Tag Archives: 2012 election

FISCAL CLIFF OVER BENGHAZI,By Louise Annarino,November 29,2012

29 Nov

FISCAL CLIFF OVER BENGHAZI , By Louise Annarino, November 29,2012

 

On September 11, 2012 4 Americans in the diplomatic service of the United States, at one of the most dangerous postings in the Middle East were murdered in Benghazi, Libya.

 

During the first 2 weeks of September 2012, 32 Americans were killed in Detroit; one of them and Iraq Vet and father of five children named Davis Nelson, who pushed aside a woman neighbor about to be shot by her husband in a domestic dispute and took the bullet himself. (http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/19568205/32-people-murdered-over-15-day-period-in-detroit ).

 

By the time of the Benghazi murders,Chicago had already seen 400 Americans murdered within its borders during 2012. During August 2012 alone, 38 persons were killed.( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/01/chicago-homicides-reach-4_n_1929015.html ).

 

In Columbus,Ohio 83 Americans had been murdered between January 1 and  November 29, 2012.  The breakdown: 88% male, 70.7% African-American, 56.5% age 20-39, 79.3% shooting victims. ( http://www.dispatch.com/content/pages/data/crime-safety/homicide/homicides.html ).

 

During the past year, more than a 1,000 children died before their first birthdays in Ohio. The breakdown: 6.3% white, 5.7% Latino, and 15.8% African-American; likely the highest in the nation for African-American babies. ( http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2012/11/29/black-infant-deaths-worst-of-bad-news.html ).

 

More than 1 in 5 of all American children live in poverty; 1 in 3 American children of color live in poverty. As a result, America loses half a trillion dollars per year in lost productivity, increased health care costs, and increased crime. ( http://www.childrensdefense.org/newsroom/child-watch-columns/child-watch-documents/forward-for-children.html ).

Excuse me for finding American’s obsessive concern about fiscal cliffs and the terrorist attack in Benghazi nothing short of ridiculous. Many Americans live on the fiscal cliff, just over its edge struggling to hang on, or at the bottom of the cliff all of their lives. Many Americans face the threat of violence and death daily in American cities and towns. The silence has been deafening in addressing these issues. It is not that Americans have been unaware of the problem; but, their solution has been to flee to suburbs and gated communities rather than addressing the needs of fellow Americans they identify as “the other”.

Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) and others warn us that we must protect the low tax rate of the richest of the rich and their investments. To do so he insists we cut  redefined entitlements. Entitlements are those things to which one is entitled; over which one has ownership rights. These same small-government proponents propose taking away our property rights, our entitlement to the Social Security and Medicare benefits we paid for through payroll deductions from every paycheck we have ever earned by reason of our labor. They have redefined entitlements as gifts from our socialist president, and socialist Democratic party. Please, spare us the hypocrisy. You spare us very little else.

And John McCain reminds us daily that 4 Americans died in Ben Gahzi. Mr. Cain, where is your outrage over the Americans killed by violence in the hearts of our cities every night? Over the infant mortality rate for our babies? Over the 3532 American Iraq War dead? Which you supported despite the obvious lies used to justify it. Forgive me if I find your outrageous disdain for Ambassador Rice the farce it is.

It has been difficult for me to write because it has been difficult to channel my anger toward those who continue to obstruct the people’s business in Congress, who continue to filter their world view through a racist and sexist lens, who believe they lost the 2012 election simply because they mistakenly and incompetently marketed their party platform to the public, and who only regret the failure, but not the use, of their voter suppression efforts.

I admire President Obama’s ability to tolerate such hypocrisy and continue to seek workable agreements with persons whose words twist reality, whose motives cannot be trusted, and whose sexist and racist world view is potentially harmful to so many Americans. We must demand  that President Obama, Rep.Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC)and Sen.Harry Reid(D-NEV) ask more of their Republican colleagues, not less, in their negotiations. At the very least they must demand respect for people of color and women (including Ambassador Rice), adherence to truth, and a firm commitment to openly support any agreements they reach.

I grieve the loss of life in Ben Ghazi, and continued threats to those Americans who represent our country abroad. But, I also grieve the the daily threats to America’s children and families who face on-going threats of economic loss and violence, especially within the African-American community. Where is our outrage on their behalf? Who will speak for these Americans? Will you?

