Wednesday, June 19, 2013
U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed crowds gathered in Berlin in front of the Brandenburg Gate, a historic location for past U.S. presidents. It is the spot where John F. Kennedy delivered his "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech in 1963 and where Ronald Reagan called for then Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this Wall."
The First Family continues their travels...onto Germany.
[caption id="attachment_46030" align="alignnone" width="393"] Arriving in Berlin[/caption]
Monday, June 17, 2013
The First Daughters are out of school...so, they're traveling with the parents....yeah...
[caption id="attachment_45964" align="alignnone" width="545"] President Obama, the First Lady and their daughters Sasha and Malia are greeted by Joan Christie, the Queen’s official representative in Northern Ireland, upon their arrival at Belfast International Airport[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_45965" align="alignnone" width="540"] President Obama and his wife Michelle, pictured with First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness[/caption]
It never gets old...watching the First Family come out of Air Force One.
[caption id="attachment_45971" align="alignnone" width="545"] Belfast airport[/caption]
Sunday, June 16, 2013
President Obama Celebrates Father's Day at The White House
President Barack Obama attends a Father’s Day luncheon to celebrate the importance of strong families and mentoring in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC on June 14 , 2013. Fathers and their children as well as students and leaders from the Becoming a Man (BAM) program at Hyde Park Academy in Chicago attended the event.
Obama Celebrates Father's Day Early
The president hosted a White House luncheon with Chicago at-risk teens.
BY Joyce Jones
For young men who’s fathers aren’t around or very engaged in their lives, having the president of the United States as a periodic substitute is probably a pretty big deal. And when he invites you to the White House for lunch, that’s an even bigger deal.
Students and leaders from the Becoming a Man program at Hyde Park Academy in Chicago were among the guests President Obama hosted at a luncheon in the State Dining Room on Friday. The event also was an opportunity for him to continue a national conversation he began in his first term about how important fathers are in nurturing their families and communities.
“It is good to see all of you here, so many young people, so many outstanding dads — a few moms chaperoning,” Obama said. “Obviously, this is a great way for us to celebrate Father’s Day and just to remind ourselves, those of us who are fathers, how lucky we are."
Being a dad, the president said, "is the best job I've got."
Earlier this year, the president spoke at Hyde Park Academy about the economic proposals outlined in his State of the Union address. He also met with 16 students enrolled in the BAM program in a private session during which they shared with him the personal challenges they face and are working to overcome.
Monday, June 10, 2013
Congratulations to ALL the winners!
From left, Patina Miller, winner of the award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical for Pippin, Cicely Tyson, winner of the award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play for The Trip to Bountiful and Billy Porter, winner of the award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical for Kinky Boots pose together in The 67th Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 9, 2013 in New York City.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play: Courtney B. Vance, "Lucky Guy."
Best Performance by an Actress in Leading Role in a Play: Cicely Tyson, "The Trip to Bountiful."
Tuesday, June 04, 2013
From The New York Times
Obama to Nominate 3 to Fill Posts on Key Appeals Court
By MICHAEL D. SHEAR
Published: June 3, 2013
From left: Cornelia Pillard, Patricia Millett and Robert L. Wilkins
President Obama will nominate a slate of three candidates on Tuesday to fill the remaining vacancies on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, a White House official said Monday.
The president will name Cornelia T. L. Pillard, a law professor; Patricia Ann Millett, an appellate lawyer; and Robert L. Wilkins, a federal district judge, to fill out the appeals court, which is often described as the second most powerful court in the country because it decides major cases and often serves as a launching pad for future Supreme Court justices.
By making his choices in a group, the president and his strategists are hoping to put pressure on Senate Republicans to confirm them.
Mr. Obama is expected to announce the nominations at a Rose Garden ceremony on Tuesday morning, said the White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the nominations had not been announced.
