President Barack Obama gave his first State of the Union speech last night. Instead of preaching to the choir, it was more like he was preaching to the mob. In response to the Republicans beating the crap out of him for a whole year, he pathetically asked them if they would like to play nice.
I'd never noticed before, but the right-wing ideologues on the Supreme Court look like executioners, all dressed up in black robes so when the blood splatters all over them, it won't show so much. It has been reported that one of these neocon judges made a nasty crack in the middle of Obama's speech. When President Obama criticized the Supreme Court for opening the floodgates of our elections to corporate and possibly foreign control, one of the justices supposedly mouthed the words "Not True." Well, it is true, and they knew exactly what they were doing. These people on our Supreme Court want to destroy democracy. They are fascists. They do believe that a small group of superior human beings (white male Republicans) should rule everyone, own everything, control the world, and everybody else should have no rights at all. They believe in injustice and corruption, and they are using their position to enrich their allies.
And the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the military dudes. And Robert Gates. Noticed how they all sat looking stern when Obama said he was "really really" interested in possibly doing something about the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy in the military. These dudes had a look on their face like: Over my dead body. Who is running this show, anyway?
I didn't hear much in the speech that excited me. President Obama very clearly asked the Republicans to begin doing their job, to work together with the Democrats to help the people. The Republicans sneered at him. As an aside, the Republican "side" of the chambers was all white male. Not that the Democrats are all that inclusive, but they certainly do a little better than that.
How did George W. Bush manage to push through all the damaging policies of his administration when the Republicans had a smaller majority in Congress than the Democrats do today? By getting out and rallying people to support it. They lied, yes, but they convinced the public that these policies were right.
One of the problems with the Democrats is that they have no bold policies, programs or ideas. Instead, they are simply promoting the same tired old pro-corporate programs that Bush supported, but with slight modifications.
How about that line when President Obama said that "we" all hated bailing out Wall Street and the banks. And every politician in view of the cameras stood up and cheered. Bull. If they hated doing it, if they're really really mad at the financial community, then why do they all take bribes from the same folks? Why did they take a percentage kick-back, which is what it appears to be, from the same people that they gave hundreds of billions of dollars of our money.
For example, Obama says he will end the tax incentives and benefits given to corporations to take jobs out of this country. That's right: Congress voted to give extra money to corporations as a reward for them throwing more Americans out of work. Obama says we should end that. But then he goes on to say we need to give tax breaks to businesses in this country for hiring people. Nonsense: the last thing we need are more tax cuts for businesses.
Obama also claims we need to cut the deficit, but proposes more tax breaks for homeowners who invest in their homes to make them more energy-efficient. Here's the problem: only the upper middle class will benefit from this program. The real middle class and working class don't have any extra money right now to put in new windows, or insulation, or put on a new roof. The upper middle class does not need any more money from the government. These are the same people who were just given $4,000 to go out and buy a new car. Most people can't afford to buy a new car right now. Obama's policies continue to favor the wealthy.
What about healthcare? If Obama and the Democrats had a real healthcare reform program, they could go out in public and sell it to the people. Go out right now and tell people that they can save $1800/year, $150/month, from this proposal. If that was true, people would be sitting in the Republicans' offices to demand that they support the healthcare program. But the Senate proposal does nothing to help most people in this country. It is just a corporate giveaway, which will bring an additional $100 Billion or more per year ito the Medical Industry.
I just got a notice from Blue Cross that they are raising my premiums by 38%, and making other changes in my policy which will make my healthcare less affordable. But the Senate bill does nothing to help me. It's ironic that I got an e-mail from President Obama this morning telling me that he wants to help the middle class. Then he asked if I would be willing to start sending him $15/month from now on. Funny, I was just thinking about asking him to help me out.
The Democrats aren't stupid. If they had a program that would really help people, they would get out there and sell it. The Senate health care bill was written by the health insurance and medical industry. Just like the credit card "reform" bill was written by the credit card industry. Just like the new proposed financial regulations "reform" was written by Wall Street then handed to Congress.
Did you hear President Obama describe his big proposed financial "reforms"? He says he's going to get really tough on Wall Street. Because Americans have the right to understand the terms and conditions of their investments. This will end up like the credit card "reform": Wall Street will have to put some new "Notice" in the mice-type forms they use. That's not reform. It's just an effort by the Democrats to pretend that they are getting tough on Wall Street, but the fact is they all take bribes from Wall Street and won't do anything to interfere with that flow of money.
What about the Lieberman issue? The Democrats should have booted him out of all positions he holds because of his claim to have been a Democrat. And they should keep him out of caucuses and meetings, because it's obvious he's working both sides, getting information from the Democrats and givig it to the Republicans. Why don't the Democrats at least take a stand on Lieberman, boot him out.
This is why people don't respect the Democrats: they have no backbone, no principles, nothing that matters enough to them that they wouldn't just sell it out, or walk away because it would be too much effort to fight for it. The Democrats don't fight for the people. The Republicans fight for the corporations and for the fascist right-wing racist war-mongers that support them.
Everybody knows Lieberman belongs to the insurance industry (not that the rest of them don't as well, just that Connecticut has a lot of insurance companies). Everytime Lieberman opens his mouth, every Democrat in Congress should be screaming about him being in the bag for the insurance industry and refusing to do anything to help Americans. Instead, the Democrats act like he's their friend.
And Rahm Emanuel is the same thing: pro-war, pro-corporation. Everybody knows it. So why is he the top guy?
How about when President Obama gave Tim Geithner a big hug, whispered in his ear. Geithner, a Wall Street messenger, a man with an enormous cloud of conflict of interest hanging over his head. He should be fired, not hugged and kissed.
I didn't hear anything exciting in the speech. President Obama is a good-looking, sincere, good speaker, very bright, nice. But I did not hear one thing that he plans to do that will make my life better.
Such as? Well, to start, go after the Republicans with a tank. Get up in their faces. Come up with real healthcare reform, then go out and sell it to the public. Come up with a real jobs program, not just more tax breaks for businesses. And this stupid little tax on banks: let's pass real tax reform and tax all compensation, including capital gains, in excess of $250,000, at the tax rate of 90%. Let's do that for awhile, and see if we can pay down some of the deficit and redistribute the wealth. A few people have gotten rich during the past decade by stealing money and jobs from the rest of us. It's only fair that those who benefitted from the crime should be required to disgorge their profits.
But all I heard last night were small ideas, small proposals. In the end, President Obama's speech was as weak as was Rodney King's plea, after the cops beat the cr*p out of him on camera then were acquitted by a jury of white folks: "Can't we all just get along?"
Here's a link to the full text of the speech: