Did Obama answer the nation's calls for progress?

Last night, President Obama laid out his agenda for his second term. The State of the Union speech set some ambitious goals to get our nation back on a progressive course. The list included executive action on climate change, a “Fix-it-First” program to invest in infrastructure and job creation, and a legal pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented individuals living in the United State.

The President also called for making high-quality early education available to all children, called on Congress to bring gun legislation to a vote, and announced we're finally getting our troops our of a seemingly endless war. But, perhaps the biggest news of the evening was Obama's call for an increase in the federal minimum wage. He surprised everyone during the speech by saying, “Tonight, lets declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour.”

However, despite Obama's calls to get our nation back on track, the Republicans were apparently not impressed with the speech. Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell said, “I think what most Americans wanted to hear tonight was the President's plan to get government spending under control, rein in the debt, and put the private economy back on a path to real growth and serious job creation.”

It's not surprising that members of this party also refused to stand and show support for equal pay for women, protecting our democratic process, or streamlining the legal immigration system. In 2012, Americans spoke loudly and clearly about what vision they want for our country. Perhaps it'll take a few more elections for the Republicans to finally hear the nation's calls for progress.


Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 18 weeks ago
Quote hartmann:.. we're finally getting our troops our of a seemingly endless war.

Don't worry, they are doing this to make way for our continued and escalated involvement in Africa where there is lots of oil and mineral wealth to be had. And since the civilians are all poor black people, not many Americans will object too loudly when our military and drones murder many of the civilians there. Not much difference between poor Arabic civilians and poor African civilians....they're all expendable aren't they? Moving a few thousand troops out of the Middle East is just a rearranging of the chess board..a propaganda ploy...a political smoke and mirrors ploy....and moving on to greener pastures for the US to pillage and plunder.

If you're young and thinking of joining the military because things are quieting down....don't! You'll be used as expendable canon fodder after you commit yourself. You'll be doing multiple tours of duty and thinking of suicide as a way out just like many in the Middle Eastern theater have done. The capitalist war mongers are not through sacrificing the young for their greedy and selfish aims. It is a trick..a political ploy! The dripping, bloody proboscises of these disgusting capitalist parasites won't even have a chance to dry before they stick them into some other host.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 18 weeks ago
Quote hartmann: Perhaps it'll take a few more elections for the Republicans to finally hear the nation's calls for progress.

But most likely, it'll take a complete trashing of both parties in favor of a competing third party who are way more eager to please the majority of Americans than either the Republican or the Democrat parties are. The current two party system knows how to use meaningless rhetoric to keep the majority of Americans under the thumbs of the wealthy..their puppet masters. The smoke and mirrors two party system will keep playing us all for their useful idiots..keeping us ever hopeful that change will come. But the only way real change will come is for Americans to deviate from the current broken record. If we want to avoid the messy alternative then we had all better break the corrupt two party hold that the wealthy has over us.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 18 weeks ago

And one of the highlights in today's news, aside from the Dorner story, is the Youtube video of the naked belt beating of a young man, by fellow gang members (perhaps), that has beaten out the news that another US drone murder of 3 Taliban members (along with 10 bystanders) has taken place yet again. How many civilians has our drones murdered? Yet do they cover that in the news as well as they cover something like a Youtube belt whipping? Or the rescue of a poor cat that fell down a well? Maybe if they showed a video of body parts flying off into the area, and flesh being ripped from the bodies of the civilians and put it on Youtube...like they did during that helicopter gunship murder of civilians in Iraq a few years ago? Maybe that would shock more people into more useful and informative news reporting instead of the insipid and mindless pablum we get for news now?

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 18 weeks ago

It's certainly nice that Obama is saying a few things that we all want to hear and ticking off the Republicans. And the Republicans certainly need to be ticked off..the more the better...and rub it in their faces. But it's all show and no substance. What Democrats need to do is give the Republicans what they are whining about...reduce spending...but do it ONLY to Pentagon spending and don't touch Social Security, Medicare, and other social programs. When our government sees fit to build another multi-billion dollar domestic computer spy center in Utah then we know that someone in power wants to keep watch on the victims they are exploiting.

