Obama’s last speech

Written By: - Date published: 7:19 pm, January 11th, 2017 - 94 comments
Categories: International, us politics - Tags:

Tired of jokes about Trump and golden showers?  Want to read a real political speech?  Well here is the text to Barak Obama’s last political speech as POTUS.

“It’s good to be home.  My fellow Americans, Michelle and I have been so touched by all the well-wishes we’ve received over the past few weeks.  But tonight it’s my turn to say thanks.  Whether we’ve seen eye-to-eye or rarely agreed at all, my conversations with you, the American people – in living rooms and schools; at farms and on factory floors; at diners and on distant outposts – are what have kept me honest, kept me inspired, and kept me going.  Every day, I learned from you.  You made me a better president, and you made me a better man.

I first came to Chicago when I was in my early 20s, still trying to figure out who I was; still searching for a purpose to my life.  It was in neighborhoods not far from here where I began working with church groups in the shadows of closed steel mills.  It was on these streets where I witnessed the power of faith, and the quiet dignity of working people in the face of struggle and loss.  This is where I learned that change only happens when ordinary people get involved, get engaged, and come together to demand it.

After eight years as your president, I still believe that.  And it’s not just my belief.  It’s the beating heart of our American idea – our bold experiment in self-government.

It’s the conviction that we are all created equal, endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights, among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It’s the insistence that these rights, while self-evident, have never been self-executing; that we, the people, through the instrument of our democracy, can form a more perfect union.

This is the great gift our Founders gave us.  The freedom to chase our individual dreams through our sweat, toil, and imagination – and the imperative to strive together as well, to achieve a greater good.

For 240 years, our nation’s call to citizenship has given work and purpose to each new generation.  It’s what led patriots to choose republic over tyranny, pioneers to trek west, slaves to brave that makeshift railroad to freedom.  It’s what pulled immigrants and refugees across oceans and the Rio Grande, pushed women to reach for the ballot, powered workers to organize.  It’s why GIs gave their lives at Omaha Beach and Iwo Jima; Iraq and Afghanistan – and why men and women from Selma to Stonewall were prepared to give theirs as well.

So that’s what we mean when we say America is exceptional.  Not that our nation has been flawless from the start, but that we have shown the capacity to change, and make life better for those who follow.

Yes, our progress has been uneven.  The work of democracy has always been hard, contentious and sometimes bloody.  For every two steps forward, it often feels we take one step back.  But the long sweep of America has been defined by forward motion, a constant widening of our founding creed to embrace all, and not just some.

If I had told you eight years ago that America would reverse a great recession, reboot our auto industry, and unleash the longest stretch of job creation in our history…if I had told you that we would open up a new chapter with the Cuban people, shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program without firing a shot, and take out the mastermind of 9/11…if I had told you that we would win marriage equality, and secure the right to health insurance for another 20 million of our fellow citizens – you might have said our sights were set a little too high.

But that’s what we did.  That’s what you did.  You were the change.  You answered people’s hopes, and because of you, by almost every measure, America is a better, stronger place than it was when we started.

In 10 days, the world will witness a hallmark of our democracy:  the peaceful transfer of power from one freely elected president to the next.  I committed to President-elect Trump that my administration would ensure the smoothest possible transition, just as President Bush did for me.  Because it’s up to all of us to make sure our government can help us meet the many challenges we still face.

We have what we need to do so.  After all, we remain the wealthiest, most powerful, and most respected nation on Earth.  Our youth and drive, our diversity and openness, our boundless capacity for risk and reinvention mean that the future should be ours.

But that potential will be realized only if our democracy works.  Only if our politics reflects the decency of the our people.  Only if all of us, regardless of our party affiliation or particular interest, help restore the sense of common purpose that we so badly need right now.

That’s what I want to focus on tonight – the state of our democracy.

Understand, democracy does not require uniformity.  Our founders quarreled and compromised, and expected us to do the same. But they knew that democracy does require a basic sense of solidarity – the idea that for all our outward differences, we are all in this together; that we rise or fall as one.

There have been moments throughout our history that threatened to rupture that solidarity.  The beginning of this century has been one of those times.  A shrinking world, growing inequality; demographic change and the specter of terrorism – these forces haven’t just tested our security and prosperity, but our democracy as well.  And how we meet these challenges to our democracy will determine our ability to educate our kids, and create good jobs, and protect our homeland.

In other words, it will determine our future.

Our democracy won’t work without a sense that everyone has economic opportunity.  Today, the economy is growing again; wages, incomes, home values, and retirement accounts are rising again; poverty is falling again.  The wealthy are paying a fairer share of taxes even as the stock market shatters records.  The unemployment rate is near a 10-year low.  The uninsured rate has never, ever been lower.  Healthcare costs are rising at the slowest rate in 50 years.  And if anyone can put together a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we’ve made to our healthcare system – that covers as many people at less cost – I will publicly support it.

That, after all, is why we serve – to make people’s lives better, not worse.

But for all the real progress we’ve made, we know it’s not enough.  Our economy doesn’t work as well or grow as fast when a few prosper at the expense of a growing middle class.  But stark inequality is also corrosive to our democratic principles.  While the top 1% has amassed a bigger share of wealth and income, too many families, in inner cities and rural counties, have been left behind – the laid-off factory worker; the waitress and healthcare worker who struggle to pay the bills – convinced that the game is fixed against them, that their government only serves the interests of the powerful – a recipe for more cynicism and polarization in our politics.

There are no quick fixes to this long-term trend.  I agree that our trade should be fair and not just free.  But the next wave of economic dislocation won’t come from overseas.  It will come from the relentless pace of automation that makes many good, middle-class jobs obsolete.

And so we must forge a new social compact – to guarantee all our kids the education they need; to give workers the power to unionize for better wages; to update the social safety net to reflect the way we live now and make more reforms to the tax code so corporations and individuals who reap the most from the new economy don’t avoid their obligations to the country that’s made their success possible.  We can argue about how to best achieve these goals.  But we can’t be complacent about the goals themselves.  For if we don’t create opportunity for all people, the disaffection and division that has stalled our progress will only sharpen in years to come.

There’s a second threat to our democracy – one as old as our nation itself.  After my election, there was talk of a post-racial America.  Such a vision, however well-intended, was never realistic.  For race remains a potent and often divisive force in our society.  I’ve lived long enough to know that race relations are better than they were 10, or 20, or 30 years ago – you can see it not just in statistics, but in the attitudes of young Americans across the political spectrum.

But we’re not where we need to be.  All of us have more work to do.  After all, if every economic issue is framed as a struggle between a hard-working white middle class and undeserving minorities, then workers of all shades will be left fighting for scraps while the wealthy withdraw further into their private enclaves.  If we decline to invest in the children of immigrants, just because they don’t look like us, we diminish the prospects of our own children – because those brown kids will represent a larger share of America’s workforce.  And our economy doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game.  Last year, incomes rose for all races, all age groups, for men and for women.

Going forward, we must uphold laws against discrimination – in hiring, in housing, in education and the criminal justice system.  That’s what our Constitution and highest ideals require.  But laws alone won’t be enough.  Hearts must change.  If our democracy is to work in this increasingly diverse nation, each one of us must try to heed the advice of one of the great characters in American fiction, Atticus Finch, who said, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

For blacks and other minorities, it means tying our own struggles for justice to the challenges that a lot of people in this country face – the refugee, the immigrant, the rural poor, the transgender American, and also the middle-aged white man who from the outside may seem like he’s got all the advantages, but who’s seen his world upended by economic, cultural, and technological change.

For white Americans, it means acknowledging that the effects of slavery and Jim Crow didn’t suddenly vanish in the ‘60s; that when minority groups voice discontent, they’re not just engaging in reverse racism or practicing political correctness; that when they wage peaceful protest, they’re not demanding special treatment, but the equal treatment our Founders promised.

