ChrisWeigant.com

King's Eloquence Goes Far Beyond "I Have A Dream"

[ Posted Friday, August 26th, 2011 – 16:48 PDT ]

[For those of you expecting your weekly dose of "Friday Talking Points" here, we apologize because this week's column has been pre-empted to bring you a very special message today, instead.]

A new statue of Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Junior is about to be dedicated in Washington; as a memorial to the man, his life's work, his commitment to non-violence, and the words he used to so eloquently define the struggle against injustice millions of Americans used to face every single day. The ceremony has been delayed, due to the threat of a hurricane hitting the D.C. area this weekend, but it was originally scheduled to mark the 48th anniversary of his most famous speech, given on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

This speech will forever be known as his "I Have A Dream" speech, and portions of it are as familiar to every American as F.D.R.'s "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself," J.F.K.'s "Ask not what your country can do for you," and even Abraham Lincoln's immortal "Government of the people, by the people, for the people" address on the hallowed battlefields of Gettysburg.

This is all as it should be. It's a powerful speech, after all. But Dr. King's legacy is a lot deeper than two or three heavily-edited clips from one speech. By now, we've all seen video of the following lines, many times over:


I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

. . .

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

. . .

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

. . .

"Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

But how many of us would recognize the parts which are always left out? The media will likely play those clips over and over this weekend (and when the new monument is actually dedicated), but will any of them go beyond these well-known snippets of Dr. King's speech? Because while the best-known parts of "I Have A Dream" are now ubiquitous in popular culture, they have entered into a sort of hazy and comfortable familiarity, which allows everyone to view them without being challenged by the more pointed things Dr. King had to say that day. Here is the whole end of Dr. King's Lincoln Memorial speech, complete with very sharp words for the specific injustices against which Dr. King was fighting:

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring." And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California! But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

It's a pretty safe bet that large portions of this will not be aired on television as America celebrates its newest monument in our nation's capital. Especially the bits about injustice, oppression, and police brutality -- all of which will likely end up on the cutting room floor. We'll all get to hear the parts we're already familiar with, once again, but we simply will not be challenged by the stark truth of what Dr. King faced, and what he struggled against his entire life. After all, it might tend to upset some viewers.

This is a shame. Both in the "Oh, that's a shame" sense, and in the literal meaning of the word "shame." Because bowdlerizing and sanitizing Dr. King means that generations of young Americans will only ever hear the gauzy, lofty, uplifting parts of what he was saying -- and they'll be denied the historical knowledge of the other things Dr. King said those many years ago.

For instance, how many of Barack Obama's young supporters are aware that the following line is from that same speech?

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now.

Dr. King spoke unhesitatingly of this "fierce urgency of now" many times in his speeches. He knew that every time he spoke, he did so in fear of his life. This was tragically made obvious when an assassin's bullet later cut him down. But this did not stop Dr. King from coming out against the Vietnam War, and railing against the same "conformist thought" that now pares his legacy down to one moving speech about a dream of a brighter future for children. Dr. King did not mince words on this subject, in another famous speech, as indeed he never did on anything he felt strongly about. After quoting the committee which had invited him to speak ("A time comes when silence is betrayal"), he went on to say:

The truth of these words is beyond doubt, but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government's policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one's own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover, when the issues at hand seem as perplexing as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict, we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty. But we must move on.

. . .

If we continue [the war], there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately, the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horrible, clumsy, and deadly game we have decided to play. The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways. In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war.

Dr. King spoke on many subjects, involving many issues from the intensely local to the moralities of the entire human race. Being an ordained man of God, he not only spoke, he preached. His prose soared, no matter what the occasion. But his main theme is perhaps best remembered in a speech he gave on loving your enemies. In it, he relates the following story:

I think I mentioned before that some time ago my brother and I were driving one evening to Chattanooga, Tennessee, from Atlanta. He was driving the car. And for some reason the drivers were very discourteous that night. They didn't dim their lights; hardly any driver that passed by dimmed his lights. And I remember very vividly, my brother A.D. looked over and in a tone of anger said: "I know what I'm going to do. The next car that comes along here and refuses to dim the lights, I'm going to fail to dim mine and pour them on in all of their power." And I looked at him right quick and said: "Oh no, don't do that. There'd be too much light on this highway, and it will end up in mutual destruction for all. Somebody got to have some sense on this highway."

Somebody must have sense enough to dim the lights, and that is the trouble, isn't it? That as all of the civilizations of the world move up the highway of history, so many civilizations, having looked at other civilizations that refused to dim the lights, and they decided to refuse to dim theirs. And Toynbee tells that out of the twenty-two civilizations that have risen up, all but about seven have found themselves in the junkheap of destruction. It is because civilizations fail to have sense enough to dim the lights. And if somebody doesn't have sense enough to turn on the dim and beautiful and powerful lights of love in this world, the whole of our civilization will be plunged into the abyss of destruction. And we will all end up destroyed because nobody had any sense on the highway of history. Somewhere somebody must have some sense. Men must see that force begets force, hate begets hate, toughness begets toughness. And it is all a descending spiral, ultimately ending in destruction for all and everybody. Somebody must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate and the chain of evil in the universe. And you do that by love.

