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Thursday, September 1, 2011

To Understand Barak Obama You Must Know this Man

The person I am referring to is not Rev. Jeremiah Wright but Saul Alinsky.  When Obama went to Chicago to accept a job as a community organizer he was inspired by the work of Saul Alinsky.  To anyone ever involved in community organizing Alinsky is the philosophical guru and father of the modern community organizing movement.
Saul formed the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) in Chicago which brought neighborhood associations and churches together to address the issue of people unrepresented in Chicago government.  This was in the 60’s when the Great Society, Community Action Councils and the Poor Peoples Campaign attempted to organize these groups. Alinsky’s core principle was to “to take any action that expands his power and to avoid any action that risks his power.”

President Obama has taken that principle to mean that to get some of what you want you have to give up some of what you want.  He is the first President to get a significant reform of our health care system but gave up the single payer option that many Democrats felt was the important reform. He ended “don’t ask don’t tell” but has not come out for single sex marriage.  Ideological purity is not the trait of an effective community organizer or reformer.  This is something the Tea Party legislators will learn over the long run. They have had an impact on the political debate today but in the long run it is unlikely that they will achieve many of their goals because of their unwillingness to compromise ideological purity. Think Obama has not been effective?  Below is a list of campaign promises he has delivered on:
  • No. 6: Create an Advanced Manufacturing Fund to invest in peer-reviewed manufacturing processes
  • No. 15: Create a foreclosure prevention fund for homeowners
  • No. 16: Increase minority access to capital
  • No. 33: Establish a credit card bill of rights
  • No. 36: Expand loan programs for small businesses
  • No. 40: Extend and index the 2007 Alternative Minimum Tax patch
  • No. 50: Expand the Senior Corps volunteer program
  • No. 58: Expand eligibility for State Children's Health Insurance Fund (SCHIP)
  • No. 76: Expand funding to train primary care providers and public health practitioners
  • No. 77: Increase funding to expand community based prevention programs
  • No. 88: Sign the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • No. 110: Assure that the Veterans Administration budget is prepared as 'must-pass' legislation
  • No. 119: Appoint a special adviser to the president on violence against women
  • No. 125: Direct military leaders to end war in Iraq
  • No. 132: No permanent bases in Iraq
  • No. 134: Send two additional brigades to Afghanistan
  • No. 154: Strengthen and expand military exchange programs with other countries
  • No. 167: Make U.S. military aid to Pakistan conditional on anti-terror efforts
  • No. 174: Give a speech at a major Islamic forum in the first 100 days of his administration
  • No. 182: Allocate Homeland Security funding according to risk
  • No. 184: Create a real National Infrastructure Protection Plan
  • No. 200: Appoint a White House Coordinator for Nuclear Security
  • No. 208: Improve relations with Turkey, and its relations with Iraqi Kurds
  • No. 212: Launch an international Add Value to Agriculture Initiative (AVTA)
  • No. 215: Create a rapid response fund for emerging democracies
  • No. 222: Grant Americans unrestricted rights to visit family and send money to Cuba
  • No. 224: Restore funding for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne/JAG) program
  • No. 225: Establish an Energy Partnership for the Americas
  • No. 239: Release presidential records
  • No. 241: Require new hires to sign a form affirming their hiring was not due to political affiliation or contributions.
  • No. 247: Recruit math and science degree graduates to the teaching profession
  • No. 266: Encourage water-conservation efforts in the West
  • No. 269: Increase funding for national parks and forests
  • No. 270: Increase funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund
  • No. 272: Encourage farmers to use more renewable energy and be more energy efficient
  • No. 277: Pursue a wildfire prevention and management plan
  • No. 278: Remove more brush, small trees and vegetation that fuel wildfires
  • No. 284: Expand access to places to hunt and fish
  • No. 290: Push for enactment of Matthew Shepard Act, which expands hate crime law to include sexual orientation and other factors
  • No. 300: Reform mandatory minimum sentences
  • No. 307: Create a White House Office on Urban Policy
  • No. 325: Create an artist corps for schools
  • No. 326: Champion the importance of arts education
  • No. 327: Support increased funding for the NEA
  • No. 332: Add another Space Shuttle flight
  • No. 334: Use the private sector to improve spaceflight
  • No. 336: Partner to enhance the potential of the International Space Station
  • No. 337: Use the International Space Station for fundamental biological and physical research
  • No. 338: Explore whether International Space Station can operate after 2016
  • No. 342: Work toward deploying a global climate change research and monitoring system
  • No. 345: Enhance earth mapping
  • No. 346: Appoint an assistant to the president for science and technology policy
  • No. 356: Establish special crime programs for the New Orleans area
  • No. 359: Rebuild schools in New Orleans
  • No. 371: Fund a major expansion of AmeriCorps
  • No. 380: Bolster the military's ability to speak different languages
  • No. 391: Appoint the nation's first Chief Technology Officer
  • No. 394: Provide grants to early-career researchers
  • No. 411: Work to overturn Ledbetter vs. Goodyear
  • No. 420: Create a national declassification center
  • No. 421: Appoint an American Indian policy adviser
  • No. 427: Ban lobbyist gifts to executive employees
  • No. 435: Create new criminal penalties for mortgage fraud
  • No. 452: Weatherize 1 million homes per year
  • No. 458: Invest in all types of alternative energy
  • No. 459: Enact tax credit for consumers for plug-in hybrid cars
  • No. 460: Ask people and businesses to conserve electricity
  • No. 475: Require states to provide incentives for utilities to reduce energy consumption
  • No. 480: Unprecedented expansion of funding for regional high-speed rail
  • No. 483: Invest in public transportation
  • No. 484: Equalize tax breaks for driving and public transit
  • No. 494: Share enviromental technology with other countries
  • No. 498: Provide grants to encourage energy-efficient building codes
  • No. 500: Increase funding for the Environmental Protection Agency
  • No. 502: Get his daughters a puppy
  • No. 503: Appoint at least one Republican to the cabinet
  • No. 506: Raise the small business investment expensing limit to $250,000 through the end of 2009
  • No. 507: Extend unemployment insurance benefits and temporarily suspend taxes on these benefits
  • No. 513: Reverse restrictions on stem cell research

