Boston Globe — Blue Mass Group — Washington Times — Potemkin Villages Music (C Layne)
Another Obama Youth Theater Moment?
By Travis Andersen, Town Correspondent
A girl from Malden asked President Obama a question at Tuesday’s town hall meeting in New Hampshire about the signs outside “saying mean things” about his health care proposal.
Eleven-year-old Julia Hall asked: “How do kids know what is true, and why do people want a new system that can — that help more of us?”
The question opened the door for the president to respond to what he called an “underlying fear” among the public “that people somehow won’t get the care they need.”
The girl later told the Globe that picking the president’s brain was “incredible.”
“It was like a once in a lifetime experience,” she said.
Julia’s mother was an early Obama supporter in Massachusetts during the presidential election, so she had previously met First Lady Michelle Obama, the Obama daughters Sasha and Malia, and Vice President Joe Biden.
“This was my first time meeting Barack Obama, and he’s a very nice man,” Julia said. “I’m glad I voted for him.”
She said Obama won a mock presidential election at the Cheverus School in 2008. And on Tuesday, he approached her after the town meeting.
“He said ‘great question,'” Julia said. “I shook his hand and got his picture.”
Kathleen Manning Hall, Julia’s mother, was shocked when her daughter said she wanted to ask a question. They wrote it down beforehand, and Julia didn’t miss a beat when Obama called on her.
“It was surreal,” said Manning Hall, a coordinator of Massachusetts Women for Obama during the election…
Wed Apr 02, 2008 at 20:13:36 PM EDT
” I have been honored to work with Kathleen Manning Hall on the New England Finance and Steering Committee for Barack Obama for over a year. She has raised money, slogged through the snow in New Hampshire and has devoted every minute of her time toward electing Barack Obama President of the United States. She has not only talked the talk, but walked the walk. Please elect her as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention to vote for Barack Obama.”
Rep. David Linsky (D-Natick)
KATHLEEN MANNING HALL
to be a
PLEDGED DELEGATE FOR BARACK OBAMA
DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION IN DENVER
WHAT: Massachusetts 7th Congressional
WHEN: April 5, 2008 at 1:00 p.m. (Doors
open at 12:00)
WHERE:MINUTEMAN REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL
758 Marrett Road, Lexington
WHO: Registered Democrats from Arlington,
Belmont, Everett, Framingham,
Lexington, Lincoln, Malden, Medford,
Melrose, Natick, Stoneham, Waltham,
Watertown, Wayland, Weston,
Winchester, Woburn, Revere, Winthrop.
I am very excited and honored at the prospect of serving as a Massachusetts delegate for Obama in Denver. Many of you know that I’ve been campaigning tirelessly for Senator Obama since last summer. I’ve spent much time on the ground in New Hampshire, traveled to Iowa, organized in Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, and Maine, and I have made phone calls to voters in many other states. I’m part of the New England Steering Committee as well as a Coordinator for Massachusetts Women for Obama; in fact I am helping to organize a large group of MA WFO who will be traveling to Pennsylvania April 11-14.
I realized Barack Obama was a unique politician the first time I heard him speak, at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, where I was a volunteer. I was simply blown away by his inspirational message, and I continued to follow his career. In October, 2006 I attended a Kennedy Library event, where he indicated he was considering a run for the presidency. As soon as he announced his candidacy in February 2007, I was on board. I truly believe he has the necessary judgment and experience to be president, and that he is the only candidate who can inspire and bring real change to our country and restore America’s credibility and leadership around the world. I’m committed to doing everything I can to help him get elected president.
In order to be selected a delegate at the Caucus on April 5th, I need to recruit as many registered Democrats as are willing to stand with me. I hope you’ll help me, first by agreeing to attend the caucus to vote for me, and also by forwarding this email to your associates, acquaintances, friends and family in the 7th Congressional District who are registered Democrats, notifying them of my candidacy and encouraging them to attend and support me. I’d be most appreciative, as I need your and their assistance in order to be elected on April 5th.
On April 5th, doors will open at 12:00 noon for registration. The Caucus will be called to order at 1:00 p.m. and registration will end at 1:15 p.m. The voting process may take an hour or so.
Please call or email me if you have any questions. I really hope to see you there. Many thanks in advance.
Kathleen Manning Hall, 16 Appleton Street, Malden, MA 02148 781-389-6106
AUDIENCE MEMBER:We love you! THE PRESIDENT: “I love you back.”…]“Because the way politics works sometimes is that people who want to keep things the way they are will try to scare the heck out of folks and they’ll create boogeymen out there that just aren’t real.” …] “Change is hard.”AUDIENCE: Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can!
EDITORIAL: Potemkin town halls
By THE WASHINGTON TIMES | Wednesday, August 12, 2009
President Obama should be charged with false advertising for calling yesterday’s Portsmouth, N.H., event a “town-hall meeting.” It was a staged, partisan campaign rally.
The Portsmouth rally was the first of three such events planned for this week. If nothing else, it was well-choreographed, if not completely scripted. The questions posed to the president were all softballs; his answers were mostly platitudes. Mr. Obama said that he wanted to hear from people who disagree with him because “they need to be heard, too,” but it was hard to discern opposing viewpoints through the chants of “Yes, we can.”
The purpose of these rallies should be obvious. Mr. Obama is on a promotional tour, not a fact-finding mission. The president stated last week that he did not want “the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking.” There is not even a pretense of a national discussion going on if one side is expected to keep quiet. And opponents of nationalized health care are refusing to be silenced. Public concerns and frustrations have created an unprecedented grass-roots movement against the proposed health legislation.
Public doubts have provided opportunities for Mr. Obama to engage in his trademark mockery. “Where we disagree, let’s disagree over things that are real,” he said condescendingly, “not these wild misrepresentations that don’t bear any resemblance to anything that’s actually being proposed.” But the fact is that the president’s own grasp of the proposal is limited. He has not claimed to have read the 1,000-page bill and has not demonstrated a keen grasp of its specifics.
The most insufferable moment of the “town-hall” meeting was when 13-year-old Julia Hall from Malden, Mass., read a question from a card about seeing “a lot of signs outside saying mean things about reform in health care.” Pundit Michelle Malkin dubbed young Julia a “kiddie human shield.” It’s a sad commentary on the health care debate that the president has to resort to this kind of stunt to attempt to insulate his plan from criticism.
In the 18th century, Russian Field Marshall Grigory Potemkin constructed elaborate villages to impress Empress Catherine II with the territory he had conquered. The villages were fake, comprised of nothing more than fancy facades on the front of empty shells. In today’s health care debate, a chanting crowd of cherry-picked supporters is the Potemkin-village version of a town-hall meeting. Maybe some day the president will summon the courage to engage in a real discussion with a more representative sample of Americans.
Potemkin villages were purportedly fake settlements erected at the direction of Russian minister Grigory Potyomkin to fool Empress Catherine II during her visit to Crimea in 1787. According to this story, Potyomkin, who led the Crimean military campaign, had hollow facades of villages constructed along the desolate banks of the Dnieper River in order to impress the monarch and her travel party with the value of her new conquests, thus enhancing his standing in the empress’ eyes.
Modern historians are divided on the degree of truth behind Potemkin villages. While tales of the fake villages are generally considered exaggerations, some historians dismiss them as malicious rumors spread by Potyomkin’s opponents. These historians argue that Potyomkin did mount efforts to develop the Crimea and probably directed peasants to spruce up the riverfront in advance of the Empress’s arrival. According to Simon Sebag-Montefiore, Potyomkin’s most comprehensive English-language biographer, the tale of elaborate, fake settlements with glowing fires designed to comfort the monarch and her entourage as they surveyed the barren territory at night, is largely fictional.
Some Russian historians hold a somewhat different view. Aleksandr Panchenko, an authoritative specialist on 19th century Russia, used original correspondence and memoirs to conclude that the myth of the Potemkin village has a basis in reality: “Potemkin really did build mock towns and villages, but he never denied that they were theatrical sets.” Panchenko writes that “Potemkin’s goal was to demonstrate that this vast region was already practically civilized, or was at least energetically becoming civilized,” by showing a vision of what the area would become, using screens on which villages were painted and driving flocks of sheep each night to the next stop along the route.
Also, the close relationship between Field Marshal Potyomkin and Empress Catherine made it likely that she was aware of the fictitious nature of the villages. Thus, the deception would have been mainly directed towards the foreign ambassadors accompanying the imperial party.
Regardless, Potyomkin had in fact directed the building of fortresses, ships of the line, and thriving settlements, and the tour – which saw real and significant accomplishments – solidified his power. So, while “Potemkin village” has come to mean, especially in a political context, any hollow or false construct, physical or figurative, meant to hide an undesirable or potentially damaging situation, the phrase may not apply to its original context.
“Potemkin village” has also frequently been used to describe the attempts of the Soviet government to fool foreign visitors. The government would take such visitors, who were often already sympathetic to socialism or communism, to select villages, factories, schools, stores, or neighborhoods and present them as if they were typical, rather than exceptional. Given the strict limitations on the movement of foreigners in the USSR, it was often impossible for these visitors to see any other examples. “Potemkin village” has also been used to describe states and cities whose low tax régimes allow international companies to base their headquarters there, but to conduct their real businesses elsewhere.
