Campaign Promise Update for the Forgotten

Accomplishment is a subjective term.  Still, I question the ability of “experts” who are also touting the brilliance of 266 blank pages and people buying such to make it the #1 bestseller on Amazon.  Many of these experts argue that President Donald Trump has had “unprecedented” success in the early days of his administration.  White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer agrees with that assessment of the administration.  The forgotten individual is supposedly represented and championed unlike ever before in our history.

Yet it’s difficult to find anyone who gives specific examples that one can connect directly to this success. Stock market, jobs?   Obviously, there’s a seemingly unlimited scope of variables with some areas, but I have no issues giving whomever the president might be credit for favorable job reports and stock market increases.  Admittedly I am bothered more when whomever is president is blamed for unfavorable reports or problems in the markets.  Still, the imagery exists as to who gets credited and blamed regardless of their connections, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to meaningful involvement.

What could be cited as direct actions of success are 16 Executive Orders and hodgepodge of additional memoranda, but neither Spicer nor supporters discuss these.  Why not?   Among those was the rollout of a travel ban that did not go smoothly to say the least and quickly faced legal hurdles.  The justification for the immediate rollout was a safety argument.  It would seem, however, that the revised order would have been issued more quickly and without a 10-day delay before attempted implementation since it would have been too “dangerous” and counter-intuitive to announce and delay the first for even a 24-hour period.

New guidance for immigration enforcement has been implemented.  Instead of focusing resources to apprehending the most dangerous which sometimes required the cooperation and tips of those who have committed no crimes to provide assistance and information to law enforcement to help locate those who have already committed violent crimes, we have moved to a first-seen, first-apprehended practice.  Instead of talking a rifle and firing a couple of rounds at a target, we have begun firing shotgun shells at the same target regardless of distance in the hopes of multiple strikes by the pellets.  We might get more marks on paper, but we do not pierce the bullseye.  Also, anything near the target is often struck by the shot as well.

Financial advisors are no longer required to work in the best interest of the client paying for their services.  If that advisor receives an incentive to push a riskier investment or one that will likely result in a loss for that specific client, it is the client’s responsibility again to discover the motives of the professional.

Small interior waterways no longer have federal government regulations that would require specific businesses to divert runoffs and pollution from entering.  Responsibilities for cleanup and damages to the surrounding environment and wildlife falls upon those who want to enjoy that environment or say hunt or fish in that area.

If companies such as ATT or Verizon have their accounts hacked and the personal data of customers compromised, the FCC may not be able to demand accountability since the bar of expected security has been lowered to “reasonable measures.”  The chances that your internet searches will be available for purchase from the largest providers has increased tremendously.

Foreign companies can use eminent domain regulations to take private property from citizens for “just compensation” in the eyes of the business.  Rights granted by the Fifth Amendment and later expanded to provide protections from entities other than the government have been curtailed in the name of capitalism.  Despite promises on the campaign trail and more importantly despite provisions written into the disputed legislation from the previous administration, US products are not required for usage of this usurped land as for all intents and purposes foreign products have been grandfathered in.

We do not know yet what will become of healthcare.  If the current proposals do not pass Congress, the blame will be upon Speaker Ryan.  If the proposals do pass and prove disastrous the blame will be upon Speaker Ryan.  If we remain at the status quo, all efforts will be made to harm individuals with blame then being cast upon the previous administration and minority party.

We do not know yet of budget suggestions from the Executive, but we do know that one proposal to finance the construction of the border wall is to cut anti-terrorism activities and training for the US Coast Guard and the TSA.  FEMA and other disaster aid will also be cut to fund this wall.

We still do not know if Congress will ever pass any legislation as they have yet to do so.  Attention has been focused on potential Russian hacking and connections to control our government.  Attention has been focused not on the non-disputed results of the election and Electoral vote count, but to prove that millions of illegal votes changed the popular vote tally.  Attention has been focused on crowd size on inauguration day and that of various marches following inauguration.  Attention has been focused on merchandise with the Ivanka Trump name.

