Day 38 of the Obama Administration - History

Day 38 of the Obama Administration - History

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President Obama flew to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina the large Marine base to announce America's plans for a withdrawal from Iraq. In his speech the President stated "What we will not do is let the pursuit of the perfect stand in the way of achievable goals. We cannot rid Iraq of all who oppose America or sympathize with our adversaries. We cannot police Iraq’s streets until they are completely safe, nor stay until Iraq’s union is perfected. We cannot sustain indefinitely a commitment that has put a strain on our military, and will cost the American people nearly a trillion dollars. America’s men and women in uniform have fought block by block, province by province, year after year, to give the Iraqis this chance to choose a better future. Now, we must ask the Iraqi people to seize it." He announced a deadline of August 31, 2010 for an end of America's combat mission in Iraq. He stated that between 35-50,000 troops would remain in Iraq through the end of 2011 to continue training Iraqi forces and to undertake counter-terrorism missions. Complete Speech

In the evening the President attended a basketball game between the Chicago Bull and the Washington Wizards.

How quickly NY Times forgets Obama's lies and frauds

Donald Trump Donald TrumpWhat blue wave? A close look at Texas today tells of a different story Democrats go down to the wire with Manchin Trump's former bodyguard investigated in NY prosectors' probe: report MORE has been flogging the truth and twisting facts since the day he arrived in the Oval Office. But anyone who expected more candor from him as president than on the campaign trail was criminally naive. The real mystery nowadays is why the media seeks to expunge the falsehoods of prior presidents.

“Trump’s Lies versus Obama’s” was the headline in a Sunday Review New York Times piece aiming to drive a final coffin nail into Trump’s credibility. The Times claimed Trump has already “told nearly six times as many falsehoods as Obama did during his entire (8-year) presidency.” The columnists seem so distraught that it is surprising the article is not in all caps.

But the Times’ list of falsehoods is itself a charade with gaping Montana-sized holes.

Has the Times forgotten about Edward Snowden? Obama responded to Snowden’s stunning revelations of the National Security Agency’s vacuuming up millions of Americans’ personal data by going on the Jay Leno Show and proclaiming: “There is no spying on Americans.” But NSA’s definition of “terrorist suspect” was so ludicrously broad that it includes anyone “searching the web for suspicious stuff” (maybe including presidential lies). Obama’s verbal defenses of NSA spying collapsed like a row of houses of cards.

In early 2009, Obama visited Mexico and, in a spiel calling for the renewal of the assault weapon ban, asserted that “more than 90 percent of the guns recovered in Mexico come from the United States.” This vastly overstated the actual problem, since that statistic measured only firearms that Mexican authorities sent to the U.S. for tracing.

GOP lawmaker calls for second special counsel to investigate alleged anti-Trump bias in FBI

— The Hill (@thehill) December 17, 2017

His administration then acted as if 90 percent was a goal, not a lie, launching a secret Fast and Furious gunwalking operation masterminded by the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agency, deluging Mexican drug gangs with high-powered weapons. At least 150 Mexicans were killed by guns illegally sent south of the border with Obama administration approval.

Obama’s animosity to the Second Amendment spurred some of his most farcical whoppers. In July 2016, Obama asserted: “We flood communities with so many guns that it is easier for a teenager to buy a Glock than get his hands on a computer or even a book.” Glocks are the Lexus of handguns, and a person could buy hundreds of volumes of used books via Amazon for the price of a Glock.

A year earlier, Obama bewailed “neighborhoods where it’s easier for you to buy a handgun and clips than it is for you to buy a fresh vegetable.” Obama never offered a single example of a locale where carrots are rarer than .38 Specials. But his false claim helped frighten clueless suburbanites to support Obama’s anti-gun agenda.

The Times column lists only one Obama falsehood on the Affordable Care Act: “If you like your doctor, you'll be able to keep your doctor if you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan.” Obama’s dozens of variations and recitals of this lie were disregarded. The Times also ignored the fact that the ObamaCare legislation was carefully crafted to con Congress and the public. As its intellectual godfather, MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, explained:

“Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically, that was really, really critical to get this thing to pass.”

To revile Trump, the column also struggles mightily to resurrect George W. Bush’s credibility. The Times concedes that Bush sought to justify attacking Iraq “by talking about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, which did not exist.” This vastly understates the role of official deceit in hustling that war.

In early 2003, Bush’s speeches continually warned, “If war is forced upon us. ” There was never any truth to war being “forced upon us” (except by the White House) but that phrase helped Bush panic audiences still jittery after 9/11. The Center for Public Integrity, which has won two Pulitzer Prizes, compiled a list of 935 lies by Bush and his top appointees on Iraq. Perhaps to preserve the column’s lofty tone, the Times omitted any mention of Bush’s four years of brazenly false denials of authorizing a worldwide torture regime.

The Times’ comparison of Trump and other presidents implies that all lies are equally damnable. The Times ignored all the Obama false promises used to justify his troop surge in Afghanistan (which resulted in more than a thousand dead American troops with nothing to show for the sacrifice) and bombing Libya (which now has slave markets). But killing vast numbers of human beings should require more due diligence than assertions on federal spending for peanut subsidies.

The Times asserts that Trump is seeking to “to make truth irrelevant,” which “is extremely damaging to democracy.” But democracy has also been subverted by the media’s long history of ignoring or absolving presidential lies. For more than a century, the press has groveled the worst when presidents dragged the nation into the biggest perils.

Trump’s lies deserve to be exposed and condemned. But Bush’s and Obama’s lies help explain why only 20 percent of Americans trusted the federal government at the end of Obama’s reign. Pretending America recently had a Golden Age of honest politicians encourages the delusion that toppling Trump is all that is necessary to make the federal government great again.

James Bovard is a member of the USA Today Board of Contributors and has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Playboy, Washington Post, and many other publications. He is the author of 10 books, including “Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty” (St. Martin’s Press, 1994). Follow him on Twitter @JimBovard.

FACT SHEET: Celebrating President Obama’s Top 10 Actions to Advance Entrepreneurship, and Announcing New Steps to Build on These Successes

America’s entrepreneurial economy is the envy of the world. Young companies account for almost 30 percent of new jobs, and as we have fought back from the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes, startups have helped the U.S. private sector create 15.5 million jobs since early 2010—the longest streak of private-sector job creation on record.

Today, in celebration of National Entrepreneurship Month, the Administration is releasing a Top 10 list of President Obama’s most significant specific actions to promote American entrepreneurship, as well as announcing new efforts to build on these successes. The President’s unprecedented focus on the role of startups in the United States’ innovation economy is exemplified by his launch of Startup America in 2011, a White House initiative to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the Nation.

Thanks to the grit, determination, and creativity of entrepreneurs all across the country, American startup activity is rebounding and growing more inclusive of historically underrepresented groups and regions. Studies indicate that:

  • Reversing a downward cycle that began during the Great Recession, U.S. startup activity ascended last year, representing the largest year-over-year increase in the last two decades, while measures of startup revenue and employment growth have rebounded across industries as well.
  • New companies created 889,000 jobs in the final quarter of 2015—the highest job creation number since 2008.
  • Rates of entrepreneurship have increased for Latinos, African Americans, and immigrants between 1996 and 2015.
  • Between 2007 and 2016, the number of women-owned firms is estimated to have grown at a rate five times the national average, including a more than doubling of the number of firms owned by African American women and Latinas.
  • American startups are not only rebounding, they are taking root in more communities all across the country—for example, the share of U.S. metro areas that attracted early stage venture capital has increased by around 50 percent since 2009.
  • The number of U.S. startup accelerator programs increased from fewer than 30 in 2009 to over 170 in 2015, providing mentorship and early funding to thousands of startups across 35 states plus D.C. and 54 metro areas.
  • Access to capital for high-growth entrepreneurs has improved significantly since 2009, with venture capital investment up an estimated 200 percent, far exceeding its pre-recession peak, and angel investment up 40 percent, approaching its pre-recession peak.
  • Compared with 137 countries, the United States continues to top the rankings in the Global Entrepreneurship Index, with the world’s most favorable conditions for entrepreneurs to start and scale new companies.

Over the past 8 years, many of the President’s signature achievements have significantly increased opportunities for entrepreneurs to take smart risks and build the next generation of great American companies: the Affordable Care Act is making it easier for entrepreneurs to buy health insurance, unlocking them from traditional employer-based coverage the Pay As You Earn program is making it easier for entrepreneurs to pay off student loan debt the Open Data Initiative has unlocked over 200,000 government datasets as raw material for entrepreneurial innovation ConnectED and ConnectALL are allowing aspiring entrepreneurs everywhere to access high-speed broadband, while a strong net neutrality policy ensures a free and open internet and the President signed into law the largest annual increase in research and development funding in America’s history.

Breaking down barriers for all entrepreneurs is not the task of just one Administration. For example, studies suggest that the share of venture-funded startups with women founders has nearly doubled in 5 years—but it is still only 18 percent. Continuing to reverse America’s 40-year decline in startup activity will require building on the President’s record of addressing income inequality, promoting competitive markets, reducing unduly restrictive occupational licensing, and scaling up rapid training for 21st century technology skills.

In addition to releasing today’s Top 10 list of President Obama’s specific actions to promote entrepreneurship, the Administration is also announcing new private-sector actions to promote inclusive entrepreneurship.

New Actions by Organizations Answering the President’s Call to Action

  • Engineering deans from over 200 universities are committing to building a more-representative student talent pipeline. At the first-ever White House Demo Day in 2015, 102 engineering deans pledged to develop concrete diversity plans for their programs to tap into diverse talent. Since then, the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) has worked with its members to share best practices and to promote the inclusivity in engineering schools of all students regardless of visible or invisible differences. ASEE is creating a platform to disseminate best practices among participating engineering schools that will help them implement the diversity initiative. Today, at 206, the number of engineering deans that have signed the pledge has more than doubled since 2015. ASEE will continue promoting and enhancing diversity and inclusion through all its participating members. Read letter HERE.
  • 79 companies have now joined the Tech Inclusion Pledge. At the Global Entrepreneurship Summit this past summer, President Obama announced a commitment by senior leadership from 33 companies of all sizes to fuel American innovation and economic growth by increasing the diversity of their technology workforce. Today, 46 additional companies, including Xerox, TaskRabbit, and Techstars, are joining this Tech Inclusion Pledge, committing to take concrete action to make the technology workforce at each of their companies representative of the American people as soon as possible. To facilitate additional pledge commitments and help companies meet those commitments, the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and CODE2040 commit to maintain a website with free research-based implementation resources. Read letter HERE.
  • Early-stage investors are making a new commitment to promote inclusive entrepreneurship. Today, more than 30 investment firms, angel investor groups, and startup accelerators with over $800 million under management have committed to achieving greater transparency in their funding criteria and to actively mentoring entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds, in an effort to increase the diversity of startup founders in their portfolios. For example, MassMutual Foundation and Valley Venture Mentors are partnering to create a scalable model for rural startup accelerators, while Pipeline Angels is bringing its training programs for underrepresented investors to 20 additional cities. Read letter HERE.

The President’s Top 10 Actions to Accelerate American Entrepreneurship

1. Signed permanent tax incentives for startup investment. The President signed into law 18 tax breaks for small businesses in his first term, including tax credits for those who hire unemployed workers and veterans. In addition, in December 2015, Congress responded to the President’s call to make two critical tax incentives permanent for the first time:

  • Made the Research and Experimentation (R&E) tax credit available to startups. In addition to making the R&E tax credit permanent for the first time since its enactment in the early 1980s, Congress also expanded the credit to allow pre-revenue startups and small businesses to take advantage of the credit by counting it against up to $250,000 in payroll expenses for up to 5 years.
  • Permanently eliminated capital gains tax on certain small business stock. First enacted on a temporary basis in the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 and now permanent, this measure eliminates capital gains realized on the sale of certain small business stock held for more than 5 years, providing a major incentive for private-sector investment in high-growth entrepreneurial firms that fuel economic growth.

2. Accelerated the transition of research discoveries from lab to market. The Federal government invests over $140 billion each year on Federally-funded research and development (R&D) conducted at universities, Federal laboratories, and companies. The President issued a memorandum to agencies to accelerate the commercialization of Federal R&D, and made these Lab-to-Market efforts a core part of his management agenda.

  • Scaled up I-Corps, a rigorous entrepreneurship training program for scientists and engineers. The Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program, first launched in 2011 by the National Science Foundation (NSF), provides entrepreneurship training for Federally funded scientists and engineers, pairing them with business mentors for an intensive curriculum focused on discovering a truly demand-driven path from their lab work to a marketable product. Over the past 5 years, more than 800 researcher teams have completed this I-Corps training, from 192 universities in 44 states, resulting in the creation of over 320 companies that have collectively raised more than $93 million in follow-on funding. The I-Corps model has been adopted in 11 additional Federal agency partnerships, including an expansion to 17 Institutes and Centers at the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is implemented through a National Innovation Network across more than 70 universities. Additionally, the Department of Defense’s MD5 National Security Technology Accelerator is helping provide students with the training to apply a similar lean startup methodology to real-world national-security problems, soon expanding to eight institutions of higher education this spring, and including new challenges in diplomacy, urban resilience, and energy.
  • Facilitated personnel exchanges between Federal labs, academia, and industry. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) published a final rule on “Technology Innovation-Personnel Exchanges,” allowing Federal agencies to more easily exchange personnel with universities, non-profits, and the private sector to advance R&D commercialization.
  • Increased access to Federally-funded research facilities and intellectual property for entrepreneurs and innovators. Funded by NIST, the Federal Laboratory Consortium launched online tools for finding specific information and open data on more than 300 Federal laboratories with 2,500 user facilities and specialized equipment, as well as over 20,000 technologies available for licensing.
  • Strengthened Federal R&D funding for startups and small businesses. For the first time in a decade, in 2011 the President signed a long-term reauthorization of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, which annually provide over $2.5 billion in Federal R&D funding to technology startups and small businesses. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and 11 participating Federal agencies have expanded access to SBIR/STTR opportunities, including by building the platform and initiating a road tour that has engaged historically underrepresented communities across the country.

