Hair: Obama Punches a Hippie on Memorial Day

    Ah yes, trotting out those tired old lines:

    ”You were often blamed for a war you didn’t start, when you should have been commended for serving your country with valor. You were sometimes blamed for misdeeds of a few, when the honorable service of the many should have been praised. You came home and sometimes were denigrated, when you should have been celebrated

    No matter how many times someone points out the myth of hippies spitting on vets just didn't happen in any numbers, that the protests were aimed at the Pentagon, not G.I. Joe, the story just won't die.

    Apparently Obama missed one of the major vibes of the period, trying to end the war, trying to keep our neighbors from dying for no good reason. Are the kids at Kent State included in the remembrance of Memorial Day?

    Perhaps we should chip in to buy Obama a video of Hair, a major period piece and successful broadway show that James Rado and Gerome Ragni started writing in 1964 and performed starting in 1967, set in Central Park a few blocks from where Obama went to school. About benevolent hippies who try to keep a naive uneducated stranger from going off to war to be killed or to kill. And even one of those hippies Christ-like takes his place, so the Okie can marry his sweetheart and live out the war in marital bliss.

    If we were so hard on vets, how did this sentimental piece about love towards soldiers become popular?

    In short, we weren't that hard on vets. But the establishment then as now turned anti-war protest into personal attacks, and twisted the motives of those fighting against useless death and killing. Did Bradley Manning really try to abet the enemy? Or simply stop a corrupt, ineffectual occupation that only supported embezzlement of US tax dollars, didn't actually fight Al Qaeda much at all?

    Of course with real atrocities like My Lai, that Colin Powell successful covered up for a few years, we did get a small sense of how much cruelty and war crimes was going on. Hippies didn't make up pictures of civilians running from napalm attacks, and those attacks and massive bombing of Laos were ordered by generals, not common soldiers. The Winter Soldiers may have played up atrocities too much, but there were certainly Viet Cong thrown out of helicopters and more villages than My Lai wiped out without cause and great civilian death, with no investigation. Tiger Force's atrocities didn't get revealed until 2002.

    But it's an election year, and besides kissing babies' butts, it's expected that politicians politicians will ingratiate themselves to the war machine by invoking the troops at every stop. 

    So maybe Obama needs a reminder of who the Hippies were, that they were out to help black and white avoid atrocity to others and slaughter to themselves, that picking up the pieces of French colonialism was so yesterday, that we were launching a new age of love and peace to strangers, the Age of Aquarius. Or that even Nixon ran on a peace campaign - remember his trademark wave? - and de-escalated the ground war at a pace to make Obama jealous - from 540,000 to 20,000 in one term.

    Even Robert Reich talks about cutting defense on Memorial Day, swimming upstream against military romanticism. Obama just finds a hippie to punch - even those hippies like his mother off in Indonesia learning about culture rather than bringing more western death.

    "“Because of Vietnam and our veterans, we now use American power smarter, we honor our military more, we take care of our veterans better,” Obama said. “Because of the hard lessons of Vietnam, because of you, America is even stronger than before.”

    Which if Obama had noticed, we have no armies to fight, so our "smarter power" is just a bunch of drones and police actions for which we pay $600 trillion a year. Smarter? Stronger? We've had a bunch of peons far less numerous or equipped than the Viet Cong - making roadside bombs out of tin cans - getting us to spend $100 billion a year while we go shoeless through FTA gawking machines at airports, and work 2 years more to afford this travesty. 

    So maybe Obama can acknowledge the Flesh Failures for one day - once we looked back at the lost generation from WWI and were appalled at the tragic waste of young people. Now we just think of it as an obligation on the path to maturity, the photo-op of Pat Tillman's death and not the sad reality, the John Wayne movie and not Dalton Trumbo's "Johnny Got His Gun". Who says civilization gets smarter?

    Ripped open by metal explosion
    Caught in barbed wire
    Bullet shock
    Throbbing meat
    Electronic data processing
    Black uniforms
    Bare feet, carbines
    Mail-order rifles
    Shoot the muscles
    256 Viet Cong captured
    256 Viet Cong captured

    Prisoners in Niggertown
    It's a dirty little war
    Three Five Zero Zero
    Take weapons up and begin to kill
    Watch the long long armies drifting home


    ​PS - yes, maybe Obama's speech was much longer, but he has an idea which of his quotes the media will pounce on.








    I don't see that what Obama said implied that all (or even most) anti-war protesters were hostile to Vietnam Vets.

    Agreed. As I recall, the feeling was that employers were reluctant to hire to Vietnam Vets, based on rumors that many were heavy drug users or suffered 'flashbacks', and that older vets were put off when younger vets returned with antiwar attitudes. Not finding jobs hurts a lot worse than the disdain of peace activists.

    Comin' and goin'. Before going in I had been accepted for a job and was headed for the door when the woman doing the hiring said, "Oh, wait. I forgot to ask you draft classification".



    From the few Vets I have had conversations with about the topic, most of them felt there was a sort of national shame about Vietnam and what happened there, and as vets of that war they reminded people of their shame and guilt and other not-so-fun feelings, and so they tried to ignore the vets.  pretend they weren't there in the room.  or walk by like they did with a homeless person, (with many of the vets becoming homeless over time - the double whammy).


    If there were  a National shame, it's because those of draft age; who resigned themselves to accept being fed to the monster; in the belief they and only they were serving their country.

    In reality those who opposed the Vietnam war, were the servants of the country; WE  saw through, the war profiteers reasoning for war. 

    Those who fled to Canada and other regions to avoid being nothing more than cannon fodder were labeled cowards. 

    Some returning vets joined ranks with those, who would shout "Love it or leave it."or because "they went to war; everybody else, should have to".

    Those in command, weren't about to speak up, for those with a conscience, (the monster needs to be fed) 

    You came home and sometimes were denigrated, when you should have been celebrated.


    How long before the ghosts of Vietnam are laid to rest?

    Hope a new generation learns; its not only those in uniform who serve their country.

    one reason the "ghosts of Vietnam" are still around is because of rants like yours.

    Why not do us all a favor, and sign up for the front line.

    When we get rid of those who want war, we'll have peace.

      He shall judge between the nations,
      and shall decide disputes for many peoples;
     and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
      and their spears into pruning hooks;
     nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
      neither shall they learn war anymore.
    (Isaiah 2:4 ESV)

    When I turned 18, I went down registered with the government.  They never asked.


    We all had to register, it was the law. I am law abiding, it is also a commandment.

    How surprised I was, when my Christian values were trampled upon, when I was denied conscientious objector status.

    Welcome to America where they persecute those, who were taught "Thou shalt not kill" and later by our Lord when he told Peter, "put down the sword".

    Where were the Grahams or the Roberts; how about the Catholic Church.

    Where was the dissent?

    After so much loss of life and treasure, years later we're friends with Vietnam.  

    As I understand it; the Vietnamese only wanted to shake off French colonialism. Was there more to it?  

    Of course not - it's the vague insult like Reagan's "smells like cheetah, looks like Jane". Maybe not all or some, just "the left".

    Try the quote again: "”You were often blamed for a war you didn’t start, when you should have been commended for serving your country with valor. You were sometimes blamed for misdeeds of a few, when the honorable service of the many should have been praised. You came home and sometimes were denigrated, when you should have been celebrated"

    So, "blamed for a war you didn't start" - who wouild that be but the anti-war left?

    "You were sometimes blamed for the misdeeds of a few" - oh those Winter Soldiers, ever the sticklers for those who "just followed orders a bit too diligently" (no wonder Nixon reduced Calley's sentence; no wonder F. Lee Bailey hired Ernest Medina - a suspected war criminal and Calley's CO running around the village at My Lai - to run his helicopter company to become a millionaire).

    "You came home and sometimes were denigrated" - well sure, that was the president of Bank of America who denigrated them? Try this - google "Obama spit Vietnam veterans" and see how many on the right are going crazy today based on their myth of the hippies spitting on vets and Obama's speech.

    And if I read more into this speech, maybe it's that some of us paid attention during the 2008 campaign, so remember this:

    Meanwhile, some of those in the so-called counter-culture of the Sixties reacted not merely by criticizing particular government policies, but by attacking the symbols, and in extreme cases, the very idea, of America itself - by burning flags; by blaming America for all that was wrong with the world; and perhaps most tragically, by failing to honor those veterans coming home from Vietnam, something that remains a national shame to this day  -

    So it's the so-called counter-culture that's stuck in his craw. That's why he gets down on progressives so often, telling them to suck it up. We have, Mr. President, whatever drippings you leave us.



    When one looks at the larger quote, somehow the passage comes across a little different

    Still, what is striking about today's patriotism debate is the degree to which it remains rooted in the culture wars of the 1960s – in arguments that go back forty years or more.

    In the early years of the civil rights movement and opposition to the Vietnam War, defenders of the status quo often accused anybody who questioned the wisdom of government policies of being unpatriotic.

    Meanwhile, some of those in the so-called counter-culture of the Sixties reacted not merely by criticizing particular government policies, but by attacking the symbols, and in extreme cases, the very idea, of America itself – by burning flags; by blaming America for all that was wrong with the world; and perhaps most tragically, by failing to honor those veterans coming home from Vietnam, something that remains a national shame to this day.

    Most Americans never bought into these simplistic world-views – these caricatures of left and right. Most Americans understood that dissent does not make one unpatriotic, and that there is nothing smart or sophisticated about a cynical disregard for America's traditions and institutions.

    And yet the anger and turmoil of that period never entirely drained away. All too often our politics still seems trapped in these old, threadbare arguments – a fact most evident during our recent debates about the war in Iraq, when those who opposed administration policy were tagged by some as unpatriotic, and a general providing his best counsel on how to move forward in Iraq was accused of betrayal.

    Aw, they burned the American flag - I want to call my mummy.

    Seems to me, Obama is talking about the quality of the debate around patriotism in this country.  Personally, I could care less about whether someone burns a flag.  I do, however, think flag burning isn't really part of a nuanced and deep discourse on a topic.  If anything, it is inflammatory and serves no other purpose than to get the two (or more) sides further apart.  Ranks up there with giving the finger. 

    Now if one's goal is the dismantling of the US, then it might be a rather concise way to get one's point across.  But if one is dedicated to fixing the country, then it really doesn't serve any purpose of quality. 

    " and a general providing his best counsel on how to move forward in Iraq was accused of betrayal." Petraeus? Yuck. What a self-serving bastard, and his attempts to train our way out of Iraq? Never succeeded, he was a liar. But no, now it's moral relativism - he did his best, as did Colin Powell when he gave that UN speech on WMD's. Don't be too hard on these guys.

    "and perhaps most tragically, by failing to honor those veterans coming home from Vietnam, something that remains a national shame to this day." see, we didn't hold ticker tape parades like we did after WWII, though of course we didn't leave Europe from rooftop with desperate French comrades clinging to the bottom of our helicopters. Not that the ceasefire in Korea drew a flashier denouement. And it's easier to hold a ticker-tape parade when you have a V-E or V-J day for thousands sent home at once, rather than quarterly troop rotations.

    (hey, where's our national celebration of the end of the Iraq War? Don't they recognize the big victory?)

    Don't see him saying we needed to throw them ticker tape parades. 

    There are a lot of ways of honoring someone, of dishonoring them.

    From my few conversations, one big way was denying what it was really like for them over there.  Generally speaking no one, liberal or conservative, wanted to talk about it.  They all wanted to just forget it ever happened.  That's why for many, the movie Platoon was such a big deal, because finally people out there could see the holy hell that they experienced. 

    More than one guy on different occasion all gave me the story not of the spitting but the look, the awkward silence, the slow moving away from them in a bar or a room, once it came out they had returned from the war.  Two of them used the phrase - it was like i had some kind of disease.

    And pretty much all of them sure as hell didn't want any ticker tape parade.  They wanted the nightmares to end, and not to be thought of as freak because the nightmares didn't. 

    People know when they are being sent to the periphery culturally.  Maybe that's why so many of them went off the grid and into the woods. 

    Obama's just playing both sides against the middle, rhetorical straw dogs.

    Tell us, Barack - how should we have welcomed them home? And aside from the hippies who supposedly spit on them, how about how the government should have welcomed them home, how the defense contractors should have welcomed them home, how the news media should have welcomed them home.

    40 years of vagueness - tell us specific things the society could have done.

    The hippies didn't want them to go in the first place - how pray tell would they take the nightmares away?

    As far as "the look" - who were the people? And it's not like a lot of people didn't come back mentally crippled - yes it's awkward. I try to talk to people in wheelchairs and the blind on trams even though it's awkward, because everyone's looking away - must get lonely. (Met a really cool guy once that way - turned out was a member of the paraolympics team). Met a guy who supposedly was a helicopter pilot, whose parents found out he was hurt from a 6 o'clock news program showing a stretcher, whacked out on PCP years later. If I hadn't been a weirdo at that point, no doubt I would have backed quietly away from him as well - a lot of mentally traumatized people and it's not easy to communicate.

    But what is Obama's point? WWII vets often didn't like to talk about the war either, but we won that one and it had a good purpose and it was a point of pride. We put together the GI Bill with cheap education and housing, since the whole country was a vet and we had suburbs and Oldsmobiles to fill. We don't have the money for that now, in case anyone hasn't noticed. WWI vets were a mess. No chicken in every pot there. Korea was a downgraded police action ended in stalemate. Iraq was over in 3 days but the police action lasted 8 more. Grenada was a tiny little action. Kosovo was aerial. Sorry that a nation groomed on WWII movies doesn't get a part II (Rambo supplying his best effort).

    Deer Hunter and Coming Home and Apocalypse Now *were* attempts at recognizing the isolation of this war, as even was Rambo.  But the war stunk  - a mixed kettle of fish we never reconciled. I'm even sympathetic to the view that we we actually helped stop the spread of communism, but we also propped up this pompous French colonialist system, so our efforts at doing this were so patronistic and ineffectual and ignorant of history that we didn't stand a chance. Kinda like Iraq, kinda like Afghanistan.

    The best way to honor the troops is to keep them out of stupid wars and when sending them in have a decent plan for success and exit. All the bit about flag waving on the way home is gravy, icing on the cake. If the war aims are reasonably good and met, no one really gives a shit about the trip home. 


    I agree with a lot of what you say here, but it seems pretty clear to me that Obama was trying to bolster the middle and bemoaning the fact that "we"--all of us--never got over that war.

    In the early years of the civil rights movement and opposition to the Vietnam War, defenders of the status quo often accused anybody who questioned the wisdom of government policies of being unpatriotic.

    Hard to say he's shilling for government actions right or wrong.

    Meanwhile, some of those in the so-called counter-culture of the Sixties reacted not merely by criticizing particular government policies, but by attacking the symbols, and in extreme cases, the very idea, of America itself – by burning flags; by blaming America for all that was wrong with the world; and perhaps most tragically, by failing to honor those veterans coming home from Vietnam, something that remains a national shame to this day.

    Well, this did go on. And right or wrong, a lot of people in the middle were offended by it. You can say, "Who cares about a flag burning," but that ignores the symbolism the burning is meant to evoke. You can't defend it by saying it's nothing.

    Most Americans never bought into these simplistic world-views – these caricatures of left and right. Most Americans understood that dissent does not make one unpatriotic, and that there is nothing smart or sophisticated about a cynical disregard for America's traditions and institutions.

    He's talking to the middle the he ALWAYS has tried to do FROM THE BEGINNING.

    And yet the anger and turmoil of that period never entirely drained away. All too often our politics still seems trapped in these old, threadbare arguments – a fact most evident during our recent debates about the war in Iraq, when those who opposed administration policy were tagged by some as unpatriotic, and a general providing his best counsel on how to move forward in Iraq was accused of betrayal.

    Hardly seems to be shilling for government policies right or wrong. And he hardly seems to be blaming the left for its opposition to Iraq. The whole point of this speech has to do with questioning people's patriotism and motives instead of focusing on the rightness or wrongness of the policies and actions the person is proposing.

    Parse it carefully: " and a general providing his best counsel on how to move forward in Iraq was accused of betrayal.

    That's obviously talking about MoveOn's ad about "Betray us Petraeus" (note the sly "move forward") - more a pun than a vicious attack, but because he was in uniform, even though he was a liar whose training program failed badly and the Iraqi police never stood up - Congress decided to censure a private organization for their right to speech. Effing brilliant. So MoveOn shouldn't have noted that we were bogged down in Iraq and not getting better? Best counsel my ass.

    The rest is praising cautious, within-reason criticism, not those fanatics who burned flags and had a "cynical disregard for America's traditions and institutions".  Civil rights is safe, the anti-war types can be thrown under the bus. "By blaming America for all that's wrong in the world" - oh my, tired tired tired. And very conservative. 

    What was "the very idea of America" that these people were attacking? Is this a repudiation of Ayers or what? (sure, setting bombs and robbing banks is gone loony, but it's also loony to see that as a key part of the protests). And is setting bombs the same thing as "cynical disregard for America's traditions and institutions" - like racism? imperialism in LatinAmerica and SE Asia? CIA regime change in Iran and Vietnam and Chile and Congo? trusting the Pentagon until it's too late? overwhelming investment in weapons systems as the core of our diplomacy? Yes, I understand these traditions are core to America's Weltshauung, and it's a shame to uptip the apple cart, so we'll just protest mildly enough so we can be ignored. Like when Bush's security folks put all his protesters out of line of sight and far enough away not to be heard. We don't want to be shrill, after all.

    Obama announced a 13 year period to honor those who served in Vietnam. 2025 will mark In his proclamation, there is no mention or condemnation of war protestors. Obama called the treatment of Vietnam veterans a "National Shame", not a shame on the Left. The focus was on the veterans. If you want to see an attack on the Left you should read Sen James Webb's 1998 WSJ op-ed. Webb's tirade goes after the Left, news media, the New England Journal of Medicine and Hollywood for the way Vietnam vets were treated. Obama just noted that many Vietnam vets were not welcomed back with open arms by a whole swath of US society.

    It is interesting that some who criticize any statement made by Obama think that Obama supports the so-called hippies who criticized the Vietnam War. What you get out of Obama's speech appears to be in the eyes of the beholder. For some every word hides an ominous agenda.


    See my post above yours with quote from his 2008 speech.