Perhaps accomplishments can be read in the #1 bestseller on Amazon, “Reasons to Vote for Democrats.”  The text need not be changed, and the title could be “Ways the Presidential Administration Has Assisted the Forgotten American.”  Many people argue that’s why they voted for Donald Trump, and political rhetoric aside forgotten remains forgotten despite what the experts spew.

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The Folly of the Executive Action Diktat Argument

In elementary school most of us learned about the branches of the Federal government and the separation of powers. Some of us would later learn in junior high and high school of a number of nuances that results in that separation of powers moving from 3 distinct circles to 3 circles with some overlapping taking place. A few of us whether through higher education, first-hand experiences, or our own quest for knowledge through self-study discover that this overlapping has morphed throughout our history. Actually the separation of powers has transitioned throughout US History. The “perfect circles” discovered in grade school are truly shapes that perhaps a mathematician could identify if those shapes were not in continual flux. An easy example of the transitioning can be seen with the judicial branch. Did any of the signers of the Constitution anticipate the fundamental changes to our governmental system with the decision in Marbury v. Madison?

Yes the concept of judicial review was not unique in 1803. A number of delegates at the Convention made remarks concerning judicial review, and many of the state ratifying conventions had extended debates on the subject. Still a law had stood on the books for about 14 years. Likewise so many of the “rights” we have today argued either as coming from a Supreme Being and merely repeated in the Constitution or argued as being unique to the Constitution became standard practice and recognized long after 1789 with later Court decisions. Often the interpretations on what is and what is not a “right” has changed during the course of US History. For example based upon a strict interpretation of the Constitution and its time period, few people today would have the “right” to vote. Only through future interpretations did the franchise right expand.

So much has been said about President Obama’s address where he proposed issuing Executive Actions concerning immigration and border security. To this point he has not authored any Executive Actions, and his address did not contain suggestions of amnesty. As I wrote the other day, by its inaction to address the issues, Congress is actually the branch granting amnesty through its failure and refusal to act.

Senator Ted Cruz penned an opinion piece for Politico, “Obama Is Not a Monarch: The president cannot act alone; the Constitution requires compromise,” that is designed to either take advantage of his presumed belief in the ignorance of the American people or to inflame dissension and even suggest a dismantling of our governmental structure and country.

I’ll give Senator Cruz and others propagating this nonsense the benefit of the doubt about not wanting to cause riots or overthrow our own government because we can attribute these deceitful claims of amnesty charges as part of our partisan political rhetoric. It is a false allegation which is being made to build animosity toward the President which hopefully stops short of an Aaron Burr and James Wilkinson styled conspiracy allegation.

The “historic losses” by the Democratic Party during the midterm elections of 2014 contention, I’ll attribute again to the partisan political rhetoric. The only other manner to account for that statement is an extreme level of ignorance about American History and American Government as the political party of the President losing seats in Congress and at times the majorities are the norm and not the exception.

Mid year election change in Congress from Presidential Party

The bars dropping down illustrate the number of House and Senate seats lost by the political party of the President during the mid year elections.
(2014 numbers are estimated with some races yet to be decided)

The suggested reaction against the Executive Actions if or when they are actually written of blocking confirmations doesn’t make much sense to me even from the partisan perspective.  Instead of addressing actual issues, the goal is for Congress to punish every American citizen? Isn’t that the Senator’s suggestion?

Sir, the deterrent to any Executive Action is for Congress to pass a law that in effect renders that Executive Action null and void. I learned that in grade school, but sadly it does result in some hand raising in undergraduate survey level history courses before a refresher on the responsibilities of Congress.

Per your remarks on funding that power continues to reside in the House of Representatives. Senator Cruz, however, also writes of attaching riders to individual appropriations. Then if the President does not accept the funding levels provided by Congress, it will be President Obama shutting down the government according to the gentleman from Texas.

There are a number of issues here.

First the idea of attaching riders suggests that the proposal does not have the standing to pass by itself. Forget the partisan rhetoric of the GOP following the 2010 midterm elections of passing legislation on its own merits. Essentially the Senator is asserting that the goal is to abort the President and not to take up the task of legislating as a body. That’s an opinion on my part that anyone can contradict.

