The Last 24™


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The White House Blog

 

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Weekly Address: What You Need To Know About Ebola

 

In this week’s address, the President discussed what the United States is doing to respond to Ebola, both here at home and abroad, and the key facts Americans need to know. There is no country better prepared to confront the challenge Ebola poses than the U.S. and although even one case here at home is too many, the country is not facing an outbreak of the disease. Our medical professionals tell us Ebola is difficult to catch, and is only transmitted through direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is showing symptoms.

 

The President made clear that he and his entire Administration will continue to do everything possible to prevent further transmission of the disease domestically, and to contain and end the Ebola epidemic at its source in West Africa.

 

 

 

Q&A on America’s Response to Ebola

 

 

This week at the White House, the President updated the nation on our government-wide response to Ebola, we discussed efforts against ISIL with our international efforts, and the First Lady asked, “Turnip for What?”

 

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We Continued to Respond to Ebola

 

On Wednesday, the President met with Cabinet officials and Dr. Tom Frieden — of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — in the Cabinet Room of the White House.
After the meeting, President Obama laid out our comprehensive plan to contain Ebola, prevent its spread in the United States, and combat it at its source in West Africa.
Have questions about how exactly the disease spread? We’ve got the facts:
  • Ebola cannot be spread through the air, water, or food in the U.S. You cannot contract Ebola through casual contact with someone who has no symptoms.
  • Ebola can only be contracted through bodily fluids, contaminated objects, or infected animals.
  • Ebola only spreads when people are showing symptoms.
Now that you’ve got the key facts, pass it on to someone else who needs to know.

 

 

Today, the President appointed Ron Klain to coordinate the government’s comprehensive response to Ebola. Mr. Klain has served as Chief of Staff to two Vice Presidents, and his talent and managerial skills extend far beyond the White House. He has a great working relationship with leading Members of Congress and brings extensive intergovernmental operations experience to the job.

 

 

 

We Joined International Military Leaders to Discuss Efforts Against ISIL

 

On Tuesday, President Obama headed to Joint Base Andrews to meet with military leaders from over 20 partner nations and discuss coalition efforts to ultimately degrade and destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL.
At the meeting, hosted by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Dempsey, the President reiterated that:
  • The U.S. will take action against targets in both Iraq and Syria, so ISIL cannot find safe haven anywhere.
  • The U.S. will act as part of a broad international coalition, because this is not our fight alone.

 

President Barack Obama participates in a meeting hosted by Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with more than 20 foreign chiefs of defense to discuss the coalition efforts in the ongoing campaign against ISIL. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, Commander, U.S. Central Command also participates in the meeting at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Oct. 14, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama participates in a meeting hosted by Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with more than 20 foreign chiefs of defense to discuss the coalition efforts in the ongoing campaign against ISIL. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, Commander, U.S. Central Command also participates in the meeting at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Oct. 14, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

 

FLOTUS asked: “Turnip for What?”

 

On Tuesday, the First Lady hosted her very first Vine and Twitter Q & A to answer questions about Let’s Move! before welcoming students to the White House for the annual fall harvest. During the Q & A, the First Lady answered a range of questions – including healthy Halloween ideas, her favorite fall vegetables, the status of the White House bees, and asked, turnip for what?

 

Take a look at the full Q & A on Storify, and be sure to follow Mrs. Obama on Twitter and Instagram for additional updates.

 

 

Want to see even more? Be sure to check out the White House Blog, this week’s episode of West Wing Week, and the White House’s official Twitter account:

 

West Wing Week 10/17/14 or, “The Geography of Hope”

 

 

 

Press Briefing

October 17, 2014 | 01:05:33 | Public Domain

White House Press Briefings are conducted most weekdays from the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in the West Wing.

