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Who Are You and What Have You Done With the Community Organizer We Elected President?

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Posted on Nov 18, 2009
AP / Alex Brandon

When did our beloved Chicago organizer become a golfer who shills for the banking industry?

By Robert Scheer

What’s up with Barack Obama? The candidate for change once promised to take on the powerful banking interests but is now doing their bidding. Finally, a leading Democrat, in this case Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, has a good idea for monitoring the Wall Street fat cats who all but destroyed the American economy, and the Obama administration condemns it. 

Dodd wants to take supervisory power from the Federal Reserve, which is controlled by the banks it pretends to monitor, and put it in the hands of a new independent agency. That makes sense given the Fed’s abject failure to properly monitor the financial sector over the past decade as that industry got drunk on greed. As Dodd’s spokeswoman Kirstin Brost put it: “The Federal Reserve flat out failed at supervising the largest, most complex firms.” But White House economic adviser Austan Goolsbee frets that taking power from the Fed would cause financial industry “nervousness.” Isn’t that the whole point of government regulation—to make the bandits look over their shoulders before they launch their next destructive scam?

Not so in the view of Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin, who blithely insists that the Fed “is the best agency equipped for the task of supervising the largest, most complex firms,” despite the mountain of evidence to the contrary. There is some irony in the fact that the largest of those complex firms got to be “too big to fail” because of the radical deregulatory legislation that Wolin drafted during his previous incarnation as the Treasury Department’s general counsel in the Clinton administration. Wolin is now deputy to Timothy Geithner, who as head of the New York Fed in the five years preceding the banking meltdown looked the other way as the disaster began to unfold.

Why is Barack Obama allowing these retreads from the Clinton era who went on to great riches on Wall Street to set economic policy for his administration? The fatal hallmark of this president’s financial policy is that it is being designed by the very people whose previous legislative efforts created the mess that enriched them while impoverishing the nation, and they now want more of the same. 

In the Clinton years, Wolin was general counsel to then-Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, the key architect of the radical deregulation that caused the recent banking collapse. Summers went off to work for hedge funds and banks that paid him $15 million in 2008 while he was advising Obama. Meanwhile, Wolin became general counsel for Hartford Insurance Corp., which had to be bailed out by the taxpayers because it took advantage of the radical deregulation that he helped write into law.

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Wolin, Geithner and Summers were all protégés of Robert Rubin, who, as Clinton’s treasury secretary, was the grand author of the strategy of freeing Wall Street firms from their Depression-era constraints. It was Wolin who, at Rubin’s behest, became a key force in drafting the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which ended the barrier between investment and commercial banks and insurance companies, thus permitting the new financial behemoths to become too big to fail. Two stunning examples of such giants that had to be rescued with public funds are Citigroup bank, where Rubin went to “earn” $120 million after leaving the Clinton White House, and the Hartford Insurance Co., where Wolin landed after he left Treasury.

Both Citigroup and Hartford would not have gotten into trouble were it not for the enabling legislation that the three Clinton officials pushed through while they were in power. But even with that law, had Geithner been on the case protecting the public interest while head of the New York Fed, much of the damage could have been avoided.

Thanks to the legislation that Wolin helped write, the limits preventing mergers between insurance companies and banks imposed during Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency was reversed. Hartford got into banking, and as The Washington Times observed in a scathing editorial, “Hartford … rushed to buy regulated savings and loans just so they could call themselves banks and qualify for government TARP funds.” Wolin collected his millions while the taxpayers were obliged to cover Hartford’s losses. 

It is depressing for a columnist who had great hopes for Obama to be forced by the facts to credit editors at the right-wing Washington Times for getting it right when they opined: “Revolving doors between industry and the administration and fat-cat political contributors getting bailed out at taxpayer expense sound like business as usual. This certainly isn’t change we can believe in.” Please, Mr. President, say it ain’t so.

Click here to check out Robert Scheer’s book,
“The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.”


Keep up with Robert Scheer’s latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at www.truthdig.com/robert_scheer.



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racetoinfinity's avatar

By racetoinfinity, November 18, 2009 at 11:56 pm Link to this comment

I think that Obama had migrated to the “dark” (status-lust, power-lust, money-lust) side well before the campaign.  I think he acted the part of the community organizer (that he may have been in his younger days) during the campaign.

When he appointed Geithner and Summers to his economic team very soon after being elected in Nov. ‘08, the jig was up for me:  another neoliberal plutocratic corporatist like Clinton (maybe worse).  He is in bed with Wall St., and the naked emperor has no clothes now, and seems to care not one whit.

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By KDelphi, November 18, 2009 at 11:53 pm Link to this comment

johncp—I didnt think I would ever say this, but you may well be right.

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By gerard, November 18, 2009 at 11:05 pm Link to this comment

In my not-so-humble opinion, people who are leaning on the prophesies of the Bible are also doing a lot of damage by prophesying doom and gloom when they could be learning what is really going on and how they couldl help make the world a bettter place.

This “Revelation” busines is a conglomeration of ancient myths made to scare incurious people into believing some crazed preacher’s fantasy. It appears over and over, in different forms, in ancient stories, and tends to crop up with renewed vigor when the going gets rough. People want to believe it because it relieves them of having any responsibility to do anything to help solve problems. 

The problems we have are human problems, caused by human beings and they will be solved or not by human beings.  The knowledge people can accumulate, and the choices they will make, are vital to their continuance on the planet.  They perfectly well know what to do: “Feed my sheep.”  “Do good to those who persecute you.”  “Love thy enemies.”  “Consider the lilies.” “Give all that thou hast and follow me.”  Etc. Etc. And that’s just from the Christian point of view.  There are others equally valid.  The problem is not that we don’t know what to do, but that we don’t really want to do it because it’s too much work. Our laziness may kill us all, but I hope not.

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, November 18, 2009 at 10:48 pm Link to this comment

1)International Dialog, the Obama administration has taken a much more cordial approach to foreign affairs.

Remember presdent #41? Use of other countries to go along with USA unilateralism is a good idea. It give political cover and you still get what you want. No change just a change back. [See the first USA/Iraq War.]

2)Closing Guantanamo, NO plans, and no money. A bunch of talk. It doesn’t even cover all the other hidden prisons like Bagram AFB where prisoners are kept without any legal help or publicity.

3)A support of ending don’t ask don’t tell. All words but no action. In 1950 pres. Harry S Truman ended segregation in our military. So can Obama if he wanted to. He doesn’t.

4)A willingness to face environmental issues. We have yet to see any substantial actions to support your contentions on this issue. The proof is in action, not speeches.

5)Justice department decision to stop arresting medical marijuana users in states which it has been approved. I like it and the only thing I know of other than removing the gag order for health professionals to bring up the idea of birth control overseas. Small potatoes but still positive. 1 in 5, a poor record.

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By christian96, November 18, 2009 at 9:56 pm Link to this comment

Bogi666—-You picked up on the reference to Babylon.
Very astute.  Speaking of Babylon in the last days
Revelation Chapters 17 and 18 read, “And the woman
which thou sawest is THAT GREAT CITY, which reigneth
over the kings of the earth…..for all nations have
drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication,
and the Kings of the earth have committed fornication
with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed
rich through the abundance of her delicacies.”
This could be New York, Washington, or Los Angeles
at the present time.  Of course there may arise in
the future a city which controls the earth and
better fulfills this prophecy but the most extant
city may well be Washington.  The headquarters of
our government and military are based there.  Another
prediction of the last days which caught my eye is
in Daniel 8:25, “And through his policy also,
he(could be person, system or nation) cause craft
to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself
in his heart, AND BY PEACE SHALL DESTROY MANY: he
shall also stand up against the Prince of princes(Jesus); but he shall be broken without hand.”
We are living in exciting times and people not
familiar with propecies in the Bible are missing
out on a lot of knowledge and wisdom.

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By johncp, November 18, 2009 at 9:40 pm Link to this comment

It’s amusing and tragic that when people ask if we’d have been better off with another candidate rather than Obama, it’s almost always McCain they point to for a comparison.  But, less than a year after the election, I propose that it was Hillary that should have the benefit of this comparison, not McCain.  Obama’s supporters continue to believe that the Obama campaign was no more dishonest and treacherous than the Hillary campaign.  But, in fact, it was.  It’s also astonishing how persistent is the belief, that Obama won the popular vote against Hillary, for the nomination.  Wolf Blitzer had a different view at the end of the nomination campaign, finding that Hillary had won agasint Obama, in two out of three scenarios.  People need to revisit that campaign, and give it the scrutiny if never got from media, which at the time, was working its ass off to get Obama elected, along with Goldman-Sachs.  Hillary would have made a better president; certainly less of a bullshitter, more decisive, more professional, better able to deal with the elites that we all know run our government.

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By KDelphi, November 18, 2009 at 9:13 pm Link to this comment

“When did our beloved Chicago organizer become a golfer who shills for the banking industry? “


Some people thought that that is what he always was—no, waitk I thought he was a basketball player who schilled for the banking industry…...the “community organizer” was doing time, for hs resume , to help him rise in politics. Thats all.

But, must admit, even I am surprised…and thats pretty sad.

