Bob Higgins

Skip the Bearded Lady, Go Straight to the Big Top

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on November 8, 2012
Bearded Lady

Bearded Lady

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My friend, and I mean that, I value your opinion but I think you’re wrong to toss your vote aside to the Fit of Pique party.

You wrote:

I think last night’s election was not an endorsement for Obama but a message to republicans that people are tired of the rhetoric with nothing to back it up. Fiscally conservative? Not a chance. Socially conservative? That is not what the country cares about anymore.

Where you see none I see a mandate from a solid majority of voters of half or more of the states in the union for a return to more liberal policies and a demand for tangible results. These voters gave us a majority in the electoral college that George Bush never enjoyed. People on both sides of the public divide want a strong economy, full employment, safety, security, jobs, quality education, health care, and many other necessary basic services. The argument is how to get it done.

We can well afford a return to and strengthening of the New Deal policies that led us to all of the above conditions and successfully maintained them until the private profiteers, the opportunists, the financial buccaneers and the Chicago School with their trickle down voodoo convinced the weak minded, spineless and venal in Washington to give away the public treasury. (more…)

Post Election Blues

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on November 7, 2012
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Thanks to everyone who supported President Obama and his party in yesterday’s election. You spoke out, you wrote, you contributed your time, energy and money and finally you voted.

Now that it’s over and we have a moment of calm after the raging battle it’s time to reflect on the road ahead. In the brief silence that accompanies this temporary cessation of hostilities if you listen closely you will hear the murmurs beginning.

Karl Rove was on Fox this morning explaining why he’s still a genius. Fox will continue to fill their air time with outrageous and untrue commentary billed as fair and balanced news and the Republican party will continue to vilify minorities, women  and attempt to place the main burden of taxation on the backs of working people.

Already this morning Mitch McConnell and John Boehner attempted to diminish the Democratic victory with less than conciliatory statements that portend the likelihood that obstructionism will continue as their primary tactic and many of the far right republican players like Eric Cantor are still on the field preparing for more of their special brand of malicious mischief.

We’ve won a battle but the struggle continues. We have wars and conflicts to end, a tax system to reconstruct, an economy to rebuild, a national security and military industrial complex to rein in, a constitution and rule of law to reaffirm, and a new energy policy and infrastructure to build. (more…)

Rise as an Army and Reelect the President

Posted in Election 2010, Politics by Bob Higgins on October 4, 2012

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On Tuesday a friend asked if I intended to watch last night’s debate and I told him probably not. I’ve watched Romney and his privileged prep school routine for years. He wears a smirking upper class disdain for his inferiors (which covers just about everyone) like body armor or more self righteously, like temple underwear and you can read on his face the pompous knowledge that the rest of us are not similarly attired.

I knew going in that nothing would happen in this debate that would change my vote to reelect the president. I told my friend that I would read the transcript the morning after. Being a political junkie I cheated. I watched but switched to the ball game, to an old movie, to a book every ten minutes or so. Whenever the dismal droning of the misinformation and posturing of the “debate” began to grate on my nerves I was able to find respite in the remote.

Reading the transcript this morning I quickly learned that my expectations were borne out by the reality of this ratings circus. A circus that was carried by every network and financed by the same corporate money that fuels these interminable election campaigns. There was nothing to learn here, nothing was said that hasn’t been repeated over and over for the last two years of sound bites, mendacious political ads, and media fueled public backbiting that we have somehow come to accept as the democratic process. (more…)

Full Text of State of the Union Message of Barack Obama 1/24/12

Posted in History, Politics by Bob Higgins on January 25, 2012

Remarks of President Barack Obama in State of the Union Address — As Prepared for Delivery

State of the Union Address, Washington, DC

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:

Tonight I want to begin by congratulating the men and women of the 112th Congress, as well as your new Speaker, John Boehner. And as we mark this occasion, we are also mindful of the empty chair in this Chamber, and pray for the health of our colleague – and our friend – Gabby Giffords.

It’s no secret that those of us here tonight have had our differences over the last two years. The debates have been contentious; we have fought fiercely for our beliefs. And that’s a good thing. That’s what a robust democracy demands. That’s what helps set us apart as a nation.

But there’s a reason the tragedy in Tucson gave us pause. Amid all the noise and passions and rancor of our public debate, Tucson reminded us that no matter who we are or where we come from, each of us is a part of something greater – something more consequential than party or political preference.

We are part of the American family. We believe that in a country where every race and faith and point of view can be found, we are still bound together as one people; that we share common hopes and a common creed; that the dreams of a little girl in Tucson are not so different than those of our own children, and that they all deserve the chance to be fulfilled.

That, too, is what sets us apart as a nation.

Now, by itself, this simple recognition won’t usher in a new era of cooperation. What comes of this moment is up to us. What comes of this moment will be determined not by whether we can sit together tonight, but whether we can work together tomorrow.

I believe we can. I believe we must. That’s what the people who sent us here expect of us. With their votes, they’ve determined that governing will now be a shared responsibility between parties. New laws will only pass with support from Democrats and Republicans. We will move forward together, or not at all – for the challenges we face are bigger than party, and bigger than politics. (more…)

Weekly Reads From Common Dreams

Posted in Environment, Politics by Bob Higgins on August 20, 2011

Full text of the State of the Union speech 2011

Posted in History, News, Politics by Bob Higgins on January 26, 2011

Full Text State of the Union Address Barack Obama 2011

Barack Obama State of the Union 2011
Full Text as Delivered

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:

Tonight I want to begin by congratulating the men and women of the 112th Congress, as well as your new Speaker, John Boehner.

And as we mark this occasion, we are also mindful of the empty chair in this Chamber, and pray for the health of our colleague – and our friend – Gabby Giffords.

It’s no secret that those of us here tonight have had our differences over the last two years. The debates have been contentious; we have fought fiercely for our beliefs. And that’s a good thing. That’s what a robust democracy demands. That’s what helps set us apart as a nation.

But there’s a reason the tragedy in Tucson gave us pause. Amid all the noise and passions and rancor of our public debate, Tucson reminded us that no matter who we are or where we come from, each of us is a part of something greater – something more consequential than party or political preference. (more…)

The State of the Union Is On, Pass the Remote

Posted in History, Humor, News, Politics by Bob Higgins on January 25, 2011
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State of th Union Address 2011

Click on the Image for some of SOTU Greatest Hits

“Five Keys to the State of the Union Address,” reads one headline, “What Obama Should Say at State of the Union,” reads another. From cable channels, to the opinion pages and across the tubes of the internet, the dominant babble, today, yesterday and tomorrow is the SOTU.

Provided for in the constitution in article 2, the state of the union address is among our most treasured and enduring annual exercises in political theater and pointless blather.

Article II. Section 3.

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

In my reading of this section I fail to find the words “interminable and boring” but over the years those two terms have come to describe the event that has become a deeply entrenched tradition on the 3rd Wednesday in January.

Steeped in protocol, (the actual Latin word for bullshit) the President enters the great dome of our hallowed national chamber of public corruption, along the way receiving hugs, kisses, and handshakes from dozens of people who despise him. Every movement of all parties  involved is meticulously scripted and choreographed as if the event were a royal wedding directed by the high priests of some obsessively constipated Druidic cult. (more…)

The Middle Way: Government and Business, Partners in Crime

Posted in Financial Crime, History, News, Politics by Bob Higgins on January 22, 2011
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Incoming by Kevin Siers / Charlotte Observer

Barack Obama our “hope and change” guy, elected to return the reins of government to the people, has apparently seen the light. He has discovered that the best way to acquire the billion dollars or whatever he will need to gain a second term is to bring major business contributors into the White House and share office space with them.

Sitting on the opposite side of a giant partners desk just installed in the oval office will be Chief of Staff, former J.P. Morgan Chase executive William Daley and GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt who will be Chairman of the new Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

“It may be a bit crowded at first,” said a presidential spokesperson, “but if it becomes uncomfortably cramped the President has agreed to share Joe Biden’s office in the Executive Office Building.” (more…)

“As Good As Christina Imagined It” Has Broader Applications

Posted in History, News, Politics by Bob Higgins on January 13, 2011
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I Want America To Be As Good As She Imagined It

President and Mrs. Obama at Rep Giffords Memorial. AP Photo

The President is a master of rhetoric in situations like this; ‘I Want America To Be As Good As She Imagined It,’ is a phrase that will live long in the recorded history of these tragic murders and criminal assaults.

It’s unfortunat­e that we won’t apply the words to our behavior in areas related directly to this event, as in improving delivery of mental health care, being much more careful about who has access to guns, or taking people to task for incitefull­y violent public commentary­.

It’s even more of a shame that we refuse to listen to this young girl’s voice when we wage war on innocent people all over the globe, when we deprive or abet the deprivatio­n of the availabili­ty of basic human needs, of clean water, food, shelter and dignity.

Shameful too, both here and abroad is our ongoing practice of locking people away indefinite­ly, without charges, submitting them to torture, without legal recourse, without evidence that they have wronged us, under the pretext of keeping America safe.

The difference­s between what our children imagine is America, and what is actual, what is true, should be required study for children in early grades to prepare them for the traumatic shock of the realities that lie in wait just over their horizons of innocence.

Bob Higgins

“Bipartisanship” is not the Holy Grail

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on January 25, 2009

Harry Truman in a “bipartisan” moment with Lauren Bacall, a staunch liberal Democrat. This is about as “bipartisan as Harry got.”

