What Obama Is Up Against

11020910The first anniversary of Barack Obama’s historic election finds many of his supporters already grousing. Fair enough: Obama has been more vigorous in some areas than others. But one essential question goes unasked: How much can any president accomplish against the wishes of recalcitrant power centers within his own government?

We Americans harbor a quaint belief that a new president takes charge of a government that eagerly awaits his next command. Like an orchestra conductor or perhaps a football coach, he can inspire or bludgeon and get what he wants. But that’s not how things work at the top, especially where “national security” is concerned. The Pentagon and CIA are powerful and independent fiefdoms characterized by entrenched agendas and constant intrigue. They are full of lifers, who see an elected president largely as an annoyance, and have ways of dealing with those who won’t come to heel.

Compound that with the Bush-Cheney administration’s aggressive seeding of its staunch loyalists throughout the bureaucracy, and you have a pretty tough situation. Obama, then, has to contend not only with the big donors and corporate lobbies. His biggest problem resides right inside his “team.”

The internal battles between American presidents and their national security establishments are not much reported. But if it is an invisible game, it is also a devious and even deadly one. Our civilian leaders end up mirroring the chronically nervous chiefs of state of the fragile democracies to our south.

Those who do not kowtow to the spies and generals have had a bumpy ride. FDR and Truman both faced insubordination. Dwight Eisenhower, who had served as chief of staff of the US Army, left the White House warning darkly about the “military industrial complex.” (He of all presidents had reasons to know.) John Kennedy was repeatedly countermanded and double-crossed by his own supposed subordinates. The Joint Chiefs baited him; Allen Dulles despised him (more so after JFK fired him over the Bay of Pigs fiasco), and Henry Cabot Lodge, his ambassador to South Vietnam, deliberately undermined Kennedy’s agenda. Kennedy called the trigger-happy generals “mad” and spoke angrily to aides of “scattering the CIA to the wind.” The evidence is growing that he suffered the consequences.

In the 1950s, the late Col. L. Fletcher Prouty, a high-ranking Pentagon official, was assigned by CIA Director Allen Dulles to help place Dulles’s officers under military cover throughout the federal government. As a result, Dulles not only knew what was happening before the president did, but had essentially infiltrated every corner of the president’s domain. One Nixon-era Republican Party official told me that in the early 1970s, there were intelligence officers everywhere, including the White House. Nixon was unaware of the true background of many of his trusted aides, particularly those who helped drive him from office. Remember Alexander Butterfield, the so-called “military liaison,” who told Congress about the White House taping system? Years later, Butterfield admitted to CIA connections.

In December 1971, Nixon learned of a military spy ring, the so-called Moorer-Radford operation, that was piping White House documents back to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Chiefs were wary of secret negotiations the president and Henry Kissinger were conducting with America’s enemies, including North Vietnam, China and the USSR, and decided to keep tabs on this intrusion upon their domain. Jimmy Carter came into office as revelations of CIA abuses made headlines. He tried to dismantle the agency’s dirty tricks office, but wound up instead a victim of it — and a one-term president.

Those who avoided problems — Johnson, Reagan, Bush Sr. and Jr. — were chief executives that made no problems for the Pentagon and intelligence chiefs. All embraced military and covert operations, expanded wars or launched their own. The agile Bill Clinton was a special case — no babe in the woods, he focused on domestic gains and pretty much steered clear of the hornets’ nest.

As for the Bushes, their ascension represented a seizure of power by the national security state itself. Their family had profited from arms manufacturing for decades. The patriarch, Prescott Bush, monitored US assassination plots against foreign leaders as a senator; and records indicate that the elder George Bush had been a secret agency operative for decades before he became CIA director — and then, 12 years later, president.

Obama seems to understand his narrow range of movement, and to be carefully picking his fights. He retained many of Bush’s top military brass, and even Bush’s Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who himself had served as a CIA director for Bush’s father. He has trod very carefully with the spy agency and has declined to aggressively investigate Bush administration wrongdoing on torture and wiretapping. Obama’s campaign rhetoric about disengaging from Iraq seems a long time ago, and the war in Afghanistan is taking on the hues of permanency.

The old boys’ network is very much in place, and it is hard at work to force Obama’s hand, a la Vietnam. Witness the leaking of Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s supposedly “confidential report” calling for escalation in Afghanistan. The leak was, not surprisingly, to the reliable Bob Woodward. The reporter was himself in Naval Intelligence shortly before he went to work at the Washington Post, where he soon built a career around leaks from the military and spy establishment. The White House was furious at the McChrystal release. But what could it do? Presidents come and go, and the security folks have ways to hasten the latter.

Covert alliances and payments to corrupt foreign allies continue, making creative diplomacy more difficult. In late October came a front-page story that the brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, suspected of being a major figure in that country’s opium trade, has been on the CIA’s payroll for eight years. Anyone who finds this shocking should go back and read about the CIA and the drug trade in Southeast Asia.

Throughout its six-decade history, the CIA has resisted accountability, with even some of its own nonspook directors kept in the dark about the agency’s most troubling activities. As for the public’s elected representatives, Nancy Pelosi is the most recent in a long line of legislators to accuse the CIA of deliberately misleading Congressional overseers.

