State Of The Union Speech

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Second Bill Of Rights (January 11, 1944) Not Yet Achieved In 2014!

Now that THE ROOSEVELTS series on PBS, the seven part series presented to the nation by the great documentarian Ken Burns, is over, many thoughts and emotions cross one’s mind.

FDR offered so much to the nation in his New Deal, and in his leadership of the struggle against Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan in World War II.

But what struck this author more than any of this, while watching this 14 hour series over the past week, is an often forgotten speech, the State of the Union speech of January 11, 1944, delivered by FDR in a joint session of Congress.

The speech dealt with the issue of a “Second Bill Of Rights”.

FDR knew that the Bill Of Rights had made America the beacon of the civilized world, with the basic civil liberties it granted to all Americans.

But FDR was looking ahead to the end of World War II, and envisioned a nation that would extend the concept of a bill of rights to other issues that affected all Americans.

So FDR called for a future guarantee of everyone having a decent job with a living wage; a guarantee of decent housing for all Americans; a guarantee of a decent supply of food, clothing, and leisure for all; a guarantee of a decent education providing opportunity for all to advance; an expansion of Social Security beyond the beginning of the concept nine years earlier in 1935; and  provision for a decent health care system for all Americans.

Now 70 years later, none of these have been accomplished, although Social Security has improved tremendously for the elderly, and for women who are widowed and children who lose a parent or are orphaned: Medicare has done so much to help the elderly and disabled; and ObamaCare, under great duress, has provided health care for millions of Americans who never had health coverage before.

But yet, conservatives and Republicans are out to make Social Security and Medicare privatized, and want to destroy ObamaCare!

But we have too many people who cannot find work, due to the Great Recession of George W. Bush and cannot even gain extension of the New Deal concept of unemployment compensation; many Americans live in substandard housing; many people go hungry and live in dire poverty; many have to work multiple jobs and cannot have time for leisure, with most Americans not able to have vacation time, less than any European democracy, or Canada or Australia;  and many children are denied a good education system and can only gain minimum wage employment as adults.

The right wing extremists are trying to destroy the New Deal and Great Society reforms, and return American to a century ago before there was social justice and economic opportunity and political reform offered, starting with the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt.

How can any decent American not rise up in protest and anger at the selfishness and greed of the elite one percent and their propagandists, who do not care what happens to anyone other than their own class?  Why is acquisition of obscene wealth and power so important that these right wingers have no humanity, no common decency, no desire to see their fellow Americans have a chance to succeed as they were given?  Why is the hatred of taxes so vehement, as if one can take his or her wealth to the grave, or give it in obscene amounts to offspring who will never know responsibility or the virtue of accomplishing on their own?  What is wrong with this nation, that 70 years after the “Second Bill of Rights” speech of FDR, we have made very little progress on the goals of the speech, and have even backtracked on them, and we have evil forces wanting to destroy the most significant programs of the New Deal and Great Society?

Marco Rubio Response To State Of The Union Speech Of Barack Obama Comes Up Short!

Florida Senator Marco Rubio presented the official GOP response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address last night.

As always, Senator Rubio comes across as charismatic, handsome, well spoken, and a pleasant personality.

But when it comes to substance, Rubio was wanting in many ways.

He hardly touched on foreign policy at all, spending most of his time condemning “big” government, claiming that it cannot solve people’s problems, forgetting that he is where he is because of help from government through student loan programs, which he pointed out he had just paid off finally after many years of payments.

Rubio failed to realize that it is government which provides so many opportunities and forms of assistance, including his mother’s Medicare and Social Security.

Rubio forgets that it was the interstate highway system, initiated by Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower, which has allowed the nation, and particularly Florida, to become a success story in growth of population and economic opportunity.

Rubio criticizes government, while making sure that he spends his career in government service, including the Florida legislature, where he spent a decade.

It is also ironic that Rubio and his party attack “big” government, when George W. Bush led the greatest expansion of government in four decades!

Rubio offered no hope for any solution to gun violence, and denied climate change, just as he has, earlier, questioned evolution, so he believes that science has no validity, while invoking religion, of course, all of the time, forgetting that we have a Constitution and Bill of Rights that promotes separation of church and state.

Rubio also shows bad math, as he claims Barack Obama has raised the national debt more than any President, which is not true, and fails to reflect the deep chasm we were in when he took the oath of office, the worst since 1933!