    He was talking about the "so-called counter culture", i.e. the anti-war hippies. 

    But kudos for nice knee-jerk defense anyway.

    (and you do have a valid point - Obama likes to be credited with both sides of an issue)

    Without a link to indicate context that quote proves nothing.

    Google "obama patriotism speech 2008"

    You can also look at Paul Rosenberg's contemporaneous critique, a 5-part series:

    (part 2 deals with the spitting myths)

    Here's the official transcript, because you were too lazy to include one. And I don't see anything about blaming hippies.

    Mea culpa, you know, lazy hippy that I am. Of course the speech was noted in 4 gazillion places, but I guess I should have put in a link.

    As I noted above, Barry gave a speech in 2008, not just 2003, and in that 2008 speech on patriotism he talked about the "so-called counter culture" and berated those who didn't respect our symbols or acknowledge good enough our exceptionalism.

    For some reason, as I noted, though the Left thinks there's no there there (Obama never uses subtext?), the Right got the message, as they're jumping up and down and huffing and hyperventilating over the liberals' treatment of Vietnam Vets. (google obama spit vietnam vets). 

    Except of course that this cultural memory didn't happen.

    But if you want a quote, try this one:

    It wasn't my war. You asked me, I didn't ask you. And I did what I had to do to win. But somebody wouldn't let us win. Then I come back to the world and I see all those maggots at the airport. Protesting me. Spitting. Calling me baby killer. ... Who are they to protest me? Huh?

    From Rambo. Life imitates art.

    I read the book, First Blood, but never saw the movie. I gather Rambo survives in the flick.

    The play's incredible, but never made it out of New Haven.

    You're caught up on the spitting thing.  It definitely became part of a large cultural myth - although some vets have claimed it happened to them.  The problem comes from attempting to verify whether the incidents actually happened.  What with not having portable video cameras in the phones back then, chances are it will never been fully proved or disproved.

    However, some news accounts that mention spitting do exist, although there has been no evidence to support those accounts. After a review of contemporary news sources, Northwestern Law School professor James Lindgren claimed to have found news accounts that discussed spitting incidents. Lembcke provided an 18-point response to Lindgren at expressing interest in one of Lindgren's claims. A December 27, 1971 CBS Evening News report on veteran Delmar Pickett who said he was spat at in Seattle appears to also have some validity as a claim, but not as evidence that the incident reported actually happened.[2][3]

    Covering this same topic is author and columnist Bob Greene's 1989 book Homecoming in which Greene prints several letters he had solicited from veterans, asking to hear from them if they had been spat upon and focuses on firsthand accounts of their treatment.[4] Greene's book includes 63 accounts involving spitting, and 69 accounts from veterans that did not believe anyone was spat upon after returning from Vietnam.

    But if you are trying to say that there wasn't a portion of those on the Left in the 60s, 70s, and on who equated anyone who participated in the military-industrial killing machine imposed on the world American imperialism as being a murderer, I have to ask - where the hell have you been.  (A big problem the Left faces is that you can't call the use of drones murder without calling the guy operating the controls a murderer?  Especially when it comes to a voluntary army.  How does one talk about American imperialism without calling those in the armed forces, imperial soldiers?)

    I grew up in the counter-culture that came after all the hippies went home and my experience was there was plenty of animosity toward anyone wearing a uniform.  It all really came to a head as Reagan moved towards the White House, and the warmongers threatened us all with nuclear winter.

    On a personal note, I remember one day between classes at a community college in the early eighties, hanging with some friends, someone mentioned they had served in the military.  Trying to be funny, and before I really knew what I was saying, I joked "baby killer."  Basically learned a lesson there.  But it showed just how such sentiments permeated up from the culture.

    In a way, the spitting incident was grasped onto because it resonated with how many people thought the vets were treated - it was as if they were spat on.  Now of course people shouldn't be going around saying things that aren't true. 

    Obama has done more than any president for trying to find a middle ground between pointing out the positives America has done in the world and the not-so-positives.  Doesn't make him a saint or a deity.  Obama has tried to move the conversation from American Exceptionalism with the capital E, to acknowledging there are attributes of America that are exceptional, just as with many many other cultures and societies. 

    Seems you're still stuck in the American All Bad/America All Good dualism. 

    Seems you're still stuck in the American All Bad/America All Good dualism.

    Put yourself in another mans shoes;  you want to raise your children and grow up in a community where "love of neighbor" truly exists.

    Then one day a man of riches comes in and taints the values you wanted to instill, "Avoid the temptations of materialism" 

    The Love of money is to be feared 

    This rich man appears to thrive, while your children suffer and so you ask the rich man to help and instead he says to you; YOU too can be rich like me, embrace materialism, embrace capitalism.

    As he drives out the small and the weak.

    Instead of a close knit society, it is now replaced with a dog eat dog world.

    "Don't worry, the fruit is there; the world is ripe for colonialism, riches are to be made.

    Values is what keeps the other man suppressed.   

    Join the Anglo/American World empire (offspring of the Roman Empire) or be devoured. 

    I at least benefit from the crumbs that fall from the table.

    I am glad I live in America. 

     Doesn't make him a saint or a deity.  Obama has tried to move the conversation from American Exceptionalism

    Obama is like all the others who will pay homage to this World power. 

    Karzai will pay homage and his family will benefit, his nation will supposedly benefit or .....  

    You and I will pay homage, because we could easily be put on a hit list.

    It's not about American exceptionalism, it's about serving the beast. 

    Seems you're still stuck in the American All Bad/America All Good dualism. 

    What an asinine comment.

    Of course if I'm working for General Dynamics exporting weapons around the world, I'm partially responsible for their use in Afghanistan or Congo or wherever. 

    And as a US citizen I'm partially responsible for us outspending the rest of the world by tons and filling up every tinhorn dictatorship and fruitcake with weapons to use and murder.

    But we also invented the internet, have pumped out much of the world's culture over the last century (including great writers, film, music), created some of the best cars, landed on the moon. The Civil Rights movement was a great accomplishment and example for the world for tolerance and non-violent change.

    Once upon a time, our ethics in war were an inspiration to the world, even though it's not all rosy. But we even watered down the Geneva Conventions, the clearest simplest directive to work by, and other other scaredy-cat stuff post 9/11 is a disgrace.

    This "All Bad" bit has been used at least since the 60's for anyone who dared complain about the war machine. We didn't have money for Great Society programs (a noble attempt though a bit too costly with some failed goals) or to maintain Social Security, but we have money for endless conflicts with no goals or exit strategy (oh right, when we train the locals to stand up for themselves - heard that since Vietnam, when our trainees got overrun the moment we left).

    You focused on Obama's 2008 comment regarding the counter culture, and thus draw the conclusion that it must be the counter culture that sticks in his craw.  But right before that he says

    In the early years of the civil rights movement and opposition to the Vietnam War, defenders of the status quo often accused anybody who questioned the wisdom of government policies of being unpatriotic.

    So using your logic, the defenders of the status quo must also stick in his craw. 

    But you are choosing to ignore this prior comment.  You just want to make the case that Obama hates all hippies (and equating them, wrongly in my opinion, with anti-war demonstrators - not all hippies actively protested the war and not all the protesters were hippies) because they do things like burn the flag.

    I don't have to tell you the power of symbols when it comes to human beings.  For many people, the flag is a very powerful and meaningful symbol of their country.  For some of these people, America can do no wrong, but that is not the case for all of them.  For this latter group, they understand America is not perfect, but they still feel a love for it, for the nation.  To burn the flag is pretty darn similar to someone standing outside your house and burning your family in effigy. 

    Within the military, there are many who see the sacrifice of life and limb that they and their family have given to the nation, represented in that flag, as something honorable, etc.  To see someone burn that flag amounts to be "F You."

    In this sense, you really can't burn the flag and say "oh but there are good things about this country.  I just have some problems with this policy direction here and this cultural dynamic over there. I think those who serve our country through the military, who serve to protect what that flag stands for and should stand for, are to be commended." 

    So when you get all bent out of shape because Obama discusses how some of those in the counter culture responded to the soldiers and the means they chose to voice their discontent, it comes across saying: But all those in the counter culture were without blame, not a mis-step was made, all those on the Left were purely on the side of the angels and anyone who disagreed with them just hate them because they voiced protest against the country.  If someone voiced discontent from the left, not only is the discontent immediately valid, any means they chose to voice that discontent is also valid and cannot be criticized by Obama or anyone else.

    The 2008 speech attacked both the Right and the Left. Bias against Obama makes some on the Right see him as a "hippie" supporter and some on the Left to see him as a "hippie" basher. Obama attacked the extremes on both sides. The knee jerk response on both sides is not to hear the entire statement and focus on snippets that confirm what they already thought.

    Own the Memorial Day speech, Obama was praising Vietnam veterans not attacking the Left.

    Yes, Obama's trying to own the center.

    ........and you didn't have the impression that he was trying to reach across the political gulf?4

    No, I had the impression he's trying to get re-elected and bring out the center and independents to the polls.

    Obama also noted the GWB labeled Colin Powell as someone who betrayed him by merely providing wise counsel on starting the war.

    Please elaborate - Powell of course played lackey suck-up soldier as usual, reading the war script despite all the facts. But he didn't write that script - others in Bush's cabinet cabinet did.

    How informed Bush was, how deluded he was I still don't know, though he had an itch and he scratched it.

    But am curious about Obama's take on it.

    Actually I'm not curious about Obama's take on that issue. I'm more concerned that the Governor of Florida just purged 180K people of the voting rolls. Those who now have to prove that they are eligible to vote are mostly Hispanic, African-Americans and Democrats. Even members of the military have been purged. The hippies are safe, voters are in jeopardy.

    Well you brought up Obama & Powell, - i was just trying to understand what you were talking about. but if it's nevermind, fine.

    Vietnam and Korea before that and the Cold war and all others served only one purpose and that was to keep the military contractors in business and their investors in the money.




    Military contracts and war are just corporate socialism wrapped in a flag and feeding paranoid propaganda.

    It's shit like this that makes me despise the man. He's all full of puffy talk and self-righteousness over the perceived sins of the anti-war crowd. While he's got SFA to say about the millions who died in that war, and the Americans responsible. It's all about "lessons." Yeah, right. Tell us all about accountability and Wall Street and Wars. 

    What a gutless preppy POS. 

    Worst. Nobel. Ever.

    Jesus. And this punk is OUR guy. Grand.

    I think his approach in this area is highly influenced  by Mrs. Obama, since inauguration if not before.

    I do think he admires military-type discipline, but admiring military for military's sake, not so much.  I.E., if a group of protestors against war had military-type discipline, he would admire it there, too. Taking it further to a protective and promotional attitude towards those in the miltiary, I think that is pretty much her influence, I really doubt he would naturally be that way without her pounding on that front, as he's not a big empathizer with any group.

    Here on her current related website there are a lot of calls for citizens to be actively supportive of the military.

    It's interesting that Rachel Maddow's book, Drift, which appears to address some of the same things that Michelle Obama does on the front of civilians "supporting" the military, has been on the Times' best seller list for several weeks. I can't imagine that a lot of conservatives are buying it.

    For those who feel the need to criticize Obama's Memorial Day speech, why not use something more factual than searching for a non-existent attack on the dirty hippies?Obama said that we would have a solid rationale for sending US troops in harm's way. Did he mean in future wars or in Afghanistan? If he meant Afghanistan, where is our rationale?

    If he means future wars, is Afghanistan the testing ground for remote control wars fought by drones with US troops safely quartered in bunkers miles away or while US troops are securely based in other countries ?

    The made up hippie attack is a distraction.

    While we're refuting a made up attack on 1960's hippies by Obama, Romney is embracig a pseudo-billionaire birther and the GOP is working to purge African-Americans, Hispanics and college students from voting rolls.

    As a black man, you should understand code words better. If I tell you you can't be seated because we're expecting a dinner party later, you likely would read between the lines.

    From Goldwater on, they used everything from busing to welfare to abortion as code for embedded racial discrimination and sublimated anti-black rhetoric.

    Similar code is there to discredit the left. No matter how bad the lies were that got us into Iraq, the guys who made up and went along with the lies are still invited on talk shows - doesn't matter their poor performance. The guys who screamed against the war, waved the red flags, were proven right? Too shrill for TV.

    All of the 2004 campaign was about people who weren't serious about security, the traitors even from Vietnam - talk about disrespect for vets when they raked Kerry over the coals for his Swift Boat duty and questioned every medal he got, which puts questions on every vet's medal throughout the whole conflict.

    Obama is using the dog-whistle, slapping down the left's excesses and the right's rhetorically so he can be the wise man threading the middle.

    Yes, he says "denigrated" and leaves it at that, so everyone can fill in the words for him. Before he used "so-called counter culture". Have a trip over to Redstate to understand what these words mean - they're just red meat for the masses.

    Whose conduct amounted to spitting on our soldiers?

    Who abused our brothers and sisters, our fathers and sons, our soldiers?  

    Waiting for an Army to Die: The Tragedy of Agent Orange

    Agree, "denigrate" can have a lot worse meanings and effects than a mythical or extremely rare spitting.

    Thanks for reminding me of my duties as a black man. I don't use RedState as a source of rational thought. I would think that I would find folks who think that the curse of Ham came from God and not a drunken Noah. They would also be waiting for the results of Trump and Arpaio's independent Obama birth certificate investigations. RedState denizens probably also think black people have too many rights,  Sharia law is imminent and Hispanics have taken control now that Sotomayor is on the Supreme Court.

    OMG Obama said "denigrated".  Theologian James Cone used the following phrase in "A Black Theology of Liberation" talking about how MLK Jr interacted with his white jailers:

    ".....self- respect and self-love do not  mean denigrating or hating other people.

    OMG one of my religious heroes said "denigrated". What will RedState say?

    The sky is falling Obama and Cone said "denigrated. It's obviously a code word. Thanks for telling me the meaning of the word.

    That wasn't "duties" - I just figured it reflected your experience in life. Sorry if no one's spoken to you in code before - my bad.

    RedState wasn't "rational thought" - it was an example of primeval political reaction.

    Obama said "denigrated" and in 2008 talked about how the "so-called counterculture" didn't welcome home the troops and destroyed cherished icons. RedState got the clue, progressives got the clue.

    For as controlled as Obama is, that's almost like shouting.

    I seriously have no idea what "denigrated" is code for. I googled on denigrated code word, and the first relevant hit was this blog post. I'm about the same age as Obama, so if it is code for something (and if so, please let me know what it's code for), I think it's believable that he didn't meant it to be read in code, but chose it because of its rhyming quality with "celebrated".

    No matter what Obama says, some will take it out of context or render some deluded interpretation. I understand that some at all points in the political spectrum will find something distasteful when Obama speaks.

    The loathsome instruction given to me about "code words" is strangely amusing. I feel denigrated indecision

    PeraclesPlease often likes to play devil's advocate, and sometimes I find it helpful. I find it important to know about code words so that I don't inadvertently convey something I don't mean to. I know better than to ever call a black male "boy", but I also know there are many younger folk who are ignorant of why that's considered especially wrong. (I.e., they might mean it to be insulting only in the manner that the person being called "boy" is younger, less informed, etc., without being aware of the term's racial baggage.) In some ways I suppose it could be considered progress that we forget about those particular code words. However, when others know the code and expect you to know the code, it can get you into trouble. Do you (or anyone else) know what PP was alluding to with respect to "denigrated" being code?

    One would hope to counter a Devil's advocate with an argument that reinforces your belief's or in the rare case make change a position. There has to be an actual point made by the Devil's advocate for the discourse to be fruitful. If you Goggle "niggard" or "niggardly", you will immediately see references to controversy surrounding the words. If you Goggle denigrate and code word, you are taken to PP.

    The Devil's advocate here is the only one finding a controversy. What is being stated repeatedly is that he doesn't like Obama's politics. Obama is too Centrist. Obama is attacking hippies. Obama attacks both the Right and the Left, but we will just focus on his attacks on the Left. Obama said "denigrate"

    Bottom line.......Obama bad. There is no denigrate-gate.

    If Obama treats some as fools; cant you see, he denigrated you?

    You'll note that I didn't say I always or even usually find it helpful. wink

    There is no denigrate-gate.

    yes for its pithiness alone.

    There is no denigrate-gate.

    But what about all those graying folks mad as hell and taking to the streets because Congress authorized commemorating those baby killers of their youth? Obama could have just this once put his foot down and said: no way am I gonna support this commemoration! It would have been so easy for him to make that choice. Won't even give them a bone! Always with the support the vets, what a wuss, Kucinich would dissed em for us.... cheeky

    Obama could have just this once put his foot down and said: no way am I gonna support this commemoration!

    That would have been the brave thing to do, but definitely not the wisest. 

    Obama needs the military industrial complex.  

    Every Memorial day, every 4th of July, the Rah rah rah crowd of American exceptionalism waves the flags.

    Why aren't you waving your flag citizen?  

    Reminding me of the Roman Empire 

    "There is no greater honor, than dying for Caesar.... and the Senators"

    "Look how great Rome is", you peasants should be happy to be able to honor Caesar.

    While Caesar and the Senators, live in luxury, you peasants must defend Rome. "Isnt Rome Great?" 

    If Obama and the rest of the privileged class, cared about their soldiers, they'd assure the soldiers, that their loved ones would be cared for, if the ultimate sacrifice was made .

    Seeing as how the valiant would not be around, to tend to their own families 

    Would it be too much to ask; for in behalf of those; who gave the ultimate sacrifice to provide healthcare, a roof over their loved ones heads? Maybe Caesar and the Senators would assume the  responsibility of providing for the fallens, families needs  

    Or was the sacrifice, only for the privileged class, that continually says "Isnt Rome great?" 

    Keep your wreaths of flowers and your flags, because that and $2.00 dollars, will buy my loved ones a cup of coffee.

    Lets drink a toast to our fallen. 

    For without them, Rome would not be great.....for some.

    You didn't expect Caesar or the Senators to fight for you or your loved ones; did you?    

    Okay, so I'm not dealing with the swiftest group in the class.

    Here's Rush Limbaugh's comments yesterday from a post entitled "Why the Left Denigrates the Military", I'm sure he's not alone. Take a gentlemen's D, guys - at least you showed teamanship in uniting to ignore the obvious.


