The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.
Showing posts with label Democrats. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Democrats. Show all posts

Monday, July 6, 2015

302 Obama Accomplishments With Citations

As we move into the last half of 2015, I appreciate Milt Shook's update of Obama Accomplishments since 2009. 

Milt Shook

A List of 302 Accomplishments by President Obama so far... With Citations

Many have done nothing but complain since the day President Obama was inaugurated in 2009. Basically, they scream because he's not perfect, and sound like petulant children; adults don't expect perfection. But when they claim he's no progressive, well, that's just an outright lie. What do these folks think "progressive" means? The root word is "progress,"…

Friday, January 3, 2014

Mario Piperni Answers Email (The TPI Agrees and Posits )

And a political year starts!

Our first 2014 re-blog from Mario Piperni Dot Com.  Thank you Mario for the partnership......And we at teh TPI wholeheartedly agrees with every word keyboarded by Mario. 

If I may posit just a bit before the Pipneri piece.

We grew so very weary of Bush/Cheney, we looked back a Reagan, we see the vile nature of the GOP and we wanted change. We wanted it quickly and completely. Candidate Obama promised "Change" and in may ways got just that, but in many other ways we sit and watch as concerted strategy from the GOP to stifled all things progressive have for the most part worked. Not only has pure obstruction worked, it has soiled the minds of progressives.

Our bureaucratic government and dangerous times have not helped with what some would call perception to the archetypal Democrat. 

Imagine going through the post election White House briefings and finding-out that Bush/Cheney had perpetrated wars via hidden budgets that contributed greatly to our deficits. Imagine learning the extent of the threats from enemies of the state who had waged war on the nation, and finding-out the inner workings of the ever-present danger. Imagine taking over a White House with a Congress laden with just enough Blue Dog democrats to even think of pushing a real Democratic agenda. For that matter, imagine taking office with an economic abyss called a 2nd Great Depression leering around very corner the White House.

Think of looking back at the early days of the first term and realizing the , High-road, turn-the-other check, staff you sworn into office would fail you. They failed not due to incompetence, they literally underestimated (as have we all) the extent of hatred and political malfeasance to come from the GOP. I personally recall sharing a email communication about Sarah Plain and comments she made regarding Obama winning the nomination to Obama's team. I received a communication back from David Axelrod that Barack Obama, he and others would be taking the high-road and focusing on the business of governance in an inclusive manner. Well, it took less than two years for the "White House staff to specifically ask people to share email and Facebook claims about the  Administration.   
They found-out just how vile the Right would carry themselves. There are no more 'high-road notes from the White House back to the public. We also notice most of those early advisers left before the Administration end of the first term. 

Of equal or possibly more importance, and despite protestation to the contrary, imagine being the first African-American President of the United States. Imagine the reality when it hits... you cannot lead as has others. You cannot work with specific constituency for fear of riling the Right as was the case with the improper arrest of Louis Gates and subsequent "Beer-gate." (what a farce when Obama was absolutely correct.)  Of particular note the president bothered to speak out about the Trayvon Martin murder. We continue to hear flak from the Right about the president's heartfelt and very apropos message tot eh nation. We carefully worded the previous sentences based on clear evidence, significant number of Americans hold Obama to a standard (a false standard based on an infestation social malignancy by millions) than his predecessors. After, knowing it would be a tough road to navigate and accepting the challenge, imagine the level of blindside when reality hits. Yes, we often hear, "Oh do not hit me with the racial poppy-cock, we elected him!" Yes, and many voted for Obama based on the woefully sad candidates nominated or the other side.  He may have been the lesser of two evils for many and we suspect so as so  many quickly turned (coat) and signed-on as members of the Fox News battalions. I often think of life in the US under McCain/Palin or Romney/Ryan Administrations. A dire thought to put it mildly!

Finally, imagine the prospect of the public disdain or the IRS "alleged" scandal and the coverage from the media. The core reality of the issue was, the fulfillment of investigating the proliferation of tax-exempt "cover groups" was not as portrayed and was carried out more evenly than initially reported. Two additional factors: the Rights tendency to adopt pseudo-patriotic organization names (to facilitate contributions) backfired and slowed the approval process. Also, not one organization was denied tax exempt status. The president takes a hit for that as the buck stops at the top.

We know that Drone warfare has riled the Left to a level of unfathomable as it appears to stand against all things progressive. We will not commit on the drone warfare, basically because we do not see viable options to fight an enemy that literally immerse in urban environments to level what we once called guerrilla tactics. 

