Tonight, as Donald Trump offers his acceptance speech at the Quicken Loans Arena, the delegates and fans celebrating will be blissfully unaware of who else, two continents away, is toasting Trump's rise.
That's Vladimir Putin, along with Russia's propaganda arm RT (Russia Today), a channel shown across cable-and-satellite networks in the US and worldwide, and funded directly from Moscow.
The fawning between Putin and the Donald is public, and mutual. On Sunday's Meet the Press in December, Trump boasted to Chuck Todd, Putin "called me brilliant. He said very nice things about me. I mean, I accept it." Then the Republican then-future nominee returned the compliment to President Putin: "He's a strong leader. And I'm not going to be politically correct. He's got an 80% of approval rating done by pollsters .... And it would be very nice if we got along with Russia, Chuck."
The Leningradian Candidate
It goes far beyond mutual admiration. Trump employs and consults with top advisors who hold mysterious ties to Moscow. And Donald and son Donald, Jr. have flown to Russia multiple times trying to launch mega-hotel projects.
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Associated Press: "Clinton is not sporting Brunei bling"
TRUMP: 'Hillary Clinton accepted $58,000 in jewelry from the government of Brunei when she was secretary of state -- plus millions more for her foundation. The sultan of Brunei has pushed oppressive Sharia law.'
"THE FACTS: Clinton is not sporting Brunei bling.
"In September 2012, she accepted a $58,000 jewelry set with gold, sapphire and diamond earrings, a necklace and bracelet, given by the queen of Brunei when Clinton visited for meetings and to inaugurate an English-language training program, according to the Federal Register. The gift was not to her, but to the United States.
"Federal law prohibits officials from keeping such gifts unless they pay the estimated value to the U.S. government. According to the State Department's protocol office, Clinton chose not to buy the jewelry, and instead turned it over to the General Services Administration -- the standard procedure for most gifts from foreign leaders.
"It's true that Brunei is an Islamic nation that observes Sharia law and has been widely criticized for its human rights record, particularly when it comes to gays and lesbians."
But gift exchanges are standard practice. As with almost all gifts to all officials, the Federal Register notice says "non-acceptance would cause embarrassment to donor and U.S. government."
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3 days after the mass shooting in Orlando, now Trump tweets he will go meet with NRA leaders, to see if persons who are too risky to fly should not be allowed to purchase guns.
Reuters has the story.
Is it better late than never, for Donald Trump, Mr. Second Amendment? So far, Republican members of Congress, including Speaker Paul Ryan, have blocked Democratic efforts to get anything like this done. Speaker Ryan has literally gaveled the Democratic congressmen out-of-order this week for moving to put this out on the floor of the House.
Two days ago, on Monday, Hillary Clinton and President Obama spoke out on the recent massacre in Orlando, Florida, and pushed for common-sense restrictions to keep guns out of the hands of persons deemed too dangerous to fly.
The reason every vote counts, even yours, is that several races are much tighter than some reporting tells you, so the Senate majority will be at stake. (Today, Chuck Todd said, "Republicans in Iowa are starting to worry". That's because the turnout #s and last week's early voting so far are not reassuring to GOP, as they cannibalized their Election Day voters, just to gin up the EV #s.) Another state, Alaska also has had mixed polling signals, and has reported EV#s encouraging to Dems, a possible boost in a surprising state.
IOWA polls are open to 9:00.
If you're young or you're old, and not yet registered - note that any Iowa potential voter can register and vote even on Election Day. If you reside in Iowa and are a US citizen you need to select from one of these documents in order to Register: - a photo ID that is current and contains an expiration date that is either:
an out-of-state driver's license or non-driver card (for proof of identity),
or an Iowa driver's license,
or student ID from an Iowa high school or Iowa college,
or employer ID card,
If the document above does not show your current Iowa address then you can use one of these documents to prove your address in Iowa: cell phone bill or utility bill, residential lease, bank statement, paycheck, government check or other government document.
If you don't have these documents to demonstrate your identity / residency, another registered voter from your precinct can attest for you. You and the attester will both sign written oaths to accomplish this.
Polls stay open TIL 9 pm, in IOWA
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Here are tips to bank your rightful vote in your state.
