Will Barack Obama Bring the Change We Really Need?

Can We Really Believe in it?
Can We Really Believe in it?

First a Little Faint Praise

There is very little doubt that Barack Obama is going to be better than George Bush. Of course, that's not exactly saying a lot. Improving on George Bush's performance is just not the highest mountain to scale. Being the worst president in America's history and possibly the worst leader in the history of the western world during modern times is no easy task, you have to really hone your craft. As Bush was so fond of pointing out, it's hard work. Yet in just about every category, from abusing the Constitution to starting unnecessary wars and every point in between, Bush managed to excel at being bad.

But the real question here isn't whether Barack Obama can leap that short hurdle of being better than his predecessor. The question is will Obama bring "the change we need" to Washington, as promised, or will it be politics as usual at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This entails the question of whether someone who has spent the entirety of their adult life learning to work within the system and who would never be in a position to attain the presidency without that system, can be expected to make fundamental changes to that same system. That is the change we really need and it might be a bit of folly to expect that sort of change to come from within the very thing that we hope to see changed. In fact, let's take a look at Barack Obama's first few actions as president elect, and subsequently after taking office, to see if they can give us a bit of foresight into how much change he is really going to bring.

William J. Lynn - Deputy Defense Secretary Nominee
William J. Lynn - Deputy Defense Secretary Nominee

Barack Obama's Short-Lived Ban on Recent Lobbyists Among Cabinet Nominees

The prevailing thought is that the reason for all the corruption is the ease with which lobbyists gain access to the government. This is due in large part to career politicians who move effortlessly from jobs either in Congress or as White House staffers into positions as spokesmen for companies lobbying for legislation that will benefit their companies and then, periodically, back into government. We're to believe that Barack Obama's administration is going to be different because he's pledged not to allow his cabinet to be tainted by recent lobbyists. To ensure this, one of his first actions was to institute a "revolving door" ban that prevents anybody who has work as a lobbyist within the last two years from being involved in any decisions related to their former employers:

"If you are a lobbyist entering my administration, you will not be able to work on matters you lobbied on or in the agencies that you lobbied during the previous two years," Obama said. "When you leave government, you will not be able to lobby my administration for as long as I am president."

Problem is that another one of his first actions was to issue a waiver to that rule so that he could appoint a defense contractor lobbyist as the second in charge at the pentagon. William J. Lynn, the new Deputy Defense Secretary, formerly worked for Raytheon Inc., who also happen to make 90% of their income from Pentagon contracts. Lynn has pledged to sell his Raytheon stock as a way of eliminating any sign of impropriety and something that is being lauded as a great sacrifice even though he stands to profit half a million dollars from the sale.

Another nominee, Mark Patterson, the prospective chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (I'll get to him later), was a registered lobbyist for Goldman Sachs from 2005 until April 2008, according to public filings. Goldman Sachs is one of the largest banking and investment firms worldwide and as such has a huge stake in the financial bailout which is being administered by the Treasury department.

According to the National Journal Magazine, at least 13 other recent lobbyists are in line for high level positions in Obama's White House staff including: William Corr, who lobbied through most of last year as an anti-tobacco advocate (deputy secretary at Health and Human Services); Richard Verma, a lobbyist for Steptoe & Johnson (assistant secretary for legislative affairs at the State Department); and Mark Gitenstein, who took a leave from the Mayer Brown law firm last summer (head of the Justice Department's Office of Policy -Development).

In addition, Tom Daschle, the former nominee as Secretary of Health and Human Servies (once again, I'll get to that later), is an "unofficial lobbyist" for the law firm of Alston & Bird. He also earned $220, 000 in speaking fees from health care groups some of which he received as late as two weeks ago. Not only that but his wife, Linda Daschle, is a registered lobbyist for a firm that includes health care clients.

What's in That Stimulus Bill

Here is a nice list of pork that doesn't stimulate: (Courtesy of: Random Political Thoughts and News

  • $335 million for education related to sexually transmitted diseases
  • $650 million for coupons to help people make the switch to digital TV
  • $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts $150 million for the Smithsonian Institution
  • $50 million for the National Cemetery Administration's monument and memorial repairs
  • $800 million for Amtrak, the country's railroad system
  • $2 billion for child-care subsidies
  • $400 million for global warming research
  • $100 million for reducing the danger of lead paint in homes
  • $2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects
  • $50 million for NASA facilities that may have been harmed by natural disaster
  • $200 million for the U.S. Geological Survey to monitor earthquakes and volcanoes
  • $650 million for the U.S. Forest Service to remove fish passage barriers, forest improvement and watershed enhancement projects
  • $1.5 million for a National Institute of Health/Institute of Medicine report to Congress $50.6 million for services for older blind individuals
  • $400 million for the Social Security Administration's new National Computer Center
  • $325 million for Academic Achievement Awards

In the Senate version, there are additional servings of what conservatives term pork that won't generate new jobs, including:

  • $70 million for programs to help people quit smoking
  • $75 million for a super-computer for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

 

Eliminating Earmarks or Just Renaming Them?

Another highly lauded ethics move was Barack Obama's ban on earmarks in the $825 billion economic stimulus package. Problem is that, in order to identify projects for the funding, local mayors and state governors were asked to submit proposals. The vast majority of these proposals have consisted of all the little pet projects that would normally be tacked on to other bills as earmarks. The net result is that the stimulus package has become one enormous list of earmarks and the process has become even more secretive and harder to track.

