Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Congrats, President Obama--Even Though I Didn't Vote for You

Guess what? I did NOT vote for Barack Obama. I know a lot of you are presently spitting out your coffee or peeing your pants in surprise, so let me explain. Actually, I did not vote for either Romney or Obama. I voted for the candidate with whom I actually agreed with the most on the issues: the Green Party’s Dr. Jill Stein.
Now, had I lived in a swing state, my vote would’ve gone to Barack Obama. But, I live in California, and Obama already had this state in the bag. So I opted to use my ballot to make a point. I do not consider this a “wasted” vote, although I realized Stein had zero chance in hell of winning.
For the record, I did vote for Democratic Senator Dianne Fienstein (who has been a steady moderate throughout her tenure in the Senate) and for Democratic Representative Jackie Speier, whom I’ve admired ever since she’s been serving this country—as far back as when she took a bullet in Guyana while she was accompanying Rep. Ryan when they were investigating psycho Jim Jones and the People’s Temple.  She stays close to the people in our district and has even visited the campus where I teach on several occasions.
In truth, largely I have been fine with Barack Obama’s job as President, and to help “even things up” a little so he could afford to run counter ads to the Romney SuperPAC advertising machine, I donated several times to his campaign. $3 here, $3 there… whatever I could to help him get his counter message out.
But, I am simply sick and tired of this gridlocked two-party system. And, that’s why I voted for Jill Stein. Let’s face the facts: for at least the past thirty years, and back in the age of the Robber Barons, the people really running the show in this country are Wall Street, the big banks, and the Fed. The Fed is the entity running this economy, not the President or Congress. The policies of either party can keep them a little bit in check here or there, but largely Wall Street finds a way to court both parties. As for the Fed, it has grown so large as a private bank it is now running the economies of most of the developed world. The only politicians who seem even remotely concerned about this are Ron Paul (a libertarian), Dennis Kucinich (a Democrat) and Bernie Saunders, a progressive Independent. These three men get continually written off as whack jobs, yet they finally managed to push through an audit of the Fed—no, the Fed is not regularly audited; it’s too “special,” I guess. The audit showed that the Fed lent or outright GAVE $16 trillion dollars to banks and corporations outside of the United States (this number exceeds our own federal deficit) without the knowledge of the President or Congress, which I do believe was illegal (at least it was when the Fed was first formed in 1913); and during the last financial crash, many members of the Board of the Fed bailed themselves out while holding stock in the very banks they were bailing out. That is a blatant conflict of interest and it is blatant shenanigans when a private bank (which the Fed is) has that kind of power. Just so you know, the Fed is NOT the US Treasury, as many people think. It is a private, for-profit bank. The US Treasury is merely a bank account at the Fed.
Neither Obama nor Romney seem to have any problem with the Fed, but I sure as hell do. I don’t think any for-profit entity (which the Fed is) should have the power to basically bankrupt most of the civilized world if they decide to do so, especially when they are able to print money (essentially making promissory notes out of thin air—tied to nothing actually tangible). In fact if you happen to be a New World Order conspiracy theorist and are pointing your fingers at the Freemasons or Skull and Bones or any other “secret” society, you are pointing at the wrong people. Point your finger at the Fed. The people who rule the world are the people who control the money. And that’s the Fed. Period.
Unless you have been living on Planet Kolob, Obama did inherit a fiscal mess from George W. Bush. The deficit is a nightmare that has been growing for years now. The US has always carried debt, but we have rarely worried about it in the past because it has always looked like a reasonable amount in comparison to GDP. (Remember Dick Cheney’s comment that “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter?”) That’s pretty much true when we have a healthy GDP, in which we produce products, we sell them, the economy rolls along; people have jobs; we have a way to pay off our debts.
This is no longer the case. Our economy is now a service economy, not a manufacturing economy, so the old “trickle down” economics theory is a load of pie-in-the-sky bullhockey that’s still being shoved down our throats. But trickle down doesn’t work unless the wealthy actually invest their money HERE, in American businesses, in creating American products, in forming new companies. That’s not what they’ve been doing. Instead, they are offshoring their money, hiding their money in tax shelters, and investing in foreign banks and businesses--and yes, hiring third world laborers or people in Singapore and China to make goods because they can pay them less. Plus, many products on Wall Street people are holding in their mutual funds or retirement IRAs are also not backed up by anything tangible. These are the kinds of products that go kablooey, and it’s usually the middle class investor who’s left holding the bag when those funds go south.
Bully for them; the wealthy peeps can make their money however they choose as long as it’s via a legal method; but they can’t be doing the above while telling you out of the other side of their mouths that taking another big tax break will trickle down to us somehow.
So, with Bush, add two tax cuts that made zero economic sense because they did nothing to create jobs but did remove a revenue stream from the US Treasury; and then throw in two unfunded wars and then a huge housing crash (recall the aforementioned Wall Street product? Much of the crash was due to the buying and selling of bad debt, so lots of people like you and me were buying “safe” funds that were based on bad mortgages)--the market went belly up, and that suddenly made this deficit scary—because GDP wasn’t keeping pace. Why? Because, as stated, we are now a service economy; we are not manufacturing much in the way of new products in this country.
