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SOTU- 2014
             State of The Union Address - 2014
Posted Wednesday, January 29, 2014
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This entry was posted Wednesday, January 29, 2014; filed under  Keeba’s Commentary.
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Keeba Smith is a published writer and desired screenplay artist.  She is the author of Shades of Bright Pale and many other
unacquainted writings. Please visit
www.Keeba.org to find out more about Keeba Smith, read additional critiques and her
unpublished autobiography,
“Spirit in the Dark.”
© 2014
President Obama's key points:
  • Rebounding housing market
  • Manufacturing is adding more jobs since the 1990's
  • We are producing more oil at home for the first time in nearly 20 years
  • For the first time in over a decade, business leaders around the world have declared that America is the best place
    to invest and China no longer has the lead.

    Sometime during his speech, President Obama gives hint to a question:
    will Congress help to improve and further progress or be a hindrance?  
    Often times, it seemed as though he was throwing quick jabs at the
    current Congressional House, but it was fair when he reminded the
    Nation that it was Congress who chose to shutdown the government.  He
    made mention how much their actions hurt the Nation.  He also told them
    to stop creating more problems but more jobs.  (Why does it sound as if
    he is a schoolmaster telling juveniles how to behave?  Why SHOULD he
    have to tell adults how to do their jobs when most of them have been on
    the job for decades?)

Other key points:
  • Inequality of the American people
  • Speed up growth
  • Better opportunities for the middleclass
  • Strengthen the middleclass

President Obama said that everyone deserves the same opportunity to succeed.  He went on to say: "
…there are
millions of Americans outside Washington who are tired of stale political arguments, and are moving this country
forward.  They believe, and I believe, that here in America, our success should depend not on accident of birth,
but the strength of our work ethic and the scope of our dreams.  That’s what drew our forebears here.  It’s how
the daughter of a factory worker is CEO of America’s largest auto-maker; how the son of a barkeeper is Speaker
of the House; how the son of a single mom can be President of the greatest nation on Earth.
"

He said that if Congress does not act, then he would use his executive powers.

Other key points:
  • More jobs are returning from overseas.
  • Infrastructure jobs could increase if Congress would act.  However, if they fail to act, then he would go about it on
    his own.
  • Small businesses and entrepreneurs are creating more jobs.
  • This administration has approved more business loans in the past five years than any other administration.  
    Consequently, this would increase the opportunity for new goods to be built here in America.
  • A need to patent a reform that helps new inventions.
  • We are closer to energy independence than we have been in decades.  However, Congress needs to do more so
    that it will create additional jobs.
  • A need for a better tax policy that would "stop giving $4 billion a year to industries that do not need" it but invest in
    fuels that are needed in the future.
  • A need to use more solar energy so that jobs will not be sent overseas.
  • Reduce energy use and create high-fuel efficiency standards for trucks so the price of gasoline will decrease.
  • Energy prices are rendering more jobs and a cleaner planet.
  • "Over the past eight years, the United States has reduced our total carbon pollution more than any other
    nation on Earth."
  • Cleaner air.
  • Two years ago, the auto industry showed improvement and President Obama mentioned Ms. Andra Rush who
    opened a manufacturing firm in Detroit that erects vehicle parts.  When she was in need of employees she turned
    to a Jobs Center and now has over 700 workers. Obama requested that Vice President Joe Biden to lead a reform
    training program so that workers will be matched with their skills for jobs to be filled right away.  In addition, the
    program would link businesses to colleges for specified employment.  (Boehner clapped while saying something to
    Biden.)  Obama went on to say that if Congress would like to help with the initiative, then Congress could approve
    funding.
  • Reinstating unemployment insurance: Obama reminded America that Congress allowed the benefits to expire and
    1.6 million people are currently relying on them to reinstate them.  He told a very moving and touching story about
    Misty DeMars, a mother of 2.  She has held a job since she was in her teens, put herself through college and
    purchased a house but now after years of employment, she is laid off.  In the letter she writes to Obama, she
    states, "I am not dependent on the government…Our country depends on people like us who build careers,
    contribute to society…care about our neighbors…I am confident that in time I will find a job…I will pay my
    taxes, and we will raise our children in their own home in the community we love. Please give us this
    chance."  Obama asked that this Congress give people such as Mrs. DeMars a chance.  It is obvious she is not
    "lazy" - a term that Republicans have given those who have been unemployed for a long time.  (Boehner sat stoned
    faced while the Left stood and clapped loudly.)
State of the Union - 2014
On Tuesday, January 28, 2014, President Barack Obama gave his fifth State of the Union speech
to the Country.

