Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Obama's Legacy

Pity the Sad Legacy of Barack Obama
by Cornel West

(This was published over two years ago, but it is still a very good reminder of what happened during Obama’s term in office. - dancewater)
Instead, most well-paid pundits on TV and radio celebrated the Obama brand. And most black spokespeople shamelessly defended Obama’s silences and crimes in the name of racial symbolism and their own careerism. How hypocritical to see them now speak truth to white power when most went mute in the face of black power. Their moral authority is weak and their newfound militancy is shallow. 

The gross killing of US citizens with no due process after direct orders from Obama was cast aside by neoliberal supporters of all colors. And Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Jeffrey Sterling and other truth-tellers were demonized just as the crimes they exposed were hardly mentioned.

The president’s greatest legislative achievement was to provide healthcare for over 25 million citizens, even as another 20 million are still uncovered. But it remained a market-based policy, created by the conservative Heritage Foundation and first pioneered by Mitt Romney in Massachusetts.

Obama’s lack of courage to confront Wall Street criminals and his lapse of character in ordering drone strikes unintentionally led to rightwing populist revolts at home and ugly Islamic fascist rebellions in the Middle East. And as deporter-in-chief – nearly 2.5 million immigrants were deported under his watch – Obama policies prefigure Trump’s barbaric plans.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Wars and Climate Chaos

Whitewater falls in NC

By Elaine Graham-Leigh

The US military admits to getting through 395,000 barrels of oil every day, including jet fuel consumption which makes it the single largest consumer in the world. This is an astonishing figure which is nevertheless likely to be a considerable underestimate. Once all the oil use from military contractors, weapons manufacturing and all those secret bases and operations that get missed out of the official figures are factored in, the real daily usage is likely to be closer to a million barrels. As even supporters of the military admit, ‘vast swathes of our military are big carbon emitters – tanks, jeeps, Humvees, jet planes’, as Steven Groves from the Heritage Foundation put it in 2015. To put the figures into perspective, US military personnel on active service make up around 0.0002% of the world’s population, but are part of a military system which generates around 5% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Much of these emissions are from the military infrastructure that the US maintains around the world. The environmental cost of war itself is considerably higher. It has been estimated that the Iraq war between 2003 and 2007 accounted for 141 million metric tonnes of CO2, more than 60% of all the countries in the world.

The environmental damage caused by war is not limited, of course, to climate change. The effects of nuclear bombing and nuclear testing, the use of Agent Orange, depleted uranium and other toxic chemicals, as well as land mines and unexploded ordinance lingering in conflict zones long after the war has moved on, have earned the US military a deserved reputation as ‘the greatest single assault on the environment.’ It has been estimated that 20% of all environmental degradation around the world is due to military and related activities, much of which of course has involved the US and the UK.