One cannot contradict, however, the fact that if Congress would pass a budget, these appropriations become a moot point.  The President sends a budget proposal, but a budget passed by both Chambers is a Continuing Resolution that does not go to the President for his or her signature to become law.

It’s an insult to the American people for Congress to spend time on absolutely worthless legislation such as the vaunted No Budget, No Pay Act passed by the current Congress. Seriously, do your job.

Sequestration happened because instead of making decisions on what to cut and what not to cut, Congress took the route of let’s just have the broad across the board cuts and blame the President. Blame the Senate or blame the House. Blame Democrats or Republicans. The reason no budget has been passed is because 535 voting individuals are either incapable or unwilling to work together.

Love or hate Barack Obama, what Senator Cruz asserts as a Presidential temper tantrum are in fact statements that Congress is expected to address the issues facing this country and to represent the American people. Instead we have Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle who represent themselves and those providing them with perks such as financial resources.

Asking adults to perform the work for which they are being paid has apparently become a “temper tantrum.” The person asking the individual to earn their money is the so-called dependency creator? I guess it all depends on who is expected to do the work.

Think about it, the constant message is blame the President for expecting Congress to work.

Seriously can any Member of Congress, either Chamber or party, cite something without dragging Barack Obama into the discussion? This blatant disrespect of the President and thus the United States was ridiculous during the final stages of the George W. Bush administration, and the absurdity has increased exponentially during the Obama administration. Previous generations did not exhibit the same degrees irrationality.

Again, love or hate Barack Obama, argue what you want about Benghazi, the IRS, Fast and Furious, and so on. Just take a look at some of the Executive Actions he has signed. I’ll agree with many of you and even Senator Cruz that much of what I’m about to list should not have been done via the President with his pen and phone.

The problem, however, is that without Barack Obama being willing to use that pen and phone such matters that Congress has deemed less important than say…

  • How many votes have been recorded to repeal ACA in the House?
  • How did No Budget No Pay work out for you?
  • Remember the rush to pass legislation to assure that flights from DC would not be delayed?
  • Remember Senator Cruz in what was not a filibuster since no questions were on the table to filibuster reading Green Eggs and Ham to the country?

Of course Obama got blamed for the government shutdown, but seriously our tax dollars paid a man $174,000 +  to read Dr. Seuss.

So if we had to rely upon Congress to try to perform their duties, what would we have?

Actually, it’s easier to look at a few of the things that would not have happened.

For example We the People needed Executive Actions to get government attention for:

Do I agree with every one of these Executive Actions or Executive Orders if you prefer that term?  Absolutely not.

I can cherry-pick each one to find elements that I disagree with from my personal ideology and others that I think are good ideas but unrealistic.

Simply put, I differ in opinion on multiple aspects of these and others which I did not list. I won’t list any here, but historically some of the Executive Orders signed by Presidents before my lifetime (Presidents before Nixon) will probably surprise you as to their scope and direct impact upon the lives of many without much direction from Congress.

Well, the professor hat wins out, so at least consider the Emancipation Proclamation, the desegregation of the Armed Forces, the forced internment of Americans of Japanese descent, and so on.

My point, however, is that I believe that some actions, maybe not these specified in the orders issued by President Obama, but something needed to be addressed for the benefit of the United States of America.

Seriously opponents of the President now oppose the various measures to assist Veterans, to work on medical and biological preparedness whether from a terrorist attack on antibiotic resistant bacteria, and discussing ways to streamline the government and prevent waste. For individuals who oppose abortion for whatever reason, understand that it took Barack Obama’s pen and phone to clarify provisions that Federal funds in ACA would not be used for abortions on demand.

While people are blaming Obama, think of the idiocy. Because Obama supports ACA, these pro-life Members of Congress would have allowed Federal funds in spite of the Hyde Amendment finance who knows how many abortions. Yep, I know that I’m confusing the issue because many of these same people do not like ACA or recognize its legitimacy. I reckon then that without Obama’s pen and phone every abortion would have only been imaginative and not a true life altering situation.

