Saturday, January 30, 2010

Obama's Speech: Your Reviews...

... which are comming to you by way of Sorry for the link to the story missing, I'm still not able to post the link in the way that I wish it to be shown.

"OBAMA EATS REPUBLICANS' LUNCH"! Reviews, bonus, poll, photos
by blackwaterdog
Sat Jan 30, 2010 (edited for content)
After the last couple of days, i'm thinking maybe Monarchy is not such a bad idea.
First: best three random reactions out of hundreds, maybe thousands, that i've read all over the web yesterday:
"It was as though Obama reauthorized torture for 90 minutes—a masterful performance".
"This was like something straight from The West Wing. Glad i've been alone so i could shout to the TV: LET OBAMA BE OBAMA!"*
"I scared the bejeezus out of all three dogs cheering Obama on! That was absolutely the best political teevee I have ever seen, outside Election night last year and Inauguration Day!!
Third, all kinds of reviews:
Obama's Question Time: An Amazing Moment
The moment President Obama began his address to Republicans in Baltimore today, I began to receive e-mails from Democrats: Here's an except from one of them: "I don't know whether to laugh or cry that it took a f$$@&$* year for Obama to step into the ring and start throwing some verbal blows... I'm definitely praying at mass on Sunday morning that this Obama doesn't take another 12 month vacation."
This e-mail comes from a very influential Democrat.
Accepting the invitation to speak at the House GOP retreat may turn out to be the smartest decision the White House has made in months. Debating a law professor is kind of foolish: the Republican House Caucus has managed to turn Obama's weakness -- his penchant for nuance -- into a strength. Plenty of Republicans asked good and probing questions, but Mike Pence, among others, found their arguments simply demolished by the president. (By the way: can we stop with the Obama needs a teleprompter jokes?)
More than the State of the Union -- or on top of the State of the Union -- this may be a pivotal moment for the future of the presidential agenda on Capitol Hill. (Democrats are loving this. Chris Hayes, The Nation's Washington bureau chief, tweeted that he hadn't liked Obama more since the inauguration.)
... Republicans may have wished they had spoken to John McCain about what happened to him in the presidential debates before they decided to broadcast this session. The president looked genuinely engaged, willing to discuss things. Democrats believe that he tossed away the GOP talking points and lack of real plans into a bludgeon against them. "The whole question was structured by a talking point," he told Jeb Hensarling. Obama took the blame for not living up to some of his promises on transparency in health care negotiations. He displayed a familiarity with Republican proposals that seemed to astonish those who asked questions of him. And at the end, Republicans rushed up to him, pens and photo cameras in hands, wanting autographs and pictures.
Mused one mid-level White House official: "This really is the best thing we've done in a long, long time".
Remember the old joke, "I was at a fight and a hockey game broke out?" Well, earlier this afternoon, I was at a photo opportunity and a policy debate broke out.
Obama's Q&A session with the House Republicans was transfixing. What should have been a banal exchange of talking points was actually a riveting reminder of how rarely you hear actual debate -- which is separate from disagreement -- between political players.
This was a surprise. The session was clearly proposed so that Obama could appear to be taking real steps to reach out to Republicans. That implied warm feelings and a studied unwillingness to cause offense. But that was not the event we just saw. Instead, Obama stood at a podium for an hour and hammered his assailants. That makes it sound partisan and disrespectful. But it wasn't. It was partisan, but respectful.
There's a value in proving that you understand the other side's ideas deeply enough to disagree with them. And that was the message of Obama's session. Not that the Republicans were right. But that he'd looked hard enough at their ideas to realize they were wrong. I'm willing to work on tort reform, Obama said, but it's not a credible way to rein in health-care spending. The GOP budget might save a lot of money in theory, he admitted, but it does that by voucher-izing Medicare and holding its spending constant even as health cost increase -- which means seniors will go without a lot of necessary care. And it's hard to take that proposal seriously coming from the party that spent the past few months saying slight decreases in Medicare Advantage reimbursement represented an unforgivable threat to seniors.
Amazed that Obama knows offhand that Ryan wants Medicare vouchers. More amazed he can explain it offhand. This is a command performance.
