Monday, March 28, 2011

WATCH or Read Entire Text:

President's Address to the Nation

on Libya


Office of the Press Secretary


March 28, 2011

The President’s Address to the Nation on Libya –

As Prepared for Delivery

National Defense University

Washington, DC

March 28, 2011

As Prepared for Delivery—

Good evening. Tonight, I’d like to update the American people on the international effort that we have led in Libya – what we have done, what we plan to do, and why this matters to us.

I want to begin by paying tribute to our men and women in uniform who, once again, have acted with courage, professionalism and patriotism. They have moved with incredible speed and strength. Because of them and our dedicated diplomats, a coalition has been forged and countless lives have been saved. Meanwhile, as we speak, our troops are supporting our ally Japan, leaving Iraq to its people, stopping the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, and going after al Qaeda around the globe. As Commander-in-Chief, I am grateful to our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and their families, as are all Americans.

For generations, the United States of America has played a unique role as an anchor of global security and advocate for human freedom. Mindful of the risks and costs of military action, we are naturally reluctant to use force to solve the world’s many challenges. But when our interests and values are at stake, we have a responsibility to act. That is what happened in Libya over the course of these last six weeks.

Libya sits directly between Tunisia and Egypt – two nations that inspired the world when their people rose up to take control of their own destiny. For more than four decades, the Libyan people have been ruled by a tyrant – Moammar Gaddafi. He has denied his people freedom, exploited their wealth, murdered opponents at home and abroad, and terrorized innocent people around the world – including Americans who were killed by Libyan agents.

Last month, Gaddafi’s grip of fear appeared to give way to the promise of freedom. In cities and towns across the country, Libyans took to the streets to claim their basic human rights. As one Libyan said, “For the first time we finally have hope that our nightmare of 40 years will soon be over.”

Faced with this opposition, Gaddafi began attacking his people. As President, my immediate concern was the safety of our citizens, so we evacuated our Embassy and all Americans who sought our assistance. We then took a series of swift steps in a matter of days to answer Gaddafi’s aggression. We froze more than $33 billion of the Gaddafi regime’s assets. Joining with other nations at the United Nations Security Council, we broadened our sanctions, imposed an arms embargo, and enabled Gaddafi and those around him to be held accountable for their crimes. I made it clear that Gaddafi had lost the confidence of his people and the legitimacy to lead, and I said that he needed to step down from power.

In the face of the world’s condemnation, Gaddafi chose to escalate his attacks, launching a military campaign against the Libyan people. Innocent people were targeted for killing. Hospitals and ambulances were attacked. Journalists were arrested, sexually assaulted, and killed. Supplies of food and fuel were choked off. The water for hundreds of thousands of people in Misratah was shut off. Cities and towns were shelled, mosques destroyed, and apartment buildings reduced to rubble. Military jets and helicopter gunships were unleashed upon people who had no means to defend themselves against assault from the air.

Confronted by this brutal repression and a looming humanitarian crisis, I ordered warships into the Mediterranean. European allies declared their willingness to commit resources to stop the killing. The Libyan opposition, and the Arab League, appealed to the world to save lives in Libya. At my direction, America led an effort with our allies at the United Nations Security Council to pass an historic Resolution that authorized a No Fly Zone to stop the regime’s attacks from the air, and further authorized all necessary measures to protect the Libyan people.

Ten days ago, having tried to end the violence without using force, the international community offered Gaddafi a final chance to stop his campaign of killing, or face the consequences. Rather than stand down, his forces continued their advance, bearing down on the city of Benghazi, home to nearly 700,000 men, women and children who sought their freedom from fear.

At this point, the United States and the world faced a choice. Gaddafi declared that he would show “no mercy” to his own people. He compared them to rats, and threatened to go door to door to inflict punishment. In the past, we had seen him hang civilians in the streets, and kill over a thousand people in a single day. Now, we saw regime forces on the outskirts of the city. We knew that if we waited one more day, Benghazi – a city nearly the size of Charlotte – could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.

It was not in our national interest to let that happen. I refused to let that happen. And so nine days ago, after consulting the bipartisan leadership of Congress, I authorized military action to stop the killing and enforce UN Security Council Resolution 1973. We struck regime forces approaching Benghazi to save that city and the people within it. We hit Gaddafi’s troops in neighboring Ajdabiya, allowing the opposition to drive them out. We hit his air defenses, which paved the way for a No Fly Zone. We targeted tanks and military assets that had been choking off towns and cities and we cut off much of their source of supply. And tonight, I can report that we have stopped Gaddafi’s deadly advance.

In this effort, the United States has not acted alone. Instead, we have been joined by a strong and growing coalition. This includes our closest allies – nations like the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Italy, Spain, Greece, and Turkey – all of whom have fought by our side for decades. And it includes Arab partners like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, who have chosen to meet their responsibility to defend the Libyan people.

To summarize, then: in just one month, the United States has worked with our international partners to mobilize a broad coalition, secure an international mandate to protect civilians, stop an advancing army, prevent a massacre, and establish a No Fly Zone with our allies and partners. To lend some perspective on how rapidly this military and diplomatic response came together, when people were being brutalized in Bosnia in the 1990s, it took the international community more than a year to intervene with air power to protect civilians.

Moreover, we have accomplished these objectives consistent with the pledge that I made to the American people at the outset of our military operations. I said that America’s role would be limited; that we would not put ground troops into Libya; that we would focus our unique capabilities on the front end of the operation, and that we would transfer responsibility to our allies and partners. Tonight, we are fulfilling that pledge.

