Pardon me for the politics, but a friend of mine shared this on Facebook today and I think it’s worth a read. I’ve avoided reading about & talking about politics the past couple years, because I don’t enjoy being in a constant state of rage & disbelief. Even now, I avoid it because, truth be told, it terrifies me to think of where we could end up after today.
I’d like to say “read this before you vote, please”, but I’m probably posting too late.
So just read it and give it some thought.
I voted for Obama. I was thrilled when he won. I am STILL thrilled that he won and I still give him all of my support. The Republican party has done an excellent job of slandering & tearing him apart and turning people against him. It’s disgusting. The Republican party is disgusting. They have made it very clear that they will stop at nothing to destroy him – not for the good of the people but out of competition, ego and greed. Anyway. This says it best – and if you think he hasn’t accomplished anything during his time in office, think again. (The original and it’s original poster is here, on Facebook.) :
EYES OF THE WORLD“wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world”
Time is short. The volumes I had hoped to share on all the facets of what we are facing in this country, and must choose between in this election, will simply not be possible. But one aspect cannot go unspoken. I could itemize a number of decisions and appointments,etc that I was unhappy with Obama about. But of any mistakes this administration has made, two stand out well above the rest…
“If we’re able to stop Obama on this it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.”
-SC Republican Senator (& Tea Party hero) Jim Demint, referring to Health Care specifically but exposing the Republican strategy in general in 2009.
“The single most important thing we want to achieve is to make Obama a one-term President”
-Republican Senate Minority Leader (possibly soon to be Majority Leader) last month.
First was how much time President Obama wasted genuinely trying to be bipartisan towards a party that openly stated that their primary objective was to oppose and obstruct everything, citizens be damned, in order to cripple his presidency and prevent Democrats from accomplishing anything. The less that got done, the better because they calculated, and were apparently correct, that the public would only bother with the “what” and be too busy watching Dancing with the Stars to ask “why?” They would see gridlock, and they would blame the party in power. Contrary to popular belief, Democrats never had a super-majority in the Senate to bypass them. 58 Democrats and a couple independents does not constitute a super-majority, especially when one of the independents is Joe Lieberman who campaigned for McCain against Obama. Then again, Republicans didn’t have a super-majority under Bush but they managed to ram through their legislation by (now infamously) ruthless and unethical (and sometimes illegal) means. This Republican Party will destroy their own if they step out of party-line.
Obama tried to play peacemaker. He should have known better.
Second, and more important, is the apparent inability (or age-old Democratic mistake of still believing that some things are just obvious) to properly inform the American public just how much Obama and the Dems in Congress actually accomplished in 21 months, DESPITE such overwhelming goose-stepping opposition.
So here, in case you didn’t know (and you could hardly be blamed) is a sampling:
I will elaborate on the big ones and simply list, for time’s sake, some others. It is by no means a complete list.
A Congressional Quarterly study showed that President Obama has a higher legislative success rate than any president in the more than 50 years that they have been keeping track.
He has, in short, accomplished more in 20 months than most do in two terms and did so with the economy tied behind his back and a minority party stomping on his head.
Under Obama & the Democrats, in the first 8 months of 2010 more private sector jobs were created than in the 8 years under Bush (though they sure bloated the federal payroll despite their supposed representation of the opposite). Unemployment is absurdly high, but the economy is growing instead of spiraling into the abyss as it was when Republicans left office. Repub. House minority leader (almost certainly to be Speaker after Tuesday) John Boehner’s favorite catch phrase these days is “where are the jobs?”
Answer: They’re in the great sucking vacuum of a swamp you and your party left behind. And they’re in recent legislation that Democrats tried to pass to prevent companies from shipping them overseas only to be defeated by 100% Republican opposition. One more case of reality over rhetoric.
As I said in an earlier email, I recently read of a poll that said that 90% of Americans didn’t know that 95% got a tax cut. A large percentage, thanks to Republican misinformation, actually believed their taxes went up. Here’s the truth:
95% of Americans got a tax cut. $116 billion of it. Up to $400/yr per individual or $800 for married couples. If you didn’t notice it was because it didn’t come in the form of a political stunt one-time check. It has been in your paychecks in the form of less taxes taken out. On the opposite end of the empty political stunt theater spectrum, you may recall that one-time check you got from Bush that was stamped at the top with something to the effect of “this tax relief check is brought to you by the Bush Administration”
Why would a President and a party pass a tax cut for working people and not plaster it over every billboard and mailer they could find? BECAUSE THAT WAS THE POINT. If your paycheck just quietly goes a little further every week then you’re likely to spend a little bit more thus, by definition, helping to stimulate the economy.
THAT IS THE DEFINITION OF POLICY OVER POLITICS. THAT is what we need more of.
This one is a biggie for me. I had hoped (and promised, in fact) to cover this in depth. I was unable to, though I just glanced back through the 10 pages I had written but never got to finish. So I will summarize:
2010 marks my 15th year working in Health Care. In the belly of the beast, so to speak. As an RN I work at the very crossroads of all that is right and wrong in our healthcare system. From pharmaceuticals to insurance companies to plain old politics. The actual life and death part of things. I have seen Angels work miracles. And I have seen the Devil come to make his deals. I have also been a patient, most recently because of a torn rotator cuff that occurred while moving an unconscious patient. That is, over a year later, still in lawyers’ hands because an insurance company hack of an MD that Employee Health sent me to denied that it was work related (and wrote that I could return to work immediately) without so much as an Xray. Without even knowing what it was. No second opinions were allowed. An MRI ordered by my own doctor confirmed the tear. But I have to fight it, not just because of the time and money lost, but because I will have a “non-work related pre-existing condition” for the rest of my career.
In other words, I can speak, with more authority than most, about how badly our system needed (and still needs) to be changed. And what an absolutely massive complex behemoth of a machine that system is.
The political courage it takes to try to change it is breathtaking. So is the apparent national ignorance of that fact. But it is not an organic ignorance. It is a carefully and thoroughly cultivated one by Republicans to serve the industries threatened by reform of any kind.
THE FIRST BIG LIE:
“Obamacare is Socialism” “Marxism” “Fascism” and any other “ism” they can think of (but clearly don’t understand). “It will devastate our economy!”
The (non-partisan) Congressional Budget Office (responsible for calculating the costs & savings of any legislation) reported that the Health Care Reform Act would
lead to a reduction of $138 billion in the federal deficit over the first 10 years and cut the deficit by $1.2 trillion over the second ten year period. This while extending Medicare solvency by at least 9 years, decreasing drug costs to seniors, and extending coverage to 43 million additional people.
THE SECOND BIG LIE:
One constant quote from those who believe everything is ‘just fine the way it is’:
“We have the greatest health care system in the world”
America spends more of it’s GDP ($900 billion/yr.) than any other country on “Health Care” and this is the result according to the World Health Organization:
We are 34th in infant survival to age 1 (up there with Croatia and Estonia)
We are 37th in health care delivery (That’s one below Costa Rica, but we’re one ahead of Slovenia!)
We are 42nd in life expectancy. (We lose to Chile & Cuba here…)
We are 72nd in health overall.
That’s what $900 billion a year buys us.
We do NOT have the “best health care in the world”. We are not even close. And believe me, as someone on the front lines of that field, I would love to believe that I play for the A-team.
I do believe we have technology, the science and the personnel to be the best in the world. But we have a system that cripples that potential and fails the people it is supposed to serve and the people who deliver it.
To criticize, rather than credit, a President and a Party for finally having the courage to stand up against that machine and even trying to improve it is a self-defeating ignorance that defies description. And to whine because it did not correct everything in one bill, is akin to believing that the global energy supply will be able to change from Oil to Solar overnight.
The key distinction here is that Democrats finally stepped up and did something. A LOT of somethings actually, though time demands that you look them up for yourself if you haven’t already. It is reality over rhetoric.
Republicans are promising to repeal it if given control of Congress. And if they can’t repeal it, they will simply de-fund it which will accomplish the same goal.
<span>And here is a sampling of “the rest”</span>:
Within days of taking office, Obama and Democrats raised the minimum wage (which affects all of our pay) and re-funded and expanded the SCHIP (children’s health insurance program de-funded by Bush & Republicans).
In the 20 months since they have:
-saved the economy from another Great Depression and passed reforms and regulations to prevent it from happening again (while not perfect it, again, is a first major step against another absolute monster of an industry). The details are too vast to summarize here but I advise you to look into it. This election is not the end…
-saved the U.S. Auto Industry with an investment that saved the industry, saved tens of thousands of jobs and the state and local economies that go with them, and has turned the companies around to the point where they are turning a profit again, are available on the stock market again and are PAYING THE MONEY BACK.
-passed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act that limits why and how credit card companies can raise our rates. (I never read those little tiny-print notices that come from credit card co.’s but one day I did and I saw the effects of this in print)
-enforced the Lilly Ledbetter Gender Equity and Equal Pay laws enforcing equal pay for women (how truly sad that this, or many of these, were even necessary in 2010), not to mention he appointed two women to the Supreme Court
-Billions in stimulus funding for broadband internet access (Republicans are actively trying to make the internet a fee-based system like cable TV (as in how much of the net you can use will depend on how much you pay). The effect on the freedom of information access that the net provides, as well as the future of independent media- which is the point- would be dire to say the least. EVERYONE should be raging about this. Few people even know it’s happening.
-Increased student loan and Pell grant programs to help people go to school and get careers and be productive to the economy and the country’s future (thinking beyond the present, what a foreign concept after the last administration) as well as offering re-financing options to current loan holders
-Instituted the “Cash for Clunkers” program to stimulate care sales AND get old inefficient polluting cars OFF the road. Republicans mocked it. It worked. Thats genius if you ask me.
-Reversed the Bush/Republican bans on Stem Cell research and reversed the general disdain for science as a whole that was characteristic of the last decade
-Reversed the Bush/Republican policies on Global Warming (as in they stopped pretending it doesn’t exist and started trying to do something about it…)
-Protected 2 million acres from oil and gas drilling and other development
-Improved gas mileage requirements, raising them to 35mpg and allowing states to raise them above the federal limits (States Rights? Republicans should LOVE this! Not so much. Reality over rhetoric…)
-Used stimulus funds to expand state energy conservation programs, support for transit programs and hybrid / electric vehicle production
-passed the historic Open Government Initiative: As the government reform coalition Democracy21 reported, the Obama administration has adopted “the strongest and most comprehensive lobbying, ethics and transparency rules and policies ever established by an Administration to govern its own activities.” (In other words the absolute 180 degree polar opposite of the Bush administration)
-Ordered the White House and all federal agencies to respect the Freedom of Information Act and overturned Bush-era limits on accessibility of federal documents
-Closed offshore tax safe havens and negotiated a deal with Swiss banks to permit US government to gain access to records of tax evaders and criminals
-Placed a 35% tariff on certain products that China was illegally exporting below cost to undercut American businesses. (Despite all the Republican tough talk about getting tough on foreign trade practices, Reagan, Bush Sr. and Bush Jr all refused to do anything about China’s predatory trade practices. To be fair, neither did Clinton but that’s not the “weak anti-American foreigner loving- hell he’s a foreigner himself- Democrat” we’re talking about.
-Ended the Bush/Republican plan to increase the US nuclear weapons stockpile and restarted nuclear nonproliferation talks
-ENDED THE IRAQ WAR (this, like the tax cut, happened almost so quietly- as opposed to say, a pseudo-flight onto an aircraft carrier with a banner behind him- that I didn’t know it was actually occurring until I turned on the news one night and saw the last combat troops crossing the border). Yes, troops are still there. They’re also in Germany and Japan and Korea and a number of other countries where I think the wars are over.
-Ended torture as a U.S. Policy and returned us to adherence to the Geneva Conventions
(Some “questionable” policies are still in place, but it is a vast improvement)
-Closed the CIA “Black sites” in different countries where some of the worst torture took place
-Ended the “stop-loss” program that could (and did) simply discard military contracts of service, often at the last minute, and forced members of our military to do extra tours of duty in the wars (leading to record suicide rates among our soldiers)
-covered expenses for families of fallen soldiers to be present when soldiers arrived home to Dover Air Force Base
-ended the media blackout of covering the arrival of those soldiers if the families gave permission
-increased and improved body armor and equipment (as well as pay and benefits) to the ones that are still alive so less of them come home to Dover Air Force Base in a box and their families don’t have to be flown in in the first place.
-Passed a New GI Bill for returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan in 2009
-Eliminated co-payments for veterans who are catastrophically disabled
-Passed a bill providing assistance for caregivers of veterans wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2010 which includes training, funding, and counseling for caregivers; promoting pilot childcare programs for women vets under treatment at the VA; instituted independent oversight to prevent abuse and offered readjustment counseling for National Guard and reservist units; etc.
-Improved the conditions at Walter Reed and other military hospitals (if you never saw the footage of the conditions that our veterans were living in at areas of Walter Reed and others, they were truly sickening. And they, along with the need for Cher to found a charity to buy better helmets for our combat soldiers, and the poisoning and electrocution of troops by spoiled food and shoddy wiring/construction by Halliburton, and on & on & on are a sad but perfectly illustrative case of how Republicans “support the troops” only as much as they can use them as an election tool and a photo op. People should be in prison for that. They are not. I will stop there.
-Ended No-Bid Defense contracts that allowed Dick Cheney to give Halliburton billions in contracts for sub-par, dangerous and sometimes fatal (see above), and other times non-existent services (like fake work orders and running empty trucks across Iraq and filing delivery charges)
The list goes on and on and even if it didn’t the philosophy illustrated in these alone marks such a vast departure from where Republicans took us as to be utterly breathtaking in it’s scope and success. And just the military ones alone so illustrate what complete and utter horse shit the Republican ownership claim to supporting the military is.
I have asked before and will ask again:
Can anyone, anywhere PLEASE name ONE thing that Bush and the Republicans did for regular Americans (or our military for that matter) with 6 years in control of EVERYTHING (8 years in the White House, 12 years of Congress and all of it with a conservative Supreme Court)???
I mean it. I want to hear just one. And vagaries about “fighting them there so we don’t have to fight them here” are not allowed.
Their rhetoric is strong. Their time in power, on the other hand, was one long dismal trail of scandals and corruption and blood and failure.
There is no comparison between the choices here.
Please vote. Do what you can to get others to vote.
You are the Eyes of the World.
I’ll see you on the other side.