My Dialogue with President Obama

Relax. This is a way of writing. It is imagined. The scene is a room in the White House, setting is informal. The President has asked if I prefer that and I do.

President Obama: OK. What is it.

An Obama Doctrine, sir. You said change the world. That resonated. It still does. You agree with Derrida and countless others who have said that we need a change beyond our spiral repetition of the past. The Obama Doctrine would spell this out.

President Obama: (Smiles)

I know. I know. You’ve already laid out the biggest change. That diplomacy can work. It is no longer just a step. It means to be the last step. Negotiation.

President Obama: Yes.

The most radical element of an Obama Doctrine would be to affirm, and stand by, equivalence in the event of attack.

President Obama: Lex talionis.

Yes, sir.  If we had had an Obama Doctrine after 9/11 we would have saved untold lives on all sides. Though the law is very old, it has never been practiced in conflicts between nations.

President Obama:  What relevance does this have right now?

You would signal an intention to wind down, not up. You would negotiate with the enemy.

President Obama: Is that all?

No, sir. The Obama Doctrine is a call to the evolution of humankind from a war to a peace-footing. You cannot speak of global prosperity without acknowledging our current enslavement to military thinking and military-industrial action.

President Obama: I have that Nobel Speech to make

That is where the Obama Doctrine gets launched.

President Obama: We have an ongoing conflict with an enemy that wills to inflict as much damage as it can on Americans.

If we practice equivalence they will have to acknowledge that the world has changed. You have already set the stage with your Cairo speech. Secretary Clinton conveys a similar intent.

President Obama: Anything else?

Yes. We need to say that the individual is sacrosanct. If we say this, then we must support freedom of movement. We must say that this freedom applies in particular to victims of oppression.  We must work toward freedom of movement as a human right.

President Obama: I am trying to see where this would lead.

McCain and others would see this as the gift that keeps on giving. You would be skewered by the right. You would incur the wrath of your generals. You would risk your Presidency.

President Obama: Your solution?

Argue it out. Who are we fighting? What do they want? We can argue persuasively that in our world we do not support the creation of  nations or regions under one religion — this is what Al Queda wants and will not get. We can argue persuasively that we are not the enemy — but not if we continue to essentially participate in civil wars in other countries. We can argue that this is part of a broad move to begin to accept control over our lives.

President Obama: I’m thinking.

Sir, I believe in my heart that your Presidency will succeed only if you move in this direction. The other way is quicksand.

President Obama:  I know.

People out there are saying you have no gut feeling either way. Then they act as though the only way to go is to keep up the fight. The fight is impossible. You are fighting the people whose allegiance you want to win. Your gut would be truly engaged building a world beyond thousands of years of warfare and the celebration of violence.

President Obama:  OK. I’ll sleep on it. There is a way.

Thank you, sir.

President Obama: Want to look around.

No, sir. I appreciate your time.

President Obama: (Sighs, rises)


President Obama:  I wish everything was that easy.

You know it isn’t easy,  sir. It never has been for anyone who ever changed things.

President Obama: You’re sounding like me.


President Obama: Get up and go.

Yes, sir.

President Obama: The time is short.

It is, sir.

President Obama: Good night.

music, politics

Selected Tweets for Friday, October 30, 2009

Selected Tweets for Thursday, October 29, 2009

Follow Me on Twitter

Afghanistan: A Whole New Approach: http://wp.me/pnU5F-1CC

Toscanini conducts Smetana Ma Vlast: No. 2. Vltava (Moldau) ♫ http://blip.fm/~fmh2m

Iraq Courts Fate — Backing Out of Nuke Export Deal http://bit.ly/4hnkQt

Tom Coburn Courts Fate Too — Wanting To Make An Ass of Himself Fighting #hcr http://bit.ly/4lBVpH (NYT Obtrusive Ad Though)

http://bit.ly/43ik8H Dennis Hopper Has Prostate Cancer

J.P Morgan Warned About Galleon in 2001 http://bit.ly/2hbCLa

F.J. Haydn – Symphony No.14 in A major: I. Allegro molto ♫  http://blip.fm/~fmhm5

Ted Sorensen says Afghanistan isn’t threatening to become another Vietnam. It already is  http://bit.ly/1MNTNf

NY 23 Is Now Wingnut Central. What it may mean. http://bit.ly/3jKntW


Comment On: Afghanistan: A Whole New Approach

Comment on: Afghanistan: A Whole New Approach

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost Comment Permalink

There’s a nice Willie Nelson song that includes the lines — “walking is better than running away/ and crawling ain’t no good at all.”

The ignominious departure from Afghanistan of almost every colonial power has had a remarkable result. The Afghan people have survived. They never wanted the interlopers.

Throughout AfPak the chorus is succinct, Leave.

If one is to “do” development, one might wish to reexamine the philanthropic underpinnings of the current model. Who is served by our philanthropy? If one analyzes the results of our capitalist­/philanthr­opic endeavors, the conclusion might well be that we participate in a form of benign genocide.  Things are structured so that the ironic utterance of Jesus that the poor are always with us is ever the case.

However, back to Willie. We need to walk out of there. Not run away. Not fight on.

