Who’s calling who’s bluff? Obama is refusing to negotiate whatsoever and has promised to veto any negotiations or compromises for “Obamacare” also known as the “Not-So-Affordable-Care-Act.” Therefore, you can’t remove all blame from the President when he is looking at this situation as a Dictator would; “It’s my way, or my way.”

On the other hand, you can’t say the the people elected to make these decisions have our best interest in mind. What if their paychecks stopped at midnight? It wouldn’t have even come close to this, this time or all of the other times. With the GOP and Obama standing their ground, we’re all just hanging out on the rest of the ground of the United States.

We’re watching a bunch of pompous, egotistical bags of wind portray dysfunction at its finest, and they’re willing to just roll the dice. However, Obamacare is a logistical nightmare, but it’s not up to congress to change it because the Obama refuses to negotiate in any way. Which reminds me; didn’t he say he’d be open to negotiation and bipartisanship before he was re-elected? Typical.

But…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

:)

There has to be something said for Senator Ted Cruz and the uproar he has ignited in the House. It has been a long time since we’ve witnessed a Republican vs. Republican scene. However, I can’t be mad. Defunding Obamacare has been the objective for quite some time, but somehow we keep finding our country at the mercy of a small group of people and time is always of the essence.

For far too long, the anti-partisanship has slowly and steadily lowered the standard of this nation, and it’s to the point that any type of agreement is celebrated no matter how poor or inadequate the decision is. In the greater picture, this is essentially part of Cruz’s agenda. For the first time in a long time, we’re witnessing a politician have a back bone about something. This has been killing Republicans for years, so our nation has settled for a lower standard time and time again. That’s not going to lead us to anything prosperous. Will a government shutdown lead to prosperity? Not exactly, but with the way things have been shaping up over the years, a lot of things don’t look like they lead to prosperity in our nation. In a way, Ted Cruz is somewhat refreshing because he’s not like the others.

Once again, the battle on Capitol Hill rages when it comes to Obamacare and the national debt. This time, the debt ceiling and government shutdown are being held hostage in an effort to sway legislatures into defunding the large Affordable Care Act. House Republicans are leading the march in this effort, and reached a victory (so to speak) in that a resolution was passed stating that the Obamacare funding would be redacted and the government would stay open through mid-December.

The truth of the matter is, however, that this is largely politics. Sure, yes, there are principles (potentially) behind the efforts of members of the House are tired (like the American people) of the Obamacare legislation. The fact remains, though, that this is simply delaying what could potentially be the inevitable. Lawmakers are going to have to make that choice between a full shutdown or leaving their defunding principles at the door. Chances are both sides of the aisle will make the choice to raise the debt ceiling, continue spending, and worry about Obamacare and other legislative issues another day.

The fact is that even the best laid of intentions fail in this circumstance and create more theater than progress. There needs to be a real discussion, an honest discussion, about the fallacies, problems, and struggles of the Obamacare enterprise. Leaders on both sides of the aisle and the big guy in the White House fail to see the prudence in this matter. There seems to be no leadership in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue that is even willing to discuss the matter thoroughly. Republicans, too, have become used to simply passing the legislation to increase the ceiling and it appears this trend will only continue. It is time that politics was less about politics and more about actual progress. But it appears nothing will change…for now.

John Boehner is on the war path, literally and figuratively. The leader, who went semi-rogue in supporting military actions in Syria, has realized that his support of the President may have just weakened himself, strengthened Obama, and not done much for governmental relations. Speaker Boehner is letting it be known on Capitol Hill and in the media that he is not happy with the cold shoulder he is receiving from the President. With a vote to defund Obamacare looming, the President seems more interested in talks with Russia’s Putin than his own Congress.

This isn’t necessarily a surprising move. The President has had a less than amicable relationship with members of Congress, specifically in the Republican Party. He simply cannot, it seems, lower himself to speak with his underlings in the House and Senate. He would rather parade about the country on speaking engagements, give staged and canned press conferences with no question and answer, or simply ignore the problems of his administration all together. The result is a President that continues to see a strained relationship with Congress and yet, doesn’t seem to care.

