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Posts Tagged ‘president obama’

Why We Need a Small-d Democratic Revolution

President Obama

Action Alert from Common Cause

Yesterday, President Obama made good on his promise to use his bully pulpit to push for real democracy reform. And the agenda he laid out proves he’s listening to the huge majority of voters who want to put We The People back in charge.

Yesterday, President Obama was in Springfield, Illinois, where nine years ago he began his historic campaign for the presidency. There, he laid out how and why we must build a democracy where everyone can participate, and where every American is represented.

Here’s what that looks like:

We must “reduce the corrosive influence of money in our political system” which drowns out our voices and makes voters cynical about the prospects for change.

President Obama rightly called out the root of the problem — the Supreme Court’s disastrous ruling in Citizens United. And he joined the 16 states and more than 680 cities and towns who have called for a constitutional amendment to overturn that decision.

Political gerrymandering has to stop — incumbent politicians shouldn’t get to draw districts to protect themselves and squelch the competition. As President Obama pointed out, that leads to districts “shaped like earmuffs or spaghetti,” which is “how one party can get more seats even when it gets fewer votes.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Common Cause led the fight to establish impartial redistricting commissions in states like California and Ohio. Together, we can make sure that voters pick politicians — not the other way around.

Every eligible American should be able to participate in our democracy. President Obama said that lawmakers should be “making voting easier, not harder; and modernizing it for the way that we live now.”

The best, most specific reform? Have the nation follow the example of states like Oregon and California by automatically registering eligible voters when they get their driver’s licenses or IDs at the DMV.

The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, and we’ve overcome countless obstacles to expand it through the years. Automatic voter registration would continue that proud legacy.

These three reforms would unlock the true potential of our democracy, starting a small-d democratic revolution that puts the voters — not special interest donors — in charge. It’s an agenda worth fighting for.

Will you sign our pledge and stand with us?

Thanks for all you do,

the team at Common Cause

Denial and Denali

Denali Photo Credit - Wikimedia Commons

Denali Photo Credit – Wikimedia Commons

Environmentalists are having trouble wrapping their head around a president who visited Alaska above the Arctic Circle on Wednesday to speak on the need to mitigate the causes of climate change, while at the same time on Aug. 17 approved Royal Dutch Shell’s exploration and development of oil there.

It’s not that hard because the challenge of our time is the lack of political will to take action to reduce CO2 emissions in a culture dependent upon fossil fuels. The problem is politics, not physics.

Bill McKibben expressed the sentiment concisely:

It’s no use crying Bill McKibben’s tears.

In 2014, the U.S. used 6.95 billion barrels of crude oil with 27 percent being imported, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency. That’s 19.05 million barrels per day, including biofuels. Most of it is for gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, heating oil and liquefied petroleum gas. (The EIA explains how the oil was used here).

During President Obama’s administration the U.S. took substantial action to reduce dependence on imported oil. During the eight years of President George W. Bush, the country imported 28.6 billion barrels of oil or 3.574 billion barrels per year on average. In 2014, the U.S. imported 2.68 billion barrels or 25 percent less than the Bush average.

The rub is that in order to reduce imports, the Obama administration encouraged domestic production through an all of the above strategy that included hydraulic fracturing and increased exploration and discovery like Royal Dutch Shell had been doing in the Arctic in 2012. The strategy worked, and has been revitalized, but at what cost?

Doing nothing about global warming is not an option. The Obama administration has been and is doing something significant. As much as some would like to shut down the coal trains, end hydraulic fracturing and stop drilling for oil – leaving fossil fuels in the ground – it is only beginning to happen under Obama. Whoever is president in 2017, an “all of the above” strategy would mean quite different things with a Democrat or Republican in office.

Scientists understand the basic physics of global warming, and mostly have since the mid-1800s. As long as there is demand for fossil fuels, there is no reason to think exploration and discovery by oil companies will end any time soon. The problem with denial is not so much with political climate deniers. The physics will out, hopefully not too late.

A bigger problem is denial of our addiction to fossil fuels. Most continue to use them like there is no tomorrow. A reckoning is coming and it will take more than renaming that mountain to climb it.

President Obama: A Victory For Every American

president obamaPresident Obama’s statement on the Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act. 