Lest we forget the business of the Affordable Care Act and its roll-out. Yes, We liberals wanted universal single payer bill; it was not going to happen and it did not happen. The roll out? Yes, terribly mismanaged and questions remains about the appointment of Sibelius to the HHS leadership position. But, that is behind us and we must work to get young people enrolled in that only health care reform we have.   

Of course, there are many reason some on the Left have grown to find Obama and the Democratic Party somewhat contemptible. We have addressed only a couple issues that we consistently hear regarding the Administration. Those same naysayers avoid even the slightest consideration of the 225 Accomplishments documented and cited by Milt Shook, The PCTC Blog, and other archivists. While it is not the most solid of positions, those naysayers also fail to realize the extent to which the nation has prospered via the non-election of GOP presidential candidates over the past five years.  

We truly hope our friend Mario Piperni doesn't mind our joining in introduction of his first piece of 2014.  It is a serious matter and the American tendency to think short-term and very much at the surface level is failing us in far more ways than we currently know.  It is also a tendency that is fed by right-wing media and we will very successfully.

Mario Pipeni Dot Com

Finding Me on Bartcop or Obama is a Fraud

Barack Obama - water
After a 2 week hiatus, it’s time to ease back into regular posting and I thought I’d start with publishing an interesting email I received yesterday. A gentleman named Neil, wrote me to both praise my work (thank you, Neil) and to express his complete disappointment in President Obama and the Democratic Party.
In a letter titled I Found you on Bartcop, Neil wrote:
I find your work brilliant, the best slamming of the Rethugs on the Internet.Unfortunately you, like Bartcop, believe that the Dems are the solution, and not, truthfully, part of the problem.
I voted for Obama once, but now I consider him a war criminal, and a fraud. I live in Mass, so I can vote for one of the few Dems with integrity, Elizabeth Warren, but I would have preferred that she had run as an Independent (like Bernie Sanders, Angus King) so that she doesn’t end up corrupted like most of the rest of the Dems.
Bartcop is the most partisan of Dems, even as every other paragraph of a posting is usually expressing frustration about the Dems.
Anyway, as I said, love your work. If you ever take a critical look at the Dems also, I’d contribute. But personally I have written the Dems off. I’m on SS and some of them, like Obama, are trying to do the “grand bargain” and cut what little I have and deserve for a life time of hard work. He’s a fraud. good luck, nice kids, work for their future.
I hear you, Neil, and I’m sure you’re not alone among liberals and progressives in feeling disappointment and a sense of betrayal by some of the actions of the President and Dems in Congress. In a more perfect world, I suppose, there would be no American troops in either Iraq or Afghanistan, Guantanamo would be closed, tax rates for the top 2 percent would be higher, implementation of a true universal health care system with a single payer system would be in place, comprehensive immigration reform legislation would be enacted, marriage equality in all 50 states would be a reality, the country’s infrastructure woes would be addressed as would the undeniable dangers imposed by climate change. These and every other item on progressive’s wish list would either have been dealt with in the last five years or be in the process of being dealt with, except that…
we don’t live in a perfect world, and…
democracy tends to get a little messy most of the time and…
getting everything you want is not a realistic goal even when you’ve won the White House and half of Congress in consecutive national elections, and…
Democrats are dealing with the most reckless, hostile opposition in the history of the United States.
That’s the reality, Neil. While criticism and frustration has been expressed by liberals and progressives toward some of President Obama’s policies, there’s not a hell of a lot of room to criticize a man who is trying to govern in what has to be described as the most obstructionist environment a president has ever found himself in. When forced to deal with an opposition who has made ‘compromise’ a 4-letter word and Republican policy is being dictated by a couple of billionaire brothers, Fox News, conservative hate radio and a small group of crazy, delusional baggers operating in an 18th century mindset, what did you expect?
Here’s the question I ask: If not the Democratic Party, then who? Imagine what the last five years would have been like if John McCain had won back in 2008. Troops would still be firmly entrenched in Iraq and Afghanistan and Americans would most likely be fighting a war in Iran. Or imagine a country with a President Mitt Romney and the type of “compassion”  and “understanding” he’s shown for the poor and middle class. Imagine that, Neil, and tell me who you’d rather have in the White House.
I love Bernie Sanders and most of the principles he stands for and American politics needs all the Bernie Sanders they can get…but, here’s the thing; Bernie Sanders will never be president of the United States. Never, and that’s because as much as you believe in the thoughts and principles that guide your thinking, at least one half of the country disagrees with you and Bernie Sanders. And while that same half would possibly be willing to cast a vote for a more moderate liberal, they would never vote for someone as far to the left of the political spectrum as Bernie Sanders.
That said, I’m not suggesting that you and other progressives don’t hold Dems feet to the fire and demand that they do the best they can in pushing for a liberal agenda – after all, that’s what elections are for. But let’s not forget what’s happening out there. For every good intention that Barack Obama might have, he can’t do it alone. He needs the support of Congress to get things done and sometimes, reality dictates that you take what you can and live to fight another day.
Finally, Neil, what you interpret as fraudulent behavior on the part of President Obama is, I believe, pragmatism coming from a president who is forced to operate in a world of complexity and nuance we can only begin to imagine.
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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Money, Money, Money! The Essence of US Poilitics