While I am always happy to hear what our presidents have to say to the Nation - informing of the
status of our Nation - I begin to wonder about the salutation.  Although each of our presidents has
addressed the Nation the same way for as long as I have been alive, I have finally noticed
something that is unsettling - to me.
Each of our presidents begin their State of the Union speeches as follows, "Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice
President, Members of Congress, my fellow Americans."

Each time the President of the United States, he addresses we, the people, last.  Because we, the
people are the very ones that own this Nation, we should have been respectfully addressed first.  
Moreover, although I know why the White House was named "The White House," and at one time
was named The Presidents House", it would seem more fitting if it were called "The People's
House."

Nonetheless, I always like to watch the beginning, before the president comes out.  As the camera
sweeps across the room, I like to see who attends, their appearance, where they are seated and
who shakes hands with whom.  I then like to watch when the president comes out and whom he
shakes hands with, hugs and stops to have a brief quick conversation.  (Where is the short guy that
usually announces the president when he first comes out?  It was a female this time; I suppose
that was a good move.)

As usual, the speech was engaging, and President Obama provided many talking points.  
However, those who are avid political watchers, knew that some Republicans would not act
accordingly, as they have no interest in doing what they were hired to do.  Instead, some of our
politicians are political career seat warmers and do not intend to work in favor of The People; a
job they were hired to do.  But of course, they should not shoulder all the blame - those that
support them certainly are not exempt.

President Obama began his speech by telling us that the Nation is experiencing the lowest
unemployment rate in five years.  Whatever that means, I have no idea, as it is always
questionable no matter who is president, however the announcement lead to approved clapping -
from the Left.
Education
    When Obama talked about education and giving our children a chance,
    Boehner clapped.  However, Obama said that last year he asked
    Congress to assist States in making pre-K a high priority, but it is apparent
    that they did not act as tonight, he asked them again.  He said that 30
    States have raised pre-K funding on their won - without the help of
    Congress.

    President Obama said that while Congress waits to decide what they are
    going to do, he said that he would appeal to entrepreneurs and businesses
    for their help.
Previously, Boehner had clapped when Obama discussed education, but now that he was confronted, he did not clap.  In
fact, he appeared as though he sat on his hand and the expression on his face changed from being stone-faced to just a
plain frown.  If he is not embarrassed, he and his cronies should be, as they failed to act in favor of all of America's
children.

Obama said that he wants to work with Congress to help students who are trapped with student loan debt.  Again,
Boehner did not clap but looked down - probably at his sorry hands - hands that failed to act in favor of our children.
Federal Minimum Wage Increase
    It seemed as though the majority of the House clapped when
    Obama mentioned the inequality of men of color.  However, the
    majority stood and clapped when he mentioned the unfairness in
    women's pay.  It was funny that he would use the comparison to
    an episode of "Mad Men".

    It was odd that Boehner and his cronies would clap about the
    inequality in pay and that Americans are forced to raise their
    families in poverty.  Yet, Congress had previously refused to
    approve an across the board increase in minimum wage.  (The
    majority stood and clapped.)

Obama said that in the years that he has asked Congress to raise minimum wage, five States have passed local laws to
raise theirs.  He went on to mention John Soranno, owner of
Punch Pizza in Minneapolis.  Obama said that Mr. Soranno
increased his employee's pay to $10.00 an hour, which resulted in increased morale.