For native-born Americans, it means reminding ourselves that the stereotypes about immigrants today were said, almost word for word, about the Irish, Italians, and Poles.  America wasn’t weakened by the presence of these newcomers; they embraced this nation’s creed, and it was strengthened.

So regardless of the station we occupy; we have to try harder; to start with the premise that each of our fellow citizens loves this country just as much as we do; that they value hard work and family like we do; that their children are just as curious and hopeful and worthy of love as our own.

None of this is easy.  For too many of us, it’s become safer to retreat into our own bubbles, whether in our neighborhoods or college campuses or places of worship or our social media feeds, surrounded by people who look like us and share the same political outlook and never challenge our assumptions.  The rise of naked partisanship, increasing economic and regional stratification, the splintering of our media into a channel for every taste – all this makes this great sorting seem natural, even inevitable.  And increasingly, we become so secure in our bubbles that we accept only information, whether true or not, that fits our opinions, instead of basing our opinions on the evidence that’s out there.

This trend represents a third threat to our democracy.  Politics is a battle of ideas; in the course of a healthy debate, we’ll prioritize different goals, and the different means of reaching them.  But without some common baseline of facts; without a willingness to admit new information, and concede that your opponent is making a fair point, and that science and reason matter, we’ll keep talking past each other, making common ground and compromise impossible.

Isn’t that part of what makes politics so dispiriting?  How can elected officials rage about deficits when we propose to spend money on preschool for kids, but not when we’re cutting taxes for corporations?  How do we excuse ethical lapses in our own party, but pounce when the other party does the same thing?  It’s not just dishonest, this selective sorting of the facts; it’s self-defeating.  Because as my mother used to tell me, reality has a way of catching up with you.

Take the challenge of climate change.  In just eight years, we’ve halved our dependence on foreign oil, doubled our renewable energy, and led the world to an agreement that has the promise to save this planet.  But without bolder action, our children won’t have time to debate the existence of climate change; they’ll be busy dealing with its effects: environmental disasters, economic disruptions, and waves of climate refugees seeking sanctuary.

Now, we can and should argue about the best approach to the problem.  But to simply deny the problem not only betrays future generations; it betrays the essential spirit of innovation and practical problem-solving that guided our Founders.

It’s that spirit, born of the Enlightenment, that made us an economic powerhouse – the spirit that took flight at Kitty Hawk and Cape Canaveral; the spirit that that cures disease and put a computer in every pocket.

It’s that spirit – a faith in reason, and enterprise, and the primacy of right over might, that allowed us to resist the lure of fascism and tyranny during the Great Depression, and build a post-World War II order with other democracies, an order based not just on military power or national affiliations but on principles – the rule of law, human rights, freedoms of religion, speech, assembly, and an independent press.

That order is now being challenged – first by violent fanatics who claim to speak for Islam; more recently by autocrats in foreign capitals who see free markets, open democracies, and civil society itself as a threat to their power.  The peril each poses to our democracy is more far-reaching than a car bomb or a missile.  It represents the fear of change; the fear of people who look or speak or pray differently; a contempt for the rule of law that holds leaders accountable; an intolerance of dissent and free thought; a belief that the sword or the gun or the bomb or propaganda machine is the ultimate arbiter of what’s true and what’s right.

Because of the extraordinary courage of our men and women in uniform, and the intelligence officers, law enforcement, and diplomats who support them, no foreign terrorist organization has successfully planned and executed an attack on our homeland these past eight years; and although Boston and Orlando remind us of how dangerous radicalization can be, our law enforcement agencies are more effective and vigilant than ever.  We’ve taken out tens of thousands of terrorists – including Osama bin Laden.  The global coalition we’re leading against ISIL has taken out their leaders, and taken away about half their territory.  ISIL will be destroyed, and no one who threatens America will ever be safe.  To all who serve, it has been the honor of my lifetime to be your Commander-in-Chief.

But protecting our way of life requires more than our military.  Democracy can buckle when we give in to fear.  So just as we, as citizens, must remain vigilant against external aggression, we must guard against a weakening of the values that make us who we are.  That’s why, for the past eight years, I’ve worked to put the fight against terrorism on a firm legal footing.  That’s why we’ve ended torture, worked to close Gitmo, and reform our laws governing surveillance to protect privacy and civil liberties.  That’s why I reject discrimination against Muslim Americans.  That’s why we cannot withdraw from global fights – to expand democracy, and human rights, women’s rights, and LGBT rights – no matter how imperfect our efforts, no matter how expedient ignoring such values may seem.  For the fight against extremism and intolerance and sectarianism are of a piece with the fight against authoritarianism and nationalist aggression.  If the scope of freedom and respect for the rule of law shrinks around the world, the likelihood of war within and between nations increases, and our own freedoms will eventually be threatened.

So let’s be vigilant, but not afraid.  ISIL will try to kill innocent people.  But they cannot defeat America unless we betray our Constitution and our principles in the fight.  Rivals like Russia or China cannot match our influence around the world – unless we give up what we stand for, and turn ourselves into just another big country that bullies smaller neighbors.

Which brings me to my final point – our democracy is threatened whenever we take it for granted.  All of us, regardless of party, should throw ourselves into the task of rebuilding our democratic institutions.  When voting rates are some of the lowest among advanced democracies, we should make it easier, not harder, to vote.  When trust in our institutions is low, we should reduce the corrosive influence of money in our politics, and insist on the principles of transparency and ethics in public service.  When Congress is dysfunctional, we should draw our districts to encourage politicians to cater to common sense and not rigid extremes.

And all of this depends on our participation; on each of us accepting the responsibility of citizenship, regardless of which way the pendulum of power swings.

Our Constitution is a remarkable, beautiful gift.  But it’s really just a piece of parchment.  It has no power on its own.  We, the people, give it power – with our participation, and the choices we make.  Whether or not we stand up for our freedoms.  Whether or not we respect and enforce the rule of law.  America is no fragile thing.  But the gains of our long journey to freedom are not assured.

In his own farewell address, George Washington wrote that self-government is the underpinning of our safety, prosperity, and liberty, but “from different causes and from different quarters much pains will be taken…to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth;” that we should preserve it with “jealous anxiety;” that we should reject “the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest or to enfeeble the sacred ties” that make us one.

We weaken those ties when we allow our political dialogue to become so corrosive that people of good character are turned off from public service; so coarse with rancor that Americans with whom we disagree are not just misguided, but somehow malevolent.  We weaken those ties when we define some of us as more American than others; when we write off the whole system as inevitably corrupt, and blame the leaders we elect without examining our own role in electing them.

It falls to each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy; to embrace the joyous task we’ve been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours.  Because for all our outward differences, we all share the same proud title:  Citizen.

Ultimately, that’s what our democracy demands.  It needs you.  Not just when there’s an election, not just when your own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime.  If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the Internet, try to talk with one in real life.  If something needs fixing, lace up your shoes and do some organizing.  If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself.  Show up.  Dive in.  Persevere.  Sometimes you’ll win.  Sometimes you’ll lose.  Presuming a reservoir of goodness in others can be a risk, and there will be times when the process disappoints you.  But for those of us fortunate enough to have been a part of this work, to see it up close, let me tell you, it can energize and inspire.  And more often than not, your faith in America – and in Americans – will be confirmed.

Mine sure has been.  Over the course of these eight years, I’ve seen the hopeful faces of young graduates and our newest military officers.  I’ve mourned with grieving families searching for answers, and found grace in a Charleston church.  I’ve seen our scientists help a paralyzed man regain his sense of touch, and our wounded warriors walk again.  I’ve seen our doctors and volunteers rebuild after earthquakes and stop pandemics in their tracks.  I’ve seen the youngest of children remind us of our obligations to care for refugees, to work in peace, and above all to look out for each other.

