Monday, February 28, 2011

Mariposa: An Evening With Ronald Reagan

By Zach Foster

Saturday, February 26, 2001 the author had the privilege of joining the Republican voters of Mariposa County, California in commemoration of the would-be one hundredth birthday of Ronald W. Reagan, army veteran, actor, former governor, and fortieth President of the United States.  The Reagan Ball, held in the banquet hall of the Mariposa County Fairgrounds, was attended by such esteemed guest as Congressman Jeff Denham (R-19), Retired Congressman George Radanovich, Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen (R-25), California Republican Party Vice Chairman Tom Del Beccaro, and many local dignitaries, including former County Supervisor Dianne Fritz, the entire Mariposa County Republican Committee, and members of other GOP county committees.

Congressman Denham made a stirring speech on the triumphs of the Republican Party in the House of Representatives, including the notable majority vote to repeal what many Republicans coined as “Obamacare.”  The Congressman also made a moving tribute to retired Congressman George Radanovich, citing his many accomplishments and his character, still lauded by current members of the House who will fondly remember working with him.  County GOP Chairman Richard Westfall was the first of several dignitaries to present certificates of appreciation and words of tribute to Congressman Radanovich.  The common message in all the speeches and tributes was “Thank you, and welcome home.”

Assemblywoman Olsen reported on the Republican accomplishments in the state legislature, most notable the fight against the raising of taxes and out of control spending of state funds.

CRP Vice Chairman Tom Del Beccaro was well received, delivering a moving message, both painful and inspiring; painful in that it highlighted the major deficiency by Republicans to reach out to the voters, especially through the media—a mistake the Democratic Party has NOT made; inspiring in the praise and accomplishments of the Republican Party in California as well as solutions to correct its deficiencies.  His main goals for California Republicans include reaching out to non-Republicans and sharing the message and platform, continuing in the fight against the raising of taxes burdening the poor and middle classes, and ending the popular concept of the GOP being the Party of ‘No’ by bringing issues caused by Democrat policies as well as faulty Democrat solutions to the attention of the public.  Tom Del Beccaro is campaigning to be Chairman of the California Republican Party and was endorsed by the Mariposa County Republican Committee.

There were two local dignitaries who presented their personal anecdotes of time spent with President Reagan.  One was Mr. Lon Richards, retired law enforcement officer of several branches, including the California State Police, and a former bodyguard of Reagan.  They were followed by an inspiring short film tribute showing some of Reagan’s greatest moments as governor and President.

Reagan image courtesy of Wikipedia. Del Beccaro image courtesy of his Facebook profile.

Holding the Qadhafi Government Accountable

Hillary Rodham Clinton

The United States strongly condemns the ongoing violence and human rights violations committed by the government of Libya against its own people. As President Obama said, these actions violate international norms and every standard of common decency. They must stop.

We are moving quickly on a series of steps to hold the Libyan government accountable for its violation of human rights and to mobilize a strong response from the international community.

Last night the United States took action to limit the ability of senior officials of the Qadhafi regime to travel. As Secretary of State, I signed an order directing the Department to revoke U.S. visas held by these officials, others responsible for human rights violations in Libya, and their immediate family members. As a matter of policy, new visa applications will be denied.

This step followed President Obama’s Executive Order freezing assets and imposing financial sanctions on members of the regime responsible for abuses against their own people and the suspension of the very limited defense trade we have had with Libya, including pending sales of spare military parts and other licenses allowing private companies to sell military equipment there.

The United States is also working with our friends and partners to mobilize a strong and unified response from the international community to hold accountable the perpetrators of these unacceptable violations of universal human rights. This afternoon I continued close consultations with our European allies, including EU High Representative Catherine Ashton. Negotiations are underway at the United Nations Security Council on a resolution that would impose new sanctions and restrictions. On Monday, I will meet with a number of counterparts in Geneva and address the UN Human Rights Council, which on Friday recommended suspending Libya's membership and established an independent commission of inquiry to investigate human rights violations by the Libyan government with a view towards ensuring that those responsible are held accountable. We are also working with partners to determine how to provide humanitarian assistance to those in need. Consistent with the President's guidance, we will continue to look at the full range of options to hold the Libyan government accountable and support the Libyan people.

We have always said that the Qadhafi government's future is a matter for the Libyan people to decide, and they have made themselves clear. When a leader’s only means of staying in power is to use mass violence against his own people, he has lost the legitimacy to rule and needs to do what is right for his country by leaving now. Moammar Qadhafi has lost the confidence of his people and he should go without further bloodshed and violence. The Libyan people deserve a government that is responsive to their aspirations and that protects their universally recognized human rights.

Advise the Advisor: What I’m Hearing About Small Business

Good afternoon,

What's it like to have President Obama drop in on your web chat? Well, on Tuesday, I found out.
During the Winning the Future Forum on Small Business in Cleveland, Ohio, we held an online discussion to go over the answers to discussion questions I posed on as part of our new "Advise the Advisor" program. The President joined us towards the end to respond to a few ideas.

I've posted some of your ideas, my responses and the video of yesterday's event which you can view at

Did you know that small businesses are the backbone of our economy, creating two out of every three new jobs in America?

