Tag Archives: Senate

What You Need to Know About the State of the Union

State of the UnionTalking about politics is a touchy thing (and we don’t try to hide that we’re pretty liberal here at Intent – but we do promote listening to contrary opinions with an open ear and encourage healthy, respectful debate!). However, the annual State of the Union address isn’t really about which side of the aisle you vote for – it’s about civic responsibility to  be informed about the state of affairs of the country.

Last night the President covered several important topics from raging minimum wage, increasing America’s clean energy initiatives, creating greater access to higher education and ending the war in Afghanistan. He repeatedly called out Congress’ tendency to gridlock in debate rather than create legislation to help Americans move out of a recession and lead the way in the 21st century. He also re-iterated on several fronts, including minimum wage and infrastructure policy – that he will take whatever action he can without legislation to promote American progress, circumventing the roadblocks often created by tension in the House of Representatives.

The President’s most powerful moment however came at the end of the address when he called out  Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg who was severely injured during his 10th deployment to Afghanistan. After being hit by a bomb while on duty, Cory was left unable to speak and barely move. After dozens of surgeries, hours of grueling physical therapy today, Cory has relearned to talk, stand and walk. He still has trouble with his left side but he and his father were both present for the State of the Union address. His presence garnered an extended applause and standing ovation from the entire assembly. “Cory reminds us what is best about America,” the President said.

If you missed the State of the Union, we’ve compiled some of President Obama’s most compelling quotes from last night:

On Congress’s responsibility to the American public: “If our business is shutting down the Government or ruining the good faith and credit in America then we are not doing right by the American people.”

On creating a bi-partisan Federal budget: ‘The budget compromise should leave us freer to focus on creating new jobs, not creating new crisis.”

On American wages: “But Americans overwhelmingly agree that no one who works full time should ever have to raise a family in poverty.”

On American troops and military involvement abroad: “I will not mire our sons and daughters in open ended war entanglements. We must fight battles that need to be fought, but not those that terrorists prefer for us. America must move off it’s permanent war footing.”

Closing statement: “If we work together, if we summon what is best in us, with our feet planted firmly in today but our eyes cast towards tomorrow, I know it is within our reach.”

To see these quotes in context and to hear the President’s point by point plans for energy initiatives, healthcare progress and the path to comprehensive immigration reform you can watch the full State of the Union Address below:

What do you think of the State of the Union? Leave your opinion in the comments below. Remember to be respectful of those that disagree!

*Picture credit to WhiteHouse.Gov

VOD: Congress Suspended Democracy So Only One Person Could Re-Open the Government

If you haven’t been following the news regularly about the government shutdown this is one story to which you should pay attention. Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-Md) stood on the House Floor and attempted a motion to re-open the government. What followed was the revelation that on Oct. 1 House Republicans quietly passed a resolution that changed the standing House Rules so that only Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor can make a motion to re-open the government.

You read that correctly. Eric Cantor (or his designee) is the only person that can start the process of re-opening the government. That means that even if the every other Republican and Democratic representative is in favor of re-opening the government but Eric Cantor does not make the motion, the government stays shut down. Even the most powerful Republican in Congress – Speaker of the House John Boehner – can’t make the motion to re-open the government without Eric Cantor’s permission. The power to turn on the services paid for by our tax dollars and return hundreds of thousands of government workers back to their jobs is in the hands of one person.

Does that have your attention now?

Watch the video of Chris Van Hollen’s parliamentary inquiries to see for yourself.

What are your feelings on the video? How does this gel with your definition of democracy? Tell us in the comments below. 

Todd Akin Refuses to Back Down After Rape Comments

It looks like Senate Republican candidate Todd Akin is still in it to win. For now, at least.

Tuesday would have been the final day for Akin to withdraw from the race without a court order, according to BBC. And despite ample pressure from across the political spectrum, he has chosen to hold his ground.

As Akin told ABC on today’s Good Morning America:

The people of Missouri chose me, and I don’t believe it’s right for party bosses to decide to over-ride those voters. It makes me uncomfortable to think that the party bosses are going to dictate who runs, as opposed to the election process.

Let’s review the facts… Todd Akin has served as a Republican Representative in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2001. He is the Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, which falls under the Committee on Armed Forces. In addition to armed security, Akin is passionate about abortion issues. He and Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan co-sponsored a strict anti-abortion bill that would legally grant zygotes “personhood” and dramatically reduce women’s reproductive rights.

Akin caused a storm on Sunday when he explained his abortion stance in an interview with a St. Louis television station:

If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.

The “that whole thing” part refers to pregnancy. Republicans, Democrats, men, women, Americans, and people all around the world were appalled by Akin’s remarks. He displayed not only great disrespect and insensitivity to rape victims, but also an utter and inexcusable ignorance about the reproductive system. It is frightening to think that, a) Akin, who has served as representative for 10+ years, doesn’t understand how reproduction works, and b) he would then rely on shoddy, pseudo science in formulating a major political decision that could affect thousands of women. And what, pray tell, is a “legitimate rape”?

According to the BBC, the Centers for Disease Control report that more that 32,000 pregnancies result from rape every year. And between 10,000 to 15,000 abortions take place every year as a result of incest or rape. Even after Akin’s swift attempts to save face, his apologies, and his acknowledgement that there is no such thing as “legitimate rape,” it seems a disgrace to our political system to have one so misinformed, negligent, and graceless anywhere near our Senate.

What do you think? Should Akin withdraw from the race?

