Thursday, February 7, 2013

sotu 2013: what mr. obama should say ...

“I’m sorry about the attitude,
I need to give when I’m with you.
But noone else will take this sh*t from me.
And I’m so  …

Terrified of noone else but me –
I’m here all the time. 
I won’t go away.

It’s me, yeah, and I can’t get myself to go away.
Hey!  It’s me!  And I can’t get myself to go away!
Oh God, I shouldn’t feel this way now!

Reach down your hand in your pocket,
And pull out some hope for me –

It’s been a long day, always, ain’t that right!
No Lord – your hand won’t stop it,
Just keep you trembling.
It’s been a long day, always, ain’t that right …”

-- “Long Day” by matchbox 20.  Good grief, this cd is seventeen years old?  This thing literally was released half a lifetime ago?!?!  Holy Mary, mother of …


Let me apologize up front for the fact that it’s the (checking the calendar) seventh of February, and this is my first post of the month.  That’s ridiculous.  In my defense, real life is absolutely killing me right now ... and I haven't had much motivation to write.  

I mean, do YOU want to write a recap of the Chiefs season that was?  Do YOU want to grade the Wrong 53, relive even a single moment of the first weekend in December, think about Romeo and Pioli and the awfulness of the 2012 season?  

If you were pissed as hell at your best friend for seven months running, both sides dug in, but at least trying to make it work* -- would you want to write about friends, and life, and stuff like that?  If you had co-workers and managers you value as friends above all else drop the "I have cancer" bomb on you, do you want to write about that?  

Cause I sure as all hell don't.

(*: Wednesday was a gigantic first second step to recovery, Champ.  (Inadvertently forgot your night at Lew's that saved what remnant of us, we still have.)  Still -- in the words of Mike Francesca, it was "hu-yuge".  But it was only a first second step.  Don't read into it something that just isn't there anymore ... or I should say, just isn't there -- yet.  At least on my side of the trenches.)

But ... you didn’t come here to listen to me bitch, moan, and complain.

Instead … 

I’m going to praise the President (somewhat -- even I have my limits of gratitude and appreciation).  And lay out what I want to see in the State of the Union on Tuesday, a speech he earned the right to give, due to (pick one / pick all of the above) the utter incompetence of the Romney / Ryan campaign, the idiotic mistake of picking Ryan over Rubio, and … well, we’ll get to point three eventually.  And God help me, I never imagined I’d feel this way.

(Hint: I no longer view people who are sick of the rich hoarding what they have, as the problem.)

Here goes.

First, Mr. Obama should be commended for putting together the gun task force under Vice President Biden, and the Vice President and his commission should be applauded – and I mean a lengthy, long-running ovation – when the subject comes up Tuesday night.  Every proposal in the plan – EVERY proposal – is a long overdue, necessary step towards curbing the violence that plagues our society, has led to the crumbling of the urban core, and is literally killing our future at a rate nearly outpacing the extremely horrific cost Roe v Wade* has taken on this country. 

(*: gee, you don’t think the fact that we live in a society in which killing your child is “cool”, and not just “cool”, but praised and honored as a “right”, would have ANYTHING AT ALL to do with our society’s disregard for the bodies piling up in the morgue every week, do ya?  I can't possibly dream that when you view killing your child as a "right" and a "privilege", that you'd view killing someone else as just another "right" and "privilege".  Far left liberalism / socialism / "who needs values!" folks: destroying this nation day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, second by second, since LBJ signed The Great Society into law in 1965 ...)

The President should stress to the Congress that if they don’t pass sweeping gun control legislation, he’ll enact it by executive order.  Dare the Congress to fail to act in the public’s self interests, and then call their bluff.  By the time the lawsuits hit the Supreme Court, Mr. Obama’s term will be up, and if (as I suspect), the mood and nature and public opinion of this country has truly swung as hard left as I believe it has, then a more compliant (re: Democrat controlled) Congress will simply pass into law his executive order come January 3, 2015.