President Obama is committed to helping small businesses succeed by making America the best place in the world to do business. He has signed into law 17 new tax cuts for small businesses. He launched the National Wireless Initiative to help bring high-speed wireless Internet access to 98 percent of Americans. And he launched Startup America, an initiative to celebrate, inspire and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation.

It's also important to take the time to listen to folks on the ground about the challenges they face every day. That's why we went to Cleveland this week to talk directly with small business owners, and it's why your "Advise the Advisor" feedback is so important.

If we out-innovate, out-educate and out-build our global competitors, the future is ours to win. That's a challenge that we will tackle together, and I look forward to the work ahead.


Austan Goolsbee
Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Child Labor in the USA — again?

February 22, 2011
By FN Brill

Jane Cun­ning­ham a Mis­souri State Sen­a­tor has pro­posed a law the whole­sale repeal of child-labor laws in that state. The law would allow employ­ment of chil­dren under 14. She believes this will instill a “work ethic” in the young.

She says that her bill sim­ply loosens an overly broad pro­hi­bi­tion on child labor and would allow kids to work at movie the­aters, to babysit or to cut lawns, blam­ing the hys­te­ria on union “mis­in­for­ma­tion” and pol­i­tics.
(Read on)

Source: World Socialist Party (US)

RNC Chairman Priebus Statement On Republicans Winning A Majority In The Louisiana State Senate

Posted by: Michael Short

WASHINGTON – Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus released the following statement today in response to Republicans winning a majority in the Louisiana State Senate for the first time since Reconstruction:

“I want to personally congratulate Jonathan Perry on his successful bid for the Louisiana State Senate. His historic victory this evening gives Republicans a majority in both houses of the Louisiana state legislature for the first time since Reconstruction. Tonight’s election shows that Louisiana voters trust Republicans to have the adult conversations necessary to get our country’s fiscal house in order and just how far Democrats have distanced themselves with their failed leadership and liberal tax-borrow-spend agenda.”

Listening to Small Businesses in Cleveland and Across the Country

President Barack Obama drops by the Youth Engagement Roundtable at the Winning the Future Forum on Small Business at Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio, Feb. 22, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pirate Attack on the S/V QUEST

The United States strongly condemns the murder of four U.S. citizens, whose yacht, the QUEST, was seized by pirates off the coast of Oman. This deplorable act firmly underscores the need for continued international progress toward confronting the shared security challenge posed by piracy in the waters off the Horn of Africa.

Our deepest sympathies go out to the victims’ families at this time. We will honor their memory by continuing to strengthen international partnerships in order to bring these maritime criminals to justice.

The United States encourages those members of the international community concerned about stability in Somalia and piracy to contribute to AMISOM by providing material, financial, and logistical support. The United States also encourages additional African contributions to the AMISOM peacekeeping force.

A Promising Future For Egypt

William J. Burns
Under Secretary for Political Affairs Cairo, Egypt

Corresponding article: The Revolution In Egypt Continues

Thank you very much. I'm delighted to be back in Cairo. I have just finished a very interesting and comprehensive conversation with Secretary General Amr Moussa about developments in Egypt and around the region. As always I learned a lot.

This is a moment of extraordinary promise for Egypt and for Egyptians. It's a moment when Egypt has only just begun its historic transition to democracy. It's a moment when the voices, the courage and sacrifice, and the remarkable peaceful determination of Tahrir Square have been heard around the region and around the world.

Americans deeply respect and admire what Egypt has already achieved, but we know that the road ahead is not going to be easy. We also know that it's a road that can only be navigated by Egyptians themselves. The United States has great faith in the capacity of Egypt to navigate that path successfully and to set an example for the rest of the region. We want to do everything we can to help as Egypt builds an open, inclusive process aimed at producing real political change, economic recovery, and long-term economic modernization.

I look forward with my colleague David Lipton over the next couple of days to listening to the priorities of Egyptians inside and outside government, to understand better how we can connect our resources to Egypt's priorities and to be as helpful as we can in this process. Along the way, we'll continue to encourage concrete steps to build confidence and to sustain the momentum of the transition, ranging from the constitutional amendments that are being considered, through careful preparations for elections, to the further release of political detainees, to the lifting of the Emergency Law.

In this process of democratic transition, as in the process of tackling many other regional and global challenges, the United States looks forward to remaining a very strong partner of Egypt and Egyptians. Thank you very much once again.

LP Monday Message: Students For Liberty

Dear Friend of Liberty,

The Libertarian Party hosted a booth at the 2011 International Students For Liberty Conference over the weekend. You can view a brief video of the event here.

Students For Liberty (SFL) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide a unified, student-driven forum of support for students and student organizations dedicated to liberty. More information here.

The 2011 conference featured a filming of John Stossel's show, which covers events from a libertarian perspective. We'll try to let you know when the SFL edition of Stossel runs.

SFL is not affiliated with the Libertarian Party or any political party, but some Libertarian Party leaders also work with SFL. For example, LNC Regional Representative (and former national chairman of the Libertarian Party) Dr. James W. Lark, III serves on the Board of Advisors of SFL, and has conducted several educational webinars for SFL.

