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The Most Important Economic Speech of His Presidency

Written By: - Date published: 9:20 am, December 10th, 2011 - 40 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, us politics - Tags: ,

Truth-Out content is licensed for redistribution, so I’m going to repost this excellent piece in its entirety. It’s long, but it’s worth it.  I agree with the author about the importance of the speech, though I might have called a post on this “Is Obama going to grow a pair at last?” — r0b

The Most Important Economic Speech of His Presidency
Tuesday 6 December 2011
by: Robert Reich, Robert Reich’s Blog | Op-Ed

The President’s speech today in Osawatomie, Kansas — where Teddy Roosevelt gave his “New Nationalism” speech in 1910 — is the most important economic speech of his presidency in terms of connecting the dots, laying out the reasons behind our economic and political crises, and asserting a willingness to take on the powerful and the privileged that have gamed the system to their advantage.

Here are the highlights (and, if you’ll pardon me, my annotations):

    For most Americans, the basic bargain that made this country great has eroded. Long before the recession hit, hard work stopped paying off for too many people. Fewer and fewer of the folks who contributed to the success of our economy actually benefitted from that success. Those at the very top grew wealthier from their incomes and investments than ever before. But everyone else struggled with costs that were growing and paychecks that weren’t – and too many families found themselves racking up more and more debt just to keep up.

He’s absolutely right – and it’s the first time he or any other president has clearly stated the long-term structural problem that’s been widening the gap between the very top and everyone else for thirty years – the breaking of the basic bargain linking pay to productivity gains.

    For many years, credit cards and home equity loans papered over the harsh realities of this new economy. But in 2008, the house of cards collapsed.

Exactly. But the first papering over was when large numbers of women went into paid work, starting the in the late 1970s and 1980s, in order to prop up family incomes that were stagnating or dropping because male wages were under siege – from globalization, technological change, and the decline of unions. Only when this coping mechanism was exhausted, and when housing prices started to climb, did Americans shift to credit cards and home equity loans as a means of papering over the new harsh reality of an economy that was working for a minority at the top but not for most of the middle class.

    We all know the story by now: Mortgages sold to people who couldn’t afford them, or sometimes even understand them. Banks and investors allowed to keep packaging the risk and selling it off. Huge bets – and huge bonuses – made with other people’s money on the line. Regulators who were supposed to warn us about the dangers of all this, but looked the other way or didn’t have the authority to look at all.

It was wrong. It combined the breathtaking greed of a few with irresponsibility across the system. And it plunged our economy and the world into a crisis from which we are still fighting to recover. It claimed the jobs, homes, and the basic security of millions – innocent, hard-working Americans who had met their responsibilities, but were still left holding the bag.

Precisely – and it’s about time he used the term “wrong” to describe Wall Street’s antics, and the abject failure of regulators (led by Alan Greenspan and the Fed) to stop what was going on. But these “wrongs” were only the proximate cause of the economic crisis. The underlying cause was, as the President said before, the breaking of the basic bargain linking pay to productivity.

    Ever since, there has been a raging debate over the best way to restore growth and prosperity; balance and fairness. Throughout the country, it has sparked protests and political movements – from the Tea Party to the people who have been occupying the streets of New York and other cities. It’s left Washington in a near-constant state of gridlock. And it’s been the topic of heated and sometimes colorful discussion among the men and women who are running for president.

But this isn’t just another political debate. This is the defining issue of our time. This is a make or break moment for the middle class, and all those who are fighting to get into the middle class. At stake is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home, and secure their retirement.

Right again. It is the defining issue of our time. But I wish he wouldn’t lump the Tea Party in with the Occupiers. The former hates government; the latter focuses blame on Wall Street and corporate greed – just where the President did a moment ago.

    Now, in the midst of this debate, there are some who seem to be suffering from a kind of collective amnesia. After all that’s happened, after the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, they want to return to the same practices that got us into this mess. In fact, they want to go back to the same policies that have stacked the deck against middle-class Americans for too many years. Their philosophy is simple: we are better off when everyone is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules.

He might have been a bit stronger here. The “they” who are suffering collective amnesia include many of the privileged and powerful who have gained enormous wealth by using their political muscle to entrench their privilege and power. In other words, it’s not simply or even mainly amnesia. It’s a clear and concerted strategy.

    Well, I’m here to say they are wrong. I’m here to reaffirm my deep conviction that we are greater together than we are on our own. I believe that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, and when everyone plays by the same rules. Those aren’t Democratic or Republican values; 1% values or 99% values. They’re American values, and we have to reclaim them.

Amen.

    In 1910, Teddy Roosevelt came here, to Osawatomie, and laid out his vision for what he called a New Nationalism. “Our country,” he said, “…means nothing unless it means the triumph of a real democracy…of an economic system under which each man shall be guaranteed the opportunity to show the best that there is in him.”

Some background: In 1909, Herbert Croly, a young political philosopher and journalist, argued in his best-selling The Promise of American Life that the large American corporation should be regulated by the nation and directed toward national goals. “The constructive idea behind a policy of the recognition of the semi-monopolistic corporation is, of course, the idea that they can be converted into economic agents…for the national economic interest,” Croly wrote. Teddy Roosevelt’s New Nationalism embraced Croly’s idea.

    For this, Roosevelt was called a radical, a socialist, even a communist. But today, we are a richer nation and a stronger democracy because of what he fought for in his last campaign: an eight hour work day and a minimum wage for women; insurance for the unemployed, the elderly, and those with disabilities; political reform and a progressive income tax.

Today, over one hundred years later, our economy has gone through another transformation. Over the last few decades, huge advances in technology have allowed businesses to do more with less, and made it easier for them to set up shop and hire workers anywhere in the world. And many of you know firsthand the painful disruptions this has caused for a lot of Americans.

Factories where people thought they would retire suddenly picked up and went overseas, where the workers were cheaper. Steel mills that needed 1,000 employees are now able to do the same work with 100, so that layoffs were too often permanent, not just a temporary part of the business cycle. These changes didn’t just affect blue-collar workers. If you were a bank teller or a phone operator or a travel agent, you saw many in your profession replaced by ATMs or the internet. Today, even higher-skilled jobs like accountants and middle management can be outsourced to countries like China and India. And if you’re someone whose job can be done cheaper by a computer or someone in another country, you don’t have a lot of leverage with your employer when it comes to asking for better wages and benefits – especially since fewer Americans today are part of a union.

Now, just as there was in Teddy Roosevelt’s time, there’s been a certain crowd in Washington for the last few decades who respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. “The market will take care of everything,” they tell us. If only we cut more regulations and cut more taxes – especially for the wealthy – our economy will grow stronger. Sure, there will be winners and losers. But if the winners do really well, jobs and prosperity will eventually trickle down to everyone else. And even if prosperity doesn’t trickle down, they argue, that’s the price of liberty.

It’s a simple theory – one that speaks to our rugged individualism and healthy skepticism of too much government. It fits well on a bumper sticker. Here’s the problem: It doesn’t work. It’s never worked. It didn’t work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression. It’s not what led to the incredible post-war boom of the 50s and 60s. And it didn’t work when we tried it during the last decade.

Obama is advocating Croly’s proposal that large corporations be regulated for the nation’s good. But he’s updating Croly. The next paragraphs are important.

    Remember that in those years, in 2001 and 2003, Congress passed two of the most expensive tax cuts for the wealthy in history, and what did they get us? The slowest job growth in half a century. Massive deficits that have made it much harder to pay for the investments that built this country and provided the basic security that helped millions of Americans reach and stay in the middle class – things like education and infrastructure; science and technology; Medicare and Social Security.

