Tag Archive for Barack Obama

When is a “Democrat” not a Democrat?

Ah, for the “good old days.”  It’s a lament that’s heard a lot these days — from a lot of quarters and for a lot of reasons. Some pine for their youth and vigor. An “empty nester” might long for the days when the kids were little. Some might wish for a full head of hair.

But more often than not, those words are spoken in a political context. Conservative Republicans long for their hero, Ronald Reagan. Progressives have to go all the way back to Carter or Johnson, and especially to Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Up and down the political “food chain” there are not many “real Democrats” left. (Yes, I know, very punny.) It’s especially true as you go further up that chain. The genuine Democrats were replaced by others heralding from the Democratic Leadership Council or eliminated by the painstaking work of Newt Gingrich to poison the public’s perception of Congress so that it would be ripe for a takeover by his clones.

OK, I can see conservatives and corporatists “visitors” uttering “yeah” with two thumbs up. The “flat earthers” and the “birthers” and the “Bible thumpers” may not join in the cheers. But, hey, they are mostly just along for the ride (or the votes), while the money changers are forming “one world under the dollar with liberty and “justice” only for them.”

In reality, there is no more Democratic Party. Oh, yes, they still use that name. We have only ONE political party in charge of our government; but it has two branches. I like to call them the Republican Corporate Party and the Republican Lunatic Fringe Party.

Which leads me to the point of this article — President Barack Obama and his junior wannabe president Governor John Hickenlooper. The “we have every right to spy on Americans” president and the “fracking fluid drinker” governor are two cases in point.

worried ObamaWhile spending some time exploring the many articles that find their way into my Inbox, I found one especially astute and honest, brought to me courtesy of OpEdNews. “Dear Obamaheads” by John and Jean Anton is worth reading in it’s entirety. Please do. But here’s the part that I’ll borrow for this article. (Some of my good Democratic friends may not like this.  But there’s an elephant that some don’t want to see.)

[Obama] should consider how much easier life would be for him, if he were a Republican.   He wouldn’t have to make any more promises that he had no intention of keeping.   He could build even more nuclear plants, extend even more gas lines, and subsidize fracking everywhere without worrying about environmentalists.   Whistle-blowers could still be arrested as traitors, tortured, and imprisoned indefinitely “for their own good” without guilt….

Best of all, in the name of national security, he could join Republicans in ignoring all the amendments to the constitution except two: the one that says corporations are people, and the one that says yes, even four-year-olds have the right to carry weapons of mass destruction to school, to libraries, to lavatories.

He could lie like a Republican.   He could bully like a Republican.

He could steal from the poor and the middle class to give to the rich like a Republican.   He could continue to wage war everywhere in the world with only a nod of his head, without congressional approval, without the support of the American people whose blood he could spill and treasure he could spend because —  he wants to.

In other words, instead of being a fake Democrat, he could be a real Republican.

 What is it that broadcasters like to say?  “And now we return you to your local programming.”  Moving on to Colorado…

Frackenlooper appears to be digging his own political grave.

Frackenlooper appears to be digging his own political grave.

Yes, I really need to say more about our beloved Frankenlooper.  We wouldn’t want him to feel slighted.  After all, he may be the “chosen one” to replace Obama in 2016.  The Democratic Governors Association loves him and is doing everything in its power to elevate Hick’s profile (with a little help for oil and gas $$$).  And he’s a safer bet than New York’s guv, Andrew Cuomo — at least when it comes to oil and gas.

Although not everyone has faced the true political identity of Barack Obama, there IS a growing body of awareness where Frackenlooper is concerned.  He knows how to get down to business, Big Business, Big Oil Business.  Whether overt or covert, he gets the job done for them.

BUT!  He overplayed his hand when he sued the City of Longmont.  No one bought his “sleepless nights” or his “last resort” rhetoric.  Well, maybe not “no one.”  But it certainly was a media and public wake-up call. Even then, Hick was more politically tone-deaf than what might be expected of a calculating pol.  He went for the knock-out punch and instead got knocked out himself when he strutted his stuff and said that he’d sue the pants off anymore communities that dared to ban fracking for oil and gas.

Oops!!  That’s when his handlers stepped in.  And if he didn’t figure it out all by his lonesome, they said, “Hey, Hick!  You can’t keep doin’ this.  When you find yourself in a hole, stop diggin’.  Let COGA [Colorado Oil and Gas Association] and the industry folks do it for you.”

