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Obama’s last days

Written By: - Date published: 10:05 am, December 30th, 2016 - 150 comments
Categories: International, us politics - Tags: ,

At noon on January 20, 2017 Donald Trump will, barring some cataclysmic event, be sworn in as President of the United States.  Until then Barak Obama remains in control.

There is a convention in western democracies, or at least in New Zealand and the United Kingdom,  that during the period following an election but before the formal ascension into office by the successful candidate, executive action should be of a caretaker basis.  Radical announcements should be avoided.

But this convention does not appear to apply in the US of A.  At least not now.  Because on a number of issues Obama has adopted principled even radical positions.

The Republicans can hardly complain.  After all they prevented Obama from anointing a new Supreme Court Judge during his time in office well before the election.  Merrick Garland’s candidacy was announced in March 2016 but the Republican senate refused to allow hearings claiming the existence of a bogus political precedent which says that appointments in an election year should not occur.  And if you want to see the depths that the Republican party will sink to then its rewriting of the rules following the success of a Democratic nominee for the Governorship of North Carolina takes some beating.

The Electoral Integrity Project adviser Andrew Reynolds had this to say about North Carolina’s democracy:

If it were a nation-state, North Carolina would rank right in the middle of the global league table — a deeply flawed, partly free democracy that is only slightly ahead of the failed democracies that constitute much of the developing world.

Indeed, North Carolina does so poorly on the measures of legal framework and voter registration, that on those indicators we rank alongside Iran and Venezuela. When it comes to the integrity of the voting district boundaries no country has ever received as low a score as the 7/100 North Carolina received. North Carolina is not only the worst state in the USA for unfair districting but the worst entity in the world ever analyzed by the Electoral Integrity Project.

Some on the left have criticised Obama for being too timid and not dealing with causes of the worlds problems.  His handling of the global financial crisis and miscreant banks and merchant bankers was an early cause of frustration.  Overall however I think he has, in most areas, gone as far as he could given the severe restrictions imposed by a Republican dominated Congress and Senate.

In the last couple of months it appears that he has become braver and sought to push his Presidential powers as far as possible.

 

The latest example is Obama’s decision to eject 35 Russian intelligence operatives from the US.  Trump’s desire that we all forget about the issue will clearly not be possible.  Either he will have to stick with Obama’s action and damage his reputation with Putin or reverse the order and damage his reputation with the Republican Party not to mention the US people.  From the New York Times:

The Obama administration struck back at Russia on Thursday for its efforts to influence the 2016 election, ejecting 35 Russian intelligence operatives from the United States and imposing sanctions on Russia’s two leading intelligence services, including four top officers of the military intelligence unit the White House believes ordered the attacks on the Democratic National Committee and other political organizations.

In a sweeping set of announcements, the United States was also expected to release evidence linking the cyberattacks to computer systems used by Russian intelligence. Taken together, the actions would amount to the strongest American response ever taken to a state-sponsored cyberattack aimed at the United States.

The sanctions were also intended to box in President-elect Donald J. Trump. Mr. Trump has consistently cast doubt that the Russian government had anything to do with the hacking of the D.N.C. or other political institutions, saying American intelligence agencies could not be trusted and suggesting that the hacking could have been the work of a “400-pound guy” lying in his bed.

Mr. Trump will now have to decide whether to lift the sanctions on the Russian intelligence agencies when he takes office next month, with Republicans in Congress among those calling for a public investigation into Russia’s actions. Should Mr. Trump do so, it would require him to effectively reject the findings of his intelligence agencies.

Other areas where Obama and his administration have been very active include the Israeli Palestinian crisis where the US refusal to veto a Security Council resolution has highlighted how out of step with the rest of the world Israel is.  He has also used executive power to protect large swathes of the Arctic seaboard from oil drilling and his cancellation of drilling permits on sacred Indian land were not the actions of a lame duck President intent on seeing his days out.

And he understands that climate change is the planet’s biggest crisis.  Comparing his views to his successor’s show a radical difference.

I believe that a more in depth analysis of the Obama years will provide a complicated answer to the question did Obama improve things for ordinary people.  But it is good to see him in his last few days exercising executive power in a way that is of benefit to us all.

150 comments on “Obama’s last days”

  1. greywarshark 1

    Good thought provoking post MS and great image, cleverly done, and cleverly found.
    I don’t know how you get your images but the TS has really good ones. But the cracks in democracy that you describe for the USA (not united states which is an oxymoron?)
    are something that cannot be matched by any image or illustration – it falls below clever.

  2. millsy 2

    You have to remember that when Obama took office, the Democrats had control of both houses of Congress, and unfortunately he still managed to blink on healthcare, he could have pushed for single payer but he came out with Obamacare.

    • Ad 2.1

      Don’t you worry, President Trump and the Republican majority Senate and Congress will be there, defending Obamacare to the hilt, ready to insert the single payer option into fresh legislation.

      Any time now.

    • Morrissey 2.2

      Here’s the perfect song to sum up the pleasant but vacuous bag of wind that’s ruined young people’s idealism for the last eight years….

