President Obama: It’s Not Our Fault (Displaced Anger)


by Nida Khan

Nida Khan

President Obama is angry, and rightfully so. He’s endured two years of meticulous Republican opposition to virtually every measure put forth, even when he – dare I say – compromised. Setting aside campaign promises of a public healthcare option and a closing of Guantanamo Bay, the President has abandoned many of his platforms only to face continual filibustering, abuse and contempt from the right. So this past Tuesday during a press conference on the proposed tax cut deal, he let loose – except the anger was directed to those that have been in his corner since day one. It was, in effect, like the overworked and underpaid worker who comes home and beats his wife and kids instead of standing up to his tyrant boss.

September 2009 marked the beginning of the end of Obama’s hold on his own principles, the desires of all those who overwhelmingly voted for change and the notion of respect for the coveted office of the Presidency. There was no capitulation on ideas, nor was there a reversal of any major campaign promise. Instead, it was a brief utterance from a Republican elected official in the House Chambers that virtually sealed this President’s fate. It was two words that still reverberate around political corners till this day; it was the inexcusable and outlandish outburst of South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson. During his national address on healthcare, our President was momentarily interrupted by the words: ‘You Lie’. And he has been unable to regain control since.

Joe Wilson

Failing to exert his authority during that pivotal moment, President Obama fell victim to vultures that were only ready, willing and able to find his weakness. And they soon enough did – his inability to stand up to White opposition rooted in bigotry. Until that definitive instant, our Commander-in-Chief never faced such blatant insolence and hostility. Prior to Joe Wilson’s scathing remarks, Obama only had to negotiate and engage in intellectual discourse with his opponents. This was in essence the first time he was face-to-face with individuals who devalued the notion of a Black President so much so that they deemed it appropriate to openly degrade and embarrass him in front of the nation.

As a biracial child growing up in a White household and later attending Ivy league schools, Obama was always perceived as the ‘exception’ out of a race of people that are still struggling to shatter inaccurate stereotypes and achieve equality in a society that is far from post-racial. And though he grew up outside of the mainland,the President fully immersed himself in the struggles of African Americans and disenfranchised groups as evidenced by his work as a community organizer and advocate. Whole-heartedly embracing and identifying with his Black side, Obama married a Black woman, attended a Black Church and understood the importance of uplifting a segment of the population that has been methodically oppressed.

In the process of developing his identity, Obama also unfortunately acquired the notion of displaced anger – directing one’s frustration at someone or something that is safe or convenient, as opposed to the actual source of one’s anger. And sadly, we have seen this pattern manifest itself over and over again. Consistently accusing the ‘professional left’ of being ‘sanctimonious’, President Obama has notonly abandoned the very base that created a grassroots movement of victory thatushered him to the White House, but he has chosen to continually attack them whenthey have shown nothing but support – even in the face of reversals in campaignpromises. Instead of directly challenging those that are systematically placingroadblocks in every direction of his path, President Obama is regrettably channelinghis frustration on those that want nothing more than to see him succeed.

The sooner our President recognizes this reality, the sooner he will be able tobreak the shackles from the remnants of mental slavery that still unfortunatelysubconsciously determine our actions – even when those actions originate from thehighest office in the land.

Nida Khan is the news correspondent for WRKS 98.7 Kiss FM NY

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President Obama vs the GOP: Yes We Can or Yes We Cave?

There he goes again.. President Obama has once again sat down with the most vile of his political enemies and granted them serious concessions-The Bush Tax Cuts. These were granted even as we note it was this group of people and their policies that majorly contributed to the economic mess we are currently experiencing. This latest move has left everyone disappointed in ways that words can’t even describe.

Now before we began let’s get a few things out the way. Whenever criticism of President Barack Obama from the so-called left comes up, there’s always some apologist who shows up and starts spouting how ‘progressives‘ aka the Professional Left need to pipe down and go along with the program. These apologists usually try to spin these expressed concerns about President Obama and his policies in a number of clichéd ways.

First, they like to insist that progressives are messing things up for the president. They say that anyone speaking out is somehow dividing the party. They assert that President Obama simply can’t give into to ‘fringe’ and ‘extremist’ views. Lets dead this myth once and for all.

Pushing for un-compromised policies is not fringe or extremist. In fact its a good negotiating tactic. Always ask for more verses starting out offering less than what you need.

