Obama, Our Judas?

There is a story in the Bible about a man who pretended to be Jesus' friend and then when the chips were down, decided to turn Jesus in for 30 shekels of silver. Barack Obama may be becoming that man.

I am sure Judas didn't see it as a betrayal at the time, he didn't think he was becoming unfaithful, he felt it was his right to earn some money. And besides, Jesus would somehow muddle through, and everything would eventually all wash over, and things would get back to normal.

Obama probably thinks that if he just hangs out with his political enemies for a bit that somehow they will learn to see things the progressive way, isn't that what Lincoln did? Somehow those guys will start to soften and compromise, do something for the greater good for a change rather than look after themselves. But, the reality is, that special interests and Republicans are playing him for a fool, showering him with advice that makes sense on the surface, but in the end results in the betrayal of the middle class (and America). The end result is the enrichment of those who would crucify the "good" for 30 billion bucks without much second thought.

Where there is conflict of interest, deception, and greed, there is no compromise. There is no integrity, and no great minds coming together to figure out solutions, only the greedy self interested and reckless plotting with intellectual fools in order to hammer out a way to divide up the pie through slight of hand. There is no conspiracy. But, there is an ecology in America that produces recklessness and short sightedness. It grows and is nurtured by an environment of fear, greed, mass consumerism, and the repression that is American culture.

Elected Republicans have long ago left the building. As a republican myself, I have become ashamed of those elected to my former party. How long will Republicans obstruct through unprecedented filibusters? 70% of legislation is filibustered now! How long will they spout hate and lies to millions on TV through FOX news and talk radio? The whole ecology of conservatism has ceased to be viable and has dissolved into a toxic quagmire of special interests, radical religion, and profit motivated opinion news.

But that's the other side, I am talking about the president here... so back on topic. The reality is, that if you are going to 'hang' with your enemy, if you are going to try and walk a mile in his shoes, make sure that your enemy has some integrity, that they are worth respecting and not just shills who pander to the highest payer for their re-election. I had a poster in my room when I was a teenager that asked me not to judge my enemies until I had walked a mile in their shoes, not to take action against them until I had really known them. So you see, I have thought about the ethics of this a lot. At some point you must decide what your path is and walk it despite your enemies. Walk in their shoes to understand them, but if they are still lacking, don't hesitate to fight for what you believe. I see you have walked in their shoes but find them comfortable. Too bad you fail to see that they are unethical at best and at worst immoral.

I must take issue with you, Judas Obama. What are you going on about? What are you doing? From pandering to the rich bankers and wall street traders to claiming non-violence is less powerful than war, to giving away health care reform to corporate interests, to non action on don't talk don't tell (DADT), do we have a president who is more caught up in the glamor of being president than in actually getting done what he said he would? It's time to look at actions rather than rhetoric, time to look at results rather than efforts because what this president is actually getting accomplished is diametrically opposed to what this president said he wanted to do. Or at least it appears to be.

Here are just a few examples of this president's shortcomings:

1. War and Peace

Starting with the Nobel Prize. ( I will give it to him that he never claimed to be a pacifist, but he could at least read some history or this book:"Nonviolence 25 lessons from the History of a Dangerous Idea" or "Nonviolence: The History of a Dangerous Idea" both by Mark Kurlansky). I agree with Obama that human nature is not perfect, nor do we have to believe that it is. However, I have to take issue with the statement that Gandhi and King's actions are not practical in every circumstance. If you compare the results of non-violent action to violent action, in every case, non-violent action has resulted in fewer deaths for better results than an approaches that uses war violence [See Mark Kurlansky again]. Non-violence is not lack of action, it is not apathy, it is the courage to stand and die for what you believe.

I would go so far as to say that a non-violent response to 9/11 would have turned Al-Qaeda's terrorist doctrine on it's head and converted countless suicide bombers and terrorists away from that organization crippling it even in the aftermath of it's own self recognized greatest achievement. We would not have hundreds of thousands dead in two wars... only 2,973 people, who died to destroy terrorism. Instead we have literally hundreds of thousands dead in two wars and no end to terrorism in sight.

That is not to say that law enforcement does not have a role, just that war does not have a role in defeating terrorism. It is also not to say that diplomacy doesn't have a role. These two institutions, Law Enforcement and Diplomacy should be grounded in non violence. I won't comment on the war in Afghanistan other than to say that it needs to be viewed in the context of what Pakistan is doing to support Afghan Taliban (as opposed to Pakistani Taliban), take into account Tajik and Pashtun rivalries, and look at the role India has to played in Afghanistan that motivate Pakistani actions. Let's at least take into account the history of the place before we try to fight a war there. Otherwise, we are doomed to repeat Vietnam in a different way. Build a nation, don't fight a war.

And what of the real war in Pakistan? It's becoming more clear every day that you are already fighting an escalated war in Pakistan by proxy and through direct action of drone strikes and hot pursuit. It is clear that this war is illegal, immoral and has no oversight. I can't believe you would continue it. It may be expedient, but it's not morally right, nor will it accomplish your goals. I think any historian would support me on that claim.

I would say to you Obama that it is your opportunity, your day to be great by turning the war on terror into a non-violent action. Saving many more lives than ending them, and crippling Al-Qaeda and terrorism for good.

2. Renewable Energy and It's The Economy, Stupid

Obama, where is your Apollo program for renewable energy? Couldn't be bothered to push that through? Don't give me the excuse that it's too much spending. As I recall, economists and depression historians are saying that the right action to take in a liquidity trap is for the government to spend money like crazy. According to nobel laureate Paul Krugman we haven't spent enough, we could still spend more and still not even come close to getting in budget trouble! He has the numbers and economic facts to prove it. Unemployment is still at 10% and not improving, this economy is still not well (even if your Wall Street friends seem to think it is). With interest rates at 0, there is no alternative. What is the Fed going to do? Lower the interest rate to -3%?

