Ramona Grigg

Ramona Grigg
Upper Peninsula, Michigan, USA
September 17
Ramona's Voices
I'm a liberal woman from Michigan's Upper Peninsula, old enough to remember where I was when FDR died. My website, Ramona's Voices, was first published on the afternoon of Barack Obama's Inaugural after hearing his call to service. I include many voices much more eloquent than mine, because one voice isn't enough. Liberal-leaning with humor, except when the days are too dark and the enemy is too strong. Then it's war.


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JANUARY 20, 2012 12:42PM

It's Our Anniversary, Barack's and Mine.

Rate: 1 Flag

  January 20, 2012.  Today marks the beginning of Barack Obama's fourth year as president.  Three years ago today he stood out in the cold and said, "Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and begin again the work of remaking America."  He promised "an open government" and "a new beginning."   I've been around for many televised inaugurations, starting with JFK's when I was but a mere child/adult and, for me,  this one equaled or might have even surpassed that one for good, old-fashioned stirring moments.

In most circles this has probably gone unnoticed, but today is my anniversary, too.  Three years ago, on this exact day, because Barack Obama stirred my soul and gave me hope, I began writing this blog.  I didn't even think about actually doing it until around mid-morning, when it suddenly came to me that this was one of those portentous days that I shouldn't let go by unnoticed. 

I was heady with joy but understandably reluctant to go whole hog predicting the end to all our troubles.  We were not anointing a savior, even though eight years of hell seemed finally to be at an end.  I was trying to remain calm; trying to keep in mind all of the promises made by politicians over the years that had never been kept, either because there had never been any intention or because they didn't know what the hell they were getting themselves into.

I started it this way:

Today is January 20, 2009. Inauguration day for Barack Obama, and it can't have come soon enough. It's true that he's been de facto president since November, 2008, when George W. Bush unofficially, without fanfare or hesitation, turned the job over to him, but today it became official. What a day it's been! They're estimating the crowds at 2 million strong, a sight unseen on any Presidential First Day in modern history.
And ended it like this:

I have no grand illusions about a rapid return to health for this country, just as I have no illusions about the impact my words will make in the overall scheme of things.  I'll admit that I'm  overwhelmed right now with the events of the day.  I'm feeling more than a little inarticulate and possibly even shy about expressing how it feels to have our country back.   It may not be the best day to start a blog after all.  But start it I have, and now I'll give this day over to the Inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama, America's new president.  The bands are playing, the sun is setting and all's right with the world.   For now.

On January 20, 2010, in the blog marking our mutual first anniversary, I wrote this about last year's blog:

Oh, the joy in my heart as I wrote those words.  Take THAT, you lousy, bloated, insufferable faux-Capitalists.  The Sheriff's saddling up and the posse's not far behind.  We're off to save the ranches!  Widows and orphans, help is on the way!

But lest you think I was totally naive, I also wrote:  'I have no grand illusions about a rapid return to health for this country.'   No, I had no grand illusions, but I did have dreams...[Ed: About the repetition of those words "grand illusions":  I didn't even notice until now that I had repeated them in two blogs a year apart. I must have seriously meant it.]   

...I keep reminding myself that the Good Man took on what amounted to a national nightmare.  There were no easy fixes, and nobody pretended there would be.  But I would have slept better this past year if only I had been able to see the president as a 'people person'.   Was he ever that?  I don't know.  We might have made him into our own images, taking much needed comfort in an illusion of our own making.  Maybe he is what he is.  But what is he?  After a full year of hosting him in The People's House we're no closer to knowing where he stands, or, more importantly, where he's going.

Last year, on January 20, 2011, I wrote this:

I knew this anniversary day was coming and that I would want to write about it, but what would I say as I stood beside Obama saying farewell to Year Two, heading into Year Three?  That all of my wishes came true?  That all of my fears were justified?  That nothing much has changed?  That I now know what kind of man my president is?

I can't say any of those things.   I am at times proud of my president, disappointed in him, enraged by his actions or inaction, fearful of the direction he is taking us.

I'm impatient and feeling increasingly impotent as I'm forced to watch more and more jobless citizens give up, more and more home-owners become homeless, more and more of the sick and dying having to give over their lives to insurance company paper-pushers.  I want the wars to end.  I want the corporate giants to finally understand the consequences and do something about their destructive practices.  I want the GOP and certain members of the Democratic Party to fulfill their obligations to the citizenry--the entire citizenry--in a time of unparalleled crisis, and act like a responsible governing body.  I want our president to be a leader of the people.

Are you sensing a trend here?  Are you thinking that my enthusiasm is taking a downhill slide and that this year should be the one where I finally admit I was wrong about the whole thing?  Well, think again.  After watching the clown shows known at the GOP debates over the past few months, I'm more determined than ever to help make this current president the next president of the United States.

My God, did you see that mess last night?  Have you been watching the remaining Four Horsemen in action?  Is there a serious contender among them?  Would you really, sincerely want any one of them leading this country?  (If you can answer "yes" with a light heart and a straight face, I think you're in the wrong place.  I would point you to the right place, but I don't think there is one.)

I'm still disappointed.  I'm still impatient.  The slow pace of change is maddening.  But there is no denying there is change in the air, either because of President Obama, in spite of him, or because of forces having nothing to do with him--take your pick--and I'm hanging in there for the long haul.  Finally, the people are awakening.  Our people.  We're on the move and we're not turning back.

I'm with my party and my president and if I have to slap them upside the head once in a while to get their attention, there's a far better chance at success with them than with that other bunch.  (You know that bunch is trouble when the moderates in their party are ostracized and/or banished for thinking even slightly good thoughts; when the ones that remain feel the need to make it clear they're only going after the job as leader of this fair land to make it easier for the marauders to take over completely.)

So that's where I am on this, our third anniversary.  Sure, I was hoping the honeymoon would never end and the gifts would keep on coming, but there it is.  Reality strikes.  It hasn't been all roses, but it hasn't been all thorns, either.  Progress has been made.  I'm looking forward to the year ahead, and I'm going to work hard to get Barack Obama re-elected.

That's where I'm headed. Just so you know.

In other news:  FactCheck looks at the truthiness of the GOP debate last night.  It's here.

And I found this on their sidebar:

Q: Does Obama plan to deny emergency brain surgery for patients over 70?
A: No. A man claiming on a radio talk show to be a brain surgeon lied about that, and about a meeting of two associations of neurological surgeons, those associations say.

 See what we're up against?

(Cross-posted at Ramona's Voices)

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[r] why not the Green Party? Obama is the energizer bunny of betrayal. Obama hearts the USWarMachine. Not any of us. libby
You're on your own, Libby. That old "war machine" mantra got old long ago.
mr. hopey changey has embroiled us in more wars, covert and overt than any recent oval office occupant. Maybe it is you have gotten old, ramona.

A vote for obama is a vote for further genocide, torture, drones, and world instability amidst a collapsing american economy.

Feel comfortable supporting a war criminal, proceed as implied.
Good post, Romanas—and you are right on the mark.

When Barack Obama became president I had no illusions that he was going to set all things right; no illusions that the sow’s ear he was handed would somehow be fashioned into a silk purse. My own expectations were that the best that could be hoped for was that the slide our country was taking would be slowed a bit…not reversed.

Something else I knew…and I would like to share it with you here. I knew that what I had done in 1980 had contributed to the mess Obama inherited when he took office. In 1980, I voted for Ronald Reagan. I was bitterly disappointed in Jimmy Carter and I was determined to help the electorate teach him a lesson.

Well, in a perverse way, I guess we did. We taught Carter…and ourselves…that being shortsighted and precipitous in actions could sometimes produce devastatingly negative unintended consequences.

Upon reflection, I realize we did not start the surge toward the political right that has been the reality since LBJ left office—the electorate was already well on its way moving rightward. But we certainly did plenty to push it further in that direction—and nothing that served to stem the surge.

Yup, there are people so disappointed that their unrealistic expectations have not been met that they will advise you to abandon Obama…to teach him a lesson. They are dead wrong, Romanas…and you are closer to the truth than they will ever be on this issue.

Unfortunately, I still think Obama will be defeated…and whomever the Republicans finally choose to head their ticket will replace him on the fourth anniversary of your blog. But on that day, you will be able to post comments with your head held up high…and those who consider you demented for supporting Obama the way you are, will begin the process of understanding just what they have helped happen. I dare suspect in the years following that day, they will greatly rue what they have done.
Mark in Japan, I would love to hear your reasons for accepting either Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich as presidential material. We're in the midst of a domestic disaster the likes of which we haven't seen since the Great Depression, or maybe you haven't noticed, being thousands of miles away.

