Saturday, January 19, 2013

President Obama 2013: "Bolder and Smarter"

President Obama will be sworn in for a second term on Monday, January 20th. He will take the oath of office in 2013 with a starkly different perspective than 2009.

He is less the president of unbridled hope -- "we are not a collection of blue states and red states, we are the United States." He is much more grounded and wiser: universal optimism has been replaced by pragmatic realism.

To say he understands the duplicity, intransigence and the unmitigated wackiness of his opposition (GOP) would be the understatement of the decade. The only finger lifted by the GOP during his first term was the middle finger to Obama, Democrats, middle/working class, immigrants and the poor.

The party of no wanted nothing more than to sabotage all things Obama!

What has emerged: Obama has become more bold, uncompromising and steadfast. He refused to blink or bat an eye in the fiscal game of chicken played by the leverage challenged Republican congress. He is rejecting the inside game by taking his agenda to the American people -- a la Ronald Reagan. He is no longer reluctant to use the bully pulpit.

Will Obama reboot pay more dividends? CNN contributor David Gergen asks the same question:

All of this has added up for Obama to one of the most effective transitions in modern times. And it is paying rich dividends: A CNN poll this past week pegged his approval rating at 55%, far above the doldrums he was in for much of the past two years. Many of his long-time supporters are rallying behind him. As the first Democrat since Franklin D. Roosevelt to score back-to-back election victories with more than 50% of the vote, Obama is in the strongest position since early in his first year.

Smarter, tougher, bolder -- his new style is paying off politically. But in the long run, will it also pay off in better governance? Perhaps -- and for the country's sake, let's hope so. Yet, there are ample reasons to wonder, and worry. source

Many looming issues face our country from immigration to climate control to almost record high unemployment of young African-Americans -- not to mention a still some what fragile economy. These issues require a determined and resolute leader who stakes the higher ground instead of trying to appease the fringe right-wing crowd. Obama appears ready to fit the bill.

Now this is hope I can believe in!

Friday, January 18, 2013

NRA shouts fire in a crowded theater

NRA peddling fear: Obama wants your gun.

Governor Chris Christie on the NRA;

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday condemned the new National Rifle Association Web ad that invokes President Obama’s children, the latest move by the prominent Republican to sharply criticize a group closely aligned with his own party.
“To talk about the president’s children or any public officer’s children who have — not by their own choice, but by requirement — to have protection and to use that somehow to try to make a political point I think is reprehensible,” Christie, a potential 2016 White House contender, said at a Thursday news conference. “My children had no choice that I wanted to run for governor. I pretended that they did. I asked them what they thought. But in the end, they had absolutely no choice in whether I ran for governor or not. And they knew that, by the way, when I was asking them, which is why they didn’t spend a whole lot of time answering.”
“But the effects on their lives are significant,” he continued. “And they’re a full couple of steps down from the effect that it would have if, you know, when your father’s president of the United States, and the security concerns that go along with that.” source
The powerful and obviously reprehensible NRA insists on shouting fire in a crowded theater with intent of whipping their fan base into a raging frenzy. They want some of their fringe and unhinged members (individuals with powerful weapons) to feel threatened by any gun control proposed legislation. They are doing their best to provoke the "loose cannons" to take their anger to the streets. So the NRA continues to shout...
"Obama wants your gun!"
Any attempts to legislate common sense gun laws is met by great resistance. They spend millions and millions of dollars annually to buy support -- mainly in the GOP -- from congress. They issue congressional report cards to de facto threaten elected leaders who fail to properly pass their litmus test.
And the height of NRA influence over congress: The congress during the 1990's banned the Center for Disease Control and Prevention from using federal funds in studying gun violence and its root causes.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other scientific agencies will be allowed to study the causes, effects and prevention of gun violence, after President Obama lifted a de facto ban on such research.
The move was one of 23 executive directives issued by President Obama yesterday in the aftermath of last month’s shooting rampage at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school.
Gun violence kills more than 30,000 Americans every year — almost as many as die in car accidents. Last year, no federal funding was used for research on gun violence, while $62.4 million went to vehicle and highway safety research. source
It's time for more politicians, Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and Independents to break the strangle hold of the NRA and legislate the sensible gun laws that over 80% of the American public want. And there is hope:
WASHINGTON -- New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants the nation's mayors to pressure members of Congress to support President Barack Obama's gun violence proposals and take their cue from the hardball tactics often used by the gun lobby.
Bloomberg said in a speech Friday to the U.S. Conference of Mayors that mayors remain on the front lines and deal with gun violence on a daily basis, often comforting families of shooting victims. The billionaire said mayors need to band together and make clear that members of Congress could lose their jobs if they don't support tougher gun laws.
"We need to tell our members of Congress that they've got to stand up for sensible gun laws, and if they do that, we will stand up for them, and if they don't we will stand up for whoever runs against them. Because that's exactly what the NRA is trying to do," Bloomberg said.
"The NRA says, 'You don't support us, we're going to make you lose your job. We're going to support your opponent.' Well, we can do exactly the same thing," he said.
Bloomberg urged his fellow mayors to mobilize behind a sweeping set of proposals offered by Obama after last month's deadly shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. The big-city mayor, who leads Mayors Against Illegal Guns, has often used his own money to push gun-control causes.
"We need every mayor to go to their congressman and their congresswoman and their senators and say we've got a problem in our city, and you're the one who is responsible if that problem continues," Bloomberg said.
He said the National Rifle Association and members of the gun lobby's ability to influence elections is "vastly overblown," noting that the NRA had tried to unseat Obama during the 2012 and failed. "I think you'll find they weren't terribly successful at doing that," he said, days before Obama's Inauguration.
Obama's plan faces uncertain prospects in Congress, where lawmakers have been hesitant to support tougher gun laws in recent years. The issue of gun control has been a major topic during the three-day meeting of the national mayors' organization.  source