Yep, I know that some will argue that common sense would have prevailed without the pen and phone. Remember, however, that we are talking about politicians; people who ask others to give them money in return for nothing more than promises. Don’t get me wrong, many holders of political office are in fact honest, hardworking individuals. I’ve worked for and with many and consider many personal friends. I specialize in political history, but I certainly slept better at night working out in the berry field or teaching in the classroom than I do spending all that time working on legalese or bureaucratic red tape untangling.

The simple truth is that Congress, both Chambers, both political parties, chose not to work together and send legislation regarding any of these matters to Barack Obama to either sign into law, allow to become law without signature (provided Congress would then stay in session to work although pro forma sessions to prevent work are apparently acceptable), or pocket veto if Congress did recess.

And Barack Obama is the one guilty of showing condescension towards the voters. This is the “lawless President.”

“If the president will not respect the people, Congress must”  (Senator Ted Cruz).

  • Folks hate Barack Obama because his skin is too dark or not dark enough. There you have the words to dismiss me entirely for playing the race care.
  • Hate Barack Obama because he is taller or shorter than you. Use this if you want to dismiss me from playing the proverbial height card.

For many it’s not personal hate, and you have every reason and right not to support Barack Obama’s views on say climate change.

  • Do not support him because of his campaign promises.
  • Do not support him for carrying out existing agreements in foreign affairs.
  • Do not support him for his actions regarding current affairs.

Join me and criticize many of the appointments he has made to multiple positions. Yes, I know about political debts, the good ole boy system, or y’all can’t call it nothing else than patronage and the realities of having power, but I’ll maintain that others were better suited for their jobs.

I mean I neither love nor hate Barack Obama.

I neither love nor hate Ted Cruz.

I think both are politicians who try to appeal to their respective bases.

I can find areas to praise or to criticize either of these political figures.

I do see one man who is making decisions. I might not agree with them, but he is working just as his predecessors did when elected to the same office.

I see those in opposition not willing to make decisions. I see them criticizing but not offering alternatives. I see them searching for a scapegoat and doing little more. They have the power to accomplish many things and to take action that would prevent the necessity or if you do not believe any of the above were necessary they could at least negate the opportunity for the President to take action. They refuse, and they point fingers of blame.

Who gets hurt?

  • We the People get hurt because Senator Cruz and others talk but are unwilling to work.
  • They claim that they cannot work because of the President, but they also argue that the President is weak and lawless.

Perhaps President Obama is weak and lawless, but what does that say about the strength and desire of his criticizers to abide by the law?

Maybe President Obama doesn’t respect the people, but he is working more for the people than the 112th and 113th Congresses combined. Heck, the current House is suing the President for doing too much in their opinion? I reckon that the upcoming 114th plans to continue with that lawsuit.

Any Member of Congress, Who is spending out of control?

Any Representative, Why not use the power of the purse to stop other waste and not just Obama?

Any Senators Why not analyze appointments based on individual merits instead of this premise of blanket vetoes?

  • Is it because Congress does not respect the people?
  • Is it because Congress does not respect the position of President of the United States?

Who in the heck is dividing the people?

Surely this weak and lawless President does not have the power or ability even though apparently he is a dictatorial monarch.

Yep, that’s the answer but it ain’t, or is it. All I know is may the good Lord or something help us….

A Tale of Personal Responsibility

What do the terms personal responsibilities or individual responsibilities mean? Throughout my lifetime I thought that these terms meant being accountable which entails receiving credit on occasion but most often taking the blame for something that happened or failed to happen when I had the authority to make the decisions.

Was or am I incorrect with my understanding?

In broad general terms how often are government welfare programs criticized with the argument that people need to accept responsibility? Why should “I” work to support someone unwilling to work?

Specific programs aside, I’ll argue that in a basic sense everyone needs some type of assistance at some point in their life. The nature and degree will differ, but that assistance made it possible to achieve something. Often we may not even be aware of that help because it may have occurred a long time ago. For example I believe that I am a more accomplished person today because of things I learned and observed from my Dad, Grandfather, teachers, and so many more from back when I had to use a ladder just to be knee high to a grasshopper.

