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HAPPY 53rd BIRTHDAY, President Obama!
According to the Superman Poll, you have a 100% approval rating from this voter. While you cannot do it all, you have remained steadfast in advocating and ensuring that some of America’s most vulnerable are cared for—Obama Care has changed the lives of many, Student Loan Forgiveness has given college-loan debtors some hope, and your most important leadership has been to inspire other members of the your team, like Attorney General Eric Holder, to openly speak against and investigate disparaging policy practices as they affect incarcerated people, especially Black males and other Men of Color.
According to the Perception Poll, you have a 100% approval rating from this voter for changing the way the world perceives which Americans are willing, able and capable of leading our nation, its people and its position as a leader among nations of the world. The My Brother’s Keeper Initiative is such a smart initiative in sending a message about the perception about the importance of Black Males in our nation. The latest economy results are in—there is growth and jobs have been added to our economy!
According to the Cool Factor Poll, you have a 100% approval rating because I dig your cool—you can sing (remember the Apollo?), you can really play basketball, and I dig how relatable I find you and your family—Mrs. Obama as your wife and First Lady is the real deal. How cool!
According to the Intelligence Factor Poll, you have managed to show that it is okay to be a smart, study Political Science, be an expert on the Constitution, and be a well-written and well-published attorney. For that you have a 100% approval rating from me!
According to the Foreign Policy Poll, I have witnessed considerable growth in your leadership around the world, especially in this second term. None of us like what is happening in Gaza between Israel and Palestine, but one of the first changes I supported you requesting that Israel return to the use of the pre-1967 boundary lines in 2011. It was a start in establishing some semblance of equity in a turbulent region, but more importantly, I appreciate the fact that America, under your leadership found it important to condemn Israel’s actions in Sunday’s August 3rd, 2014 bombing of a Gaza UN school. We’re making some progress and that’s a good thing! And, you still always work toward peace. You have an 100% approval rating from this voter.
While I am having a lot of fun with these polls, I want it to be known that I find you to be way more than the average president and far greater than marginal–there is a lot of evidence to support my findings. I want today to be memorable and what birthdays are made of, even for the President of the United States of America: CAKE, CANDLES, and FUN!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, President Obama!
John “B.B.” Boehner: Bad Boss
On Wednesday July 30th, 2014, with a vote of 225-201, the House of Representatives voted to give John Boehner, the United States Speaker of the House, the authority to sue the President of the United States.
That’s right. Our dysfunctional 113th Congress came together for a vote along party lines to sue our President–every Democrat voted against the resolution to sue and all but five (5) Republicans voted in favor of the suit!
At the helm of this dysfunction is the 64-year old, stiff, stoic, and seriously egotistical John “B.B” Boehner. Sworn in as our nation’s 61st Speaker of the House, it is the job of “B.B.” to preside over the House of Representatives—one of two houses that comprises Congress. The members of the House of Representatives are determined by each state’s population which means more populous states have greater voices and votes in the legislative (law-making) processes of the House of Representatives.
“B.B.” has 435 people under his watch. Based on the productivity of this current Congress, it appears as if they all have pretty much been watching each other because they have clearly not been working.
So why the law suit?
By constitutional decree, “B.B.” is second in line to the presidency, and that may have a lot to do with his treatment of President Obama since becoming the Speaker on January 3rd, 2011. I have a feeling that somewhere deep in his orange-stained encapsulated mind he believes that he can do a better job. But, the historical record shows the only thing “B.B.” is capable of doing well is saying, “No.” This Congress has been the least effective Congress in the history of America—even more ineffective than the 80th ‘Do Nothing’ Congress that served with President Harry Truman!
According to the Christian Science Monitor, the real reason “B.B.” has moved forward with this expensive and frivolous law suit is because of the Republican’s accusation of President Obama’s “executive overreach—exceeding his constitutional powers and unlawfully going around Congress.” The Wall Street Journal contributed Boehner’s decision was reinforced by alterations that were made to the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obama Care.