    • Marcus Morris 2.3

      For two years only – not a long time given the complexity of what he was trying to achieve.

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    Obama trying to poison the US/Russia reset weeks before he leaves office. While claiming that while Hillary couldn’t, he could have beaten Trump.

    Classic passive aggressive legacy shopping from a weak President.

    I still give him partial credit for not fully copying HRC’s mistakes in Libya, in Syria though.

  4. Pat 4

    think the establishment are so concerned (to be polite) about the likely direction of Trumps Presidency all rules and conventions have been cast aside…..they are playing for keeps at the moment.

  5. Colonial Viper 5

    Obama signs US propaganda powers into law

    More cheap parting shots from Obama. The creation of the equivalent of a Federal Ministry of Truth.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-24/obama-signs-countering-disinformation-and-propaganda-act-law

    • Infused 5.1

      These guys here need to wake up to how shit Obama actually was. He would never have won another election as he claims.

      • mickysavage 5.1.1

        Reckon? I thought Obama would have crushed Trump basically because he did not have the same weaknesses that Clinton had. Academic argument tho which can never be proved or disproved.

        • infused 5.1.1.1

          This is your, and the US media’s fail. The tide had turned against the Democrats. Clinton was likely the worst possible choice, but Obama would have been out too imo.

          Sanders. Now, that may have been a different story.

  6. Obama wasn’t perfect, far from it but in contrast to his successor he looks saintly. Good he is sorting some stuff before he leaves imo.

  7. Bill 7

    On the expulsions – the gnarled claws of hawks reaching up and in from the depths of electoral defeat.

    There was and is absolutely no evidence that Russia had anything to do with the hacking of the emails. None.

    But the Clinton run Democratic Party is rabidly anti-Russian to the point, arguably, of giving terrorists a ‘free pass’ while they pursue their main agenda – the isolation and destruction of Russia.

    Many Republicans think the same way.

    Meanwhile, Trump wants detente.

    Can he steer that through a Party and an Opposition that are thriving on a new McCarthyism?

    • Pat 7.1

      think it would be of great concern having Trump steer anything….even a tram.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 7.2

      Whereas of course if there is evidence (your not having seen any is evidence of not much) then your “main agenda” accusation can be turned around 180°.

      And let’s say that the Russian government locks up musicians and murders journalists and actually is the fascist dictatorship it looks like, well they’d deserve it, eh.

      “D’etente” for whom, by the way? Is that you passing an obedience test or what?

      • adam 7.2.1

        Come one OAB, I’ve got political activists I know, locked up in both countries.

        And yeah Russia is bad, but bad enough to go fight a nuclear war over?

        Here the kick that makes me puke, it’s mainly because they picked a candidate who was a loser from the get go. This is school yard bully stuff. You can’t make this up.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 7.2.1.1

          So we shouldn’t stand up to criminals and bullies because nuclear war? Someone better tell the UN Security Council.

          Both Republican and Democratic parties picked poor candidates who between them failed to turn out even half the electorate. The winner lost the popular vote.

          As for the relative merits of the USA vs. Russia, read the recent statements by eg: Californian legislators and the mayor of New York City regarding Trump’s fascist cravings.

          If you can find similar official opposition to Putin in Russia you may have a point.

          • Bill 7.2.1.1.1

            By any reasonable reading of events these past number of years, the bullies are firmly ensconced in Washington. Do you really need a run through of the destroyed countries and democratically elected leaders who have been ousted by the US and their machinations?

            Do you need to see coloured maps so you can compare the extent of US led military expansion with that undertaken by any other nation state?

            The question in your comment might simply betray a simple and somewhat sad truth; you won’t question or stand up to bullying if it’s coming from leaders of ‘the tribe’ you identify with.

            Your last point…what if Putin isn’t considered as being fascist by anyone of note in Russia? What if Putin (with 60+% approval rating in Russia) is seen as the bulwark against ultra nationalism? But no, those questions couldn’t enter your mind because the only media you give credence to (‘our’ media) walks in formation when it comes to Putin and Russia, and so everything ‘our’ media says must be true (otherwise they’d simultaneously report contrary views). And given that, everything must be measured and compared to the self evident truths portrayed by ‘our’ media.

            • tinfoilhat 7.2.1.1.1.1

              “Do you really need a run through of the destroyed countries and democratically elected leaders who have been ousted by the US and their machinations?”

              Yes that would be good.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 7.2.1.1.1.2

              You hate it when you think I’m putting words in your mouth, and yet you’re putting thoughts in my mind.

              So what if Putin isn’t as crap as the apparent alternatives – this is exactly the argument Clinton supporters raised in her favour against Trump.

              If you can find me a Putin-era Russian corollary of the statements by elected officials in (eg) New York and California I’m all ears – some good news would be nice. Do you agree that the two richest states in the USA rejecting the POTUS elect’s fascist promises is a good thing?

              I’ll ignore your patronising hostile, judgemental tone because I’m used to it by now.

              • Bill

                You’re just assuming that Putin’s considered as fascist in Russia and not taking any other possible perspective into account. So yeah. Brick wall.

