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Reasons Why Obama Dares to Act Tough

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President Barack Obama talks on the phone with British Prime Minister David Cameron in the Oval Office, Feb. 13, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Guest Post by Daphne Holmes

Each President marks his term with a leadership legacy that defines his administration. For Barack Obama, one of the hallmark characteristics of his time at the helm is unapologetic pursuit of policies that help the country. While this may seem like a given, under the circumstances, Obama’s tough stances on some issues has nonetheless sparked heavy resistance from the political right.

In order to set his own pace, however; the President has had to first clean up many of the lingering issues that predate his administration. In addition to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Obama has faced a hornet’s nest of residual domestic policy that has also required strong leadership to rectify. As a result, the President has maintained an unwavering commitment to tackle tough issues – both here and abroad.

Real Issues At-Hand

Effective leadership requires proactive approaches to public policy, but it also relies on the ability to react quickly, in response to issues that arise. President Obama was thrown into the fire immediately upon securing the position, forcing him to reconcile very real issues facing the country. From domestic economic concerns to multiple foreign wars, the current administration has been elbow-deep in major policy reform since taking control of the executive branch of government.

To some; the President’s actions are off-putting, due to the decisive and unapologetic strategies he has implemented. But when held-up to the alternatives, it becomes clear that the President’s responses to some of this century’s most challenging realities have been tough, yet prudent.

Ineffective International Organizations

In addition to Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama’s administration has faced vexing foreign policy concerns elsewhere; including aggression and human rights atrocities in Syria and Russia. And while international support is put-forth by organizations like the United Nations, Obama’s policies have had to account for the fact that help from the UN and others does not always sway outcomes significantly. As a result, bold U.S. strategies and foreign policy decisions made by the Obama administration illustrate the tough stances the President has adopted to protect American interests.

U.S. Economy

The recent global recession and meltdown of important U.S. markets took its toll on the country and the world. Unemployment, home mortgage foreclosures and other important indicators illustrated never-before-seen economy turmoil that eventually reached every sector of the U.S. economy. Even so, the President understands the economic might at his disposal and operates accordingly on the world stage. Bold moves Obama made to correct the housing market downturn and Wall Street waffling show how the President’s tough policies have led to productive outcomes.

Public Support Drives Policy Decisions

While each President exhibits autonomy in his leadership role, policy outcomes are also influences by prevailing public opinion. In the case of health care reform, Obama took a tough position, which didn’t align with the beliefs of the political right. Tea Party protests and other displays of dissent followed, but the prevailing need for public health care overshadowed the misgivings of a few citizens clinging to the status quo. Though tough, the President’s initiatives would have been dead in the water, if not for the support of forward-thinking Americans lending their voices and activism to the collective cause.

Obama’s Personal Style

The President’s style has been characterized as “inflexible” and “unwavering”, so Obama has left his indelible mark on policy outcomes of the past 6 years. While ideological gains are a part of each presidential administration, Obama’s bold actions eclipse some of the cronyism seen in prior administrations. As a result, what some see as overly rigid or inflexible pursuits are actually a reflection of the President’s personal style. Whether from working within the Chicago political machine, or gleaned from years mobilizing support for grass roots issues, the current President is not afraid to adhere to his core beliefs.

Strong leadership cues from President Obama lead detractors to call him out for being too tough, at times. In reality, however; the President’s track record of decisive moves is simply a reflection of the issues he has faced and the prevailing public support for his policies.

Author:

Daphne Holmes contributed this guest post. She is a writer from www.ArrestRecords.com and you can reach her at daphneholmes9@gmail.com.

June 23, 2014 Posted by | Accomplishments, Economy, Health Care Reform, Jobs, National Security, Politics, President Barack Obama | , , | Leave a comment

President Obama at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner 2014

May 3, 2014 Posted by | President Barack Obama | , , | Leave a comment

How Many People Has Fox News Killed With Their Lies About Obamacare?

Fox News is hurting our country and the very people it relies on for viewership. Since the Affordable Care Act became law, the right-wing in this country has been trying to convince people not to get insurance, not to trust “Obamacare” and they have instilled an irrational fear of it in a large swath of the country.

