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Archive for the ‘President Obama’ Category

The inaugural address

Posted by Charles II on January 21, 2013

So the theme of the inaugural speech was that words are not enough, that they must be matched with deeds. The capstone of the speech was this:

That is our generation’s task – to make these words, these rights, these values – of Life, and Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – real for every American….Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time – but it does require us to act in our time.

For now decisions are upon us, and we cannot afford delay.

It’s a good general goal. The rising generation will, in all likelihood, be the one that brings equality to everyone. There are ghettos to empty and pay to be raised. There are pernicious laws to repeal, and pernicious behavior to be shamed away. But this is a generation which has never known Jim Crow or legalized discrimination against women. It may have seen shrinking opportunity, but the pain has been broadly borne. The question will be what energies this speech mobilizes.

Here are key excerpts.

history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth

Our history represents a learning process:

we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together.

The American system is one of balance and moderation, emphasizing individualism:

we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise; our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, are constants in our character.

We need to change direction, away from war and economic stagnation:

A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun. America’s possibilities are limitless,

More people have to start receiving the economic rewards:

our purpose endures: a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American. That is what this moment requires. That is what will give real meaning to our creed.

A laundry list of common commitments:

Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security…[protection against] job loss, or a sudden illness, or …storm…the threat of climate change…sustainable energy sources…strength of arms and rule of law…we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice [outside our borders]…[equal pay for women, equal treatment under the law for gays, freedom to vote, gun safety, and a welcoming attitude toward immigrants]

And the call:

Let each of us now embrace, with solemn duty and awesome joy, what is our lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.

Will that be enough to shape the response? I don’t know. I wish he had focused on the filibuster. That probably would have been impolitic, but it is such a potent force for reaction that any call to build a new era must begin with the burying of the old, corrupt, rotten, evil one.

Posted in 2012, President Obama | 3 Comments »

Colin Powell Endorses President Obama

Posted by MEC on October 25, 2012

General Powell is on target with his explanation of why he’s endorsing President Obama for re-election. There’s a video at the link. It’s worth a listen. He praises the president’s achievements in both domestic and foreign policy, and criticizes Romney for his shifting positions (and, tacitly, his untrustworthiness). I’m feeling the irony that Powell criticizes Romney’s Neocon advisers, since Powell chose to work with those people and support that agenda in the Bush regime. But his endorsement is one of the strongest, clearest statements for why Obama should be re-elected that I’ve heard.

Posted in 2012, doing the right thing, President Obama | 2 Comments »

From here to impunity: Greenwald on the connection between Nixon and the current crisis

Posted by Charles II on October 26, 2011

(The image above from Drug Policy Alliance. Since Nixon also started the drug war or, at least, escalated a low intensity conflict into a full fledged war, it’s particularly apt)

Glenn Greenwald has a book out, With Liberty and Justice for Some which explains the evolution of impunity in the US. While I think that it’s self-evident that the US has always had a two-tiered legal system (for almost 200 years, there was explicitly or implicitly one legal system for whites and one for everyone else), it’s true that official lawbreaking was not so readily tolerated. Overlooking the stray Wilbur Mills/Argentine Firecracker incident and Teapot Dome scandal, the Roosevelt cousins ushered in an expectation that the law would apply to rich and poor alike.

Here’s an excerpt from the book:

As multiple episodes demonstrate, a belief that elite immunity is both necessary and justified became the prevailing ethos in the nation’s most influential circles. In countless instances over recent years, prominent political and media figures have insisted that serious crimes by the most powerful should be overlooked— either in the name of the common good, or in the name of a warped conception of fairness according to which those with the greatest power are the most entitled to deference and understanding.

This is what makes the contemporary form of American lawlessness new and unprecedented. It is now perfectly common, and perfectly acceptable, to openly advocate elite immunity. And this advocacy has had its intended effect: the United States has become a nation that does not apply the rule of law to its elite class, which is another way of saying that the United States does not apply the rule of law. . . .

If the threat of real punishment for criminality is removed, for many rational people there will be little incentive to abide by the law and much incentive to break it. Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist 15, explained why.

It is essential to the idea of a law, that it be attended with a sanction; or, in other words, a penalty or punishment for disobedience. If there be no penalty annexed to disobedience, the resolutions or commands which pretend to be laws will, in fact, amount to nothing more than advice or recommendation.

For the nation’s most powerful elites, the law has indeed been whittled down to “nothing more than advice or recommendation.” Although there have been episodes of unpunished elite malfeasance throughout American history, the explicit, systematic embrace of the notion that such malfeasance should be shielded from legal consequences begins with the Watergate scandal— one of the clearest cases of widespread, deliberate criminality at the highest level of the U.S. government.

By the scandal’s conclusion, few contested that not only Nixon’s top aides but Nixon himself had committed serious felonies— either in authorizing the break-in and related illegalities, or in obstructing the ensuing investigation. Nonetheless, Nixon was ultimately shielded from all legal consequences thanks to the pardon granted by his handpicked vice president, Gerald Ford— who, it was widely believed, secured his appointment by agreeing to protect Nixon from prosecution.

