Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) argue that health care reform legislation should be posted online for 72 hours before it is voted on, to give members of Congress and the public a chance to know what is in the bill and how much it will cost and to allow time for public input.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) argue that health care reform legislation should be posted online for 72 hours before it is voted on, to give members of Congress and the public a chance to know what is in the bill and how much it will cost and to allow time for public input.
Posted by sookietex at 7:53 PM || ||
Monday, September 28, 2009
WASHINGTON – Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Steele released the following statement today:
"Today, I am proud to join with my fellow Americans in celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month. Between September 15th and October 15th the Republican National Committee will partner with the Hispanic American community to honor their past, present, and future contributions to our great nation. I hope all Americans will join me in celebrating the cultural richness the Hispanic American community has brought to America throughout the years."
DECLARACIÓN DEL COMITÉ REPUBLICANO NACIONAL SOBRE EL MES DE LA HERENCIA HISPÁNICA
WASHINGTON – El Presidente del Comité Republicano Nacional (RNC), Michael Steele, emitió hoy la siguiente declaración:
“Hoy, me enorgullece unirme a mis compatriotas estadounidenses para celebrar el Mes de la Herencia Hispánica. Del 15 de septiembre al 15 de octubre, el Comité Republicano Nacional se unirá a la comunidad hispánica para celebrar y honrar sus contribuciones pasadas, presentes y futuras a nuestra gran nación. Espero que todos los estadounidenses me acompañen en celebrar la riqueza cultural que la comunidad hispánica norteamericana ha traído a los Estados Unidos.”
Paid for by the Republican National Committee. Not Authorized By Any Candidate Or Candidate's Committee www.GOP.com
Posted by sookietex at 5:04 PM || ||
WASHINGTON – The Republican National Committee announced a new web video today on President Obama’s health care taxes.
“For months, President Obama has tried to convince the American people that his government-run health care experiment will be all gain and no pain, but they aren’t buying it. The fact is, his plan contains huge new taxes that will harm the economy and cost more jobs. Democrats are paying for their dangerous experiment with higher taxes on small business owners, charitable giving, and even middle-class families who can least afford it. I encourage President Obama to abandon these health care taxes and set a course for a truly bipartisan bill that embraces reforms Americans actually want and need.” – RNC Chairman Michael Steele
Voice: “Barack Obama and Democrats promise that healthcare reform will lower costs.”
Voice: “But their plans deliver increased taxes.”
Chyron: THEIR PLANS DELIVER INCREASED TAXES
Chyron: TAXES ON
Voice: “Taxes on tests, scans and x-rays.”
Chyron: NEW TAXES ON
Voice: “New taxes on charities and small businesses.”
Chyron: CHARITIES AND SMALL BUSINESSES
Voice: “A doctor’s tax.”
Chyron: A DOCTOR’S TAX
Voice: “Taxes on your health insurance.”
Chyron: TAXES ON YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE
Voice: “Even a tax on medical supplies.”
Chyron: EVEN A TAX ON MEDICAL SUPPLIES
Voice: “Hundreds of billions in new taxes.”
Chyron: HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS IN NEW TAXES
Voice: “All of it passed right back to the consumer.”
Chyron: PASSED BACK TO YOU
Voice: “And if you think you can’t afford it.”
Chyron: IF YOU THINK YOU CAN’T AFFORD IT
Voice: “You can’t afford not to.”
Chyron: YOU CAN’T AFFORD NOT TO
Voice: “Because they’ve even proposed a tax for not having health insurance.”
Chyron: A TAX FOR NOT HAVING HEALTH INSURANCE
Voice: “With at least 8 new taxes.”
Chyron: WITH AT LEAST 8 NEW TAXES
Voice: “Your health insurance costs will skyrocket.”
Chyron: YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE COSTS WILL SKYROCKET
Voice: “Of course it’s easy to raise taxes when you live in denial about the very meaning of the word.”
Chyron: WHEN YOU LIVE IN DENIAL ABOUT THE VERY MEANING OF THE WORD
George Stephanopoulos: “Under this mandate, the government is forcing people to spend money, fining you if you don’t. How is that not a tax?”
President Obama: “No. That’s not true George. For us to say that you’ve got to take a responsibility to get health insurance, is absolutely not a tax increase.”
George Stephanopoulos: “Webster’s dictionary: ‘tax: a charge, usually of money, imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes.’”
Chyron: TAX: a charge usually of money imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes
Voice: “Obama health care taxes.”
Chyron: OBAMA HEALTH CARE TAXES
Voice: “Wrong for health care.”
Chyron: WRONG FOR HEALTH CARE
Voice: “Wrong for our economy.”
Chyron: WRONG FOR OUR ECONOMY
Voice: “Learn more at barackobamaexperiment.com.”
Paid for by the Republican National Committee, Not Authorized By Any Candidate Or Candidate's Committee www.GOP.com
Posted by sookietex at 4:38 PM || ||
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Remarks of President Barack Obama Weekly Address Saturday, Sepyember 26, 2009 Washington, DC PODCAST OF THIS ARTICLE Download MP3 4.43 mb MP4 VIDEO (79 MB)
This week, I joined leaders from around the world at the United Nations and the G-20 economic summit in Pittsburgh. Today, I can report on what we achieved—a new commitment to meet common challenges, and real progress in advancing America’s national security and economic prosperity.
|As I said at the U.N., over the past nine months my administration has renewed American leadership, and pursued a new era of engagement in which we call upon all nations to live up to their responsibilities.|
In Pittsburgh, the world’s major economies agreed to continue our effort to spur global demand to put our people back to work. We committed ourselves to economic growth that is balanced and sustained— so that we avoid the booms and busts of the past. We reached an historic agreement to reform the global financial system—to promote responsibility and prevent abuse so that we never face a crisis like this again. And we reformed our international economic architecture, so that we can better coordinate our effort to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
We also established American leadership in the global pursuit of the clean energy of the 21st century. I am proud that the G-20 nations agreed to phase out $300 billion worth of fossil fuel subsidies. This will increase our energy security, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, combat the threat of climate change, and help create the new jobs and industries of the future.
In New York, we advanced the cause of peace and security. I joined the first meeting between Israeli and Palestinian leaders in nearly a year—a meeting that even nine months ago did not seem possible. And we resolved to move forward in the journey toward a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East.
We also took unprecedented steps to secure loose nuclear materials; to stop the spread of nuclear weapons; and to seek a world without them. As the first U.S. president to ever chair a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, I was proud that the Council passed an historic and unanimous resolution embracing the comprehensive strategy I outlined this year in Prague.
To prevent nuclear weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists, the Security Council endorsed our global effort to lock down all vulnerable material within four years. We reaffirmed the basic compact of the global nonproliferation regime: all nations have the right to peaceful nuclear energy; nations with nuclear weapons have the responsibility to move toward disarmament; and nations without them have the responsibility to forsake them.
The United States is meeting our responsibilities by pursuing an agreement with Russia to reduce our strategic warheads and launchers. And just as we meet our responsibilities, so must other nations, including Iran and North Korea.
Earlier this year, we imposed tough, new, sanctions on North Korea to stop their efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction. And we will continue to stand with our allies and partners to press North Korea to move in a new direction.
This week, we joined with the United Kingdom and France in presenting evidence that Iran has been building a secret nuclear facility to enrich uranium. This is a serious challenge to the global nonproliferation regime, and continues a disturbing pattern of Iranian evasion. That is why international negotiations with Iran scheduled for October 1st now take on added urgency.
