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Monday, January 31, 2011

BREAKING: Federal Judge Rules Obama’s Health Care Act Is Unconstitutional- Says Whole Act Must Be Declared Void

[Update] From U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson's ruling, the exact wording is that the whole act must be declared void..

"I must reluctantly conclude that Congress exceeded the bounds of its authority in passing the act with the individual mandate. That is not to say, of course, that Congress is without power to address the problems and inequities in our health care system. The health care market is more than one-sixth of the national economy, and without doubt Congress has the power to reform and regulate this market. That has not been disputed in this case. The principal dispute has been about how Congress chose to exercise that power here," Vinson wrote.

"While the individual mandate was clearly 'necessary and essential' to the act as drafted, it is not 'necessary and essential' to health care reform in general," he continued. "Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire act must be declared void."

78 page ruling can be found here. (Quotes above are on page 76.)

Original post below-

"Congress exceeded it’s authority by requiring Americans buy health insurance."

News just in that U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson has ruled the individual mandate portion of Obamacare where citizens are required to purchase health insurance or face penalties is unconstitutional and Congress exceeded it's authority.

President Barack Obama’s health care reform legislation, assailed as an abuse of federal power in a 26-state lawsuit, was ruled unconstitutional by a U.S. judge.

U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson in Pensacola, Florida, declared the law unconstitutional in a ruling today. Then- Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum filed suit on behalf of 13 states on March 23, the same day Obama signed into law the legislation intended to provide the U.S. with almost universal health-care coverage. Seven states joined the litigation last year, and six signed on this year. Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli sued separately on March 23 and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt filed his own suit on Jan. 21.

This is the biggest court victory to date for opponents of the law's requirement that all Americans buy health insurance which is a key aspect of the Obamacare law on the whole.

Florida Judge Venison is the second judge to rule against the individual mandate and Florida is one of the 26 states that has brought suit against the administration over the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare.

More on the original rulings and suits here.

Part #2- Obamacare Is Dead, Now It Just Has To Be Buried


This, Right Here, Is What Is Wrong With Progressive Liberals

In 2007, the yearly Kos Convention, now named Netroots Nation, hosted Democratic presidential contenders, Democratic politicians and liberals from across the country and they hold this convention every year.

Do Conservatives protest this convention, do hundreds flock outside holding signs and declaring that liberals do not have the right to meet and discuss their agenda?

Not that I have seen, please feel free to provide evidence to the contrary if you have photos of any massive protest against this or any other liberal meeting.

In the meantime, the news is full today screaming headlines "Hundreds march outside Koch brothers' retreat."

Koch Industries is the nations second-largest privately held company. They fund efforts to push for limited-government, libertarian agenda as well as help organize Tea Party groups.. among other things.

Charles and David Koch held their eighth retreat for prominent conservative elected officials, major political donors and strategists, and according to Koch spokeswoman Nancy Pfotenhauer, the meeting "brings together some of America's greatest philanthropists and job creators … who share a common belief that the current level of government spending in our nation is simply unsustainable."

The meeting is focusing on ways to reduce the rising federal deficit, she said, as well as "strategies to promote policies that will help grow our economy, foster free enterprise and create American jobs."

Liberals have and many attend the annual Net Nations conventions which has work groups set up to discuss the progressive agenda and how to further it, just to name two such events and organizations, which bring Democratic politicians, strategists, presidential contenders together to discuss many of the same issues. Groups that donate heavily to the progressive agenda, but in the eyes of a liberal, to their thinking, they have the right to bring together like minded individuals, corporations and such but Conservatives do not.

About Koch Industries:

Koch Industries was co-founded by Fred C. Koch in 1940 when they developed an innovative crude oil refining process. Now Koch Industries is a conglomerate based in Wichita, Kansas, with subsidiaries involved in manufacturing, trading and investments. Koch is involved in manufacturing, refining and distribution of petroleum, chemicals, energy, fiber, intermediates and polymers, minerals, fertilizers, pulp and paper, chemical technology equipment, ranching, finance, commodities trading, as well as other ventures and investments.

To liberals the Kochs represent "corporate greed" as the protest signs signal.

Last I heard, starting a business, building it up and creating a profit by offering services for money, is the basis behind capitalism. Handing that business down to your children to have them expand and grow it, is a legacy.

It also creates jobs for thousands if not millions over time.

In the twisted minds of liberals, Koch's main offense is that they are conservative/libertarian in political nature and they are prepared to put their money where their mouth is.

How dare them support the Tea Party!! How wrong of them to have a political affiliation as well as having money. How "insidious" for them to use their money to help achieve their goals and what they believe to be right for the country and themselves.

I mean come on, liberal protests are never funded and organized by groups, unions or organizations, right? Protesters are never bussed in by liberals to liberal rallies or such, right?

If Conservatives held massive protests against Liberal conferences and meetings where Liberals got together to discuss what their ideas and politics, they would accuse, hell they would scream bloody murder, about how Conservatives were trying to stifle their free speech, their right to a political belief.

Yet that is exactly what liberal protesters did at the Koch retreat. All because these folks are rich and influential. Isn't that prejudicial? Isn't that discrimination?

Oh no, sorry, in the eyes of the progressive liberals you cannot be discriminatory and prejudicial against the rich, they aren't people, they are rich.

The fact that they cannot even see their own hypocrisy and double standards, right there, is what is wrong with the far left liberals of today.


Egypt, George W. Bush, and the fight for freedom

Eastern Europeans love Ronald Reagan. Egyptians will soon love George W. Bush. Taking down Saddam was a domino in the spread of freedom and liberty.

Speaking at 5pm today to Liberty on the Rocks in Denver, Colorado.

eric aka the Tygrrrr Express

Egypt Updates: Linkfest

A week of protests across Egypt with Egyptian demonstrators demanding the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak and his 30 year rule, the Egypt government shutting down their Internet and cutting their people off from the rest of the world and the protests becoming larger and larger each day for the last six days and heading into the seventh, with Tuesday expected to be the largest yet.

Recent news coming out from Al Jazeera, one of the few places news is still coming out directly, shows a country uprising against it's government.

To some this seems to be coming from left field as they proclaim surprise at the demonstrations and the possibility that the people of Egypt may topple the Mubarak regime, but others clearly saw it coming and warned the U.S. and others of the instability, as reported by The Politico.

Everyone seems to be weighing in on the subject with their opinion of what should and what should not happen and the ramifications across the world if Mubarak is toppled, but those in Egypt, the people, are the ones that will be forced to deal with the immediate consequences of any outcome.

This is about Egypt first and foremost, Egypt's allies across the globe are secondary. The instability of the Middle East just got worse no matter how it is cut and no matter the outcome.


Some links to places updating as the days of protests continue.

WSJ: Opposition Unites in Egypt

ABC News: ‘This Week’ Transcript: Crisis in Egypt

BBC: Egypt protests enter seventh day

Al Jazeera: Al Jazeera camera equipment seized

NYT: Protests Persist in Egypt as New Cabinet Is Seated

Other Links

LA Times: White House quietly prepares for a post-Mubarak era in Egypt

New York Times: Clinton Urges Egyptian Dialogue

CBS News: Clinton: In Egypt, "Words Alone" Are Not Enough

Quote of the Day I chose as I see headlines with Obama, Clinton, just about everybody issuing "suggestions" and I sit here and think, this is about Egypt folks, not us, not those that will be affected the most harshly afterward, but right now, right this second, this is between Egypt's people and their government.

Ross Douthat, NYT column, titled "The Devil We Know."

The only comfort, as we watch Egyptians struggle for their country’s future, is that some choices aren’t America’s to make.

Read the whole thing, it is worth the few minutes it takes.


Please take it Easy on Michael Yon

On January 24th (at 9.47am) Michael Yon told his 'fans' on FaceBook page that he is a "war correspondent." Within the same long thread on FB that Yon identifies himself as that, he also plays psychologist, and sets himself up as someone far more knowledgeable than the current military who interact on a daily basis with a specific US Iraqi veteran.

[...] wrote with a poison pen,...and should be evaluated. It would be irresponsible to deploy him -- especially if he is in a position to make life/death decisions. Clearly he should not have a weapon....[...] has no business deploying or holding a weapon. I forwarded this article to a very high level. His chances of being deployed now are extremely remote.... I don't argue with insanity, but certainly will expose it if it threatens the mission or other soldiers. To cover up insanity that threatens the missions or others is a moral crime.

The above quotes (and the title of this column) were all proclamations that Yon made about a soldier he has never met. Insert the soldier's name, and you have Yon's opinions about a soldier who is serving America honorably; a soldier Yon is proudly, and loudly, determined to destroy. This despite the fact that this soldier's chain of command are very well aware of all that the soldier has faced - and dealt with. But shhhhh! Don't tell 'expert' Michael Yon that.