Remember that in those years, thanks to some of the same folks who are running Congress now, we had weak regulation and little oversight, and what did that get us? Insurance companies that jacked up people’s premiums with impunity, and denied care to the patients who were sick. Mortgage lenders that tricked families into buying homes they couldn’t afford. A financial sector where irresponsibility and lack of basic oversight nearly destroyed our entire economy.

We simply cannot return to this brand of your-on-your-own economics if we’re serious about rebuilding the middle class in this country. We know that it doesn’t result in a strong economy. It results in an economy that invests too little in its people and its future. It doesn’t result in a prosperity that trickles down. It results in a prosperity that’s enjoyed by fewer and fewer of our citizens.

Look at the statistics. In the last few decades, the average income of the top one percent has gone up by more than 250%, to $1.2 million per year. For the top one hundredth of one percent, the average income is now $27 million per year. The typical CEO who used to earn about 30 times more than his or her workers now earns 110 times more. And yet, over the last decade, the incomes of most Americans have actually fallen by about six percent.

The very first time the President has emphasized this grotesque trend. Now listen for how he connects this with the deterioration of our economy and democracy:

    This kind of inequality – a level we haven’t seen since the Great Depression – hurts us all. When middle-class families can no longer afford to buy the goods and services that businesses are selling, it drags down the entire economy, from top to bottom. America was built on the idea of broad-based prosperity – that’s why a CEO like Henry Ford made it his mission to pay his workers enough so that they could buy the cars they made. It’s also why a recent study showed that countries with less inequality tend to have stronger and steadier economic growth over the long run.

Inequality also distorts our democracy. It gives an outsized voice to the few who can afford high-priced lobbyists and unlimited campaign contributions, and runs the risk of selling out our democracy to the highest bidder. And it leaves everyone else rightly suspicious that the system in Washington is rigged against them – that our elected representatives aren’t looking out for the interests of most Americans.

More fundamentally, this kind of gaping inequality gives lie to the promise at the very heart of America: that this is the place where you can make it if you try. We tell people that in this country, even if you’re born with nothing, hard work can get you into the middle class; and that your children will have the chance to do even better than you. That’s why immigrants from around the world flocked to our shores.

And what it’s done to equal opportunity, and how it’s eroded upward mobility:

    And yet, over the last few decades, the rungs on the ladder of opportunity have grown farther and farther apart, and the middle class has shrunk. A few years after World War II, a child who was born into poverty had a slightly better than 50-50 chance of becoming middle class as an adult. By 1980, that chance fell to around 40%. And if the trend of rising inequality over the last few decades continues, it’s estimated that a child born today will only have a 1 in 3 chance of making it to the middle class.

It’s heartbreaking enough that there are millions of working families in this country who are now forced to take their children to food banks for a decent meal. But the idea that those children might not have a chance to climb out of that situation and back into the middle class, no matter how hard they work? That’s inexcusable. It’s wrong. It flies in the face of everything we stand for.

What should we do about this? Not turn to protectionism or become neo-Luddites. Nor turn to some version of government planning.

    Fortunately, that’s not a future we have to accept. Because there’s another view about how we build a strong middle class in this country – a view that’s truer to our history; a vision that’s been embraced by people of both parties for more than two hundred years.

It’s not a view that we should somehow turn back technology or put up walls around America. It’s not a view that says we should punish profit or success or pretend that government knows how to fix all society’s problems. It’s a view that says in America, we are greater together – when everyone engages in fair play, everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share.

So what does that mean for restoring middle-class security in today’s economy?

    It starts by making sure that everyone in America gets a fair shot at success. The truth is, we’ll never be able to compete with other countries when it comes to who’s best at letting their businesses pay the lowest wages or pollute as much as they want. That’s a race to the bottom that we can’t win – and shouldn’t want to win. Those countries don’t have a strong middle-class. They don’t have our standard of living.

In 1910, Teddy Roosevelt came here, to Osawatomie, and laid out his vision for what he called a New Nationalism. …

The fact is, this crisis has left a deficit of trust between Main Street and Wall Street. And major banks that were rescued by the taxpayers have an obligation to go the extra mile in helping to close that deficit. At minimum, they should be remedying past mortgage abuses that led to the financial crisis, and working to keep responsible homeowners in their home. We’re going to keep pushing them to provide more time for unemployed homeowners to look for work without having to worry about immediately losing their house.

I wish the Obama administration had made this a condition for the banks receiving bailouts.

But there’s far more to the speech. Read it in full. It lays out the basis for what could be the platform Obama will run on in 2012 — increasing taxes on the rich, investing in the rest us, requiring corporations and Wall Street banks that reap benefits from being in America create good jobs for Americans, and protecting our democracy from being corrupted by money — a new New Nationalism.

Here, finally, is the Barack Obama many of us thought we had elected in 2008. Since then we’ve had a president who has only reluctantly stood up to the moneyed interests Teddy Roosevelt and his cousin Franklin stood up to.

Hopefully Obama will carry this message through 2012, and gain a mandate to use his second term to take on the growing inequities and game-rigging practices that have been undermining the American economy and American democracy for years.

40 comments on “The Most Important Economic Speech of His Presidency”

  1. RedLogix 1

    Obama has certainly named the problem. But the forces aligned against him are immense. In the time of Teddy Roosevelt Conservatives and Liberals could at least agree on what the goal of political life was… the betterment and progress of the nation more or less as a whole.

    And while they may have disagreed on exactly how to achieve that, the real work of politics got done in the country clubs and golf courses where opponents could compromise; to negotiate and horse-trade. Politicians understood that things only got done if you built a broad consensus for them.

    But 30 years of neo-liberal extremism has dismantled not only the social contract, but the political one as well. As Obama states in the speech, Washington is now in a state of permanent grid-lock… nothing significant gets done.

    How can Obama single-handledly break this impasse? The US Constitution explicitly balances the power of Presidency against that of Congress and the Supreme Court…. and both are oburately aligned to the interests of the corporates and wealthy. The sheer impact of the money and power being wielded against Obama compells us to ask … what is the possible circuit-breaker?

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      The sheer impact of the money and power being wielded against Obama compells us to ask … what is the possible circuit-breaker?

      From my point of view in the US, it starts with
      - Getting corporate money out of Washington. For instance, campaign finance reform (public funding of election campaigns, tight caps on donations and strict spending limits).

      - Electoral reform. For instance, increasing the proportionality of their electoral system and taking steps to increase voter participation.

      - Breaking up and regulating the TBTF financial system.

      None of that is ever going to happen IMO. My worry is that there will be a false-flag event and things will actually go the other way in the US.

      • Afewknowthetruth 1.1.1

        Lets face it. When a person most people had never even heard of a year before gets propelled into the top job you know he was put there by the elites to carry out their agenda. (Corporate doantions confirm it.)

        American bankers and corporations have been ‘in love’ with fascism since the 1920s but have had to erode the structure of US society and undermine the constitution gradually.

        They now have the bulk of the American public where they want them -confused, fearful and dependent. High unemployment means military (or private security) recruitment is so much easier than it was. Give a hungry man three square meals a day and a uniform ….

        The next couple of years are going to be rather nasty for most people.

    • Anthony 1.2

      It’s going to be a hard thing to push against because at the same time you have to push against their economic power and idealogical power.

      The good thing is that there are some fairly rigorous critiques being built up of the elegantly simple framework of free market capitalism, so hopefully if they can gain enough agency and form a fairly singular framework that is an alternative to the current one it might have a shot.

      Who knows if it will be too late or not.

      It’s always going to be ideas/people against ideas/capital, at least now there pretty effective ways to get these to a lot of people, it just has to be the right idea – I’m thinking ecological economics etc might have a real shot.

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    Ahhh, election year, 2012.

    When you examine the detail of Obama’s presidency, including the massive number of drone killings in foreign countries without any oversight or consideration for international law, ongoing trillion dollar support for the bankers while ordinary Americans sink below the poverty line (46M on foodstamps and counting), and the new law just passed allowing for the indefinite detention of any US citizen without charge as a measure of the ‘War on Terror’, I think its safe to say that “change you can hope for” is a long way gone.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1

      Another measure of the “war on terror” is that fewer people have died in military actions in the last decade than in any prior decade of the last hundred years. Oh look, a change for the better.

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        fewer people have died in military actions in the last decade than in any prior decade of the last hundred years.

        Dunno about that, the estimates of increased Iraqi civilian deaths in the years immediately after Iraq was invaded were high. A million plus IIRC. Many of them not due to direct military action, but the ongoing negative effects of US occupation and loss of US control of the structures of Iraqi society.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1.1

          Yes, it seems counter-intuitive doesn’t it? Nonetheless I have found this reported by several different sources within the research community. Debate, of course, continues to rage about methodology, but so far as I can tell there has been no serious rebuttal of the finding. cf: Steven Pinker et al

          • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1.1

            This is forward looking of course, but deep economic, financial and debt crises were a major driver of big wars in the 20th century.

            So Obama is not in the clear yet, even on this count.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1.1.1.1

              I’ve given up trying to figure out what Obama’s administration stands for. This speech is all very well, but what (if anything) are they actually going to do?
              The worst possible president apart from all the other ones?

    • Afewknowthetruth 2.2

      CV

      If all goes according to plan O’bomber will soon be able to say: “I didn’t know any of it was happening. There was a communication breakdown between government departments and the private contractors.”

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.2.1

        Well, that would be the case if the world really worked on the basis of a gigantic secret conspiracy, rather than simply being SNAFU.

        • Afewknowthetruth 2.2.1.1

          The idea that wealthy men would conspire to make themsleves and their associates wealthier does not occur to some people.

  3. Afewknowthetruth 3

    This speech is very much like the ‘hope and change’ bullshit that Obama churned out in order to become president -he is from the Chicago ‘school’ after all.

    Sure, the money-lenders and corporations are in control. They are in control throughout the western world. The breakup of the Rockerfeller Standard Oil empire in the early 1900s was only a temporary setback on the path to near-total control they have now achieved.

    What Obama failed to mention is the underlying reason for the fall in the American standard of living and why the American standard of living must inevitably continue to fall. Well, he couldn’t, could he?

    http://www.econbrowser.com/archives/2007/05/peak_oil_in_ame.html

    No need to read the text, just look at the graph.

    Money ain’t comin’ out the ground like it used to.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      Money ain’t comin’ out the ground like it used to.

      Energy ain’t coming out of the ground like it used to.

      Money still seems to be flowing out of printing presses and electronic accounts fine however. As you well know (but not many others) the former is critical but the latter is fairly useless.

  4. randal 4

    the world is coming to the end of an era if not an epoch.
    the forces at large are beyond the control of mere mortals.
    that might sound pretentious but wait and see.
    Obama is doing the best he can with a deck that is just about stacked against him, especially the noo noo head republicans who think that money equates to intelligence.

  5. Afewknowthetruth 5

    CV

    Good point.

    I tried to simplify it, rather than going into all the details about how the US was the biggest exporter of oil in the world through the 1930s to the 1960s and still had so much oil left over it could be sold domestically for a few cents a gallon, as the prime energy source for citizens and much of industry.

    Ah, the 1950s, when cars began to resemble Flash Gordon space rockets and fuel economy was the last thing on anybody’s mind.

    Jimmy Carter was the last president to speak honestly about the long term energy situation. (He was even honest about the need to for America to take control of Middle East oil.)

    Since his time the world has been subjected to a series of buffoons, sabotuers and criminals of the highest order as presidents.

    I see that the EU has come up with a new scam to restore confidence in financial systems for a few more months (weeks?), while the in the real world ‘everything turns to custard’.

    There’s no getting round declining Energy Return On Energy Invested whatever the clowns in high office might tell the proles.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      I see that the EU has come up with a new scam to restore confidence in financial systems for a few more months (weeks?)

      Perhaps 1-2 weeks. Probably only days.

      You see, all the big market players already know that these bail out facilities are only ‘optical backstops’, mirages in other words, with very little substantial behind them.

  6. lefty 6

    Typical social democrat.

    Identify the problem then do nothing about it.

    This is why people give up on voting. Only the right have the courage of their convictions.

    Whether its in Greece, Spain the US, the UK or here in NZ social democrats have consistently let their supporters down by talking like socialists and acting like neo liberals.

    They act as a roadblock to the formation of political movements that might challenge the ruling class but won’t do the job themselves.

    They are the biggest contributors to alienation from the voting system and undermine democracy far more than the right who at least have the honesty to talk like bastards and act like bastards.

    Its time for the social democrats like Obama and the Labour/Socialist parties in the developed world to either piss or get off the pot.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      +1

      the 4th Labour Government brought in neo-liberalism which is the cause of the countries problems, The 5th Labour Government did SFA to fix to fix the problems and actually actively supported most of them, and the leadership of Labour over the last three years promised more of the same. The Greens are now following the same path.

      The people who want to make a difference and correct the problems caused by over exploitation have no one to vote for.

    • seeker 6.2

      @lefty

      “Typical social democrat.

      “Identify the problem…….”

      At least an American President has’identified the problem’, and given an articulate and powerful voice to it. Big step. One needs to identify the problem before it can be solved. It is more than a Republican would be able, or prepared, to do.

  7. Oh give me a break.

    Obama is financed and owned by Goldman Sachs, is going to sign the S. 1867 act which will turn the entire US of A into a battlefield allowing the army to arrest anyone, anytime and for as long as they want without a trial and has committed more war crimes than Bush. He is not going to do anything his masters don’t want him to do/ In fact I would go as far as saying that he is a narcissistic teleprompter reading puppet while the committee of five including Hillary Clinton and Panetta rule globally with impunity.

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    The underlying cause was, as the President said before, the breaking of the basic bargain linking pay to productivity.

    Wrong, the underlying cause is capitalism. Capitalism will always create poverty and thus collapse.

    It gives an outsized voice to the few who can afford high-priced lobbyists and unlimited campaign contributions, and runs the risk of selling out our democracy to the highest bidder.

    Not runs the risk, it’s already been sold.

    Meh, A speech that basically promises to keep doing what we’ve always done.

    • RedLogix 8.1

      Meh, A speech that basically promises to keep doing what we’ve always done.

      The speech itself contains little that hasn’t been said elsewhere; it the fact that the President of the USA who is saying it that makes it … almost remarkable.

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.1

        The largest investment banks and corporates have already made sure that Obama has far more money in his 2012 campaign accounts than the 8 Republican candidates put together.

        Obama does good speeches; now what else is he going to do.

      • Draco T Bastard 8.1.2

        Doesn’t matter WTF said it, it promises not to change the status quo and that’s the bit that needs changing.

  9. Galeandra 9

    Maybe Obama offers a final hope before the radical polarisation and disintegration of the American commonwealth?

    As do others, I see little hope for any resolution of the issues he traverses: the opportunity cost of the last decades is yet to be paid in full, and the resources to remediate things have largely been squandered.
    I think that those perceived to be ‘rich mfos’ may soon need more than gated communities to protect their slice of the Dream.

    Heaven forbid we become similarly polarised in NZ.

    • Afewknowthetruth 9.1

      Gal.

      ‘Maybe Obama offers a final hope’

      Did you read the previos comments?

