Obama on Sandy Hook

President Obama's photo.
Three years ago today, a gunman murdered twenty innocent schoolchildren and six of the educators who cared for them at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.

This photo was taken two days later, when I went to Newtown and visited with the families of the victims. It was a town that could be any town in America. They were grieving moms and dads, brothers and sisters, spouses missing the center of their lives at Christmastime – good and decent people who could have been any of our loved ones.

Three years on, how do we tell them that their Congress hasn’t done anything to prevent what happened to them from happening to other families?

Soon after the shootings, I took a series of executive actions within my power to reduce gun violence and keep more of our kids safe. Their governor in Connecticut, Dan Malloy, worked with his legislature to pass some commonsense gun safety reforms – reforms that didn’t infringe upon anyone’s right to bear arms, but actually might have prevented another massacre in the meantime. And two United States senators – a Democrat from West Virginia and a Republican from Pennsylvania, both gun owners, both strong defenders of our Second Amendment rights, both with “A grades” from the NRA – worked together to write a commonsense compromise bill that would have required virtually everyone who buys a gun to get a background check. That’s it. Dangerous people would no longer get to play by a different set of rules than responsible gun owners who bought their guns the right way. Pretty commonsense stuff.

But the gun lobby and its allies mobilized to paint that compromise reform as an assault on our freedom. And even though background checks were supported by some 90% of the American people and a majority of NRA households, the Senate surrendered, voting to block those background checks – even with the families of Newtown in attendance.

Since then, tens of thousands of our fellow Americans have been mowed down by gun violence. Tens of thousands. More kids have lost siblings. More parents have lost children. More husbands and wives have had to bury the love of their life. Sometimes, it’s hard to put specific numbers on this epidemic and its causes – because Congress has actually prevented the CDC, our leading public health agency, from conducting serious research into gun violence. Did you know that? Some years ago, they actually voted to make it harder for public health experts to conduct research into gun violence – but even after San Bernardino, they’ve refused to make it harder for terrorist suspects to buy semi-automatic weapons.

Every time this happens, we’re told that commonsense reforms like background checks might not have stopped the last massacre, or the one before that, so we shouldn’t do anything. We’re not fools – we know that we can’t heal every troubled mind, or stop every act of violence.

But what if we tried to stop even one? What if Congress did something – anything – to save one American, or a classroom of Americans, or a stadium’s worth of Americans from losing their lives to gun violence in the years to come?

I refuse to give up on this. Because I still believe that we can do better. I still believe that we can get this right. We may not have a Congress that’s willing to work with us on this right now. So the rest of us will have to do what we can. I recently tasked my team at the White House to take another look at any other actions I can take to help reduce gun violence. And if you care about this, then please help me – whether you’re a Democrat, a Republican, or neither. We especially need the help of responsible gun owners who grieve with us every time this happens, and feel like your views aren’t being properly represented. I know there are a lot of you. I’ve heard from you. I’ve read your letters and emails.

Let me be absolutely clear – like I’ve said many times before, I believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. Period. No matter how many times people try to paint me as holding a different position. I also believe that most gun owners agree that we can respect the Second Amendment while keeping an irresponsible, law-breaking few from inflicting harm on a massive scale. I believe there is a rational, bipartisan majority in America who agrees that we all have the right to worship freely and safely; the right to assemble peaceably; the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – and who doesn’t want to see those rights taken from us, as they were taken from worshipers in Charleston and Oak Creek; moviegoers in Aurora and Lafayette; students in Blacksburg and Roseburg, Columbine and Newtown, and kids on street corners in Chicago too often to tolerate.

Change, as always, is going to take all of us – from the grassroots up. The gun lobby is loud and organized in its defense of effortlessly available guns for anyone. The rest of us are going to have to be just as passionate and organized in our defense of our kids.

America, this will change – but only when we stand up, together, and demand it

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Obama Gets Iran Deal, GOP Freaks Collective Shit

Just go ahead and get yourself elected, Lindsey, and you can do that (heck, this is the kind of stuff we want debated before we elect Presidents…and note how we elected Obama twice, to do just this kind of stuff).

The hatred of Obama and the cover it provides for the GOP has led to some very interesting and, frankly, openly seditious, behavior.

I have to wonder if the Tea Party is going to die off before the reality they inhabit is just too far gone from the rest of us to continue moving forward together.

Look at how many in the GOP talk about reality itself, and you begin to see this issue.

What the Obama administration has done (if the deal holds) is the same thing the Bush administration claimed to have wanted to do, stop Iran (Iraq) from obtaining WMD.

