Posts Tagged ‘obama’

So… I’ve seen a lot of this discussion over whether President Obama should be the one to nominate the next Supreme Court justice, some saying that he should let the next President do it, some dusting off Kennedy as an example, etc. etc.
So I went back and looked at my handy-dandy pocket-sized copy of the Constitution, given to me at a semi-creepy hot dog joint in Plattsburgh NY.
It says that the President ‘shall nominate’ new justices. Not ‘shall have the power to nominate, save when the exercise of same should present a political inconvenience’. It says that he ‘shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint’.
The President has the power to make a recess appointment right this minute, filling that seat with anyone he wants for the next ten months. Instead, he is waiting until such a time as he can not only exercise his Constitutional obligation, but also allow the Senate to exercise theirs. But he absolutely should nominate. The Constitution demands that of him.
Quite frankly, I don’t know that I would have given that much power away to that particular group of obstructionist arseholes, many of whom have already explicitly stated that they will simply refuse President Obama’s nominees on principle rather than bothering to consider them on their merits.
One of the most admired minds ever to sit on the Supreme Court, Louis Brandeis, was nominated in the final year of a presidential term. The guy had enemies, for sure, as did the President who nominated him. The nomination was bitterly contested, both sides fought tooth and nail for their viewpoint, but it would have been unthinkable to merely refuse the nomination – and so they considered him, and he was ultimately confirmed, and America is better off for his opinions on freedom of speech, the right to privacy and a host of other matters.
One would think that the current crop of Senators would want to uphold their own obligations, and engage in a real debate over a nominee’s merits. But maybe they just don’t have the balls.

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Anyone else think that maybe, just maybe, a scene like this might have played out across some secure phone lines recently?

OBAMA: Dave. We need to save face over this Snowden thing, especially considering all your GCHQ crap.

CAMERON: He’s in Hong Kong, right? We still have some pull there, I can get him out.

OBAMA: Well, see, I don’t want to deal with him, I want that info out there but can’t afford to look weak.

CAMERON: Easy. I’ll talk to my guy in Hong Kong, you get in their faces demanding extradition.

(next day)

HONG KONG (with a world class poker face): I’m sorry America, your extradition request does not meet our legal requirements. Oh rats, who’s that sneaking onto that plane with “Aeroflot” on the side?

(next day)

OBAMA: Vlad. Do me a solid here. Find some reason you can’t send Snowden to me, and have Lavrov tell it to the press.

PUTIN: Because I want to keep him and all the wonderful things he knows?

OBAMA: Another reason.

PUTIN: If he doesn’t leave the tiny patch of airport between the gate and the immigration desk he’s not technically in Russia?

OBAMA: That works.

PUTIN: Also because we have no extradition treaty with you.

OBAMA: Yeah, one of these days we might wanna fix that.

PUTIN: I like your Snowden. He makes me look good to my people, and lets you speak strongly but not do anything you’d regret. Clever boy.

(next day)

OBAMA: Dave, me again. Make the usual arrangements?

CAMERON: Ecuador again?

(next day)

CORREA: ¡Mierda! they want me to take another one?

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Lately I’ve seen a lot of people saying they hate Mitt Romney or Barack Obama, a lot of negative ads from down-ticket candidates, a lot of politics of division.

I’ve also seen a lot of voter fatigue, a lot of Facebook statuses saying “I’ve quit caring who wins” or “I just want the election to be over”, or worst of all “I’m sitting this one out in protest”.

As ever, there’s a third way. Stop being anti-. You can be pro-someone without having to hate everything the opponent stands for. You can prefer beef and still eat chicken. Or if you really want to protest the two-meat system, get out there and vote for tofu instead of sitting out dinner. If you’re sitting out dinner, you don’t get to bitch about the restaurant.

So let’s try something better. I’ll start.

“I’m voting for Barack Obama next week because despite some mis-steps I believe the effect of his presidency on the country has been positive.
I prefer government to be small where possible, but not so small that the ones who need our help fall through the cracks.
I would like to keep my taxes reasonable, but I’m not willing to lose important programs like Social Security to save a couple of bucks a month.
I believe in the importance of alternative energy programs, and in a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices, and in the right of consenting adults to marry whomever they love, and I believe that our current President better embodies these choices than his opponent.”

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I hear you’re feeling very disillusioned with President Obama lately.

Allow me to remind you of a few notable accomplishments:

  1. Passed credit card reform.
  2. Passed Wall Street reform.
  3. Passed health care reform.
  4. Repealed DADT, and is dismantling DOMA.
  5. Ended the Iraq war.
  6. Restored the standing of the United States with allies Bush alienated.
  7.  Passed a stimulus package which almost certainly prevented a second Great Depression.
  8.  Got Osama bin Laden.

And all of this in the face of an ineffectual Senate majority (Dem) and obstructionist House majority (GOP), and laboring under an economy wrecked by eight years of Bushism.

Many of the Presidents in our history books would would have been lauded as heroes had they accomplished this much in eight years, and Obama has done so in three. And here you are saying it’s not enough.

There is still a lot of work to do, and a lot about the nation which could be improved. But for crying out loud, let the man do his job. You supposed “progressives” are whinier than John Boehner, and your inability to take the long view is becoming almost as obnoxious as Rush Limbaugh.

I still believe in Yes We Can… because we have.

I still believe in Yes We Can… because we still can.

I will be voting for Obama in 2012… because if I stay home the way many of you are talking about doing, I will not delude myself into thinking I am making a statement, and will richly deserve President Gingrich, President Santorum or President Romney.

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Dear Sirs,


Now that the only one of you with any decency has departed the race, I feel compelled to make the following assertions to you:

  • I will support keeping government out of our boardrooms the day you support keeping it out of our bedrooms.
  • I will believe in corporate personhood the day you make corporations subject to all the restrictions and penalties imposed by law as well as the benefits conferred by it – up to and including the death penalty. Speaking of which…
  •  I will believe that you are pro-life the day you vote to repeal not only Roe v. Wade, but also the death penalty and the Second Amendment. I will believe you are pro-life when you stop trying to gut the EPA and start trying to gut Halliburton Corp. I will believe you are pro-life when you stop saying “Kill America’s enemies” like a brainwashed jihadi.
  • I will believe you are pro-family the day you do something which benefits all America’s families rather than merely the ones you personally find acceptable.
  • I will believe that you are protecting the institution of marriage when a committed couple of 30 years can finally get married for love but Kim Kardashian can’t do it to get a headline.
  • I will believe that you support the free market when you stop rigging it in favor of your campaign donors.
  • I will believe that you want to rein in government spending when the Department Of Defense has to publicly disclose all of its accounting.
  • I will believe that you are in favor of individuals’ freedom when you begin to not only respect but insist upon the separation of church and state.
  • I will believe that your party is worthy of governing when it is no longer (by its own admission!) prioritizing defeating the opposition over bettering the lives of Americans.
  • Last but by no means least, I will consider voting for you when you stop telling me what’s bad about the other guy and start telling me what’s good about you – assuming there’s anything to tell.

President Obama is far from perfect, but as things currently stand, he is still head and shoulders above all of you.

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Today, the White House is hosting a science fair, inviting competition winners in math, science, engineering and technology from schools around America.

While this of course makes for excellent press at a time when Democrats sorely need this, it also underscores a commitment to putting his ideals into practice. It is not enough to say that America must improve its educational curriculum in math and science – it needs to be made real.

As Obama put it recently, if the NCAA championship winners get to come to the White House, so should the best scientists and mathematicians in schools.

And yes, that’s Adam Savage from Mythbusters up there with him. The President will be ON MYTHBUSTERS next month, which is simply awesome.

Obviously you can’t fix a war and a recession with quick publicity blasts like this, else he’d have had those squared away within the first week of his presidency, but it’s nice to see that the “smaller” things aren’t being forgotten about. Long after Obama leaves office, the kids who will benefit from his support may be in a position to avoid another war and/or recession because of what they learned.

Plus, of course, it’s nice to have a President who would rather blow shit up on Mythbusters than, say, in the Middle East.

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Like many of you, I have been following the doings of the Obama administration and the 111th United States Congress with considerable despondency.

