Posts from the ‘Obama’ Category

The Media Whitewashes Jan Brewers Racist Disrespect Of President Obama


January 27, 2012

By Rmuse

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Every family has dirty little secrets that are never discussed in polite company whether it’s a drug-addicted nephew, promiscuous sister-in-law, or alcoholic uncle who cannot hold a steady job. America has a dirty little secret that existed at the country’s founding and persists in 2012, and although it is exposed from time to time, Americans like to keep quiet about it out of shame and embarrassment. Our dirty little secret has been whispered about for the past four years and was exposed in a widely circulated photograph on Wednesday.

The photograph of Arizona governor Jan Brewer shaking her finger at President Obama is about more than accusing the “Obama administration of turning a blind eye to illegal immigration because migrants will help Mr. Obama register more Democratic votes.” Brewer’s actions were more than disrespect for the leader of the most powerful nation on Earth, they were outward expressions of white supremacy befitting a pre-Civil War plantation owner scolding an errant slave who forgot to empty the master’s chamber pot.

It is no secret that Brewer harbors racist views toward Americans whose skin color is anything but lily white. She promoted and proudly signed the racial profiling law that requires law enforcement to detain and question Arizona residents who appear to be illegal (not white). The not-white is equal to not-American meme began with the birther movement and continues in not-so-coded racist campaigns of the four remaining  Republican presidential hopefuls. Brewer shaking her finger at the president characterizes white supremacists‘ contention that African Americans are inferior, not like us, and certainly not real Americans. Why else would a pathetic buffoon like Brewer feel comfortable scolding the President of the United States in public and full view of photographer’s lenses? Because she feels superior to a Black man even though his office, intellect and integrity dwarfs her racist and witless mind.

The Republican presidential hopefuls’ racism shows no sign of abating and their racially charged rhetoric is finally bringing America’s dirty little secret to the public’s attention. Each candidate has, in their own calculated manner, tied President Obama to their faulty characterization that African Americans are lazy and not really Americans. Willard “Mitt” Romney’s campaign catch-phrase, “Keep America American” was lifted from KKK literature and implies that getting rid of Obama will keep America American as if the President is a foreign interloper. Romney’s cult believed Blacks were cursed until 1978 and they changed their doctrine after it became politically incorrect to portray African Americans as inferior.

Newt Gingrich called President Obama the “food stamp president” and he is running an overtly racist campaign to appeal to white supremacists that permeate the South, and as the nation is discovering, the entire country. Gingrich went so far as recommending that to teach lazy minority children the value of the white work ethic, they should clean their white classmate’s toilets. Gingrich was not only referring to African Americans because he said that Spanish is a ghetto language imputing laziness to Spanish speaking Americans. Alan Grayson, a former Democratic congressman from Florida, called Gingrich’s racist pandering the  most “overtly racist campaign I’ve seen in the country since George Wallace.” It is no coincidence that Gingrich ramped up his racist rhetoric in South Carolina where the Confederate flag still flies over the capital; his ploy propelled him to victory and front-runner status in the race for the Republican nomination. Gingrich is aware that racism sells in America.

Rick Santorum used a white supremacist theme from Birth of a Nation with its imagery of ignorant free African Americans who are an encumbrance on white America. He said, “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money,” and it is a favorite theme of conservatives who characterize President Obama as stealing white Americans’ money to give to his lazy African American “bros” in return for their votes much like Brewer’s accusation against President Obama. Santorum’s racially charged comments are in stark contrast to his alleged Christianity that teaches love for all humanity and charity for those in need; unless they are African Americans.

The laundry list of racism and white supremacy is growing every day, and the mainstream media is keeping America’s dirty little secret under wraps. But all that changed when Brewer stuck her vile little finger in President Obama’s face as if she was scolding a disobedient slave, or an uppity Negro who has the audacity to wear a suit and sit in the Oval Office. Conservatives celebrated Brewer’s disrespect for the President because she “put the black man in his place” but they are ignoring one critical point. The Republican drive toward apartheid will backfire as the country’s population becomes “darker” and one can only imagine the rage among African Americans at the sight of a lying white supremacist shaking her finger at the first African American President who has more integrity and intelligence than ten-thousand Jan Brewers.