None of this is likely to change soon, and not without a huge fight. Half a century after Ike’s famous admonition, conflict and intrigue remain the engine of our economy, and everyone from private equity firms to missile makers to car and truck manufacturers count on that to continue. The homeland security industry, the most recent head to grow on this hydra, is now seeking permanency.

So Barack Obama is boxed in. But so are the American people, and so, really, is democracy itself. Bringing this inconvenient truth out in the open is the essential first step toward taking back control of our government — and our future. For all the reasons laid out here, Obama will need help. He may, in the rote formulation, hold “the most powerful office in the world.” However, the extent to which he controls the government he heads, is another matter.

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0 responses to “What Obama Is Up Against”

  1. Robert ANderson says:

    This is like saying “Big Brother is boxed in. He wants to do the right thing, He is your friend.” Slavery is freedom, war is peace…

    • David J Gill says:

      Why don’t you just say Obama is the anti-Christ. That would seem to be perfectly reasonable in your line of thinking which allows words like and references like Big Brother slavery and war to mean whatever you want them to mean at a given moment.

      How are wildly extreme, over the top, overwhelmingly biased political remarks helpful in a political debate? But, you don’t want to allow debate on anything, do you?

  2. Litchfield says:

    Obama never assembled a team of like-minded people arouind him. He appointed the same old same olds. This, to me, is the strongest indication that Barry was never a serious contender for bringing change of any kind to the USA. Whom did JFK put at his side: his brother, whom he knew he could trust. And other loyal political lieutenants. Barry just took the bodies that were already there or were pushed toward him by . . . corporate players, probably. If he had been serious, and less of an egomaniac and a wuss, he would have understood that no president can accomplish anything on his own. that is a childish notion, OK for the American public, perhaps, but laughable in someone aspiring actually to govern this (or any) country, not to mention effect any kind of change. We understand this in sports. It’s the same in governing. Thus, either Obama is actually naive and quite stupid, or he is smart enough but was never serious in the first place. I reckon the second optoin is the true one. We often ask: What kind of person would want to run for president. More relevant: What kind of person is chosen to run for president? One answer: a malleable, attractive guy on whom large swaths of the population can project their fantasies.

  3. nha16 says:

    One of the qualifications to the presidency should be to have no family…none. I do wonder why Obama made such odd initial cabinet picks. Wouldn’t he have had a better chance with a strong team behind him? Was he forced to name D.C. hoodlums to almost every post?

  4. I watched Obama repeatedly clench his jaw during his first inauguration. To me, he looked like a man afraid of assassination. If I were the boss of the MIC, I (or more likely a henchman) would have taken Obama to one side and made it clear what could happen to him, his wife and/or his two beautiful daughters… Most men would follow orders at that point, and it seems as though he has.

  5. lessthantolerant says:

    Obama and his Kenyan Clown circus just show the world what happens when idiots are in charge. let’s face facts here, Obama is busy getting buggered by his secret service detail while Mooshelle pimps out her little breeders for party favors.
    Liberalism is a mental disorder!

  6. Matt Prather says:

    Seymour Hersh has had some interesting things to say on the subject. He also has a book which may never see the light of day, on the subject of the small group of neocons who set post-9/11 military policy on the damnable course that it did.

    1: http://www.minnpost.com/eric-black-ink/2009/03/investigative-reporter-seymour-hersh-describes-executive-assassination-ring

    2: http://www.democracynow.org/2009/3/31/seymour_hersh_secret_us_forces_carried

    3: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2009/07/14/the-man-who-knew-cheneys-secret.html

    4: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/01/22/transcript_the_obamabush_foreign_policies_why_cant_america_change?page=full

    5: http://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2012-03-30/there-to-tell-the-truth/all

    He investigates and reports on “eight or nine” individuals in the Bush White House and the Joint Special Operations Command who took the law into their own hands in the “War on Terror”.

    Reading 1 through 4 will give the reader many facts.

    Here is a quote from 5:

    Cheney’s real concern was operational security — “OPSEC” they call it, which is the critical thing when you’re running secret programs.

    [. . .]

    He concluded you can’t trust Congress with secrets, you can’t trust the CIA with secrets; you can’t trust the military with secrets. So what he did, he created his own army, and his own apparatus inside. That meant — and here’s where it gets really interesting — he had to fund it. This business with the Constitution, and Congress authorizing and appropriating money — forget that.

    So that’s what I’m writing about.

  7. J Edger says:

    Mr. Obama does not have An American bone in his psyche…

  8. Kevin says:

    As a follow up:

    http://rcochran.hubpages.com/hub/americangovernmentconstitutionalrepublicorDemocracy

    Thomas Jefferson said of Democracy, “A democracy is nothing
    more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the
    rights of the other forty-nine.”

    When Benjamin Franklin was asked, “What kind of government
    have you given us?” His reply, A republic if you can keep it.”

    • David J Gill says:

      It’s pointless to quote Jefferson who gave posterity quotes to exploit to fit any current argument. You should be more than familiar with the all too well know Jeff. quote (tree of liberty, blood of tyrants) contradicting the quote you have chosen. Jefferson also had nothing bu admiration for the mob rule that was the French Revolution.

