Congratulations, Mr. President

[The text of his entire inauguration speech, which includes lots of awesome gay stuff, can be found here.]

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  1. Edward
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    And yet some people say that Obama “hates America”. We live in fascinating times.

  2. Edward
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    And he’s right. If we could just get our shit together, and shake off the craziness of the far right, this could be an incredible time for America.

  3. Meta
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    I like the shout-out to Detroit in what Washington Post called “the most important paragraph” of his address.

    “It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia, to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm.”

    Read more:

  4. anon
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    There were no memorable lines in President Obama’s second inaugural address. Certainly nothing like Franklin Roosevelt’s “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” which was in his first inaugural, or like John F. Kennedy’s “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”

    But there was plenty he said that was troubling.

    The problem mostly wasn’t what he said. It was how he said it, and what he left unsaid.

    Take climate change.

    The president acknowledged the problem, saying: “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.”

    So far so good, but then he didn’t talk about any serious steps to do that, such as shutting down coal-fired generating plants and putting a stop to plans to import dirty, massively polluting and inefficient oil from Canadian and US tar-sands deposits. Instead he focussed on economic opportunities to be had if the US would start investing seriously in new energy technology. He did not take this unique opportunity to tell Americans honestly what the risks of inaction are: The extinction of half the species on the earth, including primary food sources that keep billions of us alive, and the risk of runaway warming that could raise the oceans by 16 to 60 feet. Instead he focussed parochially on storms and droughts and forest fires getting worse. This was a wasted leadership moment if there ever was one.

    When JFK made his one inaugural address, the Cold War was at its height. He didn’t fudge the moment, and instead let Americans and the world know the gravity of the threat of mutual global nuclear annihilation by describing the situation thusly as “both sides overburdened by the cost of modern weapons, both rightly alarmed by the steady spread of the deadly atom, yet both racing to alter that uncertain balance of terror that stays the hand of mankind’s final war.”

    President Obama had the chance to lay the current even worse crisis out with equal clarity. He blew it, instead portraying the climate change crisis as simply an opportunity for the US to gain or lose the leadership in a new technological marketplace.

    On education, he also narrowly focussed on schools as job training centers, instead of as transmitters of culture, saying: “…a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce; schools and colleges to train our workers.”

    What about training our artists, dancers, poets, historians, writers, musicians and philosophers? Today, in school district after school district, art and music teachers, librarians and others are being laid off by financially struggling school districts. Where is the president’s leadership in trying to preserve real education in America?

    The president was also disingenuous, and no more so than when he spoke of war. At a time when the US killing machine is still going full speed in Afghanistan, and when he himself is cranking up the use of armed attack drones in countries around the globe, the president, departing from his prepared text, said that the US was “ending ten years of war.” There was particularly loud applause at that line, but it is simply not true. Not only is the US negotiating to keep over 10,000 US troops indefinitely in Afghanistan, but it is expanding its drone and Special Forces attacks in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan and elsewhere around the globe, while continuing to threaten Iran with an attack.

    He also said, in his prepared remarks, “We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war.” Yet he made no announcement of a plan to end Congress’s 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force, which over the past 12 years has turned the US into a police state, leading the federal courts to approve all manner of violations of the Bill of Rights and to grant the executive branch exceptional powers on the argument that the US is legally in a state of war and that the 50 states themselves are part of the battlefield.

    The president seems content with this situation, which is by definition a “state of perpetual war.”

    “We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law,” he said. And yet the rest of the world knows that America is violating the highest law, the UN Charter, with its drone attacks and its targeted killing programs, and by failing to prosecute those who authorized the illegal invasion of Iraq, the deliberate torture of captives in the Iraq and Afghan Wars. The president went on to say, “We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully – not because we are naïve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear,” and yet there are no negotiations to end the half century long embargo of Cuba, or to resolve disagreements with Iran. Nor is the president demanding that America’s client state, Israel, dependent as that country is on billions of dollars of US military aid every year, cease its military occupation and subjugation of Palestinians and negotiate an end to the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

    Surely the most jarring disconnect, though, was the inaugural celebration itself. There is no reason why a Constitutionally-mandated ceremony has to be financed by private money, yet the president’s Inauguration Committee solicited and had, by this last weekend, accepted over $124.3 million in contributions from corporations and labor unions, according to the Center for Public Integrity. That dwarf’s the $50 million that was raised in private donations for the president’s first inauguration. It also came in much bigger amounts, as the president this year dropped a $50,000 maximum donation limit he had set for his first term Inaugural. This time the limit was set at $1 million.

