Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

What has Obama done in office?

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

I have posted a couple times addressing this question. What has Obama done so far? You can read those here and here. But… I stumbled upon a fantastic site that answers that question simply—over and over and over again– What the F*** has Obama done so far dot com. Obama has done so much for our country. He cannot fix all the years of damage the last administration did but he has done a lot towards repairing so many national wounds. From healthcare reform to rights of all people to corporate responsibility—Obama has been working hard for all of us…these are just a few examples the website cites…

For Women…

For Children…

For minorities…

 

For gay rights…

 

For students…

For Human Rights (and for restoration of political legitimacy)…

For science and research…

For the disabled…

 

For the veterans and their families…

For the elderly…

For the unemployed…

For the fiscally conservative (and the next generation)…

For the geeks, even…

 

And as I said above, these are just a few of the examples of What Obama has done so far… in one term in office. I would say he has done an outstanding job so far.

Thank you President Barack Obama.

You can read more on the website: What the f*** has Obama done so far?

Bound

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Bound.jpg

We are all of us bound to something, some one… many things. No matter how far away, we still feel the never ending pull. We try to mask it with white noise, with others, with go, go, go but still there is no severing some ties. We are bound to those we shared a little too much of ourselves with even if we try to pretend otherwise. We are bound to ourselves, even the darkest meanest self-critic within. We are bound to our pasts like rotting roots waiting to crawl through us and petrify all that is good, all we have overcome. We are bound to our sadness, to our will, to our weakened or refreshed strength. We are bound to the strangers around us. We are bound to the person starving or crying or celebrating millions of miles away, the one we may never meet. We are bound to the buildings with the paint chipping off and the glass towers built to last forever. We are bound to the oiled birds of the Gulf Coast. We are bound to the missing in Japan. We are bound to the fabric woven throughout humanity to all its imperfections and to all its beauty. We are bound to everything, and I am bound to you.

Bound to you by Christina Aguilera (from the Burlesque Soundtrack)

What Obama has done by Rachel Maddow

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

This is definitely worth watching. Obama has worked hard for our country and I am proud I voted for him.

Healthcare Reform Passes Congress…at what cost?

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

Shame on you President Obama,

I read your excited message about the healthcare reform bill passing Congress tonight and I burst into tears of joy. I felt like the change we have been seeking for so many years, that we have been working so hard to bring about was finally coming to fruition. Only to learn it ‘passed’ in exchange for the tens of millions of women in this country. When should we expect the government to send their lackeys to pick up our shoes so we can stay home proper, barefoot and forced pregnant? When did the promise of change become the promise of positive change for men and a reaffirmation of women as second-class citizens?

I am absolutely appalled that you or any member of our government would allow such draconian measures to be perpetrated against women. You are pushing to get this healthcare reform bill passed but at what cost?

The Stupak-Pitts anti-choice amendment renders health care insurance companies incapable, financially, to support women’s’ reproductive health. In order to survive financially under this amendment, they would be forced to drop current coverage for women’s reproductive healthcare. This is a monumental step backwards. It is not simply a matter of not covering costs for the women who are currently uninsured. It goes a mile further and ensures an economic stranglehold on all insurance companies to drop current benefits provided to women.

Choosing to throw women under the bus to get the new healthcare system passed is a galling cop out. This decision is nothing more than the vehicle the opponents need to undermine Roe v. Wade. The provisions of this ‘amendment’ sets women’s healthcare back a century and delivers a devastating blow to those millions of women who enthusiastically supported Obama and this healthcare reform bill.

Women’s healthcare should not be targeted and denied because of political or moral objections. These are not our views or our opinions. These are OUR bodies, OUR choices and OURinsurance companies should cover it–period, particularly when the majority of insurance companies currently cover comprehensive reproductive health services. It was one thing to leave out coverage under the new healthcare bill. That was already a negative aspect. However, it becomes a completely different story when you add an amendment that takes away current coverage, in addition to limiting the alternative options for the coverage taken away.

How dare all of you yellow-belly Democrats who approved this Stupak-Pitts amendment decide to not only NOTinclude reproductive health services in the new health-care system but to endanger the barely-adequate coverage that exists currently. This decision sends a loud message to women in this country: YOU are not important; your needs, your body, your health and your rights are not important. Are we to understand that ‘the millions of people’ that this new system is supposed to help does not include women? Is this the new, improved, sensible healthcare system for men only?

I must have missed that part of the inspirational speeches.

I no longer support this bill or its blatant disregard for women’s reproductive health. And I am extremely angry that I and millions of other women, are being discarded at the whim of two senators in a futile attempt to appease those inconsiderate, selfish people opposing healthcare for all. Are these people who oppose healthcare for all anything more than medical and/or financial terrorists? I thought we had a policy of no negotiation with terrorists?Why then were tens of millions of women conceded in these terroristic negotations to provide adequate healthcare to our citizens?

When did women become so unimportant in this country and to our President that our reproductive health and control over our own bodies are offered up on a silver platter in exchange for the Congress to approve a watered-down, ineffective version of healthcare reform that will punish and neglect no longer by economic status but rather by gender?

I wonder what will happen to this bill once we take away the flattened, discarded feminine support that has so eagerly backed Obama. You can count me out until the dissolution of this backwards Stupak-Pitts amendment.

I see where I rank in importance in your vision for change. If Congress got tens of millions of uteri, what will the Senate get?

Soft Capitalism (Capitalism 2.0)

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

How about this for a New Rule: Not everything in America has to make a profit. It used to be that there were some services and institutions so vital to our nation that they were exempt from market pressures. Some things we just didn’t do for money. The United States always defined capitalism, but it didn’t used to define us. But now it’s becoming all that we are.

Did you know, for example, that there was a time when being called a “war profiteer” was a bad thing? But now our war zones are dominated by private contractors and mercenaries who work for corporations. There are more private contractors in Iraq than American troops, and we pay them generous salaries to do jobs the troops used to do for themselves ­– like laundry. War is not supposed to turn a profit, but our wars have become boondoggles for weapons manufacturers and connected civilian contractors.

Prisons used to be a non-profit business, too. And for good reason –­ who the hell wants to own a prison? By definition you’re going to have trouble with the tenants. But now prisons are big business. A company called the Corrections Corporation of America is on the New York Stock Exchange, which is convenient since that’s where all the real crime is happening anyway. The CCA and similar corporations actually lobby Congress for stiffer sentencing laws so they can lock more people up and make more money. That’s why America has the world;s largest prison population ­– because actually rehabilitating people would have a negative impact on the bottom line.

Television news is another area that used to be roped off from the profit motive. When Walter Cronkite died last week, it was odd to see news anchor after news anchor talking about how much better the news coverage was back in Cronkite’s day. I thought, “Gee, if only you were in a position to do something about it.”

But maybe they aren’t. Because unlike in Cronkite’s day, today’s news has to make a profit like all the other divisions in a media conglomerate. That’s why it wasn’t surprising to see the CBS Evening News broadcast live from the Staples Center for two nights this month, just in case Michael Jackson came back to life and sold Iran nuclear weapons. In Uncle Walter’s time, the news division was a loss leader. Making money was the job of The Beverly Hillbillies. And now that we have reporters moving to Alaska to hang out with the Palin family, the news is The Beverly Hillbillies.

And finally, there’s health care. It wasn’t that long ago that when a kid broke his leg playing stickball, his parents took him to the local Catholic hospital, the nun put a thermometer in his mouth, the doctor slapped some plaster on his ankle and you were done. The bill was $1.50, plus you got to keep the thermometer.

But like everything else that’s good and noble in life, some Wall Street wizard decided that hospitals could be big business, so now they’re run by some bean counters in a corporate plaza in Charlotte. In the U.S. today, three giant for-profit conglomerates own close to 600 hospitals and other health care facilities. They’re not hospitals anymore; they’re Jiffy Lubes with bedpans. America’s largest hospital chain, HCA, was founded by the family of Bill Frist, who perfectly represents the Republican attitude toward health care: it’s not a right, it’s a racket. The more people who get sick and need medicine, the higher their profit margins. Which is why they’re always pushing the Jell-O.

Because medicine is now for-profit we have things like “recision,” where insurance companies hire people to figure out ways to deny you coverage when you get sick, even though you’ve been paying into your plan for years.