America can only prosper when all citizens are valued equally regardless of race. It is telling that besides the media’s reluctance to assail GOP racism, Christians espousing brotherly love are also silent. It makes sense though, because although not all Christians are Republicans, nearly all Republicans are Christians and during this campaign, racist Christian Republicans are finding success pandering to white supremacists and racist voters.

America’s dirty little secret cannot be kept quiet any longer despite the media’s best efforts to protect the GOP. They kept the secret under wraps during the 2008 general election and they are on par to repeat their hush-up of GOP racism in 2012. However, Republican presidential hopefuls brought race into the election and now, a cretin from Arizona displayed white supremacy toward the President in one photograph and although Jan Brewer is a useless dolt, she did America a favor by revealing the dirty secret that racism and white supremacy is the purview of the Republican Party. Just don’t expect any show of gratitude from decent Americans; regardless of their race.

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  4. Glenn Beck Tries to Scare Whites by Labeling Obama a Racist
  5. Fox News Chief Rupert Murdoch Also Thinks Obama is a Racist

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Arizona racial profiling, Jan Brewer, President Obama, Republican presidential hopefuls racists, Republicans racism

This entry was posted on January 27, 2012 at 10:00 am and is filed under Commentary, Featured News, rmuse. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

25 Responses to The Media Whitewashes Jan Brewer’s Racist Disrespect Of President Obama


  • Reynardine on January 27, 2012 at 10:32 am

    The “dark triad” (malignant narcissist, psychopath, and Machiavellian) types take advantage of both their victims’ and the average observer’s tendency to give the benefit of the doubt, to not attribute a malign motive where a benign or at least a neutral one will do. The reports I’ve seen on this seem to suggest she is simply a screechy old lady (a stereotype in itself). But of course, she’s a bigot. Most of us know that already.

    Reply


  • Jolene on January 27, 2012 at 10:32 am

    And the state of Georgia is attempting to keep President Obama off the ballot this November, according to Rachel Maddow on her show last night. Some Georgian judge even ordered the President to show up in his courtroom to testify! Why? Because those racist a-holes are still claiming that Obama wasn’t born in the US and therefore isn’t qualified to run for POTUS. That long drawn-out scream of despair you hear is me crying for our country.

    Reply


    • SinghX on January 27, 2012 at 11:52 am

      A judge already threw out the same lunatics once before for bring false suit over Obama’s citizenship; they were fined 20K for their misconduct. I hope this time there is jail time and the fine triples….

      Reply


  • Anne on January 27, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Brewer is trying to spin this incident in a way that shows the president as the aggressor. She is saying she felt “threatened” by him. Then, there are the Obama haters who are reflexively backing Brewer and saying she has more “balls” than the president. Of course, that speaks volumes only about her and those who back her. It is yet another example of a Republican racist who simply cannot accept the fact that she is a subordinate to a black man. I’m sure it sticks in her craw just like it does of people like Limbaugh, Beck, and Palin, along with the do-nothing GOP members of Congress, as well as the contenders for the GOP nomination. They are showing the world unmistakably that this country has come a long way, but still has a long way to go in confronting the harsh realities of racism in this country.

    Reply


  • robyn ryan on January 27, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Let’s not forget that Gov. Brewer’s own party believes that she is too stupid, amoral or degenerate to have control of her own body.

    In this instance, they may be right. At least about the mouth part.

    Reply


    • kimbutgar on January 27, 2012 at 12:50 pm

      All my in-laws in Arizona think she is a dummy and are ashamed she was elected Governor.

      Reply


  • Dan on January 27, 2012 at 11:21 am

    I’m not gonna say Jan Brewer is a racist. At least not from what I see in the photo. What I do see, is a very unprofessional Brewer shaking her finger at the leader of the free world. First of all, I can’t see how hinge would have escalated to that point, that quickly, unless she was planning it. Everyone knows of The Presidents even temper. In fact the GOP is constantly calling him a pantywaist because of it. He lost his cool on the Tarmac? Really? No she was showboating for her lunatic constituents. This will go a long way towards her re election and she knows it.

    Reply


    • Donna Kuykendall Stebbins on January 27, 2012 at 11:35 am

      She IS a racist. Everything she has done as Governor Of Arizona SHOWS she a racist puppet of our RECALLED ex-Senator Pearce and our lowlife Sheriff Joe.