The difference here is that Iran, unlike Iraq, had an active program and Obama, unlike Bush, was able to do it without a decades long war, thousand of lives and trillions of dollars.

The discrepancy here is massively huge and, it would seem, the only choice the GOP has is to double and triple down on the Obama-hate.

Sad, but there it is.

Both Sides are Same (Idiot Ignorant Edition)

Obama wants Net Neutrality, the GOP tries to pass legislation to forbid it.

Obama thinks local municipalities should be able to build their own broadband, Big Telecom disagrees, so does the GOP, so the GOP drafts legislation to make it illegal.

Anyone who claims both sides are the same is just ignorant or an idiot.

Bill takes away FCC powers on the books since 1934 and 1996.
ARSTECHNICA.COM|BY JON BRODKIN

Presidents and the Economy

So is the president responsible for the accelerating recovery? No. Can we nonetheless say that we’re doing better than we would be if the other party held the White House? Yes. Do those who were blaming Mr. Obama for all our economic ills now look like knaves and fools? Yes, they do. And that’s because they are.

via Presidents and the Economy – NYTimes.com.

Nice summation of a basic rant re: Obama.  Now that Obama has achieved all of the economic goals of the Republicans in the 2012 election one would think there would be a chastised tone coming from the folks who were so terribly wrong.

However, because our media system does a fantastically horrible job of educating the populace about reality, the GOP has actually gained seats based on the results their constituents *believe* Obama has gotten, which have very little in common with the actual results.

Anyway, it’s a fun dynamic to watch, although a tad bit frustrating from the rational actor viewpoint.

Keystone Pipe Lies

Wow…Keystone XL…50 permanent jobs and nearly $50,000,000 in “property taxes” **over the next decade** for the country. Meanwhile…


“[Keystone XL] would have the capacity to deliver up to 830,000 bpd, of which 730,000 bpd of capacity has been set aside for [tar sands] and the remaining 100,000 bpd of capacity set aside for [Bakken] crude oil,” the report details.

Which at current prices…roughly $75/barrel * that’s $62,250,000…per day…not per decade (and nearly $22,721,250,000/year…so a few hundred million for lobbying is barely material).

Anyway, the main reason this is a big deal is because Koch Industries has a big piece of the tar sands oil, but has to pay more to send it anywhere for refining. The problem with the pipeline for most is that it increased risk (i.e. after the Koch Bros assholes die in the next few years and their heirs are even bigger dicks and stop maintaining the pipeline and it pops) for the people where it exists with no actual benefit to those people.

It is a perfect example of the “publicize the risk and privatize the profit” type project that NEARLY EVERYONE claims to hate in reality. While it is true, yes, some Dems have also been bought by the Kochs and support the project, there is NO QUESTION that one the main reasons guys who hate politics just gave hundreds of millions of dollars to politicians is to get their pipeline built.

And now that it worked, it’s going to be the first bill the lame-duck-prelude-to-the-Jim-Crow-Congress** sends to the President’s desk.

One of the things I’m so happy for is that oil and gas prices have PLUMMETED as they so often do in this boom and bust industry. Investments in explorations and infrastructure (yes, including pipelines) has long term effects on market prices. We’ve had a boom in drilling and exploration and infrastructure (extraction/fracking), and so the prices have plummeted.

Had they *not* plummeted previously, the claim that the transportation of the raw materials part of the price of gasoline was *really going to change* because of Keystone XL, might have actually gained some traction. Had we BUILT the pipeline, and prices plummeted as they have, the Kochs would have looked like the Market Gods they think they are.

Instead we saw prices plummet as the President “dawdles” (i.e. stick to what he’s said all along…he’s going to take his time and not force anything though, if it works at at all) and the Kochs go the raw political brute force route for approval.

This takes the wind out of the “it’ll lower the record high gas prices!!” part of the argument for approval, which was the main force pushing the public at large. Because of this, I don’t think it’s going to be approved while Obama is in office…but we’ll see a lot more b.s. about it.

* oil/gas price dynamics are a billion dollar industry unto themselves, so please excuse my massive paraphrasing.

** Yes, I’m going to call the Congress elected by the lowest voter turnout in 70 years (nearly twice my lifespan) the Jim Crow Congress. While the media elites might tell you voting was down because people don’t care (a self-fulfilling prophecy for the powerful), in reality I know lots of folks who were TURNED AWAY AT THE POLLS. Since I don’t know all the folks, I know that a certain percentage of the folks you know, were also TURNED AWAY AT THE POLLS. This means that a certain percentage of all folks were TURNED AWAY AT THE POLLS.

