If you haven’t heard, the Obama administration has decided to move the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed out of New York. I’m sure many will say President Obama caved to pressure to not try KSM in New York, but I see it as a president who listens to people and is confident enough to change plans when presented with facts and logic. Coming off of yesterday’s Q & A with the Republicans, I’m feeling pretty good about my president, but I’ve never really turned on him or doubted his capacity and drive to get things done.
He’s been in office for just a year, and he’s really done incredible things for our country both domestically and in foreign policy. In a couple of years, both those disastrous wars will be wound done and I’ll feel even better about him. It’s quite amazing how impatient many on the left are, if we were to make a list of all the things some on the left believe should have been done in the first year, it would be quite a list.
Every special interests believes there cause is the most important one and often act like whining, crying children because their project is more important than, oh, health care, the economy, jobs, the environment, corruption in government and cleaning up all the Bush/Cheney messes. Many of these people on the left have deep seated hatred for Obama after a long, bloody primary where Hillary clearly went over the top with attacks on her fellow democrat and did a huge disservice to the progressive movement. Those effects are still lingering and I believe is the motivation behind many of the presidents fiercest critics on the left. Bitterness is so unbecoming. :)
Above is the full question and answer from the meeting in Baltimore which put President Obama face to face with the opponents, the obstructionists, the party of no. You have to see it or read the transcript. (courtesy of KayinMaine)
The opening address by President Obama is below.
I’m sure all the haters will have reasons why this isn’t real, or wasn’t because of the stimulus, or was because of some other reason…..BITE ME!
Real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States -- increased at an annual rate of 5.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009, (that is, from the third quarter to the fourth quarter), according to the "advance" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
I’ve been watching the signs of the recovery for the last 6 months, lots of good or “not so bad” news has been coming for a while, but it has basically been ignored by the media because it doesn’t fit into their current narrative, that President Obama’s presidency has been a failure. Chew on this, bitches. When I see the slanted journalism that paints this picture of failure, I find comfort in the fact that reality will catch up with them and make them look like fools. You can only hide the truth for so long, eventually it finds its way into the public consciousness. President Obama’s speech the other night was one of the first steps in showing the reality of the last year, not what the right wing, Jane Hamsher, Arianna Huffington and Cenk Uygur have been trying to paint. I wonder how they are reacting to this?
In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama showed the country why he is absolutely the best person to lead this country in this time in our history. He was eloquent, forceful, realistic, honest, forward looking and inspirational. Only those people who watched through their veils of hate can say otherwise. There were many highlights for me and below are some excerpts that were particularly good.
He showed compassion.
But the devastation remains. One in ten Americans still cannot find work. Many businesses have shuttered. Home values have declined. Small towns and rural communities have been hit especially hard. For those who had already known poverty, life has become that much harder.
This recession has also compounded the burdens that America’s families have been dealing with for decades – the burden of working harder and longer for less; of being unable to save enough to retire or help kids with college.
So I know the anxieties that are out there right now. They’re not new. These struggles are the reason I ran for President. These struggles are what I’ve witnessed for years in places like Elkhart, Indiana and Galesburg, Illinois. I hear about them in the letters that I read each night. The toughest to read are those written by children – asking why they have to move from their home, or when their mom or dad will be able to go back to work.
He was inspirational.
You know what else they share? They share a stubborn resilience in the face of adversity. After one of the most difficult years in our history, they remain busy building cars and teaching kids; starting businesses and going back to school. They’re coaching little league and helping their neighbors. As one woman wrote me, “We are strained but hopeful, struggling but encouraged.”
It is because of this spirit – this great decency and great strength – that I have never been more hopeful about America’s future than I am tonight. Despite our hardships, our union is strong. We do not give up. We do not quit. We do not allow fear or division to break our spirit. In this new decade, it’s time the American people get a government that matches their decency; that embodies their strength.
He gave concrete proposals.
So tonight, I’m proposing that we take $30 billion of the money Wall Street banks have repaid and use it to help community banks give small businesses the credit they need to stay afloat. I am also proposing a new small business tax credit – one that will go to over one million small businesses who hire new workers or raise wages. While we’re at it, let’s also eliminate all capital gains taxes on small business investment; and provide a tax incentive for all businesses, large and small, to invest in new plants and equipment…
…The House has passed a jobs bill that includes some of these steps. As the first order of business this year, I urge the Senate to do the same. People are out of work. They are hurting. They need our help. And I want a jobs bill on my desk without delay…
He was forceful.