Clearly the framers of the Constitution knew how to keep one another in check because they implicitly imbedded and explicitly granted really important duties, responsibilities, and privileges to the different branches of government. Because the Republicans of this Congress have been so staunch in their resolve to see President Obama fail, and since the Republicans were not successful in preventing President Obama from reelection, they just flat-out became uncooperative, leaving President Obama without a choice but to use the Executive Order and executive privilege to run this country and to make decisions that Congress, that appeared to be defunct at times, refused to help him with. But, President Obama still appealed to them and he still operated within the confines of the Constitution and under the oath he took to defend the Constitution when he was sworn in as president.
Under the partial congressional leadership of Boehner, our nation has suffered sequestration, been faced with issues with our nation’s credit standing, and most importantly Americans have suffered by the non-passage of legislation to provide jobs, support our veterans, and improve the overall quality of life in health, education, and wages.
Bad Boss Boehner and his followers have no respect for the position of the president, show no remorse for the further suffering they have inflicted on the American people, and don’t care about the international implications their actions dictate about how others around the world treat President Obama and respect our system of democracy. In true bad fashion, they have strong-armed the political process like a bunch of sophisticated crooks.
The history that President Obama has made by breaking and removing the glass ceiling of political exclusion for Americans in this country can never be undone. That’s good!
But, the fact that America really wants to become a better nation, but unfortunately-stagnated, small-minded people wish to prevent our progress, is disturbing and bad.
Of all of the putrid and disturbing things for the Speaker of the House to do, using his position to “speak” ideas of anarchy and dysfunction deeper into our government is really low and bad.
When this Congress’s history is recorded, it will not be for a record of all of the good and progressive ways in which it elevated America. Instead, it will be a record of them getting paid for bad, litigious, and intentionally unproductive ways to discredit the office of the president, maintain the status quo of political party chaos, and prevent the upward mobility of Americans and this nation.
America, we have roughly 95 days until mid-term elections are held on Election Day, November 4th, 2014.
YOU have the power to rid our government of Bad Bosses like John “B. B.” Boehner and bad-boss practices. You must simply care about what is happeing in our government, read everyday to stay informed–ThePoliDay Report is a great place, and most importantly you must VOTE!
Political Lingo: Voting…
Good Morning / Good Afternoon PoliDayReport Readers!
I spoke with some of my peers and friends and you would not believe how many of them told me they had not voted in Tuesday’s elections. While the outcomes that many anticipated for some of the most high-stakes elections were successful, those outcomes still do not excuse those of us that did not vote.
Did you know Black Codes, laws designed to indirectly enslave Black people once the 13th Amendment abolished slavery, were enforced and directly tied to voting in an act of defiance by Whites against the passing of the 15th Amendment (1870)–the amendment that made it possible for Black males to vote? Did you also know that Black Codes, and the remix, Pig Laws, changed the face and meaning of criminalization in America, a form of criminalization that appears to be tattooed in our penal system today (if you do not own Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, you must go out and purchase it)? In this video below Dr. Muhammad, Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, explains the laws better here:
In modern acts of defiance, we witnessed the shutting down of our government by a small faction of elected officials with a heavy impact on our political and economic outcomes, and even then some people still had the nerve to not invest an insignificant amount of time to commit the significant act of voting.
This morning while getting dressed for work, NBC’s Today Show featured an interview of President Obama by Chief White House Correspondent for NBC News, Chuck Todd, in which President Obama was asked, around the 2:21 mark, regarding Obamacare: “Do you feel like you owe these folks an apology–for misleading them…?” here:
President Obama’s Interview by Chuck Todd
From an effort to provide America’s people with adequate and suitable health care, President Obama now has to answer questions about how he can absolve the skepticism people will have of him and his administration on this issue and on future promises. And, as a responsible leader President Obama apologizes.
Perhaps the real people who should be sitting on the “hot seat” are those defiant pseudo-citizens that believe they are the only “citizens” entitled to government programs. I have yet to hear any of the smaller faction offer up an apology for shutting down our government, unnecessarily burdening the people, and not working as hard as advocates to provide for the American people as they have been in stroking their defiant egos and stoking their agendas.
People, it is time to trim the fat weighing our government down. You have to vote, and you have to vote responsibly. Defiance only ostracizes and leads to the unfair treatment of people. While some of these Tea Party members and people who identify with the politics of the Tea Party feel that they should have all of the entitlements, there can never be a time in which perceived minority groups take a perimeter approach to the operations of this country.