      Reply


    • Filthy Pazuzu on January 27, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      It’s obvious that Jan Brewer is unprofessional, and I have no doubt she knew what she was gonna do before she even met Obama.

      But it’s also obvious the only reason her dim little mind thought it acceptable to do that to her president is because she’s a vile, narcissistic white supremacist and Obama is black.

      I bet she wouldn’t do that to the white president of her bank, the white president of her country club, or the white chairman of her state’s Republican party.

      Reply


    • Reynardine on January 27, 2012 at 2:20 pm

      She is peddling her lousy book to a racist audience. Directly she had handed the President her “private” letter to the President, she released it to the press. And although she cannot seriously think she is a lily fair maid standing up to a ravening black male, that’s the image she’s trying to create (lotsa luck).

      Reply


  • Shiva on January 27, 2012 at 11:33 am

    I hate to say it but the Democrats need to use the Republicans overt Racism in 2012. For those who don’t know the code words, it’s going to have to be made plain to everyone. The 2012 field of GOP candidates for the nomination for president are perhaps the worst that has ever been presented. Gov. Brewer is just the tip of the iceberg. While many conservatives make it a warm wet feeling down their leg when they see her shaking her finger, far more Americans see it differently. Arizona needs to look deep within itself

    Reply


  • SinghX on January 27, 2012 at 11:49 am

    “…Why else would a pathetic buffoon like Brewer feel comfortable scolding the President of the United States in public and full view of photographer’s lenses?…”

    Because she’s out of her league, that’s why! This is a woman suited to run a local dry cleaning business or a mail box store…

    She’s completely and utterly flaying in shallow water now that Pierce isn’t telling her what to do, Arapio is tied up in legal purgatory, her closes aides are in being investigated for private prison fraud/conflict of interest and AZ Dems are finally smelling blood in the water (both Kyle and McCain are on their last terms; neither one will run again).

    Plus, AZ has early ballot by mail they can’t “jimmy”. The Dems did a great job registering minorities and low-income voters in the last elections. The problem was the Christian fundamentalist/Mormon Latino churches ministry put “fear” into the immigrant population, lying about law enforcement intimidation if they even voted! I digress…

    Brewer is a clown in the clown car; there is no love in the room for her as she is seen as incompetent as well as just plain stupid, like Palin.

    Reply


  • Deborah Montesano on January 27, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    I agree with both Dan and SinghX that Brewer is in over her head. I view this particular encounter more as a product of her ignorance and out-sized sense of herself than as an indication of her racism–though I’m quite cognizant of the racism that she and other Arizona officials do display. (See “Arizona At 100: Ditch the Celebration, http://thepoliticali.blogspot.com/2012/01/arizona-at-100-ditch-celebration.html) Looking at it with an optimistic eye, the NY Times reports today that the encounter may boomerang against the Republicans in the election and help deliver Arizona to Obama.

    Reply


  • RANDALL LEHMANN on January 27, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    WELL SAID SINGHX COULD NOT HAVE SAID IT BETTER!!BREWER SURE IS IN HOT WATER NOW! LETS KEEP THIS THING GOING MAYBE SHE’LL RESIGN!! GO OBAMA 2012!!!

    Reply


  • Jane on January 27, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    If you can’t see it, imagine if a black female gov had done this to George w bush.

    I rest my case.

    Reply


  • Tillie Hoffecker on January 27, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    I know and talk politics with plenty of Republicans. Whenever I get up enough nerve to ask them if their dislike of the president has anything to do with the fact that he’s black…well, methinks they do protest too much. Some of them even hit me with this: “Well, he’s not really black.” I’d say about 90 percent of them are lying when they say it has nothing to do with it. They go on to tell me exactly why it is they dislike him and nine times out of ten it’s based on some lie that Aunt Ethel sent them in an email. It’s my absolute belief that 90% of those who dislike the president do so primarily because of the color of his skin.

    Conversely, I know a handful of Democrats who quit the party when Obama was elected president. It’s rather amusing to listen to them stammer out their reasons for doing so — but I know the real reason.

