By Charlene Smith
-- Obama has increased drone strikes eight times over what the Bush administration did across two terms according to John Feffer, co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus at the progressive Institute for Policy Studies -- .
-- He prevailed upon the Environmental Protection Agency to pull back anti-smog legislation as part of the Clean Air Act. The U.S. with China and India is the worst carbon emitter in the world.
-- He has failed to close Guatanamo Bay -- an election promise.
-- He promised immigration reform - a key promise given that 26 percent of the electorate are Hispanic - instead he has stepped up arrests against illegal migrants. In 2010, his administration arrested more migrants -- 393,000 - than any administration before (81,000 more than in President George W. Bush's last year in office).
When Obama was elected into office in November, 2008, he had the strongest majorities in both houses of Congress since 1993.
Democrats held 258 of the 435 seats in the House and at least 54 of the 100 seats in the Senate -- two years later he lost Congress to the Republicans and the United States has essentially been on autopilot since.
Obama has been incapable of uniting Congress, and no longer seems to care, which adds fuel to his detractors and antipathy among some Democrats toward him. Congress has slumped to a nine percent approval rating --it's worst ever - from citizens for its ongoing bickering, failure to implement, and continual threats to shut down government. These threatened shutdowns have seen government departments freeze -- they are too nervous to implement projects or to hire staff because there is no assuredness that they will receive an ongoing flow of funding.
And so America's infrastructure has begun crumbling, the potholes in roads are acute, the rail system is antiquated -- the New York subway is little better than a sewer, 12% or 69,000 bridges are "structurally deficient," and hospitals are in serious need of overhaul. In some states schools are on four-day weeks because there is no funding and thousands of teachers have been retrenched.
"Frozen" federal departments hinders employment which officially is at nine percent, but unofficially close to double that. In August the White House reported that unemployment among young African Americans was 32%, by December it had leapt to 41.3% -figures similar to those in South Africa. The union group, AFL-CIO reported last week that, "The loss of public-sector jobs has disproportionately impacted African Americans - nearly two-thirds of city employees across the country facing layoffs are African American." African Americans are deeply divided about Obama, while some in Washington D.C. still refer to him as "the chosen one", others, like federal whistleblower and author, Marsha Coleman-Adebayo are deeply critical. She writes for Black Agenda Report, an African American website that regularly hammers Obama.
While Africa greeted his election with joy, Obama has shown little interest in the continent. In September, he signed into law a $23.2 million cut for Pepfar -- the HIV and AIDS program introduced by President George W. Bush and an important funder of treatment and care programmes in South Africa and other developing nations. There was a further cut of $16.1 million to the Global Fund -- and as a result South Africa is seeing NGOs that work in HIV struggling to surviveg.