The president’s choices for the 11-member court had been expected by legal experts, who had pushed Mr. Obama to fill the vacancies in an effort to bring ideological balance to the court. The court currently has four Democratic appointees and four Republican appointees. But of the six additional senior judges, who previously served full time on the court and still regularly hear cases, five were appointed by a Republican president, giving the court a strongly conservative flavor.
Mr. Obama’s nominees are likely to become part of a larger fight with Republicans over the president’s judicial nominees and Republican attempts to use the filibuster to block his picks.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Thursday, May 09, 2013
I can't imagine their parents' pride right now.
Spelman twins make history as school's co-valedictorians
For the first time ever, a local college has co-valedictorians that are also identical twins.
Channel 2’s Erin Coleman spent the day at Spelman College with the Bronner twins, as they're called, to talk about working hard, having faith, and sharing the title.
Kristie and Kirstie Bronner are the identical twins with identical grade point averages.
“Before we came to college we prayed that we would keep 4.0s all the way through but I don't think we ever really expected it,” said Kirstie Bronner.
“You can have strength together,” Kristie said.
The Spelman College seniors will graduate in a matter of days. They say they worked hard – so hard at first, they made themselves sick. But eventually, they learned how to balance things.
“We learned how to have a balance to life and then to be able to appreciate the journey of college and be more healthy and be more happy,” Kristie said.
“Every semester we learned something new about life, things we could apply to life, things we could apply to school,” Kirstie said.
They both majored in music.
“You don't have to be the smartest. You don't have to be the one who came in with the prior knowledge to be the one to succeed,” Kristie Bronner said. “It’s a great testimony and it's also fun to be able to share it with one another. I don't think we'd want it any other way."
After graduation, they will join the youth ministry of their father’s church, Word of Faith Family Worship Cathedral. They also plan to record a youth contemporary gospel album.
Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Who Killed Kendrick Johnson
By kamoore35 | Posted April 12, 2013 | Valdosta, Georgia
Kendrick Johnson was a 17-year-old boy from Valdosta, Georgia, whose death was ruled accidental. Take a look at this picture of him alive next to a picture of him dead and you be the judge. Many people suspect foul play, as his face appears to be beaten. The teen was found upside down in a rolled up mat inside the gym of Lowndes High School. Authorities states he fell into the center of the mats accidentally reaching for his shoe claiming he died because his blood rushed to his head after being in an upside down position for too long. Just hours after Kendrick's death Sheriff Prine states "no foul play" but around April 9,2013 Sheriff Prine changed the status of "no foul play" to " There is no way this went down the way the law officials are portraying. No family should have to deal with this lack of investigation" there is also another break in the case which comes from the coroner Bill Watson whom wasn't called to the crime scene that was led by Sheriff Chris Prine until hours after the body was found. In January Bill Watson spoke to Valdosta Daily Times this is what he stated " This was not fair to the decedent, his family, and the citizens of Valdosta and Lowndes County Ga. And it's wrong as rain". Lowndes High School will not release the footage of Kendrick last seen at school. The Johnson family wants reveal Kendrick's death was no accident he was murdered, they want answers and justice.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Maybe it's the cynic in me, but I just doubt this would be happening to this young woman if she were WHITE. The thought that these people are actively destroying this young life just bothers me. You check out the story and tell me if I'm overreacting. Where the hell is the 'judgment calls' from the ADULTS in this situation? From the grown folks that went to school, and education to become Administrators. What the hell good are Administrators if their judgment is THIS?
UPDATES WITH CALL FOR ACTION INSIDE:
Teen arrested, expelled for 'science project gone bad'
1:49 PM, Apr 24, 2013
BARTOW, Fla. - No one ever expected to see a mug shot from 16-year-old Kiera Wilmot.
The teenager is known among staff for her exemplary record at Bartow High School and her status as a good student.
"She is a good kid," said principal Ron Pritchard. "She has never been in trouble before. Ever."
All of that changed on Monday morning.
