Friday, September 4, 2009

Speeches by Barry of Washington

Next week, President Obama will be giving two significant speeches. First, he will be welcoming back schoolchildren with a speech to all American students on Tuesday. The next day, he will be giving the rare joint address to Congress, focusing on the health care reform debate, as the 534 senators and representatives we somewhat know and mostly loathe drag their worthless asses back to DC to continue the Great Hobbling. Here's my thoughts:

The (nefarious) Address to (mindless government school) Students

This one is one of those iffy ones. If the President uses it as an opportunity to push his agenda (a possibility suggested by the Imperial Department of Education's proposed lesson plans), then it's a win for conservatives, libertarians, and for Republicans, because then there's no question about the Obama administrations intention to politicize every damned thing they can. Thus a feeding frenzy of bad intentions can commence (and I benefit from lots of pissed off people reading blogs). Yay.

However, the administration is tacking in a different direction now (because many of the more reactionary people are jumping on the "indoctrination" bandwagon before it can even roll out), and the speech is looking to be something that every American School Child should hear. Of course, there are reasons why:

1. It's the President of the United States - No matter our political feelings on the (destructive) nature of his policies, every child should be taught a reverence for our Constitutional republic, and respect for the office and the person currently serving in it. So if the President is wielding the bully pulpit to speak to the nation (or in this case, the nation's children), they damned well should listen. And then discuss, in a non-partisan fashion, what he said. Even if he veers into trying to indoctrinate, there is a lesson to learn.

2. President Obama has the ability to inspire like no other - While I (and most other decent people) don't give one shard of a rat's left nutsack what color the prez is, Barack Obama is the first president we've had who is not a white man. In this, he can speak to minorities (especially blacks) who have an ass-backward view of the value and importance of education. He can also inspire those who thought there were limits to what someone could aspire to because of skin color, sex, orientation, etc. And he doesn't even have to say it explicitly. All he has to do is provide the traditional and proper motivational speech about self-responsibility and unlimited possibility that many others have spoken of. But the fact that the messenger isn't a white guy can matter in this situation, and can counter much of the prejudice and bigotry that comes from past discrimination, slavery, and oppression.

So it comes back to my post on government education: Look at the speech as a learning opportunity no matter what. And quit yer bitchin' if you're too lazy to respond intelligently if necessary. Until then, it's a matter of waiting to see what he says before bursting a sac.

The (wish I was smoking a) Joint (during this) Address

The joint address is a powerful and rare thing in the machinations of Washington. Other than the annual joint address (the State of the Union one), presidents rarely use this. Previously, President Bush used it to address Congress and the nation in the wake of 9/11, and President Clinton did so to tackle the pressing and must-solve problem of the day, health care (the result was the flop of Hillarycare, 16 years ago).

And yes, 16 years and two administrations later, President Obama is going to try his hand at something the master prevaricator (or perverticator) couldn't pull off. And considering Clinton, who could sound convincing even when you knew he was lying (hint: it's when his lips were moving), couldn't get a Democrat-led Congress to turn out a government health care system, what chance does Obama have at working his mojo to accomplish this goal?

In all, it may prove to be the final nail in the coffin of Obamacare. But only if the opposition (the Goofy Old Party, specifically) can be effective in explaining (without resorting to bullshit) why what Obama will promise will fail to come to pass.

Bonus content to prove things never change

I wanted to look for some joint address goodness from yesteryear that applied to the current situation. Here's what I first found. Let me know how relevant it really is:

It is my duty to recommend to your serious consideration those objects which by the Constitution are placed particularly within your sphere - the national debts and taxes.

Since the decay of the feudal system, by which the public defense was provided for chiefly at the expense of individuals, the system of loans has been introduced, and as no nation can raise within the year by taxes sufficient sums for its defense and military operations in time of war the sums loaned and debts contracted have necessarily become the subjects of what have been called funding systems. The consequences arising from the continual accumulation of public debts in other countries ought to admonish us to be careful to prevent their growth in our own. The national defense must be provided for as well as the support of Government; but both should be accomplished as much as possible by immediate taxes, and as little as possible by loans.