Have you ever heard of The Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), Open Congress and GovTrak? While there are a few more congressional 'watch" entities, the three I identified allow me to follow the comings and goings of the US Congress.  Of course, no one is privy to the backroom, telephones (well, maybe the NSA), and the secret meetings as part of congressional business, but the "dark money" side of US politics is well delineated via Open Secrets (CRP). 

Even if you are not a congressional watchdog geek or one who follows the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) at the state level, you know of Citizens United and our conservative SCOTUS's turning an open faucet for "floodgate" secret money in politics.  

Demos Dot Org illustrates the 2012 election campaign giving like few post election entities.

Fortunately, contributors to president Obama outpaced contributors to Mitt Romney. We have a duel purpose for showing the following Open secrets data. 

2012 General Elections contributions; Open Secrets (The Center for Responsive Politics)

Barack Obama (D) 

Mitt Romney (R)


Of course, we are biased, but thank the heaves the 'Blue Team" won the money game and won the election. 

How about a quick look at the affect of small donors vs large donors and who won that war?

Another perspective from Nate Silvers 538 Blog. 
Note: the above percentages apply to the total amount of money raised by each campaign, not the number of donations.

Large donors to conservative politician and small donors to the DEMS, each has that common denominator: money.
We posted the previous illustrations to make a point. It takes money to win elections. We see the impact of such with each passing day as we watch the GOP House railing and vote against the ACA, with no alternative to help millions without medical coverage. While witnessing that travesty in US history we read the Koch brothers spent $200 million on efforts to repeal the ACA. Their moneyed impetus along with conservative and GOP insensitivity to the plight of less fortunate Americans led to a waste of $70.6 million (44 votes to appeal the ACA at $1.6 Million per vote). The conservative fight against the ACA also led to a long anticipated GOP federal government shutdown that led to a $24 billion hit to 2013 GDP.  In other words, money from uber wealthy libertarians and their conservative cabal, contributes to irrational and insane actions from the GOP House of OZ.  

On another much more tragic front, the nation has suffered 20,000 gun deaths since the Sandy Hook school killings, Shortly after the Sandy Hook killings, 92% of Americans polled as in favor of background checks as a tools against the proliferation of guns to the hands of the unsavory. In response to the wished of the public, Cantor and Boehner will not even allow such legislation hit the House floor for a vote and a Senate bill failed to make to the a vote. 
Thus, the impact of money in politics. Again, we know contributions to politicians work both ways. It is not a GOP problem alone. Yet, I find fewer cases of Democrats in congress supporting bills or obstructing bills that appeal to the majority of voters. 

It takes money to win elections. Yet, money supports obstruction and the same money supports ignoring the wishes of the people.

The Framers of the US Constitution held strong belief regarding the potential of a moneyed class (beyond their own) bundled around corporations.
"Paper money has had the effect in your state that it will ever have, to ruin commerce, oppress the honest, and open the door to every species of fraud and injustice." (letter to J. Bowen, Rhode Island, Jan. 9, 1787) "If ever again our nation stumbles upon unfunded paper, it shall surely be like death to our body politic. This country will crash."--George Washington 
"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Already they have raised up a money aristocracy that has set the government at defiance."--Thomas Jefferson, at the Constitutional Convention (1787) 
"All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise not from defects in the Constitution or Confederation, not from a want of honor or virtue so much as from downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation."--John Adams, at the Constitutional Convention (1787)
The Right likes to moniker with the "Sounding Fathers" (Fathers do not own slaves) yet US politics is totally influenced by who secures the most money.

A few minutes with Bill Moyers, will end this piece as it should end, with total credibility and poignancy.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Replacing the Sequester

Re-Blog from....