A few of Mr Yon's readers recently mistakenly thought Yon was discussing PTSD out of concern for those dealing with this pernicious byproduct of deploying in a war zone. Yon clarifies:

There is some misunderstanding about my intentions behind the post. Some people say I was trying to highly [sic] PTSD and then used that against a bad Soldier.. I was not highlighting PTSD. In fact, I was attempting to point out the obvious: [...] appears to be insane.

Many of Mr Yon's readers were appalled. One of those is the editor at the site War on Terror News:


YonWatch: Just a Bully

There's a fine line between the necessity to expose a malcontent and it being better to ignore him. I want to ignore Yon. I have for years and hence I did not know many of the negative actions he had taken. Yon does not want to be ignored and he will commit to all sorts of negative behavior to get attention. He may or may not have already forgotten his call to find me, but his new focus is on CJ Grisham. The behavior demonstrated here is unacceptable.


When Yon had proven his intent in the Blackfive thread
I told him this:

"Yon, I've oft stated the 1st Amendment protects the right of idiots to prove how stupid they are. I see you are using it to the fullest extent of your capacity."

At Blackfive, Yon learned a new word that described his actions: "deflection." His attacks and allegations (formed in the journalistic style of "questions") were repetitious and avoided any question that was legitimate and asked of him. Yon has now taken up way too much of my time and attention, but I will offer up his use of the 1st Amendment to allow him to expose himself for what he is. I don't repeat his repetitious threats, attacks, or demands. To see that, see the source links. Later, on Facebook, he uses his new word to deflect any questions about him.


This would almost sound like Yon was suddenly understanding of CJ, in a patronizing manner. To understand the background on this, one needs to understand that CJ Grisham has been open about having PTSD and how he is struggling to overcome the negative effects. But Yon would later clarify that his intention was not at all to ask readers to honor the trials that come with combat, but to attack Grisham and end his career.

What is clear in this thread by Yon attacking a Warrior with PTSD, is that Yon does not understand what PTSD is, nor how it is dealt with. But in the storyline, several readers step forward with messages of support for CJ's battle to overcome the effects, and at least one other steps up to say that not only does he have PTSD, but is also currently deployed and fully functioning....

War on Terror has much more, and it IS a damning indictment of Yon, using Yon's own words, as he attempts to smear - destroy - a true American hero. It IS a must read, as WOTN clearly and concisely shows Yon for what he really is:

[...]he is morally bankrupt and manipulative, and that doesn't come from PTSD."

This guy [...] is unintelligent, manipulative, hateful and spiteful. To not see that is to be handicapped.

Those words were written by Yon, in the same thread, about the US soldier. Go now, HERE and read the rest of WOTN's column about Yon the bully, and then decide, for yourself, to whom the words in that last quote REALLY apply.

No, my academic background is not in psychology, although within my area of expertise, I did crack a few psych textbooks. This gives me as much right as Michael Yon to conclude: HE should be evaluated before he is allowed anywhere near any of our troops. Michael Yon has - again - exposed himself and "he needs help." (again a Yon quote.)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

NFL 2010-2011 Pro Bowl Recap

The world is still burning, and I will deal with it tomorrow. Today is the NFL Pro Bowl from Honolulu Hawaii. The game will be recapped later today.

eric aka the Tygrrrr Express

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ford's Load Of Crock On Ayn Rand Over At Huffington Post

"My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute."--- Ayn Rand

Once in a while you read something so stupid you just have to shake your head and this morning was one of those times when I clicked on a Huffington Post link written by some guy named Michael Ford.

Ford accuses famous author Ayn Rand, who wrote Atlas Shrugged, of being a hypocrite for accepting Social Security and Medicare when her writings indicated she did not believe in government assistance and he refers to the acceptance of the two named above as "bailouts."

First, the money taken from her and/or her husband's paychecks was owed to her and in no reality can that be called a "bailout", doing so shows an incredible lack of honesty on Ford's part.

Welfare, foodstamps, extended unemployment insurance, all can be considered government assistance, but Social Security and Medicare? For people that worked and saw money taken out of every check with the promise that when they aged and retired they would get it back, can anyone truly be so idiotic as to believe that being paid back is being assisted?

In 9 paragraphs and two simple sentences, that is not the only mistake Ford made either, as is pointed out in the comment section but those of us who have studied up on Rand already knew.

In the second paragraph was Ford's first mistake in research:

It's good he was not named for Ayn Rand because her real name was Alisa Zinovievna Rosenbaum which she changed honoring her Rand typewriter.

I will turn this one over to JDsays in the comment section on Ford's piece:

This article lost credibility
­ in the second paragraph. Rand is NOT named after her typewriter­. The rest of the piece continues the misreprese­ntation of Rand.

"Despite persistent rumors", Micheal Ford doesn't research his subjects prior to writing about them.

"“While still in Russia, c. 1925, and long before Remington-­Rand typewriter­s were produced, Alisa Rosenbaum had adopted the name ‘Rand.’ Letters written in 1926 from Ayn Rand’s family in Russia already refer to the name ‘Rand.’ These were sent from Russia before Ayn Rand had communicat­ed from America. The Remington and Rand companies did not merge until 1927; ‘Rand’ did not appear on their (or any) typewriter­s until the early 1930s"


The reason for Ford's hit piece on Rand is easy to figure out. It is the outrage felt and even expressed in comments at this particular point:

"A Library of Congress survey of the most influential books on American readers, "Atlas Shrugged" ranked second only to the Bible."

The liberal left cannot stand the thought that the writings of a woman who believed in capitalism and despised socialism can be so overwhelmingly "influential."

Memorable quotes from Atlas Shrugged

"If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down on his shoulders—what would you tell him to do?" " To Shrug."--- Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

"So you think that money is the root of all evil? Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can't exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?"--- Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

"Through centuries of scourges and disasters, brought about by your code of morality, you have cried that your code had been broken, that the scourges were punishment for breaking it, that men were too weak and too selfish to spill all the blood it required. You damned men, you damned existence, you damned this earth, but never dared to question your code. Your victims took the blame and struggled on, with your curses as reward for their martyrdom - while you went on crying that your code was noble, but human nature was not good enough to practice it. And no one rose to ask the question: Good? - by what standard?"--- Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

Those quotes above are indicative of Rand's philosophy and it is a philosophical viewpoint that the liberal left fight against every single day of their lives.


Who is John Galt?


Pre-Pro Bowl and Super Bowl NFL Happenings

The Middle East will burn whether or not I blog about it, so I will wait until Monday and enjoy a relaxing NFL Pro Bowl weekend.

eric aka the Tygrrrr Express

Friday, January 28, 2011

Rudy Giuliani Returns

Rudy Giuliani has returned on the political scene. If he runs for president again, I will back him again in a heartbeat.

Flying from Los Angeles to Denver...Take 2.

eric aka the Tygrrrr Express

Egypt Government Cuts Off Internet As Citizens Rise Against Government On The Streets

Renesys shows an almost universal blackout on the Internet from Egypt where providers simultaneously went dark, virtually cutting off access for the Egyptian citizenry to the rest of the world.

According to that report "every Egyptian provider, every business, bank, Internet cafe, website, school, embassy, and government office that relied on the big four Egyptian ISPs for their Internet connectivity is now cut off from the rest of the world. Link Egypt, Vodafone/Raya, Telecom Egypt, Etisalat Misr, and all their customers and partners are, for the moment, off the air."


This is a completely different situation from the modest Internet manipulation that took place in Tunisia, where specific routes were blocked, or Iran, where the Internet stayed up in a rate-limited form designed to make Internet connectivity painfully slow. The Egyptian government's actions tonight have essentially wiped their country from the global map.

That has been confirmed by BGP mon.

The Guardian has live updates on the protests with photos, videos (some very disturbing).

Egyptian demonstrators are demanding the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak and the shutdown of the Internet and mobile phone services coincide with a crackdown on the protesters.

Barack Obama took to YouTube to respond and VP Biden is saying Mubarak is an ally and not a dictator.

As Hot Air's Ed Morrissey phrases it "The guy’s been governing under “emergency” powers for 30 years."

AP reports:

Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters poured into the streets of Egypt Friday, stoning and confronting police who fired back with rubber bullets and tear gas in the most violent and chaotic scenes yet in the challenge to President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule. One protester was killed and even a Nobel Peace laureate was placed under house arrest after joining demonstrations.

Groups of thousands of protesters, some chanting "out, out, out," defied a ban on any gatherings and turned out at different venues across Cairo, a city of about 18 million people, some marching toward major squares and across scenic Nile bridges. Burning tires sent up plumes of black smoke across the cityscape as the sun set. Security officials said there were protests in at least 11 of the country's 28 provinces.

It was a major escalation in the movement that began on Tuesday to demand 82-year-old Mubarak's ouster and vent rage at years of government neglect of rampant poverty, unemployment and rising food prices. Security officials said protesters ransacked the headquarters of Mubarak's ruling party in the cities of Mansoura north of Cairo and Suez, east of the capital.

