Medicare

The “Safety Net”: 80 Years Of Social Security, 50 Years Of Medicare, 5 Years Of ObamaCare!

The nation is marking 80 years of Social Security, brought about by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935; 50 years of Medicare, brought about by Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965; and five years of ObamaCare, brought about by Barack Obama in 2010.

These basic aspects of the “Safety Net” were brought about by courageous Democratic Presidents generations apart, long after many European nations, including Great Britain, France, Germany and several Scandinavian nations had done so.

We are a better country because of these programs, and yet, the Republican Party would love to destroy the guarantees of these programs, and many conservatives have warred on Social Security and Medicare since they were enacted, just as they refuse to accept ObamaCare at a point where it has been upheld twice by the Supreme Court, and is actually working.

Intelligent voters are not going to forget, or be allowed to forget by Democrats, the true history of the passage of the “Safety Net”, and the constant barrage of attacks on these signature achievements by conservatives and the Republican Party!

That Was The Week That Was: June 19-26, 2015 Most Significant Single Week In Many Years For Positive Change!

Who would ever have imagined that in one week’s time, we would witness three events that would transform American society as the week from June 19 to June 26, 2015?

Two days before that transformational week, nine African American Bible Class men and women in a church were slaughtered by a young man who had so much hate and racism in his body and mind that human life meant nothing to him, a tremendous tragedy for Charleston, South Carolina; for the nation at large; and for the nine families who lost their loved ones.

Nothing much more negative could have been imagined to occur regarding race relations in America, which have been in crisis with recent killings by police of African American men in many different locations around the nation.

But the the miracle week began!

The relatives of the nine murdered Bible Class men and women confronted the mass murderer who had done the dirty deed, and they all expressed to him that they forgave him for his sin, unimaginable behavior witnessed on television, amazing the whole nation.

The fact that this young mass murderer had used the Confederate flag as a symbol of his hatred and racism spurred the call for removal of the Confederate flag from the monument at the Columbia, South Carolina state capital, as well as elsewhere in the South.

Governor Nikki Haley, a Republican, called for the legislature to consider removal, and State Senator Paul Thurmond, the son of racist former Senator, Governor and 1948 States Rights Party Presidential nominee Strom Thurmond, said the flag must come down. While it did not come down in time for the funerals of the nine victims, the movement was on to remove it, and we saw other Southern states remove the symbol, including Alabama, an unbelievable thought a few days earlier. It looked likely that the Confederate flag had met its doom on public property everywhere, although citizens would still have the freedom to wear and display the Confederate symbol openly.

Then, as the week went on, the Supreme Court, controlled by a conservative majority, which had moved to the right politically by recent decisions during the Obama years, including the Citizens United decision in 2010 and the Voting Rights limitation case of 2013, suddenly took a noticeable turn to the left, with Reagan appointed Justice Anthony Kennedy supporting ObamaCare and same sex marriage, and Chief Justice John Roberts, appointed by George W. Bush, siding for the second time on ObamaCare.

Suddenly, ObamaCare was finally established in a manner that would make it impossible to repeal, and it insured that Barack Obama’s signature achievement would last in the manner that Social Security came to be under Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Medicare came to be under Lyndon B. Johnson.

And suddenly, after a long, hard fought battle over gay rights and gay marriage, the civil and human right to marry became guaranteed for gays and lesbians, as much as interracial marriage was insured by Supreme Court decision 48 years ago in 1967 in Loving V Virginia.

And with all this, Barack Obama also had victory on the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, despite a major split with liberals in his own Democratic Party.

And then, even more inspiring was Barack Obama’s amazing eulogy of the pastor/state legislator killed by the young mass murderer. It reminded us of his great oratorical abilities, and the eulogy coursed through our beings and gave all decent people a chill up the spine, symbolically!

No President has had a week of such massive victories and achievements in many decades, and to have the Confederate flag being brought down was the icing on the cake!

So that was the week that was, which will be written about by scholars in future generations, as a miraculous week hard to match or surpass!

Gay Marriage Finally National: The Advancement Of Human Rights Reaches A New Pinnacle Of Social Justice!

On June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Inn, a gay restaurant and nightclub in Greenwich Village in New York City, was raided by police, leading to a large scale riot. It was the beginning of the gay rights movement, the struggle against oppression.