We have a crisis right here. Solving it will do more for the rest of the world than any effort we might make to “do” development in the provinces of Afghanistan. Our project is weaning ourselves from an economy of abundance to one of sustainability. No small part of our flirtation with continued colonial adventure may be our fear of facing such music.


Affordable Health Care for America Act Summary with Links to More Details

The key components of the Affordable Health Care for America Act include:

Increasing choice and competition. The bill will protect and improve consumers’ choices.

  • If people like their current plans, they will be able to keep them.
  • For individuals who aren’t currently covered by their employer, and some small businesses, the proposal will establish a new Health Insurance Exchange where consumers can comparison shop from a menu of affordable, quality health care options that will include private plans, health co-ops, and a new public health insurance option. The public health insurance option will play on a level playing field with private insurers, spurring additional competition.
  • This Exchange will create competition based on quality and price that leads to better coverage and care. Patients and doctors will have control over decisions about their health care, instead of insurance companies.

Giving Americans peace of mind. The legislation will ensure that Americans have portable, secure health care coverage – so that they won’t lose care if their employer drops their plan or they lose their job.

  • Every American who receives coverage through the Exchange will have a plan that includes standardized, comprehensive and quality health care benefits.
  • It will end increases in premiums or denials of care based on pre-existing conditions, race, or gender, and strictly limit age rating.
  • The proposal will also eliminate co-pays for preventive care, and cap out-of-pocket expensesto protects every American from bankruptcy.

Improving quality of care for every American. The legislation will ensure that Americans of all ages, from young children to retirees have access to greater quality of care by focusing on prevention, wellness, and strengthening programs that work.

  • Guarantees that every child in America will have health care coverage that includes dental, hearing and vision benefits.
  • Provides better preventive and wellness care. Every health care plan offered through the exchange and by employers after a grace period will cover preventive care at no cost to the patient.
  • Increases the health care workforce to ensure that more doctors and nurses are available to provide quality care as more Americans get coverage.
  • Strengthens Medicare and Medicaid and closes the Medicare Part D ‘donut hole’ so that seniors and low-income Americans receive better quality of care and see lower prescription drug costs and out-of-pocket expenses.

Ensuring shared responsibility. The bill will ensure that individuals, employers, and the federal government share responsibility for a quality and affordable health care system.

  • Employers can continue offering coverage to workers, and those who choose not offer coverage contribute a fee of eight percent of payroll.
  • All individuals will generally be required to get coverage, either through their employer or the exchange, or pay a penalty of 2.5 percent of income, subject to a hardship exemption.
  • The federal government will provide affordability credits, available on a sliding scale for low- and middle-income individuals and families to make premiums affordable and reduce cost-sharing.

Protecting consumers and reducing waste, fraud, and abuse. The legislation will put the interests of consumers first, protect them from problems in getting and keeping health care coverage, and reduce waste, fraud, and abuse.

  • Provides transparency in plans in the Health Exchange so that consumers have the clear, complete information, in plain English, needed to select the plan that best meets their needs.
  • Establishes consumer advocacy offices as part of the Exchange in order to protect consumers, answer questions, and assist with any problems related to their plans.
  • Simplifies paperwork and other administrative burdens. Patients, doctors, nurses, insurance companies, providers, and employers will all encounter a streamlined, less confusing, more consumer friendly system.
  • Increases funding of efforts to reduce waste, fraud and abuse; creates enhanced oversight of Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Reducing the deficit and ensuring the solvency of Medicare and Medicaid. The legislation will be entirely paid for – it will not add a dime to the deficit. It will also put Medicare and Medicaid on the path to a more fiscally sound future, so seniors and low-income Americans can continue to receive the quality health care benefits for years to come.

  • Pays for the entire cost of the legislation though a combination of savings achieved by making Medicare and Medicaid more efficient – without cutting seniors’ benefits in any way – and  revenue generated from placing a surcharge the top 0.3 percent of all households in the U.S.(married couples with adjusted gross income of over $1,000,000) and other tax measures.
  • The Congressional Budget estimates the bill will reduce the deficit by at least $100 billion over ten years.
  • Estimates also show the bill will slow the rate of growth of the Medicare program from 6.6 percent annually to 5.3 percent annually.

Selected Tweets for Wednesday, October 28, 2008

Follow Me on Twitter

Sweet Levity — Jon Stewart VIDEO Bush Goes Motivationalhttp://bit.ly/20LcMC

Straight talk on numbers and #hcr (health care) http://bit.ly/4esgiJ

Rape In US Military http://bit.ly/2ywGZ6

How Iraq Is Crumbling http://bit.ly/3uxRy

Begala on Shameless Lieberman  http://bit.ly/1xb4Ql

http://bit.ly/2RQOFw China Wary of Philanthropist

Today’s big number $437,896 Average salary under pay czar control (I will not post WSJ urls that require subs. to read on.)

What will be the last straw in Afghanistan — Now UN Workers Killed http://bit.ly/3vZKWG

Democrats Divided Over Reid Proposal for Public Option  http://bit.ly/1LxtvR

Brother of Afghan Leader Is Said to Be on C.I.A. Payroll http://bit.ly/25W1WI