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Dear Barack, Spare Me Your E-Mails

Posted on Dec 9, 2009
AP / Susan Walsh

President Barack Obama speaks about the economy at the Brookings Institution in Washington on Tuesday.

By Robert Scheer

Barack Obama’s faux populism is beginning to grate, and when yet another one of those “we the people” e-mails from the president landed on my screen as I was fishing around for a column subject, I came unglued. It is one thing to rob us blind by rewarding the power elite that created our problems but quite another to sugarcoat it in the rhetoric of a David taking on those Goliaths. 

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In each of the three most important areas of policy with which he has dealt, Obama speaks in the voice of the little people’s champion, but his actions cater fully to the demands of the most powerful economic interests. 

With his escalation of the war in Afghanistan, he has given the military-industrial complex an excuse for the United States to carry on in spending more on defense than the rest of the world combined, without a credible military adversary in sight. His response to the banking meltdown was to continue George W. Bush’s massive giveaway of taxpayer dollars to Wall Street, and his health care reform has all the earmarks of a boondoggle for the medical industry profiteers.

Health reform was the subject of Obama’s Tuesday e-mail, which proclaimed in its heading, “We will not back down.” Addressing me by my first name, which I assume is in acknowledgment that I, like the millions of other suckers with whom he so intimately corresponds, had contributed to his campaign, he began with a clarion call for yet another contribution, this time to

“As we head into the final stretch of health reform, big insurance company lobbyists and their partisan allies hope that their relentless attacks and millions of dollars can intimidate us into accepting the status quo.  So I have a message for them, from all of us: Not this time. We have come too far. We will not turn back. We will not back down.”


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But we, following him, have already backed down. Does the president not recall that he began his health care reform effort by ingratiating himself with the insurance lobbyists in taking “single payer” off the table on day one? The insurers are not really upset with what may survive as a minuscule public option, for they have won the big prize: Everyone must buy insurance from them under penalty of law, and there will be no built-in requirement for cost control. Their so-called opposition to the current plans has to do with fine-tuning the president’s guarantee of their future profits.

The same contradiction between progressive rhetoric and big-business giveaways was on display, also on Tuesday, when Obama addressed the economic crisis. Speaking at the Brookings Institution, an Establishment think tank that helped craft the radical financial deregulation of the Clinton years, Obama blamed Republicans for the mess. He thundered against “an opposition party, which, unfortunately, after having presided over the decision-making that led to the crisis, decided to hand it over to others to solve.”

Rubbish. It was Bill Clinton—in his trademark triangulation of progressive rhetoric with the big-business agenda—who presided over the passage of banking deregulation that led to the mess. Obama knows that full well because he laid out that sordid record in a major speech on economics during the primary campaign, in March 2008 at Manhattan’s Cooper Union:

“Under Republican and Democratic administrations, we failed to guard against practices that all too often rewarded financial manipulation instead of productivity and sound business practices.” He specifically cited the New Deal protections of the Glass-Steagall Act and other legislation that Clinton’s radical deregulation legislation had swept away. Inexplicably as a matter of logic, or all too predictably given the political power of Wall Street, Obama as president turned to the same pro-deregulation Clintonistas to run his economic “reform,” led by Clinton Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers. 

As for “solving” the banking problem, Obama simply followed the lead of his Republican predecessor. The throw-money-at-Wall-Street solution for which Obama takes credit is the one crafted by Bush’s treasury secretary, Henry Paulson, and it was fully endorsed by then New York Federal Reserve President Timothy Geithner, whom Obama named to replace Paulson. The buying off of the financial hustlers was blessed by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who has been renominated to that position by Obama. 

The solution that Obama boasts of has left us with trillions more in debt, one out of four children poor enough to qualify for food stamps and, as Obama conceded in his Tuesday speech, “more than seven million fewer Americans with jobs today than when this recession began.”

I do agree with one line in Obama’s e-mail to those of us who hoped for the best from his presidency: “the opponents of reform will not rest.” But I didn’t expect him to be one of them.

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By NYCartist, December 9, 2009 at 11:46 am Link to this comment

Kos of got same email and also got upset.  See his column, called “diary” on this very Dem blog (which I visit).  I am not on the e-list
since I got off shortly after the election - possibly triggered by the first Obama drone attacks.

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By OzarkMichael, December 9, 2009 at 11:44 am Link to this comment

An excellent post by Go Right Young Man on December 9th at 2:00 pm.

I dont know if the Leftists here have any interest in coalition building, but your post should make them more hopeful that they dont have to be alone in the fight.

Its a decision for everyone. Do we want to work together for common cause or do we want to blame the other side for everything?

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By Jackie, December 9, 2009 at 11:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Scheer: After listening to the podcast debate between you and Nader, I
cancelled my podcast subscription to Truthdig so it’s refreshing to read this
article now and I want to thank you for being willing to tell it like it is.
I guess I’m just more jaded politically but I never believed in Obama and was
stunned by the fervor for him. I initially believed in Clinton and voted for him the
first time but paid attention to what we got; Democrats are not liberal, they are
part of the system. Hope feels good but it usually screws us. After all our
demonstrations against the Vietnam war, and all the people who came out against
it, and after we lost, I believed that kind of war couldn’t happen again. Ha, ha, ha,
the joke is always on us. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be politically active, but that
it only means something to us personally, not our “leaders”. Health insurance
“reform” and the double speak calling it health care is the most recent obvious
example of what we can expect.

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By HonestJohn, December 9, 2009 at 11:16 am Link to this comment

I also unsubscribed from the email list, and there was a section that asked why, so I wrote “because you’re full of shit”...

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By chaztv, December 9, 2009 at 11:08 am Link to this comment

In October, at an Obama fundraiser, I heard the President say these words that make so much sense: “I’m grabbing my mop and my broom and we’re scrubbing the floors and trying to neaten things up.  Instead of standing on the sidelines,” he continued, talking about the opposition and his supporters, “why don’t you grab a mop?”