Monday, January 14, 2013

Colin Powell: GOP has a "dark vein of intolerance"

After decades of being the quintessential "team player" or loyal soldier for the GOP, Colin Powell has opened up to express his current concerns regarding the Republican party.

So, Mr. Powell, please tell us what you really think.

Colin Powell did more than defend Defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel on Sunday morning TV. The former secretary of State also strongly condemned his Republican Party, calling it out for a "dark vein of intolerance."

"There's also a dark – a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the party. What do I mean by that? I mean that by that that they still sort of look down on minorities," Powell said. "When I see a former governor [Sarah Palin] say that the President is 'shuckin' and 'jivin,' that's racial era slave term. Another former governor [John Sununu] after the president's first debate where he didn't do very well, says that the president was lazy … now it may not mean anything to most Americans, but to blacks, the second word is shiftless and then there's a third word that goes along with that

Why do senior Republican leaders tolerate this kind of discussion within the party?” he asked.

"I think the Republican Party right now is having an identity problem and I'm still a Republican," Powell said on NBC's Meet the Press, as he lamented a "significant shift to the right" that has resulted in losing presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012.

"If it's just going to represent the far right wing of the political spectrum, I think the party is in difficulty," said Powell, who said he voted for a GOP presidential candidate seven times in a row before voting for President Obama twice. "I'm a moderate, but I'm still a Republican."  source

Powell could not be more correct: The far right wing, via a coup de etat, has overthrown the mainstream GOP establishment. In an effort to resurrect the party of Ron Reagan they have morphed into the party of Rush Limbaugh. And since the GOP controls the House of Representatives, by default, the Tea Party wackos are driving the House agenda.

The far right is obstructing or blocking sane gun control legislation, economic recovery, Wall Street regulations, immigration reform, American infrastructure investment and the list goes on. And with these truly morally and mentally imbalanced folks calling shots (just think Allen West and Michele Bachmann types) America's future remains in a tenuous position -- up the creek without a paddle.

Even as we speak, Tea Baggers are calling for another economic shut down unless President Obama and the Democratic congress concedes to GOP demands that were soundly rejected in the 2012 election.

Hopefully, the GOP grown-ups can restore order in their asylum. If not, my fellow Americans, we have 2014 (mid-term elections) to show these clowns our collective disgust and rage.