This Thanksgiving, I reflect on our nation. There is reason to despair, or course. Some dire work is still undone. For example, nearly a year after the Sandy Hook horror, we still have no coherent national plan of action to restrict gun ownership. Also, our Congress is still embarrassingly dysfunctional, as the Republicans recently shut down the government in protest of millions of Americans getting access to health insurance. There is also a lack of meaningful citizen action on climate change, which could be the nullifying factor for all human endeavor a few generations out. Read more
We talk of the roll-out "disaster" of Obamacare, but now see a real disaster of staggering scale: the typhoon and aftermath in the Philippines.
We survived the "tragedy" of our shut-down, a game of pointless political parlor tricks, when the truly tragic events around the world remind us that governing shouldn't be a game.
We watch the wrangling on Capitol Hill -- who "devastates," "demolishes," "slams" whom. These "life or death" debates pale beside life-or-death struggles of refugees & recovery.
And as we wait for the climate to change in the debate over climate change, the climate has just changed the lives of those in the Philippines forever.
We may use ferocious rhetoric in our politics, but the typhoon should remind us that reality is far fiercer than all our metaphors…and deserves action stronger that rhetoric.
May governments and people of the world pull together for the people of the Philippines, and may we get serious about strengthening a solid, sustainable, safe society for us all.
Join a night of like-spirited souls as you share reactions to this week's actions at your local progressive social club. Read more
Politics today is all about messaging. So I took a quick look at the Twitter account for Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate. What I found will not surprise you. Republicans are focused on the ACA rollout and the report that people are being drop from their insufficient healthcare plans. While Democrats are focused on everything from Women's Rights to debt reduction.
While the President mentions healthcare in his tweet today. He also mention's how low the debt is currently vs. 2009. The Democrats are currently searching for a winning message, while the Republicans think they have found one.
Is our media that naive to think that Germany, England, Israel and other "friendly nations" aren't spying on there great ally the United States? Of course they are and they should be. Spying isn't always about hurting your enemy. It's also about understanding what other governments know so your government can make better policy decisions. And by the way Republicans, this program was started in 2002. So if you want to have a congressional investigation. Go ahead!!
But like I was saying. When governments talk to each-other about a specific issue it's vital to have an understanding of where that other government stands on that issue. And i'm not just talking about there public stance. You need to understand there private stance. The only way you will find out the difference between a governments public and private stance is by, you guessed it. Spying! Read more
President Obama, Senator Reid and Representative Nancy Pelosi pulled off an epic victory for the American people this week when they held strong against the Tea Party’s best efforts to sabotage our government. After fifteen long days of the government shutdown, it was the strong-minded determination of our Democratic leadership that caused House Republicans to blink. The take-away is simple: good wins out in the end.
Undoubtedly, the Tea party will try to regroup and spin the narrative in their favor, but when the January and February due dates approach to revisit the budget and debt ceiling my bet is on bipartisan communication averting anymore drama. Polling indicates most American voters hate what the Tea Party did. Career politicians like GOP Rep. Herrera Beutler are finding their way to the middle, and hard core Tea Party leaders will be booking tickets home in 2014. When the American people make up their minds on something, it takes decades to change it, and they have now decided good governance makes their lives better. Read more
Ted Cruz's exhortation against Obamacare and the House GOP's explosion of democratic process turn out to be part of a long-term right-wing plan for the exploitation of a government shut-down.
Bohner's lost control of the House while regular Americans are losing overall, yet conservatives bend and twist and contort to explain what it is that "winning" would like like.
The Tea Party accuses Obama of obstructionism while they refuse to govern responsibly, refuse to end the crisis to start negotiations, and keep changing what it is they demand.
They've gone from exhorting and distorting to contorting and outright extorting. When America needs serious people in charge, we're stuck with a GOP of contortionists and extortionists.
If only we could deport those who extort out of DC entirely.
In the meantime, don't shutdown, but show up for a night of lively conversation & liberal libations at your local progressive social club.