When did the profit motive become the only reason to do anything? When did that become the new patriotism? Ask not what you could do for your country, ask what’s in it for Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

If conservatives get to call universal health care “socialized medicine,” I get to call private health care “soulless vampires making money off human pain.” The problem with President Obama’s health care plan isn’t socialism, it’s capitalism.

And if medicine is for profit, and war, and the news, and the penal system, my question is: what’s wrong with firemen? Why don’t they charge? They must be commies. Oh my God! That explains the red trucks!

Bill Maher, host of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher
Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-maher/new-rule-not-everything-i_b_244050.html

One More Crazy ECT

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Today, as I sat reading literature from women in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries—reading snippets of how our foremothers struggled before us—risking everything to find their voices—to free ours—to demand respect and equal rights—forging their way towards independence with a pen—some religious zealot, undoubtedly an Extreme Christian Terrorist, ECT, (aka conservative, Christian Anti-Choice Fanatic who believes violence is a necessary mean for whatever end their preacher or priest arbitrarily dictates is ordained by God) shot Dr. Tiller, an abortion provider, in his church in front of his family, friends and fellow church members.

I read this news and wept.

I am sad for his family, for his friends, for the poor people who were standing next to him. I am sad for the women who will be forced to continue a pregnancy they do not wish to continue. I am sad for those children who are thrust upon their mothers, shackled to their ankles like dead, unwanted weight. I am sad for the women who are imprisoned by their gender and by the male dominated society in which they are born. I am sad for the men who want to support women in their right to choose—who will now cower in fear of violence at the hands of some other ECT. I am sad for the women who still publish under male pseudonyms to gain equal recognition for their words and thoughts. I am sad for the women so lost in the land of men—they fail to see how their religion has tainted their minds against themselves, their bodies, their minds, their sisters, mothers and daughters.

I am outraged at the idiots who spew forth gleeful ignorant remarks chocked-full of misspellings and grammatical errors—using God as their shield—remarking how Dr. Tiller got what he deserved–filling up comment boards–raising ratings of hate-filled, idiotic talk show hosts like Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly. Are you really that ignorant—that intolerant of women’s rights? Can you not see the paradox of your own hateful thoughts—the same derisive, unhealthy thoughts that drove this lunatic ECT to shoot Dr. Tiller?

I am inundated with thoughts to share, choking in a sea of emotion over the bigger picture here. For now, I will leave you with a quote from LeRoy Carhart, an American physican who worked with and respected Dr. Tiller:

“Men have had unlimited availability to ‘abortion’ since the beginning of time. Men can walk away from unwanted pregnancies with virtually no response from government. I believe that, unless women are given an equal right to determine whether or not they remain pregnant, they will not be considered equal. I think that’s what the anti’s are most afraid of-women becoming equal.”

The Bay of Pigs Remembered

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

I am proud of my President, Barack Obama for taking the first step towards mending the gaping wound between our country and our exotic small neighbor Cuba. It is a start, though small in light of all that has happened. It is too little, perhaps too late but it is something. There is a lot of work to be done to end the suffering we have caused for Latin American countries. Here are few of the things we could do immediately.

