Friday, February 27, 2009

Obama's Message on Change and Progressive Values Versus Conservative Failed Ideology and Policies & Jindal's Tall Tales

UPDATE: 1:17 PM & 2:42 PM & 3:55 PM, Feb. 27, 2009

Jindal's response to Obama
Jindal's Folksy Tall Tales: Katrina & Excorcisms
And his off hand attack on science " 140 Million on something called Volcano Monitoring "
( just another attack on Science versus God- )
Public Perception of Democrats as Tax and spend
Myth that Republicans are fiscally responsible
Reality versus Perception & Propaganda
Chris Mathew's " Oh God" moment
Mayor Grose-Watermelons & Obama

Anyway let's begin with part of Bobby Jindal's response on behalf of the Republican Party to Obama's speech to the joint session of the House. Jindal is just another ultraconservative locked into a bankrupt ideology which in the real world has utterly failed. His response to economic meltdown is more tax cuts for the rich and everybody else should just pray and accept that their fate and their predicament is a matter of God's Will or just a natural result of the economic system. While average Americans lose their jobs and their homes the rich CEO's demand their bonuses and their unlimited expense accounts and private Jets and Limos and so called working vacations in the finest resorts in the world all expenses paid. These are things all Americans should be upset about yet ultraconservatives such as Sean Hannity tells them that the Rich deserve their wealth even if it was acquired by questionable means. Maybe this economic meltdown will be a wake up call and they will realize that these conservative spokespersons and Media Stars from Limbaugh to Coulter have been manipulating them to advance their own selfish interests and agenda .

Gov. Bobby Jindal's Republican Response To Obama's Address to Congress; Part 1/2, 02-24-09

also see: Bobby Jindal's Blustery Day by Joe Klein, Time Magazine Feb. 22, 2009

and on the veracity of Jindal's folksy story about hurricane Katrina:

" Jindal's Speech Wasn't Only Bad, It Was Full of Sh*t" by Melissa McEwan, Shakesville at AlterNet February 27, 2009.Surprise, surprise.

" Jindal's Katrina Story: A Tall Tale? "By Zachary Roth at Talking Points Memo Muckraker - February 26, 2009.

The evidence continues to grow that the story Bobby Jindal told Tuesday night -- about how he backed a tough-talking sheriff's efforts to rescue Katrina victims, government red-tape be damed -- was, how to put it ... made up.

and more on Jindal's Folksy Dumbing down style : Given the years under Bush of attacking science & the dumbing down of the American people it is no wonder that Jindal would attack " something called Volcano Monitoring ". Its really not that much of a stretch to attack Volcano Monitoring by Ultraconservative Christians who believ that scientific knowledge can not in their view really predict any so called natural event since these events ultimately in their view are under the control of God and Providence as in Hurricane Katrina which many of them believe was a punishment from God of America because America was on its way to becoming Godless and that New Orleans allows for in their view the Evil Satanically influenced Gay Pride Parades. See Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and Ann Coulter & Michael Savage etc.

As " Your Right Hand Thief "blog points out that only 14 million not 140 million is going to monitor volcano activity and that secondly Jindal doesn't seem to understand Volcano Monitoring and why it is important and that it could save lives. Is Jindal that dumb or is it part of his down-home Folksy act.

February 26, 2009
Jindal [versus] the Volcano , Your Right Hand Thief Feb. 26, 2009

"$140 million for something called 'volcano monitoring.'"

Is the "hall-monitoring, library-inhabiting, science-fair-winning class president" really befuddled by the strange concept of "volcano monitoring"? Did he not have time to look it up prior to including it in the biggest speech of his political life? Or was our Ivy League Rhodes Scholar Biology major whiz kid feigning ignorance to seem more "in touch" with the hoi polloi? As I said before, I don't mind that Jindal is a geek, but I do mind that the media and many of his supporters give him credit for smarts when it is clear that he has made a conscious decision to say and believe DUMB things for political gain.

Cenk Uygur comments on Jindal's response to Obama's speech. What's with Jindal's reference to Hurricane Katrina. Well the Bush Regime messed up -FEMA failed. Is he just too folksy.
More folksy than Sara Palin. Jindal is an embarrassment.

Bobby Jindal Gives A Pathetic Speech-The Young Turks Feb. 25, 2009

Even Fox News has trouble defending Jindal's speech. " It came off as amaturish "

Bobby Jindal Bombs

Maddow at first is left speechless then wonders if Jindal is saying that governments always fail and so can not be dependent upon so what's the choice. Inept government or no government at all. Government failure during Katrina as a model for good government or what?