People Acting Together in Howard County ---PATH

Here in Howard County we have a group called PATH that is affiliated with the Saul Alinsky created IAF.  PATH’s issues identified from their website are:
 Jobs:  Create green jobs in Howard County, particularly for students and young adults.
Health Care:  Support the creation of a non-profit health insurance co-op in Maryland to cover the gaps in the Federal Health Care bill that will go into effect in 2014.
Aging in Place:  Work to make Howard County a national leader in helping people live lives of quality and dignity in their homes for as long as possible.
Affordable Housing
  Address the high interest rates on credit cards and loans that are gauging families and individuals in our community.

Member congregations are:

PATH lists its victories as:


Over 300 PATH leaders went door-to-door and spoke to 4,380 people face-to-face to help those going without health care get free or affordable coverage. We found 605 people going without healthcare and helped 395 people sign up for the care they needed through the Healthy Howard Plan and other programs run by the state and federal government. This is equal to bringing approximately $2.4 million in healthcare coverage to Howard County for just the first year people are covered. 

Affordable Housing:
Passed legislation to protect mobile home owners: Mobile home parks are some of the last affordable housing in Howard County and in Maryland. Home owners own their homes but not the land under them, so when a park closes they can lose everything. PATH passed a bill requiring park owners to compensate home owners with 10 months of lot rent, or about $5000 to $6000 in today's market. This will protect the 14,000 plus mobile home park residents in Maryland living in parks with at least 39 units.
Won $500,000 to start a "Housing Initiative Fund" in 2009
Reduced bus wait time from 60 to 30 minutes on buses throughout Howard County
Worked with County Executive to keep commuter bus service from Columbia to Baltimore from being cut.

1 comment:

David Bailey said...

This is a great article...thanks