3. Cut red tape for entrepreneurs. The Administration’s Startup in a Day initiative is cutting red tape to make it easier for more entrepreneurs to get started and grow their businesses. Over 100 cities, home to nearly 38 million Americans, have taken a public pledge to streamline their business startup processes, allowing entrepreneurs to navigate requirements in as little as 24 hours. To support these streamlining efforts, the SBA sponsored a prize competition won by 28 cities and communities examples include the City of Los Angeles and the City of Long Beach, which both created online business portals that are open-source and can be shared with cities and communities across the country. Additionally, over 52,000 small business borrowers have connected to lenders under a new SBA online matchmaking tool called LINC, while SBA One is taking SBA’s lending process entirely online, which will save hours of time and thousands of dollars per loan for entrepreneurs.

4. Expanded regional entrepreneurship opportunities. High-growth entrepreneurship is taking root in more and more communities across the country, in part thanks to targeted investments by this Administration.

  • Seeded startup accelerators in diverse communities. The SBA’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition serves entrepreneurs in a broad set of industries and sectors—from manufacturing and tech start-ups, to farming and biotech—with many focused on creating a diverse and inclusive small business community. From 2014 to now, SBA has funded over 200 startup accelerator programs in every corner of the country, serving well over 5,000 startups that have collectively employed over 20,000 people and raised over 1.5 billion in capital.
  • Pioneered a regional innovation strategy. SBA’s investments in 62 Regional Innovation Clusters have helped participating small businesses achieve an average employment growth rate of more than five times faster than regional benchmarks, and more than $650 million in Federal contract opportunities.
  • Incentivized regional partners to work together on tech entrepreneurship. Through its Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program and the i6 Challenge, the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded $59 million in capacity-building grants that help entrepreneurs in diverse regions of the country move ideas to market, supporting the creation and expansion of research-commercialization centers and early-stage seed-capital funds. Earlier this month, EDA announced nearly $15 million in Federal funding plus $18 million in matching funds, reaching urban and rural areas in 19 states, including the first RIS investments that support historically black colleges and universities: a direct investment in Clark Atlanta University’s agriculture and food technology commercialization program and an investment in a program to increase access to early-stage capital in southeast Louisiana, in which Southern University is a partner. Among the 35 organizations receiving EDA support are a female-focused early-stage capital fund in Texas, a Native American-focused proof-of-concept program in Oklahoma, and urban innovation hubs focused on fashion technology in Brooklyn and on social innovation in New Orleans.

5. Directly boosted entrepreneurs’ access to capital. With only three states attracting the majority of venture capital, the Administration has focused on incentivizing investment in startup communities across the country.

  • Catalyzed investments of $8.4 billion through theState Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). The SSBCI was created through the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, which provided $1.5 billion to strengthen state programs that support lending to small businesses and small manufacturers. Administered by the Treasury Department, SSBCI has catalyzed over $8.4 billion in more than 16,900 new loans and investments all across the country. To date, business owners report more than 190,000 jobs will be created or retained due to the new loans and investments stimulated by SSBCI funds. More than half of all SSBCI loans or investments went to young businesses less than 5 years old, and over 40 percent of the loans or investments were in low- or moderate-income communities. Over 30 states have allocated nearly half-a-billion SSBCI dollars to venture-capital programs—a dramatic increase in funding for the programs that are critical to expanding high-growth entrepreneurship into diverse regions around the country.
  • Strengthened investment fund program for small businesses. The Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program, run by the SBA, is a multi-billion dollar investment program to bridge the gap between entrepreneurs’ need for capital and traditional sources of financing. This Administration has created new pathways for impact investment funds that devote growth capital to companies in underserved communities and emerging sectors, as well as for early-stage innovation funds. The recently announced Open Network for Board Diversity (ONBOARD) is a public-private initiative working to expand the presence of underrepresented groups on high-growth company advisory boards, boards of directors, and senior leadership, particularly for those supported by SBICs.

6. Prioritized inclusive entrepreneurship. As part of the first-ever White House Demo Day in August 2015, 40 leading venture-capital firms with more than $100 billion under management committed to advance opportunities for women and underrepresented minorities, and more than a dozen major technology companies committed to new actions to ensure diverse recruitment and hiring. These actions are complemented by today’s announcements, as well as continued progress by Federal agencies, including:

  • Reduced barriers faced by women entrepreneurs. SBA created the InnovateHER Business Challenge, where organizations throughout the country hold local competitions for new and innovative products and services to empower women and their families in 2015, over 1,000 entrepreneurs participated in over 100 competitions, and these numbers doubled in 2016. Women-owned small businesses reached an important milestone in 2015, meeting the Federal contracting goal for such businesses for the first time in history overall last year, the Federal government awarded an all-time high of 25.75 percent of government contracts to all small businesses, supporting 537,000 American jobs.
  • Unlocked the potential of Federal inventions with entrepreneurs from all backgrounds. The National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Minority Business Development Agency, and the Federal Laboratory Consortium partnered together to launch the Inclusive Innovation Initiative (I-3), designed to increase minority business participation in Federal technology transfer.
  • Trained veteran entrepreneurs for 21st century opportunities. The Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation is helping to expand the 3D Veterans Bootcamp, a program that provides Veterans with technical training in 3D printing and design skills to accelerate designs to market. The training will annually prepare over 400 Veterans and transitioning service members for careers in advanced manufacturing and will provide guidance and resources for those wishing to launch their own business. Additionally, SBA launched Boots to Business, an entrepreneurship education program that provides transitioning service members with introductory business training and technical assistance. Since 2013, over 20,000 transitioning service members, including many spouses, participated in the Boots to Business introductory class on over 165 military installations worldwide.
  • Launched TechHire to train people for entrepreneurial opportunities and well-paying jobs. In 2015 the President launched TechHire, a multisector effort to empower more people from all backgrounds with the skills they need, through universities and community colleges but also innovative nontraditional approaches like “coding bootcamps,” that can rapidly train workers for technology jobs. Since then, 50 communities in partnership with over 1,000 employers have initiated local efforts that have placed over 2,000 people into tech jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities.
  • Expanded entrepreneurial opportunities for the unemployed and underserved. The Department of Labor (DOL) has funded the expansion of voluntary state-run Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) programs, designed to encourage and enable unemployed workers to create their own jobs by starting their own businesses while receiving unemployment insurance benefits helped make entrepreneurial training available to more than 200,000 low-income and out-of-school youth with barriers to employment and helped make it easier for formerly incarcerated persons to participate in the SBA’s microloan program.

7. Created opportunities for promising entrepreneurs and innovators from abroad. While there is no substitute for Congress passing commonsense immigration reform, the Administration is taking the steps it can to fix as much of the broken U.S. immigration system as possible. Many of these commonsense steps are designed to attract and retain the most talented workers, graduates, and entrepreneurs from around the world.

  • Released a rule tailored for international entrepreneurs. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a proposed International Entrepreneur Rule, which describes new ways in which DHS will make it possible for certain promising startup founders to grow their companies within the United States. Once this rule is finalized, it will provide much-needed clarity for entrepreneurs who have been validated by experienced American funders, and who demonstrate substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation—benefiting American workers and the U.S. economy.
  • Acted to retain more of the scientists and engineers educated in the United States. American universities train some of the world’s most talented students in science, technology engineering, and mathematics (STEM), but the broken U.S. immigration system compels many of them to take their skills back to their home countries. DHS published a final rule on STEM Optional Practical Training allowing international students with qualifying STEM degrees from U.S. universities to extend the time they participate in practical training, while at the same time strengthening oversight and adding new features to the program.
  • Unlocked the talents of high-skilled Americans-in-waiting. The Administration is making it possible for high-skilled workers on temporary visas to accept promotions, change positions or employers, or start new companies while they and their families wait to receive their green cards, and ultimately become Americans, by the publication of a policy memo on job portability and a final rule improving employment-based visa programs. In addition, DHS published a new rule that has allowed the spouses of certain high-skilled immigrants to put their own education and talents to work and contribute to the American economy.

8. Updated securities laws for high-growth companies. Thanks to the bipartisan Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act signed by the President in 2012, entrepreneurs have greater access to capital from the seed stage all the way to an initial public offering (IPO). These new capital-formation pathways include:

  • The “IPO on-ramp” makes it easier for qualifying smaller firms to responsibly access public markets. Thanks in part to the JOBS Act, which phases in regulatory requirements for smaller companies making an initial public offering (IPO), in the year ending in March 2014 smaller IPOs were at their highest level since 2000 one study estimated that the JOBS Act was responsible for a 25 percent increase in IPO activity, including among biotech startups.
  • Entrepreneurs can raise up to $50 million through regulated “mini public offerings.” Through the “Regulation A+” provision of the JOBS Act, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has qualified around 50 companies to make streamlined public offerings of over $840 million in aggregate—whereas the previous version of this rule was rarely used.
  • Entrepreneurs can raise up to $1 million from regular investors through a new class of regulated crowdfunding platforms. A new, national, SEC-regulated marketplace for securities-based crowdfunding first opened for business 6 months ago by one measure, these new crowdfunding platforms have allowed startups and small businesses to raise $12 million from over 15,000 regular investors.

9. Made the U.S. patent system more efficient and responsive to innovators. The President signed the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act in September 2011, giving the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) new resources to significantly reduce patent application wait times. Total processing times for both patents and trademarks have been reduced by approximately 25 percent and 14 percent, respectively, since 2009. This reduction has come with both a 50-75 percent reduced cost for startups and small businesses, as well as the creation of a fast track program where applicants can get a final disposition in about 12 months. In addition, with a series of executive actions, the Administration has taken steps to increase transparency to the patent system and level the playing field for innovators, and leveraged the knowledge of the American people by crowdsourcing information about prior art. USPTO has also launched an International IP Toolkit to empower innovators with tools to facilitate exports and empower global expansions, a Patent Pro Bono Program across all 50 states to provide free legal assistance for inventors who file patent applications without the assistance of a patent attorney, and a fast-track review for patents related to cancer treatment as part of Vice President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot.

10. Unleashed entrepreneurship in the industries of the future. The President has long recognized that it is entrepreneurs in clean energy, medicine, advanced manufacturing, information technology, and other innovative fields who will build the new industries of the 21st century, and solve some of our toughest global challenges.

  • Encouraged private-sector investment in clean-energy innovation. The Administration has created and promoted new opportunities for clean-energy entrepreneurship, including support for student startups through business plan competitions vouchers for services available to small businesses at National Laboratories embedded entrepreneurial training within the National Laboratories technical assistance and pilot testing at regionally-focused incubators and establishment of a national incubator network to support entrepreneurs and small businesses and awards through the SunShot Incubator for startups driving down the cost of solar energy. These opportunities have doubled the number of partnership agreements between small businesses and National Laboratories, and supported hundreds of startups that have attracted well over $3 billion in follow-on funding.
  • Boosted innovation and entrepreneurship in the bioeconomy. In 2012, the Administration released the first-ever National Bioeconomy Blueprint, to outline a series of steps to grow and manage a sector that is generating annual revenues greater than $300 billion and that is contributing the equivalent of at least 5 percent of annual U.S. GDP growth. In 2015, recognizing that navigating the regulatory process for biotechnology products can be unduly challenging, especially for small companies, the Administration initiated an effort to improve transparency and predictability in the regulatory system for biotechnology products.
  • Spurred innovation and entrepreneurship in the commercial space industry. Working with NASA, American companies have developed new spacecraft that are cost-effectively delivering cargo to the International Space Station and are working towards ferrying astronauts there by the end of 2017. U.S. companies that got their start supporting government missions have increased their share of the global commercial launch market from zero in 2011 to 36 percent in 2015. Federal agencies are also leveraging innovative procurement methods and creating a supportive regulatory environment to allow space entrepreneurs to pursue ventures in areas such as remote sensing, satellite servicing, asteroid mining, and small satellites. More venture capital was invested in America’s space industry in 2015 than in all the previous 15 years combined.
  • Grew innovation ecosystems for nanotechnology and advanced materials. The National Nanotechnology Initiative has invested over $150 million per year in user facilities at Federal laboratories and universities that provide entrepreneurs low- or no-cost access to state-of-the-art instrumentation cumulatively funded more than $700 million of nanotechnology-related research by small businesses and catalyzed the creation of a Nano and Emerging Technology Student Network and annual conference with a specific goal of promoting entrepreneurship. The Materials Genome Initiative, launched in 2011 to reduce the time and cost required to discover, manufacture, and deploy advanced materials, has opened up an array of new data and infrastructure resources to entrepreneurs, including an expanding set of open-access databases to mine the properties of hundreds of thousands of materials.
  • Enabled a new generation of aviation technology for commercial use. Powering a revolution in unmanned flight, this summer the Administration announced ground rules to govern commercial, scientific, public safety and other non-recreational uses of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)—commonly known as “drones.” These rules are enabling the safe expansion of a new generation of aviation technologies and startups that will create jobs, enhance public safety, and advance scientific inquiry. Industry estimates suggest that, over the next 10 years, commercial unmanned aircraft systems could generate more than $82 billion for the U.S. economy and by 2025, the industry could be supporting as many as 100,000 new jobs.
  • Supported the growth of advanced robotics. In 2011, President Obama announced the National Robotics Initiative (NRI) — a multi-agency collaboration to accelerate the development of next-generation robots that can solve problems in areas of national priority, including manufacturing, sustainable agriculture, space and undersea exploration, health, transportation, personal and homeland security, and disaster resiliency and sustainable infrastructure. The NRI has invested over $135 million in 230 projects in 33 states, fueling the development of new technologies and business opportunities, including robots that can inspect bridges, monitor water quality, and even aid in future space missions.
  • Supported manufacturing entrepreneurship through a national network of R&D hubs.Manufacturing USA brings together industry, academia, and government to co-invest in the development of world-leading manufacturing technologies and capabilities. In the 4 years since its establishment, Manufacturing USA has grown to a network of nine institutes and over 1,300 members—of which more than one-third are small- and medium-sized enterprises. These public-private partnerships are catalyzing entrepreneurial activity by, for example, working with regional Manufacturing Extension Partnership Centers to help small manufacturers across the nation adopt advanced manufacturing techniques and blending manufacturing technology and entrepreneurship in project-based learning programs for high schoolers.
  • Stimulated entrepreneurial solutions through increased use of incentive prizes. Since 2010, more than 100 Federal agencies have engaged 250,000 Americans through more than 700 incentive prizes on to address tough problems ranging from fighting Ebola, to improving speech recognition, to blocking illegal robocalls. Competitions such as the NIH Breast Cancer Startup Challenge and many more have made over $220 million available to entrepreneurs and innovators and have led to the formation of over 300 startup companies with over $70 million in follow-on funding.
  • Fostered grassroots innovation through the maker movement. Beginning with the White House Maker Faire in June 2014 and continuing with a National Week of Making in both 2015 and 2016, the Administration has supported a growing grassroots community of makers—Americans using new tools, technologies, and spaces to design, build, and manufacture. Federal agencies, companies, non-profits, cities, and schools collectively committed to creating over 2,500 maker-oriented spaces in the United States to expand access for both students and entrepreneurs. Earlier this month, more than 300 organizations from all 50 states, with industry support including Chevron, Cognizant, and Google, came together to launch an independent nonprofit called Nation of Makers, to provide an ongoing community of practice and leadership to the maker movement.