Second, if we look a President Obama’s dismal approval ratings coupled with the ‘shalacking‘ that was handed out during last month’s mid-term elections, its obvious that more than ‘fringe’ progressives and ‘wacky leftists’ from Berkeley, Madison or Austin are upset with him.  His missteps are bothersome and raising eyebrows in various sectors of the Democratic tent and he thus he needs to change-up.

Third, let’s say his dismal ratings and lackluster ability to raise to roof during the mid-terms is because of the progressive wing of the political spectrum. If progressives can cause a sitting president who commanded a whooping 80% approval rating to dip 30-40% in a years time then that’s even more of a reason for him to listen to what may arguably be the most influential sector of his base. Again the over-riding concern, he’s doing too much dancing with the GOP.

Obama defenders like to say things like ‘Progressives simply don’t get it.. ‘In government one must compromise..Progressives must understand..You can’t have everything your way‘…Blah, Blah, Blah..

Memo to Obama Apologists and  Spinmasters: Fall Back..We all took civics class. We all understand how government works. In fact some of the reasons for the criticisms-is because  folks clearly see what’s working and what’s not working and want to speak to it.. In addition most of us have been a part of some organization or involved with coalition building of some sort where compromise is the order of the day.

Most of us clearly understand there’s compromise, calculated risk, political theater and caving in. This man who many of us enthusiastically supported and helped elect, has done a bit too much caving in on a variety of issues and needs to be called on it.  Doing so is called agitation, petitioning, airing your grievances and if you have enough money, power and influence-its called lobbying. Now we don’t hear Vice president Joe Biden and White House spokesperson Robert Gibbs telling lobbyist to ‘zip it‘, ‘buck up‘ and get in line, hence they shouldnt be saying that to average citizens who identify with the democratic party and raise concerns.

The irony here is that is seems like whenever President Obama is mis-treated or disrespected he’s willing to eagerly sit down and compromise with you. Time and time again, we’ve seen him reach across the aisle to try and work with people who accused him of not being a citizen, who blatantly lied about and tried to derail his policies and who have shown up at rallies where participants held up offensive signs about him and his wife. He’s that guy who will compromise while you’re still in the ring fighting and defending him..

The common complaint with President Obama is he doing too much negotiating with a political enemy that has publicly stated and later demonstrated that they have no intention of working cooperatively with him. How much longer do the Obama apologists feel we should allow this continue before we say enough is enough? How much more compromising must he do?

And let’s be clear here, an Obama Compromise is not just any ole compromise where the split is 50-50. With President  Obama a compromise is where the opponent always seems get 75% while you get 25%. Far too often he offers up concessions without getting anything in return. He’s forever removing things off the table just to simply sit down and negotiate. That’s not compromise, that’s playing a weak hand and its got to stop.

We saw this when he caved in on these Bush Tax cuts.

Initially the issue at hand is that those who had been employed for a long time aka the 99ers were seeing their last unemployment check in this week. President Obama was supposed to go to the mat and fight for them. We  kept hearing that there might have to be a compromise to help these long-term unemployed folks. So what does President Obama do, he cuts a deal and leaves the 99ers who were used as this political football by both the left and the right off the table…Here’s what was noted in the WSJ.

Unemployment Extension: Calculated Risk makes an important point that we’ve made before: the extension of unemployment doesn’t extend the duration of benefits beyond 99 weeks. “Just to be clear, the “extension of the unemployment benefits” is an extension of the qualifying dates for the various tiers of benefits, and not additional weeks of benefits. There is no additional help for the so-called “99ers”. Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) comes in four tiers: Tier I is for 20 additional weeks; Tier II is for up to 14 weeks; Tier III is for up to 13 weeks; Tier IV is for up to 6 weeks. As an example, if a worker was receiving Tier I benefits, they will be able to move to Tier II benefits with this proposed extension. Without the extension of the qualifying dates, workers would not be able to move to the next tier.”.

To make matters worse, we didn’t hear President Obama use his bully pulpit and insist that those millionaires who got these tax cuts which will cost an estimated 600 billion dollars, go out and hire at least a portion of 2 million or so 99ers. Remember, the millionaires represented by the lobbyist of the US Chamber of Commerce repeatedly said that they needed to extend the Bush Tax cuts to create jobs. What was on the table to ensure those jobs would be created?

If the past behavior of Wall Street bankers and brokers who got billions of dollars in bonuses after being bailed out with our tax dollars are any indication, then what were likely to see is them hoarding even more money not creating new jobs.

Hell, we didn’t hear President Obama pushing back and LOUDLY countering the popular GOP narrative which says that those on unemployment are lazy and not trying to look for work.