  1. End the embargo against Cuba.
  2. Close the School of Assassins also known as the School of the Americas or renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation in 2001. This is a school located in Fort Benning, Georgia. Latin American teachers in this training facility teach counter-insurgency, military intelligent and combat in Spanish to Latin American assassins and mercenaries. And all of it is funded by the United States. Some of its graduates includ the following Latin American dictators Manuel Noriega, Omar Torrijos of Panama, Leopoldo Fortunato Galtieri Castelli and Roberto Eduardo Viola of Argentina, Juan Velasco Alvarado of Peru, and  Hugo Banzer Suarez of Bolivia.
  3. Set the record straight on the Bay of Pigs or La Batalla de Girón.
  4. We funded, trained, equipped and sent angry Cuban exiles on a clandestine mission to invade the South of Cuba. These exiles were the same men who supported the violent dictator Fulgencio Batista who violently terrorized his people before being driven out by Che Guevara, Fidel Castro and other revolutionaries. The highly trained and armed exile mercenaries landed on a small beach, Playa Girón, erroneously believing they could easily take Cuba back by force if they entered through a small town instead of a big city like Havana. They thought they would gain support of the simple farming folk, also known as campesinos, since mostly they had been forgotten about by their own country before the revolution. However, the opposite happened. They were met with much opposition from the campesinos. These people who had long since been forgotten or relegated to the least importance in their country were now helping the revolutionaries build roads to and from their towns. They were given the opportunity to be educated and to educate others. Women and children were given freedom and responsibility but they were also given recognition and respect. The campesinos were finally involved in their country’s politics. They were actively helping to make their country a better place. They were treated like equals for the first time in perhaps their entire history. And thus, they wanted nothing more than to fight for their new found freedom and respect. The lifelong inequality they had faced was crumbling before them and they were not about to allow the same people who had kept them in such a position for so long return to power. It was not the military assistance from Russia or China that won this battle for Cuba, it was the people who had enough of political and military tyranny. We had no right to be a part of the Bay of Pigs let alone be the masterminds and financiers behind it.
  5. Repeal the Cuban Adjustment Act which unnecessarily entices Cuban immigrants to risk their own lives to get to the United States. We are building higher, thicker walls between here and Mexico—manning it with more and more armed people ready and willing to shoot—just to keep the illegal immigrants out of our country but we are all but inviting thousands of Cubans to trek the 90 miles of treachorous waters in unsafe floating devices all to spite the Cuban government? It is a political ploy to make Cuba look like the worst place to live. The Cuba of today is NOT the same as the Cuba of 1959 or 1961 or even 10 years ago. Why don’t we give the same treatment to the Haitians or Dominicans who risk their lives cross the sea to find refuge here from real political chaos? Furthermore, the Cuban Adjustment Act assists the ever-increasing human trafficking market by way of its allowing unrestricted access to the ‘poor’ Cubans who venture out into those waters. Most Cubans after the initial lot of exiles some 50 years ago leave not for political reasons but rather for financial ones. Lifting the embargo would do wonders to relieve the economic stresses it has created. (See #1)

We have harassed Cuba in so many ways for too long. It is time to stop, past time.

I can still remember the taxi driver I met in Cienfuegos whose eyes filled with tears at the thought of his brother who died at Playa Girón during the Bay of Pigs which happened almost 48 years ago (April 17-19th, 1961). I remember how despite losing his only brother in this senseless battle, he was extremely gracious and welcoming to me. He invited me to his house to meet his daughter and granddaughter. He gave me a tour of his beautiful home and told me the story of the days right after the revolution. He, like all the Cubans I encountered, were not resentful or bitter or rude but welcoming and hopeful that one day our countries could behave like good neighbors.

This week the suffering of the Cuban people is on my mind and I hope soon the United States will cease to be a continuous economic, emotional and political source of anguish. I believe Obama has a similar goal for our Caribbean neighbor but whether or not it is feasible for him to accomplish even the 3 things above, I simply do not know, but he can try. And a little effort goes a long way! Thanks again Obama for having the courage to do the right thing.

Bienvenido Vecino

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Obama has been making excellent strides towards restoring our Political Legitimacy throughout the world. This will do more to keep us safe than 7 years of fighting in Iraq. It is time we show some diplomacy. To carry a big stick is one thing, to beat people over the head to make them see things your way is another.

Cuba is not a threat to the United States. Anyone who thinks it is—simply is uneducated about the situation. Those Cuban expatriates that left Cuba out of fear because of what they allowed to happen to their people, even their students, stealing the country’s money on their way out—have been paying politicians for years to keep this ridiculous embargo going. It is time to end this nonsense. It is not keeping us safe, it is not teaching anyone a lesson. It is simply strangling relations with a country of beautiful people who have a strong sense of moral values while making it extremely difficult for them to thrive economically.

Though somehow despite this economic stranglehold these people have thrived, they have learned, they have educated their people, they have grown and helped throughout the world in crisis and in teaching thousands of people worldwide to practice medicine. One of their biggest exports is doctors, did you know that? They even offered to send doctors and aid up to Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. They have given the world so much and wish to give even more. It is time we give back.

Thank you Obama for taking this first step…today many families will go to sleep or wake up thrilled, relieved, crying in happiness knowing they can freely visit or care for their loved ones, for the people they grew up with, for the people they left behind, for the people who left them behind… children who taken away from their families, parents who sent their children to a foreign place out of ignorant fear, brothers who haven’t seen sisters since childhood, grandparents, friends, old lovers… you have reunited an entire people with this decision. Thank you, Obama.