On March 23, 2010, I sat down at a table in the East Room of the White House and signed my name on a law that said, once and for all, that health care would no longer be a privilege for a few. It would be a right for everyone.

Five years later, after more than 50 votes in Congress to repeal or weaken this law and multiple challenges before the Supreme Court, here is what we know today:

This law worked. It’s still working. It has changed and saved American lives. It has set this country on a smarter, stronger course.

And it’s here to stay.

If that means something to you today, add your voice here.  Tell us how the Affordable Care Act has impacted your family’s life and health.

This morning, the Supreme Court upheld one of the most critical parts of health reform — the part that has made it easier for Americans to afford health insurance, no matter where you live.

If the challenges to this law had succeeded, millions would have had thousands of dollars in tax credits taken away. Insurance would have once again become unaffordable for many Americans. Many would have even become uninsured again. Ultimately, everyone’s premiums could have gone up.

Because of this law, and because of today’s decision, millions of Americans will continue to receive the tax credits that have given about 8 in 10 people who buy insurance on the new Health Insurance Marketplaces the choice of a health care plan that costs less than $100 a month.

If you’re a parent, you can keep your kids on your plan until they turn 26 — something that has covered millions of young people so far. That’s because of this law. If you’re a senior, or have a disability, this law gives you discounts on your prescriptions — something that has saved 9 million Americans an average of $1,600 so far. If you’re a woman, you can’t be charged more than anybody else — even if you’ve had cancer, or your husband had heart disease, or just because you’re a woman. Your insurer has to offer free preventive services like mammograms. They can’t place annual or lifetime caps on your care.

And when it comes to preexisting conditions — someday, our grandkids will ask us if there was really a time when America discriminated against people who got sick. Because that’s something this law has ended for good.

Five years in and more than 16 million insured Americans later, this is no longer just about a law. This isn’t just about the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

This is health care in America.

Today is a victory for every American whose life will continue to become more secure because of this law. And 20, 30, 50 years from now, most Americans may not know what “Obamacare” is. And that’s okay. That’s the point.

Because today, this reform remains what it always has been — a set of fairer rules and tougher protections that have made health care in America more affordable, more attainable, and more about you.

That’s who we are as Americans. We look out for one another. We take care of each other. We root for one another’s success. We strive to do better, to be better, than the generation before us, and we try to build something better for the generation that comes behind us.

And today, with this behind us, let’s come together and keep building something better. That starts right now.

Thank you,

President Barack Obama


President Obama Will Push A Progressive Agenda

This is an excerpt from the first of three parts of a year-end NPR interview with President Obama.


America, You Know Not What You Have

First FamilyI could not agree more with this Canadian’s observation of  how America has treated our President.  In my view, it is not just the conservative right (although they have taken disrespect to new lows), but I feel that some on the left have been hyper-critical as well.  This article is an observation of America by a Canadian.

by William Thomas

There was a time not so long ago when Americans, regardless of their political stripes, rallied round their president. Once elected, the man who won the White House was no longer viewed as a republican or democrat, but the President of the United States. The oath of office was taken, the wagons were circled around the country’s borders and it was America versus the rest of the world with the president of all the people at the helm.

Suddenly President Barack Obama, with the potential to become an exceptional president has become the glaring exception to that unwritten, patriotic rule.

Four days before President Obama’s inauguration, before he officially took charge of the American government, Rush Limbaugh boasted publicly that he hoped the president would fail. Of course, when the president fails the country flounders. Wishing harm upon your country in order to further your own narrow political views is selfish, sinister and a tad treasonous as well.

Subsequently, during his State of the Union address, which is pretty much a pep rally for America, an unknown congressional representative from South Carolina, later identified as Joe Wilson, stopped the show when he called the President of the United States a liar. The president showed great restraint in ignoring this unprecedented insult and carried on with his speech. Speaker Nancy Pelosi was so stunned by the slur, she forgot to jump to her feet while clapping wildly, 30 or 40 times after that.

Last spring, President Obama took his wife Michelle to see a play in New York City and republicans attacked him over the cost of security for the excursion. The president can’t take his wife out to dinner and a show without being scrutinized by the political opposition? As history has proven, a president in a theatre without adequate security is a tragically bad idea.

