Ashley Alman: A Boy Who Asked Obama About Stem Cell Research In 2007 Writes To Say It Saved His Life
A young cancer survivor sent President Barack Obama a moving letter thanking him for keeping a promise made during a 2007 campaign stop — a promise the boy says saved his life. Gavin Nore, a teen from Fort Dodge, Iowa, told Obama in a letter shared by the White House Tuesday that he’d had the opportunity to meet the president during his first presidential campaign.
At the time, Nore asked Obama whether he’d continue stem cell research during his presidency, to which the president responded he would. In February 2013, Nore was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. He was 14 years old. Nore said he was “cancer free” by that summer, but was later re-diagnosed. “I had to have a stem cell transplant. I beat the battle once again,” Nore wrote to the president. “I would like to thank you very much for continuing the research. If the research haden’t [sic] continued, I wouldn’t be here today.”
These days Jeanette and I are doing childcare a full two days a week for our three grandchildren, four year old Matilda, and the five month old twins, Lucia and Paul. As I watch them grow and go through developmental stages I am reminded of how important it is for human beings to learn ways to calm their mind and emotions in order to react constructively with others in this world. That process starts early. And there are too many examples of human beings not learning that important skill with sad and tragic consequences both as individuals and nations.
The great spiritual leaders of our time and before, like Bishop Tutu, the Dalai Lama, and Pope Francis speak of the essential value of learning to resolve conflict with our enemies in a peaceful way so that we can live in the fruits of peace and true security. The prophet Micah says that there is no security unless all are secure. It begins with feeling secure and safe within ourselves with calm and stable thoughts and emotions.
We are at a critical juncture in our nation where a debate rages between choosing the present opportunity of resolving conflict with Iran, birthplace of a 6,000 year old ancient and advanced civilization, a nation declared by many to be an enemy. We have the opportunity- now sanctioned and authorized by a vote of the United Nations Security Council as international law- to choose diplomacy with international enforcement or unilateral war with Iran, another Middle East War with boundless catastrophic consequences.
This should be an easy choice. However, we have a faction in our country that has made a policy choice of regime change through war,and will accept no peaceful agreement that allows that govt. to stay in power. Led by a foreign govt,, funded by sympathetic billionaires Congress may likely vote disapproval of diplomacy and international law (although it is unlikely there are the votes to overcome a veto). What is needed is rational and constructive thinking and intention. Contrary to media reports, Congress does not have the authority to block this international law from implementation(see article below), but it can make impediments for implementation that will only harm the United States and US businesses.
Now is an important time especially here in Oregon as one of our senators, Ron Wyden, under the influence of a foreign govt. and its agent here in the US, is reported to be leaning toward a war decision. It is important that he hear from Oregonians as I write. Once before Senator Wyden made a rational decision to not support the war in Iraq. I am hoping he will do likewise in this case.
Those of you who know me, know that I have a life commitment to a strong meditation practice, because for me it has been the way of inner peace, harmony of mind and emotion, and healing of the soul. It is this spiritual commitment that leads me to talk to my Facebook friends, in a not customary fashion, about a vital policy decision facing our country. To make a decision to turn our backs on an internationally supported decision for diplomacy with enforcement to make a decision of a path towards war, a plan overwhelmingly supported by the scientific and weapons control community, which will actually harm our our stated policy objective of preventing nuclear proliferation, would be tragic and lead to tragic consequences for generations to come, a decision that affect even these little grandchildren of ours. Deliberate unilateral decision to deny the opportunity of peaceful resolution and choose a war of regime change is evil and destructive. It is a choice our Congress will vote on in Sept. just a few weeks. I am posting this for your own reflection and discernment, and not to invite a debate on this site.
Helping Liberia – Thank you President Obama – from the bottom of my heart
On August 3, at the urging of BobFr, I sent a letter to President Obama. Essentially, it was a modified comment I had posted here.
It was just at the start of the African Summit that President Obama was going to be convening with leaders from across the continent. At the time, news of the Ebola virus ravaging several countries in West Africa, including Liberia, my native country, was being hotly discussed. We also learned that Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the president of Liberia, would not be attending the conference because of the seriousness of the deadly virus. I lamented here that this would have been an opportune time for her to discuss not only the Ebola virus, but the deplorable health care infrastructure in the country.
