Saturday, June 15, 2013

Daddy-O Speaks

It's time once again for that annual Fathers Day dose of paternalistic presidential pablum.
Hi, everybody. This Sunday is Father’s Day, and so I wanted to take a moment to talk about the most important job many of us will ever have – and that’s being a dad.
Today we’re blessed to live in a world where technology allows us to connect instantly with just about anyone on the planet.  But no matter how advanced we get, there will never be a substitute for the love and support and, most importantly, the presence of a parent in a child’s life.  And in many ways, that’s uniquely true for fathers.

I am blessed to rule a country where I can tap at will into the private communications of anyone on the planet with a phone or an internet connection. Of course, it might be better to have a parental authority figure -- like the Constitution -- looking over my shoulder when I order an execution or sweep up your phone records -- but unfortunately, I do not possess that inner parent known as a moral compass.
I never really knew my own father.  I was raised by a single mom and two wonderful grandparents who made incredible sacrifices for me.  And there are single parents all across the country who do a heroic job raising terrific kids.  But I still wish I had a dad who was not only around, but involved; another role model to teach me what my mom did her best to instill – values like hard work and integrity; responsibility and delayed gratification – all the things that give a child the foundation to envision a brighter future for themselves.
I am 51 years old, leader of the free world,  and I still crave a role model. Heaven help you. Now, where did I put that Kill List? My mom, whom I again damn with faint praise, "did her best to instill" those important values. But let's face it, she failed utterly. Single parents (i.e., mothers) may do a heroic job, but they just don't cut the mustard. Of all the countries in the civilized world, the United States treats its single mothers the most abysmally.
That’s why I try every day to be for Michelle and my girls what my father was not for my mother and me.  And I’ve met plenty of other people – dads and uncles and men without a family connection – who are trying to break the cycle and give more of our young people a strong male role model.
"Break the cycle" is my dog-whistle translation for the mythical absentee black father and the vicious cycle of the (largely fictional) trans-generational abandonment of families by black men. Due to some recent well-deserved criticism of how I treat the black community as a whole, I am only obliquely "going there" in this particular sermon.
Being a good parent – whether you’re gay or straight; a foster parent or a grandparent – isn’t easy.  It demands your constant attention, frequent sacrifice, and a healthy dose of patience.  And nobody’s perfect.  To this day, I’m still figuring out how to be a better husband to my wife and father to my kids. 
Aw, shucks. I'm still figuring out domestic bliss the same way I'm still figuring out how to be the father of my country. Like, here I thought I was being a protective dad when I banned the morning-after pill for young girls. And then the courts told me I was acting too political. But hey -- I'm just the dad for whom the thought of his daughters having sex was worse than the thought of them becoming single moms. You see, not every child is lucky enough to have such caring enlightened parents as Michelle and me. Even though I have no experience, no role models -- I only have a self-sacrificing gaggle of advisers cocooning me the same way people have coddled me all my life. What a disaster for all concerned.
And I want to do what I can as President to encourage marriage and strong families.  We should reform our child support laws to get more men working and engaged with their children.  And my Administration will continue to work with the faith and other community organizations, as well as businesses, on a campaign to encourage strong parenting and fatherhood.
Holy crap. David Brooks and Ross Douthat and the whole nihilistic conservative establishment just snuck into my brain. Polls show that people tend to demonize single mothers. Therefore, in keeping with the Ronald Reagan welfare queen mythos, I will just encourage those young hussies to get married instead of strengthening the government social safety net. Then, we can force the hordes of deadbeat dads to get jobs that either don't pay a living wage, or don't exist and won't exist because I and my Washington insider cohort are doing nothing to combat joblessness.

We are doing nothing, meanwhile, to rein in the big banks that have destroyed families and evicted them from their homes. We are doing nothing to prevent the mass closings of public schools in poor neighborhoods. Our War on Drugs is sweeping up young fathers and imprisoning them in record numbers. We keep sending young fathers off to war so that they cannot engage with their children.

