President Obama Taking It To The People — While The Pundits Chase Their Tails!

President Obama was in Alpha, Illinois yesterday on the last leg of his mini bus tour and once again, he proves why he is the president and everyone else isn’t. Early on in the speech, he reminded people of exactly what he inherited on January 21, 2009.

Obviously we’ve been going through as tough of a time as we’ve seen in my lifetime and in most people’s lifetimes these last two and a half years. We went through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. When I took office we had already lost 4 million jobs and we lost another 4 million just in the few months right after I took office. And we’ve been fighting our way back over the last two and half months — or last two and a half years.

We were on the verge of going into a Great Depression, and we were able to yank ourselves out. The economy is now growing again. Over the last 17 months we’ve created over 2 million jobs in the private sector. We saved an auto industry that was on the brink. (Applause.) We have — we’ve made investments in clean energy, in rebuilding our roads and our bridges.

We just recently learned that during that period, we were much worse off than what the former Bush administration was telling us as they left office. Considering how bad our economy actually was and all the hurdles put in the path of Democrats who were trying to fix it, it is astounding to me that we have recovered as well as we have. It isn’t that long ago, really, but it certainly has been forgotten about by the “baggers” of Tea and Fire. They have agendas that have nothing to do with moving forward.  The President, as always, is looking to the future and how we can create more jobs…

So the question is, what do we do going forward? Look, even though private sector job growth is good, we’ve still got a long way to go before we put everybody back to work. We need to go ahead and act right now on some proposals that are before Congress, ready to be voted on. We should extend the payroll tax cut that we passed in December, put $1,000 in the typical family’s pocket — we need to extend that into next year. (Applause.) Because if you’ve got more money in your pockets, that means businesses have more customers, they’re more likely to hire. There’s no reason why we can’t do that right now.

There’s no reason why, as Ray LaHood knows, we’ve got over $2 trillion worth of repairs that need to be made around the country, and I know there are some right here in this county and right here in this state. And we’ve got a lot of construction workers that are out of work when the housing bubble went bust, and interest rates are low, and contractors are ready to come in on time, under budget — this is a great time for us to rebuild our roads and our bridges, and locks in the Mississippi, and our seaports and our airports. We could be doing that right now, if Congress was willing to act. (Applause.)

Right now, we could pass trade deals that we negotiated that not only have the support of business, but have the support of the UAW. That doesn’t happen very often. And the reason is, is because folks know that not only is that good for agricultural America — opening up markets, because we’ve got the best farmers in the world — but it’s also good for manufacturing. There are a whole bunch of Kias and Hyundais being driven around here; that’s great. But I want some Fords and Chevys being driven in Korea. (Applause.) We should pass that bill right now.

The President is out in the country, rallying people around liberal ideas and liberal policy. He is doing his part to advance these ideas and get support from the public. I wonder what the Professional Left has been up to for the last couple of days. Keep it up, Mr. President, the truth will set them free.

Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles

President Obama Supports Unions And Teachers!

At an event in Decorah, Iowa on Monday, President Obama gave an impassioned defense of unions in our country in response to a question from a former school teacher. He also talked of the importance of revering teachers, who have been getting assaulted by the right, with the help of the media, for way too long. It’s a long answer from the President, but well worth reading. Take it away Mr. President…(emphasis mine)

Okay. The woman with the hat. She’s been waving that hat around. (Laughter.) See, you got to have a hat. That’s a huge advantage in terms of getting called on.

Q Hi, my name is Bev Kromgezmi (ph), and I actually used to teach school in the district in which Seed Savers is located. And we have a number of students, former students here, that I taught.

THE PRESIDENT: How was she? Was she a good teacher? (Applause.) You got thumbs up.

Q What can I say?

THE PRESIDENT: What did you teach?

Q High school social studies.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, that’s important stuff.

Q Many unions, especially public sector unions, helped you get elected in 2008. Those public sector unions and their members gained their salaries and benefits through collective bargaining. Recently, those benefits have been under attack. And I realize that this is a state issue mostly, but what can you do to help support collective bargaining in the states and, most of all, support the public sector unions, the middle class, many of whom are union members? Thank you. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, let’s make one thing clear. The right of workers to come together and join a union is part of what built America’s middle class. It’s the reason why we’ve got a minimum wage. (Applause.) It’s the reason why folks have weekends. It’s the reason why you have basic protections on the job from an abusive employer.

There are a whole range of things that people take for granted, even if they’re not in a union, that they wouldn’t have had if it had not been for collective bargaining. (Applause.) So I think it is very important, whether you are in a union or not — and I speak particularly to young people,because you’ve grown up at a time when in a lot of circles “union” somehow is a dirty word — to understand all this is is people joining together so they’ve got a little more leverage; so they’ve got better working conditions, better wages; they can better support their family.

And a lot of us entered into the middle class because our parent or a grandparent was in a union. Remember that. (Applause.) When I hear this kind of anti-union rhetoric and anti-union assaults, I’m thinking these folks have amnesia. They don’t remember that that helped build our middle class and strengthen our economy.

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Which Reality You Living In, Gov. Perry!

We are living in interesting political times, folks. It’s been a gradual process, but we have made it to the point in time where every political group operates within their own reality. People talk past each other constantly, there is hardly any agreement on an objective reality. Facts don’t exist anymore or at least don’t seem to matter when people form their opinions. The Republicans have been using it to great advantage over the last few years, convincing their mindless followers of their own set of “facts” and then pushing them on the masses with no push back from the traditional media at all.

The latest clown to climb aboard the Republican clown car, as Tim Pawlenty jumped off, was Governor Perry of Texas. The media are giving him his 15 minutes as we speak, but let me predict that the rats will be fleeing that ship pretty quickly. But who can predict anything these days, interesting times for sure.

Steve Benen tells us about Gov. Perry’s alternate reality as it relates to the recent debt ceiling debacle…

Ordinarily, when Republicans try to rewrite history, they tend to point to events that happened quite a while ago, which makes it easier to play on short memories. Rewriting the events of two weeks ago seems more brazen.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is kicking off his presidential campaign with a bit of creative spin on S&P’s downgrade of the U.S. credit rating: turns out President Obama did it.

In his first and bio-heavy campaign video of his presidential campaign, Perry places the blame for the downgrade squarely on the shoulders of Obama.

As the buffoonish governor sees it, “the president’s refusal to control spending” led to the downgrade.

I know Rick Perry isn’t the only buffoon who is trying to push that idea, but he has a certain style to his buffoonishness. As with other things I’ve heard and seen about the good governor from our friend GrantInHouston and other places, he reaches new levels of absurdity. More from Steve…

This isn’t ancient history. This just happened and should still be fresh in everyone’s memory.

Perry’s attack, by the way, comes the same day as the governor downplayed the threat of default. The irony is astounding: S&P downgrades our debt because far-right Republicans didn’t take default seriously; Perry announces he agrees with those far-right Republicans; Perry then holds Obama responsible for the S&P decision.

I know I’ve used this line many times before, but Richard Pryor said it best, “Who you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?”

Creating Change From Within – A History Lesson For Progressives!

Guest Blogger: theangryliberal

“Everything I did in my life that was worthwhile, I caught hell for.”

~Earl Warren

Our Big Mistake!

That sounds like a Lyle Lovett song, Our Big Mistake; we are repeating it over and over and over again, from the 1968 election to the present. Isn’t it sort of sad, we gave up working from the inside to continue to move government in a more progressive way?

  1. We turn on each other at the drop of a hat
  2. We keep our eye off the prize, remember this is ultimately about so much  more than one guy

Republicans currently seem to have a real death wish for the country! They will basically do anything to make sure this President is unable to function properly as the Chief Executive.  Certainly this demonstrates the power Grover Norquist has over Republican politicians. What is up with that? How is it these guys get away with this behavior. The whole debt ceiling debacle, can you imagine the outrage of the press and others if Democrats had held the entire country hostage like that? No, I don’t think so.  On the other hand the Hamsher, L. Ron Greenwald faux progressives fight over who could be the leader of Shangri La., a leader for all, the liberal John Galt, the one who always makes good decisions, the man who never fails, the genius who saves us from ourselves. But he never requires we participate in saving ourselves, he does that on his own. So while the Hamsherwalds wait for their more perfect leader and the Republicans follow the Norquist lead, the country trudges on, while we struggle to maintain our optimism. But I am going to put this out there, why aren’t liberals/progressives working together to gain a foothold in government so more progressive legislation can be enacted at the federal level.

The extreme left is making a big mistake constantly making Barack Obama the issue and not Republican policies which are literally ruining the country.  How do we change the balance of power in the government?

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Stories You May Have Missed – Linky Goodness

Here is a boatload of links for your enjoyment. One more day of vacation for me, then it’s back to the grind.

And finally, here is a Youtube clip I came across that reminds me why only a damn fool would run against President Obama in a primary. And it is very revealing of the people who are now turning on the president, ones who never were supporters.

Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles

Meme’s in Your Head: Why You Mad Tho? The Struggle to Develop Universal Health Care Policy, 1912 – 2009

Guest Blogger: theangryliberal

There have been six times in the past to deliver major legislation restructuring of the provision of hospital and medical services: 1913- 17, 1937-39, 1943-46, 1964-65, 1969-75 and 1993-94.  Each previous attempt collapsed usually generating a series of legislation crafted to assuage the legislators who fought so hard ultimately to achieve so little (Danielson and Mazer 161).  In 2009, after nearly 100 years, Democrats with Nancy Pelosi in the lead, took that ball and finally passed legislation that would guarantee access to health care. The rest is history, but it did not come without a fight. No doubt, every time the efforts failed, more policy was developed and negotiated for the inevitable, because it was inevitable that some form of Universal Coverage would pass Congress and be signed by a President from the Democratic Party.

To be perfectly honest, there was no public option in the policy that was eventually developed and finally passed through congress some parts have already been implemented and other parts are waiting for funding in this fiscal year.  Although I had been somewhat involved in Comprehensive Health Care Policy research at our local committee level for this blog I thought some extra research would be in order. I ran across an interesting excerpt of a column originally published in the Washington Post by Don Coburn one of their staff writers.  I found the excerpt in the British Medical Journal Summer, 1986, and lo and behold, I found a copy of this on-line at the National Institute of Health.

                This is the first universal health insurance plan in the United States, and Governor Dukakis hails it as a model for the whole country. “Forty years after Harry Truman first proposed it we are finally on the road to basic health security for the citizens of this state,” he said. “It’s something which is long overdue for Massachusetts and long overdue for the country.’

However, the real issue before us is in understanding how we got to today, and taking some personal responsibility for the failures of the past, and some joy in the huge accomplishment of 2009. Because, in all honesty, we should have some pride in finally being able to move on from those who continue to say this will destroy us, to defending the bill, and keeping Republicans from further demonizing what is a huge accomplishments by Democrats in office. My particular thanks to Nancy Pelosi and her deft handling of her caucuses to get this bill passed. She ultimately will go down in history as one of the greatest speakers of all time. There is an excellent interactive time line of the history of Health Reform in America at the NY Times.

  • 1912 – Teddy Roosevelt campaigns on a National Health Insurance policy,  Great Britain passed such a policy in 1911, and many European nations had such policies, the earliest being Germany they passed a national health insurance policy in 1883. The debate in America went on until 1917.
  • 1937 –  38 The New Deal omitted plans for a national health insurance program in 1934, although it was included in the original discussion and planning for implementing New Deal Programs.  What happened in 1934? By 1938 it began to push a National Health Insurance Program. Again, it failed. There were many forces against this new plan, but in the forefront were doctors who opposed national health insurance.
  • 1948 – Harry Truman includes a national health insurance program in the platform of his election campaign and it stays in the Democrat Party platform. Back then the AMA opposed a national insurance program, and claimed we were heading towards socialized medicine, the same tired argument employed by conservatives today. Essentially this is where the hard fight began.

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Paul Krugman’s Comprehension Skills!

Economists are a strange bunch. When I got my first undergraduate degree in business, I was subjected to like 6 economics classes, give or take 1. Every one of my economics professors was a little bit odd. This is just anecdotal, I’m not impugning all economics professors, but others might want to share their observations. Damn near all of them were supply-siders, so that gives you some idea of where they were coming from politically.

I’ve always appreciated Paul Krugman’s opinion on economics, I am a Keynesian for sure. But the more I read his writings, the more I see that he doesn’t always comprehend things as they are, to put it politely.

Krugman recently linked back to a piece he did after President Obama’s first inaugural – there will be a second. When I clicked and read it, I noticed something right away that made me wonder whaaaaaa? He wrote this back on January 22 of 2009. I’m bolding the part that caught my eye.

Thus, in his speech Mr. Obama attributed the economic crisis in part to “our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age” — but I have no idea what he meant. This is, first and foremost, a crisis brought on by a runaway financial industry. And if we failed to rein in that industry, it wasn’t because Americans “collectively” refused to make hard choices; the American public had no idea what was going on, and the people who did know what was going on mostly thought deregulation was a great idea.

Uh, well, Paul…President Obama wasn’t saying that Americans “collectively’ refused to make hard choices”…he was talking about politicians and leaders. Here is the entire paragraph from President Obama’s inaugural address.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood.  Our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred.  Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age.  Homes have been lost, jobs shed, businesses shuttered.  Our health care is too costly, our schools fail too many — and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

I don’t know how anyone listening or reading that could possibly think that the President was talking about “Americans” refusing to make hard choices. If he were, why would he end the sentence with “prepare the nation for a new age”? Is it the role of citizens to “prepare the nation for a new age” or politicians and leaders?

I read that paragraph to say that it isn’t just Wall Street’s fault (greed and irresponsibility), but the politicians who enabled it to happen; the ones like Bill Clinton and George W. Bush who deregulated Wall Street and made it possible for the greed and irresponsibility to overtake us. I also interpreted it to mean that politicians didn’t make the “hard choices” like raising taxes on the wealthy or more specifically, voting against the Bush tax cuts. I would also add the failure of politicians to actually pay for two wars or Medicaid Part D — those were a couple of hard choices that weren’t made as well.

I have no idea what motivates Paul Krugman, it smells an awful lot like sore-loser syndrome. Hillary was supposed to be president and that young upstart, Barack Obama, swooped in and stole it from her….you know?

I don’t see anywhere in that paragraph or in the entire speech where the president blames “Americans”. They are the victims of the greed on Wall Street and the lack of balls on politicians — no offense to women who don’t need balls to get shit done. So as you can see, Paul Krugman’s interpretation of that one sentence sent him off on a tangent. I guess he’s standing by it, though, because he linked back to it to remind us all.