State of the Union Open Thread

by lizard

If I can find the stomach for it, I may tune in to the state of our union. At least the beginning, to see if Obama will adhere to the mostly consistent projection of confidence that the state of our union is strong.

I don’t expect president Obama to go all Gerald Ford circa 1975:

What I will be looking for is some presidential pushback against the congressional insurrection against Iran diplomacy. I’m also a little curious if Obama will drop any hints about the insidious Trans-Pacific Partnership. I try to avoid using RT as a source, but I’ll lazily reference this:

Congressional leaders on the US trade policy have introduced legislation that would grant President Barack Obama “fast-track authority” to enact three looming global trade accords, including the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership.

House Ways and Means Committee Chair Dave Camp (R) and top Senate Finance Committee members Max Baucus (D) and Orrin Hatch (R) on Thursday unveiled the Trade Priorities Act of 2014 that would require a simple up-or-down vote on major trade deals without the opportunity to offer amendments to pertinent bills.

The [Trade Priorities Act] legislation we are introducing today will make sure that these trade deals get done, and get done right,” Sen. Baucus said in a statement. “This is our opportunity to tell the administration – and our trading partners – what Congress’s negotiating priorities are.”

The Obama administration is seeking the heightened authority in trade deals, allowing the Executive Branch to smooth congressional negotiations on accords. The two major deals, both long in the works, that are likely to be subject to such legislation are the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the 28-nation pact with the European Union, the Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA). The deals would establish the world’s largest so-called free-trade zones.

It would be cool if Obama gave a shout out to Jamie Dimon, like, hey Jamie, nice bonus you got there buddy! In the real world costing your company billions in fines doesn’t usually feature such lavish perks. If you are tempted to be perturbed by Dimon’s illogical compensation, just watch this convenient 60 Minutes gusher about Year Up.

I’m also curious to see if/how Obama spins austerity amidst the continued splurging on “defense”. Those two issues would of course never appear in proximity to each other, but both merit at least a mention.

Anyway, consider this a State of the Union open thread.


  1. Wow, give it to ’em Ford!

    And how about those rebates? Can’t go wrong there. Sandwich the good and the bad.

    I hope another president has the audacity to say the state of the union is bad.

  2. lizard19

    Paul Craig Roberts describes how economists and policy makers murdered our economy and mentions the TPP here:

    From hard experience, Americans have also caught on that “free trade agreements” are nothing but vehicles for moving their jobs abroad. The latest effort by the corporations to loot and defraud the public is known as the “Trans-Pacific Partnership.” “Fast-tracking” the bill allowed the corporations to write the bill in secret without congressional input. Some research shows that 90% of Americans will suffer income losses under TPP, while wealth becomes even more concentrated at the top.

    TPP affects every aspect of our lives from what we eat to the Internet to the environment. According to Kevin Zeese in Alternet, “the leak of the [TPP] Intellectual Property Chapter revealed that it created a path to patent everything imaginable, including plants and animals, to turn everything into a commodity for profit.”

    The secretly drafted TPP also creates authority for the executive branch to change existing US law to make the laws that were not passed in secret compatible with the secretly written trade bill. Buy American requirements and any attempt to curtail jobs offshoring would become illegal “restraints on trade.”

    If the House and Senate are willing to turn over their legislative function to the executive branch, they might as well abolish themselves.

  3. Big Swede

    Off topic, but Max did stay at a Holiday Inn last night.

    • I don’t think there’s an elected official in that chamber that knows a damn about that country. What’s the total amount of time any of them has spent over there?

      Montana and China have a long history, it’s unfortunate we don’t take them more seriously. It will come back to bite us.

  4. Craig Moore

    I will be interested in Schweitzer’s take on the speech after his recent interview. http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/dem-thinks-he-can-win-the-anti-obama

    • Big Swede

      If he’s playing Gutfeld’s SOTU Drinking Game he may want to sober up first.

      “Every time he says ‘folks,’ drink. Every time he says ‘fair share,’ drink. Every time he says ‘extraordinary,’ drink. Every time he brags about working tirelessly, drink. When he frets about lack of compromise, drink. If he says, ‘Bring me a bill, and I’ll sign it,’ drink. When he brings up the middle class, the people he’s ruining, drink. Every time he says, ‘It’s the right thing to do,’ drink. Every time he cites someone that his policies have helped, drink. If she’s in the audience, drink some more. Every time he says, ‘I never said it would be easy,’ drink. If he says that after mentioning ObamaCare, drink again. If he says ObamaCare’s rough start was worth it, drink. And every time he reminds us that running a country is really hard, say, ‘Yeah, we can tell,’ and drink … Finally, each time you feel like you’re being screwed, drink. And if you still buy anything from this gas bag, then you deserve the world’s worst hangover, and enjoy it, ‘cause you built that.”

  5. steve kelly

    Swede, perhaps it’s time for you to weigh the tradeoffs between smoking pot and drinking alcohol. No hangover, less anger, and easier on the wallet for starters.

    • Hey, do we need to sic the Montana Tavern Owner’s Association on you?

      I mean, St. Pat’s here in Missoula is already losing lots of money. If people aren’t drinking downtown and smashing people’s faces in, then how can we expect our community to have decent healthcare?

      Golly, I’m so worked up now that I need a drink!

    • Steve W

      Swede doesn’t care about facts, all he cares about is ideology.

      In his mind, cannabis is all about hippy bashing. That’s all it’s good for in his world. Nothing else computes.

      • Big Swede

        Hey, I’m an Okie from Muskogee.

        • Do you know how much pot Merle Haggard is likely to have on that tour bus when he rolls into Missoula next month?

          The last interview I read in Rolling Stone made it seem like the man just wants a quiet place to sit, a big bowl of beans, and a joint.

          • Big Swede

            I miss Merle’s old days.

            We don’t smoke marijuana in Muskogee
            We don’t take no trips on LSD
            We don’t burn no draft cards down on Main Street
            We like livin’ right, and bein’ free.

            I’m proud to be an Okie from Muskogee
            A place where even squares can have a ball
            We still wave Old Glory down at the courthouse
            And white lightnin’s still the biggest thrill of all.

            • Oh, we’re just hijacking this post, aren’t we?

              I thought you might put some song quotes up there.

              http://www.inquisitr.com/1110300/merle-haggard-marijuana-legalization-could-save-the-economy/

  6. Well I thought it was too long of a speech but it wasn’t too bad.

    $10.10 – doesn’t sound too bad, huh? Not sure if I could live on it though.

  7. I haven’t caught the State-of-the-Union highlights yet, liz, but thought I’d link to this New Yorker David Resnick piece:

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2014/01/27/140127fa_fact_remnick?currentPage=all

    Resnick is an excellent political writer – maybe a little too personally close to Obama on this extensive story – but his insights into the man and his politics, philosophy, policies are right on.

    By the way, the Ford video was an interesting insert. They don’t make Republicans like that anymore – when rebates were as radically right as they got.

    • lizard19

      I think you’re right that Resnick is too personally close to the subject of his piece.

  8. Craig Moore

    The Washington Post ran a fact check of the speech. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/wp/2014/01/28/fact-checking-the-2014-state-of-the-union-address/

  9. I read the speech, but I didn’t listen to it. Lots of puffery, but not much program. It could have been condensed to ten minutes without losing anything of value. I posted a short reaction at Flathead Memo this morning. Walsh and Lewis, incidentally, released short statements that both kicked and kissed Obama.




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