A collection of newsworthy information as reported from newspapers, magazines, and blogs.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bush Spent Millions To Insure Iraq Had Universal Health Care

Article 31 of the Iraqi Constitution, drafted by the Bush administration in 2005 and ratified by the Iraqi people, includes state-guaranteed (single payer) healthcare for life for every Iraqi citizen.  Article 31 reads:

"First: Every citizen has the right to health care. The State shall maintain public health and provide the means of prevention and treatment by building different types of hospitals and health institutions.
 
The Bush administration's top health-care official defended the $950 million that will be spent to help Iraq establish universal health care.  Congressional Democrats have criticized the administration for helping Iraq to establish universal health care without doing the same for U.S. citizens.

We need comprehensive HC reform with a new paradigm, not our current "sickness system" for those fortunate enough to have it. It's about maximizing value--we have more than enough dollars in the "system". These dollars need to be properly allocated to provide value and healthcare for every American said Dr. Michael Rushnak.

How the development of ACOs plays out over the next few years is likely to have lasting implications for the practice of medicine, patients’ experience of health care, and health care costs in the United States.



Video: Insuring Your Health: Looking At The Changes 2011 Brings






Read:

http://www.currentconcerns.ch/index.php?id=620


http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/29/health/policy/29legal.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha23

Friday, December 24, 2010

"Others Dream. Obama Does."

President Obama is a realist who gets things done: he makes his case, counts votes, makes his best deal and the country moves forward. That’s progress.http://progress.barackobama.com/?source=FBS  He doesn’t gloat or count enemies but moves to the next task.  In contrast, others hold to principle and accomplish nothing. Purists for health care reform, for example, insisted on the best solution in 1993 and came away with nothing. Mr. Obama took the best he could get and came away with sweeping improvements to the health care system.  Ending “don’t ask, don’t tell,” major financial industry reform and a critical nuclear arms treaty are just a few more examples of the accomplishments as a result of his modus operandi.

The American political landscape is littered with lost causes in which noble stalwarts led a righteous army into the realm of folk song glory and nothing much else.  Mr. Obama promised change we can believe in, the politics of the real — not the remotely possible, or the “should have been.” He has delivered on his promise. In these difficult, complex times, we are fortunate to have Mr. Obama in the White House. by Ed Morales

The frustration that we’ve seen from the likes of John McCain, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner (not to mention, outrageous outbursts such as Joe Wilson’s “You lie!”), have bordered on obscene temper-tantrums. All of which make the contrast between themselves and this affable president all the more striking. His Zen-like focus on the issues before him, and away from the caterwauling of the peanut gallery has already driven the Glenn Becks and Rush Limbaughs to the brink of insanity, and now it appears, the Caporegimes of the GOP are following suit. The cooler he is, the hotter they become.

During events attended by leadership of both parties, he gazes over at the gallery of red-faced buffoons on the Republican side; seething with hatred... and he flashes that winning smile. Because while they’ve been playing checkers, he’s been playing chess. Not without a few take-back moves, but for the most part, passing the legislation that the American people sent him there to do, while the likes of John Kyl, Mike Pence and John Cornyn grumble their dissatisfaction to anybody who will listen over at Fox News.  The point being, is that president Obama’s magic bullet is one that none of his adversaries possess - an almost uncanny ability to avoid becoming rattled by anything. And thus far, that gift has served him well.

Always taking the high ground has not only allowed him to ignore the taunts that are intended to distract him from his agenda, but it also spotlights who they are... an angry mob of dysfunctional, purely-partisan, mostly old, white, southern sycophants, whose only goal is the destruction of one man, and that man’s increasingly successful presidency. And the higher the ground he takes, the lower, it by default, puts them.  And throughout it all; after being called a liar, a socialist, a Marxist, a secret Muslim, an illegal Kenyan plant, all the racial innuendo, even attacking his wife -- he just keeps smiling! Because he knows that the cooler he stays, the angrier it makes them. And the angrier they are, the more it exposes their agenda of hate. 

Stay cool Mr. President, stay cool. Your character may yet be their downfall.  by Bruce Linder  
“If you would have told policy people and political scientists two years ago that halfway through his term in office, Barack Obama will have accomplished 85% of his agenda, they would have laughed at you and told you how impossible that would be given the amount of polarization in our legislative process. If you would go on to tell them that after one year Obama would lose his 60 vote majority in the Senate, and would still pass major legislation the experts would have told you to seek mental help, but this is exactly what President Obama has accomplished.” ~ Rachel Maddow, December 22, 2010What has Obama done so far?


Get Your DCCC Thanksgiving Cheat Sheet - http://www.dccc.org/  


Rachel Maddow - 06-25-10

Before he’d served even one year President Obama lost the support of the easily distracted left and engendered the white hot rage of the hate-filled right. But some of us, from all walks of life and ideological backgrounds — including this white, straight, 57-year-old, former religious right wing agitator, now progressive writer and (given my background as the son of a famous evangelical leader) this unlikely Obama supporter — are sticking with our President.  Why?– because he is succeeding.  

The Context of the Obama Presidency

Not since the days of the rise of fascism in Europe , the Second World War and the Depression has any president faced more adversity. Not since the Civil War has any president led a more bitterly divided country. Not since the introduction of racial integration has any president faced a more consistently short-sighted and willfully ignorant opposition – from both the right and left.  Here is what Obama faced when he took office– none of which was his fault:

An ideologically divided country to the point that America was really two countries

Two wars; one that was mishandled from the start, the other that was unnecessary and immoral

The worst economic crisis since the depression

America ‘s standing in the world at the lowest point in history

A country that had been misled into accepting the use of torture of prisoners of war

A health care system in free fall

An educational system in free fall

A global environmental crisis of history-altering proportions (about which the Bush administration and the Republicans had done nothing)

An impasse between culture warriors from the right and left

A huge financial deficit inherited from the terminally irresponsible Bush administration.

