Archive for the ‘Diplomacy’ Category

What has Obama done in office?

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

I have posted a couple times addressing this question. What has Obama done so far? You can read those here and here. But… I stumbled upon a fantastic site that answers that question simply—over and over and over again– What the F*** has Obama done so far dot com. Obama has done so much for our country. He cannot fix all the years of damage the last administration did but he has done a lot towards repairing so many national wounds. From healthcare reform to rights of all people to corporate responsibility—Obama has been working hard for all of us…these are just a few examples the website cites…

For Women…

For Children…

For minorities…

 

For gay rights…

 

For students…

For Human Rights (and for restoration of political legitimacy)…

For science and research…

For the disabled…

 

For the veterans and their families…

For the elderly…

For the unemployed…

For the fiscally conservative (and the next generation)…

For the geeks, even…

 

And as I said above, these are just a few of the examples of What Obama has done so far… in one term in office. I would say he has done an outstanding job so far.

Thank you President Barack Obama.

You can read more on the website: What the f*** has Obama done so far?

Welcome Obama!

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Goodbye Bush! =)

I am swept away with emotion, sentiment, thoughts… I will bask in this for a good while before I comment. I’ll let Obama doing the talking today…

Here is Obama’s Inaugural Speech from January 20th, 2009:

Written Transcript:

“I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land – a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met. On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life. For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth. For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions – that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act – not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions – who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them – that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control – and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart – not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort – even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment – a moment that will define a generation – it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends – hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence – the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed – why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

‘Let it be told to the future world… that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive… that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].’

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.”

Beyond the Palin

Friday, October 10th, 2008

“I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts.” — Socrates

This new approach by the McDesperate campaign is completely wrong. It is not just about the campaign, it is about endangering someone else’s life. What kind of President would McCain make if he is willing to encourage blatant xenophobia, giving a socially acceptable face to racism. Stirring up this kind of hate in the fringe lunatics is dangerous. It does not help McCain’s campaign but it does put Barack Obama in harm’s way.

We have had some twenty years of fear shoved down our throats. ENOUGH!

Obama is NOT a terrorist.
Obama is NOT a Muslim.
Obama is NOT an elitist.
Obama is NOT going to raise anyone’s taxes.
Obama is NOT pretending to be something he is not.

Stop with the lies. You are the terrorist, John McCain. You invoke terror in the ignorant and the frightened, you try to get others to believe Obama is palling around with a terrorist. This is simply not true. He is not a threat to our country or to the citizens.

Shame on you John McCain for inciting fear and hate. It is simply NOT acceptable.

This is one more way you demonstrate how you are not prepared to be President. You can’t even run a political campaign that is different than the last two. Act responsibly. What kind of Senator puts a fellow Senator in harm’s way? Not the kind we need in Washington.

You should stop asking, “Who is Barack Obama?” and start asking who you want to be… you are a bit old to be struggling like you are with identity issues. You have changed your stance on almost every issue during this campaign and now when we are headed straight for a depression, and you are losing, so you are milking the xenophobia surrounding Obama but you not stopping there. You are filling the minds of hate-mongers with rhetoric and encouraging them to get more riled up. These people are dangerous. Why would you allow a crowd that you stand before to scream obscenities and ridiculous but harmful lies and not say SOMETHING? Do you hope someone will kill Obama? Is that your plan? Is that your campaign strategy? Is that your hope? If not, then stop inciting so much anger and hate towards him. You are trying to win an election, I hope not trying to get someone killed.

Who are YOU, John Sidney McCain? A spineless, corrupt Corporatist willing to say anything and do anything to become President, even if it means getting another Senator killed? The man who pushed for deregulation and now is full of empty rhetoric about regulation? The man wanting to help out corporations and banks while taxing the American people? The man who didn’t utter change until it worked for Obama in the polls? The man who talks about supporting veterans but hasn’t?

Who is Barack “Hussein” Obama? Watch for yourself…

Barack is a man with a strange name…so what!? Barack is more like you and me then John McCain will ever be. Do not allow these scare-tactics to immobilize your common sense, please.

