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OBAMA!- NEW BOOK ON OBAMA-“THE FIRST:PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA’S ROAD TO THE WHITE HOUSE” BY BLACK JOURNALIST ROLAND S. MARTIN

February 17, 2011

FROM YEYEolade.blogspot.com

Thursday, February 17, 2011
OBAMA! -NEW BOOK ON OBAMA -“THE FIRST:PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA’S ROAD TO THE WHITE HOUSE” BY BLACK JOURNALIST ROLAND S. MARTIN!
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the firstThe First: President Barack Obama’s Road to the White House as Originally Reported by Roland S. Martin
Click to order via Amazon
by Roland S. Martin
Includes a DVD of the author’s interviews with the Obamas
Paperback: 372 pages
Publisher: Third World Press; 1 edition (January 31, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0883783169
ISBN-13: 978-0883783160
Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
Book Review by Kam Williams
“On February 10, 2007, Barack Hussein Obama stood before thousands waiting in the cold in front of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois and made his intentions known: he was running for president. This book traces tracks this journey through my eyes as I covered the improbable road to the presidency of Obama…
My aim in publishing this book is to offer an historical account of covering this stunning and exciting race, but to also offer in real-time the ups and downs of the campaign, and even take a look back at various moments from my perspective , as well as those of some of the entertainers and others I crossed paths with along the way.”
-Excerpted from the Introduction (pgs. xxii-xxiii)
If you’re interested in revisiting the 2008 Presidential campaign from the perspective of an African-American journalist afforded access to candidate Barack Obama, then this coffee table keepsake was undoubtedly designed with you in mind. For, between December of 2006 and Election Day a couple years later, Roland Martin filed hundreds of reports, in his capacity as a political correspondent for the CNN and TV-One Networks, as a radio talk show host, and as a nationally-syndicated columnist.

The First: President Barack Obama’s Road to the White House is essentially a chronological rehash of Martin’s interviews, articles and news stories which collectively paint a complete picture of the evolution of Obama from long shot to contender to favorite to the first black President of the United States.
What is likely to make this opus fairly absorbing for the average history buff is the fact that these real-time entries accurately reflect the pulse of the country at each moment of the campaign, as the political sands shifted back and forth beneath the feet of the pivotal players.
It’s all recounted here, mostly in the author’s own words, from the Iowa caucuses (“All of a sudden, there is a sense that Obama actually could win this thing.”) to the Michelle Obama patriotism question (“Was it a big deal. Nope?”) to the Reverend Wright controversy (“I fundamentally believe that whites and blacks reacted differently [to] the snippets of Wright’s preaching.”). Overall, the astute observations of a partisan who never hid his allegiances yet still proved pretty prescient in terms of forecasting the outcome of the landmark presidential election.

Related Links
Read an Interview with the author about this book
http://aalbc.com/reviews/roland_martin.html
All of Roland Martin’s Book and another Interview
http://aalbc.com/authors/roland_s_martin.htm

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Thursday, February 17th

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The First
Get your copy of Roland S. Martin’s new book today!
Washington, D.C. – January 12, 2010 – Award-winning journalist Roland S. Martin, who captured the first interview with President Barack Obama regarding the racial controversy surrounding Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), releases his third book, The First: President Barack Obama’s Road to the White House on January 20, 2010. The book marks the first year anniversary of Barack Obama’s presidency.
The First takes readers behind-the-scenes for a closer look at his interviews with both Barack and Michelle Obama for CNN, TV ONE, Essence.com, WVON-AM in Chicago and the Tom Joyner Morning Show over the last two years. The book includes insider details that go beyond the regular reports, like original coverage of celebrities who were heavily invested in the election, sixteen pages of color photos, and a DVD featuring two interviews with Martin and President Obama on TV ONE that won back-to-back NAACP Awards.
As a member of CNN’s “Best Political Team on Television” and political editor for the TV ONE Cable Network during the election
Click book to buy your copy today!
campaigns, Martin found himself in the catbird seat while one of the most momentous events in black history was on a collision course with destiny. Now, his new book, which is being co-published by Martin and Third World Press, takes readers back down President Barack Obama’s campaign trail in a chronological journal of events that dates back to when then Senator Obama had yet to announce his candidacy and follows him on his journey to the presidency.
“It was always amazing to listen to journalism icons like Vernon Jarrett, Lerone Bennett and Sam Lacy talk about covering some of the major stories of the 20th century, such as Jackie Robinson breaking the baseball color barrier, Muhammad Ali’s rise to become heavyweight champion, and the Civil Rights Movement. Covering the eventual election of President Barack Obama was on par with those historic achievements. To have a front row seat at history was amazing, and I wanted to serve as sort of my recollection of the campaign as it was unfolding. It was also amazing to go back and talk to individuals who hit the campaign for then-Sen. Obama, and get an understanding of their motivations, and the raw emotions they felt as the race went down to the wire and history was made. “This campaign dominated my life for two years and it was worth every moment.”
Through his charismatic writing style, Martin presents an in-depth analysis of the presidential campaign and Obama’s struggles and successes. He gives readers insight on how each important event played out in front of the nation and also shares interviews from his broadcasts, including a one-on-one conversation with President Obama after his win in Iowa in January 2008. Other notable interviews include Dr. Cornel West, Rep John Lewis, Spike Lee, Maxine Waters and Michael Eric Dyson.
Roland Martin is a multi-faceted journalist, reporting on many different platforms including, television, radio, newspapers and online. He is the host and Managing Editor for TV One’s “Washington Watch with Roland Martin,” and a CNN contributor, appearing on a variety of the network’s shows. In addition, he is a senior analyst for the Tom Joyner Morning Show providing daily reports for the program. And is a syndicated columnist for Creators Syndicate.
In addition to his interviews with President Obama, and First Lady Michelle Obama, Martin has recently made waves in the media with high profile interviews including Vice President Joe Biden and Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele on TV ONE and General Colin Powell on the Tom Joyner Morning Show. Earlier this year, he was presented the “Broadcaster of the Year” Award by the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and was named one of EBONY magazine’s “Power 150″ for the third year in a row.
Roland S. Martin is also the author of Listening to the Spirit Within: 50 Perspectives on Faith, and Speak Brother: A Black Man’s View of America.

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(THE FIRST) President Barack Obama’s Road to the White House as Originally Reported by Roland S. Martin [With DVD] by Martin, Roland S.(Author)Paperback{The First: President Barack Obama’s Road to the White House as Originally Reported by Roland S. Martin [With DVD]} on01-Jan-2010

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OBAMA! -CATCHING HELL FROM RACIST WHITE RIGHT AND NOW THE WHITE LEFT IS ON HIM BUT OBAMA YOU WILL OVERCOME WITH GOD AND BLACK TRUTH ON YOUR SIDE!-THIS ROLLINGSTONE ARTICLE TELLS THE TRUTH ABOUT THE MIRACLE YOU HAVE PERFORMED MAKING OUR FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT THE BEST OF ALL SO FAR!

December 8, 2010

from rollingstone.com originally

this copy from-
yeyeolade.blogspot.com

Wednesday, December 08, 2010
OBAMA!-OUR BLACK PRESIDENT IS BEING ATTACKED FROM ALL SIDES OF WHITES NOW-THE LEFT IS NOW JOINING THE RACIST RIGHT TO TRY TO BRING HIM DOWN BUT BLACK TRUTH AND GOD WILL PREVAIL!-HERE THE TRUTH ABOUT THE MIRACLE OBAMA HAS PERFORMED IS REVEALED FROM ROLLINGSTONE.COM
FROM rollingstone.com

The Case for Obama
The charges are familiar: He’s a compromiser who hasn’t stood up to the GOP or Wall Street. But a look at his record reveals something even more startling — a truly historic presidency

HISTORY MAKER “When you look at what will last,” says Doris Kearns Goodwin, “Obama has more notches on the presidential belt.”
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
By Tim Dickinson
Oct 13, 2010 1:15 PM EDT
The following is an article from the October 28, 2010 issue of Rolling Stone.
For many progressives, the presidency of Barack Obama has been deeply disappointing. To hear some prominent lefties tell it, the New Jesus of the campaign trail has morphed into the New Judas of the Oval Office. “He loves to buckle,” MSNBC host Cenk Uygur declared in a July segment called “Losing the Left.” “Obama’s not going to give us real change — he’s going to give us pocket change and hang a ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner.”
Obama In Command: The Rolling Stone Interview by Jann S. Wenner
The catalog of perceived betrayals unfolds something like this: The liberal lion who stirred Hope, vowed Change and roared about “the fierce urgency of now” has failed to stand up to Republican obstructionists, coddled corporate interests and allowed top liberal priorities — a public option for health insurance, climate legislation, immigration reform and the union-expanding “card check” — to fizzle without a fight. The same politician who fired up the Democratic base by opposing a “dumb war” has surged 50,000 troops into Afghanistan — not to take the battle to Al Qaeda, but to prop up the corrupt and incompetent regime of Hamid Karzai. The prison at Guantánamo? Still open for business nearly a year after it was to have been shuttered. Uglier still: Obama has asserted the authority to assassinate American terror suspects abroad and has tried to block court challenges of that authority by invoking “state secrets.”
Photos: Obama Through the Years
On the economic front, Obama has surrounded himself with the same free marketeers who led Bill Clinton’s calamitous deregulation of big banks, restoring Wall Street to obscene profits even as one American in seven has been engulfed by a rising tide of poverty. Eric Alterman of The Nation distilled the left’s lament this summer, arguing that Obama may have “fooled gullible progressives into believing he was a left-liberal partisan, when in fact he is much closer to a conservative corporate shill.” The cover of The Obama Syndrome, a new jeremiad by the political commentator Tariq Ali, even gives the progressive resentment a lurid illustration: Obama’s face is shown flaking away like a cheap plaster mask to reveal the chuckling visage of George W. Bush.
But such selective indictments — legitimate and troubling in many of their particulars — grossly distort the sweep of the 44th presidency. It’s one thing to call the president on his shit. It’s quite another to paint his entire presidency as shit — even if Joe Biden and Robert Gibbs are losing their shit, accusing you of being a “whining” member of the “professional left.”
Interview: After the Primaries by Jann S. Wenner (July 2008)
From the outset, it was inevitable that Obama’s transcendent campaign would give way to an earthbound presidency — one constrained by two wars, an economy in free fall and an opposition party bent on obstruction at any price. “Expectations were so sky-high for him that they were impossible to fulfill,” says presidential historian Douglas Brinkley. “Obama’s partly to blame for this: People were expecting a progressive revolution. What the president has delivered instead is gritty, nuts-and-bolts, political legislative work — and it’s been rough.”
Interview: On the Eve of Victory by Eric Bates (October 2008)
During his campaign, skeptics warned that Barack Obama was nothing but a “beautiful loser,” a progressive purist whose uncompromising idealism would derail his program for change. But as president, Obama has proved to be just the opposite — an ugly winner. Over and over, he has shown himself willing to strike unpalatable political bargains to secure progress, even at the cost of alienating his core supporters. Single-payer health care? For Obama, it was a nonstarter. The public option? A praiseworthy bargaining chip in the push for reform.
This bloodless, if effective, approach to governance has created a perilous disconnect: By any rational measure, Obama is the most accomplished and progressive president in decades, yet the only Americans fired up by the changes he has delivered are Republicans and Tea Partiers hellbent on reversing them. Heading into the November elections, Obama’s approval ratings are mired in the mid-40s, and polls reflect a stark enthusiasm gap: Half of all Republicans are “very” excited about voting this fall, compared to just a quarter of Democrats. “Republicans have succeeded in making even the president’s victories look distasteful, messy — and seem like bad policy steps or defeats,” says Norman Ornstein, a scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. “Many on the left have expressed nothing but anger, frustration and disappointment.”
But if the passions of Obama’s base have been deflated by the compromises he made to secure historic gains like the Recovery Act, health care reform and Wall Street regulation, that gloom cannot obscure the essential point: This president has delivered more sweeping, progressive change in 20 months than the previous two Democratic administrations did in 12 years. “When you look at what will last in history,” historian Doris Kearns Goodwin tells Rolling Stone, “Obama has more notches on the presidential belt.”
In fact, when the history of this administration is written, Obama’s opening act is likely to be judged as more impressive than any president’s — Democrat or Republican — since the mid-1960s. “If you’re looking at the first-two-year legislative record,” says Ornstein, “you really don’t have any rivals since Lyndon Johnson — and that includes Ronald Reagan.”

