Archive for January, 2010

“ I Will Not Quit” President Obama.

I listened to President Obama’s first State of the Union speech with a group of people in Washington, D.C. (“Progressive
State of the Union Watch Party @ Local 16 in DC!”) During the speech, the audience seemed to be energized, supportive, spirited, and mesmerized by the president’s speech giving ability. Who wouldn’t?

Some of the loudest applause from the audience came, when the President said:

*“… realize that for every success story, there are other stories, of men and women who wake up with the anguish of not knowing where their next paycheck will come from; who send out resumes week after week and hear nothing in response.”

*“I do not accept second place for the United States of America.”

*“we need to invest in the skills and education of our people.”

*“To make college more affordable, this bill will finally end the unwarranted taxpayer subsidies that go to banks for student loans. Instead, let’s take that money and give families a $10,000 tax credit for four years of college and increase Pell Grants.”

*“At the beginning of the last decade, the year 2000, America had a budget surplus of over $200 billion. By the time I took office, we had a one-year deficit of over $1 trillion and projected deficits of $8 trillion over the next decade. Most of this was the result of not paying for two wars, two tax cuts, and an expensive prescription drug program. On top of that, the effects of the recession put a $3 trillion hole in our budget. All this was before I walked in the door.”

*“With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections. I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people. And I’d urge Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to correct some of these problems.”

*“This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. We are going to crack down on violations of equal pay laws — so that women get equal pay for an equal day’s work.”

There was some laughter whenever some grim faces appeared on the screen. (McCain, Boehner, Alito, etc.) There was also some murmur of some disagreement and suspicion heard, when the President spoke of “ clean-coal technologies.”

My Take.

The “I will not Quit” speech as an oration was fantastic. As it is popularly stated,” the devil is in the detail”. To me, the issue is  the difference between image and substance, reality and politics. It is the difference between shallow promise and commitment kept. In other words, is this speech only a rhetoric or an admittance of mistakes committed, and a promise of going back to uphold the political plank that the President was voted in to office? Is this Obama’s renaissance speech?

Has the President learned from the lessons of the election results of Nov.3rd. 2009?

“The disappointment of the progressive forces that helped put Obama in the White House. (Especially young white voters). Disparity between campaign rhetoric and reality.” Politicalsnapshots.wordpress.com (nov.09)

Is President Obama conscious of the failure of the so-called bipartisanship?

While the idea of bipartisanship sounds very appealing, let us not forget, what it actually denotes is abandonment of principle. Moreover, let us ask how bipartisanship has helped move Obama’s policies. The fact is, that the Republicans are working to block everything that the President is proposing. They want him to fail. They want the Democrats to loose seats in both Houses of Congress. Which, they will.  Republicans clearly understand that they have a partisan agenda which is different from the Democrats. It is only the spineless Democrats who want to be loved by all. By bending backward for the cooperation of the Republicans, President Obama will end up antagonizing the people that elected him.” Politicalsnapshots.wordpress.com (lessons from President Johnson.Nov.09)

In dealing with health care, is the president considering the poll results in the aftermath of the Massachusetts election debacle?

“A poll of Obama voters conducted by Research 2000 on election night in Massachusetts paints a very different picture. The poll found that 18 percent of people who voted for Brown also voted for Obama in the 2008 general election. Of these voters, 82 percent said they wanted a public option, and 57 percent said they thought the health care reform bill in Congress did not go far enough. The poll also found that among the Obama voters who stayed home, 86 percent said they wanted a public option, and by 6-to1 they said the bill in Congress did not go far enough.” “Opinion: Lead Health Care Reform With Conviction.” Dr. Howard Dean.

We shall see.

Professor Mekonen Haddis

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The Supreme Court, and the dictatorship of the corporations.

“It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans,” President Obama.

“The Court’s ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the nation.”  Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

As if the chocking and oppressive corporate influence in the U.S. politics is not enough. As if the majority of our elected officials are not in the pockets of corporate interests. As if the millions of dollars needed to run a competitive campaign for governor and congressional elections have not made politicians dependent on the generosity of the corporations. As if the hundred of millions of dollars needed for presidential election did not skew the political landscape towards the corporate interests already, the Supreme Court of the U.S. ruled that corporations can spend as much money as they wish, without any limits, to support or oppose political candidates running for office.

It is clear, that the influence of money in U.S. politics has damaged the democratic process in the country. The power of corporations on the political institutions has made citizens feel impotent. With millions of unemployed, with rising foreclosures, and mounting economic insecurity, our politicians are not focusing in finding ways to improve these dire predicaments. Rather, their total energy is spent in finding new ways of making their corporate masters happy. After all, corporations are not spending billions of dollars a year on no return. When they are investing billions on our so-called elected officials, corporations know what the profit is going to be.

