Tuesday, October 4, 2011

You Broke My Heart, Barry

Did you ever fall for someone so hard and so fast that you never really bothered to find out who they really were? They were just so perfect and seemed to be everything you were waiting for so you went head over heels immediately and loved and accepted them for all they claimed to be. I fell for someone like that once. It was for Barack Hussein Obama.
Before the year 2008, I was largely indifferent towards politics. I had never voted and my only political activity was attending a few Republican Party parties in high school because a girl I liked’s father was a local government representative. I always had more liberal leanings because, well, I just think the richest country in the world should feed its hungry and care for its sick, call me crazy, but I considered the Democrats just as untrustworthy of my trust as the Republicans.
The Bush years along with wars, recessions, and futile searches for weapons of mass destruction pushed me to caring about politics again. I was beginning to suspect that our government was operating not for the best interests of us the people, but for the interests of themselves and their friends. Chaney and Rumsfeld and Ashcroft seemed cartoonishly evil. Bush was the bumbling fool in charge and by the final years of his presidency calls for change were ringing throughout the country.
I heard those calls. Almost as if in answer to all our prayers came a good looking, great speaking, basketball playing, cigarette smoking African American man came out of the clouds. He was the people’s man. He promised real change and to fight for us as his legions of internet devotees screamed “Yes, we can!” in unison wherever he went. This was the president sent for me to support. I made it my personal mission to help him get elected. I joined MoveOn, even sent them money (and never got any of the promised T-shirts or bumper stickers, I should have suspected something then). I cried the night he won the election. Yes, we did, bitches! We had taken the country back.
The people had taken back the country I love, the greatest country in the world, from serving the special interest groups. Now, some of you might think that I am unpatriotic after reading this, but this is the furthest thing from the truth. I have seen other places in the world where everyday things we take for granted are never promised. I am talking about important things; freedom of speech, press, and religion, as well as superficial things; like clean running water, sit down toilets, and no restrictions on internet sites. I think the air in America is the most delicious tasting thing on the plant.
And I love the history of our nation. The United States of America has been a beacon of freedom and self-government for the world since its inception in 1776. It was formed by a group of men who were fed up with all the traditional power holders in the world and decided to form the first nation of, for, and by the people. They stood up to the monarchies and the international banks that controlled the money even then and did something entirely different. They guaranteed the natural rights of all people. They refused to be dominated. They refused to submit to the elite and special interest groups of their day. Our early presidents like Washington and Jefferson began were leaders who stood up for the people with Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy later following in their footsteps. Obama was supposed to be the next great people’s champion, but it hasn’t quite worked out that way so far.
Now, I did not fall in love with Obama completely blindly. It wasn’t just the kind eyes, confident smile, booming charismatic speeches and great bone structure, but also the promises he made in his campaign that won me over. He promised to get us out the endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He promised to oppose NAFTA and free trade within our continent. He promised to protect the American worker. He promised to end the practice of bills being drafted in secret rooms and forced upon Congress for immediate votes. He promised to be a president of the people and not a president who protected big oil companies, corrupt banking institutions and other special interest groups. Has he kept those promises he made to us; those very promises that got him elected and gave us so much hope for the future?
First, there are the wars. As Obama promised the troops from Iraq have largely been withdrawn, although about 50,000 troops remain there as a transition force and perhaps as many as 100,000 private military company men; mercenaries. The war in Afghanistan continues on as well, and despite (allegedly) getting Osama Bin Laden, there hasn’t been a whole lot of progress on that front as well. Obama kept his promise of withdrawing most of the troops from Iraq, but has not ended the Bush doctrine of perpetual war. We already have gotten involved in Libya and conflicts with Syria, Iran and (God forbid) China loom on the horizon.
Despite his other promises, we are closer than ever to one North American Union and currency, akin to the European Union. Some are saying that the “Amero” currency is a done deal, but no one seems to bring up the fact that such alliances and/or unions with foreign powers is against the Constitution and would literally strip us of the sovereignty over the nation that our Founding Fathers bestowed on us.  And although he spoke up in his campaign about dumping bills that ran hundreds of pages long on Congress right before a vote, and pledged that there would be a two day period for the lawmakers and the public to read a bill before it was voted on, Obama forced a vote on his 1,000 page Recovery Act bill on Congress with only an hour window between the times the act was complete and the vote. He claimed he did this out of great urgency to help the economy, but then he took a extended weekend vacation only to return four days later to sign his bill into law.   