Stop for a moment and breathe. Listen to the quiet voice of reason. Watch the video, let go of the ridiculous rhetoric on the five o’clock news. Obama wants to help make this country what it once was, to restore the balance of wealth and power to the majority of people. Obama wants to help us get out of the recession and live a better quality life. He wants to help us live the American dream. McCain wants to be President and wants to help the Corporations. We can help business by helping ourselves first.

McLiar at it again…

Saturday, October 4th, 2008

Since he cannot win on his real stances and his real record…John McCain continues to lie. He is full of it! And if anyone believes him, they are simply too lazy to do a little research. John McCain is a liar. L*I*A*R!!! He knows he cannot tell the truth or people would not vote for him. He is not for the people. He will not save the American people in taxes. He is clueless and this is why he resorts to out-and-out lies to win votes. I’m sick of it!

McCain LOST the 1st Presidential Debate

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

I watched the debate intently. I recorded it. I played it back. I listened to hours of post-debate commentary and despite all the rhetoric, and there was a lot of that in the right wing sector media, Obama won this debate no-contest.

A debate is not about talking over your opponent. It is not about points gained by aggression or emotions raised by non-sequiturs or rhetorical nonsense. It is about logical debate on the topics. Obama gave us plenty of that, McCain did not.

The McCain campaign had ads prepared declaring they had won even this morning, BEFORE they even confirmed that McCain would be going to the debate at all. All of this after the dramatics of the past few days. McCain is a drama-king. He announced he would not go to the debate until the $700 billion bailout was signed. Yet, it was not signed and there he was. He is simply willing to say whatever at the moment to get and keep attention, even if it is under false terms. This seems to be his only consistent m.o. in this campaign. He had a television ad prepared just minutes after the debate, filled with snippets of misused quotes by Obama. He is a scoundrel and his campaign knew he lost. Apparently, he knew he would lose ahead of time.

McCain’s ad used Obama’s words out of context. When Obama said, “John McCain is right…” or “I agree with McCain” it was more to show common ground not to demonstrate he agrees with McCain’s policies. Should we not be looking for reasonable people who want to find common ground with others to lead us as a nation? Or do we want to continue fostering the useless ideology that to disagree 100% is the only way to be true to one’s party. Is it really all about the blue or the red? Should it not be more about the policies that will improve our lives and protect our collective interests? We need a reasonable, flexible President. This is what Obama demonstrated with his willingness to find common ground.

The reason John McCain needed to distort Obama’s gentleman-like behavior was because he lost on the real debate. He could not convince the American people in rational, reasonable or articulate manner that he was superior in matters of foreign relations. He couldn’t even look Obama in the eyes. He was huffing and puffing and fidgeting about. He was completely unprofessional. He avoided answering the questions or responding intelligently to Obama or to Lehrer. He lied about his voting record and the things he had and had not done. And Obama mostly let him.

Why? Some argued Obama lost points because he let him. I disagree.

Obama was trying to be polite. He was trying to debate the way you are supposed to debate. In a debate a topic is brought up, one person opens with an argument, the other gives their argument. The original speaker is allowed a rebuttal and then a counter rebuttal is given from the 2nd person. John McCain seemed to miss this on numerous occasions. He would often go on and on, over Lehrer, over Obama. He was rude and off-point throughout the debate. Obama tried to interject when he was interrupted but he didn’t want to be rude. He assumed any reasonable, intelligent person would not be swayed by such ridiculous tactics. Just because Obama is not rude or angry in his demeanor, does not mean he is weak. He is anything but.

Obama’s reasonable, rational approach worked. It is evident in the polls. It was evident in his answers. He handled himself extremely well and demonstrated unarguably that he is not a novice in matters of foreign affairs. Words you would expect to hear in a real political debate about foreign affairs would be words like diplomacy, legitimacy, discussion, negotiations and phrases like “broader strategic plan” that included something more than just military might. The came out of Obama’s mouth, not McCain, the supposed expert in foreign affairs. Obama also addressed how other countries around the world, including allies (especially allies), perceive us and noted that this is important to international affairs and, ultimately, national safety. It is absolutely vital to national safety. Political legitimacy must not be forgotten. It is tantamount to military might in international affairs. Why is this point lost on so many?

