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US Mid Terms; Obama Enters the Ring

Written By: - Date published: 1:24 pm, September 8th, 2018 - 30 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, Deep stuff, democratic participation, discrimination, Donald Trump, elections, Ethics, International, Politics, racism, uk politics - Tags: ,

Barack Obama has given a blistering speech at the University of Illinois, setting the scene for his intervention in the November mid term elections. The former President has remained remarkably restrained in his comments about the Trump administration until now, so it’s safe to assume that he has made a conscious decision to enter the fray because his party needs him.

At stake is control of the House of Representatives (almost a given on current polling) and the tantalising prospect of picking up the two seats in the Senate they need to end Republican control in that chamber.

Getting that Senate majority is important for a couple of reasons. Primarily because it relegates Trump to lame duck status. Without the House and Senate promoting the legislation he wants, Trump is reduced to only having the power to veto proposals. It would be a political quagmire – a swamp, if you will – where no progress is made and all participants end up covered in mud.

The second reason for pushing for outright control of the Senate is that it makes the prospect of impeachment more likely. Still not a sure thing, as two thirds of the 100 person Senate need to agree to the motion, but it allows the Democrats the ability to at least put impeachment to the vote.

If there were such a vote, it would require 13 or 14 Republican Senators to cross the floor to succeed.  Even the threat of that possibility could or should be enough to end Trump’s reign. In effect, it was that scenario that faced Nixon, and he walked.

Trump ain’t no Nixon, though.

One thing Trump does have in common with Tricky Dicky, and also Ronald Reagan, is that his hand picked staff are now apparently routinely removing his ability to make decisions. We all hope it’s Pence, right?

The allegations of papers being quietly removed from the Oval Office desk before Trump could sign them has historic parallels.

In the last days of the Nixon administration, White House staff diverted critical matters that would normally require Presidential approval. It’s rumoured that his access to the nuclear ‘button’ was also cut off. These steps were taken out of fear that a raging, impotent Nixon would choose to literally go down in flames rather than resign.

With Reagan, his mental deterioration in the last two years of the second term required similar intervention.

The difference with Trump is that he is being sidelined at the start of his term, not the end.

As Barack Obama persuasively argues, that’s not normal.

 

Video and Quotes from the Obama Speech:

 

The Donald:

In the end, the threat to our democracy doesn’t just come from Donald Trump or the current batch of Republicans in Congress or the Koch brothers and their lobbyists, or too much compromise from Democrats, or Russian hacking. The biggest threat to our democracy is indifference. The biggest threat to our democracy is cynicism – a cynicism that’s led too many people to turn away from politics and stay home on election day.

The Antidote:

The antidote to a government controlled by a powerful fear, a government that divides, is a government by the organized, energized, inclusive many. That’s what this moment’s about. That has to be the answer. You cannot sit back and wait for a savior. You can’t opt out because you don’t feel sufficiently inspired by this or that particular candidate. This is not a rock concert, this is not Coachella. You don’t need a messiah. All we need are decent, honest, hardworking people who are accountable and who have America’s best interests at heart.

Nazis:

It shouldn’t be Democratic or Republican to say we don’t target certain groups of people based on what they look like or how they pray. We are Americans. We’re supposed to stand up to bullies. Not follow them. We’re supposed to stand up to discrimination. And we’re sure as heck supposed to stand up, clearly and unequivocally, to Nazi sympathizers. How hard can that be? Saying that Nazis are bad.

Media Freedom:

It shouldn’t be Democratic or Republican to say that we don’t threaten the freedom of the press because they say things or publish stories we don’t like. I complained plenty about Fox News but you never heard me threaten to shut them down, or call them enemies of the people.

Congress:

This Congress has championed the unwinding of campaign finance laws to give billionaires outsized influence over our politics, systemically attacked voting rights to make it harder for the young people, the minorities, and the poor to vote.

Handed out tax cuts without regard to deficits. Slashed the safety net wherever it could. Cast dozens of votes to take away health insurance from ordinary Americans. Embraced wild conspiracy theories, like those surrounding Benghazi, or my birth certificate. Rejected science, rejected facts on things like climate change.

