Posts Tagged ‘POLITICS’

AYODELE,PROPHET SEES AARE GOODLUCK WINNING 2ND TERM!-FROM OSUN DEFENDER NEWSPAPER

January 27, 2014

There ’ll be attempt on Jonathan’s life this year – Ayodele

Primate Babatunde Ayodele

Primate Babatunde Ayodele

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE – Primate Babatunde Elijah Ayodele is the founder of INRI Evangelical Spiritual Church, Oke-Afa, Isolo, Lagos. Renowned as a seer, he tells KEHINDE OYETIMI, in this interview, some of the occurrences Nigerians should expect in 2014 and in the nearest future.MANY people only know you as a prophet but few know your background. Can you tell us about this?
I am from a Christian family where I was taught about God and how to fear God. From there I grew up in such a way that when you go to church, you follow the doctrines as directed.

When did you start developing the gift of prophecy?
I never intended to be a prophet. I just attended church and prayed while growing up. I was around 17 years old when I fell into a trance for 21 days. It actually happened like this. I was washing my mother’s clothes and the next day was to be my birthday. I was thinking that I had not really fasted. My father would always say that I should fast. But I didn’t like it. So that day, when it was 12 noon, I told myself that I should go and eat but before I knew what was happening, I fell in a trance. That was all. It was after that that I decided what church to attend. I joined the Christ Apostolic Church. When I got there, the woman in charge gave me the responsibility of leading prayer sessions.

After a while, I went to Aviation School in Zaria where I joined the Celestial Church of Christ. After that, I joined the Scripture Union. After which I joined a gospel church. It was after that that I joined the Cherubim and Seraphim church. Every church that I attended gave me one responsibility or the other to handle.

After the 21 days of being in a trance, what happened?
All I said were written and they all came to pass. So, many things happened.

Do you think that it would be great for you to pass this gift to one of your children?
Yes. Why shouldn’t I? It is good to serve God and it is good to be in God’s vineyard. It is honourable.

Since you started dishing out prophetic utterances, have you ever fallen out with people in authority?
I have been close to so many people both within the country and outside. I have friends. I have been very useful to those in authority. I would not like to mention anybody’s name. My prophecies have always been coming to pass through the grace of the Almighty God.

Nigeria is very religious with so many churches and mosques. Yet the level of corruption in all facets of the country is high. What is your take on that?
I am aware of all these. It has been God who has been taking care of the country. If it were not God, Nigeria would have collapsed. There is no church where offerings are not collected. How do you expect the pastor to differentiate between the offering of a criminal and that of a just man? It is only God who has been helping us out of our different problems. No pastor or church can lay claim to being exclusively useful to the peace of the nation.

In January every year, prophets come out with different but largely negative prophecies…
I will not take that. There is nothing negative about the warning of God. The problem is usually the way that we take these prophecies. We are far away from the truth. It is the manner in which these prophecies are portrayed by the press. It is also the way that people react to these prophecies. In the Bible, at the commencement of each year, Kings and leaders would seek the mind of God through prophets in the land. Many people do not understand what prophecies entail. Before the general recession took place, God had repeatedly told me that we should pray against global recession. But did anybody take to it? No.

God sends us prophecies with the intent to prepare us for it. It is when we don’t adhere that the negative aspect then happens. We take many things for granted in this country. We are too critical. We don’t fear God. Every country has its own prophets.

What do we expect this year and the nearest future?

Politics
Oyo State
If APC is not careful, it will lose Oyo State in 2015. APC will lose to Accord Party if only Ladoja does not contest. Please, kindly understand what I have just said. If APC is not careful, it will lose in 2015. That is a warning. When people get into government, they forget God so easily. It will be an election between Accord Party and the APC. It is left for the two of them to take caution.

I told Jonathan in 2011 and 2012 that governors would gang up against him but he didn’t listen. God knows about the crisis in PDP.

Osun State
The present governor of Osun State will have issues ahead re-election this year that the opposition can lean upon to fight against him. There will be rigging in the Osun election. No other party will come up. It will be between PDP and APC. PDP wants to take over at all costs. This is a warning.

After the victory of either of the parties, expect litigation. There will be crisis before and after the election in Osun State. A lot of politicians will be threatened. Religion will take a significant place in Osun election. It will be a test of what is to be expected in the general election between APC and PDP in 2015. APC must be careful so as not to lose any state in 2015.

Ekiti State
In Ekiti State, if PDP fields a wrong candidate, it will make the APC to retain the seat very easily. But if it gets the right candidate, it will be a battle. Opeyemi Bamidele can’t be governor in Ekiti. It is a battle between APC and PDP. Labour Party can’t take Ekiti.

This year, Jonathan will cajole Nigerians and some other politicians. Some people will want to defect to APC. APC will goof. It will not make the presidency despite all the shakeups that will come up. Jonathan will beg Obasanjo. There will be moves by PDP to reconcile. There will be negotiations on the office of the Vice-President, Chief of Staff, SGF, and in the process some people will ask Jonathan to step down. Jonathan will then begin to struggle for a second term. Some of the governors who left PDP will return in the nearest future. Jonathan will be the last president that PDP will produce. It will not be easy for the PDP. Tukur will be relieved of his position.

Northern leaders will not support Jonathan in 2015. Tambuwal should not contest for the presidency. He will not win. He will be under pressure to leave PDP. If he leaves the PDP, he will have a lot of issues. He will face a lot of crises. He must be careful. Despite all its present problems, PDP will face a lot of challenges this year. PDP will win the presidency but they may lose some states. Jonathan should consult God for a second term. If Jonathan eventually becomes Nigeria’s president for a second time, he should watch his health. His second term will not be as peaceful as he expects. We should pray for the First Lady.

I see chaos and political revolution. The national confab is going nowhere. They want to use the confab for political purposes. I see a confab where we will be talking about disintegration. It may take 30 or 50 years but Nigeria cannot stay together for another 100 years.

If Buhari is not given APC presidential ticket, he will neither be here nor there. He may threaten to pull out of the APC. Buhari is expecting that ticket. Jonathan is the cause of all these problems because he did not listen to warnings.

Lagos State
There will be clamour for a Christian governor. If Lagos does not produce a Christian governorship candidate, APC will lose Lagos. I see an unknown man ruling Lagos in 2015. If APC wants to retain Lagos in 2015, it must produce a Christian as a candidate. The person might have been in government. I do not see Ikuforiji, Ashafa winning that seat. The direction is from Ikorodu area.