You see, Washington has been telling us to wait for decades, even as the problems have grown worse. Meanwhile, China’s not waiting to revamp its economy. Germany’s not waiting. India’s not waiting. These nations aren’t standing still. These nations aren’t playing for second place. They’re putting more emphasis on math and science. They’re rebuilding their infrastructure. They are making serious investments in clean energy because they want those jobs.
Well I do not accept second-place for the United States of America. As hard as it may be, as uncomfortable and contentious as the debates may be, it’s time to get serious about fixing the problems that are hampering our growth.
He was honest and admitted his own failures.
Our approach would preserve the right of Americans who have insurance to keep their doctor and their plan. It would reduce costs and premiums for millions of families and businesses. And according to the Congressional Budget Office – the independent organization that both parties have cited as the official scorekeeper for Congress – our approach would bring down the deficit by as much as $1 trillion over the next two decades.
Still, this is a complex issue, and the longer it was debated, the more skeptical people became. I take my share of the blame for not explaining it more clearly to the American people. And I know that with all the lobbying and horse-trading, this process left most Americans wondering what’s in it for them.
He gave us context and historical perspective.
So let me start the discussion of government spending by setting the record straight. At the beginning of the last decade, America had a budget surplus of over $200 billion. By the time I took office, we had a one year deficit of over $1 trillion and projected deficits of $8 trillion over the next decade. Most of this was the result of not paying for two wars, two tax cuts, and an expensive prescription drug program. On top of that, the effects of the recession put a $3 trillion hole in our budget. That was before I walked in the door.
Now if we had taken office in ordinary times, I would have liked nothing more than to start bringing down the deficit. But we took office amid a crisis, and our efforts to prevent a second Depression have added another $1 trillion to our national debt.
I am absolutely convinced that was the right thing to do. But families across the country are tightening their belts and making tough decisions. The federal government should do the same. So tonight, I’m proposing specific steps to pay for the $1 trillion that it took to rescue the economy last year.
He was inspirational and had a call to action.
Our administration has had some political setbacks this year, and some of them were deserved. But I wake up every day knowing that they are nothing compared to the setbacks that families all across this country have faced this year. And what keeps me going – what keeps me fighting – is that despite all these setbacks, that spirit of determination and optimism – that fundamental decency that has always been at the core of the American people – lives on.
It lives on in the struggling small business owner who wrote to me of his company, “None of us,” he said, “…are willing to consider, even slightly, that we might fail.”
It lives on in the woman who said that even though she and her neighbors have felt the pain of recession, “We are strong. We are resilient. We are American.”
It lives on in the 8-year old boy in Louisiana, who just sent me his allowance and asked if I would give it to the people of Haiti. And it lives on in all the Americans who’ve dropped everything to go some place they’ve never been and pull people they’ve never known from rubble, prompting chants of “U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A!” when another life was saved.
The spirit that has sustained this nation for more than two centuries lives on in you, its people.
We have finished a difficult year. We have come through a difficult decade. But a new year has come. A new decade stretches before us. We don’t quit. I don’t quit. Let’s seize this moment – to start anew, to carry the dream forward, and to strengthen our union once more.
Thank you. God Bless You. And God Bless the United States of America.
Every progressive needs to read Bob Cesca’s latest column at Huffington Post, he spells out the rift in the progressive movement and tries to move things forward.
Clearly there are progressives, most visibly in the liberal blogosphere, who have ventured well beyond the realms of being disillusioned with the president to being outright antagonistic and, in a broader movement sense, utterly self-defeating. I still believe that this is based upon a misreading of political reality and a misinterpretation of the president’s first year in office. In some cases, I believe this anger is genuine and fair, and many other cases, I believe it’s wholly unfair, misguided and, dare I say, wingnutty…
…Some very prominent members of the progressive movement have taken a punitive approach, not only towards the president but even towards allegedly disloyal progressive members of Congress. You’ve read all of the various descriptions of this movement. The kill-billers. Activists and writers who have a penchant for suggesting that the president is too similar to George W. Bush. Some have promoted the idea of pressuring Bernie Sanders with a primary opponent, while others have suggested that maybe progressive Democrats in the House should return their donations as punishment for (eventually) voting for health care reform without a public option. Some have attempted to team up with wingnuts like Grover Norquist and Dick Armey’s tea party movement to attack the administration, as if this will somehow help progressivism.
Go read the rest of it, it’s very good.
I’ve been accused of being an all sorts of things because I support President Obama, but in an interview with Diane Sawyer he reminded me why I support him so much. Look at this exchange with Sawyer, the whole transcript is here.