The Democrat Party:

We won’t win people over by calling them names, or dismissing entire chunks of the country as racist, or sexist, or homophobic. When I say bring people together, I mean all of our people. You know, this whole notion that has sprung up recently – about Democrats need to choose between trying to appeal to the white working class voters, or voters of color, and women and LGBT Americans – that’s nonsense. I got votes from every demographic. We won by reaching out to everybody and competing everywhere and by fighting for every vote.

Women:

We need more women in charge. But we’ve got first-time candidates, we’ve got veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, record numbers of women – Americans who previously maybe didn’t have an interest in politics as a career, but laced up their shoes and rolled up their sleeves and grabbed a clipboard because they too believe this time’s different; this moment’s too important to sit out.

Funk:

The biggest threat to our democracy is indifference. The biggest threat to our democracy is cynicism. To all the young people who are here today, there are now more eligible voters in your generation than in any other, which means your generation now has more power than anybody to change things. If you want it, you can make sure America gets out of its current funk.

Don’t just tweet – Vote!

You’ve got to vote. If you support the MeToo movement, you’re outraged by stories of sexual harassment and assault inspired by the women who shared them, you’ve got to do more than retweet a hashtag. You’ve got to vote.

30 comments on “US Mid Terms; Obama Enters the Ring”

  1. dukeofurl 1

    First person they could impeach is Kavanaugh from the Supreme Court. As its now clear that he lied to Judiciary Committee under oath during his 2007 confirmation hearings about receiving stolen emails from the Dem Senators.

  2. Obama should probably just sit back on Branson’s Holiday island and contemplate his crap legacy…

    https://truthout.org/articles/a-mixed-story-ranging-from-criminal-to-moderate-improvement-noam-chomsky-on-obama-s-legacy/

    • North 2.1

      Perpetually sour.

    • Ed 2.2

      Neil Clark .

      “Stateside and in ‘liberal’ circles across the West, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are lionised for not being Donald Trump, but what the duo did to Libya is far worse than anything Trump has done up to now.”

      • joe90 2.2.1

        Under tRump, the woes of sick and suffering Palestinians is compounded, but the duo.

        US President Donald Trump and his administration are making moves to strip millions of Palestinians of their refugee status, according to a US-based magazine report.

        As part of the initiative, the Republican president along with his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, have been trying to disrupt the UN agency for Palestinians, UNRWA, Foreign Policy (FP) magazine revealed in an article published on Friday.

        In a controversial move in January, the US government announced that it was withholding $65m of a planned $125m funding instalment to the relief agency, after Trump accused the Palestinians of being ungrateful for the millions of dollars in aid.

        https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/08/trump-moving-strip-palestinians-refugee-status-report-180804154055497.html

        The Trump administration has announced further cuts in aid to the Palestinians — this time, cutting money to cover cancer treatments and other critical care for Palestinians at Jerusalem hospitals.

        State Department spokesperson Alessia Dinkel told NPR the administration is pulling $25 million it had planned to give to the East Jerusalem Hospital Network, a group of six hospitals, some church-run, providing care primarily to Palestinians.

        In past years, U.S. funding covered medical costs for Palestinians to go to these hospitals for treatment unavailable in the West Bank and Gaza — from cardiac and eye surgeries to neonatal intensive care and children’s dialysis, according to the World Health Organization.

        https://www.npr.org/2018/09/07/645682793/new-cuts-in-medical-aid-to-palestinians-by-trump-administration?

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    Getting that Senate majority is important for a couple of reasons. Primarily because it relegates Trump to lame duck status. Without the House and Senate promoting the legislation he wants, Trump is reduced to only having the power to veto proposals. It would be a political quagmire – a swamp, if you will – where no progress is made and all participants end up covered in mud.

    Ah, the wondrous workings of a two-house parliament.

    /sarc

    Thankfully we don’t have that sort of BS.

