcing the laws: to him, all praise and rewards go upward, to his friends and the other powerful individuals (including Bush, Cheney, Rice, etc.) — thus, no accountability; and all blame and punishments go downward, to piker-crooks among the general public, and to all other outsiders, the non-members of Obama’s beloved elite. He protects these elite, at any and all costs.
So, let’s now consider the Wall Street bailouts. I have previously presented the case against Obama for his having blocked prosecutions of the Wall Street criminals who brought down our mega-banks by incentivizing the sales forces of their firms to defraud both homebuyers and MBS investors and boost their own executive bonuses thereby, and so to produce the millions of stripped investors and foreclosed homes and the resulting loss in property-values and the global economic crash, whose source continues to be covered-up by our Government, so as to protect the elite mega-guilty. Like I had documented there, Obama secretly told the mega-bank CEOs, at the very start of his Administration, “My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks. … I want to help. … I’m protecting you.” He lied to the public, in public — but not to the banksters, in private. He kept his promises to them. (He held that private meeting with them on 27 March 2009.)
Besides his cover-up of this massive criminality being criminal in itself (accessory after-the-fact participation in criminal enterprise), some numbers will be cited here to show that his covering-up the problems, and not prosecuting the mega-crooks, isn’t at all solving the underlying problems that Obama had been elected in order to solve and has claimed to be solving: this problem is the economic crash, a crash from the home-building and home-buying bubble, which was also the MBS, or Mortgage-Backed Securities, bubble (the other side of that same coin). There is no real ‘economic recovery’ except for America’s richest, who are evidently Obama’s only real concern.
A Harvard study in 2013 showed (“Figure 8” there) that whereas in 2006 — the earliest year of the manufactured ‘bubble’ that stripped investors — there were about 2 million vacant (essentially, wasted) housing units in the U.S., this figure rose above 3 million in 2008, reached about 4 million by 2010, and was still at around 3.5 million as of 2013 (the latest year). A study, by Freddie Mac, of the U.S. housing market, showed (p. 23, “Excess Unsold Homes for Sale”) that whereas the “Excess” (above-normal) unsold homes peaked in 2008 at around 900 thousand homes per quarter, there still continues an excess of around 200 thousand homes per quarter, and that this number (200,000) has remained rather constant throughout the past two years, so that it seems to be the new norm: around 200,000 more homes per quarter are remaining unsold than had long been the case, prior to George W. Bush’s Presidency. Obama’s policies didn’t rectify that but instead continue it.
Furthermore, this same Freddie Mac source (at p. 26, “Housing Affordability”) shows that though house-prices (in terms of “affordability”) did start coming down in 2012, those prices have unfortunately stabilized throughout 2013 and 2014 at still around 20% above the price that prevailed at the start of 2008, so that houses are now much less affordable than was the case before the 2008 crash. Even all of those unsold homes aren’t enough to push down home-prices enough to clear out the excess housing-inventory: prices would need to come down a lot more for that excess inventory to be removed and the construction-industry to recover, but both the excess inventory and the high prices have instead been stable throughout these past two years.
Clearly, then: If the Fed really were to stop its Zero Interest Rate Policy (now “QE”), then there would be another housing-crash. Interest-rates would be going up, during the time of this new normal in real estate, when there is already an excess inventory of unsold homes, even before that crash-after-the-crash comes. It would thus be significantly worse than in 2008 (prior to this new-normal). The unsold-housing inventory would then be skyrocketing above its current, already-high, level.
The Census Bureau reports that single-family homes under construction averaged about 500,000 per year during the 1990s, and peaked at 929,000 in 2005, then plunged to a low of 221,000 in 2011, and that they were at 319,000 in 2013, still well below the figure during any year prior to 2000. Construction of multi-family units with less than 5 apartments is also at or near record lows, which are from only half to an eighth of the numbers that had prevailed during the pre-Bush years. However, construction of large apartment-buildings, “5 units or more,” has been at the long-term normal rate throughout the past two years. So: except for the construction of large apartment buildings, the entire residential construction industry in the U.S. remains in what seems to be a permanently depressed condition. Obama’s “economic recovery,” from Bush’s real-estate-induced “recession,” has thus been fictitious, just as it has been fictitious for the lower 99% of America’s income-recipients.
Therefore, the summary regarding the entire residential housing market is: it’s weak but stabilized at that weak level, and if the Fed were to stop its bubble-policy, the residential housing markets in the U.S. would collapse, yet again; and this time from a base that’s already weak; so that the Fed will probably continue to be in “bubble” mode until some other sector of the economy (not under the Fed’s control) crashes and brings on an economic hurricane, which will then be both bigger and more complex than was the 2008 crash. That’s what Obama’s ‘economic recovery’ amounts to. When he secretly told the banksters, “I’m protecting you,” he meant it, and he did it. Maybe McCain or Romney would have been no different (except in their public rhetoric), but they could hardly have been much worse. An electoral choice like that is not democracy, any more than Obama’s Department of ‘Justice’ is justice.
Here is what happens when all of the nation’s income-increase goes to the top 1%, as it has under Obama: American purchases have continued to exceed American incomes, and the Federal Government has been adding the difference to its balance-sheet; consumers haven’t been adding it to theirs. Since Obama became President in January 2009, retail sales have increased about 28%, or 4.8% annually. But household debt has remained virtually unchanged under Obama, having been $13.7 trillion in the first quarter of 2009, and being $13.3 trillion in the second quarter of 2014. However, federal debt was $10.6 trillion on 31 January 2009, and was $17.8 trillion on 30 September 2014. Therefore, total U.S. debt has risen under Obama, from around $24.3 trillion to $31.1 trillion; that’s a 28% rise in 5.8 years, or a 4.8% annual increase, which is the same as the annual increase in retail sales. So: in the years following after the 2008 crash, retail sales rose by increasing the country’s total debt, all of which debt-increase has occurred in the federal debt, not at all in the personal debt. Thus, what has been keeping retail sales up during the past six years is the income-increases by only the top 1%, and it’s all been getting charged to the federal credit card, courtesy of Obama and the Federal Reserve, as a sheer gift from Obama and the Fed to the top 1%. But all taxpayers and recipients of government services (such as infrastructure and education) will be paying for that gift to the Bush-Obama elite, via increases in their own taxes to the Government, and via reductions in their services (including bridge-maintenance, etc.) from the Government. The only beneficiaries of all this will be today’s top 1% — the people who are receiving all of today’s income-increases. Obama’s federal money has, in ultimate effect, been going only to those people. That’s in the data. This is a siphon from the masses to the classes, and it was started by Bush but is being continued by Obama.
It’s the sort of thing which happens when we have a President who blocks all accountability, a President who protects all of the really powerful, “respectable,” crooks, both inside the Government (the top office-holders in government, including bum federal regulators, who recycle themselves, at greatly expanded pay, into their regulated industries), and inside the private economy (the top-level mega-bank and mega-corporate executives). It’s a virtual (but certainly not virtuous) privatization of government “from the masses to the classes,” which slowly strips the public of the benefits of government services, such as regulation of the safety of foods and other products, and which simultaneously increases the ability of private corporations to transfer those losses (from poisons, toxic effluents and foods, dangerous products, polluted air, etc.) off onto the public, by making the public sicker, etc., who will thus be bearing the costs, for which those victims (and not the Government) will bear the burdens, and the mega-crooks will enjoy the gains from those takings. More and more companies become more and more empowered to poison consumers and to cheat investors; and, as those “freedoms” (in this libertarian society) for executives rise, any company that fails to join their race to the bottom by taking advantage of that opportunity to transfer all of their losses off onto the public, will be losing out in the economic competition they’ll be encountering from the executive psychopaths who do take advantage of their increased executive “freedom” — freedom not “of conscience,” but “from conscience” (since there is no law-enforcement against them).To increase the freedom of the top 1% is thus to reduce the freedom of the bottom 99% — notwithstanding the aristocratically funded “libertarian” myth to the contrary (which lie, so profitable to them, says that there’s no such trade-off). (And yet Americans want less, not more, economic regulation; they want more poisons in their foods, more dangerous products, more polluted water, and more MBS and other toxic assets to invest in. They’ve swallowed the propaganda.)
