Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Reform Bush Tax Cuts? Obama Says "No, I Won't"---Again

Valid estimates indicate there are enough of these in private hands for every American currently alive. This might be one of the unstated reasons for Obama's constant "No we can't".

Writing in Huffington Post, Clarence B Jones, (Scholar in Residence, Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University) has sounded one of the first lamenting calls for a democratic challenger to President Barack Obama from a Black American perspective.  Frank Rich writing in the New York times, speculates Obama is a victim of Stockholm Syndrome.  Robert Kuttner, also writing in Huffpo, describes the coming disaster for the Democratic party and the US economy if Obama holds to his current course of circling with the Republican sharks. My hope is that Obama decides it's easier to get wealthy as a 'politician' by following the Sarah Palin route and like wise quits his elective office in mid stream. 

The following are the final paragraphs of Dr. Jones's article:

It is not easy to consider challenging the first African-American to be elected as President of the United States. But, regrettably, I believe that the time has come to do this.

It is time for Progressives to stop "whining" and arguing among themselves about whether President Obama will or will not do this or that. Obama is no different than any other President, nominated by his national party. He was elected with the hard work and 24/7 commitment of persons who believed and enlisted in his campaign for "Hope" and "Change."

You don't have to be a rocket scientist nor have a PhD in political science and sociology to see clearly that Obama has abandoned much of the base that elected him. He has done this because he no longer respects, fears or believes those persons who elected him have any alternative, but to accept what he does, whether they like it or not.   (The way Obama treats his base supporters is very similar to the way Rahm Emannuel treated dems in the House.)

It is time for those persons who constituted the "Movement" that enabled Senator Barack Obama to be elected to "break their silence"; to indicate that they no longer will sit on their hands, and only let off verbal steam and ineffective sound and fury, and "hope" for the best.

The answer is blowin' in the wind

The pursuit of the war in Afghanistan in support of a certifiably corrupt Afghan government and the apparent willingness to retreat from his campaign commitment of no further tax cuts for the rich, his equivocal and foot dragging leadership to end DADT, his TARP for Wall Street, but, equivocal insufficient attention to the unemployment and housing foreclosures of Main Street, suggest that the template of the 1968 challenge to the reelection of President Lyndon Johnson now must be thoughtfully considered for Obama in 2012.


I just did a search of this blog to see how many times I've written about P.O. since his election.  In this current year it's been twice, and one of those was directed more at Rahm Emmanuel.  I haven't written much about P.O.  I suspect that's true because rather than being angry or disappointed, I actually feel contempt for him and his administration. I don't feel as if he betrayed me as a progressive because deep down I never really trusted he would follow through on any of his rhetoric. I hold him in contempt as the quintessential example of the inbuilt corporate corruption in American politics.  PO's administration has demonstrated this beyond any doubt.  The US does not have a two party system.  It has a one party system with two faces.

Two full years into PO's administration we still have virtually every single failed Bush/Cheney policy in place and now that will include extending the Bush tax cuts for the remainder of PO's term of office. The rich will get even richer and very little of it will trickle down to the estimated 18% of Americans who can't find full time work. The budget deficit will increase by another 80 billion strictly from the tax cuts for the richest two percent of Americans. 

In the meantime the percentage of Americans qualifying for SNAP (food stamps)has increased significantly for every year since 2007.  Based on August numbers, this represents some 43 million Americans.  August alone showed a one month increase of over 500,000 participants from July.  The current total represents around 13% of the American population.  If nothing changes, by the end of PO's first term, 25% of the US population will be on food stamps--and that will include a significant portion of Tea Party members who will be unable to comprehend that trickle down economics does not and never has worked. It is, as Papa Bush truthfully described it:  "Voodoo economics".  PO knows this just as well as Papa Bush did.  So why is he continuing this debacle of a monetary/tax policy?

I might just as well ask why he is continuing with any number of Bush policies, but I won't get any other answer than the pathetic excuse of 'bi partisanship' when there is no bi partisanship to be had and there never was any to be had.