    You know how the Republicans like to bitch about how the Democrats “rammed” health care through Congress before the newly-elected Republicans took office? I think it’s sort of like that — they want to get as many laws and regulations that favor us white folks on the books before us white folks become a minority.

    Reply


  • Paul on January 27, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    I agree that Brewer was out of line and was showboating to sell her book.

    I have wondered and want to see if you all agree… the Republican attacks on Obama using a telepromter is also race based. Their way of saying he’s not smart enough to talk without help.

    Am I alone on this one?

    Reply


    • Jolene on January 27, 2012 at 4:47 pm

      Of course that’s what they mean! Obama haters try to denigrate him in every way they can, and claiming he can’t speak without a teleprompter is an attempt to deny his obvious intelligence. The haters just can’t stand it! Hope his re-election this year makes their blood pressures rise to dangerous levels.

      Reply


  • galactus6x on January 27, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Well said Tillie, I and others realized that the desperate Anglos were going to do as much as they an while they have power to keep us down with as many laws and schemes as possible. Their problem is we have been paying attention and their political days are numbered and their demographic days are too. They better hope we treat them better than they have treated us.

    Reply


  • C.L. on January 27, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    The amusing aspect to this whole story is that witnesses to the exchange between the President and Brewer said that PO was his usual calm, courteous self. Talking Points Memo has the quotes from these witnesses (the mayors of Phoenix and Mesa):

    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/01/2nd_mayor_says_obama_wasnt_tense_at_all_during_bre.php

    I suspect that Brewer was either opportunistically trying to drum up more publicity for her poor-selling book or she was under the influence (or both).

    She’s another one that Palin endorsed, by the way. Big surprise…

    Reply


  • 1voice1vote on January 27, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Way to be a role model, racist Republican Governor Jan Brewer (AZ).

    Kids; this is what we call deplorable and depraved conduct. It is not how we behave at school. We do not aggressively waggle our fingers in another person’s face and then cry wolf. We use our nice manners. This will be on the test.

    Reply


  • sonja on January 27, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    My husband is Mexican American born and raised here in America as well as his father and grandfather. A few yrs back he was pulled over for profiling. As a result it cost us impound fees and court costs and he was not found guilty of anything! I myself am kind of sheltered have lived most of my life thinking things r shiny n pretty. However over the yrs I have come to c the not so pretty side of society. I have learned a great deal of things about our great country. Not make me ashamed to say I am American. America is a melting pot of all nationalities. We should grow as a nation n recognize this and embrace those around us. Racism in America is just about the most ridiculous thing since the fact is we r one nation one race and that is American!

    Reply


  • D. L. MacKenzie on January 27, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    I’ve lived in Arizona for 45 years, and I have followed Jan Brewer quite closely over her career. She is unquestionably the stupidest creature to hold the office, and in a state that elected the ponderously stupid Evan Mecham, that’s saying a lot. She definitely attracts racists, but I can’t go as far as to say she is definitely racist. After all, illegal immigration is down and deportations are up under Obama. That she didn’t give the President a big hug would appear to provide more evidence that she’s an ignoramus rather than racist.

    Reply


  • Mechille on January 27, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    I think that she should have been arrested for pointing her fingers if this had been any other president they would have invented a law so her behind could go to jail. But wait she wouldn’t have done that to another now would she… Ignorant behind.

    Reply


  • nogravity on January 27, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    Maybe she was just loaded. Apparently her nickname in AZ is Otis, named after the Mayberry town drunk.

    http://www.examiner.com/congressional-oversight-in-phoenix/did-tipsy-arizona-governor-wag-finger-presidents-face

    Reply

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In State Of The Union, Obama Calls For Minimum 30 Percent Tax On Millionaires


ofalo on Jan 24, 2012 at 10:27 pm

During tonight’s State of the Union, President Obama — noting that one quarter of millionaires are able to pay less in taxes than millions of middle class families — called for a minimum 30 percent income tax rate for millionaires. Obama also took on the favorite Republican talking point that calling for millionaires to pay their fair share in taxes is “class warfare”:

Tax reform should follow the Buffett rule: If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes…Now, you can call this class warfare all you want. But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes? Most Americans would call that common sense.