It wasn’t long ago that Hickenlooper was sporting a 54% approval rating. However, the recent Quinnipaic poll has him now at 47%. That’s frightening for an incumbent, even if it’s spun otherwise.  Quinnipaic coupled this survey with Hickenlooper’s decision on the Dunlap death penalty matter. But they were too narrow in their research into causation. Many of those up in arms about Hickenlooper’s decision for a temporary reprieve won’t vote for the governor for any number of other reasons.

Hick is losing support from “his base,” the Democratic voter that is furious with him for his position on oil and gas legislation.

No-fracking-logoSo here’s the message to our Colorado governor: If you want to get re-elected in 2014 and have that shot at the coveted whole enchilada, get on the right side of history. Let local governments determine whether or not they want oil and gas drilling and specifically hydraulic fracturing for the stuff in their communities. Don’t con us. No weasel words. No lies.

If you do this, most will come back to you next November in stead of staying home or even voting Republican because they just can’t pull the lever for you. The big oil and gas bucks into your campaign account are not going to save your political hide. In fact, they will help do you in. “You can run but you can’t hide.” has all kinds of meanings this time around. Your Republican opponent may not bring that up, but be sure that others will.

So spend some of those sleepless nights that you really didn’t spend before you sued Longmont thinking about YOUR future. The rest of us are going to do all we can to preserve ours. And that might not include YOU.

BoCo Obama nomination not unanimous

Perhaps solidly Progressive Democrats were not listening carefully to Barack Obama in 2008.  Perhaps they were just too anxious to oust the worst U.S. president since Herbert Hoover.  Perhaps the millions of dollars in contributions from Wall Street corrupted his vision for America.  Perhaps Barack Obama was “corporatist” all along.  Whatever the reasons, there are those within the Democratic Party who are not pleased with President Barack Obama’s first term record. It is not what they expected when they ardently worked on his behalf and cast their vote in November 2008.

They expected a single-payer healthcare system.  They earnestly lobbied Obama for “Medicare for All,” or at a minimum some sort of “public option.”  But Obama didn’t listen.  In fact, he came to the negotiating table having given away nearly all of his bargaining chips.  And stalwart Democrats were left to ask, “Why?”

Progressives believed that there was no acceptable moral or ethical action but to hold Wall Street responsible for its corruption.  But Obama followed the lead of George Bush and continued to bail them out.  He might have, at a minimum, held individuals responsible for the near catastrophe that they brought to the American – even world – economy by bringing criminal charges against the perpetrators.  But three and a half years later, no such actions have taken place – and they appear not likely to take place.

Obama could have held Vice President Dick Cheney and President George Bush accountable for their lies about Saddam Hussein’s involvement in the 9-11 attacks and for the non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the lies that hoodwinked the American public into accepting an unwarranted war against Iraq that cost lives and treasure.  But he insisted that the country should look forward, not back.  Perhaps Obama, too, was lustful of Middle East oil.

And then there is the environment and climate change.  For every two steps forward, our president follows with another one back while the extraction industries rape and pillage the land and threaten the atmosphere for the coming generations.

There are other areas of consternation, but however it all came about, some in Boulder County took the principled position to send a message to our Party’s president:  That far but no farther.

At Saturday’s Boulder County Democratic Party County Assembly and Convention, there were 288 delegates available for the Colorado Democratic Party Convention in Pueblo on April 14.  Of the 354 county delegates remaining for the afternoon session that nominated President Barack Obama for a second term, 55 of those delegates rose in opposition to the president’s policy choices.  Those 55 delegates amounted to 16% of the votes and “met threshold.”  As a consequence, there will be delegates in Pueblo to carry the Uncommitted message.

It is not known whether other Democrats throughout Colorado rose to send the same message to our president.  I can only hope that they did.  As one who rose, I had no idea how few or how many would do so.  There was no coordinated effort, no campaign.  It was heartwarming to see so many committed Democratic progressives stand in protest.

It has been disheartening to watch the Democratic Party drift steadily to the right, election after election, since 1980.  It is disheartening to observe how the Democratic Party has been repeatedly played by the ever-growing fascistic and totalitarian elements in the Republican Party as they accomplish a goal and then move the goal-post further and further to the right.

While the action today was small, I hope it will be a harbinger of changes to come.  I hope it will be both an indicator and a motivator for other progressive Democrats to say, “We will no longer allow our Party to be high jacked by those who would compromise our values.  We will not let our Party become a watered down version of the Republican Party of Corporate America.  We will no longer watch the future of our families and friends and our environment slip into inevitable decline, if not disaster.”