As to who he is really a man of, let’s go back to something that happened just prior his election. I want to talk about the September 2008 banking collapse. As major banks and holding firms were failing on both sides of the Atlantic, representatives from these institutions descended on Washington to demand a bailout of billions of dollars. They said that without this money, the stock market and the economy would bust. A new Great Depression loomed just over the horizon unless we prop up these corrupt private companies with a mega fortune of tax payer money, they warned. Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke reportedly went so far as to warn senators who opposed the bail out that “the sky would collapse” if the bill did not pass.
 The first House of Representatives vote on the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act was defeated with a tally of 205 for, 228 against and one abstaining. The following day, the stock market lost a single day record worth of points. The market was plunging, just as all the bankers and economists said it would, but Congress remained dead locked over the issue. Then candidate Barrack Obama stepped in to save the day. He joined with rival John McClain to issue a joint statement emphasizing the importance of passing the bill. He lobbied hard for the bailout with Congressmen of both houses and parties. He called for the bill’s most stubborn opponents, like Democrat Dennis Kucinich and Republican Ron Paul, two of the only awake and truth-seeking people in Washington, to “step up.” The bailout was passed, we had averted the total economic annihilation for the price of $700 billion, and Obama was praised for being a leader and rallying members from both parties to a single cause. After these events transpired, Obama had pretty much locked up the White House.
But did the great bank bailout work? Did it do what it was supposed to do? If that was just prevent the banks from going under than you would have to say yes, but whatever happened to that $700 billion? How did they arrive at that exact massive figure anyway? Well Forbes.com quoted a Treasury spokesman as saying, "It's not based on any particular data point. We just wanted to choose a really large number." Ok… So what did they need the money so bad for? The bankers convinced the government that all the mortgage-backed securities and derivatives and other stuff that I’m not smart enough to understand that had gone south since the housing crisis had to be bought up. These were toxic assets out on the open market that were poisoning the whole economy.  But then a funny thing happened. After the bailout was passed into law, the plan to buy up this venomous debt was abandoned. The recipients of the money said they decided that strategy was no longer prudent, and used much of their money to purchase smaller banks instead.
So what did we get out of it? Well, about a $2000 hit to all of our bank accounts in taxes to pay for it. We the taxpayers now own shares in these banks that were bought well above market value, since the companies were failing and they could have been bought out right on the private market for a song compared to what the bailout cost.  For that much money, the government could have bought all the defunct mortgages, put people back in their homes, and assumed the role of the lender. It has been shown over and over again that banks used predatory lending practices and misled people to buy homes they would not ultimately be able to afford, but banks got the bailout and the people got stuck with the check? Why not use that money toward paying off all these corrupt mortgage loans, thus achieving the same means that the bailout said it was going to, and giving the people a break at the same time. But instead, we gave a blank check to Wall St. and they continued to give out lavish bonuses to employees and take extravagant trips for company meeting despite the fact they were almost insolvent just weeks before.
It’s a good thing Obama surrounded himself with good people in his administration to make sure the banks used the money appropriately right? Well, lots of the members in his cabinet have deep ties to Wall Street. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and top economic advisor Lawrence Summers both have ties to banking giant Goldman Sachs. Bush’s former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson was a former CEO of Goldman Sachs. The new president also decided to keep some of Bush’s men as Robert Gates continued to serve as Secretary of Defense until just this summer and Ben Bernanke remains fully entrenched as the Chairman of the quasi-federal at best Federal Reserve. Where’s all the change? Why all the same bankers and cronies? You were supposed to be different, Barry.
I am starting to believe that Barrack Obama was a Trojan Horse sent to us by the powers behind the curtains. They knew how fed up we were by the Bush years and that change was imminent. So they gave us Obama and his cult of personality and his promises for a brighter tomorrow. And we all swallowed it down all too greedily without bothering to find out what exactly was in this Kool-Aid we were drinking. Please Barry, tell me I’m wrong. Tell me why I should give you another chance. Tell me why I should believe in you again. It just hurts too much.

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