Our most effective alliance, NATO, has taken command of the enforcement of the arms embargo and No Fly Zone. Last night, NATO decided to take on the additional responsibility of protecting Libyan civilians. This transfer from the United States to NATO will take place on Wednesday. Going forward, the lead in enforcing the No Fly Zone and protecting civilians on the ground will transition to our allies and partners, and I am fully confident that our coalition will keep the pressure on Gaddafi’s remaining forces. In that effort, the United States will play a supporting role – including intelligence, logistical support, search and rescue assistance, and capabilities to jam regime communications. Because of this transition to a broader, NATO-based coalition, the risk and cost of this operation – to our military, and to American taxpayers – will be reduced significantly.

So for those who doubted our capacity to carry out this operation, I want to be clear: the United States of America has done what we said we would do.

That is not to say that our work is complete. In addition to our NATO responsibilities, we will work with the international community to provide assistance to the people of Libya, who need food for the hungry and medical care for the wounded. We will safeguard the more than $33 billion that was frozen from the Gaddafi regime so that it is available to rebuild Libya. After all, this money does not belong to Gaddafi or to us – it belongs to the Libyan people, and we will make sure they receive it.

Tomorrow, Secretary Clinton will go to London, where she will meet with the Libyan opposition and consult with more than thirty nations. These discussions will focus on what kind of political effort is necessary to pressure Gaddafi, while also supporting a transition to the future that the Libyan people deserve. Because while our military mission is narrowly focused on saving lives, we continue to pursue the broader goal of a Libya that belongs not to a dictator, but to its people.

Despite the success of our efforts over the past week, I know that some Americans continue to have questions about our efforts in Libya. Gaddafi has not yet stepped down from power, and until he does, Libya will remain dangerous. Moreover, even after Gaddafi does leave power, forty years of tyranny has left Libya fractured and without strong civil institutions. The transition to a legitimate government that is responsive to the Libyan people will be a difficult task. And while the United States will do our part to help, it will be a task for the international community, and – more importantly – a task for the Libyan people themselves.

In fact, much of the debate in Washington has put forward a false choice when it comes to Libya. On the one hand, some question why America should intervene at all – even in limited ways – in this distant land. They argue that there are many places in the world where innocent civilians face brutal violence at the hands of their government, and America should not be expected to police the world, particularly when we have so many pressing concerns here at home.

It is true that America cannot use our military wherever repression occurs. And given the costs and risks of intervention, we must always measure our interests against the need for action. But that cannot be an argument for never acting on behalf of what’s right. In this particular country – Libya; at this particular moment, we were faced with the prospect of violence on a horrific scale. We had a unique ability to stop that violence: an international mandate for action, a broad coalition prepared to join us, the support of Arab countries, and a plea for help from the Libyan people themselves. We also had the ability to stop Gaddafi’s forces in their tracks without putting American troops on the ground.

To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and – more profoundly – our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are. Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as President, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.

Moreover, America has an important strategic interest in preventing Gaddafi from overrunning those who oppose him. A massacre would have driven thousands of additional refugees across Libya’s borders, putting enormous strains on the peaceful – yet fragile – transitions in Egypt and Tunisia. The democratic impulses that are dawning across the region would be eclipsed by the darkest form of dictatorship, as repressive leaders concluded that violence is the best strategy to cling to power. The writ of the UN Security Council would have been shown to be little more than empty words, crippling its future credibility to uphold global peace and security. So while I will never minimize the costs involved in military action, I am convinced that a failure to act in Libya would have carried a far greater price for America.

Now, just as there are those who have argued against intervention in Libya, there are others who have suggested that we broaden our military mission beyond the task of protecting the Libyan people, and do whatever it takes to bring down Gaddafi and usher in a new government.

Of course, there is no question that Libya – and the world – will be better off with Gaddafi out of power. I, along with many other world leaders, have embraced that goal, and will actively pursue it through non-military means. But broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake.

The task that I assigned our forces – to protect the Libyan people from immediate danger, and to establish a No Fly Zone – carries with it a UN mandate and international support. It is also what the Libyan opposition asked us to do. If we tried to overthrow Gaddafi by force, our coalition would splinter. We would likely have to put U.S. troops on the ground, or risk killing many civilians from the air. The dangers faced by our men and women in uniform would be far greater. So would the costs, and our share of the responsibility for what comes next.

To be blunt, we went down that road in Iraq. Thanks to the extraordinary sacrifices of our troops and the determination of our diplomats, we are hopeful about Iraq’s future. But regime change there took eight years, thousands of American and Iraqi lives, and nearly a trillion dollars. That is not something we can afford to repeat in Libya.

As the bulk of our military effort ratchets down, what we can do – and will do – is support the aspirations of the Libyan people. We have intervened to stop a massacre, and we will work with our allies and partners as they’re in the lead to maintain the safety of civilians. We will deny the regime arms, cut off its supply of cash, assist the opposition, and work with other nations to hasten the day when Gaddafi leaves power. It may not happen overnight, as a badly weakened Gaddafi tries desperately to hang on to power. But it should be clear to those around Gadaffi, and to every Libyan, that history is not on his side. With the time and space that we have provided for the Libyan people, they will be able to determine their own destiny, and that is how it should be.

Let me close by addressing what this action says about the use of America’s military power, and America’s broader leadership in the world, under my presidency.

As Commander-in-Chief, I have no greater responsibility than keeping this country safe. And no decision weighs on me more than when to deploy our men and women in uniform. I have made it clear that I will never hesitate to use our military swiftly, decisively, and unilaterally when necessary to defend our people, our homeland, our allies, and our core interests. That is why we are going after al Qaeda wherever they seek a foothold. That is why we continue to fight in Afghanistan, even as we have ended our combat mission in Iraq and removed more than 100,000 troops from that country.

There will be times, though, when our safety is not directly threatened, but our interests and values are. Sometimes, the course of history poses challenges that threaten our common humanity and common security – responding to natural disasters, for example; or preventing genocide and keeping the peace; ensuring regional security, and maintaining the flow of commerce. These may not be America’s problems alone, but they are important to us, and they are problems worth solving. And in these circumstances, we know that the United States, as the world’s most powerful nation, will often be called upon to help.