                And I don’t know what specific ‘fascist promises’ you’re referring to with regards Trump. Care to elucidate?

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Yes Bill. I’m taking other perspectives into account, hence “Putin isn’t as crap as the apparent alternatives”. Just like democracy.

                  The Washington Post disagrees with me and still they list a few of the promises.

          • David C 7.2.1.1.2

            The popular vote count is totally meaningless in USA.

      • Bill 7.2.2

        If pots and pans OAB…

        I’ve trawled article after article looking for just one named source; just one person who could be asked to explain the evidence they have or present the evidence they have. There is nothing.

        You or anyone else finds something, then I’d definitely appreciate being alerted to it.

        There was a phishing attack. The NYT covered it in some detail, though somewhat incredibly, even though they provided a screen shot of the actual phishing email and provided on the record back-ground info on how things were dealt with, they stuck to the fantasy of it being “the Ruskies”.

        And are you on a mission to see that I get tired repeating, that in my world view, there are no legitimate governments of nation states? And that therefore it’s a complete nonsense to insinuate that I ‘support’ Putin’s Russia or whatever?

        You want to play tribal shit on stuff that has nuclear weapons bristling all around it, I can’t stop you. But at the same time, I don’t have to have a bar of it.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 7.2.2.1

          The “detente” you describe won’t apply to Mexicans or women who want to get an abortion in the Red states or Syrians on Assad’s enemies list. Or Climatologists for that matter.

          Peace in our time, eh. Ya reckon?

          • Bill 7.2.2.1.1

            You understand full well that detente refers to military matters and that it was specifically used in relation to the US and Russia.

            You want to throw in the abortion angle? Okay. Some states may now pass anti-abortion legislation and women will have to travel to other states; just like in Eire or N.Ireland.

            And what do you reckon the reproductive rights of women were in secular Iraq or secular Libya or secular Syria compared to what they are now in Iraq and Libya or could be in a non-secular Syria?

            Maybe the rights of those women had to play second fiddle to other more important considerations – just like when people (pathetically) parroted the line about new found women’s rights in Afghanistan courtesy of the 2001 US led invasion? (Go back and have a look at history prior to the Taliban and see if you can figure out what gave rise to the Taliban…and compare even the Taliban to what the US invasion ushered in) Here’s a useful starting point for your journey

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolutionary_Association_of_the_Women_of_Afghanistan#RAWA_after_the_2001_invasion

            Would be nice if you could throw away your supporter’s flag and be done with the one – eyed sloganeering and chanting OAB.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 7.2.2.1.1.1

              It would be nice if you could drop the idea that I support one side or the other. “The worst possible system apart from all the other ones”, ring any bells?

              Noticing that the USA is a corrupt kleptocracy with strong fascist cravings doesn’t mean being blind to the fact that Russia is a gang state.

              I think your welcoming Herr Unterdupenliar Trump as a symbol of detente is you passing an obedience test. Sorry, that’s just my opinion.

              • Bill

                Your opinion isn’t based on anything I’ve written OAB. I welcome any prospect of a detente. That’s all.

                You want to begin throwing bullshit smears, then I’m letting you know as of now to be very fucking careful. I see any ‘putin bot’ or ‘Herr Trump’ related shite thrown my way, I’ll be banning your arse from here to now.

                Same goes for others.

                And just to be clear. That’s not because I’m particularly prickly (though I may be) but because there’s a whole pile of neo-McCathyism doing the rounds that seems designed to shut down debate or dissent. And I’m not going to be having any time for anyone jumping on that particular bandwagon hereabouts.

                I can’t and wouldn’t speak for other mods. But now you know where I stand. Engage on the substance of comments or risk being gone. I’d far rather you opted for the former.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Do you disagree that the POTUS-elect has fascist leanings?

                  Are you offended by the idea that you might have passed an obedience test? I’m pretty sure I’ve passed a few in my time. Forewarned is forearmed, but. That’s not intended as a smear it’s just a fact of life: who wants to go around thinking the worst all the time?

                  I don’t “very well know” that detente has such a specific meaning – I was surprised when I looked it up just now. That said, if the accusation is turned 180°, then “detente” hardly implies hacking into political party systems and installing your POTUS of choice.

                  Indeed it might be considered an act of war.

                  “In wartime, horses carry soldiers through the fields. In peacetime, horses carry horseshit through the fields” Lao Tsu.

                  I know which horses I prefer, and I also know whether fascist overlords are a better alternative to nascent, flawed, beset from all sides, democracy.

                  As for nuclear war, I think the threat level increased because of the POTUS elect’s temperament and character: in other words, it has far more to do with the parlous state of US politics than any movement of international relations.

                  If this is “detente” it feels very much like Attlee’s “peace in our time” (especially wrt to the consequences of climate denial in the White House). As usual, I’d love to be wrong.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    …for “very well know” read “understand full well”.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      That said, if the accusation is turned 180°, then “detente” hardly implies hacking into political party systems and installing your POTUS of choice.

                      Indeed it might be considered an act of war.

