As a politician and an elected official, when you, compromise with people who take positions that are radically the opposite of yours, you devalue your party's brand in the hearts and minds of the public. Their perception being, your ideology couldn't be worth very much if you are not willing to fight for it. This becomes magnified when the people that you are dealing with won't budge on their positions. In those situations, compromise makes you and your ideas look weak. I have repeatedly said this on my shows, on social media and in my articles here.
For most of his terms of office, the President was constantly in search of new and better ways to compromise with an intransigent GOP. In 2008, he became President based on a set of campaign promises. At that time, the American public wanted him to implement those promises. The GOP and the shill organizations that game our political system for them ran vicious and deceptive attack ads that attempted to sour the American public on the value of most of his signature promises. Barack Obama met those insidious attacks with offers of compromise rather than heated counter attacks.
Contrary to the adage, you can't please everyone, Barack Obama was constantly trying to be “everyone's President.”
Here's what compromise got the President, his party and we voters who put our faith in him:
Heath Care - Single Payer health care for all, something that could have addressed the constantly rising costs of health care became The Affordable Care Act. The GOP and their hangers-on then dubbed it “Obamacare.” It addressed some glaring issues, but kept insurance corps. entrenched in a system that, due to their profit motive and that of most players in the health care industry, will have built in annual premium increases. Affordable care could become quite unaffordable after a few years. Single payer, or even better, nationalized health care would have addressed the constantly rising costs of health care and taken the teeth out of the GOP argument that “people are losing their insurance.” When everyone gets insurance a la Medicare, everybody is insured and wins. President Obama could have been known as the LBJ or FDR of the twenty first century if he didn't compromise the original plan away.
Unions - Unions have been traditionally known as friends of the Democratic Party. Have the President and most Democratic electeds returned that friendship in any substantial way other than lots of lip service? Did the President and most Democratic electeds support The Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that would have helped level the playing field for unions during the 111th Congress which was on Obama's watch? The answer is a resounding no! Many Democratic electeds were too busy being mini-Republicans to worry about unions!
“Free” Trade - Speaking of unions, the President's ongoing support of “free” trade agreements that enable corps. to offshore jobs is something that upsets unions, union members and many of the folks who elected him in 2008. These agreements upset unions for obvious reasons, but also upset those of us who want to protect the U.S. Constitution because they violate our national sovereignty! Many of them give foreign corps the right to sue U.S. regulatory agencies in an international kangaroo court if those agencies' regulations interfere with those corps. doing business in the U.S.A. What kind of regulations am I talking about? Just pesky regulations that protect the American public in areas like food and drug safety or the environment, for example. No need to “compromise” here because both parties support “free” trade agreements!
Endless Wars – Barack Obama's campaign was based on the concept that he was different that George W. Bush. He was supposed to wind down Bush's endless wars in the mid-east that cost both lives and taxpayer money and in many cases, created and armed new and more dangerous enemies. In many cases, he has perpetuated the policies of George W. Bush with no seeming end to the wars in sight. Far more people have died in those wars than in 9/11. The President seems to worry more about Republicans saying that he has a weak defense policy than about doing the right thing for America's future. Sadly, most Democratic electeds agree with him and continually cave-in to GOP militarism! At this point, things are spinning out of control with no end in sight which is sad because Obama could have ended the madness at the start of his first term.
Openness and Transparency – For an administration that ran on a platform of transparency, its functions are hardly an open book. It seems to zealously guard its privacy and go after any whistleblowers with a vengeance. However, our privacy is invaded on a daily basis in so many ways. Many of our Constitutional protections that we held near and dear seem to be just a distant memory
Appointing CEOs and Industry Lobbyists – The President has a track record of appointing heads of regulatory agencies who are insiders coming from the industries that they regulate. Most of them are either CEOs or Lobbyists. This is kind of like letting the fox guard the hen house. He needed to appoint knowledgeable people who would look out for our interests instead of corporate profits. He could have found solid appointees by nominating people from industry watchdog groups who know how the respective industries function, but look out for the interests of the public.
