Posts Tagged ‘Congress’

We’ve Shelved SOPA/PIPA, Now Can We Stop Other Crappy Legislation?

Written by buzz. Posted in Politics

 

Written by: Kaitlyn Burkhart

After a short and heroic uprising of the Internet community, it seems as if the people have won the battle against censorship of the Internet. On Friday January 20, Congress dropped the bills in the wake of the largest online protest in history. A staggering 13 million people took the time to add their names to the petition, alongside a voluntary blackout held by thousands of websites (including Wikipedia, the sixth most-visited site in the world),  in order to keep the Web free of censorship and out of the hands of the government and big business. The swift building of this movement, and it’s direct impact that hit the government straight in the legislature, has possibly been the most successful (if not the only, disregarding the rather ill-organized Occupy Wall Street) display of democratic power from the people in the recent past, with comparisons to the Arab Spring Movement, and our forefathers’ Boston Tea Party.

With the Internets’ uprising being hailed as a great success, it seems to be that maybe this movement of power from the people will shine the light on us as citizens, and how we’ve sat idly by as unfair, unconstitutional, and extraordinarily-out-of-touch-with-citizens’-lives legislature has been passed without even a whimper. Until, that is, they tried to take our Internet. Is this what Democracy has come to in the US? They can cut taxes for the rich, monopolize the elected government official positions to weed out any person who can’t spend millions on a campaign, slash spending on our education systems yet boost Congress’ payrolls, and most recently pass a bill that gives you no rights under the Bill of Rights if the military thinks you’re a terrorist.

Was it not so much that we were fighting for Freedom of Speech, or was it that the Internet the last free thing we had?

Remember this?

 

Many social commentators have been speaking out on the apathetic nature of Americans today, noting that if most of the things we let slide today happened 50 years ago, the people would have been pulling up the roots of the administration, making noise in the streets, and children would be writing letters to state representatives in their classrooms. What happen to the America where people were actively fighting for their rights? Where if people saw something that was wrong, and actually thought they could change it?

 

Let me ask you a question; When was the last time you watched, read, or discussed the people running for the positions in Congress or the spots in the next Presidential election? Were your thoughts afterward about the policies those people were promoting, or were you merely dissatisfied with how the entire thing seemed to be about how clueless our political leaders were, or how the debates had seemingly become pissing contests between GOP members, where one person commented on how much money the other person had made, how many wives they had, or why Obama is a socialist and needs to be stopped?

Seriously? Watching a debate nowadays is like watching an episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Same amount of cat fights, less fabulously dressed.

And somehow equally trashy.

With so many people displeased with the happenings in the government, it’s amazing that it took them threatening our Internet for something to happen. The people won have won a battle, maybe that will be the thing to stoke the proverbial fire under our chairs to win the war. Or, at least, do something to put the power back in our hands.

Obama Unveils America that is Built to Last in State of the Union

Written by buzz. Posted in Politics

Obama at State of the Union Address 2012

Obama speaking at 2012 State of the Union Address

Written by: Nick Mingay

WASHINGTON – President Obama gave his State of the Union Address in Washington Tuesday in which he promised to pass legislation to help America continue its recovery, even in an election year.

At a time when the nation is enamured with the Republican Caucuses, a Newt and a Mitt, Obama had his shot to make a pitch to the American electorate and jump start his campaign for reelection. He began by focusing on the troops coming home and the end of Osama Bin Laden, his two biggest accomplishments since becoming President.

Throughout the speech, Obama emphasized the need to work together within Washington. He recognized the frustration Americans had over routine task such as the debt ceiling increase. Obama made it clear he was willing to play ball with either side of the aisle if it helped the country.

“As long as I’m President, I will work with anyone in this chamber to build on this momentum,” Obama said.

Obama also pinpointed the tax code as a major issue in 2012. His major attack was on those companies who outsource jobs to other countries. Obama said he would have those companies take a tax deduction to subsidies others bringing jobs back to American soil.

“From now on, every multinational company should have to pay a basic minimum tax,” Obama said. “And every penny should go towards lowering taxes for companies that choose to stay here and hire here in America.”

Later in the speech, Obama spoke on growing small businesses by expanded the tax relief to them. He also proposed getting rid of regulations that hinder entrepreneurs from starting their own business. These factors would allow small businesses to gain a foothold in the market and create more competition amongst established companies.

Obama also touched on how Americas reliance on foreign oil. The Keystone XL Pipeline was an obvious setback for this, but Obama laid out other avenues that could help domestic energy production.

