Thursday, December 30, 2010

OFA’s Top Five Game Changers

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We’ve been saying it all week as we’ve looked back on a year full of historic achievement: none of what was accomplished in 2010 would have been possible without the dedicated work of Organizing for America supporters. Let’s take a more in-depth look at just how OFA volunteers, who fight for change in all 50 states and in all 435 congressional districts, have made a specific impact on some of 2010’s most game-changing moments.

Health reform
Getting the Affordable Care Act to President Obama’s desk was no easy task. Generations of Presidents, members of Congress, and advocates had tried and failed to fix the American health care system. This attempt might not have been any different, had it not been for the support of nearly 3.5 million everyday Americans who made their voices heard in the halls of Congress. In the final 10 days of an 11-month battle for reform, OFA supporters made nearly 500,000 calls to members of Congress, wrote 324,000 letters to Congress, and hosted nearly 1,200 local events in support of health reform. And on March 23, President Obama’s signature made the Affordable Care Act the law of the land—joined by the co-signatures of more than 1.1 million OFA supporters who had stood alongside the President every step of the way.

U.S. jobless claims hit 2-year low

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The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell sharply last week, a positive sign that the U.S. job market is slowly improving.

The U.S. Labour Department said Thursday that applications dropped by 34,000 to 388,000 in the week ending Dec. 25. That was the lowest figure since the week of July 12, 2008.

Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits peaked during the recession at 651,000 in March 2009.

The four-week moving average was 414,000, a decrease of 12,500 from the previous week's revised average of 426,500. Economists pay closer attention to the four-week figure because it smooths out fluctuations.

From: http://www.cbc.ca/money/story/2010/12/30/us-jobless-claims.html#ixzz19clB93ZZ
The surprisingly steep slide in jobless claims bodes well for the US economy, which has been dogged by persistently high unemployment - of 9.8 per cent in its latest reading in November - and a slow pace of job creation in the private sector.

It suggests that businesses are no longer firing workers as aggressively as they were earlier in the recovery, as they seek to keep their workforce intact in anticipation of greater demand. It might also indicate greater confidence in the country’s economic prospects following the $858bn compromise tax deal deal that was approved by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama before the Christmas holiday.

From http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/49c82290-141d-11e0-a21b-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz19clalgEc

By: David Thomson

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Most Democrats In Favor of Re-Electing Obama

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According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday, 78 percent of Democrats questioned in the poll say they want to see Obama at the top of their party's ticket in 2012, with only 19 percent saying they would prefer someone else as the Democratic presidential nominee. The 19 percent figure is the lowest figure since March, when the question was first asked.

Full results (pdf)

"Among liberal Democrats, 85 percent say they want to see the party re-nominate Obama in 2012," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Among moderate Democrats, his support is almost that high."

The notion that President Barack Obama would face a primary challenger in his reelection contest always seemed far-fetched, even during the nadir of his first two years in office. Not only were there no volunteers to take him on (the most obvious choices having professed their lack of interest), but Obama's standing within his own party wasn't particularly precarious.

There was a rumor earlier this year that former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean would challenge Obama in a primary, but it was later denied. All the Democrats (whoever is contemplating challenging Obama in 2012)  should keep their ego in check, that, unlike on the Republican side, it isn't about individual desire to become President!

Speaking of the Republicans, Sarah Palin's numbers are slipping, according to the same CNN survey. Only 49 percent of Republicans say that they are likely to support Sen. John McCain's running mate in 2008 for the Republican nomination in 2012.

Not many Alaskans, Democrat or Republican, are fond of Sarah Palin, a recent Public Policy Polling survey finds.

According to the poll, Palin has a dismal 33 percent favorability rating in her home state. That's a 12-point drop from last winter, a similar poll finds.

We need to help Sarah Palin win the Republican primary, as she is the weakest potential candidate among all the Republicans. So all the bloggers out-there, write some nice stuff about Palin - encourage her to run for president.

partial sources:
http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/12/28/cnn-2012-poll-obama-palin-going-in-different-directions/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/28/obama-far-more-protected-_n_801949.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/28/sarah-palin-popularity-poll_n_801907.html

Top 10 Democratic Accomplishments of 2009 and 2010

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During the past two years, President Obama and Congressional Democrats have been fighting hard on behalf of the American people. Working to secure economic stability, fairness, and opportunity. Thanks to the dedication and self-sacrifice of thousands of OFA volunteers, these historic measures now are improving the lives of millions of people across the country.
As 2010 and the 111th Congress near a close, Democrats can reflect on the past two years with pride. In keeping with America’s age-old,year-end tradition to list the “best of,” today’s post marks the first in a series of year-end superlatives.