In such cases, we should not be afraid to act – but the burden of action should not be America’s alone. As we have in Libya, our task is instead to mobilize the international community for collective action. Because contrary to the claims of some, American leadership is not simply a matter of going it alone and bearing all of the burden ourselves. Real leadership creates the conditions and coalitions for others to step up as well; to work with allies and partners so that they bear their share of the burden and pay their share of the costs; and to see that the principles of justice and human dignity are upheld by all.

That’s the kind of leadership we have shown in Libya. Of course, even when we act as part of a coalition, the risks of any military action will be high. Those risks were realized when one of our planes malfunctioned over Libya. Yet when one of our airmen parachuted to the ground, in a country whose leader has so often demonized the United States – in a region that has such a difficult history with our country – this American did not find enemies. Instead, he was met by people who embraced him. One young Libyan who came to his aid said, “We are your friends. We are so grateful to these men who are protecting the skies.”

This voice is just one of many in a region where a new generation is refusing to be denied their rights and opportunities any longer. Yes, this change will make the world more complicated for a time. Progress will be uneven, and change will come differently in different countries. There are places, like Egypt, where this change will inspire us and raise our hopes. And there will be places, like Iran, where change is fiercely suppressed. The dark forces of civil conflict and sectarian war will have to be averted, and difficult political and economic concerns addressed.

The United States will not be able to dictate the pace and scope of this change. Only the people of the region can do that. But we can make a difference. I believe that this movement of change cannot be turned back, and that we must stand alongside those who believe in the same core principles that have guided us through many storms: our opposition to violence directed against one’s own citizens; our support for a set of universal rights, including the freedom for people to express themselves and choose their leaders; our support for governments that are ultimately responsive to the aspirations of the people.

Born, as we are, out of a revolution by those who longed to be free, we welcome the fact that history is on the move in the Middle East and North Africa, and that young people are leading the way. Because wherever people long to be free, they will find a friend in the United States. Ultimately, it is that faith – those ideals – that are the true measure of American leadership.

My fellow Americans, I know that at a time of upheaval overseas – when the news is filled with conflict and change – it can be tempting to turn away from the world. And as I have said before, our strength abroad is anchored in our strength at home. That must always be our North Star – the ability of our people to reach their potential, to make wise choices with our resources, to enlarge the prosperity that serves as a wellspring of our power, and to live the values that we hold so dear.

But let us also remember that for generations, we have done the hard work of protecting our own people, as well as millions around the globe. We have done so because we know that our own future is safer and brighter if more of mankind can live with the bright light of freedom and dignity. Tonight, let us give thanks for the Americans who are serving through these trying times, and the coalition that is carrying our effort forward; and let us look to the future with confidence and hope not only for our own country, but for all those yearning for freedom around the world. Thank you, God Bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.


B4B Note: ANOTHER Fine Job Mr. President ! Sure is nice to have an intelligent, articulate, logical, clear-thinking President...for a Change !

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Chicago's Prudential Building
HQ for Obama 2012

Lynn Sweet: WASHINGTON — The Obama 2012 national headquarters will be at One Prudential Plaza, I’ve learned exclusively, a skyscraper whose south front faces Grant Park, where President Obama held his 2008 election night victory rally.

The building — completed in 1955 and known to Chicagoans by its original name, the Prudential Building — at 130 E. Randolph is a very short walk from Obama’s 2008 headquarters, which was on the 11th floor of 233 N. Michigan. Obama’s team has been scouting locations in Chicago for weeks and settled on the Prudential Building in part because of the ability to make it a secure location.

A source inside the Obama operation confirmed what I learned on my own — that the headquarters will be in the Prudential Building and that a skeleton crew of Obama 2012 staffers is already in Chicago, including Obama 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina. The headquarters is not yet up and running; it will open for business at a later date.

I’ve also learned that when President Obama hits Chicago for a Democratic National Committee event April 14, it will be one of a series of gatherings around the country in April — at Democrats’ best donor cities — kicking off the Obama 2012 campaign. (read rest of article)

Be Prepared...

Could Get Nasty !

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Sunday, March 27, 2011


B4B is proud to announce that Ms. Althea Dixon has been selected to serve as a White House Correspondent for The Blacks4Barack Organization. Ms. Dixon has been a strong Obama supporter since early during the historic presidential primaries. Her duties will include monitoring and reporting on White House conference calls with various members of President Obama's Administration. Ms. Dixon's services are certain to be of great value.

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

RIP Geraldine Ferraro


Office of the Press Secretary


Statement by the President on the Passing of Geraldine Ferraro

Michelle and I were saddened to learn about the passing of Geraldine Ferraro. Geraldine will forever be remembered as a trailblazer who broke down barriers for women, and Americans of all backgrounds and walks of life. Whether it was as a public school teacher, assistant district attorney, Member of Congress, or candidate for Vice President, Geraldine fought to uphold America's founding ideals of equality, justice, and opportunity for all. And as our Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Commission, she stood up for those ideals around the world. Sasha and Malia will grow up in a more equal America because of the life Geraldine Ferraro chose to live. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her husband, John Zaccaro, her children and grandchildren, and their entire family.

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Monday, March 21, 2011


President Answers Questions on Libya:
" A Testament to the Men and Women
in Uniform "

(WHITE HOUSE) The President's trip to Latin America has been focused on joint economic opportunities and promoting American exports, and his time in Chile, a country he called "one of the great success stories of this region," was no exception. Nonetheless, it was probably not surprising that much of the Q&A period of his joint press conference with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera was focused on questions about the situation in Libya. Read the full transcript of those questions below, where he once again emphasized that the U.S. military involvement is limited to the grave and urgent humanitarian threat posed by Colonel Qaddafi to his people, and that the involvement will soon be led by our broad coalition of partners:

Q Mr. President, Senor Presidente, muchas gracias. Sir, how do you square your position that Colonel Qaddafi has lost legitimacy and must go against the limited objective of this campaign, which does not demand his removal? If Colonel Qaddafi is killing his own people, is it permissible to let him stay in power? And if I may add, do you have any regret, sir, about undertaking this mission while you’re on foreign soil? And do you have the support of the Arab people in this yet?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Okay. First of all, I think I’m going to embarrass Jim by letting everyone know that Jim’s mother is Chilean, and so this is a little bit of a homecoming. You were born in Chile, am I right?