Dr. Lark is also the campus coordinator for the Libertarian Party. Look here for a list of Libertarian campus organizations, as well as more information about starting up a campus Libertarian group.


Wes Benedict
Executive Director
Libertarian National Committee

P.S. If you have not already done so, please join the Libertarian Party. We are the only political party dedicated to free markets, civil liberties, and peace. You can also renew your membership. Or, you can make a contribution separate from membership.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Observing President’s Day: Lincoln

By Zach Foster

It’s no mystery that President’s Day is yet another symbolic American holiday degraded to becoming an excuse to sell cars, mattresses, and throw barbeques.  Many Americans can’t even grasp a rough idea of what the holiday represents.  This phenomenon of ignorance is not uncommon in today’s society.  Let us explore this holiday and the meaning behind it.

President’s Day was originally observed as George Washington’s birthday and became a federal holiday via an 1880 act of Congress.  It was celebrated on Washington’s actual birthday (February 22) until the mid twentieth century, when the observance of the holiday changed to the third Monday of February, making it easier for the country to rest and observe the holiday on a weekday, much like Memorial Day and Thanksgiving.  Over time, people also began to celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday since he was also born in February (February 9).  Let us take a moment to observe the contributions theat Abraham Lincoln made for the United States.

Abraham Lincoln was born to a very poor Kentucky family.  Much of his education was self taught, and the few books he had around in his youth included the Holy Bible and Aesop’s Fables.  He moved to Illinois where he practiced law and eventually practiced politics.  His political tenure included several terms in the Illinois State Legislature, one term in Congress, and a failed bid for the Senate.  In 1832 he was elected to serve as an officer in the Illinois militia during the Black Hawk War (part of the Indian Wars).  Over the years his popularity as a statesman and orator grew. 

He joined the fledgling Republican Party in 1856 and ended up becoming one of its leaders.  He was elected President in 1860, resulting in the secession of the Southern states.  Though opposed to slavery, he was prepared to allow it to continue if it would prevent the dissolution of the Union.  Lincoln led the United States through its greatest military, political, and moral crisis: the American Civil War.

During his tenure he also set the stage for the emancipation of Southern slaves and the eventual demise of the system of slavery in America.  Though still regarded as a controversial and unpopular figure by many Southerners today, Lincoln’s plan for Reconstruction was minimally punitive and all-inclusive in rebuilding the country.  Unfortunately, he was murdered by John Wilkes Booth toward the close of the war.  His corrupt Vice President Andrew Johnson assumed the Presidency, and infighting between him and Congress led to the hard-line Radical Republicans imposing a highly punitive and exclusive Reconstruction, heightening postwar tensions and giving rise to corrupt black and pro-North militias, militant violent hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan, and the eventual institution of the Jim Crow system.  Though his plans for a harmonious rebuilding of America were shredded by radicals, Lincoln is remembered for his kindness, his courage, and his ability to lead.

Observing President’s Day: Washington

By Zach Foster

It’s no mystery that President’s Day is yet another symbolic American holiday degraded to becoming an excuse to sell cars, mattresses, and throw barbeques.  Many Americans can’t even grasp a rough idea of what the holiday represents.  This phenomenon of ignorance is not uncommon in today’s society.  Let us explore this holiday and the meaning behind it.

President’s Day was originally observed as George Washington’s birthday and became a federal holiday via an 1880 act of Congress.  It was celebrated on Washington’s actual birthday (February 22) until the mid twentieth century, when the observance of the holiday changed to the third Monday of February, making it easier for the country to rest and observe the holiday on a weekday, much like Memorial Day and Thanksgiving.  Over time, people also began to celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday since he was also born in February (February 9).  Let us take a moment to observe the contributions that George Washington made for the United States.

George Washington was born to wealthy Virginia plantation owners. In his youth he grew close to the Fairfax family who helped him enter his career as a soldier in the Virginia militia.  Though his rash actions as a military surveyor helped spark the French and Indian War (known in Europe as the Seven Years’ War), his ability to learn, adapt, and lead soon paid off for the British Army and Colonial militias in battle.  After the war he retired to his plantation and was known as a skilled businessman (and his continually being ripped off by British corporations planted his seed of resentment against Great Britain).  His reputation as a military hero gave the Continental Congress confidence in his military leadership ability, landing him the position of Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army when the Revolutionary War began.

When the idea of crowning George Washington became popular after the war, he retired from the military and enjoyed a private life rather than seek power.  However, as a statesman he presided over the Constitutional Convention, subscribing to the popular belief that the Articles of Confederation were too weak to be the law of the land.  During his tenure as the First President of the United States, he managed to uphold U.S. neutrality in the British-French conflicts and presided over a free market economy.  He promoted the use of the national government for improving infrastructure and opening the western frontier to the American people.  He also promoted nationalism, saying that the name of ‘American’ must override any local attachments.  Though he agreed with the programs of the Federalist Party, he never joined a political party, believing that political parties were the basis of civil strife and division.  He believed that no President should serve more than two terms, prompting British King George III to say, “If he twice gives up power, he is the greatest man alive.”  He did.  He passed away at the age of sixty-seven.  To this day he is known as the Father of Our Country.  In 1976 President Gerald Ford posthumously promoted Washington to six-star general so that no twentieth century five-star general would outrank the Father of Our Country.