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1. Syria remained subject to a bloody turmoil for over two years in 21st Century which promised highest civilization in the history of our planet. Over a hundred thousand innocent fellow humans killed and over a million Syrian citizens displaced. United Nations remained a silent spectator throughout the Syrian’s massacre and so are all the Global Heads of the States “The Hon’able Members of UNO”. What a tremendous conspiracy against an elected government and UN recognized sovereign state. Who financed, armed and patronized the Opposition Party of Syria! Who is a threat to Syrian’s integrity and their solidarity! Who promoted Civil War in Syria! Who will own & justify the innocuous blood of one hundred thousand Syrians! Read more
The UN General Assembly meetings this week offer President Obama a chance to capitalize on recent diplomatic developments with Syria and to extend a hand to new Iranian president Hassan Rouhani in the hopes of launching renewed negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program. In an op-ed in the Washington Post last week, Rouhani urged other leaders “to respond genuinely to my government’s efforts to engage in constructive dialogue.” It is critical for Obama to show that his administration is willing to answer Iranian concessions with some relief of sanctions that Rouhani can bring to the Iranian people.
Iran is Ready for Talks
A prominent adviser to the Iranian leadership, Amir Mohebbian, explains that Iran’s leaders see the next six months represent the best opportunity to reach an agreement, before campaigning for parliamentary elections begins in March. This is a window the US cannot afford to miss. It is time for the US to offer a reasonable deal that would signal to the Iranian people that the West is willing to work towards a larger agreement. Read more
The U. S. government’s warm relationship with the self-described “neo-Ottoman” and D. C. friendly regime of Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan is no secret. But emerging details on the classified Operation Nomad Shadow seem to involve the U.S. taking sides in yet another foreign entanglement - this time in a raging Kurdish sectarian conflict near the Turkish-Iraqi border.
As the Washington Post describes,
“the U.S. Air Force (since 2011) has been flying unarmed drones from Incirlik Air Base in Turkey in an attempt to suppress a long-simmering regional conflict. The camera-equipped Predators hover above the rugged border with Iraq and beam high-resolution imagery to the Turkish armed forces, helping them pursue PKK rebels as they slip back and forth across the mountains.”
If the Defense Department’s own service medal eligibility requirements are accurate, Nomad Shadow’s covert existence may stretch back at least as far as November 2007. Read more
Popular topics for political discussions all revolve the question of choice. People are happier when given more options in their decision making but laws still have to be set in order to prevent people from harming each other. The price, however, of living in a nation that allows the beliefs of different cultures and religions to exist is that we often have clashes over what we believe is best and lawful for our citizens. Recently, my home state of Texas signed into law a bill that prevents a woman from having an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Whenever I was asked the question whether I approve of that law my only response was “I don’t know.” Unfortunately, my response when it comes to whether abortion should be legal or not is still being formed. Read more
In the last few weeks there has been a great deal of debate and controversy over the possibility of retaliatory strikes by the US in Syria. Both sides of the debate have some excellent points, and both sides have some points that are far from realistic appraisals of the situation. But this comment is not about the weaknesses or strengths of either side of the debate. Instead, I would like to offer a short statement as to why I am somewhat puzzled as to the rancor on the entire political debacle. Read more
The Obama Team wanted to start bombing Syria with an international force and global mandate, until our allies around the world said, No Thanks.
So the President pushed for America to act alone, creating a rare moment of bipartisan unity as Congress said, Slow Down…Not Yet.
But we were told bombs were still the only choice until John Kerry mentioned a diplomatic option: to which the Syrian regime has so far said: OK.
The President had to edit his previously scheduled speech. Now let's hope he interrupts his previously scheduled war.
The Syria crisis deserves international attention and action more effective than a go-it-alone bombing campaign.
Let's mark September 11th by seeking diplomacy and peace, praying that we can end war with an alternative to war.
Remember, reflect, rendezvous and rejuvenate as we chat peace and primaries over a pint or two at your local progressive social club.
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Obama seeks Congressional approval to strike Syria, a mission lacking clear reason, aims and scope. He wants swift action but maybe Congress will move as quickly as it did to consider the American Jobs Act.
The President wants the green light to go it alone, as NATO passes, the UN stalls & England bows out. Maybe the House and Senate can deliberate as effectively as they did to avoid the sequester.
The White House is boosting a Bush-sized blunder that could turn into a Bush-quality quagmire. Maybe Washington will reach as much consensus as it has over immigration, guns and energy policy.
President Obama may be playing 3-dimensional chess as he imagines a winning strategy in bombing Syria.
Our only hope to avoiding this new war may be if Congress instead plays to a stalemate…forcing the Prez to rely on diplomacy, international institutions & global pressure instead.
Where's some good, old fashion Capitol Hill inaction, lethargy and obstructionism when we need it?
Shana Tova! May these high holidays see peace and may we all head back-to-school this season to relearn the recent history we've already forgotten. Read more