Saturday, June 27, 2015

Hillary Clinton's Remarks at the Jefferson Jackson Dinner June 26, 2015

Barack Obama is officially one of the most consequential presidents in American history

After Thursday's Supreme Court ruling, there's no longer any doubt: Barack Obama is one of the most consequential presidents in American history — and he will be a particularly towering figure in the history of American progressivism.

National health insurance has been the single defining goal of American progressivism for more than a century. There have been other struggles, of course: for equality for women, African-Americans, and LGBT people; for environmental protection; against militarism in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. But ever since its inclusion in Teddy Roosevelt's 1912Bull Moose platform, a federally guaranteed right to health coverage has been the one economic and social policy demand that loomed over all others. It was the big gap between our welfare state and those of our peers in Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.
And for more than a century, efforts to achieve national health insurance failed. Roosevelt's third-party run came up short. His Progressive allies, despite support from the American Medical Association, failed to pass a bill in the 1910s. FDR declined toinclude health insurance in the Social Security Act, fearing it would sink the whole program, and the Wagner Act, his second attempt, ended in failure too. Harry Truman included a single-payer plan open to all Americans in his Fair Deal set of proposals, but it went nowhere. LBJ got Medicare and Medicaid done after JFK utterly failed, but both programs targeted limited groups.
Richard Nixon proposed a universal health-care plan remarkably similar to Obamacare that was killed when then–Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) walked away from a deal to pass it, in what Kennedy would later call his greatest regret as a senator. Jimmy Carterendorsed single-payer on the campaign trail, but despite having a Democratic supermajority in Congress did nothing to pass it. And the failure of Bill Clinton's health-care plan is the stuff of legend.

What Obamacare achieved

obamacare sign

Obama signs Obamacare into law. (Pete Souza)
Then, on March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. It wasn't perfect by any means. It wasn't single-payer; it lacked a public option, or all-payer rate-setting. And it still left many uninsured. But it established, for the first time in history, that it was the responsibility of the United States government to provide health insurance to nearly all Americans, and it expanded Medicaid and offered hundreds of billions of dollars in insurance subsidies to fulfill that responsibility.
In an email, UC Berkeley's Paul Pierson likened the law to a "starter home" to be expanded later on, much as Social Security — which initially had no disability benefits, left out surviving dependents and widows, and excluded (largely black) agricultural and home workers — was.
Brian Steensland, a sociologist who studies American social policy at Indiana University in Indianapolis, agrees. "The main thing it does, I think, is establish the expectation in the public’s mind that access to basic health care is a right. It’s going to be hard to go back to a time when access to health insurance, and the subsidies to help pay for it, wasn’t near-universal."
To pay for it all, the Affordable Care Act cut back on Medicare spending and hiked up taxes on rich people's investment income and health plans. It effected a massive downward redistribution of income. It's one of the most startlingly progressive laws this country has ever enacted.
And it was passed with more opposition than the social insurance programs it followed. "FDR and LBJ had lots of fellow Democrats in Congress when they pushed for the New Deal and Great Society," College of William and Mary political scientist Chris Howard says. "Their opponents, in and out of government, were not nearly as ideological or hostile as the ones facing Obama. The fact that the ACA exists at all is pretty remarkable."
A lot of these facts are familiar to people who've been following Obamacare, but it's worth dwelling on them for a second. When you consider the law in the context of 100 years of progressive activism, and in the grand scheme of American history, it starts to look less like a moderate reform and more like an epochal achievement, on the order of FDR's passage of Social Security, or LBJ's Great Society programs. It is, to quote Harvard political scientist Theda Skocpol, "a century-defining accomplishment in the last industrial democracy to resist using national government to ensure access to health coverage for most citizens." FDR failed, Truman failed, Nixon failed, Carter failed, Clinton failed — and Obama succeeded. He filled in the one big remaining gap in the American welfare state when all his forerunners couldn't.