The teen is accused of mixing household chemicals in a tiny 8-ounce water bottle, causing the top to pop off, followed by billowing smoke in an small explosion.
Wilmot's friends and classmates said it was "a science project gone bad, that she never meant to hurt anyone."
Even the teen's principal said, "She made a bad choice. Honestly, I don't think she meant to ever hurt anyone. She wanted to see what would happen [when the chemicals mixed] and was shocked by what it did. Her mother is shocked too."
The explosion happened around 7 a.m. Monday morning on school property, and no one was hurt. Staff, along with the school resource officer, acted quickly.
The principal told WTSP in Tampa, "She told us everything and was very honest. She didn't run or try to hide the truth. We had a long conversation with her."
So, was this curiosity? Was it a science project gone wrong or a true bomb plot? Those who know the teen insist that this was nothing sinister.
"She just wanted to see what happened to those chemicals in the bottle," one teen said. "Now, look what happened."
Wilmot was arrested Monday morning and charged with possession/discharge of a weapon on school property and discharging a destructive device.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
It looks as if the U.S. is planning to enter the civil war in Syria. For a nation that can't even keep planes flying, can't build roads and bridges, can't create jobs and can't fix schools because it's broke... it blows my mind that the U.S. would want another war, especially when the country has already had enough war.
But the U.S. has been looking for any reason it could find to jump into this conflict...as I mentioned in my previous posting "Just Another War President...". Now with flimsy reports of chemical weapons use (reports pushed by Assad opposition groups and by other countries that want the U.S. to do their dirty work by going in... those that have an insentive to fake and exaggerate to get a U.S. response) the U.S. has the excuse it needs. I say stay the Hell out of Syria, even if chemicals may have been used. The U.S. has to stop being the global sheriff.
Leslie Gelb sums up some of my frustrations with this insanity in a Daily Beast piece from last month.
This country is seriously addicted to war.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
President Obama tries the bicycle-powered emergency water-sanitation station, created by high schoolers Payton Karr and Kiona Elliot from Oakland Park, Florida
The White House Science Fair celebrates the student winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions from across the country.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
I was one of the millions of Americans full of hope and excitement during the 2008 Presidential campaign. I had never bothered to vote before that, because I personally never believed in the American political model. I detested the dominance of the two Party system, and believed that politicians primarily served the interests of the rich and powerful, to the detriment of ordinary citizens. It was not only the prospect of having a Black President, although as a man of color myself, this was quite significant. My decision to vote in 2008 was not really driven by race. I would much rather have a white President who believes in the same core progressive principles and who shares a worldview similar to my own, than a black President who represents establishment politics. The most important draw for me was the prospect of having a President who believed in real Progressive values and who would offer a real alternative to the status quo. I had high hopes for a new America and a new kind of politics where you did not have to be rich to have your voice heard and your vote counted. The most important thing to me at the time was that candidate Obama seemed to put forth a new vision for Americas role in the world. So I gave him my vote, full of excitement and hope that something would change.
Five years later I find myself regretting that vote. By 2012, I had lost faith in President Obama. I realized that I had been duped. I gave my vote to the Green Party candidate Jill Stein. This was, in part, a protest vote. Obama was not competitive in my State anyway. But part of my vote reflected the fact that the Green Party candidate represented my interests far more than this President. Obama, for me, had gone from a great inspirational figure to the least bad of two bad choices.
The President’s domestic record has been mixed. There are certainly accomplishments that he deserves credit for. Healthcare reform was a noble effort, although insurance companies were left with too much power. A universal system, like that of Canada, may have been a better approach, but the Healthcare Reform Act at least offers an improvement over the status quo. Saving the auto industry will definitely be a highlight of the Obama Presidency for years to come. Legal protections for women and immigration reform are also noble efforts. However, the Obama Administration’s finance reform was soft on banks and let Wall Street off the hook. Obama’s attachment to the likes of Lawrence Summers and Timothy Geithner, insiders described by Progressive economists and analysts as being part of the problem before and during the financial crisis, raised eyebrows with me.