Right before PO was elected I had some serious doubts as whether he could be effective at all.  I kept thinking back to the 60's and 70's and the list of progressives who were the paramount movers and shakers at that time.  They all wound up dead or neutralized in some way.  In their places we got puppets of right wing economic interests--especially in politics and religion.  The last televised statement from John Paul I contained this strongly worded statement:

"Believe me, we who live in opulence, while so many are dying because they have nothing, will have to answer to Jesus as to why we have not carried out his instruction, 'Love thy neighbor as thyself'. We, the clergy of our church and our congregations, who substitute gold and pomp and ceremony in place of Christ's instruction, who judge our masquerade of singing his praises to be more precious than human life, will have the most to explain....

......"It is the inalienable right of man to own property. But it is the right of no man to accumulate wealth beyond the necessary while other men starve to death because they have nothing."

It sure does seem as if there are some messages which are so antithetical to some people that the message must be neutralized and the messengers silenced.  PO has been both neutralized and silenced.  I don't find that too surprising.  Strangely enough, I also find it hopeful.  Light is being shined on some very dark places and that is always a very good thing.


  1. Why do you WANT one person to be able to change anything that radically? That's not "progressive" or "democratic", that's paternalism, almost monarchy.
    Even Jesus was only expected to perform miracles for three years, not four.
    So stupid. And you're the people who are always complaining about Americans are so "bipolar" and "superstitious" and "engage in magical thinking".
    Well here's a thought: Stop doing this yourself and maybe more people will believe you.

  2. I'm not interested in whether people believe me. I am interested in people doing their own research and coming to their own conclusions.

    In my life time I have experienced John Kennedy and John XXIII institute changes that had enormous effect on me as an American Catholic. I have also experienced Ronald Reagan and JPII have the same radical effect on America and American Catholicism.

    It's not that it can't be done. It's that it takes real leadership to do it. PO was not committed enough to join that class of leadership.

    Jesus is still around and still attempting to teach us how to perform our own healing miracles. That's supposed to be the whole point of Catholicism--that thing about Jesus over coming death and that real presence thing in the Mass.

    Or maybe I got that all wrong somewhere along the line.

  3. "I hold him in contempt as the quintessential example of the inbuilt corporate corruption in American politics."

    I don't know, that seems pretty extreme and not a functional way to living in the light.

    I believe people need to understand that the world as it was is collapsing. Obama is not responsible for the collapse. He seems to be more in a position of damage control at this point. We've been living in a capitalist oil economy and guess what? Oil is a finite resource and it is running out and printing money that has no value only encourages deflation. Every product that is made is for the most part a by-product of the oil industry. How do we encourage those in the oil industry, who are the most wealthiest people on the planet getting the tax breaks, to see and accept that truth and that it is in their best interest, for their children and generations to come, to invest in alternative energy sources?

    How do we convince people that working at a munitions factory contributes to violence in the world?

    How do we convince nations that "In God We Trust" when the almighty Dollar has replaced God?

    How do we encourage Peace while building nuclear bombs and the companies that build destructive things profit from it?

    How do we bring the truth of the Gospels into the world? How do we bring love into the world?

  4. "It sure does seem as if there are some messages that are so antithetical to some people that the message must be neutralized and the messengers silenced."

    Except you can't kill an idea (or truly, even a person) with a bullet (or a cross). It keeps coming back, embodied in bigger and louder ways all the time, no matter how many times evil attempts to strangle it in the crib (don't they ever learn that strategy never works?)

    " It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance"-RFK


  5. I'm not terribly surprised that Obama had turned into just another politician. Even if he is as idealistic as he was portrayed in the campaign, I don't think he had near enough political experience to put those ideals into reality.

    To the anonymous above who complains about expecting one person to change the landscape: It isn't about 1 person. It is about one person BEING a leader of the movement and leveraging that into the change people in that movement expect to see. That is the very position Obama sought. And somehow he isn't following through with putting those ideals into policy and actions. There is no paternalism, monarchism or 'magical thinking' involved here. It is exactly how a representative republic is supposed to work. A political leader puts together a political coalition with enough votes to get elected and then if elected makes the attempt to put the ideals the leader AND the movement agreed on into action.

