OPINION – COMMENTARY
On July 6 2011, President Obama will communicate via Twitter at the hashtag #AskObama and respond at @townhall. Okay not quite true.
As reported by CNN, “President Barack Obama will answer questions about the economy and jobs Wednesday during his first Twitter town hall meeting. But the president, known for his oft-lengthy responses to the shortest of questions, will not be confined to Twitter’s 140-character limit. He is verbally answering questions from Twitter users, who were urged to use the hashtag #AskObama.”
Interesting. No, really. It is interesting to see him trying to reach the people again. But I wonder if anyone will be concerned with the real questions or issues? From the questions I saw in the twitter-stream tonight, I would say, not a chance.
But what is far more interesting to me, is the range of responses of the people who range from being thrilled the President has opened up again to the community and willing to hear their responses, to the bitter rhetoric of people who ask why he has not made a direct effort to communicate with the black community which has suffered terribly during his administration. The levels of unemployment in the black community which has always been an issue are now at Great Depression-era highs of 14-40% depending on age brackets and locations nationwide. What bothers me is how polarized the nation is today. President Obama is being blamed for things he simply has not had time to cause while in his time in office. Our nation is poorly educated in the ways of finance and that lack of education shows when people are convinced you can cut spending and cut taxes and believe ultimately you will have more money by doing that.
The part that disturbs me the most is the complete blindness of a wide swath of the country to his astounding accomplishments especially in the light of the difficulties he has had with the Republican Party. His opening efforts were clearly directed toward being as bipartisan as possible and as far as I can see, his efforts have been honest and heartfelt. Mitch McConnell and to a now lessened extent House Speaker, Boehner vowed that President Obama would be a one term president and the Republican Party would spare no effort to see his removal from the office with speed and alacrity. I could not believe I was hearing that. You just can’t make this stuff up. This was decided before he had been able to attempt to do anything in his office yet.
If you were to apply for a job, interview against dozens of other apparently qualified candidates, travel nationwide to secure both the funding and the votes for the job and after soundly defeating all opposition within 45 minutes of the final tallies, would you, could you be expected to do a good job when everyone you defeated turned back to you and in a hostile fashion indicated they would do as little to help you as humanly possible? And then they did exactly that.
They provided no support for any bills he established, no support for any legislation, no support for any plans, spending or developments that might help with the terrible state of the nation he was given after twenty years of poorly managed Republican government with a brief period of democratic sanity. Ronald Reagan heralded as the Great Savior, was the primary cause of the failure of the current economy as he began the first reductions in taxes for the wealthy. Following this Bush Senior and later W. Bush also enhanced those very same cuts, while increasing our wartime footing in foreign lands requiring the most expensive support possible. Naval, Air Force and Army units and services with a monstrous civilian staffing and administrative support services along with the consulting of companies such as Blackwater and Haliburton have made for a four trillion dollar war effort to supposedly capture and kill the leader of Al Queda, Osama Bin Ladin.
What a strange way to spend four trillion dollars. Go to nations barely out of the Industrial Age (Iraq, Afghanistan) who are armed with weapons from previously failed wars with large sovereign nations, similar to our own. We truck out our most impressive technologies while they bring out weapons thirty years old and improvised explosives. We fought a war of mass casualties and they fought one of attrition. Looking at the efforts ten years later, I would say theirs was the more successful strategy. Our nation is on the brink of economic collapse because our national pride will not allow us to walk away from an area, not unfamiliar with the rhythms of war. Indeed, this area has been at war for two thousand years or more. It will be safe to say, when the last Americans leave that country, it will continue to have the same kind of religious strife and secular bloodshed common to the region now for millennia.
This war was a loss because it caused the nation to lose site of what was important. It was important because we felt affronted that terrorism had come to our shores. But it was a mistake to wake a war machine ill-equipped for this type of non-uniformed warfare where human shields were not only the norm but an expected tactical advantage. Rather than realize we should consider what the consequences of this war might be, we allowed George W. Bush to decide (since he was the “decider“) for us as a nation and as such, we now pay the terrible price of a war machine out of financial control sucking the very lifeblood from the nation while duplicitous politicians collaborate with their corporate sponsors to continue to enjoy all the benefits of a wealthy nation without having to contribute to the continued well-being of said nation.
Such corporatism is akin to parasitism in nature. A parasite feeds from a host to its benefit without giving anything to the host animal in return. Big corporations, pharmacology, defense contractors, big auto corporations, telecom corporations, oil companies, agribusiness, and financial services organizations have made it clear they only have one agenda. The financial capitulation of anyone not a member of their elite class. Meanwhile wages diminish, people lose jobs by the millions every year, homes go into default, when they are not directly foreclosed on, they lose half their value, leaving people owning money to banks for homes they no longer live in but are forced to pay for due to machinations beyond their control, a market of traded commodities whose value was touted as more than was true. Who benefits when big banks become land owners? A question for another time…
The cost of living always rises. So whether people can handle the truth or not, taxation in one form or another must rise to meet that continually rising cost of living. Whether they be direct taxes or indirect local fees, these pay for much of the nation’s infrastructure, which also does not get cheaper to maintain, repair or replace. The idea you can tax people less and end up with more money is not only ridiculous, it borders on criminal to try and make people believe it is possible. It should be common sense. But the Republican Party has managed to convince people if the rich pay less taxes, get government subsidies and the larger the corporation, the less taxes it should pay in the name of job creation. Even when there is no evidence supporting the idea of lower taxes creating jobs, none.