  9. Kevin says:

    Excellent article with one exception – America is not and never was intended to be a “democracy”. The founding fathers viewed democracy as evil (“two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner”). A republic protects the rights of the minority.

    When we say the pledge of allegiance, it’s:

    “…to the REPUBLIC for which it stands…”,
    not
    “…to the democracy for which it stands…”

    • FreeSociety says:

      A Republic cannot protect anyone rights because it is indirect representation. That means wealth, bribery, secret negotiations, and other corruption will easily be marshalled to work against the interests of the people. By controlling just a small group of people – you control the entire Country.

    • edwardrynearson says:

      and thus the bill of rights

  10. Rory says:

    O.K. let’s just admit it and accept that we live in a military industrial plutocracy and not a democracy. Now, what is a key component besides money that keeps this going? Answer: people/recruits. Right now only one percent of the adult population serves in the military.  The personnel in our  military is beyond burned out from the last two wars and the public just wants to forget and move on. My oldest son is graduating from high school in a few days. He has 660 people in his class. I just asked him how many were planning on going into the military. He personally knew of six and he knows enough about half of his class mates where we determined that maybe ten to twelve total may be joining up upon graduation.  If we use that as a model (some schools may have  higher enlistment s numbers due to the post secondary job situation) and figure in discharges the military will never make any gains personnel wise and if the job situation improves they may even lose ground. If we get into another war or two in the next few years the military complex may end up shooting itself in the foot so to speak. Right now I don’t see eager young people rushing out to join up.

    History shows that when a political or ruling institution gets rotten to the core it ends up collapsing upon itself and I think this what will happen to the entities described in the article.

  11. pvphoto says:

    I’m sorry, but if you take the job then you are expected to do the job! I am sorry if the president found out the job was more difficult (or more dangerous) than expected, but if you have no intention to really do anything then get out of the way! Perhaps he fears assassination from inside like Kennedy but if you don’t do whats right then you make yourself responsible for what is wrong!  

  12. John Truman says:

    http://www.salon.com/2012/04/09/journalists_casualties_in_the_war_on_whistleblowers/

    Jesselyn Radack, attorney for the Government Accountability Project,  the nation’s largest whistleblower organization, writes:

    “At first I thought Obama’s war on whistleblowers was meant to appease the intelligence establishment, which saw him as weak. I soon recognized this assault as a devious way to create bad precedent for going after journalists. All the Espionage Act cases involve allegations that the government employee “leaked” information (or retained information for the purpose of leaking it) to journalists.”

    * * * 

    http://www.opednews.com/articles/Rep-Conyers-Obama-Demand-by-Jeanine-Molloff-110729-352.html

    Congressman John Conyers (D-MI), third-longest-serving member of Congress, and 1st member of Congress to support Obama’s candidacy for president, writes:

    “The Republicans DID NOT call for Social Security cuts in the budget deal.  THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES CALLED FOR THAT.” (All caps in original Conyers quote).

    * * *

    It seems to me that Obama himself is using “what Obama is up against” as cover.  Like a mole would.

    As a student of the Bush family, perhaps Russ Baker would be interested in George H.W. Bush’s role with Barrack Gold of Canada; Obama’s multiple private visits by George H.W. Bush & Jeb Bush; Obama’s role at Business International, the CIA-connected Obama employer who was famous for infiltrating the Left & labor unions to dismantle them from within; Obama’s mother Stanley Ann Dunham’s “coincidental” relationship with Peter Geithner, the father of Timothy Geithner; the strange intelligence connections & proclivities of Obama’s self-described mentor Frank Marshall Davis; and the curiously cocky words and tone of Mr. Dick Cheney, who told reporters in July 2008 during the campaign (with a chuckle — not joking) that he would “whisper in Senator Obama’s ear” to keep him from altering any Bush “security policies” regarding torture or Guantanamo.

    Perhaps the words that Mr. Cheney laughingly would tell Mr. Obama would be “… Like a duck in a noose”, the cryptic phrase that Police Chief Charles Moose was instructed to publicly read to the D.C. sniper, like a trigger-phrase one would read to a Manchurian hypnotized mind-control subject.

    • Алексей says:

      I agree with you @twitter-585401532:disqus  Obama appears  to be MKULTRA. Hard to believe but too much CIA links.

  13. Dan says:

    So, let’s say that I could get elected President.  First day on the job, order CIA headquarters in Langley and in every CIA installation, every CIA operation to halt, everybody go home, administrative leave for the lot of them.  None of them are coming back to work.  CIA officially deleted and canceled, anyone not sure what to do could call me with questions.    They could keep operating, but not with the approval of the US government.

    Then I send in my pals, who are not part of the intelligence community, to go in and get all the info from all the CIA places.

    So if I did that, what could these guys do to get back at me?

    Seems like a president is forced to have his own intelligence and security apparatus, separate from the government, because the government is owned by the CIA.

    So what happens if the CIA is cancelled by Congress and the President?