 

 

Advertisements

NOT CAN,BUT HOW? THE BUDGET AND DEFICIT REDUCTION,By Louise Annarino,November 9,2012

9 Nov

NOT CAN,BUT HOW? THE BUDGET AND DEFICIT REDUCTION,By Louise Annarino, November 9, 2012

At President Obama’s first press conference he stated a willingness to consider any idea which fairly addresses the nation’s fiscal needs. However, he clearly and unequivocally asserted that taxes on earnings above $250,000 must be increased. He went further asking congress to immediately extend tax cuts on earnings below $250,000 rather than waiting for negotiations on deficit reduction and balancing the budget plays out,stressing the need for stability and certainty for small business owners.

In effect, the president seeks to stabilize small businesses and encourage their creation and expansion, and continue tax policies which economists agree will stimulate middle class spending, and which will help those small businesses grow. This is basic and sound fiscal policy upon which any honest politician, of either party, could easily agree. The only reason Boehner might not agree is to use the middle class and small businesses as a political tool to continue to shelter wealthy supporters and their corporate interests, at the expense of average Americans.

Republicans also make no secret of their intention to eliminate, starve into extinction, or privatize the social safety net: social security,medicare,medicaid,food stamps,WIC,unemployment compensation etc.

Will Rep. Boehner insist on continuing tax breaks for Big Oil while  delaying the Social Security retirement age for a woman who stands on her aching feet all day at a cash register, or a mechanic whose arthritic hands can no longer twist a wrench without pain, or a security officer who must chase a teen robber up and over a fence? Or will he agree instead to lift the cap on FICA taxes,increasing contributions from higher income earners? Such choices matter.

Will Rep. Boehner insist the Ryan Budget must be accepted in whole or in part before the House is willing to even consider the President’s Jobs Bill? Will veterans continue to wait for House Republicans to approve a veterans’ jobs program included in the president’s bill? Will farmers wait for House Republicans to pass the Agriculture Bill unless it contains Ryan’s proposed cuts of $1.6 billion dollars a year (four times the amount spread over five years in the bi-partisan bill passed by the Senate) to food stamps, WIC (women,infants and children),and meals on wheels for seniors and the disabled? Why must we wait?

What can we do to put a stop to such nonsense? ASK our Republican representatives and senators to answer questions regarding their positions on specific cuts. TELL our Democratic representatives and senators that we expect them to stand strong and speak out on our behalf. Remind both that they will soon be up for re-election and that we will not forget what they do.

The news pundits,once again,focused on whether a deal can be reached with Boehner since Obama is willing to compromise, discussing the need for Democrats to give a little. Chris Mathews even suggested the president should appoint Mitt Romney Secretary of Business, chuckling that he would not do so, but should do something like this…throw Boehner a bone? No,such talk is throwing over an election, throwing over the middle class. The first person Andrea Mitchell interviewed for reaction to Obama’s press conference today was  House Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn (D-SC) who concurred that when negotiating everything must be on the table. Feeling a bit nervous, I listened  to him then suggest that even social security would have to be reworked because we want  it and programs such as medicare and medicaid to be there in the years ahead. Okay, I thought, that is a no-brainer. But then he suggested one likely change is delaying the age at which one may receive benefits. There are alternatives methods to reducing program costs which don’t deprive people of, or delaying access to, benefits they have a right to rely on, and which they desperately need to survive with dignity.

Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps are not frills. They are not “stuff.” These programs are life support. We are not a poor nation;we are a very rich nation. Budgets define our priorities in this country; and, not our wealth. We can reduce the deficit and balance our budget over time. Either party is capable of doing so. The real issue is not can we do so; but how we do so. Hopefully, we do so while maintaining life support for the aged, the disabled, the hungry, the unemployed, the uneducated, and even the planet itself. We count on our president and our Democratic senators and congressmen to remember this, and to fight for us. John Boehner will be fighting for his political life, and the survival of his party; but, unless I miss my guess,not for us.

