Obama: From “Hope & Change” To Hopeless Status Quo Part 1
It is almost one year since President Obama took office, the expectations were high not only in America but across the world. In that time frame, President Obama’s approval rating has gone down by 20 percent in the polls as more people realized that he didn’t have a “vision for changing the world”, but instead has become the manager of a declining Empire.
During the 2008 campaign, President Obama had built what appeared to be a solid and unprecedented base of progressive Democrats. This support from the left is the only reason he had the upper hand over Hillary Clinton during the primaries. This segment of the electorate has been disappointed for a while by the Obama administration, but is now starting to be outright angry as most are coming to the obvious conclusion that the candidate for change has become the President of more of the same.
In one year, the Obama administration has not delivered on most of the lofty goals and promises made during the campaign. The health care bill, which was the main focus of the administration for a full year, will likely pass this week-end but has been completely gutted of the public option, and is mainly a nice Christmas present for insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry.
During a recent interview with Oprah Winfrey, President Obama gave himself the grade of B plus. I would be curious to know what grade someone like Tom Hayden would give President Obama. Hayden recently wrote in an oped piece for the Nation that he was going to strip the Obama sticker off his car. Hayden’s statement captures accurately the growing frustration on the left.
On Climate Change
President Obama called the Copenhagen Accord a “meaningful agreement”, yet it is a complete meaningless non binding deal which the US and China imposed on the EU and the poor developing countries. Lunumba Di-Aping the chief negotiator for the G77, a group of 130 developing countries, called it “nothing short of climate scepticism in action” and added that “Obama has eliminated any difference between him and Bush”.
Even so President Obama is not the only one to blame for the Copenhagen fiasco, the US and China have the lion share of the responsibilities for derailing what should have been a binding deal. Furthermore, in the final stage of the negotiations in Copenhagen the small countries were excluded and denied a voice, as if President Obama, despite his early claim of multilateralism, had fully embraced the bullying unilateral diplomatic tactics of the Bush administration.
Author, activist and founder of 350.org, Bill McKibben, reacted by the following statement after the political compromise, known as the Copenhagen Accord, was brokered by the US, Brazil, South Africa and China.
“This is a declaration that small and poor countries don’t matter, that international civil society doesn’t matter, and that serious limits on carbon don’t matter. President Obama has wrecked the UN and he has wrecked the possibility of a tough plan to control global warming. It may get Obama a reputation as a tough American leader, but it is at the expense of everything progressives have held dear. 189 countries have been left powerless, and the foxes now guard the carbon hen-house without any oversight,” wrote 350.org’s McKibben.
The already weak climate change’s House bill will go to the Senate in the Spring, it is unlikely to lower carbon emissions much but it will lower our expectations on anything effective getting done to cut carbon emissions. The Republicans will call climate change a “hoax”, and a lot of Democrats will do their best to please the coal industry and the oil companies.
On the Recession and Wall-Street
Lately we keep hearing from the Treasury and the Feds that the recession is over, and that we have already started an economic recovery. The road of recovery is very good for Wall Street; the two Indexes are back up and banks executives are getting ready to pick up some large bonuses in their Christmas stockings. Why should they be rewarded for collapsing the US economy? Because the system is rigged in their favor. As soon as President Obama was in office he followed in the foot steps of George W. Bush and continued the biggest transfer of public funds to the private sector in history.
The transfer was conducted under the jurisdiction of TARP. The TARP funds had very few string attached to them, and were given to financial institutions deemed too big to fail. The justification and official goal of TARP was to give the economy a boost by unfreezing credit available to the consumer. But because the banks were not obligated under TARP to lend back a substantial amount of the money, they kept credit as tight as possible.
The Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is Times Magazine’s person of the year. It is hard to understand why considering he was at the helm of the Federal Reserve and didn’t see the global economic collapse coming. But again, lets put things in perspective Adolf Hitler won the distinction twice and Stalin once. The Obama administration, under Treasury Geithner and Fed Chairman Bernanke, succeeded at saving Wall Street from a financial precipice at the expense of giving a life line to Main Street.
On Main Street unemployment is at record high, Americans are losing their houses to banks making no attempt to help by working with them to restructure their loans. During President Obama’s first year in office the rich are still getting richer, the middle-class is becoming poorer and some poor are literally becoming homeless.
President Obama had a unique opportunity to reform a catastrophic so called “free market” system, which reward speculation and create economic bubbles. Once again he did not take the necessary steps to apply real reforms, but instead kept Ben Bernanke at the Fed and hired former Goldman Sacks’ executive Tim Geithner to head the treasury. In this instance, expecting people such as Bernanke and Geithner, which fully belong to the culture of Wall Street, to crack down on their very own system is like asking somebody to think outside the box while knowing they are living inside the very same cozy box.
President Obama was elected at an exceptional time of history, in very difficult circumstances. Because of it, President Obama had the opportunity to be a transformational President, but instead of being the inspiration and the driving force of what could have been a peaceful revolution he followed in the foot steps of his predecessors for the past 60 years and became the CEO of America Empire Inc.
Part two of this article will be focused on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Pakistan and the peace process in the Middle-East.
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