Last week was exhilarating for Democrats and, judging by the international media, for people all over the planet who have suffered for nearly a decade from the misguided and often criminal policies of George Bush and his terribly inept administration.

The swearing in of Barack Obama and the departure of the Connecticut Cowboy from our public affairs was something long anticipated, and, after our long dark winter, as welcome as the return of springtime and birdsong, at least in these quarters.

The Republican smear machine however, wasted no time in cranking up to its full powers of bloviation. Their program of attacking nearly every move Obama made and every statement he uttered, began seconds after his swearing in and I’m sure will continue unabated in the immediate future. Here’s hoping that they are afforded every opportunity to quibble and obstruct, to grouse and whine, as a minority party for decades to come.

The moaning and squawking over the slightly bobbled recitation of the oath of office, a gaffe that was meaningless and easily ignored by people who have something other than chowder between their ears, was, in Republican circles, fanned into a twenty four hour cause celebre by the fulminating heads of Fox Noise and soon picked up on the other “open all night,” “all the news that fits,” networks.

The storm so roiled the calm in our national teapot that Obama’s advisers encouraged him to retake the oath, which he did in a private and sparsely attended ceremony in the White House a day later.

All seemed well with the republic until Glen Beck pointed out that Obama had not sworn the oath with his hand on a Bible,” I checked” Beck chirped, “We have never had a president sworn into office without a Bible,”

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Whites Only? No More, America is Finally Ready

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on January 20, 2009
Fifty years ago today I was halfway through my sophomore year at WE Stebbins High, an almost completely segregated school in the almost completely segregated city of Dayton, Ohio, a town said at the time to be a southern city that happened to be north of the Mason Dixon line.

The school was “almost completely” segregated because it was located within a good Hail Mary pass of Wright Patterson AFB. I don’t remember exactly the reasons but we were told that because the school received federal funds for students who were military dependents that it had to be integrated.

“Integration” was accomplished by the admission of two young Black kids, The boy was named Sam. I remember because we became friends for awhile until the transparent racist displeasure of my little Quaker Grandmother became thick enough to keep him from dropping by. She wasn’t ready for a black president.

The girl’s name is beyond my atrophied powers of recall. I can see their faces though; both were exceptionally attractive, beautiful in fact, bright, “A” students (National Honor Society), and the son and daughter of Air Force Officers. They weren’t related, although they might have passed for brother and sister (to my eyes) and they knew each other from the Air Base (the Air Force at the time wasn’t a lot more integrated than my high school).

Their presence among the lower and middle class adolescent white children of factory workers, shopkeepers and lower level bean counting managerial types caused no great stir. There were no serious problems (to my eyes) other than an occasional racist taunt, or snub. Civility towards them was rigorously enforced. The powers that be paddled freely and often back then and the sting of that paddle and its humiliation was seldom sought.

I’m sure that Sam and what’s her name saw their experience of being the only “colored kids” among fifteen hundred white kids quite differently than I did but they seemed to smile through it. Again, “to my eyes.”

Dwight Eisenhower was the President at the time, Kennedy, (who would become my boyhood idol, surpassing Chuck Berry) wouldn’t announce his candidacy for another year. Elections in those days were still conducted with a degree of merciful brevity.

“Brown v Board of Education” was only five years in the past; the Civil Rights Act of 1964 five years in the future and Dayton was divided by a river. Black faces were seldom seen east of the river unless on the bus or wielding a rake and although I rode buses frequently I had little contact with and I think, no animosity towards them. In fact, in my budding “beatnik liberal,” barely formed, pre Malcolm and James Baldwin consciousness, I confess to finding them exotic if not damned “quaint”. Please forgive, if you will, my youth and ignorance (and that of my country).

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Can All These Joes Be Wrong?

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on October 16, 2008

Note: The cartoon is the logo of the real Joe the Plumber in Amarillo. Send him some business, I’m told that he’s an Obama guy. If his website takes off because of all this attention maybe he can switch from actual plumbing to an online plumbing advice column. Bob

The month began with Sarah Palin celebrating her campaign’s close identification and long association with “Joe Six Pack,” the mythic every man vision of America that he and they dream that they represent.

Then in last night’s “debate” came “Joe the Plumber,” a guy who claims that he wants to buy a business which “makes” 250k a year and he’s worried about Obama’s tax policies. Who’s next, Joe Bananas, Joe Cool, Joe Mama?

Forgetting for the moment that I have strong suspicions that “Joe the Plumber” is a ringer. Yes, nefarious as it sounds I’m afraid that Joe may be a not too carefully selected, and poorly rehearsed plant from the McCain camp. He was probably chosen by the same group of desperately drunken political geniuses who trotted out Sarah Palin.

Joe the plumber should probably rethink this entrepreneurship thing if he believes that a business that “makes” 250k a year means that he will have an income at that level. A good plumber working steadily by himself with occasional labor help is doing extremely well to gross a quarter of that.

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