Central Ohio Contact List ( Rep.Joyce Beatty (D-OH) info not yet available):

 

Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)

(202)225-6205

(202)225-0704 Fax

Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH)

3000 Corporate Exchange Drive,Suite 310

Columbus, Ohio 43231

(614) 523-2555.

(614)818-0887 Fax

 

Rep. Steve Stivers

3790 Municipal Way
Hilliard, OH 43026
(614) 771-4968
(614) 771-3990 Fax

Joyce Beatty for Congress

233 S High St Ste #300

Columbus, OH 43215

614-600-4231

beattyforcongress@gmail.com

 

Senator Rob Portman

37 West Broad Street,Room 300

Columbus, OH 43215

(614)469-6774

Toll-Free: 1-800-205-6446

 

Sen. Sherrod Brown

(614) 469-2083

(202)224-2315

Toll Free : 1-888-896-6446

 

 

 

OUR VOTES COUNTED, BUT WE DIDN’T?By Louise Annarino,November 9,2012

9 Nov

OUR VOTES COUNTED, BUT WE DIDN’T?,By Louise Annarino,November 9,2012

 

If we are to believe the media-take on the re-election of President Barack Obama, we managed to have our votes counted; but, we still don’t count. Despite the fact that Barack Obama won by a greater margin than George W. Bush without the need for court intervention to seal the deal, corporate media refuses to acknowledge president Obama’s mandate. Instead it sees his presidency as one calling for accession to the demands of those whose candidate lost the election and the majority of the electorate’s support for Republican policies.

 

The list denying a mandate includes: CBS Evening News’ Bob Schiefer. Washington Post’s Dan Balz. Politico’s Glenn Thrush,Jim VandeHei,and Mike Allen. CNN’s David Gergen, and Gloria Berger. FOX News’ Charles Krauthammer.Time Magazine’s Joe Klein.

 

Even NPR’s Cokie Roberts failed to credit the value of those who voted for the President and handed him a mandate when she described his challenge to govern in this way: “It is a divide where he’s lost whites, he’s lost Southerners, he’s lost people of a certain income and age, and he’s really got to do something fast to deal with that.”

 

Oh, I see now whose vote REALLY counts: whites (but not those whites who voted for Obama), Southerners (but not those Southerners who voted for Obama), people of a certain income and age( but not those wealthy, older persons who voted for Obama). Interestingly, the need to address the concerns of African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, young people, women and LGBT community seems to be of no concern to Ms. Roberts. Apparently, she thinks she knows who should be driving the bus, and who should ride in the back.

 

It is not because she sees division as a concern which disturbs me; we are all concerned about the divisions within our country. But, because she weighs the interests of those who do not support Obama as a greater issue for his attention than the mandate the majority of voters handed him on November 6 to enact the change we need to secure America’s future for all its citizens. It is the diminished value corporate media places on an Obama victory for those who do not look like them, earn what they earn, live like they live. By diminishing his win, they diminish his right to govern and they diminish the value of our vote. That diminishes all Americans.

STAY TUNED:OBSTRUCTIONISM IS STILL ON THE TABLE,By Louise Annarino,November 9,2012

9 Nov

STAY TUNED: OBSTRUCTIONISM IS STILL ON THE TABLE,By Louise Annarino, November 9,2012

 

 

Team,
This victory is a testament to you. Take pride in your hard work over the past 18 months: the countless calls you made, the doors you knocked, the people you inspired to support our president.
I know it wasn’t always easy. But through your perseverance, you proved that a strong, grassroots organization could overcome powerful interests on the other side.
You built this organization from the ground up. You helped this country stay the course. Enjoy this victory for now and rest up. There will be more work to come. Stay tuned.- Jeremiah Bird, Obama For America

 

”Stay tuned” We have heard this before from OFA, the grassroots organization which continued to work in support of President Obama after they did so in the 2008 election. It was OFA who announced to those of us who had already started organizing marches and rallies, collecting signatures on petitions, and garnering support for single payer health care that we must cease, and instead, push for The Affordable Health Care Act-Obamacare. We joined the effort to see near-universal health care passed,hoping it would be a beginning,understanding that if the votes are not there in Congress, compromise is necessary. But it does not sit well with those of us who understand that the most affordable health care system is one which eliminates profit for investors, and delivers dollars to direct service. Built into Obamacare is the 85% required delivery of direct care; with refunds to patients whose insurance carriers spend less than 85% of money collected on direct care. Still, this allows a 15% overhead for administrative costs,which exceeds that of medicare. The amount of difference could fund more direct service rather than to investors for profits off our illnesses. But, it is a start.

