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President Obama and the Washington Establishment: a love story

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Message Michael Payne

An agent of "real" change he is not; Mr. Obama came to Washington like the hero on a white horse who would rescue the American people from the vice grip of the Washington Establishment. So, what happened? Did he make any significant changes to the way that those who control Washington operate; the Congress, lobbyists and special interests, the military or the entrenched insiders who have longstanding, close ties to Wall Street?

He is currently hedge hopping around America on Air Force One to tout his success in bringing about what he calls health care reform. But as most of us know the legislation does not truly reform the health care industry. Sure it does some very good things that will help Americans who have been victims of this greedy, repulsive industry, and it is a beginning, but he was not up to the job of pushing for real reform that could bring the U.S. up to the health care standards of the rest of the world's major industrial nations.

He did not have the courage and conviction to strongly promote either a single payer system or a public option, both of which could have been enacted through the reconciliation process and would have brought true health care reform to America. He, instead, caved in to the pharmaceutical industry, to the influence of hospital associations and gave the health care industry a gift of 32 millions new customers. He took the easy way out and now he must run around the country trying to sell it to a disillusioned, skeptical public.

This is the President Obama who accepted the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, fully knowing the very serious responsibilities that came with that honor. And what did he do to show the world that he was a man of peace? He bowed down to the U.S. military, approved a significant increase in our troop levels in Afghanistan and greatly escalated deadly drone strikes which kill more innocent civilians than insurgents. Quite an accomplishment in the quest for world peace, isn't it? Mr. Obama gives no indication whatsoever of being an agent of peace. His actions are reminiscent of the great novel "1984" and one of its famous slogans, "War is Peace."

Defense Secretary Gates, General Patraeus, and General McChrystal are playing the tune for this "long war" and Mr. Obama is dancing as fast as he can to prove himself to be a true Commander-in-Chief. He is following in the footsteps of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon who escalated the Vietnam War to the point that it ended up costing the lives of 58,000 American troops. He simply refuses to learn the lessons of history.

In a recent poll questioning the greatest concerns that Americans currently have, 43% of those polled listed the economy as #1, while the issue of war polled at only 7%. That is going to significantly change over time as the Afghan war becomes bloodier and far more costly, and Americans come to the realization that it is drastically affecting the economic stability of this nation. That will prove to be President Obama's Achilles heel, whether he realizes it or not; it will become one of the major reasons why he will be a one-term president.

And now let's talk about one of America's most urgent, critical needs; to establish solid, meaningful financial reforms and regulations that will prevent a repetition of the economic crisis that fractured our nation in 2008. He cannot let this legislation follow the same process that gave us "health reform lite." But, so far, what has been accomplished relative to this critical issue? Basically, little to nothing, since it's in the hands of Senator Dodd, good friend of the banksters, who is very busy watering it down. Question: Who's in charge of policy here, Dodd or Barack Obama?

Come on Mr. President, strap it on and let's get it done. The banking industry, said by many, including Senator Durbin from Illinois, to own the U.S. Congress, is bringing extreme pressure, influence, and is offering up plenty of campaign contributions to see that any proposed legislation is either defeated or substantially weakened. The financial sector can no longer be allowed to run wild at the expense of the taxpayers. If our president does not take charge and show strong leadership, and soon, he will be putting this nation in extreme danger of yet another economic crisis. When will this president start acting like a president, one who calls the shots?

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