Tag Archive: compromise


When legislators in Congress are appointed to a “presidential blue-ribbon committee,” their importance raises in their party. Instantly, their influence is more significant, and the media begins to seek them out for interviews. The six Democrats, three from the Senate and three from the House, and the six Republicans three from the Senate, and three from the House comprise “Obama’s Super Committee.”

The “Super Committee” is a twelve bipartisan Congressional group who will work on a debt-reduction strategy to reduce the deficit by $1.5 trillion by Thanksgiving of this year. The twelve member panel has a historic opportunity to overhaul the Tax Code and entitlements. If the committee fails to produce a debt reduction plan of $1.2 trillion, across-the-board cuts would kick in evenly divided between defense and non-defense spending to make up $1.2 trillion in cuts.

The committee’s co-chairs are Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). The rest of the members are as follows; Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Senator John Kerry(D-MA), Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA), Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Representative Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Representative Dave Camp (R-MI), Representative James Clyburn (D-SC), and Representative Fred Upton (R-MI).

There is a good cross-section of experience and knowledge on the panel, but I wonder if anyone has the courage to significantly cut the military’s budget and funding. In the last ten years, the military base budget has increased by 80% from $302 billion in 2000 to $545 billion in 2011, says the National Priorities Project. The total cost of the Iraq war since 2001 is $869 billion, and the cost of the Afghanistan war $487 billion.

Most people ignore the nation’s security budget, but that became a new line item in 2001 with homeland security. This is a hard line item to arrive at because it flows through dozens of federal agencies. It started as a request for 16 billion, but in the last ten years the government has spent $636 billion.

When the figure for military spending for the last ten years is added up, the number is around $8 trillion. This is the number that the National Priorities Project has used, but a recent study published by the Watson Institute of International Studies at Brown University took a broader approach. By including funding for such things as veterans benefits, future cost for treating the war-wounded, and interest payments on war related borrowing, they came up with an additional $3.2 trillion.

These additional expenses increase the number for military spending in ten years to be around $11 or $12 trillion. With all the serious discussion on reducing the debt, it would seem logical to take a hard look at military funding and spending. There are some on the Super Committee who are against cutting military spending and believe that funding should be increased.

Nevertheless, the question must be raised, is our country safer with all the money being spent, and is the money being wasted? For the last ten years, the government has tries to do an audit with the military, and they haven’t had any success. There are so many secret funds, because of national security, an audit is vertically impossible.

Everyone knows that there is fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement in the military’s budget. It would appear that in the military’s budget, the legislators could find $600 to $700 billion to cut over the next 5 to 10 years. Cutting another $500 billion is going to be tough and the Super Committee has its work cut out for them.

The president is finally getting the parties to sit down and arrive at a compromise. All eyes and the media will be focused on the Super Committee for the next four months.

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U.S. Senate leadership

On the evening of July 31, 2011, the Senate and The House of Representatives have reached a tentative agreement. Ending a perilous stalemate, President Obama announced an agreement on Sunday night on a compromise that would avoid the nation’s first-ever financial default. The deal would cut more than $2 trillion from federal spending over a decade.

This agreement is tentative and the Congress must ratify the deal with a vote. No votes were expected in either house of Congress until Monday, to give rank and file lawmakers time to review the package. The framework of the deal would give the President a debt ceiling increase of up to $2.4 trillion, and guarantee an equal amount of deficit reduction over the next 10 years.

“Default would have had a devastating effect on our economy,” Obama said at the White House, relaying the news to the American people and financial market around the world. He thanked both the leaders of each party.  

After a tough week of meetings and negotiations, the House of Representatives, Senate leadership, and the president are able to feel good about their accomplishment. According to Democrats and Republican sources, here are the key elements of the deal. There is still work to be done and the leaders of both parties are rounding up votes for the deal.

The debt ceiling increase tentatively would be around $2.1 trillion and the spending cuts would be equal to increase over 10 years. The formation of a special Congressional committee to recommend further deficit reductions that may take the form of spending cuts or tax increases. The special committee must make recommendations by late November, before the Thanksgiving recess.

