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"Mr. Obama goes to Washington"; and, as we anticipate change, he embraces the Establishment

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Somewhat reminiscent of that great Jimmy Stewart movie, but with a new, updated plot, we are now watching "Mr. Obama goes to Washington"; the story of how an eloquent, inspirational candidate became president and went to Washington, vowing to change the Establishment. But then the plot takes an unexpected turn; this agent of change is suddenly transformed and becomes a member of that same Establishment.

This transformation of our president from the agent of real change to membership in the Establishment is happening before our very eyes; and it's not a pretty sight. The contrast between Obama the candidate and Obama the President is astounding; he gives the distinct impression that he has been "born again" that he has "seen the light", and that may be exactly the case as we watch any hope we had for real change quickly vaporize.

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What specific objects did Mr. Obama have in his sights as he planned his strategy to bring change to America? He specifically targeted the embedded Washington Establishment and, when he did, he knowingly promised to bring change to the following major entities: lobbyists and special interest groups, Wall Street and its financial manipulators, the corporate-controlled Congress, and the health care insurance monopoly. When he later was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, whether he was aware of it or not, he accepted responsibility for promoting peace and diminishing war.

It is difficult to see any real evidence that the agenda of bringing real change to Washington is being pursued in any positive way. Those millions of us who strongly supported and voted for him could hardly wait to see these changes come to fruition; it was like a new day dawning for America, the beginning of a new, totally different approach to government. But, it has not happened and, by all appearances, it won't. So what exactly happened to sidetrack Mr. Obama and dilute his former message of change?

Well, first off, he and his transition team assembled his presidential cabinet and, almost inconceivably, brought in a cadre of individuals who were clearly a part of the Establishment; card-carrying insiders: Joe Biden, Rahm Emanuel, Hillary Clinton, Timothy Geithner, Lawrence Summers, and Eric Holder among others.

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See any fresh new blood or innovative thinkers in this group? If Mr. Obama had wanted to dramatically change the culture of Washington, the formulation of this cabinet doomed that goal right from the start. Included in this group were former members of Congress, strong supporters of the Iraq War, as well as close associates of those who control Wall Street.

Let's discuss the economic crisis and, specifically, the need to initiate reforms in the banking industry and the financial sector as a whole. The American people were victims of the financial robber barons who ignited the economic crisis by their deceitful manipulations and unethical practices. While the financial sector needs new, more effective banking reforms and regulation to prevent future abuses, the president, and the Congress waffle and vacillate and nothing is happening. Mr. Obama rarely even mentions banking reforms, he has no great interest, it seems.

Geithner and Summers cannot seem to put aside their close associations with Wall Street and they simply watch as the greedy giants of Wall Street begin the process of reinstalling the very same shady financial schemes and practices that led to the crisis of 2008. These two inept cabinet officials must be replaced by competent, responsible economic outsiders who have no close ties to Wall Street and who will demand that reforms be put on a fast track. The problem is that the president just doesn't seem to want to go up against the financial giants, the compromised, corrupt Congress, or Geithner and Summers.

Hundreds of billions flowed to the Banksters in lightning fashion to prop up the system that uses taxpayer and investor dollars to run its massive gambling casinos. But what bailout did the American people receive from the government coffers to stop the hemorrhaging of home values, mortgage defaults, foreclosures, and personal bankruptcies? Main Street received a mere pittance compared to Wall Street; as a result, these deep rooted problems are not going away, they are worsening, with more big hits looming on the horizon.

Health care reform it has been agonizing to watch how this critical issue has been mismanaged by President Obama and the Congress, aided by the Blue Dog Democrats and other legislators who dance to the tune of special interests. He and Congressional Democrats took the mandate given them by the American people to initiate reform and have turned the entire process into a disaster that has alienated the American people.

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Mr. Obama and the public option: - something is terribly wrong here and what is going on does not pass the smell test. The public option is the key to creating competition and reducing costs. While most Americans are now refusing to back the legislation that the president is pushing in Congress, they are largely for the public option. Obama fully knows this. Let's put it this way; if he put all his energy and his rhetoric into strongly backing a public option, it would pass Congress.

But he refuses to do it. He continues to push legislation that will give the health insurance industry 30 million new customers but will neither increase competition nor prevent constant premium increases to Americans. The big question is: what are Obama's motives, what powers have put the muzzle on him, who is behind the curtain? Someday this all will come out in the open but for right now, President Obama is greatly endangering the chances of passing the reforms that Americans desperately need.

Now we turn to the issue of War and our Peace President, who willingly accepted the Nobel Peace Prize but then proceeded to escalate the war in Afghanistan and extend it into Pakistan. The issue here is: just who is in charge of our military policy and decision-making; President Obama or, rather, Defense Secretary Gates and generals Patraeus and McChrystal? Based on America's policies in our two on-going wars, and the potential conflict with Iran, it is difficult to really assess who is in charge. But one thing seems to be certain; the march to war continues in earnest while any attempt at peace does not exist.

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Michael Payne is an independent, progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues. He is a featured writer on Opednews and Nation of Change and his articles have appeared on many other websites (more...)

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