He mentioned using hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking,  to collect natural gas as one way to help alleviate America’s crutch on foreign oil. There has been some debate about the detriment hydrofracking has on communities close to the operation because some companies have used diesel fuel in the process. Obama wanted to stop this from expanded into a bigger issue by stating that he will require those involved in hydrofracking to disclose the materials in the solution they use.

Obama finished his speech by noting again that the world will no longer have to worry about Bin Laden terrorizing a nation or about American troops in Iraq in 2012. This was the jumping off point for his reelection campaign. We can only wait to see if Obama’s charisma and political platform will carry him to another presidential election.

Obama administration rejects controversial Keystone XL pipeline

Written by buzz. Posted in Politics

Written by: Shauna Bannan

Keystone XL pipeline protesters

Protesters sitting outside the White House, objecting the Keystone XL pipeline.

 

The Obama administration denied a permit to expand the Keystone oil sands pipeline Wednesday, saying the deadline set by congressional Republicans did not allow enough time to sufficiently review TransCanada‘s proposal.

In his statement, Obama blamed Republicans for trying to force an early decision on the expansion of the Keystone pipeline, which would deliver crude oil from Alberta, Canada to refineries in Texas, requiring the administration to evaluate the situation by a Feb. 21 deadline.

“As the State Department made clear last month, the rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment,” Obama said in his statement. “As a result, the Secretary of State has recommended that the application be denied. And after reviewing the State Department’s report, I agree.”

Russ Girling, president and chief executive officer of TransCanada, the energy infrastructure company behind the project, immediately responded to Obama’s statement.

“While we are disappointed, TransCanada remains fully committed to the construction of Keystone XL,” said Russ Girling. “Plans are already underway on a number of fronts to largely maintain the construction schedule of the project. We will re-apply for a Presidential Permit and expect a new application would be processed in an expedited manner to allow for an in-service date of late 2014.”

For three years, the Keystone XL pipeline has been at the center of debate. TransCanada, oil industry supporters, and congressional Republicans argued that the project would create thousands of jobs and lessen the nation’s dependency on oil, while environmentalists feared that the transportation of crude oil would create a large carbon footprint, threaten the Great Plains, and make U.S. waterways more prone to oil spills.

James T. Callahan, president of the International Union of Operating Engineers, said Obama’s decision to reject the Keystone XL was “a blow to America’s construction workers.”

“Blocking the Keystone pipeline would be an enormous mistake by the Obama administration,” said H. Sterling Burnett, lead analyst of the National Center for Policy Analysis. “We need the oil and we need the jobs it would bring. This is as ‘shovel ready’ as anything Obama has proposed, yet because his radical environmental constituency objects, he’s apparently halting the pipeline. He simply needs their support too much in an election year.”

The president clarified that, despite the denial of the Keystone XL oil sands project, the administration will continue to find alternative ways to increase energy security, in partnership with the oil and gas industry.

What’s in store for the GOP?

Written by buzz. Posted in Politics

With the Republican Party’s generally vehement opposing Barack Obama’s healthcare reform plans, many think it is an inevitable downslide for the party, caused by the party’s unwillingness to come to agreement with the a much needed plan.

All are well aware of the likelihood of the bill passing with Republican consent. If it does pass, it will be totally without any support.

Professor Julian E. Zelizer

But is there really so much at stake for the Republicans if they continue to actively fight this reform bill?

In an article on CNN addressing this very point, Professor Julian E. Zelizer says that it could be a long term benefit for the party.

Firstly, if the bill does prove to be a failure, there will be decisive statement made by the Republican Party saying they knew it all along and that the Democrats are at fault.Even now, it has successfully inspired the creation of the Tea Party movement which has definitely proved to have a political and social voice.

Meanwhile, a more tangible result benefiting the GOP side is that the whole campaign waged by the Democrats has totally wound up the rest of the Democratic agenda.

However, if the legislation proves to have been a correct move, the Republicans are once again going to be judged harshly. Various Republican presidents in the past century have needed to defend their position after they cameout against certain proposals which later proved to be useful

The United States Congress with a current Democratic majority

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But even without that worry, Professor Zelizer warns that other issues seem to be crippling the party’s favor in the public’s eye.

He says that the Republican Party has lost its unity from within, caused (and causing more) ideological gaps.  It seems as though the party has lost a lot of its unique principles which made it stand out and which made all its members a part of a bigger group of conformers to that belief.

The Republican party, argues the professor, is in urgent need to regroup during these years of Obama’s term to rethink and rewrite their opinions and philosophies that will comply and assist with the modern day challenges.

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