But – the President should stress this is only a first step.  The next step he should propose, is mandatory life in prison without possibility of parole sentences for anyone convicted of a capital offense*.  Doesn’t matter – first, second, third degree, manslaughter in any degree – if you kill someone in a hostile, offensive action (aka “not in self defense”), you should be locked away for life, if a jury of your peers finds you guilty, or if you accept a plea. 

(*: I oppose the death penalty in all circumstances, for the same reason I oppose abortion in all cases: mankind should not be allowed to decide who lives, and who dies.  That's God's job.  And yes, that is just about the only thing the Church proudly stands for, that I back blindly out of faith in its correctness. Sorry Mr. Pope -- you'll never convince me wearing a condom, is infanticide.)

Mr. Obama, and society, HAVE to create an incentive to stop the violence.  Perhaps if people have it hammered home on a nightly basis via the news that “if you kill someone, you will never enjoy freedom again”, that might work.  It’s certainly an idea worth exploring.  Because everyone with an IQ above room temperature knows our current sentencing guidelines aren't getting the job done.

Secondly, look straight into the eyes of every Supreme Court justice sitting in the front row (and odds are, at least six or seven of them will be there), and use the bully pulpit, use the power of the Presidency, to let these justices know that Hollingsworth v Perry is THE defining legal case of our generation, and that you fervently hope and pray that they will uphold the Ninth Circuit Court’s ruling (a rare correct one by that three ring circus), that California’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitional.  And if pressed why, note that it is due to the founding sentence of this nation’s initial document. 

You know – “we hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal, and that all are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.  This is an idea so unassailable, that the two opponents in the 2000 Bush v Gore recount, Theodore Olson and David Boies, are arguing the case together come late March, to urge the Court to arrive at the same logical conclusion the Ninth Circuit reached.

Let that sink in -- lawyers who hated each other so much, that they nearly tore this country to pieces contesting a legitimate* election ... have united to oppose bigotry, bias, and absolutely unconscionable oppression in our time.  We truly do live in the greatest country mankind has ever birthed.

(*: for the record, I believe Gore won Florida, as a recount of the entire state by various media outlets showed.  But in hindsight ... wow, did we dodge the crazy train bullet, or what!  Kinda like Kerry in 2004 -- I think Kerry would have made an outstanding President, and I am thrilled he now our ambassador to the world ... but John Edwards a heartbeat away from the Presidency?  Rethink your hatred of Mr. Bush, America.  He truly was the lesser of a boatload of evils ...)

And if that doesn’t sway the justices or the viewing public, simply remind everyone watching and listening that your parents, Mr. President, were barred by law from marrying, when you were born.  Because of the color of your father’s skin, versus the color of your mother’s.  That law was heinous, and wrong.  As is opposition to marriage equality.  Hammer that point home.  Let it be your legacy, much as your hero, Mr. Lincoln, made abolition his.

Third, and I know there’s no chance Mr. Obama will do this, but he should – issue an unequivocable statement of support for Israel, and announce to the world that if Iran does not immediately cease and desist with its nuclear program, the United States will not only not prevent Israel from destroying it militarily, we will respond with (Jack Ryan voice) "the full faith and credit of the United States", if Israel is attacked in response.  

Say what you want about Mr. Bush’s “Axis of Evil” speech post-9/11, but within six months, Qadaffi had abandoned Libya’s program of weapons of mass destruction (a decision that ultimately got that murderous thug what he deserved, since he had nothing to fight back against the insurgents with).  It’s also a policy that has at least indirectly led to the Arab Spring, to the overthrow of dictatorships in Egypt, Tunisia, and the collapsing regime in Syria.  And while I’m on it –

Stress to the freedom fighters in the Arab world that the United States stands with them … provided they support freedom for ALL in the region.  Announce that we will equip, train, finance these forces of potential good against the tyrannical regimes that oppress them … provided they guarantee the safety of Israel.  Again, Mr. Obama will never do this – he’s too calculated, and too cautious, to risk the Muslim Brotherhood and other rebel forces from agreeing to his offer.  But it should be made.  You want the world to respect your cause?  Then respect your fellow neighbors.

And Mr. Obama should announce than when he visits Israel later this spring, he will announce his support for a separate Palestinian state, provided the Palestinian leadership agrees to the same demands placed on the Muslim Brotherhood.  