    And I've always asked myself, "Okay maybe you're anti-war, but why denigrate these people? What's in it for you to denigrate these people?  They've done nothing but offer their lives in sacrifice for your freedom.  Why do you find it necessary to insult them?"  What is it that makes the left think they have to go out and personally impugn people like you?  You've never done anything to them.  All you've done is put yourself up as the line of defense for them.  It's always made me very angry.  I said I've never understood it.  Well, I do understand it.  I know exactly why they do it.  They're just flat-out mean people when you get right down to it.  And it's really no more complicated than that.  But there's some ideological aspects to it as well.  But it frosts me.  Okay, so you're anti-war.  You may not like war.  You may think we shouldn't be in Iraq. You maybe think we shouldn't have gone to Afghanistan.  These people volunteered.  So we even have to denigrate that. 

    We can't say they volunteered because they're patriots, because they want to guarantee and defend this country and protect freedom.  No, no.  It has to be something else.  It has to be they're stupid and have no other opportunity in life, or it has to be the country sucks and there's no opportunity unless they do this.  And they're all a bunch of hayseeds, all a bunch of Republicans, you know, a bunch of people that have been fooled by religion.  It really irritates me when these people get denigrated and impugned like this, and it always has. For crying out loud, Obama went out yesterday, he saw that Gallup poll.  Obama's Memorial Day speech was all about defending Vietnam vets. 

    He went back and relived Vietnam vets coming home and being spat on and disrespected, and he stood up for 'em.  (interruption) By his fellow liberals, that's the people that were doing it, exactly right, Obama's crowd were engaging in all those, quote, unquote, atrocities against returning Vietnam vets.  But he knows the trouble he's in with the military, understandably so.  So I tell you, if what you heard actually happened, that's not helping Obama.  Look, I'm glad you called, Ralph.  I appreciate it.

    Speaking for myself, this comes down to this:

    One is in one of three camps:

    Camp 1: No one on the Left denigrated soldiers returning home from Vietnam.

    Camp 2: Some on the Left denigrated soldiers returning home from Vietnam.

    Camp 3: All of the Left denigrated soldiers returning home from Vietnam.

    You seem to be Camp 1.  Obama is in Camp 2.  and Rush and other conservatives in Camp 3. 

    You also seem to be saying that even though Obama believes the point of Camp 2, he shouldn't say it, because it provides affirmation for the belief of those in Camp 3. 

    Which boils down to the political discourse in this country: we can't have a nuanced discussion.  Everyone is running to the extreme side of a talking point in fear that they might possibly provide the "other side" with some kind of affirmation.  Forget about the truth as you see it, because the other side is going to twist it all up for their twisted ends.

    No, try Camp 4:

    Obama is using this as dog whistle politics, to fire up his anti-"counter culture", centrist troops-supporting cred.

    So you're saying Obama was looking to fire up the ditto heads who despise him as a Islamic pinko as some kind election strategy? 

    No, I said he was trying to claim the center. If ditto heads pause the attack for a moment, think of the undecided independents.

    We seem to be getting into that territory where a politician is being accused of being a politician during an election year.  The question is not whether a politician attempts to say things that will align with prospective voters views - that is what they have to do - but whether what they are saying is true in the real world and whether is an accurate reflection of how they see the world.  So - what I don't see anything wrong with what Obama said on both fronts.  He is center, he made a statement that reflected that center view of world, and there wasn't anything particularly false about what he said.  It would come down to how much is "some."

    So this seems to boil down that he dissed some of the "hippies," and you don't believe it is acceptable that any hippies should be dissed because then those on the right will dis all the hippies.  You also seem to making the case that Obama knows this, and that he welcomes the bashing of all hippies...which is kind of saying Obama wants to bash all the hippies but can't because he is on the Democratic ticket.  So he throws the Rushes of the world a bone and lets them go to town. 

    This is like saying one can't criticize the actions of some soldiers because that would mean it would give some the green light to criticize all soldiers. 

    You write, "Teamanship" and claim we're not too swift. Even without using Limbaugh as an authority, that has to be worth some sort of award.

    I said the Right would understand what Obama was getting at, even if the Left didn't.

    Doesn't this quote prove me correct?

    Meanwhile, our gang is busy looking up the definition of "denigrate".

    That has to be worth something as well. And you ask, "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?"

    Again, what purpose would Obama see in doing a dog whistle statement for those on the Right?  That doesn't make any sense.

    Dear God. Stay out of politics, will you? If you can't see making a comment  plays across multiple groups at once, then you really need a safe room to play in Trope. Dogwhistle to the Right, anathema to the progressive left, appealing  in its conservatism to many independents. Gee, hard to imagine crafting a sentence that complex. 

    Seriously, stupidest comments ever Trope. Just walk away from the keyboard.

    I can't tell if you're being serious when you ask, "Doesn't this quote prove me correct?" If you are, the answer is, "No, it does not prove you correct". It proves that two people used the same unremarkable word in the same context. To jump from there to Obama dog-whistling to the right, takes either imagination or a lot more examples, and examples that one would expect Obama to be aware of. Seeing as how most of us aren't aware of the examples you have in mind, doesn't it at least seem possible that when Obama used the word "denigrate", he was just using the word "denigrate"?

    The only reason we're looking that word up is because we don't think you're stupid, and that maybe you're on to something. I haven't seen anything yet to convince me that you're on to something, though. (Which is not to say I think you're stupid. I just think you're seeing something that ain't there.)

    Forget it.

    Yes, of course it is everyone else's fault you can't seem to get a relevant point across in answering what the hell you mean when you write to rmrd 1.) as a black man you should know relevant code words 2.) then you insinuate denigrate is a code word, and then something about the President, but everyone here is just not swift enough to understand you.

    Has this site suddenly turned into The Onion?

    Read Rush Limbaugh's quote above - he gets it, even if the left is clueless.

    (and no, I didn't obsess over the word "denigrate" - the simple equation of the left spitting on or disrespecting the Vietnam vets is a common right-wing meme. I thought anyone who's followed politics knew that - Digby writes it in a column once a week or so.)

    Yes PP, it is still everyone else and not you.  People here are "just so thick" how could people here not see that "denigrate" is a code word and now Obama has really shifted openly to the right, he is channeling Rush Limbaugh. What?

    Jeebus dude, that's a joke and you must be auditioning for the Onion. #nootherexplanationpossible #conspriaciesareadimeadozen

    He has Axelrod to do his polling. They pore over every word in a speech for effect. The Rush response was just what I expected when I read the headlines.

    And as I noted, it's not the word "denigrate", it's the meme of anti-war liberals disrespecting and spitting on the returning soldiers.

    Call it #ireaditamilliontimesandstillitstootuff

    tmac, fyi - like you, I have always found the best resource for authentic word definition to be the dictionary, as in:

    [ dénni gràyt ]
    1. 1.  defame: to attack somebody's character or reputation
    2. 2.  disparage and belittle: to disparage or criticize somebody or something, or make something seem unimportant

    Have a great day!  wink


    You too Auntie!

    Yup, just too thick. Here's the logic:

    1. Obama says something.

    2. PP says he reads it as an attack on the left.

    3. You guys say nope, can't be, wouldn't happen, PP is reading stuff into it. 

    4. Rush hears it, reads it... as an attack on the left.

    My conclusion from this? You guys with your millions of blogs about how the Right works should give it a rest, because you're apparently clueless about it.

    Either that, or PP has a helluva lot better ear for subtle (ha!) dogwhistles by the Pres than you do.

    Then again, there's the thicky argument. I'd say that has its merits.

    I like that you log out and comment as qnonymous, when you get all mad and get ready to blow a fuse, call folks names. But hell, my IQ is only 40! Spread your wings Quinn, quit holding back, tell me what you really think.

    Uh, Quinn was banned - I don't think he "logged out".

    Sorry to both of you. Nope, not banned, just the site wouldn't come up. Also, sorry TMac, didn't sign out. Every now and then the blog or my software or something kicks me out. Can't be bothered to sign in the regular way when I'm in mid-flow, because usually the thoughts are just so delectable. Also, dear dear TMac, whyever would I change from Quinn to Anonymous, and then change Anon to Qnon, if I was angry and swearing?

    Heck, I'd change my Anon to Dicknonymous and be done with it.

    Did Rush's comments come after PP's post?

    If not, then your implication is bass-ackwards.

    If so, then perhaps Rush saw an opportunity to misconstrue something Obama said right after PP commented on it. You know, if you say bad things about Obama and then Rush says bad things about Obama, that's not really vindication…

    As I acknowledged earlier, it's easy to find patterns where they aren't there. That PP and Rush found the same pattern when they were both looking for the same pattern isn't really that surprising is it? I'm not saying PP is just as bad as Rush (he's not!), but he does like to find ways to criticize him. (Not that President Obama doesn't deserve criticism. He does. And, just to be clear, there's nothing wrong with criticizing him. It just seems that for someone who hated the whole Seamus story…)

    VA - Constructive criticism put forth without rancor but with proposed resolution,  goal being to achieve a more positive outcome can be helpful - but, destructive criticism put forth in ongoing efforts with the goal to belittle, demean and stir the pot only serves to add to and encourage the chaos of conflict, imo.

    I would say that there is a time to "stir the pot", but that the time isn't "always". wink

    Rush's column came after mine.

    But Obama gave a similar speech 4 years ago.

    Draw your own conclusions - my drafting hand is plum wore out.

    My conclusions tend to be similar to Lulu's: he was a politician being jingoistic. I find sometimes the simplest explanation is the best.

    (And, thanks for the update on the timing.)

    OK, so it's not the word "denigrate" that you dislike*. It's that Obama acknowledged that some people treated returning Vietnam Vets with disrespect. Although he didn't say it was the "left", it was clearly implied. Is that what you're saying?

    If not, perhaps you could try explaining it again. I know you think you've already made it crystal clear, but with so many people not getting your point, perhaps your point wasn't made as clearly as you thought. (Nothing to be ashamed of. I often find myself clarifying what I've written.)

    *Here's the excerpt that made people think that you thought that denigrate was a code word:

    Yes, he says "denigrated" and leaves it at that, so everyone can fill in the words for him. Before he used "so-called counter culture". Have a trip over to Redstate to understand what these words mean - they're just red meat for the masses.

    I'm not asking you expound on that statement any more since it seems that perhaps you didn' t mean to suggest that "denigrate" was a code word, but surely you can see how others (including me, of course) thought you were suggesting that?

    I wrote more than 1 word, but never mind.

    Read the first two paragraphs and ignore the asterisk. (I tried making that small font, but it got lost in the æther.)

    Well, the root of denigrate means to blacken, but the meaning is to insult or belittle. I gather PP wants to lump the word in with niggardly, which BTW has an entirely different root, more like niggling, but sounds bad if you don't know that.

    Thanks, Donal. Do you know if others have made that connection before?

    An unfortunate aspect of our cultural choice to label races as "white" and "black" is all of the symbolism those colors have with respect to good and evil.

    No, I don't. But I wouldn't be surprised.

    There was an old Beetle Bailey Sunday strip in which Lt Flap, a black character that was added in the 70s, I think, was complaining to the Chaplain about the negative connotations of the word black. The Chaplain came up with all sorts of positive uses of black, such as in the black, which cheered up Flap, who apologized. But then the Chaplain said, "Oh, you were just in a black mood." Flap replied, "You almost had me there, Whitey."

    Definitely one of the best works of art that deals with this topic of the literary use of black and white while addressing race relations is Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness

    Ok,I gotta say something, I usually stay out of these argument for argument's sake you get into with your favorite opponents, but your argument  here is just getting real loony. You're really carrying it to a ridiculous level here in this comment, mho, taking the code reading to a level where it wasn't meant for you, seeing bogeymen under the bed that aren't there. Trying to squeeze this speech into one of your favorite narratives about Obama instead of seeing what it actually was.

    This speech was very audience-specific and subject-specific, not a "Sister Souljah" moment for the centrist masses, nor even a Memorial Day speech to the country at large, but a speech given to an audience of Vietnam Vets on the occasion of the commencement of a massive and lengthy program to honor them, one authorized by Congress. From Peter Baker's report at the New York Times:

    ....Offering a measure of closure a half-century later, the president asked the Vietnam veterans present to stand. “Welcome home,” he said. “Welcome home. Welcome home. Welcome home. Thank you. We appreciate you. Welcome home.”

    The unusually ambitious project that started on Monday was authorized by Congress and will be carried out by the Defense Department through 2025, tracking the progress of a war that began with a relative handful of advisers before escalating to more than 500,000 American troops. By the time the last troops left in a negotiated withdrawal followed by the famous helicopter evacuation from the roof of the embassy in Saigon in 1975, more than 58,000 were dead.

    The first phase of the commemoration, through 2014, will be devoted to recruiting partners and support. Organizers envision tens of thousands of commemoration events across the country from 2014 to 2017. Then until 2025, they plan to work to sustain the effort through oral histories, forums, seminars and the like.

    That Mr. Obama would be the president to kick it off says much about how the country has moved on since Vietnam....

    If you want to bitch about this speech for the left, the sensible argument to make is to bitch that he accepted making it. Once promising to make it, what is he supposed to do, say to those Vietnam Vets assembled for the occasion "Quit yer whining about not being recognized for your service, we're sick of it! The smart guys evaded serving in and protested against that dumb war! You were suckers!"? That would've made it pandering, pandering to ghosts of the left.

    Speaking of ghosts, I suggest you think about that last sentence of my quote of Mr Baker's report. There really isn't a whole lot of political benefit these days to bringing up Vietnam or supporting commemoration of it.  Even with the intended audience, I'm betting most of  the Vietnam Vets have their minds made up on whether they like him or not. The speech was merely the ceremonially-appropriate "support the troops" pandering any president does.

    Welcome home, welcome home 

    Now that we've honored you; servicemen and woman;

    We don't want to hear anymore talk from the left, when we decide to invade Yemen or Syria  when they say "it'll be just like Vietnam.

    No longer will we allow those who sacrificed be denigrated.

    "Yours is not to question WHY; yours is but to do and die."


    ♪♫♬   From the Halls of Montezuma, to the jungles of Vietnam; 

    we will fight our countries battles, and you better not give a damn.   

     ♪♫♬   What are we fighting for, don't ask me because I don't give a damn 

    "Obama honored us soldiers from Vietnam, what more do we want" 

    Like Gerald Ford's pardon  

    All is forgiven and forgotten.  Until the next Vietnam.

    You're really carrying it to a ridiculous level here in this comment, mho, taking the code reading to a level where it wasn't meant for you, seeing bogeymen under the bed that aren't there. Trying to squeeze this speech into one of your favorite narratives about Obama instead of seeing what it actually was.

    This speech was very audience-specific and subject-specific, not a "Sister Souljah" moment for the centrist masses, 

    Take a look at my quote from Rush Limbaugh above, and then re-read your diatribe.

    Obama uses this tactic because he realizes much of the left is oblivious to insult, while the right laps it up, taking a moment from Obama bashing to appreciate his hippie-punching.

    Limbaugh uses the word "angry" a lot, too. Are progressives also forbidden from using that word in certain contexts?

    I'd like to believe that Obama doesn't follow much that Limbaugh says (heck, I'd really like to believe that he doesn't follow any of it, but I'm sure his oppo-research requires some following). To castigate (is that also code for something?) Obama for using a word in a particular context because Limbaugh also used the word in that context does seem rather silly, at best. Maybe there are other instances you have in mind, and maybe there really is a pattern there. On the other hand, you should at least consider the possibility that you're seeing a pattern that just isn't there. It's what humans frequently do.

    Yes, you're right, I just saw a pattern that wasn't there, and wrote a column about it, and strangely enough, Rush Limbaugh saw the same pattern, as did other right wing sites and commenters.

    The problem is that if enough people see patterns that aren't there, that becomes the accepted truth whether it's there or not.

    That's why Democrats have trouble combating right wing spin - they think just because it's not there, that it doesn't exist. But obviously by mass consensus it does. And you know what happens to people who can't deal with everyday truths.

    They become politicians?

    What you keep forgetting here I think is that he was talking to the vets about how they were treated when they came back, which is in part how they perceived themselves being treated.  And there are plenty of vets from Vietnam who don't feel like they were respected by the Left, whether it was protesters or the news media or the arts, and so when he was talking to them he had to discuss this matter. 

    Artappraiser put it best: what was he suppose to say.  Maybe that would go a long way in making your point if you would put out there what Obama should have said - they way he should have worded it when speaking to those vets, so that someone like Rush couldn't spin it for their agenda.

    He could have made a speech about appreciating their service, talked about how no one could see the future, how they set the pace for the changing future in Vietnam today.

    Diving into old pseudo-grievances? Fail. Why didn't he talk about fake Swift Boat heroes while he was at it - that went over well in 2004, along with complaints about Winter Soldiers.

    If you're in lockstep with Limbaugh's thought process, that may be a problem.

    From a standpoint of national defense, the death of Bin Laden, the killing of Pirates and the use of drones makes it difficult for Obama to be out-gunned by Romney on National Defense.

    Understanding the thought process of the right would be useful in arguing against them, or persuading someone on the fence, don't you thnk?

    You criticize Obama for tacking towards the Center where the independents reside. Obama will not win the ditto head Conservatives. 

    No matter what Obama does or says will be incorrect in your eyes. The Right will anything Obama says against him, we already understand that fact. There is nothing Obama will say that the Right won't attack. 


    Sure, whatever. Look up John Kerry, 2004.

    Kerry go "swift boated". the GOP threw the kitchen sink and everything else they could at Kerry. How is that different from what the GOP plans to do with Obama. What else to you want me to take from your John Kerry reference? 

    If Romney was given the chance, would he have done the same?

    Who told us "It's the economy stupid"  

    With Obamas 8+% unemployment, all he needs to do is expand the wars and a percentage of those unemployed will volunteer for service. 

    War a growth industry, who would have thought.

    Who told us "It's the economy stupid"

    James Carville in the 1991 Clinton campaign against incumbent George Bush Sr

    In the 2008 campaign, the main economic arguments by the candidates were about trade, until the crash happened in the fall right before the election.

