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Web Letter

I voted for Obama but had no illusions, unlike so many on the far left. I never expected nor wanted him to govern from the left. Most people like myself who voted for him wanted the end of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the end of the policy of torture, and we wanted Guantánamo Bay Prison closed, and we wanted the honor of our nation restored internationally.

I also, quite honestly, was thrilled at having the opportunity to vote for the first African-American President. I was born in 1950, four years before the Brown vs. Board of Education decision by the US Supreme Court, and remember separate drinking fountains for blacks. I grew up during the time of the courageous Rosa Parks and the valiant Martin Luther King, and as a young man was a part of the civil rights movement.

I did not vote for America taking over the healthcare system, buying auto companies, bailing out the banks, or for socialism. I am a Democrat who believes in universal healthcare but not a healthcare bill where votes are purchased in the Senate and House by giving citizens in some states benefits other citizens are not receiving, taxing medical device manufacturers, imposing a 40 percent "Cadillac" tax on self-employed people like myself (but not members of unions!) who struggle to pay their monthly insurance premium, and a healthcare bill that does nothing to address cigarette smoking and obesity, which lead to diabetes, heart disease, and strokes and take the lives of more Americans every week than we have lost in Iraq and Afghanistan in seven years.

Like Bush and Cheney in 2000, Obama thought he had a mandate to tilt the country his way. Bush and Cheney incorrectly felt they had a right to turn the country sharply right and Obama, also incorrectly, thought he had the right to turn the country sharply left. Most Americans are middle-of-the-road centrists. They are not right or left. They are not for torture, but want to feel their government is doing everything possible to keep them safe. They are for keeping abortion legal, but not happy about the number of abortions in America every year, and they are for universal healthcare but not if the federal government runs the system.

Love him or hate him, Bill Clinton became a great president when he governed as a centrist and got a great many things done when he moved to the center. Obama has plenty of time left in his presidency to right the ship of atate and become a great president, but he must do so by not trying to impose a leftist platform on the country. We can still be safe and secure, have universal and meaningful health care reform, a sound energy policy, and economic reform with teeth by doing these things in a bipartisan manner. The diehards on the left may abhor Obama's veering to the center, but if results are what you want and you want true healthcare reform, a clean and green energy policy, and to make sure another economic disaster worse than the one we are going through now does not happen, then governing as a centrist and reaching out to moderates on both sides of the aisle is the best path to success.

Mark Jeffery Koch

Cherry Hill, NJ

Jan 27 2010 - 11:01am

Web Letter

I am always so surprised when I see negativity prevail all the time. My goodness, how harsh we have been on this president. I think some of you should ask yourself why he is so easy for you to swing at.

Here's what I see: a president who never supported the Iraq war as a senator, and who is ending that illegal war this year. Thank you, Mr. President.

A president who pulled us out of the brink of a economic disaster started by Bush and Republicans and improved significantly by President Obama. We still have a ways to go, but he will take us there. Thank you again.

A president who treats the rest of the world as his equals, not his servants. He has restored the respect and admiration the United States has always enjoyed, except under George Bush. Thanks, Mr. President. The world is not on the brink of WW III because of you.

A president who is decent enough to try to be inclusive of the Republicans, even though they have slandered him, insulted him and disrespected him. We can all learn from his kindness and forgiveness. I don't think I would be capable of forgiving this type of ill-treatment. Thank you again.

A president who respects the Constitution, and upholds it, this includes due process which Bush ignored and Republicans (the "true patriots"), tried to eradicate. Thanks, Mr. President.

A president who is trying to do the right thing, admits his mistakes and tries to correct them, something we have never seen any president do before. He will be the best leader we have seen, and at one year out on his presidency, he is doing just fine under the most difficult situations this nation has ever been through.

Thanks again, Mr. President, I support you.

Tina Issa

Chicago, IL

Jan 26 2010 - 8:47pm

Web Letter

There were no high points for any progressive. Obama caved to Wall Street and the banks, offering no stimulus for job creation. (And he had the benefit of history to see how Hoover's and FDR's First New deal also failed--money does not trickle down.) As far as healthcare reform goes, the minute he took universal single-payer insurance off the table, any idea of real reform was a joke. And his escalation in Afghanistan is inexcusable. What a disgraceful waste of a spectacular mandate.