 

 

 

October 2014: Photos of the Day

 

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Speeches and Remarks

 

Remarks by the First Lady at Grassroots Campaign Event with Democratic Candidate for Governor Charlie Crist

 

Remarks by the President on Protecting American Consumers

 

Weekly Address: What You Need To Know About Ebola

 

Remarks by the President After Meeting on the Government’s Response to Ebola | October 16, 2014

 

Remarks by the President After Meeting on the Government’s Response to Ebola

 

Remarks by the First Lady at Grassroots Campaign Event with Democratic Candidate for Governor Tom Wolf — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

 

Remarks by the First Lady at White House Kitchen Garden Harvest

 

 

Statements and Releases

 

Readout of the Vice President’s Call with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi

 

Readout of the President’s Meeting with the National Security Council on ISIL

 

Readout of the President’s Meeting on the Domestic Ebola Response

 

Readout of the President’s Call with President Hadi of Yemen

 

FACT SHEET: Safeguarding Consumers’ Financial Security

 

Readout of the President’s Meeting on the Domestic Ebola Response

 

 

Updates On The Presidents Response To The Systematic Genocide of Black Americans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Twitter Storm™

The Twitter Storm™

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Caucasian Privilege For You….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s Raining Videos™


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It's Raining Videos™

It’s Raining Videos™

Ebola – Myths and Reality

 

Published on Oct 15, 2014

Dr Lawrence Brown explains the roots of distrust fueling conspiracy theories during the current Ebola outbreak.

 

 

 

Going viral: Ebola 60-day warning spooks leaking US system

 

Published on Oct 15, 2014

Ebola Emergency mission chief says the steps taken by countries to counter the virus are not nearly enough to beat the disease.

Even in the US, with its modern healthcare system, fears of a widespread outbreak are growing – as RT’s Marina Portnaya reports

 

 

 

Official: If we knew, we would have sent Duncan to Emory

 

 

 

Sayreville High School Football Hazing Scandal | NBC News

 

Published on Oct 14, 2014

Seven players in Sayreville, N.J. have been charged with aggravated sexual assault and criminal restraint.

 

 

 

Sayreville school officials hold press conference regarding football hazing allegations

 

Published on Oct 3, 2014

Sayreville school officials held a press conference to address the canceled football games over hazing allegations within the football program.

 

 

 

NRA News Commentators | Ep. 91: Natalie Foster “Rolling Stone

 

Just in case you needed more proof gun nuts are stupid ignorant morons…….

 

 

……who are more concerned with the 2nd amendment, which they do NOT understand…..

 

 

Champions of Change: White House Disability Employment

 

Published on Oct 14, 2014

The White House honors innovators who are breaking down barriers to provide employment opportunities for workers with disabilities, including workers with significant disabilities.

 

 

 

Huge Victory Against Monsanto Revealed

 

Published on Oct 14, 2014

Anthony Gucciardi and Paul Joseph Watson discuss how Monsanto is hemmorrhaging cash as their corruption is exposed.

 

 

 

President Obama Meets with International Chiefs of Defense

 

Published on Oct 14, 2014

On October 14, 2014, President Obama met with international defense leaders to discuss combined efforts to degrade and destroy ISIL.

 

 

 

The Whiteness Project The ‘hardships’ of being white in America

 

Published on Oct 14, 2014

A new documentary due to air on PBS involves 1,000 interviews with Caucasian people about their Caucasian people in the US.

 

 

 

#NoJusticeNoFootball 10:53pm | #BlackLivesMatter #STLdispatch

 

Published on Oct 14, 2014

Brought to you by http://www.rhrealitycheck.org

During a protest outside of the Rams Vs. 49ers game in St. Louis which was part of the #FergusonOctober Weekend of Resistance a game attendee attempted to tell the protestors that they should go home.

 

 

The ugliness of racism on display.

 

 

Police shut down protests in Ferguson

 

Published on Oct 14, 2014

Marches continued in Ferguson, MO on Monday, with protesters descending on several Walmarts to demonstrate against police violence and what they call racial discrimination by law enforcement. Part of “Moral Monday,” the activists demanded justice for the killings of Ferguson resident Michael Brown and John Crawford III, who was gunned down inside an Ohio Walmart in August. RT’s Lindsay France followed the protests and has more details.