The President’s arrogance is mind blowing in many respects. It appears he has taken his role in leadership as one that is completely one sided. There is no negotiation (really), no great deals to be made, and if there are, it all seems to be beneath him. He fails to connect with others and set the images of Presidents past who believed that working together was something that was par for the course (no pun intended). While being principled and standing your ground is one thing, this President seems to get more frustrated and angry with the idea of compromise than actually interested in even feigning that it is occurring. The future of the US could be at stake and the President simply doesn’t care, or wouldn’t care, to hold the meetings and really get something accomplished. Now, if only the mainstream media began to take an interested look in his lack of ability to deem himself worthy of negotiation for the little people that would be great.

War on Coal Continued

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Filed Under Foreign Affairs on Sep 18 

The President’s war on coal and EPA initiatives are beginning to rear their ugly heads once again. In an effort to make the world a cleaner place (though no one else in the world is really attempting this with much success), the President has set his targets on regulating the coal industry in the United States. Specifically, he is putting down regulations on new technologies that would be required of plants to use. This would help, he says, to cut down on carbon gas emissions by setting a threshold of release and capping how much pollution each plant can emit into the atmosphere through a rerouting procedure. The problems of this form of redirection, however, could be extremely problematic.

The new technologies that are being discussed for potential enforcement in Obama Land Rules would require that coal plants reroute the carbon emitted from their plants to an underground region. If it remains underground, there may be some success in helping to protect the air immediately surrounding the plants . However, it is not known completely what the dangers of this technology are and many are warning, they could be severe. If, for some reason, the technology failed and the carbon rose to the surface, there could be dire consequences. Not only would the individuals at the plants be at risk, but anyone near a testing facility could see tremendous harm done to them if it were to explode.

The untested technology has yet to be implemented but it is in the Obama plan for EPA regulations. The truth is that they are not very happy with the nature of the coal industry in the US and are single handedly trying to kill it in its tracks. Union support on the decline, a war to coal in the name of environmental betterment is a sad ploy at harming an industry that is the backbone of this country for some political agenda. The coal industry is on guard and angry by recent developments.

Obamacare is facing opposition across both the private and public sectors. The unions, however, have been one of the largest complainants about the bill, a crucial player in the liberal base. With membership down in the AFL-CIO and many labor union members becoming increasingly upset by the parameters placed upon them with the Affordable Care Act, the Obama Administration is taking note and taking action; actions which have not exactly been received well in the eyes of Republicans.

In a sweetheart deal, the Obama Administration is working with the AFL-CIO to make some accommodations to earn their support by providing a kickback. In essence, the laborers’ unions want to be cut out of some of the requirements of the Affordable Care Act in a way that those private citizens would not be. Specifically, the unions are looking for an out that would allow them to avoid their lower income workers paying the higher rates and avoiding the costs that other lower income members of the public will be forced to undertake.

It looks as if there will be a sweetheart deal by the Obama Administration as it pertains to labor unions. The recent actions by many of these groups have caused the President’s liaisons and many Democratic officials to take note that they are in potential danger of losing a strong member of their base. This is a threat that is being taken very seriously as the Obamacare legislation is facing an increasingly uphill battle in both the public and the private sectors. If a deal is to come down the pike, however, it is likely to upset more than just Republican lawmakers. Rather, it is likely to disturb the psyche of those Americans who still believe in fairness, justice, and those who want better from their governmental officials and their President.

The United States is once again embarrassing itself when it comes to talks about military endeavors and chemical weapons in Syria. Secretary of State Kerry has met with Russian and Syrian representatives regarding the matter and more specifically, focused on a potential deal to transfer the chemical weapons into the hands of international authorities, if found. It appears, however, that the threat of military intervention is no longer convincing enough and Assad is growing in his efforts to challenge and, ultimately, discredit the efforts of the United States.

