Tag Archive: Barack Obama


While countdown nears to an unprecedented national default, Congress members are still dragging out a debate on the debt-ceiling crisis that has not led to any resolve for the past three months.

When the United States hit a statutory debt limit of $14.3 trillion in May, President Barack Obama stated a need to raise the debt ceiling but the GOP wouldn’t jump onboard unless they could hold onto as many spending cuts  and a budget amendment plan.

As of now, the White House and congressional leaders are making a last-ditch attempt to reach compromise to avoid said disastrous government default that’s due for Aug. 2nd

As US Treasury experts put it, a default could lead to financial “Armageddon” if both parties fail to increase the national debt limit. This will also result in a loss of America’s AAA credit rating, rising interest rates, a declining dollar, a stock market plunge and the public could even lose out on their social security checks.  Both political parties know what is at stake but are failing to reach a bipartisan decision due to their personal and financial agendas regarding the 2012 elections.

Democrats are desperate for tax and revenue increases but the GOP are also vying for their spending cuts- a financial tug- of-war that has been going on for too long.

Fortunately, party leaders are working hard to come up with plans to ward off the financial doomsday. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Speaker John Boehner came up with new plans to increase the debt limit after previous rejections from the House and Senate respectively.

According to CNN, Boehner’s plan, which has since been revised, proposed generating a total of $917 billion in savings while initially raising the debt ceiling by $900 billion. He also pledged to match any debt ceiling hike with dollar-for-dollar spending cuts. Meanwhile, Reid’s revised version favors  reduced deficits over the next decade by $2.4 trillion that raises the debt ceiling by a similar amount. It includes $1 trillion in savings based on the planned U.S. withdrawals from military engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Ultimately, whatever deal or compromise both political factions come up with, I think the most important thing that Congress should do is listen to the American people. According to the CNN/ORC  International poll, 64 percent of respondents to a July survey prefer a deal with a mix of spending cuts and tax increases. It’s probably easier said than done but as President Obama put it “we are running out of time” and Congress needs to come up with a financial plan that is beneficial for the American economy.

 

Photo taken from Politico

Since former president George W. Bush passed tax cuts for the wealthy in 2001, Barack Obama vocally made it his sole mission to reverse the tax policy during his campaign and career as president since 2008.

Unexpectedly, the long battle over the financial policy has led Obama to strike a deal with the GOP that would let the Republicans extend their precious tax cuts for two more years in exchange for a 13-month extension of unemployment insurance benefits.

According to Ezra Klein from the Washington Post, Obama and the GOP came to an agreement that the GOP would get around $95 billion in tax cuts for wealthy Americans and $30 billion in estate tax cuts. Democrats got $120 billion in payroll-tax cuts, $40 billion in refundable tax credits (Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and education tax credits), $56 billion in unemployment insurance, and, depending on how you count it, about $180 billion (two-year cost) or $30 billion (10-year cost) in new tax incentives for businesses to invest.

Unfortunately, House Democrats have nothing but utter disdain and fury over the compromise and put out a flurry of complaints, saying Obama gave in too quickly to the GOP.

“I still don’t think it’s in the best interest of our country, I really don’t,” said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). “I just don’t think we fought hard enough. I disagree with the president. He had a press conference and called it a political fight. It’s not a political fight, it’s a fight about what our country is about.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) vowed on Tuesday night to filibuster what he called a “very bad agreement,” while Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) said: “I think a ransom was paid and it was a very high price,” according to a report from The Hill newspaper,

Meanwhile, Obama stood firm and hit back at his own party for wallowing in politics in a Tuesday press conference on  Dec. 7, 2010. Claiming the deal was all for the sake of the American people.

“My number one priority is to do what’s right for the American people, for jobs, and for economic growth. I’m focused on making sure that tens of millions of hardworking Americans are not seeing their paychecks shrink on January 1st just because the folks here in Washington are busy trying to score political points,” Obama said and also continued to stress the importance behind his decision.

“I’ll cite three of them. Number one, if you are a parent trying to raise your child or pay college tuition, you will continue to see tax breaks next year. Second, if you’re a small business looking to invest and grow, you’ll have a tax cut next year. Third, as a result of this agreement, we will cut payroll taxes in 2011, which will add about $1,000 to the take-home pay of a typical family,” Obama said. “So this isn’t an abstract debate. This is real money for real people that will make a real difference in the lives of the folks who sent us here. It will make a real difference in the pace of job creation and economic growth. In other words, it’s a good deal for the American people,”

I believe the President was very genuine with the reasons he gave for compromising with the GOP. Even 67 percent of Americans get why Obama did what he had to according to the Politico polls.

After a ridiculous amount of overspending on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan for over seven years, George W. Bush left the American economy in major financial crisis, leaving a heap of shit for Obama to clean up. The tax cuts have only been Bush’s retribution and have been welcome in the American economy given the devastation of the recession and unemployment. However, not everyone deserves these tax cuts especially these dishonest wealthy corporate businessmen who already cheat on their taxes. Middle income families that are struggling to get by- do.

