Saturday, November 22, 2008

Change or No Change? 

Change or no change, that is the question. It's up to you. We must be vigilant from the very beginning of the Obama presidency. We must swear to ourselves and to one another: never again! We must never again allow ourselves to be degraded and our country to be wounded by criminal leaders. We must truly become the leaders.


Here is a starting point. People are already talking about the Clinton recycles and right-wing operatives Obama is choosing for his cabinet and advisors. Here is an evenhanded article"This Is Change? 20 Hawks, Clintonites and Neocons to Watch for in Obama's White House," by Jeremy Scahill, that gives you a nice (but unfortunately scary) thumbnail description of the people he's already chosen. I hope and pray that Obama will be able to control these powerful people and direct their diabolical powers towards working for good, but I fear that it's totally up to us.


What do you think?


13 comments:

  1. I agree. I have been very disheartened by Obama's choices for his Cabinet team. Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State? Give me a break. After all the derisive things she had to say about him during the campaign, how can she be trusted to solidly follow his lead in foreign diplomacy? Maybe this is just a dream.

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  2. I guess I'm a little confused. This article does give a good account of history for the Clintons. But, for those who are dismayed at Obama's lack of implementing change... did you listen to him at all on the campaign trail? or did you just vote for him because he was the lesser of two evils or a better choice than Hillary or because he was a Democrat and not an "evil" Republican?

    Go to UTube and listen to what Obama said, what Obama stressed in his change message. His change message is rooted in a very moderate conservative view point, Yes We Can. Lifting the people up, not the government. So many people were duped into thinking he was this liberal socialist (which frankly I think is hilarious... medai is king I guess), read the Audacity of Hope and you will see from the first page that it's not true. The book reads like Clinton wrote it in parts, stressing common sense politics and coming to consensus. Obama continually preached bringing conservatives and liberals together on a host of issues, including foreign policy. He recognizes we have our freedom for a reason like any effective president would. And he continued to say he would end the war "responsibly" in Iraq. Bush has finally agreed to a 2011 timeline as well. Obama's message of change is not a sound bite. His message of change is rooted in wanting to bring everyone together, which frankly hasn't been happening with even the most progressive liberals in Congress. I work on the Hill here in D.C. and happen to know all the bridges Pelosi has burned and how Barney Frank is laughed at on a daily basis by liberals and conservatives. Who gets it done? Who passes votes? The moderates carry all the power. Welcome to the U.S. Congress.

    Divided we fall, united we stand. And who was the great president who put all his enemies in his cabinet? Lincoln.

    Or would you rather Sarah Palin in the White House?

    Yup... that's what I thought.

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  3. Interesting Jeff:

    So the Clintons weren't far enough to the left for the liberals - WOW - pretty interesting. I'm not sure how far left you guys want to take the country, but it looks like the B.O. machine went in for a wheel alignment just after the election.... Typical for either side of the isle.

    And now it looks as though the Messiah is choosing seasoned veterans instead of pulling from the 'magic pond' of 32 year old 'hopeful' newcomers to help him 'change' his world into a "NeoGlobe".

    Time will tell about the "Pied Piper" of Washington, and of course, what will become of all his "children".
    Steve

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  4. I think you are right, and that Americans should pay much better attention to the antics of their elected officials. On Obama’s choices so far, I think he is certainly picking very experienced hands. But he has made the point that they will be executing his policies, and has made that point very strongly. If Hillary Clinton does not toe the line, he can fire her, and she will not be able to step back into the Senate: she will be out of politics for a couple of years.

    So far, his execution plan has been masterly. He has made the point repeatedly that America only has one master at a time, and is putting heavy pressure on Bush to perform in his last two months, saying that he is not yet the President. Every statement he makes is carefully crafted t ensure that the blame is recognized as a current result of past actions of the Government, and that once he is president, he will take decisive action to get things moving.

    I think Obama will be center-left, and will recruit center-right politicians and bend them in his direction. The far right will move into the wilderness, bleating like lost sheep, with even greater distancing by the centrists interested being part of the new power play, because people are starting to watch their politicians, and if all they can do is sit on the Hill and bleat about gay marriage and abortion while America goes down in flames, then they should be perceived for the useless dividers and haters they are and tossed in the street.

    Meanwhile, the Economist has dubbed the Republican Party as the new “Dumb Party”. http://www.economist.com/world/unitedstates/displaystory.cfm?story_id=12599247 whish has aroused much comment on the web, some of it very amusing. Search Google for Economist dumb party, and you will have some entertaining reading from the right, many of whom agree.

    And while you are at it, have a look at the Bloomberg search for truth on over $7,000 billion of Government funding over the past year.

    + U.S. Pledges Top $7.7 Trillion to Ease Frozen Credit (Update2) +
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=arEE1iClqDrk&refer=home

    This story is ready to explode.

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  5. Hi Jeff
    We discussed Obama's picks at our book club last night. In order for him to make his plan work he must have people with credentials on the other side. ie: Nixon was able to recognize red China because he was oming at it from the right. JFK or LBJ could not have pulled it off. Similarly we are looking to overhaul the neo-con Milton Freidman economic whirled view, Kucinich could not pull it off, but maybe Larry Summers, scumbag that he is, under BO control can, I hope. Similarly, Gates can get us out of Iraq, while keeping the Republicans from going ballistic.

    Today Sharon & I gave out food at the foodbank in BayPoint in the rain, we ran out of food to distribute (first time - we have been doing this for 7 years). The Obamas were giving out food in Chicago at a Food Bank today. If you work at a food bank even once, you understand, BO understands.

    May you and your family have a happy thanksgiving.
    Regards
    Ellis

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  6. Lindsey Sue, I must admit you're getting to me. I feel like I've been kind of puritanical about things, like thinking that since Bush/Cheney blatantly broke the laws spelled out in the Constitution, they should be instantly indicted and tried. And after Obama won, again I think I fell into a rigid, linear, us-against-them, puritanical kind of thinking. Like, OK, now you've won, so what are you waiting for? Why not appoint Robert Kennedy Jr., Martin Luther King Jr., Michael Moore, Ralph Nader, Dennis Kucinich, and Cynthia McKenney to your cabinet? (I'm exaggerating a bit, Lindsey, just to make my point.) However, the logic of what you are saying in your latest comment and your comment to my previous blog entry is getting through to me. And it's a message that makes me feel hopeful, because they way you see things is that Obama is just doing what he needs to do to get anything done. So he's not selling us out or caving to pressure from the top, but simply making the most brilliant and powerful moves he can make for our benefit.

    "Richardhg," a very knowledgeable person, in his comment, agrees with you and spells out some good reasons. And "Steve" makes the good comment that it looks like Obama "is choosing seasoned veterans instead of pulling from the 'magic pond' of 32 year old 'hopeful' newcomers to help him 'change' his world into a 'NeoGlobe.'" Ellis Goldberg, in his comment above, also agrees with you. I am fortunate that all of you took the time to set me straight, and I really hope you're all right.

    Still, you can guess what the problem is that I have with this middle way. Bill Clinton was a much better president than George Bush Senior was, yet the United States and the world were in worse condition after his 8 years in office--world population, pollution in America and worldwide, global warming, American prison overcrowding, and on and on. Huge gas guzzling SUV's became wildly popular on Clinton's watch. Bill Clinton was better than a second term of Bush Senior not because he fixed the world, but because he slowed down the rate of the world's slouching towards apocalypse. But being the father of two beautiful young children, I'm not thrilled about supporting candidates who merely slow down the rate of humanity's demise. You, working in Washington D.C., certainly know that there are strong and able moderates and even progressives that Obama could have chosen, and I'm sure you would agree that Rahm Emmanuel and Madeline Albright ain't no moderates. You must have by now see the YouTube video (23 second video) in which she tells Leslie Stahl of "60 Minutes" that Bill Clinton's sanction policy, which killed more children than both atom bombs we dropped on Japan, was "worth it." I'm just too puritanical to easily tolerate law breakers, such as Henry Kissenger, having any part in running my government.

    But you are opening my eyes to how it has to be. And I can at least be hopeful that Obama will buy time for my children to grow up, and maybe they and their peers will be strong, creative, and brave enough to go beyond compromising with criminals to get things done. Certain things are self evident. Slavery in the American South was wrong, the 2003 attack and invasion of Iraq was wrong, GM crushing their awesome mass produced electric car (and selling the battery technology to Exxon!) was wrong. And Bush's abuse of office and erasing most of our Bill of Rights was wrong. I may be too idealistic, but to me, righting the super clear, self evident, completly gratuituitous wrongs seems like a very doable thing!

    I'm aware that Lincoln put some of his enemies in his cabinet, and I think Obama's way of thinking is more flexible and superior to my rather strict, old fashioned way of thinking. I just hope he can deal with these guys. When Obama appointed Hillary (whom I consider brilliant and able, but scary nonetheless (based on her passionate plea to the Senate to give Bush the power to make war on Iraq and her nasty red telephone campaign tactics) as his secretary of state, I feel he got a real tiger by the tail.

    JFK once said that if the president did nothing with his first term in office but clean up the Pentagon, just that one task alone would take all four years and all of the president's energy. So poor Obama will have many tigers by the tail. Therfore I think that my point, that real change is dependent upon us, is valid. Obama is getting huge, concentrated pressure from the elites at the top, but many of us common people are still acting like fans, making excuses for his choices and actions, and hoping against hope that he won't sell us out. Your points, however, are valid as well, and I really appreciate your input. I write this blog as much or more to learn than to teach.

    I'm just a little nobody technical writer and I don't know all the answers, but I sure was right about Bush from the get-go. There are a lot of Republicans at my place of employment, and after the 2004 election, many were relieved that Bush beat Kerry. I told them, those that would talk politics with me, that the day Kerry conceded the election was one of the worst days in my life. Now that America has been brought to its knees by the Bush Administration, it turns out that day was one of the worst days in all of our lives.

    Take care, and thanks for the good feedback.

    Jeff

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  7. Lindsey Sue,

    Here's a fun article that takes your side really well. I have to admit that a lot of people who know me, upon reading this article, would say, "There's Jeff!" But I hope I'm not "that bad"!

    Enough of 'Barbituate' Left Cynicism, Obama Is a Victory over White Supremacy

    Here is the subtitle:
    We don't need the "everything sucks" analysis; Obama has mobilized millions of activists and that energy is looking for an outlet.

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  8. To all of Jeff's disciples:

    Voted for Nader, use to go to work with him every morning and take the same D.C. city bus. Got to know the guy personally and know his heart and his intent. These days are truly grim and I have no doubt that Obama believes he can exact or enact change, he will not, because no one can. His skin color is not going to make the difference either.

    The government that exist in American today is not the same government we had forty years ago. The entire system has been completely supplanted with the tainted influences of global money and grandiose business mergers.

    Further, because these people are above the law and are untouchable, having made laws that protected their interest years ago, they are not just going to pack up and go home.

    For instance, when Bush Jr. was first elected and not by ballot votes either, the vote was influenced by big business and I don't mean Bush was supported by their donations or favors, I mean big time ballot messin', crook and nook stuff.

    He said after 911, and if any of you still believe that wasn't a staged event, you are on another planet altogether...that we had to willingly submit to having our constitutional and civil rights being revolked for our own welfare and all of you went blithely along with the plan.

    For instance, Bush enacted a law which permits what was once known as 'illegal wire tapping' an offense that Nixon didn't get away with and an impeachable offense, this wire tapping is still in effect today and will be in effect after January the 1st 2009 and this is not going to change. Why would it?

    Point is, that a President that didn't even win an election sucked the last drop of blood you had and you thanked him for it.

    These people are like ones worst nightmare, we've invited a world of vampires to feast upon us until they have sucked America dry.

    We are indebted to other countries to a horrifying level and do not even own our own country anymore.
    For instance, try an experiment, look around your house and determine what is actually made in America or owned by America, take a list of items made by American for America. I'd like to see your total sum figure. This is not going to change no matter who takes office.

    Oh, I'm not a stupido or worse, I'm not a fatalist or doomsday person who rides on the waves of depressed delusions, however the world has made a turn and crossed certain lines that will make it impossible to turn back.

    For instance; how can one replace the glacial sheets of the North Pole?

    How can we revive extinct species or fix the quality of the air, or be able to drink from rivers and streams as we once did in my past?

    We can bring home our troops but how can we send home the Patriots or disband the invasive violations of our civil rights, these changes will continue to be in effect and on the books, and more are on the books currently awaiting funds to enact, so that Uncle Sam or Big Brother who use to just look over our shoulders is now enmeshed into our daily lives as one giant computerized paternal overlord?

    How can we erase lab made pandemics once they are unleashed on the world as they have been in certain countries to control overpopulation?
    The answer is an emphatic resounded and echoed down nuclear hallways....we can not go home anymore!

    Dorthy has been evicted from Kansas becasue she has influence over the midwest that may not work towards a global outcome.

    Obama can not change a thing, the deck is stacked against him, the players have played the game too long and know how to bluff at a maximum scale.

    The other players also have all the GOLD.
    Remember the axiom, he who owns the GOLD owns the WORLD.

    Fort Knox is endebted.

    We're broke and we need fixin' for sure....but how much, where and when.

    It just ain't gonna happen, as they say in the south.

    Too many cooks in the kitchen with pots of poison.

