Sunday, December 22, 2013

Enough Propaganda about how Obamacare is leading to Political meltdown for Democrats!

Keywords or Terms: Affordable Care Act; OBAMACARE; First-Phase; Search Engines; WEBSITE Usability; Algorithm; Antagonists; Protagonists; Racists and Racism; President Barack Hussein OBAMA. 

In America’s Political experience, the word ‘meltdown’ as a consequence for passing a bill designed to restructure the delivery of health care and accommodate the challenges of having too many citizens without health insurance and care, is better reserved for those faint at heart and for politicians perceived as weak, legislatively unproductive, and or, personally or behaviorally flawed. It is hardly a word anyone would attach to ground breaking legislation in health care, despite its teething problem at launching. Despite current acrimonious statements regarding how badly the launching of the first phase of Affordable Care Act of 2011 has been, recall the same acrimonious statements beclouded the passing of the law, there are certainly some hope for the law and its future; and, if we all give the law the credit it deserves, it will ultimately triumph over petty criticisms and unqualified failures said to doom the law from antagonists.

So how has it, that so many criticisms and possible failure of a law can be projected, just by mere launching of a Website; one federal site, said to be the vessel for delivering the law (health care insurance) to millions of Americans? When the success and failure of a WEBSITE define gloom for a law in modern lawmaking, then we truly have a problem in this nation. Since when did the launching of a website define the relevance and essence of a law to better the welfare of the people?  Critics of OBAMACARE may have to look in the mirror. They set the tone for the current criticisms about how the launching of the WEBSITE is synonymous with the failure of the law, long before the launching of the Website. Except I am missing something, thousands of laws passed United States Congress for close to a quarter century, where a WEBSITE was neither part of the equation or associated with the law or its success or relevance. As a matter of fact, except for the AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, anyone can count on their finger tips, laws in the past quarter of a century that were implemented or phased in, with a WEBSITE.

Visitor Usability and or usability friendliness of a WEBSITE, with all its problems, may not be intentional, but may be adduced to flawed information retrieval algorithm, which any Information Retrieval Guru, will respectfully tell you can be corrected with a few thwacks and multilevel pretests or post-launch; and, could actually be relative in all scheme of things or long run. Please get Professor Efthi Efthidiamis and Terrence Brooks back to the classroom at the University Of Washington Information School! No WEBSITE designer can consciously design a WEBSITE for the ultimate failure of the content. The HTTP, XHTML or what have you, may have tag loss or need some re-engineering; may suffer retrieval efficiency, compromised by the nature search engine; or, thwart user motivations and moral. However, it may hardly doom completely all the content or define the intent of congressional lawmakers who took several months and days to look over many and several parts of the Affordable Care Act.

For all to digest, No Website designer has the skills to effectually predict the complete future use of any Website. Technically speaking, WEBSITE designers only have two resources they can invest in designing a functional WEBSITE: time and the potential to write flexible tags that affords search engine queries or increases functionality or efficiency. But, we have seen politicians and the media, criticizing the Federal WEBSITE for the purchase of the health insurance package, as the ultimate failure of the Affordable Care Act. How about several states purchase exchanges websites that have been doing fantastic business and returning value for the time spent in purchasing a health care package? Website developers’ use of finite resources may impede the development of a perfect site. Creating a friendly usability of a WEBSITE remain the responsibility of the developer, not necessarily an illustration of the weakness of a law; or, the time-tested delegation of responsibility regarding a function better suited to skilled professionals. Taking on OBAMA’s Administration for the failure of a website belongs to the gutters of history; for the initiative of the Affordable Care Act remain appropriately with Congress who passed the law in the first place, for the President’s signature!

Instead of demonstrating the need for more user friendly WEBSITE(S) regarding the sale of health care insurance packages, antagonists of the Affordable Care Act, including many Congressional Republican Lawmakers who hardly lifted a finger in the passing of the law, are today running propaganda messages across the nation that the law is already a failure. Worse still, I see some Democrats, who were once supporters of the law, who for political reasons are worried about their chances in the 2014 elections, falling pray to mostly unfounded criticism of the law because of the glitches in the launching of the WEBSITE. Take it from an Information Manager, who completed researches in the realm of Information Retrieval, the glitches with the federal website are fixable and really, a piece of cake if you consider what is at stake if the law is railroaded. Frankly, I see racism here, I feel racism here, I smell racism here and I’ll tell all those who want OBAMACARE to fail: health is neither a respecter of color! If you do not like President Obama because he is multi-racial, deal with it! President Obama is a Hodge podgy of black and white; and, after his Presidency, his race will hardly be an issue. It is an issue today, because those rightists, who are flawed in behavior, who are prejudiced to the teeth, will hardly see anything good about having Barack Hussein Obama as the 44th President of the United States!

Visitors to OBAMACARE WEBSITE, and or purchasers of the health care policies on the state health exchanges, Be vigilant! The extremists never wanted you to have the opportunity to shop for reasonably priced health insurance package(s) in the first place; as a matter of fact, they don’t want you to have health insurance, they’ll rather we return to the broken health care system where over 40 million Americans had no health care insurance and hospital emergency rooms were over subscribed. We are in a delicate balance or situation here; we can either allow ourselves to be fooled again by our oppressors, or stand up to the critics of OBAMACARE and say: Enough is enough! Taking the opportunity away from individual health insurance policy shopper sends a bad message that the average American has a low expectation for him or herself and can neither make good judgment regarding his or her healthcare needs.

What we have learned historically is that criticisms can undermine a very good initiative or law. Unfounded criticisms can keep Americans from visiting the health care website or state exchanges, or kill the implementation process; however, it will never take care or eradicate the initial problems that led to the passing of the law. Potential health care insurance purchasers may see current situation of usability friendliness as a suitability issue of the law; however, the truth is: The antagonists of the law are doing all in their power to kill this fine law! Don’t let them do it! Cry out foul and tell them to buzz off! Like my grandma said: “Deity, if you can’t help me, do not complicate the process of my chances and choices.”

Good health care system can keep many people alive; however, inability to own or carry health care insurance can ruin the chances of Americans from receiving health care at reasonable cost to the taxpayers. Antagonists of Affordable Care Act can easily develop low expectations of the WEBSITE intended to sell health insurance policies; and believe me, their current criticism of the functionality of the federal WEBSITE on OBAMACARE; reflect their inner negative voice and biases to the passing of the law in 2011! Sometimes criticisms of the first phase in the implementation of a law may attempt to derail the full potential of the first launch; but never a complete failure. I could remember similar criticism of the Part D Medicare reform under Republican President George Bush. Today, many seniors will rightly inform you that the program and law works, because we gave it a chance. This is what supporters of the Affordable Care Act are calling for: just a chance!

