Open letter to Roger Ebert: Please read this and explain how you can still support President Obama

August 18, 2012

Dear Roger,

Before I get to the political stuff, I’d like to point out that as far as I’m aware, you have never reviewed “Drop Dead Fred” or “Princess Caraboo,” films which I consider to contain Phoebe Cates’s two best performances. Please review them.

In the 2008 United States election, I wrote in Ron Paul for President. In the 2012 election, I will be voting for Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson. Those who are of a more leftist persuasion than myself might want to consider voting for Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Roger, please read this list of things that Obama has done, and then explain how you can still support him:

1) Carried out military interventionism in Libya without Congressional approval

In June 2011, U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) said that Obama had violated the Constitution when he launched military operations in Libya without Congressional approval.

2) Gave a no-bid contract to Halliburton – just like Bush did

In May 2010, it was reported that the Obama administration had selected KBR, a former subsidiary of Halliburton, for a no-bid contract worth as much as $568 million through 2011 for military support services in Iraq, just hours after the Justice Department had said it would pursue a lawsuit accusing the Houston-based company of taking kickbacks from two subcontractors on Iraq-related work.

3) Has an administration full of lobbyists, after promising he wouldn’t have any

While running for President, Obama had promised that, unlike Bush, he would not have any lobbyists working in his administration. However, by February 2010, he had more than 40 lobbyists working in his administration.

4) Has close ties to Wall St., but pretends to support Occupy Wall St.

Although Obama claims to support the Occupy Wall St. movement, the truth is that he has raised more money from Wall St. than any other candidate during the last 20 years. In early 2012, Obama held a fundraiser where Wall St. investment bankers and hedge fund managers each paid $35,800 to attend. In October 2011, Obama hired Broderick Johnson, a longtime Wall Street lobbyist, to be his new senior campaign adviser. Johnson had worked as a lobbyist for JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Fannie Mae, Comcast, Microsoft, and the oil industry.

5) Allowed abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay to become even worse than it was under Bush

Under President Obama, abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay became even worse than it had been under President Bush.

6) Supported the $700 billion TARP corporate-welfare bailout

While Senator, Obama voted for the $700 billion TARP bank bailout bill. The bailout rewarded irresponsible and illegal behavior. It redirected resources from more productive uses to less productive uses. It punished the hard working taxpayers who had played by the rules and obeyed the law. It created horrible incentives, and sent the wrong message. The bailout was evil because it rewarded the bad people and punished the good people. No society that does this can expect to remain free or prosperous. Instead of bailing out these corrupt corporations, we should have let them cease to exist, like we did with Enron.

7) Waged the biggest war against medical marijuana of any president, which was the opposite of what he had promised

In May 2008, Obama campaign spokesperson Ben LaBolt said that Obama would end DEA raids on medical marijuana in states where it’s legal. Also in 2008, Obama said that he supported the “basic concept of using medical marijuana for the same purposes and with the same controls as other drugs” and that he was “not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws.” However, in February 2010, DEA agents raided a medical marijuana grower in Highlands Ranch in Colorado, a state where medical marijuana is legal. Also in February 2010, DEA agents raided a medical marijuana dispensary in Culver City in California, a state where medical marijuana is legal. In July 2010, the DEA raided at least four medical marijuana growers in San Diego, California. Also in July 2010, the DEA raided a medical marijuana facility in Covelo, California. Then in September 2010, the DEA conducted raids on at least five medical marijuana dispensaries in Las Vegas, Nevada, where medical marijuana is legal. In 2011, the DEA conducted raids on medical marijuana in Seattle, Washington, West Hollywood, California, and Helena, Montana, all places where it is legal. In April 2012, the DEA carried out several raids on medical marijuana in Oakland, California. In February 2012, Rolling Stone magazine wrote that Obama’s war against medical marijuana went “far beyond anything undertaken by George W. Bush.” In April 2012, Mother Jones magazine wrote: “The president campaigned on the promise that he’d stop federal raids on medical marijuana operations that were in compliance with state laws, a vow that Attorney General Eric Holder repeated after the election. But then the Obama administration raided more than 100 dispensaries in its first three years and is now poised to outpace the Bush administration’s crackdown record.” In May 2012, the Washington Post wrote: “Obama has become more hostile to medical marijuana patients than any president in U.S. history.” In May 2012, U.S. Congressperson Nancy Pelosi (D-California) said she had “strong concerns” about Obama’s forced closure of five medical marijuana facilities in Pelosi’s congressional district. In April 2012, commenting on Obama’s crackdown on medical marijuana, U.S. Congressman Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) said, “I’m very disappointed… They look more like the Bush administration than the Clinton administration.” In July 2012, federal prosecutors filed civil forfeiture actions against  Harborside Health Center, a medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland, CA, which claims to be the world’s largest, and which claims to serve more than 100,000 medical marijuana patients. In April 2012, federal agents raided Oaksterdam University, an educational institution in Oakland, CA, which teaches people about medical marijuana. In April 2012, federal agents raided a medical marijuana facility which had been serving 1,500 patients near Lake Elsinore, CA. In June 2012, the Obama administration filed asset-forfeiture lawsuits against two landlords who rented their buildings to medical marijuana stores in Santa Fe Springs, CA. The Obama administration also sent warning letters which threatened similar legal action to dozens of other, nearby landlords. During the first seven months of 2012, the DEA shut down 40 medical marijuana dispensaries in Colorado, all of which had been operating in compliance with state and local law. In May 2012, ABC News reported that during Obama’s youth, he often smoked large quantities of recreational marijuana.  Obama’s marijuana smoking wasn’t even medical – it was recreational. And yet now, he is taking large scale, widespread action to prevent people with AIDS, cancer, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, and other illnesses, who have prescriptions from their doctors, from using their prescription medicine – how cold hearted can a person be?

8) Nominated a tax cheater to enforce the tax laws

Obama nominated Timothy Geithner, a repeat tax cheater, to head the government agency that enforces the tax laws.

9) Gave tax dollars to AIG executives, then pretended to be outraged

Obama signed a stimulus bill that spent money on bonuses for AIG executives. Prior to signing this bill, Obama had said, “when I’m president, I will go line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely.” However, after reading “line by line” and signing the stimulus bill that protected the AIG bonuses, Obama pretended to be shocked and outraged at the bonuses, and said, “Under these circumstances, it’s hard to understand how derivative traders at A.I.G. warranted any bonuses at all, much less $165 million in extra pay… How do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat?” and also said that he would “pursue every single legal avenue to block these bonuses.”

10) Expanded Bush’s unconstitutional government faith based programs

Obama expanded the federal government’s faith based programs which had been started by President George W. Bush.

11) Supported Bush’s unconstitutional Patriot Act

In May 2011, Obama signed a renewal of the Patriot Act.

12) Increased the national debt more in one term than Bush did in two

The national debt increased more during Obama’s first three years and two months than it did during all eight years of George W. Bush’s presidency.

13) Agrees with Bush’s support of unconstitutional, indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without filing any charges

In December 2011, ACLU executive director Anthony D. Romero criticized Obama for signing a bill that gave the U.S. government the power to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens without any charges being filed or any trial taking place.

14) Agrees with Bush’s support of unconstitutional, warrantless wiretapping

President Obama has defended warrantless wiretapping.

15) Avoided prosecution of Wall. St criminals

Although Obama had promised to prosecute Wall St. criminals, as of May 2012, the Obama administration had not filed any criminal charges against any of the top financial executives.

16) Had U.S. citizen killed without judicial process

The ACLU accused Obama of violating the U.S. Constitution by having a U.S. citizen killed without judicial process. U.S. Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) said that Obama’s actions might be an impeachable offense.

17) Illegally put thousands of guns into hands of criminals

In Operation Fast and Furious, the Obama administration ordered gun storeowners to illegally sell thousands of guns to criminals.

18) Fired Inspector General for discovering that Obama’s friend had embezzled government funds

In June 2009, Obama fired Inspector General Gerald Walpin, after Walpin accused Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, an Obama supporter, of misuse of AmeriCorps funding to pay for school-board political activities. In a letter to Congress, the White House said that Walpin was fired because he was “confused, disoriented, unable to answer questions and exhibited other behavior that led the Board to question his capacity to serve.” A bipartisan group of 145 current and former public officials, attorneys, and legal scholars signed a letter that was sent to the White House, which defended Walpin, said the criticisms of him were not true, and said that his firing was politically motivated. The letter can be read here.

19) Ignored constitutional requirements for appointees

In February 2009, U.S. Senator Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia) expressed concern that Obama’s dozens of czars might violate the U.S. Constitution, because they were not approved by the U.S. Senate. U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin) expressed a similar concern in September 2009.