We were on the path to Great Depression II under the Bush regime and now we're not. Now we're trying to clean up and give our people the dignity associated with sustainable-wage jobs and affordable health care. We can't do that under the Republicans and if Obama loses, that's who will be in charge of our destiny.

Give it up, already, with all that talk of torture, genocide, etc. It's specious and spurious, and from what I'm reading, it has lessened more under Obama than under previous presidents. American administrations have blood on their hands, each and every one of them. It's something I've always hated about us, and, yes, I'm old enough to know it's nothing to be proud of but it's nothing new. You might want to read up on your American history if it's only now that you've begun to notice.
Thanks for the comment, Frank. I have no doubt that Obama will win in November. What worries me is that he'll still have to deal with a recalcitrant congress and nothing much will get done.

I wish he knew a little something about foot-stomping and holding his ground. (He's from Chicago, for god's sake!) I wish he understood just how vicious his enemies really are. And I wish he spent more time working harder to rescue a drowning middle class.

The trouble with Obama is he honestly believes he's president of all the people, not just his own peeps. ;>) That would be fine during good times, but these ain't them. A little Socialism would go a long way right about now.

Still, I don't believe Americans will let the Republicans have a turn. They haven't proved themselves worthy in any way, shape or form.
I think that it is presumptuous of you to suggest that I am advocating for newt or willard.

I suspect that you are drinking the same fetid water of the apisamaniac.

As for more reading, try these as beginners:

The torture by IRF teams is continuing under the Obama administration. In fact, it is actually getting worse:

The promise to scrap his predecessor’s hardliner war-on-terror policies, which helped Barack Obama win presidential election, is apparently off the table. The political reality is that the current administration is doing quite the opposite thing.
Long before he became US president or the winner of a Noble Peace Prize, Barack Obama was a constitutional law professor. During his election campaign he vowed to reverse the abuses and policies of his predecessor George W. Bush.
Three years later, many civil rights advocates, who once cheered “yes, we can,” are finding themselves disillusioned.
“Not only has the Obama administration blocked torture accountability and refused to investigate and prosecute. He has basically maintained indefinite detention. He has revived military commissions. As well he has expanded targeted killings – they’ve increased under the Obama administration manifold, and he’s even authorized the killing of a US citizen,” explains Maria LaHood from the Center for Constitutional Rights.


Remember the tear-stained headlines when Brand Obama was elected: "momentous, spine-tingling": the Guardian. "The American future," wrote Simon Schama, "is all vision, numinous, unformed, light-headed ..."  The San Francisco Chronicle's columnist saw a spiritual "lightworker [who can] usher in a new way of being on the planet". Beyond the drivel, as the great whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg had predicted, a military coup was taking place in Washington, and Obama was their man. Having seduced the anti-war movement into virtual silence, he has given America's corrupt military officer class unprecedented powers of state and engagement. These include the prospect of wars in Africa and opportunities for provocations against China, America's largest creditor and new "enemy" in Asia.  Under Obama, the old source of official paranoia Russia, has been encircled with ballistic missiles and the Russian opposition infiltrated. Military and CIA assassination teams have been assigned to 120 countries; long planned attacks on Syria and Iran beckon a world war. Israel, the exemplar of US violence and lawlessness by proxy, has just received its annual pocket money of $3bn together with Obama's permission to steal more Palestinian land.
Obama's most "historic" achievement is to bring the war on democracy home to America. On New Year's Eve, he signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a law that grants the Pentagon the legal right to kidnap both foreigners and US citizens and indefinitely detain, interrogate and torture, or even kill them. They need only "associate" with those "belligerent" to the United States.  There will be no protection of law, no trial, no legal representation. This is the first explicit legislation to abolish habeus corpus (the right to due process of law) and effectively repeal the Bill of Rights of 1789. 
On 5 January, in an extraordinary speech at the Pentagon, Obama said the military would not only be ready to "secure territory and populations" overseas but to fight in the "homeland" and provide "support to the civil authorities". In other words, US troops will be deployed on the streets of American cities when the inevitable civil unrest takes hold. 
America is now a land of epidemic poverty and barbaric prisons: the consequence of a "market" extremism which, under Obama, has prompted the transfer of $14 trillion in public money to criminal enterprises in Wall Street. The victims are mostly young jobless, homeless, incarcerated African-Americans, betrayed by the first black president. The historic corollary of a perpetual war state, this is not fascism, not yet, but neither is it democracy in any recognisable form, regardless of the placebo politics that will consume the news until November. The presidential campaign, says the Washington Post, will "feature a clash of philosophies rooted in distinctly different views of the economy". This is patently false. The circumscribed task of journalism on both sides of the Atlantic is to create the pretence of political choice where there is none.