John Giarratana

Jersey City, NJ

Jan 24 2010 - 4:01pm

Web Letter

In judging our president I think it is helpful to consider what his daily life might look like:

Presidential morning schedule
08:00 Bail out Wall Street to stop complete financial meltdown
08:15 Authorize counterattack to stop major destruction of Green Zone, Baghdad
08:30 Bargain w/ Chinese to prevent dollar devaluation
09:00 Make appearance at morning funeral service for forty victims of sniper shooting
09:15 Race over to the National Archives to retrieve the original document of our Constitution set afire by members of the Supreme Court
09:30 Prevent race riot: set up meeting between racist white cop and racist black preacher
09:45 Respond to media accusations that he is himself a racist and is trafficking child prostitutes
10:00 Grab long-range rifle and terminate two terrorist gunmen creeping up White House lawn
10:15 Prevent Bank of America CEOs from liquidating all bank funds and moving to Martinique
1030 Politely consult with Congressional leaders who have papered bathroom walls of Congress with “hate Obama” literature
10:45 Send FEMA troops to respond to massive chemical spill in Indiana and firestorm overtaking Los Angeles and peculiar ticking sound emanating from vaults at Fort Knox
11:00 Monitor reports of super-asteroid hurtling on annihilation course towards earth
11:15 Refashion healthcare bill to satisfy both humanitarian needs and corporate demands for triple profit margins.
11:30 Attend memorial for Mussolini in order to assure solidarity with European allies
11:45 Raise two children and wave to wife
12:00 Turn attention toward the more serious matters of state

Richard Ray Harris

Desert Hot Springs, CA

Jan 22 2010 - 2:29pm

Web Letter

The worst disaster (for Obama) in his first year in office was his inability to conceal his true ideology.

All those American independents are beginning to realize they made a big mistake (i.e., Massachusetts 1/19) when they put this man into office.

Unlike Bill Clinton, who was one this country's best politicians, Obama has no intention of dropping his "to each person according to his needs and from each according to his abilities" philosophy in order to save his legacy as president of the United States. His legacy is of a foreign order.

Let us just hope that in 2012, there is still an America for a true Democrat or Republican president to govern.

Ralph Rangel

Chicago, IL

Jan 22 2010 - 10:10am

Web Letter

Those who betray their principles deserve nothing.

After the sweeping victory in 2008 election, the Democratic leadership sold their soul to a devil. They got cozy with the Wall Street and delivered on a silver plate everything their wealthy campaign donors asked for. They refused to prosecute Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who pushed our country into a bloody and unnecessary war. They rewarded with the crucial Senate committee chairmanship their own ex-vice-presidential nominee Joe Lieberman for betraying his party and running as an independent after losing in a Democratic primary. Mr. Lieberman hasn’t wasted an opportunity to stab the Dems' back. The Dems stayed on the Bush-Cheney war wagon and spread military operations to several other countries. If the bombing really worked, our troops would have been back home long ago.

To stubbornly stay on a course that doesn’t work for an indefinite period of time is a sign of imbecility. However, that’s not a mistake of our military, which only follows orders, but of our leadership.

The people are upset, but they don’t know what to do. The voters in Massachusetts fell into the GOP trap by electing Scott Brown. The young senator stands for everything that got the Republicans badly defeated in 2008. The only difference is that the conservatives are now going with sexy candidates like Palin and Brown, a recipe from the Big Business playbook: regardless of what you are selling, dress it up with sex appeal, because sex sells.

Now, if only our political parties were at fault, we would be in great shape. However, our mainstream media are criminally bad too. How many of them bothered to ask newly elected Senator Brown about his stance regarding the Supreme Court decision to allow unlimited influx of money into politics? Such a simple question would definitely kill any bubble-like impression that Mr. Brown is on the mission to bring the change to Washington.

To blend into this devastating picture, the Supreme Court proved completely incompetent to rise above dirty politics. The purely political 5-4 voting endorsed the corruption of our political process with dirty money, which effectively shuts a door to any urgently needed change. Any judicial system that cannot make a distinction between a citizen and a corporation and believes that corporations are entitled to freedom of speech is completely corrupted by money. If corporations have a right to freedom of speech, why shouldn’t they have a right to vote? If the corporations have a right to vote, then houses, land and bank accounts should have equal rights too.

If private property had the right to speak and vote, that would effectively put an end on democracy as we knew it.