I understand the frustration of the Democratic party with the extension of the tax cuts because  they were supposed to expire at the end of nine years. However, Obama is not to blame. The GOP went back on their word and made this their number one agenda. The Republicans opposed every measure Obama took to end the tax cuts so he did what could. I understand he campaigned to end the tax cuts for the rich since 2008 but he has until 2012 to deliver on his promise. Until then, Democrats should understand the compromise is better than nothing.

Controversy sparks like a roller-coaster falling off its track as U.S. President Barack Obama  made comments about religious freedom over the mosque in Ground Zero. He spoke his mind and as president, he did well to address the issue but now I feel his comments have given Republicans some ammunition to use against the Democrats in the upcoming elections.

With the unforgettable attacks of 9/11 by extremist muslim terrorists, emotions run high at the thoughts of a mosque being built at the same ruins where the nightmare took place.

You can bet the Republicans will make this an issue.However, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the House’s only Muslim member, said Monday morning that he does not think Obama’s remarks during an Iftar dinner at the White House will hurt Democrats in November according to The Hill

“Absolutely not,” Ellison said. “The truth is that we’re a party of principle,” the second-term lawmaker added. “We believe in the idea of religious liberty.”

The Hill also reports that Republicans, however, are largely unified behind the message that while the group in New York City might have the right to build a mosque near Ground Zero in lower Manhattan, they still should not do it.
The following article is from Yahoo News:

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama’s endorsement of a controversial plan to build a mosque just blocks from Ground Zero poured fuel August 14, 2010 on a raging debate over religious freedom and sensitivities over the 9/11 attacks.

Muslims “have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country,” Obama said at an Iftar meal at the White House for Muslims breaking their Ramadan fast late Friday.

That includes “the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan.”

Obama had remained on the sidelines over plans to build an Islamic cultural center, which includes a mosque, two blocks away from the gaping Ground Zero hole where the Twin Towers were destroyed on September 11, 2001.

But after a New York city commission on August 3 unanimously approved the plans, the president came out to fully support the project.

“This is America,” Obama said, “and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are.”

Planners say the multi-story “Cordoba House” will include a mosque, sports facilities, theater, restaurant and possibly a day care, and would be open to all visitors to demonstrate that Muslims are part of their community.

In the remarks Obama acknowledged that the site where the World Trade Center towers once stood remains “hallowed ground,” and that the 9/11 attacks “were a deeply traumatic event for our country.”

The proposed location however has touched raw nerves.

On Saturday the group 9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America, which represents some relatives of attack victims, said it was “stunned” by the president’s remarks.

Obama “has abandoned America at the place where America’s heart was broken nine years ago, and where her true values were on display for all to see,” the group said.

“Now this president declares that the victims of 9/11 and their families must bear another burden. We must stand silent at the last place in America where 9/11 is still remembered with reverence or risk being called religious bigots.”

Building the mosque “is a deliberately provocative act that will precipitate more bloodshed in the name of Allah,” the group claimed.

Another group representing other relatives of 9/11 victims, the September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, said in May that it “strongly supports” the Islamic center.

A CNN/Opinion Research poll earlier this month showed that 68 percent of Americans opposed the Islamic center plans, while only 29 percent favored them.

Congressman Peter King, who represents New York in the US House of Representatives, said the Muslim community was “abusing” its rights and “needlessly offending” many people.

“It is insensitive and uncaring for the Muslim community to build a mosque in the shadow of ground zero,” said King, a Republican. “Unfortunately the president caved in to political correctness.”

Self-described “liberal Muslim” Farzana Hassan, a Canadian, told Fox News on Saturday that she believes the Islamic center’s location is “provocative.”

“This is highly insensitive to the sentiments of the people who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks,” said Hassan, who has written books on Islam.

Obama said the Al-Qaeda terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks do not represent Islam.

“It is a gross distortion of Islam,” the president said late Friday. “In fact, Al-Qaeda has killed more Muslims than people of any other religion — and that list of victims includes innocent Muslims who were killed on 9/11.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a US advocacy group, said it welcomed Obama’s “strong support for Muslim religious rights.”

Nihad Awad, a senior CAIR official, said he hoped his remarks “will serve as encouragement to those who are challenging the rising level of Islamophobia in our society.”

Awad also urged “other national political and religious leaders to speak out in defense of the freedom of religion and equality of all Americans.”

One of those reacting Saturday was New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“I applaud President Obama’s clarion defense of the freedom of religion,” Bloomberg said in a statement.

The proposed site “is as important a test of the separation of church and state as we may see in our lifetime,” he said.

Passions over the issue run high across the country.

A Florida church has already said it will hold a “Koran-burning” on September 11 — which this year coincides with Eid al-Fitr, the end-of-Ramadan holiday.