The crisis on Wall Street did indeed begin with Richard Nixon, was amplified by the pass that Congress gave Reagan on Iran-Contra, was amplified again (paradoxically) by the persecution of Bill Clinton, where the law was used as a weapon against a public official, and was been decisively implanted into the American system of law with Election 2000, unprosecuted wiretapping and torture, and the failure of Obama to prosecute criminals from the Bush Administration and from Wall Street.

Posted in Bush, Bush Family Evil Empire, election theft, impunity, President Obama, Republicans as cancer, Rule of Law | 8 Comments »

By invitation: a debate on Obama’s handling of the economy in light of political realities

Posted by Charles II on September 24, 2011

I made the following comment (slightly edited for clarity) in a previous thread that I think deserves to be raised for debate.

While I tend to agree that Obama and the Democrats could not have been expected to find the perfect response to the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression and have therefore been “muddling through,” there’s a point at which the Democrats lose their “brand.”

“Brand” is particularly important for a party that represents the poor and middle class. The wealthy always have ways to use advertising to create niche products, something like one sees on the cereal aisle, with dozens and dozens of brands made out of two or three main ingredients. Hence there are Christian rightists, libertarians, Tea Party Republicans, country clubbers, etc.– a mix of conflicting ideologies that are glued together by money and a delusion that things were better in a mythical past.

A “people’s party” doesn’t have the luxury of spinning out different brands. It has to rely on extremely simple messaging. Democrats used to understand this. They were the party defending wage pricing power (unions and minimum wage), benefits (Social Security, Medicare), and the unemployed/unemployable (unemployment, Food Stamps, etc.) As long as people know that Democrats will defend the less-wealthy, they are less susceptible to the divisive tactics at which Republicans excel.

From Nixon through Dukakis, Republicans did manage to besmirch the Democratic brand. In response, Democrats created two niche brand– “Blue Dog” and “DLC” Democrats. These are not just marginal brands, useful in only about 20 districts. They are brands that confuse the electorate about what it means to be a Democrat. Republicans often argue that Democrats are the real party of wealth–and they have examples to point to. In 2010, among the top 10 were Kerry, Harman, Rockefeller, Warner, Polis, Lautenberg, and Feinstein. FDR, a wealthy man, was smart enough to understand that he had to make a special effort to demonstrate his bona fides.

I do not believe that the Democrats were somehow prevented from enacting a larger stimulus package in 2009, or even that they didn’t know that they should have. If GDP has fallen by 6% of GDP (roughly $840B), the stimulus package has to be at least that large (realistically, it should be double that). And it has to be real stimulus. Tax cuts, especially at the upper end tend to be saved. The stimulus bill was $787B. $70B was the AMT fix, which is routinely approved, and therefore doesn’t count at all. Some of the other $200B in tax cuts went to people who could be reliably predicted to save/invest it, and therefore doesn’t count as stimulus spending. There are some other provisions which are not particularly stimulative, like Homeland Security spending, but at the very least we know that the stimulus bill was $120B short of a minimal response. The GDP revisions raise that number to $400B.

What’s important to note is that $400B is not actually that much money. If it had been applied sensibly to the mortgage crisis, as I was advocating, there would have been no “Great Recession.” We would have rebounded as sharply as in past recessions.

The Senate can change its rules by majority vote any time it wants to. Given the magnitude of the crisis, given the well-known history of Republican obstructionism, the failure to do so in 2008 ranks as one of the greatest political blunders of modern times.

With 51 votes needed, we could have passed a new New Deal. Obama has to bear responsibility for failing to see this clearly.

Based on this, I assert that the fundamental problem is one of power, not policy per se, and that to address that fundamental issue, the following are asserted:

* There was a critical failure to stand up to the Republicans. Obama and the Democrats have to take responsibility for a serious failure of leadership. Only by accepting responsibility and defining the nature of the failure can they regain credibility.
* The Democrats must return to their roots as the party that supports wages, benefits, and the poor. They must fight for voter rights.
* Democrats have to actively undermine the media by refusing to advertise on any media that are hostile to Democrats.
* Democrats are more than even odds likely to lose the next election, putting Republicans in power in all branches of government. If they lose the election, it is critical that they lose it very loudly as the party that represents the poor and middle class.
* A right-wing regime must be denied even the faintest aura of legitimacy. Having wrecked our economy, denied millions of Americans the vote, and used the judiciary to seize political, they deserve none.
* If Democrats retain control, they must end the abuses of the wealthy by reforming campaign finance, health insurance, taxation, and the minimum wage. The right to unionize, the right to vote, Social Security, the minimum wage, disability insurance, and healthcare have to be made basic human rights.