Friday is expected to be the largest day of planned protests and rioting.

Keep up with the news at it comes out at Memeorandum, links to all the news reports and live updates from all over. (Specific link to those stories right now, here)


Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Summit With Barack Obama

Inspired by the State of the Union, I have declared a summit between me and President Obama for February 13th. It could be his crowning glory.

Flying tonight from Los Angeles to Denver.

eric aka the Tygrrrr Express

Memorable SOTU Reactions: Sarah Palin On WTF, US News Calls Speech Plagiarism

Video below is Sarah Palin, best line "There were a lot of WTF moments throughout that speech."

"Well, speaking of last night, that was a tough speech to sit through and try to stomach because the president is so off base in his ideas in how it is he believes government is going to create jobs. Obviously, government growth won’t create any jobs. It’s the private sector that can create the jobs. His theme last night in the State of the Union was the WTF, you know, 'Winning the Future,' and I thought OK, that acronym, spot on. There were a lot of WTF moments throughout that speech."

American Glob gets the best visual:

US News and World Reports claims Obama's SOTU speech is "Tantamount to Plagiarism." (From their headline)

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, what can be said of plagiarism? President Obama’s second State of the Union address contained enough recycled ideas and lines lifted from speeches of others to make historians wince. I suppose this is what one does when one not only has nothing new to say, but is required by custom and Constitution to come forth with a report of some kind by a certain time and day.

Had Obama or his writers been considerate enough to have informed listeners of where some of the president’s best lines and offered-up ideas originated, the speech might be remembered for its cutting and pasting of great and not-so-great moments of the past performance of others. After quoting Robert Kennedy early on, Obama tried to have his listeners believe that everything else he said that we might remember were his or his writers’ creations. Had the president submitted the text of his second State of the Union Address in the form of a college term paper, he would have been sent forthwith to the nearest academic dean. Once again, our public affairs are such that we have one standard for presidents and another for undergraduates. Now is as good a time as any to let Obama’s listeners in on what the late Paul Harvey would have termed “the rest of the story.”

Read the entire thing, they provide specific examples and then show you where they originally came from and who first said them.

Not sure I really agree with the charge of plagiarism, after all, every President quotes famous lines or uses ideas from others when trying to say the same thing every other president has said each year for the SOTU.

Personally I think the SOTU is a huge waste of time and money which I consider a tradition that needs to die a natural death. It also screws up the television line up!!!

Special mention goes to Democratic Senate Majority leader Harry Reid who tells the President to "back off" earmarks.

"This is an applause line," Reid said. "It's an effort by the White House to get more power. They've got enough power as it is."

Reid, along with other lawmakers who support earmarking, argues that eliminating the practice simply puts more discretion in the hands of executive branch officials who have authority to fund projects. "I have a Constitutional obligation to do congressionally directed spending," he said. "I know much more about what should be done in Elko [or] Las Vegas, Nevada, than some bureaucrat does back here."

Reid said voters should recognize that eliminating congressional earmarks does not, in itself, reduce spending but changes how the same money is spent.

"I think it's absolutely wrong and the public should understand that the president has enough power; he should back off and let us do what we do."

Suggesting almost dismissively that the president is playing to the crowd, he added that Obama may win "in the short term" with conservatives and those in the public who think that the practice should be nixed.

Everyone knows Reid has never met an earmark he didn't like.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

In Humility He Spoke

By Findalis

Book of Obama:  Chapter 12

pon the appointed time the Anointed One, Wearer of the Mantle of Power, returned to the Dome of the Capital. Dressed in the holy suit and tie, bearing upon His lapel the shield of the flag and wearing upon His face the look of contrition, He walked in to addressed the nation.

Upon arrival the assembled chapter of the Congress, the Holy Justices of the land, the members of the anointed Cabinet and guests from near and far, the Anointed One, Wearer of the Mantle of Power, spoke:
et Me first congratulate the members of the 112th Congress, the new Speaker of the House, and We send Our prayers to Our dear friend Gabby Gifford, who's empty chair reminds us of the violence of those who own guns will do.
We have not seen eye to eye these last two years.  While I have tried to steer this nation towards the European Model which is the best one.  The Republicans have tried to thwart Me.  They even were able to convince the people to turn on Me.  I have received their message.  I will enter the center.

We are one nation, one family.  We can work out our differences so long as you follow My plan and My way.  I know best, you do not.

I will not spend our money foolishly anymore, but will INVEST for the future. The future of energy. The future of education. The future of our economy. See we are not spending. We are investing. Though these investments will cost us trillions.

This not about Me, or who will win the next election (I will.), but about how I am going to get you to ignore the past two years and vote for Me in 2012.

I am poised for greatness, but are heading for failure. This is not My fault. It is the fault of our teachers, our scientist, previous Presidents. But not Me.

India and China outshine us. China is better than us in everything. I cannot compete with them. They are better in math and science. They out produce us. They own our nation. I must bow down to them.

I propose that we are having a Sputnik Moment. While the whole world is speeding ahead of us in technology, education, innovation, we lag behind. I do not spend enough on these areas. Therefore I propose that we throw away more money on these ideas. After all that is the only policy I know.

I propose that we cut discretionary spending, but only a little bit.  I want to fool the people, not actually do any cuts except for the Military. There gays can serve openly, I will remove our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan this year, and destroy all of our nukes too.

I must not hold teachers accountable for their actions in the classroom.  I put all the blame on the parents.  Nothing is the teacher's fault, there are no bad teachers, you must never fire a teacher.

I will give every person a free education. It will not teach the basics, they are not necessary. It will teach all the touchy-feely ideas My friend Bill thinks we should teach.

I will give an almost free college education. Not just to our citizens, but to every illegal undocumented immigrant too.

In fact, to every young person listening tonight who’s contemplating their career choice: If you want to make a difference in the life of our nation; if you want to make a difference in the life of a child – become a teacher. You can never be fired.

I will not allow you to destroy the Healthcare Law.  It is My greatest achievements and will be My legacy to the nation.  Now and in the future.

Just as I have done in the White House, I will demand greater transparency for this Congress. It has worked just fine for us. This Congress will have everyone looking down on them. What bills they write. What lobbyists they see. How many earmarks they have. It will be wonderful for the people.

I will double our exports by 2014, as soon as I discover what we export. I will cut government regulation on businesses. And cut the tax rate on business.

I will balance the budget, and cut the defect.
I will restore this economy.
I will bring peace to the world.
I will make the internet faster for all.
I will bring high speed trains to every city.
I am Obama! I can do it all!

You see, I am the center.
And the multitudes listened to the speech, but for once the Anointed One did not stir the multitudes.  The speech fell flat, uninspiring.  The Messiah had lost his voice.

For upon listening to this speech it was like being sweet talked by Tiger Woods.  Neither would be believed by the listener.

Fact Check: SOTU And Obama Speaking Out Of Both Sides Of His Mouth

In Barack Obama's State of the Union Address he mentioned the word invest or investments 11 times at a rough count and in fairness a couple of those keywords were used in relation to other countries investments.

The rest of those mentions were talk of spending more tax payer money when out debt is at $14 trillion already. In fairness again, he did mention once in relation to investments the words "paid for".

With that said, contradicting headlines today show one specific portion of the SOTU speech to be completely intellectually dishonest.

We are living with a legacy of deficit-spending that began almost a decade ago. And in the wake of the financial crisis, some of that was necessary to keep credit flowing, save jobs, and put money in people’s pockets.

But now that the worst of the recession is over, we have to confront the fact that our government spends more than it takes in. That is not sustainable. Every day, families sacrifice to live within their means. They deserve a government that does the same.

Let us start with the fact that over the last two years Barack Obama and a Democratically controlled House of Representatives and Democratically controlled Senate has raised our national debt from approximately $10.6 trillion to $14 trillion.

(Image from CBS News article titled "National Debt Tops $14 Trillion")

Make no mistake, Bush started Tarp and signed the initial bailouts, so he should take his fair share of the blame when it comes to spending like a drunken sailor and rasing out national debt.

The 2009 Budget is on Bush and the Democratically controlled House and Senate, the 2010 Budget and the 2011 Budget are all on Obama.

Bush vs Obama graph comparisons found here.

Obama has expanded the problem with massive spending on more bailouts, a trillion dollar healthcare law, a stimulus program, earmarks and countless other spending when we were already debt ridden and did not and do not have the money to spend, so Obama borrowed more, spent more and this has continued and still is continuing.

Yet he says he wants to invest more aka spend more while out of the other side of his mouth he proposes a "freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years."

Obama said and I quote "we have to confront the fact that our government spends more than it takes in. That is not sustainable. Every day, families sacrifice to live within their means. They deserve a government that does the same."

Has that not been the point conservatives have been making over the last two years as Obama, Pelosi and Reid merrily went on a spending spree using American taxpayers as their own personal credit cards or atm machines?

Obama also claimed "worst of the recession is over."