If you don’t think I think this is a big deal, please re-read the bolded statement again, and again, and again. We should *always* be working to EXPAND voting rights, because it is one of our most fundamental ideals. If you want to worry about our Democracy and “The Future of Our Country” , worry about this, because it’s the fundamental way a democracy functions and a populace communicates with itself.

So…for the next two years (and maybe more), it’s the Jim Crow Congress. The GOP doesn’t get to hide behind a slim Senate minority anymore. Own the assholeness, GOP, you’ve earned it.

World’s Worst “Journalist” Gets Plum Assignment, Makes Everyone Dumber

RGHCIxc.png PNG Image, 765 × 408 pixels.

So this is the top-rated comment from the idiot brigade referring to Bill O’Reilly’s “interview” with the President.  It wasn’t so much an interview as a series of accusations where.

We’ve seen a pretty amazing recovery from a huge financial disaster, the end of multiple wars, and unemployment finally falling to levels not seen in half a decade.

But instead of allowing any idea at all that any thing could ever be better in the slightest while *that dang Obama* is in the White House, we instead get a re-hash of the Buzzword Scandal that Fox News plays every day…IRSBENGHAZIOBAMACAREIRSBENGHAZIOBAMACARE.

Ignore the fact that the website works really well now.  Ignore the fact that multiple hearings into the IRS haven’t uncovered any corruption, only outdated rules.  Ignore the fact that four times as many Americans were killed in West, TX, than Benghazi or that black ops happen or anything at all except somehow, someway, it’s Obama’s fault because he’s an American-hating Muslim marxist.

This crap is absurd…but it’s not a fringe thing.  It’s mainstream Fox viewers who believe this, because it’s all that Fox puts out.  One finds more and more that watching Fox is actually an impediment to having a rational take on reality, and the top rated comment on their farce of an interview illustrates why.

These people are crazy.

-0-

Here’s a solid rundown of the “interview” and how ridiculous the questions were.

Obamacare gets Cheaper

Over the next few years, the government is expected to spend billions of dollars less than originally projected on the law, analysts said, with both the Medicaid expansion and the subsidies for private insurance plans ending up less expensive than anticipated.

Economists broadly agree that the sluggish economy remains the main reason that health spending has grown so slowly for the last half-decade. From 2007 to 2010, per-capita health care spending rose just 1.8 percent annually. Since then, the annual increase has slowed even further, to 1.3 percent. A decade ago, spending was growing at roughly 5 percent a year.

But even though the Affordable Care Act might be more a beneficiary of changes in health care spending than the primary driver of them, the law’s provisions to control costs could prove increasingly important as the economy improves, demand for health care increases and spending picks back up.

via Cost of Health Care Law Is Seen as Decreasing – NYTimes.com.

So even as this continues to work, and the magic of the market does its thing….the GOP is going to lie about both working, while encouraging people to not get healthcare, not take responsibility for their own lives, and instead be parasites.

I’m pretty sure their hatred of Obama has killed the notion that the GOP is a national entity and a rational actor.

How is this possible? Let’s ask Rick Santorum

How is it possible that almost four years after we elected Obama president, the number of Republicans who think he’s Muslim could double, and that less than half of all registered voters know what religion he professes (in a country where religion matters)?

via When the big lie works – Salon.com.

Here’s how…

WASHINGTON, DC — Former presidential candidate Rick Santorum attacked the media and “smart people” for not being on the side of conservatives in a speech to the Values Voter Summit on Saturday.

“We will never have the media on our side, ever, in this country,” Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, told the audience at the Omni Shoreham hotel. “We will never have the elite, smart people on our side.”

No smart people…the whole derptastic platform makes more sense now, there’s not a single smart person so say, “this is stupid.”

BTW, I still love how the most popular cable channel and most popular radio shows in the country aren’t part of the media in Santorum’s fantasy version of the U.S.

UPDATE: In case you forgot, this is a good example of the level of intellectual curiosity that gets one a VP nod in the modern GOP.

On the anniversary of the Sept. 11, Sarah Palin took to Facebook to attack President Obama on foreign policy saying “we already know that President Obama likes to ‘speak softly’ to our enemies,” she wrote on Tuesday evening. “If he doesn’t have a ‘big stick’ to carry, maybe it’s time for him to grow one.”

These types of attacks are standard for Mrs. Palin and Conservative Republicans. She went on to say that “apparently President Obama can’t see Egypt and Libya from his house,” in a self-deprecating reference to a criticized moment in her own past, when in 2008 she said she could see Russia from her home state of Alaska.