All of this leaves me with a glaring question?
When did progressives, genuine Democrats who stand for the policies of FDR become unwelcome outsiders in the Democratic Party? I have seen some centrist sellouts, “Democrats” who call themselves “pragmatic” taking verbal pot shots at those who should be considered the standard bearers and core of the Democratic Party and blaming them for the GOP win. They are aided and abetted by folks who will automatically vote and support candidates along party lines without questioning that party values have changed drastically.
Democratic electeds lost out in the mid-term elections because they didn't stand up for Democratic values! Because of this, the Democratic brand was devalued in the minds of many voters who would rather vote for genuine Republicans who actually stand for something, albeit something that is detrimental to their future, than vote for disingenuous Democrats who have a “compromising” agenda that changes with the wind. Unless we can elect people who stand up for John and Jane Q. Public instead of corporations and billionaires, we can expect more losses in the future.
I hope that losing in two election cycles will wake up a few sycophantic unconditional supporters who are still in denial!
There is something inherently flawed with a system that lets corporations raise the price of everything that they sell at will, but does everything it can to obstruct workers when they try to get a decent price for their labor. There is something inherently flawed with voters who elect people that allow this to happen. There is something inherently flawed with workers who say that there is no need for unions even though unions would allow them to get fair wages. There is something inherently flawed with unions who accept the status quo and support the same electeds who betray them and their members year in and year out.
If we want change, we have to change
The next time that you feel an overwhelming sense of helplessness and despair that our country is heading in the wrong direction, that there's no hope for the future and that things are hopelessly out of your control, just read and repeat this affirmation that I wrote.
Perhaps it's poetic justice or karma, but it looks like one of the "benefits" of living in a country that continually elects people who choose to waste taxpayer money by meddling in the affairs of sovereign nations and fighting wars to protect the interests of corporations and billionaires is that there are an abundance of shiny new surplus weapons of war floating around, looking for a home. Ever since the 1990s and legislation that allowed the Department Of Defense to distribute military equipment to local police forces to fight "the war on drugs", local police forces have become the proud adopted parents of various tools of war. The process escalated after 9/11 as police forces geared up, with the help of the Department Of Homeland Security to ostensibly fight a domestic war against terrorists. While fighting a war on drugs and keeping us safe from terrorists might have been the stated goals of our electeds, read on for the one event that illustrated the underlying purpose of helping local police forces militarize.
The 1999 Seattle WTO protests were comprised of labor unions and international organizations that were opposed to the excesses of globalization and free trade. What started out as a nonviolent protest turned violent when a group of militants smashed store windows. That was met by police dressed in the now familiar Robocop protective gear spraying tear gas and firing rubber bullets at the crowd. You can read the story by clicking on the link to a Wikipedia article that I provided above. The point is that the confrontation set the tone for the way that police departments would handle future protests, including Occupy Wall St where nationally, the police used lots of military hardware and took a pro-active approach that I would call outright aggressive, violently attacking lines of protesters and teargasing indiscriminately.
Flashing forward to the protests in Ferguson, Mo. where the protests were met with the same approach makes me wonder if the right of assembly is irrelevant when the government doesn't agree with your protest. No one ever interfered with a Teabagger demonstration no matter how out of hand it got. One also has to wonder if our corporate owned electeds had "We, the people" in mind as a dangerous enemy when they voted in the 1033 Program? Ordinary citizens exercising their Constitutional rights would pose a clear and present danger to the corrupt if a nation were no longer a democracy!
When Jimmy McMillan, New York's perennial candidate ran for office on “The Cost Of Rent Is Too Damn High” platform and party, he had valid point. The cost of rent is “too damn high.” As a matter of fact, the cost of virtually all of life's necessities are “too damn high.” I say almost everything because I can just about guarantee that if you are middle-class or poor, there is one thing that isn't “too damn high” and that would be your paycheck!
