Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ronald Reagan is Dead... and We Don't Feel Too Good, Ourselves


(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari Goldstein.)

"People need to shake off this lethargy. People need to buck up. Bringing about change is hard — that's what I said during the campaign. It has been hard, and we've got some lumps to show for it. But if people now want to take their ball and go home, that tells me folks weren't serious in the first place. If you're serious, now's exactly the time that people have to step up." - President Barack Obama

When I informed the missus yesterday that my next article would be a slam on the Democrats, she said, "That's like shooting fish in a barrel." I responded, "No. Fish have spines."

These days, Daddy Warbucks Barack is doing the same exact thing as George W. Bush four years ago: Hitting the campaign trail for his party in a non-election cycle while he ought to be running the nation. In both cases, their respective parties were expected to lose big in the midterms. Here's the one crucial difference: George W. Bush had the sense not to insult the party's base while trying to get votes for the Republicans. Obama, while he's slapping us on the backs with one hand is slapping us in the face with the other.

During an interview in Rolling Stone and a stumping stop in Wisconsin, Obama chided Democratic, liberal and independent voters under the guise of rallying them. Scared that he'll be faced with an even more hostile Congress than the one with which he's had to deal for the past 20+ months, Obama has made the huge mistake of talking down to the liberal/progressive base that had gotten him elected, treating justifiably disaffected voters as if they're petulant children who want their candy now, as if we have poor impulse control.

That's a characterization that's more befitting Republican/Tea Bagger voters. While the liberal/progressive base that elevated then-Senator Obama from a mere dark horse to the presidency of the United States may feel disenfranchised, at least we never made an issue of his religion, his birthplace or questioned his patriotism or political or ideological allegiances. Understandably, Obama has given up on the Tea Bagger/Fox "News" demographic.

But there are a lot of voters on both sides of the Great Ideological Divide that are deeply unhappy with the 44th administration. Many are going to be voting Republican. Many will be voting ultra Republican. And those voters who actually have their facts straight will be sitting at home on Super Tuesday. Those are the ones who realize two things: #1 That Obama's presidency is not (directly) at stake. And #2, it doesn't really matter which party they vote for. The only difference between the Democrats and Republicans is that the Democrats usually use lubrication and give us a sloppy reacharound.

Let's take stock of the Democrats' proud accomplishments of late:

In the biggest no brainer of the decade, a fat, slow-swinging piñata sans the blindfold, the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, the Democrats, while tokenly insisting on keeping them for the middle class, caved and put off a final vote because they know they'll cave in the face of the Republican minority yet again and extend them for their fellow Haves and Have Mores.

In another no brainer, the Democrats allowed the minority Republicans to scuttle the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Larry Summers is leaving his post as the head of the National Economic Council so he can spend more time insulting women at Harvard and the rumors are flying that Obama will appoint a Wall Street tycoon to fill his post to dispel any lingering right wing impressions that he's "anti-business."

Stephen Colbert, the faux conservative and darling of the liberal base was openly insulted by John Conyers and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer after the comedian testified before Congress on the plight of immigrant migrant workers, thereby making them sound exactly like the Republicans. In fact, Conyers asked Colbert to leave and to submit his statement to Congress even before he had the chance to speak despite the fact that Mr. Colbert was there at the personal invitation of Conyers' subcommittee chairwoman Zoe Lofgren.

And Harry Reid recently tried to suck up to an unwinnable right wing base by wishing the Cordoba Cultural Center would be built elsewhere.

It's been 20+ months. Unemployment has not gotten any better since right before Bush left office, the deficit has grown, our national debt has grown. Anyone who honestly thought this hobbling by the Bush administration would be magically healed in 20 months deserves to get bitch-slapped by the President.

But the Obama administration, in many ways, is like that computer program that looked so great in the demo at the computer store than, once you install it, it crashes your system.

Not only did Obama install Ken Salazar, a man who never saw an oil cartel he didn't like, as Interior Secretary, he also put in charge of protecting the Interior a man overseeing a Minerals Management Service that allowed BP to pollute the entire Gulf Coast by not making them file environmental impact reports, to allow them to drill without adequate (and inexpensive) backup measures and to submit a laughable oil spill response plan that included dead men, non-working phone numbers and even a Japanese home shopping network. The health care bill is a joke and merely resulting in higher and higher premiums. Yet the only funny thing Obama saw during a recent $30,000 fundraiser were querulous liberals who couldn't get over the fact that Obama championed a public option during his campaign yet swept it from the table when the minority Republicans began grumbling about it.

Granted, it would be grossly unfair to blame Obama for all the ills that he'd inherited just as it would be grossly unfair to blame Bush for the same problems. Many of our problems began under Reagan and, in some cases, Nixon. But Ronald Reagan is dead and we're not feeling too good, ourselves.


