Meh Culpa

My letter to “Organizing America” the former Obama campaign site

(Written while unsubscribing, as a protest.)

I am not a Democrat.

I was a Democrat for a little over 30 years–until Diane Feinstein started acting and voting like a Republican. I told her I would never vote for her again and I won’t.  My point? Barack the president seems to have forgotten the promises he made as Barack the candidate. I have never seen such timid leadership in my life. No, wait:  the Democrats have behaved in such a manner all the way through the Bush administration. They kowtowed to the Republicans (who played serious hardball) while there was a big, wistful to-do in the MSM over “bipartisanship” that never happened because the Republicans were nasty and excluded the Democrats from almost every opportunity to make a difference. Perhaps the Democrats and Barack the president believe they should take the alleged high road and refuse to behave as the Republicans did.

With all solemnity, I adjure you… Now is not the time to abandon progressive ideals because a minority of crazy, hard right, radical Republicans–who don’t have much of a party left, mind you–are playing up the rhetoric and the lies and inflaming the wingnut populace against the president’s erstwhile agenda, inciting the crazies to riot and possibly to assassination.

Elegance and grace will not give us single payer and/or a public option or even decent health care. Besides, it would appear Barack the president and the rest of the Democrats have given up on both. If events unfold as I see they might, the insurance companies will realize even more profits if health insurance is mandated. How middle class and lower class Americans will pay, I don’t know. Tax deductions will not help. They are actually rather worthless. Americans need real help, upfront.

I cannot tell you how sickened I am with the current state of affairs. Single payer (with an option to retain private health insurance as is possible in the UK) is the right thing to do. Allowing Blue Dogs to mark this territory and bark orders to the rest of us is absolutely the wrong thing to do, and slightly insane into the bargain. While Teddy Kennedy was alive, you had a majority and you could have passed a good bill that contained both. Now all you have is mush.

What we Americans needed was an FDR on the economy and an LBJ on civil rights and health care. This administration hasn’t come close to giving us either one. What I see is a money-grubbing party that’s still beholden to big business, a party without backbone.  It’s appalling, truly.

And it’s not just health care. Barack the candidate was worrisome when he voted on FISA. But Barack the president has abandoned all principle on warrantless wiretapping as well as in legal cases concerning Guantanamo detainees, doing precisely what the Bush administration did before him, or worse. Barack the president did not seek to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act or Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. He has left it to Congress, whose members will do nothing, ever. Barack the president has set up another Guantanamo in Bagram, and created an environment where anything will go by alleging that because Bagram is not on American soil (WTF?! It’s a US air base! Does that mean McCain isn’t really a US citizen? Hmph.), people detained there will have no right to habeas corpus let alone any Constitutional right to due process within the US legal system.  Barack the president still allows extraordinary rendition.  Barack the president has allowed the same people who destroyed the economy (think Wall Street investment bankers, Goldman Sachs, the New York Reserve, and the Fed) to retain control over the economy. Nothing has changed in that respect. Barack the president doesn’t want to do anything about the Bush administration higher-ups who approved torture and created an ethos where it could thrive and become even more twisted than Gen. Miller and John Yoo originally planned. Barack the candidate wanted to remove us from theaters of war while Barack the president is digging in in Afghanistan.

Barbara Boxer might give me hope, but it’s not yet clear she won’t do what she’s told by the White House, by the so-called Democratic leadership, or by the insurance and drug companies. But Barack the president and the rest of his administration? No, I have no hope at all.

I’m writing in the hortatory subjunctive now:  Look to your principles once more, recall the promises you made and work to fulfill them. Think of the people who voted for you, Barack & Company. Think about why they voted for you. It wasn’t simply your “soaring rhetoric,” you made promises that voters wanted kept. I urge you to reconsider your path, which thus far is filled with so many broken promises (after only nine months!). Remember that we who voted you and other Democrats into office can just as easily vote you out of office. Or, as in my case, simply not vote at all. There is no one worth voting for anymore.

Ignore me at your political peril. You will fail otherwise. A pity, but it’s true.

