Thank You, President Obama!

Bracketed by the disastrous George W. Bush and the unstable Donald Trump, it’s clear that future historians will look kindly at Barack Obama’s presidency. On December 16, he held what was expected to be his final press conference. (He decided to have one more on 1/18/17.)  Below is a section of the opening remarks from that 12/16 session. I’ve reformatted some of the transcript to enhance the clarity and impact of his accomplishments. Nothing was changed, added or deleted from his words.

Typically, I use this year end press conference to review how far we’ve come over the course of the year.  Today, understandably, I’m going to talk a little bit about how far we’ve come over the past eight years.

  • As I was preparing to take office, the unemployment rate was on its way to 10 percent.  Today, it’s at 4.6 percent — the lowest in nearly a decade.
  • We’ve seen the longest streak of job growth on record, and wages have grown faster over the past few years than at any time in the past 40.
  • When I came into office, 44 million people were uninsured. Today, we’ve covered more than 20 million of them.
  • For the first time in our history, more than 90 percent of Americans are insured.  In fact, yesterday was the biggest day ever for HealthCare.gov.  More than 670,000 Americans signed up to get covered, and more are signing up by the day.
  • We’ve cut our dependence on foreign oil by more than half,
  • doubled production of renewable energy,
  • enacted the most sweeping reforms since FDR to protect consumers and prevent a crisis on Wall Street from punishing Main Street ever again.

None of these actions stifled growth, as critics predicted.  Instead, the stock market has nearly tripled.

Since I signed Obamacare into law, our businesses have added more than 15 million new jobs.  And the economy is undoubtedly more durable than it was in the days when we relied on oil from unstable nations and banks took risky bets with your money.

Add it all up, and last year, the poverty rate fell at the fastest rate in almost 50 years, while the median household income grew at the fastest rate on record.

In fact, income gains were actually larger for households at the bottom and the middle than for those at the top.

And we’ve done all this while cutting our deficits by nearly two-thirds and protecting vital investments that grow the middle class.

In foreign policy, when I came into office, we were in the midst of two wars.  Now, nearly 180,000 troops are down to 15,000.  Bin Laden, rather than being at large, has been taken off the battlefield, along with thousands of other terrorists.

Over the past eight years, no foreign terrorist organization has successfully executed an attack on our homeland that was directed from overseas.

Through diplomacy,

  • we’ve ensured that Iran cannot obtain a nuclear weapon — without going to war with Iran.
  • We opened up a new chapter with the people of Cuba.
  • And we brought nearly 200 nations together around a climate agreement that could very well save this planet for our kids.

And almost every country on Earth sees America as stronger and more respected today than they did eight years ago.

In other words, by so many measures, our country is stronger and more prosperous than it was when we started.  That’s a situation that I’m proud to leave for my successor.  And it’s thanks to the American people — to the hard work that you’ve put in, the sacrifices you’ve made for your families and your communities, the businesses that you started or invested in, the way you looked out for one another.  And I could not be prouder to be your President.

And we, Mr. President, are proud we elected you twice to lead us. Your quiet grace and dignity in the face of unprecedented and unrelenting opposition, your deep and wide-ranging intelligence, coupled with your unbridled enthusiasm for America and Americans, have guided us through eight difficult years.

Thank you. Thank you so very much.

Thanks for caring about the truth.

Ken

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Vive la Resistance!

A dear cousin of mine, a bright, left-leaning and highly spiritual fellow, slightly chastised me for an anti-Trump posting on my Facebook page. My message was a compelling quote from an essay by Garrison Keillor, the writer and former host of NPR’s popular Prairie Home Companion:

He will never be my president because he doesn’t read books, can’t write more than a sentence or two at a time, has no strong loyalties beyond himself, is more insular than any New Yorker I ever knew, and because I don’t see anything admirable or honorable about him. This sets him apart from other politicians. The disaffected white blue-collar workers elected a Fifth Avenue tycoon to rescue them from the elitists — fine, I get that — but they could’ve chosen a better tycoon. One who served in the military or attends church or reads history, loves opera, sails a boat — something — anything — raises llamas, plays the oboe, runs a 5K race now and then, has close friends from childhood. I look at him and there’s nothing there.

My cousin replied (in part):

But he IS our president. I think we harm ourselves by continuing to wish him away. And as long as we continue to say “he’s not my president,” we’re no better than the people who spent the last 8 years pretending Obama wasn’t THEIR president.