      The neo-fascists have their man in position, and he is doing exactly what anyone would expect a puppet of Wall St to do.

      What Obama says is largely irrelevant. cf. 2008 “hope and change you can believe in.”

      • Galeandra 9.1.1

        Yes I did read the comments.

        I don’t know anyone who’s happy with Obama (no need to denigrate the man by contortions of wit upon his name) but most are able to differentiate the man from the system, and attribute blame accordingly.

        Andif he fails to make others support his change, well, what was it I wrote in the rest of the sentence?….( you know, the bit you omitted that followed ‘hope’?)

        Downthread posts are on the money.

  10. mike 10

    “Here, finally, is the Barack Obama many of us thought we had elected in 2008.”

    So what exactly happened to that guy? Obama seems to have a special talent for making rousing speeches that hit on exactly what people want to hear – come election time. Pretty words are well and good, but actions speak louder.

    My dear mum was so impressed with Obama when he was elected, as if he was the guy that was going to save the world. I pointed out to her then that he hadn’t actually done anything. I thought even he looked a little embarrassed when he accepted his Nobel peace prize before having done anything.

    I seem to recall him promising very similiar hope and change four years ago. Four business as usual years ago. If he gets re-elected on this populist line and nothing changes, I think hope itself will be declared dead in the US.

    This will be a fascinating election for sure. If he’s serious about doing something to fix these problems, he will face very powerful forces against him. If he’s not, if won’t matter much whether the Americans pick the psychopath from the blue team, or the psychopath from the red team.

    • RedLogix 10.1

      Yes the Obama Administration has fallen WAY short of the man’s rhetoric.

      At the same time Obama’s entire Presidency has been blighted, initially by the 2008 fiscal crisis, and then by a Congress unhinged in it’s opposition to him. Even so in the first two years significant health-care reforms were achieved despite a HUGE politial battle that consumed immense amounts of political capital and good will.

      But in the aftermath of that the American public elected a Congress dominated by an insane GOP Party that has not only rejected every possible opportunity for bi-partisanship, but sought at all times to destroy the Obama Presidency. Even to the point of failing to confirm routine senior public service appointments.

      The Republicans have made it virtually impossible for Obama to achieve anything. Their behaviour is unprecendented in all US history; at times bordering on the traitorous. (Consider their attempt to bankrupt the Federal govt by threatening to not vote for a routine increase of the debt ceiling limit.)

      I doubt any President has faced not only such challenging times globally…but certainly none who have had to contend with such a hostile, rejectionist political environment… utterly determined to destroy him regardless almost of the cost… even to the nation.

      • mike 10.1.1

        Yes I agree Red, that’s the narrative that has come out, of a president who can’t pass anything legislation because congress quashes it just because it can. If it’s true it’s borderline traitorous as you say. Not that I have any good reason to doubt it, we just have no real way of knowing what on Earth is really going on there.

        People will say though, “He promised the same change we could believe in in 2008, why should we believe it now?” (Though it’s probably not enough for his supporters to switch their vote to the Republican insanity.) I’m glad he’s saying it, I’m just saying that talk is cheap.

        He’s also up against the Fox news propaganda machine, look for them to amp up the hate coverage to unprecedented levels this year.

        • mike 10.1.1.1

          Also, like most Obama speeches, I see a lot of “Just like you America, I don’t like x, y, and z. What I do like is American ideals and values a, b, and c. In my vision of America blah blah blah” But no concrete pledges or ideas about what exactly he intends to do.

      • Draco T Bastard 10.1.2

        The Republicans have made it virtually impossible for Obama to achieve anything. Their behaviour is unprecendented in all US history; at times bordering on the traitorous.

        And people wonder why I’m so against having a bicameral parliament.

  11. Afewknowthetruth 11

    Derrick Jensen ‘nailed it’ when he said: ‘Hope is the problem.’

    I hope global corporations are not going to log more of the last remaining tropical jungles.

    I hope BP doesn’t start drilling in the Arctic.

    I hope deep-sea trawlers aren’t going to overfish the last of the fish stocks.

    I hope governments decide to do something about global warming.

    Hope is one of the greatest obstacles to personal action ….. especially when you are hoping someone else will do something.

  12. randal 12

    see whether you like him or not, or his party, or his achievements he is the best we have got and he doesn’t fix parking tickets.
    the world is changing faster than mortgage rates and someone has to be at the helm and BO is it and a million times better than the republican party grotesques.

  13. Roy 13

    I wish Obama’s speechwriter would run for the Presidency. He seems like a cool guy.