Economy
Nigeria’s economy will not be fantastic in 2014. The price of food items will go up. Some markets will be shut down in the Eastern part of the country and in the Southern part. Prices of garri, palm oil and flour will go up. Price of vegetable will go up. Jonathan’s presidential economic team will fail him. Some ministers will be eased out while new ones will come in.

Aviation and the oil and gas ministries will be probed by the House of Representatives. There will be more threats to remove them. Nothing serious will come out of SEC. The DG of SEC will face a probe panel. The House of Reps will probe the Finance Minister this year. Their jobs will be under threat this year.

There will be troubles. The excess crude oil account will cause problems. I see that Nigeria will borrow money.

I don’t know when this will come up but Aba will be the China of Nigeria where Nigeria will produce vehicles, motorcycles and tricycles. Exotic guns will be made in Nigeria. I am not saying it will happen in 2014 but it is part of the things that we should be expecting in the nearest future.
It will be a pleasure if we can manage these crises and then I see a greater Nigeria.

Nothern Governors
Northern governors will break because of Jonathan’s second term ambition. Part of the Northern elders will not support Jonathan’s second term. There will be many controversies.

Bayelsa State
Bayelsa State governor must be watchful because he will have some challenges. There will be an issue against him. There will be youth unrest in Bayelsa.

Delta, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Cross River states and others
Let’s pray that we won’t experience ethnic crisis in Delta State. We should also pray against communal crisis in Cross Rivers State. In Akwa Ibom, there will be crisis on whom to take over from Governor Godswill Akpabio. If Akpabio picks an unpopular candidate, there will be a lot of problems for PDP. Lagos will have more water reforms. I foresee cholera and measles outbreak in Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Kwara, Sokoto, Kano, Jigawa and Yobe states. There will be some irregularities and misconduct at the Lagos State Inland Revenue which will later be exposed. Lagos State should not stop the use of tricycle as I forsee that there will an attempt at that. This will work against the state government. Let’s pray against flood in some Northern parts in the year 2014. Some of the outgoing governors may have crisis. Like the Cross Rivers State governor must be watchful. The forthcoming election in Rivers State will be very volatile. Kenny Martins should pray for his health. Oyo state will attempt to create more local governments. Ogun State will attempt something similar.

Sharing formula and crisis in PDP
There will be changes in the sharing formula in 2014. Jonathan will find every means to bring back some PDP members.

Ekiti governorship election

Ayo Fayose may be used in Ekiti PDP as governorship candidate.

International politics
There will be crisis in Lebanon. I see crisis in Rwanda too. There will be bloodbath in Pakistan. I forsee trouble in South África, Angola.

Presidential candidate in APC
APC will fail to pick Buhari. There will be attempts at mediation between Jonathan and Amaechi. Amaechi will not take it easy at all. It will be difficult for the PDP to bring up somebody else. APC will want to field a PDP member as their presidential candidate. Tambuwal may likely be APC’s presidential candidate. If he is picked, Tambuwal will give Jonathan a serious fight. But at the end, Jonathan will find his way.

Nollywood star
Let’s pray not to lose any Nollywood star. I see the passing away of a Nollywood star in Yoruba and English. ANTP will have crisis.

Anenih’s health
Anenih should pray for his health.

Boko Haram crisis
The government will try to expose those behind Boko Haram but with fear. Government will try to dialogue with Boko Haram which will score Jonathan’s government zero.

Attempt on Jonathan’s life
There will be an attempt on Jonathan’s life. He must be conscious of what he takes. His health needs prayers.

PHCN, government agencies and others
I see changes in FERMA. NIMASA will face challenges this year. NDLEA will evolve new ways of fighting drug pushers. I see a new authority at the CBN. There will be changes in the Nigerian currency. The office of the Accountant General will be queried. Iyaloja General must be very careful as she will face some challenges after taking unpopular steps. She must not include politics into market administration. There will be electricity instability till 2016. The EFCC will run after some governors and speakers of Houses of Assemblies. This will cause the commission some problems. There will be an attempt to hold population census in 2015 or 2016. There will be changes at the NFF. Let’s pray that they will not lose anybody.

National prayer
God is asking the whole nation to fast from February 1 to February 7, 2014, in order to prevent complications and troubles.

National Assembly members
Let the Senators and House of Representatives members pray against death because not all of them will finish their term before the end of 2014. There will be changes in the House of Reps.

Attack on Abuja
Let’s be careful so that there won’t be attacks in Abuja. Let’s pray that we don’t see any inferno in any police or army barracks. Let’s pray against train accident in Nigeria.

Britain and US
Let’s pray that Britain will not lose a prominent person. I see misunderstanding in the British parliament. The American upper chamber will have challenges in terms of economy.

Division among South West traditioanl rulers
There will be division among monarchs in the South West because of Jonathan’s second term.

Igbo presidency
Igbo will not produce a president for Nigeria in the next 15 years.
In the nearest future, not now, Nigeria may likely produce nuclear weapons.

PDP, INEC and Amaechi
PDP NEC will have so many issues to settle. The NEC might break up as a result of trying to resolve these issues. Amaechi’s candidate in 2015 will not be supported. There will be changes and amendment of the constitution. The government will arrest those who would want to bring in contaminated fish. The deputy Senate President should be careful so that he won’t be a victim of political robbery. . INEC will face some challenges in the forthcoming election, while Jega will be called to order. There will be changes in INEC.

Tenure elongation
Some people will attempt to sponsor tenure elongation without the support of many members of the House of Representatives.

OBJ and APC
Obasanjo will not defect to APC.

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Posted by on Jan 5 2014. Filed under AFRICA, ANNOUNCEMENT, FEATURE, FOR THE RECORDS, From The Press, Front Page Story, NEWS, News Across Nigeria, POLITICS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

2 Comments for “There ’ll be attempt on Jonathan’s life this year – Ayodele”

  1. Anonymous

    God will intervene in this prophecies!

  2. mr_neutral

    Any one that digs a pit will fall into it. Any one that tries to kill gej will be the one to die- MARK THESE WORDS!

OPC Founder Omowe Frederick Fasehun LEADS the Way For UPN-Awolowo’s PARTY to RISE AGAIN!

