Barack Obama

The Path We Are On: Barack Obama and the Nobel Peace Prize

attribution: none

 

The People’s View

Informed Citizenry, Progressive Analysis, Commentary and Rants

Spandan has given me the opportunity to share some of my thoughts and ideas. I spend a lot of time in thought and something that I have given a lot of thought to is the human condition. Due to the human condition we have basic human needs and I understand one of those needs as being the need to feel safe.

As an infant it is vitally important to be provided with a sense of safety in order to develop into becoming a healthy adult. When you feel safe you feel at ease and are therefore in a better position to be at your best. When you don’t feel safe you are tense and are likely to feel the need to defend yourself from that which you perceive has caused you to feel unsafe.

Humanity as a group has created a world in which it is impossible to feel safe. We have created a world in which we have to compete for access to basic human needs. If you are a winner in this competition it’s possible to have access to way more than you need and if you are a loser in this competition it’s possible you won’t survive.

The inequity and disparity that is the outcome of existing in a world of competition creates a great tension which has the potential of exploding into a war between those who have nothing and who are therefore fighting for survival and those who want to protect themselves from those who they believe want to take away that which they have in excess.

If a war were to break out that war has the potential to grow and become a major war and due to the technology of today that war could become a nuclear war and a nuclear war would destroy all live on planet earth for millions of years.

We are headed down a path and when you are headed down a path it’s a good idea to be aware of where that path is leading otherwise you might end up somewhere you would not prefer to be. Right now humanity as a group is headed down the path of self destruction.

Early in President Obama’s first term he was given the Nobel Peace Prize. The expected reaction to this took place with most people saying he didn’t deserve it yet and probably would never deserve it. So why did the committee award him this prize? Was it because he wasn’t GWB? Was it because they hoped he would work towards peace? Was it because of his work in the senate? I guess only the committee knows why they gave him the award.

A short time ago I got an email from Dennis Kucinich saying that I should contact my representatives and tell them not to give the president any more war powers as we have had enough war. I would agree that we have had enough war but that’s not the question. The question is how can we end war. The idea Mr. Kucinich has seems to me to be like what would happen if you tried to lose weight by going on a starvation diet. You might lose weight but you’re likely to get sick and then put it all back on because it’s not a healthy balanced approach. You aren’t helping if by trying to solve one problem you create another.

Creating peace in a world that is at war is difficult and requires someone to have an understanding of many issues in order to make it possible to do more good than harm. From my perspective President Obama is a man who possess a great deal of understanding of a vast range of issues and he has the awareness of the vital need  to move in the direction of peace.

The path that humanity as a group is on at this time is the path towards self destruction so it’s clear that we need to take a different path. On the path that we have been on we have seen ourselves as separate competing against each other for survival. In order to get on a different path we are going to have to change our fundamental understanding of ourselves. We are going to have to understand ourselves as One which is the reality.

We are profoundly interwoven, interconnected and interdependent. You can understand this if you observe a tree. If you pull the tree from the ground it will die. It is only able to thrive as a tree through it’s connection to the whole of life. The reality of this tree helps to prove that we are One. When you look into the eyes of “the other” you are looking into your own eyes because we are One. Therefore when anyone hurts the whole of humanity hurts because we are One.

It’s possible to not realize that or feel that because we have cut ourselves off and separated ourselves through creating a world in which we need to compete for survival therefore we have been creating a world in which no one can feel safe.

In order to understand and experience ourselves as One it is necessary to have an open heart. When you live in a predatory world that we experience today it is very difficult to live with an open heart as that is seen as as sign of weakness by those who are looking to exploit those who they perceive as weak.

United we stand and divided we fall is not just a nice slogan or idea, it represents one of the basic laws of life. In Oneness we thrive and in separation we self destruct. This is the reality that we must face in a sober way. President Obama is working on earning that Nobel Peace Prize although in observing the man winning that prize is not what is important. My sense is that he is looking towards the day that the Nobel Peace Prize would be given to humanity as a group because we have decided to take a path that is different than the path we are on today.