Read more http://politicalgroove.com/2012/09/sarah-palin-apparently-president-obama-cant-see-egypt-and-libya-from-his-house.html?fb_ref=wp

Even Palin makes fun of the dumb things she’s said in the past…

The most basic, and perhaps profound, reason that OBAMA WILL WIN

Washington Post 

“The republic of Washington and Jefferson is now in danger of becoming the democracy of debt and despair,” Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul told delegates at the GOP convention delegates this past week. “Our great nation is coming apart at the seams.”

He was one of many Republican speakers who tried to tap into the public’s unease about the country’s future. In just days, Democrats will present a starkly different vision at their three-day convention in Charlotte, N.C., sketching out a portrait of a nation on the rebound after the worst financial crisis since the Depression.

They will try to play a consistent theme in America’s history —optimism.

By both showing how the change has worked, the hope stays alive.

Much like in 2008, the Republicans are playing checkers, while Obama plays hyper-dimensional Chess. Barring some major event, I’ll stand by this prediction for a few more months.

Note: I felt in 2004 the situation was reversed and the Democratic strategy of pointing out that Bush’s polices would *lead* to economic collapse (as they did) was weaker than the Republican’s message of “OH MY GOD!! 9/11!!!”.

There is a public record of that, BTW.

John Hodgman nails it, repeatedly, with a huge hammer

Why Winners Should Vote for Obama – The Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/john-hodgman/how-i-learned-to-be-a-winner_b_1834692.html?utm_hp_ref=entertainment&ir=Entertainment

After that I learned to appreciate Obama in a different way. I appreciated that he inhabited a world in which idealism — and ideology — could never by sheer force of will overcome objective reality, and the hard compromises, uneasy truces, and constant errors that must be made to live in that world. I especially felt better about this position when I learned that John McCain carried an indian feather around FOR LUCK. This was not how I wanted my country run. By myth and superstition and magic tokens.

This is similar to my own understanding, as I realized Obama could best be described as a “pragmatic realist with liberal aspirations“.

It just makes a whole more sense that trying to paint him as a radical.  Unfortunately for many on the left, that’s not good enough, and appears to be the same as Romney.  As Hodgman notes, that’s generally loser talk.

And make no mistake, the rational folks are losing this country…one little election at a time.

Those on the right who began wishing in 1980 to dismantle the Great Society, de-regulate and de-unionize business, and starve the beast of the federal government are, you may have noticed, very close to succeeding. I am not saying this to scare you; maybe you agree with them. But the point is that it happened because they endured the compromises, hypocrisies, and retreats needed to get the wins, and profoundly change policy in ways we barely noticed — the repeal of Glass-Steagall; the massive tax cuts; the empowerment of corporations as political donors. These things did not happen because conservatives who believed in them kicked Reagan out of office in 1984 for failing to outlaw abortion immediately. It happened because they won elections.

 

Talking Point Smash : “Obama had full control of Congress of two years, and look what happened”

This is one of those things I hear a lot in various forms.  Essentially this is “blaming” Obama for not fixing the Great Recession in 4 years despite having “complete” control of Congress for two full years.

The reality of the history is a bit different.

On July 7th, 2009, Al Franken was sworn in as a Senator for Minnesota.  This was after a protracted legal battle regarding the vote count.  Franken was the 60th vote that the Democrats needs to overcome the unprecedented number of “filibusters” by Republicans in the Senate.

On August 26h, 2009, Ted Kennedy finally succumbed to brain cancer and unsheathed from the mortal coil.   His seat was taken by Scott Brown, a Republican of sorts currently facing off against Elizabeth Warren to hold the seat.  The loss of Kennedy’s vote removed the Democrats ability to overcome the Republican filibuster.

The point here isn’t to focus so much of legislative minutia, but to smash a talking point.   The President has faced, on the numbers alone, unprecedented opposition in trying to get *anything* done over the past 3 years and 46 weeks.   For 6 weeks, the one’s noted earlier, he had the full support of Congress.  Outside of that, it’s been a battle every step of the way.

To be clear…

 

Obama wants to pay more taxes, refuses to declare himself “Dictator for Life” and make it so

Washington Post

“I’ve got a question for Governor Romney: How many teachers’ jobs are worth another tax cut for millionaires and billionaires?” Obama said, prompting boos from the audience. “How many kids in Head Start are worth a tax cut for somebody like me who doesn’t need it?”

Yea…how many!

No really, there’s actually a number.  And don’t forget to count their teachers numbers too.