If and when I fail at specific tasks, yesterday, today, or tomorrow, the fault is mine and not that of my Dad, Grandfather, teachers, and all those other people from back when I was a kid. They passed tools and knowledge to me and it is my responsibility to use those appropriately and develop or implement new techniques to meet the demands of my tasks. It’s not the fault of someone today. Admittedly often the most difficult thing for me today is to confess that I need help and then humble myself to accept that assistance to overcome a particular obstacle or to complete some job. Again, however, I am the one accountable for any failure when the task is my responsibility.

To paraphrase Vince Lombardi, personal responsibility isn’t a sometime thing, it’s an all the time thing.

There should not be double standards. Sadly though many people who argue that others are receiving something for nothing; that others fail to accept individual responsibility have no trouble “passing the buck” when things are not ideal to them.

I know next to nothing about Jonathan Gruber. I’ve heard the audio and seen the video clips of his statements concerning the passage of ACA, i.e. Obamacare, only in passing. Personally I believe that the law as written is a convoluted mess. Reality is that the health care industry was a convoluted mess before this law and little has changed in that respect. As I’ve written several times here, ACA in my opinion contains more positives than negatives. ACA is also a complex, high number, of individual aspects and not a single concept. When people talk of repeal or defund, my initial question is that I want to know which specific parts. My experience has been that the loudest critics often cannot identify the pieces that they want retracted, disabled, or destroyed.

I’m not arguing one way or another about Gruber, but what if the law was passed on the basis of deception? Who had the responsibility for making you or I learn “the truth?” Apparently it wasn’t you or I who had the personal responsibility, but it was Mr. Gruber and President Obama to tell us, every Member of Congress, and who knows who else that they desired to deceive us.

The same is true concerning immigration. The same is true concerning individuals on or coming to the United States illegally. Regardless of your or my personal opinion about what should be done, I feel it safe to say that we all agree that these issues about legal and illegal entry into the United States are not new. They may have grown in scope, but nothing started 10 minutes ago, last week, last month, or whatever your own date might be.

The reality is that both Chambers of Congress have failed to address the issues. We can play partisan rhetoric by arguing that the House has or hasn’t done this and the Senate has or hasn’t done that, but both Chambers have the responsibility of doing both this and that to come up with something both Chambers can accept. We the People should hold our elected representatives responsible for handling their duties.

Instead it seems like President Obama must make a decision. This offends some but arguments that the President should not implies that no issues exist in regard to immigration and being in this country illegally. If you or I am in the position to legally address these issues but fail or refuse to even try, what is rationale behind complaints that someone else needs to act? It makes less sense when we argue they lack the legal authority, but we still shirk our own responsibility.

Executive Orders or Executive Actions are not unique to President Obama. I’ve written in depth on the topic. Numbers issued by each President mean little to me because orders are not issued equally. You can review disposition tables here, and the most recent of orders can be viewed here.

Executive Orders are law. The Constitutional arguments for their legitimacy rest in Article II. Depending on the direction of the wind, everyone has supported and opposed Executive Orders at one point or another. Support or opposition results from different factors such as time and place. It’s complex and rarely do I encounter all or nothing arguments concerning every EO issued since George Washington.

The simple fact, however, is that Congress has the power to overturn an Executive Order by passing legislation in conflict with the Action signed by the President. That’s been true since the 1st Congress. This Congress, the 113th, simply decided to not accept responsibility to this point, and they want to recess before 11 December so does anyone have hope that they will now take responsibility? Blame the House or blame the Senate but we have to accept the fact that both Chambers are required to act regardless of the rhetoric or partisanship. Everyone seems capable of making excuses, but has either Chamber accepted responsibility to structure a workable agreement?

Nope!  What we are seeing is everyone shucking responsibility and relying on President Obama to make a decision. The result of this lack of responsibility is that we will most likely see one of two responses.

  • 1) Congress will attach riders to the funding bills required to keep our government operational. These riders will prevent funding for any policy implementations contained within any Executive Order issued by the President concerning immigration and illegal entry into the United States.
  • 2) Congress will rely upon the courts to declare the Executive Order null and void. A historical example is when the courts struck down Harry Truman’s Executive Order seizing the nation’s steel mills in an attempt to settle labor unrest.