We don’t begrudge financial success in this country. We admire it. When Americans talk about folks like me paying my fair share of taxes, it’s not because they envy the rich. It’s because they understand that when I get tax breaks I don’t need and the country can’t afford, it either adds to the deficit, or somebody else has to make up the difference – like a senior on a fixed income; or a student trying to get through school; or a family trying to make ends meet. That’s not right. Americans know it’s not right.

Watch it:

Even before the President’s speech ended, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) had posted a statement deriding the Buffett rule as a “political gimmick.” “Because the president clearly cannot run on his record, he has regrettably turned to the politics of envy and division,” Boehner’s statement read.

Earlier in the speech, President Obama also called for a mortgage refinancing plan, paid for by a new fee on the largest banks in the country. “I’m sending this Congress a plan that gives every responsible homeowner the chance to save about $3,000 a year on their mortgage, by refinancing at historically low interest rates,” Obama said. “No more red tape. No more runaround from the banks. A small fee on the largest financial institutions will ensure that it won’t add to the deficit, and will give banks that were rescued by taxpayers a chance to repay a deficit of trust.”

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An Open Letter to Newt Gingrich From the Pastors of Poor Children


Mr. Gingrich,

For this you still owe our children an apology:

“Some of the things they could do is work in a library, work in the front office, some of them frankly could be janitorial; what if they clean up the bathrooms, what if they mopped the floors, what if in the summer they repainted the school; what if in the process they were actually learning to work, learning to earn money; if they had their own money, they didn’t have to become a pimp or a prostitute or a drug dealer. [If] they had the dignity of work and learned how to be around adults who actually wanted to mentor them and help them. This is not a casual comment… It grows out of a lot of thinking over many years of trying to figure out how do we break out people trapped in poverty who have no work habits.” — Gingrich

We, the students and faculty of the Delaware Annual Conference Ministerial Institute of the AME Church, representing over 34 congregations and their constituents throughout Delaware and southern Pennsylvania are outraged at your continued demeaning of poor children and their families.

As a candidate vying for the Republican Presidential nomination, to suggest that poor children collectively lack a work ethic and drive for legal and productive work is entirely classist. Your national platform is no place for such irresponsible remarks. Our children deserve better than your degrading rhetoric.

In fact, they deserve an apology, and we — their pastors and advocates — demand one.

Mr. Gingrich, what your remarks have demonstrated is a failure to acknowledge the resilience of many who work daily and yet are unable to escape poverty. For many, low wages, a poor economy, and sparse full time employment opportunities have landed many families into the category of what the U.S. Department of Labor & Labor Statistics call the working poor. Contrary to what your remarks propagate, a significant number of children in households below the American poverty line (and those one paycheck away from it) are in homes with working family members; many of them are in our congregations weekly and are active citizens.

Mr. Gingrich, not only did you get the “cause” of poverty wrong, but your “solution” is just as unsubstantiated and offensive. Mandating that poor children become the janitors of their own failing public schools to better their work ethic is not a well thought out, viable, or realistic solution. Such a proposal is not only insulting, it is ridiculous.

Where would the currently employed janitors work (obviously this is a back handed assault on union employees)? If poor children are to benefit from extracurricular employment, why not at least provide STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) opportunities to increase their competitiveness in the global marketplace? Why not invest in education reform instead of cutting back early education/head start programs? Why not put forth solutions to the unemployment crisis in our nation, so that those who have the dignity, but not the work, can have an opportunity to build a better future for themselves and their children?

But, no — instead you fan the flames of prejudice to get votes. With a move right out of Lee Atwater’s Southern Strategy play book (i.e., “Welfare Mothers” = Lazy Blacks), you have managed to stir the xenophobia and racist fears of your far right republican base with the statement:

“I’ve been talking about the importance of work, particularly as it relates to people who are in areas where there is public housing, et cetera, where there are relatively few people that go to work.” (Emphasis added)

Mr. Gingrich, the poverty of many poor minority children is the byproduct of systemic injustices that bar them from participation in the American Dream because of their racial and social location — not laziness.

We understand that you are of the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” camp, but the last time we checked Mr. Gingrich, it is impossible to pull yourself up by your own boot straps, and even more difficult when you have no boots to begin with.

Consequently, as pastors and leaders of the poor and their children, we are called to champion those without the boots of opportunity, fair play, and justice. For us not to mandate an apology for such biased, erroneous and offensive remarks would be as irresponsible as the remarks themselves. Today, Mr. Gingrich, we extend to you the opportunity to recant your “war on poor children” rhetoric and the opportunity to apologize to our children for speaking such falsehoods over their lives.

Awaiting your response,


Delaware Annual Conference Ministerial Institute

The Rev. Dr. Janet J. Sturdivant, Dean of Ministerial Institute
The Rev. Silvester S. Beaman, Chairman of Board of Examiners
Sis. Joi Orr, M.Div, Organizer & Institute Student

 
 

Follow Joi Ruth Orr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/joi_orr

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Obama to offer economic blueprint in State of the Union


WASHINGTON — Vilified by the Republicans who want his job, President Barack Obama will stand before the nation Tuesday night determined to frame the election-year debate on his terms, promising his State of the Union address will offer an economic blueprint that will “work for everyone, not just a wealthy few.”

In a video released Saturday to millions of campaign supporters, Obama said he will concentrate on four areas designed to restore economic security for the long term: manufacturing, energy, education, job training and a “return to American values.” The release came the same day as the South Carolina primary, where four candidates competed in the latest contest to determine Obama’s general election rival.

The prime-time speech will be not just a traditional pitch about the year ahead. It will be perhaps Obama’s biggest stage to make a sweeping case for a second term.

“We can go in two directions,” the president said in the video. “One is toward less opportunity and less fairness. Or we can fight for where I think we need to go: building an economy that works for everyone, not just a wealthy few.”

That line of argument about income equality is emerging as a defining theme of the presidential race, as Republicans are in their own fierce battle to pick a nominee to challenge Obama in the fall.

By notifying the millions of supporters on his email list, Obama gave advance notice to his Democratic base and trying to generate an even larger audience for Tuesday’s address.

Obama’s preview did not mention national security. He is not expected to announce new policy on that front in a speech dominated by the economy — the top concern of voters.

Obama is expected to offer new proposals to make college more affordable and to ease the housing crisis still slowing the economy, according to people familiar with the speech. He will also promote unfinished parts of his jobs plan, including the extension of a payroll tax cut soon to expire.

His policy proposals will be less important than what he hopes they all add up to: a narrative of renewed American security. Obama will try to politically position himself as the one leading that fight for the middle class, with an overt call for help from Congress, and an implicit request for a second term from the public.

The timing comes as the nation is split about Obama’s overall job performance. More people than not disapprove of his handling of the economy, he is showing real vulnerability among the independent voters who could swing the election, and most Americans think the country is on the wrong track.

So his mission will be to show leadership and ideas on topics that matter to people: jobs, housing, college, retirement security.

Vision for re-election
The foundation of Obama’s speech is the one he gave in Kansas last month, when he declared that the middle class was a make-or-break moment and railed against “you’re on your own” economics of the Republican Party. His theme then was about a government that ensures people get a fair shot to succeed.

That speech spelled out the values of Obama’s election-year agenda. The State of the Union will be the details.

The White House sees the speech as a clear chance to outline a vision for re-election, yet carefully, without turning a national tradition into an overt campaign event.

On national security, Obama will ask the nation to reflect with him on a momentous year of change, including the end of the war in Iraq, the killing of al-Qaida terrorist leader Osama bin Laden and the Arab Spring protests of peoples clamoring for freedom.

But it will all be secondary to jobs at home.

In a winter season of politics dominated by his Republican competition, Obama will have a grand stage to himself, in a window between Republican primaries. He will try to use the moment to refocus the debate as he sees it: where the country has come, and where he wants to take it.

In doing so, Obama will come before a divided Congress with a burst of hope because the economy — by far the most important issue to voters — is showing life.

The unemployment rate is still at a troubling 8.5 percent, but at its lowest rate in nearly three years. Consumer confidence is up. Obama will use that as a springboard.

The president will try to draw a contrast of economic visions with Republicans, both his antagonists in Congress and the candidates for the Republican presidential nomination.

Despite low expectations for legislation this year, Obama will offer short-term ideas that would require action from Congress.

His travel schedule following his speech, to politically important regions, offers clues to the policies he was expected to unveil.

Both Phoenix and Las Vegas have been hard hit by foreclosures. Denver is where Obama outlined ways of helping college students deal with mounting school loan debt. Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Detroit are home to a number of manufacturers. And Michigan was a major beneficiary of the president’s decision to provide billions in federal loans to rescue General Motors and Chrysler in 2009.

For now, the main looming to-do item is an extension of a payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits, both due to expire by March. An Obama spokesman called that the “last must-do item of business” on Obama’s congressional agenda, but the White House insists the president will make the case for more this year.

If anything, Republicans say Obama has made the chances of cooperation even dimmer just over the last several days. He enraged Republicans by installing a consumer watchdog chief by going around the Senate, which had blocked him, and then rejected a major oil pipeline project the GOP has embraced.

Obama is likely, once again, to offer ways in which a broken Washington must work together. Yet that theme seems but a dream given the gridlock he has been unable to change.

The State of the Union atmosphere offered a bit of comity last year, following the assassination attempt against Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. And yet 2011 was a year of utter dysfunction in Washington, with the partisanship getting so bad that the government nearly defaulted as the world watched in embarrassment.

The address remains an old-fashioned moment of national attention; 43 million people watched it on TV last year. The White House website will offer a live stream of the speech, promising graphics and other bonuses for people who watch it there, plus a panel of administration officials afterward with questions coming in through Twitter and Facebook.

© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore related topics: obama, state-of-the-union, sotu

Obama to offer economic blueprint in State of the Union

Is Reversing Citizens United or Corporate Personhood Enough?


Which president told Congress: “I recommend a law prohibiting all corporations from contributing to the campaign expenses of any party…let individuals contribute as they desire; but let us prohibit in effective fashion all corporations from making contributions for any political purpose, directly or indirectly?”

If you recognize this Presidential quote, it probably means you’re a history buff (or you watch too much Jeopardy). The correct answer: Who was Theodore Roosevelt?

While the speech has become a notable quotable, it’s often forgotten that it followed public outrage surrounding Roosevelt’s acceptance of huge corporate contributions that locked-in his election in 1904.  This popular clamor for accountability (the Progressive Era; maybe they were the Occupiers of their times) was enough to move Teddy and Congress to pass the first ever Federal legislation prohibiting corporations from making monetary contributions to national political campaigns, called the Tillman Act.

Now for extra points: What happened to the Tillman Act?

Like so many other attempts over the last 100+ years to restrict, reform, reign in, eliminate and otherwise account for Big Money in politics, the Tillman Act didn’t even need to be overturned for the corporate elite to get around it. It was simply whittled away. How is this done?  In the same way Congress later banned unions from making political contributions in the 1940’s, only to see Big Labor skirt the restrictions by forming the first-ever PAC, and collecting campaign donations (sometimes coercively) outside of regular worker’s dues.

OK, now for a Civics question: What is the source of power for the corporate elite?

Throughout our history as a nation, the wealthy elite have always held power, and its not an accident, or the result of a few bad decisions, or even corruption (though those all exist), its far more structural and insidious than that.  TheConstitution itself provided—from the beginning—for a government by and for the 1%. The Founding Fathers truly believed that the best form of government was one in which wealth made the rules. At the time the Constitution was being debated, the majority of people were against it, despite how our folklore has remembered it.

Turns out the 99% of yesteryear were quite prescient indeed.

Fast-forward to the present day, the ways money has seeped through the cracks of our political system and pooled into the pockets of our elected officials has only grown despite generations upon generations of ever-ongoing reform efforts.

* Dozens of Acts of Congress have been passed attempting to address corruption in government and our elections yet for every reform our system has enabled bigger, better ways for wealth to hold the reigns.

* Lobbyists. They walk right into lawmaking areas and help write bills and buy votes. They present politicians with corporate-friendly Bills already drafted. They are well paid to successfully influence, chop and change legislation, and work deals with our elected officials and even with Supreme Court Justices. Under our Constitution this is protected as free speech and despite the numerous laws to regulate lobbyists, the practice is only on the rise.