We can grab mops when we support the President and we can grab mops when we don’t. 

Lately, I’ve been grabbing more mops in opposition to the President.

I hear a lot of moaning from the left everywhere: Alternet, Truthdig, OpEdNews, etc. but little action. 

I hear Mr. Scheer on Left, Right and Center every week.  But when I write him with information about how people can protest, he doesn’t seem to hear that.

Currently, there’s a people’s movement that is gaining traction against the abuses of Big Banking and our failed monetary policy called Use Cash. 

I guess I’m not allow to tell others about that here on Truthdig, as when I include a link to the website in my comments the Moderator deletes that comment.

I challenge you Mr. Scheer, tell people about Use Cash – write about it positively or negatively, but spell the URL correctly. 

Give people the chance to do something that can spend a message and put a hurt on the powerful financiers that have destroyed the economy and keep coming back to the workers for more and more money.

Yes, I started Use Cash.  I’m a nobody, but it doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea.  Read the website UseCashMovement for yourself.

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By Old Geezer Pilot, December 9, 2009 at 11:07 am Link to this comment

I clicked ‘unsubscribe’. Perhaps if BHO gets enough of these requests he will begin to understand

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By KidGenius, December 9, 2009 at 11:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

(an email I just wrote to the President)

Dear President Obama,

I wanted to write you while its still legal for a person such as myself to speak freely.

I read this comment today:

“I have lost my faith in the president [obama] as an agent for the change I voted for.”

I have to say Mr President, I couldn’t agree more.  I have lost faith.  I had a lot of hope, but how you so easily flip flopped from interest of the people to the interest of corporate money is staggering and I can’t help the feeling we the american people were con-ed in broad day light.

How can a man of your prestigious and respected stature do something like this to us?  Do you even have a conscience?  Are you just blatantly not allowed to speak your mind?

To be perfectly honest, I couldn’t be more disappointed.

There is a pandemic in this country.  The vast majority of the people, middle to lower class have nothing but debt and taxes.  Everyday we wake up to mass media, government, talk radio telling us its our PERSONAL responsibility to make a better life for ourselves.  The feeling we are sucked beyond dry couldn’t be more prevalent.

Tell me Mr President, I work hard everyday, I work when I’m sick because I do not get sick leave and I do not get paid vacation.  If I do not work, I do not get paid and that $100 I make for one days work makes a huge difference if it is not there.  I also do not have any health care and even if I did, I wouldnt be able to afford it. 

Sound familiar?

Where are you in this time of need?  Did you get elected to serve the interests of the rich and powerful or the 95% of individuals who are the real backbone of this country?

I probably already know the answer…

~Chris Adams

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By T Groan, December 9, 2009 at 11:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Virgina777, step away from the kool aid, step away from the kool aid.

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By cann4ing, December 9, 2009 at 11:02 am Link to this comment

By Virginia777, December 9 at 2:29 pm #

oh, sorry, you’re right cann4ing

lets not mobilize for social justice issues. lets not mobilize for health care. lets not mobilize to end the war. lets not mobilize to clean up our press, lets just leave it like it is (with all of its lies)

are you really going to sit around and wait for Obama to mobilize you??

Explain to me, please how Mr. Scheer’s criticism of Obama’s hypocrisy in any way prevents you from taking part in any of those “mobilizations.”

Or, Virginia, are you suggesting that we follow what I always heard from the Right about country during the Vietnam war, with a slight twist:  “My President, right or wrong, my President.”

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By Mary Ann McNeely, December 9, 2009 at 10:56 am Link to this comment

Thank you, Mr. Scheer, for speaking for all of Obama’s supporters that feel disappointed. Something is completely wrong. Could be his advisors or staffers (like Jarret, Gibbs and others) which are not doing their job, or maybe they are hiding something from him or covering for him. Whatever it is, we are not happy with Obama’s decisions about Afghanistan and his promises about change the way people are working in Washington. What about Goldman Sachs?!

Is this a joke?  How can there possibly be anybody left standing who still believes in Obama?  Obama represents the coup de grace for the Democratic party.  The bleeding, bullet riddled body of the donkey lies on the ground and he comes along with Dirty Harry’s .44 magnum and fires the exclamation point into its already dead brain.  George Worthless Bush ate a can of alphabet soup and became Barack Obama!

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By Harvey, December 9, 2009 at 10:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I won’t buy that Glass-Steagal repeal was Bill Clinton’s doing!

It had 3 Republican authors, it was passed by a Republican-controlled House and a Republican-controlled Senate and by veto-proof majorities in both!

Clinton couldn’t have stopped it even had he wanted.

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By Virginia777, December 9, 2009 at 10:49 am Link to this comment

can I add here, why is it that Obama is being blamed for putting forth agendas that the Right/Republicans are blocking??

he is being blamed for lack of action, when so much of the action he has been taking, has been stymied by the Right.

(so the Left starts bashing him? this is counter-productive)

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By Kenta, December 9, 2009 at 10:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If health reform turns out to be individual mandates and no public option, I
have a big problem with Obama. Why don’t they just remove the age
restrictions on Medicare and move on.

Thus far, the stimulus program has helped to improve the stock market, GDP
and unemployment rate. The debt required to fuel the stimulus was
unavoidable. I’m willing to wait longer for jobs to begin returning.

He still needs to rescind Gramm Leach Blyley somehow, and we need to
address the avalanche of upside-down homeowners in a meaningful way.

The escalation in Afghanistan was promised in the campaign. The $30 billion
cost is negligible given the overall budget.

In short, it’s not possible to address the myriad of problems Bush left behind
without making some distasteful compromises along the way.