McCain didn’t mention any of these things integral to successful international affairs. Furthermore, he never mentioned the middle class, bettering the lives of every day people, or anything positive at all really. While he was busy being angry and breathing like a dragon, avoiding eye contact with Obama and ignoring Lehrer’s attempts to move on to a new question, he failed to really focus on what he had to offer the country in terms of foreign affairs or national security. And he failed to prove Barack Obama was incapable to lead the country in terms of foreign affairs or to protect the country. Therefore, he lost this debate, period.

Paramount to positive, strong international affairs is diplomacy, tact, calm and reasonable interactions with the leaders of other countries. McCain can’t even look Obama in the eye. He is rude and dismissive. He believes we shouldn’t even engage in conversation with countries who disagree with us. This is not foreign relations, this is forced relations. You must first relate to foreign heads of state to have foreign relations, long before you can have positive relations.

McCain believes we can bully the whole world around but we can not. This has been proven over the past 8 years, time and time again. Ask foreigners what they think of us. Read their newspapers. Once upon a time we were thought of as the beacon of hope, the land of dreams, the forefront of freedom and democracy. Now, we are the ignorant bullies of the world. Even the citizens of our allied countries are raging against us. And McCain is completely out of touch with regards to this entire concept. We are the joke and irritation of the world. And if you think it is not important what other countries thinks of us, think again! If China owns almost a trillion dollars of our debt and we are at war with countries who have or could soon have nuclear weapons. How many more wars can we begin and how many more allies or countries can we alienate before they form an alliance against us? Think about it…

Torture. Military first, no-talking approach to international disagreements. Bullying. Lying. Cheating. Not caring for our own people. Illegitimate wars. Loss of civil liberties. Ignoring our own Constitution. Secret Renditions. Double-Standards with regards to Nuclear Proliferation.

These are the things that are making us lose our political legitimacy and tarnishing the American brand, if you will, throughout the world. We are seen as hypocrites. Are we really so xenophobic we are afraid of talking to people who have different opinions than us? different religions? Certainly, we should not allow terrorism to reign supreme but have we lost all sense of political discourse? of moral discourse? of thought discourse? The mindset of this country has been divided. There are those of us who believe political dissension strengthens us as a country. That we can disagree with our neighbors but not kill them for it or force them to change their views with a gun. And there are those who would have you believe that any disagreement with the Bush policies or the choices made by this country’s leaders in the past eight years, or simply a different ideology is tantamount to treason.

Dissenters are made out to be anti-American, unpatriotic, haters, anti-troops, anti-military… against the U.S. in every way. This is simply preposterous. We love America. We think for ourselves. You should try it sometime.

Obama has a reasonable, comprehensive plan with regards to how he will approach foreign affairs. His will include the real tools of foreign relations. (Diplomacy, tact, discussions…etc.) This is how you deal with people.

Imagine for a moment, your neighbor and you were feuding. He disagreed with the way you keep your yard. You disagreed with the way he kept his. Would it be better to have a formal discussion, to try to work it out diplomatically? Or do you think you it would be better to jump in a military tank and blow him up? It is simply not reasonable. Period. Even if you wanted to go with the latter, how many tanks  can you reasonably come up with and how many neighbors can you reasonably alienate or declare war with? After awhile, you will run out of tanks but never of neighbors. Then what? The neighbors will join together eventually, to fight against your military tyranny. And what then?

Obama discussed another international relations point eloquently when he talked of our absence in Latin America, in Asia, and in Africa. He noted our absence in these places is amplified by China’s presence. Even Cuba is present in all of these places. Yet, somehow, we are not represented? How is this? How can we, effectively and legitimately, continue to say we lead the world in democracy and freedom, if we are not only NOT present in many countries in a positive manner but simply bullying them into doing what is best for us, even to their detriment?