Under President Obama, not only do the top executives avoid accountability (though their investors might need to fork over a few bucks to pay fines for those executives’ violations of laws and of regulations, so that the corporations and not the crooks who run it pay the fine), but also government executives and members of Congress are above the laws, as those laws are being enforced (and selectively non-enforced) by this President.
It’s party-time for the mega-crooks (both on Wall Street, and off) under Obama, at least as much as it was under Bush.
Really, there was no meaningful Presidential election in 2008, nor in 2012, because the Bush Administration just continued with changed personnel, much as it would have under McCain or Romney.
Under both Bush and Obama, this has been a nation in decline, except for the richest 1%, who are partying with regal impunity, while the public over whom they exercise their enormous financial and political powers suffer their pervasive criminality. The victims are, to Obama, just “pitchforks,” to despise, not citizens, to provide honest and crucial service to.
That’s what he called us: “pitchforks.” That’s the term he used for us, when he told the banksters that he would protect them, from us, rather than prosecute them, for us. He doesn’t like the “pitchforks.” He likes the banksters.
This man is supposed to be a ‘liberal.’ How long will he keep making fools of liberals? Aren’t his policies (real, not verbal) just as conservative as Bush’s were? What’s the net-difference, actually, other than the rhetoric? The reality is: This is George W. Bush’s policies, continuing in office, under liberal rhetoric, with Obama playing the “good cop,” to the Republicans’ “bad cop,” while congressional Democrats have suffered the political losses as Democratic voters are becoming increasingly alienated from their Party as a result of the ‘Democrat’ Obama’s moving America’s political center farther and farther to the right via that “good cop, bad cop” game, which makes the entire Democratic Party seem fake, like he is. He negotiates with congressional Republicans, while he sometimes even ignores congressional Democrats; and then he delivers a slightly watered-down Republican “compromise,” without so much as having even tried to use the White House as a bully pulpit from which to lambaste the harms that Republicans were demanding to be placed into law. (If he were to do that bully-pulpit routine, congressional Republicans would not be nearly so far to the right as they have become; they’d be more moderate in their initial demands, because they’d then know in advance that their extremism could subsequently come back to embarrass them, in their next general election. That’s what two-Party politics is supposed to be like, but Obama short-circuits it.) And, on many matters, Obama is so very far to the right in his initial position, so that congressional Democrats slam him even at the outset, and they tell him that they’ll kill the legislation if they need to, in order to prevent him from starting so far to the right. But now, with Republicans in charge of both houses, congressional Democrats will have no power at all. Obama will have a field day signing Republican legislation, though he’ll keep up the rhetorical front and veto a few bills so as to sustain the atmospherics of ‘democracy.’
Obama is the most effective conservative President since Ronald Reagan, especially on account of his being a ‘Democrat,’ which is the very thing that especially enables him to move the political center toward the right. (Similarly, Nixon moved the political center toward the left when he recognized China.) In at least one important matter, he has even been outright nazi (racist-fascist), which is unheard-of for a Democrat; and, of course, on that issue, he has had far more Republicans than Democrats supporting him in Congress.
As Obama drags America farther to the right (which he has been doing since at least 16 January 2009, four days before he became President), his nominal Party — the one that’s supposed to be the liberal party — thus becomes a smaller and smaller political camp. Yet, for some reason, Democrats in Congress don’t repudiate the Republican ‘Democrat’ who (at least nominally) leads them. (They’re often fighting him, but only in private. If they had done it in public, perhaps they wouldn’t have lost the Senate.)
Obama even blatantly violates laws that are passed and signed by himself; yet nobody holds him to account for it. He was and is required by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act to appoint a Vice Chairman for Supervision at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, to monitor the Fed’s compliance with other provisions of the Act, but he has simply ignored it for four years.
Obama blatantly violates his Oath-of-Office, but both Parties in Congress think that that’s okay, to such an extreme extent there’s not even a single member of the House of Representatives, in either Party, who introduced a bill of impeachment against him, for his continuing and exacerbating Bush’s crimes by serving as the key after-the-fact accessory to those crimes. And the public accepts it, too: there are no hundreds of thousands of Washington demonstrators demanding their individual Representative to introduce a bill of impeachment against him.
