In our upside-down world, good guys often go to jail, and bad guys get promoted and live luxuriously.
Ex-President Barack Obama, a key architect of modern drone warfare, today lives in an $11.75 million, 6,892 square-foot waterfront mansion on a 30-acre property on Martha’s Vineyard, and is regarded by many people as a great moral leader.
Donald Trump, who expanded the drone war even further than Obama, is also enjoying life these days at his $160 million Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.
Daniel Hale, by contrast, a principled former Air Force officer and defense contractor who publicly exposed the drone program, will likely be spending at least the next two years in federal prison.
On March 31st, Hale pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of Virginia to one count of illegally retaining and transmitting classified national defense information in violation of the Espionage Act of 1917.
The documents pertaining to the U.S. drone war were transmitted to The Intercept reporter Jeremy Scahill in 2014/5 and published as part of a series called “The Drone Papers.”
Former President Barack Obama is returning to the public limelight to give the Biden administration a much-needed booster.
Joe Biden, who is clearly disconnected and often absent of knowing what is going on, continues to shy away from unscripted exchanges with reporters.
So now, Obama’s “star power” to rescue a major Biden administration program.
On Sunday, Obama will be hitting the airwaves on NBC to plug an hour-long endorsement of the Biden vaccine rollout. It has taken a major hiccup with the “pause” of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was tied to at least six cases of a rare blood-clotting disorder out of 7 million doses.
President Biden promised that “no one” from his “family and extended family” would be involved with his White House, pointing to the days of the Obama administration as an example.
Sitting next to his wife, Biden professed:
“We’re going to run this like the Obama-Biden administration. No one in our family and extended family is going to be involved in any government undertaking or foreign policy. And nobody has an office in this place.”
But Biden’s claim that no one from his family worked in the Obama administration is patently false.
She wielded considerable influence over the direction of U.S.-China relations between 2009 and 2011, as she described her team as “advising” former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and responsible for “coordinat[ing] the priorities within the agenda for the Dialogue” and “spearhead[ing] the negotiations of proposals.”
What’s more, an unearthed cable reveals Owens was part of the elite Strategic and Economic Dialogue II planning trip to Beijing as part of an economic with senior State and Treasury officials. And despite being out of the administration for five years, she attended the Obama administration’s final state dinner.
Similarly, another niece of Biden, Missy Owens, worked at the Department of Energy as a Deputy Chief of Staff from 2009 to 2011. There, she “oversaw and coordinated strategic interaction with the White House, Cabinet agencies, Members of Congress, business leaders and interest groups and acted as a primary point of contact for Agency leadership.”
And in early 2011, Owens was promptly promoted to Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary of Commerce.
Valerie Biden Owens, the former veep’s younger sister, was also a presidential nominee for the position of Alternate Representative of the United States to the General Assembly of the United Nations.
Television journalist Sharyl Attkisson and her family sued former deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein for illegally spying on them in violation of the Fourth Amendment and federal law during the Obama administration. A federal court dismissed the lawsuit earlier this week by finding that Rosenstein is entitled to qualified immunity.
The controversy has taken numerous paths through the legal system since the Attkissons claimed they discovered that the government had hacked into their computers and cellphones in 2014—first filing a lawsuit against former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, former U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, and numerous “John Doe” agents with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) based on alleged violations of the First and Fourth Amendments.
There’s a famous aphorism often attributed to Miles Davis which says that the notes you don’t play in jazz are more important than the ones you do. Much the same can be said of political memoirs and, indeed, most books written by politicians or professional apparatchiks, particularly if published during an election year: being a genre largely concerned with PR and brand-building, they tend to be heavy on pablum and featherlight when it comes to substance; glorified press releases masquerading as earnest reflections or honest tales of personal triumph in the face of adversity. To any but the most credulous reviewer, they therefore present something of a dilemma. How exactly, after all, are you supposed to write about what isn’t there?
Apocryphal though they may be, this is where the words ascribed to America’s great jazz innovator really come in handy. In my experience as a regular (and almost always reluctant) appraiser of books and speeches by liberal and centrist politicians, identifying the blank space — the things left unsaid, the issues unaddressed, the possibilities elided, the questions unanswered, the past events ignored, the facts omitted, etc. — can often get you quite a long way.
David Plouffe’s A Citizen’s Guide to Beating Donald Trump, for example, spends just over 250 pages telling readers to canvass, phone bank, and write approving social media posts about a generic and entirely hypothetical Democratic nominee. Tasked with reviewing it, I was initially stumped about what, if anything, to say — an ostensible handbook for fighting the Right with scant reference to ideology, program, or social vision not exactly offering up a lot of raw material with which to work. My writer’s block persisted until I realized that Plouffe’s omissions were precisely the point, his vision of liberalism being one that either treats most real political questions as settled or considers them none of the average person’s business (the permissible kind of rank-and-file activism in the modern Democratic Party being about deference to party elites and not much else).
Former President Barack Obama says that “the politics of White resistance and resentment” kept him from pushing for financial reparations for Black Americans while he was in office.
In the second episode of his podcast with Bruce Springsteen, “Renegades: Born in the USA,” released on Monday, Obama said that he thinks reparations are “justified,” despite having opposed it during the 2008 election.
Obama said, “there’s not much question that the wealth … the power of this country was built in significant part — not exclusively, maybe not even the majority of it, but a large portion of it — was built on the backs of slaves.”
He added that a proposal for reparations failed during his presidency because of “the politics of White resistance and resentment.”
The former president said, “And what I saw during my presidency was the politics of White resistance and resentment. The talk of ‘welfare queens’ and the talk of the ‘undeserving’ poor. And the backlash against affirmative action.”