I touched on some of those same concerns here in my August 3 comments (here)
That’s why after Bob encouraged me to write President Obama, I did. On September 22, I received a letter from him, dated September, 15, 2014.
I don’t quite remember everything I said to the president in my letter, because I typed it in the White House e-mail format and regrettably did not save a copy. But I believe I shared with him the lack of basic health care in Liberia and my own family struggle with my husband’s illness and desire to return someday, but could not do so. Without adequate routine medical care, my husband would not survive in Liberia, given that there is no treatment center there to treat him.
So, two days ago, shortly after I had gotten home briefly to drop off the car so that my husband could run and see his nurse, as I walked into the door, he said, “There is an envelope for you from the White House.” You can only imagine my surprise.
I immediately dropped my purse and grabbed the oversized manila envelope. I quickly opened it and began reading its contents. I was so excited, I could barely contain myself. I ran to my computer and tweeted that I got the letter and then posted it here.
My friends, words cannot express my deepest gratitude to President Obama for the swift action he has taken to save the lives of thousands of Liberians. It is a massive undertaking that many in Liberia will be grateful for, too. (Liberian Observer: President Obama’s Robust Response: A Security Council Resolution Could Greatly Help the Process)
You see, even before I wrote to President Obama, the U.S. had already taken steps to help Liberia and other countries in the region. And since my letter weeks ago, the President and his administration, alongside their International partners, have done much more to help battle the deadly virus. As part of the efforts to respond the Ebola epidemic, last week, the president sent 3,000 soldiers to Liberia to begin the work of containing the fast moving virus. (WH FACT SHEET: U.S. Response to the Ebola Epidemic in West Africa)
I am hopeful that the residual effects from the aid by the U.S. government and its partners around the world, will offer an opportunity for Liberia to emerge with a health care infrastructure, that will not only allow me and my family to go home, but will benefit thousands of Liberians who suffer needlessly and sometimes die from illnesses that could be easily treated.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “the 2014 Ebola outbreak is the largest Ebola outbreak in history and the first Ebola outbreak in West Africa.” And to date, it has touched the lives of 5,864 people. In Liberia alone, some 1,500 people have died. (CDC: 2014 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa)
So far, both my husband’s family and mine still living in Liberia, have not been harmed by the devasting virus. Many others are not so lucky.
Not only do we count our blessings for this, but also for President Obama’s action to take a stand and join other nations to prevent the loss of countless lives.
For this, as a Liberian native, I am eternally grateful to President Obama and I thank him from the bottom of my heart. Many Liberians will never forget what you have done here today.
Thank you fellow TODers for all your support and encouragement. I am deeply honored to be a part of this wonderful place.
On This Day: President Obama waits to be introduced in the Blue Room for ABC’s “Prescription for America” town hall conversation on health care at the White House on June 24, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Today (All Times Eastern)
12:0: The Vice President ceremonially swears in Sylvia Mathews Burwell as Secretary of Health and Human Services
12:45: Josh Earnest briefs the press
6:30: President Obama hosts the 2013 Presidents Cup Team, East Room
Forty-six years after the Fair Housing Act took aim at racial segregation and poverty in America, the federal government has declared the effort half-hearted and is setting out to fix it. Within months, the Obama administration is expected to require local governments to devise new strategies to give people in poor, racially segregated areas better access to jobs, transportation, and, particularly, good schools. At stake locally are tens of millions of dollars in federal grants distributed across the region, from Atlanta to Marietta to Gwinnett County. If governments fail to satisfy the mandate, they could lose that money. To date, few outside of Washington have even heard of the proposal. Where it is known, it tends to draw sharp reactions across the political spectrum:
Liberals, who have waited decades for an administration with moxie enough to confront the issue, cheer it; conservatives blast it as an assault on local communities. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 was one of that decade’s signature civil rights laws. Its intent, confirmed in some subsequent court decisions, was not just to prevent obvious discrimination, such as refusing to sell or rent homes to racial minorities. By that definition, things that may stand in the way of “fair housing” might include zoning that keeps apartments or affordable houses out of good neighborhoods. It might include a lack of public transportation from poor neighborhoods to the areas with jobs that pay well. It might include fewer and shabbier parks or weaker police protection in poor areas than affluent ones, or benign neglect of troubled public schools.