You can have your freedom, and we're ready and willing to help you secure it ... but only if you guarantee Israel the same.  

With this one sweeping move, he could at least soften the hard core resistance of the Christian right against him (who stupidly think he’s anti-Israel / pro-Muslim – he’s not.  He’s pro-common sense, anti-the idiotic policies that have been failing for 75 years and counting).  Again, he won’t do it, but it’s not a bad idea to consider.

Fourth, and this one could be tricky, and he’s got three years to figure it out … but it’s time to decide who you want your successor to be, Mr. President.  Do you want Mr. Biden, or Mrs. Clinton, to be the front-runner and almost certain nominee, in 2016?  Who do you want to carry on your legacy sir?  You start laying the ground work now.  I know who I prefer – after all, I am (still) a Clinton Democrat.  

I think Joe Biden as the leader of the free world is a great idea for a sh*tty ABC sitcom in their Wednesday night comedy block.  

I think Joe Biden with the nuclear codes?  Is the most frightening thought imaginable to anyone who calls themselves human.

Fifth.  And man, I hate to even type this … but Mr. President?  Your FINEST hour, was in the aftermath of the tragedy at Sandy Hook.  Hell, you even won me over with your speeches, and I’m not exactly what the kids these days would call a “frenemy” of yours. (Drop the "fr", and that usually nails my feelings about the President.)

Use the pulpit, sir – use the national stage – to press for sweeping changes in school security.  Your Democratic predecessor, you know – the guy who literally saved your job with the greatest political speech I’ve ever heard*, at the DNC back in September – was openly mocked for stating in his 1997 State of the Union speech that he wanted to “build a bridge to the 21st Century” by equipping every classroom with state of the art technology, and some pie in the sky idea of “internet access” for all children.  Gee, you think Mr. Clinton was onto something?

(*: I honestly never believed anything would top Mr. Gore at the 2000 DNC.  Mr. Bush's post-9/11 speech to Congress came close.  Mr. Clinton's fifty minute endorsement of Mr. Obama, actually made me contemplate voting for Mr. Obama for a few minutes ... until I realized he's the primary cause of all our economic misery, has literally ensured an economic collapse for our children ... barring austerity measures that mean economic collapse for us in the here and now, and oh yeah, he thinks he's allowed to kill anyone he wants to without a trial, via drones.  And by the way, is Club Gitmo closed yet?  It's not?  Huh.  *COUGH hypocrite COUGH*)

Mr. President?  Challenge the Congress to pass funding for one police officer, in every community, to be assigned to each school.  Challenge the American public to agree to a slight increase in a tax they don’t think anything about – say, a $.05 / gallon hike on gas – to finance this.  Point out that the federal gas tax hasn’t been hiked in 20 years, since the initial Clinton budget of 1993.  And really, when you’re paying $3.50 / gallon, what’s another $.05 at that point?  It’s like the guy who decides to remodel his home for $35,000, who is now out $60,000, debating whether to spend one last $1,500 to finish the job.  Really?  You have to have that conversation?  You spend the money.  You’ve invested too much not to.  Make the argument.

Your opponents will argue this is costly, and won’t truly solve the problem of violence.  And to be fair? They’d be right.  But sometimes, style wins over substance.  Sometimes, trying to fix a problem with a futile solution, is better than doing nothing at all.

Which is why you fight back by quoting Amon Goeth in “Schindler’s List”: “what is one life, worth to you?”  Bammo.  You disable their (legitimate) argument, and gain a winning position.

Sixth, and finally … and this one folks, I am not sold on … but I’m starting to see it.

It’s time to tax capital gains at the top marginal rate.

No matter where the funds are stored.

The time has come to find a way to eliminate any and all loopholes that allow the wealthiest amongst us, to shelter their money.  Repatriate all funds, period. 

Yes, the so-called “rich” have earned it.  Yes, it is theirs.  I am not disputing that.  I am not demanding the feds seize all their earnings, seize all their wealth, cash on hand, nor would I ever support or suggest that.  But the question needs to be asked: why aren’t you paying your fair share? 

