OUT-TRUMPED – TOP BIRTHER STILL IN DENIAL

The Donald has been out-trumped.  President Obama yesterday released his much sought after long form birth certificate showing that, “yes, he was indeed born in Hawaii” just as he has said for all these years.  But, wait, not to be foiled, birthers have not given up on the game and have, instead, yanked those goal posts out of the ground and huffed and puffed and carried them to a different yard line.

First, it was the constant yapping to see the birth certificate.  Then, when that was produced way back in 2008, the birthers threw down the yellow flag and screamed foul.  They shouted that it was a fake and not the real birth certificate.  Never mind that almost all states do not provide long form birth certificates for proof of birth but rather, upon request and payment, provide a condensed version with basic information included.

Indiana has three types of birth certificates:  the long form (a copy of the actual birth certificate completed at birth), a standard size (a condensed version with relevant information on it), and a wallet size (a condensed version with the relevant information on it).  Neither the standard size nor the wallet size contains the information contained on the full birth certificate.

Despite his “boots on the ground” cloak and dagger act, Trump failed to come up with anything tangible.  His “you won’t believe what they are finding” must have turned into “I don’t believe it, they haven’t found anything.”   Trump has decidedly lost some punch on this issue now that President Obama has produced the certificate that has caused so much angst.

But no sooner had the President released the birth certificate, then Trump turned his comb over in another direction.  Now, the Donald says, the President’s grades need to be placed under a microscope for review.  And, his student loans.  After all, the fact that President Obama graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Harvard Law School and the fact that Obama was President of the prestigious Harvard Law Review – why those just have to be mistakes and somehow undeserved accolades.

The only mistake that has been made is the relentless, unfounded Trump-eting by the Donald.  With an ego larger than the Trump Towers, and, in classic Trump style, he took to the microphones to stoke himself on the back for being the only one in America who could have accomplished this non feat.  No doubt he just wasn’t able to admit that, after weeks of demands and weeks of self-aggrandizing statements, he was out-Trumped by President Obama.

President Obama - Born in the USA

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AND SO, MY FELLOW AMERICANS: ASK NOT WHAT YOUR COUNTRY CAN DO FOR YOU – ASK WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR COUNTRY.

I would imagine most Americans of any age would recognize the above quote from John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address of January 20, 1961.  Amazing isn’t it that such a quote holds so much meaning to so many and has been and still is often repeated.

Yet, almost 50 years later, our President is being maligned and disparaged for daring to speak to students and to ask them the very same thing.  For those who continue to despise Obama and criticize every step and every move he makes, I am providing the text of the speech, long as it is. 

But, I imagine there will still be those who will find a hidden “agenda” somewhere in the words Obama will deliver tomorrow in Arlington, Virginia.

Prepared Remarks of President Barack Obama Back to School Event Arlington, Virginia
September 8, 2009
 

The President: Hello everyone – how’s everybody doing today? I’m here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we’ve got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade. I’m glad you all could join us today. 
I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it’s your first day in a new school, so it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you’re in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could’ve stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.
I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn’t have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday – at 4:30 in the morning.   
Now I wasn’t too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, I’d fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I’d complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, “This is no picnic for me either, buster.”
So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I’m here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I’m here because I want to talk with you about your education and what’s expected of all of you in this new school year. 
Now I’ve given a lot of speeches about education. And I’ve talked a lot about responsibility.
I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn. 
I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox. 
I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren’t working where students aren’t getting the opportunities they deserve. 
But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed. 
And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself. 
Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide. 
Maybe you could be a good writer – maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper – but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor – maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine – but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.
And no matter what you want to do with your life – I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You’re going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.
And this isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future. 
You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You’ll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You’ll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy. 
We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that – if you quit on school – you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country. 
Now I know it’s not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork.
I get it. I know what that’s like. My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mother who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn’t always able to give us things the other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and felt like I didn’t fit in. 
So I wasn’t always as focused as I should have been. I did some things I’m not proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse. 
But I was fortunate. I got a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to college, and law school, and follow my dreams. My wife, our First Lady Michelle Obama, has a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didn’t have much. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools in this country.
Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you don’t have adults in your life who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job, and there’s not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don’t feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know aren’t right. 
But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying. 
Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future. 
That’s what young people like you are doing every day, all across America. 
Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didn’t speak English when she first started school. Hardly anyone in her hometown went to college, and neither of her parents had gone either. But she worked hard, earned good grades, got a scholarship to Brown University, and is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to being Dr. Jazmin Perez.
I’m thinking about Andoni Schultz, from Los Altos, California, who’s fought brain cancer since he was three. He’s endured all sorts of treatments and surgeries, one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer – hundreds of extra hours – to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind, and he’s headed to college this fall. 
And then there’s Shantell Steve, from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Even when bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods, she managed to get a job at a local health center; start a program to keep young people out of gangs; and she’s on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college.
Jazmin, Andoni and Shantell aren’t any different from any of you. They faced challenges in their lives just like you do. But they refused to give up. They chose to take responsibility for their education and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of you to do the same. 
That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book. Maybe you’ll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you’ll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn. Maybe you’ll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn. And along those lines, I hope you’ll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don’t feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.
Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it. 
I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work — that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things. 
But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.
That’s OK.  Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, “I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” 
These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying. 
No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in. 
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust – a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor – and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals. 
And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you – don’t ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.
The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best. 
It’s the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.
So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?  
Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