    Ironically for Carville, there could be a sign like Carville's in Romney's campaign offices now, only "Don't Forget Heath Care" means something totally different for them, as well as the prescriptions for the economy, stupid being quite different. On the other hand, they could hire Mary Matalin and lose with loser spin.

    There can't be any rational discussion if we are using RedState and Rush Limbaugh as the gold standards. 

    I guess that we  need to follow the example of the Left in New Zealand and accuse the Right of denigrating workers. That would trump an obscure Limbaugh rant. 

    This is the correct analysis, IMO.

    Perhaps it happened, but in my memory, the Vietnam vets weren't "welcomed home, nor thanked for their service by the country." I don't recall parades being held. Vietnam was often cited, incorrectly, as the first war the US hadn't won, and we left with our tails between our legs (and a whole lot of dead people behind). It ended with a whimper; the country was exhausted and very polarized; everyone just wanted to move on and forget about it, including the soldiers who'd fought it.

    This is primary Obama's point, as I read it. Their service should be honored.

    (This is not to say that there aren't some dog whistle politics going here. I don't know. Seems fairly subtle to me. Rush will turn anything into anything.)

    I'm not sure this was a function of what the left did or didn't do or thought about the soldiers' service. I don't think the right honored the Vets' service particularly, either.

    The war was very polarizing, and people had strong opinions about whether to serve or not. Draft cards were burned and some people left the country. As I recall, the right denigrated the left for being unpatriotic. And the left, at least here and there--"some" in Obama's words--took their anger out on folks who chose to fight a war they knew was immoral. After all, there WAS a choice.

    How many? Who knows? I certainly heard the epithet "baby killer" here and there based on the My Lai massacre. Most of the anger went toward those in charge: LBJ, McNamara, Westmoreland, the Pentagon, Dow, Nixon, Kissinger.

    This is how I remember it.

    Westmoreland lied; McNamara lied

    Nixon lied. 

    Instead of prosecuting Nixon though; Gerald Ford pardoned him.

    By pardoning Nixon, the country did not arrive at the destination WE THE PEOPLE sought. 

    The monster (the military/industrial complex) that devours our blood and treasure lives on.

    We need a strong military, but we needed to transform into the Great Society. 

    Wasn't that the promise we were defending... A GREAT CIVILIZATION who harnessed their treasures to benefit ALL AMERICANS.   

    We didn't form these United States to be nothing more than cannon fodder. Policing the World, at our expense, leaving behind the dream of the Great Society.

    I agree with much of this, R.

    I'm not sure how strong a military we need, however.

    Half my friends in college were vets and they grew their hair long and they--mostly--kept their fatigues on as dress.

    Hell, a fourth of my high school chums went.

    The vets were quieter; more composed.

    But they got a kick out of a kid who kept screaming communisms. hahahahaha

    You are arguing with people willing themselves into idiocy, PP.

    They talk every goddamn day about the cognitive "closure" of the Right, but then turn their minds down to an IQ of 40 when it comes to this.  

    Hey kids. You're all so smart and intellectual and rational and all, and write dozens and dozens of blogs about Rush and the idiots of the Right and just how they work, but when he hears the dog-whistle - just as PP is saying - and when he responds - right on cue - you guys pretend you can't hear it.

    And yet... you're all so smug... as a group... and go on as if it's PP with the hearing problem, and all chuckling as you go on this idiotic quest to see if denigrate is some magic code word.

    To quote a much greater mind than mine, OMG indeed.

    You talk about cognitive closure, but what it appears that PP is saying is that, regardless of its truth, Obama shouldn't talk about a certain topic because it dredges up old feelings that make people uncomfortable and that it gives aid to those on the right.

    If Another Trope had said anything close to resembling that statement, would you still be defending it? (I say this because your insults would seem to suggest you think that you are above such biases.)

    I say "appears", because PP has not yet clarified to my understanding exactly what he is saying. If I've got it wrong, please tell me what I've missed. I've been trying to follow his statements, and although I admit I was thrown off course by trying to figure out what "denigrate" was code for (I still don't get that, but PP says it's not important, so I'm dropping it), I thought I later narrowed it down a little further. Please tell me where I missed the mark.

    It's in the title - Obama should stop punching hippies.

    Sorry I buried it in the lede.

    Regarding explaining more, thanks no.

    VA. You're playing at being Mr Logic here, but doing it really poorly. I suggest you give up the schtick.

    Look. I've done a fair bit of speechwriting, and a fairer bit of amateur philosophizing. One thing that's fairly obvious to everyone as of 2012 I think, is that there are an infinity of truths or facts one can put into a speech to a group. The CHOICE of truths or facts is the thing. Dont' think so? Let me give you some facts about WW2:

    Some Jews behaved in a cowardly manner.

    Some Jews turned in other Jews.

    Some Jews couldn't properly use their equipment.

    Now. All the above statements are true. They're facts. But to select those for mention.... well, that's a different game. The big debate isn't about the facts so much as what their selection is meant to signal to the listener. 

    If you don't get what Obama was aiming for by including that paragraph, written in that way, in that speech, then I'm sorry - it seemed flamaingly obvious to me.

    As for whether any hippie anywhere ever spit at a vet, I really couldn't give a damn. To me, the people who sent 59,000 to their deaths were - and are - slightly more worth a series shellacking. As were the companies that got rich selling gear. As were cowardly officers and planners in the field. As were politicians and media people and churchmen who bleated on about it for decades after, using it as a political point, while ignoring the screaming mental health and housing and health and employment issues of the vets. And the families and friends and schoolteachers and other nitwits in our society who convinced those poor damn kids to volunteer (when they volunteered.) 

    And you know what? To me, those are the ones who spit on the vets. They spit acid, though. They drew blood.

    They should have been pulled in, out of the dark, and blistered in any speech that really wanted to talk about the vets and what's gone wrong.

    Don't bother with little lessons about how people need to be made uncomfortable with the truth, and how I'm facing some dire case of cognitive closure - when you can't even read the damn speech and hear what he's saying. Ta.

    If you don't get what Obama was aiming for by including that paragraph, written in that way, in that speech, then I'm sorry - it seemed flamaingly obvious to me.

    Which paragraph are you talking about? The one PeraclesPlease included in the main blog, one of the paragraphs that AnotherTrope included, or some other paragraph? (I did PP's Google search, and others seem to have inserted the "spit" bit. Maybe I missed it, though. I ask for more clarification, and I'm greeted with a "thank you, no". I am sincerely trying to understand, but the more I get stonewalled, the less I think PP wants to be understood.)

    Of course we have choices as to what to include in a speech. Maybe if I knew what paragraph you and PP were talking about, I'd get what you're saying. So, just tell me, what paragraph is it that you're getting this from? You might think I'm being obtuse or blind, but until it goes beyond "that paragraph", I'm inclined to believe we're not talking about the same information.

    For Christ's sake VA, this is what I mean when I say I'd swear people are just being willfully stupid. I'm referring to the top paragraph in the original blog. The one highlighted. The one that refers to the mistreatment by the bad people. THE ONE THE BLOG IS ABOUT.



    Somewhere an angel has lost her wings, and a little part of us has died.

    What you call being willfully stupid, I call giving you the benefit of the doubt, exactly because I don't think you're stupid. Still, I can't see how this paragraph:

    ”You were often blamed for a war you didn’t start, when you should have been commended for serving your country with valor. You were sometimes blamed for misdeeds of a few, when the honorable service of the many should have been praised. You came home and sometimes were denigrated, when you should have been celebrated."

    correlates with your statement that:

    If you don't get what Obama was aiming for by including that paragraph, written in that way, in that speech, then I'm sorry - it seemed flamaingly obvious to me.

    because what I see is typical political praise of the military—something that almost every politician on the right and left has done in this country for a long time. I was hoping that there was some other paragraph that you had read that made it seem onerous, that justified the metaphor of "punching hippies". Maybe a quote (from Obama) that actually mentions "spitting", since PP keeps bringing that up. As I said, it's not willful stupidity, it's benefit of the doubt. I'm hoping there's something I'm missing, but no one's pointed it out yet, as far as I can tell (the number of comments are getting long, so maybe I missed it).

    Google "punching hippies" as a start.

    [Does the Google search, finds Krugman's article…]

    I see, so it's code for the President doing something you disapprove of.


    No, VA, you're just completely whooshing on this - as are a number of the others debating here - and embarrassing yourselves. I mean, you guys are down here seriously saying you can't understand how Obama's use of a right-wing argument could possibly pay political dividends. Which is, in the context of the last 40 years, an almost unfathomably stupid thing to say. The near daily practice of the Democratic Party for almost 40 years has been to adopt RightWing positions, gently remove the names and details, buff them up a little, and then to try and make them their own. 

    In the political shorthand people - at other times - seem to find so easy to use, they "move to the Right."

    And they usually do it to appeal, not to Rush, but to Independents or that sort of people. 

    But yes, they USE Right-wing arguments.

    Now, as for your particular comment here, again, no, you're not cutting me any slack, you're just whooshing. I'm sorry, but that's the case. the sentences talk about SOMEBODY who is doing some blaming. Then again SOMEBODY for blaming the misdeeds of the few. Then again, SOMEBODY for denigrating the vets upon their homecoming.

    It's not just praise, it's fingerpointing at SOMEBODY.

    Remember that bit I said about how they buff off the names and details, but keep the theme, and make that move to the Right? Well. There we go. Done.

    And you? You missed it. To you, this is a Mama's milk speech on the virtues of the military. Congratulations. You've just permitted the President and the Party and your Nation to take another small step to the Right, and the write the History and Motivations of the Anti-War movement (remember them?) another inch deeper into the mud.

    I mean, you guys are down here seriously saying you can't understand how Obama's use of a right-wing argument could possibly pay political dividends.

    Actually, I didn't say that. As I usually do, I look for merits in both sides of the argument. This is well said:

    Now, as for your particular comment here, again, no, you're not cutting me any slack, you're just whooshing. I'm sorry, but that's the case. the sentences talk about SOMEBODY who is doing some blaming. Then again SOMEBODY for blaming the misdeeds of the few. Then again, SOMEBODY for denigrating the vets upon their homecoming.

    It's not just praise, it's fingerpointing at SOMEBODY.

    The problem is, that anyone who doesn't agree with you, you think must be an idiot. You haven't considered other alternatives. Were vets mistreated when they returned? If so, who did it? Nobody? It seems that PP is wanting to entertain the idea that no vets were mistreated, that the whole thing is a myth. I definitely believe that there is a mythos, but not that it was invented whole-cloth. If we're going to fight that mythos, we need to fight it by identifying who SOMEBODY is.

    First and foremost, however,  yes, I think Obama was using the Clintonian approach of "I feel your pain" with respect to the soldiers. I'm not saying it's a great speech (I never did), I just don't understand the over-the-top reaction to it.

    Somewhere somehow you might find an exception.

    But I referenced a guy who researched it, wrote a book - it's almost entirely a myth.

    Feel better? Or have to nitpick your way out of understanding some other way?

    Believe me, I have an easier time teaching my kid remedial comprehension.

    A good number of the Vietnam Vets I have met and discussed this issue with, how they were received upon their return was a big deal to them.  And Obama expressed the sentiments of a good number of them.  Sorry if that offends your sensibilities.  From my conversations with them, they would have been none too pleased had Obama not mentioned this.  Obama was talking to Vietnam Vets that day, not former speech writers, thank you very much. 

    Trope, if you don't mind saying, I am curious how old you are.

    Older than 40, younger than 60.

    Also in case you were wondering, while in college I rented a room from a couple.  The guy was a vet with PTSD so he was at home all the time.  He had a number of friends who were Vets, most of whom who were off living in the woods outside of town.  On occassion, they were gather at the house and if I was around would talk with them.  They were all pretty eager to let me know what their experience was like over there, and what it was like coming back and trying to reintegrate into society.

    Another time at college I took some history courses on Vietnam, and there was a group of Vietnam Vets, along with the TA (the professor had been in the embassy at the time of the war).  I spent some time after class talking with a number of these vets about the same topic matter. 

    Since then, I have had some friends and friends of friends who were vets.  Some as one might expect didn't want to talk about it.  But there were those who did. 

    Maybe because I tried to just listen to them, rather try and tell them my point of view on the conflict over there, I found a lot of them were willing and, as I said, eager to let me know how they saw things. 

    I don't expect my personal experience to make me an expert on the matter, but when one hears the same common themes coming from people who had a similar experience, but otherwise are very different folks (from those in the woods to the successful businessman to a police officer to a railroad guy), the conclusions one draws seem to have a certain sense of validty. 

    IQ's of 40! Oh so amazing we can even type on these fancified typewriters.

    We just aren't that swift and are still learning from the giant intellects who can explain it to us all, in detail.

    Denigrate indeed.

    Yup. Just not that swift. 

    And spare me your snide, after your endless rants about who's a real Democrat and does real work and all that crap you've blown for years.

    This once was about as simple as you can get, but you just don't want to take it in. That, for me, is someone consciously, deliberately, choosing to be stupid. Your call.

    Translation: I started with insults, and I got nuthin' but more insults.

    I just don't believe that you have to come in and insult people when you want to change things.
    Sydney Schanberg

    I've explained it twice, Donal. PP has done so a dozen times. It's not that hard. Even Rush got it.

    If a reader can't even keep up with Rush, then yes, stupid is an apt description. 

    Suck it up, kid.

    There is very little that Rush has "explained" that I understand. Now that I know your definition of stupid, I plan to wear that label with pride whenever you bestow it. wink

    I'm not claiming that everything Rush says is wrong, but I can't remember when anything he said was right. That said, I haven't listened to everything he's ever said, so maybe there are some nuggets out there amongst the manure.

    Think how I feel, I'm black, I'm Afro-Centric and I don't see Barack's code in the word denigrate. Maybe it's because it includes the letters n-i-g in sequence. That must be the hidden code.

    Well we had a meeting of Afro-Centrists and decided to give denigrate a pass. We voted that the real code word was negotiate. They tried to hide the code with a polling trick, but we didn't fall for it. smiley

    Plus the n-e-g is shorthand for Negro.

    We have also banned the word "renege". I bet Limbaugh uses that word all the timesmiley

    Hah! Well played rmrd, well played! cool


    It would have been simpler for them to just say, "I don't like Barack Obama."

    We did say "we don't like Obama as our leader,"

    but the Democratic elite, power brokers said "you must like him." 

    I like obama as a person, he's enjoyable to listen to.

    but he was too young and inexperienced to be the leader.

    He failed to protect the homeowners, the backbone of many  American's dreams. 

    He backed the wrong side. He will continue to back the wrong side in our struggle for independence.

    I don't want to be dependent upon the government. 

    I want the Democratic party to quit trying to put me on their leash;  as much I dont want the republican leash either.

    We need more revenue, to revive the Dream of the Great Society 

    Bring back manufacturing, END NAFTA and all other so called fair trade deals; that are tools, used to bring the American worker to their knees, where a leash can be put upon them. 

    BTW .....The Democrats were just as instrumental in destroying the Unions, they knew NAFTA would diminish the Unions power.   

    Free trade meant cheaper steel, cheaper, cheaper, cheaper labor costs.

    Wage disparity.  


    It seems that you would not be happy with any candidate that was going to be elected by the American public. Regarding the elite, I would have thought the early power broker Democratic money would have been with Hillary Clinton.

    Did you vote for a third party?  Did you stay home? Did you vote for Obama knowing that he was not what you wanted?

    I don't know if you've read this yet

    You can sure sense it's getting tiring 

    Maybe it s best to quit tearing each other apart.

    I like what Q brought up in reply to the mutual admiration society, to  quit comparing each others activities as though because you didn't do x, y or z  you are not a true democrat.

    Maybe these food fights would end?

    I have concluded, it makes no difference what I believe or do  

    You do what you think is right? 

    I hadn't read the Hatfield-McCoy blog and I haven't watched the History Channel on a regular basis in a long time because it seemed to have become more reality show than history documentary. Oriented.

    My question to you really was just an inquiry of whether you took the pox on both their houses approach to voting last time and opted out or went third party.

    Some were objecting to Obama during the Primaries and have continued their complaints during his Presidency. So their assumption of the worst motive where Obama is concerned is a given.

    Mutual respect is a good thing. Questioning a person's level of intelligence or suggesting that a person of a certain ethnicity just has to understand something is a code word even when it isn't, can be taken as a lack of respect.  In the full scope of life, these little barbs are inconsequential and should get into distracting arguments that veer away from the point of the original post. I agree, those arguments are/were tiresome.

    I believe that individuals can make a difference, especially working in groups. Efforts to suppress votes can be blocked. Working with organizations that address issues with high- risk children is another activity that can change lives.

    There are many evils in the land that need to be addressed. Obama hippie attacks on the other hand are fiction.



    Let go back to the actual quote that was the verbal punching of the hippie

    And one of the most painful chapters in our history was Vietnam -- most particularly, how we treated our troops who served there.  You were often blamed for a war you didn’t start, when you should have been commended for serving your country with valor.  (Applause.)  You were sometimes blamed for misdeeds of a few, when the honorable service of the many should have been praised.  You came home and sometimes were denigrated, when you should have been celebrated.  It was a national shame, a disgrace that should have never happened.  And that's why here today we resolve that it will not happen again.  (Applause.)

    You and PP want to reduce this down to election time dog whistling.  You tell me what in this isn't true.  And in part to answer PP above why he had to include it - Was it not part of some's Vietnam Vet experience?

    PP wants to gloss over this, make it the thing not mentioned, because people like Rush will say everyone on the Left, all the Liberals did this.  Maybe you think so, too.  A little blemish on some of those who are on the Left must be avoided, erased, forgotten for the good of the cause.

    It is a dog whistle only if Obama intention was to do the wink wink to the Right, wanted to give them the cue to get all hot and bothered about how all the Liberals were spitting on the vets as they came home. 

    I don't believe that was Obama's intention.

    Now if you want to go on record as to say Obama and other Democrats cannot say anything that can be twisted by the likes of Rush for their agenda, then say that. 

    Other than that - the notion Obama intended to blow the dog whistle is just an assumption on yours and PP's part.  I'm making the assumption he wasn't intending that. Now if you have some evidence to back up your assumption regarding Obama's intention , I'd be willing to see it. 

    It was my assumption, and Rush et al running with it seemed to confirm. Of course it could be chlorine in the water instead, or crop circles. Who knows?