President Obama has also elevated innovation and entrepreneurship as a foreign policy priority beyond America’s borders. Following his historic 2009 Cairo speech, the President hosted the first Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) at the White House in 2010 since then, annual GES events worldwide have provided over 7,000 emerging entrepreneurs with networking and investment opportunities and catalyzed over $1 billion in private-sector commitments. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Partnering to Accelerate Entrepreneurship (PACE) initiative catalyzes private-sector investment and identifies innovative models that help global entrepreneurs bridge the “pioneer gap.” Working in partnership with more than 40 incubators, accelerators, and seed-stage impact investors worldwide, USAID’s U.S. Global Development Lab creates public-private partnerships dedicated to testing ways to foster entrepreneurship, which are expected to leverage $100 million in combined public and private investments. The Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) initiative is a collaboration among American entrepreneurs, the White House, the Department of Commerce, and other Federal agencies to harness the creativity of U.S. business leaders to help develop the next generation of entrepreneurs both at home and abroad. The Department of State’s Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) program has engaged with science and technology innovators and entrepreneurs in 135 emerging economies around the world, providing training and resources to help them build successful startups.

Progress Update on Organizations Answering the President’s Call to Action to Advance Entrepreneurship

Since the launch of the White House Startup America initiative in 2011, the President has issued a consistent public call to action to advance American entrepreneurship, yielding a sustained response from companies, nonprofits, universities, and others around the country declaring new actions. What follows is a progress update on just a few examples of such independent actions:

The Angel Capital Association committed to publishing diversity data, and is conducting the first-ever study of the demographics of American angel investors, including how and why they make investment decisions, with research partner Wharton Entrepreneurship. The results of the study will be published this spring, along with best practices that can help connect angel investors with diverse entrepreneurs in diverse regions, which will be tracked and publicly reported over time.

Astia, a nonprofit that serves and invests in high-growth companies with women on their founding teams, committed to expand its Astia Angels program, which has now invested in more than 40 companies with women in positions of executive influence and leadership. Next year, Astia plans to double the impact of its program to provide entrepreneurs with direct access to high-impact business advisors.

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation committed to expand Blackstone LaunchPad, its college student entrepreneurship program, and has allocated $23 million to grow the program to 26 universities in California, Florida, Ireland, Michigan, Montana, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. The Foundation has worked to ensure that each of these Blackstone LaunchPad campuses creates dedicated efforts to fostering inclusive entrepreneurship for women and minority students, through a network that is accessible to over 600,000 students and has helped to create or support 15,000 ventures, 8,600 companies, and over 21,000 jobs.

BUILD, a youth entrepreneurship program for high school students in under-resourced communities, launched its fifth site in New York City in September with more than 500 ninth graders, and is training more than 200 teachers and mentors to deliver BUILD’s experiential learning program in some of New York’s most challenged public schools. BUILD released new data showing that 96 percent of BUILD students graduate high school on time and 76 percent immediately enroll in college.

The Case Foundation committed to a 2-year, $1 million dollar initiative around inclusive entrepreneurship, which has included support for the national expansion of PowerMoves, an accelerator for entrepreneurs of color the development of JumpStart Inc.’s $10 million Focus Fund for entrepreneurs of color and women entrepreneurs and the launch of #FacesofFounders at the White House SXSL festival. Powered by the Case Foundation, Blackstone Charitable Foundation, Google for Entrepreneurs, and UBS, in partnership with Fast Company, #FacesofFounders seeks to change the narrative of who is and can be an entrepreneur.

The Global Accelerator Network (GAN), since its genesis at the launch of the White House Startup America Initiative in 2011, has grown to include 110 startup accelerators and corporate partners, which have invested in over 5,100 startups in more than 125 cities around the world on six continents, helping ensure that over 81 percent of those startups have stayed in business, raised an aggregate of $4 billion and created over 26,000 jobs.

Junior Achievement anticipates exceeding its goal of reaching one million K-12 students a year with entrepreneurial programs by 2020, and has launched a new offering with JA Launch Lesson, in partnership with the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), the SBA, and Babson College. Piloted a year ago and now entering full implementation, JA Launch Lesson has allowed nearly 400 entrepreneurs to speak with 14,000 students about what motivated them to start their own businesses and to provide practical insight.

The Kapor Center for Social Impact has expanded programming, sponsorships, and support for organizations working to develop a more diverse tech ecosystem in the San Francisco Bay Area, including an Oakland tech entrepreneurship network Kapor Capital has invested $8 million in technology startups, with an emphasis on founders from populations that have been underrepresented in venture capital funding, and since January, each of its founding teams have committed to building an inclusive culture and a workforce that reflects the communities its companies serve and this summer the Level Playing Field Institute’s SMASH (Summer Math and Science Honors) Academies served nearly 400 middle- and high-school students from underrepresented backgrounds in intensive campus-based programs in STEM, computer science, and entrepreneurship.

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation recently completed its Inclusion Challenge and will soon announce $4.67 million in grants to organizations supporting women and minority entrepreneurs. In addition, the Foundation announced nearly $1 million in scholarships for Midwest innovators to join the Kauffman Fellows, a training program for leaders in capital formation.

MassChallenge has since 2010 accelerated 873 early-stage startups in its Boston-based, no-equity accelerator program. These companies have gone on to raise $1.7 billion in funding and help create over 50,000 jobs. In 2016, MassChallenge Boston launched and expanded several new initiatives to advance inclusive entrepreneurship, such as Women in MassChallenge (for female founders) and Bridge to MassChallenge (startup bootcamps to support entrepreneurs in underserved communities).

The National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) has educated over 500 community college leaders about using the lean-startup model on their campuses, and recently launched new initiatives to provide additional STEM curriculum and IP education resources to NACCE’s 300 member community colleges and network of over 2,000 entrepreneur-focused faculty and staff nationwide.

The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) has advanced its White House Demo Day announcement that over 40 venture capital firms with more than $100 billion under management pledged to encourage an inclusive innovation ecosystem in the United States, by collaborating with the U.S. Small Business Administration and other organizations on data-driven methods to address the underrepresentation of women and underrepresented minorities in venture capital building the pipeline of entrepreneurial talent in startups and venture capital with organizations such as the Toigo Foundation and developing a network of talent partners within venture capital firms to help further diversity initiatives within their firms and across their portfolio companies.

The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), a nonprofit dedicated to activating the entrepreneurial mindset in young people with a focus on under-resourced communities, has served nearly 300,000 young people globally since 2009. With support from EY, NFTE has created and piloted the first-ever Entrepreneurial Mindset Index (EMI) for youth, a tool measuring a young person’s demonstration of entrepreneurial skills and behaviors. NFTE is committed to reaching 200,000 U.S. students annually—a ten-fold increase—by the year 2022, and to creating the NFTE Entrepreneurship Pathway, a series of blended learning programs that teach the entrepreneurial mindset alongside startup and career skills, with students receiving academic and industry credentials along the way.

Rise of the Rest, an initiative of Revolution spearheaded by Steve Case, was launched in 2014 as a nationwide effort to shine a spotlight on entrepreneurs in emerging startup ecosystems—showing that high-growth companies can now start and scale anywhere, not just in a few coastal cities. At each of 25 cities to date, the Rise of the Rest bus tour hosts a pitch competition as well as meetings among local and state officials, startup founders, and university leaders.

The Startup America Partnership was launched at the White House in January 2011, led by the Case Foundation and the Kauffman Foundation, as an independent effort to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation. The Partnership mobilized hundreds of volunteer leaders who promoted startup communities, launched 32 “startup states,” and built a network of more than 13,000 startups nationwide. In 2013, the Startup America Partnership and Startup Weekend combined efforts and created UP Global to enhance entrepreneurial ecosystems around the world. Last year, UP Global joined forces with the accelerator Techstars to offer programs and resources for every stage of the entrepreneurial journey. To date, the organization has grown to over 10,000 active community leaders and 300,000 alumni and attendees, and has held over 4,000 events in 1,318 cities and 149 countries.

Springboard is a global network that has supported the growth of 642 women-led technology, health care, and life-science companies that have collectively raised $7.5 billion in capital to date, most recently expanding to fashion tech, cyber, aging tech, and women’s health.

Techstars has, since White House Demo Day in 2015, tracked participation in its startup accelerator programs and has made measurable progress on its goals to increase participation by women and underrepresented minorities, both within its applicant pool, its mentor pool, and its staff. Techstars now publishes its diversity data annually, has trained staff on unconscious bias, and has implemented processes to ensure that every selection committee includes at least two women. In addition, the Techstars Foundation was created to improve diversity in tech entrepreneurship worldwide, through grants to mission-driven organizations such as Defy Ventures, Astia, and Patriot Boot Camp.

The University Innovation Fellows has trained 776 higher education students at 164 schools to create new educational opportunities for their peers, with a focus on developing an entrepreneurial mindset and acquiring creative confidence. In the last four years, 43 Fellows’ schools have launched a new makerspace, 34 have created a new accelerator, and 40 have designed a new degree or certificate related to entrepreneurship, innovation, creativity, or design thinking. The program is run by Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (, and was created as part of the NSF-funded National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter), which helped expand entrepreneurship in engineering education across more than 300 U.S. higher education institutions from 2011 to 2016.

VentureWell, a nonprofit that supports the NSF I-Corps National Innovation Network, has also expanded Pathways, an institutional change and faculty development initiative that helps universities infuse innovation and entrepreneurship into the fabric of the university, now including 50 institutions that have exposed over 20,000 students to immersive entrepreneurial experiences. VentureWell has also partnered with the Lemelson Foundation to fund and support over 200 teams of student science and technology innovators that have raised over $570 million in follow-on funding, and will support 200 more teams over the next 4 years.


Many Native American peoples struggle to trust federal governments at all as Tex "Red Tipped Arrow" Hall, tribal chairman of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation in North Dakota said, "our fathers and grandfathers and great grandfathers have gone to Washington, and there's been no promises made and no promises kept. That's why we’ve not trusted the federal government." [4]

Government officials have also acknowledged the negative history between the federal government and tribal communities. In 2000, Kevin Gover publicly apologized for the actions of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, recognizing the traumatic impact that the department has historically caused for tribal communities, through policies including but not limited to extermination, relocation, and assimilation. [5]

Obama has also personally acknowledged the history of violence, and during meetings with leaders from federally recognized tribes in 2009 he stated, "We know the history that we share. It's a history marked by violence and disease and deprivation. Treaties were violated. Promises were broken. You were told your lands, your religion, your cultures, your languages were not yours to keep." [6]

Obama re-affirmed his commitment to government-to-government relations through his December 2, 2011 visits to reservations and meetings with tribal leaders during the signing of the Presidential Memorandum for the Implementation of Energy Saving Projects and Performance-Based Contracting for Energy Savings. [7] Speaking of the broader progress under his administration, Obama stated, "I believe that one day, we’re going to be able to look back on these years and say that this was a turning point. This was the moment when we began to build a strong middle class in Indian Country the moment when businesses, large and small, began opening up in reservations the moment when we stopped repeating the mistakes of the past, and began building a better future together, one that honors old traditions and welcomes every Native American into the American Dream." [8]

During his June 2014 visit with Standing Rock Sioux members, Obama focused on discussions concerning education and economic development and spoke of his personal commitment to improving federal-tribal relations. [9] Obama's trip was one of only three presidential visitations to reservations in the history of the U.S. before him, Bill Clinton was the last president to visit a reservation, in 1999. [9] Obama later hosted the six Annual Tribal Nations Conferences in Washington D.C. where he spoke with not only Standing Rock members, but leaders that represented a span of the 566 federally recognized tribes. [10]

The White House Tribal Nations Conference is an initiative created under the Barack Obama administration that aims to create dialogue between governments, give space for tribal leaders to bring issues that affect tribal communities to the attention of the United States federal government, and to make appropriate recommendations for policies and programs. [11] The conferences were the first official attempt at dialogue since the Clinton administration, who held The Clinton 1994 Tribal Nations Conference. [11]

First conference Edit

The first of the conferences was held on November 5, 2009, with 400 tribal leaders in attendance. [11] This initial conference was meant to recreate a channel for dialogue between tribal nations and the United States. [11] The conference focused on broken treaties, economic development, natural resources, public safety, housing, education, and health. [11]

Second conference Edit

The Second Annual Tribal Nations Conference was held on December 16, 2010, with 500 attendees present. [11] The conference focused on five major topics: restoring tribal homelands, building safer Native communities, building strong, prosperous tribal economies, fostering healthy communities and developing a structured and meaningful consultation policy. [12] During President Obama's address to the attendees, he emphasized the importance of capacity building across a number of initiatives, including improving tribal economies, increasing job opportunities, creation of clean energy initiatives, and focus on health care and education. [12] Obama said that addressing the health disparities in tribal communities was "not just a question of policy, it's a question of our values it's a test of who we are as a nation." [12]

Third conference Edit

The Third Annual Tribal Nations Conference was held on December 6, 2011. [11] The conference focused on economic development and sovereignty, as well as education, about which Obama commented, "We’re going to find ways to reduce the dropout rate. We’re going to help students who've already dropped out re-enter the education system. And we’re going to strengthen our tribal colleges and universities. They are cornerstones of their community and they deserve our support." [13] It was during this conference that Obama signed Executive Order 13592, "Improving American Indian and Alaska Native Education Opportunities and Strengthening Tribal Colleges and Universities," which seeks to increase educational opportunities for Native youth through their academic career. [13]

Fourth conference Edit

The Fourth Annual Tribal Nations Conference was held on December 5, 2012. [14] The conference highlighted topics including sacred sites, the settlement of the Keepseagle case, and economic development. [15] President Obama's remarks addressed legal debates involving tribal communities, the Tribal Law and Order Act, access to education, clean energy and Indian owned businesses. He recognized the work that was yet to come, saying, "We’ve got to rebuild America's infrastructure -- from roads to high-speed internet -- that will help connect Native communities to other parts of the country and other parts of the world. Congress needs to expand support for Native American small businesses, because when they’re opening new stores or exporting new goods, then they’re creating new jobs." [16]

Fifth conference Edit

The Fifth Annual Tribal Nations Conference was held on November 13, 2013. [17] The conference focused on four main areas: justice and tribal sovereignty, increasing economic opportunity, expansion of comprehensive healthcare, and protecting native homelands. [18] In addition to these topics, tribal leaders brought their own concerns to the table, including: the sequestration of Indian treaty dollars, the proposed capping of contract support reimbursements to tribes, Indian education, Federal-tribe energy policies, Indian health issues, and the strengthening of consultations. [17]

Sixth conference Edit

The Sixth Annual Tribal Nations Conference was held from December 2, 2014 – December 3, 2014, in Washington, D.C. [19] Leaders from the 566 federally recognized American Indian nations were present, along with the President, members of the cabinet, and the White House Council of Native American Affairs. [20] Together, they spoke of issues pertinent to Native American communities, including protection of natural and cultural resources, tribal sovereignty and autonomy, economic development, and health disparities in Native communities. [20] It was during this conference that Obama announced the launch of Generation Indigenous (Gen I), which aims to responsibly create native youth community projects, and a National Tribal Youth Network, which hopes to support leadership development of indigenous youth. [21] In addition to this, the initiative also included the creation of the Cabinet Native Youth Listening Tour, which creates means for native youth to share their concerns and ideas with federal government leaders, and the implementation of a convention for native youth, called the White House Tribal Youth Gathering, to be held on July 9, 2015. [21] [22]

The U.S. Department of Education, under the direction of the Obama Administration, and Obama appointee William Mendoza, as executive director of the White House initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education, [23] [24] has created policies that seek to address disparities in education that affect Native American and American Indian students. These policies include Executive Order 13592 and the launch of pilot program State-Tribal Education Partnerships (STEP).