 

Yesterday, Speaker of the House, Rep.John Boehner (R-OH) responded to Diane Sawyer during an ABC interview when asked about his desire to repeal Obamacare:

“It’s pretty clear that the president was re-elected ,” Boehner added. “Obamacare is the law of the land.” But, he then added that there were parts of the law congress would try to change. Shortly following the interview his spokesman said,that repealing the law ‘would be on the table.’ Clearly, the re-election has not changed Boehner’s attitude, nor his operational style.

Stay tuned: Obstruction by Boehner and the GOP is still on the table.

Obstruction takes many forms: It blocks bills in committee,not allowing them to be voted out of committee for floor vote. It refuses to put a bill or discussion of a bill on the calendar. It refuses to discuss bills with both parties in attendance, Republicans locking out Democratic members who retreat to a separate room for discussion. It holds votes in the middle of the night when the public and news media are not paying attention to the machinations of voting irregularities; such as, stopping the vote at the last minute when it appears your side is losing and holding the vote open for hours while arms are twisted and votes are changed. It requires a supermajority to override a filibuster,which is an impossibility with the number of current party members. It walks out of bipartisan meetings with the President and holds a news conference belying the president’s efforts to find a compromise. It is the party of walk-backs,confusing reporters and the public as to what GOP’s true position is, or if it has ANY position other than OPPOSITION.

If you thought the ugliness and lies were over, you are wrong. GOP has learned nothing from the 2012 election. They campaigned with no respect, dignity nor integrity. This is how they intend to govern. Do not expect Republicans to govern with respect, dignity,and integrity.

Already,I am disgusted by newspersons concern over the fate of the Republican Party, the endless hours of commentary suggesting how it can change and grow. Where is the discussion about what this country needs to do NOW and what this country has a right to expect from the GOP to see that what we need happens? I say to the GOP what I say to those who discriminate against women and people of color, “Heal yourself! I have enough on my hands doing what I can for the betterment of my fellow citizens. I must heal my own pain at your insensitivity to the needs of my fellow citizens;I have no time to heal yours.”

Our focus should not be on the improved chances of Republicans to win future elections but their failure to support the efforts being made by Democrats in Congress and by President Obama to stimulate economic growth, create jobs, protect our environment, educate our children, reform immigration, reduce poverty, assure health care for all, reduce the deficit fairly,increase taxes on the top tier of income and capital gains, end useless and harmful wars, solidify and extend diplomatic gains etc.

The morning after the election I awoke with a smile on my face, a feeling of increased security, with no fear that my civil rights were in jeopardy, knowing our president is one who sees a future full of promise and has a plan for leading us in the right direction. It was a place of calm I had not been in since January 20, 2009. I needed that peace of mind to last longer. It ended too soon. It ended when I realized the direction media is leading us: away from serious discussion of issues of governance and on to the 2016 election. Shame on the Third Estate for failing us…again. Stay tuned.

 

IT’S NOT ABOUT IRRESPONSIBLE OHIO VOTERS,By Louise Annarino, November 4, 2012

4 Nov

IT’S NOT ABOUT IRRESPONSIBLE OHIO VOTERS,By Louise Annarino, November 4, 2012

Now the counting of provisional ballots in Ohio shifts to the Republican theme that 47% of us refuse to accept responsibility for ourselves. On Friday Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted added reasons to reject a provisional ballot with incorrect or missing information as to the type of Identification used by voters casting a provisional ballot, SHIFTING RESPONSIBILITY for checking the appropriate boxes on the provisional ballot affirmation form from poll workers to voters.

Husted spokesman Matt McClellan said the provisional ballot affirmation form  (above) is the same that’s been used in this year’s spring primary and a special election in August. This is NOT the point. What matters is that it is contrary to Ohio law and violates court decree.