Situation in Libya

Hillary Rodham Clinton

The world is watching the situation in Libya with alarm. We join the international community in strongly condemning the violence in Libya. Our thoughts and prayers are with those whose lives have been lost, and with their loved ones. The government of Libya has a responsibility to respect the universal rights of the people, including the right to free expression and assembly. Now is the time to stop this unacceptable bloodshed. We are working urgently with friends and partners around the world to convey this message to the Libyan government.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Advise the Advisor: Austan Goolsbee and Small Business

Advise the Advisor is a new program to help senior staff at the White House stay connected to the American people.

This week, Austan Goolsbee, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, is asking for feedback from small business owners and entrepreneurs about some of the challenges they face. Next week, Austan will travel with President Obama to Cleveland, Ohio for the Winning the Future Forum on Small Business. At the Forum, the President will talk directly with small business owners and leaders about their ideas for how America can continue to grow the economy.  See the video or provide feedback at

You can add your voice to the conversation by answering one or all of the following questions:

•Entrepreneurship: Entrepreneurship is important in driving innovation and growth. When you first had a new idea for a business how did you convert that idea into a growing business?
•Access to Capital: The President has focused on increasing access to capital and tax breaks for small businesses. What role does access to capital play in your small business, and how can the government help small businesses ensure they can access the financing they need to grow?
•Workforce Development: As different industries in our economy grow, the workforce must adjust. How can government and business work together to better prepare the next generation workforce for the jobs of the future?
•Exports: Promoting U.S. exports is an effective way to grow businesses and create jobs. What obstacles does your business face in exporting goods and services to foreign markets?
•Clean Energy: In the President’s State of the Union he emphasized that an investment in clean energy technology will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create new jobs. How can your business benefit from opportunities in this growing industry?
Be sure to tune in next Tuesday for a live online discussion from the Forum on Small Business with the President and Austan Goolsbee.

Past Questions
Last week, David Plouffe, Senior Advisor to the President asked for your feedback on how American innovation affects your community and the obstacles to innovation you see where you live.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Race to the Top Commencement Challenge

The Race to the Top Commencement Challenge is back and we’re asking public high school students from across the country to tell us how their school is preparing them for college and a career. In return, we'll make sure one high school has a graduation they'll never forget – including a commencement address by President Obama himself.

The deadline for applications is February 25, 2011. Learn more and apply today at

Image: President Obama talks with former President Geirge H.W. Bush.

Glenn Beck’s Common Sense

A review by Zach Foster

Glenn Beck’s Common Sense is a fascinating read that takes American thinkers on a journey back to 1776, and through political and social events outlining the alteration and nullification of Constitutional law and the American principles outlined by the National Founders.  The book covers a multitude of issues that have only been exacerbated in recent years: the rising national debt, crooked politicians, outsourcing, and both major parties being completely out of touch with the American people.

This book is highly recommended to readers from all over the political spectrum, since it is very thought provoking, well reasoned, and Beck substantially backs up his arguments.  Furthermore, unlike Beck’s television and radio programs, this book is surprisingly non-partisan and level-headed.  The foundation of all arguments in this book is Thomas Paine’s Common Sense and his grievances against Great Britain, nothing more.  The book also contains the original Common Sense in its entirety, all for a low price.  This book is well worth reading.

Obama kowtows to military-industrial complex

WASHINGTON - The Libertarian Party criticizes the Obama administration's recent statement demanding more military spending from House Republicans.

The administration claims that the Republican spending bill currently under debate does not provide enough military funding. According to the administration, "The bill...would reduce funding for the Department of Defense to a level that would leave the Department without the resources and flexibility needed to meet vital military requirements."

As a percentage of GDP, military spending under Obama has been higher than it was during any year of the hawkish George W. Bush administration.

Libertarian Party Chair Mark Hinkle said, "Apparently the Republican spending bill isn't military-friendly enough for President Obama.

Hinkle continued, "Liberals are supposed to want schools, not bombs, but Obama wants all the bombs he can get.

"The Republican bill actually increases Defense Department spending 1-2% over 2010 levels, but the administration calls that a reduction.

"Liberals and Democrats, as well as independents and Libertarians, should call out the president and demand that he cut military spending, not increase it.

"Nobody expected Republicans to offer significant cuts to military spending, but I thought liberal Democrats like Obama were supposed to be different. Apparently the president is more interested in handing out gigantic contracts to his friends in the defense industry.

"Libertarians believe that America should set an example of freedom and respect for other nations by withdrawing our military from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as many other countries where we have forces stationed today. The Libertarian vision of a humble foreign policy would allow us to cut military spending dramatically."

For more information, or to arrange an interview, call LP Executive Director Wes Benedict at 202-333-0008 ext. 222.

The LP is America's third-largest political party, founded in 1971. The Libertarian Party stands for free markets, civil liberties, and peace. You can find more information on the Libertarian Party at our website.