Let’s vote people.
Political Lingo: Repealed!
Obamacare, really known as the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010 and constitutionally upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012. The Republicans have made numerous attempts to repeal (to remove or reverse a law) this legislation to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. These are the same elected officials that claim our government is squandering money and whining about making our government smaller. They claim to be fiscally conservative, but only when it comes to fighting for special interests.
The important things you need to know about Obamacare are explained to you in a video created by, of course, The White House!
Lastly, did you know that the Eighteenth (18) Amendment was ratified in 1919 and repealed in 1933 by the Twenty First (21) Amendment?
Alcohol became a horrible evil in America during the Progressive Era, a period of social activism and political reform. Women claimed their lives and families were being destroyed due to the drunkenness that caused their husbands to be physically abusive and financially irresponsible. Organizations like the Women’s Christian Temperance Movement were major leaders in lobbying for a Prohibition Law. John D. Rockefeller pledged hundreds of thousands of dollars to support Prohibition as well.
In 1919 the Eighteenth Amendment was passed to ban the manufacture, sale, and transport of alcoholic beverages in the United States and it territories. It did NOT, however, prohibit the purchase or consumption of alcohol. Since businesses couldn’t sell it, people started making it. All hail to the bootleggers and moonshine lived to shine even brighter during this time!
By 1933, industries had enough of the [pseudo]sober life, wanted to get in on some of the booze profits, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the sale of beer and wine because of their low alcohol content. States convened and the Twenty First Amendment was ratified.
I’m sure the alcohol and beverage industries were raising their glasses to drink to that!
Political Lingo: Gerrymander
“(You Gotta) Fight! For your right! (To Party!)!” The Beastie Boys
Those were the words the Beastie Boys sang in 1986 and it was a song that I loved to do my best impression of beat-boxing to. Fast forward to 2013 and it isn’t the right to party that most people are going to have to fight for. It will be the right to VOTE.
During President Obama’s second run for office in 2012, there was a huge voter suppression effort brought on by members of the Tea Party and other constituencies (a group with a common goal / outlook) seeking to ensure that President Obama would be a one-term president. Voter suppression is the act of implementing any obstacles to make it harder for citizens to exercise their right to vote. Some of the obstacles include things like requiring voters to show identification, providing them with misleading information when they show up to polling stations (the places people go to vote), and allowing very long lines to form hoping to deter to voters. Voter suppression is obviously illegal. Attorney General Eric Holder compared requiring people to show identification prior to voting, to a poll tax or a sum of money paid that allows a person to vote. We know that poll taxes were rendered illegal by the Voting Rights Act of 1965 because voting is FREE, but determined groups will always find a way to “fight for their right” to do whatever they feel they should have a right to do.
There is a political and perfectly legal means of determining the outcomes of elections, however. It’s called gerrymandering. The term originated in the Boston Gazette in 1812 along with this political cartoon to poke fun at the intentions of its namesake Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry to support his political party, The Democrat-Republicans. Gerrymandering is the act of changing or altering electoral boundaries in order to provide an unfair political advantage in an election. For example, in some districts, there may be a majority group of younger or older voters. Or, there may be a majority group of voters of a particular racial or economic group. In the event that candidates want to manipulate the outcome of the election, the boundary lines for these districts will be redrawn so that the groups that vote in favor of the candidate or political party are all placed in the same district. When these groups go to the polls to vote, the candidate is pretty certain to gain a victory because he / she has manipulated the demographic, or characteristics, of the voters.
Gerrymandering almost turns politicians into puppet masters. It may appear that they are able to control the voter, but the only control they truly have is over the unregistered voter. The more people who are registered and the more people who vote, the harder it is to control district lines. You have to fight! For your right! To VOTE!
Political Lingo: CONGRESS
It’s about time for a vocabulary brush up when it comes to understanding the political and impending economic debacle (crisis) facing our nation. I am so certain you have been paying attention the best of your ability, the government “shutdown.” I am also certain that at some point in time you have become disillusioned by it all, not because you are not optimistic, but because you are becoming overwhelmed by the political jargon (language) being used.