And those were only some of the problems sitting on the President’s desk!

“Help” from the Right?
What did the Republicans and the religious right, libertarians and half-baked conspiracy theorists — that is what the Republicans were reduced to by the time Obama took office — do to “help” our new president (and our country) succeed? They claimed that he wasn’t a real American, didn’t have an American birth certificate, wasn’t born here, was secretly a Muslim, was white-hating “racist”, was secretly a communist, was actually the Anti-Christ, (!) and was a reincarnation of Hitler and wanted “death panels” to kill the elderly! They not-so-subtly called for his assassination through the not-so-subtle use of vile signs held at their rallies and even a bumper sticker quoting Psalm 109:8. They organized “tea parties” to sound off against imagined insults and all government in general and gathered to howl at the moon. They were led by insurance industry lobbyists and deranged (but well financed) “commentators” from Glenn Beck to Rush Limbaugh.  The utterly discredited Roman Catholic bishops teamed up with the utterly discredited evangelical leaders to denounce a president who was trying to actually do something about the poor, the environment, to diminish the number of abortions through compassionate programs to help women and to care for the sick! And in Congress the Republican leadership only knew one word: “No!”

In other words the reactionary white, rube, uneducated, crazy American far right,combined with the educated but obtuse neoconservative war mongers, religious right shills for big business, libertarian Fed Reserve-hating gold bug, gun-loving crazies, child-molesting acquiescent “bishops”, frontier loons and evangelical gay-hating flakes found one thing to briefly unite them: their desire to stop an uppity black man from succeeding at all costs!

“Help” from the Left?



What did the left do to help their newly elected president? Some of them excoriated the President because they disagreed with the bad choices he was being forced to make regarding a war in Afghanistan that he’d inherited from the worst president in modern history!  Others stood up and bravely proclaimed that the President’s economic policies had “failed” before the President even instituted them! Others said that since all gay rights battles had not been fully won within virtually minutes of the President taking office, they’d been “betrayed”! (Never mind that Obama’s vocal support to the gay community is stronger than any other president’s has been. Never mind that he signed a new hate crimes law!).  Those that had stood in transfixed legions weeping with beatific emotion on election night turned into an angry mob saying how “disappointed” they were that they’d not all immediately been translated to heaven the moment Obama stepped into the White House! Where was the “change”? Contrary to their expectations they were still mere mortals!  And the legion of young new supporters was too busy texting to pay attention for longer than a nanosecond. “Governing”?! What the hell does that word, uh, like mean?” The President’s critics left and right all had one thing in common: impatience laced with little-to-no sense of history (let alone reality) thrown in for good measure.

Then of course there were the white, snide know-it-all commentators/talking heads who just couldn’t imagine that maybe, just maybe they weren’t as smart as they thought they were and certainly not as smart as their president. He hadn’t consulted them, had he? So he must be wrong! The Obama critics’ ideological ideas defined their idea of reality rather than reality defining their ideas-say, about what is possible in one year in office after the hand that the President had been dealt by fate, or to be exact by the American idiot nation that voted Bush into office twice!  Meanwhile back in the reality-based community – in just 12 short months –President Obama:
Continued to draw down the misbegotten war in Iraq (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Thoughtfully and decisively picked the best of several bad choices regarding the war in Afghanistan (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Gave a major precedent-setting speech supporting gay rights (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Restored America ‘s image around the globe (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Banned torture of American prisoners (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Stopped the free fall of the American economy (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Put the USA squarely back in the bilateral international community (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Put the USA squarely into the middle of the international effort to halt global warming (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Stood up for educational reform (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Won a Nobel peace prize (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Moved the trial of terrorists back into the American judicial system of checks and balances (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Did what had to be done to start the slow, torturous and almost impossible process of health care reform that 7 presidents had failed to even begin (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Responded to hatred from the right and left with measured good humor and patience (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Stopped the free fall of job losses (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Showed immense personal courage in the face of an armed and dangerous far right opposition that included the sort of disgusting people that show up at public meetings carrying loaded weapons and carrying Timothy McVeigh-inspired signs about the “blood of tyrants” needing to “water the tree of liberty”. (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Showed that he could not only make the tough military choices but explain and defend them brilliantly (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Other than those “disappointing” accomplishments — IN ONE YEAR — President Obama “failed”! Other than that he didn’t “live up to expectations”!  Who actually has failed……are the Americans that can’t see the beginning of a miracle of national rebirth right under their jaded noses. Who failed are the smart ass ideologues of the left and right who began rooting for this President to fail so that they could be proved right in their dire and morbid predictions. Who failed are the movers and shakers behind our obscenely dumb news cycles that have turned “news” into just more stupid entertainment for an entertainment-besotted infantile country.  Here’s the good news: President Obama is succeeding without the help of his lefty “supporters” or hate-filled Republican detractors! by By Frank Schaeffer

Before President Obama took office - January 2009:  We have learned that the $700 billion Wall Street bailout signed into law under George W. Bush turned out to be pocket change compared to the trillions and trillions of dollars in near zero interest loans and other financial arrangements the Federal Reserve doled out.


2008 DNC National Convention:

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

West Wing Week: 12/17/10 or "All These Pens"

Walk step by step with the President as he signs a landmark childhood nutrition bill, urges passage of the compromise on tax cuts and unemployment insurance, discusses the Afghanistan-Pakistan Annual Review, and more.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fix the Filibuster Rules

Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) predicts "fireworks" on Jan. 5, 2011. The day a new Senate convenes, fifty-one Senators can set the rules for the body with a simple majority vote. January 5, 2011 is the day that the Senate should adopt rules that limit the ability of the minority to obstruct and circumvent the will of the majority by using the filibuster and secret holds.

Sign the petition:  Fix the filibuster rules
http://www.commoncause.org/siteapps/advocacy/ActionItem.aspx?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=6445811&auid=7515463 

Rachel Maddow rounds up the number of senators who have told her personally that they support reforming the filibuster rule and points out that there is only one day at the start of the new Congress when this can be done.