Then I see today's headlines:

Outside D.C., a grim housing market originally titled "Home prices fall in nearly all major cities, heightening fears of double dip."

In that Wapo piece we see the following information.

- housing prices, compared year-over-year, have declined nationally for six consecutive months.

-nine major cities have dipped to new lows, the report shows. They are Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, Miami, Portland, Ore., Seattle and Tampa.

-On a year-over-year basis,the 20-city price index fell 1.6 percent in November.

The next headline is from the Hill, with even more disturbing news:

CBO: Deficit widened to $1.5 trillion this year

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office made it official on Wednesday morning: America's free fall into debt is accelerating.

The budget deficit is now estimated to have widened this year to $1.5 trillion, the CBO said. That compares to a budget deficit of $1.3 trillion for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30.

The increase in the deficit would bring it to 9.8 percent of gross domestic product, the CBO said, following deficits of 10 percent and 8.9 percent during the previous two years. The CBO notes those are the largest deficit levels since the end of World War II.

The CBO's projections assume that current laws remain unchanged. If the nation continues on its current path, the CBO said, the total national debt will rise from 40 percent of GDP in 2008 to 70 percent by the end of 2011, reaching 77 percent of GDP by 2021.

You can see a summary at the CBO's Director's blog and you can see the entire report from the CBO, with graphs and explanations at the Congressional Budget Office's website.

It is not pretty and it belies Obama's words completely.

The Associated Press has also done some fact checking on Obama's speech and where I chose one small portion to start with, Calvin Woodard from the AP, delves into other aspects and comments by Obama during his SOTU address.

FACT CHECK: Obama and his imbalanced ledger

That article deals with Obama's statements on healthcare savings, earmarks, medical malpractice reform, high speed rail transportation, the recommendations by the bipartisan Fiscal Commission, Social Security,and Iran.

After quoting each of Obama's statements from the SOTU address, the AP goes on to provide the facts instead of the Obama spin.

Read the entire thing to see how Obama truly spoke out of both sides of his mouth on each topic listed above.

I do not know what reality Barack Obama lives in, but it is not the same one that every day Americans live in, which is part of the reason the focus group came down so hard on him immediately after his speech.


State of the Union 2011--Congressman Paul Ryan gets it

Congressman Paul Ryan is now the leader of the free world. He gave a fabulous State of the Union address once the initial speaker stopped babbling meaningless platitudes.

eric aka the Tygrrrr Express

VIDEO- Focus Group Responses To Obama's SOTU- 2011

As you watch the focus group responses keep in mind that 13 people out of 29 in this group voted for Barack Obama in 2008 according to Frank Luntz who ran the focus group and asked them specific questions.

Video below:

The news is full of insta polls which say Americans responded well to Obama's SOTU address, yet the at-the-moment reactions contradict those polls.

I was surprised at how few raised their hands when asked if principle or politics were at play in the speech. Out of 13 Obama voters, only 2 thought what they listened to was principle over politics and the rest raised their hands indicating they thought it was politics over principle.

Part #1- Transcripts of SOTU- 2011, Republican response and Tea Party Express response.

Part #3- Fact Check: SOTU And Obama Speaking Out Of Both Sides Of His Mouth


New chat feature at VA for online applications


VA Adds Chat Feature to Online Application for Health Benefits

January 18, 2011

VA Adds Chat Feature to Online Application for Health Benefits

WASHINGTON – Veterans will find it easier and faster to apply for their health care benefits now that the Department of Veterans Affairs has enhanced and streamlined its online Form 10-10EZ, “Application for Health Benefits.”

“VA is committed to tapping into the best that technology has to offer to ensure Veterans receive the benefits they have earned,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “We continue to look for new ways to improve access to care and benefits and engage Veterans.”

This revised online application now features a chat function which will allow Veterans to receive live assistance while they are filling out the form. Additional enhancements to the process include simplification of questions relating to military service in Southeast Asia during the Gulf and in the Vietnam wars. Several additional minor enhancements make the application easier and faster for Veterans to complete.

The 10-10EZ application is divided into six different sets of information, including personal information, insurance information, employment, military service, and a financial assessment. Since November 2000, nearly 400,000 Veterans have already used the online 10-10EZ to start receiving health care benefits from VA.

Future enhancements to the online application will include a 10-10 EZR Health Benefits Renewal Form for Veterans to update their personal information and a special 10-10EZ designed specifically for demobilizing military service members.

Veterans may complete or download the 10-10EZ form at the VA health eligibility Web site at

Veterans may also contact VA at 1 (877) 222-8387 (VETS), visit the VA health eligibility Web site at or apply for health care benefits at any VA medical center at with the help of a VA health care eligibility specialist.

# # #

Source: VA here

(H/T Jane)

Transcripts: SOTU, Official Republican Response By Ryan And Tea Party Express Response By Bachmann

Part #2- VIDEO- Focus group responses to the SOTU- 2011

Part #3- Fact Check: SOTU And Obama Speaking Out Of Both Sides Of His Mouth

Last night was the night for speeches, Barack Obama gave the State of the Union address which lasted 61-62 minutes which ended up being no surprise in substance since the final draft of the speech was leaked a couple hours before Obama took the stage and was published by National Journal.

Word is Obama was not amused.

Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) gave the official Republican response which lasted 10:40 minutes and Representative Michelle Bachmann streamed an unofficial response for the Tea Party which lasted 6:36 minutes.

Below are the transcripts.

Obama's second SOTU- January 25, 2011:

Tonight I want to begin by congratulating the men and women of the 112th Congress, as well as your new Speaker, John Boehner. And as we mark this occasion, we are also mindful of the empty chair in this Chamber, and pray for the health of our colleague – and our friend – Gabby Giffords.

It’s no secret that those of us here tonight have had our differences over the last two years. The debates have been contentious; we have fought fiercely for our beliefs. And that’s a good thing. That’s what a robust democracy demands. That’s what helps set us apart as a nation.

But there’s a reason the tragedy in Tucson gave us pause. Amid all the noise and passions and rancor of our public debate, Tucson reminded us that no matter who we are or where we come from, each of us is a part of something greater – something more consequential than party or political preference.

We are part of the American family. We believe that in a country where every race and faith and point of view can be found, we are still bound together as one people; that we share common hopes and a common creed; that the dreams of a little girl in Tucson are not so different than those of our own children, and that they all deserve the chance to be fulfilled.

That, too, is what sets us apart as a nation.

Now, by itself, this simple recognition won’t usher in a new era of cooperation. What comes of this moment is up to us. What comes of this moment will be determined not by whether we can sit together tonight, but whether we can work together tomorrow.

I believe we can. I believe we must. That’s what the people who sent us here expect of us. With their votes, they’ve determined that governing will now be a shared responsibility between parties. New laws will only pass with support from Democrats and Republicans. We will move forward together, or not at all – for the challenges we face are bigger than party, and bigger than politics.

At stake right now is not who wins the next election – after all, we just had an election. At stake is whether new jobs and industries take root in this country, or somewhere else. It’s whether the hard work and industry of our people is rewarded. It’s whether we sustain the leadership that has made America not just a place on a map, but a light to the world.

We are poised for progress. Two years after the worst recession most of us have ever known, the stock market has come roaring back. Corporate profits are up. The economy is growing again.

But we have never measured progress by these yardsticks alone. We measure progress by the success of our people. By the jobs they can find and the quality of life those jobs offer. By the prospects of a small business owner who dreams of turning a good idea into a thriving enterprise. By the opportunities for a better life that we pass on to our children.

That’s the project the American people want us to work on. Together.

We did that in December. Thanks to the tax cuts we passed, Americans’ paychecks are a little bigger today. Every business can write off the full cost of the new investments they make this year. These steps, taken by Democrats and Republicans, will grow the economy and add to the more than one million private sector jobs created last year.

But we have more work to do. The steps we’ve taken over the last two years may have broken the back of this recession – but to win the future, we’ll need to take on challenges that have been decades in the making.

Many people watching tonight can probably remember a time when finding a good job meant showing up at a nearby factory or a business downtown. You didn’t always need a degree, and your competition was pretty much limited to your neighbors. If you worked hard, chances are you’d have a job for life, with a decent paycheck, good benefits, and the occasional promotion. Maybe you’d even have the pride of seeing your kids work at the same company.

That world has changed. And for many, the change has been painful. I’ve seen it in the shuttered windows of once booming factories, and the vacant storefronts of once busy Main Streets. I’ve heard it in the frustrations of Americans who’ve seen their paychecks dwindle or their jobs disappear – proud men and women who feel like the rules have been changed in the middle of the game.

They’re right. The rules have changed. In a single generation, revolutions in technology have transformed the way we live, work and do business. Steel mills that once needed 1,000 workers can now do the same work with 100. Today, just about any company can set up shop, hire workers, and sell their products wherever there’s an internet connection.