A brief note on a new Elliott Abrams essay in Politico Magazine that appears under the eye-catching headline, “The Man Who Broke the Middle East.” The man in question is not Sykes or Picot or Nasser or Saddam or Khomeini or George W. Bush or Nouri al-Maliki, but Barack Obama. A few points. The first is to note that the Middle East Obama inherited in early 2009 was literally at war—Israel and the Gaza-based Hamas were going at each other hard until nearly the day of Obama’s inauguration. Obama managed to extract himself from that one without breaking the Middle East. In reference to a “contained” Iran, I would only note that Iran in 2009 was moving steadily toward nuclearization, and nothing that the Bush administration, in which Elliott served, had done seemed to be slowing Iran down. Flash forward to today—the Obama administration (with huge help from Congress) implemented a set of sanctions so punishing that it forced Iran into negotiations.
(Obama, it should be said, did a very good job bringing allies on board with this program.) Iran’s nuclear program is currently frozen. The Bush administration never managed to freeze Iran’s nuclear apparatus in place. I’m not optimistic about the prospects for success in these negotiations (neither is Obama), but the president should get credit for leading a campaign that gave a negotiated solution to the nuclear question a fighting chance. It’s also worth noting that when Obama came to power, he discovered that the Bush administration had done no detailed thinking about ways to confront Iran, either militarily or through negotiations. There was rhetoric, but no actual planning. Obama applied himself to this problem in ways that Bush simply did not.
The president of Iraq’s ethnic Kurdish region declared Tuesday that “we are facing a new reality and a new Iraq” as the country considers new leadership for its Shiite-led government as an immediate step to curb a Sunni insurgent rampage. The comments by Kurdish President Massoud Barzani came as he met with visiting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is pushing the central government in Baghdad to at least adopt new policies that would give more authority to Iraq’s minority Sunnis and Kurds. Kerry has repeatedly said that it’s up to Iraqis — not the U.S. or other nations — to select their leaders. But he also has noted bitterness and growing impatience among all of Iraq’s major sects and ethnic groups with the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Barzani told Kerry that Kurds are seeking “a solution for the crisis that we have witnessed.”
Kerry said at the start of an hour-long private meeting that the Kurdish security forces known as peshmerga have been “really critical” in helping restrain the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a Sunni insurgency that has overtaken several key areas in Iraq’s west and north, and is pushing the country toward civil war. “This is a very critical time for Iraq, and the government formation challenge is the central challenge that we face,” Kerry said. He said Iraqi leaders must “produce the broad-based, inclusive government that all the Iraqis I have talked to are demanding.
Last week, an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found President Obama tying his record low approval rating of 41 percent. NBC’s Chuck Todd, referring to another poll result showing that 54 percent of Americans “no longer feel that he is able to lead the country and get the job done,” told the hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” “Essentially the public is saying, ‘Your presidency is over.’” But one morsel from the NBC/WSJ poll didn’t fit that narrative: 67 percent of respondents are in favor of the president’s newly announced regulations “to set strict carbon dioxide emission limits on existing coal-fired power plants.” And when the pollsters re-asked the question, after presenting supporting and opposing arguments, including charges of “fewer jobs” and “higher prices,” approval held with a healthy 53 percent to 39 percent margin. That’s a hell of a lot of support for a major presidential initiative from an electorate supposedly no longer listening to the president. What did Obama do right? Adhering to a favorite maxim of U.S. presidents of both parties that it’s remarkable how much you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit, Obama tapped EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to announce the plan and stump for it in media interviews. By keeping a relatively low-profile, Obama tempered the media’s tendency to polarize everything while dampening conservative backlash, a strategy that previously helped shepherd the Dodd-Frank financial regulation law and the repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy on gays and lesbians.
While Obama was exhibiting leadership with finesse, Republicans decided to run into a wall. Instead of training their fire on the climate proposal in the days following the June 2 release, they obsessed over freed prisoner of war Bowe Bergdahl. The president has bucked the trend of history and successfully used the bully pulpit to advance another major goal: raising the minimum wage. Anticipating obstinacy from House Republicans, he told the states during his January 2014 State of the Union address, “You don’t have to wait for Congress to act.” He followed up that call with several outside-the-Beltway stump speeches urging states to raise their minimum wage above the federal standard. The stumping is working. So far this year, eight states have raised their minimums and later this week Massachusetts will make it nine. If I were a Republican, I would not be savoring Obama’s 41 percent approval rating and presuming his presidency was done. I would be worried about my party’s 29 percent approval rating, its 15 percent level of support among Latinos and Obama’s plans to take executive action on immigration reform if House Republicans don’t act by July 31. If you think Obama isn’t able to lead on immigration, after what he has done on climate and minimum wage, you haven’t been paying attention.
Greg Sargent: Care About Minors Crossing Border? Then Pass Immigration Reform Now!
Amid all the noise over the crisis of minors crossing the border into South Texas, a basic fact about this debate has gotten lost: The humanitarian disaster we’re now seeing is actually an argument in favor of immigration reform, not against it. Republicans have suggested the crisis proves they are right about Obama’s lawlessness (he cannot be trusted to enforce the law or secure the border, so they shouldn’t make a deal with him) and that the general promise of reform, or “amnesty,” is acting as a magnet for kids. All of this makes it more certain they will not embrace reform this year. But this has it exactly backwards. The crisis underscores the need for reform. In the days ahead, you may see Dems amplify this case. Simon Rosenberg of the New Democrat Network, who has been working on this issue for a decade,
offers this simple explanation for why the crisis is an argument for action: “If Congress wants to help solve the border migrants crisis, the single most consequential thing it could do would be to pass the Senate immigration bill or something similar in the House. Nothing else would do as much to clear up the confusion in Central America about how our system works or do as much to make clear that recent arrivals will not be able to stay under some form of future legalization. Congress will have spoken with a loud and clear voice, making it near impossible for criminal elements south of the border to exploit our current inadequate system for their own ends.”
Hayes Brown: Nobody Thought Syria Would Give Up Its Chemical Weapons. It Just Did.
Last year’s deal to remove all of Syria’s chemical weapons was widely recognized to be extremely ambitious, with a timeframe that few expected would actually be achievable. On Monday, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) announced that beyond many expectations, Syria has turned over all of its declared chemical weapons stockpile for destruction. As the process was ongoing, critics lashed out at the framework negotiated between Russia and the United States last year as a strategic failure. “This removal of chemical weapons…[is] the very thing that has validated [Assad]; it’s the thing that we did to put him in the strongest position he’s been in since this conflict began,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said in March. At the announcement of the deal last September, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said it “requires a willful suspension of disbelief to see this agreement as anything than the start of a diplomatic blind alley,
and the Obama Administration is being led into it by Bashar Assad and Vladimir Putin.” Still now these weapons are out of hands of Syria, a fact that might not be said if the administration had launched the air strikes it threatened prior to the compromise between Moscow and Washington. And the grounds for legitimacy that the international community needed to bestow upon Assad to facilitate the removal process is gone. With that complete, the international community will now likely return its attention to figuring out how to remove Assad without further emboldening the more extreme militants operating in Syria — including the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) which is currently in possession of several cities across the border in Iraq.
R.E. front-page article, Obama bends on health cancellations 11/15/13
If you received a cancellation letter from your insurance company, don’t try to hang on to your sub-standard policy without calling Cover Oregon first at 1-855-268-3767 to find out if you could get a better deal. Individuals making up to $45,960 and families of 4 up to $92,400 may be eligible for federal subsidies which you won’t get if you keep your old policy.
The Affordable Care Act grandfathered all the individual policies that were in place at the time the law was enacted, hence President Obama’s statement that you could keep your plan if you liked it. There were limits on the amount of increase in premiums or deductibles to keep this grandfathered status. The plans being cancelled because they don’t meet the minimal standards were introduced by private insurers after passage of the ACA, knowing they wouldn’t be in compliance by 1/1/14. The insurers should have disclosed this when they issued the policy. Now they are trying to blame their lack of transparency on the President.
A great way to be proactive about ObamaCare, is to write to your local paper if there is an avenue for that. Thanks Judith, for the inspiration and for doing your part to spread facts about the wonderful law that is the Affordable Care Act.
Letter From Governor Patrick to the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation on the Affordable Care Act
Friday, November 15, 2013 – Governor Deval Patrick today sent the following letter regarding the Affordable Care Act to the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation:
As you consider current proposals to change the Affordable Care Act (ACA), I write to remind you about what we have learned from health care reform in Massachusetts, and to inform you of some of our experiences so far with implementing it.
We have seen firsthand the positive changes brought about by a strong individual insurance market with protections that ensure a basic level of care. Individuals are protected from being dropped from insurance when they need it most, or being denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. Benefits must meet minimum standards, and there are limits on individuals’ exposure to out-of-pocket costs for needed health care. And the rest of us are protected against having our premiums inflated or our taxes tapped to pick up the tab for the uninsured or underinsured. With these basic features in place, we have achieved near universal coverage, better health and slower growth in health costs. With the ACA, the same can and will happen for the country.
Much has been made of the fact that some Americans have had their current policies canceled by their insurers. Some of that, we know, is in the normal course of annual insurance renewals. Some is because the existing policies do not provide the minimum level of coverage required by the ACA. So long as the means for individuals to learn about and enroll in affordable alternatives is available, through an improved website, a call center or otherwise, the transition of people from non-compliant policies to compliant ones should proceed.
Nonetheless, the public has been poorly informed about this transition, and too many consumers are unable to enroll conveniently in compliant plans. For some, the temporary delay proposed yesterday by the President may be appropriate. Our experience in Massachusetts tells us that our health plans and their customers have prepared for the transition and are unlikely to need or to use the additional time.
However, any delay in requiring plans to meet the basic standards of the ACA must only be temporary. Leaving non-compliant plans to remain permanently in place means we revert to the status quo: a broken health care system where many people carry policies that don’t cover them when they get seriously ill, and where those with comprehensive coverage pay for those uninsured or underinsured in higher premiums and taxes. Permitting plans to be permanently non-compliant means the pool of individuals who do purchase plans through the marketplaces will likely be sicker on average, and their options will be more expensive and constrained. And it will disrupt the market-based model on which premiums and policy options hinge.
We benefit in Massachusetts from broad, bipartisan support for health reform and the willingness of our legislature — encouraged by business, labor, industry, patient advocates and others — to make refinements to our plan as we go. The President does not enjoy that collaboration with the Congress, and the American people suffer as a result. If you wish to take further legislative action to ensure the successful extension of the benefits of the ACA to all our citizens, I would humbly propose that you consider granting the administration broader authority to make adjustments to the ACA by regulation so long as such regulations advance the fundamental goal. That way any administration can make changes in the details of implementation quickly in response to lessons learned along the way.
The fundamental goal of the Affordable Care Act is to give all Americans access to reliable, quality health insurance at a reasonable cost. Guaranteeing a basic level of coverage for everyone is the first step towards fixing our broken health care system and promoting a healthier population. We have seen in Massachusetts how well it works and how important it is. While the transition is challenging for some, I urge you not to lose sight of the long-term good for all as you consider any changes or adjustments to the Affordable Care Act.
For these reasons, I urge you to oppose any bill that extends access to non-compliant plans beyond a short transition period.
ThinkProgress: Oklahoma Woman Tells GOP Lawmakers: Without Obamacare, ‘I Will Be Dead Before My 27th Birthday’
As the deadline approached for Congress to pass a continuing resolution to keep the government funded, Republicans refused to strike a deal unless it defunded or delayed Obamacare. Now, a week later, GOP lawmakers still seem unwilling to compromise unless they are able to dismantle some of the health reform law. One Oklahoma resident wants them to understand the human impact of that political position.
On the eve of the looming government shutdown, 26-year-old Kendall Brown published an open letter to the lawmakers who wanted to delay Obamacare for one year before agreeing to pass a funding bill. Brown didn’t mince words. “I am dying, because of the political games you are playing right now,” her op-ed began.
Dear lawmakers currently attempting to shut down Obamacare,
My name is Kendall Brown. I am a 26-year-old, college graduate with a full-time job…
And I am dying, because of the political games you are playing right now.
You see, I was born with Crohn’s Disease. This didn’t happen because I ate unhealthy food, or because I smoked, or because of any of the other reasons we use to victim blame sick people and justify not giving our countrymen adequate health care. I became severely ill beginning in the third grade because I won a genetic lottery that left me with a disease that would quickly drop me to 87 pounds, render me unable to walk at times, and nearly kill me twice…..
…. I don’t tell you this to make you feel sorry for me, Mr or Mrs lawmaker. I tell you this because I am tired of being reduced to a number, a statistic or, even worse, being described as a freeloader that wants to live off of the government health care teat. I tell you this because if you defund Obamacare, or delay it even for one year, as you are debating today, then this will be my last letter to you. I will be dead before my 27th birthday.
If you think that my life, and the lives of thousands of other people like me have no value, then by all means, delay the ACA. But before you do so, I’d like to invite you to hear stories from others like me, or, if you find yourself in the great state of Oklahoma, come meet me. I’d love to show you around and buy you a cup of coffee — and to introduce you to the woman you are killing.
While Republicans were throwing their silly tantrum, Obamacare became a fact. There is no turning back.
The point of no return was reached when millions of people crashed the Web sites of the new Affordable Care Act exchanges while trying to buy health insurance. Republicans can fight rear-guard battles if they want, but last Tuesday they lost the war. All they can do at this point is harm the nation — and their political prospects.
Medicare guaranteed health care for the elderly, Medicaid for the poor. Obamacare begins to fill the remaining gaps. It will get better over time, but already — crashing Web sites and all — it’s a beautiful thing.
TPM: Carl Bernstein Slams Media’s ’50/50′ Shutdown Coverage: ‘This Is About The Republican Party’
Longtime journalist Carl Bernstein on Tuesday called on the press to abandon the false equivalence that’s colored much of the coverage of the government shutdown.
Appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” the man who helped break the Watergate scandal said that the current budget impasse is not a two-sided matter.
“This is about the Republican Party and what it’s going to be,” Bernstein said. “Is it going to conduct a fact-based, philosophical argument in our political system or is it going to be a nihilistic, hateful, asymmetrical in terms of facts and the truth part of the party, as in Joe McCarthy?”
TPM: Harry Reid: GOP Obsession With Defunding Obamacare Is ‘Insanity’
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said Saturday that Republicans’ preoccupation with defunding Obamacare amounts to “insanity.”
The Nevada Democrat explained in an interview with Esquire magazine why he recently said the Tea Party caucus is losing their minds.
“The reason I said that is that Einstein said the sign of insanity is when you do something over and over again and expect a different result,” he said. “They’ve voted forty-four times to defund Obamacare. Is that insanity? I think so.”
ThinkProgress: Seven Big Companies Working To Help Americans Sign Up For Obamacare
Now that Obamacare’s new insurance marketplaces are open to the public, some uninsured Americans are eager to sign up. However, many others likely remain confused about their options under health reform, particularly as Obamacare continues to get caught in the political crossfire. In order to bridge the education gap about the health law, advocates are ramping up their enrollment efforts in creative ways. For instance, you can now text ENROLL to Planned Parenthood to receive information about health reform.
But nonprofit and government groups can’t do it all on their own. Here are seven large companies that are currently joining in on the effort and helping to spread the word about the new insurance options available under Obamacare:
I was looking through my personal library this past weekend, lost in my thoughts as to how we’ve come to this present pass in American politics, and came across a book I haven’t read in 20 years, but have clung to. The Party of Fear: The American Far Right from Nativism to the Militia Movement by David H. Bennett, was published in 1988 and revised in 1995. It makes for grim reading.
It’s a sad truism of the United States that we as a people are ahistorical. We have no memory of what happened last week, much less in the last century. If we were to remember our history, we might be better prepared for when it invariably rears its head again, the passions and bigotries of the past roaring out of the dark id of the American psyche. We fight the same battles over, because the causes of those battles are never fully addressed.
ThinkProgress: The Complete Guide To The Rise Of The Debt Ceiling Truthers
With just days to go until the nation hits the debt ceiling on October 17th, a growing chorus of Republican lawmakers have begun dismissing the dangers of national default, insisting that the government can continue paying interest on its debt and fund the most critical programs.
Economists have dismissed this prioritization scheme as chaotic and unworkable, warning that the United States would be “unable to pay between 40 to 45 percent of the 80 million payments it makes every month.” If the debt ceiling is not increased, the credit markets would freeze, the value of the dollar would plummet, interest rates would skyrocket, and a global recession would ensue.
But the so-called debt ceiling truthers, who swept into power after the 2010 midterm elections and, to the surprise of GOP leaders, took over the debt ceiling debate, continue to deny this reality. Below is a brief timeline showing how they rose to power and prominence within the Republican party…..
You’ll forgive me if, at the moment, I decline to believe that we will be saved from the Reign Of The Morons by unicorns, the Easter Bunny, or reasonable Republicans in either house of Congress who would gladly vote with the Democrats, if only evil castrato Speaker John Boehner would allow them to do it. You will also forgive me if, at the moment, I decline to believe in mermaids, the Pooka McPhillimey, or fed-up plutocrats who can find a sucker to primary Tea Party congresscritters from what passes for The Left in the Republican party these days.
… The Reign Of The Morons is many things, but one of its most obvious causes is a complete failure of political courage within the Republican party. It isn’t simply a matter of the party’s having created a monster that it can no longer control – although that’s undeniable part of it – it also is the fact that the party lacks a substantial center of power that even is willing to risk trying. Say what you will about Victor Frankenstein. He chased his creation to the ends of the earth. Where are the Republicans who are willing to ride the ice floe?
Steve Benen: Shutdown takes its toll on congressional GOP
As the deadline neared for the nation’s first-ever war-time government shutdown, the consensus was that congressional Republicans, already unpopular, would feel the brunt of the public backlash. So far, those expectations were correct.
A Washington Post/ABC News poll released yesterday found widespread dissatisfaction across the board, but Americans’ attitudes towards Republicans are especially brutal.
While approval for President Obama and congressional Democrats ticked higher in the wake of the government shutdown, approval for congressional Republicans dropped to a woeful 24%. Just as important, GOP lawmakers, who shut down the government exactly one week ago, have seen their disapproval ratings soar to 70%. A majority of Americans, 51%, now say they “strongly” disapprove of the nation’s far-right party.
Bob Cesca: The GOP Debt Ceiling Strategy: Lies, Grabassery and Default Denialism
The Republican Party’s geyser-like misinformation campaign regarding the government shutdown, accompanied by continued misinformation about the Affordable Care Act and the debt ceiling, has been almost too powerful to follow as it whizzes by.
The latest line, which appears to have convinced a majority of Republican voters, is that nothing will happen if the debt limit isn’t raised, least of all a default. As I pointed out yesterday, this is complete nonsense. We’ve heard this before in the form of denying the climate crisis in the face of almost unanimous scientific consensus. In this case, dozens of experts are forecasting the worst possible consequences if the House GOP doesn’t perform what was formerly a very customary task, devoid of melodrama or hostage-taking.
Chuck Todd inspired me to contact all my local media about presenting the facts on Obamacare. I sent this to my local paper yesterday. The executive editor replied me.
This is my letter:
I wish to make a suggestion to the News Journal. Please bear me out and read this to the end.
On October 1, the Affordable Care Act will go into effect. This law will impact the lives of millions of Americans. However there is a lot that many residents may not know about the law. Once implemented, the law is expected to help some 30 million Americans.
Already it is making an impact:
– Medicare’s preventive benefits now come with a free visit with your primary care doctor every year to plan out your prevention services. And there are no more co-pays for preventative services in Medicare.
– Small businesses get big tax credits—up to 50 percent of premium costs—for offering health insurance to their workers.
– Insurers with unusually high administrative costs have to offer rebates to their customers, and every insurance company has to reveal how much it spends on overhead.
– Free birth control and other preventative services for women, unless you work for a faith based organization that opposes birth control.
– Seniors get $250 towards closing the “doughnut hole” in their prescription drug coverage.
And there is much, much more to come once the law is implemented.
I wonder if your newspaper would consider doing a town hall and inviting Pensacolans to hear about what the law offers. Many people do not know some of the simple, but major benefits in the law. For example, that no longer will people be denied service because of pre-existing conditions. Parents who wish to keep their children on their health insurance will be able to do so until the children turns 26. People suffering with substance abuse and mental health issues will no longer go uncovered. Under ACA, they will have insurance.
Just Wednesday, I was able to share this fact with the mother of a 22-year-old, who has a heart condition. While his condition is stable now, she wanted to make sure he had health insurance, in case he ever got sick again. I informed her about the pre-existing component. I also told her that her child could remain on her insurance until 26, if she so desired.
No longer will pregnancies be considered a pre-existing condition.
There are hundreds of thousands like this mom out there. A little bit of information will help residents. The goal is not to convince anyone, but present the facts about the law.
America’s history is written in blood and sacrifice. We have two holidays—Memorial Day and Veterans Day—which commemorate the sacrifices made by our military. But, we have only two national martyrs whom we acknowledge with holidays: Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Both of our great martyrs died trying to expiate the sins of slavery and racism. Without their work, the America in which we live would be unrecognizable. In fact, there might very well be no America, as it would have split along the fissures caused by one of its two original sins, that of slavery.
Which is why it’s quite curious that Chris Hayes, on his show last night, brought up the memories of Dr. King and Rosa Parks when speaking of NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
I got to meet with the President yesterday and I wanted to share with you this drawing that I presented him with. It’s a pencil drawing of the president in front of his ancestral home and the White House. It was by Brian Fogarty a school teacher from Co Tipperary now living in Galway.
Henry with Brian
This morning’s email:
I hope you are well. Remember the picture I sent you that I gave to the President in March? Well, the artist got a letter from the President thanking him for the portrait! I attach a copy of it for you and also a link to Brian’s Facebook page.
President Barack Obama signs letters from children backstage after signing executive orders and unveiling new gun control proposals as part of the Administration’s response to the Newtown, Conn., shootings, and other tragedies, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building South Court Auditorium, Jan. 16, 2013. The children wrote the President letters in the wake of the Newtown tragedy expressing their concerns about gun violence and school safety (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama signs executive orders on gun violence flanked by 8-year old letter writer Hinna Zeejah (L), 10-year old letter writer Taejah Goode (3rd L), 11-year old letter writer Julia Stokes and 8-year old letter writer Grant Fritz (R)
Julia and Taejah’s letters
President Barack Obama signs letters written by Hinna Zeejah, Grant Fritz, Julia Stokes, and Teja Goode backstage in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building’s South Court Auditorium after unveiling new gun control proposals as part of the Administration’s response to the Newtown, Conn., shootings, and other tragedies, Jan. 16. The children wrote to President Obama in the wake of the Newtown tragedy expressing their concerns about gun violence and school safety. (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama in the Connecticut Post: As a society, our first task must be to care for our children – to shield them from harm and give them the tools they need not only to pursue their dreams, but to help build this country. That is how we will be judged. And in the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, it’s clear we have a long way to go.
That’s why, last month, I asked Vice President Biden to lead an effort to come up with concrete steps we can take right now to keep our kids safe, help prevent mass shootings, and reduce the broader epidemic of gun violence in this country. And on Wednesday, I put forward a specific set of proposals based on Joe’s recommendations. Because while there is no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence completely, if there is even one thing we can do to reduce this violence – if even one life can be saved – we have an obligation to try.
As President, I’m committed to doing my part. That’s why I signed 23 executive actions giving law enforcement, schools, mental health professionals, and the public health community the tools they need to help reduce gun violence.