Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

pulling up the ladder

Posted: January 25, 2015 in economic policy, Obama, Republicans
Tags: , ,

10353128_1295085560521092_7357942925525864168_nIf anyone here in Congress truly believes that you can make it on $15,000 a year, try doing it yourself!

Obama, State of the Union

american-flag-cross-1This is actually pretty scary…but stoppable.  But please don’t think it can’t happen in America.  It already is a work in progress, and it needs to be resisted.

Have you heard of Dominionism?  Or Christian Nationalism?  This is the belief that Christians need to establish a Christian reign on earth before Jesus returns for the second coming.  Dominionists/Christian Nationalists also believe that Christians in general have a God-given right to rule, but more particularly, in preparation for the second coming of Christ, that Christian’s have the responsibility to take over every aspect of political and civil society.  And here is what makes this even scarier:  They believe that this Christian-led society should be governed strictly according to biblical law.

Do you think I’m making this up?

Ever hear of George Grant’s “The Changing of the Guard?”   Grant is executive director of D. James Kennedy’s Coral Ridge Ministries, and he wrote:

Christians have an obligation, a mandate, a commission, a holy responsibility to reclaim the land for Jesus Christ — to have dominion in civil structures, just as in every other aspect of life and godliness.

But it is dominion we are after. Not just a voice.
It is dominion we are after. Not just influence.
It is dominion we are after. Not just equal time.
It is dominion we are after.
World conquest. That’s what Christ has commissioned us to accomplish.

Christian nationalists believe in a revisionist history, which holds that the founders were devout Christians who never intended to images-205create a secular republic; separation of church and state, according to this history, is a fraud perpetrated by God-hating subversives.  The goal of Christian nationalist politics is the restoration of the imagined Christian nation.

Click HERE for an example of this just this month:  Republican Christians in Texas rewrote children’s history books  to reflect a more biblical world view.

Just last month, senators and presidential hopefuls Rand Paul, Rick Perry and Ted Cruz were in Iowa as featured speakers at a closed-door event for conservative pastors organized by David Lane, an anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-Mormon, Christian-nation absolutist who has declared war, not only on secularism and separation of church and state, but also on establishment Republicans who don’t embrace his vision of an America in which the Bible serves as “the principle textbook” for public education and a “Christian culture” has been “re-established.”  Lane describes his project’s goal this way:

to engage the church in a culture war for religious liberty, to restore America to our Judeo-Christian heritage and to re-establish a Christian culture.

Does anyone else find it as frightening as I do that half of the Republican presidential hopefuls are aligned with people like this???

One of the foremost Christian revisionist historians is David Barton, who, in addition to running an organization called Wallbuilders that disseminates Christian nationalist books, tracts and videos, is also the vice-chairman of the Texas Republican Party.  He says that – and this is serious – the Constitution is not merely a religious document–it’s lifted, verbatim from the Bible itself. That’s right. If you haven’t heard this before, it’s because Barton himself is pioneering this cutting-edge theory that experts have somehow missed all these years.  He says:

Now, that’s why the Constitution’s a problem. Look at Article III, Section 1, the treason clause–direct quote out of the Bible. You look at Article II, the quote on the President [having] to be native-born–that is Deuteronomy 17:15, verbatim. I mean, look at how many clauses come out [of the Bible]. That drives the secularists nuts, because the Bible is all over [the Constitution]. Now, we as Christians don’t tend to recognize that. We think it’s a secular document–we’ve bought into their lies. It’s not.

(Just for fun:  Deuteronomy 17:15 actually says “Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.”)

Oh, and an FYI for you, David:

ver·ba·tim adv (ˌ)vər-ˈbā-təm\

Definition of VERBATIM

: in the exact words : word for word

And one more – Gary Potter of Catholics for Christian Political Action writes:

When the Christian majority finally takes over this county, there will be no non-Christian churches, no more free distribution of pornography, no more talk of rights for homosexuals.  After the Christian majority takes control, pluralism will be seen as immoral and evil, and the state will not permit anybody the right to practice evil.  (emphasis mine.)