From depression era history we see that it took world war II spending to take us out of the depression. We also see an example of what happens when the government decides to get fiscally responsible in the middle of a depression/liquidity trap as occurred in 1936. Things get worse! That dip downward in the middle of an upward line in the depression era graph is due to fiscal tightening.

But I am off topic. Spend more on research for renewable energy, it stimulates growth for high tech and blue collar jobs as renewable energy industries are built up. Take the Danish example. In 1977 both the USA and Denmark were the hardest hit by the oil embargo. What did we do? Nothing. What did the Danes do? They launched an all out initiative to produce a clean energy industry. The results? The Danes are doing just fine as one of the leading beneficiaries of the clean energy revolution. America, well, we are behind.

Just do it. Get a spine, stop negotiating your positions from the other side. I don't want to soon here that you will be putting your support behind 'clean' coal and 'drill baby drill'.

3. DADT and the Rights of Gays

I echo earlier calls for you to get a spine and sign an executive order stopping any more actions on DADT and providing opportunities for any who have been kicked out under this policy to rejoin with honors. You are the head of the military, it is well within your powers to do this against the unconstitutional legislation that is DADT. Sure they won't like it, but if you're a military person, you respect someone who has a spine and expect them to have some mud on their boots!

While I am on the subject, you should get on board the greatest human rights issue of our time, the rights of gays and lesbians. You will not be judged very well for your tepid stance on these issues. Greatness follows from bold stances, not cover your ass half statements of support. Sure you tell the activists that they will be happy 'eventually', but the reality is you are doing nothing by just treading water and buying time. Get something done.

4. Health Care

I realize that this one is probably over, but come on can't you take a position and fight for it? Don't take a position and then decide that it's not worth mentioning as you did with the public

option with Lieberman the other week in meetings with senators. There may be more going on

behind close doors, but from the results I see, the actual bill, seems to be a give away to insurance companies that sell Americans down the proverbial company store river. I live in Canada now and boy am I glad I don't have to worry about buying insurance in America and getting my health care from a doctor only interested in making a buck on my x-rays and cat scan. Canadian healthcare and insurance kicks ass over anything in the good old US of A... Enough said. Fix it.

Your leadership on this is milk toast, wishy-washy and leaves me with an upset stomach. The God of Revelations would spit you out of his mouth for being lukewarm, neither hot nor cold. I suggest stepping out of the ice box where you are slowly cooling down past the point of your current 'lukewarmness' and getting over a fire soon, real soon.

5. Bankers and Wall Street

Here's where I do the biggest 'double take' that makes my head spin: Michael Froman? Bob Rubin? Henry Paulson? Timothy Geithner? I am sure their are more! You flank yourself with insiders from Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and others, bailed them out to the tune of 700 billion, watched idly by as bankers and wall street types gave themselves multi-million dollar bonuses and then gave General Motor's workers flack for being too expensive! Please, give me a break! You sometimes talk a good talk about punishing these folk, but you never do anything

about it. Oh, right, my bad, lunch might be a bit uncomfortable with your Harvard buddies if you did.

Now I hear there is legislation brewing in congress on regulating banks and wall street again but I don't hear your support for it. Not a peep. Cat got your tongue? Or maybe you don't see a problem with a bank gambling away ordinary American's money on still unregulated credit default swaps and 40+ to 1 lending ratios? What's wrong with a bank also being an insurance company? Just because that caused the first great depression doesn't mean we have to repeal the

Gramm-Leach-Bliley "Financial Modernization Act" of the 1990's and reenact the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, does it now? For the love of God! Please reenact Glass-Steagall! We don't need oligarchs running American financial and economic policy as it did before the Great Depression again. For the love of god man! Take the crack pipe away from the bankers!

6. Middle America

Too little too late. The middle class is disappearing in America without jobs and without health care. You should be spending four times what you spent on bankers and wall street on the middle class. There are about 300 million more of us then them. Lets see, 700 billion times four is 2.8 trillion. That's about the right number to get unemployment down and America's economy going again. Don't ask me, ask Krugman, he will give you the same answer.

Continuing on: There has been nothing done about foreclosures... Nothing.... the lack of action from Obama on this subject is unbelievable. Have you ever read the grapes of wrath? I get all 'grapes of wrath-y' when I think about it. It happened back then in america, and it continues to happen now. The more things change, the more things remain the same. Who cares if borrowers who could pay their mortgages if they were given better terms are still foreclosed out of their houses?

I am sure I have exaggerated some figure or observation, mischaracterized something somewhere, I am sure you can defend this or that, BUT, you have to admit, what I say is pretty close to the reality of what is actually happening in America today. The middle class is disappearing; bankers and wall streeters are making a killing on the backs of government handouts and taking inordinate risks; bankers are still practicing predatory lending and kicking hard working folk out of their houses; we fight unnecessary wars; everyone is buying from the company store of insurance; healthcare costs are through the roof; healthcare accessibility, quality, and cost is at the bottom industrialized countries and below some undeveloped ones; and gays are still discriminated against for trying to have healthy committed relationships.

I hope that I am wrong and that your intentions are true even if your methods may be lacking. Some signs point to me begin wrong... But I can't help but get a sinking feeling about the way things are going. Please, step up and get your game on, because what you're doing now is not working.