Friday, February 13, 2009

From the desk of the President

The White House

To: The House Republican Caucus
CC:The Senate Republican Congress

I have been greatly disappointed in the reaction of your members to the financial crisis and our attempts to initiate economic recovery. My administration and I have reached across the aisle and have repeatedly been rejected and stonewalled.

ACCORDINGLY, I, Barack H. Obama, President of the United States, do hereby declare that the official position of the White House and this administration with regard to the Republican members of Congress is

Fuck you and the horses you rode in on.


Done this 13th day of February 2009, Washington D.C.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Meanwhile, back in Frostbite Falls...

1) Soon to be former Sen. Judd Gregg, showing that GOP members of the legislative houses are as a general rule, giant flaming turds, continues the party plan to be obstructionist and giant flaming turd-like; and

2) In case you weren't watching, it looks like Israel's government is taking a HARD right turn out of the recent elections. Bad, bad, bad.

Revising revisionist history (Apologies, long-winded)

While I'm on the topic of Lincoln--

I have seen a lot of revisionist history lately, deconstructing Lincoln the myth and legend. Their criticisms? That he was not aggressive enough on emancipation, that he was not committed to racial equality, that he said things such as in the debates with Douglas and his famous letter to (batsh*t crazy) Horace Greeley that paint him in an unflattering light with regard to race and equality. That he abused his power in office, for example, by suspending habeas corpus.

They are completely right on those particular allegations, yet they completely miss the point.

First of all, let us remember that this is his 200th birthday. 1809, folks. We have to judge him by the standards of his time, not ours. Slavery and race bedeviled great men such as Adams and Jefferson, yet its end came down to his Indiana-raised small town lawyer.

Can we find people of his time with a more pure and consistent commitment to abolition and racial equality? Of course. And what was the likelihood that any of those ideological purists could have been elected president. ZERO.

So number one, he was born in 1809, and number two, he was a POLITICIAN. Did he say racially negative things on the campaign trail? Yes. Why? Well, in large part, he needed the votes of racists! It is interesting to track his language in the debates with Douglas. Lincoln in downstate Illinois (today still an enclave of racism--I know, I grew up there) is very different from the Lincoln of the north. I also think that some of his comments on the races living together, and his dabbling in colonization reflected his pessimism about his fellow white Americans rather than his view of blacks.

Number three, he was president in a federal system that greatly constrained the power of the government to act against slavery. Lincoln was outraged by the Dredd Scott decision, and he was dedicated to containing slavery and prohibiting its expansion. However, he was keenly aware of the limitations of his own authority.

And number four, his presidency was defined by war. He entered office with seven states seceded, and died with Confederate forces still active in the field. From the White House he could see enemy territory, and with a hostile Maryland, the capital was basically surrounded. His goal was to end the insurrection and restore the authority of the federal government. Regardless of his personal moral view of slavery, he was confined by his constitutional role and duty. As he said in 1865, with barely a month left to live, "both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came. One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding."

Fundamental and astounding indeed. Emancipation was a political and military act, done under his authority as commander-in-chief. The measure all but precluded European support of the south,once the end of slavery was made an official war aim. It is true that the Emancipation Proclamation freed no slaves, as it was only effective in areas beyond the reach of federal authority. The preliminary proclamation was the last offer made to restore the old union, if the states in rebellion ceased hostilities. December 31, 1862, was Humpty Dumpty's last day, the last day of the old America. On January 1, 1863, when he issued the final proclamation, Lincoln initiated the second American revolution. No matter what happened on the battlefield, America would never be the same. It would either be two nations sharing the space that had been one, or one nation profoundly changed forever. On that day, Abraham Lincoln committed the full faith and credit of the United States to the destruction of slavery and the re-shaping of the Union. There was no turning back.

Was he perfect, did he lack flaws and failings? Of course not. Was he a product of his times? Certainly. Yet this man from humble origins transcended the times he lived in. He understood his nation and his people better perhaps than any president before or since. While it is fair to criticize and question, in doing so, we must not lose sight of the one fundamental truth, that as has been said of Washington in his time, Lincoln was the indispensable man. The nation we know, for better or worse, would not exist without him.

Happy birthday, Father Abraham. You do indeed belong to the ages.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Eric Cantor, Congressman Creep

Yes, Mr. Cantor. You’re a creep. As in someone who creates something vulgar and promulgates it at someone else’s expense – e.g., “Barack the Magic Negro” or this anti-union video – and then dismisses the whole thing by claiming it was “a joke.”

Not only is this not “funny” but it mocks blue collar working class people and demeans the dignity of the individual.

So this mean-spirited garbage is what passes for Republican “humor"?

Shame on you, Eric Cantor.

Tomorrow, and oh by the way, **** off, Chimpy.

Tomorrow marks the 200th anniversary of two great and transformational figures. Both Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin came into this world on February 12, 1809.

I was watching a Lincoln special on PBS, and the host interviewed recent occupants of the White House for their take on the 16th president. The simian boy king had the gall to compare himself with Lincoln, as both were president "during unpopular wars." Please. Spare me.

Lincoln reluctantly made war because he believed it was his constitutional duty to preserve the union, and in doing so, he both saved and transformed the nation. Bush started a war because he was bored.

Play "Spot the Differences!"

Spot the Differences!

Can you spot the differences between the two pictures??