Meanwhile you can attempt to conflate your " Liberal-leaning thoughtful commentary " as has frank by deluding yourself into believing that you are not playing the lesser of two evils game, which often leads to the greeter of two evils.

Or maybe, you can go the apisa route: "limited myself to 5 or 6 joints a day...and often I would take a day or two off each year," and it will all become a hazy blur in your mind.
I wasn't happy with Obama's signing of NDAA and I've said so in many places, but to paint him as the worst thing that's ever happened to freedom in these United States, which is what's coming out of both the right and the left, is just insane.

By the way, how about showing me where Obama said anything about this in his January 5 speech to the Pentagon, as you said he did in your comment: "the military would not only be ready to 'secure territory and populations' overseas but to fight in the 'homeland' and provide 'support to the civil authorities'.

I'll make it easy for you. Here's the transcript: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/01/05/remarks-president-defense-strategic-review
Perhaps citations are as undecipherable to you as is your delusion that you are "liberal-leaning."

The words you ascribe to me are clearly indicated by the citation, below, as the words of John Pilger (but what would he know - he's only been covering geopolitics for a half century).

Additionally, it should be clear that mr. hopey changey often talks a good battle and then his actions are diametrically opposite his words.

And while you are reading up on the innate goodness of the current occupant, you might want to focus on his economic team who will deliver us from evil!

As an esteemed poster blogged only moments ago:

"Indeed, the most important federal governmental positions concerning economics in Washington DC are taken by members of the investment banking community. Obama elevated – in absolutely stunning contrast to his 2008 campaign rhetoric – the very people most responsible for the crash of 2007: Geithner, Summers, Bernanke among others, to trusted advisory jobs. In one of the strangest twists of all, Obama even brought in Jeffery Immelt, the head of General Electric, to be a “jobs czar." 57 members of Congress are also members of the 1% Club."

PS - Disclaimer: I voted for the liar four years ago, but in the words of his "esteemed" predecessor:

"Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."
Mark in Japan, you could have made your attributions clearer. Paragraphs with spacing helps, too.

I realized on re-reading your comment that very little actually came from you, but when you put it out there as the major portion of your argument I have no choice but to point out to you that it's in error.

If you choose not to vote for Obama, that's your right as an adult American voter. You'll now have to make a choice about who you will vote for and I hope you find the saintly savior you're looking for.

By the way, I'm proud to call myself a liberal and I've been doing it for over 50 years. What I'm not is a Left Winger. There's a distinct difference, which you would know if, again, you read your American history
Perhaps you"d like to point out Mr. Pilger's error, ms. liberal-leaner.

When you've debunked his thoughts, despite the difficulty in paragraph spacing, maybe you'd like to take on Jonathan Turley:

"Speaking of President Obama's unprecedented order of the targeted killing of U.S. citizens, Jonathan Turley weighs in (before today's report of the successful Obama-ordered due-process-free assassination of 2 U.S. citizens) on President Obama's status as "the most disastrous president in our history in terms of civil liberties:"

One man is primarily responsible for the disappearance of civil liberties from the national debate, and he is Barack Obama. While many are reluctant to admit it, Obama has proved a disaster not just for specific civil liberties but the civil liberties cause in the United States.

Obama failed to close Guantanamo Bay as promised. He continued warrantless surveillance and military tribunals that denied defendants basic rights. He asserted the right to kill U.S. citizens he views as terrorists. His administration has fought to block dozens of public-interest lawsuits challenging privacy violations and presidential abuses.

But perhaps the biggest blow to civil liberties is what he has done to the movement itself. It has quieted to a whisper, muted by the power of Obama's personality and his symbolic importance as the first black president as well as the liberal who replaced Bush. .. It's almost a classic case of the Stockholm syndrome, in which a hostage bonds with his captor despite the obvious threat to his existence. Even though many Democrats admit in private that they are shocked by Obama's position on civil liberties, they are incapable of opposing him. . It looks more like a cult of personality. Obama's policies have become secondary to his persona.