Meanwhile, Gitmo is still open despite campaign promises to the contrary, pictures and videos of us torturing innocent people are closed to public scrutiny despite campaign promises to the contrary, Afghanistan has been ramped up to unprecedented levels, the illegal war in Iraq is still being fought only with less US troops, the number of contractors between Iraq and Afghanistan has literally swelled to 2-1 and bailed out corporate executives are paying themselves bigger bonuses than ever.

And, in probably the most egregious example of wet-legged Democratic cowardice, the Obama administration won't even address a UN Human Rights Council's finding that Israeli commandos murdered a US citizen execution-style.

It seems, for many reasons that seem pressing and unavoidable to him, Obama is bound and determined to continue kowtowig to the Chinese even while they're racheting up the trade imbalance and don't seem to care that their products are killing us, sucking up to the Saudis and practically lying prostrate before Israel despite their terrorist activities that are killing US citizens and innocent Palestinians and Lebanese.

This is a trend that began decades ago and, thanks to Obama, the once-proud and independent United States remains the Sick Man of North America. So why shouldn't we call in sick on Election Day?

4 Comments:

At September 30, 2010 at 12:03 PM, Anonymous Juan Moment said...

Bloody good rant JP. And I am sorry to say, but being stuck with a two equals one party system like you folks in the US means matters can only get worse. Obama or Palin, O’Palin, what a choice! The corporate juggernaut and its two finger puppets will make damned sure that wealth will continue to flow from the needy to the greedy.

And you are dead right about Reagan and his fermenting brain. Couple of days back our national broadcaster had Grover Norquist in for an interview, Ronny’s tax reform poodle. The gist of his message for us Aussies was that we should all become Tea Party apostles and call for lowering marginal tax rates, as this would lead to economic growth, which will in return raise tax revenue for governments. What a clown!

The US is already at the lower end of OECD countries when it comes to income taxes, and even if seen in a strictly US context, income tax rates are at almost historic lows as is, any lower and you won’t be able to pay IRS officers.

Crunch the numbers and the picture gets clearer. In the USA, people with a $400’000 per year income before tax would at the moment pay approx $117’000 in income tax, which is about 29% of their income. Earn the same amount in Australia and you’ll pay $154’000, or about 39% of income earned.

While there is hardly a difference between the two countries for working class families, say in the 60K a year region, both paying approx 20% effective tax rate, it is the high income earners in the US that are laughing all the way to the bank compared to their international counterparts.

And now, if you’d believed Reagan err Norquist and reduced the top marginal tax rate in the US from 35% to say 30%, the chap on 400K a year would pay $7000 less tax and spend it on consumer goods to stimulate the economy. My arse he would. People on $400K have everything they need, the 7 large would go straight into some investment property with which to fleece low income tenants for their hard earned cash or some other means of extracting maximum profit from society.

In Australia, with much higher marginal tax rates than the US, we have half the unemployment and 3% annual growth. Speaks for itself.

Dimwits like Norquist and his fellow numb skulls proposing tax cuts for the rich as a measure to promote economic growth are gaining momentum, they even have their own movement now, feeding on a society so transfixed on personal gains that it has become more or less oblivious to the demise of the greater good.

The most logical thing to do for any US prezznit is to immediately slash the military budget by half, saving $340 Billion dollars per year. You’d still had more to spend on glorified arms crap than the next 5 highest spender’s military budgets together, but at the same time substantial cash available to make a real difference in people’s lives at home. But no, instead of down the military budget goes up, last year under Obama 3%, and nobody even blinks. Come next election the mindless masses again vote for either of the two parties who in tandem and for decades now have financed wars and military expansions.

And therein lays the problem. Voter apathy, making sure people get the government they deserve.

 
At October 1, 2010 at 3:28 PM, Blogger nunya said...

How trendy of you.

The Obameter: Tracking Obama's Campaign Promises

My take on the jun 2010 primary -

"only 38% of the people eligible to vote actually voted last time, and a prop that might have made a difference in buying political power was soundly defeated."

I'll tell you when to use my real name, btw. It pisses me off when you do it.

 
At October 1, 2010 at 5:17 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

"I'll tell you when to use my real name, btw. It pisses me off when you do it."

What are you talking about? When lately have I used your real name?

 
At October 5, 2010 at 1:12 AM, Anonymous Not my real name said...

I've seen you use her real name. I've exchanged e-mails with Nunya and I still don't know her real name, except for seeing you use it.

Hi Nunya! My e-mail address has changed. But I'm not going to list it here. I like the shred of anonymity I have on the Internet.

 

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