P.S. If you have not already done so, please join the Libertarian Party. We are the only political party dedicated to free markets and civil liberties. You can also renew your membership. Or, you can make a contribution separate from membership.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Waltz With Bashir

A review by Zach Foster

Waltz With Bashir is a 2008 animated autobiographical film dealing with a veteran of the 1982 Lebanon War whose memories of the war have been repressed, and sets out to reconnect with army buddies to piece together what happened.  Though it is animated, the film is by no means a cartoon—it is rated R for war violence, language, and some nudity.  The film’s plot and story are absolutely gripping and horrifying—and true.  It also includes a well balanced sound track, from classical piano compositions to Israeli and American heavy metal.  The film is available to own on DVD and Blu Ray and is dubbed in English as well as in Hebrew with English subtitles.  It was nominated for Best Foreign Film Academy Award and won the Golden Glove for the same category.

This film is very important for Americans to better understand not only the 2006 Lebanon war but also the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  This film is a perfect example of the psychological effects and manifestations of post traumatic stress disorder, as well as other evils facing troops and veterans.  It shows how religious fanatical terrorists fight and operate, and shows clear and explicit examples of collateral damage caused when jihadists bring the war to residential zones.  It even illustrates a portrayal of domestic civilian disgust or cold indifference to wartime soldiers.  It also illustrates how veterans cope daily with the horrors of their past which will always be a part of their present.

The Revolution In Egypt Continues

By Zach Foster

Days ago Cairo was packed with jubilant crowds celebrating the resignation of long-time president Hosni Mubarak.  The dictator stepped down!  The entire world watched in awe as the Egyptians brought about a radical revolution without a shot being fired.  Marxists were giddy with the delusion that their claims of solidarity helped bring about this resignation of power to the people (the “proletariat”), and paranoid ultraconservatives continue to shake in their shoes, convinced that the Muslim Brotherhood will bring about a second Holocaust.  Many people think the revolution in Egypt has reached its climax.  All of the above are delusional.

The revolution in Egypt is far from over!  The peaceful and popular deposition of Mubarak was the easy part.  Now comes the hard part of rebuilding the government and turning it into a truly representative democratic body.  The old legislature and parts of the government were officially dissolved by the Egyptian military, and the people of Egypt must act quickly yet rationally, and they must act together. Historically, revolutions and their honeymoon phases have paved the way for reigns of terror.  Egypt is at a crossroads, and just about everyone who is aware that the revolution continues seems to be convinced that they know what is best for Egypt.  Their ego-founded opinions are semi-inspiring at best, but also worthless, because the United States cannot and will not intervene in the affairs of the rebuilding of the Egyptian government.

Egypt is at a crossroads.  One of four things will happen:

1)      The Egyptian people will take initiative, form political parties with distinct platforms, and put up candidates for election, resulting in a representative democracy.
2)      Radicalism will prevail, resulting in a dictatorship, be it under the thumb of one man, the military, a one-party state system, or a faction (where the Muslim Brotherhood fears are founded).
3)      The government will descend into anarchy, resulting in coup and counter-coup.
4)      Tensions will rise between factions, egged on by radicals and anarchists, and Egypt will be locked into a civil war.

The revolution in Egypt has inspired mass protests in countries all over the middle east where the deprivation of freedom has grown old to the masses.  The American Revolution will forever be known as the Shot Heard Round the World.  How inspiring it would be if the world transitioned into a less violent age where the situation in Egypt went down in history as the Shout Heard Round the World!

What happens now is up to the good-natured, level-headed people of Egypt.  Only time will tell.

Recent Protests

Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public AffairsWashington, DC
February 15, 2011

The United States is very concerned by recent violence surrounding protests in Bahrain. We have received confirmation that two protesters in Bahrain were recently killed, and offer our condolences to the families and friends of the two individuals who lost their lives.

The United States welcomes the Government of Bahrain’s statements that it will investigate these deaths, and that it will take legal action against any unjustified use of force by Bahraini security forces. We urge that it follow through on these statements as quickly as possible. We also call on all parties to exercise restraint and refrain from violence.

Situation in Iran

Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC

MR. CROWLEY: We obviously are watching the situation in Iran very closely and the government’s response to peaceful protests. We are deeply concerned about reports that one person has been killed and two wounded in clashes with security forces. Those security forces are arresting, beating, and using tear gas against protestors, as well as blocking them from using public transportation, cell phones, and other means of communication. Iran reportedly continues to jam news coverage in the country. Both major opposition leaders remain under house arrest, and this is in conjunction with a wave of other arrests of opposition figures, including women’s rights advocates, leading up to the protests.

We condemn in the strongest terms any use of violence against people peacefully assembling and expressing their views – expressing their desire for freedom and reform, and call on Iran to refrain from violence. And as the Secretary said in her remarks on the Hill – I believe she used the term hypocrisy – it’s well earned – in the contrast between the words that Iran used relative to the protests in Egypt, but its ongoing crackdown of its own people and their universal right to demonstrate.