- John Adams, State of the Union Address, 1797

20 comments:

Beth said...

The problem with John Adam's quote and today's financial situation is that even if you taxed every American to pay for the current debt, it would amount to more money than we all actually make.

As for Obama's address to the school children, I was glad to see our school district's approach, which is that they will not show it on Tuesday, but will a.) watch it first, and decide if there is relevance to the curriculum and then show it and b.) post a link to it at their website, so parents can view it first and decide if they want their children to view it. Seems fair, doesn't it, to let parents be able to view it and discuss it with their own children, yes?

Jennifer said...

Beth, it sounds like your school system is rational and actually care about the parents wishes. I wish ours would take some lessons from yours!

Patrick, I really don't have a problem with him addressing the children as long as he keeps politics OUT of it. The "help Obama" bit I wasn't very happy with, but since they took that out, I'm not complaining. All hell will break loose though if he starts trying to tell our kids to support him in this or that!!

Shaw Kenawe said...

All hell will break loose though if he starts trying to tell our kids to support him in this or that!!

But that is exactly what Ronald Wilson Reagan did in his address to America's school children, and when he talked to them about taxes!

I don't recall the great outcry from conservatives about a president indoctrinating school children when he did it. It's a double standard and it is hypocrisy.

"On November 14, 1988, Reagan addressed and took questions from students from four area middle schools in the Old Executive Office Building. According to press secretary Marlin Fitzwater, the speech was broadcast live and rebroadcast by C-Span, and Instructional Television Network fed the program “t o schools nationwide on three different days.” Much of Reagan’s speech that day covered the American “vision of self-government” and the need “to keep faith with the unfinished vision of the greatness and wonder of America” but in the middle of the speech, the president went off on a tangent about the importance of low taxes:

Today, to a degree never before seen in human history, one nation, the United States, has become the model to be followed and imitated by the rest of the world. But America's world leadership goes well beyond the tide toward democracy. We also find that more countries than ever before are following America's revolutionary economic message of free enterprise, low taxes, and open world trade. These days, whenever I see foreign leaders, they tell me about their plans for reducing taxes, and other economic reforms that they are using, copying what we have done here in our country.


I wonder if they realize that this vision of economic freedom, the freedom to work, to create and produce, to own and use property without the interference of the state, was central to the American Revolution, when the American colonists rebelled against a whole web of economic restrictions, taxes and barriers to free trade. The message at the Boston Tea Party -- have you studied yet in history about the Boston Tea Party, where because of a tax they went down and dumped the tea in the Harbor. Well, that was America's original tax revolt, and it was the fruits of our labor -- it belonged to us and not to the state. And that truth is fundamental to both liberty and prosperity."

Patrick M said...

Beth: There is no problems with the Adams quote. Only by eliminating the eternal deficit spending will we EVER have a chance to pay off the debt. At this point, it may come to an amendment...

And I actually disagree. Because then there will be pressure to not show it anyway, even if he gets on a little tangent instead of full-blown indoctrination. In this case, it's better just to play it, then discuss. It's the POTUS, not Condoms for Kindergarteners.

Jenn: There's a part of me (the blogger part) that hopes he goes off in full Barry the Community Agitator mode, just so I can really stir shit with the subsequent comments.

Shaw: You mean in 1988, when Reagan was looking to the PAST, in what he (and those guys up your direction and over 200 years ago) accomplished?

We're talking trying to bring up something like health care, which is the current hot topic and hotly contended.

There's a distinct difference in pride in your accomplishments (something Obama is still trying to come up with) and using kids to get to the adults - which is what I don't want to see Obama do, lest we see the hell to pay (and some fun on the conservative blogs).

TRUTH 101 said...

I agree with Adams and have consistently said I would be more than happy to pay more taxes for an invasion and occupation done right.


