What Happened to Obama?
New York Times OpEd
By DREW WESTEN
IT was a blustery day in Washington on Jan. 20, 2009, as it often seems to be on the day of a presidential inauguration. As I stood with my 8-year-old daughter, watching the president deliver his inaugural address, I had a feeling of unease. It wasn’t just that the man who could be so eloquent had seemingly chosen not to be on this auspicious occasion, although that turned out to be a troubling harbinger of things to come. It was that there was a story the American people were waiting to hear — and needed to hear — but he didn’t tell it. And in the ensuing months he continued not to tell it, no matter how outrageous the slings and arrows his opponents threw at him.
Like most Americans, at this point, I have no idea what Barack Obama — and by extension the party he leads — believes on virtually any issue…..
THE real conundrum is why the president seems so compelled to take both sides of every issue, encouraging voters to project whatever they want on him, and hoping they won’t realize which hand is holding the rabbit. ….
But the arc of history does not bend toward justice through capitulation cast as compromise. It does not bend when 400 people control more of the wealth than 150 million of their fellow Americans. It does not bend when the average middle-class family has seen its income stagnate over the last 30 years while the richest 1 percent has seen its income rise astronomically. It does not bend when we cut the fixed incomes of our parents and grandparents so hedge fund managers can keep their 15 percent tax rates. It does not bend when only one side in negotiations between workers and their bosses is allowed representation. And it does not bend when, as political scientists have shown, it is not public opinion but the opinions of the wealthy that predict the votes of the Senate. The arc of history can bend only so far before it breaks.
Read the whole piece it is VERY VERY worthwhile. Compliments to the NYT for publishing such a great piece.
This expression is one I now try very hard to live by and I believe the American economy would be in a far better place if those of us in business, from main street to Wall Street, would return to this adage. Today we seem to think any opportunity given (even a morally wrong one) must be taken or we are “suckers” because if “if don’t my competitor will.”
This category will include examples to make this point. Here’s our first and so far leading contender.
1. A doctor overseeing the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act says cancer will not be covered under the $2.8 billion law due to insufficient scientific evidence linking the disease to toxins at the World Trade Center site.
Doesn’t take too much thinking to figure out why this exclusion exists. We all know this ruling is the work of the insurance lobby and other business interests. I could not think of a more suitable example to illustrate my “live by” message. You have shamed yourself those involved with this action.
A room full of shadows, lost to naked walls. Silent, lonely dancers--filling faceless, empty stalls. Endless nothingness -- "Forever Free" or the captives of tomorrow, by the whims of destiny. The wheel turns freely, if carried only by the tide, and the passengers stand watching, when all the crew have died. It is a precarious world, with curtains drawn; forever dark and nescient – knowledgeless of dawn.
The membership has had a great debate going about the idiots in Washington who are unable to do the job they were sent there to do. I share some of the interesting responses here:
For 2011, US Federal spending is projected at $3,818.8 billion. Therefore, $3.8 trillion just for the year 2011. Of that, $107.2 billion will go to families and children (not just inner city, but rural as well). That equates to 2.8% of the total budget. At the same time, defense spending amounts to $964.8 billion, 25.3% of the total spending.
There is no question about who got our country into our current fiscal difficulties–the people who demanded the elimination of federal regulations, beginning with Ronald Reagan and ending with George W. Bush. The recipients of all those bailouts in the past few years were mostly big financial institutions, the organizations which paid huge bonuses to its top employees, all at the risk of the taxpayers. Further, they continued to pay those same employees enormous bonuses after the bailout, while middle and lower class citizens lost their retirements (e.g. Enron…) and their jobs. Not surprisingly, unemployment claims went up. Yes, the rich are richer than ever.
Lastly, because of our spending on wars (which ‘We The People’ were told lies in order to justify) and bailouts (the result of fiscal improprieties), we, the American people are spending $206.7 billion in INTEREST in 2011, almost twice what we’re spending on aid to families and children. Again, this is the result of Republican fiscal irresponsibility. The wars were waged by Republicans and the bailouts are the result of poor financial management on behalf of the Republicans.There is no arguing any of these points. They are all facts, easy to research, indisputable.
As for the numbers, check them out yourself. Go to governmentspending.com. Forget what anyone else is telling you and do your own research. That’s what Freedom of Information is all about–being informed.
One more thing. Clinton left office in 2008. If the country was most prosperous in the 1950’s, then I retract my previous statement. Instead, I’ll restate it as, Clinton left office with the country more prosperous than it had been in 45 years (not 50).
Now, stop being angry at poor people who never had the advantages of education and culture that you and I had growing up. Get involved and get our spending priorities changed. We need to invest in our future, our infrastructure, our education, if our future generations are to have the lives they deserve. What I’m really sick of is the partisanship in Washington DC. You and I can do something about that. I’m sending out emails and signing petitions almost daily. And I make sure that I’m armed with good, non-anecdotal facts.
I’m reading a great book, Caesar, by Colleen McCullough about the period when Rome moves from a republic to an empire. The parallels with our own times, 2000 years later, are uncanny. If we don’t learn from history, then we are destined to make the same mistakes.