Due to the vigorous productivity of the 111th Congress, this list is not comprehensive and may differ for different people – this is only one version.
Without further adieu, Democrats Top 10 Accomplishments of the past two years.
10. Passing Credit Card Reform (CARD Act)
Protects Americans from unfair and misleading credit card practices
9. Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
Ensures that all workers in America are paid what they deserve, regardless of race, gender, or age
8. Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan
President Obama nominated and the Senate confirmed Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court
7. Student Loan Reform
Helps make college more affordable for students and families
6. Wall Street Reform
Holds Wall Street accountable, ends "too big to fail" bailouts, and enacts the strongest consumer protections in history
5. The New START Treaty
Keeps America safe and strengthens our global leadership on nuclear weapons issues
4. ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Repeal
Ends the discriminatory policy preventing gays and lesbians from serving in America’s armed forces
3. Ending combat operations in Iraq Effectively ends Operation Iraqi Freedom and withdraws 100,000 troops
2. The Recovery Act Saves and creates millions of jobs, invests unprecedented resources to build a new foundation for our country, and prevented a second Great Depression
1. The Affordable Care Act Reforms our country’s broken health care system by holding insurance companies accountable, lowering costs, ensuring greater choice, and improving the quality of care for all Americans
America is making steady progress toward recovery. Although our country still has a long way to go, President Obama and Democrats in the 111th Congress have enacted essential changes that pulled America from the brink of economic and financial meltdown and invested in a new economic foundation for the long run.

What would be your top 10 list of accomplishments during the past two years? Tell us in the comments below.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

We want to say thank you, with a note

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Joe Biden has sent out the following message to all the loyal supporters:
I've been in Washington for almost 40 years. I've seen a lot of Congresses come and go. But I can't remember a group of lawmakers who accomplished more than the folks who just wrapped up their work.

With their help, we repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and ratified the START arms control treaty. We passed a new law to rein in the abuses on Wall Street and protect consumers. We reformed the health care system and passed the Recovery Act to get our economy growing again.

But do you know why all that happened? Because people like you rolled up your sleeves, dug deep, and decided to make a difference. We had a dedicated group of lawmakers -- no doubt -- but they were supported every step of the way by folks from all across this country who were ready for change. People like you.

I know how much that means to me. And I can't even begin tell you how much it means to the President.

So here's the deal: President Obama wants to send you a note to express how grateful we are for all you did.

Would you like to receive one?

Two years ago, we were staring into an abyss. The financial crisis was the worst this country has faced since the Great Depression.

But this Congress passed the largest set of tax cuts for the middle class since President Reagan, the largest education reform since President Johnson, the largest infrastructure investment since President Eisenhower, and the largest clean-energy bill ever.

Now -- even though we still have a ways to go -- the economy is growing again.

Prior to this Congress, lawmakers had talked about reforming health care for almost a century. But with the President leading the way, these folks went out, and -- with you at their side -- they did it. Now 32 million more Americans will have access to health coverage.

When we came into office, just about the entire country had come to realize that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was wrong. More than 14,000 brave men and women had been discharged simply because of who they were. With your help, we struck down that law and made this country a more just place.

Every lawmaker who worked to accomplish these things will talk about their votes -- and the role they played in this progress -- for years. The President and I take great pride in those achievements. But each one belongs to you. You believed in them, you fought for them, and we're darn grateful.

So let the President send you a note to show our appreciation.

Sign up here:

http://my.barackobama.com/ThankYouCard

Thank you -- for everything,

Joe

Racist Comments by Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour

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"I just don't remember it as being that bad." That's what Gov. Haley Barbour had to say about racism, in an interview with the Weekly Standard.

In the same interview, Barbour also tried to distinguish the citizens councils of his hometown from the Ku Klux Klan, even though historians have amply documented how citizens councils spent much of their energy using economic, and sometimes physical, intimidation to prevent racial integration. Although Barbour sought to clarify his remarks when they triggered a political firestorm, the fallout is likely to continue given the long and complicated history of conservatism.

"My point was my town rejected the Ku Klux Klan, but nobody should construe that to mean I think the town leadership were saints either," Barbour said. "Their vehicle called the Citizens Council is totally indefensible, as is segregation."

As a Southern governor who lived in the civil rights era, and as a possible presidential contender, Barbour has no excuse for not understanding racial history or these tactics better. Barbour is an intelligent man and a keen politician; he can't play dumb. He could be -- and should be -- playing a key role in healing the wounds of past racial discrimination in the South.

Take the battle to Barbour's Twitter account: http://twitter.com/haleybarbour

As 2010 is coming to an end, this might be the MOST racist comment of the year. Is it? Tell us what you think...

souces: http://www.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/12/27/zelizer.barbour.race/index.html
http://www.newsday.com/opinion/oped/was-haley-barbour-s-apology-sincere-1.2571339

Sunday, December 26, 2010

BREAKING: Barack Obama Visits Troops on Christmas Day

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President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama dropped by a Marine Corps base in Hawaii on Christmas Day, shaking hands with servicemen and women, taking photos, and hearing Christmas tales from children.

Obama made the unannounced 40-minute visit while on his 11-day family vacation to Kailua Bay, Hawaii, his home state, according to Reuters.

The first family and hundreds of Marines and their families were enjoying Christmas dinner in the hall decked with Christmas decorations.
http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/content/view/48091/
President Obama capped a quiet Christmas on Saturday with a surprise visit to a Marine base to thank U.S. troops for the sacrifices they’ve made, including being away from their families at the holidays.
http://mediagallery.usatoday.com/Obama-visits-the-troops/G1926
Reporting from Honolulu — President Obama enjoyed a quiet Christmas with his family and friends in Hawaii, visiting with service members at a military base and taking in some NBA basketball on the third full day of what has been a low-key visit to his home state.

"America's brave servicemen and -women represent a small fraction of our population. But they and the families who await their safe return carry far more than their fair share of the burden," Obama said. "Let's all remind them this holiday season that we're thinking of them — and that America will forever be here for them, just as they've been there for us."
http://articles.latimes.com/2010/dec/25/nation/la-na-obama-christmas-20101226

Gibbs: Now Republicans Too Responsible For Their Actions

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ON CNN's State of the Union With Candy Crowly, President Obama's Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the Republican Party now has more responsibility to govern.

"The president did not want to see tax-cuts extended for the billionaires and millionaires. We didn't have the votes for our position to prevail. We are going to have some very tough issues coming into the next congress, and over the next couple of years. I think couple of think can help, what has happened in the last few weeks bleed over into next year. You heard that the President said this at his year end news conference: there was a responsibility of government that I think the Republicans got in the November elections and they began to understand that responsibility a little bit more in this lame duck session than they had in the previous, quite frankly, 18 months or so."

"They cannot afford to simply just there and said NO! We are certainly hopeful that the Republicans come into next year with a willingness to sit down at that table and begin having a discussion about how we're going to make progress, Sometimes the first step is the biggest one."

Gibbs also said he doesn't expect major changes in President Obama's Cabinet and would be surprised if the president decided not to run for reelection. Now that's good news. There's a reason as to naming this blog Barack Obama for President 2012

Weekly Address: Merry Christmas from the President & First Lady

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President Obama and the First Lady wish families across the country a “Merry Christmas” and encourage everyone to support the troops and their families this holiday season.  Visit www.serve.gov to find ideas for what you can do to help our servicemen and women and their families.

In this week’s address, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama wished families across the country a “Merry Christmas” and encouraged everyone to support the troops and their families this holiday season. Anyone can visit www.serve.gov to find ideas for what they can do to help our servicemen and women and their families.

From http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/12/25/weekly-address-merry-christmas-president-first-lady

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Sweet Holiday Season For Democrats, But Republicans Are Coming

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“I think we will see recession coming to an end, probably this year [2009]. We’ll see recovery beginning next year, and it will pick up steam, over time.” That’s what Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the United States Federal Reserve, said at the beginning of 2009. As an informed United States citizen, we can evaluate the accuracy of his prediction, because we now have lived though 2009 and 2010.

Although President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 saved or created 3,170,000 just in October of this year, unemployment rate of the nation still hovers close to 9.8%. 111,399,000 have received TAX-CUTS as result of the act. With numerous other plans in the bill, one might still wonder why we are not seeing any improvements labor market. Here’s something to think about: The Administration haven’t spent enough money on REALY creating jobs. They have been putting money into projects that demands highly trained professions, not mainstream folks. Furthermore, as republicans cry, tax-cuts alone won’t solve all the problems. That’s because, even small businesses get money in hand, the production of materials costs even more. As for rich people getting massive tax-breaks, like $700 000/year just in tax cuts, does make an “impact” to the Main Street. Think about it: it’s like adding water to ocean.

But in January, a whole bunch of new Republicans are coming to town, virtually guaranteeing a gridlock. But before that happens the Democrats and Obama can sleep little bit better over the holiday season knowing that they got what they wanted. “"I think you saw, in this very short congested work period we had, is Democrats and Republicans were working together," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Wednesday. However, Reid was noticeably absent from negotiations between the White House and members of Congress that resulted in an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts and a 13-month extension of unemployment benefits.

"The president did a good job. He did a good job without me," he said.

"I think that we're going to be obligated to make sure that (Senate Minority Leader) Mitch McConnell believes he's part of the process," Reid said. "Divided government does not mean you can't get things done. Legislation is the art of compromise. And when you have divided government, that's when you have to compromise."

Let’s hope so….

Friday, December 24, 2010

To Sarah Palin: Please Run in 2012

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For republicans, it seems that Obama is in trouble, with his midterm election defeat and slipping in poll numbers. All the Republicans are thinking "Oh my god, I can be president if run in 2012". As of now, President Obama is beating all the potential Republican candidates in a hypothetical 2012 general election. Best of all, Obama's beating Sarah Palin by over 20%.

But none of those candidates want to face Sarah Palin in a primary battle. They want her down well before republican primary season starts -- and it has already begun. Mitt Romney has been critical of Sarah Palin for the recent months. Today Mike Hukabee came out saying, “With all due respect to my colleague and friend Sarah Palin, I think she’s misunderstood what Michelle Obama is trying to do. Michelle Obama’s not trying to tell people what to eat or not trying to force the government’s desires on people. She’s stating the obvious, that we do have an obesity problem in this country.”

The ignorant tea baggers obviously don't care about issues. Over 70% of them believe Sarah Palin is qualified to be president. Surprise? CNN also conducted exit polls on Election Day in some of the states that vote first in the presidential primary calendar. Twenty-five percent of South Carolina Republicans say Palin would be their likely primary choice, followed by Huckabee at 24 percent, Romney at 21 percent and Gingrich at 10 percent.

The NBC/WSJ poll indicates that Obama holds a 20 point lead over Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, who's also considering a bid for the GOP presidential nomination, and has a seven point advantage over 2008 Republican White House candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who appears to be gearing up for another bid.

Last week John Thune came on Fox News and said giving taxes to rich are more important than passing 9/11 bill to support firefighters rushed to Ground Zero on September 11 Attacks. He's just an idiot!

According to the survey, in a showdown with an un-named GOP challenger, 42 percent say they would vote for Obama in 2012, with 39 percent saying they would vote for the Republican.

Presidents poll numbers should go up as he got a lot out of the lame-duck congress, including START treaty and ending DON"T ASK DON"T TELL.

sources:
cnn.com/politics
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2010/12/22/2010-12-22_mike_huckabee_exgop_governor_defends_michelle_obama_lets_move_campaign_after_sar.html
http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/12/16/poll-obama-vs-palin-in-2012/

This holiday season, share our progress

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This time of year, Americans around the country are taking the time to exchange heartfelt messages with friends and loved ones, reflecting on the past year. They write of achievements and setbacks, of births, graduations, promotions, and moves.

These messages allow us to overcome the miles that separate us. And they allow us to continue one of the most basic American traditions that has held folks close for centuries -- the simple sharing of stories.

And as families gather around holiday tables this season, we also have the opportunity to share the stories of the change this movement has achieved together.

It is a narrative woven by individuals across America -- in big cities and small towns, hospitals and classrooms, in auto manufacturing plants and auto supply stores.

These are stories of rebuilding, and of innovation. Stories of communities breathing new life into old roads and bridges, of local plants harnessing alternative fuel into new energy. Stories of small businesses getting up, dusting themselves off, and beginning to grow again. Stories of soldiers who served multiple tours of duty in Iraq now coming home -- and enjoying the holidays this year in the company of loved ones.

These are stories of progress.

They unite us, and they are ours to share.

We've pulled many of them together in one place, PROGRESS. You can see what our reforms have meant to Americans in every state -- block by block, community by community.

Click here to read about stories of progress in your area -- and share them with your friends and family.

The reforms that we fought long and hard for are not talking points.

And their effects don't change based on the whims of politicians in Washington. They are achievements that have a real and meaningful impact on the lives of Americans around the country. They are achievements that would not have been possible without you. PROGRESS localizes them -- and brings them to life.

It tells of how a green technology business in Phoenix, Arizona, is using a grant through the Recovery Act's Transportation Electrification program to bring the first electric-drive vehicles and charging stations to cities around the country.

It tells how, thanks to closing the "donut hole" in prescription drug coverage, a diabetic woman in Burlington, Vermont will no longer have to choose between purchasing her monthly groceries or the insulin she needs to survive.

It tells about how 136,000 Pennsylvania residents' jobs were saved or created by the Recovery Act.

And about how, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 22,900 small businesses in Utah's 2nd Congressional District are now eligible for health care tax credits -- and how 17,500 residents in Idaho's 1st with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage.

There are thousands more stories like these.

In the coming days, as we gather with our loved ones at dinner tables around the nation, let's pass them on. Let's celebrate the spirit of service and responsibility that brought them to fruition. And let's steady ourselves with the resolve to continue pressing forward.

Because the coming year will hold new challenges -- battles that have yet to be fought, and stories of progress that have yet to be written.

Take a look at the progress we've made in your area -- and share the stories you read with your friends and family:

http://progress.barackobama.com

Happy holidays, and God bless,

Barack

P.S. -- Last week, seven OFA volunteers joined me at the White House for a special meeting -- and they brought along your feedback from the Vote 2010 campaign. It was incredibly meaningful for me to be able to hear directly from supporters like you. And your input will be front and center as we plot our course moving forward into the new year. Please take a couple minutes to check out some photos and stories from the meeting.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The President Signs Repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell": "Out of Many, We Are One"

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With his signature today, the President put in motion the end of a policy that has hurt our military as a whole, that has forced thousands of those who serve to do so under a cloud of anxiety and isolation, and that has stood as a symbol of the barriers to unity and equality in our country.  As the President put it, "For we are not a nation that says, 'don't ask, don’t tell.' We are a nation that says, 'Out of many, we are one.'"
A Man in the Audience Tears Up At Signing of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" Repeal People in the audience listen as President Barack Obama speaks before signing the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010 during a ceremony at the Interior Department in Washington, D.C. December 22, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – one of many to receive a standing ovation during the signing ceremony – has made the case consistently on the effect this policy has had on thousands of our troops, and the President quoted him saying “Our people sacrifice a lot for their country, including their lives. None of them should have to sacrifice their integrity as well.”  The President added:
I want to express my gratitude to the men and women in this room who have worn the uniform of the United States Armed Services.  (Applause.)  I want to thank all the patriots who are here today, all of them who were forced to hang up their uniforms as a result of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” -- but who never stopped fighting for this country, and who rallied and who marched and fought for change.  I want to thank everyone here who stood with them in that fight.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen at Signing of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" Repeal Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen is acknowledged before President Barack Obama signs the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010 during a ceremony at the Interior Department in Washington, D.C. December 22, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The entire event was profound, and the President's remarks are well worth reading in full, but perhaps the most moving part of the President’s remarks was a story he opened with:
You know, I am just overwhelmed.  This is a very good day.  (Applause.)  And I want to thank all of you, especially the people on this stage, but each and every one of you who have been working so hard on this, members of my staff who worked so hard on this.  I couldn’t be prouder.
Sixty-six years ago, in the dense, snow-covered forests of Western Europe, Allied Forces were beating back a massive assault in what would become known as the Battle of the Bulge.  And in the final days of fighting, a regiment in the 80th Division of Patton’s Third Army came under fire.  The men were traveling along a narrow trail.  They were exposed and they were vulnerable.  Hundreds of soldiers were cut down by the enemy.
And during the firefight, a private named Lloyd Corwin tumbled 40 feet down the deep side of a ravine.  And dazed and trapped, he was as good as dead.  But one soldier, a friend, turned back.  And with shells landing around him, amid smoke and chaos and the screams of wounded men, this soldier, this friend, scaled down the icy slope, risking his own life to bring Private Corwin to safer ground.
For the rest of his years, Lloyd credited this soldier, this friend, named Andy Lee, with saving his life, knowing he would never have made it out alone.  It was a full four decades after the war, when the two friends reunited in their golden years, that Lloyd learned that the man who saved his life, his friend Andy, was gay.  He had no idea.  And he didn’t much care.  Lloyd knew what mattered.  He knew what had kept him alive; what made it possible for him to come home and start a family and live the rest of his life.  It was his friend.
And Lloyd’s son is with us today.  And he knew that valor and sacrifice are no more limited by sexual orientation than they are by race or by gender or by religion or by creed; that what made it possible for him to survive the battlefields of Europe is the reason that we are here today.   (Applause.)  That's the reason we are here today.  (Applause.)
The President stressed for the sake of those in uniform now that he, the Defense Secretary and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs still need to certify that the military has made any needed preparations for the transition before repeal goes into effect, but also gave this assurance: “I have spoken to every one of the service chiefs and they are all committed to implementing this change swiftly and efficiently.  We are not going to be dragging our feet to get this done.”  He went on to express complete confidence that those who serve in our military will easily adapt, quoting one service member who contributed to the Pentagon’s exhaustive study:
As one special operations warfighter said during the Pentagon’s review -- this was one of my favorites -- it echoes the experience of Lloyd Corwin decades earlier:  “We have a gay guy in the unit.  He’s big, he’s mean, he kills lots of bad guys.”  (Laughter.)  “No one cared that he was gay.”  (Laughter.) And I think that sums up perfectly the situation.  (Applause.) 
The President and Vice President Shake Hands with the Audience After Signing Repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden shake hands with people in the audience after signing the Don't Ask Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010 at the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C. December 22, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

