Monday, April 11, 2011

Week of 04/11/2011

There’s Still Work To Do? No, Sir, You Haven’t Started Yet!
– by David Matthews 2

Once upon a time a college group decided to sell boxes of candy bars to raise money for a trip. Everyone in the group was asked to pledge to sell at least one box of candy to help raise money, but most people pledged two or three boxes. Barry, however, pledged to sell ten boxes of candy, more than anyone in the group. People were surprised by his decision, but they really looked forward to the money that would come in from this.

A week later, while most people in the group were still struggling to sell even their first box, Barry asked for another ten boxes. The group leaders were simply amazed at his apparent sales skills! They were even shocked to find that, come the following week, he asked for ten more boxes! And then ten more after that. The group thought this would give them more than enough money to take the trip and have a good time as well. They decided to even come up with a prize for Barry and his stellar salesmanship.

A month goes by and it’s time for everyone to account for the total number of boxes they sold. Most people sold a box or two. They walked up, handed an envelope with the money that they made from their sales and also returned any unsold candy bars.

Then it was Barry’s turn… but Barry was nowhere to be found.

The group leaders went to Barry’s dorm room and knocked on the door. When the door opened, what they saw shocked them.

There was Barry with all the boxes of candy bars stacked EVERYWHERE in the room, most of them unopened, and the wrappers in the trash indicated that some of the candy bars were personally consumed.

When asked what happened, Barry said “Oh, I’m sorry… I thought you said that these things would practically sell themselves. Wow, I guess I’d better start selling these, huh? You want to buy some?”

That’s precisely the kind of feeling that I got when I heard the news this past week that of ALL of the wannabes and never-weres and mean-whiles that are getting bantered about for the 2012 Presidential Election, the very FIRST person to actually announce that THEY ARE running for President in 2012… is the guy that currently has the job.

Yes, Barack Obama, the President of the United States, has once again beaten out the competition in being the very first to officially announce that he is running for the White House… or, in his case, to STAY in the White House. Of course he didn’t make too big of a production about it. He didn’t show up in Chicago to make the big announcement like he did the last time around. There were no press conferences. Instead, he did it all online, asking his supporters to generate the proper “buzz” so he could start getting the needed contributions.

My first thought when I saw this was that perhaps it was a delayed reaction to the “April Fool’s Joke” that was played on the media on behalf of the GOP. I figure, hey, even the media could be dense enough to not get a joke. But it turned out that the joke was on us.

So my second thought can be summed up with three little words…


No, not “What the hell” as in a dismissive “who gives a flying-explicative”. No, I mean “What the hell” as in “ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR HOPE-AND-CHANGE MIND?”

Let’s see… where do I begin with this EPIC FAIL of all political FAILS?

Let’s start with the TIMING of this announcement. No, I’m not talking about having it just a few days removed from April Fool’s Day and following the GOP’s lampooning announcement.

This announcement comes on the same week that Obama and the GOP are butting heads over the budget. There are quite literally MILLIONS of Americans that will be directly impacted should these two groups fail to get their act together and the government is forced to shut down. Untold hundreds of thousands of servicemen and women who are in harm’s ways are being told that they may have to go to battle without pay. Air traffic controllers, border guards, homeland security people, they all are told they may have to work without pay. Families living paycheck-to-paycheck would end up not getting bills paid, not getting food on the table, not keeping up with the mortgage payments, living just a few weeks away from absolute destitution.

Amidst all that, people are being told that Obama wants to continue to govern for four more years.

The announcement itself comes on the SAME DAY that Obama’s people backtrack on a previous pledge to try 9/11 mastermind Kalid Mohammad in a military tribunal instead of a court of law, IN Guantanamo Bay, the very place that was SUPPOSED to have been shut down already. Another promise broken in a long string of broken promises and letdowns.

It comes as we are committed to yet ANTHER military conflict, and one that Candidate Obama himself would have said “no” to but President Obama couldn’t WAIT to get us in.

Amidst all that, people are being told that Obama wants to continue to govern for four more years.

Then we have the message itself. Obama tells the great unwashed that things have been difficult for him, that he’s getting older and more grey-haired, but there’s still much “to do”.

He EXPECTS his “base” to do all the heavy work for him, generating one BILLION dollars in campaign funds and keeping the fight going for him. He EXPECTS a groundswell of supporters stand up and carry the fight for him, because he’s supposedly “busy” keeping the GOP at bay.

He presumes that there’s still a “base”, never mind one that has the money to give his campaign that BILLION dollars, and are still loyal enough to do all the heavy lifting for him.

And that leads us to the third and most crucial part of this re-election announcement… the announcement itself, and the gaping whole that can be summed up with one simple question: WHY?

Let’s take a look at the progress report of this administrative FAIL.

Obama and his people inherit the Great Recession and what do they do? They don’t do anything different than the previous people. They toss BILLIONS of dollars into “keeping busy” work for the public sector, extend programs for the short-term for those who lost their jobs, and pretty much offered unconditional money. Virtually no daylight between the two bailout programs other than for semantics, EXCEPT for the automotive industry.

