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Archive for December 1st, 2010

Dear President Barack Obama,
I know you are NOT listening to me – after all, I’m just a life-long Democrat – but I’d like to update you with my view of your progress in Office.  Let’s just call it your mid-term report card…
Health Care – C-minus;  At least we got something passed.  Almost completely without your leadership.  No, make that completely without your leadership.  As near as I can tell, you simply didn’t get in the way (much).  The results speak for themselves.  They have to, because you still haven’t communicated any value to what all the birthing-labor was about.
Iraq – D-minus;  Ok, I’m being generous.  It should probably be an F.  WE ARE STILL THERE!!!  Why?  Oh, yeah, all “combat” troops are gone.  I guess that means the non-combat troops we still have there are on patrol with daisies instead of rifles.
Afghanistan – D-minus;  The simple fact is – and has always been – we have no business trying to create a civil society in a country the size of Texas on the other side of the planet when we can’t create a civil society in Texas in our own country.  Yes, nine years ago they were harboring terrorists.  The correct response, then as now, should have been to blow them (the terrorists) the hell up and LEAVE.  If they came back, you blow them up again!  You don’t apologize and you DO NOT occupy!  A well defined objective, relatively inexpensive, and achievable.
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – D-minus;  I’m starting to sense a trend here…  Two years and what do we have?  A survey of the troops asking them how they feel about serving with gays and lesbians.  Their response, “We don’t really care as long as they are willing to fight and are held to the same competency standards as straits.”  And you STILL won’t tell the military (you know, give an ORDER) to do the right thing.  Oh, yeah, I forgot, it’s against the law.  And we’re SOOOOO afraid of Presidents breaking the law.  That’s why we have a self-confessed war criminal selling his memoirs and proudly stating he did what was necessary (authorized the use of torture in “enhanced” interrogation)  to protect America.    Sorry, Mr. President.  I forgot this is your report card – not “Dubya’s”.
Saving the economy from a Depression – B-plus;  not that it matters much since it still feels like a depression to 85% of all Americans.  The reality is we DID avoid a depression.  The downside is the only folks getting ahead these days are 2% with 50% of the country’s wealth.  (Yes, I know it’s actually more like 80% of the country’s wealth, but why split hairs?)  800,000 fellow Americans lost their unemployment benefits today!!  The average benefit was $305 per week.  Unemployment is currently about 9%.  If those lazy Americans would only take jobs at $1.90 an hour they could make that benefit amount and hold their heads up with pride because they are gainfully employed.  Heck, if they would just take jobs at the Federal minimum wage ($7.25), they would make over $1,100 a month.  Oh, but there’s that little detail that there aren’t that many jobs out there.  Details, details.  As Marie Antoinette said, “Let them eat cake!”
Prosecution of past Presidents as war criminals –  F-minus-minus;   The real Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is still around.  If we don’t ask why you haven’t done anything, you don’t have to tell us why not.  My only hope now is that Dubya goes to visit a European country and gets arrested for war crimes.  Then the State Department will have to acknowledge the President committed the crimes, but he shouldn’t be prosecuted because he was President of the United States.  We’ll call this the modified Pinochet Defense.
Gitmo – F;  If anyone there is guilty of anything, bring them here and try them.  Otherwise, in America we don’t keep people in jail because we think they might commit a crime at some time in the future.  Well, we’re not supposed to anyway…  But that was before Dubya scared us out of our civil liberties.  You remember, the Bill of Rights – the Constitution, the thing the Tea Baggers want to adhere to so absolutely.
Negotiating with the Republicans – F;  Hello!  Wake up and smell the coffee!!  The Republicans are not interested in compromise.  The Republicans are NOT interested in “common ground”.  The Republicans are not interested in helping you run the country.  The Republicans ARE interested in your capitulation and complete failure as a President and Administration.    Judging from my report card, how are you doing?  How are they doing?
Finally, why am I “under the bus?”   Because when it came time to BEGIN negotiations, you made a concession.  You didn’t even bother to wait for the Republicans to state their initial bargaining positions on Federal employment (“fire us all”) / wage decreases.  You just jumped up and said, “No raises for civilian employees for two years.”  Full Disclosure: I AM A FEDERAL EMPLOYEE.  I am fortunate enough not to currently be working in an overtly dangerous job: forest firefighter, DEA agent, FBI, Marshal’s service, IRS tax collector, Border Patrol, etc.  But, there are thousands who are in those civilian jobs.   I’m not saying I deserve a raise “just because”…  I’m not saying anyone, military or civilian, public or private sector deserves a raise “just because”…  I am saying, part of YOUR job is looking out for US – Federal employees – civilian and military – because we are part of the American public.
This is the same thing (make concessions before the beginning of negotiations) you did on Dubya’s war crimes and the health care bill…
And in doing this you have shifted the discussion of the burden of the economic downturn and deficit from taxing the wealthy to “sharing the burden” by government employees.  The problem is the Republicans have no interest in sharing the burden.  They want the entire burden of taxes to fall on the non-wealthy.  Most state governments are near bankruptcy.  Most local governments are near bankruptcy.  Most state and local government employees have faced zero wage increases, layoffs and furloughs for several years.  Now, it’s time for Federal employees to “share the burden”….   So, here we go – under the bus.  Thanks a lot.
Looking forward to your re-election campaign against Sarah Palin,
Signed
A Democrat
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