Due to the corporate job offshoring free for all of high paying manufacturing jobs depressing the U.S. job market, turning it into a corporate buyer's market and turning American workers into virtual serfs, most workers haven't seen a pay increase in years! Paying low wages to their employees hasn't stopped the very same corporations from constantly raising the prices of their products at the drop of a hat and it hasn't stopped greedy commodities gamblers...er, I mean speculators from driving up the price of everything from gasoline to coffee to milk. All of that is happening right before our eyes, for all to see. That's why I was a little taken aback when I read a tweet from President Obama's Twitter account that endorsed raising the minimum wage (a great idea that is long overdue).
So why am I shocked by President Obama tweeting out his support for raising the minimum wage? Here is the tweet, you decide “A lot has changed in five years—but the minimum wage has stayed the same. #TBT #LiveTheWage.” It included a graphic from an organization that I fully agree with called Live The Wage that is as follows “From 2009 To 2014, The Price Of A Dozen Eggs Increased 23% But the minimum wage hasn't changed.” Can you see the inconsistencies in what the President is saying? The true cost of living, as opposed to some cooked statistics, have gone up drastically on his watch!
Over the past few years, the Federal Reserve has kept the interest rates that it charges banks at near zero percent. Much of that money has found its way into speculative investments a.k.a. gambling (we so need Glass-Steagall.) Part of that near zero percent gift to banksters and Wall St. is gambled on everything from gasoline to butter, turning the very food that we put on the table into betting opportunities for the greedy! Translation, government's bailout policy has helped the rich and destroyed the middle-class and the poor by causing the price of life's essentials to go through the roof.
While raising the minimum wage in an important temporary band-aid to slightly reduce the suffering endured by the working poor, it doesn't fix the underlying causes of income inequality and it doesn't help those on a fixed income. Those were created by the electeds of both parties when they vigorously supported and still support job killing, wage lowering, “free” trade agreements and when they support bailout policies that line the pockets of the wealthy and rob us. If the President calls for an increase in the minimum wage without also addressing the underlying issues that to some extent, he helped cause, he is being disingenuous. Can you say Trans-Pacific Partnership?
What's your favorite brand of corruption? Which style do you prefer? Does it have a thin veneer of faux patriotism? Perhaps having it glossed over with a diluted coat of caring and compassion is more to your liking? Either way, when you peel back the carefully prepared covering, you see the same thing, massive campaign contributions from billionaires and corporations!
In this age of "corporations are people", we have to remind ourselves of one of my favorite quotes --"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results"- Albert Einstein. If we elect someone from one of the two existing parties, we are buying into a corrupt, dysfunctional system that has brought us to where we are today, one where corporations and billionaires make contributions or veiled threats and pull the strings! That's why I support electing an outsider.
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats has just mentioned that he would consider running for President in 2016. Should he run, I will do everything in my power to help get him elected. He is experienced yet still has his integrity. Let's encourage this honorable man to seek the Presidency.
Looking at the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision and subsequent related decisions (especially the Hobby Lobby decision) from my perspective reveals horrifying implications. Their contention is that corporations have the same Constitutional rights as people. Furthermore, they contend that money is speech and there should be no limitations on free speech. To add insult to injury, they seem to think that in some cases, corporations have religious rights that can be violated by godless government bureaucrats who have the nerve to insist that those corporations have the same legal obligations as any other business entity.
Taken at face value, one would think that the benevolent Supreme Court Injustices are just trying to extend the Constitutional benefits of mere mortals to every possible entity. Hey, let's give that door and that doorknob the right of free speech or that washing machine the right to impose its religion on everything else. The more the merrier, right? How about this pack of chewing gum that I'm carrying in my pocket? It's been silent for far too long and should have the right to buy political ads on every TV network! For that matter, it should have the right to have a day of rest on its Sabbath.