Some of these "ready to go" jobs eligible for the stimulus plan include: the building of a Metrolink station in Placentia, Calif.; a stretch of beach in Sandy Hook, N.J., that could really use some more sand; and a water park in Miami. Describing it as a "40 year wish list" for Democrats, the Wall Street Journal points to this list of proposals that has little to nothing to do with stimulating the economy: $1 billion for Amtrak, the federal railroad that hasn't turned a profit in 40 years; $2 billion for child-care subsidies; $50 million for that great engine of job creation, the National Endowment for the Arts; $400 million for global-warming research and another $2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects. There's even $650 million on top of the billions already doled out to pay for digital TV conversion coupons. Yet another list, encompassing 300-plus-pages and totaling $150 billion, by the United States Conference of Mayors includes a skate park in Portland, Maine and a mobster museum in Las Vegas.

Other provisions aimed at special interests, according to MSNBC, include an insurance exemption for companies that work on 65+ foot yachts, the lifting of a Medicare restriction that applies to only three hospitals nationwide, a requirement for the Transportation Security Administration to buy 100,000 new American made uniforms, and $198 million in compensation to Filipino veterans of World War II, most of whom live outside the United States. In addition, plans to include $200 million to resod the National Mall, $75 million to help smokers quit, and $400 million to fight HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases were dropped after they were roundly criticized.

"'No earmarks' isn't a game-ender," said Peter Buffa, former mayor of Costa Mesa, Calif. "It just means there's a different way of going about making sure the funding is there."

"Somebody's going to earmark it somewhere," said Howard Marlowe, a consultant for a coalition working to preserve beaches.

Instead of being spelled out in the bill as earmarks, the money will be allocated at the discretion of federal, state, and local officials with little to no legislative oversight or public scrutiny. Which means that lobbyist will have even more access to those in control of the money except now they will be able to do so indirectly from behind the scenes.

"We hate earmarks, but at least it's a way of tracking where influence is had," said Keith Ashdown of the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense. "There is a challenge now that projects will be added behind closed doors without a paper trail."

Already the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials has submitted a list of 5,000 projects totaling $64 billion, which consists of just a list of the number of projects in each state and the overall price per state. The lack of specific information on the actual projects makes it impossible for lawmakers, advocacy groups or members of the public to scrutinize the true nature of them.

What's more striking than the amount of wasteful funding is the scarcity of funds that will go to projects which might actually stimulate the economy. According to the same Wall Street Journal article cited earlier, less than 5% of the $825 billion bill (approx. $30 billion) goes to fixing bridges or other highway projects. Broadband and electric grid development, airports and clean water projects account for another $40 billion in infrastructure related funding. Once you include the $20 billion for business tax cuts, you end up with a grand total of $90 billion out of $825 billion that could legitimately stimulate the economy. This works out to about 12 cents of every $1 in the bill and most of these projects will take a long time to help the economy.

Peter Orszag, the President's new budget director, told Congress a year ago, "even those [public works] that are 'on the shelf' generally cannot be undertaken quickly enough to provide timely stimulus to the economy."

So what exactly is being stimulated with the other $735 Billion, and when will this stimulus actually happen?

Bill Richardson

Had to withdraw as Commerce secretary over "pay for play" allegations.
Had to withdraw as Commerce secretary over "pay for play" allegations.

Tim Geithner, the Head Of the IRS, Doesn't Know the Tax Laws

The Obama Cabinet's Tax Problems

At Least We Can Count On Obama to Clean Up the Corruption in Washington

After the corruption and abuses of the last 8 years, the public was tired of constant scandals and partisan politics. Which is why the nominees for both parties ran as political outsiders and reformers. Barack Obama's promises to bring about change and end corruption on capital hill played no small part in his election victory. Yet, just weeks into office, there doesn't seem to be any shortage of partisan bickering or ethics scandals. While you certainly can't hold Obama entirely responsible for the partisanship in Washington, statements like these don't exactly help:

Republicans wanting to play nice with the Democratic majority and the Obama administration will need to quit listening to Rush Limbaugh, Obama said, and get used to the new sheriff in town.

"You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done," Obama told GOP leaders whom he had invited to the White House. Obama set up the meeting to discuss his planned nearly $1 trillion stimulus package...

..."I won," he told GOP leaders. "I'm the president."

Meanwhile, even before he got into office, Obama had already lost one of his cabinet nominees to a "pay for play" scandal. This involves allegations that CDR Financial, an investment advisory company, contributed to PACs set up by New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson in return for favorable consideration in the awarding of contracts with the state. The post that Obama had nominated Richardson for, Commerce Secretary, oversees both foreign trade and business plus most federal infrastructure related contracts. It would seem that having the head of such a department undergoing a grand jury investigation concerning contract improprieties would be a bad idea, if for no other reason than for the sake of appearances. Especially, when you are trying to convince the public that you are going to end government corruption. However, Richardson was nominated anyway, even though the investigation was already underway and had been widely reported.

Another thing that George Bush was widely criticized for was cronyism among his government officials. One of the worst offenders being former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, who was criticized for using his office to push Republican policies and ideology rather than to uphold the law. And yet the new Attorney General under Barack Obama, Eric H. Holder Jr., faces his own criticisms of having a tendency to recommend policies that pleased his superiors rather than what was legally proper during his time as Bill Clinton's Deputy Attorney General. This includes his approvals of the flood of pardons at the end of Clinton's time in office that some have alleged involved payoffs by those pardoned.

The latest development in regards to Obama's nominees is that seemingly none of them know that they are required to pay their taxes. Ironically enough, the leader of the pack is the new Treasury Secretary, who overseas the IRS a part of his official duties. Timothy Geithner failed to pay over $34 thousand during the years he worked for the International Monetary Fund from 2001 to 2004. His claim is that it was a unfortunate mistake and that he "promptly" paid it as soon as he realized he had made an error. Problem is that every year, when the IMF sent him their portion of the Social Security and Medicare taxes (which is what he failed to pay), they also sent him a statement that he had to sign and send back stating that he was to use the funds to pay those taxes. In addition, an IRS audit of his 2003 and 2004 returns, conducted in 2006, revealed that he hadn't payed those taxes. Yet he still didn't pay the 2001 and 2002 back taxes until after he was informed that he was going to be nominated as the Treasury Secretary.

While Geithner did manage to survive and was confirmed in spite of his tax troubles, two other nominees were forced out by their own tax "mistakes." Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, the nominee for the Secretary of Health and Human Services, along with Nancy Killefer, nominated for the newly created position of Chief Performance Officer, had to remove themselves from consideration for those positions as a result of past tax issues. Daschle's case is particularly interesting in that he suddenly realized in June of 2008 that he might owe taxes for the free use of a private car and driver, which was considered a form of income. That just happens to be right about the time when Obama locked up the Democratic nomination and he found out that he might be in line for a cabinet position. Regardless, he still didn't actually pay the back taxes that were due until January 4th of 2009, when he knew that he was going to be nominated. Furthermore, even before those issues came to light, Daschle was already being investigated by the Senate Finance Committee over his use of a company's private jet for trips to the Bahamas and the Middle East, which also could be considered income. Even more troubling, from an ethical standpoint, is that all of these suspected improprieties involve income he earned as an "unofficial" lobbyist. The reason that he wasn't an official lobbyist is because he had to skirt the Congressional rule that prohibits former members from accepting employment as a lobbyist for a year after they leave office.

These scandals, in which ongoing investigations and previously disclosed improprieties were overlooked, tend to bring into question Barack Obama's true dedication to reforming Washington politics. Another, much more indirect scandal that possibly sheds some light on this question concerns former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who was impeached over his attempts to garner favors in return for an appointment to Obama's former Senate seat. While there is no reason to believe Obama or anyone working for him was involved in the scheme, Blagojevich was recorded during the investigation discussing how Obama's "team" had refused to give him anything in return for preference toward their favored candidate. While the fact that they didn't agree to participate in the scheme certainly is a good thing, it does beg the question of whether a reform minded campaign should have reported that a high ranking public official had contacted them about selling a Senate seat.

So Can We Really Expect a Product of the System to Bring About Meaningful Change Within that System?

The problem isn't that Barack Obama is a bad person or that he has bad intentions toward this country. It's not that he himself is corrupt or unethical. The problem is that the political system itself is corrupt. In addition, ultimately Obama, everybody involved in his administration, and everyone else working in politics are products of that system. In order to get elected and to advance through politics a person needs to know how to "play the game" and has to keep people around them that know how politics works. Which is why the same people get recycled over and over again. It's also the reason that it is so hard find people to fill government posts that aren't tainted by the corruption of politics.

"There are two ways to look at this," said Bill Buzenberg, executive director of the Center for Public Integrity. "Either he is backtracking on his pledge, or it's that to find the best, the most-experienced people, it's impossible to fill these jobs without hiring people who have been lobbyists. It's disappointing either way, but it seems to be the [political] system we have."

The simple truth is that anybody who truly would change the system would never make it into a position to do so, because they would be filtered out by that system long before they had the chance.

Change We Need or Politics as Usual?

Will Barack Obama Make Meaningful Changes to the Way Washington is Run?

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Comments 63 comments

druneric profile image

druneric 7 years ago from Ohio

Wow, I must admit I only read about half your article before having to go about my business, but I will definitely finish reading it and pass it along to friends. I'm an Obama supporter and life-long democrat, but I do my best to investigate issues prior to condemnation or praise. I can see that your sources are basically reliable, but I must admit I'm skeptical of so much these days due to our technological ability to manipulate information. But I suspect your words are wise and true, oh Nevadaman.


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

Thanks dru,

I appreciate the comment and I do hope you have the chance to finish reading.

The article and reference sources contain plenty of links and I'm not at all offended by you wanting to confirm the authenticity of my outrageous claims. ;^) In fact, I think you should do that with anything you read on the internets these days. You might not agree with my conclusions, but I'm pretty confidant that anything I've stated as fact is just that.

For the record, I don't dislike Obama. I just think you have to understand the way politics is structured and the fact that corruption and partiality is built into the fabric of it.


redhairedgirl2004 profile image

redhairedgirl2004 7 years ago

I like this article. The sources are valid and the connections you make are astute. But I don't agree with your conclusion, and it seems way too early to draw any conclusions about whether Obama can follow through with his ultimate plan to bring change to the system. There are too many facets to the problems, and too many problems to address, to expect him to be able to solve anything in the 3 weeks he's actually been President. I'm willing to allow at least 100 days to go by before I start picking apart every move he makes, as reported by even the most credible sources. I'm also willing to allow as how he might know a little bit about what he's doing, and that alone counts him a 150% improvement over what we've had for the last 8 years. I agree the bar is set very low now, but I see it more as a comparison between riding in a bus driven by a well-paid well-trained motivated driver versus riding in a bus driven by some guy whose dad happened to be a busdriver and got his son a job driving buses to give him something else to do with his time besides waste his inheritance getting shitty grades at college while he parties it up with a bunch of fratboys and cheerleaders.

. . .umm. . . but I don't really have any strong feelings about it. . . ;-)


newcapo 7 years ago

It does not matter who is President or which party holds majority in Senate or House--- CHANGE WILL ONLY COME FROM WE THE PEOPLE --- unfortunately so many in politics do not know what it's like to live in the 'real' world where you buy your own groceries, go home from work with dirt under your fingernails, paint your house, do volunteer work or coach a kids' sports team.......

 I love America and even though I wasn't a supporter of Baraq Obama, I have high hopes for him- may he have the strength  to follow through on many of the campaign promises he made to lower and middle class (majority of Americans).....

I am very glad I found this hub- very, very well done man. 

Our country was founded on a government "For The People, By The People". The way I see it- it is 'slightly' for the people with all the handouts-they want people to become dependent on the government (a form of socialism?) and don't me wrong, I have shamefully taken government handouts at times in my life ---------- As far as a government "By the People"--- now way-- our government is not "By The People" anymore-- our voice has become silent.

 Here's a thought....This would NEVER happen, but how about if we purged everyone out of government-- just voted on say 5 Senators and 5 Congressman from each party -- and elect new representatives- upstanding citizens with no history in politics. And vote for a President where the 'Popular Vote' wins like it was in the beginning. No Electoral College B.S. that most don't understand. Everyone in America gets a vote, tally them up and the man/woman with the most votes wins!

 I'm rambling here....this hub is very thought provoking and informative .

 Great job!


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

I appreciate the comment redhairedgirl and I'm fine with people not ageeing with me.

However, I'd rather drive myself than be herded into a bus. Plus, I'm not basing this on the 3 weeks since he took office, the 3 months since he was elected, or really on Obama himself. I'm basing it on the 39 years I've been alive and everythig I've ever observed or studied about the history of politics and government. The specifics regarding Obama are just examples to make a point about the system's inherent flaws and abuses.

I really don't forsee any magic wand that will make everything better 80-some days from now.


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

Thanks newcapo,

I like your idea about purging the government. I would stop there though. There have been plenty of instances in history where the public has removed governments. Problem is that they've always felt some misguided obligation to set up a new government and restart the cycle over again.


GaryLeeVilleneuve profile image

GaryLeeVilleneuve 7 years ago from Cheyenne

"The problem is that the political system itself is corrupt."

Absolutely.

In fact, I'd even go so far as to say it's criminal. And that it's criminal like the mafia is criminal, but on a much larger and more consequential scale. And that there are very identifiable boss heads of this particular, much larger, much more consequential mafia. And that Barack Obama is not really one of them. That Barack Obama...he's more of an associate.

"A golden boy."

Brzezinski is one of them.

In fact, I'd even go so far as to say it's a mafia which transcends national boundaries or allegiances. And that it's a pretty tight knit family up there around the top. And that people who aren't in the family who try to insert themselves into the "family business" tend to get killed in places like Dallas by people who are.

In fact, I'd even go so far as to say that the family has a very specific agenda. And that it is what underlies what we tend to think of as "politics as usual." And that it isn't, in fact, just about making money. And that it is actually very dangerous for people like you and me.

In fact, I'd probably even go so far as to say that the family has a "too many people like you and me on the earth and not enough resources" problem. And that it's not very interested in accomodating us.

But that's just me. And I'm a little...

I thought this was a wonderfully written article. A lot of the time, I think I am for anarchy, too.


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

The comparison between the mob and the government is very apt and it's not the first time I've heard it. Just on the basis of tax law you could make a very good match. What the government does amounts to asking you to pay protection money, whether you want their protection or not. In essence, it's like they're saying, "I'd hate to see you end up in prison, so pay me a certain percentage of your income each year and I'll make sure that nobody arrests you." 


Tom Cornett profile image

Tom Cornett 7 years ago from Ohio

We are going to CHANGE from Vaseline to Preparation H. We should hang a large sign on the Statue of Liberty that says, "WELCOME, BUT DON'T DROP THE SOAP!"


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

I'm kinda surprised they haven't deported that liberal whore back to France by now.


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

I added a video to the last section. A CNN piece about how much a trillion really is. It's a bit eye-opening, especally when you consider that the current deficit is over 45 trillion dollars.


bgpappa profile image

bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California

Very well written Hub. After 3 weeks it is hard to tell if systematic change will happen. But I for one welcome the changes already made. It is nice to have a leader who can articulate a message. It is nice to have a leader who is calm and collected. It is nice to have a leader who at least is trying to bring in the other side when in all reality he doesn't have to. The tone has already changed a bit with Obama at the lead. These are good changes. Now, the question is can anything get done?

Well done.


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

Thanks bgpappa,

I agree tha it's nice to have a guy can actually read and talk.

He headed out for his first vacation to Camp David today, so some things carry do over.


buddygallagher profile image

buddygallagher 7 years ago from manila, philippines

i think he deserves his honeymoon with the nation, but then im sure he is just aware as you are of his own little hiccups...


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

You cn say that again. ;^)

He didn't seem to get much of a honeymoon on the stimulus bill or the approval of nominees


ColdWarBaby 7 years ago

Doesn't look good does it EYEAM4ANARCHY?

At the risk of repeating myself, I'll repeat myself.

