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Friday, August 17, 2012


182 Accomplishments or Our President

I got real tired of hearing the haters say "Obama is a failure", or "What has he ever done?"  Well, here are 182 things he's done.  He's likely the busiest and most focused president we've had in my lifetime.

1. Within his first week, he signed an Executive Order ordering an audit of government contracts, and combating waste and abuse. http://1.usa.gov/dUvbu5
2. Created the post of Chief Performance Officer, whose job it is to make operations more efficient to save the federal government money. http://n.pr/hcgBn1
3. On his first full day, he froze White House salaries. http://on.msnbc.com/ewJUIx
4. He appointed the first Federal Chief Information Officer to oversee federal IT spending. http://www.cio.gov
5. He committed to phasing out unnecessary and outdated weapons systems. To that end, he also signed the Democratic-sponsored Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act, which attempted to put a stop to waste, fraud and abuse in the defense procurement and contracting system. http://bit.ly/hOw1t1 http://bit.ly/fz8GAd
6. Through an executive order, he created the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. http://bit.ly/hwKhKa
He Improved the Economy
7. Pushed through and signed the Democratic-sponsored American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, otherwise known as “the stimulus package.” The bill passed, even though only three Republicans voted for it. In a major departure from the previous administration, he launched recovery.gov, a website that allows taxpayers to track spending from the Act. http://1.usa.gov/ibiFSs http://1.usa.gov/e3BJMk
8. The Bush-led Great Recession was costing the economy nearly 800,000 jobs per month by the time President Obama took office. But by the end of his first year, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act created and sustained 2.1 million jobs and stimulated the economyby 3.5%. http://reut.rs/i46CEE
9. Not only did he completed the massive TARP financial and banking rescue plan, he also leaned on the banks and others, and recovered virtually all of the bail-out money. http://1.usa.gov/eA5jVS http://bit.ly/eCNrD6
10. He created the Making Home Affordable home refinancing plan. http://1.usa.gov/goy6zl
11. Oversaw the creation of more jobs in 2010 alone than Bush did in eight years. http://bit.ly/hrrnjY
12. Along with Democrats, and almost no Republicans, implemented an auto industry rescue plan, and saved as many as 1 million jobs. http://bit.ly/ibhpxr Many are of the opinion that he saved the entire auto industry, and even the economy of the entire Midwest. http://bit.ly/gj7mt5 This resulted in GM returning to its place as the top car company in the world. http://lat.ms/zIJuQx Willard Romney, on the other hand, advocated for the entire industry to go belly-up. http://nyti.ms/k0zp
13. Doubled funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which is designed to improve manufacturing efficiency. http://bit.ly/eYD4nf
14. Signed the Democratic-sponsored Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act giving the federal government more tools to investigate and prosecute fraud in every corner of the financial system, and create a bipartisan Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to investigate the financial fraud that led to the economic meltdown. http://abcn.ws/g18Fe7
15. Signed the Democratic-sponsored Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act, which was designed to to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive credit card practices. http://1.usa.gov/gIaNcS
16. Increased infrastructure spending after years of neglect. http://bit.ly/f77aOw
17. Signed the Democratic-sponsored and passed Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, expanding on the Making Home Affordable Program to help millions of Americans avoid preventable foreclosures. The bill also provided $2.2 billion to help combat homelessness, and to stabilize the housing market. http://bit.ly/eEpLFn
18. Through the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009, he and Congressional Democrats provided tax credits to first-time home buyers, which helped the U.S. housing market recovery. http://bit.ly/dZgXXw http://bit.ly/gORYfL
19.  Initiated a $15 billion plan designed to encourage increased lending to small businesses. http://1.usa.gov/eu0u0b
20. Created business.gov, which allows for online collaboration between small businesses and experts re managing a business. (The program has since merged with SBA.gov.) http://www.business.gov
21. Played a lead role in getting the G-20 Summit to commit to a $1.1 trillion deal to combat the global financial crisis. http://nyti.ms/gHlgp5
22. Took steps to improve minority access to capital. http://bit.ly/f9xVE7
23. Created a $60 billion bank to fund infrastructure improvements such as roads and bridges. http://bit.ly/e1SSaQ
24. Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, saved at least 300,000 education jobs, such as teachers, principals, librarians, and counselors that would have otherwise been lost. http://1.usa.gov/ez30Dc
25. Dismantled the Minerals Management Service, thereby cutting ties between energy companies and the government. http://nyti.ms/bw1MLu
26. Along with Congressional Democrats, provided funding to states and the Department of Homeland Security to save thousands of police and firefighter jobs from being cut during the recession. http://bit.ly/g0IKWR
27. Used recovered TARP money to fund programs at local housing finance agencies in California, Florida, Nevada, Arizona and Michigan. http://on.msnbc.com/i1i8eV
28. Crafted an Executive order establishing the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability to assist in financial education for all Americans. http://bit.ly/eyqsNE
Created Greater Transparency and Better Government
29. Signed an order banning gifts from lobbyists to anyone in the Executive Branch. http://bit.ly/fsBACN
30. Signed an order banning anyone from working in an agency they had lobbied in previous years, and put strict limits on lobbyists’ access to the White House. http://nyti.ms/gOrznV
31. Held the first-ever first online town hall from the White House, and took questions from the public. http://bit.ly/gVNSgX
32. Became the first to stream every White House event, live. http://1.usa.gov/kAgOP5
33. Established a central portal for Americans to find service opportunities. http://www.serve.gov
34. Provided the first voluntary disclosure of the White House Visitors Log in history. http://1.usa.gov/hQ7ttV
35. Crafted an Executive Order on Presidential Records, which restored the 30-day time frame for former presidents to review records, and eliminated the right for the vice president or family members of former presidents to do the reviews. Provides the public with greater access to historic White House documents, and severely curtails the ability to use executive privilege to shield them. http://1.usa.gov/gUetLb
36. Improved aspects of the Freedom of Information Act, and issued new guidelines to make FOIA more open and transparent when processing FOIA requests. http://1.usa.gov/gjrnp2
Wall Street Reforms and Consumer Protection
37. Ordered 65 executives who took bailout money to cut their own pay until they paid back all bailout money. http://huff.to/eAi9Qq
38. Along with Congressional Democrats, pushed through and got passed Dodd-Frank, one of the largest and most comprehensive Wall Street reforms since the Great Depression. http://bit.ly/hWCPg0 http://bit.ly/geHpcD
39. Through Dodd-Frank legislation, created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau http://1.usa.gov/j5onG
40. Through Dodd-Frank, the Executive Branch fashioned rules that reduce the influence of speculators in the oil market. http://bit.ly/MDnA1t
41. Fashioned rules so that banks can no longer use YOUR money to invest in high-risk financial instruments that work against their own customers' interests. http://bit.ly/fnTayj
42. Supported the concept of allowing stockholders to vote on executive compensation. http://bit.ly/fnTayj
43. Endorsed and supported the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act of 2009 that would close offshore tax avoidance loopholes. http://bit.ly/esOdfB http://bit.ly/eG4DPM
44. Negotiated a deal with Swiss banks that now permits the US government to gain access to the records of criminals and tax evaders. http://bit.ly/htfDgw
45. Established a Consumer Protection Financial Bureau designed to protect consumers from financial sector excesses. http://bit.ly/fnTayj
46. Oversaw and then signed a Democratic bill constituting the most sweeping food safety legislation since the Great Depression. http://thedc.com/gxkCtP
Civil Rights and Anti-Discrimination
47. Along with Congressional Democrats, advocated for and signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which made it a federal crime to assault anyone based on his or her sexual orientation or gender identity. http://bit.ly/gsMSJ7
48. Pushed through, signed and demanded the Pentagon enact a repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy that forced soldiers to lie in order to be eligible to fight for their country, and put our troops at risk by disqualifying many qualified soldiers from helping. http://bit.ly/fdahuH http://bit.ly/mZV4Pz
49. Appointed Kareem Dale as the first ever Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy. http://1.usa.gov/fi5IY0
50. Helped Democrats in Congress pass and signed the Civil Rights History Act. http://bit.ly/th0JC8
51. Extended benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees. http://1.usa.gov/g2RLCj
52. Appointed more openly gay officials than anyone in history. http://bit.ly/g1lA7D
53. Changed his mind and publicly expressed support for the right to enter into a same-sex marriage. http://bit.ly/JsiFKp
54. Issued a Presidential Memorandum reaffirming the rights of gay couples to make medical decisions for each other. http://1.usa.gov/aUueGT
55. Wrote and signed an Executive Order establishing a White House Council on Women and Girls to ensure that all Cabinet and Cabinet-level agencies evaluate the effect of their policies and programs on women and families. http://bit.ly/e1puTk http://1.usa.gov/rFfqMM
56. Signed the Democratic-sponsored Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which restored basic protections against pay discrimination for women and other workers. This was after the GOP blocked the bill in 2007. Only 5 Republican Senators voted for the bill. http://bit.ly/fT3Cxg
57. Expanded funding for the Violence Against Women Act. http://1.usa.gov/dSbI0x
58. Under his guidance, National Labor Relations Board issued final rules that require all employers to prominently post employees' rights where all employees or prospective employees can see it, including websites and intranets, beginning November 2011. http://1.usa.gov/qu2EhQ
Improved Foreign Relations and American Status Abroad
59. Visited more countries and met with more world leaders than any previous president during his first six months in office. http://bit.ly/hZycda
60. As he promised, he gave a speech at a major Islamic forum in Cairo early in his administration. http://nyti.ms/dKvY4g
61. Helped to restore America's reputation around the world as a global leader that does the "right thing" in world affairs, at least according to the rest of the world. http://bit.ly/h743y7 http://bit.ly/ho4TCr
62. Re-established and reinforced our partnership with NATO and other allies on strategic international issues. http://1.usa.gov/e7QuDj
63. Closed a number of secret detention facilities. http://nyti.ms/rpUc9l
64. Improved relations with Middle East countries by appointing special envoys. http://1.usa.gov/tiGAGe
65. Pushed for military to emphasize devlopment of foreign language skills. http://bit.ly/AxUCLV
66. Offered $400 million to the people living in Gaza, called on both Israel and the Palestinians to stop inciting violence. http://bit.ly/9axfWh
67. Refused to give Israel the green light to attack Iran over their possible nuclear program, and thus avoid another war that Republicans wanted. http://bit.ly/xVmSZK
68. Worked with Democratic Congress to make donations to Haiti tax deductible in 2009. http://huff.to/6YkAVY
69. Established a new U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. http://1.usa.gov/eX28DP
70. Issued Executive Order blocking interference and helping to stabilize Somalia. http://1.usa.gov/hxdf8U
71. Established new, more reasonable policies in our relations with Cuba, such as allowing Cuban-Americans to visit their families and send money to support them. http://n.pr/hY3Kwa http://nyti.ms/emQBde
72. Ordered the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay. It was Republicans (and, unfortunately, progressive Democrats) who prevented follow through. http://bit.ly/eW6CVF
73. Ordered a review of our detention and interrogation policy, and prohibited the use of torture, or what Bush called "enhanced interrogation." He ordered interrogators to limit their actions to the Army Field manual. http://bit.ly/g6MTuC
74. Ordered all secret detention facilities in Eastern Europe and elsewhere to be closed. http://bbc.in/h6N9ax
75. Released the Bush torture memos. http://bit.ly/hWJ5z0
76. On his second day in office, he signed a detailed Executive Order that banned torture, reversed all Bush torture policies, and put the United States in compliance with the Geneva Convention. http://1.usa.gov/dL6Zve http://nyti.ms/hzWWys
77. In response to the emerging "Arab Spring," he created a Rapid Response fund, to assist emerging democracies with foreign aid, debt relief, technical assistance and investment packages in order to show that the United States stands with them. http://bit.ly/zfmGv9
78. Passed the Iran Sanctions Act, to prevent war, and to encourage Iran to give up their nuclear program. http://1.usa.gov/wLtNjb
79. Ended the Iraq War. http://tgr.ph/ru0tyS
80. Authorized and oversaw a secret mission by SEAL Team Six to rescue two hostages held by Somali pirates. http://bit.ly/y8c9Fz
Began a Push Toward a More Realistic Approach to “Defense”
81. Created a comprehensive new strategy for dealing with the international nuclear threat. http://1.usa.gov/gDX1nE
82. Authorized a $1.4 billion reduction in Star Wars program in 2010. http://1.usa.gov/gLFZl2
83. Restarted nuclear nonproliferation talks and built up the nuclear inspection infrastructure/protocols to where they had been before Bush. http://lat.ms/gkcl3i
84. Signed and pushed through ratification a new SALT Treaty. http://bit.ly/f3JVtw
85. Negotiated and signed a new START Treaty that will lst until at least 2021. http://1.usa.gov/cI1bC4
86. Through the Defense Authorization Act, reversed the Bush Administration and committed to no permanent military bases in Iraq. http://bit.ly/hk73OJ
87. Developed first comprehensive strategy with regard to Afghanistan and Pakistan designed to facilitate the defeat of al Qaeda and the withdrawal of most troops, as well as the rebuilding of Afghanistan. http://wapo.st/ee4Xcs
88. Returned our focus to Afghanistan, stabilized the country, and began the process of withdrawing our troops from the country. http://bit.ly/lNXUna