Q Yes, sir. It’s a delight to be here. Thank you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Fantastic. So I thought everybody should know that. And also, I think that for all the Chilean press, you don’t need to take Jim’s example by asking three questions, pretending it’s one. (Laughter.)

Q One subject.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: First of all, I think it’s very easy to square our military actions and our stated policies. Our military action is in support of a international mandate from the Security Council that specifically focuses on the humanitarian threat posed by Colonel Qaddafi to his people. Not only was he carrying out murders of civilians but he threatened more. He said very specifically, we will show no mercy to people who lived in Benghazi.

And in the face of that, the international community rallied and said we have to stop any potential atrocities inside of Libya, and provided a broad mandate to accomplish that specific task. As part of that international coalition, I authorized the United States military to work with our international partners to fulfill that mandate.

Now, I also have stated that it is U.S. policy that Qaddafi needs to go. And we got a wide range of tools in addition to our military efforts to support that policy. We were very rapid in initiating unilateral sanctions and then helping to mobilize international sanctions against the Qaddafi regime. We froze assets that Qaddafi might have used to further empower himself and purchase weapons or hire mercenaries that might be directed against the Libyan people.

So there are a whole range of policies that we are putting in place that has created one of the most powerful international consensuses around the isolation of Mr. Qaddafi, and we will continue to pursue those. But when it comes to our military action, we are doing so in support of U.N. Security Resolution 1973, that specifically talks about humanitarian efforts. And we are going to make sure that we stick to that mandate.

I think it’s also important, since we’re on the topic, that I have consistently emphasized that because we’re working with international partners, after the initial thrust that has disabled Qaddafi’s air defenses, limits his ability to threaten large population centers like Benghazi, that there is going to be a transition taking place in which we have a range of coalition partners -- the Europeans, members of the Arab league -- who will then be participating in establishing a no-fly zone there.

And so there is going to be a transition taking place in which we are one of the partners among many who are going to ensure that that no-fly zone is enforced and that the humanitarian protection that needs to be provided continues to be in place.

With respect to initiating this action while I was abroad, keep in mind that we were working on very short time frames, and we had done all the work and it was just a matter of seeing how Qaddafi would react to the warning that I issued on Friday.

He, despite words to the contrary, was continuing to act aggressively towards his civilians. After a consultation with our allies, we decided to move forward. And it was a matter of me directing Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen that the plan that had been developed in great detail extensively prior to my departure was put into place.

Jim, I’ve forgotten if they were any other elements of that question. But I’ve tried to be as thorough as possible.

Q Arab support, sir.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, look, the Arab League specifically called for a no-fly zone before we went to the United Nations. And that was I think an important element in this overall campaign.

Q But will they be part of the mission?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Absolutely. We are in consultations as we speak. As I said, there are different phases to the campaign. The initial campaign, we took a larger role because we’ve got some unique capabilities. Our ability to take out, for example, Qaddafi’s air defense systems are much more significant than some of our other partners. What that does then is it creates the space; it shapes the environment in which a no-fly zone can actually be effective.

It was also important to make sure that we got in there quickly so that whatever advances were being made on Benghazi could be halted, and we could send a clear message to Qaddafi that he needed to start pulling his troops back.

Now, keep in mind, we’ve only been in this process for two days now, and so we are continuing to evaluate the situation on the ground. I know the Pentagon and our Defense Department will be briefing you extensively as this proceeds. But the core principle that has to be upheld here is that when the entire international community almost unanimously says that there’s a potential humanitarian crisis about to take place, that a leader who has lost his legitimacy decides to turn his military on his own people, that we can’t simply stand by with empty words; that we have to take some sort of action.

I think it’s also important to note that the way that the U.S. took leadership and managed this process ensures international legitimacy and ensures that our partners, members of the international coalition are bearing the burden of following through on the mission, as well. Because, as you know, in the past there have been times where the United States acted unilaterally or did not have full international support, and as a consequence typically it was the United States military that ended up bearing the entire burden.

Now, last point I’ll make on this: I could not be prouder of the manner in which the U.S. military has performed over the last several days. And it’s a testament to the men and women in uniform who, when they're given a mission, they execute and do an outstanding job.

But, obviously, our military is already very stretched and carries large burdens all around the world. And whenever possible for us to be able to get international cooperation -- not just in terms of words, but also in terms of planes and pilots and resources -- that's something that we should actively seek and embrace, because it relieves the burden on our military and it relieves the burden on U.S. taxpayers to fulfill what is an international mission and not simply a U.S. mission.

Friday, March 18, 2011

GOP State Lawmakers Turn Down
Federal Money for Jobless Benefits !

(Greg Jones Note:) The below article simply exemplifies what we have been warning of for many months now which is the GOP's master plan to do all they can to force Middle America to literally suffer to the point where they are willing (and thankful) to work for Chinese wages. The crushing of unions...the disbanding of union wage/benefit agreements...combined with the new push for Privatization through what is being called a gov't/private 'joint venture', which simply means that federal monies that normally would be spent to run certain government entities would now go instead directly to the new private company in charge (like a Haliburton), who will then hire new workers at Chinese benefits. Just 'cheap labor'. THAT is the New America the GOP envisions....and THAT is what is meant when you hear GOP politicians shouting " we must reduce the cost of doing business ".