Executive Order 13592 Edit

President Obama signed the Executive order 13592 on December 2, 2011. [25] The executive order, Improving American Indian and Alaska Native Educational Opportunities and Strengthening Tribal Colleges and Universities, was part of Obama's larger educational platform which aims to "improve opportunities and outcomes for the nation's students." [26] The initiative was co-chaired by Arne Duncan and Ken Salazar." [25] Obama's appointee, William Mendoza, a Rosebud tribal member, led the charge.

The order aims to push the leadership of the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) to the United States Department of Education (DOE), connecting American Indian education initiatives to the resources and expertise of the DOE. [27] The bill seeks to ensure that all American Indian students, despite their institution of choice, have access to support from the federal government. [28] The order authorized the establishment of the Tribal Leaders Task Force and the Federal Interagency Working Group, which aims to create new educational policies to support native youth, and to reform educational policies and programs that affect Native American and American Indian students. [25] Further, the bill pushes for the advancement of American Indian and Alaskan Native early education programs, reform within elementary and secondary schools and higher standards for tribal colleges and universities. [25]

Executive Order 13592 superseded Executive Order 13270 which was ratified by President George W. Bush in 2002. The new order attempts to address the "development challenges endemic to reservation communities by fostering increased levels of human capital accumulation and enterprise development." [25] The bill has been contested by some tribal leaders, who say that the policy will take power from the Bureau of Indian Education by transferring it to the Department of Education. Further, the failure of the No Child Left Behind Act to enhance academic performance as compared to schools under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Indian Education, has made tribal leaders wary of the increased power of the Department of Education. [27]

State-Tribal Education Partnerships Edit

In May 2012, the United States Department of Education announced the pilot launch of their program, the State-Tribal Education Partnership (STEP). [29] The program awarded 1.9 million in grants to tribal education agencies. The program aims to bridge gaps between the tribal education agencies and State educational agencies, increasing the voice of tribes in federal education initiatives. [29] In turn, the program aims to create a clear understanding of American Indian and Alaskan Native education needs within State educational agencies to serve Native populations more effectively. [29] The initiative was led by Obama's appointee William Mendoza, a Rosebud tribal member. [30]

Tribal Leaders Speak: The State of Education, 2010 Edit

In 2010, the United States Department of Education generated the report, Tribal Leaders Speak: The State of Education, 2010. [31] The report was an accumulation of "six official consultations with tribal leaders and American Indian educators across the country in 2010." [31] The compilation included an open letter to tribal leaders by Arne Duncan which explains the Obama Administration's commitment to American Indian and Alaska Native Education. [32] In the report, many tribal leaders expressed concerns that no tangible action would be taken. This was exemplified when Akiak Tribal Chief Ivan M. Ivan asked the administration to "please let us know what the results of all this is because I've been to many of these over 40-some years and, in most cases, nothing happens." [32] The remainder of the report includes outlines of previous research studies, Tribal leader testimonies and summaries and conclusions. [32]

Conclusions of the report included tribal leaders' worries of "lack of opportunities to meaningfully participate in the education of their children." To address this, the tribal leaders advocated for better, comprehensive consultations between American Indian tribes and the federal government that emphasize the sovereignty that tribal nations hold. [32] Another concern brought out by the report is the lack of funding for American Indian serving educational institutions, that have resulted in "subpar school facilities and shortages of qualified teaching personnel" [32] Tribal leaders voiced their recommendation for educational agencies to collaborate with other groups, including health and welfare departments, to ensure that American Indian youth are granted the holistic wellbeing needed to learn efficiently. [32] Further, consultations showed that tribal leaders believe it is the lack of access to educational opportunity that perpetuates the cycles of poverty seen in tribal communities. [32]

The Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 is a bill signed into law by President Barack Obama on July 29, 2010. [33] The law allows tribal courts within Indian country to increase jail sentences handed down in criminal cases. This law aimed to increase the autonomy and efficacy of justice systems within Native communities. This addressed issues of weak law enforcement policies that affected many tribal communities, especially Native women. [34] The act includes an emphasis on the decreasing of violence against Native women. [34]

Previous to the act, tribal courts were limited in their ability to adjust jail sentences handed down in criminal cases, "giving them the impression of a lower, less serious court." This limited the amount of time that tribal courts could sentence defendants to incarceration, including those charged with violence against women.

The act ultimately allows for tribes to hold criminals accountable for their actions, and allows for reservation crimes to be prosecuted in Federal courts. [34] Increased communication between tribal justice systems, federal authorities and the court system are to be put in place. [34]

In addition to the act's aims towards prosecution, it also creates provisions for crime prevention, including the reformation and reinvigoration of alcohol and substance abuse programs for Native communities. [34] In addition to this, it reauthorizes and improves programs that assist and improve outcomes for at-risk Indian youth. [34]

Affordable Care Act Edit

Under the Affordable Care Act, American Indian and Alaska Natives have increased options for healthcare insurance. Although those who are eligible can continue to use Indian Health Service, tribal, or urban Indian health insurance programs, or gain coverage through programs such as medicaid and medicare, American Indian and Alaska Natives who belong to Federal Tribes can now also register for qualified health plans under the Affordable Care Act. [35] The Affordable Care Act differentiates Indians in two categories, those belonging to a Federal Tribe and those who do not. Those Native Americans who belong to Federal Tribes have access to a specific healthcare plan at no cost via the Exchanges. Those Native Americans eligible for IHS (Indian Health Service) remain eligible to receive services at their local IHS facilities. . [36] These health plans designated to Federal Tribe Members grant better access to services that insurance from tribal, the Indian Health Service, or urban Indian health programs may not be able to provide. [36]

Due to treaties between different tribes and the United States federal government, those with tribal membership have access to free healthcare, and are not penalized for being uninsured under the Affordable Care Act. [37] These provisions can be difficult to take advantage of for tribe members who do not live on tribal lands, where most tribal-led health facilities are located. In addition to the access issues, due to lack of funding, those whose health issues are seen as lower priority can wait years for treatment. [37] Leaders within Indian Health Service have also stated that if more Native American and Alaska Natives transferred to health plans under the Affordable Care Act, there will be more funds to address other issues, "We’re not funded at the entire need for our population," says Geoffrey Roth, senior advisor to the Director of the Indian Health Service stated, "So we, in many cases, have to prioritize medical needs, and by doing that we’re not able to provide all of the care that individuals need." [37] Further, the expanded insurance options can be used by American Indian and Alaska Natives that move out of state for college, and for those who frequently travel away from tribal lands. [38]

In addition to the sweeping changes that the Affordable Care Act put in place, the act included the Indian Health Care Improvement Act. [39]

Indian Health Care Improvement Act Edit

The Indian Health Care Improvement Act is a bill signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. [39] The law was part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. [39] The bill was originally enacted by President Gerald Ford in 1976, which expired in 2000. Obama's reauthorization for the bill has made it permanent. [40] The bill was created in order to address the huge health disparities that affect communities in Indian country. [41] Prior to the passage of the act, tribal leaders, activists, and the National Congress of American Indians had worked for fourteen years in order to make the legislation permanent. [41]

The act authorizes continued and permanent "daily health care delivery to nearly 2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives served by the Indian Health Service (IHS), who are in critical need of improved health care services." [41] The act also authorizes the creation of programs for Indian Health Services that will address the health issues that Native communities face. [41] Programs will include emphasis on addressing issues of mental and behavioral health, home healthcare and assisted living, patient travel costs, healthcare facility construction, dialysis services, referral payments, veteran Indian health concerns, and urban Indian health programs. [41]

Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 Edit

In addition to the issues of justice and prosecution that the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 addresses, the act also authorized improvement and creation of programs that address alcohol and substance abuse. [34]

The Keystone Pipeline System is an oil pipeline system that runs through Canada and the United States. The project has two complete phases, with a third phase, The Houston Lateral, currently under construction, which is scheduled to be completed in 2015. The fourth and most recent phase of the system, the Keystone XL, was proposed in 2008, and would consist of 526 kilometers of new pipeline. [42] [43] [44] The pipeline would run from Alberta, Canada, where the first Keystone pipeline begins, and run through North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas. [45] From Kansas, the oil could be transported through existing Keystone pipeline systems, including the Cushing Extension, and the Gulf Coast Project systems, allowing the oil to be transported as far as Nederland, Texas. [45] Keystone XL Pipeline proponents say that the additional system would "bring essential infrastructure to North American oil producers, but it will also provide jobs, long-term energy independence and an economic boost to Americans." [46] The validity of this claim is not clear. Many Indigenous communities are opposed to the proposed system.

Implications for indigenous people Edit

Many Native American communities and tribal leaders are opposed to the proposed system, for reasons including increased health hazards, contamination of surface water, and the intrusion and possible destruction of sacred lands and ritual sites. [47] TransCanada's Pipeline Permit Application to the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission cited possible damages that included damage to "prehistoric or historic archaeological sites, districts, buildings, structures, objects, and locations with traditional cultural value to Native Americans or other groups." [48]

On September 2, 2011, American Indian and Canadian Native leaders protested the pipeline in front of the White House, and were arrested. [47] Leaders traveled from across the United States and Canada in order to take a public stance against the pipeline. The aim of the group was to push President Obama to not allow a permit to begin construction on the oil system. [47]

In solidarity with Native American communities, the Dene people of Canada "passed a resolution standing in solidarity with Native Americans and other people opposing the Keystone XL pipeline," said Chief Bill Erasmus, Dene Regional Chief of NWT and representative of the Assembly of First Nations. [47]

Legislative reactions Edit

On June 30, the United States Senate voted 62 to 36 on a bill that would force Obama's approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline. [43] The United States House of Representatives passed the bill on February 12, 2015. [43] Ten days later, President Obama vetoed the legislation. [43]

Since then, the senate has failed to gain two-thirds vote in order to override the veto of the bill. [43]

Day 38 of the Obama Administration - History

&bull First president to appoint a convicted cop killer's advocate to the Department of Justice (Source: Investor's Business Daily)
&bull First Administration to Be Ruled by a Federal Judge as Aiding and Abetting Human Trafficking (Source: Federal District Court Judge Andrew S. Hanen)

&bull First president to order his EPA to unilaterally overturn a Federal Statute (changing the borders of Wyoming established by an act of Congress, Source: Casper Star-Tribune).
&bull First president to systematically delay enacting a wide variety of controversial rules until after a presidential election (Source: Washington Post)
&bull First president to have Politifact designate one of his statements "Lie of the Year" (Source: Politifact)

&bull First President to Strip Inspectors General of Ability to Investigate Corruption and Fraud in the Federal Government (Source: Washington Times).
&bull First President to Create a Secret Racial Database of Americans in Order to Determine "Inequities" in Housing, Employment, Banking, etc. (Source: New York Post).
&bull First President to Intentionally Release Thousands of Illegal Alien Rapists and Child Molesters into the U.S. Instead of Deporting Them (Source: Boston Globe

&bull&bull&bull First President to Tell Killers 'They Are Product of Racist Criminal Justice System' (Source: Sheriff David Clarke)
&bull First President to be Named by the Associated Press to Have Operated the Least Transparent Administration in History (since the advent of the Freedom of Information Act Source: Associated Press)
&bull First President to Have Its Own Watchdogs Report That More Than $125 Billion in Fraudulent/Improper Payments Were Made by the Federal Government (Source: Associated Press)

&bull First President to Attempt to Bully a Major Manufacturing Company Into Not Opening a Factory in a Right-to-Work State (Boeing's facility in South Carolina - Source: Wall Street Journal)
&bull First President Since 1872 to See the U.S. Economy Sink From 1st to 2nd Largest in the World (Source: Financial Times).
&bull First President to Conceal Food Stamp Data From Public Scrutiny (Source: Judicial Watch: "8th Circuit Says USDA Can’t Keep Hiding Food Stamp Data")

&bull First President to Leave the American Middle Class No Longer the World’s Richest (Source: The New York Times)
&bull First President to Retaliate Against a Rating Agency for Downgrading the United States Debt (Source: Investor's Business Daily)
&bull First President to Expand the Regulatory State to an Unprecedented Degree ("New record: Feds issued 56 regs for every new law, 3,659 in 2013", Source: Washington Examiner)

&bull First President to Directly Violate the Law Regarding Prisoner Swaps with the Taliban, Bypassing Congressional Review (Source: The New York Times)
&bull First President to Invite a Leader of the Terrorist Group the Muslim Brotherhood to a Meeting in the White House (Source: Washington Free Beacon)
&bull First President to Out a CIA Station Chief in an Active Military Zone (Source: CBS News)

&bull First President to Negotiate a Deal to Transfer $150 Billion to the World's Leading State Sponsor of Terrorism (Source: Gatestone Institute)
&bull First President to Operate His National Security Infrastructure So Incompetently That an Enemy of the United States was Able to Steal the Personnel Records of all Four Million Government Employees (Source: CNN).
&bull First President to Operate His National Security Infrastructure So Incompetently That His Secretary of State Created Her Own Private Email Servers to Evade Public Open Records Laws (Source: The Verge)

But remember: he will not rest until all Americans have jobs, affordable homes, green-energy vehicles, and the environment is repaired, etc., etc., etc.


that is a jaw-dropping list of sickening criminal behavior.

