Are you racist for thinking Barack Obama is one of the worst Presidents of all time? Let’s find out.
In recent years, David Garrow, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, has dedicated much of his time to studying the life of Barack Obama. And considering he’s spent eight hours off the record with Obama and interviewed thousands of the former President’s friends and colleagues if anybody could reasonably be called an Obama expert, it would be Garrow. He’s also not partisan by any means. He is among the country’s most credible and celebrated civil rights historians—the author of The FBI and Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bearing the Cross (his Pulitzer Prize winner) and one of the three historian-consultants who animated the monumental PBS documentary Eyes on the Prize, as well as the author of a landmark history of abortion rights, Liberty and Sexuality. All that’s to say, he’s anything but a redneck throwing in some chewing tobacco twenty miles north of Ball, Louisiana. While Garrow’s work on the 44th President has made headlines before, his recent interview with Tablettakes the cake.
Barack Obama has always been different from what he says he is. Much like Santa Clause or the Tooth Fairy, Obama is a man America’s youth and urban class want to believe in but has never existed tangibly. This is apparent to anyone with intuition, seeing as his own brother has called Obama a serial liar for years. The fallacy of the Obama administration can best be described by the word hope-iumn. Obama ran on Hope for working-class people, and then as soon as he stepped into the Oval Office, he picked his administration based on what the people from CitiBank and Goldman Sachs, who bankrolled his entire career up to that point, wanted.
For secretary of the treasury, the person most responsible for figuring out how to respond to the 2008 market crash, he chose Timothy Geithner. Tim Geithner is one of the best examples to point to when we talk about the labels of Democrat and Republican being inconsequential because they both work against us. Geithner’s Father, Peter Geithner, was a conservative and also an advisor for the Rockefeller Foundation- the great philanthropic arm that’s given us hits such as funding Josef Mengele (yes, the famous Nazi), nature as a traded commodity, and the financial fight to keep kids out of schools. After graduating from Dartmouth, Tim started off his career working for an honest man, Henry Kissinger.
Boy, I crack myself up.
Tim worked for Kissinger under his geopolitical consulting firm, Kissinger Associates. Kissinger Associates also just so happens to have been a corporate member of The Council of The Americas, a pro-free-trade organization started by David Rockefeller, in case you were wondering how Geithner might have gotten his first job. If you need a geopolitical refresher on who Henry Kissinger is as a person, here’s a quick one. Kissinger served as United States secretary of state and national security advisor under the presidential administrations of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. Thanks to his extension of the Vietnam war, twenty thousand American soldiers lost their lives, and that doesn’t account for an overwhelming number of soldiers who chose to take their own lives or overdosed on drugs after the fact. Kissinger facilitated genocides in Cambodia, East Timor, and Bangladesh; accelerated civil wars in southern Africa; and supported coups and death squads throughout Latin America. He has the blood of over three million people on his hands.
After working in geopolitical consulting, Tim Geithner decided to get into politics directly. During his political career, Geithner’s biggest mentor was Robert Rubin, the secretary of the treasury during the Clinton administration whom he worked under. Before his government service, Robert Rubin spent twenty-six years at Goldman Sachs, and after working for Bill Clinton, Rubin became a chairman at Citigroup. Besides being a lifetime banker and one of the individuals most responsible for the 2008 financial crisis because of the policies he set in place that gave bankers next to no accountability for risky transactions, Rubin was also a great friend to Tim Geithner.
Their friendship stayed strong, even when Geithner was working for the White House. So, it shouldn’t surprise you that Citibank got a $517 billion government bailout paid for with our tax dollars. Was this loan paid back in full? No. To put that in perspective, we’ve spent $113 billion on Ukraine. Did Robert Rubin make $126 million from CitiGroup? Yes. Is Tim Geithner now the President of a hedge fund? You bet.