46 years have passed, and on June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court upheld the right of gays and lesbians to marry everywhere in the United States, a path breaking advancement in human rights, reaching a new pinnacle of social justice. It makes America a more perfect democracy, promoting equality and liberty for another class of citizens who have faced oppression. It is a tremendous expansion of human rights and social justice!

America is a better nation for this fantastic development, and much credit is due to several people, including:

Then San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who was the first chief executive to promote gay marriage in California, and officiate at many gay weddings n 2003. He is now Lieutenant Governor of California, and likely successor to Governor Jerry Brown in the next gubernatorial election in 2018.

Ted Olson and David Boies, opposing attorneys in the Bush-Gore Presidential battle in 2000, who pursued the constitutional case promoting gay marriage, helping to lead it to Supreme Court decision yesterday.

Associate Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion in four crucial Supreme Court cases, in 2003 (Lawrence V Texas), two in 2013 (Hollingsworth V Perry) and (US V Windsor), and yesterday (Obergefell V Hodges) Without him, none of this advancement of gay rights and gay marriage could ever have occurred. Interestingly, all four of these cases were decided on June 26, of those years, 2003, 2013, and 2015!

The history of the gay rights movement is yet to be written, but it will be seen as part of the great movement forward as evidenced by the abolitionist crusade against slavery; the woman suffrage movement; the civil rights movement; the labor union movement; the environmental movement; the disability reform movement; the promotion of a safety net as represented by Social Security, Medicare, and now ObamaCare; and the immigration reform movement!

Barack Obama Now Insured Of Stature As Historic Domestic Reform Leader With Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, And Lyndon B. Johnson!

The victory yesterday of ObamaCare at the Supreme Court, by a margin of 6-3, insures that Barack Obama will be listed historically in the company of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson in their massive accomplishments in domestic reforms!

Woodrow Wilson accomplished the passage of the Federal Reserve Act; the Federal Trade Commission Act; the Clayton Anti Trust Act; and the enactment of the first federal labor laws and assistance to farmers. His programs were both the “New Freedom” and elements of Theodore Roosevelt’s “New Nationalism.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt accomplished the massive list of reforms known as the “New Deal”, in the areas of banking, the stock market, government intervention in business, labor, agriculture, housing, and most significantly, in Social Security and other aid to the poor, as well as major public works programs. He also took us out of the worst of the Great Depression.

Lyndon B. Johnson accomplished the passage of Medicare and Medicaid, along with immigration reform, civil rights legislation, greatly expanded aid to education, and the “war on poverty”, all part of the “Great Society.” Johnson also enacted consumer and environmental legislation and two new Cabinet agencies. He brought about the greatest amount of domestic reform since FDR, who he idolized.

Barack Obama has now accomplished health care reform to cover all Americans, a massive step first proposed by Theodore Roosevelt in his “New Nationalism” campaign as a third party campaign for President in 1912. Additionally, he has promoted environmental legislation by executive order; advancements in civil rights enforcement; a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; Wall Street reform; immigration reform through executive order; and many lesser reforms that all add up to the best domestic record of achievement since the 1960s! He also took us out of the Great Recession, the greatest economic downturn since FDR and the Great Depression! He is the greatest reform President since Lyndon B. Johnson!

Bernie Sanders Is Running For President! A True Champion Of The Average American, A La FDR and Hubert Humphrey!

Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders is running for President as a Democrat, and the nation will benefit from his candidacy in so many ways.

It will make at least one competitor against Hillary Clinton, an essential step, as no one should ever be unchallenged for a Presidential nomination.

It will force Hillary Clinton to move to the populist left, and to take bold stands on many issues, and if she fails to do so, do not think that it is impossible for Sanders to win the nomination.

If Barack Obama could win, a real long shot, it is conceivable, although not likely, that Sanders could go all the way.

The Iowa Caucuses could favor Bernie, as Clinton only ended up third behind Barack and John Edwards in 2008.

The New Hampshire Primary will again be crucial, and Sanders being a New Englander, could have a shot at winning in this neighboring state to Vermont.

Were Hillary to lose both the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, she could be in trouble.

The campaign will allow people to see that Sanders, an independent Socialist who caucuses with the Democrats in the Senate, is not a “monster” because he is Socialist; that he is perfectly harmless and simply speaks for people who are not rich, and cares about the middle class and the poor, the environment, and reviving the “American Dream”.

Sanders is the longest serving Independent member of either house of Congress in all of American history—16 years in the House of Representatives, and 10 in the Senate by 2016, making him one of the most experienced people in government ever to run for President.

Sanders will be able to show that Socialism brought us so many of the programs we accept as normal in America–Social Security, Medicare, Unemployment Compensation, Minimum Wages, Maximum Hours, Sick Leave, Vacation Time, Labor Unions, Aid to Farmers, Public Education, Environmental Protection, Consumer Protection, Civil Rights, and so many other great initiatives that have made America a better place. And it has not led to dictatorship, loss of civil liberties, or any other ridiculous fear that the right wing loves to promote.

Bernie Sanders is a very genuine, kind, gentle man, who is gruff in his voice and rhetoric, because of his passion for those who are not connected to the corporate interests; but he will refuse to run a nasty campaign of attacks or allow himself to be corrupted by corporate money.

Sanders is a true man of the people, and he will elevate the discussion and the tone of the upcoming Presidential campaign of 2016!

Sanders would also be the second Jew to have announced for President, after Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut in 2004, although Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota was reported to be planning to run the same year had he not been killed in a small plane crash in 2002.

Bernie Sanders is in the tradition of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Hubert H. Humphrey!

Rand Paul: An Interesting, But Flawed Candidate For President Who Cannot Fulfill His Promises!

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky became the second declared candidate for President yesterday, and he gave a fiery speech, surrounded by his admirers who are clearly very loyal and committed to him.

But to believe that Rand Paul can become the GOP nominee for President, and occupy the White House after January 20, 2017, requires a lot of illusion, and “smoke and mirrors”. It will, most certainly, NOT happen!

Rand Paul has appealing elements, no question about it. These include the need to protect our civil liberties from government encroachment by the National Security Agency; the need to rebuild our economy and help forgotten Americans to gain economic advancement, both middle class and poor; the need to stay out of foreign intervention unless essential, and avoid so many bases and expenses overseas, including no more increased spending on foreign aid; and changing the law enforcement system, including the unfair justice system that imprisons too many young African Americans for overly severe jail terms.

But at the same time, Rand Paul talks about balancing a budget, by cutting fundamental programs that are an entitlement for Americans through their payment of taxes (including Social Security and Medicare); has no solution for health care for millions on ObamaCare and those without ObamaCare and not able to gain Medicaid; talks about limiting federal intrusion in our privacy, a goal almost impossible to accomplish in an age of terrorism; has expressed doubts about the civil rights laws, including the basic one passed in 1964 under Lyndon B. Johnson; has to deal with the influence of his father, former Texas Congressman Ron Paul who is much more controversial with his public record of actions and utterances that many Paul supporters seem to be aware of; and has major opposition and criticism from the massive hawkish influence within his party in the Senate and from the neoconservatives, who seem to want war with Iran, and do not want to cut defense spending dramatically, if at all!

Additionally, Rand Paul is anti abortion and anti gay marriage, and while that will please the Republican Party, it will undermine his opportunity to attract a majority of women and young people, despite the fact that many young people claim to be libertarian, but mostly because they are truly ignorant of what the true nature of libertarianism is. Libertarianism will NOT gain power in America, and is a bankrupt philosophy not achievable in the real world!

Rand Paul will certainly make the Presidential race more interesting, but his connection to the Tea Party will also undermine him, and no scenario that is realistic puts him down as the 45th President of the United States!

Barack Obama After Six Years In The Presidency: On Way To Top Ten Of Our 43 Presidents!

As 2014 ends, Barack Obama is finishing his sixth year in the Presidency, and will officially mark that milestone on January 20, when he delivers the State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress, controlled by the Republican Party, which has stood in his way, has been a constant barrier to anything Obama proposes, and hates the ground he walks on. Conservative talk radio and Fox News Channel, and conservative think tanks, would not be happy no matter what Barack Obama does or says. And there is a strong level of venal hate, very dangerous, that puts the President in the cross hairs of a potential threat to his life on a daily basis.