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By johncp, November 18, 2009 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment

GMONST

What I get from your post, is that you dislike Hillary, but you don’t know why, so you manufacture silly pronouncements for us, such as that Hillary “...would have been more hawkish…”  How anyone could say that, after seeing how hawkish Obama “actually” is, compared to what he told us during the campaign, is a complete mystery, but certainly a laughable one.  In fact, there is no evidence that Hillary is “hawkish.”  This is pure media bullshit.  She was careful to try to create the impression that she was as hawkish as her male competitors and opponents for the presidency.  Her efforts to show herself equal to the men, in her hawkishness, was jumped on by people that already hated her (without knowing why, I add), to demonstrate to themselves that she was “more” hawkish than the men.  If you’re still looking for the mysterious element in your Hillary-hate, consider 1) misogyny (yes I know, out of the question), 2) successful media (i.e. conservative) efforts to demonize and villify her, so throughly in fact, that it contaminated the easily manipulated heads of many democrats.  Though, because we all know that media are the lowest bunch of creeps on earth, it never occurs to them that that’s where their Hillary-hate comes from.

Still she won the popular vote against Obama for the nomination.

BTW, take the “script” away from Obama, and find out how charismatic and brilliant an orator he is.

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By lucky, November 18, 2009 at 8:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

guess it’s ok now to play golf while we’re ‘at war’. correction: ‘at occupation’ ...

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By starfish, November 18, 2009 at 6:46 pm Link to this comment

Not only was Obama’s whole campaign a masterpiece of bait-and-switch, but his supporters used a lethal combination of stupidity and ferociousness to stifle any debate about Obama’s qualifications to be president, any examination of his actual record, and any attempt to see the papers he wrote in college and law school (papers Obama spent a fortune hiding from public scrutiny). I want those gullible and obnoxious Obama-supporting naifs to apologize for what they have inflicted on America. It’s the least they can do to make amends.

I spent eight years fighting against Bush’s awful policies and it looks like I’m going to have to spend the next however many years fighting against Obama’s continuation of many of those same horrible policies: warrantless wiretapping, rendition of prisoners to foreign countries, expansion of federal funding for faith-based organizations, expansion of the “state secrets” ruse to keep the American people from knowing what our government is doing, Obama’s transfer of the wealth of the middle-class to the corporate interests that brought him to power, and Obama’s policy that the prisoners in Bagram prison (in Afghanistan) have no rights that we ought to respect. Those were all policies we Democrats and liberals condemned Bush for, but the Obama apologists apparently now feel those are good policies.

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By lmontgom, November 18, 2009 at 6:34 pm Link to this comment

Volcker has stated publicly (to the NY Times) that he wants to restore controls on the investments field.  I want that and more.  I want Wall Street to show me, an ordinary working person, that these phony millionaires add value to investment products. I see their role as the opposite;  they take away value added by hard-working stiffs who bring their own lunches to save money from their meager salaries, drive economy cars and generally are as frugal as possible so they can make ends meet.  Why do we need investment firms with high-speed computers who make investing almost impossible for ordinary people, who manipulate oil prices (remember $4+ gasoline)?  I consider these parasites to be a negative.  I don’t want them to survive; they are too crooked not to fail!
  Can anyone show me how these Rubin-esque (as in Robert) Wall Streeters help the person who wants to manufacture fabric that doesn’t shrink or fade, the kind we had before our crooked politicians peddled “globalization” and assured us that everyone, even the person socially promoted out of high school without learning to read or write, would have a high-paying, high-tech job?
  We’ve been sold a bill of goods by both major political parties.  We won’t be out of trouble until we kick them out and put third-party honest folk in elected public service positions.

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By AuntBec, November 18, 2009 at 6:26 pm Link to this comment

I can honestly say that for the first time, after reading and occasionally posting here, I am so impressed with the quality and caliber of all of the cases presented here.  There is a “sniping” that goes on here that is instead in this instance, some well thought out opinions on what has happened to the man we believed, hoped, didn’t believe, hoped, new he wasn’t, hoped, he was/is.  I still don’t have a clear perspective of my own beliefs yet.  There has been much written and read about our President…and I still don’t believe any of us know for sure.  However, I can only hope that djknoll sends a copy of his/her missive to President Obama, because it is certainly how people I know, love, and worked with to get him elected feel.

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, November 18, 2009 at 5:43 pm Link to this comment

Martha/Thomas said: I would feel better about my vote for Barack Obama if Barack Obama would report to the Common Population what incremental progress in the best interest of the Common Population has been achieved in the first eleven months of his presidency, and what the Common Population can expect to be done in the coming months and years.

Ah, the magic of Martha/Thomas. If she doesnt mind, perhaps she should tell us who is the “Common Population”. People need to know what you ate talking about.

“Common Population” sounds so nice. Like its everybody. Regardless of race, creed, class, or age. But Martha/Thomas doesnt mean everyone, she means only 70% of us. Isnt that true, Martha/Thomas? (I happen to know it is true from listening to her before) 

So we want know who is the 30% not in the “Common Population”.

Most of all, those of us not in her “Common Population” would like to know what we can expect to be done to us in the coming months and years.

I read some things that Martha/Thomas has written before. Where she goes into great detail about the fate of the 30% of Americans not in the “Common Population”. It isnt very nice.


As I recall, Martha/Thomas got rather worked up about the needed bloodshed, using CAPITAL LETTERS and bold print to such an extent that it seemed she was imitating Hitler with her yelling and screaming. Not only in style did she imitate Hitler but she seemed to be imitating Hitler in other ways too.

She never apologized. Never took it back. So we know she meant it.

I daresay that even the people who are in the “Common Population” would like to know, because they wouldnt want evil things done in their name.

Martha/Thomas. I could get your bloodthirsty quotes and publish them here. If I go to all the trouble, will you explain it to us?

Answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.

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By Gmonst, November 18, 2009 at 5:41 pm Link to this comment

Who Are You and What Have You Done With the Community Organizer We Elected President?

We didn’t elect a community organizer, we elected a US Senator. 

That is the problem, people thought they were voting for someone who didn’t exist anymore, if he ever did.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it is perfectly fine to criticize Obama and his policies, necessary even.  I don’t get why so many thought he would be really progressive. If you don’t like all his policies and actions, and lord knows I don’t, that is fine. However, what I take exception to is trying to make it out like Obama pulled some bait and switch campaign. He didn’t!  People projected things onto him which weren’t there in his words or previous actions.  If you listened to what he said he would do during the campaign, he is acting pretty close to the mark.

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By gerard, November 18, 2009 at 5:37 pm Link to this comment

Practically speaking, how many of you complainers seriously thought that Obama as President (even with the help of a known-to-be lazy and cowardly contribution-dependent Congress)  could do much in a year to change the routine evils of Wall Street, the credit card business, mortgage and real estate usury, boom and bust?

How many have previously and actively raised your voices against the huge economic power of the “military-industrial complex” since Eisenhower’s administration?  The decades-old voluntary overdrawn accounts of the Pentagon and related establishments that provide millions of jobs and incomes at the expense of farming, healthy food processing, human services, infrastructure and environmental protection?

How many of you even halfway realized the tremendous power and the pervasiveness, the degree of infiltration, cross breeding and palm-scratching that has been going on, for how long, which has been revealed only by the recent economic collapse?

How many do not owe some degree of your present comfortable status to this method of doing business, about which, though you may have had doubts, you did little or nothing to change, but instead hoped for the best?

How many have resisted the onslaughts against the Constitution brought on by the craven fear and hysteria of 8 years of Bush/Cheney “homeland security” measures instituting a massive public surveillance apparatus and “enhanced interrogation”?  Supported civil rights organizations? Cried out when the first bombings of Iraq were of hospitals and baby-mild factories (if that is true)? .And if not, how many bothered to research and find out?  And now, as a logical conclusion of doing nothing, how about the video of the helpless Fallujah infants?

I could go on and on, but the thing I want to make clear is the utter futility of tearing Obama apart verbally, comment after comment, or tearing each other apart for that matter.  It just adds to the destruction. The problems go far beyond any handful of individuals and require a civic consciousness, cooperation,  and elbow grease similar to previous moments in history when great wrongs led to great changes.  Hopefully those changes can be brought about – and, also hopefully, by using creative non-violent tactics which proved fairly successful in the Sixties – and in many smaller situations which utterly consumed the best efforts at reconciliatioin of a relatively few very courageous individuals.

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By Gmonst, November 18, 2009 at 5:30 pm Link to this comment

By Sugar, November 18 at 6:44 pm #
(Unregistered commenter)

Gmonst, so tell me exactly what has changed from the Bush era since Obama entered the Whitehouse. In trying to cut through all of the political rhetoric and get at the substance I am truly flummoxed. Please provide a list.

This is just my opinion, but here are some of the things I believe have changed since The Obama administration has taken power.  Some are just rhetorical, and don’t have much substantive action as of yet, but change in rhetoric and tone is a big change. 

1)International Dialog, the Obama administration has taken a much more cordial approach to foreign affairs.  His speech in Egypt is good example of how he changed the United State’s posturing from one of chest thumping and we don’t need you, to one of mutual responsibility and international cooperation.  While subtle, it is very important.  The results can be seen in the willingness of Iran to dialog with the international community in ways which it did not a few years ago.  Also the approach toward Iran has lost most of its incendiary rhetoric.  Armed conflict with Iran seems very remote, where it once felt close.