That faith I placed all those years ago, not far from here, in the power of ordinary Americans to bring about change – that faith has been rewarded in ways I couldn’t possibly have imagined.  I hope yours has, too.  Some of you here tonight or watching at home were there with us in 2004, in 2008, in 2012 – and maybe you still can’t believe we pulled this whole thing off.

You’re not the only ones.  Michelle – for the past 25 years, you’ve been not only my wife and mother of my children, but my best friend.  You took on a role you didn’t ask for and made it your own with grace and grit and style and good humor.  You made the White House a place that belongs to everybody.  And a new generation sets its sights higher because it has you as a role model.  You’ve made me proud.  You’ve made the country proud.

Malia and Sasha, under the strangest of circumstances, you have become two amazing young women, smart and beautiful, but more importantly, kind and thoughtful and full of passion.  You wore the burden of years in the spotlight so easily.  Of all that I’ve done in my life, I’m most proud to be your dad.

To Joe Biden, the scrappy kid from Scranton who became Delaware’s favorite son:  You were the first choice I made as a nominee, and the best.  Not just because you have been a great vice president, but because in the bargain, I gained a brother.  We love you and Jill like family, and your friendship has been one of the great joys of our life.

To my remarkable staff:  For eight years – and for some of you, a whole lot more – I’ve drawn from your energy, and tried to reflect back what you displayed every day: heart, and character, and idealism.  I’ve watched you grow up, get married, have kids, and start incredible new journeys of your own.  Even when times got tough and frustrating, you never let Washington get the better of you.  The only thing that makes me prouder than all the good we’ve done is the thought of all the remarkable things you’ll achieve from here.

And to all of you out there – every organizer who moved to an unfamiliar town and kind family who welcomed them in, every volunteer who knocked on doors, every young person who cast a ballot for the first time, every American who lived and breathed the hard work of change – you are the best supporters and organizers anyone could hope for, and I will forever be grateful.  Because, yes, you changed the world.

That’s why I leave this stage tonight even more optimistic about this country than I was when we started.  Because I know our work has not only helped so many Americans; it has inspired so many Americans – especially so many young people out there – to believe you can make a difference; to hitch your wagon to something bigger than yourselves.  This generation coming up – unselfish, altruistic, creative, patriotic – I’ve seen you in every corner of the country.  You believe in a fair, just, inclusive America; you know that constant change has been America’s hallmark, something not to fear but to embrace, and you are willing to carry this hard work of democracy forward.  You’ll soon outnumber any of us, and I believe as a result that the future is in good hands.

My fellow Americans, it has been the honor of my life to serve you.  I won’t stop; in fact, I will be right there with you, as a citizen, for all my days that remain.  For now, whether you’re young or young at heart, I do have one final ask of you as your president – the same thing I asked when you took a chance on me eight years ago.

I am asking you to believe.  Not in my ability to bring about change – but in yours.

I am asking you to hold fast to that faith written into our founding documents; that idea whispered by slaves and abolitionists; that spirit sung by immigrants and homesteaders and those who marched for justice; that creed reaffirmed by those who planted flags from foreign battlefields to the surface of the moon; a creed at the core of every American whose story is not yet written:

Yes We Can.

Yes We Did.

Yes We Can.

Thank you.  God bless you.  And may God continue to bless the United States of America.”

94 comments on “Obama’s last speech”

  1. Sacha 1

    Amazing. How long again before we produce a leader that inspiring?

    • Maybe we will see Mrs Obama run in 4 years time.

      She is an equal to Barrack in many ways.

      • Sacha 1.1.1

        That would be great. She rocks. Still, their family probably lacks the institutional backing necessary these days in US politics.

      • Andre 1.1.2

        There’s plenty of other talent that could shine, given the right circumstances. Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Jeff Merkley, Sherrod Brown, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren…

        While Michelle has the goods to be a great prez, my distaste for dynastic politics is way stronger. So no thanks.

    • Carolyn_nth 1.2

      I dunno. I watched some of the speech, then muted the sound. He’s done fine sounding speeches before, but still TPPA, some brutal foreign policy, etc.

      There’s a limit to what a US president can do within a stacked system. And even harder if he doesn’t have support of both Houses. In fact, I think the make up of Congress and the Senate is probably way more important than the presidency.

      Don’t need to be a president to make fine speeches. Don’t need to make fine speeches to be a good president.

      Still, the message about democracy having to come from the people, and the need for a change of “heart” is important. He does seem to understand the problems with the system.

    • reason 1.3

      Obama …….Think of Libya and bombs and drones when you think of him ….

      The reality versus the myth of Obama …… is that he is a war crimes president.

      I find his crimes so sickening that I can’t stand his dishonest words ……………..

      ” fear over the drone attacks on his community have stopped children playing outside, and stopped them attending the few schools that exist. An expensive operation, needed to take the shrapnel out of his leg, was delayed and he was sent back to the village until his father could raise the money, he said.

      “Now I prefer cloudy days when the drones don’t fly. When the sky brightens and becomes blue, the drones return and so does the fear. Children don’t play so often now, and have stopped going to school.

      “His sister, Nabila, told lawmakers that she had been gathering okra with her brother and grandmother when she saw a drone and “I heard the dum dum noise.”

      “Everything was dark and I couldn’t see anything. I heard a scream. I think it was my grandmother but I couldn’t see her.” …. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/29/pakistan-family-drone-victim-testimony-congress

      —————————————————————————————

      “What does the administration have to show for eight years of fighting on so many fronts? Terrorism has spread, no wars have been “won” and the Middle East is consumed by more chaos and divisions” ………..

      —————————————————————————————–

      Obamas Gifts https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8veOzd39VWI

  2. swordfish 2

    As always with Obama … the triumph of style over substance.

    Squandered a massive mandate for change.

    But, hang on a minute, what the hell am I thinking of ??? … Obama is a Black man !!!
    And there’s nothing white middle-class Establishment liberals like more than a bit of purely symbolic virtue-signalling … so … Whoo Hooo !!!, USA !!!, USA !!!, USA !!!

    • mickysavage 2.1

      +1

    • Sacha 2.2

      “virtue-signalling”

      Isn’t that just the right’s replacement for “PC” – ie: respect?

    • GregJ 2.3

      “Squandered a massive mandate for change.”

      Out of interest what changes might he have made (and what changes might he have got past a Republican Congress)? I’m assuming you have both foreign and domestic in my mind?

      • Macro 2.3.1

        Too many on here have simply little understanding of the truly limited executive powers of POTUS

        • Clump_AKA Sam 2.3.1.1

          Please enlighten the crowds

          • mickysavage 2.3.1.1.1

            It is called the Constitution and POTUS has certain powers but is largely beholden to the House of Representatives and the Senate. Hence Macro’s comment.

            • Clump_AKA Sam 2.3.1.1.1.1

              It’s my belief that when congress agrees, potus power is at its highest. When congress disagrees, potus power is at its lowest

              • Macro

                Take some time and read up on the Affordable Care Act and just how long and difficult such a sensible and just scheme took to enact and just how limited and vulnerable it is today.

      • Nic the NZer 2.3.2

        Here is a proposal for US financial reform, which purportedly could have been implemented even by the Lame Duck President Obama (e.g after Trumps Election victory).

        http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2016/01/announcing-bank-whistleblowers-groups-initial-proposals.html

        Instead the Lame Duck President has been happy to see issues with international relations towards Russia crop up!

        • Clump_AKA Sam 2.3.2.1

          SEC US dolled out 2.5 million in fines today for bank fraud.

          Shots fired

          • Nic the NZer 2.3.2.1.1

            Its a start, and Trump was the only candidate who appeared to do anything about the revolving door between government and Wall Street. On the other hand I don’t think that bank shareholders getting fined (for bank management run frauds) is much of a concern of bank executives.

            Bill Black seems to think their priorities are more like,
            1) Don’t go to Jail
            2) Keep Job
            3) Don’t see colleagues go to Jail
            4) Don’t admit bank committed fraud.
            5) Anything else

            In about that order.

            • Clump_AKA Sam 2.3.2.1.1.1

              I’d be very carful mucking about the US economy hooked on coke. The gun barrel is unblocked

    • weka 2.4

      But, hang on a minute, what the hell am I thinking of ??? … Obama is a Black man !!!
      And there’s nothing white middle-class Establishment liberals like more than a bit of purely symbolic virtue-signalling … so … Whoo Hooo !!!, USA !!!, USA !!!, USA !!!

      Personally, I’d be more interested in what black people in the US like.

    • Sanctuary 2.5

      “…As always with Obama … the triumph of style over substance.

      Squandered a massive mandate for change.

      But, hang on a minute, what the hell am I thinking of ??? … Obama is a Black man !!!
      And there’s nothing white middle-class Establishment liberals like more than a bit of purely symbolic virtue-signalling … so … Whoo Hooo !!!, USA !!!, USA !!!, USA !!!…”

      Give that man a beer!

      And while we are at it, can white middle-class Establishment liberals shut the fuck up about their fake news moral panic already? If you want to know why you lost, just find a fucking mirror.

  3. Anne 3

    Obama has committed to ensuring the smoothest possible transition for President elect, Donald Trump as George Bush did for him.

    Not going to be smooth if even half of this proves to be correct:

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/10/fbi-chief-given-dossier-by-john-mccain-alleging-secret-trump-russia-contacts

    A taster:

    An official in the US administration who spoke to the Guardian described the source who wrote the intelligence report as consistently reliable, meticulous and well-informed, with a reputation for having extensive Russian contacts.

    Some of the reports – which are dated from 20 June to 20 October last year – also proved to be prescient, predicting events that happened after they were sent.

    One report, dated June 2016, claims that the Kremlin has been cultivating, supporting and assisting Trump for at least five years, with the aim of encouraging “splits and divisions in western alliance”.

    It claims that Trump had declined “various sweetener real estate deals offered him in Russia” especially in developments linked to the 2018 World Cup finals but that “he and his inner circle have accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin, including on his Democratic and other political rivals.”

    Most explosively, the report alleges: “FSB has compromised Trump through his activities in Moscow sufficiently to be able to blackmail him.”

  4. Did key help him with that farewell speech ?

  5. Conal 5

    “Rivals like Russia or China cannot match our influence around the world – unless we give up what we stand for, and turn ourselves into just another big country that bullies smaller neighbors.”

    Surely not! The US would never bully its small neighbours?! hahaha! [wipes tears from eyes]

  6. swordfish 6

    Obama

    If I had told you eight years ago that America would … unleash the longest stretch of job creation in our history …

    Just a shame that almost all the 10 million US jobs created since 2005 have been in the realm of “alternative work” – ie temporary or unsteady .

    Survey research conducted by economists Lawrence Katz of Harvard and Alan Krueger at Princeton suggests “94% of net job growth in the past decade was in the alternative work category”, rather than stable and traditional nine-to-five employment.

    • Macro 6.1

      Ok! Here is some data for you to chew over..
      Note just how drastic the GFC was on employment in the US. (This was at the start of his tenure – and not caused by him)
      So Obama could have performed better?
      Maybe, but when viewed form an objective point of view – and bearing in mind a Congress openly resistant to almost all progressive initiatives – this was an outstanding achievement.
      By the way – have you looked at the nature of employment in NZ lately – or the UK or Australia – or any western country for that matter? Permanent employment is a thing of the past.

      • Adrian Thornton 6.1.1

        “Permanent employment is a thing of the past.” you are correct, it most certainly is getting that way, and will only get steadily worse if you remain submissive and subservient to the Fee market ideologies of guys like Obama, so why praise him?
        He is the enemy of the working classes and poor, sure he might give a few more crumbs to the citizens than the Republicans, but as they and the DNC both operate and govern under the same economic ideology, the results will end up being very similar in the long game, just as in the Nats and Labour in NZ.

        • Macro 6.1.1.1

          If you think Obama’s words are empty – just wait until the chump and his pack of greedy pig cronies get their noses in the trough! The fine words on the hustings about jobs and making America great will soon be forgotten. They will be too busy lining their pockets.

          • Clump_AKA Sam 6.1.1.1.1

            I’d like to see some background information you based this assessment on.

            Edit: never mind. I see what you did there

    • Sacha 6.2

      “alternative work” – ie temporary or unsteady

      sounds a lot like NZ

  7. Adrian Thornton 7

    Obama the biggest disappointment in my political life since Lange.
    And to top it all off African American stats have fallen in pretty much every category under his presidency, so being the first Black American president meant about as much to poor and working Black Americans as Thatcher meant to poor and working English woman…fuck all.
    Although Citigroup Bank will no doubt miss him as much as many of the commentators here will…
    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/10/15/wiki-o15.html
    His legacy…Trump, what a disastrous failure.

  8. James 8

    Not a fan of the guy or his politics.

    But he gives a hell of a speach. I could listen to him for hours.

  9. mauī 9

    The news report on tele was waxing lyrical about his achievements – Nobel peace prize winner and the bailout of the banks in 08. Rather hollow when you consider the US’s financial situation and the amount of war around the globe.

  10. Adrian Thornton 10

    The sad thing is, here is Cornel West and Travis Smiley critiquing Obama hard post the 2012 election

    …and here is Brother West just two days ago writing for the Guardian ( the Guardain trying vainly to win back some much needed credibility?), Obama had changed nothing of substance for working, and poor people in the US in those four years (and lets not even start on the drone war, attacks on whistle blowers etc)..yet people still admire him as a progressive, very strange.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/09/barack-obama-legacy-presidency

  11. One Two 11

    Trojan Horse!

  12. Ad 12

    By about a million miles Obama was the most left, most progressive US president we have seen since LBJ … and don’t tell me, LBJ had his flaws as well.

    Go ahead, lay all his sins at his door. List them all you like. They all have them.

    You won’t get anything get close to Obama for principle, rationality, progress on a bunch of fronts, and delivery.

    Plus, for all those who don’t like style, who rather than style or symbolism would rather a rote list of policy crap, well, you don’t know what politics is.

    • Macro 12.1

      Totally agree.

    • Adrian Thornton 12.2

      It is infuriating and quite depressing the way progressives have lowered the bar so low now, so low that the majority, and with a straight face, can come on to a progressive forum, and endorse the presidency and lecacy of this wall street lovin’, war mongering, whistle blower hating, prison industrial complex building, free market TPP pushing, neo liberal super slick used car salesman….it is embarrassing, and I thought we where critical thinkers here..it seems not.

      • The Chairman 12.2.1

        +1, Adrian.

      • weka 12.2.2

        It is infuriating and quite depressing the way progressives have lowered the bar so low now, so low that the majority, and with a straight face, can come on to a progressive forum, and endorse the presidency and lecacy of this wall street lovin’, war mongering, whistle blower hating, prison industrial complex building, free market TPP pushing, neo liberal super slick used car salesman….it is embarrassing, and I thought we where critical thinkers here..it seems not.

        I understand this argument (and I’m not the only one who finds Ad perplexing these days), and yet I can’t help but wonder what the other side are on about. In what universe do you think that the president of the United States wouldn’t love Wall St, go to war, protect the surveillance state, entrench the free market etc? Seriously.

        More interesting to me is what would have happened to Sanders had he won. I think we would all have been disappointed. Best bet for Western democracies is to get those in power that will at least allow enough freedom so that the real change can happen elsewhere. Low bar perhaps, but we can work with what we’ve got.

        • lprent 12.2.2.1

          I understand this argument …

          I don’t.

          My assumption with anybody is that for any one goal I’m unlikely to agree on them for more than about two thirds of what they are striving for. Of the ones that I agree with, for about half, I will disagree with the means that they propose to achieve their goals for. And for the ones that I disagree with about goals, about a third of the time, I will think that the way that they are proposing to go about their strange goal will help to move towards my goals quite well.