Democracy has thus ended in America. Democracy can’t exist without accountability; and accountability isn’t being demanded by anybody, and it’s being totally rejected by Obama himself, as our President.
A nation without accountability is called a “dictatorship.” Maybe America’s version of that is slicker than some others have been, but this is what it has become — slicker or not, it’s actually a dictatorship, either way. A spade shouldn’t be called a diamond; call a spade a “spade,” and then it can maybe be used to dig up an authentic diamond.
Calling a spade a diamond is increasingly the conservative way (it’s often called “boosterism,” and conservatives think that it’s patriotic), and this has sadly become the American way. It might be the effective way to sell junk, but democracy demands much better than junk. Democracy cannot survive junk in the realm of ideas, and that’s what any excuse for rejecting accountability actually is: junk.
Junk in the realm of ideas helps con-artists, which is what the most-elite crooks are, regardless of whether they’re stealing your house, your pension, your health, or your vote. And Obama has consequently argued, via his Solicitor General in the U.S. Supreme Court, that lying in politics is a right that’s protected by the Constitution’s First Amendment. He got the ruling he wanted. However, the ruling used different grounds. A unanimous Court said that the “threat of enforcement” of any law against lying in political campaigns is real, especially if it’s “backed by the additional threat of criminal prosecution,” and that forcing politicians and political advertisers “to choose between refraining from core political speech on the one hand, or engaging in that speech and risking costly Commission proceedings and criminal prosecution on the other,” is beyond even being considered; so it wouldn’t be considered. The unanimous Court’s assumption was that even lies can be, and are, “core political speech.” No member of the U.S. Supreme Court challenged that outrageous assumption.
There is no accountability; the U.S. Supreme Court agreed that the U.S. Constitution prohibits it. They won’t even let a state ban the use of lies in political campaigns. But, if the public who are going to their polling-places, vote based on lies, then what remains of American ‘democracy’? Nothing, really. The result is, instead, a dictatorship by means of lies — by means of mental coercion — instead of the old-style dictatorship: via physical coercion. This might be considered (by misguided or else devious persons) to be ‘peaceful fascism,’ but it’s fascism just the same (and it’s not at all peaceful for America’s victims in other countries). And there is nothing really ‘peaceful’ even for Americans who are consuming poisoned foods or polluted water on the basis of political lies.
Nobody has mentioned that democracy demands accountability, and that the U.S. Supreme Court are inveterate liars and enemies of democracy, who delight at twisting the U.S. Constitution into pretzels. The Court5 does it because that’s what’s needed in order for them to be able to say that the U.S. Constitution protects liars. The U.S. Constitution doesn’t protect any liars — none at all. But Obama won the ruling that he and all other conservatives (including the 4 Democrats on the Court, who are also conservatives, though less conservative than the Republicans there are) wanted.
The person who had brought this case to the state court to seek enforcement of his state’s ban against political lying was a Democrat, but Obama was on the Republican side of that issue, just as he was also on the Republican side of the frame-up of the progressive Democratic Governor of Alabama, Don Siegelman, who is in prison today because of this Republican frame-up, which Obama supports, even after it was exposed on CBS “60 Minutes.” A southern Republican U.S. circuit court refused to buckle, then Obama’s ‘Justice’ Department fired a key whistleblower in the matter who had tried to get the ‘Justice’ Department to review it, and Eric Holder quietly but consistently refused to consider the case. So: what we have now in the U.S. is total non-accountability, which is blatant on the Republican side, and which is sub-rosa (or even totally silent) on the Democratic side.
Without truthfulness, there can be no accountability. And without accountability, there can be no democracy. There will instead be government by lies and liars, which is what we now have. Let’s call it “sophisticated fascism.”
The United States is now a sophisticated fascist country. That’s the ugly reality. The problem isn’t only Obama. He’s merely like angina in a patient who has coronary artery disease.
Misdiagnosing the disease would only make things worse. Continued lying about it won’t help.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.