Notice, the bolded words follow pretty much the same message delivered by a great president nearly 50 years ago, a message that has been held in high regard and seen as one of the greatest remarks made – oft-quoted by Democrats and Republicans alike.  Fifty years ago, the urging by President Kennedy was seen as something good and right – what can you do as a citizen of this great Nation to help her.

Now, 50 years later, the same message is being labeled as socialistic in nature – a march toward dictatorship – a flirting with communism – all because it is asking the youth of this Nation to think about their future and what they can do to help our country.

Because President Barack Obama has the audacity to ask the same question of millions of students in thousands of classrooms across one great Nation, he is drawing the wrath of many Republicans in all corners of this Nation. 

He is asking that students take ownership of their education – something that many have been preaching for decades.  He is asking that the responsibilities of citizenship of this Nation not wait until the ballot lever is pulled.  He is asking that our youth recognize how much it takes to build and improve our great Nation and take ownership of contributing to its success and good fortune.

Imagine that – the audacity of hope in our young people   – – the audacity to think that students should and will be encouraged to understand the importance of education  —  the audacity to ask that students think about their education and how they, too, can ask  “Not what my country can do for me, but what can I do for my country.” 

Imagine that.

President Barack Obama will deliver a message of encouragement to students across the Nation on September 8, 21009

President Barack Obama will deliver a message of encouragement to students across the Nation on September 8, 2009 (Photo Credit: Boston.com)

DELUSIONAL DOBBS

Lou Dobbs has become delusional in his old age.  Despite the fact that the election is going on 9 months old, and Obama was clearly elected president, Dobbs continues his fanatical harping about Obama’s birth certificate.  CNN, placed in a delicate position, has put the kibosh – kinda – on Dobbs’ unending banter about Obama’s birth.

CNN checked out the story and found it wasn’t much of a story.  Dobbs was told to explain CNN’s findings and then end his constant twittering about the issue.  But Dobbs continued to talk about the story that has given rise to what has become known as the “Birther Movement”,  a fringe movement that is dedicated to the conspiracy that Obama really wasn’t born here in the good ‘ole US of A and, is, therefore, ineligible to be president of the United States.

Seems some sore losers just can’t get over the fact that Obama won the election.   But Dobbs may just have shot himself in the foot.  During the month of May, according to an analysis of Nielsen data, Dobbs’ 7 p.m. program on CNN averaged 657,000 total viewers and 181,000 in the key 25-to-54 demographic—numbers that were down a whopping 29 percent and 27 percent, respectively, as compared to May of 2008.

Perhaps his audience is just plain tired of Dobbs and his grandiose delusion that Obama really isn’t the president.


CNN talking head just can't get over Obama victory

“THE ARC OF THE MORAL UNIVERSE IS LONG, BUT IT BENDS TOWARD JUSTICE”

President Obama responded to the Iranian crisis by aptly quoting Martin Luther King:

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

The universe will always bend toward justice – it may be a long trek and it will inevitably cost millions of lives, it will result in brutal, vicious, and unspeakable crimes against humanity, and it will wreak destruction and havoc on nations and it will show no mercy in its struggle to survive, but it will, sooner or later, survive, and it will bend toward justice. I fervently pray for Iran that it is sooner.

I am cautiously and optimistically watching the events in Iran.  I remember the days of the American ally, the Shah of Iran, who was deposed in 1979 in the Islamic Revolution – a revolution which thrust Iran back into the hard line policies of the Ayatollahs and the denigration and subjugation of women.

