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‘Obama Voids Bladder On All That He Is Supposed To Uphold’

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I cribbed the above title from an oped by William Rivers Pitt entitled “So This is Despair.”

“I see a president on his knees, hands outstretched, offering the best ideas and policies liberal governance has ever devised up to the voracious carnivore of GOP opportunism. I see the end of the New Deal, and a far crueler America emerging from the aftermath. I see a Democratic president voiding his bladder on all that he is supposed to uphold.

Mr. Obama got on those knees again Monday night, on national television no less, and once again begged the GOP to devour Social Security and Medicare. He gobbled up the flawed, flayed premise of the far-right's deranged argument, again, and pleaded for the chance to give away the core of what he was elected to defend.

I thought I was done being ashamed of my president.

I was wrong.”

This is what Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report declares about Obama:

... Obama is showing such extraordinary talent for obliterating poor and working class programs across the board, he’s making Republicans look redundant and obsolete.

From community block grants to Section 8 housing vouchers to child care to Pell Grants to home heating oil for the poor, Obama has preemptively savaged all that decent people hold dear in the social safety net, and is in enthusiastic, principled agreement with the Republicans that the big cuts are still to come, in Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.

Ford reflects back on the craven selling of Obama as man of the people:

As we at Black Agenda Report and honest analysts like Paul Street pointed out all along, Obama has always been a dangerous, corporate creature. But like the frog that allows the scorpion to hitch a ride on his back across the swollen river, Black and progressive misleaders act shocked and hurt when Obama stings them with his deadly budget halfway through his term. But the frog should have known the nature of a scorpion. Obama’s corporate character was no secret to anyone except those who wished not to know.

Despite being dazzled by Obama's skin color and charm, there is still a consensus among Black Americans on issues of social justice. With his draconian cuts, President Obama is violating that consensus so sharply, it cannot be papered over for the sake of racial pride.

I hope Mr. Ford is right. There is nothing as ferocious as the denial invested in someone who so breathtakingly betrays. With a potential heartbreak so massive, some will will themselves to rationalize and justify for him seemingly forever.

I know the Tea Party Congressional freshmen are callow, vile and empathy-less along with their rabid rat bastard Congressional Republican brethren who obviously don’t care about the human welfare of all Americans, only their elite cronies. I understand, too, that the Tea Party hard-ball gamespeople, ironically, are thwarting gamesman (never "statesman") Obama’s timing of selling out the citizenry while he pretends he is that so-called "only grown up in the room" willing to be faux-bipartisan and bringing on home election 2012 by triangulating his lesser-of-two-evils pose.

Ralph Nader deservedly reams the Tea Partiers in a recent article but has this to say about Obama:

The Republicans are having fun with a spineless President Obama who already has given them 80 percent of what they want and seems ready to slip further into their budgetary abyss.

Obama is willing to give them 80% of what they want but they are too avaricious and power-mad to take it without some seriously arrogant grandstanding first. Say 'pretty please,' Mr. Prez, as you beg us to doom the welfare of millions of Americans, but as Michael Hudson pointed out recently, Obama still gets to play faux-good cop because the Repubs don’t even lie about not caring about the citizens. The citizens not elite enough to matter, that is.

New York Green Party’s Howie Hawkins spelled out reality in a recent email to Party members. Ignore the media omissions, disinformation and spin, babies, spin from ALL the networks. The real deal is simple and horrifying:

It appears that Obama has been willing to offer serious cuts in a host of domestic programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Food Stamps in exchange for a future promise to raise revenues through "tax reform" that would lower the overall tax rate for the wealthy.

The biggest problem facing the country isn't the deficit. And the deficit problem was created through huge taxes for the wealthy, massive increases in military spending and a great economic recession created through the misdeeds and greeds of banks, Wall Street and government regulators.

Instead of solving this problem, the Democrats are buying into the strategy developed by Bush and Rove to create huge budget deficits so that the Democrats would agree to cut domestic spending.

The Democrats are ignoring the recession and unemployment and climate change.

Patrick Martin wrote this a while back on the present state of hunger in America:

“In a society which took seriously the value of human life and the future of its children, the spectacle of 50 million people at risk of hunger, including 1 million children, would be a social emergency. Given that the United States once boasted of its ability to feed the planet, the indifference to the growth of hunger at home is a national scandal. A new report from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture reveals 50 million Americans exist under the poverty line and were too poor to buy adequate food last year. That is approximately 17.4 million families. More than a third of these households, with over one million children, were forced to skip meals.”