Ohio Rev. Code § 3505.181(B)(6) provides that, once a voter casting a provisional ballot proffers identification,  “the appropriate local election official shall record the type of identification provided, the social security number information, the fact that the affirmation was executed, or the fact that the individual declined to execute such an affirmation and include that information with the transmission of the ballot . ..”

This is an overt effort by Ohio Republicans to avoid a previously entered court decree as described by plaintiffs in Case: 2:06-cv-00896-ALM-TPK Doc #: 346 Filed: 11/01/12 Page: 1 of 11 PAGEID #: 12588. In the earlier decision and consent decree filed before US District Court Judge Algernon Marbley, it was agreed by all parties, including Republican SOS Husted, that he direct Ohio’s 88 county election boards to count certain provisional ballots WHERE POLL WORKERS MADE MISTAKES such as: 1. Allowing or directing voter to cast ballot in the wrong precinct, but correct poll location. 2. Allowing voter to cast ballot without completing or signing the ballot. 3. Failing to complete the application for the voter,as required by Ohio law.

As a former poll workerI can attest that it is not uncommon to overlook a missing piece of information when polls are busy; but,it is the poll worker’s duty to assure each voter’s ballot will be counted by correctly completing information requested on the ballot envelope. Poll workers,not voters, are trained to understand the language on the provisional ballot envelopes and trained to assure the form is complete. Voters do not second-guess poll workers;but, simply follow the directions to the best of their ability. They rely on the competence of poll workers. Plaintiffs’ counsel Subodh Chandra explains, “Judge Marbley’s decision ensures that legitimate voters do not  lose their right to vote when government workers make mistakes.”

SOS Husted is attempting to make sure such ballots are not counted,despite his prior consent to Judege Marbley’s decree by throwing sand in our face and making the issue VOTER IRRESPONSIBILITY, rather than poll worker error. Disrespect for the constitutional rights of voters to cast a ballot which will be counted is just the latest effort to undermine the Ohio election by confusing Ohio voters, and stealing their votes.

Our solution is simple: GET OUT THE VOTE. A huge turnout is the only way to assure a clean decision on election night, rather than an election dragged through the courts ad infinitum. BUT BE WARNED: Even if we elect President Obama on election night by overpowering Republican vote theft with an exceptionally high turnout, Republicans will use continued court involvement as a sign that President Obama is NOT REALLY the winner. Al Gore backed away from such an argument to  preserve our union and uphold the election process. I doubt Ohio Republicans will behave with such respect. They have not for the past four years;so don’t expect a sudden change of heart.

Read more: http://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Ohio-provisional-ballot-voting-order-criticized-4005729.php#ixzz2BGkeXgHQ

PRIVATIZING FIRST RESPONDERS: THE NEW CARPETBAGGERS, By Louise Annarino, October 30, 2012

30 Oct

Privatizing First Responders: the New Carpetbaggers, By Louise Annarino, October 30, 2012

April 22,1970. My friend Daisy Ouwelein saw the fruition of her organizing work on the campus of The Ohio State University as we celebrated the first Earth Day with millions of fellow Americans. Rachel Carson had published SILENT SPRING a year earlier, alerting us to the dangers of DDT and pesticides. In 1969 a massive oil spill despoiled the coast of Santa Barbara, California. Dead rivers carried industrial pollutants to the Great Lakes. Daisy had asked my help to promote and involve others in the day’s activities: Senatorial Candidate and former astronaut John Glenn spoke about his proposed anti-pollution legislation in Hitchcock Hall. Students learned about their “responsibility of the land” from the editor of Field and Stream magazine,Mike Frome, at the Ohio Union. Students walked the polluted Olentangy River which flowed through campus, many students needing medical treatment for rashes and infections after wading or being jokingly thrown in it. Organizing workshops were held on how to handle and fight environmental problems.

Earth Day’s founder, Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-WI), announced the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” to the national media and persuaded Congressman Pete McCloskey, (R-CA)to serve as co-chair. His National Coordinator  Dennis Hayes, with a staff of 85, promoted events across the country. http://www.earthday.org/earth-day-history-movement. Students nationwide were already mobilized on college campuses in opposition to the Viet-Nam War. At OSU, students were in the midst of protests to end campus racism and establish a Black Studies Department, as well as end the war. The environmental movement became part of our generation’s understanding that the corporate world was using us as fodder for war and profit, with no concern for the destruction of human and environmental ecology.