But despite all that, President Barack Obama has a record in office to be proud of, not perfect in any sense, but still outstanding enough to have a chance to end up in the top ten of our Presidents, if not immediately after leaving the White House, over a generation or more as time passes, and passions calm down, and particularly after Obama has passed away, an opportune time to reconsider the legacy of any President, particularly one so much maligned in his time!

The list of Obama accomplishments is endless, but key points include:

The adoption of ObamaCare, which will be seen as transformative over time, as much as Social Security and Medicare.

The successful tracking down and elimination of Osama Bin Laden, the perpetrator of September 11, 2001.

The ending of US military engagement in both Iraq and Afghanistan, two wars that were unwise to conduct in the first place.

The revival of the American economy, with 11 million jobs created; the unemployment rate below six percent; the greatest economic expansion since the Bill Clinton Presidency; the smallest increase in the deficit for the past decade; the 150 percent increase in the stock market; the lowest gas prices in five years; and the revival of the domestic auto industry.

The appointment of two Supreme Court Justices–Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, and some exceptional cabinet appointments, plus the best Vice President in American history, Joe Biden.

The promotion of gay rights and gay marriage, insuring the end of discrimination based upon sexual orientation.

The advancement of environmental concerns, including dealing with global warming and climate change.

The promotion of a tolerant attitude toward immigration reform.

The establishment of a new relationship with Cuba after 50 years of a failed policy.

The promotion of labor rights in a time when labor has been under attack.

The protection of women’s rights against right wing attempts to undermine the advancement of women in all spheres of American life.

The avoidance of engagement in new wars, which the right wing is always itching for.

The courage of Obama to go after terrorists in a way that limits US military involvement, but effectively has killed more terrorists than George W. Bush.

President Barack Obama was the the right person for his time, and will be seen as that in history. He has met racist attacks by refusing to show anger, but instead class and dignity! He has admitted failure, but also has confidence in the morality of his cause. Considering the extreme opposition he has faced, what he has accomplished is miraculous beyond belief.

Despite having presided over the rapid decline of Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress by vicious attacks and massive spending by right wing billionaires, he has made it clear that he will use executive orders to do what he feels must be done in the last two years of his Presidency. The right wing Supreme Court, with its Citizens United Case in 2010, and the lackadaisical attitude on voting of many Democratic constituent groups, has contributed to this decline in Democratic Party strength, but Obama has reacted by making clear that it will not deter his plans to make the nation a place better for the middle class and the poor.

President Barack Obama will NOT allow the prevention of further improvement of the New Deal and Great Society, and he is much to be admired, as a credit to the office he holds!

President Obama Not Acting Like A “Lame Duck”!

Barack Obama could be said to have suffered a defeat in the midterm elections, when his Democratic party lost control of the US Senate, and the House of Representatives majority became the largest since 1929 for the Republican Party.

And yet, Obama has been on a “tear” since, and it is clear that he is NOT acting like a “lame duck”, and will work to accomplish as many goals as he can, with or without cooperation of the GOP majority in Congress.

Obviously, Obama cannot pass legislation on his own, but he can veto legislation, and prevent destructive behavior by the Republican majority.

So new House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin can wish to gut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, but Obama will be able to prevent much, if any damage, to these signature programs promoted into law by Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Obama has been able to get judicial appointments approved by the outgoing Democratic Senate majority, and those judges have lifetime tenure.

Obama can, legally, by executive order, promote many changes that do not need Congressional approval, and every President has utilized this power to bring about changes, sometimes good and sometimes bad, but the issue of the authority to use executive orders is a clear cut one!

So Barack Obama still has two years to bring historic change, and he is now liberated to do what he wishes to do that is allowable under our Constitution and history, and he no longer needs to be cautious, but instead can become aggressive and outspoken, knowing that even if he was to be impeached and brought to trial by the Republican Congress, that he is untouchable, as there is no way to gain a two thirds majority in the US Senate to remove him.

Instead, he has the opportunity to make his Presidency more transformative and historic at a time when so much of what he has already done is bearing fruit!

Elizabeth Warren And Bernie Sanders Turn The Democrats Toward A New Populism!