Please argue your case using specific facts (such as the size of stimulus necessary) that can be accepted or refuted

Posted in economy, Obama Administration, President Obama, Republicans acting badly, rights | 10 Comments »

Republicans Ticked That Obama Did What Bush Wouldn’t

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 1, 2011

President Obama addressed the nation tonight to inform us that he managed to do what George W. Bush and Dick Cheney couldn’t (probably because they were too busy getting us bogged down in Iraq), and that’s to finally take out the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Osama bin Laden.

Response to the news, which was leaked beforehand, was immediate. Crowds gathered to sing the National Anthem at the White House gates. People wondered if this meant that the attacks on the Constitution — not to mention in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as Pakistan — would stop and we could finally start cashing in the long-promised “peace dividend”.

And the everprescient Rude Pundit Tweeted:

“So, GOP, ball is in your court. Will you unify behind the President or be your usual dickish selves? Easy bet there.”

Indeed it was. Even before I got his Tweet, this had shown up in my Twitter feed from local conservative blogger Andy “Residual Forces” Apilkowski:

“What better way to change the subject of economic collapse & break down of our way of life, but a head on a stick outside castle Obama #tcot”

I had to grab a screen shot of it, just to show you all:

Res ipsa loquitor.

Posted in Bush, President Obama, Republicans acting badly | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »

Guess What? There’s A 95% Chance That President Obama Cut Your Taxes.

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 25, 2010

Remember the tax cut he and the Democrats in Congress pushed through for the 95% of us that aren’t rich?

The NYT’s Michael Cooper does, and is reminding people of it:

What if a president cut Americans’ income taxes by $116 billion and nobody noticed?


In a New York Times/CBS News Poll last month, fewer than one in 10 respondents knew that the Obama administration had lowered taxes for most Americans. Half of those polled said they thought that their taxes had stayed the same, a third thought that their taxes had gone up, and about a tenth said they did not know. As Thom Tillis, a Republican state representative, put it as the dinner wound down here, “This was the tax cut that fell in the woods — nobody heard it.”

Of course, the news media didn’t exactly give it the fawning 24/7 coverage it gives to Jersey Shore cast members or the Tea Party, so it’s not that surprising it fell — or was pushed — into the memory hole.

By the way, Obama cut the deficit, too.

Posted in 2010, Democrats, President Obama, taxes | Comments Off on Guess What? There’s A 95% Chance That President Obama Cut Your Taxes.

Obama Created More Jobs In 2010 Than Bush Created In Eight Years

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 24, 2010

That’s right, Obama created more jobs in 2010 than Bush created in eight years. Private-sector jobs, too.

Check it out, courtesy of News Junkie Post:

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 249 121 472 286 225 -46 163 3 122 -11 231 138
2001 -16 61 -30 -281 -44 -128 -125 -160 -244 -325 -292 -178
2002 -132 -147 -24 -85 -7 45 -97 -16 -55 126 8 -156
2003 83 -158 -212 -49 -6 -2 25 -42 103 203 18 124
2004 150 43 338 250 310 81 47 121 160 351 64 132
2005 136 240 142 360 169 246 369 195 63 84 334 158
2006 262 326 304 174 31 69 232 141 100 43 201 177
2007 194 104 239 92 149 55 -20 -71 52 86 128 70
2008 -10 -50 -33 -149 -231 -193 -210 -334 -458 -554 -728 -673
2009 -779 -726 -753 -528 -387 -515 -346 -212 -225 -224 64 -109
2010 14 39 208 313 432 -175 -66 -57 -95

Go to NJP for graphic representations thereof.

Posted in 2010, economy, employment, President Obama | 1 Comment »

Things I Found On Twitter Today

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 19, 2010

From MRWtweets:


And again from MRWtweets:

@MNForward a bipartisan, multi-candidate group, or Emmer front? 1st ad pro-Emmer; first Tweeter followed is @mbrodkorb

And from David Dayen at Fire Dog Lake:

Dodd Plays Pundit, Tries to Knife Elizabeth Warren Nomination (from @ddayen)

Posted in 2010, Chris Dodd, economy, President Obama, racism, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples | 1 Comment »

Boehner The Boneless Wonder!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 13, 2010

Watch how, barely three days after he called for a US taxpayer bailout of BP and chided Obama for being so mean to BP, he does a total 180 and now calls for lifting BP’s liability cap:

House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, called for completely lifting the liability cap on BP so that the company bears the full cost of the economic damage of the oil spill.

Gee, how nice of ABC’s Jake Tapper not to bring up the fact that this is a total flip-flop from Boehner’s stated position earlier this week. Helps Boehner the Contortionist get away with his self-makeover. (And when I say nice, I mean “disgraceful”.)

Posted in environment, GOP/Media Complex, Oil, President Obama | Tagged: | 5 Comments »

Sorry, Cons: Bush Still Owns The Deficit

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 25, 2010

As shown here:

Note that the stimulus and recovery spending portion (Obama’s part) is already shrinking rapidly, whereas the parts Bush gave us are still there and will start growing again soon.

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League, budget, Bush, President Obama | Comments Off on Sorry, Cons: Bush Still Owns The Deficit

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