Remember: “Apart from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?”

At some point, the treatment of President Obama went from offensive to ugly and then to downright dangerous.

The health-care debate, which looked more like extreme fighting in a mud pit than a national dialogue, revealed a very vulgar side of America. President Obama’s face appeared on protest signs white-faced and blood-mouthed in a satanic clown image. In other tasteless portrayals, people who disagreed with his position distorted his face to look like Hitler complete with mustache and swastika.

Odd, that burning the flag makes Americans crazy, but depicting the president as a clown and a maniacal fascist is accepted as part of the new rude America.

Maligning the image of the leader of the free world is one thing, putting the president’s life in peril is quite another. More than once, men with guns were videotaped at the health-care rallies where the president spoke. Again, history shows that letting men with guns get within range of a president has not served America well in the past.

And still the “birthers” are out there claiming Barack Obama was not born in the United States, although public documentation proves otherwise. Hawaii is definitely part of the United States, but the Panama Canal Zone where his electoral opponent Senator John McCain was born? Nobody’s sure.

Last month, a 44-year-old woman in Buffalo was quite taken by President Obama when she met him in a chicken wing restaurant called Duff’s. Did she say something about a pleasure and an honour to meet the man or utter encouraging words for the difficult job he is doing? No. Quote: “You’re a hottie with a smokin’ little body.”

Lady, that was the President of the United States you were addressing, not one of the Jonas Brothers! He’s your president for goodness sakes, not the guy driving the Zamboni at “Monster Trucks On Ice.” Maybe next it’ll be, “Take Your President To A Topless Bar Day.”

In President Barack Obama, Americans have a charismatic leader with a good and honest heart. Unlike his predecessor, he’s a very intelligent leader. And unlike that president’s predecessor, he’s a highly moral man.

In President Obama, Americans have the real deal, the whole package and a leader that citizens of almost every country around the world look to with great envy. Given the opportunity, Canadians would trade our leader, hell, most of our leaders for Obama in a heartbeat.

What America has in Obama is a head of state with vitality and insight and youth. Think about it, Barack Obama is a young Nelson Mandela. Mandela was the face of change and charity for all of Africa but he was too old to make it happen. The great things Obama might do for America and the world could go on for decades after he’s out of office.

America, you know not what you have.

The man is being challenged unfairly, characterized with vulgarity and treated with the kind of deep disrespect to which no previous president was subjected. It’s like the day after electing the first black man to be president, thereby electrifying the world with hope and joy, Americans sobered up and decided the bad old days were better.

President Obama may fail but it will not be a Richard Nixon default fraught with larceny and lies. President Obama, given a fair chance, will surely succeed but his triumph will never come with a Bill Clinton caveat – “if only he’d got control of that zipper.”

Please. Give the man a fair, fighting chance. This incivility toward the leader who won over Americans and gave hope to billions of people around the world that their lives could be enhanced by his example, just naturally has to stop.

(click here to read the entire article)


Obama Meets Obama Impersonator

This is pretty awesome.

The Pope And The President

Pope Francis Both Pope Francis and President Obama assumed their globally powerful positions with high popular approval.  Now we learn that the two leaders will meet at the Vatican in late March as part of the President’s European trip.

The pope has captivated Catholics and non-Catholics alike with a new tone of openness, modesty, and tolerance.  While Obama has had a complex and sometimes contentious relationship with the church, he now sees an opportunity to highlight common ground with the new pope.

Francis surprised many Catholics with his nonjudgmental tone on issues like homosexuality and divorce.  In his first papal exhortation, the pontiff spoke about mercy and compassion, insisting on the dignity and blessedness of every person.

The pope and the president clearly differ on such issues as abortion, gay rights, and same-sex marriage.  Without challenging core Church teachings on these issues, Francis suggested that Catholics stop obsessing about sex and focus more on economic issues.

Francis has often spoken about the poor and economic justice, criticizing “a deified market” in “an economy of exclusion and inequality.”  In an oft quoted passage, he wrote, “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?”

Obama has pledged to make the reduction of economic inequality a hallmark of his last three years in office.  In his recent state of the union address, Obama spoke directly to this issue in policy terms.   He insists that full time work should not mean poverty wages, that the minimum wage should be increased, and that the public and private sectors can collaborate on the creation of good jobs.