2)Closing Guantanamo, while I am aware the process is not as quick as promised or as good as was hoped, there is definitely an effort there to close it down.  The federal trials for some detainees are a good step toward returning to the rule of law.  Unfortunately there is some waffling here, and some willingness to retain Bush era programs, but there have definitely been positive steps.  I remain positive that Guantanamo will close, maybe not on schedule, but I do believe it will be closed by the end of 2010. 

3)A support of ending don’t ask don’t tell.  While again progress has not been as quick as would be liked, Obama’s administration keeps stating their support of allowing openly homosexual individuals to serve in the military.  Bush wouldn’t even touch this issue.

4)A willingness to face environmental issues.  Bush wouldn’t even admit global warming existed, let alone be willing to do anything about it.  While no concrete policies have taken place, Obama does seem committed to really coming to plate on this most important issue.  I will reserve judgment until after Copenhagen.  Bush probably wouldn’t have even gone to Copenhagen. 

5)Justice department decision to stop arresting medical marijuana users in states which it has been approved.  This is a major turnaround from the Bush era, and a very positive change in policy and rhetoric. 

Those are some of the things that immediately come to mind, which I feel have visibly changed from the Bush administration.  There will undoubtedly be many more changes from Bush policies as Obama’s term continues.  Again he’s not perfect, neither a progressive nor a savior, but he’s a damn site better than Bush and it is immediately apparent to all that care to look.

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By truedigger3, November 18, 2009 at 5:12 pm Link to this comment

Adam_Smith wrote echoing Volker:
“it is preferable to get the Fed to better do its bank supervising job than to create a new regulator.”
____________________________________________________

But the Fed didn’t do its job and the result is the current debacle.
The Fed is a private institution and is not a government or Federal institution. The name “Federal” is misleading. It is owned and controlled by the major banks in the country. You are talking about self policing which never works.
Did your friend Volker mention anything about re-instating Glass-Steagal act and the need for strict regulations for the financial sector and banning all the shenanigans like hedge funds and credit default swaps and short selling and all that crap.

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By liecatcher, November 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm Link to this comment

Who Are You and What Have You Done With

the Community Organizer We Elected President?

Posted on Nov 18, 2009 By Robert Scheer

Hey Robert Scheer:

I’m going to answer your last question first because
that

makes it unnecessary to answer the title question.

“When did our beloved Chicago organizer become

a golfer who shills for the banking industry?”

The answer is when the Bilderberg Group told

him what his role as POTUS would be.

Now as far as Chris Dodd, the man who slept while the

bankster spider crept & ensnared us in an
insurmountable

web of debt, I’m sure most Truth Digg readers

will agree that would be like listening to the fox
tell how to

protect the chickens after they were devoured.
Government

Sachs did in fact destroy the American economy, & to

not acknowledge that fact, or worse, to pretend that
there is

still hope to recover from the debtor’s abyss we the
people

were thrust in, is not just naive, but disingenuous.
To

even suggest that finding independent monitors is a
good

idea is like sending missionaries to find virgins in
the

legislative whore house that Washington,D.C. has
become. The FED, even before Bush 3 gave Bernanke
carte blanche, was not just above the law, but
controls everything with arrogance & impunity.

Like sending $trillions to the cabal in Europe.

You half admitted that you were fooled by Bush 3, but
then

you had to spoil your confession by :

” Mr. President, say it ain’t so.”

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By KHHZk, November 18, 2009 at 5:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The American Empire is coming to it’s end just as did the British,Roman and all the others did….Including the Chinese,I dare might add.Who do they think will buy their toxic toys and counterfeit products when the Americans are finally and truly broke?Arabs?We’ll have to plan NOW for the time when a $100.00 bill may not be enough to buy one loaf of bread.And when it begins to happen guess what SSI checks will be worth?All the “right-wingers”(read stooges for the VERY,VERY,VERY Wealthy)people will find that the oligarchs won’t let them in their gated communes either.just like the rest of us.
HAVE A NICE DAY!!!

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By Esther Sandberg, November 18, 2009 at 4:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

President Obama is the best man for the icky & disatrous job left to him by the previous dunce.  It is our job to hound our congress persons to support him as well as be straight with him.  I think he welcomes input.  Let us all keep “on the job” and push our representatives to do our will.  And thank them when they havae done so.
I believe blaming goes no where.

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Trailing Begonia's avatar

By Trailing Begonia, November 18, 2009 at 3:47 pm Link to this comment

Don’t look at me!  I didn’t even vote for the guy

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M Henri Day's avatar

By M Henri Day, November 18, 2009 at 3:08 pm Link to this comment

Dear Mr Scheer, your astonishment’s odd - as a true admirer of Abraham Lincoln, Mr Obama is determined to see that that government of the rich, by the rich, for the rich, shall not perish from the earth….

Henri

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By sollipsist, November 18, 2009 at 3:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Modern Democracy 101:

Public office is a monster machine.
Campaigns are hype machines.
We’re lucky when we get half of the person we voted for.
We’re even luckier when that half doesn’t turn ugly.

All-in-all, Obama’s generally doing what’s expected: less than the hopeful hoped and the fearful feared, and much less than the right or the left like to pretend.

If you’re surprised or outraged, you were short-sighted.

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By HonestJohn, November 18, 2009 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Just what did you expect….this has gone on for years, we are a 1 party system and have been for a long long time, how can anybody with a brain expect anything else…Just ask Noam Chomsky…come on. The oligarchs have bought and paid for our president and his pals, larry, ben, timmy et al…..why does this surprise anyone?!

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By "G"utless "W"itless Hitler, November 18, 2009 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment

SILENCE, WORMS!  What reason have you for discontent?  Are not pet foods varied and plentiful?

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By Cathy, November 18, 2009 at 2:50 pm Link to this comment

RdV said:  “At least if it was McCain-Palin, no one would be suffering any illusions.”

This is the best answer to the Obama-better-than-McCain way of thinking.  Better to know the devil that you’re dealing with.  McCain might have had real protests mobilized in the net and in the streets in unison, which is what we need at this point

Right now we are so horribly fractured in this country.  We have Obama supporters who attack anyone who speaks unkindly of their leader, we have Repubs wingnuts doing their thing, which actually works in Obama’s favor.  It keeps the supporters in defensive and worshipful of Obama instead of opening their eyes and seeing what is happening.

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By Sugar, November 18, 2009 at 2:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Gmonst, so tell me exactly what has changed from the Bush era since Obama entered the Whitehouse. In trying to cut through all of the political rhetoric and get at the substance I am truly flummoxed. Please provide a list.

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By Johann Hollar, November 18, 2009 at 2:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

That’s it, I have had it with Obama and his lies.  I am voting for Ron Paul next election or anyone else from a different party.

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By Adam_Smith, November 18, 2009 at 2:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is one past Federal Reserve chairman, Paul Volcker who courageously raised interest rates enough to end the double digit inflation of the 1970s, that I find credible. He said in an interview for Charlie Rose’s PBS show that it is preferable to get the Fed to better do its bank supervising job than to create a new regulator in the Treasury Department which has “no professional background and no traditions in the area of banking supervision”. Mr. Volcker’s credibility as a teller of unpopular truths is only enhanced by his contention that China is gaining in power and influence even as the United States economic and intellectual leadership is slipping and by his objection to acceptance of the “too big to fail” idea as an obvious and dangerous moral hazard.

It is far too common and politically easy to “solve” a problem by creating yet another new agency. I think that is the easy path of least resistance in this case as well and I would really like to see the problem at the existing agency fixed for once.

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By antispin, November 18, 2009 at 2:36 pm Link to this comment

We thought we were getting Roosevelt and instead we got Hoover.

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By Big Jess, November 18, 2009 at 1:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As I have said before here on this site, it’s time to face facts:

Obama is the greatest politician in American history. But it’s not because he managed to achieve what many thought impossible, the election of a black man as President. It’s because no previous politician has ever combined such oratorical skills and personal charisma with such a complete and abject lack of courage and principles.

Obama never intended to help common folk. He’s spent his entire life working to get away from his common roots and join the ranks of the elite.

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By Gmonst, November 18, 2009 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment

I think Obama is being exactly the kind of president I expected him to be.  I was an outspoken supporter of his candidacy and I remain convinced that I made the right choice. He’s not really that great, but pretty good for a mainstream-style politician.  That what I always saw him as, a pretty good mainstream politician, not a savior. 

I shudder to think of how the situation would have unfolded had McCain been the victor.  The economy would be in the tank worse than it is, and the war front would undoubtedly be escalating much more rapidly, with the possibility of military conflict with Iran.

I also still feel he was a better choice than Clinton, but she would probably have been pretty similar, perhaps a bit more hawkish on the war front. 

I never saw him as a savior or some kind of new day in politics.  I saw the “change” rhetoric as being a change from Bush policies.  I know many like to get in a hulabaloo and say he just continues the bush policies, but its really not true.  He is a much more level-headed and intelligent leader than Bush ever was, and much has changed.  Obviously not everything, and not as much as we would hope for, but its undoubtedly a very different administration from Bush.