 

 

 

#FergusonOctober: Police Engagement during Moral Monday Action

 

Published on Oct 13, 2014

Brought to you by RH Reality Check. http://www.rhrealitycheck.org

During the Moral Monday Action things became tense as an officer held the an imaginary line even though various protestors, activists and clergy were behind him.

 

 

 

First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks at the Annual Fall Harvest

October 14, 2014 | 3:22 | Public Domain

The First Lady joined school children and chefs for the annual fall harvest of the White House Kitchen Garden.

 

 

 

Press Briefing

October 14, 2014 | 01:03:56 | Public Domain

White House Press Briefings are conducted most weekdays from the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in the West Wing.

 

 

 

White House Whiteboard Shorts: #RaiseTheWage

 

Published on Oct 10, 2014

Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour is good for American businesses, American workers, and the American economy. Share your story at http://www.whitehouse.gov/Raise-The-Wage

 

 

 

 

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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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The President’s Last 24™


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President Obama Speaks at the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial

 

Published on Oct 5, 2014

On October 5, 2014, President Obama delivered remarks at the dedication of the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial.

 

 

 

Remarks by the President at the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial Dedication

 

 

American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial SlideShow

 

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The President Holds a Town Hall on Manufacturing

 

Published on Oct 3, 2014

President Obama speaks at a town hall on manufacturing in Princeton, Indiana, October 3, 2014.

 

 

Remarks by the President at a Town Hall on Manufacturing

 

 

First Lady Michelle Obama at Michaud for Governor Rally

 

Remarks by First Lady Michelle Obama at Michaud for Governor Rally

 

 

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Remarks by First Lady Michelle Obama at Michaud for Governor Rally

University of Maine
Bangor, Maine

4:40 P.M. EDT

 

MRS. OBAMA: Hey, Maine! (Applause.) Oh my goodness, thank you guys! Thanks so much. Wow, you guys are really fired up and I love it! (Applause.)

 

I am so thrilled to be back in Maine — I just wish I could stay longer. (Laughter and applause.) But let me start by thanking our friend, the next governor of Maine, Mike Michaud. (Applause.)

 

I don’t know about you, but — I don’t know why you’re here but I’m here for Mike. I’m here for Mike. (Laughter and applause.) And just listening to him backstage, he is a decent man. He is an honest man. He is a hard-working man. And I am very proud to be here in support of him. Mike understands what families here in Maine are going through — he knows. And as you all know, the entire time he was serving in your state legislature, he was working on the mill floor at the Great Northern Paper Company. He worked there for more than 29 years. So when it comes to creating jobs and making sure folks get a decent paycheck for their work, Mike understands what’s at stake in people’s lives. And Mike doesn’t get caught up in partisanship or politics. He was unanimously elected president of the Maine Senate by 17 Democrats, 17 Republicans and one independent. (Applause.) And he worked hard to bring those folks together to do great things for this state like raise the minimum wage, and cut taxes for small businesses, and so much more.

 

And Mike brought that same spirit to Congress — working across the aisle to improve benefits for our veterans, and promote clean energy, and make sure our military uniforms are 100 percent made here in the U.S., including right here in Maine. (Applause.)

 

So whether it’s strengthening the economy, or expanding access to health care, or ensuring that women get equal pay for equal work, Mike will wake up, as he said, every day ready to fight for hard-working families. And so, once again, I’m so proud to be here on his behalf and I think you all for being here to support him as well.

 

AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you! (Laughter.)

 

MRS. OBAMA: I love you, too. (Laughter and applause.)

 

I also want to recognize Senator Emily Cain. (Applause.) Yes, Emily. (Applause.) And Emily’s mom. (Laughter.) Emily has led the charge in your state legislature for economic development and better schools and more affordable health care, and I know that she will be an outstanding Congresswoman for the people of the 2nd district, so be sure to vote for Emily along with Mike on November the 4th. (Applause.) Yay, Emily! (Applause.)