Today, we see a continuing battle against these forces who refute the overwhelming evidence of climate change, genetically modify our foods, and wage war to seize and control natural and labor resources. They continue to pollute our soil/ air/ water, create disease in our children; and ask us to accept that “based on rates from 2007-2009, 41.24% of men and women born today will be diagnosed with cancer of all sites at some time during their lifetime. This number can also be expressed as 1 in 2 men and women will be diagnosed with cancer of all sites during their lifetime.” http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/all.html#incidence-mortality

As I watch events unfold over eastern 1/3 of The U.S. from Hurricane, now Tropical Storm, Sandy I wonder at those who would vote for a candidate who openly attacks environmental regulation and control, is unwilling to maintain and fund FEMA, who seizes and controls labor at home and abroad by outsourcing jobs,and who questions the very existence of climate change.  Presidential candidate Romney states that “it is immoral” for the government to pay for emergency responders, passing on the cost to his grand-children. Instead he argues that emergency response should be “privatized”. I for one do not want to sit in my attic as waters rise, wondering if a private company finds it profitable to rescue me, or if a private fire company thinks my home is worth saving from a fire. Think I exaggerate? It has already happened because of a  Tennessee family’s failure to pay a $75 fee.

Imagine if emergency services had been privatized in New York on 9-11; or today while first responders search and rescue in Atlantic City, NJ and across the Eastern Seaboard. Imagine if the unions of government workers had failed to oppose efforts to eliminate government workers. When there is trouble of this magnitude, when so many lives are threatened and our cities face unimaginable  infrastructure losses, “Who Ya Gonna Call?” Ghostbusters? No, city, county and state workers, the national guard and the coast guard. And who is going to coordinate this effort across geopolitical boundaries? And who is going to assist smaller towns and cities to handle the heavy costs incurred? The federal government, FEMA, and a president who keeps private profit out of the formula to maximize results at lowest possible cost, spread wide to absorb the sticker shock for an individual person or community. This is how it works best. This is what we have learned over time.

Those who ask us to privatize government functions are the new “carpetbaggers”. Like those carpetbaggers who descended upon a broken South when it was at its most vulnerable, to make personal profit as it struggled to restore some economic stability, today’s carpetbaggers have targeted the entire country,perhaps the entire world, as an “easy mark”. I have mentioned before the shell game https://worthingtonforobama2012.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/a-debate-or-a-shell-game-whom-does-romney-think-he-is-kiddingby-louise-annarino-october-1-2012/ being played out during the 2012 election. As you watch events unfold over the next hours and days, keep in mind that increasing environmental threats are real. Our first responders are even more important to our survival and entitled to not only our thanks, but to our financial support for the risks they take to protect us. They come when called out of civic duty; not to profit off our suffering.

A MORE PERFECT UNION, By Louise Annarino,October 29,2012

29 Oct

A MORE PERFECT UNION,By Louise Annarino, October 29,2012

 

One question on two fronts: “Where are we now in the election?” and “Where are we as a move forward as a nation?” President Obama’s interview this morning on “Morning Joe” answered both questions.

 

First we are in the final days of Obama’s final race for elected office. From his first campaign when he sat around a his kitchen table with four people creating a flyer to be copied at KINKO to the current campaign where hundreds of thousands of supporters in every state sit around kitchen tables to phone bank, cut turf for door-to-door canvasses, plan events, organize volunteers, order and distribute buttons/bumper stickers/yard signs, and schedule GOTV activities the energy and momentum has grown with the size of the crowds who attend his rallies. President Obama has re-energized interest in campaigns, registered huge numbers of new voters,and turned our record numbers of voters by connecting with Americans in a way we had not seen before in our lifetimes. He has connected and energized both those who respect and love him, and those who disdain and hate him. But, most importantly, he has taught us what a republic requires of its citizens.