President Obama and his team understand the power of symbols and political theater. When arguing for these unemployment extensions why didn’t him or someone from his team pull out footage of unemployed folks standing in long lines trying desperately trying to get low wage jobs? Why didn’t he highlight the some of those stories of long-term job seekers who are finding closed doors because of bad credit ratings caused by being out of work?  Why didn’t he show families sleeping in cars, staying at all night gyms and posting up at all night diners? In short, why not put a face to the long-term unemployed the way the GOP made Joe the Plumber the face of those opposing tax increases for the wealthy?

Ted Donahue President of the US Chamber of Commerce

The US Chamber of Commerce who help lead the charge for extending the Bush Tax Cuts instead of pushing to create jobs for those who been without work for so long has instead, been hosting seminars to show American companies on how to outsource jobs to China. Does that sound like job creation? Maybe for China,but not for us here in the United States. Why have we not seem them called to the carpet more?

If that’s not enough these same US Chamber lobbyists came out against the Senate recent outsourcing bill. The US Chamber led by Ted Donahue, poured hundreds of millions of undeclared money into campaigns backing all sorts of über corporate friendly candidates who will now be taken seats come 2011 in the new Congress. This is in addition to pouring millions into the coffers of the GOP leadership that got President Obama to bow down.

Should the President have compromised? Were these US Chamber backed politicians too much of a formidable force who really did have the ‘unemployed as hostages’? No one is suggesting that compromise was not needed. But where was the compromise if the plight of the 99ers weren’t openly advocated?

Some are saying President Obama had to do cave in because he didn’t have enough votes within his own party. I’m looking to see who opposed him and once again we see Senator Joe Lieberman. This is the same Joe Lieberman who Obama came out and protected from political banishment two years ago. Folks may recall that it was President Obama who picked up the phone and asked Speaker Nancy Pelosi to let Senator Lieberman keep his committee chairmanships after he had a political dust-up and falling out with his Democratic colleagues resulting in him being declared an independent.

Senator Joe Lieberman

To this day I have no idea how Senator Lieberman has paid back the president. It seems like with every important bill good ole Joe is all up in the mix trying to gum up the works. Who can forget how he single-handedly held up and weakened the healthcare bill by refusing to sign if they left in the public option?

Also on the list is Senator Bill Nelson.. You remember this scuz bucket from Nebraska?  President Obama, bowed, scraped and kissed his butt at least 16 times during the HCR debates and at the end of day after he got everything he damn near wanted including keeping the highly priced Medicaid Advantage. How does Nelson pay back the President? He opposes him on the ending the Bush Tax cuts…

The bottom line is this. After two years, its more than obvious that President Obama has an agenda that is in line with corporations more than it is the average person who tirelessly worked to put him into office. Sure, we may get a lil something here and there, a kind word, a small bill or two, but it will never meet the threshold that so many of us need in order to truly get back on our feet? From the looks of things, No. From Universal Healthcare to public option to the closing of Gitmo to getting rid of the Patriot Act to keeping Net Neutrality these are all key bread and butter issues championed in many left leaning enclaves. At each turn we have seen our President severely dilute, back peddled, re-calibrated and in the many instances not even put the issue on the table for discussion.

What’s the solution? For starters, folks will have to look toward each other, show compassion and hold each other up. These corporations have no intention of doing so. All of us will have to make sacrifices and whenever possible stop supporting those outlets that drain our communities.

Pastor Jeremiah Wright took a lot of heat for talking about Obama being a politician more than a prophetic leader

Sadly much of the leadership in the Democratic party are beholden to these corporations as is our President who is not forcefully speaking out in a way that encourages us to rally around him energetically. All of us are going to have to start fortifying our bases on local levels and making sure we put good people in office who are down to scrap and truly look out for the little guy. This is not happening with Barack Obama. Not sure who his advisors are or if he has some sort of long-term strategy that none of us can see.

His former Pastor Jeremiah Wright said it best and he took a lot of heat for it. He noted that President Obama is not prophet..He’s a politician. He goes to where ever the political winds take him.

From this day forth either we create a political wind storm that President Obama can’t ignore or we better start looking carefully for a viable candidate to run for office in 2012 who will compromise from the center and far right and not the left.

Something to ponder

written by -Davey D-

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Bush Tax Cuts vs Unemployment Benefits: What Millionaires Will Stand Up for the Poor?