    With Reagan, his mental deterioration in the last two years of the second term required similar intervention.

    I’m still wondering why he wasn’t removed when it was obvious that he should have been. Too many people benefiting from him being there I suspect despite the damage that it was doing to the US.

  4. Ad 4

    I like his themes of civility and inclusion. They are necessary.

    And i sure miss a US President who can put a whole speech together. Sigh.

    I know he can’t run again as President, but maybe he could suck it up and go VP on a Biden ticket.

    • dukeofurl 4.1

      Wont happen. What would he achieve by being a Veep. Anyway hes making much much more money doing what hes doing now.

      Constitutionally there is a problem as well:

      “12th Amendment (ratified in 1804 to fix some unexpected issues with the originally specified methods for selecting the President and Vice-President) states that “no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.” So, one who has already twice been elected President isn’t eligible to become Vice-President afterwards and potentially sneak into the presidency again through the back door.

      Plus its a dead end job for anyone who isnt wanting to be President later. It would also block off other potential VPs

      • Ad 4.1.1

        Yes I know – I was just having a projected nostalgia moment.

        If the Dems don’t get the Senate majority back, there’s a cases that the US constitutional checks and balances aren’t operating or working.

        The Republicans control or strongly influence majorities in the Presidency, Senate Congress, Supreme Court, Appelate Courts, and state governorships.

        This is by a long way the most dominant I’ve seen corporate interests into US politics. And it’s hard to see any corrective emerging.

  5. One Two 5

    Blistering Speech

    * Written by someone else
    * Read from a teleprompter
    * Dripping with hypocrisy

    Some still buying into the theatre…

    We tortured some folks

    • Ed 5.1

      We droned Yemen

      • One Two 5.1.1

        Wasn’t intending to reply to your comment… Was intended as a stand alone…

        But seeing as we are in a convo….

        How about those folka who ensure the further decline via the ‘lesser evil’ thinking pattern…

      • rhinocrates 5.1.2

        Still are, even more. They’re not dropping daffodils and roses.

        https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/08/trump-war-terror-drones/567218/

        President Donald Trump has dramatically expanded the War on Terror. But you—and perhaps he—would never know it.

        Since he came into office, Trump has reportedly abandoned Obama-era rules governing the use of drones in noncombat theaters such as Somalia and Libya. Whereas Obama operationally expanded but bureaucratically constrained drones’ use, from what we can tell, Trump’s new rules instead vest military commanders with strike decisions , without requiring approval from the White House.

        Oh well, not to worry, it’s probably just fake news.

  6. Timeforacupoftea 6

    Siobhan 2
    8 September 2018 at 2:24 pm
    Obama should probably just sit back on Branson’s Holiday island and contemplate his crap legacy…

    Thanks Sioban 2 for your honest on Obama on The Standard dot org dot NZ.

  7. Dennis Frank 7

    Poor old Obama. Simple man, simple mind, using it to persuade Democrats that things really are simple. His legacy? Campaigned to close the torture center. He won. He didn’t close it. He spent 8 years condoning it. A true Democrat.

    Blistering? You’ve really got to be kidding, TRP. Like being whacked with a tissue. If that’s all he’s got to fire up the troops, they may as well give up already…

    Caveat: my opinion is based on your quote summary. The prospect of having to watch him wade through the platitudes filled me with nausea.

    • Good thing that Trump’s put an end to all that then and has never, ever advocated torture and assassination.

      I love the smell of selective outrage in the evening.

      • Morrissey 7.1.1

        “Selective outrage”? Why do you think that being disgusted with the hypocrisy of one second-rater stops one from being disgusted with the hypocrisy of a fifth-rater? Do you think we shouldn’t mention the fact that Obama did not stop the torture, did not stop the extra-judicial killings, did not stop the drone assassinations, did not stop funding Egypt, Israel and Saudi Arabia, did not even speak out against the Dakota Access Pipeline or police killing black and brown people all over the country?

        Trump is appalling and must be stopped, certainly. But how does that absolve Obama in any way from his crimes?

    • Dukeofurl 7.2

      Obama was only one part of the government. Remember it’s not called 4 branches that are separate but equal for nothing. The Pentagon were opposed as well. Quickly enough the Republicans got back in control in Congress and passed legislation preventing any transfer of the the 30 or so remaining.
      Democracies can be messy things, we saw similar here in NZ last week with the refugee numbers.

      • Morrissey 7.2.1

        Than why didn’t he resign? If he was that helpless, why didn’t he hand over to someone prepared to have a go at least?

  8. Philj 8

    Obama, Clinton,Bush,etc. all failures that lead to the Trump. The public have lost trust in both parties. The media and the giant corporates win regardless. US democackary/Elections are a rigged sham and folks have worked it out.

  9. Jenny 9

    How close is America to fascism?

    Trump has issued a dog whistle call to violence if the Democrats win the Midterms, (let alone, if they dare to impeach him).

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/northland/archived-sections/world/106713015/Donald-Trump-warns-of-violence-if-Democrats-win-US-midterm-elections?rm=m

    Whether or not, Trump makes an explicit call to violence, his Right Wing supporters will probably react violently anyway, at any attempt by the Democrats to impeach, or even merely just sideline or thwart the President.

    Because Trump has presaged a climate of incitement to violence and identified the targets; Black Lives Matter, immigrants, the liberal media, Muslims.

    Attacked by Trump supporters many will fight back, the unrest will be the perfect Reichstag moment for Trump to call out the National Guard and declare a state of emergency.

    • Jenny 9.1

      State of emergency – Wikipedia
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_of_emergency

      A state of emergency is a situation in which a government is empowered to perform actions that ….. During a state of emergency the President has the power to make emergency regulations “necessary or expedient” to restore peace and order …

      Martial Law and National Emergency
      Harold C. Relyea
      Specialist in American National Government
      Government and Finance Division

      Summary
      Crises in public order, both real and potential, often evoke comments concerning
      a resort to martial law. While some ambiguity exists regarding the conditions of a
      martial law setting, such a prospect, nonetheless, is disturbing to many Americans who cherish their liberties, expect civilian law enforcement to prevail, and support civilian control of military authority. An overview of the concept of, exercise of, and authority underlying martial law is provided in this report, which will be updated as events warrant.

      Occasionally, when some national emergency or crisis threatens public order in the
      United States, the comment is made that the President may ultimately resort to imposing martial law in order to preserve discipline and good behavior. Such was the case when it was thought that year 2000 (Y2K) technology problems might result in situations threatening life, property, or the general welfare in American society. The almost flawless transition to the year 2000, of course, rendered such an action unnecessary. More recently, at least one newspaper erroneously reported that the September 14, 2001, declaration of a national emergency by President George W. Bush in response to terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, DC, “activated some 500 dormant legal provisions, including those allowing him to impose censorship and martial law.”1

      Even though he could have, George W. Bush did not declare a state of National Emergency, and all that that implies.

      Donald Trump on the other hand is unlikely to be bothered by such nicities.

    • Exkiwiforces 9.2

      I believe that old dump can’t just call up the Guard unless it’s from the District of Columbia which he has the power to do as he is also the District Governor as for the rest of Guard there are a number of checks and balances/ hurdles that dump has to jump though. Depending on the task/ mission orders will depend on what act it falls under, so under one act he has to go to the State Governor to request the Guard and the other though the the House of Reps for approval to deploy the Guard.

      The Federal Forces aka the Regular Forces are forbidden to deploy operational even for DACC tasks within the United States due to the US Constitution. The Reg’s have a hard time trying to even exercise certain scenarios like Peacekeeping, COIN or IS etc henceforth they don’t do them as they tend to upsetting the tinfoil heads, crackpots etc running to their bunkers or grabbing their guns etc.

      • Jenny 9.2.1

        Oops. I forgot to include the link to the source document.

