2015年6月27日 星期六

Obama (3):sang "Amazing Grace"; 大勝利;Focus on the Middle Class/ 國情咨文演講強調重振中產階級。一句脫口話,網路英雄;Recasted:

President Obama sang "Amazing Grace" after delivering a rousing eulogy for the Reverend Clementa Pinckney.
President Barack Obama gave a powerful eulogy at the funeral of Rev....
BLOGS.WSJ.COM|由 NATALIE ANDREWS 上傳



 Obama 總統大勝利
"The idea that Obama would play out his Presidency, after the political defeat of the midterm elections, as a professorial lame duck turns out to be without basis,” David Remnick writes.


In a short time, America has witnessed savage mayhem, uncommon forgiveness, furious debate, mourning, and, finally, justice and grace.
NYR.KR|由 DAVID REMNICK 上傳

奧巴馬國情咨文演講強調重振中產階級

奧巴馬強調了一些在其餘下兩年任期內可能與共和黨開展合作的領域,並敦促共和黨在教育、育兒及稅改等方面對他予以支持。
華盛頓——本周二,美國總統奧巴馬稱政府的舉措改善了經濟,並用強硬的語氣敦促國會的共和黨對手「翻開新的一頁」,支持一些旨在增加中產階級財富的需要高額開支的國內舉措。
奧巴馬擺脫了疲軟的經濟、海外戰爭和選舉這些政治制約,在其第六次國情咨文演講中表示,「危機的陰影已經過去」,在其任期的最後兩年,他將致力於推動那些此前遭到忽略的項目。他呼籲國會免除大多數學生在社區學院就讀的學費,強化教育和兒童保健方面的稅收優惠措施,並對高收入者和大型金融機構徵收新的稅費。
  • 檢視大圖本周二,奧巴馬進行了國情咨文演講。
    Doug Mills/The New York Times
    本周二,奧巴馬進行了國情咨文演講。
  • 檢視大圖本周二,在進行演講的數小時之前,奧巴馬與曾經致信給他的公眾人士會面。
    Doug Mills/The New York Times
    本周二,在進行演講的數小時之前,奧巴馬與曾經致信給他的公眾人士會面。
「我們已經從衰退中復蘇,目前比世界上其他任何國家都能更加自由地書寫自身的未來,」奧巴馬在約3000萬人觀看的講話中說。「我們要發展一個僅供少數人興旺發達的經濟呢,還是一個可以全面提升收入,每個人只要努力就會有機會的經濟?」
總統在黃金時段發表的這次演講,呼籲美國國會通過一項授權打擊伊斯蘭國(Islamic State)的新立法。他表示,批准一項授予他權力的決議——他曾說,開展這次已經持續了五個月的活動並不需要授權——將發出一個重要的信號。「今晚,我呼籲本屆國會,向世界展示,我們在這項任務上團結一致,」奧巴馬說。
「這項工作需要時間和專註力,但是,我們一定會成功,」他談到打擊伊斯蘭國的行動時說。伊斯蘭國也被稱為ISIS或ISIL,是遜尼派激進組織。
他還敦促國會解除對古巴的貿易禁運,因為他已經在開始推動美國與這個共產主義島國的關係正常化。
奧巴馬走進會場,在經過最高法院的六名成員,以及他的大部分內閣成員身邊時,微笑着與國會議員們握手。在最初幾分鐘里,他獲得了數次起立鼓掌。當他向「『9.11』這一代的所有人,為了保證我們的安全,所表現出來的勇氣,做出的犧牲」致敬時,兩黨成員均熱情地站起身來。
然而,在誓言要否決共和黨關於限制墮胎、加快天然氣管道審批的立法後,他在國會面臨著議員們的質疑。之前他就發出過一系列否決立法的威脅,這表明,儘管他的民主黨在去年秋季的國會選舉遭遇重大挫敗,他仍積極與保守派思想對抗。本周二晚上,他發誓說,任何試圖逆轉他的醫療法案,阻擋華爾街立法,或拖延關於移民的行政行動的做法,都將遭遇同樣下場。
奧巴馬試圖鞏固自己在經濟領域的成就。在他的第一個任期初期,這種成就看似是不可達成的,因為當時美國經濟幾近崩潰。在一定程度上說,他似乎想讓這次演講的影響擴散至自己總統任期之後,因為他在演講中明確界定了2016年總統大選之前民主黨和共和黨之間的差異。