No wonder that our economy is suffering. Our businesses are forced to compete against Chinese companies that pay wages dozens of times lower, which leads to endless loss of jobs. Actually, not an endless loss--that’s an exaggeration--but just till our wages get equal to the Chinese ones.

"Free trade" is an invention of idiots. The point of a sovereign state is to be self-sustainable, capable of surviving on its own. Balanced trade is acceptable because it's an exception to this rule. Balanced trade is sustainable. Free trade means a death of sovereign states as we knew them.

A country in which the political parties, the mainstream media, Big Business and the judicial system don’t work shouldn’t be optimistic about its own future.

P.S. To better understand the problem, here is the latest news. The Obama administration has decided to continue to imprison without trials nearly fifty detainees at the Guantánamo Bay military prison in Cuba because a high-level task force has concluded that they are too difficult to prosecute but too dangerous to release, an administration official said on Thursday.

Do you know what this means? It means that President Obama is an intellectually dead person. Instead of using Guantánamo Bay as a model to better understand our Middle East policy, the White House imitates Bush policy, which means the Obama administration is incapable of learning its lesson, drawing any comparison or making any conclusion.

The fact that we have no evidence to charge those individuals with any wrongdoing but will keep them imprisoned indefinitely is terrifying news for our country. We probably had a 5-to-1 ratio between guards and prisoners at Guantánamo, full control of their lives and a long eight years to reform them, and still failed in our mission. If we failed at Guantánamo, how can we be hopeful that we will succeed at a million times larger scale in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Yemen or Somalia, where we have dramatically less resources available and many other critical conditions are completely out of our control?

The lesson President Obama should have learned is that there is no chance to transform the Middle East as we wish and that it is in our best national interest to withdraw our troops from that region and let them live at their own pace. One day our country will grasp this lesson--unfortunately, after several more years spent over there, hundreds of billions dollars wasted and dozens of thousand innocent lives lost.

Whoever refuses to think out of box is doomed to stay in a box.

Kenan Porobic

Charlotte, NC

Jan 22 2010 - 8:39am

Web Letter

Dumbass Obama makes politics sending VIPs plus press plus staff in several planes instead of planes with pilots, nurses, food, medicine, water and doctors without borders to an airfield already overtaxed by too many planes. Just dumb and shameful. And the "locusts" will demand being fed and housed at the expense of the men, women and children of Haiti. Despicable.

Tucano Fulano

Big Bear, CA

Jan 16 2010 - 12:59am

Web Letter

I gotta say that Adolph Reed's analysis rang the truest with me. Bring on a third party!

Don Harris

Houston, TX

Jan 14 2010 - 9:11pm

Web Letter

I don't hate to say, "I told you so!" but I did not need a year to decide on Barack Obama. He told us during his campaign, those of us who were listening.

I am surprised so many progressives were as patient as they have. Everything is compared with the market these day, and I shall not shrink from observing that the progressives have behaved like investors who make a bad buy and keep waiting for the market to turn around for them. As with the market, it often keeps going against their judgment.

Why were progressives so blind to our changeling in Washington. I think partly because he has black skin. This is the bizarre side of racism: atonement. Some may simply have wanted to make a positive statement to the world about who we are: not racists!

What they forgot was there are good blacks and bad ones--just as with whites. Obama is a bad one! I use the word "bad" carefully. I don't mean simply a bad president. I mean a bad person! Like Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon in the past, Obama is killing innocent people in the foolish use of military forces to fight terrorists. Like the former two, he does not wish to take on the right-wing lunatics and the MIC (military-industrial complex) by cutting our losses and running from ultimate disaster. A president who engages needlessly in war is not just a bad president; he is a bad person! He kills needlessly!

Looking at Obama's performance at home, we see a president willing to break our laws, treaties and violate our Constitution. People who knowingly break laws are not just bad politicians; they are bad people! President Obama has pledged the future taxes of our children and grand-children in borrowing to fight wars and to rescue errant financial institutions. Someone who takes from our future generations is not just a bad politician; he is a bad person!

The next three years of President Obama's term will not be better. Why? Because we are not dealing with a bad president who can see the errors in his past judgments and correct them. We are the victims of a bad person, and bad people do not change!

Alvin D. Hofer

St. Petersburg, FL

Jan 14 2010 - 4:42pm

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