Why I Support Obama…

I’m certain that when most of my readers, at least those familiar with my politics and my past writings, saw the headline of today’s post as something of a surprise. And we’ll get into the meaning of this post in a couple of minutes, but first I want to share a couple of other things that may seem unrelated to this post, but in fact they are the foundation for it.

In October of 2010, I saw the following comment posted on several of my friends FaceBook pages: “This October has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays all in one month. It happens only once every 823 years.”

The first time I say that I thought “well that’s interesting“, and didn’t really give it a second thought. But then I started seeing this comment repeated time and time again, and something about it bothered me. Let’s see, what exactly needs to happen for October – or any month for that matter – to contain 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays? Two things. First, the month needs to have 31 days (which October does), and second, the month has to start on a Friday. Certainly we don’t have to go 800+ years for a month to start on a Friday. And the fact of the matter is, if a month starts on Friday, depending on leap years, the next time this can happen will be in as short as five years and as long as eleven. Not exactly 823 years.

And given that 7 different months have 31 days, the odds are that most years will have a month that has the “Phenomenon” of the three Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. So why did so many otherwise intelligent people buy into this hoax?

Okay, consider this. How many of you have seen something similar to this on Facebook recently: “Please share this post (which is usually a photo of an adorable toddler in a hospital bed). If we get 1,000 share, little Timmy will receive a free heart transplant.” Really folks? And again, I’m talking about otherwise intelligent folks passing this stuff along. And I get it, we want to believe that our “sharing” will help little Timmy – and I don’t fault people for having a heart – but can you really see the doctors going to little Timmy’s folks and saying “Jeez, I’m sorry, Little Timmy’s face book post only got 673 shares, so I’m afraid he’s going to die

The fact of the matter is we don’t look at these post critically. Too often we believe them because we WANT to believe them, which is why people are still giving their checking account numbers to that Nigerian Prince so he can deposit those millions, or passing on whatever the latest good luck chain e-mail was to ten of their friends so that they too will receive good luck.

And the same holds true in our political beliefs as well. Whether you are conservative or liberal you WANT to believe that your “team” is the good guys in the white hats riding in to save the country from the “other” team, whose only goal is to starve the elderly, poison our air and water, and exploit orphans. And because of that kind of lop-sided thinking, we are seeing more and more of this political “spam” being passed off as truth.

Last month I wrote a post describing a post from Lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC that was making the rounds (https://planetofbob.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/how-stupid-do-this-people-think-we-are-and-more-importantly-how-often-are-they-right/) that did exactly what these other posts were doing: Putting out false, misleading information that painted one side as 100% pure, and the other side as 100% evil.

The latest meme to start making the rounds is titled “Why I Support Obama”, and is listed below:

 

The problem with this little campaign is that it’s a little too lop-sided, and a little too misleading. Now before I tackle some of these claims, let me say this: If you support Obama, if you think that he is the better choice compared to the Republican nominee, if he represents your ideals more than the “other guy”, then great. Campaign for him, donate to him, vote for him. I’m totally cool with that.

But again, I’m seeing WAY too many of my otherwise intelligent friends just bending over backwards to prove that this guy is in fact the second coming. And again remember that we are not talking about the “I support Obama, I’m gonna vote for him” folks. No, we’re talking about the “Obama is the best president this country has ever had, we need to amend the constitution so we can make him President-For-Life” folks. These folks are pretty much exactly like the folks that continue to this day to insist that George W. Bush was not just a good or acceptable President, but that he too was the greatest man to ever lead our country. In both cases we have some pretty delusional folks out there.

Look at the claims this photo makes: “For 30 years I’ve heard politicians talking about health care reform, and he’s the first one to do something about it. The affordable care act removes restrictions on pre-existing conditions, makes health care more affordable for small business, raises the age at which children can be on their parents policies, removes lifetime caps, and more. With the possible exception of insurance execs, who would not want these changes?”

Okay, well if you really want to re-elect Obama because he is the first politician to do something about healthcare, shouldn’t you really be considering Romney? After all, he did something about healthcare long before Obama. Heck, Obama’s plan is based on what Romney did. As for the lifetime caps, the pre-existing conditions, and some of the other parts of his plan, I think there great. But there is one key point here that these folks seem to miss: in no way did this law make healthcare more affordable. Did your premiums go down? Mine didn’t, and according to experts on the left and the right, this plan will not do anything to lower healthcare costs.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that healthcare before Obamacare was great. It was definitely broken and needed to be fixed – still does need to be fixed – I’m just not sold that this is the fix.

