Obama's Real, Scandalous Legacy
All this talk of fake news has everyone in a tizzy. I'm personally glad that we've finally put media bias and unsubstantiated news into the spotlight. Organizations like CNN and CBC have been publishing lopsided and unsubstantiated news stories for decades, so I'm glad we've finally noticed. As an example, a CBC segment from last week made the erroneous claim that Barack Obama ran a scandal-free administration. CNN and MSNBC have made similar claims, so we can't just single out CBC, but we should definitely hold them to a higher standard.
As Barack Obama puts his obnoxious and self righteous administration into the history books, let's take a look at the scandals that CNN and CBC chose to ignore or downplay just to protect the legacy of America's first half-black president. Let's also look at how far some fake news organizations had to bend over backwards just to protect Barack Obama from tarnishing his own legacy.
The “Fast And Furious” Gun-Running Scandal
In 2010, an American border patrol agent named Brian Terry was gunned down near the Mexican border in Arizona. Two Mexicans were later indicted and charged with his murder. The two men, Ivan Soto-Barraza and Jesus Leonel Sanchez-Meza, were extradited from Mexico and – in 2015 – were convicted of killing Brian Terry. The investigation into Terry's murder uncovered what would later be known as the “Fast And Furious Gunwalking Scandal”.
It turns out, the guns acquired and used by Terry's killers came from a gun store in Phoenix that was involved in an operation conducted by the US Bureau Of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Many of those guns were also suspected of being used in up to 170 crimes in Mexico, as reported by the LA Times in 2011:
“The Department of Justice in Washington said last week that one other Fast and Furious firearm turned up at a violent crime scene in this country. They have yet to provide any more details. They said another 28 Fast and Furious weapons were recovered at violent crimes in Mexico. They have not identified those cases either. The Mexican government maintains that an undisclosed number of Fast and Furious weapons have been found at some 170 crime scenes in their country.”
To sum it up, the operation involved forcing a local gun store to sell guns to people who aren't allowed to buy guns –or to straw purchasers– and to trace them back to drug cartels. The efforts to successfully trace the guns back to criminals failed and the entire scheme ended up being exposed following the murder of Brian Terry.
The real scandal is in the details. Not only was a local gun store used by the US government to break the law, the weapons it sold were used to kill innocent people, including an American border patrol agent. Some of those guns were also used to commit crimes in the United States.
The LA Times also reported on Andre Howard's (the gun store owner's) fears and reluctance to participate in the program:
“For 15 months, Howard did as he was told. To customers with phony IDs or wads of cash he normally would have turned away, he sold pistols, rifles and semiautomatics. He was assured by the ATF that they would follow the guns, and that the surveillance would lead the agents to the violent Mexican drug cartels on the Southwest border.
When Howard heard nothing about any arrests, he questioned the agents. Keep selling, they told him. So hundreds of thousands of dollars more in weapons, including .50-caliber sniper rifles, walked out of the front door of his store in a Glendale, Ariz., strip mall.
He was making a lot of money. But he also feared somebody was going to get hurt.”
Of course, none of this is Barack Obama's fault, right? Wrong.
Barack Obama's Attorney General, Eric Holder, was briefed about Fast And Furious as far back as July 2010, but he went on to lie to Congress during an investigation into the scandal, as reported by CBS:
“New documents obtained by CBS News show Attorney General Eric Holder was sent briefings on the controversial Fast and Furious operation as far back as July 2010. That directly contradicts his statement to Congress.”
The US Attorney General is a member of the president's cabinet. It was proven that Holder lied to Congress about his knowledge of the operation, so why should we assume that Barack Obama himself was in the dark? No one let Ronald Reagan off the hook when he said he had no knowledge of the Iran Contra scandal, so why did most of America's mainstream news networks let Obama off the hook? The Obama administration even tried to invoke “executive privilege” to keep relevant documents about Fast And Furious from investigators – and Eric Holder was held in contempt.
Along with various other scandals under the Obama administration, the Fast And Furious scandal barely made headlines. In an effort to undermine the scandal's relevancy, some journalists, like Massimo Calabresi, used the statements of some Republicans (regarding the Obama White House directly authorizing Fast and Furious to make a stronger case for gun control) to paint critics as kooky conspiracy theorists. In an article published at Time, Calabresi mocked and accused Republicans of working themselves into a “rabid fever on the subject”. His entire article can be read here.
Had any of this unfolded under a Republican administration, it would have been headline news for weeks and the president would have faced an inconvenient barrage of journalistic integrity. Under Barack Obama, it was largely ignored, downplayed and relegated to back pages.
Spying On and Destroying Journalists
Here's one you probably haven't heard much about. You heard a lot about George W. Bush wiping his ass with the US Constitution and eradicating civil liberties, but you probably haven't heard much about Barack Obama's administration spying on a journalist and attempting to ruin his life.
The same Attorney General who lied to Congress about Fast And Furious also spied on Fox News reporter, James Rosen. That's right. In 2010, Eric Holder's office monitored Rosen's phone calls, seized his emails and tracked his movements. Obama's Justice Department went as far as calling Rosen a criminal and “co-conspirator” in order to gain access to his records under the 1917 Espionage Act. The actions of the DoJ were a first since the Cold War and the practices of spying on and criminalizing journalists was attacked by people on both sides of the political spectrum. James Rosen was never prosecuted, but his reputation and well-being were put in jeopardy by Eric Holder.
The most insane aspect of this story is that it didn't just begin or end with James Rosen. The Obama administration spied on reporters at the Associated Press and demanded records for 20 different phone lines, including cell phones. The Associated Press called it a “massive and unprecedented intrusion”.
The Obama administration had taken unprecedented steps to contain an even more unprecedented number of classified leaks under his leadership, but the mainstream media networks let it slide. The spying fiasco was relegated to back pages, just like the Fast And Furious scandal, despite the fact that journalists were being unfairly targetted, spied on and intimidated into revealing their sources or refusing to report on certain things.
The IRS Scandal
In 2013, we found out that the Internal Revenue Agency was targetting a disproportionate number of conservative groups for audits and scrutiny. An oversight committee in Congress concluded that the IRS, under Lois Lerner, had singled out non-profit organizations based on their political ideologies and that conservative and non-liberal groups had been singled out in higher numbers than others.
Despite all of the evidence presented during hearings and investigations, Barack Obama's Department Of Justice and FBI refused to file criminal charges. This was the same FBI that refused to file charges against Hillary Clinton and was praised for it, but then criticized by the same people for re-opening the investigation after new emails emerged. It was the same Justice Department that ignored Fast And Furious, spied on journalists and met with Bill Clinton days before announcing that no charges would be pursued against Hillary Clinton.
The IRS also illegally leaked tax returns and information about several conservative groups, including the National Organization For Marriage. As reported at ProPublica, the same IRS office that targetted conservatives leaked their confidential documents:
“The same IRS office that targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status in the run-up to the 2012 election released nine pending confidential applications of conservative groups to ProPublica late last year.
The IRS did not respond to requests Monday following up about that release, and whether it had determined how the applications were sent to ProPublica.”
Lois Lerner eventually apologized to the conservative groups that were unfairly targetted, acknowledging her agency's wrongdoing. However, that was where the accountability ended. Lois Lerner resigned, but Obama's FBI and DoJ found no evidence of corruption, although they admitted finding substantial evidence of “mismanagement and poor judgement”.
Going back to the Iran Contra scandal under Ronald Reagan, it was the media that refused to let him off the hook. The scandal nearly sunk the Reagan administration and America was a hair away from seeing him get impeached, yet a similar incident 30 years later would make headlines for a day and then disappear.