  6. Veronica, I don't think that Obama had enough leverage even within his own party after eight years of the Bush Administration and the severe to catastrophic damage it created everywhere. Change does not happen over night. That's living in a fantasy world to believe so.

    Kallisti, I love that quote by JFK.

  7. The problem was, is and has been the Senate, not Obama. I'm amazed he got done what he did. Saved a few hundred thousand jobs in the auto industry, got a health care bill through which although presently lame and kind of toothless, still was the first national law establishing the right to health care, and so far has tap danced around the forces gathering to push us back in the dumpster. I wouldn't count on him being a one term President. He'll easily survive a primary challenge from the left.
    I like him. He thinks. What would you have him do, anyway? Talk tough? I voted for him because he doesn't get excited. That's the main thing.

  8. I have mixed feelings here. But I think that if the Republicans nominate Sarah Palin (many of them are even fearful of that) that President Obama will bury her in a landslide. The Republicans will have the House soon but they better not overplay their hand. Look at how Clinton was re-elected by a comfortable margin in 1996, with the lowest voter turnout in decades. I agree with a much of what you said but also with the comments.

  9. Actually Butterfly, Bobby gets the credit here, not Jack ;D


  10. Anon your point about the senate is well taken. The Blue Dogs in the House also share a great deal of the blame.

    It may well be that PO didn't have enough experience in national politics to be effective in the same way the LBJ was in the sixties. BUT...neither did Reagan or Clinton.

    The potential right now is for everything PO accomplished to be over turned after 2012. The Repubs in the House will have control over redistricting and that means gerry mandering another 15-20 districts likely to vote Republican. That will give them enough to repeal what ever they want after 2012--especially if the Dems can't retain the Senate.

    Mostly I am just pissed he has caved in on the Bush tax cuts. The wealthy have not 'trickled' anything down except for the responsibility of correcting their mistakes with TARP and various other bail outs.

  11. I would like to think that Obama could bury Palin in a landslide. But then I remember a T-shirt my husband has that says 'Don't underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.' I've seen some of the loyalty to herself that Palin manages to inspire despite her abysmal track record.

    Yes, Obama gets a health reform package through. Then he backs off on the enforcement as soon as some big corporation starts threatening to just dump the health care 'insurance' they offer their employees. Birth control? Forget it. That's lifestyle choice that government shouldn't get involved in.

    DADT? Not until there is a lame duck Congress and maybe not even then - despite the study the GOP demanded of the DOD which SUPPORTS the repeal and allowing non-straights to serve openly.


  12. I've been thinking about Clarence B Jones article and his willingness at this juncture to dump Obama, search for some other person to run for President. Maybe this is why Democrats lose too many elections, can't find loyalty in their own party. Democrats can easily be toppled because if things are not perfect, and they never will be, Democrats love to point the finger at someone who blew it for everyone.

    If you think about the fact that once Johnson was dumped by his own people, even though he was "the greatest President" except for his stance on the war in Vietnam - that led to the Republicans winning the next Presidential election, Nixon. Dump Obama now and you may as well give the election to the Republicans.

    Democrats seem unable to stay in unity or have a consistent vision. They seem to be perfectionist that are very imperfect. Clarence B Jones is saying it is ok for Democrats to shoot themselves in the foot again, repeat the history that gave us Nixon.

  13. Thanks Kallisti for the correction. It is a wonderful quote by Bobby Kennedy.

    I also want to point out that people forget that in war, and we are in one on many fronts, that losing a battle does not mean the war has been lost.

  14. Obama seems to be using a battle strategy which has rarely won any war---that of giving ground and giving ground and giving ground.

    Maybe he has a secret weapon we don't know about.

  15. Get rid of "In God We Trust" from the money. It should never have been put on it in the first place.
    If you want me to exchange the dollar (which I can see and count)for some god whom I can't see or hear, you'd better have very good reasons.

  16. "Obama seems to be using a battle strategy which has rarely won any war---that of giving ground and giving ground and giving ground."

    Another view might be that he is not giving ground, he is extending for two years the ground that Bush gave them. PO is perhaps buying time.

