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
150 years ago, Lincoln extolled the importance of a government of, by and for the people. Today, the Gettysburg Address would be criticized by cable news for being too short to take seriously.
50 years ago, we lost Kennedy, who had exhorted us to ask what we could do for our country. Today, such a call would be met with derision, obstruction, filibuster and called "socialism."
We honor the President who preserved our union while Congress tries a new form of nullification. We remember a man who championed voting rights while we experience new forms of voter suppression.
As a country, we mark these moments of our history, with news stories, ceremonies and TV specials.
Maybe we should mark them by learning from them: remembering that America has been at its most inspirational when leaders call for united action in the face of crisis and when we face grave moments with renewed national purpose.
If we can revitalize the meaning, not just recall the words, then a government of the people, by the people for the people, shall not perish from this Earth. 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.
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
The nation lost billions of dollars, the GOP lost national respect & the government lost more of the public's faith while Ted Cruz grew his email list.
The global economy held its breath, the American people threw up their hands & even Republicans of good faith rolled their eyes while we learned Boehner can't run his House.
Now the government can serve the people again, the President showed he can be resolute & the US avoided national default -- with no guarantee this won't happen again.
In the meantime, Congress is back on the job of not passing bills for jobs, immigration, climate change, food stamps or gun control while wiretapping & drones continue unimpeded.
We may have maintained our full faith and credit & seen the Tea Party's fool's faith discredited. But to win the full faith of the American public, it will take real work before DC gets any credit.
Come for a night of good faith and good company as we debate, discuss & drink to recent events at your local progressive social club.
DRINKING LIBERALLY Find - or start - a chapter near you.
Free markets and college football. Deeply embedded into the sociocultural fabric of American life, these two time-honored traditions are incompatible. Why is scandalous headline after scandalous headline born from the act of receiving compensation for working hard, an act that is laudable in every other profession? The answer lies in one dogmatic, pious, hypocritical, bloated bureaucracy of a governing body: the National Collegiate Athletic Association. However, with targeted new policies, the NCAA and member schools can enjoy the best of both worlds.
An Environment of Inequity
The collegiate athletic system desperately demands reform. Young men and women are putting in 50-hour workweeks, on top of classes, and all they have to show for it is NCAA President Mark Emmert’s $1.7 million dollar salary. To put it bluntly, the NCAA’s revenues and operating budget thrive off the exploitation and suppression of “student-athletes” with nowhere else to turn for a playing field. Read more
Now that the government shutdown is a reality, I want to take this opportunity to register my disgust at how this played out. I try and take a reasonable approach to the issue of who is responsible for government problems, and have a rather evenhanded focus, but in this, I am rather upset at the Republicans in the House of Representatives. Read more
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 Far Right Republican Tea Party has overplayed its hand. The House of Representatives, its stronghold on the federal level, is consistently unpopular, having a 10-19% approval rating this year according to the Gallop poll. And now the Tea Party is threatening to shut down the government, and put thousands of employees on furlough, to try to sabotage the Affordable Care Act. How do they think this latest ploy will shake out for them?
Regarding the 2014 mid-term elections, can anyone say “landslide.” Any Democrat with a pulse will be able to make a serious bid on an incumbent Republican-held office this next cycle. Embarrassingly out-of-touch the GOP has become, and American voters are likely to show them the door at the next opportunity.
Here is the problem with the Far Right: they think their positions are popular because they listen to the people in their districts that show up to town hall meetings and send emails. The constituents who are taking the time to complain are the radicalized Far Right who listen to Fox News and other Right Wing media. 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
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.
DRINKING LIBERALLY Find - or start - a chapter near you.
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
Michael Stinnett - 9/03/2013: Legal rulings such as Citizens United and lax campaign financing laws have undermined the democratic process allowing wealthy donors to buy elections; so-called Super PACs are a pernicious influence on society and should be abolished. A Super PAC, or independent expenditure-only committee, “may raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, associations and individuals, then spend unlimited sums to overtly advocate for or against political candidates. Super PACs must, however, report their donors to the Federal Election Commission on a monthly or quarterly basis – the Super PAC's choice – as a traditional PAC would. Unlike traditional PACs, Super PACs are prohibited from donating money directly to political candidates” (Super PACs). The recent ruling protects political spending by corporations in candidate elections, citing the First Amendment's protection of freedom of speech. In justifying the ruling, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote that “'If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech'” (The New York Times). Read more