Geithner is one of many from the Obama camp. Obama’s other Secretary of the Treasury was Jack Lew, an ex-COO of CitiGroup, who is now a managing partner at a hedge fund. His assistant Secretary of the Treasury was Marissa Lago, an ex-head of compliance for CitiGroup. His Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve was Stanley Fischer, an ex-President of CitiGroup International. His Trade Representative was Michael Froman, another ex-executive at CitiGroup. His Director of the Office of Management and Budget was Peter Orszag, who left his post to take a job; guess where? At Citigroup. His Secretary of Health and Human Services was Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who….oh wait nevermind, she was just a lifelong friend of the Rockefellers.
You get where I’m going with all of this.
The other reason the Obama administration can best be described by hope-ium is the opioid crisis itself. Though Obama did not start the opioid crisis, it is a fact that, under his administration, drug overdose became the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of fifty, and the opioid crisis became the worst drug epidemic in American history. It is something that has touched all of our lives and probably still does today. Opioid-involved overdose deaths rose from 21,089 in 2010 to 47,600 in 2017. This was followed by an increase in 2021, with 80,411 reported overdose deaths.
The most important arm of government and drugs is the Food and Drug Administration, or the FDA for short. Here’s a fun fact about the FDA that most of you probably didn’t know. I was surprised to learn that, in the two decades of the opioid crisis (commencing with the approval of Oxycontin in 1995), the agency switched its funding stream from government-only to a combination of both taxpayer dollars and money from the pharmaceutical industry. In that same period, returns on investment for pharmaceutical companies became an even more important component of the American economy, a “financialization” of Pharma that, sadly for investors, coincided with a time when breakthroughs in small-molecule (traditional) drugs slowed dramatically. What did this result in? Investors needed to invest in drugs people would use a lot that were outside the box and marketable. In other words, nothing good. Biomedical investors lobbied the government to be more casual with their drug testing. And that served as the genesis for Purdue Pharma’s brand-new drug, Oxycontin.
Oxycontin was running rampant when Obama took office. His response? Margaret A. Hamburg, a former New York City health commissioner who worked under Anthony Fauci, participating in HIV/AIDS policy and research. Hamburg was the head of the FDA under Barack Obama, and if the opioid crisis was a fire burning down a city block when she stepped into office, by the time she walked out, it took out the whole city. Under Hamburg’s leadership, the FDA approved the drug Zohydro, the first extended-release, pure form of hydrocodone ever cleared for the US market, in spite of the agency’s own advisory committee voting eleven to two against it. That same year, a study that appeared in the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence found that four out of five new heroin users started their opioid consumption by misusing prescription opioids.
At this point, everybody and their Mother knew that opiates were overprescribed, especially for non-cancer related pain, but the FDA kept the party going. After receiving criticism for its Zohydro decision, which included twenty-eight state Attorneys General calling on the FDA to rescind approval, the agency refused to establish an advisory committee for deliberations on Purdue Pharma’s tamper-resistant opioids Targiniq and Hysingla, both of which were approved. It was already too late when she resigned late into Obama’s second term. Opiates had won, and the American people had lost.
Barack Obama is, was, and has always been a liar, but you have to give him credit for this; he’s a pretty good one.
Obama said he would withdraw US troops from two unnecessary wars on his original campaign trail, but when push came to shove, he got us involved with more wars than we had to begin his term. Looking back, one of his funniest quotes comes to us from a speech he gave in 2013 at the National Defense University in DC. When speaking about our military intervention in Muslim countries, Obama said,
America does not take strikes to punish individuals; we act against terrorists who pose a continuing and imminent threat to the American people, and when there are no other governments capable of effectively addressing the threat. And before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured — the highest standard we can set.
This is the political equivalent of Barry Bonds claiming he never took a steroid while having muscles on his butt cheeks. To explain how Obama, who was supposed to be a free-spirited, weed-smoking peace-lover, went from promising peace and prosperity to treating Muslims like NPCs in his own version of Grand Theft Auto, we have to start with John Brennan. John Brennan was Obama’s CIA Director and Homeland Security Advisor. Brennan’s tenure as head of the CIA and his twenty-five years at the agency were controversial at best. During the George W. Bush era, Brennan went along with the CIA’s institutional propensity for endorsing the use of enhanced interrogation, or torture. Brennan’s support of the practices was a point of contention during his confirmation hearings for CIA director in 2013. Brennan denied any involvement and ducked responsibility: I did not take steps to stop the CIA’s use of those techniques, he said. I was not in the chain of command of that program. Suspiciously enough, though, when the Senate was conducting a report on the CIA’s torture methods, files began to disappear from their computers. An internal investigation by the CIA would find that they hacked into the Senate Intelligence Committee’s computer network. A subsequent investigation suggested that some of the agents responsible for the hack did so under Brennan’s orders. He also tried to excise the word torture from White House documents, only to be overruled.