From http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/12/22/president-signs-repeal-dont-ask-dont-tell-out-many-we-are-one

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Almost There: DREAM and DADT Votes This Weekend

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced late last night that the Senate will begin to vote on the DREAM Act and repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” this weekend.
OFA supporters have been campaigning on these important issues for months. This could be our last chance to get Congress to pass these essential measures before the end of the 111th Congress.
In a message to supporters, Mitch Stewart, Director of Organizing for America, stressed how important this weekend’s votes are:
“Both bills are key priorities for President Obama -- and since both have already passed the House, these votes will determine whether they become law. If we don't seize this chance, there's no telling when we might have this opportunity again.

We can't waste any time -- we need to make our voices heard today.
Can you take three minutes and call right now? Voice your support for both the passage of the DREAM Act and the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
Call your senators and ask them to vote for repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and to vote for the DREAM Act.
The DREAM Act and the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” have already been passed by the House of Representatives. The Senate needs to vote ‘yes’ before they can be signed into law by the President.

The DREAM Act would provide a path to citizenship for talented and hardworking undocumented youth. The repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will end the 17-year-old law banning gay men and women from serving openly in the military.
Ask your senators to do the right thing: vote for repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and vote for the DREAM Act.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

“Health Reform Will Survive Legal Challenge"

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A federal judge on Monday ruled that the individual mandate found in the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional, claiming that Congress could not require people to purchase coverage under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause. In a Washington Post Op-ed,  Eric Holder and Kathleen Sebelius respond by arguing that the individual mandate is the only way to ensure coverage for folks with preexisting conditions and to prevent those with insurance from having to pay for those without.
Since the Affordable Care Act was enacted, opponents have waged nearly 20 challenges to the law, and already 12 have been dismissed. As Attorney General Holder and Secretary Sebelius point out, a successful legal challenge would further damage America’s health care system.
The majority of Americans who have health insurance pay a higher price because of our broken system. Every insured family pays an average of $1,000 more a year in premiums to cover the care of those who have no insurance.
Challengers of this law essentially argue that families with health insurance should be responsible for paying the health care bills of those without – a reality that belies principles of fairness.
Americans should pay for insurance if they can afford it. That's important because when people who don't have insurance show up at emergency rooms, we don't deny them care. The costs of this uncompensated care - $43 billion in 2008 - are then passed on to doctors, hospitals, small businesses and Americans who have insurance.
Additionally, individuals with preexisting conditions deserve health care coverage to help treat their sickness. The only way to make certain that’s possible is by ensuring that everyone has coverage.
Imagine what would happen if everyone waited to buy car insurance until after they got in an accident. Premiums would skyrocket, coverage would be unaffordable, and responsible drivers would be priced out of the market.
Everyone wants health care to be affordable and available when they need it. But we have to stop imposing extra costs on people who carry insurance, and that means everyone who can afford coverage needs to carry minimum health coverage starting in 2014.
The Affordable Care Act has been defended by government officials, legal scholars, and even President Reagan’s Solicitor General, Charles Fried, who stated that, “The health care law’s enemies have no ally in the Constitution.” All of whom believe that the Affordable Care Act falls well within Congress’s power to regulate economic activity under the Commerce Clause.
While these challenges are likely to persist, Attorney General Holder and Secretary Sebelius believe that the time and energy spent battling health reform could be better used in other ways.
Rather than fighting to undo the progress we've made, and returning to the days when one out of seven Americans was denied insurance due to their medical histories, supporters of repeal should work with us to implement this law effectively. The initial decisions about the Affordable Care Act will be reviewed on appeal. We are confident that the law will ultimately be upheld.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ron Paul Defends WikiLeaks

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Ron Paul from Texas makes the case for WikiLeaks, stepping up from his fellow Republicans in the House on Monday. "WikiLeaks classified information has generated a lot of attention in the past few weeks. Historical examples wonder if this is not an example of killing the messenger for the bad news. Despite what it claims, the information it released so far has caused no harm to any individual, but it has caused plenty of embarrassment to our government. Loosing a grip of our empire is not welcomed by our new-conservative in charge. There is now more information confirming that Saudi Arabia is a principal supporter and financier of Al-Quaida. This should send off alarm bells since we guaranteed its a shuria-run government. This emphasizes more of t hat fact that no Al-Quida existed in Iraq before 9/11, yet we went to war against Iraq on the lie that it did. It has been charge by self-proclaimed that Julian Assange, the internet publisher of WikiLeaks, committed a crime deserving prosecution for treason and execution, or even assassination. But should we not at least ask how the US government can charge an Australian with treason for publishing US secret
information that he did not steal".