April 14, 2013

 

How the idea of new UPN was mooted – Frederick Fasehun

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April 13, 2013 | 12:11 am

Interview, Top Stories

By Ishola Balogun & Florence Amagiya
Like a straight arrow that knows its target and ready to pierce without missing, Dr. Frederick Fasehun, the founder of Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), replies his critics on several allegations reported in the dailies recently.  As his voice rang heavily through the tape in this interview, the  Chairman of the committee for the resuscitation of Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN, reveals how the idea of the new UPN was mooted and why he has not involved some stake-holders in the region in the current arrangement. 

He says  the contract to protect the pipelines in the South-West which he proposed to government has not been awarded and that no amount was quoted. He bares his mind on how Nigeria can end the menace of pipelines vandalisation among other issues. Excerpts.

Recent development sets you against the ACN; as a a stakeholder in the South-West, what is the bone of contention?

Sharma Mao of China once said: ‘Let a thousand flowers blossom’ and because a thousand flowers blossomed in China, it was a good time for China socio-economically and politically. I have no personal differences with any progressive group. I have always been saying that I love Nigeria,but I love my people more.  Anybody that says otherwise is a bloody liar.  You first love your people and then love your country.

This is because there is no country that is mono-ethnic. All countries have ethnic building blocs. Even our colonial masters, they have Scotland, Wales, Island in Anglo-saxons, but they call it United Kingdom.  It is a federation.

There, you have the Labour Party and the Conservative Party.  I have nothing against the ACN and I want to believe ACN has nothing against me.  But why are we thinking Dr. Fasehun has brought UPN to disorganise the South-West?  Did the ACN disorganise the South-West when it came and took the South-West from PDP?  It is not right to lie to a big country like this.

I didn’t form the Unity Party of Nigeria for any personal interest;  I am not intending to take any elective position; but I see a lot of failures in the system.  Nigeria would have been a great country but for the people.And why must you institutionalise lies, bogus propaganda just because we have political differences?  For some time now, people have been telling various lies about me just because they are jittery over the resuscitation of the UPN.

This is the party a lot of Nigerians have been waiting for.  Do you want the whole South West to sleep and face the same direction? In a polity that is aspiring for democracy, it is not done.  People have lied against me saying I have taken hundreds of millions of naira from Jonathan.

I told one person who hinted me about it that I can’t do such a thing.  I told him that I am a straight arrow but if anyone still hold the belief that I collected money from Jonathan, then that person should go and collect his own.  A few days later, they said I am being sponsored by the PDP to disorganise the South-West with a contract to protect the pipelines in the South-West.   One thing is that it is the duty of every citizen to protect the pipelines because it is the economic life-line of the country which has been subjected to indiscriminate bunkering.

On the 20th of November, 2010, OPC sent a proposal to the Federal Government that ‘we are capable of procuring and providing security and surveillance along the pipelines if you give us as a contract. Is Lai Muhammed saying six million members of the OPC don’t qualify for the award of contract from our country; moreso, that we are fighting unemployment?

If we put in about 35,000 people along the pipelines, it is not only the 35,000 persons that will benefit, their families also would benefit.  So, why are people criticising Dr. Fasehun even when the federal government has not approved the contract? So, I began to wonder, where did Lai Muhammed get his figures from?  I have no apologies to make on that.

But what was the actual figure you quoted in the proposal?

We did not even quote any figure in the proposal.  Because we wanted to work for the government, we believed that it is the federal government that will say: ‘okay we will award you this contract; what then is the cost or this is how much we will give you;’ but we have not reached that level of discussion.  So, Nigerians should find out from Lai Muhammed where he got his figures from.

You mean you did not quote any figure?

I can show you the proposal, we did not. I don’t know why they are jittery over a new thing that has come to be and that might see the end of what shouldn’t be. Nigeria must change. I thought Lai Muhammed was a friend. I had seen him as a leader but leaders must be role models. So, if Lai becomes a liar, then, it is very unfortunate for the youths of this country because they will see role models as liars and we will see liars as role models. The contract has not been awarded.

Now, how did you come about the resuscitation of UPN, did you carry the Yoruba leaders, elders and other stakeholders along?

I was carried along. South-Westerners in Europe and America got together and said no, Nigeria must be saved from the brink of collapse.  They took a decision that a political party that had no smear of bad records and an organisation being viewed with nostalgia is UPN and they would want to resuscitate it.  So, to have a new and national party, they pointed at UPN.  Having taken that decision, it became the responsibility of finding somebody to limp it, somebody to match the ideals of UPN and they chose me. I was not there, a delegation was sent to me here (his office) and they gave me the news.

I told them that I had sworn not to be in partisan politics because politics is not a sincere game here, but a game of cash-and-carry, a game of the-winner-steals-all, not only the winner takes all and that is why Nigeria is where she is.  So, I told them to give me some time to consider it and they said they were to fly back and I insisted I will communicate my decision to them by telephone.

They resolved to wait and they waited. I gave them my words of acceptance the third day, after I have consulted with my own group which agreed that we have been the foot soldiers of these politicians, we have been their tugs, we have been monitoring their lives and that of their children, now we should be part of the politics. It was then I told the delegation that I have considered their request.

How about funding?

I told them I don’t have money to match the Nigerian politics and they assured me that I don’t need to buy an envelope for the organisation.  That is why I said I was recruited. I came into the thinking in England and America.

So, it was mooted by Nigerians in the Diaspora?

Yes. They met and decided we should resucitate the party.

What is the stage of its registration now?

We initially got information that INEC was charging N100,000 to buy the form but later we got another conflicting information that it was N1million.

Then a good Samaritan said even if it will cost N1billion, we have to get it. He provided the money and we rushed to the bank and we sent somebody to Abuja. The person got to INEC office and met a lady (name withheld) who put some stumbling block in the way of purchasing the form. I have been told she is a mole there, that she scuttles the ambition of new political parties. Of course she will not be able to do this.  I said, no problem,  we will re-strategise.

But the following morning, it was splashed in the newspapers that INEC rejects UPN.  That is not politicking but a deceit.  When I read through the story, people don’t know that children will only fail exam when they have only sat for it.  You don’t fail an exam you have not sat for.  If she refuses to do her duties, we will go above her because it is our legitimate right.

What is the role of Gen. Adeyinka, Pa Fasanmi and other Afenifere bigwigs in the whole of these?