Beth: your school board is doing nothing more than censoring a President of The United States. They are checking for content they fear won't jive with whatever their political views are. My local school board is dominated by republicans and they banned President Obama's address. They banned it because he's a Democrat. It would be interesting to see if they would allow an address by former President Bush now. My bet is that they would find an excuse to allow it. In all fairness, Democratic dominated school boards would probably disallow it. Either way, it's bullshit.

dmarks said...

I haven't made up my mind on this whole thing yet.

I sure hope Obama doesn't try to push his unpopular healthcare boondoggle during the speech.

Yesterday, the Rush Limbaugh program equated Obama with Saddam Hussein for this. At great length, repeatedly, and in detail.

That's probably close to being as bad as the Obama = Hitler comparisons.

(Truth: I doubt that former president Bush would be as likely as any current President to be peddling some sort of partisan political package during such a speech as a current President would)

Beth said...

I don't trust Obama, plain and simple. He has a Communist for a close advisor and has sat in a church with a guy who yells "God damn America!" and has never condemned either. He said when campaigning that we need to look at who he surrounds himself with, well I have and I don't like it. I don't want my children having to listen to him, and as a parent I think I have that right.

Shaw Kenawe said...

"[he]has sat in a church with a guy who yells 'God damn America!' and has never condemned either."--Beth

This is, of course, a lie. Mr. Obama distanced himself from and condemned Wright.

As for your "He has a Communist for a close advisor..." I challenge you to give us this person's name and absolute proof that he or she is a member of the Communist Party.

Otherwise that statement is nothing but McCarthyism at its worst. Throwing accusations like that around without proof is a nasty thing to do.

Beth said...

http://www.examiner.com/x-20909-Columbia-Independent-Examiner~y2009m9d2-Is-Glenn-Beck-lying-about-Van-Jones

Beth said...

He distanced himself from Wright? He went to that church for 20 years, actions speak louder than words.

dmarks said...

Shaw: Beth is correct on this one. Rev. Wright was one of the worst hatemongers. Barack Obama was happy to be a part of his flock for many years. To Obama's credit, he did finally distance himself from Rev. Wright. But only after a lot of political pressure.

Beth is also correct about Van Jones. Read about him in Wikipedia. After the Rodney King situation, Jones proclaimed "I am a communist", this affiliating himself with the worst murderous hate group in all history.

You asked "absolute proof that he or she is a member of the Communist Party"

But if someone said "I am a Nazi", would you demand proof that someone was in the Nazi Party before saying it was a problem? Somehow I doubt it. (This analogy is rather appropriate, given the similar track record of the Communist and Nazi movement as extremely bad hate groups that believe in killing many millions of people. And no, I am not saying that Obama is a Communist or Nazi. But he can use better judgement and not choose any of these as his friends).

Pres. Obama used extremely poor judgement associating himself with Jones. This guy does not deserve any sort of White House security clearance.

I wonder if you would have let it slide has President Bush embraced a self-proclaimed member of a hate group that sees nothing wrong with killing tens of millions of people in his administration.

Having someone who says "I am a Communist" in your administration is every bit as bad as having someone who says "I am a Nazi"

It's time for Pres. Obama to oust Jones, as he did with Rev. Wright.

------------------

Beth. Now.... I doubt very much that Pres. Obama in this school speech will have Wright or Jones standing next to him, or quote either one of them. Generally, I do not have a problem with him addressing the kids as long as it sticks more to a Civics 101 type of experience, rather than a shrewd attempt by Obama to take his "campaign mode" to children in order to get support for his policies.

Shaw Kenawe said...

dmarks and Beth,

Since you believe that Van Jones is a subversive for having belonged to an organization committed to helping those who have the least power in this country, then I would imagine that you would have condemned forever Nelson Mandela, who also belonged to a Communist organization dedicated to helping those with the least power in his country.

I would like you and Beth to acknowledge that Nelson Mandela is a Communist and a subversive. You can't condemn Van Jones for something he did in his past, but is not associated with now, without doing the same for Mr. Mandela.

Also, it is always curious to read or listen to the rightwingers shout "Commie!" as a way of delegitimizing anyone whom they fear.

I remember Ronald Reagan himself once said of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., that he was an "almost Communist." Whatever the hell that means--is it like being "almost pregnant?"