Inappropriate criticism of the Affordable Care Act website may be creating an aura of ineffectiveness or inefficiency in the law; or, may be creating mistrust among the populace, even the propaganda of the rightists regarding the law, may be holding sinking sand around the faint at heart, however, conviction and personal responsibility for the future of one’s health and how to buy and hold an health care policy, in case of an emergency, is the ultimate arbiter of the current diatomic of the user-friendly  problem regarding the OBAMACARE website. What all vigilant Americans shopping for health care policies need are: 1) enough time to learn the basic usability tabs and queries on the website; 2) opportunity to cruise the website and other state exchanges to make better choice of health insurance package(s); and 3) trust that the WEBSITE(s) is designed to facilitate easy use, foster discretionary choices for the buyer and promote solutions to the challenges of prior healthcare system.

To have a faster and more user friendly WEBSITE, the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, Governor Kathleen Sebelius, and White House management, have employed a few of the best hands in WEBSITE development and search engines management. Their current assignments and future efforts will address the initial impediments to the WEBSITE usability. The onus of the initiative to purchase and the responsibility to buy and hold on to a health insurance policy will remain that of each American. Appropriate participation in the Health Care Exchanges, especially from teaming youths in the not-so-risky pull, can help ensure the success of the implementation of the first phase of OBAMACARE; and, may all well counter the current criticisms of the naysayer regarding the Affordable Care Act of 2011.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sequestration: watching the uninvited change to middle-income earners quality of life?

Sequestering: To set aside or remove; to take temporary possession of as security against claim – Webster English Dictionary

When a Republican bemoans sequestration cuts, you probably assume that his/her party leadership also empathizes with him/her regarding the set aside. It is also likely that you are thinking when this budget set aside going to hit you, your children and or parents. Very few of us ever think law making in American Congress will deteriorate to a level that our lawmakers cannot take the initiative to save the economy from another possible free fall, because of the choice of allowing sequestration cuts. And for those of you who are thinking, no one should be concerned, since this new terminology for austerity, or temporary possession of part of budget allocation, is just another way of slowing down federal government expenditure, I’ll say: think again!

In the past two years, some say throughout President Obama’s stewardship of the White house, Republicans in congress have generally forgotten the term compromise when it comes to dealing with issues of lawmaking. Many congressional lawmakers, Democrats and Republicans, continue to disown the memorandum of sequestration. Republican lawmakers continue to assert the failure of leadership in the White House, Congressional Democrats continue to charge Congressional Republicans for playing politics, asking if it was better to continue to give tax brakes to oil and gas companies who are flush with cash against, allowing children in federal head-start program to remain longer days in school; or, even have milk with their breakfast. Whether it is right for Congressional Republicans to claim that the economy will be stronger as we move down the road with the sequestration, rather than building a solid foundation for the economy to blossom and flourish.

How can you build a stronger economy when bills to create jobs, cut taxes for middle income earners and invest in alternative source of energy are relegated to the fourth or tenth rung of congressional agenda, if not oblivion? How can you build a foundation for a flourishing economy, when major participants, middle class people who work and spend a greater ratio of their earnings and income on goods and services produced in the economy are dissented to a large extent by a memorandum of sequestration? How can you create jobs for the unemployed, when the focus is not to create jobs in the economy? How can we have a growing economy, not to talk of an expanding and flourishing economy, when our congressional Republican are subscribing to cutting programs that directly impact the livelihood of many poor and disadvantaged Americans? Would someone in Congress tell us why Social Security and or Medicare are on the chopping block?

While American Stock Market and Commodities future markets are performing at record level, performance never before seen in over a decade, and all we aspire for, is a taxation regime that is completely skewed towards the benefit of less than one percent of the citizens, the one per-center, who own more than eighty percent of national wealth? Many voters in the 2012 general elections thought that exactly was what they voted against, by rejecting Mitt Romney’s ambition for the White House? For Congressional Republicans, even if the sequestration cuts are going to spite their constituent members, it is still alright to be patricians on the sequestration cuts! Republican leadership in congress will advance that their choice not to act to prevent sequestration cuts, is a choice to force the federal government to manage its deficit; or make the free market system work better for the few rich among us so they can in turn invest to create and build a better economy, or real free economy. This is a very troubling understanding or assertion on the part of this group of lawmakers!

It is not unusual to hear Congressional Republicans lambast the Whitehouse for not showing leadership that could have prevented sequestration cuts; however, they were unable to make headway with their plan B, a plan scheduled to substitute for the huge sum of sequestration cost for 2013. Rather than pass a substitute plan developed by the Republicans, they were unable to convince enough members of their party to support Plan B! Some political observes maintain that there are enough blames to go around, both for Republican and Democratic Congressional lawmakers; even as far as the White House. It is not just good enough to say no one wants American Economy to crumble; or that some adjustments is needed in across the board spending cuts without raising revenue. It is not enough to advance probable unworkable plan rather than pull the bull by the horn and address 17 trillion dollars debt with some revenue uptick and a commitment to closing the huge tax holes or gap and probably, look for alternative avenue to address the issue of budget short fall.

President Obama’s outreach to Congressional Republicans in some very unusual way, by inviting them to a hotel, a neutral ground for discussing differences among congressional lawmakers, is forthright and probably forward looking; however, will these meeting yield results to make America’s legislative process more fluid to help build a better and flourishing economy? Will this meeting make banks loan money to ordinary citizens who want to buy a new home or start a business? Will this meeting lead to hiking of taxes, closing loopholes in the tax laws and giving tax incentives to industries that are hiring the unemployed?

No one would subscribe to the conception that an invitation of less than two dozen Republican senators to a hotel for political smooching will achieve the needed change to help congress refocus its attention to job creation, especially when we saw how relatively brief the meeting with the lawmakers and the White House. Critics of this noble effort from the White House, claim the meeting was really nothing but a public relation’s effort by the White House, for its inability to make congress do what it has proposed or liked. However, financially savvy members of the public point attention to the doubling of Dow Jones over the period which President Obama has been in office as a great indicator that the President is doing things right; only if he could get congressional Republicans to fall in line, or advice the US House Speaker to put his house in order so that the work of the people, can be completed or done.

According to the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA), the Sequestration is to cut one and a half trillion dollars over 10years in the US budget. In 2013, Sequestration is supposed to include $85.4 billion spread in cuts as follows: $42.7 billion defense cuts (a 7.9% cut); $28.7 billion domestic discretionary cuts (a 5.3% cuts); $9.9 billion Medicare cuts (a 2% cut); $4 billion mandatory cuts (a 5.8 % non-defense programs; 7.8% mandatory defense program cuts). Worse more, from 2014 to 2021, the overall budgetary discretionary cuts in the budget are to rise from $87 to $92 billion, to a total of $109 billion. The sequestration cuts were meant to make both Republican and Democratic lawmakers work together on passing a budget. If Congressional lawmakers had passed a budget prior to the enactment of the Budget Control Act of 2011 on December 23, 2011; the nation would have averted sequestration. However, Congressional lawmakers had been so apathetically; some say uncompromising at all level of the budget making or negotiations process, that all the essential legislative requirements had been excluded; and this has result to defaulting to sequestration.

What do we know from all these expected cuts or sequestrations? If a lawmaker tells you the sequestration is not as bad as you may think, I’ll suggest that you tell him or her, you are not going to be fooled! With the size and somewhat of an across the board cuts for so long, definitely, unintended consequences are likely to result; and there comes in the consequence and grief of sequestration! Imagine cuts to the programs of National Institute of Health, yes, that institute that is funding and attempting to find answers to why millions of Americans dies from whatever cancer you’ve heard, yes that institute is supposed to take a hit! There are going to be furloughs for Federal Career Officers, denial of extended unemployment insurance for workers who have remained unemployed from about six to one year under the Emergency Unemployment Compensation, and if Obama’s Administration is unable to get an approval from congress that the scheduled cut of eighty-five billion plus is substituted for repeal of tax cut for the oil and gas industry and, a mix of tax increases using the buffet rule, Americans in the middle income group are going to feel the impact rather disproportionally; but it will still be there.

Both proposals advanced in Congress, either by Democratic or Republican lawmakers, to support or overtake White House proposal to have some raise in revenue, in place of 2013 intended cuts, seem untenable or very far from reality. The American Family Economic Protection Act meant to replace 2013 sequestration with spending cuts and tax increases to the tune of $110 billion have been venally rejected by the House Congressional Republicans. Plan B proposed by House Speaker John Boehner, which Republicans themselves refused to pass into law, and other current proposals swirling through both chambers of congress are probably doom because of the strife; yes strife, that has beclouded congressional lawmaking in America!.

Two major things will resolve this strife in congress that has made lawmaking a nightmare, no matter how much the public would rather have it differently: 1) it is time to send home all extremists and self-centered lawmakers home in the mid-term elections in 2014; 2) If the recalcitrance and non-compromises remain in congress past 2014, the public will have to subscribe to a “no clause” attachment to negotiations  in contemplated legislation to temper the excruciating pain of sequestration to middle income Americans.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

In case you missed it: State of the Union Address and Progressives!

"Social Progress makes the well-being of all more and more the business of each; it binds all closer and closer together in bonds from which none can escape" -- Henry George.

This is really red meat for Progressives! President Obama's Second State of the Union Address is peppered with the type of lingo liberals like to open champagne(s) to! Full of collective substance and probably a repeat of many of his past proposals, with a torch of some new ideas. The speech is impressive, considering how calm and collected the President was in his delivery. The Oratory superb and the emotions close to the end of the speech when he made a case for a vote on assault weapon ban, vivid or livid, make your choice!

However, if you are conservative, if you are the Tea Party type, this one will probably run you off the wall. I enjoyed every bit of it; not because I completely agree with everything in the speech, but because I know the President has a conviction and he has stood by it: " help and save the middle class from the downward spiral; help them get a fair shake in the economy; give them a reason to believe in themselves and a better tomorrow, and, make the rich folks see that they can be their brother's keeper!" This is the type of speech that makes the rich, affluent and Republican, nauseated to kingdom come! Without an iota of doubt, President Obama asserted himself to be a progressive; one thing many of those who take exception to this type of speech, will at least agree to, even if they dislike the content.

In case you missed it, here is the full text of the speech as released by the White House Press Office:

THE PRESIDENT:  Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of  weapon ban in congressCongress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:

Last month, I went to Andrews Air Force Base and welcomed home some of our last troops to serve in Iraq.  Together, we offered a final, proud salute to the colors under which more than a million of our fellow citizens fought -- and several thousand gave their lives.

We gather tonight knowing that this generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected around the world.  (Applause.)  For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq.  (Applause.)  For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country.  (Applause.)  Most of al Qaeda’s top lieutenants have been defeated.  The Taliban’s momentum has been broken, and some troops in Afghanistan have begun to come home.
These achievements are a testament to the courage, selflessness and teamwork of America’s Armed Forces.  At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations.  They’re not consumed with personal ambition.  They don’t obsess over their differences.  They focus on the mission at hand.  They work together. 

Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example.  (Applause.)  Think about the America within our reach:  A country that leads the world in educating its people.  An America that attracts a new generation of high-tech manufacturing and high-paying jobs.  A future where we’re in control of our own energy, and our security and prosperity aren’t so tied to unstable parts of the world.  An economy built to last, where hard work pays off, and responsibility is rewarded.
We can do this.  I know we can, because we’ve done it before.  At the end of World War II, when another generation of heroes returned home from combat, they built the strongest economy and middle class the world has ever known.  (Applause.)  My grandfather, a veteran of Patton’s Army, got the chance to go to college on the GI Bill.  My grandmother, who worked on a bomber assembly line, was part of a workforce that turned out the best products on Earth.

The two of them shared the optimism of a nation that had triumphed over a depression and fascism.  They understood they were part of something larger; that they were contributing to a story of success that every American had a chance to share -- the basic American promise that if you worked hard, you could do well enough to raise a family, own a home, send your kids to college, and put a little away for retirement. 

The defining issue of our time is how to keep that promise alive.  No challenge is more urgent.  No debate is more important.  We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well while a growing number of Americans barely get by, or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.  (Applause.)  What’s at stake aren’t Democratic values or Republican values, but American values.  And we have to reclaim them.

Let’s remember how we got here.  Long before the recession, jobs and manufacturing began leaving our shores.  Technology made businesses more efficient, but also made some jobs obsolete.  Folks at the top saw their incomes rise like never before, but most hardworking Americans struggled with costs that were growing, paychecks that weren’t, and personal debt that kept piling up.

In 2008, the house of cards collapsed.  We learned that mortgages had been sold to people who couldn’t afford or understand them.  Banks had made huge bets and bonuses with other people’s money.  Regulators had looked the other way, or didn’t have the authority to stop the bad behavior.
It was wrong.  It was irresponsible.  And it plunged our economy into a crisis that put millions out of work, saddled us with more debt, and left innocent, hardworking Americans holding the bag.  In the six months before I took office, we lost nearly 4 million jobs.  And we lost another 4 million before our policies were in full effect.

Those are the facts.  But so are these:  In the last 22 months, businesses have created more than 3 million jobs.  (Applause.)

Last year, they created the most jobs since 2005.  American manufacturers are hiring again, creating jobs for the first time since the late 1990s.  Together, we’ve agreed to cut the deficit by more than $2 trillion.  And we’ve put in place new rules to hold Wall Street accountable, so a crisis like this never happens again.  (Applause.)

The state of our Union is getting stronger.  And we’ve come too far to turn back now.  As long as I’m President, I will work with anyone in this chamber to build on this momentum.  But I intend to fight obstruction with action, and I will oppose any effort to return to the very same policies that brought on this economic crisis in the first place.  (Applause.)

No, we will not go back to an economy weakened by outsourcing, bad debt, and phony financial profits.  Tonight, I want to speak about how we move forward, and lay out a blueprint for an economy that’s built to last -– an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values.

