EDITORIAL: ObamaBiden: No Change to Believe in

March 20, 2020 by Michael Mertes

 

For those of us who felt quite optimistic voting for Obama/Biden in 2008, I’d like to reminisce. Remember what you expected and thought you were getting?

A strong young President who “wasn’t Bush” with new ideas and some “Hope” for sanity and justice in the future.

The torch was passed.

Our new guy would put an end to wars supporting imperialism. An end to big banks and Wall Street controlling everything. A reform of the healthcare system. Fair treatment of and protection for workers. Reined in government surveillance. And a transition to Green energy with less reliance on fossil fuels.

Wasn’t that a good feeling, for the short time that it lasted?

The first thing we got was bankers and Wall Street rewarded and given control of the economy, rather than being investigated for fraud. Wall Street was thriving with their own back in control.

An email address that appears to belong to President Barack Obama has made an appearance in the latest WikiLeaks release of emails from Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. On October 18, Wikileaks released an email from Michael Froman, a former Citigroup executive, written directly to Obama. The email provides concrete evidence that a big banker played a significant role in choosing key staff members of Obama’s administration. Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and JP Morgan were among Obama’s top donors for his 2008 presidential election.

 

 

After eight years, what we ended up with was, none of the liars that took us to war being investigated and more innocent people killed by drones, in a continuation of the endless war mentality.

“As president, I will close Guantanamo, reject the Military Commissions Act, and adhere to the Geneva Conventions. Our Constitution and our Uniform Code of Military Justice provide a framework for dealing with the terrorists.” 2007 — still open

Let me say this as plainly as I can: by August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end.” 2008 — still in Iraq.

460,000 deaths in Iraq as direct or indirect result of the war including more than 60% of deaths directly attributable to violence. — PLOS Medicine

Photo: John Moore/Getty

“The report from the Council of Foreign Relations comes as Barack Obama finishes up his presidency — one that began with promises to withdraw from international conflicts. According to the New York City-based think tank, 26,171 bombs were dropped on Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan during the year. CFR warned that its estimates were “undoubtedly low, considering reliable data is only available for airstrikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya, and a single ‘strike,’ according to the Pentagon’s definition, can involve multiple bombs or munitions.”

We got health insurance reform that was warmed-over Romney Care, the Republican health care program for Massachusetts, with not even a pilot public option trial program.

You don’t need to be an accountant or a mathematician to know that if something you are buying is growing faster than your income it will crowd out everything else you are consuming. Health care spending will take more and more of the family budget; it will take an ever larger share of workers’ gross pay. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) did not create this problem. But it limits our ability to manage it by restricting our ability to choose a smaller package of benefits, more cost sharing, etc. In short, the health reform law is trying to force us to remain on an unsustainable path.

Further, there are three “global budgets” in the ACA and (ironically) they are likely to make matters worse for ordinary citizens. The law restricts the growth of total Medicare spending, the growth of Medicaid hospital spending, and (after 2018) the growth of federal tax subsidies in the health insurance exchanges to no more than the rate of growth of real GDP per capita plus about ½ of a percent. This means that as health care costs become more and more of a burden for the average family, they will get less and less help from government through time.

Domestic surveillance intrusions were continued and expanded.

Despite pleas from privacy groups to rein in the US government’s surveillance powers before President-elect Donald Trump takes office, the Obama administration has done the opposite.

The outgoing government will now allow the National Security Agency (NSA) to share raw globally intercepted personal data with the government’s other intelligence agencies.

That means more than a dozen of the government’s other spy agencies — such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) — will be able to filter through raw data intercepted and collected from foreign networks and satellite transmission, including phone calls, emails, and other personal data, as reported by The New York Times.

We had a marginally adequate response to climate change, but along with more offshore drilling, fracking and pipelines for the dirtiest oil on the planet.

Albeit with a few exceptions that were arguably important to some groups, Obama/Biden gave us a continuation of the basic domestic economic priorities and military-fueled foreign policy overreach of the Bush Administration.

While it might now seem more acceptable, even nostalgic, to have been screwed over by someone as classy and likable as Obama, along with Uncle Joe, his clownish, good-natured assistant, it must be recognized that the lower and middle class workers (remember the middle class?) lost ground while the wealthy consolidated control of even more of the wealth produced by those efficient workers. All of this while consumerism flourished as planned.

Obama whimpered a little about not getting due process in his Supreme Court nomination but quietly bowed to the powerful and went away like Gore had done years before.

Now that same power structure, disguised as being for the people, is trying to sell Mr. “Nothing will fundamentally change” Biden”?

Really?

Drumpf is terrible. I get that, but he is just a more blatantly corrupt continuation of the system that has been in place for too long and supported by neoconservative Republicans and neoliberal Democrats.

This time, I’m looking for systemic change, not just a shift into a lower gear.

To quote that eminent scholar and historian George W. Bush, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, uhh, we don’t get fooled again.”

Michelle Obama defends friendship with George W. Bush: ‘Our values are the same’

 

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