20) Gave tax dollars to campaign contributors and lobbyists, and falsely claimed that the money was for “green” energy

The Obama administration gave $535 million to Solyndra, claiming that it would create 4,000 new jobs. However, instead of creating those 4,000 new jobs, the company went bankrupt. It was later revealed that the company’s shareholders and executives had made substantial donations to Obama’s campaign, and that the company had also spent a large sum of money on lobbying. In April 2012, CBS News reported that Solyndra had left a substantial amount of toxic waste at its abandoned facility in Milpitas, California. After Obama gave Raser Technologies $33 million to build a power plant, the company declared bankruptcy, and owed $1.5 million in back taxes. After Obama gave Abound Solar, Inc. a $400 million loan guarantee to build photovoltaic panel factories, the company halted production and laid off 180 employees. After Obama gave Beacon Power a $43 million loan guarantee to build green energy storage, the company filed for bankruptcy. After Obama approved $2.1 billion in loan guarantees for Solar Trust of America so it could build solar power plants, the company filed for bankruptcy. Although Obama stated that all of the green energy companies that received taxpayer money were chosen “based solely on their merits,” the truth is that 71% of these grants and loans went to Obama donors and fundraisers, who raised $457,834 for his campaign, and were later approved for grants and loans totaling more than $11 billion. By November 2011, the Energy Department’s inspector general had begun more than 100 criminal investigations related to Obama’s stimulus.

21) Had “off the record” meetings with lobbyists

In June 2010, the New York Times reported that Obama administration officials had held hundreds of meetings with lobbyists at coffee houses near the White House, in order to avoid the disclosure requirements for White House visitors, and that these meetings “reveal a disconnect between the Obama administration’s public rhetoric — with Mr. Obama himself frequently thrashing big industries’ ‘battalions’ of lobbyists as enemies of reform — and the administration’s continuing, private dealings with them.”

22) Rewarded his fundraisers by giving them federal jobs

Although Obama had promised to have “the most sweeping ethics reform in history,” and had often criticized the role of money in politics, the truth is that after he was elected, he gave administration jobs to more than half of his 47 biggest fundraisers.

23) Auctioned off ambassadorship to the Netherlands

In April 2012, Obama nominated Timothy Broas, who had “bundled” more than $500,000 for Obama’s 2012 campaign, to be U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands.

24) Made the TSA even more abusive and ridiculous than it had been under Bush

The Obama administration gave a very invasive patdown to a three-year-old boy in a wheelchair, which caused the boy to tremble in fear. The Obama administration gave an aggressive patdown to a seven-year-old girl with cerebral palsy. The Obama administration said that a four-year-old girl was a “high security threat.” The Obama administration placed an 18-month-old girl on its no fly list. The Obama administration gave a patdown to Henry Kissinger.

25) Violated Freedom of Information Act

The Obama administration demanded that the Goldwater Institute pay $78,935.80 before it would share public records which it had requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

26) Used “off the books” funding for military interventionism

In April 2009, antiwar activists who helped elect Obama accused him of using the same “off the books” funding as his predecessor George W. Bush when Obama requested an additional $83.4 billion from Congress for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – a provision which Obama had voted against when he was a Senator.

27) Defended Bush administration’s unconstitutional, unwarranted use of GPS device

In January 2012, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the Bush administration for having put a GPS tracking device on someone’s car without having a warrant, the Obama administration opposed the court ruling

28) Supported Bush administration for fining CBS for showing Janet Jackson’s breast

Obama came out in favor of the FCC’s fining of the CBS TV network $550,000 for showing Janet Jackson’s breast during the 2004 Super Bowl.

OK, Roger. That’s the end of my list.

Please explain how you can still support President Obama.

Sincerely,

Dan from Squirrel Hill

August 18, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Movies, Politics.

5 Comments

  1. gracie replied:

    Here’s why Ebert never reviewed “Princess Caraboo,” which I agree is
    Phoebe Cates’ best performance: http://tinyurl.com/97cxzut

    • danfromsquirrelhill replied:

      Thanks for the link. That explains why he never reviewed it when it first came out. He could still review it later at any other time.

  2. firstmagnitude replied:

    Dan, Roger skipped Drop Dead Fred, because he was on vacation. Roger asked Gene Siskel if he liked it, and Gene said it would be on his worst list. You can see Roger’s explanation here http://siskelandebert.org/video/8HYDX1UK2YOY/The-Worst-of-1991 .

    • danfromsquirrelhill replied:

      Thank you. I was already aware of that, as I had seen the video before. But there have been plenty of times where one of them hated a movie and the other loved it.

  3. David A replied:

    Dan,

    You have stated a truth here. We are given a big show on how the two parties are different, but in reality they are far more similar than not.

    I have voted Libertarian numerous times, and I support Ron Paul. The issue with Libertarians I have is that they have a philosophical contruct and apply it to everything, and sometimes things aren’t that simple. I don’t think we can do away with medicare and social security for example, and the affordable health care act is probably a good thing.

    But we need to balance the budget, slice military spending, and bring our troops home.

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