Oh, and if I remember correctly, Dr. King was committed to helping those people in this country with the least amount of power.

Would you have said that President Obama showed poor judgment, if he had been able to have Nelson Mandela advise him on anything? How about Dr. King?

Would you have said that Mr. Obama used poor judgment had Dr. King lived and was able to advise Mr. Obama?

Acccording to FBI records released in the early 1960's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had several associations with close advisors who were menbers of the Communist Party. The FBI endeavored to convience Dr. King to sever his relations with these advisors with only limited success.

During the hearings over the Kennedy Administration's proposed Puiblic Accomadations Bill in July 1963, critics of the Bill charged the civil rights movement, and in particular, Dr. King were being influenced by Communists.
In August 1963, the Justice Department received a report from the FBI which contained allogations extremely unforavable to Dr. King.

Read more: http://www.city-data.com/forum/politics-other-controversies/542006-dr-martin-luther-king-jr-communist.html#ixzz0QF2eN1Je


Shall I put both dmarks and Beth down as condemning Nelson Mandela and Dr. King as known Commies?

We can't be too careful about things like this, can we.

rockync said...

Dmarks said: ..."I am a communist", this affiliating himself with the worst murderous hate group in all history.

Really? While I have no love for communists as my family suffered under their reign, "the worst murderous hate group" ever?

And what were the Nazis, the KKK, Al Kaeda? Boy scouts?

No where on wikipedia does it state Jones has claimed to be a communist. He has claimed to be a radical journalist and an activist.

He once belonged to an activist organization called STORM that adhered to certain Marxist ideals and if you know anything about political history than you should know that Marxism is NOT modern communism.

This is just more GOP smoke and mirrors meant to incite the uninformed and unintelligent.

You should be ashamed of yourself for perpetuating such mindless screed.

dmarks said...

Shaw said: "Since you believe that Van Jones is a subversive for having belonged to an organization committed to helping those who have the least power in this country"

Read what I said. You obviously didn't. Or do you honestly think that the Communist Party which Jones proclaimed his love for was helping those with the least power as it killed tens of millions?

Shaw: "would like you and Beth to acknowledge that Nelson Mandela is a Communist and a subversive"

Here you venture into the realm of wild guesses and assumptions. A realm in which it is too easy to trip and fall flat on your face. And you did here. Have you ever read Mandela's own autobiography? He clearly stated that he was not a Communist or a Marxist, even though he was often allied with them.

I don't think that Reagan was correct on Dr. King.

"Also, it is always curious to read or listen to the rightwingers shout "Commie!" as a way of delegitimizing anyone whom they fear."

That happens sometimes, but in this case we are referring to a man who actually delegitimized himself by pointing at himself and saying "Commie!".

"You can't condemn Van Jones for something he did in his past"

I gladly will, when this "something" he did in his past was extremely reprehensible Just like I won't "forgive" David Duke for his Nazi youth.

"Shall I put both dmarks and Beth down as condemning Nelson Mandela and Dr. King as known Commies?"

You are being unusually sloppy and careless in this one. Dr. King is pretty much an entirely different subject.

-----------

Rocky asked: ""the worst murderous hate group" ever? And what were the Nazis, the KKK, Al Kaeda? Boy scouts?"

The two largest branches of the communist movement executed far many more civilians than the Nazis did. And while every single person killed by the KKK or Al Qeada is an atrocity, the total numbers of deaths caused by each barely register at all compared to what the communists did (or even the Nazis for that matter).

It's time for you to hit the history books.


"No where on wikipedia does it state Jones has claimed to be a communist. He has claimed to be a radical journalist and an activist."

You must be reading the wrong Wikipedia. I read the one at www.wikipedia.org.

Contained in the "Early Activism" section is "By August of [1992] he said, "I was a communist". This is sourced to Strickland, Eliza (November 2, 2005). "The New Face of Environmentalism". East Bay Express. http://www.eastbayexpress.com/gyrobase/the_new_face_of_environmentalism/Content?oid=290098&showFullText=true. Retrieved 2009-09-01.

