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A Mid Morning “Wake Up Call.” We Be Lazy Butts!


 

By Jueseppi B.

wake-up

 

 

White House Tweets – July 31, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White House Schedule – Wednesday July 31, 2013

 

 

Wednesday, July 31 2013 All Times ET

 

10:10 AM: The President meets with the House Democratic Caucus.

 

 

11:25 AM: The President meets with the Senate Democratic Caucus.

 

 

12:45 PM: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney.

 

 

2:10 PM: The President welcomes the NCAA Champion UConn Huskies to honor the team and their 2013 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship.

 

 

3:00 PM:  Congressional leaders join together for a ceremony to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

 

 

4:30 PM: The President and the Vice President meet with Secretary of the Treasury Lew.

 

 

Statements and Releases July 30, 2013

 

Remarks by the President on Jobs for the Middle Class, 07/30/13

 

 

Presidential Nomination Sent to the Senate

 

 

Statement by the President on the Confirmation of the National Labor Relations Board

 

 

Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 7/30/2013

 

 

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

 

 

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

 

 

President Obama Nominates L. Paige Marvel to the United States Tax Court

 

 

FACT SHEET: A Better Bargain for the Middle Class: Jobs

 

 

 

 

 

livevideo-640x360

 

 

 

White House LIVE!!

 

Next Up…

July 31, 2013 12:45 PM EDT

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney

The White House

 

 

July 31, 2013 2:00 PM EDT

White House Tech Inclusion Champions of Change

The White House

 

 

July 31, 2013 2:10 PM EDT

President Obama Honors 2013 NCAA Women’s Basketball Champion UConn Huskies

The White House

 

 

July 2013: Photo of the Day

 

 

President Barack Obama signs a line worker's shirt after touring the Amazon fulfillment center in Chattanooga, Tenn., July 30, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

President Barack Obama signs a line worker’s shirt after touring the Amazon fulfillment center in Chattanooga, Tenn., July 30, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

 

http://my.democrats.org/Happy-Birthday-POTUS

 

 

 

President Obama Welcomes the 2015 Special Olympics World Games to Los Angeles

 

Published on Jul 30, 2013

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama sign on as Honorary Chairs of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games – Los Angeles 2015.

 

 

 

 

baracksblogchair

 

Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

July 30, 2013
05:15 PM EDT

 

Ed Note: This is a cross post from The Huffington Post. You can find the original post here.

 

My 92-year-old father first ran for public office after he finished his military service in World War II. He served on the city council, and later was elected to Congress. In 1965, he helped write and voted for Medicare and Medicaid, which celebrate their 48th anniversary today.

 

Since then, Medicare has been a guaranteed benefit earned after a lifetime of hard work for millions of America’s seniors. Medicaid has provided affordable health coverage for millions of low-income working Americans and families. Both programs have helped keep people from falling into poverty. Both have been lifelines to better health and sources of peace of mind and security.

 

That’s why President Obama has made it a top priority to strengthen Medicare and Medicaid so that our seniors and future generations can get the health care they need and peace of mind they deserve.

 

Because of the health law, seniors are seeing more dollars saved in their wallets and better benefits to their health.

 

More than 6.6 million people on Medicare have saved an average of more than $1,000 on prescription drugs since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act. That’s money that has been used for groceries, utilities, and visits with grandchildren instead of being sent to drug companies — and that’s how the Affordable Care Act is closing the “donut hole” that too many seniors fall into.

 

Read More

 

 

Alan Krueger
Alan Krueger

July 31, 2013
09:30 AM EDT

 

This morning the Bureau of Economic Analysis released a comprehensive revision to the National Income and Product Accounts, covering the full history of data since 1929. The revision showed that the recovery from the Great Recession has been slightly faster than previously reported, with real gross domestic product (GDP) expanding by a cumulative 8.5% from 2009:Q2 to 2013:Q1, compared to the previous estimate of 8.1% growth over that period. Including the advance estimate for 2013:Q2, real GDP has risen by 9.0% since the business-cycle trough in 2009:Q2 (see chart). In addition, real GDP surpassed its pre-recession peak in 2011:Q2, two quarters sooner than was reported prior to the revision, and is 4.4% higher than it was at the business-cycle peak in 2007:Q4.

 

The revision also showed that while the contraction during the Great Recession was slightly less severe than previously reported, it remains the largest decline since quarterly data became available in 1947. Cumulatively, real GDP fell by 4.3% during the recession, less than the 4.7% drop previously reported. The steep drop in economic activity caused by the recession makes it imperative that more work is done to raise economic growth and speed job creation.

 

The comprehensive revision to the national accounts, which is the first since July 2009, includes additional source data received by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, as well as methodological changes designed to better reflect the evolving nature of the U.S. economy. For instance, the GDP data released today incorporates input-output tables derived from the once-every-five-years Economic Census, and adopts an expanded definition of business investment that includes spending on research and development (R&D) and the creation of original works of art like movies. All told, these and other changes raised the level of GDP in the first quarter of 2013 by $551 billion at an annual rate (or 3.4%), from $16.0 trillion to $16.5 trillion.

 

Read More

 

 

in-case-you-missed-it

 

 

ObamaCares: What Is It? Read This To Get Educated About ObamaCares. ALL Questions Answered.

 

 

From Crooks & Liars: Groundswell Group Stoked Scandals with Help From GOP Leaders, By karoli

 

 

Ketchup Time: Everything Presidential From Barack’s House

 

 

Barack Hits The Amazon.com Fulfillment Center In Chattanooga, Tennessee

 

 

Know Which States Have Stand Your Ground AND Avoid Them If You’re Black.

 

 

So Many Lost Children. “The Genocide Of Black America.”

 

 

 

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A Quiet Sunday Evening


 

By Jueseppi B.

 

 

alton sunset 3

It’s just a quiet Sunday Evening. You, Me and some images…..

 

 

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Whats Going On At 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue


 

By JueseppiB

 

9980

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s White House Schedule:

 

All Times Eastern Standard Time

 

 

12:30 PM: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney from The James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in the West Wing.

 

 

12:45 PM: President Barack Obama meets with the Senate Republican Conference On Capitol Hill.

 

 

2:15 PM: President Barack Obama meets with the House Democratic Caucus On Capitol Hill.

 

 

4:15 PM: President Barack Obama receives the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office.

 

 

 

 

Speeches and Remarks

 

 

March 13, 2013

Remarks by the First Lady at Business Roundtable Quarterly Meeting

 

 

 

Statements and Releases

 

 

March 13, 2013

Readout of the President’s Meeting With Business Leaders on Commonsense Immigration Reform

 

 

 

March 13, 2013

Statement by the Press Secretary on the Senate Democratic Budget

 

 

 

March 13, 2013

Statement from the Vice President on His Holiness Pope Francis

 

 

 

p031313ps-0688

President Barack Obama talks with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on the Colonnade of the White House, March 13, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

 

 

 

Vice President Joseph Robinette “Joey B.” Biden, Jr., addresses The Violence Against Women Act event with Lae & Orders Ms. Mariska Hargitay‘s foundation: “The JHF“. 

 

 

 

 

 

biden-on-vawa

 

 

vpbiden

 

 

 

 

Remarks By President Barack Hussein Obama at last evenings Organizing For America event:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obama George Stephanopoulos ABC Interview 3-13-2013

 

Published on Mar 13, 2013

POTUS Obama’s George Stephanopoulos ABC Interview. Good Morning America aired more of George Stephanopoulos’ interview with President Obama — during which they talked addressed topics ranging from a budget deal and GOP opposition to North Korea and the cancelled White House tours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transcript: President Obama’s Exclusive Interview With George Stephanopoulos

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
Mr. President, thank you for doing this.

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
It’s great to be here.

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
So, you’ve done all meetings on Capitol Hill, but I’m trying to figure out where this all goes. Because the– the Republican leader is still saying no revenues in any kind of a deal. I assume your bottom line is that any deal has to include revenues.