My sons were not old enough to really be interested in this event.  But I well remember seeing the Shah of Iran – right or wrong – an American ally, propped up by American interests – being deposed and sent into exile.  In those days, Iran was our “friend”, our “ally.”

The Islamic Revolution of 1979 was quick, and it surprised the West and its allies.  Just as this current uprising has been quick and has surprised the world with its ferocity and its tenacity.  Mir Hossein Mousavi – leader of the movement – is ready for martyrdom, and he understands that his life may be offered up as testimony to his beliefs.  He knows, just as Benizir Bhutto knew, just as Burmese activist Aung San Suu Ky knows, that there are causes that are just and right and are worth the ultimate sacrifice.

Am I espousing ethnocentricity at this point?  Yes, I am.  I believe that people should be free, but it should be of their own choice and making – such as is occurring now in Iran.  I believe that according to the Declaration of Independence “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  That the word “men” now includes all genders and all races and all ethnicities.

Sooner or later, the people will rise against tyranny that is in place.   Sooner or later it truly is “power to the people.”  Sooner or later, the people arise and throw off the yoke of tyranny.

I remember the taking of 52 Americans for 444 days beginning on November 4, 1979, and ending seconds after Ronald Reagan assumed the presidency on January 20, 1981.  President Carter’s ill-fated attempt to rescue the hostages prevented him from a second term.  Who can doubt that if his rescue attempt had been successful, he would have won a second term?

Am I also espousing the rights and dignities of women?  Yes, I am.  The world should not support and encourage the second-class citizenship of women.  Women are not property – women are human beings and deserve to be treated with the same respect and dignity that are accorded to men.

So I anxiously await the outcome because I know at the very root of all justice is the ability of the people to rise up and claim what is rightfully theirs – equality, justice, and freedom.

CATHOLIC HIERARCHY OUT OF TOUCH – OBAMA REACHES OUT TO SOOTHE

President Obama was warmly welcomed at the University of Notre Dame – proving that many Catholic students, parents, friends, and relatives were able to keep a saner and calmer mind than the 35% of the Catholic hierarchy who decided to equate President Obama’s presence with Judas-like treachery.

Apparently, the 35% have forgotten that Pope Benedict had issued a position paper saying the death penalty “is not only a refusal of the right to life, but it also is an affront to human dignity”  and went right ahead and hosted George W. Bush – fondly known as the Texecutioner.  Ah, where were those protestors then?  Or could it be that many of the so righteously indignant cherry-pick which tenents of the Catholic faith to uphold?

Despite alumni attempts to coerce Father John Jenkins to retract the University’s invitation to President Obama, Father Jenkins remained steadfast in upholding the University’s tradition – beginning in 1960 with then-President Eisenhower delivering the first such address – of hosting the President of the United States as its commencement day speaker.

And, President Obama did not disappoint.  Even those who originally objected to Obama’s presence and receipt of an honorary degree were pleased with his speech.  The President refused to duck and weave and dodge the issue of abortion and, instead, confronted the uncomfortable topic head on, urging respect and civility with”open hearts, open minds, fair-minded words.”

Protesters in the crowd sporadically interrupted Obama’s commencement address before they were shouted down by the rest of the graduates.  Imagine that – the very idea that many of the soon-to-be graduates really wanted to hear what the President had to say.

Obama – with grace and courage – faced the task of stepping onto a stage knowing full well that a tempest was brewing outside the University stirred by the likes of outsiders Randall Terry and Alan Keyes – the perennial political candidate who was drafted to challenge Obama in the 2004 Illinois Senate race despite never having lived in Illinois.

But despite the efforts of Terry and Keyes to turn the graduation ceremony into a fiasco, the tempest remained in its teapot, the Catholic hierarchy remained out of touch, and Obama reached out to those with opposite views.

Photo Credit:  University of Notre Dame

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LIMBAUGH THE LOSER

Rush has a problem – he simply detests the fact that American voters elected a Democrat as president for the next four years. And, to boot, a president who was labeled the “most liberal” in the Senate.  He can’t over it, and he has no intention of getting over it.  But Limbaugh’s rantings can be expected – he is a puffed-up,  talking head – full of hot air.

Limbaugh wants Obama to fail – his words, “I hope he fails.”  But, hold it.  He clarifies those four choice words by saying that they were taken out of context.  He really meant that if Obama’s policies involve government intervention to fix a broken health-care system, to instill a new way forward to energy independence, to salvage banks in order to shore up the financial markets, and on and on, then he wants Obama to fail.  Okay – clarification noted.

