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–

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

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

Just a quickie: Bernanke on the economy

I wanted to say he’s on crack–although I still want to know what he’s smoking–but I think I’ll stick with Head in Clouds disease (because it might be kinder): Ben Bernanke, for saying the recession will be over this year, and that 2010 “will be a year of recovery.”   I actually cackled when I read that.  The guy is seriously deluded. Just like his previous boss.

Anyhow, for your consideration, an excerpt from Robert Reich’s blog:

We’re in a deepening recession, in case you hadn’t noticed.
The biggest challenge is to ramp up aggregate demand. Yes, we have to borrow lots from the Chinese and Japanese to do this, and, yes, it’s costly in terms of additional interest payments to them. But there’s no choice. In fact, if the slump gets worse — and I have every reason to fear it will because that’s the direction we’re heading in as fast as you can imagine — we’ll probably have to have a second stimulus. And if the second isn’t enough, a third. And so on. FDR’s biggest mistake was doing too little until World War II. (No one should interpret this as a recommendation for more military spending — I’m just saying Obama will probably have to think and do much bigger than the $787 billion stimulus so far.)

That post was dated yesterday.   How could all that change in a single day?

I would say Paul Volker agrees with Reich, and though we’ve never met, with me.   Yet even  Volker was surprised at how quickly the world’s economy has collapsed. Just last Friday he said, “I don’t remember any time, maybe even the Great Depression, when things went down quite so fast.”  With “shocking speed,” no less.

Maybe Bernanke has ripped a page out of Bill Clinton’s Playbook of Hope , but what he’s doing is  spreading false hope, delusion, or even a baldfaced lie.  Americans aren’t that stupid.  We all know how bad it is. (Well, except for those rich folks that represent us in Congress, we do.)   Encouraging us probably more apt at this point.  We American may not be used to exerting determination and confidence–after all, it has been a long time–but grit is in our genes.  We are pioneers and innovators from way back, and don’t you forget it.

I would like very much to talk about Israel’s deepening paranoia and belligerence, which hasn’t been working for the Israelis at all, thankyouverymuch, but  I have a paper,  fortunately my last, to write on ovarian cancer.  I will try to get a grip on my compulsion to  research everything on the planet and thensome, but that’s what I tell myself every time I write a paper and it ends up being way more knowledgeable and detailed than it has to be.  And then I revise for a day and a half, which I don’t really do here.  Meh blog is more or less a purge.

Ah, well. Drudgery calls.


February 24, 2009 Posted by | Economy, Federal Reserve, recession | , , , , , | 2 Comments

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