No Cure For That
By Dennis Trainor, Jr.

Even though Obama allowed the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that would make it easier to form Unions and fortify the defenses of middle class in the war being waged on us by the super rich, to all but disappear from the administrations priority list, Americans know that he will be there when the chips are down.

He promised as much, in no uncertain terms on the campaign trail:

"Understand this. If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain, when I'm in the White House, I'll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself. I'll walk on that picket line with you as President of the United States because Americans deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner."

His language as President has never quite lived up to his poetic rhetoric as a candidate, but the country does not need poetry now.

What the country needs is a President who stands with them and fights against the coordinated assault on workers, planned by the super rich and being enacted by a new breed of activist GOP Governors.

What the country needs is a President to point out that collective barraging is not to blame for the financial crisis; criminals on Wall Street are.

What the country needs is a President to help us understand that even before Gov. Scott Walker gave corporations $117 million in tax cuts, in large part creating the current $137 million deficit it was individuals who made up four times the tax revenue of the State.

And that ratio is criminal.

The numbers of the Federal level are even worse. Individuals account for almost 5 times the tax revenues that corporations do. Compare that to the 50-50 ratios that existed when Ronald Regan took office and you begin to see how wealth has been trickling up, not down, for the past 30 years.

What the country needs is a President to help us understand that the current battle being waged in Wisconsin is not the first battle in a long war ahead of us, but, if the elite right wing super rich get their way, will be the last stand for Unions in a violent siege that they withstanding since Regan broke the Air Traffic Controllers Union.

Not in a Union? Don’t care about Unions?

If Unions are broken, the center of American Politics- already pulled to the right, goes even further.

If Unions are broken, corporate welfare will increase, and promoting the general welfare- as called for in the preamble to the Constitution, becomes a distant memory.

Yes, my Tea Party Constitutional champions: you have been arguing the wrong side of this issue all along. You claim to be into liberty, and yet act like puppets.

So, this is a black and white issue. Choose a side: You can bow down to the Super Rich Great Gatsby’s of the world and be happy with whatever crumbs they are willing to toss your way- casting yourselves in the subservient role of a beggar in some nightmare Dickensian pageant,

Or take a stand in solidarity with workers to promote the general Welfare.    
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With 9.4 % Unemployment and real unemployment hovering near 20%, President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union is going to focus on the economy.

What follows then is not a preview of what he will say, but what he could say.  Imagine the world tomorrow if Obama said anything like this:

The Great Recession – in the words of former Sec. of Labor Robert Reich - accelerated trends starting three decades ago -- outsourcing abroad, automating work, converting full-time jobs to temps and contracts, undermining unions, and getting wage and benefit concessions from remaining workers. 

The result is that a few corporate behemoths now serve as the tail that wags the dog. Too big to fail, they act with immunity, impunity and will in perpetuity work to enslave more of us while worshiping at the alter of the bottom line. 

Obama could say:

The Supreme Court, in their landmark Citizens United ruling, have assisted the corporate state in advancing toward the day when the vote of the individual citizen (unless that citizen also happens to be a multi national corporation) will be as impotent as a eunuch at a rugby match.

Obama could say:

The isle in this chamber that separates us is a farce. Until radical election finance reform and lobbying laws are enacted in this country we all take our marching orders from the same cadre of capitalist criminals.

Obama could say:

We cannot win the war in Afghanistan, just as we could not win the war in Iraq. You cannot win an occupation.  You may have called preventive wars the Bush doctrine, but the truth is Presidents of both major parties have been operation under the same foreign policy since ww2. Tonight, I am announcing that I will bring all troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq, and slash the military budget to one that matches the expenditures of China. That we spend more than China- a country of 1.3 billion- and the next 17 countries ranked in terms of military expenses combined is obscene in times of economic prosperity; during this- our great recession, it is nothing short of pornographic.

The money will be re-allocated to establish an FDR like jobs program aimed at making the Unites States a leader in green technology. Additionally, a significant portion of money saved in slashing the military budget will go towards the establishment of a Department of Peace. For too long, the Department of Defense, in implementing a foreign policy that lead Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr to say, correctly, that US is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world has created a culture of blowback that endangers the United States and our allies. A Department of Peace (imagine the peace corps on steroids) will create a culture of blowback that will make future generations of US citizens not fear the concept of Karma as a boomerang.

The President will not say any of this, of course. No one who has just appointed a former JP Morgan chase executive to his chief of staff is looking out for the common woman or man.

Why then, do so many of us commoners still look to him for hope?

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The US objective in the nine-year quagmire, as oft repeated by President Obama is “Disrupting, dismantling and defeating Al-Qaeda and preventing its capacity to threaten America and our allies in the future.”

The only problem with that statement is that it is a lie.

A curiosity about our stated objective is that, according to the estimate of CIA director Leon Panetta, there are fewer than 50 Al Qaeda left in Afghanistan.  So, US strategy is a bit like taking a Glock semiautomatic handgun to hunt squirrels – and while we have come to expect such behavior from the good citizens of Arizona, it is something less than becoming as a US foreign policy objective.

But I hear you saying, wait- Al Qaeda has fled to neighboring Pakistan, and to defeat the 200 or so Al Qaeda in Pakistan we need a base in a friendly country from which to launch offensive strikes against the enemy with about 100,000 US troops.

Okay, so let me get this straight. We are in Afghanistan because we were attacked on 9/11. Check.

We were attacked on 9/11 because our foreign policy- dating back to the end of World War 2- dictates that the US enforce international order. This includes, but certainly is not limited to, decades of meddling in the Middle East. Check.

So, to prevent further attacks, our logic goes, we have expended trillions of dollars in wars since 9/11 doing the very thing that got us attacked on 9/11 to begin with.

Is that it?

Isn’t that a bit like alcoholic putting vodka in their cheerios to cure a hangover? Sure, the short term benefits might feel good, but in the end you wind up penniless, estranged from your family and standing at the entrance of the Lincoln Tunnel with a window squeegee trying to make enough change to buy yourself a fifth of old crow.

Of corse the main problem with our stated objective in Afghanistan – disrupt, dismantle, defeat, etc – is that it is a lie.

If this were Pinocchio, Obama would have an Eifel tower coming off of his face.

On NBC’c meet the press recently, Senator Lindsey Graham openly called for permanent US bases in Afghanistan. While this goes against the grain of our stated cut off date  of 2014 to withdraw from Afghanistan, permanent military bases would be consistent with our foreign policy for the last 70 odd years. Namely: we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of the Imperial Agenda of the United States.

In the face of the Great Recession, tuition hikes, foreclosures, real unemployment near 20%, US Soldiers killing and dying, what will we Americans do when confronted with a President who continues to look us in the face and lie?

If history is any guide, we will elect him to a second term.