Posts Tagged ‘President’

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White House Releases the Real ObamaCare

02.22.10
South façade of the White House, the executive...

You can download the PDF of the president’s proposal here.

From what I’ve read, it looks like what people expected: a combination of the Senate bill and the House bill.  No public option was added; no more federal insurance exchange; the Nebraska deal eliminated along with the Stupak amendment; and many of the taxes won’t go into effect for several years to help ease states into the system.

In some aspects it looks like this proposal is a little more centered with the change of having states create their own insurance markets versus a national one, but then it also removes the abortion language that moves it over to the left.  So a few moderate Republicans might be happy with the former but then they, along with the conservative Democrats, will be rather displeased with the latter.

At the end of the day, I don’t know that the actual substance of this proposal will sway any politicians who weren’t already on board with the Senate bill.  It’ll lose some Democratic support with the removal of the Stupak amendment, and I highly doubt that it will gain any Republican support for any reason because they’re lock-step in opposition to the bill.  But one of the big criticisms of Obama and how the Democrats have handled this health care reform business was their total failure on selling the bill; they let the Republicans demonize it as a socialist, government takeover of health care.  And the public bought it.  How else can you explain how people tend to approve of the specific elements of the bill but not the actual bill itself? So, we’ll see if this has any affect on public opinion. If it does, it will take away some of the Republican’s ammunition of opposition and hopefully nudge the listless Democrats into signing off on a bill similar to that which almost all of them already voted yes. We’ll see.

Do your part of making an informed opinion: take a look at the proposal.  Nothing revolutionary that we haven’t already seen in some form in the House or Senate bills; like expected, it’s a mix of the two.  But, try to make up your own mind about it.

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Obama (America) Deserves Nobel Peace Prize

10.09.09

Many are saying that President Barack Obama has received the Nobel Peace Prize far too soon, before he’s been able to actually do all these things that he’s setting out to do.  They’re saying that he should decline the award until he’s able to accomplish the goals that would warrant such an honor.  And, as expected, despite the President of the United States (note, of the entire country, not just the Democrats’ President) winning such high accolades, the GOP has nothing good to say whatsoever.

Is it too soon?  Well, I suppose that depends on what merits you’re basing the award.  According to Nobel, the prize should be awarded “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” Obviously, there isn’t an exact method to determine a winner.  It isn’t a numerical decision.  Judges don’t rate participants based on trials and give scores.  Much of what a person accomplishes in order to win this award is intangible.

Even if intangible, it can be palpable.  And the global climate since Obama took office – actually, since Obama won the election – has changed drastically.  It is palpable.  Still, many people don’t seem to care about this.  Someone posted on my Facebook facetiously saying that he will sleep better at night knowing that the world admires us because we elected Barack Obama.  The reality is that it does matter.  The world’s view of America does matter.  Because we are the flagship.  It’s called the American Dream, not the British Dream nor the Japanese Dream.  When our economy collapsed, so did the rest of the global economy.  One of our political enemies – China – invests in our country because it knows that if we fall, the world would follow suit.  We are an integral part of the global economy and society and to think that no one else’s opinion of us matters is arrogant, ignorant, and foolish.

Obama won the prize for this: his desire for peace, his announced diplomacy, and his levelheaded, rational approach to global conflicts.  I suppose had we not endured eight years of wrongness and damaging ideology under George W. Bush, Obama’s traits and actions wouldn’t be seen nearly as drastic of a change.  In fact, if it were based simply on what Obama has done specifically, many, many presidents would be in line for a Nobel Peace Prize.  But, it needs to be examined in the microcosm of the current climate of global affairs.

It’s the world giving Obama the thumbs up, the go-ahead, the support of the global community to keep going forward with his – and the majority of American’s – ideas and that he’s not alone.  It’s actually more telling to how terrible Bush’s policies and mentalities were than to how revolutionary Obama’s are.

It’d be nice if this were a wake-up call to the conservatives of America, but instead I fear that it will simply further entrench them in their stubbornly partisan ways.  They know the reason Obama won this.  They know it’s because of how bad Bush was to the world as a whole.  It wasn’t just a national debacle; Bush changed the entire globe for the worse.  Nobel awarded this prize to America, to the overwhelming majority of voters who elected him and the rest of the Democratic majority in Congress, to let us know to stay strong and trust that we are indeed on the right track.

Finally.

Not to say things are perfect.  Not to say Obama is perfect or infallible.  Not to say Obama should be doing better and doing more.  But, on so many levels, it’s incalculably better than things were a year ago.

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The Backwards World of Religion

03.31.09

(Massoud Hossaini / AFP – Getty Images)

I would like to attribute something this grossly offensive and obviously a clear-cut attack on human rights to the sub-sect of fundamentalist radicals within the Muslim community.  But, when Hamid Karzai, the U.S.-backed, elected president of Afghanistan, a country that we invaded and “liberated,” forces legislation through that legalizes rape, I really can’t blame the fringe.