I cannot wait until we get this vicious Pig out of our highest office. good God.

But remember: he will not rest until all Americans have jobs, affordable homes, green-energy vehicles, and the environment is repaired, blah, blah, blah.

Obama is First among firsts.

First President to wipe his arse with the Constitution every day.

Yoou missed some big ones:

First president to seek a civilian army equal to the military.

First president ever to have fought for the slaughter of fully born human babies who escape the abortionist horror chamber.

First president to bow to our enemies and send insulting gifts to our allies.

Also, the first Black one term President !!

The calls for Obama’s impeachment are going to be Fast and Furious.

Actually, I think Ike out golfed him. The golfing yakkers at the Congressional tournament credited hi with 800 rounds of golf when in office.

You missed the first president with a foreign father
Also the 1st president to break article one section nine by sitting as president of the U.N. security counsel a foreign post.

First president to file a lawsuit against one (or more) of the states he is sworn by oath to protect. (AZ, WI, OH, now Indiana. )

Let's not forget he's the first president to have a law signed by an autopen without his being "present."

But remember: he will not rest until all Americans have jobs, affordable homes, green-energy vehicles, and the environment is repaired, etc., etc., etc.

You forgot lower the levels of the oceans.

First president in history to send his Secretary of Defense to meet with the Bilderberg Group in violation of the Logan Act.

First president to oversee a trillion ($1.5T) dollar federal budget deficit.

You narrow minded, old fashioned, anti-progress Republican idiots. I can just imagine the list of things that would be populating these blogs, emails and news sources if we would have had McCain and Palin in office after 8 years of the biggest idiot to ever occupy the office. I almost wish it had've happened to open your minds. Until you all learn how change needs to be a constant for many, many important reasons, God help us all.

that may be true. but i can tell you that NOW im sure the people who actually voted his worthless ass in to office are WISHING they had mccain and palin "shit" list instead of his! glad that i didnt vote him in and wont be voting for him this round either. change needs to be constant but not illegal. change needs to be constant but not blind sided by the american people WHO DONT WANT THIS CHANGE. with a 40% approval rating these facts that i state are obviously true. yes. God help us all against the ignorant people of america who voted him in. but hopefully the ignorance stops this election with someone new. redeem yourself mr anonymous and dont hate. just learn about "change" and use it in this election

You narrow minded, old fashioned, anti-progress Republican idiots. I can just imagine the list of things that would be populating these blogs, emails and news sources if we would have had McCain and Palin in office after 8 years of the biggest idiot to ever occupy the office. I almost wish it had've happened to open your minds. Until you all learn how change needs to be a constant for many, many important reasons, God help us all.

[email protected] Progress, like acceleration, can be both negative and positive, and this is so far negative that it's become an anomaly on so many different levels. I'm sure you can imagine what would be on those lists, however, that is just the thing, 'imagination.' May God help you and your terrible ad hominem attacks.

First president to start his political career in the living room of an unrepentent terrorist!

First President to hide his medical, educational, and travel records

First President to win a Nobel Peace Prize for doing NOTHING to earn it.

First President to coddle America's enemies while alienating America's allies.

First President to go on multiple Global apology tours.

And attempt to cover it up.

First President to have close ties to known terrorists and America haters. First President with malicious intent on destroying America from within. First President whose 'fundamental transformation' means to change the American dream to Karl Marx's dream.

The first president of 57 states

First president to kill off America's ability to put a man into space since the program began.

First president to be elected by margin of vote fraud

First president to hold his chin in the air like Mussolini.

First president to pretend messiahship -halos and power to stop the sea from rising.

First president to demand babies be killed outside the womb.

First president to ask for a civilian army.

First African-American president to fail.

1st president to literally throw every ally of America under the bus in order to precipitate the demise of democracy and liberty of the free world.

1st President who is a pathological liar, who hates America with all his soul, and will commit any crime, violate any standard, cross any boundary, and tell any lie in order to fulfill his demented agenda to destroy everything in his path to gain the power and wealth that will assure he is dictator for life.

Our very own Marxist President.
The First!

Everthing here is sadly true, but we are obligated to look at the positive side. He is, after all, our president. On the plus side. some of the good stuff he has done are. er..he is the first to help. uh, uh. oh boy, someone come and bail me out here, please? Beuller?

First president that has become more destructive to the US economy and our freedoms, spend more money destroying the freedoms of it's own civilians than it spent fighting all of America's enemies for all time, be more destructive to the US economy than America's biggest enemies, bin laden, WW2 emperor of Japan and hitler, combined.

Did Rush Limbaugh write this? What about Faux News?


First pres to skip the Heroes Ball at his own Inauguration.

This must be the short list.

First President to halt deportations of illegal aliens and grant them work permits, a form of stealth amnesty roughly equivalent to "The DREAM Act", which could not pass Congress.

. mmmm. Finally got a rise out of a bunch of your readers. eh Doug?

LMFAO over what it takes for sheeple to stand up and take notice -- those of us noticed years ago.

First to return a bust of Winston Churchill to England.

First to make Michelle proud of her country for the first time.

Apparently the first to waive penalties on countries using child soldiers (again). First president to ignore Child Soldiers Enforcement Act.

Anonymous said.
Actually, I think Ike out golfed him. The golfing yakkers at the Congressional tournament credited hi with 800 rounds of golf when in office.

Ike did play a lot of golf, although I think the figure you provided is off. He was also a peace-time president with a robust economy. Also, since he was a Republican president with a liberal MSM writing history, I tend to be a little skeptical about their estimates. Has anyone mentioned that Obama is the first president to send troops to war without approval from congress? Libya.

First president to have Castro say he was proud of, after Obama and his democratic majority passed the government takeover of health care.

I know these things can be sourced, and I'd like to see some links just to keep the Obamabots from saying you're making these up. PLUS - the first President in recent history (not sure pre-WWII) to try and get wounded soldiers to pay for their own medical costs. ( )

@Charles Byrne. roll your mouse cursor over each item for the attribution.

First President to have his Mother-in-law living in the White House w/Secret Service detail, as she travels on all business/campaign functions & vacations. on taxpayer $. Yay! There goes my spare "change"!

First president to be an enemy agent placed in office by marxists and Islamic enemy combatants.

First US president to further US enemy overthrow of other countries. (US/NATO funding, support of Arab Spring, aka radical Islamists)

First US President to sit in silent consent while a donor threatens violence and rioting if Obama is not re-elected. (Jimmy Hoffa, Jr.)

Second US president to sell US secrets to a foreign state (Clinton sold secrets to China, insiders say).

First US President to encourage civil disobedience and invasion and encampment private and public property - by the Occupy protestors who have turned out to be professional mob organizers. Some of the protestors have admitted they were hired by the unions.

We have not seen the last of these people. They had to move the Iowa caucus vote count to a secret location because of them.

He was the first president to ever be boo'd by the Boy Scouts if I remember correctly.

LOL, You blokes fail to mention that in spite of his undocumented credentials and obvious flaws he will be re-elected.
The Pond sends greetings to thhe Scum.
You need a Revolution but you lack the sack to see your way back to freedom.

Bread and circuses (fast food, gaming, so-called reality TV, the Internet, and porn) keep us from revolting. If a VAT is imposed, then maybe, just maybe that will spur a small revolt. What is needed is for some states to break away, but the odds of that happening are slim to none.

Obama is not a Socialist or a Marxist !!
He is a fascist, very plain and very simple.

Long read but worth it. ifallalot, required reading for you

Obviously the GOP was never motivated by concern of overspending or other claims, It was born of a deeply embedded loathing for people of color and, as you say, to prevent an Obama re-election, as well as to oust him from office. The birth certificate was one issue, then Obama-Care, as they call it, and it’s pretty much been one issue after another, which has nothing at all to do with advancing the country toward anything.

One thing for sure, the Party has an abundance of energy and seeing them is so akin to watching black and white footage from the 60s. The only difference is that African Americans are/were affiliated with the organization. It’s all too convenient how they came onto the scene, when their alleged primary concerns were initiated and had been in motion for years, prior to anyone really knowing who Barack Obama was. This is classic racism at its best.

Let us pray that he will not be the first president to declare and impose Martial Law in order to halt whatever hope we have of tossing this POS out of office.

Dispensing disinformation, promoting bigotry and racism, and playing upon the fears and ignorance of many Americans – supplemented by a much more than healthy dose of self-promotion GOP can't win on the issues, so they resort to hate, bigotry and fear.

No formula for leadership: It not only shows how bereft of ideas the GOP's members truly are, their racist rhetoric shows the despicable nature of their character.

aaah. OBAMA has taught you well young grasshopper. if anyone dislikes the worthless prez in office then it shall be deemed racism! now, please do the hitler salute. er..i mean the obama salute and go about your merry way. he is half black therefor which race are you referring to that we are being racist towards? the white half or the black half? LMAO people like you crack me up. i dont give a rats ass what race he is. he could be martian for all i care. but in my mind he is no leader. correction:in the minds of 60% plus of the population he is considered a bad leader, and a worthless president. have you looked at his approval ratings lately my dear? have you looked at his worthless statistics? and to humor your racism comment. perhaps you should focus on HIS actions. to give honor to a little black boy who was killed is wonderful, but (OOPS!) mr pres you forgot to mention the white boy who was burned to death by black kids just months prior. and can we please reference his wifes college thesis of how the white man is satan? oh. im sorry. im bringing truths into the picture that may be upsetting to you. but our worthless president perpetuats hate and racism with his own actions and his wifes actions. and birds of a feather stick together so lets talk about his piece of shit pastor and best friend who hates the whites and schooled obamas children with those beliefs.
your statements are just as oxymoron as our president.

@Anon - How in hell can this list be construed as "racist"?

These are attributable facts, documented in journals from the left and right.

And you dare call us "racist" for pointing them out?

Great list. Thanks so much for posting it.

Read more:

At least we are paying attention finally.
McCarthy tried to warn us, and now we are witnessing the Communist coming out party.

Typical Drone said
You narrow minded, old fashioned, anti-progress Republican idiots. I can just imagine the list of things that would be populating these blogs, emails and news sources if we would have had McCain and Palin in office after 8 years of the biggest idiot to ever occupy the office. I almost wish it had've happened to open your minds. Until you all learn how change needs to be a constant for many, many important reasons, God help us all.

[email protected] It would've happened, if you had've payed attention in school!
Is woulda coulda shoulda now hada hasa have-a

-Rushing immigration Visa's without scrutiny.

-Issues Executive Order mandating racial favoritsm.

-Labor Dept. signs partnership with foreign gov'ts to protect illegals.

-0bama urges citizens to report people who disagree with him ([email protected] and

-0bama is first president to have devout communist parents and grandparents

-First president to recognize ཱུ states'.

0bama is the first black, Marxist, Muslim, gay illegal alien president!

Moral of the story NEVER elect a president with the middle name "HUSSEIN" who is ineligible to be president because he's not a 'natural born citizen' (His father was NOT a U.S. citizen).

. being a naturalized citizen means that you are born here, it doesn't matter where your parents were born.

Thanks for putting this list together.

Great, but very depressing list. I'd like to add that Obama was the first president to install these signs in the Arizona desert warning us not to travel certain areas due to dangerous illegal aliens. This was all the while telling us that our borders were never more secure.

If you are ignorant enough to believe this baloney you're not smart enough to vote.

First president to be an unabashed anti-Semite.

First president to deliberately pit citizen against citizen in speeches promoting class hatred and envy.

First president to ignore or undermine democratic movements worldwide (Honduras, Iran, etc.).

First president to hold secret negotiations with the enemy (Taliban) in time of war.

First president to propose the unilateral release of captured combatants (Gitmo) to the enemy in time of war.

First president to purposely release nuclear weapon secrets of our allies (England) to our enemies.

First president to propose the unilateral release of nuclear weapon secrets of our own to our enemies.

First president with full-blown Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

There's a whole lot more. It has been a very long three years.

Screw you, How many other presidents have done the same things whall in office? Bush and the patriot act, Lincoln suspending habeous corpus, and do you really think that no president has ever encouraged racial discrimination at the ballot box before? that's absurd. That's just your knee jerk crypto fascist response to anyone who doesn't call for his arrest for treason. Did I vote for him in 2008, no. Was I profoundly dissapointed in the vast majority of policies enacted by him and his administration, yes. Would I vote for him again in 2012, not a sliver of a chance. Don't cop out and assume anyone who doesn't belive your ridiculous lie that he's the worst president ever, rhetoric loves Obama. He has a long way to go before he ranks up there with Buchanan, Harding, Andrew Johnson, Grant, Hoover and a bunch of other guys who made a mess of the job. Have some perspective. yours is obviously clouded by listening to the right wing water carriers who permeate the media. Speaking of the right wing, it speaks volumes about the GOP that they couldn't come up with a better group of people to challenge a President who's first term has been such a "fustercluck"

and of course dubbya the shrub had a first also

• First President to take MORE VACATION days than any other President, even though he promised to not rest until he smoked out bin laden

obama may not be a great president but dubbya the shrub WAS the worst president ever

and if you think mccain / palin would have do better than obama that is totally laughable

actually the problem the GOP is having finding a candidate to challenge obama tells me obama is very likely to be re-elected

Nope. sorry. The "honor" of being the worst Pres. of the 20th Cen. at least goes to Woodrow Wilson. people were actually jailed for politicly opposing him. He is why leftists started calling themselved "liberal", he had so tainted the term " progressive" . (and which Hillery Clinton embraced). JohninMd(help!)

Total lies and bullshit. Many of these were started by Bush.

YESSSS. can we blame bush 50 years down the road when you ignorant people elect another worthless alien to run our country?! gotta love it. if you hate slowbama you are racist. if you blame him for anything its bush's fault. aaaah. the mentality that slowbama perpetuates is amazing! if you dont want to work for what you have i will hand to you on a silver platter, oops but anything i do is not my fault ESPECIALLY the debt. now please do the hitler/obama salute and get down on your knees. oh wait. you are already down there.