 I do not now, nor do I ever intend to, suggest that government should be the solution to our national crisis of unemployment, underemployment and wage stagnation. No -- I will just feebly "encourage" profit-hoarding, tax-evading corporations and churches to embark on a national propaganda campaign to instill guilt into all those lazy, no-good schmucks who don't feel like working and supporting their children. I am a right wing extremist to my very core. Austerity runs in my veins.
Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned along the way, it’s that all our personal successes shine a little less brightly if we fail at family.  That’s what matters most.  When I look back on my life, I won’t be thinking about any particular legislation I passed or policy I promoted.  I’ll be thinking about Michelle, and the journey we’ve been on together.  I’ll be thinking about Sasha’s dance recitals and Malia’s tennis matches – about the conversations we’ve had and the quiet moments we’ve shared.  I’ll be thinking about whether I did right by them, and whether they knew, every day, just how much they were loved.
Without a picture postcard family, what good is it being a millionaire? As I embark on my lucrative post-presidential career, it will be all about me and mine. I don't want to look back upon eight years of half-measures, disasters and disappointments; I prefer to fondly recall the elitist pursuits of my own spawn. I choose to be blissfully unaware that the vast majority of struggling Americans cannot afford tennis and dance lessons for their children. As a matter of fact, one in four American children lives in poverty. Congress, through massive cuts to SNAP funding, is about to snatch the very food they eat right out of their mouths.
That’s what I think being a father is all about.  And if we can do our best to be a source of comfort and encouragement to our kids; if we can show them unconditional love and help them grow into the people they were meant to be; then we will have succeeded.
Holy Crap. Thomas Hobbes just snuck into my brain. Give the kiddies cold comfort, because that's all you got, proles! Record wealth inequity will continue, because....  "Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of Warre, where every man is Enemy to every man; the same is consequent to the time, wherein men live without other security, than what their own strength, and their own invention shall furnish them withall. In such condition, there is no place for Industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain; and consequently no Culture of the Earth; no Navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by Sea; no commodious Building; no Instruments of moving, and removing such things as require much force; no Knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of Time; no Arts; no Letters; no Society; and which is worst of all, continuall feare, and danger of violent death; And the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short."
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there, and have a great weekend.
I know I will. I'll be thinking of Michelle and the girls and all of you brutes as I hit the links this weekend with my all-male entourage of role models.


Zee said...

It appears that Father's Day is far more important to our august Senate than learning more about NSA's domestic snooping program:

“A recent briefing by senior intelligence officials on surveillance programs failed to attract even half of the Senate, showing the lack of enthusiasm in Congress for learning about classified security programs.

Many senators elected to leave Washington early Thursday afternoon instead of attending a briefing with James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, Keith Alexander, the head of the National Security Agency (NSA), and other officials.

The Senate held its last vote of the week a little after noon on Thursday, and many lawmakers were eager to take advantage of the short day and head back to their home states for Father’s Day weekend.

Only 47 of 100 senators attended the 2:30 briefing, leaving dozens of chairs in the secure meeting room empty...”

Nice to know that our Senators are really, really concerned about our First and Fourth Amendment rights.

“Happy Father's Day,” you pompous, self-centered twits.

Denis Neville said...

As a father who has lost a child, Father’s Day is a sad reminder of my child who is no longer with me. My loss is an anguish that is unimaginable to those who are so very lucky to still have all their children.

But I am not alone. I have a lot of company in the world, many parents, both fathers and mothers, who have known such suffering. At times, when it seemed that my sorrow was too great, I would think of this great family of the heavy hearted into which my grief had given me entrance, and I would feel their sympathy and their understanding.

Reading Obama’s words and recalling his actions – raining hell from the sky, I am struck by how he and so many others have so little awareness of the civilian suffering our government inflicts…Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, where so many have died...photographs of grieving fathers and mothers so haunting.

Not to mention the suffering here at home as Karen describes.

Karen Garcia said...


My sympathy for your loss that truly never ends, and my middle finger to all the clueless jerks out there who throw the word "closure" about to make the grief-stricken feel guilty for not getting with the "time heals all wounds" program.

My daughter hates Fathers Day because her dad/my husband died when she was only six. Year after year she'd come home from school in tears after being forced to construct greeting cards with the rest of the class. Closure, my ass. Mothers Day, Christmas, birthdays -- all the celebratory days pumped up by the capitalist greedsters serve also to instill guilt and magnify grief for countless millions of people.

Please know that my thoughts are with you this weekend, Denis.

Zee said...


You have my deepest sympathy, too, for what Karen calls "the loss that truly never ends."

I know that the pain and grief that my parents experienced when my brother passed away never left them, either.

The loss of a child is like no other, so my thoughts, too, are with you this weekend.

Pearl said...

My dear Karen, Denis, Zee and others who have endured losses in their lives.

My own dear step-brother, 20 years younger than I who died at 23 many years ago, is the closest thing to losing a child for me, to say nothing of the other losses in my life and what helps me to keep going are wonderful people
like all of you, who support each other in so many ways.
Those holes in the heart never fill in but if we are lucky, other
experiences and people help us to heal somewhat.
My own dear father who was my only parent for my growing up years not only gave me unconditional love and care but taught me what life was all about through his wisdom and knowledge. He fought for peace, truth and justice all
his life and inspired me in so many ways. I have a box load of amazingletters he wrote to me which people said I should publish but the emotional toll might be too great.

Fighting the good fight with all you wonderful people has given me a renewed purpose in life, a second wind as you say and I try and use the experiences of my life to help us navigate the treacherous waters we are sailing through presently. There is so much wisdom emanating from Sardonicky and Karen seems
to bring the best out in people for which I am so grateful for.
Reading your father's day comments brought tears to my eyes and I can only say how remarkable you all are to contribute so much of yourselves to the rest of us. The recent lengthy, sincere comments back and forth, even with
testiness about differences, proved how committed everyone is, in their various ways, to making this a better country, nation and world. It is beyond comprehension to recognize the true meanness of our opposition and the lack of concern for the suffering of others as a result of their
selfishness but justice works in strange ways sometimes.

I find more and more humanity evident in articles and comments in the N.Y.Times lately which most of us follow and I give Karen and other brave souls full credit for this trend. We honor our children and others we lost by living our lives in dignity and truth and doing what we can to alleviate
suffering as much as possible.

I wrote to Karen of another 'mission" I have found in life by discovering that Toronto is in the process of becoming an international renowned center
for exciting new Cancer research, which took the lives of 3 of my closest family members.
I am setting up a family legacy to support the amazing work going
on and treasure a conversation with a main researcher filled with zeal and excitement about the wonderful work he has dedicated his life to. These are the heroes we can look up to and I feel a wonderful sense of peace that I will be able to help in the elimination of this dreaded disease which has
undoubtedly played a part in your losses as well. I am now able to do something that will allow me to believe that my loved ones have not died in vain, which is owed to them. This is the kind of war worth fighting for.

Thank you for writing about your deepest feelings and concerns.

With love and peace to you all.


James F Traynor said...


Yeah, closure sucks.

Pearl said...

Janet Napolitano Denies Existence of 'Orwellian State' via @politicker

a few Orwell quotes for Janet Napolitano:

Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing."

We do not merely destroy our enemies; we change them."
George Orwell, 1984

Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to
establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power."

"During? times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a
revolutionary act."
George Orwell

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap
between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were
instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting
out ink."
George Orwell, Politics and the English Language

annenigma said...


Along the lines of speaking of truth and Orwellianism, this should be required reading for everone. It is titled 'The Real War on Reality'.

James F Traynor said...

I read the article Pearl referenced and also downloaded Scahill's "Dirty War" to my Kindle. Depressing.

Very early on in his presidency Obama spoke to Bush and said he'd be calling him for advice. It was a red flag to me at the time and probably jaw dropping for Bush who reportedly advised him to talk to '...your own people.' as I remember. At first I hopefully chalked this up to politesse, but, alas, it only revealed Obama as a needy man, easily molded by whomever's boot he licks.

James F Traynor said...

I also read annenigma's reference, for the second time.
I think I'm becoming masochistic. What a terrible weekend this is turning out to be. I think I'll go eat some worms. No, on second thought I'll grill that inordinately expensive eye rib steak I bought. Screw masochism.

Pearl said...

Annenigma: Thank you (I think) for mentioning the article in the N.Y.TIMES "The Real War on Reality, a truly brilliant piece of writing. It was so painful to read (and so long) that I had to scan it rapidly but the essence
of the message rang loud and clear. Equally interesting were the comments following that it should have been on the front page of the newspaper among other comments that were truly inspiring. And James I saw your comment about voting when you asked who do we vote for in reply to another commenter.
As discouraging as it is to be faced with the whole truth and nothing but the truth that verifies our deepest concerns, the fact that this was written
and printed in the Times is very important. Others will have verification of the realities going on and hopefully use the important information in this
article to use as ammunition in their writings. (Are you listening pundits?) How to not allow all this to infringe on our very personal lives and activities and joys few as they may be, is a challenge I admit. However,
having validation of our deepest beliefs is also important for our well being and to feel that we are not alone.

I found yesterday's comments about father's day and loss most distressing,but on the other hand, less alone in my own griefs as a result for which I thank you all - especially you Denis, who exemplify the great courage you
have to continue with life and reach out to others along the way. I want to add that when we question what our lives are all about when experiencing such deep grief, I believe that we were and are here to comfort and support
our loved ones in their hours of need. That was and is our life's purpose which then enables us to help others.

My specialty is attacking the numerous articles defending ObamaCare , one in yesterday's Times, by holding up our Canadian health care system as an example. My comments are usually well received and I find more and more
readers catching on to what a sham the U.S. Health care coverage really is.

The following moving article is an example of what is very wrong in the system:

Life, Interrupted: The Cost of Cancer

My very best to you great Sardonickyites - I wish it was possible to meet you all in person.

Jay - Ottawa said...

Thanks, Karen, for again bringing to our attention the latest of Obama’s Saturday morning radio chats. (I assume you’re not making up those astonishing presidential quotes.)

