VOTE. “NO”vember 4th, 2014 is 13 Days Away. #RallyWomen


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If YOU decide to stay home and NOT vote on “NO”vember 4th, 2014, Then you have no right to complain, bitch or moan. Sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up.

 

 

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United States Elections, November 4th, 2014

 

Elections in the United States are being held throughout 2014, with the general elections scheduled for Tuesday, November 4, 2014. During this midterm election year, all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be contested; along with 38 state and territorial governor ships, 46 state legislatures (except Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia), four territorial legislatures and numerous state and local races.

 

2014 United States elections
Midterm elections
Election day November 4
Senate elections
Seats contested 33 seats of Class II
and various mid-term vacancies
Color coded map of 2014 Senate races
Map of the 2014 Senate races
Light red: Retiring Republican
Dark red: Incumbent Republican
Light blue: Retiring Democrat
Dark blue: Incumbent Democrat
Gray: no election
House elections
Seats contested All 435 seats to the 114th Congress
Gubernatorial elections
Seats contested 38
Color coded map of 2014 Gubernatorial races
Map of the 2014 gubernatorial races
Light red: Term-limited or Retiring Republican
Dark red: Incumbent Republican
Light blue: Term-limited or Retiring Democrat
Dark blue: Incumbent Democrat
Green: Incumbent Independent
Gray: no election

 

Issues

One election-year dilemma that faces the Democrats is whether or not President Obama should approve the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline. Tom Steyer, and other environmentalists, are committed to making “climate change a top-tier issue” in the elections with opposition to Keystone XL as “a significant part of that effort.”

 

Other issues include the income gap, net neutrality, and the effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly referred to as “Obamacare”).

 

According to the political commentator Stuart Rothenberg, the foreign policy crises plaguing the Middle East, Ukraine, and Russia are likely to dampen the public’s mood, hurting the Democratic Party’s chances in the federal elections of 2014

 

Federal elections

Congressional elections

 

Senate elections

All seats in Senate Class II will be up for election. Additionally, special elections will be held to fill vacancies in the other two Senate Classes.

 

House of Representatives elections

All 435 voting seats in the United States House of Representatives will be up for election. Additionally, elections will be held to select the delegates for the District of Columbia and four of the five U.S. territories. The only seat in the House not up for election will be the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, who serves a four-year term.

 

On March 11, there was a special election for Florida’s 13th congressional district.

 

State elections

Gubernatorial elections

Elections will be held for the governorships of 36 of the 50 U.S. states and three U.S. territories.

 

 

Local elections

Numerous elections will be held for officeholders in numerous cities, counties, school boards, special districts and others around the country.

 

Mayoral elections

Various major American cities will hold mayoral elections in 2014, including the following:

 

Mid Term Election Day, “NO”vember 4th, 2014, Is 60 Days Away. Are You Ready To VOTE?

 

Thirty states currently have laws in place requiring voters to show identification at the polls, (11 require photo ID,) according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and more look to be on the way.

 

Since the Supreme Court in June 2013, struck down a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which required certain states to get approval from the federal government on any changes made to voting laws, strict photo ID requirements in Mississippi and Texas no longer face roadblocks, and will likely be implemented in the near future. Alabama, Arkansas, and Virginia will become photo ID states in 2014. And North Carolina’s newly-signed photo ID requirement will go into effect in 2016.

 

Protect YOUR right to vote. Be prepared. Have The RIGHT ID. Know YOUR States Requirements To Legally Vote.

 

Bet ‘Em With The Ballot Box. 

 

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All The Information You Need About The 2013 Mid Term Elections

 

Mid Term Election Day, “NO”vember 4th, 2014, Is 60 Days Away. Are You Ready To VOTE?

 

Next Battle: The “NO”vember 4th, 2014 Mid-Term Elections.

 

Mid Term Election Day November 4th, 2014…15 Months Away. Get Prepared. Barack That Vote!

 

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A MilitantNegro™ Potpourri: Whats Wrong With America?


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"JUST ANSWER THE QUESTION!!!!!!"

 

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St. Louis protesters gassed and arrested at QuickTrip

 

 

 

The Hood News™ Episode #2 – #BlackRage

 

 

 

Governor Defends Flying The Confederate Flag

 

 

 

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Remains found in missing student search

 

 

 

White Flight, the taboo subject.

 

 

 

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Jimmy John’s Workers Forced Into Cruel Agreement

 

 

 

School girls to be swapped for prisoner

 

 

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CrossTalk: Recognizing Palestine (ft. Norman Finkelstein)

 

 

 

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I’ll end on a beautiful note…….

