Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics


From the White House: “A Historic Meeting”

Over the weekend, President Obama traveled to Panama City for the Summit of the Americas. The White House reports:

This past week, President Obama participated in the seventh Summit of the Americas, in Panama City, Panama. The Summit of the Americas is a tradition that brings together the leaders of North and South America to discuss issues that impact the Americas. President Obama’s participation in the Summit highlights the continuing commitment of the U.S. to upholding the role that independent civil society and the private sector play in a shared democratic agenda.

While in Panama City, President Obama participated in a CEO summit along with prominent business executives and heads of state from Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Trinidad and Tobago.

During the Summit, President Obama sat down with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. The two discussed shared priorities, like food security and climate change.

President Obama also sat down with Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela to discuss the partnership between the U.S. and Panama on security, the economy, and education, and how they could further deepen ties between the two countries.

Additionally, in a historic first, President Obama met with Cuban President Raul Castro, in their first full meeting since the U.S. decided to chart a new course in relations with Cuba.

President Barack Obama participates in a pull-aside with Cuban President Raul Castro during the Summit of the Americas Second Plenary Session at the Atlapa Convention Center in Panama City, Panama, April 11, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

President Obama and President Castro discussed our shared histories, and the significant change in policy and the relationship between our two countries. Both leaders agreed that the majorities of the American people and Cuban people had responded positively to the thaw in relations.

“This is obviously a historic meeting.”

– President Obama on his first full meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro

President Obama announced that both Cuba and America were working on the next step in normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba, and were working to open embassies in both Havana and Washington, D.C.

Michelle Obama Speaks at Maya Angelou’s Memorial Service

First Lady Michelle Obama was one of the speakers at the Memorial Service for Dr. Maya Angelou Saturday morning.

She spoke of how inspired she was by Dr. Angelou’s words. Her own words are inspirational as well.

I first came into her presence in 2008, when she spoke at a campaign rally here in North Carolina. At that point, she was in a wheelchair, hooked up to an oxygen tank to help her breathe. But let me tell you, she rolled up like she owned the place. (Laughter.) She took the stage, as she always did, like she’d been born there. And I was so completely awed and overwhelmed by her presence I could barely concentrate on what she was saying to me.

But while I don’t remember her exact words, I do remember exactly how she made me feel. (Applause.) She made me feel like I owned the place, too. She made me feel like I had been born on that stage right next to her. And I remember thinking to myself, “Maya Angelou knows who I am, and she’s rooting for me. So, now I’m good. I can do this. I can do this.” (Applause.)

And that’s really true for us all, because in so many ways, Maya Angelou knew us. She knew our hope, our pain, our ambition, our fear, our anger, our shame. And she assured us that despite it all — in fact, because of it all — we were good. And in doing so, she paved the way for me and Oprah and so many others just to be our good, old, black-woman selves. (Applause.)

She showed us that eventually, if we stayed true to who we are, then the world would embrace us. (Applause.) And she did this not just for black women, but for all women, for all human beings. She taught us all that it is okay to be your regular old self, whatever that is — your poor self, your broken self, your brilliant, bold, phenomenal self.

Full transcript below the fold along with a video of the entire service.

Three Important Moments in America’s Economic History (in Pictures)

The previous post looked at the economic history of the United States over the past two centuries. In that post, what stood out most was the fact that the economy of the United States has always been one of the strongest in the world.

There are three defining moments of American history after 1800, and this post will examine them. They are the Civil War, the Great Depression, and the Second World War. How did these events affect the economy?

More below.

Things the United States Makes

By: inoljt,

One of the time-honored American political traditions is to complain about how America no-longer makes things. This is not quite true, however. America still makes plenty of things.

Why, then, do so many Americans think that nothing is made in America anymore? Well, let’s take a look at four things that America makes, below the fold:

Brazil and America

By: inoljt,

One of the more fascinating television features produced is the PBS series “Black in Latin America.” This series, produced by Professor Henry Louis Gates, explores (perhaps unsurprisingly) the experience of people of African descent in America.

An especially interesting episode is titled Brazil: A Racial Paradise? Professor Gates explores the experience of “blacks” in Brazil, a country with second-largest population of African descent in the world (including Africa).

More below.

Why Do So Few Americans Immigrate to Australia?

By: Inoljt,


In the minds of most Americans, Australia is a great place. The land down under has beautiful weather, a booming economy, and sights ranging from the Great Barrier Reef to kangaroos. What’s more, the culture and the language of Australia are as similar to the United States as any other country in the world, with the exception of perhaps Canada. What’s not to like about living in a country where everybody has cool accents?

Why, then, do so few Americans bother to immigrate to Australia?

More below.

Reflections on America: Secession

Moose Photo from Wyoming Lately, there’s been plenty of talk about secession.  Otherwise intelligent folks (bear with me; I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt) seem to feel that they can either petition for their state to secede from the United States, or – better yet – that they can somehow engineer the mass secession (involuntary) of all states that they don’t like in one sweeping move.

Red states or Southern states, states inhabited by rednecks/racists/Christian fundamentalists/poor people/fat people/unemployed people/[insert derogatory southern stereotype here] getting on your nerves? Ditch ’em! Chances are their inhabitants are all “takers”, living off government largesse, draining the country’s coffers of resources that could be better spent elsewhere.  Why should the fine, upstanding, hardworking, taxpaying “real” Americans be subsidizing these folks? Get ’em outta here!

This sort of talk wouldn’t surprise me here in Texas, where our witless governor likes to throw around the possibility of secession as part of his swaggery, been-out-in-the-sun-too-long cowboy schtick. It has about the same effect on his low-information-voter “base” as poking a stick into a fire ant nest: lots of insane running around and pain, followed by nothing useful. My usual response, screaming at the TV, is “FINE! How’s about YOU secede and leave us the hell alone!!”.  But… I digress.

Photo taken by cassandracarolina in 1973 in Yellowstone National Park

What Can Gentiles Say? How (Not?) to Contribute to a Painful Debate

I’m only now beginning to catch up on the latest round of self questioning launched by Allison Benedikt’s reflective piece in The Awl about being a Jewish American growing up in Ohio, attending Zionist summer camp, visiting Israel, watching her sister move there, then dating and marrying a Non Jewish American.

There’s little doubt this piece has stirred the debate, intensified by Peter Beinart in his essay last year ‘The Failure of the Jewish American Establishment’ to another level, but that’s too big a topic to be covered here. And besides, what can I, as a non-American, non-Jew, say about it?

And herein lies the problem….

This is America [UPDATED]

The tragic mass-murder in Tucson produced an almost instantaneous backlash against what many perceive to be vitriolic political speech in this country. This prompted an equally swift defensive pushback from those who felt their side of the political debate was being unfairly blamed for the act of a person who they argued was clearly mentally-disturbed

Most of the focus seems to be on guns. People point to the use of gunsights on maps and calls for “2nd Amendment solutions” as examples of political speech that has gone too far. I think it goes deeper than that.

The problem isn’t necessarily guns. After all, guns aren’t dangerous unless they are pointed at someone. The problem lies with the divisiveness of political speech in this country. It lies with the demonization of fellow Americans.

This demonization began long before Sarah Palin began to talk of “real Americans”. It has been going on for decades and is usually used by the Right to smear their opponents. If someone points out the only too real faults of this country, they are immediately attacked as an “America-hater” or traitor.