It's not just Obamacare

obama castro

Obama shakes hands with Cuban President Raul Castro during the official memorial service for Nelson Mandela. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
And of course, the Affordable Care Act was hardly Obama's only accomplishment. He passed a stimulus bill that included major reforms to the nation's education system, big spending on clean energy, and significant expansions of anti-poverty programs. He shepherded through the Dodd-Frank Act, the first significant crackdown on Wall Street's power in a generation, which has been far more successful than commonly acknowledged.
He used executive action to enact bold regulations to curb greenhouse gas emissions, and to protect nearly 6 million undocumented immigrants from deportation. He ended the ban on gay and lesbian service in the military, made it easier for women and minorities to fight wage discrimination, cut out wasteful private sector involvement in student loans, and hiked the top income tax rate.
He reopened relations with Cuba after a failed half-century estrangement and has tentatively reached a historic deal to keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon — and, much more importantly, to avoid a war with Iran. He reprofessionalized the Department of Justice and refashioned the National Labor Relations Board and the Wage and Hour Division of the Labor Department into highly effective forces for workers' rights.
His presidency holds massive symbolic value as proof that the reign of white men over American government can be halted and America as a whole can be represented. And while he was too slow in announcing support for same-sex marriage, he appointed two of the justices behind the Supreme Court's historic decision legalizing it nationwide, and enlisted his Justice Department on the side of the plaintiffs.
There are obviously places Obama fell short. I think he didn't take monetary policy nearly seriously enough, that the drone war is a moral catastrophe, that he's fallen short on combating HIV/AIDS and other public health scourges abroad, that the 2009 surge in Afghanistan was a mistake, and that perpetrators of torture and other war crimes from the Bush administration should have been criminally prosecuted. But while Obama could have accomplished more, it could never be said that he accomplished little.
"When you add the ACA to the reforms in the stimulus package, Dodd-Frank, and his various climate initiatives," Pierson says, "I don't think there is any doubt: On domestic issues Obama is the most consequential and successful Democratic president since LBJ. It isn't close." And LBJ's presidency was so marred by the Vietnam War that he declined to seek a second term — there is no similar stain on Obama's record.
You can generally divide American presidents into two camps: the mildly good or bad but ultimately forgettable (Clinton, Carter, Taft, Harrison), and the hugely consequential for good or ill (FDR, Lincoln, Nixon, Andrew Johnson). Whether you love or hate his record, there's no question Obama is firmly in the latter camp.

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Wars killed 149,000 in #Pakistan and #Afghanistan since 2001: report

Wars in Pakistan and Afghanistan have killed at least 149,000 people between 2001 and 2014, says a recent report by a US think-tank.
The Watson Institute’s Costs of War Project also reports that another 162,000 have been wounded since the US-led offensive that toppled the Taliban government in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks. The institute is affiliated with the Brown University, a prestigious Ivy League school, and publishes studies focusing on three main areas – development, security, and governance.
The 149,000 deaths include US military members, contractors, as well as at least 26,270 civilians in Afghanistan, and 21,500 in Pakistan. The figures also include members of the Afghan and Pakistani national police and security forces, and opposition forces, such as the Taliban.
The report points out that war violence, the resulting displacement of individuals from their homes, and destruction of the environment and public services have also contributed to an untold number of indirect deaths from malnutrition, disease, and lack of access to care.
“This report reminds us that the citizens of Afghanistan and Pakistan have … suffered staggering untold and irreparable losses,” says said Catherine Lutz, Brown University Professor and co-director of the project.
“This report is the latest in our ongoing documenting of the significant human and financial consequences that the post 9/11 wars have had on the United States,” she adds.
The report notes that the armed conflict in Pakistan is closely related to the war and has killed tens of thousands of people, including at least 21,500 civilians.
It points out that several related armed conflicts are currently under way in Pakistan: militant groups attacking the Pakistani government, and frequently, civilians; the Pakistani government targeting militant groups and US drone strikes targeting militant groups.
“Civilians in Pakistan’s northwest and throughout the country commonly fall victim to violence by all parties of the fighting,” says Neta C. Crawford, a co-director of the project.
The report notes that local and international estimates of US drone casualties vary widely, with groups estimating anywhere between 1,900 and 3,800 people killed.
“What is certain,” says Crawford, “is that drone strikes disrupt peoples’ livelihoods, destroy infrastructure … and as a result, contribute to displacement, malnutrition, and disease. “The report points out that since 2004, millions of Pakistanis have been on the move, both internally displaced and in neighbouring countries. Refugees are particularly vulnerable to indirect deaths, but it is difficult to estimate these deaths among those internally displaced in the Pakistani border region, where media and humanitarian access is tightly restricted.


Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN)’s provincial government in Punjab has arrested more than 100 Shia Muslim scholars and religious orators in what appeared to please their Saudi masters anti-Shia Policies in Punjab.

Raids were conducted in Chinniot, Faisalabad, Bhakkar, Sargodha, Rawalpindi, Layyah and other parts of Punjab province where respected and peaceful moderate Shia scholars and religious speakers were taken into custody under schedule-4 cases. Punjab Police targeted those scholars who are affiliated with the Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen.
Police raided the houses of Shias and tortured men and elders and took into custody more than 100 Shia men and booked them in the lock-up under schedule-4 cases without having their any criminal record.
Ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) led Punjab Government and in particular its law minister Rana Sanaullah and Rana Mashud are known for patronizing Malik Ishaq and his banned Sipah-e-Sahaba and banned LeJ.
The state-sponsored victimization Of Shiite Muslims in Pakistan especially in Punjab has exposed the Saudi agenda in Pakistan to victimize the Shiite Muslims of Pakistan , who played major role in the foundation of Pakistan. The saudi-funded terrorists of banned outfits AhleSunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) , Taliban and Takfiri seminaries killed Shiite Muslims in Pakistan on daily basis but on otherside Nawaz-regime hatched the plot to detain the shiite notables in Pakistan's largest province Punjab to fulfill his Saudi masters agenda.


Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz-led government has directed all provincial governments to maintain record of Shia Scout groups playing pivotal role in securing and organizing Azadari-e-Imam Hussain (A.S.) in the country just to appease their Saudi lords.
Following the Saudi agenda, the government directed the authorities concerned to send the data of the members of Shia Scout groups to the federal interior ministry within a month. All Shia Scout groups are already affiliated with Pakistan Boys Scouts. These scouts groups are well-organized and played vital role in organization of religious processions, but it seems government wants to leave these gatherings on the mercy of takfiri terrorists.
It is pertinent to mention here that the Punjab Government has already started misusing the National Action Plan (NAP) against the peaceful Shia and Sunni communities in the Punjab province, although takfiri terrorists, following the Saudi and Zionists agenda, assassinate Shia Muslims in every corner of Pakistan.

#BBZinAction - dila teer bija

#BBZinAction - Kal Bhi Bhutto Zinda Tha Aaj Bhi Bhutto Zinda Hai

#BBZinAction - Bilawal Bhutto directs for completion of Karachi water projects on emergency basis

PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Saturday presided an emergency meeting on persisting water crisis in Karachi, ARY News reported.
The meeting was attended by the CM Sindh, provincial ministers, MD KWSB Hashim Raza Zaidi and other higher officials.
Officials during the meeting gave a detailed briefing to the participants on K-4 water project.
The MD KWSB said that they are fulfilling water demands of Karachi populace.
After the briefing, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari directed the officials to complete water projects in Karachi on emergency basis.

Pakistan - Power cuts: Hundreds rally against load shedding, Karachi deaths

Hundreds of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), Jamaat-i-Islami and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) workers took out a rally on Friday against unannounced electricity load shedding across the country.
PTI Punjab organiser Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, PPP Punjab president Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo, Opposition Leader in the Punjab Assembly Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed, Deputy Opposition Leader Sibtain Khan, JI general secretary Liaqat Baloch, PTI Lahore organiser Shafqat Mehmood, PAT president Rahiq Abbasi and PTI chairman Imran khan’s political advisers Abdul Aleem Khan and Ejaz Ahmad Chaudhry led the rally to Lahore Press Club.
They carried placards and banners inscribed with slogans like Bijli Do, Go Nawaz Go and Where is power from Nandipur?
“The load shedding has exposed the government’s incompetence,” Sarwar told the protesters. He said the rulers had no right to continue in power because they had failed to provide the basic necessities.
Sarwar called upon opposition parties to work together to steer the country out of crises. He said PTI chairman Imran Khan had been trying to secure citizens’ rights. He said certain leaders of the ruling party had promised, during the 2013 election campaign, to change their names if they failed to overcome load shedding with months.
He said it was unfortunate that hundreds of people had died from heat strokes. He blamed the governments for the deaths saying that it had failed to control power outages and shortage of water in Karachi.
“Instead of providing solutions, the federal and Sindh governments have resorted to lame excuses,” he said. Sarwar said criminal cases should be registered against government leaders over the deaths in Karachi.
Rasheed said the governments had failed to deliver. He said those in power today used to stage ‘shows’ at Minar-i-Pakistan in mock protests against load shedding.
Liaqat Baloch said the government had failed to address the problems faced by people. “People are fed up with its tall claims.”
Manzoor Wattoo said the government’s apathy regarding the energy crisis was shameful and inhuman. “Two years into power the government has failed to provide relief to people,” he said.
He demanded that the minister for water and power resign over his failure to improve the situation.
Rahiq Abbassi said an FIR should be registered against government leaders over deaths in Karachi.
PML-Q leader Zaheeruddin Khan said that instead of constructing only roads and bridges, the government should take steps to generate electricity.
Multan demonstration
“The federal government and the Sindh government are ignoring the sufferings of the people and pointing fingers at each other over the deaths caused by a heat wave in Karachi,” said PTI vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi while addressing a protest demonstration in Multan.
Scores of PTI activists gathered in front of Multan Press Club and chanted slogans against the government.
“Addressing the energy crisis should be a priority of the government,” he said. “Instead, billions of rupees has been earmarked for metro bus projects and road repairs.” He said the people of Sindh were being governed by “extortionists”.;postID=4438579378028185435

#BBZinAction - PPP holds federal govt responsible for Karachi deaths

The Pakistan People's Party (PPP) on Saturday held the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) led federal government responsible for over 1,200 deaths in Karachi due to a severe heat wave in Karachi.

The federal government is also responsible as well as K-Electric for hundreds of loves lost due to severe heat in Karachi, said PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.

In a statement, the party chairman said that the federal government had promised that it would end loadshedding in six months but had failed to do so after over two years now.

All this proves the government's incompetence, bad governance and corruption, he said.

The N-League created a hue and cry about the Nandipur power project and circular debt when it was in opposition, he said.

“Where does the federal government stand today on the issues of Nandipur and circular debt?” asked Bilawal.

The PPP chairman commended citizens and political parties for raising their voicing against loadshedding.

Pakistan among top countries with TB

Pakistan ranked sixth among the 22 high tuberculosis affected countries, and has 43 percent share of its patients in the Eastern-Mediterranean region of World Health Organisation (WHO).
According to available data, the incidence of TB per 100,000 people in Pakistan is 181; case notification per 100,000 per year is 150 while the treatment success rate is 85 percent.
An estimated one-third of the world’s population is currently infected with TB. WHO is working on a plan to reduce TB prevalence rate and deaths by half by 2015.
An official of the National TB Control Programme said that over 700,000 TB patients have been treated free and 100 percent latest treatment methodology of DOTS coverage has been achieved in the country.
He said training and health education material has been developed and all health care providers concerned have been trained. He said 982 microscopy centres have been set up from public resources for free of cost diagnosis of TB.
He said external quality assurance for sputum microscopy had been implemented in 40 districts of the country while five reference laboratories had also been established, including one at federal level and one each at provincial levels.
Dr Wasim Khawaja from Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) said that TB was an infectious bacterial disease caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis, which most commonly affects the lungs.
He was of the view that the disease was transmitted from person to person via droplets from throat and lungs of people with the active respiratory disease.
In healthy people, infection with mycobacterium tuberculosis often causes no symptoms, because their immune system acts to wall off the bacteria. He said the symptoms of active TB of the lung are coughing, sometimes with sputum or blood, chest pains, weakness, weight loss, fever and night sweats. Tuberculosis was treatable with a six-month course of antibiotics, he added. 

PML-N’s fantastic election promises - Proposed ‘Power Emergency’

A few months into the PML-N’s tenure it became apparent that their bold claims of ending power cuts in a short span of time were only fantastic election promises. Now the killer heat wave in Karachi has exposed this failure in the worst possible manner. The outrage is in part precipitated by the lethargy and helplessness of the Sindh government and its utterly useless “dharna” outside K-Electric, following a protracted blame game.
On Thursday morning, during a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Energy, a visibly incensed Nawaz Sharif suggested that an ‘energy emergency’ be imposed, whereby Public Procurement Regulatory Authority’s (PPRA) rules on government purchases and transparency be suspended so that the government can speed up construction of power plants. The idea seemed to stick to the Sharif brothers despite opposition from within the committee, which argued that doing so would invite legal challenge and allegations of corruption. Right now the fate of the ‘energy emergency’ hangs in the balance, yet it has thrown up interesting questions.

Suspension of PPRA rules would considerably speed up the process – the government won’t have to wait 6 months to buy components – but is this enough of an advantage to compromise on transparency? Despite the shortening of the time span, construction, operation and distribution from these power plants will still take years – the earliest plants are expected to be operational by 2017; providing no immediate relief to the public, nor relief in the summer of 2016, which is expected to be similarly hot. Even if shortening the procurement process helps, doing it by using the executive powers of the Prime Minister to suspend transparency rules will be the wrong way to go about it; especially since the PML-N government is implicated in allegations involving favourably awarded contracts to companies owned by the Ittefaq Group – owned by the Sharif family. Instead using parliamentary powers to streamline the procurement process would not only provide accountability, but also legitimacy. Furthermore, this step should be the last in the line of changes made to institute better power management. The government could start by taking smaller, less glamorous steps; stop energy theft, insure a uniform fee collection regime, perform maintenance on existing power plants and supply chains, resolve legal conflicts between different components the power sector and perhaps divert funds from infrastructure projects – such as the metro rail – toward the more exigent problem of power. The power crisis requires drastic steps, but that does not mean due process should be sacrificed.

#BBZinAction - Bilawal Bhutto felicitates PPP Punjab for organizing pretest demonstrations against load shedding

Chairman Pakistan People’s Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has congratulated the PPP Punjab for staging jointly with other political parties protest rallies and sit ins in the province against mounting load shedding in the country in the month of Ramazan.
“I am pleased with your initiative for organizing protest demonstrations Friday in the province against load shedding along with all opposition political parties” said the PPP Chairman in a message to Punjab PPP President Mian Manzoor Wattoo adding also “we must continue to highlight incompetence, mis-governance and corruption of the federal government in meeting the energy challenge”.
The avoidable deaths of hundreds of people in Karachi due to heat has been caused largely by the inability of the Karachi electric to honor its performance pledges and the inability of the federal government to make the utility meet its licensing conditions to avoid load shedding, he said.
The PPP Chairman recalled that the PML-N government on assuming office over two years ago had promised to end load shedding in six months but after the passage of more than two years the power crisis worsened on the one hand and the circular debt increased on the other.
This is nothing but a manifestation of sheer incompetence, poor governance and corruption, he said.
When in the opposition the PML-N had raised hue and cry over the Nandipur power project and the circular debt he said and asked where the federal government today stood on these two issues.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also felicitated all political parties and the people for raising their voice forcefully against unbearable load shedding in the country.

#BBZInAction: CM Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah called on Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah called on Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari at Bilawal House today.
Chief Minister briefed Bilawal Bhutto Zardari about severe heatwave and load-shedding across the province which caused deaths of around a thousand people in Karachi and other parts of the province.
Syed Qaim Ali Shah said that Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) has established 40 relief camps and heatstroke centers to provide instant relief to those affected.
Similar camps have also been established by PPP, many political parties, NGOs and others.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari asked the Chief Minister to ensure that all the Minister to visit hospitals to monitor the relief and treatment of the affected people.
PPP Chairman said that Expo Center and Marriage Halls can also be converted into Relief Camps and Heatstroke Centers equipped with all the requirements for the purpose. He also appreciated the PPP workers, other political parties, NGOs and others who established Heatstroke Centers and Relief Camps for the victims.
He said that though the load-shedding is a Federal issue but asked Chief Minister to contact Federal Government and the K-Electric for power supply to mitigate the sufferings of the people.

Pakistan - #BBZInAction: Speaker SA Agha Siraj Durrani called on Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari

Speaker Sindh Assembly Agha Siraj Durrani called on Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party here at Bilawal House today.
Speaker Durrani briefed the Chairman about the legislation done by the Provincial Assembly of Sindh, which is unprecedented in comparison to the legislative performance of other Provincial Assemblies of the country.

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