Ron Paul is obviously in favor of releasing these documents. He's been firmly saying that far right wingers, like Sarah Plain and Fox News, are wrong on WikiLeaks. Ron Paul asks an elementary questions - which is more harmful: invading a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 and getting those people killed or finding about it. THe Crazy right wingers don't want to prosecute Julian Assange, but all the news paper that published information about WikiLeaks. If that were to happen, it would be a totally different America.

Republicans Contradict Their Own Principles

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Republicans, incoming and already in house and senate, are promising to end bankruptcy of government. Senator John Cornyn of Texas said, "we have a certain philosophical principles that we believe in, and we think that those principles are superior to those our friends across the isle." So what is their core, number 1 principle? Deal with the Bush era tax cuts first, or nothing else will get passed! All 42 republican senators signed a letter to majority leader Harry Reid saying this. But day before yesterday, senate rejected to open debate for Don't Ask Don't Tell. Senate also failed to provide health benefits to 9/11 responders. No republican senator even brought-up the topic for debate. Wyoming senator Mike Enzi explained in a Sunday op-ed that his real concern was "proper oversight of money already spent on 9/11 workers." But in May of 2008, he voted for carelessly written to bill to fund troops in Iraq. Actually, people who were fighting in Iraq were 9/11 responders, may be not the first, but second or the third.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Republicans Defeated 9/11 Responders Health Care Bill

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Senate finnaly took-up the 9/11 responders healthcare bill, which provides much needed medical aid to those who bravely Ground Zero. Bill is already passed over in the House, but in the senate, Republicans are holding it hostage. Republicans, as they promised, would block any thing until the taxcut legistaltion is passed. It's hard to believe how f%@#up the senate is. Democrats couldn't even get 60 senators to pass the 9/11 healthcare bill, before they get tax cuts for the top 2% of the Americans.

While supporters of the bill said they would try to bring the bill up again, either on its own or as part of other legislation to be considered, the vote Thursday jeopardized the measure's chances for approval in the final weeks of the current congressional session.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg reacted to Thursday's result by calling it "a tragic example of partisan politics trumping patriotism."

"I urge Senate Republicans to reconsider their wrong-headed political strategy and allow the bill to come to the floor for a vote," Bloomberg said in a statement.

Republicans complained that the $7.4 billion price tag was too high, while Democrats said the government had an obligation to help the first responders to the deadliest terrorism attack in U.S. history.

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health Bill -- named after a deceased New York Police Department detective who had worked in the toxic plume at ground zero -- seeks to provide free medical coverage for responders and survivors who were exposed to toxins after the attacks.

Tradeoffs in Tax Deal

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In extending Bush Tax Cuts, Obama gave the Republicans all they wanted. But in return, Republicans gave Obama almost nothing. Surely, Obama managed to get a 13-month extension on employments benefits. However, Ronald Reagan, the Republican Icon, extended unemployment benefits for 20 months back in the 80s. Ironically, Obama is heavily bragging about this, like it suppose to impress some one. Given the fact that now Republicans argue against unemployment benefits,saying it's welfare, doesn't that make Reagan look more progressive than President Obama?

Furthermore, many expected that president would get Start-Treaty in return. BUT NO!!! Unbelievable. Right after the midterm elections, Republicans said they would vote NO on anything unless the taxes were resolved. Now having resolved taxes, the way they wanted, you might think they'd be willing to negotiate with the president on his other priorities. As always, republicans did what they always do best: make a fool out of the president. Republicans are stilling holding hostage. Their excuse for this is that they have to work on other budget stuff and other state affairs; so if there's time left in the lame-duck session after they passed a budget or they don't, then they might get a vote on it, but the likelihood is that, there won't be anything time to work on start-treaty this year!

It's painful to watch Obama bragging about what he accomplished in this deal. Fact of the matter is he accomplished almost NOTHING.

Unemployment Hits 9.8%, But There Is Some Good News

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This week unemployment rates hits 9.8%. But there is some good news: the top 2% of wage earners, like Sarah Palin, are going to get their bush tax cuts extended. They cannot wait for the tax rates to stay exactly the same, so that they create all those new jobs.