89. Negotiated a deal with Afghan govenment, to withdraw troops and military support, while assisting in rebuilding and modernizing of the country. http://bit.ly/K362an
90. Took steps to severely weaken al Qaeda and limited their ability to terrorize the world. http://yhoo.it/n5lXs6
91. Negotiated and signed a nuclear nonproliferation treaty with India. http://1.usa.gov/aHp0Cn
92. Took decisive action to use NATO to limit the slaughter of innocents in Libya, so that the Libyan people could topple a despotic government and determine their own fate. http://aje.me/qAh4Sj
Treating Soldiers and Veterans with Respect
93. Along with Congressional Democrats, not only reauthorized families of fallen soldiers to be able to visit when the body arrives at Dover AFB, but also provided funding for it. Ended the media blackout on coverage of the return of fallen soldiers. http://nyti.ms/glqN66 http://bbc.in/gWSSkA
94. Funded Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with an extra $1.4 billion to improve veterans’ services. http://1.usa.gov/huhqfo
95. Provided active combat troops with better body armor. http://bit.ly/hzSv2h
96. Created Joint Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record program for military personnel, in order to improve the quality of their medical care. http://1.usa.gov/f4yaxW
97. Put an end to the Bush-era stop-loss policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan beyond their enlistment date. (personal note: my son will be in harm’s way for six fewer months with Obama as president, so you know I love this one.) http://nyti.ms/e2YQ7Q
98. Along with Congressional Democrats, supported and signed Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act, which made more money available to enable better medical care for veterans. http://1.usa.gov/fN4ur1
99. Along with Congressional Democrats, ushered through largest spending increase in 30 years for Department of Veterans Affairs, with money to go to improved medical facilities, and to assist states in acquiring or constructing state nursing homes and extended care facilities. http://1.usa.gov/gY8O3x
100. Created the Green Vet Initiative, which provided special funding to the Labor Department to provide veterans with training in green jobs. http://bit.ly/epwUQY
101. Oversaw a $4.6 billion expansion of the Veterans Administration budget to pay for more mental health professionals. http://bit.ly/gjzTxX
Refocused the Government on Education
102. Repeatedly increased funding for student financial aid, and at the same time cut the banks completely out of the process. http://bit.ly/gYWd30 http://bit.ly/e9c7Dr http://bit.ly/eEzTNq
103. Reformed student loan program, to make it possible for students to refinance at a lower rate. http://nyti.ms/dMvHOt
104. Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act , invested heavily in elementary, secondary and post-secondary education. http://1.usa.gov/gGRIAr
105. Oversaw major expansion of broadband availability in K-12 schools nationwide http://bit.ly/fNDcj3 ,
106. Oversaw major expansion in school construction. http://bit.ly/fYwNrV
107. Also through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he put $5 billion into early education, including Head Start. http://1.usa.gov/tzT2Rr
108. Signed the Democratic-sponsored Post-9/11 GI Bill, also known as GI Bill 2.0 http://bit.ly/hPhG7J
109. Oversaw expansion of the Pell Grants program, to expand opportunity for low income students to go to college. http://bit.ly/hI6tXz
110. Along with Democratic Congress, passed and signed Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which provided an extra $12.2 billion in funds. http://1.usa.gov/dQvtUe
National Safety and Security
111. Restored federal agencies such as FEMA to the point that they have been able to manage a huge number of natural disasters successfully. http://bit.ly/h8Xj7z
112. Authorized Navy SEALS to successfully secure the release of a US captain held by Somali pirates and increased patrols off the Somali coast. http://nyti.ms/efBO7B
113. Has repeatedly beefed up border security http://bit.ly/mMYB4i
114. Ordered and oversaw the Navy SEALS operation that killed Osama bin Laden. http://bit.ly/jChpgw
Science, Technology and Health Care
115. Created a Presidential Memorandum to restore scientific integrity in government decision-making. http://1.usa.gov/g2SDuw
116. Opened up process for fast-tracking patent approval for green energy projects. http://bit.ly/j0KV2U
117. Eliminated Bush-era restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, and provided increased federal support for biomedical and stem cell research. http://bit.ly/h36SSO http://ti.me/edezge
118. Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, committed more federal funding, about $18 billion, to support non-defense science and research labs. http://nyti.ms/fTs9t7
119. Signed Democratic-sponsored Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act, the first comprehensive attempt to improve the lives of Americans living with paralysis. http://bit.ly/fOi2rb
120. Expanded the Nurse-Family Partnership program, which provides home visits by trained registered nurses to low-income expectant mothers and their families, to cover more first-time mothers. http://bit.ly/jRRRJc
121. Obama EPA reveresed research ethics standards which allowed humands to be used as "guinea pigs" in tests of the effects of chemicals, to comply with numerous codes of medical ethics. http://bit.ly/bKgqdS
122. Conducted a cyberspace policy review. http://1.usa.gov/gmbdvC
123. Provided financial support for private sector space programs. http://bit.ly/fn8ucr
124. Oversaw enhanced earth mapping, to provide valuable data for agricultural, educational, scientific, and government use. http://bit.ly/dNTRyP
125. Along with Democrats in Congress, ushered through and signed a bill authorizing FDA to regulate tobacco. http://on.msnbc.com/fiKViB As a result, the FDA has Ordered Tobacco Companies to Disclose Cigarette Ingredients and banned sale of cigarettes falsely labeled as “light.”
126. Through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, provided $500 million for Health Professions Training Programs. http://bit.ly/ecQSgA
127. Increased funding for community-based prevention programs. http://bit.ly/frMPG3
128. Oversaw a 50% decrease in cost of prescription drugs for seniors. http://bit.ly/e5b1iq http://1.usa.gov/fVNkt9
129. Eliminated the Bush-era practice of forbidding Medicare from negotiating with drug companies on price. http://bit.ly/fOkG5b
130. Two weeks after taking office, signed Democratic-sponsored Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act, which increased the number of children covered by health insurance by 4 million. http://bit.ly/fDEzGv
131. Urged Congress to investigate Anthem Blue Cross for raising premiums 39% without explanation. Democratic Rep. Waxman responded by launching a probe, and Anthem Blue Cross put increase on hold for two months. http://yhoo.it/e8Tj9C
132. Ushered through and signed Affordable Care Act, which expanded health insurance coverage to at least 30 million more people, ended many common insurance company practices that are often detrimental to those with coverage. He also established healthcare.gov, so that taxpayers could keep up with developments. http://www.healthcare.gov/
133. Through ACA, allowed children to be covered under their parents’ policy until they turned 26. http://nyti.ms/fNB26V
134. Through the ACA, provided tax breaks to allow 3.5 million small business to provide health insurance to their employees, and 29 million people will receive tax breaks to help them afford health insurance. http://nyti.ms/fNB26V
135. Through the ACA, expanded Medicaid to those making up to 133% of the federal poverty level. http://nyti.ms/ekMWpo
136. Through the ACA, health insurance companies now have to disclose how much of your premium actually goes to pay for patient care. http://nyti.ms/fNB26V
137. Provisions in theACAhave already resulted in Medicare costs actually declining slightly this fiscal year, for the first time in many years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The increase in 2011 was 4%, which is very low compared to the average 12% annual inflation rate during previous 40 years. http://1.usa.gov/oMxpTh
Strengthening the Middle Class and Families
138. Worked to provide affordable, high-quality child care to working families. http://bit.ly/fNfidS
139. Cracked down on companies that were previously denying sick pay, vacation and health insurance, and Social Security and Medicare tax payments through abuse of the employee classification of independent contractor. http://nyti.ms/fOGLcj
140. Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act , cut taxes for 95% of America's working families. http://bit.ly/eSEI4F
141. Tax rates for average working families are the lowest since 1950. http://bit.ly/f74pD8
142. Extended and fully funded the patch for the Alternative Minimum Tax for 10 years. http://bit.ly/eFeSdP
143. Extended discounted COBRA health coverage for the unemployed from 9 months to 15 months, and he’s extended unemployment benefits several times. http://aol.it/evtVxD http://nyti.ms/emrqKJ http://bit.ly/hOtIpg http://bit.ly/fTT7kz
Fighting Poverty
144. Provided a $20 billion increase for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps). http://nyti.ms/gfLqyM
145. Signed an Executive Order that established the White House Office of Urban Affairs. http://wapo.st/eWECA8
Environment and Energy
146. Fast-tracked regulations to allow states to enact fuel efficiency standards that exceeded federal standards. http://nyti.ms/e8e94x
147. Fast-tracked increased fuel economy standards for vehicles beginning with the 2011 model year. It was the first time such standards had been increased in a decade. http://politi.co/hiaPKM
148. Oversaw establishment of an Energy Partnership for the Americas, to create more markets for American-made biofuels and green energy technologies. http://bit.ly/lZp73y
149. Obama EPA reversed a Bush-era decision to allow the largest mountaintop removal project in US history. http://bit.ly/lP3yEL
150. Ordered the Department of Energy to implement more aggressive efficiency standards for common household appliances. http://1.usa.gov/g3MTbu
151. Ordered energy plants to prepare to produce at least 15% of all energy through renewable resources like wind and solar, by 2021. http://reut.rs/fV155p (As you can see, Republicans are trying hard to kill it.)
152. Oversaw the creation of an initiative that converts old factories and manufacturing centers into new clean technology centers. http://bit.ly/mjnq2R
153. Bypassed Republican opposition in Congress and ordered EPA to begin regulating and measuring carbon emissions. http://bit.ly/froaP5
154. Obama EPA ruled that CO2 is a pollutant. http://bit.ly/iQTSNN
155. Oversaw doubling federal spending on clean energy research. http://bit.ly/iN0sCE
156. Pushed through a tax credit to help people buy plug-in hybrid cars. http://bit.ly/j8UP5Y
157. Created a program to develop renewable energy projects on the waters of our Outer Continental Shelf that will produce electricity from wind, wave, and ocean currents. http://1.usa.gov/fgfRWq
158. Reengaged in the climate change and greenhouse gas emissions agreements talks, and proposed one himself. He also addressed the U.N. Climate Change Conference, officially reversing the Bush era stance that climate change was a “hoax.” http://bit.ly/dX6Vj3 http://bit.ly/fE2PxK http://nyti.ms/hfeqvv
159. Fully supported the initial phase of the creation of a legally-binding treaty to reduce mercury emissions worldwide. http://bit.ly/eJ6QOO
160. Required states to provide incentives to utilities to reduce their energy consumption. http://bit.ly/lBhk7P
161. Following the neglect of Bush’s eight year reign, he reengaged in a number of treaties and agreements designed to protect the Antarctic. http://bit.ly/fzQUFO
162. Created tax write-offs for purchases of hybrid automobiles, and later he and Democrats morphed that program into one that includes electric cars. http://bit.ly/glCukV
163. Mandated that federal government fleet purchases be for fuel-efficient American vehicles, and encouraged that federal agencies support experimental, fuel-efficient vehicles. http://bit.ly/h5KZqy http://1.usa.gov/fLWq5c http://1.usa.gov/hmUSbk
164. Oversaw and pushed through amendment to the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 authorizing advances from Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. http://1.usa.gov/yTRYVo
165. Actively tried to amend the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to eliminate the liability limits for those companies responsible for large oil spills. http://nyti.ms/bxjDi3
166. Initiated Criminal and Civil inquiries into the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. http://nyti.ms/bVuB7a
167. Through his EPA, he asserted federal legal supremacy, and barred Texas from authorizing new refinery permits on its own. http://bit.ly/ww8eMd
168. Strengthened the Endangered Species Act. http://bit.ly/hscjsH
169. Obama EPA improved boiler safety standards to improve air quality, and save 6500 lives per year. http://bit.ly/jYH7nt
170. Through the EPA, attemped to take steps to severely limit the use of antibiotics in livestock feed, to increase their efficacy in humans. http://bit.ly/fBuWd2
171. Increased funding for National Parks and Forests by 10% http://bit.ly/fbJPjY
172. Announced greatly improved commercial fuel efficiency standards. http://1.usa.gov/oQiC1K
173. Announced a huge increase in average fuel economy standards from 27.5mpg in 2010 to 35.5mpg starting in 2016 and 54.5 starting in 2025 http://1.usa.gov/qtghsW
That's Not All...
174. Expanded trade agreements to include stricter labor and environmental agreements such as NAFTA. http://bit.ly/etznpY
175. Oversaw funding of the design of a new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History, which is scheduled to open on the National Mall in 2015. He protected the funding during the recent budget negotiations. http://on.fb.me/fD0EVO http://bit.ly/ff5Luv
176. Oversaw and passed increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. http://bit.ly/dFb8qF
177. Nominated Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. Sotomayor is the first Hispanic Justice in the court’s history, and the women represent only the third and fourth women to serve on the court, out of a total of 112 justices. http://huff.to/eOChg6 http://bit.ly/i02wgP
178. Appointed the most diverse Cabinet in history, including more women than any other incoming president. http://bit.ly/dX6vNB
179. Eliminated federal funding for abstinence-only education, and rescinded the global gag rule. http://bit.ly/eCFAI1 http://bit.ly/f92drF
180. Loosened the rules and allowed the 14 states that legalized medical marijuana to regulate themselves without federal interference. http://huff.to/eQfa7j
181. Signed national service legislation, increasing funding for national service groups, including triple the size of the Americorps program. http://bit.ly/idgQH5
182. Despite the characterizations of some, Obama’s success rate in winning congressional votes on issues was an unprecedented 96.7% for his first year in office. Though he is often cited as superior to Obama, President Lyndon Johnson’s success rate in 1965 was only 93%. http://n.pr/i3d7cY