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By Virginia777, December 9, 2009 at 10:32 am Link to this comment

Senorita Bonita: and why do we not have a cohesive front?

all the petty Obama-bashing, for one, it is eroding our initiative.

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By garth, December 9, 2009 at 10:31 am Link to this comment

Where was I?  I didn’t no e-mails from Obama. I didn’t get no stinkin’ e-mails from Obama.
But as Ellen Goodman points out, that is what the [Delete] button is for.

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By Virginia777, December 9, 2009 at 10:29 am Link to this comment

oh, sorry, you’re right cann4ing

lets not mobilize for social justice issues. lets not mobilize for health care. lets not mobilize to end the war. lets not mobilize to clean up our press, lets just leave it like it is (with all of its lies)

are you really going to sit around and wait for Obama to mobilize you??

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By lapdogs, December 9, 2009 at 10:21 am Link to this comment

Glad I’m not the only one disillusioned by Obama and his e-mails.

Wake me up when he start acting like the person I saw during the

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By denk, December 9, 2009 at 10:18 am Link to this comment

fool me once, shame on you…..........

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By Senorita Bonita, December 9, 2009 at 10:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Many disagree with these premises and I am one.  As regards: Afghanistan - his previous stance was for war, Health reform is on-going, Economic crisis there’s progress.
  I do not hold up the anti-thesis of what McCain/Palin would have wrought.  Hillary Clinton’s success I cannot gauge (no more hypothesis after the fact).
  I hope my comments will bring some conversation and dialogue sans attacks.  The ONLY thing neocon right wingnutz seem to bring to the table is a cohesive front; on the left this is lacking.  BTW I am one of the ? few ? A/A’s* who did not vote for PBHO.

*African Americans

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By JohannG, December 9, 2009 at 10:04 am Link to this comment

President Obama may be nothing more than an eloquent
huckster. His name is a brand and marketed as such.
Many voters think the way Robert Scheer does at this
point. It will be interesting to observe the next
presidential elections and see if the disillusionment
that progressive voters currently go through will
translate into action at the ballot box.

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By Go Right Young Man, December 9, 2009 at 10:00 am Link to this comment

The notion that big business is “right wing” has always been more sloppy agitprop than serious analysis. It’s true that historically, big business is against socialism and communism—and understandably so. Socialism and communism were once close to synonymous with expropriation of wealth and the nationalization of industry. What businessman or industrialist wouldn’t be against that? But many of those same industrialists saw nothing wrong with cutting deals with statist regimes. For example, the Swope Plan, put forward by Gerard Swope, president of General Electric, laid out the infrastructure for much of the early New Deal.

Yet the debate is always framed as if the choice is between “government intervention” on the one hand and free-market capitalism on the other. My objection is the glib and easy association of big business with the free-market guys (Milton Friedman was no champion of public-private partnerships and industrial policy).

This identification allows self-described progressive Democrats to run against big business when they are in fact in bed with the fat cats.

For instance, the standard line from the Democrats is that the plutocrats and corporate mustache-twirlers oppose healthcare reform because, in President Obama’s words, they “profit financially or politically from the status quo.” That sounds reasonable, and in some cases it is reasonable. But it makes it sound as if Obama is bravely battling “malefactors of great wealth.”

But that’s not really how it works. In 2008, Obama raked in more donations from the health sector than John McCain and the rest of the Republican field combined. Drug makers gave Obama $3.58 for every dollar they gave McCain. Pfizer gave to Obama at a 4-1 rate, as did the hospital and nursing home industries. In 2008, the insurance industry gave more money to House Democrats than House Republicans. HMOs give to Democrats over Republicans by a margin of 60 to 40.

So far, the health-care industry has mostly been trying to cut insider deals with the government, not fighting to defend the status quo. Discussions between Big Pharma and the White House have been more like pillow talk than a shouting match.

This pattern is hardly unique to health-care. The U.S. Climate Action Partnership, led by GE, includes many other Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs—the company that has profited mightily from Obama’s brand of hope and change. CAP is an aggressive supporter of the Democrats’ climate change scheme. Why? Because GE and company stand to make billions from carbon pricing, thanks largely to investments in technologies that cannot survive in a free market without massive subsidies from Uncle Sam. GE chief Jeffrey Immelt cheerleads big government as “an industry policy champion, a financier and a key partner.”

My biggest objection is not to what isn’t true about the claim that the right is the handmaiden to big business, it’s to what is true. Too many Republicans think being pro-business is the same as being pro-market. They defend the status quo against bad reforms and think they’ve defended economic freedom. The status quo stinks. And the sooner Republicans learn that, the sooner they’ll deserve to win again.

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By cann4ing, December 9, 2009 at 9:45 am Link to this comment

By Virginia777, December 9 at 1:31 pm #

Robert Scheer, do you really think that trashing Obama is productive to the REAL needs of the Left? (which is to mobilize)

What has Obama done that we should mobilize to support?  If you’re suggesting that progressives should unite under an organization like Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) to take back first the Democratic Party from the corporate stooges and then take back the country, I’m all with that.

But if you are suggesting that we make the same mistake we made last year, voting for the lesser evil in the face of the Republican monster—Well, I for one will not make that mistake again.

I will not provide my vote or my money to any Democrat whose real constituency is the big banks, Wall Street, the insurance cartel, the pharmaceutical industry and the military-complex.  If the Democratic Party lacks the wisdom to replace a corporate stooge like Obama with a real progressive, come the next general election I will be voting Green party, or Nader, or whomever is willing to oppose the corporate security state.

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By Virginia777, December 9, 2009 at 9:38 am Link to this comment

you’re disappointed? so you’re going to spend the rest of his administration wallowing in self-pity (oh, I was so hopeful, and now I am so disappointed…)

OR are you going to take to the streets, mobilize, and demand the real changes that this country so desperately needs,

having a leader in place who will listen to these calls one-thousand times better than George Bush?