    Obama said that in coming weeks that he will issue an executive order
    that would require all federal contractors to pay their federally funded
    workers at least $10.10 per hour.  He implored that other business leaders
    to follow Mr. Soranno's lead and increase their employees' wages.

    He went on to say, "To every mayor, governor, and state legislator in
    America, I say, you don’t have to wait for Congress to act;
    Americans will support you if you take this on. And as a chief
    executive, I intend to lead by example.  Profitable corporations like
    Costco see higher wages as the smart way to boost productivity and
    reduce turnover.  We should too."

Of course, it should be noted that while $10.10 is better than $7.25 per hour, it is only a $2.85 increase.  It should also be
noted that the poverty level for a four-person household is 23, 850, and if only one person is working, that household
would only earn $21,008 per year.

Nevertheless, President Obama said that people should not be forced to live in poverty and that the federal minimum
wages is worth 20% less than when Ronald Reagan was president.  (This part of Obama's speech received high praise
from the majority of those in attendance.)

President Obama said that the he agreed with Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio that the EITC does not go far
enough and does not help those who are single and without children.  He said that they should work together to help
Americans succeed.
Savings
President Obama said that he will direct the treasury department to create a way for working Americans to start saving
for retirement.  The new plan is called MyRA and is designed for people to create a nest egg.  He said that it would yield
a decent return - no risk of losing what a person puts in.  He said that Congress is more than welcome to help the plan
that will help the not so rich save money.

He went on to say, "
…since the most important investment many families make is their home, send me legislation
that protects taxpayers from footing the bill for a housing crisis ever again, and keeps the dream of
homeownership alive for future generations of Americans.
"
Affordable Care Act/ObamaCare*
Obama mentioned the Affordable Care Act and the multiple votes Congress have had attempting to repeal it.  He slightly
joked that the first 40 times were plenty.  (It is ALREADY law!)  He said that the ACA is designed to keep people from
filing bankruptcy.  In regards to the ACA, he mentioned the following:
  • Currently 3 million people under the age of 26 remain on their parent's insurance plan
  • More than 9 million people have signed up for the ACA or Medicaid
  • No one is denied for having preexisting conditions
  • No woman will be charged more just because she is a woman
  • Lowered prescription cost for seniors
  • Has not taken away or effected Medicare benefits or its value

President Obama said that if Republicans have a better plan he urged them to bring it forward.  (Boehner looked as
though he wanted to bludgeon him.)  Obama said, "
We all owe it to the American people to say what we’re for, not
just what we’re against.
"

*Note: The ACA is NOT Obama's health care plan, but Senator Orin Hatch's.

I can recall Kentucky being one of the States that had the most success with signing people up for the ACA.  Governor
Steve Beshear did such a great job in implementing a website called "Kentucky Connect" that Kentuckians were saying,
"Oh, this is much better than ObamaCare", when in fact, it WAS ObamaCare a.k.a. the Affordable Care Act.  Anyway,
Obama pointed out governor Beshear and mentioned how dedicated the governor was in getting people signed up for
affordable health care.  It is sad that not enough governors are as dedicated as Mr. Beshear and others.  It is even sadder
that Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell refused to work for the betterment of his constituents.  (I am sure Obama did
not receive any kudos from the Republicans.)
Voting Rights
Boehner appeared as though he wanted to toss up his lunch when Obama said that everyone has the right to vote - a
bipartisan effort.  He said that last year, part of the Voting Rights Act was weakened but both Republicans and
Democrats are working to strengthen it.  He said, "
It should be the power of our vote that drives the right to vote and
not the size of bank accounts driving democracy.
"
Immigration
Throughout his speech, President Obama received kudos from both sides of the aisle, but when he mentioned immigration
reform, the feelings were mixed.  As the camera panned around the room, Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor clapped but
Boehner did not.  Some stood and clapped while Boehner remained in his highchair.
Military
    When Obama gave homage to our military, the applause was
    prolonged with everyone on their feet.  (There is nothing like
    cheering on sending our young men and women to endless wars,
    as it only means money in the pockets for the big wigs.  Moreover,
    there is nothing like sending our young men and women to war
    when their much-needed benefits are forever delayed.  Our
    politician's actions hurt our military men and women when they
    keep them from getting medical care.)