 

 

 

 

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The Last 24™


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From Deadline.com:

Documentary Banned By St. Louis Theater Heads To VOD Amid Racial Tension

 

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Talk about timing. Spanish Lake, the racially-charged documentary banned from St. Louis’ Wehrenberg theaters in the aftermath of the shooting of Mike Brown in Ferguson — known by the locals now as Ferghanistan — is now heading to VOD. The film couldn’t have come at a worse or better time (depending on your perspective). It chronicles the white flight out of Spanish Lake, a city only a few miles from the center of where the rioting and protests are taking place. The filmmaker’s father still lives in Ferguson which is on the verge of receiving more news about the white police officer involved in the shooting and whether or not he will be acquitted. Walmart today started to remove ammunition from its shelves in the hotbed area in light of that fact and after yet another police officer involved shooting.

 

SPANISH LAKE – Race, Class and White Flight in Missouri Documentary

 

Published on Sep 5, 2014

SPANISH LAKE, the new documentary on white flight, economics, race and class in Missouri is shared by documentary filmmakers Philip Andrew Morton and Matt Smith. In the wake of the Ferguson police shooting and protests, this documentary is particularly relevant to America and the ongoing discussion in the media and society, and the insights we get about the film with the trailer and film clips contribute to an illuminating edition of the world’s only talk show on documentary films, BYOD.

 

 

SPANISH LAKE is a bold and uncompromising documentary focused on economic oppression in the suburb of Spanish Lake, Missouri. Operating without a local government, the lack of community leadership has disastrous effects, including a mass exodus of the white population in the late 1990’s. The themes of the film parallel America’s growing political divide, underlying racism, and rise of anti-government sentiment. Most notably, the recent shooting of 18-year-old, unarmed Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson – only 8 miles away from Spanish Lake… In fact, the unrest in Ferguson caused the film to be banned by Wehrenberg Theaters in North St. Louis County, citing fear of the daily protests. AMC, in turn, also banned the film.

 

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Related: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: St. Louis Police Officer Under Investigation Following Call To Protester’s Employer.

 

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The White House Blog

 

Here’s What You Need to Know About Our Response to Ebola Right Now

 

President Barack Obama delivers a statement to the press after a meeting with cabinet agencies coordinating the government's Ebola response, in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Oct.15, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama delivers a statement to the press after a meeting with cabinet agencies coordinating the government’s Ebola response, in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Oct.15, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

Chart of the Week: The Deficit Falls to Its Lowest Level Since 2007

 

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What You Missed: The First Lady Answers Your Questions on Let’s Move! and the White House Garden

 

 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Garden to Table: The Fall White House Kitchen Garden Harvest

 

October is National Farm to School Month, and in celebration of the incredible farm to school programs across the country, the First Lady invited students from schools in California, Arizona, and Ohio to participate in the fall harvest of the White House Kitchen Garden. Each of their schools incorporate fresh, local food into their meals and teach students about healthy eating through hands-on experience in their own school gardens as well as nutrition education in the classroom.

 

In addition, three chefs paired with three of this year’s Kids’ State Dinner winners as part of the Kids and Chefs Cook for Success collaboration also joined the fall harvest. Through the collaboration, all 54 winners of this year’s Kids’ State Dinner have been paired up with chefs in their communities to host free and healthy cooking demonstrations, reaching kids and families across the country.

 

All of the participants joined the First Lady in harvesting a variety of vegetables from the White House Kitchen Garden. Following their time in the garden, each chef worked with a Kids’ State Dinner winner and a team of students to prepare a delicious and nutritious fall-inspired meal with the produce harvested.

 

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Find all of the recipes on the Let’s Move! blog and try them out at home!

 

In Case You Missed It: Vine Q&A with the First Lady

As part of the fall harvest, the First Lady participated in her first-ever Vine and Twitter Q&A to answer questions about Let’s Move!. During the chat, Mrs. Obama talked about tips for eating healthy and being active, the White House bees, her favorite fall vegetable, and a turnip that you don’t want to miss!

 

Check out the full Q&A and follow Let’s Move! and the First Lady on Twitter for the latest updates and more opportunities to engage with Mrs. Obama and Let’s Move!.

 

Let’s Move! Active Schools Reaches 10,000 Schools

Last year, the First Lady launched Let’s Move! Active Schools to reintegrate physical activity before, during, and after the school day to ensure 60 minutes of physical activity each day is the new norm for schools. Last week, Let’s Move! Active Schools announced the milestone of reaching over 10,000 schools across 50 states and impacting more than 5 million students!