Are these millions the people Obama is talking about when he advises DEEPER sacrifices? SHARED sacrifices? Obama promised to champion the middle class in all those campaign speeches (it concerned me that he never seemed to include mention of the lower or working classes or, God forbid, as like Clinton before him, publicly uttering concern about the "homeless"). I have come to realize that Obama relates to and is willing to champion the 6-digit income middle class. The man refuses to look left ideologically speaking, and down, economically speaking. All of us little people, struggling some since Reagan, particularly devastated by the empathylessness of Bush’s economic and military “wrecking crews”, saw Obama potentially as the next MLK or JFK. (Now we are supposed to be GRATEFUL for his not being Michele Bachmann?)

Here are a few profound and despairing statistics about conditions for the non-elites:

From the Dept. of Agriculture or Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine:

Nearly 1 in 4 American children live in households that struggle to put food on the table. That’s 16.7 million children.

Nearly 1 in 4 children in America is at risk of hunger. Among African-Americans and Latinos, 1 in 3. (16.7 million children)

1 in every 2 babies born in the United States is enrolled in WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children).

Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, 2009:

More than 1 in 8 people in the United States lives below the poverty line, which is $21,756 for a family of four in 2009. One in five children in the United States lives below the poverty line.

Most Americans (51.4 percent) will live in poverty at some point before age 65.

A person working full-time at the minimum wage earns $14,500 a year. The official poverty line for a family of three—one parent with two children—is $17,285.

From Bread for the World:

The United States has gone from 1st to 9th place among nations in the percentage of its population that graduates from college.

The U.S. is 24th in the portion of children who have a high school degree. The main reason the U.S. economy was so dominant for much of the Twentieth Century is because U.S. workers on the whole were so much better educated than other workers across the world.

Michael Snyder writes:

The crumbling U.S. economy is putting an extraordinary amount of financial stress on American families.  For many Americans, "flat broke" has become a permanent condition.  Today, over half of all American families live paycheck to paycheck.  Unemployment is rampant and those that do actually have jobs are finding that their wages are rising much more slowly than prices are.

snip

The following are 10 facts about the financial condition of American families ...

#1 Only 58 percent of Americans have a job right now.

#2 Only 56 percent of Americans are currently covered by employer-provided health insurance.

#3 The median yearly wage in the United States is $26,261.

#4 The average American household is carrying $75,600 in debt.

#5 Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.

#6 At this point, American families are approximately 7.7 trillion dollars poorer than they were back in early 2007.

#7 The poorest 50% of all Americans now own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.

#8 According to one study, approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States were living below the poverty line in 2010.

#9 Today, there are more than 44 million Americans on food stamps, and nearly half of them are children.

#10 According to Newsweek, close to 20 percent of all American men between the ages of 25 and 54 do not have a job at the moment.

Jeffrey Sachs focuses on Obama’s abandonment of the poor and middle class:

The idea that the Republicans are for the billionaires and the Democrats are for the common man is quaint but outdated. It's more accurate to say that the Republicans are for Big Oil while the Democrats are for Big Banks. That has been the case since the modern Democratic Party was re-created by Bill Clinton and Robert Rubin.

Thus, at every crucial opportunity, Obama has failed to stand up for the poor and middle class. He refused to tax the banks and hedge funds properly on their outlandish profits; he refused to limit in a serious way the bankers' mega-bonuses even when the bonuses were financed by taxpayer bailouts; and he even refused to stand up against extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich last December, though 60 percent of the electorate repeatedly and consistently demanded that the Bush tax cuts at the top should be ended. It's not hard to understand why. Obama and Democratic Party politicians rely on Wall Street and the super-rich for campaign contributions the same way that the Republicans rely on oil and coal. In America today, only the rich have political power.

Obama could have cut hundreds of billions of dollars in spending that has been wasted on America's disastrous wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen, but here too it's been all bait and switch. Obama is either afraid to stand up to the Pentagon or is part of the same neoconservative outlook as his predecessor. The real cause hardly matters since the outcome is the same: America is more militarily engaged under Obama than even under Bush. Amazing but true.

... Obama is on the verge of abandoning the poor and middle class, by agreeing with the plutocrats in Congress to cut spending on Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and discretionary civilian spending, while protecting the military and the low tax rates on the rich (if not lowering those top tax rates further according to the secret machinations of the Gang of Six, now endorsed by the president!)

Laura Flanders writes of the preposterous degree of abundance for the super-rich in our recent past, escalated not reduced thanks to the Obama administration:

In 2009, as million of workers lost their jobs, on Wall Street at the thirty-eight biggest firms, investors and executives earned $140 billion -- the highest sum ever.

