President Obama is on the down side of his term in office and although the midterm elections are coming up in November the real question is, should we continue the same path or go in a different direction.
It seems the push is to have the same path followed and that Sen. / Sec. Clinton would be the right choice to lead us. If Sen. / Sec. Clinton runs she will be a formidable candidate. It will not be an "easy" thing to beat her (primary or general election).
I will admit that when Sen. Obama ran for the office of the President in 2008 his campaign was pretty magical. I struggled with his life "story" and as a father was a little off put by the reverence he displayed for a father who was hardly present in his life. But, those were personal feelings and when I looked at his campaign I was impressed by the organization (facebook) along with the activism that was built with young voters. I was a little amused by the "promises" that Sen. Obama made during the campaign and believed at the time that the Senator wanted to be all things to all people, something I find unappealing. I was not impressed with Senator Obama's voting record (either in the State Senate or as a US Senator) and questioned how a man with such little experience was honestly being considered for the Office of the President of the United States of America. All that said, the truth is that as someone who reads fifteen to twenty political blogs each day I followed both Sen. Obama and Sen. Clinton's campaign very closely. They were both historic and at the time I believed that either way for the first time in my life one of the two major parties would be putting either a black man or a woman on the top of the ticket.
Sen. Clinton, I believed, was the better of the two candidates. She had history going back to Watergate and although she was a polarizing figure during the term of her husband (William Jefferson Clinton) she was largely well received and had all the right backing or so we are told. Still Sen. Obama, with less than 24 months experience as a US Senator when he began his campaign, prevailed. It was an awe inspiring campaign and one that was able to derail Sen. Clinton by using social media, youth ambition and soaring rhetoric that promised, "hope and change".
I have been amazed that since the 2008 primary and general election how many people, particularly in the press have forgotten the drama that surrounded the primary between Sen. Obama and Sen. Clinton. Although it is inconsequential at this point, it seems odd, that the cries of "political trickery" issued by Democrats against Sen. Obama in 2008 are forgotten now and were dismissed at the time. If you have not seen it please watch, "We Will Not Be Silenced" as it is an interesting documentary done by Democrats that allege; "recounting threats, intimidation, lies, stolen documents, falsified documents, busing in voters in exchange for paying for "dinners," etc. There are at least 2000 complaints, in Texas alone, of irregularities directed towards the Obama Campaign, that have lead to a very fractured and broken Democratic Party." Amazingly the film goes on to say the dreaded "D" word when they directly state; "This documentary is about the disenfranchising of American citizens by the Democratic Party and the Obama Campaign."
Even dismissing the Texas allegations, we know that without the fraud committed in Indiana by St. Joseph County Democrat Party Chairman Butch Morgan (found guilty of felony conspiracy to commit fraud and forgery) and Board of Elections worker Dustin Blythe (found guilty of felony forgery and falsely making a petition), Sen. Obama would not have had appeared on the State of Indiana Primary Ballot. I bring this up more for in an effort to place things in "context" than I do to re-litigate the 2008 primary - that horse is outta the barn, so to speak, but forgetting the alleged "disenfranchisement" and criminal convictions of "fraud and forgery" that occurred does a grave disservice to our electoral system. Anyhow, I digress.
As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, one of the normal opines to disliking Pres. Obama is that such distain is based upon "hate or racist" and or a lack of "intelligence". My point here, is the "dog whistle" will come out much like Godwin's Law. So first dispense of that argument. Racism exist and is a horrible part of the human condition. In general one cannot prove (nor disprove) such allegations in most cases and I believe such allegations are raised in an effort to limit conversation (poison the well) by insinuating another person is vile or deserving of contempt. Would it not be better if people tried to communicate without making assumptions or searching for supposed "code words"? I think it would be and in truth if someone is bigoted, racist, homophobic and so on they will at some point clearly communicate those feelings without the supposed "code words".
Regarding the "intelligence" allegation (that those opposed to Pres. Obama must be "mouth breathers"), how silly, honestly. Intelligent people can (and I would argue, should) disagree. That is the entire basis of peer reviewed data. Anyhow, I digress.
Let me say, I don't "hate" Pres. Obama. Hate is a strong word and I don't even "hate" my ex-wife. But I do find him to be a liar, undeserving of either my support or respect and here is why:
(1) GITMO remains open although we were promised it would be gone in 2008 (please don't give me the retort that it is the evil Republicans - the Pres. and his party controlled all three bodies of elected government from '09 - 11).
(2) Pres. Obama has expanded the use of drones into sovereign countries (Yemen) and has used them to assassinate American Citizen in an extrajudicial manner (Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16 year old American born son).
(3) Pres. Obama has failed to protect American interest (persons) in Libya and I believe his administration has willingly (or because of incompetence) acted against our interest in ordering air strikes in Libya.
(4) Pres. Obama has given his support to the Trans-Pacific Partnership which I believe will continue to erode American manufacturing.
(5) Pres. Obama extended the TARP funding to allow the purchase of Chrysler by Fiat thereby turning over an American company to an Italian firm who has since that time purchased the remaining control from the UAW. (a good discussion could be held on how this "deal" (bailout) was an amazing gift to the UAW voting block by Pres. Obama and his administration).