 

Join the movement today and become a school champion! Sign your school up at www.letsmoveschools.org.

 

Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties Goes Nationwide

Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties helps local elected officials develop long-term, sustainable and holistic strategies to promote improved nutrition and increased physical activity in their communities. Last week, Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties announcedthat more than 450 cities, towns and counties are now participating in the initiative, including all fifty states, which impacts almost 70 million Americans.

 

With national participation in Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties, sustainable strategies are being implemented in every state, and as Let’s Move! expands to more cities, towns and counties across the country, we ensure healthy communities and healthy futures for all of America.

 

Blog Highlights

This week is National School Lunch Week, and to celebrate, we’re highlighting school champions and districts working hard, coming up with innovative solutions to provide healthy meals that students enjoy. Check out the Let’s Move! blog for more great success stories from schools across the country.

 

Variety and Consistency are the Pillars to CentroNía’s “Eat Healthy, Live Healthy” Program
CentroNía is dedicated to providing healthy options to their students by cooking meals and preparing snacks that incorporate whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, more vegetarian proteins and local produce. They have been creative in coming up with a variety of new meals the students enjoy and consistent in offering healthy options. Thanks to their hard work, they have seen the positive impact of the students consuming healthier meals.

 

Farm-to-School and School Nutrition Programs: Dedicated to Serving Healthy Fresh Food
In Delaware, schools participate in farm to school programs to provide fresh, local produce to students in school meals. They also hold taste tests to introduce students to new vegetables and get their input on the taste and preparation. Through their work with local farms, students get access to nutritious foods, and the purchasing of local food supports the local economy as well.

 

For the full recap of recent activities and to get involved, visit the Let’s Move! blog, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

 

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What You Need to Know: Our Push To Get Long-Term Unemployed Americans Back to Work

 

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The Department of Defense Must Plan for the National Security Implications of Climate Change

 

President Obama Joins International Military Leaders to Discuss Coalition Efforts Against ISIL

 

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It's Raining Videos™

It’s Raining Videos™

The President Meets on the U.S. Response to Ebola

 

 

 

WATCH: Iowa Police Force Pregnant Woman In Labor To Ground At GunPoint

 

Published on Oct 16, 2014

CAUGHT ON TAPE: Pregnant Iowa woman in labor forced to ground at gunpoint by cops for speeding on way to hospital.
(NYDailyNews) Rachel Kohnen and her husband, Ben Kohnen, were rushing to the hospital in time to have their fourth child on Tuesday morning. Cops used tire spikes to stop the car and ordered the couple to the ground after they refused to pull over.

A pregnant woman was held at gunpoint on her way to the hospital after she and her husband refused to pull over their speeding car Tuesday in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

 

Rachel and Ben Kohnen sped to the hospital at about 4 a.m. Tuesday morning as Rachel Kohnen was in labor. They drove at 85 mph in a 55 mph zone, police said.

 

The Kohnens did not stop the car after an officer pursued them, Manson Police Chief Tom Ritts told the Daily News. The officer called for backup, and police laid tire spikes on the road to stop them.

 

Ben Kohnen told NBC13 the spikes blew out all four tires and forced them to come to a halt. The couple was ordered to the ground and held at gunpoint until officers realized what all the rush was about.

 

Rachel Kohnen gave birth to the couple’s fourth child, a nearly-10-pound baby named Hazel, about an hour after police escorted her to the hospital.
Rachel Kohnen said they could not stop the car because the baby was on its way quickly.

 

“I think I was screaming, ‘Oh, dear God, we can’t have the baby in the car,” the mother told NBC13.

 

The couple tried to call 911 to alert them, but the dispatcher could not understand them, Ritts said.

 

“She was in so much pain,” he said. “They couldn’t make heads or tails out of what she was saying.”
The police chief said the officer did not know why the car would not stop and followed typical protocol for a high speed chase.

 

“Normally when you get somebody clocked like that and they fail to pull over, the first thought in my mind is we’ve got somebody drunk or on drugs,” Ritts said.

 

No charges have been filed against the couple at this time, Ritts said.

 

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Remember the long gone days when if you were speeding to get your pregnant wife/girlfriend to the ER for delivery, the cops would escort you with sirens & lights blazing/flashing? Today you get your tires blown. My thought is, if you blow the tires of a car speeding to the ER, with a pregnant wife/girlfriend for delivery, you put everyone in that car at risk/danger to roll over and crash. In this case, mother to be, father to be AND unborn baby. Good use of common sense & logic Iowa cops.