Congress must also approve those cuts by December 23, or automotive cuts across the board go into effect, including cuts to federal defense programs and Medicare. This trigger is designed to force action on the deficit reduction committee’s recommendations to both Democrats and Republicans. There would also be a vote in both houses on a balanced budget amendment.

As the Congress gets down to the 11th hour, the two houses are close to a deal. During President Bush’s eight years the debt limit was raised 19 times, without the fuss and fight of this Congress. When Bush took office the debt limit was $5.95 trillion, and when he left it was $9.81 trillion.

Top Aide to President Obama, Valerie Jarrett

President Obama has been deeply involved in trying to win a debt deal that both parties find agreeable and can work with. “He’s getting absolutely no sleep. He’s working tirelessly, meeting with his economic team, doing a lot of outreach, exploring all kinds of possibilities for compromise,” top Obama aide Valerie Jarrett told Reuters Insider. This has translated into even longer days than normal at the White House, which already begins with a senior staff meeting at 7:30 am in the morning.

It appears that all the hard work has paid off for President Obama, and his administration. It is still too early to relax, but all the leaders are announcing that a deal has been struck. Democrats won’t like the fact that Medicare could be exposed to automatic cuts, but the sizes of the Medicare cuts are limited. They are designed to be taken from Medicare providers, and not beneficiaries.

Finally, the House of Representatives and the Senate are starting to compromise, and do what is best for the citizens of the country. Somehow President Obama must make bipartisan a reality in Washington, and get the two parties to cooperate, and work together. Making decisions together that improve and enhance the country is the job of our representatives.   

3 Presidents, no solution: NAACP president Benjamin Jealous, President Obama, and National Urban Leage Marc Morial

On Thursday July 21, 2011, President Obama held a meeting at the White House, with NAACP president Benjamin Jealous, and National Urban League president Marc Morial. These are the two oldest and largest Black organizations in the country. The purpose and goal of the meeting was vague, but the leaders had an opportunity to share their opinions on a variety of subjects with the president.

The meeting lasted for about 30 minutes to an hour, and President Obama reiterated that reducing unemployment, which disproportionately burdens the African-American community, remained a top priority for him and his administration. It is important that the president has acknowledged that there is a crisis in unemployment in the Black community, and his administration is willing to confront the problem.

Presidents Morial and Jealous

On July 17, 2011, Marc Morial said on NBC’s Meet the Press, “We have a job crisis in America, and the nation needs a job plan. We have 14 million out of work. The Black unemployment rate is at stifling levels. It’s in fact, increased since the recovery has been begun.”

In June 2009, the unemployment rate for African-Americans was 14.9% and in June this year,

 the rate is 16.2%. White unemployment has dropped from 8.7% to 8.1%, and the Hispanic rate has dropped from 12.2% to 11.6%. Also the Asian rate has dropped from 8.2% to 6.8%.

Marc Morial has pointed out that certain segments in the Black labor force showed even higher rates of unemployment. The most recent unemployment rate for Blacks between the ages of 16 and 24 years was 31.4%. In certain cities, the unemployment rate for Black men is over 50%.

 

Representative Emmanuel Cleaver

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus recently publicly accused the Obama administration of failing to adequately address a veritable epidemic of African-American unemployment. “Can you imagine a situation where any other group of workers, if 34% of white women were out there looking for work and couldn’t find it? There would be rallies, congressional hearings, and protest marches; there is no way that would be allowed to stand,” says Representative Emanuel Cleaver, a Missouri Democrat.

The Congressional Black Caucus has introduced many different bills to attack Black unemployment rates. Debates about Black unemployment persist, but the Obama administration has focused on broad based initiatives aimed at lowering unemployment in general. It appears that the Obama administration needs a specific plan to address Black unemployment.

At the meeting with Morial and Jealous, the president discussed the efforts his administration  has made to address urban economic development through initiatives such as Strong Cities and Strong Communities. These programs act to spur economic growth in urban centers while ensuring taxpayer dollars are used wisely and efficiently.

Morial and Jealous shared their ideas with President Obama for resolving high unemployment in the Black community. The leaders say the president indicated he was willing to consider some of their ideas about job creation and employment discrimination when he is done with the debt crisis.

The two leaders also discussed with the president their opinions on the debt reduction plan. “We emphasized that no steps should be taken that gonna cost this nation jobs. No steps should be taken that’s gonna force vulnerable Americans to pay the cost of a debt reduction plan,” Morial said of the meeting. He said the president nodded his head in agreement.

It is significant that President Obama is taking time out to access and discuss the mood of the African American community. But the wheels of the federal political machine turn slowly and take time. It is important that our political leaders and Congressional Black Caucus continue to apply pressure to the White House, and mobilize the different state, local, and community Black political organizations.

WHEN TIMES WERE GOOD: Dr. Cornel West & President Obama during 2008 campaign

As President Obama is gearing up for his 2012 campaign and election, Dr. Cornel West has created a name calling and mudslinging crusade attacking the president. There is nothing wrong with a valid discussion about how the president can improve his polices as it relates to poor people and Black people. But to turn the discussion into a circus and shouting match with other esteemed African American leaders, makes our community appear elementary and silly.

 

Dr. Cornel West, professor of African-American studies at Princeton University

Dr. Cornel West is a respected scholar and author, who is a

Political & celebrity media giant Tavis Smiley & Dr. West

African-American Studies professor in Princeton University’s Department of Religion, and has also taught at Harvard. His credentials are impeccable, and the educated intelligentsia in the African American community respects his volumes of work. He is considered a leader on race relations in America, and he is in great demand in mainstream media for his thoughts and theories.

During President Obama’s first campaign, Dr. West was involved in over 60 campaign events supporting the president. But once President Obama was elected, there was an ideological divide between the president and Dr. West. This problem was exasperated when Dr. West did not receive tickets to the Presidential Inauguration, and the president did not appear at a Tavis Smiley event during the campaign.

 

Once the president was in office, it appeared that there was a disconnect between Dr. West and the president, and things between the two got worse. Dr. West has consistently announced to the media that he is profoundly disappointed with President Obama’s policies. He has also questioned the president’s backbone, moral consistency, and fairness to working and poor people.

Many scholars, mainstream and Black agree with Dr. West’s attacks on the president for not launching an aggressive plan on poverty and jobs. With over 90% of Blacks who voted for President Obama in the first election, a large percentage feels that the president could have done more for the African American community.

Nevertheless, it appears that Dr. West has a personal vendetta against the president and his administration. He is constantly calling the president a technocrat, and asking what does he stand for. Dr. West does acknowledge that President Obama is better than John McCain, but the rest of the discussion appears to be negative.

From my personal standpoint, Dr. West is not wrong when he criticizes the president, but it is necessary to present a balanced discussion, which does not degenerate into name calling and mudslinging. The media has accepted Dr. West as a legitimate leader and spokesman for Black political thought. Spending his time criticizing and tearing down the president’s policies could force the independents and the different minorities to not vote in 2012.

NAACP president Benjamin Jealous

Reverend Al Sharpton

Political leader and radio personality Dr. Boyce Watkins

 
 

 

 

 

It is time for Dr. West, Rev. Al Sharpton, NAACP, Urban League, Black politicians, Black media personalities, business and community leaders, Dr. Boyce Watkins, and other scholars to get behind closed doors, resolve their differences, and develop a Black political agenda for 2012. This agenda must be comprehensive and address the core and fundamental problems that impact our community.

Dr. West at BET Hip Hop Awards show in 2007

Shouting, name calling, and mudslinging makes us look unprofessional, silly, and elementary. President Obama is not confined to working people or Black people, but must include all classes and segments of the population. He has a responsibility to the military, Wall Street, the middle class, international corporations, as well as the man on the street.

The 2012 election will be here very quickly, and now is the time to get organized and mobilized for the campaign. Dr. West was has the opportunity and the ability to help mobilize the poor and minority community to support the President for re-election. Moving beyond derogatory rhetoric will improve the image of President Obama, and help get him elected to a second term.

 

Last week President Obama decided to take his battle with the Republicans to the street and the public. He held a press conference and he sharply chastised Republicans as supporting tax breaks for jet-setting corporate executives, at the expense of college scholarships or medical research. The president also criticized members of the Republicans of not being prepared with their facts on the debt ceiling, and more concerned with taking a vacation.

Representative Raul Labrador (R-Idaho)

This press conference did not sit well with the Republicans and they immediately began to fire back at the president. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called on Obama to drop what he’s doing and come to the Capitol for a meeting.

Representative Raul Labrador said, “House Republicans acted, and now we await your spending reduction plan – perhaps not with open arms, but we have open minds.”

The Democrats and the Republicans have been debating for the last month over raising the nation’s borrowing limit. Both parties agree that in order for the country to continue to pay its bills, it is necessary to raise the debt ceiling. Since 2001 the credit limit has been raised 10 times, so every time the lawmakers vote for spending hikes essentially they have raised the ceiling.

Nevertheless, it is necessary to formally vote on the size of the increase, and some lawmakers want a bigger increase and others want a smaller increase. The first limit was set in 1917 at $11.5 billion, and the current debt limit is set at $14.2 trillion. The country’s accrued debt hit that number on May 16, 2011.

Either party or the president is not happy with our country being $14.2 trillion in debt, and the president at his news conference laid out his reason why it is necessary to raise the debt limit. “These are bills that Congress ran up,” Obama said, in explaining why the U.S. must not default on its debt obligations. “They took the vacation. They bought the car. Now they’re saying, maybe we don’t have to pay.”

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

Treasury Secretary Geithner has set the date August 2, 2011 as the day when the debt limit must be raised for the country to continue to pay its bills. At this moment both parties are busy playing politics, but at some time soon every one will have to agree. Politics is a nerve racking business and our lawmakers tend to wait till the last days to strike a compromise.

Following President Obama’s press conference, White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley had strong words for the Republicans. Many political pundits and experts are concerned with the bluntness of the Obama’s administration and are afraid that their tough position will drive the two sides further apart.

Bill Daley said, “I find that at times people who continually attack the president, beat him up on not only on

White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley

policy, personality, and a whole bunch of things. The minute he takes a tone that is a little more direct, and it was not personal. It was direct in that the leaders of Congress in both parties and especially those who are saying that revenue are off the table period in trying to solve this problem, that somehow that’s going to hurt feelings of people. This is not a time to worry about feelings; this is a time to get results.”

Maybe the president is now putting on his boxing gloves, and he is going toe to toe with the Republican Party. It is too early to make that assumption, but in his last news conference, the president was aggressive and assertive. The president was elected to lead and sometime to lead, it is necessary to hurt feelings to get the job done.

America is struggling with paying its bills because we are deep in debt. Our politicians have done a terrible job when it comes to balancing the budget. Somehow our priorities are on war and no one really knows what we are spending or who we are fighting.

President Obama speaking at George Washington University

On Wednesday, April 13 at George Washington University, President Obama laid out his plan to cut the deficit by $4 trillion over 12 years. Some political pundits and experts think he has an excellent plan, and others think the plan is light on details with very little substance.

There is no doubt that this speech and plan was a response to the House Republicans, who have created a plan to cut the deficit by $4 trillion. President Obama repeatedly attacked the budget released by the House Republicans last week in a sharp partisan tone. It appears that President Obama is drawing a line in the sand and he is preparing for a fight.

President Obama is not comfortable with the cuts that House Republicans are proposing and he is speaking up about what he does not like about their plan. “These are not the kind of cuts that the fiscal commission proposed. These are the kind of cuts that tell us we can’t afford the America that I believe in, and I think you believe in,” said President Obama.

Bipartisan CommissionThere are 4 key areas which President Obama will focus on, based on research from a Bi-partisan Commission. The first area would be keeping domestic spending low, the second  making cuts to the Pentagon, the third healthcare savings in  Medicare and Medicaid and the fourth taxing the higher level income Americans.

President Obama did not say how he would initiate these changes and there was already push back from the Republicans about additional taxes on the wealthy. He also did not expound on which defense programs he would cut, and how he would achieve a simpler tax system. Nevertheless the Bipartisan Commission findings and suggestions in many Washington political circles made sense.

Stan Collender, budget expert

“Mathematically, the Bipartisan Commission apparently works,”said Stan Collender, a former Democratic House and budget analyst. “Politically, it is going to have a lot of trouble getting support from more than just the members of the commission.”

The speech that President Obama made on Wednesday showed that he has backbone and he is willing to confront the Republicans. His debt reduction plan is a political step in the right direction. “Doing nothing on the deficit is just not an option. Our debt has grown so large that we could do real damage to the economy, if we don’t begin a process now to get our fiscal hose in order,” said the president.

With this speech, President Obama was focused on reaching the Democratic base and the independents. It is important that the president increases his base, because his administration in the coming months must increase the federal government debt ceiling.

No matter what side of the aisle you are on, everyone can agree that we have to begin to stop the bleeding and pay our bills. With 66% of our budget controlled by Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Defense, we can not only cut from the other 34%. The Republicans and the Democrats will have to agree and work together to preserve the American dream for future generations.

For Americans to believe and trust in President Obama, there is a need for a balanced budget and the creation of hundreds of thousands new jobs. It is time for the president to be transparent with the budget and take control of entitlements. There is no way we can balance a budget and fight three wars around the world.

Senate Leader Harry Reid

In Washington, there is political theatrics controlling the Congress, and every politician wants to be on the news. Everyone is playing games and they know that they are not doing their job. The President ran on a platform of change and the expectation level in the country was incredible.

America was ready for fundamental changes in Washington, and President Obama initially was a politician that progressive citizens could believe. He started his term with a majority of Democrats in the Senate and the Congress, and he got passed over 60 bills. He was able to get the Healthcare Reform Bill passed that other presidents had tried but failed.

President Obama’s polls approval rating initially was in the high sixties into low seventies. Minority communities’ approval rating for the president was in the nineties. But as the euphoric honeymoon began to dissipate into reality, we found many of the problems with the Obama administration were the same as other administrations.

The political fights between the Republicans and the Democrats were the same, but in President Obama’s administration they were a little meaner and nastier. With the emergence of the Tea Party, a new ideology was initiated that wanted a smaller federal government and were extremely conservative.

President Obama and the Democratic Party underestimated the influence and the political clout of

Tea Party

 the power of the Tea party movement. It is a loosely organized nationalized movement, which is the mobilized radical arm of the Republican Party. They are dissatisfied with the direction the country is going and they are angry.

With the country $14 trillion in debt, and every state treasury in debt, the Tea Party is correct when they say the Congress needs to balance its books and control spending. The problem with the Tea Party is they want to go backward as opposed to forward. Much of their ideology is based on state’s rights, American supremacy, and the good old-boy’s system.

Nevertheless, without a doubt the Tea Party members are a major impediment, and they make it harder to get the federal budget passed. They are a divisive force, and with the election of 2010, the new 85 Republican House members are connected to the Tea Party.

But all the blame for not getting the 2010 budget passed can be blamed on the Republicans and the Tea Party. When the Democrats had a majority in both Houses, they still could not get the budget passed. Somewhere there appears to be a problem with leadership, or planning in the party. If the Speaker of the House and the leader of the Senate are both Democrats, they should be able to agree on a budget, and get it passed.

This week the government shutdown was averted with a late night deal right before the deadline. Even though the shutdown was avoided this fight was over peanuts, because the debate over the 2011 budget will soon start. With a divided Congress, who doesn’t like each other, there will probably be a major fight within the parties, and against each party.

John Boehner, Speaker of the House and Harry Reid, Senator Leader met President Obama four times in one week to finally come up with a deal. John Boehner says, “The president is not leading. He didn’t lead on last year’s budget, and he clearly is not leading on this year’s budget.”

President Obama meets with his aides

At times President Obama is not engaged and he leaves certain projects and initiatives in the hands of his administrators. It appears the president’s strategy is to remain behind the scenes and let his aides do the negotiating. No longer can the president let his aides do the negotiating.

The president must be engaged from the very beginning and be the leader of his team. Our government needs the president to get vocal, get serious, and demand results.             

President Obama

 The Democrats and the Republicans are on different sides of the fence, and neither party has a plan to reduce federal deficits, balance the budget, and cut spending. The Republicans in the House want to cut $61 billion to fund the government thru September 2011, and the Democrats in the Senate want to cut around $10 billion.