Now, this blueprint begins with American manufacturing.

On the day I took office, our auto industry was on the verge of collapse.  Some even said we should let it die.  With a million jobs at stake, I refused to let that happen.  In exchange for help, we demanded responsibility.  We got workers and automakers to settle their differences.  We got the industry to retool and restructure.  Today, General Motors is back on top as the world’s number-one automaker.  (Applause.)  Chrysler has grown faster in the U.S. than any major car company.  Ford is investing billions in U.S. plants and factories.  And together, the entire industry added nearly 160,000 jobs. 
We bet on American workers.  We bet on American ingenuity.  And tonight, the American auto industry is back.  (Applause.)
What’s happening in Detroit can happen in other industries.  It can happen in Cleveland and Pittsburgh and Raleigh.  We can’t bring every job back that’s left our shore.  But right now, it’s getting more expensive to do business in places like China.  Meanwhile, America is more productive.  A few weeks ago, the CEO of Master Lock told me that it now makes business sense for him to bring jobs back home.  (Applause.)  Today, for the first time in 15 years, Master Lock’s unionized plant in Milwaukee is running at full capacity.  (Applause.)
So we have a huge opportunity, at this moment, to bring manufacturing back.  But we have to seize it.  Tonight, my message to business leaders is simple:  Ask yourselves what you can do to bring jobs back to your country, and your country will do everything we can to help you succeed.  (Applause.)  
We should start with our tax code.  Right now, companies get tax breaks for moving jobs and profits overseas.  Meanwhile, companies that choose to stay in America get hit with one of the highest tax rates in the world.  It makes no sense, and everyone knows it.  So let’s change it. 

First, if you’re a business that wants to outsource jobs, you shouldn’t get a tax deduction for doing it.  (Applause.)  That money should be used to cover moving expenses for companies like Master Lock that decide to bring jobs home.  (Applause.) 

Second, no American company should be able to avoid paying its fair share of taxes by moving jobs and profits overseas.  (Applause.)  From now on, every multinational company should have to pay a basic minimum tax.  And every penny should go towards lowering taxes for companies that choose to stay here and hire here in America.  (Applause.)
Third, if you’re an American manufacturer, you should get a bigger tax cut.  If you’re a high-tech manufacturer, we should double the tax deduction you get for making your products here.  And if you want to relocate in a community that was hit hard when a factory left town, you should get help financing a new plant, equipment, or training for new workers.  (Applause.) 

So my message is simple.  It is time to stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs overseas, and start rewarding companies that create jobs right here in America.  Send me these tax reforms, and I will sign them right away.  (Applause.) 
We’re also making it easier for American businesses to sell products all over the world.  Two years ago, I set a goal of doubling U.S. exports over five years.  With the bipartisan trade agreements we signed into law, we’re on track to meet that goal ahead of schedule.  (Applause.)  And soon, there will be millions of new customers for American goods in Panama, Colombia, and South Korea.  Soon, there will be new cars on the streets of Seoul imported from Detroit, and Toledo, and Chicago.  (Applause.) 
I will go anywhere in the world to open new markets for American products.  And I will not stand by when our competitors don’t play by the rules.  We’ve brought trade cases against China at nearly twice the rate as the last administration –- and it’s made a difference.  (Applause.)  Over a thousand Americans are working today because we stopped a surge in Chinese tires.  But we need to do more.  It’s not right when another country lets our movies, music, and software be pirated.  It’s not fair when foreign manufacturers have a leg up on ours only because they’re heavily subsidized.

Tonight, I’m announcing the creation of a Trade Enforcement Unit that will be charged with investigating unfair trading practices in countries like China.  (Applause.)  There will be more inspections to prevent counterfeit or unsafe goods from crossing our borders.  And this Congress should make sure that no foreign company has an advantage over American manufacturing when it comes to accessing financing or new markets like Russia.  Our workers are the most productive on Earth, and if the playing field is level, I promise you -– America will always win.  (Applause.)

I also hear from many business leaders who want to hire in the United States but can’t find workers with the right skills.  Growing industries in science and technology have twice as many openings as we have workers who can do the job.  Think about that –- openings at a time when millions of Americans are looking for work.  It’s inexcusable.  And we know how to fix it.
Jackie Bray is a single mom from North Carolina who was laid off from her job as a mechanic.  Then Siemens opened a gas turbine factory in Charlotte, and formed a partnership with Central Piedmont Community College.  The company helped the college design courses in laser and robotics training.  It paid Jackie’s tuition, then hired her to help operate their plant.

I want every American looking for work to have the same opportunity as Jackie did.  Join me in a national commitment to train 2 million Americans with skills that will lead directly to a job.  (Applause.)  My administration has already lined up more companies that want to help.  Model partnerships between businesses like Siemens and community colleges in places like Charlotte, and Orlando, and Louisville are up and running.  Now you need to give more community colleges the resources they need to become community career centers -– places that teach people skills that businesses are looking for right now, from data management to high-tech manufacturing.

And I want to cut through the maze of confusing training programs, so that from now on, people like Jackie have one program, one website, and one place to go for all the information and help that they need.  It is time to turn our unemployment system into a reemployment system that puts people to work.  (Applause.)
These reforms will help people get jobs that are open today.  But to prepare for the jobs of tomorrow, our commitment to skills and education has to start earlier.

For less than 1 percent of what our nation spends on education each year, we’ve convinced nearly every state in the country to raise their standards for teaching and learning -- the first time that’s happened in a generation.

But challenges remain.  And we know how to solve them.

At a time when other countries are doubling down on education, tight budgets have forced states to lay off thousands of teachers.  We know a good teacher can increase the lifetime income of a classroom by over $250,000.  A great teacher can offer an escape from poverty to the child who dreams beyond his circumstance.  Every person in this chamber can point to a teacher who changed the trajectory of their lives.  Most teachers work tirelessly, with modest pay, sometimes digging into their own pocket for school supplies -- just to make a difference.

Teachers matter.  So instead of bashing them, or defending the status quo, let’s offer schools a deal.  Give them the resources to keep good teachers on the job, and reward the best ones.  (Applause.)  And in return, grant schools flexibility:  to teach with creativity and passion; to stop teaching to the test; and to replace teachers who just aren’t helping kids learn.  That’s a bargain worth making.  (Applause.)

We also know that when students don’t walk away from their education, more of them walk the stage to get their diploma.  When students are not allowed to drop out, they do better.  So tonight, I am proposing that every state -- every state -- requires that all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn 18.  (Applause.)

When kids do graduate, the most daunting challenge can be the cost of college.  At a time when Americans owe more in tuition debt than credit card debt, this Congress needs to stop the interest rates on student loans from doubling in July.  (Applause.)

Extend the tuition tax credit we started that saves millions of middle-class families thousands of dollars, and give more young people the chance to earn their way through college by doubling the number of work-study jobs in the next five years.  (Applause.)