 

And I also want to give a big hello to Cecile Richards who has been such a strong, passionate advocate for women and families across this country — and I’m thrilled — it was a pleasure, I know for all of you, to hear from her today. (Applause.)

 

And thanks also — I’ve got a lot of people to thank here in Maine. You guys have made my visit so special, I want to thank the president of this university, Susan Hunter, for her outstanding leadership and for hosting us here today. (Applause.)

 

But most of all, I want to thank you guys, I really do. (Applause.) Yes, I see so many wonderful faces — folks who have been with us from the beginning, folks who are new to this whole endeavor. I remember some of you were with us back when we were out in Iowa and New Hampshire, talking about hope and change and getting all fired up and ready to go — remember that? Yes! (Applause.)

 

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Cecile Richards, head of Planned Parenthood, speaks in support of Mike Michaud for Governor

 

Published on Oct 4, 2014

Speech given 10/3/14 before a packed house at FLOTUS/ Mike Michaud For Governor rally.

 

 

 

Rep. Mike Michaud addresses UMaine crowd, introduces FLOTUS Michelle Obama

 

Published on Oct 4, 2014

Speech given 10/3/14 before a packed house at FLOTUS/ Mike Michaud For Governor rally

 

 

 

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VIDEO MENSAJE DE LA CASA BLANCA: Fortaleciendo Nuestra Clase Media

October 04, 2014 | 1:55 | Public Domain

En el mensaje de esta semana, Katherine Vargas, la Directora de Medios Hispanos en la Casa Blanca, destacó que seis años después de la Gran Recesión, gracias al trabajo duro del pueblo estadounidense y las políticas del Presidente , nuestra economía se ha recuperado más y más rápido que cualquier otra nación del mundo. Con 10.3 millones de empleos del sector privado agregados durante más de 55 meses consecutivos, las empresas de Estados Unidos han ampliado el período más largo del crecimiento de los avances del sector privado en expediente. Pero incluso con estos avances, muchos personas que viven en los Estados Unidos aún tienen que sentir los beneficios. Ella reiteró la visión que el Presidente se propuso a principios de esta semana para los pasos que pueden formar una nueva base para un mayor crecimiento, un aumento de los salarios, y ampliar las oportunidades económicas para las familias de clase media.

 

 

 

Weekly Address: We Do Better When the Middle Class Does Better

October 04, 2014 | 01:06:24 | Public Domain

In this week’s address, the President highlighted that six years after the Great Recession, thanks to the hard work of the American people and the President’s policies, our economy has come back further and faster than any other nation on Earth.

 

 

 

Senior Administration Officials Hold a Briefing on the U.S. Government’s Ebola Response

October 03, 2014 | 44:01 | Public Domain

At the White House, senior administration officials hold a briefing on the U.S. government’s response to the Ebola epidemic, October 3, 2014.

 

 

 

West Wing Week: 10/03/14 or, “If the Body is Strong”

October 02, 2014 | 4:17

This week, the President convened summits on global public health and on the BRAIN Initiative, hosted the Prime Ministers of India and Israel, welcomed the 2013 MLS Champion Sporting Kansas City to the White House, and traveled to Chicago to speak on the resurgence of the American economy.

 

 

 

Statements and Releases/Speeches and Remarks

 

Statement by Vice President Biden on the October 3 Attack on United Nations Peacekeepers in Mali

 

Statement by the Press Secretary on the Government of the Netherlands Decision to Authorize Military Force Against ISIL

 

Readout of the President’s Call with U.S. Africa Command Commander General David Rodriguez

 

Statement by the President on the Death of Alan Henning

 

Statement by the President on Hajj and Eid al-Adha

 

Readout of the Vice President’s Call with President Erdogan of Turkey

 

Statement by NSC Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden on the Death of an ICRC Staff member in Ukraine

 

Statement by the Press Secretary on Australian, Danish, and Turkish Decisions to Authorize Military Force Against ISIL

 

