Happy Veteran’s Day To All Of Our Active Duty Service Members and Veterans.
Veterans Day is a national holiday in which we show appreciation to those who have served their country in the armed forces. The holiday dates back to 1919. It was originally called Armistice Day and its date celebrates the German surrender that ended the First World War. In 1954, Congress amended the holiday to be known as Veterans Day to honor all of America’s veterans.
A century and a half after Abraham Lincoln was elected, some truths go marching on. Take heed, Obama.
Newsweek’s article on President Obama’s recognition and frequent use of Abe Lincoln’s term “better angels” brings to light, the unnerving fact that Obama also needs to realize what Lincoln understood: that there may be better angels in the nature of some people, but there are others who are willing to weaken, even destroy a nation to serve their own self-righteous self-interest, and they will do it in the name of the Constitution…
President Barack Obama loves to quote the lyrical closing lines of Abraham Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address, calling on “the better angels of our nature” to overcome partisan hatreds and political divisions. Obama cited those words in his own inaugural proclamation and rested his hand on Lincoln’s Bible when he took the oath of office. He has come back to those angels again and again ever since. A search of Google and the White House Web site turns up half a dozen examples. He used the phrase to eulogize Ted Kennedy, to chide a would-be Quran burner in Florida, and to say goodbye to chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. Obama, it seems, sees better angels just about everywhere. Even as he traveled in India this week he talked about his efforts to live up to the example of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and, yes, Abraham Lincoln.
But in light of today’s real-world politics, Obama should think a little harder about the context in which Lincoln summoned those better angels on March 4, 1861. Led by South Carolina (now home to Sen. Jim DeMint), seven of 33 states had already seceded from the Union to form the Confederacy at that point. Only days before Lincoln took office, he had to sneak into Washington in the lonely hours before dawn because of an assassination plot. The month after his inauguration, the South fired on the federal garrison at Fort Sumter to begin the Civil War in earnest.
If, in the end, Lincoln did manage to hold the Union together, it was not because of the better angels of human nature, but because he finally found the killer angels among his generals who could, and did, and at enormous cost, crush the secessionists.
These basic facts about a moment of history that Obama obviously holds dear are worth going over again right now because, in fact, the secessionists of 1860 are the ideological forebears of the Tea Party movement today. No, the United States is not on the verge of another violent breakup, not close at all, even if Tea Party icons like Gov. Rick Perry in Texas or some of Sarah Palin’s friends and relatives in Alaska may toy with the notion of secession. But there is in American politics today a discourse of such cupidity, bigotry, and self-delusion about the role of government that it would have been familiar to anyone following the rhetoric of the Southern “fire-eaters” pushing the country toward a conflagration 150 years ago. Continue reading…
The Washington Post
A Pentagon study group has concluded that the military can lift the ban on gays serving openly in uniform with only minimal and isolated incidents of risk to the current war efforts, according to two people familiar with a draft of the report, which is due to President Obama on Dec. 1.
More than 70 percent of respondents to a survey sent to active-duty and reserve troops over the summer said the effect of repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy would be positive, mixed or nonexistent, said two sources familiar with the document. The survey results led the report’s authors to conclude that objections to openly gay colleagues would drop once troops were able to live and serve alongside them.
One source, who has read the report in full, summarized its findings in a series of conversations this week. The source declined to state his position on whether or not to lift the ban, insisting it did not matter. He said he felt compelled to share the information out of concern that groups opposed to ending the ban would mischaracterize the findings. The long, detailed and nuanced report will almost certainly be used by opponents and supporters of repeal legislation to bolster their positions in what is likely to be a heated and partisan congressional debate.
President Obama has vowed to end the ban. Senior Pentagon officials requested the survey to address areas in which the repeal might cause conflicts that could hinder the military’s ability to fight. Continued…
The right-wing “in your face” attitude from Supreme Court Justices Alito, Roberts, Scalia and Thomas pretty much demonstrate why Citizens United became a historic decision.
We first noticed the “attitude” when Scalia and Cheney went hunting together just three weeks after the court agreed to take up the vice president’s appeal in lawsuits over his handling of the administration’s energy task force. Scalia rejected any notion of conflict of interest saying: “I do not think my impartiality could reasonably be questioned.”
Then Chief Justice Roberts decides he will not attend any more State of The Union addresses by President Obama. In fact he said that it’s up to each individual Justice, whether or not they attend the State of the Union, which Roberts feels has turned into a “political pep rapply”.
Recently we learned that Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife has formed a “tea party” venture to offset President Obama’s “radical agenda“.
Now we have Justice Alito headlining Republican fundraisers and telling a reporter that his being at a recent fundraiser was “not important”.
Perhaps, because there is no explicit code of ethics for the nine Supreme Court justices, they have been allowed to get away with such behavior. Some Justices have come under scrutiny, such as accepting trips from groups with political and judicial agenda and gifts from private parties who may at some point have business before the court.
Last night, the American Spectator — a right-wing magazine known for its role in the “Arkansas Project,” a well-funded effort to invent stories with the goal of eventually impeaching President Clinton — held its annual gala fundraising event. The Spectator is more than merely an ideological outlet. Spectator publisher Al Regnery helps lead a secretive group of conservatives called the “Conservative Action Project,” formed after President Obama’s election, to help lobby for conservative legislative priorities, elect Republicans (the Conservative Action Project helped campaign against Democrat Bill Owens in NY-23), and block President Obama’s judicial appointments. The Spectator’s gala last night, with ticket prices/sponsorship levels ranging from $250 to $25,000, featured prominent Republicans like RNC chairman Michael Steele, hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer (a major donor to Republican campaign committees and attack ad groups), and U.S. Chamber of Commerce board member and former Allied Capital CEO William Walton. Among the attendees toasting Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), the keynote speaker for the event, was Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito. Continue reading…
So, although Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann’s accusation of “death panels” under health care reform were lies, it seems that something similar may be in the works via the states cutting Medicaid or the Debt commission suggestion of cutting Social Security and Medicare…
Today’s upcoming report by the White House’s fiscal commission is expected to include recommendations to raise the retirement age for Social Security and cut Medicare benefits — two policy prescriptions that will be met with deep opposition from Democrats and some Republicans — according to a source who has been briefed on the proposal.
The chairmen of the commission will unveil their overarching recommendations for debt and deficit reduction on Wednesday afternoon, weeks before the official unveiling is expected.
The findings are not the final report of the commission, officially known as the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Rather they are the specific suggestions of its two chairs, former Sen. Alan Simpson and former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles. The ultimate findings will require the support of 14 members of the 18-member commission. And at this juncture it is unclear if the votes are there, sources familiar with deliberation say.
In the process of pursuing their reforms for Social Security and Medicare, the commission chairs are expected to suggest that the end result will be a 70 percent cut in benefits and 30 percent increase in revenues, according to the source familiar with the upcoming announcement.
“What a crazy proposal, what a crazy proposal,” said a Democratic source briefed on the findings. “I expect that the White House is going to distance itself big-time from this, saying this is just the chairman not the commission.” Continue reading…
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