Our Best And Our Brightest

copyright © 2009 Forgiven. The Disputed Truth

For years, many blacks have just come to accept that integration was the path to success in America. Blacks who have been able to have deftly navigated the integration maze either through employment, education, or athletic achievement. And once reaching the pinnacle of their success they have chosen to leave their neighborhoods, friends, and communities to relocate into white America where they take on mythical status as being more than black. To whites they become not like those other blacks and therefore become more acceptable to their white sensibilities. And in some cases blacks believe they have some mythical characteristics that separate them from other blacks. In their wake they leave behind a community that is devoid of role models and success stories. They leave behind a community that is becoming more financially and morally bankrupt.

Before integration and the black man’s desertion of the black neighborhood the only place for successful black men was within the black community. They didn’t have the option of leaving and joining the majority population so their influence and their example were there for all to see and emulate. With the exodus of these heroes the black community has been left with smoke hounds, drunks, and prison gang leaders for masculine role models. And people wonder why young black men are doing so well? When you remove the presence of successful men in a community a vacuum is created and as with any vacuum something or someone is always there to fill it. In the case of the black community it has been filled by despair, hopelessness, and this penitentiary mentality. The heroes we have been left with are those who exploit and pander to violence, criminality, and gangsterism.

I remember when I was growing up we had professional athletes, doctors, and professional men as neighbors. We interacted with them daily and got to see that a black man could be successful without resorting to dealing drugs, robbing people, and killing their brothers. These men provided hope just by their very presence to many young black men who otherwise would have been consumed by their circumstances. Even children who did not have fathers at home still could go out into the community and see that there had been others who were able to overcome their surroundings and reach to another level. As blacks have been able to wrestle success from the clutches of an economic system that for so long had ignored and marginalized them they began to seek the safety and comfort of the suburbs. While I have no problem with anyone who wants to make a better life for their families in the suburbs, I do believe that we all have to be cognizant of the consequences of our actions. As more and more successful blacks have migrated to the suburbs in their wake they have left a more engrained and intransigent form of poverty, a poverty that feeds on itself and creates more poverty.

In my opinion there are two ways to be successful. One is to migrate to the suburbs and integrate into an established system of success. This of course is the easy route to take because the only work involved is assimilation into the larger culture. The second and by far the more difficult way is to stay where you are and rebuild the institutions that you have. By doing this you create and enforce your own definition of success which may be different from the larger culture. The key question in all of this I guess is do successful black men owe any loyalty to their communities besides trying to sell them sneakers or an occasional drive through the hood? Each person must answer this question within themselves, but as a Christian I am not only judged on what I do but also on the opportunities I have to do the right thing and do not.

Our black youth in our communities are at a crisis point. They are angry and for good reason. When they needed a black man to protect them and to lead them there was no one positive there. Instead what was there was gangs, criminals, and disengaged fathers. No longer were there positive role models to emulate and find a communal sense of pride in. As more and more black kids are growing up without fathers the need for hope has never been greater. These kids need to know that they matter in a world that has basically ignored, shunned, and made them feel invisible. They continue to cry out in dysfunctional ways, but it is the only way they know how to say we are hurting and no one seems to care. It is time for all of us to come together not as a white community or a black community but as one community to rebuild and restore our promise to one another. Yes, I am my brother’s keeper.

The tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy ~ Charles de Montesquieu

Where is the restraint in spending?



Republican Response to Obama Budget Request – Bloomberg

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

On this fine day in February 2009, President Barack Obama submitted his budget blueprint.  For  the first time, in near a decade, transparency is built into a national financial plan.  The tremendous costs to wage the two wars America is engaged in are no longer hidden.  Outlays for military offenses have been written into the ledger, and not in the traditional invisible ink.  While one might think fiscal and political Conservatives would be pleased, upon receipt of the document, Republicans immediately pounced.  Senator Judd Greggspoke on the Grand Old Party’s behalf when he asked, “Where is the restraint in spending?”

Interestingly, Senator Gregg and his fellow Republican Legislators did not solicit answers to this inquiry when the last Administration reigned.  For all those many years, the Conservatives did not concern themselves with the price the American people paid.  None on the “Right” worried of what might be when “unnecessary”wars are fought The monetary debt left to American children was not a consideration when combat was paid for on credit.  Then, as now, the greater trepidation was expressed for higher taxes.

America attacked its adversaries with borrowed money and on time borrowed from the brood.

As long as parents did not have to pay, or see the billions of bites taken from fruits reserved for their offspring, war, or supplementary spending was wonderful.  What is not so glorious for the wealthy are the words of President Obama, or his plan to pay as we go.  

“Having inherited a trillion-dollar deficit that will take a long time for us to close, we need to focus on what we need to move the economy forward, not on what’s nice to have,” Mister Obama said.  This statement did not make sense to Conservatives who rather do as the previous Administration had allowed them to do, trade common “cents” for an economic crisis.

Comfortable with artificial caps or spending, repeatedly supplemented, Republicans reacted poorly to the introduction of fiscal responsibility in the Obama Recovery Plan.  Intermittently the “Right” expresses concern for the children.  Nonetheless, each rant raises what seems to be the more real issue, taxes.  

Indeed, in the past, Progressives pondered levees.  Most Democrats wondered why Americans were not asked to sacrifice for two wars fought on credit.  It all began early in President George W. Bush’s first term.  The date, September 11, 2001 will live in infamy.  The Council on Foreign Relations explained this in a report.

Following 9/11, the United States launched new military endeavors on a number of fronts, including in Iraq.  Estimates for the total costs of these efforts remain sharply politicized.  Costs have consistently outpaced government predictions.  In September 2002, White House economic adviser Lawrence B. Lindsey estimated the cost of invading Iraq could amount to between $100 billion and $200 billion.  Mitch Daniels, who at the time headed the White House budget office, called Lindsey’s estimates “very, very high” (MSNBC) and said the war would cost $50 billion to $60 billion; shortly thereafter, Lindsey left the White House.

In January 2004, a report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated the total costs of Iraq’s reconstruction would land between $50 billion and $100 billion.  But in October 2007, the CBO said in a new report that the United States had already spent $368 billion on its military operations in Iraq, $45 billion more in related services (veterans care, diplomatic services, training), and nearly $200 billion on top of that in Afghanistan.  

American initiated battles blazed abroad.  No money was allocated to pay for the combat.  Billions were kept off the books.  American babies were blinded from the truth.  Their parents placed a financial burden on them that could not be calculated.

Each year, with hat in hand, Commander-In-Chief George W. Bush came to Congress and said, cost cannot be a consideration.  We must protect our borders.  The compassionate Conservative Bush assured Senators and Representatives alike, inclusive of Judd Gregg who now reels over the cost of the Obama fiscal plan.  The country must be made safe for your brood and mine.  

Although the past President knew the battles would be protracted, and said so often, he never accounted for the projected expenditures in his budgets.  Very early on, the Bush Administration was asked to design a plan for war-related costs.  However, the White House ignored such silly suggestions.  Congress too did not comply with a request to consider the cash flow.

Iraq Supplemental Requires Transparency

Revenue Watch Institute

Legislative Action

Congress must insist that clearly defined standards of transparency are incorporated into the $87 billion appropriation for Iraq.  Congress must require the President to submit at minimum a quarterly report, detailing the processes by which US funds are disbursed in Iraq, under the conditions elaborated below.

Recommended Legislative Language:?

No competitive or non-competitive contracting or purchase activities may be undertaken using any of these funds unless the President certifies that the International Advisory and Monitoring Board mandated by Resolution 1483 has been established, and submits a quarterly report detailing:

  • The extent of Iraqi consultation and participation in the contracting and purchase agreement process.
  • Actions taken to be in compliance with the transparency obligations of UN Resolution 1483.  ?An independent cost and capacity estimate of the activity in question.
  • In cases where non-Iraqi sources are awarded contracts, an explanation demonstrating that Iraqi companies lack the necessary resources and experience to perform the service at the independently estimated cost, and/or within a reasonable time frame.
  • In cases where a no-bid contracting process is employed, a detailed justification for the non-competitive tender, including a demonstration that this justification was made available to the Iraqi public.

(An Iraqi Public Finance Oversight Board should be established as a formal channel to achieve an acceptable level of Iraqi consultation for all large-purchase contracting activities undertaken with these funds.  The International Advisory and Monitoring Board, as mandated under Res. 1483, should be empowered to audit all aspects of Development Fund for Iraq. . . .  

None of these possibilities were put in place.  No one believes the proposal was even taken under advisement.  Instead, the Bush Cheney Administration moved into foreign terrain ready for a fight.  Documents that might help determine the dollars needed to do these deeds were not sent to the House or Senate in advance.  Budgetary reviews for defense spending were deliberately shortsighted   More was left out than included in ledgers.  Emergency Supplemental funds were requested each year.  

In 2001 and thereafter, no one complained, at least not loudly, certainly not the Republicans who now demand we attend to our children’s inheritance.  How might one argue against the need to protect the country, care for its citizens, and pay for the soldiers who keep this country safe?

Conservatives, in the early years of combat were gleeful with Congressional control.  They coalesced.  Democrats, defeated, chose to forfeit dignity and duty.  Progressives no longer believed they had the power to do what was right.  Resigned to the will of the President and his “people,” the Left relented.  Legislators looked the other way when the economic experts strongly stated more money is needed.  Supplemental funds, off budget show support for the soldiers.

On September 8, (2003) the White House requested an additional $87 billion of funding to cover the continued occupation and reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan in 2004.  Of this $87 billion, $66 billion will be for military operations, and $21 billion will be for reconstruction in Iraq.

Congress caved.  Trillions trickled out of the country.  A few at home profited from the Shock and Awe plan.  However, no one wished to speak of Halliburton, the ties that remained to Vice President Cheney, or the off-the-book expense of wars.  

For persons affiliated with the Administration, defense contracts, no bid agreements to facilitate the folly known as the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the monetary Mission was Accomplished.  However, for the majority of Americans, the loss of credibility, lives, limbs, and cash was a failure.

Citizens feel the calamity in an economic crisis.  Yet, Republican Representatives wish to blame Barack Obama for a budget, which will not hide such outrageous costs.

Total cost of the Iraq and Afghan Wars

The CBO [Congressional Budget Office] now estimates the costs of the Iraq war, projected out through 2017, might top $1 trillion, plus an extra $705 billion in interest payments., The total cost of Iraq and Afghanistan combined could reach $2.4 trillion.