「結論相當明確,」奧巴馬說。「中產階級經濟舉措和擴大就業的行動有效果。只要沒有政治阻礙,這些政策就會繼續發揮效果。」
奧巴馬也強調了一些可能與共和黨開展合作的領域。他呼籲國會批准對營業稅的重大修改,授予簽訂貿易協議的權力,採取重大舉措來修復破損的道路和橋樑,實現全國交通基礎設施的現代化。
但奧巴馬發誓要推行已經遭到共和黨反對的政策。他呼籲採取積極的行動應對氣候變化,並稱自己不會放棄對移民制度的改革。他重申自己支持針對互聯網供應商的新法規,支持廢除限制高網速服務領域競爭的州法律。
在奧巴馬發表國情咨文的數小時之前,共和黨人就對此次演講進行了駁斥。眾議院議長約翰·A·博納(John A. Boehner)分發了一份引述新聞評論員觀點的文件,這些評論員質疑奧巴馬的誠意,稱白宮在過去三周分發的提案不切實際。文件提到了Fox新聞頻道(Fox News)的評論,稱奧巴馬的計劃是「實現自由派夢想的時光機」。
共和黨正式回應的摘錄顯示,新任艾奧瓦州共和党參議員的瓊妮·厄恩斯特(Joni Ernst)表示,「美國人不斷受到傷害,但當我們要求政府拿出解決方案時,華盛頓方面都是以同樣陳舊的思維做出回應,這種思維帶來了「奧巴馬醫改」(Obamacare)等失敗的政策。
奧巴馬的助手表示,雖然可能會有合作的領域,但這次演講相當於發佈了一份共和黨人接受或拒絕的藍圖。
在奧巴馬參加國會參眾兩院聯席會議發表演講的幾個小時前,一名高級助手告訴記者,「有些人在他發表演講前表示不喜歡他的想法,但他不會因為這些人而拉低船帆。」
奧巴馬的計劃——為數百萬學生提供免費的社區大學教育,推動工人帶薪休假,在教育、育兒及退休儲蓄方面為中產階級提供更慷慨的政府幫助——所需的資金大部分來自未來十年通過增加高收入者稅款,對大型金融機構收費籌集到的3200億美元(約合2萬億元人民幣)資金。
增稅計劃會將資本利得稅的最高稅率從23.8%提高至28%。該計劃還會取消針對富人的稅收優惠,不再讓他們有條件保留投資,直到離世。該提議將廢除現存條款——即允許個人將資產留給後代,不用為這些資產產生的資本收益繳納稅款。奧巴馬還會限制針對富有納稅人退休儲蓄的稅收優惠,為低稅率個人退休帳戶設立340萬美元的上限。
奧巴馬還表示,他希望對規模最大的那些金融機構核定徵收一項新費用:基於所承擔的風險大小,面向資產超過500億美元的機構收取。
關於社區大學的計劃會在未來10年耗資600億美元,而這些提議將為該計劃以及為中產階級準備的一系列稅收抵免新政策提供資金。比如,針對配偶雙方均工作的家庭的500美元新稅收抵免、每年至多2500美元的高等教育津貼,以及把當前的一項用於育兒的稅收優惠政策的金額上限增加兩倍,提高到3000美元。
「現在我們不應該再把育兒當做次要議題,或者僅僅是女性議題,」奧巴馬說,「而應該把它當作國家經濟領域的重點,關乎我們所有人。」
奧巴馬提出的稅收政策中,有一部分獲得了共和黨人的支持。但是,自從白宮於周末期間預先展示該計劃以來,大多數共和黨人憤怒地表示堅決反對,認為它毫不可取,將會引起激烈的基於社會階層的鬥爭,而不會對拉動經濟增長產生任何作用。
奧巴馬把這些擔憂擱置一旁,表示實施自己的這些計劃將標誌着旨在改善全體美國人生活的大膽舉動。具體方式就是,保證每個人都有機會獲得取得經濟成功所必需的技能和機遇。
「這就是中產階級經濟學的核心理念,當每個人都享有平等的機會、每個人都盡其責任、每個人都遵循同樣的規則時,國家的表現才會最好,」奧巴馬說。
總統解釋了自己近日做出的一項決定——開始與古巴的關係正常化進程,放鬆對這個島國的貿易和商業限制。奧巴馬說,在美國和古巴之間築起一道牆的辦法是無效的,現在到了嘗試新策略的時候。
他提出在包容的外交和軍事力量基礎上建立一種更明智的美國領導。
「要最出色地領導,我們需要將軍事力量和強大的外交合二為一,要用我們的力量做籌碼去建立聯盟,要避免被恐懼蒙蔽,讓我們看不到新世紀帶來的機遇,」奧巴馬說。
總統提出,作為這種策略的一部分,美國有望和伊朗達成協議,阻止該國進行核武器的開發。他明確表示,在這些談判有結果之前,反對得到部分民主黨人和共和黨人支持的新一輪制裁立法提案。
面對數宗引起嚴重關切的網絡攻擊,包括被他的政府認定是朝鮮所為的索尼電影娛樂公司(Sony Pictures)遭受的黑客襲擊,奧巴馬呼籲通過立法,加強對這類電腦攻擊的防護能力。
「我們不應該允許他國、允許黑客攻陷我們的網絡、竊取我們的商業機密或侵犯美國家庭的隱私,尤其是我們的孩子,」總統說。「再不採取行動,我們就會將自己的國家和自己的經濟暴露於危險面前。只要採取行動,我們就能一直保護我們的技術,讓它向世界各地的人們釋出前所未有的機遇。」
翻譯:土土、許欣