Next we have He ended the war in Iraq and is drawing the war in Afghanistan to a close. Like he said he would.” Okay, but again we leave out one little key piece of information. He “ended” the war in Iraq by following the timeline for the war’s end set forth by the previous administration. And I give him credit for sticking to Bush’s plan, but giving him the entire credit here is kinda like having your mom put together an entire casserole, and telling you to put it in the oven at 350 degrees at 4:00, and then claiming you made dinner. Nope, you followed the instructions that were left for you.

He thinks women should have access to free preventative healthcare. Why is this still an issue?” Why do so many folks not understand that there is no such thing as “Free” when it comes to anything coming out of Washington? Now I’m not really rallying against this statement, because I too think that women should have access to preventative healthcare. You might be surprised to find out I think that men should have access to healthcare as well. But why should it be free? I think that everyone should have access to meals and shelter as well. Should that be free too? Look, we need to have systems in place to make sure that those that cannot afford this care get it, but by making such care free for all you are asking the government to pay for people who are more than capable of paying for it themselves, just adding to our debt.

And while this campaign piece doesn’t get into the whole “contraception/religious rights” issue that is brewing right now, let’s address it anyway. Folks, I am a huge proponent of contraception. I think that we need to educate our kids on contraception, and we need to make it readily available. I’m not totally buying into the president’s mandate that all insurance companies supply birth control without cost or co-pay, mainly because I’m not sure that the government should be in the business of making such demands from private businesses. But all-in-all this is not a big issue for me, because I do believe that contraception needs to be available.

At the same time, I do not agree with the Catholic Church’s stance that birth control is a sin. BUT, the fact of the matter is, this is their stance, and requiring Catholic services to provide birth control when this goes against their teachings is just wrong, whether I believe in that stance or not. I’ll be the first to tell you that I am not a religious person, but despite that I do believe in religious freedom, even if I am not a believer in the particular religion. We’ve been hearing the left for years shout about the need to keep religion out of government. Okay, I get that, but shouldn’t the same be true for keeping government out of religion.

Moving on: “He believes in equality for all people and signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to help women get equal pay for equal work and the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy

Let’s address these two points separately, First, I applaud his stance on equal pay for equal work. Good for him, no issues here.

But when it comes to “don’t ask, don’t tell” Obama did not end this policy, the Supreme Court did. And, it was based on a case brought forward by a REPUBLICAN group (see “Log Cabin Republicans v. United States of America”). But I’m not going to try to convince you that the reality is the right is more supportive of gay rights than the left is. That’s just not true, although I believe the right is slowly coming around on this issue. But again, this is not a black & white issue. Remember, the evil “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy was put in place by Democrat Bill Clinton. It was also Bill Clinton who signed the “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA), which defines marriage as being between a man and a women. And keep in mind that Obama has said that he too believes that marriage should be defined as being between a man and a woman, although he is “evolving” on this issue. Personally, I feel that Obama probably never really had an issue with Gay Marriage, but has campaigned that he believed in DOMA to get the votes of middle America. In other words, in all likelihood he may have thrown the gay population under the bus for political gain. Then again, maybe not. One of the key reasons Prop 8, banning gay marriage in California, passed in 2008 (but has since been found unconstitutional by the California Supreme Court) was because of the high African American voter turnout for Obama, the same African American vote that went decisively for Prop 8.

He is promoting and investing in clean energy jobs. Finally”. Okay, I like clean energy, and I definitely think we need to be investing in and looking for alternative fuel sources. And as we all know, not a single dollar was invested in these fields prior to Obama, right? Or is it just that the left wants to pretend that was the case. And we all know that the President’s interest in this area is purely for the good of the country, right. I mean sure, the Washington Post reported this week that $3.9 billion in federal grants and financing has flowed to 21 companies backed by firms with connections to five Obama administration staffers and advisers. Not like this is anything new, and certainly I’m not saying the republicans hands are clean in these kinds of dealings, but I guess that when you’re dealing with solar or wind over gas or coal, the corruption is somewhat more acceptable. I mean hey, when these shady deals were made to benefit Halliburton all hell broke loose, but the same shit happens with Solyndra, and the left is more than happy to look the other way. And why shouldn’t they, Solyndra certainly did their part in following the “suggestion” from the White House that they hold off announcing their bankruptcy until after the 2010 elections.

He supports education by giving more flexibility to No Child Left Behind (thank you!) and by making college aid more available.” Now I certainly don’t think that “No Child” was by any means a success. I applaud Bush for trying to do something to improve education, I just think that this was a short-sighted “solution”, and I think that, just as President Obama has stated, it needs to be tinkered with, if not outright tossed and started over. (side note: check out Clinton’s education “solution” while he was governor of Arkansas, and show me what parts are not identical to “No Child”. I’m betting you can’t. My point? Bad ideas come from both sides of the aisle.)

Personally, I’d be more willing to give Obama more credit here if under his administration D.C. hadn’t cancelled its voucher program, a program that on every level was a huge success. Well, there was one level where it wasn’t, and that was in showing the massive flaws of the teacher union bureaucracies.  But the bottom line is I think it’s too soon to give Obama a passing or failing grade on education, and I have hope that he can make some movement here in the right direction. I also want to take a moment to thank all my liberal friends for acknowledging a massive increase in per-student funding – 60% – during the last administration. Oh wait, they didn’t….

He thinks millionaires and billionaires should pay their fair share of taxes like the rest of us. Really, this is a no brainer”. Guess what? I believe the exact same thing, but, as Paul Harvey was fond of saying, “here is the rest of the story…”

You see, with a few exceptions, these millionaires and billionaires that are not paying their fair share of taxes, are not in fact doing anything illegal. They are paying little to no taxes (in some cases) because the current tax code ALLOWS for them to do so. And increasing the top margins from 35% to 40% isn’t going to do a damn thing if the overall system isn’t changed and these loopholes still exist.

And to be fair, Obama has addresses some of these loopholes, but the fact is it’s basically just been lip service. No, real reform is needed, and you’re not likely to get that real reform when business leaders like Jeffrey Immult, CEO of GE earns $13 mil. a year while his company pays ZERO taxes – and Mr. Immult is one of Obama’s top advisors. Kinda like getting Col. Sanders to head up PETA.

And let’s not forget that President Obama actually EXTENDED the Bush Tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, which in effect makes them the Obama Tax Cuts, doesn’t it? You can argue that he HAD to extend them, that the republicans were forcing him to, but at the time Obama had majorities in the House and the Senate. Don’t believe that lie, he didn’t have to do anything of the kind. Yep, the right was making it tough for him, but in fact once again we see Obama abandoning his principles.

And let me take a moment to say that in no way am I saying that the right has a better track record on taxes. They are a joke here as while. Me? I’ve been on record as saying that Obama SHOULD let the Bush tax cuts expire, not just for the top earners, but for all. Doesn’t that mean that I would then be paying higher taxes? Sure it does, but unlike my friends on the left, I feel that I too should be made to take a role in the country’s recovery. I’m not looking to just have the “other people” pay the price.

Despite inheriting one of the worst economic messes since the Great Depression, he added 2.6 million private sector jobs to our economy, and indications are that the economy is slowly improving. To anyone who thinks it’s been too slow – don’t you know you can’t turn the Titanic around in a day?”

This is the one I’ve been waiting to get to. Let me ask you a basic, simply math question. If you had 7.2% unemployment at the beginning of your term, and now you have 8.3% (after going over 10%), how is that ADDING jobs?

I tried to copy a graphic over from “barackobama.com”, but I was having trouble doing so, but I want you to go look at the chart that Obama himself put out: You can find it here: http://www.barackobama.com/jobsrecord

It shows job loss during the last couple of  Bush years, followed by month by month loss numbers in the early Obama term, trending up until, starting in March of 2010 we actually see monthly job growth numbers. It’s good news, it really is. Sure, we’re not seeing fast enough growth, but we are seeing growth.

But here’s the kicker: If you go through month-by-month on Obama’s own chart, and add up the lost jobs from the beginning of his term until March 2010, you’ll get 4,492,000 lost jobs. Then, if you add up the jobs added since March of 2010, you get 3,663,ooo jobs. Now I know that I went to public schools, so my math may be wrong, BUT I’m pretty certain that, using Obama’s own numbers, we are still 829,000 jobs in the red. So where does the 2.6 million added jobs come from? Well folks, this is Washington we’re talking about, so who really knows.

But the bottom line is, there are fewer Americans working today than there were when Obama took office. Is that his fault? I’m not saying that. I’m sure his policies have cost some folks their jobs, and his policies have created some jobs. But, the percentage of Americans working right now is at its lowest point since the 30’s. Sorry folks, Obama has not added jobs.

And again, I’m not blaming him, I’m just showing that, one of the facts you use to tout the reason to re-elect Obama is a lie, plain and simple.

And whoever created this inspirational piece was 100% right, you can’t turn the Titanic around in a day (yeah, I know, it’s a crappy analogy, given the Titanic actually sunk, and no one was going to turn it around. But let’s go with it) But, if you want to turn it around, a better plan would have been to steer away from the iceberg, not further into it.