 

Details of how this will be done - by Tom Harkin:


We are coming on the fifth to basically send a motion to the vice president ... that will change the rules and there is a procedure to provide 51 votes to do that.  Essentially, that path to reform requires Vice President Joe Biden -- who supports weakening the filibuster -- to rule on the first day of the next session that the Senate has the authority to write its own rules. Republicans, presumably, would immediately move to object, but Democrats could then move to table the objection, setting up a key up-or-down vote. If 50 Democrats voted to table the objection, the Senate would then move to a vote on a new set of rules, which could be approved by a simple majority.Senator Tom Harkin has proposed a plan to lower the number of votes needed to cut off debate (to end a filibuster) gradually over a number of days. The first day it would take 60 votes. Two days later it would take 57 votes. Two days after that, 55 votes -- then 53 and finally 51.


Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) has also been exploring options for filibuster reform, and suggested that the Senate might exercise the "constitutional option" and change Senate rules with a simple majority of votes on the first day of its next session. Since the Constitution gives the House and Senate the power to set their own rules, Udall's proposal would seem to bypass the higher threshold required to change Senate rules.

Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has held meetings on the idea, and the options for reform include ideas ranging from requiring senators to speak continuously during an actual filibuster to lowering the threshold of votes that can end a filibuster.

Others have proposals to shift the burden of maintaining a filibuster to those who want to prevent a majority vote. You might, for instance, require that at any time, at any hour, any member could ask for a "Cloture Call,", much the same way they can ask for a quorum call today. If 41 Senators did not report to the floor to answer that they wished to sustain the filibuster, then the filibuster would end. Such a rule would require those who want to filibuster to actually filibuster -- and to constantly provide the votes to sustain it. Under the proposals of those who want to shift the burden of maintaining a filibuster to the minority, any quorum call would automatically trigger an end to the filibuster. Reformers have proposed a variety of other changes, such as ending filibusters for nominations, eliminating onerous time requirements intended to make it impractical for the Senate to consider controversial issues or nominations, and ending "secret holds". The 60-vote rule gives the Republicans every incentive to try to kill legislation. If bills required a simple majority, the minority would be forced to negotiate if they wanted to affect the shape of legislation since they would no longer have the power to obstruct them outright.
 
What has caused a need to change the filibuster?
 
The answer is the Senate Rules. Democrats currently have a majority of 58 votes in the Senate. But to pass anything meaningful they need a super-majority of 60. That's not because the Constitution requires such a super-majority. It's because of rules adopted by members of the Senate -- that have been abused by the obstructionist Republican minority.

That movement is fueled by growing frustration among Democratic voters at the way Republican leader Mitch McConnell calls so many shots in the Senate, even though Democrats are in the majority. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is forced by the Senate rules to get 60 votes for almost any substantial piece of legislation. Democrats want their members of the Senate to stand up and fight back. Voters want an end to partisan gridlock.

In fact, the current Senate rules not only empower minority Republicans, they also empower Wall Street and other special interests. It's very hard to get a 60- vote super-majority for any major policy in America. The 60-vote super-majority means that special interests can concentrate their efforts -- and contributions -- on recruiting just a few Senators who can then prevent the Senate from taking any action that compromises their interests. It empowers political "hostage takers" who represent the most powerful elements of corporate America rather than the majority of Americans.

Things could have been different:  Just Imagine
 
Just think how different the last two years would have been if every measure did not require 60 votes:

• Congress would have passed a substantially larger economic stimulus plan in early 2009 that could have materially increased the rate of economic growth and put millions of Americans back to work. Not only would that have benefited everyday Americans, it would have translated into much better Democratic performance in last month's elections -- and all that implies over the next two years.


• The health care reform bill would have included a Public Option that would have helped control health care costs, cut the long-term Federal deficit, and -- because it was one of the most popular elements of the president's health care reform -- would have increased the popularity of the entire measure.


• Comprehensive Immigration Reform would have passed the Congress and been signed into law.


• "Don't Ask Don't Tell" would have been repealed.


• And, of course the tax cuts for the Middle Class and unemployment insurance would have been continued -- and tax breaks for the wealthy would have been discontinued. Who knows, Congress might even have been able to pass legislation imposing a large tax on the outrageous, obscene multi-million dollar bonuses being paid by Wall Street to its top producers -- just in time for Christmas.


So if you're furious at how Mitch McConnell's Republican minority is holding America hostage, the time has come to do something about it. Ask your Senators to support changing the Senate rules that allow the Republican minority to obstruct the will of the majority.


Sign the petition: Fix the filibuster rules!
http://www.commoncause.org/siteapps/advocacy/ActionItem.aspx?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=6445811&auid=7515463
                 


Additional Sources:

• Aside from the filibuster problem, there are other insidious problems with senatorial rules. For example, unanimous consent: http://michiganmessenger.com/40742/levin-blasts-republican-abuse-of-senate-rules-for-obstruction

• Another abuse is that of secret holds: http://www.politicususa.com/en/gop-secret-hold

• Here is an article outlining the preferences for change: http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2010/12/15/929229/-Where-the-filibuster-reform-campaign-stands



Tuesday, December 14, 2010

5 Things You Should Know About The Bipartisan Compromise on Taxes




The Bipartisan Compromise

The White House explains the compromise.  Heated discussions ensued as the compromise was being discussed.   Representative Anthony Weiner of New York got up and asserted that Mr. Obama was acting like a “negotiator in chief” instead of a “leader” who gets things done.  Mr. Biden erupted. “There’s no goddamned way I’m going to stand here and talk about the president like that,” the vice president said, according to two people in the room.

This is a hopeful sign that Obama has learned the lessons of the health-care debate, when he acceded too easily to the wishes of Hill Democrats, allowing them to slow the legislation and engage in a protracted debate on the public option. Months of delay gave Republicans time to make their case against "socialism" and prevented action on more pressing issues, such as job creation. Democrats paid for that with 63 seats.