Officials on Capitol Hill are concerned by the nature of the talks between the three countries. First, there is the obvious role of Russia in the exchange of weapons and diplomatic talks. Putin, a foe of the Administration whether our President is willing to recognize it or not, has been controlling and manipulating the situation from the beginning. From intervening in military policy in the United States (a Russian president DICTATING the course of events in the US is absurd in numerous ways…let alone that he does not like us), to taking an interest in a human rights story (not really but that’s what they have you believe) which is far from his normal demeanor, to actually challenging our policy, Putin is controlling our leaders and for whatever reason it cannot be good.

There is also the fact that the aforementioned Russian official (turned diplomat…?) has insulted the American people and our leadership time and again during the process. Our beliefs, our stances, they are all offensive to him and it is as if he is laughing at us through every inch of this process. Then, of course, there is Assad himself who is now pushing the envelope and making more stipulations and demands of the US in his talks. Knowing that he has Russia backing him has to make him feel good and he is using this to his every advantage. Time will tell how these talks play out and what, if anything, we do in the process. All I know is that we are being laughed at across the globe while others are standing with their jaws wide opened and the President does not seem to mind (or even worse, he doesn’t care).

The President addressed the nation in a speech Tuesday night, speaking to the role of the US government and armed forces in Syria. On the heels of disappointing trends in political and public opinion, the speech was being panned as barely coherent and confusing. Of course, there is something to be said for the fact that there was some hint of rationale behind the attacks but the President seemed to waffle on what he wanted, when he wanted, and why.

Of course, President Obama made the case that there was a need for international intervention at the hands of Americans in the Syrian region because of the abhorrent rights violations at the hands of Assad and his minions. He then appealed to the international community in a way by highlighting the fact that the weapons used were a clear violation of the chemical weapons ban of the UN in which many countries agreed to downgrade and remove these weapons of war. It becomes a question of interventionism and when and where the United States intervenes, and to what ends.

There has been talk of arming the rebels in the country who are fighting Assad’s policies. The fact remains, however, that these are less than ideal individuals with questionable background. What is their ultimate goal? Are they able to handle the weapons provided and if so, do we even want them to do so? The strong ties to Al Qaeda are making it unsavory in the public and on Capitol Hill to even consider this option, even though some senior lawmakers argue that these rebels will be “vetted” (whatever that means). The fact remains, we still have no idea what the President truly wants, why he wants it, and why he is allowing Russia to take first lead in this endeavor. Though the hardcore Obamaites will consider this a diplomatic victory of sorts, it is questionable who and what would read into this as anything but a bumbling mess of epic failure on the part of the President. Way to go sir, way to go.

102 Minutes

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Filed Under Open Thread on Sep 11 

I’ve spent the past few days trying to put together a fitting tribute on this anniversary of September 11th. After much thought I came to the conclusion that I could only write something from my perspective on that day as mine is the only perspective of which I have first hand knowledge. You’ll find this post below the fold.

In the mean time, if you do nothing else today, take a look at this video…and remember.

It was a normal Tuesday morning on September 11, 2001. For me the day began much like most days did – finding me waging the battle of the bulge on a Nordic Track in the garage of my Los Angeles home. At 0530, I began my workout on that dreaded torture device with Blogfather Hugh’s morning radio show murmurings in the background.

Shortly after 0546 I heard Blogfather Hugh deviate from his normal morning routine as he began to make mention of a “tragedy in New York City”. He mentioned something about the World Trade Center having been evidently struck by a plane. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t pay much attention – it was after all well before sunrise and I wasn’t really awake yet. I finished my workout and wandered into the living room and turned on MSNBC a few minutes before 0600.

My verbal reaction to the image on the screen (something having to do with sanctified natural fertilizer) woke the Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro who then came in to find out what the ruckus was about.

She rounded the hallway corner into the living room just seconds after 0603 – the moment in which United Flight 175, piloted by Marwan al-Shehhi, tilted its wings and impacted between floors 77 and 85 of the World Trade Center’s South Tower.