 

 

The Black Panthers Party Founded in October 1966

 

Published on Oct 16, 2014

Eddie Conway, Baltimore Black Panther describes the political and social conditions that gave rise to the militancy and politics of the Black Panthers Party.

 

 

 

Umar Lee St. Charles County Announcement

 

 

 

Activist confronts Cop trying to intimidate her

 

Published on Oct 15, 2014

A Saint Louis community officer calls the employer of a local activist @stacksizshort in an attempt to intimidate and cause her to lose her job.

 

 

 

CDC Director: No Symptoms Before Nurse’s Flight

 

Published on Oct 16, 2014

CDC Director Tom Frieden was grilled by lawmakers on Capitol Hill Thursday on wide-ranging topics related to the agency’s management of Ebola, including giving a Dallas nurse permission to fly to Cleveland. (Oct. 16)

 

 

I’m not even going to call this idiot a lying muthafucka, even though he is a lying muthafucka. If this nurse called the CDC and said she had a fever, why would the CDC give her an all clear to travel without examining her? Think about it, she boarded a plane, with a fever, and other passengers. Dumbfuckery.

 

 

Supreme Court Lets Abortion Clinics Reopen, Easing Crisis of Access in Texas

 

 

 

‘Why Not A Military Coup?’ asks Right Wing Government Official

 

Published on Oct 16, 2014

Jefferson County Recorder of Deeds Debbie Dunnegan finds nothing wrong with her Facebook posts that have been brought to nationwide attention asking the military why they don’t just overthrow President Obama in a coup.

 

 

 

Gay USA 10/15/14

 

 

 

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Rolling Stone: In Defense of Obama.


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The Nobel Prize-winning economist, once one of the president’s most notable critics, on why Obama is a historic success

By | October 8, 2014 For Rolling Stone Magazine

 

When it comes to Barack Obama, I’ve always been out of sync. Back in 2008, when many liberals were wildly enthusiastic about his candidacy and his press was strongly favorable, I was skeptical. I worried that he was naive, that his talk about transcending the political divide was a dangerous illusion given the unyielding extremism of the modern American right. Furthermore, it seemed clear to me that, far from being the transformational figure his supporters imagined, he was rather conventional-minded: Even before taking office, he showed signs of paying far too much attention to what some of us would later take to calling Very Serious People, people who regarded cutting budget deficits and a willingness to slash Social Security as the very essence of political virtue.

 

And I wasn’t wrong. Obama was indeed naive: He faced scorched-earth Republican opposition from Day One, and it took him years to start dealing with that opposition realistically. Furthermore, he came perilously close to doing terrible things to the U.S. safety net in pursuit of a budget Grand Bargain; we were saved from significant cuts to Social Security and a rise in the Medicare age only by Republican greed, the GOP’s unwillingness to make even token concessions.

 

But now the shoe is on the other foot: Obama faces trash talk left, right and center – literally – and doesn’t deserve it. Despite bitter opposition, despite having come close to self-inflicted disaster, Obama has emerged as one of the most consequential and, yes, successful presidents in American history. His health reform is imperfect but still a huge step forward – and it’s working better than anyone expected. Financial reform fell far short of what should have happened, but it’s much more effective than you’d think. Economic management has been half-crippled by Republican obstruction, but has nonetheless been much better than in other advanced countries. And environmental policy is starting to look like it could be a major legacy.

I’ll go through those achievements shortly. First, however, let’s take a moment to talk about the current wave of Obama-bashing. All Obama-bashing can be divided into three types. One, a constant of his time in office, is the onslaught from the right, which has never stopped portraying him as an Islamic atheist Marxist Kenyan. Nothing has changed on that front, and nothing will.

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There’s a different story on the left, where you now find a significant number of critics decrying Obama as, to quote Cornel West, someone who ”posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit.” They’re outraged that Wall Street hasn’t been punished, that income inequality remains so high, that ”neoliberal” economic policies are still in place. All of this seems to rest on the belief that if only Obama had put his eloquence behind a radical economic agenda, he could somehow have gotten that agenda past all the political barriers that have con- strained even his much more modest efforts. It’s hard to take such claims seriously.

Finally, there’s the constant belittling of Obama from mainstream pundits and talking heads. Turn on cable news (although I wouldn’t advise it) and you’ll hear endless talk about a rudderless, stalled administration, maybe even about a failed presidency. Such talk is often buttressed by polls showing that Obama does, indeed, have an approval rating that is very low by historical standards.