Meanwhile, nations like China and India realized that with some changes of their own, they could compete in this new world. And so they started educating their children earlier and longer, with greater emphasis on math and science. They’re investing in research and new technologies. Just recently, China became home to the world’s largest private solar research facility, and the world’s fastest computer.

So yes, the world has changed. The competition for jobs is real. But this shouldn’t discourage us. It should challenge us. Remember – for all the hits we’ve taken these last few years, for all the naysayers predicting our decline, America still has the largest, most prosperous economy in the world. No workers are more productive than ours. No country has more successful companies, or grants more patents to inventors and entrepreneurs. We are home to the world’s best colleges and universities, where more students come to study than any other place on Earth.

What’s more, we are the first nation to be founded for the sake of an idea – the idea that each of us deserves the chance to shape our own destiny. That is why centuries of pioneers and immigrants have risked everything to come here. It’s why our students don’t just memorize equations, but answer questions like “What do you think of that idea? What would you change about the world? What do you want to be when you grow up?”

The future is ours to win. But to get there, we can’t just stand still. As Robert Kennedy told us, “The future is not a gift. It is an achievement.” Sustaining the American Dream has never been about standing pat. It has required each generation to sacrifice, and struggle, and meet the demands of a new age.

Now it’s our turn. We know what it takes to compete for the jobs and industries of our time. We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. We have to make America the best place on Earth to do business. We need to take responsibility for our deficit, and reform our government. That’s how our people will prosper. That’s how we’ll win the future. And tonight, I’d like to talk about how we get there.

The first step in winning the future is encouraging American innovation.

None of us can predict with certainty what the next big industry will be, or where the new jobs will come from. Thirty years ago, we couldn’t know that something called the Internet would lead to an economic revolution. What we can do – what America does better than anyone – is spark the creativity and imagination of our people. We are the nation that put cars in driveways and computers in offices; the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers; of Google and Facebook. In America, innovation doesn’t just change our lives. It’s how we make a living.

Our free enterprise system is what drives innovation. But because it’s not always profitable for companies to invest in basic research, throughout history our government has provided cutting-edge scientists and inventors with the support that they need. That’s what planted the seeds for the Internet. That’s what helped make possible things like computer chips and GPS.

Just think of all the good jobs – from manufacturing to retail – that have come from those breakthroughs.

Half a century ago, when the Soviets beat us into space with the launch of a satellite called Sputnik¸ we had no idea how we’d beat them to the moon. The science wasn’t there yet. NASA didn’t even exist. But after investing in better research and education, we didn’t just surpass the Soviets; we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs.

This is our generation’s Sputnik moment. Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven’t seen since the height of the Space Race. In a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal. We’ll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology – an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.

Already, we are seeing the promise of renewable energy. Robert and Gary Allen are brothers who run a small Michigan roofing company. After September 11th, they volunteered their best roofers to help repair the Pentagon. But half of their factory went unused, and the recession hit them hard.

Today, with the help of a government loan, that empty space is being used to manufacture solar shingles that are being sold all across the country. In Robert’s words, “We reinvented ourselves.”

That’s what Americans have done for over two hundred years: reinvented ourselves. And to spur on more success stories like the Allen Brothers, we’ve begun to reinvent our energy policy. We’re not just handing out money. We’re issuing a challenge. We’re telling America’s scientists and engineers that if they assemble teams of the best minds in their fields, and focus on the hardest problems in clean energy, we’ll fund the Apollo Projects of our time.

At the California Institute of Technology, they’re developing a way to turn sunlight and water into fuel for our cars. At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, they’re using supercomputers to get a lot more power out of our nuclear facilities. With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.

We need to get behind this innovation. And to help pay for it, I’m asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they’re doing just fine on their own. So instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s.

Now, clean energy breakthroughs will only translate into clean energy jobs if businesses know there will be a market for what they’re selling. So tonight, I challenge you to join me in setting a new goal: by 2035, 80% of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources. Some folks want wind and solar. Others want nuclear, clean coal, and natural gas. To meet this goal, we will need them all – and I urge Democrats and Republicans to work together to make it happen.

Maintaining our leadership in research and technology is crucial to America’s success. But if we want to win the future – if we want innovation to produce jobs in America and not overseas – then we also have to win the race to educate our kids.

Think about it. Over the next ten years, nearly half of all new jobs will require education that goes beyond a high school degree. And yet, as many as a quarter of our students aren’t even finishing high school. The quality of our math and science education lags behind many other nations. America has fallen to 9th in the proportion of young people with a college degree. And so the question is whether all of us – as citizens, and as parents – are willing to do what’s necessary to give every child a chance to succeed.

That responsibility begins not in our classrooms, but in our homes and communities. It’s family that first instills the love of learning in a child. Only parents can make sure the TV is turned off and homework gets done. We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair; that success is not a function of fame or PR, but of hard work and discipline.

Our schools share this responsibility. When a child walks into a classroom, it should be a place of high expectations and high performance. But too many schools don’t meet this test. That’s why instead of just pouring money into a system that’s not working, we launched a competition called Race to the Top. To all fifty states, we said, “If you show us the most innovative plans to improve teacher quality and student achievement, we’ll show you the money.”

Race to the Top is the most meaningful reform of our public schools in a generation. For less than one percent of what we spend on education each year, it has led over 40 states to raise their standards for teaching and learning. These standards were developed, not by Washington, but by Republican and Democratic governors throughout the country. And Race to the Top should be the approach we follow this year as we replace No Child Left Behind with a law that is more flexible and focused on what’s best for our kids.

You see, we know what’s possible for our children when reform isn’t just a top-down mandate, but the work of local teachers and principals; school boards and communities.

Take a school like Bruce Randolph in Denver. Three years ago, it was rated one of the worst schools in Colorado; located on turf between two rival gangs. But last May, 97% of the seniors received their diploma. Most will be the first in their family to go to college. And after the first year of the school’s transformation, the principal who made it possible wiped away tears when a student said “Thank you, Mrs. Waters, for showing… that we are smart and we can make it.”

Let’s also remember that after parents, the biggest impact on a child’s success comes from the man or woman at the front of the classroom. In South Korea, teachers are known as “nation builders.” Here in America, it’s time we treated the people who educate our children with the same level of respect. We want to reward good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones. And over the next ten years, with so many Baby Boomers retiring from our classrooms, we want to prepare 100,000 new teachers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.

In fact, to every young person listening tonight who’s contemplating their career choice: If you want to make a difference in the life of our nation; if you want to make a difference in the life of a child – become a teacher. Your country needs you.

Of course, the education race doesn’t end with a high school diploma. To compete, higher education must be within reach of every American. That’s why we’ve ended the unwarranted taxpayer subsidies that went to banks, and used the savings to make college affordable for millions of students. And this year, I ask Congress to go further, and make permanent our tuition tax credit – worth $10,000 for four years of college.

Because people need to be able to train for new jobs and careers in today’s fast-changing economy, we are also revitalizing America’s community colleges. Last month, I saw the promise of these schools at Forsyth Tech in North Carolina. Many of the students there used to work in the surrounding factories that have since left town. One mother of two, a woman named Kathy Proctor, had worked in the furniture industry since she was 18 years old. And she told me she’s earning her degree in biotechnology now, at 55 years old, not just because the furniture jobs are gone, but because she wants to inspire her children to pursue their dreams too. As Kathy said, “I hope it tells them to never give up.”

If we take these steps – if we raise expectations for every child, and give them the best possible chance at an education, from the day they’re born until the last job they take – we will reach the goal I set two years ago: by the end of the decade, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.

One last point about education. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of students excelling in our schools who are not American citizens. Some are the children of undocumented workers, who had nothing to do with the actions of their parents. They grew up as Americans and pledge allegiance to our flag, and yet live every day with the threat of deportation. Others come here from abroad to study in our colleges and universities. But as soon as they obtain advanced degrees, we send them back home to compete against us. It makes no sense.

Now, I strongly believe that we should take on, once and for all, the issue of illegal immigration. I am prepared to work with Republicans and Democrats to protect our borders, enforce our laws and address the millions of undocumented workers who are now living in the shadows. I know that debate will be difficult and take time. But tonight, let’s agree to make that effort. And let’s stop expelling talented, responsible young people who can staff our research labs, start new businesses, and further enrich this nation.

The third step in winning the future is rebuilding America. To attract new businesses to our shores, we need the fastest, most reliable ways to move people, goods, and information – from high-speed rail to high-speed internet.

Our infrastructure used to be the best – but our lead has slipped. South Korean homes now have greater internet access than we do. Countries in Europe and Russia invest more in their roads and railways than we do. China is building faster trains and newer airports. Meanwhile, when our own engineers graded our nation’s infrastructure, they gave us a “D.”

We have to do better. America is the nation that built the transcontinental railroad, brought electricity to rural communities, and constructed the interstate highway system. The jobs created by these projects didn’t just come from laying down tracks or pavement. They came from businesses that opened near a town’s new train station or the new off-ramp.