QUESTION: The State Department sent – started sending direct messages to Iranians in Farsi yesterday. Can you talk about that, and is this a new social media initiative from the State Department?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I would put it in a broader context. And actually, if you’re interested, we’ll bring Judith McHale down to explain it in greater detail. As you’ve seen, we are making more significant use of social media. It’s a key element of our plan to – and our strategy to engage people-to-people around the world. As the Secretary has made clear, we do engage governments, but we also want to engage people directly. And as we use social media, we’re also employing – using languages in key parts of the world. So last week we began Tweeting in Arabic, and this week we begin Tweeting in Farsi.

QUESTION: Are you trying to create a revolution then in Iran?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, that – what has guided us throughout the last three months and guides us in terms of how we focus on Iran is the core principles – the Secretary mentioned them again today – of restraint from violence, respect for universal rights, and political and social reform. There is a – it is hypocrisy that Iran says one thing in the context of Egypt but refuses to put its own words into action in its own country.

RNC Chairman Priebus Statement On President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2012 Budget

WASHINGTON – Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus released the following statement today in response to President Obama’s proposed fiscal year 2012 budget:

“The President’s budget reflects a complete lack of seriousness about our present fiscal crisis.  If this is our generation’s Sputnik moment, then the White House clearly hasn’t gotten the message.  Three months after receiving a ‘shellacking’ at the voting booth, Democrats insist on the same failed policies of more spending, more taxes, and more borrowing.  Already House Republicans have set a new tone in Washington by committing to $100 billion in spending cuts.  If we are serious about cutting the size of government and creating jobs, it is going to require real leadership from this White House. It is not enough for President Obama to ‘talk the talk.’ The American people want and deserve a President who will ‘walk the walk.’”
Source: Republican Party

Obama: Investing In Our Future

Good afternoon,

Just a few weeks ago, in my State of the Union Address, I spoke about how America can win the future by out-educating, out-innovating and out-building the rest of the world.  I also talked about taking responsibility for our Nation's deficits, because we can’t win the future if we pass on a mountain of debt to our children and grandchildren.

Yesterday, I sent my budget proposal for 2012 to Congress, and I wanted to take a moment to explain some of the tough choices we had to make so we can afford to invest in our future.

Like American families, the Federal Government must live within its means. That means eliminating wasteful spending and cutting programs that aren't working.  It also means that programs, like Community Development Block Grants, which I care about deeply, need to be scaled back to confront the crushing debt we face.

You can learn more about the budget proposal and watch Jack Lew, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, explain our approach here:

Getting our fiscal house in order requires shared sacrifice. But even in these tough times, we have a responsibility to make smart investments in our Nation's future.
That's why we must invest in innovation to ensure that the jobs and industries of the future are built right here in America.  It's why we need to invest in roads, bridges, high-speed rail and high-speed Internet to help our businesses ship their goods and ideas around the world.

And it's why America must invest in education so that all of our children have an opportunity to fulfill their potential. Even though parents are the key to a child's education, we have a responsibility to ensure that America's students are prepared to compete and thrive in the 21st century global economy.

Yesterday, I visited Parkville Middle School and Center of Technology near Baltimore, Maryland. At Parkville, students gain a strong background in math, science and critical thinking skills that they will need to compete for the jobs of the 21st century. In fact, the most popular subject in their magnet program is engineering.

Investing in schools like Parkville, investing in quality teachers, investing in higher education – these are down payments on our children's and our country's future.
Here are just a few investments in education that I've proposed in the budget I sent to Congress:

Preparing 100,000 new math, science and engineering teachers.
Expanding Race to the Top, a reform program that has led more than 40 states to raise their standards for teaching and learning for less than 1 percent of what we spend on education each year.
Helping more kids afford college by making the American Opportunity Tax Credit permanent and strengthening Pell Grants for 9 million students.

Here in Washington, we have to take a cue from millions of American families who have been tightening their belts while continuing to invest in their future.  And that's exactly what my budget proposal does – it puts us on a path to live within our means so we can invest in our future.

President Barack Obama

Monday, February 14, 2011

February 14 is Freedom Day

By Zach Foster

Everyone who reads the Political Spectrum knows the content of the website, but today there is a change.  I usually write very formally, not even referring to myself in the first person, and in my articles I attempt to reach out to members of society on an intellectual level, trying to convince them to subscribe to or at least seriously consider a political or social point.  Today I want to take this opportunity to reach out to my readers on a personal level about something which people of ALL political affiliations can agree with.

I have rededicated February 14 as Freedom Day for myself and others like me, including many of my readers.  I’ve had the misfortune of sharing in other people’s sorrow as many people of all age groups who find themselves in the “singles” category refer to Valentine’s Day as “Single’s Awareness Day.”  This is the day where they get an even more bitter (than usual) reminder that they are alone, romantically speaking.  But honestly folks, why should it be Single’s Awareness Day?  So many people all over the world suffer from self inflicted pain because they buy into the faulty philosophy that if they don’t find a romantic partner by the end of the week, or that if they (God forbid!) come out of a relationship, the world will end.  God will rain fire on Gomorrah and they didn’t even get a piece before the apocalypse! No fair!  Ridiculous as it seems, people make this their personal cross and bear it for others to see.