This story is just one illustration of how Fox News and the misinformation they spew has real consequences.

Dean Angstadt fells trees for a living.

He’s a self-employed, self-sufficient logger who has cleared his own path for most of his 57 years, never expecting help from anyone. And even though he’d been uninsured since 2009, he especially wanted nothing to do with the Affordable Care Act.

“I don’t read what the Democrats have to say about it because I think they’re full of it,” he told his friend Bob Leinhauser, who suggested he sign up.

Before I get to the rest of the story, read this quote from a piece by Eric Wemple about Dean Angstadt’s experience…

Asked if Fox News had molded his view of Obamacare, Angstadt responded, “Yeah, yeah – they get people fired up. You know what, I really do have a different outlook on it.”

I went for many years without health insurance and can relate to Dean’s situation. My family has a history of heart problems, my dad and his brother both died of heart attacks in their early 40’s…so yeah, going without health insurance as I approached 40 years old was a bit scary. Thankfully, I took my current job at the university and began taking care of myself after I got insurance through my employer. More of Dean’s story…

In 2011, Angstadt had a pacemaker and defibrillator implanted to help his ailing heart pump more efficiently. Not long after, the almost 6-foot, 285-pound man’s man was back in the woods, doing the Paul Bunyan thing.

But last summer, his health worsened again. It was taking him 10 minutes to catch his breath after felling a tree. By fall, he was winded after traveling the 50 feet between his house and truck.

“I knew that I was really sick,” said the Boyertown resident. “I figured the doctors were going to have to operate, so I tried to work as long as I could to save money for the surgery. But it got to the point where I couldn’t work.”

A friend had been trying to convince Dean to sign up for insurance through the exchanges, but he kept resisting, falling back on the propaganda that he had been fed – the bad information that was having a real impact on this mans life.

From time to time, Leinhauser would urge Angstadt to buy a plan through the ACA marketplace. And each time, Angstadt refused.

“We argued about it for months,” Angstadt said. “I didn’t trust this Obamacare. One of the big reasons is it sounded too good to be true.”

[...]

Leinhauser went to Angstadt’s house, and in less than an hour, the duo had done the application. A day later, Angstadt signed up for the Highmark Blue Cross silver PPO plan and paid his first monthly premium: $26.11.

“All of a sudden, I’m getting notification from Highmark, and I got my card, and it was actually all legitimate,” he said. “I could have done backflips if I was in better shape.”

Angstadt’s plan kicked in on March 1. It was just in time. Surgery couldn’t be put off any longer. On March 31, Angstadt had life-saving valve-replacement surgery.

“I probably would have ended up falling over dead” without the surgery, Angstadt said. “Not only did it save my life, it’s going to give me a better quality of life.”

Dean Angstadt will live to chop another tree.

But Fox News needs to die a quick and painful death.

H/T to Steve Benen at The Maddowblog.

April 29, 2014 Posted by | Health Care Reform, President Barack Obama | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

President Obama’s Speech at the National Action Network Convention (2014)

April 11, 2014 Posted by | Politics, President Barack Obama, Racism | , , , | 2 Comments

President Obama’s Keynote at Civil Rights Summit 2014

Here is our great president getting a bit emotional at the Civil Rights Summit 2014. What a great president and role model.

And here is the entire speech.

April 10, 2014 Posted by | President Barack Obama, Racism | , , , | Leave a comment

President Obama Showed Courage When He Took On The Health Care Industry!

Photo by Extreme Liberal

Photo by Extreme Liberal

Here is a great article from Jon Favreau, someone who knows President Obama quite well, having been his speech writer since 2005 when President Obama first entered the Senate. Go read it all, here are my favorite parts…

The warnings of those advisers turned out to be true. On the day Scott Brown won an upset victory in the special election to fill the Senate seat held by the late Ted Kennedy, it appeared that the chances for reform had died along with history’s most passionate health-care champion. Obama’s advisers told him that the votes in Congress were no longer there, and that unless he was willing to cut his losses and accept a drastically scaled-back version of his health-care proposal—perhaps a small expansion of coverage for children or a few watered-down consumer protections—the political fallout could cost him reelection. And what the president said next is why so many of us chose to work for him in the first place:

“What are we here for? Did we come here to just put our approval ratings up on a shelf and admire them? Or are we here to try to make a difference—to actually start solving some of the problems we’ve talked about for so long?”