But this bashing is misguided even in its own terms – and in any case, it’s focused on the wrong thing.

Yes, Obama has a low approval rating compared with earlier presidents. But there are a number of reasons to believe that presidential approval doesn’t mean the same thing that it used to: There is much more party-sorting (in which Republicans never, ever have a good word for a Democratic president, and vice versa), the public is negative on politicians in general, and so on. Obviously the midterm election hasn’t happened yet, but in a year when Republicans have a huge structural advantage – Democrats are defending a disproportionate number of Senate seats in deep-red states – most analyses suggest that control of the Senate is in doubt, with Democrats doing considerably better than they were supposed to. This isn’t what you’d expect to see if a failing president were dragging his party down.

More important, however, polls – or even elections – are not the measure of a president. High office shouldn’t be about putting points on the electoral scoreboard, it should be about changing the country for the better. Has Obama done that? Do his achievements look likely to endure? The answer to both questions is yes.

 

HEALTH CARE

When Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, an excited Joe Biden whispered audibly, ”This is a big fucking deal!” He was right.

 

The enactment and implementation of the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, has been a perils-of-Pauline experience. When an upset in the special election to replace Ted Kennedy cost Democrats their 60-vote Senate majority, health reform had to be rescued with fancy legislative footwork. Then it survived a Supreme Court challenge only thanks to a surprise display of conscience by John Roberts, who nonetheless opened a loophole that has allowed Republican-controlled states to deny coverage to millions of Americans. Then technical difficulties with the HealthCare.gov website seemed to threaten disaster. But here we are, most of the way through the first full year of reform’s implementation, and it’s working better than even the optimists expected.

We won’t have the full data on 2014 until next year’s census report, but multiple independent surveys show a sharp drop in the number of Americans without health insurance, probably around 10 million, a number certain to grow greatly over the next two years as more people realize that the program is available and penalties for failure to sign up increase.

It’s true that the Affordable Care Act will still leave millions of people in America uninsured. For one thing, it was never intended to cover undocumented immigrants, who are counted in standard measures of the uninsured. Furthermore, millions of low-income Americans will slip into the loophole Roberts created: They were supposed to be covered by a federally funded expansion of Medicaid, but some states are blocking that expansion out of sheer spite. Finally, unlike Social Security and Medicare, for which almost everyone is automatically eligible, Obamacare requires beneficiaries to prove their eligibility for Medicaid or choose and then pay for a subsidized private plan. Inevitably, some people will fall through the cracks.

Still, Obamacare means a huge improvement in the quality of life for tens of millions of Americans – not just better care, but greater financial security. And even those who were already insured have gained both security and freedom, because they now have a guarantee of coverage if they lose or change jobs.

What about the costs? Here, too, the news is better than anyone expected. In 2014, premiums on the insurance policies offered through the Obamacare exchanges were well below those originally projected by the Congressional Budget Office, and the available data indicates a mix of modest increases and actual reductions for 2015 – which is very good in a sector where premiums normally increase five percent or more each year. More broadly, overall health spending has slowed substantially, with the cost-control features of the ACA probably deserving some of the credit.

In other words, health reform is looking like a major policy success story. It’s a program that is coming in ahead of schedule – and below budget – costing less, and doing more to reduce overall health costs than even its supporters predicted.

Of course, this success story makes nonsense of right-wing predictions of catastrophe. Beyond that, the good news on health costs refutes conservative orthodoxy. It’s a fixed idea on the right, sometimes echoed by ”centrist” commentators, that the only way to limit health costs is to dismantle guarantees of adequate care – for example, that the only way to control Medicare costs is to replace Medicare as we know it, a program that covers major medical expenditures, with vouchers that may or may not be enough to buy adequate insurance. But what we’re actually seeing is what looks like significant cost control via a laundry list of small changes to how we pay for care, with the basic guarantee of adequate coverage not only intact but widened to include Americans of all ages.

It’s worth pointing out that some criticisms of Obamacare from the left are also looking foolish. Obamacare is a system partly run through private insurance companies (although expansion of Medicaid is also a very important piece). And some on the left were outraged, arguing that the program would do more to raise profits in the medical-industrial complex than it would to protect American families.

You can still argue that single-payer would have covered more people at lower cost – in fact, I would. But that option wasn’t on the table; only a system that appeased insurers and reassured the public that not too much would change was politically feasible. And it’s working reasonably well: Competition among insurers who can no longer deny insurance to those who need it most is turning out to be pretty effective. This isn’t the health care system you would have designed from scratch, or if you could ignore special-interest politics, but it’s doing the job.