    There are 2 million people during the holidays that will be kicked off receiving unemployment benefits unless this extension is given. The Dems, the unemployed don't benefit by demanding the tax cuts for the wealthiest end right this January 1. It really won't be the end of the world if that is done, in my opinion. It is greedy and selfish of the wealthiest.

    St. Francis said "It is in giving that you receive." Can we use this here in this case or not?

    Jesus said - "love thy enemy." Can we use this as an example of trying to do the same towards the wealthiest?

    It may actually become clear to people who is really sucking money out of the economy if they see how much money it costs to give tax breaks to the wealthiest. Also, the wealthiest will be in the spotlight then and people will be watching what they do with the money. IOW, buying time will allow for people eyes to open?

    It seems an all or nothing, either/or for the Dems. A strategy of no compromise is a lose for the Dems for the unemployed and an economic nightmare for the unemployed.

    Yeah, this is a different spin that I thought I would share. I don't know if it is right or wrong.

    I recommend people see the documentary called Collapse. That also may give a new perspective.

  17. Butterfly, I don't think your take is wrong and I can easily see where keeping a spotlight on what happens with how the wealthy continue to use their tax breaks may turn out to be very enlightening. Guys like Gates and Buffet do seem to be seeing some light.

    I'm still trying to figure out how the dems and Obama lost all control of the democratic agenda when they had a super majority in both Houses of Congress and the presidency. I'm coming to the conclusion they lost control of the stated democratic agenda precisely because it was never their real agenda.

    Two issues seem clear cut to me that this is the case. The first is the capitulation on DADT and the second the escalation of the war in Afghanistan and Obama's refusal to close Gitmo. DADT and Gitmo were not issues that would impact the economy one way or another and both could have been done through executive order.

    My own senator-Max Baucus- torpedoed any real meaningful health care reform and what pisses me off about that, is he was under exactly zero pressure about re election election concerns. So why did Baucus hand private insurance companies the plum of mandatory coverage, and why did Obama think that was such a great deal when he had campaigned on a totally different plan?

    These guys are not only giving ground, they are acting like the war was lost before they ever engaged.

    The only way I can generate much sympathy is by wondering if things are so screwed up they can't trust their own secret service protection.

  18. Obama buying time? For what exactly? Nobody knows or cares what happens to the money private individuals don't have to use to pay taxes. There are no reliable stats and nobody is going to accept assertions as basis for further changes.

    I keep hearing about how the business climate requires the tax cuts so businesses can hire more people. As if. I'm no MBA, and I don't run a business. BUT, it seems to me that employers will only start hiring again when they feel demand for whatever product they sell will support the additional hiring. While I've had bosses who just wanted to order subordinates around, bottom line is they have to justify with man-hour studies any potential hiring.

    And the talking head on TV over the weekend claiming he'd never been hired by a poor person: I guess that says something about his intended audience.

  19. Veronica, I don't really know for sure why PO or the Dems are "buying time." It could be a security control type measure as the economy tanks to the bottom in successive spurts. Maybe just so they can keep their jobs or have some semblance of appearance of a Democratic Party to exhibit to the American people. There are, at least to my thinking, things happening behind the scenes, head games and/or psy-war techniques, and it may have to do with personal security as Colleen mentions. Remember Ross Perot and how he also was silenced by what he called threats against him and his family. Ross Perot was threatened and scared right out of politics in the US.

    I sense that there were things that probably went on at Gitmo, that still may be going on, that PO might know about and be in approval of now, since he's been briefed as President and given secret details, all for reasons of "national security."

    Colleen, it is truly amazing how the Dems are reaching across the aisle to Repubs all the time, as if there were no other way for them to behave and stand their own ground for what they were elected to do.

    I read the other day that the US Navy does have a new weapon that is electromagnetic and requires no rocket explosives to propel weapons hundreds of miles from ship to target. I'll bet it won't be used because then the businesses that make all the explosives will go bankrupt. I'm sure the corporatist lobbyist for existing munitions technology will want to buy time too before they are put out of business by new technology.