Norman Solomon: In times of war, U.S. presidents have often talked about yearning for peace. But the last decade has brought a gradual shift in the rhetorical zeitgeist while a tacit assumption has taken hold — war must go on, one way or another.
You can watch President Obama’s State of the Union Address, in its entirety and read the full transcript here. The president began by introducing the Speaker of the House, John Boehner. He then went on to talk about the tragedy in Tucson, pointing out that Representative Gabrielle Giffords’ seat was empty. The hour long video offers insight into what we’re to expect in the coming year.
Jasmyne Cannick: I can almost guarantee you that it’s going to be next to impossible for the average citizen to meet with their representative. Because if they didn’t have good cause for blatantly avoiding you before—you can betcha bottom tax dollar they do now.
David Swanson: I’ll admit it right now. My name is David and I hate elections. (HI, DAVID!) I hate choosing the evil of two lessers. I hate attack ads. I hate endless repetitive debates that exclude all the interesting questions. I hate painting one candidate as all bad and the other as infallible even when I have to squint to see a difference between them.
Andrea Nill: Contrary to what the anti-immigrant right might suggest, despite a major recession, most farmers and ranchers are still struggling to find the workers they need. “Comprehensive immigration reform is needed, so that America’s farmers and ranchers can continue to produce an abundant supply of safe, healthy food, as well as renewable fuels and fiber for our nation,” writes Ron Gaskill, director of congressional relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation.
Jim Fuller: Obviously, the peddling of weapons to Mexican drug gangs is highly profitable. Remember, 40,000 recovered weapons in 2008 alone, and nobody knows how many still in the hands of gangsters, but certainly many times that 40,000 figure. And there are thousands of sales to drug peddlers every day along the border. Money, money, money. America’s gun makers are going to protect that highly profitable business every way they can, and that inevitably means stirring up the knuckle draggers who front for them in every battle in the stupidly mistaken belief that they are “protecting our Second Amendment rights.”
Tracy Emblem: Why have we so readily forgotten that Americans were told there were “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq as the reason for our military invasion when this turned out to be false. Like Iraq, there is absolutely no guarantee our troops will be withdrawn by 2012. From the Russian-Afghanistan experience, we should readily expect it will take much longer than the six years we previously spent in Iraq.
Andrea Christina Nill: If Obama decides to tackle immigration reform next, some have wondered what the tea party response would be. Interestingly, it may not be an issue for most rank and file tea party members. When asked whether immigration was an issue that motivated how they voted, tea parties responded that it was just as low on their priority list as the average population.
David A. Love: Those of you who remember the televised images of angry white protestors in the 1950s and 1960s know that this is nothing new. Whenever a black child tried to integrate a school in the Jim Crow South, the teabaggers of their day were out there to show their outrage. Whenever African Americans tried to register to vote or sit at a segregated lunch counter, the same crowd was out there. They came with their fists, their vulgarity, threats of violence and spitting.
Joseph Palermo: President Barack Obama Tuesday morning gave Democrats a blueprint for what to do in November: back in your districts surround yourself with ordinary Americans who would be denied care if the federal government did not step in to bend the corporate imperatives of profits and share prices to fit the human needs of people who pay their taxes, play by the rules, and whose only “crime” is to have gotten sick.