Obama really is doing most of the things he said he would do how he said he would do them.  I think a lot of people projected their wishes for a progressive president onto a man who really was never that much of a progressive.  Unfortunately, there was no realistic progressive candidate for President, McKinney and Nader didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell.  That was just the facts on the ground.  So I voted with the best realistic option, knowing it wasn’t going to end the status quo.  I still think he gives progressives an opening to effect policy in ways which wouldn’t have otherwise been possible.

Maybe someday we will get someone with Obama’s charisma and Kucinich’s insight, compassion, and bravery.  Someone who can become a realistic contender despite the odds, and deliver truly progressive reforms.  I look forward to it, but don’t expect Obama to be that kind of leader.

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By thebeerdoctor, November 18, 2009 at 1:37 pm Link to this comment

Since the either Obama or McCain thing has again reared its ugly head, I am reminded of what Matt Taibbi wrote in his now famous diatribe of then Governor Palin in Rolling Stone, after she gave that wretchedly insincere speech at the Republican National Convention, “it was like watching Gidget address the Reichstag,” Taibbi wrote. Matt was also wise enough to observe “that huge chunks of American voters no longer even demand that their candidates actually have policy positions; they simply consume them as media entertainment, rooting for or against them according to the reflexive prejudices of their demographic”.
Which also, by the way, explains the Obama phenomena, where supporters dismissed anyone who was critical of what he actually said on policies, choosing instead to consume his media entertainment package.
So was Obama a better choice than gnarly old McCain? It seemed that way to many at the time. A better packaged media package to be sure, but now with torture camps still in operation, expanding wars and a complete looting of the treasury, you might just wonder if it really makes any damn difference at all.

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By Klem, November 18, 2009 at 1:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I voted for Obama too.  And the Obama I see now is not the one I voted for. I knew he was on the left but I had no idea he was sooo far left. And he has filled his administration with people that I don’t understand. I could never vote republican but after this I don’t know if I can ever vote Democrat again.

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By TAO Walker, November 18, 2009 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment

Looks like Robert Scheer is suffering a killer case of “buyer’s remorse.”  He’s getting no sympathy at all so far from commenters here.

He shouldn’t expect, either, that the stale old defense of “I’ve been had!” will result in any relief for him.  He holds his self out as one whose views are worth others’ precious attention.  He could’ve avoided the present opprobrium simply by keeping his keyboard (if not his restless ‘mind’) still….but he didn’t.

Anyhow, it isn’t all the smoke-and-mirrors that’s to blame for the domesticated peoples’ common predicament….or even the fumers and the flashers taking-up all that faux face-time on TV.  It’s really the unwillingness of “....your huddled masses” to get out of their own “individual” comfort-zone that keeps them CONfined to the CONtraption that’s systematically killing them.

A newspaper publisher in Alexandria, Virginia, once asked this Old Man, as a sort of test, what her husband had died-of.  To the reply that it was a kind of cancer, she said, “No, it was fear.”  Her reaction to the information that fear is absolutely the worst kind of cancer was ‘mixed,’ to say the least.

The reek of fear is everywhere these days among those who saw in Barack Obama some kind of “savior.”  Neither is its putrid stench from the rabid “right” covered-up by all their feigned outrage.  None of that is his “fault,” though.  He may’ve dopily encouraged the damn-fool belief that he had “the answers.”  He may’ve provided a CONvenient focus for the strain of rampant atavism always driving the nativist mobs among theamericanpeople.  He may hisownself be every bit as venal and immature as both his CONstituency and his detractors are.  What in hell else, though, would any sensible Person expect?

Meantime, all the media-made distraction CONtinues to serve its purpose….which is no good whatsoever for the distracted.

Hokahey!

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By truedigger3, November 18, 2009 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment

myloUSMC wrote:
“THE FAR LEFT ARE RUNNING OBAMA “

The “FAR LEFT”, do you mean Wall St. and big business??
You are not funny.!!

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By ThomasG, November 18, 2009 at 12:47 pm Link to this comment

I would feel better about President Barack Obama if he would reinstitute FDR’s Fireside Chats and would take some lessons from Gov. Howard Dean with regard to representing the interests of the Common Population.

Incremental progress is all that can guide the United States’ “Ship of State” and incremental progress has a cumulative effect.  I would feel better about my vote for Barack Obama if Barack Obama would report to the Common Population what incremental progress in the best interest of the Common Population has been achieved in the first eleven months of his presidency, and what the Common Population can expect to be done in the coming months and years. 

We hear from others how bad or good President Barack Obama is and, since President Obama became president, President Barack Obama has turned into the singing frog.  The people of the United States, the Common Population, has no need of a president that is a singing frog.  The People of the United States, the Common Population, need a president like FDR, who will act decisively in their best interest and address the nation to give hope to the people like FDR did with his Fireside Chats.

If President Barack Obama cannot feel the pain of the people, act in the people’s best interest and address the nation and the people to make the people aware of progress to alleviate their suffering, President Barack Obama , unlike FDR, will be a one-term president.

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By Night-Gaunt, November 18, 2009 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment

“As for Obama’s detractors, did you guys/gals REALLY think McCain-Palin would be a better choice ?”-RdV

Don’t you understand? They give us two choices, anyone else has to climb mount Everest and most never make it, to give us two bad choices. One always looks better than the other but both are bad. One has sugar the other is straight up poison. Get it? We have a system that keeps out change that would allow our gov’t to work for us instead of against us.

Blackmail? Hardly, some still give him too much credit along with the Democratic party. Both have sold our long ago to the crypto-fascists who have been busy taking over the two parties.(There are exceptions but they are too scattered and few to make any real change we desperately need.) Obama is just a bridge president like Clinton was before, both are right wingers portrayed as lefties. [It helps to keep the sham going in a gray propaganda kind of way.]

I would also submit that a certain amount of psychological conditioning and manipulation are on going using the present Great Depression to force people to wish for a savior, so they got Obama. Though Hillary Clinton would have done as well. Are you getting the picture? It is the only thing that I see as fitting what we have here. The slow decline to economic ruin and hidden fascism started in 1980. We are on the verge of losing it to a theocracy at any time.

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By truedigger3, November 18, 2009 at 12:34 pm Link to this comment

djnoll wrote addressing Obama:
“But, now, Mr. President, it is time to become a leader - a real leader.”

Keep dreaming and fantasizing while you digest the enormous quantities of kool aid still in your system.

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By tman, November 18, 2009 at 12:33 pm Link to this comment

To bad we can no longer depend on the U.S. military to defend the constitution. They have sold out to the military industrial complex for cushy jobs after retirement and are now nothing but paid mercenaries or stormtroopers for the Zionists and the bankers of the world.

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By myloUSMC, November 18, 2009 at 12:15 pm Link to this comment

THE FAR LEFT ARE RUNNING OBAMA ,  HE Is not loke the KENNEDYS in any way they spent their entire lives in public Service and were not new to the political life. THIS young Man is like a Junior Varsity high school player in THE DALLAS CowBoy Starting line UP ....NOT only clueless but ineffective(for those of you who Care Dallas lost this week) the only thing I could think of.. Unless you wanted World Wrestling which is ALL B.S. and absolutely no brains..
WE AS a country are in Trouble

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By Dead Last, November 18, 2009 at 12:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Putting on my apologist hat, I think Obama believes that health care, any health care, will not get done if he takes on any other challenges.  This is his interpretation of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.  He saw Clinton’s first defeat as the biggest, so Obama is staking everything on health care. 

But unfortunately he is dying from a thousand paper-cuts.  There is Gitmo, Iraq, Afganistan, Iran, Israel, unemployment, lack of credit, DADT, Rahm Emmanuel, Eric Holder, etc. etc. etc. Add to this list the fact that the health care bill is not universal and that the public option is neither, one must ask why he continues to play the bad hand Bush gave him. It is time to demand a new game.

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By berniem, November 18, 2009 at 11:58 am Link to this comment

When are we going to wake up? Obama is the perfect Trojan Horse to distract us from righting a ship of state dangerously listing to starboard since before being dramatically exacerbated by the beatification of the sainted Ronnie. He’s the perfect foil to keep the bigoted Neanderathals of the “heartland” frothing at the mouth over anything smacking of social justice while holding the progressives at bay for fear of committing a politically incorrect faux pas by criticizing the shining star of affirmative action less than one year out of the shute. What we need is the return of the Chicago 7(or maybe the Magnificent 7).

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By thebeerdoctor, November 18, 2009 at 11:34 am Link to this comment

As Kay Johnson, RDV. and others have noted, governments have become adjuncts of the international corporate state. President Obama’s recent appearance in China revealed that. I wonder what Mao would think, seeing those 2 men in well made suits performing their political stagecraft? Yes, the United States can still blow up this world to kingdom come, but what can it do about that trillion dollar debt? As Tao Walker might say, it is one big CON job.
So President Obama has become an avid golfer. Is there any sport that exacerbates class division more than that silly wasteful game? But others have noted also, the elite become totally self-absorbed. What better way to escape their supposed problems, by putting around the links? Eh?