Some experts say even those figures underestimate the true price tag.  Joseph E. Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist and former economic adviser to President Bill Clinton, projected in a 2006 paper (PDF) with another economist, Linda Bilmes, that the total macroeconomic costs of the Iraq war itself would surpass $2 trillion.  This analysis differs from that of the CBO, which measured only the war’s budgetary impact.  Stiglitz and Bilmes also predict a somewhat higher budgetary impact than the CBO did, though the CBO responds at the end of its 2007 report that some of the difference may be accounted for by factors like inflation and standard pay increases that have little to do with the Iraq war itself.

More recently, a group of Democrats on the U.S. congressional Joint Economic Committee released a report estimating the total long-term cost of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan would range between $2.6 trillion and $4.5 trillion, depending on how quickly forces are drawn down.  These figures drew pointed criticisms from congressional Republicans, who released a statement (PDF) citing dozens of errors in the report’s findings, some of which were subsequently changed.

Yes, the Republicans actively repute all claims of cost overruns.  For them, money spent on military actions were  and are justified.  The real issue, for the “Right” while subterranean, was revealed; as long as taxes were not raised on their personal wealth “fiscal Conservatives” felt fine.  

During the Bush years, Republicans had reason to feel content.  Those who want no new taxes had a friend in the White House who would hide the costs of combat.  Thus, then, concern was not expressed for the children, the credit crisis, or what these irresponsible parents caused.

Republicans would rather be critical of the Democrats for too many dollars spent and the way the Obama plan proposes to reduce the deficit.  “On the backs of the rich,” those who think themselves “Right” rage.  Perchance it is important to peruse the books.  Republican rants may not reveal what detailed reports do.  Today, if the government continues to fund its fights on credit, as the Bush White House did, our progeny will inherit what prosperous parents refused to pay for with cash.  


Comparing the Defense Budget to the Total Economy

The U.S. defense budget has risen over the past decade but remains substantially lower than historical levels when considered as a percentage of U.S. GDP.  President Bush requested $481.4 billion in discretional spending for the Department of Defense’s 2008 budget.  That figure does not include any of the spending for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have been paid for primarily through “emergency supplemental requests” that are not included in the federal budget’s accounting. War spending is expected to tally to roughly $193 billion in 2008, an increase of $22 billion, or roughly 13 percent, over 2007 expenditures . . .

Allocations toward the “Global War on Terrorism,” which exceed $145 billion for 2008, also fall outside the U.S. defense budget, and do not include the war-budget supplements. . . .

In a global context, U.S. spending on military-related endeavors ranks high.  According to 2005 data from SIPRI (PDF), the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the United States spends substantially more on military endeavors than any country in the world.  If war spending and allocations to the “Global War on Terror” are excluded, the U.S. military budget is still more than seven times that of its next closest competitor, China. If you include those other expenditures, U.S. military spending surpasses that of all other countries in the world combined.  

That thought alone is awesome.  Rather than build a better world, engage in diplomatic talks with other nations, provide for peaceful negotiations, prepare American children for careers, prevent illness, care for the injured, or maintain the infrastructure . . . all of which would better the world for our offspring,  the Bush Administration spent trillions on destructive warfare.  

In the early years, the White House depleted a budget surplus for much of the money.  Some of the dollars came from the taxes paid by poor and Middle Class.  The super-rich Republicans were asked to contribute a lesser percent of their income.  When dollars from duties were exhausted, the Bush White House sought more funds from creditors.

Grand Old Party politicians, with the help of weakened Democrats, allowed the last Administration to squander more money than is possible to fathom on an unnecessary war.  No thought for the future of our children was mentioned.

Yet, today, with the introduction of a budget that calls for a reduction in troops and defense allocations, Republicans rage.  They do not wish to recognize that  the previous White House  already sacrificed the safety and fiscal sanity of the Seventh Generation.  

Until today, the Grand Old Party could not be bothered with war costs written into the budget.  Republicans did not ask, “where is the restraint in spending?”  Those on the “Right” played with the people’s money as though it or they were mad, and now, on this fine February day, with a transparent plan delivered, Conservatives clamor, what of the children.

Cost of War Off Budget . . .

The Morals Of A Gnat

copyright © 2009 Forgiven. The Disputed Truth



As I watched the rant of CNBC analyst Rick Santelli concerning the proposed housing bailout of the Obama administration I couldn’t help but think is this where we have evolved to as a country? Where our chief concern is what’s in it for me. Have we gotten to the place where we are taking our moral cues from the same greedy, profit at all cost mentality that got us into this mess? According to this crowd it is now immoral to help those who have become unemployed, sick, or homeless because they have had the misfortune of working for a company that had lay-offs and didn’t have golden parachutes. Because these people are still fortunate enough to be employed and have homes then the rest of the world be damned?

The popularity of this type of behavior illustrates how through the media and our decades of greed we have become desensitized to the suffering of others. We are emulating the attitudes of the “Gilded Age” prior to the “Great Depression” where as long as the misery is affecting others then it is not my concern. This type of behavior is often times seen in courtrooms where we blame the victim in order for us to not believe that we ourselves could be victims of similar mishaps. It is a response to a deep-seated fear and insecurity because deep inside we all know that we could just as easily be that victim. So rather than accept the possibility that it could be us we place blame and give the victims characteristics that reduce their humanity. In this case that all of the people who are being foreclosed on are somehow responsible for their misfortune due to bad decision making or some other moral deficiency.

The problem I have with this guy in particular and with the recent criticism of the economic plans of this administration in general is that people are treating this crisis like it is just another recession and so all we need are a few minor tweaks and the system will right itself. Anyone with the slightest understanding of this crisis and of our history realizes that this is not the 1970’s or 1990’s where we faced market corrections and slight downturns and our solutions did not require radical departures from previous policies. The current crop of naysayers whether they be the greedy or the Republicans seem to be focused on the short-term, for some reason they refuse to look at the overall view.

They take snippets of data and scraps of the solutions and say this does nothing to change the crisis this week as if we got here overnight. The problem with many of them is that they believe the history of America started on January 20th and ignore the systemic problems brought about by years of neglect and greed.

What I don’t understand is when did our morals become everybody for themselves? I find it hard to believe that we have become a nation of such selfish proportions. I was taught and firmly believe still that if my neighbor is struggling and if I can help him then I should. We are being bombarded by article after article and rant after rant about the ignorance of the average American for buying homes they could not afford or speculating on the real estate market. It is a common refrain of the right and the greedy to blame those less fortunate for their circumstances as if they were the ones who brought down our economy. It is like the welfare queens of Reagan claiming that every woman on welfare was a black woman driving a Cadillac and living in some fancy condominium.

The sad part is that it resonates with people. It allows those who are selfish to ignore and overlook the suffering of those they see every day. It allows them to make judgments about those they don’t know and based on those judgments walk by the homeless, the hungry, and the poor without feeling guilty.

Have we become so jaded that our national conscience can no longer be shamed into action on the part of those less fortunate? It is a shame how the wealthy and the greedy have turned this into a referendum of the middle-class and not a condemnation of the greedy who ran our economy into the ground. While the CEO’s are brought before the cameras not to be drawn and quartered for their excesses, but merely to be scolded like unruly children and sent back to their mansions and country club lifestyles. Yet those poor Americans who can and have lost their homes are told you were stupid and we won’t help you. We reward those who have lost billions of dollars of other people’s money and blame those who have lost thousands of their own dollars. Is it me or is there something wrong with this picture?

No Mr. Santelli, the message our government is sending is not that you don’t have to pay your mortgage if you are laid-off or you have a rotten loan, the message that our government is sending is that we care for all Americans not just the greedy and the wealthy. The message we are sending is that we are a compassionate nation and if that offends your delicate sensibilities then maybe you ought to relocate to a country where excess and greed are not frowned upon. Do I think that it is fair that I have to continue to pay my mortgage while others may receive some help? Of course not, but I thank God that I am not in their shoes yet! How about you Mr. Santelli if it is such a great deal why don’t you quit your job and apply for foreclosure assistance?

There are many more wrong answers than right ones, and they are easier to find

~ Michael Friedlander

The Afghan Cemetery

copyright © 2009 Jerome Grossman.  Relentless Liberal

President Obama indicated through his press secretary that his administration would review its policy toward Afghanistan before making a decision about sending additional troops to fight in that country.  Richard Holbrooke, his envoy, was in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region talking with leaders about how best to address the military and political situation.  Obama also met with advisers at the Pentagon and the State Department.

As recently as February 15, it was reported that Obama “is refusing to be rushed into his first decision to send troops into combat  . . . questioning the time table, the mission and even the composition of the new forces.”  However, Obama changed his mind on February 17, authorizing 17,000 additional soldiers and Marines for Afghanistan in what he described as an urgent bid to stabilize a deteriorating and neglected country, joining the 30,000 U.S. troops already there.

Obama will be sending more troops to Afghanistan before he has begun to fulfill a promised rapid withdrawal of troops from Iraq.  His order leaves crucial questions of strategy and tactics in Afghanistan unanswered until the strategy review is completed in April.  Antiwar groups criticized Obama’s decision.  Tom Andrews, director of Win Without War said, “The president is committing these troops before he’s determined what the mission is…..  We need to avoid the slippery slope of military escalation.”

The hasty decision ignored the many negative comments about the prospects for a U.S. victory.  General David Petraeus has called Afghanistan “the graveyard of empires.”  Holbrooke reported “a purely military victory is not achievable.”  British historians furnish the details of their three failed military attempts to pacify the country.  Twenty years after the troops of the Soviet Union pulled out of Afghanistan in defeat, the last Russian general to command them said on Feb 13 that the Soviets’ devastating experience, losing more than 15,000 troops in Afghanistan battling guerrillas “is a dismal omen for the U.S.”

Supporters of expanded U.S. military operations in Afghanistan cite the successes of the American military against the Taliban in October and November, 2001, immediately after the tragedy of September 11.  However, that victory was accomplished by air power and bribery.  Airpower prevented Taliban military operations.  Hundred dollar bills bought warlord allies in this corrupt country whose main product is opium.

Can we do it again, bribing our way through the drug lords?  Perhaps.  But history shows that Afghans don’t stay bought and that the guerrillas motivated by rebellion and nationalism will fight the invaders for hundreds of years, making a bandit’s living out of their tactics as they have done for time immemorial.

Don’t think that General Petraeus does not know how to use money as a weapon.  While he was installing the “Surge” in Iraq adding 30,000 fresh troops with great fanfare, he was quietly bribing the insurgent Sunnis with $20 dollar bills and rifles, paying 100,000 warriors to stop fighting the Americans.

