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International Issues/ Economy/ Foreign Affairs

State of the Union 2014: Obama calls for ‘year of action’

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union speech on Capitol Hill in Washington
(Photo courtesy: ‘President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union speech on Capitol Hill in Washington. Photograph: Larry Downing/Corbis – Guardian Newspaper)

I attended the SOTU meeting – on the YouTube channel of the White House on Jan 29th, 2014 ( one day after the actual address was made on the State of the Union ) – my comments/ observations are placed within brackets, under the summary points published by the ‘Guardian’ Newspaper – the speech was long and I confess .. I could be listening to only about 20 minutes .. with speech getting too long with ‘very frequent’ claps and standing ovation by the blue states’ attendees !

President Obama called for a “year of action,” saying “opportunity is who we are.” He began his speech by touting progress on the economy and spent about half an hour describing what he thought should be areas of economic focus.
( Good thoughts .. this is really called for. The medicare/ healthcare initiative is laudable but has to be implemented and cannot remain only on paper .. to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor)

• The president vowed to take executive action in areas where Congress was slow to legislate. The White House released a list of dozens of new executive actions in areas from the minimum wage for federal contractors to fuel efficiency standards to education technology.
( why not bypass the congress wherever possible, at least something will get done !)

• The president said he would veto any new sanctions on Iran, in the name of national security. On Afghanistan, he said “America’s longest war will finally be over,” although the nature of that closure is in question. He called for the reform of surveillance programs and, once again, for the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay.
( the war is not yet over in Afghanistan ! and what about the political instability there .. as an aftermath of the war ? yes, the Guantanamo prisons should be closed forever to stop ‘unjust’ exploitation of helpless prisoners out there.)

• The president “recommitted to his climate change agenda,” wrote Guardian environment correspondent Suzanne Goldenberg, “but he also tied his administration even more strongly to expanding domestic oil and gas production through fracking, which made for kind of a mixed message.”
( Obama reportedly plans to go-it-alone on climate issues, including directing the EPA to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants – necessary but absolutely a populist political move !)

• “For a president who professes to still be committed to bringing America’s 11 million undocumented immigrants out of the shadows and into the light of citizenship,” wrote Ed Pilkington, “Obama dwelt very briefly on the subject.”
( Immigration policy is absolutely broken .. favoring the Whites (Europeans) and the Chinese ! )

• The president ended by telling the story of Army Ranger Cory Remsburg, who was almost killed by a roadside bombing in Afghanistan. “And like the Army he loves, like the America he serves, Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg never gives up, and he does not quit,” Obama said.
( No one really quits .. anywhere else too, Obama !! Cory Remsburg had no other choice either. Cory Remsburg, Army ranger on his tenth deployment in Afghanistan, had been hit by a roadside bomb in Kandahar, Afghanistan. It almost tore him apart. There was shrapnel in his brain; an eye was blinded; he couldn’t yet pull himself up. Great winning spirit ! He attended the SOTU meeting on Jan 28th. )

In addition, the ‘captive’ audience called for the address .. was absolutely a managed one ( ‘invited’ to showcase few achievements of the current US government ! It is nearing to be six full years this Nov 2014 .. since Obama was elected as the US President on Nov 4, 2008 ! The US economy is still not rebounding .. except for few positive signs in the housing sector only recently. The US unemployment rate is still at 7 % and more.. US growth rate at 1 %, and the US treasury bonds are ‘still’ lying with the Chinese. The war is not over .. though, I accept that the US government is not ‘foolishly paranoid’ anymore and have stopped spending on ‘war’ ( of course, they do not have much money left too .. as ‘printing currency’ has stopped and there are talks of systemic withdrawal of federal reserve aid )

– totally, an uneventful six years period of Obama Presidency as of now ! The Noble Peace Prize ‘prematurely’ given to Obama in the anticipation of developing better ‘US foreign policy’ and improve relations with Syria, Iran, Afghanistan and the Middle East region has not really worked ! Pakistan is not using the US funds in the right manner .. other than being a helpless spectator .. seeing its own country/ land .. getting to be a leading terrorist state.. causing concern to its neighbors (sic !)

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About Raman Ramamurthy

I am a Management consultant, an avid reader, play Lawn tennis in my leisure time and love Music. Presently, I am settled in India along with my wife and my son.

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