David Maraniss wrote a book about President Obama called Barack Obama: The Story. I haven’t read it yet, but I did see Maraniss on several shows discussing the book and it has caused a stir on both the left and the right. I’ve always thought he was a straight shooter and about as objective as any writer of politics can be.
I think a lot of the negative reaction from the left towards his book was because of the way the crazy right was spinning it, which has become the norm for the right these days. They take one little kernel of information (or plucked sentence) and manufacture a massive lie, complete with conspiracies and dire implications and then push it out into the public sphere through surrogates, including “respected” Senators, Representatives, Governors, pundits, bloggers and radio blowhards. And of course, network and cable talking heads then dutifully pick it up and further pound it into the public consciousness. A perfect example of this was seen when Donald Trump, or as I called him at the time, “Balloon Boy”, was appearing on the half hour at MSNBC to blow his birth certificate dog whistle.
David Maraniss wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Post that is worth a read. It disproves some of the craziness floating around in right wing circles with actual facts, history and truth…what a concept. Here is a snippet…
Not all of them are “birthers,” but the notion that the president was not born in the United States remains at the epicenter of the anti-Obama mythology. Here is the conspiracy that would have had to exist if Barack Hussein Obama II were not born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Aug. 4, 1961:
First, the local newspapers would have had to have been in on the scheme, because they ran notices of his birth among all the other local births that week. Second, the Immigration and Naturalization Service would have had to have been covering something up, because INS officials were closely tracking Barack Obama Sr. when he was at the University of Hawaii on a student visa from Kenya. They thought that he was a bigamist — which he was, having married a woman in Kenya before coming to the States — and a womanizer, which he also was. INS documents in the weeks and months before and after the son’s birth clearly establish the father’s whereabouts and the birth of his son. Finally, the name of Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann, was unusual enough that doctors and nurses in Honolulu remembered it and her giving birth. One prominent doctor was asked by a young journalist if anything interesting had happened in the medical world that week, and he responded, “Well, Stanley had a baby!”
What concerns me is that many people – way too many people – when presented with these facts, still refuse to believe that he was born in Hawaii. Whether it’s because of racism, partisanship, stupidity, paranoid schizophrenia or the constant brainwashing by the above mentioned surrogates, it has gotten out of control. When the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who is a couple of heartbeats away from the presidency, panders to those who believe them, it proves that the the Grand Old Party ain’t so grand anymore.
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
I have to imagine that a whole lot of Republican primary voters are going to have buyers remorse once they start digesting some of the great ads that Democrats are producing. There is so much content to work this election, it’s exciting. This type of ad, real people talking about the impact of Romney’s business model on their lives, will resonate with a lot of people.
The Supreme Court yesterday made an important decision that will improve the lives of millions of people and bring stability to American families across the country.
The decision was extremely close, with Chief Justice Roberts siding with the liberals in what many think is an effort to salvage some respect for the court.
I posted President Obama’s speech yesterday and highly recommend it to you, if you still haven’t seen it. Here are some of the real effects of the Affordable Care Act. Talk to your friends, family and anyone who will listen about the real provisions in the law. The amount of misinformation in the public sphere is crazy, we must correct at least some of it.
- Insurance companies no longer have unchecked power to cancel your policy, deny you coverage, or charge women more than men.
- Soon, no American will ever again be denied care or charged more due to a pre-existing condition, like cancer or even asthma.
- Preventive care will still be covered free of charge by insurance companies–including mammograms for women and wellness visits for seniors.
- By August, millions of Americans will receive a rebate because their insurance company spent too much of their premium on administrative costs or CEO bonuses.
- 5.3 million seniors will continue to save $600 a year on their prescription drugs.
- Efforts to strengthen and protect Medicare by cracking down on waste, fraud, and abuse will remain in place.
- 6.6 million young adults will still be able to stay on their family’s plan until they’re 26.
The court’s decision will have an impact on 129 million Americans with pre-existing conditions by bringing security to their lives and comfort in knowing that they will not be left out in the cold. These families will be saved from having to liquidate their life savings, sell their homes or go bankrupt in order to get the care they need.
The reaction from some on the right illustrates how the $210 million dollar campaign of lies against the Affordable Care Act has permeated the thinking of too many people. We all must pull together to counter that misinformation and talk to people, one on one, and inform them of what is really in the bill.