It is somewhat fitting that the dedication of Dr. King's memorial has been postponed by a hurricane. Dr. King himself was a hurricane-force wind which blew through American society and ripped open a lot of things which should have been torn down long before. He spoke of the force of God, and he was a force for good his entire life. In his wake, he left not devastation but people rebuilding from a stronger and better foundation for the future.

Dr. King's monument is a literal interpretation of the faith he spoke of on the Lincoln Memorial's steps. We have now managed to "hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope" in his very likeness. But as you watch the images of the dedication ceremony, it would behoove you to go online and find the text of other speeches than just the most familiar one we're all used to seeing in those clips. If you read no other, look up his last address, which is so eerily prophetic that it too may even merit a tiny clip on television. He gave the speech in Memphis, just before he was shot. Dr. King was appearing in Memphis in support of sanitation workers who were struggling for a little dignity. But, after addressing the local issue, he ends this speech by talking about his own mortality -- how he was almost assassinated by a deranged individual with a knife, and how the plane he rode to Memphis on had to be thoroughly checked for explosives or sabotage. Dr. King ends with one of the most moving passages he's ever spoken:

And then I got into Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?

Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountaintop.

And I don't mind.

Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land!

As we all know, we're not there yet. We're a little closer than we were when Dr. King was taken from us, but we've still got quite a ways to go yet. For inspiration on the journey which still awaits us all, I strongly urge all Americans to seek out Dr. King's actual words -- the words you're not used to hearing over and over again. Take ten or fifteen minutes and read the text of one of his speeches. Watch video, or listen to audio of Dr. King speaking. It will be well worth the time it takes.

[Note: Check the official King monument dedication site for information on when the dedication will happen, and other information on the life of this extraordinary American.]

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground
Cross-posted at: Democrats For Progress
Cross-posted at: The Huffington Post

 

34 Comments on “King's Eloquence Goes Far Beyond "I Have A Dream"”

  1. [1] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    To all -

    Before I wrote this, I had some notes ready for the usual FTP column. Part of this was a song which (to the best of my knowledge) is the only song to pair "earthquakes" with "hurricanes," so it seemed somehow appropriate for DC this week. Anyway, even though it doesn't fit with the article, here you go.

    ============
    Creedence Clearwater Revival
    "Bad Moon Rising"
    ============

    I see the bad moon a-risin'
    I see trouble on the way
    I see earthquakes and lightnin'
    I see bad times today

    Don't go 'round tonight
    Well, it's bound to take your life
    There's a bad moon on the rise

    I hear hurricanes a-blowin'
    I know the end is comin' soon
    I fear rivers overflowin'
    I hear the voice of rage and ruin

    Don't go around tonight
    Well, it's bound to take your life
    There's a bad moon on the rise

    Hope you got your things together
    Hope you are quite prepared to die
    Looks like we're in for nasty weather
    One eye is taken for an eye

    Well, don't go around tonight
    Well, it's bound to take your life
    There's a bad moon on the rise
    ==============

    One last note, interesting that the quake was centered in Eric Cantor's district, hmm?

    Heh.

    -CW

  2. [2] 
    Michale wrote:

    Great commentary, CW....

    As we all know, we're not there yet. We're a little closer than we were when Dr. King was taken from us, but we've still got quite a ways to go yet.

    I was going to object to this and point out the election of a black man to the most powerful position in the world as evidence..

    But then I really thought about it and I realized how right you are, although probably not in the way you think..

    When I think of how racism and claims of racism pervade every day of our lives, I have to concede that you are dead on ballz accurate...

    Not just the REAL racism, but the faux accusations of racism and the use of racism as a blunt weapon against ideological opponents...

    Imagine how Dr King would have felt if he read how groups of reporters would conspire to accuse anyone of racism, who questions their agenda. How people would vote for AND against a President BECAUSE of race... How people who have legitimate complaints and concerns about a President (who happens to be black) would immediately be denounced as racist...

    I would dare say that racism is a bigger problem today than it was in Dr King's day.

    Not real and actual racism (although there is still plenty of that) but rather the use of racism to further a political agenda...

    One only has to see the recent tirades of Maxine (I Never Met A Constituent I Didn't Want To Cheat) Waters or Florida's own Fredrica (Somewhere There Is A Rodeo Clown Looking For His Hat) Wilson to realize that the use of racism accusations as a political weapon is alive and well...

    Which isn't to say that there isn't REAL racism coming from the Right *AND* the Left...

    There is..

    On the Right, the vulgar and racist statements about our President shows that racism is alive and well..

    And, on the Left, the near unwavering and near total support of President Obama by the black community..

    Those are examples of REAL racism that Dr King fought against.

    But I think that Dr King would have been especially sad to see the use of racism as a blunt-force weapon with which Americans would bash fellow Americans over the heads with...

    Depressingly, I don't think we'll see an end to racism, in ALL it's forms, in my lifetime...

    Beam me up, Scotty. There is no intelligent life on this planet. :^/

    Michale.....

  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    CCR!!!!

    CW, yer da man!!! :D

    Michale.....