Oh yes, bailout the airlines in 2001 without condition. Bailout Wall Street in 2008 without condition. Bailout “Too Big To Fail” in 2009 without condition. But not only do the automakers get conditions for the money, but the VERY PEOPLE that complained about Obama GIVING the money then turned around and screamed BLOODY MURDER over those conditions and accused Obama of “taking over”, without ANYONE calling them out on their hypocrisy.

Obama DOESN’T put any pressure on businesses or “Too Big To Fail” to bring in the jobs that would restore our economy. Instead, he adheres to the advice from the same career insiders that RUINED this nation to just let the system “take care of itself”, and MAYBE they might decide to do the right thing EVENTUALLY, and that only serves to make the economy worse while making the big corporations even richer.

Let’s talk about “Too Big To Fail”… those huge financial institutions that we were told we NEEDED to bailout for the sake of the nation… despite overwhelming evidence that a massive FRAUD was committed by “Too Big To Fail”, Obama’s people have YET to bring ONE SINGLE executive to trial with the exception of Bernie Madoff. Once upon a time, lying under oath was an impeachable offense. Today that same lying under oath is standard operating procedure that can be excused with a little “fine” and no acknowledgement of wrongdoing whatsoever as MILLIONS of Americans slowly lose their homes, some of them for no reason other than greed.

What has really changed for the better here? The only thing changing for the better are the bank executives fattening their portfolios. Everything else has gotten progressively WORSE for America!

In fact that seems to be the pattern for EVERYTHING that has happened that Obama’s people tried to “alleviate”.

Credit Card reform? Any restrictions put in got bypassed by “Too Big To Fail”, and their customers ended up paying the price even before any restrictions took effect.

“Wall Street” reform? Well we have this brand new “Consumer Protection” sheriff that may or may not be able to do what needs to be done, because the conservatives and neo-conservatives are still busy screaming BLOODY MURDER over the fact that this position even exists, not to mention that the person in the job right now is supposedly “temporary” and Obama’s own people don’t want her in there BECAUSE she has a public history of supporting the little guy.

“Net Neutrality?” What they put in was certainly not any kind of “neutrality” that the people that have been pushing for would recognize, never mind support. “Access is Access.” Why is that so hard?

Then there’s the “crown jewel” of the Obama Fail… healthcare “reform”. Single-payer? Nope. Help from runaway insurance company demands? Not on your life! In fact, you’re REQUIRED to dance to tune of the insurance companies, and they now have far more power over the lives and wallets of Americans than ever before!

And let’s not forget the number of policies that SHOULD have come to an end but instead got sustained or renewed. The PATRIOT Act, Guantanamo Bay, military tribunals, prosecuting medicinal marijuana uses that are legalized in certain states… despite the rabid hysteria of the neo-conservatives, Obama’s people actually SUSTAINED the status quo instead of dismantled it.

The only things that he seemed to get right so far are the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and ordering the Justice Department to not defend the ill-named “Defense of Marriage Act” before the Supreme Court. The former came as a surprise and the latter actually did the conservatives and neo-conservatives a FAVOR by sparing them a crushing legal precedence from the highest court.

But when you take those two MINOR points and you compare them to the two-plus years of other things that went on during that time… of “reforms” that don’t, of bad policies not repealed, of promises broken, and let’s not forget that Nobel Award for something he did not do… and you get a track record that can be summed up with one word: failure.

And yet he STILL thinks he should be given four more years? WHY?

President Obama says that there’s still work to do… well let’s get brutally honest here… with any remaining respect I may have left, sir, I submit to you that you haven’t even STARTED to do what needs to be done!

Millions of Americans have been written off by Big Corporate and then again by Big Government. They’ve lost their jobs, they’ve lost their homes, they’ve lost everything that they were sold on about the “American Dream”. And the people who created the situation those MILLIONS of Americans are in, the people that caused those jobs to disappear and those homes to be foreclosed upon, they’re being allowed to continue doing what they are doing without ANY kind of punishment. In fact, they’re getting REWARDED for their actions with huge profits.

The only CHANGE that many Americans have since 2008 are the change in their pockets.

Does that sound like someone who deserves four more years in office? No, it doesn’t.

While it may seem inevitable that Obama would want to stay in the White House for as long as possible, the timing of this announcement is certainly another FAIL for the record. You do not announce that you seek re-election on the same week that you’re threatening to shut down the government over petty political squabbling. That only serves to remind people WHY Obama was elected in the first place and causes them to ask WHY they should even bother again.

Likewise is this idea that Obama’s hypothetic “base” would be the same as they were four years ago when he first made his announcement. If his base was Wall Street, perhaps, but the rest of the nation is a whole lot poorer than they were four years ago. If they HAD a billion to spend, they certainly wouldn’t want to waste their money on an administrative FAILURE. They would probably want to spend it on something far more essential, like gasoline, which went up thanks to Obama’s actions in Libya; or on medical costs, which went sky-high thanks to his healthcare plan; or for mortgage payments, because “Too Big To Fail” is STILL conspiring to steal as much property as they can thanks to Obama’s people REFUSING to do the right thing. Presuming, of course, that his “base” really IS Main Street and not Wall Street.

Four years ago, Obama’s timing diluted the political impact of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. But if his thinks being the first this time around would neuter the political impact of any possible GOP contender, he is not only sadly mistaken, but it serves as yet another in a string of political FAILURES.

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