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Recent Posts

  • Time for a local drone strike policy
    A message from Arthur McGee, founder of and spokesperson for the Commonsense Corrections Society...
    Imperator Fish | 19-04
  • AT Bouquets and Brickbats from the severe weather
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    Transport Blog | 19-04
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    Pundit | 19-04
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    The Paepae | 18-04
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    Greenpeace NZ blog | 18-04
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    Real Climate | 17-04
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    Frankly Speaking | 17-04
  • A message from Greenpeace about Simon Bridges
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  • Letter to the Editor: John Key and State-sanctioned murder
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    Frankly Speaking | 17-04
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  • Judith Collins explains
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    Imperator Fish | 17-04
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    Kiwipolitico | 17-04
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    No Right Turn | 17-04
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    No Right Turn | 17-04
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    Tumeke | 17-04
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    frogblog | 17-04
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    No Right Turn | 17-04
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  • Easter PT shutdown
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    frogblog | 17-04
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    TEU | 16-04
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    Public Address | 16-04
  • Great Sorkin Parody
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  • Photographic proof
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    The Hand Mirror | 16-04
  • Our future lies in science
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    Pundit | 16-04
  • Gordon Campbell on drone strikes and Judith Collins‘ last stand
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    Gordon Campbell | 16-04
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    TEU | 16-04
  • World News Brief, Thursday April 17
    Top of the AgendaTensions Rise in Ukraine’s East Ahead of Talks...
    Pundit | 16-04
  • Northern Europe looks to end fixed-term agreements for academics
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    TEU | 16-04
  • At Last: A Manufacturing Policy
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    First Union Media | 16-04
  • Collins: More contemptible lying
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    Polity | 16-04
  • The Downside of Park and Ride
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    Transport Blog | 16-04
  • Heartland logic: More people have heard of Fidel Castro than Michael Mann, ...
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    Skeptical Science | 16-04
  • Submission
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    No Right Turn | 16-04
  • Storm fans fire service commitment
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    Labour | 19-04
  • Time for Ryall to fix mistakes and help families
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    Labour | 18-04
  • Time for greater ministerial accountability
    The Green Party has today released a proposal to introduce a ministerial disclosure regime in New Zealand to improve the transparency and accountability of government.The proposal, based on the system used in the United Kingdom since 2010, would require all...
    Greens | 18-04
  • Power prices soar on the eve of winter
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    Labour | 18-04
  • Workers can kiss goodbye to Easter Sunday off
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    Labour | 18-04
  • Businesses need to respect workers this Easter
    Businesses intent on flouting Easter shopping laws should face stiff penalties, Green Party industrial relations spokesperson Denise Roche said today. This Easter, at least one major garden centre chain intends to open on Good Friday despite this being in breach...
    Greens | 17-04
  • Time to deliver on 26 weeks Paid Parental Leave
    Today marks two years since Labour MP Sue Moroney's Bill extending paid parental leave to 26 weeks was drawn from the members' ballot. “It’s time the Government acted in the interests of families,” Sue Moroney says. “National has tried every...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Taxpayers robbed of $130m in Genesis sale
    Kiwi taxpayers have been robbed of $130 million by the Government in its final failed asset sale, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove. “National set the price for Genesis far too low in a desperate attempt to beef up demand....
    Labour | 17-04
  • Work visa problems need monitoring
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    Labour | 17-04
  • Resignation rates among cops soar
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    Labour | 17-04
  • Service for victims of sexual violence pushed out in cold
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    Greens | 17-04
  • Legal high ban worthy of wider pick-up
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    Labour | 17-04
  • Smith sells state P-houses to first home buyers
    Nick Smith must reassure worried first home buyers that any Housing NZ houses sold under his First Home policy will be tested for P contamination after revelations that three out of seven properties sold in Wanganui tested positive for methamphetamine,...
    Labour | 17-04
  • PM’s China visit assisted Oravida, not Fonterra
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    Labour | 16-04
  • New Zealand’s use of ozone depleting gases increases
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    Greens | 16-04
  • Manufacturing Upgrade
    Labour is determined to support and grow our manufacturing sector. These policies grew out of the findings of the 2013 Parliamentary Inquiry into Manufacturing.  ...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Collins must admit misleading Parliament
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    Labour | 16-04
  • English confirms he has no plan to raise wages
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    Labour | 16-04
  • Govt careless and callous about threatened birds
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    Greens | 16-04
  • Genesis: The biggest fire sale of them all
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    Labour | 16-04
  • Interest rates rise but only smokes increasing
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    Labour | 16-04
  • Term One Report Card for Hekia Parata
    Assignment Teacher’s Comments Grade      ...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Hekia Parata kept exam book errors from schools
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    Labour | 15-04
  • What has ACC Minister been doing?
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    Greens | 15-04
  • Promise of jam tomorrow takes the cake
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    Labour | 15-04
  • Judith Collins has to fess up on ACC blunder
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    Labour | 15-04
  • Board of Inquiry conditions will save rivers in New Zealand
    The Ruataniwha dam decision released today has protected the Tukituki River and dashed the Government’s hope of the “one nutrient model” (TRIM) being adopted nationwide, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “It is a massive victory for those in the...
    Labour | 15-04
  • Labour turns wheels for cycling safety
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    Labour | 15-04
  • SPEECH: Institute of Directors
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    Labour | 15-04
  • More Oravida endorsements from John Key
    The use of a picture of John Key in an advertisement for Oravida’s scampi products in a Chinese airline magazine is further evidence of an unhealthily cosy relationship between the National Party and this company, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says....
    Labour | 15-04
  • Workers at Canterbury Yarns need redundancy support
    Workers faced with redundancy at Canterbury Yarns need a redundancy support co-ordinator, Green Party industrial relations spokesperson Denise Roche said today.Last week, Canterbury Yarns was placed in receivership. Canterbury Yarns joins a long list of New Zealand manufacturers who have...
    Greens | 14-04
  • Making the holidays easier for Kiwi drivers
    The next Labour Government will make the holidays easier and journeys quicker for Kiwi families driving on the roads, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “There’s nothing Kiwis like more than getting on the road and going on holiday. But on...
    Labour | 14-04
  • Ae Marika! 15 April 2014
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    Mana | 14-04
  • Green light from Labour for cancer screening programme
    Labour Leader David Cunliffe has today committed to a national bowel screening programme, starting with extending the current service to the Southern and Waikato districts. “Around 3000 New Zealanders develop bowel cancer each year and about 1200, or 100 a month,...
    Labour | 14-04
  • Adequate resourcing needed for victims’ advocate
    The establishment of a victims’ commissioner role will only be meaningful if it is properly resourced to do the job of advocating for victims’ interests, Labour Justice spokesperson Andrew Little says. Justice Minister Judith Collins has just recently indicated her...
    Labour | 13-04
  • IPCC report shows Government ignoring climate experts
    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) report into climate mitigation, just released in Berlin, shows the National Government is ignoring the pleas of the world's best climate scientists.The report says deep and fast emission cuts are vital from all...
    Greens | 13-04
  • Japan’s quick turnaround on whaling disappointing
    News that Japan plans to recommence some form of “scientific” whaling programme so quickly after the International Court of Justice’s ruling against it is very disappointing, says David Shearer, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson. “New Zealanders expected the ICJ ruling -...
    Labour | 13-04
  • Reviewable tenancies will increase risks for vulnerable children
    Instead of kicking families out of their homes if they can pay their rent, parents with young children should have the opportunity to purchase equity in a state-built home over time, the Green Party said todayFrom July, Housing New Zealand...
    Greens | 13-04
  • 48,000 New Zealanders drinking faecally contaminated water
    Some 48,000 people were provided with water that had issues with faecal contamination, 18,000 of whom were from Canterbury, the Green Party said today. The Ministry of Health's Annual Report on Drinking-Water in New Zealand for 2012/13 shows that 48,000...
    Greens | 12-04
  • Labour will move to save the Kauri
    Labour will spend $20 million over the next 10 years to stop the spread of Kauri dieback disease, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “We are facing an ecological disaster with over 11 per cent of the Kauri trees in the...
    Labour | 12-04
  • SPEECH: Saving our Kauri
    Seech notes Good morning. Thank you for joining us here today. As a West Auckland MP I am very aware the kauri is an important part of this place. The Waitakere Ranges with their thousands of kauri, are a taonga....
    Labour | 12-04
  • MANA to continue negotiations with the Internet Party