  4. [4] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    i'm put in mind of the Boondocks episode, "Return Of The King," where MLK wakes up from a coma and has to pay the doorman fifty bucks to get into a celebration of his own birthday.

    http://youtu.be/M4q5RrE5V_M

  5. [5] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    or if you like, here's the first half of the full episode, with a link to the second half. i think it's overall a brilliant show:

    http://youtu.be/F1xCsSPpERs

  6. [6] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    nypoet22 -

    "I'm going to Canada..."

    Heh.

    -CW

  7. [7] 
    akadjian wrote:

    One last note, interesting that the quake was centered in Eric Cantor's district, hmm?

    Hahahahahahahah. Can't believe Michele Bachmann didn't pick up on that :)

    We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now.

    Have to admit I didn't know that. Guess it just goes to prove the old adage "Good writers borrow. Great writers steal."

    This is a shame. Both in the "Oh, that's a shame" sense, and in the literal meaning of the word "shame."

    What also makes it a shame is that King understood that it was not really about race but about economics and class. And this message is largely erased from his legacy in the media. The message we get is that he stood up for black people. I believe he stood up for poor people and said you need to come together as an economic class and fight as one.

    This is the message you won't see on TV. They will tell you that he stood up for black people. They will try and make it a black vs. white issue. Why? Not out of racism. No, they're much smarter than that. It's simply a matter of target markets. If you can take a poor vs. rich argument and turn it into a black vs. white argument, you change the percentages.

    -David

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    David,

    What also makes it a shame is that King understood that it was not really about race but about economics and class.

    I think you might be reading too much into it..

    There were plenty of poor white churches in the deep south that MLK never spoke at to the best of my knowledge.. I might be wrong...

    Is there any historical evidence that Dr King preached to the poor, regardless of color?? It's not a facetious question, I am truly curious...

    Now, in the here and now, the argument IS being made that is a poor vs rich argument..

    TPTB try to rile up the poor by demonizing the rich..

    But, as has been proven, even if the "rich" paid ALL their money in taxes, it would amount to less than 10% (or some such like that) of this country's bill.....

    The problem ISN'T one of rich vs poor. It's one of a country that simply refuses to live within it's means...

    Michale......

  9. [9] 
    akadjian wrote:

    The problem ISN'T one of rich vs poor. It's one of a country that simply refuses to live within it's means.

    If its not about rich vs. poor, how come all of the proposed solutions are asking the poor to pay more?

    As Daniel Weeks wrote recently, government "isn't broken - it's fixed." It works perfectly well for the people who fund it.

    http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/opinionperspectives/930830-263/congress-isnt-broken--its-fixed-by.html

  10. [10] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Is there any historical evidence that Dr King preached to the poor, regardless of color?? It's not a facetious question, I am truly curious...

    In 1968, King organized the "Poor People's Campaign" to address issues of economic justice.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poor_People%27s_Campaign

    This is the Martin Luther King you won't hear about on TV.

    He was also killed while at a AFSCME Local 1733 event in Memphis, Tenn.

    Apologies for the 2 posts but had 2 links.
    -David

  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:

    If its not about rich vs. poor, how come all of the proposed solutions are asking the poor to pay more?

    For example???

    The orgasm of spending that Democrats have done since 2006 has to be paid somehow....

    As I have shown, even if the rich paid everything they had, who is going to pay the other 90%??

    It's obvious to this economic ignoramus that the problem isn't who pays what or how much they pay...

    The problem is, is that there is too much junk to pay for...

    The simple fact that the Obama Administration thinks that just printing more money will solve the problem shows the complete and utter ignorance of those giving the advice...

    You can't just print money. It's insanity...

    In 1968, King organized the "Poor People's Campaign" to address issues of economic justice.

    OK, good to know...

    But I doubt that one could take those few instances and paint the entire movement being about the poor and not about racial issues...

    Regardless, it IS good to know this side of MLK...

    Michale.....

  12. [12] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    "Our needs are identical to labor's needs: decent wages, fair working conditions, livable housing, old age security, health and welfare measures [...] That is why the labor-hater and labor-baiter is virtually always a twin-headed creature spewing anti-Negro epithets from one mouth and anti-labor propaganda from the other mouth."

    — Dr. Martin Luther King, "If the Negro Wins, Labor Wins", December 11, 1961

  13. [13] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    For example???

    The orgasm of spending that Democrats have done since 2006 has to be paid somehow....

    as opposed to the stoic fiscal responsibility of republicans for six years prior?

    The problem is, is that there is too much junk to pay for...

    junk like medicaid, social security, welfare and public education? that's what's being cut, and i haven't heard of any billionaires hurting from the loss.

  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:

    — Dr. Martin Luther King, "If the Negro Wins, Labor Wins", December 11, 1961

    Apparently, Dr King was wrong in that assumption...

    huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/24/afl-cio-trumka-strategy_n_935204.html

    as opposed to the stoic fiscal responsibility of republicans for six years prior?

    So we're back to the "Two Wrongs Make A Right" form of government, eh?? :D

    Democrats were elected in 2006 and given overwhelmingly unprecedented control of government in 2008 to FIX the problems caused by Republicans..

    NOT to make those problems 20 times worse...

    Whaa happened???

    junk like medicaid, social security, welfare and public education? that's what's being cut,

    No, junk like CrapCare, Porkulus I II (III??), all the waste, fraud and abuse, "Jobs" programs that cost millions and (if lucky) produce a couple jobs.