"This material [article] was published by the Center for American Progress"
  • Download the report: 

Endnotes and citations are available in the PDF version of this issue brief.
With the government shutdown and the threat of a catastrophic debt default now blessedly behind us, Congress can turn its attention to the real and most pressing fiscal challenge our country faces: ending austerity.
Over the past three years, several rounds of drastic, ill-timed, and ill-designed spending cuts have dragged down the recovery, costing us hundreds of billions of dollars in lost economic activity and millions of jobs. Unfortunately, another round of spending cuts is already happening. The automatic across-the-board cuts known as sequestration are still in place for this fiscal year, despite the Congressional Budget Office’s warning that keeping these cuts will cost us 800,000 jobs. Job number one, now that the government is reopened and the debt limit is raised, is to replace those mindless and damaging cuts with smarter, longer-term deficit reduction and implement some much-needed immediate investments in economic growth today.
The sequestration cuts were never meant to go into effect. They were deliberately designed to be so draconian, painful, and blunt that Congress would work together to find an alternative. Unfortunately, they did go into effect in fiscal year 2013. As a result, children were deprived of preschool, cancer patients were turned away, the U.S. court system experienced delays, and our entire economy suffered. In fact, a recent analysis from the private economic forecasting firm Macroeconomic Advisers found that cuts to discretionary federal spending—the sequester among them—have cost the U.S. economy 1.2 million jobs this year, raising the unemployment rate by 0.8 percentage points. The absurdity of continuing these failed policies should be clear.
Making the sequester even more absurd is the simple fact that it is entirely unnecessary for achieving the goal of a sustainable federal budget—its entire purported purpose. In fact, today’s budget projections without sequestration are actually better than what was originally projected with sequestration. In August 2011, the federal budget deficit from 2014 to 2021 was projected to total $5.5 trillion with the sequester in place, for an average deficit of 3.3 percent of gross domestic product. Today, without the effects of the sequester, the deficit is projected to total $5 trillion over the same period, for an average deficit of 3 percent of GDP. In other words, if we simply repealed the sequester in its entirety, our budget deficits would still be about $500 billion lower than what they were expected to be after the sequester was originally passed into law.
In a rational world, that is exactly what we would do—simply repeal the sequester. It is harmful, shortsighted, and totally unnecessary. Unfortunately, we do not live in that world yet. Tea Party members of Congress and their allies see the sequester as a victory that should be protected. Single-issue deficit reduction groups will oppose anything that increases the debt under nearly any circumstances. And many policymakers have simply not fully come to grips with the new economic and fiscal realities—for example, the dramatically improved budget outlook and the spectacular failure of austerity policies in Europe.
As a result, the most realistic approach to fixing the sequester at this point is to replace it with smarter deficit reduction—even if that deficit reduction is largely unnecessary right now.
In June, the Center for American Progress offered one such reasonable plan for replacing the sequester. Today, that plan is even more relevant.

The four principles behind our sequester replacement plan

Keep it manageable

If the past three years have proven anything, it is that Republicans and Democrats cannot agree on a large package of deficit reduction. If we hold out for $1 trillion in deficit reduction to replace the entire 10 years of the sequester, we may find ourselves waiting forever. There is no need, however, to replace the entire 10 years right away. In time, as our fiscal situation continues to improve and as political conditions change, it will hopefully be easier to replace or even get rid of the sequester. But we should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. For now, our plan would replace three years of the sequester, taking us through 2016.

We have already paid for 60 percent of the sequester

The original intent of the sequester was to ensure that, no matter the outcome of the so-called super committee, there would be $1.2 trillion in additional deficit reduction. As already noted, the deficit picture has actually improved much more substantially than that even without the sequester. But even if we consider only legislated deficit reduction, we have actually achieved part of the goal as well. The American Taxpayer Relief Act, better known as the fiscal cliff deal, enacted about $800 billion in deficit reduction from 2013 to 2023, or about 60 percent of the total deficit reduction achieved by the sequester over that period. Had that same deficit reduction come about through the super committee process, it would have reduced the impact of the sequester to only about $500 billion rather than the currently projected $1.3 trillion. Recognizing this, our plan offsets only the remaining 40 percent of the sequester that has not been paid for already.

Balance is a necessary component

Nearly three-quarters of the legislated deficit reduction to date has come in the form of spending cuts. And while additional spending cuts may be required to offset the sequester, so too will some additional revenue. In the past the requirement for additional revenue has been the main stumbling block to a deal, as conservatives in Congress have refused to consider even relatively modest revenue enhancements. Because of our first two principles, however, conservatives will only need to agree to a very small amount of additional revenue to achieve the goal of fixing the sequester. Our plan would increase total revenues over the next 10 years by less than 0.4 percent.