    President Obama said that the war in Afghanistan would end by
    the end of this year, but that NATO allies and a few troops would
    remain.

President Obama made it seemed as though that Guantanamo Bay remains open due to Congress.  Regardless, I say it is
WAY too late to close it now!  I do not think they should add additional so-called prisoners, but leave it open for a
minimum of 20 years.

President Obama said that for the first time in a decade, the U.S. and Iran have gotten closer in having peace talks.  Iran
has agreed to eliminate their stockpile of enriched uranium and thus will prevent them form obtaining a nuclear weapon.  
In addition, Obama said that an agreement may not come to fruition but at least it is a diplomatic way in getting things
accomplished.   

    Obama said that both John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan dealt with
    powerful adversaries during their time, so we should be able to deal with
    less powerful adversaries now.  During this portion, I could not help but
    laugh when Arizona Senator John McCain was shown clapping but then
    when he looked up, it was if he knew he was on camera and was
    embarrassed.  He quickly stopped clapping and appeared to sit on his
    previously motioning hands.  He thought he was quick, but oops, not quick
    enough.  I suppose he did not want to appear to be caught clapping in
    agreement to what Obama had said.  (Talk show host Rush Limbaugh
    certainly has a lot of power.)

Notwithstanding, Obama went on to say that he believes in diplomacy but if agreements with Iran did not work, then he
would call for more sanctions.  He said that there is not always a need to go to war as if war is always the answer.
In the end, Obama simply told the Republicans, 'Either get on board and help me move this Nation with further progress,
or get out the way.'

It was a good and inspiring as well as an in-your-face-with-eggs, speech.
Questionable Notables
    Sometime during Obama's SOTU speech, Texas Congressman Steve Stockman
    walked out.  He said he did not want to hear President Obama further abuse his
    Constitutional powers.

    "I could not bear to watch as he continued to cross the clearly-defined
    boundaries of the Constitutional separation of powers," Stockman said in a
    press release shortly after Obama’s speech ended.  "Needless to say, I am
    deeply disappointed in the tone and content of tonight’s address."

    I can only guess that Mr. Stockman is talking about President Obama telling the
    majority Republican Congress to eat dirt while he goes about change and further
    progress on his own.  Mr. Stockman and those others who are now crying fowl
    when Obama kept constantly telling Congress they either help or get out the way
    are suddenly disappointed that failure will not continually go their way.  Now the
    Do Nothing Congress is upset?  Really?  Five years in a row of blocking Obama
    and now that he is stepping out on his own, they say he a dictator?  Wow!  Who
    is fooling whom, here?