Both scenarios lead to the same conclusion: a government shutdown. Actually another government shutdown wouldn’t be that bad if it did not have such a negative economic impact on everyone besides the Members of Congress. They can read Dr. Seuss, eat Green Eggs and Ham, see the integrity of the United States dwindle, and still live their lives according to the long since overturned legal concept of “separate but equal” established by SCOTUS in the 1890s which has been paraphrased into “separate and apart” from those I am charged with representing.

Partisan rhetoric will engulf of us with President Obama shut down the government with his veto. Now on the off chance that the President would not veto the legislation, we would be back in the same proverbial boat of waiting for Congress to accept responsibility.

I’ll agree with you in that the President should not be the individual making all of these policy decisions. Where we might disagree is that I’ll argue that someone with authority needs to accept responsibility and make these decisions. I believe that because I believe that we have real issues which need to be addressed. Congress complains, but both the House and Senate have elected to punt.

In this case the excuse of deception and lies is even more difficult to employ against the President.

Barack Obama has informed everyone that he has a pen and a phone.

Now since Congress could pass legislation to essentially dry all the ink in the pen up and cut that phone line, how is the President being dictatorial?

I view it as Congress needs to accept some personal responsibility and the American people accept some individual responsibility for not holding our elected representatives responsible. If we choose not to accept responsibility, the President will at least try to assist us from not harming ourselves any further.

Personally, I’m not humble enough or feel that I really should be in need or in want of that type of assistance from the President. His critics, however, seem to want to shirk personal responsibility and delegate all power to President Barack Obama and then whine and complain.

A Statistical and LouisianaBoy Congress-Obama Abstract

Executive Orders are not equal, so I typically dismiss those statistical arguments when made without additional context. What I find difficult to argue statistically, however, is how such a power grabbing, anti-Constitutional, divisive, and obstructing of Congress President has only managed to veto 2 bills with neither being overridden. Heck Reagan issued 78 vetoes (50 percent of those pocket vetoes), and Congress overrode 9 of the 78.

For my Uncle Earl Long “call me crazy” moment for today, if Congress would simply do their jobs many of the recent Executive Orders would not be possible. If Obama disagreed and vetoed bills, Congress has the authority to override. Actually Congress can vote to render any Executive Order null and void by merely passing legislation to force a Presidential decision.

The previous and current Congress, however, have done neither. Is it possible to bypass something that ain’t really there because they ain’t doing what they are complaining about the most since those decisions ain’t goin’ to or gonna puhleez everyone? When did it become anti-American to tell 535 individuals to do their job, and because they ain’t 1 person has to accept responsibility for decisions that have been left to him by that 535? The past 2 Congresses remind me of Livingston Parish fields following a rain storm. There are mounds of ants or is that ain’ts all over the place, and that isn’t or ain’t something I want. I reckon many would agree, especially if you have experienced fire ants during a flood.

BTW: I ain’t never worn a paper bag or been an Ain’t because long before Mora, Haslett, and Payton, it has always been the New Orleans Saints and turn off the TV volume and crank up WWL 870 AM with Jim and Hokie today who may have surpassed Jim and Archie as my favorite duo. I will always, however, consider the Pat Summerall for football and Vin Scully for baseball type announcers the best of the best.

The State of the Union and Usurping of Powers 2014

Article II, Section 3 of the United States Constitution: “He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient;”

Above is the Constitutional provision for what we typically call the State of the Union Address today.

Some people like to play semantics by employing President’s Annual Message for earlier administrations or remarks such as each of the five (5) previous Presidents addressed Congress shortly after being inaugurated and thus those talks cannot technically be considered a State of the Union Address. For example in 1989 and 1993, George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton addressed Congress with “Administration Goals” speeches.

Other people like the historical trivia by referencing the fact that not all the speeches have been delivered orally. Both George Washington and John Adams spoke in front of Congress, but Thomas Jefferson delivered his remarks in writing which started a practice that continued over 100 years until Woodrow Wilson gave his address before Congress in 1913.