Readout of Deputy National Security Advisor Antony Blinken ’s Meeting with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak of Slovakia

 

FACT SHEET: President Obama Announces New Manufacturing Innovation Institute Competition

 

Remarks by First Lady Michelle Obama at Martha Coakley for Governor Rally

 

Remarks by the Vice President at the John F. Kennedy Forum

 

 

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October 2014: Photo of the Day

 

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White House Week Ahead Schedule – October 6th – 10th, 2014

 

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Monday: The President will meet with the lead financial regulators at the White House for a discussion on the economy and to receive an update on the implementation of Wall Street reform. In the afternoon, he will meet with members of his national security team and senior staff to receive an update on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the administration’s response efforts. In the evening, the President will attend a DNC roundtable in Washington, D.C.

Tuesday: The President will travel to New York City to attend DNC events. Following these events, he will travel to Greenwich, Connecticut, to attend a DSCC event. Further details on the President’s travel to New York and Connecticut will be available in the coming days. The First Lady will attend an afternoon rally for Gov Pat Quinn at the University of Illinois

Wednesday: The President will travel to the Pentagon where he will meet with his combatant commanders and hold a meeting with his national security team to receive an update on the campaign to combat ISIL.

Thursday: The President will travel to Los Angeles to attend a DNC event. He will spend the night in LA.

Friday: The President will travel to San Francisco to attend a DNC event, and will spend the night there.

Saturday: While in San Francisco, the President will attend a DNC roundtable. Following these events, he will return to Washington, D.C., in the afternoon.

 

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First Lady Michelle Obama headlines rally at UIC for Quinn on Tuesday

 

First Lady Michelle Obama will campaign for Gov. Pat Quinn on Tuesday, the event: an afternoon rally at the University of Illinois/Chicago Pavilion at 525 S. Racine.

 

President Barack Obama raised $1 million for Quinn at a Thursday fundraiser for Quinn, but did not do any large-scale event to mobilize voters to turn out. At the UIC event, Michelle Obama will be leading a rally to get-out-the vote for Quinn and the rest of the Illinois Democratic ticket and will emphasize how folks should take advantage of the early voting options in Illinois.

 

On Monday, the Quinn campaign starting running a radio spot the first lady made for Quinn.

 

Obama in Chicago and Rahm’s policy push

 

 

 

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Demonstrators ‘disrupt’ STL symphony singing a ‘Requiem for Mike Brown’

 

 

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The Last 24™


Mr. MilitantNegro™

Mr. MilitantNegro™

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The President’s Day: October 2nd, 2014

 

On Thursday, the President will return from Chicago. In the evening, the President will deliver remarks at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Annual Awards Gala at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

 

 

President Obama Delivers Remarks at Northwestern University

 

Published on Oct 2, 2014

On October 2, 2014, President Obama spoke to young entrepreneurs at the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management about the new foundation of America’s 21st century economy.

 

 

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The President Speaks at Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Gala

 

Published on Oct 2, 2014

President Obama delivers remarks at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s 37th Annual Awards Gala in Washington, D.C., October 2, 2014.

 

 

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President Obama meets with the Prime Minister of Israel

October 01, 2014 | 6:01 | Public Domain

President Obama held a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel on October 1, 2014.

 

 

 

The President Honors the MLS Cup Champions

 

Published on Oct 1, 2014

On October 1, 2014, President Obama delivered remarks in honor of the Sporting KC, the MLS Cup Champions of 2013.

 

 

 

West Wing Week: 10/03/14 or “If the Body is Strong”

 

Published on Oct 2, 2014

This week, the President convened summits on global public health and on the BRAIN Initiative, hosted the Prime Ministers of India and Israel, welcomed the 2013 MLS Champion Sporting Kansas City to the White House, and traveled to Chicago to speak on the resurgence of the American economy. That’s September 26th to October 2nd “If the Body is Strong.”