Barely two months after the press wrote countless obituaries for the Affordable Care Act, Democrats in Congress showed genuine political courage by voting it into law.

Now is the time to show that courage again.

[...]

But the president should never apologize for passing the Affordable Care Act, and neither should those of us who have supported this kind of reform for years, even decades. We didn’t fight for this law because it was good politics. We didn’t fight for this law with the hope that it would lead to some ideological victory for big government—otherwise we wouldn’t have proposed a plan that maintained the private insurance market with reforms that Republicans once championed.

We fought for this law because no other advanced democracy on Earth gave insurance companies free rein to profit by discriminating against all but the healthiest and wealthiest citizens. We fought for this law because 14,000 Americans, most of them working and middle class, were losing their health insurance every day—with no other options. We fought for this law because millions of other Americans thought they had decent coverage until their insurance company refused to pay for treatment that someone in their family desperately needed; because people died as a direct result of not being able to afford better health care.

The reason we fought so hard for this law—the reason Obama is willing to stake his entire legacy on making it work—is because so many of us have had a personal experience with the fear and vulnerability that comes with being sick.

November 18, 2013 Posted by | Health Care Reform, Politics, President Barack Obama | , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Birth of Crisis Journalism™ – A Rant!

Warning! A profane rant is below, hide the kids.

The media has collectively lost their fucking minds. Since when is it the role of the media to obsess over mistakes and blow them completely out of proportion, while ignoring everything else that is happening in the world? They have totally embraced the hyperventilating loons on the right and adopted their moronic thinking.

So a website contractor, hired to design and build the website for healthcare.gov, screwed up. Great, I got it. Now move on to doing your fucking jobs again.

And by the way, Chuck Todd, your job is to present the truth to your viewers, not just deliver the “message” that one side or the other feeds to you through Mike Allen, just before you go on Morning Joe to set the meme of the fucking day. In case you aren’t aware, the Society of Professional Journalists has a code of ethics and the first item in the list is pasted below. Read it, internalize it…there will be a quiz.

Seek Truth and Report It (heading)
Journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information. (sub-heading)

Journalists should: — Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never permissible.

Now let’s look at Chuck Todd’s full quote from his now infamous appearance on Morning Joe and see how well it fits with the above.

Chuck Todd (on Morning Joe):

“But more importantly, it would be stuff that Republicans have successfully messaged against it,” Todd told Rendell. “They don’t repeat the other stuff because they haven’t even heard the Democratic message. What I always love is people say, ‘Well, it’s you folks’ fault in the media.’ No, it’s the President of the United States’ fault for not selling it.”

In effect, he’s saying that he just delivers the message, it’s not his job to “test the accuracy of information from all sources”. He admits that Republicans have successfully “messaged against it” but he apparently doesn’t care at all whether that “message” is truthful or not. That is some serious bubble think. I keep telling Chuck to get the hell out of Washington and breathe some fresh air, talk to some real people, empathize with folks who actually are influenced by what happens inside your comfy little bubble.

Prior to the “glitch” story, the media was clinging to the idiotic idea that President Obama should negotiate with Republicans who were holding a gun to the head of our economy, demanding the defunding of a law that took 18 months to pass through the legislative process, was signed by the President and upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States in exchange for the Congress doing their jobs. The media acted like complete morons repeating the Republican talking point of “he won’t even sit down with us and talk”, as if that is what you do when one party completely circumvents the legislative process and acts like a 4-year-old kicking and screaming on the floor.

Going back a little further, the media was freaking out about Syria and the “red line”, once again repeating the Republican talking points verbatim, as if Frank Luntz was behind them pulling their fucking puppet strings and lip syncing his focus group tested phrases. President Obama didn’t invent our position on Syria’s chemical weapons. The treaty that we are enforcing was signed by President Nixon in 1972 and can be found here. But the media wanted to pin it all on President Obama because the brain-dead GOP plucked the “red line” phrase out of a speech and proceeded to bastardize the context and history of the international treaty against the use of chemical weapons.