Things began the same way this time. The White House left matters up to congressional Democrats, who postponed a vote on taxes until after the election. But when lawmakers continued their foot-dragging, Obama cut them out of the negotiations.

Payroll tax cut worries Social Security advocates.  If the payroll tax is indefinitely lowered by 2.0 percentage points, then Social Security's finances will appear much more shaky. As it stands, Social Security is fully funded through the year 2037, but that doesn't keep The Washington Post and National Public Radio from running endless scare stories about the program's funding crisis.


Social Security is funded by a 6.2 percent payroll tax on the first $106,800 earned by a worker. The tax is matched by employers. The package negotiated by Obama would reduce the tax paid by workers to 4.2 percent for 2011. Employer rates would stay unchanged. A payroll tax cut is an efficient way to stimulate the economy by immediately increasing take home pay for about 155 million workers. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office agrees, and many business groups and Republicans support it.


The payroll tax cut would provide relief to any worker earning a wage. The payroll tax credit would be more generous to individuals making more than $20,000 and married couples making more than $40,000. Workers making $106,800 — the maximum amount of wages subject to Social Security taxes — would see their payroll taxes reduced by $2,136. That worker's spouse could also get a payroll tax cut of up to $2,136, if he or she makes at least $106,800.

Obama's Making Work Pay tax credit, which has provided modest increases in most workers' paychecks for the past two years. Making Work Pay, which expires at the end of the year, gives workers a tax credit of 6.2 percent of their wages, but it is capped at $400 for individuals and $800 for couples. The credit is phased out for individuals making more than $75,000 and couples making more than $150,000.

A worker would have to make $20,000 in wages for the payroll tax cut to equal the $400 Making Work Pay tax credit; couples would have to make $40,000. For those making less, the payroll tax cut would be less than the Making Work Pay credit.

"The payroll tax cut has absolutely no effect on the solvency of Social Security," said White House economic adviser Jason Furman. Social Security has accumulated a $2.5 trillion trust fund since the 1980s. But the government has borrowed that money to pay for other programs. The Treasury Department has issued special bonds to Social Security, guaranteeing the money will be repaid, with interest. This year, for the first time since the 1980s, Social Security will pay out more in benefits than it collects in payroll taxes.

"Barack Obama showed me one thing - that, above all the hype, he's a man of immense compassion. He put his neck on the line and put his people, the people of America - white, black and brown and anything in between - first" by Joe McKee


Democrats need to learn how to stick together. No matter how damaging Sarah Palin has been to the Republican party, no revolt has been led against her by Fox News, Rush or any of the other loud voices. Our progressive media - is providing a disservice to the Democrats when they speak anti-Obama sentiments. I have no doubt that President Obama is doing everything he can for middle class Americans. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

President Obama Answers Questions - Bush Tax Cut Compromise

President Obama spoke to reporters about a deal he negotiated with congressional Republican leaders for the extension of tax cuts made during the George W. Bush administration in exchange for the extension of unemployment benefits. He also answered reporters' questions.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

$700 Billion Bailout is Pocket Change Compared to Trillions Given by Fed. Reserve


"As a result of this disclosure, other members of Congress and I will be taking a very extensive look at all aspects of how the Federal Reserve functions."

Read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704594804575648683678596728.html#ixzz16yHG2x00

On March 3, 2009, at a Senate Budget Committee hearing, Bernie Sanders asked Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to tell the American people the names of the financial institutions that received an unprecedented backdoor bailout from the Federal Reserve, how much they received, and the exact terms of this assistance.  my amendment also required the GAO to conduct a top to bottom audit of all of the emergency lending the Fed provided during the financial crisis to be completed on July 21, 2011 which will take a hard look at all of the potential conflicts of interest that took place with respect to this bailout.

What have we learned from today's disclosure?  And, this is based on a 4 hour examination of over 21,000 transactions.  We have learned that the $700 billion Wall Street bailout signed into law under George W. Bush turned out to be pocket change compared to the trillions and trillions of dollars in near zero interest loans and other financial arrangements the Federal Reserve doled out.

We have also learned that the Fed’s multi-trillion bailout was not limited to Wall Street and big banks, but that some of the largest corporations in this country also received a very substantial bailout.  Among those are General Electric, McDonald's, Caterpillar, Harley Davidson, Toyota, and Verizon also received a bailout from the Fed.

Perhaps most surprising is the huge sum that went to bail out foreign private banks and corporations including two European megabanks -- Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse – who were the largest beneficiaries of the Fed's purchase of mortgage-backed securities.

Deutsche Bank, a German lender, sold the Fed more than $290 billion worth of mortgage securities and Credit Suisse, a Swiss bank, sold the Fed more than $287 billion in mortgage bonds.

Has the Federal Reserve of the United States become the central bank of the world?

Note:  The money starts flowing on December 12, 2007 and go up to January 16, 2009--just before Obama is sworn into office.


December 12, 2007- 375 Billion for Liquidity Swaps

December 17, 2007- 448 Billion to a Term Auction Facility

February 13, 2008- 168 Billion (Stimulus OK'd by Congress)( I think these were our "rebate" checks in the amount of $300 per person)

March 11, 2008- 115 Billion for Term Securities Lending

March 14, 2008- 29 Billion to Bear Sterns

March 16, 2008- 25 Billion for Primary Dealer Support (Fed)

September 7, 2008- 85 Billion to Fannie Mae

September 16, 2008- 85 Billion to AIG

September 19, 2008- 13 Billion to Money Market

October 3, 2008-700 Billion for TARP

October 7, 2008- 249 Billion Commercial Paper funding

November 8, 2008- 22.5 Billion to AIG (again)

November 23, 2008- 234 Billion to CITI group

November 25, 2008- up to 100 Billion for Mortgage Market Support

November 25, 2008- up to 500 Billion in Mortgage-backed Securities/Mortgage Market support

November 25, 2008- 200 Billion for TALF (Term Asset-backed Loan Facility)

January 16, 2009- 118 Billion to Bank Of America



Grand total>> $3.467 TRILLION dollars.....all before Obama was even sworn in!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

President Barack Obama's Thanksgiving Proclamation

A beloved American tradition, Thanksgiving Day offers us the opportunity to focus our thoughts on the grace that has been extended to our people and our country. This spirit brought together the newly arrived Pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe -- who had been living and thriving around Plymouth, Massachusetts for thousands of years -- in an autumn harvest feast centuries ago. This Thanksgiving Day, we reflect on the compassion and contributions of Native Americans, whose skill in agriculture helped the early colonists survive, and whose rich culture continues to add to our Nation's heritage. We also pause our normal pursuits on this day and join in a spirit of fellowship and gratitude for the year's bounties and blessings.


Thanksgiving Day is a time each year, dating back to our founding, when we lay aside the troubles and disagreements of the day and bow our heads in humble recognition of the providence bestowed upon our Nation. Amidst the uncertainty of a fledgling experiment in democracy, President George Washington declared the first Thanksgiving in America, recounting the blessings of tranquility, union, and plenty that shined upon our young country. In the dark days of the Civil War when the fate of our Union was in doubt, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a Thanksgiving Day, calling for "the Almighty hand" to heal and restore our Nation.

In confronting the challenges of our day, we must draw strength from the resolve of previous generations who faced their own struggles and take comfort in knowing a brighter day has always dawned on our great land. As we stand at the close of one year and look to the promise of the next, we lift up our hearts in gratitude to God for our many blessings, for one another, and for our Nation. This Thanksgiving Day, we remember that the freedoms and security we enjoy as Americans are protected by the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces. These patriots are willing to lay down their lives in our defense, and they and their families deserve our profound gratitude for their service and sacrifice.

This harvest season, we are also reminded of those experiencing the pangs of hunger or the hardship of economic insecurity. Let us return the kindness and generosity we have seen throughout the year by helping our fellow citizens weather the storms of our day.

As Americans gather for the time-honored Thanksgiving Day meal, let us rejoice in the abundance that graces our tables, in the simple gifts that mark our days, in the loved ones who enrich our lives, and in the gifts of a gracious God. Let us recall that our forebears met their challenges with hope and an unfailing spirit, and let us resolve to do the same.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 25, 2010, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage all the people of the United States to come together -- whether in our homes, places of worship, community centers, or any place of fellowship for friends and neighbors -- to give thanks for all we have received in the past year, to express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own, and to share our bounty with others.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-third day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.



BARACK OBAMA

Craig Crawford - How to get letters to lawmakers

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

Republican candidates have no platform

Rachel Maddow explodes the prevailing media explanations for the success of extreme right Republican candidates, proving that the election is not about such issues as the deficit or TARP.



A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered her altitude and spotted a man in a boat below. She shouted to him,


"Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."

The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, "You're in a hot air balloon, approximately 30 feet above ground elevation of 2,346 feet above sea level. You are at 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude.

She rolled her eyes and said, "You must be an Obama Democrat."

"I am," replied the man. "How did you know?"

"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically correct. But I have no idea what to do with your information, and I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help to me."

The man smiled and responded, "You must be a Republican."

"I am," replied the balloonist. "How did you know?"

"Well," said the man, "you don't know where you are -- or where you are going. You've risen to where you are, due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem.

You're in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but somehow, now it's my fault."

COMMENT:You are hearing from political pundits that the party of President Obama, the Democratic Party will not do well during the upcoming election. It's an easy call based on historical fact (the party in power always loses seats). A big reason according to a poll by the Pew Research Center is that we (minorities) tend to not vote in mid-term elections. Let's change that.

It's clear that the Republican Party has no interest in helping the President fix the economy or anything else and if they regain power the country will be in far worse shape. We all know that the withering attacks that this President faces daily are really racially motivated. In spite of how the media couches their words we know that white (tea party) America does not believe he should be President under any circumstances.

The President has done some good things and he deserves our support.

This could be the most important midterm of our generation, encourage your family and friends to participate; the party that got us into this mess are trying to compound what they did, do not allow this to happen. If the Democrats lose control of the Congress the Republicans will not help Obama to govern, thus he becomes a lame duck and the country will be headed over the cliff. Keep this email going it will help, create your own or add your comments.


REMEMBER POLLS DO NOT VOTE PEOPLE DO.

 Elect the Willfully Ignorant!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

US Chamber of Commerce Uses Foreign Monies to Get Republicans Elected

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

Thomas J. Donohue is president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Since assuming his position in 1997, Donohue has built the Chamber into a lobbying and political powerhouse with expanded influence across the globe.  Under Donohue's leadership, the Chamber has also emerged as a major player in election politics, helping elect congressional pro-business candidates through financial support and voter activism generated through the Chamber's powerful grassroots program.  Read more.

Think Progress documented three different ways the Chamber fundraises from foreign corporations: (1) An internal fundraising program called “Business Councils” used to solicit direct, largely foreign contributions to the Chamber, (2) Direct contributions from foreign multinationals like BP, Siemens, and Shell Oil, and (3) From the Chamber’s network of AmCham affiliates, which are foreign chambers of the Chamber composed of American and foreign companies.

According to ThinkProgress, at least 84 foreign companies have given at least $885,000 to the Chamber of Commerce’s 501c(6)—an entity the business-advocacy group uses to fund political attack ads. A large number of these foreign companies are based in India, while big foreign banks like Credit Suisse and HSBC also gave $15,000 each to the Chamber. The nonprofit Chamber of Commerce has said on Fox News that its foreign money totals “approximately $100,000”; Fox News’ parent company, News Corp., donated $1 million to the Chamber’s recent ad campaign.  Read More 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Obstruction Tactics

Ian Millhiser is a Policy Analyst with American Progress.