    THAT's the kind of junk I am referring to...

    Remember. STOP digging...

    All those programs you mentioned would likely be fine today, if CrapCare and all the other crap hadn't been forced down the throats of the American people...

    and i haven't heard of any billionaires hurting from the loss

    Ever hear the story of the Ant and the Grasshopper??

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120587/

    :D

    Michale.....

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    Ever hear the story of the Ant and the Grasshopper??

    Got my movies mixed up.. Hay, it happens. :D

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120623/

    That's the proper link...

    Michale......

  16. [16] 
    dsws wrote:

    The media will likely play those clips over and over this weekend (and when the new monument is actually dedicated), but will any of them go beyond these well-known snippets of Dr. King's speech?

    Is youtube a medium? Every MLK Day for the past few, I play the speech in its entirety: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbUtL_0vAJk

  17. [17] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    the ant and the grasshopper was one of aesop's fables, about saving for the future. attempting to apply this lesson to the removal of social services for the poor, especially the working poor, just to keep a few tax cuts for billionaires, is nothing short of propagandist nonsense.

    sure, some individuals exist who have lived beyond their means. and sure, the half-assed stimulus bills and "oh-well-better-than-nothing-care" haven't done all that much to help. and sure, two wrongs don't make a right, but we're not talking about equivalent wrongs.

    michale, you know for a fact that i'm no huge fan of the president or his policies, but i would say he's mainly been digging sideways. it's the same hole we were in when bush dug it from above-ground.

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    the ant and the grasshopper was one of aesop's fables, about saving for the future. attempting to apply this lesson to the removal of social services for the poor, especially the working poor, just to keep a few tax cuts for billionaires, is nothing short of propagandist nonsense.

    Your avoiding the point. Even if we took EVERYTHING that that millionaires (those who make between 1 mil and 10 mil a year) it would only reduce the deficit by 8% and reduce the budget by 10%.

    Taxing millionaires and billionaires won't do diddley squat if this country can't live within it's means. We can take everything the millionaires and billionaires make and this country MAY be OK for a couple years. But what happens after that?? The millionaires and billionaires are all tapped out. They are now the poor people..

    NOW where does all the money come from to pay for all the things this country can't pay for???

    Don't you see?? The problem is not who pays and who doesn't pay taxes or how much they pay..

    The problem is that this country simply CAN'T AFFORD all the things that Democrats (and to a certain extent, Republicans) have racked up...

    Taking more and more from ANY group may work for a few years. But what happens when THAT well runs dry??

    Now, you say taxing the poor won't work either? First off, show me examples of taxing the poor..

    You say taking away the poor's benefits won't work?? No one is talking about taking the benefits away..

    Wouldn't it be logical to eliminate the waste, fraud and abuse of the system?? Think of the BILLIONS that doing THAT would save...

    I read an article where people would use Food Stamps to buy bottled water, empty the water and then return the bottles for cash to get beer money...

    THAT type of abuse happens everyday and costs the program BILLIONS.. Want to talk Medicare Fraud???

    THESE are the types of issues that NEED to be addressed.. These types of benefits MUST be changed...

    I don't see how ANYONE could be against that..

    but i would say he's mainly been digging sideways. it's the same hole we were in when bush dug it from above-ground.

    With the utmost respect (I mean that) that's so much felgercarb...

    Obama has run the bill up more than any president before him COMBINED....

    We are far FAR deeper in the hole under Obama and Democrats than we ever were under Bush..

    Unemployment
    i35.tinypic.com/2hygbr5.jpg

    Debt
    blog.heritage.org/wp-content/uploads/special-obama-budget-deficits-chart-sm.jpg

    (Cut n Paste the links)

    This entire pogrom of demonizing the Rich as the problem is just a smoke-screen to hide the REAL problem.

    This country simply cannot pay for all the shiny new toys it wants..

    ESPECIALLY when all the shiny toys (Green Technology Green Jobs Green Companies) seem to "break" (go bankrupt) after a year or so..

    Yea, things were bad under GOP rule..

    Things have gotten TONS worse under Democrat rule..

    "That's what elections are for."
    -President Barack Obama

    Michale.....

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    RE: the issue of Obama's speech conflicting with the GOP debate...

    "It strikes me that it could be the economic times, it could be that he won so big in 2008 or it could be, let's face it, the color of his skin."
    -MSNBC contributor Richard Wolffe

    Dr King is spinning in his grave....

    Michale.....

  20. [20] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Your avoiding the point. Even if we took EVERYTHING that that millionaires (those who make between 1 mil and 10 mil a year) it would only reduce the deficit by 8% and reduce the budget by 10%.

