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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At the candidates presidential debate (MSNBC - Politico), the Republican contenders will vie to reclaim the mantle of the Ronald Reagan legacy. Here it is, in a surprise image:
This was the natural outcome of "less is more" tax optimism ideology.
The roaring 80s was the first modern time when the country wasn't at war that the U.S. turned to finance the economy by giving foreigners ownership of more assets of ours than we had a stake in theirs.
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The same Rupert Murdoch Fox team headed by network boss Roger Ailes not only helped fan the flames for the invasion of Iraq. It was necessary first to install the right trusted neoconservative team in the White House and this was accomplished through stealing the election for George W. Bush.
With Florida regarded as the crucial state that would provide the election winner and keys to the White House in 2000, the Republican team had a trump card in place with Bush's younger brother Jeb serving as Florida's governor. By scrubbing numerous minorities legitimately qualified to vote from voters' lists on grounds that they were felons, the Bush clan felt it was in good shape where the Sunshine State was concerned.
As the Bush brothers and father sat in their hotel suite election night, shock waves emerged when it was announced that Florida had been projected into Gore's column. Shortly thereafter a first in presidential election politics occurred. The three Bushes were shown in their suite. An obviously pre-arranged script was followed and it was simple enough that even George W. was able to follow it.
The snippet began with candidate George W. warning that their best evidence, meaning the calculations of brother Jeb, revealed that they would win Florida.
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The spying activities being currently revealed about Rupert Murdoch's operations should be anything but surprising to anyone taking the trouble to analyze what has been happening.
There was the same rush to war in Iraq as there would be to instill George W. Bush in office and keep him there by hook or crook, using such unsubtle means in 2004 as to have commentators that Bill O'Reilly assured us operated objectively count down the number of days to Bush's re-election.
To use the term re-election was a falsehood since it has been fully documented that Bush was never actually elected in 2000.
Murdoch's Fox News operation received a break. It came when New York Times reporter Judith Miller's revealed in print and in a PBS series that Iraq's ruthless dictator Saddam Hussein, who was brought to power with ample CIA assistance, possessed weapons of mass destruction including deadly chemical weapons.
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Few political operatives and quasi journalists would be daring enough to combine burglary, pornography, and patriotism in a political campaign, but then Rupert Murdoch's minions with their ravenous appetites for sensationalism and success at any price play by their own rules.
Australian Murdoch set his sights on Britain in the early seventies. It was not long before his sensation seeking tabloids masquerading as newspapers had played a key role in installing a personal favorite as prime minister with Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Party victory in 1979 over a badly divided Labour Party led by James Callaghan.
Thatcher had served longer during a continuous period than any British prime minister since Lord Liverpool's 14-year run commenced in 1812. Storm clouds hovered by 1990, however, after Thatcher's Conservatives trailed Labour consistently over a year and a half period.
Thatcher's scolding nanny manner began rankling many voters. Many saw Thatcher as harsh and heartless, as evidenced by the manner that she used oppressive taxation to wring inflation out of the British economy, drawing even the opposition of Milton Friedman, the American economist she idolized. During this period British homelessness began dramatically increasing.
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While the jurors who decided the fate of Casey Anthony were human beings and not heads of cabbage, analyzing their result poses an important question.
Did those jurors decide the case in a manner more expectant of 12 heads of cabbage? One expects no thoughtful deliberation from 12 heads of cabbage. One expects no analysis. This from all available evidence reveals what happened.
The result harkens back to a comment made by the late Dominick Dunne in a television appearance following the not guilty verdict in the O.J. Simpson trial. When an angry Dunne, whose own daughter had been slain followed by a miscarriage of justice, called the jury "stupid" he was criticized by a defense attorney who asserted that Dunne's statement was unduly harsh.
Dunne stood his ground, coolly replying, "The jury was asked to examine the DNA evidence (against Simpson). It refused to do so. That's stupid."
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A picture is worth a thousand words. This expression is clearly recognized by prosecutor Linda Drane Burdick and she put it to constructive use in her dazzling summation in the Casey Anthony murder trial today in Orlando.
This nation riveting trial is being called the first of the social media age. Many more people get a say than was the case in the earlier technological age in which the trial of O.J. Simpson occurred in Los Angeles almost two decades ago.
The speedy advancement of computer technology alongside that of cable television has made photo images and words more acceptable as well as graphically feasible than any other period of world history.
Burdick put images and recorded words to work in her favor today, at the same time taking advantages of opportunities handed to the prosecution by the vitriolic and highly accusatory summation by lead defense counsel Jose Biaz.
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When the camera zeroed in on Casey Anthony just prior to court resumption last week her manner prompted a comparison.
To watch the coquettish 25-year-old engaged in conversation generated a comparison to her real life demeanor and case history alongside the femmes fatale of film noir. The unfolding pattern of Ms. Anthony and the staggering number of lives she has led in the course of her first quarter century makes her in some ways appear more event-filled, and in many instances far more dramatic, than the life of a busy centenarian.
A snippet from the testimony of former Anthony fiancé Jesse Grund reveals the lock she held on his emotions. Grund revealed being told by Anthony that her older brother Lee had made sexual advances toward her.
Grund explained that he never had anything to do with Lee Anthony after that. At that point in his life, Grund explained, he believed everything that Casey Anthony told him. His explanatory manner left no doubt about the powerful emotional grip Casey held over him.
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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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The Myth of the Free Market
by Craig Barnes
Millions of Americans are today unemployed because the free market is not working for them. Millions of Americans have lost their homes because the free market did not work for them or for the banks. Before the health care bill passed last January millions could not get health care because the free market worked for them when they were healthy but often did not work at all when they needed care.
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