Of course, it’s not enough for us to increase student aid.  We can’t just keep subsidizing skyrocketing tuition; we’ll run out of money.  States also need to do their part, by making higher education a higher priority in their budgets.  And colleges and universities have to do their part by working to keep costs down.

Recently, I spoke with a group of college presidents who’ve done just that.  Some schools redesign courses to help students finish more quickly.  Some use better technology.  The point is, it’s possible.  So let me put colleges and universities on notice:  If you can’t stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down.  (Applause.)  Higher education can’t be a luxury -– it is an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford.

Let’s also remember that hundreds of thousands of talented, hardworking students in this country face another challenge:  the fact that they aren’t yet American citizens.  Many were brought here as small children, are American through and through, yet they live every day with the threat of deportation.  Others came more recently, to study business and science and engineering, but as soon as they get their degree, we send them home to invent new products and create new jobs somewhere else. 
That doesn’t make sense. 
I believe as strongly as ever that we should take on illegal immigration.  That’s why my administration has put more boots on the border than ever before.  That’s why there are fewer illegal crossings than when I took office.  The opponents of action are out of excuses.  We should be working on comprehensive immigration reform right now.  (Applause.)

But if election-year politics keeps Congress from acting on a comprehensive plan, let’s at least agree to stop expelling responsible young people who want to staff our labs, start new businesses, defend this country.  Send me a law that gives them the chance to earn their citizenship.  I will sign it right away.  (Applause.)

You see, an economy built to last is one where we encourage the talent and ingenuity of every person in this country.  That means women should earn equal pay for equal work.  (Applause.)  It means we should support everyone who’s willing to work, and every risk-taker and entrepreneur who aspires to become the next Steve Jobs.
After all, innovation is what America has always been about.  Most new jobs are created in start-ups and small businesses.  So let’s pass an agenda that helps them succeed.  Tear down regulations that prevent aspiring entrepreneurs from getting the financing to grow.  (Applause.)  Expand tax relief to small businesses that are raising wages and creating good jobs.  Both parties agree on these ideas.  So put them in a bill, and get it on my desk this year.  (Applause.)

Innovation also demands basic research.  Today, the discoveries taking place in our federally financed labs and universities could lead to new treatments that kill cancer cells but leave healthy ones untouched.  New lightweight vests for cops and soldiers that can stop any bullet.  Don’t gut these investments in our budget.  Don’t let other countries win the race for the future.  Support the same kind of research and innovation that led to the computer chip and the Internet; to new American jobs and new American industries.

And nowhere is the promise of innovation greater than in American-made energy.  Over the last three years, we’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration, and tonight, I’m directing my administration to open more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources.  (Applause.)  Right now -- right now -- American oil production is the highest that it’s been in eight years.  That’s right -- eight years.  Not only that -- last year, we relied less on foreign oil than in any of the past 16 years.  (Applause.)

But with only 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves, oil isn’t enough.  This country needs an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy.  (Applause.)  A strategy that’s cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs.

We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years.  (Applause.)  And my administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy.  Experts believe this will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade.  And I’m requiring all companies that drill for gas on public lands to disclose the chemicals they use.  (Applause.)  Because America will develop this resource without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk.

The development of natural gas will create jobs and power trucks and factories that are cleaner and cheaper, proving that we don’t have to choose between our environment and our economy.  (Applause.)  And by the way, it was public research dollars, over the course of 30 years, that helped develop the technologies to extract all this natural gas out of shale rock –- reminding us that government support is critical in helping businesses get new energy ideas off the ground.  (Applause.)  
Now, what’s true for natural gas is just as true for clean energy.  In three years, our partnership with the private sector has already positioned America to be the world’s leading manufacturer of high-tech batteries.  Because of federal investments, renewable energy use has nearly doubled, and thousands of Americans have jobs because of it. 

When Bryan Ritterby was laid off from his job making furniture, he said he worried that at 55, no one would give him a second chance.  But he found work at Energetx, a wind turbine manufacturer in Michigan.  Before the recession, the factory only made luxury yachts.  Today, it’s hiring workers like Bryan, who said, “I’m proud to be working in the industry of the future.”

Our experience with shale gas, our experience with natural gas, shows us that the payoffs on these public investments don’t always come right away.  Some technologies don’t pan out; some companies fail.  But I will not walk away from the promise of clean energy.  I will not walk away from workers like Bryan.  (Applause.)  I will not cede the wind or solar or battery industry to China or Germany because we refuse to make the same commitment here.

We’ve subsidized oil companies for a century.  That’s long enough.  (Applause.)  It’s time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that rarely has been more profitable, and double-down on a clean energy industry that never has been more promising.  Pass clean energy tax credits.  Create these jobs.  (Applause.)

We can also spur energy innovation with new incentives.  The differences in this chamber may be too deep right now to pass a comprehensive plan to fight climate change.  But there’s no reason why Congress shouldn’t at least set a clean energy standard that creates a market for innovation.  So far, you haven’t acted.  Well, tonight, I will.  I’m directing my administration to allow the development of clean energy on enough public land to power 3 million homes.  And I’m proud to announce that the Department of Defense, working with us, the world’s largest consumer of energy, will make one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history -– with the Navy purchasing enough capacity to power a quarter of a million homes a year.  (Applause.)

Of course, the easiest way to save money is to waste less energy.  So here’s a proposal:  Help manufacturers eliminate energy waste in their factories and give businesses incentives to upgrade their buildings.  Their energy bills will be $100 billion lower over the next decade, and America will have less pollution, more manufacturing, more jobs for construction workers who need them.  Send me a bill that creates these jobs.  (Applause.)  

Building this new energy future should be just one part of a broader agenda to repair America’s infrastructure.  So much of America needs to be rebuilt.  We’ve got crumbling roads and bridges; a power grid that wastes too much energy; an incomplete high-speed broadband network that prevents a small business owner in rural America from selling her products all over the world. 

During the Great Depression, America built the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge.  After World War II, we connected our states with a system of highways.  Democratic and Republican administrations invested in great projects that benefited everybody, from the workers who built them to the businesses that still use them today.

In the next few weeks, I will sign an executive order clearing away the red tape that slows down too many construction projects.  But you need to fund these projects.  Take the money we’re no longer spending at war, use half of it to pay down our debt, and use the rest to do some nation-building right here at home.  (Applause.)

There’s never been a better time to build, especially since the construction industry was one of the hardest hit when the housing bubble burst.  Of course, construction workers weren’t the only ones who were hurt.  So were millions of innocent Americans who’ve seen their home values decline.  And while government can’t fix the problem on its own, responsible homeowners shouldn’t have to sit and wait for the housing market to hit bottom to get some relief.
And that’s why I’m sending this Congress a plan that gives every responsible homeowner the chance to save about $3,000 a year on their mortgage, by refinancing at historically low rates.  (Applause.)  No more red tape.  No more runaround from the banks.  A small fee on the largest financial institutions will ensure that it won’t add to the deficit and will give those banks that were rescued by taxpayers a chance to repay a deficit of trust.  (Applause.)