Rarely do people consider this: what is so terrible about being single?  This should be an opportunity for people to have the PRIVELEGE of taking a deep breath, stepping back from the world of relationships and focusing on bettering themselves.  Personally, I’m in a point in my life where I finally truly like who I am and where I’m going in life; it’ll be a long time before my dreams are fully realized, but I know that right now I’m alright.  I have the freedom to not be weighed down by the bonds of commitment to anyone other than myself, and I’m free to make my own decisions. Why is this a bad thing? Why can’t people take a step back, see the big picture, and appreciate what they’ve done (or what they want to do now that they’re not tied down either)?  This is an opportunity for people to do what they want, not what others expect of them.

Sure, it’s not so easy celebrating Freedom Day when there are flowers and red balloons everywhere, but Valentine’s Day is for couples.  Don’t be envious; let people enjoy their day and you enjoy yours.  This is the time when people should surround themselves with good friends, or at least spend the day going out and treating themselves to what they like.  There is no need to fixate on conforming to the near-hollow social standard of commitment.  It will come eventually. Everyone has their day for romance.  Spending the days watching the clock and wondering when it will happen only makes people miserable.

Furthermore, look around and see the couples that are MISERABLE: abusive relationships, shattered marriages, broken homes.  Even in politics, how many sex scandals have there been in the last year or two just on Capitol Hill?  What Democrats and Republicans have in common is more than a few sleazy members of Congress who are having affairs, making their spouses miserable.

February 14 is the day when those not celebrating Valentine’s Day can celebrate their personal freedom.  Congratulations to all those who are celebrating Valentine’s Day. I’m truly happy for you.  May everyone not celebrating Valentine’s Day have a most wonderful Freedom Day.

Protests in Algeria

Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC

We note the ongoing protests in Algeria, and call for restraint on the part of the security services. In addition, we reaffirm our support for the universal rights of the Algerian people, including assembly and expression. These rights apply on the internet. Moreover, these rights must be respected. We will continue to follow the situation closely in the days ahead.

Photo: Next Steps In Egypt

Date: 02/11/2011 Location: Cairo, Egypt Description: Egyptians in
Tahrir Square
in downtown Cairo, Egypt, celebrate the news of the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill, File) Source: State Department website

Secretary Clinton (Feb. 14): "I have a sense of realism about what it’s going to take to move forward. There’s a long to-do list, and everybody needs to be sort of focused on the task at hand."

Call for Release of Tal Al-Mallouh​i

Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC

The United States strongly condemns Syria’s secret trial of blogger Tal Al-Mallouhi, calls for her immediate release, and rejects as baseless allegations of American connections that have resulted in a spurious accusation of espionage. We call on the Syrian government to immediately release all its prisoners of conscience; and allow its citizens freedom to exercise their universal rights of expression and association without fear of retribution from their own government.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Advise the Advisor: What Do You Think?

Good afternoon,

I want you to know about a new opportunity to connect with the White House called "Advise the Advisor." It’s a pretty simple idea: one of the President's advisors posts a short update about what’s going on here at the White House and poses a question for anyone to answer. 

So earlier this week, I took the first shot. My question was about how innovation impacts the economy in communities across the country and what barriers to innovation should be on our radar.

We've already received some great feedback. Take this response from Chuck in California:

“Our community is rural. We need better access to high-speed Internet...I know that there are many pressing needs in our country, but I hope that, in the long term, some provision will be made to include rural and remote communities in the digital surge that is sweeping the world.”

Communities like Chuck’s are why President Obama is travelling to Marquette, Michigan tomorrow.  Marquette is a small town that's using high-speed wireless Internet to help businesses grow and students gain access to a wider array of education opportunities through distance learning.

In Marquette, the President will talk about his plan to win the future by out-innovating, out-educating and out-building the rest of the world.  Part of that plan is a new National Wireless Initiative that will help extend the next generation of wireless coverage to 98 percent of Americans and help businesses ship their goods, products and ideas anywhere in the world. This initiative will help address a broader problem: today only 65 percent of American households have broadband access compared to 90 percent in South Korea.
Our team here is going to review all of the answers we get in by the end of the day Friday and pull together a report we’ll publish to  So if you have thoughts about innovation in America, take a moment to share them:

Thank you,

David Plouffe
Senior Advisor to the President

Remarks by the President on Egypt

Grand Foyer

Good afternoon, everybody.  There are very few moments in our lives where we have the privilege to witness history taking place.  This is one of those moments.  This is one of those times.  The people of Egypt have spoken, their voices have been heard, and Egypt will never be the same.

By stepping down, President Mubarak responded to the Egyptian people’s hunger for change.  But this is not the end of Egypt’s transition.  It’s a beginning.  I’m sure there will be difficult days ahead, and many questions remain unanswered.  But I am confident that the people of Egypt can find the answers, and do so peacefully, constructively, and in the spirit of unity that has defined these last few weeks.  For Egyptians have made it clear that nothing less than genuine democracy will carry the day.