*  Constitutional laws.  Many states—not only Montana— wrote their Constitutions to include the subordination of corporations to the will of the people, and banned corporate political expenditures in state elections.  Over the years, most of those Constitutional provisions have been amended to pave the way for more corporate-friendly laws.(Montana, of course still has this language in their Consitution, and has used it to challenge Citizen’s United)

Bill Moyers, David Stockman On Crony Captialism



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January 20, 2012 09:39 PM

Bill Moyers, David Stockman on Crony Capitalism

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By Diane Sweet

Moyers & Company Show 102: On Crony Capitalism from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.

Bill Moyers and former White House budget director David Stockman on the all-too-cozy relationship between Washington and Wall Street.

This weekend, continuing its sharp multi-episode focus on the intersection of money and politics, Moyers & Company explores the tight connection between Wall Street and the White House with David Stockman – yes, that David Stockman — former budget director for President Reagan.

Now a businessman who says he was “taken to the woodshed” for telling the truth about the administration’s tax policies, Stockman speaks candidly with Bill Moyers about how money dominates politics, distorting free markets and endangering democracy. “As a result,” Stockman says, “we have neither capitalism nor democracy. We have crony capitalism.”

Stockman shares details on how the courtship of politics and high finance have turned our economy into a private club that rewards the super-rich and corporations, leaving average Americans wondering how it could happen and who’s really in charge.

“We now have an entitled class of Wall Street financiers and of corporate CEOs who believe the government is there to do… whatever it takes in order to keep the game going and their stock price moving upward,” Stockman tells Moyers.

Full transcript here.

Tags: 1 percent, 99 percent, Bill Moyers, CEOs, crony capitalism, David Stockman, democracy, Free Markets, Money, Politics, Wall Street, washington

He’s One of the Nation’s Highest-Paid CEOs—and You’ve Never Heard of Him


One of the nation’s highest-paid executives is sitting on a massive pile of stock options and enjoys a private jet wherever he goes. Gary Rivlin on John Hammergren, the 1 percenter you’ve never heard of.

James Reda thought he was beyond surprise when it came to executive pay.


But then Reda, a New York–based compensation consultant who sometimes puts together mega-pay packages on behalf of publicly traded behemoths, learned about John Hammergren, the CEO of the McKesson Corp., a giant medical-supply company in California. Hammergren is the $145 million man, top dog on the latest listing of the country’s highest-paid chief executives.

But so what if he made $145 million in a single year? The lion’s share of that money was the slew of stock options Hammergren cashed out after holding them for years. “That’s what you want,” Reda says. A new CEO gets a fat basket of stock options, and if the company does well, the CEO also prospers. “As long as the original stock-award amounts were reasonable, it makes no difference if it ends up providing a huge payoff,” Reda says.

Then I read him Hammergren’s annual total compensation payouts, taken from the company’s public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission: $46 million in 2011; $55 million in 2010; $37 million in 2009; another $41 million in 2008. Hammergren hadn’t founded the company. Wall Street analysts covering McKesson can tell you of the disappointments and miscues that have marked his tenure. But his haul in the 13 years he has been running McKesson? More than $500 million, according to data provided by Equilar, an executive-compensation data firm.


John Hammergren, CEO of McKesson Corp., George Nikitin / AP Photo

For a moment, Reda is silent. “$40 million, $50 million a year is excessive, no matter what the yardstick,” he says. The average pay package for a CEO running a top 100 company these days, Reda says, is around $12 million. That includes everything, from salary to stock awards to contributions to a retirement account. Yet last year McKesson contributed more than $13 million just to Hammergren’s pension, according to company documents. Among the other perks he enjoys: a chauffeur to drive his company car, free use of the corporate jet for personal travel, and an extra $17,000 a year to pay for a financial planner because handling all those hundreds of millions is no doubt complicated stuff.

“He doesn’t leave anything on the table, does he?” Reda asks.

***

John Hammergren isn’t necessarily the highest-paid CEO in America. Sure, he topped the list when GMI, a well-regarded research firm, published its 2011 annual CEO survey in December. But that’s because he cashed out $112 million in accumulated stock options in a single year, according to GMI. He ranked 14th on Forbes‘s 2011 executive-pay list and 22nd on its 2010 ranking. And of course there are CEOs like Oracle’s Larry Ellison and Google’s Larry Page. Page has a net worth north of $15 billion, and Ellison is worth more than $30 billion, but then each was a cofounder of the company he runs.