The current 111th Congress is one of the most successful in American history. This success did not come without a fight .  Ian Millhiser's articles address those obstructions: 

The Tyranny of the Timepiece: Senate Rules Obstruct Voting to a Degree that Wounds Our Government

Infographic: Running Out the Clock

Minority Rules - Ten Ways to Bring the Senate to Its Knees

Thursday, September 30, 2010

There Better Not Be An Enthusiasm Gap!



I'm Only A Man




Ben Jealous, NAACP President, says get off of the couch!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Young Adults More Likely To Vote After Reading Rolling Stone Article

Question?  Who reads Rolling Stone Magazine?
Answer:  Young adults

Obama has taken his time and explained all of the issues he's faced during his Presidency.  His intended audience, young adults, will get the message and  will likely become influenced to vote during the mid-term elections.  This is a great strategic move for Obama. 

Excerpts from Rolling Stone Interview

This recession is worse than the Ronald Reagan recession of the Eighties, the 1990-91 recession, and the 2001 recession combined.

I swore to uphold the Constitution, and part of that Constitution is a free press. We've got a tradition in this country of a press that oftentimes is opinionated. The golden age of an objective press was a pretty narrow span of time in our history. Before that, you had folks like Hearst who used their newspapers very intentionally to promote their viewpoints. I think Fox is part of that tradition — it is part of the tradition that has a very clear, undeniable point of view. It's a point of view that I disagree with. It's a point of view that I think is ultimately destructive for the long-term growth of a country that has a vibrant middle class and is competitive in the world. But as an economic enterprise, it's been wildly successful. And I suspect that if you ask Mr. Murdoch what his number-one concern is, it's that Fox is very successful.

"Folks, that's what you elected me to do." I keep in my pocket a checklist of the promises I made during the campaign, and here I am, halfway through my first term, and we've probably accomplished 70 percent of the things that we said we were going to do — and by the way, I've got two years left to finish the rest of the list, at minimum. So I think that it is very important for Democrats to take pride in what we've accomplished.

I could have had a knock-down, drag-out fight on the public option that might have energized you and The Huffington Post, and we would not have health care legislation now. I could have taken certain positions on aspects of the financial regulatory bill, where we got 90 percent of what we set out to get, and I could have held out for that last 10 percent, and we wouldn't have a bill. You've got to make a set of decisions in terms of "What are we trying to do here? Are we trying to just keep everybody ginned up for the next election, or at some point do you try to win elections because you're actually trying to govern?" I made a decision early on in my presidency that if I had an opportunity to do things that would make a difference for years to come, I'm going to go ahead and take it.

I just made the announcement about Elizabeth Warren setting up our Consumer Finance Protection Bureau out in the Rose Garden, right before you came in. Here's an agency that has the potential to save consumers billions of dollars over the next 20 to 30 years — simple stuff like making sure that folks don't jack up your credit cards without you knowing about it, making sure that mortgage companies don't steer you to higher-rate mortgages because they're getting a kickback, making sure that payday loans aren't preying on poor people in ways that these folks don't understand. And you know what? That's what we say we stand for as progressives. If we can't take pleasure and satisfaction in concretely helping middle-class families and working-class families save money, get a college education, get health care — if that's not what we're about, then we shouldn't be in the business of politics. Then we're no better than the other side, because all we're thinking about is whether or not we're in power.

But to say that we did not significantly improve oversight of the derivatives market, it just isn’t true.

One of the things that you realize when you're in my seat is that, typically, the issues that come to my desk — there are no simple answers to them. Usually what I'm doing is operating on the basis of a bunch of probabilities: I'm looking at the best options available based on the fact that there are no easy choices. If there were easy choices, somebody else would have solved it, and it wouldn't have come to my desk.

That's true for financial regulatory reform, that's true on Afghanistan, that's true on how we deal with the terrorist threat. On all these issues, you've got a huge number of complex factors involved. When you're sitting outside and watching, you think, "Well, that sounds simple," and you can afford to operate on the basis of your ideological predispositions. What I'm trying to do — and certainly what we've tried to do in our economic team — is to keep a North Star out there: What are the core principles we're abiding by? In the economic sphere, my core principle is that America works best

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Republican's "Pledge to America"

"

The Republican's “Pledge to America” budget would mean $11.1 trillion in deficits over the next 10 years. By 2020, the budget deficit would be about $200 billion larger than under President Obama's budget.  Read more.


Slideshare -



Obama Speaks Out




Rachel Maddow - Republican's "Pledge to America" written by lobbyist.

 

A Waste Of Paper -  Read More

It sure sounds like the GOP wants to get things done, though. One should bear in mind, however, the various pieces of legislation they've managed to block while in the minority. You have to ask yourself how committed Republicans are to the "deepest beliefs of the American people" after they killed or tried to kill:


•Franken's Anti-Rape Amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill: a bill to allow women who are raped while working overseas to have their case heard in an American court. Every Republican male in the Senate voted against it, but it managed to pass.

•Benefits for homeless veterans and homeless veterans with children: successfully blocked by the GOP.

•Health care for 9/11 first responders: successfully blocked by the GOP.

•A Jobs bill that gives tax breaks to companies that hire new employees: successfully blocked by the GOP.

•Stricter regulations for financial institutions to keep them from destroying the economy again: Republicans attempted to block this but failed.

•The stimulus package: Republicans went wild and wooly trying to block this, then turned around and took credit for the multiple aspects of the bill that worked.

•Oil spill liability to make oil companies pay more to clean up after a spill: successfully blocked by the GOP.

•Unemployment benefits extension for millions of unemployed people who are trying to hold on: blocked by the GOP for weeks before it finally passed.

•The Fair Pay Act, a.k.a. The Lilly Ledbetter bill, to ensure women are paid the same wages as men: the GOP tried to block it.

The list goes on, but you get the idea.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Today, Obama Celebrates - Health Reform In Action


The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) passed the Senate on December 24, 2009, by a vote of 60-39 with all Democrats and Independents voting for, and all Republicans voting against. The PPACA is a federal statute that was signed into law in the United States by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010.