Less than halfway through his first term, Obama has compiled a remarkable track record. As president, he has rewritten America’s social contract to make health care accessible for all citizens. He has brought 100,000 troops home from war and forged a once-unthinkable consensus around the endgame for the Bush administration’s $3 trillion blunder in Iraq. He has secured sweeping financial reforms that elevate the rights of consumers over Wall Street bankers and give regulators powerful new tools to prevent another collapse. And most important of all, he has achieved all of this while moving boldly to ward off another Great Depression and put the country back on a halting path to recovery.
Along the way, Obama delivered record tax cuts to the middle class and slashed nearly $200 billion in corporate welfare — reinvesting that money to make college more accessible and Medicare more solvent. He single-handedly prevented the collapse of the Big Three automakers — saving more than 1 million jobs — and brought Big Tobacco, at last, under the yoke of federal regulation. Even in the face of congressional intransigence on climate change, he has fought to constrain carbon pollution by executive fiat and to invest $200 billion in clean energy — an initiative bigger than John F. Kennedy’s moonshot and one that’s on track to double America’s capacity to generate renewable energy by the end of Obama’s first term.
On the social front, he has improved pay parity for women and hate-crime protections for gays and lesbians. He has brought a measure of sanity to the drug war, reducing the sentencing disparity for crack cocaine while granting states wide latitude to experiment with marijuana laws. And he has installed two young, female justices on the Supreme Court, creating what Brinkley calls “an Obama imprint on the court for generations.”
What’s even more impressive about Obama’s accomplishments, historians say, is the fractious political coalition he had to marshal to victory. “He didn’t have the majority that LBJ had,” says Goodwin. Indeed, Johnson could count on 68 Democratic senators to pass Medicare, Medicaid and the Voting Rights Act. For his part, Franklin Roosevelt had the backing of 69 Senate Democrats when he passed Social Security in 1935. At its zenith, Obama’s governing coalition in the Senate comprised 57 Democrats, a socialist, a Republican turncoat — and Joe Lieberman.
In his quest for progress, Obama has also had to maneuver against an unrelenting head wind from the “Party of No” and its billionaire backers. “Obama is harassed as well as opposed,” says Princeton historian Sean Wilentz. “The crazy Republican right is now unfettered. You’ve got a Senate with no adult leadership. And Obama’s up against Rupert Murdoch, Dick Armey, the Koch brothers and the rest of the professional right.” Compared to the opposition faced by the most transformative Democratic presidents, adds Wilentz, “it’s a wholly different scale.”
Despite such obstacles, Obama has succeeded in forging a progressive legacy that, anchored by health care reform, puts him “into the same conversation with FDR and LBJ,” says Brinkley, “though those two accomplished more.” Goodwin, herself a former Johnson aide, likens the thrust of Obama’s social agenda to LBJ’s historic package of measures known as the Great Society. “What is comparable,” she says, “is the idea of using government to expand social and economic justice. That’s what the health care bill is about. That’s what Obama tried to do with the financial reforms. That’s what he’s doing with education. The Great Society was about using the collective energies of the nation to make life better for more people — and that’s what Obama has tried to do.”
The historic progress that Obama has made is evident in eight key areas:
1 | Averting a Depression
Any discussion of Barack Obama’s performance as president starts — and frequently ends — with one number: 9.6 percent. That brutal, stagnant unemployment figure cries out “failure.”
But contemplate for a moment the abyss that Obama’s leadership steered us away from — where we would be today if laissez-faire Republican radicals had succeeded in allowing the economic collapse to take its course. According to a study by economists from Princeton and Moody’s, more than 16 million jobs would have been lost without the interventions of TARP, the Recovery Act and the Federal Reserve — double the damage actually suffered. Unemployment would have spiked to 16.5 percent, and next year’s federal deficit would have more than doubled, to $2.6 trillion. “With outright deflation in prices and wages,” the study concludes, “this dark scenario constitutes a 1930s-like depression.”
Obama played a pivotal role in the economic interventions that staved off disaster. He renominated Ben Bernanke as head of the Federal Reserve, backing the central bank’s use of record-low interest rates to prop up the banking system. He demanded unprecedented transparency of both the Fed and Wall Street in administering “stress tests” that restored the confidence of panicked investors, allowing “zombie banks” to return to the living without resorting to nationalization. Thanks to such stewardship, the Treasury now estimates, the price tag for the TARP bailout has dropped from $700 billion (the equivalent of the Pentagon’s annual budget) to $29 billion (about one-fourth the spending on veterans). Above all, the president drove the passage of the Recovery Act, which the Princeton-Moody’s study concludes has created nearly 2.7 million jobs.
“The stimulus did what it was supposed to do,” says Mark Zandi, the chief economist for Moody’s and a former adviser to John McCain. “It ended the Great Recession and it jump-started a recovery.”
Republican critics have blasted the Recovery Act as a failure because it did not hold unemployment below eight percent, as the president’s economic advisers had promised. And liberal economists accused Obama of failing to fight hard enough to enact a bigger stimulus that would have saved more jobs. But since the original stimulus squeaked through, the president has won a series of stand-alone measures — including three extensions of unemployment benefits, the Cash for Clunkers program, a second round of aid for states and a package of loans and tax cuts for small businesses — that have infused another $170 billion into the economy. The Recovery Act itself, meanwhile, has grown from $787 billion to $814 billion, thanks to provisions that were smartly pegged to metrics like unemployment.
In fact, should Obama secure passage of two new programs he has proposed — $50 billion in infrastructure spending and $200 billion in tax breaks for investments in new equipment — he will have surpassed the $1 trillion stimulus that many liberal economists believed from the beginning was necessary. “As the need became more obvious to people, we were able to take additional steps to accelerate progress,” Obama senior adviser David Axelrod tells Rolling Stone. The president, in effect, has achieved through patience and pragmatism what he was unlikely to have won through open political warfare.
2 | Sparking Recovery
Evaluation of the Recovery Act tends to be big-picture and binary. Has the stimulus put us on the path to recovery — yes or no? But the stimulus was far more than macroeconomic medicine. As conceived by the White House, the Recovery Act was not only intended to address the economic catastrophe at hand, it was simultaneously designed to make investments critical to reviving the middle class and improving America’s long-term competitiveness.
“This wasn’t a stimulus bill,” says Van Jones, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress who served as Obama’s green-jobs czar. “A stimulus is what you do when you think you’ve got a short, V-shaped problem in the economy and you want to deliver a jolt to reset to business as usual. A recovery program is what you need when business as usual is no longer possible.”
To the extent that Obama has attempted to brand his presidential project in the way that FDR did with the New Deal or LBJ did with his Great Society, he has talked about a “New Foundation.” And the Recovery Act was designed to lay the cornerstones. The law included the most progressive middle-class tax cut ever enacted — delivering benefits to 95 percent of working families. It invested $94 billion in clean energy and $100 billion in education — unprecedented levels of commitment in both areas. It also devoted $128 billion to health care and $70 billion to mending America’s safety net — including direct cash payments to the elderly, the disabled and impoverished parents, as well as billions invested in low-income housing, food stamps and child care.
“If you passed each of those as separate pieces of legislation,” says Ornstein, of the American Enterprise Institute, “that in and of itself would make for a very significant record of accomplishment.” Seen through this prism, the stimulus alone represents a strikingly progressive presidential legacy — rivaling the biggest reforms of the Clinton presidency. And it passed on Obama’s 24th day in office.
3 | Saving Detroit
The lefty caricature of Obama as a timorous corporate lackey unwilling to take bold action on behalf of average Americans bears little relation to the president who made a $60 billion bet on the future of the U.S. auto industry — and hit the jackpot.
From the start, the prospect of recycling TARP funds to save GM and Chrysler from liquidation was wildly unpopular — a fact that Obama’s top political counselors, warning against the intervention, vigorously impressed upon him at the time. But if action was politically risky, inaction was economically intolerable: Had the administration allowed GM and Chrysler to go under, it would have triggered a collapse of parts suppliers and dealerships nationwide, creating such collateral damage that even Ford would likely have gone belly up. The collapse would also have led to the loss of more than 1 million jobs, primarily in the devastated economies of Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, where unemployment is among the highest in the country.
After pushing his team to lay out a plan that would not simply bail out the auto industry with condition-free cash, as Bush had done, but to use the government’s leverage over automakers to set them on a more competitive course, Obama literally went for broke. Despite cries of “socialism” and “Government Motors,” the administration bought a 61 percent stake in GM, ousted its chief executive, forced both bondholders and UAW members to make concessions and steered the company through bankruptcy in record time. Simultaneously, the administration invested $8 billion in Chrysler — a dowry, of sorts, to secure the company’s shotgun marriage to Italian automaker Fiat.
It’s difficult to overstate how effective and efficient the government’s intervention has been. By risking $60 billion, Obama saved a third as many jobs as the entire stimulus package, which cost 13 times more. In fact, the auto industry has not only survived, it has roared back to life. GM is profitable and preparing to go public in an IPO that could allow the government to recoup its investment. Ford is prospering, edging out Japanese rivals for quality. Even Chrysler is expanding its market share. “The bailout of the auto industry protected against absolute devastation in the economies of the Midwest,” says Ornstein. “And it is now turning out to be a huge financial boon for taxpayers.”
4 | Reforming Health Care
Obama’s crowning legislative achievement is health care reform. And true to Joe Biden’s pithy and profane assessment, it’s a Big Fucking Deal. “All progressives since Theodore Roosevelt wanted it, all Democrats since Harry Truman fought for it, and only Barack Obama got it,” says Brinkley. “This is his huge accomplishment.”
Obama’s $1 trillion reform is neither simple nor elegant. But over the next decade, it will extend health coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans — the equivalent of New York and Illinois combined — by expanding eligibility for Medicaid and subsidizing insurance for low- and middle-income citizens. By the end of this decade, 95 percent of Americans will have health insurance.
The law also establishes a new bill of rights for patients: Starting in 2014, insurance giants will be banned from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions and from imposing annual caps on benefit payouts. Other rights have already kicked in. As of September, insurance companies can no longer arbitrarily revoke coverage for those who get sick. Children with existing illnesses can no longer be denied insurance. Younger Americans can stay on their parents’ policies until they’re 26. And 1 million elderly citizens are receiving checks for $250 to fill the gap in Medicare’s coverage of prescription drugs. Most striking of all, the law accomplishes all this while extending the solvency of Medicare by a dozen years and cutting the deficit by $143 billion over the next decade.
Historians give Obama high marks for finding a way to push through health care reform even after the surprise election of Republican Scott Brown to Ted Kennedy’s former Senate seat in Massachusetts. “One of the most extraordinary moments of this presidency was the decision to go for broke on health care after Scott Brown,” says Goodwin. “Instead of deciding to pull back — we’ll get half a loaf or whatever — Obama was willing to take a risk at that point. They could have lost that whole thing, and it would have been devastating for his presidency. Somehow, even though we saw the ugly process, it did work in the end.”
With his victory on health care, Obama defeated the anti-government Republicans who sought to destroy him politically and created a program that will benefit Americans for decades to come. But the victory cost him dearly among some progressives — most prominently Jane Hamsher, the activist ringleader of Firedoglake — who continue to spit on the law for its lack of a government-administered alternative to private insurance. “Liberals and conservatives hate the health care bill for the same reason,” Hamsher tweeted. “It sucks.”
The administration remains unapologetic. “We couldn’t have gotten there with the public option,” says Axelrod. “The choice was between letting the thing fail or taking a huge leap forward for everyone who will benefit from this now and for generations to come. It wasn’t a hard choice to make.”
5 | Cutting Corporate Welfare
The universal health care that Obama won may not contain a public alternative to for-profit insurance, but the president did succeed in dismantling a major corporate gravy train. The health care bill is paid for, in part, by cutting $136 billion paid out under Medicare Advantage — a Bush-era boondoggle under which private insurers were larded with subsidies for the dubious service of inserting themselves as middlemen between patients and government-run Medicare.
At the same time, Obama also used the health care bill to end corporate welfare in an entirely different arena: student lending. For decades, megabanks like Sallie Mae have reaped billions by doing the paperwork on loans to college students — even though Uncle Sam sets the rates and assumes virtually all the risk. The president’s Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which piggybacked to victory as an add-on to health care, kicked private banks out of the federal lending game. The unalloyed victory over corporate lobbyists will cut lending costs by more than $60 billion over the next decade — $36 billion of which is being reinvested to expand federal grants for low-income and middle-class students. The law also makes unprecedented investments in historically black schools and community colleges, caps student-loan repayment at 10 percent of a borrower’s income and pays for a program to forgive the debts of students who make their careers in public service.
“We’ve stopped this incredibly wasteful practice where there was effectively no benefit for taxpayers, and we were able to recycle that for families and students,” says Rep. George Miller, who spearheaded the reform in the House. “We’ve been fighting for this since the Clinton administration — and Obama had the courage to do it straight up.”
6 | Restoring America’s Reputation
Prescient opposition to the Iraq War was the fuel that rocketed Barack Obama past Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries. As president, Obama has stuck to the timetable he laid out, withdrawing nearly 100,000 troops from Iraq — including the last combat brigade, which came home in August. The move meant quietly overruling his top general on the ground, Ray Odierno, who wanted to delay withdrawal.
“Obama gets credit for checking off that box,” says Steven Clemons, director of American strategy at the New America Foundation. “Bringing Iraq to a resolution like this is a very big deal.” Although 50,000 troops remain — ostensibly in an advisory and training capacity — they too have a date certain for withdrawal: December 31st, 2011.
While Obama has yet to put an end to the fighting in Afghanistan — a war that has now dragged on longer than Vietnam — he has managed to boost America’s standing in the rest of the world. Despite the continuing loss of NATO troops, U.S. approval ratings in western Europe have soared into the 60s and 70s — far higher than during the unilateralism of the Bush era. U.S. approval is up more than 10 points in Poland and Russia, 20 points in China, and 30 points in Indonesia, France and Germany. Overall, global confidence in America’s leadership has leaped from 21 percent in 2007 to 64 percent today.
The president himself has shown a deft diplomatic touch: He has thawed icy relations with Russia and negotiated historic cuts in nuclear arms, re-establishing American leadership and credibility on nuclear nonproliferation. He has also convinced Security Council veto-holders Russia and China to back new sanctions to punish Iran’s nuclear ambitions — a degree of international cooperation that was unthinkable during the Bush years.
“President Obama has already repaired much of the damage wrought during the eight years of the Bush administration,” former secretary of state Madeleine Albright observed in September. “He has restored America’s reputation on the world stage.”
7 | Protecting Consumers
Obama has taken heat from progressive critics — much of it deserved — over the weakest aspects of his effort to reform Wall Street. It remains unclear whether the new law — the most sweeping overhaul of financial regulations since the Great Depression — will do enough to rein in high-risk trading and end the era of Too Big to Fail. But the law does take bold steps to avoid a repeat of the current meltdown. The Federal Reserve and the FDIC now have the power to seize and dismantle firms like AIG and Lehman Brothers and to force the financial industry to pony up the costs of their liquidation. Banks can no longer gamble federally insured deposits on high-risk investments, and they are required to risk a portion of their own assets in the dubious investments they sell — a move designed to prevent firms like Goldman Sachs from profiting off of “shitty deals.”
But the most significant facet of the legislation is the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. For the first time, a single regulatory authority will have the power to protect consumers from bad loans and credit deals, the same way the FDA protects patients from dangerous drugs. Armed with an annual budget of $500 million — exempt from congressional cost- cutting — the agency will police everything from payday loans to jumbo mortgages.
For a taste of the kind of regulations the consumer bureau is likely to deliver, look no further than your credit-card bill. Another measure pushed by Obama — the Credit CARD Act — has already forced Visa, MasterCard and American Express to include a box on your statement spelling out how long it will take to pay off your debt making only the minimum payment. It also bans credit-card companies from jacking up your rate without warning, and places stiff restrictions on luring college kids into mountains of debt with easy credit. Those are exactly the sort of reforms the new consumer agency will have the authority to make on its own, without an act of Congress.
The consumer bureau matters not simply to individual borrowers but to the overall stability of the financial system. “Predatory lending played a very big role in the collapse of the financial system,” says Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist. The champion and acting head of the bureau, Elizabeth Warren, put it even more bluntly to Rolling Stone earlier this year: “Our financial crisis started one lousy mortgage at a time, one family who got fooled, tricked or cheated at a time,” she said. “If nobody can build mortgage-backed securities on trillions of dollars of unpayable instruments, there’s a lot less risk in the overall system.”
8 | Launching a Clean-Energy MoonShot
Obama’s failure to curb global warming by passing a comprehensive climate bill stands as his most glaring legislative defeat. But the absence of a cap on carbon pollution has been offset in large part by the enormous strides Obama has made toward a cleaner, lower-carbon economy. With the Recovery Act, the president effectively launched what greens have long agitated for: an Apollo-like moonshot on clean energy.
Consider that the stimulus targeted $94 billion for clean energy — making unprecedented investments in everything from weatherizing federal buildings to building solar thermal plants in the Mojave. Roughly half of the money involves direct federal spending. But the administration structured the other half — $46 billion — as matching funds and loan guarantees that are realized only when the private sector steps up with capital of its own. According to a report from the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, every dollar of federal co-investment is attracting more than $2 in private capital. Add it all up, and the Recovery Act is driving more than $200 billion in public and private investment in clean energy — $20 billion more than the Apollo program would have cost in today’s dollars.
“Everybody calls Obama the first black president,” says Jones, the former green-jobs czar. “But if you were from Mars, and couldn’t see race, you’d call him the first green president. That’s what distinguishes him on a policy level from every preceding president: this incredible commitment he’s made to repowering America in a clean way.”
What is the country getting for this moonshot? The investment is on track to double the nation’s renewable-energy generating capacity by 2012 — bringing enough clean energy online to power New York around the clock. It will also double the nation’s manufacturing capacity for wind turbines and solar panels, driving down the cost of clean energy so it can compete with fossil fuels — even if Congress doesn’t pass a carbon cap.
The president has also moved aggressively on other fronts to reduce carbon pollution. Cash for Clunkers retired nearly 700,000 gas guzzlers and replaced them with cars that, on average, are 58 percent more fuel-efficient. In the first-ever CO2 restrictions imposed on cars and light trucks, automakers are now required to boost fuel standards high enough to save nearly 2 billion barrels of oil and to reduce carbon emissions by 21 percent over the next two decades. In January, the EPA is expected to do what Congress refuses to: set limits on carbon emissions for large industrial polluters like coal plants and cement factories. And the president has already put America’s biggest greenhouse polluter on a carbon diet: By executive order, all federal agencies are now required to reduce their carbon pollution by 28 percent in the next decade. That act alone is enough to scrub 101 million metric tons of carbon from the atmosphere — as much climate-heating pollution as Ireland and Hungary generate combined.
“We have running room to push this forward,” says Axelrod. “We can hit the targets we want to hit in terms of reducing emissions, while hopefully spurring a whole lot of economic activity around these new technologies. We’re going to keep pushing on that door.”
Taken together, Barack Obama’s achievements are not only historic in their sweep but unabashedly liberal. By contrast, President Clinton’s top legislative victories — NAFTA and welfare reform — catered to the right wing’s faith in free markets and its loathing of big government. “When you add them all together, it’s clear that Obama’s accomplishments have been underrated,” says Brinkley. “Saving the auto industry, health care, getting out of Iraq — these are big things for the progressive movement.”
But as effective as Obama has been at implementing progressive policy, he has been lousy at capitalizing on those victories politically. Much of his activist base can’t seem to get over the compromises he made to win such historic reforms, and average Americans are largely clueless about the key achievements of his presidency. Polls show that only 12 percent of Americans realize that Obama cut their taxes; indeed, twice that number thought the president had raised them. Just 29 percent understand that the stimulus boosted the economy, and 81 percent believe that the deficit-slashing health care reform will actually increase the deficit.
“You have this conundrum,” says Wilentz, the Princeton historian. “Obama has an admirable record of accomplishment, but the political dynamics are all moving the other way. How do you explain that?”
Pressed on this disconnect, Axelrod argues that the president has been too busy with governance to get caught up in the scrum of politics. “We’re focused on trying to build a better country for the future,” he says. “The president’s attitude is that the politics will ultimately take care of itself.”
But heading into November, it appears that the president’s high-minded and seemingly sincere disdain for politics could prove the undoing of what he has fought so hard to accomplish. Yes, he has succeeded in moving the Senate to action — but along the way he has fumbled the support of his own electorate. Progressive activists in the party remain convinced that Obama could have won even grander victories, if only he had been willing to fight harder and compromise less. Having deeply invested in the image Obama sold them as a candidate — a new breed of politician, determined to bring radical transparency to Washington and open up government to average Americans — they have experienced his reliance on backroom negotiations as nothing short of a personal betrayal. And instead of working to soothe disgruntled supporters, Obama and his inner circle have flamed the discontent by telling liberal critics to “stop whining” and “buck up.”
“It’s somewhat inexplicable why his record hasn’t been communicated better, particularly the health care bill,” says Goodwin. “That’s the responsibility of the president — and we thought of him as such a good communicator.” The mishandling of the politics of health care reform, adds Wilentz, has cost Obama dearly. “Where was the moment?” he says. “There should have been goose bumps: health care! But it didn’t happen. What should have been a crescendo was a diminuendo. You have this great accomplishment and everybody feels terrible — because of the politics.”
Even in the aftermath of the law’s passage, Obama did not use his legendary political gifts to help voters look past the ugly tactics and appreciate the historic gains that had been accomplished. Nor did he seek out a political salve — say, an immediate suspension of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — to ease their discontent. As a result, instead of heading into the midterm elections with popular support for his historic victories, Obama and his fellow Democrats have been forced to retreat into a much-diminished argument: You may not like us, but the Republicans are way worse. “Folks, wake up!” Obama hollered at a recent fundraiser in Philadelphia. “This is not some academic exercise. Don’t compare us to the Almighty — compare us to the alternative.”
In an hour-long interview with Rolling Stone, Axelrod struck a conciliatory tone. What Obama has delivered as president, he concedes, has fallen short of the expectations Obama inspired as a candidate. “I understand why there’s this dissonance out there,” Axelrod says. “But Democrats don’t have the luxury of lamenting the fact that we’ve only gotten 70 to 80 percent of what we wanted done. Because that 70 to 80 percent is at risk.”
That much, at least, is undeniable. In their Pledge to America, the Republicans have vowed to roll back health care reform and block any unspent stimulus funds. Sen. Richard Shelby, the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, has promised to gut the consumer protections of Wall Street reform. Armed with subpoena power, Republicans could soon dog the administration with ginned-up scandals and kangaroo-court drama, even as the party tries to shut down the government under House Speaker John Boehner.
“There’s so much at stake here,” Axelrod says, almost pleading. “And we ought to fight like hell — because what’s on the other side is a retrograde disaster.”
This is an article from the October 28, 2010 issue of Rolling Stone.