Obama has sent back more illegals than any modern President.

That's not what Syracuse University's TRAC System -- hardly a bastion of right-wing thinking says:

TRAC says that ICE has represented, not only in press releases but in congressional testimony, that in 2005 it apprehended 102,034. The records it produced, however, show only 21,339. It further claimed 166,075 deportations but documented only 6,906 and said it had detained 233,417 when the paperwork shows only 6,778.

Now, read some history, some philosophy, some economics and law, and stop being an uneducated drone.

First President with 2 relatives living in the country illegally.

First Pres. to have an illegal alien aunt living on the taxpayer dime.

First President to have to listen to ignorant rants like the ones posted here. After his second term is over. You pigs can go back to destroying this country. Those who think like you have done before. After President Obama's second term this country will fall back into the hands of the money greedy pigs (republicans) who only care for those like them. It's odd that there are poor people of all nationality. who are suffering but there are few of you who choose to for every reason no matter what this president does you critize him. America is so much better for him being the president of this great Country. This country is greater, showing that we all can over come our hateful past. Obama 2012. Remember those who critiize will not rest until this country falls

Dear Anon He is not the 2nd Coming of Christ, he is a Chicago politican, one of the finest of that style ever. Which explains the Facist tendancies they never got over Capone. JohninMd (help!)

Obama's re-election plan is a typical Chicago style deal - the way he and his thugs stole the nomination from Hillary.

Obama election tactics:
- Prevent Voter Photo IDs - dead folks get to vote
- No National Voter Registry allows multiple residency voters vote twice
- Hurried amnesty (and voting registration) for illegal aliens.
- OWS/Arab Spring/Union type civil unrest (aka mob violence) Jimmy Hoffa Jr. promised violence at Obama fundraiser last Fall.
- Voter Intimidation, Coercion by Unions, other groups
- Media manipulation through programming, words, attitudes of journalists, comedians, etc. (shaping opinion of electorate)
- Polls - polls and primaries control money and advertising budgets of candidates
- Aggressive voter registration in Democratic areas (legal, but still a win strategy) especially when combined with the next tactic
- Paid votes, community team organizers, busses
- Prisoners - votes for incarcerated felons
- Vote count fraud - from hacking machines to trunks full of fraudulent votes (this happened last time around)
- Americans Elect, a third party candidate would split republican vote and GUARANTEE a win for Obama. This organization is already very well funded by unknown donors and has registered in all 50 states.

He's too big to fail (or so he thinks) except for the one thing he cannot cover up, overcome or outshine - the Truth and the power of the real one true GOD who is Love, Truth and Life.

Check out Psalm 2, and Isaiah 31:8-9, Obama.

Obama is the first President of the United States of America who, though he has studied law and even taught the US Constitution, has no idea what America is all about and who in his heart, is not really an American citizen.

He is like a Christian theologian who is not saved or a believer.

Obama's American goal is to turn the US into an Islamic totalitarian fascist regime and make it the 58th OIC state.

He wants revenge for the death of his biological father, for slavery, for British colonialism, for the crusades, and ultimately, for G-D's selection of Isaac rather than Ishmael, Jacob rather than Esau, Joseph and Moses rather than Pharaoh, Judaism and Christianity rather than the religion of the Caananites, Moabites, Jebusites, Ishmaelites, Islam who served false gods and idols: Baal, Molech, Dagon, the moon, sun, stars, animals, wealth, bountiful harvests, fertility, sexual pleasure and their own male parts. In other words, worship of power and wealth, of the flesh and the evil spirits.

Mohammed had a chance but was too proud and angry to choose God's way, but he rejected both Judaism and Christianity to invent his own religion. His writings are the story of his conflicted spiritual journey.

The writings in Mecca are relatively peaceable and respectful of Judaism and Christianity. The Medina writings are full of hate for both and are full of rage, and mandates to kill all who would not convert to his religion and live under his rule. In the latter period, women and outsiders are considered sub-human.

The contradiction between these two periods has produced conflicted, unstable people and nations that cannot reconcile within their own minds, with other nations or each other.

Islam is and will always be in rebellion against God, produce war and conflict, the opposite of peace, the opposite of the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Islam (Assyria, Babylon, Egypt) and other pagan groups always rose up as God's means of discipline when the children of Israel rebelled against God. When they repented and returned to God, they were freed from captivity. They would also have famine, plagues and loss of their families and other hardships.

This is happening today because of the sin of the Western nations (abortion, sexual sin, dishonesty). Unless we repent, we will not escape from the Assyrians and other evil that has infiltrated our gates or the economic crisis that is looming upon us.

The sword and strength of man and military cannot defeat these enemies, it will take God's power and help. The human part is always repentance and returning to the Word of God.

II Kings 6:16-17, II Chronicles 7:14, 20:12, 34:14, Nehemiah 4:6, Isaiah 31:8-9.

Obama Granted Clemency Unlike Any Other President In History

In one more end-of-presidency act of clemency aimed at prisoners serving long sentences for drug-related offenses, President Obama announced Thursday that he is commuting the sentences of 330 prisoners. He has granted clemency to more people than any president since Harry S. Truman, 1 and Thursday&rsquos announcement was typical of how Obama&rsquos approach to clemency has differed from that of his predecessors: Obama&rsquos clemency is almost always given by freeing people from prison with commuted sentences, not pardoning people after their release.

On Tuesday, with less than a week left in office, Obama granted clemency to 273 federal inmates, including Chelsea Manning, the army intelligence analyst who was convicted in 2013 of disclosing sensitive information to WikiLeaks. Manning&rsquos commutation was one of 209 that Obama made Tuesday with the 330 from Thursday, his total number of commutations is now 1,715, more than any other president in history, according to the White House. Obama also issued 64 pardons this week.

Obama has granted dozens of pardons and commutations about once a month since August, and in December, he gave clemency to a record 231 federal inmates on a single day &mdash a record that he broke on Tuesday and again on Thursday.

Although pardons are typically granted to people years after their release and serve as a formal gesture of forgiveness and a restoration of rights (such as voting for convicted felons), commutations can actually free people from prison. Manning, whose original sentence would have ended in 2045, is now slated for release on May 17.

Among recent presidents that preceded Obama, commutations were much rarer than pardons because they tend to be politically riskier. When Bill Clinton commuted the sentences of 16 members of FALN, a group that wanted independence for Puerto Rico and claimed responsibility for more than 100 bombs in the United States, he received letters of protest from the Fraternal Order of Police and other law enforcement groups. President-elect Donald Trump has suggested that commutations create a risk by freeing prisoners who might reoffend.

But in his last year in office, Obama has not appeared to be overly concerned with the optics of freeing hundreds of prisoners. Along with Manning, Obama commuted the sentence of Oscar López Rivera, an FALN member.

In general, commutations have been a significant part of the Obama administration&rsquos push for criminal justice reform. In 2014, the Justice Department announced an initiative to grant clemency to inmates who meet certain criteria, including that their sentences would have been shorter had they been convicted now. This is consistent with the Obama administration&rsquos rethinking of the harsh &ldquomandatory minimum&rdquo drug sentences of the 1980s. The number of new petitions for commutations nearly tripled to 6,561 in fiscal 2014 from 2,370 the year before. That number rose again, to 11,028 petitions, in 2016.

According to our analysis of Justice Department records, about 98 percent of Obama&rsquos commutations through Tuesday were for prisoners convicted on drug offenses. And many of those, more than 60 percent of all commutations, were charged under conspiracy laws. Activist groups like the American Civil Liberties Union argue that these laws allowed low-level drug dealers to be unjustly charged with the more serious crimes that distributors often face.

As Obama prepares to leave the Oval Office on Friday, the future of the roughly 13,000 commutation applicants still waiting for a response remains uncertain. If history is any guide and Trump follows other recent presidents in granting relatively few commutations, it&rsquos unlikely that many of them will see freedom any time soon.

Economically, Could Obama Be America's Worst President?

The recession ended four years ago, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. So Obamanomics has had plenty of time to produce a solid recovery. In fact, since the American historical record is the worse the recession, the stronger the recovery, Obama should have had an easy time producing a booming recovery by now.

Obama likes to tout that we are doing better now than at the worst of the recession. But every recovery is better than the recession, by definition. So that doesn’t mean much.

The right measure and comparison for Obama’s record is not to compare the recovery to the recession, but to compare Obama’s recovery with other recoveries from other recessions since the Great Depression. By that measure, what is clear is that Obamanomics has produced the worst recovery from a recession since the Great Depression, worse than what every other President who has faced a recession has achieved since the Great Depression.

In the 10 previous recessions since the Great Depression, prior to this last recession, the economy recovered all jobs lost during the recession after an average of 25 months after the prior jobs peak (when the recession began), according to the records kept by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. So the job effects of prior post Depression recessions have lasted an average of about 2 years. But under President Obama, by April, 2013, 64 months after the prior jobs peak, almost 5½ years, we still have not recovered all of the recession’s job losses. In April, 2013, there were an estimated 135.474 million American workers employed, still down about 2.6 million jobs from the prior peak of 138.056 million in January, 2008.

Ronald Reagan suffered a severe recession starting in 1981, which resulted from the monetary policy that broke the back of the roaring 1970s inflation. But all the job losses of that recession were recovered after 28 months, with the recovery fueled by traditional pro-growth policies. By this point in the Reagan recovery, 64 months after the recession started, jobs had grown 9.5% higher than where they were when the recession started, representing an increase of about 10 million more jobs. By contrast, in April, 2013, jobs in the Obama recovery were still about 2% below where they were when the recession started, about 2 ½ million less, or a shortfall of about 10 million jobs if you count population growth since the recession started, as discussed below.

Obama’s so-called recovery included the longest period since the Great Depression with unemployment above 8%, 43 months, from February, 2009, when Obama’s so-called stimulus costing nearly $1 trillion was passed, until August, 2012. It also included the longest period since the Great Depression with unemployment at 9.0% or above, 30 months, from April, 2009, until September, 2011. In fact, during the entire 65 years from January, 1948 to January, 2013, there were no months with unemployment over 8%, except for 26 months during the bitter 1981 – 1982 recession, which slayed the historic inflation of the 1970s. That is how inconsistent with the prior history of the American economy President Obama’s extended unemployment has been. That is some fundamental transformation of America.

Moreover, that U3 unemployment rate does not count the millions who have dropped out of the labor force during the recession and President Obama’s worst recovery since the Great Depression, who are not counted as unemployed because they are not considered in the work force. Even though the employment age population has increased by 12 million since the recession began, only 1 million more Americans are counted as in the labor force. With normal labor force participation rates, that implies another 7.3 million missing U.S. jobs, on top of the 2 ½ million missing jobs we are still short from when the recession began, for a total of about 10 million missing jobs.

If America enjoyed the same labor force participation rate as in 2008, the unemployment rate in December, 2012 would have been about 11%, compared to the monthly low of 4.4% in December, 2007, under President George Bush and his “failed” economic policies of the past. We will not see 4.4% unemployment again, without another fundamental transformation of America’s economic policies.

The number of unemployed in January, 2013, at the end of President Obama’s first term, was 7.7 million. Another 7.9 million were “employed part time for economic reasons.” The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports, “These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.”

Another 2.3 million were “marginally attached to the work force.” The BLS reports, “These individuals…wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. [But] [t]hey were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.”

That puts the total army of the unemployed or underemployed at nearly 18 million Americans in January, 2013. They are all counted in the BLS calculation of the U6 unemployment rate, which still totaled 13.9% that month.

But the Shadow Government Statistics website also includes in its “SGS Alternative Unemployment Rate” long term discouraged workers, those who wanted and were available for work for more than a year, and had looked for a job, but not in the prior 4 weeks. That is how the BLS U6 unemployment rate was calculated prior to the changes made in the early 1990s under the Clinton Administration. Including these workers as well raises the SGS unemployment rate for April, 2013 to 23%. That seems more consistent with how the economy still feels for the majority of Americans, despite Democrat Party controlled media cheerleading.

This utterly failed jobs record of Obamanomics reflects the more basic reality that the economy has not been growing under President Obama. In the 10 post depression recessions before President Obama, the economy recovered the lost GDP during the recession within an average of 4.5 quarters after the recession started. But it took Obama’s recovery 16 quarters, or 4 years, to reach that point. Today, 21 quarters, or 5 plus years, after the recession started, the economy (real GDP) has grown just 3.2% above where it was when the recession started. By sharp contrast, at this point in the Reagan recovery, the economy had boomed by 18.6%, almost one fifth.

Obama’s economic performance has even been much worse than Bush’s. Jeffrey H. Anderson, a senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute, writes in Investors Business Daily on January 13, “Prior to Obama, the second term of President Bush featured the weakest gains in the gross domestic product in some time, with average annual (inflation-adjusted) GDP growth of just 1.9%, [according to the official stats at the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)]” But average annual real GDP growth during Obama’s entire first term was less than half as much at a pitiful 0.8%, according to the same official source.

Even Jimmy Carter produced 4 times as much economic growth during his one term as Obama did during his entire first term. In fact, as Anderson notes, real GDP growth under Obama has been the worst of any President in the last 60 years!

But it’s even worse than that. Obama’s real GDP growth has actually been less than half as much as the worst of any President in the last 60 years. In other words, even if you doubled actual GDP growth under President Obama, it would still be the worst record of any President in the last 60 years!

Anderson adds, “In fact, the real GDP in 2009 was lower than it had been three years earlier (in 2006).” That has happened only twice before in the last 100 years at least, maybe in American history. One was in 1933 and 1934, at the height of the Great Depression. The other was in 1946 – 1948, when the World War II economy was powering down.

And what happened in the years after those two experiences? From 1935 – 1937, real GDP growth reached a peak of 13.1% in one year (1936). From 1949 – 1951, real GDP growth reached a peak of 8.7% (in 1950). That reflects once again the basic principle for the American economy that the worse the recession, the stronger the recovery. That is what Obama should have produced for America. But under Obama, real GDP growth in the following years, 2010 – 2012, peaked at only 2.4% (in 2010). “[A]nd never again hit even that meager mark in the two years following ObamaCare’s passage,” Anderson adds. Yes, Obama and his sycophants really are transforming America, into a banana republic.