Republicans Twitter. Jindal Rebuttal; A Tweet



Bobby Jindal’s Rebuttal to President Barack Obama’s Address to Congress PT1

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

The new President of the United States addressed a joint session of Congress for the first time, on February 24, 2009.  Republicans were all a twitter.  Grand Old Party Legislators, thumbs and fingers in flight, sent text messages to their constituents while Barack Obama stood before the nation and its leaders.  Senators and Representatives from the Right were careful not to have their hands seen on camera.  The persons elected to represent the people preferred to obfuscate the truth; they cared not what the Commander-In-Chief might say.  As they anxiously awaited the voice of Grand Old Party, Governor Bobby Jindal, the person who would offer the Republican rebuttal, those on the right of the aisle refused to listen.

Conservatives considered the speech as the regulations they lifted on bankers long ago, unnecessary.  Those on the right thought Barack Obama’s words as taxes.  Text messages stated the Republican sentiment, “Give us a break.”

We need to bring transparency to Washington, D.C., so we can rid our capital of corruption  . . . .

Indeed, a break is what Americans have.  The affluent have loopholes that enable them to break away from laws that require them to pay the tariff that supports society.  Big businesses have lobbyists to do their bidding.  Bankers have supplicants who regularly speak with members of Congress.  Petitioners helped convince policymakers corruption is but the culture of depositories.  Bailout will be beneficial.  In this country, without funds for the greater good, for schools, roads, bridges, research, and development, we have a fractured system.

Republicans and Democrats, at least in government, are also divided.  The people, each of whom is poorer by the day, yearn for help.  They will do the work, if only someone gives them a chance.  Common folk request few dollars.  They ask only for the cash they paid in taxes.  The money was meant to support society, to help provide jobs for the little people.  Average Americans only want to work.  No one welcomes a handout.  The people’s desire is to acquire the dollars they need to buy goods.  

Citizens understand that none of us is here alone.  United we will stand.  Divided we fall.  Americans experience, with Republicans unwilling to consider the greater good, the commonweal, the United States has become a weakened nation.  Yet, in the confutation to the President’s address, Governor Bobby Jindal, of Louisiana presented the traditional divisive wisdom.

We oppose the national Democratic view that says the way to strengthen our country is to increase dependence on government. We believe the way to strengthen our country is to restrain spending in Washington, to empower individuals and small businesses to grow our economy and create jobs.

If only that had been the way when the Republicans ruled.  However, instead of money doled out in moderation, mountains of cash were poured into protracted wars.  Bills that approved bridges to nowhere were popular and well-funded for districts represented by corrupt Conservative Congresspersons.  Then there is the issue of the train.  Bobby Jindal mentioned it again in his refutation of President Obama’s official oration.  This scandal is surely the Democrats doing . . . except it never was.

In recent days, Fox News hosts and contributors Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade, Newt Gingrich, Trace Gallagher, and Charles Krauthammer have advanced the false claim — pushed by Republican lawmakers — that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) included a provision in the economic recovery law directing that $8 billion in funds be spent on a high-speed rail line between Southern California and Las Vegas. In fact, the bill does not direct high-speed rail funds to any specific project, and any funding would be allocated by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a former Republican congressman.

The bill states that $8 billion shall remain available for the “Secretary of Transportation” for “projects that support the development of intercity high speed rail service” and that the secretary shall “submit to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations a strategic plan that describes how the Secretary will use the funding provided under this heading to improve and deploy high speed passenger rail systems.” The Joint Explanatory Statement of the Conference Report on H.R. 1 further states of the high-speed rail program: “The conferees have provided the Secretary flexibility in allocating resources between the programs to advance the goal of deploying intercity high speed rail systems in the United States.”

Perhaps, this saga is as the story of Sheriff Harry Lee, the Jefferson Parish law officer who Jindal said is a friend of his.  In his address to Americans, Governor Jindal recounted the day he entered the Sheriff Harry Lee’s office.  The Republican lawmaker said to an expectant American television audience, “I had never seen him so angry. He was literally yelling into the phone.”

“Well, I’m the sheriff, and if you don’t like it, you can come and arrest me.” I asked him, “Sheriff, what’s got you so mad?” Jindal then explained Harry Lee had invited volunteers to come with their boats.  These persons were needed “to rescue people who were trapped on their rooftops by the floodwaters.”

Governor Jindal continued, “The boats were all lined up and ready to go. And then some bureaucrat showed up and told him they couldn’t go out in the water unless they had proof of insurance and registration.”

“Sheriff, that’s ridiculous,” said Bobby Jindal on that strange day not so long ago.  The lesson, the Governor shared, is the one Harry espoused during the emergency, “Ignore the bureaucrats.”  Perchance, the people of this country, a nation in crisis, would be better served if they paid no heed to the bureaucrat who told this tale.

The anecdote that the Governor shared, some say, never occurred.  No record that the two men met in person seems to exist.  The only other person, besides the Louisiana Governor, who might verify the narrative cannot speak. No one can inquire of the late Harry Lee, is the story true.  The “Democrat” known to rule “his vast domain in the suburbs for decades while proudly consorting with mobsters and infuriating the city at his doorstep with pronouncements about black criminality,” passed in October 2007.

Such is the state of a broken Union.  Republicans in Congress remain all a twitter.  Grand Old Party loyalists thought the Governor in Baton Rouge delivered a rebuttal speech that was but a tweet, The words of Barack Obama, well, we can only wonder, if those who wish to obstruct and obfuscate will be the obstacle to a genuine recovery.

Clues may come, or these may be apparent in the text, not seen on blackberry screens.  Please peruse the transcript of Bobby Jinal’s speech, in total.  One never knows what they may find hidden from the camera’s view.



Bobby Jindal’s Rebuttal to President Barack Obama’s Address to Congress. PT2


February 24, 2009

Transcript

The New York Times

The Republican Response by Gov. Bobby Jindal

Following is a transcript of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s remarks on behalf of the Republican Party on Tuesday night, responding to President Obama’s address, as recorded by CQ Transcriptions:

Jindal: Good evening, and happy Mardi Gras. I’m Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana.

Tonight, we’ve witnessed a great moment in the history of our republic. In the very chamber where Congress once voted to abolish slavery, our first African-American president stepped forward to address the state of our union.

With his speech tonight, the president completed a redemptive journey that took our nation from Independence Hall to Gettysburg to the lunch counter and now finally the Oval Office.

Regardless of party, all Americans are moved by the president’s personal story, the son of an American mother and a Kenyan father who grew up to become leader of the free world.

Like the president’s father, my own parents came to this country from a distant land. When they arrived in Baton Rouge, my mother was already four-and-a-half-months pregnant. I was what folks in the insurance industry now call a pre-existing condition.

Jindal: To find work, my dad picked up the yellow pages and started calling local businesses. Even after landing a job, he still couldn’t afford to pay for my delivery, so he worked out an installment plan with the doctor. Fortunately for me, he never missed a payment.

As I grew up, my mom and dad taught me the values that attracted them to this country, and they instilled in me an immigrant’s wonder at the greatness of America.

As I — as a child, I remember going to the grocery store with my dad. Growing up in India, he had seen extreme poverty. As we walked through the aisles, looking at the endless variety on the shelves, he would tell me, “Bobby, Americans can do anything.”

I still believe that to this day: Americans can do anything. When we pull together, there’s no challenge we can’t overcome.

As the president made clear this evening, we’re now in a time of challenge. Many of you listening tonight have lost jobs; others have seen your college and your retirement savings dwindle. Many of you are worried about losing your health care and your homes. You’re looking to your elected leaders in Washington for solutions.

Republicans are ready to work with the new president to provide these solutions. Here in my state of Louisiana, we don’t care what party you belong to if you have good ideas to make life better for our people. We need more of that attitude from both Democrats and Republicans in our nation’s capital.

All of us want our economy to recover and our nation to prosper. So where we agree, Republicans must be the president’s strongest partners. And where we disagree, Republicans have a responsibility to be candid and offer better ideas for a path forward.

Today in Washington, some are promising that government will rescue us from the economic storms raging all around us. Those of us who lived through Hurricane Katrina, we have our doubts.

Let me tell you a story. During Katrina, I visited Sheriff Harry Lee, a Democrat and a good friend of mine. When I walk into his makeshift office, I had never seen him so angry. He was literally yelling into the phone. “Well, I’m the sheriff, and if you don’t like it, you can come and arrest me.” I asked him, “Sheriff, what’s got you so mad?” He told me that he put out a call for volunteers to come with their boats to rescue people who were trapped on their rooftops by the floodwaters. The boats were all lined up and ready to go. And then some bureaucrat showed up and told him they couldn’t go out in the water unless they had proof of insurance and registration.

And I told him, “Sheriff, that’s ridiculous.” Before I knew it, he was yelling in the phone. “Congressman Jindal’s here, and he says you can come and arrest him, too.” Well, Harry just told those boaters ignore the bureaucrats and go start rescuing people.

There’s a lesson in this experience: The strength of America is not found in our government. It is found in the compassionate hearts and the enterprising spirit of our citizens.

We’re grateful for the support we’ve received from across the nation for our ongoing recovery efforts. This spirit got Louisiana through the hurricanes, and this spirit will get our nation through the storms we face today.

To solve our current problems, Washington must lead. But the way to lead is not to raise taxes, not to just put more money and power in the hands of Washington politicians. The way to lead is by empowering you, the American people, because we believe that Americans can do anything.

That’s why Republicans put forward plans to create jobs by lowering income tax rates for working families, cutting taxes for small businesses, strengthening incentives for businesses to invest in new equipment and to hire new workers, and stabilizing home values by creating a new tax credit for homebuyers. These plans would cost less and create more jobs.

But Democratic leaders in Congress, they rejected this approach. Instead of trusting us to make decisions with our own money, they passed the largest government spending bill in history, with a price tag of more than $1 trillion with interest.

While some of the projects in the bill make sense, their legislation is larded with wasteful spending. It includes $300 million to buy new cars for the government, $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, such as a magnetic levitation line from Las Vegas to Disneyland (NYSE:DCQ) (NYSE:DIS) , and $140 million for something called volcano monitoring.

Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, D.C.

Democratic leaders say their legislation will grow the economy. What it will do is grow the government, increase our taxes down the line, and saddle future generations with debt.

Jindal: Who amongst us would ask our children for a loan so we could spend money we do not have on things we do — we do not need? That is precisely what the Democrats in Congress just did. It’s irresponsible. And it’s no way to strengthen our economy, create jobs, or build a prosperous future for our children.

In Louisiana, we took a different approach. Since I became governor, we cut more than 250 earmarks from our state budget. To create jobs for our citizens, we cut taxes six times, including the largest income tax cut in the history of our state. We passed those tax cuts with bipartisan majorities.

Republicans and Democrats put aside their differences. We worked together to make sure our people could keep more of what they earn. If it can be done in Baton Rouge, surely it can be done in Washington, D.C.

