Tag Archives | President Obama

Mr. President, It’s Our Moment of Truth

John Wellington Ennis

John Wellington Ennis

Dear Mr. President,

From the heartlands of America to our city centers, there are too many folks who don’t believe our system works. When citizens are under-served by their leaders, an apathy is fostered that enables corruption and prevents accountability. Despite the historic struggle to vote, the dream of democratic elections is at risk when the public does not take voting seriously. In cities, states and at the national level, campaigns have become a cynical game that shuns voters, and lets those with millions to spare dominate the debate and decide who runs. This has to change.

I have been inspired by the people I have met across the country who are working hard in their community to limit the influence of money in politics. They have told me in one way or another how they came to realize that until we reform how money is spent in elections, we can’t confront the biggest problems facing us.… Read the rest

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President Obama’s State of the Union Sale

State Of The Union (201501200003HQ)In President Obama’s State of the Union address last evening, he mentioned many subjects that are integral to our country and our lives (for Americans reading this, that is, but most of the issues affect everyone – like drone strikes). Many of those key topics are reflected in our award-winning library of documentary films.

We think everyone needs to see these films while the country considers President Obama’s agenda, so we’re giving you a chance to purchase them at 40% off the list price (just use the coupon code “StateofUnion at checkout)

Here’s what the president had to say and why our films are so relevant:

“As Americans, we respect human dignity, even when we’re threatened, which is why I’ve prohibited torture, and worked to make sure our use of new technology like drones is properly constrained.” – President Obama 1/20/15

Related films:

UnmannedUnmanned: America’s Drone Wars: A film by Robert Greenwald that takes a hard look at the impact of American drone use in Pakistan.… Read the rest

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United States Ends Decades of Hostility to Cuba

You have to hand it to President Barack Obama, he’s not buying into the lame-duck presidency forecast for him in the wake of Republicans taking control of Congress. This time he’s re-opening diplomatic ties with Cuba. CNN reports on the breaking news:

President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced plans to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba and ease economic restrictions on the nation, an historic shift he called the end of an “outdated approach” to U.S.-Cuban relations.

Obama said he’s instructed Secretary of State John Kerry to immediately begin discussions with Cuba to re-establish diplomatic relations, and that the U.S. will re-open an embassy in Havana. The administration will also allow some travel and trade that had been banned under a decades-long embargo instated during the Kennedy administration.

“Neither the American nor Cuban people are well-served by a rigid policy that’s rooted in events that took place before most of us were born,” Obama said.

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Obama Warns Kids ‘Could Not Breathe’ If Clear Air Regs Not Passed

It might not be the best day to tell Americans they soon might not be able to breathe (think Eric Garner outrage), but The Hill reports that President Obama is using exactly that threat:

President Obama defended his controversial environmental regulations on Wednesday, arguing that without efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the U.S. could be issuing smog warnings like China.

“I would just point to one simple example, and that is you would not want your kids growing up in Beijing right now, because they could not breathe,” Obama said.

“And the fact of the matter is that used to be true in Los Angeles — as recently as 1970. And the reason it changed was because of the Clean Air Act,” he added.

Smog in Beijing CBD

Major Chinese cities Shanghai and Beijing have been the subject to smog warnings in the past year, alerting children and the elderly to remain indoors due to record pollution.

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In Defense of Obama

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Photo: Elizabeth Cromwell (CC)

Paul Krugman has penned a lengthy essay for Rolling Stone on why President Obama is getting a raw deal from virtually everyone, including an opinion that “Obama has emerged as one of the most consequential and, yes, successful presidents in American history”:

When it comes to Barack Obama, I’ve always been out of sync. Back in 2008, when many liberals were wildly enthusiastic about his candidacy and his press was strongly favorable, I was skeptical. I worried that he was naive, that his talk about transcending the political divide was a dangerous illusion given the unyielding extremism of the modern American right. Furthermore, it seemed clear to me that, far from being the transformational figure his supporters imagined, he was rather conventional-minded: Even before taking office, he showed signs of paying far too much attention to what some of us would later take to calling Very Serious People, people who regarded cutting budget deficits and a willingness to slash Social Security as the very essence of political virtue.