Now I could give you dozens and dozens of reasons why I don’t think the president deserves a 2nd term, starting with all of his failed campaign promises, but I’m not here today to try to persuade you to vote for anyone in particular. The truth is, Obama actually could be the best choice of whatever the field ends up being, at least between the two major parties. Me, I’m not committing to anyone just yet, although I still support Dr. Paul. I’m just pretty sure he’s not going to get the nod – America’s not smart enough to realize they have a solution right in front of them. No, I’ll more than likely do what I’ve done in the last two presidential election: vote third party. Sure, I’m aware that my man (or woman) won’t win, but I’ve never bought into that whole “you’re throwing your vote away” crap. You see, I don’t see how having principles and then sticking to them is such a bad thing.

No, like I said in the beginning, I just couldn’t figure out how otherwise intelligent people were buying this obvious falsehoods and misrepresentations, and furthermore, why they would put their names to such fiction. But you know, I think I’ve figured it out: They’re not trying to convince you and me to vote for Obama… they’re trying to convince themselves.

Obama’s “Read My Lips” Moment, And Why It Should – But Won’t – Matter

“Read My Lips: No New Taxes”. Anyone familiar with modern American politics knows that that phrase, spoken by then Vice-President George H.W. November. And his failure to stick to that pronouncement is one of the main reasons that he was not re-elected four years later.

Now a politician not living up to his campaign promises is nothing new. As a matter of fact, I think you would be hard-pressed to find a politician who didn’t go against some of the promises that he or she made during their election. So why would Bush’s failure to live up to his “No new taxes” pledge be any different? Why? Because it wasn’t just the fact that Bush made that pledge, but the manner in which he made it. It was the “Read My Lips”, followed by the solemn, stern manner in which he made his pronouncement, that made his failure to live up to that promise so much more serious.

And now, President Obama has had HIS “Read My Lips” flub, and I’m willing to bet that it hardly rates a blip in the political circles. And it’s not like Obama hasn’t already backpedaled on several of his campaign promises. He promised to close Gitmo, and not only hasn’t but has now added that he will house Americans there. The man who campaigned against both the Patriot Act and the Bush tax cuts has extended both. But one of the cornerstones to his first campaign was the fact that Barack Obama would not let corporate-moneyed interests affect his campaign. And this wasn’t just another one of those off-the cuff campaign remarks, he was serious. Dead serious.

In a 2007 campaign stop in Iowa then-Senator Obama railed against outside groups and their influence in an election, stating that someone “can’t be against them one day and for them the next. (December 22, 2007). In this clip he talks about John Edwards and a group supporting him that is “getting around campaign finance laws.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=bB_OnZJazkw

You can’t say yesterday you don’t believe in them and today you have three-quarters of a million dollars being spent for you,” Obama said.

You can’t just talk the talk,” Obama told an audience during the campaign event. “The easiest thing in the world is to talk about change during election time. Everybody talks about change at election time. You’ve got to look at how do they act when it’s not convenient, when it’s harder.”

Well President Obama, it looks like it is no longer convenient, that it is in fact harder. and we ARE looking at how you act.

Remember those words, and then read this New York Times (not exactly FOX News) article from two days ago (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/07/us/politics/with-a-signal-to-donors-obama-yields-on-super-pacs.html?_r=1&hp):

The above link gives you the entire article, I’ll give you the highlights here:

Obama Yields in Marshaling of ‘Super PAC’ By JEFF ZELENY and JIM RUTENBERG Published: February 6, 2012

WASHINGTON — President Obama is signaling to wealthy Democratic donors that he wants them to start contributing to an outside group supporting his re-election, reversing a long-held position as he confronts a deep financial disadvantage on a vital front in the campaign.

The Republican National Committee sharply criticized the decision. A spokesman, Joe Pounder, declared: “Yet again, Barack Obama has proven he will literally do anything to win an election, including changing positions on the type of campaign spending he called nothing short of ‘a threat to our democracy.’”

You see, this is not a matter of political convenience, a matter of compromise. This is a matter of principle, and Obama is showing us that, instead of the man of principle he told us he was, in reality he is just another Washington politician. I think one of the things that makes this so much more than just politics as usual. Think back to the elections of 2010. 49 democratic incumbents lost their bid for re-election that November night, many of them because they voted for the unpopular healthcare bill. They knew it was risky at best and quite possibly political suicide to vote for that bill, and yet they did. They did so because they knew in their hearts that to them it was the right thing to do. They stood by their principles, and paid the price.

