SUBSCRIPTS: Reasons to just say 'No!' when those phone callers ask you to return to the drunken days of audacious hope for 2012. Barack Obama has repeatedly betrayed the people who put him in the White House... and worse

An ad for a Southern California Obama fundraiser shows that Arne Duncan will remain in power and corporate school reform will remain the agenda of the Obama administration.One of the things that makes several of us in Chicago able to talk about why we probably won't be voting for Barack Obama in 2012 comes from the facts, not abstractions or nut case Tea Party stuff. In four words: Duncan; Geithner; Iraq; Afghanistan. Arne Duncan is still U.S. Secretary of Education, and the crazy Ayn Rand "Race to the Top" is still national policy on Education in the USA. (Added to that, for Chicago, Barack's former Chief of Staff is now our union busting privatization princess mayor). Geithner has basically covered up for the crooks on Wall Street since Obama put him in charge in 2009.

The wars Obama promised us personally he'd get us out of have been escalating. Obama's macho view of himself as a "War President" is existentially a piece worthy of tragedy. Whether Obama should be viewed as a war criminal as a result of the predator drone work of the CIA (and perhaps even of private contractors, the ultimately in privatization) is something people will be debating for years to come and will eventually be uncovered by historians. But we have to make our decisions now.

Two years before he was elected President of the United States, then U.S. Senator Barack Obama was doing his duties as part of the Chicago Democratic Party organization. Above, on November 6, 2006, Obama (at podium) was the most popular speaker at the "Labor for Stroger" rally at Chicago's Plumbers Hall. With Obama's help, the controversial Todd Stroger was elected President of the Cook County Board. In the photograph above are then Mayor Richard M. Daley (second from right), Senator Dick Durbin, Congressman Luis Gutierrez, and others. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.The wars on credit are helping to bankrupt the people of the USA, but Obama expanded them; he only began reducing them (to some extent) when the 2012 election drew near. Substance staff members remember his "I'm not opposed to all wars, just to stupid wars..." speech two years before the election (and we actually printed it when the Obama campaign in 2008 was using it against Hillary Clinton, who had voted in favor of the invasion of Iraq). But wars are only one of the betrayals of Barack Obama.

By now, the outrageous catering to the philosophy of greed the privilege on Wall Street is becoming more and more known to everyone paying attention, and thanks to "Occupy Wall Street" and its expanding circle of allies, everyone paying attention is noting that inequity in the U.S. economy is centrally planned and executed. But many are still evading the key fact of history — that Barack Obama chose to side with the billionaires who bankroll him and his operation, and in fact put them in charge of the economy. Is the result any surprise to all but the most naive? From the day Obama replaced his original campaign finance staff with billionaire plutocrat Penny Pritzker, the future was clear. Pritzker and her union busting agenda are now on display for every Chicagoan in the combination of the corporate Board of Education (of which Pritzker is a member) and Mayor Rahm Emanuel's scab herding union busting attacks on Chicago teachers. But this is Obama in action. Pritzker was and is one of Obama's most important financial advisors, and Emanuel was Obama's White House Chief of Staff until a year ago.

Then there is the ruthless and ugly Darwinian ridiculousness of Arne Duncan and Obama's "Race to the Top." While a generation of so-called "progressives" organized against George W. Bush's "No Child Left Behind," the Obama obfuscations led many to ignore the fact that Arne Duncan and "Race to the Top" are worse by far. Massive privatization is required under "Race to the top." The union busting attacks on inner city teachers (through "turnaround", pioneered in Chicago) is praised under "Race to the Top." And Obama has made his pleasure with Duncan and Race to the Top clear. It was only one year ago that America's teacher suffered the double attack. First, the movie "Waiting for Superman" pushed the slick teacher bashing corporate agenda against the teachers and teacher unions. Then Barack Obama had the children from "Waiting for Superman" at a special White House media event.

What could be a clearer example of the teacher bashing and union busting agenda of Barack Obama than those two realities. All Obama has to do to learn the nasty facts about his version of corporate "school reform" is spend a few days in some of the more challenging Washington, D.C. public schools less than two miles from the Obama home. Not only does Obama avoid the D.C. public schools and their heroic teachers, but he praises those who bash them and then sends his own children to the most tony private school in the nation's capital. No matter how many tears were shed in November 2008 when the audacity of hope became the reality of power and empire, these are the facts as the 2012 election moves within one year of happening. And there are others as well. These include the refusal of Obama to push for national health insurance. Instead he remains firmly in the thrall of corporate America, for the health insurance issue courtesy of the insurance and drug corporations. The list could go on.

But for people with a sense of the tragic realities of history, there is an even larger question looming as Barack Obama presides over the relentless expansion of imperial murder across the globe under the smokescreen of the "War on Terror."

Burt Lancaster in the 1961 drama "Judgment at Nuremberg" reminds Americans in the 21st Century that there has to be accountability for the actions of lawyers who think they can talk their way around and possibly out of anything.For some of us, watching a rerun of "Judgment at Nuremberg" was telling. In 2011, it is worth a renewed interest as the drones attack and the proxies and excuses expand. Was Burt Lancaster really playing Barack Obama in that amazing movie? Could the banality of evil include the respected law professor who helped with all those nasty things, then slowly unraveled as the facts of his hypocrisy became clear to all — and to history? We know. All those 20th Century historical analogies are off base. But what are drone murders if not war crimes. When the government of Chile assassinated a Chilean citizen in Washington, D.C., it was eventually (although not immediately) possible to demonstrate the links between U.S. imperial policy and the 1976 deaths of Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffit. That took place a little way from the White House. Ultimately, "Operation Condor" was exposed, including the cooperation from the highest levels of the U.S. government.

What's the difference in 2011 but the audacity with which the same types of activities are carried out? It was several years after the 1976 murder of Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffit (in the car explosion above) before "Operation Condor" and the complicity of U.S. government officials in the assassinations conducted by the Pinochet ("free market") dictatorship in Chile became clear. Maybe it should have been called the "Audacity of Hypocrisy." Supposedly, that's how politicians are, so we aren't supposed to be surprised. But from Sidwell Friends to the mountains of Yemen, the patterns are clear. So it's time to open the eyes....


Add your own comment (all fields are necessary)

Substance readers:

You must give your first name and last name under "Name" when you post a comment at We are not operating a blog and do not allow anonymous or pseudonymous comments. Our readers deserve to know who is commenting, just as they deserve to know the source of our news reports and analysis.

Please respect this, and also provide us with an accurate e-mail address.

Thank you,

The Editors of Substance

Your Name

Your Email

What's your comment about?

Your Comment

Please answer this to prove you're not a robot:

4 + 5 =