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


State Constitution Preambles

This email came my way with no credit given to the original author. See my reply to this email at Ruskosplanet.blogspot.com.

begin quote--->
Who is "We"?

> President Barack Obama said in Turkey : "We do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation.. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values."

> I found this very interesting.

> Do you know the Preamble for your state? . .
> Be sure to read the message at the bottom!
> Alabama 1901, Preamble
> We the people of the State of Alabama , invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution.
> Alaska 1956, Preamble We, the people of Alaska , grateful to God and to those who founded our nation and pioneered this great land.
> Arizona 1911, Preamble We, the people of the State of Arizona , grateful to Almighty God for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution...
> Arkansas 1874, Preamble We, the people of the State of Arkansas , grateful to Almighty God for the privilege of choosing our own form of government...
> California 1879, Preamble We, the People of the State of California , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom...
> Colorado 1876, Preamble We, the people of Colorado , with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of Universe....
> Connecticut 1818, Preamble. The People of Connecticut, acknowledging with gratitude the good Providence of God in permitting them to enjoy.
> Delaware 1897, Preamble Through Divine Goodness all men have, by nature, the rights of worshipping and serving their Creator according to the dictates of their consciences...
> Florida 1885, Preamble We, the people of the State of Florida , grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty, establish this Constitution...
> Georgia 1777, Preamble We, the people of Georgia , relying upon protection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution...
> Hawaii 1959, Preamble We , the people of Hawaii , Grateful for Divine Guidance ... Establish this Constitution.
> Idaho 1889, Preamble We, the people of the State of Idaho , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings..
> Illinois 1870, Preamble We, the people of the State of Illinois, grateful to Almighty God for the civil , political and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.
> Indiana 1851, Preamble We, the People of the State of Indiana , grateful to Almighty God for the free exercise of the right to choose our form of government.
> Iowa 1857, Preamble We, the People of the St ate of Iowa , grateful to the Supreme Being for the blessings hitherto enjoyed, and feeling our dependence on Him for a continuation of these blessings, establish this Constitution.
> Kansas 1859, Preamble We, the people of Kansas , grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious privileges establish this Constitution.
> Kentucky 1891, Preamble.. We, the people of the Commonwealth are grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties..
> Louisiana 1921, Preamble We, the people of the State of Louisiana , grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties we enjoy.
> Maine 1820, Preamble We the People of Maine acknowledging with grateful hearts the goodness of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe in affording us an opportunity .. And imploring His aid and direction.
> Maryland 1776, Preamble We, the people of the state of Maryland , grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberty...
> Massachusetts 1780, Preamble We...the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging with grateful hearts, the goodness of the Great Legislator of the Universe In the course of His Providence, an opportunity and devoutly imploring His direction
> Michigan 1908, Preamble.. We, the people of the State of Michigan , grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of freedom, establish this Constitution.
> Minnesota, 1857, Preamble We, the people of the State of Minnesota, grateful to God for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings:
> Mississippi 1890, Preamble We, the people of Mississippi in convention assembled, grateful to Almighty God, and invoking His blessing on our work.
> Missouri 1845, Preamble We, the people of Missouri , with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and grateful for His goodness . Establish this Constitution...
> Montana 1889, Preamble. We, the people of Montana , grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty establish this Constitution ..
> Nebraska 1875, Preamble We, the people, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom . Establish this Constitution.
> Nevada 1864, Preamble We the people of the State of Nevada , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, establish this Constitution...
> New Hampshire 1792, Part I. Art. I. Sec.. V Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience.
> New Jersey 1844, Preamble We, the people of the State of New Jersey, grateful to Almighty God for civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.
> New Mexico 1911, Preamble We, the People of New Mexico, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty..
> New York 1846, Preamble We, the people of the State of New York , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings.
> North Carolina 1868, Preamble We the people of the State of North Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, the Sovereign Ruler of Nations, for our civil, political, and religious liberties, and acknowledging our dependence upon Him for the continuance of those...
> North Dakota 1889, Preamble We , the people of North Dakota , grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, do ordain...
> Ohio 1852, Preamble We the people of the state of Ohio , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings and to promote our common.
> Oklahoma 1907, Preamble Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessings of liberty, establish this
> Oregon 1857, Bill of Rights, Article I Section 2. All men shall be secure in the Natural right, to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their consciences
> Pennsylvania 1776, Preamble We, the people of Pennsylvania, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance....
> Rhode Island 1842, Preamble. We the People of the State of Rhode Island grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing...
> South Carolina , 1778, Preamble We, the people of he State of South Carolina grateful to God for our liberties, do ordain and establish this Constitution.
> South Dakota 1889, Preamble We, the people of South Dakota , grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberties ...
> Tennessee 1796, Art. XI..III. That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their conscience...
> Texas 1845, Preamble We the People of the Republic of Texas , acknowledging, with gratitude, the grace and beneficence of God.
> Utah 1896, Preamble Grateful to Almighty God for life and liberty, we establish this Constitution.
> Vermont 1777, Preamble Whereas all government ought to enable the individuals who compose it to enjoy their natural rights, and other blessings which the Author of Existence has bestowed on man ..
> Virginia 1776, Bill of Rights, XVI Religion, or the Duty which we owe our Creator can be directed only by Reason and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian Forbearance, Love and Charity towards each other
> Washington 1889, Preamble We the People of the State of Washington, grateful to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution
> West Virginia 1872, Preamble Since through Divine Providence we enjoy the blessings of civil, political and religious liberty, we, the people of West Virginia reaffirm our faith in and constant reliance upon God ..
> Wisconsin 1848, Preamble We, the people of Wisconsin, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, domestic tranquility...
> Wyoming 1890, Preamble We, the people of the State of Wyoming, grateful to God for our civil, political, and religious liberties, establish this Constitution...
> After reviewing acknowledgments of God from all 50 state constitutions, one is faced with the prospect that maybe, the ACLU and the out-of-control federal courts are wrong! If you found this to be 'food for thought', send to as many as you think will be enlightened, as I hope you were.
--->end quote

Monday, August 21, 2006


Public Stoning: Not Just for the Taliban Anymore

By John Sugg, Church and State
Posted on August 15, 2006, Printed on August 19, 2006

Two really devilish guys materialized in Toccoa, Ga., last month to harangue 600 true believers on the gospel of a thoroughly theocratic America. Along with lesser lights of the religious far right who spoke at American Vision's "Worldview Super Conference 2006," Herb Titus and Gary North called for nothing short of the overthrow of the United States of America.

Titus and North aren't household names. But Titus, former dean of TV preacher Pat Robertson's Regent University law school, has led the legal battle to plant the Ten Commandants in county courthouses across the nation. North, an apostle of the creed called Christian Reconstructionism, is one of the most influential elders of American fundamentalism.

"I don't want to capture their (mainstream Americans') system. I want to replace it," fumed North to a cheering audience. North has called for the stoning of gays and nonbelievers (rocks are cheap and plentiful, he has observed). Both friends and foes label him "Scary Gary."

Are we in danger of an American Taliban? Probably not today. But Alabama's "Ten Commandments Judge" Roy Moore is aligned with this congregation, and one-third of Alabama Republicans who voted in the June primary supported him. When you see the South Dakota legislature outlaw abortions, the Reconstructionist agenda is at work. The movement's greatest success is in Christian home schooling, where many, if not most, of the textbooks are Reconstructionist-authored tomes.

