Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Could Any President Fix This Mess?

Ed Schultz asked this question on air recently, presumably in defense of Obama and the growing unrest with his presidency. It's a good question and I think it deserves our attention. Could another President have done better?

I have to confess that I am tired of hearing excuses for Obama choices. "It's the right wing's fault he can't get anything done. It takes a long time. Maybe he's afraid of being assassinated. He
had to pass something. No one could resist the temptations of being one of ruling elite".
People want to like him and want him to do well. But it's just as important to understand if and when he is failing.

Let us begin by acknowledging that the right wing is not in power, the Democrats are. In fact it has it has been 40 years since a political party has enjoyed as much power as the Democrats now have.

Their dirty little secret is that they can pass whatever they want whenever they want. There is no Constitutional requirement for a super majority in the Senate or for a filibuster. The Democrats don't even need to vote on it. The party in power makes the rules. The party in power decides the agenda.

Rahm Emmanuel can just as easily spend his time butting DINO's heads together as he can seducing and arm twisting members of the Progressive Caucus to vote against their consciences.

Fixing the economy isn't rocket science. We know what to do. Stop the hemorrhaging. Correct the structural issues. Help the victims and put the offenders behind bars. It isn't rocket science. Has Obama done these things?

As long as the majority of Americans are still staggering under the weight of a multiyear recession while Wall Street hucksters are partying hearty, the answer has to be no. The only place any of the people who brought down the economy are serving time is in the White House. No jobs, no recovery and no justice.

It's not that Obama has tried to do the right thing and it just isn't working. He's not doing the right things.

He hasn't corrected the structural issues that brought the economy crashing down. The Wall Street Casino is still open for business and the banksters are still out there "slicing and dicing" and gambling, this time, with our money. These arrogant so and sos' are even refusing to lend to small businesses (the real engine of economic growth). Instead of exercising his legitimate power, Obama is looking the other way.

The only decent thing about the financial "reform" legislation is the new Consumer Protection Agency. Has Obama championed a credible head for this new agency? Nope. Elizabeth Warren is left twisting in the wind while Obama chats with Tim Geithner to see which of his Wall Street cronies will get the slot.

Obama has taken a passive role in managing our trillion dollar investment in the financial sector. That's just plain wrong. With ownership goes responsibility. He bought these banks in our name and it's his job to manage them for our benefit. He has the power and the responsibility to take over corrupt institutions and to make certain that our investments are safe, that people can stay in their homes and the economic recovery is being funded.

War is a huge drain on the economy and only a tiny minority benefit financially. The rest of us pay in blood and treasure. Instead of ending the costly resource wars in the Middle East, Obama has chosen to expand them. To "put a tin lid on it", he is still doing business with the same war profiteers that Bush and Cheney hired.

Part of "this mess" has to be the erosion of our civil rights and loss of America's legitimacy as democratic nation. Instead of closing Guantanamo Obama has added Baghram. Instead of rolling back Bush's mega-snoop machine, he has expanded it. He has even given himself the power to assassinate anyone he deems and enemy of the State. As bad as Bush/Cheney were, they didn't dare go that far.

Not one person from the last administration has ever even had to answer for their gross abuse of power, their crimes against humanity or their war crimes.

Speaking of messes, there is the Gulf of Mexico. BP is a corporation with a rap sheet as long as your arm. They have been found guilty of criminal negligence, wrongful death and numerous environmental crimes. Allowing them to engage in risky drilling projects off our shores is crime in itself. Fast tracking that project without proper safeguards is unforgiveable. Standing idly by while they poison our water, wildlife, people and food supply earns you a special place in hell. .

Pakistan just became the first victim of man-made global climate instability. 1/5 of that nation lies underwater. Obama sends in the Marines; not the State Department or NGOs, the Marines. Once they land they rarely leave. Ask the Afghans.

Pakistan is the first victim of global warming, One fifth of it is under water. Here is a perfect opportunity to convene an emergency summit on global climate crisis and all I hear is silence.

It seems clear to me that the Obama we thought we elected could have done a great deal to "fix this mess".This Obama can't do squat.

Carol DW

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