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By todd, November 18, 2009 at 11:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

who didn’t see thru this guy?  c’mon gimme a break.  community organizer maybe but wall street owns him. 

mass protest.  it’s the only way.

grow some balls get on the bus and protest folks.  everytime.  the numbers have to grow. 
  they don’t listen to progressives and their truthdig analysis articles about this and that aspect of the American Corporatocracy.

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By sawdusttx, November 18, 2009 at 11:22 am Link to this comment

I agree with “Shift”. Completely. Fakery. Demogoguery. Slick suits and a grand facade’ of a grin. And I believe the “blackmail” to be as much emotional as anything else, but he is allowing it to drive him and if he will allow that, he will (and is) sell(selling) the entire country down the river.

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By joedee1969, November 18, 2009 at 11:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This president is too busy bowing down to foreign heads of state to care about us:

http://americaspeaksink.com/2009/11/race-black-president-bows/

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By starfish, November 18, 2009 at 11:19 am Link to this comment

Well, I guess better late than never, but our country COULD have been saved from this awful president if the Obama robots had opened their minds and eyes to reality.

Many, many of us saw what Obama was long before the election—he’s a FRAUD.

Yes, Obama is a fraud that has been perpetrated on the American public, and I just hope America survives this presidency.

Many of us (Democrats, progressives and liberals) tried to inform everyone we could, but many others covered their ears and shut their minds to facts. The warning signals were all there, for anyone to see—anyone who was willing to deal with the truth.

Shame on Robert Scheer for being so gullible and believing Obama’s smooth talk while not taking the time to look at Obama’s record.

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By Mcoyote, November 18, 2009 at 11:15 am Link to this comment

There is a simple—and not very profound—reason why Barack Obama is now president and it comes down to three simple things: Manufactured Media Hype, Corporate Loyalty and a Room Full of Lobbyists.

Mr. Scheer you played a small part in legitimizing Obama and now do you not have responsibilities? Do you not accept the role of active citizen now that your guy is a war criminal, A Wall St. yes-man and so much more? Do you not understand that the policies Obama promulgates are policies that you have tacitly condoned through your support of this transparently opportunistic man you perceived as some “agent of change” when many of us pointed out in detail and with painstaking patience how Obama was in fact nothing more than a corporate lackey and has been throughout his entire unexceptional political career?

Have you conveniently forgotten Obama voted to re-authorize the repressive PATRIOT Act.

Or that he voted for the appointment of the war criminal Condaleeza Rice to (of all things) Secretary of State?

Or that he opposed Senator Russ Feingold’s (D-WI) move to censure the Bush administration after the president was found to have illegally wiretapped U.S. citizens?

Or that he shamefully distanced himself from fellow Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin’s forthright criticism of U.S. torture practices at Guantanamo?

Or that he refused to foreswear the use of first-strike nuclear weapons against Iran?

Or that every single time it came up Obama was PRO-WAR with his votes?

You know I’m wondering about this.

In only a year or so we’ve seen that Obama is going to continue with the Imperial juggernaut unfettered by any pesky constituents who dreamt otherwise.

Now we’ve seen Obama will gladly hand over taxpayer dollar to the proven grand bandits of Wall St. and will do so in amounts that would leave even the Bush gang green with envy.

In only a month we’ve seen that the much rumored Changling has surrounded himself with a cesspool of reactionary troglodytes, the very same pariahs that have been swirling around DC for decades.

So I wonder, as we bear witness to the entire charade what are the responsibilities of those who approached their guy with nothing less than religious fervor.

Do these people not have any responsibility to hold their man’s “feet to the fire?”

Do they not bear any responsibility for the criminal acts they have enabled with their tacit or vocal support?

So do they just get to walk away from the voting booth and now just lament that their guy has been “a disappointment so far” and not bear any responsibility for his policies, policies which many of us have described in detail long before they even became policies?

Is their any responsibility for every child who is bombed by US drones in Afghanistan?

Is their any responsibility for the Obama supported continuation of the corporate takeover of the world and for this unending financial disaster?

What about for wiretapping and rendition (both of which Obama supports)?

You seem disappointed Mr. Scheer but you have no right to be so for it is you who have failed as you in your fervor failed to heed such obvious signs and actively worked to put Obama in office. You Mr. Scheer either did not do your homework or purposefully ignored the actual record of the man so as to buttress your own self-affirmation.

So what now Mr. Scheer? Do you not have responsibilities or do you now just sit back and simper with articles expressing your “disappointment” that the tooth fairy did not leave money under the pillow?

I need to know.

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By Sallyport, November 18, 2009 at 11:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Purple Girl thinks we should all act like adults & not expect too much of our dear
leader, not keep on about all the things he said he’d do and hasn’t done, & the
things we want done; we should wait patiently for him to build his desired
consensus, &c.  On the contrary, we must keep griping, pushing, hollering, let it
be known that there’s no doubt about whether or not we want & need these
things.  While it’s true that we no longer have a representative democracy, since
our “representatives” only really represent the corporate powers that fund them,
the President is directly (more or less) elected (we oughta get rid of the electoral
college while we’re cleaning things up!) & sooner or later will feel the hot breath
of the people on his neck. Don’t give up your dreams. Fight for them.

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By NXM, November 18, 2009 at 11:05 am Link to this comment

I was a strong supporter of Obama because I hoped he would get the big issues right.  As he prepares to escalate in Afghanistan, a war with no clear mission and no foreseeable end, I really have to question my vote.  It pains me to say, as an orthodox Democrat, that I may well have been wrong on Obama. 

When I was a very small child, 3 or 4 years old, I had a very good friend—his father had already been killed as a soldier in Vietnam. 

Later, when I was growing up, my best friend’s father had been a Marine in Vietnam who survived having his foot shot off—he had to play dead for eight hours while Vietcong were all around him—saved when the Marines happened to regain the ground he lay on. 

That friend’s mother, despite being pretty liberal on almost every issue, always voted Republican for president.  Her reason?  Her sole purpose in life was to prevent her son (and me by extension) from having to go to a senseless war as her husband did.  (She actually got herself on the Selective Service board for our area as a last resort in case of a draft.)  She said it was because the Democrats always get the country into war.  This was before George W. Bush, so in her experience, it had been FDR, Truman, JFK/LBJ.  But who she was really talking about was LBJ. 

Of course, George W. Bush threw that analysis off with Iraq.  But look at us today with Afghanistan.  In comparison to the war and proposed escalation in Afghanistan, the invasion of Iraq was a downright rational decision—a powerful ruler in a very important strategic location hated the U.S., sitting on acres and acres of oil, etc.  I may not have agreed with it, but from a realpolitik perspective, I can understand it.  There is no such rational realpolitik argument for Afghanistan.

I know that a Democrat president can’t do everything that we as progressives want.  I would at least expect him or her to get the big questions right. 

Obama is on the verge of getting the Afghanistan issue very, very wrong—and for me it is all too LBJ-esque.  Just today Obama said on CNN that he hoped all the U.S. troops would be out of Afghanistan by “the end of my presidency.”  Wow.  I wonder if he was referring to 2012 or 2016.  I think it might be 2012, but he probably meant 2016.  Six more years there?

With regard to the economy, as posters have pointed out, he may have inherited economic problems, but the no-strings-attached massive payoffs to the so-called “banks” is an injustice that I think will result in Obama being tossed from office in 2012.  It can’t be undone, and I think Americans of all stripes will think it was an unforgivable act.  Which it was.  He has exacerbated it all. 

Thus, as a really loyal Democrat who has shed blood, sweat, and tears to get Democrats elected, (not really blood, but definitely sweat and tears), I have to really wonder if the U.S. might actually not have been better off with McCain.  No he didn’t campaign nearly as well as Obama, but how would he have led?

If Afghanistan goes as badly as I anticipate it will, I may start voting like my friends mother.  Especially now that I have kids.

NXM

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By truedigger3, November 18, 2009 at 11:04 am Link to this comment

Purple girl wrote:
“Change rarely comes in a fit, but in a slow gradual progression.”
_____________________________________________________

Pg,

Did you read about a guy whose name is Franklin Rosevelt and what he did???
I cann’t believe you still defending Obama.
He didn’t do anything except to solidify and strenthen what Bush was doing and is rolling on the same tracks Bush was rolling on.
He is surrounded with the same people who got us in the wars and in this economic mess.
Remove your partisan blinders, we are having only a single party in this country which the party of big money/corpo party and the Democratic and Republican parties are two different mask for that party.

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By Dave Schwab, November 18, 2009 at 11:03 am Link to this comment

Don’t blame me, I voted for Cynthia McKinney!

Maybe Truthdig could start giving equal coverage to the Green Party and its candidates? You know, the one party that isn’t bankrolled by Goldman Sachs?

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By Ann Warren, November 18, 2009 at 11:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama may have been a community organizer, but he was also a professor at the University of Chicago.

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By djnoll, November 18, 2009 at 11:00 am Link to this comment

Someone here posted that they thought Obama might be the object of blackmail.  I am inclined to offer a slightly different theory:  The Democratic Party was held for ransom, and in order to keep it alive, Obama paid, and is paying, the ransom.