They are all my political fathers, but have you forgotten that a group of people disorganised the Afenifere.  These are the characters that are true leaders of Yoruba, the Ayo Adebanjo, Pa Jakande, Pa Fasoranti, Olaniwuns, the Olu Falaes, Babatopes and the Awolowo family.  Before I accepted to be in the leadership of the UPN, I went to the Matriach of the UPN and she prayed for me, and if I had seen Mama, I had seen the Awolowo family.  Now, if you involved the others without doing the hatchet job, you will be exposing them to the ridicule of the ACN.  I was not going to expose them to such thing, they would have read it in the newspapers, some of them have gotten in touch with me.

The only person among them that I have visited is Jakande; and I know nobody can ridicule Jakande.  These characters have a way of destroying leadership, I will not subject the Yoruba leaders to the ridicule of these urchins.  I know there have been roots, there have been stems, branches and leaves of the UPN, when the party is registered, I will take the certificate to them and say this is your organisation.  And you see, people have been giving their support.  There is only one state that has not register its membership with the party and that is Zamfara.

What about the royal fathers?

There are some of our fathers we do not want to involved in politics, like the Ooni, the Alaafin, the Olowo, the Alake, the Awujale and many others. I can swear that I did not mention it to them but it is basically to shield them from partisan politics but the day we are registered, we shall inform them of the new party.

And you hope they will give their blessings?

By the grace of God.

What is your view about the amalgamation of the opposition called APC?

I dont believe in this amalgamation.  An amalgam is a mixture of various elements, each component is allowed to maintain its attributes and composition and tendencies.  That is why I don’t believe in the merger. Where are the previous mergers we have had in the past? What we need now is sincere leaders and nationalistic patriots that will put us in the path of righteousness.

We will not be nationalistic if we merge political platforms. Manifestos, programmes and ideologies are from the right, left and the centre.  So, where have Nigerians found sixty ideologies?  When you are given the opportunity to serve your country, it is the greatest opportunity.  We are nostalgic about Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Saduana. Where are their international hotels, where are their mansions and monuments, where are their airlines and shipping companies and banks?  These are great leaders. PRP founded by Aminu Kano has been woken up, and if NAP by Tunji Braitwait has been resuscitated, we have no fear that UPN will see the light of the day again.

Is it only a resuscitation of name or the ideals of the party as it were those days?

It is not the cap, or the spectacle, but the ideologies that is expressed in the welfarism and social democracy of the people. That is Awoism.

Now, how do you intend to secure the pipelines from the vandals if the contract is awarded?

You’re asking me to reveal my method to the criminals?  If OPC is given the opportunity to protect the pipelines,within one year, bunkering, vandalisation will go into history.  We have outlined only for the South-West which covers 5,260kilometers radius.We expect the NNPC to give the South-South to MEND; the Volunteer Force and the South East to MASSOB; the Delta area to Anioma 911; the Middle Belt to Middle Belt Congress and even the core North to ACF.  We don’t want to continue to be tied to the apron-strings of the politicians as their foot soldiers. ‘Don’t give me fish, teach me how to catch fish’.

How do you intend to combine the two responsibilities should the government award the contract as your UPN sets for politicking?

I have been managing the OPC now for 19years.  In that span of time, I must have acquired some management technique and integrity to be able to keep 6million youth together for 19 years.  I hope to use that experience.  It is nothing but self-discipline and integrity.

Don’t you  think people might see OPC in the  garb of UPN and vice-versa or how do intend to strike a balance between the two?

OPC is set to defend our people and ensure that justice is done and that is what we will continue to do.  Again, we are not going to practice the politics of hostilities, conflicts and confrontations.  Certainly not. I have spoken earlier to debunk the lies against OPC and my person.  I don’t need billions of naira. We will go on manifesting politics without bitterness and at all levels and to all parties and at every forum.

Based  on what the country has witnessed in the last few years, what is your idea of leadership in 2015?

Whoever that emerges as the president must be in charge.  He must be able to say no, we won’t give amnesty to those who have killed toddlers, who have burnt churches.  Amnesty in the Nigerian context has a definition which was provided by Yar’Adua.  You must first submit your arms, veils and come to table. That is why amnesty is succeeding.  Some of our leaders unfortunately want a blank cheque to be written in the name of Boko Haram as amnesty.

I have also told the President that those who are seeking for amnesty for Boko Haram must also know where they live, must know their names.  It is not proper to just give out money for their representatives to distribute amongst them.  They must first answer to the definition of amnesty.  Let us also take a look at the records of the dead.  Why are you considering amnesty for ghosts without the records of the dead ones.  Is it fair?

Going by the reports that Boko Haram members have been traced to Lagos, do you have any fear that these terrorists will invade South West and if you do, what will you do?

I don’t have any fear they will come to Lagos and I don’t believe these rumours making the rounds about Boko Haram in Lagos.  They did not go to Alausa, Ikoyi or Victoria Island or the GRAs, they went to Badia. They don’t operate like that.  In any case, when security operatives want some money from the government, they scare the government and they begin to panic.

We are Nigerians, we know what is going on.  So far, they have limited their operations to the north, because that is their territory.  What reason will they advance to the international community for attacking the South-West.   Again, you asked a hypothetical question, (long pause) we will not run into the bush. South-Westerners will not run into the bush.

Fire-for-fire?

I didn’t say that, but we will not run into the bush.  We will defend our territory.  I hope you understand that in warfare, every method is right.

NIGERIA’S FIRST COMMUNIST GOVERNOR IS SERVING THE PEOPLE AND SETTING A BLACK EXAMPLE FOR ALL TO CARE FOR THE MASSES! -FROM OSUN DEFENDER, NIGERIA

October 1, 2012

Friday, September 21, 2012
OUR FIRST COMMUNIST NIGERIAN GOVERNOR IS MAKING SERVICE TO THE MASSES HIS GOAL! -GOMINA RAUF AREGBESOLA IS PERFORMING MIRACLES IN OSUN STATE FOR THE PEOPLE!- FROM OSUN DEFENDER.COM
from osundefender.com