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Disloyal Opposition Compares Self to Taliban Insurgency

Texas (no surprises there) Congressman Peter Sessions made unwelcome news for those Republicans who can fit in one closet (you know, for NON-CRAZIES) when he made a serious pitch to change the “GOP” acronym with this interview to Hotline:

Before his mouth could be hermetically sealed with foot/leg by sluggish aides, Sessions said “Insurgency, we understand perhaps a little bit more because of the Taliban. And that is that they went about systematically understanding how to disrupt and change a person’s entire processes.

Whoa. Now wrap your head around this one: “… disrupt and change a person’s entire processes”? Who might that “person” be: Hmm, let’s see … President Obama?

Sessions later backpedaled like, well, a madman. But the damage/Freudian slip was done. Sessions’ Democratic counterpart, Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, jumped on him with both feet:

“NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions’ remark comparing his own party’s tactics during the economic recovery debate to those of a terrorist group in Afghanistan is truly shocking. While House Republican leaders profess to seek bipartisanship, they are comparing their tactics to the violent tactics used by the Taliban insurgency.”

Meanwhile, scandal-ridden RNC Chairman Michael Steele was having difficulty distinguishing between a private sector “job” and government “work,” even though President Obama stressed that 90% of the jobs in the stimulus package would be offered through the private sector.

Wild guess here: could it because Steele arranged for his 2006 Senate campaign to pay a defunct company run by his sister for services that were never performed, his finance chairman from that campaign has told federal prosecutors? You know, quasi-government (campaign) “work” that was NEVER DONE!

Ah, the Republican Party (GOP or GOT?) … the gift that keeps on giving. Pictured below are Mullahs Peter Sessions and John Cornyn from the insurgent Province of Texanistan. Mullah Cornyn, a vociferous critic of the stimulus package and all things Obama, was a no-show on the Senate vote.

Everyone’s an Economist in D.C., Even Mullah Mitch McConnell

The other day, as he introduced a team of outside economic advisers, President Obama bemoaned the economic and historical illiteracy of certain obstructionists responsible for crafting economic policy in the Congress: “You’ve got some economists and some folks who think they’re economists. By the way, these days everybody thinks they’re economists.”

The President’s criticism was more pointed in his brilliant press conference on Monday:

“And in fact there are several who have suggested that FDR was wrong to intervene back in the New Deal. They're fighting battles that I thought were resolved a pretty long time ago.”

No kidding.

Evidently, the memo didn’t reach the Republican insurgents’ leader, Mullah Mitch McConnell, pictured below.

McConnell, who is still navigating the murky waters of New Deal denialism (rather than reading, say, A HISTORY BOOK!) said on the Senate floor before voting against the President’s stimulus bill:

“But one of the good things about reading history is you learn a good deal. And, we know for sure that the big spending programs of the New Deal did not work. In 1940, unemployment was still 15%. And, it's widely agreed among economists, that what got us out of the doldrums that we were in during the Depression was the beginning of World War II."

Let the experts -- one historian and one Nobel Prize winining economist -- answer this STUPIDITY. Jonathan Alter, a senior editor at Newsweek and author of “The Defining Moment,” about FDR’s first 100 days, said:

It’s ridiculous. [McConnell] needs to spend a little time in the library in Kentucky and read more than the right wing critiques. What was he imagining, that tax cuts got us out of the Depression? It was GOVERNMENT SPENDING that got us out of the Depression. First, FDR was able to cut the unemployment rate from 25% to 14%. Now they might not consider that successful (unless) you were in that group of millions and millions of Americans that were put to work and had their hope restored. Overall the New Deal was tremendously successful.”

Noting that FDR certainly wouldn’t have been reelected carrying all but two states (and elected for a third term) if the people didn’t believe his programs were working, Alter concluded with a word to the wise that will surely fall on deaf ears: “Republicans would do well to remembers this.”

Nobel Prize winner for Economics Paul Krugman minced no words in stating that FDR should not have taken his hand off the accelerator when he listened to those on the other side who argued for a balanced budget in 37-38:

“Note in particular that in 1937-38 FDR was persuaded to do the “responsible” thing and cut back — and that’s what led to the bad year in 1938, which to the WSJ crowd defines the New Deal.

Implications for Obama: be inspired by FDR, but don’t imitate him slavishly. In particular, your economic policy should be bolder, not more cautious.

Incidentally, WWII economic policy was precisely the largest infusion of government spending in the history of the Republic, to that date. Speaking of historical revisionism, the President addressed the McCains and McConnells of this world, still wedded to the fantasy of Reagan/Bushonomics:

“First of all, when I hear that from folks who presided over a doubling of the national debt, then, you know, I just want them to not engage in some revisionist history. I inherited the deficit that we have right now and the economic crisis that we have right now.”

And so, to Mullah Mitch McConnell, representing millions of trickle-down snake oil (VOODOO) economics salesmen, including Reagan wunderkin David Stockman who recanted Reaganomics as a fraud and now faces jail time (on unrelated charges):

Welcome back to the White House, Grammar. We missed you!

Grammar (gram-mar, noun) [gram-er]--the the study of the way the sentences of a language are constructed; morphology and syntax; the knowledge or usage of the preferred or prescribed forms in speaking or writing.

How refreshing is it to have a president who speaks English, and doesn't follow one round of stupidity with "in other words" and then more stupidity. The grownups are back in charge.

Kudos, Doc, and welcome back.

Monday, February 09, 2009

It's been a while

Since I intentionally turned on a speech by our President. I have to keep reminding myself that "from the White House" no longer necessarily means lies and obfuscation.