Obama To Seek ‘Opportunity For All’ in State of the Union

First remarks from Tuesday night's address show Obama focusing on inequality

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Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images

President Barack Obama walks through the Colonnade on his way to the Oval Office of the White House on January 28, 2014 in Washington.

Marking the start of what he hopes to be a “year of action,” President Barack Obama will use his fifth State of the Union address Tuesday night to call on Congress to restore the promise of “opportunity for all.”

Obama, whose legislative agenda has been stalled by Congress, will highlight executive actions his administration can take on its own to further that agenda without the House and Senate. The president will also call on lawmakers to start working with him to address economic inequality, according to excerpts of the speech released by the White House.

“Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better,” Obama will say, according to excerpts of the speech. “But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled.”

See more excerpts below:

“In the coming months, let’s see where else we can make progress together.  Let’s make this a year of action.  That’s what most Americans want – for all of us in this chamber to focus on their lives, their hopes, their aspirations.  And what I believe unites the people of this nation, regardless of race or region or party, young or old, rich or poor, is the simple, profound belief in opportunity for all – the notion that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead.

Let’s face it: that belief has suffered some serious blows.  Over more than three decades, even before the Great Recession hit, massive shifts in technology and global competition had eliminated a lot of good, middle-class jobs, and weakened the economic foundations that families depend on.

Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better.  But average wages have barely budged.  Inequality has deepened.  Upward mobility has stalled.  The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by – let alone get ahead.  And too many still aren’t working at all.

Our job is to reverse these tides.  It won’t happen right away, and we won’t agree on everything.  But what I offer tonight is a set of concrete, practical proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class, and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class.  Some require Congressional action, and I’m eager to work with all of you.  But America does not stand still – and neither will I.  So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”

“Opportunity is who we are.  And the defining project of our generation is to restore that promise.”

6 comments
drudown
drudown

Here's my question. 


How, pray tell, can the GOP pay lip service to a "strict construction" of the Constitution as it REFUSES to follow it?


Gee, let's just "PRETEND" the 14th Amendment and 5th Amendment's DUE PROCESS clause doesn't CATEGORICALLY PRECLUDE granting foreign nationals here ILLEGALLY the SAME PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES and UNITED STATES CITIZENS. Sorry, there is no "spin" from EITHER partisan position that can SUPERSEDE the SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND.


Lo and behold! Right as the most controversial- to say nothing of void ab initio on account of VIOLATING the BILL of RIGHTS- "immigration" reform begins to go through a long, no-hope-for-a-constitutional-deal process….the SAME super-PAC suckling Congress REFUSES to EVEN CONCURRENTLY RAISE REVENUE to PAY FOR ALL FORESEEABLE COSTS TO THE STATE- that is, directly and indirectly- of such unfettered amnesty. 


And, no- this is the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. 


LAWS matter. What any particular member of Congress alleges to believe or not believe in, what any real or imagined ideology lied beneath their positions, we cannot veer away from PRECEDENT when it has served the People under the Founding Fathers' DOCTRINE OF ENUMERATED POWERS. Taken to its illogical conclusion, as the "paid for" Congress feels it has some self-perceived "discretion" to pursue, obstruct or otherwise THWART State Action that benefits the State or People as if, in the end, the LAW of Fiduciary Duty, Duty of LOYALTY and express language granting PLENARY POWER to Congress to RAISE REVENUE does not circumscribe any such actions. What a farce. 


This is most notably present in our Congress REFUSAL to categorically CONDEMN and THWART any conduct that is a THREAT to the UNITED STATES' RULE OF LAW WITHIN OUR OWN JURISDICTION. Whether that is pushing "make believe" Bitcoins - that is, in doing so, opening the door to "challenge" the UNDISPUTED plenary power of the US DOLLAR for ALL transactions within our JURISDICTION- or, worse still, purporting to "AGREE" to void ab intio CHANGES to the SUPREMACY of the State by such "make believe" powers allegedly created by the Trans-Pacific Partnership (see, e.g., http://www.democracynow.org/2013/10/4/a_corporate_trojan_horse_obama_pusheshttp://www.citizen.org/TPPhttp://www.exposethetpp.org/ ). All this is AT TRHE EXPENSE of the very POWERS to the PEOPLE the BILL of RIGHTS protect.


The People need to be most concerned with these "make believe" delegations of LAW to PRIVATE ENTITIES that operate as TYRANNY. You simply cannot "frack" the People's water supply (see, e.g., "Gas Land" documentaries) and RUIN OUR ONLY PTABLE SUPPLY in RECORD DROUGHT CONDITIONS  and then say "oh, so sorry!" and refuse to REMEDIATE the PROBLEM on account of some purported "Halliburton Loophole." That is TREASON insofar it might affect our NATIONAL SECURITY (a la the GOP "shut down" on 2013), not "mere deregulation" or "partisan agendas". By analogy, why on Earth would the industry with the HIGHEST PROFIT MARGIN not "incur the cost" by shipping its "dirty oil" SOME OTHER WAY than the Keystone Pipeline? The People HAVE RIGHTS RESERVED UNDER the 10th Amendment. Our LEADERS in CONGRESS cannot "act" in a contrary manner to SUBVERT these RIGHTS conferred by NATURAL LAW. 