James Madison famously wrote that the new American republic was to be "a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people," not aristocratic privilege or hereditary right. Yet in 2010 undisclosed private donors and multinational corporations funneled millions of dollars into our media, saturating the airwaves and skewing the election.

As all this has been shaping up, as Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson point out, government in our era not only failed to push back on the tide rising at the top but "put its thumb on the scale, hard... on the side of those who had more weight."

This is what Derrick Crowe says on the money draining into one of many of our military misadventures:

The costs of this pile of failure are huge. It costs us $1 million per troop, per year to maintain our occupation of Afghanistan. That's $2 billion every week. Politicians at the federal level are contemplating ugly cuts to social safety nets, while politicians at the state level are already shredding programs that protect people suffering in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. In this context, the admonitions from the White House and the Pentagon to be patient while this misbegotten strategy limps along the progress-road-to-nowhere seem perverse. The American people have been patient for roughly a decade now, but that patience has run out.

Jeanne Mirer and Marjorie Cohn recognize that Obama could profoundly change -- CHANGE -- the plight of the poor and middle classes of America with a "stroke of his pen," if he had the moral and political imagination and will. Apparently he is not emotionally, politically and/or ideologically capable of such an FDR moment! But the opportunity was and still is there. He just needs to care enough about the people he took an oath to represent, rather than his criminal elite cronies!

The WPA was quickly implemented. By March 1936, 3.4 million people were employed and an average of 2.3 million people worked monthly until the program ended in June 1943. During its existence the WPA employed more than 8,500,000 different persons on 1,410,000 individual projects, and spent about $11 billion. The average yearly salary was $1,100, a living wage at the time. During its 8-year history, the WPA built 651,087 miles of highways, roads, and streets. It constructed, repaired, or improved 124,031 bridges, 125,110 public buildings, 8,192 parks, and 853 airport landing fields.

Today our infrastructure is crumbling, and loss of revenue is forcing many cities and states to cut basic services. About 15 million people have become unemployed since the crisis hit in late 2008; a million and a half of them are construction workers. The need for a direct jobs program is either as great, or even greater than during the Depression. But, in light of the election results, is such a program possible? Can the President directly create jobs by executive order? The answer is a resounding yes. Remember when the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, which created the $700 billion Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) was passed, one of the purposes was to preserve homeownership, and promote jobs and economic growth.

Much of the TARP money has been repaid and the administration refers to the profit on the payments. If one assumes an average cost of one job is $50,000, 6 million jobs could be immediately created for $300 billion. 12 million jobs could be created for $600 billion. Because this is already appropriated money, Congressional Republicans could not block it. This direct job creation would be bold. It would also be highly stimulative. It would not add to the deficit because it is already appropriated money. Furthermore, one third of it would come back immediately in taxes, and more importantly, the growth in demand from this number of added jobs would expand private sector job growth and grow the overall economy.

This country has a lot to do to get its economic house in order. It is heavily dependent on the financial services industry which only promotes speculation and unregulated bubbles. It is largely controlled by the defense industries which have promoted two and possibly more wars. It is beholden to the extractive energy industries, whose owners are funding the “tea party,” thus putting environmental amelioration on indefinite hold. And it is more and more influenced by the prison industrial complex which promotes hostility to immigrants, and takes resources from education and other vital areas. For the last 30 years it has relied on anti-union and anti-worker policies, which has forced the hemorrhaging of high paid manufacturing jobs to low cost countries and driven down wages for U.S. workers which can no longer be papered over with unsustainable debt.

The President cannot solve all these problems overnight, but with a stroke of a pen he can use already appropriated money to create millions of good green jobs, and move down the road to recovery much faster. Any opposition to this from the Republicans will expose their hostility to anyone but the richest members of society, and give the progressive movement ammunition to take the offensive.

With Obama, whether he is spineless as Nader contends or soul-less as Ford does, the results are the same. He is a catalyst for the fast hardening of soft fascism in America! $14 trillion was extorted from the American citizenry by the oligarchs who did their deregulated evil and are ready to perpetrate more -- and what would and could stop them -- in accountability-free (for the elites, at least -- don't be an immigrant or a whistleblower here) Obama world. Obama had and has a lot of help and cover from both sides of the aisle and the corporate media for his inhumane betrayals, but if you aren’t feeling despair about HIS choices by now, you don’t really get it. And if you don't get it, you are part of the problem -- the PROFOUND problem -- not the solution.

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Submitted by jawbone on

Recall that Obama feels US wages should be 30% lower (than they were when he took office or...exactly what figure does he look at to be cut by nearly a third?).