When the Republicans talk about reducing spending..they are not referring to Pentagon spending..they want to do it through social spending. They want to murder grandma and grandpa..and even the younger unemployed family members....the poor ones that is. The wealthy elders in their families are wealthy enough that they don't have to worry about dying of inadequate healthcare, housing, and food. It's the poor riff-raff, the great unwashed, other less fortunate families that they hope to cause untimely deaths. The poor must suffer so the wealthy can win the race as to who has the most toys. "He who has the most toys...wins!"

We need to stop idolizing the rich and famous. The truth is that the rest of us will never be rich and famous. Treat the rich and famous like the scumbags that they are. Make them all feel like the greedy and selfish and hateful parasites who have all just been lucky in life and business and not special or hard working. The unskilled people laboring in the fields and the skilled laborers are hard working..not the people and money manipulators in other executive positions who are merely opportunist con men.

JLC's picture
JLC 11 years 18 weeks ago

Regarding MMT, attached is a link to a terrific conference held by MMT economists back in 2010, which serves as a great primer on MMT principles. It consists of separate talks by Warren Mosler, Bill Mitchell and Randy Wray (who are generally viewed as the three founders of the MMT school of economics), as well as talks by Stephanie Kelton and Marshall Auerbach. The link has audio, video and transcripts of each talk. As I recall, there are question and answer sessions following each talk. I highly recommend it to Thom and anyone interested in MMT.


Also, a website that is a great resourse on MMT is heteconomist.com (http://heteconomist.com/posts-to-read-first/)

Marsh In Florida's picture
Marsh In Florida 11 years 18 weeks ago

I recall Thom making progressive comments such as this, "The list included executive action on climate change, a “Fix-it-First” program to invest in infrastructure and job creation, and a legal pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented individuals living in the United State." Makes me wonder if the Prez watches the show.

But while I was pleased with most of the speech, I still think it fell short of a few things. First and foremost is the unrestricted use of drones on foreign lands. And I agree 100% with Palindrome. As soon as we pull out of Afghanistan for good (maybe even before) we'll be targeting the Africans instead of helping them live in peace. No continent has more untapped natural resources than Africa. Yummy! I was listening to all the bitching and moaning on CSPAN from the heads of the Navy, Army, Marines, Air Force and even the National Guard. Our ships will have to stay in port, our planes will not be able to be maintained, and blah blah blah. Well good! The ONLY budget that should not be cut is the National Guard. Cut the rest of them and just protect our own country - keep our noses out of every other country and stop making trouble over there so that we can run in and "help." Help is the last thing we ever gave another country. Pillage and murder is what we are known for. When does this insanity stop?

Also, I heard nothing about keeping the post offices open. I heard nothing about restoring unions, stopping states from using a back-door approach to making Roe v Wade obsolute or inaccessible.

And this crap about lumping all energy sources together, including oil, well that just doesn't cut it. He also mentioned some outrageous number for how much solar energy has increased. I doubt that figure he spouted. The funds from the military industrial complex, if cut, could cover the entire country in solar energy for about a third the cost of drilling one hole or trying to make useable oil from tar sands.

So while his heart's probably in the right place, he's just not getting it. Those funds for exploring for more oil is a waste in more ways than one.

And, most important, I would have liked to hear him justify imprisoning whistle blowers (as if there is any justification). This and all the illegal snooping the government is doing of all of us was what drove me to write a blog asking if it was time to Impeach the President for obstruction of justice and failure to uphold the Constitution. He has taken an oath and has violated it as far as I'm concerned. All these grandiose ideas of starting kids in preschool, and preparing them for the world when they graduate highschool is the pat on the head to keep us quiet so that we are distracted from losing our democracy. Response to the question was met with a lot of hostility, because Bush & Cheney were never prosecuted for their war crimes and felt we should start with them. If Obama had ever taken action himself against those war crimes instead of following in Bush's footsteps and making them bigger and deeper, then yes, but he didn't. He did the opposite.

Either he does have an evil side to him, or he has chosen to take advice from some of the worst aides and advisers since Bush. In fact, he's employed a good lot of Bush's team, and that alone scares me to death, especially Brennan and Jack Lew.

ScottFromOz 11 years 18 weeks ago

In spite of his arrogance and hubris, I can guarantee senator McConnell that he DOES NOT speak for "most Americans" nor does he know "what they want". The ONLY people the Republicans represent are the 1%.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 11 years 18 weeks ago

McConnell wants the President to get Govt. spending under control! Is he serious? First of all spending under Obama, and I'm sure anybody reading this already knows, is close to flat. If Turtleman is serious, I can only conclude that he needs to get some fresh lettuce, his cognitive functions are failing. He's hallucinating about the out of control spending that happened under his republican deities..... republican gods like Rontemis Reagcules.