(6) Fast and Furious. Yes, I understand that the precursor of this program (Operation Gunwalker) began under Pres. Bush, however during the term of Pres. Obama and AG Holder, more than 1,900 weapons were "sold" to illegal buyers (straw purchase) and then allowed to "walk into" Mexico where they were turned over to Mexican Drug Gangs. The BATF and DOJ wanted to (according to them), "track" those weapons to learn more about organized crime. The problem here, which ought to be discernible to a sixth grade geography student, is that the DOJ has no legal authority in Mexico and therefore has no policing abilities.
In the end this program has resulted in the killing of more than 300 Mexican Citizens and the murder of INS Agent Brian Terry (a Michigan Native). Yet, we have done little to nothing about it.
(7) President Obama's broken promises to:
(a) eliminate all oil and gas tax loopholes, (b) create a foreclosure prevention fund, (c) expand the child and dependent care credit, (d) close loopholes in corporate tax detectability of CEO pay, (e) end no bid contracts above $25.000, (f) end income tax for seniors making less than 50.000., (g) create a 60 million bank to fund road and bridge reinvestment, (h) allow imported prescription drugs, (i) require full disclosure of company pensions to employees, (j) prevent drug companies from blocking generic drugs, (k) allow Medicare to negotiate for cheaper drug prices, (l) fully fund IDEA, (m) revision of Military Commissions Act, (n) require companies to disclose personal information data breaches, (o) ensure tax breaks for corporations are publically available, (p) have five days of public comment before signing bills, (q) tougher rules against lobbyist, (r) ban racial profiling by federal law enforcement, (s) reestablish NASA, (t) pay for national service plan without increasing the deficit, (u) reduce the number of middle managers in the federal workforce, (v) strengthen age discrimination in employment, (w) limit the term of the director of national intelligence, (x) reduce earmarks to 1994 level, (y) no family making less than 250,000 will see "any form of tax increase", (z) negotiate health care reform in public sessions on C-SPAN, (aa) bring Democrats and Republicans together to pass an agenda, (bb) introduce a comprehensive immigration bill in the first year. I could include more but why.
(8) Cash for Clunkers program which did not create jobs (well, actually did if you're ok with the cost of 1.4 million per job), depleted dependable, serviceable used cars that typically are the need of the low income worker and caused no lasting growth on the economy but a net loss (used vehicles, parts and increase in chemicals (oil, antifreeze) needed for recycling (at an extra, unaccounted for cost)).
I am also offended by the belief that Pres. Obama has gotten us out of "two wars". Such a belief is, well, not true. First, before we anoint Pres. Obama's actions wonderful we should recall that these "two wars" were actions that Sen. Obama voted to continue funding.
In truth, one of those "wars", Pres. Obama, the "great warrior" with no military experience and very limited "real world" experience (IMO), called the "right war" and our Military remains in Afghanistan. What most folks don't seem to acknowledge is that we have lost more servicemen and women in Afghanistan since Pres. Obama took office yet we rarely hear about that (although, I can tell you that I do at the Legion Hall).
Regarding our Military ending action in Iraq the truth is that our Military did leave. However, the other truth is that the DOD has maintained contractors in Iraq and those contractors are funded by you and I.
Moving on, it is said the economy has improved since he has been President. It is a correct assessment that the economy has "improved" for some but without QE policies where might the markets be? What may occur once QE ends and can we afford to effectively "print money"?
Yes, I know the opine will be that the "deficit" is down - however there is a huge difference between deficit (difference between expenditures and the amount the government collects via taxation) and debt (amount of actual debt amassed by the government) and our national debt is more than 17 trillion dollars today which is an increase of nearly 8 trillion dollars from 17 Feb 2008.
Consider, that we have pumped over two trillion dollars into the economy with QE policies and the net impact to the average working American has been what? The point here is that QE has done a masterful job of propping up banks and the market but it has made the dollar much less competitive and has created bubbles in asset pricing.
We hear unemployment continues to fall and I would agree that what the government is telling us shows a decline. However, the BLS statistics show a much different (and less clear) picture.
I tend to be a pretty basic person and one of my favorite things on this earth to do is to ask, "does that make sense"? Using that very simple, amazingly accessible question when looking at the numbers we are asked to believe, I think we are being lied to.
Just consider if it is logically possible for unemployment to be "down" and for minority and youth employment to be at a higher level then when Pres. Obama took office? Is it possible for unemployment to be "down" and yet our labor participation rate is at a thirty-year low? We are told to believe both are the case. I believe, figures don't lie but liars know how to figure and would advise everyone to spend sometime looking at the BLS statistics (month by month / year by year) and do a comparative analysis (or better yet, a chi-square) of the data and ask yourself just why are we being lied to. But, that's my opinion so please spend some time with the numbers yourself and come to your own conclusion.
Now, I understand that by contorting the numbers all of the information being fed to us can be shown. However, I also understand by using strict science it can be shown that it is impossible for a bumblebee to fly because of the weight to wing mass difference. In essence, I believe common sense ought to win out. Lacking that - simply go into Michigan Works and talk to a few of the long term unemployed.