 

A comment worth noting from the above article:

mwm341 a day ago

Barack Obama won the Prize for his international relations work, with special emphasis on nuclear weapons reduction BEFORE he was elected.

The timing of both his nomination – 12 days after his taking office, and, the award of the Prize a few months later confused a lot of people – and brought out a lot of people who were happy to insist that there was no good reason for the prize.

Too many of these people – many on the Left! have insisted on keeping that myth alive, and maintain that President Obama must earn the Prize in a way that lets them decide that he deserves it.

I find it disconcerting that these people still believe that a Black man should have to achieve twice as much to receive grudging recognition, and am even more disappointed that this sentiment is expressed by people who count themselves as members of the progressive community.

The Coolest Find Ever – Barack Obama On PBS’ ‘Check Please’ In 2001 (VIDEO)

Addicting Info

In 2001, few people had heard of Barack Obama. He was an Illinois state senator, from the Chicago South Side Hyde Park neighborhood.

In 2001, the the fresh-faced, ebony haired future President was so unknown that he was a guest reviewer on the PBS restaurant review show called Check Please.

If you aren’t familiar with the format of the show, there is a host and three guests, who are typically just regular people from the area. Each of the guests recommends a restaurant and each of the three people review their experience at that restaurant. Obama chose Hyde Park’s Dixie Kitchen and Bait Shop.

Unfortunately, the Hyde Park location of Dixie Kitchen no longer exists, but they have a location in the north of the city suburb of Evanston and in Lansing, Il.

The host joked that Dixie Kitchen served “liberal portions.” Obama let that joke go but he did call the restaurant a value and agreed that the portion sizes were large. The restaurant could probably best be described as very American Southern cooking.

Like any good politician, Obama didn’t want to play favorites so he ordered the southern sampler, “because (he) couldn’t make up (his) mind.”

“It’s not gourmet cuisine,” said Obama (take that, those who call him “elitist.”) What he wants is “food that tastes good for a good price.”

He did play favorites with a dessert, though. He loved the restaurant’s peach cobbler.

For the most part, the rest of the panel agreed with his assessment and boy do they now have a story to tell.

Here’s the video:

Impeachment talk is the dumbest possible move for Republicans

House Speaker John Boehner. AP/J. Scott Applewhite

This is exactly why I’m hoping they go forward with impeachment because most pundits believe  it will have the same effect as it did with former president Bill Clinton when he was impeached by Congress.

The Fix – Chris Cillizza (WAPO)

Congressional Republicans have spent the majority of 2014 doing very little even marginally controversial.  They put talk of government shutdown showdowns to rest and avoided another stand-off over raising the debt ceiling.  The goal was simple: Keep the focus on the unpopular President Obama in hopes of turning the midterm election into a referendum on him.

They were doing so well.  Right up until House Speaker John Boehner decided to file a lawsuit against President Obama for executive orders he maintained were unconstitutional.

The lawsuit, which the House is expected to authorize before heading home for a five-week August recess on Thursday, has opened up the Pandora’s box of impeachment — with a large push from the White House — that now has the potential to undo much of the good political work Congressional Republicans have done this year.

Yes, Boehner has pooh-poohed impeachment as a “scam” propagated by Democrats to raise money and energize the party’s somewhat lethargic base. (I’m not sure about the word choice of “scam” but Democrats quite clearly see political opportunity in the House lawsuit and are moving to take advantage.) The problem for Boehner is that while he has been adamant about impeachment never being on the table, there are others within the party — led by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin — who have and will continue to call for Obama to be removed from office.  And, the lawsuit — assuming the House authorizes it — provides, for this impeachment crowd, a news peg by which to promote their views.

Karl Rove, appearing on Fox News Channel Tuesday night, channeled the frustrations of many Republican strategists about his own party’s willingness to give President Obama and Democrats exactly what they want in advance of the midterms. “Shame on [Obama], and shame on those people in his administration who participate with him,” Rove told Greta van Susteren. “And shame on those conservatives and Republicans who help him along. The president wants nothing more than Congressman [Ted] Yoho, of Florida, to step forward and say we must do it.”