Even if the economy finally breaks out into some real growth during this year, that is only because of the long overdue real recovery that is still straining to break out inside this economy, as indicated by the data above for 1936, in the depths of the depression, and the postwar boom that started in 1950. That and the startling Reagan recovery from the 1970s are the standard for Obamanomics. Don’t be fooled by some way overdue short term growth spurt this year that just reflects the basic cycles of the economy. Unless the fundamentals of Obamanomics are changed, the result will be long term stagnation compared to the historic, world leading, booming economic growth of the American Dream.

In his 2013 State of the Union Address, President Obama said, “A growing economy that creates good, middle class jobs, that must be the North Star that guides our efforts.” But the slow growth, and negligible job creation under Obama, in turn have caused steeply declining middle class incomes. The latest numbers compiled from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey show that real median household income declined by more than $4,500 during Obama’s first term, about 8%, meaning effectively that the middle class has lost annually the equivalent of one month’s pay under Obama. Even President Bush again did better during his disastrous second term, when real median household income at least rose by 1.7%, not enough, but still positive rather than negative.

Even if you start from when the recession ended in June, 2009, the decline in median real household income since then has been greater than it was during the recession. Four years into the supposed Obama recovery, real median household income has declined nearly 6% as compared to June, 2009. That is more than twice the decline of 2.6% that occurred during the recession from December, 2007 until June, 2009. As the Wall Street Journal summarized in its August 25-26, 2012 weekend edition, “For household income, in other words, the Obama recovery has been worse than the Bush recession.”

Despite his rhetoric, Obama has failed to deliver for the poor as well. But we know Obama loves the poor, because he has created so many of them. Indeed, the only thing booming under Obamanomics has been poverty. Poverty has soared under Obama, with the number of Americans in poverty increasing to the highest level in the more than 50 years that the Census Bureau has been tracking poverty. Over the last 5 years, the number in poverty has increased by nearly 31%, to 49.7 million, with the poverty rate climbing by over 30% to 16.1%. This is another natural result of negligible economic growth, paltry job creation, declining real wages, and the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression.

These dismal results of Obamanomics have been produced because all of Obama’s economic policies are thoroughly anti-growth, indeed, the opposite of what is needed for long term booming growth. Instead of cutting tax rates, which provides incentives for increased production, Obama has been focused on raising rates. Instead of deregulation, which increases the cost of doing business, and results in barriers to productive activity (see, e.g., Keystone Pipeline), Obama has been all about increasing regulation. Instead of cutting spending, Obama entered office exploding spending during his first two years, and was only restrained when the people elected Republicans to control the House.

And instead of adopting monetary policies that would produce a stable dollar, Obama’s monetary polices have mimicked the devaluationist ones previously embraced by George W. Bush on the way to sagging investment, and with the latter, slow growth. President Obama derided Mitt Romney during the 2012 campaign as proposing to bring back the same economic policies that led to the financial crisis in the first place. But it is Obama who is bringing back precisely those policies, overregulating banks to make loans on the basis of supposed fairness. Moreover, Obama’s Fed has thrown oil on the bonfire with its zero interest rate, and runaway quantitative easing policies. With those policies having been in place for years now, they are the foundation of the current economy, which is just another bubble that will pop when the Fed tries to implement any exit strategy.

Next week I will discuss why and how these misguided, Keynesian monetary policies will only lead to another, even worse financial crisis, probably during Obama’s second term, and why only fundamental monetary reform can restore America to its traditional booming, economic growth.

Has President Obama Done Enough for Black Americans?

For many, this is still a land of unequal opportunity. A history-making president may not be enough.

Bernard Anderson, a pathbreaking African-American economist, understands the importance of rhetoric. He was up front at the Lincoln Memorial when Martin Luther King Jr. gave his historic "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963. And he was in the audience on the Howard University campus in 1965 to hear President Johnson deliver a grim view of the state of black America and declare war on "past injustice and present prejudice."

So Anderson had high hopes as he sat at home in Pennsylvania watching President Obama deliver his second Inaugural Address this year. He wanted Obama to acknowledge that even five decades after Johnson's stirring oration, African Americans in today's America still struggle against discrimination. And when the president started talking about "We, the people," the veteran civil-rights champion grew excited. "As he was going through 'We, the people' and 'We, the people,' my heart started to beat," Anderson said. But just as fast, his spirits sank. "I didn't find me among the people he was talking about."

Eleven days later, Anderson -- an early supporter and fundraiser for Obama, an Obama delegate in 2008, and an expert on economic disparities who has been called to the Obama White House several times -- allowed himself to vent his frustration and call for more high-level attention to the black community's economic challenges.

Grumbling that he had heard "not a single blessed word on race" in the Inaugural Address, Anderson told attendees at the fourth annual African-American Economic Summit at Howard, "I believe now is the time for the president to find his voice, summon his courage, and use some of his political capital to eliminate racial inequality in American economic life." To applause, he added, "We cannot let the president off the hook in the second term. Black people gave him a pass in the first term . He is not going to run for anything. He doesn't deserve a pass anymore."

In those few moments at the microphone, Anderson gave voice to the inner turmoil shared by so many African Americans. Thrilled beyond words at seeing a proudly black man in the Oval Office, they almost don't want to admit they want still more. But they know they have to be exceedingly careful in pushing Obama to talk more about -- and do more for -- black Americans still reeling from a recession that hit them harder than anyone else.

Wanting more is why so many blacks, from the barbershops and street corners to the think tanks and highest levels of academe, are investing so much in the belief that Obama has been liberated by his reelection to become more of a champion for his community. "That's what African Americans out in the world believe," said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. "I can't tell you how often I heard that, particularly during the campaign." Cleaver said he still keeps hearing, "In the second term, we're going to get the 'real' Barack Obama, and by 'real,' they mean that, I guess, he's going to show up in a dashiki."

Just because that view is widely shared in the black community does not make it so, of course. Cleaver responds, "The president was who he was in the first term. And it would be foolish for me or any CBC member to give them the impression that the nation and the world will see some kind of reincarnation of Eldridge Cleaver and Huey Newton." But many African American leaders still hope there is some truth in the widespread belief. "Will President Obama find his voice in this term? My answer is yes," said Lorenzo Morris, a Howard University political-science professor. "He won't have a big stick to carry with it, but it will be a voice that I think will be a little clearer."

That hope springs from the reality of daily life for many African Americans. The Great Recession may be over for the country as a whole, but they aren't feeling the recovery. Black unemployment remains double that for whites. The median income gap between white and black households has hit a record high. Blacks have half the access to health care as whites. The gap in homeownership is wider today than it was in 1990. African Americans are twice as likely as whites to have suffered foreclosure.

The list goes on: Net wealth for black families dropped by 27.1 percent during the recession. One in 15 African-American men is incarcerated, compared with one in 106 white men. Blacks make up 38 percent of inmates in state and federal prisons. Although only 13.8 percent of the U.S. population, African Americans represent 27 percent of those living below the poverty line.

It is a grim picture -- and one that administration policymakers know well. They insist the White House has attacked the stubborn problems with an array of policies, some of them through executive-branch actions and more through legislative proposals.

Avis Jones-DeWeever, executive director of the National Council of Negro Women, thinks there is a chance we will hear more from Obama on these issues now that he has secured another four years. "I do think it is probably realistic that in his first term he was a bit more cautious than one might expect him to be in this term," she toldNational Journal soon after she and other black leaders met with Obama at the White House. "I do see this president as one who now is ready to lay out a legacy . Though he is still facing a significant amount of challenge [from Congress], he has finally -- it took him a minute to get it -- but I think he has finally got the hang of the effective use of the bully pulpit."

Walking Softly

At that White House meeting, which lasted more than two hours on Feb. 21, the Rev. Al Sharpton, president of the National Action Network, drew laughter from Obama and his fellow activists when he found a folksy way to defend the president from charges he didn't talk enough in his first term about black issues:

"I had a friend when we were in school who told me he was going on a kosher diet. He converted his religion. We went to eat, and he ordered a ham sandwich. I said, 'You can't eat that.' He said, 'Why?' I said, 'That is pork.' He said, 'No, no, no. Pork is pork chops or pork loin. I said, 'No, you don't have to call it pork for it to be pork. It is still pork.' " The lesson, Sharpton said, is simple: "Some things he's done, it may not have been called 'black.' But it affected us. It was still pork."

Jones-DeWeever said that Sharpton, who sat directly across the table from the president in the Roosevelt Room, was also very forceful in characterizing much of the criticism of Obama's first term as misguided. "Reverend Sharpton makes a very good point that the president has been critiqued by certain very loud elements of the black community who have argued the president hasn't pursued a black agenda," she said. "And Reverend Sharpton pointed out in this meeting that it is not the president's responsibility to define a black agenda. He is the president. It is the responsibility of advocates to define the agenda and then push it forward . That's what we do."

From the start, Obama has steered clear of the notion that he has any special responsibility to the African-American community. Asked that question in 2011, he told NPR, "I have a special responsibility to look out for the interests of every American. That's my job as president of the United States. And I wake up every morning trying to promote the kinds of policies that are going to make the biggest difference for the most number of people so that they can live out their American dream."

Inevitably, answers like that draw criticism from some African Americans. But the critics have found little traction in a community still in awe of having one of its own win the presidency. Princeton University professor Cornel West drew stinging rebukes when he told the Democracy Now! radio program that last year's election had been won by "a Rockefeller Republican in blackface." West and his partner in excoriating Obama, PBS host Tavis Smiley, find themselves increasingly marginalized because their attacks on the president have been so overheated. Their critique has been discounted "because it has been so very personal," said Fredrick Harris, director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University, who keeps his criticism focused on the issues he believes Obama is giving short shrift.

Harris noted that the president used Martin Luther King's bible at his swearing-in and featured Medgar Evers's widow, Myrlie Evers, at the inauguration. But Harris also craves more substance. "You had all these symbolic gestures that are connected to the civil-rights past," he said. "But there is not enough focus or attention, particularly policy-wise, on addressing the legacies of racial inequality in this country." He noted an ongoing study, conducted at the University of Pennsylvania by professor Daniel Q. Gillion, showing that Obama spoke less about race in his first two years than any other Democratic president since 1961. As Harris noted in The New York Times in October, "From racial profiling to mass incarceration to affirmative action, his comments have been sparse and halting."

Anderson, the economist whose heart sank while watching the inauguration, was assistant secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, in charge of enforcing affirmative action for government contracts. An adviser to the National Urban League and an emeritus professor of economics at the Wharton School, he remains a strong supporter of Obama's. But Anderson yearns for the president to gain his voice on racial issues, as he did during a memorable speech in Philadelphia during the 2008 campaign. He finds it sad that Obama "evidently does not want to be labeled as a president who is consumed by racial inequality in this country." And the view "that an African-American president must remain silent on this issue? That's an abomination," Anderson says. "We can't tolerate that."

It did not go unnoticed that Obama steered clear of inner cities and predominantly African-American communities in his first term and his reelection campaign. An analysis of campaign travel by National Journal's Beth Reinhard ("Beyond the Trail") found that Obama did not campaign in any of the 100 counties with the highest jobless rates. The president went to Cleveland, Detroit, Miami, New York, and Philadelphia during the campaign, but primarily for fundraisers. Typical was his visit to the famed Apollo Theater in Harlem last year for a fundraising event made memorable not for his talk about poverty or race but for his brief riff on an Al Green song.

Of course, a president's campaign schedule is mostly dictated by electoral realities. Obama had already locked up the black vote. The keys to victory were the suburban counties. And that meant more presidential visits to Ohio's Montgomery County around Dayton than to Cleveland's Hough neighborhood.

Even at the White House, Obama shied away from discussing race, with only a few exceptions, in his first term. At a July 2009 press conference, he lashed out at the Cambridge, Massachusetts, police department for arresting Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., an African American, as he tried to enter his own home. The police, Obama said, "acted stupidly." To quell the ensuing furor, the president invited Gates and the arresting officer to the White House for a "beer summit" aimed at turning the controversy into a "teachable moment."

Three years later, he reacted to the shooting death in Florida of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by a private citizen who found the black teen's presence in his neighborhood suspicious. "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon," the emotional president said.

But those two statements were just about it for the first four years, when the uber-cautious "post-racial" Obama was front and center. Typical was his comment in a 2009 interview with the Detroit Free Press and USA Today. "The most important thing I can do for the African-American community is the same thing I can do for the American community. Period. And that is to get the economy going again and get people hiring again," he said. "It's a mistake to start thinking in terms of particular ethnic segments of the United States rather than to think that we are all in this together and we are going to get out of this together."

But that is not enough for many in the black community. Anderson still recalls from memory Johnson's stirring speech at Howard. "You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up the starting line of a race, and then say, 'You are free to compete with all the others,' and still justly believe that you have been completely fair," LBJ said. Anderson pointedly asks, "Can you imagine President Obama referring to 200 years of slavery? I cannot imagine him saying anything like that . He has an obligation to address this [economic disparity] that is grinding black people down." While encouraged by parts of Obama's State of the Union address, Anderson asks, "Why has he not revisited the issue since he made that speech during the campaign?"

An Old Fight

At the White House, there is little patience with the critics and some exasperation at those who want more talk from the president about what he is doing for his "own community." To them, that sentiment is reminiscent of the "Is he black enough?" questions that dogged his campaign in its 2007 infancy. Privately, administration officials bristle when asked why Obama doesn't talk more about race in the ways that Presidents Johnson, Carter, and Clinton did.

"The president gave one of the most powerful speeches about race in history during the 2008 campaign," Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to the president, told National Journal. "He is now interested in results. So he will be judged by his actions. Simply talking about race is not as important as actually working toward equality." As president, she said, Obama does not want to single out one community in his rhetoric. "He is interested . in describing our challenges in terms of how we are inextricably linked in mutuality," she said, adding, "The president tries to describe our challenges in ways that are inclusive." That is how he hopes to "keep the broadest possible mandate for moving forward," she said. "He does not intend to polarize he intends to unify."

Jarrett challenged the notion that the president has been freed by reelection to be himself. "It is liberating in terms of the president's time, because he can spend all of his time now focused on being president," she said. "He had to run a campaign and then his day job, which was pretty all-consuming. So it is certainly liberating in the sense that not having to run for reelection is a burden that is lifted."

But that, she said, does not mean a "new" Obama. "His core values, his principles, and his vision for America are the same in the second term as they were in the first term," she insisted.

Jarrett, 56, is the go-to person in the White House for black leaders and the Congressional Black Caucus. She, like Obama, did not come out of the traditional civil-rights movement. But she has gained the trust of that establishment. "She is very important," Sharpton said. "I have a lot of respect for her because she has never misled us. She does not mind telling you she disagrees with you. She does not mind telling you no. But if she says yes, she stands by it."