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
Right.

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
So, is your strategy to break them or to go around them? What is it?

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
I don’t think it’s to break or go around them. I think it is to identify– members, particularly in the Senate, but I think also in the House, who are just tired of havin’ the same argument over and over again. And– what I call the common-sense caucus, which says– we can do sensible deficit reduction with a combination of entitlement reform, some judicious spending cuts, closing some tax loopholes that nobody really defends on their own.

I mean, you don’t hear people say, “Man, that’s a great tax loophole– that we should keep.” And if we do all those things, then instead of arbitrary cuts that hurt our economy, we can actually put in place– a growth strategy that creates jobs and protects the middle class and helps them thrive and grow. And– and that’s what I’ve been talking about–

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
But that–

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
–for the last two years.

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
–that common-sense caucus on the Republican side, Lindsey Graham, Kelly Ayotte, other Senate Republicans–

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
Right. Yeah. Yeah.

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
–say they’re gonna need to see a lot more entitlement reform from you before they can sign onto any new revenues, like putting– raising the Medicare eligibility age back on the table. Is that back on the table?

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
Well, one of things that– you know, I’ve discovered in some of these dinners, which has been– useful, is that people don’t always know what I’ve actually proposed. And– it’s a lot easier to have a conversation when there’s something specific. So– I’ve said, “Here– this may not have gotten reported on. Maybe you guys didn’t see it in your office. But here are the things we’re looking to do.”

And, you know, there’s a finite number of changes that could be made to deal with our deficit. And I say, you know, “Do you guys like this? Do you not like that? What is it that you wanna do? Why don’t you guys specifically tell me?” And through that process, potentially– you may see emerging– some consensus. Now–

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
But even the ones who’ve seen your plans say they need to see more.

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
Well– I understand. Which is why, at some point, I think I take myself out of this. Right now, what I’m trying to do is create an atmosphere where Democrats and Republicans can go ahead, get together, and try to get something done. And, y– you know– I think what’s important to recognize is that– we’ve already cut– $2.5– $2.7 trillion out of the deficit. If the sequester stays in, you’ve got over $3.5 trillion of deficit reduction already.

And, so, we don’t have an immediate crisis in terms of debt. In fact, for the next ten years, it’s gonna be in a sustainable place. The question is, can we do it smarter, can we do it better? And– you know, what I’m saying to them is I am prepared to do some tough stuff. Neither side’s gonna get 100%. That’s what the American people are lookin’ for. That’s what’s gonna be good for jobs. That’s what’s gonna be good for growth.

But ultimately, it may be that– the differences are just– too wide. It may be that ideologically, if their position is, “We can’t do any revenue,” or, “We can only do revenue if we gut Medicare or gut Social Security or gut Medicaid,” if that’s the position, then we’re probably not gonna be able to get a deal.

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
Where–

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
That won’t– that won’t create a crisis. It just means that we will have missed an opportunity. I think that opportunity is there and I’m gonna– make sure that they know that I’m prepared to– work with them. But ultimately, it may be better if some Democratic and Republican Senators work together. We can–

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
So, you might poison the well if you put forward these ideas

 

 

(OVERTALK)

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
You know –I think whatever I’m for, it’s very hard for a Republican to also be for. I think they always have to be a little bit– you know, maintain some distance–

 

 

(OVERTALK)

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
Some of them are trying to call you out right now. Paul Ryan today put forward his budget.

 
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
Right. Right.

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
And he said he’s challenging you to come forward with a budget that also reaches balance. Are you gonna do that?

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
No. We’re not gonna balance the budget in ten years because if you look at what Paul Ryan does to balance the budget, it means that you have to voucherize Medicare; you have to slash deeply– into programs like Medicaid; you’ve essentially got to– either tax– middle-class families a lot higher than you currently are; or you can’t lower rates the way he’s promised. So, it’s really– you know, it– it’s a reprise of the same– legislation–

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
Balanced by any point?

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
–that he’s put before. No. I think that there is a possibility. Look, balancing the budget in part depends on how fast you grow. You remember– you were in the Clinton administration. The reason that you guys balanced it was a combination of some tax hikes, some spending cuts, and the economy grew.

And, so– you know, my goal is not to chase– a balanced budget just for the sake of balance. My goal is how do we grow the economy, put people back to work, and if we do that we’re gonna be bringin’ in more revenue. If we’ve controlled spending and we’ve got a smart entitlement package, then potentially what you have is balance. But it’s not balance on the backs of, you know, the poor, the elderly, students who need student loans, families who’ve got disabled kids. That’s not the right way to balance–

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
Let me ask you–

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
–our budget.

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
–one more question about the spending cuts. You’ve been takin’ a lotta heat for this cancellation of the White House tours. They get– the Secret Service says it’s costs about $74,000 a week. Was canceling them really necessary?

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
You know, I have to say this was not– a decision that went up to the White House. But th– what the Secret Service explained to us was that they’re gonna have to furlough some folks. What furloughs mean is– is that people lose a day of work and a day of pay.

And, you know, the question for them is, you know, how deeply do they have to furlough their staff and is it worth it to make sure that we’ve got White House tours that means that you got a whole bunch of families who are depending on a paycheck who suddenly are seein’–

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
So no reconsideration?

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
–a 5% or 10%– reduction in their pay. Well, what I’m asking them is are there ways, for example, for us to accommodate school groups– you know, who may have traveled here with some bake sales. Can we make sure that– kids, potentially, can– can still come to tour?

But– but– I’m always amused when people on the one hand say– the sequester doesn’t mean anything and the administration’s exaggerating its effects; and then whatever the specific effects are, they yell and scream and say, “Why are you doin’ that?” Well, there are consequences to Congress not having come up with a more sensible way to reduce the deficit. And what I’m proposing is if we do it smart, if we do it sensibly, if we do it in a balanced way that the American support, including, by the way, a majority of Republicans, then we don’t have to– do arbitrary stuff. We can do it in an intelligent way that’s gonna improve our economy.

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
Let me ask you about North Korea. Seen a lotta belligerent behavior from the–

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
Yeah. Yeah.
–regime in recent days. Canceled the 1953 armistice. And your director of national intelligence James Clapper told Capitol Hill today for the first time did North Korea and nuclear weapons and missiles pose a serious threat to the United States. So, can North Korea now make good on its threat to hit the United States?

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
They– they probably can’t, but we don’t like margin of error, right, when it comes to–

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
It’s that close?

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
Well, and I don’t th– it’s not that close. But what is true is, is they’ve had nuclear weapons since well before I came into office. What’s also true is missile technology improves and their missile technology has improved. Now, what we’ve done is we’ve made sure that we’ve got defensive measures to prevent– any attacks on the homeland. And we’re not anticipating any of that. But we’ve seen outta the North Koreans is they go through these periodic spasms of– of provocative behavior.

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
Is this one more serious?

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
Well– I don’t necessarily think it’s different in kind. They’ve all been serious. Because when you’re talking about a regime that– is oppressive towards its people, is belligerent– has shown itself to sometimes miscalculate and do things that are very dangerous– that’s always a problem. And, so, we’ve s– what we’ve done is organized the world community to strengthen sanctions, to sink– strengthen unilateral sanctions on– North Korea.

I think what’s most promising is we’re startin’ to see the Chinese, who historically have– tolerated misbehavior on the part of the North Koreans because they’re worried about– regime collapse and how that could spill over to them. You’re startin’ to see them recalculate and say, “You know what? This is startin’ to get outta hand.” And, so, we may slowly be in a position where we’re able to force– a recalculation on the part of North Koreans about what’s gonna be–

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
Is there anything more you–

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
–good for them and not –

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
–can be doing directly? The last American to see Kim Jong Un, Dennis Rodman. I had (LAUGH) the pleasure of talking to him a couple weeks ago–

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
Yeah, I noticed that

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
–a little crazy. But he did say that Kim Jong Un said, “Boy, I want the president to call me.” Back in 2007, you were for a direct–

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
Right.