In fact if Obama had been allowed to spend like Reagan, we would be at full employment with a robust economy. This is not just my opinion, it's an economic stat.

I see Mitch and his democracy hating public servants had another filibuster happy day with Hagel....should of had reform..... but I forget, we the people are not their priority....re-election at any COST is. You know what.....maybe that COST is our real deficit problem!

"DEFICIT REDUCTION ALONE IS NOT AN ECONOMIC PLAN" Great speech! Although I think concession on the chained CPI is a huge mistake. Raise the damn cap. If the job creators refuse to provide pensions with fair wages, and instead opt to concentrate into their own pockets, the lions share of the wealth we create, then raise the cap and upgrade Social Security to a living retirement amount for all.

Outback 11 years 18 weeks ago

I agree with several posters that our military budget is the problem. Obama didn't address this. He paid lip service to pulling out of Afghanistan, but as has already been noted, we're just rearranging the troops. Back in the early 80's a bipartisan commission addressed the "baby boom" bump (which by definition is temporary) by upping the payroll tax. That's how we ended up with over $2 Trillion in the so called "Social Security Trust Fund". Problem is, the money's been spent on things like unfunded wars and now the fat cats don't want to pay it back! But on paper, at least, Social Security is alive and well. If Medicare and Medicaid are "problem entitlement programs" it's because the rapacious appetite of insurance companies and big pharma have driven the costs out of sight, along with fraud being perpetrated by some unscrupulous providers. Solution? Government managed health care (under 5% overhead), AKA, Medicare for all. But if you want to talk big BIG money, how about a Trillion PLUS (and God alone knows how much that plus is) for our military adventures all over the world, not just in the Middle East. I've heard numbers like 600 to 700 bases of various sizes, worldwide. What in the hell are we doing? And why aren't we holding Mitch McConnell's, John Boehner's, Paul Ryan's, and yes, Barack Obama's feet to the fire to talk about this gross waste that absolutely towers over everything else? Thom, get Barry on your show and don't let him off until he answers that one question!

HalFonts's picture
HalFonts 11 years 18 weeks ago

President Obama did an excellent job of laying out (not all, but most of) the many-many tasks that need to be done. Stuff that has not been done by the (mostly Republican) obstructionists in Congress. The President provided a presumably rational and reasonable plan, crafted to be achievable by both parties. That WAS leadership. He acknowledged that legislative compromising will get messy and not everyoue will get what they want. He besides being a great orator, must deal with the realities of running the country, in an incredibly complex and messy national and global environment. He was generally the adult in the room.

HOWEVER, the 2014 Campaign has already started.

It makes no difference whether Republicans are out of step with Mainstream Americans, or whether they have a Plan of Action that makes sense or not. Republicans have discovered how to rip and rebrand Democrats (using blatant lies and misinformation) into: "Tax and Spend" irresponsible destroyers of the country.They pin all their failures onto Dems, while usurping all of Democratic successes as theirs -- openly and shamelessly.

Thanks to the Rove-driven Multi-million-dolar PAC-masters, they are ALL right now in lockstep, word for word united and on-point destroying Democratic credibility. Witness Rubino's Response to the President's State of the Union. A few minutes into it, he turned into parrot-mode, spewing lie after misrepresentation after another. Bullshit? Yes, however, it's been repeated so often it's become pseudo-reality for almost half the electorate.

Meanwhile, Dems don't even see it, and are with very few exceptions unable to respond and counter it. Republicans lead most Democrats around the logical-circus like sheep on teathers with rings in their noses. With Dems muttering to themselves "How can they say THAT?" Well thanks to deregulation they own the damn microphones, and they are in lock-step discipline. That's how. !!!

As long as word-games replace facts, for our dumbed-down society; truth has no meaning, and one person's opinion as as good as any other. Lies become Truth, it's all relative, all based on tribal faith. Lots of good stuff happening in America; unfortunately not much in DC.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 11 years 18 weeks ago

(Y-A-W-N.....) What a snore. Lip service galore. - Alice I.W.

MMmmNACHOS's picture
MMmmNACHOS 11 years 18 weeks ago

A $1.75 Resolves Our Problems!

