Category Archives: President Obama

Obama calls GOP budget ‘Social Darwinism’

Washington, DC, April 3, 2012. President Obama attacked the Ryan – Boehner Grand Old Tea Party budget passed in the House of Representatives, calling it “Social Darwinism.” The Grand Old Tea Party immediately attacked the President saying “Darwinism? That’s evolution. We can’t practice evolution. We don’t believe in it!”

When he heard about the response from the GOP and Tea Party, President Obama started laughing. His laughter, however, subsided when he was reminded of the November 2010 elections, the Grand Old Tea Party majority in the House, their votes in the Senate, and their apparent 5 – 4 majority in the Supreme Court.

President Obama was having lunch with editors and reporters of the Associated Press when he condemned the Ryan – Boehner Grand Old Tea Party budget. He called it a “Trojan horse” and “thinly veiled social Darwinism.” Mark Landler, in the New York Times, aka “the Liberal Elitist media,”  (here), wrote that Obama said the Ryan – Boehner Grand Old Tea Party budget “would greatly deepen inequality in the country.”

While expanding the disparity of wealth that exists between the 3.07 million richest Americans, i.e. the 1%, compared to the 303.93 million not-richest Americans, i.e. the 99%; by decreasing educational opportunities and access to health care, and by increasing poverty, the Ryan – Boehner Grand Old Tea Party budget would actually serve to expand equality among the 303.93 million non-richest Americans, albeit in what many consider to be the wrong direction.

The Ryan – Boehner Grand Old Tea Party budget has been endorsed by all four remaining candidates running in the Republican primaries. Altho Newt Gingrich, opposed it before he was for it, calling it “right wing social engineering.” As Speaker of the House, Mr. Gingrich, it must also be noted, pioneered the technique of shutting down the government as a way to protect the taxpayers from the services they need from their government.

The Grand Old Tea Party also attacked the President for having lunch when he should be working. There are rumors that Mr. Gingrich called President Obama “shiftless” and “lazy” for having lunch when he should be working. However, as there are no reporters covering Mr. Gingrich, those rumors could neither be confirmed nor denied.

Rush Limbaugh demanded videos of the President with young female reporters. Mr. Limbaugh later changed his statement, demanding videos of young female reporters without the President, and large quantities of various controlled substances.

Former Vice President Cheney could not be reached for comment. It is believed that he is in a secure but undisclosed location where he may be hunting with lawyers. Or hunting lawyers. 
 

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Filed under GOP, President Obama, Rush Limbaugh

The President v The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is supposed to be above politics. The President is not. The Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary braches of the United States Government are supposed to check and balance each other. Refer to the Constitution for details (here).

In his State of the Union address, President Obama criticized the Supreme Court and asked Congress for a law that will reverse the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v Federal Election Commission. Obama didn’t criticize the Supreme Court in a classroom, on partisan political ground, or in a closed session with Democrats. He criticized the Court in a non-partisan forum, in a televised joint session of Congress, in front of 6 members of the Supreme Court.

The way we can judge the substance of Obama’s criticism is to look at the matter, “Citizens United versus Federal Election Commission, the decision, the majority opinion and the minority opinion. (Supreme Court Wiki here , SEC Analysis here, Independent analysis: here.) The Court, in a 5 to 4 decision that appears to be along ideological lines (Alito, Kennedy, Roberts, Scalia, & Thomas, v Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomayor & Stephens) in Obama’s words “reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections.” Obama went on to say, “I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people, and that’s why I’m urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong.”

I am not a lawyer, but I think the Supreme Court said “Corporations have the right to free speech, even if they make political advertising that is not factual.”

We will see what happens next.

Will the House and Senate enact legislation that reverses the Supreme Court decision or curtails the right to free and misleading speech by corporations?
Will this legislation be challenged in Court?
Will the Court that hears the challege agree with the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v Federal Election Commission or support the new law?

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Filed under Citizens United, Constitution, President Obama, Supreme Court v President

Obama on Israel, The Holocaust, and the Palestinians, in Cairo, June 4, 2009.

Obama on Israel, The Holocaust, and the Palestinians, in Cairo, June 4, 2009.

Obama doesn’t tell people what they want to hear; he tells people what they need to know.

Obama understands the ramifications of the Holocaust and the legitimacy of Israel perhaps better than I do. In 154 words (paragraphs 2 and 3, below) the President slammed Achmadinejad, neo-Nazis, other Holocaust deniers and the whole anti-Zionist movement into a brick wall.

Recognizing that the Palestinians have legitimate aspirations and a painful history, even if some of it was “brought about by Israel’s founding” does not minimize or undermine Obama’s support for Israel. Indeed, speaking the facts supports it. In the context of the painful history of the Palestinians, Obama used the phrase “brought about by Israel’s founding.” But this means that Israel’s founding may have precipitated certain events which have come to pass in the history of the Palestinians. This does not mean that Israel or Israelis are directly responsible for those events. If I am driving and I stop at yellow light, knowing it is about to turn red, and someone in back of me rear ends me, they are at fault. I am not at fault, even tho my actions precipitated the collision.

Here’s the excerpt from Pres. Obama’s speech in Cairo, June 4, 2009, published on the Internet at WhiteHouse.gov. (Click here for the full speech)

“The second major source of tension that we need to discuss is the situation between Israelis, Palestinians and the Arab world.

“America’s strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied.

“Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust. Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed — more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, it is ignorant, and it is hateful. Threatening Israel with destruction — or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews — is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve.

“On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people — Muslims and Christians — have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than 60 years they’ve endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations — large and small — that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: The situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. And America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.