    • allenels says:

      I think your plan is more than simplistic. You as president would presumably also have loved ones; a wife, children, siblings, a mistress perhaps? These are the pawns that would be used against you as POTUS. You talk as if these people in the intelligence community have not controlled people through fear and intimidation, for a very long time. Unless you were created in a lab in a test tube and have no affiliation to anyone, then you might take on the intelligence community without the fear of retribution.

    • pvphoto says:

       I’m sorry, once again that is no excuse! Anyone would know this going in and cannot be excused because they are scared! As they say “You are either part of the solution or part of the problem”.

    • allenels says:

      Mr. Peavy, I was not making a statement about Barack Obama but about you. Your response makes you appear as if you live in a vacuum and operate as if no one can either intimidate you or those you love? It’s nice to sit on the outside of life and determine who is a coward. Unfortunately, our world has created some very scary people and far too many will strike,  mutilate or kill without much provocation. I’m not so sure that you actually believe and practice the bravado that you spew. In my experience, people like you love to point the finger and call others cowards but never really step up to the plate themselves.

  14. Nobody says:

    No mention of the White House Putsch?

  15. Francoma says:

    30 standing ovations for the Lord of isreal Enuff said

  16. Robert says:

    Unfortunately, the President of Unfulfilled Promises fears death. You anger a powerful group like the Walruses or the Octopi, and you suddenly find yourself gushing blood like a hemophiliac with no Official Blood-Staunchers present.  If he had only learned how to swim, rather than be a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Harvard Law School, he might have had no reason to fear the end of his trailer.

  17. DamnedLiberal says:

    Obama has proven himself under-qualified for the office he holds. The biggest problem in this country is the two-party system which is a cancer causing the death of what we thought was America. This country needs viable third parties and term limits.

    • Dan says:

       We all are disappointed in Obama, for selling out.

      He was elected on moral high ground, then he moved to money high ground, thus making his suck now.

    • Raven says:

      Oh give me a break!  As if Cheney and Dubya were qualified!  NOT!

    • Raven says:

      Those of you in these posts with such limited scope should live for awhile in other countries.  It might give you more knowledge and a better perspicacious  outlook.  Seriously!

    • Raven says:

      Those of you in these posts with such limited scope should live for awhile in other countries.  It might give you more knowledge and a better perspicacious  outlook.  Seriously!

  18. Rod Anders says:

    I thought this site was about honest journalism and investigative reporting.  I should have known better. Apparently it is the propaganda arm of the illegal Kenyan who occupies the Black House.

    • pvphoto says:

       Get a clue, it DOES NOT MATTER IF YOU ARE BORN IN ANOTHER COUNTRY! You are still a citizen and can be elected president if either of your parents are citizens of the U.S.

  19. Rod Anders says:

    Obama will need help doing what?  Finishing his destruction of the USA?  It doesn’t matter what he’s up against.  HE’S not a leader … HE’S NOT a leader … HE’S NOT A LEADER !!!

  20. pagano says:

    his mother (obanas) was a courier for the CIA….and his grandmother worked at a bank in hawaii and was in charge ofr giving the indonesian dicatator his funding .  what why when how? maybe its in his blood and he needs a transfusion of non CIA blood. duh?

  21. Hockeytruth says:

    Russ I’m reading through these replies and it  becomes very clear to me that these lame ploy of yours aren’t having any effect.
    This is old hat and  it’s not working, people see through it like glass, they know what you are and who you work for.

     

  22. Hockeytruth says:

    Obama isn’t hostage to the powers that be, he is an active participant. He’s in bed with them.
    I love how you eagerly cast Bush as a corrupt politician (you won’t get an argument here), and accurately point out that Obama has picked up right where Bush left off.
    BUT with Obama you somehow make the proclamation that he is not a willing participant.
    This begs the obvious question….. BASED ON WHAT?
    On what facst do you arrive at the assumption that he is “boxed in” as you put it?
    What makes him any less culpable than Bush?
    That facts are that he’s following his marching orders no differently or any less willingly than Bush

    How long did it take Obama to hand over a king’s ransom to his Wall Street handlers?
    Answer: He couldn’t do it fast enough.
    In fact that is exactly what he told the American people…we can’t hand over these trilliions of dollars fast enough. we must act before any question are raised.
    The same held true with Obama Care which was rammed through at the behest of the big insurance companies.

    This is a propaganda site, not a site for investigative reporting.
    How on earth can this article be considered investigative reporting?

    • John Truman says:

      Obama’s role has been to legitimize and cement Bush’s policies for the next 50 years or more.  And to establish AFRICOM (which Bush couldn’t have) and create the all-new Operation Condor-style program to assassinate U.S. citizens without charges or trial, which will be very useful for the next Republican president.

      Obama’s role has been to play “Good Cop” to Bush’s “Bad Cop”.  I certainly hope that everyone here understands how “Good Cop/Bad Cop” works.

    • Michael Morin says:

      There is a reason why good cops institute bad programs on their watch… it’s for the bad cop waiting around the corner to use the bad program for his own purposes.

  23. John says:

    Poor, poor Obama. He’s like a heroic figure, isn’t he? Still fighting George Bush, who most Libs think is an idiot. Well, if Obama can’t overcome an idiot’s legacy… what exactly does that make him?

    “For all the reasons laid out here, Obama will need help.”