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By barbatus, December 9, 2009 at 9:35 am Link to this comment

Curious: Just what that “Stop Government-run Health Care” ad is doing here? Does Truthdig take money from the Americans for Prosperity, of all people? Huh?

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By magno46, December 9, 2009 at 9:34 am Link to this comment

Thank you, Mr. Scheer for speaking for all Obama’s supporters that feel disappointed. Something is completly wrong.Could be his advisors or staffers (like Jarret,Gibbs and others)which are not doing their job or maybe they are hiring something from him or covering for him.Whatever it is,we are not happy with Obama’s decisions about Afghanistan and his promises about change the way people are working in Washington.What about Goldman Sachs?!

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By Virginia777, December 9, 2009 at 9:31 am Link to this comment

Robert Scheer, do you really think that trashing Obama is productive to the REAL needs of the Left? (which is to mobilize)

I don’t. Its destructive and breeds pessimism that is keeping the left from mobilizing.

Its a waste of time. We’ve got a real enemy to deal with - Sarah Palin, Miss Popular.

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By Cathy, December 9, 2009 at 9:27 am Link to this comment

“thetee:  Mid way through the presidents speech, I unsubscribed from all Obama sites left over from election. When asked for my reason, “I have lost my faith in the president as an agent for the change I voted for.”
If there much valued contributor data base evaporates they will notice at some point.”

I hadn’t thought of it in this light.  But then I didn’t know they asked you for a reason for unsubscribing.  Because I’ve unsubscribed from numerous newsletters and you just get a thank you, you’re unsubscribed.  But if I can add my two cents along with my unsubscribing, then it’s time.  I’ll be one less in the database.

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By Samson, December 9, 2009 at 9:23 am Link to this comment

Wish one could edit typos here.  smile

“We might now win, but we can cause Democrats to lose.  And that will give the Democrats something to lose.”

should have of course read ...
“We might not win, but we can cause Democrats to lose.  And that will give the Democrats something to fear.

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By Samson, December 9, 2009 at 9:19 am Link to this comment

The problem today is that the left has zero political power. Its obvious that the Democrats fear nothing from the left.  They can escalate the wars they promised to end, and they fear no response from the left.  They can screw us all on health care, and they fear no response from the left.  They give all our money to the bankers, and they fear no response from the left.

Want to give them something to fear?  Start organizing now for the 2010 elections.  Find the closest House and Senate races and organize an independent campaign.  We might now win, but we can cause Democrats to lose.  And that will give the Democrats something to lose.

If the left exacts retribution on the Democrats now by taking away their House majority, then in the future, the Democrats will fear the response of the left.

Here’s a list of close House races in 2010 ...

Find one near you, start organizing an independent campaign around issues you believe in.  And give the Democrats something to fear!

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By george fernandez, December 9, 2009 at 9:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I must say Mr Sheer, Ralph told you so. I Dont know how you expected anything else!

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By Samson, December 9, 2009 at 9:12 am Link to this comment

Mr. Scheer just accurately described the core of today’s Democratic Party ....

“In each of the three most important areas of policy with which he has dealt, Obama speaks in the voice of the little people’s champion, but his actions cater fully to the demands of the most powerful economic interests. “

The real key is to figure out that they are lying when they pretend to ‘speak in the voice of the little people’, and instead know that what they will really do when elected is to ‘cater fully to the demands of the most powerful economic interests.’

Everyone, please remember this on the next election day.  If you want a candidate who’s going to cater to your interests, voting Democrat is not the answer.

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By mandinka, December 9, 2009 at 8:54 am Link to this comment

Barak has the little big man complex and can’t get enough headlines he has a huge ego that has no foundation. From a quota admission to college and never holding real job its all about him.
Sheer did error in placing blame on the insurance industry, the real blame is on trial lawyers and their $500 billion a year cost to healthcare.
As to Afghanistan while I supported W on his incursions into it and Iraq he at least had a policy to win. Baraks rules of engagement will only cost more American lives and will never succeed. Defense accounts for 20% of the US budget and we desperately need to reign in the remaining 80% if we ever plan on getting back to a balanced economy

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By radson, December 9, 2009 at 8:51 am Link to this comment

The duopolistic choice between a donkey and an elephant is what has lead to this terminal illness called Corporate Democracy.In olden times fools rode the beast ‘donkey’ facing the Ass ,a rather fitting position
for the proselytizers who actually thought US foreign policy would be any different under President Obama.The elephant on the other hand is on a rampage in a crystal shop because a hundred mice are proving
to be too difficult to stomp ,even after eight years and a hundred thousand heroes ,but don’t despair Professor Klump is there with his slogan Yes We Can and big brother will take care of all your Homeland Security

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By brhorton, December 9, 2009 at 8:43 am Link to this comment

Change we Believe in: No change, Business as usual, Corruption and Militarism

We are doomed

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By Southern Gal, December 9, 2009 at 8:38 am Link to this comment

There is plenty of damage left to do to this country and her people. Obama may inflict more damage in one term than others have accomplished in two. We the progressive or liberals or whatever we are calling ourselves need to make it clear the we will not support financially or otherwise this administration. If he wants to kiss us off, let him. We can transfer our donations, our local and regional campaigning and our online advocacy to third party candidates. We also need to make our defection clear to the Democrats. I am tired of being lied to and sent out to play with our free trade trinkets, while the big boys gut our treasury, privitize our natural resources, sacrifice our men and women fighting in wars for the empire and our make constitutional rights disappear in our the name of homeland security.

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By cann4ing, December 9, 2009 at 8:28 am Link to this comment

Obama’s populist image was the product of one of the slickest corporate propaganda campaigns in history.  He is perhaps the closest thing we have ever seen to a Manchurian Candidate.