    Of course we all have to respect Rush. Him and the Donald are the giants of our time. Just look at Limbaugh's declining audience and Trump's unwatchable reality show.

    When did Rush or anyone in his crowd come to have any validity in interpreting what Obama says?

    Yes, they were able to take what Obama said, exaggerate it, twist it, and make it serve their own purposes.

    To suggest that Obama wanted them to do that, well, that's seeing what you want to see.

    What's new?

    Placed here for Donal, VA and Trope, all of whom seem to have the same.... ummmmm..... lack. Vitamin deficiency. Whatever. 

    Dear guys. Often, a politician or a speechwriter will choose a particular wording on purpose. And they'll write in ways which certain people will read certain ways - and yet, DIFFERENT ways. That's a complicated process, however, and one which I like to call "being an adult, and capable of operating in a social setting." 

    This little paragraph in question is an incredibly confusing, extremely sly, ever so canny example of that. It's (A) an insult to certain segments of the Left, but one which is (B) meant to APPEAL, positively, to certain subgroups in the middle. Mostly ones who don't think too too much, but who vaguely want their President to be strong, and who like to say they Support The Troops, and who like lawful behaviour in the streets. The funny thing is, he's (C) actually using a charge which was - if not entirely created by the Right - then at least actively promoted as part of their rhetoric and propaganda. That hippies and anti-war types actively blamed and shamed and denigrated Vietnam War vets. 

    The purpose of this sort of move is neither to appeal to the Hard Right nor to the Anti-War Hippie types - it's to reach the indies in the middle.

    Yes, that's complicated. Very. And so, you all having proven that it's a maneuver too far, I would suggest that you go off in a corner, and worry a bit more about the origins of the word denigrate. That should keep the grown ups you all safe.

    Egads, the certainty with which you and PP can claim to read minds is astounding! It comes so easy to y'all, that you can't imagine that there are some people who aren't psychic!

    I'm glad to see we're back to the "code words" discussion. We now know (thanks to PP) that, despite what one might have inferred from his previous discussion, "denigrate" is not one of the code words. Or, maybe it's not "code words", it's "dog whistles".

    Absolutely (B) is true, no doubt about it. No where in that paragraph does he mention who fails to honor the military. Elsewhere he quite explicitly states that people on the left and right do honor the military, and others have commented on this thread that it was corporate America who treated Vietnam vets with the least respect. ("Coming and going" as someone said.) It seems to me that it's only an insult to those on the left if you choose to read it that way, which you, PP, and Rush choose to do. Sure, you're going to point out the context that the right has tried to paint it as being those on the left who are guilty of it, and PP wants to talk about how ignoring that perception leads to swift-boating, but then it seems that the suggestion from both of you would've been to… ignore that perception by not talking about it at all. Instead, he praises the Vietnam vets while stating that they should've been treated better. Perhaps if he had politicized it more by explicitly calling out those on the right who were guilty of mistreating vets, y'all would've been happier.

    You're going under. Rule #1 - Stop thrashing.

    You know perfectly well what he's doing in this speech. You just aren't all that comfortable with it. So you end up making a stream of arguments, all of which verge on the absurd. I mean.... that my suggestion would have been for him to not talk about it at all? Well gee, yes, that's what this is about. Me wanting silence on these burning issues. 

    How about what I said before? That I would have preferred that he speak about any of 1,000,001 other truths he could easily have discussed. However, a person sets their priorities based on what they choose to talk about. 

    And that, given the level of deliberate obtuseness in this discussion, reflects very poorly on me. 

    I'm out.


    It's only an insult if one has deluded oneself that what he was saying was untrue.  An easy way to do this is to get all wrapped up in the spitting myth as if that is only the way to denigrate the Vets.

    You dance around and around whether this claim is true - it was"entirely created" by the Right, uh, well, if not entirely, but hey they adopted it into their rhetoric....

    So what was the experience of the Vietnam Vet returning to American culture in the late 60s, through the 70s, long after the last of anti-war protesters had gone home? Peaches and creme? embraced by the media?  honored in pop song after rock song?

    And, duh, it's an appeal to the middle.  So?  He is a president who comes from the middle. 


    1. No, Trope, it's not only an insult if it was untrue. Like I've said before, there are numerous true things one can say in the course of any event. If you're older than 11, you'll understand that pulling some out for emphasis is to create and reinforce a storyline, to make clear ones values, to set priorities. Got that? True or not true, the insult is separate. 

    2. As I said above - oh you who couldn't possibly find anything from the Left that he couldn't disdain - let me just repeat: "As for whether any hippie anywhere ever spit at a vet, I really couldn't give a damn. To me, the people who sent 59,000 to their deaths were - and are - slightly more worth a series shellacking. As were the companies that got rich selling gear. As were cowardly officers and planners in the field. As were politicians and media people and churchmen who bleated on about it for decades after, using it as a political point, while ignoring the screaming mental health and housing and health and employment issues of the vets. And the families and friends and schoolteachers and other nitwits in our society who convinced those poor damn kids to volunteer (when they volunteered.) And you know what? To me, those are the ones who spit on the vets. They spit acid, though. They drew blood. They should have been pulled in, out of the dark, and blistered in any speech that really wanted to talk about the vets and what's gone wrong."

    ​3. Gee, colour me as so completely shocked that some Vietnam vets didn't like the anti-war kids and the hippies. Holy shit, Trope, that must have come as some sort of blazingly new idea to you, eh? Like... wow. 

    My God. And you actually think this is some sort of trump. 

    Why not just get it over with and go become a Republican thug. Fuckin' hippies.

    So you do something.  Somebody comments on it later.  And you are justifiably insulted that one brings it up?  How dare one speak about something that actually happened.   Oh, I get it, there are other things on the uber ultimate priority list to talk about and if those things are not mentioned before mentioning this, then it must be for evil intent.

    America as a whole treated the vets like lepers.  That is the national shame Obama was talking about.  It happened and we need to acknowledge that. 

    The fact you don't want to acknowledge this because there might be some people on the Left who would find it insulting is beyond pathetic. 

    And the Vets I talked to for the most part never singled out the anti-war "kids" and hippies - it was everybody, the general culture, which was being driven by the capitalism running after the counter-culture - oops maybe i'm getting to complicated for you here.  You see, you can't embrace the simplistic notion war is murder without calling the soldier a murderer.  You can't have your cake and eat it, too.

    And so because I believe a soldier returning from Vietnam War should be treated with respect and understanding makes me a Republican thug?  Dude, i have lost all respect for you. Maybe you and Resistance are really the same person.

    "America as a whole treated the vets like lepers. "

    Bullshit. Fall in line, fall in line - you've been captured, no hope.

    As Q says, might as well go join the GOP - you can't even distinguish their mind meld.

    it doesn't take much of a search to find that it is indeed not bullshit.

    From a progressive site, the Capital Times

    As protests spread and confrontations with police grew violent, some returning soldiers were met with taunts, and nobody postponed the revolution to welcome them home. Most often they were greeted with shrugs, veterans say today.

    Jim Kurtz of Middleton recalls landing at Truax Air Force Base in Madison in 1967 when he came home from Vietnam, where he led an infantry platoon. “There was nobody there but my parents. From other people, it was apathy, like you had been in Chicago working or something.”

    When I write "like lepers" it is saying we wanted them out of sight and out of mind. 
    Somehow you have convinced yourself that this understanding about the experience of many Vets is somehow part of the Republican talking points. 

    There's no question that this is a technique that is used.

    The question is whether it's being used here. Those are two different points, and it's the second one that's in question.

    Yes, the charge was used by the right...and it sometimes fit the left (even though their main target was not the troops).

    But he's mostly speaking to the way the veterans themselves felt America as a whole treated them when they returned: the government, employers, family and friends.

    Even if he is appealing to non-thinking independents who want a strong president who "supports the troops" with a meme that was used by the right (but in ways that bear little resemblance to this speech) and was sometimes true of the left...what of it?

    If this is a dog whistle, the pitch is way beyond most people's hearing. Especially those non-thinking independents who do not listen to Rush.


    Just like your assumption that all hippies are like one sees in the movie/play Hair.

    Well, the fact that it you called the experience of many returning Vietnam Vets pseudo-grievances just pretty much makes the point that the Right is trying to make about the Left disrespecting the troops.  My understanding is for a number of Vietnam Vets it was a true grievance, one that made the transition back from the war zone all the more difficult, a transition that many could not successfully do.  But you want to deny that anything happened (evidence - no real proof anyone was actually spat on therefore all is well). 


    Oh yes, of course all hippies looked and acted like Treat Williams, I totally said that. And then the sequel, Hairspray, where for some reason they turned into Zac Efron

    Note the link on the spitting myth.

    It seems chock-full of semiotics. Another Trope should love it! wink

    So lets agree for arguments sake that not a single Vietnam Vet was spat upon, that it is a complete cultural myth.  Are you saying that if we do this, then we can say that some Vietnam Vets returning back to this country, (or just those in the military at that time regardless of whether they were doing combat tours) did not experience any denigration because of their association with the war?  That they didn't turn on the tv or go to the movies or pick up a magazine and see those who were denigrating them? 

    Which means for clarity sake - not being spat upon - but to have one's character or reputation attacked, to spoken ill of, to be defamed.

    [And I did read the link before, and I did offer another link regarding the topic up thread.]

    Accurate characterization should count for something and so should its opposite.

    "You were often blamed for a war you didn’t start, when you should have been commended for serving your country with valor."

    Have you ever heard of a Vietnam vet blamed for that war? I haven't. The rest of that sentence implies that they were never commended for valor. That could be called stupid if it wasn't actually clever misdirection.

    You were sometimes blamed for misdeeds of a few, when the honorable service of the many should have been praised

    "Sometimes" does not save this assertion based on a technicality. Yeah, it probably happened 'sometime', somewhere, but I never heard a Vvet blamed for any misdeed unless he was bragging about doing it but I have heard plenty of praise for the honorable service of the many. Again, deliberately wrong.

     "You came home and sometimes were denigrated, when you should have been celebrated."

    More inaccurate spin. Remember, every word of this speach was crafted with a purpose. My personal opinion is that there is nothing about that war that justifies celebration except for a family to celebrate when a soldier came home at least mostly intact. I 'denigrate' everything I have quoted here as propagandistic, jingoistic, Ra Ra BS. 

    I can't speak for the validity of the statements. I was just a toddler when the Vietnam vets came back, and my dad was in the Army. We were stationed in Germany, but as an army family living near other army families (of army officers who also didn't serve in Vietnam itself), it's not surprising that I didn't hear criticisms of the soldiers. Trope claims that he's met vets whose personal stories suggest they were denigrated.

    I agree that it's easy to characterize as propagandistic, jingoistic, rah rah BS. However, that doesn't make it the same as punching hippies, even symbolically.

    I'm going to look up 'metaphorically' and see if that fits where you put 'symbolically'.

    It also works, with (in my mind) only a slight connotational change in emphasis.

    I believe he meant blamed for the nature and conduct of the war.  There were a general association with this:

    Growing up in the seventies, I don't remember people talking about the soldiers of Mai Lai as just rogue bad apples. 


    Tell you what.  Imagine a few guys from marines or army in their uniforms showing up to Grateful Dead concert in 1975 or 1976.  What kind of reception do you think they would get?  Some would be compassionate, welcome them.  Others probably not so much.


    Imagine a few guys from marines or army in their uniforms showing up to Grateful Dead concert in 1975 or 1976.  What kind of reception do you think they would get?

     You must be a lot closer to 40 than to sixty. Fatigue jackets were worn a lot by veterans and they were worn everywhere, definitely to rock concerts and peace rallies.

    Besides, by 75/76 the Dead & Vietnam were so over - Gerald Ford? The last major drawdown was '71. 

    You are really being an idiot on purpose (taking to Q's technique of insult) - So by 75 all those Vets should have been over it, put all those memories aside.  once again you show your told lack of understanding of the trauma so many of these vets were experiencing, and how year after year afterwards, the way Americans looked at the war, talked about the soldiers who fought over there, just added to the trauma.  I suppose you tell a woman who left an abusive relationship a few years back, "get over it, it's in the past. stop whining."

    The point is that by 75, no one gave a shit about Vietnam anymore - why would they insult a vet?  kinda like by 1950 people were out of WWII mold looking for something new. By 1923 we were way into the flapping 20's.

    If they ignored vets, well, it's because we ignore everyone - welcome to New York City, stand in line.

    How did they "talk about the vets"? again, you fall into hype and myth. Look at Deer Hunter, Coming Home, Apocalypse Now - 1978, 1979 - that's basically how we thought about the war - see any soldier hating there, aside from the "I love napalm in the morning" caricature of a commander?

    I suppose you consider yourself an expert now on vet trauma and female abuse. How inspiring.

    PS - how many Dead heads were vets, including the large numbers of heroin addicts after the war?

    Yeah, some stoner wearing a fatigue jacket (i had a few myself in my day, as did many of my friends, they were quite the fashion statement) and a jar head showing up in actual military pressed uniform is exactly the same thing. 

    Jesus, yes, if I showed up in a tuxedo at a Dead concert people would look at me strange too.

    Is there a point in there?

    Why would they welcome them, under the conditions at the time ?

    Recently, We watched the downfall of Mubarak  of Egypt and wondered, would the military back the people or the government?

    Tiananmen Square? Would the tank run over the dissenter? 

    We the people witnessed first hand the massacre at Kent State.

    Who we thought, were our soldiers, opened fire on our citizens.

    Who the hell, were the soldiers protecting? Surely not those opposed to the war.  

    Who could tell which side the soldiers were on?

    Now we have NSA spying, drones and wiretapping, whose side is our government on?  

    If the peoples army cant be trusted, then Blackwater will do the bidding of those in power.

    Blackwater says you want our service  "Show us the money"    

    A reward;  better than the average GI Joe who sold his soul for appreciation and praise. and a "We'll remember you on Memorial day". 

    Damn, why can't our military demand rewards and rights; like Blackwater does?  Healthcare, housing and education  in return for sacrificed souls.

    Instead those in power think we're like the indigenous tribes of New York, easily bought off with trinkets, wreaths and memorial celebrations.

    Show us the reward for our sacrifice of blood and treasure?

    Are we not last in education, high in poverty, unreasonable income disparity.

    A grateful Nation or suckers in service to the privileged?

    IMHO if America delivers the promise; the people wont need to question the leaderships motives. 

    IMHO the people will gladly defend the reality of living in the land of milk and honey for all; and not some more empty promises to sucker the people to defend the luxurious lifestyle of the rich and famous. And Senators who dont have to live under the same rules as the peasant class

    Back in the day, US troops were occupying the ghettos as citizens did openly rebel against an oppressive system. Ask a grey-haired black guy who grew up in an urban area in the 1960's and 1970's what life was like.

    Good example

    I was listening to NPR today and heard Mr. Lewis talk about crossing the bridge and the subsequent "Bloody Sunday" 

    The troop leader warned them to disperse.

    Mr. Lewis and his friends asked for a moment of prayer; but no sooner did he take to his knees, they were attacked by the troops. 

    In light of hearing Mr Lewis and his recent publication of his biography "Across That Bridge", isn't this fake Obama's attacking hippies meme ridiculous. The state of Florida is purging 180K voters off the rolls. The Governor in Michigan is putting special masters in charge of he entire cities in the state. Governors in Wisconsin and Ohio are directly attacking unions, and our big topic is Obama attacking hippies.

    We are saying that Rush Limbaugh the "magic Negro" guy who was twenty years behind the times in how many successful black quarterbacks had been in the NFL when given a slot on ESPN, is proof that Obama is attacking hippies.

    This faux upset is ridiculous. If you don't like the speech attack what he really said about rationales or going to war. Bring up Afghanistan. I have been fully honest, given the action of the GOP in voter suppression and promoting state dicatorships, my goal is to re-elect every Democrat that I can, including Obama.

    Romney is standing by a birther and has billionaire buddies willing to spend multi-millions to pay for anti-Obama and anti-Democratic candidate ads.

    In Lewis' day, people took to the streets. The media was recording hoses and police dogs used on children. Today the media is sleep-walking through GOP dictatorships. Protests go unnoticed. Corporations are people who can spend as much as they want on GOP campaigns in secret.

    And we are focused and outraged about hippie attacks.

    Sometimes, it's hard to tell who hates Obama more: the right or the left.

    They're sort of in a race to kill him off.

    Some on the left felt betrayed, whereas the right warned America.

    Whose more bitter?

    Who loves being made a fool? 

    In that boardroom, when the decision was made, to let the homeowners eat shite, to save the world financial credit markets, where was OUR advocate? Did he listen to Krugman or  Roubini.

    Would we have a Norwegian crisis, a Greek crisis, if the home asset class, had been properly addressed, propped up and protected? 

    You're sitting Fine and dandy if the asset class you want to defend is Fed Bonds or Gold.

    But let home values plummet, because the banks have another asset they want to selfishly protect.

    Who said gold is worth 1000's of dollars and homes, are overvalued?  

    Did you realize that there is a House and Senate that play a role in getting things done? Two very Conservative Republicans Bennett and Lugar got replaced by more Conservative  Tea Party types. Arlen Spector changed sides. Olympia Snowe is heading out of Dodge. Susan Collins who the media labels a moderate Republican is voting with the Tea Party folks to save her skin. So where do we find the votes needed to get things passed? The GOP has gone wingnut crazy.

    If you are a fan of John Lewis then you must realize that the Montgomery bus boycott following the arrest of Rosa Parks was planned on the night of the arrest December 1,1955. The boycott was in full effect by December 3,1955. However, the (compromise) Civil Rights Bill was not signed into law July 2, 1964. Progress took time. Not everything black people wanted was included in the compromise bill.

    The Equal Pay Act prohibiting sex discrimination in pay was signed into law by John Fitzgerald Kennedy June 10.1963. I guess women don't have any pay differential complaints today. (snark)

    Progress is not overnight. Lewis' book is available as a e-book either from the library or Amazon,etc, It might help with giving you a perspective on timelines to change.


    Excellent.  Appreciate.


    Believe me when I say, I agree with you. 

    The old adage the squeaky wheel gets the grease, either we speak up or we are ignored.  