Chris Mathews points out the audacity and hypocrisy of the Republicans concerning Obama's policies. They did nothing to rein in Bush's spending spree and they were many in their party or connected with their administration who were themselves corrupt and dishonest.

Rachel Maddow's Take on the "Republican Response" to President's Speech 02/24/09
Jindal like Palin is on the far right ie anti-abortion in all cases with no exceptions such as incest or rape. His advice to those suffering in his state is to "pray ".

Howard Dean and Olbermann discuss whether the governors' claims that they disagree with the Stimulus Bill are just posing knowing one way or the other most of them or their state legislators will insist on accepting the money. Obama's message is to put politics aside while Americans try to get the economy back on track. Republicans making a mistake by standing up to Obama at the wrong time.

Countdown: Howard Dean on Republicans Rejecting the Stimulus Bill Funding-Feb. 19, 2009

Background on Bobby Jindal a bright guy but is involved in some strange stuff . He believes that he acted as an Exorcist to expel a demon from a friend. Sara Palin was also involved with an Excorcist and a religious fringe group . June 12, 2008.

Bobby Jindal is too Crazy to be McCain's VP- the Young Turks Cenk uygur

TPMtv: Be Gone, Demons!-June 12, 2008 - Jindal's Other job as an Excorcist

" Obama Makes a Persuasive Pitch for His Progressive Agenda " By Dylan Loewe, Huffington Post. Feb. 24, 2009.

What was most impressive about his speech was the way he framed his progressive arguments to Congress.

In 50 minutes last night, the president of the United States used his first speech to a joint session of Congress as a launching point, a chance to transform the bulk of his entire campaign platform into the core of a bold first year agenda. In one of his most compelling arguments to date, he laid out a blueprint going forward, rich with clarity and powered by an ever-accruing political capital.

What was most impressive about the speech was not its cadence and tone, but the framing used to sell its contents. Obama couched his unabashedly progressive agenda as critical to the country's long term economic future. Where President Clinton became famous for taking Republican ideas and wrapping them in Democratic arguments, President Obama called for some of the most liberal policies in a generation, and did so using the voice of a fiscal conservative.

He argued that investments in education were critical if the next generation is expected to compete in a global economy. He saw health care reform as critical relief to businesses that are buckling under the weight of providing for their employees in a badly broken system. And he argued that renewable energy policy was a national security issue, not an environmental one.

And some though impressed by Obama's speech have their reservations which I also share in my own asides throughout:

" Getting Warmer " by Robert Scheer at, Feb. 25, 2009

...The one truly memorable, historically significant line—unfortunately desperately needed because of the shameful actions of his predecessor—was: “ … I can stand here tonight and say without exception or equivocation that the United States does not torture.”

aside:( this may sound good but there are still questions whether his administration is allowing abuses of prisoners to take place which the former regime claimed were not torture and did not violate the Geneva Conventions but will these POWs also be granted their legal rights ie right to counsel not to be held indefinitely, not informing family where and why they are being held and the corollary to that is whether those who did things in the past are going to punished in some form - ie trials and jail time or just simply being relieved of duty or fired- there must be some form of accountability in the form of consequences otherwise its just nice bits of rhetoric to silence the critics... GORD. )

That simple declarative sentence justifies my vote for the man, no matter my disagreements with him. It is recognition of the essential vitality of a free society as defined by our Founders through the protections they wrote into the Constitution and which George W. Bush so casually demolished. As Obama put it, “ … [L]iving our values doesn’t make us weaker, it makes us safer and it makes us stronger.”

Another gift of this speech is the reassertion that government exists to redress our grievances rather than exacerbate them. His is a bold reincarnation of the wisdom of Franklin Delano Roosevelt that the Democratic Party had all but abandoned. Obama’s insistence that government rather than just the “free market” should set needed priorities is refreshing and important, particularly in light of his emphasizing the changes needed in education, health care and energy efficiency—the three areas that a short-term view of economic growth has systematically neglected since the New Deal

...The other problem with the speech is that while Obama made some fleeting references to getting rid of Cold War-era weapons and did promise an end to the Iraq disaster, he once again left open the door to the United States being trapped in an even more treacherous quagmire in Afghanistan.

Aside:(Obama has already said he will put some 17,000 more troups into Afghanistan and has ordered attacks within Pakistan while giving unconditional support to Israel and refusing to deal sincerely and openly with Hamas in Gaza or in dealing with Iran. Israel as has been noted has ratcheted up the rhetoric over Iran and seems determined to attack Iran and possibly Syria widening its war in the name of National Security or are the Israelis intent on further land grabs or just making daily life an impossibility for the Palestinians and the neighboring Arab and Muslim countries. If Obama is serious about cutting back on the military buget and the role of the military then he should begin withdrawing troops from some of the 160 nations where US troops are stationed. Bring them home and put an end to Empire building- GORD. )

...At some point, if he is to make good on his promise to cut the deficit by half within four years, he will have to confront the military-industrial complex, which now obtains much larger annual budget allocations than when President Dwight Eisenhower issued his famous warning.

Currently, military spending makes up 60 percent of the federal government’s discretionary budget. Let me offer one example of why the president must begin to turn swords into plowshares if we are to have a sound economy. That example concerns his bold call for spending $15 billion a year on the entire program to develop alternative sources of energy. Sounds like a lot of money, but it isn’t when one considers that an almost equal amount, $14 billion, for Virginia-class submarines—worthless in fighting landlocked terrorists—was pushed through the Congress in the month before Obama took office.

...The critical test for Obama will be to break that incestuous circle of influence—particularly the clout of the bankers and the war profiteers and the other top lobbies that pay off both parties—and put the public interest first.

Aside:But given the people he has so far surrounded himself with this is going to be rather difficult . Biden, Clinton and others are rather hawkish and owe their allegiance to various special interests such as lobbyists of big corporations, Big Coal, Big Oil, Big Pharmacy and the Israeli Lobby and various Christian Zionists organizations etc. So can they really put the public interests first.GORD.)

George Lakoff in his article argues that Obama is trying to bring in new policies an programs based on what is needed and what will work but they are also based upon basic progressive values which he is attempting to communicate to the American people and he is especially trying to reach out to those conservatives who are not necessarily ultraconservative on each and every issue. Obama wants to convince American that these progressive values are in fact American values. For instance Lakoff touches on the subject of empathy versus selfishness .

This is one of my favorite notions which is that policies and programs should be based on what constitutes fairness and economic justice That is doing unto others as you would have them do onto you . Is it fair and just not to help out those who require assistance. Should society be based upon a system which rewards those born into a more privileged position. Should we try to level the playing field as it were. This means educational opportunities , financial stability and employment opportunities. It seems odd in a time of economic crisis to blame those who have lost their jobs or homes through no fault of their own and just tell them to pray or pull up their own bootstraps when there are few options open to millions of Americans. This message is easier to sell during hard economic times but it should be a basic value in a civilized and just society. There are always certain disparities which deny opportunities to those who are less fortunate than others. This is not because of some personal failing or character trait but is a matter fate or fortune or providence. A system which punishes the less fortunate while rewarding the more fortunate is not a fair or just system. Allowances must be made for the circumstances into which someone is born or finds themselves in.

Lakoff's other important observation is that the progressives and those who support Obama need to enhance their ability in a collective manner to communicate not just to other progressives but also to the public at large what these basic values are and how they affect policies and programs or to put it another way why a particular policy is the right thing to do and how to make programs work so that they achieve their necessary goals. This means to some extent copying from the conservative playbook the difference should be that of being more honest than these conservatives propagandists have been over the last eight years.

" 7 Reasons Why Obama's Speeches Are So Powerful " By George Lakoff, AlterNet. Feb. 24, 2009.

The president is using his enormous skills as a communicator to express a moral framework.


The Obama Code is based on seven deep, insightful and subtle intellectual moves. What Obama has been attempting in his speeches is a return to the original frames of the framers, reconstituting what it means to be an American, to be patriotic, to be a citizen and to share in both the sacrifices and the glories of our country.

In seeking "bipartisan" support, he is looking beyond political affiliations to those who share those values on particular issues. In his economic plan, he is attempting to realign our economy with the moral missions of government: protection and empowerment for all.

The president hasn't fooled the radical ideological conservatives in Congress. They know progressive values when they see them -- and they see them in their own colleagues and constituents too often for comfort.

The radical conservatives are aware that this economic crisis threatens not only their political support, but the very underpinnings of conservative ideology itself. Nonetheless, their brains have not been changed by facts. Movement conservatives are not fading away. They think their conservative values are the real American values. They still have their message machine, and they are going to make the most of it.

The ratings for Fox News and Limbaugh are rising. Without a countervailing communications system on the Democratic side, they can create a lot of trouble, not just for the president, not just for the nation, but on a global scale, for the environmental and economic future of the world.

also see:

Bill Redux by Marie Cocco Truthdig Feb. 25, 2009

At Last, Accepting Some Clues From Across the Pond by Joe Conason at Truthdig Feb. 25, 2009

...But how can we cope with rising costs when we have yet to achieve the basic national goal of providing universal coverage? Perhaps now Americans will look abroad and notice that other countries provide quality care to all of their citizens, spending less than half what we do and achieving better outcomes.

In the coming decades, European countries, as well as Canada and Japan, will be able to invest their resources in energy and education, while we try to figure out how to borrow enough to keep our hospitals open. What they all have in common is that they do not devote a huge proportion of their health spending to the profits of insurance companies—and they negotiate budgets with health providers, such as pharmaceutical companies.

The superior performance of these alternatives is at long last coming to the attention of the mainstream media, which has so long ignored it.

As always, Congress will resist change on behalf of the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbies, preferring to do nothing. But perhaps in the coming years the public will realize that such feckless politicians should be told to go do nothing somewhere else.

and :

" Government’s Long Night May Be Ending " By E.J. Dionne at Truthdig Feb. 25, 2009

President Obama’s message to the nation Tuesday night was plain and unequivocal: The era of bashing government is over. So, too, is the folklore of a marketplace capable of producing abundance without regulation, government oversight or public intervention. Addressing the deepest crisis of confidence in the market system since the Great Depression, Obama argued that the economic downturn, far from being an excuse for backing away from his ambitious plans, makes his proposals in health care, energy and education imperative.

“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,” Obama declared, echoing generations of American progressives before him. “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.”

Lincoln Mitchell comments on the erroneously held view that the Democrats are the party of tax and spend while the Republicans are seen as lowering taxes and cutting spending which is really a myth . But he claims what matters is the reality but the public perceptions concerning the two parties.

The Potential Impact of Jindal's Message by Lincoln Mitchell at Huffington Post , Feb. 27, 2009

...While it is not, in any meaningful sense, the case that the Democratic Party is the party of tax and spend, they are a party of tax and spend. Of course, the other party of tax and spend, or more precisely, borrow and spend, is the Republican Party. For Jindal, and other calculating Republican strategists, this nuance can be brushed over, because what matters is not which party is fiscally responsible, but which party voters see as being more fiscally responsible. Jindal is betting that the Republicans are still seen this way by voters who will be willing to forget the Bush years, or dismiss them as an aberration, just as many quickly forgot the massive debts run up by the Reagan administration. Over the next few months, charges like those made by Bobby Jindal, will become increasingly common. The Republicans will likely repeat these charges, which after decades, voters are primed to believe, until they begin to sink in.

The task for the Democrats, at all levels, is to remind voters that this analysis is not true; and that it was Republican policies of tax, borrow and spend, albeit largely on foreign policy fantasies rather than useful infrastructure and programs, that created the debt problem our country will face for years to come. It should also be kept in mind that the real cost of the Iraq war will likely dwarf even this massive stimulus bill. No Republican should be allowed to get away with a speech like the one Bobby Jindal made without the Democratic leadership; and not just, or even primarily, the White House, pushing back and reminding Americans about the enormous debt the Bush administration ran up, and the shoddy record of Republican fiscal prudence, which goes back for decades. Moreover, it is critical to proactively take this issue away from the Republican Party by attacking them for their fiscal incompetence and the rampant spending during the six years that their party controlled congress and the presidency...

" Chris Matthews Explains "Oh, God!" Utterance " by Jason Linkins at Huffington Post , Feb. 25, 2009

During today's Hardball, Chris Matthews will address the moment last night when a live mic caught him muttering "Oh, God," as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal came out to deliver the GOP rebuttal to President Obama's address.

Here's a bit of what Matthews will say, according to an NBC spokesperson:

I was taken aback by that peculiar stagecraft, the walking from somewhere in the back of this narrow hall, this winding staircase looming there, the odd anti-bellum [sic] look of the scene. Was this some mimicking of a president walking along the state floor to the East Room?

and Mayor Grose quits over watermelon email claims he didn't know about watermelons being part of a black stereotype - who's he kidding !

" Mayor Who Sent Obama Watermelon Email Quits " at Huffington Post, Feb. 27, 2009

( Mayor )Grose says he accepts that the e-mail was in poor taste and has affected his ability to lead the city. Grose said he didn't mean to offend anyone and claimed he was unaware of the racial stereotype linking black people with eating watermelons.

and so it goes,

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