                      1) You do realise that the NSA’s cyberwarfare and hacking abilities are well above and beyond anything that Russia and China are capable of? And that the USA regularly uses those abilities? And that the US has admitted (it might have been James Clapper) that hacking into foreign political party servers is something that they do as part of the normal?

                      2) How did Russia’s supposed hacking delete Hillary Clinton’s campaign visits to Wisconsin? Or change her speech to say “deplorables” and “irredeemables”?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      They did it too? No wonder David C applauds.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Do you disagree that the POTUS-elect has fascist leanings?

                    How is Trump’s “fascist leanings” any more or less “fascist” than Hillary Clinton destroying Libya to establish her hawkish leadership credentials for her Presidential run?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      A mouthpiece says what?

                    • David C

                      OAB

                      Trump certainly has hard line Lefty leanings .. I unsure how in your eyes that would make him a fascist.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      A mouthpiece says what?

                      Did you just objectify me a human being into body parts? Bloody disgusting.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Did you just objectify me a human being into body parts? Bloody disgusting.

                      Don’t be so politically correct, Liberal mouthpiece.

                  • Bill

                    I believe that expressions of fascism are the default position of social democratic governance; that it defines social democratic possibilities and limits (the end point) on both the authoritarian left and the authoritarian right.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Fascism defines social democratic possibilities? How can you be sure it isn’t the Overton window?

                    • Bill

                      As I understand the Overton window analogy, possibilities open and close down depending at which point on a given spectrum of ‘left’ and ‘right’ the ‘window’ sits.

                      My point about social democracy is that it exists between an authoritarian (or statist) left and an equally authoritarian (market focused) right…both fascist to my way of thinking.

    • Man I don’t agree with those wild conclusions.

      No evidence?

      The democratic party desire for the destruction of russia?

      This is Alex Jones style conclusions sadly imo.

    • adam 7.4

      “But the Clinton run Democratic Party is rabidly anti-Russian to the point, arguably, of giving terrorists a ‘free pass’ while they pursue their main agenda – the isolation and destruction of Russia.”

      Full agree, I said at the time this is a story that would go no where, and someone poo pooed me. Look it’s ten days later and does anyone remember this terrorist name and what he did?

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/12/19/a-kkk-member-plotted-to-kill-muslims-with-a-homemade-death-ray/?utm_term=.cba88d8b8306

      Anyone remember the wall to wall coverage about other terrorists?

      Enough on that, I agree with Chomsky, if trump wants to end a nuclear war with Russia, the what idiocy are the democrats playing? I agree with you Bill, they are playing nasty jingoistic crap.

    • Rabidly anti Russian seems over the top let alone the destruction of russia. Bit too much icing on that cake mate.

      • Colonial Viper 7.5.1

        let alone the destruction of russia.

        The Russians would say that the 1990s are clear and present proof of what the west intended for Russia.

        And they know that Putin pulled their nation back from the abyss.

        • marty mars 7.5.1.1

          Oh is that what the Russians say, ta.

          • Colonial Viper 7.5.1.1.1

            Remind me to dismiss out of hand the Maori perspective and history of European colonialism just exactly that glibly, the next time you raise it.

            • marty mars 7.5.1.1.1.1

              Sure if you want.

              I was more making a comment on your mouthpiece role speaking for the Russians.

              Only the fringe would consider the democratic party wants the destruction of russia – it is ludicrous.

              • Colonial Viper

                Just saying how it is. The methods the western colonialists used to subjugate and steal a country in the 1990s were a bit different than that of the 1890’s yes.

                But not that different that you should not be able to see the parallels.

                • Colonisation is a terrible business. You need more learning because your weak threads don’t hang together they are a shambles imo.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Tens of thousands of Russians froze to death the first winter that Putin took control of Russia, due to a shortage of coal.

                    Except there were huge stocks of coal at Russian ports; coal which had been sold to foreign companies by the oligarchs, and were to be shipped overseas. While ordinary Russians froze to death in their communist era apartments as their central heating boilers turned cold through lack of fuel.

                    Putin sent in the soldiers and ordered that coal for Russian domestic use, so that his people wouldn’t keep dying. Then he put the businessmen responsible for the situation on trial for their actions.

                    And some in the west still cannot see why Putin is so incredibly popular with the ordinary people in Russia.

                    You need more learning because

                    Always learning mate

                    • I feel for the suffering the peoples of Russia have endured over generations, and today, both internally and externally generated. I can’t compare, not would I want to, their jparticular ourney to any other peoples. In fact it is insulting, trivualising and minimising a peoples suffering to compare it with another group imo. Why do it? It serves no good purpose imo.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Indeed. Now the discussion comes full circle to how that western power elite were facilitating the destruction of both the Russian state, and the Russian people, to ensure that neither could provide a cohesive challenge ever again.

                    • Nah you’re tainted in viewpoint imo thanks anyway.

                • The methods the western colonialists used to subjugate and steal a country in the 1990s were a bit different than that of the 1890’s yes.

                  Of course, the circumstances of Russia couldn’t be anything to do with the decades spent under a totalitarian dictatorship worse than the Nazis, the fact that the people running that dictatorship eventually just dropped it without making any plans for what would replace it, the fact that corruption is considered normal there, or the fact that its people have never experienced democracy or the rule of law in any meaningful sense. Given that none of those things could possibly account for the issues Russia had following the collapse of communism, it must yet again have been a cunning plot by those dastardly colonialists in the western democracies that caused it.

            • David C 7.5.1.1.1.2

              Excellent retort there 🙂

          • Paul 7.5.1.1.2

            You need to read more. Russians had classic shock doctrine tactics applied to them in the 90s.
            Read Naomi Klein.

        • Psycho Milt 7.5.1.2

          The Russians would say that the 1990s are clear and present proof of what the west intended for Russia.

          Just curious – is there anything bad that’s happened to any country anywhere that wasn’t due to the evil machinations of the western liberal democracies? Or are we responsible for the lot?

          • Colonial Viper 7.5.1.2.1

            80% to 90% in the 20th century – either by acts of omission, or by acts of commission.

            western liberal democracies

            As a side note, they’re not that democratic nor that liberal, any more.

            • Psycho Milt 7.5.1.2.1.1

              I like how you have it both ways – “the west” wreaks evil if it does things, and wreaks evil if it doesn’t do things. It’s easy to play this at home, folks: start with “the west” is responsible for the bad stuff, then work back from there to come up with the “how” part.

              Re “not that democratic nor that liberal, any more” – what’s the “any more” part? When were they sufficiently democratic and liberal from your perspective? If you volunteer a time I should be able to come up with a shitload of ways in which they weren’t. That’s the thing about liberal democracies – they shouldn’t be confused with utopias.

              • Colonial Viper

                hey, PM, enjoy your word games.

              • mickysavage

                Yep and I struggle with the Obama and Clinton were terrible left wing sell outs so lets go with Trump who will be great! The same rules do not appear to apply …

                • Colonial Viper

                  Over 200 counties who voted Barack Hussein Obama twice (2008 and 2012) went for Trump in 2016.

                  The political lesson: if your party and your candidate promises change, and you don’t deliver for 8 years, you won’t get given another chance.

                  (And shouldn’t be surprised at that).

                  • mickysavage

                    So what? You still have not said why Trump is great and Clinton is terrible unless success at the polls is the only test.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      ou still have not said why Trump is great and Clinton is terrible

                      I certainly made the extended full length case for why “Clinton is terrible” dozens of times in the lead up to Nov 8.

                      As for why Trump is great – I have my own feelings about this but history will have to make its own judgement in 8 years time.

                      BTW I answered very clearly above your question why states decided to go with Trump.

                • Yep and I struggle with the Obama and Clinton were terrible left wing sell outs so lets go with Trump who will be great! The same rules do not appear to apply …

                  CV explained it for us at length. Ordinary people struck back against the elite by voting for an anti-elite candidate: a wealthy property developer who flies round the world on his private jet with his trophy wife, and who’s unsurprisingly stacked his cabinet with banksters, CEOs and similar types. OK, yes, it makes no sense to me either.

        • Paul 7.5.1.3

          I bumped into this same attitude when trying to discuss Syria with some on this site. Despite referring to Cockburn, Pilger, Fisk, Oborne, Bartlett and other independent journalists. I just hit this Russophobic attitude amongst some posters.

          • Colonial Viper 7.5.1.3.1

            Interesting isn’t it. Despite all the claims of tolerance of diverse cultures and ethnicities, the Anglo-US colonial attitude of the MSM remains strong.

            • Paul 7.5.1.3.1.1

              And despite all the lies from the msm ( e.g. weapons of mass destruction), they retain a naive belief in the corporate media’s narrative.

              • Colonial Viper

                The other bizarre (to me) thing is that these same people place so much trust in the MSM narrative out of the (CIA compromised) New York Times, WaPo, etc. yet will slam the local MSM narrative as being untrustworthy and obviously biased towards the moneyed establishment and against the left and against Labour.

                Yet it’s alternative news sources who are “fake news.”

          • Psycho Milt 7.5.1.3.2

            I bumped into this same attitude when trying to discuss Syria with some on this site.

            More accurately, you annoyed a lot of people by posting propaganda attempting to justify the indiscriminate bombardment of a civilian population, and they started telling you so every time you posted it. Relevance to this thread approximates to 0.

            • garibaldi 7.5.1.3.2.1

              Good to have you back CV. Paul is onto it as well.

              • Colonial Viper

                Hi garibaldi, thank you; I am one of many who have been enjoying your consistent work truth telling in the face of increasingly obvious establishment lies.

    • mickysavage 7.6

      No evidence as in a signed confession. Funny but that never occurs.

      Here are a couple of articles pointing to who did the hacking. Clearly the US intelligence organizations believe the same.

      And what do we make of the fact that Trump was the Kremlin’s preferred candidate?

      This adulation of Russia is rather difficult to understand.

      https://www.wired.com/2016/07/heres-know-russia-dnc-hack/

      https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jul/26/russia-hackers-democratic-national-committee-email-leak

      • Anne 7.6.1

        This adulation of Russia is rather difficult to understand.