In a massive blow for women’s rights, the new Shia Family Law negates the need for sexual consent between married couples, tacitly approves child marriage and restricts a woman’s right to leave the home, according to UN papers seen by The Independent.

Yes, legalized rape.  See, when it’s between a husband and a wife, the wife relinquishes her ability to say no.  In Afghanistan, at least.

I’m beyond tired of hearing about all of these so-called “family” laws that claim to protect any aspect of the nuclear family unit, which, according to certain religions, is THE only way to have a family.  We have plenty of these types of laws in America, too, so Afghanistan is not unique by any stretch.  Ours come in the form of DOMA and numerous generically titled groups and lobbyists.  I’m not saying that DOMA is equivalent to this Shia Family Law by any stretch.  But that’s not to say that DOMA doesn’t egregiously discriminate and deny rights to a specific group of people based on religious rhetoric.  The SFL goes even further to condone sexual abuse, which is too appalling to even capture in words.

This is a sad reminder of how far humanity still has to come as a species.  It makes me glad that here in America we have knocked over some of these boundaries that seem so archaic to us now yet still exist in many other places in the world.  But, at the same time, it also reminds me of how much work we still need to do here in the West.  I hate having to always bring up that less than 90 years ago women didn’t have the right to vote.  People of different ethnicities and races couldn’t vote less than 50 years ago.  We needed a full-blown civil war in order to stop the practice of people owning people.  Equality takes time and an immense amount of effort.  We can’t go into a different culture and just impose our way of life onto them and assume that it will just stick.  We need to continue to progress, better ourselves, and encourage widespread education.

The time for governing our lives based on ancient texts is over.  It’s time for the Next Renaissance.

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George W. Bush: War Criminal

03.16.09

It’s amazing how quickly we forget what a totally corrupt and illegal presidency we just endured for the past eight years now that we have a president who actually understands that he is not above the law.

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove, and the whole lot should be tried for war crimes. I bet they’d be found guilty.  You can’t just throw the rules out the window because we had an attack on our soil.  Remember when we threw Japanese-Americans into internment camps after the bombing of Pearl Harbor?  And now we consider that to have been a horribly inappropriate, unjust, and illegal act that no one condones.  This is one of those same things.  And we should take those responsible to court.  Even if it’s the former president.

Andrew Sullivan states it rather simply:

The question you have to ask yourself is a relatively simple one. Does this treatment amount to “severe mental or physical pain or suffering” in the pursuit of intelligence? If it does, then Bush and Cheney have to go to jail for the commission of war crimes.
Why is this a difficult question to answer?

It’s not difficult.  And maybe if Bush hadn’t completely decimated the world’s economy, our current government could put more effort into making him pay for his actions.

I’d be very curious to hear how anyone could defend Bush right now.  Please, feel free to explain it in the comments.  And do so without making some ridiculous correlation to Obama.  Obama wasn’t president then so leave him out of it.  One person’s mistakes don’t make another’s okay.

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The Bible: The GOP’s Political Handbook

03.13.09

In case you weren’t aware, the current US political system is split into essentially two major parties (Independent, you’re not quite there yet): the Democrats and the Republicans.  Although, this doesn’t really explain it well enough.  From the Red State point of view the split would look some thing like: the Heathens and the Righteous.

I used to get really upset and annoyed that the GOP just co-opted religion (namely fundamentalist Christianity) as one of the building blocks of their party and cast aside everyone else as godless and immoral.  Why do they get to have it all to themselves, as if they’re the only ones interesting in morality and family?  (Not that I want anything to do with their form of religion, of course.  Or any, for that matter.  But just the fact that they’re trying to make it seem like no Democrat is religious is ignorant and insulting.)

And when I read things like:

“Chairman Steele, as the leader of America’s Pro-Life conservative party, needs to re-read the Bible, the U.S. Constitution, and the 2008 GOP Platform. He then needs to get to work — or get out of the way,” – Kenneth Blackwell, a rival to Steele.

So, the GOP essentially is just a Pro-Life Party.  Nothing else matters.  Certainly not the economy, since GOP governors are refusing the stimulus package.  No wonder the Democrats run Congress and the Executive Branch.

Luckily, the time for getting irate is over.  The GOP has crossed over into being totally laughable.  Palin ran on traditional family values and now her unwed, mother-of-one 17-year-old daughter has dumped her boyfriend (poor Levi).  I have no problem with this personally whatsoever, mind you, but when you claim to be totally against that type of lifestyle there seems to be a lack of sincerity and reality.  Mainly reality.  And McCain just continues being the crabby old man we saw in the debates.

Nevermind the fact that Rush Limbaugh has been the most vocal GOP “leader” for the past couple months.

The reality is that people do want that separation of church and state.  I know I’m sick and tired of religion being at the forefront of political discussions.  The crazier the right gets with their “holier than thou” political movement, the better it will be in the long run for all of us because it’s only going to implode on them when they realize that a small section of Southern Evangelicals will not carry them to the Oval Office in 2012.