One Hundred Days

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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.

Bankruptcy is not an industrial policy; it is the opposite of it.
America has long needed an industrial policy where we maintain
vigorously that steel, automotive, aerospace and shipping is vital to
our national security. We’re impairing our ability to defend ourselves
by taking apart our manufacturing base."

Kucinich is the last of the green shoots growing among the
Democratic weeds in Congress. The President made private and public
assurances to the Chrysler workers and within twenty-four hours they
were thrown on the scrap heap of free trade.

Here are the President’s own words:

"Because of the fact that the UAW and many of the banks, the biggest
stakeholders in this whole process have already aligned, have already
agreed, this process will be quick, it will be efficient. It's designed
to deal with those last few holdouts, and it will be controlled.


It will not disrupt the lives of the people who work at Chrysler or live in communities that depend on it. And it will not affect the ability of American consumers to buy a Chrysler or to get it serviced and repaired."

The nine thousand auto workers, the forty-seven thousand dealership
employees and countless communities have been betrayed by the
administration. The GM employees and dealers are next in line to ascend
to the block on tower hill. Their numbers dwarf those of Chrysler by
tenfold. What have they learned in the last one hundred days?

I know what I’ve learned, I’ve learned that there is no such thing
as a Democrat. I once called myself a liberal Democrat, then I called
myself a Democratic Socialist. Now I am a Socialist revolutionary
seeking an end to the so-called two party system by any means necessary
because it is, in fact, a one party cabal with two names. It has no
interest in the wellbeing of the average American whatsoever and that,
by itself, delegitimizes it as a lawful government.