Here is a really quick and basic crash course in the lingo of the moment:
Our government is made up of three (3) distinct branches: Legislative, Executive, and Judicial
Each Branch has a particular job, duties and responsibilities as laid out in the Constitution, the Supreme Law of the land. The Branch at the center of all of the debate at the moment is the LEGISLATIVE BRANCH. Let’s look at the LEGISLATIVE BRANCH. Article I of the Constitution outlines the duties of this branch. Its primary function is to MAKE LAWS—that includes creating a spending BILL. A BILL only becomes a LAW once it is passed in both houses of CONGRESS, and the President signs off on it.
The House of Representatives + The Senate = CONGRESS
The House has 435 members and the majority of its members are REPUBLICANS. The Senate has 100 members and the majority of its members are DEMOCRATS. As long as CONGRESS has NOT passed a SPENDING BILL, our nation is in SHUTDOWN. The SPENDING BILL determines how much money we will spend in one fiscal year from OCTOBER 1 – SEPTEMBER 30TH, 2014. So far, 15 days have passed and there is NO SPENDING BILL!
On Thursday, we will see a further disruption in our government if CONGRESS does NOT raise the DEBT CEILING: The maximum borrowing power that will allow the Treasury to borrow enough money to pay bills that we have already racked up, on time. Without raising the debt ceiling, we will have to pay the bills we have with the money we have, which is impossible–there is NOT enough money! If we don’t raise the Debt Ceiling, we will DEFAULT and our credit rating will DECREASE. That will be a first time in our history.
Over and over you have heard the term “Clean CR.” This is a term for a clean continuing resolution to remedy the shutdown crisis and to get our government open so that some 800,000 people will not have to remain in furlough with the expectation of receiving back pay while their monthly expenditures continue to amount.
Who is John Boehner?
He is the Speaker of House. His job is to preside over the House of Representatives—those 435 people from the Congressional equation above. He is second in line to succeed the President, after the Vice President (the VP is the President of the Senate—those 100 people for the Congressional Equation above). The Speaker’s power and role are determined by the Constitution in Article 1, Section 2. When President Obama delivers the State of the Union Address (an annual update on how well America is doing), this is the seating arrangement:
Vice President Joe Biden Speaker John Boehner
President Barack Obama
Lastly, because the Republicans are so upset about the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, and because they want it repealed, they have decided to hold the nation hostage!
You will hear a lot of terms that sound unfamiliar, but don’t fret, I will do my best to help you to understand them. Tune in regularly here and I will de-mystify politics. Before you know it, you will be fluent in this language too. No Rosetta Stone necessary!
Showmanship: Why the Shutdown is More Like a Department Store Meltdown
Disclaimer: THIS IS NOT MY WORK! But as a space to discuss the politics of everyday, The PoliDayReport is giving some shine to this latest piece I’ve read, written by a Ms. Treasure Bonds. In this insightful piece, she likens the behavior of our Congressmen / women to that of children throwing temper tantrums–read it for yourself. Thanks Ms. Bonds!
Showmanship: Why the Shutdown is More Like a Department Store Meltdown
So, we’ve all been there, at the grocery store, the department store etc watching a child have a complete meltdown. Some of them are minor and some can only be described as Chernobyl/Three Mile Island/ Fukashima-level meltdowns. Kicking, screaming, flailing etc.,and if you’re like me you pity the parent(s) and try to pretend you don’t see or hear the spectacle triggered by a request for candy, a toy, wanting to go with Granny/Auntie/Uncle; and, the behavior worsens every time the parent(s) denies said requests for whatever reason. Some parent(s) give in to stop the spectacle, some stand strong and manage to move through the store like nothing is happening (how do they do that by the way?), and some negotiate/compromise for peace. Now, I can’t tell you which of those is a better “parenting technique” but I’m not certain you want to create a connection between disruptive behavior and rewards.
As for showmanship (or performance), I love a good play, movie, opera, musical etc. The story telling, the sets, the costumes and the music, I just love the whole experience. One can become enraptured with all of it and completely delve into the alternate reality presented. But a showdown in our government is never the entertainment I seek.