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
–talk, you said you were for with the North Koreans. Would it make any sense now, one? If not, why not?

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
You– you– you know, I think that– you always wanna create the conditions where if you have a conversation, it’s actually useful. And, you know, we’re not the only players in this. Obviously, the South Koreans– the Chinese– all the six-party talk players– need to be involved in how you resolve this.

And, you know, we communicate with the North Koreans. They know– what our bottom lines are. What we’ve said is we want a denuclearized peninsula. You know, we’ve gotta stop with these kinds of provocative threats. And we’re prepared to work with them where they could break their isolation and– rejoin the–

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
What do you need to see first?

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
–international community. Well– I mean, I think there are a lot of things. But they could start by– ending nuclear testing. They could start by ending some of this missile testing. There are– a whole s– battery of– of confidence-building measures that they could engage in. And I think all the countries involved have said, “We would reciprocate if we saw– the– any kind of responsible behavior from the North Koreans. We have not seen it yet.” That doesn’t mean that– they may not– change their calculations.

One thing we’ve tried to do is to make sure that we’re not gonna reward bad behavior. There previously have been patterns where, you know, they bang the spoon on the table and then suddenly they get food aid. Or– they get other concessions. And then they come back to the table and negotiate a little bit, and then if they get bored they start– provocative actions again. We’ve broken that pattern. Now, what we need to see is– is whether they’re willin’ to come– in a serious way to negotiate these issues.

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
Let me stay in the region. Because James Clapper also today talked about cyber attacks. Put–

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
Yeah. Right.

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
–that at the top of his list of threats to the United States. A couple weeks ago– the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee– Mike Rogers, said that we are at war with China. Because of their cyber espionage, they’re winning that war. And their government and military is behind it. Do you believe that?

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
Well, I think– you al– always have to be careful war analogies. Because, you know, there’s a big difference between– them engaging in cyber espionage or cyber attacks and– obviously– a hot war. What– is absolutely true– is that we have seen– a steady ramping up of cyber security threats. Some are state sponsored. Some are just sponsored by criminals. The–

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
But some are state sponsored?

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
Absolutely. And– and billions of dollars are lost to the consequences. You know, industrial secrets are stolen. Our companies are put into competitive disadvantage. You know, there are disruptions to our systems– that, you know, involve everything from our financial systems to some of our infrastructure.

And this is why I’ve taken some very aggressive executive actions. But we need Congress to act. We’ve put before Congress what exactly we need that will protect people’s privacy and civil liberties, but will also make sure that our overall system, both public and private, are protected from these kinds of attacks.

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
But it sounds like–

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
So far, Con–

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
–China to back down.

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
–so far, Congress hasn’t acted yet. Well, we’ve made it very clear to China and some other state actors that, you know, we expect them to follow international norms and abide by international rules. And we’ll have a s– some pretty tough talk with them. We already have.

But there are also things that we can do that are completely in our control right now that we’re not doing. And I’m urging Congress, get this done. What we don’t want is a situation analogous to 9/11– not where we have, you know, obviously the same k– level of– of– of destruction and– and– and loss of life. But you could see situations where we are surprised by major system disruptions. You know, our air traffic control system affected. Our financial system–

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
State sponsored?

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
–affected. Well, not necessarily state sponsored. But here’s the point, George. What you don’t wanna do, you don’t wanna have a situation in which– you have vulnerabilities and you don’t know who might be carrying ‘em out. You can’t always trace them back– to– they– they don’t always send– a return address when a hacker gets into a system.
And there are ways that we can harden our critical infrastructure, our financial sector. And– the only thing that’s holding us back from doing that right now is we haven’t gotten the– legislative authority outta Congress. They need to get this done and I’m hopeful that– this is an example, by the way, of the kind of– bipartisan discussions that I’m having. When– when– when I’m having–

 

 

(OVERTALK)

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
Michael Rogers is for this too

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
Yeah. When I’m having discussions with Republicans, it’s not just around the budget. There are areas where I think– you– you already see the parties a little bit closer. Cyber security, on immigration reform– certain aspects of government legislation where I think we can see progress. And, so– you know, part of what I’m–

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
But on the background checks for the assault weapons ban.

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
Well, the– you know, those are still tough. But the conversations are still takin’ place. And– and part of what– I’m– I’m tryin’ to encourage Congress to think about is yes, we’ve got some big disagreements on the budget. But we’ve made some big cuts. There’s not– in any way– an immediate crisis with respect to– our finances.

The economy is growing. And, you know, there may be disagreements that we can’t bridge right now– when it comes to financial situation. I’m hopeful that we can. But let’s not have this crisis mentality stall all the other progress that needs to be made to help– Americans find jobs, help Americans grow the economy.

I’ll– I’ll give you an example. We should be helping Americans refinance their homes right now. The housing market’s finally recovering. We’ve got an opportunity where ev– every American out there could get up to $3,000 in, basically, found money just by refinancing from high rates to low rates. That’s like a massive tax cut for millions of Americans that would go to businesses, help create the– the climate where pe– employers wanna hire more. The only thing that’s holding us back is Congress hasn’t authorized it yet. Those are the kind of things that we should be able to do and do right away, even if we don’t solve every other– disagreement that we’ve got on–

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
Let me ask you–

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
–on other issues.

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
–about another computer security information–

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
Yeah.

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
–issue coming up. It turns out, today w– this report that the first lady’s financial information, some personal information, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s, former secretary of state, Vice President Joe Biden all posted on the internet. I know the Secret Service is investigating this. But it was pretty chilling, I think, to a lot of us that this kind of information for those people could get out.

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
We don’t know how accurate some of these reports are, so I– I– I can’t vouch and verify that, in fact– you know, the first lady’s information or any of the other figures– was, in fact, posted. But we should not be surprised that if you’ve got hackers who wanna– dig in and devote a lotta resources– that they can access people’s private information. It– it is a big problem.

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
Right into the White House.

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
And– again, I c– I’m not confirming that that’s what happened. But it would not shock me if some information in– among people who presumably have pretty good safeguards against it, still gets out. That’s part of the reason why we’ve gotta continually improve what we do and coordinate between public and private sectors to make sure that people’s information is safe.

Look– you– you’ve got– y– you’ve got websites out there right now that sell people’s credit cards that have been stolen, identity theft. And you can go to the website and– you– you can basically buy somebody else’s– identity and their credit cards and– and be– that’s how sophisticated some of these operations are. That’s part of what we have to start shutting down. And we’ve gotta do that on a coordinated basis internationally because not every– one of these folks are actually located domestically. A lot of ‘em are– are foreign and– and we’ve gotta make sure that we’re on top of it.

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
Let me ask you a question about gay marriage. When Robin was here last spring, you came out in favor of gay marriage. But you also said at the time that you wanted it to be a state-by-state–

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
Yeah. Yeah.

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
–issue, it would be a mistake to nationalize it. Do you still believe that, or do you now believe that gay marriage is a right guaranteed to all Americans by the Constitution?

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
Well, I’ve gotta tell you that– in terms of practical politics, what I’ve seen is a healthy debate taking place state by state, and not every state has the exact same attitudes and cultural mores. And I– you know, my thinking was that this is traditionally a state issue and– that it will work itself out.

On the other hand– what I also believe is that the core principle that people don’t get discriminated against– that’s one of our core values. And it’s in our constitution. It’s in– the– you know, 14th Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause. And– from a legal perspective, the– the– the bottom line is, is that gays have historically been discriminated against and I do think that courts have to apply what’s called heightened scrutiny, where they take a careful look. If there’s any reason for– gays and lesbians to be treated differently, boy, the government better–

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
So banning gay marriage–

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
–have a really good–

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
–is discrimination?

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
Well, what I– what I believe is that– if– if the states don’t have a good justification for it, then it probably doesn’t stand up to constitutional muster

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
Can you imagine one?

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
So– well, I can’t, personally. I cannot. That’s part of the conc– reason I said, ultimately, I think that– you know, same-sex couples should be able to marry. That’s my personal position. And, frankly, that’s the position that’s reflected– in the briefs that we filed– in the Supreme Court.
My hope is that– the Court looks at the evidence and– and in the California case, for example, the only reason presented for treating gays and lesbians differently was, “Well, they’re gay and lesbian.” There wasn’t– a real rationale beyond that. In fact– you know, all the other– rights and– and– responsibilities of– a civil union were identical to marriage.

It’s just you couldn’t call it marriage. Well, at that point, what you’re really sayin’ is– “We’re just gonna treat these folks differently because of who they are.” And– and I do not think– that’s– that’s who are as Americans. And– and frankly, I think– American attitudes have evolved, just like mine have– pretty substantially and fairly quickly, and I think that’s a good thing.

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
We’re just about outta time. One more question. While we’re here–

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
Yeah. Yeah. Right.

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
–a lot of eyes on Rome as the cardinals prepare to pick a new pope. And for the first time, some American cardinals on the list. Well, what I wanted to ask you about, there seems to be some concern, and you hear this a lot, that– among Catholics, there shouldn’t be an American pope because that pope would be too tied to the U.S. government. Kinda the mirror image of–

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
That’s interesting. Yeah. Yeah.

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
–John F. Kennedy’s problem back in 1960. What do you think of that?

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
You know– I– I don’t know enough about the internal workings of the Catholic Church to know how seriously those– issues are being discussed. It seems to me that– an American– pope would– preside just as effectively as a Polish pope or an Italian pope or– a Guatemalan pope.

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
And not take orders from you?

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
Well, I guarantee you I– I– look– you know, I– I don’t know if you’ve checked lately, but– the conference of Catholic bishops here in the United States don’t seem to be takin’ orders from me. I– my hope is– based on what I know about the Catholic Church and– the terrific work that they’ve done around the world.

And certainly in this country, and, you know– helping those who are less fortunate– is that– you have– a pope who sustains and maintains– what I consider the central message of the gospel. And that is– that we– we treat everybody– as children of God and that– we love them– the way Jesus Christ taught us to love ‘em.

And– and that means– you know, a devotion– to God, but it also means– a devotion to service and– and– you know, p– that– that’s– you know, a deep part of the Catholic tradition. I think that– a pope that– you know, is that clarion voice on behalf of those issues– will– you know, w– will– will have a tremendous and positive impact on the world.

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
We’ll all be watching for the white smoke. Mr.–

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
Absolutely.

 

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
–President, thank you.

 

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
Good. Thank you.

 

 

* * *END OF TRANSCRIPT* * *

 

 

If you read this transcript, you’ll clearly notice that George Stephanopoulos has the interview skills of a 3rd grader. I lost count of the times George asked The POTUS a question, then interrupted the answer to interject his gibberish.

 

Get some interview lessons George, and learn that when you ask a question, allow the complete answer before you interrupt.

 

 

 

The First Lady On The Cover Of Vogue

 

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First Lady Michelle LaVaughn Obama appears on the cover of Vogue Magazine, complete with an in-depth interview inside. On newsstands nationwide March 26. Also available as a digital download for the iPad®, Kindle Fire, NOOK Color™, and NOOK Tablet™.

 

 

 

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AMERICAN IDEAL

“I think we are accountable to each other for being who we are,” says First Lady Michelle Obama.

Michael Kors sweater and ball skirt. In this story: hair, Johnny Wright; makeup, Carl Ray. Production design, Mary Howard.

 

 

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PARTY OF TWO

“We’re a team,” says President Barack Obama, photographed with First Lady Michelle Obama, who wears a Reed Krakoff dress, in the Red Room of the White House. Kimberly McDonald geode-and-diamond drop earrings.

Fashion Editor: Tonne Goodman.

 

 

 

 

Reddit ‘Ask Me Anything’ with Economic Advisor Gene Sperling

 

By Ms. Kori Schulman  March 13, 2013

 

This afternoon, Gene Sperling, Director of the National Economic Council, turned to Reddit to answer some questions about the President’s plan to reduce the deficit. During the ‘Ask Me Anything’, Sperling responded to questions on a range of topics, including the President’s proposal to raise the minimum wage and how the “The West Wing” (television show) compares to the actual West Wing.

 

You can see all of the responses on Reddit, or check out the questions and responses below.

 

 

 

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Gene Sperling, Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to President Obama for Economic Policy, answers questions during an ‘Ask Me Anything’ on Reddit. March 13, 2013.

 

 

Hey Reddit, I’m the Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to President Obama for Economic Policy. I’ve been in the West Wing for a while now, having served on the National Economic Council for more than 10 years, starting in 1993 under President Clinton. Fun fact: I also consulted for the TV show “The West Wing.” Really hoping you all are kinder than the folks at LemonLyman. As Josh would say, I applaud your interest in government… so ask me anything.

 

I’ll be answering your questions from 2 to 3 p.m. EDT. I’d like to talk about the President’s plan to reduce the deficit (which you can check out here: http://wh.gov/presidentsplan), but I’ll be taking other questions too.

 

 

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Before participating in an ‘Ask Me Anything’ on Reddit, Gene Sperling, Director of the National Economic Council, stands in his office with a Reddit sign in the background. March 13, 2013.

 

 

UPDATE: Great to be here, we’re getting started now.

 

Question: Could you please explain the overall predicted economic effects of raising the minimum wage, as has been proposed by President Obama?

 

Reply: Most directly this will raise the wages of 15 million hard working Americans, many of whose wages are critical in determining whether they are able to provide the basics for their families. We believe strongly that as a basic matter of economic dignity no parent in our country who is working full time should have to raise their children in poverty. Increasing the minimum wage will unquestionably help achieve that basic goal. For other families who are trying to get ahead or have a seen a drop in income since the great recession, raising the minimum wage can help a second earner in the family provide that little extra for their children — whether it’s new clothes for school, a short family vacation, or a little extra put away for education or retirement.

 

Also because these are families with modest means they have what economists call “a higher propensity to spend” — meaning that because they are living paycheck to paycheck they are likely to put that money into the economy right away. That means more demand and more customers for small business owners deciding whether to hire that extra worker.

 

A job is never just about a paycheck, it is about basic dignity. Raising the minimum wage, and indexing it to inflation, is one meaningful step we can take now to make sure more of our fellow citizens who are working hard have a bit more economic dignity in their lives.

 

Follow up question: I’m an economist. I do not understand your argument. Could you clarify on the following points?

 

1. About half of those 15 million hard-working Americans on the minimum wage are teenagers. Why is it a national priority to raise the wages of teenagers?

 

2. If raising incomes of poor households is an important policy goal, then why don’t we use the EITC – which we know is a more highly-targeted tool towards low-income households? Dollar for dollar, the EITC does more good, so why aren’t you going with that?

 

Thank you for your time.

 

 

Reply: Thanks for the note. Our calculation is that only about 20% of those who would benefit from the minimum wage increase are teens.

 

The President also strongly supports the EITC – and signed two increases to the EITC (a reduction of the marriage penalty and help for larger families) in 2009, and just recently fought to get them extended till 2018 in the fiscal cliff agreement.

 

 

UPDATE: Hey everyone. Typing out these responses is taking a little longer than I planned and I appreciate everyone’s patience. I’m going to stick around a bit longer than I had originally scheduled so I can keep working through these.

 

Question: These questions all get at the premise behind the plan: that the deficit needs to be reduced. 

 

With lending rates at such lows, why does the Administration believe it is even necessary to reduce the deficit at this point? Instead, why not use cheap deficit spending to make public investments?

 

How did the Administration choose the magnitude of the deficit reduction sought in this plan? In particular, how do you balance the loss of public sector investments and jobs that will cost more in the long run with short term budgetary gains?

 

 

Reply: These are not either or questions for us. A sound economic plan has to do three things at once: give more momentum to our recovery in the short-term, achieve long-term fiscal discipline in a balanced way and ensure that we still make room for the investments in our future — children, education, infrastructure and research. It is having a strategy that pursues all three of those goals that hits the fiscal sweet spot. A smart plan, therefore can in the same overall package accelerate critical job creating investments like attacking deferred maintenance in our infrastructure and schools, while also putting in place tax and sensible entitlement reform that both contribute to deficit reduction while ensuring we are not crowding out critical investments in our competitiveness.

 

We chose the amount of long-term deficit reduction to ensure that our debt and deficits were falling as a percentage of our economy — an important metric for ensuring confidence in whether the United States is still the best place to make long-term investments. We have already achieved $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction and believe achieving $1.5 trillion-$1.8 trillion more in a balanced way is the best way to hit that target. But I want to stress, the ultimate goal for economic policy is not hitting a specific metric, but whether the culmination of your policies lead to a stronger, more secure, and more inclusive middle class where everyone can rise, and where even children born into the poorest circumstances have a chance to reach their potential and where dignified work and retirement is promoted. That is why it makes sense and is consistent to have an economic plan that at the same time seeks to achieve enough deficits to see our debt falling as a percentage of our economy, while still finding additional savings to do something as smart and consistent with our values as promoting quality pre-school for every child, when we know that furthers our values and our future workforce.

 

 

Question: Australia is far better managed than the US economically. Why don’t you do as Australia did 20+ years ago and stop subsidizing Agriculture? (Just about everything else as well) It costs you $50 billion a year and ruins the competitiveness of US farmers.

 

 

Reply: The President does in fact have a proposal to reduce agriculture subsidies in his FY2013 budget, and he proposed it again in his offer to Speaker Boehner. It would save $30 billion as part of his overall, balanced plan to reduce the deficit by more than $4 trillion.

 

Budget:http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2013/assets/budget.pdf

 

President’s offer to Speaker Boehner:http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/02/21/balanced-plan-avert-sequester-and-reduce-deficit-balanced-way

 

 

Question: HSBC is a symptom of being too big to jail. How can a free market economy exist when big actors cheat, break laws, and only get fined. They just consider this a business expense. Should we break up the banks?

 

Reply: One of the main reasons the President put so much of his personal effort into passing Wall Street Reform was to end too big to fail. That’s why the bill he signed into law in 2010 – often referred to as “Dodd-Frank” – creates new tools to unwind large financial firms without destabilizing our entire economy. The law explicitly prohibits bail outs, and provides mechanisms to remove management and directors of failing firms that need to be resolved, wipe out shareholders, and protect taxpayers and our economy. Beyond that, Wall Street reform forces big financial institutions to hold more capital so when they make a mistake they pay for it – not taxpayers. And through what’s known as the “Volcker Rule” we will prohibit firms from making risky trades with insured consumer deposits. We think these reforms substantially change incentives. We’ve also proposed a financial crisis responsibility fee that would be imposed on the banks based on their size and risk, to help encourage a more stable financial system.

 

In terms of punishing wrong doing, I think we have a strong record. The president directed his DOJ to create a financial fraud enforcement tax force. Over the last few years, the justice department has filed 10,000 financial fraud causes against nearly 15,000 defendants – including more than 2,900 mortgage fraud defendants. These cases have resulted in guilty pleas and jail time. And we got the largest housing settlement in history, forcing five of the largest banks to pay billions in relief for families across America.

 

 

Question: Having just finished The West Wing I’d like to say thank you for helping to create one of the best programmes I’ve ever seen! A couple of questions for you: 1) Just how realistic is the show compared to your day-to-day life working in The White House? 2) I personally think the NHS is one of the best things about the UK (my home country). Do you think that more should be done to bring a nationalised health service to the US, even at a cost that will increase the deficit again?

 

 

Reply: On “The West Wing” — I always have answered that it is pretty realistic, except that we are not as funny, don’t walk as fast and most of us are not as good looking. The West Wing show aimed for reality, except that they often have to condense a 9 month process to 60 minutes. When President Obama asked me how life in the first six months of his administration during the financial crisis compared to normal times — I gave the same reply: that we were being forced to do 9 months of policy work in what seemed like 60 minutes.

 

What I liked most about The West Wing — and what was most realistic to me — was that instead of portraying people in Washington as either cynical or naive, our boss, Aaron Sorkin did a great job at portraying serious and deeply committed and well-intentioned people trying to do good things in what is a very difficult, complex and political environment. That is how I think most of us — on both sides of the aisle — see our efforts. The West Wing captured that and I think it has inspired many young people to go into public service.

 

Finally, for me the best thing about 4 years of consulting and part-time writing for the West Wing is that it is how I met my wife Allison Abner. She was a writer on the show, and I met her the first day in my interview.

 

Ok.. that was a fun one, now back to the real West Wing issues…..

 

 

Question: Today, you refered to Chained CPI as “Correcting the CPI”. Is there any difference? And can you explain your position on thie further?

 

Reply: The cost of living question relates to how the government measures inflation. Today, we use a measure of inflation called the “CPI” or consumer price index. An alternative would be to switch to what is known as the superlative or “chained” CPI. The superlative CPI makes two technical corrections to the standard CPI: it accounts for consumers’ ability to substitute between goods in response to changes in relative prices and accounts for biases arising from small samples. Most experts agree that the Superlative CPI provides a more accurate measure of the average change in the cost of living than the standard CPI.

 

The President would prefer to have this adjustment in the context of a larger Social Security reform, but he has said to Speaker Boehner that if it is part of a larger agreement that would include tax reform that would raise revenue by cutting loopholes and expenditures from the most well off, that he would be willing to agree to it because in divided government, if we’re going to make progress, we have to be willing to compromise. One important note: any agreement to make this change to the CPI must include a dedication of a portion of the savings to protections for low-income Americans, certain veterans, and older Social Security beneficiaries. Our current offer which reduces the deficit by $230 billion over the next 10 years includes those protections.

 

 

Question: Do you support granting shareholders the right to determine executive compensation? Also, what, in your opinion, is the best way to tackle the culture of excessive compensation?

 

Reply: One positive step forward has been the “Say on Pay” provisions that the President proposed and signed into law as part of Wall Street Reform. While this measure is non-binding, it has increased both transparency and shareholder voice. We’ve already seen in the last year several examples of high profile compensation packages being restructured due to this process.

 

Question: How hard will you push for cuts to oil subsidies to be in any sequester deal?

 

Reply: The President has long proposed eliminating unjustifiable subsidies for oil as part of deficit reduction, tax reform, and sound energy policy. Those are certainly the type of tax expenditure reductions that could be part of tax reform or a plan to delay or eliminate the sequester.

 

Question: Corporate tax rates in America are said to be high relative to the world at 35%, though the real rate is very competitive at around 13%. Why not close corporate loopholes and lower the rate, but even lower then that effective rate. Most econmists agree the corporate tax is a hamper to the economy. Lower corporate tax rates allow business to reinvent into their business, and that is especially true for small business who don’t have the lobby power or accountants to get the lower effective rate. With higher capital gains, dividends and taxes for the rich caused by ACA and the Fiscal Cliff agreement, why not wait to tax a business when it takes money OUT of the business.

 

Thank You, P.S. Can I give you my resume to pass around the DC economic policy circles?

 

Reply: This is something we’ve looked at closely and the President has proposed a corporate tax reform framework that reduces the top rate to 28 percent (and 25 percent for manufacturing) and pays for it by closing corporate tax expenditures and loopholes. If this is done in a common-sense way that increases our international competitiveness while encouraging job creation on our shores and discouraging abusive tax-shelters and race-to-the-bottom behavior, this could be a win for everyone. You can read the framework at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/tax-policy/Documents/The-Presidents-Framework-for-Business-Tax-Reform-02-22-2012.pdf.

 

P.S. Regarding your resume, happy to take a look. Why don’t you post it here? Not a bad way to get some exposure.

 

 

Question: In your opinion, what is the largest factor hampering the economy right now?

 

Reply: The good news is that we have seen several recent positive signs that our economic recovery is gaining momentum – the unemployment rate in March fell to its lowest level since December 2008. Our private sector businesses have created nearly 6.4 million jobs in the past three years. Home prices are rising at their fastest pace since 2006, and the manufacturing sector has added 500,000 jobs since January 2010, the fastest growth since the 1980′s.

 

But there is no doubt we continue to face challenges. And to your question – one of the biggest factors holding us back is the refusal of Republicans in Congress to meet the President halfway on a plan to replace the sequester with a comprehensive, balanced plan to bring down our deficits in a way that still promotes demand in the short-term to give our recovery more momentum. If you haven’t actually seen the President’s offer, it’s right here:http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/sequester/the-presidents-plan

 

Take just one data point — the independent Congressional Budget Office estimates that leaving the sequester in place will reduce GDP growth by 0.6% this year, and cost 750,000 jobs. That is an unnecessary hit on our economy at just the wrong time. Of course, we can survive this hit if the Republicans refuse to compromise at all, but as the President said, it is just “dumb,” when you think about how much we should be working together to accelerate growth and job creation in our nation right now.

 

We in Washington must do better than that, which is why the President has not only laid out a specific balanced plan (here) but is reaching out to Republicans and Democrats to encourage a common sense solution that would put our economic recovery ahead of anyone’s ideological agenda. In fact, he just returned from a meeting with the House Republican conference on Capitol Hill.

 

 

UPDATE: This has been great. You know, there wasn’t Reddit during the Clinton Administration (we used to even fax back then!)

 

I wish I could stay longer. Got to run to a meeting on the economic impact of immigration reform. (Reply if there’s anything that you’d like to share on this). And while we have to fix our budget challenges, we have to keep making progress immigration reform and universal pre-k — which are key to both our values and long-term economic growth. Thanks.

 


 

You can learn more about the President’s Plan for a balanced approach to deficit reduction and economic growth atwh.gov/presidentsplan.

 

 

 

“NOT DISAPPOINTED BY PRESIDENT OBAMA” by JAKE LAMAR

 

Uploaded on Oct 18, 2011

On October 8, 2011, Democrats Abroad France held an event titled “Voices for Obama” at the Nikki Diana Marquandt Gallery in Paris. One of the speakers was the American author Jake Lamar. This clip is a shortened version of his talk. (Recorded at the Atelier de la Main d’Or, October 2011.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Daily Brief From Barack’s House


 

 

By Jueseppi B.

 

 

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In Case You Missed It

 

Here are some of the top stories from the White House blog:

 

Sunshine Week: In Celebration of Civic Engagement
As part of our Sunshine Week series, Macon Phillips discusses We the People.

 

 

President Obama Meets with the Sultan of Brunei
President Obama hosts His Majesty Sultan of Brunei for a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office to affirm the relationship between our two countries that dates back more than 160 years.

 

 

President Obama Talks Trade with His Export Council
President Obama stops by a meeting of his Export Council, a group of business executives and government leaders who advise him on trade and export issues.

 

 

Today’s Schedule:

 

All times are Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

 

10:15 AM: The Vice President and Attorney General Eric Holder deliver remarks.

 

 

10:30 AM: The President receives the Presidential Daily Briefing.

 

 

12:00 PM: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney.

 

 

1:30 PM: The President meets with the House Republican Conference.

 

 

3:05 PM: The President and the Vice President meet with Secretary of State Kerry.

 

 

3:40 PM: The President meets with CEO’s to discuss cyber-security.

 

 

4:05 PM: The President meets with business leaders on immigration reform.

 

 

4:30 PM: The President and the Vice President meet with Treasury Secretary Lew.

 

 

6:30 PM: The President delivers remarks at the Organizing for Action dinner.

 

 

 

Paul “P 90 X” Ryan and his budget…..

 

 

Released only hours ago, Paul Ryan’s outrageous new budget absolutely destroys Medicare and completely abolishes Obamacare.

 

The Republicans behind this budget will do anything to appease their billionaire financiers  even leave 31 million Americans uninsured.

 

The next 24 hours are critical! We must immediately increase our ad budget by 50% and stop the Republicans from destroying Obamacare just to pay off their financiers.

 

 

 

Obama Won’t Balance Budget ‘Just for the Sake of Balance’

 

Published on Mar 13, 2013

President says proposal from Rep. Paul Ryan to balance budget in ten years is too painful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunshine Week: In Celebration of Civic Engagement

 

By Macon Phillips  March 13, 2013

 

Ed. Note: This post is part of our Sunshine Week series on the blog. Sunshine Week is a national initiative to celebrate and focus on government transparency and open government. Macon Phillips will also discuss We the People in a Yahoo! News Chat today at 12:30 PM ET

 

We have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, and the wisdom, energy, and creativity of the American public is the nation’s greatest asset. Sunshine Week seeks to encourage public participation in government, and the U.S. has worked hard to expand opportunities for civic engagement. As one example of this, We the People gives the Obama Administration a way to connect with the public on the issues that matter most to them.

 

We the People allows anyone to create or sign a petition asking the Administration to take action on an issue. If the petition gets enough signatures, the Administration issues an official response.

 

Since its creation, 7.2 million people have logged more than 11.6 million signatures on more than 178,000 petitions on issues ranging from education to immigration to tax policy.

 

Beyond the sheer volume of participation, We the People has demonstrated that the Administration is responsive to the questions and concerns of the public — even if they are not necessarily the issues that the Administration talks about every day.

 

In many cases, petitions posted on We the People have helped spur discussions of important policy issues at the White House and across the Administration, and serve as a catalyst for change. We’ve also used the platform to announce new directions in policy or to continue a dialogue with people who have an interest in this issue.

 

To give just one example, on March 3, 2013, the White House responded to a petition that argued that individuals ought to have a right to unlock their cell phones. This was not an issue on which the White House had previously taken a policy position. But after more than 114,000 people spoke out using We the People, officials across government who work on telecommunications, technology, and copyright issues sat down, discussed the policy implications, and decided that the petitioners were exactly right: Consumers needed a strong statement of support from the White House. We are ready to work with to work with Congress, the wireless and mobile phone industries, and other Federal agencies to reach a solution—whether legislative or otherwise.

 

Even when we’re not able to provide a response that produces a policy change, individuals who use We the People find the process useful and constructive. Last year, we started surveying people who received a response from the Administration. Even when petitioners disagree with our response, they appreciate the opportunity to petition the White House and hear what we have to say:

  • 86% would create or sign another petition on We the People
  • 66% said the Administration’s response was helpful to hear; and
  • 50% said they learned something new as a result of our response.

 

What comes next? In August 2012, we announced a new step in the evolution of We the People. We made the platform open source so that any government in the world — from sovereign nations to small towns across America — could take our code and put it to their own use. Now, we’re continuing that movement toward openness by working to develop an Application Programming Interface (API).

 

We’ll roll out the API in two stages. First, we’ll introduce a Read API that allows individuals to request data from We the People, that they can in turn use to build programs and applications. Second, we’ll launch a Write API that allows individuals to collect and submit signatures from their own platforms without directly sending users to We the People.

 

The beautiful part about this process is that we’ll be able to open up the platform and allow others to create things with it. We just hosted our first Hackathon—where a group of engineers, programmers, data scientists, and web developers took a first stab at using the information the Read API makes available. At the end of the day, they had working prototypes of numerous projects—including an embeddable map that shows the geographic support for any single petition, a time-lapse visualization of zip codes where petitions are being signed, an embeddable thermometer that shows progress toward crossing the signature threshold for any given petition, and a range of data analysis.

 

In the spirit of Sunshine Week and open government, it’s all part of our effort to make the platform more responsive and useable for the American public.

 

To learn more about We the People, join me for a Yahoo! New Chat today at 12:30 PM ET.

 

 

 

 

Gene Sperling Answers Your Questions on Reddit

 

By Ezra Mechaber  March 13, 2013

 

This afternoon at 2:00 p.m. EDT, Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy Gene Sperling will answer your questions on Reddit, a social news site:

 

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Want to participate? Here’s how:

 

  1. Visit Reddit to ask your question
  2. Vote up other questions you’d like to see answered
  3. From 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. EDT, Gene will answer some of your questions on Reddit

 

In case you miss it, you’ll be able to read the whole conversation on Reddit and on WhiteHouse.gov after the event.

 

 

 

Statements and Releases

 

 

March 13, 2013

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

 

 

March 13, 2013

Vice President Biden and Attorney General Holder Announce Grants to Help Reduce Domestic Violence Homicides

 

 

 

March 12, 2013

Statement by the Press Secretary on the Visit of Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny

 

 

 

March 12, 2013

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

 

 

 

 

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Paul “PX 90″ Ryan’s Budget Plan Unveiled: It Looks Very Familiar!!!


 

By Jueseppi B.

 

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House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan unveiled a budget Tuesday that he says balances the budget in 10 years. Ryan invited President Obama and Senate Democrats to come together and put forth their ideas on how to balance the budget.

 

 

 

Paul Ryan Unveils House Budget Plan

 

Published on Mar 12, 2013

House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan unveiled a budget Tuesday that he says balances the budget in 10 years. Ryan invited President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats to come together and put forth their ideas on how to balance the budget. (March 12)

 

 

 

 

 

The following stories on Rep Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) budget are courtesy of The Washington Post, The Huffington Post & The New York Times.

 

 

From The New York Times:

 

There’s nothing wrong with President Obama speed-dating members of Congress. Meeting face to face over food and wine, as Mr. Obama has recently done with several groups of lawmakers from both parties, may ease the demonizing politics of the last four years — along with the president’s well-earned reputation for aloofness. And given how little some Republicans know about his budget proposals — one senator confessed he had no idea what Mr. Obama wanted to cut before last week’s dinner — the shared meals were probably overdue.

 

 

But Mr. Obama should have no illusions about the core beliefs of some of his Republican dining partners, or their willingness to accept change. That was made clear on Tuesday when the House Budget Committee chairman, Representative Paul Ryan, unveiled his 2014 spending plan: a retread of ideas that voters soundly rejected, made even worse, if possible, by sharper cuts to vital services and more dishonest tax provisions.

The budget, which will surely fly through the House, was quickly praised as “serious” and job-creating by the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, though it is neither. By cutting $4.6 trillion from spending over the next decade, it would reverse the country’s nascent economic growth, kill millions of real and potential jobs, and deprive those suffering the most of social assistance.

All the tired ideas from 2011 and 2012 are back: eliminating Medicare’s guarantee to retirees by turning it into a voucher plan; dispensing with Medicaid and food stamps by turning them into block grants for states to cut freely; repealing most of the reforms to health care and Wall Street; shrinking beyond recognition the federal role in education, job training, transportation and scientific and medical research. The public opinion of these callous proposals was made clear in the fall election, but Mr. Ryan is too ideologically fervid to have learned that lesson.

The 2014 budget is even worse than that of the previous two years because it attempts to balance the budget in 10 years instead of the previous 20 or more. That would take nondefense discretionary spending down to nearly 2 percent of the economy, the lowest in modern history. And in its laziest section, it sets a goal of slashing the top tax rate for the rich to 25 percent from 39.6 percent, though naturally Mr. Ryan doesn’t explain how this could happen without raising taxes on middle- and lower-income people. (Sound familiar?)

There’s no need, of course, to balance the budget in 10 years or even 20; these dates are arbitrary, designed solely to impress the extreme fiscal conservatives who now compose the core of the Republican Party. That same core in the House will almost certainly reject the 2014 Democratic budget expected from the Senate on Wednesday. It will take a far more evenhanded approach, cutting spending by $1 trillion while eliminating tax breaks for the wealthy and spending $100 billion on job training and infrastructure.

If the Ryan budget is any indication, Mr. Obama’s quest to bring reason to an unreasonable party may be doomed from the outset.

A version of this editorial appeared in print on March 13, 2013, on pageA24 of the New York edition with the headline: The Worst of the Ryan Budgets.

 

 

 

Paul Ryan Budget Plan Explained

 

Published on Aug 13, 2012

“Paul Ryan’s budget takes us back to 1950. That’s not a metaphor. That’s a statistic. When the CBO projected Ryan’s plan four decades into the future, it concluded that the size of government would shrink to 15% of the economy by 2050. How small is 15%? As a share of GDP, it would be the smallest government since 1950/’51. Here’s Ryan’s proposed 2050 budget and our real 1950 budget, side by side…”.* What would the impact be on education, the border patrol, FDA, FAA, FBI, Medicare, and Social Security? The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur breaks it down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Barack Hussein Obama‘s Anger Management Translator Luther’s response to Rep. Paul Ryan‘s budget:  “Take this shit and shove it where the SUN don’t shine SON, I’M THE PRESIDENT.”

 

 

 

From The Huffington Post:

 

Paul Ryan Budget: House GOP Unveils Blueprint To Slash Medicaid, Medicare And Repeal Obamacare

 
By  &  

 

WASHINGTON — House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) rolled out his latest budget proposal, offering an ambitious blueprint that promises to balance the budget in a decade by repealing President Barack Obama’s health care reforms and slashing Medicare, Medicaid and programs to help the poor.

 

Ryan’s previous budgets — used by Democrats as weapons in the last campaign season — did not strive for balance in any such near term, and even then many analysts predicted they would not work. Many deem a 10-year balancing plan as impossible to follow without wreaking havoc on the economic recovery.

 

Ryan was deaf to such objections, arguing that Congress has an obligation not just to achieve a sustainable debt — which Democrats say they favor — but to reduce it.

 

“This is not only a responsible, reasonable balanced plan. It’s also an invitation. This is an invitation to the president of the United States, to the Senate Democrats, to come together to fix these problems,” Ryan said in a Capitol Hill news conference Tuesday that laid out the $4.6 trillion in cuts he hopes to achieve in 10 years.

 

“We don’t think it’s fair to let critical programs like Medicare go bankrupt. We don’t think that it’s fair to take more from hard-working families to spend more in Washington,” he said. “The most important question isn’t how do we balance the budget, but why? A budget is a means to an end. An end is the well-being of the American people. An end is a growing economy that produces opportunity and upward mobility.”

 

Even as his budget claims to repeal Obamacare, it pockets the savings achieved under the health care law and keeps the revenue raised by it. It also seeks to cut Medicare by an additional $129 billion over 10 years by creating a voucher-like program seniors could choose instead of regular Medicare. It would cut Medicaid some $757 billion by converting the program into block grants for the states. Other programs — among them food stamps — would be cut by some $962 billion.

 

The budget plan includes no cuts in Social Security. Obama has suggested changing an inflation measurement to cut more than $100 billion from the program.

 

Democrats were quick to hammer the proposal, saying it was another attempt to balance the budget on the backs of the middle class and poor while not asking the wealthy to do more.

 

“It’s deja vu all over again,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said even before Ryan spoke. “This budget reflects the same skewed priorities the Republican Party has championed for years, the same skewed priorities Americans rejected in November.”

 

Indeed, MItt Romney ran for president largely on a budget plan that resembled that of his running mate, Ryan, and lost decisively. Democrats also picked up seats in the House and Senate running against the philosophy of the Ryan budget.

 

Ryan argued that the election’s outcome didn’t matter.

 

“The election didn’t go our way. Believe me, I know what that feels like,” he said. “That means we surrender our principles? That means we stop believing what we believe in? Look, whether the country intended it or not, we have divided government. We have the second largest House majority we’ve had since World War II. And what we believe in this divided government era, we need to put up our vision.”

 

He also suggested maybe voters did agree with the GOP.

 

“Are a lot of these solutions very popular, and did we win these arguments in the campaign? Some of us think so,” Ryan said.