By the way, I have over 200 quotes from current Christian right political leaders that tell this story…and it’s temping to include ALL of them in this article.  I’m going to hold back a bit…I want this to be readable, not too long, and not overwhelming.  But go to the end of this article for some of my favorites.  In the meantime, let’s talk for a moment about Sarah Palin.

ChristianNationDid you know that this dominionist outlook heavily influenced Wasilla Assembly of God, Palin’s home church, in a big way?  And if you’ve heard Palin talk for more than five minutes you know that Christian Nationalism is clearly the basis of her political philosophy.  And do you remember that Palin ran for vice president alongside John McCain in 2008?  And do you know that when presidents die or are hospitalized, vice presidents take the reigns?  And are you aware that McCain is dang old (over 80)?  And, although Obama whipped McCain’s ass (Obama received the largest percentage of the popular vote for a Democrat in a half-century), if it wasn’t for team Obama’s “get out the vote” and other aspects of their brilliantly run campaign, we could have had McCain for president?

In 2010 Sarah said on national television:

We are a Christian nation.  I think we should keep this clean, keep it simple, go back to what our founders and our founding documents meant.  They’re quite clear that we should create law based on the God of the Bible and the 10 commandments, it’s pretty simple.

And she went on (and continues) to say things like this:

God truly has shed his grace on thee — on this country. He’s blessed us, and we better not blow it, lest anyone try to convince you that God should be separated from the state, our founding fathers, they were believers.

For a vivid, well-argued, entertaining (in sort of a sick let’s-slow-down-and-check-out-the-car-wreck kind of way) picture of what Cover3Dcould happen here in America, read Frederic Rich’s Christian Nation:  A Novel, a story that reminds us that America’s Christian fundamentalists have been consistently clear about their vision for a “Christian Nation” and dead serious about acquiring the political power to achieve it.  This novel takes us down the terrifyingly credible path toward theocracy, in which people realize too late that the Christian right meant precisely what it said.

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I’m not trying to be alarmist…but please don’t think it’s out of the question that the “Christian Taliban” could one day be at the helm here.  Did you know that fourteen years before the first shot was fired in World War ll,
Hitler announced his plan to destroy the parliamentary system in Germany, to attack France and Poland, and to eliminate the Jews?  Why did ordinary Germans voting in 1932 not believe him?

He went ahead and did exactly what he said he was going to do.

And what is it that the Christian Nationalists say they’re going to do, once they’re in power?

I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good… Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a biblical duty, we are called on by God to conquer this country. We don’t want equal time. We don’t want pluralism.

–Randall Terry, The News Sentinel

Nobody has the right to worship on this planet any other God than Jehovah. And therefore the state does not have the responsibility to defend anybody’s pseudo-right to worship an idol.

–Rev. Joseph Morecraft, Chalcedon Presbyterian Church, “Biblical Role of Civil Government” speech given at Biblical Worldview Conference.

The long-term goal of Christians in politics should be to gain exclusive control over the franchise. Those who refuse to submit publicly to the eternal sanctions of God by submitting to His Church’s public marks of the covenant–baptism and holy communion–must be denied citizenship.

–Beverly LaHaye, Concerned Women of America

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This is God’s world, not Satan’s. Christians are the lawful heirs, not non-Christians.

–Gary North, Political Polytheism: The Myth of Pluralism (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), p. 102

[W]e need a legal strategy which protects the rights of those of us who hold Christian convictions which will afford us the opportunity to contend once again for the mind of this culture.

–Keith A. Fournier, ACLJ brochure “Religious Cleansing”

Most politically active Christians don’t want equal time with homosexuals, abortionists, animal worshipping pagans, witches, radical feminists and pornographers. We want them silenced and mercifully disciplined according to the word of God.

–Jay Rogers reviewing Ralph Reed’s Politically Incorrect in “Chalcedon Report”

I don’t know that atheists should be considered citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation images-204under God.

–President George Bush, August 27, 1988

We are engaged in a social, political, and cultural war. There’s a lot of talk in America about pluralism. But the bottom line is somebody’s values will prevail. And the winner gets the right to teach our children what to believe.

— Gary Bauer, Family Research Council

We’re going to bring back God and the Bible and drive the gods of secular humanism right out of the public schools of America.

