Sunday, January 31, 2010

Obama's accomplishments

On President Obama’s accomplishments so far.

If you are a Teabagger, Birther or otherwise a close minded Republican asshole you wouldn’t be reading my blog in the first place. Selective reasoning and denial would prevent you from doing so. But if you are a critic of the President as I have done from time to time, I suggest you read on. I know it is long and tedious but the fact remains that he has accomplished a lot already. I dare say he has done more positive things in one year than his predecessor did in eight, other than cutting taxes for the rich, empowering Evangelicals and setting us on a divisive path, getting us into a stupid, unnecessary war and squandering our resources at home and abroad to leave us with the biggest mess since the Great Depression.

Here are just some of what President Obama has accomplished:

On the environment:

* Included funding for "green" jobs in the stimulus bill
* Initiated first steps to develop a legally-binding treaty to reduce mercury emissions worldwide
* Dedicated more than $60 billion for clean energy
* Instituted "cash for clunkers," getting more fuel efficient cars on the street
* Acknowledges reality of climate change and his desire to work on an international policy like Kyoto

On healthcare:

* Overturned the federal funding ban for stem cell research
* Instituted better standards for comparative research in medicine and an agency to handle this
* Added staff to the FDA and brought back emphasis on science
* Allocated over $1 billion to the National Institutes of Health, whose budget Bush let stagnate
* Eliminated funding for abstinence-only education
* Signed an executive order repealing the "Mexico City policy" or "global gag rule" that withheld U.S. funds from organizations that discuss or provide family planning services abroad.

*He has really tried to get a healthcare bill passed…If it had not been for all those in the pockets of the Insurance companies he could have signed one legislation by now…Republicans have delayed, obstructed, opposed and told lies that have worked in convincing Americans to allow Insurance companies to continue making obscene profits.

1. Ordered all federal agencies to undertake a study and make recommendations for ways to cut spending

2. Ordered a review of all federal operations to identify and cut wasteful spending and practices

3. Instituted enforcements for equal pay for women

4. Beginning the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq

5. Families of fallen soldiers have expenses covered to be on hand when the body arrives at Dover A.F.B.

6. Ended media "blackout" on war casualties; reporting full information

7. Ended media "blackout" on covering the return of fallen soldiers to Dover A.F.B.; the media is now permitted to do so pending adherence to respectful rules and approval of fallen soldier's family

8. The White House and federal government are respecting the Freedom of Information Act

9. Instructed all federal agencies to promote openness and transparency as much as possible

10. Limits on lobbyists' access to the White House

11. Limits on White House aides working for lobbyists after their tenure in the administration

12. Ended the previous "stop-loss" policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan longer than their enlistment date

13. Phasing out the expensive F-22 war plane and other outdated weapons systems, which weren't even used or needed in Iraq/Afghanistan

14. Removed restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research

15. Federal support for stem-cell and new biomedical research

16. New federal funding for science and research labs

17. States are permitted to enact federal fuel efficiency standards above federal standards

18. Increased infrastructure spending (roads, bridges, power plants...) after years of neglect

19. Funds for high-speed, broadband Internet access to K-12 schools

20. New funds for school construction

21. The prison at Guantanamo Bay is being phased out

22. US Auto industry rescue plan

23. Housing rescue plan

24. $789 billion economic stimulus plan

25. The public can meet with federal housing insurers to refinance (the new plan can be completed in one day) a mortgage if they are having trouble paying

26. US financial and banking rescue plan

27. The "secret detention" facilities in Eastern Europe and elsewhere are being closed

28. Ended the previous policy; the US now has a no torture policy and is in compliance with the Geneva Convention standards

29. Better body armor is now being provided to our troops

30. The missile defense program is being cut by $1.4 billion in 2010

31. Restarted the nuclear non-proliferation talks and building back up the nuclear inspection infrastructure/protocols

32. Reengaged in the treaties/agreements to protect the Antarctic

33. Reengaged in the agreements/talks on global warming and greenhouse gas emissions

34. Visited more countries and met with more world leaders than any president in his first six months in office

35. Successful release of US captain held by Somali pirates; authorized the SEALS to do their job

36. US Navy increasing patrols off Somali coast

37. Attractive tax write-offs for those who buy hybrid automobiles

38. "Cash for clunkers" program offers vouchers to trade in fuel inefficient, polluting old cars for new cars; stimulates auto sales

39. Announced plans to purchase fuel efficient American-made fleet for the federal government

40. Expanded the SCHIP program to cover health care for 4 million more children

41. Signed national service legislation; expanded national youth service program

42. Instituted a new policy on Cuba, allowing Cuban families to return "home" to visit loved ones

43. Ended the previous policy of not regulating and labeling carbon dioxide emissions

44. Expanding vaccination programs

45. Immediate and efficient response to the floods in North Dakota and other natural disasters (Haiti)

46. Closed offshore tax safe havens

47. Negotiated deal with Swiss banks to permit US government to gain access to records of tax evaders and criminals (Joe Lieberman won’t be able to spend the money insurance companies deposited in his secret bank account?)