Economists say Obama’s plan for increasing jobs and reducing the debt is more reasonable than Romney’s: but that is largely because Romney never really articulated a plan. Economic policies of the 1950s won’t work in 2012.
As for the rest, there are other things I like about Obama, so I’m okay with him being re-elected. As a married gay woman, I didn’t care for the idea that Romney wanted to make my marriage null and void. How dare he impose his religious beliefs on me? I thought we had freedom of religion in this country. As a compassionate person, I also think Obama is a more trustworthy and likeable man. To me, Gov. Romney seemed like a flip-flopping robot who’d say anything just to get elected. I certainly never really understood how on earth he could say with a straight face that a 5 trillion tax cut was somehow supposed to fix the deficit. And I have always agreed with a woman’s right to choose and I support equal pay for equal work.
So why Jill Stein when I sound so “sold” on Obama? Well, Obama hasn’t been able to implement many of his ideas (many of which have been bipartisan in nature and ones even the GOP have supported in the past), but he has been unable to inspire Congress and the House to work together for the common good. So, I question his leadership. You can blame a lot of that on the Tea Party—they simply say “no” to everything, which is disgusting and frustrating even to my more moderate Republican friends. For example, saying “no” to funding a special program to help returning veterans find jobs? Why on earth would the GOP say no to that? But they did.
But of biggest concern to me is the slow chipping away at our Constitutional rights in the name of “the war on terror.” Shades of Orwell’s 1984. First we got Bush’s Patriot Act, which I had really hoped Obama would toss out. He did not. In fact he signed onto it and in NDAA, enacted even stricter measures, endangering our right to public protest. It’s as if the government is someday actually expecting a “People’s Revolution,” which, if things continue as they are, may not be a false fear. (Donald Trump is certainly already calling for one. Then again, that guy is a lunatic.) But, it is our RIGHT to revolt. This is why I have never been against the right to bear arms.
Now make no mistake—Romney is for these same things; he and Obama do not differ on these policies at all. Nope, Obama and Romney have both been fully vetted by the corporate media and signed off on as “okay” by our friends on Wall Street and the Fed.
Folks, we need to get rid of the two-party system. It exists only to give us the impression that we actually have a choice when we really don’t. We need a Teddy Roosevelt, someone willing to call bullshit on the powers that be and break up the banks and the monopolies and do something about the Fed. Somebody who is willing to make multinational corporations follow the laws of this land if they do business in this country, which means we need someone who wants to revisit the tax code and vastly simplify it, getting rid of all the loopholes people use to wiggle out of paying no tax at all. Make the multinationals pay their fair share, but meanwhile stop treating small businesses—the backbone of American employers—as if they deserved to be lumped in with the tax evaders. And for individual filers, frankly, a flat tax is not a bad idea, if one eliminates all loopholes and treats all income—earned or investment profits after losses are written off-- yet allows for certain reasonable exemptions (for children, for example) and sets the poverty line at a reasonable place so that old retired folks living on a fixed income aren’t slammed with giving back part of their social security. A flat tax should be something carefully studied and considered for flat-out fairness across the board and making it not so easy to cheat on one’s taxes—but no one seems willing to do it.
We also need to undo Citizens United and make it illegal for corporations to “purchase” our representatives by basically promising them cushy, highly paid lobbying jobs once they retire from office.
We also need a President who doesn’t have the mindset that America is somehow the world police. Did you know that for every dollar you pay in taxes, .56 cents goes to defense? That’s insane. We spend more money on defense than all 26 of our allies do altogether. We’ll throw trillions into military technology, into hiring crooked military contractors (remember Halliburton?), and into maintaining military bases all over the world, but we give wounded veterans crap for treatment and leave them to suffer PTSD and from other illnesses for the remainder of their lives.  Who made the USA the world ruler? We need to defend ourselves, sure; but since we already have the capacity to blow the shit out of anybody already, what more do we need?
What we need in the White House is common sense, compassion, a genuine desire to serve the country. The same goes for our Senate and House.  They need to start following the will of the people and not the will of their campaign contributors.
So, I voted my conscience and voted for Jill Stein. I have thumbed my nose at this ruse of democracy that keeps being fed to us by the media. The system is broken. We need to develop ELECTABLE third, fourth, maybe even fifth parties to keep the system honest. It’s not so hard to buy off two parties, but buying off five with candidates that all have a legit chance at election is not so very easy to do.
Restore democracy to America.
To refuse to vote is to surrender. To vote for “the lesser of two evils” is surrender. Vote for the candidate who best represents you. And keep doing it. And raise your voices louder. We are the People.
In the meantime, my hearty congratulations to President Obama, and a plea to the Senate and House: get along. Legislate. Stop being so partisan and do what needs to be done to help pay down the debt while getting people back to work.


lynn said...

I so agree. I to was looking at the less of the two evils and went for the green party in my state. The two parties have become one. I need another choice.

Joyce said...

I understand Gary Johnson (Libertarian) got about 1% of the vote, but really we have got to start insisting on more choices. There are plenty of fiscal conservatives who are socially liberal and miss their old GOP... the GOP would do well to at least split into two distinct parties: Republicans and Tea Party.

But yes, we need more parties that actually stand a chance.