In State of the Union Speech, a Focus on the Middle Class

WASHINGTON — President Obama claimed credit on Tuesday for an improving economy and defiantly told his Republican adversaries in Congress to “turn the page” by supporting an expensive domestic agenda aimed at improving the fortunes of the middle class.
Released from the political constraints of a sagging economy, overseas wars and elections, Mr. Obama declared in his sixth State of the Union address that “the shadow of crisis has passed,” and vowed to use his final two years in office fighting for programs that have taken a back seat. He called on Congress to make community college free for most students, enhance tax credits for education and child care and impose new taxes and fees on high-income earners and large financial institutions.
  • 查看大图President Obama during his State of the Union address on Tuesday.
    Doug Mills/The New York Times
    President Obama during his State of the Union address on Tuesday.
  • 查看大图President Obama meeting hours before his address on Tuesday with members of the public who have written letters to him.
    Doug Mills/The New York Times
    President Obama meeting hours before his address on Tuesday with members of the public who have written letters to him.

    “We have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth,” Mr. Obama said in an address seen by an estimated 30 million people. “Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well? Or will we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and chances for everyone who makes the effort?”
    The president used the prime-time speech to call on Congress to pass new legislation authorizing the fight against the Islamic State. The president said approval of a resolution granting him that power — something he has argued he does not need to carry out the five-month-old campaign — would send an important signal. “Tonight, I call on this Congress to show the world that we are united in this mission,'’ Mr. Obama said.
    “This effort will take time,” he said of the five-month battle to defeat the Islamic State, the Sunni militant group that is also known as ISIS or ISIL. “It will require focus. But we will succeed.”
    He also urged lawmakers to lift the trade embargo on Cuba as he moves to normalize relations with the Communist island nation.
    When he entered the chamber, a smiling Mr. Obama shook hands with members of Congress as he worked his way past six members of the Supreme Court and most of his cabinet. He received several standing ovations in the first few minutes, with members of both parties leaping to their feet as he saluted the “courage and sacrifice of every man and woman in this 9/11 generation who has served to keep us safe.”
    Yet he was facing a skeptical Congress hours after vowing to veto Republican legislation that would restrict abortion and speed the approval of natural gas pipelines, the latest in a series of veto threats that reflect his eagerness to confront conservative ideology despite his party’s major losses in the congressional elections in the fall. He promised on Tuesday night that any attempt to roll back the health care law, stand in the way of Wall Street regulations or delay his executive actions on immigration would meet with the same fate.
    The president sought to cement an economic legacy that seemed improbable early in his first term, when the country was nearly in economic collapse. The speech seemed designed in part to live beyond his presidency by helping to starkly define the differences between Democrats and Republicans ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
    “The verdict is clear,” Mr. Obama said. “Middle-class economics works. Expanding opportunity works. And these policies will continue to work, as long as politics don’t get in the way.”
    Mr. Obama did highlight some potential areas of collaboration with Republicans. He called on Congress to approve a business tax overhaul, the granting of authority to strike trade deals, and a major initiative to repair crumbling roads and bridges and to modernize the nation’s transportation infrastructure.
    But the president vowed to push forward with policies that have generated Republican opposition. He called for aggressive action on combating climate change and said he would not back down on changes to the nation’s immigration system. He repeated his support for new regulations on Internet providers and for overriding state laws that limit competition for high-speed service.
    Republicans dismissed the speech hours before it was delivered. House Speaker John A. Boehner circulated a document citing news commentators who questioned Mr. Obama’s sincerity and called his proposals, which the White House has circulated for the last three weeks, as fantasy. The document quoted Fox News calling Mr. Obama’s plans a “time machine for liberal dreams.”
    In excerpts from the official Republican response, Senator Joni Ernst, the freshman Republican from Iowa, said that “Americans have been hurting, but when we demanded solutions, too often Washington responded with the same stale mind-set that led to failed policies like Obamacare.”
    Aides to Mr. Obama said that although there might be some areas of collaboration, the address was intended as a blueprint that Republicans accepted or rejected.
    “He’s not going to trim his sails because some people, before he’s given the speech, said they don’t like his ideas,” a senior aide told reporters hours before the president stood in front of the joint session of Congress.
    Mr. Obama’s plans — which would offer free community college for millions of students, paid leave for workers and more generous government assistance for education, child care and retirement savings for the middle class — are to be financed in large part by $320 billion in tax increases over the next decade on higher income earners as well as a fee on large financial institutions.
    The tax plan would raise the top capital gains tax rate to 28 percent, from 23.8 percent. It would also remove what amounts to a tax break for wealthy people who can afford to hold onto their investments until death. The proposal would repeal a provision that now allows individuals to pass on such assets without taxes ever being assessed on the capital gains that accrued during their lifetimes. Mr. Obama would also limit tax benefits for retirement savings for the wealthiest taxpayers, capping tax-preferred individual retirement accounts at about $3.4 million.
    Mr. Obama also said he wanted to assess a new fee on the largest financial institutions — those with assets of $50 billion or more — based on the amount of risk they take on.
    Those proposals would pay for the community college initiative, which would cost $60 billion over a decade, as well as an array of new tax credits intended for the middle class. They include a new $500 credit for families with two working spouses; a subsidy of up to $2,500 annually to pay for college; and the tripling, to up to $3,000, of an existing tax break to pay for child care.
    “It’s time we stop treating child care as a side issue, or as a women’s issue,” Mr. Obama said, “and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us.”
    Some of the tax incentives Mr. Obama proposed have found support among Republicans, but most of them have angrily dismissed the plan since the White House previewed it over the weekend, calling it a nonstarter that would reignite a bitter class-based battle without doing anything to fuel economic growth.
    Mr. Obama waved aside those concerns and said enacting his proposals would represent bold action to improve the lives of all Americans by making sure that everyone has a chance to t receive the skills and opportunities that lead to economic success.
    “That’s what middle-class economics is, the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share and everyone plays by the same set of rules,” Mr. Obama said.
    The president argued for his recent decision to begin the process of normalizing relations with Cuba and to loosen trade and commercial restrictions with the island nation. Mr. Obama said the approach of walling off the United States from Cuba had been ineffective, and it was time to try a new strategy.
    He argued for smarter breed of American leadership based on embracing diplomacy and military force.
    “We lead best when we combine military power with strong diplomacy, when we leverage our power with coalition building, when we don’t let our fears blind us to the opportunities that this new century presents,” Mr. Obama said.
    As part of that approach, the president argued that the United States had an opportunity to strike a deal with Iran to prevent its development of a nuclear weapon, and made clear that he opposes legislation — backed by some Democrats and Republicans — to impose new sanctions before those talks have played out.
    And in the wake of several high-profile cyberattacks, including a hack of Sony Pictures that his administration blamed on North Korea, Mr. Obama called for legislation to bolster protections against such computer-enabled assaults.
    “No foreign nation, no hacker should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets or invade the privacy of American families, especially our kids,” the president said. “If we don’t act, we’ll leave our nation and our economy vulnerable. If we do, we can continue to protect the technologies that have unleashed untold opportunities for people around the globe.”


