Posts tagged ‘obama’

January 25, 2012

Obama’s State of the Union Address

by Ben Hoffman

Obama needs to learn how to frame his comments a little better to penetrate America’s “bumper sticker” mentality. There are two central issues facing our country right now: high unemployment and high deficits.

The Republican “solution” is to fire government workers, allow businesses to pollute our environment, and allow banks to gamble with our money. And then when disaster ensues, they just blame it on the Democrats! Yeah, that’s good for our country!

Obama outlined his plan, which includes higher taxes on the highest incomes, which would help balance the budget and have little (if any) negative effect on the economy. Our infrastructure is in dire need of repair, and this is the ideal time to put people to work repairing it. We need huge cuts in military spending. The war on terror isn’t fought effectively with bombs; it’s fought with intelligence, which only requires a small fraction of the money required for traditional wars. We also need to repeal the Republican deregulation that caused the near total collapse of our economy, which means restoring Glass-Steagall.

If his SOTU speech was truly a political speech (as right-wing pundits claim), he would have called out Republicans on all the damage they’ve inflicted on our country. Republican deregulation resulted in the near total collapse of our economy. They allowed us to be attacked in 2001 and responded by invading and occupying two countries at a cost of thousands of American lives and trillions of dollars. It took intelligence to finally get Bin-Laden — not wars. Republican tax cuts (the Republican stimulus) did little to create jobs but more than doubled the national debt. Obama’s Stimulus was 1/3 tax cuts, so why all the whining about spending?

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December 7, 2011

The Values That Made America Great Are Not Shared By Republicans

by Ben Hoffman

Obama made a great speech this evening about American values. If you didn’t see it, you can watch it here:
http://video.msnbc.msn.com/nbc-news/45571853#45571853

He talked about American values and how we used to be a country where if you worked hard and were honest, you could make a good life for yourself and your family. Those days are gone. Now we’re a country that rewards reckless behavior and it’s every man for himself. The tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 benefited the wealthiest and put us deep in debt while the rest of the country stagnated. The deregulation and lack of enforcement of existing regulations led to the near total collapse of our economy. And Republicans are fighting tooth-and-nail for any new taxes to help balance the budget and for regulation to prevent another catastrophe. Republicans and right-wingers want to destroy our democracy, which will destroy our country. We’re well on the way towards fascism and so are several other countries as a result of the worldwide economic recession. Right-wingers lie to defend their party just as they did back in 1930s Germany. Time will tell if the result will be the same.

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June 24, 2011

Obama To Take Over Debt-Limit Negotiations – Another Capitulation In Store?

by Ben Hoffman

President Barack Obama signaled on Friday that he is ready to take over the debt-limit negotiations, summoning Senate leaders to the White House next week as the continuing impasse pushes the country closer to a potential default.

Obama will meet separately with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday. The meetings follow the collapse Thursday of talks between Vice President Joe Biden and congressional leaders. Read more…

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June 22, 2011

Obama: “We’ve Achieved Our Goals In Afghanistan” – After 10 Years, What Were Those Goals?

by Ben Hoffman

President Obama declared Wednesday that the United States had largely achieved its goals in Afghanistan, setting in motion an aggressive timetable for the withdrawal of American troops in an acknowledgement of the shifting threat in the region and fast-changing political and economic landscape in a war-weary America.

Asserting that the country that served as a launching pad for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks no longer represented a terrorist threat to the United States, Mr. Obama, in remarks prepared for delivery at 8 p.m. from the East Room of the White House, announced plans to withdraw 10,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year. The remaining 20,000 troops from the 2009 “surge” of forces would leave by next summer, amounting to about a third of the 100,000 troops now in the country. Read more…

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May 17, 2011

The Bush Administration taking credit for killing Osama bin Laden is akin to…

by Ben Hoffman


The Bush Administration taking credit for killing Osama bin Laden is akin to…


…if birds took credit for the “Miracle on the Hudson” landing performed by Chesley Sullenberger, after his plane hit a flock that disabled its engines.