        Thank-you ms. You are a voice of sanity…

      • Colonial Viper 7.6.2

        Here are a couple of articles pointing to who did the hacking. Clearly the US intelligence organizations believe the same.

        They were leaks by DC insiders to Wikileaks; they were not hacks.

        A leak is the unauthorised release of information by someone who was authorised to have access to that information: eg. a disgruntled pro-Sanders Democratic operative within the DNC.

        A hack in contrast, is when unauthorised external persons illegitimately access a system and in doing so alter and compromise the contents of that system.

        Julian Assange, Bill Binney, Craig Murray, Ray McGovern have all been quite clear on that point. It was a leak, not a hack.

        • mickysavage 7.6.2.1

          But your level of suspicion means that we should trust no media sources or Government sources for that fact.

          And I guess the hacks did not occur and the stuff that was put into the public arena was total fiction.

          You are asking some of us to be totally sceptical about MSM and US sources but accept at face value the proposition put out by the Soviets that they have done nothing wrong.

          • Colonial Viper 7.6.2.1.1

            Julian Assange, Craig Murray, Bill Binney, Ray McGovern have all said on the record that this was an internal leak, not a Russian hack.

            These aren’t people working for the Russians. Bill Binney was the NSA’s top crypt guy against the Soviet Union.

            • Colonial Viper 7.6.2.1.1.1

              Add to that former MI5 intelligence officer and whistleblower Annie Machon.

              Who says that the brand new FBI/DHS report on Russian hacking is full of general technical details but missing any actual evidence that the Russians did the hacking.

      • Bill 7.6.3

        No micky. No evidence as in not one named source; not one person in possession of anything beyond an accusation. And no reports beyond breathless innuendo and arm waving.

        ffs. The Snowden release told us that the NSA has access to just about everything. Yet they got nuffin. Which sure, maybe they just weren’t monitoring the right people at the right time. But if it’s the Russian government, we’re to believe that they just happened to not be monitoring any aides phone/internet or that of anyone tightly connected to the government? Or that they were but they missed it? (Remember they hacked Merkels phone, yes?)

        Anyway, I can’t read the ‘wired’ link because adblocker, but the bits I got before it went all white screen on me have been covered by other sources, The dss (or whatever it’s called) and the hacker names etc.

        Try this. I think it covers it.

        https://theintercept.com/2016/12/14/heres-the-public-evidence-russia-hacked-the-dnc-its-not-enough/

        edit – and then there was the NYT article that contained a screenshot of the phishing email and that had on the record accounts of how the email was (stupidly) responded to but that held the official line in spite of all the evidence its own article was laying out.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 7.6.3.1

          The NSA says it was the Russians. which doesn’t mean “they’ve got nothing”. They report to the US government, not rubberneckers like me.

          Thing is, even if/when Obama/the US government/whoever releases the evidence, will that change the entrenched positions one iota?

          • Bill 7.6.3.1.1

            If there’s evidence, it would have been released. Groundless allegations, no matter the source, are just that – groundless.

            Hell OAB. If they had evidence but had concerns about ‘national security’ they would minimally have said they had evidence but were with-holding it on the grounds of national security.

            That’s the usual M.O. when there’s nothing but bullshit, but we don’t even have that usual fig leaf this time around.

            The stuff that is out there and that people are on record over is a simple fucking phishing email that some idiots responded to after the head of the Party’s IT said it was a legitimate email. Apparently he has sleepless nights now because he meant (of course) to say ‘illegitimate’.

            That’s on record. In quotes from those involved. Reported in the NYT. (Sorry, not searching for it right now…remebered. Here you go.)

            http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/13/us/politics/russia-hack-election-dnc.html?action=click&contentCollection=Politics&module=Trending&version=Full&region=Marginalia&pgtype=article

            • One Anonymous Bloke 7.6.3.1.1.1

              You don’t know the truth of it any more than I do. Even if/when the evidence comes out useful idiots will claim it was all the Illuminatii, or the Russians are the patsy, and even discounting CV et al, it still relies on agencies whose job description involves lying.

              I’m as dubious about these claims as I am of yours. That doesn’t mean I think dismissing them out of hand because reckons is a wise course.

              You can keep your certainty. I don’t buy it.

              • Bill

                It’s not certainty. It’s an insistence that proof be provided to back up serious allegations. C’est tout.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Oh give over. The “proof” if it emerges, will come from the agencies making the allegations.

                  They have considerably less credibility (in my view) than (say) the Dutch investigators of the MH17 war crime. Do you accept the results of their investigation?

                  If not, what is this talk of ‘proof’ other than an escape clause?

                  • Bill

                    So your fine with media outlets reporting unsubstantiated allegations as fact. – k –

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Yes, because that’s what I said, isn’t it. Have you seen my pet goat?

                    • Bill

                      I’ve been saying that article after article is merely innuendo. You’ve been saying stuff like “the NSA says” as though that should mean something. And that’s exactly what media outlets have done as they’ve reported allegation as fact.