I question if Mr. Stockman knew what President Obama was saying, as he was busy Tweeting.  However, while he
WAS Tweeting throughout the SOTU speech, he could have shown less disrespect had he used his time during the
speech searching the web of presidents who have used their executive powers.  Had he had done so, he would have
learned the following:
  • President Barack Obama so far has issued 144 Executive Orders
  • Republican President George W. Bush issued 291 Executive Orders
  • Democrat President Bill Clinton issued 364 Executive Orders
  • Republican President George H. W. Bush issued 165 Executive Orders
  • Republican President Ronald Reagan issued 381 Executive Orders
  • Democrat President Jimmy Carter issued 320 Executive Orders
  • Republican President Gerald Ford issued 169 Executive Orders
  • Republican President Richard Nixon issued 346 Executive Orders
  • Democrat President Lyndon Johnson issued 325 Executive Orders
  • Democrat President John F. Kennedy issued 214 Executive Orders
  • Republican President Dwight Eisenhower issued 484 Executive Orders
  • Democrat President Harry Truman issued 907 Executive Orders
  • Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt issued 3,708 Executive Orders
  • Republican President Herbert Hoover issued 968 Executive Orders
  • Republican President Calvin Coolidge issued 1,203 Executive Orders
  • Republican President Warren Harding issued 522 Executive Orders
  • Democrat President Woodrow Wilson issued 1,803 Executive Orders
  • Republican President William Taft issued 724 Executive Orders
  • Republican President Theodore Roosevelt issued 1,081 Executive Orders
  • Republican President William McKinley issued 185 Executive Orders
  • Democrat President Grover Cleveland issued 140 Executive Orders
  • Republican President Benjamin Harrison issued 143 Executive Orders
  • Democrat President Grover Cleveland issued 113 Executive Orders
  • Republican President Arthur Chester issued 96 Executive Orders
  • Republican President James Garfield issued 6 Executive Orders
  • Republican President Rutherford Hayes issued 92 Executive Orders
  • Republican President Ulysses Grant issued 217 Executive Orders
  • Democrat President Andrew Johnson issued 79 Executive Orders
  • Republican President Abraham Lincoln issued 48 Executive Orders
  • Republican President James Buchanan issued 16 Executive Orders
  • Democrat President Franklin Pierce issued 35 Executive Orders
  • Whig President William Fillmore issued 16 Executive Orders
  • Whig President Zachary Taylor issued 5 Executive Orders
  • Democrat President James Polk issued 18 Executive Orders
  • Whig President John Tyler issued 17 Executive Orders
  • Democrat President Andrew Jackson issued 12 Executive Orders
  • Democrat/Republican John Adams issued 3 Executive Orders
  • Democrat/Republican President James Monroe issued 1 Executive Order
  • Democrat Republican President Thomas Jefferson issued 1 Executive Order
  • Federalist President John Adams issued 1 Executive Order
  • Independent President George Washington issued 8 Executive Orders

Someone should tell Mr. Stockman that reading and web searching is essential when it is used properly.  Oh, Mr.
Stockman has serious issues.  This year, his guest was
Chad Henderson, a young man that is proven to have fibbed about
his enrollment experience in ObamaCare.  (Last year, Mr. Stockman's guest was rocker and NRA enthusiast Ted
Nugent.)  Oh and speaking of guest, Louisiana Republican Vance McAllister invited a member of the "Duck Dynasty"
clan.

    But wait!  There is more!  After NY1 reporter Michael Scotto, asked
    Republican Representative Michael Grimm about the State of the Union
    speech, Scotto asked Grimm about allegations of his campaign being
    investigated of financial violations.  Representative Grimm became so
    upset, that he used an explicative when he threatened to throw Scotto off
    a two-story balcony.

    Who knew?!  Who knew that a question would be so upsetting to
    Representative Grimm?  At first Grimm said he was within his rights to
    be upset.  He did not apologize until the recording of his threats of bodily
    harm went viral.  Who knew that the threats would be recorded on
    video?  One thing for sure, is that any camera that is capable of recording
    will almost always go viral.
Republican Response
I heard that there were thousand of responses to President Obama's SOTU speech, but there was only one on my NBC
channel.

    Nonetheless, Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris-Rodgers
    delivered the Republican response.

    It was by chance that Mrs. McMorris-Rodgers was specifically chosen
    because the Republican Party's ideas and actions have been proven to be
    extremely opposing toward women.  Moreover, I suppose its purpose was
    to let female voters know her past and as a female, her loyalty to the
    Republican Party.  (At least she was allowed to hold on to her last name.)

I do not know if I am biased, but Mrs. McMorris-Rodgers seemed as though she was introducing herself to the Nation.  It
was a résumé - HER résumé.

Mrs. McMorris-Rodgers' speech was rather dull, but funny.  It was dull to have her read a speech that was blatantly
obvious it was written before Obama's speech.  It was funny that she would mention pay and employment.  A Republican
female talking about pay and employment?!