These are the people shouting out “well, rely on faith based and private initiatives to help you out!” to the least fortunate among us … while they find a way to get every cent they own into secure, overseas bank accounts that don’t contribute to these faith based, private initiatives they tout****.  How, pray tell, the most well off among us, can these private, faith based charities survive without contributions from you to support them?

(****: four asteriks, because I am 100% f*cking percent right about this ... and this rant has been a long time coming.  

THIS?  I believe, is THE reason Mr. Obama won re-election: the majority of the country is f*cking angry as hell at the rich flaunting their wealth, while 95% of us can barely make ends meet.  

I swear to God, if I have to read one more well-to-do'er post a "bought a weekend home" on Facebook or Twitter or Reddit, or "hey check out my new ride!", or "my new lake house!", or my personal favorite, "I had some spare cash laying around -- check out what I bought!" item?

I'm going to be seriously tempted to throw my laptop through the screen door, then grab a pitchfork, a flammable object, and a noose, and march on your "weekday home", or your "summer cottage", or whatever other ultimately worthless possession you have decided to piss your money away on.  

Here's a thought!  Instead of buying a "weekend home" for yourself, instead of buying a new Corvette, a new lakefront property, a new f*cking grill for the back deck for all I care -- how about you instead, invest in humanity, and give that money to a battered women's shelter, or a food bank, or take in a foster child and put them on a path to greatness?  

If the most blessed among us don't provide?  Then we all have to, like it or not.  (After all -- most of you well-off folks demand we overturn Roe v Wade to "let the babies live" ... but of course, you don't give two sh*ts about what happens to that baby, after you force it to be born.  *COUGH hypocrisy COUGH*)  

"To whom much is given, much is required".  I believe Jesus Christ himself said that.  God forbid the most well-off religious (or non) folks among us, actually live the damned values they demand we follow ...)

The answer, of course, is that they can’t, which is why the government has had to step in over the last decade at an alarming and unsustainable pace.

Challenge the wealthy on the grounds of patriotism.  Challenge them based on their faith based values they claim to embrace.  Hell, haul out Mr. Christ’s parable of the talents – those who invested (aka "shared the wealth") and earned more as a natural conclusion to that action?  Were rewarded more.  

Those who buried the money in the ground, and hoarded it?  Were torn a new one.

I am not a socialist; I do not want to be confused as being one.  But it is ridiculous that we are raising the taxes on every small business owner in this country by literally thousands of dollars … and not touching the true wealth this nation holds at a comparable rate.  It is wrong.  And Mr. Obama needs to urge the Congress to act.

Announce to the nation that you, Mr. President, will be submitting a budget first thing Wednesday morning with these priorities in it.  The real fiscal crisis this nation faces, won’t hit for another six years or so, once Obamacare’s costs outweigh its revenues.  There’s still time to fix that.  And the fuse that Social Security is, still has 14 years to go before insolvency.  PLENTY of time to fix that, and quite easily.  (Raise the first-opt-in retirement age to 70 for anyone born after 1975.  Done and done.)

But the time is now, to act on gun control, finally guaranteeing equality to all our nation’s citizens, securing at least détente in the Middle East, an equitable and fair tax structure, security for our children’s school

It’s ok to be progressive, Mr. President.  Use the base you’ve secured, to enact a progressive agenda no sane person could completely oppose.  (Or, in my case, that not even the "not quite sane" could oppose.)

You have the opportunity, Mr. President, that only three Presidents in the last 200 years have had – to secure the country’s agenda for twenty years.  FDR succeeded.  I’d argue Reagan succeeded (Clinton, after all, was nothing more than a Reagan Democrat, same as me, same as my family).  

Lincoln failed.  Miserably.  And would have failed regardless of what happened at Ford Theater.

For once, Mr. President, don’t embrace your idol.  Succeed.  Contrary to what Rush Limbaugh wants, I want you to succeed.  Screw that -- we, as a people, NEED you to succeed.  

The greatest nation in the recorded history of mankind, depends on it.  Please, Mr. President -- prove you're up to the task you face ...

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the third thursday thirteen ...

"So you're dancing on the ocean -- Running fast, along the sand. A spirit born, of earth and water -- Fire flying from your hand...