Moreover, the Reconstructionists are the folks behind attacks on science and public education. They're allied with proselytizers who have tried to convert Air Force cadets -- future pilots with fingers on nuclear triggers -- into religious zealots. Like the communists of the 1930s, they exert tremendous stealth political gravity, drawing many sympathizers in their wake, and their friends now dominate the Republican Party in many states.

Titus' and North's speeches, laced with conspiracy theories about the Rockefellers and the Trilateral Commission, were more Leninist than Christian in the tactics proposed -- as in their vision to use freedom to destroy the freedom of others. That's not surprising -- the founder of Christian Reconstruction, the late fringe Calvinist theologian Rousas J. Rushdoony, railed against the "heresy" of democracy.

A Harvard-bred lawyer whose most famous client is Alabama's Judge Moore, Titus told the Toccoa gathering that the Second Amendment envisions the assassination of "tyrants;" that's why we have guns. Tyranny, of course, is subjective to these folks. Their imposition of a theocratic state would not, by their standards, be tyranny. Public schools, on the other hand, to them are tyrannical.

North is best known to Internet users for his prolific auguring that a Y2K computer bug would cause the calamitous end of civilization. In the days prior to the advent of this millennium, North urged subscribers to his delusional economic newsletters to go survivalist and prepare for the end. Many did so, dumping investments and life savings, a big oops.

"I lost a million and a half dollars when I sold off real estate," one of North's fans, a home-schooling advocate from Florida, told me during a lunch break between lectures touting creationism and damning secular humanism. But my lunch companion still anted more than pocket change to hear North make more prophesies in Toccoa. "I believe Gary North on Bible issues," he explained. I suggested that false prophets often pocket big profits, but I was talking to deaf ears.

Hosting the "Creation to Revelation... Connecting the Dots" event was a Powder Springs, Ga., publishing house, American Vision, whose pontiff is Gary DeMar. The outfit touts the antebellum South as a righteous society and favors the reintroduction of some forms of slavery (it's sanctioned in the Bible, Reconstructionists say) -- which may explain the blindingly monochrome audience at the gathering.

The setting was the Georgia Baptist Conference Center, a sprawling expanse of woods, hills and a man-made lake in the North Georgia mountains. Four decades ago, the Southern Baptists officially declared, "no ecclesiastical group or denomination should be favored by the state" and "the church should not resort to the civil power to carry on its work."

Times change. The Baptists lust for power, and they demand the state to do their bidding. I guess that explains the denomination's hosting of theocrats no less rigid and bloodthirsty than the Taliban's mullahs.

DeMar christened the gathering with invective against science.

"Evolution is as religious as Christianity," he said, a claim that certainly must amaze 99.99 percent of the scientific community. Science is irrelevant to these folks.

Everything they need to know about the universe and the origin of man is in the first two chapters of Genesis. They know the answer before any question is asked. DeMar's spin is what he calls a clash of "worldviews." According to DeMar and his speakers, God sanctions only their worldview. And that worldview is a hash of enforcing Old Testament Mosaic law (except when it comes to chowing down on pork barbecue), rewriting American history to endorse theocracy and explaining politics by the loopy theories of the John Birch Society. (Christian Reconstructionism evolved, so to speak, from a radical variation of Calvinism, AKA Puritanism, and the Bircher politics of such men as the late Marietta, Ga., congressman, Larry McDonald.) For most of the four-day conference, DeMar turned the Bible over to others to thump. North blamed the Rockefellers and the Trilateral Commission for the success of secularists. Titus told of Jesus making a personal appearance in the rafters of his Oregon home.

At the heart of what was taught by a succession of speakers:

  • Six-day, "young earth" creationism is the only acceptable doctrine for Christians. Even "intelligent design" or "old earth" creationism are compromises with evil secularism.
  • Public education is satanic and must be destroyed.
  • The First Amendment was intended to keep the federal government from imposing a national religion, but states should be free to foster a religious creed. (Several states did that during the colonial period and the nation's early days, a model the Reconstructionists want to emulate.)
  • The Founding Fathers intended to protect only the liberties of the established ultra-conservative denominations of that time. Expanding the list to include "liberal" Protestant denominations, much less Catholics, Jews and (gasp!) atheists, is a corruption of the Founders' intent.

Education earned the most vitriol at the conference. Effusing that the Religious Right has captured politics and much of the media, North proclaimed: "The only thing they (secularists) have still got a grip on is the university system." Academic doctorates, he contended, are a conspiracy fomented by the Rockefeller family. All academic programs (except, he said, engineering) are now dominated by secularists and Darwinists.

"Marxists in the English departments!" he ranted. "Close every public school in America!"

Among North's most quoted writings was this ditty from 1982: "[W]e must use the doctrine of religious liberty to gain independence for Christian schools until we train up a generation...which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God." Titus followed that party line when he proclaimed that the First Amendment is limited to guaranteeing "the right to criticize the government," but "free expression is not in the Constitution." When I asked him if blasphemy -- castigating religion -- was protected, he shook his head.

Like North, Titus sees public education as decidedly satanic. Also, welfare. He contended the Founding Fathers -- and Americans today -- owe their "first duties to God. It's not just worship. It's education... welfare to the poor. Welfare belongs exclusively to God. Why do schools fail? They're trying to do the business of God. Medicaid goes. Education goes. The church gets back to doing what it should do." And what should the church be doing According to these self-appointed arbiters of God's will, running our lives. And stoning those who disagree.

At the Toccoa conference, DeMar organized several debates -- and he commendably invited articulate opponents of his creed.

One was Ed Buckner, a retired Georgia State University professor, unabashed atheist and a member of the Atlanta Freethought Society. He debated Bill Federer, who makes a living trying to prove America's founders intended this to be a Christian nation.

Buckner offered to concede the debate if Federer could disprove any one of four points: Americans don't agree on religion, human judgment is imperfect, religious truth can't be determined by votes or force and freedom is worth protecting. Federer ran from the challenge, and instead offered a litany of historic quotes showing that most of America's founders believed in God.

Federer never got the point that if, as he argued, government should endorse his faith today, tomorrow officials might decide to ban his beliefs.

The other debate featured University of Georgia biologist Mark Farmer versus Australian "young earth" creationist Carl Wieland. Farmer, religious himself, tried to explain that no evidence had ever damaged evolutionary theory -- at best, creationists point to gaps in knowledge.

"Yes, we don't know the answers to everything," Farmer told me. "That's what science is all about, finding answers."

It would be easy to dismiss the Reconstructionists as the lunatic fringe, no more worrisome than the remnants of the Prohibition Party. But, in fact, they have rather extraordinary entrée and influence with top-tier Religious Right leaders and institutions.

James Dobson's Focus on the Family is now selling DeMar's book, America's Christian Heritage. Dobson himself has a warm relationship with many in the movement, and he has admitted voting for Reconstructionist presidential candidate Howard Phillips in 1996.