    The MANA AGM has decided unanimously tonight to continue negotiaitions with the Internet Party. Within a month further negotiations, further consultation with MANA branches and a final decision on whether to proceed with a relationship is expected....
    Mana | 12-04
  • National’s tax dodge
      National’s insistence that it is cracking down on tax dodgers is little more than a bit of election year chest beating, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “Revenue Minister Todd McClay surely doesn’t believe collecting $100 million of an estimated...
    Labour | 12-04
  • Housing prices go up – Gens X & Y give up
    Today’s REINZ report shows house prices continue skyward while first home buyers are dropping out of the market, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “According to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand the national median house price has risen...
    Labour | 11-04
  • Do Key and Adams support Chorus appeal?
    John Key and Amy Adams must tell New Zealanders whether they support Chorus’ appeal of the High Court’s ruling in favour of the Commerce Commission, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “Chorus’ appeal is a waste of time. The company is...
    Labour | 11-04
  • Is Judith Collins unapologising
    Judith Collins appears to have retracted her apology for failing to disclose her meeting with her husband’s fellow company directors and a senior Chinese border control official just weeks after being ticked off by John Key for not doing so, Labour...
    Labour | 11-04
  • Media Advisory
    There have been a few minor changes to the MANA AGM agenda. Moana Jackson is unable to attend due to family commitments. Speaking in his place on Saturday morning MANA is pleased to welcome Georgina Beyer and Willie Jackson. MANA...
    Mana | 10-04
  • Green Party requests inquiry into Peter Dunne and Trust
    Green Party MP Denise Roche today wrote to the Parliamentary Registrar of Pecuniary Interests requesting an inquiry into whether Peter Dunne should have included his involvement as chair of the Northern Wellington Festival Trust on the Register of Pecuniary Interests...
    Greens | 10-04
  • Veterans short-changed
    The Veterans’ Support Bill reported back to Parliament today rejects a key recommendation of the Law Commission Review on which it is based and ignores the submissions of veterans and the RNZRSA, says Labour’s Veterans’ Affairs Spokesperson, Phil Goff. “A...
    Labour | 10-04
  • Tribute for Maungaharuru- Tangitu settlement
    Labour Member of Parliament for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti, Meka Whaitiri paid tribute to Maungaharuru-Tangitu today as their Treaty of Waitangi settlement became law. “The Bill acknowledges Treaty breaches that left Maungaharuru-Tangitu virtually landless. Today we were reminded of the history, mamae, loss...
    Labour | 10-04
  • Our government: still no idea
    Happy Easter everyone, bad weather aside. A previous post of mine was called “The Government with no ideas”.  Unsurprisingly, the theme of the piece was of a current government thoroughly absent of any creative ideas or solutions to assist more...
    The Daily Blog | 18-04
  • 12 things Forbes has to say about NZs about to burst economic bubble
    Forbes is not known for their socialist or left wing activism, so when they predict a grim economic failure, we should should collectively poo ourselves a little. National often get given this perception that somehow they are better economic mangers....
    The Daily Blog | 18-04
  • That Sinking Feeling: Labour’s urgent need for persuasive words and coura...
    THE LATEST ROY MORGAN POLL has Labour on 28.5 percent (down 3.5 percent) and the Greens on 11.5 percent (down 1.5 percent). At 40 percent, the combined vote of the two main centre-left parties has fallen 5 percentage points since...
    The Daily Blog | 18-04
  • Why the Labour movement should support a Universal Basic Income
    The Mana movement’s support of the idea of a universal basic income is a welcome development. It could become one of the litmus issues that define the party and prove extremely popular. If Mana are in a position to do...
    The Daily Blog | 18-04
  • Legal high and cannabis regulation
    I marched through Henderson last month with my fellow Westies to express our concern about the impact of so called “legal highs” on our community. Some people chanted loudly calling for banning, some expressing anger at the parliamentarians who voted...
    The Daily Blog | 18-04
  • Know your Tory fellow travellers and ideologues: John Bishop, Taxpayers Uni...
    . . On 19 March, I reported on the Board members of the so-called “Taxpayers Union”. With one exception, every single member of the Taxpayers Union Board was a current (or recent) card-carrying member or supporter of the National and/or...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • GUEST BLOG: Daniel Bruce – Internet Party: What Seems Ridiculous To The O...
    Imagine you’re a 18-21 year old, from a working class family. You’ve never had a landline phone at home, because your parents can’t afford the fixed monthly bills, so everyone in your familiy has a pre-pay mobile phone. Because of the same tight...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Greens to push for housing standards in MOU with Government
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Greens to push for housing standards in MOU with Government Tuesday, 28 Aug 2012 | Press Release We don’t need any more official reports. We know the problem and we have the plans....
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Mighty River squanders $3.8m preparing for sale
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Mighty River squanders $3.8m preparing for sale Tuesday, 28 Aug 2012 | Press Release New Zealanders do not want asset sales and they do not want the Government wasting millions of dollars on...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Government’s economic agenda on shaky ground
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Government’s economic agenda on shaky ground Monday, 27 Aug 2012 | Press Release Instead of betting on a boom and bust industry and selling off assets the government needs to invest in a...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • National’s tax cuts haven’t cut tax avoidance
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: National’s tax cuts haven’t cut tax avoidance Sunday, 26 Aug 2012 | Press Release It is not fair that many rich New Zealanders are cheating on their tax. National’s 2010 tax cuts, that...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Waitangi Tribunal report adds to crisis in asset sales agenda
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Waitangi Tribunal report adds to crisis in asset sales agenda Friday, 24 Aug 2012 | Press Release In its rush to sell our assets, National has found itself in a crisis of its...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Privacy across all departments needs checking
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Privacy across all departments needs checking Friday, 24 Aug 2012 | Press Release “People don’t have a choice about giving their information to the state so the Government has an absolute duty to...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Reports show Government role in driving ACC dysfunction
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Reports show Government role in driving ACC dysfunction Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release Restoring public trust and confidence is an essential goal and will require very major change starting from the...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Government must front up on full costs of asset sales
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Government must front up on full costs of asset sales Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release It’s time for the Government to front up over just how much these asset sales are...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • New report: middle NZ worse off, inequality grows
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: New report: middle NZ worse off, inequality grows Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release Our society has never been as unequal as it is today. New research from the Ministry of Social...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Government to delay addressing climate change indefinitely
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Government to delay addressing climate change indefinitely Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release “It would be a shock for any other Government to introduce such a self-defeatist piece of legislation but unfortunately...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Time to deliver on 26 weeks Paid Parental Leave
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Time to deliver on 26 weeks Paid Parental Leave Today marks two years since Labour MP Sue Moroney’s Bill extending paid parental leave to 26 weeks was drawn from the members’ ballot. “It’s...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Taxpayers robbed of $130m in Genesis sale
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Taxpayers robbed of $130m in Genesis sale Kiwi taxpayers have been robbed of $130 million by the Government in its final failed asset sale, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove. “National set the...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Service for victims of sexual violence pushed out in cold
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Service for victims of sexual violence pushed out in cold Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 | Press Release Christchurch cannot afford to lose this agency The Green Party is calling on Housing New Zealand...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Resignation rates among cops soar
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Resignation rates among cops soar The number of frontline officers quitting the police force is at a four-year high, with more than 350 walking off the job in the past year, Labour’s Police...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Work visa problems need monitoring
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Work visa problems need monitoring The Government is handing out temporary work visas to migrants to work in jobs that could easily be filled by unemployed Kiwi workers in the Christchurch rebuild, says...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Legal high ban worthy of wider pick-up
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Legal high ban worthy of wider pick-up Auckland Council’s ban on using legal highs in a public place is an excellent idea that should be replicated around New Zealand, says Labour’s Associate Health...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Smith sells state P-houses to first home buyers
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Smith sells state P-houses to first home buyers Nick Smith must reassure worried first home buyers that any Housing NZ houses sold under his First Home policy will be tested for P contamination...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Brazil: Human rights under threat ahead of the World Cup
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Brazil: Human rights under threat ahead of the World Cup     Protests in Brazil:Brazil Franciscan friar kneels in front of Brazilian riot police officers asking for calm during confrontation with Landless...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Brazil: Human rights under threat ahead of the World Cup
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Brazil: Human rights under threat ahead of the World Cup     Protests in Brazil:Brazil Franciscan friar kneels in front of Brazilian riot police officers asking for calm during confrontation with Landless...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Libya: Trial of former al-Gaddafi officials by video link a farce