For NORTH CAROLINA, Early Voting is available through Saturday 11/1, until 1 p.m. at many sites, each county. Check the link to list below [a couple of centers close at noon].
Bank your vote ahead at one of the vote centers in your county – so you don't get caught up in the "precinct shuffle" (disqualifying shenanigans) that can happen on Election Day.
Click to reach the interactive map, and List of early voting sites, with hours.
The printed list is organized by county, and the order is semi-alphabetical, not fully alphabetized. (Some Brunswick and Mecklenburg come lower than Yancy, at the bottom, for example).
During early voting, you can vote at ANY early vote center in your county. This is an advantage: it can be better than on Election Day, where if election officials switch or move your precinct assignment (sometimes there are different precincts at different tables in the same building for voting), they will disqualify your vote for voting in the "wrong precinct".
So I recommend early voting.
1 thing you need to know.
ID: It's not needed in 2014 in No. Carolina. But poll worker in 2014 will ask about it anyway.
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Here are some resources to find availability, and hours, of vote centers to use for early voting, and info about voter ID for:
ID in North Carolina will be asked for, but does not need to be shown until the 2016 election, except for some 1st-time voters whose identifying information wasn't verified with registration.
The early voting advantage is this -- you can vote at any center in your county during the early vote period to have your vote counted. Votes will not be disqualified for being "out of precinct."
The list shows some with Sunday (10/26) early voting, at some of the locations in >> Chatham County, Clayton, DeKalb, Fulton, and Richmond.
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Early voting started Thursday. Bank your vote ahead at one of the vote centers in your county – so you don't get caught up in the "precinct shuffle" (disqualifying shenanigans) that can happen on Election Day.
Click below to see link to interactive map, with hours.
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Why did Chris Christie veto the agriculture bill to ban the farming practice that confines pregnant sows inside narrow, immobilizing "gestation crates"? Does it owe to Iowa being first-in-the-nation to hold its voting caucus for the Presidential nomination, in 2016? Iowa is the No. 1 hog producing state.
In May, the Des Moines based National Pork Producers Council (NPCC) contacted governor Christie and instructed him to not let the bill become law. The bill to ban the inhumane caging of pregnant sows passed the New Jersey legislature overwhelmingly in the spring, by votes of 60 - 5 in the Assembly and 29 - 4 in the state Senate.
The 2' x 7' cages for breeding sows are too narrow to permit the animals to turn around freely. They are widely regarded as inhumane confinement. Supporting the assembly and Senate vote, a survey of New Jerseyans (Mason-Dixie) has 91% in favor of ending the practice, 4% opposed.
Christie vetoed the bill in June. Two months later, he vetoed 3 gun-control measures, one he had first proposed himself — after the lobby group Pro-Gun New Hampshire sent warnings they were watching him on these bills. (More info on the gun vetoes here.)
Increasingly, Christie will govern with an eye to Iowa and New Hampshire, instead of his own state interests.
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Let's face facts. When the votes were counted in November 2012, Democrats running for the House collected 1.7 million more votes than Republicans. For Democratic members, the ballots totaled 60.2 million and for Republican members, 58.5 million. (see link, pdf pg 15)
So it's fair to ask: is John Boehner of Ohio a SPINO, a Speaker in Name only?
The House majority from 2012 was manufactured almost entirely from the gerrymanders rammed through statehouses in 2010 that sent more R's than D's to the Capitol to take seats in the House of Representatives, 234-201.
The House is supposed to be proportional representation. It's not.
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In August, insurers who overbilled subscribers in 2012 refunded $504 million. The rebates are required by law by the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
From the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, Aug. 5:
Next round of health insurance rebate checks going out
In two years, St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral in Minneapolis has received nearly $25,000 in rebates from its health insurance company.
The full list by state is published here at cms.gov website (pdf page)
The rebates vary by state. Here are some for individual subscribers (not in a group employer plan).
- In FLA, 300,000 covered individuals get a rebate check averaging $164 per family ($40 million to individual households in Fla.)
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It's time to overcome timidity, the common wisdom and "consensus" seeking lawmakers -- and move to the floor of the Senate all major proposals for gun control. Time to face down the opposition. Senators can recognize what a majority of Americans have now come to realize and accept.