About Storm, while Marxism is not modern communism, communism is the dominant form of communism. And Marxism itself is a reprehensible ideology.

"This is just more GOP smoke and mirrors meant to incite the uninformed and unintelligent."

In this case, it is the GOP referring to concrete facts in order to improve everyone's knowledge level.

"You should be ashamed of yourself for perpetuating such mindless screed."

I have nothing to be ashamed of, as I bothered to check both the Wikipedia entry, and the actual death tolls.

Beth, you should be proud of yourself for sticking to the facts. Ignore the "mindless screed" insult.

Shaw Kenawe said...

dmarks,

If all that matters to you is body counts when it comes to labeling a movement monsterous, be careful where you go with that.

He [Mandela] clearly stated that he was not a Communist or a Marxist, even though he was often allied with them.

I think you need to repeat this to people who accuse President Obama of being a Commie, Marxist, Socialist because of who HE associated with in the past. Apparently you don't believe in guilt by association, but a lot of people on the Right do--Beth for example.

Both Mandela and Dr. King "allied" themselves with people whom you believe were in sympathy with or, at the least, were assoicated with an ideology that murdered millions of people.

Van Jones saying in one unguarded moment that he was a "Communist" does not make him one. It's what a person devotes his entire life to that defines him. Van Jones has devoted his life to helping the weak and the powerless, not in rounding up victims to be murdered.

That you don't see the difference is really disappointing and disingenuous.

dmarks said...

Shaw said: "If all that matters to you is body counts when it comes to labeling a movement monsterous, be careful where you go with that."

No, a lot more matters to me than that. But when you have movements that kill thousands of times more people than other movements, surely these more deadlier movements can objectively be called worse, in their impact on history. How can that be unreasonable?

"I think you need to repeat this to people who accuse President Obama of being a Commie..."

It's probably kind of off-topic even for that. I've already condemned the commie accusation against Obama many times.

As for Beth, I agree with her points on Obama's poor choices of association, such as in the past with Rev. Wright. While sitting and smiling as Wright blasts racist hate for 20 years does not make Obama a racist screamer, you'd think he would have been fed up with it many years ago.

I mention this since you bring it up. However, I don't really dwell on it, and don't hold it against Obama anymore since he parted ways with Rev. Wright. Others like Beth probably think it is much more a current issue than I do.

"Van Jones saying in one unguarded moment that he was a "Communist" does not make him one"

Well, I will ask this. Would you grant the same sort of latitude when someone says in an "unguarded" (translation: honest) moment that they were a Nazi?

Anyway, his connection to the worst hate group in human history goes beyond that one statement. Again, Wikipedia:

"When he graduated law school, Jones gave up plans to take a job in Washington, D.C., and moved to San Francisco instead.[10] He got involved with Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM), a group explicitly committed to revolutionary Marxist politics[14] whose points of unity were revolutionary democracy, revolutionary feminism, revolutionary internationalism, the central role of the working class, urban Marxism, and Third World Communism.

That last bit includes a lot of tinpot dictators, who are pretty good at killing the weak and powerless. It's more than just one statement, when you look at his 1990s involvement in destructive violence-related "revolutionary" political causes.

dmarks said...

Missed this: "That you don't see the difference is really disappointing and disingenuous"

The "third world communist" causes he supported in the 1990s through STORM were all about "rounding up victims to be murdered".

Face it, there's a rotten apple on the administration's czar list.

Patrick M said...

I'd weigh in on the whole Van Jones thing right now, but I have him in mind for a post (and possibly an award) on Monday. Besides, no one has brought up the fact that, in addition to being and avowed commie, he's also that breed of nut called a 9/11 truther. More to come.

dmarks said...

Patrick: And now it looks like Van Jones is out.

If Obama has truly ousted Gulag Jones from his administration, I will condemn him for it, and not dwell on it.

The "9/11 truther" thing, if true, shows Van Jones to be a rather stupid man.

dmarks said...

ha. the above word should be commend, not condemn!