So let this be the beginning as we “take back” our Democratic Party as well as the direction of our nation.  The journey of a mile begins with one step.

The fat lady is singing

“The derivatives time bomb is bigger than ever — and ticking away. Just before Lehman collapsed, at what we now call the height of the last bubble, Wall Street firms were carrying risky financial derivatives on their books with a value of an astonishing $183 trillion. That was 13 times the size of the U.S. economy. If it sounds insane, it was. Since then we’ve had four years of panic, alleged reform and a return to financial sobriety. So what’s the figure now? Try $248 trillion. No kidding. Ah, good times.”

Read the other nine reasons: The next, worse financial crisis

State of the Union: Plutocracy

The State of the Union speech has become a well-scripted event full of nice words but few ideas that will really benefit the public. This sad situation results from our political system being corrupted by big money. This corruption almost guarantees that the public interest will be trumped by the interest of the rich and powerful.

To change this sorry state of affairs, it would take a courageous leader who was willing to put the interests of the country over the interests of a few. If there were such a leader, the speech could then be used to rally the American people behind this leader’s vision. However, we haven’t had a peoples’ champion as president in a very long time. This situation is due to a political system that pretty well ensures the nominees of both major parties have been vetted by the rich and powerful. Even if there were a candidate not acceptable to those pulling the strings, the corporate-dominated media would work to marginalize or destroy the candidate’s campaign.

Thus it is not shocking President Obama’s State of the Union address offered few if any proposals that threatened the interests of the rich and powerful. In reality, Obama, as is his custom, offered few specifics on most of his ideas or vision. This lack of specifics allowed viewers to put their own interpretation on his words. As a result, the speech resonated with many.

However, for me, the speech was more an attempt to assure the American people that the state of the union is not really that bad and, in fact, it is pretty darn good and will continue to improve. In essence, Obama led a big pep rally claiming over and over that the U.S. is number one. Thus no major policy changes are required. Perhaps providing this assurance is his role as President under our plutocracy.

Some key missing items

The things that were left unsaid in the speech were perhaps more important than what Obama actually said. One of the most pressing problems facing the world today is global climate change and Obama didn’t directly mention this issue. He did focus on innovation in so-called clean energy technology, but the impact of this effort will be far too little and much too late. The situation is already dire and it was not discussed. Perhaps Obama felt that it was useless due to staunch Republican opposition, but he missed an opportunity to educate the U.S. public on the topic.

Obama did not seem to recognize the ongoing suffering due to the Great Recession. In fact, he said that the worse of the recession is over and that we should now focus on the debt. He did not propose a new jobs program nor provide a strategy for dealing with the millions of foreclosures. He did indicate that new jobs would come from innovation in clean energy, from new trade agreements, and from a redoubling of efforts to rebuild the infrastructure, but there was no overall plan or effort. The previous plans on jobs and foreclosures that were implemented were too small in magnitude and voluntary in nature. Obama also failed to address the enormous budgetary problems facing the states and the implications for increased job losses and loss of homes as well as for more cuts to the Swiss cheese safety net.

There was no recognition of the connection between the U.S. attacks on and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq with the U.S. debt crisis. The costs of these war crimes are: 1) trillions of dollars; 2) the devastation and destruction of two nations and peoples; and 3) the alienation of much of the world from America. The U.S. image, contrary to Obama’s claim, has not been restored. In addition, Obama did not address the Palestinian/Israeli situation. The continued U.S. support for Israel shows our hypocritical opposition to human rights and international law. This position is clearly recognized by nations around the world and further harms our reputation. This blatant hypocrisy also weakens our position on Iran’s legal program to develop nuclear energy.

Given the U.S. plutocracy, it was not surprising that Obama did not suggest implementing a highly progressive income tax, similar to that during the Eisenhower era. He could have also proposed a fee on all speculative financial transactions. The cap on contributions to Social Security could be removed and unearned income could also be taxed for Social Security and Medicare purposes. Obama could have also proposed legalization and taxation of marijuana as another way of raising funds. These are just a few of many ideas that would show that the U.S. was serious about its budget deficit and long-term debt but, somehow, they were not raised.

Unless and until we implement major reforms to our political and economic systems, the U.S. will continue its downward slide and will likely take the rest of the world with it.