    As a homeowner I was ignored, so when I hear the call to rise up and protect another's self- interest I have to ask


    I remember

    "First They Came for the Jews"
    By Pastor Niemoller

    First they came for the homeowners..... I and countless others 

    Where was the public outcry to force Congress or the President to speak up? 

    Therein lies the problem. The public is accepting the voter purges, dictatorships via special masters, etc. without persistent open protest. The media is ignoring the corporate backed take over of America. Obama is not the big problem here. 

    Romney can make money by firing people and selling out companies. He can stand proudly beside a norther like Trump.Trump can be an open racist and still have a show on NBC. Celebrities are still willing to appear on Trump's show. None of that is Obama's fault.


    No ones blaming Obama for all the woes.

    Only blaming him for failure to act on the things he had some control over.  He had the bully pulpit . 

    FDR was proud to take on the banks

    Teddy Roosevelt was glad to take on Corporation abuse

    Did you ever hear Obama bring up the repeal of NAFTA? 

    You mentioned earlier about timeliness, patience, incremental steps.

    If you don't bring the message to the pulpit,  a lot of time will pass and nothing will change.

    You cant get benefits of the pulpit, if you don't bring it up in time; eventually the clock runs out. 

    The MSM thrives on breaking news.

    Imagine the National conversation 

    BREAKING NEWS  I'm Wolfie; This just in "Obama asks for repeal of NAFTA, to encourage domestic manufacturing in order reduce the unemployment rate and lift the middle class.

    Obama states "since it's obvious the republicans wont increase taxes, he'll take steps to get the tax base expanded"  

    What do you think we'd be talking about. Repeal of NAFTA? 

    Who benefits the most from NAFTA?  

    Maybe a few more millionaires would conclude, "we'll pay a little more in personal taxes. We wouldn't want to kill the goose that laid the golden eggs"

    Corporations that can offshore and bring their cheap goods and undermine Union worker pay.

    Obama didn't do this, because I believe; he doesn't agree with Unions getting control back. 

    Unions are stuck with the Democratic party because the Right hates them even more. Lesser of two evils? The result the same


    After all the discussion, I have not seen a definitive answer from anyone as to what constitutes a "Code word" or words.

    I fully understand how frustrating, to be picked apart over semantics, so that the foolish, can find fault with the words used, instead of the thought 

    (Childish games  "oooh he said underwear, mom ") 

    I too couldn't find another word, to describe the tool, used by others, to shame someone; avoiding direct confrontation, but as the recipient I could clearly see the attack.  (Subtle snark) 

    But how to respond back to the ignorant witnesses who wont remove the veil, then protest the response you deliver back at  the attacker.

    "oh he didn't mean what you thought he meant, it is you being overly sensitive,  you bully"  

    While the original attacker wears the halo.

    Those who fawn over the fair child  "Now look, sweet little Obama would never do what you said" 

    And while they're scolding you, Obama giving you a gesture with a Bush like smirk "gotcha"  

    Is their a more appropriate term, rather than "code word" to explain the use of words, used to shame or stab at another. 

    Maybe it's a court room term, defining a tactic used to subtly attack the witness, without being admonished by the judge or court as being argumentive?

    Peracles, what sort of response were you hoping to get to this post?

    Rush: "For crying out loud, Obama went out yesterday, he saw that Gallup poll.  Obama's Memorial Day speech was all about defending Vietnam vets. 

    He went back and relived Vietnam vets coming home and being spat on and disrespected, and he stood up for 'em.  (interruption) By his fellow liberals, that's the people that were doing it, exactly right, Obama's crowd were engaging in all those, quote, unquote, atrocities against returning Vietnam vets.  But he knows the trouble he's in with the military, understandably so.  So I tell you, if what you heard actually happened, that's not helping Obama.  Look, I'm glad you called, Ralph.  I appreciate it.

    It may be true that Obama sees by the polls that he's in trouble with the military. It may be that he knows that the military tends to vote Republican and he won't get their vote in any case, but he's CIF, so he has a duty to speak to the troops on Memorial Day. It may be he's doing all this to appeal to independents, as Quinn says.

    It is RUSH's interpretation, or propaganda, that Obama is defending the troops from the insults OF THE LEFT. But that's HIS interpretation. Given that the vets were treated badly by society as a whole, and felt they were treated badly by society, it's a little hard to see how he's singling out the left. And it's even harder to see to whom this anti-left dog whistle is supposed to appeal. Are independents particularly anti-left? Do they need an anti-left theme in order to reconnect with Obama?

    IOW, the assumed calculation here seems to be that the independents will hear this anti-left dog whistle and be moved to vote for Obama. Really? Strikes me as tenuous at best.

    That sounds reasonable, and a reasonable argument is far more compelling than the Limbaugh-esque approach of proof by assertion then insulting and mocking anyone that doesn't agree.

    I said the right would take it this way, and lo-and-behold the right takes it that way.

    But you prefer "reasonable arguments" to theory-and-confirmation.

    By reasonable argument, the sun circles around the earth - and remained reasonable for many 100s of years.

    The right takes everything that way.

    The Right said Hillary's "It Takes A Village" was code for government takeover of our lives. Health care became "Death Panels". You can't seriously use the Rights view as something that is going to be rational. Fair taxation is "class warfare". 

    You can't use Limbaugh who called a female law student arguing for reproductive rights a "slut" as someone who's twisted words we should use as a rationale to say Obama was attacking hippies.

    Simply say, "I don't like Obama's politics and I think that anything Obama says is a lie." We can all understand that some people have that position.

    I don't recall every saying Obama lied (maybe a composite here and there). But he's good at manipulating words and followers.

    Rush leads the GOP/conservative messaging machine. If you can't refer to him, then who can you refer to?


    Do we agree that Limbaugh will twist anything that Obama says?

    If Rush will take everything out of context, then him taking this speech out of context is not surprising.

    Rush will alter the intent of Obama's words.

    The fact that Limbaugh is altering the intent of the Memorial Day speech is not proof of anything.

    You can't let Limbaugh control your world.


    Nice of him to do a soundbite for Rush. I'm sure Rush will pay him back.

    And yes, if you're running against a party led by Rush, you should let knowledge of Limbaugh affect your world and your actions. i.e. preventative medicine - if the results aren't what you seek.


    The point you are missing is that Limbaugh will make everything a sound bite.Truth does not guide Rush's world. 

    Fox & Friends ran a 4 minute anti-Obama attack ad as news. You expect lies from the Right from a bloviator like Limbaugh to a "news network" like Fox.

    The best course for the citizen is to note the lie, attack the liar and not attack the person who has their words twisted.

    Obama dog-whistled/insinuated the same lie, that we'd disrespected the troops. We just wanted the shitty war stopped before more people died. Better a few flags burned than another million Vietnamese and another 60,000 Yanks. But no, it's all about "disrespect". BTW, 14% of all enlisted casualties were black - though I haven't heard of any disrespect to black vets per se, not that Rush & the right would even think about them.

    My reading assignment for you is "Bloods: An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Black Veterans" by the late William Terry. It began as a Time article "The Negro in Vietnam. Black vets talk about the rough life in a racist US, being cannon-fodder in Vietnam, being considered junkies and/or unemployable on their return. Some did not feel welcomed back in their own neighborhoods. To end it off, Vietnam was given back to the very people they had been fighting.

    A PBS "Frontline" documentary "Bloods in 'Nam" was based on the book. Unemployment rates for black Vietnam vets is at least 1.5 times the rate for whites.

    SO WHAT if the right takes it that way?

    I thought the theory was that this was directed at independents.

    I have to say that if I applied Quinn's standard--you could've posted about 1001 things but you chose this--this post comes out pretty weak.

    If you want meaty hypocrisy and something really to complain about, stick to the drone program.

    Uh, yeah, right - let's hold a pep rally for the other team.

    Get 'em all stirred up, get 'em out on the field, then we'll wallop 'em.

    Great strategy. Of course Obama cares about 1 race - his, so the independents is where it's at. He knows the numbers he's working with. All those down ticket suckers that get caught in a rout? Tough titty said the kitty.

    Peracles, the right is ALREADY stirred up and has been since January 2009.

    All Obama has to do to stir them up born...somewhere.

    Your argument is so convoluted, you're shooting in all directions at once.

    In terms of hurting the down ticket by appealing to independents, I can't make sense of that argument and I've tried. Why would targeting independents hurt the down ticket?

    In our system of government, it IS every person for himself and that goes in all directions all the time. People cozy up to...and distance themselves from...presidents and Congress critters all the time depending on how the other person will play in their state or district, especially if it isn't a safe race. Hence the blue dogs.

    well, if he's bringing more right-leaning independents to the polls, they're unlikely to vote for liberal candidates on the ticket, are they?

    however if he embraced the idea of making liberal legislation possible and successful, we could run on our own brand again.

    Okay, I'll grant the point in theory.

    But in actuality, I'm pretty sure most right-leaning independents didn't vote for him before and are even more adamantly against him now.

    A Memorial Day speech isn't going to get them to think that this guy who flirts with socialism or can't run the economy is really "right leaning," or whatever you think they're going to start thinking.

    Maybe the speech writers were trying to dog whistle them to the polls, but the plan, if it was the plan, was far-fetched.

    I like your second paragraph. And truth be told, I think he DID try to do this out of the gate and even now with marriage equality. He was mowed down in 2010 for his trouble. Even Clinton, whom you like I guess, moved to the right after 1994. Right?

    In fact, a good argument could be made that Clinton is the author of the kind of triangulating, compromising, weak-kneed, hypocritical Democratic politics you dislike so in Obama.

    You can say ACA and FinReg were not full-throated progressive pieces of legislation and thus lacked the electoral magic stronger bills would have had. But it's hard for me to believe that inserting a public option or stiffening FinReg would have helped in 2010.

    How? Because progressives would have been out there in force defending the gains? Really? If you say so... I kinda like to think so...


    Clinton gave one of the most impressive speeches I've seen.

    I think it was around 1997 State of the Union.

    He started off with one of these "difficult times" kinda starts, live within our means. 

    And then he started into the "but we're going to do this... and this.... and this...." and it was like he was nailing out a baseball diamond, but with 20 bases, a huge playing field or maybe circus tent for the coming year.

    The GOP audience was floored. They squirmed in their seats.

    And the great thing is, everything I heard in the speech was leftist goals, stuff that made sense, stuff that put the Republicans on the backs of their feet.

    Skim a few of his SOTUs here: - can you believe one of them was focused on preserving Social Security for the next 75 years? Without cuts of benefits nor additional payments? 

    For all the talk about triangulation, whether it was trips to Africa or women's rights in Beijing or health care & SCHIP, there was always a heavy unapologetic liberal bent to his story - the starting point.

    Meanwhile, Obama's always throwing out trial baloons right-of-center, whether we can cut entitlements, whether the stimulus should be lower filled with tax cuts, that health care changes need to still support the incumbent players....

    There was nothing weak-kneed in Clinton's. There were certainly more ways to skin a cat, and certainly welfare reform was ballsy, and he didn't back away from NAFTA - he owned it at least for all the grief he got for it - he didn't say he was leaving it up to Congress to decide what's best.

    didn't say he was leaving it up to Congress to decide what's best.

    You nailed for me here one of the main things I don't like about Obama. The thing is, you are one of  the rare left blogging people who lauds Clinton. I've found I can't even give him a teeny tiny complement without being bashed, and that to most Obama haters, Bill Clinton is enemy #2

    Anyhow, comes to mind that he does that on domestic, but he's much more Clintonian in manner on foreign policy and international economic. (I know you hated the Libyan escapade, but only look at how he did it: I'm going to do this, and Congress,  you're going to agree) Could that be purposeful because of his constitutional law professor views? I believe I read that somewhere's, maybe even in Audacity of Hope.) Of course, goes without saying that he's far less talented than Clinton on the people politics, but I recall a lot of people being all het up about having a cool, rational, non-emoter after "have a beer with" George. I don't know if a more Bill Clinton type could have won.

    Where we always disagreed is about Hillary. I think she is no Bill Clinton. She's more Obama than Clinton. The two primary candidates were soooo alike. Sure she woulda fought with Congress somewhat earlier, but to the same effect. We'd be talking Whitewater and Vince Foster instead of Birth Certificates, to the same effect. The Tea Party woulda been a little bit bigger, maybe.

    I hated Libya for the lack of precedent, the brazen way of doing what we wanted with no principle. If we'd set out a principle, we would have helped Sierra Leone, and we'd be mopping up Syria right now. But instead, it was an oil grab with kumbaya trimmings. 

    We do need a strong president for foreign affairs, because Congress is invariably bitchy and conflicted. And I don't need a president with a personality - just get things done with the right principles. They can be stiff as a rock, monotone, whatever.

    I think Hillary had the principles that Obama lacks, and the discipline and detail that Bill lacked, seemed very pragmatic. And a bit stiff and hokey in that student council kind of way.  I don't know where she stands now with all the war stuff - it's easy to do women's conferences in Beijing, but if you're running foreign affairs with 2 wars, it ain't gonna be pretty. Does she really believe all this daft stuff she says about Afghanistan, Iran, terror, drones?

    As for Vince Foster, does it matter if we discuss that or birth certificates and Kenya? The "divisive" issue was one of the stupidest of the campaign - a Democrat will be divisive to Republicans by breathing.

    Seems to me the principle was to help people in open rebellion against a dictator who was threatening to kill them any minute now. I don't think it was oil. Was it oil when we called it quits on Mubarak?

    Naturally, Obama was criticized for being BOTH too slow and too fast on Libya and then for not consulting with a Congress which would have simply shot him down. And we played a backseat role to Europe, a leading from behind role which has gotten no support from the left or right, but which shows a LACK of brazenness, no?

    As far as then being committed to going into Sierra Leone or Syria, pragmatism has to enter into any principled decision, right? Bill went into the Balkans, but he stayed out of Rwanda. Things aren't cut and dried.

    Syria is a regional powder keg, bordering on Israel, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and with its main ally being Iran whose nuclear ambitions we're trying to curtail, assuming they exist. Simply going into Syria the way we went into Libya doesn't meet the test of pragmatism, but we're hardly uninvolved and, in fact, I believe we're giving non-lethal aid to the rebellion.

    We used and hyped the "principle" of "dictator threatening to kill them any minute". How many did Qaddafi actually kill? while Assad has killed over 10,000 documented, 100 the other day, and yet we do nothing? Doesn't meet your test of pragmatism? we're giving "non-lethal aid" to the rebellion? well we gave lethal aid to the rebellion in Libya, which shut down Qaddafi's army - why not do that? who's going to complain? Iran? Iraq? Turkey cares? Israel?

    How did the US respond to armed protesters in Iraq? Did we say "oh, they just want self-rule"? or did we take military action to confiscate weapons?

    If there's a peaceful protest in the Turkic region of China, will the Chinese let it gather steam? Will we do anything to stop the repression?

    The same East Libya/Benghazi we supported is the same one that held 5 nurses from Bulgaria for years in international extortion, saying they intentionally infected patients with AIDS. Some of these people are truly mad and manipulative - it's not just all freedom fighters vs. the mad Qaddafi.

    For all the complaints about Qaddafi, he had the best health care system in Africa - thank Allah for oil. Compare that with Egypt for all their US aid. Were the complaints from Benghazi that life was really that tough, or they wanted more home-rule (as does Edinburgh) and all the oil money since they're the oil region? (We see the same situation in northern Iraq and Texas - Rick Perry being lead secessionist)

    As for Rwanda, Clinton & the French screwed up big time - well-documented, lots of simple fixes that could have stemmed the problem at the beginning, didn't require heavy military action - required a few units on the ground, but we were pulling ours out when we should have put them in. It was people with machetes, for God's sake, not even an insurrection that knew how to put together IEDs, not a wily Milosevic to deal with, just a bunch of brutes with a list of addresses and a radio station that could have been knocked out.

    We used and hyped the "principle" of "dictator threatening to kill them any minute". How many did Qaddafi actually kill? while Assad has killed over 10,000 documented, 100 the other day, and yet we do nothing? Doesn't meet your test of pragmatism? we're giving "non-lethal aid" to the rebellion? well we gave lethal aid to the rebellion in Libya, which shut down Qaddafi's army - why not do that? who's going to complain? Iran? Iraq? Turkey cares? Israel?

    You're throwing a lot of stuff at the wall, but I'm not sure how much is sticking. The point was to prevent the killing. That means the killing hadn't begun, yes? But it's not as though Qaddafi had no history of killing, so...

    It meets my test of pragmatism because the fear is we could spark a wider conflagration, especially with the US involved and then others decided to balance us out. These conflicts always have cross-border implications, in part because the ethnic groups cross borders. So these countries care if the conflict widens beyond Syria's borders.

    I believe the Arab states are providing lethal aid. It doesn't meet the test of principle which would, of course, prompt us to go in. I would support principle.

    I think it's pretty clear that in these conflicts it's often unclear whom we're really supporting. This seems to be true of the Kosovars. There are questions about the Libyans. And there are questions about the wheels still spinning in Egypt. This is why inserting ourselves is always a somewhat dicey proposition. It would also be true in Syria where ethnic conflict also looms.

    They coulda, but they didn't.


    I supported Clinton and what he did and still do.

    And Clinton is a far better politician than Obama in the good sense of the word.

    Obama has given ground upfront when he should've hung tough. His bipartisanship was his calling card and has turned out to be his worst enemy, IMO.

    But it's also true that, apart from their personal abilities and ideological bents, they confronted different countries and different oppositions.

    Clinton made some serious mistakes (deregulation) and had some serious failures (health care, gays in the military) in places where Obama has had some real successes.

    You can call welfare reform "ballsy," but progressives thought and think it was traitorous. Balancing the budget was and is a Republican idea, not to mention the surplus, however real or illusory it was.

    I honestly don't think Obama slinks away from responsibility on key issues. He provided guidelines for the ACA and left it to Congress to work out the details based largely on the lessons of Clinton's failure with health care. Whatever the final plan was, Congress was going to have to pass it, so better they should own it, too.

    But Obama owns Obamacare as if he wrote every word of it himself. He doesn't palm it off on Congress. He held countless meetings on it, including a joint session of Congress and meetings of the leadership at the WH, both televised. And he's certainly gotten TONS of grief for it from every quarter. It's not called BaucusCare.