As the holidays loom closer it seems less likely that unemployment benefits will be extended to the 2 million families that are desperately dependent up on them. The main stumbling block is that GOP leaders John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Mitch McConnell are demanding that tax cuts be extended to millionaires. Until then any attempt to give to the unemployed will be blocked. Today Congress will debate extending the tax cuts for millionaires with President Obama stating he hopes a compromise will be reached. Will that compromise extend job benefits?

Yes we all heard ‘noble’ sounding stories from these so-called leaders about how we all need to sacrifice and reign in the deficit. We all heard them express grave concern about how we all need to tighten our belts and lay down the ground work for our children to have brighter futures. Others like conservative media personalities like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Ben Stein have been pretty crass by stating those on unemployment are ‘too lazy to find work

This is all coming at a time where in many places where the unemployment rate is 20%. This is coming at a time when there are a reported 5-6 applications for every measly job available.  It was just yesterday that the local NBC affiliate here in the Bay Area ran a story called ‘economic migration‘ where they reported how thousands of people who’ve had homes foreclosed are living in cars, campers and RVs and have driven from state to state looking for work. The story showed a long line of people waiting to get minimum wage jobs at a Christmas Tree lot

Republican leader John Boehner wants tax cuts fir millionaires or no unemployment benefits for the poor.

A couple of months back McDonalds held a job fair here in the Bay and thousand showed up, all hoping for a chance to land a spot as a cashiers and french fry cookers. There’s no doubt times are definitely hard, but as long as millionaires don’t get  a tax cut millions will suffer.

In listening to Boehner and Cantor speak on behalf of millionaires, one has to wonder are they really representing their interests? Where are the millionaires, especially those who come from humble beginnings and poor backgrounds to speak on behalf of the poor, many of whom have spent their last dimes helping their millionaire brethren to fame, fortune and stardom?

It was just a few months ago the world was made to stand still as basketball star Lebron James, after weeks of intense speculation held a press conference to announce his ‘decision’. He unveiled to the world his new multi-million dollar deal and the team he would be playing for… the Miami Heat. Left behind and understandably angry were legions of fans in his home state of Ohio which has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.

Imagine if Lebron James held a press conference demanding an extension to unemployment benefits?

Tonight King James is headed back to Cleveland to face off against his old team for the first time since he left. There’s no doubt there are throngs of basketball fans who can no longer afford to go to Cavalier games. Many more probably can’t afford a cable system to watch them on TV. Again its the times we’re in. But imagine if upon his return, Lebron James used his massive star power and took advantage of all the media covering him to stand up and say; ‘As a multi-millionaire he would like to see unemployment benefits extended. Do not hold up their checks on my behalf-I can wait for a tax cut’.. Could you imagine if James did that?

Wouldn’t it be great if an Oprah, DiddyJay-Z, 50 Cent, Lady Gaga and other multi-millionaires, many who are entertainers who we’re frequently exposed to held a press conference to announce, that the people in Washington do not speak for them and to please extend unemployment benefits? Is that too far-fetched? Unrealistic? Is it out of line to put that sort of weight on them?

After all, many of the aforementioned millionaires have come from poor backgrounds and had humble beginnings. Many obtained their financial status because poor people have admired them, spent their last dime on records, t-shirts, sneakers, concert tickets and any other thing being offered. And this spending is not limited to athletes and entertainers. Many who are poor have paid cable bills, cell phone bills and other now seemingly  necessary items resulting in quite a folks becoming uber rich.

Russell Simmons

I recall when then President George Bush first proposed those tax cuts several years ago I did an interview with music mogul Russell Simmons and he straight up said, while a tax cut would be great for him he honestly doesn’t need one. He said he makes more than enough money to pay his taxes  and that the people who need the breaks the most are poor people. If Russell is reading this, perhaps he can gather up some of his millionaire friends and hold such a press conference. Perhaps he can get them to speak on behalf of those who are dire straits.

Recently investor Warren Buffet one of the richest men in the world bluntly stated that taxes needed to be raised on the wealthy. Why aren’t we hearing more people who have means listening to Buffet? Why the silence from our millionaire friends?  More people of sound mind, good hearts and political conscious are needed this holiday season to counter the claims that the world will fall apart if millionaires don’t get tax cuts.

Will millionaires especially those from humble beginnings stand up for the poor?  As I posted this, my homie Mookie hit me up and said the irony to all this in today’ twisted society the poor will stand up for millionaires.

Something to ponder

-Davey D-

PS Here’s a link to a story in which 80 millionaires have stepped up and demanded that the tax cuts not happen