        Here it is:

        https://fas.org/sgp/crs/RS21024.pdf

        Plus some interesting excerpts;

        A regime of martial law may be compendiously, if not altogether accurately, defined as one in which the ordinary law, as administered by the ordinary courts, is superseded for the time being by the will of a military commander. It follows that, when martial law is instituted under national authority, it rests ultimately on the will of the President of the United States in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief…..

        “Since the Civil War era,” notes Joseph E. Kallenbach, “there have been no proclamations of martial law by Presidents directly on behalf of the national government, although President Hayes very seriously considered issuing such a proclamation during the railroad strike crisis of 1887. There have been conditions of limited martial law established with the explicit or implicit approval of the President by officers in the field, however,” he adds.6
        These occasional invocations of martial law during the post-Civil War period occurred most often in labor disputes, but, as one chronicler recounts, other disturbances of the public order were involved as well.

        “…..other disturbances of the public order were involved as well.”

        in New Zealand industrial disputes have also been the main reason for declaring martial law as well.

        But outbreaks of violence between Trump supporters and those identified by the President as “enemies of the people” would also be the sort of “other disturbances of public order” deemed necessary for the declaration of “modified” forms of martial law in the past in the US.

        There have been other instances where the modified form of martial law existed in fact, though undeclared. General Merriam placed restrictions on travel into and out of the mining camps of Idaho’s Coeur d’Alene in 1899. In the Colorado disturbance of 1914, saloons were closed (a common practice), the sale of arms was forbidden, arms and ammunition were seized, and the opening of mines was forbidden as was also the importation of strike-breakers. Public assemblies were forbidden and arms were taken in the West Virginia strike zone in 1921.7
        The military has been utilized on a number of occasions since World War I when
        Presidents have sought to maintain public order, but have not invoked martial law. Such examples include the routing of the Bonus Army in 1932 in the District of Columbia; maintaining public order during desegregation efforts at Little Rock, AR, in 1957, the University of Mississippi in 1962, and the University of Alabama the following year; and quelling civil disturbances within Washington, Detroit, Chicago, and Baltimore during 1967 and 1968.

        The point of all this; is that President Trump, not only has the power to declare martial law, but also, on finding his presidency under pressure, the temperament to do so as well.

        • Jenny 9.2.1.1

          Related posts and comment:

          Trump Calls the News Media the ‘Enemy of the American People’
          Michael M. Grynbaum – The New York Times, Febuary 17, 2017

          The president has referred to the media as the “opposition party” to his administration, and he has blamed news organizations for stymieing his agenda. But the language that Mr. Trump deployed on Friday is more typically used by leaders to refer to hostile foreign governments or subversive organizations. It also echoed the language of autocrats who seek to minimize dissent.

  10. Dennis Frank 10

    “Forty-three percent (43%) of voters again this week think the country is heading in the right direction. This finding has been running in the 40s for most weeks this year after being in the mid- to upper 20s for much of 2016, President Obama’s last full year in office.” http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/weekly_updates/what_they_told_us_sep08

    “Democrats hold a four-point lead on the latest Rasmussen Reports Generic Congressional Ballot… Trump ended the week with his job approval rating at 48%. Obama’s approval was at 45% on the same day in his second year in office. Now that Gallup has quit the field, Rasmussen Reports is the only nationally recognized public opinion firm that still tracks President Trump’s job approval ratings on a daily basis.”

  11. Morrissey 11

    Barack Obama has given a blistering speech at the University of Illinois…

    So “blistering” means this now….

    “Um, uh, uh, uh… (look sheepish)… um, uh… “

    But far worse than the sheer ineptness of Obama’s delivery, what is really offensive is his flagrant hypocrisy, viz.

    We’re supposed to stand up to bullies. Not follow them. We’re supposed to stand up to discrimination. And we’re sure as heck supposed to stand up, clearly and unequivocally, to Nazi sympathizers.”

    Here’s a couple of inspirational examples of the man himself demonstrating how to “stand up to bullies”…..

    https://www.bodylanguagesuccess.com/2015/03/nonverbal-communication-analysis-no_2.html

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