SAWYER: Ever in the middle of all that’s coming did you think maybe one term is enough?
OBAMA: You know, I — I would say that when I — the one thing I’m clear about is that I’d rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president. And I — and I believe that.
You know, there’s a tendency in Washington to think that our job description of elected officials is to get re-elected. That’s not our job description. Our job description is to solve problems and to help people. And, you know, that’s not just the view of elected officials themselves. That’s also the filter through which the media reads things. And the reason I can say this with confidence is I’ve gone through this before. I went through this through the campaign.
When your poll numbers drop, you’re an idiot. When your poll numbers are high, you’re a genius. If my poll numbers are low, then I’m cool and cerebral and cold and detached. If my poll numbers are high, well, he’s calm and reasoned.
So that’s — that’s the filter through which a lot of this stuff is interpreted. But…
SAWYER: Do you think there’s a lot of bed wetting, as David Plouffe said?
OBAMA: I do think that people are always thinking in the cable news cycle, and whatever appears that given day is how people view the world. That is not how I look at things. You know, I went to Iowa — I went to Ohio last week on Friday. And I went to a company that the family had owned for years — third generation. They make machine tools.
And you go and you talk to the workers there and you talk to the owners and then you go to the diner and you’re meeting with people and talk to them. You know, they are not interested in whether Democrats are scoring points on Republicans or vice versa. What they’re interested in is, you know, I can’t get a loan from my bank right now. I’m trying to save for my kid’s college education. You know, I’m worried that my 401(k), although it’s bounced back a little bit, still doesn’t leave me enough for retirement.
Those are the things that people talk to me about. And so that’s what I spend a lot of my time thinking about.
As you may have noticed if you’ve read any of my previous posts, I think the media is lazy, stupid, reactionary, sensational, style over substance, process over policies…..every thing is filtered through polls, the horse race or the latest outrage. Any politician can get on cable by being outraged about something, whether they are sincere or not, whether they need a boost in the polls or not, whether they are lying or not. The media eats that shit up and then craps it back out for us wrapped in a poll. Arghhh, don’t get me started……oh wait, I started it myself. Oops. :)
A friend of mine sent me this today, it’s making the rounds. In an article by Nicholas Kristoff called What Could You Live Without, an incredible family sets an example for all. In our time of greed, selfishness and impatience it warms my heart to read of such an inspiring family.
Kevin Salwen, a writer and entrepreneur in Atlanta, was driving his 14-year-old daughter, Hannah, back from a sleepover in 2006. While waiting at a traffic light, they saw a black Mercedes coupe on one side and a homeless man begging for food on the other.
“Dad, if that man had a less nice car, that man there could have a meal,” Hannah protested. The light changed and they drove on, but Hannah was too young to be reasonable. She pestered her parents about inequity, insisting that she wanted to do something.
“What do you want to do?” her mom responded. “Sell our house?” Warning! Never suggest a grand gesture to an idealistic teenager. Hannah seized upon the idea of selling the luxurious family home and donating half the proceeds to charity, while using the other half to buy a more modest replacement home.
They actually did it and a lot more too. I often wonder why some people waste so much money on extravagant things and lifestyles. I was flipping around the channels the other morning and came across MTV’s Teen Cribs show. Wow, if only some of those extremely wealthy folks would just be a little more generous and less extravagant, things could be so much different in this world.
They have nothing to offer anymore, no new ideas, no compassion for anyone, nothing. They are the “nothing party.” I saw Andrew Ross Sorkin on Morning Jerkoff with Starbucks this morning and he proclaimed that we must “cut taxes.” Give me a freakin break, is that the only response the right and the financial sector bots have, cut taxes? They’ve been brainwashed repeatedly over the years to believe it, like zombies “must cut taxes, must cut taxes”…..it’s so ridiculous. Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” All you have to do is look back over the last 30 years at the growth of the national debt under Republican vs. Democratic presidents to see that this tactic does nothing but shift the wealth from the middle and lower income TAXPAYERS, to the wealthiest in our country who know every tax shelter and loophole there is to keep that money in their own damn pockets.
Kay over at WhiteNoiseInsanity has an excellent post up on this and other outrages from the right. Here is a sample…
Seriously, all I hear is bitching, complaining, and whining from the right wingers. Do they have any answers? Not that I can see. Let me know if you hear of one. Maybe if we all rubbed and stroked Scott Brown’s business suit the answers would come easily and our nation will be saved? Huh. Maybe.
Kay goes on to sum up the state of Republican thinking…..