Here’s the issue: It’s been demonstrated time and again that Boehner — or any other establishment leader of the GOP — has very little operational control of what the tea party wing in Congress says or does.  You can be sure that Boehner is making it abundantly clear to members of his conference not to mention the word “impeachment” in public and, if asked about it, to insist that it is absolutely not an option.  But, whether they listen is another thing entirely. Some may genuinely believe that Obama has committed acts that warrant impeachment, others may see the possibility of personal political gain out of being on Team Impeachment.

Meanwhile, any and all talk of impeachment may well be the secret ingredient Democrats have been desperately searching for to energize their base in advance of the midterms. (Eighty six percent of Democrats oppose impeaching President Obama.) If Democrats can make their base voters believe that the results of this election could mean the difference between impeaching Obama and not, that’s a major win for them. And, yes, impeachment talk will further stoke passion among some within the conservative base. But, between the IRS, Benghazi and Obamacare do those voters really need a whole lot more motivation to turn out and vote against Obama?

The genie is out of the bottle for Republicans at the moment. They need to figure out a way to stuff it back in — and quick — or run the risk of making the election, at least in part, about them. And that’s what they’ve spent the last seven months assiduously trying not to do.

The most interesting thing Harry Reid told Chuck Todd

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 30: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) answers reporters' quesitons during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol April 30, 2014 in Washington, DC. Members of the Democratic leadership held the news conference moments after the Senate failed to open debate on the bill to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) answers reporters’ questions during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol April 30, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

This is indeed an interesting revelation…

The Washington Post – Chris Cillizza

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sat down with NBC’s Chuck Todd for a wide-ranging — is there ever any other kind? — interview about the world’s greatest deliberative body, the Koch brothers and, yes, even the Washington Redskins. But, the most fascinating part of the sitdown came at the end — when Chuck asked Reid his thoughts on the coming 2016 Democratic presidential race.

It was a lengthy back and forth but it’s worth excerpting large chunks of it.  First, here’s Reid on his feelings about the Clintons:

Chuck: And on the Democratic side, you didn’t mention any names.  Why is that?

Reid: No, I’m not going to.  I–

Chuck: There’s one name.

Reid: I have a few friends out there.

Chuck: Well, there’s one name that — that — do you think–

Reid: Everybody — everybody knows I love the Clintons.  And I don’t need to say more.

Later, Chuck probed on Reid’s feeling about the possibility of a serious primary challenge to Clinton — and whether primaries were generally a good thing.

Chuck: And do you want her to be the nominee?  Or do you think there should be a healthy primary process?

Reid: Rarely do I think primaries are healthy.

Chuck: Oh, is that right?  You don’t think they’re good for for Democrats?

Reid: Why do you go to all the trouble?  It’d be nice to just have people anointed and run off — I’m being facetious, you know.
Chuck: Oh, okay. I thought you were and I wasn’t sure.  So, you think — you think it would be better for — for Secretary Clinton if she has a serious Democratic rival?

Reid: I believe that the primary that was — with Obama and Clinton was an extremely healthy process.  I think it was wonderful.  And I think it — people learned about these two people that they didn’t — things they know about before.

That’s absolutely fascinating — particularly when you remember that Reid was one of the driving forces behind recruiting a freshman Senator named Barack Obama to challenge Clinton in the 2008 presidential race. Here’s how Reid described the encouragement he gave to Obama in the epilogue to his memoir — as described by the Las Vegas Review Journal’s Lisa Mascaro:

Reid said he invited Obama to his office off the Senate floor ostensibly to discuss other matters. But actually the majority leader brought the young senator in to tell him, as Reid writes in the book, “If you want to be president, you can be president now.”

Reid recalled Obama as uncertain, even doubtful of his presidential prospects, according to the epilogue in “The Good Fight: Hard Lessons from Searchlight to Washington.”

“I think he was kind of surprised by the conversation,” Reid told the Sun last week. Reid could not recall the exact date of their talk. Obama filed papers to run in mid-January 2007, with a public plan to announce his formal candidacy almost a month later.