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secrectary
___________________________________________________________
For Immediate Release                                      April 13, 2009

FACT SHEET: REACHING OUT TO THE CUBAN PEOPLE

Today, the Obama administration announced a series of changes in U.S. policy to reach out to the Cuban people in support of their desire to freely determine their country’s future. In taking these steps to help bridge the gap among divided Cuban families and promote the freer flow of information and humanitarian items to the Cuban people, President Obama is working to fulfill the goals he identified both during his presidential campaign and since taking office.

All who embrace core democratic values long for a Cuba that respects basic human, political and economic rights of all its citizens. President Obama believes these measures will help make that goal a reality.

Cuban American connections to family in Cuba are not only a basic right in humanitarian terms, but also our best tool for helping to foster the beginnings of grassroots democracy on the island. There are no better ambassadors for freedom than Cuban Americans. Accordingly, President Obama will direct the Secretaries of State, Treasury, and Commerce to support the Cuban people’s desire for freedom and self-determination by lifting all restrictions on family visits and remittances as well as taking steps that will facilitate greater contact between separated family members in the United States and Cuba and increase the flow of information and humanitarian resources directly to the Cuban people. The President is also calling on the Cuban government to reduce the charges it levies on cash remittances sent to the island so family members can be assured they are receiving the support sent to them.

Specifically, the President has directed the Secretaries of State, Treasury, and Commerce to take the needed steps to:

  • Lift all restrictions on transactions related to the travel of family members to Cuba.
  • Remove restrictions on remittances to family members in Cuba.
  • Authorize U.S. telecommunications network providers to enter into agreements to establish fiber-optic cable and satellite telecommunications facilities linking the United States and Cuba.
  • License U.S. telecommunications service providers to enter into roaming service agreements with Cuba’s telecommunications service providers.
  • License U.S. satellite radio and satellite television service providers to engage in transactions necessary to provide services to customers in Cuba.
  • License persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to activate and pay U.S. and third-country service providers for telecommunications, satellite radio and satellite television services provided to individuals in Cuba.
  • Authorize the donation of certain consumer telecommunication devices without a license.
  • Add certain humanitarian items to the list of items eligible for export through licensing exceptions.

REACHING OUT TO THE CUBAN PEOPLE

Supporting the Cuban people’s desire to freely determine their future and that of their country is in the national interest of the United States. The Obama administration is taking steps to promote greater contact between separated family members in the United States and Cuba and increase the flow of remittances and information to the Cuban people.

Lift All Restrictions on Family Visits to Cuba

We will lift all restrictions on family visits to Cuba by authorizing such transactions by a general license, which will strengthen contacts and promote American good will. We will ensure the positive reach of this effort by:

  • Defining family members who may be visited to be persons within three degrees of family relationship (e.g., second cousins) and to allow individuals who share a common dwelling as a family with an authorized traveler to accompany them;
  • Removing limitations on the frequency of visits;
  • Removing limitations on the duration of a visit;
  • Authorizing expenditure amounts that are the same as non-family travel; and
  • Removing the 44-pound limitation on accompanied baggage.

Remove Restrictions on Remittances

We will remove restrictions on remittances to a person’s family member in Cuba to increase Cubans’ access to resources to help create opportunities for them by:

  • Authorizing remittances to individuals within three degrees of family relationship (e.g., second cousins) provided that no remittances shall be authorized to currently prohibited members of the Government of Cuba or currently prohibited members of the Cuban Communist Party;
  • Removing limits on frequency of remittances;
  • Removing limits on the amount of remittances;
  • Authorizing travelers to carry up to $3,000 in remittances; and
  • Establishing general license for banks and other depository institutions to forward remittances.

Authorize Greater Telecommunications Links with Cuba

We will authorize greater telecommunications links with Cuba to advance people-to-people interaction at no cost to the U.S. government. This will increase the means through which Cubans on the island can communicate with each other and with persons outside of Cuba.

  • Authorize U.S. telecommunications network providers to enter into agreements to establish fiber-optic cable and satellite telecommunications facilities linking the United States and Cuba.
  • License U.S. telecommunications service providers to enter into and operate under roaming service agreements with Cuba’s telecommunications service providers.
  • License U.S. satellite radio and satellite television service providers to engage in transactions necessary to provide services to customers in Cuba.
  • License persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to activate and pay U.S. and third-country service providers for telecommunications, satellite radio and satellite television services provided to individuals in Cuba, except certain senior Communist Party and Cuban government officials.
  • Authorize, consistent with national security concerns, the export or re-export to Cuba of donated personal communications devices such as mobile phone systems, computers and software, and satellite receivers through a license exception.

Revise Gift Parcel Regulations

We will expand the scope of humanitarian donations eligible for export through license exceptions by:

  • Restoring clothing, personal hygiene items, seeds, veterinary medicines and supplies, fishing equipment and supplies, and soap-making equipment to the list of items eligible to be included in gift parcel donations;
  • Restoring items normally exchanged as gifts by individuals in “usual and reasonable” quantities to the list of items eligible to be included in gift parcel donations;
  • Expanding the scope of eligible gift parcel donors to include any individual;
  • Expanding the scope of eligible gift parcel donees to include individuals other than Cuban Communist Party officials or Cuban government officials already prohibited from receiving gift parcels, or charitable, educational or religious organizations not administered or controlled by the Cuban government; and
  • Increasing the value limit on non-food items to $800.

56 Days of Action

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

If I had a nickel… for every time I have heard some variation of questioning Obama’s ability to deal with the mess the Bush debacle left for us… I would be rich.

It has been all of 8 weeks and 1 day since Obama was sworn in. It is unrealistic at best to think he can fix everything in such a short period of time. He has done more in this eight weeks than the last yahoo ten fold. He is keeping his campaign promises. He is restoring our country to pre-Rovian/Bush days to the best of his ability.

Let’s look at what Obama has done so far:

18 Executive Orders

January 21, 2009 Executive Order 13489 – Presidential Records

January 21, 2009 Executive Order 13490 – Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Personnel

January 22, 2009 Executive Order 13491 – Ensuring Lawful Interrogations

January 22, 2009 Executive Order 13492 – Review and Disposition of Individuals Detained at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base and Closure of Detention Facilities

January 22, 2009 Executive Order 13493 – Review of Detention Policy Options

January 30, 2009 Executive Order 13494 – Economy in Government Contracting

January 30, 2009 Executive Order 13495 – Nondisplacement of Qualified Workers Under Service Contracts

January 30, 2009 Executive Order 13496 – Notification of Employee Rights Under Federal Labor Laws

January 30, 2009 Executive Order 13497 – Revocation of Certain Executive Orders Concerning Regulatory Planning and Review

February 5, 2009 Executive Order 13498 – Amendments to Executive Order 13199 and Establishment of the President’s Advisory Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

February 5, 2009 Executive Order 13499 – Further Amendments to Executive Order 12835, Establishment of the National Economic Council

February 5, 2009 Executive Order 13500 – Further Amendments to Executive Order 12859, Establishment of the Domestic Policy Council

February 6, 2009 Executive Order 13501 – Establishing the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board

February 6, 2009 Executive Order 13502 – Use of Project Labor Agreements for Federal Construction Projects

February 19, 2009 Executive Order 13503 – Establishment of the White House Office of Urban Affairs

February 20, 2009 Executive Order 13504 – Amending Executive Order 13390

March 9, 2009 Executive Order 13505 – Removing Barriers to Responsible Scientific Research Involving Human Stem Cells

March 11, 2009 Executive Order 13506 – Establishing a White House Council on Women and Girls

17 PRESIDENTIAL MEMORANDUMS

3/11/2009 Unexpected Urgent Refugee and Migration Needs Related to the Continuing Conflict
in Pakistan

3/9/2009 Memorandum on Presidential Signing Statements

3/9/2009 Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies 3-9-09

3/4/2009 Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies – Subject:
Government Contracting

3/3/2000 Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies

2/27/2009 Transfer of Detainee to Control of the Attorney General

2/5/2009 Appliance Efficiency Standards

2/4/2009 Presidential Memorandum — State Children’s Health Insurance Program

1/30/2009 Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies

1/27/2009 Unexpected Urgent Refugee and Migration Needs Related to Gaza

1/26/2009 The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007

1/26/2009 State of California Request for Waiver Under 42 U.S.C. 7543(b), the Clean Air
Act

