A Lame Duck President?

duck

 

It seems like President Obama never got the message when told his Presidency would enter lame duck status during his final two years.

The President does not seem to have gotten the message that the Republicans wish to force upon him.

In fact, he seems to be revitalized by freedom from worrying about the election of other Democrats during this period. And the race for 2016 definitely isn’t slowing him down.

Of course, the piece de resistance during his new-found vigor involves his sweeping executive order about immigration, effecting up to five million people who have been living in the shadows until now.

And sweeping environmental regulations are due to take effect soon as well. The agreement with China obligated the United States to begin the arduous process of getting rid of our addiction to oil and gas.

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Public Relations: Definitions and Execution

newspaper

 

I am struck by the fact that most CEOs and business leaders do not even know the definition of public relations. They cling to amorphous ideas about glamor and something to do with Washington without realizing that most market experts say you should devote half your promotional budget to advertising and the other half to PR.

Do this thought experiment: what do you pay more attention to: a giant advertisement or a small interesting news story on the same page?

Public relations is simply defined as “unpaid publicity.” That immediately distinguishes it from advertising (paid publicity) and justifies the use of PR firms for online PR. Blogs are unpaid publicity; social media is unpaid publicity; SEO is unpaid publicity. Facebook ads are not.

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Ferguson Anomalies

riot police

 

Sometimes, to give the appearance of justice, authorities manipulate people to do the opposite. Such was the case with Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

The announcement of the juror’s decision was also highly unusual. By giving it at 8 PM at night, it was designed to enhance the possibility of rioting, thus framing the other side into looking “barbarian” and like animals.

The prosecutor normally presents information to the grand jury to secure an indictment in a rather perfunctory process. He is an advocate for the victim and doesn’t even introduce conflicting accounts. However, in Ferguson, the opposite took place. The grand jury was presented with evidence from both sides and forced to choose.

Moreover, Officer Wilson testified very early in the process. This framed the narrative in jurors minds — the first account you hear establishes the facts and must be refuted by the subsequent witnesses.

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Executive Order Controversy

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It’s rare in American politics when an issue arises with merits to both sides. Usually, it’s a case of entrenched interests versus the American people, the middle class or disadvantaged groups. As a lifelong liberal, it should be obvious what side I support.

… the idea of prosecutorial discretion seems to be a stretch when it is applied to an entire class of people absent a rationale of effective implementation of a bill passed by Congress. In this case, the issue of scale makes a difference and turns an executive order into something else.

However, the recent controversy over President Obama’s executive order leaves me in a quandry. I believe in helping illegal immigrants and understand other Presidents have issued similar orders affecting about 40 percent of their population each time. However, a recent article by Ross Douthat in The New York Times, “The Making of an Imperial President,” made me think twice.

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Learning the Lesson of War

cemetery

 

Learning the lesson of war isn’t easy for civilian leaders, especially those who have never served on the field of battle. It is all too easy for “armchair generals” to push numbers around and listen to statistics without realizing the horror that real war is for the participants on the front line.

Prolonging our mission in Afghanistan may seem prudent in light of recent events but only for the armchair generals.

I’m afraid that President Obama, for all his past history and prescience about getting out of Iraq, has become trapped by his military who, according to today’s New York Times story, have pushed him to prolong the combat mission in Afghanistan.

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Immigration and Scriptures

bible
 

One of the more controversial parts of President Obama’s speech last night involved his invocation of scriptures to justify his action. The President stated, “Scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger – we were strangers once, too.”

… Christianity as a religion is based on mercy, the very thing right-wing Christians would deny for the strangers living among us. Their very religious identity should lead them to support the reform they are now opposing.

For all those right-wing Christians who opposed the President’s action, the problem is even more fundamental. Yes, there needs to be the rule of law, but Christianity is all about the need to temper the law with mercy. Its foundational basis is that you can’t earn salvation by following the law, it’s only through the grace of Jesus we can be saved.

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Immigration Insanity and American Citizens

Hispanic school
 

What is it with people? Is it so hard to have empathy for the struggling among us, the displaced, those who look up to what our country offers and just want to be a part of it?

I applaud President Obama for standing up to the grinches, the people who want to keep the American dream just for themselves, to greedily hoard all the advantages of being an American.

Everyone understands the law and agrees that those who come to the country legally should have precedence. But do people really advocate splitting up families and deporting the parents of bona fide American citizens?

I applaud President Obama for standing up to the grinches, the people who want to keep the American dream just for themselves, to greedily hoard all the advantages of being an American. The President is making a principled stand to bring some humanity to enforcing our immigration laws, to no longer be intimidated by Republicans whose justice knows no mercy.

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Environmental Relief

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President Obama will be praised by future generations for the breakthrough he has achieved with China to battle global climate change. With the population of Beijing wearing surgical masks for self-protection, China was forced to acknowledge its pollution problem and do something about it.

To Republican critics, I have one simple question: “Say there is only a five percent chance we are destroying the planet. Isn’t it worth erring on the side of caution? I mean the Earth is all we’ve got.

The negotiations were kept secret precisely to prevent the obstructionist GOP from meddling to the detriment of us all. Most people acknowledge climate change and nearly all respected scientists do the same. To Republican critics, I have one simple question: “Say there is only a five percent chance we are destroying the planet. Isn’t it worth erring on the side of caution? I mean the Earth is all we’ve got.

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Politics and True Christianity

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In these days of the “religious right” and similarly affiliated groups, a distorted picture of Christianity has supplanted the teachings of Jesus and focused solely on one or two issues such as abortion and marriage equality. It is time to set the record straight.

The phrase “What Would Jesus Do?” condemns Republicans and their unwillingness to assist the struggling, branding them as “takers,” and giving large tax breaks to the rich instead.

My Pastor has taught that Jesus mentions the poor in the New Testament more than he does heaven or hell, and I believe an attitude of compassion and assistance seems to be more in line with the views of Democrats than Republicans. Moreover, Jesus hung out with tax collectors, prostitutes and other sinners, preaching repentance and forgiveness of sins. Today’s religious right seems to be more filled with hatred and condemnation for those on the margins of society.

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Republican Civil War

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The Republican Party remains in the midst of a bitter civil war, a conflict that was only partially masked by their successful election results on Tuesday. The war has raged at least since the era of Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan, and it remains unabated today.

It seems that the gerrymandered electorate the states have created to carve out safe districts for Republicans have resulted in a demand by that same electorate for conservative purity.

Simply stated, the war revolves around the difference between the give-and-take of politics and governing versus the imperative of ideological purity and standing on principle. It seems that the gerrymandered electorate the states have created to carve out safe districts for Republicans have resulted in a demand by that same electorate for conservative purity.

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