 

There is a bittersweet feel to these last days of the Obama campaign. It is as if we are holding our breath while running one hundred miles per hour. The final sprint may not look pretty, but all that matters now is getting over the finish line first. Those who vote early are free to help the last runners make it over the line. While some of the drama is lost, the race is thus won. We can do this! We will do this working together.

 

Second, President Obama offered his description of where we are now as a nation when he stated the next president will answer two questions: “How big a government do we want? How will we pay for it?”

 

If we want  a smarter but more affordable and smaller government, President Obama is the candidate of choice. As an example,he explained that the U.S. spends 17% of budget on health care, while other industrialized nations spend only 11% (and have better record on outcomes). That 6% is our deficit. (Obamacare has already reduced the percentage of annual increases in health insurance premiums, and when it becomes fully operational and more competitive in 2014, cost is expected to drop even lower).

 

The Obama strategy of cutting what does not work and redirecting dollars to programs which are more efficient and save even more dollars illustrates how cuts can be done in a balanced and effective manner while reducing budget expenses. He reiterated that the money he saved (not stole as Mr. Romeny claims) within medicare was then spent within medicare to increase free preventive care which reduces costs, and closed the donut hole so medicare recipients can get their meds, further reducing costs.

 

He also suggested in the interview that we could become more efficient and cost-effective by creating a Secretary of Business, a one-stop shop replacing nine current divisions which create a headache for businesses. The only thing blocking such streamlining, he suggested, is Congress protecting its jurisdiction over various pieces of government. He reminded Joe Scarborough that he has created far fewer regulations than George Bush and is conducting an on-going review of current regulations to eliminate or redesign those which simply do not work.

 

President Obama believes his mandate for the next four years is to reduce the deficit. He also understands this cannot be done in an unbalanced manner which fails to consider how to make government more effective while maintaining necessary services. His focus is to “make things work” better and at reduced cost. When asked why he thinks he could get Congress to work with him when he has been blocked (by Republicans) the last four years he said he must “first clear away ideology by reducing the deficit”. Once that is accomplished he expects Congress to work on issues that have historically not been ideological: infrastructure – we have a lot of deferred maintenance of roads and bridges, immigration – both because neither party can ignore the fastest growing demographic AND because it is the “right thing to do.” He then asked Joe, “When did roads and bridges become ideological?”

 

The President has learned a lot over the past four years. despite obstruction, he has made government smaller, more efficient, work smarter and reduced costs. Every year things cost more. It is the rate of increase we must look at. The rate of increase has been subdued by President Obama. Employment has grown every year; job less rates have slowed. I cannot think of another time in history when an American president who has accomplished so much against such odds would not be re-elected by large margins. But, we have never had an African-American president before, either.

 

An article in yesterday’s “Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch” discussed a study which disclosed racism has increased during the Obama administration. I would reframe the findings differently. White Americans are recovering racists who must fight their way through racial stereotypes, acceptance of preference as a natural right, and subliminal need to feel superior to someone, indeed anyone, in our self-proclaimed “classless society”. Most of us do keep up the good fight against our inherent racism and prejudice. We know it is wrong, have learned to acknowledge that fact, and rejoice that we,too, have “overcome” it. But, it raises its ugly head most when we experience “congruence”.

 

Congruence is the coming together of two “things”.It is a powerful force. When white people see Black people as congruent it stirs up the deep need to feel superior. We justify that feeling by resorting to old stereotypes and acclaimed prejudices. It seems to me we are not increasingly racist; but, increasingly afraid of a loss of preference. When we see that an African-American man and woman can be president and first-lady, our preference as superior beings to an imagined inferior is lost. That is why we are seeing more racism. That is what we must fight; not one another, and certainly not Pressident Obama nor First-Lady Michelle Obama.

 

This is what we see within the Obama campaign. People of all races, ethnicities, ages,sexual orientation forcefully unconcerned about who may be superior or inferior but simply working together as equals. That is the where we are in this campaign. That is where we are in America today. That is how we are moving forward. President Obama has already made America a more perfect union (established more congruence). That is why we see more open displays of racism today; not because we are failing as a nation, but because we are succeeding. Imagine the power of congruence if republicans would see democrats,and our president, as equals instead of inferiors and worked together moving forward. That is what a second Obama term could look like. Thank you President Obama! We will move forward with you.