WASHINGTON -- Republican lawmakers in Missouri are balking at accepting federal dollars to pay for 20 weeks of unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless, even though the spending would not affect state budgets, and legislators in Michigan may follow suit.

Five Republicans in the Missouri Senate have launched a filibuster to prevent their legislature from implementing a technical change to its laws that would allow the state to accept the funds, which total roughly $96 million.

"What my senator is saying is, 'Let’s send this money back,'" said James Murphy, a spokesman for state Sen. Jim Lembke (R), who is leading the filibuster. "He calls the money 'opium' -- 'other people’s money.' He wants to send back the opium that the federal government sends to the states."

That money pays for the Extended Benefits program, which kicks in for workers who exhaust 26 weeks of state-funded benefits and 53 weeks of federally-funded Emergency Unemployment Compensation. In December, Congress reauthorized both EB and EUC for all of 2011, but many states need to tweak their laws in order to remain eligible for EB because of how the aid "triggers" into place based on unemployment trends in the previous two years.

Some unemployed Missourians will stop receiving benefits after April 2 unless Lembke and his colleagues relent. Murphy said Republican leaders in the Missouri House and Senate disagree with Lembke's position.

In Michigan, House Speaker Jase Bolger (R) hasn't made up his mind whether to support accepting the federal funds, according to spokesman Ari Adler. "He is sympathetic to the unemployed who would lose their benefits," Adler said. "On the other hand, you would have businesses facing having to pay for the extension."

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce is lobbying against the benefits legislation, which it says "will result in a tax increase on Michigan job providers and more government debt."(read rest of article)

Learn The GOP Scheme...

Before It's TOO LATE !

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Monday, March 14, 2011

President Aims to Fix
Broken 'No Child Left Behind'

President Obama:
"It’s Not Enough to Leave No Child Behind.
We Need to Help Every Child Get Ahead."

(WHITE HOUSE) "I want every child in this country to head back to school in the fall knowing that their education is America’s priority. Let’s seize this education moment. Let’s fix No Child Left Behind." The audience at Kenmore Middle School in Virginia gave loud applause when the President announced that mission this morning. It's no small task, but it will be work informed by about a decade of lessons from NCLB's successes and failures, as well as two years of lessons from the President's innovative approaches like Race to the Top that leverage small investments to incentivize big reforms from the bottom up. The President's priorities and key changes from No Child Left Behind are laid in the White House fact sheet put out this morning -- here's the topline:
  • A fair accountability system that shares responsibility for improvement and rewards excellence, and that is based on high standards and is informed by sophisticated assessments that measure individual student growth;
  • A flexible system that empowers principals and teachers, and supports reform and innovation at the state and local level;
  • And a system focused on the schools and the students most at risk -- that targets resources to persistently low-performing schools and ensures the most effective teachers serve students most in need.
President Barack Obama Listens to Kenmore Middle School Students

President Barack Obama listens as Kenmore Middle School students share their art projects during his visit to the school in Arlington, Va., March 14, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

So while applauding the goals of No Child Left Behind, the President spoke at length about the problems that need to be addressed if our education system is going to help us win the future by getting America back to the front of the pack in graduation rates and career-readiness:

Now, last week we got a reminder of why it’s so critical that we reform this law. According to new estimates, under the system No Child Left Behind put in place, more than 80 percent of our schools may be labeled as failing -- 80 percent of our schools. Four out of five schools will be labeled as failing. That’s an astonishing number. And our impulse is to either be outraged that the numbers are so high, or skeptical that they’re even true. And let’s face it, skepticism is somewhat justified. We know that four out of five schools in this country aren’t failing. So what we’re doing to measure success and failure is out of line.

In fact, the list of supposedly failing schools includes schools that are actually making extraordinary progress -- including Kenmore. So, yes, we’ve still got more work to do here at this school to close the achievement gap. I think Dr. Word would agree with that. We’ve got to make sure that every student is on track. But, I mean, we can see here at Kenmore -- Kenmore is thriving. You guys are doing great. You got more work to do, but you’re doing fine. (Applause.)

So what this means, though, is that we need a better way of figuring out which schools are deeply in trouble, which schools aren’t, and how we get not only the schools that are in really bad shape on track, how do we help provide the tools to schools that want to get even better to get better.

That way of measuring success and failure, that’s the first problem with No Child Left Behind that we need to fix. Instead of labeling schools a failure one day and then throwing up our hands and walking away from them, we need to refocus on the schools that need the most help. We need to hold our schools accountable for the success of every child –- black, white, Latino, Asian, students with disabilities, English language learners.

We need to make sure some of our best teachers are teaching in some of our worst schools. We need to reward schools that are doing the difficult work of turning themselves around. (Applause.) We’re going to have to take a series of steps across a broad range of measures to not only target our most troubled schools, but also raise expectations for all our schools.

So first we’re going to have to fix how schools are labeled and identified. But we’ve got to do more than that. In recent years, 15 states have actually lowered their standards to make it easier for their kids to meet the targets set by No Child Left Behind. Think about that. That was -- that’s a pretty perverse incentive when states say to themselves, you know what, let’s lower our standards so that we have an easy time -- easier time passing those standards so that we don’t get punished under No Child Left Behind. That makes no sense. That’s inexcusable.

So instead of measuring students based on whether they’re above or below an arbitrary bar, we need to set better standards to make sure our students are meeting one clear goal –- they’re graduating ready for college and ready for a career. That’s the goal we need to set. (Applause.) To know whether our kids are on track to meet that goal, we need better assessments.

Now, I want to speak to teachers in particular here. I’m not talking about more tests. I’m not talking about teaching to the test. We don’t need to know whether a student can fill out a bubble. We do need to know whether they’re making progress. We do need to know whether they’re not only mastering reading, math, and science, but also developing the kinds of skills, like critical thinking and creativity and collaboration that I just saw on display with the students that I met here. Those are skills they’re going to need for the rest of their lives -- (applause) -- not just to be good workers, but to be good citizens. (Applause.)