Reid’s comments are doubly fascinating when you consider that several of his Senate colleagues — including Claire McCaskill and Tim Kaine, both of whom were early Obama endorsers in 2008 — have already thrown their full support behind Clinton’s potential candidacy in 2016. Not only did Reid not endorse Clinton in the interview with Chuck, he seemed keen on the prospect of a contested primary — a scenario that the Clinton forces would be glad to avoid.

Now, of course, Reid does have a long relationship with another candidate thinking about running: Vice President Joe Biden. But, Reid never even mentions Biden’s name in the interview.

Why Reid chose this particular tack when asked about the possibility of a 2016 Clinton bid is anyone’s guess. (He certainly had to expect that Chuck would ask the question.) But, the tepidness of his responses — you should watch the clip below to get the full effect — does suggest that Reid may not be ready to sing from the Clinton songbook just yet.

See video on MSNBC here…

6-Year-Old Asks Putin: Would Obama Save You From Drowning?

Mediaite

Russian President and 2005 Super Bowl championVladimir Putin’s annual televised Q&A is just getting more bizarre. Shortly after a celebrity call-in from NSA leaker Edward Snowden, Putin got a question from a six-year-old: did Putin think Obama would save the Russian president from drowning?

“I don’t want to be drowning, but…” Putin said. “I don’t think I have a close personal relationship with Obama. I think Obama is a courageous and good person. For sure he would save me.”

The question came three hours and forty-nine minutes into the Q&A. If that seems long, consider that Putin’s Q&A last year lasted a record four hours and forty-eight minutes.

Watch the clip below, via RT:   ALSO note that the video looks like it’s the entire session but when you click “play” it will go to the last 5 minutes of the session.

(Throwback Thursday) – Barack Obama’s 2004 DemConvention Speech

I ran across this video while exploring You Tube on my Roku device.   Looking back at the following speech I was so floored with his keynote speech then and now…so I wanted to share it with my TFC friends…

When Barack Obama launched into his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, he was still an obscure state senator from Illinois. By the time he finished 17 minutes later, he had captured the nation’s attention and opened the way for a run at the presidency. A behind-the-scenes look at the politicking, plotting, and preparation that went into Obama’s breakthrough moment ~ David Bernstein

DemConvention

Obama: ‘If Men Were Having Babies, We’d Have Different Policies’

Mediaite

On Thursday, President Barack Obama appeared at a college in Orlando, Fla., to pressure Congress into passing legislation aimed at easing the burden on women in the workforce. Flanked by a female audience members, the president said that women deserve paid sick days and equal pay with men. “If men were having babies, we’d have different policies,” he observed.

“Women are still earning just 77 cents on every dollar that a man does,” Obama said. “Women with college degrees may earn hundreds of thousands of dollars less over the course of her career than a man at the same educational level, and that’s wrong.”

“This isn’t 1958,” he added. “It’s 2014.” He said that he was pressuring Republicans to support The Paycheck Fairness Act, which he said they continue to block. “We’ve got to get them to change their minds and join us in this century because a woman deserves equal pay for equal work,” Obama said to applause.

“A woman deserves to take a day off to care for a sick child or a parent without running into hardship,” the president continued. “A woman deserves work place policies that protect her right to have a baby without losing her job.”

“It’s pretty clear that, you know, if men were having babies, we’d have different policies,” Obama said. “Right?”

Watch the clip:

http://youtu.be/lUXlUsZTUQE

 

The President’s Pivot

I like the author’s analogy.  I tend to speak about President Obama’s strategic moves in terms of playing chess, but having read Sun Tzu’s The Art Of War, I think Mr. Blow’s comparison is spot on…

The New York TimesCharles M. Blow

That quote, from Sun Tzu’s ancient Chinese treatise “The Art of War,” perfectly captures President Obama’s strategic victory over Tea Party members of Congress on the government shutdown and the debt ceiling debate. It also explains his immediate pivot to another topic that Tea Partyers hate and over which their obstinacy is likely to get the party hammered again: comprehensive immigration reform.

This is a brilliant tactical move on the president’s part. And Republicans know it.

As the G.O.P. was nearing its moment of collapse on the shutdown and debt ceiling, Representative Raúl Labrador, Republican of Idaho, said, “I think it’d be crazy for the House Republican leadership to enter into negotiations with him on immigration.” He continued: “And I’m a proponent of immigration reform. So I think what he’s done over the last two and a half weeks — he’s trying to destroy the Republican Party. And I think that anything we do right now with this president on immigration will be with that same goal in mind: which is to try to destroy the Republican Party and not to get good policies.”

The conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer laid out the president’s calculus more bluntly on Fox News: “With immigration, he wins either way. I’m not sure he thinks he can get it passed, seeing the resistance among the Republicans to the deal over the budget. I think he knows he’s not going to have a good chance of getting immigration through, but he thinks — and he’s probably right — that he can exploit this for the midterm election as a way to gin up support, for the Democrats to portray the Republicans as anti-immigrant, anti-Hispanic, etc.”

Republicans have a tough choice.

They can ride shotgun once again with the politically suicidal Tea Party faction, a group that the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found this week to be “less popular than ever.” They can allow the most strident voices on the far right that oppose comprehensive immigration reform — Rush Limbaugh has likened it to the Republican Party’s “authoring its demise” — to direct their path and further alienate Hispanic voters, who are increasingly coming to see the party as an unwelcoming place. Mitt Romney lost the Hispanic vote by 44 points last year, and the Republican National Committee’s own autopsy on that loss surmised:

“If Hispanic Americans perceive that a G.O.P. nominee or candidate does not want them in the United States (i.e., self-deportation), they will not pay attention to our next sentence. It does not matter what we say about education, jobs or the economy; if Hispanics think we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies.”

Or Republicans can take the less likely path and demonstrate that they’ve been cowed enough to move ahead on a major piece of legislation that is supported by the majority of the American people — a July Gallup poll found that 71 percent of Americans believe that passing immigration reform is important. And that would be good not just for the president’s legacy but for the health of the country as a whole.

In a 2012 paper published by the Cato Institute, Raúl Hinojosa Ojeda, director of the North American Integration and Development Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, used computing models to estimate the following:

“Comprehensive immigration reform generates an annual increase in U.S. G.D.P. of at least 0.84 percent. This amounts to $1.5 trillion in additional G.D.P. over 10 years. It also boosts wages for both native-born and newly legalized immigrant workers.”

Comprehensive immigration reform is the right thing and the thing that Americans want. But the far right is hardly concerned with what’s right and has little appetite for agreeing with the will of the majority of the American people (despite talking ad nauseam about standing up for the American people).

The far right is angry at the government and the man at the top of it. According to a Pew Research report released Friday: “Anger at the federal government is most pronounced among Tea Party Republicans. Fully 55 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who agree with the Tea Party say they are angry with the federal government — about double the percentage among non-Tea Party Republicans (27 percent) and Democrats and Democratic leaners (25 percent).”

They have been blinded by that anger. The president knows that. And he knows that blind soldiers don’t often win battles. In choosing to pivot to immigration reform, he has created a win-win scenario for himself and the Democrats. Clever, clever.

Remember the pundits who urged Obama to cave?

MSNBC – Steve Benen

Even as the American mainstream turned against congressional Republicans during the recent crises, there were quite a few Beltway pundits who urged President Obama to give in to GOP demands. We talked earlier about what lessons Republicans may have learned from this fiasco, but I can’t help but feel curious about what, if anything, commentators learned, too.