To strengthen our economy, we need urgent action to keep energy prices down. All of us remember what it felt like to pay $4 at the pump. And unless we act now, those prices will return.

To stop that from happening, we need to increase conservation, increase energy efficiency, increase the use of alternative and renewable fuels, increase our use of nuclear power, and increase drilling for oil and gas here at home.

We believe that Americans can do anything. And if we unleash the innovative spirit of our citizens, we can achieve energy independence.

To strengthen our economy, we also need to address the crisis in health care. Republicans believe in a simple principle: No American should have to worry about losing their health care coverage, period. We stand for universal access to affordable health care coverage.

What we oppose is universal government-run health care. Health care decisions should be made by doctors and patients, not by government bureaucrats.

We believe Americans can do anything. And if we put aside partisan politics and work together, we can make our system of private medicine affordable and accessible for every one of our citizens.

To strengthen our economy, we also need to make sure that every child in America gets the best possible education. After Hurricane Katrina, we reinvented the New Orleans school system, opening dozens of new charter schools and creating a new scholarship program that is giving parents the chance to send their children to private or parochial schools of their choice.

We believe that with the proper education the children of America can do anything. And it shouldn’t take a devastating storm to bring this kind of innovation to education in our country.

To strengthen our economy, we must promote confidence in America by ensuring ours is the most ethical and transparent system in the world. In my home state, there used to be saying: At any given time, half of Louisiana was said to be half underwater and the other half under indictment.

Nobody says that anymore. Last year, we passed some of the strongest ethics laws in the nation. And today, Louisiana has turned her back on the corruption of the past.

We need to bring transparency to Washington, D.C., so we can rid our capital of corruption and ensure that we never see the passage of another trillion-dollar spending bill that Congress hasn’t even read and the American people haven’t even seen.

As we take these steps, we must remember, for all of our troubles at home, dangerous enemies still seek our destruction. Now is no time to dismantle the defenses that have protected this country for hundreds of years or to make deep cuts in funding for our troops.

America’s fighting men and women can do anything. If we give them the resources they need, they will stay on the offensive, defeat our enemies, and protect us from harm.

In all these areas, Republicans want to work with President Obama. We appreciate his message of hope, but sometimes it seems like we look for hope in different places.

Democratic leaders in Washington, they place their hope in the federal government. We place our hope in you, the American people.

In the end, it comes down to an honest and fundamental disagreement about the proper role of government. We oppose the national Democratic view that says the way to strengthen our country is to increase dependence on government. We believe the way to strengthen our country is to restrain spending in Washington, to empower individuals and small businesses to grow our economy and create jobs.

In recent years, these distinctions in philosophy became less clear. Our party got away from its principles. You elected Republicans to champion limited government, fiscal discipline, and personal responsibility.

Instead, Republicans went along with earmarks and big government spending in Washington. Republicans lost your trust, and rightly so.

Tonight, on behalf of our leaders in Congress and my fellow Republican governors, I say this: Our party is determined to regain your trust. We will do so by standing up for the principles that we share, the principles you elected us to fight for, the principles that built this in the greatest, most prosperous country on Earth.

You know, a few weeks ago, the president warned that our country is facing a crisis that he said, in quotes, “we may not be able to reverse.” You know, our troubles are real, to be sure, but don’t let anyone tell you that we cannot recover. Don’t let anyone tell you that America’s best days are behind her.

This is the nation that cast off the scourge of slavery, overcame the Great Depression, prevailed in two World Wars, won the struggle for civil rights, defeated the Soviet menace, and responded with determined courage to the attacks of September 11, 2001.

The American spirit has triumphed over almost every form of adversity known to man, and the American spirit will triumph again.

We can have confidence in our future because, amid all of today’s challenges, we also count many blessings. We have the most innovative citizens, the most abundant resources, the most resilient economy, the most powerful military, and the freest political system in the history of the world.

My fellow citizens, never forget: We are Americans. And like my dad said years ago, Americans can do anything.

Thank you for listening. God bless you. God bless Louisiana. And God bless America.

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

References for a perceived reality . . .

Bobby Jindal – Science Fail

© copyright 2009 Storm Bear Town Called Dobson


To view the original, please travel through Bobby Jindal – Science Fail


Bobby Jindal, the GOP governor of Louisiana delivered the Republican response for Obama’s Joint Session of Congress speech. You know it didn’t go well when Fox talking heads calls it lackluster. You are certain it sucked bad when folks over at Little Green Footballs, Free Republic and Red State think he made “Palin look smart,” “guarantees 8 years of Obama” and “anti-science.”

Yeah, Republicans complaining about a candidate being too anti-science. I was shocked too.

But Jindal actually called out volcano monitoring as wasteful, pork barrel spending. The first thought that entered my tree-hugging liberal mind was “there goes his support in the American West.”

According to the US Geological Survey Circular, the US states that have active or possibly active volcanoes are New Mexico, Wyoming, Idaho, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii. Wyoming is an especially troubling issue since it has Yellowstone – one of the largest volcanoes in the world. 640,000 years ago, Yellowstone erupted and it ejected 240 CUBIC MILES of rock and dust into the sky.

In late 2008 and early 2009 Yellowstone experienced quake swarms – one swarm had over 500 earthquakes in a seven day period.

If Yellowstone goes, most of the midwest would be unlivable and the effects would be felt globally. Mass famine and death would result.

Maybe Jindal is right, we don’t need to monitor anything that dangerous. Just like we ignore hurricanes. What’s the worst that could happen?

President Obama Address; The Power of People



President Obama Address to Congress February 24, 2009

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

On Tuesday, February 24, 2008 the Earth moved.  The shaking began in America, specifically in Washington, District of Columbia.  In the United States Capitol, the ground swelled.  The seas parted.  People who thought they would never come together, in a joint session Congressmen and women, concluded, perchance, it was time to unify, to work for a common cause.  Indeed, throughout America, the quake of an address delivered by President Barack Obama reminded citizens that they could, and perhaps should, consider that America is powerful when the people are one.    

The economic crisis did not cause the shift in stony plates, although it certainly added to the tremor.  Health Care or the lack of it for near fifty million did not give rise to the seismic activity.  A population poorly educated did not budge boulders.  Nor did these issues do other than increase the fear American people felt.  What shook the terrain was a speech, the first, to an expectant nation, to Senators, Representatives, Justices, and to a world who looked on, since Barack Obama became President of the United States.

People from each political Party finally found reason to believe change would come.  Perhaps, the process had already begun.  The once so-called “stimulus package” was, with the President’s words, now really a recovery plan.  

Republican embraced the idea, or ideal, of personal responsibility.  The country’s Chief Executive stated, “What is required now is for this country to pull together, confront boldly the challenges we face, and take responsibility for our future once more.”

“Now, if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that for too long we have not always met these responsibilities, as a government or as a people. I say this not to lay blame or to look backwards, but because it is only by understanding how we arrived at this moment that we’ll be able to lift ourselves out of this predicament.”

Progressives were thankful that the tone was optimistic; yet genuine.  While the situation seemed dire hours earlier, for those out of work, without a home or health care coverage, the President’s proclamation was welcome.  

On this evening, on this historic occasion, Barack Obama said, “While our economy may be weakened and our confidence shaken, though we are living through difficult and uncertain times, tonight I want every American to know this: We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before.”

The President continued to speak to an attentive audience.  “The weight of this crisis will not determine the destiny of this nation. The answers to our problems don’t lie beyond our reach. They exist in our laboratories and our universities, in our fields and our factories, in the imaginations of our entrepreneurs and the pride of the hardest-working people on Earth.”  The Commander-In-Chief proclaimed this truth to a people ready to return to a more hopeful reality.

The words were reminders to Americans.  We, the people are innately strong, stronger than a monetary or momentary wobble.  President Obama pronounced; “Those qualities that have made America the greatest force of progress and prosperity in human history we still possess in ample measure.”

Indeed, President Obama assured Americans, we have the power.  We are the force, more formidable than the intensity of bank failures, foreclosures, business, and personal bankruptcies.  Tis true, he said.  Stock markets sank.  The economy declined.  Bridges and roads crumbled.  Health care costs rose.  Savings shrank.  New sources of energy were not secured.  Nonetheless, in America The United States can take a little rattle.  They can endure a few rolls.  We, if we work together can and will survive.  American can and will do as it has done.  We will thrive.

President Obama offered inspiration and a forgotten note.  “Now is the time to act boldly and wisely, to not only revive this economy, but to build a new foundation for lasting prosperity.”

The President’s voice did not quiver; nor did the people shudder.  A wave of relief rose from the throngs who waited anxiously to hear, “Now is the time to jump-start job creation, re-start lending, and invest in areas like energy, health care, and education that will grow our economy, even as we make hard choices to bring our deficit down. That is what my economic agenda is designed to do, and that is what I’d like to talk to you about tonight.”

Tonight the tenor change.  People, planet-wide moved.  The drift was not without direction.  Rescue and recovery were in sight.  Americans understood, they could save themselves with a little help from the friend who stood before them, Barack Obama.  Citizens heeded the call.  The people are powerful, more forceful than any crisis, when they work together as one

Please peruse the text, roll up your sleeves Americans.  It is time to get to work, to rebuild the country we love.


February 24, 2009

Transcript

President Obama’s Address to Congress

Following is a transcript of President Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, as recorded by CQ Transcriptions.

Obama: Thank you very much.

Madam Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, and the first lady of the United States… (APPLAUSE)

… who’s around here somewhere…

(APPLAUSE)

… I have come here tonight not only to address the distinguished men and women in this great chamber, but to speak frankly and directly to the men and women who sent us here.

I know that for many Americans watching right now, the state of our economy is a concern that rises above all others, and rightly so. If you haven’t been personally affected by this recession, you probably know someone who has: a friend, a neighbor, a member of your family.

You don’t need to hear another list of statistics to know that our economy is in crisis, because you live it every day. It’s the worry you wake up with and the source of sleepless nights. It’s the job you thought you’d retire from but now have lost, the business you built your dreams upon that’s now hanging by a thread, the college acceptance letter your child had to put back in the envelope.

The impact of this recession is real, and it is everywhere.

Obama: But while our economy may be weakened and our confidence shaken, though we are living through difficult and uncertain times, tonight I want every American to know this: We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before.

(APPLAUSE)

The weight of this crisis will not determine the destiny of this nation. The answers to our problems don’t lie beyond our reach. They exist in our laboratories and our universities, in our fields and our factories, in the imaginations of our entrepreneurs and the pride of the hardest-working people on Earth.

Those qualities that have made America the greatest force of progress and prosperity in human history we still possess in ample measure. What is required now is for this country to pull together, confront boldly the challenges we face, and take responsibility for our future once more.