Yesterday, I interviewed David Axelrod and was struck by his inability to explain how the White House would highlight the the difference between disagreement and obstruction. Today's session, if it becomes a regular event rather than a one-off, provided part of the answer. He'll debate them directly. But that may be tough to do. Republicans are already spreading the word that they made a mistake allowing cameras into the event. Apparently, transparency sounds better in press releases than it does in practice.
But if this is to be the last of these we see for a while, make sure to take the time and watch it, or read the transcript. It's some of the best political television I've seen in memory.
I'm reasonably certain I've never seen anything like it. GOP House members were fairly respectful of the president, but pressed him on a variety of policy matters. The president didn't just respond effectively, he delivered a rather powerful, masterful performance.
It was like watching a town-hall forum where all of the questions were confrontational, but Obama nevertheless just ran circles around these guys. I can only assume caucus members, by the end of the Q&A, asked themselves, "Whose bright idea was it to invite the president and let him embarrass us on national television?" .
Note, however, that this wasn't just about political theater -- it was an important back-and-forth between the president and his most forceful political detractors. They were bringing up routine far-right talking points that, most of the time, simply get repeated in the media unanswered. But in Baltimore, the president didn't just respond to the nonsense, he effectively debunked it.
Republicans thought they were throwing their toughest pitches, and Obama -- with no notes, no teleprompter, and no foreknowledge -- just kept knocking 'em out of the park.
It's easy to forget sometimes just how knowledgeable and thoughtful Obama can be on matters of substance. I don't imagine the House Republican caucus will forget anytime soon -- if the president is going to use their invitation to score big victories, he probably won't be invited back next year.
Nevertheless, the White House should schedule more of these. A lot more of these.
...It was sort of like Prime Minister’s Questions and it revealed, simply put, that Barack Obama is a lot smarter and better-informed than his antagonists. A lot. He very calmly and coolly dismantled them.
To me, personally, it’s not a surprise. I debated policy with Mike Pence once and the guy is a stone-cold idiot. That was a years ago and I’ve been surprised since then to learn that conservatives consider him an unusually sharp policy mind and I take leading rightwingers at their word about that. But it’s the kind of thing that I think most Americans aren’t aware of. Obama knows what he’s talking about. A lot of the members of Congress you see on TV all the time talking smack don’t. That’s not always clear to people since the TV anchors interviewing them usually also don’t know what they’re talking about. Judd Gregg’s whining freakout on MSNBC yesterday punctured the illusion of calm confidence and so did Obama’s back-and-forth.
Mike Madden:
Before President Obama started speaking to the House Republican conference's retreat in Baltimore Friday, the GOP presented him with a little book, one that wrapped up all of the policy ideas they've had since he took office that have languished. It had a catchy title: "Better Solutions." The pamphlet may not be an ideal blueprint for governing -- it only takes 30 pages to wrap up everything from economic stimulus to national security to financial reform -- but, as it turned out, it did make for a pretty good prop.
Which Obama demonstrated about an hour into what was easily the most entertaining program C-SPAN (or any cable news network, really) has aired in a long time "You say, for example, that we've offered a health care plan, and I look up -- this is just {in} the book that you've just provided me, 'Summary of GOP Health Care Reform Bill,'" Obama said, casually flipping through the book as Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., stood by. Price had demanded the president tell Republicans how they should answer constituents who don't like the way the White House says the GOP hasn't offered any ideas. So Obama played it deadpan. '"The GOP plan will lower health care premiums for American families and small businesses, addressing America's number one priority for health reform.' I mean, that's an idea that we all embrace. But specifically it's got to work."
Two days after his feisty State of the Union speech, Obama's trip to the retreat started off slowly, with a speech that could have worked almost anywhere with only a few edits ahead of time. And then the question-and-answer session got started, and the event turned into a spectacle, the kind of thing that hasn't been seen in American politics in years -- and probably won't again, once the people responsible for putting it together go back to look at the video. (Which is too bad, because NBC does have an opening for a 10 p.m. show, and this was a lot more watchable than Leno.) Rarely has his administration done such a good job of bluntly underscoring the differences between what Obama wants to do and what Republicans would prefer if they had power. The president was funny and disarming, but he defended his policies fiercely, and he tiptoed up to the line of calling Republicans liars to their faces...