Let’s never forget:  Millions of Americans who work hard and play by the rules every day deserve a government and a financial system that do the same.  It’s time to apply the same rules from top to bottom.  No bailouts, no handouts, and no copouts.  An America built to last insists on responsibility from everybody.

We’ve all paid the price for lenders who sold mortgages to people who couldn’t afford them, and buyers who knew they couldn’t afford them.  That’s why we need smart regulations to prevent irresponsible behavior.  (Applause.)  Rules to prevent financial fraud or toxic dumping or faulty medical devices -- these don’t destroy the free market.  They make the free market work better.
There’s no question that some regulations are outdated, unnecessary, or too costly.  In fact, I’ve approved fewer regulations in the first three years of my presidency than my Republican predecessor did in his.  (Applause.)  I’ve ordered every federal agency to eliminate rules that don’t make sense.  We’ve already announced over 500 reforms, and just a fraction of them will save business and citizens more than $10 billion over the next five years.  We got rid of one rule from 40 years ago that could have forced some dairy farmers to spend $10,000 a year proving that they could contain a spill -- because milk was somehow classified as an oil.  With a rule like that, I guess it was worth crying over spilled milk.  (Laughter and applause.)

Now, I’m confident a farmer can contain a milk spill without a federal agency looking over his shoulder.  (Applause.)  Absolutely.  But I will not back down from making sure an oil company can contain the kind of oil spill we saw in the Gulf two years ago.  (Applause.)  I will not back down from protecting our kids from mercury poisoning, or making sure that our food is safe and our water is clean.  I will not go back to the days when health insurance companies had unchecked power to cancel your policy, deny your coverage, or charge women differently than men.  (Applause.)

And I will not go back to the days when Wall Street was allowed to play by its own set of rules.  The new rules we passed restore what should be any financial system’s core purpose:  Getting funding to entrepreneurs with the best ideas, and getting loans to responsible families who want to buy a home, or start a business, or send their kids to college.

So if you are a big bank or financial institution, you’re no longer allowed to make risky bets with your customers’ deposits.  You’re required to write out a “living will” that details exactly how you’ll pay the bills if you fail –- because the rest of us are not bailing you out ever again.  (Applause.)  And if you’re a mortgage lender or a payday lender or a credit card company, the days of signing people up for products they can’t afford with confusing forms and deceptive practices -- those days are over.  Today, American consumers finally have a watchdog in Richard Cordray with one job:  To look out for them.  (Applause.)   

We’ll also establish a Financial Crimes Unit of highly trained investigators to crack down on large-scale fraud and protect people’s investments.  Some financial firms violate major anti-fraud laws because there’s no real penalty for being a repeat offender.  That’s bad for consumers, and it’s bad for the vast majority of bankers and financial service professionals who do the right thing.  So pass legislation that makes the penalties for fraud count.

And tonight, I’m asking my Attorney General to create a special unit of federal prosecutors and leading state attorney general to expand our investigations into the abusive lending and packaging of risky mortgages that led to the housing crisis.  (Applause.)  This new unit will hold accountable those who broke the law, speed assistance to homeowners, and help turn the page on an era of recklessness that hurt so many Americans. 

Now, a return to the American values of fair play and shared responsibility will help protect our people and our economy.  But it should also guide us as we look to pay down our debt and invest in our future.

Right now, our most immediate priority is stopping a tax hike on 160 million working Americans while the recovery is still fragile.  (Applause.)  People cannot afford losing $40 out of each paycheck this year.  There are plenty of ways to get this done.  So let’s agree right here, right now:  No side issues.  No drama.  Pass the payroll tax cut without delay.  Let’s get it done.  (Applause.)

When it comes to the deficit, we’ve already agreed to more than $2 trillion in cuts and savings.  But we need to do more, and that means making choices.  Right now, we’re poised to spend nearly $1 trillion more on what was supposed to be a temporary tax break for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.  Right now, because of loopholes and shelters in the tax code, a quarter of all millionaires pay lower tax rates than millions of middle-class households.  Right now, Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.
Do we want to keep these tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans?  Or do we want to keep our investments in everything else –- like education and medical research; a strong military and care for our veterans?  Because if we’re serious about paying down our debt, we can’t do both.  

The American people know what the right choice is.  So do I.  As I told the Speaker this summer, I’m prepared to make more reforms that rein in the long-term costs of Medicare and Medicaid, and strengthen Social Security, so long as those programs remain a guarantee of security for seniors. 
But in return, we need to change our tax code so that people like me, and an awful lot of members of Congress, pay our fair share of taxes.  (Applause.)

Tax reform should follow the Buffett Rule.  If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes.  And my Republican friend Tom Coburn is right:  Washington should stop subsidizing millionaires.  In fact, if you’re earning a million dollars a year, you shouldn’t get special tax subsidies or deductions.  On the other hand, if you make under $250,000 a year, like 98 percent of American families, your taxes shouldn’t go up.  (Applause.)  You’re the ones struggling with rising costs and stagnant wages.  You’re the ones who need relief.  

Now, you can call this class warfare all you want.  But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes?  Most Americans would call that common sense. 

We don’t begrudge financial success in this country.  We admire it.  When Americans talk about folks like me paying my fair share of taxes, it’s not because they envy the rich.  It’s because they understand that when I get a tax break I don’t need and the country can’t afford, it either adds to the deficit, or somebody else has to make up the difference -- like a senior on a fixed income, or a student trying to get through school, or a family trying to make ends meet.  That’s not right.  Americans know that’s not right.  They know that this generation’s success is only possible because past generations felt a responsibility to each other, and to the future of their country, and they know our way of life will only endure if we feel that same sense of shared responsibility.  That’s how we’ll reduce our deficit.  That’s an America built to last.  (Applause.)

Now, I recognize that people watching tonight have differing views about taxes and debt, energy and health care.  But no matter what party they belong to, I bet most Americans are thinking the same thing right about now:  Nothing will get done in Washington this year, or next year, or maybe even the year after that, because Washington is broken.

Can you blame them for feeling a little cynical? 

The greatest blow to our confidence in our economy last year didn’t come from events beyond our control.  It came from a debate in Washington over whether the United States would pay its bills or not.  Who benefited from that fiasco?

I’ve talked tonight about the deficit of trust between Main Street and Wall Street.  But the divide between this city and the rest of the country is at least as bad -- and it seems to get worse every year.
Some of this has to do with the corrosive influence of money in politics.  So together, let’s take some steps to fix that.  Send me a bill that bans insider trading by members of Congress; I will sign it tomorrow.  (Applause.)  Let’s limit any elected official from owning stocks in industries they impact.  Let’s make sure people who bundle campaign contributions for Congress can’t lobby Congress, and vice versa -- an idea that has bipartisan support, at least outside of Washington. 