| Sparking Recovery Evaluation of the Recovery Act tends to be big-picture and binary. Has the stimulus put us on the path to recovery — yes or no? But the stimulus was far more than macroeconomic medicine. As conceived by the White House, the Recovery Act was not only intended to address the economic catastrophe at hand, it was simultaneously designed to make investments critical to reviving the middle class and improving America’s long-term competitiveness.
“This wasn’t a stimulus bill,” says Van Jones, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress who served as Obama’s green-jobs czar. “A stimulus is what you do when you think you’ve got a short, V-shaped problem in the economy and you want to deliver a jolt to reset to business as usual. A recovery program is what you need when business as usual is no longer possible.”
To the extent that Obama has attempted to brand his presidential project in the way that FDR did with the New Deal or LBJ did with his Great Society, he has talked about a “New Foundation.” And the Recovery Act was designed to lay the cornerstones. The law included the most progressive middle-class tax cut ever enacted — delivering benefits to 95 percent of working families. It invested $94 billion in clean energy and $100 billion in education — unprecedented levels of commitment in both areas. It also devoted $128 billion to health care and $70 billion to mending America’s safety net — including direct cash payments to the elderly, the disabled and impoverished parents, as well as billions invested in low-income housing, food stamps and child care.
“If you passed each of those as separate pieces of legislation,” says Ornstein, of the American Enterprise Institute, “that in and of itself would make for a very significant record of accomplishment.” Seen through this prism, the stimulus alone represents a strikingly progressive presidential legacy — rivaling the biggest reforms of the Clinton presidency. And it passed on Obama’s 24th day in office.
3 | Saving Detroit
The lefty caricature of Obama as a timorous corporate lackey unwilling to take bold action on behalf of average Americans bears little relation to the president who made a $60 billion bet on the future of the U.S. auto industry — and hit the jackpot.
From the start, the prospect of recycling TARP funds to save GM and Chrysler from liquidation was wildly unpopular — a fact that Obama’s top political counselors, warning against the intervention, vigorously impressed upon him at the time. But if action was politically risky, inaction was economically intolerable: Had the administration allowed GM and Chrysler to go under, it would have triggered a collapse of parts suppliers and dealerships nationwide, creating such collateral damage that even Ford would likely have gone belly up. The collapse would also have led to the loss of more than 1 million jobs, primarily in the devastated economies of Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, where unemployment is among the highest in the country.
After pushing his team to lay out a plan that would not simply bail out the auto industry with condition-free cash, as Bush had done, but to use the government’s leverage over automakers to set them on a more competitive course, Obama literally went for broke. Despite cries of “socialism” and “Government Motors,” the administration bought a 61 percent stake in GM, ousted its chief executive, forced both bondholders and UAW members to make concessions and steered the company through bankruptcy in record time. Simultaneously, the administration invested $8 billion in Chrysler — a dowry, of sorts, to secure the company’s shotgun marriage to Italian automaker Fiat.
It’s difficult to overstate how effective and efficient the government’s intervention has been. By risking $60 billion, Obama saved a third as many jobs as the entire stimulus package, which cost 13 times more. In fact, the auto industry has not only survived, it has roared back to life. GM is profitable and preparing to go public in an IPO that could allow the government to recoup its investment. Ford is prospering, edging out Japanese rivals for quality. Even Chrysler is expanding its market share. “The bailout of the auto industry protected against absolute devastation in the economies of the Midwest,” says Ornstein. “And it is now turning out to be a huge financial boon for taxpayers.”
4 | Reforming Health Care
Obama’s crowning legislative achievement is health care reform. And true to Joe Biden’s pithy and profane assessment, it’s a Big Fucking Deal. “All progressives since Theodore Roosevelt wanted it, all Democrats since Harry Truman fought for it, and only Barack Obama got it,” says Brinkley. “This is his huge accomplishment.”
Obama’s $1 trillion reform is neither simple nor elegant. But over the next decade, it will extend health coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans — the equivalent of New York and Illinois combined — by expanding eligibility for Medicaid and subsidizing insurance for low- and middle-income citizens. By the end of this decade, 95 percent of Americans will have health insurance.
The law also establishes a new bill of rights for patients: Starting in 2014, insurance giants will be banned from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions and from imposing annual caps on benefit payouts. Other rights have already kicked in. As of September, insurance companies can no longer arbitrarily revoke coverage for those who get sick. Children with existing illnesses can no longer be denied insurance. Younger Americans can stay on their parents’ policies until they’re 26. And 1 million elderly citizens are receiving checks for $250 to fill the gap in Medicare’s coverage of prescription drugs. Most striking of all, the law accomplishes all this while extending the solvency of Medicare by a dozen years and cutting the deficit by $143 billion over the next decade.
Historians give Obama high marks for finding a way to push through health care reform even after the surprise election of Republican Scott Brown to Ted Kennedy’s former Senate seat in Massachusetts. “One of the most extraordinary moments of this presidency was the decision to go for broke on health care after Scott Brown,” says Goodwin. “Instead of deciding to pull back — we’ll get half a loaf or whatever — Obama was willing to take a risk at that point. They could have lost that whole thing, and it would have been devastating for his presidency. Somehow, even though we saw the ugly process, it did work in the end.”
With his victory on health care, Obama defeated the anti-government Republicans who sought to destroy him politically and created a program that will benefit Americans for decades to come. But the victory cost him dearly among some progressives — most prominently Jane Hamsher, the activist ringleader of Firedoglake — who continue to spit on the law for its lack of a government-administered alternative to private insurance. “Liberals and conservatives hate the health care bill for the same reason,” Hamsher tweeted. “It sucks.”
The administration remains unapologetic. “We couldn’t have gotten there with the public option,” says Axelrod. “The choice was between letting the thing fail or taking a huge leap forward for everyone who will benefit from this now and for generations to come. It wasn’t a hard choice to make.”