Now, that doesn’t mean testing is going to go away; there will be testing. But the point is, is that we need to refine how we’re assessing progress so that we can have accountability without rigidity -- accountability that still encourages creativity inside the classroom, and empowers teachers and students and administrators.

Of course, we also know that better standards, better assessments and a better curriculum won’t make a difference without outstanding teachers. Every day in this country, teachers are doing a heroic job for their kids -- (applause) -- every day. They’re taking on the problems that follow students into class, come in early to re-write lessons, spending hours after school tutoring students. I know; my sister is a teacher. In South Korea, teachers are known as “nation builders,” and I think it’s time we treated our teachers with the same level of respect right here in the United States of America. (Applause.)

But if we’re serious about treating teachers that way, if we’re serious about educating all our kids with an excellent teacher, then we’re going to have to fix No Child Left Behind.

Friday, March 11, 2011

(Greg Jones note) When I read this excellent piece I just had to share it.
Could not have said it any better myself....although we've been trying.

This whole
" Teach Obama A Lesson" Thing
is Working Out So Perfectly,
Isn't It ?

By Eclectablog:

Epic rant to follow. This might leave a mark. In Wisconsin. In Ohio. In Michigan. In Florida.
All across the country, the True Liberals' efforts to teach Barack Obama a lesson are paying off in spades. Their plan could not have worked out more perfectly. After a year of shouting to the highest heavens about how much they were disappointed in President Obama and the Democrats, after a year promising to withhold their support during the 2010 Midterm campaign and, more importantly, at the ballot box, they got their wish: Democrats stayed home in droves. Huge numbers of Democrats across the country, many of whom had voted for the very first time in 2008, got up and went to the fridge instead of the polls that late Fall Tuesday.

Yesterday, in Wisconsin, the tea party Governor and his cadre of Republican Senators figured out a way to bypass Senate Democrats' exploitation of a loophole that allowed them to put the brakes on a GOP effort to drive a stake into the heart of unions in their state. Most collective bargaining rights for teachers and public employees are now gone as if they were trash taken to the curb. Sure, Scott Walker's favorables took a beating there for awhile. If it weren't for that pesky quorum loophole, this would have all been taken care of weeks ago and his numbers wouldn't have tanked so far. But that's water under the bridge and now they are back on track. The unions have been squashed like bugs and they can go back to laughing at the protesters as they are frisked and searched and scanned just to enter a public building.

Barack Obama has really got to be smarting over that, eh? He's really paid the price now, by golly.

In Michigan yesterday, the GOP-controlled Senate passed a bill that enhances the Republican Governor's ability to declare financial emergencies in municipalities and appoint an Emergency Financial Manager (EFM). This EFM will have authority to do pretty much whatever they wish including suspending contracts with unions and other groups and even firing the existing elected officials. Rachel Maddow explained it very well the other night. There was a protest at the Capitol before the vote, of course. Over 700 people showed up, mostly union employees. Know what the Republican who introduced the bill said about the protest? "I don't think it had an effect outside of the fact we had to talk a little bit louder today." Ouch. They had to talk a little louder.

But that's not all that is coming down the pipeline in Michigan. The Republican Governor's budget taxes public and private pensions that helps the elderly. It eliminates the Earned Income Tax Credit that helps the poor. It eliminates a huge tax credit for filmmakers in Michigan, killing that job-creating baby in its crib. It eliminates tax credits for vehicle battery manufacturers, strangling a nascent industry before it even gets off the ground. It eliminates tax credits for redeveloping brownfield sites, ensuring that new industrial development will take place on undeveloped, pristine lands rather than on already-despoiled soil. Here's one: there's a union-busting bill in Congress to make Michigan a "Right to Work" state or, as the unions call it, a "Right to Work for LESS" state. All of this and businesses are getting billions of dollars in tax breaks, paid for by the elderly, the poor and whichever other down-trodden groups you can name.

"Eclectablog, what shall we do???!" I'm asked. "We can't let this stand. We must protest. Where is OFA???"

What can we do? We can't do ANYTHING! In Michigan, the Republicans control the House. The Republicans control the Senate. The Republicans control the Supreme Court. The Governor is a Republican. When we protest, they just talk a little louder. And after they get done redistricting our formerly solid-Democratic state this year, we'll be lucky if our dog catchers are Democrats.

Protest at the Capitol? Sorry, I won't waste my time.

But, I'll tell you this: President Obama has surely learned his lesson. These union-busting, pro-business moves by the Michigan GOP have got to be chapping his britches something fierce.

It's happening in Florida, too. Tea Party Governor Rick Scott is unstoppable. He's solving his state's multi-billion dollar deficit by cutting taxes on businesses by several billion dollars and he's cutting teachers' pay to do it. He's rejecting federal funds to develop high-speed rail.

Take that, Obama!

How about Ohio? The Republican Governor there is assaulting the unions, too. And the only difference between Wisconsin and these other three states is that Wisconsin Democratic Senators had a quorum loophole they could use to stop a vote. Well, they could stop it for three weeks. Then the unions got their asses handed to them anyway.

Last night Rachel Maddow said her staff's analysis shows there are Republican-sponsored union-busting bills in the Congresses of no less than SEVENTEEN states.

Ed Schultz has been on fire on MSNBC these past three weeks, hasn't he? Nothing like pure, unadulterated union-busting by Republicans to get old Ed fired up and ready to go. And let's not pretend Ed didn't have a plan for this all along, right? Remember this from him last fall?

" And I’m announcing today, I’m not going to vote in the midterms. I’m not going to do it. You can say it’s un-American. No, it’s rather revolutionary is what it is. I’m at that point. I’m checking out. I’m checking out of the Democrats because they are proving to me that they don’t know how to handle these big babies over on the right that say no. You know what you do? You get in the driver’s seat, you hit the throttle, and you run over them. "

Un-American? Hell no, Ed! That's as American as it gets. Hell, it's practically Republican, it's so American! Create a problem that you yourself can benefit from. Help make sure the GOP takes control by helping suppress the Democratic vote then watch your rating positively SOAR when you get to be on television almost non-stop when they start crushing unions like cockroaches.

Man, you sure showed them, Ed. Obama has really got to be feeling this now, what with all those union people getting crushed and taxes being cut on the backs of the poor and the elderly.

And, let's make no mistake, it's not just Ed who is teaching a lesson to Obama. Here's part of an email I got recently from a friend, a liberal who is disappointed in the President. I had reached out to him to help us start organizing in our area so that we're ready to really hit the ground hard for the 2012 elections. He was very active in 2008 so I had hoped that he and others in our area would be eager to help get Dems elected again in 2012 considering that they control everything in our state right now. Hah. Boy was I ever wrong:

Thank you and everyone for all the hard work you guys do and will be doing. I really enjoyed working with all of you a couple of years ago.

Unless there are some drastic changes in his policies over the next few months which I doubt I simply cannot bring myself to put forth my time and money to help this President. I thought we were electing someone who would fight for our ideals and yet he has managed to compromise on just about every campaign issue he was for. From health care which no public option was even fought for, to tax cuts for the top 2% that he instantly gave, Gitmo, etc. And the major issue is the fact we are bombing even more than the Bush administration in Pakistan killing innocent people. The economic and other issue I may be able to get past but this I can’t. Along with Rendition still going on.

President Obama will probably still get my vote as from what I see the other side will probably have someone even worse but that will be to the extent of my support for him.

It's not just him. I'm hearing this from lots of Democrats. Hell, I see it on the progressive blogs like Daily Kos on a daily, even hourly, basis. They are going to teach Obama a lesson for not delivering everything they want by handing the keys to the kingdom back to the people who are most likely to screw them over.

So, I hope you like watching the unions getting squashed. I hope you enjoy watching business taxes being cut while taxes are raised on the poor and the elderly. I hope you enjoy watching environmental regulations done away with and health insurance reform rolled back. I hope you will enjoy it when even the modest regulatory reforms on Wall Street are sent to the dustbin of history and the improvements in our food regulatory system are done away with. I hope you will enjoy it when the reproductive rights of women are taken away and the rights of minorities are degraded; when same sex couples see their dream of marriage sent down the garbage disposal and members of the LGBT community are put back in the military closet. We all need to start getting used to these things.

Why? Because all that stands between us and all of these things and more happening is four Senators and one President. (Read rest of article)


Seriously !!!

(and BEWARE of Lefty Mixed Messengers !
Names available upon request.)

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

For those screaming "Walk-Out or Strike"....that's EXACTLY what the Evil Side (GOP) wants ! All part of the diabolical plot to DESTROY Middle America...forcing them to work at Chinese wages...and be glad about it.

Wisconsin GOP Bill Allows State
to Fire Employees for St
rikes, Walk-Outs

(Mother Jones) On Wednesday night, Republicans in Wisconsin's state senate rammed through a retooled version of Governor Scott Walker's controversial "budget repair bill" with the 14 senate Democrats still in hiding in Illinois. The senate bill eliminates collective bargaining rights for most public-sector unions, a provision that has labor leaders and protesters up in arms. But there's another explosive provision in the bill that's received little attention: The bill authorizes state officials to fire any state employee who joins a strike, walk-out, sit-in, or coordinated effort to call in sick.

According to an analysis (PDF) of the Senate bill by Wisconsin's Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB), the legislation gives state officials the power to fire workers during a "state of emergency" declared by the governor under several conditions. If a state employee misses three working days without an approved leave of absence, that's grounds for being fired. State workers can also be dumped if, according to the LFB's analysis, they participate in a "strike, work stoppage, sit-down, stay-in, slowdown, or other concerted activities to interrupt the operations or services of state government, including mass resignations or sick calls."

The implications of this under-the-radar provision are significant. After the state senate passed its bill, talks swirled of organizing a coordinated strike or walk-out to protest the bill's attack on collective bargaining. In the state Capitol, chants of "general strike!" broke out among protesters stuck outside the building. On Wednesday night, Madison Firefighters union president Joe Conway said he's "in total agreement" with the idea of a general strike. "We should start walking out tomorrow and the next day, and see how long they can last," Conway said. Under this measure, if such protests occur, Walker could declare a state of emergency, and protesting workers could be canned.

One labor umbrella group, the South Central Federation of Labor, which includes 97 member unions and more than 45,000 employees, endorsed the idea of a general strike as early as February 21. The SCFL's affiliates include the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, the American Federation of Teachers, Service Employees International Union, UNITE HERE, and many more. Other union groups have organized "solidarity" events throughout the state for Thursday morning—from Green Bay to Fond du Lac to Platteville—to peacefully protest the Senate's blitz vote on the bill.

The bill's provision giving state officials the power to fire workers for striking or walking out isn't entirely new. It was included in Walker's original "budget repair bill" but received little attention amidst the controversy of the collective bargaining ban and Walker's perceived threat to use the National Guard against protesting workers. (Read rest of article)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


(Greg Jones) But another example of why you should NEVER hand the power to the Evil Side (GOP)....through whining, de-energizing, the "we'll fix him (Obama)", self-destructive mentality and not voting ! And THIS is just the beginning of the GOP's diabolical plot to LITERALLY destroy Middle America. Ahead, look for the GOP to turn down state financial aid with the desire to create massive layoffs of teachers, fire, police and more...all heading to their ultimate target of privatizing everything they can and forcing the jobless to work for Chinese wages. Also look for GOP schemes to disband pension plans and union wage/benefit agreements to the level that people will be begging for a Chinese wage job....just to survive. THAT is the fight ahead ! Tried...unsuccessfully to warn folks for months leading up to the midterms....but unfortunately....the whiners 'won'....which only aided the Evil Side (GOP) in their goal of the destruction of Middle America as we know it.