Obama's wage objective, after the 30% reduction he sees as mandatory -- a MEDIAN wage of $18,382.

Is that it, Barry, baby? Median wage barely over $18K?

PLEASE, someone with access, ask our president what he believes should be a good wage for Americans!

Half of all wage earners would earn under the median, half over the median, bamboozling us. by playing a Democrat for election purposes and governing as a Republican.

And, as always, Barry talks about "wages," not "compensation packages."

I would appreciate some econ or employment experts to tell me if the term "wages" does cover those CEO packages. However, based on Obama's tax policies (extending the Bush Tax Cuts, offering to lower the top tax brackets' rates), he seems to take good care to preserve the wealth of the wealthy.

Miichael Snyder, quoted by Libby above, gets the median wage figure from David Cay Johnston, a highly reliable source.

Scary New Wage Data
David Cay Johnston | Oct. 25, 2010 04:35 AM EDT

Now for some really scary breaking news, from the latest payroll tax data.

Every 34th wage earner in America in 2008 went all of 2009 without earning a single dollar, new data from the Social Security Administration show. Total wages, median wages, and average wages all declined, but at the very top, salaries grew more than fivefold.

Not a single news organization reported this data when it was released October 15, searches of Google and the Nexis databases show. Nor did any blog, so the citizen journalists and professional economists did no better than the newsroom pros in reporting this basic information about our economy.

[Note: Johnston says this info not found in a search as of his writing this article on Oct 20, 2010. Surely, lefty bloggers have picked up on this over the last year and a half, right? Surely it is in headlines all the left blogistan?]

The new data hold important lessons for economic growth and tax policy and take on added meaning when examined in light of tax return data back to 1950.

The story the numbers tell is one of a strengthening economic base with income growing fastest at the bottom until, in 1981, we made an abrupt change in tax and economic policy. Since then the base has fared poorly while huge economic gains piled up at the very top, along with much lower tax burdens.

A weak foundation cannot properly support a massive superstructure, as the leaning Tower of Pisa shows. The latest wage data show the disastrous results some of us warned about, although like the famous tower, the economy only lists badly and has not collapsed.

Measured in 2009 dollars, total wages fell to just above $5.9 trillion, down $215 billion from the previous year. Compared with 2007, when the economy peaked, total wages were down $313 billion or 5 percent in real terms.

The number of Americans with any wages in 2009 fell by more than 4.5 million compared with the previous year. Because the population grew by about 1 percent, the number of idle hands and minds grew by 6 million.

These figures show, far more powerfully than the official unemployment measure known as U3, how both widespread and deep the loss of jobs was in 2009. While the official unemployment rate is just under 10 percent, deeper analysis of the data by economist John Williams at http://www.shadowstats.com shows a real under- and unemployment rate of more than 22 percent.

Only 150.9 million Americans reported any wage income in 2009. That put us below 2005, when 151.6 million Americans reported wages, and only slightly ahead of 2004, when 149.4 million Americans held at least one paying job.

For those who did find work in 2009, the average wage slipped to $39,269, down $243 or 0.6 percent, compared with the previous year in 2009 dollars.

The median wage declined by the same ratio, down $159 to $26,261, meaning half of all workers made $505 a week or less. Significantly, the 2009 median wage was $37 less than in 2000. (My emphasis)

David Cay Johnston is a Pulitizer winning reporter, yet consider how seldom he appears on any MCM broadcasts or is quoted. He should be the go-to expert on income and taxes; however, now, he is asked to appear on Democracy Now! and the rare public broadcasting show.

This is a huge reason the Republicans can succeed, why Obama can succeed in lying to us.

Submitted by jawbone on

I guess it's somewhat better to be pissed on than shat on, but...over all I'd like a president who worked to help all the people, but especially the less than Uberwealthy.

nomad2's picture
Submitted by nomad2 on

Most of the black community doesn't understand this because, with the exception of BAR and possibly others I don't know of, the black media doesn't report it. Talk about mind control. It feels like psy-ops.

"All hail the Leader!" If that ain't a quote from some dystopian sci-fi novel, it ought to be,

Submitted by Hugh on

Obama is a kleptocrat. Kleptocrats loot. 35 years of kleptocracy has produced the society we have with its decaying infrastructure, poor education, overpriced healthcare that leaves many uncovered or poorly covered, high unemployment, poor jobs for those that have them with poor wages, stability, and benefits, a destroyed housing sector, and trashed retirements.

Anyone who votes for any Democrat or any Republican is voting for this because that is Obama's program, and it is the program of both political parties.

Hugh