Examples of Potemkin villages
- The Nazi German Theresienstadt concentration camp, called “the Paradise Ghetto” in World War II, was designed as a concentration camp that could be shown to the Red Cross, but was really a Potemkin village: attractive at first, but deceptive and ultimately lethal, with high death rates from malnutrition and contagious diseases. It ultimately served as a way-station to Auschwitz-Birkenau.
- Gijeong-dong, built by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) in the north half of the Korean Demilitarized Zone.
- Following the Manchurian Incident, and China’s referral of the Japanese occupation of Manchuria to the League of Nations in 1931, the League’s representative was given a tour of the “truly Manchurian” parts of the region. It was meant to prove that the area was not under Japanese domination. Whether the farce succeeded or not is moot; Japan withdrew from the League the following year.
- In his December 2007 essay “A Moral Witness to the ‘Intricate Machine‘” in The New York Review of Books, Avishai Margalit referred to many of Israel’s settlements in the West Bank as “little more than Potemkin villages.”
- During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, an article in the London Evening Standard opined that “the entire host city has been turned into a kind of Potemkin Olympic village”.
The term “Potemkin village” is also often used by judges, especially members of a multiple-judge panel who dissent from the majority’s opinion on a particular matter, to describe an inaccurate or tortured interpretation and/or application of a particular legal doctrine to the specific facts at issue. Use of the term is meant to imply that the reasons espoused by the panel’s majority in support of its decision are not based on accurate or sound law, and their restrictive application is merely a masquerade for the court’s desire to avoid a difficult decision. Often, the dissent will attempt to reveal the majority’s adherence to the restrictive principle at issue as being an inappropriate function for a court, reasoning that the decision transgresses the limits of traditional adjudication because the resolution of the case will effectively create an important and far-reaching policy decision, which the legislature would be the better equipped and more appropriate entity to address.
For example, in the U.S. Supreme Court abortion case of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey in 1992, then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist said that “Roe v. Wade stands as a sort of judicial Potemkin Village, which may be pointed out to passers-by as a monument to the importance of adhering to precedent.”
Sometimes, instead of the full phrase, just “Potemkin” is used, as an adjective. For example, the use of a row of trees to screen a clearcut area from highway drivers has been called a “Potemkin Forest”.
The term “Potemkin Court” implies that the court’s reason to exist is being called into question; it differs from a kangaroo court in which the court’s standard of justice is being impugned.
The term is also used in politics and literature.
Many of the newly constructed base areas at ski resorts are referred to as Potemkin Villages. These create the illusion of a quaint mountain town, but are actually carefully planned theme shopping centers, hotels and restaurants designed for maximum revenue.
In fiction, The West Wing episode “Twenty Hours In America” (Season 4, Episode 1) had the character Josh Lyman quote presidential contender Robert Ritchie as saying “the challenge [of running the country] is too great for a Potemkin presidency…” Lyman also says in the episode “Freedonia” (Season 6, Episode 15) that his campaign staff should thank their “Potemkin advance team”.
In the documentary Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Enron’s trading floor, used to fool visiting analysts, is described as a “Potemkin Village”.
[hifi lofi] 01-You are the reason (4:03)
[hifi lofi] 02-The unheard frequency (4:34)
[hifi lofi] 03-I never got the syllabus (4:28)
[hifi lofi] 04-Eidetic (5:57)
[hifi lofi] 05-Feeling for a reason (3:58)
[hifi lofi] 06-Thinking of you (2:59)
[hifi lofi] 07-Talk slow (4:26)
[hifi lofi] 08-Disaffected (4:56)
[hifi lofi] 09-Michael (4:13)
[hifi lofi] 10-The devil and the woman (3:44)
[hifi lofi] 11-The death of a mailman (5:56) ***Luckybogey’s Favorite***See WFTV Link Below***
[hifi lofi] 12-Down at the bottom (4:57)
[hifi lofi] 13-Bathe in the rain (4:00)
[hifi lofi] 14-Stiltz (8:32)
Hugh Hewitt: Mitt Romney on the national debate over Obamacare
Real Clear Politics: Mother Of Girl Who Asked Question At Town Hall Is Big Obama Donor (Video)
Salon: Obama’s healthcare horror
ar15: The little girl who talked about mean signs at the Obama town hall ***Credit This Site With Initial Research***
WFTV (CLERMONT, Fla): Post Office Vandalized With Obama ‘Joker’ Posters (Check Out Slide Show)(“I found that they were very well glued on and they’re not easy to be taken off,” Postmaster “Willie” Montgomery told Eyewitness News)
You Tube Video: Obama Kids Music Video : Cute or Creepy ?, September 30, 2008
The Constitution Club: Your Messengers Quote Of The Day
Tom Dispatch : Potemkin World… or the President in the Zone, February 27, 2005
Updates: Added Related Links/Townhall Photo Caption w/text and kudos to ar15 for their initial research.