But his comments about Obama’s actions involving the Maersk Alabama border on the insane.  Here is his statement:

RUSH: You know what we have learned about the Somali pirates, the merchant marine organizers that were wiped out at the order of Barack Obama, you know what we learned about them? They were teenagers. The Somali pirates, the merchant marine organizers who took a US merchant captain hostage for five days were inexperienced youths, the defense secretary, Roberts Gates, said yesterday, adding that the hijackers were between 17 and 19 years old. Now, just imagine the hue and cry had a Republican president ordered the shooting of black teenagers on the high seas.

They were kids. The story is out, I don’t know if it’s true or not, but apparently the hijackers, these kids, the merchant marine organizers, Muslim kids, were upset, they wanted to just give the captain back and head home because they were running out of food, they were running out of fuel, they were surrounded by all these US Navy ships, big ships, and they just wanted out of there. That’s the story, but then when one of them put a gun to the back of the captain, Mr. Phillips, then bam, bam, bam. There you have it, and three teenagers shot on the high seas at the order of President Obama.

The pirates were “merchant marine organizers?”  Would that kind of organizer be similar to the community organizer status that Obama held in Chicago?  The role that Limbaugh and his ilk mocked and likened to a socialist front?  Of course not.

They were kids?  Would that be the type of kids that Limbaugh would have their heads here in this country if they committed a crime?  Of course.  Had those been American teenagers holding hostages, Limbaugh would have advocated for the swift shot to the head.

Photo credit:  Newsday.com

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His insane rantings sound like he is now touting a position that he has so ferociously trashed for all his years of puffery – the liberal position that he so hates.  He is asking the world to sympathize with what he is labeling three misguided teenagers who were hungry and just wanted to go home.

Apparently, Limbaugh can’t stand any – I say any – success by Obama.  The fact that Obama stood firm on the taking of the ship and its captain and ended the standoff with the safe return of the Captain and its crew is just too much for Limbaugh.

Obama reacted with planning and persistence.  And, his actions were successful with the help of U.S. Naval forces.  Too much for Limbaugh the Loser to acccept, so he has now done an about face, expressing what appears to be sympathy for three teen-age “merchant marine organizers” who tried unsuccessfully to take a ship with an American crew but succeeded in taking an American as a hostage – how pathetic.

Does Limbaugh want Obama to fail?  Yep – and even at the cost of forsaking his own political positions.  Limbaugh continues to be a losing, bag of hot air – no more clarification needed.

REPUBLICANS – UNITED THEY STAND BUT STILL THEY FALL

After eight years of disastrous deficit policies – six of those years under complete Republican domination – Republicans have now decided that party unity trumps all else – hey, they’ve got their groove on again.    They have turned into a bunch of whining, sore losers using their pulpits from an oft-empty congressional chamber to sputter their righteous indignation at the stimulus plan and its efforts to stimulate the economy.   Not one single Republican in the House voted for the Plan, and only three voted for it in the Senate.

They have determined that no matter what, they will not support the policies of President Obama.  But given the numbers, it doesn’t look like Republicans are really needed for most legislation.

Ironic isn’t it how Republicans watched and cowered for six years as their party’s president virtually ignored their own touted fiscal conservative policies.  Now that their backs are up against the wall, they have decided to fly home to roost on those policies,  railing against the stimulus plan as if their lives depended on it.  And, perhaps they do – their political lives that is.  They are hedging their bets that the stimulus plan won’t work and that the failure will lead to a comeback in 2010.

The danger, of course, is that if the plan works even partially, the Republicans stand to garner the continued wrath of the American voter – as was reflected in the last two election cycles which saw both the House and Senate revert to Democratic control – a repudiation of the Republican party and its posititons.  They could lose even more seats and could very well see the historical writing on the wall.  Republicans have become the obstructionists, and I am betting they will pay dearly for their new-found party unity ploy.

I, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA

With those four words, Barack Obama set sail – our Captain of the American enterprise with us as the crew – on a new journey in American history:  a history that all but chafed against such an event that occurred today in Washington, D.C.   With Obama’s inauguration, the words contained in the Declaration of Independence proclaiming that “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights” were pulled from the yellow pages of history to take on new life, never ringing more true or holding more promise.