The way I see it, this new twisted, corrupt interpretation of the Constitution actually means that the U.S. Constitution only grants true free speech to those who have the money to pay for it and extends a super-set of its protections to various corporate entities with either deep pockets or the backing of right-wing organizations with an aggressive agenda! The more money you have, the more political ads you can buy with no limitations. If you have no money, you have no free speech. If your ideology matches the Supreme Court's current conservative slant, you can endow your business with your religious fervor and refuse to pay for certain mandated health benefits that are the obligation of those godless businesses that don't go to church on Sunday and haven't been baptized!
Yes ladies and gentlemen, according to the current crop of Supreme Court Injustices, free speech isn’t free and your business can have a religion of its very own! So get out your checkbooks and credit cards and send your business to Sunday school! The founding fathers would be so proud!
If you're a Democrat, you've heard a constant stream of speeches from Democratic electeds decrying income inequality. Since most Democratic electeds supported and signed and still support and sign "free" trade agreements that help corporations offshore high paying manufacturing jobs, we must assume that all of their income inequality clap trap is just empty rhetoric. I must also assume that you are not serious about fixing income inequality because you are tickled, gratified and fulfilled by merely getting Democrats in name only reelected! The reason for my assumption is that way back in 2012, I circulated a petition demanding that our electeds stop signing job killing "free" trade agreements and rescind the existing ones that people like Bill Clinton foisted on us. Your response was so poor (62 people who cared) that I closed the petition out in disgust!
Today, a gentleman decided to tweet out my closed petition which gave me hope that at least one person cared enough about his country to bring it to everyone's attention. All it takes is one person of courage to get things started so I have decided to re-open the petition. If you don't sign my petition this time around, a petition that will help fix many of America's problems, I don't want to hear any whining about income inequality!
Sign My Petition!
I'm hearing lots of talk lately from high union officials and Democratic electeds of the progressive persuasion complaining about this or that aspect of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and various other "free" trade agreements. These people who want our loyalty, votes and trust should know better. They focus on one specific aspect or another of the agreements and want it fixed or removed. That narrow perspective implies that they find "free" trade agreements to be acceptable with some minor tweaks and that "free" trade agreements in any form are acceptable to the average working American or for that matter, anyone who isn't a one percenter.
NAFTA and other "free" trade agreements were proven job killers that helped greedy corporations ship countless American jobs to foreign countries. They helped destroy America's manufacturing infrastructure. They were passed and signed under the Clinton administration. They came with the false promise of creating jobs. As I've often said, it takes Republicans to lower the economic bar for working people, the middle class and the poor and Democrats to keep it lowered! I expect corporate owned Republicans to promote and defend "free" trade agreements and corporate leased "compromising" centrist Democrats to do likewise, but I become appalled when progressive Democrats and union officials give those agreements an air of respectability by attempting to change small bits and pieces of them but leave the main parts, the job killing parts intact!
Phone, email or write your elected officials and union officials and let them know in no uncertain terms that you have had it up to here with all "free" trade agreements! Tell them that you will vote anyone who supports them out of office! PERIOD!
Looking at the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision and subsequent related decisions from my perspective reveals horrifying implications. Their contention is that corporations have the same Constitutional rights as people. Furthermore, they contend that money is speech and there should be no limitations on free speech.
Taken at face value, one would think that the benevolent Supreme Court Injustices are just trying to extend the Constitutional benefits of free speech to every possible entity. Hey, let's give that door and that doorknob the right of free speech. The more the merrier, right? How about this pack of chewing gum that I'm carrying in my pocket? It's been silent for far too long and should have the right to buy political ads on every TV network!
The way I see it, this new twisted corrupt interpretation of the Constitution actually means that the U.S. Constitution only grants free speech to those who have the money to pay for it! The more money you have, the more political ads you can buy with no limitations. If you have no money, you have no free speech.
Yes ladies and gentlemen, according to the current crop of Supreme Court Injustices, free speech isn’t free, so get out you checkbooks and credit cards! The founding fathers would be so proud!