Furthermore, when asked if McCain would meet with the president of Spain, he didn’t even know who he was. He was obviously mistaking him with a Zapatista (a Mexican revolutionary group). How can he be a foreign affairs expert and not know the foreign heads of states, even those of our allies? That is simply ludicrous.

“We have weakened our capacity to project power around the world because we have viewed everything through this single lens [war].” — Obama

Obama understands that international relations need more than guns to be successful. We must restore our political legitimacy before we lose the support of the allies we have left.

This is spot on. STANDING OVATION.

Obama knows the fundamentals of international relations. McCain does not.

POINT OBAMA TEAM!

I will go through the debate transcript at length this weekend… till then, keep informed and goodnight.

(And what exactly was the existential threat to Israel McCain referred to with Iran? Does he know what existential means?) And what about McCain’s comment about not wanting to go back and forth… um, this was a debate, isn’t that the point?

Obama WON the 1st Presidential Debate — HANDS DOWN!

Friday, September 26th, 2008

Listen and watch (< --- CLICK THERE) the first Presidential debate in 2008 between Obama and McCain on National Security and International Affairs, as well as the urgent economic issues. (I will be blogging about this later for in-depth analysis but thought you might want to see it for yourself first). (Source of video: CSPAN) Complete Transcript from CNN:

LEHRER: Gentlemen, at this very moment tonight, where do you stand on the financial recovery plan?

First response to you, Senator Obama. You have two minutes.

OBAMA: Well, thank you very much, Jim, and thanks to the commission and the University of Mississippi, “Ole Miss,” for hosting us tonight. I can’t think of a more important time for us to talk about the future of the country.

You know, we are at a defining moment in our history. Our nation is involved in two wars, and we are going through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

And although we’ve heard a lot about Wall Street, those of you on Main Street I think have been struggling for a while, and you recognize that this could have an impact on all sectors of the economy.

And you’re wondering, how’s it going to affect me? How’s it going to affect my job? How’s it going to affect my house? How’s it going to affect my retirement savings or my ability to send my children to college? Video Watch footage of the debate »

So we have to move swiftly, and we have to move wisely. And I’ve put forward a series of proposals that make sure that we protect taxpayers as we engage in this important rescue effort.

No. 1, we’ve got to make sure that we’ve got oversight over this whole process; $700 billion, potentially, is a lot of money.

No. 2, we’ve got to make sure that taxpayers, when they are putting their money at risk, have the possibility of getting that money back and gains, if the market — and when the market returns.

No. 3, we’ve got to make sure that none of that money is going to pad CEO bank accounts or to promote golden parachutes.

And, No. 4, we’ve got to make sure that we’re helping homeowners, because the root problem here has to do with the foreclosures that are taking place all across the country. Read more about the expectations

Now, we also have to recognize that this is a final verdict on eight years of failed economic policies promoted by George Bush, supported by Senator McCain, a theory that basically says that we can shred regulations and consumer protections and give more and more to the most, and somehow prosperity will trickle down.

It hasn’t worked. And I think that the fundamentals of the economy have to be measured by whether or not the middle class is getting a fair shake. That’s why I’m running for president, and that’s what I hope we’re going to be talking about tonight.

LEHRER: Senator McCain, two minutes. (more…)

NUMBERS ANYONE?

Friday, September 19th, 2008

I have read my fair share of ranting asking how Obama will pay for his expansive budget plan. In particular the following parts are controversial to the Anti-Obama voters:

• A $65 billion-a-year health plan
• $15 billion in green energy spending
• $85 billion in tax cuts and credits
• A $25 billion-a-year increase in foreign aid
• $18 billion a year in education spending
• $3.5 billion for a national service plan

Oh the avaricious right would have you believe Obama is planning on spending, spending, spending…with no means to pay for it. This is a silly accusation. We, lefties, think in terms of people but we are not stupid. Some prefer numbers, even if they distort information to get them. But for the sake of prosperity, let’s discuss Obama’s economic plan on terms they can comprehend, figures. I was digging around in the federal budget for 2008 today, searching through hidden drawers, finding little tidbits to see what numbers I could use that would be fair and accurate. I found some.