The whole thing basically went like that: Republican asks obnoxious question rooted in Glenn Beck-ian talking points; Obama swats it away, makes the questioner look silly, and then smiles at the end. It got so bad, in fact, that Fox News cut away from the event before it was over. Democratic operatives around Washington watching it had pretty much the same reaction: "Where the hell has this guy been?" One source said GOP aides probably wished they'd spoken to John McCain "about what happened to him in the presidential debates" before they broadcast the event. "It's quite a show," a White House official said, apparently going for the same deadpan tone the president was...
... By the time Obama was done, and had stayed about 30 minutes past when he was scheduled to leave, Republican leadership was ready to get him out of the room. One GOP lawmaker asked for one more question, and as Obama started to say he was out of time, Pence jumped in, too: "He's gone way over." And with that, Obama took his booklet of GOP policy proposals and left the room -- in much better political shape, possibly, than he was when he walked in...
Obama performed as well as any British prime minister during Question Time. The same cannot be said for the Republicans who, by and large, tried to use dishonest arguments and demonstrably inaccurate statistics only to have Obama tell them to get serious and stop trying to score cheap political points. I can honestly say that if as many Americans watched today's Q & A with the Republicans as watched the State of the Union, our political problems would be over. If we had Question Time, we'd have a much easier time winning over public opinion and sustaining support for progressive policies.
The Republicans certainly will not want to repeat this extremely painful beat-down.
Obama is adressing the GOP retreat in Baltimore right now, and it's being televised live. It's remarkable that Republicans agreed to this. The guy at the mike always has an advantage in these kinds of forums, and in any case Obama is better than most at this kind of thing. For the most part, he's running rings around them. I don't know if this will have any long-term effect, but it's good for Obama and, regardless, a good show. Presidents should do this kind of thing more often.
But here's the key thing: Obama is best at this. He is best at defusing conflict; he is superb at engaging civilly with his opponents. It's part of his legacy - I remember how many conservatives respected him at the Harvard Law Review. But he needs to do more of this, even though he may get nothing in return. Why? Because unless the tone changes, unless the pure obstructionism and left-right ding-dong cycle stops, we are on a fast track to catastrophe.
That was the core message of Obama in the election. It was one of my core reasons for backing him over Clinton - because he has the capacity to reach out this way. I remain depressed at the prospects for a breakthrough, but this was good politics and good policy. More, please. Do this every month. Maybe over the long haul, the poison of the past has to be worked through with Obama as therapist in chief.
The Guardian:
Obama eats Republicans' lunch
"When the Republicans invited President Obama to address their congressional House delegation in Baltimore today, they had no idea how badly it would turn out for them.
Presumably the Republicans thought they'd get a high-profile chance to grill the president on live television. But instead, Obama – following on from his state of the union address on Wednesday night – turned the tables by highlighting the Republicans who opposed his policies and refused to bend, yet were prepared to "turn up and cut ribbons" when their constituents reaped the rewards.
Obama also displayed a rare grasp of policy and legislation, wrong-footing his questioners to their face with some stern rebuttal and in some instances quoting their own positions back to them to highlight the contradictions. He mocked the GOP for presenting healthcare reforms as a "Bolshevik plot" – and got a laugh, even from the Republican audience – and suggested that their approach was counterproductive:
I think we can confidently predict this is the last time the Republicans invite the president to a similar format. Indeed, because the hall the Republicans are holding their event seemed to have just a single TV camera, Obama literally took the spotlight away. Republican questioners showed up as shadowy figures, and when caucus leader Mike Pence kicked off the Republican questions at first he couldn't be heard at all.
At the end, shaking hands with the president, Pence's face looked as if he'd sucked a lemon for an hour – and in a way he had.
A sign of how compelling the footage was: the US cable networks, always so trigger-happy and ready to move on if an event is looking boring, stuck with the live feed, although Fox did cut away first for analysis.