I could go on and on…I’m thinking back to the “momentum” days of Mitt Romney’s bid for King of the Village Idiots (The GOP & their compliant media)!

Welcome to the new world of Crisis Journalism™

October 22, 2013 Posted by | Media, MSM, Politics, President Barack Obama | , , , , , | 7 Comments

President Obama’s Press Conference August 9, 2013

August 9, 2013 Posted by | Media, MSM, Politics, President Barack Obama | , , , , , | 2 Comments

POTUS: “We don’t have a domestic spying program”

ObamaLenoOn the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, President Obama made a statement that cuts right to the chase on the whole NSA surveillance hype. I call it hype because almost every revelation that we’ve learned about recently has been blown out of proportion, exaggerated or inserted into an existing conspiracy theory. And damn near all of the revelations have been known for years, written in books and published in many outlets. President Obama from The Tonight Show.

“We don’t have a domestic spying program.  What we do have are some mechanisms where we can track a phone number or an email address that we know is connected to some sort of terrorist threat.  And that information is useful.  But what I’ve said before I want to make sure I repeat, and that is we should be skeptical about the potential encroachments on privacy.  None of the revelations show that government has actually abused these powers, but they’re pretty significant powers.”

That paragraph pretty much sums up the reality of what is happening. Let’s break it down.

The President makes it very clear, “We don’t have a domestic spying program.” I know that makes heads explode, especially those deeply invested in conspiracy theories and mistrust of everything our federal government does. But it is true, and there is no indication that one exists…in any of the “new’ information that has come to light.

The President went on to spell out exactly what the feds do in their effort to protect us from 9/11 style terrorist attacks, “What we do have are some mechanisms where we can track a phone number or an email address that we know is connected to some sort of terrorist threat.” Those mechanism are set in motion by warrants issued by judges. Sure, you can argue that the process is crazy and needs to be changed, but at the moment, it is legal.

I was very vocal in my opposition to the Patriot Act, I wrote my senators and congressperson when that piece of crap law was being rammed through the congress in the fog of a nations grief after 9/11. If we only had a functioning legislative branch today, we could maybe get rid of that law and replace it with something that doesn’t trample on our liberties as much.

And finally, the President points out what I think is the heart of the issue, “…we should be skeptical about the potential encroachments on privacy.  None of the revelations show that government has actually abused these powers, but they’re pretty significant powers.” The issue of encroachments on privacy, especially as it relates to law enforcement and national security, isn’t new. It’s a balancing act that has been going on since our country was founded. And yes, there have been many, many abuses. Just ask any African American about that.

The reason I think that last statement is the heart of the issue is because it’s all about trust. For those who have a profound mistrust of all politicians or leaders, it’s not hard to convince them to be outraged. The awesome Bob Cesca coined the phrase “outrage sandwich”, which is best explained by him…

It gets sillier. The following Greenwald statement could be referred to as an outrage sandwich: two outrageous claims surrounding a throw-away mention of delicious, meaty truth that mitigates the outrageousness of the two claims.

“It’s done with no need to go to court, no need to get approval. There are legal constraints for spying on Americans, you can’t target them without going to the FISA court. But it allows them to listen to whatever e-mails they want, telephone calls, browsing history, Microsoft Word documents.”

Put another way: No need for court oversight! (But there’s court oversight and warrants.) They can listen to whatever they want! In the midst of inciting outrage, these mitigating news blips manage to pop up in nearly every article. But the blips are considerably out-gunned by all of the bloated hyperbole preceding and following each one.

And Glenn Greenwald has been getting away with “outrage sandwiches” for a long time. It’s the red meat he feeds his mushy brained followers.

August 7, 2013 Posted by | National Security, President Barack Obama | , , , , | 1 Comment

President Obama Speaks On The Trayvon Martin Verdict (Video and Transcript)

Transcript July 19, 2013

REPORTERS: Whoa!

Q: Hello.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: That’s so — that’s so disappointing, man. Jay, is this kind of — the kind of respect that you get? (Laughter.)