5 | Cutting Corporate Welfare
The universal health care that Obama won may not contain a public alternative to for-profit insurance, but the president did succeed in dismantling a major corporate gravy train. The health care bill is paid for, in part, by cutting $136 billion paid out under Medicare Advantage — a Bush-era boondoggle under which private insurers were larded with subsidies for the dubious service of inserting themselves as middlemen between patients and government-run Medicare.
At the same time, Obama also used the health care bill to end corporate welfare in an entirely different arena: student lending. For decades, megabanks like Sallie Mae have reaped billions by doing the paperwork on loans to college students — even though Uncle Sam sets the rates and assumes virtually all the risk. The president’s Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which piggybacked to victory as an add-on to health care, kicked private banks out of the federal lending game. The unalloyed victory over corporate lobbyists will cut lending costs by more than $60 billion over the next decade — $36 billion of which is being reinvested to expand federal grants for low-income and middle-class students. The law also makes unprecedented investments in historically black schools and community colleges, caps student-loan repayment at 10 percent of a borrower’s income and pays for a program to forgive the debts of students who make their careers in public service.
“We’ve stopped this incredibly wasteful practice where there was effectively no benefit for taxpayers, and we were able to recycle that for families and students,” says Rep. George Miller, who spearheaded the reform in the House. “We’ve been fighting for this since the Clinton administration — and Obama had the courage to do it straight up.”
6 | Restoring America’s Reputation
Prescient opposition to the Iraq War was the fuel that rocketed Barack Obama past Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries. As president, Obama has stuck to the timetable he laid out, withdrawing nearly 100,000 troops from Iraq — including the last combat brigade, which came home in August. The move meant quietly overruling his top general on the ground, Ray Odierno, who wanted to delay withdrawal.
“Obama gets credit for checking off that box,” says Steven Clemons, director of American strategy at the New America Foundation. “Bringing Iraq to a resolution like this is a very big deal.” Although 50,000 troops remain — ostensibly in an advisory and training capacity — they too have a date certain for withdrawal: December 31st, 2011.
While Obama has yet to put an end to the fighting in Afghanistan — a war that has now dragged on longer than Vietnam — he has managed to boost America’s standing in the rest of the world. Despite the continuing loss of NATO troops, U.S. approval ratings in western Europe have soared into the 60s and 70s — far higher than during the unilateralism of the Bush era. U.S. approval is up more than 10 points in Poland and Russia, 20 points in China, and 30 points in Indonesia, France and Germany. Overall, global confidence in America’s leadership has leaped from 21 percent in 2007 to 64 percent today.
The president himself has shown a deft diplomatic touch: He has thawed icy relations with Russia and negotiated historic cuts in nuclear arms, re-establishing American leadership and credibility on nuclear nonproliferation. He has also convinced Security Council veto-holders Russia and China to back new sanctions to punish Iran’s nuclear ambitions — a degree of international cooperation that was unthinkable during the Bush years.
“President Obama has already repaired much of the damage wrought during the eight years of the Bush administration,” former secretary of state Madeleine Albright observed in September. “He has restored America’s reputation on the world stage.”
7 | Protecting Consumers
Obama has taken heat from progressive critics — much of it deserved — over the weakest aspects of his effort to reform Wall Street. It remains unclear whether the new law — the most sweeping overhaul of financial regulations since the Great Depression — will do enough to rein in high-risk trading and end the era of Too Big to Fail. But the law does take bold steps to avoid a repeat of the current meltdown. The Federal Reserve and the FDIC now have the power to seize and dismantle firms like AIG and Lehman Brothers and to force the financial industry to pony up the costs of their liquidation. Banks can no longer gamble federally insured deposits on high-risk investments, and they are required to risk a portion of their own assets in the dubious investments they sell — a move designed to prevent firms like Goldman Sachs from profiting off of “shitty deals.”
But the most significant facet of the legislation is the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. For the first time, a single regulatory authority will have the power to protect consumers from bad loans and credit deals, the same way the FDA protects patients from dangerous drugs. Armed with an annual budget of $500 million — exempt from congressional cost- cutting — the agency will police everything from payday loans to jumbo mortgages.
For a taste of the kind of regulations the consumer bureau is likely to deliver, look no further than your credit-card bill. Another measure pushed by Obama — the Credit CARD Act — has already forced Visa, MasterCard and American Express to include a box on your statement spelling out how long it will take to pay off your debt making only the minimum payment. It also bans credit-card companies from jacking up your rate without warning, and places stiff restrictions on luring college kids into mountains of debt with easy credit. Those are exactly the sort of reforms the new consumer agency will have the authority to make on its own, without an act of Congress.
The consumer bureau matters not simply to individual borrowers but to the overall stability of the financial system. “Predatory lending played a very big role in the collapse of the financial system,” says Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist. The champion and acting head of the bureau, Elizabeth Warren, put it even more bluntly to Rolling Stone earlier this year: “Our financial crisis started one lousy mortgage at a time, one family who got fooled, tricked or cheated at a time,” she said. “If nobody can build mortgage-backed securities on trillions of dollars of unpayable instruments, there’s a lot less risk in the overall system.”

8 | Launching a Clean-Energy MoonShot
Obama’s failure to curb global warming by passing a comprehensive climate bill stands as his most glaring legislative defeat. But the absence of a cap on carbon pollution has been offset in large part by the enormous strides Obama has made toward a cleaner, lower-carbon economy. With the Recovery Act, the president effectively launched what greens have long agitated for: an Apollo-like moonshot on clean energy.
Consider that the stimulus targeted $94 billion for clean energy — making unprecedented investments in everything from weatherizing federal buildings to building solar thermal plants in the Mojave. Roughly half of the money involves direct federal spending. But the administration structured the other half — $46 billion — as matching funds and loan guarantees that are realized only when the private sector steps up with capital of its own. According to a report from the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, every dollar of federal co-investment is attracting more than $2 in private capital. Add it all up, and the Recovery Act is driving more than $200 billion in public and private investment in clean energy — $20 billion more than the Apollo program would have cost in today’s dollars.
“Everybody calls Obama the first black president,” says Jones, the former green-jobs czar. “But if you were from Mars, and couldn’t see race, you’d call him the first green president. That’s what distinguishes him on a policy level from every preceding president: this incredible commitment he’s made to repowering America in a clean way.”
What is the country getting for this moonshot? The investment is on track to double the nation’s renewable-energy generating capacity by 2012 — bringing enough clean energy online to power New York around the clock. It will also double the nation’s manufacturing capacity for wind turbines and solar panels, driving down the cost of clean energy so it can compete with fossil fuels — even if Congress doesn’t pass a carbon cap.
The president has also moved aggressively on other fronts to reduce carbon pollution. Cash for Clunkers retired nearly 700,000 gas guzzlers and replaced them with cars that, on average, are 58 percent more fuel-efficient. In the first-ever CO2 restrictions imposed on cars and light trucks, automakers are now required to boost fuel standards high enough to save nearly 2 billion barrels of oil and to reduce carbon emissions by 21 percent over the next two decades. In January, the EPA is expected to do what Congress refuses to: set limits on carbon emissions for large industrial polluters like coal plants and cement factories. And the president has already put America’s biggest greenhouse polluter on a carbon diet: By executive order, all federal agencies are now required to reduce their carbon pollution by 28 percent in the next decade. That act alone is enough to scrub 101 million metric tons of carbon from the atmosphere — as much climate-heating pollution as Ireland and Hungary generate combined.
“We have running room to push this forward,” says Axelrod. “We can hit the targets we want to hit in terms of reducing emissions, while hopefully spurring a whole lot of economic activity around these new technologies. We’re going to keep pushing on that door.”
Taken together, Barack Obama’s achievements are not only historic in their sweep but unabashedly liberal. By contrast, President Clinton’s top legislative victories — NAFTA and welfare reform — catered to the right wing’s faith in free markets and its loathing of big government. “When you add them all together, it’s clear that Obama’s accomplishments have been underrated,” says Brinkley. “Saving the auto industry, health care, getting out of Iraq — these are big things for the progressive movement.”
But as effective as Obama has been at implementing progressive policy, he has been lousy at capitalizing on those victories politically. Much of his activist base can’t seem to get over the compromises he made to win such historic reforms, and average Americans are largely clueless about the key achievements of his presidency. Polls show that only 12 percent of Americans realize that Obama cut their taxes; indeed, twice that number thought the president had raised them. Just 29 percent understand that the stimulus boosted the economy, and 81 percent believe that the deficit-slashing health care reform will actually increase the deficit.
“You have this conundrum,” says Wilentz, the Princeton historian. “Obama has an admirable record of accomplishment, but the political dynamics are all moving the other way. How do you explain that?”
Pressed on this disconnect, Axelrod argues that the president has been too busy with governance to get caught up in the scrum of politics. “We’re focused on trying to build a better country for the future,” he says. “The president’s attitude is that the politics will ultimately take care of itself.”
But heading into November, it appears that the president’s high-minded and seemingly sincere disdain for politics could prove the undoing of what he has fought so hard to accomplish. Yes, he has succeeded in moving the Senate to action — but along the way he has fumbled the support of his own electorate. Progressive activists in the party remain convinced that Obama could have won even grander victories, if only he had been willing to fight harder and compromise less. Having deeply invested in the image Obama sold them as a candidate — a new breed of politician, determined to bring radical transparency to Washington and open up government to average Americans — they have experienced his reliance on backroom negotiations as nothing short of a personal betrayal. And instead of working to soothe disgruntled supporters, Obama and his inner circle have flamed the discontent by telling liberal critics to “stop whining” and “buck up.”
“It’s somewhat inexplicable why his record hasn’t been communicated better, particularly the health care bill,” says Goodwin. “That’s the responsibility of the president — and we thought of him as such a good communicator.” The mishandling of the politics of health care reform, adds Wilentz, has cost Obama dearly. “Where was the moment?” he says. “There should have been goose bumps: health care! But it didn’t happen. What should have been a crescendo was a diminuendo. You have this great accomplishment and everybody feels terrible — because of the politics.”
Even in the aftermath of the law’s passage, Obama did not use his legendary political gifts to help voters look past the ugly tactics and appreciate the historic gains that had been accomplished. Nor did he seek out a political salve — say, an immediate suspension of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — to ease their discontent. As a result, instead of heading into the midterm elections with popular support for his historic victories, Obama and his fellow Democrats have been forced to retreat into a much-diminished argument: You may not like us, but the Republicans are way worse. “Folks, wake up!” Obama hollered at a recent fundraiser in Philadelphia. “This is not some academic exercise. Don’t compare us to the Almighty — compare us to the alternative.”
In an hour-long interview with Rolling Stone, Axelrod struck a conciliatory tone. What Obama has delivered as president, he concedes, has fallen short of the expectations Obama inspired as a candidate. “I understand why there’s this dissonance out there,” Axelrod says. “But Democrats don’t have the luxury of lamenting the fact that we’ve only gotten 70 to 80 percent of what we wanted done. Because that 70 to 80 percent is at risk.”
That much, at least, is undeniable. In their Pledge to America, the Republicans have vowed to roll back health care reform and block any unspent stimulus funds. Sen. Richard Shelby, the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, has promised to gut the consumer protections of Wall Street reform. Armed with subpoena power, Republicans could soon dog the administration with ginned-up scandals and kangaroo-court drama, even as the party tries to shut down the government under House Speaker John Boehner.
“There’s so much at stake here,” Axelrod says, almost pleading. “And we ought to fight like hell — because what’s on the other side is a retrograde disaster.”
This is an article from the October 28, 2010 issue of Rolling Stone.

BLACKS4BARACK LIST OBAMA’S 244 ACHIEVEMENTS!-THE GREATEST PRESIDENT EVER HAD!

October 12, 2010

FROM yeyeolade.blogspot.com

ORIGINAL b4bmorenews.blogspot.com
Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The 244 ACCOMPLISHMENTS

of PRESIDENT OBAMA

ETHICS

• 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 (2009)

• Instructed all federal agencies to promote openness and transparency as much as possible (2009)

• Placed limits on lobbyists’ access to the White House (2009)

• Placed limits on White House aides working for lobbyists after their tenure in the administration (2009)

• Signed a measure strengthening registration and reporting requirements for lobbyists (2009)

• Ordered that lobbyists must be removed from and are no longer permitted to serve on federal and White House advisory panels and boards (2009) * Note: After saying he would not hire lobbyists, a few have been hired in the Administration

• Companies and individuals who are delinquent on their taxes or owe back taxes are no longer allowed to bid for federal contracts (2009)

• Initiated the “e-Rulemaking Initiative” (in cooperation with Cornell University) to allow for online public “notice and comment” of federal laws and initiatives (2010)

• Issued the “Open Gov Directive” ordering all Cabinet departments to promote transparency and citizen participation in their policies (2010)

• Signed extensions on banning lobbyists from serving on agency boards (2010)

• Developed the “Don Not Pay List” with data on contractors and recipients of federal funds who are deemed to be ineligible because of fraud and abuse (2010)

GOVERNANCE

• The White House website now provides information on all economic stimulus projects and spending, along with an unprecedented amount of information on our government (2009)

• Ended the Bush-era practice of circumventing established FDA rules for political reasons (2009)

• Ended the Bush-era practice of having White House staff rewrite the findings of scientific and environmental regulations and reports when they disagreed with the results (2009)

• Limited the salaries of senior White House aides (salaries cut to $100,000) (2009)

• Has urged Congress to adopt “Pay-Go” (whereby each dollar of spending is offset by a dollar in cuts or revenues, which was used in the `90s but abandoned in the `00s) (2010)

• Has been holding open meetings with Republican leaders, although they complain of a lack of access and information (2010)

• Signed the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act (2010) * Note: To curb wasteful spending

• Tasked federal agencies to develop plans for disposing of unneeded real estate and then to eliminate unnecessary or non-economical lands, properties, etc. (2010)

NATIONAL SECURITY

• Phasing out the expensive F-22 war plane (which wasn’t even used in Iraq/Afghanistan) and other outdated weapons systems (2009)

• Announced his intention to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay (2009) * Note: The closure has been delayed due to massive opposition but it remains on the agenda.

• Stated his interest in housing terrorists at a new federal “super max” facility in the US (2009) * Note: this has been delayed in the face of massive opposition but it remains on the agenda

• Cut the expensive Reagan era missile defense program, saving $1.4 billion in 2010 (2009)

• Cancelled plans to station anti-ballistic missile systems in Poland and the Czech Republic (2009)

• Replacing long-range, expensive missile systems with more efficient smaller systems (2009)

• Increased US Navy patrols off the Somali coast in response to pirating (2009)

• Established a new cyber security office and appointed a cyber security czar (2009)

• Ordered the first nation-wide comprehensive cyber threat assessment (2009)
• Instituted a new Nuclear Posture Review, revising US nuclear deterrence policy to encourage more nations to join the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (2010) * Note: Components of the policy include: a pledge to stop nuclear testing; a pledge to not build a new generation of nucs; identifying nuclear terrorism, rather than a launch from another nuclear state, as the major threat; a pledge to not use nucs on a non-nuclear state in a conventional conflict; etc.