If you draw money from a community without putting that money back in one form or another, you are a parasite and you will be killing your host. A large host like the US can support a wide array of different parasites from any number of economic engines. The pharmacological industries, the agribusiness, the coal, oil and gas industries, the medical technology, and the ever-present finance industry represent some of the largest and most profitable corporations in the nation. They are also some of the smallest per capita, tax paying agencies. They derive the most benefit from their government, the land, the people who work there, the infrastructure necessary for them to promote and maintain their wealth. And do the very least they can to help to maintain the very nation which enriches them.
The two faced greek diety, Janus, would find the United States a place very much to his liking. We have told the people, the government will protect them, but only when its convenient. We will ensure their defense against foreign invaders as long as they have an army. When they come in nice black suits and corporate jets, we will welcome them with open arms while they put our people on the street in the name of commerce. We will allow our people to be experimented on by Big Pharma, allow them to be poisoned by declawing the EPA and the FDA, allow diseases which should be easy to kill instead to run around growing even stronger and more drug resistant. There is a discontinutity in the most powerful nation in the world having to spend ten years hunting for a man whose most powerful weapon was a video camera and the threat he might one day appear somewhere with a bomb and blow something up. Meanwhile he sat in a compound aging quietly enjoying the benefits of the internet and watching his porn collection. Strangely enough, a very American past time. Perhaps we had more in common that anyone wanted to admit.
What, President Obama will you be doing now that we know all of what has happened in the last ten years was little more than misdirection and corporate malfeasance? Will you take up the challenge and force big corporations to pay into the coffers of a nation which has made them fantastically rich and they now improverish by sending work, money, resources and the very lifeblood of the nation to foreign investors who grow even richer while we wallow in the remnants of a fascist corporate mess wondering when we will see the light of opportunity shining for millions upon millions of our nations poorest. If the best you have to offer is weak platitudes and no actions that matter, perhaps the change we were looking for were best sought in another candidate who will do what the people need him to.
Do not be confused President Obama, I am one of your biggest supporters. I believe in the things you set out to do. I also know your message and your opportunity to make changes were derailed by the Republican Party, the Tea Party and the powerful media engines which program the nation’s idiots to spew hateful rhetoric which solves no problems and derails any meaningful conversation and progress toward solving problems. But sir, you need to understand, allowing corporations to be treated as people, and allowing money to double as speech as was made possible by the Chief Justices was wrong. (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission) It is things like this which need to be looked at for their long-term consequences. I know there is a lot on your plate and you mean well. But sir, you are the leader of the nation that leads the free world. But our nation won’t stay the leader and it has already been proven the cost of running this nation is anything but free. Cutting costs on the backs of little old ladies, the sick, the poor, schoolteachers and lowest paid workers of this nation is reprehensible at best.
To President Obama: Stop the wars, find a way to invalidated them and bring our men and women home. Use that money of the corporate war machine to find a way to build a Civilian Development Force, designed to build our nation instead of destroying others. Find a way to create an infrastructure development project which will put people back to work and give hope to a nation in desperate need of it. People don’t expect you do do everything, just the important things that only you can do. This is something you can do. There are plenty of things in this nation in need of skilled workers to repair.
In case no one has made you a list: roads in every major city are in disrepair, between cities is not much better, water management systems, pipelines, sewers, gas mains, recycling systems, forestry and environmental reclamation, solar power, wind power farms, power infrastructure from said alternative power structures, covering our cities in modular solar technologies allowing the nation to get from under the boot of Big Oil, water-way clearing, water capture systems in drought-stricken parts of the nation, organic farming systems reducing the stresses of industrial farming and its delivery of pathogens into our food supplies, biological alternatives to hydraulic fracturing and natural gas production, social programs to reduce gang violence, prison reform systems reducing our need to make prisons little more than human warehouses, health and welfare programs designed to retrain and re-educate our nation, giving people new opportunities to create and participate in a brand new world, a world more competitive and yet more open to opportunity than any time in the history of the world.
These are just a few things you could create, sir, if you were willing to take a risk and bet on the good will and the industriousness of the greatest free nation on Earth. And you need to stand strong on this one core principle: anyone who benefits from the power of our nation’s position in the world, anyone who gains advantage from living under the freedom our laws and Constitution enable should be able to, nay, willing to, no I say, should eagerly stand up and pay whatever taxes, and services and blood we force the poorest members of our nation to support their wealth, privilege and power.
To the rich and mega-wealthy: I get it. You are wealthy, elite and powerful. You got your money the way the rich and powerful have for millennia, the old fashioned way, you found a way to steal it and call it work or progress, or slavery or whatever euphemism you used to justify your wealth. You are now above working hard for a living, sweating is not for you. And you are wealthy enough that tears are simply not a lifestyle choice. And War, the spilling of blood is done best by the proletariat you have nothing but contempt for. Your blood is best kept inside of your body. War is your most profitable enterprise for which you will never stop unless forced. I say to you this: Since you cannot be bothered to pay in blood, nor sweat nor tears to keep our nation safe, secure, and a place for which you can say you have respect for how powerful it has made you, then do this; pay your damn share of the taxes to the people and the nation that keeps you wealthy because when you decide you can no longer be bothered, you should sleep much less soundly.