1/23/2009 Mexico City Policy and Assistance for Voluntary Population Planning

1/22/2009 Review of the Detention of Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri

1/21/2009 Freedom of Information Act

1/21/2009 Pay Freeze

1/21/2009 Transparency and Open Government

PROCLAMATIONS

3/13/2009 National Poison Prevention Week, 2009

3/3/2009 Women’s History Month, 2009

3/2/2009 Irish-American Heritiage Month, 2009

2/27/2009 National Consumer Protection Week, 2009

2/27/2009 Read Across America Day, 2009

2/27/2009 American Red Cross Month, 2009

2/27/2009 Save Your Vision Week, 2009

2/2/2009 American Heart Month, 2009

2/2/2009 National African American History Month, 2009

1/20/2009 National Day of Renewal and Reconciliation, 2009

In these Executive Orders and Memorandums a plethora of change has been initiated:

  • He froze salaries for the top staff in the White House almost immediately.
  • Gave us a definitive date to close Gitmo.
  • He signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 making it easier for people to get the pay they deserve — regardless of their gender, race, or age
  • He sped up the process for new fuel standards application.
  • He also is working towards allowing California to set its own auto emissions standards as long as they are stricter than those in place currently by the Federal Government.
  • Signed a detailed executive order to ban torture and inhumane treatment of prisoners.
  • He signed the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009, better known as the State Children’s Health Insurance Program or SCHIP. Once signed into law, this legislation will continue coverage for six to seven million children and increase that coverage to four million more.
  • He signed an executive order restoring the 30-day timeframe for former presidents to review records before they are released. It also eliminated the right for the vice president or family members of former presidents to do the reviews.
  • He implemented the Employment Qualification Commitment, a fail-safe measure in the governmental hiring process ensuring no one is hired or not hired for their political beliefs or ideological stance — age, sex, race etc. He did this by making those hiring sign a declaration that they will not choose upon arbitrary, unfair criteria. This is a small step but it will be beneficial for accountability later on.
  • He banned lobbyists from gifting politicians and restricted government employees from accepting a position with a lobbyist for a period of 2 years after leaving office to help reduce government corruption.
  • He lifted the ban on giving money to international groups that provide abortion services.
  • He signed the DTV Delay Act to allow ample time for millions of Americans to be prepared for the digital transition.
  • He signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which will jump start our economy in ways we really need such as creating alternative energy jobs and production, modernization of homes and federal buildings to improve energy efficiency, bringing our schools and hospitals up to date with
    technology, investing in science, research and technology — this is vital! We must be able to compete in these areas.
  • He restored public access to the Presidential records in Executive Order 13489 — revoking the order Bush put into place severely limiting access to Presidential actions by the public.
  • He signed the Freedom of Information Act — in which he set the guidelines for the government to adopt a “presumption in favor of disclosure” and take “affirmative steps” to make information
    publicly available.
  • He took the necessary steps to restore a transparent, participatory and collaborative Government in the United States.
  • He restored our commitment to treating prisoners according to Geneva Convention Standards.
  • He ordered a stop to all torture and most rendition.
  • He created a task force on detainee disposition to develop realistic, humane policies for the lawful detention, transfer, trial and eventual release of detainees from the war on terror. This task force must report to him within 180 days with its findings.

These are some of the fundamental steps Obama has taken towards restoring our national pride, our political legitimacy and bringing us into the 21st century while getting us out of this economic depression.

In the first 56 days of his Presidency, Obama has done more positive things for this country than George W. Bush did the entire eight years in office. Obama has been working diligently to undo, revoke, overturn, reverse the crooked policy of the last eight years. I say he is doing an excellent job.

Welcome Obama!

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Goodbye Bush! =)

I am swept away with emotion, sentiment, thoughts… I will bask in this for a good while before I comment. I’ll let Obama doing the talking today…

Here is Obama’s Inaugural Speech from January 20th, 2009:

Written Transcript:

“I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land – a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met. On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life. For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth. For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions – that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act – not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions – who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them – that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control – and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart – not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort – even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment – a moment that will define a generation – it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends – hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence – the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed – why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

‘Let it be told to the future world… that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive… that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].’

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.”