For many civil libertarians, it will be virtually impossible to vote for someone who has flagrantly ignored the Convention Against Torture or its underlying Nuremberg Principles. . . In time, the election of Barack Obama may stand as one of the single most devastating events in our history for civil liberties. Now the president has begun campaigning for a second term. He will again be selling himself more than his policies, but he is likely to find many civil libertarians who simply are not buying."


"Turley received his bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago in 1983 and his law degree from Northwestern University School of Law in 1987.

He served as a House leadership page in 1977 and 1978 under the sponsorship of Illinois Democrat Sidney Yates.

In 2008, he was awarded a Doctorate of Law (Hon.) from John Marshall Law School in recognition of his career as an advocate of civil liberties and constitutional rights.

Currently Turley holds the Shapiro Chair for Public Interest Law at The George Washington University Law School where he teaches torts, criminal procedure, and environmental law. He runs the Project for Older Prisoners (POPS), the Environmental Law Clinic, and the Environmental Legislation Project.

Prior to joining the George Washington University, he was one of the youngest professors to be offered tenure at the Tulane University Law School.

He was ranked among the nation's top 500 lawyers in 2008."


I used to think that "liberal-leaners" supported Habeas Corpus and Posse Comitatus, but I guess you've proved me wrong on that one, too.
I've already told you where Pilger erred: There was no mention of the "Homeland" or "providing support to civil authorities" in the January 5 remarks at the Pentagon. I provided the link so that you could see for yourself.

I'm familiar with Jonathan Turley. He is a strict constitutionalist and good for him, but he's the same one who said Obama shouldn't have appointed Richard Cordray to the CFPB (along with three necessary appointments to the NLRB) during the congressional recess because, even though it's legal and constitutional, the Dems didn't like it when Bush did it so Obama shouldn't be doing it, either.

I wonder how Turley expects those positions to be filled? If it were left up to congress, they never would be. At least not until Obama is out of office, so as to ensure that nothing positive will ever be accomplished during his tenure.

Consumer protection and labor relations are clearly issues that need to be addressed NOW, and setting up leaderless or unfunded departments are famous Republican speed bumps. Anything they can do to keep social programs from being successful is a feather in their caps.

Domestic issues desperately in need of attention have languished for years because congress refuses to approve anything that might make Obama or the Democrats look good. This was true throughout the entire 20th century. The Dems try to push through the programs that helped the poor and middle classes and the Republicans do everything they can to stop them.

If you really want to save your country from absolute ruin (it is your country, isn't it?) you'll open your eyes wide enough to see where the emphasis needs to be, and you'll help us keep any one of those repulsive Republican candidates from becoming president. Instead, you're working for them and against us.

I can't tell you what to do, but I do know what will happen if they win. Every little gain during the last four years will be lost.
Again you present the false presumption that I prefer the repugnicans, when the reality is that I have never voted on that side of the aisle in my life. Furthermore you pay short shrift to Libby who advocates a third way.

Your comment about the "war-machine" to her is more than just condescending when your preference is for a president who has seen fit to involve himself covertly and overtly in the affairs of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Nigeria, (Kenya, Uganda Burundi), Libya, Syria, Iraq, Colombia, Mexico, Honduras, and other places unknown (and that's in three years only).

I suppose that I needn't mention obama's lack of support for a ban on cluster bombs, as that would only prolong your defense of the indefensible.

This, incidentally, is hyperbolic delusion on your part:

"We were on the path to Great Depression II under the Bush regime and now we're not. Now we're trying to clean up and give our people the dignity associated with sustainable-wage jobs and affordable health care."

Job creation, affordable health care -- in your dreams.

Like apisa, I guess you think principles run schools and morals are a genus of mushroom.

I'm finished with this single-rated blog post.

Rationalize on (with fRANK by your side).
Mark in Japan, if you haven't voted Republican before, you might as well do it this year. If this is your way of dissing the Republicans you're doing a piss-poor job of it.

I have no control over who you and Libby vote for, nor should I. The point of my post is to give my reasons for voting for Obama. If you'll be voting for someone else, fine. I thought I made it pretty clear that I wouldn't be changing my mind, so you could have saved your condescension for someone else.