Some of what’s broken has to do with the way Congress does its business these days.  A simple majority is no longer enough to get anything -– even routine business –- passed through the Senate.  (Applause.)  Neither party has been blameless in these tactics.  Now both parties should put an end to it.  (Applause.)  For starters, I ask the Senate to pass a simple rule that all judicial and public service nominations receive a simple up or down vote within 90 days.  (Applause.)  

The executive branch also needs to change.  Too often, it’s inefficient, outdated and remote.  (Applause.)  That’s why I’ve asked this Congress to grant me the authority to consolidate the federal bureaucracy, so that our government is leaner, quicker, and more responsive to the needs of the American people.  (Applause.)  

Finally, none of this can happen unless we also lower the temperature in this town.  We need to end the notion that the two parties must be locked in a perpetual campaign of mutual destruction; that politics is about clinging to rigid ideologies instead of building consensus around common-sense ideas. 

I’m a Democrat.  But I believe what Republican Abraham Lincoln believed:  That government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more.  (Applause.)  That’s why my education reform offers more competition, and more control for schools and states.  That’s why we’re getting rid of regulations that don’t work.  That’s why our health care law relies on a reformed private market, not a government program. 

On the other hand, even my Republican friends who complain the most about government spending have supported federally financed roads, and clean energy projects, and federal offices for the folks back home. 

The point is, we should all want a smarter, more effective government.  And while we may not be able to bridge our biggest philosophical differences this year, we can make real progress.  With or without this Congress, I will keep taking actions that help the economy grow.  But I can do a whole lot more with your help.  Because when we act together, there’s nothing the United States of America can’t achieve.  (Applause.)  That’s the lesson we’ve learned from our actions abroad over the last few years.

Ending the Iraq war has allowed us to strike decisive blows against our enemies.  From Pakistan to Yemen, the al Qaeda operatives who remain are scrambling, knowing that they can’t escape the reach of the United States of America.  (Applause.)

From this position of strength, we’ve begun to wind down the war in Afghanistan.  Ten thousand of our troops have come home.  Twenty-three thousand more will leave by the end of this summer.  This transition to Afghan lead will continue, and we will build an enduring partnership with Afghanistan, so that it is never again a source of attacks against America.  (Applause.)

As the tide of war recedes, a wave of change has washed across the Middle East and North Africa, from Tunis to Cairo; from Sana’a to Tripoli.  A year ago, Qaddafi was one of the world’s longest-serving dictators -– a murderer with American blood on his hands.  Today, he is gone.  And in Syria, I have no doubt that the Assad regime will soon discover that the forces of change cannot be reversed, and that human dignity cannot be denied.  (Applause.)

How this incredible transformation will end remains uncertain.  But we have a huge stake in the outcome.  And while it’s ultimately up to the people of the region to decide their fate, we will advocate for those values that have served our own country so well.  We will stand against violence and intimidation.  We will stand for the rights and dignity of all human beings –- men and women; Christians, Muslims and Jews.  We will support policies that lead to strong and stable democracies and open markets, because tyranny is no match for liberty.

And we will safeguard America’s own security against those who threaten our citizens, our friends, and our interests.  Look at Iran.  Through the power of our diplomacy, a world that was once divided about how to deal with Iran’s nuclear program now stands as one.  The regime is more isolated than ever before; its leaders are faced with crippling sanctions, and as long as they shirk their responsibilities, this pressure will not relent.

Let there be no doubt:  America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal.  (Applause.)

But a peaceful resolution of this issue is still possible, and far better, and if Iran changes course and meets its obligations, it can rejoin the community of nations.

The renewal of American leadership can be felt across the globe.  Our oldest alliances in Europe and Asia are stronger than ever.  Our ties to the Americas are deeper.  Our ironclad commitment -- and I mean ironclad -- to Israel’s security has meant the closest military cooperation between our two countries in history.  (Applause.)

We’ve made it clear that America is a Pacific power, and a new beginning in Burma has lit a new hope.  From the coalitions we’ve built to secure nuclear materials, to the missions we’ve led against hunger and disease; from the blows we’ve dealt to our enemies, to the enduring power of our moral example, America is back. 

Anyone who tells you otherwise, anyone who tells you that America is in decline or that our influence has waned, doesn’t know what they’re talking about.  (Applause.)

That’s not the message we get from leaders around the world who are eager to work with us.  That’s not how people feel from Tokyo to Berlin, from Cape Town to Rio, where opinions of America are higher than they’ve been in years.  Yes, the world is changing.  No, we can’t control every event.  But America remains the one indispensable nation in world affairs –- and as long as I’m President, I intend to keep it that way.  (Applause.)  

That’s why, working with our military leaders, I’ve proposed a new defense strategy that ensures we maintain the finest military in the world, while saving nearly half a trillion dollars in our budget.  To stay one step ahead of our adversaries, I’ve already sent this Congress legislation that will secure our country from the growing dangers of cyber-threats.  (Applause.)

Above all, our freedom endures because of the men and women in uniform who defend it.  (Applause.)  As they come home, we must serve them as well as they’ve served us.  That includes giving them the care and the benefits they have earned –- which is why we’ve increased annual VA spending every year I’ve been President.  (Applause.)  And it means enlisting our veterans in the work of rebuilding our nation.

With the bipartisan support of this Congress, we’re providing new tax credits to companies that hire vets.  Michelle and Jill Biden have worked with American businesses to secure a pledge of 135,000 jobs for veterans and their families.  And tonight, I’m proposing a Veterans Jobs Corps that will help our communities hire veterans as cops and firefighters, so that America is as strong as those who defend her.  (Applause.)

Which brings me back to where I began.  Those of us who’ve been sent here to serve can learn a thing or two from the service of our troops.  When you put on that uniform, it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white; Asian, Latino, Native American; conservative, liberal; rich, poor; gay, straight.  When you’re marching into battle, you look out for the person next to you, or the mission fails.  When you’re in the thick of the fight, you rise or fall as one unit, serving one nation, leaving no one behind.
One of my proudest possessions is the flag that the SEAL Team took with them on the mission to get bin Laden.  On it are each of their names.  Some may be Democrats.  Some may be Republicans.  But that doesn’t matter.  Just like it didn’t matter that day in the Situation Room, when I sat next to Bob Gates -- a man who was George Bush’s defense secretary -- and Hillary Clinton -- a woman who ran against me for president. 

All that mattered that day was the mission.  No one thought about politics.  No one thought about themselves.  One of the young men involved in the raid later told me that he didn’t deserve credit for the mission.  It only succeeded, he said, because every single member of that unit did their job -- the pilot who landed the helicopter that spun out of control; the translator who kept others from entering the compound; the troops who separated the women and children from the fight; the SEALs who charged up the stairs.  More than that, the mission only succeeded because every member of that unit trusted each other -- because you can’t charge up those stairs, into darkness and danger, unless you know that there’s somebody behind you, watching your back.