Q: Wake up!

Q: What brings you out here, Mr. –

PRESIDENT OBAMA: You know, on — on — on television it usually looks like you’re addressing a full room.

Q: (Laughs.) It’s just a mirage.

Q: There’s generally not –

PRESIDENT OBAMA: All right.

(Cross talk.)

Q: (Inaudible) — got the Detroit story.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I got you. All right. Sorry about that. Do you think anybody else is showing up? Good.

Well, I — I wanted to come out here first of all to tell you that Jay is prepared for all your questions and is — is very much looking forward to the session.

Second thing is I want to let you know that over the next couple of weeks there are going to obviously be a whole range of issues — immigration, economics, et cetera — we’ll try to arrange a fuller press conference to address your questions.

The reason I actually wanted to come out today is not to take questions, but to speak to an issue that obviously has gotten a lot of attention over the course of the last week, the issue of the Trayvon Martin ruling. I gave an — a preliminary statement right after the ruling on Sunday, but watching the debate over the course of the last week I thought it might be useful for me to expand on my thoughts a little bit.

First of all, you know, I — I want to make sure that, once again, I send my thoughts and prayers, as well as Michelle’s, to the family of Trayvon Martin, and to remark on the incredible grace and dignity with which they’ve dealt with the entire situation. I can only imagine what they’re going through, and it’s — it’s remarkable how they’ve handled it.

The second thing I want to say is to reiterate what I said on Sunday, which is there are going to be a lot of arguments about the legal — legal issues in the case. I’ll let all the legal analysts and talking heads address those issues.

The judge conducted the trial in a professional manner. The prosecution and the defense made their arguments. The juries were properly instructed that in a — in a case such as this, reasonable doubt was relevant, and they rendered a verdict. And once the jury’s spoken, that’s how our system works.

But I did want to just talk a little bit about context and how people have responded to it and how people are feeling. You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago. And when you think about why, in the African-American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognize that the African- American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that — that doesn’t go away.

There are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me.

And there are very few African-American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me, at least before I was a senator. There are very few African-Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often.

And you know, I don’t want to exaggerate this, but those sets of experiences inform how the African-American community interprets what happened one night in Florida. And it’s inescapable for people to bring those experiences to bear.

The African-American community is also knowledgeable that there is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws, everything from the death penalty to enforcement of our drug laws. And that ends up having an impact in terms of how people interpret the case.

Now, this isn’t to say that the African-American community is naive about the fact that African-American young men are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system, that they are disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violence. It’s not to make excuses for that fact, although black folks do interpret the reasons for that in a historical context.

We understand that some of the violence that takes place in poor black neighborhoods around the country is born out of a very violent past in this country, and that the poverty and dysfunction that we see in those communities can be traced to a very difficult history.

And so the fact that sometimes that’s unacknowledged adds to the frustration. And the fact that a lot of African-American boys are painted with a broad brush and the excuse is given, well, there are these statistics out there that show that African-American boys are more violent — using that as an excuse to then see sons treated differently causes pain.

I think the African-American community is also not naive in understanding that statistically somebody like Trayvon Martin was probably statistically more likely to be shot by a peer than he was by somebody else.

So — so folks understand the challenges that exist for African- American boys, but they get frustrated, I think, if they feel that there’s no context for it or — and that context is being denied. And — and that all contributes, I think, to a sense that if a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario, that, from top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different.

Now, the question for me at least, and I think, for a lot of folks is, where do we take this? How do we learn some lessons from this and move in a positive direction? You know, I think it’s understandable that there have been demonstrations and vigils and protests, and some of that stuff is just going to have to work its way through as long as it remains nonviolent. If I see any violence, then I will remind folks that dishonors what happened to Trayvon Martin and his family.

But beyond protests or vigils, the question is, are there some concrete things that we might be able to do? I know that Eric Holder is reviewing what happened down there, but I think it’s important for people to have some clear expectations here. Traditionally, these are issues of state and local government — the criminal code. And law enforcement has traditionally done it at the state and local levels, not at the federal levels.

