Well, the Super Bowl may have been a terrible game, but at least I got to spend it with Donald Trump at his gala party. Plus, breaking news: Donald Trump vows as New York Governor to cut taxes in half!
Nelson Mandela was a hero as well as a leader. During my visit to South Africa, I visited the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg. The museum, which was shaped by Mandela himself, serves to educate people about the system of racial segregation through the life and eyes of Nelson Mandela.
While incarcerated, Mandela was viewed as a Marxist supporter. Perhaps because he saw this as the only ideology able to inspire his people. With few comforts, loneliness, and arduous physical labor, Mandela survived a total of 27 years of imprisonment. While these years were painful, they galvanized his commitment for a free South Africa and his capacity for forgiveness.
That forgiveness was evident in Mandela’s break from Marxist ideology upon his freedom. Mandela decried the dictatorships of Castro, and closer to home, Mugabe. He instead chose to look towards the teachings of Martin Luther King and Ghandi as models for a new political and social future for South Africa.
The museum is a monument to the universal ideals of freedom, human dignity, and democratic values. Nelson Mandela embodied these ideals during his lifetime and the legacy of his efforts continue to inspire all those who know of him. Nelson Mandela understood that “to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others”.
There is wide-spread, bipartisan support to delay the implementation of Obamacare. Many conservatives see the delay as a first step towards abolishing it altogether. Their concern is that once Obamacare is in effect, it will be with us forever. This however, is the wrong tactic. Conservatives should support the immediate implementation of Obamacare and allow the skyrocketing insurance premiums, website fiascos, and Medicare cuts to speak for themselves.
Obama himself is so concerned about these upcoming Congressional elections that he delayed the employer mandate initiative for at least six months. I am shocked that Republican Congressional members are working to help the President with this delay.
Poll numbers show how widespread opposition to Obamacare. A CNN poll last month reported 57% opposition to the bill and just 39% in favor of it. Labor Unions and the AFL-CIO, which once supported President Obama, are opposed to the bill. Even a writer of the bill, Democrat Senate Finance Committee Chairman, Max Baucus, admits that Obamacare is a “huge train wreck”.
Given the bipartisan concerns over Obamacare, this is the time for Republicans to unite and force this implementation that the Democrats wanted so badly in the first place. President Obama is afraid that with full implementation, there will be massive blowback against the Democrats who supported the bill. He is right to be concerned. Let Obamacare be implemented and let the voters decide.
The Obama Administration is correct in seeking Congressional support for a necessary military strike on Syria. For that to happen, Congress should demand clear and compelling evidence that the Assad regime used chemical weapons. Currently, there is low public support for a military strike. When faced with a similar situation, then President Kennedy showed photographic evidence to the America public, of Russian missiles on 90 miles way. That proof proved to be the turning point in showing the Russians and the American people what we would and would not tolerate when it comes to our defense. President Obama would do well to follow this example.
Iran is watching closely to see what will happen if the “red line” that President Obama drew, gets crossed. If there is no military retaliation, Iran can justifiably assume that America tolerates the use of WMDs and by extension, the world will come to accept an Iranian nuclear policy. A congressional vote to act against Syria is an act against the uses of chemical weapons. Given their low cost and ease of shipment, the United States could very well be faced with these weapons used against civilians on our own soil.
President Obama is to be commended for seeking Congressional approval for a military strike. Syria may have pushed the envelope too far to risk the wait, and Congress is justified in granting the President limited military approval. This approval, and the consequent actions sends a clear and resounding message to Assad and the world about American values.
If Republicans and Democrats could put aside their differences and think ahead to next year’s Congressional Elections, they would see that now is the time to work together. Obama needs both sides to compromise so that he can use Congressional initiatives to lead the Nation out of this recession.
We are experiencing the consequences for this continued bickering in our faltering economy. A GDP growth above 4% is needed to make a dent in our unemployment numbers. Additionally, our economy relies heavily on retail sales and those numbers are falling, according to our largest commercial retail chains.
There is however one thing that Democrats and Republicans do agree on and that is more consumer cash being pumped into the economy is a good thing. The best way to achieve this is to allow a one year period during which off-shore companies can return their cash to America with only a one time flat tax of 15%. Perhaps as a reward for companies who repatriate all of their money, they can continue to bring in money at a much lower 20% tax for a fixed period of time.
This financial repatriation could be a huge windfall for the US Treasury. Both Republicans and Democrats agree that investing in our roads, bridges, and other projects is worthwhile. This is the way to fund these much needed improvements and American workers will benefit from the employment that these projects will require. This is a win-win proposal that can break the gridlock. President Obama and Congress need to move forward towards growth and compromise.
The failure of the Obama Administration to take responsibility for it’s is no more a surprise than it is disappointing. If only Obama would own the mistakes, perhaps respect for the office could be restored.
We can begin with the politically charged surveillance of James Rosen, one of the most respected Washington correspondents, who happens to be employed by Fox News. Mr. Rosen had reported on a story about North Korea, prompting surveillance of his phone and email activities, to the shock of even the left-wing media establishment.
From that, we can move on to the crimes committed by the IRS through a systematic witch hunt into Tea Party records. The IRS also angered the liberal group, ProPublica with its’ insensitive handling of confidential documents.
The next and most tragic mishandled crisis was the attack and killing of four Americans including Ambassador J. Christopher Stephens, at the American Embassy in Benghazi, Libya.
The best explanation of Obama’s unlikely continued support comes from Jonathan Alter’s new book, “The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies”. This book would be helpful for Republicans looking for success in the 2014 elections.
Despite his strong win in the 2012 election, and continued positive national support, there are reports from within the White House itself about deteriorating relationships between President Obama and some of his key staff members. Alter sheds light on these divisions and Republicans would do well to exploit them for success in the upcoming 2014 elections.