My offer of a serious, meaningful dialogue to resolve this issue remains open. But Iran must now cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and take action to demonstrate its peaceful intentions.
On this, the international community is more united than ever before. Yesterday, I stood shoulder-to-shoulder with our European allies in condemning Iran’s program. In our meetings and public statements, President Medvedev of Russia and I agreed that Iran must pursue a new course or face consequences. All of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, and Germany, have made it clear that Iran must fulfill its responsibilities.
Iran’s leaders must now choose – they can live up to their responsibilities and achieve integration with the community of nations. Or they will face increased pressure and isolation, and deny opportunity to their own people.
These are the urgent threats of our time. And the United States is committed to a new chapter of international cooperation to meet them. This new chapter will not be written in one week or even one year. But we have begun. And for the American people and the people of the world, it will mean greater security and prosperity for years to come.
Posted by sookietex at 1:30 PM || ||
Hello, I'm Senator Johnny Isakson from Georgia.
First, I want to send my condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives in the floods that have devastated my home state this past week. I am working with Senator Saxby Chambliss, Governor Sonny Perdue and the administration to bring federal assistance to those who have suffered damages.
They get anxious when they see the President and the Democrats in such a rush to pass a 1,000-page bill to overhaul our healthcare system.
They get anxious when they see the word billions and trillions to describe...
...the cost because they know Washington doesn't have that kind of extra cash lying around.
They know that can only mean one thing – more debt and higher taxes.
They get anxious when they hear Democrats want to cut hundreds of billions from Medicare because they know you can't cut costs without cutting benefits for our seniors.
They get anxious when they hear public option, trigger or co-op because they know those are just different labels that can lead to the same thing -- government control of our healthcare system.
They know government-run healthcare doesn't work in Canada or in England, and it won’t work in America either.
How did the Democrats respond to all these concerns this week when they unveiled their latest version of this bill?
They didn’t. They ignored them altogether.
The Senate Finance Committee took up yet another healthcare bill that looks an awful lot like the Democrats' earlier proposals. It would still result in a major expansion of government into our healthcare, and the cost will be $1 trillion, $700 billion over 10 years when the bill is fully implemented.
It would still cut Medicare benefits for our seniors.
It would still expand Medicaid dramatically, forcing my state and states across the country to pay billions for their share of the expansion.
And it would still impose taxes on virtually every American and small business.
If you have insurance, you get taxed.
If you don’t have insurance, you get taxed.
If you’re an employer who cannot afford to provide health insurance to your employees, you get taxed.
Manufacturers of medical devices such as hearing aids will get taxed. That means anyone who needs these devices will pay higher prices.
I ran a small business in Georgia for 22 years, and I know what it’s like to have to make payroll during tough times.
The kind of massive tax increases proposed by the Democrats is exactly the wrong approach for our families, our small businesses and our economy, especially in a recession.
Republicans believe the key to reforming healthcare is strengthening the doctor-patient relationship by using choice and competition – rather than rationing and restrictions – to contain costs and ensure access to affordable healthcare.
And Republicans want common-sense medical liability reform to eliminate frivolous lawsuits against doctors and hospitals.
This latest proposal from the Democrats calls for only a non-binding ‘Sense of the Senate’ on medical liability. This is lip service that will do nothing to lower healthcare costs.
Americans are rightly concerned about the rush to pass a massive overhaul that will raise their taxes, lower their quality of care and put government between them and their doctor.
They also are concerned about the heavy-handed approach the Democrats have taken, such as demonizing regular citizens for asking questions about their plans and imposing a gag order on insurers for suggesting anyone might lose benefits under the Democrats’ plan.
The American people expect us to get this right and to do it in an open, honest and bipartisan debate. That’s what they deserve. But, that’s not what they’re getting from the Democrats on Capitol Hill.
Thank you and God bless you and God bless the United States of America. ###
Posted by sookietex at 10:24 AM || ||
Friday, September 25, 2009
Representative Michele Bachmann
|U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann (MN-06), a former federal tax attorney, today praised the IRS’ decision to sever ties with ACORN and its involvement in the volunteer tax assistance program:|
On September 11, 2009, Bachmann sent a letter to the IRS requesting that it immediately revoke ACORN’s current tax exempt status. A copy of the letter is below:
September 11, 2009
The Honorable Douglas Shulman
Internal Revenue Service
1111 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20224
Dear Commissioner Shulman,
This week, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), an organization that has received more than $53 million in direct federal funding since 1994, once again made unsavory headlines.
On Wednesday, FBI and state authorities charged 11 ACORN employees with voter registration fraud in Miami, Florida. In this case, of 1,400 registration cards collected by these employees, 888 were found to be falsified. A day later, two Baltimore-based ACORN workers were caught on camera giving advice to a couple, whom they believed were opening a brothel, on avoiding taxes, seeking HUD grants, and setting up a prostitution ring as a legitimate business. Today, yet another video surfaced showing two more ACORN employees assisting this couple under the same premise in Washington, D.C.
Unfortunately, the past week brought to light further evidence that ACORN either cannot or will not enforce even the most basic standards of ethical behavior amongst its employees. This is not something that should be new and surprising to anyone who has seen the plethora of headlines about criminal investigations, indictments, and consent decrees in more than a dozen states.
For instance, just four months ago, Nevada authorities filed criminal charges against ACORN and two former employees for voter registration fraud. Authorities alleged that ACORN had policies requiring employees in Las Vegas to sign up 20 new voters per day or be fired, a violation of state quota laws. In January 2009, a voter registration worker for ACORN in East St. Louis was indicted on two counts of voter fraud for submitting forged cards for residents at nursing homes without their knowledge. In October 2008, reports emerged that a Philadelphia man was charged with forgery, allegedly altering 18 voter registration applications. That same month, an ACORN worker in Washington State was convicted of helping to register nearly 2,000 voters who did not exist.
Despite ACORN’s pleas that this is just a few bad apples, it’s clear that the problems exist on a systemic level. In fact, Nevada’s Democrat attorney general, Catherine Cortez Masto, said earlier this year that ACORN’s own training manuals “clearly detail, condone and require illegal acts.” The new videos that surfaced this week provide a clear glimpse into the behind-the-scenes activities occurring in ACORN offices across our nation.
So long as this dark cloud of suspicion is hanging over ACORN, this organization should no longer enjoy the privilege of tax-exempt status. Evidence that it has abused taxpayer dollars continues to mount and the IRS should strip this organization and its affiliates from its current tax-exempt status immediately. And, if this is not action that the IRS intends to take, I respectfully request a response from you as to the reasons that the IRS deems such actions to be unwarranted.
Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to your prompt reply. Please do not hesitate to contact me or my Legislative Director, Jessica Perry, at 202-225-2331 should you have any questions.
Michele Bachmann, Member of Congress ###
THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary. For Immediate Release. September 23, 2009.
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT TO THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, United Nations Headquarters. New York, New York. 10:10 A.M. EDT.
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, fellow delegates, ladies and gentlemen, it is my honor to address you for the first time as the 44th President of the United States. (Applause.) I come before you humbled by the responsibility that the American people have placed upon me, mindful of the enormous challenges of our moment in history, and determined to act boldly and collectively on behalf of justice and prosperity at home and abroad.
I have been in office for just nine months -- though some days it seems a lot longer. I am well aware of the expectations that accompany my presidency around the world. These expectations are not about me. Rather, they are rooted, I believe, in a discontent with a status quo that has allowed us to be increasingly defined by our differences, and outpaced by our problems. But they are also rooted in hope -- the hope that real change is possible, and the hope that America will be a leader in bringing about such change.
