Monthly Archives: September 2010

White House White Board: CEA Chair Austan Goolsbee Explains the Tax Cut Fight

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Jesse White

Today we’re trying out something new — White House White Board, in which one of our key players on the White House team will cut through the political back-and-forth you hear every day and break down an issue affecting American families into simple, understandable terms.  Today, Austan Goolsbee, the new Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers here at the White House, tackles the tax cut fight and what it means that Congressional Republicans are “holding middle class tax cuts hostage” as the President has said:

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Key points and links:

  • Under President Obama’s plan,  all Americans would receive a tax cut on the first $250,000 of their income.  Every middle class family would receive the immediate certainty and comfort of knowing their tax cuts were permanently extended. Every American making more than $250,000 per year they would receive a tax cut on the first $250,000 of their income.
  • Instead of working to give middle class families this immediate certainty and comfort, Congressional Republicans are continuing to hold that relief hostage in order to have our nation borrow $700 billion that we can’t afford to provide an average tax cut of $100,000 to millionaires and billionaires.
  • We simply can’t afford to give the wealthiest Americans these big tax cuts that would add to our deficit and, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, be just about the least effective way to grow our economy and help create jobs.
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Get the Word Out About One Nation ~ One Nation Working Together

Posted by: Audiegrl

One Nation Working Together For Jobs, Justice and Education for All

Who We Are..

We are One Nation, born from many, determined to build a more united America – with jobs, justice and education for all.

We are young people, frustrated that society seems willing to spend more locking up our bodies than educating our minds, yet still we find ways to succeed and shine.

We are students and newly-returned veterans – persevering in the face of mounting debt – determined not to be the first generation to end up worse off than our parents.

We are baby boomers and seniors – who saw hope killed in 1968 and will not let the dream of a united America be taken from us again.

We are conservatives and moderates, progressives and liberals, non-believers and people of deep faith, united by escalating assaults on our reason, our environment, and our rights.

We are workers of every age, faith, race, sex, nationality, gender identity, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and ability – who have suffered discrimination but never stopped loving our neighbors, or our nation.

We are American Indians and Alaska Natives – citizens of Native nations – who maintain our cultures, protect our sovereignty, and strength America’s economy.

We are the new immigrants, raising our children in the torchlight of the Statue of Liberty, while confronting the shadows that are bigotry and mass deportations.

We are the native born.  We inherited the divided legacies of settlers and American Indians, black slaves and white and Asian indentured servants. And yet, in this moment of shared suffering, we rejoice in newfound friendships and new alliances.

We are people who got thrown out – thrown out of our jobs, schools, houses, farms and small businesses – while Wall Street’s wrongdoers got bailed out. We are families who pray every day – for peace and prosperity; for deliverance from foreclosures; for good jobs to come back to urban and rural America.

We are unemployed workers – forced to watch hopes for bold action dashed – because some Senators threaten filibusters, and other would-be champions fold in fear.

And yet, we are the majority – fueled by hope, not hate. We have the pride, power and determination to keep ourselves – and our country – moving up and out of the valley greed created.

And most importantly – from ensuring women are treated fairly at work, to expanding health care coverage for millions– we have been victorious whenever we worked together. We have proven the only thing we need to succeed is each other.

And so, on 10-2-10, we come back together – to march.

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Why We March…

We march for a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. We march for jobs, justice, and education. We march for an economy that works for all.  We march for a nation in which each person who wants to work can find a job that pays enough to support a family.

We march to create a million new jobs right away, because the national values that got us out of the Great Depression will get us out of the Great Recession.

We march to build a world-class public education system, from pre-school to community college and beyond – because our nation must start unleashing the greatness of every child today.

We march to end racial profiling and re-segregation– from Arizona to Atlanta. We march to defend the Voting Rights Act and the 14th Amendment.  We march to advance human rights, civil rights, equal protection, and dignity for all.

We march to fix the broken immigration system – because no child should live in fear that her parents will be deported.

We march to ensure every worker has a voice at work. We march for green jobs and safe workplaces, so no worker will have to choose between her livelihood and her life.

We march for a clean environment, so no child is ever forced to decide between drinking the water or breathing the air and staying healthy.

We march to move our nation beyond this moment when a handful of Senators can block urgently needed progress – skewing our national budget towards tax cuts for the wealthy, unjustified military spending and prisons.

We march to demand full equality for all women in all communities, indulging an end to wage discrimination.

We march for peace abroad and job creation at home. We march for energy independence, public safety, and public transportation because the nation we want to build most is our own.

We march to demand full equality for all women in all communities, indulging an end to wage discrimination.

And on 11-2-10, we will march again – into the voting booths. We will bring our families, our friends, and our neighbors. And once the ballots are counted, we will keep organizing, we will hold our leaders accountable, and we will keep making our dream real.

