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Cenk Uygur Headshot

What Does "Change" Really Mean?

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Barack Obama has built his whole campaign around change. But he has not yet explained why we need that change. You might think that's a strange criticism because he has theoretically been talking about why we need change this whole time. But in fact, he hasn't; not real change. What do I mean by that?

Change isn't some theoretical concept, it's real. If my shoes are pinching my feet, I need to change them. That's not a global statement about the need for change in an ever fluctuating world. It means my feet hurt.

Right now, America doesn't need some sort of metaphysical change that satiates our society's need for progress in some vague, unnamed way. We need actual change. We need to stop giving away no-bid contracts to connected companies who get rich off our dime. We need to give some relief to the average taxpayer who is being squeezed by his credit card company, high gas prices and stagnating incomes ...

Hold on. Let that sink in. You hear that often from politicians, but they never follow up with what that means or what the reason behind it is. There is a very real reason why your credit card company can charge you usurious interest rates. My credit card company works on a "17 day month." You know what that means? That means that they only give you 17 days instead of 30 to pay your bill because they hope you're late so they can charge you huge late fees and crank up your interest rates.

There were real people that passed real laws that allowed this to happen. So, don't tell me that I am being squeezed by the credit card companies. I know that. Tell me what you're going to do about it. Tell me that you are going to get the sons of bitches. Tell me that you are going to pass regulations that don't allow them to rip us off with 17 day months and 30% interest rates, etc., etc.

The problem is when these issues get real, Democrats get scared. I don't know why, other than the fact that they lack the courage of their convictions and they have been brainwashed by the mass media into thinking that the Republicans are right about everything.

If you go after the credit companies, you are being anti-business. Fuck that! You are being pro-consumer - that's all of the rest of us. Do you have any idea how much people would love you if you went after the credit card company scam-artist mother fuckers?!

If you go after corporations like Halliburton, they will say that you are against capitalism. So what?! Take them on. Halliburton is anti-capitalist. Where did Adam Smith write about no-bid contracts? These people have perverted the system into an anti-free market, pro-corporate lobby scam. Halliburton moved their headquarters to Dubai to avoid US taxes and regulations. Why are they still getting US government contracts? They're no longer an American company. Fuck 'em. I need a politician at least brave enough to say that. That really doesn't take much. Can't we at least get that from our so-called leaders?

Barack Obama needs to stop talking about nebulous, floating on a cloud change. And start talking about how he is going to kick these people's asses. We need someone to take our government back.

On foreign policy, stop trying to prove that you are as "tough" as the Republicans. Read Robert Gates' new National Defense Strategy. It sounds like it was written by John Kerry in 2004. It talks about reducing terrorism to a nuisance and treating it as a crime-fighting problem. If the Pentagon isn't afraid to say it, why are you? Tell the American people even George Bush's Secretary of Defense thinks you're right and John McCain is full of shit.

John McCain voted for torture. He voted to allow the CIA to use some of the same exact torture techniques the North Vietnamese used on him. Think about that. According to McCain's description of the North Vietnamese torture tactics, they would make him stand for hours or use stress positions or do sleep deprivation - all of the things he just authorized the United States government to do. That is despicable. The man has no principles left. There is nothing he won't do to try to win an election. This is a core betrayal of what he claimed was his most deeply held beliefs. He is a liar and a craven politician.

Are you going to let people know that? Or are they supposed to be born with that information a priori? They won't know what kind of despicable sell-outs the Republicans are, if you don't tell them.

So often I run into people who have no earthly idea what the Republicans have done to them. Not to the country at large, but to them. They don't realize that when George Bush declared war on Iraq, he took money out of their pockets by wasting the taxes they pay every month and by greatly increasing the price of oil. They don't know that when Bush runs the deficit up, that weakens the dollar and makes the cost of gasoline go up. Before Bush came into office he promised to "jawbone" the Saudis in to lowering the price of oil; instead the price has more than quadrupled under his watch. Every time Americans go to the pump, they should think, "Fucking Republicans!"

How will they think that or know any of these things if the theoretical opponents of the Republicans don't tell them?

John McCain authorized this war. John McCain allowed Bush to run up these enormous deficits with his irresponsible tax cuts for the wealthiest sons of bitches in the whole country. That isn't class warfare, that's true. And they are sons of bitches because they lobbied to make it happen. They weren't innocent and unexpected benefactors of Republican largesse. The Waltons spent millions on Republicans in order to get billions in tax breaks in return. Those sons of bitches drove up the deficit that weakened the dollar that caused inflation and took money out of your pocket. And they did it to get even richer. Now, is the leader of our party going to let them get away with it? Is he even going to tell the American people how they are being robbed?

There is a real anger in America. There is a real thirst for change. But it isn't about an esoteric, feel-good bullshit change. It's about real change so that the people who have been picking our pockets can stop robbing us. Obama needs to tap into that anger, and direct it to where it belongs. Tell us how you're going to change the country. Tell us why the country needs to be changed. And then tell us about how John McCain participated in this highway robbery for decades. He made a living off a Republican infrastructure designed to rob from the middle class and give to the rich. And now are you going to let him get away with it?

Finally, the American people need to understand in crystal-clear fashion that if they vote for John McCain they will get the same exact Republican policies that have been fucking them for the last eight years (if not a lot longer). McCain voted with Bush 95% of the time last year - what leads you to believe he won't follow 95% of his policies the next year? A vote for John McCain is a vote for a continued ass-fucking. Right now, the American people clearly have not gotten this message. How will they ever get it if Obama doesn't tell them?

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PS -- I will be hosting Meet the Bloggers this week with our special guest Michael Moore about this same exact topic. The show will be on meetthebloggers.org on Friday August 22nd at 1PM Eastern. We will be talking about Michael Moore's new book "Mike's Election Guide 2008." We'll also be taking your questions for Michael throughout the week on meetthebloggers.org.

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