There is a huge gap between what the Republicans want to cut, and what the Democrats are willing to cut. The two parties were able to work out a deal to keep the federal government running until March 18, 2011. This Continuing Resolution included $4.1 billion in cuts, with $650 million from the highway, $468 million from Department of Education, and the rest from programs that were going to be cut by the president in his 2012 budget.

“I’m pleased that Democrats and Republicans in Congress came together and passed a plan that will cut spending and keep the government running for the next two weeks,” said President Obama. He also stated, “we cannot keep doing business this way. Living with the threat of a shutdown every few weeks is not responsible, and it puts our economic progress in jeopardy.”

Both parties in the two Houses have an agenda and there is little room for compromise. As our leaders continue to operate the government with the threat of a shutdown, everyone is operating from an emergency mindset. Everyone is stressed and many of the plans and policies at this point are not well thought out.

In all probability, the two parties will pass another short term Continuing Resolution before the March 18, 2011 deadline, but still there is no movement on the $61 billion cuts that the House has agreed on. Somewhere in this bureaucratic mess, there is a need for leadership and direction from the president.

Michael Petit: president of Every Child Matters

The majority of the cuts that the Republicans are proposing in the House impact government social programs, children, youth, the poor, and families. Michael Petit, president of the Every Child Matters Education Fund, said: “Even before the House adopted its shortsighted budget; the United States was far behind most other developed nations in caring for children. To further shred our nation’s already frayed safety net with additional cuts to babies and mothers are unacceptable.”

The cuts that the Republicans in the House are proposing will cripple our country’s most vulnerable group of citizens and will attack social programs. Some of the programs that will be impacted if the Democrats in the Senate agree to the cuts by Republicans would be as follows: Head Start cut by $1.1 billion, Maternal and Child Health Block Grant cut by $50 million, School Health Clinics cut by $380 million, Low Income Heating Assistance Program cut by $390 million, Pell Grant Program cut by $5.7 billion, and other Block Grants cut by $55 million.

There appears to be an all out assault on our children, youth, and mothers and we hear very little from the president. The president has stated that he would not sign a bill that harms our children, but how far will he go to appease the radical arm of the Republicans?

President Obama is still talking compromise and bipartisan, but the Republicans in the House are pushing their agenda. The stage has been set and everyone is waiting for leadership from the president. He is always talking about shared responsibility, but the social programs are for the citizens who have barely anything.

It is time for President Obama to take a stand and protect the social programs that many of the citizens need. As the president takes a stand, more citizens will also take a stand and support the president’s initiatives. There are other ways to save money, than cutting programs that hurt children, youth, mothers and the poor.

Gaddafi speaking

 

Muammar Gaddafi has been the president and leader of the African nation of Libya for 41 years. His country is the third largest oil producer in Africa, and he is the African Union President and a member of the Group of Eight, (G8). Strategically, his country is a very powerful force in global politics, and his oil is very important to countries all around the world.

A defiant Muammar Gaddafi said, “I am not going to leave this land. I will die here as a martyr. All of you who love Muammar Gaddafi go out on the streets, secure the streets, and don’t be afraid of the rebels. Chase them, arrest them, and hand them over.”

Gaddafi is determined to win this political upheaval from anti-government protesters

Libya protesters in the streets

and armed rebels, who he calls “rats and mercenaries” who he says “deserves to die”. Gaddafi’s power is entrenched in every element of the society and he is not going down without a fight. In order to remain the leader of the country for 41 years, he has survived through opposition and bloodshed.

The majority of the Arab and African countries are ruled by dictators, kings and royal families. These royal families and dictators control every element of its residents’ lives and they are extremely rich and wealthy. They believe that they have a divine right to rule with an iron fist.

The price of gas in the United States continues to increase with the instability of this region in the world, and Muammar Gaddafi has ordered his security forces to sabotage the country’s oil facilities.  The sabotage is meant to serve as a message to Libya’s rebellious tribes: “It’s either me or chaos.”

With the third largest oil producer in Africa unable to produce oil, the price of oil will continue to increase, and many of the worlds most powerful countries have started to impose sanctions on Libya. The United Nations Security Council voted 15-0 to freeze the foreign assets of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi and four aides, and banned them from traveling. The goal of the sanctions is to isolate Gaddafi and force him to step down.