Our Nation’s history is replete with human tragedy – from our decimation of Native Americans to the slave trade and slavery with its horrendous treatment of an entire race of fellow human beings to our fear, loathing, and internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.  But it is also brimming with triumphs from the birth of this great country upon the shoulders of our Founding Fathers to the building of the most powerful country in the world to the accomplishments of thousands of Americans too numerous to list.

Today – today – what seemed impossible in my generation – the 50s and 60s  – has come true.  In high school, I watched on TV almost daily the hatred spewed from the lips of southern politicians and public officials as they battled against desegregation and the entrance of blacks into southern schools and universities.  They stood arrogantly and defiantly in the doorways of their states’ public educational institutions, bracing themselves against what would be the inevitable mingling of blacks with whites.

The most basic rights that we today take for granted and accept were long denied to African-Americans.  The simple act of sitting at a lunch counter waiting to be served was against the law.   The police battled peaceful demonstrators with brutal force, using fire hoses spraying torrents of water strong enough to knock those targeted off their feet.  Billyclubs were used indiscriminately and with no remorse.

Presidents Kennedy and Johnson were both called upon to send in National Guard troops to ensure that the law desegregating the schools would be obeyed.  Day after violent day, I watched as citizens fought to prevent other citizens from being treated with dignity and enjoying the basic, common rights already attendant to being white.

But integration in the southern schools was not the only racial barrier that finally fell in the 1960s.  From early colonial days, laws were set in place to criminalize the cohabitation and marriage of whites and blacks, fueled by reliance on Biblical admonitions and a fear of “mongrolizing” the white race.  Not until the case of Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S.  1 (1967), did the last remnants of the anti-miscegenation statutes fall.  The Supreme Court made clear by a 9-0 vote that the right to choose with whom you wish to spend your life is a fundamental right not to be abridged by outdated theories and racist ideologies.

Today, we move forward to a new beginning – a new vision of our country where the words of our founders ring true.  Their words were set down in our Declaration and in our Constitution – a Constitution that is the shortest in the world and the longest-lived in the world.  And just as our Founders planned, despite the crises we have suffered throughout our history, today we witnessed a peaceful and seamless transition, not only from one Commander in Chief to another, but also from words set forth on parchment over 200 years ago across the centuries to a fulfillment of that promise – “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

And I cried.  And I cried this weekend watching the concert at the Lincoln Memorial remembering how I stood on that very spot two years ago looking up at the cream-colored face of Abraham Lincoln.  I cried watching Barack Obama taking the Oath of Office.  I cried in remembrance of those struggles of the past two centuries and especially those that I remember from the 60s.  And I cried with happiness and a new-felt freedom for the promises that I unabashedly knew lived in our Constitution and the realization that those promises have finally come to pass.

Photo Credit:  New York Times (Peter Baker)

BUSH – THE END OF AN ERROR

I know that this reference isn’t new and has been bandied about for some time now, but it sure sums up my feelings about the departure of the 43rd president of the United States. From the moment Bush arrogantly swaggered into the White House vis-a-vis a slanted 5-4 decision by the United Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000), he treated the position as his to denigrate, abuse, and violate.

He chose as his running mate a fellow oilman and anti-environmentalist, Dick Cheney. And someone who was just as arrogant and full of himself as he was.  Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, and other neocons had a plan already in place to deal with the Middle East, particularly Iraq – it was just figuring out how to do it. 

And figure it out he did – by sounding the alarm after 9/11 and pointing his finger – no longer at Afghanistan – but at Saddam Hussein and Iraq. Bush began his methodical campaign – full of lies and misrepresentations – to manipulate and frighten Congress and the public despite the fact that no evidence existed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and that Iraq had no role in 9/11.  And he got what he wanted:  a resolution by Congress approving the invasion and occupation and the support of most of the public.

I will never forget the invasion of Iraq – the so-called “Shock and Awe”, and Americans clapping and cheering – like they were at a football game – as the bombs fell on innocent citizens as well as those who Bush wished to depose. I was out with friends at a local establishment, and the patrons made no secret that they were thrilled to see the might of the American military raining down on Baghdad.

And who can forget Bush – dressed in flight gear – landing on the USS Abraham Lincoln to assure the public that after only six weeks of shock and awe, major combat had ended. Grinning before a huge “Mission Accomplished” sign hung high on the ship, Bush claimed – well – that the mission was accomplished. Hussein was gone and Iraq was now free and would be a democracy. Just that simple and just like that.  Never mind that we have now been in Iraq six years this March.