That doesn’t mean, though, that as a nation, we can’t do some things that I think would be productive. So let me just give a couple of specifics that I’m still bouncing around with my staff so we’re not rolling out some five-point plan, but some areas where I think all of us could potentially focus.

Number one, precisely because law enforcement is often determined at the state and local level, I think it’d be productive for the Justice Department — governors, mayors to work with law enforcement about training at the state and local levels in order to reduce the kind of mistrust in the system that sometimes currently exists.You know, when I was in Illinois I passed racial profiling legislation. And it actually did just two simple things. One, it collected data on traffic stops and the race of the person who was stopped. But the other thing was it resourced us training police departments across the state on how to think about potential racial bias and ways to further professionalize what they were doing.

And initially, the police departments across the state were resistant, but actually they came to recognize that if it was done in a fair, straightforward way, that it would allow them to do their jobs better and communities would have more confidence in them and in turn be more helpful in applying the law. And obviously law enforcement’s got a very tough job.

So that’s one area where I think there are a lot of resources and best practices that could be brought bear if state and local governments are receptive. And I think a lot of them would be. And — and let’s figure out other ways for us to push out that kind of training.

Along the same lines, I think it would be useful for us to examine some state and local laws to see if it — if they are designed in such a way that they may encourage the kinds of altercations and confrontations and tragedies that we saw in the Florida case, rather than diffuse potential altercations.

I know that there’s been commentary about the fact that the stand your ground laws in Florida were not used as a defense in the case.

On the other hand, if we’re sending a message as a society in our communities that someone who is armed potentially has the right to use those firearms even if there’s a way for them to exit from a situation, is that really going to be contributing to the kind of peace and security and order that we’d like to see?

And for those who resist that idea that we should think about something like these “stand your ground” laws, I just ask people to consider if Trayvon Martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk? And do we actually think that he would have been justified in shooting Mr. Zimmerman, who had followed him in a car, because he felt threatened?

And if the answer to that question is at least ambiguous, it seems to me that we might want to examine those kinds of laws.

Number three — and this is a long-term project: We need to spend some time in thinking about how do we bolster and reinforce our African-American boys? And this is something that Michelle and I talk a lot about. There are a lot of kids out there who need help who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement. And is there more that we can do to give them the sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them?

You know, I’m not naive about the prospects of some brand-new federal program.

I’m not sure that that’s what we’re talking about here. But I do recognize that as president, I’ve got some convening power.

And there are a lot of good programs that are being done across the country on this front. And for us to be able to gather together business leaders and local elected officials and clergy and celebrities and athletes and figure out how are we doing a better job helping young African-American men feel that they’re a full part of this society and that — and that they’ve got pathways and avenues to succeed — you know, I think that would be a pretty good outcome from what was obviously a tragic situation. And we’re going to spend some time working on that and thinking about that.

And then finally, I think it’s going to be important for all of us to do some soul-searching. You know, there have been talk about should we convene a conversation on race. I haven’t seen that be particularly productive when politicians try to organize conversations. They end up being stilted and politicized, and folks are locked into the positions they already have.

On the other hand, in families and churches and workplaces, there’s a possibility that people are a little bit more honest, and at least you ask yourself your own questions about, am I wringing as much bias out of myself as I can; am I judging people, as much as I can, based on not the color of their skin but the content of their character? That would, I think, be an appropriate exercise in the wake of this tragedy.

And let me just leave you with — with a final thought, that as difficult and challenging as this whole episode has been for a lot of people, I don’t want us to lose sight that things are getting better. Each successive generation seems to be making progress in changing attitudes when it comes to race. I doesn’t mean that we’re in a postracial society. It doesn’t mean that racism is eliminated. But you know, when I talk to Malia and Sasha and I listen to their friends and I see them interact, they’re better than we are. They’re better than we were on these issues. And that’s true in every community that I’ve visited all across the country.

And so, you know, we have to be vigilant and we have to work on these issues, and those of us in authority should be doing everything we can to encourage the better angels of our nature as opposed to using these episodes to heighten divisions. But we should also have confidence that kids these days I think have more sense than we did back then, and certainly more than our parents did or our grandparents did, and that along this long, difficult journey, you know, we’re becoming a more perfect union — not a perfect union, but a more perfect union.