    I’m afraid so does the author of this puff and ultimately his willing victim point of view.

  24. Tango550 says:

    russ is far left   obama lover

  25. Jamesdon0077 says:

    After more then two years in to his presidency this article really shows how misinformed you are of the inept, fool America or more appropriately the liberal media put in the White House!  Obama thru out right bribes to several key state senators and congressmen finally got Obamacare passed.  The promises he told the American people turned out to be filled with lies, people cannot keep their health care and the cost of health care through insurance companies did go up!  Over half the states in America do not want the Obama care and see it as being unaffordable in the long term. States have filed lawsuits to disapprove of it as being unconstitutional.  Companies and Corporations have filed paperwork to keep from paying in to the government run health plan.  During the crisis in the Gulf the Obama administration took 12 days to respond to the Oil spill. It then took Obama another 60 days to get the balls to meet with the BP president.  It took Bush four days to look into the disaster in New Orleans, but that was because the govenors did not get with FEMA.  Since the Gulf disaster Obama imposed a moratorium on drilling in America and the Gulf leading to the loss of thousands of jobs.  After lifting the moratorium the EPA (ran by the Obama Administration) still has not issued any permits for oil drilling!  Obama and Eric Holder (attorney general) both have condemned Arizona for enforcing U.S. Immigration Policies and have brought Federal lawsuits to stop Arizona.  Consending to the Mexican president and rescinding on his pledge in the “oath of office” to protect America!  His acknowledgement and funding of the “Fast and Furious Operation” in the Stimulus Bill has lead to the death of two ATF agents and an Arizona Border Guard.  Placing his hands in the blood of these victims.  The Stimulus Bill which Obama said would stop unemployment at 8 percent turned out to be a complete failure and instead most of the money went to banks and the Unions which support the Democraps!  His military and financial support of the Libyan rebels is absurd and radical!  The U.S. State Dept. has acknowledged that the “rebels” are made up of mostly Al Quida, Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood terrorists!  How can any president advocate funding and helping terrorists after 9-11. How Obama and John McCain can call these rebels “HERO’s” is beyond me and all Americans!  I and many others wish Obama would explain how this action is in America’s best interest.  I wish Obama would explain to the widows of 9-11 victims and the soldiers who fought against terrorism why America is funding the terrorists in Libya.  Four TRILLION Dollars added to the National Debit in under 32 months that money will be paid for in my childrens, childrens taxes for years to come!  What did it buy America?  We still have over 16percent unemployment, high gas and food prices, inflation and a failed education system.
           These are just a few of the many examples of how Obama’s presidency has been nothing but inept and a total failure! Obama will go down as the worst president in American History.  So much for the “Hope and Change” the liberals and liberal media sold America!  I call Obama’s presidency the “No Hope and Change for the Worst”! 

  26. Katia Swartz says:

    First time visitor to your website and – excuse me while I yawn –  oh oh – already your “deep digging journalism”   is – excuse me-another yawn  –  oh so irrelevant.   sniff sniff – what is that smell …. is that you behind the curtain again Geo Soros ?????

    • Obi-jonKenobi says:

      Only a fool would parade her shortcoming for all to see.

      Go back to Faux News where Rupert Murdock is hiding behind the curtain.

  27. jm says:

    from my perspective …growing up through the late 50’s.  this country is lost in a sea of conspiracy theory that is so pervasive i am waiting for ( maybe it is already out there) that the world is truely controlled by extraterestrial bacteria that is permeating the brains of the commons or the upper class(take your pick). how about we as citizens grow up and push back with our vote.  there is more information out there than most can digest.  screen with what is right in your heart and vote.   we as a nation cannot cannot continue to let the two party system divide us against each other.  i still  b elieve that this is the most powerful country for good in the world.  there is an entrenched parasite in washington. it will eat all of us that are left after we consume each other.

  28. jm says:

    Russ, i am new to you your site and find it interesting and you have put much of yourself out there for better or worse. on this one i cannot help but feel you are doing much the same as the players you identify as working both sides of the game to their ultimate advantage.  do you really want to now give a pass to obama that reads….he really wanted hope and change but could not buck the system?   Ok lets go there and get behind a candidate that is talking the real talk.  one  that is so crazy “he can’t win” and anyone he is associtated with is an idiot.  namely ron paul.  do “I” think he can beat the crazyness in washington all by himself?  no way but this is still a country that votes and can push back…perhaps more so than any other country in the world.   obama IMO was pushed to the forfront by the leftwing wack jobs that are just marketing a reverse spin from the right in hopes of enriching  themselves.  the o man is a sell out just like all the others before…  if you even believe half the stuff that you put out there is viable facts has this man come even close to challenging the status quo.  at best he is a babe in the woods at the worst he is yet another TOOL!

  29. aylwood says:

    I agree with your comment completely. Obama is indeed smart enough to know what he can get away with. He is quite aware of what happened to JFK and Carter. If he refused to help out the too big to fail banks on Wall Street, if tried to pull us out of both Iraq and Afghanistan etc. he would be dispatched very quickly one way or another. What ever his true motives it is up to U.S. citizens to go out and protest the abuses to our personal freedoms, wars without end and the redistribution of wealth to a tinier and tinier minority at the top of our system. It must be kept in mind that anyone who takes this type of action will have to contend with physical abuse from the police, contempt from tea baggers (who sadly will never be able to see that they too are victims of the power elites who run our country) and contempt from the corporate media.

  30. Whowhatwhere says:

    With enough people like Obama in a row as president, we’ll surely have a totalitarian police state.

  31. Whowhatwhere says:

    Obama is not having his “hand forced”. He is not “boxed in”. He’s a part of it. Why is Bush perceived directly as the enemy and Obama is not?

    • r rose says:

      Because Bush is the enemy and Obama is not.

    • luceChange says:

      They Both Are, always were, always will be. Preuse the Bush family history. They are  NAZIS with a slight upgrade. Same for Bummer. LOOK AT THEIR HISTORY. LISTEN to THEIR WORDS, Observe their ACTIONS!!!!!  Consider the results and you will know their identity.

    • luceChange says:

      This is all Kabooki theatre, but they forgot the Programs. For this Farce to work two (seemingly diverse) sides are required, Right-Left, Dem-Repub, Conservative -Liberal. plus it needs a captive Press to maintain the illusion of a 2 Party System which has not existed sinc at least 1913.
      Trick coin, Heads I win–Tails you lose. It’s all illusion that’s whay we get only Bread and Circuses.  Obama is a total Success, when you realize that his plan is NOT your Plan. He’s doing EXACTLY what he Studied the Constitution for; so that he would know how to destroy it. He studied Alinsky and the Communist Doctrines so that he would know what to put in place to facilitate that destruction. He is not playing the game we project on him, rather the game he Projects on America.
      Doing ecactly what he said he would in his books but we are too stupid to comprehend and take him at his word.  

  32. Gregory51 says:

    Pray our enemies out with Psalms Ch 109.

    Personal Protection prayer is Psalms Ch 91.

    Learn our Founding Documents at:  http://www.constitutionparty.com.php#TOP

    • Ragarne says:

      You go ahead and pray while the world of corruption eats the people up.

    • In the  Latter Days Mankind will become worse and worse.

      The Bible Prophets show that we are coming to the End of Two Biblical Ages.  There is only one way to escape-ing Daniel’s 70th Week, as detailed out in the Bk of Revelation.

  33. Johnparker07 says:

    I don’t see this article as a PR piece for Obama, as stated in a comment below. In fact, this article is simply an informative piece on what every American president since Truman has had to deal with.
    The CIA sabatoged Eisenhower’s Peace Summit by crashing their U2plane in Russia, and as the article stated, Ike left office a bitter man with a warning for the American public. JFK tried to fight the CIA and the results can be seen on the Zapruder film. Truman made his own public statement about the CIA nearly a year after Kennedy’s death.
    They are not a spy agency as Truman had hoped, but the muscle for big business – oil and defense. The enemies America has today are not because we have cable television and big cars. It’s because the CIA steps into foreign lands, sets up a political leader that fits their agenda, and then proceeds to steal profitable  natural resources.
    The article above, and the reader “Critic” below seem to have it right.  

    • Guest says:

      The CIA was only one of Truman’s many huge blunders.

    • Michael Morin says:

      Spying was starting heavily by Roosevelt to track Germany, Japan and England – AND Roosevelt’s political enemies.  Truman only coordinated it.

    • lessthantolerant says:

      The communists took over the Roosevelt administration early. Truman was a pawn. The democrats have been controlled since.

  34. Kerry Anderson says:

    ‘Credibility is Essential”, what the ….you’re kidding, right Russ?  As if you actually reveal much of  the “sourcing….you seen”. Of course you could claim it’s “open Source” Sourcing. Geese and ganders, both quack.

  35. Annefnpfl says:

    Well written and easy to use my own discernment in reading this piece.  I can “feel” truth here,
    and that is a treat in it’s self!

  36. Ricksts says:

    Aside from being an interesting history lesson, it is a very good PR piece for Obama.  If it wasn’t for the enthusiasm he shows for his actions I might consider that he is “boxed in” rather than the willing participant he has demonstrated himself to be.

    • Robert says:

      An odd interpretation of Russ’s article,  Ricksts.  How could anyone  interpret an essay about a failed presidency that had begun with a plethora of promises of change,  and not only made no effort to change, but actually pushed the country off of Bush’s cliff of disaster, as a ‘very good PR piece? ‘  Or did I fail to detect your sarcasm?    Sorry if I did.

  37. Intizar says:

    Great piece of reporting ; so the President of America must dance to the tune of CIA or else ! Obama have not much time left come the next election he will be history and let us see who is next, a dancer or fighter ?

  38. Lexy677 says:

    what is the meaning of comments posted here like a childish game by the likes of “no thanks” and “levecticus”.  Good grief can’t you guys be serious for once? If you have something to say, write normal “horizontal” prose.  What the fuck is wrong with you guys???