(APPLAUSE)

Obama: Now, if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that for too long we have not always met these responsibilities, as a government or as a people. I say this not to lay blame or to look backwards, but because it is only by understanding how we arrived at this moment that we’ll be able to lift ourselves out of this predicament.

The fact is, our economy did not fall into decline overnight. Nor did all of our problems begin when the housing market collapsed or the stock market sank.

We have known for decades that our survival depends on finding new sources of energy, yet we import more oil today than ever before.

The cost of health care eats up more and more of our savings each year, yet we keep delaying reform.

Our children will compete for jobs in a global economy that too many of our schools do not prepare them for.

And though all of these challenges went unsolved, we still managed to spend more money and pile up more debt, both as individuals and through our government, than ever before.

In other words, we have lived through an era where too often short-term gains were prized over long-term prosperity, where we failed to look beyond the next payment, the next quarter, or the next election.

A surplus became an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy instead of an opportunity to invest in our future. Regulations…

(APPLAUSE)

Regulations — regulations were gutted for the sake of a quick profit at the expense of a healthy market. People bought homes they knew they couldn’t afford from banks and lenders who pushed those bad loans anyway. And all the while, critical debates and difficult decisions were put off for some other time on some other day.

Well, that day of reckoning has arrived, and the time to take charge of our future is here.

Now is the time to act boldly and wisely, to not only revive this economy, but to build a new foundation for lasting prosperity.

Now is the time to jump-start job creation, re-start lending, and invest in areas like energy, health care, and education that will grow our economy, even as we make hard choices to bring our deficit down. That is what my economic agenda is designed to do, and that is what I’d like to talk to you about tonight.

It’s an agenda that begins with jobs. As soon…

(APPLAUSE)

As soon as I took office, I asked this Congress to send me a recovery plan by Presidents Day that would put people back to work and put money in their pockets, not because I believe in bigger government — I don’t — not because I’m not mindful of the massive debt we’ve inherited — I am.

I called for action because the failure to do so would have cost more jobs and caused more hardships. In fact, a failure to act would have worsened our long-term deficit by assuring weak economic growth for years. And that’s why I pushed for quick action.

And tonight I am grateful that this Congress delivered and pleased to say that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is now law.

(APPLAUSE)

Over — over the next two years, this plan will save or create 3.5 million jobs. More than 90 percent of these jobs will be in the private sector, jobs rebuilding our roads and bridges, constructing wind turbines and solar panels, laying broadband and expanding mass transit.

Because of this plan, there are teachers who can now keep their jobs and educate our kids. Health care professionals can continue caring for our sick. There are 57 police officers who are still on the streets of Minneapolis tonight because this plan prevented the layoffs their department was about to make.

(APPLAUSE)

Because of this plan, 95 percent of working households in America will receive a tax cut, a tax cut that you will see in your paychecks beginning on April 1st.

(APPLAUSE)

Because of this plan, families who are struggling to pay tuition costs will receive a $2,500 tax credit for all four years of college.

(APPLAUSE)

And Americans — and Americans who have lost their jobs in this recession will be able to receive extended unemployment benefits and continued health care coverage to help them weather this storm. Now…

(APPLAUSE)

… I know there are some in this chamber and watching at home who are skeptical of whether this plan will work, and I understand that skepticism.

Obama: Here in Washington, we’ve all seen how quickly good intentions can turn into broken promises and wasteful spending. And with a plan of this scale comes enormous responsibility to get it right.

And that’s why I’ve asked Vice President Biden to lead a tough, unprecedented oversight effort, because nobody messes with Joe.

(APPLAUSE)

I…

(APPLAUSE)

I have told each of my cabinet, as well as mayors and governors across the country, that they will be held accountable by me and the American people for every dollar they spend.

I’ve appointed a proven and aggressive inspector general to ferret out any and all cases of waste and fraud.

And we have created a new Web site called recovery.gov so that every American can find out how and where their money is being spent.

So the recovery plan we passed is the first step in getting our economy back on track, but it is just the first step, because even if we manage this plan flawlessly, there will be no real recovery unless we clean up the credit crisis that has severely weakened our financial system.

I want to speak plainly and candidly about this issue tonight, because every American should know that it directly affects you and your family’s well-being. You should also know that the money you’ve deposited in banks across the country is safe, your insurance is secure. You can rely on the continued operation of our financial system; that’s not the source of concern.

The concern is that, if we do not re-start lending in this country, our recovery will be choked off before it even begins. You see…

(APPLAUSE)

You see, the flow of credit is the lifeblood of our economy. The ability to get a loan is how you finance the purchase of everything from a home to a car to a college education, how stores stock their shelves, farms buy equipment, and businesses make payroll.

But credit has stopped flowing the way it should. Too many bad loans from the housing crisis have made their way onto the books of too many banks. And with so much debt and so little confidence, these banks are now fearful of lending out any more money to households, to businesses, or even to each other.

When there’s no lending, families can’t afford to buy homes or cars, so businesses are forced to make layoffs. Our economy suffers even more, and credit dries up even further.

That is why this administration is moving swiftly and aggressively to break this destructive cycle, to restore confidence, and restart lending.

And we will do so in several ways. First, we are creating a new lending fund that represents the largest effort ever to help provide auto loans, college loans, and small-business loans to the consumers and entrepreneurs who keep this economy running.

(APPLAUSE)

Second — second, we have launched a housing plan that will help responsible families facing the threat of foreclosure lower their monthly payments and refinance their mortgages.

It’s a plan that won’t help speculators or that neighbor down the street who bought a house he could never hope to afford, but it will help millions of Americans who are struggling with declining home values, Americans who will now be able to take advantage of the lower interest rates that this plan has already helped to bring about. In fact, the average family who refinances today can save nearly $2,000 per year on their mortgage.

(APPLAUSE)

Third, we will act with the full force of the federal government to ensure that the major banks that Americans depend on have enough confidence and enough money to lend even in more difficult times. And when we learn that a major bank has serious problems, we will hold accountable those responsible, force the necessary adjustments, provide the support to clean up their balance sheets, and assure the continuity of a strong, viable institution that can serve our people and our economy.

Obama: Now, I understand that, on any given day, Wall Street may be more comforted by an approach that gives bank bailouts with no strings attached and that holds nobody accountable for their reckless decisions, but such an approach won’t solve the problem.

And our goal is to quicken the day when we restart lending to the American people and American business (OOTC:ARBU) and end this crisis once and for all. And I intend to hold these banks fully accountable for the assistance they receive, and this time they will have to clearly demonstrate how taxpayer dollars result in more lending for the American taxpayer.

(APPLAUSE)

This time — this time, CEOs won’t be able to use taxpayer money to pad their paychecks, or buy fancy drapes, or disappear on a private jet. Those days are over.

(APPLAUSE)

Still, this plan will require significant resources from the federal government and, yes, probably more than we’ve already set aside. But while the cost of action will be great, I can assure you that the cost of inaction will be far greater, for it could result in an economy that sputters along for not months or years, but perhaps a decade.

That would be worse for our deficit, worse for business, worse for you, and worse for the next generation. And I refuse to let that happen.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, I understand that when the last administration asked this Congress to provide assistance for struggling banks, Democrats and Republicans alike were infuriated by the mismanagement and the results that followed. So were the American taxpayers; so was I.

So I know how unpopular it is to be seen as helping banks right now, especially when everyone is suffering in part from their bad decisions. I promise you: I get it.

But I also know that, in a time of crisis, we cannot afford to govern out of anger or yield to the politics of the moment.

(APPLAUSE)

My job — our job — is to solve the problem. Our job is to govern with a sense of responsibility.

I will not send — I will not spend a single penny for the purpose of rewarding a single Wall Street executive, but I will do whatever it takes to help the small business that can’t pay its workers or the family that has saved and still can’t get a mortgage.

That’s what this is about. It’s not about helping banks; it’s about helping people.

(APPLAUSE)

It’s not about helping banks; it’s about helping people. Because when credit is available again, that young family can finally buy a new home. And then some company will hire workers to build it. And then those workers will have money to spend. And if they can get a loan, too, maybe they’ll finally buy that car or open their own business.

Investors will return to the market, and American families will see their retirement secured once more. Slowly, but surely, confidence will return, and our economy will recover.

(APPLAUSE)

So — so I ask this Congress to join me in doing whatever proves necessary, because we cannot consign our nation to an open-ended recession. And to ensure that a crisis of this magnitude never happens again, I ask Congress to move quickly on legislation that will finally reform our outdated regulatory system.

(APPLAUSE)

It is time. It is time.

(APPLAUSE)

It is time to put in place tough, new commonsense rules of the road so that our financial market rewards drive and innovation and punishes shortcuts and abuse.

Obama: The recovery plan and the financial stability plan are the immediate steps we’re taking to revive our economy in the short term, but the only way to fully restore America’s economic strength is to make the long-term investments that will lead to new jobs, new industries, and a renewed ability to compete with the rest of the world.

The only way this century will be another American century is if we confront at last the price of our dependence on oil and the high cost of health care, the schools that aren’t preparing our children and the mountain of debt they stand to inherit. That is our responsibility.

In the next few days, I will submit a budget to Congress. So often, we’ve come to view these documents as simply numbers on a page or a laundry list of programs.

I see this document differently. I see it as a vision for America, as a blueprint for our future.

My budget does not attempt to solve every problem or address every issue. It reflects the stark reality of what we’ve inherited: a trillion-dollar deficit, a financial crisis, and a costly recession.

Given these realities, everyone in this chamber — Democrats and Republicans — will have to sacrifice some worthy priorities for which there are no dollars, and that includes me.

But that does not mean we can afford to ignore our long-term challenges.

I reject the view that says our problems will simply take care of themselves, that says government has no role in laying the foundation for our common prosperity, for history tells a different story.

History reminds us that, at every moment of economic upheaval and transformation, this nation has responded with bold action and big ideas.

In the midst of civil war, we laid railroad tracks from one coast to another that spurred commerce and industry.

From the turmoil of the Industrial Revolution came a system of public high schools that prepared our citizens for a new age.

In the wake of war and depression, the G.I. Bill sent a generation to college and created the largest middle-class in history.

(APPLAUSE)

And a twilight struggle for freedom led to a nation of highways, an American on the moon, and an explosion of technology that still shapes our world.

In each case, government didn’t supplant private enterprise; it catalyzed private enterprise. It created the conditions for thousands of entrepreneurs and new businesses to adapt and to thrive.

We are a nation that has seen promise amid peril and claimed opportunity from ordeal. Now we must be that nation again.