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Libya: Trial of former al-Gaddafi officials by video link a farce     Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi will face the courts on 14 April. © IMED LAMLOUM/AFP/Getty Images         Read...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Libya: Trial of former al-Gaddafi officials by video link a farce
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Libya: Trial of former al-Gaddafi officials by video link a farce     Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi will face the courts on 14 April. © IMED LAMLOUM/AFP/Getty Images         Read...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Algeria: Pre-election clampdown exposes ‘gaping holes’ in human rights ...
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Algeria: Pre-election clampdown exposes ‘gaping holes’ in human rights record     Freedom of expression, association and assembly are under threat ahead of elections in Algeria. © FAROUK BATICHE/AFP/Getty Images    ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Algeria: Pre-election clampdown exposes ‘gaping holes’ in human rights ...
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Algeria: Pre-election clampdown exposes ‘gaping holes’ in human rights record     Freedom of expression, association and assembly are under threat ahead of elections in Algeria. © FAROUK BATICHE/AFP/Getty Images    ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Viet Nam: Prisoners of conscience released but dozens remain jailed
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Viet Nam: Prisoners of conscience released but dozens remain jailed     Vietnamese activist Nguyen Tien Trung was one of the prisoners of conscience released this week. © Private      ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Viet Nam: Prisoners of conscience released but dozens remain jailed
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Viet Nam: Prisoners of conscience released but dozens remain jailed     Vietnamese activist Nguyen Tien Trung was one of the prisoners of conscience released this week. © Private      ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • PM’s China visit assisted Oravida, not Fonterra
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: PM’s China visit assisted Oravida, not Fonterra Questions must now be asked whether it was Fonterra or Oravida who really benefited from the Prime Minister’s recent visit to China, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • New Zealand’s use of ozone depleting gases increases
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: New Zealand’s use of ozone depleting gases increases A new Government report highlights that the amount of ozone depleting gases New Zealand is using is increasing, the Green Party said today. The report...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • The issues behind the possible MANA-Internet Party Alliance
      Last weekend Kim Dotcom spoke at MANAs AGM to discuss the possibility of the Internet Party and MANA Party working together to defeat John Key this election. As someone who knows both Hone and Kim, I have a unique...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Manufacturing Upgrade
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Manufacturing Upgrade   Labour is determined to support and grow our manufacturing sector. These policies grew out of the findings of the 2013 Parliamentary Inquiry into Manufacturing.   – The claims and opinions...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Get work on 29th and the ANZAC spirit deserts the TPPA
      Groser and co would have been spitting tacks last week as the ANZAC spirit deserted the TPPA negotiations. Australia has done a deal directly with Japan which undercuts the demand for Japan to opening all agriculture in the TPPA....
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • No fracking solution to climate change
    Some British tabloids and oil lobbyists have jumped on comments made by an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change author that fracking could play a role in addressing climate change as an argument for it here in Aotearoa, so is fracking...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • At Last: A Manufacturing Policy
    Source: First Union – Press Release/Statement: Headline: At Last: A Manufacturing Policy Date of Release:  Thursday, April 17, 2014 Body:  FIRST Union congratulates Labour on the release of its Manufacturing policy today. The union represents workers in the wood, food and...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Drone murder of New Zealander “justified” by Prime Minister
    Yesterday Prime Minister John Key justified the extrajudicial killing of a New Zealander in a US drone strike in Yemen with a few cynical, callous words at a stand-up press conference. Key said he’d been briefed by our spy agencies...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Secret Policeman’s Ball
      Amnesty International’s Secret Policeman’s Ball is back in New Zealand for one night of some of the best stand-up comedy from both national and international comics The freedom to provoke and in some cases offend is essential to the...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • So the US has assassinated a NZ citizen – what did Key know?
    A non judicial assassination by the US on a NZ citizen raises questions. Key made the idea that NZers were training with terrorists part of his farcical defence for the GCSB mass surveillance legislation. I say farcical because even if...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Something Better Than Something Worse: Why John Key could become our longes...
    IN HIS MEMORABLE holiday-home encounter with the host of Campbell Live, the Prime Minister, John Key, did not rule out running for a fourth term. Were he to be successful, the long-standing record of Sir Keith Holyoake (11 years and 2...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • GUEST BLOG: RIO TINTO WINS 2013 ROGER AWARD
      Sky City Casino Second, Chorus Third  The seven finalists for the 2013 Roger Award for the Worst Transnational Corporation Operating in Aotearoa/New Zealand were: ANZ, Chorus, IAG Insurance Group, Imperial Tobacco, Rio Tinto, Sky City Casino and Talent 2. The criteria for judging are...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • National drowning in an ocean of poisoned milk
    It is becoming difficult to keep up with which National Party MP is bleeding the most at the moment. Simon Bridges is being crucified by Whaleoil almost as much as Greenpeace are attacking him, suggesting Cam is seizing the moment...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Want to get rid of synthetic cannabis? Legalize real cannabis
    Have we managed to appreciate the madness that synthetic cannabis is legal yet more harmful than organic cannabis which is illegal? I find the current moral panic over synthetic cannabis difficult to become concerned with when alcohol is FAR more...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Save our homes – stop the evictions!
    “We will keep on fighting because it frightens me to think my grandchildren could become homeless,” Tere Campbell told me. Tere is a member of Tamaki Housing Group. In September 2011, tenants in 156 state homes in Glen Innes received...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • The daily humiliation of women and the constant policing and shaming of our...
    The last few months have been particularly bad for the shaming and policing of women’s bodies in the media, both in New Zealand and globally. First we had NZ Newstalk ZB presenter Rachel Smalley referring to women weighing over 70kgs...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • A case study of racism by Police at Auckland Airport
    A couple of days ago I returned from Samoa after attending a family matter and some contract work. Spending a few days in the warmth of our homeland was welcome relief from the cold weather starting to make its presence...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • An acute shortage of emergency youth housing
    The housing crisis is effecting everyone in Christchurch but some are more vulnerable than others. Recently I attended a workshop on emergency youth housing hosted by the 298 Youth Health Centre, who I worked for from 2001-2003. Over fifty people...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Manufacturing Matters to New Zealand – 17 April
    The Labour Party announcement today recognises the simple truth that the manufacturing sector really matters to New Zealand’s economy as a whole, based on the part manufacturing plays in the growth of the added value element in the tradable sector,...
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Young Kiwi to Represent New Zealand at Premier Youth Forum
    Young Kiwi to Represent New Zealand at Premier Youth Forum FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Commonwealth Youth New Zealand Executive Director, Aaron Hape, has been selected to represent New Zealand at 33Fifty, the Commonwealth Youth Leadership Programme,...
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Lisa Owen interviews Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei
    Greens propose new ministerial disclosure regime based on British rules, requiring quarterly declarations of ministers' meetings, travel and hospitality....
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Politicians Should Maintain Workers’ Easter Break
    Family First NZ is rejecting calls for any liberalisation of Easter trading laws and says that workers deserve a break to spend time with their families. “This is not an issue about choice as has been argued. For many workers,...
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Lisa Owen interviews experts on Antacrtica
    Lisa Owen interviews Chuck Kennicutt and Gary Wilson on Antarctica Headlines: Top Antarctic scientists warns New Zealand "not ready" for worst as ice shelves and sea ice in Antarctica retreat and the climate changes Gary Wilson: "Can...
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Beyond the State – NZ State Houses from Modest to Modern
    As part of the our 'Active Hand of Government' series for 2014, we present Bill McKay, Senior Lecturer, School of Architecture and Planning, speaking to his new publication....
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Global unions applaud NZ ‘slave ships’ progress
    Global unions the ITF (International Transport Workers' Federation) and IUF (International Union of Food, Agricultural and Hospitality Workers) today applauded the steps forward made in preventing often shocking abuse of crews on fishing vessels in New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Families before commerce at Easter
    Families before commerce at Easter The retail workers’ union has hit back at critics of New Zealand's modest Easter trading restrictions. "Some things are more important than going to the mall, and for just three and a half days each...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Easter trading laws archaic, in need of overhaul
    Press release: ACT New Zealand Easter trading laws are outdated and in need of a major overhaul, said ACT leader Jamie Whyte today....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • ALCP welcomes Campbell Live poll result
    The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party welcomes last night's Campbell Live poll, saying it is an overdue reality check for public opinion on personal cannabis use....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Q+A This Week 20/4/14
    Q+A This Week SUNDAY 20 APRIL, 9AM ON TV ONE The latest on the US-NZ relationship from the US military’s top man in the Pacific, Admiral Samuel J. Locklear . Deputy Political Editor Michael Parkin asks him whether we’re allies,...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Community detention for pokie theft