                      No names. No verifiable sources. No-one to question or grill or insist on evidence from.

                      Are you now saying that you’re not fine with that?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      My being “fine” with it – or not – is beyond irrelevant . It’s what they do.

                      Have you seen the latest word from The Intercept on this topic?

                      It won’t change entrenched positions one iota, and soon CV will be along with a counterview. Once he’s had time to find a link, that is.

                    • Bill

                      Isn’t that what I’ve been saying? That if there was something then NSA would have something and it would be out there? I give in OAB. I’m away to the last of the sun with a glass.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      The link is to a Snowden file that shows what they knew about another case. So they “have something”. Maybe.

                      As for what you’ve been saying, no, the NSA shouldn’t give evidence to anyone but the US government. That’s their job. Any public statements they do make should be treated with extreme caution. Because of their job.

                      That being so, according to various sources in the media and US government, the NSA says “something” is “out there”.

                      And why wouldn’t it be? If Putin is a cuddly bunny Russia and US interests are still at odds. They can’t bomb one another for obvious reasons. What other fronts are open?

          • Colonial Viper 7.6.3.1.2

            The NSA says it was the Russians.

            Where did they do this? Did Admiral Rogers recently comment on this issue?

            • One Anonymous Bloke 7.6.3.1.2.1

              A mouthpiece will need to scurry away to find a counterview to these latest obviously false planted Illuminati lies.

              Have Zerohedge or RT got one for you yet?

              • Bill

                That link specifically quotes an NSA fella not saying it was the Russians! The author says he means Russia. But he absolutely does not say ‘Russia’.

                He says.

                “This was a conscious effort by a nation state to attempt to achieve a specific effect.”

                And he only says that on the grounds that the target wasn’t random and attributes his own idea about some ‘specific effect’ before concluding that it must have have been perpetrated by a nation state.

                Meanwhile…know how it was simple phishing scam?

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Actually, that link is dated today and may not be the one you think it is. It speaks to Russian capability, and is circumstantial at best.

                  • Bill

                    I just went to your fucking link and read it ffs! What should I be thinking it is or isn’t beyond being the piece you linked to?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Just that your comment didn’t address the new information.

                      …Edward Snowden suggests the NSA has a way of collecting evidence of Russian hacks, because the agency tracked a similar hack before in the case of a prominent Russian journalist, who was also a U.S. citizen

                      that this evidence existed at all is important, and more so today than ever. Simply, the public evidence that the Russian government hacked the Democrats isn’t convincing…Signals intelligence could bridge the empirical gap.

                      Snowden says “I did this personally against Chinese ops”.

                      As I said, it speaks to Russian capability, and Rogers’ credibility.

    • Marcus Morris 7.7

      New McCarthyism – can you explain that.

  8. Morrissey 8

    He’s useless. For the last eight years that finger has been shown not to crooks and maniacs like Trump and Netanyahu, but to the likes of Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden.

    • Macro 8.1

      He will be remembered as a damn sight better President, than the idiot who is about to replace him.
      If you thought 2016 was bad…
      I fear for the US, they are in for one hell of a lesson.
      Back to the point of the post.
      Obama knows what the Chump has in store, and is doing his best to try and salvage as much from the impending wreckage that he can.
      The closing down of Oil fields on Indian lands, and in the Arctic is a prime example.
      Why didn’t he do it earlier? We must wait for his autobiography for the answer to that. I suspect that he had hoped that reason would prevail and that such moves would be unnecessary. But when ones sees the lineup of climate deniers appointed by Trump to his cabinet – such hopes will be long forlorn. For me the saddest outcome will be the abandonment of Paris Agreement. It had taken 25 plus years for the whole world to sit down and agree together to tackle AGW. The previous attempts had all been stymied by the US, because they could not get Congressional approval for such an Agreement. But in 2015 despite, a Republican dominated Senate and House, Obama manged to cobble together enough support for the US to finally agree for a World Wide accord to address Climate Change. That is now all for nought. Indeed, all climate scientists in the US now fear for their jobs and are at this very moment rushing to secure all of the data they have gathered over the years out of the country. The US has been one of the leaders in Climate research and the world relies heavily on the observations from satellites and ships and and weather stations gathered around the world by NASA et al for the continued research and trends etc. All that is now under threat by an incoming “administration” of nincompoops.

      • Infused 8.1.1

        2016 was fucking good. I don’t know what the hell you are all complaining about.

        • Wensleydale 8.1.1.1

          It’s nice that you had such a wonderful year, Infused. I’m happy for you. Sadly, for a lot of people, not just in this country, but internationally, 2016 set a new benchmark for the annus horribilis.

          • Red 8.1.1.1.1

            Just to cheer you up and give you some perspectives (vice.com)

            The view that the world is going to hell in a hand cart is totally wrong as Swedish writer Johan Norberg argues in his new book Progress, this doom and gloom is not just incorrect, but the diametric opposite of what is actually happening in the world?