Obama also failed to do enough to help ordinary Americans in the wake of The Great Recession. There was not enough of a push to get resources where they were needed most - down to Main Street. More could have been done to create jobs. Obama has also been too willing to put important social programs on the table and abandon core Progressive principles, while getting little in return. I understand compromise is important, and I am open to practical, common sense ideas to correct the nations finances, such as some form of means testing for social security. But such compromises should require the other side to give up something as well. It’s true that, for the most part, Republicans will not even play ball when it comes to compromising to get something done for the Country. Obama clearly could have achieved more on the domestic front if Republicans had not built a wall of obstruction to prevent any form of real progress. But I need a President willing to fight a little harder for core values and to make the case more effectively. Obama’s support for Bush’s Patriot Act also didn’t help his cause domestically. All in all, I would give the President a C+ at best on his job performance at home.
But domestic issues, while important, have never been my main concern. Foreign policy is the Achilles Heel of the Obama Administration. During both of his Presidential campaigns, Obama promised to “turn the page” on war and to focus on nation building at home. Investing in clean energy, education, infrastructure, and research in science and technology is key if the U.S. is going to be competitive. But unfortunately when President Obama took office he turned his foreign policy over to pro-war interventionists Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice, both of whom are establishment Democrats. Hillary Mann Leverett, a former member of the NSC and an expert on the middle east, became a critic of Clinton’s approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, pointing out the lack of an even-handed approach. Leverett is also critical of Clinton’s hawkish approach on Iran. She has described the Hillary Clinton worldview as not much different from the neoconservative worldview. It is a worldview that emphasizes American hegemony and a overdependence on the U.S. military to project American power. For the war hawks in the Obama Administration, America’s role as global cop must not only be maintained, but expanded. Obama knew this was Clinton’s worldview and would not have chosen her if he did not believe in her positions.
In a poignant piece for the Atlantic entitled “How Perpetual War Became U.S. Ideology“, James Joyner describes the U.S. as being stuck in a ‘perpetual state of conflict’ and points out the similarities between the two parties. While he describes conservative pro-war hawks as neo-cons, he also points out that pro-war hawks - which he calls “liberal interventionists” - also dominate the progressive side:
“Are neoconservatives and liberal interventionists really so different? Neoconservative bastions like the Weekly Standard, Commentary, and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies are passionate advocates of spreading American values. In Iraq, the toppling of Saddam Hussein and discovery that there was no WMD program to speak of were both accomplished in the first weeks of the war and with a relative handful of American casualties. If these had been our chief concerns we would have left immediately; the apparent U.S. goals in staying on so many years were democracy promotion and nation-building, both ideals the neoconservative White House leadership shared with liberal interventionists.
Further, while neocons are doubtless less patient than liberal interventionists when it comes to exhausting diplomatic options and achieving international consensus, what does it really matter if the end result is the same either way: military action.”
Dr. Stephan Walt made a similar point on U.S. foreign policy in an outstanding Foreign Policy magazine article entitled, “What Intervention in Libya Tells Us About the Neocon Liberal Alliance” :
“The only important intellectual difference between neoconservatives and liberal interventionists is that the former have disdain for international institutions (which they see as constraints on U.S. power), and the latter see them as a useful way to legitimate American dominance. Both groups extol the virtues of democracy, both groups believe that U.S. power — and especially its military power — can be a highly effective tool of statecraft. Both groups are deeply alarmed at the prospect that WMD might be in the hands of anybody but the United States and its closest allies, and both groups think it is America’s right and responsibility to fix lots of problems all over the world. Both groups consistently over-estimate how easy it will be to do this, however, which is why each has a propensity to get us involved in conflicts where our vital interests are not engaged and that end up costing a lot more than they initially expect.