Focus on the economy

The main objective in seeking to fix the sequester is to avoid further economic damage. The economy is on fragile ground, and although there have been some optimistic signs of progress, unemployment remains unacceptably high, wages remain unacceptably stagnant, and growth remains unacceptably slow. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke recently all but begged Congress to address the deleterious economic effects of the sequester. But Congress could and should do more than simply prevent the sequester from doing harm. It can actively take steps to boost job creation and lay foundations for future economic growth. That is why our plan includes room for roughly $80 billion in investments that Congress could enact today that would help improve the economic outlook and make it easier to address what remains of our fiscal problems in the long term.

The replacement plan itself

Repeal the sequester for fiscal years 2014, 2015, and 2016

The total “cost” to the federal bottom line would be approximately $315 billion not including increased debt service costs. But because we have already paid for 60 percent of the sequester, we need only offset about $126 billion.

Implement competitive bidding more broadly throughout federal health care programs

Competitive bidding for medical equipment and devices, for clinical laboratories, and in Medicare Advantage will lower prices for the federal government, resulting in nearly $50 billion in savings over 10 years.

Better alignment of Medicare payments to actual costs

Medicare payments for services from a number of different providers—including home health providers, skilled nursing facilities, and some hospitals—are currently substantially higher than the actual costs of treatment. Bringing those payments down to reflect the providers’ true costs will reduce federal spending by approximately $50 billion over 10 years.

Reduce agriculture subsidies

Our current system of agricultural subsidies is outdated and costly. Reforming this system along the lines proposed by President Obama would save approximately $40 billion over 10 years.

Implement the “Buffett Rule”

Overall, our federal tax system is progressive—meaning that higher-income households on average pay a greater share of their income in taxes than do middle- and low-income households. This is not always true, however. There are many very high-income households who are able to avoid paying even middle-class rates. The Buffett Rule would ensure that millionaires are paying at least the same tax rates as most other high-income households. It would raise approximately $100 billion over 10 years.

Repeal fossil-fuel industry tax subsidies

The fossil-fuel industry currently receives numerous tax breaks. Given the profitability of leading fossil-fuel companies, these tax subsidies are entirely unnecessary. Repealing them would save about $40 billion over 10 years.

Invest in job creation and growth

Our plan also includes room for a little more than $80 billion in investments that would spark faster growth today and lay the foundations for faster growth tomorrow. These include a $20 billion down payment for the first five years of the president’s early childhood initiative, a $50 billion investment in infrastructure, and a $12 billion investment in the “Pathways Back to Work Fund,” which would help provide employment opportunities for the long-term unemployed, young people, and low-income people.
This plan would avoid the economic damage caused by the sequester and replace it with smarter and better-timed deficit reduction. The plan would also spark faster job creation right away and allow us to begin to make important investments in our future.

Michael Linden is the Managing Director for Economic Policy at the Center for American Progress.

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Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Center for Responsive Politics: What About The Spending?

As we move towards the 2014 mid-terms The Center for Responsive Politics reports Democrats are outpacing Republicans contributions by $86 million dollars. Of particular interest is the major DNC approximate $13 million lag in contributions behind the RNC. 

You and I know the GOP contributors will step-up and make up the spread. While we hate to be party to the reality of "money buys elections", reality is reality and it is good to see contributions from progressives out pace the nation's regressives.

The Election Cycle button below is not active.

Where does all that money come from? For the answers, view our money profiles for both major parties and for each of their main fundraising committees. Select a party committee, then use the tabs above to view its information.
Election cycle: 
Total RaisedTotal SpentCash on HandDebts
Democratic Party$276,570,328$198,303,508$51,625,209$24,211,200
Republican Party$190,283,836$169,823,558$45,493,935$1,837,333
Democratic National Cmte$56,299,252$56,657,183$4,601,314$16,009,870
Republican National Cmte$68,139,504$64,476,650$9,882,739$0
Democratic Congressional Campaign Cmte$65,202,181$41,423,695$25,266,707$0
National Republican Congressional Cmte$52,404,530$35,697,047$18,242,094$0
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Cmte$43,510,748$34,246,752$11,073,955$6,250,000
National Republican Senatorial Cmte$29,469,898$27,843,113$5,007,573$0
NOTE: All the numbers on this page are for the 2014 election cycle and based on Federal Election Commission data released on November 30, 2013.