Iran Contra was a program used to ship weapons to Iran in exchange for hostages, just like Obama's $400M cash exchange to Iran. Of course, media took the Obama administration's word that the payment was nothing more than part of a larger agreement and the $400M was only being “withheld” to make sure Iran didn't renege on its promise to free hostages. The story goes: the US owed Iran all this money anyway. Regardless of semantics, even according to the official government story, the United States gave Iran money in exchange for hostages.
It wouldn't matter what the real story was, because the media would report the words of Barack Obama as truth. What is true: the cash exchange and release of hostages happened at the same time and the cash was delivered secretly in an unmarked cargo plane. Usually journalists follow smoke because smoke always leads to fire. However, this time they didn't just walk away from the smoke, they tried to fan it away.
Leave it to the New York Times to take Barack Obama's words as gospel and dispel any notion that the exchange was a ransom payment:
“The truth is that the administration withheld payment to ensure Iran didn't renege on its promise to free three detainees – a Washington Post journalist, a Marine veteran and a Christian pastor. That's pragmatic diplomacy not capitulation.”
Without the immediate red flag that makes us wonder why a supposedly unbiased paper would commend the exchange as “pragmatic diplomacy not capitulation”, we're still left with the only source being government officials and the Obama administration.
How does anyone know that the $400M payment was a part of an earlier agreement that was only being withheld? Because the Obama administration and his State Department said so. This whole arrangement apparently emerged from the controversial nuke deal that pissed off Republicans and Donald Trump. You know, that deal with other super secret deals attached to it that nobody was privy to, even after details of them emerged. That's right, the only sources that can validate the authenticity of this pre-arranged, non-ransom payment are government officials who orchestrated it and refused to release the details. Imagine that.
Since we know that government officials and members of Obama's cabinet never lie, we should just believe everything they tell us. That's what the New York Times calls journalism. Even the left-leaning website Politifact admitted that the payment appears “legally questionable” to the national security community, all while refusing to call it a ransom payment. Had Obama been a Republican, it would have been called a ransom payment and Democrats would be petitioning for an investigation.
NSA Spying/Assassination Of A US Citizen
We can't forget how the Obama administration started in 2009 and 2010. In the fog of the economic meltdown, the many constitutional violations that continued under Barack Obama were difficult to pay attention to, but they were very real.
Because of Edward Snowden, a series of covert domestic espionage programs were uncovered in 2013. To the chagrin of liberals and Democrats, many of them were authorized or continued by the Obama administration. One of the operations, PRISM, had been collecting data from eight internet and telecommunication companies since 2007. In 2013, it was revealed that the Obama administration was fully aware of the operation and had authorized its continued existence, despite making a campaign promise in 2008 to end domestic spying.
In another unprecedented event, the Obama administration authorized the assassination of one of its own citizens. Although most of us wouldn't have issues with killing an American jihadi outside of the country, the implications of the move to kill Anwar al-Awlaki are immense. For the “first time” in US history, an American citizen was murdered by its own government without a trial – and it happened under Barack Obama. We could only imagine the reactions among journalists and mainstream media had this happened under a Republican president.
If you haven't seen the movie 13 Hours, you should. It's available on Netflix. Regardless of the fact that Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration falsely blamed a YouTube video for inciting the attackers, the State Department's response to the Americans who were attacked in the Libyan city was disgraceful.
As the unofficial US Embassy burned and militants attacked a US compound, Obama's America took 13 hours to respond. When all was said and done, four Americans lost their lives, including a US ambassador. This happened after hundreds of requests for increased security were ignored by Hillary Clinton and her State Department.
Since this is the most covered Obama scandal, we don't need to spend too much time on it. Go watch 13 Hours and you'll find yourself stressed out and angry enough to despise Hillary Clinton on principle.
When a mainstream news journalist or anchor tries to tell you that Barack Obama had a scandal-free legacy, you should correct them. Some will feel the need to add to this list, but these are the most explosive scandals with direct links to the Obama White House. Some would add the Solyndra boondoggle and the Secret Service scandal, but this list alone is enough to shred their nonsensical claim that Obama was America's most perfect and graceful president.
He wasn't. Not even close.