–Presidential candidate Pat Buchanan addressing the anti-gay rally in Des Moines

The ‘Owner’s Manual’ for the Constitution is the Bible.

–Tony Nassif, California Christian Coalition and the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools images-207

One day, I hope in the next ten years, I trust that we will have more Christian day schools than there are public schools. I hope I will live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won’t have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!

–Jerry Falwell, “America Can Be Saved”

Yes, religion and politics do mix. America is a nation based on biblical principles. Christian values dominate our government. The test of those values is the Bible. Politicians who do not use the bible to guide their public and private lives do not belong in office.

— Beverly LaHaye, Concerned Women of America

Article by Mike Nash
Click HERE for part 2:  The four things the Christian Right needs before it can take over

Cross Spangled Banner Wallpaper

By |Posted Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, at 1:54 PM

obama_syria_180pxI was in a meeting recently in Washington with a whole bunch of important people, when I heard a chilling phrase: Obama had “no good options” in Syria. It’s become a cliché. Aaron David Miller in a CNN commentary said there were “no good options” for dealing with the situation. Michael Tomasky of the Daily Beast wonders if bombing Syria is America’s “best bad option.” This is how Washington talks itself into a war that has little public support and scant basis in facts or logic. It’s completely unclear how much military strikes will weaken Bashar al-Assad’s regime and also completely unclear to what extent a weaker Syrian regime serves American or humanitarian interests. Military engagement has potentially large downsides and essentially no upsides. But we can brush that all under the table with the thought that there are no good options, which makes it OK to endorse some shoddy ones.

Except, in this case, it’s total nonsense. Obama has an excellent option. It’s called “don’t bomb Syria.” Don’t fire cruise missiles at Syria either. Or in any other way conduct acts of war.

Condemn Assad’s violations of international humanitarian law. If rebels violate international humanitarian law, condemn them, too.

Work at the United Nations to get wrongdoing punished. Insofar as geopolitically driven Russian and Chinese intransigence SyriaActionprevents that from happening, accept alliance politics as a fact of life. The government of Bahrain has killed dozens of protesters since the outbreak of the Arab Spring, and America has done nothing. We haven’t cut aid to Egypt despite massacres there, and while it’s at least imaginable that we might cut aid at some point, we certainly won’t be greenlighting any cross-border attacks on the Egyptian military. We don’t have to like it when our friends in Beijing and Moscow block our schemes, but there’s no need to be self-righteous about it.

Obama’s good option would be to reread his administration’s official National Security Strategy, which sagely argues that:
[a]s we did after World War II, we must pursue a rules-based international system that can advance our own interests by serving mutual interests.
3
In this case, the relevant rules are inChapter VII of the United Nations Charter, which  states that all countries have an “inherent right of individual or collective self-defense” in the case of an armed attack. Bombing Syria would not be an act of U.S. self-defense. Nor would it be an act of collective self-defense in which the United States comes to the aid of an ally. Beyond individual and collective self-defense, military action may be legally undertaken at the direction of the Security Council. In this case, direction will not be forthcoming, which is what makes Obama’s choice easy. He needs to stick with the pursuit of a rules-based international system by, in this case, playing by the rules.
a

This is a good option.

What makes it a bad option in the eyes of many is the reality that following my advice will lead to the deaths of many Syrian civilians. That is truly and genuinely tragic. On the other hand, it is by no means clear that bombing military institutions will reduce the number of civilian casualties. Historically, military intervention on the side of rebel groups has increased the pace of civilian deaths, not decreased it.

SyriaFreedomHouseMore to the point, if you put arbitrary framing issues aside, the United States stands by and does nothing in the face of human tragedy all the time. Millions of desperate people in Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua, and elsewhere would love to escape dire poverty by moving to the United States to work, and we don’t let them. Nobody in Washington is doing anything about theongoing civil war in Congo.

One way to look at this—the heartless way—is that the United States is really good at being indifferent to foreign suffering, and that in the case of Syria, we have a pretty strong reason for indifference.

Another way of looking at it—the bleeding-heart, correct way—is that Americans ought to care more about the lives of people outside our borders. That we ought to be more open to foreign immigration and foreign trade to help bolster foreign economies. That when the Office of Management and Budget does cost-benefit analysis for regulatory measures to curb greenhouse gas emissions, it ought to consider the impact on foreigners. That both as individuals and as a government we ought to do more to support charities such as the Against Malaria Foundation or Give Directly that save 10 times as many innocent lives or more than humanitarian military interventions.

To be clear, the mere fact that bombing is rarely an optimal or cost-effective way of helping foreigners is not a reason to avoid 130714141043-01-syria-0714-horizontal-gallerydoing it. The reason to avoid unilateral bombing campaigns is that the pursuit of long-term peace requires the United States to play by the rules. But if reading the news or watching television and thinking about the poor Syrian civilians is leaving you so conscience-stricken that somehow allowing the civil war to continue is intolerable, then think about all the other suffering you aren’t seeing on TV. Try doing something to help some of those people. President Obama himself needs to consider that his and his senior staff’s time and attention are one of the scarcest and most valuable resources on the planet. He needs to be spending that time wisely. If he finds himself pondering a problem for which he thinks he has “no good options,” that means he ought to move on to something else—to problems for which he does have good options but where the issue itself is languishing in obscurity.

But for an unsolvable problem like Syria, the good option is the sensible one: Do nothing, and don’t start any unnecessary and illegal wars.

BSyHpEiCQAA3aUkToday is the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech, and hundreds of thousands of Americans assembled again today at the Lincoln Memorial to honor the occasion. President Obama, among many notable speakers, reflected on “out great unfinished business.”

For those who can’t watch clips online, I’ve included a full transcript below, but pay particular attention to the way in which the president intertwined social and economic justice.

The men and women who gathered 50 years ago were not there in search of some abstract idea.  They were there seeking jobs as well as justice. Not just the absence of oppression but the presence of economic opportunity. For what does it profit a man, King would ask, to sit at an integrated lunch counter if he can’t afford the meal? This idea that one’s liberty is linked to one’s livelihood that, the pursuit of happiness requires the dignity of work, the skills to find work, decent pay, some measure of material security, this idea was not new.

It was a poignant reminder of the scope of the larger struggle, and the work that still must be done.

Here’s the transcript, by way of the White House:

To the King family, who have sacrificed and inspired so much; to President Clinton; President Carter; Vice President Biden and Jill; fellow Americans.

Five decades ago today, Americans came to this honored place to lay claim to a promise made at our founding: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

In 1963, almost 200 years after those words were set to paper, a full century after a great war was fought and emancipation proclaimed, that promise — those truths — remained unmet. And so they came by the thousands from every corner of our country, men and women, young and old, blacks who longed for freedom and whites who could no longer accept freedom for themselves while witnessing the subjugation of others.

Across the land, congregations sent them off with food and with prayer. In the middle of the night, entire blocks of Harlem came out to wish them well. With the few dollars they scrimped from their labor, some bought tickets and boarded buses, even if they couldn’t always sit where they wanted to sit. Those with less money hitchhiked or walked. They were seamstresses and steelworkers, students and teachers, maids and Pullman porters. They shared simple meals and bunked together on floors. And then, on a hot summer day, they assembled here, in our nation’s capital, under the shadow of the Great Emancipator — to offer testimony of injustice, to petition their government for redress, and to awaken America’s long-slumbering conscience.

We rightly and best remember Dr. King’s soaring oratory that day, how he gave mighty voice to the quiet hopes of millions; how he offered a salvation path for oppressed and oppressors alike. His words belong to the ages, possessing a power and prophecy unmatched in our time.

But we would do well to recall that day itself also belonged to those ordinary people whose names never appeared in the history books, never got on TV. Many had gone to segregated schools and sat at segregated lunch counters. They lived in towns where they couldn’t vote and cities where their votes didn’t matter. They were couples in love who couldn’t marry, soldiers who fought for freedom abroad that they found denied to them at home. They had seen loved ones beaten, and children fire-hosed, and they had every reason to lash out in anger, or resign themselves to a bitter fate.

And yet they chose a different path. In the face of hatred, they prayed for their tormentors. In the face of violence, they stood up and sat in, with the moral force of nonviolence. Willingly, they went to jail to protest unjust laws, their cells swelling with the sound of freedom songs. A lifetime of indignities had taught them that no man can take away the dignity and grace that God grants us. They had learned through hard experience what Frederick Douglass once taught — that freedom is not given, it must be won, through struggle and discipline, persistence and faith.

That was the spirit they brought here that day. That was the spirit young people like John Lewis brought to that day. That was the spirit that they carried with them, like a torch, back to their cities and their neighborhoods. That steady flame of conscience and courage that would sustain them through the campaigns to come — through boycotts and voter registration drives and smaller marches far from the spotlight; through the loss of four little girls in Birmingham, and the carnage of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and the agony of Dallas and California and Memphis. Through setbacks and heartbreaks and gnawing doubt, that flame of justice flickered; it never died.

And because they kept marching, America changed. Because they marched, a Civil Rights law was passed. Because they marched, a Voting Rights law was signed. Because they marched, doors of opportunity and education swung open so their daughters and sons could finally imagine a life for themselves beyond washing somebody else’s laundry or shining somebody else’s shoes. (Applause.) Because they marched, city councils changed and state legislatures changed, and Congress changed, and, yes, eventually, the White House changed. (Applause.)

Because they marched, America became more free and more fair — not just for African Americans, but for women and Latinos, Asians and Native Americans; for Catholics, Jews, and Muslims; for gays, for Americans with a disability. America changed for you and for me. and the entire world drew strength from that example, whether the young people who watched from the other side of an Iron Curtain and would eventually tear down that wall, or the young people inside South Africa who would eventually end the scourge of apartheid. (Applause.)

Those are the victories they won, with iron wills and hope in their hearts. That is the transformation that they wrought, with each step of their well-worn shoes. That’s the debt that I and millions of Americans owe those maids, those laborers, those porters, those secretaries; folks who could have run a company maybe if they had ever had a chance; those white students who put themselves in harm’s way, even though they didn’t have; those Japanese Americans who recalled their own internment; those Jewish Americans who had survived the Holocaust; people who could have given up and given in, but kept on keeping on, knowing that “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Applause.)

On the battlefield of justice, men and women without rank or wealth or title or fame would liberate us all in ways that our children now take for granted, as people of all colors and creeds live together and learn together and walk together, and fight alongside one another, and love one another, and judge one another by the content of our character in this greatest nation on Earth. (Applause.)

To dismiss the magnitude of this progress — to suggest, as some sometimes do, that little has changed — that dishonors the courage and the sacrifice of those who paid the price to march in those years. (Applause.) Medgar Evers, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, Martin Luther King Jr. — they did not die in vain. (Applause.) Their victory was great.

But we would dishonor those heroes as well to suggest that the work of this nation is somehow complete. The arc of the moral universe may bend towards justice, but it doesn’t bend on its own. To secure the gains this country has made requires constant vigilance, not complacency. Whether by challenging those who erect new barriers to the vote, or ensuring that the scales of justice work equally for all, and the criminal justice system is not simply a pipeline from underfunded schools to overcrowded jails, it requires vigilance. (Applause.)

And we’ll suffer the occasional setback. But we will win these fights. This country has changed too much. (Applause.) People of goodwill, regardless of party, are too plentiful for those with ill will to change history’s currents. (Applause.)

In some ways, though, the securing of civil rights, voting rights, the eradication of legalized discrimination — the very significance of these victories may have obscured a second goal of the March. For the men and women who gathered 50 years ago were not there in search of some abstract ideal. They were there seeking jobs as well as justice — (applause) — not just the absence of oppression but the presence of economic opportunity. (Applause.)

For what does it profit a man, Dr. King would ask, to sit at an integrated lunch counter if he can’t afford the meal? This idea — that one’s liberty is linked to one’s livelihood; that the pursuit of happiness requires the dignity of work, the skills to find work, decent pay, some measure of material security — this idea was not new. Lincoln himself understood the Declaration of Independence in such terms — as a promise that in due time, “the weights should be lifted from the shoulders of all men, and that all should have an equal chance.”

And Dr. King explained that the goals of African Americans were identical to working people of all races: “Decent wages, fair working conditions, livable housing, old-age security, health and welfare measures, conditions in which families can grow, have education for their children, and respect in the community.”