But apparently the sign wasn’t enough, Bush pulled on his cowboy boots, drew his six shooters, and drawled “bring ’em on.”  Bring ’em on?  The fact that he said this showed his complete disregard for human life.  We do not live in the Wild West, and those were American lives which would be the target of his short, three-word utterance.

His handling of the economy and the budget drove fiscal conservatives over the edge.  I can’t count the number of times I listened to Pat Buchanan on the McLaughlin Report disavow Bush as a true Republican conservative.  But Bush didn’t seem to mind, again ignoring advice and doing what he darned well pleased.

Bush’s handling of the Hurricane Katrina disaster highlighted his inability to focus on matters other than winning in Iraq.  Who can forget his classic albeit misplaced support of the FEMA director, Michael D. Brown, with the oft-quoted “You’re doing a heck of a job, Brownie.”  On September 12, 2005 – just days after the pat on the back – “Brownie” resigned his position as head of FEMA amid accusations of his lack of credentials to manage the agency and his lack of  foresight in planning for emergencies and disasters.

Bush’s inability to string together a coherent paragraph was evident from the beginning and, unfortunately, became more pronounced as he wandered through year after year of his first term. By his second term, the mere mention of a presidential press conference or a prefabricated speech sent a shudder down my spine. Watching him speak to an audience was painful, so I never watched him – not even to reinforce my own opinion of how inane he was – until this past Thursday night.

I forced myself to watch his last, I say last, speech with unmitigated relief.  I was curious as to how he would manipulate the facts about his eight years of disaster into a shining picture of success.  He looked haggard and strained – his voice bland and showing little emotion – as he tried to put a positive spin on eight years of imperial secrecy, inane decision-making, and outright flaunting of the Constitution.  His speech was short and lacked clarity, just like so many of his decisions.

But what could one expect from a presidency that had only one focus – Iraq and proving a point in the Middle East.  His all-consuming and fanatical drive to make Iraq a fledgling democracy amidst a sea of Islamic states has left him wanting in virtually all other matters when it comes to the matters of the United States and all Americans.

Yes, indeed, January 20th is the end of an error and the beginning of a new dawn for those of us who have suffered through eight years of George W. Bush.  I feel like I have finally awakened from a bad dream.

FRANTIC ANTI-OBAMA FANATICS STILL FILING FRIVOLOUS LAWSUITS

Yikes!  And this time it is two Hoosiers who have jumped on the proverbial “you ain’t no natural born citizen” bandwagon.   A number of the lawsuits have failed to gain traction and have been dismissed by judges across the country who have seen them for what they are – pathetic attempts to discredit president-elect Obama.

Steve Ankeny of New Castle, Indiana, and Bill Kruse of Roselawn, Indiana, are two of the latest wingnut plaintiffs to tackle the issue of whether or not president-elect Obama is really a natural born citizen as required by the Constitution.  Their lawsuit was filed in Marion County Superior Court in Indianapolis and names Governor Mitch Daniels and the Republican and Democratic national committees as defendants in the Indiana suit.

The plaintiffs, however, have decided to try a different tack and are alleging that Governor Daniels and the national committees have failed to uphold the Constitution which states:

“No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”

The problem is that the writers of the Constitution did not explain what they meant by “natural born citizen.”   No one has a problem with a person born on U.S. soil to parents who are both citizens and living in the U.S. when the child is born.  Makes sense.  But situations exist this seemingly simple example does not apply.  For instance, parents who are living abroad when their child is born.  Or one parent who is a natural born citizen and a parent who is not.

A nonpartisan group – factcheck.org –  has investigated the issue and reports that its staffers have seen, touched, examined and photographed the original birth certificate.  The group concluded that it meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship with its conclusion that Obama was born in the U.S.  After all, he was born in Hawaii in 1961 – two years after Hawaii became a state.

The plaintiffs piously argue that they don’t care who the candidate is, their goal is to make sure the Constitution is followed.  Please cut the crap.  I wonder if they have followed other Constitutional issues with such dedication and fervor?

The United States Supreme Court earlier this month declined to accept another junk lawsuit filed by a Leo Donofrio, who also argued that Obama was not a natural born citizen.

As so many Republicans said after the 2000 and 2004 elections – GET OVER IT!  Obama will be inaugurated as president, and the country will move forward.  The crackpots filing the lawsuits will have had their 15 minutes of fame and will fade into oblivion.   Just too bad Hoosiers had to become part of the circus act.

Photo Credit: Google Images