So it is with America.  Each time I look at that flag, I’m reminded that our destiny is stitched together like those 50 stars and those 13 stripes.  No one built this country on their own.  This nation is great because we built it together.  This nation is great because we worked as a team.  This nation is great because we get each other’s backs.  And if we hold fast to that truth, in this moment of trial, there is no challenge too great; no mission too hard.  As long as we are joined in common purpose, as long as we maintain our common resolve, our journey moves forward, and our future is hopeful, and the state of our Union will always be strong.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

As masterfully delivered by the President, the Republicans could have done better by having a hitch-free rebuttal. But No; Marco Rubio, the new star in the Republican Party, and the first term senator from the State of Florida, showed why he is not ready for prime-time; or, why he is very unprofessional - the lawmaker took a swig in between a ten minute speech! The whole rebuttal became completely irrelevant as this singular act by Senator Rubio (R-Florida) upstaged the message and made the Republican Party's response, second rate. No one could believe that a former State House Speaker would have been so untutored in public speeches, as to have contemplated a swig on a national stage, not even to actually have done it on the air! How on earth does the Republican Party want any reasonable person to take them seriously, when their up and coming rising star is behaving this way on the air. This was actually a poor judgement on the part of the Senator! I can see how interesting the race for the White House will be in 2016. Comedy Central and NBC Saturday Night Live are going to have a field day, come 2016!

For those who would take exceptions to President Obama's speech, you probably would subscribe or consider Senator Marco Rubio on-the-air boo-boo, grounds enough to say: "We have the right person in the White House!" Mr. President, please ride this one out. Take your message to the public, they are already salivating! ...Good Night Folks!

Monday, January 21, 2013

OBAMA 2.0: the second inaugural speech and transformative affirmation of the power of we, the people!

“America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention.” – President Obama – 2nd Inaugural Speech


In a nutshell, here is the transformation coming to America courtesy of Obama 2.0. In case you missed it, the 44th President of the United States of America second inaugural address could be summed up in the following points: We, the People…seek: 1) National Unity and Unity of Purpose; 2) Gun Safety Control; 3) Reduction of Health and Medicare Cost; 4) Action on Climate Change; 5) Comprehensive Immigration Reform; 6) Better Budget Process; 7) Security & Dignity of all People; and 9) Total Rejection of notion that we cannot invest in our elders while still building a better future for our children! But by seeking these objectives, the President called for the involvement of everyone, not only the blogger-sphere. – a very laudable request or observation from a President, who many times has acknowledged that he stood on the shoulders of many who came before him, one of whom he took a moment or two to visit his burst in the rotunda of congress, while celebrating his second inaugural address. That visitation was probably meant to acknowledge the sacrifice and contribution of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Jr. for progressive thoughts.

It is befitting that this inaugural speech fell on a National Holiday for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whom the President quoted somewhat in his articulation of a future for American in the coming years. The spirit and favor of the great civil rights hero, is articulated in Obama’s speech in a way best emblematic of the struggle of the civil rights era. He calls that we take care of the less privileged among us. OBAMA 2.0 is a reflection of the type of transformation contemplated for America during the civil rights era; and one, gratified in President Obama's second campaign for the White House Oval Office. An aspiration embolden by the President's support by million of Americans who share his vision. An aspiration also rooted in modern day liberal ideology; and/or organically evolving belief that each of us is our brother’s keeper.

If you are apolitical, the trans-formative proposal the President is offering is probably going to get you or some Republicans irate because of their past indisposition to the liberal title of his argument. Republicans eschews change for America; however, not in the context of the President’s reflection in this second inaugural speech. By now, members of the tea party or the whole Republican Party members in congress, are probably understudying and devising means to arbitrarily undermine the whole structure of OBAMA 2.0. The simple fact though is this, the President has been elected to a second term with a plurality of the voters over the 52% threshold; and, his electoral college vote of over three hundred and thirty, is rather impressive. Thus, you could admonish the naysayers that, WE, the people have spoken; and any opposition to OBAMA 2.0, must be tempered with some humility.

Here is the full text of the President Speech as released by the White House Press Office:

"Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief Justice, Members of the United States Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens: 

Each time we gather to inaugurate a president; we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what bind this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional – what makes us American – is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago: 

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” 

Today we continue a never-ending journey, to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a Republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed. 

For more than two hundred years, we have.
Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together. 

Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce; schools and colleges to train our workers.

Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play. 

Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune. 

Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise; our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, these are constants in our character. 

But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action. For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias? No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people. 

This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience. A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun. America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it – so long as we seize it together. 

For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work; when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship. We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own. 

We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time. We must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, reach higher. But while the means will change, our purpose endures: a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American. That is what this moment requires. That is what will give real meaning to our creed. 

We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty, and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn. We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other – through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security – these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great. 

We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise. That’s how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure – our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared. 

We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war. Our brave men and women in uniform, tempered by the flames of battle, are unmatched in skill and courage. Our citizens, seared by the memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is paid for liberty. The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant against those who would do us harm. But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war, who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends, and we must carry those lessons into this time as well. 

We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law. We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully – not because we are na├»ve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear. America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe; and we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation. We will support democracy from Asia to Africa; from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom. And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice – not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity; human dignity and justice.

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth. 

It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.

That is our generation’s task – to make these words, these rights, these values – of Life, and Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – real for every American. Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life; it does not mean we all define liberty in exactly the same way, or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time – but it does require us to act in our time. 

For now decisions are upon us, and we cannot afford delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate. We must act, we must act knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act, knowing that today’s victories will be only partial, and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years, and forty years, and four hundred years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall. 

My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction – and we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration of our service. But the words I spoke today are not so different from the oath that is taken each time a soldier signs up for duty, or an immigrant realizes her dream. My oath is not so different from the pledge we all make to the flag that waves above and that fills our hearts with pride. 

They are the words of citizens, and they represent our greatest hope. 

You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course.

You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals. 

Let each of us now embrace, with solemn duty and awesome joy, what is our lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.

Thank you, God Bless you, and may He forever bless these United States of America.”
 – President Barack Obama, January 21, 2013

Most political observers acknowledge that the substantive speech is comparatively short; yes, who needs an unwinding speech that does not show a sense of purpose. The speeches, prayers and activities of the second presidential inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama II, just like others before his, validate America as a nation of laws, where people put their trust in one of theirs, every four years, to bring about change, whichever way. No selfish ideology or political philosophy has ever undermined this aspiration in over two and a half centuries of the Republic; and, none will ever hamper the smooth transition from one elected President to another in America, as long as the sun shines. As long as we render the banner: “Oh beautiful for spacious sky…, the will of the plurality of the people will always prevail. As long as we believe that all of us are created equal as enshrined in the constitution, there will always be a time and day to celebrate the joy of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in this democracy.

So, for those who are so apprehensive, I recommend we give OBAMA 2.0 a chance to thrive, at least for the sake of .... WE THE PEOPLE!