Hey Mr. Obamney, 1990 called...They want their $9.00/hr minimum wage back, but you certainly can keep the "to adjust with inflation..." that should bring you to about $14/$15 per hour minimum wage in 2013.

mbreit's picture
mbreit 11 years 18 weeks ago

it is all too clear to me that our president is stil way too middle of the road and way to not doing what he said he would do - the statement that Mitch Mcconnell made is too tipical for a num minded man with an approval rating of 37 or below. Again President Obama lacks the fire in his belly that was present in his campaign, both of them, but it dies when in office - I want him to forget about partisanship and start pushing these things through and for the Democrats to stop being so balless and get agressive in doing what we called for - Bernie Sanders had it right and the fire in his belly to deliver it but the rest of them are heartless followers of the corporations stuffing their pockets with the money they receive from them - both sides make me sick and we as americans are screwed once again. Obama bending to the republicans chopping SS, MED, when he said he would not and other things that he is doing... I'm so sad and feed up

douglas m 11 years 18 weeks ago

Republicans percieve the have power, which in itself is power. AMERICANS HAVE THE REAL POWER AND THEIR VOTES NEED TO STAY THE CORSE ON DEMOCRATIC FOR NOW. its a balance of power for the least corupt at the time, sad but true. PLEASE PLEASE VOTE AND GET YOUR INFORMATION FROM A SORCE THAT DOESNT HAVE AN AGENDA.

rs allen 11 years 18 weeks ago

Since Pres. Obama's reelection the biggest change I've noted is his tone of and repeated call to the American people reminding them that he can not do it alone, that it must be a team effort, that we the people need to stay involved, that it was never promised to be an easy turn around or smooth road nor a short one. He contiues to say between the lines that he will do on his own what he hopes to get started as road map towards a more progressive USA, but in every speech and news conferance I've heard the under tone has been, it's easier to sit around to writing moaning bitchy whines on blogs than actually doing something. And echoing that progress starts on your own block, in your own school, your own city, county and state.

For my part, I'd like to say; if ya'll would like to find out just how heavy a lift those ideals are just try to push an overtly progressive agenda against all the competing interests at the next local school board meeting.

One step at a time folks, it's going to be a long rocky road.

MMmmNACHOS's picture
MMmmNACHOS 11 years 18 weeks ago

2.3 trillion (and growing) in debt.

Maybe the upper 2% could pitch in. Left (and) Right they helped create this mess. I know I sure as hell didn't...I didn't support bail outs of the auto industry and Banks. I sure as hell didn't support my country engaging in unnecessary and illegal occupations of the Middle East for the past 3 decades, (or illegal wars). Never did I for once believe "free trade" would build a stronger workforce, or produce higher quality products and boost our economy.

Maybe I am too simple minded...Maybe I am not greedy enough...One thing for sure though; I am a tax paying worker bee and I am not happy with the Corporate take over of America.

SteveS's picture
SteveS 11 years 18 weeks ago

Two things I wanted to hear but didn't hear were (1) that he was going to reject the Keystone XL pipeline and (2) that he was not calling for cuts to social-safety-net benefits. In fact, I fear he will disappoint on both of these issues in the days ahead.

megalomaniac's picture
megalomaniac 11 years 18 weeks ago

From my view Thom Hartmann is as good or better content than the other cable channels. Thom Hartmann’s radio program is far superior to other radio channels too. Comparing to Hannity, Limbaugh, Levin, and Cunningham, Beck, Miller, Dobbs, or just about any fill in, Hartmann has deep penetrating honest commitment to intellectual virtues that wins my admiration and trust.

It is not unusual for Thom to patiently debate a conversation with what we all can tell is a poor critical thinker. To me that defines one of the highest forms of citizenship that out strips some who are highly educated degree people. What Mr. has done for me is to flush out those highly educated very intelligent persons who habitually do evil intentionally. Now for me that behavior sticks out with dimensions that are unbelievable, easy to live by and better than having a pistol to know how to avoid the sophistry of Republican right extremist paradigm. For those who gain this understanding will eventually realize as Obama does it might be better to work without them.