    As I recall, the country was ripe for health care reform when Clinton started work on it. The GOP was back on their heels and scared stiff. They were scrambling. But Clinton gave them time and opportunity to get their footing--gave it to his unelected wife to handle!--the industry got involved--and before long, it was a rout.

    I don't "blame" Clinton for this failure and my point is not to slam him. But I note his failures and I note also the ways he moved the country to the right or acquiesced to its rightward drift.

    And I note also that Obama got health care and FinReg done, reversing some of Clinton's failures and wrong moves. Was the path to getting ACA passed ugly? Yup, but it's on the books. And if it's protected, it can be improved.

    My point is there's good and bad to Clinton, and there's good and bad to Obama, and they faced very different kinds of obstacles. And overall, I much prefer Obama in the WH to Romney. I could be wrong about this. Romney, if elected, could turn out to be the better president. But from where I'm sitting, he would not be. So despite Obama's failings, it's not a hard decision for me.

    I think the idea that Democrats come alive when faced with a Republican president isn't necessarily borne out by the facts. Democrats acquiesced to GWB's big projects. Clinton acquiesced to what he saw was a rightward drift of the country.


    I don't think you realize, but Clinton defanged the Welfare Queen bit - we no longer talk about it, or not as much.

    I actually don't care that Obama's no Clinton politically - yeah, nice to be smooth and sympathetic, but I'm more basic in my needs.

    Hillary on Healthcare got slammed as much by her own party - Byrd & Bradley & Moynihan - as the others, and then the industry hacks launched their attacks.  I don't fault her much - some parts got silly, just the size, but the effort was a nice approach. Lots of lessons there.  And used them in passing SCHIP & avoiding the same disasters. I think the GOP was less effective than the medical lobbyists themselves.

    Your point re: the Democratic resistance is well-taken. They did push back on Alito and SS reform, but Rahm encouraged a lot not to resist Iraq, etc. Why didn't they push through single payer?  Why didn't they rescind tax cuts for the rich? Why didn't they close Gitmo? Why'd they go along with FISA & Patriot Act and all that noise? Was there more than Grayson and Bernie Saunders and Al Franken?

    I don't think you realize, but Clinton defanged the Welfare Queen bit - we no longer talk about it, or not as much.

    I'm a little tired now, but Clinton acquiesced, or co-opted, one of the right's long-standing goals on welfare and reaffirmed one of its main contentions: that welfare sapped people's desire or willingness to work.

    It moved the discussion off of traditional welfare, but moved it to the right's next and much bigger set of goals, which it also thinks of as "welfare": "reforming" SS and Medicare and Medicaid. It's also not crazy about unemployment insurance.

    If you listen to the general, non-progressive discussion about these issues, there is much talk about unemployed Americans being morally decadent and feeling "entitled" to various "hand outs," which includes, it seems, a "good paying job."

    It has to be pointed out that wanting a good paying job is not an outlandish desire and that Americans worked and paid to get "entitlements," such as SS and Medicare, but still the meme roars.

    So Clinton may or may not have defanged the Welfare Queen, but if he did, it is only because he threw it a big piece of its favorite meat. But now it's hungry again and has moved on to bigger game. It turns out that government, apart from defense, is nothing but welfare and the root cause of virtually all of our economic and social ills. The New Deal must be ripped out program by program until government is small enough to be drowned in a bathtub.

    It could be argued that welfare reform, by affirming its underlying conservative principles, ushered in this new, much bigger and more fundamental fight.

    It could be argued that welfare was a mess in 1992 serving all poorly.

    That changes Clinton put in in 1995 or so helped get poor back to work without much inconvenience.

    That Gore was partially butchered for the audacity to touch welfare.

    And then Bush made the welfare program much much worse, but by then we didn't notice and just keep blaming Clinton.

    Try that out - google Bush's 2002 changes, say from 30 hours to 40 hours required work - try that if you're a single mother.

    I'll take a look, but...

    What I understand--and perhaps I'm wrong--but getting people back to work was really a function of the burgeoning economy.

    Once the economy flagged, those folks were the first to fall through the cracks.

    But I'm willing, as always, to be educated on this point.

    Look, you won't find me slamming Clinton or Gore in general and certainly not in a comparison with Bush. I liked and voted for both of them.

    A combination of a booming economy and pushing them out of the nest, likely - people become scared, complacent, still overworked at home, etc.

    I actually don't care that Obama's no Clinton politically - yeah, nice to be smooth and sympathetic, but I'm more basic in my needs.

    Well, yes and no. If you're going to be a politician, it's better to be a good one. A good one can make things happen that a poorer one can't. Persuasiveness. And ability to get public opinion on your side.

    So good political skills enables a person to get done all those thing you do care about, especially when the going gets tough. Good politicians are able to get more of their agenda done in general.

    I would wager that a lesser politician would not have been able to withstand Lewinsky-gate...and still maintain 60% popularity.

    Thanks for the link. I'll take a look.

    My personal favorite was the 1998 SOTU when in the beginning he said this

    .....For 209 years, it has been the President's duty to report to you on the State of the Union. Because of the hard work and high purpose of the American people, these are good times for America. We have more than 14 million new jobs. The lowest unemployment in 24 years. The lowest core inflation in 30 years. Incomes are rising, and we have the highest homeownership in history. Crime has dropped for a record five years in a row and the welfare rolls are at their lowest level in 27 years. Our leadership in the world is unrivaled. Ladies and gentlemen, the state of our union is strong.

    But with barely 700 days left in the 20th Century, this is not a time to rest; it is a time to build, to build the America within our reach.....

    You had to see it broadcast to appreciate what I liked about it, though; it wasn't in the words but in the delivery, and the cheers, and the sullen sour pickle faces of the opposition. The day before he had just announced to the public that "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky"  and that he had to get back to work for the American people, so we were already deep in that doodoo at the same time. He simply had an astounding ability to compartmentalize, he had to know deep down that was more trouble coming, but he never gave up pounding away at the job and never gave up. Hell of a talent for that particular job, an incredible ability to thrive on stress, and too bad he had to spend so much of it on such nonsense.

    Yes, it is joyous to see the other side humiliated into silence. Haven't seen that in a while.

    More seriously, I favor a speech most people didn't even notice because they were too busy devouring and discussing the recently released Starr Report: his Sept 1998 address to the United Nations on terrorism; I caught it on CSPAN live, it was extremely eloquent and showed how on top of the topic he was.

    Pretty brilliant, and builds up on all the international liberal institutions and approaches we should be supporting. Instead of bang-bang-shoot-em-up that'll-show-'em fixes.

    And his speeches just hold together for me - they're eloquent, cohesive, compelling - rather than a lot of speeches I hear that feel more like a litany of glib ad-words.

    I especially liked:

    We must also acknowledge that there are economic sources of this rage as well. Poverty, inequality, masses of disenfranchised young people are fertile fields for the siren call of the terrorists and their claims of advancing social justice. But depravation cannot justify destruction, nor can inequity ever atone for murder. The killing of innocents is not a social program.

    Nevertheless, our resolute opposition to terrorism does not mean we can ever be indifferent to the conditions that foster it...

    Developing nations have an obligation to spread new wealth fairly, to create new opportunities, to build new open economies. Developed nations have an obligation to help developing nations stay on the path of prosperity and to spur global economic growth. A week ago I outlined ways we can build a stronger international economy to benefit not only all nations, but all citizens within them.

    Of course after 9/11 that became anathema to speak - only that we were just and they wronged us - the victimhood nation. And we can't speak openly about the effect our economy has on the rest of the world - it's about us, and as to whether our protectionism and corruption hurts others, well, they can tough it. And an intricate understanding of "build a stronger international economy" has turned into a glib faith in free-trade-will-lift-all-boats. Hardly.

    It's for centrists and independents. He obviously already has the idiotic left wrapped up.

    Let us say I accept everything you're saying here: It's a message intended for the middle. Let's say the first layer of his meaning is: I support the troops.

    The second layer--that he's somehow more persuasive with the middle by layering in a punch a hippie subtext--strikes me as tenuous.

    And you're using as proof of this the fact that Rush picked up on it. Well, Rush and his listeners are on the right, and they picked up on it in a way that suited their purposes.

    How does this second layer of meaning--the existence of which is proved by Rush's reaction--help him with the middle? Do we think the middle thinks like Rush? Do we think the middle picks up on messages the way Rush does?

    Again, how does punching a hippie help him with the middle? Unless you're saying that the middle has drifted away from Obama because they perceive him as too leftist on military matters.

    My guess is they've drifted away from him because of economic matters...

    I would disagree with what I think is your interpretation of First Blood, etc. The overall message of those movies--and I'm doing this from memory--is that the country, and particularly the political class, betrayed the troops. The troops became the sacrificial lambs for the sins of the country and especially its leadership.

    The troops didn't lose the war--they could've won in military terms but for the venality of the politicians. This wasn't exactly the position of the left at the time.

    Broadly, the left's position focused on the immorality of the war. They also believed that the war was unwinnable militarily (except by destroying the country) and, in fact, had been lost a long time ago. I would say that the charge of immorality spilled over onto to the troops to some degree, but the troops weren't the main focus.

    But if Obama is talking to the independents, this is getting pretty far down into the weeds to be the basis of an effective communication.

    "Look! I'm one of you guys, I'm not the leftist you think I am"

    "let me show you. If you want, I'll cut his longhair, to show you my bona fides" 

    This is a fight no one is fighting, as far as I can see.

    Anyone who thinks Obama is a lefty isn't going to be convinced by this.

    As we can see from Rush, right?

    Rush just finds a way to use it against him.

     What is History, but a myth agreed upon?   

     - Napoleon Bonaparte

    The very ink with which all history is written is merely fluid prejudice  

    - Mark Twain


    History, real history, can be corroborated which means either mulitiple contemporaneous sources or physical artifacts.  

    What those two are speaking of are narratives written about the real or an imagined past.  Most people seem to prefer the imagined and/or embellished ones but that does not mean there is not real history.

    Like morality, the study of history is often abused by political and social activists promoting the interests of their pet causes and points of view.  This makes it even more important to corroborate histories.

    This has been a public service announcement.

    One benefit of Dagblog is you get to read  anecdotes like this one which  I've reported here before. From an April 1962  BBC interview with Violet Bonham Carter which I heard on a Saturday night  in my room in the Churchgate Hotel in Old Harlow, Essex. Trying to consolidate a balance sheet ( I never did)

    In August 1914 PM Asquith (Violet's father)presided over a split cabinet. The Tories wanted to declare war on Germany. The Liberals wanted proof first that Germany was actually acting aggressively. Finally Asquith gave in to the Tories and sent a note to the German Ambassador declaring War with no particular reason given. He worried that this would cause his Government to fall.

    But within minutes one of  the wire services reported that a German machine gun nest had fired into Belgium. Unclear whether anyone was injured.

    Asquith saw  this could save his Govenment and  drafted a new note saying that Britain was declaring War because of this  aggression. Gave it to the young  Harold Nicholson to deliver to the German ambassador and told him to recover the first note.  HN was a young socialite with no particular qualifications other than being a young socialite.

    Was friendly with the beautiful  young Violet Bonham Carter(grandmother of the actress) to whom he told  the story later..

    He set off across London. The news was out. and was welcomed as the beginning of almost every war is (When will they ever learn?) Church bells were ringing. On this warm evening the pub gardens were full and the drinkers singing patriotic songs.

    HN arrived at the ambassadors. The butler knew him. He'd been there for dinner . When HN said he needed to speak with the ambassador the butler said he was upstairs in his bed room. HN went up. Knocked on the door.

    From inside there was a muffled question: Who is it? HN said it was he and he had an official note to deliver. The Ambassador said  "I thought I had already received the last communication I would get from Lord Grey ( the foreign minister)".

    HN entered. The Ambassador, an Anglophile who'd tried to prevent the war, was lying on the bed, sobbing. Through the windows you could hear the war- like songs from the crowded pubs.

    The first letter was lying on a table. Unopened.

    HN withdrew it,  and replaced it with letter #2 explaining the imperative necessity for England to go to war as a result of Germany's unacceptable aggression.

    Switching from Violet Bonham Carter to Barbara Tuchman,. Ironically  if Asquith had waited a few days he would have had  a better pretext.  The Germans invaded Belgium and some troops were ambushed and killed.  The commander having absorbed Clausewitz on dealing with civilians ( they had no automatic  immunity,in War everything should be considered from the standpoint of how it can contribute to winning  including  their treatment ).

    He decided on firm action.The couple of  hundred residents  of the nearest town were lined up in front of a church. Mostly women,children and the aged since young men had been conscripted .

    Two lines, one on either side of the plaza. The german troops filed in between them and faced outwards to the two lines. There was a wait.A long wait.  And then  at a signal, they  faced outward and fired.

     Rather than hiding this  the commander printed up large posters describing it and distributed them throughout Belgium.Pour encouragez les autres

    There may be some moral in the above. If you find it, let me know and I'll include it when I repeat this next Memorial Day.

    I was standing by the synagogue in Rome with a plaque announcing that the Nazis had ordered the first group of Jews to meet there for shipment to the concentration camps.I turned and could see the Vatican.  From which probably Pius XII  could have seen the synagogue unless there have been changes in the intervening years (trees ,demolished buildings?).


    This is a continuation of a conversation with Resistance above. Resistance noted that FDR reformed the banks while Obama has been acting like a neutered man on the banks.

    FDR sent the Emergency Banking Act to Congress on March 9, 19333. Congress passed the bill that evening. Can you imagine any bill getting passed the same day in the Congress facing Obama? Go back and look at the role of Congress in what FDR did and look at our  current Congress.

    Check the historical record.

    As I recall, it was Pelosi (r) who garnered the votes to bail out the bankers. 

    Bankers instead of homeowners

    Can you imagine any bill getting passed the same day in the Congress facing Obama?

    What Congress? The one where Pelosi and Reed were in charge until the midterm referendum.  

    Did you hear Obama, the President in waiting say to Pelosi; "hold on, we need to protect the homeowners first and foremost because that is our base"  "Democrats have always in the past, represented the little guy"  

    Helping homeowners, make their payments does help the bankers 

    The New demoncratic creed 

    Too big to fail; trumps to small to care about? 


    And where was Pelosi going to get the 60 votes?

    She got the votes to help Paulson, when the Republicans wouldn't,

    Why was the supposed champion of the weak, the Democratic Party; who years earlier prevented the insurance companies and the banks from taking all the farm land in America?

    Back then, the Democratic Party helped to keep farmers on the land.

    The new Democratic Party, was now concerned with saving the bankers; instead of keeping the folks in their homes?

    Once the bankers were saved, by Pelosi's efforts, as opposed to Republican efforts; where was the leverage to force banks to help homeowners?

    Who negotiated for or represented the homeowner class?  

    Did Obama send a representative to insist “here's assistance; we insist you help homeowners. 

    The democrats got played as chumps; it was the democrats that helped the class, most likely to support Republicans.

    In hind sight one could imagine the conversation by the Democratic Parties, homeowner representative

    “It’s too bad  BUT where else can they go?”  

    "Can you imagine any bill getting passed the same day in the Congress facing Obama?

    What Congress? The one where Pelosi and Reed were in charge until the midterm referendum"

    Or any Congress except FDR's in 33 and LBJ's in 63. As Caro made clear.

    Indeed  90% of the sturm und drang here over the Affordable Health Care Act might have been ,let's say, better put if the writers had read Caro.

    Restart the thread!

    President Obama was speaking not on the general Memorial Day topic BUT to an audience that worked long and hard to get this law enacted by Congress:

    TTSMSIn Accordance With Public Law 110-181 SEC.598; the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act authorized the Secretary of Defense to conduct a program to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War and "in conducting the commemorative program, the Secretary shall coordinate, support, and facilitate other programs and activities of the Federal Government, State and local governments, and other persons and organizations in commemoration of the Vietnam War."

    The Secretary of Defense shall determine the schedule of major events and priority of efforts for the commemorative program, in order to ensure achievement of the objectives specified in Law.

    The commemorative program will include activities and ceremonies to achieve the following objectives:

    1. To thank and honor veterans of the Vietnam War, including personnel who were held as prisoners of war (POW), or listed as missing in action (MIA), for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the United States and to thank and honor the families of these veterans.
    2. To highlight the service of the Armed Forces during the Vietnam War and the contributions of Federal agencies and governmental and non-governmental organizations that served with, or in support of, the Armed Forces.
    3. To pay tribute to the contributions made on the home front by the people of the United States during the Vietnam War.
    4. To highlight the advances in technology, science, and medicine related to military research conducted during the Vietnam War.
    5. To recognize the contributions and sacrifices made by the allies of the United States during the Vietnam War.

    Now, discuss what he decided to say to these people. Feel free to complain that he decided to support the law with a Proclamation or that he decided to speak to them! Even feel free to say he should have challenged its supporters and said to them that it was a "dumb war." But don't parse it out of context for messages that are actually part of the whole program and the law to start with, as if he just decided himself for current political effect to bring up old wounds about the Vietnam war. The occasion demanded bringing it up! You can audition for Presidential speechwriter, to do better and not piss anyone off, here's your chance.

    And I must add:

    Start with this given: the Obama administration IS jingoist about the rank-and-file military. You don't have to like it but you have to admit we knew that from day one, when Mrs. Obama insisted one of the inaugural balls be devoted to them. She then made supporting the rank-and-file and their families her number one "cause," agitating for the general public to "support the troops" more, and Mrs Biden now assists her on this. So take it as a given that you are writing a speech for a President that is jingoist about "supporting the troops" over other considerations, that if you identify with war-protesting hippies, that this speech is not all about you nor is it talking to you.

    Oh and, not only do they do the thing about agitating to support rank and file and support vets,on the topic of hiring vets you have to admit that they do go there:


    Here is a speech she gave last month:

    VIDEO: Michelle Obama Tells Employers Why They Need To Hire Vets
    Jana Kasperkevic|, April 13, 2012|

    and here is what Mr. Obama did on that in November:

    President Obama: "Hire a Veteran"

    This morning, President Obama signed the "VOW to Hire Heroes Act" into law, telling those in attendance:....


    Thanks. What's missing here a lot is empathy.Or the imagination required so empathy could work.