So if you’re baffled by how Mr. “Change You Can Believe In” morphed into Mr. “More of the Same,” you shouldn’t really be surprised. George Bush left in disgrace and Barack Obama took his place, but he brought with him a group of foreign policy advisors whose basic world views were not that different from the people they were replacing. I’m not saying their attitudes were identical, but the similarities are probably more important than the areas of disagreement. Most of the U.S. foreign policy establishment has become addicted to empire, it seems, and it doesn’t really matter which party happens to be occupying Pennsylvania Avenue.”
Unfortunately the U.S. never learns any lessons from previous mistakes. It did not learn from Vietnam, Somalia, Iraq or Afghanistan. The hunger for war on the part of politicians in this country always seems to outweigh what little common sense they may have. The result is that the U.S. always seems to find itself in senseless wars, even when the signs leading up to them scream “don’t do it”.
The Obama Administration has embraced an assertive foreign policy. This was particularly evident under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and it is now being carried forward under Secretary John Kerry. It was Clinton, Rice and Kerry who pushed for intervention in Libya. Much of the same crowd has pushed for intervention in other parts of the globe. This is why I refer to U.S. foreign policy under this Administration as neo-con lite. Barely out of Iraq and still mired in a pointless, futile, wasteful war in Afghanistan, the Obama Administration has continued to instigate conflicts between countries and raise tensions around the world. Despite the need for American retrenchment, as Barry Posen has suggested in his work “Pull Back” (suggested reading), the Obama Administration shows no signs of giving up the role of global cop.
This administration has continued most of the core Bush foreign policies that Democrats have slammed since 2004, such as pre-emptive war, the use of drones, Gitmo, missile defense, immigration enforcement & deportations, Iran and North Korea. NATO expansion and policy towards Israel, which both parties support, are policies that are also bad for the interests of the U.S. There is really no real substantive difference between Obama Administration foreign policy and the previous Bush policy on almost all of the big international issues. In fact, Obama has intensified many of the policies set forth by Bush and the neocons - deportations and drone use are just two examples.
Western governments, including the Obama team, have been extremely sympathetic to anti-Assad groups in Syria and have been looking for any reason to intervene militarily in that civil war. Secretary of State Kerry has already deepened America’s commitment there by allocating more money and resources to opposition groups and opening the door to direct supplies of weaponry and other assistance in the future.
Despite pledges during the campaign to utilize soft power as a leading part of American diplomacy, the Obama Administration has rarely followed through. The fact is, President Obama has not been honest with the American people about his foreign policy. I feel as though I have been lied to by this President on a number of issues, but foreign policy ranks near the top. On one hand he has proclaimed several times, including within the last few weeks and months, that America had turned the page on more than a decade of war and would be looking to rebuild and reinvest at home. However, while making these proclamations about “turning the page” away from war, President Obama was simultaneously committing the U.S. to more wars in the near future, particularly in the case of Iran. President Obama has already made a commitment to Israel, promising that the U.S. would attack Iran within the next year or two. This promise was repeated during the President’s March trip to Israel. So Mr. Nobel Peace Prize is a walking contradiction. On one hand he slams George Bush and the Republicans for dragging the nation into wars that it didn’t need, yet he is continuing the same approach to global affairs. Obama has only intensified Bush’s cowboy diplomacy rather than abandoning it.
The same script that we saw leading up to the war in Iraq is being replayed, and just like before, the media is not only dropping the ball in its role to be skeptical and inquisitive, but it seems to be complicit. The American people are also as clueless as ever, and they are falling for the same strategy. Sadly most Americans have no idea that Obama has already committed the nation to war. People are more concerned with their X-boxes, Reality Television, and the latest stupid trend on social media.
According to recent news reports, the U.S. military is making final preparations for an attack on Iran. This attack will be carried out despite the fact that experts and analysts believe that it would be a huge mistake. The attack is not likely to meet the objective of destroying Iran’s uranium enrichment program and it is not even clear that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapon. Working with uranium is allowed under international law and the rules of the Non Proliferation Treaty or NPT. At most, an attack would only delay Iran’s uranium development by a couple of years.