Our nation had 8 years of blatant fascism under George Bush and we’ve had a one year reprieve thanks to President Obama being in the White House, but what is most disturbing is an Animal Farm Revolution is underway again where the animals are demanding to go back to those 8 years of fascism because they believe it’s better and they’ll be happier! How many times do we have to tell the imbeciles of our country that whenever we have a republican president in the White House our nation goes into a recession, our money ends up missing in huge clumps, and we end up miserable and suffering?
To paraphrase someone who isn’t coming to mind, Republicans think government can’t do anything right and then they get elected and prove it.
A Republican candidate for governor of South Carolina has compared giving people government assistance to feeding stray animals. Seriously. He goes on to explain that if you feed them, they will reproduce. This man is Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer of South Carolina. From The State…
“My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better,” Bauer said.
So apparently in America, the way to deal with poverty is to starve them to death so they don’t reproduce. This is an elected official in 2010, not the 1800′s but 2010.
In South Carolina, 58 percent of students participate in the free and reduced-price lunch program.
Bauer’s remarks came during a speech in which he said government should take away assistance if those receiving help didn’t pass drug tests or attend parent-teacher conferences or PTA meetings if their children were receiving free and reduced-price lunches.
Just take it away from them, starve them, that will show them not to be poor. So many of these people are the working poor in this country, they go to work everyday but still can’t make ends meet. What sort of country do we live in that we treat our own citizens with such contempt. We are supposedly the greatest country on the planet, but we can’t seem to feed our people, give them proper health care, proper schools or keep them safe.
I’ve been stunned since the Supreme Court’s decision to sell our country off to corporations, well what’s left of our country anyway. They’ve pretty much owned it for many years, the crooked court that brought us the decision in Bush V. Gore just made it much easier for them. I’m hopeful that this will be the straw that broke the camel’s back and something will be done about this by the congress. The Rude Pundit shows us what our country looks like now in this post. Here is a sample….
Hey, maybe if they’re willing to pass a couple of disclosure laws, members of Congress can all be honest about whose whores they are.
Senator Lisa Murkowski is brought to you by the shareholders of ExxonMobil. ExxonMobil: Suck our pipeline and suck it good, America.
You have to give Republicans credit for being consistent in their support of everything bad and their being against anything good for our country. Even though most of them claim to be christians (whatever that means), they are some evil motherfuckers and just keep proving it over and over and over again.
Has the media succeeded in taking control of our government? I propose that the media uses polls to force weak-ass politicians to bend to the current will of the majority, as shown in the latest poll. Often these polls use very small samples and the methodologies of different polling organizations are wildly different. Morning Joke loves to throw polls at politicians and confront them about how their stance doesn’t fit with the majority. It isn’t just Joe (an intern was found dead in his office) Scarborough but many other talking heads and pundits do the exact same thing. Haven’t they had any statistics classes?
As Chris Matthews pointed out so pointedly on his show two nights ago, go here for more, “But the poll that was the official poll, where people had to go into the booth and vote…” that’s the only “poll” that really counts. I could rattle off all sorts of polls that have been wrong over the years for individual races, but that’s really beside the point I’m trying to make. When we elect someone, we elect that person to make judgments and represent us with the principles they ran on, and their whole world view. When I vote for a candidate, I want that candidate to make decisions based on their best judgment not whichever way the wind is blowing on that particular day.
The media just beats these polls into the public consciousness, and as we learned from the Reagan years and ever since, if you repeat something over and over again, pretty soon people start to believe it, whether it’s factually true or not. Of course the Republicans have raised it to an art form, I’m pretty sure the NEA has given them grants it’s such a powerful art form. The really shitty part of this phenomenon is that there is no good way to change it. The lazy journalists in this country use it as a crutch, heaven forbid they write an original article or do a little research or expose a crooked politician. And it gives them tremendous power that they yield over politicians, you can’t watch a Sunday morning show or any other political cable news show without a poll being dragged out and abused.
The last thing I’ll say about polls is that they are exaggerated to the extreme. “The people want this or that”….when it may very well be 52% of the people in a poll with a margin of error of +/- 4%. It drives me nuts when they completely discard the views of the other 48%. When you see a margin of error higher than 3%, the sample is usually less than 800 people, many times less than that because not every question is answered by all the participants. So often the results they spew are even smaller subgroups within the poll. “Of the people who support Obama, 20% believe this or that”…..which may very well be less than a hundred people when you divide up the pie.
If you are ever in need of a reality check about any given poll, visit Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog, he’ll give you realistic analysis and perspective too.