• Executive orders to block payment, transfers, exports, etc… of individuals and organizations support the regimes of North Korea, Iran, Somali pirates, and other foreign threats (2010)

• Presidential Memoranda to extend certain provisions of The Trading with Enemies Act which was to expire in September 2010 (2010) * Note: This includes freezing assets and banning trade that benefits the Cuban regime; however further efforts at normalizing travel to Cuba are supported

• Signed bill for southwest border security and increased funds and agents on the Mexican border (2010)

• Signed the Comprehensive Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act to deal with foreign regimes like Iran and North Korea (2010)

IRAQ & AFGHANISTAN

• Began the phased withdrawal of US troops from Iraq (2009); continuing the withdrawal (2010)

• Changed the US military command in the Afghan conflict (2009)

• Tasked the Pentagon to reorganize US policy in Afghanistan; the new policy includes 30,000 additional troops deployed, priority training of Afghan forces, developing agriculture and infrastructure, limiting aerial bombing, etc. (2009)

• Ordered the Pentagon to send additional helicopters to assist US Marine units and Special Forces in Afghanistan (2009)

• Increased unmanned drone strikes on Taliban and al-Qaeda targets in Afghanistan (2009)

• Ended the Bush-era “stop-loss” policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan longer than their enlistment date (2009)

MILITARY & VETERANS

• Ordered the Pentagon to cover expenses of families of fallen soldiers if they wish to be on site when the body arrives back in the US (2009)

• Ended the Bush-era “blackout” imposed on media coverage of the return of fallen US soldiers (2009) * Note: The media is now permitted to cover the story pending adherence to respectful rules and with the approval of the fallen soldier’s family

• Ended the Bush-era “black out” policy on media coverage of war casualties (2009) * Note: Full information is now released for the first time in the War on Terror

• Ordered better body armor to be procured for US troops (2009)

• Funding new Mine Resistant Ambush Vehicles (2009) * Note: The old Hummers were very vulnerable to roadside explosives and an alarming percentage of our soldiers lost in Iraq were on account of IEDs

• Working to increase pay and benefits for military personnel (2009)

• Improving housing for military personnel (2009)

• Initiating a new policy to promote federal hiring of military spouses (2009)

• Ordered that conditions at Walter Reed Military Hospital and other neglected military hospitals be improved (2009)

• Beginning the process of reforming and restructuring the military to a post-Cold War, modern fighting force (2009) * Note: Bush announced in 2001 his intention to do this but backed off the reforms after 9/11, which include: new procurement policies; increasing the size of Special Ops units; deploying new technologies; creating new cyber security units; etc.

• Ended the Bush-era practice of awarding “no-bid” defense contracts (2009)

• Improving benefits for veterans as well as VA staffing, information systems, etc. (2009)

• Authorized construction of additional health centers to care for veterans (2009)

• Suspended the Bush-era decision to purchase a fleet of Marine One helicopters from suppliers in favor of American made helicopters (2009)

• Ordered a review of the existing “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays in the military (2010)

• New GI Bill for returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan (2009)

• Signed bill providing assistance for caregivers of veterans wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan (2010) * Note: The omnibus bill does the following: Training, funding, and counseling for caregivers; promoting pilot childcare programs for women vets under treatment at the VA; independent oversight to prevent abuse; readjustment counseling for National Guard and reservist units; etc.

• Eliminated co-payments for veterans who are catastrophically disabled (2010)

• Fulfilled campaign promise to have combat troops (90,000) out of Iraq by August 31, 2010 (2010)

• Established a new interagency task force to assist veterans owning small businesses (2010) * Note: The efforts include promoting federal contract opportunities, improve access to loans and capital, mentor assistance programs, etc.

• Signed The Families of Fallen Heroes Act, which covers the moving costs of immediate family members of those lost in service (military, intelligence, and security personnel) (2010)

FOREIGN POLICY

• Closed the Bush-era “secret detention” facilities in Eastern Europe (2009)

• Ended the Bush-era policy allowing “enhanced interrogation” (torture); the US is again in compliance with Geneva Convention standards (2009) * Note: Obama has permitted some controversial interrogation techniques to continue

• Restarted international nuclear non-proliferation talks and reestablished international nuclear inspection protocols (2009) * Note: Bush withdrew from non-proliferation talks and dismantled the inspection infrastructure

• Reengaged in the treaties/agreements to protect the Antarctic (2009) * Note: These were suspended under Bush

• Reengaged in the agreements/talks on global warming and greenhouse gas emissions (2009) * Note: These were suspended under Bush

• Visited more countries and met with more world leaders than any president in his first six months in office (2009)

• Banned the export of cluster bombs (2009)

• Overturned Bush-era plans to increase the US nuclear arsenal (2009)

• Authorized the Navy SEALS operation that freed by force the US shipping captain held by Somali pirates (2009)

• Restored the US commitment to the UN population fund for family planning; overturned the ban on providing funds internationally for family planning (2009) * Note: The family planning efforts were suspended under Bush

• Instituted a new policy on Cuba, allowing Cuban families to return “home” to visit families (2009)

• Extended an offer of engagement (free from sanctions and penalties) to Iran through December 31, 2009 (Iran did not accept the offer) (2009)

• Sent envoys to the Middle East and other parts of the world, reengaging in multilateral and bilateral talks and diplomacy (2009)

• Authorized discussions with North Korea and the private mission by former president, Bill Clinton, to secure the release of two Americans held in prisons (2009)

• Authorized discussions with Myanmar and the mission by Senator Jim Web to secure the release of an American held captive (2009)

• Renewed loan guarantees for Israel (2009)

• Signed the USIFTA trade agreement with/for Israel (2009)

• Authorized a $550m advance for Israel (six months prior to the scheduled date) in order to accommodate Israeli’s economic and financial needs (2009)

• Continued agreements with Israel for cultural exchanges, immigration, etc. (2009)

• Spoke on Arab television, spoke at an Egyptian university, and met with Arab leaders in an effort to change the tone of US-Arab relations (2009)

• Ordered the US to finally pay its dues to the United Nations (2009)

• Attended the Summit of America’s meeting in Trinidad and Tobago (2010)

• Dispatched several envoys and initiated talks with numerous nations (2010)

• Signed a nuclear limitation treaty with Russia (2010) * Note: The agreement calls for both countries to reduce their nucs by one-third (1,500) and launch systems by half (800)

• Hosted nuclear non-proliferation summit for several nations (2010)

• Executive Order to establish support offices in the State Department to assist the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan (2010)

• Presidential Memoranda to continue drug interdiction support with Columbia (2010)

ECONOMY

• Increased infrastructure spending (roads, bridges, power plants…) (2009) * Note: Bush was the first president since Herbert Hoover to not make infrastructure a priority

• Authorized the US auto industry rescue plan and two GMAC rescue packages (2009)

• Authorized the housing rescue plan and new FHA residential housing guarantees (2009)

• Authorized a $789 billion economic stimulus plan (2009) * Note: 1/3 in tax cuts for working-class families; 1/3 to states for infrastructure projects; 1/3 to states to prevent the layoff of police officers, teachers, etc. at risk of losing their jobs because of state budget shortfalls

• Instituted a new rule allowing the public to meet with federal housing insurers to refinance (in as quickly as one day) a mortgage if they are having trouble paying (2009)

• Authorized a continuation of the US financial and banking rescue plans initiated at the end of the Bush administration and authorized TARP funds to buy “toxic assets” from failing financial institutions (2009)

• Authorized the “Cash for Clunkers” program that stimulated auto sales and removed old, inefficient, polluting cars from the road (2009)

• Convened a “jobs summit” to bring experts together to develop ideas for creating jobs (2009)

• Ordered the FDIC to beef up deposit insurance (2009)

• Ended the Bush-era policy of protecting credit card companies (2009) * Note: In place of the old policy, new consumer protections were instituted and the industry’s predatory practices were banned

• Authorized the federal government to make more loans available to small businesses and ordered lower rates for federal loans to small businesses (2009)

• Placed a 35% tariff on Chinese tires and a few other products such as pipes after China was found to be illegally “dumping” exports below cost (2009) * Note: Clinton, Bush I, and Reagan all refused to “get tough” on China’s predatory trade practices; Bush II refused four times during his presidency

• In November 2009, Obama extended unemployment benefits for one million workers

and expanded coverage for some existing homeowners who are buying again (2009)

• Called on Congress to deliver a “Jobs bill” (2010)

• Credit card companies are prohibited from raising rates without advance notification or arbitrarily if customers are paying bills on time (2010)

• Signed a bill to extend unemployment benefits set to expire (2010)

• Signed historic Wall Street reform bill (2010) * Note: Designed to reregulate and end abusive practices and promote consumer protections

• Signed the HIRE Act to stimulate the economic recovery (2010) * Note: The bill includes: tax cuts for small businesses who hire someone unemployed for at least two months; small businesses can write off their investments in equipment this year; etc.

• National Export Initiative established to enhance federal support (technical assistance, training, trade missions, etc.) and coordination efforts to help US businesses export products and services (2010)

• Initiatives to promote a “Wireless Broadband Revolution” (2010) * Note: Among other things, broadband is finally being considered as necessary infrastructure, with efforts to expand use, access, and spectrum…

• Expanded agricultural credit to farmers during current economic crisis (2010)

• Signed bill – US Manufacturing Enhancement Act (2010)

• Signed bill – Single Family Housing Mortgage Insurance (2010)

TAXES

• Negotiated a deal with Swiss banks to permit the US government to gain access to records of tax evaders and criminals (2009)

• Ended the Bush-era policy of offering tax benefits to corporations who outsource American jobs (2009) * Note: The new policy promotes in-sourcing investments to brings jobs back to the US

• Signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which provides small tax cuts for 95% of “working families” (2009) * Note: The tax cuts were not as big as was suggested during the 2008 campaign

• Convened an advisory board that is looking into simplifying the tax code (2009)

• Ordered the closing of offshore tax safe havens (for individual and business tax evaders) (2009)

• Reduced taxes for some small businesses to stimulate the economic recovery (2009)

• Extended the Home Buyers Credit for first-time home buyers (2009)

• Proposed doubling the child tax credit (2010)

• Called for the repeal of the capital gains tax for small businesses (2010)

• Proposed rolling back the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans (2010) * Note: This would be for families earning over $250,000/year and would return their tax rates to the 1990’s level

BUDGETING

• Ordered all federal agencies to undertake a study and make recommendations for ways to cut federal spending (2009)

• Ordered a review of all federal operations to identify wasteful spending and practices (2009)

• Established a National Performance Officer charged with saving the federal government money and making federal operations more efficient (2009)

• Overturned the Bush-era practice of not listing certain federal programs in the federal budget (2009) (2010) * Note: Bush did this (so did Reagan) in an effort to hide programs and make the budget look smaller; such “off budget” items are now included in the annual budget

• Full appropriations for war are now included in the budget (2009) (2010) * Note: Bush did not list many of the appropriations for Iraq, Afghanistan, and War on Terror

• Funds for emergency appropriations are now included in the budget (2009) (2010)

• Proposed a three-year freeze on federal discretionary spending beginning in 2011 (2010)

• Is in the process of cutting 120 federal programs identified as either wasteful or unnecessary (2010)

• Established a bipartisan commission on fiscal responsibility, staffed by House and Senate members and private citizens, tasked with submitting proposals to balance the budget (2010) * Note: In the face of Republican opposition, the powers of the commission were watered down

• Established a bipartisan commission on the future of Social Security, tasked with submitting proposals to preserve and strengthen Social Security (2010) * Note: In the face of Republican opposition, the powers of the commission were watered down

• Cut $20 billion from federal budget and has pledged to cut at least this much every year (2010)

• Ultimately decided to cancel planned new presidential helicopter fleet and stick with marine One (2010)

• Freezing all discretionary spending for next three years, except on national security (2010)

• Presidential Memoranda to freeze discretionary awards, bonuses, etc. for federal political appointees (2010)

• Beginning to use “Pay-As-You-Go” (Pay-Go) to offset budget expenditures with budget cuts or revenue enhancements (2010)

HEALTHCARE

• Removed Bush era restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research (2009)

• Federal support for stem-cell and new biomedical research (2009)

• Expanded the SCHIP program to cover health care for 4 million more children (2009)

• Established an independent commission to make recommendations on slowing the costs of Medicare (2009)

• Reversed some of the Bush-era restrictions that prevented Medicare from negotiating with pharmaceutical firms for cheaper drugs, allowing government to again competitively bid (2009) * Note: Obama had promised to lift all restrictions but, while he did negotiate with drug companies for them to lower their costs the deal only lifted some restrictions

• Expanding government vaccination programs (2009)

• Issued new disease prevention guidelines and priorities for the CDC (2009)

• Authorized the FDA to finally begin regulating tobacco (2009)

• Tasked federal labs to prioritize research on and deployment of H1N1 vaccines (2009)

• Asked multiple congressional committees to bring forward a healthcare reform bill; held dozens of public hearings and town halls on the issue (2009) (2010)

• Established a new council on National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health to be chaired by Surgeon General and charged with promoting healthy lifestyles and integrative healthcare (2010)

• When accusations to the contrary arose, an Executive Order was signed to reaffirm that federal funds are not to be used for abortion services (2010)

• Historic healthcare reform bill signed – $940 billion over 10 years (2010) * Note: 32 million additional Americans will receive healthcare coverage and costs will be lowered for most Americans, but many of the goals are phased in over four years

Components of the bill

– Prevents insurance companies from denying coverage to individuals/family members with pre-existing health conditions; a temporary plan is being developed to cover high-risk individuals with pre-existing conditions until the full reforms go into effect in 2014

– Prevents insurance companies from placing lifetime limits on benefits

– Bans “rescission” so insurance companies can’t cancel coverage if individuals keep their policies current or if they become ill

– An individual’s out-of-pocket healthcare expenses are capped

– Closes the “donut hole” (Part D) for Medicare prescription drug coverage (under Bush, Medicare helped pay for drugs up to $2,600 and above $4,550, but individuals had to pay 100% of the costs in between these amounts); now Medicare helps cover costs irrespective of the amount – seniors will now pay only 25% of drug costs up to $4,550 and only 5% of drug costs above that amount

– In 2010, an emergency provision will offer seniors a $250 rebate on the costs incurred within the “donut hole”

– Individuals living at or below the poverty line were eligible for healthcare under Medicaid, but by 2014 individuals/families living slightly above (making up to $14,404/$29,327) the poverty line will also be eligible for benefits

– Individuals/families making less than $43,320/$88,200 per year will qualify for government subsidies to help purchase health insurance

– All individuals must have health insurance or face a government fine; all large (over 50 employees) employers must offer health insurance to employees or pay a fine

– Small businesses can get a tax credit if they offer health care

– There are hardship exemptions if individuals can’t afford health insurance

– Families can keep their children in college on their plans through age 26

– Promotes health insurance “exchanges” so consumers can buy “wholesale”

– Creates consumer assistance offices to help consumers file complaints or appeal decisions from insurance companies; beginning in 2011, insurance companies can no longer make excessive rate hikes without justification and approval, and those doing so may be barred from participating in new health insurance exchanges

Funding sources:

– Large employers (over 50 workers) that don’t offer health benefits will be charged a $2,000/worker fee; if the employer offers coverage but employees instead purchase federally subsidized insurance the fee is $3,000/worker receiving federal subsidies or $750/worker (whichever is lower)

– Annual fees on pharmaceutical companies ($27 billion), health insurance companies ($60 billion), and medical device-makers ($20 billion)

– Annual penalties on individuals who do not have health insurance (up to a maximum of $695/person)