48. Ended the previous policy of offering tax benefits to corporations who outsource American jobs; the new policy is to promote in-sourcing to bring jobs back

49. Ended the previous practice of protecting credit card companies; in place of it are new consumer protections from credit card industry's predatory practices

50. Energy producing plants must begin preparing to produce 15% of their energy from renewable sources

51. Lower drug costs for seniors

52. Ended the previous practice of forbidding Medicare from negotiating with drug manufacturers for cheaper drugs; the federal government is now realizing hundreds of millions in savings

53. Increasing pay and benefits for military personnel

54. Improved housing for military personnel

55. Initiating a new policy to promote federal hiring of military spouses

56. Improved conditions at Walter Reed Military Hospital and other military hospitals

57. Increasing student loans

58. Increasing opportunities in AmeriCorps program

59. Sent envoys to Middle East and other parts of the world that had been neglected for years; reengaging in multilateral and bilateral talks and diplomacy

60. Established a new cyber security office

61. Beginning the process of reforming and restructuring the military 20 years after the Cold War to a more modern fighting force... this includes new procurement policies, increasing size of military, new technology and cyber units and operations, etc.

62. Ended previous policy of awarding no-bid defense contracts (Halliburton, Blackwater out?)

63. Ordered a review of hurricane and natural disaster preparedness

64. Established a National Performance Officer charged with saving the federal government money and making federal operations more efficient

65. Students struggling to make college loan payments can have their loans refinanced

66. Improving benefits for veterans

67. Many more press conferences and town halls and much more media access than previous administration

68. Instituted a new focus on mortgage fraud

69. The FDA is now regulating tobacco

70. Ended previous policy of cutting the FDA and circumventing FDA rules

71. Ended previous practice of having White House aides rewrite scientific and environmental rules, regulations, and reports

72. Authorized discussions with North Korea and private mission by Pres. Bill Clinton to secure the release of two Americans held in prisons

73. Authorized discussions with Myanmar and mission by Sen. Jim Web to secure the release of an American held captive

74. Making more loans available to small businesses

75. Established independent commission to make recommendations on slowing the costs of Medicare

76. Appointment of first Latina to the Supreme Court

77. Authorized construction/opening of additional health centers to care for veterans

78. Limited salaries of senior White House aides; cut to $100,000

79. Renewed loan guarantees for Israel

80. Changed the failing/status quo military command in Afghanistan

81. Deployed additional troops to Afghanistan

82. New Afghan War policy that limits aerial bombing and prioritizes aid, development of infrastructure, diplomacy, and good government practices by Afghans

83. Announced the long-term development of a national energy grid with renewable sources and cleaner, efficient energy production

84. Returned money authorized for refurbishment of White House offices and private living quarters

85. Paid for redecorations of White House living quarters out of his own pocket

86. Held first Seder in White House

87. Attempting to reform the nation's healthcare system which is the most expensive in the world yet leaves almost 50 million without health insurance and millions more underinsured

88. Has put the ball in play for comprehensive immigration reform

89. Has announced his intention to push for energy reform

90. Has announced his intention to push for education reform

Many of his detractors, and even some of his wavering supporters, will be surprised to learn that in his first year, Barack Obama has already fulfilled at least 79 campaign promises. This is one of the most accomplished records of any first year in office, and it has come with considerable difficulty in working with and around a Congress fraught with obstructionism and distracted by its own mythology regarding specific points of policy, and in the face of the most uniform and inflexible opposition any president in recent decades has faced.

The 79 promises kept, as fact-checked and reported by, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking service of the St. Petersburg Times, are as follows:

* No. 6: Create an Advanced Manufacturing Fund to invest in peer-reviewed manufacturing processes
* No. 15: Create a foreclosure prevention fund for homeowners
* No. 16: Increase minority access to capital
* No. 33: Establish a credit card bill of rights
* No. 36: Expand loan programs for small businesses
* No. 40: Extend and index the 2007 Alternative Minimum Tax patch
* No. 50: Expand the Senior Corps volunteer program
* No. 58: Expand eligibility for State Children's Health Insurance Fund (SCHIP)
* No. 76: Expand funding to train primary care providers and public health practitioners
* No. 77: Increase funding to expand community based prevention programs
* No. 88: Sign the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
* No. 110: Assure that the Veterans Administration budget is prepared as 'must-pass' legislation
* No. 119: Appoint a special adviser to the president on violence against women
* No. 125: Direct military leaders to end war in Iraq
* No. 132: No permanent bases in Iraq
* No. 134: Send two additional brigades to Afghanistan
* No. 154: Strengthen and expand military exchange programs with other countries
* No. 167: Make U.S. military aid to Pakistan conditional on anti-terror efforts
* No. 174: Give a speech at a major Islamic forum in the first 100 days of his administration
* No. 182: Allocate Homeland Security funding according to risk
* No. 184: Create a real National Infrastructure Protection Plan
* No. 200: Appoint a White House Coordinator for Nuclear Security
* No. 208: Improve relations with Turkey, and its relations with Iraqi Kurds
* No. 212: Launch an international Add Value to Agriculture Initiative (AVTA)

* No. 215: Create a rapid response fund for emerging democracies
* No. 222: Grant Americans unrestricted rights to visit family and send money to Cuba
* No. 224: Restore funding for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne/JAG) program
* No. 225: Establish an Energy Partnership for the Americas
* No. 239: Release presidential records
* No. 241: Require new hires to sign a form affirming their hiring was not due to political affiliation or contributions.
* No. 247: Recruit math and science degree graduates to the teaching profession
* No. 266: Encourage water-conservation efforts in the West
* No. 269: Increase funding for national parks and forests
* No. 270: Increase funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund
* No. 272: Encourage farmers to use more renewable energy and be more energy efficient
* No. 277: Pursue a wildfire prevention and management plan
* No. 278: Remove more brush, small trees and vegetation that fuel wildfires
* No. 284: Expand access to places to hunt and fish
* No. 290: Push for enactment of Matthew Sheppard Act, which expands hate crime law to include sexual orientation and other factors
* No. 300: Reform mandatory minimum sentences
* No. 307: Create a White House Office on Urban Policy
* No. 325: Create an artist corps for schools
* No. 326: Champion the importance of arts education
* No. 327: Support increased funding for the NEA
* No. 332: Add another Space Shuttle flight
* No. 334: Use the private sector to improve spaceflight
* No. 336: Partner to enhance the potential of the International Space Station
* No. 337: Use the International Space Station for fundamental biological and physical research
* No. 338: Explore whether International Space Station can operate after 2016
* No. 342: Work toward deploying a global climate change research and monitoring system
* No. 345: Enhance earth mapping
* No. 346: Appoint an assistant to the president for science and technology policy
* No. 356: Establish special crime programs for the New Orleans area
* No. 359: Rebuild schools in New Orleans
* No. 371: Fund a major expansion of AmeriCorps
* No. 380: Bolster the military's ability to speak different languages
* No. 391: Appoint the nation's first Chief Technology Officer
* No. 394: Provide grants to early-career researchers
* No. 411: Work to overturn Ledbetter vs. Goodyear
* No. 420: Create a national declassification center
* No. 421: Appoint an American Indian policy adviser
* No. 427: Ban lobbyist gifts to executive employees
* No. 435: Create new criminal penalties for mortgage fraud
* No. 452: Weatherize 1 million homes per year
* No. 458: Invest in all types of alternative energy
* No. 459: Enact tax credit for consumers for plug-in hybrid cars
* No. 460: Ask people and businesses to conserve electricity
* No. 475: Require states to provide incentives for utilities to reduce energy consumption
* No. 480: Unprecedented expansion of funding for regional high-speed rail
* No. 483: Invest in public transportation
* No. 484: Equalize tax breaks for driving and public transit
* No. 494: Share environmental technology with other countries

* No. 498: Provide grants to encourage energy-efficient building codes
* No. 500: Increase funding for the Environmental Protection Agency
* No. 502: Get his daughters a puppy
* No. 503: Appoint at least one Republican to the cabinet
* No. 506: Raise the small business investment expensing limit to $250,000 through the end of 2009
* No. 507: Extend unemployment insurance benefits and temporarily suspend taxes on these benefits
* No. 513: Reverse restrictions on stem cell research

There are a further 226 campaign promises officially listed, after extensive fact-checking, as "in the works", as of this morning. Many of these will be accomplished in 2010, giving Pres. Obama the most extensive record of success in fulfilling specific campaign promises in US history. We can expect this fact will not be widely reported, as the mainstream news media appear determined to posture "objectivity" by refusing to report successes Obama's opponents refuse to acknowledge.