This would not be an issue for any Western country. The only reason that this is an issue in this case is because Iran is a Muslim nation and an enemy of the United States and Israel. The legal basis for making demands of Iran on this matter has always been shaky.
Israel wants the U.S. to launch a war based on what a country (Iran) may do as opposed to what it has actually done. This is a fundamental change to American foreign policy. If the U.S. or Israel carries out an attack, the hypothetical, possible threat with turn into a definite one. Iran will surely push for a nuclear weapon once it is attacked. Furthermore, any air attack will almost certainly have to be followed up by a ground invasion, which would require upwards of 500,000 U.S. & western troops and massive amounts of equipment. It would require an amount of blood and treasure that we cannot afford to give. The cons outweigh the pros ten to one. The cost/benefit analysis is completely lopsided in the direction of not attacking.
By attacking Iran, the U.S. would do for Iranian dictators what they have not been able to do in 33 years since the revolution - unite the Iranian people around them. It appears that the Iranian leadership recognizes this and would like to exploit this standoff. Some in the regime would welcome a U.S. attack on the country. It would validate all of the Iranian propaganda that paints the U.S. as The Great Satan. The Obama Administration is playing right into the hands of the Iranians. Yet, the U.S. is going down this road anyway, primarily because Israel is telling it to. This brings me to another reason why I am so disappointed in Obama. He has become a tool for Israel, much like every other President since Truman. But Obama seems to work even harder at this role, possibly because he is overcompensating for being an African American President. He seems to bend over backwards to please the Israeli leadership and the Israeli lobby in this Country (AIPAC). But in doing so he is putting the interests of Israel over the best interests of the U.S. He has gone as far as saying that a deterrence strategy for Iran is not an option. In other words, if negotiations fail, we must go to war. Keep in mind that Iran is 3 times the size of Iraq both in terms of land and population, and it has a military that is better trained, much better equipped, much more determined and more effective than the military fielded by Saddam Hussein. This is part of why former U.S. officials describe an attack by the U.S. or Israel as a disaster. Such an event could create a conflict that could spread and put the U.S. on the brink of hostilities with Syria, Russia, or China. The decision to go to war in this case would be hugely illogical.
On the issue of North Korea, we see the Obama Administration taking a tougher line than even the Bush Administration. Mr. Nobel Peace Prize refuses to sit down and talk with the North Koreans, demanding that they first abandon their nuclear weapons. But this is not likely to happen, and the Obama Administration knows it. If they don’t know it, then they are incompetent. Once again the U.S. is focused more on military posturing, and less on soft power or smart power. The U.S. could have made significant progress on North Korea under the Obama Presidency. North Korea actually wants a comprehensive peace treaty and wants better ties with the U.S. and the west. It wants global investment and wants to modernize its economy.
The U.S. approach on North Korea has not been working. Doubling down on the same bad strategy isn’t going to magically change the situation there. The Obama Administrations strategy of not talking to North Korea until it gets rid of its nuclear weapons shows that Obama is once again listening to the more hawkish advisors in his inner circle - Susan Rice being a prime example. The fact that the hawks are guiding the ship is scary and means we are headed for a darker period of instability and conflict. This approach also shows that Obama and his Administration has their heads in the sand. North Korea is banking on nuclear weapons because (being in the isolated bubble that it is in) it is convinced that the U.S. is a danger and intends to invade. North Korea has seen what happened with Panama, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and other countries and it doesn’t’ want to be next. Under these circumstances, North Korea is not likely to give up what it sees as a deterrent crucial to its survival.
Instead of taking diplomatic steps to calm the situation, the U.S. has done more to instigate. The U.S. refusal to talk to the North Koreans unless it is on American terms, its refusal to sit down in one-on-one talks, the strategy of flying bombers near North Korea, holding live fire exercises near the border and taking other military steps is not working and will not work. Engaging in a tit for tat game of one-upsmanship with North Korea, responding to every action they take, is only making matters worse. It is only heightening tensions. Secretary of State John Kerry has been mostly absent and ineffective. When he has made public statements, he has usually engaged in tough talk, ratcheting up tensions even further.
The three sides have behaved like petulant children, arguing about who is the toughest and who has the biggest toys to fight with. The U.S. usually plays the role of adult and mediator in these conflicts. But not this time. Strangely enough, China has behaved more like the mature Superpower.
To de-escalate tensions, the U.S. and South Korea may have to make the first gesture. There has to be a trust building move. Someone has to be the adult. The North feels that it has been burned once when (based on their perception) the U.S. didn’t live up to previous agreements. In Asian culture, especially Chinese and Korean, the word of a person means everything. So trust building must be part of the process. The U.S. must offer one-on-one talks and a non-aggression agreement in the short-term. In such an agreement, the U.S. could declare (with the UN and several nations as witness) that it will not invade. Live fire exercises near land and sea borders would come to an end, communications could be restored, and military exercises in the south would be scaled back. A non-aggression pact would make it easier for the North Koreans to lower their rhetoric, cut back on missile development or scrap it altogether, and put their nuclear program on the table. The goal of such an agreement would be to end the immediate crisis, and set the stage for a comprehensive peace treaty at a later time. A comprehensive peace treaty would replace the armistice agreement. Economic development, diplomatic ties, trade and food assistance would be key parts of a comprehensive peace deal.
The 6-party model has not worked and will not work. Dragging in the old ethnic, and historical hatred & animosity between North Korea, Japan, and South Korea and making settling those differences a condition for talks makes it impossible to reach agreement. It’s a way for the U.S. to sabotage the process before it can even get started. A new approach is needed. There should be a push to continue reunification. The Kim family could be given a role in a future Korea, perhaps the creation of a monarchy and title of head of State (with real power being held by a Democratic government). An envoy like President Clinton or Gov. Richardson along with a diplomatic team could meet with the North Koreans to open dialogue. Out of the box thinking is required to make progress on the Korean Peninsula. However, Obama’s rigid approach does not leave room for necessary diplomatic flexibility.
China must also be given reassurances. One reason China props up North Korea is because it wants to maintain a buffer to keep the U.S. military and a Democratic Korea at a distance. The U.S. should offer a non-aggression pact with the Chinese. In such an agreement, the U.S. could limit the number of troops in a reunified Korea, and could agree to not base troops or certain military hardware above a certain point. A neutral zone or buffer could also be established between China and a new hypothetical Korea, perhaps 10 miles, that would be administered by the United Nations. These out of the box approaches could be enough to put the Chinese at ease.
The U.S. refusal to do all it can on the diplomatic front is complicating the situation unnecessarily. The U.S. won’t even accept an offer of Swiss help to mediate. This stalemate increases the possibility of a miscalculation and/or an accidental conflict erupting in the region.
Indeed Barack Obama has turned out to be a huge disappointment for me. The man who offered so much hope and who offered the possibility of a better America where war & military adventurism did not dominate American foreign policy, turned out to be just another establishment Democrat.
Under the circumstances, I am not hopeful for the future. If nothing changes, America may be headed for stormy seas. But if the media does its duty and asks questions, and if citizens say no to anymore wars… the Obama Administration may listen. I’m hopeful but not optimistic.
Brian Edward is a blogger from St. Louis Missouri. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Management & Leadership Studies from Webster University and has also completed graduate work in International Affairs at Washington University in St. Louis. He has been a political observer for more than 20 years.
Monday, April 15, 2013
Terror strikes the Boston Marathon. Report from WaPo. I don't know about you, but i'm starting to really hate this new world we live in.