– Increase in the Medicare payroll tax from 1.45% to 2.35% for individuals making $200,000+ and families making $250,000+

– 3.8% tax on unearned income for millionaires

– Insurance companies will be subject to a tax on each high-end insurance plan (so-called “Cadillac” plans) they offer

Miscellaneous:

– Illegal immigrants are not eligible for insurance or subsidies

– By Executive Order, such federal funding can’t be used for abortion

– The federal government will assist states by covering all of the increased expenses of expanding Medicaid coverage (90% of costs after 2020)

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

• Removed a ruling that now allows individual states to enact automotive fuel efficiency standards above federal standards (2009)

• Offered attractive tax write-offs for those who buy hybrid automobiles (2009)

• Overturned Bush-era rule that weakened the Endangered Species Act (2009)

• Announced plans to purchase fuel efficient American-made fleet for the federal government (2009)

• Ended the Bush-era policy of not regulating and labeling carbon dioxide emissions (2009)

• Signed a measure requiring energy producing plants to begin producing 15% of their energy from renewable sources (2009)

• Announced that the federal government would reengage in the long-delayed effort to clean up “Superfund” toxic waste sites (2009)

• Announced the long-term development of a national energy grid with renewable sources and cleaner, efficient energy production (2009) * Note: Much of Obama’s energy reform was killed by Senate Republicans

• Proposed a new refuge for wild mustangs (2009)

• Cancelled several Bush-era mountain-top removal and mining permits (2009)

• Reengaged in international treaties and agreements to protect the Antarctic (2009)

* Note: Bush had withdrawn from such efforts

• Asked Congress for an energy reform and “cap and trade” bill (2009) * Note: The Congress failed to pass such a bill

• Developing plan to lease US coastal waters for wind and water-current energy production (2009)

• Overturned Bush-era policies that allowed uranium mining near national parks such as the Grand Canyon (2009)

• Expanded the Petrified Forest National Park (2009)

• Signed the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act that protects millions of acres of scenic, historic, and recreational lands and trails (2009)

• Requiring that government buildings and facilities be retrofitted to save energy costs (2009) * Note: These green retrofits are moving very slowly

• Authorized studies in several western states to determine how to support large-scale solar installations (2009)

• Attended the Copenhagen talks and, after the talks were stalled, negotiated an international (voluntary) agreement on reducing carbon emissions and raising funds to assist developing nations in offsetting carbon emissions (2009)

• Banned importation of pythons in response to a growing population of pythons damaging the Florida Everglades (2009)

• Committing the federal government to increasing research and use of renewable, clean energy sources such as wind, biomass, etc. (2009)

• Executive orders establishing a federal initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in all federal operations (2009) (2010)

• Called for exploring the possibility of additional off-shore oil drilling in the Gulf, Atlantic, and off Alaska (but not in ANWR) (2010)

• Agreed to consider increases in nuclear energy production and requested a study on the feasibility of nuclear power plant construction (2010) * Note: Nearly all energy initiatives were defeated by Republican opposition in Congress

• Increased investment in clean energy projects (2010)

• Executive Order to develop a new strategy for and commitment to ocean and lake resources, and for scientific research on water quality (2010)

RIGHTS

• Instituted enforcements for equal pay for women (Lilly Ledbetter Bill) (2009)

• Appointed Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina, to the Supreme Court (2009)

• Held the first Seder in White House (2009)

• Appointed a diverse Cabinet and diverse White House staff (2009)

• Spoke at the annual dinner of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights organization (2009)

• Signed the first major piece of federal gay rights legislation that includes acts of violence against gays under the list of federal hate crimes (2009)

• Reversed the Bush-era practice of politicizing Justice Department investigations and prosecutions against political opponents (2009)

• Pushing for some of the 9/11 perpetrators to be tried in federal court (2009) * Note: The process has moved at a snail’s pace and, in the face of opposition, Obama has remained quiet

• Signed an extension of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Bill to provide federal research and support for treating the disease (2009)

• Allowed the State Department of offer same-sex benefits for employees (2009)

• Proposed that the Pentagon repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy; placed a “freeze” on current efforts to remove alleged homosexuals from the military (2009)

• After eight years of neglect, the Justice Department and EEOC are again enforcing employment discrimination laws (2009)

• Convened the White House Tribal Nations Conference, inviting representatives from 564 federally-recognized Indian tribes (2009)

• Provided increased school projects for Indian lands and increased funds for the Indian Health Service (2009)

• Signed an Executive Order mandating that his Cabinet develop plans to work with and consult Indian tribes on issues impacting Indian lands (2009)

• Commissioned a study to develop alternatives to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (2010)

• Called for federal agencies to look into recognizing gay partnerships in terms of benefits (2010)

• Signed an Executive Order for the President’s Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (2010)

• Increased funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (2010)

• Signed Executive Order to promote the federal government as a “model employer” when it comes to hiring the disabled (2010) * Note: This includes new efforts to increase the recruitment, hiring, and training for the disabled

• Programs to assist Spanish speakers with the US Census (2010)

• Elena Kagen appointed to Supreme Court (2010)

• Tasked all federal agencies to develop new strategies to address HIV/AIDS (2010)

• After organizing studies on the topic in 2009, tasked the Pentagon to eliminate “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (2010)

• Signed Fair Sentencing Act (2010) * Note: The Administration continues to deescalate marijuana interdiction and raids; increased dramatically the amount of cocaine one must possess to be sentenced to jail; eliminated mandatory sentencing for first-time drug abusers and simple possession

EDUCATION

• Authorized construction funds for high-speed, broadband Internet access in K-12 public schools (2009)

• Increased funding for school construction (2009)

• Increased funding available for student loans (2009)

• Expanded the national youth service program (2009)

• Streamlined the federal student loan process to save $87 billion over the next 10 years (2009)

• Changed the rule to allow students struggling to make college loan payments to refinance their loans (2009)

• Beginning discussions with Congress for education reform (2009) * Note: Much of Obama’s education reform has been sidelined by opposition in Congress

• Initiated a “Race to the Top” competitive federal grant program for states who develop innovative policies (2009)

• Instituted a “judgment review” allowing families with student loans to petition to have their current financial status determine the loan rather than the previous year’s finances (2009)

• Launched “Educate to Innovate,” a public/private partnership making $236 million available for science, mathematics, and technology education programs (2009)

• Proposed capping the maximum amount students must pay on student loans (as percentage of their income) (2010)

• Proposed reducing student loan obligations for individuals going to work in community and public service jobs (2010)

• The federal government will offer direct student loans, cutting out the cost of private banks (“middle man”) who increase the costs in order to make a profit (2010)

• Increased investment in technologies for schools/education (2010)

DISASTER RESPONSE

• Ordered a review of hurricane and natural disaster preparedness (2009)

• FEMA once again reports directly to the president (2009) * Note: Bush removed FEMA (prior to the Hurricane Katrina disaster) from this status

• Demonstrated an immediate and efficient response to the floods in North Dakota and other natural disasters (2009)

• Ordered that funds be released and red tape be streamlined for the ongoing Hurricane Katrina recovery effort in the Gulf Coast (2009)

• Timely and massive relief effort in response to the January 2010 earthquake and ensuing humanitarian crisis (2010)

Components of the response:

– The FBI’s National Center for Disaster Fraud was tasked to look into possible fraud with organizations soliciting funds for relief

– Announced the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund

– Established an emergency Haiti Task Force in the State Department

– Established a website with information, resources, and a posting of a “person finder” online to help families and friends to locate loved ones

– Joint aid and relief planning with the U.K.

– Sponsored a resolution in the UN Security Council for additional security and police forces in Haiti

– Dispatched the US Navy floating hospital (USNS Comfort) and, within 5 days, 9 naval and relief ships, 5 Coast Guard cutters, 8 Coast Guard aircraft, and 12,000 US military personnel

– Initial dispatch of several ships and cargo planes full of humanitarian aid and supplies, 6 search/rescue teams (500 personnel), and 265 Department of Health & Human Services personnel for emergency medical and aid support

– Established a mobile US air traffic control center at the destroyed airport in Port-au-Prince

• After the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a freeze was placed on new deep water projects (2010)

• Executive Order to establish new security measures to minimize accidental release of bio and chemical agents; new strategies for public health and bioterrorism response (2010)

• Established a national commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon spill to examine facts and report a plan of action; new efforts to prevent offshore spills (2010)

• After a slow start in responding to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the White House is promoting a long-term plan to reconstruct the damaged Gulf and negotiated with BP the establishment of a multi-billion dollar trust fund for victims of the spill (2010)

• Extended national flood insurance program for those in need during current economic crisis (2010)

OTHER INITIATIVES

• New federal funding for science and research labs (2009)

• Signed national service legislation; expanded national youth service program (2009)

• Increasing opportunities in AmeriCorps program (2009)

• Instituted a new focus on mortgage fraud (2009)

• Ordered the DEA to stop raids on medical marijuana usage (2009)

• Ordered a review of existing “mandatory minimum” prison sentencing (2009)

• Signed an order to limit airport tarmac delays and the time passengers had to sit in the plane/on the tarmac during delays (2009)

• Restored the EPA to “Cabinet level” status (2009) * Note: Bush removed the EPA from this status

• Beginning discussions with Congress for comprehensive immigration reform (2010)

* Note: Much of Obama’s immigration reform had been stalled by opposition in Congress

• Commissioned expert panels and reports from NASA; announced a new direction for human space flight that involves funding a new heavy lift-launcher and jettisoning the Ares 1 program; boosting NASA’s budget by $1 billion in 2011 (2010)

• Ordered a ban on text-messaging for all commercial truck and bus drivers (2010)

• Signed bill – FAA Air Transportaiton Modernizatin and Safety Improvement Act (2010)

P.S. IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING…

• The Obamas paid for the renovations of the private living quarters in the White House with their own money rather than using the funds provided to all new first families (2009)

• The Obamas reused many Christmas ornaments from previous White House trees rather than buy new ones (2009)

• The Obamas used LED energy-saving lights on White House Christmas tree (2009)

• Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize; donated the award money for the prize to several charities (2009)

• Planted a garden for the White House’s vegetables and flowers (2009)

• Installed a swing set/playground for the Obama daughters and children of White House employees (2009)

• Held over 150 public town halls, press conferences, interviews, etc. in first year in office (2009) * Note: Official numbers are not available on such things, but this seems to be a new record high

• Less than 30 days of vacation in first year in office (2009) * Note: Official numbers are not readily available on such things, but this seems to be a new record low

…And A FAMILY MAN !

B4B NOTE: Special Thanks to Robert P. Watson, Ph. D., Professor of American Studies, Lynn University who compiled this list and writes ” Like all presidents, Barack Obama has made mistakes. But, as a presidential historian, I have been struck by claims being put forward by Obama’s many critics and the news media that he has accomplished little when, in fact, his presidency is easily one of the most active in history.” And Thanks to our friend Sherry Lou Meeks.

Thank You Mr. President !

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OBAMA! -GHANAIAN WORLD CUP FANS APOLOGIZE TO OBAMA FOR DEFEATING US TEAM!

June 27, 2010

U.S. President Barack Obama watches a live telecast of the 2010 World Cup soccer match between the U.S. and Ghana during a short break between bilateral meetings with South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak and China's President Hu Jintao at the G20 Summit in Toronto June 26, 2010.

Ghanian national football team supporters, one of them carrying a placard ‘Obama we are sorry’, celebrate in Accra after Ghana beat the US 2-1 after extra time in Rustenberg on June 26, 2010 during the World Cup football tournament in South Africa. The Black Stars are bidding to become the first African side to reach the semi-finals of the tournament. Asamoah Gyan was Ghana’s match-winner, smashing home the winning goal in the third minute of extra time after shrugging off a challenge from Rennes club-mate Carlos Bocanegra on the edge of the American penalty area.

Ghanian national football team supporters, one of them carrying a placard 'Obama we are sorry', celebrate in Accra after Ghana beat the US 2-1 after extra time in Rustenberg on June 26, 2010 during the World Cup football tournament in South Africa. The Black Stars are bidding to become the first African side to reach the semi-finals of the tournament. Asamoah Gyan was Ghana's match-winner, smashing home the winning goal in the third minute of extra time after shrugging off a challenge from Rennes club-mate Carlos Bocanegra on the edge of the American penalty area.

OBAMA-HOW HIS KENYAN SISTER AUMA OBAMA CHANGED OBAMA’S LIFE!-FROM MAIL-ONLINE.COM

June 26, 2010

From mail-online.com
He was young, successful… and selfish. Barack Obama’s autobiography reveals how it took the sister he had never met to give his life meaning
By BARACK OBAMA
Last updated at 9:34 PM on 08th June 2008
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He has made history as the first black man to get within reach of becoming the U.S. President. Here, in our second extract from his extraordinary autobiography, Barack Obama reveals with moving frankness the moment he met his half-sister and how she made him reassess his father, his career and his sense of identity…
A year after leaving college, my resolve to do something meaningful with my life was slipping away. On the face of it, I was a success, working in New York as a financial writer, with my own office, my own secretary, money in the bank. But this was far from the grass-roots community work I had envisaged. Sometimes, coming out of an interview with Japanese financiers or German bond traders, I would catch my reflection in the elevator doors.
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Presidential hopeful: Barack Obama as he is today
In my suit and tie, a briefcase in my hand, I would imagine myself as a captain of industry, before I remembered who it was that I had told myself I wanted to be and felt pangs of guilt for my lack of resolve.
Then one day, as I sat down to write an article on interest-rate swops, something unexpected happened. Auma called.
I had never met this African half-sister; we had written only intermittently. I knew that she had left Kenya – the home of our shared father – to study in Germany.
Now, suddenly, I heard her voice for the first time. It was soft and dark, tinged with a colonial accent. For a few moments I couldn’t understand the words, only the sound, a sound that seemed to have always been there, misplaced but not forgotten.

Auma Obama,the half-sister of Barack Obama
Could she come to see me in New York? ‘Of course,’ I said. ‘You can stay with me; I can’t wait.’ I spent the next few weeks rushing around in preparation: new sheets for the sofa bed, a scrubbing for the bath.
But two days before she was scheduled to arrive, Auma called again, the voice thicker now, barely a whisper.
‘I can’t come after all,’ she said. ‘One of our brothers, David – he’s been killed. In a motorcycle accident. I don’t know any more than that.’ She began to cry. ‘Oh, Barack. Why do these things happen to us?’
I tried to comfort her as best I could. After she hung up, I left my office, telling my secretary I’d be gone for the day. For hours I wandered the streets, the sound of Auma’s voice playing over and over in my mind.
A continent away, a woman cries. On a dark and dusty road, a boy skids out of control, tumbling against hard earth, wheels spinning to silence.
Who were these people, I asked myself, these strangers who carried my blood? What might save this woman from her sorrow? What wild dreams had this boy possessed? Who was I, who shed no tears at the loss of his own?
I still wonder how that first contact with Auma altered my life. Not so much the contact itself (that meant everything) or the news that she gave me of David’s death (that, too, is an absolute; I would never know him, and that says enough).
But rather the timing of her call, the sequence of events, the raised expectations and then the dashed hopes, at a time when the idea of working to help people was still just that, an idea in my head, a vague tug at my heart.
Maybe it made no difference. Maybe Auma’s voice simply served to remind me that I still had wounds to heal, and could not heal myself. That I still felt confused about my identity. But if Auma had come to New York then and I had learned from her what I learned later about my father, it might have relieved certain pressures that had built up inside me. I then might have taken a more selfish course, and given myself over to stocks and bonds and respectability.
I don’t know. What’s certain is that, reminded of my family, my father and the sense of duty he inspired within me, I resigned from my big graduate job and began work as a community worker in Chicago.
Two years later, Auma came into my life again. She wanted to visit. At the airport, I scanned the crowds. How would I find her? I looked down at the photo she had sent me, smudged now from too much handling.
Then I looked up, and the picture came to life: an African woman emerging from behind the customs gate, moving with easy, graceful steps; her bright, searching eyes now fixed on my own; her dark, round, sculpted face blossoming like a wood rose as she smiled.
I lifted my sister off the ground as we embraced. I picked up her bag and, as we began to walk, she slipped her arm through mine.
I knew at that moment, somehow, that I loved her – so naturally, so easily and fiercely, that later, after she was gone, I would find myself mistrusting that love.
‘So, brother,’ Auma said as we drove into the city, ‘you have to tell me about your life.’ I told her about my white-as-milk mother and grandparents and how my black-as-pitch and hugely intelligent father had left us in Hawaii when I was two, to return to his family in Kenya.
How Father had come back to see us in Hawaii for Christmas when I was ten, and then left again – for ever. The Old Man. That’s what Auma called our father. It sounded right to me, somehow, at once familiar and distant, an elemental force that isn’t fully understood.
In my apartment, Auma held up the picture of him that sat on my bookshelf, a studio portrait. ‘He looks so innocent, doesn’t he? So young.’ She held the picture next to my face. ‘You have the same mouth.’
Her eyes wandered over my face as if it were a puzzle to solve, another piece to a problem that, beneath the exuberant chatter, nagged at her heart.
Later, as we prepared dinner, she asked me about girlfriends.
I went to the refrigerator and pulled out two green peppers, setting them on the cutting board.
‘Well, there was a woman in New York whom I loved. She was white. She had dark hair, and specks of green in her eyes. Her voice sounded like a wind chime. We saw each other for almost a year. Sometimes in her apartment, sometimes in mine.
‘You know how you can fall into your own private world? Just two people, hidden and warm. Your own language. Your own customs. That’s how it was.
‘Anyway, one weekend she invited me to her family’s country house. It was autumn, beautiful, with woods all around us, and we paddled a canoe across this round, icy lake full of small gold leaves.
‘The house was very old. The library was filled with old books and pictures of her grandfather with famous people he had known – presidents, diplomats, industrialists.
‘There was this tremendous gravity to the room. Standing in that room, I realised that our two worlds, my friend’s and mine, were as distant from each other as could be.
‘And I knew that if we stayed together I’d eventually live in hers. After all, I’d been doing it most of my life. Between the two of us, I was the one who knew how to live as an outsider. So I pushed her away, and we began to argue.
‘One night, I took her to see a new play by a black playwright. It was a very angry play, but very funny. Typical black American humour. Everyone was hollering like they were in church.
‘After the play was over, she started talking about why black people were so angry all the time. I said it was a matter of remembering – nobody asks why Jews remember the Holocaust, I think I said.
‘We had a big fight. When we got back to the car she started crying. She couldn’t be black, she said. She could only be herself, and wasn’t that enough?’
‘That’s a sad story,’ said Auma. I scraped the cut-up peppers into the pot. ‘The thing is,’ I said, ‘whenever I think back to what she said to me, that night outside the theatre, it somehow makes me ashamed.’
Auma asked if we were still in touch. ‘I got a postcard at Christmas. She’s happy now; she’s met someone. And I have my work.’
Is that enough?’ Auma said. ‘Sometimes,’ I replied.
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Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1025052/He-young-successful–selfish-Barack-Obamas-autobiography-reveals-took-sister-met-life-meaning.

Together: Barack Obama, back row, second from left, on his first visit to Kenya in 1987 and Auma, front left.

We talked about Father, who had died four years before when I was 21, after descending into alcoholism. He was killed in a car accident. ‘I can’t say I really knew him,’ she began. ‘His life was so scattered. People knew only scraps and pieces.

She described how he left her with her older brother, Roy, and mother, to travel to Hawaii to study. There, he met my mother, whom he married bigamously. When he returned to Kenya, his relationship with my mother having broken down, he brought back another American, named Ruth.

She refused to live with his first wife in the traditional manner, so he ordered his children to come from their rural village to live with him and Ruth in Nairobi.

Auma said: ‘I remember that this woman, Ruth, was the first white person I’d ever been near, and that suddenly she was supposed to be my new mother.’

It transpired that initially, my father had done well, working for an American oil company. He was well connected to the top government people, and had a big house and car.

Our four other brothers were born at this time: Ruth’s children Mark and David, and two further boys with his first wife, Abo and Bernard.

Then things changed, and Father fell out of favour with the government. He became known as a troublemaker. According to the stories, President Kenyatta said to the Old Man that, because he could not keep his mouth shut, he would not work again until he had no shoes on his feet.

He began to drink, and Ruth left him. Then he had a car accident while drunk, killing a white farmer. Auma told me: ‘I was 12. He was in hospital for a year, and Roy and I lived basically on our own. When he got out of hospital, he went to visit you, in Hawaii.

‘He told us that the two of you would be coming back with him and that then we would have a proper family. But you weren’t with him when he returned, and Roy and I were left to deal with him by ourselves.

‘He still put on airs about how we were the children of Dr Obama. We would have empty cupboards, but he would make donations to charities just to keep up appearances.

‘He would stagger drunk into my room at night, because he wanted company. Secretly, I began to wish that he would just stay out one night and never come back. One year, he couldn’t even pay my school fees, and I was sent home. I was so ashamed, I cried all night.’

She added: ‘Eventually, the Old Man’s situation improved. Kenyatta died, and he got a job with the Ministry of Finance. But I think he never got over the bitterness of what happened to him, seeing his friends who had been more politically astute rise ahead of him. And it was too late to pick up the pieces of his family. For a long time he lived alone in a hotel room. He would have different women for short spells – Europeans, Africans – but nothing lasted. When I got my scholarship to study in Germany, I left without saying goodbye.’

Auma saw Father one last time, when he came on a business trip to Europe. ‘He seemed relaxed, almost peaceful,’ she recalled. ‘We had a really good time. He could be so charming! He took me with him to London, and we stayed in a fancy hotel, and he introduced me to all his friends at a British club. I felt like his princess.

‘On the last day of his visit, he took me to lunch, and we talked about the future. He asked me if I needed money and insisted that I take something. It was touching, you know, what he was trying to do – as if he could make up for all the lost time.

‘By then, he had just fathered another son, George, with a young woman he was living with. I told him, “Roy and myself, we’re adults. What has happened is hard to undo. But with George, the baby, he is a clean slate. You have a chance to really do right by him.” And he nodded.’

Staring at our father’s photograph, she began to sob, shaking violently. I put my arms around her as she wept, the sorrow washing through her.

‘Do you see, Barack?’ she said between sobs. ‘I was just starting to know him. It had got to the point where he might have explained himself. He seemed at peace. When he died, I felt so cheated. As cheated as you must have felt.’

Outside, a car screeched around a corner; a solitary man crossed under the yellow circle of a streetlight. Auma turned to me. ‘You know, the Old Man used to talk about you so much! He would show off your picture to everybody and tell us how well you were doing in school.

‘Your mum sent him letters. During the really bad times, when everybody seemed to have turned against him, he would bring her letters into my room and wake me up to read them. “You see!” he would say. “At least there are people who truly care for me.” Over and over again.’

That night, I lay awake. I felt as if my world had been turned on its head; as if I had woken up to find a blue sun in the yellow sky, or heard animals speaking like men.

All my life, I had carried a single image of my father, one that I had sometimes rebelled against but had never questioned, one that I had later tried to take as my own.

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Barack Obama in his senior picture at his prestigious private school in Hawaii

The brilliant scholar, the generous friend, the upstanding leader – my father had been all those things. All those things and more. Because except for that one brief visit in Hawaii, he had never been present to foil the image.

I hadn’t seen what perhaps most men see at some point in their lives: their father’s body shrinking, their father’s best hopes dashed, their face lined with grief and regret.

It was into my father’s image, the black man, son of Africa, that I’d packed all the attributes I sought in myself, the attributes of Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela.

My father’s voice had remained untainted, inspiring, rebuking, granting or withholding approval. ‘You do not work hard enough, Barry. You must help in your people’s struggle. Wake up, black man!’

Now, as I sat in the glow of a single light bulb, rocking slightly on a hard-backed chair, that image had suddenly vanished. Replaced by what? A bitter drunk? An abusive husband? A defeated, lonely bureaucrat?

To think that all my life I had been wrestling with nothing more than a ghost! For a moment I felt giddy; if Auma hadn’t been in the room, I would have probably laughed out loud. The king is overthrown, I thought. The emerald curtain is pulled aside. The rabble of my head is free to run riot; I can do what I damn well please.

The night wore on; I tried to regain my balance. There was little satisfaction to be had from my new-found liberation. What had happened to all his vigour, his promise?

The fantasy of my father had at least kept me from despair. Even in his absence, his strong image had given me some bulwark on which to grow up, an image to live up to, or disappoint. Now he was dead, truly. He could no longer tell me how to live. Who would show me the way now?

I recalled once again the first and only time we’d met, the man who had returned to Hawaii to sift through his past and perhaps try to reclaim that best part of him, the part that had been misplaced.

He hadn’t been able to tell me his true feelings then, any more than I had been able to express my ten-year-old desires.

Now, 15 years later, I knew the price we had paid for that silence. Soon, it was time for Auma to leave. Sitting in the airport terminal, I asked her what she was thinking about, and she smiled softly.

‘I was thinking about home,’ she said. ‘I’m sitting under the trees Grandfather planted. Granny is talking, telling me something funny, and I can hear the cow swishing its tail behind us, and the chickens pecking at the edges of the field, and the smell of the fire from the cooking hut.’

Her flight was starting to board. We remained seated, and Auma closed her eyes, squeezing my hand. ‘And under the mango tree, near the cornfields, is the place where the Old Man is buried.’

• Extracted from Dreams From Father (£12.99) and The Audacity Of Hope (£8.99) by Barack Obama, published by Canongate Books, (c)Barack Obama 2007. To order copies (p&p free), call 0845 606 4206.

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Comments (6)
Here’s what readers have had to say so far. Why not debate this issue live on our message boards.

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

NewestOldestBest ratedWorst rated
The guy’s a fake, and a fraud. What are his policies?
– Pete, England, 09/6/2008 11:49
Click to rate Rating 18 Report abuse
This is a very moving story. I am touched, but curious at the same time. I am very much interested in Barack’s life back in Hawaii.
– Daisy Baffoe, Accra, Ghana, 09/6/2008 10:49
Click to rate Rating 10 Report abuse
Good luck Barack, I hope America is ‘grown-up’ enough to elect you. Your choice of running-mate should be very interesting.
– Mark, St. Neots, Cambs, 09/6/2008 10:29
Click to rate Rating 10 Report abuse
Stop it, just stop it, stop this demagoguery about this guy. The Obama stuff has become a cult, and all this media fawning over this rather creepy guy is even creepier. Obama is not the hero that some need him to be, mostly, he’s a rather unethical, dullard. So’s his wife.
– Barkatansky, Telluride, CO USA, 09/6/2008 06:02
Click to rate Rating 8 Report abuse
Man! I had been wondering why Barack Obama had been called black, when he seemed quite light to me. He is certainly well placed to understand the suffering of so many, who have been cheated out of a stable ‘mother and father’ family life, in his case by his father’s serial promiscuity. It makes me want to pray and work harder amongst Africans now living in Western culture, so that they internalize the concept of not living just to satisfy their own (political) aspirations, but to honour the true and living (Christian) God, who loves faithfulness in monogamous marriage.
– Roslyn Brown, Melbourne, Australia, 09/6/2008 05:02
Click to rate Rating 1 Report abuse
You want selfish – John McCain dumped his first wife, who prayed every day for his release as a POW, because she got fat while he was in Vietnam! Then he married a rich trophy Stepford wife.
– Carl C, Philadelphia USA, 09/6/2008 03:53

OBAMA-OUR BLACK PRESIDENT HAS TIME FOR BLACK PEOPLE LIKE STEPHEN NEAL!

June 6, 2010

FROM washingtonpost.com

washingtonpost.com > Metro > Maryland » FOLLOW METRO ON:

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All the latest news from the District, Maryland and Virginia
Obama, Biden praise Md. businessman who rose from stock clerk to employing 105

President Obama and Vice President Biden pay a visit to K. Neal International in Hyattsville, which to owner Stephen W. Neal was an affirmation of his hard work. (Haraz N. Ghanbari/associated Press)
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By Hamil R. Harris
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, June 6, 2010
When Stephen W. Neal was stocking shelves and cleaning up spills for Giant supermarkets more than 30 years ago, he never could have imagined what happened to him this week: President Obama and Vice President Biden dropped by to give him a pat on the back.

Neal, 55, now owns K. Neal International, which has a revenue of more than $65 million and 105 people on its payroll in Northern Virginia and Maryland. It is one of the region’s largest outlets for selling and fixing trucks and buses.

“This company employs workers from all over the greater Washington area,” Obama said Friday, after he and Biden toured Neal’s firm in the 5000 block of Tuxedo Road in Hyattsville. “After two years of recession that caused so much pain in so many communities, this is also an example of a company that is starting to see business pick up again.”