    The list of corporations and labor unions seeking to buy influence through this unique funding opportunity provided by the president includes Bank of America, Coca-Cola, FedEx, AT&T, the health care management firms DC Health Care Inc. and Cetene Management Corp., East Lake Management & Development Corp., Financial Innovations, Inc., the electric generating company Southern Company Services and Exxon/Mobil. Exxon alone gave $260,000 to the committee.

    Unions that donated included the International Association of Fire Fighters, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, American Federation of Government Employees, American Postal Workers Union, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, Laborers International Union of North America, Sheet Metal Workers International, United Food & Commercial Workers.

    All these companies and unions are donating not out of some sense of civic duty but to in order to buy favors from the White House during the president’s second term.

    These contributors–and especially the corporate ones, since at least the unions are representing large numbers of ordinary working people — make a joke out of the lines the President spoke when he said, “For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it,” and later, “You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course. You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.”

    If he were being honest in saying those lines, he would not have sought or taken any money from those organizations that clearly put big money on the Inaugural Committee’s table, with the clear intention of controlling or influencing those debates and the country’s future course.

    —Dave Lindorff

  5. Eel
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Newt also objected to the mention of climate change. He said, “The climate change part was, on one level, frankly strange. I think he believes it, I think he’s sincere, but it’s still strange. The great energy revolution we’re living through is called oil and gas.”

  6. Oliva
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Congratulations, Mr. President. Here’s to our brightening days.

    (DL’s “prepared remarks” are so dreary, no light; the piling on undermines his message.)

  7. anonymuos
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    I’ve got my issues with the President, as I’m sure many of you do, but, generally speaking, I think he’s the right man for this point in American history. Quite frankly, I don’t think we deserve him.

  8. John Galt
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    If he really loved America, he would have been carrying an assault rifle, and, he would have quoted the Bible more.

  9. Elliott
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Mr. Galt,

    Just be patient. President Camacho is coming.

  10. Mr. X
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Not ones to miss a great opportunity, the Republicans in Virginia jammed through controversial redistricting while prominent Democrats were at the inauguration.

    Democrats in Virginia are accusing state Republicans of taking advantage of a prominent civil rights leader’s trip to Washington for the presidential inauguration to pull a “dirty trick” in order to take control of the state Senate in the 2015 elections.

    The state Senate is split 20-20 between Republicans and Democrats. On Monday, while state Sen. Henry Marsh (D) — a 79-year-old civil rights veteran — was reportedly in Washington to attend President Obama’s second inaugural, GOP senators forced through a mid-term redistricting plan that Democrats say will make it easier for Republicans to gain a majority.

    With Marsh’s absence, Senate Republicans in Richmond had one more vote than Senate Democrats and could push the measure through. The new redistricting map revises the districts created under the 2011 map and would take effect before the next state Senate elections in Virginia and would redraw district lines to maximize the number of safe GOP seats.

    The move was a surprise to just about everyone, including Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell who has not yet pledged to endorse the new district lines, which must now go through the GOP-controlled House of Delegates and finally across McDonnell’s desk before final approval.

  11. 734
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Swears on Martin’s bible
    As the drones keep flying

  12. John Galt
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    You need to read between lines to understand what he’s actually saying. He intends to make all of us straight white men gay. That’s his endgame. Once he gets our guns, he’ll make us sign up for a government run gay dating site. You mark my words. This is about emasculating us and taking our women.

  13. kjc
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    more awesome gay stuff!

  14. Thom Elliott
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    “…schools to train our workers” in contemporary America; that’s all you are, the being-who-works, the only need for industrial education centers is to produce workers. You are human resource, a stockpile of orderable materials, a standing-reserve, an aggregate of marketable functions, and nothing else. Weekends and holidays should be called what they are; work stoppage, and rest for more work. What about training our future philosophers? Poets? Writers? We won’t need thinkers where we’re going. Thought is worthless, training in philosophy is a patent waste of funds, the less thinking the better in this posthistorical materialist deadzone. Plato should have forgotten about the Academy, told his students to forget philosophy, and told them to dig ditches, because that’s what the world actually needs.

  15. Shades
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    Four more years of trampled civil liberties, endless war and illegal drone strikes! Yay! It is like Bush never left!
    It’s ok though, cuz he is cool and likes gays now, so we can turn a blind eye to the fact that Obama is responsable for more dead children then any right-wing psycho gun-nut. (gotta get those terrorists though, right everybody?)
    MLK turned in his grave.

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