The military has served patriotically and responsibly as a caretaker to the state, and will now have to ensure a transition that is credible in the eyes of the Egyptian people.  That means protecting the rights of Egypt’s citizens, lifting the emergency law, revising the constitution and other laws to make this change irreversible, and laying out a clear path to elections that are fair and free.  Above all, this transition must bring all of Egypt’s voices to the table.  For the spirit of peaceful protest and perseverance that the Egyptian people have shown can serve as a powerful wind at the back of this change.

The United States will continue to be a friend and partner to Egypt.  We stand ready to provide whatever assistance is necessary -- and asked for -- to pursue a credible transition to a democracy.  I’m also confident that the same ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit that the young people of Egypt have shown in recent days can be harnessed to create new opportunity -- jobs and businesses that allow the extraordinary potential of this generation to take flight.  And I know that a democratic Egypt can advance its role of responsible leadership not only in the region but around the world.

Egypt has played a pivotal role in human history for over 6,000 years.  But over the last few weeks, the wheel of history turned at a blinding pace as the Egyptian people demanded their universal rights.

We saw mothers and fathers carrying their children on their shoulders to show them what true freedom might look like.

We saw a young Egyptian say, “For the first time in my life, I really count.  My voice is heard.  Even though I’m only one person, this is the way real democracy works.”

We saw protesters chant “Selmiyya, selmiyya” -- “We are peaceful” -- again and again.

We saw a military that would not fire bullets at the people they were sworn to protect.

And we saw doctors and nurses rushing into the streets to care for those who were wounded, volunteers checking protesters to ensure that they were unarmed.

We saw people of faith praying together and chanting – “Muslims, Christians, We are one.”  And though we know that the strains between faiths still divide too many in this world and no single event will close that chasm immediately, these scenes remind us that we need not be defined by our differences.  We can be defined by the common humanity that we share.

And above all, we saw a new generation emerge -- a generation that uses their own creativity and talent and technology to call for a government that represented their hopes and not their fears; a government that is responsive to their boundless aspirations.  One Egyptian put it simply:  Most people have discovered in the last few days…that they are worth something, and this cannot be taken away from them anymore, ever.

This is the power of human dignity, and it can never be denied.  Egyptians have inspired us, and they’ve done so by putting the lie to the idea that justice is best gained through violence.  For in Egypt, it was the moral force of nonviolence -- not terrorism, not mindless killing -- but nonviolence, moral force that bent the arc of history toward justice once more.
And while the sights and sounds that we heard were entirely Egyptian, we can’t help but hear the echoes of history -- echoes from Germans tearing down a wall, Indonesian students taking to the streets, Gandhi leading his people down the path of justice.

As Martin Luther King said in celebrating the birth of a new nation in Ghana while trying to perfect his own, “There is something in the soul that cries out for freedom.”  Those were the cries that came from
Tahrir Square
, and the entire world has taken note.

Today belongs to the people of Egypt, and the American people are moved by these scenes in Cairo and across Egypt because of who we are as a people and the kind of world that we want our children to grow up in.

The word Tahrir means liberation.  It is a word that speaks to that something in our souls that cries out for freedom.  And forevermore it will remind us of the Egyptian people -- of what they did, of the things that they stood for, and how they changed their country, and in doing so changed the world.

Thank you.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Libertarians at CPAC present Republican Wall of Shame

WASHINGTON - At their booth at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the Libertarian Party is displaying a "Republican Wall of Shame."

These are the prominent Republicans featured on the Wall of Shame:

--Mitt Romney, supporter of the RomneyCare socialized medicine program in Massachusetts.
--Mike Huckabee, who as a governor supported so many tax increases that the Club for Growth labeled him a "liberal."
--George W. Bush, who had a long track record of supporting big-government programs and regulations, and who once said, "I've abandoned free market principles to save the free market system."
--Newt Gingrich, who often supports big-government intrusion and who said about global warming, "The evidence is sufficient that we should move towards the most effective possible steps to reduce carbon loading in the atmososphere."
--John McCain, who while running for president famously suspended his campaign to rush back to Washington to vote for bailouts.
--Paul Ryan, the House Budget Commmittee chairman who voted for the Medicare expansion in 2003, the No Child Left Behind Act, the TARP, GM and Chrysler bailouts, and even ethanol subsidies.
--Arnold Schwarzenegger, former California governor. The caption reads "No comment necessary."
--The "mystery Republican president." He signed many massive spending bills, and during his administration, federal spending was the largest percentage of GDP in post-WWII history. (His shameful record might be broken by the Obama administration.)

Libertarian Party Executive Director Wes Benedict commented, "Our goal at CPAC is to reach out to libertarians who have been misled into thinking of conservatism as a small-government ideology. In fact, conservatives just want their own version of big government, as we pointed out last year."

Benedict continued, "We've already heard some talk about the Republican 'three-legged stool.' My view is, Republicans are wrong on foreign policy, they're wrong on social policy, and they're lying hypocrites on economic policy. Their stool has no legs."

The LP is America's third-largest political party, founded in 1971. The Libertarian Party stands for free markets, civil liberties, and peace. You can find more information on the Libertarian Party at our website.

P.S. If you have not already done so, please join the Libertarian Party. We are the only political party dedicated to free markets and civil liberties. You can also renew your membership. Or, you can make a contribution separate from membership.