Watching the news lately I’ve seen what can only be described as equal parts department store meltdown and sheer performance. I’ve seen costumes (well, apparently those people were actually doctors so the lab coats were not, strictly speaking, costumes) and heard demands: “We have to get something;” And seen flailing matched with the whining of, “THEY WON’T NEGOTIATE WITH US” even though we keep changing what we want (as the thought is accompanied by actual foot stomping and pouting):
- De-Fund Obamacare
- Delay Obamacare
- Allow “conscious” exceptions to contraception coverage (riddle me this, would this be part of the political discourse AT ALL if we were talking about Viagra ® and the like? Seriously, does anyone really believe that we would ever allow an employer to decide that they didn’t want to cover Viagra ® or similar products if the employer decided that impotence must have been the Lord’s will for that man?)
- Let’s defund the Consumer Protection Board
- Give us the Keystone Pipeline
GIVE US SOMETHING!!!!!
In short, this is some high level flailing in an ultimate temper tantrum. High level, but unfocused because there are no specifics about what to “GET”; so, this isn’t the kind of meltdown that can be quelled with appeasement or compromise. These displays have been described as: brinksmanship, playing chicken, a dance etc., and they are not at all sophisticated. We’ve all seen temper tantrums, and in our early childhoods, likely had our fair share so let’s stop pretending this government shutdown is something more than that. But it’s epic because the fate of our nation and the people’s lives are on the line. The stakes could not be higher, and I am not being hyperbolic. The Federal Government is shutdown during a time of war…war! Federal Employees are either on furlough or working without pay….WITHOUT PAY! Many of these people have already lost up to 20% of their pay due to sequester cuts. The ripple effects are too numerous to mention here, but everything from mortgages to social security to Medicare feel the effects of this tantrum, and while it’s still too early for the public at-large to feel the effects, they’re coming. Meanwhile the tantrum continues and those who have caused it all will have no disruption in their lives, or their finances. And, here’s where we could talk about what is and is not fair, but come on people! The Fair is where you go to eat funnel cakes and smoked turkey legs. This is life.
If it were my place to address The People, I would start with an apology for the shutdown taking place in our government—I would do this without question. I would hold a special press conference during prime time television at the time when all Americans are on one accord—Thursday nights watching Scandal. I would acknowledge the real-life, scandalous episodes you’ve been living since October 1st, 2013.
Your forgiveness would be of paramount importance to me and reporting your anger to Congress men and women would be a justifiable burden to bear. On behalf of Congress, I would acknowledge the fact that The People are the reasons Congress men and women occupy those seats on Capitol Hill—WE elected them. I would stress that it is in no way our fault that too many members of Congress are vengeful, egomaniacs denying The People access to the livelihoods we know and need. For legislating without logic and replacing duty with loathing and lies, on their behalf, I would employ them to seek The People’s forgiveness.
If it were my place to address The People, I would seek the answers to share with you their motives for making the people suffer. I would investigate the number of times Congress chose to take time away from legislating but chose to address moot points through filibuster, instead. I would address the stealing of The People’s sense of legitimacy in government and I would demand that Congress compensated The People for duties they never served.
If it were my place to address The People, I would ask everyone to do a little a soul-searching as to the choices we made or didn’t make during the local elections. Did the eligible ones of us vote? I would ask everyone to consider the feelings of Congress toward the office of the President—and whether we still believe their feelings justifiable now that our government has shutdown. I would ask: Do we still perceive the uttering of Congressional members’ ill will toward a presidential administration harmless political banter now?
If it were my place to address The People, I would scold Congress and render them unfit to uphold, honor and defend the Constitution–its written and unwritten parts. I would scold Congress for not adhering to the advice of the George Washington regarding political parties:
“It serves to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration….agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one….against another….it opens the door to foreign influence and corruption…thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.”
I would also remind Congress of another of George Washington’s renderings:
“…cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is to use it as sparingly as possible…avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt….it is essential that you…bear in mind, that towards the payments of debts there must be Revenue, that to have Revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised, which are not…inconvenient and unpleasant…”
Congress, there is no place for big egos in government, but there is always room of apology, reckoning, and doing your job.