The rick folks wouldn't have their tax cut if the president Obama wasn't willing to fight all the Democrats who want him to fight the republicans.

Political pundits came forward on cable news and said, "[Obama] does this all the time" - Paul Begala. And worst of all the president talk himself to get into extended warranty. And this ongoing willingness to bend republican demands

I thought I would never this, but I'm really starting to worry about Barack Obama. When he came to Washington, Obama has one thing, and only one thing on his mind - winning over the GOP! Over and over, he has tired hooking up with them.

For instance, look at the stimulus plan. Republicans immediately gave him the cold shoulder. So he sweeten the deal with 250 billion dollars in tax cuts. In return, Republicans gave him nothing. But did that stop the president from reach across the isle? NO. When health care was being crafted, the republicans said forget it. So again to sweeten the deal, Obama dropped the public option.In return republicans gave Obama nothing.

And now we've come to extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2%. But as before, the president is open to compromise. But the problem is republicans aren't going compromise. Mr. President face the facts: Republicans aren't that into you. In face, senate minority lean Mitch McConnell said their top priority is to deny Obama a second term.

So what Obama should is to give more and more what republicans want - privatize social security, increase defense budget etc etc. Then they might love you.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Obama Defends Republicans

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President Barack Obama is officially a republican now. He made a deal with republicans on extending Bush taxcuts for the rich. He now has to defend his position now, to get it passed in the house and the senate, and also in two years when he's running for re-election. It'll be interesting to see how people react to the presidents position on taxes - a man who bringing change, but followed bush tax policies for his first term.

The whole White House is out-of-touch on taxes. Larry Summers, President Obama's economic adviser came out and said if Democrats don't vote for this bill, it would create a financial mess!!!. He said "if they, the Democracts, don't pass this bill in the next couple of weeks, it will materially increase the rick of that the ecomony would stall-out, and we would have a double dip". So he's portraying the Democrats as ones who are holding middle class taxes hostage. Whoa! Senior White House adviser David Axelrod had the same to thing say, when he was on NBC Today's Show. If Democrats don't vote for tax cuts for rich, "it would be borderline immoral", said David Axelrod. This might be the biggest flip-flop in the history of American Politics.

The republican's could not have dreamed of a better president than Obama. Not only they everything, in return Republicans give nothing. Take health-care bill for instance. Republican's said it was socialism, so to sweeten the deal Obama cutout the public option. In return Republicans gave Obama a big glass of fu juice. They have a democratic president making the case for the Republicans. It's disaster on top of a disaster. Carl Rove jumped on this said, "the fact that these have been identified as the right policies by the administration ... is a recognition of how sound these policies are." Ironically, still republicans call Obama a socialist. That's unbelievable. If Ronald Reagan were to live toady, he would definitely endorse Obama's presidency!!! Bill O'Reilly also weighing in on this. Well I'm not going to write what he said because you can guess.

Share your thoughts on Obama-Bush Tax Policy. Yeah that's right - "Obama-Bush" - will see it in 2012!

Big news on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

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It's time.

The Pentagon study released yesterday confirms what we've long known: The military is ready to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

The report found that 70 percent of troops do not believe the change would have a negative impact on morale, and troop readiness would not be affected.

This important news means that we are closer than ever to ending this discriminatory policy that punishes patriotic men and women who want nothing more than to serve our country -- and harms our own security by preventing qualified and much-needed Americans from serving.

Last time, we were just two votes shy of passing repeal in the Senate. And now the lawmakers who have been dragging their feet have no excuses left.

Neither do we. On this issue, our voices may not get more powerful than they are today -- after the military has weighed in, when the media is paying close attention, just before the Senate starts its debate.

Let's ensure the Senate passes repeal -- and sends it to President Obama's desk -- before the end of the year.

Please add your name to the President's call to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" now.

The release of the Pentagon's report is just one more sign that the days are numbered for "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

But the Republican opposition in the Senate -- led by Senator John McCain -- is already digging in its heels.

People like Sen. McCain said they would defer to military leadership -- and then refused to budge when people like Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell all came forward to support repeal.

These senators said they were worried about how repeal would weaken our military or hurt troop morale -- and that we should wait for the results of the Pentagon study.

Well, the results are in: Our military believes the time has come to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

We know that some of these senators are going to do everything they can to shift their standards once again. But we don't need them all to agree with us -- we just need two more votes to end this policy once and for all.

With the hearings set to begin tomorrow, it's important we make our voices heard now.

Join President Obama -- and add your name to the call for repeal:

http://my.barackobama.com/RepealDADT


Thanks -- now let's make history,

Mitch

Mitch Stewart
Director
Organizing for America
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