That is why, even as it cuts back on programs we don’t need, the budget I submit will invest in the three areas that are absolutely critical to our economic future: energy, health care, and education.

(APPLAUSE)

It begins with energy.

We know the country that harnesses the power of clean, renewable energy will lead the 21st century. And yet it is China that has launched the largest effort in history to make their economy energy efficient. We invented solar technology, but we’ve fallen behind countries like Germany and Japan in producing it. New plug-in hybrids roll off our assembly lines, but they will run on batteries made in Korea.

Well, I do not accept a future where the jobs and industries of tomorrow take root beyond our borders, and I know you don’t, either. It is time for America to lead again.

(APPLAUSE)

Thanks to our recovery plan, we will double this nation’s supply of renewable energy in the next three years. We’ve also made the largest investment in basic research funding in American history, an investment that will spur not only new discoveries in energy, but breakthroughs in medicine, in science and technology.

We will soon lay down thousands of miles of power lines that can carry new energy to cities and towns across this country. And we will put Americans to work making our homes and buildings more efficient so that we can save billions of dollars on our energy bills.

Obama: But to truly transform our economy, to protect our security and save our planet from the ravages of climate change, we need to ultimately make clean, renewable energy the profitable kind of energy.

So I ask this Congress to send me legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution and drives the production of more renewable energy in America. That’s what we need.

(APPLAUSE)

And to support — to support that innovation, we will invest $15 billion a year to develop technologies like wind power and solar power (OTCBB:SOPW) , advanced biofuels, clean coal, and more efficient cars and trucks built right here in America.

(APPLAUSE)

Speaking of our auto industry, everyone recognizes that years of bad decision-making and a global recession have pushed our automakers to the brink. We should not and will not protect them from their own bad practices.

But we are committed to the goal of a re-tooled, re-imagined auto industry that can compete and win. Millions of jobs depend on it; scores of communities depend on it; and I believe the nation that invented the automobile cannot walk away from it.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, none of this will come without cost, nor will it be easy. But this is America. We don’t do what’s easy. We do what’s necessary to move this country forward.

And for that same reason, we must also address the crushing cost of health care.

This is a cost that now causes a bankruptcy in America every 30 seconds. By the end of the year, it could cause 1.5 million Americans to lose their homes. In the last eight years, premiums have grown four times faster than wages. And in each of these years, 1 million more Americans have lost their health insurance.

It is one of the major reasons why small businesses close their doors and corporations ship jobs overseas. And it is one of the largest and fastest-growing parts of our budget. Given these facts, we can no longer afford to put health care reform on hold. We can’t afford to do it.

(APPLAUSE)

It’s time.

(APPLAUSE)

Already, we’ve done more to advance the cause of health care reform in the last 30 days than we’ve done in the last decade. When it was days old, this Congress passed a law to provide and protect health insurance for 11 million American children whose parents work full-time.

(APPLAUSE)

Our recovery plan will invest in electronic health records and new technology that will reduce errors, bring down costs, ensure privacy, and save lives.

It will launch a new effort to conquer a disease that has touched the life of nearly every American, including me, by seeking a cure for cancer in our time.

(APPLAUSE)

And — and it makes the largest investment ever in preventive care, because that’s one of the best ways to keep our people healthy and our costs under control.

This budget builds on these reforms. It includes a historic commitment to comprehensive health care reform, a down payment on the principle that we must have quality, affordable health care for every American. It’s a commitment…

(APPLAUSE)

It’s a commitment that’s paid for in part by efficiencies in our system that are long overdue, and it’s a step we must take if we hope to bring down our deficit in the years to come.

Now, there will be many different opinions and ideas about how to achieve reform. That’s why I’m bringing together businesses and workers, doctors and health care providers, Democrats and Republicans to begin work on this issue next week.

I suffer no illusions that this will be an easy process. Once again, it will be hard. But I also know that nearly a century after Teddy Roosevelt first called for reform, the cost of our health care has weighed down our economy and our conscience long enough.

So let there be no doubt: Health care reform cannot wait, it must not wait, and it will not wait another year.

(APPLAUSE)

Obama: The third challenge we must address is the urgent need to expand the promise of education in America.

In a global economy, where the most valuable skill you can sell is your knowledge, a good education is no longer just a pathway to opportunity. It is a pre-requisite.

Right now, three-quarters of the fastest-growing occupations require more than a high school diploma, and yet just over half of our citizens have that level of education. We have one of the highest high school dropout rates of any industrialized nation, and half of the students who begin college never finish.

This is a prescription for economic decline, because we know the countries that out-teach us today will out-compete us tomorrow. That is why it will be the goal of this administration to ensure that every child has access to a complete and competitive education, from the day they are born to the day they begin a career. That is a promise we have to make to the children of America.

(APPLAUSE)

Already, we’ve made a historic investment in education through the economic recovery plan. We’ve dramatically expanded early childhood education and will continue to improve its quality, because we know that the most formative learning comes in those first years of life.

We’ve made college affordable for nearly 7 million more students, 7 million…

(APPLAUSE)

… and we have provided the resources necessary to prevent painful cuts and teacher layoffs that would set back our children’s progress.

But we know that our schools don’t just need more resources; they need more reform. And that is why…

(APPLAUSE)

That is why this budget creates new teachers — new incentives for teacher performance, pathways for advancement, and rewards for success. We’ll invest — we’ll invest in innovative programs that are already helping schools meet high standards and close achievement gaps. And we will expand our commitment to charter schools. It is…

(APPLAUSE)

It is our responsibility as lawmakers and as educators to make this system work, but it is the responsibility of every citizen to participate in it.

So tonight I ask every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training. This can be a community college or a four-year school, vocational training or an apprenticeship. But whatever the training may be, every American will need to get more than a high school diploma.

And dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It’s not just quitting on yourself; it’s quitting on your country. And this country needs and values the talents of every American.

(APPLAUSE)

That’s why — that’s why we will support — we will provide the support necessary for all young Americans to complete college and meet a new goal: By 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. That is a goal we can meet.

(APPLAUSE)

That’s a goal we can meet.

(APPLAUSE)

Now — now, I know that the price of tuition is higher than ever, which is why, if you are willing to volunteer in your neighborhood or give back to your community or serve your country, we will make sure that you can afford a higher education. And to encourage…

(APPLAUSE)

And to encourage a renewed spirit of national service for this and future generations, I ask Congress to send me the bipartisan legislation that bears the name of Senator Orrin Hatch, as well as an American who has never stopped asking what he can do for his country, Senator Edward Kennedy.

(APPLAUSE)

Obama: These education policies will open the doors of opportunity for our children, but it is up to us to ensure they walk through them.

In the end, there is no program or policy that can substitute for a parent, for a mother or father who will attend those parent-teacher conferences, or help with homework, or turn off the TV, put away the video games, read to their child.

(APPLAUSE)

I speak to you not just as a president, but as a father when I say that responsibility for our children’s education must begin at home. That is not a Democratic issue or a Republican issue. That’s an American issue.

(APPLAUSE)

And there is, of course, another responsibility we have to our children, and that’s the responsibility to ensure that we do not pass on to them a debt they cannot pay. That is critical.

(APPLAUSE)

I agree, absolutely.

(APPLAUSE)

See, I know we can get some consensus in here.

(LAUGHTER)

With the deficit we inherited, the cost…

(APPLAUSE)

… the cost of the crisis we face, and the long-term challenges we must meet, it has never been more important to ensure that, as our economy recovers, we do what it takes to bring this deficit down. That is critical.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, I’m proud that we passed a recovery plan free of earmarks, and I want to pass a budget next year that ensures that each dollar we spend reflects only our most important national priorities.

And yesterday, I — I held a fiscal summit where I pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of my first term in office. My administration has also begun to go line by line through the federal budget in order to eliminate wasteful and ineffective programs.

As you can imagine, this is a process that will take some time, but we have already identified $2 trillion in savings over the next decade. In this budget…

(APPLAUSE)

In this budget, we will end education programs that don’t work and end direct payments to large agribusinesses that don’t need them. We’ll eliminate…

(APPLAUSE)

We’ll eliminate the no-bid contracts that have wasted billions in Iraq…

(APPLAUSE)

… and — and reform…

(APPLAUSE)

… and — and reform our defense budget so that we’re not paying for Cold War-era weapons systems we don’t use. We will…

(APPLAUSE)

We will root out — we will root out the waste and fraud and abuse in our Medicare program that doesn’t make our seniors any healthier. We will restore a sense of fairness and balance to our tax code by finally ending the tax breaks for corporations that ship our jobs overseas.

(APPLAUSE)

In order to save our children from a future of debt, we will also end the tax breaks for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, let me be clear. Let me be absolutely clear, because I know you’ll end up hearing some of the same claims that rolling back these tax breaks means a massive tax increase on the American people. If your family earns less than $250,000 a year, a quarter million dollars a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime.

(APPLAUSE)

Obama: In fact — not a dime.

In fact — in fact, the recovery plan provides a tax cut — that’s right, a tax cut — for 95 percent of working families. And, by the way, these checks are on the way.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, to preserve our long-term fiscal health, we must also address the growing cost in Medicare and Social Security. Comprehensive health care reform is the best way to strengthen Medicare for years to come, and we must also begin a conversation on how to do the same for Social Security, while creating tax-free universal savings accounts for all Americans.

(APPLAUSE)

Finally, because we’re also suffering from a deficit of trust, I am committed to restoring a sense of honesty and accountability to our budget. That is why this budget looks ahead 10 years and accounts for spending that was left out under the old rules and, for the first time, that includes the full cost of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

(APPLAUSE)

For seven years, we’ve been a nation at war. No longer will we hide its price.

(APPLAUSE)

Along with our outstanding national security team, I am now carefully reviewing our policies in both wars, and I will soon announce a way forward in Iraq that leaves Iraq to its people and responsibly ends this war.

(APPLAUSE)

And with our friends and allies, we will forge a new and comprehensive strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan to defeat Al Qaida and combat extremism, because I will not allow terrorists to plot against the American people from safe havens halfway around the world. We will not allow it.

(APPLAUSE)

As we meet here tonight, our men and women in uniform stand watch abroad and more are readying to deploy. To each and every one of them, and to the families who bear the quiet burden of their absence, Americans are united in sending one message: We honor your service; we are inspired by your sacrifice; and you have our unyielding support.

(APPLAUSE)

To relieve the strain on our forces, my budget increases the number of our soldiers and Marines. And to keep our sacred trust with those who serve, we will raise their pay and give our veterans the expanded health care and benefits that they have earned.

(APPLAUSE)

Obama: To overcome extremism, we must also be vigilant in upholding the values our troops defend, because there is no force in the world more powerful than the example of America. And that is why I have ordered the closing of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay and will seek swift and certain justice for captured terrorists…

(APPLAUSE)

… because living our values doesn’t make us weaker. It makes us safer, and it makes us stronger.

And that is why I can stand here tonight and say without exception or equivocation that the United States of America does not torture. We can make that commitment here tonight.

(APPLAUSE)

In words and deeds, we are showing the world that a new era of engagement has begun, for we know that America cannot meet the threats of this century alone, but the world cannot meet them without America.

We cannot shun the negotiating table nor ignore the foes or forces that could do us harm. We are instead called to move forward with the sense of confidence and candor that serious times demand.

To seek progress towards a secure and lasting peace between Israel and her neighbors, we have appointed an envoy to sustain our effort. To meet the challenges of the 21st century — from terrorism to nuclear proliferation, from pandemic disease to cyber threats to crushing poverty — we will strengthen old alliances, forge new ones, and use all elements of our national power.

And to respond to an economic crisis that is global in scope, we are working with the nations of the G-20 to restore confidence in our financial system, avoid the possibility of escalating protectionism, and spur demand for American goods in markets across the globe, for the world depends on us having a strong economy, just as our economy depends on the strength of the world’s.

As we stand at this crossroads of history, the eyes of all people in all nations are once again upon us, watching to see what we do with this moment, waiting for us to lead.

Those of us gathered here tonight have been called to govern in extraordinary times. It is a tremendous burden, but also a great privilege, one that has been entrusted to few generations of Americans, for in our hands lies the ability to shape our world, for good or for ill.

I know that it’s easy to lose sight of this truth, to become cynical and doubtful, consumed with the petty and the trivial.

But in my life, I have also learned that hope is found in unlikely places, that inspiration often comes not from those with the most power or celebrity, but from the dreams and aspirations of ordinary Americans who are anything but ordinary.

I think of Leonard Abess, a bank president from Miami who reportedly cashed out of his company, took a $60 million bonus, and gave it out to all 399 people who worked for him, plus another 72 who used to work for him. He didn’t tell anyone, but when the local newspaper found out, he simply said, “I knew some of these people since I was 7 years old. I didn’t feel right getting the money myself.”

I think about…

(APPLAUSE)

I think about — I think about Greensburg — Greensburg, Kansas, a town that was completely destroyed by a tornado, but is being rebuilt by its residents as a global example of how clean energy can power an entire community, how it can bring jobs and businesses to a place where piles of bricks and rubble once lay.

“The tragedy was terrible,” said one of the men who helped them rebuild. “But the folks here know that it also provided an incredible opportunity.”

Obama: I think about Ty’Sheoma Bethea, the young girl from that school I visited in Dillon, South Carolina, a place where the ceilings leak, the paint peels off the walls, and they have to stop teaching six times a day because the train barrels by their classroom.

She had been told that her school is hopeless. But the other day after class, she went to the public library and typed up a letter to the people sitting in this chamber. She even asked her principal for the money to buy a stamp.

The letter asks us for help and says, “We are just students trying to become lawyers, doctors, congressmen like yourself, and one day president, so we can make a change to not just the state of South Carolina, but also the world. We are not quitters.”

That’s what she said: “We are not quitters.” These words…

(APPLAUSE)

These words and these stories tell us something about the spirit of the people who sent us here. They tell us that, even in the most trying times, amid the most difficult circumstances, there is a generosity, a resilience, a decency, and a determination that perseveres, a willingness to take responsibility for our future and for posterity.

Their resolve must be our inspiration. Their concerns must be our cause. And we must show them and all our people that we are equal to the task before us.

I know…

(APPLAUSE)

I know that we haven’t agreed on every issue thus far.

(LAUGHTER)

There are surely times in the future where we will part ways. But I also know that every American who is sitting here tonight loves this country and wants it to succeed.

(APPLAUSE)

I know that.

(APPLAUSE)

That must be the starting point for every debate we have in the coming months and where we return after those debates are done. That is the foundation on which the American people expect us to build common ground.

And if we do, if we come together and lift this nation from the depths of this crisis, if we put our people back to work and restart the engine of our prosperity, if we confront without fear the challenges of our time and summon that enduring spirit of an America that does not quit, then some day, years from now, our children can tell their children that this was the time when we performed, in the words that are carved into this very chamber, “something worthy to be remembered.”

Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

References for a new rumble, roll, a reality . . . .

Murdoch Apology Moves America Agenda

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Like the 3 AM text message that announced Barack Obama’s Vice Presidential choice, the apology arrived in the wee hours of the morning.  The statement Rupert Murdoch submitted may have moved an American agenda forward.  The magnate personally addressed the toon that appeared in the New York Post on February 18, 2009.

Many thought Mister Murdoch’s paper published a racist rant.  Black Americans feared the signal this might send.  Anger was expressed.  Citizens of every color showed great concern,  People protested.  Collectively, there was a sense that only Rupert Murdoch could change the culture, he, and his companies promoted.  Yet, no one thought he would.  Shockingly, he spoke out.  He admitted to “his” error, and promised his paper would be more sensitive to its readership.  

Some were skeptical.  Several suggested News Corp owner, Rupert Murdoch, had ulterior motives, or perhaps he has a crush on the President.  People wonder if his affection for the new Commander-In-Chief prompted this move.  Persons who know the enigmatic executive personally recall the day, in May, when Mister Murdoch “effusively” spoke of the Presidential aspirant.  The often less than candid Murdoch praised Candidate Obama.  Although Rupert Murdoch is a well-established Republican, in the Spring he was quoted as saying, “He [Barack Obama] has become a rock star; it’s fantastic!”  

The formidable media mogul who usually leans far to the Right, poignantly identified himself with a Progressive candidate.  When asked, Mister Murdoch admitted he was responsible for the New York Post endorsement of Barack Obama.  In January 2008, long before President Obama cinched the nomination Rupert Murdoch was there for the Black man who may or may not have been the subject of a February 18, 2009 cartoon published in his paper.

While the theory that Rupert Murdoch admires the current President may hold weight, a few wonder why would a man who is known not to apologize for any missteps, make such a dramatic statement.  Why might Mister Murdoch do as he has never done.  

Several cite the influence of his daughter.  She must be the cause for such a strange decision.  Many cannot imagine change has come to a man mired in Conservative causes.  Commentators and news analyst dug through the archives, looking for evidence that might explain the unexplainable.  They found it.

The headline in the April 1, 2008 edition of The New York Times was not a joke.  Murdoch’s Daughter Hosts Obama Fund-Raiser.  Nonetheless, most do not believe this remorseless man would offer a sorrowful statement.  Yet, he did.  After days of debate, newspaper proprietor Rupert Murdoch delivered.

Statement From Rupert Murdoch

By Rupert Murdoch

New York Post

Last updated: 3:16 am, February 24, 2009 ?

Posted: 2:22 am?, February 24, 2009

As the Chairman of the New York Post, I am ultimately responsible for what is printed in its pages.  The buck stops with me.

Last week, we made a mistake.  We ran a cartoon that offended many people.  Today I want to personally apologize to any reader who felt offended, and even insulted.

Over the past couple of days, I have spoken to a number of people and I now better understand the hurt this cartoon has caused.  At the same time, I have had conversations with Post editors about the situation and I can assure you – without a doubt – that the only intent of that cartoon was to mock a badly written piece of legislation.  It was not meant to be racist, but unfortunately, it was interpreted by many as such.

We all hold the readers of the New York Post in high regard and I promise you that we will seek to be more attuned to the sensitivities of our community.

Whatever the reason may be , the request for forgiveness, the act of contrition, a possible admission of guilt, for the appearance of a cartoon that offended many, it occurred.  Economically, the nation has not yet recovered. Discrimination against one ethnicity or another has not ended.  Civil Rights are still not granted to all equally.  Especially persons of color will continue to experience great pain in America.  Nonetheless, ethically, in this hour, America has found reason to believe Rupert Murdoch’s apology may have moved a more moral agenda.  

Perchance, on another day in the future, a message will not be sent.  No text will announce the arrival of a new era.  True change will likely occur over time.  Nonetheless, in this moment, there is reason to believe; we, the people of the Untied States, will evolve.  

References for a newer reality . . .

Moneybag Democracy


To view the original art, please travel to “Moneybag Democracy” [Archive No. 9703]

copyright © 2008.  Andrew Wahl.  Off The Wahl Perspective.

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

“Now, that doesn’t mean that questions of Taiwan, Tibet, human rights, the whole range of challenges that we often engage on with the Chinese, are not part of the agenda. But we pretty much know what they are going to say. We have to continue to press them but our pressing on those issues can’t interfere with the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis, and the security crises.

~ Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (February 20, 2009)

The news appeared in cyberspace on Friday, February 20, 2009.  As Yogi Berra once elucidated, it was as déjà vu, all over again. International and domestic activists have come to realize, once again, America is a democracy dependent on dollars.  Amnesty International advocates shook their heads, wondered, and worried of what might be.  Students for a Free Tibet collectively shrugged their shoulders and expressed a shared distress.  Citizens at home, in America, barely blinked.  An avid Obama supporter, was resigned to realities that, only weeks ago, she might not have thought she would willingly accept.  Moneybag democracy lives.  Hillary Clinton serves the President, the precedent past, present, and perhaps, future.

Days ago, with Secretary of State Clinton abroad in China, the world was given an opportunity to witness America’s new direction.  Most anticipated dollars would no longer have a greater influence on United States policy than humanitarian concerns did.  Globally, people waited to cheer for the change that had certainly come.  Then, Secretary Clinton, pleaded with Beijing to buy United States bonds.  Contrary to her pointed comments on human rights, made during her presidential campaign, as a representative of the Obama Administration, Secretary Clinton spoke as though she no longer believes as she had, Chinese ownership of US government debt had become a threat to national security.  

Perhaps, Hillary Clinton, and her President, surmised Capitalism, or a democracy devoted to dollars must survive at all cost.  Certainly her husband, and his Secretary of State, Madeline Albright had reached this conclusion near a decade earlier.

Like Secretary Albright, Hillary Rodham Clinton, chose to sell America’s soul. When the first woman Head of State spoke of her decision, few United States citizens said a word.  In the 1990s, then Head of State, Albright, in a 60 Minutes interview, discussed the American policy decisions that caused the deaths of more than half-million Arab children in Iraq.  She said without hesitation, the loss of young lives were the price the Clinton Administration thought wise to pay.   Madeline Albright mused; the sacrifice of little ones was “worth it.”

Hardships on fellow humans are the cost citizens in a comfortable and “civilized” society must pay for democracy.  Apparently, Americans, even the most Progressive amongst us, seem to agree.  Then, as now, few if any said a word.

Today when news came over the wires, Secretary Clinton stood firm in favor of economic relations with China, regardless of human rights violations, only a few countrymen responded.  Activists were ‘shocked’ when they heard the American Ambassador, Clinton, take such a stance.  Representatives from Amnesty International and Students for a Free Tibet spoke out.

T. Kumar of Amnesty International USA said the global rights lobby was “shocked and extremely disappointed” by Secretary Clinton’s comment.  The advocate for honorable and equitable civil liberties may have trusted that at least where China was concerned, the Clinton’s had a record, or at any rate, had offered respectable rhetoric.

James Mann, a Johns Hopkins scholar who wrote a history of U.S.-China relations, also recalled.  When asked of Secretary Clinton’s most recent comment, Professor Mann stated he was struck by the contrast.  Bill Clinton, he said, as president more than eight years earlier gave strong speeches on behalf of political freedom in the People’s Republic.  “Bill Clinton told the leader of China he was on ‘the wrong side of history,'” Mann recollected.  “Now, Hillary seems to be giving them the reverse message: that China is on the right side of history.”

However, historians might consider the statement that President Bill Clinton is better known for was his truer agenda.  “It is the economy stu***!”  In March of 1997, writer for China Daily, Ren Yanshi avowed the Chinese government certainly perceived the United States had a record of human rights violations, during the Clinton years.  In a “Moneybag Democracy,” the United States of America caters only to the rich.  In the States, a consumer culture allows the prosperous to profit further.  The people, the poor suffer greatly.

In recent years, as the rich got much richer, this truth was revealed in radical ways.  The word “Katrina” evokes much empathy.  “Bank bailouts elicit more emotions within the ranks of what once was the Middle Class.   Some might say, these truths are the reason that change has finally come to America.  Until today, the thought was coins and currency would no longer guide an Administration or US policy.  Barack Obama brought hope to the world.

Students for a Free Tibet embraced the new Administration.  They believed the current White House could and would make a difference in the lives of all people.  Surely, a President Obama would not serve only the affluent.

As a Senator, Barack Obama was among the sponsors of the act, which bestowed the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Congressional Gold Medal, on the Dalai Lama.  Senator Obama urged Chinese president Hu Jintao to “meaningfully address the Tibet issue.”  After the election, Tibetans were encouraged.  They sent President Obama letters of Congratulations.  Thus, it was an unexpected and an unwanted surprise to hear Secretary Clinton cavort, cajole, and say as she did.  The proponents of social justice stated, Clinton’s remarks “sent the wrong signal to China at a sensitive time.”

“The US government cannot afford to let Beijing set the agenda,” said Tenzin Dorjee, deputy director of the New York-based advocacy group.

Long-time activists, domestic supporters of Barack Obama, persons such as Jessica, see Secretary Clinton’s statement differently.  This woman who energetically endorsed Barack Obama from the moment he announced his campaign would have welcomed a more mindful position.  She yearns for United States policy to be benevolent as she believes Barack Obama, the man, is.  Jessica, who organized her community to come out and work for what she craved, an Obama White House, now thinks America cannot “afford” to do other than cater to the wishes of the Chinese government.

A jubilant Jessica has been joyful since her presidential candidate was chosen to serve. She avows; “Unfortunately, due to our greed, China owns us.  If they pulled their money, this country would die.  Sad fact but true.”  

American lives would be lost if foreign affairs focus on humanitarian concerns in China.  There can be nothing worse.  Who would buy the wares that please the people in the States, or Jessica might say, in her own defense, furnish jobs for those born in the Far Eastern nation.  The argument could be made; and certainly, descendants of Wal-Mart founder, Sam Walton, would be the first to offer it.  US dollars support a much-improved Chinese culture.

George W. Bush might have mused the latter claim an important one.  Perchance, that is why the former President chose to attend the 2008 Summer Olympics.  United States indebtedness served to justify relations with China, a country well-known for human rights violations.  The desire to feed a Capitalist market, the need to assuage the hunger of citizens who habitually consume on credit, and a country famished for cash, will do all that they can to appease those who beat and brutalize Chinese citizens.

The people of China, many Americans cried at the time, cannot be punished because they live under totalitarian rule.  Nor can US athletes be penalized.  Cruel and inhumane treatment is not acceptable, or at least it would not have been months ago, to Jessica who did all she could to help place the now President, Barack Obama in the Oval Office.

In primary season, Jessica stood staunchly against what she then thought were Hillary Clinton’s hawkish views.  She, might have agreed with essayist Stephen Zunes when he wrote for the Foreign Policy in Focus on December 11, 2007, “(F)ront-runner for the Democratic nomination for president shares much of President Bush’s dangerous attitudes toward international law and human rights.”  

Nonetheless, today, Jessica, the proud Progressive, a self-identified peace lover offers, “If there is no money, people will die.  Fact.  I hate it (almost) as much [as an idealist would.]  I also agree we are a soul-less country.”

Then, she quickly deferred to her disgust for the George W. Bush years.  She stated the crimes committed by the former Administration were deplorable.  Jessica concludes, “(W)e have to hold the previous administration accountable for their crimes.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose position on censure has wavered would concur with Jessica, today. If the subject were an investigation or possible prosecution of the Bush White House, Nancy Pelosi would be on-board.  However, Speaker Pelosi may, or may not, think the United States can ignore human rights violations on the part of China.  One never knows.  History and statements made in the past, are often inconsistent.

Almost a year to the day, on February 21, 2008, Secretary Clinton’s good friend, the esteemed Representative from San Francisco, Pelosi, spoke eloquently of what she did not publicly discuss with fellow Democrat, Hillary Clinton, now in 2009.

“If freedom-loving people throughout the world do not speak out against China’s oppression in China and Tibet, we have lost all moral authority to speak on behalf of human rights anywhere in the world,” House Speaker Pelosi told reporters during a visit with the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, in Dharamsala, India.

Indeed, America, the Moneybag Democracy has forfeited ethical influence.  Economics has replaced principled certitude as US policy.  The press understands the priority.  The commercial media knows dollars deliver.  Damn the lives and liberties of our brethren abroad.  In the United States there is but one mission, moneybag democracy.

Perchance this truth explains why coverage on the decision to forego human rights concerns is limited.  An article appeared here, or there.  Yet, few commentaries focused on the human rights aspect of the Secretary Clinton’s travel.  The Los Angeles Times reported, Clinton added environmental and security issues to economic talks in China.  Most say Secretary of State Clinton has sealed the deal.  She has merged the past with the present. Former First Lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton has performed laudably for her President, Clinton, Bush, Obama, or for the precedent moneybag democracy.

References for varied reality . . .

I Told You So – Sort Of

copyright © 2009 Forgiven. The Disputed Truth

After watching the Republican responses to the passing and signing of the Presidents stimulus package it is becoming abundantly clear what their strategy will be for the next few years. They will stage these phony displays of public outrage and then at the same time take credit for any benefits from the stimulus package. First let’s be clear about whether this bill was bi-partisan. In order to do this you have to separate the Republican Party from the Washington Republicans many of whom represent solid Republican base districts that were gerrymandered by Tom Delay and his cohorts from the Republicans who represent statewide constituencies like governors.

Most Republican governors who are not seeking future national office are in strong favor of the stimulus bill. So far the ones who have spoken out against it are Texas Governor Rick Perry, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. It will be interesting to see how many of these governors will be lining up for a 2012 presidential bid.

Many Republicans are strategically placing themselves to have the best of both worlds. If the Obama economic plans do not work they will say we told you so, if they do work they will say it was our opposition and not the economic plans of the President that turned the economy around. The Republicans are gambling that they will be able to steal the credit for the economic turnaround hoping that by the time the economy does turn around the voters will have forgotten their opposition to all of the President’s economic policies.

This strategy really exposes the Republicans deep-seated hostility towards the American electorate. They are willing to be seen as rooting for the economy to crash and taking concrete steps to bring it about while at the same time believing that the American public won’t remember their opposition to the economic policies that succeeded. Basically they are saying the American public is so stupid that they can be easily duped by sound bites and imagery. Granted there was a day in American politics when these strategies were successful, however what the Republicans and many Washington pundits have failed to realize is that a new bell has rung and once rung it cannot be un-rung.

American voters are becoming even more engaged not less engaged in the political process. There are more outlets for information than there ever has been so the nightly sound bite and sweeping political imagery has lost its effectiveness. The Republicans may think this is 1984, but they are going to be in for a rude awakening. The American public is not looking for a return to past failed policies and phony cultural wars. The Republicans are pinning their hopes in 2010 on the fact that the economic crisis they helped to engineer is so deep that there will be little change by election time and they can tout the President’s economic policies as failures. They are already laying the groundwork for this strategy by claiming that the economic policies of FDR were ineffectual during the Great Depression because there wasn’t instant success.

What they fail to mention and what many Americans who survived during that period often state is that while those FDR policies did not completely turn the economy around they did help to stem the hardships of the depression and gave the public hope and confidence that their government was trying to help them. Imagine how much worst the situation would have been if the Republicans had been successful in curtailing the programs of the New Deal.

In similar fashion the Republicans of today are trying to reduce the size and scope of the President’s economic policies so they can claim that they were right. These so called “principled” men who took a budget surplus and created the largest deficits in history are now claiming to be budget and deficit hawks. During the debate concerning the President’s stimulus package many Republicans stated that their opposition to the bill was that it did not address the underlying problem of our economic problems, which according to them was the housing market. So one would think that when the President announced his plan to help shore up the housing market and try to keep families in their homes that the Republicans would be ready to support it; right? Wrong. Almost to a man as with the Stimulus Bill the Republicans are lining up to denounce the plan. The Republicans are not only the “Party of no” they are also the Party of no ideas.

The economy at some point will rebound we all know this. Our economy is now and always has been cyclical. The question then becomes is the government responsible for setting in place safety nets to help reduce the suffering of its citizenry while at the same time instituting policies that will reduce the likelihood of similar catastrophes or is it the governments job to sit and watch as its citizenry suffers the hardships and horrors of a system many have no direct control over and receive only minimal benefit from?

The Republicans are betting that by the time the economy turns around that they can tell Americans that the Republican’s magic economic fairy was responsible and not the policies of this administration, that it was their opposition that made the recovery possible. So either way they were right. When all you have to do is sit and watch you are afforded the luxury of saying I told you so, but when you are responsible for the welfare of a nation that luxury is no longer available. Only a child sits and waits to say I told you so while adults work to solve problems. Our country does not have the time for children’s games, we need adults.

Hypocrite: the man who murdered both his parents… pleaded for mercy on the grounds that he was an orphan.  ~ Abraham Lincoln