And this big improvement in American society is almost surely here to stay. The conservative health care nightmare – the one that led Republicans to go all-out against Bill Clinton’s health plans in 1993 and Obamacare more recently – is that once health care for everyone, or almost everyone, has been put in place, it will be very hard to undo, because too many voters would have a stake in the system. That’s exactly what is happening. Republicans are still going through the motions of attacking Obamacare, but the passion is gone. They’re even offering mealymouthed assurances that people won’t lose their new benefits. By the time Obama leaves office, there will be tens of millions of Americans who have benefited directly from health reform – and that will make it almost impossible to reverse. Health reform has made America a different, better place.

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FINANCIAL REFORM

Let’s be clear: The financial crisis should have been followed by a drastic crackdown on Wall Street abuses, and it wasn’t. No important figures have gone to jail; bad banks and other financial institutions, from Citigroup to Goldman, were bailed out with few strings attached; and there has been nothing like the wholesale restructuring and reining in of finance that took place in the 1930s. Obama bears a considerable part of the blame for this disappointing response. It was his Treasury secretary and his attorney general who chose to treat finance with kid gloves.

It’s easy, however, to take this disappointment too far. You often hear Dodd- Frank, the financial-reform bill that Obama signed into law in 2010, dismissed as toothless and meaningless. It isn’t. It may not prevent the next financial crisis, but there’s a good chance that it will at least make future crises less severe and easier to deal with.

Dodd-Frank is a complicated piece of legislation, but let me single out three really important sections.

First, the law gives a special council the ability to designate ”systemically important financial institutions” (SIFIs) – that is, institutions that could create a crisis if they were to fail – and place such institutions under extra scrutiny and regulation of things like the amount of capital they are required to maintain to cover possible losses. This provision has been derided as ineffectual or worse – during the 2012 presidential campaign, Mitt Romney claimed that by announcing that some firms were SIFIs, the government was effectively guaranteeing that they would be bailed out, which he called ”the biggest kiss that’s been given to New York banks I’ve ever seen.”

But it’s easy to prove that this is nonsense: Just look at how institutions behave when they’re designated as SIFIs. Are they pleased, because they’re now guaranteed? Not a chance. Instead, they’re furious over the extra regulation, and in some cases fight bitterly to avoid being placed on the list. Right now, for example, MetLife is making an all-out effort to be kept off the SIFI list; this effort demonstrates that we’re talking about real regulation here, and that financial interests don’t like it.

Another key provision in Dodd-Frank is ”orderly liquidation authority,” which gives the government the legal right to seize complex financial institutions in a crisis. This is a bigger deal than you might think. We have a well-established procedure for seizing ordinary banks that get in trouble and putting them into receivership; in fact, it happens all the time. But what do you do when something like Citigroup is on the edge, and its failure might have devastating consequences? Back in 2009, Joseph Stiglitz and yours truly, among others, wanted to temporarily nationalize one or two major financial players, for the same reasons the FDIC takes over failing banks, to keep the institutions running but avoid bailing out stockholders and management. We got a chance to make that case directly to the president. But we lost the argument, and one key reason was Treasury’s claim that it lacked the necessary legal authority. I still think it could have found a way, but in any case that won’t be an issue next time.

A third piece of Dodd-Frank is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. That’s Elizabeth Warren’s brainchild, an agency dedicated to protecting Americans against the predatory lending that has pushed so many into financial distress, and played an important role in the crisis. Warren’s idea was that such a stand-alone agency would more effectively protect the public than agencies that were supposed to protect consumers, but saw their main job as propping up banks. And by all accounts the new agency is in fact doing much more to crack down on predatory practices than anything we used to see.

There’s much more in the financial reform, including a number of pieces we don’t have enough information to evaluate yet. But there’s enough evidence even now to say that there’s a reason Wall Street – which used to give an approximately equal share of money to both parties but now overwhelmingly supports Republicans – tried so hard to kill financial reform, and is still trying to emasculate Dodd-Frank. This may not be the full overhaul of finance we should have had, and it’s not as major as health reform. But it’s a lot better than nothing.

THE ECONOMY

Barack Obama might not have been elected president without the 2008 financial crisis; he certainly wouldn’t have had the House majority and the brief filibuster-proof Senate majority that made health reform possible. So it’s very disappointing that six years into his presidency, the U.S. economy is still a long way from being fully recovered.