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Oh, Ye Masters of War: Marking 9/11 Again With A New Dragon To Slay

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Justin14 (CC)

When will 9/9, the day of the release of the new iPhone and Apple Watch replace 9/11 in the consciousness of Americans who put consumption way ahead of civil activism?

The wizards of Apple, who will soon have a device on the market to help you pay your bills, (and take a micro slice) must be aware that consumer borrowing has just seen its biggest hike since November 2001—just two months after the big event—and now stands at a whopping $3.24 TRILLION. According to the Federal Reserve, there has been a hike of $16.01 Billion in July alone.

When I made the film In Debt We Trust in 2006 about the immense debt burden of Americans, I didn’t connect the phenomenon to hikes in federal borrowing to finance our other pre-occupation: war spending. Significantly, earlier in this same week, President Obama asked for another $5 billion for a new costly counter-terrorism offensive to fight ISIS.… Read the rest

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Perpetual War Is Fine With the New York Times After All

The editorial board of the New York Times has an Orwellian knack for war. Sixteen months ago, when President Obama gave oratorical lip service to ending “perpetual war,” the newspaper quickly touted that end as a democratic necessity. But now — in response to Obama’s speech Wednesday night announcing escalation of war without plausible end — the Times editorial voice is with the endless war program.

Under the headline “The End of the Perpetual War,” published on May 23, 2013, the Times was vehement, calling a new Obama speech “the most important statement on counterterrorism policy since the 2001 attacks, a momentous turning point in post-9/11 America.” The editorial added: “For the first time, a president stated clearly and unequivocally that the state of perpetual warfare that began nearly 12 years ago is unsustainable for a democracy and must come to an end in the not-too-distant future.”

Obama Malaysia Airlines

The Times editorial board was sweeping in its conclusion: “Mr.… Read the rest

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Barack Obama is the Greatest Terrorist Hunter in the History of the Presidency

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That bold statement is made by Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic, who asks why President Obama gets no credit for his terrorist hunting successes:

…Washington has reached a consensus view that Obama has been hesitant, contradictory, and flinching on a range of issues related to the Middle East. It is true that his rhetoric has not often matched his strategy (see Peter Baker’s story on the disconnect between some of Obama’s reassuring statements on the Middle East and the dispiriting reality of the place, and Richard Haass’s comments on Administration promises); it is true that early reports suggest that the strategy he is unveiling to counter ISIS seems limited and evolutionary; and it also true, as Ron Fournier, and others, note, that Obama has a tendency to tell America’s enemies what he won’t do to them, rather than what he will do.

Here are two things that are also true: Obama has become the greatest terrorist hunter in the history of the presidency; and his successful push to disarm the Assad regime of the bulk of its chemical-weapons stockpiles has removed from the Middle East, and beyond, the possibility of an unparalleled cataclysm.

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President Obama at Stonehenge

The White House is plugging President Obama’s visit to Stonehenge in England with this video:

His spoken thoughts aren’t exactly profound: “these are some special stones … I love the moss … there’s something here, that’s wonderful, this is very cool, there just something elemental about it, there’s something where you kind of feel like it should always be there, that it comes out of something basic.”

Regardless of his rather pointed lack of curiosity as to the purpose of the megalithic site, no doubt this will massively boost tourism to England. May we suggest, Mr. President, that when you get back you check out the modern-day American Stonehenge, the Georgia Guidestones, and give a similar boost to our stagnant economy?

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Cornel West Calls Obama A ‘Counterfeit’

Bertman westProfessor Cornel West has never been one to mince words and in this interview for Salon he tells Thomas Frank that President Obama “posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit. We ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency, a national security presidency”:

Cornel West is a professor at Union Theological Seminary and one of my favorite public intellectuals, a man who deals in penetrating analyses of current events, expressed in a pithy and highly quotable way.

I first met him nearly six years ago, while the financial crisis and the presidential election were both under way, and I was much impressed by what he had to say. I got back in touch with him last week, to see how he assesses the nation’s progress since then.

The conversation ranged from Washington, D.C., to Ferguson, Missouri, and although the picture of the nation was sometimes bleak, our talk ended on a surprising note.

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