In 2008, Bush requested a sum of $141,700,000,0001 (yes, folks BILLIONs) in appropriated (discretionary) funds to be allocated for Department of Defense emergency operations in the Global War on Terror. This is not base funding, it is not the mandatory funding allocated for defense…it is in addition to it, it is extra emergency SUPPLEMENTAL funding allocated for the “War on Terror”. This money is even above and beyond the $70,000,000,000 ($70.0 BILLION) allocated in the 2007 Defense Appropriations Act for such purposes. This is $388,219,178.10 per day in ADDITIONAL emergency supplemental funds (back-up to the back-up emergency funds) allocated to a war that should have never been started and will not continue, if Obama becomes President.

This is a good number to begin with, don’t you think? It is not the regular budget. It is not the defense budget (which can be argued and skewed in every direction). This is simply surplus-surplus funds (not as in extra money we have to spend frivolously but simply extra money allocated frivolously) sent over to this illegitimate war, a war Obama never wanted us to get into and fully intends on pulling us out of as soon as safely possible, upon election. A war McCain supported from the beginning and has no solid intention or concrete plan on ending.

That money alone would pay for the majority of “spending” Obama has planned. Let’s look at the remaining amount. $211.5 Billion dollars was the original amount of the “offensive suggestions”, right? Subtract the $141.7 billion (just one year’s supplemental back-up emergency funding for the war that will end under Obama) and this leaves a balance of $69.8 billion.

Let’s not forget Obama’s budget will provide a comprehensive health care plan for everyone, green energy spending (READ: LEGITIMATE MEANS TO END DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL AND GET US OUT OF THE ENERGY CRISIS WE ARE IN), $85 billion in tax cuts and credits for 95% of American households (immediate and long-term financial relief), more foreign aid (which will help improve foreign relations, which…um, will, uh, help reinforce the allies we have not alienated in the past eight years through our excessive use of military might, ignoring our own international agreements and throwing diplomacy out the proverbial window), a better educational system (paying teachers more, focusing on math and science to ensure our future generation is competitive in the technology of tomorrow, helping families afford college etc.) and expands our national service plan (helping people to work within their own communities to improve their own lives and the lives of others, to improve the community and the country as a whole).

However, I digress, back to the $69.8 billion dollars that needs a home in the budget.

Let’s eliminate the tax cuts for the richest 10% of Americans (who hold over 70% of the nation’s wealth)2 GASP! Or we can simply deny the additional $70 billion Bush requested for the 2009 version of the $70 billion extra supplemental funds asked for this year, to fund his War on Terror. Looks like the rich don’t even have to help. Simply ending the excessive spending on a war that Obama does not support will pay for all of his proposed spending with some left over ($200,000!).

But, now that I have done all this research, let’s play with the numbers a little, shall we?.

Pretend for a moment, not that we steal from the rich, but that we make them pay the taxes they should already be paying. After all, our taxing system is progressive. It was introduced as progressive, accepted as such and should remain as such. Translation: each person pays as per their income. The rich will pay more than the poor, but such is the progressive tax system in the United States.

The rich can afford more, so they should pay more…period.

If Richie Rich earns a billion dollars, he should have to pay the appropriate amount of taxes. Lisa Lackey is underemployed, she still pays her fair share even if she can’t afford them. Joe Average, gets a promotion and doesn’t see it all reflected on his next paycheck but he continues to pay his taxes as well. Lisa and Joe continue working hard to get promotions, hoping someday they can retire without financial worries. And both still pay their fair share year after year because neither can afford the same accountant who ensures Richie Rich receives fat and unnecessary tax-breaks.