"All precedents began as justifiable measures." - Julius Caesar 

reallife
reallife

Where has he been for the last 5 years?


LOL



Yoshi
Yoshi

Will this "year of action" be anything like the "summer of recovery"? Things looked so promising in '08.

Here I am in '14, not seeing much difference compared to the previous disaster of a president.

drudown
drudown

This "subversion" of SCIENCE seems to coincide with the subversion of the FAIRNESS ACT by Reagan "deregulation". Coincidence? Or is the "money" behind "no new taxes, ever" + "no resources to the EPA, Courts, Education, Immigration enforcement, Police/Fire/EMT/FBI" + "fracking is the future" despite the COSTS and untenable NATIONAL SECURITY RISKS….the same "dark money" behind purporting to "legalize" bribery via super-PACS and- oh, don't forget- trying to make it impossible to trace the money. These are all FACTS that need to be brought out by JOURNALISTS. 


Moreover, the ongoing disregard of the fundamental precepts behind the Bill of Rights that are being so flagrantly subverted when the Bush Administration placed this patently illegal NSA program in place (e.g., the "reasonable expectation of privacy" that is engraved on the 4th Amendment) cannot be "waived" in some boilerplate "terms of service" contained in, say, a social networking or online dating site. Sorry, that IS NOT the LAW that works and is. It is time for our OWN GOVERNMENT to COLLECT INCOME TAXES FROM ALL ENTITIES THAT GENERATE REVENUE in the UNITED STATES JURISDICTION. (See, e.g., "We're Not Broke" documentary) 


Finally, simply because we live in newer times- any more than the purported "threat" of criminal activity in newer times justifies disregarding the Fundamental right to Privacy via State Action. Tell me, if the State could merely "hire" or "contract" with private companies acting under the color the law…what exactly is the difference in terms of the Bill of Rights' express protections being rendered a mere form of words?


So…enough about Richard Sherman. 


How is such a refusal by Congress to bring the most fundamental PROTECTIONS of our Founding Fathers' system of checks and balances within the three separate branches of government not a "deprivation" of life, liberty or property? [see, Davidson v. Cannon (1986) 474 U.S. 344]
The People's representatives in government cannot simply abrogate their FIDUCIARY DUTY to uphold the Constitution by "turning another cheek" to the NSA's UNLAWFUL conduct, much less even CONSIDER entering into the Trans-Pacific Partnership that would, inter alia, UNDULY HINDER our own SOVEREIGN RIGHT to enforce our Nation's DUE PROCESS protections (see, e.g., http://www.democracynow.org/2013/10/4/a_corporate_trojan_horse_obama_pusheshttp://www.citizen.org/TPPhttp://www.exposethetpp.org/ )?
This strain of non sequitur, "blanket immunities" afforded to the SAME CORPORATIONS that are BRIBING our Congress and BOTH political parties has reached a point where it could literally kill millions and millions of United States citizens if even "allowed" to go forward, despite being UNCONSTITUTIONAL, i.e., NO TRADE AGREEMENT CAN LIMIT THE PEOPLE'S DUE PROCESS RIGHTS IN THE SEVERAL STATES.
That is what such egregious subversions of Due Process (e.g., NSA program and TPP) aim to do. 
The TYRANNY of the few over the PEOPLE.


Yes or No. 


Just this: there is no such thing as "inadvertent" State Action that contravenes the express language of the Bill of Rights, e.g., "searching and seizing phone records, emails, texts and other privileged/private communications" by ANY means. There is ample case law expressly holding it is per se UNCONSTITUTIONAL. See, Scott v. United States (1978) 436 U.S. 128 ("every wiretap must be conducted in such a way as to minimize the interception of communications not otherwise subject to interception"). 


This NSA program is the most egregious subversion of Liberty in our Nation's History and is THE defining civil rights issue of our era- just as RECLAIMING the People's rights to have safe, POTABLE water to drink and grow crops and SAFE, REGULATED food to eat are a condition precedent to Liberty. These cannot be "contracted away" in secret TPP meetings by Halliburton and Monsanto executives any more than the "Decider" can unilaterally set fire to the Constitution, i.e., with no fear of reprisal or State retribution.



"Wiretapping is a dirty business." - Chief Justice Taft, Olmstead v. United States (1929) 277 U.S. 438.



I dissent.

drudown
drudown

Sorry, I should edit instead of write off the top of my head:


Finally, simply because we live in newer times- this only underscores the SELF-EVIDENT prudence and need for commercially reasonable REGULATION. And it is just as disingenuous to cite the purported "threat" of criminal activity in newer times justifies to purportedly “justify” disregarding the Fundamental right to Privacy via State Action as it is unavailing to claim “the cost of addressing Climate Change and Industrial Pollution in the Food Chain the World Community shares is very expensive” when THE COST OF DOING NOTHING is far, far worse and, indeed, a Natuional Security threat. And, no- given that Snowden WORKED for a “private contractor”- claiming the State could merely "hire" or "contract" with private companies acting under the color the law…to breach the same RIGHTS of the PEOPLE conferred by NATURAL LAW…what exactly is the difference in terms of the Bill of Rights' express protections being rendered a mere form of words?