Jarrett earned her first scars in Chicago City Hall when that city's first African-American mayor, Harold Washington, was trying to balance the demands of a newly empowered black community and a white population that felt threatened. She understands that nothing is ever simple in matters of race. Today, she hears the demands she gets the complaints she goes to the meetings. But she also sees how average African Americans -- and even veteran civil-rights leaders -- react to the reality that a black son of an African man is the president of the United States and a confident black woman is first lady.

The last time she had the luxury of focusing on that history was election night in 2008, Jarrett said. "Frankly, we're so busy that we don't have that much time to reflect right now on the historical significance," she said. To her, the importance of the 2012 election is that "you didn't hear a lot of conversation about his race. You heard a debate about two different visions of America."

Other black leaders try to put the history aside and concern themselves with the work in front of them. "It's all business, but you do have that pride," said Jones-DeWeever after her White House meeting with Obama. Sitting across the table from the president, she focused on the agenda, fighting for programs that would bring jobs and education and hope to the hard-hit African-American community. But she wasn't prepared for how she reacted when she got home and told her boyfriend about the session. "I left that meeting, and I said to my partner, 'You know what? We have a black president,' " she recalled. "He laughed and said, 'I know.' I said, 'No, you're not hearing me: We have a black president. We have a black president.' You couldn't wipe the smile off my face." It was a moment that surprised her.

For Sharpton, there also are those unexpected moments, such as when he was at the White House to watch the Super Bowl during Obama's first term. He was introducing his daughter to Michelle Obama when he saw a historic portrait of George Washington behind her. "It struck me how far we have come," he said. "But," he quickly added, "those of us who have worked with the administration from the beginning are more sober, because we've been in there enough now where you see the other side of that, [which] is, the expectations are higher."

By Any Other Name

Those expectations include programs that can lift urban areas out of poverty, improve inner-city schools, reform the criminal-justice system, and alleviate sky-high black unemployment. All these numbers, Jarrett acknowledges, have been stubbornly resistant to fixes from Washington, none more so than the jobless figures. African Americans are the only demographic group with higher unemployment today than when Obama took office. White unemployment dropped from 7.1 percent in January 2009 to 6.8 percent in February 2013. Hispanic unemployment dropped from 10.0 percent to 9.6 percent. But African-American unemployment rose from 12.7 percent to 13.8 percent during that time.

A White House official, who asked not to be named, calls those numbers "unacceptably high" but insists that "we have made real progress," with black joblessness on a decline from 16.8 percent in August 2011. "We have seen it come down pretty dramatically over the last couple years, and that is not an accident. That is the explicit result" of administration policies.

"Jobs, jobs, jobs has been the central focus of the president's administration since day one," Jarrett said, and also, she noted, at the heart of the "Ladder of Opportunity" program the president laid out in his State of the Union in February and his follow-up speech in Chicago. In his second term, the president is determined to target the most stubborn pockets of unemployment in urban areas, another White House aide said, pointing out that a part of the American Jobs Act -- which remains untouched by Congress -- "would provide subsidized employment for the long-term unemployed in this country, which would disproportionately benefit many people of color." The president's new proposals also recognize "that where you live matters, and that in many of our . areas of concentrated poverty, we need to take a holistic approach, to really invest." The president talked about investing in 20 selected communities, focusing on education, housing, and crime, but also, according to the aide, "looking at how we create jobs and leverage private capital back into these communities."

As he promoted his new programs in a return to his hometown of Chicago in February, the president added a distinct personal touch that some outsiders took as an indication he could be more open about race in his second term. After meeting with young black men from the Hyde Park Academy, Obama drew some knowing laughter when he noted, "A lot of them have had some issues." But the president stressed his kinship with them. "I had issues too when I was their age. I just had an environment that was a little more forgiving. So when I screwed up, the consequences weren't as high as when kids on the South Side screw up. So I had more of a safety net. But these guys are no different than me."

Reminiscent of his Trayvon Martin remark, this statement resonated in the black community like almost no other presidential words of the past four years. It was, for some, proof that the second term will indeed be different on race. And the president used that Chicago speech to outline what he called his "vision of where we want to be." It was a speech that touched on all the ills that plague urban communities: lack of role models, a too-low minimum wage, guns, violent crime, inadequate education, substandard housing, and the reluctance of businesses to locate in inner cities and hire local workers.

In some ways, it was the shooting in the white suburban community of Newtown, Conn., that provided the impetus for the president to talk about the gun violence that is so endemic to black neighborhoods in Chicago, Minneapolis (where he also traveled recently), and other cities. In Chicago alone, 443 people were killed by guns last year, with an additional 42 homicides by gun this January, the most since 2002. "Too many of our children are being taken away from us," Obama declared emotionally.

Much of what he said on guns in that speech clearly resonated with his audience. And much of what he said in the rest of the speech about economic opportunity and jobs was in sync with the "black agenda" adopted after the election by a group of leaders headed by Urban League President Marc Morial. That agenda, Jarrett said, "is one that the president has embraced from day one." But, not surprisingly for the Obama White House, she adds quickly, "It is important to point out that it isn't just African Americans who benefit from these policies."

Like Sharpton's "ham sandwich" story, she and other administration officials stress that the president has championed policies that aren't called "black programs" but that benefit blacks. Health care reform is at the top of that list. "Approximately 7 million African Americans are without health insurance," Jarrett said. "So, yes, it is a policy that disproportionately does benefit the African-American community. But it also disproportionately benefits poor people." In that vein, the White House cites the president's espousal of voting rights and his opposition to Republican efforts to more tightly regulate voting.

Hilary O. Shelton, Washington bureau director for the NAACP, credits the Justice Department for fighting racial profiling and praises the Dodd-Frank financial-reform law for targeting predatory lending in inner cities. He also mentions the Fair Sentencing Act's reform of punishment for crack-cocaine versus powder-cocaine offenses. "All of these policies don't mention the African-American community one time," Shelton said. "But all of them have our priorities interwoven into the initiative."

At the White House, that caveat always gets added: He isn't doing these things just to help blacks. In this, Georgetown Law professor Paul Butler says Obama is being steadfast. "He doesn't like to talk about race. He does not like to talk about racial justice. He believes in it, but he has a color-blind approach."

It is, perhaps, the strongest evidence of Obama's generational differences with the civil-rights pioneers. But the president has been decidedly consistent. He articulated his philosophy in an interview with the Chicago Reader in 1995 when he was launching his political career with a run for the Illinois Legislature. "We have moved beyond the clarion-call stage that we needed during the civil-rights movement," Obama declared. "Now, like Nelson Mandela in South Africa, we must move into a building stage."

Obama had attended the Million Man March that October, but he faulted the organizers for not developing a positive agenda beyond just demanding "our fair share." And he added, "Any African Americans who are only talking about racism as a barrier to our success are seriously misled if they don't also come to grips with the larger economic forces that are creating economic insecurity for all workers -- whites, Latinos, and Asians."

A Rift in Time

It is this reticence to talk specifically about targeting programs for African Americans that privately drives some members of the Congressional Black Caucus to distraction. That, and the president's odd refusal to meet often with a group he belonged to during his brief Senate career.

The relationship has been challenged from the start. In 2009, caucus members had to watch the president meet with House and Senate Republicans and the Blue Dog Coalition before inviting them to the White House five weeks into his administration. Then, they chafed when forced to accept $60 billion in cuts in stimulus spending they wanted for urban communities. And they were unhappy at his escalation of the war in Afghanistan. When Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., one of the most senior and respected members of the Black Caucus, criticized Obama for watering down health care reform and taking advice from "clowns," the president called him and pointedly asked Conyers why he was "demeaning" him.

Then, in 2011, Obama delivered a speech to the CBC whose tone privately irked many of the members. "I expect all of you to march with me and press on. Take off your bedroom slippers, put on your marching shoes. Shake it off. Stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying," he said. "We are going to press on. We've got work to do, CBC."

The reaction was not good. "It was very condescending," Columbia University's Harris said. "For many people who are sick and tired of the Republican Party, we wish the president would speak in that tone to John Boehner and the Republican Party, which he doesn't. So I find it ironic that he would feel free to speak that way to the CBC."

Obama has not met with the caucus since, sending Jarrett instead. Cleaver admits the CBC would like more access. "Is there frustration sometimes when we can't get in to see the president when we want? Yes. We do want to meet with the president more." But he adds, "So does [Vladimir] Putin," to suggest all the demands on a president's time.

The most recent request for a meeting with Obama came March 11 when CBC Chairwoman Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, sent a letter to the White House complaining about the lack of African Americans among the president's second-term appointments. Voicing disappointment, she said CBC members are hearing from their constituents. "Their ire is compounded by the overwhelming support you've received from the African-American community," Fudge wrote, adding, "The absence of diverse voices leads to policies and programs that adversely impact African Americans."

Sharpton said he has counseled black lawmakers not to take it personally that Obama holds them at arm's length. "That's his style," Sharpton said. "I work with a lot of the caucus members. I've said to them, if he's meeting with other caucuses and a lot of congressional leaders and not with you, I would say that is wrong, and I would complain. But if that's his style, how do you deal with that, other than argue with his style?"

CBC members' reticence to protest publicly is also tied, as are all things with Obama, to the incredible history he represents. Those who work in the black community simply can't get over what it means to have a black president. They know this isn't a make-believe Hollywood character like Bill Cosby's Cliff Huxtable. This is a strong black man with a loving family who lives in the White House -- a real role model, whose image adorns classrooms across the nation.

And Obama understands the need for African-American role models. "There are entire neighborhoods where young people . don't see an example of somebody succeeding," he said movingly in his recent Chicago speech. "And for a lot of young boys and young men, in particular, they don't see an example of fathers or grandfathers, uncles, who are in a position to support families and be held up and respected." Black leaders know that Obama powerfully fills that role.

And if they start to take it for granted, they often are reminded in stunning ways that make it smart to mute their frustration over the president's style or his shortcomings. For Jones-DeWeever, it came recently when she was watching a movie with her two sons.

Her younger son, 9, can only remember one president, and he is Obama. "It has made such an indelible mark on his mind that when we watched a movie and there was a white actor playing the president, he said to me, 'Ma, that ain't real.'" Jones-DeWeever was struck speechless. "It is almost inconceivable to him that there was a time that what we see now was unthinkable."

3 Charts Explain Why Democrats Went Nuclear on the Filibuster

No one has completely clean hands when it comes to filibusters in the Senate. Democrats have used them and Republicans have used them. But hoo boy, Republicans sure have used them more. That’s why Democrats went nuclear on Thursday. Three charts tell the story.

The first two charts show the evolution of filibusters by presidential administration. As you can see, their use rose steadily through the 󈨔s and then leveled off starting around 1990. Democrats mainly kept things pretty stable throughout the Bush administration, with the number increasing only when Republicans lost the 2006 midterm elections and became the minority party. At that point, they ratcheted up the use of filibusters to record levels, and there was no honeymoon when Obama won the presidency, not even for a minute. Republicans went into full-bore filibuster mode the day he took office, and they’ve kept it up ever since. For all practical purposes, anything more controversial than renaming a post office has required 60 votes during the entire Obama presidency.

But it was Republican filibusters of judicial and executive-branch nominees that finally drove Democrats to act on Thursday. Democrats had struck one deal after another with Republicans to try and rein in their abuse of the filibuster, but nothing worked. A few nominees would get through, and then another batch would promptly get filibustered. The chart below tells the tale. Under George Bush, Democrats mounted filibusters on 38 of his nominees. That’s about five per year. Under Obama, Republicans have filibustered an average of 16 nominees per year.

The last straw came when Republicans announced their intention to filibuster all of Obama’s nominees to the DC circuit court simply because they didn’t want a Democratic president to be able to fill any more vacancies. At that point, even moderate Democrats had finally had enough. For all practical purposes, Republicans had declared war on Obama’s very legitimacy as president, forbidding him from carrying out a core constitutional duty. Begging and pleading and cutting deals was no longer on the table. Eliminating the filibuster for judicial and executive branch nominees was the only option left, and on Thursday that’s what Democrats finally did.

UPDATE: Some edits made to the passage about Republicans losing control of Congress in 2006, to clear up exactly who was filibustering during the 2008-08 period.

FOIA fail: 'Most transparent ever' Obama administration spent $36mn to hide records in 2016

Having aspired to be &ldquothe most transparent administration in history&rdquo at the beginning of President Barack Obama&rsquos first term, it instead set records for denying, delaying or obstructing requests for government records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Associated Press reported on Tuesday, citing analysis of data provided by the US government.

The Justice Department spent $12 million on legal costs in fighting to keep its files from the public, with the Department of Homeland Security spending $6.3 million and the Department of Defense spending $4.8 million, AP noted. The three departments received more than half of the total FOIA requests made in 2016.

Obama's final year: US spent $36 million in records lawsuits The Non-Transparent Administration

&mdash John Fund (@johnfund) March 14, 2017

The Obama administration set many FOIA records last year, from the number of requests received (788,769) to the amount spent on answering them ($478 million). There were 4,263 full-time FOIA employees across over 100 federal agencies, 142 people more than in 2015.

Other achievements were less flattering, however &ndash such as breaking its own record from 2015 in telling citizens, journalists and others who made FOIA requests that they couldn&rsquot find a single page of the requested files, AP reported without citing the number of such cases.

The previous administration also set records for denying access to files, refusing to quickly process requests described as particularly newsworthy, and denying requests for waivers of copy and research fees.

In 77 percent of the cases, people who asked for records in 2016 received partly or fully redacted files, compared to 65 percent in 2009.

The acknowledgement letters to all the #FOIA requests I filed in 2016.

&mdash Jason Leopold (@JasonLeopold) December 31, 2016

AP&rsquos revelations come during &ldquoSunshine Week,&rdquo an event organized in March each year by the American Society of News Editors to educate the public on the importance of open government.

Under the 1966 Freedom of Information Act, individuals can request copies of federal records for free or at a nominal cost. The government is obligated to hand them over, unless the disclosure could harm national security, violate personal privacy, or expose confidential decision-making &ndash exemptions that authorities often abuse, according to critics.

&ldquoI will hold myself as president to a new standard of openness,&rdquo Obama said upon assuming office in 2009. &ldquoTransparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.&rdquo

During the 2015 Sunshine Week, the White House exempted itself from the FOIA.