While the ‘politics of hope’ message inspired a great many people, it’s easy to say that sort of thing when one is campaigning, but very difficult to get it done.

This is especially true, I believe, for the left-leaning end of the political spectrum, where part of the ethos is the willingness to include a variety of viewpoints, to reach compromises and generally to try to “make nice” with as many people as possible.

At this point, however, the Republican opposition has become increasingly obstructionist and stubborn, often seemingly to the point of opposing much-needed common-sense legislation for no other reason than it having been put forth by a Democrat.

But there was a filibuster-proof Senate super-majority, wasn’t there? The Dems were going to be able to cram through any measure they wanted.

Here’s the problem. A super-majority requires party unity. Party unity is hard to come by when you’re including lots of differing views under one big tent. This is especially true when among the differing views include folks such as Joe Lieberman, representing the minor and unofficial “Whatever It Takes to Benefit Joe Lieberman” party, and Ben Nelson, representing the larger but similarly unofficial “I’m Only a Democrat Because That Made Me Electable” party.

Obama himself is similarly handcuffed by this process due to the separation of powers. By the time something makes it to his desk, it’s hardly worth his time to read it.

So scratch party unity. But the message should still be compelling, yes?

Yeah, well.

The right-siders, whether Cheney or Limbaugh, Palin or Steele, have been very good at the art of the five-second soundbite. Remember the “death panels”? The “socialist agenda”?

The Republican message, starting back in the Bush years, has been one of fear. Be afraid that the terrorists will attack your city next. Be afraid that Obama will allow doctors to kill your grandmother. Be afraid that the Democrats will tax you into poverty.

The Democratic message, from most quarters at least, has been, “Hey, that’s not true, quit being so mean. Incidentally, I still respect your right to say it even though I disagree with you, but I still think you’re being unnecessarily mean about it. Perhaps we can meet somewhere in the middle. Or possibly even slightly toward your end from the middle.”

Which of those is the more compelling message?

In this country, most of us grow up with the overarching societal concepts of divine judgment and knee-jerk patriotism, two notions which have been blended together very skillfully by the religious right. As such, being “un-American” is as much a sin as any violation of the Ten Commandments and a charge gleefully thrown at any so-called liberal to whom it will stick. “Socialist”, recalling as it does notions of Russia and Eastern Europe, has much the same effect.

So if you’re even remotely undecided, are you more likely to vote for the people who tell you you’re hell-bound if you don’t, or for the people without the balls to stand up to them?

No wonder the Democrats have gotten nothing done.

Want hope? Want change? Let’s see some real leadership from Reid and Pelosi, or a change in leadership if those two can’t get it done. Let’s see Team Blue get their own soundbites own there, show the Republicans a little backbone. Let’s see the insightful and incisive puncturing of the over-inflated rhetoric. Why are you appeasing the people who have screwed you over time after time after time?

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I know that the use of language in today’s mass media is geared toward a fifth-grade (or thereabouts) comprehension level. Surely, though, the folks we elect to serve in the highest offices should be at least a little smarter than a fifth grader. Perhaps we should have Jeff Foxworthy come and test the entire lot of our nation’s politicians for actual fitness to serve.

Jeff Foxworthy
Our nation’s savior?

Allow me to illuminate a few things for all of you in national politics.

1. Bush was not a Nazi. Obama is not a socialist. Labels of ‘fascist’ (which few of you appear able to spell) and ‘communist’ are similarly inapplicable to either of them – though it is inordinately amusing to hear words like these applied to two men of quite different ideology. Less amusingly, I believe anyone who has suffered under the rule of such regimes as those of Hitler and Stalin would be rather offended to hear the comparatively trivial measures taken by these Presidents compared to the savagery they were forced to submit to.

Enough name-calling. If you have an issue with a President’s policies, come up with a reasonable alternative and we can all have a civilized debate. If you can’t do that, then keep your mouth shut.

2. Stop talking about whether there is too much God or too little God in the running of the country. Both of these are meaningless. The country was founded in part to ESCAPE the notion of any kind of state endorsement of religion. I have no problem with people worshipping according to their beliefs and legislating according to their values, but don’t use confuse the two and use religion to justify your political acts. In a nation whose founders specifically tried to avoid mixing religion into the law, such actions are hypocritical and offensive.