Before we ask why, however, we should note that things could have been worse. In fact, in other times and places they have been worse. Make no mistake about it – the devastation wrought by the financial crisis was terrible, with real income falling 5.5 percent. But that’s actually not as bad as the ”typical” experience after financial crises: Even in advanced countries, the median post-crisis decline in per- capita real GDP is seven percent. Recovery has been slow: It took almost six years for the United States to regain pre-crisis average income. But that was actually a bit faster than the historical average.

Or compare our performance with that of the European Union. Unemployment in America rose to a horrifying 10 percent in 2009, but it has come down sharply in the past few years. It’s true that some of the apparent improvement probably reflects discouraged workers dropping out, but there has been substantial real progress. Meanwhile, Europe has had barely any job recovery at all, and unemployment is still in double digits. Compared with our counterparts across the Atlantic, we haven’t done too badly.

Did Obama’s policies contribute to this less-awful performance? Yes, without question. You’d never know it listening to the talking heads, but there’s overwhelming consensus among economists that the Obama stimulus plan helped mitigate the worst of the slump. For example, when a panel of economic experts was asked whether the U.S. unemployment rate was lower at the end of 2010 than it would have been without the stimulus, 82 percent said yes, only two percent said no.

Still, couldn’t the U.S. economy have done a lot better? Of course. The original stimulus should have been both bigger and longer. And after Republicans won the House in 2010, U.S. policy took a sharp turn in the wrong direction. Not only did the stimulus fade out, but sequestration led to further steep cuts in federal spending, exactly the wrong thing to do in a still-depressed economy.

We can argue about how much Obama could have altered this literally depressing turn of events. He could have pushed for a larger, more extended stimulus, perhaps with provisions for extra aid that would have kicked in if unemployment stayed high. (This isn’t 20-20 hindsight, because a number of economists, myself included, pleaded for more aggressive measures from the beginning.) He arguably let Republicans blackmail him over the debt ceiling in 2011, leading to the sequester. But this is all kind of iffy.

The bottom line on Obama’s economic policy should be that what he did helped the economy, and that while enormous economic and human damage has taken place on his watch, the United States coped with the financial crisis better than most countries facing comparable crises have managed. He should have done more and better, but the narrative that portrays his policies as a simple failure is all wrong.

While America remains an incredibly unequal society, and we haven’t seen anything like the New Deal’s efforts to narrow income gaps, Obama has done more to limit inequality than he gets credit for. The rich are paying higher taxes, thanks to the partial expiration of the Bush tax cuts and the special taxes on high incomes that help pay for Obamacare; the Congressional Budget Office estimates the average tax rate of the top one percent at 33.6 percent in 2013, up from 28.1 percent in 2008. Meanwhile, the financial aid in Obamacare – expanded Medicaid, subsidies to help lower-income households pay insurance premiums – goes disproportionately to less-well-off Americans. When conservatives accuse Obama of redistributing income, they’re not completely wrong – and liberals should give him credit.

THE ENVIRONMENT

In 2009, it looked, briefly, as if we might be about to get real on the issue of climate change. A fairly comprehensive bill establishing a cap-and-trade system to limit greenhouse-gas emissions actually passed the House, and visions of global action danced like sugarplums in environmentalists’ heads. But the legislation stalled in the Senate, and Republican victory in the 2010 midterms put an end to that fantasy. Ever since, the only way forward has been through executive action based on existing legislation, which is a poor substitute for the new laws we need.

But as with financial reform, acknowledging the inadequacy of what has been done doesn’t mean that nothing has been achieved. Saying that Obama has been the best environmental president in a long time is actually faint praise, since George W. Bush was terrible and Bill Clinton didn’t get much done. Still, it’s true, and there’s reason to hope for a lot more over the next two years.

 

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First of all, there has been much more progress on the use of renewable energy than most people realize. The share of U.S. energy provided by wind and solar has grown dramatically since Obama took office. True, it’s still only a small fraction of the total, and some of the growth in renewables reflects technological progress, especially in solar panels, that would have happened whoever was in office. But federal policies, including loan guarantees and tax credits, have played an important role.

Nor is it just about renewables; Obama has also taken big steps on energy conservation, especially via fuel-efficiency standards, that have flown, somewhat mysteriously, under the radar. And it’s not just cars. In 2011, the administration announced the first-ever fuel-efficiency standards for medium and heavy vehicles, and in February it announced that these standards would get even tougher for models sold after 2018. As a way to curb green house-gas emissions, these actions, taken together, are comparable in importance to proposed action on power plants.