This movement will grow.  It will put America back to work, pull America back together, and keep us moving ever forward.

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Working together for the creation, protection, and advancement of good jobs

Create new jobs in every sector, so that everyone in our country who wants to work can find a job. There should be a job in America for everyone who wants to work.

Provide immediate relief for those who are currently unemployed

  • Extend the federal unemployment program, COBRA, mortgage assistance, and other targeted initiatives helping those who are currently without a job
  • Target help for populations and communities in the greatest need, including youth summer jobs and training initiatives

Provide immediate action to stimulate job growth and retention; and consumer demand

  • Provide aid to states and cities—including direct job creation at local levels—especially in education, health care, social services and first responder workforces
  • Increase the ability of small businesses to obtain assistance and support, including short term loans, grants and other forms of assistance
  • Fund infrastructure investment that spurs higher economic growth, clean energy enterprises, and green jobs

Provide a fair chance for every worker in our country to succeed and advance in the workplace

  • Everyone who works in America should have the right to join with their co-workers to have a voice on the job
  • Pay all workers a living family wage
  • Increase and index the minimum wage
  • Close the race-, gender-, and all other unjust pay gaps
  • End all forms of workplace discrimination and expand anti-discrimination law to be inclusive of everyone
  • Protect, honor, fully apply, and expand equal opportunity and diverse business inclusion practices
  • Create employment pathways and training opportunities for workers who want to advance their careers
  • Make every job a safe job
  • Provide paid sick days and paid family leave for all workers

Rebuild the U.S. economy for the 21st Century

  • Reorient our country’s trade and tax policies to tackle job loss and currency manipulation, and promote the creation of good jobs at home
  • Create a national industrial policy to transform our economy into a sustainable one that provides good jobs and a good quality of life for America’s families
  • Provide greater national investment in new jobs, improved infrastructure, and public education instead of escalating military spending
  • Prevent the repeat of the economic crisis by addressing the problem of financial institutions, including those deemed “too big to fail”
  • Put an end to the exploitative practices that contributed to the economic crisis; increase watchdog powers of institutions such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and prohibit and punish predatory lending and mortgage scams

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Working together for justice and equal opportunity for all

Advance and implement policy principles and practices that prohibit and prevent discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or ability.

Enhance, strengthen and preserve voting rights for all Americans

  • Enact policies that expand access to the polls for everyone, including former felons
  • Preserve policies that established to address systematic voter disenfranchisement, including the elimination of deceptive practices
  • Secure voting representation in Congress and full democracy for the residents of the District of Columbia, so that our pledge of “liberty and justice for all” will apply equally to all who live in our nation’s capital

End discriminatory practices within the criminal justice system

  • End racial profiling by law enforcement officials
  • Eliminate statutes, such as mandatory minimums, which have had a disparately devastating impact on the poor as well as racial and ethnic minorities
  • Restore trust between police officers and the communities they serve by establishing competent civilian review boards with real authority to identify and address misconduct
  • Establish policies to help ex-felony offenders reintegrate into society, including job training, educational opportunities, and voting rights that reducing recidivism rates

Preserve and honor our history as a nation that is inclusive of immigrants and maintain respect for the rule of law

  • Fix our broken immigration system in a way that provides for due process; protects workers and our national security; quickly reunites families, holds employers accountable, and provides a fair path to citizenship.
  • Avoid or end ineffective, costly, and dangerous proposals or provisions that seek to round up, detain, and deport 12 million unauthorized workers, split families, encourage racial profiling, and divert scarce resources away from crime fighting.
  • Provide for a path to citizenship for individuals who are completing an education and/or serve in their community, or in the military

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Working together to protect and strengthen the safety net, and create opportunity for all

  • End the foreclosure epidemic and save the homes of America’s families
  • Require principal write downs in exchange for government aid for mortgage lenders or services
  • Reform bankruptcy laws to protect families, working people, seniors, and students
  • Prioritize safe, secure and affordable housing for all
  • Provide adequate resources to end all forms of discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of housing
  • Protect and strengthen Social Security and Medicare
  • Repair private pension systems
  • Complete the promise of accessible and affordable health care for all people, including the public option and other effective means to provide coverage for all; and implementation of anti-discrimination provisions

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Working together for quality public education for all

  • Ensure that all people have equal access to affordable, adequately resourced, high quality public education throughout their lives, from preschool through college
  • Provide for quality teaching jobs with training, and support necessary to continuously improve classroom practice and safety, and serve students better
  • Increase federal support to institutions of higher education that provide opportunities for underserved communities, including women’s institutions, community colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Hispanic Serving Institutions
  • Increase access to higher education by increasing affordability and decreasing dependency on student loans
  • End the school-to-prison pipeline by investing in public education systems not prisons, and provide more education opportunities for incarcerated youth
  • Create systems and structures which maximize diverse community input to assist in ending all policies and actions that directly or indirectly lead to re-segregation by race or ethnicity of our public schools