The compassionate state
Compassionate Governor
By Sam Omatseye
Before he became governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola always let the world know that he was a communist. That is yesterday’s ideology, even if North Korea and Cuba still latch on to the fragile and terminal gasps of the idea.
Yet students of history know that communism saved capitalism after the Second World War. The welfare state enjoyed a rebirth when countries, especially those in Europe lying prostrate after the conflagrations, kindled a romance with the idea Marx and Lenin wrought. The liberal canons of democracy and free market became lost in the cloud when the ordinary citizen craved the heres and nows of food and shelter.
The West, including the United States, strengthened the social buoy of the poor and vulnerable although the idea dated back to the years of German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck in the 19th century. That way, the countries kept the communists on the fringes while the Soviet Union glamorised the fantasy in the so-called Third world with champions like Cabral, Ortega, Lumumba and Castro.
Yet, the capitalists could not deny the idea of compassion for the poor. You cannot joy in the spoils of capitalism while the poor gnashed their teeth. In The Secret Agent, Joseph Conrad observes that the condition for luxury and opulence is security.
Long before either capitalism or socialism became organized ideas, Shakespeare expressed the philosophy of compassion in his play, Coriolanus: “that distribution undo excess and each man have enough.”
What Ogbeni is practising in the State of Osun is not communism, but the beginnings of what the Western countries did to save their system: protecting the vulnerable.
In his world, the vulnerable are those in the underbelly of a rabid capitalist system. They are the old who cannot earn any more money, the young and old who cannot get healing, the children too poor to afford books and food at schools, the disenfranchised business person who cannot get seed money to pursue the dreams of independence. They are the people whom Abraham Lincoln referred to as the reason for government: those who cannot stand well on their own.
I had an opportunity to sit as an observer at the state of Osun’s executive council recently and observed the essence of his style. The meeting lasted about eight hours, and two main commissioners were asked to present their stewardships in the past two years. One of them impressed me: the deputy governor who also doubles as the commissioner for education, Titilayo Laoye-Tomori.
Its uniform and feeding projects in schools were the most telling. As Laoye-Tomori showed in her power-point presentation, in the past year the inflow into schools had leaped from between 25 percent and 30 percent. The students would now have school uniforms, spinning an industry and a jobs spur that locals are taking advantage of to tailor and provide the uniforms all over the state.
This narrative is touching in that education is perhaps the greatest driver of development in the modern world. American dominance has been attributed to education as the supreme driver. The world we know today is American, whether it is the car, airplane, the internet, the cell phone, the ipad, the movie, the suburb, the radio, television, the electric bulb, etc. They did it because they drove innovation. It is a country that makes things because it knows things. The thousands of children in Osun who are abandoning idleness at home and on the streets for school are witnessing the greatest liberation: of the human mind.
At one stage at the meeting, when he referred to the ambitious education programme, he burst into a Sunny Ade song “aiye nreti eleya mi o…”. He stood up in his characteristic soulfulness and some of his executives wafted along with him. It was a song of irony. It meant his detractors were waiting for his failure, but it was also a caution to his team not to disappoint. It costs N30 billion, the biggest project in the country.
The tablet of knowledge, a computer that would have all the lessons and books for the students is a new thing, and the deputy governor said it was close to readiness. I anticipate that as it combines modernity with the potential for commerce and jobs.
The other point of compassion is Agba Osun, and it is not its N10, 000 a month to elders that so touched me as the medical system that provides treatment to the vulnerable, especially the elderly and handicapped, in their homes. This cannot work without having all of them in a data base, and the young of the OYES programme built the data base. This is what the youth are doing but interlopers, in their willful ignorance, said they are militias for secession. The state has obviously a mobile medical system where communication between the deprived and the caregiver is streamlined. It is not perfect, and I am not sure everyone has enjoyed this even if the government is impressed with what it has done so far. I recall, too, that in the number of intakes in schools, the deputy governor’s figures were questioned in one of the districts, if for a negligible discrepancy.
What is being done for the elderly in terms of free healthcare in some states, like Lagos, Delta, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Ekiti, will help improve life expectancy. But personalised care in Osun raises the stakes.
A peep into his style was his conversation with permanent secretary. Ogbeni had accused the ministry of not making an input into the education programme. It is a tribute to his open-mindedness that the permanent secretary was at ease to lash back in her courteous way. She said they actually offered their proposals but the governor did not implement. It turned out she was right. But ever the irrepressible Ogbeni with his tuft of beard, lean face, eyes alert, he asked the ministry to express the ideas and they were debated. I learnt that the Aregbesola administration in less than two years has convened more executive meetings than the seven and a half years of Oyinlola’s Gestapo era.
After the U.S. won the war of independence, Jefferson accused President Washington of apostasy for creating an elite society with Alexander Hamilton when he set up institutions for a strong federal state. This tension led to the birth of the two-party system with Jefferson breaking away from the Federalists to form the Republicans that protected the weak. That tension exists today with those who believe that anyone who is poor and fails is necessarily lazy. Philosopher Herbert Spencer says welfare institutionalises indolence. From the droves of children going to school in Osuns now, we know that is not true.
It takes an Ogbeni to prove that.
Culled From THE NATION newspaper
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August 6, 2012 — Aregbesola Launches “Agba Osun” Senior Citizens Welfare Scheme (6)

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Posted by admin on Sep 17 2012. Filed under AFRICA, EDITORIAL, FEATURE, FOR THE RECORDS, Front Page Story, NEWS, News Across Nigeria, PHOTO GALLERY, POLITICS, South West News, X-RAYS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

olayiwola Tayo
September 17, 2012 – 4:04 pm
This is good omen for the state of Osun. But to make these program last, the State should establish all these in bill passed by the State Assemble and signed by the governor. The things that make other nation great is the laws and order. It will be difficult once the program is base on the law of the land for anyone to comeby abolish it.

OUR BLACK PRESIDENT OBAMA CAN GET DOWN WITH BLACK PEOPLE WITHOUT ANY APOLOGY RIGHT NOW!

February 14, 2012

Are Black Folks Becoming Political Orphans?

Washington Informer, Commentary, Dr. Boyce Watkins, Posted: Feb 14, 2012
Prepping for another run for the White House, President Barack Obama recently launched an “African Americans for Obama” campaign to target Black voters.

“I don’t think there’s a better time than African-American History month to consider the tremendous progress we’ve made through the sacrifices of so many, or a better time to recommit to the challenges we face right now,” said Obama in a video to his supporters.

It is expected that the Democrats would work to shore up their Black base right before the president’s bid for re-election. The dampened enthusiasm among Black voters who are facing 15.8 percent unemployment and rapidly declining wealth levels is also expected. The Black unemployment number is more than double that of white Americans, which stands at 7.5 percent. Throughout the Obama presidency, White unemployment has improved, while Black unemployment has gotten markedly worse.

Ironically, the “African Americans for Obama” website says that the president has been fighting “to restore economic security that has been eroding for American families for a decade.”

President Obama won 96 percent of the Black vote in 2008. His approval rating today stands at 91 percent. The black community continues to be the strongest and most loyal base of the Obama Administration.

Political commentator, Yvette Carnell, has something to say about the issue:

“I have no problem with Obama targeting African-American voters. None. He needs us and he knows it,” said Carnell. “What I do have a problem with, however, is how most of the targeting begins during campaign season and ends on election day. We’re more than just a voting bloc. We’re real citizens with real needs, needs which I hope the President begins to acknowledge and address.”

Columbia University Professor Christopher Emdin doesn’t agree with Carnell’s assessment.

“I do not believe the ‘frustration and dampened enthusiasm’ cited within Af-American communities is as pervasive as we are led to believe. With that being said, these facts do not negate the fact that these communities are dealing with serious issues related to education and poverty,” said Dr. Emdin. “I do not believe that Obama’s campaigning in Af-American communities is reflective of some ulterior agenda to “use them when he needs them. It very well may be an effort to make a shift to explicitly focus on the needs of this community.”

The pending re-election of Barack Obama has put Black voters in a quandary. While many would agree that conditions have worsened for the Black community under Obama, the Republican Party provides no reasonable alternatives. In many cases, Black people have become the political orphans of America:

You can either live with the parents who abuse you or live with the child molester down the street. While one fate is clearly worse than the other, there is no end to the pain in sight.

It is actually logical for the Obama Administration to keep Black voters on the back-burner. When a group gives you 91 percent approval and asks for nothing in return, there is almost no political incentive to do anything for them. This calculation likely played a role in the statement that the “rising tide will lift all boats” made three years ago, when the president was asked about inequality in wealth and unemployment. The “lift all boats” policy was a clear and miserable failure, for most economic experts can tell you that racial inequality is not going to fix itself without targeted economic policy.

Right now, in the Black community, there are at least two types of people: those who are suffering and those who are not. The suffering group consists of the poor, unemployed, and those who live under the thumb of the criminal justice system. The rest of us have jobs, food to eat and are not impacted directly by mass incarceration. If you’re in the second group, it’s difficult to find fault with the Obama Administration, for a Black president grants the symbolic comfort that comes along with the “Mama I Made It” syndrome that justifies the trade-offs many of us make for the sake of economic and social progress in a White supremacist society. Being the first Black president is the granddaddy of all “proud mama” moments, so there are millions willing to forgive nearly any short-coming of the Obama White House to maintain access to the throne.

For those who care about the poor, there is almost no redemption when the president barely mentions poverty in his speeches. For the unemployed, it’s hard to imagine how your life will get better by supporting an administration that helped white folks find jobs while letting the Black numbers reach levels approaching those of the Great Depression. For those suffering with the effects of mass incarceration, it’s hard to get excited about a president who has not directly confronted the debilitating effects of the drug war, which has destroyed millions of families and an entire generation of children. All of these issues indicate a state of emergency in the Black community; but thus far, we’ve only given
White Americans the right to express dissatisfaction with their condition.

The implicit African American slogan for the Democratic Party is “You should just stop complaining, because the Republicans are even worse than we are.” The threat of political punishment is clearly enough to secure the Black vote without doing a thing. But at the same time, the Black political orphans of America do have a choice. WEB Dubois, when faced with few quality political options 50 years ago, simply said that he refused to vote at all. Rather than behaving like a teenage girl who shares her body with the first man who buys her a cheeseburger, Dubois advocated for the idea that we save our votes for politicians who have truly worked to earn them.

After a mass holdout from conscientious Black voters, perhaps the Democrats will then strive to honestly earn the Black vote instead of simply telling us that they are not as horrible as the Republicans. It should not be taboo to request that Black voters have enough self-respect to demand that all politicians give priority to the issues that lead to our suffering. There are no victims, just volunteers, and we don’t have to be political orphans forever.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University.

BLACKS SPEAK OUT ON OBAMA,S PROBLEMS

October 9, 2011

Loyal black base craves a fighter in the Oval Office

But debate rages: Has Obama done enough to help African-Americans?

By Tim Funk and Celeste Smith
tfunk@charlotteobserver.com, csmith@charlotteobserver.com

Posted: Sunday, Oct. 09, 2011

It’s the lunch hour, and President Barack Obama is live, talking jobs, on a big TV screen at No Grease Exclusive Barber Shop in uptown Charlotte.

Along with the NBA labor troubles and the sour economy, the country’s first African-American president is a hot topic in this shop, which cuts the hair of about 400 customers every week.

So Jermaine Johnson, who co-owns No Grease with twin brother Damian, has heard it all in what’s become a raging debate over whether Obama is doing enough to help a hurting African-American community whose enthusiasm and high turnout were crucial to him winning North Carolina and the White House in 2008.

“They talk about the (difficulty) he’s having in passing any new ideas that will help stimulate the economy,” Jermaine Johnson, 38, says of the chatter from his customers. “The word on the street is that the Republicans are turning down anything he puts forth.”

But barber-chair pollster Johnson also is hearing something else: If Obama expects the black community to be there for him in equal numbers in 2012, he needs to become more of a fighter.

“We would like to see a little more bravado from this president – the cowboy going in there to make it happen,” says Johnson, whose shop is a few doors down from Time Warner Cable Arena, where Democrats will nominate Obama for a second term next year.

“He’s been doing what’s expected in politics – crossing lines and trying to get the parties together … But I think he’s over-exhausted it. He’s done it too long. It’s time to stand up for what you believe.”

Apparently, the president has been getting the same advice from political advisers who are concerned about his declining poll numbers, including among his base in the black community. A Washington Post-ABC News Poll last month found that 58 percent of African-Americans had “strongly favorable” views of Obama – down from 83 percent in the spring.

In recent weeks, Obama has been barnstorming the country, promoting his $450 billion American Jobs Act and leading town hall chants for Congress to “pass this bill now.”

He plans to bring his case to North Carolina the week of Oct. 17 as a part of a bus caravan that also will take him to Virginia, another 2012 swing state.

With this new tone, says Urban League of Central Carolinas President Patrick Graham, Obama is going back to his roots: “You’re seeing more of the community organizer.”

U.S. Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., a former head of the Congressional Black Caucus, says it’s about time.

“A lot of people have been frustrated that he’s bent over backwards (to work with Republicans),” says Watt, whose district includes much of Charlotte. “Now he’s starting to draw lines and differentiate himself. It’s what people have been looking for.”

‘Our people are hurting’

The president’s new populism comes after weeks of criticism from some high-profile black leaders, who have said that Obama was not addressing the needs of the African-American community, where unemployment is much higher than the national rate.

Among blacks in Charlotte, the jobless rate is more than 19 percent. In August, Charlotte’s overall unemployment rate was 9.8 percent.

U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., wondered aloud why a previous Obama bus tour over the summer made stops in the rural Midwest, but not in, say, urban Detroit.

“We’re supportive of the president but we’re getting tired, y’all,” she said at an August jobs fair in Detroit that was sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus. “We want to give the president every opportunity to show what he can do and what he’s prepared to lead on. But our people are hurting.”

PBS and radio talk show host Tavis Smiley and Princeton University professor Cornel West also have taken shots at Obama. In their “Poverty Tour” bus trip in August, they charged that Obama has failed to stand up for the poor. (The show airs on PBS this week.)

Former Charlotte Bobcats owner Bob Johnson last week blasted the president from the other side of the ideological spectrum, saying he should “recalibrate” his targeting of the wealthy in his tax proposals and rhetoric.

“You don’t get people to like you by attacking them or demeaning their success,” said Johnson, one of the country’s wealthier Democrats.

But this heated debate over the first black president’s record and tactics as election year nears also has drawn plenty of Obama backers.

Other prominent radio and TV personalities – including Tom Joyner, Steve Harvey and the Rev. Al Sharpton – have defended Obama and attacked West and Smiley.

The president got an enthusiastic reception at a recent Black Caucus dinner even as he invited members in a fiery speech to stop their complaining and “put on your marching shoes. …We are going to press on.”

And most African-Americans who’ve been heard from – the famous and the rank-and-file – couldn’t disagree more with Johnson’s plea to go easier on the rich and try yet again to compromise with the GOP on Capitol Hill.

Former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt says he would advise the president to stay in the bully pulpit “instead of pulling back and allowing the Congress to make certain decisions and then stepping into the fray. He’s really got to tell the American people what he wants.”

Claude Mayse, 57, a Charlottean who’s unemployed and has been unable to find a sales job, likes the tougher Obama. On everything from the shape of the health reform plan to the size of the economic stimulus package, Mayse says, “I felt like (Obama) compromised too much.”

Now, Mayse adds approvingly, “he’s circumventing (the Republicans) and going straight to the people.”

Enthusiasm is the key

No one is predicting that the frustration out there will cause black voters to cross over en masse and back Obama’s GOP challenger. Not even Herman Cain, an African-American businessman who’s a hit with a surging number of mostly white Republicans, generated much interest among local black voters interviewed last week by the Observer.

The latest breakdown from Public Policy Polling found that 87 percent of North Carolina blacks approve of Obama – down from the 90-plus percent support he received at the polls in 2008, but still very high. (Among all Americans, Obama’s favorability rate now averages 46 percent; among all North Carolinians, 44 percent.)

But polls don’t always measure enthusiasm. Turnout numbers do, and in 2008, black turnout increased by almost 5 percent nationally, while white turnout slightly declined.

If the excitement level for the president is only so-so come Election Day 2012, many black voters may not bother to go to the polls, worries Joel Ford, who was Mecklenburg County Democratic Party chairman when Obama was elected in 2008. That year, Obama carried one westside precinct, 639 votes to 8 – 98.6 percent.

“There is a possibility that some will stay home, and a possibility that some won’t stand in lines,” Ford says. “The president’s got work to do.”

Barber shop co-owner Jermaine Johnson says he and his brother have a lot of “newly unemployed” people among their clientele. And though these customers don’t look to Obama to single-handedly solve their problem, Johnson says, “when you have a president who looks like you and he still can’t push the envelope for you, you get some frustration.”

On the other hand, Johnson says, frustration in the black community also has given rise to, perhaps, a more realistic view about the limits to what one person – even the president of the United States – can do.

“I think it’s still going to be a big (African-American) turnout (in 2012),” he says. “But I don’t think it’s going to be a lot of ‘rah rah’ … because, during his first term, a lot more people have gotten educated on what he can and cannot do.”

There’s also a growing sense that Obama inherited maybe the toughest plate of problems, national and international, since Franklin Roosevelt, who took office during the Great Depression. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were draining money and troops. And the financial meltdown that rocked Wall Street and threatened banks just weeks before Election Day 2008 were causing mass job losses.

“A lot of people are having a reality check,” says veteran Charlotte radio personality Beatrice Thompson, news and public affairs director and talk show host for WBAV and WPEG. “I don’t think anyone truly understood what condition the country was in. … I have to admire (Obama) for not losing his cool given what he had to work with.”

Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx says Obama’s seriousness in trying to deal with those big challenges will eventually win over many voters – black and white – who may now feel ambivalent about the president.

“He’s had a tough hand dealt to him, and he’s had to make some tough calls,” says Foxx, who spearheaded the campaign to bring Obama’s 2012 convention to Charlotte. “When the story is told, I think many, many, many people will come back and support him.”

Still, Foxx and others acknowledge that there’s been some complaining that Obama has not paid enough attention to the needs of an African-American community that was there for him in 2008.

Gantt says that same tension was there in the 1980s, when he became the first African-American to be elected Charlotte’s mayor.

“That’s a touchy thing for an African-American president,” he says. “You still have to convince a lot of your electorate – because of your skin color – that you’re there to support the cause of all Americans.”

Johnson C. Smith University senior Kirsten Anderson Hall, an aspiring city manager who’s 20 and will be casting her first presidential vote next year, says she agrees – and disagrees.

“It’s the United States of America, not the United States of America and black people,” she says. “But that doesn’t mean he needs to displace us and forget about us.”

The debate goes on

Back at No Grease, the challenge for Obama is evident from this conversation between customer Jason Vicks, 37, who owns a restaurant and real estate agency, and his barber.

Vicks: “Obama is not doing the hiring. Obama is our president. He can only do what he is able to do…. Obama does not own the restaurant up the street or any business (where) he could employ African-Americans.”

Damian Johnson: “He can create the opportunities for us to hire (black people). If we’re ever going to have an opportunity as a people – black people here in America – this is our prime time to do it, with an African-American president. … He needs to stand up to the powers that be.”

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.

BLACK WOMEN POWER-THE POWER OF THE BLACK NAKED BREAST!

September 28, 2010

FROM tribune.com.ng

FROM TRIBUNE NEWSPAPER

The politicisation of the female breasts
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Written by KEHINDE OYETIMI
Sunday, 12 September 2010

The employment of the female breasts and sexuality in Nigerian politics has shown that nothing is too sacred to be involved. The erstwhile cultural implication of the female anatomy is beginning to lose its relevance as it has been railroaded into the mainstream of Nigerian politics. KEHINDE OYETIMI writes.

FROM time immemorial and of all the unique structures that make up the anatomical configuration of the female, nothing seems to arrogate much attention to itself than the exterior twin organs of the female chest – otherwise referred to as the breasts. Unlike in males, which of course are just a couple of buttons attached to the chest, the breasts of the woman have always been objects of much interest, whether overtly or covertly. Apparently, the breasts of the woman are secondary sexual organs, but the peculiar curve and arch of the breasts, their sensitivity to contact or touch, their role in the suckling engagement of infants, lend ever-abiding credence to both their artistic beauty and functionality.

In virtually all societies, the body of the woman is an object of interest, while it is a taboo to give an explicit detailing of the female anatomy, in other climes, the female body is worshipped. In pristine societies (settings that were not yet tainted with the vagaries of modernity), the female was held in awe and typified in utter sacrosanctity. African culture and so many others usually do not openly place much discourse on the female breast. Many cultures whose historico-cultural progress could not be documented hold varying but unique perspectives on the body of the woman – especially the female breasts. Any attempt towards the interpretation, perception and understanding of the placement of importance on the female breasts would naturally yield both cultural and conventional elucidation.

The Amazonian women, as captured by Greek historians, are depicted as a collection of a nation of female warriors. In world history, nothing more captures this unique gathering of women-warriors.

Records show the Amazonian women-warriors with their left breasts usually exposed, while the right ones were covered. This, of course, was done for the purpose of warfare. It was believed that in warfare, the left should be exposed so as to aid the handling of the arrow when shooting with the bow.

In pristine African milieus, women typified fertility. The female body commanded cosmic energy and it was therefore a taboo to misrepresent the body of the woman. In fact, of all the chambers of the female body, none assumed such spiritual connotations than the breasts. It was an act of utmost sacrilege for the female body to be exposed in near or total nudity. The breasts of the woman in African cultural settings were instruments, not just for the sexual gratification of the invasion of the male character, but had far reaching cosmic influence on monarchs. Monarchs who have lost their political and social relevance were cursed with the exposure of the female breasts, in protest. The breasts of such women were weapons of social and political change. Two very sacrosanct parts of the female anatomy in traditional African societies were the breasts and the vagina, the exposure of which attracted a curse to the male viewers. The deliberate exposure of the female body was the height of a man’s or monarch’s undoing.

Mordecai Sunday Ibrahim, President, Southern Kaduna Youth Vanguard, stated that “As far as I am concerned, it is an indecent act. A woman for whatever reason is not supposed to expose the sensitive parts of her body in the name of asking for change. We witnessed this in the 30s and the 50s, but of course in the 21st century we can see that these things are affecting the morals of our children. We should begin to think of better ways of pushing our case. What is wrong with hunger strike? What is wrong with carrying placards? Exposing the breasts is not decent. Neither Christianity nor Islam advocate this nonsense. Anywhere culture goes against your faith, you should drop culture. If we want to go into that then we should go on to wearing bante which my grandfather was wearing.”

Dr (Mrs) Gloria Olushola Adedoja, Department of Teacher Education, University of Ibadan, found no basis for the practice since other avenues are available. “I am not sure if that cultural implication of exposing the female breasts for change is still there. But in those days, it was there. Exposing the breasts is not the only way by which women can champion their causes. Women can make their reactions known by saying them in the dailies, writing notices to the people that are in charge. Even there could be the use of dialogue. Grievances can be made known through different fora. I doubt if such acts are relevant in our societies because people do not really recognise them. Now some of them could even be paid to do so but in those days it was not like that. When women came out like that, in those days, it meant that it was an issue that men could no longer handle,” she advised.

Dr Sola Olorunyomi, of the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan, saw a modern relevance of the practice. “When such interventions are made, they must not be used flippantly. I don’t necessary think that it has been misused. The Ekiti incidence was a show of the miscarriage of justice. There was really need for some kind of response by the people. Roads and infrastructure would come only when governance is good. Governance is foundational. If there is one thing people should response to, it is actually governance. I think it still holds some relevance,” he opined.

Unfortunately, in modern times, female breasts have been commoditised and commercialised. The media have constantly used the woman in the sale of goods which have no immediate relevance to her. Yet unfortunate is the fact that there is a gradual shift in the politicisation of the feminine power of the woman. Nigerian politics has invaded the sacrosanctity of the female energy housed in the female body. Threats using the female sexuality have become the norm in the Nigerian political space.

A bit of the horrendous act was demonstrated last year in Ekiti State during the electioneering engagements that almost marred the peace of the state. Women with tired, sagging and flabby mammalian glands came out in their droves carrying placards. The sickening aspect was the sensuous irrelevance of such breasts in display. What must have helped the Amazonian women in warfare, that Nigerian women must quickly adopt, was the distraction that their exposed left breasts caused their male opponents. Of course, what would be more disarming to a warring man than the incapacitating influence engineered by visual contact with the undulating, sensuous movement of youthful, firm breasts? The recent threat in the contemporary documentation of such incidents was the “No Jonathan, No sex” campaign of the Organisation of African Women in Diaspora, which was reported last month. The politicisation of the feminine sexuality is of course beginning to lose its power of suasion and social relevance. The same appeal to such sexuality was witnessed at the beginning of this month in Cross Rivers State when a group of aged women from Erei, Biase local government area stormed Calabar half dressed protesting what they collectively termed the “disenfranchisement and illegal arrest of their sons.” It would not be farther before the nation witnesses the use of the female breasts in electioneering, since it has been nationally inaugurated by the campaign for a Jonathan presidency in 2011.

In 2002, a group of women threatened to bare it all in the Niger Delta in protest against the incessant abuse of their environment by oil producing firms. Speaking, Terisa Turner, an anthropologist, argued that by exposing the breasts and the vagina, “The women are saying: We all came into the world through the vagina. By exposing the vagina, the women indicate that we hereby take back the life we gave you. It is about bringing forth life and denying life through social ostracism, which is a kind of social execution. Men who are exposed are viewed as dead.” If the baring of the female genitalia would do the nation good, perhaps it would now. There are more pressing demands now within the Nigerian socio-political landscape now than ever before. One wonders if the only negotiating tool possessed by the female gender is couched in her sexuality.


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