 

 

 

10/01/14: White House Press Briefing

 

 

Speeches and Remarks

 

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Remarks by the President at Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Gala

 

Remarks by the President on the Economy — Northwestern University

 

Remarks by the President Honoring the MLS Cup Champion Sporting KC

 

Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel Before Bilateral Meeting

 

 

Statements and Releases

 

Readout of National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice’s Meeting with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh of Vietnam

 

Readout of National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice’s Meeting with Indian National Security Advisor Doval

 

Readout of National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice’s Meeting with Foreign Minister Wang Yi of China

 

President Obama Signs Kentucky Disaster Declaration

 

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

 

Readout of Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa O. Monaco’s Meeting with Security Officials from the Netherlands

 

Obama Administration Announces Climate Action Champions Competition to Recognize Climate Leaders Across the United States

 

 

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The White House Blog

 

Gary Pollard, Jr.: “One American’s Perspective”

 

The Foundation for Growth and Prosperity Revisited

 

“A New Foundation Is Laid”: President Obama on America’s 21st Century Economy

 

Have This in Front of You When You Watch the President Today

 

Watch and Engage: President Obama Speaks on the Future of America’s 21st Century Economy

 

President Obama Welcomes 2013 MLS Champs Sporting KC to the White House

 

You Told Us: Here’s What Raising the Wage Means to You

 

President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu Meet at the White House

 

Kevin Pearce: “I may never get to stand on the Olympic podium, but:”

 

Videos Are "Fallin" ALL Over The Place

 

What’s Behind the Ebola Crises and are U.S. Americans at Risk?

 

Published on Oct 2, 2014

In an interview with Telesur’s The Global African, Johns Hopkins Infectious Disease Program co-director Taha E. Taha discusses the roots of the Ebola crisis and what can be done about it.

 

 

 

Ebola patient’s family still in apartment

 

 

 

This Insane Ad Shows Exactly How Republicans See Women

 

Published on Oct 2, 2014

Republicans just continue their “reaching out” to women in all the most tone deaf ways. College Republican National Committee released a demented new ad targeting young women voters attempting to parody the TV show Say Yes to the Dress…

 

 

 

Should Justice Ginsburg retire?

 

Published on Oct 2, 2014

When justices are named to the Supreme Court, they hold that seat for life. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 81, the oldest sitting justice and a powerful voice on the bench. Jeffrey Brown gets views from Erwin Chemerinsky of the University of California-Irvine and Jeffrey Rosen of George Washington University on the political ramifications of a retirement, and the idea of Supreme Court term limits.

 

 

 

Justice Scalia Is Utterly Stupid, Especially On Religion & The Constitution

 

Published on Oct 2, 2014

“The separation of church and state doesn’t mean “the government cannot favor religion over non-religion,” Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia argued during a speech at Colorado Christian University on Wednesday, according to The Washington Times.

 

 

 

Massive Cyber Attack 76 million accounts from JPMorgan been compromised – LoneWolf Sager

 

 

 

36 Million Americans in the Path of Severe Weather From Dallas to Chicago

 

Published on Oct 2, 2014

From Dallas to Chicago, powerful winds, hail, rain and floods all threaten the heartland. – LoneWolf & The Three Muskadoggies
“Please…. Remember Our Homeless, Hospitalized & Disabled Veterans & Fallen Heroes! Thank You….America!”
“WATCH OUT

 

 

 

Truck crashes during California high-speed police chase

 

Published on Oct 2, 2014

A police chase spanning three counties in California Thursday ended after the driver, who was suspected of grand theft, crashed off the interstate.

 

 

 

PBS NewsHour full episode Oct. 2, 2014

 

Published on Oct 2, 2014

Thursday on the NewsHour, we take a deeper look at the ongoing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Also: A debate on when Supreme Court justices should retire, students in Colorado protest changes to their curriculum, Walruses face dangers as sea ice retreats, taxi drivers push back against Uber and Lyft and actor Kevin Spacey cultivates an unsung talent.

 

 

 

Vice President Biden Speaks to the Urban Alliance and U.S. Chamber of Commerce

 

Scheduled for Oct 3, 2014

 

 

 

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