    Taxing millionaires and billionaires won't do diddley squat if this country can't live within it's means. We can take everything the millionaires and billionaires make and this country MAY be OK for a couple years. But what happens after that?? The millionaires and billionaires are all tapped out. They are now the poor people..

    just a pet peeve, but you're, not your. also its means, not it's means. no, i don't capitalize on purpose ;)

    i'm not avoiding your point, i just don't think it's true or valid. it's a statistical manipulation that doesn't account for wealth, growth, capital gains or changes in all forms of income over time. that figure may be factual, but it belongs here:

    http://www.amazon.com/How-Lie-Statistics-Darrell-Huff/dp/0393310728

    This entire pogrom of demonizing the Rich as the problem is just a smoke-screen to hide the REAL problem.

    pogrom? pogrom??? tell me you didn't just go there. my grandma lived through the real thing. the idea that people who want the uber-rich to pay their fair share are somehow demonizing them or coming after them with torches and pitchforks is a load of bunk, and yet another excuse to let them keep paying a lower percentage of their income (and a much lower portion of their wealth) than you and me. i don't blame anyone for trying to the best they can for their family, but progressive taxation is part of what spawned our greatest era of prosperity, and regressive policies are what's brought it down.

    just as carter tax rates were too high and stifled growth, bush's rates are too low and starve the poor and middle class of needed social services.

    Now, you say taxing the poor won't work either? First off, show me examples of taxing the poor.

    I didn't say the poor were being taxed too much. if i did, please provide the quote. what i did write was that there are innumerable budget cuts to medicaid, welfare, education and other services that allow the poor and working poor to at least have the basics for survival, and the middle class not to become poor. these amount to less than the state and federal tax cuts for the wealthiest, and it's not the president who's pushing those cuts through, it's republican governors and state legislatures.

    yes, of course you're right that we need to spend more wisely and reduce waste, abuse, graft and the incentive for government to spend rather than save. we also need to get rid of the incentive to outsource jobs to other countries. but that's not what's happening.

    statistical manipulation notwithstanding, closing loopholes and sending the richest of the rich back to more reasonable tax rates would make a considerable dent in budget deficits and would not cause a single rich person to become poor, nor even middle-class for that matter. enough of the ridiculous mythology that one must hate or demonize the rich simply for wanting them to pay a more fair amount in a way that would benefit all of society, including the rich.

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:

    just a pet peeve, but you're, not your. also its means, not it's means. no, i don't capitalize on purpose ;)

    I have always wondered that.. :D

    i'm not avoiding your point, i just don't think it's true or valid. it's a statistical manipulation that doesn't account for wealth, growth, capital gains or changes in all forms of income over time.

    That's because those things would be non-existent under the scenario that I propose..

    Where is the incentive to produce more wealth or produce growth if said "uber rich" taxpayer knows it will all just be taken away??

    See "socialism experiment conducted by college professor"..

    pogrom? pogrom??? tell me you didn't just go there. my grandma lived through the real thing.

    It actually started out as a typo, but then I thought what the hell..

    Apologies if you found it offensive..

    the idea that people who want the uber-rich to pay their fair share

    Who decides what their "fair share" is??

    And why don't those who advocate the "fair share" idea voluntarily do it??

    See "Warren Buffet Talks Out His Ass"...

    we also need to get rid of the incentive to outsource jobs to other countries. but that's not what's happening.

    And that means taxing corporations MORE???

    How will that incentivize corporations to keep workers in the US??

    statistical manipulation notwithstanding, closing loopholes and sending the richest of the rich back to more reasonable tax rates would make a considerable dent in budget deficits and would not cause a single rich person to become poor, nor even middle-class for that matter.

    Do you have any empirical evidence to back this up??

    I am not being facetious here, I am sincerely curious. Because it sounds reasonable when you say it. But then I listen to Obama, Pelosi, Reid et al and their "stick it to the Rich" speeches and I don't see any reason or logic in their approaches.. Just class warfare and fear-mongering..

    enough of the ridiculous mythology that one must hate or demonize the rich simply for wanting them to pay a more fair amount in a way that would benefit all of society, including the rich.

    Let those who think that it's such a good idea and would benefit the country, do so voluntarily..

    I am being serious... Show me and the rest of Americans that the Uber Rich paying more will benefit the country.

    Then I'll jump on your bandwagon and scream to the high heavens that the Uber Rich paying more is the ONLY way to go...

    But I suspect that, even if the Uber Rich DID pay more, this country would still be underwater...

    You don't give a cocaine addict more cocaine to fix their problem...

    Michale.....

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    Basically what it all boils down to is this.

    Ya'all want to give the government MORE money in hopes that it will, somehow miraculously, learn how to use it better and become more fiscally disciplined..

    It's like a bank extending a loan to ACME FAILS time after time after time, even though ACME FAILS has made some really REALLY bad decisions and proven over and over again that it doesn't have any semblance of fiscal discipline.

    And THEN the bank decides, "Hmmmm.. You know what? We have a lot of customers who have billions and billions of dollars in our bank... Let's give THAT money to ACME FAILS."

    Now you tell me...

    How exactly is that "fair"..????

    Michale......

  23. [23] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Where is the incentive to produce more wealth or produce growth if said "uber rich" taxpayer knows it will all just be taken away??

    because it won't all be taken away. only a part will be taken away, just as a part is taken away from all of us. the difference between that and what we have now is what the richest pay would be a significantly larger part instead of a significantly smaller part. progressive taxation works. it's taken to fund the government that represents and protects us, however imperfectly. it's not a company, acme or otherwise. for better and worse, it's the U.S.A. - it's us.

    And that means taxing corporations MORE???