          Furthermore, given any 3 goals the likelihood is that with another person I’m likely to share, at most, only two with them. Since I have a large number of goals in life, it is unlikely that myself and another person will share many goals in common, and usually we will disagree on how to achieve them.

          In other words the normal condition with any other person is that we will seldom fully agree on very much. What you look for instead is the areas on which you can and will cooperate, and the areas of interesting discussions. To me this is the normal state of human interactions once you peel back the veneer of politeness, social roles, and an unwillingness to share what they actually think.

          I always have problems with people who think that others should share their exact frame of reference. It is highly unusual for that to ever be possible without some kind of brainwashing cult being in the picture.

          Seriously; where people do think like that, I usually start looking for why they are so deluded. I drop my trust levels of them because they clearly don’t understand themselves very well. After all only a fool who will be so desperate that they will focus on a projected myth of their own making and blindly ignore the obvious. That individual people are always quite different to each other.

          If the best you hope to achieve is to agree to disagree on many things and to be prepared to work together on the things that you agree on, then you are seldom disappointed. That in itself is usually way more productive than trying to operate in some kind of religious delusion as Adrian appears to be wandering in. The kind where he thinks that everyone should have the same set of beliefs as he does. That is just daft.

          //—-

          Personally I didn’t ever have much hope for Saunders if he got elected president. To my ultra-pragmatic and rather sceptical viewpoint, he just shrieked of political incompetence in actually being able to achieve much towards his goals. Since I’m unable to value high ideals that you can’t actually proceed to make progress towards, I didn’t rate him as being someone that I would have supported. Like Trump, at any point in time he appeared to me to try to be whatever people wanted him to be, while displaying little confidence in being able to achieve it. The only difference between them was that Trump appeals to base motives, while Saunders appealed to higher motives.

          Neither Clinton nor Obama has ever particularly enthralled me. However I have considered that compared to others in contention that they were headed more in a direction I agreed with than those directions that I disagreed with, and that they looked competent enough to move things.

          Fortunately NZ doesn’t run that strange elected monarchy system that the US does. I’d hate to wind up with either Trump or Saunders with the wide powers of the US presidency in their hands. It seems like a damn dangerous way to operate.

          • Clump_AKA Sam 12.2.2.1.1

            There are questions and answers and replies on both sides that need to be called bs on and clear up decades of old questions that are never answered.

            First off Thatcher isn’t liked as much as she was 30 years ago. Some pain with some gain was the argument only the pain still comes out in very ugly ways. For a century before thatcher debt to GDP was 70% then tripled 30 years latter and that’s the growth apparently due to neoliberalism. People don’t buy that any more.

            The Chinese government is an amalgam of private and communist system and they can easily switch from private banks that are state owned, pumping out money to a government bank which government pumps out into the economy. They simply can’t avoid a credit crunch but at the same time China is expanding government expenditure and infrastructure, all the things where not doing in New Zealand is being done in China. So all this nonsense about public private partner ship in New Zealand is a fiction. So you call it privately New Zealand, because the publics not going in the equation.

            Side note: so what should you do when you take over a flat footed economy? Again infrastructure demand is massive and the private sector is not taking it seriously. They’re being spooked by the S&P and ratings agency that gave us the American crises of 08 and they no nothing about economics. They are giving unsound advice and the finance minister wjo,s now the PM was stupid enough or bullied enough to swollow it now he’s got to run a surplus, so limited infrastructure spends. It’s stupid economics, that’s the only way to describe it now adays (We don’t need to be polite about them any more) because what ever the finance minister does they threaten to take away your aa/aaa rating. Government aren’t supposed to warehouse money like that, they should be making it by running a deficit. THIS IS WHY WE ARE SEEING THE RISE IN PEOPLE LIKE TRUMP.

            All government that fell for this junk economics 1st of all lead to financial crises, 2nd depressed working class in there countries and now the working class are throwing them out and rightly so.

            And we’re seeing more of Donald Brash. And what’s he trying to raise money to fund? Unlike the working class who have to prove who and what they are to borrow, Donald can just go in and borrow at no interest. Remember: no fact, no evidence, no evidence, no facts. The anonymous donor never existed because no fact or evedience emerge, it’s fantasy. This is a simple technicality of what governments actually do. They borrow with no evidence or facts and lie. This doesn’t apply to any of the working class. But when the government spends money into the economy that gives the working class money to complete transactions that occur. So this whole noise about surplus, is taking money out of bank accounts, and saying grow the economy. It’s insane and the apostles should be treated with disgust.

            The spending Trump wants to do will get through. There are 4 million Americans that had jobs in 2002 that don’t now, the jobs data is bogus which is another conversation. The noise coming out of Europe sounds like Italy will leave the euro, Italy still has sound manufacturing and they can grow there own food unlike the rest of Europ. I’m betting against the euro, and betting for Italy in this situation. So a boom in America/Italy and a bust in the rest of Europe and a credit slump in China. China will try and paper over it but I’m betting they’ll go down so where not going to sell a whole lot of milk there.

            The whole markets are being held up by the US federal reserve to pump up asset prices and that’s what’s holding us up and we all know it’s all over valued and what it means is we buy the same houses over and over again with out any genuine investments and proper investmets go by the way side. You’ve got market predictions and economist predictions, ones the real world, the other is FANTASY.

            If Trump causes a boom your apples and googles will borrow up and we’ll get a boom out of it. There’s no question about that. As they boom every one will jump on the bandwagon and we’ll get the bandwagon effect of lower quality.

            Prediction: recession in Australia and New Zealand, boom in America and Italy and crises in the rest of Europ.

            • Macro 12.2.2.1.1.1

              You do talk a load of tripe!

              “There are 4 million Americans that had jobs in 2002 that don’t now,”

              Ever heard of the “baby boomers”?
              If you were born in 1946 – you would be 70 now . In 2002 you would have been 56 and still working. All the bullshit on the number of people leaving the work force completely overlooks the demographics of an aging population!

              On the other hand – those who actually know what they are talking about can be found here: https://www.bls.gov/news.release/jolts.nr0.htm

              As for Italy! It is a cot case and has been for decades. That situation is caused more by its political instability than anything else.
              As for the States.. If the chump survives to be President – can the Congress really support this man?? He will quickly find just how limited the executive powers of POTUS really are. The Republicans will continue to support him just as long as it is politically opportune for them – and then look out for the impeachment. They obviously have enough on him already.

              • Clump_AKA Sam

                There is right and wrong ie fact or fiction. A lie is a different interpretation ‘of fiction

          • red-blooded 12.2.2.1.2

            +1, lprent. Well reasoned and explained.

          • Psycho Milt 12.2.2.1.3

            I always have problems with people who think that others should share their exact frame of reference. It is highly unusual for that to ever be possible without some kind of brainwashing cult being in the picture.

            Seriously; where people do think like that, I usually start looking for why they are so deluded. I drop my trust levels of them because they clearly don’t understand themselves very well.

            Fuck yes. That’s exactly right, and there’s way too much of it on the left.

            Re endorsing the …lecacy of this wall street lovin’, war mongering, whistle blower hating, prison industrial complex building, free market TPP pushing, neo liberal super slick used car salesman…: what the fuck? You’re angry because a President of the United States of America turned out to be not very left-wing? Seriously?

            • Adrian Thornton 12.2.2.1.3.1

              Look I realize you are subservient to the power class.
              I guess I am not, and I will always critique power if needed, I regard it as my obligation as a citizen.

              • See, that’s exactly what lprent was talking about. To you, the fact that I don’t share your outrage at a PotUS acting like a PotUS rather than a left-wing activist doesn’t make me someone who disagrees with you about something, it makes me “subservient to the power class.”