  39. Critic says:

    I think Americans are beginning to LOATHE the whole Washington establishment, from the Obama administration to Congress to the Supreme Court, and especially the Pentagon generals.  Lieberman, McCain and Graham are the Israeli AIPAC war-mongers on every TV channel advocating MORE WAR and MORE ATTACKS under the PNAC-oriented globalist model of WORLD CONTROL using American money and American soldiers to invade sovereign countries, killing Kadaffi’s children and grand-children, stealing his gold and bank funds and country’s resources, and killing his people.  They’re using CIA-created riots to invade Libya, Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, and Saudi Arabia and Iran next.

    OBAMA refuses to STOP SPENDING hand over fist, Congress refuses to STOP him, and both keep passing and signing UNCONSTITUTIONAL LAWS.  The Pentagon “loses” $4.9 trillion a day prior to 911, a false flag attack against Americans committed by W. Bush, Cheney, Condi Rice, Paul Wolfowitz, Elliot Abrams, NSA’s Hadley, specific AF generals, and Navy according to Dr. Steve Pieczenik’s interview on youtube.  The Mossad was also involved.  This BIG LIE and the deaths of over 3,000 WTC people plus 7,000 firefighters and policemen is the VERY REASON these CRIMINALS used as an excuse for Iraq and Iran.    The Federal Government is so out-of-control, states are having to pass nullification laws to protect American citizens.  I think the Federal Government should be COMPLETELY ABOLISHED and States should assume education and all the barely necessary functiions.  National Guards should be returned to the states and NOT under federal control.  The FEDS are LEECHES.  In addition, we need  STATE BANKS not under the FED like North Dakota’s state bank.  That state’s economy is one of the few in good condition.

    • Wingjockey says:

      I agree, Critic. And I too believe all that you state here is true. It agrees with my own research.

      I’m a pilot. If I asked someone “what makes an airplane fly?” they may get all perplexed with the scientific details of an explanation but the answer is so simple it’s funny…. money!
      What made 911 happen? Money
      What makes wars happen? Money
      Through out history, people with too much of it has used it to the detriment of the meek.
      Think of ways to use as little of it as possible, quit using banks, learn the tax code and refuse to pay what you do not owe. Barter when you can.
      Let’s starve this rabid bitch to death.

      As for the list of culprits responsible and complicit in the 911 crime…..it would have fulfilled my fantasy to see them all ceremoniously executed, hung by their necks until dead, in the heart of ground zero memorial park, as a commemoration to the victims of that event and the carnage of the wars that followed.
      A good scene for a novel, don’t you think?

    • Robert says:

      Excellent, Critic!  Unfortunately, President Obama has followed Senator Nancy Pelosi’s advice ‘Not to investigate 9/11′ too closely’ perfectly.  The political, military and other psychopaths who arranged the slaughter of thousands of their own citizens on 9/11 must be tried in a tribunal like that of the Nuremberg Trials (1945-46) that prosecuted many of the Nazi war criminals. Until that and a successful revolution is carried out by the Occupiers of Wall Street and their humanitarian supporters, there will be no change, only continued mass suffering here and abroad.

  40. Susie from Philly says:

    Oh, baloney. I know someone who went to Columbia and frequently saw Obama in the black student’s union.

  41. Nothanks says:

    lol poor Obama, tell me this, why doesn’t he then give us atleast  a token of his commitment to change by making an effort, however futile, to…oh say not start another war in Libya, free Manning, prevent reauth of the Patriot Act, rid us of Bernake, etc.?  Why do you feel compelled to appologize for a competent adult? Is the possibility that we have been deceived sufficiently implausible so as to warrent his freedom from accountability? You got one thing right – that we are boxed in. But the two party system of which Obama is a product is part of that box.

  42. Mz Char says:

    Please keep ED on as he is such a great newsman to watch.  Always tuned in right away to see who pressed his hot buttons each night and the phyco talk as time went on and how we missed that when he changed time.  The only thing he said wrong was that he did not include Ann Coulter on his coment about Laura when either one of those two come on we change the channel.
    Fox news no longer on our list of hardly any programs any more.  Use tolike CNN before they got rid of Rick Sanchez as he was kuje a breath of fresh air when it come to enjoying the news instead of the same old, same old.  

  43. lostindc says:

    I’m reading this after Obama’s 5/19/2011 speech about the Middle East “Arab spring” when he said that now it’s time for Israel to honor the 1967 war border agreements for Palenstinians.  This is a pronouncement that I think is Radical…we’ll see how it all turns out, but it was a surprise to me.

    I mostly, of late, have been feeling like the majority of commenters on your post that Obama is a huge disappointment and in no way deserves excuses. Then the Israel thing. Who’s to know if Obama is just following orders from the Pentagon and CIA?  This is a thought I would not have had except by reading this post.  So, thank you for that.

    Aside from debating the particulars of your post, as others have done here, I agree with you that Obama, and any president, is up against a formidable array of forces in trying to advance an agenda.

    That’s a point worth making.

  44. Oona says:

    We’re not as  free to talk about it as we think.  That was yesterday. Today with powerful,  miniaturized technologies as well as the complicity of the communications utilities,  the surveillance is HUGE.  Google and youtube: directed energy weapons; gangstalking; virtual electromagnetic prison; stalking via satellite and cellphone; FEMA camps;  federally-run state and county terrorism task forces.   We are at the mercy of the new, silent, deadly technologies — and the politically astute commentators (that would be you folks) are most certainly watched by the Watchdogs.  Meanwhile, not a peep  about the US virtual prison system in the mainstream media.