    How will that incentivize corporations to keep workers in the US??

    obviously the system needs to be tweaked. right now, corporations are incentivized to lay off americans and hire people in other countries who will work for less than anyone here could survive on. right now, corporations are incentivized to hold on to any profit, not invest it back into our country's communities. how's that working for us so far?

    i agree that simply charging more money with no other conditions won't accomplish much. but it's virtually impossible to provide an incentive to create jobs unless there's also a disincentive not to. there's very little people here can do that people in china or india can't or won't do for much less. so unless a company pays a steep price for not hiring americans, no incentive will be strong enough make them do so. too much carrot, not enough stick.

    Let those who think that it's such a good idea and would benefit the country, do so voluntarily...

    i suppose i should also ask my students to do their homework voluntarily? many of them know it's for their own benefit, so why not just let them give it in of their own accord, rather than forcing the issue? you know that's a specious argument about taxes as well, and have acknowledged as much. sometimes people have to be forced to do things to help themselves and others, even if on some level they want to.

    Ya'all want to give the government MORE money in hopes that it will, somehow miraculously, learn how to use it better and become more fiscally disciplined..

    the answer is all of the above. we both need to provide more money to work with AND force our government to spend it more wisely. every bureaucracy has some level of waste and abuse, but it can be reduced and controlled. just because our house will always have some dust and dirt, do we refuse to sweep it up off the floor? do we refuse to pay the mortgage instead of spraying for bugs? being defeatist about the possibility of cleaning our nation's house is in my view un-american. yes, things have deteriorated pretty badly, but we're americans dammit, when there's something that needs doing we eventually find a way to do it. of course, we also tend to have quite a bit of trial and error beforehand...

  24. [24] 
    Michale wrote:

    NY,

    because it won't all be taken away. only a part will be taken away, just as a part is taken away from all of us. the difference between that and what we have now is what the richest pay would be a significantly larger part instead of a significantly smaller part. progressive taxation works. it's taken to fund the government that represents and protects us, however imperfectly. it's not a company, acme or otherwise. for better and worse, it's the U.S.A. - it's us.

    But the "rich" already pay more than the rest.. Remember??

    The top 20% pay 80% of the taxes...

    Now, if you are talking about removing all loopholes, tax havens and other accounting tricks, then I am all for that.

    Flat Rate tax across the board...

    obviously the system needs to be tweaked. right now, corporations are incentivized to lay off americans and hire people in other countries who will work for less than anyone here could survive on. right now, corporations are incentivized to hold on to any profit, not invest it back into our country's communities. how's that working for us so far?

    Not very well.. And I completely agree with you. Right now, corporations have more incentive to screw Joe Q Public over than they have to put Americans back to work..

    Where we differ is the solution..

    Taxing them and over-regulating them more won't incentivize them to keep jobs in the USA... It will just push them further away from the USA..

    Obama himself realized the dangers of over-regulation when he cancelled the EPA run amok regulations..

    i suppose i should also ask my students to do their homework voluntarily? many of them know it's for their own benefit, so why not just let them give it in of their own accord, rather than forcing the issue?

    If I recall correctly, you teach children, right??

    There's your reason right there. Kids don't know enough to know what's good for them. That's why there are adults who tell them what to do..

    Now, in an adult education system, it's ALL voluntary is it not?? You don't do the work, you fail the class...

    you know that's a specious argument about taxes as well, and have acknowledged as much. sometimes people have to be forced to do things to help themselves and others, even if on some level they want to.

    But if the idea is such a good one, wouldn't that be plenty of incentive to SHOW the country this?? I am as self-promoting as the come, right?? If I had a great idea, say limiting our posts here to one or two a day, and I knew that such an idea would make CW tons of money and I promoted that idea day in and day out 20-30 posts a day, wouldn't ya'all get to the point to where you would say, "Gee whiz, Michale. If it's such a great idea, why not put it into play yourself and SHOW us how great it would be??"

    Wouldn't that be a logical and rational response??

    Warren Buffet and his "government should tax us more" BS is a perfect example.. Obama's "I really SHOULD pay more in taxes" BS is another example..

    If they admit that they SHOULD be paying more in taxes, then why the hell don't they??

    If they did, then they would have a solid moral foundation from which to preach to the rest of us..

    They don't, so they don't... It's political BS, pure and simple...

    do we refuse to pay the mortgage instead of spraying for bugs?

    If you are a renter and your landlord won't fix the AC, do you continue to pay rent?? Or do you, after months or years of sweltering heat, say, "Look bub.. You are not getting one more red cent from me until you do YOUR job!!"

    That's where we are at with this country.. We're in a sweltering heat and our government won't fix the "AC"... So, the ONLY logical response is to say, "Look bub, you won't get one more extra red cent from me until YOU DO YOUR JOB!!!" In this case, the "job" is to manage the money we give to the government properly..

    Surely such a response is infinitely more logical than simply throwing good many after bad. An action, I might add, which gives the government absolutely NO incentive to change it's ways...

    How do we expect government to change it's ways when the people who hire them (me and you) don't FORCE them to change??? And how are we going to FORCE the government to change without any kind of leverage??

    Michale.....

  25. [25] 
    Michale wrote:

    Warren Buffet and his "government should tax us more" BS is a perfect example.. Obama's "I really SHOULD pay more in taxes" BS is another example..