It has been suggested that Libya has $130 billion in reserves in the treasury in the country. It also has $70 billion in foreign assets around the world and $32 billion just in England. There are $500 million in many different banks in the United States.  

President Obama

President Obama has condemned the “outrageous” crackdown by the Libyan security forces on protesters. “The suffering and bloodshed is outrageous and unacceptable. So are the threats and orders to shoot peaceful protesters,” said Obama. There have been pictures by the media where Libyan warplanes and helicopters have dropped bombs and fired on protestors and civilians.

The United States has closed its embassy in Libya, and supports unilateral sanctions against the country, freezing billions in government assets. President Obama and his administration have taken a harder position on Libya, once it was able to evacuate its citizens and diplomats from the country.

There are other military options being discussed behind closed doors, but at this time they are not being released to the media. Since 2008, the United States has worked to develop a friendlier relationship with Libya. There has been limited military cooperation; therefore the United States is not in a hurry to develop a confrontational strategy with Libya.

Gaddafi’s son says that ¾ of the country is under control and only certain parts of the country are controlled by armed rebels. As the Libyan protest continues and evolves, it will be interesting to see what happens.

President Obama wants the violence to end and can suggest to Gaddafi to step down. With hundreds of billions at stake, there is no way that Gaddafi will go away. For generations he has been considered a rebel leader and the entire world is waiting to see if he will win again.

Congress in session

Everywhere you go in the United States, you hear people talking about making the federal government smaller. Many conservatives are considering revolting against the federal government and making the states more powerful.

Even in the state of Florida, our governor is refusing money from the federal government to build high speed rail. Our governor believes that our state could end up owing the entire $2.4 billion back to the government, if there are problems with the construction and the project is not completed. Based on his studies, there are too many “ifs and maybes” to risk the taxpayer’s hard earned money and resources.

Many governors in Wisconsin, New Jersey, Ohio, and Florida have decided that they will solve their own problems with limited interference from the federal government. Many of these states are controlled by conservative legislatures and governors, and they want to limit union intervention, and collective bargaining. They believe that they have a mandate from the people, and the same philosophy is prevalent with Republicans in the federal Congress.

These Republicans in the Congress are conservative, and believe that they were sent to Washington with a mission. Their goal is to cut spending and help to shrink the federal government. Even though the budget was $3.1 trillion when Bush was president, they want to turn back the hands of time.

The Republicans argue with the Democrats, and the Democrats argue with the Republicans over $100 billion in cuts. Both parties know that $100 billion is a small percentage of the budget, and they are fighting over peanuts. When the proposed budget for 2012 is $3.7 trillion, and the deficit is $1.3 trillion, there are other fundamental problems with balancing our federal budget.

Our country continues to fight one major war that is costing on the average, $9 billion a month and we are also dumping around $5 billion a month in Iraq, and there is no telling what the expense to keep bases around the world.  It is obvious fighting wars that we can not win is a terrible strategy, and a drain on our resources and funds.

Somewhere in President Obama campaign and the reality of Washington, our country is caught between a rock and a hard place. Cutting social programs for the poor, minorities, women, children and the elderly is no way to run the richest country on earth. Our politicians are looking in the wrong places to cut expenses.

President Obama

President Obama was right when he stated that the rich 2% of our population needs to pay more taxes, because of our deficits, and they can afford it. By the same token, our international corporations and conglomerates can afford to pay more taxes. The middle class, the poor, and the small businesses should receive a break on taxes.

It is time for the president to take a position and establish his leadership role in the Congress, and with the conservative governors around the country. The president must take the initiative and establish where the right places to make the cuts in his budget. Shutting down some of the military bases around the world could save our country billions.

Our country could save billions by stopping policing the world and stop financing corrupt governments who we want to be our friends. Finally, we should stop fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq and redirect the savings to balance our budget, and improve our infrastructure.

Many of the cuts that Republicans and the Democrats are making are for show. If they are serious about balancing our budget, they will help end the wars, and tax the people and the corporations in the country who can afford to pay.