All right? Thank you, guys.

Transcript via The Washington Post

July 19, 2013 Posted by | Human Rights, President Barack Obama | , , , , , | 2 Comments

President Obama’s Speech In Germany – June 19, 2013

June 19, 2013 Posted by | President Barack Obama | , , , , | 1 Comment

In Search Of A Scandal, Any Scandal Will Do!

I find myself thinking of this quote from Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride a lot lately. It is overused, I know, but it works so well.

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

The word I’ve been hearing a lot lately that fits Inigo’s observation is “scandal”.

According to Merriam Webster, the word scandal is defined as

2 : loss of or damage to reputation caused by actual or apparent violation of morality or propriety.

The #1 definition was a religious one.

We’ve all heard the Republicans and their stenographers, the press, say the word “scandal” about a million times in the last couple of months. But do any of these issues really qualify as a “scandal”? I say NO.

The Benghazi Scandal That Isn’t

American embassies and consulates have been attacked many times in our history, particularly in dangerous areas. Bob Cesca did an amazing job in compiling the attacks on America during the Bush administration. Here is a portion of that post.

January 22, 2002. Calcutta, India. Gunmen associated with Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami attack the U.S. Consulate. Five people are killed.

June 14, 2002. Karachi, Pakistan. Suicide bomber connected with al-Qaida attacks the U.S. Consulate, killing 12 and injuring 51.

October 12, 2002. Denpasar, Indonesia. U.S. diplomatic offices bombed as part of a string of “Bali Bombings.” No fatalities.

February 28, 2003. Islamabad, Pakistan. Several gunmen fire upon the U.S. Embassy. Two people are killed.

May 12, 2003. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Armed al-Qaida terrorists storm the diplomatic compound killing 36 people including nine Americans. The assailants committed suicide by detonating a truck bomb.

July 30, 2004. Tashkent, Uzbekistan. A suicide bomber from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan attacks the U.S. Embassy, killing two people.

December 6, 2004. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Al-Qaida terrorists storm the U.S. Consulate and occupy the perimeter wall. Nine people are killed.

March 2, 2006. Karachi, Pakistan again. Suicide bomber attacks the U.S. Consulate killing four people, including U.S. diplomat David Foy who was directly targeted by the attackers. (I wonder if Lindsey Graham or Fox News would even recognize the name “David Foy.” This is the third Karachi terrorist attack in four years on what’s considered American soil.)

September 12, 2006. Damascus, Syria. Four armed gunmen shouting “Allahu akbar” storm the U.S. Embassy using grenades, automatic weapons, a car bomb and a truck bomb. Four people are killed, 13 are wounded.

January 12, 2007. Athens, Greece. Members of a Greek terrorist group called the Revolutionary Struggle fire a rocket-propelled grenade at the U.S. Embassy. No fatalities.

March 18, 2008. Sana’a, Yemen. Members of the al-Qaida-linked Islamic Jihad of Yemen fire a mortar at the U.S. Embassy. The shot misses the embassy, but hits nearby school killing two.

July 9, 2008. Istanbul, Turkey. Four armed terrorists attack the U.S. Consulate. Six people are killed.

September 17, 2008. Sana’a, Yemen. Terrorists dressed as military officials attack the U.S. Embassy with an arsenal of weapons including RPGs and detonate two car bombs. Sixteen people are killed, including an American student and her husband (they had been married for three weeks when the attack occurred). This is the second attack on this embassy in seven months.

I’m racking my brain trying to remember a “scandal” coming from any of these attacks.

The idea that changing “talking points” to not tip off the terrorists responsible for the attacks was some sort of massive conspiracy to make the President look good is just ridiculous. We shouldn’t forget that this “scandal” started with Mitt Romney putting his foot in his mouth during the campaign and since then, the GOP has doubled down on it many times. They were so sure that it was the one thing that could take the President out, if only someone would listen. The real reason that Republicans are trying to create a “scandal” where there is none is because they can’t accept that they got their asses kicked again by President Obama. It’s one giant case of sore-loseritus. The next step is for the Republicans to ask for a “do over” or a “mulligan” on the 2012 elections. Get over it, you lost. And a free tip for you Republicans, Americans don’t like sore losers, you look like fucking weasels.