Let’s take National Journal’s Ron Fournier, for example, who argued just last week that Obama “must negotiate” with GOP leaders. He said it was necessary as a “matter of optics,” adding that Republican “obstinacy” is “no excuse.” (Remember, in context, “negotiating” with Republicans meant exploring what concessions the president was prepared to offer – in exchange for nothing – because GOP lawmakers said it was a precondition to their willingness to complete their basic responsibilities.)
Obama ignored the advice, showed some real leadership, and prevailed. A week later, with the benefit of hindsight, Fournier’s advice appears rather misguided.
Which is what made the National Journal writer’s new column that much more interesting.
Just as he did to John McCain in 2008 and to Mitt Romney in 2012, President Obama defeated a lame Republican political team. The GOP’s right wing foolishly shuttered the government and threatened default in exchange for an unreasonable and unattainable concession: Scrap Obamacare. He refused. The GOP caved.
It was all so predictable.
Hmm. If it was all so predictable that the president would stick to his guns and Republicans would cave, why did Fouriner argue – literally just last week – that Obama should stop sticking to his guns and start making concessions to Republicans?
The rest of Fournier’s argument is somewhat confusing. He wants to know, for example, if Obama can “lead.” Didn’t Obama just prove that he could “lead” quite well by winning this fight? In this case, Fournier suggests “lead” means “making Republicans do what they refuse to do,” which doesn’t seem like an altogether fair definition of the word.
The column goes on to ask if Obama “has the guts to anger liberal backers with a budget deal on Social Security and Medicare,” failing to mention that Obama has already angered liberal backers by offering a budget deal on Social Security and Medicare. Fournier also asks, “Is he willing to engage sincerely with Republicans?” overlooking all of the efforts the president has already made to do exactly that.
The columnist also wants to know if Obama wants “a legacy beyond winning two elections and enacting a health care law,” overlooking the Recovery Act, ending the war in Iraq, decimating al Qaeda and killing Osama bin Laden, rescuing the American automotive industry, reforming Wall Street safeguards, advancing civil rights, and scoring several major foreign policy victories.
Fournier says there are “any number of conservative Republicans with a pragmatic streak,” overlooking the fact that each of them have already rejected the notion of a balanced compromise on the budget. Fournier says facts about the shrinking deficit are “both technically wrong and selectively misleading” when they are in fact both technically correct and objectively true.
Fournier also uses words like “governing” and “success” as synonyms for “a center-right debt-reduction deal that most credible economists consider wholly unnecessary.”
The piece goes on to argue, “There is already a lack of seriousness in the air.” On this, I heartily agree.
Update: Fournier believes the item above takes his post from last week out of context. I disagree, but I’m eager for fair-minded readers to consider the relevant pieces and reach their own conclusions. Here’s his piece from last week, in which Fournier argues that Obama “can’t cave,” while also arguing that Obama “must negotiate” with Republicans who were demanding he cave. Here’s his piece from this morning, in which Fournier argues that the president’s posture against negotiation led to a “predictable” victory.
I continue to believe a fair and informed reading supports the observations published above, but I would encourage interested parties to read further and evaluate the arguments on the merits.

Obama: You Don’t Get To Extract A Ransom For Doing Your Job

President Barack Obama speaks to the media at the White House as a government shutdown deadline looms over Washington.

Watch Video Here

NBC News

President Barack Obama on Monday again urged House Republicans to pass an eleventh-hour measure to avert a government shutdown, saying that conservatives are holding the government “ransom” over their objections to Obamacare.

“One faction of one party in one house of Congress in one branch of government doesn’t get to shut down the entire government just to re-fight the results of an election,” he said during a statement at the White House.

Obama said that a shutdown “does not have to happen” and can be prevented if House Republicans agree to pass the Senate’s version of a funding bill before midnight tonight.

“You don’t get to extract a ransom for doing your job, for doing what you’re supposed to be doing anyway” he said. “Or just because there’s a law there that you don’t like.”

The president’s statement comes as Congress remains deadlocked over a measure to keep the government funded after midnight tonight.

With the clock ticking towards the deadline, House Republicans announced earlier Monday afternoon that they intend to vote on a funding measure that includes a one-year delay of the individual mandate provision of Obamacare, a proposal that Senate Democrats are certain to reject.

In an interview with NPR News, Obama also reiterated that he will not accept such a delay.

“The notion that we would even delay [Obamacare] – simply because the Republicans have decided ideologically that they’re opposed to the Affordable Care Act – is not something that we’re going to be discussing.”

Obama made a similarly late-scheduled address last Friday, reiterating bluntly that he will not roll back his signature domestic policy achievement.

“The House Republicans are so concerned with appeasing the Tea Party that they’ve threatened a government shutdown or worse unless I gut or repeal the Affordable Care Act,” Obama said Friday. “Let me repeat it. That’s not going to happen. More than 100 million Americans currently already have new benefits and protections under the law.”