The two New England heroes of progressivism, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, are pushing the Democratic Party to return to its principles, and promote a new Populism, in which the battle for the middle class and the poor; the ethnic minorities; women; gays and lesbians, labor; the environment; support for veterans; and protection of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and ObamaCare are the priorities over protecting Wall Street privilege and engaging us in never ending foreign conflict with our troops as cannon fodder for the interests of those who feel invasion and war actions are the answer to our problems at home, which they, most certainly, are not!

It looks more than ever that Hillary Clinton, if she runs, will be challenged by one or the other of these two progressive heroes. Hillary may end up as the nominee of the Democrats, but her closeness to Wall Street and her “hawkish” image in foreign policy hurt her for the battle ahead!

We need a President who is willing to challenge the establishment, and we need a President who will fight Wall Street and the defense establishment, and work to undermine the one percent oligarchy which is undermining our democracy!

We need a President who has principles that he or she will not bend, to continue the work begun by Barack Obama, but needing a continuation under the next President!

A Warren or Sanders candidacy would make Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden, or any other Democrat, work to return to the base that has made the Democratic Party a party of great accomplishment, instead of acting as a moderate alternative to the Republican Party.

Barack Obama: Who Is Our 44th President?

The attacks on Barack Obama, our 44th President, have reached a point of being totally ridiculous and preposterous in so many ways!

Critics say Obama is a Muslim, even though he never attended services at a mosque, and has called himself a Christian. Meanwhile, he has had America war against terrorist Muslims, and has used drones and troops to kill more Muslims than George W. Bush, including Osama Bin Laden!

Critics say Obama is a weak President, who has been unwilling to confront Vladamir Putin and defend Ukraine, while George W. Bush did not confront Putin on military action in Georgia in 2008; Lyndon B. Johnson did not confront the old Soviet Union on military action in Czechoslovakia in 1968; and Dwight D. Eisenhower did not confront the old Soviet Union on military action in Hungary in 1956.

Critics say that Obama is an “Emperor” or “King” because of action on immigration reform, but this is the same President they have said is “weak”, and when Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and all of the other Republican and Democratic Presidents since Dwight D. Eisenhower took action on immigration, none of them were called “Emperor” or “King”. So Obama is a “weak” President who is also an “Emperor” or “King”?

Critics say Obama is a Socialist, but Obama accepted the Newt Gingrich–Bob Dole–Heritage Foundation–Mitt Romney concept of health care, when he pushed for “ObamaCare”, which gives private insurance companies full control over health care when many Democrats and liberals and progressives really want “Medicare for all”.

Critics say Obama is anti capitalist, but Obama has tied himself to Wall Street much more than many Democrats and liberals and progressives wish he had, and the stock market is at an all time high, up about 250 percent from when he came in.

Critics say Obama is adding more to the national debt than anyone, forgetting he came in at the lowest point in 75 years, and that much of the new debt was an outgrowth of the disastrous George W. Bush economic policies that would have added the same to the national debt if John McCain and Mitt Romney had been elected President.

Critics say that Obama refused to work with the opposition party, but NO President EVER had such obstructionism as Barack Obama has had, and Republican Presidents, in particular, have found that opposition Democrats, while challenging them, NEVER promoted total lack of cooperation as the extremist right wing Republicans, led by the Tea Party Movement, have done over the past six years. Despite that, Obama has presided over a long list of accomplishments.

Critics blame Obama for the loss of seats in Congress in midterm elections, when ALL Presidents have faced that, except Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934. Harry Truman in 1946, Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954, Bill Clinton in 1994, George W. Bush in 2006, and now, Barack Obama in 2014, have seen the opposition party gain control of both houses of Congress. Also, FDR in 1938, Truman in 1950, Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958, John F. Kennedy in 1962, Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966, Richard Nixon in 1970, Gerald Ford in 1974, Jimmy Carter in 1978, Ronald Reagan in 1982, George H. W. Bush in 1990, and Barack Obama in 2010 lost seats, and in the case of Obama, control of the House of Representatives.

These are just eight ways in which the critics of Obama are manipulating the truth and the facts, and despite all these attacks, Barack Obama stands tall and will look much better in history than his critics wish to concede!