Obama was probably selected to be the oil poured on troubled waters. Dubya overplayed his hand and stirred up the masses a little too much. Somebody needs to lull them back into their preferred passive state.

Real change will not come from within the existing amerikan government.

The next few years will be devoted to an artificial sustenance of of the usurious capitalist “economy”. This will allow those who have taken without earning to suck out the last little bit of unearned profit there is to be gotten.

Once they are safely out of range the whole thing can be allowed to collapse.

There is a some possibility that this final destruction of the almighty dollar is being undertaken to clear the way for the introduction of the amero, the North American Union and a brand new cycle of usury.

Either way, same as it ever was, the people are screwed.


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

Absolutely,

I'd categorize the vast majority of the past 8 years as the embodiment of overplaying one's hand. I don't really anyway that these "solutions" to the financial situation are anything more than a temporary fix at best and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see them use this to open the door for a fully global market. Basically, allowing them to reduce everybody to third-world style labor policies.

Rarely has anything from Washington been intended to be good for the population at large. Sometimes, they have been somewhat beneficial, but it's few and far between when it's been the primary or even secondary intention. So, yeah, there's a pretty good chance that we're screwed (again).

Thanks for stopping by CWB.


ColdWarBaby 7 years ago

And so it goes.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

Let's put it this way. If Obama is unable to effect meaningful change, we are totally f'd. Oh wait... we are already f'd. First he's got a giant quagmire of a mess to clean up before he can even get around to positive change. In other words, gotta get us back to ground zero (not the one in NYC) before we can progress into the positive. It's a much bigger task than it was to have been when Obama first started campaigning. But I agree that what we've seen so far looks refreshingly different from the last 8 years. That, in and of itself, is positive change. Oh yes. And the fact that the man can string 2 sentences together is quite a nice change as well.


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

How refreshingly different things are now wasn't quite my point, but I'll agree that it's nice to have a guy who can talk lie an adult blocking out our regularly scheduling programming.

I think we're f'd regardless of the quality of the speeches being given and, in large part, that's by design.


ColdWarBaby 7 years ago

More often than not, blocking out the regularly scheduled programming is a good thing!

By design yes. A soothing voice to lull us into a false sense of security.


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

I actually think that it's for the most part a case of a killing the goose that lays the golden egg type of scenario. It's not unlike what happened with Enron and those type of scandals, where they just bled it dry as long as they could until finally collapsed altogether, just on a grander scale. Everyone is out to get as much, as they can as fast as they can, before it goes bust. They are just hoping not to be the one holding the hot potato at the end of the day.

Note to self: do a spellcheck before posting comments about someone else's language abilities.


ColdWarBaby 7 years ago

Not sure who you're addressing but the golden egg scenario is quite apt. I've used the metaphor myself on occasion.

My point is that it may well be Obamas assigned task to keep the masses calm while they're being stripped of the last vestiges of their property and dignity.


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

I agree CWB. Bush was the lovable buffoon who was just a good old, down-home kinda guy that everybody thought they could have a beer with, except for the fact that he's a multi-generational millionaire . Now Obama is the brilliant outsider who is gonna do his best to fix everything that Bush accidentally wrecked.


danjutsu profile image

danjutsu 7 years ago from UK

From a Brits point of view i think that Obama has changed the face of US politics but how deep this change goes really does remain to be seen. If Obama has to make a stand against some of the major players in the US we will then see what he is made of.

A good figurehead is always a morale booster for the people and we have seen the jubilation amongst most Americans. Your people expect great things Mr President.

From a more cynical point of view it would seem that Obama ticks a lot of political boxes on global issues such as the middle east and of course racial issues. McCain was never a real contender in the bigger scheme of things.


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

Well Obama certainly did bring some optimism with him to Washington and some of the reasons for that are very valid. I think things would be much more contentious had McCain won especially in regards to the stimulus bill, which I believe would still have looked largely the same, once you got beyond the window dressings. If you were one of those wild-eyed conspiracy theorists you might conclude that that's the reason Obama is the one sitting in the Oval Office.

As far as McCain being a real contender, I wouldn't overlook the fact that the race was very close, and in fact, McCain was leading several times right up until the bottom fell out of the economy. After the last 8 years, it should have been a foregone conclusion that anybody the Democrats put up would win in a tremendous landslide.But that didn't happen and that's yet another product of the political system.


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

Just a quick note on some updates:I added a couple new links sections of related hubs. If you are a member of HP and you have a hub you think relates to this one, send me a link, and if I think it fits, I will add it.


Steph 7 years ago

I agree that the corruption is in the system and one man can't change that. This is America and that means we all are responsible for the state of things. I see big changes coming- stem cell research, the stimulus itself, health care reform, raising the pay of the military- and I hope Obama can carry them through.

What I can't agree with is the idea that everything is corrupt, everything is twisted, the people are screwed and we're all headed for a downfall- that attitude is not only pessimistic and melodramatic, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy- if we the people all start believing that, then we are screwed.


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

Well Steph, I maintain that most everything within the government is corrupt and most everything involving the government becomes twisted by that corruption. If you believe that we have no choice but to be dependent upon the government and the few instances where they aren't completely corrupt, then you probably are going to be screwed in the end.

I'm not personally of that opinion though and I'm going to do what I can to break others of that pessimistic idea. I'll consider that to be my portion of everybody in America's responsibility for correcting the "state of things."

Thanks for the comment, BTW.