What was first known as a grassroots movement to limit the role of government and promote states right is now being a labeled a racist organization- The Tea Party.

The Tea Party made head-waves in late 2009 through organized protests against federal laws. In my eyes, they have become a political force to be reckoned with but with the current controversy that has surfaced, the may hinder their own progress to impact the political system.

The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) is pointing fingers at the Tea Party for harboring racist elements within its political agendas and has asked them to renounce “ultra-nationalist and racist factions within the organization,” according to NAACP President Ben Jealous.

“For more than a year we’ve watched as Tea Party members have called congressmen the N-word, have called congressmen the F-word. We see them carry racist signs and whenever it happens, the membership tries to shirk responsibility,” Jealous said.

“If the Tea Party wants to be respected and wants to be part of the mainstream in this country, they have to take responsibility.”

Jealous specifically pointed to signs at rallies portraying President Obama as a witch doctor, and to claims made by Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., that Tea Party protesters opposing health care reform hurled racial slurs at them according to an online news post from ABC.

“They need to be unequivocal and they need to be responsible and get the bigots out of their organization. It’s that simple,” Jealous added.

Tea Party leaders have denied allegations of racism and argue that there is no proof to support the NAACP’s claims. Conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart even offered $100,000 to anyone who could produce an audio recording or video footage of the “N-word” being hurled at Rep. Lewis and other members of Congress.

The St. Louis Tea Party coalition passed a resolution of its own condemning the NAACP for “hypocritically engaging in the very conduct it purports to oppose.” The resolution calls on the NAACP to withdraw its resolution. It even urges the IRS to reconsider its tax-exempt status of the NAACP because of what the Tea Party coalition dubbed the organization’s “habitual partisan political behavior.”

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin also weighed on the issue and stepped in to protect the Tea Party’s integrity.

“The charge that Tea Party Americans judge people by the color of their skin is false, appalling, and is  a regressive and diversionary tactic,” according to a statement Sarah Palin on Facebook. As a result she has asked Barack Obama to “refudiate” such racist claims.

Organizer of the Tea Party Express Mark Williams discredited the NAACP and accused them of being racist themselves. He also went as far as to write a satirical letter on a blog post that ridiculed the NAACP.

It was purportedly written to Abraham Lincoln by “colored people,” saying in part: “We Coloreds have taken a vote and decided that we don’t cotton to that whole emancipation thing. Freedom means having to work for real, think for ourselves, and take consequences along with the rewards. That is just far too much to ask of us Colored People and we demand that it stop!”

Williams meant to make a satirical point but the letter was deemed  offensive because it made sweeping generalizations that African-Americans are lazy and ignorant. As a result,  Williams was expelled from the National Tea Party Federation led by Co-Founder of the New York City Tea Party David Webb. However, Webb stated the letter was offensive but not racist.

Webb also stated NAACP’s claims are agenda based and that the Tea Party can not be responsible for all its members’ beliefs.

“I think the NAACP in its march toward irrelevancy as an organization, needs an enemy to maintain its power base,” Webb said.

Webb was then asked about the signs and posters that compared Barack Obama to monkeys and brandish the N-word in several Tea Party rallies.

“They are offensive, they don’t belong there but there will also be fringe elements,” Webb said on CNN before he expelled Williams from the National Tea Party Federation on July 18, 2010.

In all fairness to the Tea Party I haven’t actually seen signs from protesters that have specifically used the N-word. In addition there have been no video or audio showing Tea Party members hurling the N-word at John Lewis. In truth I haven’t seen much enthusiasm from the NAACP to battle the racist statements from the New Black Panther Party to “kill crackers and their white babies,” so the NAACP could be guilty of partisan claims.

As a result, everybody organization needs to fold up their sleeves and take responsibility. The NAACP should also go to all lengths to condemn all acts of racism not only when it affects African-Americans. There have been too many instances where they get criticized for a selective bashing of racism and that is racist in a sense.

In addition just because Tea Party leaders say they haven’t witnessed any racial elements within their groups does not make it dismissible.  The fact is there have been signs that have racial slurs and ignorant messages. Some include “Send Obama back to Kenya,”  “Obama’s Plan: White Slavery” and “The American Taxpayers are the Jews for Obama’s ovens,”

Note, the Tea Party is not a racist movement but I believe the Tea Party is more at fault. The fact is there are racist elements within the Tea Party, and all Tea Party leaders should address that. Like it or not the Tea Party has moved from a grassroots movement to a notable and well respected organization and they have a social responsibility to maintain a positive image. It would be in their bests interests to take such action if they want to have a strong influence in the upcoming elections in November. If they want to get back to the important issues involving health care and limited government they need to deal with the internal problems that they are having. Who will take them seriously when they have bigots among themselves putting up extreme posters that compare Barack Obama to a monkey and make threats to hang congress members? Personally, I don’t think they have heard of the saying one bad apple spoils the bunch.