And remember, the media and the GOP are calling this an “Obama scandal”. First off, there IS no scandal there. There was no violation of “morality or propriety” by anybody, let alone the President. There hasn’t been any connections to the President at all. With the release of the emails that Jon Karl of ABC News was duped about (being generous), that show that the White House let the agencies involved fight over the infamous talking points, this whole issue should be but a bad memory. And my god, they were freaking talking points. Talking points that were prefaced by Susan Rice in the following way.

“Let me tell you the– the best information we have at present.  First of all, there’s an FBI investigation which is ongoing.  And we look to that investigation to give us the definitive word as to what transpired.  But putting together the best information that we have available to us today, our current assessment is…”

What exactly is so hard to understand about this, unless you just don’t want to understand…then it is understandable. :)

The AP And Fox News Leak Investigations Continue reading

May 30, 2013 Posted by | Hypocrisy Watch, Media, MSM, Politics, President Barack Obama, Republican Party | , , , | 3 Comments

Elected Republicans Are Stupid – Part 1

Stupid1I’m not sure exactly when it began, but a growing number of elected Republicans are extremely stupid. There is so much stupidity coming out of their mouths on a daily basis, it’s hard to keep up with it. One of the reasons I love Steve Benen from the Maddowblog is because he likes to keep track of and make fun of stupid Republicans. But he is much more respectful than I am.

Here is one of the latest examples of Republican stupidity.

Last week, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) got a little confused. During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, the Iowa Republican read brief remarks in which he condemned the Obama administration for pushing a “court-packing” strategy in which the president would nominate judges to fill existing vacancies. [...]

I assumed at the time that this was an amusing-but-isolated misstep involving a Republican senator who routinely gets baffled by details. But I assumed wrong — this is apparently the new GOP talking point.

…Grassley isn’t alone in making these charges. During floor remarks last week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) accused Democrats of plotting with the White House “to pack the D.C. Circuit with appointees,” and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) worried aloud that Democrats may “decide to play politics and seek — without any legitimate justification — to pack the D.C. Circuit with unneeded judges simply in order to advance a partisan agenda.”

Even The Wall Street Journal piled on last week, arguing in an editorial that the D.C. Circuit “doesn’t need new judges to handle the workload” and filling those vacant seats would be akin to “packing the court for political ends.”

Not to put too fine a point on this, but the argument is simply crazy. In the American system of government, it’s madness to suggest the president is doing something controversial when he nominates qualified jurists to fill vacancies on the federal bench.

It seems that the longer President Obama is in office, the more brazen Republicans get with their outright denial of his legitimacy. I imagine by the end of his second term, they will be bitching about him living in the White House or flying on Air Force One.

More from Steve Benen…

I hate to break this to Senate Republicans, but President Obama was elected — twice. Presidents submitting judicial nominations to the Senate to fill vacancies is pretty much the definition of normal presidential behavior. If the GOP finds this annoying, they’ll have to take it up with the Constitution.

Go read the entire piece, it goes into the dirty tricks Republicans are attempting to prevent President Obama from doing his job.

May 29, 2013 Posted by | 2014 Elections, Election, Politics, President Barack Obama, Republican Party | , | 2 Comments

President Obama’s Full Speech On National Security, Drones and Gitmo

The only decent copy I could find of this is from RussiaToday. For the record, I am not a communist.

May 24, 2013 Posted by | National Security, President Barack Obama | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Extremely Liberal Podcast On Obama’s Chicago Speech, Role Models, Guns And Suicide!

This was recorded a couple of weeks ago, but still timely and relevant IMHO! We talk about the Oscar Pistorius case and the connections to gun safety; suicide and how we wish Aaron Schwartz was still around; President Obama’s misinterpreted words on fathers in a speech in Chicago; single moms and the importance of role models.

To download the mp3, right click and “Save As” (28 mb).

The RSS Feed for the podcast is in the right column.

March 4, 2013 Posted by | Media, Podcast, Politics, President Barack Obama | , , , , | 1 Comment

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