Today,


Obama is celebrating the six month anniversary of the Affordable Care Act.


The Patient’s Bill of Rights will take effect, putting an end to some of the worst insurance industry abuses.

On Monday, Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina announced that, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 215,000 customers will receive refunds totaling $155.8 million.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced that, on average, premiums for seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage would go down, while enrollment in the program is expected to increase.

The Patient’s Bill of Rights:

• Bans discrimination against kids with pre-existing conditions.

• Allows young adults to remain on their parents’ plan until their 26th birthday.

• Prohibits insurance companies from cutting off your coverage when you’re sick if you made a mistake on your application.

• Prohibits insurance companies from putting a lifetime limit on the amount of coverage you may receive, and restricts the use of annual limits until they are banned completely in 2014.

• And if you join a new plan:

o You have the right to choose your own doctor in your insurer network.

o Your insurer is banned from charging more for emergency services obtained outside of their network.

o You will be guaranteed the right to appeal insurance company decisions to an independent third party.

o You will receive recommended preventive care with no out-of-pocket cost. Services like mammograms, colonoscopies, immunizations, pre-natal and new baby care will be covered, and insurance companies will be prohibited from charging deductibles, co-payments or co-insurance.






Rachel MaDDOW

Saturday, September 18, 2010

What if The Tea Party Was Black

This video says it all:

There is no lack of enthusiam here - Will I AM, Obama Girls - Where Are You?




Arrogance of being President while being Black


I don't think anyone was under some real illusion that the election of Barack Obama actually means the end of racism in America . I'm pretty sure that the president-elect knew it better than anyone. After all, he saw it every day, from the moment he announced his candidacy. To some degree, he saw it within his own party during the primaries. And he saw it in all ugliness during the general election. For half of this country, he was "That One". No matter how big and clear his victory was. No matter how smart he is. No matter how decent he is. No matter what a true patriot he is. No matter how optimistic and positive his vision for America was. All that didn't matter. Because at the end of the day, he was still black.

I'm quite old. I remember, vaguely, where my parents were on November 22, 1963. I've seen so many presidents. Some were feared, some were hated, some were adored, some popular and some not. But all of them, without exception, were treated with the highest respect deserving the office of the president of the United States .

That is until a black man won the right to occupy this office. It's been 13 months now, and in the eyes of so many, Barack Obama is still that one. He is being disrespected and at the same time being held to the highest standard of any president I've ever seen – and not just by the Republican side! He has to perform three times better than any president in history, and even that may not be enough.

For the media, he is many more times just "Obama" than "President Obama". They create scandals out of nothing issues. It took them at least 6 years to start giving Bush a small part of the sh-t he deserved. It took them 6 months to begin crap all over Obama because he's yet to fix the catastrophe that was left for him .

They use condescending tones when they talk about him, and only mildly less condescending when they talk TO him. With anyone else, CNN wouldn't dare go to commercials every time the president speaks, like they did during that summit on Thursday. They wouldn't dare be counting how many minutes George Bush or Bill Clinton were talking. Chris Mathews wouldn't dare make an issue out of Ronald Regan calling members of congress by their first name, like he is not actually the president. They fully cooperate with the Right-Wing smear machine when it comes to president Obama's national security performance – even if almost every independent and military expert actually thinks that he's a terrific Commander-in-Chief. You'll never see them on TV, and virtually no one from the Left, in congress and outside, defend the president on this matter.

I don't care about the Far-Right. They're just crazy ignorant Neanderthals. It's the way the beltway and the mainstream treats this president that is shocking. On Thursday, almost every Republican had no trouble interrupting him in the middle of a sentence. They looked like they're going to vomit every time they had to say "Mr. president". They all had this Eric-Cantor-Smirk whenever he spoke. Then they went out and started to spit their stupid talking points, to the delight of the media. Sarah Palin, a woman who can hardly read, thinks that he was "arrogant" towards John McCain, and somehow this is an important news. Because you see, "Obama's Arrogance" is the talking point of the day.

Oh, those talking points. He is arrogant (because he knows the facts better than all of them combined). He is an elitist (because he uses big words that they don't understand). He is weak on national security (because he actually thinks about the consequences). He divides the country (well, he did that the day he had the audacity to win the election). Worst of all, he actually thinks that he's the president. He even dared to say so on Thursday. How arrogant of him. You'd think that previous presidents didn't have any ego. Somehow it turned out that the one president who treats even his biggest opponents with the utmost respect – is the arrogant one. I wonder why?

I expected that his winning the Presidency would bring out some ugliness, but it's been far worse than I imagined. The racism coming from the Right is obviously clear and shameless, but there's also some hidden and maybe subconscious and disturbing underline tone behind some of the things that I read here and throughout the Left blogosphere, even before the end of Obama's first year - 'He's weak, he's spineless, he's got no balls, primary him in 2012'. It'll be dishonest to deny that.

The fact is that for millions in America , Barack Obama is this uppity black man (Not even a "real" black), who received good education only due to affirmative action, and has no right to litter the sacred Oval Office with his skin color. They just can't accept the fact that the president is a black man, who unlike his predecessor, was actually legally elected. But what's really sad is that it's not just the fringe, its deep deep in mainstream America .

Barack Obama's ability to remain above all this slob, to keep his optimism and his strange and mostly unjustified faith in people, while continuing to gracefully deal with an endless shitstorm – is one of the most inspiring displays of human quality I have ever seen. And I can only hope that the Cosmos is on his side because God is and He never makes a mistake.


Gerald A. McIntosh (G-Mack)

Things You Should Know About Democrats Who Oppose The Bush Tax Cut

President Obama's plan to let Bush-era tax cuts expire for wealthier Americans -- many of whom own small businesses that economists say are the No. 1 producer of new U.S. jobs -- is in jeopardy following the release of a letter signed by 31 House Democrats who are calling on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to extend them.