Sincerely yours–

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September 8, 2009 Posted by | 2008 presidential race, Abu Ghraib, Afghan War, Afghanistan, Bagram, banks, Bush administration, civil liberties, Congress, corruption, Defense, Democrats, Due process, Economy, far right, Federal Reserve, Foreign policy, gay rights, Geneva Conventions, Guantanamo, habeas corpus, human rights, Iraq War, Obama, Obama administration, politics, Republicans, torture, Treasury, US Constitution, war crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Be Still My Beating Heart: Another Quickie

No, this post is not about sex.

Ha.

Gotcha.

Actually, I’ve been off writing a  paper and taking an Anatomy & Physiology  final.  I’m between classes right now, so I thought I’d pop in for a short chat.  (I’m not like some of my friends who can multitask.  I can walk or chew gum, but not do both at the same time.)

I’ve got to say I am not surprised by Jake DeSantis’ resignation from AIG’s Financial Products division.  I rather liked his letter detailing his reasons for leaving the company, too.  When I heard that the House had agreed to impose a 90% tax on bonuses, I thought the amount was excessive.  Forty-five or fifty percent I could see, but not ninety.  That was just counterproductive, knee-jerk politics at its worst.  I also can understand why DeSantis and other members of AIG-FP view AIG CEO Ed Liddy with distrust after he trembled before Congress, and I think DeSantis is  right to say that Congress is going after the wrong people.

The Man in Orange--a prohpetic color

The Man in Orange--a prophetic color

We should be tracking down The Man in Orange, Joe Cassano.  Just haul him in!  After all, he’s the one whose [alleged] shenanigans brought down AIG, so he should give back the money he made–$280 million during the last eight years.  That’s $35 million every year! (Who really needs that kind of money?)  Cassano  also should return the $1 million consulting retainer AIG paid him for five or six months after he “left” the company.

And another thing: don’t imagine Americans are only enraged about AIG bonuses.  Such salaries and bonuses, of the sort American companies have paid for ages, are egregious, and they don’t seem to be ending anytime soon.  But they should.

No one else in the world pulls in as much compensation as high profile American executives and Wall Streeters.  I keep wondering why.  We hear the bit about the need to pay insane prices to retain the best talent–as if these guys have their bosses in a choke hold.

What are those bosses afraid of?  Aren’t those the same scare tactics the last administration used when peddling the Iraq War?  Ooooh: We’ve got to be afraid, very afraid, and do everything these overpaid execs dictate, even when what they tell us nearly bankrupts our economy.

I mean,  let’s just say it: there is speculation abroad that we’re pretty close to falling in the pit with Iceland,  so close the Chinese are watching the Fed print more money,  seriously worrying about their investment and the nosedive their own currency may take as a result of all that American paper floating around.   Hence, the suggestion of a new international currency that’s not based solely on the economy of one nation.  A pretty good idea that was, too.

I think Obama and Congress should consider limiting executive pay like the Brits are planning to do.  It’s not as if these executives know anyone else in the world willing to pay nearly as much in compensation.  They’d have to be like everyone else, and take what the market can bear.  Right now, the market can’t bear a whole lot.  But that’s capitalism for you!

Besides, think of the money we taxpayers would save.  😀

March 25, 2009 Posted by | AIG, bailout(s), borrowing, Congress, Economy, Executive branch, Federal Reserve, House of Representatives, National Security, Obama, Obama administration, politics, recession, Treasury | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Nouriel Roubini: “What’s happening in the world now is scary.”

Contrary to what Bernanke believes–are we surprised?–Roubini believes a 36 month recession is possible (see video that doesn’t work on WordPress), with the danger of settling into a Japanese-style period, which looks L-shaped on a graph instead of a V-shaped (fairly quick recovery) or a U-shaped recovery (slower recovery).

Snagged from the glittering eye, a graph that compares the Japan’s “lost decade” to what’s happening now in the U.S.:

Check out how much the federal government is borrowing…  Egads. Why don’t we just call it a depression and get it over with?

(h/t: digby)

March 3, 2009 Posted by | bailout(s), borrowing, Depression, Economy, Federal Reserve, Japan, National Security, recession | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments