Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Mandate is Only Socialism when a Democrat Does It...

It's only evil socialism when a
Democrat does it.
The other week I posted this graphic on Facebook. It shows how, if republicans believe that Obamacare is socialism, an Romney's Massachusetts plan is the same as Obamacare (which it basically is), then republicans elected a socialist. So, someone commented on it as follows:
"I think the only wrong with Obamacare is the fact that you are forced into buying it if you do not have insurance."
This got me to thinking seriously about the word "mandate" and how it relates to national priorities. A "mandate" is basically a euphemism for levying taxes. But if there's a "mandate" to buy private insurance--and there is--what other mandates do we, as a country, face? How about war? We pay for that with taxes--and it's a mandate. How much did it cost? Depends on whom you ask, but at least $1.3 trillion, and possibly as high as $3 - $4 trillion. Trillion with a "T".

When you really think about it, the health of a nation's people is really the most important priority there is. There are a few things, if any, more important that the health of people. Nope. Going out on a limb here: there's nothing more important than the health of people.  Healthcare shouldn't be an "every person for his or herself" proposition. It should be a national priority--just as the highway system was, or ensuring a comprehensive US mail service. It’s all about setting priorities and determining what we want to spend on as a country. It’s actually a good thing. And what about war? We spent upwards of $4 trillion on wars over the last 10 years, including almost a $1 trillion on the war in Iraq that the Bush administration originally stated would cost "only" $60 - 80 billion.

DO NOT fear the mandate to help people get healthy.
DO Fear mandates that kill people for no good reason
You don't protest the fact that you were mandated to pay tax dollars--a of of them--have been used to kill and wound hundreds even though tax dollars were and are being used to kill people. So, why be against a “mandate” that actually *helps* people by enabling them to have healthcare?

Cognitively dissonant much? Cognitively dissonant. Much.


Here's a good article by Matt Yglesias from Slate on this subject 

Cost of War Clock

The Basis for War is Dead Wrong: Colin Powell's Take

Saturday, June 23, 2012

So you *still* think republicans and democrats are the same?

Congratulations, Steve Smith, on your election to the republican party in Luzerne County, PA! Your parents must be so proud that their son grew up to be a white supremacist hate monger who attacked an innocent black man with stones!

Source: ThinkProgress
OKAY, so, here's the thing: I constantly argue with people--left and right--that there's no difference between republicans and democrats. There are a few policy similarities that are well known (Guantanamo, oil drilling, etc.). But one area where there is a clear difference? Violent civil-rights hating Nazi skinheads. The fact that this is one of the new faces of an increasingly extremist republican party, is disturbing, at best. Today's party (with the exception of moderate republicans who have seen their party hijacked by nutballs) hates everything that has made this country great: diversity, intellectual freedom, working together for the good of the country, political compromise--and now, BLACK people. Sure, the Tea Party has black people, people like Herman Cain and Allan West--but those guys are both card carrying members of the Aluminum Hat Society. I digress. Back to Steve.
Are Tea Party republicans decrying from the election of a violent neo-nazi white supremacist as a disgrace? Or is loving Hitler part of the new Hard Right agenda? Hands? Anyone? Is this mic on? UPDATE: I didn't see that the Luzerne County Republican Committee and state GOP denounced Smith's election, which they did, stating that Smith's views in no way represent their own. It is also worth noting that Smith won with a single vote--his own. (source) 
The question remains: has the national Tea Party denounced him? Or the national republican party? Not that I'm aware of... 
Neo-Nazi Steve Smith's Certificate of Election that he posted on the "White News Now" website.
It's like Facebook for people who like to stomp black peoples' faces. 
Here's what the Southern Poverty Law Center has to say about this new Tea Party "representative." 

To advance his goals, Smith has distanced himself somewhat from his violent past and focused on political activism. As state chairman for American Third Position (A3P), a white nationalist political party that aims to deport immigrants and return the United States to white rule, he has for several years been working the crowds at local Tea Party gatherings, which he once described as “fertile grounds for our activists.”
This is an important point, because extremists know that to actually get their plans of evil world domination into play, they have to grab the levers of policy, and this is their not-often-discussed plan: get elected, gain respectability, and become policy makers. 

House Speaker: "The gentleman from Pennsylvania's time has expired."
Rep. Smith:  "Oh yeah? Your time has expired, Mr. friggin' speaker! I'm gonna mess you up, man!"

Here's what the Anti-Defamation League had to say about Steve's resume, which includes founding his own neo-nazi organization:
The Keystone State Skinheads, made up of skinheads from Pennsylvania and other mid-Atlantic states, began meeting informally in the fall of 2001. Since then, they have grown considerably in numbers and activity. They formalized their organizational structure following a 2002 white supremacist rally in York, Pennsylvania, attended by members of many prominent white supremacist groups. 
The group's goal, according to its Web site, is to "unite all racially aware skinheads in the state of Pennsylvania" and to "establish Pennsylvania as one of the most racially active states in America." The group regularly organizes skinhead concerts and claims to have chapters in Harrisburg, Lancaster, Philadelphia, Altoona, Greensburg and Wilkes Barre/Scranton. 
Carney, who was being held in Lackawanna County Prison, is a carpenter and a former member of the neo-Nazi National Alliance. In December 2001, he was arrested for posting National Alliance leaflets on the Vietnam War memorial in Philadelphia. He is also associated with the racist Eastern Hammerskins, another white supremacist skinhead group. 
Smith, who also has a history of racist skinhead activity, is an associate of Charles Juba, who heads the Pennsylvania faction of the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Religious Right Reminds me of Another Group...

I'm exhausted from having to point out the differences between the far right and the middle and left, but continue to point them out I will. If the teapublicans expand their power, this is what you will see more and more of in our country. Is this what we want, as a people? Does anyone who has any remote idea of what Jesus Christ was about honestly think withholding assistance to those most in need is a "Christian value"? If Jesus were alive today, he'd never stop throwing up, based on what's being done in his name. Shameful. Horrific. Anti-CHRISTian. What's truly ironic about this is that the behavior of so-called christians is similar to another group of extremists who also hate homosexuals and want them to die. This is the same group that vilifies women and abrogates their rights....

Still think the Left and the Right are Basically the Same?
The following are a few anecdotes of what the extreme Christian right has been up to lately:

Oklahoma Doctor and Nurse Deny Patient Care After Women is Raped
According to Groobiecat:
An Oklahoma mother brought her daughter to a local hospital after she was raped only to be turned away and refused help by a doctor, purportedly because the hospital lacked the staff to properly process the victim's claims and injuries. Welcome to the reality of processing sexual assault crimes in GOP-land. 
The young woman asked the doctor whether or not emergency contraceptives were available and whether the doctor was simply refusing to provide them. The nurse told her “I will not give you emergency contraceptives because it goes against my belief.” The doctor refused to help her, even though she had just been raped, and refused to find another doctor to help her. (source)
Doctor Denies Gay Man Treatment for "Homosexual Disease"
According to Addicting Info:
Joao Simoes is HIV positive. He went to Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth, NJ and for an undisclosed reason, was admitted to the mental health wing. According to a complaint filed with the state of New Jersey, Dr. Borja of the Department of Behavioral Health and Psychiatry approached Simoes and after looking at his file, asked how he contracted HIV. His response was, ”I got it from unprotected sex.” 
The complaint then says that “Dr. Borga closed the plaintiff’s file, put it down and looked at plaintiff with disgust on her face and asked, coldly, “Is that from sex with men?” 
Simoes says he responded affirmatively and that, “immediately after hearing this, Dr. Borga proceeded to exit the room.” 
After this consultation, no nurse or doctor came to see Simoes, even though he told them that he needed to take his HIV medication, according to the complaint. (source,Courthouse News Service) 
According to Simoes, three days passed passed before he was allowed to contact his personal physician. It was at that time he learned that Borja had already spoken to his doctor. 
“You must be gay, too, if you’re his doctor,” accused Borga.
“Additionally, apparently realizing that plaintiff’s doctor had an accent, Dr. Borga exclaimed, ‘What, do you need a translator?’ to which plaintiff’s doctor had again responded that Dr. Borga needed to give plaintiff his HIV medication,” the complaint states. 
“Dr. Borga responded to plaintiff’s doctor by stating, ‘This is what he gets for going against God’s will,’ and hung up the phone on plaintiff’s doctor.” (source)
Eastern Michigan State University Counselor Denies Help to Suicidal Student
According to Addicting Info:
In 2009, a student at Eastern Michigan University named Julea Ward was expelled from her graduate studies program. She was removed from the program because she refused to counsel a suicidal gay student. The reason, if you haven’t already guessed, is because she is a ‘Christian.’  
Either way you look at it, it seems like a huge failing. And we would all agree that something neededto be done to prevent this kind of potential tragedy from ever happening again. The Michigan House of Representatives have addressed the problem…By passing a bill making it illegal to: 
“discipline or discriminate against a student in a counseling, social work, or psychology program because the student refuses to counsel or serve a client as to goals, outcomes, or behaviors that conflict with a sincerely held religious belief.”
Yes, that’s right. They went pro-intolerance. It’s called the “Julea Ward freedom of conscience act‘,” and if it passes, it sets some very interesting precedences:
  • It would create an anti-discrimination law that permits discrimination. More troubling is that it awards priority to the protection an ‘idea’ over the protection of the needs of an ‘individual.’
  • It would prevent learning institutions from disqualifying students from certification when the student holds beliefs that make them unwilling or unable to satisfactorily complete their training. Obviously it also allows them to ply a trade they are unwilling or unable to hold. A critical trade, where lives hang in the balance. (source)
Past Calls for Electrified Pens to Hold Gay People in until they Die (because, you know, that's what Jesus would Do. I mean, he was a carpenter, right?)
“Build a great, big, large fence — 150 or 100 mile long — put all the lesbians in there. Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals and have that fence electrified so they can’t get out… and you know what, in a few years, they’ll die out… do you know why? They can’t reproduce!” North Carolina Pastor Charles Worley

According to Queerty:
The congregation of North Carolina’s Providence Road Baptist Church voiced solidarity with Pastor Charles Worley’s now infamous rant calling for gays to be rounded up and put inside an electric fence  WCNC TV in Charlotte, NC, interviewed members of the church, showing how one man’s extreme hate can spread like a virus throughout an entire community.
Full story here:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Assad kills 10 - 20,000. Bush kills 116,000. What am I missing here?

According to the Iraq Body Count website, between 115 and 116,000 civilians have died in Iraq:
Iraq Body Count (IBC) recorded 4,087 civilian deaths from violence in 2011. Evidence of these deaths was extracted from some 6,828 distinct reports collected from over 90 sources covering 1,884 incidents, each of which is openly listed on the IBC website. This brings the total number of deaths in the IBC database so far to 115,342. These numbers represent a verifiable documentary record of deaths, and are not estimates (for some partially estimated figures, see 'WikiLeaks update' below).
According to the NYT
Emboldened by faltering diplomacy and Russia’s pledge to keep supplying weapons, the Assad government in March launched bloody assaults on insurgent strongholds, driving rebels from the cities of Homs and Idlib. According to estimates from the United Nations, the conflict has left more than 10,000 dead, thousands more displaced and as many as 40,000 people may have been detained. The Red Crescent said in May 2012 that as many as 1.5 million people needed help getting food, water or shelter.
Source: Assad death toll.
Source: Bush death toll.
Graphic: Groobiecat

The Last Time a Republican was in Charge...

...he was responsible for killing a lot of people.

Graphic Composition: Groobiecat

Monday, June 18, 2012

The economy sucks! Why oh why isn't the president doing anything about it? Bernie Sanders explains.

People often conflate the two parties as basically being the same. But they're not the same--especially when it come to the House of Representatives. Members of Congress in the Tea Party caucus are intentionally trying to sabotage the economy because to help improve the economy--and the plight of Americans--would improve Obama's prospects in the Fall. Even John Boehner has felt the sting of his Tea Party overlords whenever he's strayed from the script, and now that they're closer to the election, they have no incentive to move on helping ease the pain of this extended economic disaster that started under Bush. But I digress. 

The New Republitarians. You don't think there are any differences between the two parties? Well, even the Ronald Reagan knew that he had to raise taxes sometimes for the good fo the country. But that republican party no longer exists. The new republican party is an especially aggressive breed of hardcore right-wing politics and the exaltation-of-the-selfish-individual-above-all-else views of Ayn Rand libertarians.

But don't take my word for it. See for yourself what the Conscience of Congress, independent senator Bernie Sanders has to say about it:

Quote source: Rachel Maddow Show
Graphic: Groobiecat
Last week on Rachel Maddow, Bernie Sanders explained the importance of infrastructure spending (hint, it's not just fixing roads and bridges, although there is that) and who's to blame:

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Deja Vu Again: Forty years ago today, the Watergate break-in began what was revealed to be a web of secret funding, political influence peddling and corruption. The Supreme Court apparently liked the idea so much...

...that they decided to ensure that political influence peddling, secret funding, and corruption are constitutionally protected privileges in the United States.

Forty years ago, a burglary at the Watergate Hotel was the beginning of what was to become one of the worst political and campaign-finance scandals of the 20th century. This eventually led to the downfall of Republican President Richard Nixon. According to finance reform activist Fred Wertheimer:
"After Watergate, 20 corporations were criminally convicted for illegal campaign-finance activities. The hotel break-in itself was financed with secret campaign contributions. 
Consider, ITT pledged $400,000 to help finance the 1972 Republican convention, and the Justice Department quickly settled an antitrust case in ITT’s favor. Nixon himself intervened in the case. The dairy industry gave $2 million to the Nixon campaign and soon got the increase in dairy price supports they were seeking. Nixon overrode his Agriculture Department’s objection to put these supports in place."
Source: Politico
Graphic: Groobiecat
Citizens United Ruling. It's happening all over again. Read about Bernie Sanders' efforts to undo Citizens United here.
"Seventeen people have given the republican SuperPACs half of their money." - Sen. Schumer. 
Watch Bernie Sanders talk about undoing the Citizens United decision here:

14 Propaganda Techniques Fox "News" Uses to Brainwash Americans

This truly sums it all up. Why, I've asked myself for years, don't my fact-driven arguments get through to my right-wing father (and others of his ilk)?

Dr. Cynthia Boaz, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Sonoma State University sums up in one article, the reasons why the left can never seem to get through to the right, no matter how many facts and figures they have on their side. When it comes to the rational brain, the fearful animal wins out. Here's a summary of her conclusions:
1. Panic Mongering. This goes one step beyond simple fear mongering. With panic mongering, there is never a break from the fear. 
2. Character Assassination/Ad Hominem. Fox does not like to waste time debating the idea. Instead, they prefer a quicker route to dispensing with their opponents: go after the person's credibility, motives, intelligence, character, or, if necessary, sanity.
3. Projection/Flipping. This one is frustrating for the viewer who is trying to actually follow the argument. It involves taking whatever underhanded tactic you're using and then accusing your opponent of doing it to you first. 
4. Rewriting History. This is another way of saying that propagandists make the facts fit their worldview.
5. Scapegoating/Othering. This works best when people feel insecure or scared. It's technically a form of both fear mongering and diversion, but it is so pervasive that it deserves its own category. 
6. Conflating Violence With Power and Opposition to Violence With Weakness. This is more of what I'd call a "meta-frame" (a deeply held belief) than a media technique, but it is manifested in the ways news is reported constantly. 
7. Bullying. This is a favorite technique of several Fox commentators. That it continues to be employed demonstrates that it seems to have some efficacy. Bullying and yelling works best on people who come to the conversation with a lack of confidence, either in themselves or their grasp of the subject being discussed. 
8. Confusion. As with the preceding technique, this one works best on an audience that is less confident and self-possessed. 
9. Populism. This is especially popular in election years. The speakers identifies themselves as one of "the people" and the target of their ire as an enemy of the people. 
10. Invoking the Christian God. This is similar to othering and populism. With morality politics, the idea is to declare yourself and your allies as patriots, Christians and "real Americans" (those are inseparable categories in this line of thinking) and anyone who challenges them as not. Basically, God loves Fox and Republicans and America. 
11. Saturation. There are three components to effective saturation: being repetitive, being ubiquitous and being consistent.
12. Disparaging Education. There is an emerging and disturbing lack of reverence for education and intellectualism in many mainstream media discourses. In fact, in some circles (e.g. Fox), higher education is often disparaged as elitist.
13. Guilt by Association. This is a favorite of Glenn Beck and Andrew Breitbart, both of whom have used it to decimate the careers and lives of many good people.
14. Diversion. This is where, when on the ropes, the media commentator suddenly takes the debate in a weird but predictable direction to avoid accountability. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Bernie Sanders: It's all about priorities.

Quote: Bernie Sanders
Graphic: Groobiecat

Think there's no difference between Republicans and Democrats?

Think again. There are HUGE differences between the two. You can argue about specific exceptions (e.g., drones, drilling, NDAA, Guantanamo), but the facts are that you can't conflate the two parties, the two presidential prospects, or  the two visions for our country as being the same because the facts don't support that conclusion--not by a long shot.

Mitt Romney vs. Paul Krugman: No Contest

The other day, Romney said:
 “[Obama] says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers.” Then he declared, “It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.”
But is it time? Does this hurt or help people? Paul Krugman has the answer:
First of all, there’s our own experience. Conservatives would have you believe that our disappointing economic performance has somehow been caused by excessive government spending, which crowds out private job creation. But the reality is that private-sector job growth has more or less matched the recoveries from the last two recessions; the big difference this time is an unprecedented fall in public employment, which is now about 1.4 million jobs less than it would be if it had grown as fast as it did under President George W. Bush. 
And, if we had those extra jobs, the unemployment rate would be much lower than it is — something like 7.3 percent instead of 8.2 percent. It sure looks as if cutting government when the economy is deeply depressed hurts rather than helps the American people.
So, let me get this straight: the loss in jobs = more than a percentage point in lower employment? Why doesn't the Obama administration use this data? The truth is that fewer people with jobs mean lower spending and less demand for goods and services, so the economy remains depressed. And how did austerity work out in, say, Ireland, where “The Irish economy is showing encouraging signs of recovery,” as the Cato Institute declared two years ago? Paul has that answer too:

Friday Art: The Latest Pictures from My Facebook Page...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Ongoing War on...Cops? New Law in Indiana Makes it Open Season on Cops...

First it was Mitt "who needs cops, firefighters, and teachers" Romney and Rush "cops don't create wealth, they protect it, which is great" Limbaugh. Now the "good republicans" of Indiana have something against cops too. Last week, Indiana just made it legal for people to go ahead and "fire" them for good. This is disturbing and very bad news for law enforcement officers:

From I Acknowledge Class Warfare Exists, there's this:
“If I pull over a car and I walk up to it and the guy shoots me, he’s going to say, ‘Well, he was trying to illegally enter my property.  Somebody is going get away with killing a cop because of this law.”~Police Sergeant Joseph Hubbard 
First of all – this is not a story from the Onion.  The Republican party is getting stranger and stranger … they went out of their way to amend a law making it legal to shoot police officers.  I didn’t realize they hated unions that much; WTF is wrong with these people?
Governor Mitch Daniels, a Republican, has authorized changes to a 2006 legislation that legalizes the use of deadly force on a public servant — including an officer of the law — in cases of “unlawful intrusion.” Proponents of both the Second and Fourth Amendments — those that allow for the ownership of firearms and the security against unlawful searches, respectively — are celebrating the update by saying it ensures that residents are protected from authorities that abuse the powers of the badge. 
Under the latest changes of the so-called Castle Doctrine, state lawmakers agree “people have a right to defend themselves and third parties from physical harm and crime.” Rather than excluding officers of the law, however, any public servant is now subject to be met with deadly force if they unlawfully enter private property without clear justification. (Russia Today

From Bloomberg:

The measure was approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature and signed by Republican Governor Mitch Daniels in March. It amended a 2006 so-called Castle Doctrine bill that allows deadly force to stop illegal entry into a home or car.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Teachers! Firefighters! Police officers! Mitt has your back.

Quote: Source
Graphic: Groobiecat
Is there a difference between democrats and republicans? Sure. One is for basic services and the brave men and women who provide them, and one is the republican party.

Paul Krugman is Right: Government isn't a Business. But would we want Romney as CEO if it were?

Giving us the business: Government provides services to improve peoples' lives. Businesses sell goods
and services to improve their bottom lines. The same thing, right? Wrong. (Source)
Paul Krugman has stated on a few occasions that electing a business man president doesn't make sense because the country isn't, in fact, a business. Back in January 2012, Krugman said:
But there’s a deeper problem in the whole notion that what this nation needs is a successful businessman as president: America is not, in fact, a corporation. Making good economic policy isn’t at all like maximizing corporate profits. And businessmen — even great businessmen — do not, in general, have any special insights into what it takes to achieve economic recovery. 
Why isn’t a national economy like a corporation? For one thing, there’s no simple bottom line. For another, the economy is vastly more complex than even the largest private company.
The Business of Government. If we take the analogy further, under a "government-as-business" model, who are the shareholders in the United States? Its citizens. How, exactly, will shareholder value be maximized if Romney is elected? Well, it won't be: the new CEO of the corporation will continue to cut back on "customer service"--because the company doesn't need social programs, or firefighters, police, or teachers. The corporation will continue to decrease investments in capital infrastructure--because roads, bridges, and highways are not all that important to the bottom line, which is, well, um, what, again? The corporation will also continue to shrink it's workforce, while funneling more and more money to fewer and fewer people--because that's how things are done in the real corporate world. 

(Source: Mario Piperni)
Vulture Capitalist in 2012! Forget the fact that Romney never really "ran" a business; that he and Bain capital essentially bought distressed companies, loaded them up with debt, shed employees, and sold them, not makes Romney a "vulture capitalist," not a political leader. (There's a difference--but there won't be, of course, if the plutocrats the Koch Brothers, get their way.) But this brings to mind something that a lot of us in the blogosphere have written about, and that's this: corporations don't have the best interests of the public in mind. They have profits in mind--and shareholder value--that's their legal charter. It's what corporations are supposed to do. Government is supposed to provide services for the general welfare of the American public (as Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution states).

As CEO of the United States, you can rest assured that Romney would bring his "experience" to bear on the United States of Corporate America. But I wouldn't buy stock in a company like that, and neither should you.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Obamacare sucks! Except that it doesn't--especially if you're under 26...

Source: Commonwealth Fund

According to a new survey by the Commonwealth Fund Health Insurance Tracking Survey:

"... between November 2010 and November 2011, an estimated 13.7 million young adults ages 19–25 stayed on or joined their parents' health plans, including 6.6 million who likely would not have been able to do so prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act. The findings of the survey underscore the need for policymakers to implement the remaining coverage expansions in the law. Nearly two of five young adults ages 19–29 were without health insurance for all or part of 2011, with young adults in low- and moderate-income households the most at risk. The lack of insurance had significant health and financial implications for young adults: 60 percent said they did not get needed health care because of cost and half reported problems paying medical bills or said they were paying off medical debt over time."
So, if you're under 26 and are covered under your parents' policy and are unemployeed--and you still think the two parties are the same?--could you please get them to remove you from the policy coverage? Thanks!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Good night June 7, 2012. Until tomorrow.

Paul Krugman...on Reagan as a tax and spend Keynsian.
In short, if you want to see government responding to economic hard times with the “tax and spend” policies conservatives always denounce, you should look to the Reagan era — not the Obama years.

Wonkette...on angry stupid violent Jonah Goldberg's view of young people as stupid.
And to be fair to Jonah Goldberg, young people ARE so frickin’ stupid! Remember back in 2008, when all those 18-year-olds banded together to cause a global financial crisis? And don’t get us started on the legions of 18-year-olds that Moody’s put on notice in 2011 because they just up and refused to raise the debt ceiling. Kids these days! SO FRICKIN’ STUPID.
Psychopath campaigns for highest office in the land...

Christ Weigl...on Obama's accomplishments.
  1. Extended child tax credits and marriage-penalty fixes
  2. Created an Advanced Manufacturing Fund to invest in peer-reviewed manufacturing processes
  3. Required economic justification for tax changes
  4. Implemented “Women Owned Business” contracting program
  5. Changed standards for determining broadband access
  6. Established a credit card bill of rights
  7. Expanded loan programs for small businesses
  8. Extended the Bush tax cuts for lower incomes
  9. Extended the 2007 Alternative MinimumTax patch
  10. Closed the “doughnut hole” in Medicare prescription drug plan
  11. Expanded the Senior Corps volunteer program
  12. Required insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions
  13. Gave tax credits to those who need help to pay health premiums
  14. Required large employers to contribute to a national health plan
  15. Required children to have health insurance coverage
  16. Expanded eligibility for Medicaid
  17. Expanded eligibility for State Children’s Health Insurance Fund (SCHIP)
  18. Required health plans to disclose how much of the premium goes to patient care
  19. Established an independent health institute to provide accurate and objective information
  20. In non-competitive markets, forced insurers to pay out a reasonable share of their premiums for patient care
  21. Eliminated the higher subsidies to Medicare Advantage plans
  22. Expanded funding to train primary care providers and public health practitioners
  23. Increased funding to expand community based prevention programs
  24. Reinstated executive order to hire an additional 100,000 federal employees with disabilities within five years.
  25. Increased the Veterans Administration budget to recruit and retain more mental health professionals
  26. Expanded the Veterans Administration’s number of “centers of excellence” in specialty care
  27. Appointed a special adviser to the president on violence against women
  28. Fully funded the Violence Against Women Act
  29. Directed military leaders to end war in Iraq
  30. Began removing combat brigades from Iraq
  31. Created a military families advisory board
  32. Ended the abuse of supplemental budgets for war
  33. Made U.S. military aid to Pakistan conditional on anti-terror efforts
  34. Opened “America Houses” in Islamic cities around the globe
  35. Allocated Homeland Security funding according to risk
  36. Created a real National Infrastructure Protection Plan
  37. Increased funding for local emergency planning
  38. Extended monitoring and verification provisions of the START I Treaty
  39. Appointed a White House Coordinator for Nuclear Security
  40. Initiated a grant and training program for law enforcement to deter cyber crime
  41. Improved relations with Turkey, and its relations with Iraqi Kurds
  42. Launched an international Add Value to Agriculture Initiative (AVTA)
  43. Created a rapid response fund for emerging democracies
  44. Granted Americans unrestricted rights to visit family and send money to Cuba
  45. Restored funding for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne/JAG) program
  46. Established an Energy Partnership for the Americas
  47. Expanded the Nurse-Family Partnership to all low-income, first-time mothers
  48. Required new hires to sign a form affirming their hiring was not due to political affiliation or contributions.
  49. Provided affordable, high-quality child care
  50. Recruited math and science degree graduates to the teaching profession
  51. Reduced subsidies to private student lenders and protect student borrowers
  52. Encouraged water-conservation efforts in the West
  53. Increased funding for national parks and forests
  54. Increased funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund
  55. Encouraged farmers to use more renewable energy and be more energy efficient
  56. Expanded Pell grants for low-income students
  57. Pursued a wildfire management plan
  58. Removed more brush, small trees and vegetation that fuel wildfires
  59. Expanded access to places to hunt and fish
  60. Pushed for enactment of Matthew Shepard Act, which expands hate crime law to include sexual orientation and other factors
  61. Repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy
  62. Restored funding to the EEOC and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs
  63. Reformed mandatory minimum sentences
  64. Created a White House Office on Urban Policy
  65. Fully funded the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)
  66. Established program to convert manufacturing centers into clean technology leaders
  67. Established ‘Promise Neighborhoods’ for areas of concentrated poverty
  68. Worked toward deploying a global climate change research and monitoring system
  69. Funded a major expansion of AmeriCorps
  70. Created a Social Investment Fund Network
  71. Bolstered the military’s ability to speak differentlanguages
  72. Appointed the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer
  73. Provided grants to early-career researchers
  74. Worked to overturn Ledbetter vs. Goodyear
  75. Created a national declassification center
  76. Appointed an American Indian policy adviser
  77. Created new financial regulations
  78. Increased funding for land-grant colleges
  79. Banned lobbyist gifts to executive employees
  80. Signed a “universal” health care bill
  81. Created new criminal penalties for mortgage fraud
  82. Required 10 percent renewable energy by 2012
  83. Released oil from Strategic Petroleum Reserve
  84. Raised fuel economy standards
  85. Invested in all types of alternative energy
  86. Enacted tax credit for consumers for plug-in hybrid cars
  87. Asked people and businesses to conserve electricity
  88. Required more energy-efficient appliances
  89. Created a ‘Green Vet Initiative’ to promote environmental jobs for veterans
  90. Created job training programs for clean technologies
  91. Required states to provide incentives for utilities to reduce energy consumption
  92. Supported high-speed rail
  93. Supported airline service in small towns
  94. Invested in public transportation
  95. Equalized tax breaks for driving and public transit
  96. Considered “smart growth” in transportation funding
  97. Shared environmental technology with other countries
  98. Doubled federal spending for research on clean fuels
  99. Provided grants to encourage energy-efficient building codes
  100. Increased funding for the Environmental Protection Agency
  101. Raised the small business investment expensing limit to $250,000 through the end of 2009
  102. Extended unemployment insurance benefits and
  103. temporarily suspend taxes on these benefits
  104. Supported network neutrality on the Internet
  105. Reversed restrictions on stem cell research
  106. Killed Osama bin Laden
  107. Doubled funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a program that encourages manufacturing efficiency
  108. Included environmental and labor standards in trade agreements
  109. Created an international tax haven watch list
  110. Made permanent the Research & Development tax credit
  111. Required automatic enrollment in 401(k) plans
  112. Required automatic enrollment in IRA plans
  113. Created a consumer-friendly credit card rating system
  114. Created a $60 billion bank to fund roads and bridges
  115. Required full disclosure of company pension investments to employees
  116. Provided easy-to-understand comparisons of the Medicare prescription drug plans
  117. Invested in electronic health information systems
  118. Phased in requirements for health information technology
  119. Required that health plans utilize disease management programs
  120. Required providers to report measures of health care costs and quality
  121. Held hospitals and health plans accountable for disparities in care
  122. Implemented and funded proven health intervention programs
  123. Prevented drug companies from blocking generic drugs
  124. Allowed Medicare to negotiate for cheaper drug prices
  125. Worked with schools to create more healthful environments for children
  126. Improved recruitment of public health workers
  127. Mandated insurance coverage of autism treatment
  128. Fully funded the Combating Autism Act and Federal Autism Research Initiatives
  129. Doubled federal funding for cancer research
  130. Increased participation in cancer-related clinical trials
  131. Fully funded the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
  132. Set a national goal to provide re-screening for all 2-year-olds for developmental disorders
  133. Commissioned a study on students with disabilities and their transition to jobs or higher education
  134. Set goals and timetables for implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act
  135. Created a best practices list for private businesses in accommodating workers with disabilities
  136. Launched educational initiative for employers on tax benefits of hiring employees with disabilities
  137. Reduced the threshhold for the Family and Medical Leave Act from companies with 50 employees to companies with 25 employees
  138. Provided a $1.5 billion fund to help states launch programs for paid family and medical leave
  139. Required employers to provide seven paid sick days per year
  140. Streamlined the Social Security disability approval process
  141. Expanded Veterans Centers in rural areas
  142. Established standards of care for traumatic brain injury treatment
  143. Made the Veterans Administration a national leader in health reform
  144. Reduced the Veterans Benefits Administration claims backlog
  145. Instituted electronic record-keeping for the Veterans Benefits Administration
  146. Expanded housing vouchers program for homeless veterans
  147. Launched a supportive services-housing program for veterans to prevent homelessness
  148. Expanded the Family Medical Leave Act to include leave for domestic violence or sexual assault
  149. Fully funded debt cancellation for heavily indebted poor countries
  150. Created a fund for international small and medium enterprises (SME)
  151. Launched robust diplomatic effort with Iraq and its neighbors
  152. Provided $30 billion over 10 years to Israel
  153. Limited Guard and Reserve deployments to one year for every six years
  154. Ended the “Stop-Loss” program of forcing troops to stay in service beyond their expected commitments
  155. Fully and properly equipped troops
  156. Created a Civilian Assistance Corps that would organize private sector professionals to help in times of need
  157. Included humanitarian international missions in long-term budgeting
  158. Reviewed weapons programs
  159. Modernized ships and invested more in small vessels
  160. Set standards for when the government should hire defense contractors
  161. Restored the government’s ability to manage contracts by rebuilding our contract officer corps
  162. Created a system of incentives and penalties for defense contracts
  163. Establish a Global Education Fund
  164. Strengthened the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) aimed at stopping spread of weapons of mass destruction
  165. Organized successful Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in 2010
  166. Expanded federal bioforensics program for tracking biological weapons
  167. Developed a comprehensive cyber security and response strategy
  168. Mandated standards for securing personal data
  169. Required companies to disclose personal information data breaches
  170. Worked to persuade the European Union to end credit guarantees to Iran
  171. Seek to negotiate a political agreement on Cyprus
  172. Restructured and streamlined USAID
  173. Increased the size of the foreign service
  174. Urged China to stop manipulation of its currency value
  175. Pressed China to end its support for regimes in Sudan, Burma, Iran and Zimbabwe
  176. Created a public “Contracts and Influence” database
  177. Required Cabinet officials to host Internet town hall meetings
  178. Conducted regulatory agency business in public
  179. Promoted more pre-school education
  180. Expanded Early Head Start and Head Start
  181. Reformed No Child Left Behind
  182. Doubled funding for Federal Charter School Program and require more accountability
  183. Addressed the dropout crisis by giving schools incentives for more dropout prevention
  184. Created Teacher Residency Programs that will send teachers to high-need schools
  185. Expanded teacher mentoring programs and provide incentives for more planning time
  186. Promoted innovative ways to reward good teachers
  187. Simplified the application process for financial aid
  188. Increased the number of high school students taking college-level courses
  189. Created incentives for tree planting and promote carbon sequestration
  190. Improved water quality
  191. Regulated pollution from major livestock operations
  192. Strengthened federal environmental justice programs
  193. Increased funding for organic and sustainable agriculture
  194. Partnered with landowners to conserve private lands
  195. Created a community college partnership program
  196. Increased funding for progams that conserve lands and habitat for select species such as the Osceola turkey
  197. Supported wetlands protection
  198. Promoted economic development in Mexico
  199. Supported repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)
  200. Vigorously pursued hate crimes and civil rights abuses
  201. Signed the Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act into law
  202. Supported regional innovation clusters
  203. Helped low-income areas get phone and Internet service
  204. Created a Homeowner Obligation Made Explicit (HOME) score for mortgage comparisons
  205. Increased the supply of affordable housing throughout metropolitan regions
  206. Invested in transitional jobs and career pathway programs
  207. Fully funded the COPS program
  208. Improved emergency response plans
  209. Capped interest rates on payday loans and improve disclosure
  210. Expanded public/private partnerships between schools and arts organizations
  211. Improved climate change data records
  212. Supported improved weather prediction program
  213. Offered prizes for advances in consumer technology
  214. Encouraged contests and programs to interest students in science
  215. Increased research opportunities for college students
  216. Strengthened the levees in New Orleans
  217. Directed revenues from offshore oil and gas drilling to increased coastal hurricane protection
  218. Shook loose federal money for rebuilding the Gulf Coast