Wisconsin GOP Senators

Pass Anti-Union Bill

Without Democrats Present

WASHINGTON -- In a bold gambit to put an end to the weeks-long budget standoff in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker (R) split his controversial budget-repair bill in two on Wednesday, allowing the Senate to pass the most hotly contested provisions while their 14 Democratic colleagues remained out of state.

The parliamentary maneuver, first reported by local press, allowed the anti-collective bargaining measure to pass with just Republican support. Under Wisconsin law a 3/5s quorum is needed for a statute that is fiscal in nature. No such quorum is needed for non-fiscal matters.

It was also a 180-degree reversal by Walker and state Senate Republicans, who have insisted for the past three weeks that the collective bargaining provision was designed to help alleviate the state’s budget problems. State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) had previously said he would not attempt to pass any portions of the bill without Democrats present.

Wisconsin Democrats decried the move as an unprecedented and blatant end-run, but it was clear that they were powerless to stop it. Indeed, it took the conference committee only a matter of minutes to pass the severed off measure by a four-to-two vote. Minutes later, the same bill passed through the entire Senate by an 18-1 margin, with Sen. Dale Schultz, a Republican moderate who had proposed a compromise measure, lodging the only no vote.

Justin Sargent, a staffer to Senator Chris Larson (D-Wis.) called the maneuver completely unexpected. It showed, he added, that this “obviously wasn’t about any kind of financing, it was an attack on working families.”

Sargent would not say whether his boss was en route back from Illinois but noted, rightly, that he wouldn’t make it back in time to even lodge an on-the-floor protest. Instead, Larson offered a simple tweet: "Shame."

The new procedural maneuver requires that bill now be sent back to the State Assembly for consideration since that body has passed only the full (not the severed) budget bill. According to Mary Spicuzza of the Wall Street Journal the Assembly will reportedly take up the measure tomorrow.


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Saturday, March 5, 2011

WATCH: President's Weekly Address

Both Parties Must Come Together On a Budget that Cuts Wasteful Spending Without Gutting Investments in the Future


Subscribers CLICK B4B MAIN PAGE for Video

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

And to think.....
­all we had to do was
­TE !

Greg Jones
B4B National Director

But nooooo....­the Pro-Left and some 'Progressive' (should be called Re-gressive) Dems preferred to whine and de-energiz­e, with the 'all or nothing' attitude..­..combined with the "we'll fix him (Obama) " attitude..­..literally handing The Power to the Evil Side (GOP) not only in the Congress but at multiple state levels, where the TRUE battles against Middle America will occur.
An­d look at us now. Who did they really 'fix' ? Our Dem politician­s forced to literally flee, run, hide, get-outta-­­l to block the evil actions of the Right. But the truth is....they­'ll have to come home one day. I warned of the GOP plot to destroy middle America for months...obviously t­o know avail. Now, look for The Evil to gut public education.­...block state aid forcing massive layoffs of teachers, police, fire...clo­sing of libraries, etc..Expec­t the push for states to be allowed to file bankruptcy which will disband current union wage/benef­it agreements and jeopardize all future pensions. Also....Me­dicaid is in trouble.....along with ALL social programs created to help those in need (ignorantly called 'entitlement programs'). ....not to mention job-crushing budget cuts. The bottom line goal of the GOP is to force all Americans to work for Chinese wages....a­nd like it. And to think....a­ll we had to do was....sto­p whining...­.and VOTE ! PATHETIC !!!! (Below article exemplifies what is just the beginning)

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker
Unveils Full Budget With Deep Cuts

MADISON, Wis. — After focusing for weeks on his proposal to strip public employees of collective bargaining rights, Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday presented his full budget – a plan that cuts $1.5 billion in aid to public schools and local government but avoids any tax or fee increases, furloughs or widespread layoffs.

Walker said the cuts could be paid for in large part by forcing government employees to pay more for their pension and health care benefits. And the governor whose cost-cutting ideas have stirred a national debate over public-sector unions gave no indication he would soften his demand to reduce their power at the negotiating table.

"This is a reform budget," Walker told lawmakers inside the Assembly chamber as protesters on the floor below screamed, banged on drums and blew horns. "It is about getting Wisconsin working again, and to make that happen, we need a balanced budget that works – and an environment where the private sector can create 250,000 jobs over the next four years."

Walker's legislation has drawn tens of thousands of demonstrators to the Capitol over the last three weeks, and tensions were still evident when Walker outlined the budget during a joint session of the Legislature convened under heavy security. Assembly Democrats refused to stand and greet the governor as he arrived to speak.

"It feels like we're announcing a going-out-of-business sale," said state Rep. Cory Mason, a Democrat from Racine who criticized Walker's proposed cuts to education.

Walker's budget places "the entire burden of Wisconsin's budget shortfall on our children, our most vulnerable citizens in need of health care and long-term care, and our dedicated public employees," said Robert Kraig, director of the consumer advocacy group Citizen Action of Wisconsin.

Doing so is Walker's "own value choice, not an economic necessity forced on him by others," Kraig said.

The governor released his two-year budget in part to support his argument that public-worker concessions are essential to confront a projected $3.6 billion shortfall. His proposal to eliminate most collective bargaining remains in limbo after Senate Democrats fled the state to prevent a vote.

Wisconsin "cannot grow if our people are weighed down paying for a larger and larger government, a government that pays its workers unsustainable benefits that are out of line with the private sector," he said. "We need a leaner and cleaner state government."
(read rest of article)

Time to Unite...

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