    For the first few months after W's Iraq invasion I was lacking them.  For the only time in my life I had marched against the coming war  that cold Feb day. And had stayed opposed , helped by the Valerie Plame caper. Then in August I heard an NPR Talk of America devoted to interviewing soldiers' wives. And got my head screwed back on properly.My enemy wasn't in a hot kitchen in Lawton OK or Columbus GA, He, or they were on Pennsylvania Ave.Air conditioned and surrounded by the worst possible advisors.

    It's not jingoism , it's simply clear thinking that we should support the people whom the Government we elected has put in harms way. That it was done foolishly was all the more reason to support them.

    As to Vietnam, the same goes,squared. The ordinary human mind such as the one with which I'm equipped is flexible enough so it can respect both  War Protestors and the soldiers It's the Republicans'  problem , not ours, that except for McCain they mostly couldn't handle that in the case of John Kerry.

    When the Jane Fonda movie, Coming Home, came out Margot Adler  did a fascinating program on BAI reading the letters she sent from Berkeley and the ones she got back from a graduate , a line grunt, who got copies of the School paper and was upset by students' attitudes.  

    Even with that preparation I reacted poorly in 2003 but I finally got over it.


    Personally, I'm really not simpatico with your basic volunteered-for-it gungo vet type person, and I don't get why they should get so much of my empathy. (I'd rather tease them when they automatically tag me as a liberal New Yorker-it can be fun for both parties!)  They volunteered, they support each other and I help pay their salary and benefits. I've seen polls that show a lot of the public thinks the same way after so many years of all volunteer, hence that is part of Michelle's program, to get the public sympathetic again.

    I was raised that way; my father hated every second of his experience as a draftee in WWII, and taught us from a young age that the Army sucks (even tho he likes a good war movie and gave my brothers all the toy guns they desired.) Not to mention same went for cops, he taught us to be afraid of cops, that they can ruin your life. Oh, another fatherly lesson: Merchant Marine, which he also did is ok, just ok, some parts of it suck like the military, but you get to see things, but geez never be a fool and join any government military like the Navy with all those lifer nuts in it.

    BUT when you ask for the job in Commander-in-chief, goes with it that you will not dis the rank and file unless they are doing something against the rules. I do prefer a draft-dodging sorta president who is more skeptical about all of them rather than rah rah supportive. At the same time, I really don't see this speech as rah rah as it could have been and I certainly don't think it is all about the left, it's totally directed to the specific audience.

    I often feel the self-centeredness of left blogs sometimes gets all out of whack on Obama, making up slights that aren't there and then fixating on them. It's not a good way to accomplish anything, to fixate on stuff that's not really there. (Even the Rahm "retards" story in mho was totally misrepresented and became sorta like a major blog urban myth from a simple temper outburst about dumb marketing by one group.)

    Obama doesn't appear to like a lot of left activists, but he is far less focused on that than some of them seem to think. Mostly he takes a "no harm, no foul" approach to the left.  I think it's pretty rare when he does an intentional attack on the same, and when he does it is very carefully measured, like the "Tone, Truth and the Democratic Party" post he did at DKos before he started running for president.

    I tend to agree, but it was a bit different when people were getting drafted.

    I think Obama doesn't like people who he feels are extreme in any direction.

    I second Flavius.

    THANKS for adding an important dimension and especially context.

    What was clear from his remarks was that he was placing blame for the war squarely on the shoulders of the government at the time.

    This was the left's central message at the time.


     I am not sure I can meet your criteria for how it is fair to discuss this and I do not intend to be limited by trying to do so.

    President Obama was speaking not on the general Memorial Day topic BUT to an audience that worked long and hard to get this law enacted by Congress:

     Obama was speaking on a national holiday about a past war, doing so during a current war, and doing so before an audience which, according to your description, was very sure to applaud the things he ended up saying. But, he was speaking to me too and he was speaking to everyone who would listen and he was hoping that was a large audience. Do not expect me to believe that there was not a political intention that went way beyond thanking and honoring the veterans of the Vietnam War. And do not expect me to accept the premises included in the 5 points you quoted.
    Some of what I will say is obviously true and some is my opinion, but I don't believe that any thinking person will fail to acknowledge that my opinions are shared by many vets. Many Vietnam veterans would not ask that what they were a part of should be honored and so would not ask that they be honored for participating. Many, maybe only after getting a bit older and more informed and more mature, think that it was a war that evolved from wrong-headed ideas that still hold sway with the American public. They know that it was escalated with lies, they know that as it progressed the American people and the American soldiers were steadily lied to,  and most know that there were many individual atrocities committed during that war and some of them realize that if the luck of the draw had put them in the right place that they may have been a direct part of those atrocities. If the right situation had been their situation, like it was for many, they may have chosen freely, even enthusiastically, to actively and directly engage in atrocities or they may have been afraid not to join in. And, there are many who realize that these and other factors make the entire war an atrocity. That the entire war was an atrocity makes even otherwise perfectly defensible acts of war a crime at some level. It makes some of those acts murder if the responsibility is placed at the correct level. It makes the soldiers participants in murder even if their participation was as innocent pawns. It makes at least some of them mad as hell to see it all happening again and to see it still being bought into by so many misguided Americans, misguided again by cynical politicians and their cynical or otherwise stupid supporters.

      I  think that there are many vets who share all, or many, or even a just a few of the partial list of reasons I just alleged for a vet to not be proud of what he was a part of, even if he is proud of his individual actions, and I do not think any of those vets have worked "long and hard to get this law enacted by Congress:"

     #1.  To thank and honor veterans of the Vietnam War, including personnel who were held as prisoners of war (POW), or listed as missing in action (MIA), for their service and sacrifice on  behalf of the United States and to thank and honor the families of these veterans.

     Thank and honor them? Bullshit, if there is an honorable thing to now say to the vets about the whole damned thing it is 'sorry' for putting you in that situation, not say 'sorry for no parade'. But then what would Obama say to the current military that would help him be a successful politician?

    #2  To highlight the service of the Armed Forces during the Vietnam War and the contributions of Federal agencies and governmental and non-governmental organizations that served with, or in support of, the Armed Forces.

     Service to who or what? Was their service and sacrifice in any way beneficial in any good way to our country?

    #3   To pay tribute to the contributions made on the home front by the people of the United States during the Vietnam War.

     Yeah, thanks a heap, folks. All the ones, that is, who blindly, or worse, much worse, understood it all and still supported the war by supporting the leaders who kept the war going. Nice job.

    #4  To highlight the advances in technology, science, and medicine related to military research conducted during the Vietnam War.

     Nice to imply military spending always has benefits, but is it true that it is a good  way to spend rather than spending on r&d applied directly to problems other than the problem of how to dominate the world militarily? A tenuous connection, maybe, but he didn't want to leave anybody out of his praise for their conduct during that war.

     #5   To recognize the contributions and sacrifices made by the allies of the United States during the Vietnam War.

    Don't know much about that days coalition of the willing. Maybe they deserve high praise.

    Let's hear a name of a person who accomplished something good by participating in making the Vietnam war happen or by waging it as effectively as they possibly could.  

    And do not expect me to accept the premises included in the 5 points you quoted.

    I wasn't, but I was pointing out it's an actual piece of passed legislation by Congress, not Obama He didn't initiate those talking points, Congress did. Yes, in doing the Proclamation and giving the speech, it's clear he agrees with going along with the general program. But he didn't by choice initiate the whole thing. While some here are imagining he was chomping at the bit to get at another chance to "punch a hippie," I tend to imagine him thinking something more like "shit I have to do that damn Vietnam thing next week, what a fucking hornet's nest that is"

    Edit to add: I very much appreciate getting your input on the Congressional legislation, it's just that it's not Obama's. It's the result of a bunch of activists lobbying for it, some of them vets, some that have a different take on Vietnam than you. I would think your views are probably similar to the majority of Vietnam vets, but that's how it goes, you lobby hard enough on this kind of stuff and you get your way.

    I think we're confusing the speech 2 days ago with the speech in 2008 (passing some legislation or wutever)

    In any case, thanks for the viewpoints - you lived a lot of the stuff & fill in pieces I can only guesstimate.

    I think of the science spinoffs, and wonder where our Agent Orange dividends are - better homes & gardens? I guess B-1 bombers led to bunker busters indirectly. 

    I think the allies were Canucks, Brits, Aussies & a few SE Asian countries. Of course it's a minority of Americans who realize that. A shame really - they follow our stupidity and get little from it. Guess they are friends, though I wish they'd take away the car keys once in a while.

    The parade angle is just too bizarre - a bit of confetti and all the angst goes away? "Hey, I lost my leg but someone threw rice on my head so I feel alright"? From Hendrix to 76 trombones, This is The End to "I Love a Parade"? I just don't think people think this stuff through. Which is scary - I thought as a civilization we were making steps forward, but in the end it's like kindergarten first day on the playground.

    This is just getting ridiculous - it says "To thank and honor veterans of the Vietnam War..." Lulu reduced this down to a parade and now you're talking about how the parade angle is just too bizarre - as if the only way we as a society, through the government and otherwise, can thank and honor veterans is with a parade.  One way to honor them is to focus on the care they receive through VA hospitals, ensuring that their care and the facilities is as best it can be, which we all know isn't at the moment.

    I really wish you would think this stuff through instead of trying to bend it to fit your kindergarten narrative.

    From Lulu above:

    And, there are many who realize that these and other factors make the entire war an atrocity. That the entire war was an atrocity makes even otherwise perfectly defensible acts of war a crime at some level. It makes some of those acts murder if the responsibility is placed at the correct level. It makes the soldiers participants in murder even if their participation was as innocent pawns.

    Can we agree that some, including some vets, might view this as denigrating (i.e. defaming, disparaging, speaking ill of) Vietnam Vets, in this case by someone from the Left?

    Brilliant analysis Trope. Sure we can agree. That conclusion, that some vets would see that statement you bolded [in the context of my entire statement] as denigration of vets, is exactly as valid as my conclusion that some vets are  just like you. That is, some vets are idiots.

    growing up one of the key lessons from WWII that I learned was in the final analysis "i was just following orders" was not a way to avoid responsibility for one's actions.  If it was murder, then the person pulling the trigger had to take responsibility for that.  One can take some things into consideration in order to mitigate the sentence, but one was still guilty of murder.  Therefore - if it was murder, then the soldiers were murderers. 

    You can't have your cake and eat it, too.  If it was murder, then it was carried out by murderers.

    You can't go around and say "it was murder, oh, but wait, i'm not saying the guy who actually pulled the triggered or pushed the button that dropped the napalm are murderers, they were just idiot dupes, not murderers. but in the end it was all a bunch of acts of murder.  please just don't take that personally."

    You can couch it in all the analysis of those at the top are responsonsible, but in the end they need their hitmen to carry it out.  Now you can call them murderers point blank, or you can just call them idiot dupes, either way in some people books that is denigrating them.  Murderer or idiot - your choice.

    I understand your interpretation, the fact you are unwilling to see that others might take it a different way is what gives the Left a bad name.

    You and your friends, are driving around and decide to go into the Circle K, one of your friends decides, he needs gas money, so he robs the clerk.

    A shuffle ensues and the clerk is shot dead.

    You think all are complicit? 

    Look at the appalling pictures you provided below

    Welcome home soldier? 

    "Who did these things, to these people?"   God asks 

    and his angels tell him "Americans" 

    As most honest people would conclude; These are only scenes that WERE captured on film.

    God isn't accepting our excuse, that these were isolated cases.

    Did you not know or was ignorance bliss?  .... The whole Nation WILL BE held accountable. 

    You cant blame the representative, you elected to do your will 

    It's why so many Americans are opposed to wars.

    But the ignorant ones say "who cares, there is no accountability"

    "God Bless America and welcome home soldiers?" 

    Protect America; We want the blessings, not his anger and wrath.  

    "Stay out of  foreign wars; Geo. Washington warned 


    And let's put your money where your mouth goes:

    Are you for charging the operators of the predator drones with murder of civilians in places like Pakistan and Yeman?  Especially since there is no draft and therefore the "innocent pawn" excuse kind of goes out the window.

     However you or anyone else characterizes the nature of the drone strikes, now or in the future, whether a person now believes or comes to believe that they are proper and legal and smart or whether they are stupid and criminal, no one with two good brain cells will argue that the operators of the drones were not participating in the strikes.

    You are like a low level toothache. Or multi-toned tinnitus that jumps from ear to ear and gets in the way of meaningful communication and is as irritating as a fly in the nose.

    You can't go around and say "it was murder, oh, but wait, i'm not saying the guy who actually pulled the triggered or pushed the button that dropped the napalm are murderers, they were just idiot dupes, not murderers. but in the end it was all a bunch of acts of murder.  please just don't take that personally."

     Is there any guilt attached to participating. I say that there often is but the level varies greatly. You are all about nuance usually, I would expect you to see some here. I'll concoct an an example:
     In Vietnam some officer might declare an entire area a "free fire zone". You know that happened, right? Maybe you trust that there was justifiable reason, maybe not. Some other officer might learn that casualties were taken near a particular village in that zone. He may then decide to fire artillery on that village. He has standing permission so he can choose to do that based on whatever he considers to be sufficient reason. Or just for the hell of it. He then instructs someone to send the  coordinates of that village to an artillery unit and fire X amount of HE in a dispersed pattern 50 meters in all directions from those coordinates. At the artillery unit a fire direction controller works up the target data consisting of charge, direction, and elevation, etc, so that a round of HE will land at the places intended by the orders he received. He then sends the data to the gunners. They enter the data and fire their guns at targets they cannot see. Do you recognize different levels of moral responsibility of the different participants? Do you think that any of the people I described that were doing what I outlined were not participating?
     Can you understand why the gunner who did not know what he was shooting at, could not even see that target, usually did not find out the results, might still someday come to feel that he participated in something that was very wrong?
     So you want to talk about drone operators now. Fair enough, I said that the speech had acceptance of current wars as part of its purpose.  
     Yes, the drone operators are volunteers, but that is only one of many significant ways that their situation is very different. They go home from their air conditioned desk job to a place where they have full access to any and all news that you and I have. They can relax in their easy chair and pay as much or as little attention to the underlying motives of the war, the morality and ethics and legality of the war fighting methods, as they wish, and if they choose to do something different they could get their wish honored without going to jail. I expect that most people of our country would understand if they said their conscience would not let them go on. A large part of our population would not judge them to be a coward for their refusal to continue and their own culturalization would not make them wonder if that might be true.
     As they perform their daily duties they do not need to worry about being maimed or killed while doing so. They have not seen anybody sitting at the console next to them turned into 'pink mist', their euphemism for the victims of their targets. They have no reason to believe that if they do not fire on that group they see by camera, who are thousands of miles away, that their buddy next to them or their self is more likely to die. They have no reason to feel rage at, and fear of, the blurry figures they watch on their cameras based on seeing up close the death or dismemberment of friends numerous times already. I am not surprised that there are many willing to do that job but I cannot empathize with the type of mind that would never question whether what they were doing was right. I would say that to them face to face if the situation presented itself.
     So I will continue to put my money where I choose and you can continue to keep your head up that dark smelly place it seems to be so comfortable while it conjures up stupid arguments seemingly for the sake of arguing.
     But how about you putting your conscience where your mouth is. Would you, knowing what we know about drone usage today, sit at a console and follow people on camera and when someone walked up and said, "It has been decided that they should die", would you pull the trigger? Would you be comfortable with that job or would you rather someone else do it and then you can call them a hero rather than have to make a hard choice yourself. Would you ever examine your decision to do so? Can you imagine finding out that those people didn't deserve to die, that you had been lied to, and then concluding that you had participated in something that was horribly wrong and wish that you hadn't? Would you demand to be 'honored' anyway.

     Denigrate my achin' ass for bothering to respond to you.

    Maybe this will make my point:

    There is nuance to homicide - one just has to have accept battered wife syndrome to understand that

    But there is there is little nuance to murder.  It is unjustifiable taking of human life. Sometimes one can say it was it done in a moment of passion, and thus mitigate the sentence of punishment, but the judgment was that act itself was wrong. 

    So a solidier is told - kill that person, it is the right thing to do.  Then someone like Lulu comes along and says, no killing that person was not the right thing to do.  it was an evil act, you were duped. 

    And would I sit at the console?  Yeah I would.  Maybe it would scar me.  But I do believe that the targets of these drones are just like the bank robber who has taken a bunch of hostages and is holding them at gun point.  Just like the controller of a drone, I would if I had the skill set be the SWAT sniper and pull the trigger - to be the judge jury and executioner - and take the person "out" if the order was given in order to save the lives of the hostages.

    The world is a messy place.  And chances are if I was sitting at the console of the drones, I would take innocent lives.  Would I be a murderer if I killed them in an attempt to take out someone whose goal was to kill other innocent individuals?  Well, that is the crux of the matter.

    And oh I noticed, you totally dodged answering my question.  Which speaks total volumes.  Heheheheheh.

    And maybe back there in subconscious is one of the first things about how the real world really is that broke through the candy lane santa claus everything is peachy myth is having its fortieth anniversary.

    And I really would like to know what PP's hippie has to say about this dude.

    It's Another Trope, he just never learns  ........Help us Spiderman... 

    We don't negotiate with terrorists 

    broke through the candy lane santa claus everything is peachy myth

    Sep 14, 2003 – DICK CHENEY: My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. ..... they tell us this would be easier, that we'd be welcomed with flowers, ...

    2004 Fallujah, The Hidden Massacre,_The_Hidden_Massacre

    Jun 5, 2006 – Donald Rumsfeld: “Shit happens.


    File:My Lai massacre.jpg

    What strikes me is that you and LULU are both making serious points. Somewhat undermined by your attacks on one another which I guess are inevitable. But you both are serious people concerned about a very serious issue.


     It is serious.

    We cant control what a mad man and a few cohorts will do; except address the underlying causes of such hatred.

    Maybe a good start would be; we quit meddling and maybe we wouldn’t be so hated?

    What we can do is learn, that America is not the Worlds police force or should it be.


    Washington's Farewell Address 1796

    “The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none; or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns.


    Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.


    Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people under an efficient government. the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

    Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice?

    It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world;

    That's from Munich '72 or what? Something to do with hippies?

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