 

The White House reacted by saying that while sacrifices would be required on all sides, Ryan’s budget didn’t achieve that.

 

“While the House Republican budget aims to reduce the deficit, the math just doesn’t add up,” said spokesman Jay Carney in a statement. “Deficit reduction that asks nothing from the wealthiest Americans has serious consequences for the middle class.”

 

Reid elaborated on that point.

 

“The Ryan Republican budget will call for more tax breaks for the wealthy and an end to Medicare as we know it, and draconian cuts to education and other programs to help America’s economy grow and prosper,” Reid said, calling the plan’s apparent balance “gimmickry.”

 

“While House Republicans are doubling down on the extreme budget that the American people already rejected, Senate Democrats are going to be working on a responsible pro-growth budget that reflects the values and priorities of middle class families across the country,” said Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who is due to release the Senate’s version of the budget Wednesday – its first in four years.

 

Democratic aides familiar with the document said it will include $975 billion in revenue from closing tax exemptions on higher-end earners and an equal amount in spending cuts — including $275 billion in health care cuts. It also aims to replace the across-the-board cuts from sequestration.

 

The Democratic budget would not seek to eliminate the deficit in 10 years, striving instead to stabilize the debt as a relatively small percentage of the gross domestic product. It aims to bring the total deficit reduction from the last couple of years of financial battles to $4.25 trillion over a decade.

 

Ryan acknowledged that the recent $600 billion in revenue raised from the fiscal cliff deal helps his budget, and that he would not try to undo the law that achieved that income. Yet Obamacare was another matter, he says, even though his plan keeps the $716 billion in savings it achieves from Medicare.

 

Ryan argued that the president’s signature health care law would prove to be disastrous for the nation’s health care system, resulting in a “rude awakening” for the American people.

 

“We don’t like this law. This is why we’re proposing to repeal this law in our budget,” Ryan said. “More importantly, we believe that this law is going to collapse under its own weight.”

 

The Senate Democrats’ version would preserve the funding to continue implementing the Affordable Care Act, which itself brings down the deficit by about $200 billion.

 

This article was updated after publication with details about the Senate Democrats’ budget proposal.

 

 

 

Rep. Paul Ryan Offers ‘Opening Bid’ on Budget Plan

 

Published on Mar 12, 2013

House Budget chair Rep. Paul Ryan put forth a blueprint that he says would cut the federal deficit by $4.6 trillion over the next 10 years. Democrats dismissed the proposal, saying the math doesn’t add up. Nancy Cook of National Journal joins Jeffrey Brown to explore the politics and math behind Paul’s budget bid.

 

 

 

 

 

From The Washington Post:

 

 

Ryan sets stage for a budget duel, targets health-care law

 

By Updated: Tuesday, March 12

 

Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill are drafting radically different budget blueprints that offer little room for compromise, even as President Obama presses lawmakers to take another shot at a far-reaching agreement to tame the national debt.

 

On Tuesday, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) rolled out a 10-year spending plan that would revive the most controversial prescriptions from last year’s GOP budget, including a partial privatization of Medicare and a repeal of the health-care law that is Obama’s signature policy achievement.

 

Meanwhile, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) briefed her colleagues on a competing plan, to be released Wednesday, that would raise taxes by nearly $1 trillion over the next decade and spend nearly $100 billion on a new jobs package — ideas Republicans have firmly rejected.

 

“They’re opening bids. But they’re opening bids from three years ago,” said Robert Bixby, executive director of the bipartisan Concord Coalition, which champions deficit reduction. “The real question is: Do they start a negotiation this year? It’s not where they start, it’s where they finish. So you can take both of these budgets with a big grain of salt.”

 

Obama seemed to do that Tuesday in a lunchtime meeting with Senate Democrats, the first of four sessions he plans to hold this week with rank-and-file lawmakers in both parties.

 

While the White House issued a statement criticizing Ryan’s blueprint as “the wrong course for America,” Obama told Senate Democrats to expect a months-long debate over fiscal issues that will begin in earnest only after each chamber has approved its own partisan vision for improving the economy and shrinking the national debt.

 

“The best course now is to let the budgets go, get them into [a] conference [committee] and try to reconcile the two,” Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) said the president advised senators during the closed-door meeting.

 

Still, a senior administration official acknowledged that the dueling blueprints illustrate the immense challenge of trying to forge a compromise between a president and Democratic lawmakers, who insist on a big dose of new tax revenue to reduce borrowing, and Republicans, who refuse to consider any additional revenue beyond the relatively modest tax increase adopted Jan. 1.

 

Ryan, who campaigned against Obama last year as the GOP vice-presidential nominee, is offering the more uncompromising spending planby far, one that Democrats say ignores Obama’s convincing reelection victory less than five months ago.

 

In addition to repealing the president’s health-care expansion, the 91-page blueprint proposes rolling back the administration’s Wall Street reforms and opening federal land to oil drilling. Ryan also would protect the Pentagon from automatic spending cuts known as the sequester by shifting those reductions to domestic agencies. And he proposes to trim domestic agencies by an additional $250 billion over the next decade.

 

All told, Ryan would slice $4.6 trillion from projected spending, with more than half of those savings — $2.7 trillion — coming from the big health-care programs, primarily Medicaid and Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

 

That would let him wipe out deficits by 2023 without raising taxes. Ryan also calls for an overhaul of the tax code, but he would eliminate an array of tax breaks to finance a reduction in the top rate to 25 percent from 39.6 percent, a goal Democrats say would reduce taxes for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.

 

At a Capitol Hill news conference, Ryan defended his decision to reprise policies that Obama and other Democrats opposed during the 2012 campaign.

 

“The election didn’t go our way. Believe me, I know what that feels like. That means we surrender our principles?” Ryan said. “We think we owe the country a balanced budget. We think we owe the country solutions to the big problems that are plaguing our nation: a debt crisis on the horizon. A slow-growing economy. People trapped in poverty. We’re showing our answers.”

 

As Ryan prepared for a vote on his budget in committee this week and before the full House next week, Senate Democrats were crafting a more modest blueprint that nonetheless retreats from the terms of the budget deal Obama has offered House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and, more recently, Republican senators gathered for dinner with the president last week at a Washington hotel.

 

Full details of the plan will be available Wednesday. Democratic aides and lawmakers briefed on the document said it proposes to replace the sequester cuts with $1.85 trillion in alternative policies over the next decade, including nearly $1 trillion in new taxes — far more than the $600 billion Obama is seeking.

 

Murray also proposes nearly $1 trillion in spending cuts, with just $275 billion coming from health programs, short of Obama’s $400 billion offer. And she seeks $100 billion for a new “economic recovery protection plan” that would fund infrastructure projects and education programs — and was quickly derided by Republicans as a new burst of “stimulus” spending.

 

In a statement, Murray called her plan “a responsible pro-growth budget that reflects the values and priorities of the middle class.” But Republicans pounced on the call for new taxes.

 

After 1,413 days without a spending plan, “all the Democrats can come up with for a budget is a trillion-dollar increase in taxes,” said Sen. Jerry Moran (Kan.).

 

Despite the sniping, there were signs that both sides are open to a compromise. In contrast to the combative tone Ryan adopted last spring, when a Republican takeover of the White House and the Senate seemed like a real possibility, Ryan this year acknowledged that Obama is unlikely to adopt his proposals. And he repeatedly referred to his spending plan as “an invitation” to open negotiations.

 

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) welcomed Obama’s outreach to the GOP, which will continue Wednesday when the president returns to Capitol Hill to meet with House Republicans.

 

“I told the president on Friday I hope he’ll invite all of our members down for these dinners,” McConnell told reporters. “We all know that with the president’s request to raise the debt ceiling here again, later this summer, we’ll be discussing again the possibility of finally solving our huge deficit and debt problem.”

 

Paul Kane contributed to this report.

 

 

 

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Maybe Paul should focus more on being a pretty boy and leave politics to those who actually care about the “47%’.

 

 

 

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