Denise Kawaii 7 years ago

Wow - what a lot of great comments here! I think that Obama will be able to make some changes, but I don't believe that he will be able to change the system at-large. Unfortunately, our politicians are wholly too corrupt at all levels to really be changed. The big changes that we as common citizens want to see won't occur until we vote an entire new generation into the political system and they can work together to overturn the current system.

Great article!!


issues veritas 7 years ago

I don't believe that all of government is corrupt, just the ones that are incompetent.

The root cause of the problem in government is the 2 party system, that act like jealous siblings. They never work as a team for the better of the country. This has been going down hill over the last three decades or longer.

We the people, elect the candidates who then are directed by the lobbyists to do their bidding. You have heard about silent partners, lobbyists are an example of them.

Being a registered voter to either party is like giving your voting proxy to that party. Then the political parties go after the independent voters because they already have their parties registered voters in the bag. The election process is pretty much done at the time registration closes. Computers have already predicted the winner and voting hasn't even started.

Congress and the President should be held accountable for the results of their actions as a body. It doesn't matter who dropped the ball and caused the game to be lost. There should be no passing the buck or wait until our party gets into office.

Like the lions against the Christians in the old days, the lions and the political system are undefeated.

If change is reconstituting President Clinton's administration then Obama did it.


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

Thanks Dennis. I don't believe that we can use a system to vote people into power and then turn around and rely on them to change that same system and give up that power, but you're pointed in the right direction.

For the most part, I agree with what you said issues veritas. However, given the choice between the two, I actually prefer the incompetent ones to the deliberately corrupt. And there are plenty of politicians who are both very competent and very corrupt. Usually when you see a politician get caught accepting bribes or something of that nature, it's a case of arrogance not inability. Incompetence can be dealt with, a politician who is booth crooked and smart is the one who will do the real damage.

P.S. There's an old story that is really long and boring about a scorpion getting a ride across a river on a frog's back and then at the end they both drown because the scorpion does what scorpions do and stings the frog halfway across. The moral is we the christians should stop putting our fate into the hands of lions.


issues veritas 7 years ago

That is true.

BTW, my definition of competent, was competent for us, not them. The worse combo is the incompetent corrupt ones. Isn't the case most times that we only have the opportunity to choose the lesser of two and not the better of two. Lesser, evil; better, good.

We know the political scorpion story, but why do the people do what they do?

If you to can prevent forest fires

is it possible to also prevent giving the scorpions another term to ride on our backs?

 


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

We could just get rid of the scorpions altogether.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 7 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

You apparently haven't missed any of the Republican talking points, EYEAM4ANARCHY. You are certainly correct that it isn't very difficult to do a much better job than George W. Bush, but anyone attempting to predict how Obama is doing or, more appropriately, will do, needs to consider where he's starting from. It's definitely necessary to appoint people with experience, and there are few high level prospects that have entirely clean hands. More important than how they handled their positions in the past will be what President Obama will expect -- and demand -- of them. Bush demanded that his people toe the line, Obama will be looking for ideas and answers. There's a huge difference.


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

If the entirety of the Republican talking points consist of simply pointing out verifiable facts and how they contradict the claims and promises being made, then they've certainly come a long way in a very short amount of time.

"It's definitely necessary to appoint people with experience, and there are few high level prospects that have entirely clean hands."

That's pretty much the point. Anybody with "experience" in government is tainted by it or they'd have been filtered out long before they ever had the chance to acquire all that knowledge of how to sell their influence to the highest bidder. The difference in those ideas and answers that Obama has demanded and the ones we previously learned to expect has been at best cosmetic, at this point. "At least he uses proper grammar" can only stretch so far.


AlexiusComnenus profile image

AlexiusComnenus 7 years ago from GA

The bottom line is that there is no politician in Washington, probably the entire U.S., that can bring "change" as we seek. They bring only a little different form of what we already know. Until everyone in the U.S. votes with conscience and not who the pundits deem "appropriate" we will continue to have the same terrible type we're used to. Vote with conscience!


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

Absolutely Alexius, you know what they say about leopards and their spots. It's kinda like an abused spouse who keeps taking their abuser back hoping that this time they will keep their promise not to abuse them again. Thanks for the comment.


issues veritas 7 years ago

So far the only change has been to expand the government further than ever.

Czars need worker bees and the buzz will be deafening.

There needs to be a shift in the government not another tumor to grow out of control.

Expansion of government is a change but I was thinking of a change that never happens, reduction of government.

 


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

The government is one of the few companies hiring these days.


issues veritas 7 years ago

The defense rests.


LibertyUnchained profile image

LibertyUnchained 7 years ago from Earth.

Very nicely put together.

I'd say Obama is in because the true powers that be ( follow the $ symbols ) decided that they needed someone with charisma in place to put people back into a vegetable state while they suck the last bit of essense out of them.

There were times during the bush presidency when I started to think that perhaps he was trying to warn people a little bit...but those times didn't last for more than half a moment each. The guy really is that arrogant. I don't recall the speah off the top of my head, but the most shocking one I saw was one where he was telling us all about "the terrorists" and every last thing he said applied directly to the men and women that call themselves the government, particularly him and his inner circle.

Change...or skin color and speach patterns perhaps...but certainly not of substance.


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

Thanks LU,

I don't doubt that there's a lot of truth to the idea that Obama is just the change of pace guy to settle down the people that were pissed off by the Bush years (i.e. pretty much everyone). I think if McCain had gotten elected instead and was passing these same bills people would be shouting from the rooftops. Politics have become a lot like sports in that respect. If you're talking about your "team" you look for anything positive and try to rationalize the negative and the opposite when talking about the other "team". Unfortunately, there's a lot more at stake than who gets to have a drunken celebration, especially right now.