And his belief that often corrupt state governments, including his own state of Florida, can do a better job of operating safety net programs, is belied by the stark truth of just the opposite result!

So Marco Rubio gives a good speech, but the details come up short, if one is interested in reality!

But one thing Rubio accomplished is to make him more noticed as a leading Presidential possibility for his party in 2016!

Barack Obama State Of The Union Speech One Of Leadership, But Also Asking For BiPartisanship!

President Barack Obama gave an outstanding State of the Union speech tonight, but one with an attempt to promote bipartisanship as he begins his second term.

He asked for cooperation to avoid constant budget battles that undermine economic recovery, and reflect badly on our image internationally, considering that we are a world leader.

He called for investments in energy, infrastructure, and education, including a preschool program for all young children.

He called for action on climate change, and indicated he would take executive action if nothing was done on the issue.

He called for a program of immigration reform that apparently impressed Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, in an interview on CNN after the speech.

He backed the need for Medicare and Social Security reforms, as long as they did not harm the long term stability of the programs.

He appealed for basic gun legislation to try to cut down the widespread violence, with more than 1,400 people killed by gun violence in the past month and a half alone!

He informed us that half of the remaining 68,000 troops in Afghanistan were coming home within the next year. This made clear his goal to focus on domestic reform, and wind down the overseas commitment of military forces.

He called for an increase in the minimum wage, and for prevention of laws that interfere with the right to vote, informing us that this is basic justice for all Americans.

Any reasonable person would have to say that his speech set a series of goals that were very mainstream and reasonable, but of course, the opposition will see it otherwise. One can hope that a lot of his ideas and initiatives can be accomplished, but it will not be easy to do so!

Republican Refusal To Cooperate In Difficult Times: A Losing Strategy!

The Republican party has become more obstructionist under Barack Obama than they have ever been at any other time under any other Democratic President, and this has soured a lot of Americans who watched their facial expressions, their body language, and their refusal to give him any applause when he called for steps toward creating jobs, promoting small business, and saving community banks in his State of the Union address last night.

It is as if they want the country to fail, so that they can gain politically, putting their own narrow party interests and political power positions ahead of what is good and essential for the country at large.

They seem not to have any human compassion, any concern for those who are hurting, and would rather impose an ideological test on Republicans who run for office, therefore threatening such moderates as Charlie Crist in Florida and even John McCain in Arizona.

Their flirtation with the extremist Tea Party Movement and former Congressman Dick Armey’s Freedom Works movement will destroy this proud party that once stood for good things and good instincts under Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and even at times, under Ronald Reagan.

Their negative message and lack of respect for President Obama will, in the long run, reverberate against them, even though Democrats worry about the midterm election. But it is hard to conceive of the country giving control of Congress to the party that has no message and no leadership and shows no commitment or principles that can offer hope for the future!

New Poll On Who Is To Blame For Stalemate In Government: The Republicans In Congress!

A new NBC-Wall Street Journal poll assesses who is responsible for lack of progress on legislation during the Great Recession we are in, including health care reform and economic revival.

A surprise to some, I suppose, is that the Republicans in Congress are assigned the greatest blame (48 percent), followed by the Democrats in Congress (41 percent) and President Obama (27 percent).

71 percent feel Obama cannot be blamed and his public opinion rating remains positive at 50 percent, with an unfavorability rating of 44 percent.

So despite the Republican victories in New Jersey and Virginia in November and in Massachusetts last week, Obama still retains a reservoir of good will, and remains personally popular, as most Americans like him on a personal level and do not blame him for the lack of action by the government this past year.

So the news today that the Democrats in Congress seem ready to scale back the health care reform is disturbing, as the lack of action by the Democrats is seen as more likely to cause a backlash by Democrats who might very well stay home on Election Day in November because of their feeling that the Democrats promise and then don’t carry through.

As Barack Obama has said, although many Americans are afraid of the health care bill’s complexity, the belief is once it would pass, the majority would realize it was all for the good, and the Democrats would be in better shape for public support than if they sit on their hands and kill the legislation.

So with this new poll evidence, it is essential that President Obama come out fighting during the State of the Union speech for what he believes in, and show the courage of his convictions. He can offer a bridge to the recalcitrant Republicans, but make it clear he will not tolerate their obstructionism, and will do what must be done to make life better for the American people!