By David Glenn Cox
I’ve been advised by the true believers that the cup is half full that the sun also rises. “Give him (Obama) a chance; it’s only been a hundred days!” True enough, it’s only been a hundred days.
In that hundred days we’ve learned that the Iraq war will continue until at least 2011; that fifty thousand troops will remain there indefinitely. The war in Afghanistan will be expanded and will go on indefinitely. The goals of the war are unknown; we fight spooks and phantoms. Today a farmer or peasant family, tomorrow a terrorist organization. How will we know when that war is won? When there’s a McDonalds on every corner?
Senator Richard Durbin proposed serious mortgage assistance for struggling Americans and the White House never even looked up to comment on it. Instead it rubber-stamped a token program that leaves all decisions in the laps of the lenders. The job stimulus program promised to save or create three and a half million jobs in two years. But a question, how do you document a job saved when we’ve lost more than three million jobs in that short period of just one hundred days?
The President signed legislation to rein in predatory credit card lenders, but rather than belling the cat it was more of a grooming. It redefined, with time limits, how they are now allowed to fleece the public. They must reduce your predatory interest rate if you make the minimum payment for six months. But how many unable to make payments on time at a lower interest rate will be able to pay on time at the new, higher rate? It is like telling chemotherapy patients, “Anyone who can do twenty pull ups after treatment doesn’t have to pay." Or telling Tony Soprano that they must now break your legs with wooden baseball bats only. But hey, it’s only been a hundred days.
The President, who once claimed that closing Guantanamo would be easy, instead plans now only on relocating it while still denying legal protection to the inmates. While proclaiming justice on one hand, the President creates the new theory of prolonged detention out of thin air, assuming that some of these men cannot be tried and cannot be released, especially after never being charged in the first place. The Bush style tribunals will return with a lighter caseload. But it would appear that there is a trend forming.
There is much ballyhoo and proclamations being made with little, if any, actual change. But it’s only been a hundred days; I’m sure we’re going to win one soon. The Senate held hearings on health care reform with over one hundred healthcare, insurance executives and lobbyists given a microphone to voice their opinions. But when single payer advocates rose to demand a seat at the table they were removed from the Senate chamber by the cops. As the advocates for single payer were lead from the chamber they shouted, “We demand a place at the table!” Chairman Max Baucus laughed and answered, “We need more police!”
Is Baucus a right wing fanatic? A leftover vestige of Karl Rove’s Republican juggernaut? No, Baucus is a Democrat. Well, he calls himself a Democrat, but he is no more a Democrat than Dick Cheney or George Bush. Baucus promised his legislation will include cuts to medicare providors. The hearings were no more than a WWF pro wrestling match, the winners decided in advance. And just in case you’re curious, the winner won’t be the American people. The winner, by unanimous decision, is the American insurance industry. But hey, it’s only been a hundred days.
In the run up to the election, American labor pushed hard for the card check legislation and candidate Obama announced that if it crossed his desk he would sign it into law. The bill would simply allow labor to organize without the influence of the employer. At a time of falling wages and struggling families it would seem a tiny ray of hope for workers that somehow they could turn the tide. Just the threat of employees being able to organize would prompt employers to treat their workers better or face the consequences. But in one hundred days that hope is as dead as the turkeys at a Sarah Palin photo op.
Democratic Senators Blanch Lincoln and Mark Pryor have defected from positions they held before the election, now they favor the Republican position along with the US Chamber of Congress. The same position favored by the Christian Coalition, Fox News and the Weekly Standard, and President Obama won’t have to worry about signing anything because it's not coming. Card check is dead in the first one hundred days. Funny isn’t it, the Democrats control the House, the Senate and the White House; the Republican Party lies broken into shards on the sidewalk, and yet they still win all the fights.
But there is a pattern; Congressman Dennis Kucinich on Friday was outraged over the behavior of the President's auto task force. On April 30th the President said the following:
“So, today, I am pleased to announce that Chrysler and Fiat have formed a partnership that has a strong chance of success. It's a partnership that will save more than thirty thousand jobs at Chrysler and tens of thousands of jobs at suppliers, dealers, and other businesses that rely on this company. It's a partnership that the federal government will support by making additional loans that are consistent with what I outlined last month.”
The problem being that Chrysler has thirty-nine thousand American workers and forty-seven thousand worldwide. Ohio Congressman Steven LaTourette’s office called the White House to question Obama’s thirty thousand remark and was told it was just a round number that the President had used at random. Based on assurances from the White House, on April 28 & 29th Chrysler workers approved a new contract accepting wage and benefit concessions.
On May the first (May Day), Chrysler announced plans to close eight plants affecting nine thousand workers, but Obama’s thirty thousand number was just a coincidence. This despite the fact that the new contract calls on Chrysler to bring more work to plants it now intends to shutter permanently.
The bankruptcy plan also calls for cutting seven hundred eighty-nine dealers. Dealers who were being notified even as new cars were being delivered, dealers that had been asked by Chrysler to take on additional inventory to “Save Chrysler.” Those dealers now have until June 9th to sell that inventory. The dealers do not cost Chrysler anything, they pay into Chrysler for signage and services.
Dennis Kucinich sees it this way, “We have upwards of seventy billion dollars of US tax payers' resources being used to close dozens of US car manufacturing plants and thousands of dealerships having the affect of putting perhaps millions of Americans out of work. All this being done to open up a market for China, so China can sell their cheap imports here in the United States along with other companies who are making these imports while we destroy our auto manufacturing and sales and distribution infrastructure.
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