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Artwork/Political Cartoons
Artwork/Political Cartoons
Artwork/Political Cartoons
Artwork/Political Cartoons

I just want the President to know that any so-called “deal” he strikes to raise the debt ceiling that involves cutting and/or restructuring Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid is a non-starter with the vast majority of the American people, including myself (center-left) and my father (center-right, and kindly disposed to his local Tea Party).

Personally, I donated many hours and dollars to candidate Obama in 2008 (primary through general) and I want you to know that after the last 2.5 years, I wish fervently that I could take it all back.

About the only thing President Obama could do at this point to win back SOME of my respect would be to assert his authority under the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling in a clean way — WITHOUT damaging the economy and subverting the New Deal. I know the President doesn’t want to abuse his authority as the Chief Executive in this way (that he’s far more comfortable waging war without the imprimatur of Congress or assassinating American citizens sans due process) — but for once he’d be on solid ground.

James C. O’Donnell III

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WHO IS BARACK OBAMA? (The following links should help pull off the blinders for any remaining Obama fans who thought themselves principled critics of his predecessor rather than mere partisans.)

1. Drew Westin’s “The Three Wings of the Republican Party” — www.huffingtonpost.com/drew-westen/democrats-identity-_b_880135.html?view=print&comm_ref=false

2. Glenn Greenwald’s “Barack Obama is Gutting the Core Principles of the Democratic Party” — www.commondreams.org/view/2011/07/21-6?print

3. Frank Rich’s “Obama’s Original Sin” — www.nymag.com/print/?/news/frank-rich/obama-economy/presidents-failure/index5.html

4. Jane Hamsher’s “Breaking Point: Obama and the Death of the Democratic Party” — www.commondreams.org/view/2011/07/08-3?print

5. Jeremy Scahill’s “The CIA’s Secret Sites in Somalia” — www.thenation.com/article/161936/cias-secret-sites-somalia

“Using a trumped up crisis to raid the public purse and attack the basic rights and benefits is a very old trick — but rarely is the shock doctrine tactic wielded as brazenly as in the pseudo debate about the debt ceiling. This is naked class war, waged by the ultra rich against everyone else, and it’s well past time for Americans to draw the line.”

— Naomi Klein, author of “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism”

What a motley crew of spineless, visionless dolts our political elites have turned out to be, from Boehner to Bachmann to Obama (three heads of the same vampire hydra).

Obama, each and every one of his aspiring Republican challengers, and the entire D.C. establishment are all humming the “Austerity” tune played by the Pied Pipers of Wall St.

The “too big to fail” banks we bailed out (to the tune of $20 trillion) now seek to break the middle class using the same weapons they’ve traditionally deployed in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and beyond: debt, austerity, downward pressure on wages, and generally taking an axe to the public sector and all social spending (not to mention plundering natural resources for pennies on the dollar).

Unfortunately, none of our best and brightest political minds seem to have any familiarity whatsoever with ECONOMICS (outside of the “Shock Doctrine” variety).

They seem particularly oblivious to this moment’s historical precedent, the 1930s, failing to grasp the primary lesson of the Great Depression — namely, that America can’t SHRINK its way to growth, but can only INVEST its way to long-term recovery (which solves our revenue problem, down the road).

They also overlook the rather obvious lesson that conservative regulations for banks and a strong social “safety net” provided America with 50 years of widely shared economic prosperity — bookended, now, by decades of boom, bust, and bailouts (thanks to the deregulatory craze beginning in the 1980s).

If our so-called leaders, from the Tea Party “Right” to the Obama “Left,” weren’t a bunch of Wall St.-enamored rubes, then maybe ONE of them would be shouting from the rooftops that the urgent threat to our economy is NOT the deficit but CHRONIC UNEMPLOYMENT!

It’s time to tax the obscenely wealthy and SPEND:  modernize our infrastructure; put millions to work; make America less dependent of foreign oil, and birth the new economy. (End the wars, for another no-brainer, including the “War on Terror” and the “War on Drugs.”)

But no — not an FDR in sight.