Well, one has to see if they even agree with all he has "accomplished." Some would say that it is way too much spending. While one can list what they think he has done, that doesn’t mean it was good for the country. As far as the speech; it was long, arrogant and full of more b.s. We will see how it all unfolds.

It was the best speech since Ronald Reagan in my opinion.

January 28, 2010 12:37 PM it was posted “Anonymous” and I wish he could tell us his name so we can congratulate him and praise him for having done his homework. I take the liberty to publish his comments on the blog: “WICKED GAY BLOG” ( where I picked up his comments.

My comment on this is: What do people want? Do they want him to fail? I really doubt McCain could have done better…after all, the guy can’t walk on water or multiply the bread.

Deny, deny, deny, drill baby drill

Many people are willing to let Bush off the hook for not finding any WMDs. They say the poor man was misled by faulty intelligence.

I say that is not true. He knowingly lied. Here are 2 reasons why I think this.

  1. SECRET AND STRICTLY PERSONAL - UK EYES ONLY Top secret document leaked in Britain is the smoking gun. 2002-07-23. it describes an elaborate plan by George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair to hoodwink the planet into supporting an attack on Iraq knowing full well the evidence for war was a phony. Greg Palast explains its significance.
  2. Bush used a forged document to back up his claims, — the Niger Uranium document. He knew the document was forged since he sent retired Ambassador Joseph Wilson in 2002-02 to Niger to check. A document to sell yellowcake would require the signature of the prime minister, the forgoing minister and the minister of mines. Nobody had signed such a document and further all the yellowcake had been presold to the Japanese and Europeans. There was no way that huge quantity of 500 tons could have been shunted. Wilson wrote about this in an op-ed in the New York Times 2003-07-06. Someone in the Bush camp (presumably Karl Rove) retaliated by outing Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA agent, thus endangering her life and the lives of operatives who worked with her. Jeff Gannon and Bob Novak published the outing and refused to name the source.

Republican Denial

Republican denial of any American wrongdoing reaches preposterous heights. Republican with a straight face assert that $300 billion in arms killed no Iraqis, at least no children, that the Johns-Hopkins report on the casualties is a left wing conspiracy and completely false, that the bombs they saw on CNN leveling Baghdad killed no one, that there is no torture in Iraq, even though there have been criminal convictions, that Saddam masterminded 9/11 even though Bush admitted he had no connection. Sometimes they will claim that every photo of the destruction and victims in Iraq are clever forgeries put out by the Iraqis. Sometimes they will even claim the Iraqis maim and kill their own children simply to take photos of them that will make the Americans look bad.

I wondered what could motivate people to lie so outrageously. Why were they supporting torture and anal rape of children? Surely 50% of American were not all sadistic pedophiles.

Here is how Northern Storm, a frequent poster in alt.politics.bush explains it: This is how Republicans see the Iraq war: “Sure, bad things happen in war but this war is very noble. Besides, that picture you’re shoving in my face is an isolated incident according to the administration and I’ll believe them before I believe you.

Moreover, these isolated incidents you’re pointing out, while tragic and regrettable, are outweighed by all the wonderful things we’re doing in Iraq. Haven’t you read about the wonderful new schools and hospitals we’re building for our friends the Iraqis?”

You have to keep in mind that the Republicans want (desperately) to believe it. Plus, they’re inundated every day with the rosy picture that FOX and Rush are paid to tell them. If a guy in a nice suit on TV tells them what they already want to believe, it’s pretty easy for them to fall in line.

Furthermore, most of them are young and idealistic. Many aren’t old enough to recall their government lying to them during the Vietnam years.

Lastly, there’s always been an under the surface theme throughout public education in America that equates questioning the government as a lack of patriotism. To speak out makes you a traitor, in their minds.

Now, repeat after me: Barack Obama won the election and he was born in Hawaii, There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, George W. Bush was the worst President we ever had, water-boarding is torture, this is a secular country, not a Christian nation, never will be a theocracy, Americans want health care reform and prefer single payer, universal healthcare like the rest of the civilized nations,


President Obama is growing our debt, leaving our children and our grandchildren with an insurmountable debt.

As of October 17, 2008, this is what our national debt looked like. So, please don’t tell me about President Obama trying to spend our hard earned dollars to get us out of this economic morass Bush left us.

“The U.S. national debt has grown so exponentially that the Durst Organization, which maintains the National Debt Clock in Times Square, will revamp its ticker to accommodate 14 digits, or more than $10 trillion, according to CNN.