I took office at a time when many around the world had come to view America with skepticism and distrust. Part of this was due to misperceptions and misinformation about my country. Part of this was due to opposition to specific policies, and a belief that on certain critical issues, America has acted unilaterally, without regard for the interests of others. And this has fed an almost reflexive anti-Americanism, which too often has served as an excuse for collective inaction.
Now, like all of you, my responsibility is to act in the interest of my nation and my people, and I will never apologize for defending those interests. But it is my deeply held belief that in the year 2009 -- more than at any point in human history -- the interests of nations and peoples are shared. The religious convictions that we hold in our hearts can forge new bonds among people, or they can tear us apart. The technology we harness can light the path to peace, or forever darken it. The energy we use can sustain our planet, or destroy it. What happens to the hope of a single child -- anywhere -- can enrich our world, or impoverish it.
In this hall, we come from many places, but we share a common future. No longer do we have the luxury of indulging our differences to the exclusion of the work that we must do together. I have carried this message from London to Ankara; from Port of Spain to Moscow; from Accra to Cairo; and it is what I will speak about today -- because the time has come for the world to move in a new direction. We must embrace a new era of engagement based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and our work must begin now.
We know the future will be forged by deeds and not simply words. Speeches alone will not solve our problems -- it will take persistent action. For those who question the character and cause of my nation, I ask you to look at the concrete actions we have taken in just nine months.
On my first day in office, I prohibited -- without exception or equivocation -- the use of torture by the United States of America. (Applause.) I ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed, and we are doing the hard work of forging a framework to combat extremism within the rule of law. Every nation must know: America will live its values, and we will lead by example.
We have set a clear and focused goal: to work with all members of this body to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda and its extremist allies -- a network that has killed thousands of people of many faiths and nations, and that plotted to blow up this very building. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, we and many nations here are helping these governments develop the capacity to take the lead in this effort, while working to advance opportunity and security for their people.
In Iraq, we are responsibly ending a war. We have removed American combat brigades from Iraqi cities, and set a deadline of next August to remove all our combat brigades from Iraqi territory. And I have made clear that we will help Iraqis transition to full responsibility for their future, and keep our commitment to remove all American troops by the end of 2011.
I have outlined a comprehensive agenda to seek the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. In Moscow, the United States and Russia announced that we would pursue substantial reductions in our strategic warheads and launchers. At the Conference on Disarmament, we agreed on a work plan to negotiate an end to the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons. And this week, my Secretary of State will become the first senior American representative to the annual Members Conference of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
Upon taking office, I appointed a Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, and America has worked steadily and aggressively to advance the cause of two states -- Israel and Palestine -- in which peace and security take root, and the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians are respected.
To confront climate change, we have invested $80 billion in clean energy. We have substantially increased our fuel-efficiency standards. We have provided new incentives for conservation, launched an energy partnership across the Americas, and moved from a bystander to a leader in international climate negotiations.
To overcome an economic crisis that touches every corner of the world, we worked with the G20 nations to forge a coordinated international response of over $2 trillion in stimulus to bring the global economy back from the brink. We mobilized resources that helped prevent the crisis from spreading further to developing countries. And we joined with others to launch a $20 billion global food security initiative that will lend a hand to those who need it most, and help them build their own capacity.
We've also re-engaged the United Nations. We have paid our bills. We have joined the Human Rights Council. (Applause.) We have signed the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We have fully embraced the Millennium Development Goals. And we address our priorities here, in this institution -- for instance, through the Security Council meeting that I will chair tomorrow on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, and through the issues that I will discuss today.
This is what we have already done. But this is just a beginning. Some of our actions have yielded progress. Some have laid the groundwork for progress in the future. But make no mistake: This cannot solely be America's endeavor. Those who used to chastise America for acting alone in the world cannot now stand by and wait for America to solve the world's problems alone. We have sought -- in word and deed -- a new era of engagement with the world. And now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges.
Now, if we are honest with ourselves, we need to admit that we are not living up to that responsibility. Consider the course that we're on if we fail to confront the status quo: Extremists sowing terror in pockets of the world; protracted conflicts that grind on and on; genocide; mass atrocities; more nations with nuclear weapons; melting ice caps and ravaged populations; persistent poverty and pandemic disease. I say this not to sow fear, but to state a fact: The magnitude of our challenges has yet to be met by the measure of our actions.
This body was founded on the belief that the nations of the world could solve their problems together. Franklin Roosevelt, who died before he could see his vision for this institution become a reality, put it this way -- and I quote: "The structure of world peace cannot be the work of one man, or one party, or one nation…. It cannot be a peace of large nations -- or of small nations. It must be a peace which rests on the cooperative effort of the whole world."
The cooperative effort of the whole world. Those words ring even more true today, when it is not simply peace, but our very health and prosperity that we hold in common. Yet we also know that this body is made up of sovereign states. And sadly, but not surprisingly, this body has often become a forum for sowing discord instead of forging common ground; a venue for playing politics and exploiting grievances rather than solving problems. After all, it is easy to walk up to this podium and point figures -- point fingers and stoke divisions. Nothing is easier than blaming others for our troubles, and absolving ourselves of responsibility for our choices and our actions. Anybody can do that. Responsibility and leadership in the 21st century demand more.
In an era when our destiny is shared, power is no longer a zero-sum game. No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation. No world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed. No balance of power among nations will hold. The traditional divisions between nations of the South and the North make no sense in an interconnected world; nor do alignments of nations rooted in the cleavages of a long-gone Cold War.
The time has come to realize that the old habits, the old arguments, are irrelevant to the challenges faced by our people. They lead nations to act in opposition to the very goals that they claim to pursue -- and to vote, often in this body, against the interests of their own people. They build up walls between us and the future that our people seek, and the time has come for those walls to come down. Together, we must build new coalitions that bridge old divides -- coalitions of different faiths and creeds; of north and south, east, west, black, white, and brown.
The choice is ours. We can be remembered as a generation that chose to drag the arguments of the 20th century into the 21st; that put off hard choices, refused to look ahead, failed to keep pace because we defined ourselves by what we were against instead of what we were for. Or we can be a generation that chooses to see the shoreline beyond the rough waters ahead; that comes together to serve the common interests of human beings, and finally gives meaning to the promise embedded in the name given to this institution: the United Nations.
That is the future America wants -- a future of peace and prosperity that we can only reach if we recognize that all nations have rights, but all nations have responsibilities as well. That is the bargain that makes this work. That must be the guiding principle of international cooperation.
Today, let me put forward four pillars that I believe are fundamental to the future that we want for our children: non-proliferation and disarmament; the promotion of peace and security; the preservation of our planet; and a global economy that advances opportunity for all people.
First, we must stop the spread of nuclear weapons, and seek the goal of a world without them.
This institution was founded at the dawn of the atomic age, in part because man's capacity to kill had to be contained. For decades, we averted disaster, even under the shadow of a superpower stand-off. But today, the threat of proliferation is growing in scope and complexity. If we fail to act, we will invite nuclear arms races in every region, and the prospect of wars and acts of terror on a scale that we can hardly imagine.
A fragile consensus stands in the way of this frightening outcome, and that is the basic bargain that shapes the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It says that all nations have the right to peaceful nuclear energy; that nations with nuclear weapons have a responsibility to move toward disarmament; and those without them have the responsibility to forsake them. The next 12 months could be pivotal in determining whether this compact will be strengthened or will slowly dissolve.