Over the last two years, we have begun rebuilding for the 21st century, a project that has meant thousands of good jobs for the hard-hit construction industry. Tonight, I’m proposing that we redouble these efforts.

We will put more Americans to work repairing crumbling roads and bridges. We will make sure this is fully paid for, attract private investment, and pick projects based on what’s best for the economy, not politicians.

Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80% of Americans access to high-speed rail, which could allow you go places in half the time it takes to travel by car. For some trips, it will be faster than flying – without the pat-down. As we speak, routes in California and the Midwest are already underway.

Within the next five years, we will make it possible for business to deploy the next generation of high-speed wireless coverage to 98% of all Americans. This isn’t just about a faster internet and fewer dropped calls. It’s about connecting every part of America to the digital age. It’s about a rural community in Iowa or Alabama where farmers and small business owners will be able to sell their products all over the world. It’s about a firefighter who can download the design of a burning building onto a handheld device; a student who can take classes with a digital textbook; or a patient who can have face-to-face video chats with her doctor.

All these investments – in innovation, education, and infrastructure – will make America a better place to do business and create jobs. But to help our companies compete, we also have to knock down barriers that stand in the way of their success.

Over the years, a parade of lobbyists has rigged the tax code to benefit particular companies and industries. Those with accountants or lawyers to work the system can end up paying no taxes at all. But all the rest are hit with one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. It makes no sense, and it has to change.

So tonight, I’m asking Democrats and Republicans to simplify the system. Get rid of the loopholes. Level the playing field. And use the savings to lower the corporate tax rate for the first time in 25 years – without adding to our deficit.

To help businesses sell more products abroad, we set a goal of doubling our exports by 2014 – because the more we export, the more jobs we create at home. Already, our exports are up. Recently, we signed agreements with India and China that will support more than 250,000 jobs in the United States. And last month, we finalized a trade agreement with South Korea that will support at least 70,000 American jobs. This agreement has unprecedented support from business and labor; Democrats and Republicans, and I ask this Congress to pass it as soon as possible.

Before I took office, I made it clear that we would enforce our trade agreements, and that I would only sign deals that keep faith with American workers, and promote American jobs. That’s what we did with Korea, and that’s what I intend to do as we pursue agreements with Panama and Colombia, and continue our Asia Pacific and global trade talks.

To reduce barriers to growth and investment, I’ve ordered a review of government regulations. When we find rules that put an unnecessary burden on businesses, we will fix them. But I will not hesitate to create or enforce commonsense safeguards to protect the American people. That’s what we’ve done in this country for more than a century. It’s why our food is safe to eat, our water is safe to drink, and our air is safe to breathe. It’s why we have speed limits and child labor laws. It’s why last year, we put in place consumer protections against hidden fees and penalties by credit card companies, and new rules to prevent another financial crisis. And it’s why we passed reform that finally prevents the health insurance industry from exploiting patients.

Now, I’ve heard rumors that a few of you have some concerns about the new health care law. So let me be the first to say that anything can be improved. If you have ideas about how to improve this law by making care better or more affordable, I am eager to work with you. We can start right now by correcting a flaw in the legislation that has placed an unnecessary bookkeeping burden on small businesses.

What I’m not willing to do is go back to the days when insurance companies could deny someone coverage because of a pre-existing condition. I’m not willing to tell James Howard, a brain cancer patient from Texas, that his treatment might not be covered. I’m not willing to tell Jim Houser, a small business owner from Oregon, that he has to go back to paying $5,000 more to cover his employees. As we speak, this law is making prescription drugs cheaper for seniors and giving uninsured students a chance to stay on their parents’ coverage. So instead of re-fighting the battles of the last two years, let’s fix what needs fixing and move forward.

Now, the final step – a critical step – in winning the future is to make sure we aren’t buried under a mountain of debt.

We are living with a legacy of deficit-spending that began almost a decade ago. And in the wake of the financial crisis, some of that was necessary to keep credit flowing, save jobs, and put money in people’s pockets.

But now that the worst of the recession is over, we have to confront the fact that our government spends more than it takes in. That is not sustainable. Every day, families sacrifice to live within their means. They deserve a government that does the same.

So tonight, I am proposing that starting this year, we freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years. This would reduce the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade, and will bring discretionary spending to the lowest share of our economy since Dwight Eisenhower was president.

This freeze will require painful cuts. Already, we have frozen the salaries of hardworking federal employees for the next two years. I’ve proposed cuts to things I care deeply about, like community action programs. The Secretary of Defense has also agreed to cut tens of billions of dollars in spending that he and his generals believe our military can do without.

I recognize that some in this Chamber have already proposed deeper cuts, and I’m willing to eliminate whatever we can honestly afford to do without. But let’s make sure that we’re not doing it on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens. And let’s make sure what we’re cutting is really excess weight. Cutting the deficit by gutting our investments in innovation and education is like lightening an overloaded airplane by removing its engine. It may feel like you’re flying high at first, but it won’t take long before you’ll feel the impact.

Now, most of the cuts and savings I’ve proposed only address annual domestic spending, which represents a little more than 12% of our budget. To make further progress, we have to stop pretending that cutting this kind of spending alone will be enough. It won’t.

The bipartisan Fiscal Commission I created last year made this crystal clear. I don’t agree with all their proposals, but they made important progress. And their conclusion is that the only way to tackle our deficit is to cut excessive spending wherever we find it – in domestic spending, defense spending, health care spending, and spending through tax breaks and loopholes.

This means further reducing health care costs, including programs like Medicare and Medicaid, which are the single biggest contributor to our long-term deficit. Health insurance reform will slow these rising costs, which is part of why nonpartisan economists have said that repealing the health care law would add a quarter of a trillion dollars to our deficit. Still, I’m willing to look at other ideas to bring down costs, including one that Republicans suggested last year: medical malpractice reform to rein in frivolous lawsuits.

To put us on solid ground, we should also find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations. And we must do it without putting at risk current retirees, the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations; and without subjecting Americans’ guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market.

And if we truly care about our deficit, we simply cannot afford a permanent extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Before we take money away from our schools, or scholarships away from our students, we should ask millionaires to give up their tax break.

It’s not a matter of punishing their success. It’s about promoting America’s success.

In fact, the best thing we could do on taxes for all Americans is to simplify the individual tax code. This will be a tough job, but members of both parties have expressed interest in doing this, and I am prepared to join them.

So now is the time to act. Now is the time for both sides and both houses of Congress – Democrats and Republicans – to forge a principled compromise that gets the job done. If we make the hard choices now to rein in our deficits, we can make the investments we need to win the future.

Let me take this one step further. We shouldn’t just give our people a government that’s more affordable. We should give them a government that’s more competent and efficient. We cannot win the future with a government of the past.

We live and do business in the information age, but the last major reorganization of the government happened in the age of black and white TV. There are twelve different agencies that deal with exports. There are at least five different entities that deal with housing policy. Then there’s my favorite example: the Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they’re in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them in when they’re in saltwater. And I hear it gets even more complicated once they’re smoked.

Now, we have made great strides over the last two years in using technology and getting rid of waste. Veterans can now download their electronic medical records with a click of the mouse. We’re selling acres of federal office space that hasn’t been used in years, and we will cut through red tape to get rid of more. But we need to think bigger. In the coming months, my administration will develop a proposal to merge, consolidate, and reorganize the federal government in a way that best serves the goal of a more competitive America. I will submit that proposal to Congress for a vote – and we will push to get it passed.

In the coming year, we will also work to rebuild people’s faith in the institution of government. Because you deserve to know exactly how and where your tax dollars are being spent, you will be able to go to a website and get that information for the very first time in history. Because you deserve to know when your elected officials are meeting with lobbyists, I ask Congress to do what the White House has already done: put that information online. And because the American people deserve to know that special interests aren’t larding up legislation with pet projects, both parties in Congress should know this: if a bill comes to my desk with earmarks inside, I will veto it.

A 21st century government that’s open and competent. A government that lives within its means. An economy that’s driven by new skills and ideas. Our success in this new and changing world will require reform, responsibility, and innovation. It will also require us to approach that world with a new level of engagement in our foreign affairs.

Just as jobs and businesses can now race across borders, so can new threats and new challenges. No single wall separates East and West; no one rival superpower is aligned against us.

And so we must defeat determined enemies wherever they are, and build coalitions that cut across lines of region and race and religion. America’s moral example must always shine for all who yearn for freedom, justice, and dignity. And because we have begun this work, tonight we can say that American leadership has been renewed and America’s standing has been restored.

Look to Iraq, where nearly 100,000 of our brave men and women have left with their heads held high; where American combat patrols have ended; violence has come down; and a new government has been formed. This year, our civilians will forge a lasting partnership with the Iraqi people, while we finish the job of bringing our troops out of Iraq. America’s commitment has been kept; the Iraq War is coming to an end.

