Happy Birthday President Obama!

Happy Birthday! Or, not. When was the last time you felt good about the Obama Presidency? When was the last time you felt that his expansion of the war in the Middle East, his evisceration of the war powers act, his endless handouts to bankers, his increased surveillance of the American people, and his constant and ceaseless abandonment of his campaign promises were good for America? For me, Obama is just another proof that slickly rehearsed and warm, fuzzy lines delivered consistently will sucker anyone into believing anything.

This guy represents change? Why has he consistently governed like George W. Bush? Why has he expanded the police state? Why has he shredded constitutional freedoms and the separation of powers? Why does he kowtow to lobbyists, defence contractors and the medical-pharmaceutical industry? Where is the stimulus for the poor? The young? The jobless? People outside of Washington? Anyone except Wall Street?

No, the wonderful thing about Obama is not Obama. The wonderful thing about Obama is the sentiments that the American people expressed in electing him. They voted to end the wars. They voted to end torture. To close Guantanamo Bay. They voted for more transparency. To curtail the war on drugs. They voted to put people ahead of bankers. They voted for universal medical coverage, not fake corporate-care.

The troubling thing is that all the young people have been suckered by — as Professor Cornell West recently put it  — a “black mascot for Wall Street” and might back away from politics in future. Once bitten, twice shy.  So I guess we must remember his words, and not his actions:

Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.

So happy birthday President Obama! Here’s what America is becoming under you:

A shocking video has been released allegedly showing police officers tasering and beating a homeless man to death who they claim was resisting arrest. Though the video is not clear, eye witnesses say the homeless man – Kelly Thomas, 37 – was unable to put up any resistance and was lying on the ground on his front when the attack took place on July 5. Eye witnesses at the scene claim the six officers tasered him five times and beat him beyond recognition, which the disturbing photo of him in hospital shows. Mark Turgeon, who was there, said: ‘They kept beating him and tasering him. I could hear zapping, and he wasn’t even moving.’ He had one arm in front of him like this, he wasn’t resisting. And they kept telling him, “He’s resisting, quit resisting”, and he wasn’t resisting.’ Many members of the Fullerton community described Thomas as a passive, peaceful person.

Happy Birthday, President Obama!