            • The Chairman 12.2.2.1.3.2

              @ Psycho Milt

              “You’re angry because a President of the United States of America turned out to be not very left-wing?”

              It’s more a case of a so-called left-wing President not turning out to be very left-wing.

          • The Chairman 12.2.2.1.4

            @ lprent

            Adrian didn’t insinuate that we should all see eye to eye.

            Adrian was highlighting the disappointment that the majority commenting on this matter were in support of Obama. Whereas, one would expect the majority of progressives would be disappointed.

            While the progressives I associate with (off line) also don’t see eye to eye on every matter, the consensus was Sanders was the best option for progressive change.

        • Adrian Thornton 12.2.2.2

          @weka, I am genuinely sorry to hear that you have given up hope of real change.
          I am sure you must realize that we are dealing with hard core free market economic ideologues here, and as I mentioned previously, sure the Democrats (or Labour in our case) might seem a little softer on certain issues, especially social and environmental issues, and of course that is a good thing, but that economic paradigm which is the core driving force of their beliefs will always be in the background, relentlessly driving them down the same road as the Republicans in the US and Labour down the same road as National in NZ.
          So ultimately the results for us and our communities will be the same, that is just a fact.
          What I just can’t get my head around is the negativity around Sanders/Corbyn on the Left, so what if they failed once in power, why not at least give change a chance? then we could say we at least tried to make real change. Instead the consensus here seems to be one of resigned submissiveness to the staus quo, the best of a bad thing, or maybe in some cases suffering from Stockholm syndrome?
          Well I for one refuse to lay down my ideal of a better more equal and free society, I would rather my children see me lose fighting for something I really believe in, than seeing me than pander and grovel to an ideology that I know is wrong.

          • weka 12.2.2.2.1

            I haven’t given up hope of real change, why do you say that?

            I’m not in either camp. I think people misinterpret my position because of that. I agree that the economic paradigm is hugely problematic and that it underpins both left and right mainstream politics. Where I disagree is in the strategy of how to deal with that. Amongst other things, I believe that it’s better for us to have more liberal governments because it’s easier for activism to happen then. This is my belief, but it’s also been my experience.

            Because of climate change, I’m also not willing to pin my hopes on the revolution. Yes we must keep working to change the underlying structures, but we don’t have the time to do that in the old paradigm leftie way. So I look for what we can do with what we’ve got. Not because I am settling for that, but because I think as well as smashing capitalism we also have to build something.

            As for people on the left, I see a lot of accusations made from all quarters about what lefties should be thinking and doing. As mentioned Ad puzzles me because he says some pretty disturbing things lol, if one is a traditional leftie. But he is also intelligent, thoughtful, a critical thinker and an author here. I disagree with probably 80% of what he writes these days, and I also know that he writes from an inflammatory position. So what should we do? Ostracise him? Or challenge his beliefs? Find ways to be an ally?

            I also don’t have a problem with you expressing your dismay and despair about what is happening on TS. It’s a huge problem. But you get that there are people here (and who have left) who feel likewise because of the faction that has been arguing against liberals right?

            • Adrian Thornton 12.2.2.2.1.1

              That was a good reply and I agree with most of your points, however I just don’t think that working with political parties whose economic ideologies are profit driven will give you the results around the environment that you (and every right thinking human) would like to see.

              I think this point was proved quite succinctly by one of the architects of the free markets system himself…. “the shaken Greenspan who was stunned that greedy and reckless short-term behavior could overwhelm long-term, rational self-interest”
              https://www.c-span.org/video/?c3342718/waxman-greenspan-testimony

              Any political party, liberal or not, who is driven by profit motive, free market economics, will eventually clash headlong on into the environment and will have no problem destroying it, if those profit incentives remain, as these same parties have shown in regards to workers rights/wages/conditions over the past 35 years.

              I think we are at a cross road on the Left, follow the free market centre left establishment into political redundancy, maybe oblivion, or collectively say enough is enough, we want our party back, one that wants to install and govern with an economic ideology that works for communities, citizens and the environment and not the other way around.

              • weka

                “however I just don’t think that working with political parties whose economic ideologies are profit driven will give you the results around the environment that you (and every right thinking human) would like to see.”

                What do you mean by ‘working with’ there?

                Those are all great ideals. My question is how do you see that happening? Because we do a lot of ideology and theorising in TS but we don’t do a lot of strategy. So when people talk about these things I always want to know the how.

                I’m not a Labour person, it’s not my party, but I would ask, how do you think the party could be taken back, and how do you think Labour could do what you suggest and get voted in to do that?

                • Adrian Thornton

                  Sorry, didn’t mean to put words in your mouth, I thought than when you said “we must keep working to change the underlying structure” that you, like other people I know, have the political philosophy of working within the existing political structures to incrementally bring about change.
                  I agree that there is not enough strategy and action on the Left, although Sue Brafords Economic and Social Research Aotearoa
                  https://www.esra.nz/ is a pretty promising start.
                  On a personal level I and my wife have a second hand book shop, which is the centre of quite a bit of activism, debate etc, in fact at the moment we have a big poster in our window, which states that Helen Kelly is the New Zealander of the year (according to The Little Red Bookshop).

                  I am a Labour person, but I can’t say how we re appropriate the party back to it’s core socialist principles, I wish I knew.
                  For myself, I just critique the local politicians (Labour and National) with poster and sticker runs, always encourage open political dialogue in my shop, and sometimes use the gigs I play at. as a political platform, whether the audience like it or not,
                  Actually to give him his dues, Craig Foss is the only one to come into the shop and engage in a debate after one ( quite funny but damning) poster run, haven’t seen hide or hair of Nash though.

                  As far as getting voted in, I strongly believe that is of secondary importance to maintaining the parties political (social) values and principles.
                  The Left has been compromising away it’s heart and soul for to long, it is time to take the moral high ground, and win or lose from there.

                  • weka

                    ah, ok, no, by ‘underlying structures’ I was referring to the economic paradigm that you were referring to. Yes, we should change that, but I don’t think we have time to rely on that change. Hence I prefer that we have liberal govts in power so the rest of us can get on with the real work, which isn’t via parliamentary leadership.

                    As much as I would like to see Labour return to its roots, I don’t think they will. I also don’t think we can afford Labour to attempt that if it gives National a 4th term. I still don’t understand why all the disaffected Labour people didn’t get behind the Greens when Bradford was still there, but I think we’ve past that opportunity too. This is what I mean about making the best of what we have got. Parliamentary politics aren’t going to save us, but we will do better the more left they are in the meantime. Ditto the US. Hence my better tolerance for people like Ad. The shitstorm about to rain down on us will require us to work with people who think differently than we do. There are some exceptions to that, I won’t tolerate people who promote fascists for instance, or people intent on destruction. We need a different strategy for them.

                    • The Chairman

                      “I also don’t think we can afford Labour to attempt that if it gives National a 4th term.”

                      Going off the polls, not attempting that will give National a 4th term.

                      “I still don’t understand why all the disaffected Labour people didn’t get behind the Greens”

                      Because the Greens are a smaller party and like all smaller parties aren’t expected to win, thus don’t have the political clout to muster the support.

                      “Parliamentary politics aren’t going to save us”

                      Parliament and being in Government is where and how change becomes law, thus it’s the only thing that can possibly save us.

                    • weka

                      All good change comes from the edge first, parliament follows some time later.

                      “Going off the polls, not attempting that will give National a 4th term.”

                      Well I’m still waiting for anyone to explain how this might be done. This being Labour abandoning the free market centre left establishment and instead installing and governing with an economic ideology that works for communities, citizens and the environment and not the other way around. Seriously, I’d love to hear how that could happen in time for the electorate to vote in a Labour-led govt this year. I’m not saying Labour shouldn’t be moving left, of course they should, but Adrian was suggesting much more than that.

                      “Because the Greens are a smaller party and like all smaller parties aren’t expected to win, thus don’t have the political clout to muster the support.”