    The president's ad-libbed line was partisan comedic timing at its best

     Barack Obama delivered his first State of the Union address in front of a Republican-controlled Congress last night - and made sure he got the upper hand with the ultimate presidential "burn".
    Towards the end of the speech, the president delivered the line, "I have no more campaigns to run", eliciting at first silence in the chamber, before a smattering of sarcastic applause and jeering forced Obama to smirk slightly at the Republicans in the room.
    With a straight face he ad-libbed, "I know because I won both of them", turning his head to the other side quickly, the ultimate put down executed to full effect.
    The room erupted with cheers and laughs from the president's supporters, which lated for several minutes, with Obama winking back at the Republicans who had jeered him, evidently proud of his spontaneous "burn". Joe Biden, who didn't initially react to Obama's quip, soon smiled broadly as the room responded to the president's joke.
    The camera cuts to a scene of the room and many prominent Democrats can be seen enjoying the moment: Elizabeth Warren is having a good grin while Eric Holder claps his approval. Several members of Congress stand up and cheer, notably John Lewis, who was one of the marchers at Selma in 1965. John Kerry is smiling while whispering to Jack Lew, and even Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, who was nominated by Obama, is seen giggling.
    Obama won presidential elections in 2008 and 2012, beating John McCain and Mitt Romney respectively. You can forgive Obama for having a crack at the Republicans during one of his last State of the Union addresses: at his first one in 2009, Republican Joe Wilson famously shouted "liar" after Obama said illegal immigrants wouldn't be insured in his healthcare reform.
    Of course, the internet enjoyed Obama's ad-lib mastery, with many mixing the joke with Obama dancing on the Ellen show; the comedian-in-chief revelling in his moment.
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