Then we have Charles Krauthammer knows that the right political physic game is exactly nothing more than a rhetorical Ponzi scheme. Hal Fonts said it very well “Republicans have discovered how to rip and rebrand Democrats (using blatant lies and misinformation) into: "Tax and Spend" irresponsible destroyers of the country. They pin all their failures onto Dems, while usurping all of Democratic successes as theirs -- openly and shamelessly.” Form me, that is exactly the way to characterize the Republicans today, yet deeply and with evil moral deceptive integrity shows this Republican Partie's citizenship that is genuinely corrupt complicit, and seditionist to American values.

DrTCH's picture
DrTCH 11 years 18 weeks ago

I'm with Palindromedary

The "Fiscal Cliff" scenario is a hoax...a "strawman" argument. The nation's economy has been running on a deficit basis since at least the nineteen-thirties. Not that this is necessarily a good thing, but for the Republicans to complain about this now is about the same as complaining about the ocean rising at "high tide." Both parties were responsible for this crazy system (and for the Federal Reserve System, which should never have been created-in 1913). Am I missing something here? Did I miss the demand by the Neocons to repeal the "Fed?"

Is inflation a bad thing? Mostly yes, as inflation is essentially a hidden tax on regular American families. The trouble with these mindless knuckleheads--in both parties--who keep ranting about the budget, is that a sensible person would recognize that these perpetual wars and enhancement of "Intelligence" and domestic security programs, are not only stupid and representative of ghastly barbarity (and unacceptable and unconstitutional compromise of fundamental rights like due process, and the right of privacy), but are terribly expensive (and massively inflationary). One might also want to reflect for a moment on the real reasons for our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. Oil and geopolitics.

You want to yell about "entitlements?" FINE!! Then yell about the corporate and military contractor entitlements. There are huge corporate subsidies, there are contractor "sweetheart deals" (awarding of contracts sans competitive bidding)--just like in the Vietnam War era--and there are tax loopholes you could drive a tank through. Some corporations like G.E. pay no federal taxes.

What is wrong with this picture? Congress should "pull the plug" on this military and intelligence fiasco, and, decide to end the gradual slide into fascism that we have been witnessing for the last ten years, and--at the same time--impose reasonable and uniform taxes on the corporations and the richest among us. And, enough of the stupid rant about "terrorism." Terrorism is just another example of a "straw man" argument...a "red herring," to control the citizenry and bamboozle us out of our money and our republic. In recent history, this was introduced by the Bush-Cheney regime, and is still "alive and well" under Obama. The very same policies of "shock and awe" and plenty of propaganda (and a massive war-economy). The United States government is probably the biggest purveyor of terrorism in the world. Couldn't we rise up and "Just say no?!!!"

A final word: Has it occurred to anyone how much fossil fuel is being consumed by these lunatic military ventures? Pull the plug, and do it NOW!!

DrTCH's picture
DrTCH 11 years 18 weeks ago

I'm with you, NACHOS. I had a dream in which Congress repealed NAFTA, the Patriot Act, and the NDAA, dismantled the Dept. of Homeland (sic) Security, and told the "War on Terror" (and enhanced airport security) to "go bye-bye." They also told the Pentagon they had $10 million expressly for the return of all troops state-side, and cut the Intelligence Community by 2/3.Then, they pushed for a massive research program toward Alternative Energy production and new engine technology. Next, they passed a modest "single-payer" healthcare plan, based on Medicare, and announced that they were considering repeal of the Federal Reserve System. In the interim, they mandated a comprehensive audit of the system. The Majority Leader claimed that they were working on a measure to reverse the "Citizens United" decision, and another to break up the media conglomerates. Man, what a dream!! I tried to call the president, but was told he was on vacation in the Bahamas, trying to re-group after his nervous breakdown. I just wish we had a big chunk of this dream, in place of the nightmare we inhabit today.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 18 weeks ago
Quote DrTCH:Terrorism is just another example of a "straw man" argument...a "red herring," to control the citizenry and bamboozle us out of our money and our republic. In recent history, this was introduced by the Bush-Cheney regime, and is still "alive and well" under Obama. The very same policies of "shock and awe" and plenty of propaganda (and a massive war-economy). The United States government is probably the biggest purveyor of terrorism in the world. Couldn't we rise up and "Just say no?!!!"

Well said, DrTCH!

And, wow! What a dream! That was funny about Obama vacationing in the Bahamas suffering a nervous breakdown.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 18 weeks ago

And yes, I know what TCH usually stands for. Isn't that right D.A.M., Prince of Dark Men of Sirius.

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

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