…if King George III took credit for the United States of America after England lost the colonies.


…if neo-Nazis took credit for the hit Broadway musical “The Producers.”

Read more…

May 15, 2011

The deficit showdown: Republicans (corporations) vs. the American people

by Ben Hoffman

In an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday, Boehner conceded that Congress will need to eventually raise the debt ceiling, which currently stands at $14.29 trillion. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner wrote in a letter to Congress earlier this month that the nation will reach its debt limit on May 16, but can rely on “extraordinary measures” to prevent from defaulting on its loans until August. Geithner wrote that default by the U.S. “would have a catastrophic economic impact that would be felt by every American,” and other economists have said that failing to raise the debt ceiling would have a disastrous effect on the markets.

Despite these warnings, many members of Congress have said that they will not vote for a bill that raises the debt ceiling unless it is paired with other efforts to get the nation’s deficit under control, such as major spending cuts or changes to entitlement programs. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reiterated on Sunday that he sees the pending debt limit deadline as a “great opportunity” to talk about spending.

McConnell has said he will vote against any debt-limit deal if it does not include long-term cuts to entitlment programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

“Rather than thinking of this as a crisis, I think of this as an opportunity to come together,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” adding that he would not support tax increases as part of the deal.

Boehner has also ruled out tax increases as part of a deal for grappling with the long-term deficit, despite appeals by Democrats to use revenue-increasing measures to avoid some program cuts.

Read more…

Let’s see who gets the shaft this time. Cutting Medicare benefits would be political suicide for the Republicans since the vast majority of Americans like that program. Remember the Teabaggers screaming “KEEP THE GOVERNMENT’S HANDS OFF MY MEDICARE!!!”? And Obama isn’t going to sign any bill that cuts Medicaid.

So who will win this time? Chances are, it won’t be the American people.

May 13, 2011

Everyone but the wealthy suffers when conservatives get their way

by Ben Hoffman

Because Republicans and right-wing sheep defeated any meaningful health insurance reform, we’re paying higher and higher premiums. Obama can be considered complicit for not fighting for the American people. The Democrats should have fought hard for a public option for health insurance. That would have given us another option. Those who like to pay high premiums for private health insurance administration could continue to do so. Those of us who don’t believe insurance companies add much value and should be run as non-profits would have an alternative. But, because of the overly emotional right-wingers and the Republicans bought and paid for by insurance corporations, we don’t have any choice but to pay through the nose.

What would happen if we had a government option? People would have more money to spend on other things, which would stimulate the economy. More people would be able to afford insurance, which would increase demand for health care, which would increase demand for health care workers, which would stimulate the economy. People would be more inclined to seek out preventive care, which would cut down on emergency room visits. Our tax dollars pay for these people to use the emergency rooms and pay for their care when they don’t have insurance. If they did have insurance, it would save us money.

The overly emotional right-wingers just don’t like the idea of government providing services. To them, if you can’t make a profit from it, it isn’t worth doing. Unless, of course, it involves THEIR Social Security or Medicare. Then it’s “hands off!”

So this is what we’re dealing with, now that conservatives have gotten their way:

Health Insurers Making Record Profits as Many Postpone Care
The nation’s major health insurers are barreling into a third year of record profits, enriched in recent months by a lingering recessionary mind-set among Americans who are postponing or forgoing medical care.

The UnitedHealth Group, one of the largest commercial insurers, told analysts that so far this year, insured hospital stays actually decreased in some instances. In reporting its earnings last week, Cigna, another insurer, talked about the “low level” of medical use.

Yet the companies continue to press for higher premiums, even though their reserve coffers are flush with profits and shareholders have been rewarded with new dividends. Many defend proposed double-digit increases in the rates they charge, citing a need for protection against any sudden uptick in demand once people have more money to spend on their health, as well as the rising price of care.

[...]

Significant increases in how much people have to pay for their medical care may prevent a solid rebound. In recent years, many employers have sharply reduced benefits, while raising deductibles and co-payments so people have to reach deeper into their pockets.

In 2010, about 10 percent of people covered by their employer had a deductible of at least $2,000, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit research group, compared with just 5 percent of covered workers in 2008.

[...]

High deductibles also can be daunting. David Welch, a nurse in California whose policy has a $4,000 deductible, said he was surprised to realize he had delayed going to the dermatologist, even though he had a history of skin cancer. Mr. Welch, who has been a supporter of the need to overhaul insurance industry practices for the California Nurses Association union, said he hoped his medical training would help him determine when to go to the doctor. “I underestimated how much that cost would affect my behavior,” he said.

[...]

Because they say they expect costs to rebound, insurers have not been shy about asking for higher rates. In Oregon, for example, Regence BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit insurer that is the state’s largest, is asking for a 22 percent increase for policies sold to individuals. In California, regulators have been resisting requests from insurers to raise rates by double digits.

Read more…

BlueCross passes itself off as a non-profit while paying its CEOs over 10 million dollars a year, as do many insurance companies. Medicare operates at about a 4% overhead with no multi-million dollar salaries for people whose objective is to figure out ways to deny coverage. Profit is the reason private insurance companies are in business and denying coverage increases profits.

July 16, 2010

Major Test For Obama’s Backbone: Elizabeth Warren As Head of the New Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

by Ben Hoffman

Elizabeth Warren was one of the few who forecasted the disaster that would result from the late 90s deregulation. Geithner and Greenspan were violently apposed to her dissenting views. It turned out, they were wrong and she was right.

Now Geithner is blocking her appointment to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and lying about it. Here is Simon Johnson’s take on it:

It’s one thing to block Elizabeth Warren from heading the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

It’s quite another thing to deny in public, for the record, that any such blocking is going on (e.g., see this report; Michael Barr apparently said something quite similar today).

There is a strong groundswell of opinion on this issue from the left – see the BoldProgressives petition. But the center also feels strongly that, given everything Treasury has said and done over the past few months, it would be a complete travesty not to put the strongest possible regulator in change of protecting consumers. (See Ted Kaufman on the NYT’s DealBook, giving appropriate credit to the SEC, and apply the same points to broader customer issues going forward.)

This can now go only one of two ways.

1. Elizabeth Warren gets the job. Bridges are mended and the White House regains some political capital. Secretary Geithner is weakened slightly but he’ll recover.
2. Someone else gets the job, despite Treasury’s claims that Elizabeth Warren was not blocked. The deception in this scenario would be nauseating – and completely blatant. “Everyone was considered on their merits” and “the best candidate won” will convince who exactly?

Despite the growing public reaction, outcome #2 is the most likely and the White House needs to understand this, plain and clear – there will be complete and utter revulsion at its handling of financial regulatory reform both on this specific issue and much more broadly. The administration’s position in this area is already weak, its achievements remain minimal, its speaking points are lame, and the patience of even well-inclined people is wearing thin.

Failing to appoint Elizabeth Warren would be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. It will go down in the history books as a turning point – downwards – for this administration.

Read more…

Here’s a video of Warren grilling Geithner

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May 17, 2010

Differences Between Liberals and Conservatives

by Ben Hoffman

Just thought I’d repost my “differences” blog entry… :)

A liberal is willing to fight for liberty.
A conservative is willing to give up liberty for security.

If a liberal doesn’t believe that abortion is morally acceptable, she doesn’t have one.
If a conservative doesn’t believe that abortion is morally acceptable, he or she wants to prevent anyone from having one.

When a liberal asks where he gets his news, he’ll give legitimate sources such as the N.Y. Times or Washington Post.
When a conservative asks where he gets his news, he won’t usually answer because it’s not from legitimate news sources.

A liberal sees wrong and tries to right it.
A conservative sees wrong and if it involves another conservative, he claims it’s biased.

A liberal believes most foreign policy issues are best dealt with by taking diplomatic measures.
A conservative believes we should bomb first and ask questions later.

A liberal doesn’t mind his hard earned money going to legitimate government programs.
A conservative hates all things government, but doesn’t mind his hard earned money going towards multi-million dollar bonuses for CEOs.

When a liberal thinks about education, he thinks about college.
When a conservative thinks about education, he thinks about grade school and high school.

A liberal knows that a fact is information that is verifiable.
A conservative thinks a fact is something you can link to. It might be just somebody’s opinion, but if you can link to it, he believes it’s acceptable to use it as a “fact.”

A liberal debates with facts.
A conservative debates by insulting the other person.

A liberal evaluates information and forms an opinion.
A conservative gets his opinions from right-wing pundits.

A liberal debates by siting events that have occurred.
A conservative debates by predicting events he believes will occur.

A liberal debates using facts.
A conservative debates the facts.

May 13, 2010

The Pitfalls of Privatizing Government Work

by Ben Hoffman

With all the fear mongering about socialism these days, the privatization of public entities almost always leads to corruption, lower paying jobs, and poor quality.

DES MOINES, Iowa – Nine people were indicted Wednesday on federal charges of accessing President Barack Obama’s student loan records while they were employed for a Department of Education contractor in Iowa.

The U.S. attorney’s office said a grand jury returned the indictments in U.S. District Court in Davenport.

All nine are charged with exceeding authorized computer access. They are accused of gaining access to a computer at a Coralville office where they worked between July 2007 and March 2009, and accessing Obama’s student loan records while he was either a candidate for president, president-elect or president.

Read more…

While right-wingers won’t have a problem with this since the actions of those accused were to help Republicans, and anything goes when it comes to helping Republicans, if the shoe was on the other foot, they’d be outraged.

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April 13, 2010

Obama Reveals Top Candidates For SCOTUS Opening

by Ben Hoffman

President Barack Obama is reviewing several candidates to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.

“I’d like to nominate a moderate, but to balance the court, I think we need to get the left-wing equivalent of Scalia and Roberts in there,” Obama told reporters. “Someone that radical may be hard to find, though.”

Obama’s short list is said to include William Ayers, Ward Churchill, Louis Farrakhan, and Noam Chomsky.

Senator Lamar Alaxander (R-TN) suggested in a statement today that he might filibuster any candidate who is not Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, or Newt Gingrich.

“We need a Justice who represents the will of the real Americans,” Alaxander stated, “not some elitist who uses facts and logic in their reasoning.”

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April 13, 2010

Medvedev Mocks George W. Bush

by Ben Hoffman

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, in a recent interview with George Stephanopoulus, implied president Bush was not much of a thinker.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You’ve now met with President Obama many times. At least 15 meetings and phone calls.

MEDVEDEV: Sixteen times.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Sixteen. Okay, I knew it was 15. I wasn’t sure about the 16. What do you make of Barack Obama the man?

MEDVEDEV: He’s very comfortable partner, it’s very interesting to be with him. The most important thing that distinguishes him from many other people – I won’t name anyone by name – he’s a thinker, he thinks when he speaks. Which is already pretty good.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You had somebody in your mind, I think. (LAUGHS)

MEDVEDEV: Obviously I do have someone on my mind. I don’t want to mention anyone by name, but his initials are “GEORGE W. BUSH! George Bush is so stupid, he once tripped over a wireless phone! George Bush is so dumb, he got fired from his job at the M&M factory for throwing out all the ‘W’s! George Bush is so dumb, he once put money in the parking meter and waited for a gumball to come out! Wait, I’m not finished… (laughs out loud) Bush is so stupid, his geometry test said “Find x”, and he circled it and said “there it is!” Bush is so dumb, he stares at an orange juice carton every morning for an hour because it says “concentrate!”

(At this point in the interview, Medvedev rolled on the floor, laughing his ass off.)

MEDVEDEV: Ah, sorry… But seriously, Barack Obama is eager to listen to his partner, which is a pretty good quality for a politician. Because any politician is to a certain degree a mentor. They preach something. And the ability to listen to their partner is very important for the politician. And he is pretty deeply emerged in the subject, so he has a good knowledge of what he’s talking about. There was no instance in our meetings with Mr. Obama where he wasn’t well prepared for the questions. This is very good. And after all, he’s simply a very pleasant man with whom it’s a pleasure to deal with.

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March 30, 2010

Bad News For Republicans: Economy Shows Signs Of Recovery

by Ben Hoffman

Employers in the U.S. probably added jobs in March, setting the stage for a broadening of the economic expansion.

Payrolls are expected to rise by 190,000, the most in three years, after declining 36,000 in February, according to the median forecast of 62 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News before a Labor Department report due out Friday.

Various news organizations, including Dow Jones, Reuters, Bloomberg and CBS MarketWatch, poll economists before release of the report, which includes job numbers and the unemployment rate.

A Dow Jones Newswires survey predicts March nonfarm payroll jobs will increase by 203,000. That would be the largest rise since March 2007 — well before the recession began.

Read more…

The March consumer confidence index came in at 52.5, up from 46.4 in February, slightly beating forecasts, the Conference Board said moments ago.

This marks a rebound to January levels, which hit 56.5.

The Conference Board index is one of two prominent monthly measures of consumer confidence, the other being the Reuters/University of Michigan number. That number came out last week and showed essentially no change from February.

So we’ve got conflicting numbers between the new major indexes. Obviously, each poll has different methodology. The Conference Board’s index is based on a monthly survey of 5,000 U.S. households, for instance.

Read more…

The Democrats are growing a backbone, the economy is recovering, we’re getting out of Iraq, the Afghanistan mission seems to be working, and the Democrats passed health insurance reform that will help a lot of people, all with the Republicans trying to blog every move so they could claim a “do-nothing” administration. Next is financial reform, which Republicans will try to block.

Democrats may actually pick up some seats this fall!

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March 22, 2010

Ten Immediate Benefits of Health Care Reform

by Ben Hoffman

Here are ten benefits which come online within six months of the President’s signature on the health care bill:

  1. Adult children may remain as dependents on their parents’ policy until their 27th birthday
  2. Children under age 19 may not be excluded for pre-existing conditions
  3. No more lifetime or annual caps on coverage
  4. Free preventative care for all
  5. Adults with pre-existing conditions may buy into a national high-risk pool until the exchanges come online. While these will not be cheap, they’re still better than total exclusion and get some benefit from a wider pool of insureds.
  6. Small businesses will be entitled to a tax credit for 2009 and 2010, which could be as much as 50% of what they pay for employees’ health insurance.
  7. The “donut hole” closes for Medicare patients, making prescription medications more affordable for seniors.
  8. Requirement that all insurers must post their balance sheets on the Internet and fully disclose administrative costs, executive compensation packages, and benefit payments.
  9. Authorizes early funding of community health centers in all 50 states (Bernie Sanders’ amendment). Community health centers provide primary, dental and vision services to people in the community, based on a sliding scale for payment according to ability to pay.
  10. AND no more rescissions. Effective immediately, you can’t lose your insurance because you get sick.

Source

It’s a national security issue. Obama and the Democrats have made us more safe.

January 29, 2010

Obama Visits House Republican Retreat – Ruins Their Vacation

by Ben Hoffman

As promised in his State of the Union Address, President Obama met with House Republicans for a question and answer session. The Republicans used all their talking points and lies and Obama knocked them down, one by one. Even after a year of dealing with the skunks, Obama still has hope that everyone can work together in peace and harmony. What he doesn’t realize is that right-wingers have nothing to offer but fear and hatred, so they’re not going to try to work with Democrats on anything.

Anyway, here’s the video… (The audio gets better after a minute or two)

President Obama Full Q&A

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