Let’s hope that soon after he leaves office in 2017 a publisher will come out with a book by Barack Obama AND Karen Garcia. Yup, same book. His Sat-chats will be transcribed on every left side page, your musings on the facing pages. The title: “Rie, Llora,” with credits to Celia Cruz.

Hard to tell which of Obama’s appalling traits wins out in this Father’s Day talk. Is it shallowness, smugness, insincerity, or spinelessness?

He sought power in 2008 and 2012 and, thanks to our gullibility and his lies, big-daddy power was granted unto him. What has Daddy-O done with this power? Well, how odd that he finds every way possible to reroute power to those who already have it and who openly abuse it.

Don’t suppose some blind spot renders him unaware of the millions in need. Look at his campaign speeches, where he refers to them and the redistribution of power he promised. In face of the pain and misfortune of the powerless, he remains fully aware. He’s just numb to the pain and misfortune of others. A guilty bystander if ever there was one.

You stand at the blackboard, daddy,
In the picture I have of you,
A cleft in your chin instead of your foot
But no less a devil for that, no not
Any less the black man who
Bit my pretty red heart in two.

“Daddy,” Sylvia Plath

Zee said...

For anyone who cares to look, I mistakenly posted a couple of thoughts on @annenigma's article, "The Real War on Reality," on the previous thread, "The Unbearable Rightness of Being Certain."

Karen Garcia said...

The italics are Obama's own words.(transcript linked in post.) The plain type is my interpretation of them.

Fred Drumlevitch said...

My sympathies to you, Denis, and to all here who have written about their losses.

Thanks, @annenigma for that "The Real War on Reality" article link. That piece is a really great summary/analysis of how surveillance has become joined with manipulation, and should be required reading for everyone in this country.

And @Zee, and everyone, I read Zee's postings towards the end of the previous thread --- and not realizing that he intended it for here, answered him there. So there are two of us commenting in the wrong place!

William ONeil said...

Jay - Ottawa (and others)
I think some here don't realize or won't accept that Wall Street et al influence (or worse,) a more-than-recalcitrant TeaParty-controlled House and minority-control in the Senate (via the 60-vote rule) have all thwarted Obama's better impulses.
I suspect he's tired of struggling against a stacked deck. A weak Senate Majority Leader is also a factor.
There are plenty of local news sources in Chicago which might throw a different light on viewpoints, such as
Very useful to scan articles and responses about the President since 2006 or so. YMMV...
BTW - Ottawa is one of my favorite cities to visit...the National Museums, ByWard Market, the Parliament, Library and Changing-the-Guard (summer,) Rideau Canal, etc., terrific!

William ONeil said...

edit to add the missing reference
"...such as ..."

William ONeil said...

Sorry again, the html tags don't want to appear. The reference is to The Chicago Jewish News Online.

Denis Neville said...

William ONeil doesn't know what a dog that has been run over feels like.

William ONeil said...“I think some here don't realize or won't accept that Wall Street et al influence (or worse,) a more-than-recalcitrant TeaParty-controlled House and minority-control in the Senate (via the 60-vote rule) have all thwarted Obama's better impulses. I suspect he's tired of struggling against a stacked deck.”

How often has Obama used the same excuse that he has been boxed in by intransigent Republicans? When in fact they serve as convenient scapegoats for what Obama intended to do in the first place.

William ONeil is bullshitting us.

“It is just this lack of connection to a concern with truth—this indifference to how things really are—that I regard as the essence of bullshit." - Harry G. Frankfurt, "On Bullshit"

One of Yves Smith’s most powerful posts, “Barack Obama, the Great Deceiver,” says it best for me:

Obama struggling against a stacked deck?

We’re the one struggling against the stacked deck!

“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be. And what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?” - Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

James F Traynor said...

Yes, Denis, Yves Smith says it all and well as she usually does. If you want the financial skinny, she's the place to go. And no one in their right mind would call her a radical.

I voted for Obama the first time expecting at least financial reform. I got the opposite. I voted the second time for the bastard knowing what he was but hoping for reform within the party. Instead Hilary will be running. Same old shit from the party. Fuck 'em - I registered Green.

Pearl said...

The American president comes to Israel BY GOLDA SHIRA
By Golda Shira Israel Correspondent/White House Correspondent (06/07/2013)

Just read the above in the Chicago Daily News Online Mr. Oneil recommended and you'll know where he is coming from.
I'm so happy to see that President Obama has such stalwart supportive
correspondents in the White House.(????)

A non supporter of Bibi.

Pearl said...

Blogger William ONeil said...
Sorry again, the html tags don't want to appear. The reference is to The Chicago Jewish News Online.

I too had trouble getting the full name of the newspaper correct so am repeating what he wrote in for your possible access.

Jay - Ottawa said...

Troll Alert!