TV preacher Robertson has mentioned reading North's writings, and he has hired Reconstructionists as professors at Regent University. Jerry Falwell employs Reconstructionists to teach at Liberty University. Roger Schultz, the chair of Liberty's History Department, writes regularly for Faith for all of Life, the leading Reconstructionist journal.

Southern Baptist Bruce N. Shortt is aggressively pushing his denomination to officially repudiate public education and call on Southern Baptists to withdraw their children from public schools. Shortt's vicious book, The Harsh Truth about Public Schools, was published by the Reconstructionist Chalcedon Foundation.

There are big theological differences between the Religious Right's generals and the Reconstructionists. Traditional Christian theology teaches that history will muddle along until Jesus' Second Coming. That teaching is tough to turn into a political movement. Reconstructionists preach that the nation and the world must come under Christian "dominion" (as they define it) before Christ's return -- a wonderful theology to promote global conquest.

In short, Dobson, Robertson, Falwell and the Southern Baptist Convention (the nation's largest Protestant denomination) may not agree with everything the Reconstructionists advocate, but they sure don't seem to mind hanging out with this openly theocratic, anti-democratic crowd.

It's enough for Americans who believe in personal freedom and religious liberty to get worried about -- before the first stones start flying.

John Sugg is senior editor of Creative Loafing Newspapers. He was the recipient of the 2005 Society of Professional Journalists "Green Eyeshade" award for serious commentary, and he has won more than 30 other significant awards.

Monday, July 31, 2006


The "Vise Strategy" Undone

The “Vise Strategy” Undone: Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District
By Barbara Forrest

In a May 6, 2005, post on his Uncommon Descent (UD) blog, intelligent design creationist William Dembski was talking tough. He offered a lesson for “Darwinists” drawn from the then-ongoing hearings held before the Kansas Board of Education on May 5-7 to discuss the Kansas science standards. The creationist-dominated board had hoped that pro-evolution scientists and ID creationists would debate revisions proposed by the creationist minority on the board’s Science Curriculum Writing Committee. These revisions included re-defining science to allow the supernatural as a scientific explanation. Refusing to lend legitimacy to this “Kansas kangaroo court,” scientists boycotted the hearings [1]. The only pro-evolution participant, representing pro-science groups, was attorney Pedro Irigonegaray, who cross-examined many of the twenty-three creationists who were brought in to testify at taxpayer expense [2]. These twenty-three are supporters of Dembski and his associates who have promoted ID for a decade from the Center for Science and Culture (CSC), the creationist arm of the Discovery Institute (DI), a conservative Seattle think tank.

Grousing that “only the evolution critics are being interrogated,” Dembski was “waiting for the day when the hearings are not voluntary but involve subpoenas in which evolutionists are deposed at length.” When “that happy day” came, Dembski predicted, the Darwinists “won’t come off looking well.” [3] On May 11, Dembski portrayed “evolutionists” as too chicken to participate: “[E]volutionists escaped critical scrutiny by not having to undergo cross-examination . . . by boycotting the hearings.” He proposed a “vise strategy” for “interrogating the Darwinists to, as it were, squeeze the truth out of them,” childishly illustrated with a photograph of a Darwin doll with its head compressed in a bench vise [4]. On May 16, he outlined his strategy: “interrogating Darwinists” about “five terms: science, nature, creation, design, and evolution.” [5] Under subpoena, they would be compelled to answer, hence the “vise” metaphor.

Dembski already knew that such a day of legal reckoning was approaching. Exactly one month later, on June 6, he sat across from me when I was deposed as an expert witness for the plaintiffs in the first ID legal case, Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District. He attended my deposition as the adviser to the lead defense attorney, Richard Thompson of the Thomas More Law Center, and was scheduled to be deposed himself on June 13 as a defense witness. Besides being on opposite sides, there was another big difference between us: I showed up for my deposition. Dembski “escaped critical scrutiny by not having to undergo cross-examination” when he withdrew from the case on June 10 [6].

Not only did I show up for my deposition, but I also testified at the trial despite being delayed by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Moreover, I had the distinction of being the only witness whom the defense tried to exclude from the case. When they failed, the Discovery Institute tried to discredit me with ridicule.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006


The 'C' Word

The "C" Word
By Bill Zide
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Tuesday 13 June 2006

No, not that word.

Once upon a time there were real "Conservatives." They believed in fiscal and political responsibility. They expounded on the virtues of getting government out of people's lives. They talked about caution with regard to the use of military force and foreign intervention. They even promoted a policy of governmental accountability. Many of these people existed in the Republican Party. They might have been off track, behind the curve possibly, or at times deluded, but most tended to be civil, honorable and sincere. They were more often than not the necessary loyal opposition.

Now, "Conservative" has become a particularly dirty word. Worse yet, it seems to be heading toward becoming totally meaningless altogether. Once, the root of the word "Conservative" was "conserve," a word that implied caution and preservation. Now, it seems that this new brand of "Neo-" or "Theo-Conservative" that populates the rank and file of the current GOP leadership has put the "con" back into "conservative." They are more about being against things than being for anything real or substantive. It's all about the "Con": Conceal. Conceit. Concoct. Condescend. Congest. Confabulate. Confederacy. Contradictory. Conformity. Confound. Confrontational. Confused. Conglomerates. Conjecture. Conquest. Conflagration. Conflict. Condemn. Convicted. Con-men. Consolidation. Conspiracy. Consume. Contorted. Contrivance. Control. And, always, always - Contributions.

Interestingly, the "cons" missing from their agenda and concept of the world include: Concern. Contraception. Constitution. Consistency. Conscience. Contriteness. And, always, always - Consequences.

If you are a moderate Republican (a nearly extinct breed) you must be built of stern stuff or simply be a certified masochist. They hate you. No, really really hate you. You are a RINO (Republican in name only). Even though your values are the values of such other "RINOs" as Eisenhower, Teddy Roosevelt and Lincoln. You are not really a Republican. They need you to hold the seats that no conservative can win, but don't confuse practicality for love. And, should you ever dare to contradict the will of the Right (a rare thing in these days of the lock-step GOP), then you are a traitor (their words, not mine). If you dare to stand up and call them out on a lie, a contradiction, a crime or even treason - you are the criminal. They will call you disgruntled or crazy. And in extreme cases, they will risk national security itself to get back at you. Welcome to the new world order of the GOP.

The Party of Ideas

The Right is always telling us they are the party of ideas. And they are. The problem is that most of their ideas are from the 19th century. For instance, they are awfully fond of Social Darwinism, (although not actual Evolution theory because that involves science). This is a theory that generally believes nature decides who succeeds in business and society, so people always get what they deserve. Essentially, it suggests what we see around us is simply a result of the natural order of things. Natural economic and social selection decides who prospers and who is relegated to a life of menial subsistence. Yet, the fittest to survive are inevitably always rich, privileged and connected. That's just how things work out apparently. Of course, it isn't nature that cares about the color of your skin, or attacks your religion or relegates women to subservient positions regardless of their skills. That takes deliberate action and a system created to those purposes. Still, by the logic of the Right, slavery could be perfectly justifiable, just like keeping women from voting.