"$10 trillion is a number that would just be beyond my father's imagination back in 1980," said Douglas Durst, CEO of the Durst Organization and "keeper of the clock," whose father Seymour in 1989 created the digital debt-tracker, basing its numbers on U.S. Treasury data.

"It really started in the '80s with the Reagan administration and as the first George Bush called it 'voodoo economics,' [which] allowed us to borrow against the future wealth of the country," Mr. Durst told CNN. "It absolutely is a sign of where this country has been going for the last five or six years, living off of ever increasing debt."



Recently, “The Nation” expressed it a lot better than I could:

The Guardian asked seven US authors to reflect on Dumbya's reign of terror. Here's part of Tobias Wolff's take on the Idiot-in-Chief: I simply can't, as Justice Scalia has advised, 'get over it'. As I grind my coffee to the morning newscast and the image of our confident president appears, the bile rises in the gorge, boiling over into tantrums and rants and declarations of despair that, even in the moment, strike me as clownish and pitiable, and are certainly viewed by my family in that light, until they join in.

No, I can't get over it, and neither can my friends, hard as we all try. When we meet for dinner we do our best to take up other subjects - books, gossip, movies, our children - but then, like the addicts we've become, we sneak back to the drug of outrage, shooting up the latest barefaced lie and squalid revelation, not forgetting to list yet again the national and global catastrophes brought about by the incompetence, hypocrisy, muddle hard-heads, venality, truculence, mendacity, callousness, zealotry, machismo, lawlessness, cynicism, wishful thinking, and occasional downright evil of the administration of George W Bush. Our economy is in freefall, our public school system a disgrace, our military exhausted, the wounded and traumatized dying of neglect, yea, the very earth groaning for relief - and he's optimistic! Yessiree! Looking forward to it! Leaning toward us over the podium with that exasperated little squint and that impatient, dentist-drill voice, utterly at a loss as to how he got saddled with a nation of such gloomy wussies and crybabies.

Eddying around our own indignation again and again, as if caught in some Bermuda Triangle of complaint, we are unable not to remind each other of the fatal character of George Bush's incomprehension, the thousands upon thousands who have died by his blithe actions and inactions, and his inability to understand at any level - political, moral, emotional - the terrible damage he has done, this man whose idea of sharing in the grief of parents who've lost a son or daughter in Iraq is to give up playing golf! If he really did.

Then there are some, I would say most Republicans who are not willing to take responsibility for Bush’s incompetence and the Republican Party’s askew and hurtful ideology. That is unforgiveable.

Friday, January 29, 2010

President Obama meets Republicans head on

President Obama meets Republicans and comes out smelling like a rose.

Today it was remarkable to see that just after a very articulate and poignant State of the Union delivered by our President on Wednesday, he visited House Republicans at their retreat and answered their questions directly for most of an hour. It was an honest and unscripted discussion where the President took their questions and concerns seriously, acknowledged where they had valid points, and explained genuinely where he felt they were wrong. And there was plenty of it from the President. He set them straight on many issues they have been misrepresenting for all of his first year in office and that have caused such rifts and erosion of confidence. And guess what? He didn’t have a teleprompter!

Basically he told them that they were to blame for boxing themselves in and making it impossible to have any meaningful exchange of ideas because they had been painting him as some kind of “Bolchevik” who was trying to institute this totalitarian system upon the American people; when in reality the very things that he has been prescribing were at one point or another the same centrist issues and ideas that Republicans were proponents during the Clinton effort to reform Health Care.

I am sure that the Republicans are not going to ask the President to return and have another one of these exchanges because it proved to be devastating to their agenda. The President not only stood his ground but called their bluff and pointed out where and how they have been wrong all along. Republicans simply can’t afford to have themselves be belittled by a President they invited to come in expecting for him to grovel and walk out with his tail between his legs in defeat and humiliated.

President Obama was brilliant again and now I think he is finally fighting. Perhaps a year too late; perhaps a bit too tardy to get any kind of sensible Health Care legislation but the Republicans have met their match and he has exceeded it. It was a “mistake” to allow cameras to roll while he did this.

In short, it was something that for many Americans has seemed all but inconceivable in American politics -- a real discussion with honest disagreements about the challenges we face. And something that has been long overdue: the debunking of their lies and talking points to confuse and motivate the ultra-right base. That is clear that they may no longer be able to afford to do.

So, Teabaggers, where do you stand now? What lies are you going to tell? Are Republicans going to close the gap between rhetoric and reality?