America intends to keep our end of the bargain. We will pursue a new agreement with Russia to substantially reduce our strategic warheads and launchers. We will move forward with ratification of the Test Ban Treaty, and work with others to bring the treaty into force so that nuclear testing is permanently prohibited. We will complete a Nuclear Posture Review that opens the door to deeper cuts and reduces the role of nuclear weapons. And we will call upon countries to begin negotiations in January on a treaty to end the production of fissile material for weapons.
I will also host a summit next April that reaffirms each nation's responsibility to secure nuclear material on its territory, and to help those who can't -- because we must never allow a single nuclear device to fall into the hands of a violent extremist. And we will work to strengthen the institutions and initiatives that combat nuclear smuggling and theft.
All of this must support efforts to strengthen the NPT. Those nations that refuse to live up to their obligations must face consequences. Let me be clear, this is not about singling out individual nations -- it is about standing up for the rights of all nations that do live up to their responsibilities. Because a world in which IAEA inspections are avoided and the United Nation's demands are ignored will leave all people less safe, and all nations less secure.
In their actions to date, the governments of North Korea and Iran threaten to take us down this dangerous slope. We respect their rights as members of the community of nations. I've said before and I will repeat, I am committed to diplomacy that opens a path to greater prosperity and more secure peace for both nations if they live up to their obligations.
But if the governments of Iran and North Korea choose to ignore international standards; if they put the pursuit of nuclear weapons ahead of regional stability and the security and opportunity of their own people; if they are oblivious to the dangers of escalating nuclear arms races in both East Asia and the Middle East -- then they must be held accountable. The world must stand together to demonstrate that international law is not an empty promise, and that treaties will be enforced. We must insist that the future does not belong to fear.
That brings me to the second pillar for our future: the pursuit of peace.
The United Nations was born of the belief that the people of the world can live their lives, raise their families, and resolve their differences peacefully. And yet we know that in too many parts of the world, this ideal remains an abstraction -- a distant dream. We can either accept that outcome as inevitable, and tolerate constant and crippling conflict, or we can recognize that the yearning for peace is universal, and reassert our resolve to end conflicts around the world.
That effort must begin with an unshakeable determination that the murder of innocent men, women and children will never be tolerated. On this, no one can be -- there can be no dispute. The violent extremists who promote conflict by distorting faith have discredited and isolated themselves. They offer nothing but hatred and destruction. In confronting them, America will forge lasting partnerships to target terrorists, share intelligence, and coordinate law enforcement and protect our people. We will permit no safe haven for al Qaeda to launch attacks from Afghanistan or any other nation. We will stand by our friends on the front lines, as we and many nations will do in pledging support for the Pakistani people tomorrow. And we will pursue positive engagement that builds bridges among faiths, and new partnerships for opportunity.
Our efforts to promote peace, however, cannot be limited to defeating violent extremists. For the most powerful weapon in our arsenal is the hope of human beings -- the belief that the future belongs to those who would build and not destroy; the confidence that conflicts can end and a new day can begin.
And that is why we will support -- we will strengthen our support for effective peacekeeping, while energizing our efforts to prevent conflicts before they take hold. We will pursue a lasting peace in Sudan through support for the people of Darfur and the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, so that we secure the peace that the Sudanese people deserve. (Applause.) And in countries ravaged by violence -- from Haiti to Congo to East Timor -- we will work with the U.N. and other partners to support an enduring peace.
I will also continue to seek a just and lasting peace between Israel, Palestine, and the Arab world. (Applause.) We will continue to work on that issue. Yesterday, I had a constructive meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas. We have made some progress. Palestinians have strengthened their efforts on security. Israelis have facilitated greater freedom of movement for the Palestinians. As a result of these efforts on both sides, the economy in the West Bank has begun to grow. But more progress is needed. We continue to call on Palestinians to end incitement against Israel, and we continue to emphasize that America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. (Applause.)
The time has come -- the time has come to re-launch negotiations without preconditions that address the permanent status issues: security for Israelis and Palestinians, borders, refugees, and Jerusalem. And the goal is clear: Two states living side by side in peace and security -- a Jewish state of Israel, with true security for all Israelis; and a viable, independent Palestinian state with contiguous territory that ends the occupation that began in 1967, and realizes the potential of the Palestinian people. (Applause.)
As we pursue this goal, we will also pursue peace between Israel and Lebanon, Israel and Syria, and a broader peace between Israel and its many neighbors. In pursuit of that goal, we will develop regional initiatives with multilateral participation, alongside bilateral negotiations.
Now, I am not naïve. I know this will be difficult. But all of us -- not just the Israelis and the Palestinians, but all of us -- must decide whether we are serious about peace, or whether we will only lend it lip service. To break the old patterns, to break the cycle of insecurity and despair, all of us must say publicly what we would acknowledge in private. The United States does Israel no favors when we fail to couple an unwavering commitment to its security with an insistence that Israel respect the legitimate claims and rights of the Palestinians. (Applause.) And -- and nations within this body do the Palestinians no favors when they choose vitriolic attacks against Israel over constructive willingness to recognize Israel's legitimacy and its right to exist in peace and security. (Applause.)
We must remember that the greatest price of this conflict is not paid by us. It's not paid by politicians. It's paid by the Israeli girl in Sderot who closes her eyes in fear that a rocket will take her life in the middle of the night. It's paid for by the Palestinian boy in Gaza who has no clean water and no country to call his own. These are all God's children. And after all the politics and all the posturing, this is about the right of every human being to live with dignity and security. That is a lesson embedded in the three great faiths that call one small slice of Earth the Holy Land. And that is why, even though there will be setbacks and false starts and tough days, I will not waver in my pursuit of peace. (Applause.)
Third, we must recognize that in the 21st century, there will be no peace unless we take responsibility for the preservation of our planet. And I thank the Secretary General for hosting the subject of climate change yesterday.
The danger posed by climate change cannot be denied. Our responsibility to meet it must not be deferred. If we continue down our current course, every member of this Assembly will see irreversible changes within their borders. Our efforts to end conflicts will be eclipsed by wars over refugees and resources. Development will be devastated by drought and famine. Land that human beings have lived on for millennia will disappear. Future generations will look back and wonder why we refused to act; why we failed to pass on -- why we failed to pass on an environment that was worthy of our inheritance.
And that is why the days when America dragged its feet on this issue are over. We will move forward with investments to transform our energy economy, while providing incentives to make clean energy the profitable kind of energy. We will press ahead with deep cuts in emissions to reach the goals that we set for 2020, and eventually 2050. We will continue to promote renewable energy and efficiency, and share new technologies with countries around the world. And we will seize every opportunity for progress to address this threat in a cooperative effort with the entire world.
And those wealthy nations that did so much damage to the environment in the 20th century must accept our obligation to lead. But responsibility does not end there. While we must acknowledge the need for differentiated responses, any effort to curb carbon emissions must include the fast-growing carbon emitters who can do more to reduce their air pollution without inhibiting growth. And any effort that fails to help the poorest nations both adapt to the problems that climate change have already wrought and help them travel a path of clean development simply will not work.
It's hard to change something as fundamental as how we use energy. I know that. It's even harder to do so in the midst of a global recession. Certainly, it will be tempting to sit back and wait for others to move first. But we cannot make this journey unless we all move forward together. As we head into Copenhagen, let us resolve to focus on what each of us can do for the sake of our common future.
And this leads me to the final pillar that must fortify our future: a global economy that advances opportunity for all people.
The world is still recovering from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. In America, we see the engine of growth beginning to churn, and yet many still struggle to find a job or pay their bills. Across the globe, we find promising signs, but little certainty about what lies ahead. And far too many people in far too many places live through the daily crises that challenge our humanity -- the despair of an empty stomach; the thirst brought on by dwindling water supplies; the injustice of a child dying from a treatable disease; or a mother losing her life as she gives birth.
In Pittsburgh, we will work with the world's largest economies to chart a course for growth that is balanced and sustained. That means vigilance to ensure that we do not let up until our people are back to work. That means taking steps to rekindle demand so that global recovery can be sustained. And that means setting new rules of the road and strengthening regulation for all financial centers, so that we put an end to the greed and the excess and the abuse that led us into this disaster, and prevent a crisis like this from ever happening again.
At a time of such interdependence, we have a moral and pragmatic interest, however, in broader questions of development -- the questions of development that existed even before this crisis happened. And so America will continue our historic effort to help people feed themselves. We have set aside $63 billion to carry forward the fight against HIV/AIDS, to end deaths from tuberculosis and malaria, to eradicate polio, and to strengthen public health systems. We are joining with other countries to contribute H1N1 vaccines to the World Health Organization. We will integrate more economies into a system of global trade. We will support the Millennium Development Goals, and approach next year's summit with a global plan to make them a reality. And we will set our sights on the eradication of extreme poverty in our time.
Now is the time for all of us to do our part. Growth will not be sustained or shared unless all nations embrace their responsibilities. And that means that wealthy nations must open their markets to more goods and extend a hand to those with less, while reforming international institutions to give more nations a greater voice. And developing nations must root out the corruption that is an obstacle to progress -- for opportunity cannot thrive where individuals are oppressed and business have to pay bribes. That is why we support honest police and independent judges; civil society and a vibrant private sector. Our goal is simple: a global economy in which growth is sustained, and opportunity is available to all.
Now, the changes that I've spoken about today will not be easy to make. And they will not be realized simply by leaders like us coming together in forums like this, as useful as that may be. For as in any assembly of members, real change can only come through the people we represent. That is why we must do the hard work to lay the groundwork for progress in our own capitals. That's where we will build the consensus to end conflicts and to harness technology for peaceful purposes, to change the way we use energy, and to promote growth that can be sustained and shared.
I believe that the people of the world want this future for their children. And that is why we must champion those principles which ensure that governments reflect the will of the people. These principles cannot be afterthoughts -- democracy and human rights are essential to achieving each of the goals that I've discussed today, because governments of the people and by the people are more likely to act in the broader interests of their own people, rather than narrow interests of those in power.
The test of our leadership will not be the degree to which we feed the fears and old hatreds of our people. True leadership will not be measured by the ability to muzzle dissent, or to intimidate and harass political opponents at home. The people of the world want change. They will not long tolerate those who are on the wrong side of history.
This Assembly's Charter commits each of us -- and I quote -- "to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women." Among those rights is the freedom to speak your mind and worship as you please; the promise of equality of the races, and the opportunity for women and girls to pursue their own potential; the ability of citizens to have a say in how you are governed, and to have confidence in the administration of justice. For just as no nation should be forced to accept the tyranny of another nation, no individual should be forced to accept the tyranny of their own people. (Applause.)
As an African American, I will never forget that I would not be here today without the steady pursuit of a more perfect union in my country. And that guides my belief that no matter how dark the day may seem, transformative change can be forged by those who choose to side with justice. And I pledge that America will always stand with those who stand up for their dignity and their rights -- for the student who seeks to learn; the voter who demands to be heard; the innocent who longs to be free; the oppressed who yearns to be equal.
Democracy cannot be imposed on any nation from the outside. Each society must search for its own path, and no path is perfect. Each country will pursue a path rooted in the culture of its people and in its past traditions. And I admit that America has too often been selective in its promotion of democracy. But that does not weaken our commitment; it only reinforces it. There are basic principles that are universal; there are certain truths which are self-evident -- and the United States of America will never waver in our efforts to stand up for the right of people everywhere to determine their own destiny. (Applause.)
Sixty-five years ago, a weary Franklin Roosevelt spoke to the American people in his fourth and final inaugural address. After years of war, he sought to sum up the lessons that could be drawn from the terrible suffering, the enormous sacrifice that had taken place. "We have learned," he said, "to be citizens of the world, members of the human community."
The United Nations was built by men and women like Roosevelt from every corner of the world -- from Africa and Asia, from Europe to the Americas. These architects of international cooperation had an idealism that was anything but naïve -- it was rooted in the hard-earned lessons of war; rooted in the wisdom that nations could advance their interests by acting together instead of splitting apart.
Now it falls to us -- for this institution will be what we make of it. The United Nations does extraordinary good around the world -- feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, mending places that have been broken. But it also struggles to enforce its will, and to live up to the ideals of its founding.
I believe that those imperfections are not a reason to walk away from this institution -- they are a calling to redouble our efforts. The United Nations can either be a place where we bicker about outdated grievances, or forge common ground; a place where we focus on what drives us apart, or what brings us together; a place where we indulge tyranny, or a source of moral authority. In short, the United Nations can be an institution that is disconnected from what matters in the lives of our citizens, or it can be an indispensable factor in advancing the interests of the people we serve.
We have reached a pivotal moment. The United States stands ready to begin a new chapter of international cooperation -- one that recognizes the rights and responsibilities of all nations. And so, with confidence in our cause, and with a commitment to our values, we call on all nations to join us in building the future that our people so richly deserve.
Thank you very much, everybody. (Applause.)
END 10:48 A.M. EDT
Posted by sookietex at 6:44 PM || ||
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Governor Barbour spoke at Heritage last week on the need for tort reform. The Foundry sat down with him for a few minutes afterward.
GOVERNOR BARBOUR PRAISES RATE REDUCTIONS FOR MAJORITY OF MISSISSIPPI PHYSICIANS
Medical malpractice insurance rates fall for fourth consecutive year.
Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney praised the rate reduction.
“Mississippi physicians are now paying 42.2 percent less in premium for their professional liability insurance than they did in 2004, after tort reform was enacted through special sessions of the Mississippi Legislature,” Commissioner Chaney said. “Additional, and much stronger, tort reform was passed during a special session in the spring of 2004. As a result of this combined legislation, Mississippi healthcare has benefited. As an example, if a physician paid $10,000 in premium in 2004, that same physician would pay just $5,780 today as a result of fours years of rate reductions by MACM. In addition, this physician would have received refunds of premium totaling almost $7,000 during this same time period.”
When tort reform was first considered, MACM promised that if the legislation were passed, the company would respond by passing monetary savings to its customers. Through rate reductions and premium refunds for the past four years, MACM has honored this commitment.
“We are very pleased to announce a rate reduction for our insureds for the fourth straight year,” Michael D. Houpt, President and Chief Executive Officer of MACM, said. “As was the case in previous years, the driving force behind this reduction was continued decreases in losses and loss adjustment expenses. In addition to reduced rates at renewal of their policies, physicians have also received premium refunds in December of every year since 2005.”
Founded in 1976, Medical Assurance Company of Mississippi is an organization of physicians and non-physician staff members dedicated to providing sound, stable insurance products and quality related services to physicians and other health care providers practicing in the state of Mississippi.
Posted by sookietex at 5:16 PM || ||
Monday, September 21, 2009
FCC Chair Julius Genachowski announced a proposal that would prevent cable, wireless and telecommunications companies from blocking certain information on the Internet. A panel of industry analysts then discussed the concept called “net neutrality,” along with their ideas for improving broadband access.
TEXT TRANSCRIPT: I’d like to thank Brookings for hosting me and this discussion about the future of broadband and the Internet.
That’s why Congress and the President have charged the FCC with developing a National Broadband Plan to ensure that every American has access to open and robust broadband.
Why has the Internet proved to be such a powerful engine for creativity, innovation, and economic growth? A big part of the answer traces back to one key decision by the Internet’s original architects: to make the Internet an open system.
Historian John Naughton describes the Internet as an attempt to answer the following question: How do you design a network that is “future proof” -- that can support the applications that today’s inventors have not yet dreamed of? The solution was to devise a network of networks that would not be biased in favor of any particular application. The Internet’s creators didn’t want the network architecture -- or any single entity -- to pick winners and losers. Because it might pick the wrong ones. Instead, the Internet’s open architecture pushes decision-making and intelligence to the edge of the network -- to end users, to the cloud, to businesses of every size and in every sector of the economy, to creators and speakers across the country and around the globe. In the words of Tim Berners-Lee, the Internet is a “blank canvas” -- allowing anyone to contribute and to innovate without permission.
It is easy to look at today’s Internet giants -- and the tremendous benefits they have supplied to our economy and our culture -- and forget that many were small businesses just a few years ago, founded on little more than a good idea and a no-frills connection to the Internet. Marc Andreessen was a graduate student when he created Mosaic, which led to Netscape, the first commercially successful Web browser. Mark Zuckerberg was a college student in 2004 when he started Facebook, which just announced that it added its 300 millionth member. Pierre Omidyar originally launched eBay on his own personal website. Today more than 600,000 Americans earn part of their living by operating small businesses on eBay’s auction platform, bringing jobs and opportunity to Danvers, Massachusetts, Durham, North Carolina and Lincoln, Nebraska, and many other communities in both rural and urban America. This is the power of the Internet: distributed innovation and ubiquitous entrepreneurship, the potential for jobs and opportunity everywhere there is broadband.
In 2000, Jimmy Wales started a project to create a free online encyclopedia. He originally commissioned experts to write the entries, but the project only succeeded after moving to volunteers to write them collaboratively. The result is Wikipedia, one of the top 10 most visited websites in the world and one of the most comprehensive aggregations of human knowledge in our history. The potential of collaboration and social media continues to grow. It is changing and accelerating innovation. And we’ve seen new media tools like Twitter and YouTube used by democratic movements around the globe.
Even now, the Internet is beginning to transform health care, education, and energy usage for the better. Health-related applications, distributed over a widely connected Internet, can help bring down health care costs and improve medical service. Four out of five Americans who are online have accessed medical information over the Internet, and most say this information affected their decision-making. Nearly four million college students took at least one online course in 2007, and the Internet can potentially connect kids anywhere to the best information and teachers everywhere. And the Internet is helping enable smart grid technologies, which promise to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by hundreds of millions of metric tons.
At the same time, we have also seen great strides in the center of the network. Most Americans’ early exposure to the Internet was through analog modems, which allowed a trickle of data through the phone lines to support early electronic bulletin boards and basic email. Over the last two decades, thanks to substantial investment and technological ingenuity, companies devised ways to retrofit networks initially designed for phones and one-way video to support two-way broadband data streams connecting homes and businesses across the country. And a revolution in wireless technologies -- using licensed and unlicensed spectrum -- and the creation of path-breaking devices like the Blackberry and iPhone have enabled millions of us to carry the Internet in our pockets and purses.
Notwithstanding its unparalleled record of success, today the free and open Internet faces emerging and substantial challenges. We’ve already seen some clear examples of deviations from the Internet’s historic openness. We have witnessed certain broadband providers unilaterally block access to VoIP applications (phone calls delivered over data networks) and implement technical measures that degrade the performance of peer-to-peer software distributing lawful content. We have even seen at least one service provider deny users access to political content. And as many members of the Internet community and key Congressional leaders have noted, there are compelling reasons to be concerned about the future of openness.
One reason has to do with limited competition among service providers. As American consumers make the shift from dial-up to broadband, their choice of providers has narrowed substantially. I don’t intend that remark as a policy conclusion or criticism -- it is simply a fact about today’s marketplace that we must acknowledge and incorporate into our policymaking.
A second reason involves the economic incentives of broadband providers. The great majority of companies that operate our nation’s broadband pipes rely upon revenue from selling phone service, cable TV subscriptions, or both. These services increasingly compete with voice and video products provided over the Internet. The net result is that broadband providers’ rational bottom-line interests may diverge from the broad interests of consumers in competition and choice.
The third reason involves the explosion of traffic on the Internet. With the growing popularity of high-bandwidth applications, Internet traffic is roughly doubling every two years. Technologies for managing broadband networks have become more sophisticated and widely deployed. But these technologies are just tools. They cannot by themselves determine the right answers to difficult policy questions -- and they raise their own set of new questions.
In acknowledging the existence of challenging competitive, economic, and technological realities for today’s Internet, I want to underscore that this debate, as I see it, isn’t about white hats or black hats among companies in and around the network. Rather, there are inevitable tensions built into our system; important and difficult questions that we have an obligation to ask and to answer correctly for our country.
When I worked in the private sector I was fortunate to work with some of the greatest innovators of our time. That taught me some lessons about the importance of innovation and investment. It also taught me the importance of developing clear goals and then being focused and practical in achieving them, making sure to have the best input and ideas from the broadest group possible.
The rise of serious challenges to the free and open Internet puts us at a crossroads. We could see the Internet’s doors shut to entrepreneurs, the spirit of innovation stifled, a full and free flow of information compromised. Or we could take steps to preserve Internet openness, helping ensure a future of opportunity, innovation, and a vibrant marketplace of ideas.
I understand the Internet is a dynamic network and that technology continues to grow and evolve. I recognize that if we were to create unduly detailed rules that attempted to address every possible assault on openness, such rules would become outdated quickly. But the fact that the Internet is evolving rapidly does not mean we can, or should, abandon the underlying values fostered by an open network, or the important goal of setting rules of the road to protect the free and open Internet.
Saying nothing -- and doing nothing -- would impose its own form of unacceptable cost. It would deprive innovators and investors of confidence that the free and open Internet we depend upon today will still be here tomorrow. It would deny the benefits of predictable rules of the road to all players in the Internet ecosystem. And it would be a dangerous retreat from the core principle of openness -- the freedom to innovate without permission -- that has been a hallmark of the Internet since its inception, and has made it so stunningly successful as a platform for innovation, opportunity, and prosperity.
In view of these challenges and opportunities, and because it is vital that the Internet continue to be an engine of innovation, economic growth, competition and democratic engagement, I believe the FCC must be a smart cop on the beat preserving a free and open Internet.
This is how I propose we move forward: To date, the Federal Communications Commission has addressed these issues by announcing four Internet principles that guide our case-by-case enforcement of the communications laws. These principles can be summarized as: Network operators cannot prevent users from accessing the lawful Internet content, applications, and services of their choice, nor can they prohibit users from attaching non-harmful devices to the network.
The principles were initially articulated by Chairman Michael Powell in 2004 as the “Four Freedoms,” and later endorsed in a unanimous 2005 policy statement issued by the Commission under Chairman Kevin Martin and with the forceful support of Commissioner Michael Copps, who of course remains on the Commission today. In the years since 2005, the Internet has continued to evolve and the FCC has issued a number of important bipartisan decisions involving openness. Today, I propose that the FCC adopt the existing principles as Commission rules, along with two additional principles that reflect the evolution of the Internet and that are essential to ensuring its continued openness.
This means they cannot block or degrade lawful traffic over their networks, or pick winners by favoring some content or applications over others in the connection to subscribers’ homes. Nor can they disfavor an Internet service just because it competes with a similar service offered by that broadband provider. The Internet must continue to allow users to decide what content and applications succeed.
This principle will not prevent broadband providers from reasonably managing their networks. During periods of network congestion, for example, it may be appropriate for providers to ensure that very heavy users do not crowd out everyone else. And this principle will not constrain efforts to ensure a safe, secure, and spam-free Internet experience, or to enforce the law. It is vital that illegal conduct be curtailed on the Internet. As I said in my Senate confirmation hearing, open Internet principles apply only to lawful content, services and applications -- not to activities like unlawful distribution of copyrighted works, which has serious economic consequences. The enforcement of copyright and other laws and the obligations of network openness can and must co-exist.
I also recognize that there may be benefits to innovation and investment of broadband providers offering managed services in limited circumstances. These services are different than traditional broadband Internet access, and some have argued they should be analyzed under a different framework. I believe such services can supplement -- but must not supplant -- free and open Internet access, and that we must ensure that ample bandwidth exists for all Internet users and innovators. In the rulemaking process I will discuss in a moment, we will carefully consider how to approach the question of managed services in a way that maximizes the innovation and investment necessary for a robust and thriving Internet.
I will propose that the FCC evaluate alleged violations of the non-discrimination principle as they arise, on a case-by-case basis, recognizing that the Internet is an extraordinarily complex and dynamic system. This approach, within the framework I am proposing today, will allow the Commission to make reasoned, fact-based determinations based on the Internet before it—not based on the Internet of years past or guesses about how the Internet will evolve.
Why does the FCC need to adopt this principle? The Internet evolved through open standards. It was conceived as a tool whose user manual would be free and available to all. But new network management practices and technologies challenge this original understanding. Today, broadband providers have the technical ability to change how the Internet works for millions of users -- with profound consequences for those users and content, application, and service providers around the world.
To take one example, last year the FCC ruled on the blocking of peer-to-peer transmissions by a cable broadband provider. The blocking was initially implemented with no notice to subscribers or the public. It was discovered only after an engineer and hobbyist living in Oregon realized that his attempts to share public domain recordings of old barbershop quartet songs over a home Internet connection were being frustrated. It was not until he brought the problem to the attention of the media and Internet community, which then brought it to the attention of the FCC, that the improper network management practice became known and was stopped.
We cannot afford to rely on happenstance for consumers, businesses, and policymakers to learn about changes to the basic functioning of the Internet. Greater transparency will give consumers the confidence of knowing that they’re getting the service they’ve paid for, enable innovators to make their offerings work effectively over the Internet, and allow policymakers to ensure that broadband providers are preserving the Internet as a level playing field. It will also help facilitate discussion among all the participants in the Internet ecosystem, which can reduce the need for government involvement in network management disagreements.
To be clear, the transparency principle will not require broadband providers to disclose personal information about subscribers or information that might compromise the security of the network, and there will be a mechanism to protect competitively sensitive data.
In considering the openness of the Internet, it is also important to recognize that our choice of technologies and devices for accessing the Internet continues to expand at a dizzying pace. New mobile and satellite broadband networks are getting faster every day, and extraordinary devices like smartphones and wireless data cards are making it easier to stay connected while on the go. And I note the beginnings of a trend towards openness among several participants in the mobile marketplace.
Even though each form of Internet access has unique technical characteristics, they are all are different roads to the same place. It is essential that the Internet itself remain open, however users reach it. The principles I’ve been speaking about apply to the Internet however accessed, and I will ask my fellow Commissioners to join me in confirming this.
Of course, how the principles apply may differ depending on the access platform or technology. The rulemaking process will enable the Commission to analyze fully the implications of the principles for mobile network architectures and practices -- and how, as a practical matter, they can be fairly and appropriately implemented. As we tackle these complex questions involving different technologies used for Internet access, let me be clear that we will be focused on formulating policies that will maximize innovation and investment, consumer choice, and greater competition.
I’ve talked about what we need to do; now I’d like to talk about how we should do it. I will soon circulate to my fellow Commissioners proposed rules prepared by Commission staff embodying the principles I’ve discussed, and I will ask for their support in issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking. This notice will provide the public with a detailed explanation of what we propose to do and why.
Equally importantly, the notice will ask for input and feedback on the proposed rules and their application, such as how to determine whether network management practices are reasonable, and what information broadband providers should disclose about their network management practices and in what form. And -- as I indicated earlier -- it will pose a series of detailed questions on how the Internet openness principles should apply to mobile broadband.
While my goals are clear -- to ensure the Internet remains a free and open platform that promotes innovation, investment, competition, and users’ interests -- our path to implementing them is not pre-determined. I will ensure that the rulemaking process will be fair, transparent, fact-based, and data-driven. Anyone will be able to participate in this process, and I hope everyone will. We will hold a number of public workshops and, of course, use the Internet and other new media tools to facilitate participation. Today we’ve launched a new website, www.openinternet.gov, to kick off discussion of the issues I’ve been talking about. We encourage everyone to visit the site and contribute to the process.
Some have argued that the FCC should not take affirmative steps to protect the Internet’s openness. Let me be clear about what this is about, and what it isn’t.
The fundamental goal of what I’ve outlined today is preserving the openness and freedom of the Internet.
This is not about government regulation of the Internet. It’s about fair rules of the road for companies that control access to the Internet. We will do as much as we need to do, and no more, to ensure that the Internet remains an unfettered platform for competition, creativity, and entrepreneurial activity.
This is not about protecting the Internet against imaginary dangers. We’re seeing the breaks and cracks emerge, and they threaten to change the Internet’s fundamental architecture of openness. This would shrink opportunities for innovators, content creators, and small businesses around the country, and limit the full and free expression the Internet promises. This is about preserving and maintaining something profoundly successful and ensuring that it’s not distorted or undermined. If we wait too long to preserve a free and open Internet, it will be too late.
Some will seek to invoke innovation and investment as reasons not to adopt open Internet rules. But history’s lesson is clear: Ensuring a robust and open Internet is the best thing we can do to promote investment and innovation. And while there are some who see every policy decision as either pro-business or pro-consumer, I reject that approach; it’s not the right way to see technology’s role in America.
An open Internet will benefit both consumers and businesses. The principles that will protect the open Internet are an essential step to maximize investment and innovation in the network and on the edge of it -- by establishing rules of the road that incentivize competition, empower entrepreneurs, and grow the economic pie to the benefit of all.
I believe we share a common purpose -- we want the Internet to continue flourishing as a platform for innovation and communication, with continued investment and increasing deployment of broadband to all Americans. I believe my fellow Commissioners share this purpose, and I look forward to working collaboratively with them in this endeavor.
In closing, we are here because 40 years ago, a bunch of researchers in a lab changed the way computers interact and, as a result, changed the world. We are here because those Internet pioneers had unique insights about the power of open networks to transform lives for the better, and they did something about it. Our work now is to preserve the brilliance of what they contributed to our country and the world. It’s to make sure that, in the 21st century, the garage, the basement, and the dorm room remain places where innovators can not only dream but bring their dreams to life. And no one should be neutral about that.
Posted by sookietex at 7:17 PM || ||
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Remarks of President Barack Obama Weekly Address Saturday, Sepyember 19, 2009 Washington, DC PODCAST OF THIS ARTICLE Download MP3 5.2 mb MP4 VIDEO (100 MB)
Leaders of the world’s largest economies will gather next week in Pittsburgh for the second time this year. The first meeting of the G-20 nations in April came at the height of the global financial crisis – a crisis that required unprecedented international cooperation to jumpstart the world’s economies and help break the downward spiral that enveloped all our nations.