When Obama first came into office, he quickly attached himself to Brennan, a deep-state veteran with a well-versed connection network in DC. In a windowless basement office next door to Denis R. McDonough, who would later become White House Chief of Staff, Mr. Brennan was entrusted with an outsized role in running the war on terrorist groups. He managed kill lists for drone strikes and could order air attacks in Yemen without getting further approval from the President. Brennan’s control over his area was as complete as anyone’s control over anything in the White House, a former senior official once told The New York Times.
To put into perspective how sloppy Obama’s CIA was, here’s a fun little anecdote. Scott Stern is the man who led the CIA’s targeting unit from 2011 – 2013. During that same time period, the CIA ran a drone program with US Military forces called Operation Haymaker. Stats from Operation Haymaker show that between January 2012 and February 2013, US special operations airstrikes killed more than 200 people. Of those, only 35 were the intended targets. During one five-month period of the operation, according to the documents, nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets. That’s about the rate my old roommate hits the toilet seat. That’s worse than Corey Brewer from three-point range! Judging by Facebook’s response to COVID, it would appear that Scott’s accuracy has not improved since his time in the CIA. Obama oversaw a total of 563 strikes, primarily by drones, targeted Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen during his two terms, compared to 57 strikes under Bush. Between 384 and 807 civilians were killed in those countries. And while most of the civilian wrath from our invasion of Iraq should be placed on war criminal George W. Bush, Obama was no Saint.
The direct number of combatant and civilian deaths in Iraq (since the US invasion in 2003) and Syria (since the beginning of Operation Inherent Resolve in 2014) total somewhere in the range of 550,000-580,000 people. More than 7 million people from Iraq and Syria are currently refugees, and nearly 8 million people are internally displaced in the two countries. And for what? The Iraqi people are worse off than they were pre-intervention. Syria lost 138,947 civilians. Obama largely focused on the threat posed by the Islamic State despite the fact that Assad’s military has been responsible for more than 90 percent of civilian casualties in Syria, according to local monitors. The country is still controlled by a pro-Russian government, with Russian troops still there.
Obama did nothing but throw kerosene on a flame. The total cost of those wars was a little under three trillion dollars. Our money paid for that. Americans can’t afford healthcare, food, or a safe place to live. 56% of Americans cannot cover an unexpected $1,000 bill with savings. Over 30,177 US service members and veterans of the post-9/11 wars have died by suicide. We have people spending time working retail instead of spending time with their Grandkids, and nobody cares because our country has been conditioned to remember Obama by his Spotify playlists.
How much did Obama’s friends at Citi Bank profit from him prolonging Iraq and Afghanistan while throwing Syria into the mix? I have no idea. But what I can do is tell you how much money you would have made in 2021 if you had invested $10,000 in military contractors since September 2001.
Lockheed Martin: $133,559.21
General Dynamics: $72,515.58
Northrop Grumman: $129,644.84
What about the S&P 500? $61,613.06.
Should we be surprised that a guy who’s spent much of his life studying Obama calls him a phony in an interview with Tablet? No. Obama is a deeply insecure man who never cared about anyone except himself and those in his direct orbit. His wife is not a man, even though he did have gay dreams in his younger years, and that’s no reason to dislike the guy. The reason to dislike him is because he’s a Wall Street puppet who is and has been willing to go to any extent to lift his position. While it’s nice that Obama was able to give black Americans a form of representation, he certainly didn’t stand to represent the black people of Somalia, who were droned to death.