Obama’s real constituency is the big banks, Wall Street and the military-industrial complex.

On his recent decision to escalate what Robert Scheer aptly described as the “war of absurdity” in Afghanistan, see “Beyond Afghanistan:  Applying the lessons of ‘Beyond Vietnam’”...

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By writeon, December 9, 2009 at 8:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bob… Bob, let’s face it, most of us were duped, by the Chicago machine, who first noticed Obama’s talents, and began the task of lifting him up from obscurity to the very pinacle of political power.

The American ruling elite, are always looking around for talent that they can use to further their interests, this was expecially true under the reign of Kaiser Bush. The ‘liberals’ amongst the elite, which some old-timers still choose to call the ruling-class, were deeply concerned that his two election ‘victories’, and his reckless policies, were undermining, and revealing too much about the nature of power in the United States and the wider world. The neo-cons were simply way too brazen in their contempt for the old, quaint, concept of democracy, and wanted to boldly assert that the United States was a powerful empire to rival Rome, with all that this ‘revelation’ implied.

If Bush’s policies had worked, he might have been hailed as great president, only a few thousand lightly-armed Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan, somehow managed to derail that particular juggernaut.

No, a democratic empire, or an empire of liberty, needs to use a very different kind of language and symbolism. It needs to sell itself with style. Enter stage left, Barack Obama. Think of the symbolism! The name, the look, the voice. It almost reads like a script, as Bob Dylan said; little knowing it *was* a script!

The *best* one can say about Obama is that he is the American version of Tony Blair, which is precisely what the movers and shakers in the Democratic Party, and beyond, were looking for. None of this is good, on the contrary.

Like Blair, Obama knows how to deliver a good speech, the problems come later, when one realises that it was just another speech, more fine words; unfortunately their is no real substance inside the language. Obama doesn’t really care that mush about politics, or even debate. That’s not part of his style, or how he sees his role as president. He knows next to nothing about economics and foreign policy, and it shows. This is of course a disaster for the United States at this particular juncture.

What he knows about economics is in line with the Chicago School, who are the very dogmatists who got us into this mess in the first place. He’s surrounded himself with apostles of Milton Friedman, and that’s really bad, especially for American working people, who, after all, are the great majority of Americans. His economic policies are the exact opposite of what needs to be done. One cannot sacrifice the country to save the banks. It should be the other way around. We can always create new banks, a country is a different matter altogether!

But the people who I really feeling sorry for, and what angers me, is the millions of young, idealistic, people who have been casually betrayed. Their hopes dashed. The changes smashed. How, in a great democracy, is it possible for a candidate who most people thought was going to bring peace, to turn on a dime, and instead bring them more war? Who voted for more war, or did I miss that ‘secret’ candidate?

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By Allan Krueger, December 9, 2009 at 8:05 am Link to this comment

If the supporters of Obama owe the nation an apology, what do the supporters of Bush and Cheney owe? Are you kidding me or what?

I was a supporter of Obama and received multiple copies of the same email Sheer references. I am plenty pissed off about what Obama has done in eleven months…............ I also recognize what he inherited.

What is needed is a REAL third party - one that recognizes WHO the politicians are supposed to be working for! One that actually cares about the citizens of this country!

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By David Rives, December 9, 2009 at 8:04 am Link to this comment

When Obama spoke, in the Asheville High School football stadium back in October of ‘08, I said to a guy next to me on the field: “Geez, no matter what else this guy brings to the table, at least we’ll have someone who’s ARTICULATE for a change!”, referring, of course, to Obama’s functionally-illiterate predecessor.
Well, it now looks like that’s ALL we got: a guy who’s articulate.
Which is why, as much as I despise Hillary Clinton, her words on the campaign trail, referring to Obama, now come back daily to haunt me: “I spent eight years at the right hand of POWER in this country; HE gave a SPEECH(!) (referring to the 2004 Democratic convention.)
And now it looks like she was depressingly spot-on with that comment.

How sad.  How very sad, especially to future generations: when you’ve been Madoffed by someone you’ve poured your heart and soul and shoe leather into, you really think you can muster millions of people at some future date to repeat that mistake?  I mean, even though our previous President had a world of trouble with it, the saying is not really that complicatd: “Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me!”

So, when you get right down to it, that reveals Obama’s greatest “crime:”  the fact that he’s killed the very word he ran on: “HOPE.”  How horrible, how evil of him to have done that, since, without hope, you have nothing.

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By Lou, December 9, 2009 at 8:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why do you think BO was allowed to become president?
A semi-black face on Wallstreetbushcheney..

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By Jon, December 9, 2009 at 7:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The only differences between Obama and Bush is that Obama drinks wine (Bush drinks beer); Obama is articulate (Bush doesn’t speak English); Obama has dark skin (Bush is pale white). The Bush to Obama transition has been seemless.

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By The Old Hooligan, December 9, 2009 at 7:40 am Link to this comment

The next time the White House holds a State Dinner for a visiting foreign dignitary, I plan to attend. I’m gonna print out all of these chummy emails I’ve gotten from Obama -and- his lieutenants, as proof-positive that I’m 100% tight with the Administration.

Afterall, those publicity-hungry Salahi scuzzbags got recently in with nary a letter of proper introduction. Just imagine where my emails from the President of the United States will get me. Yeah, I know…

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By glider, December 9, 2009 at 7:26 am Link to this comment

Thanks for the best paragraph of the year!  There is nothing like laughing one’s ass off at one’s self to relieve a little stress grin  You hit the nail on the head!

>>In analogous fashion, Barack Obama has used what I call the “hope-a-dope” strategy to defeat the progressive forces for “change” (remember that word?) by hoping them in, exhausting their energy, and knocking them senseless to the canvass with a swirling galaxy of dashed dreams overhead<<

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By KidGenius, December 9, 2009 at 7:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have to say, for the first time, I actually enjoyed and fully agree with all the comments. 