                      That doesn’t make any sense under MMP.

                    • Adrian Thornton

                      I am in total agreement about Bradford, that sure was a real lost opportunity, still gets to me that she didn’t get to be Co Leader of that party, that would have something to behold.
                      I hear what you are saying about parliamentary politics not saving us, and acknowledge that you are probably right, but there is a part of me that refuses to give up on the idea of a Socialist Democratic Labour Party guiding the country to a better place…maybe I am a dreamer, but then again, no one saw, or would have bet on a old Jewish Socialist almost upsetting the entrenched political establishment in the US twelve months ago, things can and do change fast in politics, and especially when people don’t think their children/grandchildren are getting a fair deal…so I will just keep on trying to push Labour Left, in my own little ways, even if it is a fruitless exercise.

                    • weka

                      I think it’s good that there are still people who are actively trying to get Labour to go left, and I support that. I’m just arguing for some strategy around that here on TS 😉

                    • The Chairman

                      “All good change comes from the edge first, parliament follows some time later.”

                      Or not at all.

                      There are a number of issues the polls indicate the majority want and have pushed to be changed to no avail.

                      Ultimately, the follow through requires political power.

                      While change from the edge helps, thus forms part of the solution, it can be cumbersomely slow.

                      Change can also come from within.

                      “Well I’m still waiting for anyone to explain how this might be done”

                      There are numerous ways. It can be pushed, demanded and supported by the party at large. It could come from a strong, able and determined leader. Unions could utilize their clout and apply more leverage.

                      One thing is clear, lowering the bar and accepting the lesser of two evils merely reinforces the status quo.

                      MMP doesn’t change the chance of a smaller party becoming the lead party and being able to push through sufficient change.

                    • weka

                      I never said the Greens should have been the lead party, I said that I never understood why those disenfranchised Labour people didn’t support the Greens when Bradford was there. The GP policy was more left than Labour and there were traditional lefties in the party. Under MMP that would have been a rational choice in terms of supporting a left wing govt, shifting NZ left and shifting Labour left.

                      As for change happening within parliament, that parliament is needed is obvious from my statements. But I am curious what big change you think people in parliament initiated with no prompting from the edge. Party-wide pressure generally has it’s origins in the edge.

                    • The Chairman

                      “I never said the Greens should have been the lead party, I said that I never understood why those disenfranchised Labour people didn’t support the Greens when Bradford was there. The GP policy was more left than Labour and there were traditional lefties in the party. Under MMP that would have been a rational choice in terms of supporting a left wing govt, shifting NZ left and shifting Labour left”

                      Yes, I understand all of that. Which is why I explained the voting rationale. New Zealanders (as shown in sports) don’t like backing losers. Smaller parties aren’t perceived to win, hence attain power to install sufficient change, thus fail to muster large support.

                      Additionally, voting Green is perceived to result in Labour being the dominant party.

                      Being dominated by a National lite Labour defeats the objective of voting for a lefter Green.

                      “I am curious what big change you think people in parliament initiated with no prompting from the edge.”

                      Kiwibank and the Gold Card spring to mind.

                    • weka

                      New Zealanders (as shown in sports) don’t like backing losers. Smaller parties aren’t perceived to win, hence attain power to install sufficient change, thus fail to muster large support.

                      I really don’t think the Greens are perceived as losers by most left wing voters. Besides, I wasn’t talking about NZers in general, I was talking about Labour supporters like Adrian who were fucked off with Labour’s neoliberalism. They did have choices and they didn’t use them.

                      Additionally, voting Green is perceived to result in Labour being the dominant party.

                      I think that’s more on the target. Too many Labour people held onto the idea of Labour being able to govern without the Greens. Fortunately those days are behind us.

                      Being dominated by a National lite Labour defeats the objective of voting for a lefter Green.

                      Not really. If your only two choices are National-lite Labour and the Greens, then voting Labour because the Greens would be dominated by National-lite Labour doesn’t make sense. I think it’s more about historic loyalties, the Labour should rule idea, and people still feeling nervous about the Greens at that stage. Plus all the people who see the Greens as too urban or middle class.

                      “I am curious what big change you think people in parliament initiated with no prompting from the edge.”

                      Kiwibank and the Gold Card spring to mind.

                      Ah, as if often in our conversations you are talking about policy, I’m talking about bigger picture. I don’t consider those two things to be big change. I was thinking about things like the Nuclear Free legislation or the sporting contact with South Africa. Both were lead from the edge and have had big impacts on NZ culturally.

                    • The Chairman

                      You are free to think what you like but it doesn’t change that smaller parties aren’t largely perceived to win, even by those from the left.

                      “Fortunately those days are behind us.”

                      Think again, the MOU doesn’t end on election day by coincidence. It allows Labour to form a coalition with NZF (and without the Greens) if it desires/requires.

                      “If your only two choices are National-lite Labour and the Greens, then voting Labour because the Greens would be dominated by National-lite Labour doesn’t make sense.”

                      It does in the context of those that turn to NZF (thinking they will secure more) or don’t bother to vote at all. Moreover, it explains why a number would rather see Labour return to the left than vote Green and be dominated by a Labour National lite.

                      A state owned bank is a large step against neo-liberalism. Definitely bucking the status quo, thus it was big change. Which of course is now being countered by the establishment.

                      The Gold Card is a form of giving back, again bucking the status quo.

                    • weka

                      If Labour choose NZF over the Greens then they are still working with another party to form govt rather than trying to govern alone via FPP mentality, which was my point. Bored now with you misrepresenting what I am saying, there are better conversations to be held elsewhere.

                    • The Chairman

                      “If Labour choose NZF over the Greens then they are still working with another party to form govt rather than trying to govern alone via FPP mentality, which was my point”

                      Yes, I gathered that. However, it’s still possible they could govern without the Greens, which was my point.

                      “Bored now with you misrepresenting what I am saying”

                      ?

                      I’ve been quoting you.

                      Enjoy your day.

  13. Keith 13

    Although he was a great orator and clearly a very intelligent man and one who gave Americans great hope in 2008, it was largely squandered and in no small way the reason desperate voters chose Trump and why so many didn’t bother voting at all.

    The violent overthrow of Gaddafi turning Lybia into a northern version Somalia that has seen refugees and terrorists alike pouring out of that mess creating turmoil in European politics, alongside the other never ending wars under Obama, (was the Arab Spring manufactured?) to articles like one I read (but can’t seem to find now) titled “He kills on Tuesdays” referring to US drone strikes around the globe decided upon on “Terror Tuesday” meetings chaired by Obama told me he was not the man we thought he was or meant to be.

    An individual quite likely neutered by the US political system, who could lead in so many wars around the world but who could do nothing to stop his fellow Americans dying in mindless gun violence, or one who kept championing highly restrictive so called “free trade” that has hollowed out US society so badly, promised so much but delivered the same old same old.

    Unlike John Kennedy, who changed the way the US conducted itself, I think for the better, and left you wondering what if, Obama left nothing.

    • Morrissey 13.1

      Although he was a great orator

      No he wasn’t. He was nothing more than a bloviator. Martin Luther King, who Obama so ineptly mimicked, was a great orator—not just because of his delivery, but because he actually had something to say.

      ….and clearly a very intelligent man….

      Fair comment. Most leading politicians are very intelligent.

      ….and one who gave Americans great hope in 2008…

      Really? Most astute American commentators—not their equivalents of Jim Mora and “Ad”—saw through the empty rhetoric as that emotion-fest in 2008 progressed. Even with that great groundswell of hyped-up enthusiasm, he still struggled to beat the bizarre and hopeless McCain-Palin double act.

      Palin summed him up best after a year of his doing bugger-all….

  14. johnm 14

    Obama The War Criminal Butcherer of Women and Children

    Paul Craig Roberts

    There is no doubt that US President Barak Obama is a war criminal as are his military and intelligence officials and most of the House and Senate.