Let’s for fun (hypothetically) take away the $116.6 billion in tax cuts for the richest 10% in FY 2009 and see what sort of fun we can have…

We could provide:3
34,365,274 People with Health Care for One Year OR
120,711,046 Homes with Renewable Electricity for One Year OR
2,518,359 Public Safety Officers for One year OR
1,999,571 Music and Arts Teachers for One Year OR
18,027,211 Scholarships for University Students for One Year OR
907,020 Affordable Housing Units OR
51,391,674 Children with Health Care for One Year OR
16,001,098 Head Start Places for Children for One Year OR
1,915,400 Elementary School Teachers for One Year OR
1,684,667 Port Container Inspectors for One year

Healthy, smart fun for everyone! Why don’t we discuss the realistic trickle down effects of this kind of spending rather than the non-existent theoretical trickle-down effects of laissez-faire type of economy the right-wing philistines prefer? Those who consistently bark about the unnecessary governmental spending by the Liberals, conveniently forget or justify their own spending (unnecessary wars, big corporations, corporate welfare due to excessive to excessive de-regulations, tax cuts for the rich…etc.)

Make no mistake about it, we are not talking about our everyday budgets here. We are talking about the country’s budget. Numbers look larger, more frightening, perhaps even irritating when we, the citizens, are struggling to make ends meet but Obama’s numbers are no bigger than McCain’s or any other President in the past for that matter. And Obama does have a plan on how to come up with the money. Numbers, such as these, seem astronomical to the average American but every national budget plan is more or less the allocation of our tax dollars to different priorities. So, ask yourself, do you want to take care of the economy with the same policies that got us here? Or do you want to try a sensible way?

  1. http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/fy08/pdf/budget/defense.pdf []
  2. http://solutions.powersimsolutions.com/Ranking/HistoricalPerspective.aspx []
  3. http://www.nationalpriorities.org/tradeoffs?location_type=1&state=888&program=276&tradeoff_item_item=999&submit_tradeoffs=Get+Trade+Off []

NO PRESIDENT LEFT BEHIND

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

Our Presidents (and presidential candidates) are struggling. Time after time we see them battle with the names of the other foreign leaders. It is heart-wrenching to watch the dreaded confusion engulf their faces when they are forced to locate another country on the map. They don’t even know the fundamentals of the economy. The poor things think negotiation tools include nuclear weapon and AK47’s. We must stop the madness. We must not let them fall through the international cracks, or to create even more of them. This is everyone’s future we are talking about. WE must ensure our Presidents (and the candidates running for Presidency) are educated properly to meet the growing needs of the White House. It is IMPORTANT TO ACT NOW! We must not leave any President behind!

Please help me to ensure this ACT is signed by Congress before it is too late.

Note: I thought I was so clever coming up with this idea inspired by McCain not knowing where Spain is located or who the Prime Minister of Spain is exactly. However, after preparing it and posting it…graphic and all, I did a google search and well, I was not the only one to come up with this clever idea. Kudos to the great comedians of the world…and let’s say thanks but no thanks to the road that led us here.

Other links for the NO PRESIDENT LEFT BEHIND ACT:

AVANT NEWS
HUFFINGTON POST
CAFE PRESS

McCain and Spain…Oh the disdain!

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

Is foreign policy John McCain’s strong suit?

In an interview with Radio Caracol Miami John McCain demonstrated his lack of even the most basic knowledge of the leaders of the world, not even knowingeven a leader of a country that is a member of NATO and our ally.

He stumbled over some pre-planned script in his head that was irrelevant to the question she was asking. She simply wanted to know if McCain is elected President of the US, if he will meet with Prime Minister Zapatero, of Spain. Finally, after listening to him ramble on and on about Mexico and Latin America she had to cut to the chase because it was clear he simply wasn’t getting who Zapatero was at this point in the interview:

“Ok, what about you? I am talking about the President of Spain…ok are you willing to meet with him if you are elected President?”

There are three possibilities for his use of doublespeak in this interview:

1. He confused Spain’s Prime Minister Zapatero with a Zapatista, an armed revolutionary group based in Chiapas, Mexico,
2. He thinks Spain is really south of our border and part of Latin America,
3. He simply doesn’t know who the Prime Minister of Spain is and isn’t willing to admit not knowing.

Not one of these options demonstrate a solid foundation for “good” foreign policy. It sounds eerily reminiscent of Bush to me. How is this basic foreign knowledge change?

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