Although this presidency is a complete disappointment there is, however, something going on that was not expected.  The civil unrest is growing, exponentially.  Just take a look over the information we get now as opposed to 20 years ago, its staggering.

The people ARE becoming more aware of what is happening.  I am obviously going to omit the Tea baggers of beckville.  Fox did a good job at making it look as if that small croud was the greater majority of american opinion.  HOWEVER this is not correct.  Most Americans are staunch progressive, as most americans actually do care about the greater good of the country.  We need to start by telling people to turn off the tv.  People are being manipulated right before my eyes and it THAT which makes me sick.

Believe me, even MSNBC isnt a good venue for news.  I watched it over the weekend and the big story was that the banks are paying back their TARP money.  Ok, great!  However, it is common knowledge by now that the banks received on the upwards of trillions dollars (mostly behind doors and off the books) yet the TV is only focusing on the 700 billion…

no wonder the people have nothing concrete to argue about.  I get a different story every news outlet I turn on…

then I get the email about our president fighting the good fight…

i wish he were fighting the good fight…what a disappointment.

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By starfish, December 9, 2009 at 7:01 am Link to this comment

I think it’s time for those of us who are (and were) awake to the fraud Obama is to write to every media person who pushed Obama on this nation with their lies and also their covering up of Obama’s real record in the Illinois state legislature, the U.S. Senate and in his life.

It’s time—it’s way past time—for the media people to APOLOGIZE to this country for what they have foisted on us.

Look, folks, if we do not hold their feet to the fire for this national disaster, they will do it all over again for the next phony candidate, and we will never get out of the hole we are in.

WE MUST DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY from the media people.

We must NOT let them get off scot-free for deceiving the American people.

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By joell, December 9, 2009 at 6:49 am Link to this comment

@KISS, December 9 at 10:05 am #
“So the point being, Mr. Scheer, who will you vote for in the 2012 presidential election?”

since 1992, i’ve notice a pattern with these stealth democratic party operatives like Sheer, Michael Moore,The Nation, anti war organizations, and shills like Kuncinich & John Conyers. They criticize sleazy candidates like Clinton, Gore, Kerry & fraudsters like Obama, and sometimes very strongly.

however, during the election season they suspend the criticism, endorse and campaign for them. they infiltrate and neuter 3rd parties like the Green Party & those they can’t co-opt are marginalized by frightening gullible liberals with “spoiler, throwing votes away, holding your nose and vote Gore, etc., scare tactics.

you wiil get far more criticism from the likes of robert scheer for voting for a 3rd party candidate than for a republician. his job is to help keep alienated voters in the democrtic party without their interests being represented; and to maintain the status quo

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By trog69, December 9, 2009 at 6:39 am Link to this comment

Dhamma3, I like the cut of your jib. “hope-a-dope” indeed. (I might be forced to steal that line.)

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By thecrow, December 9, 2009 at 6:29 am Link to this comment

Long before the slick email invitations to “be a witness to history with Obama ‘backstage’” on election night went out, it was clear that Obama was the biggest con since September 11.

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By montanawildhack, December 9, 2009 at 6:29 am Link to this comment

I was 99% sure when I voted for Obama that he was a Hustler and an Uncle Tom…. Now I and Everyone else in The Ulcered Sphincter of Amnesia know for 100% certain that Obama is a Hustler and an Uncle Tom..

So the question remains: What are we going to do about it short of reading useless dribble from a handful of pundits on truthdig… 

1) Deny the Bastards the fuel they need for their endless wars and other such nonsense—-dont’ pay your taxes… Well, that’s a good idea but it was kinda sorta shot in the ass back in 1942.  Ya see, before 1942 Americans would simply write a check to the Feds for a couple bucks and mail it in on April 15th…  But to pay for our War against Darth Vadar they decided to Withhold your taxes from your check before the money was even in your greedy little paws… They Promised to end this practice as soon as we defeated the Empire but they didn’t…. End of option # 1….

2) Educate the masses… Take to the streets…  Here’s a little story that shoots that option in the ass….  On Oct 31 of this year Eight Thousand (8000) members of Generation Y stormed downtown Grand Rapids, MI…. Were they there to protest our involvement in 2 illegal and immoral wars??? Were they there to demand Universal Health Care???? Were they there to cry out because their futures were collectively f&*ked????  Oh no, they were there to set the world record for a Zombie Walk… So that pretty much sums up the younger generation and their passions….. And then I went out to the mall a couple weeks later to witness the next older generation of Americans line up to have Sarah Palin sign their copies of “Going Rogue.”  A cursory inspection of this collection of slack-jawed troglodytes convinced me they weren’t going to “take to the streets” any time soon…  (Maybe for a sale at Walmart on those little automated Chinese hamsters that are all the rage now)

3)  Violent Revolution…

This cannot happen until we reach the “when you got nothin you got nothin to lose” phase in America…. At present the masses are too comfortable to risk life, limb, torture and prison.  But the date where the masses reach the “nothin to lose” phase is not far off…  It’s amazing the courage people muster when they’ve got nothin to lose… Take the Palestinians for instance…. Can you imagine the courage it takes to stand up to the tanks, planes, bombs and body armor of the Israeli Army??  The Palestinians are no more courageous than you or I but they have something that we now lack: nothing to lose….  That will soon change in America….  The problem is the fact that it will be quite a different Revolution than the good one back in 1776…  Back then the Colonial Terrorists could match the British sword for sword, musket for musket and cannon for cannon…  Well, now the best that the masses can muster is guns and high powered rifles against cluster bombs, napalm and A-10 WartHog jets…. And if you think the gov’t won’t use Maximum Force against the civilian population I suggest you research what they did to Randy Weaver and his family a few years back….(Waco too)

Well, that’s my two cents worth…. I apologize if you read this post and didn’t think it worth your time….

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By trog69, December 9, 2009 at 6:27 am Link to this comment

Thank you again, Mr. Scheer for putting more succinctly what I’ve felt since Obama reneged on the FISA/Telecom Immunity horseshit and, as a “constitutional scholar” decided that there is indeed, a class of people that is above the law.

No matter how the President handles his re-election bid in 2012, rest assured that he had determined to go it without the help of progressives. He’s pretty much already confessed, through his actions and the words of his aides, that what he considers the ‘far’-left, is as unwelcome as anything coming from the religious and/or teabagger right.

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By Kanuear, December 9, 2009 at 6:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s amazing how the people expect what has taken over twenty years to screw up to change in one year. Robbers of the economy were being glorified in their lootings of the economy and viewed as experts. Now that they have bitten, fed well and spilled over into waste, the people now expect one who falls in the category of some as a glorified janitor to clean the countries spills over night. How small the minds are of those who still follow the robbers. A gourging fat man only leaves the table when there is no more to consume. All one has to do is look into history to see that when this country has ripped itself off it has always turned to wars to take from others and re-build it’s economy. NOT SO EASY ANYMORE HUH? Any one who will cut this message down proves the message.

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By Dhamma3, December 9, 2009 at 6:21 am Link to this comment

Those of you old enough to remember the Rumble in the Jungle may recall that the sly Muhammad Ali used the “rope-a-dope” strategy to defeat his younger, stronger opponent George Frazier, roping him in, exhausting his energy, and knocking him senseless to the canvass with a swirling galaxy of stars over his head.

In analogous fashion, Barack Obama has used what I call the “hope-a-dope” strategy to defeat the progressive forces for “change” (remember that word?) by hoping them in, exhausting their energy, and knocking them senseless to the canvass with a swirling galaxy of dashed dreams overhead.

The truth is, it is time for a third part.  Be it the Labor Party (which I am partial to), or an amalgamation of all progressives who sacrifice their usual battling amongst themselves to come together in unison around a real progressive, it doesn’t matter. Unity is the key.  Dure, the Democratic Party may loose seats to teabaggers and crazy right-wingers because of it, but so what?  It isn’t like we have anyone batting for us to begin with or that our “hopes” are being fulfilled by the corporate Democratic Party.

In the end, this step regardless of the loss of seats will pave the way for a real progressive united front to form, one that can overturn the power structure as it now exists. What have we got to lose?  Chump change?  Well, I am tired of hope being thrown bleeding to ground by those who think their hopes lie with the Democrats.

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By Liz814, December 9, 2009 at 6:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Amen, Brother! I can’t listen to his hypocrisy any longer, several months ago asking to be removed from the e-mail list and giving nearly everything you mentioned as reasons for my doing so.  We have been punked.  We, the people, need to start thinking about real solutions and alternate candidates and we need to start thinking and working now.

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By sawdusttx, December 9, 2009 at 6:13 am Link to this comment

Brother, ain’t that the truth! I have been slowly transformed from exhilarated to excruciated, mollified to mortified, then annoyed to nauseated. And, adding insult to injury, the e-missives all end with “Donate”. And this in a time we we all have less resources than.

This immense and endless supply of over-bearing “me-ness”, or public “ego”, (which is accomplishing far too little for the adoring the throngs who elected him)would appear to be the personification that was offered to me just a few days ago as a definition of the term: E.G.O.= “Edging God Out”.

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By KISS, December 9, 2009 at 6:05 am Link to this comment

So the point being, Mr. Scheer, who will you vote for in the 2012 presidential election?
I gurantee, I will not vote for Obama! Ralph Nader,  Dennis Kucinich, no matter how crazy these are my choices now. I will not vote repug at any costs.

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By peterjkraus, December 9, 2009 at 6:05 am Link to this comment

It’s Orwellian. From the language (“defense spending”: whom are we defending from whom?) to the choice voters have—Fascism vs. Fascism Lite vs. Pure Window Dressing without a chance in hell—to the very slippery definition of Freedom (a mantra constantly held aloft in a country that incarcerates more of its citizens than any other).

You’re absolutely right, Robert. Regrettably. Like most of us, I had the highest hopes, only to be disappointed again and again.

Now, after 68 years of puzzling, I finally know how my German parents and grandparents were conned.

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By idarad, December 9, 2009 at 6:02 am Link to this comment

IF you have not heard, Obama’s injustice department has asked the 9th circuit
appeals court to dismiss the case against John Yoo….  thanks Obushma

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By Richard, December 9, 2009 at 5:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Scheer, you put your finger on my reaction to the most recent of Barack’s
emails.  Thanks for this and your voice of Left Right and Center which I enjoy every

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By Draytonoysters, December 9, 2009 at 5:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yep, in less than a year in office, facing the most daunting tasks, delete Mr. Obama from your email. That will help change things.

He’s been in office less than a year, dude, things don’t happen in an instant. Guantanomo, for example, is not an easy fix. Afghanistan is not as simple as withdraw immediately (Hello, Pakistan?) and health care? Well, I’m disappointed in Obama on that, too, and continually attempt to push his administration.

But, He’s already settled the Indian issue, he’s trying to change our direction on the environment, there’s a mess in the NIH, the VA and elsewhere left by the Bush administration that Obama has to fix from the inside out, he’s trying to engage other countries in the foreign issues, he’s attempting to create jobs - it all takes a little time; you don’t turn a battleship on a dime. Is he perfect, hell no. But given what he has to do, I’ll give the guy some time.

Get out of your insta-fix American mode and quit winching.