Now back to that "economy". Our current rate of poverty just set a new "50 year" record? Sure, I know that it isn't Pres. Obama's fault but the truth is that this occurred as he occupies the White House and good, bad or indifferent he, his administration and his policies "own" it.
A simple examination of the numbers from the time Pres. Obama took office (Jan 2009) until the completion of the third quarter in 2013 shows; (a) Federal Debt was up to 58%, (b) debt held by the public was up to 89%, (c) consumer prices are up to 10.2%, (d) regular gasoline prices are up 82%, (e) persons in poverty is now over 6.5 million, (f) real household income is down -5%, (g) the number of Americans enrolled in SNAP (food stamps) is over 49%.
Using the very same analysis from the beginning of his term until the completion of the fourth quarter 2013 shows: (a) Federal Debt is up to 63% (an increase of 5% in one quarter), (b) debt held by the public is at 95% (and increase of 6% in one quarter), (c) consumer prices are up 10.3% (low increase of .01% in one quarter), (d) healthcare spending is up 15.8%, (e) corporate profits are up 178%, (f) federal workforce is up by 3.2%, (g) long term unemployment stands at 3,878,000 million.
Since taking office in 2009 until the first quarter 2013 (March 3 to be exact); (a) 5.9 million people have been added to SSDI, an increase of 23% (compared to only 2.5 million "jobs" added during the same time), (b) in 2011 spending for SSDI was at 128.9 billion (18% of the entire SS budget) and had a deficit of more than 25.3 billion. Is this sustainable?
It is said that the ACA is something the President ought to be proud of. OK. The normal opine is that "something" had to be done - well, OK. Yet we will still have more than 30 million Americans uninsured. It did create a federal bureaucracy that collects data, has access to records and will increase the cost of treatment and medical devices via taxes to the producers (who will pass them on to the consumer). So if you want to award a medal to the President for "participation" or maybe the Stuart Smalley aware for being, "good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, people like him", I imagine you could.
It seems like the Nobel Prize was awarded to the President under the same "he has promise / he made a really good attempt" premise. I doubt they would have awarded him the "Peace Prize" had they known he would engage in air strikes in Libya, wanted military intervention in Syria and would order the killing of American Citizens by drone - seems "counter" to a "peaceful man".
The dichotomy of Pres. Obamas actions and words is no longer surprise me. It does surprise me that so many people give him a pass. But then again, I believe he is a fraud, huckster, liar, manipulative and an empty suit concerned only for himself so I offer him no quarter. If you wish to give him "pass" or "participation trophy" for "showing up", OK.
I wonder why folks have such low standards for the man with such soaring rhetoric who in 2008 stood before the foam archways at the DNC convention and promised, "hope and change". Pres. Obama was promoted as an intelligent, Constitutional Scholar and geo-political thinker. We were told he understood the world around him because of his diverse background and experiences. Yet, he is given a "pass" on the very broken promises he said he would "accomplish".
Oddly as I mentioned earlier, those who do question him are oftentimes called a "racist". I say "oddly" because questioning why this President has failed on more than 40 of his own "promises" is seen as "racist" by many yet those supporters see no issue in giving him a "pass" or blaming the evil Republicans all the while forgetting the President and his party controlled the House, Senate and White House for the first 24 months of his tenure. To me, giving him a "pass" and defending him reeks more of a, "shhhh, it isn't his fault, cut him some slack" mentality or "low expectation" for the President. Really, low expectations because what, "it was all Bushes fault" (you recall the President that left office on 20 January 2009).
Do the presidents supporters not read the reports from BLS which contradict his own words? Do they not pay attention to the CBO which continues the change the "projective cost" of the ACA north? But, I digress.
The truth is nothing surrounding the man I believe to be a liar elected to office twice or those who support him should surprise me. America fell in love with a message / man who admitted his biography was simply a "composite" of people and places. Guess we now have a "composite" world. What was it Oliver Stone wrote in JFK, "We are through the looking glass, black is white, white is black".
Anyhow - the truth is that putting my thoughts and feelings out for public digestion will open me up to the normal refrain of;
"I don't live in the real world" But, I do and am an unemployed social worker and father who has no health insurance and has exhausted his savings while unemployed (and no, I do not receive Unemployment . . it was not extended by Congress . . what a nice way to lower the unemployment rate, yes . . remove people from accountability and viola . . they are not reflected in the numbers (well, not the unemployed - labor participation, yes)).
"You must be a bigot, ignorant, racist, homophobic, sexist, anti-immigrant, anti-elderly, anti-poor, anti-children person who is just hateful because I don't see Pres. Obama is, "good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, people like him". Well, OK, but just understand that I provided the links to articles, government statistics and so on that support the position I hold. So, are those sources also bigoted (and so on) or is it only bigoted when you express the truth.
The 2014 Mid-Term elections will be important in more ways than one and for me . . . I can't wait to begin moving the country I love away from the six year malaise we have been in. I have no idea who will be the general election candidates in 2016 but right now I am just glad that it won't be Pres. Obama. I have had enough and will be happy when he is gone.