  45. Oona says:

    Obama was groomed by the CIA. Jesse Ventura said that the CIA had liaison in the Governor’s office when he was Governor. The are sent everywhere — as aides, as low-paid receptionists (to control the info flow) in the Senate, Congress, other agencies, top lawyers’ and lobbyists’ offices. . . . . What was begun by Dulles has grown fatter fed by the deep pockets of neverending taxpayer ripoffs.

  46. Wilinsky ,mary says:

     I am shocked at the vitriolic and misinformed comments. His accomplishments are historic: the first comprehensive health bill, saving the auto industry,the financial regulations, saving the financial system, improving greatly the respect in the world for the USA and MANY more accomplishments and all against unbelievable obstacles.

    • Doug says:

      His accomplishments are historic? They sure are if you mean he’s trying to bring us to our knees and create a ‘Socialist state”.
        What planet are you on Mary? GEEZ……..

    • Steve says:

      I don’t know where you hide from things Mary, but he is making this country into a joke. Just what those pulling the strings want.

    • Robert says:

      Mary, the financial system is rife with Banksters, corrupt from top to bottom, the unconscionable psychopaths that caused the global financial crisis by marketing worthless securities as Grade A investments.  When Bailout Obama gave them millions to lend to restart the economy in some measure, they rewarded themselves with multimillion dollar bonuses and didn’t lend a cent.

  47. Anthony Enos Wicher says:

    @Russ Baker: As far as I am concerned, there is no excuse for Obama. If he had courage and moral integrity, he could go to the people. He could use the bully pulpit. He could start an investigation of 9/11. He could lead the people back to democracy with one speech. The reason he does not do so is that he is a 100% CIA operative, just as much as Bush. Did you know that Obama’s mother, father, stepfather and grandmother all had CIA connections? I’m telling you this latest “I killed bin Laden” episode is pure CIA psy-op.

  48. Nathaniel Heidenheimer says:

    True enough. But if Obama only serves to cover these structural realities and does nothing at all to illuminate them, he deserves much more criticism than he is getting right now form a niched media system, which is bent on branding all criticism of the president as racist and Republican.

    Truth is. Obama has been pure vacuum. Who could imagine Republicans back up and off the canvas so soon? Its a puppet show, and Obama has a huge role in maintaining this illusion. Structural barriers should not be used as an excuse for someone who’s not even trying.

  49. Rob Raven says:

    Russ,

    Just finished watching a DVD interview that you did with KPFA in Berkeley. I also read Family of Secrets, one of the most important book in recent years. From Prescott playing golf with Ike, to HW in Dallas and Watergate, and W in power, this family’s story is not seen on corporate media. The information is out there, but the media refuses to discuss our history honestly. We need a Truth and Reconciliation commission, to put this info into the public conciousness.

    Keep up the good work, especialy on exposing the secret powers that still controls our political and economic systems, and our “unknown American history.”

    Sincerely yours,

    Robert Raven

  50. Thea Goodman says:

    Obama,whoever he really is, is just a continuation of the Bush regime,same as John McCain would have been. We have not had a regime change since 1989 since these same CIA-Pentagon heads had a quiet putsch. Now they are draining all of our lifeblood into questionable military adventures.FOR WHAT? It makes no sense whatsoever until you see who the ultimate beneficiary is. We have become an economic colony of UK again and we are the ones sent in to finish the wars THEY start. The Blair-Bush collaboration to go into Iraq and the same for Afghanistan.Obama is totally dominated by George HW Bush,etc.

    I feel NO pity for Obama.

    I feel they selected a British subject because no American would try to take down our economy except a Pentagon head. They want to squander ALL of our national assets to play their absurd,archaic, brutally primitive war games and euthanize everyone who can’t enlist. They are a bunch of tired old, alcoholic men who want to relive their glory days of WW II not realizing that a W W III could be the total annihilation of our planet. Sadly, they thought Hitler was right and seem to have devoted the time they have left here to continuing his policies of eugenics, ,genocide,euthanasia and wanting to RULE THE WORLD.

    Obama had no trouble following orders.He knew what he was getting into when he signed on to do this job. And that’s all it is to him –just a job. Let’s call it “informed consent” and “Doctrine of Risk.” I have heard that $2 billion is his when he completes his term. Knowing how the NWO treachery abounds, we shall see, shan’t we.

  51. Marcel says:

    Obama boxed himself in.

  52. Bruce E. Woych says:

    Bruce E. Woych

    http://www.apfn.net/dcia/garrison.html

    succession planning follows the coup. Magsaysay is the model. When something walks like a duck; acts like a duck, but quacks like a democrat…you had better duck!

  53. Keithp says:

    You can be sympathetic to Obama about the challenges he faces.

    But facing those challenges is his job especially when failure to do so leave an entrenched elite bent on corruptly mis-allocating our national resources for their own private gain while undermining our economic and national security.

    Instead of facing the challenges Obama appears to be providing cover for a criminal class and providing a supporting narrative.