The Right tells its constituency that it's about Guns, God and Gays. Always claiming that "they" (Progressives, terrorists or possibly aliens) will repeal the 2nd Amendment and take away our hunting rifles (useful to say in order to get people fired up, even if it's not true or possible). They want to protect the 1st Amendment right to worship freely as long as they get to decide who you worship. Naturally this would involve getting rid of the Establishment Clause within the First Amendment. Should we ever lose track of what they really want, the Theo-Cons keep reminding us we are a "Christian country" even if the facts, Constitution, founding fathers and reality say otherwise.

As for homosexuals, these people have a dangerous agenda that includes serving honorably in the military, monogamous marriage with legal benefits, and raising children. A dangerous agenda to be sure, that apparently threatens the American way of life. Clearly, they must be stopped before they decorate and renovate any more houses, or win any more medals. If we don't stop them, this country will be exactly the same as it is now, only with good color coordination, designer furniture and more organic vegetables.

It seems all the "ideas" of the Right are based on two basic principles which define them to their core: Fear and Entitlement. We have seen how they propagate fear to justify their actions and abuses. But, in a sense it goes deeper than that. They are about the fear of change, progress and responsibility. If they accept change and progress then it involves giving up some of what they have taken for themselves. And, if they accept responsibility it means having to act accordingly and care about the effects of their actions on others. As the Party of the rich and connected, there has always been a sense of entitlement built into the GOP and right-wing mentality. There has to be, to justify the inherently lofty and privileged status they have created for themselves. In the last thirty years they have cleverly extended this sense of entitlement by telling Theo-Cons that they are entitled to power because they are the "right Christians" and to Neo-Cons by offering them a big piece of the pie. Almost everyone loves being told they are special, chosen and entitled. Religion has often served in this way, specifically in old Christian Europe and in many parts of the Muslim East. However, all the religious wars in Europe caused modern Europeans to abandon true state-sanctioned religion. Yet, here in America it's back. Their actions, however, seem in contrast to many of the actual teachings of Christ. Many of these "Christians" aren't about turning the other cheek and helping the less fortunate, but more about self-righteousness and demagoguery.

So, out of these two aspects of Fear and Entitlement, all the "ideas" of the Right flow. Social Security "Reform" is an attempt to rid the country of a program that insures the survival of some of the least amongst us. They would like to do it in the open, but it is by far one of the most successful and popular programs in the history of the country. George W. Bush's bold failure in trying to cover this intent by claiming it was in serious solvency trouble and creating "private accounts" shows the depths to which they will sink to achieve its dissolution. Neither of these things were true, but by trying to claim Social Security was an investment program, when it's actually an insurance program, shows you what they are really after - the money they feel entitled to.

Tax giveaways to the rich and large corporations are the traditional standby of the Right and are cleverly disguised as "Tax Reform" or "Tax Cuts," when they are in fact really Deficit-Financed Revenue Giveaways and redistributions to those who already have most of the country's capital. The end result and intent is to under-fund the government and social programs, thus weakening it at all levels. This creates what amounts to, as some have dubbed it, a centralized Kleptocracy, where those who can take will take all they can. There is no accountability or real oversight, and government comes to serve corporations and the established wealth. This is the GOP's Corporate Ownership Society (which they try to call an "ownership society" except the owner is ultimately a company or bank rather than an individual). All this leads to the majority of the country's wealth and resources being controlled by the largest corporations and richest individuals.

American Oligarchy

In other words George W. Bush, the Radical GOP Right and their cohorts are in the process of trying to turn the United States into a Latin American Oligarchy. Before one dismisses this theory, consider that many of the countries in Latin America were controlled by old European colonial families (much like the Bushes here) who were heavily involved in corporations connected with the state and originally aided by religion (in Latin America's case, the Catholic church). This triumvirate of interests creates a government of the few wealthy land-owning elite over the many (often indigenous) poor. Most of the keen "ideas" and plans of the Regressive Right seem to add up to waging war on the middle class, by decreasing or stagnating wages, reducing educational opportunities, increasing survival costs while reducing social supports. The Oligarchies of Latin America tended to have small middle classes, but a very large source of cheap and vulnerable - often unskilled - labor. They didn't have much of a social support structure or freedom of speech. They, like Bush and the GOP, worked steadfastly against unions and the rights of workers, always favoring management instead. This is essentially a Plantation Culture - or what has been also been referred to as "Plantation Capitalism," which was also the original culture of the American Antebellum South: a culture that more and more centralizes wealth and power in the hands of the few, while making the bulk of the population dependent on them to survive. So, while many in Latin America are trying to break through centuries of stagnation and oppression, we seem strangely headed the other way.

Naturally in this country the corporate and government structure is built into a large standing military, what the enlightened Republican President (and former General) Eisenhower dubbed "The Military Industrial-Complex." As Chalmers Johnson has eloquently pointed out, this permanent structure of corporations, military and government guarantees lucrative contracts and profits for those involved in making weapons and supplying the military. So, as war becomes incredibly profitable, it becomes inevitable that we are going to see a lot more of it. You can't buy more weapons and ammunition or build more bases and landing strips unless you are using them and developing new ones. Now, there are real threats, but when anything is this profitable, you start finding more reasons for war and making up new ones if you need to. The Cold War may be over, but the smaller hot wars across the globe may be even better business. Why even develop new sources of energy and promote conservation when you can get oil and a lucrative war too? The Soviet Union as boogieman has been successfully replaced by Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda in a new "war" that can never end.

The problem is that it is the poor and young who always get stuck fighting those wars. Patriotism is always the best device to recruit them. After all, it's what got poor white farm boys in the South to fight for and defend the land and wealth of rich white plantation owners during the Civil War. The very slavery that kept them poor (by keeping their own wages down and reducing the available paying jobs) was something they came to champion, because they were told they were better than the slaves because at least they weren't black. So, they fought to preserve a system that in the end kept them poor. They too were told it was about "values" and what they were "entitled" to as Americans. There is a certain dark genius to it that Karl Rove could appreciate and steal from. He may not be original, but he knows what works. Thomas Frank explains in his book just how Kansas has embraced a political path that is slowly destroying its own economy and infrastructure. Yet, they continue down that road to oblivion and even hope to take the rest of the country with them.

Some would argue that since many of these people believe in the "End of Days" scenario they think they see in the Book of Revelation, oblivion may be exactly what they seek. They feel they will be saved, and that this has to happen so that they can meet their maker. So, they work hard to help it along.

So, in this day and age, a "Conservative" has little to do with what was once "Conservatism." Instead, it has been successfully replaced by a self-destructive ideology that is a hybrid of Corporate Plantation Capitalism and Religious Extremism that now rules the GOP. So, now with the Right firmly in charge we take the Great Leap Backwards from a multi-cultural democracy based on checks and balances, to Corporate-Religious Oligarchy promoting a great leap backward.


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