Obama built one of the largest ground campaign forces in modern history, outside of the DNC and Clinton apparatus of the Democratic Party. He based his campaign out of Chicago away from the DC machine led by Clinton.  She and her husband took the Democratic Party to the edge of a total split (like they did before they left Arkansas to the state party that did not support them).  When it was apparent that Obama would be the candidate - they took the party hostage.  The deal:  we will campaign for you and help you get elected, but we get to determine who runs your agenda and who staffs your White House, or we split the party by merely sitting back and doing nothing to help you, and give the GOP at least 4-8 more years to trash this country while we walk away with our images clean for another run at the White House in 2012.  Obama, being a Democrat, had to accept the deal rather than let McCain take the White House.

But, now, Mr. President, it is time to become a leader - a real leader.  It is time to throw out what is not working, and if that means splitting the party, then realize, sir, you are the head of that party, not Bill Clinton.  His time is over, as is his wife’s and all their retread appointees. It is time to split the corporations away from the Party, or if necessary, split the party once and for all, and lead the Independents - both the conservatives and the liberals who voted you into office and ran your ground campaign - as a new party leader who puts country first, not corporations or their interests.

It is time to support the regulations of banks not by former employees of those banks or Republican and Democratic hacks who set up this disaster, but by independent regulators who are honest accountants and will do what needs to be done.  It is time to do a controlled break up of the mega-banks and it is time to stop allowing those who have favors to repay to control this policy and its oversight.  It was wrong when Bush and Clinton did it and it is wrong now, Sir.

Clean house, Mr. President, and lead this nation as you are capable of doing.  Let the chips fall where they may with the Clinton faction and their corporate party, including Pelosi and Reid. You are the leader of the Democratic Party, and it is up to you to hold it together or let it perish as needed to help America. It is time, Mr. President, and if you do, those who voted for you in good faith will back your play.  Do not, sir, and you will be a one term president because the public who voted you in will not stand for betrayal of what you ran on.  They have had enough of the false Democrats and the Republicans, and their giveaways to banks and corporations.  It is time for Americans to come first, last, and always, and Mr. President, I suggest you realize that.

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By Misfiteye, November 18, 2009 at 10:55 am Link to this comment

re JDmydticDJ, November 18 at 2:33 pm #

Congratulation on winning the election Mr. President.

Now Barry, it’s time for you to meet the people who run the country/world.

I’m confident we will have your complete cooperation.  We certainly wouldn’t want anything to happen to your family.

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By JDmysticDJ, November 18, 2009 at 10:33 am Link to this comment

I have given this issue much thought, and I have no evidence to back up my conspiratorial theories, but the only answers I can come up with, regarding Obama’s behavior that make any sense to me are: Either his public pronouncements before the election were not his true beliefs, and were only designed to get him elected, or, he’s being blackmailed.

Perhaps a more rational appraisal would be that after the election, he became frightened, feeling that he was not competent to deal with the problems confronting him, so he turned to the status quo’ for guidance.

All this is mere speculation, I know, but many of us are disappointed, and still waiting for the promised “Change.”

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By prole, November 18, 2009 at 10:23 am Link to this comment

What’s up with Bobby Scheer? The columnist “for change once promised to take on the powerful banking interests but is now doing their bidding.” It was Scheer after all, who voted for Obama “with enthusiasm” and urged others to do so – and to contribute greenbacks to faux-populist Obama’s billion dollar campaign swindle. And now Scheer is squeezing out another dreary column lamenting the consequences of his myopic misdirection, rehashing the well-worn facts of corporate Uncle Tom Obama’s crony capitalism for the umpteenth time. Is it really necessary to remind anyone but yet again that Scheer’s Barack Obama is “allowing these retreads from the Clinton era who went on to great riches on Wall Street to set economic policy for his administration. The fatal hallmark of this president’s financial policy is that it is being designed by the very people whose previous legislative efforts created the mess that enriched them while impoverishing the nation, and they now want more of the same.” It’s not only the policymakers that are “retreads”, but Scheer’s critiques of them are becoming retreads, as well.  The fatal hallmark of this columnist’s presumed censure of these venal policies is that it is being designed by the very people he himself urged everyone to vote for! All of these shadowy characters, Rubin, Summers, Wolin, Goolsbee, et.al. were hovering around the Obama camp throughout the election campaign. And Scheer wants to wash his hands of them all now and imply he didn’t have a clue as to what was coming?!  Maybe that’s when “our beloved Chicago organizer became a golfer who shills for the banking industry”. Or maybe it was long before that when our befuddling Chicago machine pol absorbed the ruling class culture at Harvard and other elitist institutions he was molded in.  And maybe Scheer should be joining his idol out on the links since he’s such a big fan of Ron Paul and the Washington Times and since he constantly shills for fork-tongued Reaganite Obama. “It is depressing” to read a columnist “who had great hopes for Obama” and who “credit editors at the right-wing Washington Times for getting it right.” Like there aren’t any left publications who have been saying the same thing all along, “getting it right” even before the election, warning then that this is exactly what would happen, that Obama’s lies were not “change we can believe in”?  And where was Scheer? Embedded in Barack’s bandwagon! Don’t try and say it ain’t so, Bobby!

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By Craig Della Penna, November 18, 2009 at 10:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m torn between being glad that you have finally woken up and being furious that it took you so long because now I have live with the consequences of your poor decision. There is a long and growing list of political observers and pundits who drank the koolaid and are now realizing that they actually elected Bush III.

All I can say is: welcome back and the next time you get a tingle up your leg, regard it as a warning sign that something is very wrong.

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By Dusty, November 18, 2009 at 10:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well…I tried numerous times to register, but every name is already taken. Very odd.

Mr. Scheer is an excellent writer and I have admired his columns for many years. The Obama phenomenon is what is wrong with America - idolizing politicians. Mr. Scheer’s article sounds more like Captain Renault than an open eyed observation.

Obama was as bought and paid for as George Bush, Bubba Clinton and all the miscreants that wind up in our centralized government. Obama’s money came form all the characters now running the country and Obama is clearly operating in their interests. Perhaps a point of empathy, the lesson of JFK’s assassination cannot be ignored.

The federal government is out of citizen control. What passes for federal government is an open collaboration with corporations to eliminate Constitutional imperatives. It’s not a surprise. It’s not inconceivable. It’s not in the best interests of either the citizenry or the health of the nation.

Black box voting has eliminated accountability. We are on our own.

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By Shift, November 18, 2009 at 10:16 am Link to this comment

Obama lied.  Change is not what we have.  Seventeen thousand jobs are lost each day.  Two thousand homes are foreclosed on.  Fifty thousand people have no health insurance.  Wages are inadequate and people are living in hunger.  Obama’s answer is give money to the wealthy.  By what reason does a Harvard graduate imagine that his economic policies are helping working people?  He doesn’t.  Obama is about Obama and little else.  Obama is a creepy man with a creepy mind who dresses to the nines and sports a dishonest smile.  His vacuousness is fair warning to those who can think.

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By bogi666, November 18, 2009 at 9:54 am Link to this comment

Christain96, than k for correctly identifying the Tower of Babel as Washington DC. Very astute interpretation of what the biblical Tower of Babel prediction really means. thanks

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By Michael Shaw, November 18, 2009 at 9:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What Roosevelt had was compassion for the little guy and a philosophy that he made no secret of when he said “the rich can take care of themselves and they do.” You would have thought Obama if anyone would have adopted this same compassion. Instead he has adopted the philosophy of the real Machiavellians, the Wall Street corporations who say “only the rich need help and screw everybody else.”

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By RdV, November 18, 2009 at 9:53 am Link to this comment

“As for Obama’s detractors, did you guys/gals REALLY think McCain-Palin would be a better choice ?”

  Here’s is the problem with that:
  Obama could duplicate(ahem)Bush policy from foreign policy to the environment to pandering to a specific class, yet some wouldn’t or couldn’t recognize that due to either clinging to hope against hope that just around the next bend he will toss a bone or partisan blindness.
If Obama was exactly the same as Bush but with different windowdressing would some still rally around superficial apperances despite the undeniable record?
It is a scam.

  At least if it was McCain-Palin, no one would be suffering any illusions.

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By bogi666, November 18, 2009 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

Kay Johnson, thanks for your comment. With respect to the mandatory health insurance requirement for which their would be fines for not buying it from the insurance companies President Obushama decreed that those who can afford mandatory health insurance should be penalized for feeding at the public trough. What about the $trillions Obushama and Congress have doled out to the corporate welfare kings like the bank bailout, financing corruption in Iraq and Afghanistan with American taxes, the list for corporate welfare is is endless while President Obushama chastises China and individuals and does nothing except to increase the dole of taxpayer $‘s trillions to the CORPORATE WELFARE KINGS and the wealthy. In a way, Obushama can’t be criticized for thinking that the American public is ignorant and illiterate after the Bushs, Clinton and Reagoon who treated us as the fools they know we are. This is just the start folks. Nanotechnology weaponry will make the cherished illusion of security and protection of citizens, because of their guns from the government obsolete.

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By Michael Shaw, November 18, 2009 at 9:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Give him more time? To do what? Finish the work Bush started with the help of Clinton and Graham? Oh, what a mistake we did make thinking that getting rid of Bush would solve most of our problems. Not that we had much of a choice. The dog and pony show that is the two party system IE really the one party, The Wall Street Party) chooses our candidates. They chose McCain and Obama. Looked like a no brainer didn’t it! Well it was a no brainer for Wall Street!