Obama has worked hard to promote comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship.  Pope Francis seemed to echo these sentiments when he wrote, “Migrants and refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity.”

In his first Christmas address, the pope called for global peace and an end to violence in Syria and parts of Africa.  Obama’s state of the union noted U.S. actions to wind down the war in Afghanistan and eliminate Syrian chemical weapons and some of Iran’s nuclear stockpile.

While closing the door to female priests, Francis seeks a greater presence for women in traditional Catholic roles.  Yet he continues the Pope Benedict-initiated investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious charged with espousing “radical feminist themes” and being insufficiently zealous against abortion and gay rights.

The Pope adopted his name from St. Francis of Assisi, known for his love of nature and the environment.  He has urged his followers to respect the whole of creation and protect the environment.  For his part, Obama has struggled, but with only limited success, to secure passage of legislation that reduces pollution and promotes clean energy.

The pontiff’s repeated denunciations of income inequality and his support for the poor and immigrants broadly overlaps the President’s second term agenda.  Obama has also stated that Catholic social doctrines influenced his work as a community organizer and as president.

Since his elevation to the papacy in March of last year, the pope has taken strong political positions, often with a populist bent.  Many have interpreted the Pope’s remarks as more socially and religiously liberal than his predecessors.  Not all appreciate his deviations from traditional rhetoric:  Rush Limbaugh calls the Pope a Marxist, and Fox News’ Adam Shaw refers to him as the Catholic Church’s Obama.

When Obama and Francis meet next month, we may catch a glimpse of how they interact with one another.  More importantly, we may see whether they really are like-minded and potential allies in a crucial battle of ideas.

Ralph Scharnau teaches U. S. history at Northeast Iowa Community College, Peosta.  He holds a Ph.D. from Northern Illinois University.  His publications include articles on labor history in Iowa and Dubuque.  Scharnau, a peace and justice activist, writes monthly op-ed columns for the Dubuque Telegraph Herald.

It’s Open Enrollment for Obamacare

Obamacare Upheld

Enroll Now

A note from President Obama:

The Affordable Care Act has been in the news a lot recently – and increasingly for the right reasons.

The law is working: Already, nearly 365,000 people across the country have picked private plans through the Marketplace – and 800,000 more are on track to get Medicaid through their states. These are people for whom health insurance might not have previously been an option – people who in the past might have been discriminated against for simple medical conditions like asthma, or who may have been dropped from their coverage just because they got sick.

Now, thousands of Americans are signing up for coverage every day. That matters. It means financial security for families all across the country. It means freedom from the fear that one illness or accident might cost you everything you’ve worked so hard to build.

If you don’t have health insurance, go to right now and sign up. You can compare plans based on your own needs and budget, and you can sign up for coverage.

And if you do it before December 23rd, you can be covered on the first day of the New Year.

Now, if you already have health insurance, I’m asking you right now to help make sure that your friends, neighbors, coworkers, and the people you go to college or church with know the facts about how they can get covered, too. Moms and dads, remind your kids this holiday season. And if you’ve recently signed up, tell your friends.

I’m asking you to spread the word about getting covered – and we’re providing some tools to help you do it.

Whether you talk to a family member, share a photo or a story on Facebook, tweet using the hashtag #GetCovered, or walk a friend or colleague through the website — your effort will make a difference right now.

That’s because the most important source of information about this law isn’t going to be me, or anyone here at the White House. It’s going to be you, telling the people you know to check out for themselves, and make their own decision about getting covered.

Tens of millions of people have already felt the benefits of reform, from free, recommended preventive care like mammograms, to more affordable prescription medications. But there are millions more of our fellow citizens who stand to be helped — and we’ve got to make sure they know exactly how.

Thanks for your help.

President Barack Obama

OFA to Fight for Obamacare

Organizing for Action

Organizing for Action

A note from Organizing for Action received Aug. 6, 2013:

We wanted to make sure you saw Governor Patrick’s note.

Because the reality is that some groups are going to spend untold millions to confuse people and spread outright lies about Obamacare.

OFA’s Truth Team is going to be the dedicated group of supporters fighting back with the cold, hard facts — sign up right now.

For example, when the House decided to cast its 40th vote to repeal Obamacare last week, we put together a blog post on 40 ways that Obamacare is working — and that’s ready for you to share on Twitter, Facebook, or over email.

Make sure you’re in the loop with the latest on fighting the myths — sign up for OFA’s Truth Team today:


Organizing for Action

———-Original Message———-
From: Deval Patrick
Subject: Fight back – join OFA’s Truth Team

I bet you’re a lot like me.

You spend a lot of time reasoning with your cranky uncle at the holiday table or your friendly neighbor in the grocery line about something the President has done to make us proud, only to find that they are stuck on some claim you know is false.

You care about what we’ve accomplished together because you know it’s good for the country. And it frustrates you to no end that there are people out there spending millions of dollars to lie about it, because they think it helps their politics.

Just look at what some are saying about Obamacare. Here’s a reform that improves the health of both American families and American businesses. But some want to move us backwards — at any cost. Good grief.

That’s why OFA is launching its Truth Team — a dedicated group of supporters who want to push back against the lies, myths, and misunderstandings out there with cold, hard facts.

It’s easy — and it can actually be pretty fun. Above all, it’s really important. Sign up to join the OFA Truth Team today.

By signing up for Truth Team, you’ll get tip sheets, regular updates, and all the facts and figures you need to make sure your friends, family, and coworkers know the facts. OFA will never send you something that isn’t backed up by a source you can check out for yourself — you’ll always be able to feel confident about passing things along.

Having a group of dedicated folks on your side to fight back against the lies is crucial. Trust me, I know, and it makes a difference.

Health care reform in my home state has made a big difference for folks. Today, over 98 percent of Massachusetts residents are insured, we are healthier, and it has not been a budget buster. More companies offer affordable insurance to their employees today than before our reform took effect, too, and the reforms are popular among individuals, families, and businesses alike.

When we began implementing it, we asked supporters all across the state to help respond to the misinformation or misunderstandings out there — and that played a big role in making Massachusetts’ health care reform a success.

Now with Obamacare, we’ve seen political groups willing to spend millions in ads to spread lies and confuse the public about what’s really going on — even about the benefits folks are already seeing, like ending lifetime caps, and young adults who can stay on their parents’ insurance until they’re 26. In fact, opponents have spent $385 million already doing just that. It’s not that they have a better idea to protect people’s health — it’s that they see Obamacare as a significant policy victory for our President, and they want to do everything they can to undermine that. Same old pattern: hurt the President even if it hurts the country. Just disgusting.

That’s why we’ve got to fight back.

So if you care about telling the real story about Obamacare — or just making sure that the debates going on in Washington are happening over actual facts — you need to be a part of this.

Sign up to be a part of OFA’s Truth Team right now:

Thanks for your help,

Governor Deval Patrick

~ Organizing for Action is a nonprofit organization established to support President Obama in achieving enactment of the national agenda Americans voted for on Election Day 2012. OFA will advocate for these policies throughout the country and will mobilize citizens of all parties and diverse points to speak out for speedy passage and effective implementation of this program, including gun violence prevention, sensible environmental policies to address climate change and immigration reform. In addition, OFA will encourage the formation of chapters that will be dedicated at the grassroots level to this program, but also committed to identifying and working progressive change on a range of issues at the state and local level. In carrying its work, OFA will operate as a “social welfare” organization within the meaning of section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Monday Event Roundup

Rodeo Roundup
Wednesday, July 24, President Obama returns to Knox College in Galesburg, Ill. to deliver major speech. Details of live event unknown. Speech will be webcast. Click here for available details.

Saturday, July 27, Hawkeye Labor Council Steak Dinner. 1211 Wiley Blvd. SW, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Featured Speaker: Rep. Tyler Olson. 5 p.m. Social hour; 6 p.m. dinner; 7 p.m. Live entertainment. Tickets $20.

Monday, July 29, Bruce Braley Luncheon in Wapello beginning at 11:45 a.m. The congressman will be at the El Oasis restaurant north of the elevator on Highway 61. RSVP to Stan Staats so they can get a headcount.