    If they admit that they SHOULD be paying more in taxes, then why the hell don't they??

    If they did, then they would have a solid moral foundation from which to preach to the rest of us..

    They don't, so they don't... It's political BS, pure and simple...

    It's the same reason we don't have the likes of the late Amy Winehouse or Charlie Sheen or Robert Downey Jr be spokespeople for an Anti Drug campaign..

    It's the same reason we don't have the likes of Maddof or the CEOs of WorldComm and Enron be the spokespeople for an Ethics In Business campaign ..

    NONE of them have any moral standing to lecture the rest of us on the given topics...

    Millionaires and Billionaires who DON'T voluntarily pay more in taxes have no moral standing to lecture the rest of us on how paying more in taxes is the right thing to do..

    It's really that simple...

    At least, it is to a knuckle-dragging ground pounder like myself... :D

    Michale...

  26. [26] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    But the "rich" already pay more than the rest.. Remember??

    The top 20% pay 80% of the taxes...

    Now, if you are talking about removing all loopholes, tax havens and other accounting tricks, then I am all for that.

    Flat Rate tax across the board...

    but the first part of that statement is an accounting trick. i'll deal with the rest of your post (let's bankrupt the government in order to save it) sometime later, but this is a statistical lie which is repeated all-too-often and frequently left unchallenged. by statistical lie i don't mean to say it's not factual, merely that whoever came up with it intentionally misused the percentage as a form of class warfare. it's a tricky excuse for taxing the super-rich at a lower rate than the middle class by pretending they pay more.

    the first part of that statistic that lies is the "top 20%" part. last year the top 20% started at 55,301 dollars. the top 10% started at 80,094, and even the top 5% at a fairly modest 110,020. for goodness' sake, if i had taught summer school and done a little consulting on the side last year, even i would probably have been in the 80th percentile! i wouldn't call me super rich, would you?

    the second part of that lie is the 80%. even if we were to assume that someone who makes 55k a year is rich, the statistic is the percentage of total tax revenue, not the percentage of income. after it's all said and done, the uber-rich pay as little as 17% of what they make. that's less than you and i pay, and it damn well ain't 80%.

    the third part of the lie is the word tax, which in that statistic refers mainly to income tax, perhaps coupled with capital gains. but there are many different kinds of taxes, which are paid and passed along in all sorts of different ways. if a corporation has to pay part of a tax for their employee, that tax tends to be passed along to the worker as lower salary. if they have to pay taxes on the front end for their profit, then the prices for their products go up. rises in the costs of goods and services, as well as sales tax, eat up a larger portion of your income if you're poor than if you're rich, because a much larger portion of what the working poor and lower-middle class make must be spent.

    so if you believe that the {snicker}"top 20%" paying "80%" of "taxes," means the rich pay too much, i have a bridge in brooklyn i'd like to sell you.

    i think you'll enjoy the way cecil adams addresses the issue. i think he's more of your political stripe than mine, but he seems pretty clear-headed about it:

    http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1118/do-the-rich-pay-very-little-tax

  27. [27] 
    Michale wrote:

    (let's bankrupt the government in order to save it)

    If you know of a better solution.....

    "....I'm all ears"
    -Ross Perot, 1992 Presidential Debates...

    The fact is, this government won't learn the lesson any other way...

    so if you believe that the {snicker}"top 20%" paying "80%" of "taxes," means the rich pay too much, i have a bridge in brooklyn i'd like to sell you.

    I am not saying the Rich pay too much...

    You are saying the Rich don't pay enough, using the reasoning that, since the government is in financial trouble (IE in the toilet) then the Rich MUST NOT be paying enough...

    This reasoning is akin to a college kid who maxes out all his credit cards, spends all the money sent by mommy and daddy and then calls home whining, "Mom!!! Dad!!! You're not sending me enough money!!!"

    Mom and Dad *ARE* sending the spoiled brat enough money *IF*.........

    ..... If said spoiled brat would learn to live within his means...

    Tough love, my friend. Tough love... :D

    Michale.....

  28. [28] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    regarding warren buffett, claims of hypicrisy are irrelevant to the argument. ultimately it doesn't matter whether or not he's in the moral high ground. what matters is whether or not he's right:

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/aug/18/warren-buffett/warren-buffett-says-super-rich-pay-lower-taxes-oth/

    since he is right and the super-rich pay less than the middle class, and even less than some of the not-so-middle class, i'm saying they don't pay enough because they pay less than you and me. you're still going to maintain that their taxes should not go up at all, or only enough to make them more-or-less equivalent to us?

    You are saying the Rich don't pay enough, using the reasoning that, since the government is in financial trouble (IE in the toilet) then the Rich MUST NOT be paying enough...

    no, i'm using the reasoning that, since their unfairly low taxes relative to the rest of us over the past decade is part of what caused the financial trouble to begin with, those who benefited the most are the most responsible to help fix some of the damage caused on their behalf. no, it's not their fault, but it is their civic responsibility.

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    regarding warren buffett, claims of hypicrisy are irrelevant to the argument. ultimately it doesn't matter whether or not he's in the moral high ground. what matters is whether or not he's right:

    No. What matters is he is a hypocrite and is making such fooffle statements for political and financial gain...