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By CArol Bayard, November 18, 2009 at 9:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

WHo didn’t know that all of this was coming when Obama, who raised more money than any other candidate ever had, and had charisma and a great smile and could talk so well, at least when he had a teleprompter, was elected. WOW! Don’t take responsibility for any of it.The people spoke and were bamboozzled by him.

I hate to say I told you so. My candidate was Dennis Kucinich, who is HONEST and not OWNED BY BIG MONEY! So, of course nobody listened to him. If anybody had followed his career from the time he was the youngest mayor in the country in Cleveland, we all would have kown that only he speaks the truth on every issue and really represents his constituents because he listens to them and cares what happens to them.

If Dennis were president, we would have already had single payer health care (Medicare for all) in place and we would all be safe from the disaster of catastrophic illness. There would be no people dying from lack of health care. And The economy would be in fine shape because he would not have allowed the criminals to take over the money of the people! The banks and the insurance companies and the drug companies have become the only power in the country. The people have been sold out time and time again because we ween’t paying attention.

As Dennis said during the convention- “Wake up America!” We’re being sold down the river by the fat cats who got fatter because we weren’t paying attention. SO here we all are - once again the victims of a corrupt rich society.


Lets show Congress that we are paying attention at last and throw the bums out! Call, write, email or visit your representatives and inform them that unless we get single payer health care and unless they start regulating and punishing the banks and the insurance companies and the drug companies for their crimes, they are Fired!!! We have the power. We just have to use it! This is what Bernie Sanders, the other honest person in COngress, suggested as well. There are a few other honest people in Congress, I’m sure, but they don’t seem to be speaking up as loud as possible and demanding that Congress clean up their act.

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By Hulk2008, November 18, 2009 at 9:03 am Link to this comment

Since our dear government always moves at a snail’s pace, maybe (oh, please) there will be reforms that make it through by accident if nothing else.  The problem with Dodd’s ideas is Dodd himself - when a good idea comes from a questionable source, there is a natural tendency to distrust it. 

As for Obama’s detractors, did you guys/gals REALLY think McCain-Palin would be a better choice ?  If so I have a beautiful “lake lot” for sale.  I’ll even throw in a sack of wax lips as a bonus. 

(I can see that scenario now - the headlines would be “US INVADES IRAN AND PAKISTAN AND TEXAS - GLENN BECK DECLARES MARTIAL LAW IN NEW ENGLAND”.)

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By David, November 18, 2009 at 8:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The truth is that if any independent agency looked closely at the major financial instutions, they would discover that the CEOs and their toadies have sucked all the ‘real’ money out and all that is left are bits and pieces of worthless sub prime mortgages.  This discovery would lead to the collapse of the world economy.  Remember, trillions of dollars of credit swaps have been created out of thin air to prop up these financial giants.  More that 5 times what the economy of the entire Earth is worth.  As long as the emperor stays locked in his room, no one can see that his new clothes do not exist.  Looks like it’s not just climate change that can destroy the planet.

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By rolmike, November 18, 2009 at 8:51 am Link to this comment

if you drank the obama cola that’s your problem, mr. sheer. goldman sachs was the biggest contributor to his campaign, and this is the goldman-sachs presidency. smoother, better coloring than the enron presidency that’s all.

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By Shtarker Sam, November 18, 2009 at 8:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

keep bitchin’, keep pitchin’

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By frank1569, November 18, 2009 at 8:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

First, let’s replace ‘regulation’ with the word ‘law.’

Now, instead of fighting, let’s run with the precedent. For example:

Walmart is the biggest employer in America - let’s dump OSHA and subcontract worker safety law enforcement to them. Clearly, they know more about workers than a bunch of socialist bureaucrats.

And the FBI is so busy, let’s subcontract out weapons law enforcement to the NRA - seriously, who knows more about who should and should not possess a weapon than weapons-nuts?

Applied across the board, what could possibly go haywire?

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By Nancy Bordier, November 18, 2009 at 8:10 am Link to this comment

If Obama is judged by his acts alone, his administration’s $23.7 trillion bailout of insolvent financial institutions, which should have been forced into bankruptcy and broken up, will probably do more to increase the wealth gap between the rich and everybody else in America than any other president.

He is in the process of bankrupting the federal government by transferring public funds to private financial institutions, advocating health care bills that will transfer hundreds of billions of dollars of public monies to predatory private health insurers annually, and conducting foreign wars that incite rather than reduce terrorism and cost more every year than the proposed health care reforms will cost over ten years.

I believe that the discrepancy between Obama’s pro-public campaign rhetoric and post-inauguration speeches, on the one hand, and his presidential acts, on the other hand, demonstrate that the corporate campaign contributions he solicited were and always will be the driving force behind his actions.

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By RdV, November 18, 2009 at 7:48 am Link to this comment

“...the mundane steady movement of progress”

  And so the whining lament grows increasingly shrill:

  “You have to give him more time! You can’t expect change overnight!”

  Meanwhile, in the grace period he is allowed by those still in denial, he rams through policy benefiting the corporate elite and actually obstructs real policy change in their interest…Notice, how it never takes any time—no time at all for the Republicans to implement their version of change.

“But, he has such a mess to clean up”?

    Then why is he CONTINUING the mess, elaborating and extending the mess?

  Or, the other excuse that he has to reach some kind of “consensus”.

  Interesting though, isn’t it, that he doesn’t seek consensus with progressives—who actually represent majority opinion, but rather panders to a small, totally discredited Rightwing minority—thoroughly routed in the last election,managing to succeed in totally squandering a historical opportunity to actually implement a paradigm shift.

  And then, of course, they always posture as the mature adults—lecturing us to “grow up” when it is them still clinging to their gossamer fantasy of the hope and change fairy and actually OBSTRUCTING others from confronting Obama with his betrayal and attempting to pressure for real change and accountability.

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By Kay Johnson, November 18, 2009 at 7:46 am Link to this comment

Tell me something I didn’t know—as stated by thebeerdoctor! His post also mentioned Nomi Prins, who has, from the beginning reported on the interconnected web of banking elites, as has Pam Martens, Gretchen Morgenson, et. al. I still remember when Glass-Steagall was dismantled, and listening to the ominous warning from Senator Dorgan.

Three specific issues/votes by Obama alerted me to a reality that I would have liked to ignore, but couldn’t. I watched, and I listened very carefully during Obama’s award-winning (Advertising Age) campaign.

1) Obama’s FISA vote—giving immunity to the telecoms; continuing surveillance
2) Obama’s consistent rhetoric and intent to escalate the war in Afghanistan
3) Obama’s support of the bank bailout

Therefore, I did NOT vote for Obama. However, the election was a momentous event in this country. And, like so many others, I hoped that my intuition would be shown to be incorrect.

Following the election, Obama appointed Geithner and Summers, and I knew the score right away. I wrote countless letters, like many other citizens did, but what do “we the people” really know? I even marched on Wall Street a few times, to no avail.

Look at the health care reform bill, oops, I mean “health insurance reform” bill, which is a complete disaster—a mandate to buy health insurance, and another upwards shift of wealth to the already massively wealthy health industry executives. Obama made backdoor deals with those executives to our detriment. And, the bill doesn’t even go into effect until 2013, nor will it cover all of the uninsured when it does go into effect. By 2013, no doubt, with this economic crisis, the numbers of uninsured will be even higher than the numbers are today. It’s simply an illusion of a solution.

Obama has really been nothing but consistent with his actions. Clearly, he supports big business/corporations, and privatization, not “we the people” and the public good.

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By Louis Proyect, November 18, 2009 at 7:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I predict that all these disappointed liberals, from Robert Scheer to Frank Rich, will find a “good reason” to back Obama in the next election against whichever “scary” Republican who runs against him. This is the political equivalent of Bill Murray’s “Groundhog Day”.

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By G.Anderson, November 18, 2009 at 7:28 am Link to this comment

But it is so…Of course this current adminstration in Washington will deny it…

In fact they will tout, all that they have done, as staving off economic disaster.

Expect to hear more of the phrase, “jobless recovery”, a neat semantic turn of phrase that symbolises to a tee, the B.S., their dishing out…

Expect, more attacks on real reform, and personal attacks on Senator Dodd, including investigations into his personal finances, etc., etc., all to stall reform..

It’s crystal clear that the corporations continue to run things for their benefit, just as they did under Bush.

In a few more years, we will return to Republican Rule, and the dismanteling of this country can continue to pick up speed again.

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By Miss Spelling, November 18, 2009 at 7:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@purple girl—

Should Presidents be expected to keep their campaign promises?

Or is it all just a private joke, they can say whatever they want for 2 years or whatever and then do something sometimes 180 degrees from what they campaigned on?

Just askin. Thanks!

Signed, Curious

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By Jon, November 18, 2009 at 7:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Fellow posters and bloggers:  I don’t think the story that Mr. Scheer tells here can be told too many times.  We need these ‘signpost’ articles to help us keep in mind when events began that influenced what we see today—-good and bad.  Such as the discovery of the Salk vaccine in 1952.  Or that FDR created Social Security in his first 100 days, etc.

Obama’s 2008 campaign won Advertising Age’s ‘marketing campaign of the year’ award.  But today, what do we see, but a continuation of W’s economic and war policies from a president who certainly did not talk this way during the campaign.  I wrote months ago that we’d soon realize we had been punked, and I stand by that assessment.  This president is wholly standing up for the Street and the banks, and is paying zero attention to unemployed, foreclosed and homeless Americans, and Congress is following his lead.  Where would this policy—to ignore Americans but have great fealty toward the banks and Wall Street come from?

Such a policy comes from Reagan, HW Bush, Clinton, and W.  After all Clinton signed NAFTA, gave us GATT, and went along with Reagan’s ‘welfare queen’ mantra, and he signed the repeal of Glass-Stegall, much to Summers glee, who said at the time:

“At the end of the 20th century, we will at last be replacing an archaic set of restrictions with a legislative foundation for a 21st-century
financial system.” The measure…“would provide significant benefits to the national economy.”

Oh really? 

The simple truth is that Obama is going along to get along, is ideologically challenged and worse, a liar as bald faced as W was.  I see nothing wrong with Mr. Scheer pointing this out again and again.  And I think it goes without saying that Congress has been every bit as culpable—with 250+ millionaires in Congress now, some of the richest being Democrats, do you think this body might sympathize with corporate power and banks, or with the people they are supposed to represent?  Again, this story cannot be told enough times for it to sink in:  we don’t have a Constitutional Republic now. We have “USA Inc., where the president is the CEO, Congress the board of directors, and the people are viewed as third shift rabble.

Those of you who say ‘tell me something I don’t already know’ are obviously IN the know—-and you have my congratulations for being informed.  But the question for us who know is:  what do we do about this travesty?  Educate everyone to what is going on as a start.  Mr. Scheer is part of that effort in my view.

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By Purple Girl, November 18, 2009 at 7:04 am Link to this comment

“Change” Is not Magic.
And the Root of “Progressive” is the mundane steady movement of progress.
Any Dem who actually thought Obama could or would Undo all Wrongs is a Fool. Not to mention thinking he was a “liberal”. Personally he may be, but when you are an organizer you operate on the mode of consensus first. And only through a consensus can you make progress in a democracy.
Worse is to actually be such a polly anna as to think after over a century of pure Capitalism we can go to a True Free Market is insane. The Crests have dominated the market place. Not just excluding other competition, but correling the consumers and undermining the labor.
This ‘Change’ should not be down with an Axe, but a scalpel to carefully cut away at the dead infected areas. Some will remain, but treated along the way towards recovery.
As much as I have become infuriated by the Repug Obstructionists (criminals), I am just as disgusted by the ‘Blue dogs’. But I am most heartbroken by those who claim to be ‘progressives’. Piling on even if coming from the left, is counterproductive to our goals.
I didn’t vote for Obama to solve all our problems, and certainly did not expect him to do so in less than one year, nor even one term.
When you hire a community organizer you get some one who tries to draw in as many diverse perspectives and agendas in the Community. Why is anyone surprised he is Compromising along the way?
We jsut lived through 8 yrs (decades) of Bullying, I’d appreciate a few years of Conjoling.
If Dems want to avoid becoming the neo Cons, we had better start acting like it. We have been pissed about being excluded from the public forum for decades. It reflects far better on us if we not do the same.
Change rarely comes in a fit, but in a slow gradual progression.

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By montanawildhack, November 18, 2009 at 6:55 am Link to this comment

Ardee,,,,,

The point of my post is quite simple…. Imagine for a minute that all the folks mentioned in Scheer’s column and my post were brothers. (African-Americans)
Now don’t you think that many people would be Saying, (not just Thinking) “Hey, what the hell’s the deal with all these brothers screwing up the financial system?”  And it would be the same if they were Italian (remember the mafia) or Irish or Polish….  From the beginning of human evolution we have always been interested in wanting to know what particular tribe the other cat is from….  It’s primal and at our core as humans… 

And I take offense at being called an anti-semite….  I love all peoples with the exception of the Irish… They are, as a rule, an indolent and drunken race… I should know.  I’m Irish…..

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By SaveTheTenth, November 18, 2009 at 6:37 am Link to this comment

“The candidate for change once promised to take on the powerful banking interests but is now doing their bidding”

Yeah and He campaigned (promised) no mandates for “health insurance reform” and re writing NAFTA (what a circus that was, no?)

It’s classic bait and switch. Illegal if Commoners do it, Presidential if a good enough Federal liar does it.

It was pretty clear what the future would look like when his first major appointments were Joey (Drug Czar Warrior) Biden and Rham (Fish anyone?) Emanuel.

Another day, another dollar, if you’re makin bullits
http://costofwar.com/

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By french62, November 18, 2009 at 6:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I smell a one-termer coming on!! You can fool some of the
people all of the time, but….

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By Benjamin Tasker, November 18, 2009 at 6:30 am Link to this comment

@montanawildhack

I’m going to call you anti-semetic, anyways.

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By Paul_GA, November 18, 2009 at 6:05 am Link to this comment

“Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help ...” (Psalm 146:3)

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By thebeerdoctor, November 18, 2009 at 5:56 am Link to this comment

Is it wrong to desire for Truthdig to tell us something we don’t already know? Mr. Scheer’s lament over Glass-Steagall has been effectively covered by Nomi Prins and others, and despite all the rhetoric from President Obama and his underlinings, the truth is (if you can dig it) such necessary regulation is not going to return, at least not under our newly elected avid golfer president.
If I’m not mistaken, wasn’t Larry Summers, BHO’s big time economic guru, in tow as part of the posse, that made its way over to the Peoples Republic of Walmart, oops, I mean China?
Sometimes you need not consult the so-called alternative news rantings, to get a peek in through the door crack.Take this item from the Washington Post:
“On Tuesday, Obama stood in the same building alongside another Chinese leader. This time with the United States in hock to China for more than $1 trillion dollars and flooded with Chinese-made goods, it was a Chinese-style news conference. Each leader read a prepared statement and eyed the other in silence. There were no questions.”

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By ardee, November 18, 2009 at 5:53 am Link to this comment

Note: the beauty of this post is that I can’t be accused of being anti-semetic because I’m just suggesting doing exactly what the Grand Master Flash of all Hebrews, Jesus, would do in the same situation….

*************************************************

Note: The blindness of this poster is rather evident in his need to actually mention anti semitism in what should have been a straightforward post regarding his opinion of several administration figures. Perhaps every name should have attached a religious affiliation?...In hillbilly world.

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By RdV, November 18, 2009 at 5:41 am Link to this comment

Ever notice we are expected to “volunteer”—Obama lectures us but turns over the public purse to his looting corporate masters? Poor Dodd, too late to redeem himself anyway—his credibility on the subject is already shot.
  Obama is not on our side and represents the interests of a class he aspires to be associated with. Not us. Obama is an elitist, not a man of the people. Obama has also undermined efforts for a better health care bill, while Obama has already accepted the “Health Insurance Reform” plan set up to benefit Insurance and Drug corps. Ask Kucinich.

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By christian96, November 18, 2009 at 4:45 am Link to this comment

I wrote Pres. Obama at the White House and reminded
him of his pre-election promise to eliminate social
security income tax on individuals making less than
$50,000 a year.  I waited months for a reply.  Finally, there in my mail box was his reply.  Well,
it wasn’t really a reply.  It was a bunch of babel,
as in Babylon. A couple weeks later I received a
letter from the Democratic National Committee asking
for a donation.  Oh! I forgot!  In my letter to
President Obama I suggested he eliminate all taxes
on people making less than $50,000 to put money into
the hands of poor people as a way of stimulating
the economy.  ELIMINATE TAXES ON POOR PEOPLE? I’ve
probably been labeled as a “left wing liberal” and
placed under the scrutiny of the FBI!

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By montanawildhack, November 18, 2009 at 4:39 am Link to this comment

My friends I don’t refer to the Bible often in my missives but after reading Mr. Scheer’s column I felt the time was ripe….  In the New Testement Jesus kicks the money lenders out of the Temple and then goes ape-shit knocking things over and gererally causing a mess….  Well, I think it’s time to take a page from Jesus’ playbook and do the same to these jokers in our modern day Temple—-Wall Street…  Just like in the Bible all these cats are Jewish—Wolin, Summers, Geithner, Rubin, the CEO of Lehman Bros. AIG etc etc etc…. So I think it’s high time to ask ourselves, What Would Jesus Do????  That’s right!!! He’d kick these modern day money lenders the Hell out of the Temple….. 

Note: the beauty of this post is that I can’t be accused of being anti-semetic because I’m just suggesting doing exactly what the Grand Master Flash of all Hebrews, Jesus, would do in the same situation….

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By ardee, November 18, 2009 at 4:16 am Link to this comment

It seems rather obvious that the cozy relationship between the largest of our corporations and our govt., with key administration figures moving seamlessly between the two entities all the while continuing to work for private industry, is a very bad idea.

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By miller, November 18, 2009 at 3:50 am Link to this comment

Two presidents whom I have long admired are Lincoln and
FDR.  They were smart, strong-willed and Machiavellian. 
Obama is smart and strong-willed.  Too bad for us.

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