The net effect is that Obama looked serious, reasonable and intelligent. The Republicans got to sound like whiners, complaining about various pet peeves and chewing over their old laundry list of tax cuts and opposition".
John Cole:
For some reason, the GOP allowed the cameras to roll at their retreat during a question time session with President Obama, and he spent the next hour and a half depantsing them. Pretty funny stuff:
If Mike Pence really is regarded as one of the deep thinkers for the GOP, I’m beginning to understand why they refused to admit Terri Schiavo was brain-dead.
President Obama just spoke before the House Republican caucus and then took questions from members - live. It was amazing television - watchable, interesting, feisty and even a little dramatic. I was reminded of the campaign when, in a single speech in Philadelphia, Obama neutralized the Jeremiah Wright issue that could have sunk his candidacy. The environment and subject matter are obviously completely different now, but Obama proved again that he performs best when he's up against the wall. Today, at the caucus meeting, he went right after Republicans on their turf and, in my opinion, owned them.!-Reviews,-bonus,-poll,-photos

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Andre Bauer Speaks Of The Poor In South Carolina

This was to funny to not post for you.

LtGov of SC: "Don't feed the poor. They'll 'breed.'"
by goinsouth Sun Jan 24, 2010
Once in a while, one of the ruling elite is so overcome by hubris or stupidity that he lets slip out one of the truisms that the rich tell themselves to justify their never-ending rape and pillaging of their neighbors, their communities, their nation and the world.
A few days ago, it was Pat Robertson who let slip one of the old myths about Haiti. God had cursed it, Robertson claimed, because those black slaves had made a deal with devil to get rid of the French. Don't think that Robertson made that story up on the spot. He had picked it up somewhere: from his FFV family, as he studied for his Yale Law degree or sitting at the knee of his U. S. Senator father.
Now comes Andre Bauer, Lieutenant Governor (edited--thanks to comments) of South Carolina, with the following wisdom, also oft-repeated around the dinner tables of the wealthy:
Read the unbelievable things he said after the break:
"My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed," Bauer said, according to the Greenville News. "You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don't think too much further than that. And so what you've got to do is you've got to curtail that type of behavior. They don't know any better."
It might be easy to dismiss both Robertson and Bauer as Southern whites imbued in the racism of that region, but that would be wrong. Through the comment of a fellow Kossack, I came upon this Truthout article exposing the attitudes of a rich young Brazilian, scion of a wealthy family, who now worked for Goldman Sachs. What the Brazilian Master of the Universe spouted were the same, elaborate myths and pseudo-science all designed to justify his great wealth obtained and maintained by ruthless exploitation of his fellow human beings.
The next day, we were all sitting poolside at Pedro's plantation. I got up to go into the kitchen of the house 20 feet away to get a beer. Pedro said to me, "Oh, just ring the bell; they'll bring a beer." Thinking of what folks at home in Pittsburgh would do if they found out I had used a bell to call for a servant to bring a beer, I decided to get up and get my own damn beer.
The next day, as Pedro and his buddies, who were visiting the plantation that weekend, sat around at the pool, they sounded off against the popular Brazilian welfare program for single mothers - Bolsa Familia. Bolsa Familia helps single mothers living under the poverty line to send their children to school, which alleviates the pressure on poor families to send their children to work in violation of child labor laws. Bolsa Familia was cited by the United Nation for reducing poverty by 27 percent in Brazil.
The success of the program and its significance to progress in their country was apparently lost on the privileged, as Pedro and his friends lounged by the pool ringing bells for servants to bring them beers while they complained about how poor people should be rewarded to be lazy and unproductive.
In their country clubs, around their swimming pools, over their power lunches, these are the stories and attitudes that circulate. These tales are concocted to justify the sociopathic behavior of the rich, to quell the rare and faint stirrings of conscience complaining about their absurd wealth in the face of such massive world poverty. The thrust is that those whom they oppress with their financial schemes and wars are not truly human like them. They are "stray animals" who would just "breed" if they had ample access to the simple necessities of life.
It is the Robertsons and Bauers who are less than human, devoid of compassion, deluding themselves with their own silly fairy tales so they can pretend to believe that their savagery toward their own species is moral.