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
The impact of President Obama’s support for same sex marriage will be felt for years to come and in many ways.
Prior to the interview on ABC where he affirmed his support for SSM, I honestly didn’t realize just how much impact it would have. On my drive home from work, I heard Andrew Sullivan on NPR discussing his reaction and the full impact hit me hard as I began to cry.
ANDREW SULLIVAN: I did have mixed feelings, but I thought beforehand that this is a state issue. The president’s role in this is really circumscribed. One interview doesn’t make a difference. And then I watched the interview and the tears flooded. There is something about hearing your president affirm your humanity that you don’t know what effect it has until you hear it. And I think of all those gay Americans over the centuries who never heard that, never believed it could happen. And I have to say I’m immensely proud of this president for doing what he did.
I think he let go of fear today, the fear that somehow by embracing this natural, obvious and I would say conservative development he was sometimes – somehow embracing political calamity. He wasn’t, he isn’t, he won’t. And exchanging fears for hope on this and affirming what we all know who have met him and seen him that he thinks of gay people exactly as he thinks of straight people, as human beings and Americans first. That’s a great moment. (emphasis mine)
Hearing Andrew’s words brought home to me how important this is for the LGBT community.
The President’s words also went a long way towards strengthening the institution of marriage. I know that is the opposite of what you will read today in most publications that are mining the religious community for hyperbolic quotes and trying to create some controversy. But in my mind, there is no way it can do anything but strengthen it.
News flash – Lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender people aren’t going away and thank god, they help make our communities rich. The idea that preventing loving, committed couples from marrying will somehow weaken the institution of marriage makes absolutely no sense. In reality, allowing same sex couples to marry can only strengthen that institution. It promotes commitment, stability and family by giving security and a sense of belonging to a group that for far too long has been forced to live on the outside of the circle.
In a world where young people are becoming more promiscuous and the role models for our youth in many instances are the cast of the Jersey Shore, the Kardashians and misogynistic musicians, having two loving adults making a commitment to each other should be welcomed, regardless of their gender.
The religious objections to this idea are rooted in centuries old biases and cultural influence. When I read the Bible years ago, the cultural influences on each writer was very apparent to me. A friend of mine who studied the Bible extensively, pointed out that many stories are repeated in the Bible and each version of the story was different, based on who was writing it and the culture that influenced him. The writers were humans – imperfect humans who brought opinions and biases to what they wrote. So when religious folks refer back to a book written thousands of years ago in a completely different age, I have to wonder why it is they feel the need to live by the biases of a long ago people. In effect, they are ignoring everything that humans have learned since then.
The idea that allowing LGBT people to marry somehow hurts heterosexual marriages is just a mystery to me. I can’t seem to connect the dots of their argument and to be honest, I’m not sure I’ve ever really seen anything but platitudes when it comes to this idea. There is no argument to be made other than an appeal to emotions, fear and homophobia. My wife and I spent a couple minutes trying to figure out how it has anything to do with our marriage. We basically just shook our heads back and forth and said, WTF.
President Obama’s interview with Robin Roberts where he affirmed the humanity of LGBT people was an important moment in our history. And even though the Federal government has a limited role in defining marriage, the courage of President Obama to speak honestly about his feelings and to speak up for equality for all people can not be diminished, no matter how hard people try.
OK, here’s the deal. There are a whole lot of us liberals/progressives/Democrats who support President Obama and NO, it isn’t some hero-worship or cult-like bullshit that frequently gets thrown in our face. We are supporting a President that is working his ass off to try to repair the damage left behind by the previous 4 presidents.
We support a president that is interested in making progress and moving the ball down the field, whether it’s huge gains like reforming health care or small gains like signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
And we don’t think President Obama can do no wrong, that is something that gets projected upon us constantly. It is the knee-jerk reaction of many of the “pundits of perpetual disappointment” who spend all their time splitting hairs and searching for something to whine about. And of course, they never give credit for any advancements, nothing is ever good enough for them.
So you folks on the left who continue to snipe, attack, antagonize and otherwise act like petulant, whiny little children…..GIVE IT UP! You aren’t going to convince us that it’s in our own best interests to help the Republicans take EVEN MORE control over our country. It ain’t going to fucking happen, sorry. No matter what President Obama might do that I disagree with, I’m not so naive to think that ANY Republican would even come close to representing me better than President Obama does.
If you are one of those people who thinks “both parties are the same”, I’m sorry, you are suffering from delusions. To me, that is one of the stupidest fucking things you can say in politics. What comes to my mind when I hear people trot out the “both sides” meme is that the person saying it has some other motivation. If they are willing to ignore things such as who gets to pick Supreme Court nominees, an impact that will be felt for decades to come, then they are clearly motivated by something other than principles. Or, how can someone who passionately supports people less fortunate than themselves ignore the Paul Ryan/Republican budget plan, which in effect says “you’re on your own buddy, but here’s a lovely parting gift…your voucher.”
To my fellow pragmatic liberals and progressives, we need to focus on fighting back against the powerful, well-funded right that is determined to completely turn our country over to big money interests. Too much of our time is wasted fighting the malcontents on the left.
Don’t let the hate driven left set the agenda, learn to ignore them. When you engage them, you are only encouraging them. Their goals aren’t to win elections or change things, because as I’ve said, if they are willing to ignore so many important differences between Democrats and Republicans and choose to spend their time blogging, tweeting, Facebooking and talking about what isn’t good about Democrats, then clearly they have different goals and the greater good of their fellow women and men isn’t one of them.
Those who claim to simply be holding politicians feet to the fire with their criticism, need to step back and see exactly which politicians are most deserving of burnt feet. By only criticizing President Obama, while letting Republicans get away with the most extreme agenda in our history, I have to question the sincerity of the principles they wrap themselves in like a Snuggie. By ignoring the much more egregious actions of Republicans, they are clearly making a choice.
Rolling Stone Magazine has an interview with President Obama that hits the stands on Friday, but thanks to the internet, we get to see it before the glossy version comes out. As I was reading it, several things occurred to me. The first is that President Obama is much smarter about politics than our brain dead media. The beltway media has been getting it wrong for years as they float around in the bubble of Washington and practice group think, following the lead of Fox News. This answer from the President shows his understanding of politics in our country.
Q. (Jann Wenner) – Let’s talk about the campaign. Given all we’ve heard about and learned during the GOP primaries, what’s your take on the state of the Republican Party, and what do you think they stand for?
A. (President Obama) – First of all, I think it’s important to distinguish between Republican politicians and people around the country who consider themselves Republicans. I don’t think there’s been a huge change in the country. If you talk to a lot of Republicans, they’d like to see us balance the budget, but in a balanced way. A lot of them are concerned about jobs and economic growth and favor market-based solutions, but they don’t think we should be getting rid of every regulation on the books. There are a lot of Republican voters out there who are frustrated with Wall Street and think that they acted irresponsibly and should be held to account, so they don’t want to roll back regulations on Wall Street.
But what’s happened, I think, in the Republican caucus in Congress, and what clearly happened with respect to Republican candidates, was a shift to an agenda that is far out of the mainstream – and, in fact, is contrary to a lot of Republican precepts.
This is a direct result of the take over of the Republican party by the Tea Party. I know countless Republicans who are not happy with the direction that their party has taken in just the last 3 years. Several of them are already hitching their wagons behind President Obama, I can only imagine that as we get closer to the election, even more will come on board with reality.
As the Republicans wear out the phrase “class warfare”, President Obama lays it out in terms that voters can understand in his answer to this question.
Q. (JW) – How does that shape the tone and tenor of the debate that’s going to take place during the campaign?A. (PBO) – I actually think it will be a useful debate, and one that I look forward to. I think that the American people are going to be listening very intently to who’s got a vision for how we move this country forward.Their vision is that if there’s a sliver of folks doing well at the top who are unencumbered by any regulatory restraints whatsoever, that the nation will grow and prosperity will trickle down. The challenge that they’re going to have is: We tried it. From 2000 to 2008, that was the agenda. It wasn’t like we have to engage in some theoretical debate – we’ve got evidence of how it worked out. It did not work out well, and I think the American people understand that. [...]
Considering the fact that Mitt Romney doesn’t even try to hide his pandering to the wealthy in this country, this argument is going to be an easy one to make and will help defuse the Republican mantra of the “politics of envy”, that is really just an insult to most Americans. People who can’t afford to pay their bills or feed their children aren’t being envious, it’s more like “what the hell, I just want to get by, give me a break!”
On foreign policy, President Obama shows the maturity that all Americans want in their leader. You can see it clearly in his answer to this question.
Q. (JW) – Let me ask you about the Middle East in general. Outside of Iraq, there seems to be more turmoil than ever – in Syria, Israel, Iran. What’s your take on the region and the strategic challenges it poses?A. (PBO) – [...] But what is also true is that these are countries that don’t have deep democratic traditions. Because of repression, in part, the only organizing principle in these societies is religious, and there are sectarian divisions that date back hundreds, in some cases thousands, of years. As these transitions take place, democracy can easily turn to demagoguery, to civil strife. So it is going to be a bumpy road, and a challenging time. I think the American approach has to be to uphold core principles of universal rights, freedom and democracy. We’re also going to have to show some humility, in the sense that we’re not going to be able to completely impose our own vision on these countries.
And finally, this exchange about what the president reads and watches says a lot to me about the type of person he is because it shows he isn’t floating around in the Washington bubble with Chuck Todd and Mike Allen. He isn’t playing their game and it has to drive them nuts.
Q. (JW) – What do you read regularly to keep you informed or provide you with perspectives beyond the inner circle of your advisers?
A. (PBO) – [Laughs] Other than Rolling Stone?
Q. (JW) – That goes without saying.
A. (PBO) – I don’t watch a lot of TV news. I don’t watch cable at all. I like The Daily Show, so sometimes if I’m home late at night, I’ll catch snippets of that. I think Jon Stewart’s brilliant. It’s amazing to me the degree to which he’s able to cut through a bunch of the nonsense – for young people in particular, where I think he ends up having more credibility than a lot of more conventional news programs do.
I spend a lot of time just reading reports, studies, briefing books, intelligence assessments.
Go read the entire interview, it’s always great to hear his thoughts without a media filter distorting it. I’m very happy with the job President Obama has done and I’m confident he will do an even better job with a Democratic House and Senate next January.
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
I just love when our President calls out the Republicans on their stupidity. Since the media just plays along with them, it falls on the President to do it himself. And he does it sooooo well, doesn’t he?
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
I’ve never understood how people who call themselves Christians can belong to the Republican Party. I read the Bible many years ago and seem to remember lessons that taught me to care for my fellow humans, to show compassion, to turn the other cheek and to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
That doesn’t exactly describe the modern Republican Party now does it?
With the craziness happening in the political world over contraception, the following story from ThinkProgress makes me think that the GOP is overcompensating in their reaction to the contraceptive issue.
Earlier this month, the nation was barraged with media coverage of the Catholic Bishops’ opposition to regulations promulgated under the Affordable Care Act protecting working women’s access to contraception. The loudness of the bishops’ complaints, which were echoed by conservative luminaries ranging from Speaker John Boehner to GOP presidential frontrunners Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney, easily could have conveyed the misimpression that churches and other religious groups are at odds with the Affordable Care Act.
On Friday, however, a broad coalition of religious organizations filed an amicus brief supporting the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion that should give the lie to any claim that the faith community opposes the ACA. The brief includes a number of major religious denominations, including the policy arm of the United Methodist Church, the General Synod of the United Church of Christ and the Presbyterian Church. Additionally, the brief’s signatories include a wide range of Catholic groups:
Benedictine Sisters, Boerne, Texas; Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, Texas; Dominican Congregation of Our Lady of the Rosary, New York; Dominican Sisters of Hope; Justice and Peace Committee of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Springfield, Massachusetts; Marianist Province of the United States; Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth Leadership Team, New Jersey; Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent De Paul of New York; Sisters of the Holy Cross Congregation Justice Committee; Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament, Corpus Christi, Texas; Sisters of Mercy West Midwest Justice Team, Nebraska; Sisters of the Most Precious Blood, Missouri; Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, New York; Sisters of St. Dominic Congregation of the Most Holy Name; Society of the Holy Child Jesus, American Province Leadership Team; Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk, US Province; JOLT, Catholic Coalition for Responsible Investing; Region VI Coalition for Responsible Investment, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee; School Sisters of Notre Dame Cooperative Investment Fund (emphasis mine)
And I would add that with Rick Santorum and Franklin Graham questioning President Obama’s faith, they are venturing into pretty dangerous waters. It seems to me that by going there, they are shooting off a warning signal to anyone who claims to be a Christian. You better watch out, you might be next!
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles