Posts Tagged ‘Center for AmericaN PROGRESS’
A new report by a liberal-leaning think tank recommends a dramatic overhaul of military pay, retirement and health care benefits as part of a $1 trillion cut in defense spending over 10 years.
The Center for American Progress calls for capping pay raises, eliminating military health benefits for many retirees who are covered by an employer-provided plan, and reducing the value of military retired pay as well as making retirees wait until age 60 to start receiving it.
Recommendations are included in a report, Rebalancing Our National Security, released Oct. 31 by the progressive think tank and advocacy group. The report opposes across-the-board cuts in defense spending that could occur beginning in January under sequestration but still calls for major reductions in defense spending.
Capping pay raises, the report says, could save $16.5 billion over the next five years. Reducing retiree health care benefits, through a combination of restricting care and raising fees, could save $15 billion a year. Reforming military retired pay could save, in the short term, up to $13 billion a year, and over time could save up to $70 billion a year off the current plan.
In addition to cutting compensation and benefits, the report also recommends cutting the number of active-duty troops permanently based in Europe and Asia, saving $10 billion a year. It recommends withdrawing 33,000 troops from Europe and about 17,000 from Asia.
In calling for less spending on military pay raises, the report basically endorses a plan proposed, but not yet executed, by the Defense Department. Under the Pentagon plan, pay raises beginning in 2015 would be capped at less than the average increase in private sector pay, a move that responds to a belief that military members are being paid more than civilians with comparable jobs and experience. This happened because Congress, over Pentagon objections, has regularly provided the military with raises that were slightly larger than the average private-sector raise to eliminate what had been perceived as a pay gap. The end result, says the report, is that the average service member is receiving $5,400 more in annual compensation than a comparable civilian.
The Defense Department plan calls for a 0.5 percent raise in 2015, a 1 percent raise in 2016 and a 1.5 percent raise in 2017 to bring pay levels back in line, which the CAP report endorses.
“To its credit, the Department of Defense has attempted to tackle this problem in its FY 2013 budget request, outlining a plan that would gradually bring military pay back in line with the Employment Cost Index without cutting any service member’s pay,” the report says. “Congress should demonstrate political courage and allow the Department of Defense to execute this long-term plan.”
Similarly, the report endorses many of the Defense Department’s proposals for cutting health care costs by raising fees, mostly on retirees and their families. But the report goes a step further: “To truly restore the Tricare program to stable financial footing, the Defense Department should enact measures to reduce the overutilization of medical services and limit double coverage of working-age military retirees,” the report says.
One idea would be to modify Tricare for Life benefits for Medicare-eligible retirees so that the program would not cover the first $500 of costs per year and would cover only 50 percent of the next $5,000.
Another idea would be to mandate that working-age retirees could only have Tricare benefits if they or their spouses do not have access to employer-provided health benefits. The report suggests this would be an income-based restriction but does not say what the cutoff should be.
The report also recommends modifying military retirement benefits. For anyone currently in the military with fewer than 10 years of service, benefits could be cut: Instead of receiving 50 percent of basic pay after 20 years of service, with immediate benefits, the report says the benefits would be 40 percent of base pay with payments not beginning until age 60. For people not yet in the military, there would be no fixed retired pay in the future, only a pre-tax retirement savings plan based on contributions from the service member.
by Tiffany Gabbay
In a creative use of language, the government may be trying to, perhaps not so subtly, convince you of its well-meaning intentions. In a day and age where the term “federal government” evokes feelings of disillusionment, and for some, even disgust, the Obama administration is opting for the softer, and evidently preferable term “federal family.”
But does “federal family” elicit warm, familial feelings, or does it instead conjure images of Big Brother and 1984?
The Palm Beach Post notes that in the flurry of official communications surrounding the onset and aftermath of Hurricane Irene, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) repeatedly used the phrase “federal family” when describing the Obama administration’s response to the storm.
The term wasn’t coined by the Obama administration, but it certainly seems to have taken it to a whole other level.
While the administrations of both Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush peppered the odd congressional testimony or statement with the euphemism (a Google search reveals the phrase appeared 10 times on FEMA’s website during the Bush years), since Obama took office, “federal family” has turned up some 118 times on fema.gov, 50 instances of which include Irene-related references.
“Under the direction of President Obama and Secretary Janet Napolitano, the entire federal family is leaning forward to support our state, tribal and territorial partners along the East Coast,” a FEMA news release stated the Friday prior to Irene’s arrival.
“’Government’ is such a dirty word right now,” Florida State University communication professor Davis Houck told the Post. “Part of what the federal government does and any elected official does is change the terms of the language game into terms that are favorable to them.”
In another instance during Hurricane Irene, the Obama administration claimed it was “committed to bringing all of the resources of the federal family to bear.”
“That one is so blatantly obvious that I think people’s rhetorical radar is going to go off,” Houck said.
The Sydney Morning Herald adds that some believe a disaster is a golden opportunity to communicate how government can help people:
The University of Pennsylvania political communications professor Kathleen Hall Jamieson, said: ”People are performing a family-like function in a … crisis.”
But the message only worked, she said, if it was reinforced by images of federal workers managing the aftermath – in other words, succeeding.
”The question is, ‘Are we a dysfunctional family?’ ” she said.
THEY MAKE IS SOUND LIKE HUGGING TEDDY BEARS, AND NUZZLING DOGS – HOW WARM AND FUZZY
By Ed Lasky for American Thinker
George Soros funds the Center for American Progress, which has been characterized as Barack Obama’s Ideas Factory. John Podesta, its head, led the transition team when Barack Obama became President. The Center has also become a hiring hall for the Obama team, filling its positions with former employees (among these was controversial Van Jones — who now is back at the Center).
Apparently, George Soros and his Center are upset that the American people placed a roadblock in their plans when we rose up and painted the nation red. The Center now is providing a blueprint of ways Barack Obama can do an end run around the people’s will by resorting to methods that will strike many of us as being improper-to say the least. Relying on executive orders, interpretation of regulations, rule -making and the like they are collectively a recipe for even more power being assumed by President Obama.
From Tuesday’s Politico Playbook:
[The] Center for American Progress today is releasing a report, “Power of the President,” proposing 30 executive actions the president can take to advance progressive change in the areas of energy, the economy, health care, education, foreign policy, and national security. “The following authorities can be used to ensure progress on key issues facing the country today: Executive orders, Rulemaking, Agency management, Convening and creating public-private partnerships , Commanding the armed forces, Diplomacy.
The New York Times fleshes out these proposals with some suggestions about policy changes across the board. The ideology of George Soros shines through the Center’s report as it justifies this forceful approach to circumvent Congress when it states that:
[The] legislative battles that Mr. Obama waged during his first two years – notably on health care and financial regulatory reform – have created a weariness among the general public with the process of making laws. And it hints it has not helped Mr. Obama politically in the process.
In other words, when Congress passed a variety of laws Americans became dismayed by the horse-trading and bribes that were resorted to by Democrats to impose these policies on us. Instead of compromise and listening to the American people, Soros counsels that more forceful measures should be used to override the will of the American people.
And this is the man the Democratic Party has as their sugar daddy and who various Democratic leaders over the years have defended and praised (for example, as shown by this letter from 11 Democratic lawmakers).
He is certainly a dictatorial daddy.
By Ed Lasky
George Soros — hedge fund billionaire, major funder of so-called 527 groups, early supporter of Barack Obama, and sugar daddy of the Democratic Party — is one of America’s most powerful political players. He had a bad November 2 when Republicans took control of the House. But he is not down for the count. He has already begun focusing on states as his next political playground — where he wants to be the biggest bully on the block.
George Soros has seen his game plan work quite well for years in Washington. He has created a phalanx of powerful think-tanks (The Center for American Progress — Obama’s Idea Factory, being just the best-known, but there are many more), he has politicians in his ample pockets, and the Democratic Party is beholden to him and his empire of activist groups — including MoveOn.Org.
He may have gone as far as he can in the short term in Washington; he admitted as much recently when he said he could not stop a Republican avalanche. However, as is true of every hedge fund maven, Soros is always on the lookout for opportunities that have escaped others, where he can use leverage to achieve big gains.
And many states are prime hunting grounds to bag big game — particularly if Republicans and Tea Partiers succeed in delegating to states more power to manage their own affairs.
How will Soros spread his tentacles?
We already have clues.
George Soros and a group of liberal billionaires and mere centimillionaires and Democratic operatives joined forces a few years ago to form the Democracy Alliance. Each member of this group pays a membership fee and annual dues and also commits to support individual candidates and groups that promote their liberal ideology.
But what George Soros and company have also done over the years is try to reengineer the democratic process to achieve their goals.
While they counsel their members to keep their actions under the radar screen, we do know of some steps they have taken to further their agenda of changing the nature of our democracy.
Secretary of States Project
One of their more prominent efforts was the Secretary of States Project that worked to elect friendly Secretaries of States in certain battleground states in 2006. They had remarkable success in claiming Secretary of State’s offices in eleven of thirteen critical states they had targeted.
These are the state officials charged with the responsibility of ensuring the integrity and honesty of the voting process. We can look at two of those states where their favored candidates won to see how their handiwork pays off.
Minnesota’s Secretary of State in 2008 was Mark Richie (he still is in office). He gave credit for his own victory to the Secretary of States Project, and they trumpeted their own role in helping him get elected, lauding him as “arguably the most progressive Secretary of State in the nation.” Even George Soros chipped in as an individual donor, as did many of the members of the Democracy Alliance.
Another good investment for Soros and Company.
After a hard-fought race, Mark Ritchie certified the Democrat Al Franken as the victor in the tight senatorial race between him and Republican Norm Coleman. The race involved other ploys by the Democracy Alliance that helped Franken become senator (see below). There was a dispute regarding the outcome since the vote totals were so close, and there were suspicious activities at various polling locations; legal challenges were mounted. Notably, George Soros hosted a fundraiser to help pay for Franken’s expenses (such donations are not counted in federal campaign contribution limits).
Recently, there have been serious charges that the votes that put Franken over the top were fraudulent and should not have been counted in his column. Meanwhile Franken sleepwalks through his career as a senator — voting reliably with other Democrats while not ridiculing Republican leaders such as Mitch McConnell.
The SOS Project was also successful in helping Jennifer Brunner become Ohio’s Secretary of State in 2006 (she received over $165,000 from the SOS Project and credited help from the group for her victory). The payoff came quickly in 2008. She declined to hand over to county election boards 200,000 names on voter registration forms where the drivers license or Social Security numbers on the forms did not match the name. She also allowed Election Day registration and failed to purge election rolls of ineligible and dead voters. These are all recognized as invitations for fraud. The Secretary of State Project praised her work — naturally. The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) — the subject of voter fraud investigations across the nation — was also active in Get Out The Vote efforts in Ohio. Barack Obama and other Democrats swept to victory in Ohio.
The Secretary of States Project is still in operation and has expanded into other states over the last few years. While its latest effort to elect allies was swamped by the red tide, the operatives are still there — always on the lookout to put their people in positions of power.
These are the officials who monitor not only federal elections, but also state elections and other powers at the state level. They are among the more powerful of state officials and often go on to run for federal office. One can see what a good investment in a Secretary of State can lead to.
George Soros and his minions excel at attacks that fly beneath the radar screen but can lead to devastating results for Republicans. They have created an operation for engaging in such political warfare that has been “franchised” in states across America.
A case study for their modus operandi can be found, as heretofore mentioned, in Minnesota.
I wrote about the underhanded tactics used by Soros and his pals in my 2008 article “The Soros Connection in the Minnesota Senate Race.” A network of groups funded by members of the Democracy Alliance raised spurious charges that threw mud at Coleman (charges that went nowhere and vanished after Franken’s “victory”). The charges were picked up by the echo chamber that Soros has created in the blogosphere and bubbled up into the mainstream media. Investigations were advocated. It was all smoke with little fire — but it damaged Coleman.
Fred Barnes wrote a very insightful column for the Weekly Standard (“The Colorado Model: The Democrats’ Plan for Turning Red States Blue”) which showed how a similar effort by a small core of wealthy liberals turned Colorado from a red state to a blue state. Scathing allegations were raised; the fire was fanned into a conflagration, and it burned a lot of Republicans at the state and federal level. Then the charges all but vanished. Mission accomplished. A superb book, The Blueprint: How the Democrats Won Colorado (and Why Republicans Everywhere Should Care, also opens the pages of the playbook used by this cadre.
The plan was a success, and like many successful operations, it was cloned in other states. The franchise spread. At the apex of the operation was a group called the Fund For America, another 527 group funded by Soros and other Democracy Alliance members. This group seeded state level groups throughout America to replicate the type of operations that succeeded in Minnesota and Colorado.
One picture says it all — this one titled “Money and Influence Behind a Liberal Network”:
Alliance for a Better Minnesota was the so-called grassroots effort by Minnesotans that spread attacks against Norm Coleman. As can be graphically seen, it was an Astroturf group funded by wealthy donors who may be able to locate the Land of 10,000 Lakes on a map but otherwise have no ties to the state. While the amounts of money (and probably advice) may appear small, Soros and others among his allies can funnel money through other means.
Many states have looser restrictions regarding the amounts individuals, PACs, and other groups may donate to candidates. The monitoring and reporting of donations are much less rigorous than they are at the federal level. A lot of money can flow to candidates, and the citizens may remain completely in the dark regarding the sources and the amounts. In many ways, states are an ideal location for the type of mischief and scheming that Soros and his allies practice.
Of course, what the graphic also illustrates is that similar groups have been funded in various states. The plan has been franchised; tentacles have spread; the puppets are hooked. The groups are primed to take action when opportunities to advance the Soros agenda present themselves.
The action taken by MoveOn.Org to influence shale gas development in Pennsylvania is another manifestation of Soros and his allies operating at the state level. Why would a Soros-supported group that used to focus its campaigns against Republicans at the federal level shift course and focus on an individual state? (One clue: it may relate to Soros’s energy investments.)
Will we see other Soros-controlled groups engage in steps to influence actions at the state level?
The Media: A Force Multiplier
These operations might be cloaked in secrecy, but they also depend on the media to magnify their efforts. Therefore, it is intriguing that Soros has recently invested more money in his media operations.
The National Public Radio grant that has been widely broadcast (at least by one network) will put two “journalists” in each state capital in America. Their stated role is to report on state governments and their actions. Do these journalists know who butters their bread? Will that affect their reporting? Does it even matter since NPR is chock full of liberals anyway who would likely support the Soros agenda?
Soros looks for emerging opportunities-talented hedge-fund operator that he is.
As the media — particularly newspapers — have fallen on hard times, they have reduced their coverage of the news and created an opening for Soros (and his allies, Herb and Marion Sandler, who have created their own “investigative group” to deliver news, free of charge, to cash-strapped media outlets — “news” that seems agenda-driven).
One can envision scenarios where the news coming from state capitols will favor liberal causes and shine a positive light on politicians who would promote a Soros-based agenda. At the same time, those who oppose this agenda will be either ignored or attacked (Media Matters was recently generously funded by George Soros to engage in attacks against Fox News — and this was before Glenn Beck’s series on Soros).
Will the Soros-supported media honestly report on the goings-on in state capitols? Will journalists who know the ultimate source of their money promote certain ballot measures? We turn to this topic now as we continue to explore Soros-world.
Soros and the Ballots
George Soros has been promoting and paying for state ballot initiatives to put in place policies he favors.
While his marijuana legalization effort in California has now been publicized (and went down in flames), he has been trying to peddle the pro-pot line in states across the country for years. His efforts have “earned” him the sobriquet “Daddy Weedbucks” from the drug culture magazine Heads. He also tried to help drug dealers by pouring money into a Utah initiative that would have restricted the power of states to confiscate the property of busted drug dealers. He and his allies, by the way, have not given up on California — they are gearing up to retool the proposition and get it passed in 2012.
But that is just one part of his agenda.
He also funded a 2004 effort in California for a proposition that would have softened and repealed some of the provisions of a Three Strikes initiative that imposes higher penalties on criminals who commit three felonies. The effort narrowly failed, but there is a postscript. George Soros finally agreed five years later to pay a fine to California’s Fair Political Practices Commission for failing to properly disclose his $500,000 in donations made to promote this proposition.
He also has promoted Ohio’s Minimum Wage Initiative (while there is a federal minimum wage law, states are free to pass their own higher wage laws).
Soros also funded a 2010 California ballot measure that would have put control of redistricting back in the hands of the state legislature (from a non-partisan group now) — a move that would have obviously benefited Democrats. The effort failed. One may ask why Soros, who does not live in California, felt compelled to weigh in on that state’s redistricting. Was it to earn “chits” from Democrats to be cashed in at some future date?
The Judicial Branch Should Bend to the Will of George Soros
There is more — endless are the ways in which Soros seeks to influence actions on the state level. The state where Soros most recently tried to pull a fast one is Nevada — another state where he has no residence. A November ballot measure was the first salvo in a nationwide campaign to end state judicial elections. The responsibility to pick judges would be taken away from voters and instead put in the hands of a nominating commission who would select a slate to present to the governor, who would then choose judges from the choices handed to him. The process is manipulated by bar associations (often left-wing) that fill the slate with left-wing judges.
The Wall Street Journal opined recently about this gambit:
That’s a nifty outcome for liberal groups who see the state courts as the next frontier for moving political agendas. The Nevada initiative is part of a nationwide effort supported by George Soros, among others, to eliminate judicial elections in state courts. Through groups such as Justice at Stake, Mr. Soros’s Open Society Institute has spent some $45 million on the cause nationwide, according to numbers tracked by the American Justice Partnership. Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has emerged as an unofficial spokesman for the effort, but the big money is coming from the political left. Nevada is viewed as a test drive….
Judicial elections aren’t always pretty, but they do provide an important check on a branch of government that has itself become increasingly political. A system in which Governors can nominate anyone subject to legislative approval can also work, as it does for the federal courts.
But the worst system is to subcontract the third branch of government to a judicial elite who give elected officials little leeway. While parading as “merit” selections, these judges are political choices as much as any elected by voters.
Soros is not interested in checks and balances. He is interested in controlling as many levers of power in states that he can, and his guiding philosophy is that the ends justifies the means.
Clearly, his left-wing agenda can be furthered by promoting the careers of friendly politicians, including those who might occupy key positions in the power structure. These would include secretaries of state, who have the duty of ensuring the integrity of the voting process. Then legislators who feel beholden to Soros and his left-wing agenda can pass laws, or, even better, Soros and his minions can promote ballot measures that persuade people to vote for the policies Soros and his partners advocate. But laws are always subject to interpretation. Who interprets the law? Judges do.
What Is the Agenda of George Soros?
While concern has been focused on the Leviathan that the federal government has become, states still have a great deal of power in various areas. Would Soros pull some strings to have states pass Renewable Energy Standards that would help him profit from green energy investments (he has announced plans to invest one billion dollars in this clean energy)? Will state environmental protection agencies target carbon as the enemy?
Will cities and states continue to loosen voting standards?
George Soros has union allies, and his efforts are often linked to the actions of the Service Employees International Union. (Anna Burger was a senior official of the SEIU who recently resigned; as can be seen in the diagram above, she plays a key role in the Democracy Alliance.)
Will Soros use his sway to help out union allies via minimum wage and card check laws? Or will state officials engage in such trickery as was displayed recently in Michigan, where independent day care workers suddenly found themselves categorized as government employees and discovered, to their chagrin, they were also enrolled in a public-employee union? This was all due to the machinations of Democrats in Michigan who perpetrated a stealth attack on these workers to bolster union membership.
Will a state-influenced by George Soros and his allies be able to take a firm stance toward illegal immigration, or will states become de facto sanctuaries for illegal aliens? After all, Soros basically believes that there should be no borders.
Will states continue to file lawsuits against ObamaCare and resist its imposition?
The list of his past agendas goes on and on.
The modus operandi of George Soros has been the same for decades, whether playing with money or with politics. Find opportunities that have escaped most people’s attention, exploit them, and gain wealth and power.
He has done it over and over, and he may very well be doing it in now in your very own state — except it is not just your state, but also a state that Soros seems to consider his to own.
|LEARN AND KNOW ABOUT THE COMMUNIST LEANING HERB AND MARION SANDLER|
Born in 1931, Herbert M. Sandler grew up on the Lower East Side of New York. During the 1950s, he became assistant counsel to the Waterfront Commission, combating crime in the port of New York and New Jersey. Marion Sandler, two years Herbert’s senior, was born Marion Osher in Biddeford, Maine. She received her BA from Wellesley College and her MBA from New York University.
In 1963, two years after marrying, the couple moved to California and opened the Golden West Financial Corporation. With their new holding company, the Sandlers were able to secure bank loans plus additional funds from Marion’s family to purchase, for $3.8 million, the Oakland-based Golden West Savings and Loan, which had assets of $38 million.
In 1975 the Sandlers combined Golden West S&L with another California firm, World Savings, which had 107 offices and $1.8 billion in assets. Taking advantage of regulations passed in 1981, the Sandlers’ World Savings Bank steadily grew, specializing in the first-of-their-kind adjustable rate mortgages that allowed borrowers to defer paying their interest.
By 2000, the World Savings Bank — with 450 locations and assets of $58 billion – had become the second largest savings and loan in America. On July 19, 2001, Nancy Pelosiinducted the Sandlers into the Bay Area Business Hall of Fame for their “longstanding entrepreneurial and philanthropic commitment to the San Francisco community.”
In 1988 the Sandlers had established the Sandler Family Supporting Foundation (SF), whose assets, by 2002, totaled $71,894,602. In its first 15 years of operation, SF gave tens of millions of dollars to Human Rights Watch and the ACLU. By 2000, the Sanders had become philanthropic allies of George Soros. Together with Soros, they funded MoveOn.org and helped to establish the Center for American Progress, on whose board of directors Marion served. In 2004, along with Soros and Peter Lewis, the Sandlers created America Votes in order to bolster Democratic get-out-the-vote drives during the 2004 election season. In 2006, the Sandlers also founded and financed Pro Publica, an investigative journalism outfit.
The Sandlers have had noteworthy connections to ACORN and the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL), an ACORN ally that championed the Community Reinvestment Act(CRA) before the financial meltdown of 2008. In 2002 the Sandlers co-founded CRL and gave it $20 million over the next six years. From 2001 to 2008, the Sandler Family Foundation also gave ACORN and its various front groups — particularly Project Vote and the American Institute for Social Justice — more than $7 million. Former ACORNemployees have claimed that the Sandlers paid ACORN to dispatch protesters to harass Wells Fargo Bank, a major competitor of the Sandlers’ Golden West.
In contrast to their allies George Soros and Peter Lewis, the Sandlers were able to maintain a low public profile for years. They made headlines in October 2006, however, when they sold their World Savings Bank for $24.3 billion to the Wachovia Corporation, pocketing $2.4 billion and putting $1.4 billion into their foundation, making it one of the thirty largest foundations in the America.
At the time of the sale, the Sandlers’ World Savings Bank carried $122 billion in adjustable rate mortgages. In 2008, Wachovia began to implode due to a lack of liquidity and was eventually bought out by Wells Fargo in October of that year. Many analysts contend that the “soaring portfolio of World Savings” helped to sink Wachovia. Herbert Sandler, however, has defended his business practices: “I didn’t mislead anybody, and to the best of my knowledge, our company didn’t, though there may have been an isolated case here and there.” “If home prices hadn’t declined by 50 percent, nobody would be raising these questions,” he stated in 2008.
On October 4, 2008, however, Saturday Night Live aired a skit in which the Sandlers were depicted as predatory lenders. Under their names, SNL placed the caption “people who should be shot.” Compounding the Sandlers’ negative press was a Time magazine list that identified them as two of the “25 people to blame for the financial crisis.” The New York Times also labeled the Sandlers “pariahs” – and on December 24, 2008, the Times reported that their mortgages were the “Typhoid Mary” of the housing crisis. On February 15, 2009, CBS’s 60 minutes also aired a segment that featured the Sandlers’ World Savings Bank as one of the primary examples of how the mortgage industry had destroyed itself and unleashed an economic collapse.
On April 22, 2009, the Sandlers wrote a letter to Bill Keller of the New York Times, criticizing the paper’s news coverage of them. The Sandlers defended the adjustable rate mortgages that had defined their financial success, distinguishing between those which their bank had offered consumers and the kind that had caused so much economic disaster. While issuing some corrections, the Times defended its original reporting: “We still stand by our Golden West story and believe it was a very strong piece to pursue and that we framed it fairly.”
By Aaron Klein
© 2010 WorldNetDaily
A George Soros-funded think tank with deep ties to the White House has written a roadmap for President Obama to bypass the new Republican Congress and rule for the next two via executive order.
The plan calls for Obama to push a “progressive agenda” on issues of health care, economy, environment, education, federal government and foreign policy.
John Podesta, president of the Communistic Center for American Progress, wrote, “the U.S. Constitution and the laws of our nation grant the president significant authority to make and implement policy,” including in executive orders, diplomacy, rulemaking and commanding the armed forces.
“The ability of President Obama to accomplish important change through these powers should not be underestimated,” he wrote.
Podesta was commenting in introductory remarks to his center’s 54-page treatise entitled, “The Power of the President: Recommendations to Advance Progressive Change.”
The center reportedly was founded in 2003 with seed money from Soros, who also donated $3 million to the center’s sister, the Project Action Fund. Its mission states the group is “dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through progressive ( communistic) ideas and action.”
Podesta, a former chief of staff to Bill Clinton, was co-chairman of the Obama-Biden Transition Project. A Time magazine article profiles the influence of Podesta’s Center for American Progress in the formation of the Obama administration, stating that “not since the Heritage Foundation helped guide Ronald Reagan’s transition in 1981 has a single outside group held so much sway.”
A summary of the center’s map for Obama’s next two years is listed on the group’s website. The center states it is offering “just some of the many possible actions the administration can take using existing authority to move the country forward.”
On energy, the center recommends Obama use executive power to:
- Reduce oil imports and make progress toward energy independence.
- Progress toward reducing greenhouse gas pollution by 17 percent by 2020.
- Conserve federal lands for future generations.
- Manage public lands to support a balanced energy strategy.
- Convene and engage hunters and anglers in the development of a fish and wildlife climate adaptation plan.
- Generate solar energy on U.S. Air Force hangar roofs.
On the domestic economic policy front, the center writes that Obama should:
- Direct an assessment, strategy, and new policy development to promote U.S. competitiveness.
- Launch the new consumer financial protection bureau with an aggressive agenda to protect and empower consumers.
- Increase the capacity of small businesses to expand hiring and purchases by accelerating the implementation of the Small Business Jobs Act.
- Promote automatic mediation to avoid foreclosure where possible and speed resolution.
- Create a web portal to empower housing counselors, reduce burdens on lenders, and speed up home mortgage modifications.
- Help stabilize home values and communities by turning “shadow REO” housing inventory into “scattered site” rental housing.
- Promote practices that support working families.
On the domestic policy front, the center urges Obama to:
- Partner with the private sector in health care payment reform.
- Focus on health care prevention in implementing the Affordable Care Act.
- Streamline and simplify access to federal antipoverty programs.
- Replace costly, inhumane immigration detention policies with equally effective measures.
In the education policy arena, the president can:
- Launch an “educational productivity” initiative to help school districts spend every dollar wisely to best prepare our children for the 21st century.
- Ensure students can compare financial aid offers from different postsecondary institutions.
- Improve the quality, standards, and productivity of postsecondary education.
In “improving the performance of the federal government,” the center says the president should:
- Scrutinize federal spending programs and tax expenditures to achieve greater returns on public investment.
- Build the next-generation Recovery.gov website to track all public expenditures and performance in real time.
- Use new information technology for faster, more transparent freedom of information.
- Create a virtual U.S. statistical agency.
- Collect data on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans in federal data surveys.
And in the foreign policy and national security arena, the president and his administration should:
- Rebalance our Afghanistan strategy with greater emphasis on political and diplomatic progress.
- Promote domestic revenue generation in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
- Appoint a special envoy for the Horn of Africa and the southwest Arabian Peninsula region.
- Appoint a special commission to assess contracting practices in national security and foreign affairs.
- Use executive branch authority to mitigate the impact of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy if Congress does not repeal it.
- Redouble support for Palestinian state- and institution-building efforts.
- Pursue dual-track policy on Iran while sharpening focus on Iranian human rights issues.
- Reinvigorate the U.S.-Turkey strategic alliance. Develop a comprehensive policy on the Russia-Georgia conflict.
“Progressives won in the 2010 mid-term elections,” wrote Karen Dolan, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, or IPS, and director of the Cities for Progress and Cities for Peace projects based at the radical organization.
“The Congressional Progressive Caucus, the largest caucus in the House Democratic Caucus at over 80 members, emerged virtually unscathed, losing only three members,” she wrote, in the piece published on the IPS website.
Dolan declared that “our work is now finally beginning.”
“The veil of a happy Democratic governing majority is finally lifted. We didn’t have it then; We don’t have it now. But what we do have now is a more solidly progressivebunch of Dems in Congress and a president presumably less encumbered by the false illusion that playing nice will get him a date with the other team.”
She went on to recommend that progressives “throw our support unabashedly behind the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and let’s push Obama to finally do the right thing through as many Executive Orders as we can present to him.”
With additional research by Brenda J. Elliott
BEWARE OF THESE WONDERFUL SOUNDING GOALS – THEY ALL HAVE COMMUNISTIC GOALS BEHIND THE GOOD SOUNDING WORDS.