Of course, as we speak, al Qaeda and their affiliates continue to plan attacks against us. Thanks to our intelligence and law enforcement professionals, we are disrupting plots and securing our cities and skies. And as extremists try to inspire acts of violence within our borders, we are responding with the strength of our communities, with respect for the rule of law, and with the conviction that American Muslims are a part of our American family.

We have also taken the fight to al Qaeda and their allies abroad. In Afghanistan, our troops have taken Taliban strongholds and trained Afghan Security Forces. Our purpose is clear – by preventing the Taliban from reestablishing a stranglehold over the Afghan people, we will deny al Qaeda the safe-haven that served as a launching pad for 9/11.

Thanks to our heroic troops and civilians, fewer Afghans are under the control of the insurgency. There will be tough fighting ahead, and the Afghan government will need to deliver better governance. But we are strengthening the capacity of the Afghan people and building an enduring partnership with them. This year, we will work with nearly 50 countries to begin a transition to an Afghan lead. And this July, we will begin to bring our troops home.

In Pakistan, al Qaeda’s leadership is under more pressure than at any point since 2001. Their leaders and operatives are being removed from the battlefield. Their safe-havens are shrinking. And we have sent a message from the Afghan border to the Arabian Peninsula to all parts of the globe: we will not relent, we will not waver, and we will defeat you.

American leadership can also be seen in the effort to secure the worst weapons of war. Because Republicans and Democrats approved the New START Treaty, far fewer nuclear weapons and launchers will be deployed. Because we rallied the world, nuclear materials are being locked down on every continent so they never fall into the hands of terrorists.

Because of a diplomatic effort to insist that Iran meet its obligations, the Iranian government now faces tougher and tighter sanctions than ever before. And on the Korean peninsula, we stand with our ally South Korea, and insist that North Korea keeps its commitment to abandon nuclear weapons.

This is just a part of how we are shaping a world that favors peace and prosperity. With our European allies, we revitalized NATO, and increased our cooperation on everything from counter-terrorism to missile defense. We have reset our relationship with Russia, strengthened Asian alliances, and built new partnerships with nations like India. This March, I will travel to Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador to forge new alliances for progress in the Americas. Around the globe, we are standing with those who take responsibility – helping farmers grow more food; supporting doctors who care for the sick; and combating the corruption that can rot a society and rob people of opportunity.

Recent events have shown us that what sets us apart must not just be our power – it must be the purpose behind it. In South Sudan – with our assistance – the people were finally able to vote for independence after years of war. Thousands lined up before dawn. People danced in the streets. One man who lost four of his brothers at war summed up the scene around him: “This was a battlefield for most of my life. Now we want to be free.”

We saw that same desire to be free in Tunisia, where the will of the people proved more powerful than the writ of a dictator. And tonight, let us be clear: the United States of America stands with the people of Tunisia, and supports the democratic aspirations of all people.

We must never forget that the things we’ve struggled for, and fought for, live in the hearts of people everywhere. And we must always remember that the Americans who have borne the greatest burden in this struggle are the men and women who serve our country.

Tonight, let us speak with one voice in reaffirming that our nation is united in support of our troops and their families. Let us serve them as well as they have served us – by giving them the equipment they need; by providing them with the care and benefits they have earned; and by enlisting our veterans in the great task of building our own nation.

Our troops come from every corner of this country – they are black, white, Latino, Asian and Native American. They are Christian and Hindu, Jewish and Muslim. And, yes, we know that some of them are gay. Starting this year, no American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love. And with that change, I call on all of our college campuses to open their doors to our military recruiters and the ROTC. It is time to leave behind the divisive battles of the past. It is time to move forward as one nation.

We should have no illusions about the work ahead of us. Reforming our schools; changing the way we use energy; reducing our deficit – none of this is easy. All of it will take time. And it will be harder because we will argue about everything. The cost. The details. The letter of every law.

Of course, some countries don’t have this problem. If the central government wants a railroad, they get a railroad – no matter how many homes are bulldozed. If they don’t want a bad story in the newspaper, it doesn’t get written.

And yet, as contentious and frustrating and messy as our democracy can sometimes be, I know there isn’t a person here who would trade places with any other nation on Earth.

We may have differences in policy, but we all believe in the rights enshrined in our Constitution. We may have different opinions, but we believe in the same promise that says this is a place where you can make it if you try. We may have different backgrounds, but we believe in the same dream that says this is a country where anything’s possible. No matter who you are. No matter where you come from.

That dream is why I can stand here before you tonight. That dream is why a working class kid from Scranton can stand behind me. That dream is why someone who began by sweeping the floors of his father’s Cincinnati bar can preside as Speaker of the House in the greatest nation on Earth.

That dream – that American Dream – is what drove the Allen Brothers to reinvent their roofing company for a new era. It’s what drove those students at Forsyth Tech to learn a new skill and work towards the future. And that dream is the story of a small business owner named Brandon Fisher.

Brandon started a company in Berlin, Pennsylvania that specializes in a new kind of drilling technology. One day last summer, he saw the news that halfway across the world, 33 men were trapped in a Chilean mine, and no one knew how to save them.

But Brandon thought his company could help. And so he designed a rescue that would come to be known as Plan B. His employees worked around the clock to manufacture the necessary drilling equipment. And Brandon left for Chile.

Along with others, he began drilling a 2,000 foot hole into the ground, working three or four days at a time with no sleep. Thirty-seven days later, Plan B succeeded, and the miners were rescued. But because he didn’t want all of the attention, Brandon wasn’t there when the miners emerged. He had already gone home, back to work on his next project.

Later, one of his employees said of the rescue, “We proved that Center Rock is a little company, but we do big things.”

We do big things.

From the earliest days of our founding, America has been the story of ordinary people who dare to dream. That’s how we win the future.

We are a nation that says, “I might not have a lot of money, but I have this great idea for a new company. I might not come from a family of college graduates, but I will be the first to get my degree. I might not know those people in trouble, but I think I can help them, and I need to try. I’m not sure how we’ll reach that better place beyond the horizon, but I know we’ll get there. I know we will.”

We do big things.

The idea of America endures. Our destiny remains our choice. And tonight, more than two centuries later, it is because of our people that our future is hopeful, our journey goes forward, and the state of our union is strong.

Thank you, God Bless You, and may God Bless the United States of America.

Representative Paul Ryan with the official Republican response- January 25, 2011:

Good evening. I’m Congressman Paul Ryan from Janesville, Wisconsin – and Chairman here at the House Budget Committee.

President Obama just addressed a Congressional chamber filled with many new faces. One face we did not see tonight was that of our friend and colleague, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona. We all miss Gabby and her cheerful spirit; and we are praying for her return to the House Chamber.

Earlier this month, President Obama spoke movingly at a memorial event for the six people who died on that violent morning in Tucson. Still, there are no words that can lift the sorrow that now engulfs the families and friends of the fallen.

What we can do is assure them that the nation is praying for them; that, in the words of the Psalmist, the Lord heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds; and that over time grace will replace grief.

As Gabby continues to make encouraging progress, we must keep her and the others in our thoughts as we attend to the work now before us.

Tonight, the President focused a lot of attention on our economy in general – and on our deficit and debt in particular.

He was right to do so, and some of his words were reassuring. As Chairman of the House Budget Committee, I assure you that we want to work with the President to restrain federal spending.

In one of our first acts in the new majority, House Republicans voted to cut Congress’s own budget. And just today, the House voted to restore the spending discipline that Washington sorely needs.

The reason is simple.

A few years ago, reducing spending was important. Today, it’s imperative. Here’s why.

We face a crushing burden of debt. The debt will soon eclipse our entire economy, and grow to catastrophic levels in the years ahead.

On this current path, when my three children – who are now 6, 7, and 8 years old – are raising their own children, the Federal government will double in size, and so will the taxes they pay.

No economy can sustain such high levels of debt and taxation. The next generation will inherit a stagnant economy and a diminished country.

Frankly, it’s one of my greatest concerns as a parent – and I know many of you feel the same way.

Our debt is the product of acts by many presidents and many Congresses over many years. No one person or party is responsible for it.

There is no doubt the President came into office facing a severe fiscal and economic situation.

Unfortunately, instead of restoring the fundamentals of economic growth, he engaged in a stimulus spending spree that not only failed to deliver on its promise to create jobs, but also plunged us even deeper into debt.

The facts are clear: Since taking office, President Obama has signed into law spending increases of nearly 25% for domestic government agencies – an 84% increase when you include the failed stimulus.

All of this new government spending was sold as “investment.” Yet after two years, the unemployment rate remains above 9% and government has added over $3 trillion to our debt.

Then the President and his party made matters even worse, by creating a new open-ended health care entitlement.

What we already know about the President’s health care law is this: Costs are going up, premiums are rising, and millions of people will lose the coverage they currently have. Job creation is being stifled by all of its taxes, penalties, mandates and fees.

Businesses and unions from around the country are asking the Obama Administration for waivers from the mandates. Washington should not be in the business of picking winners and losers. The President mentioned the need for regulatory reform to ease the burden on American businesses. We agree – and we think his health care law would be a great place to start.

Last week, House Republicans voted for a full repeal of this law, as we pledged to do, and we will work to replace it with fiscally responsible, patient-centered reforms that actually reduce costs and expand coverage.

Health care spending is driving the explosive growth of our debt. And the President’s law is accelerating our country toward bankruptcy.

Our debt is out of control. What was a fiscal challenge is now a fiscal crisis.

We cannot deny it; instead we must, as Americans, confront it responsibly.

And that is exactly what Republicans pledge to do.

Americans are skeptical of both political parties, and that skepticism is justified – especially when it comes to spending. So hold all of us accountable.

In this very room, the House will produce, debate, and advance a budget. Last year – in an unprecedented failure – Congress chose not to pass, or even propose a budget. The spending spree continued unchecked.

We owe you a better choice and a different vision.

Our forthcoming budget is our obligation to you – to show you how we intend to do things differently … how we will cut spending to get the debt down… help create jobs and prosperity … and reform government programs. If we act soon, and if we act responsibly, people in and near retirement will be protected.

These budget debates are not just about the programs of government; they’re also about the purpose of government.

So I’d like to share with you the principles that guide us. They are anchored in the wisdom of the founders; in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence; and in the words of the American Constitution.

They have to do with the importance of limited government; and with the blessing of self-government.­­

We believe government’s role is both vital and limited – to defend the nation from attack and provide for the common defense … to secure our borders… to protect innocent life… to uphold our laws and Constitutional rights … to ensure domestic tranquility and equal opportunity … and to help provide a safety net for those who cannot provide for themselves.

We believe that the government has an important role to create the conditions that promote entrepreneurship, upward mobility, and individual responsibility.

We believe, as our founders did, that “the pursuit of happiness” depends upon individual liberty; and individual liberty requires limited government.­

Limited government also means effective government. When government takes on too many tasks, it usually doesn’t do any of them very well. It’s no coincidence that trust in government is at an all-time low now that the size of government is at an all-time high.

The President and the Democratic Leadership have shown, by their actions, that they believe government needs to increase its size and its reach, its price tag and its power.­

Whether sold as “stimulus” or repackaged as “investment,” their actions show they want a Federal government that controls too much; taxes too much; and spends too much in order to do too much.

And during the last two years, that is exactly what we have gotten – along with record deficits and debt – to the point where the President is now urging Congress to increase the debt limit.

We believe the days of business as usual must come to an end. We hold to a couple of simple convictions: Endless borrowing is not a strategy; spending cuts have to come first.­­­­

Our nation is approaching a tipping point.

We are at a moment, where if government’s growth is left unchecked and unchallenged, America’s best century will be considered our past century. This is a future in which we will transform our social safety net into a hammock, which lulls able-bodied people into lives of complacency and dependency.

Depending on bureaucracy to foster innovation, competitiveness, and wise consumer choices has never worked – and it won’t work now.

We need to chart a new course.

Speaking candidly, as one citizen to another: We still have time… but not much time. If we continue down our current path, we know what our future will be.

Just take a look at what’s happening to Greece, Ireland, the United Kingdom and other nations in Europe. They didn’t act soon enough; and now their governments have been forced to impose painful austerity measures: large benefit cuts to seniors and huge tax increases on everybody.

Their day of reckoning has arrived. Ours is around the corner. That is why we must act now.­­­

Some people will back away from this challenge. But I see this challenge as an opportunity to rebuild what Lincoln called the “central ideas” of the Republic.

We believe a renewed commitment to limited government will unshackle our economy and create millions of new jobs and opportunities for all people, of every background, to succeed and prosper. Under this approach, the spirit of initiative – not political clout – determines who succeeds.

Millions of families have fallen on hard times not because of our ideals of free enterprise – but because our leaders failed to live up to those ideals; because of poor decisions made in Washington and Wall Street that caused a financial crisis, squandered our savings, broke our trust, and crippled our economy.

Today, a similar kind of irresponsibility threatens not only our livelihoods but our way of life.­­

We need to reclaim our American system of limited government, low taxes, reasonable regulations, and sound money, which has blessed us with unprecedented prosperity. And it has done more to help the poor than any other economic system ever designed. That’s the real secret to job creation – not borrowing and spending more money in Washington.

Limited government and free enterprise have helped make America the greatest nation on earth.­­

These are not easy times, but America is an exceptional nation. In all the chapters of human history, there has never been anything quite like America. The American story has been cherished, advanced, and defended over the centuries.

And it now falls to this generation to pass on to our children a nation that is stronger, more vibrant, more decent, and better than the one we inherited.

Thank you and good night.

Tea Party Express response by Representative Michelle Bachmann- January 25, 2011:

Good evening, my name is Congresswoman Michele Bachmann from Minnesota’s 6th District.

Two years ago, when Barack Obama became our President, unemployment was 7.8 percent and our national debt stood at what seemed like a staggering $10.6 trillion dollars.

We wondered whether the President would cut spending, reduce the deficit and implement real job-creating policies.

Unfortunately, the President’s strategy for recovery was to spend a trillion dollars on a failed stimulus program, fueled by borrowed money.

The White House promised us that all the spending would keep unemployment under 8 percent.

Not only did that plan fail to deliver, but within three months the national jobless rate spiked to 9.4 percent. And sadly, it hasn’t been lower for 20 straight months. While the government grew, we lost more than 2 million jobs.

Let me show you a chart.


Here are unemployment rates over the past ten years. In October 2001, our national unemployment rate was at 5.3 percent. In 2008 it was at 6.6 percent. But, just eight months after President Obama promised lower unemployment, that rate spiked to a staggering 10.1 percent.

Today, unemployment is at 9.4 percent with about 400,000 new claims every week.

After the $700 billion bailout, the trillion-dollar stimulus, and the $410 billion spending bill with over 9,000 earmarks, many of you implored Washington to please stop spending money we don’t have.

But, instead of cutting, we saw an unprecedented explosion of government spending and debt, unlike anything we have seen in the history of our country.


Deficits were unacceptably high under President Bush, but they exploded under President Obama’s direction, growing the national debt by an astounding $3.1 trillion-dollars.

What did we buy?

Instead of a leaner, smarter government, we bought a bureaucracy that tells us which light bulbs to buy, and which will put 16,500 IRS agents in charge of policing President Obama’s healthcare bill.

ObamaCare mandates and penalties will force many job creators to stop offering health insurance altogether, unless yours is one of the more-than-222 privileged companies or unions that has received a government waiver.

In the end, unless we fully repeal ObamaCare, a nation that currently enjoys the world’s best healthcare may be forced to rely on government-run coverage that will have a devastating impact on our national debt for generations to come.

For two years President Obama made promises just like the ones we heard him make tonight. Yet still we have high unemployment, devalued housing prices and the cost of gasoline is skyrocketing.

Here are a few suggestions for fixing our economy:

The President could stop the EPA from imposing a job-destroying cap-and-trade system.

The President could support a Balanced Budget Amendment.

The President could agree to an energy policy that increases American energy production and reduces our dependence on foreign oil.

The President could also turn back some of the 132 regulations put in place in the last two years, many of which will cost our economy $100 million or more.

And, the President should repeal ObamaCare and support free market solutions like medical malpractice reform and allow all Americans to buy any healthcare policy they like anywhere in the United States.

We need to start making things again in this country, and we can do that by reducing the tax and regulatory burdens on job creators.

America will have the highest corporate tax rate in the world. Look no further to see why jobs are moving overseas.

But, thanks to you, there’s reason to hope that real spending cuts are coming. Last November you went to the polls and voted out big-spending politicians and you put in their place men and women with a commitment to follow the Constitution and cut the size of government.

I believe that we are in the early days of a history-making turn.

Please know how important your calls, visits, and letters are to the maintenance of our liberties. Because of you, Congress responded and we are starting to undo the damage that’s been done.

We believe in lower taxes, a limited view of government and the exceptionalism of America. And I believe America is the indispensible nation.

Just the creation of this nation was a miracle. Who’s to say that we can’t see a miracle again?

The perilous battle that was fought in the pacific, at Iwo Jima, was a battle against all odds, and yet the image of the young G.I.s in the incursion against the Japanese immortalizes their victory. These six young men raising the flag came to symbolize all of America coming together to beat back a totalitarian aggressor.

Our current debt crisis we face today is different, but we still need all of us to pull together. We can do this.

And that’s the hope we hold tonight as Americans. We will push forward to reclaim the greatness of our country and to proclaim the liberty upon which we were founded.

And we will do so because we the people will never give up on this great nation.

God bless you, and God bless America.

Analysis of the SOTU and other two speeches, will be in separate post.

Part #2- VIDEO- Focus group responses to the SOTU- 2011

Part #3- Fact Check: SOTU And Obama Speaking Out Of Both Sides Of His Mouth