3. Related to the above: if you’re a bigot, just man up and be a bigot. If you have a problem with blacks, or Muslims, or the poor, or women, or gays, or conservatives, or any other group, just say so. Don’t get into the “un-American” line of bullshit. They’re just as American as you are. They love freedom just as much as you do. (Not that you even know what ‘freedom’ means, if you’re trying to deny it to anybody else.) Last but by no means least: any right which you would claim for yourself, you should also accord to them, whether it’s specifically spelled out in the Constitution or not.

4. Keep your promises. Don’t tell the public one thing and then do another, unless you also give us a damn good reason for the change. Don’t tell one group something and another group the opposite. We live in the Internet age, and we WILL find out. When it happens, enjoy your retirement money. We won’t vote for you to keep darkening our doorsteps.

5. When you watched movies as a youngster, remember how you cheered when the schoolyard bully got his comeuppance. Look at America’s standing in the international community around, say, 2006-7. If elementary school parable is indeed the limit of your understanding, maybe it can at least be allowed to guide foreign policy in years to come.

6. The national media have provided you with a means of understanding whether you are acting logically – whether you identify with the right or left. His name is Jon Stewart. If your name is mentioned on his show more than twice in any given month, you might wish to take a look at your priorities. Jon Stewart, you see, IS smarter than a fifth grader.

7. Perhaps above all, remember this quote from former President Harry Truman – another individual who was smarter than a fifth grader:

“Don’t piss in the soup, boys – we’ve all got to eat.”

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Looks like it’s Congressman John McHugh.

Although I get the ‘team of rivals’ philosophy, any time Obama nominates a Republican for a post I find myself looking for the benefits to the Democratic party. Naming Jon Huntsman ambassador to China, for example, takes a potentially credible 2012 GOP contender out of the public eye quite handily. So why McHugh?

Here is John McHugh’s congressional district map:

Not much help there. Most of that is pretty solidly in the redder parts of NY, so a special election would most likely still result in a Republican seat. No guarantees, though – NY-20 squeaked to Murphy in their own special election, and NY-23 is considered a slightly more Dem-leaning district than that.

McHugh’s voting record is somewhat mixed – he consistently voted with the GOP on key issues regarding the “war on terror”, but has broken with them on other issues such as S-CHIP, federal minimum-wage increase and repeal of oil company tax credits. He also takes positions in favor of educational grants and fair trade.

It sounds more as though Obama would be losing a potential ally in Congress than strategically removing an obstructionist. So perhaps he really thinks McHugh is the right man for the job. He certainly has the credentials, having served on the House Armed Forces Committee for a long time now.

Here’s hoping that having a moderate choice in there will do some good.

Also of note is that McHugh apparently has something of a sense of humor; having worked hard to support the Army base at Fort Drum, NY, McHugh took issue when the TV show The West Wing mentioned closing it – and went so far as to co-write a letter (with Hillary Clinton) to the character Josh Lyman to urge him to reconsider his position.

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Earlier this week I got involved in Facebook discourse regarding suitable materiel for the George W. Bush Presidential Library. Upon reading the assertion that Dr. Seuss might be a little highbrow, I found myself in disagreement. Seuss would be fine as long as there were ready adaptations more pertinent to the political realities faced by the outgoing administration.

In evidence, I offered the following:

I do not like him, Rahm-I-Am,
I do not like that Kenyan man.
I do not like his Yes We Can,
I do not like him on Iran, 

I do not, will not, change or hope.
I will not read him “My Pet Goat”
I do not like his big blue map
I also think his VP’s crap.

I think he’s wrong on education
And his misunderestimation
Of my entire eight-year span,
I do not like him, Rahm-I-Am!

I do not like his stimulus,
He’s weak on defense, what a wuss!
He won’t sign a gay marriage ban.
I do not like that Kenyan man.

They say his middle name’s Hussein –
I’d rather go with John McCain
Or maybe Sarah, she’s a cutie
I really like her… sense of duty.

I’ll always back the GOP
No matter what they do to me
I am a staunch Republican,
I do not like him, Rahm-I-Am!

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