    Obama is the first president to keep the US at war for the entirety of his eight-year regime. During 2016 alone the US dropped 26,171 bombs on wedding parties, funerals, kid’s soccer games, hospitals, schools, people in their homes and walking their streets, and farmers tilling their fields in seven countries: Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan. http://blogs.cfr.org/zenko/2017/01/05/bombs-dropped-in-2016/

    What does the administration have to show for eight years of illegal military interventions in seven countries, none of which comprised a danger to the US and against none of which the US has declared war? Terrorism was created by US invasions, no wars have been won, and the Middle East has been consumed in chaos and destruction. Worldwide hatred of the United States has risen to a record high. The US is now the most despised country on earth.

    The only purposes of these crimes is to enrich the armaments industry and to advance the insane neoconservative ideology of US world hegemony. A tiny handful of despicable people have been able to destroy the reputation of the United States and murder millions of peoples, sending waves of war refugees to the US and Europe.

    We call these “wars,” but they are not. They are invasions, largely from the air, but in Afghanistan and Iraq from troops on the ground. The invasions by air and land are entirely based on blatant, transparent lies. The “justifications” for the invasions have changed a dozen times.

    The questions are: If Trump becomes president, will Washington’s massive crimes against humanity continue? If so, will the rest of the world continue to tolerate Washington’s extraordinary evil?

    http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2017/01/11/obama-the-war-criminal-butcherer-of-women-and-children/

  15. red-blooded 15

    Checking out this site, Paul Craig Roberts seems to be somewhat hysterical and given to wild conjecture. Here’s what he says about proposals to “federalize” election processes (ie, use consistent software for voting and vote counting, designed to prevent hacking):

    “”The ruling establishment has responded to Donald Trump’s election by laying the groundwork to federalize, and thus control, future elections. Read Tyler Durden’s report: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-01-06/stunning-last-minute-power-grab-obama-designates-election-systems-critical-infrastru

    The federal government does not have the constitutional authority to administer elections, only to set the date. The Obama regime’s designation of elections as “critical infrastructure” seems to have no function other than to put in place a way to prevent voters from overthrowing an entrenched establishment, as the establishment fears the voters did when they elected Trump president.

    The distrubing question is: Why do it now after Trump’s election? Could there be a plot to rescind Trump’s election on the basis of the ongoing lies that Trump was elected not by the voters but by Russian interference? Federalization can be used to remove the states from the picture and prevent the states from challenging an establishment coup against the voters.

    US elections are decentralized in the hands of the states. There is no national network that would make hacking possible. The Department of Homeland Security can make suggestions to the states for improving the security of elections without declaring federal authority over the elections as “critical infrastructure.”

    This is a disturbing development for which explanation and reason are lacking. Trump, if inaugurated, can overturn it or use it to ensure his reelection. Moreover, this last minute act of Obama is based on nothing but the false allegations of Russian interference. Despite the total absence of any evidence, the Obama regime continues to insist that the election was tainted by Russian interference, and the presstitutes repeat the lie as if it is true. For a media that ridicules “conspiracy theories,” it is certainly hypocritical for the presstitutes to be hyping the Russian hacking conspiracy.

    What is the point of this lie to which the Obama regime and the presstitute media are committed? Is it merely to throw mud at Trump? Or is it to lay the foundation for a coup?”

    Oooh… scary! Trouble is, this initiative was being discussed well before the elections:
    http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/election-cyber-security-georgia-227475. And it’s a proposal, not a command from on high.

    Your guy has his own narrative to present, but that doesn’t make it true.

    ps – He sounds pretty keen on Trump. Could that have any bearing on his views about Obama, I wonder..?

  16. Morrissey 16

    Not only did he fake emotion at Robben Island, he faked tears in his farewell speech

    When you’re caught out as a fraud by Fox News, you really have a problem….

    http://www.aol.com/article/news/2017/01/11/laura-ingraham-accuses-president-obama-of-crocodile-tears-in-farewell-speech/21652835/

    • When you’re approvingly pointing people to Fox News commentators, you ought to be aware but apparently aren’t that you really have a problem…

      • Morrissey 16.1.1

        As I made clear in my comment, I have scant respect for Fox News. My point was—and I know that you are not so obtuse that you did not understand me, Milt—that when even Fox News can legitimately make fun of you, you are in trouble.

        Except with those who claim your vacuous speeches are “inspiring”, of course.

        • Psycho Milt 16.1.1.1

          Actions speak louder than words. You approvingly linked to some obnoxious bullshit from two unsavoury conservative commentators on Fox News, as though the opinions of these fuckwits counted for something. It’s what you actually do that counts, not how you try and frame it.

          • Morrissey 16.1.1.1.1

            Actions speak louder than words.

            Indeed. Which is something you should bear in mind next time you heap praise on the man Jim Mora calls “the greatest orator of our time.”

            You approvingly linked to some obnoxious bullshit from two unsavoury conservative commentators on Fox News,

            There are equally obnoxious commentators on the BBC and on the three big U.S. networks.

            …. as though the opinions of these fuckwits counted for something.

            It’s not simply their opinion that leads anyone who is honest to see that Obama is an insincere and cynical actor. Anyone who watched his dumbshow at Robben Island realizes just how nauseating his role-playing can be…..

            It’s what you actually do that counts, not how you try and frame it.

            Good advice. You Obama-cultists need to seriously ruminate on that message.

  17. Brutus Iscariot 17

    The way i’d look at is as follows – you can talk about Obama’s Legacy and point to the issues with Congress in the Senate, but that misses the point. In NZ, domestic American issues are of limited relevance to us. One could even say that to offer an opinion is to attempt to impose our values on other cultures.

    The one sphere where the US Presidency has basically complete power and autonomy is foreign policy, which certainly does impact us and the rest of the world directly.

    I would question what he’s done in that area though that is so meaningful. The best that can be said is that he didn’t f*** up as much as Bush.

  18. johnm 18

    David Icke Exposes Michelle Obama
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyB3qUpSISM

    +David Icke Obama isn’t a fake president, but rather a fake HUMAN…

    The Standard has lost huge credibility with your BS posts.

    It’s as if the www. didn’t exist! It’s un fucking kiwi to go outside this little ahole country!
    Bye.

    [Banned for being a dickhead 3 months – MS]

  19. johnm 19

    Maybe for the best! 🙂

  20. johnm 20

    Obama’s Farewell Tears Are an Insult, His Record is Soaked in Blood

    By John Wight

    Do not be fooled by the tears and gushing words of Obama and his supporters as he counts down to his departure from the White House. They are an insult when measured against the tears of the countless Libyans, Syrians, Afghans and others who have suffered as a result of a foreign policy that brought his administration into disrepute.

    Barack Obama goes down in history as a president who more than any other in living memory entered the White House on a wave of hope and expectation, only to depart eight years and two terms later under a cloud of crushing disappointment and bitterness.

    In speech after speech, America’s first black president outlined a vision of his country’s place in the world that would embrace multilateralism, place a premium on diplomacy, and embrace a foreign policy underpinned by justice. He also pledged to close the controversial US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. Eight years later it’s impossible to avoid the conclusion that he lied.

    Peter Hindrup · 18 hours ago
    The destruction of Libya, a disaster for all people on the planet, destroyed because a country run for the benefit of its citizens could not be allowed to stand. A state working for the restructuring of Africa, for the benefit of Africans.

    The total support for and the financing of Israel, cynically supporting the destruction of the Palestinian people, along with the other various insults to humanity listed above. The man who came with so many hoping for significant change, who destroyed that faith even as he selected those from Bush’s murderous team and appointed them into his administration.

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/46230.htm

  21. johnm 21

    The Issue Is Not Trump, It’s Us

    By John Pilger

    Under Obama, the U.S. extended secret “special forces” operations to 138 countries, or 70 percent of the world’s population.

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/46244.htm

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