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President Obama on Health Reform

The President shakes hands after his health care address.

President Barack Obama greets audience members after delivering remarks on health care reform during the Catholic Health Association Conference at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C., June 9, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Yesterday, at the Catholic Health Association’s annual assembly, President Obama outlined the state of health care in America, now that the Affordable Care Act has become part of the fabric of our health care system.

“Everything we’ve done these past six and a half years to rebuild our economy on a new foundation… has been in pursuit of that one goal, creating opportunity for all people,” the President said. “And health reform was a critical part of that effort.”

Watch the President’s full remarks, and learn more about the history of health care reform in our country.


My Day One: From the Streets of Lahore to the Heart of Texas

June is Immigrant Heritage Month, and people across the country are sharing their American stories. Manar Waheed — the Deputy Policy Director for Immigration here at the White House — shared her own story this morning.


The First Lady Celebrates the Class of 2015

Last night, the First Lady delivered her final commencement address of the season at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Preparatory High School (King College Prep) in Chicago. This spring, Mrs. Obama also celebrated the graduates at Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, AL, and Oberlin College in Oberlin, OH as a way to shine a spotlight on students who have gone above and beyond to reach higher, and help others do the same.


At the G7: President Obama’s Trip to Germany

This weekend, the President traveled to Krun, Germany — a small village in the Bavarian Alps — to meet with the leaders of the Group of Seven (G7). The G7 is an organization of world leaders, finance ministers, and heads of state from seven of the largest economies in the world — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K., and the U.S. — as well as the European Council, EU Commission, and International Monetary Fund.


Why The Middle Class Needs Unions


a repost

New Data Shows That Union Membership Continues To Decline

The rate of unionization among wage and salary workers went down in 2014, from 11.3 percent to 11.1 percent, according to annual data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics today. The number of unionized workers, at 14.6 million, was unchanged from 2013.

From the national debate over how to address income inequality, to President Obama talking about “middle class economics” in his State of the Union address, unions are more important than ever. In CAP’s recent report on inclusive prosperity, one of the key recommendations was to expand worker voice by making procedures governing collective bargaining fast and fair and remove the atmosphere of conflict that can surround representation elections and bargaining over initial contracts.

Check out the infographic below to see why the middle class needs unions.

Progressive Breakfast: Greeks Seek Hope; European Central Bank and Berlin Say No Basis for Deal


Robert Borosage

Greeks Seek Hope; European Central Bank and Berlin Say No Basis for Deal

Democracy spoke in the Greek referendum, calling on Europe to offer new hope. To date, Europe refuses to listen. Greece will suffer, of course. But the Eurozone may find it hard to overcome this disgrace. President Obama and the Treasury Department should be putting maximum pressure on our European allies and on the IMF to change course. Janet Yellen, chair of the Federal Reserve, should be warning her counterparts at the European Central Bank of the risks involved in forcing Greece out of the Euro. It may be too late to stop this fast-moving crackup, but it is not too late to try.

Europe Presses Greece

Greek PM and new finance minister meet with European counterparts today. AP:“As the Greek leader readied proposals to restart bailout talks, the situation was complicated by the European Central Bank’s refusal late Monday to increase assistance for Greek banks desperately needing cash and facing imminent collapse unless a rescue deal is reached.”

No sign of budging from Germany. NYT:“Senior German officials dug in their heels on Monday, saying a vote by Greeks to reject further austerity in a referendum last weekend did not oblige other countries in the eurozone to change their positions.”

Bernie Rocks Portland

Another huge Bernie rally in Portland, ME. W. Post:“Sen. Bernie Sanders offered his own answer Monday as to why he’s become such a draw on the presidential campaign trail … ‘From Maine to California … the American people understand that establishment politics and establishment economics are not working for the middle class.’”

Clinton campaign openly expressing worry over Sanders surge. NYT:“‘We are worried about him, sure. He will be a serious force for the campaign, and I don’t think that will diminish,’ Jennifer Palmieri, the Clinton campaign’s communications director, said Monday in an interview on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe.’”

No Child Left Behind May Get Overhauled

Senate to consider revamp of No Child Left Behind law this week. USA Today:“The bipartisan proposal would do away with the No Child Left Behind law and reduce — but not end — the federal government’s role in public elementary and secondary education … House Republicans have their own version … But only the [Senate] legislation has a chance to avoid a veto … [It] would maintain the current federal regimen of reading, math and science tests in grades 3 through 12, but states would decide how to use those test scores for accountability purposes.”

WH not supporting Senate bill yet. The Hill:“[Education Secretary Arne] Duncan and Muñoz urged lawmakers to pass legislation giving more power to state and local officials to measure progress and improve schools. But they said those reforms should ensure that federal resources go to communities implementing proven reforms.”

Senate Dems to move on universal pre-K. W. Post:“…Senate Democrats in coming days will roll out a new universal pre-kindergarten proposal that would be funded by the closing of corporate tax breaks … [Sen. Bob] Casey plans to introduce it as an amendment to a measure reauthorizing and overhauling No Child Left Behind…”

Home Stretch For TPP Talks

Final TPP talks later this month. NYT:“Outstanding controversies include access to Canada’s agriculture market, Australian concerns over American pharmaceutical patent rules, Peru’s rain forest management, Chinese components in Vietnamese textile exports and labor organizing rights in Vietnam and Mexico … a July 31 agreement could not be signed until Oct. 31 or more likely the beginning of November. Congress cannot begin considering it until December.”

MIT prof shows how companies make pay living wages and be profitable. NYT’s Joe Nocera:“Getting there requires companies to adopt what [Zeynep] Ton calls ‘human-centered operations strategies,’ … Paying employees middle-class wages allows the company to get the most out of them … They can solve problems by themselves. They make merchandising decisions for their own stores … costs everywhere else in the operation go down.”

Sen. Warren tries to block WH pick for SEC. Politico:“President Barack Obama was planning to nominate corporate attorney Keir Gumbs … But now that’s on hold at least until August after activist groups aligned with Warren raised an outcry over Gumbs’ work, including his advice to companies on how to dodge scrutiny from shareholder activists.”

WH to announce program for low-income families to get solar power. NYT:“The administration will announce that it intends to triple the capacity of solar and other renewable energy systems it installs in federally subsidized housing by 2020, make it easier for homeowners to borrow money for solar improvements and start a nationwide program to help renters gain access to solar energy…”

FBI investigating hanging death of another brother in Mississippi

Originally posted on The Afrikan Voice:

Washington (CNN)The hanging death of an African-American man who had been missing since early this month and was found Thursday by local authorities in Mississippi has drawn the scrutiny of the FBI and the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.

The sheriff’s office in Claiborne County, Mississippi, had organized a search for the man, who had been missing since March 2 and was reported missing March 8. Authorities said the man’s body was found with a bed sheet tied around his neck and a skull cap on his head, hanging from a tree. The man’s hands were not tied up.

FBI Supervisory Special Agent Jason Pack said that it’s unclear how the man died, and “it is too early to say what happened and speculate.”

“We don’t know what happened out there, if it is a suicide, a homicide, that is why we investigate these types of cases to…

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