Day: April 9, 2012

The 10 Worst Moments of Disrespect Towards President Obama

The 10 Worst Moments of Disrespect Towards President ObamaI was thinking  how a majority of  far right-wingers in Congress and local politicians of that ilk, have disrespected President Obama and his family in a manner that no other president of the United States has ever had to endure.

It’s not only the usual suspects, birthers and various right-wing weirdos, but also from elected officials, Judges and Fox News.  In fact, after we had finally gotten over Rep. Joe Wilson’s  “You lie!” comment while President Obama was giving his 2011 State of the Union address, those politicians and TV personalities seem to ramp up their attack machine on the president in insidious ways.

The following article was published in January 2012 but is just as relevant now…

Politics 365 - Lauren Victoria Burke

It starts from the Superiority Syndrome: People acting as if they’re more important than a U.S. President — when they clearly are not.  To fingers in the face.  To people questioning his already established and proven citizenship.

The incidents of disrespect towards President Obama continue.

When people criticize Administration policy, that’s just politics.  But several incidents directed at this President appear to find new lows.  Of course, people can disagree with the President. But, why can’t people respect the Office of the Presidency?

The very public nature of disrespect towards President Obama is noteworthy.  Did Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) have to conduct business with the President in front of reporters?  Wasn’t there a better time and place? Would a visiting leader from a foreign country be greeted with a finger in his face by a Governor? If not, why would it happen to the leader of our own country? Could a hockey goalie have executed a quiet no-show for a White House invitation honoring his team? See Facebook for the answer on that one.

It wasn’t the end of the world when Speaker John Boehner refused the President’s date to speak to a joint session on jobs in September 2011.  And yes, the White House picked that date to steal attention from a GOP debate.  But like so many moments of disrespect towards the 44th President: No one can find another example in American history where a U.S. President requested a date to address Congress and was refused. Can anyone find another incident like the Brewer one?  That the list below can even be compiled is telling.

1. The birther fiasco (2009-2011). No evidence. No proof. No documentation.  But the story traveled on for years. Yes, Hawaii is part of the United States of America.

2. “You lie” (Sept. 2009). That any individual — no less a member of Congress watching a U.S. President during a joint session on live national television — is so lacking in self control that this moment was made possible is incredible — even in an age of incivility. Remember this happened only nine months into Obama’s presidency and is another “we can’t remember that ever happening ever before” moment. Close your eyes and pretend Rep. Maxine Waters was Wilson doing this to President Bush and image the reaction.

3. Signs of the Tea Party (July 2010) and Naked Racism (April 2011).  Anyone remember California GOP official Marilyn Davenport’s racist e-mail? Did she ever resign for that?  I remember all the criticism of the NAACP – particularly from Black Republicans — for their “Tea Party resolution” of 2010.  Where was that indignation regarding what can be viewed in this video? Click here.

4. Donald “unchecked ego” Trump inflames birther fiasco, media assists (April 2011). The mouth of Donald Trump is a powerful thing when joined with a 24-hour cable news cycle desperate for viewers.  That news organizations invited Trump on the air unchallenged with zero proof of what he was saying speaks volumes on the state of journalism.  That Trump was completely comfortable demanding that a U.S. President “show him his papers” displays a superiority complex that exists among those who can’t accept someone they view as “lesser” in a position of power over them.

5. Newt Gingrich’s “Kenyan anti-colonial behavior” comment (Sept 2010). Even Washington Post columnist and conservative thinker George Will slammed this attempt to define the President as “foreign.” Never mind the facts: President Obama wasn’t reared by his father in Kenya with whom he spent only a month of his 50 years on this earth. The strategy to define the President as a “foreign” or “alien” being was started by Sarah Palin in 2008.

6. One of the underlying premises of disrespect towards the President is that he can be ordered around and dictated to like he’s Tipi the laundry boy.  The presumption that a U.S. President can be ordered around is a new phenomenon that appears to have gotten underway around January 2009.  From big mouth Congressmen to millionaires with nothing to do, you name it — they all inherently believe they can order President Obama around.  At least Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is an actual leader of something. Regardless, read this and ask yourself if you think this would have happened to Presidents Bush, Reagan or Clinton.

7. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer puts her finger in the President’s face (January 2012).The photo speaks for itself.  Of course there are strong political disagreements between President Obama and Gov. Brewer.  But is it just possible there was a better time and place for this conversation?  Brewer said she felt “a little threatened” by President Obama. Please.

8. GOP House, prompted by Tea Party — refuses to raise debt ceiling (Aug 2011).Sounds like this was just hardball politics right? Let’s review the facts: The debt ceiling had been raised 69 times since 1962 without incident.  Seven times during Bush II and 18 times during Reagan.  Suddenly, with President Obama, a shiny new precedent is set with regard to raising the debt ceiling.  Another never before seen incident is born.

9. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) Publicly Announces His Top Political Priority (Dec 2010). McConnell wants the President out of office?  No news there, but, wait, there’s more to it. “Our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term,” Sen. McConnell told the Heritage Foundation.  Of course the Senate Republican Leader doesn’t want the President to be re-elected.  But what’s with the public announcement? In July 2010 McConnell acknowledged his single most important political goal: President Obama being a one-term President. Again: In public and on national television.

10. Speaker Boehner refuses speech date request (September 2011). No it is not the end of the world.  Of course, the White House intentionally wanted to step on a GOP debate that same night. But, this is yet another first in American history. Once again, no one can find another instance where a President of the United States requested a date to address Congress and was refused.

Bonus:   Deadbeat dad and probable one-termer thinks his presence before the President actually matters and needs to tell everyone (Sept 2011).  The disrespect isn’t that probable one term Congressman Joe Walsh (R-IL) wouldn’t attend the President’s Sept. 8 speech. The disrespect is that Rep. Walsh actually believed that everyone knowing he wasn’t attending was important.  That he needed to announce he would not attend on national television, as if anyone cared, was yet another delusional superiority episode.  That proudly showing public disrespect towards the President is a winning strategy in some political circles reveals a lot

Chuck Grassley calling the president stupid.

Happy Easter From The GOP, Folks

How do Republicans sleep at night?

The Raw Story

This Easter Sunday, the NY Times has this Jason DeParle story on red states shredding welfare safety nets and the people who keep falling through them.

Faced with flat federal financing and rising need, Arizona is one of 16 states that have cut their welfare caseloads further since the start of the recession — in its case, by half. Even as it turned away the needy, Arizona spent most of its federal welfare dollars on other programs, using permissive rules to plug state budget gaps.

The poor people who were dropped from cash assistance here, mostly single mothers, talk with surprising openness about the desperate, and sometimes illegal, ways they make ends meet. They have sold food stamps, sold blood, skipped meals, shoplifted, doubled up with friends, scavenged trash bins for bottles and cans and returned to relationships with violent partners — all with children in tow.

Esmeralda Murillo, a 21-year-old mother of two, lost her welfare check, landed in a shelter and then returned to a boyfriend whose violent temper had driven her away. “You don’t know who to turn to,” she said.

Maria Thomas, 29, with four daughters, helps friends sell piles of brand-name clothes, taking pains not to ask if they are stolen. “I don’t know where they come from,” she said. “I’m just helping get rid of them.”

To keep her lights on, Rosa Pena, 24, sold the groceries she bought with food stamps and then kept her children fed with school lunches and help from neighbors. Her post-welfare credo is widely shared: “I’ll do what I have to do.

And as any conservative can tell you, this is working 100% as intended.  If those on welfare turn to crime, then it’s clearly permissible to cut welfare even further to stop coddling these criminals, and then of course pass those savings through tax cuts on to the Almighty Job Creators, who will then certainly create more jobs and uplift these broken souls back into society.  Any time now, those jobs will be just pouring out.  Yep.

Of course without that vital last part, it becomes and endless conveyor belt to transfer wealth to the wealthy and drive the poor into other states (preferably blue ones) where they become somebody else’s problem.  Meanwhile, red states like Arizona get to claim they’ve cut welfare rolls and that the rest of America needs to follow their success.