            Norberg’s premise is that by any measure of human development—life expectancy, infant mortality, poverty, literacy, freedom, exposure to violence and disease, etc.—we are living in a golden age that is completely unprecedented in the history of humanity. The data presented in the book is staggering. In 1900, average world life expectancy was 31 years old; it is now 71. In 1981, nine in ten Chinese lived in extreme poverty; it is now one in ten. For the last 25 years, 285,000 new people have gained access to safe water every day. One of the book’s most striking claims comes in the section on poverty: “If it takes you 20 minutes to read this chapter, almost another 2,000 people will have risen out of poverty.”

            The case is compelling. For the 200,000 years or so since Homo sapiens first evolved, if we even survived infancy, we would have lived very short lives, in what we now class as extreme poverty, beset by diseases we didn’t understand, unable to read, at the mercy of arbitrary rulers, and very likely to die in various horrifically painful ways. In the last 25 years, however—for the first time in human history—extreme poverty has dipped below 10 percent of the population, mass famine has been virtually eliminated, and mass literacy has become the rule rather than the exception. Anyone alive right now is far less likely to die violently (from either war or homicide) than in any previous era.

            So given all this good stuff, why is everyone so anxious, depressed, and angry all the time? Obviously it’s partly because of increased access to information—we can now see disasters unfolding in real time. But it’s also evolutionary; we evolved to constantly scan the horizon for threats. Only bad news catches our eye…….,,,

            • mickysavage 8.1.1.1.1.1

              One positive commentator amongst an army of climate scientists who say things are dire.

              • Red

                A point I agree but you can’t deny the other stats that counter much of the doom and gloom presented here daily, but as the author outlines we are predisposed to notice bad news and with the Information age many here actively go looking for it and post it daily without any balance thus live a perpetual life as chicken little

                • Colonial Viper

                  Nope – although I admit that if you are white, mobile and upper middle class (top 5% household income), things do generally still look smashingly good.

                  Remember the cocktails, entertainment and five star meals kept coming out for the first class passengers even after the Titanic had been fatally wounded.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  That’s ironic, considering the effects of crime reporting upon the amygdala.

                • mickysavage

                  Without the environment the rest is academic. It is not going to last if the predictions occur and there is every sign that they will. Mind you my land value in Auckland will spike again as more and more wealthy people see New Zealand as a bolthole.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Unless a political party appears which ensures that NZ land has no value to overseas buyers.

            • Pat 8.1.1.1.1.2

              ……”For the last 25 years, 285,000 new people have gained access to safe water every day.”…..

              pity theres 360,000 births per day then, or an additional 75,000 people per day without access to safe water.

              Peoples perceptions are not governed by world wide statistics rather their immediate environment and personal experience….it is all relative.Many of those claims rely on an ever increasingly complicated system that is so interconnected that when it fails (as all human constructs do) the impacts will not be local as in the past…..enjoy your time in the sun.

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.2

        He will be remembered as a damn sight better President, than the idiot who is about to replace him.

        NOPE.

        Obama is going to be remembered as the failed President who handed Trump on a silver platter totalitarian mass surveillance systems, illegal drone warfare, unopposed rationales for government sponsored torture, the Dakota Access Pipline and the internment camp known as Guantanamo Bay.

        Because Obama was too gutless and bought out to do the right thing on each and every single count.

        One pleasant surprise under Obama – we may be looking at severe curtailment of the private prison industrial complex that Bill Clinton ushered in.

  9. Nick 9

    Obama didn’t get much good done in his 8 years… Exactly like an ex-pm that we all have forgotten about already….. Although ShonKey did change the flag …. Oh no wait…

  10. Morrissey 10

    He was a really lousy method actor too….

  11. Cinny 11

    Well, well, well.. CHECKMATE Obama, CHECKMATE..

    Putin: Russia will not expel anyone in response to US sanctions

    https://www.rt.com/news/372256-putin-diplomats-expulsion-rejects/

  12. Hone 12

    I wonder what the total number of children Obama killed with drones stands at.

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  • New Armoured vehicles for New Zealand Army
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  • Community-led solutions to prevent family violence
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  • Govt confirms investment in better radiology and surgical services for Hawke’s Bay
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  • Specialist alcohol and drug addiction services strengthened across New Zealand
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  • Coastal Shipping Webinar
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  • Support for resilient rail connection to the West Coast
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  • Major investment in safe drinking water
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    6 days ago
  • Supporting stranded seasonal workers to keep working with more flexible options
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  • Relief for temporary migrants, employers and New Zealanders who need work
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  • Freshwater commissioners and fast-track consenting convenor appointed
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  • Appointment of Judge of the High Court
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  • Feedback sought – Commercial Film and Video Production Facilities
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  • Govt launches bold primary sector plan to boost economic recovery
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  • Wellbeing of whanau at heart of new hub
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    7 days ago
  • New Report on Auckland Port Relocation
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  • Dual place names for Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula features
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  • Government and Air New Zealand agree to manage incoming bookings
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  • $80 million for sport recovery at all levels
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  • Keeping ACC levies steady until 2022
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  • New investment creates over 2000 jobs to clean up waterways
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