Arrogant is a real good descriptor for Bush. I prefer to think of his little gaffs, where he tells us that the terrorists are doing everything they can to destroy America and so is he,  as Freudian Slips. Personally, I don't think he's the evil one, though. He's very much got that elitist "I know what's good for you" sort of attitude and disdain for the general population. However, I believe Cheney is the one with the black heart (I know that is a shocking theory). His heart is so evil that it even tries to kill him every couple years.

But, then again it all boils down to age old question: "where's the beef?" Change makes for a good slogan after an unpopular president, but at some point there has to be something concrete behind it.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

Great hub and well researched. I do not think Obama will make it.His treasury appointments says it all. He either can't chuck the foxes out of the chicken coop or he wanted them in there himself. Either way he is a dead duck and we are screwed!


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

Thanks earnest,

Personally, I think it's a little bit of both. I don't think Obama is bad himself, not any worse than any of the others anyway. But every politician knows who butters his bread and why. It isn't looking to get better anytime soon. I'm starting to think our only real hope is to hit the reset button at this point.


LibertyUnchained profile image

LibertyUnchained 7 years ago from Earth.

I definitely have to agree that Cheney is a lot worse than Bush, but I am fairly certain that bush has no real sense of "noblesse oblige", but is simply another carpet bagger in a long line of carpet baggers.

If obama had come in and started enacting real change ( e.g. doing what he could to stomp out corruption, nixing executive orders, ending the wars, bringing troops home from around the world and closing down foreign bases, nixing the ever multiplying executive branch agencies, etc ) I would have been glad to be wrong...but looking at what he is actually doing, it is just more of the same.

The sad, tired excuse of "it takes time" is just that, a sad, tired excuse used to avoid doing anything good. Once things really start collapsing ( I'd say the end of this year by looking at the recent accelerations ) then maybe enough people will wake from their stupor to enact real change at local levels...as that is where it has to come from. The "top" is owned by the money trusts...and anyone that makes it there before things start being fixed at local levels is sure to have been approved by the council on foreign relations, aipac, and the money trust.


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

That and the other catch phrase that "we can't just do nothing." Which is wrong on two points. First, because we actually would be better off doing nothing, if what we are doing is only making things worse. Secondly, because it creates the incorrect idea that doing nothing and doing the wrong thing are the only options.


RKHenry profile image

RKHenry 7 years ago from Your neighborhood museum

Very good hub. I am an Obama fan. I'm a fan because he is a man with integrity. I was also glad to see that after I voted in your poll, that 33% of us believe he will change Washington. Thanks


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

You're certainly welcome.


issues veritas 7 years ago

I keep hearing people say that Obama just got into office give him a chance to solve the problem. Obama has been at it for six months. Four months as a Senator, He didn't come into the President's office cold.

So why is his expectations of GM higher than our expectations of him?

Obama is a real comfort to all those voters in Michigan that voted him into the presidency to help their economy.

--------------

Democrat Barack Obama won the presidential voting in Michigan, defeating Republican rival John McCain in a state where the ailing auto industry made the economy a top issue for voters,

Most opinion polls before the election had shown Obama leading, but until mid-September his lead had been narrow and occasional polls showed McCain ahead. Michigan voters have not backed a Republican for president since George H.W. Bush in 1988.

-------------------

If Obama is against unions, then he should clean the government unions in the same way as he is doing with the auto industry.


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

Pretty much all the unions are a part of management as much as they are a part of the unions these days anyway, so I don't care much for the "plight" of the unions regardless, except as a glaring example of the government's priorities. What it boils down to: the banks, where money goes pretty much straight into the traders who created this mess' pockets, have to be bailed out and all contracts are ironclad, untouchable legally binding; but autoworkers, where the everyday worker is making a decent living and production is far from the root of the problem, well let's just rewrite those contracts and stick it to the worker or we withhold the money and the resulting bankruptcies will (supposedly) wreck the entire economy.


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 7 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

I agree with much you have written and many comments here such as GaryLeeVilleneuve's comments above. "Brzezinski is one of them." - yes, without a doubt!

Excellent hub and I have voted No change!

I have been saddened to see how many intelligent people and public figures have bought into the deception that is Obama.


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

He has changed the name of a few things. Enemy combatants are now "detainees." The 50,000+ soldiers that will remain in Iraq indefinitely will "transition forces" not combat troops. The Global War on Terror is now an "overseas Contingency Operation."

Change is in the air.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 7 years ago from Ohio, USA

Congrats on revealing the true character of Obama. Watch what he does, not what he says,


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

Well as far as I'm concerned, most everything he has done or failed to do as promised has done little but confirm what I wrote here.


Jane Taxpayer 7 years ago from Your innermost conscience

Amazing Hub... Man, Frieres was right... Unfortunately it isn't that Obama is corrupt, but he has a certain "surround." Unless he can free himself of his surround, than the necessary change to government may never occur.

Theoretically though, wouldn't it need a product of the system, someone who knows the system inside and out, to actually make the necessary changes and get away with it? Otherwise, all it would be is a coup detat.