Which brings us to the latest initiative. Because there’s no chance of getting climate-change legislation through Congress for the foreseeable future, Obama has turned to the EPA’s existing power to regulate pollution – power that the Supreme Court has affirmed extends to emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. And this past summer, the EPA announced proposed rules that would require a large reduction over time in such emissions from power plants. You might say that such plants are only a piece of the problem, but they’re a large piece – CO2 from coal-burning power plants is in fact a big part of the problem, so if the EPA goes through with anything like the proposed rule, it will be a major step. Again, not nearly enough, and we’ll have to do a lot more soon, or face civilization-threatening disaster. But what Obama has done is far from trivial.

NATIONAL SECURITY

So far, i’ve been talking about Obama’s positive achievements, which have been much bigger than his critics understand. I do, however, need to address one area that has left some early Obama supporters bitterly disappointed: his record on national security policy. Let’s face it – many of his original enthusiasts favored him so strongly over Hillary Clinton because she supported the Iraq War and he didn’t. They hoped he would hold the people who took us to war on false pretenses accountable, that he would transform American foreign policy, and that he would drastically curb the reach of the national security state.

 

None of that happened. Obama’s team, as far as we can tell, never even considered going after the deceptions that took us to Baghdad, perhaps because they believed that this would play very badly at a time of financial crisis. On overall foreign policy, Obama has been essentially a normal post-Vietnam president, reluctant to commit U.S. ground troops and eager to extract them from ongoing commitments, but quite willing to bomb people considered threatening to U.S. interests. And he has defended the prerogatives of the NSA and the surveillance state in general.

Could and should he have been different? The truth is that I have no special expertise here; as an ordinary concerned citizen, I worry about the precedent of allowing what amount to war crimes to go not just unpunished but uninvestigated, even while appreciating that a modern version of the 1970s Church committee hearings on CIA abuses might well have been a political disaster, and undermined the policy achievements I’ve tried to highlight. What I would say is that even if Obama is just an ordinary president on national security issues, that’s a huge improvement over what came before and what we would have had if John McCain or Mitt Romney had won. It’s hard to get excited about a policy of not going to war gratuitously, but it’s a big deal compared with the alternative.

SOCIAL CHANGE

In 2004, social issues, along with national security, were cudgels the right used to bludgeon liberals – I like to say that Bush won re-election by posing as America’s defender against gay married terrorists. Ten years later, and the scene is transformed: Democrats have turned these social issues – especially women’s rights – against Republicans; gay marriage has been widely legalized with approval or at least indifference from the wider public. We have, in a remarkably short stretch of time, become a notably more tolerant, open-minded nation.

Barack Obama has been more a follower than a leader on these issues. But at least he has been willing to follow the country’s new open-mindedness. We shouldn’t take this for granted. Before the Obama presidency, Democrats were in a kind of reflexive cringe on social issues, acting as if the religious right had far more power than it really does and ignoring the growing constituency on the other side. It’s easy to imagine that if someone else had been president these past six years, Democrats would still be cringing as if it were 2004. Thankfully, they aren’t. And the end of the cringe also, I’d argue, helped empower them to seek real change on substantive issues from health reform to the environment. Which brings me back to domestic issues.

As you can see, there’s a theme running through each of the areas of domestic policy I’ve covered. In each case, Obama delivered less than his supporters wanted, less than the country arguably deserved, but more than his current detractors acknowledge. The extent of his partial success ranges from the pretty good to the not-so-bad to the ugly. Health reform looks pretty good, especially in historical perspective – remember, even Social Security, in its original FDR version, only covered around half the workforce. Financial reform is, I’d argue, not so bad – it’s not the second coming of Glass-Steagall, but there’s a lot more protection against runaway finance than anyone except angry Wall Streeters seems to realize. Economic policy wasn’t enough to avoid a very ugly period of high unemployment, but Obama did at least mitigate the worst.

And as far as climate policy goes, there’s reason for hope, but we’ll have to see.

Am I damning with faint praise? Not at all. This is what a successful presidency looks like. No president gets to do everything his supporters expected him to. FDR left behind a reformed nation, but one in which the wealthy retained a lot of power and privilege. On the other side, for all his anti-government rhetoric, Reagan left the core institutions of the New Deal and the Great Society in place. I don’t care about the fact that Obama hasn’t lived up to the golden dreams of 2008, and I care even less about his approval rating. I do care that he has, when all is said and done, achieved a lot. That is, as Joe Biden didn’t quite say, a big deal.

 

Thank you  &  Rolling Stone Magazine

 
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