    Grow up, get real, and enjoy that hormoned turkey, be grateful we have one last Thanksgiving, but also know that 'if' the next one fails entry, we made it so, no one man can have a label of handyman attached to his shirt and effect change, it's a nice dream but it just "ain't gonna happen"

    By the way..what happened to the Amacore scandal. our beloved President to be who will take office in January did the same thing that Bush Jr. did, he bought his election. The FBI is still investigating the issue and by the time Obama takes office the Amacore situation will disappear from our thoughts and vanish like so many other star twinkles.

    Penned by a dissatisfied customer but a Southern Patriot

    Shaba

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  9. I agree with Shaba partly, yes the cards are stacked against Obama. The years and years of culture that have formed before he is about to take office in D.C. is a high hurdle to get over. Do I think Obama's intent is to ram through these hurdles like a charging bull, enacting change just for the sake of change? No... in fact, I don't believe it's possible. He would get laughed off the stage. But look at how Obama has handled things so far. I like to call it political TLC. This is something Bill Clinton and George W. Bush don't have. It's something McCain doesn't have. Nixon didn't have it. The first Bush didn't have it. I'd venture to say Reagan did have it. Carter definitely didn't have it. I'm positive Nader doesn't have it, sorry. He doesn't have enough clout.

    Sometimes you have to work within the system to bring change to the system. Ask any federal government employee who's tried to buck the system.

    And Jeff, being puritanical about things... it has it's positives and negatives. We need people like you in the world to give the apathetic inspiration and lift the unmotivated! However, the minute we begin to hate Republicans just because they are Republicans or deem a President a success or failure based on something he has virtually no control over (market development and commercialization of SUVs for instance, the most he could have done was raise CAFE standards) is the moment we start to lose any hope of progress.

    Are WE as individuals worse off after 8 years of the Bush administration? Yes. Were we worse off as individuals after 8 years of the Clinton administration? I'm not so sure... we'd have to consider a whole host of topics here... the economy, working towards peace in the Middle East, ignored intel about Al Qaeda. All Presidents make mistakes. Some just cling to them like Pierce, Polk and W. Bush... just a few names that come to mind.

    I'm impressed with Obama's course so far. But, he will mess up. It's only a matter of time. And the media will snatch it right up... even CNN and the View.

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  10. Lindsey Sue, I don't expect you to remember American history, but if you are going to excuse Bush Republicans for their misconduct, you really need to have a better grasp of what they have been doing.

    You said "However, the minute we begin to hate Republicans just because they are Republicans or deem a President a success or failure based on something he has virtually no control over (market development and commercialization of SUVs for instance, ....."

    Lindsey, dear, it really is a good idea to see what the Republicans did to encourage huge SUV's. To help General Motors sell more Hummers and Suburbans, they passed laws that allowed people write off their taxes 100%+ of the purchase price of a vehicle weighing over 6,000 lbs in the first year of ownership, but fully taxed hybrids like the Prius and regular vehicles!

    Have a look at this chat session to get some background. Bush, 2004. http://www.bankrate.com/brm/itax/tax_adviser/20041116a1.asp

    In this way, they encouraged the US auto industry to keep building monsters, kept up the record-breaking consumption of oil, which led to the huge run-up in oil prices, and doubtless the demise of the US auto industry.

    Watch closely. Over the next four years, you will see Chinese cars starting to come into the US. The Chinese are purchasing American companies, because they want the distribution networks that come with existing businesses. Like, Lenovo (China) bought the entire IBM PC business to get access to the world marketplace for their Chinese PC manufacture.

    I personally see the end of American global hegemony as a very good thing. No longer will we see military rampages that kill a million people, like Iraq. Or over 20 Black ops departments in Washington planning global assassinations which have blowback in events like 9/11.

    Over the next few years, Americans will start to see their brothers and sisters from India and China standing alongside them in world affairs, and standing astride world business.

    And it has been eight years of rule by what the Economist calls "The Dumb Party" to ensure the demise of the American economy. By ignoring technology, and promoting real estate and low interest rates, and being totally AWOL while the financial crisis grew for five years before the economy collapsed, they have accelerated the fall dramatically. I was warning people back in 2003 that something strange was happening, and I grew more and more aghast at the continuation, and what it would have to mean in terms of eventual wreckage.

    You see, the Republicans were under the illusion that somehow America was the only world power, and walked on economic water. That we were entering a new Golden Age where America would stand astride the world for a millennium, something like the Roman Empire.

    The first clue that something was amiss was 9/11. Bush presided over an heightened politicizing of law enforcement that meant reduced communication between branches, and as a result, they missed at least 27 major suspicious items that, had they been investigated, would have uncovered the plot.