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Conclusion

As One Nation Working Together we will work for policy principles that restore the inclusion of all communities striving to achieve the American Dream. One Nation Working Together will push for an economy that works for everyone by advocating for policy principles that result in good jobs, and well trained work forces. We will work for quality public education and training for our children, who are tomorrow’s work force. We will work for principles and laws that provide for equal opportunity for everyone, so that all have a chance to achieve the American Dream. Finally, we will support policy principles that create a path toward economic and environmental sustainability for today and for generations to come.

Join us. We are One Nation Working Together: For Jobs, For Justice, For Education, For All.

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First Lady Michelle Obama and Nurses Discuss the Affordable Care Act

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Erin Edgerton

“Real Changes that Will Benefit Americans”

First Lady Michelle Obama held a conference call with nurses from across the country today to discuss the new Patient’s Bill of Rights and other important benefits from the Affordable Care Act.  Joined by Dr. Mary Wakefield, Administrator for the Health Resources and Services Administration, and six nurses from a cross-section of practices and hometowns, the First Lady emphasized what the new reforms mean for nurses and their patients.

Last week, we hit the six-month anniversary of the Affordable Care Act.  That means that we’re starting to see more of the reforms take effect, including new protections and benefits in the Patient’s Bill of Rights.

So for example, insurance companies can no longer discriminate against kids because they have a preexisting condition.  Patients can no longer be dropped by their insurance companies because they get sick.  People suffering from a serious illness like breast cancer can focus on their treatment because they no longer have to worry about hitting their lifetime limit on coverage.  And college kids and young adults just starting out on their own can now get coverage through their parents’ plan.

Now, all this means that individuals and families have more control over their health care.  But here’s the important point:  These reforms aren’t abstract theories that just make for good talking points.  These are real changes that will benefit Americans all across the country.

Encouraging access to preventive care is an important part of the Affordable Care Act and the Let’s Move! initiative, which is focused on ending the epidemic of childhood obesity within a generation.  As the First Lady discussed, preventing illness helps cut health care costs and keeps families healthy.

And some of the biggest new changes and benefits are the reforms that deal with preventative care, because we all know, everyone on this call, that the best way to keep families healthy and cut health care costs is to keep people from getting sick in the first place.

And, as a result of the Affordable Care Act, that’s going to be easier because many preventative services are now covered at no out-of-pocket costs.  Things like mammograms, cervical screenings, colonoscopies, childhood immunizations, prenatal and new baby care, high blood pressure treatment, all of these are included in new insurance plans with no deductable, no co-pay, no coinsurance, nothing.  These steps are crucial because they can help combat preventable conditions that can have serious health consequences later in life.

Lastly, the First Lady recognized the significant impact nurses have had throughout the reform process and asked for their help in sharing information about the new law with their peers.

But in closing, just let me say this to all of you on this line.  So many of you have played such an important role throughout this process.  From the very beginning, it’s been nurses who have sat at the table sharing your ideas, sharing your concerns and your experiences.  And as a result, all of you have helped to make this law even better.  So I want to thank you for that.  And we needed your help then and we need your help again to spread the word.

Read the full remarks

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First Lady Michelle Obama Hosts United Nations General Assembly Spouses at Stone Barns

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Kori Shulman

Today, the First Lady hosted a special event for the spouses of Chiefs of State and Heads of Government participating in the United Nations General Assembly at the Stone Barns Center, a non-profit farm and education center north of New York City.

First Lady Michelle Obama and spouses of United Nations leaders tour Stone Barns Food and Agricultural Center with Dan Barber, co-owner and executive chef of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, before the UNGA spousal luncheon in Pocantinco, N.Y. September 24, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

After a tour of the farm, the spouses were introduced to the Center’s children’s education program, where local third graders from Pocantico Hill School and JFK Magnet School demonstrated their experiences in hands-on farming, including harvesting vegetables and collecting eggs from pasture-raised hens.

The White House kitchen garden inspired the day’s event and led to the development of Let’s Move!, the First Lady’s initiate to raise a healthier generation of kids. A key component of the initiative is school education. Stone Barns Center is an example of what can be done when local businesses, local farms, and neighborhood schools work together to educate children. In her remarks, Mrs. Obama discussed the power of hands-on experiences from her own child’s experience:

Sasha doesn’t like tomatoes — or so she says — not until she took a cooking class at her school and made a tomato-pesto-basil-mozzarella sandwich.