We sat there and watched in stunned silence for what seemed like an eternity. 34 minutes later, as NBC’s Jim Miklashevski reported live at the Pentagon, his entire desk shook as the building absorbed American Airlines Flight 77 as it the westernmost wall.

In the midst of all this I managed to ready myself to head for my office near LAX. As I was heading for the door at just before 0700, the unthinkable happened. There was a loud rumble, audible even to the cameras in the distance, and the South Tower collapsed upon itself like a folding telescope. Lower Manhattan disappeared in a huge cloud of smoke, dust, and pulverized debris.

America was in a state of shock. New York City was in a state of panic. Unbeknownst to all but a few, two minutes earlier the passengers aboard United Flight 93 had decided to take action. Their own plane had been hijacked by the same band of Islamofacist Murdering Thugs responsible for the other hijacked airplanes.

Thirty-seven passengers and five crew members were herded into the aft section of the Boeing 757-200. The intentions of their hijackers soon became clear. Some passengers had made phone calls to friends and loved ones who informed them about the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon. They looked at each other. They took a vote. They decided to rush the cockpit and attempt to reclaim the aircraft.

It is said that America’s strength is neither in her military nor in her treasure. America’s strength is in her citizens. Forty-two Americans, most of whom had not known each other prior to that morning, banded together and started to push the drink cart down the aisle to do battle with their captors. The final words anyone heard from these brave souls were those of Todd Beamer:

Are you guys ready? Okay. Let’s roll!

Six minutes later, United Flight 93 crashed nose first at 563 miles per hour into a reclaimed coal mine in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Thus began America’s counterattack in the War on Terror.

Having stopped for breakfast on my way to the office, I saw the North WTC Tower collapse upon itself at 0728. Though nobody knew it, at that moment the attack was over. When all the dust had settled and the smoke had cleared, some 2,996 men, women, and children perished on that Tuesday morning in September.

From the time the American Airlines Flight 11 impacted the North Tower to the time that same tower collapsed down upon itself, a total of 102 minutes elapsed. Those 102 minutes would forever change America. For weeks after that day, Los Angeles radio station KFI ran a haunting one sentence reminder at various intervals during the day. On either side of the voiceover was about five seconds of dead air – just enough to get your attention. Then a voice stated:

It could have just as easily happened here.

Los Angeles is a geographical continent and cultural world away from New York and DC. Distance and culture notwithstanding, LA ground to a halt just like most metro areas. Businesses and schools shut down and parents like me were left wondering just exactly how to explain the events of that morning to our children.

My son Corderinho, then a three-year-old bundle of curiosity, was very concerned. You see at that time I traveled often for business and he would accompany the Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro when she either dropped me off or picked me up at LAX. When I told Corderinho that some “bad men” had crashed the planes into those big building, he looked at me with the quivering lip unique to three-year-olds and asked:

Daddy, are there bad men on your planes?

No three-year-old should have to ask that question.

A few years ago while visiting New York City, I made a pilgrimage to Ground Zero. As I stood looking out over the 20 acre hole in the ground, I was approached by a Boston PBS station reporter who put a microphone in my face and asked me how I “felt”. My answer surprised the reporter:

I am still angry.

There were no follow up questions and I’m sure the interview got tossed in the corner of the cutting room floor.

I leave you today with a performance by Billy Joel at the Concert for New York City – an event held a few weeks after September 11. He wrote this song some thirty years ago as a science fiction song, but the lyrics are very prescient.

Count me among the handful.

The Syrian conflict continues to get tense. The President, who backed out of his original “red line” statement to an extent in Sweden this week, is pushing for authorization for a military strike in the region. The decision, which is increasingly unpopular at home and abroad, is drawing criticism and also support from some unlikely of places.

Both John Boehner and John McCain asserted that they believe that the military strike was the right thing to do and in National Security interests, while Rand Paul and others are holding firm in their position against the President’s plan. Democrats, too, are struggling with the decision. The anti-war contingency, still stinging from the conflicts that continue in Iraq and Afghanistan, are finding it hard to keep with the President and explain away their dissidence in the past (of course… that was George W. Bush so at least they have that excuse still).

In an interesting twist, Russian authoritarian Vladmir Putin is weighing in on the conflict. Angry over the recent actions of the United States, and his apparent snub to President Obama in the Edward Snowden case, is causing tensions in the region to grow even more. Putin has promised to send backup and military protection to Syria should the Obama Administration launch an attack on the region. The President has to back track on his promise, creating confusion both on Capitol Hill and in the military community. If he were to take action, he would be upsetting both foe and ally alike. If he were to not do anything, he is reaffirming what Americans have feared: our presence in the world is growing weaker and weaker. Suddenly, the President and his minions on Capitol Hill are realizing that the peace before policy and principle that they touted did not work. I believe there are many across America (and the world) saying: I told you so.

Unions continue to become disenchanted with the Obama Policies on wages and immigration, threatening the success and strength of the organization. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union is among those voicing opposition with both their mouths and their feet. Obamacare and Immigration reform are two of the reasons that leaders of this union said that they would no longer be a part of the AFL-CIO, officially severing all ties and speaking out in an open letter to Richard Trumka.

The idea that a union would leave the AFL-CIO so publicly would have been relatively unheard of in the past ten years. Prior to the Obama Administration’s most controversial of positions on immigration and healthcare, there seemed to be a united front among labor and the Democrat’s position. Though underlings (in the union’s eyes…also known as workers) were becoming increasingly disenchanted with the growing trends, there was this need to provide a solid front in the media and on Capitol Hill. After all, the unions and the Democrats alike rely on a sense of team between them in order to ensure kickbacks and policy preferences are pushed forward, not for the union workers but for the union itself. Suddenly, there is a growing disconnect that not even the top echelon of Union promoters can ignore: the workers are angry, they are hurting, and they are starting to wake up to the fact that the Democrats (specifically Obama) and the union leadership may just not have their best interests at heart.

Whether or not more unions follow suit and begin distancing themselves from the big labor bosses has yet to be seen. However, it is a growing trend that could potentially have ramifications for the future. If the Republicans were able to capitalize on this separation successfully or if there was a general disenchantment that led to an apathy, this could greatly change the party dynamics on both sides of the aisle. Time will tell whether the bosses can retain power over the labor movement or the other tricks that Washington elitists have up their sleeves.

The threat in Syria, or rather our involvement, continues to grow on Capitol Hill. The President this week vowed to take the potential for action to the US Congress, where he is hoping to win approval for his actions. Insiders, however, say that with or without approval, the President still plans to take action via bombings or another military route that will not directly deploy a large amount of men on the ground.

The tide in Washington is mixed on whether or not the President will win the approval that he seeks. House Republican Leader Jon Boehner (R-OH) has said that he will support the action, with Democratic ring leader Nancy Pelosi echoing the claims. She asserted that the President did not in fact create the proverbial red line but it was a sense of “humanity” that did that. The threat, then, cannot be ignored and action needs to be taken.

Republicans and Democrats alike are wavering in the stance on Syria, with no one side truly sticking together. Sure, Democrats want to follow their faithful leader into battle (or make that effort at least) but there is still the issue of constituency to deal with. Public sentiment regarding the crisis is strongly favoring the belief that the US should not get involved in the conflict. Many are still war wary from the conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan. Still, too, leaders are trying to come to terms with how to be so against military involvement in the Middle East in the past decade but now supporting it.

Time will tell where the experts and US fall in their actions. Many, including England’s officials and Russian leaders alike, are encouraging the US to stay out. Whether or not the President listens, however, has yet to be seen. Chances are, though, that he will get his way one way or the other and that off-the-cuff comment he made will have real political and foreign relations policy consequences.