    Now personally, I am with you, Lindsey Sue. This boiling Republican pustule which America a has become is ready for a good popping, and if what it takes to wake up the American people is allowing the World Trade Center to get hit, then holding the inquiry behind closed doors, encouraging the auto industry to accelerate it's demise by passing laws that give $60,000 tax breaks to Hummer buyers, blowing up the world credit markets, causing a global recession and leaving China unscathed, with access to raw materials and oil at unprecedented low prices to cement their manufacturing superiority, and and ensuring low cost transportation of their products to our shores to make sure we cannot resuscitate manufacturing in the near term, while simultaneously destroying American manufacturing under a barrage of lawyers and bankers and new regulations, well .....

    You have got your wish! Eight years of Republican rule has got us where we are.

    Oh, but it ain't over yet! This meltdown was supposed to start after a Democrat became President. The wheels fell of just a little early, and they have really fallen off. This is just the beginning, and it is going to get much worse in 2009.

    And the Bush Republicans have given us a world that is much less stable, both militarily and economically, than the world they were handed 8 years ago to steward.

    Obama's hands are tied. He needs every old hand he can get, but he has made the point very forcefuly, that if they are in HIS Government, they will be carrying out HIS instructions.

    And Obama seems to have the ability to convert his critics to help his cause. I would suggest you look very closely at the future actions of these old dogs, and compare them with their past. I think you will find many "born again" Obama-ites.

    Meanwhile, I am very excited by the huge opportunity this globalization presents. I am not frightened by the future. I think America will contribute expertise into the global mix, but first, we have to get our ethics back where they belong, and become honest once again. China may be wrong, but they are up front about it.

    When China comes up as more admirable than America in world opinion polls, it is time for change in America, alright!

    Let's clean house, and start with Republican dishonesty.

    Don't hate them. Investigate and prosecute them for their misconduct.

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  11. The tax history stuff? I hope it copies and pastes better this time. It truncated in my post. Bad Blogger! No Donut! :<

    http://www.bankrate.com/brm/itax/tax_adviser/20041116a1.asp

    Sorry about the link. If it doesn't post correctly search Google for "tax breaks for SUV owners 6,000" without the quotation marks.

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  12. RichardHG,

    I enjoyed your comments, but to be fair, Lindsey Sue said that CLINTON wasn't to blame for SUV's. She didn't say the Republicans were innocent for the horrible increase of SUV's and the failure at American automotive innovation.

    Lindsey, it will be very interesting to ask ourselves the question you pose: "Are WE as individuals [better off or] worse off after [x] years of the [Obama] administration?" I pray the answer will be "better"! But to my way of thinking, I cannot be better off unless it includes some progress globally, for the millions who have been horribly impacted for decades by our "economic hit men" (read John Perkins' book by that name) and who have been suffering due to our foreign economic and political policy. Like Jesus says, "What you do to him, you do to me."

    Richardhg, as for links not working, that's a limitation of this blog service. In order to get links to work in this comments area, I've been using an HTML editor, since I can't remember all the tags.

    Jeff

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  13. Jeff,

    I do appreciate the clarification. I did mention Clinton because in your post you had referred to all the things he had overlooked and ignored in his administration. (I agree that he overlooked many things as well, but I do believe you and I have different oversights he made that we would like to highlight, but that's our ability to agree to disagree. How he ignored many intel reports from Tenet really astounds me.) Having a Masters degree in Transportation Policy, Operations and Logistics I am fully aware of how the Bush administration encouraged the increased marketing and commercialization of sports utility vehicles and how reluctant they were to consider raising the gas tax to increase the reserve in the Federal Highway Trust Fund. And yes, I'm well schooled in the Bush administration's tax policies, no need for the links. I believe Obama is taking the right approach politically and fom a public policy standpoint, just let the tax cuts expire. Also, I remember the tax advantages given to market sport utility vehicles. Now, they're giving them for Hybrids, well that's state by state fo the most part as the federal tax break on this I believe is pretty negligible, atleast according to my husband or we'd be driving a Prius and not a Highlander. Oberstar, the now Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee now (a Democrat) is on the edge on this one, welcome to politics. Anyways, I appreciate the clarification Jeff.

    And yes, I pray too that we will be better off in 4 years and that it won't take 8. Tough day yesterday financially. I'm anxious to see what the Big Three have to say in front of Senate Banking tomorrow.

    But to return back to the original point of this blog... I see a lot of similarities with the start of the Clinton administration here. If Obama can reign in his "rivals" than damn, he's good. Let's all hope for the best...

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