    A 67-year-old former company director, convicted of stealing pokie machine profits, was today sentenced to six months community detention, 160 hours of community work and ordered to make reparation of $6,000....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Waitangi National Trust Board Amendment Bill
    The Māori Affairs Committee is inviting public submissions on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Wednesday, 14 May 2014....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Collaboration stops drugs from crossing borders
    Collaboration between Hong Kong and New Zealand Customs has stopped millions of dollars worth of drugs coming into New Zealand this year, with a number of seizures and arrests in both countries....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Call for public enquiry into the future of farming
    Fish & Game NZ is calling for a public enquiry “to examine the future of agriculture in New Zealand”....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Comment on Labour Policy Announcement by NZMEA President
    “This policy release from the Labour Party is so important that if it becomes government policy it would define a shift in New Zealand’s culture,” says Brian Willoughby President of the NZMEA and Managing Director of Plinius Audio and Contex...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Manufacturing policy makes sense but….
    On the surface much of Labour's prescription for manufacturing is sound though questions remain over some of the detail not yet announced, the Employers and Manufacturers Association says....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Where Are The 15,000 Jobs?
    “Paula Bennett is today proudly telling New Zealand that beneficiary numbers have decreased by 15,000 in the past year. There is no proud declaration that 15,000 jobs have been created in the same period,” says Auckland Action Against Poverty spokesperson,...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Change of approach to government procurement needed
    The rail engineering industry has been totally let down by National’s lack of manufacturing policy, and Labour’s measures outlined today represent a marked shift in approach to supporting domestic industries, the RMTU said today....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Depreciation Policy Shouldn’t Be Just for Pet Industries
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming Labour’s announcement to beef up rates of depreciation in the manufacturing sector, but is questioning why David Cunliffe is picking winners rather than applying the policy across all sectors. Jordan Williams,...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • FIFA U-20 World Cup NZ 2015 Kick Off Times Announced
    An array of kick-off times to suit football fans of all ages has been confirmed for the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015. With 52 matches spread across the nation, the public will be able to enjoy a collection...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • “Legitimate purpose” provides no protection under 167 form
    On Radio New Zealand today, the Privacy Commissioner indicated that ACC could only request information that was "relevant" for a "legitimate purpose". His view was therefore that the ACC167 form is not a "blank cheque" or...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • State: still keeping you safe on the road this Easter
    The long-awaited Easter/ Anzac break is nearly upon us while the weather may have taken a turn for the worse in several parts of the country, many Kiwis will still be packing up their cars to take a road trip....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Govt plan for community input into residential red zone
    Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel has welcomed Prime Minister John Key’s announcement today of a community participation process for the public to have a say on the future use of the residential red zone....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Governor-General to visit Turkey
    The Governor-General, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, is to visit Turkey next week to lead New Zealand’s representation at the annual Gallipoli commemorations....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Actions of Police prior to death in custody were justified
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority on the death of Adam Palmer while in Police custody found the actions of Police were justified during the arrest. The report also found that Police took all possible steps to try...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • New Electorate Boundaries Finalised
    New boundaries for the country’s 64 General and seven Māori electorates have been finalised – with an additional electorate created in Auckland. The 2014 Representation Commission has completed its statutory role of reviewing and redrawing electorate...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Save The Children Welcomes Strengthening Children’s Rights
    Save the Children New Zealand welcomes a new treaty which allows children to complain directly to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child about alleged violations of their rights....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Labour takes manufacturing seriously
    Labour takes manufacturing seriously Manufacturing workers and employers will all benefit from economic policies announced today by the Labour Party leader, David Cunliffe. The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union has welcomed the announcement...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Manufacturing policy welcomed
    “Today’s announcement of Labour’s manufacturing policy is very welcome,” says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg. “Just as many other developed countries are realising, having a strong manufacturing sector pays off in good jobs, retaining...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Operation Unite – a Blitz on Drunken Violence
    New Zealand Police are hoping to reduce the number of victims from alcohol related crime by asking the public to say ‘Yeah, Nah’ more often this holiday weekend....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Dunne Speaks
    Dunne Speaks 17 April 2014 There have been a number of harrowing cases presented this week about the impact of psychoactive substances on vulnerable young people. At one level, the tales are deeply disturbing. It is awful to see anyone...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Research announcement welcomed
    A leading Māori researcher has welcomed the announcement of the 2014 Te Pūnaha Hihiko - Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund by Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce and Māori Affairs Minister Dr Pita Sharples....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • At Last: A Manufacturing Policy
    At Last: A Manufacturing Policy FIRST Union congratulates Labour on the release of its Manufacturing policy today. The union represents workers in the wood, food and textile manufacturing sectors. “In a week that has seen another manufacturing company,...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Republic campaigners still positive after royal visit
    "Campaigners for a New Zealand Head of State are still feeling positive after ten days of royal events" says NZ Republic Chair, Savage. "Our polling before the visit showed increased support for a kiwi head of state. We have a...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Selling homes to foreigners benefits New Zealanders
    Winston Peters has apparently convinced David Cunliffe that when foreigners buy New Zealand property they make New Zealanders worse off. Mr Cunliffe has announced his intention to adopt Winston Peters’ policy of banning foreigners from buying...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Taxpayers’ Union Welcomes Key’s Rejection of ‘Fat Tax’
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming Prime Minister John Key’s rejection of fat and sugar taxes ahead of this year's election. Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Union, says:...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Law Commission Paper on a New Crown Civil Proceedings Act
    The Law Commission has released A New Crown Civil Proceedings Act for New Zealand , its Issues Paper on reforming the Crown Proceedings Act 1950. The Issues Paper proposes a new statute to replace the Crown Proceedings Act 1950....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Focus must now go on fishing industry jobs for NZ workers
    Maritime Union says focus must now go on fishing industry jobs for New Zealand workers...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Make the choice to stay safe on the road
    With Easter and Anzac Day giving us two successive long weekends this year there will be a lot of happy families preparing for trips....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Students Welcome Engagement with StudyLink
    The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) has welcomed the improved performance from StudyLink in 2014. There is no doubt that getting their loans and allowances processed on time makes it easier for students to concentrate on being...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Deaf And Hard of Hearing New Zealanders Marginalised
    Deaf And Hard of Hearing New Zealanders Marginalised Imagine if you could not access vital news and information. What would you do?...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Public lose interest in this council, 2016 to be a watershed
    The second term Auckland Council is proving to be an interesting one and very different to the inaugural 2010 – 2013 Governing Body. We are currently going through a budget round to lock in where council’s $3b expenditure is directed...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Labour and National join forces in new Maori confiscations
    Chris McKenzie, former-treaty negotiator and Te Tai Hauauru Maori party candidate, says that the Minister of Primary Industries’ plans to remove temporary exemptions for vessel operators derived from settlement negotiations is akin to confiscation...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • The FCV Bill – Flagging 30 years of failures?
    Paying seafarers at least a minimum wage under the Minimum Wage Act 1983 has applied to the New Zealand fishing industry for more than 30 years. It was, and is, a basic protection which had two universals – it was...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Oxfam’s Morning Tea 2014
    Oxfam’s Morning Tea 2014 Kiwis across the country are getting together over a cuppa to make a difference in the lives of people living in poverty in the developing world. They’re getting involved in Oxfam’s Morning Tea, a fun and...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • 1 in 4 Want to Improve Financial Literacy But Don’t Know How
    1 in 4 Want to Improve Financial Literacy But Don’t Know Where to Go...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Rio Tinto Wins 2013 Roger Award
    Sky City Casino Second, Chorus Third - The criteria for judging are by assessing the transnational (a corporation with 25% or more foreign ownership) that has the most negative impact in each or all of the following categories: economic dominance...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • ACC’s Strategy to stop compensation using ACC 167 Form
    On Radio NZ national’s morning report on 15 April 2014, ACC’s spokesperson Sid Miller denied the non-compliance was just a way for ACC to refuse people....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Workers support plain packaging of tobacco
    The CTU have today presented to the health select committee in support of plain packaging of tobacco. “Any steps that can be taken to lower smoking rates will result in New Zealand workers and their families having healthier and better...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
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