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

I suppose if someone could successfully spend forty or so years pretending to go along with the program, cutting deals with every unsavory character involved in politics, seeking and granting favors and influence from and to them, in order to put themselves in a position to be president, then they would be in a pretty good position to make some actual reforms. I don't have a lot of faith that this super moral chameleon is going to give up the millions of benefits that being an ex-president brings out of the goodness of his heart and the 400k salary during his term even if he could pull off that lifelong act. Call me skeptical, but I just don't see a reverse Manchurian Candidate on the horizon. Of course, I guess you're not supposed to be able to see him coming.

I think Ron Paul during the last presidential campaign makes for a very nice example of my belief that anybody who would actually make meaningful change could never get into a position to do so. In spite of consistently running in third place, raising tons of money, and having a cult like following among his supporters, the mainstream media ignored him and tried to exclude him from debates even when every other candidate was invited.


lxxy profile image

lxxy 7 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

"The simple truth is that anybody who truly would change the system would never make it into a position to do so, because they would be filtered out by that system long before they had the chance."

Loved the last lines especially.

The bloated bureaucracy that is politics in general has lead nations to section off, stake claims, and march around with the mantra of "We're the best!"

Not only is it disgusting, it's also downright ironic and in the best of times humorous.

When your species decides that everyone really does matter, no one is more educated or qualified to make choices, and that the only good government is one that doesn't exist--the change the American people, and really, the world, will come forth.


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

I'm working on my species Ixxy, but you're right about what needs to happen. Too many of them believe in "limited" government, even though the ones they expect to limit the government are the ones benefiting most from the government.


acanderson24 profile image

acanderson24 7 years ago

Wow...nice article. I have voted every since I was old enough. That is a big thing coming from a young black man in the inner city. But although I was voting, I had no system, I even think I wrote my own name on the ballot a few times (lol). Obama, is a "blinder" if you will. The state of the US is far to bad for anyone to fix in 4 years. That is not an excuse for Obama, it is just the truth. He will only do as much as the "powers that be" will allow. I am a Obama fan, but I will tell you this and you can Quote me: " Obama was not really president material." That is not saying anything bad about him, it's just the truth. But, he was the best candidate of all the others. He stood for change in alot of different ways. But the key was that he was "change". America has been driven in the ground for 8 years.

What should happen is that he gets his feet wet and then win again. Then his voice will have some credibility with the "powers that be". They want the health bill fixed in 8 months (really less). But, it has been messed up for years. He can't fix the whole "war" thing in a day, it is going to take as much time as it did to mess it up.

Unfortunately, it doesn't work like that. People want right now.

Things are real simple for me, but I am not a simple man. Everything is not black and white. But black and white still plays a major role in a lot of things in America. One thing with Obama winning is that it brought change to the idea that racism is dead in America. it is sad, but it is alive and kicking.....

Our government is in a state of chaos: We spend billions on a space program to try to find water on the moon, but people are starving every day.

We are supporting a war that we can never win. Those people have been at war since the beginning of time. America has to realize, that when we decide to go to war, it is exactly that, War! War means casualties, it means there are going to be some innocent people lost. Yeah if it was handled the right way, a lot of those casualties could have been avoided. But it wasn't handled correctly. (blame Bush)

We are bailing out companies who turned unimaginable profits over the years. But instead of "building a strong foundation" for tough times. These companies lavished in the "high Life". Executives making outrageous salaries. Receiving unbelievable bonuses. Now they want us to feel sorry for them.

Look at the bankruptcy boom over the past decade. Look at the foreclosures. his country is in a self destruct state. I say if Obama can change anything, then God bless him. But in reality this country is too far gone to be fixed in 4 years.


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

I agree very much AC,

Bush is to blame for the war and in large part for the economy and rightfully so. Although plenty of that stuff had its seeds planted before Bush was even born, nevermind being in office. Regardless, Bush was one of the biggest disasters in just about every way.

I also agree that cleaning up the mess would take Obama or anyone else more than a couple years even if they were working in earnest to do so. Problem is I haven't really seen much of that change we were promised. Obama hasn't just continued but has excellerated Bush's war policies. He didn't just continue the economic policies and bailouts that led to all those bankruptcies and foreclosures but increased the payouts to those companies that created the problems. And the execs in those companies are still living the high life while the working class folks are being laid off to cut expenses.

I don't prescribe to the theories that Obama is part of some evil plot to destroy the country, but I think he knows where his bread is buttered and that keeps him from doing anything meaningful to fix the problem. I do think this country is perched in a precarious position. The government and the people that truly run it want to reorganize things a little and prop it up so the critical problems are pushed into the future and they can continue profiting at our expense. I'd be happy to push it right over on top of them and eliminate them from the picture.


Wealthmadehealthy profile image

Wealthmadehealthy 6 years ago from Somewhere in the Lone Star State

OB is doing nothing but ruining our country. Yes, we had challenges with GWB, but nothing such as we are experiencing now. Our deficit has escalated to an unimaginable height, he has taken over everything pertaining to our daily lives and is now trying to take away our guns and freedom of speech...

Sorry I found this hub so long after it was written, but you know the story.....it has not been pretty in the least.


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 6 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

Although I'm not particularly interested in debating the merits of the left/right paradigm that serves as a handy distraction more often than a defining characteristic of government, I very much appreciate that you enjoyed the hub.

The truth is that they are both responsible for dramatic damages, even if they accomplished it in slightly different ways (although many Obama's policies have been continuations of Bush's own). The levels of damage they have caused, in relation to each other, doesn't make that damage go away, nor does it make me feel that the solution is to vote for a Republican instead of a Democrat or vice versa.

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