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By glider, December 9, 2009 at 5:18 am Link to this comment

Welcome to full realization Robert Scheer!  Obama reminds me of the smoothed tongued executives paid to sugar coat the lastest scheme to be rammed down the workers throats.  Except that unacceptable logical criticism (not a “team player”) has been replaced by a conspiring corporate MSM.  After a while the only thing you could hear as they opened their mouths is “blah blah blah” and yourself personally calculating your alternatives against the tyranny.  I am feeling that way again as Obama has single handedly taken voting off the table as a mechanism for change in America (or at least driven home the point in no uncertain terms).  It is difficult to comprehend the damage and disillusionment his deceit has created amongst younger voters.  But it is deserved.  Democracy is dead in America and we can only reconsider this conclusion if strong campaign and lobby finance reform is ever enacted.

The People Want Versus Receive the following:

1. Decent Basic Public Health Care versus our “representitives” HIC bailout and forced mandates rhetorically repackaged as “cannot deny you” coverage.

2. Stop our Wars of Aggression in the middle-east and versus our “representatives” maxed out MIC war machine and repackaged faux “exit stategy” and “support the troops” rhetoric.

3. Prosecution of Banksters for Criminal Fraud and Restoration the Middle Class Economy, and our “representatives” instead give bailouts, claim bogus bank payback deceptions, make too big to fail even bigger, create a massive FED public debt expansion, and no meaningful regulations to reign in the destructive $600 trillion derivatives market (Geitner’s exalted “financial innovations”).

What is wrong with this picture?  Why does this craziness all makes sense once you substitute representatives of the people with representatives of the “corporations”?

I say wise up and accept the obvious.  Obama is using his prodigious skills as an enabler of the status quo to fool the people.  He is a trickster and not a progressive, and as such is a negative force to be reckoned with by true progressives.  The only change is in the blatant rhetorical gall of his tactics.

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By overanddone, December 9, 2009 at 5:12 am Link to this comment

Mid way through the presidents speech, I unsubscribed from all Obama sites left over from election. When asked for my reason, “I have lost my faith in the president as an agent for the change I voted for.”
If there much valued contributor data base evaporates they will notice at some point.

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By Howie Bledsoe, December 9, 2009 at 4:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


Shit, you aint seen nothing yet, folks.  Just wait for cap and trade!


And after Obama??? Palin? McCain???


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By Bbethany7, December 9, 2009 at 3:56 am Link to this comment

Restore the draft. People will howl bloody
murder, take to the streets, and help get us
out of bogus “wars”.

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By Jon, December 9, 2009 at 3:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Scheer,
Very well said.  Obama is a fraud, and the left and the progressives have been totally punked by this guy and his marketing team.  (I voted reluctantly for Obama, suspecting that he was going to be a globalist corporate suit) 

But now, look at some of the key liberal/progressive blogs—criticism of Obama is beaten down with ‘how dare you’ comments.  This shows how bankrupt the left is—their guy is standing in front of them, showing them the finger, and they cannot see his hand gesture.

And the ‘institutional liberals’ sit, shielded by their tenured academic jobs, or media jobs, tut-tutting and writing 200 word admonishments to Obama on the blogs and in the newspapers, but as they do so, they look out their windows at their 50,000 dollar BMW’s or Benz’s, and drive home to their million dollar homes at day’s end, fully protected by the very corporate and banking power they claim to disdain in their writings and speechs.

Nuts to them all, and to those who follow and believe in the liberal agenda—-it’s not real, no one carries that banner in truth.

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By Barbara Bacon, December 9, 2009 at 2:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Got fooled by the “change you can believe in” rhetoric dished out by Bill Clinton in ‘92.  He gave us “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the financial services industry deregulation that has wrecked our economy, continued corporate welfare, turned his back on the Rwanda genocide and perjured himself over an affair.  So when Obama came along in 2004, I just couldn’t get giddy, having seen it all before.  Grumpy me, huh?

Thank you, Robert Scheer for pointing out—as Chris Hedges has done—that while Obama may excel as a motivational speaker, his presidency is utterly lacking in vision.  He’s a status quo politician at a time when we desperately need real leadership.

Real change will come when Americans stop voting the party line and start listening to the true leaders and visionaries—you know, the men and women who can’t get the time of day on the broadcast and cable news shows.

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By Daniel Simpson, December 9, 2009 at 2:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Here’s another “we the people” speech, which Obama won’t give tomorrow:

For much of this past American century, as in others bestridden by Empires that came before ours, the morals guiding relations between states have been those of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. To quote the murderer Raskolnikov: “he who can spit on what is greatest will be their lawgiver, and he who does the most will be rightest of all.” It’s ugly, so we prefer to cover it up and tell ourselves stories, most often about our benevolence, or “the shining city upon a hill” we call our homeland…

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By Ed Vaisvilas, December 9, 2009 at 2:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I, too, was getting those emails, even though I never contributed a dime to his “cause”. I took issue with a few facts in a recent one, so I decided to reply. My email bounced back to me, rejected by his filter as SPAM!
So, tit for tat! Guess what I’ve changed my email settings to!

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By Anyse, December 9, 2009 at 2:27 am Link to this comment

I, too, am ashamed of the left of this country! No chances are taken and have not been taken since long before 9/11! Where is the spirit of equality? Health care reform (we will lose on this one, I am quite sure and you can say that you heard this from a “liberal” of over 4 decades), anti-war, pro-people rather than corporations and financial manipulators, social justice, and on and on and on . . . What about ending the gains of the “imperial presidency”? What about repealing the anti-constitution “Patriot Act” that no one read and that only go through because our Congress wanted to go on vacation with a budget out “on time” rather than “right”? Where in hell are all of you? Wake up. Hit the streets. Educate Americans again like we did in the late 60’s and early 70’s! Let’s go . . .

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