font-family: 'Arizonia', cursive; Michael Stichauf - "As I understand it now...'til it changes": Where's the change, Mr. President?

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Where's the change, Mr. President?

That's right, I said it! Where's the change, Mr. President? President Obama, you campaigned on a promise of CHANGE. "Change You Can Believe In" was your chief campaign slogan. For the last few months now, I've been looking for it. I've looked at the financial markets. I've looked at the way our government works, or doesn't work, actually. I've looked for the bankers who should be in jail now. Nothing! Okay, maybe I've got to look in other places, "change" could be hiding on me. I've looked in the park. I've looked under rocks. Nope, not there either. I've run out of places to look. I CAN"T FIND THE CHANGE! And it ABSOLUTELY KILLS ME TO SAY THAT!!
It doesn't kill me to say that because it would mean that I was wrong. Those of you who know me know that I don't have a problem admitting when I'm wrong. It kills me to say that because I had such high hopes. It kills me to say that because I can't find the change. 

Before I go any further, for those of you who don't know my political leanings, let me tell you. I'm basically a Democrat. I lean to the left, a little. I seriously mean that, too. I don't do the "big McGaff" to the left like some Dems (and there's nothing wrong with the big lefties- they don't even come close to the far right wing nut-jobs). I even have some Republican leanings, too. Yet, for the most part, I'm a Democrat.

I've been a big supporter of President Obama since the beginning, voted for him and talked him up. I believed in his campaign slogan, "Change you can believe in". I don't just mean that I liked the idea, I actually thought that the man could do some changing. I actually thought that HE thought that he could make changes. I do believe that he thought so, too. Unfortunately, I can't see the changes. 

Now, don't get me wrong, everyone knew that the President couldn't turn Washington upside-down but what I thought,
"I'm telling you, the Civil War was about
States' Rights, NOT Slavery"
and others thought also, was that the President would do some changing. I understand that he's got a congress that won't work with him. I understand, and let's put this on the table right now, that there are a lot of people in those "hallowed halls" who can't stand him because of his skin color. Hell, Congress is just like the rest of America in the sense that they've got their prejudices too. No, I'm not going to say that the Senators and the Congressmen are a smaller representation of America itself because that would be ridiculous! The percentage of Senators and Congressmen who are a part of the 1% doesn't come close to the percentage in the real world but they have their prejudices just like America, on the whole, does. So, to start with, the President never stood a chance. 

The earliest example is the team of financial advisers who he had during his 2008 run for the White House. Those guys were some different "cats" than the ones who'd been advising previous Presidents. The President had been given some great advice about what to do to "fix" the bankers and their corrupt bunch before he was elected but, during the interregnum, the Washington insiders got to him and he dropped the bunch of 'em- dropped 'em like "bad habits"! I'm not going to go into specifics with this but the stories were out there when it happened. He had to change the face of his financial team and I remember thinking, "Uh-oh"! That was the first inkling that I, and others had, that this wasn't going to go as planned.

Soon enough, the President slipped into that "go along to get along" posture. Everyone knows the problems he's had with the Congress and everyone knew that it wasn't going to be easy but no one seems to care that it doesn't even look like he's put up a fight. 

Now we have this "Net Neutrality" issue in front of us. It's
Cable's Brain Trust-
Can you trust them not
to screw the consumer?
been brought to the fore by the recent hearings about the Comcast/TimeWarner merger that's going on as we speak. Yet, if anyone had been paying attention, we would have realized that the Internet and Neutrality weren't going to be living on the same planet together the moment that President Obama's appointee to the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) revealed his thinking about a few things. Mr. Wheeler feels that it's really no problem for the FCC to 

"forbid ISPs to block any legal websites or services, but allow them to favor some traffic under "commercially reasonable" arrangements, to be reviewed by the FCC on a case-by-case basis. A deal Netflix recently reached with Comcast to ensure that the video company's content appears bright and sharp on Comcast customers' iPads and TVs – one that Netflix suggests it signed only because it had no alternative – would probably fall well within the rules." 
Without re-hashing my last post about this issue, it's just another case of "Corporatism" style capitalism. Please see my post; The Monopolistic Threat to Net Neutrality. The post talks about how ISP's (Internet service Providers) would be able to charge content providers more money for better access to the consumer's t.v. This would cut out the new or smaller companies, who don't have the billions of dollars that the select few have, and screw the consumer. This is what I'm talking about. More of the same- "Crony Capitalism"! Watch this recent episode of "The Rubin Report" with Dave Rubin. Rubin and his guests talk about the "Net Neutrality" issue and Obama's inability to make change happen.