What King was describing has been the dream of every American. It’s what’s lured for centuries new arrivals to our shores. And it’s along this second dimension — of economic opportunity, the chance through honest toil to advance one’s station in life — where the goals of 50 years ago have fallen most short.

Yes, there have been examples of success within black America that would have been unimaginable a half century ago. But as has already been noted, black unemployment has remained almost twice as high as white unemployment, Latino unemployment close behind. The gap in wealth between races has not lessened, it’s grown. And as President Clinton indicated, the position of all working Americans, regardless of color, has eroded, making the dream Dr. King described even more elusive.

For over a decade, working Americans of all races have seen their wages and incomes stagnate, even as corporate profits soar, even as the pay of a fortunate few explodes. Inequality has steadily risen over the decades. Upward mobility has become harder. In too many communities across this country, in cities and suburbs and rural hamlets, the shadow of poverty casts a pall over our youth, their lives a fortress of substandard schools and diminished prospects, inadequate health care and perennial violence.

And so as we mark this anniversary, we must remind ourselves that the measure of progress for those who marched 50 years ago was not merely how many blacks could join the ranks of millionaires. It was whether this country would admit all people who are willing to work hard regardless of race into the ranks of a middle-class life. (Applause.)

The test was not, and never has been, whether the doors of opportunity are cracked a bit wider for a few. It was whether our economic system provides a fair shot for the many — for the black custodian and the white steelworker, the immigrant dishwasher and the Native American veteran. To win that battle, to answer that call — this remains our great unfinished business.

We shouldn’t fool ourselves. The task will not be easy. Since 1963, the economy has changed. The twin forces of technology and global competition have subtracted those jobs that once provided a foothold into the middle class — reduced the bargaining power of American workers. And our politics has suffered. Entrenched interests, those who benefit from an unjust status quo, resisted any government efforts to give working families a fair deal — marshaling an army of lobbyists and opinion makers to argue that minimum wage increases or stronger labor laws or taxes on the wealthy who could afford it just to fund crumbling schools, that all these things violated sound economic principles. We’d be told that growing inequality was a price for a growing economy, a measure of this free market; that greed was good and compassion ineffective, and those without jobs or health care had only themselves to blame.

And then, there were those elected officials who found it useful to practice the old politics of division, doing their best to convince middle-class Americans of a great untruth — that government was somehow itself to blame for their growing economic insecurity; that distant bureaucrats were taking their hard-earned dollars to benefit the welfare cheat or the illegal immigrant.

And then, if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that during the course of 50 years, there were times when some of us claiming to push for change lost our way. The anguish of assassinations set off self-defeating riots. Legitimate grievances against police brutality tipped into excuse-making for criminal behavior. Racial politics could cut both ways, as the transformative message of unity and brotherhood was drowned out by the language of recrimination. And what had once been a call for equality of opportunity, the chance for all Americans to work hard and get ahead was too often framed as a mere desire for government support — as if we had no agency in our own liberation, as if poverty was an excuse for not raising your child, and the bigotry of others was reason to give up on yourself.

All of that history is how progress stalled. That’s how hope was diverted. It’s how our country remained divided. But the good news is, just as was true in 1963, we now have a choice. We can continue down our current path, in which the gears of this great democracy grind to a halt and our children accept a life of lower expectations; where politics is a zero-sum game where a few do very well while struggling families of every race fight over a shrinking economic pie — that’s one path. Or we can have the courage to change.

The March on Washington teaches us that we are not trapped by the mistakes of history; that we are masters of our fate. But it also teaches us that the promise of this nation will only be kept when we work together. We’ll have to reignite the embers of empathy and fellow feeling, the coalition of conscience that found expression in this place 50 years ago.

And I believe that spirit is there, that truth force inside each of us. I see it when a white mother recognizes her own daughter in the face of a poor black child. I see it when the black youth thinks of his own grandfather in the dignified steps of an elderly white man. It’s there when the native-born recognizing that striving spirit of the new immigrant; when the interracial couple connects the pain of a gay couple who are discriminated against and understands it as their own.

That’s where courage comes from — when we turn not from each other, or on each other, but towards one another, and we find that we do not walk alone. That’s where courage comes from. (Applause.)

And with that courage, we can stand together for good jobs and just wages. With that courage, we can stand together for the right to health care in the richest nation on Earth for every person. (Applause.) With that courage, we can stand together for the right of every child, from the corners of Anacostia to the hills of Appalachia, to get an education that stirs the mind and captures the spirit, and prepares them for the world that awaits them. (Applause.)

With that courage, we can feed the hungry, and house the homeless, and transform bleak wastelands of poverty into fields of commerce and promise.

America, I know the road will be long, but I know we can get there. Yes, we will stumble, but I know we’ll get back up. That’s how a movement happens. That’s how history bends. That’s how when somebody is faint of heart, somebody else brings them along and says, come on, we’re marching. (Applause.)

There’s a reason why so many who marched that day, and in the days to come, were young — for the young are unconstrained by habits of fear, unconstrained by the conventions of what is. They dared to dream differently, to imagine something better. And I am convinced that same imagination, the same hunger of purpose stirs in this generation.

We might not face the same dangers of 1963, but the fierce urgency of now remains. We may never duplicate the swelling crowds and dazzling procession of that day so long ago — no one can match King’s brilliance — but the same flame that lit the heart of all who are willing to take a first step for justice, I know that flame remains. (Applause.)

That tireless teacher who gets to class early and stays late and dips into her own pocket to buy supplies because she believes that every child is her charge — she’s marching. (Applause.)

That successful businessman who doesn’t have to but pays his workers a fair wage and then offers a shot to a man, maybe an ex-con who is down on his luck — he’s marching. (Applause.)

The mother who pours her love into her daughter so that she grows up with the confidence to walk through the same door as anybody’s son — she’s marching. (Applause.)

The father who realizes the most important job he’ll ever have is raising his boy right, even if he didn’t have a father — especially if he didn’t have a father at home — he’s marching. (Applause.)

The battle-scarred veterans who devote themselves not only to helping their fellow warriors stand again, and walk again, and run again, but to keep serving their country when they come home — they are marching. (Applause.)

Everyone who realizes what those glorious patriots knew on that day — that change does not come from Washington, but to Washington; that change has always been built on our willingness, We The People, to take on the mantle of citizenship — you are marching. (Applause.)

And that’s the lesson of our past. That’s the promise of tomorrow — that in the face of impossible odds, people who love their country can change it. That when millions of Americans of every race and every region, every faith and every station, can join together in a spirit of brotherhood, then those mountains will be made low, and those rough places will be made plain, and those crooked places, they straighten out towards grace, and we will vindicate the faith of those who sacrificed so much and live up to the true meaning of our creed, as one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. (Applause.)

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Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

Turns out a lot of Republicans love Obamacare, reports Daniel Gross. Or at least, they like coverage for their kids, health-care rebates and a ban on denying coverage for preexisting conditions.

gop_plan512The Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, is starting to take effect. And here’s a shocker. While the overall legislation is wildly unpopular among Republicans—90 percent disapproved, according to a June poll—individual components seem to be catching on like wildfire among the GOP crowd.

Take, for example, the requirement that insurers continue policies to children whose parents have coverage until they turn 26. The Commonwealth Fund last week released an interesting study (PDF) of young people and Obamacare. It found that between 2011 and 2013, the number of people aged 19 to 25 who had been on a parent’s health insurance plan in the previous year rose from 13.7 million to 15 million. “Of the 15 million young adults on a parent’s plan, an estimated 7.8 million likely would not have been eligible to enroll in that plan prior to the Affordable Care Act,” the Commonwealth Fund reported. The report also found that Republicans were more into this provision of the ACA than Democrats. In March 2013, 73 percent of young Republicans surveyed had heard of the provision, compared with 63 percent of Democratic youths. Maybe it’s because they were more likely to be benefitting from the expansion. “In March 2013, 63 percent of Republican young adults had enrolled in a parents’ policy, compared with 45 percent of Democrats,” the report said.

That’s a pretty significant difference. What accounts for it? It could be that young Republicans are less likely to leave the nest and get their own jobs with benefits than young Democrats. Or it could be that Republicans simply love their kids more. But it is more likely that Republicans, being generally better off than Democrats, are more likely to have solid employer-based health insurance in the first place. The kids of well-off people don’t typically enter the workforce or the military at the age of 18. They go to college, then take a gap year, or go to graduate school, or try to get in on the ground floor of professions like media, entertainment, politics, and finance by taking a series of internships, or part-time jobs, or volunteer jobs, none of which may come with insurance. And so the (likely) Republican parents of Republican youths aren’t making their kids take out health savings plans or buy crappy high-deductible plans, or simply fend for themselves—as most Republican politicians think everybody else’s kids should do. Thanks to Obamacare, the grown-ups are putting their kids on their insurance plans.

In the old days, they used to say that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality. When it comes to health insurance, it seems a liberal is a conservative who has been mugged by an illness.

Rebates are a second, apparently non-objectionable component of Obamacare that has already kicked in. The ACA set standards for the insurance industry, stipulating that firms must spend a certain amount (80 percent) of the premiums they collect on patient care. Under Obamacare, insurers that choose to spend more money on administration, or marketing, or salaries, or dividends have to send rebates to customers. This summer, the first rebates were sent out, some $500 million to 8 million Americans. Now, these rebates are likely to have been shipped disproportionately to Republican households—those with high-end, employee-subsidized coverage. But I haven’t been able to turn up any examples of people refusing thechecks, or sending them back, or burning them—an act FreedomWorks is suggesting people do to their fictional “Obamacare cards.”  Republicans, like Democrats, enjoy receiving checks in the mail.

Then there’s the case of pre-existing conditions—another aspect of Obamacare that is popular among some Republicans. In the old days, they used to say that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality. When it comes to health insurance, it seems a liberal is a conservative who has been mugged by an illness. After having a devastating stroke in 2012, Sen. Mark Kirk had an epiphany about the inadequacy of rehabilitation services for poor people. “My concern is what happens if you have a stroke and you’re not in the U.S. Senate, and you have no insurance and no income,” he told National Journal. “That’s the question I have been asking, and the reality is that if you’re on Illinois Medicaid and are a stroke survivor, you will get just five visits to the rehab specialist.”

The same holds for the pre-existing condition ban. Clint Murphy, a former political operative, McCain campaign staffer, and cancer survivor turned Georgia real estate agent, recently wrote of his conversion on Obamacare. Although he had long since been cancer free, Murphy still wasn’t able to get insurance as a self-employed person. “I have sleep apnea. They treated sleep apnea as a pre-existing condition. I’m going right now with no insurance,” he said. Murphy said he can’t wait for the exchanges to bet set up in Georgia, so that he’ll be able to purchase insurance without being denied for a pre-existing condition. And even as they cavil about ripping up Obamacare, and hence the ban on pre-existing conditions, it is common to hear some Republicans speak kindly of the ban.

This is a dynamic we’ve seen over and over again in the past 80 years. Republicans shriek, cry socialism, and offer full resistance to any effort to expand social insurance. Then, after a certain amount of time passes and social insurance measures become popular and effective, they stand foursquare behind them and demand they be protected. Every single stinking component of FDR’s New Deal was a disaster, but don’t you dare touch Social Security! Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society program was a debacle, but keep the government out of Medicare! Obamacare must be torn up root and branch, just don’t kick junior off my insurance plan!

It almost seems as if much of the political toxin could be removed from the debate if Republicans could somehow be kept ignorant about the party affiliation of the president who first proposed the plan.

To this point, there was a great anecdote in a recent Washington Post article about efforts to pitch state-level exchange programs at the Kentucky State Fair:

A middle-aged man in a red golf shirt shuffles up to a small folding table with gold trim, in a booth adorned with a flotilla of helium balloons, where government workers at the Kentucky State Fair are hawking the virtues of Kynect, the state’s health benefit exchange established by Obamacare. The man is impressed. “This beats Obamacare I hope,” he mutters to one of the workers.

The person running the booth didn’t have the heart to tell the guy that the program he seems to like is Obamacare.

Source: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/08/28/why-rebublicans-are-starting-to-love-health-reform.html

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