Because of the steps taken by our nation and all nations, we can now say that we have stopped our economic freefall. But we also know that stopping the bleeding isn’t nearly enough. Our work is far from over. We know we still have a lot to do here at home to build an economy that is producing good jobs for all those who are looking for work today. And we know we still have a lot to do, in conjunction with nations around the world, to strengthen the rules governing financial markets and ensure that we never again find ourselves in the precarious situation we found ourselves in just one year ago.
As I told leaders of our financial community in New York City earlier this week, a return to normalcy can’t breed complacency. To protect our economy and people from another market meltdown, our government needs to fundamentally reform the rules governing financial firms and markets to meet the challenges of the 21st century. We cannot allow the thirst for reckless schemes that produce quick profits and fat executive bonuses to override the security of our entire financial system and leave taxpayers on the hook for cleaning up the mess. And as the world’s largest economy, we must lead, not just by word, but by example, understanding that in the 21st century, financial crises know no borders. All of us need to act more responsibly on behalf of a better economic future.
That is why, at next week’s G20 summit, we’ll discuss some of the steps that are required to safeguard our global financial system and close gaps in regulation around the world – gaps that permitted the kinds of reckless risk-taking and irresponsibility that led to the crisis. And that’s why I’ve called on Congress to put in place a series of tough, common-sense rules of the road that will protect consumers from abuse, let markets function fairly and freely, and help prevent a crisis like this from ever happening again.
Central to these reforms is a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency. Part of what led to this crisis were not just decisions made on Wall Street, but also unsustainable mortgage loans made across the country. While many folks took on more than they knew they could afford, too often folks signed contracts they didn’t fully understand offered by lenders who didn’t always tell the truth. That’s why we need clear rules, clearly enforced. And that’s what this agency will do.
Consumers shouldn’t have to worry about loan contracts written to confuse, hidden fees attached to their mortgages, and financial penalties – whether through a credit card or debit card – that appear without a clear warning on their statements. And responsible lenders, including community banks, trying to do the right thing shouldn’t have to worry about ruinous competition from unregulated and unscrupulous competitors.
Not surprisingly, lobbyists for big Wall Street banks are hard at work trying to stop reforms that would hold them accountable and they want to keep things just the way they are. But we cannot let politics as usual triumph so business as usual can reign. We cannot let the narrow interests of a few come before the interests of all of us. We cannot forget how close we came to the brink, and perpetuate the broken system and breakdown of responsibility that made it possible.
In the weeks and months ahead, we have an opportunity to build on the work we’ve already done. An opportunity to rebuild our global economy stronger that before. An opportunity not only to protect the American people and America’s economy, but to promote sustained and balanced growth and prosperity for our nation and all nations. And that’s an opportunity I am determined to seize.
So, thanks for listening and thanks for watching, and to our Jewish friends, who are celebrating Rosh Hashanah, have a happy and healthy New Year. Shanah Tovah.
Posted by sookietex at 4:48 PM || ||
Hi, I’m Congresswoman Sue Myrick from North Carolina’s Ninth District.
Nine years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I knew something was wrong with my body – but it took six doctors, three mammograms and one ultrasound before they finally they found my cancer. This process took only a few weeks.
These so-called healthcare reform bills have different names: a public option, a co-op, a trigger. Make no mistake, these are all gateways to government-run healthcare.
For small business owners, these proposals mean higher taxes at a time when unemployment is nearing 10% and analysts are predicting that any kind of recovery will be a jobless one.
As a former small-business owner, I can tell you from experience, that this is the worst possible time to be imposing new, job-killing taxes. In fact, the nation’s largest small business association found the health care tax increases being proposed would lead to the elimination of more than 1.6 million jobs.
And for seniors, expect massive cuts to Medicare; which is unacceptable under any circumstances. Doing this now, without implementing significant reforms to make the program more efficient, would leave seniors susceptible to the rationing of care.
All of this comes at a price tag of roughly $1 trillion in the midst of a year in which the government continues to set new records for red ink.
It’s time we heed the American people’s frustrations with the increased spending and big government growth going on in Washington. There is another way to reform healthcare – and options we can agree on to move forward. Please go to healthcare.gop.gov to learn more. I’m Congresswoman Sue Myrick. Thank you for listening. ###
Posted by sookietex at 3:10 PM || ||
Friday, September 18, 2009
|European Missile Plan Offers Better Defense, Gates Say,s By Fred W. Baker III American Forces Press Service.|
WASHINGTON, Sept. 17, 2009 – Changing threats and emerging technologies drove the decision to restructure the European missile defense plan, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said today.
In December 2006, Gates recommended to then-President George W. Bush that the United States should put advanced radars in the Czech Republic and 10 ground-based interceptors in Poland.
Marine Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, right, and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates answer questions from reporters during a press briefing at the Pentagon, Sept. 17, 2009. DoD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Molly A. Burgess. (Click photo for screen-resolution image); high-resolution image available.
|That was when intelligence officials gauged the development of Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile as the foremost threat to the United States and its allies.|
Now, intelligence reports paint a different picture – that the country is moving faster to develop its shorter-range missiles.
Gates responded by recommending to President Barack Obama that the United States now begin phasing in a missile defense system that puts radars and missiles in place sooner that are more suited to protect against the current threat. Plans are then to continue building on the system to increase its range of defense capabilities.
“This new approach will provide capabilities sooner, build on proven systems, and offer greater defenses against the threat of missile attack than the 2007 European missile defense program,” Obama said today.
Driving the initial phase of the new plan is deploying the Navy’s Aegis weapons-system-equipped ships to the region by 2011. These are equipped with the Standard Missile 3 interceptor, which has had several successful tests in the past two years. They will be supported by some forward-position Army radar systems.
This will give the military a smaller range of detection and protection, but is enough initially to protect U.S. troops and allies against Iran’s shorter range missiles.
“We can now field initial elements of the system to protect our forces in Europe and our allies roughly six to seven years earlier than the previous plan,” Gates said.
As the SM-3 is improved, defense officials will look for positions in Europe to put them on the ground. Talks already are under way with both Poland and the Czech Republic, Gates said.
Additional sensors and more interceptors will be added and by 2020 the system will grow to cover all of Europe and have the capability to knock down multiple targets. It also will give the military the flexibility to move some of its assets to different fronts to combat new threats, Gates said.
“This gives us at least some capability early on and then an increasingly enhanced capability through this entire period,” Gates said.
Flexibility is key to the plan, officials said. Originally, the plan centered on the idea of defending against three to five missiles fired from a single rogue nation. Now they believe the United States could have to defend against several missiles simultaneously.
This makes the SM-3 ideal for the job as it is more deployable and cheaper for the military to use against such threats. One Aegis ship can carry about 100 of the interceptors. Also, SM-3s cost about $10 million each, as opposed to a ground-based interceptor -- like those now on standby in Alaska and California -- that top out at about $70 million.
Another feature of the new system is that other countries can combine their radars and interceptors with the United States to increase its range. Many countries already use the Aegis system, and the Japanese already have promised $1 billion toward the development of the improved SM-3, officials said.
“This is a significant opportunity to work in a global construct to both field and fund and maintain this capability in a way that we had not been able to do in the past,” said Marine Corps Gen. James E. Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also at today’s briefing. “We are looking at other partners, both in the sensor and the weapons side, because it does not have to be just American weapons and just American sensors.”
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