    I refer you back to my post (25) that espoused the hypocrisy of the likes of Charlie Sheen, Amy Winehouse et al telling kids not to take drugs..

    Sure, their right.. But they have no moral foundation to lecture the masses on that particular subject..

    Besides, Buffets' message is an opinion (I think the Rich should pay more taxes) and therefore, by definition, cannot be "right" or "wrong".

    no, i'm using the reasoning that, since their unfairly low taxes relative to the rest of us over the past decade is part of what caused the financial trouble to begin with,

    Assumes facts not in evidence.

    There is no evidence that suggests that, if the rich WERE paying more in taxes, that this country would not be in financial trouble.

    Your conclusion presupposes that, with the proper amount of money, the government WOULD have managed it all properly and we would not be in a mess today.

    My position is that, with more money, the government would have just SPENT more money and we would STILL be where we are today..

    Granted, my conclusion is based on speculation (as is yours) but the current evidence supports my conclusion a lot better than yours. :D

    those who benefited the most are the most responsible to help fix some of the damage caused on their behalf. no, it's not their fault, but it is their civic responsibility.

    While I agree with you in theory, the reality is that it's not anyone's "responsibility" to fix the government's mistakes..

    Sure, it would be nice if the rich would step up to the plate and help out.. But then we are back to the idea that those who are A)rich and B)think it's their responsibility to step up *COULD* step up if they wanted to...

    Any millionaire or billionaire who doesn't send 10% of their income to the US government voluntarily has absolutely NO moral or ethical foundation to lecture ANYONE about how the rich should pay more in taxes..

    And I have to admit... If *I* were still a millionaire, I would have to think twice about sending extra money to the government.

    As much as it pains me to say it, in the here and now sending extra money to the US Government seems to be a bad investment..

    Michale.....

  30. [30] 
    Michale wrote:

    NYpoet,

    I think my original point has gotten lost in my own diatribes.. :D

    You MAY be right that the solution to our problems is the rich paying more in taxes. I still believe that if we just give the government more money, they will simply SPEND more and we'll be exactly where we are now..

    But you MIGHT be right.

    My only point in this instance is that rich people like Buffet, Soros, Obama et al don't have ANY moral or ethical foundation to preach to the masses that the rich should pay more in taxes unless they are paying more in taxes voluntarily.

    Let's see Obama put out a press release saying he will no longer accept his Presidential Paycheck...

    THEN I'll listen to him preach.. :D

    President Jack Ryan did it.. :D

    Michale.....

  31. [31] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    My only point in this instance is that rich people like Buffet, Soros, Obama et al don't have ANY moral or ethical foundation to preach to the masses that the rich should pay more in taxes unless they are paying more in taxes voluntarily.

    i disagree about that, because there's a difference between one's personal practices and views about how government ought to behave. for example, i think there's no inherent hypocrisy if you spank your own children when they misbehave, but don't want corporal punishment in schools. if MLK spanked his children when they misbehaved, would that make him a hypocrite on non-violence? that question wasn't rhetorical, i'm posing it because i'm not completely sure.

    you're right, i can't prove definitively that without the bush tax cuts the economy would have been better off. however, the CBO does say that they account directly for over 2 trillion dollars, about a third of the debt accrued over the last decade.

    the tax code is a complicated beast, but i think at least we're agreed that it needs to be more fair than it is now. loopholes and low capital gains taxes make the mega-ultra-superduper-rich the stingiest contributors, while corporate, payroll, excise and social security taxes are absorbed almost exclusively by those who take in less than a million dollars a year.

    so maybe warren buffett is a hypocrite, maybe not. i do get your point. i'm just saying that along with waste, abuse, inefficient spending and the like, regressive tax policy is also part of the problem that needs to be addressed. i don't think there can be a "first this, then that." they're all problems, and if we're ever going to get out of debt, we have to deal with all of them.

  32. [32] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    just to be clear, MLK did not spank his kids. i was posing it as a hypothetical.

  33. [33] 
    Michale wrote:

    for example, i think there's no inherent hypocrisy if you spank your own children when they misbehave, but don't want corporal punishment in schools.

    But that's not what's in comparison with regards to the Buffet/Soros/Obama issue...

    To tweak your analogy, it would be as if a parent would stand and say that spanking children is wrong then it is discovered that said parent is spanking THEIR children.

    That is the kind of hypocrisy that Buffet and Obama display when they say that the rich should pay more in taxes, but yet do not practice what they preach..

    the tax code is a complicated beast, but i think at least we're agreed that it needs to be more fair than it is now.

    Yes, we can definitely agree on this...

    Common ground. A wonderful thing.. :D

    Michale.....

  34. [34] 
    Michale wrote:

    To tweak your analogy, it would be as if a parent would stand and say that spanking children is wrong then it is discovered that said parent is spanking THEIR children.

    Or, to put it even more aptly, it would be as if Dr King preached about how great it is if parents were to spend quality time with their children in the evening and then it's discovered that Dr King just parked his kids in front of the TV for reruns of THE SIMPSONS...

    For the record, there is absolutely NO evidence that DR King ever parked his kids in front of the TV for reruns of THE SIMPSONS...

    Michale.....

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