On December 12, 2012, in a primary school in Henan province, China, a 30-year old man carrying a long knife and unfiltered rage inflicted a senseless attack on 22 helpless children and 1 adult at the Chenpeng village school. That fateful morning 23 victims were stabbed and wounded, and needed hospitalization.
In Henan China, 23 assault victims survived. In Newtown Connecticut, USA, 20 children and 6 adults succumbed to multiple gunshots. And lost their lives.
In the aftermath of the murders in Newtown, a convincing majority of Americans now desire curtailing assault weapons, says a recent poll from Quinnipiac University. In the April 4 poll, 59% favor a "nationwide ban" on the sale of assault weapons, and 36% are opposed.
Even in GOP-friendly regions, the support holds up. 58% in the West and 60% in the South favor the ban.
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The IBD-TIPP poll now has an even national race (O +0.7), and reports "Obama holding a slender 46.7% to 46.0% edge over Romney" (Likely voters).
* Obama's slight edge, which has emerged in the last 3 days, has in large part been built on a drop in independent support for Romney
On the front page of Investor's Business Daily:
"IBD/TIPP Poll: Obama Up 0.7 Point For 3rd Day"
It is a turn from what had been a 5-point lead for Romney in the IBD/TIPP poll release three days earlier, and from a 2-point lead for Romney four days earlier.
Yesterday's release of reults for IBD/TIPP was similar:
Day 5: Oct. 13, 2012
In a further sign of a tight presidential race, the results remained unchanged in our most recent sounding of likely voters.
You'll have trouble finding any of the 3 days of poll releases posted at the usual suspect places (the wires, politico, networks etc.).
Here is today's update.
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Rebate checks to subscribers from insurers
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives stages a dramatic – and pointless – spectacle to vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. aka Obamacare.
For the GOP reps, the grounds they've claimed for reversing the law is to hold off costs for patients and keep the feds out of all things health and insurance related. Medicare excepted.
But what if a true repeal actually stopped your insurance carrier from sending a check in the mail to you? Not a future, theoretical check but an immediate, summer/2012 (due August 1) rebate.
For some Americans who hold individual policies, insurance carriers are rebating to 4 million of their subscribers excess premium collected, $390 million worth, required to be refunded Aug. 1. Across 44 states, the average family refund, if your insurer overbilled, is $152 (sorry Arkansas, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont - at least in the initial published list, your carriers were efficient enough that your states are out of the running).
There's wide variation across states: $240 on average for 300,000 subscribers in FLA, $193 for 24,000 in LA, $205 for 99,000 in Michigan, $139 for 181,000 in Missouri, $651 for 15,000 in Mississippi, $203 for 16,000 in Montana, $218 for 26,000 in NC, $267 for 30,000 in Nebraska, $106 for 130,000 in Oklahoma, $360 for 13,000 in OR, $238 for 133,000 in PA, $227 for 105,000 in SC, $356 for 657,000 in TX -- a whopping $134 million for the state of Texas alone. Also $383 for 10,000 in WV, and $356 for 5,000 in Wyoming.
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"Oh, big conniver, nothing but a jiver, done got hip to your jive,
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Firms in the private sector have added positions steadily since the spring of 2010, after painful shrinkage in 2008 and 2009.
These are decisions made in statehouses by our elected officials.
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About the Author: Matthew Jones is an elected BitShares delegate. BitShares allows for stable cryptocurrency trading
Dear David Cameron,
You recently claimed that certain forms of modern communication cannot be allowed to happen in private. I wanted to let you know that writing was invented over five thousand years ago and speaking, privately or publicly, predates writing by hundreds of thousands of years. There is nothing modern about private communication. What is modern, are high literacy rates and the Internet. High literacy rates mean people communicate though writing much more than they used to. The Internet facilitates written communication, identifies the communicators, and due to the nature of writing, keeps a record of it.
This gives governments the ability to monitor their citizen's communication on mass for the first time. Ever.
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Like the horseless carriage 100 years ago, Internet voting is coming to the USA. Not only is it convenient and green, but security has been proven manageable by e-commerce.
An Internet voting system, rightly organized, can even neutralize the power of Big Money in all US elections. Democracy in the US can be enhanced immensely. But how would that work?
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by Cody Lyon
It might also serve Americans to call upon the greater spirits of worker history in this nation and remember too, that it wasn't unions who over time stripped private sector workers of any sense of collective bargaining power over the years, it was instead company hunger for a better bottom line on Wall Street.
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There seems to be a constant series of examples in history that reflect what we are living through this week: from Psistratus in Athens to Caesar in Rome to the Duke of Lancaster in 15th-century England to Napoleon to Lenin and Hitler and now to Karl Rove, a multitude of fellows have harnessed populist outrage to their own carriage in order to seize power. That outrage, changing the metaphor, flows into the furious stream into which Boehner and McConnell and Palin launched their boats last night.
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We still have the senate and the presidency, so let's focus on the future.
Back in the 1960s British Cosmologist Fred Hoyle, who coined the term 'Big Bang', wrote a series of papers theorizing that life on Earth (and perhaps elsewhere) began out in the seeming void of deep space. His peers thought he was delusional.
Until along came Lew Snyder, then of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. He asserted that Hoyle had the right idea and that prebiotic molecules (molecules believed to be involved in the processes leading to the origin of life) could not only evolve in deep space, but could also be distributed throughout the universe enduring the unimaginable torment of interstellar travel.
Furthermore, he could prove it.
Seems that many compounds have a unique and identifiable radio-wave signature - something that can be detected with the use of radio telescopes.
With this method, they theorized, you could point radio telescopes at the cosmos and by measuring the radio-wave signatures you could determine the molecular compounds that exist in the targeted region. This would tell us if complex, organic and prebiotic compounds are created and endure in deep space.
Sure enough, in 1969 they discovered interstellar formaldehyde - a complex, prebioitc compound. Since then, astronomers have discovered more than 150 molecules in deep space. Most interesting of these found is acetonitrile, a molecule structurally similar to glycine - one of the building blocks of biological proteins.
All this is profoundly important as it sets the stage for validating a once-absurd theory - that life on Earth (and perhaps throughout the universe) may have been seeded from deep-space chemical reactions.
This cold-sounding theory of our origins clearly runs counter to cherished beliefs that we are God's children or that we have a special place in this universe. Such a possibility could prove profoundly unsettling to many to say the least.
But there is no worry here. Not because the possibility doesn't exist. It does. The reason not to worry is that people en masse tend to see only what is in front of them and only that which is most emotionally comfortable.
For most people, such things are far too arcane and intangible to seriously consider. What they see before them and what they've been taught growing up is all that they know and all that they care to know.
And that is the way it is with most things - with evolution, with global warming -- and so it is with ideology and politics.
Whatever is before us is all that there is. The economy is a disaster. There's a war in Iraq. The jobless situation is devastating. The housing market is in shambles. Obama is the president. And the Democrats are in charge.
That leads to an obvious conclusion for most - that Obama and the Democrats have brought this upon us - that they are the ones who must pay the price for our pain.
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Glenn Beck and Karl Rove and Swift-Boat financier Bob Perry who is sending hundreds of thousands to Susana Martinez, are not just trying to prevent New Mexico from, for example, participating in the new health care exchange that will bring competition for the first time into health insurance coverage. Their goal is not nearly so limited. These men, Beck and Rove, and women like presidential contender Sarah Palin, and senate contender Christine O'Donnell in Delaware, are not about now. They are explicitly--they say so outloud--about reversing all the gains of the 1930s New Deal and even before. They want to forget the passion and suffering that brought about a century of liberal reform.
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Who cares! Let the GOP win the House tomorrow
We don't need no stinkin' House majority.
What have the Democrats done for us anyway?
Sure, Time Magazine says that the Democrats have implemented "the most ambitious energy legislation in history... ...pouring $90 billion into clean energy, including unprecedented investments in a smart grid; energy efficiency; electric cars; renewable power from the sun, wind and earth; cleaner coal; advanced biofuels; and factories to manufacture green stuff in the U.S. The act will also triple the number of smart electric meters in our homes, quadruple the number of hybrids in the federal auto fleet and finance far-out energy research through a new government incubator modeled after the Pentagon agency that fathered the Internet."
Oh, and it also said that, because of Obama and the Democrats, "There's $8 billion for a high-speed passenger rail network, the boldest federal transportation initiative since the interstate highways. There's $4.35 billion in Race to the Top grants to promote accountability in public schools, perhaps the most significant federal education initiative ever -- it's already prompted 35 states and the District of Columbia to adopt reforms to qualify for the cash. There's $20 billion to move health records into the digital age, which should reduce redundant tests, dangerous drug interactions and errors caused by doctors with chicken-scratch handwriting. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius calls that initiative the foundation for Obama's health care reform and "maybe the single biggest component in improving quality and lowering costs."
But they just keep going on and on and on about all that... ...boring.
And then there is Rolling Stone that made the extensive case that Obama "Averted a Depression", "Sparked a Recovery", "Saved the U.S. Auto Industry", "Reformed Health Care in America", "Cut Corporate Welfare", "Restored America's Reputation", "Protected Consumers", and "Launched a Clean-Energy Moonshot".
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The latest rage - or outrage - on the right is this Newsweek Poll. You know, the Newsweek poll - the one that said that Obama has a 54% approval rating and that 48% of registered voters prefer to vote for a Democrat, while only 42% lean Republican.
That Newsweek Poll.
Seems the Repuglinuts don't like that poll because it doesn't fit their teabag revolution narrative. They slant their brows in angry scowls, slam their hammy fists and declare the poll an outlier, unfit for human consumption!!!
"Look at Real Clear Politics," they insist. "Their totally and completely non-partisan analysis of polling numbers shows that the Newsweek poll is a fake, a lie, a CONSPIRACY - all designed by the VLWC to raise the specter of Republican failure only days before the greatest and most important election of forever."
Oh, what a world!
So what about that Newsweek poll? Was it an outlier? Was it in any way valid? Are we desperate for a sprig of hope? Are we totally delusional?
After all, that Newsweek poll totally disagrees with all those other, much, MUCH more legitimate polls that show Obama with a -0.0% likey-likey rating and a generic ballot that suggests a pickup for the Republicans somewhere between 1.2 million and infinity seats in the House.
The Reality is that these pollsters sometimes have a difficult time adjusting to a thing we all refer to as "Progress". Say it with me Pro-gress.
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Well, the day has come and gone. Some were grateful to have the day off from work while ALL school children were psyched to have the day free from school.
But I think it's time to find something else to celebrate in October, as I'm sick of having the day off in the name of a shameless, murderous, tyrant. Aren't you?
I'm sure you've heard by now -- your first grade elementary history lessons were crap - lies your teacher told you in order to perpetuate a fairytale that Columbus was a hero.
To get a taste of Christopher Columbus' real character, It's best to hear the story in his own words. So let's start with this journal entry, written by Columbus himself. (Source: Howard Zinn's, A People's History of the United States).
The entry is Columbus' reaction to the innocence, and hospitality of the indigenous Arawak population of his `new world'.
When Columbus and his sailors came ashore, carrying swords, speaking oddly, the Arawaks ran to greet them, brought them food, water, gifts. He later wrote of this in his log:
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Have you ever heard an idea that was so brilliant and clever, so simple and beautiful that it rang right through your being - an ideological love-at-first-sight? On every level it made total sense and triggered "Why didn't I think of that".
Well, I heard such a thing the other day - some guy somewhere on the radio (so I'm not trying to take credit for the idea), but the guy sounded so damn sensible that I thought I should share the idea.
Okay, okay... so let's set the stage.
Here we are, over seven years into the invasion of Iraq. The cost has been incalculable in terms of loved ones lost, families broken, international respect dissolved, trust in government undermined.
Financially, the invasion's cost has had both short and long-term destructive consequences. CostofWar.com estimates the to-date cost of the Invasion at $737 billion - a bargain by most other estimates. The Washington Post insists that the true cost of the war is at least $3 trillion -- this compared to the Bush Administration's projection of a laughable $50 billion.
But the joke is on us. After all, we knew he and his cronies were lying when they lied us into Iraq. All the objective evidence pointed to one thing - that Saddam was a paper tiger with no program of 'weapons of mass destruction' and no means or intent to begin one, yet here we are. ALL the goddamn evidence pointed to that.
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by Cody Lyon
Changing hearts and minds is sometimes best left to moments like this horrible tragedy in the Hudson when a young and gifted soul felt he had to leave this earth. The brutal evidence of society's intolerance often shows up in the most hurtful events. This appears to be one of them.
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Not quite the narrative du jour. Nevertheless, it is the most likely scenario to evolve. True, Republicans will make gains - major gains, but they will fail to overtake the Democrats in either house of congress.
That Republicans will make gains is no surprise. The party out of power - and in this case way out of power -- nearly always benefits in the midterm elections. And, as we wade through the muck of destruction left in George W. Bush's wake, we must also expect that those currently in charge will take a hit for the current state of the nation, regardless of whom was responsible for it.
Also no surprise is that the minority party will be the party with greater 'passion' and thus the most 'likely' voters. The frustration of powerlessness is a great motivator.
Thus the media narrative of which we are all familiar.
There are, however, some elements to this year's election cycle that might be surprising, some things that run counter to the narrative that Republicans will take the day. These are things that will deny the GOP their fantasy of a congressional majority.
And here they are, conveniently bullet-pointed for your perusal:
Top 9 Reasons the GOP Will Fail to Take Either the House or the Senate
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We... ... as in humans. And no, not all humans, but many millions of humans - particularly those with the fewest resources who live in the world's most vulnerable conditions - are at risk of absolute destruction.
All because of the long-term effects of global warming.
A little overdramatic? Maybe for you, but not for them.
We've known about the greenhouse effect and human-induced global warming for decades, yet we've done nearly nothing to stifle its progress.
The global warming 'skeptics' - aka: the greedy, the misinformed, and the willfully ignorant among us who find some reward in questioning scientific consensus or fantasizing about environmental conspiracies - are a large part of the problem. But so are the rest of us. We are the adults who rightfully talk down to these people. We know and accept the reality of the situation and the daunting prognosis that shadows it. We know the threat posed and even the steps necessary to mitigate and eventually halt the warming process.
Yet we do nothing as a society. We still drive our SUVs, buy cheap crap from China, leave lights on all over the house, and drink water out of plastic throw-aways.
Glaciers recede, the Arctic melts, deserts grow, oceans acidify, weather patters go haywire and storms intensify.
Political will for action is cowed by constant campaigns and elections and by electorates more concerned about the heft of their pocket right now than the likely condition of the world in which their grandchildren will be raised.
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It's a tired theme. Take the massive heap of Republican failures and affix them firmly to the top of Obama's head. Draw a big, fat target, and take aim.
Puh - lease.
Now, I expect Republicans to run with this nonsense. They've got nothing else. But as for you Democrats and Independents... Really? Are you going to fall for that?
Don't accept their nonsense. Stand up for yourself. For your ideology. For your president.
When someone asks you how Obama could possibly have the nerve to create such huge deficits in such tough times, please remind them that the historic budget surplus left by Clinton was unapologetically morphed into an ungodly deficit by G. W. Bush thanks in large part to a war based on lies and multiple tax cuts to the richest of the rich.
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We should've been so lucky as to have genuine single-payer, universal healthcare here like the dangerous and frightening socialists abroad.
We would've been ecstatic to welcome ALL of our soldiers back from desert wastelands to our beloved fields of grain and purple mountains majesty.
We could've sighed with relief as those who built the catalyst for financial collapse were brought swiftly and brutally to justice.
But reality got in our way.
In particular, we met a pipsqueak, congressional minority eager to abuse the power of filibuster, a belligerent foe willing to fill the void of a U.S.-less Iraq, a resurgent Taliban, and an economy that would cease to exist without a functioning banking system.
With all that, with all the obstacles, with all the critics (from both sides of the aisle), Obama was still able to fulfill the key promises of his campaign.
Below, I've compiled what I believe to be the presidents most important promises fulfilled.
Cell therapy is the medicine of the next century. It's the approach that has the potential to be the most game-changing medical advance since the introduction of antibiotics. George W. Bush's halt to federally funded stem-cell research, delaying progress for nearly a decade, was a crime against humanity. If there is any issue upon which Obama has restored hope, it is here, and we should all be eternally grateful.
Numbers two through eight are after the jump.
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