Like I've stated, I was, and still am a supporter of President Obama. That's why this whole issue upsets me so much. Sure, he's made some great headway and improvements to the economy. I know there are some right wing nut-jobs who will say that they're not really his achievements to own but they're wrong, they are his to own and champion. The progress has happened on his watch. That's the way this all works, whoever is in the White House takes the credit AND the blame, the good AND the bad and it all gets heaped on them. Why? Because they are at the helm. Now, just a couple of his achievements since he's been in the White House;

  • The Affordable Care Act- Over 10 Million Americans now have coverage.
  • Just today (May 15, 2014) it was announced that the unemployment rate is at it's lowest in seven years. That's since before the debacle that happened on Bush's watch!
  • He's cut the deficit in half!
This is great stuff but there's a difference in these achievements and the "Change you can believe in" stuff. He explicitly said that we needed to change the culture in Washington. Well, I don't think anyone is going to change the culture, totally, in Washington until we get money out of politics. Yet, something needs to be done in regards to the corrupt bankers who, darn near, brought down our economy and our nation. Not anywhere near the number of bankers ever ended up in jail. Okay, Bernie (Madoff) did and so did a couple of Enron guys but this kind of stuff has been going on for decades now! The Savings and Loan scandal of the early eighties is an example of how long these guys have been getting away with it. A couple of those guys went away too, A COUPLE. The Banking community gets in trouble and they offer up a sacrificial lamb to quell the desire for vengeance and it's over until another disaster hits. By the way, these guys get away with theft for years and the only reason we find out about it is when there is a disaster. Watch this great "Ted Talks" episode called How to Rob a Bank From the Inside- William Black. He really spells it out. 

The "Crony Capitalism" is another thing that needs to be addressed. I look at the divide that we have in this country and it's ridiculous. America was proud of the fact that we were the "Great Middle-Class Nation". We aren't anymore. In a New York Times report from April 22, 2014, statistics show that America is no longer the wealthiest "middle-class" nation. In fact, while six other countries "middle-class' income" has grown since 2000, the United States' "middle-class' income" has dropped .3%.

I'm not saying that we must rig the game in favor of the little guy. I'm saying the little guy, at least, needs a level playing field and the things that are going on in Congress these days, and years gone by, slant that playing field towards the big corporations. I don't have the specific answers on how to do this but that's why we elected Barak Obama to the Presidency, so he could get the people on board who could make the changes that are necessary.

Mr. President, your administration started with such promise. You are the first African-American President voted
Election Night
into office by a nation still struggling with racism. I know that's some heady stuff, but you can't tell me that any of that "racism" has been a hurdle that's too high for you. I know you don't believe that it's been a hindrance. Yes, it's there, but I know you haven't let it be a problem. You still have some time left in your term to rally the nation and create some "change you can believe in". Let's marshal the forces that you have at your command and get some things done to get our middle-class on an upward course instead of the slow decline that we've been on. A country is only as good as it's middle-class and ours needs some help. These are the people who catapulted you to the highest, most powerful office in the world! Let's return the favor and give them something to believe in because you are starting to lose them. We need to continue with this idea of "CHANGE", the stability of our country depends upon it. Why don't you get the ball rolling again with something that will make our politicians work for us. The Young Turks host, Cenk Uygur, has started " It's a campaign to get a Constitutional Amendment to rid our political campaigns of the corrupt money that is killing the middle-class. Let's do something about the regulations that allow the bankers to get away, scot-free, with theft! Years before the catastrophe of 2008, an S.E.C. (Security Exchange Commission) regulator was screaming to high heaven about the "crash" that the "Credit Default Swaps" market was going to bring. Bankers started freaking out when they realized that she was going to put an end to their "Golden Goose". As a result, they put so much pressure on the Bush administration to get rid of her that, not only did they fire her, they totally discredited her. They did it in a public way to serve notice to the rest of the regulator community, "Don't even think about threatening us or we'll ruin you". Unfortunately, two years later, she was right! "CRASH" went the economy! 

So, as I end my diatribe, I'll ask the question that I opened with, "Where's the change, Mr. President?" Although our belief in you is fading, we still have that hope that you can do something to leave a lasting legacy. We're pulling for you! "Your Legacy", that's a powerful motivator, isn't it? Every President must get consumed by it. As an administration comes to an end, they all have struggled with starting to shape their "Legacy" into something they could be proud of. Some, such as Dubya, must try to craft, or invent, something that they can say was a positive "Legacy" but that's kind of hard to do when everyone, finally, realizes that he brought this nation into a war through a pack of lies about W.M.D.'s (Weapons of Mass Destruction). People from his administration don't even try to continue with the lie anymore. They know everyone has come to believe it was a lie! Mr. President, give us something to be proud of. Give yourself something to be proud of. Give yourself a "Legacy" of "Change you can believe in".

And that's, "As I Understand It Now...'til it changes".
Thanks for reading.
Michael K. Stichauf.