Gotham Chopra: “I won (b!tch)”

Okay, so I added that last part, but I have to assume that was the spirit in which it was uttered today by Mr. President Barack Obama in response to an objection voiced by Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) to the president’s proposal to increase benefits for low-income workers who don’t owe federal income taxes.

Who can really blame the guy after having made it through this historic week in which the first African American President was sworn in (twice!) to the highest office in all the land? I mean seriously Mr. Anglo GOP’ers everywhere – in the Senate and Congress, on talk radio and hunkered down in Fox News and wherever else you have found safe haven – you’re either with us or with them. Either way, soon you’ll be dead to us.

Time to get with the program. You can sit on the sidelines and cry yourself a river, wax nostalgic about the good ol’ days when habeus corpus and other silly Geneva convention-like human rights could easily be trampled upon. Go ahead and Rush to judgement, root against the new American mainstream that voted for change and hope and idealism. Indulge in partisanship, in bitterness, cynicism, fanaticism cloaked as capitalism, the world is moving forward without you if we must. Go ahead and whine about economic theory, moan about the loss of failed hardline diplomacy, lament the decline of cronyism. Cry all you want about the new “old boy’s network” but it doesn’t really count if the head man is brown.

The challenges ahead are real. They are big. No enormous and will not be easily overcome. In fact, more than likely, when we get out of this recession, it will be with a new and creative design.

For now, just accept it. “We won, (b!tches).”

This crazy madness called Politics!!


I’m not a republican nor am I democrat. I’m just an independent who is wandering what these crazy people who call themselves POLITICIANS are trying to do? I’m surprised that Barack Obama has been able to maintain his sanity this far. First, you have politicians having affairs or either paying for escorts; second you have shady dealings such as trying to sell a senate seat for money and recognition; third you have republicans doing everything in the book besides acting like a child of God so that the new president can start his tenure off on the wrong foot; and lastly you have the president with only a few days left in office leaving the country in this big recession while he goes to his new home he just brought in Texas!
The whole government is just screwed up and my concern for Barack Obama is can he keep his cool with all this drama and this unorganized government? Can the democrats really bring this country back to where it needs to be? And will the good people of this country be able to trust these shady politicians? What really got me about this whole political thing was the bailout gig. It seems like once Wall Street received a bailout then everybody and their mama came out of the woodworks and wanted a bailout. The auto industry wanted money and the transit system wanted money! What are these people thinking?
I’m also getting tired of people complaining about everybody that Obama picks to be apart of his administration. It seems like no matter who Obama appoints, there was something wrong with his pick. They had something to say when he picked Joe Biden, they had something to say when he picked Hillary Clinton, they had something to say when he picked his chief of staff, and now they have something to say about his CIA pick. Personally, I’ll be glad when January 20th, 2009 arrives so he could go ahead and finally get into office. The uhaul truck has not even pulled up to the white house yet and he is already bombarded with all of this drama!
Lastly, let’s not forget about this Blagojevich and Burris scenario. Even though Burris himself is not accused of anything but the whole Blagojevich thing is just downright shady! This is a situation where you can’t even trust your own governor! And a governor who has a potty mouth like he came straight out the projects. This whole senate seat drama started because of him and now Burris is probably somewhere taking a bottle of Advil to ease the headache he has from being turned away from the senate floor! All I have to say is that I don’t know what the political world will be like over the next four years but hopefully these politicians will get their act together. But if things are still the same, we might as well just send Sarah Palin, Rev. Wright, and Jesse Jackson to Washington, DC to run things!


Caroline Kennedy for Senate?

OK, so the American meritocracy, the country that has resoundingly voted to ditch the Republicans, the party of the Bush dynasty, and embrace the man of the people, Obama, wants to leap frog the representative of yet another dynasty into a position of power? Again?

Should you be scandalized – sick at the thought of yet again family, money and connections paying off? Or should you welcome a woman with a track record of her own (admittedly not in politics, but maybe in very useful – more useful- endeavors, like education, and writing a book on the USA Constitution) who also has connections, money, a big family name and a touching history? And if so, why?

In the UK, it’s a version of the same old debate – or at least the same old way some have tried to formulate the debate- about politicians from “privileged” backgrounds versus representatives of the common (what exactly is that?) people. It’s a polarity that somehow no longer fits. Of course there is massive, hideous inequality of wealth, and wealth brings power, and opportunity, but the politics of envy, like the politics of entitlement do not serve us well.

My take is the intuitive’s take. The channeled teachings I received years ago, and teach, were very clear in describing the breakdown of the old hierarchy. No more power because you’ve always had it. That wasn’t -isn’t going to work going forward. No more entitlement. Mere privilege has no place.

We are now engaged in the wonderful work of establishing and grounding power in a new form. We are working on that new form. Many elements are clear- diversity is one of them. Merit is certainly another. I’d like to see freedom from entrenched interests very high on the list. Authenticity must be there. The ability to act out of the box and even to embrace radically new ways of working and living definitely belong. The ability to listen to and exhibit the influence of the heart must be there.

Of course all those qualities need discussion- and thoughtful definition. But, when it comes to Caroline Kennedy, my take is that she could well be part of a new power structure. I am for giving her a chance, and letting go of old, outworn arguments. It does not mean she will be able to exercise power for the greatest good, but it does mean that she has a good chance of doing so. For that reason I want to give her the opportunity to face the challenge of offering service.

© Michal Levin 2008  

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