Meanwhile, the expensive private prison conglomerates designed to incarcerate the increasingly desperate among us costing taxpayers far more per person than the welfare did in the first place is beside the point, that money’s well spent because we’re tough on crime.  Certainly the GOP is licking their chops at the latest iteration of the House GOP budget, turning safety net programs into block grants they can raid for even more tax cuts and wealth transfer.  And if the GOP gets control, guess what’s happening to these programs in the future?

Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, the top House Republican on budget issues, calls the current welfare program “an unprecedented success.” Mitt Romney, who leads the race for the Republican presidential nomination, has said he would place similar restrictions on “all these federal programs.” One of his rivals, Rick Santorum, calls the welfare law a source of spiritual rejuvenation.

“It didn’t just cut the rolls, but it saved lives,” Mr. Santorum said, giving the poor “something dependency doesn’t give: hope.”

As in “hope God chose you to be rich, because otherwise you’re screwed.”  Happy Easter Hunger Games from the GOP.  Don’t worry, when you die, your suffering will be rewarded in the next life.  Oh wait, it won’t because you were poor and wasted your life so you obviously sinned, so it’s okay if we kick your face in a few more times.

Like I said, working as intended.

The Unholy Trinity: Koch Brothers, ALEC, and the NRA

Veracity Stew

Much has been written about the shameful killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida. This article is not about his accused killer, George Zimmerman. Much has been written about him also. This article is about the unholy alliance that helped to create the ‘Stand Your Ground’ (or Castle Doctrine) laws that enabled George Zimmerman to get away with murder in Florida: The Koch Brothers, ALEC, and the NRA.

ALEC, also known as the American Legislative Exchange Council, is a not-for-profit entity whose goal is to rewrite laws and produce ‘model bills’ that govern our rights. It boasts a $7 million a year budget, and calls itself the nation’s largest group of state legislators but, in fact, the majority of its funding comes from corporations and special interest groups. So, it should be no surprise that its laws mostly benefit corporate America. Among the myriad corporations funding ALEC are Koch Industries and the National Rifle Association. ALEC has been instrumental in promoting the so-called ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws that are shielding Trayvon Martin’s alleged killer. There are now 24 states with sweeping ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws, just like the one in Florida.

WATCH HERE…

The Koch Brothers are billionaires who spend millions of dollars funding groups, like ALEC and the Tea Party’s Americans for Prosperity, to rewrite our laws in their own right-wing ideological image. Twice a year, the Koch Brothers invite conservative politicians and millionaires to a summit to discuss legislative agenda. Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas are two of the past attendees. Ergo, we should not be surprised about theCitizens United ruling.  The brothers are not shy about spending millions to influence legislation and, perhaps, buy an election while they’re at it.

In the wake of the Trayvon Martin murder, the Koch Brothers sought to distance themselves from the  ensuing controversy by releasing a statement saying that they had nothing to do with it. This is an utter lie. Michael Morgan of Koch Industries has sat on ALEC’s Private Enterprise Board for 10 years, is the Kansas State Corporate Co-Chair, and was the ‘Vice Chairman’ level sponsor of the 2011 ALEC Annual Conference.

Not surprisingly, the driving force behind the ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws is the NRA. Why? Simple economics. The NRA championed the original Florida law in 2004, and hascontinued to push for these laws across the nation. In August 2005, NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer asked legislators and lobbyists at a closed-door meeting of ALEC’s Criminal Justice Task Force to adopt the Florida ‘Castle Doctrine’ bill as an ALEC model bill. According to the NRA, her suggestion “was well received” and was approved “unanimously.”

So, there you have it. The dots have been connected. It’s getting easier and easier to buy legislation without the direct input of the American people who, especially in this particular case, live and die by these laws.

Writer’s Note: An article just popped up on my screen regarding the ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws. The Congressional Black Caucus, an all-black, all-Democratic group of 42 Senators and Representatives have introduced a resolution to repeal the ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws in every state, including Florida.