“For decades then, there has been a stalemate: two peoples with legitimate aspirations, each with a painful history that makes compromise elusive. It’s easy to point fingers — for Palestinians to point to the displacement brought about by Israel’s founding, and for Israelis to point to the constant hostility and attacks throughout its history from within its borders as well as beyond. But if we see this conflict only from one side or the other, then we will be blind to the truth: The only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security. (Applause.)

“That is in Israel’s interest, Palestine’s interest, America’s interest, and the world’s interest. And that is why I intend to personally pursue this outcome with all the patience and dedication that the task requires. (Applause.) The obligations — the obligations that the parties have agreed to under the road map are clear. For peace to come, it is time for them — and all of us — to live up to our responsibilities.

“Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and it does not succeed. For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America’s founding. This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from Eastern Europe to Indonesia. It’s a story with a simple truth: that violence is a dead end. It is a sign neither of courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus. That’s not how moral authority is claimed; that’s how it is surrendered.

“Now is the time for Palestinians to focus on what they can build. The Palestinian Authority must develop its capacity to govern, with institutions that serve the needs of its people. Hamas does have support among some Palestinians, but they also have to recognize they have responsibilities. To play a role in fulfilling Palestinian aspirations, to unify the Palestinian people, Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, recognize Israel’s right to exist.

“At the same time, Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel’s right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine’s. The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. (Applause.) This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop. (Applause.)

“And Israel must also live up to its obligation to ensure that Palestinians can live and work and develop their society. Just as it devastates Palestinian families, the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel’s security; neither does the continuing lack of opportunity in the West Bank. Progress in the daily lives of the Palestinian people must be a critical part of a road to peace, and Israel must take concrete steps to enable such progress.

“And finally, the Arab states must recognize that the Arab Peace Initiative was an important beginning, but not the end of their responsibilities. The Arab-Israeli conflict should no longer be used to distract the people of Arab nations from other problems. Instead, it must be a cause for action to help the Palestinian people develop the institutions that will sustain their state, to recognize Israel’s legitimacy, and to choose progress over a self-defeating focus on the past.

“America will align our policies with those who pursue peace, and we will say in public what we say in private to Israelis and Palestinians and Arabs. (Applause.) We cannot impose peace. But privately, many Muslims recognize that Israel will not go away. Likewise, many Israelis recognize the need for a Palestinian state. It is time for us to act on what everyone knows to be true.

“Too many tears have been shed. Too much blood has been shed. All of us have a responsibility to work for the day when the mothers of Israelis and Palestinians can see their children grow up without fear; when the Holy Land of the three great faiths is the place of peace that God intended it to be; when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra — (applause) — as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed, peace be upon them, joined in prayer. (Applause.)


(I would, however, argue that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in Judaism and Jewish culture, Zionism started in the time of the Roman exile – long before Hertzl observed the Dreyfus trial in France, long before World War II. However, I would agree that the international political will to support Zionism came about after W W II. And the President was speaking in Al-Azhar University in Cairo. He was there to lecture on America and the world today, not Jewish history.)

Peace,

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Filed under Israel, Obama in Cairo, President Obama, the Holocaust, the Palestinians

NPR Interviews Republicans On Obama – They Like What They See

National Public Radio, NPR, interviewed Steve Leich, who voted for Obama, and Reeves Brown who did not (click here). They like what they say and say “Obama is Presidential.” I agree with the Republicans on one fundamental point: I also see Barack as “Presidential,” meaning strong, decisive, focused, disciplined, tough, well educated and very, very smart. In these last two qualities, well educated and very, very smart, I see Obama as towering over his predecessor.

As a liberal, I hope to see the President invest tax revenues in rebuilding the country: the physical infrastructure of the roads, hospitals, factories, schools and parks; the intellectual infrastructure of an educated citizenry; and the philosophical basis of America – the rule of law of the Constitution.

I disagree with Brown and Leitch where they believe Obama’s economic policies will create debts for their children. I hope and believe that the economy will grow under President Obama and that I will climb out of debt, build wealth and help my children. As far as I can see, Bush’s domestic policies were as big a disaster as his defense and foreign policies. The Republican sacred cows of deregulation and neoconservative unilateralism, and the Bush dogma of absolute power in time of war, which was previously considered unconstitutional, have led to the unmitigated disasters in FEMA’s response to Katrina, warrantless wiretaps, the war in Iraq, and the ghost towns of Wall St., Main St., American factories and towns.

President Kennedy said “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” and asked us to send a manned mission to the moon and back, safely, in 10 years. Obama must echo Kennedy’s call to move from selfish greed to altruistic service. Rather than a ship to the moon we must rebuild the ship of state and spaceship Earth and sail on to the future.

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A Place for Caribou Barbie in the Obama Administration

I think Obama should create a position for Sarah ‘Caribou Barbie’ Palin in his Administration. She may not be good on energy policy, or foreign policy, and she can’t tell a professor from a terrorist (altho when you think about it, with their emphasis on reading books and thinking, intellectuals really are subversive). She doesn’t read newspapers, and she doesn’t know of any Supreme Court decisions she would change … but she is good at shopping, and spending Republican campaign funds. And in doing so she does us proud (and helps the Democrats). In her own inimitable way she helped elect Barack. So I think Obama should appoint her “Shopper-in-chief” authorized to spend RNC money on clothes, shoes, snowmobiles, make-up. Whatever. In addition to spending RNC money in ways that help Democrats, if she continues to spend $150,000 per month she will do more than any one person, with the possible exception of Paris Hilton, to jump-start the economy.

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Filed under Caribou Barbie, President Obama, Sarah Palin