And my response:

Intellectually we all know that he is (will be) our president. But as Keillor points out, this man is singularly apart from all other presidents, and, in fact, all other American leaders in any major position. What I, and so many others are doing, is to continually re-stoke the fires of anger — not to be blind obstructionists, but to forestall a sense of normalcy from creeping into the Zeitgeist of our nation.

Trump is not normal and reminding ourselves of that fact is, in my view, the patriotic thing to do.

The back and forth has stuck in my mind because I recognize that my cousin’s views are similar to those of many Democrats.  And that’s why in this blog post I want to amplify my sentiments.

We can’t sit back and return to business as normal because when we accept, when we “normalize” Trump, we…

  1. Accept that future presidential candidates no longer must release their tax returns. Business entanglements and potential conflicts of interest thus will remain hidden from public scrutiny,
  1. Accept the vilest, crudest forms of behavior from our candidates,
  1. Give away our demand that candidates adhere to facts, and that they never promulgate conspiracy theories, or other unproven statements,
  1. No longer insist that chief advisors and Cabinet appointments are recognized experts in their fields and not merely acquaintances or cheerleaders for the president. (Ben Carson at HUD?!)

Each of the above requests, bizarre in every other previous presidential campaign, are minimum standards!

That’s why, while we can hope that some of Trump’s plans do in fact help our country be “greater,” we do ourselves and our country’s future a disservice by passively accepting the results of the Electoral College victory.

Donald Trump will be OUR president, but because he is so strange in so many ways, I don’t have to accept him as MY president.

Thanks for caring about the truth.

Ken

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Watch Weld. Amazing Interview!

Here’s one for the history books. A man actively running for national office came within a hair’s width of fully endorsing a competing ticket!

Last night Libertarian VP candidate William Weld, the former Republican Governor of Massachusetts, gave an explosive interview to Rachel Maddow.

He didn’t officially endorse Hillary, but he walked up to the line and his toes were touching that line. Aside from that, he blasted Trump in clear and damning language. “I fear for the country,” if Trump wins, he told Maddow.

Equally importantly, he spoke glowingly and effusively about Hillary, a woman he’s known for decades. And as a former U.S. prosecutor (U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts) he also decisively dismissed the FBI’s botched handling of Hillary’s email case.

Rachel Maddow seemed somewhat flummoxed by what she was hearing, and it made for compelling television.

Weld’s running mate, Gary Johnson, must be pissed, but Weld knows the stakes are too high for political selfishness.

BRAVO, Governor Weld!

Watch it. Get everyone to watch it.

Thanks for caring about the truth.

Ken

The Easy Guide to Election 2016

The Easy Guide to Election 2016

It’s not complicated. You’re going to vote for Hillary Clinton because:

  1. You know that climate change is the greatest threat to life on Earth and it is based on scientific observation, and is not a Chinese hoax.
  2. You care about protecting a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body.
  3. You know more than 30,000 Americans are killed by guns every year and you know that reasonable gun control will save some lives.
  4. You know that trickle-down economics — tax cuts for the rich — has never worked.
  5. Since, over the past 30 years the lion’s share of economic gains have gone to the wealthiest Americans, you know it’s time for that group to start paying their fair share of taxes.
  6. You understand that the important work Planned Parenthood does deserves our support, not our scorn.
  7. You want sensible regulations that protect your food, water and air.
  8. And most importantly, you desperately want a smart, rational, experienced adult to lead our military and to possess the power to unleash our nuclear arsenal.

Those are the big issues and Hillary Clinton is on the right side of all of them. Delusional Donald Trump has shown us again and again that he stands firmly on the wrong side of each issue.

Your decision, therefore, is easy, clear and urgent.

Thanks for caring about the truth.

Ken

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The Rock-Solid Case Against Trump (and for Hillary)

Forget, if you can, about grabbing and groping. The case against him and for her goes far beyond the sleaze factor.

Here’s your eye-opening brick-by-brick summary of how this campaign looks right now. For Trump supporters, it’s brutal. Most of these articles have been posted to my Facebook page over the past two months, but seeing them all strung together like this is stunning.

Never has any major party candidate been so thoroughly repudiated by so many competent observers.

Every story here includes links to the sources.

  1. The Arizona Republic

“Since The Arizona Republic began publication in 1890, we have never endorsed a Democrat over a Republican for president. Never.

Hillary Clinton is the only choice to move America ahead.”

  1. The Cincinnati Enquirer

“The Enquirer has supported Republicans for president for almost a century … Our country needs calm, thoughtful leadership to deal with the challenges we face at home and abroad. We need a leader who will bring out the best in all Americans, not the worst.

That’s why there is only one choice when we elect a president in November: Hillary Clinton.”

  1. USA Today

“The Editorial Board has never taken sides in the presidential race. We’re doing it now. … Donald Trump is, by unanimous consensus of the Editorial Board, unfit for the presidency.”

  1. No Fortune 100 CEOs Back Republican Donald Trump

From the Wall Street Journal: “Democrat Hillary Clinton has 11 contributors and 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney had far more.”

  1. Trump v. Clinton: Comparing the costs of their Economic plans (CBS News)

“The latest estimate shows Clinton’s economic plan would add $200 billion to the national debt over the next decade, while Donald Trump’s would add $5.3 trillion – or 26.5 times as much as Clinton’s – according to a new report from the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.”

  1. Military Officers for Clinton

“While only a tiny portion of military officers reach the rank of admiral or general, an even smaller sliver earn three or four stars.

Fifteen percent of Mr. Trump’s retired officer supporters are among those most senior officers.

Mrs. Clinton’s backers include nearly twice that number of highest-ranked officers.”

  1. Dallas Morning News Endorses Democrat For President For First Time In Over 75 Years

“For all her warts, she is the candidate more likely to keep our nation safe, to protect American ideals and to work across the aisle to uphold the vital domestic institutions that rely on a competent, experienced president.

Hillary Clinton has spent years in the trenches doing the hard work needed to prepare herself to lead our nation.”

  1. No Former Members of the White House Council of Economic Advisers Support Trump

“In a WSJ (Wall Street Journal) survey, no former members of the White House Council of Economic Advisers—spanning eight presidents—openly support Mr. Trump”

  1. The Atlantic

“For the third time since The Atlantic’s founding (in 1857!), the editors endorse a candidate for president. The case for Hillary Clinton.”

  1. Foreign Policy magazine

“In the nearly half-century history of Foreign Policy, the editors of this publication have never endorsed a candidate for political office. We cherish and fiercely protect this publication’s independence and its reputation for objectivity, and we deeply value our relationship with all of our readers, regardless of political orientation.

It is for all these reasons that FP’s editors are now breaking with tradition to endorse Hillary Clinton for the next president of the United States.”

  1. 50 G.O.P. Officials Warn Donald Trump Would Put Nation’s Security ‘at Risk’

“Fifty of the nation’s most senior Republican national security officials, many of them former top aides or cabinet members for President George W. Bush, have signed a letter declaring that Donald J. Trump ‘lacks the character, values and experience’ to be president and ‘would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.’

Mr. Trump, the officials warn, ‘would be the most reckless president in American history.’”

  1. Here are all the major newspapers that have endorsed Hillary Clinton for president

From Business Insider: “This presidential election may have the most lopsided batch of newspaper endorsements the US has ever seen.

While Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has garnered the support of a long list of editorial boards, her Republican rival Donald Trump hasn’t received any.”

 

Whew. Quite a list, and it’s only a small fraction of what I could post!

How could any breathing, sentient voter still be supporting Trump?

Thanks for caring about the truth.

Ken

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The Veep Debate, Style vs. Facts

Mike Pence, a former radio talk show host, showed off his smooth radio personality at the debate. He clearly won on style points. But poor Mikey had to defend the indefensible, and the only way he could do that was to lie, over and over. I wish he had been more forceful. He could have and should have swatted away, with hard facts, so much more of what Pence said.

Overall however, Pence will be seen as a fool for constantly denying things we all know are true. Here’s a brilliant 90 second video that wipes away any doubts about who blatantly lied.

And for a look at it all with greater detail and clarity, try this article from the Huffington Post. The title sums up the debate — Mike Pence to America: Trump Never Said Those Things He Said.

Finally, let me apologize for being lax with these posts. I’m afraid I’ve become addicted to FaceBook where it’s so easy to put my political thoughts (almost always with links to reputable sources) up on my Timeline. I’d love you to check it out. Here’s one to get you started.

Thanks for caring about the truth.

Ken

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