Often I hear that Franklin Roosevelt began the expectation of an oral address. It’s a legitimate argument, but there have been multiple breaks in the practice since FDR. Examples include FDR himself in 1945 when he delivered a written message to Congress even though he delivered a summary message to the American people in a radio address.  Eisenhower did the same in 1956. Truman delivered one address as a written message. Nixon presented Congress with multiple written documents titled as “State of the Union” in 1973 and 1974 and also addressed Congress in person. Jimmy Carter presented both written and oral addresses to Congress during his term in office. Holes can be poked in just about any generality.

Anyone interested in additional information regarding State of Union Addresses, Presidential speeches, Inaugural Addresses, and other written and oral remarks will find a wealth of information at The American Presidency Project at the University of California Santa Barbara.

In addition to being able to access the primary documents, the site offers a number of commentaries and sets of data for analysis and research purposes.  For example Gerhard Peters, one of the site’s creators, has a more thorough review on the history of these “State of the Union” messages than I have provided here.  With the historical background concluded:

The Usurping of Powers 2014 Version

Last night, 28 January 2014, Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union message. Numerous sources have audio, video, and transcripts. The one I have linked is from Politico, but the material is available on most likely one if not all of one’s favorite news sources.

Did President Obama say anything shocking last night? In my opinion he did not. Of course everyone will find either positives or negatives based on personal ideology, but did anything truly surprise you?

Like past Presidents, he spoke words which promote what many refer to as the American opportunity. Your phrase may differ from mine, but the idea is most likely similar in that we have chances to succeed or to fail which are not available to some people outside the United States of America. It requires work, some luck, patience, and even more work to make things better for most. While that is true, it is also true that everyone does not start at the same level or will face the same obstacles. Some will deny, but at least in platforms I think a consensus exists among the factions that what we want is for as many people as possible to have the opportunity to put forth their best effort to achieve.

The debate, obviously involves the best manner to make that dream into a reality.

President Obama did call on Congress to take action. He asserted that if Congress did not develop plans in certain areas that he would take action via his Executive power. Some argue that assertion is a usurping of powers and circumventing Congress. I hear calls for impeachment based on such statements and when the Executive Orders are signed. If this method were impeachable, every single individual who held the office would have been impeached.

People will throw numbers into the argument, and it is true that Obama has issued fewer Executive Orders than his predecessors. Here I do not like that statistical argument because honestly Executive Orders are not the same. Still I would ask everyone to compare some of the Executive Orders signed by past Presidents to those signed by Obama. Since many “conservatives” invoke the spirit of Ronald Reagan, at least look at his Executive Orders. One difference is Reagan signed those orders quietly without public declarations to Congress as Obama has done. Congresses during the Reagan administration, however, actually put legislation on the President’s desk and spent far greater time in Washington working than in recess and fundraising than recent Congresses. The other difference which may but should not surprise people are that many Reagan’s Orders were more powerful than those people are calling Obama out for either signing or stating that he will sign if Congress refuses to address the issue.

The Great Divider:

How many different opposition responses took place last night? “Official” opposition responses date back to the administration of Lyndon Johnson. Many times multiple individuals, a dozen or more for Johnson and Ronald Reagan, participated in delivering the opposing response to the Address. Those, however, were unified responses. Last night we saw a Republican response, a Spanish language response mirroring the Republican points, A Tea Party response, and a Rand Paul response. Since many are enamored with labels, all of these separate responses were by Republicans.

Division Aside:

The separate responses did have a few similar themes. The ideological bickering is constant on both sides of the aisle and honestly in my opinion is the fault of all the factions in Congress and the Federal government.

Taking those themes out leaves the contention that the opposition is working hard to solve the problems facing the country today, and it is the imperialistic or dictatorial divider in the White House preventing the American recovery and American dream.

I’m not trying to dismiss the importance of the measures brought forth, but I encourage people to look at the House calendar and floor summaries for this week. With all the criticism of remarks in last night’s speech by the President and comments that there are other options that would be better, why can’t I find these issues being brought forth on the Floor of the House? The GOP has the majority and unlike the Senate, there are no filibusters on the Floor.

http://clerk.house.gov/floorsummary/floor.aspx?day=20140127&today=20140129

http://clerk.house.gov/floorsummary/floor.aspx?day=20140128&today=20140129

http://clerk.house.gov/floorsummary/floor.aspx?day=20140129&today=20140129

What is the priority of the opposition?