Mrs. McMorris-Rodgers was right when that the President has great ideas but they will not come true.  Those great
ideas will not come into fruition because for the last five years the Republican-controlled Congress has purposefully done
everything in their power to
block those "great ideas".

They continuously said that Obama did not work to decrease unemployment so jobs were their running platform.  
However, when they took over Congress, their top priority was making sure Obama was a one-term president; blocking
every job bill Obama implemented.

Most American would agree with Mrs. McMorris-Rodgers when said that she wants Washington to play by the same
rules that America does.  In fact, that was just one of many disagreements that Republicans had with the ACA.  
Republicans wanted the ACA to offer the same insurance plans that are available to members of Congress and the
Senate.  When Obama agreed, they were disappointed and looked for other particulars they could disagree with.

Mrs. McMorris-Rodgers mentioned that she worked hard.  Well, because most Republicans are so out of touch with
everyday people's reality, they are clueless that there are millions of people such as Misty DeMars.  Moreover, there are
millions of people that are in worse position than Mrs. DeMars, they are called the working poor - working more than 1
job while living in poverty - continuously.

Mrs. McMorris-Rodgers spoke of opportunities she had, however I am not sure if she is aware that there are millions of
Americans who are taking advantage of those opportunities that her generation handed them.  There were great
opportunities back then - for Whites only.  However, today, the Republicans in Congress are stifling not only minorities,
but poor and middle class Whites.  Today, even greater opportunities are available but not for middle and working class,
which includes Whites and minorities.  They are being suffocated with no help from this Republican controlled House.

Other points of reference Mrs. McMorris-Rodgers mentioned:
  • People struggling to find work
  • Retirements gone
  • People not able to get into college
  • People living paycheck to paycheck
  • Step by step immigration reform
  • Health care reform

Mrs. McMorris-Rodgers said that Republicans had plans to fix these problems but unfortunately, she did not say what
they were.

It was rather dull listening to Mrs. McMorris-Rodgers.  Although her essential points were the same as President
Obama's, she seemed to discredit his while she failed to provide any solutions.

It was interestingly funny listening to Mrs. McMorris-Rodgers tell America that Republicans will never help grow this
nation.  She proved that there would be more Republican opposition to come.
President Obama gave great accolades to Sergeant First Class Army Ranger Cory Remsburg for his dedication to
service.  Obama and Ranger Remsburg met before he (Remsburg) was almost killed in Afghanistan.  Although he has
suffered immensely, he is committed to service and wants to return to his troops.  "My recovery has not been easy," he
says.  "Nothing in life that’s worth anything is easy."

The House stood and faced Sergeant First Class Army Ranger Cory Remsburg; showing their gratitude and respect.  
They remained standing and clapping for what seemed like minutes.  It was an echoing sound of applause and some non-
dry eyes.

Obama ended his speech talking about Army Ranger Remsburg and the commitment to bravery he and other men, and
women have made to our Country.

He reiterated that his pinpoints on education, our children's future and employment.

"
My fellow Americans, men and women like Cory remind us that America has never come easy. Our freedom, our
democracy, has never been easy. Sometimes we stumble; we make mistakes; we get frustrated or discouraged. But
for more than two hundred years, we have put those things aside and placed our collective shoulder to the wheel
of progress – to create and build and expand the possibilities of individual achievement; to free other nations
from tyranny and fear; to promote justice, and fairness, and equality under the law, so that the words set to
paper by our founders are made real for every citizen. The America we want for our kids – a rising America
where honest work is plentiful and communities are strong; where prosperity is widely shared and opportunity
for all lets us go as far as our dreams and toil will take us – none of it is easy. But if we work together; if we
summon what is best in us, with our feet planted firmly in today but our eyes cast towards tomorrow – I know it’s
within our reach. Believe it. God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.
"
Sergeant First Class Army Ranger Cory Remsburg
Boehner looking at his pitiful hands
Congressman Steve Stockman
Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris-Rodgers
Republican Representative Michael Grimm