The letter warns Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer that "raising any taxes right now could negatively impact economic growth," adding "our economy is still recovering and decisive action needs to be taken to assist the recovery moving forward."



The 31 Democratic members of Congress who signed the letter are:

1.  Rep. Jason Altmire, D-Pa.


Altmire, a Blue Dog Democrat, is being challenged by Republican nominee Keith Rothfus.

On November 7, 2009, Altmire voted Nay on HR 3962, the Health Care Reform Bill.

http://www.altmire.house.gov/





2.  Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga.   



Barrow is a Blue Dog Democrat is not currently not up for re-election.










Rep. Melissa Bean, D- Ill. - representing Illinois's 8th congressional district. The district includes most of Chicago's northwestern suburbs, such as Hoffman Estates, Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, Gurnee, Palatine, Mundelein, Zion, Barrington, McHenry, and Woodstock.

Bean will face Republican Joe Walsh in the general election.  They say Walsh lied when he failed to disclose a home foreclosure in 2009 and he didn't submit a U.S. House financial statement after announcing his candidacy.

Official website:  http://bean.house.gov/  Phone: 202-225-3711




Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Ga.   Official website: 
http://bishop.house.gov/
Phone: 202-225-3631

He is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.   Arguably the most conservative African-American in Congress, Bishop is a member of the Blue Dog Democrats.  In September, 2010, the Associated Press reported that Bishop had, in 2003, directed scholarships funded by the Congressional Black Caucus to ineligible persons, including his stepdaughter, Aayesha Owens Reese and his niece Emmaundia J Whitaker.




Rep. Dan Boren, D-Okla.
 
 
 
Official website:  http://boren.house.gov/ Phone: 202-225-2701



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rep. Frederick (Rick) Boucher, D-Va.


Official website:  http://boucher.house.gov/   Phone: 202-225-3861


 

 








Rep. Allen Boyd  Democrat • 2nd District, Florida • 7th Term • Sworn In 1997


Official website:  http://boyd.house.gov/  Phone: 202-225-5235




Congressman Boyd is a leader of the Blue Dog Coalition.





Rep. Travis Childers Democrat • 1st District, Mississippi • 2nd Term • Sworn In 2008




 Official website:  http://childers.house.gov/    Phone: 202-225-4306


 





Rep. Jim Cooper Democrat • 5th District, Tennessee • 10th Term • Sworn In 1983



Official website:  http://cooper.house.gov/  Phone: 202-225-4311












Rep. Jim Costa  Democrat • 20th District, California • 3rd Term • Sworn In 2005




 Official website:  http://www.costa.house.gov/  Phone: 202-225-3341


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rep. Lincoln Davis  Democrat • 4th District, Tennessee • 4th Term • Sworn In 2003
 
 
Official website:  http://www.house.gov/lincolndavis/ 
Phone: 202-225-6831



 
 
 
 
 
 
Rep. Joe Donnelly  Democrat • 2nd District, Indiana • 2nd Term • Sworn In 2007
 
 
Official website:  http://donnelly.house.gov/  Phone: 202-225-3915






 
 
 
 
 
 Rep. Brad Ellsworth  Democrat • 8th District, Indiana • 2nd Term • Sworn In 2007




Official website:  http://ellsworth.house.gov/ 
Phone: 202-225-4636
















Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin  Democrat • South Dakota • 4th Term • Sworn In 2004

Official website:  http://hersethsandlin.house.gov/  Phone: 202-225-2801


She is the youngest female member of the House, and the first woman elected to the House of Representatives from South Dakota. She won the at-large seat in a special election on June 1, 2004.

Herseth Sandlin is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition and the "30 Something" Working Group.



Rep. James Himes  Democrat • 4th District, Connecticut • 1st Term • Sworn In 2009


 
Official website:  http://himes.house.gov/  Phone: 202-225-5541












Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick  Democrat • 1st District, Arizona • 1st Term • Sworn In 2009




Official website:  http://kirkpatrick.house.gov/  Phone: 202-225-2315









Rep. Ron Klein  Democrat • 22nd District, Florida • 2nd Term • Sworn In 2007

Official website:  http://klein.house.gov/  Phone: 202-225-3026



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rep. Frank Kratovil, D-Md.


Rep. Jim Marshall, D-Ga.


Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah
 
Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-N.C.


Rep. Michael McMahon, D-N.Y.


Rep. Walt Minnick, D-Ind.


Rep. Harry Mitchell, D-Idaho.

Rep. Glenn Nye, D-Va.


Rep. Gary Peters, D-Mich.

Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D.


Rep. Mike Ross, D-Ark.


Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo.

Rep. Zack Space, D-Ohio


Rep. Harry Teague, D-N.M.

A Republican Senator from South Carolina, Jim DeMint authored and article titled "Washinton can hear you now."  Senator DeMint snarls at the idea that a candidate needs to be electable.  Republicans have a slate of candidates who believe in free-enterprise economics, limited government, and individual liberty.  DeMint said we will balance the budget, repeal the unconstitutional health-care takeover, create a predictable tax and regulatory environment in which businesses can create jobs, and restore a sense of fairness to the economy.  He did not point out how he was going to do this.  Instead he rallies the Tea Party, "I knew in my heart that the Republican Party could save this country if it could recruit more members to stand up for the priciples of freedom.  DeMint gave the Tea Party their talking points; out of control government spending, creating entitlement programs, and taking over car companies, mortgage companies, the health-care system and financial reform .   Now, how are these principles going to help the economy?  Based on past exhibits, Republicans have no plan.

DeMint further states that after Barack Obama was elected president, Washington's economic policies went from bad to worse, and none of his so-called legislative achievements (health care and financial reform) lives up to its label.  In a short time, the Obama White House and Pelosi-Reid Congress have made clear that they intend to push America to the left of Europe. In other words, all of the economists are wrong.  Other than being slanderous and attacking, DeMint has created campaign slogans and sound bites that have no validity.