So she comes home and she says, Mom, have you ever heard of these “hair” potatoes — tomatoes? And I was like, what are you — are you talking about heirloom tomatoes? She says, yeah, that’s it. She said, now those are good tomatoes. I was like, you eat those everyday. No, these were different, Mom. These were different.

And the point is, is that, yeah, it was different for her because it was her discovery. It wasn’t something that her mother was telling her to do. She had discovered it. She made the sandwich. She made the pesto. And it was good. And now she’s a fan of tomatoes. We can do that with our children.

At an event that brought together the spouses of leaders from around the world, Mrs. Obama noted that childhood obesity is not just an American challenge.

As I talk to these spouses, I’m understanding that we’re seeing — many of you are seeing these same issues in your own countries. And you’re working very hard on nutrition and education. And my hope is that we can continue to partner and have conversations so that this local campaign becomes a national conversation in so many ways.

So I thank you all for your leadership on this issue. Thank you all for taking the time to spend this afternoon focused on an issue that is near and dear to me. I am always grateful for your friendship and your kindness. It makes these gatherings even more special, to be able to share these ideas and to share in fellowship and toast and all that good stuff.

Remarks by the First Lady at United Nations General Assembly Spousal Luncheon

First Lady Michelle Obama and spouses of United Nations leaders learn how chickens have been raised and integrated into the farm food system, during a tour of Stone Barns Food and Agricultural Center, before the UNGA spousal luncheon in Pocantinco, N.Y. September 24, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)


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CAUGHT: Stewart Shows GOP’s ‘New’ Pledge Exactly The Same As The Old

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West Wing Week ~ Immeasurable Courage and Uncommon Valor ~ September 17 – September 23, 2010

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Barack Obama greets vendors during a stop at Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia, Pa., September 20, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Welcome to West Wing Week, your guide to everything that’s happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This week, walk step by step with the President as he announces that Elizabeth Warren will lead the effort to get the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau off the ground, participates in a live CNBC town hall, awards Chief Master Sergeant Richard L. Etchberger, U.S. Air Force, the Medal of Honor posthumously for the valor he displayed in combat, travels to New York for the United Nations General Assembly and much more…

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President Obama and First Lady Michelle Address the Clinton Global Initiative Meeting

Posted by: Audiegrl

Today, the President and First Lady joined President Bill Clinton to address the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). Introduced by the President,  First Lady Michelle Obama addressed the closing session of the Clinton Global Initiative Annual meeting. She discussed an issue near and dear to her heart as First Lady, and that is the challenges faced by America’s veterans and military families, particularly as they transition to civilian life.

Harness the Potential of Veterans and Military Families

First Lady MIchelle Obama talks to President Bill Clinton at the 2010 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting at the Sheraton in New York. September 23, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. These CGI members have made commitments valued at $57 billion, bringing hope and opportunity to more than 200 million people around the world.This year, commitments were announced to support the long-term recovery of the Gulf Coast.

President Bill Clinton, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama address the 2010 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers in New York. September 23, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

In President Obama’s introduction, he discussed the First Lady’s focus on public service, “No matter what the issue, there’s only one thing that she wants to know, and that’s ‘who are we helping?’  That’s what she asks.  ‘Who is this going to make a difference for?  Whose life is this going to improve?’”  In her remarks at CGI, Mrs. Obama continued her work as a voice for America’s military families and veterans, using her platform as First Lady to make sure they get the support and appreciation they deserve.

At this year’s meeting, President Clinton asked participants to address the challenge of harnessing the human potential, asking participants to consider, “What can we do to get more people involved in our common endeavors?”  The First Lady called on the business and non-profit leaders present to harness the skills, talent and potential of veterans and military spouses. Asking them to reach out and engage veterans and military spouses and to take advantage of their talent, dedication and experience.

After all, hiring America’s vets and military spouses is not just about helping them — it’s about how they can help you.  So I’m not asking you to do this out of the goodness of your heart — do it because it’s good for your bottom line and the success of your organization.

In the spirit of CGI, the First Lady made a promise to continue to use her platform as First Lady to bring people together around the issue “to spark not just a national conversation, but national action to give our vets and military spouses the opportunities they deserve.”

With Blue Star mom, Dr. Jill Biden, Mrs. Obama discussed what they have both seen firsthand — the potential that America’s vets and military spouses have to offer. Last week Tom Tarantino, an Army veteran, came to the White House to meet with staff. Tarantino put it best:

He was talking about his experience transitioning from military to civilian life.  And he said — and this is his quote — “When I left the service, I was looking for more than a paycheck.  I was looking for a mission.”

And ultimately, that is the same reason all of you are here today.  That’s the same determination that you bring to your own service, the same conviction that a career is about more than just making a living — it’s about making a difference.

You’re here today because you’ve found your mission. Now it’s time for us to work together to help America’s veterans and military families find theirs.

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