Consider Former Democratic congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper, a Catholic from Erie, Pennsylvania, who cast a crucial vote in favor of Obamacare in 2010. A vote that was only cast after she was assured that federal funds would not go to fund abortion, something that her heavily Catholic district felt strongly about. And now this week, after Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services said they would require all private insurers, including Catholic charities and hospitals, to provide free coverage of contraception, sterilization procedures, and the “week-after” pill “ella” that can induce early abortions, Dahlkemper has come out and stated that she was betrayed, that had she known Obama would do this, she would have never put her political life on the line. She stood up for principle, not only her own, but those of her president. Except now we know that her president – our president – has no principles.

But sadly, I don’t think it will matter in the general election. Bush I lost his election because enough of his supporters knew they could no longer support a man who goes back on his principles. Obama supporters, at least the ones that I’ve been talking to, don’t seem to grapple with those same moral dilemmas, and I doubt that anything I have to say would change their minds, so I won’t even try. But I have to wonder if they would be willing to listen to the voice of one of their own, former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich.

ROBERT REICH: Obama Has Handed The Election Over To The Super Rich

It has been said there is no high ground in American politics since any politician who claims it is likely to be gunned down by those firing from the trenches. That’s how the Obama team justifies its decision to endorse a super PAC that can raise and spend unlimited sums for his campaign.

Baloney. Good ends don’t justify corrupt means.

I understand the White House’s concerns. Obama is a proven fundraiser – he cobbled together an unprecedented $745 million for the 2008 election and has already raised $224 million for this one. But his aides figure Romney can raise almost as much, and they fear an additional $500 million or more will be funneled to Romney by a relative handful of rich individuals and corporations through right-wing super PACS like “American Crossroads.”

The White House was surprised that super PACs outspent the GOP candidates themselves in several of the early primary contests and noted how easily Romney’s super PAC delivered Florida to him and pushed Newt Gingrich from first-place to fourth-place in Iowa.

Romney’s friends on Wall Street and in the executive suites of the nation’s biggest corporations have the deepest pockets in America. His super PAC got $18 million from just 200 donors in the second half of last year, including million-dollar checks from hedge-fund moguls, industrialists and bankers.

How many billionaires does it take to buy a presidential election? “With so much at stake” wrote Obama campaign manager Jim Messina on the Obama campaign’s blog, Obama couldn’t “unilaterally disarm.”

But would refusing to be corrupted this way really amount to unilateral disarmament? To the contrary, I think it would have given the President a rallying cry that nearly all Americans would get behind: “More of the nation’s wealth and political power is now in the hands of fewer people and large corporations than since the era of the robber barons of the Gilded Age. I will not allow our democracy to be corrupted by this! I will fight to take back our government!”

Small donations would have flooded the Obama campaign, overwhelming Romney’s billionaire super PACs. The people would have been given a chance to be heard.

The sad truth is Obama has never really occupied the high ground. He refused public financing in 2008. Once president, he didn’t go to bat for a system of public financing that would have made it possible for candidates to raise enough money from small donors and matching public funds they wouldn’t need to rely on a few billionaires pumping unlimited sums into super PACS. He hasn’t even fought for public disclosure of super PAC donations.

And now he’s made a total mockery of the Court’s naïve belief that super PACs would remain separate from individual campaigns, by officially endorsing his own super PAC, and allowing campaign manager Jim Messina and even cabinet officers to speak at his super PAC events. Obama will not appear but he, Michelle Obama, and Vice President Joe Biden will encourage support of the super PAC.

One Obama adviser says Obama’s decision to endorse his super PAC has had an immediate effect. “Our donors get it,” the official said, adding that they now want to “go fight the other side.”

Exactly. So now a relative handful of super-rich Democrats want fight a relative handful of super-rich Republicans. And we call that a democracy.

Read more: http://robertreich.org/post/17251255054#ixzz1lqPIlCV5

Looking For Ideas Folks……

Well, the last couple of posts regarding the Lawrence O’Donnell piece have really sparked some discussion, with almost 1,500 hits – by far the largest number of hits any posts at this quiet little blog has gotten. But I think we’ve pretty well run that sucker dry, with those “opposed” to my take just repeating the same old spin, spin that didn’t stick real well the first time around, and certainly isn’t sticking after it’s been brought up for a 10th time. But all in all I think we had some real good discussion on both sides of this issue, and that is after all what I hope to achieve here, some honest discussion that is almost impossible to find elsewhere. Unlike the cowards, we actually welcome all viewpoints here.

And now dear readers, I’d like to through the planet into your court. I have a couple of ideas of discussions I wouldn’t mind having, but lets see if there is any lingering discussion out there that you want to have. Any ideas? And remember, I’m looking for honest discussions and an opportunity to throw around some ideas here, not just a vehicle to bash one side or the other. So, any ideas dear reader?