We can only hope for the best and pray for the victims at this point. I am hoping this is not related to International terrorism, but that may be wishful thinking. With the U.S. stirring the pot of trouble all over the planet, Americans have become the biggest targets ever.
This is one of the reasons why I don't sleep. Can't sleep even when exhausted.
Unfortunately, I don't see a time (realistically) where this will end and we won't be such a big target. U.S. policy towards the rest of the world hasn't changed in 60 years. As long as we are tied to certain countries and allow them to do whatever they want in America's name... working against our best interests, then we will always be a top universal target for just about every militant movement. (Yes, i'm referring to Israel).
Hopefully this is a domestic event. If not, Americans and the idiots in Washington D.C. will immediately want war. "Rah Rah Rah".
To make matters worse, some of the Sandy Hook families may have been at the race.
Of course the media is getting all sorts of facts wrong (social media has been correcting as they have in other incidents... go figure).
Thursday, April 04, 2013
Tuesday, April 02, 2013
WATCH: Michelle Obama’s emotional tribute to Jackie Robinson’s widow
Morgan Whitaker, @morganwinn
4:13 PM on 04/02/2013
First Lady Michelle Obama paid an emotional tribute to Rachel Robinson, the 90-year-old widow of Jackie Robinson, during a student workshop on the movie “42″ at the White House Tuesday.
“I want to pay special thanks to a woman that I am totally in awe of,” she said. “She’s a woman of strength, of courage, conviction, a woman who paved the way for me, but she paid the way for millions of Americans all across this country.”
“This is what a beautiful woman looks like. She is a proud 90 years old. And I’m telling you that because she’s proud of it.”
Mrs. Obama said that as she and the president watched “42″ over the weekend, “You’re left asking yourself, ‘How on earth did they do it? How did they endure the bigotry?’ While so many in this country still face clear challenges–they still exist today–I was struck by how far removed that way of life seems today.”
“There’s work to be done but things have changed,” she said. “There are no more ‘Whites only’ signs posted anywhere in this country. Although it still happens, it is far less acceptable for someone to yell out a racial slur–it still happens, but not tolerated.”
“That kind of prejudice is simply–is not something that can happen in the light of day,” she added.
“For us to be able to sit in the same room as Rachel Robinson–do you all understand? We are here with Rachel Robinson,” she said, appearing to be on the verge of tears. “The woman who lived through that life. Whose memories and perspectives will forever be shaped by those experiences. Her presence today makes us realize just how connected we are to that part of history. It is very real and very tangible.”
“In the end I can’t help but marvel at just how far we’ve come over the course of this woman’s life, but it also reminds us how far we have to go, how much more work we have to do.”
“We think that everybody in this country needs to watch this movie,” she added, insisting that watching the film over the weekend was “truly powerful” for her and her husband.
When asked about how the world has changed in her time, Robinson acknowledged we still live in an imperfect world. “We have made great social progress in America but we still have a lot of work to do,” she said. “We’re not there yet. It’s not a perfect world.”
Michelle Obama implored the students attending the workshop to learn from Robinson’s story. “You might not be able to hit a ball like Jackie Robinson, but you can get your education, in fact you must get your education and demand more of yourself every single day,” she said. “You have to pick up yourself when somebody knocks you down, because you will get knocked down, but to do all of that you have to put the work in. That’s all I have to say, all of this is about hard work. And you have to be willing to face any obstacle you might encounter along the way.”
42 - the movie, which chronicles Jackie Robinson’s struggle to break through racial barriers in Major League Baseball, premieres April 12.
Watch the trailer for “42″ below.
The 2013 White House Easter Egg Roll
US President Barack Obama attends the White House Easter Egg Roll alongside the Easter Bunny on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, April 1, 2013. Obama hosts the annual event, featuring live music, sports courts, cooking stations, storytelling and Easter egg rolling.
----AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
First Lady Michelle Obama embraces Neil Heslin, father of 6-yr-old Sandy Hook victim Jesse Lewis