Both Political Parties, the Democrats, as well as the Republicans have sold the interests of the people that voted them in to office, for cool cash. Corporations have made the outcome of elections to be dependent on huge amounts of money. This has corrupted the political system. The consequence, of course, has been a continuous erosion of the democratic system.

With this pro corporate ruling, what the Supreme Court of The United States has done is to put out the last flicker of a democratic light. The ruling is also a threat to freedom and equality as we know it. And, most of all, in one stroke, the Supreme Court has paved the way for the dictatorship of the corporation.

Professor Mekonen Haddis.

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Haiti’s earthquake

Haiti’s earthquake.

Haiti was hit by a massive earthquake yesterday. The news and pictures of this awful natural disaster has been plastered all over our television sets. It is hard to see without being emotionally affected. According to news reports, Haiti’s capital city of Port-au-Prince has sustained a serious damage. Power is out. In the aftermath of this destruction, it is obvious the needs of the Haitian people will be enormous.

For the sake of humanity, our government as well as each and every one of us should stand with the Haitian people in this dire time. We should all participate in any way possible to collect and send donations of medicines, blankets, food, etc.

I am pleased with president Obama’s engagement with Haiti’s relief effort. He is taking a wonderful leadership role in making the whole world focus on Haiti’s catastrophe. The president should be highly commended for his promise of an” all-out relief effort in Haiti”.

Good Afternoon,

The reports and images from Haiti of collapsed hospitals, crumbled homes, and men and women carrying their injured neighbors through the streets are truly heart-wrenching. As we learn more about the extent of the devastation, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Haiti and Haitian Americans around our country who do not yet know the fate of their families and loved ones back home.

I have directed my Administration to respond with a swift, coordinated and aggressive effort to save lives. The people of Haiti will have the full support of the United States Government in the urgent effort to rescue those trapped beneath the rubble and to deliver the humanitarian relief — the food, water and medicine — that Haitians will need in the coming days.

This is also a time when we are reminded of the common humanity that we all share, and Americans have always responded to these situations with generosity of spirit. If you would like to support the urgent humanitarian effort in Haiti, I encourage you to visit our website where you can learn more about how to contribute:


Americans trying to locate family members in Haiti are encouraged to contact the State Department at (888) 407-4747.

We will continue to stand with the people of Haiti and keep them in our thoughts and prayers.


Barack Obama

With a broken heart,

Professor Mekonen Haddis

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“The ritual dance between lobbyists and lawmakers is as old as the capital itself. Monied interests lubricate the Federal City to try to get their way.” William Neikirk, Tribune senior correspondent

If Lobbying, influence peddling, and soliciting the support of legislators on an issue becomes a fair exercise to all, I would not have any problem. But, access is dependent on money and connections, of which the majority of Americans have little of.

Lobbying is a multi- billion dollars industry that has a serious stranglehold on politicians. ,” Analyzing 4th Quarter disclosure reports filed Jan. 20, OPEN SECRETS.ORG.calculated that interest groups spent $17.4 million on lobbying for every day Congress was in session in 2008, or $32,523 per legislator per day.”

There fore, I believe lobbying money is a very serious threat to the political system. It creates a grave imbalance between the influence of the monied interests and the majority of the citizens have on the “representatives of the people”. Trying to explain the corrupting influence of lobbying on politicians, in June, 2009 snapshots wrote:

I have the highest of regards to those who have licenses and pay taxes from their incomes as whores. It is those who prostitute without licenses, and hide under the guise of peoples’ representatives that irk me. Specially, when I see them in the tube with their lobbyist purchased suits and silk ties.

Our U.S. members of Congress, who have always sold us out to the interests of big business, are the leading members of whoredom. Our representatives who haven’t met a lobbyist they didn’t like are of the highest echelon of prostitutes. They don’t come cheap, but still are whores.”

Lobbying is not only done by U.S. companies. Foreign governments also spend millions of dollars each year in the U.S. to push their agenda and influence American political leaders.

According to PRO PUBLICA,

 “ Lobbyists for various foreign agents, including a handful of for-profit corporations, disclosed receiving $85 million in fees during the period.

  Lobbyists contacted congressional offices more than 10,700 times, including 2,280 meetings, nearly 2,600 phone conversations and more than 4,000 e-mails, with the balance of contacts in letters and faxes.”

Looking at figures supplied by OPENSECRETS.ORG. and PRO PUBLICA, I continue to wonder whose interests are being achieved.

Professor Mekonen Haddis

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