Overall nationwide, employers added about 431,000 jobs in May, more than any month in the past decade. But the growth was driven by temporary hiring in the federal government for the Census. Employers in the private sector, such as Neal, added only 41,000 jobs last month.

For the president, visiting Neal’s company was an opportunity to talk about the economy’s fifth consecutive monthly job gain. For Neal, the visit was affirmation of his hard work.

As Obama spoke, Neal stood nearby with his two children, Korey, a 19-year-old college football player, and Kandace, a 24-year-old special-education teacher. (The “K” in his firm’s name stands for his children’s first initials.)

“All that I could think was, thank you God. The president is a busy man, but he took the time to visit my business.”

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley had submitted Neal’s name to the White House. The company, which Neal started six years ago, has garnered several awards and is listed as one of Black Enterprise magazine’s top 100 firms. In 2009, Neal was named Maryland’s small business owner of the year, and this year he received a minority business leaders award from Washington Business Journal.

Despite his accomplishments, Neal doubted that Obama would show until a helicopter hovered overhead and he heard the roar of police escort motorcycles. The president’s black limousine came rolling onto Tuxedo Road, past a liquor store, a car detailing shop and into a parking lot cluttered with yellow school buses and trucks. “You are a big guy,” Obama told Neal.

Neal graduated from George Mason University and entered Giant’s retail training program, where his first job was as a stock clerk at the Giant on Monroe Avenue in Alexandria. He spent nearly three decades with the company, rising to executive vice president of store operations and sales, responsible for more than 26,000 employees.

Even as he climbed up the corporate ladder, Neal continued on occasion to straighten shelves, clean spills and help cashiers at check-out counters.

“All of these years, my motto has remained the same: Take care of your customers, they will take care of you, and along the way, we will make a little money,” Neal said.

Six years ago, Neal said, he hit a brick wall. Giant had been sold to new owners and Neal, who is divorced, decided to retire. He was 49. He traveled the world until his children encouraged him to start his own company.

Neal took a job as the general manager of J Price International Trucks before deciding to buy it. Prince George’s County is happy to have him, said Kwasi Holman, president of the county’s Economic Development Corp.

“For the president and vice president to come to a company that we have worked with extensively makes us feel very proud that our work is being noticed as a national model,” Holman said.

“Without God, friends and mentors, none of this would be possible,” Neal said when the event was over.

OBAMA!-HIS AFRICAN RELATIVES ARE BEING TAKEN CARE OF BY OLODUMARE(GOD!)!

May 19, 2010

FROM

US immigration court grants asylum to President Barack Obama’s African aunt
Monday, May 17, 2010 at 11:26 AM by GottaLaff View Comments

A news alert, via a Yahoo e-mail:

CLEVELAND (AP) US immigration court grants asylum to President Barack Obama’s African aunt.

She moved to the U.S. in 2000.

Here’s an update:

The decision was mailed Friday and comes three months after Kenya native Zeituni Onyango, the half-sister of Obama’s late father, testified at a closed hearing in Boston, where she arrived in a wheelchair and two doctors testified in support of her case.

The basis for her asylum request hadn’t been made public. People who seek asylum must show that they face persecution in their homeland on the basis of religion, race, nationality, political opinion or membership in a social group.

And before all the crazies get up in arms… which they will anyway:

Obama said he did not know his aunt was living here illegally and believes laws covering the situation should be followed.

A judge later agreed to suspend her deportation order and reopen her asylum case.

Wong has said that Obama wasn’t involved in the Boston hearing. The White House also said it was not helping Onyango with legal fees.

Does she look illegal?

She better stay out of Arizona.

OBAMA AND HEALTHCARE!-OUR BLACK PRESIDENT HAS HIS BLACK GAME PLAN AS ALWAYS SO WE JUST MUST CONTINUE OUR PRAYERS-THIS TOO WILL PASS!-FROM THE NEW REPUBLIC MAGAZINE,AUG.20,2009

August 22, 2009

OUR BLACK PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS A BLACK GAME PLAN LIKE ALWAYS SO JUST CONTINUE YOUR PRAYERS-THIS TOO WILL PASS!

OUR BLACK PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS A BLACK GAME PLAN LIKE ALWAYS SO JUST CONTINUE YOUR PRAYERS-THIS TOO WILL PASS!

FROM tnr.com

The New Republic

Don’t Sweat It
by Ed Kilgore
Obama sure looks to be in trouble, but we’ve seen this summertime hysteria before.
Post Date Thursday, August 20, 2009

As the Dog Days of August descended upon us, there developed across the progressive chattering classes a deep sense of malaise bordering on depression, if not panic–much of it driven by fears about the leadership skills of Barack Obama. The polling numbers seemed to weaken every day, and Democratic unease was matched by growing glee on the airwaves of Fox and in Republican circles everywhere.

View Larger Image
Courtesy of the AP

Within ten weeks, however, Obama was elected president and joy returned to the land.

Yes, dear reader, I am suggesting that this August’s sense of progressive despair feels remarkably similar to last August’s. This week last year, the Gallup Tracking Poll had McCain and Obama in a statistical tie. The candidates were fresh from a joint appearance at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, which was widely viewed by progressives as a strategic error by Obama. More generally, Democratic confidence, so high earlier in the year, was sagging. “Liberals have been in a dither for several weeks now over Barack Obama’s supposedly listless campaign performance following his return from Europe,” influential blogger Kevin Drum summed up sentiments at that time, “and as near as I can tell this turned into something close to panic.”

These doldrums dissipated by the time of the Democratic convention later in the month, but reemerged in September, when McCain actually moved ahead in some polls. And the diagnosis of the problem was typically that Obama was too passive, and wasn’t articulating a clear enough message. This should sound familiar to connoisseurs of contemporary progressive concerns about Obama.

Now, this deja vu sensation I’m having obviously doesn’t guarantee that the current struggles over health care reform and climate change will have as happy an ending as the presidential contest. But it may well provide a plausible argument for giving the president the benefit of the doubt today as we should have done a year ago.

Part of the psychological problem now may be a matter of unrealistic expectations. Much of the trouble Obama has encountered in promoting his agenda has been entirely predictable. His approval ratings are gradually converging with the 2008 election results. Health care reform is a complicated challenge that threatens a lot of powerful interests and unsettles people happy with their current coverage. Major environmental initiatives lose steam in a deep recession. A new administration gradually begins to assume blame for bad conditions in the country. Republicans, adopting a faux populist tone, are fighting Obama tooth and nail. Democratic activists are frustrated by compromises and sick of having to put up with the Blue Dogs. The Senate is still the Senate, a monument to inertia, pettiness, and strutting egos.

Progressives are waiting for Barack Obama and his team to work the kind of political magic they seemed to work in 2008–except when they didn’t. Cutting through all the mythologizing of the Obama campaign, the real keys to his stretch-run success last year were his legendary calm (“No Drama Obama”); his confidence in his own long-range strategy; his ability to choose competent lieutenants and delegate to them abundantly; and his grasp of the fundamentals of public opinion and persuasion. There was zero sense of panic in the Obama campaign itself late last summer, because they stuck with their strategy and organization and didn’t let the polls or news cycles force them off the path they had chosen.

The administration’s demure approach should thus not be terribly surprising, nor a sign that it has lost its heart or its mind. Obama has not, presumably, lost the qualities he showed in the tougher moments of the 2008 campaign. As it planned its legislative agenda for 2009, Team Obama knew health care reform was going to be challenging, and also knew they could probably get away with blaming the economic emergency for paring it back or slowing it down. They decided this was the right time to act, and it’s far too soon to assume they were wrong.

This particular moment might be more endurable if, as it used to be, August was a political and legislative dead zone. We’d all get a breather, maybe calm down and look ahead to the real deal going down in the fall. But the “August Doesn’t Matter” era has ended–perhaps dating back to the grand jury testimony in the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal in August 1998, if not earlier. (It arguably began to fade when Washington got air-conditioning.) Now, even if nothing substantive is actually happening this month, the absence of action is itself painful, and feels like defeat.

While I certainly don’t know if the Obama game plan for the next couple of months is going to be successful, I’m reasonably sure a game plan exists. On the issue most on everyone’s mind, I certainly don’t know how to reconcile the sharply contrasting demands of House Democrats and Senate “centrists” on sticking points like the public option. But the odds remain good that the House will pass a bill, the Senate will pass a bill, and then we will find out if the White House and the Democratic congressional leadership have the skill to make something happen that we will be able to recognize as “change,” and perhaps even a victory for progressives. Until then, it’s probably a good idea to drink a tall glass of cold water and wait out the August political heat.

Ed Kilgore is managing editor of The Democratic Strategist, a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, and a frequent contributor to a variety of political journals.

OBAMA!-BLACK REACTIONS TO HIS VICTORY THAT NIGHT AT GRANT PARK,CHICAGO AND (LATER) BEYOND!

April 21, 2009

SISTER VERTIE HOODGE,74 YEARS,HOUSTON,TEXAS CRYING WATCHING THE INAUGURATION ON JAN.20,2009

SISTER VERTIE HOODGE,74 YEARS,HOUSTON,TEXAS CRYING WATCHING THE INAUGURATION ON JAN.20,2009

WATCHING THE INAUGURATION CEREMONY AT KIBERA,NAIROBI KENYA,JAN.20,2009

WATCHING THE INAUGURATION CEREMONY AT KIBERA,NAIROBI KENYA,JAN.20,2009

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MOHAMMED SAHER,BLACKamerikkkan MEMBER OF IRAQ'S BLACK COMMUNITY IN THE SLUTHERN CITY OF BASRA DANCES TO AL-BASRA BAND MUSIC AS THEY CELEBRATE OBAMA'S VICTORY NOV. 5,2008 IN IRAQ!

MOHAMMED SAHER,BLACKamerikkkan MEMBER OF IRAQ'S BLACK COMMUNITY IN THE SLUTHERN CITY OF BASRA DANCES TO AL-BASRA BAND MUSIC AS THEY CELEBRATE OBAMA'S VICTORY NOV. 5,2008 IN IRAQ!

GRANT PARK AWAITING RESULTS ELECTION NIGHT

GRANT PARK AWAITING RESULTS ELECTION NIGHT

CHRISTINE KING FARRIS,SISTER OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. AND GRADDAUGHTER FARRIS WATKINS CRY IT OUT AFTER OBAMA'S VICTORY IN ATLANTA

CHRISTINE KING FARRIS,SISTER OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. AND GRADDAUGHTER FARRIS WATKINS CRY IT OUT AFTER OBAMA'S VICTORY IN ATLANTA

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LET THE TEARS CLEANSE AWAY THE PAIN OF RACISM!

LET THE TEARS CLEANSE AWAY THE PAIN OF RACISM!

THERE NOW! GOD WILL WIPE AWAY THAT WHITE PAIN OF BLACK SUFFERING IN amerikkka!

THERE NOW! GOD WILL WIPE AWAY THAT WHITE PAIN OF BLACK SUFFERING IN amerikkka!

GO AHEAD AND CRY OUT THE PAIN OF BLACKS SUFFERING IN amerikkka!

GO AHEAD AND CRY OUT THE PAIN OF BLACKS SUFFERING IN amerikkka!

BROTHER JESSE JACKSON CRY OUT ALL THE PAIN AND HURT BLACK PEOPLE HAVE SUFFERED INamerikkka! YOU RAN SO THAT OBAMA COULD WIN!

BROTHER JESSE JACKSON CRY OUT ALL THE PAIN AND HURT BLACK PEOPLE HAVE SUFFERED INamerikkka! YOU RAN SO THAT OBAMA COULD WIN!

CRY FOR ALL THE RACISM WE HAVE SUFFERED IN amerikkka!

CRY FOR ALL THE RACISM WE HAVE SUFFERED IN amerikkka!

LET THOSE TEARS FLOW FOR ALL THE LYNCHINGS BLACK MEN HAVE SUFFERED IN amerikkka!

LET THOSE TEARS FLOW FOR ALL THE LYNCHINGS BLACK MEN HAVE SUFFERED IN amerikkka!

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CRY OUT ALL THOSE TEARS FROM SLAVERY!

CRY OUT ALL THOSE TEARS FROM SLAVERY!

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WAITING FOR OBAMA'S WIN IN CHI-TOWN ON THAT GREAT DAY!

WAITING FOR OBAMA'S WIN IN CHI-TOWN ON THAT GREAT DAY!

HUSTLING THOSE OBAMA SHIRTS ON ELECTION DAY CHITOWN!

HUSTLING THOSE OBAMA SHIRTS ON ELECTION DAY CHITOWN!

WAITING FOR OBAMA'S VICTORY!

WAITING FOR OBAMA'S VICTORY!

BLACK BROTHER HUSTLING OBAMA SHIRTS!

BLACK BROTHER HUSTLING OBAMA SHIRTS!

“BARACK OBAMA DAY” HOLIDAY CREATED IN ALABAMA COUNTRY-FROM SEFERPOST.COM

December 4, 2008

from seferpost.com

Wednesday, December 03, 2008
‘Barack Obama Day’ Holiday Created in Alabama County
MARION, Ala. — A small central Alabama county whose mainly black residents gave Barack Obama more than 70 percent of the vote on Election Day has created an annual holiday in honor of the president-elect. The Perry County Commission voted 4 to 1 to observe the second Monday in November as “The Barack Obama Day.” County offices will close and its roughly 40 workers will get a paid holiday.
The sponsoring commissioner, Albert Turner Jr., said the holiday is meant to highlight the Democratic president-elect’s victory as a way to give people faith that difficult goals can be achieved.

The majority of the county’s 12,000 residents are black.

The county commission’s three black members and one of its two white members voted for the resolution.

Commissioner Brett Harrison said Wednesday he voted against the resolution because of the holiday costs to the county, which has a $2.2 million annual payroll and is one of the poorest in the state. He said closing the courthouse would also idle some state employees.

“I’m a Democrat, but just in these financial times, it’s not using the county’s money wisely,” Harrison told The Associated Press by phone Wednesday. “The recognition is certainly well-founded.”

Turner said copies of the resolution, adopted at a Nov. 25 meeting, have been mailed to Obama and his transition team.

An Associated Press exit poll found black voters in Alabama almost universally supported Obama while more than eight in 10 whites backed Republican John McCain. McCain carried the state with 60 percent of the vote.


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