How could these 2012 presidential hopefuls get things so wrong!

I am so surprised how these 2012 presidential hopefuls who want to run for the conservatives could get things so wrong! At their first New Hampshire debate, the fact checkers from found a number of incorrect, misleading or shaky factual claims:

  • Pawlenty was wrong when he boasted that he was "one of the few governors" to respond to a Bush request to send guardsmen to the southern border. In fact, all 50 states participated in that border operation.
  • Romney claimed that "we didn't raise taxes in Massachusetts" to pay for his health care law. In fact, his successor imposed a $1-a-pack tax increase on cigarettes to pay for the new law.
  • Santorum claimed a Medicare advisory board created by the new federal health care law will result in a rationing of care for seniors. The law specifically says the board “shall not include any recommendation to ration health care.”
  • Santorum was wrong when he said the Obama administration is "against any kind of exploration offshore or in Alaska." The administration has approved 296 new permits for new offshore oil wells since taking office, and it is considering granting the first permits in Alaska since 2004.
  • Bachmann claimed the Congressional Budget Office "has said that Obamacare will kill 800,000 jobs." That's a distortion. CBO said some Americans would work less or leave their jobs if they can get health insurance outside the workplace.
  • Pawlenty said that "[if] Brazil can have 5 percent growth, then the United States of America can have 5 percent growth," showing his economic plan is not unreasonable. But the fact is, World Bank figures show Brazil has failed to achieve 5 percent growth for 23 of the past 30 years.
  • Gingrich again tried to rewrite history by claiming that his words "right-wing social engineering" were "totally taken out of context." In fact, he called Paul Ryan's plan "too big a jump" and "radical" change as well.
(courtesy of

Now these presidential hopefuls are not even presidents yet!
Do the American people think they can trust them once they have been actually elected?
Or are we going to have to worry about a return to a Bushisms?
Republicans have always had trouble with the facts and the truth!
So be prudent!

President Barack Obama Weekly Address June 25, 2011 (Video/Transcipt)

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
June 25, 2011
Pittsburgh, PA

Hello, everybody. Earlier this week, I spoke about our way forward in Afghanistan, and I said that because of the extraordinary work of our men and women in uniform, civilians, and our coalition partners, we will soon begin bringing our troops home, just as we’ve begun doing in Iraq. After a decade of conflict, we’re finally bringing these wars to a responsible end.

That’s in the best interests of America’s security. And it’s also in the best interests of America’s economy. Even though we’ve turned our economy in the right direction over the past couple of years, many Americans are still hurting, and now is the time to focus on nation building here at home.

Of course, there’s been a real debate about where to invest and where to cut, and I’m committed to working with members of both parties to cut our deficits and debt. But we can’t simply cut our way to prosperity. We need to do what’s necessary to grow our economy; create good, middle-class jobs; and make it possible for all Americans to pursue their dreams.

That means giving our kids the best education in the world so they have the knowledge and skills to succeed in this economy. It means rebuilding our crumbling roads, railways, and runways. And it means investing in the cutting-edge research and technologies that will spur growth in the years ahead – from clean energy to advanced manufacturing.

That’s why I’m here today at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, one of America’s leading research universities. Behind me is a display from a company called RedZone Robotics. The robots they make are used to explore water and sewage pipes, and find leaks and breaks before they become expensive problems. But the folks at RedZone aren’t just solving problems; they’re working with unions to create new jobs operating the robots, and they’re saving cities millions of dollars in infrastructure costs.

This company is just one example of how advanced manufacturing can help spur job-creation and economic growth across this country. That’s why this week, we launched what we’re calling an Advanced Manufacturing Partnership. It’s a partnership that brings our federal government together with some of America’s most brilliant minds and some of America’s most innovative companies and manufacturers.

Their mission is to come up with a way to get ideas from the drawing board to the manufacturing floor to the marketplace as swiftly as possible, which will help create quality jobs, and make our businesses more competitive. But they also have a broader mission. It’s to renew the promise of American manufacturing. To help make sure America remains in this century what we were in the last – a country that makes things. A country that out-builds and out-innovates the rest of the world.

I know these have been tough years for American manufacturing, and all the workers and families who’ve built their lives around it. But being here in Pittsburgh, I’m hopeful about the future. I’m hopeful when I think about how companies like RedZone are reinvigorating manufacturing or about how what started as a small trade school is now a global research university. We are a people who’ve always adapted to meet the challenges of a new time; who’ve always shaped our own destiny, and I’m absolutely confident that that’s what we’re going to do one more time. Have a great weekend.


The First Lady Michelle Obama Visits Emthonjeni Community Center in Zandspruit Township, South Africa

Although the video and the speak below are not the same, both display a wonderful picture of the First Lady Michelle Obama!
Soweto, South Africa

MRS. OBAMA: Thank you. Thank you so much. It is such a pleasure and an honor to be here with all of you today.

I want to start by thanking Graca Machel for that just gracious, kind introduction. It is overwhelming. And I want to thank her for her lifetime of service as a champion for women and children. And from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for all of the kindness and generosity that you have shown my family for our visit here. Thank you so much. (Applause.)

I am also honored to share the stage with another remarkable leader, Baleka Mbete. (Applause.) She has played a vital role in advancing equality and promoting development here in South Africa. Thank you to the both of you for joining us here for sharing this moment with all of us.

I also want to thank the Archbishop of Johannesburg for honoring us today with his presence.

And of course, I want to recognize our guests of honor –- these 76 extraordinary young women leaders from here in South Africa and across the continent. (Applause.)

These are young women transforming their communities and their countries, and let me tell you I am so impressed by all of them. I am so proud of everything they have achieved.

And finally, I want to thank the leaders and the congregation of Regina Mundi for hosting us in this sacred space today. It has been more than three decades, but those bullet holes in the ceiling, this broken altar still stand as vivid reminders of the history that unfolded here.

And you all know the story –- how 35 years ago this month, a group of students planned a peaceful protest to express their outrage over a new law requiring them to take courses in Afrikaans. Thousands of them took to the streets, intending to march to Orlando Stadium.

But when security forces opened fire, some fled here to this church. The police followed, first with tear gas, and then with bullets.

And while no one was killed within this sanctuary, hundreds lost their lives that day, including a boy named Hector Pieterson, who was just 12 years old, and Hastings Ndlovu, who was just 15.

Many of the students hadn’t even known about the protest when they arrived at school that morning. But they agreed to take part, knowing full well the dangers involved, because they were determined to get an education worthy of their potential.

And as the Archbishop noted, that June day wasn’t the first, or the last, time that this church stood in the crosscurrents of history. It was referred to as “the parliament of Soweto.” When the congregation sang their hymns, activists would make plans, singing the locations and times of secret meetings. Church services, and even funerals, often became anti-Apartheid rallies. And as President Mandela once put it, “Regina Mundi became a world-wide symbol of the determination of our people to free themselves.”

It is a story that has unfolded across this country and across this continent, and also in my country -- the story of young people 20 years ago, 50 years ago, who marched until their feet were raw, who endured beatings and bullets and decades behind bars, who risked, and sacrificed, everything they had for the freedom they deserved.

And it is because of them that we are able to gather here today. It is because of them that so many of these young women leaders can now pursue their dreams. It is because of them that I stand before you as First Lady of the United States of America. (Applause.) That is the legacy of the independence generation, the freedom generation. And all of you -– the young people of this continent -– you are the heirs of that blood, sweat, sacrifice, and love.

So the question today is, what will you make of that inheritance? What legacy will you leave for your children and your grandchildren? What generation will you be?

Now, I could ask these questions of young people in any country, on any continent. But there is a reason why I wanted to come here to South Africa to speak with all of you.

As my husband has said, Africa is a fundamental part of our interconnected world. And when it comes to the defining challenges of our times –- creating jobs in our global economy, promoting democracy and development, confronting climate change, extremism, poverty and disease -- for all this, the world is looking to Africa as a vital partner.

That is why my husband’s administration is not simply focused on extending a helping hand to Africa, but focusing on partnering with Africans who will shape their future by combating corruption, and building strong democratic institutions, by growing new crops, caring for the sick. And more than ever before, we will be looking to all of you, our young people, to lead the way.

And I’m not just saying that to make you all feel good. (Laughter.) The fact is that in Africa, people under 25 make up 60 percent of the population. And here in South Africa, nearly two-thirds of citizens are under the age of 30. So over the next 20 years, the next 50 years, our future will be shaped by your leadership.

And I want to pause for a moment on that word -– leadership -- because I know that so often, when we think about what that word means, what it means to be a leader, we think of presidents and prime ministers. We think of people who pass laws or command armies, run big businesses, people with fancy titles, big salaries.

And most young people don’t fit that image. And I know that often when you try to make your voices heard, sometimes people don’t always listen. I know there are those who discount your opinions, who tell you you’re not ready, who say that you should sit back and wait your turn.

But I am here today because when it comes to the challenges we face, we simply don’t have time to sit back and wait.

I’m here because I believe that each of you is ready, right here and right now, to start meeting these challenges.

And I am here because I know that true leadership -– leadership that lifts families, leadership that sustains communities and transforms nations –- that kind of leadership rarely starts in palaces or parliaments.

That kind of leadership is not limited only to those of a certain age or status. And that kind of leadership is not just about dramatic events that change the course of history in an instant.

Instead, true leadership often happens with the smallest acts, in the most unexpected places, by the most unlikely individuals.

I mean, think about what happened here in Soweto 35 years ago. Many of the students who led the uprising were younger than all of you. They carried signs made of cardboard boxes and canvass sacks. Yet together, they propelled this cause into the consciousness of the world. And we now celebrate National Youth Day and National Youth Month every year in their honor.

I mean, think about the giants of the struggle –- people like Albertina Sisulu, whose recent passing we all mourn. Orphaned as a teenager, she worked as a nurse to support her siblings. And when her husband, Walter Sisulu, became Secretary-General of the ANC, it was up to her to provide for their family. When he was imprisoned for 26 years, it was up to her to continue his work. And that she did. With a mother’s fierce love for this country, she threw herself into the struggle.

She led boycotts and sit-ins and marches, including the 1956 Women’s March, when thousands of women from across this country, converged on Pretoria to protest the pass laws. They were women of every color, many of them not much older than all of you. Some of them carried their babies on their backs. And for 30 minutes, they stood in complete silence, raising their voices only to sing freedom songs like Nkosi Sikelel iAfrica. Their motto was simple, but clear: “If you strike a woman, you strike a rock.” (Applause.)

Ma Sisulu, the students of Soweto, those women in Pretoria, they had little money, even less status, no fancy titles to speak of. But what they had was their vision for a free South Africa. What they had was an unshakeable belief that they were worthy of that freedom –- and they had the courage to act on that belief. Each of them chose to be a rock for justice. And with countless acts of daring and defiance, together, they transformed this nation.

Together they paved the way for free and fair elections, for a process of healing and reconciliation, and for the rise of South Africa as a political and economic leader on the world stage.

Now, I know that as your generation looks back on that struggle, and on the many liberation movements of the past century, you may think that all of the great moral struggles have already been won.

As you hear the stories of lions like Madiba and Sisulu and Luthuli, you may think that you can never measure up to such greatness.

But while today’s challenges might not always inspire the lofty rhetoric or the high drama of struggles past, the injustices at hand are no less glaring, the human suffering no less acute.

So make no mistake about it: There are still so many causes worth sacrificing for. There is still so much history yet to be made. You can be the generation that makes the discoveries and builds the industries that will transform our economies. You can be the generation that brings opportunity and prosperity to forgotten corners of the world and banishes hunger from this continent forever. You can be the generation that ends HIV/AIDS in our time -- (applause) -- the generation that fights not just the disease, but the stigma of the disease, the generation that teaches the world that HIV is fully preventable, and treatable, and should never be a source of shame. (Applause.)

You can be the generation that holds your leaders accountable for open, honest government at every level, government that stamps out corruption and protects the rights of every citizen to speak freely, to worship openly, to love whomever they choose.

You can be the generation to ensure that women are no longer second-class citizens, that girls take their rightful places in our schools. (Applause.)

You can be the generation that stands up and says that violence against women in any form, in any place -- (applause) -- including the home –- especially the home –- that isn’t just a women’s rights violation. It’s a human rights violation. And it has no place in any society.

You see, that is the history that your generation can make.

Now, I have to be honest. Your efforts might not always draw the world’s attention, except for today. (Laughter.) You may not find yourself leading passionate protests that fill stadiums and shut down city streets. And the change you seek may come slowly, little by little, measured not by sweeping changes in the law, but by daily improvements in people’s lives.

But I can tell you from my own experience –- and from my husband’s experience -– that this work is no less meaningful, no less inspiring, and no less urgent than what you read about in the history books.

You see, it wasn’t that long ago that my husband and I were young, believe it or not -- (laugher) -- just starting out our careers. After he graduated from university, Barack got a job as a community organizer in the struggling neighborhoods on the South Side of Chicago. A lot of people there were out of work and barely getting by. Children had few opportunities and little hope for their future. And trust me, no one thought that this skinny kid with the funny name -- (laughter) -- could make much of a difference.

But Barack started talking to people. He urged them to start working on the change they wanted to see. Soon, slowly, folks started coming together to fight for job training programs and better schools and safer housing for their families.

Slowly, the neighborhoods started to turn around. Little by little, people started feeling hopeful again. And that made Barack feel hopeful.

And I had a similar experience in my own career. Like my husband, I came from a modest background. My parents saved and sacrificed everything they had so that I could get an education. And when I graduated, got a job at a big, fancy law firm -- nice salary, big office. My friends were impressed. My family was proud. By all accounts, I was living the dream.

But I knew something was missing. I knew I didn’t want to be way up in some tall building all alone in an office writing memos. I wanted to be down on the ground working with kids, helping families put food on the table and a roof over their heads.

So I left that job for a new job training young people like yourselves for careers in public service. I was making a lot less money. My office wasn’t so nice. (Laughter.) But every day, I got to watch those young people gain skills and build confidence. And then I saw them go on to mentor and inspire other young people. And that made me feel inspired. It still does.

See, my husband and I, we didn’t change any laws, we didn’t win any awards, get our pictures in the paper. But we were making a difference in people’s lives. We were part of something greater than ourselves. And we knew that in our own small way, we were helping to build a better world. And that is precisely what so many young people are doing every day across this continent.

These 76 young women are outstanding examples. Take Gqibelo Dandala from here in South Africa. She left a lucrative career in investment banking to found the Future of the African Daughter Project, an organization that lifts up young women in rural and township areas. Of her work, she says: “…we are building a legacy which will outlive and outgrow us…”

And then there’s Robyn Kriel. She’s a young reporter from Zimbabwe who has written about corruption and human rights abuses in her country. She was beaten by police; her home raided, her mother imprisoned. But she still hasn’t lost her passion for reporting, because, as she put it, the people of Zimbabwe “want their stories to be told.”

And then there’s Grace Nanyonga, who joins us today from Uganda. Hey, Grace! (Applause.) You go, girl. (Laughter.) Orphaned at the age of 13, she started cooking and selling fish during her school vacations to support her six siblings. Determined to get an education, she founded her own company, and she made enough money to put herself through university. And she’s now started an organization that trains local women to work at her company so that they can support their own families. (Applause.) Of her achievements, she says, simply -- these are her words -- “I made it against all odds” and “I want to be an example for girls in my country and beyond.”

Now, Grace could have been content to make lots of money, and just provide for her own family. Gqibelo could have climbed the corporate ladder, and never looked back. Where is she? Please stand. Grace got to stand. (Laughter.) Come on, where is she? Is she out there? (Applause.) And no one would’ve blamed Robyn -- where’s Robyn? (Applause.) No one would have blamed Robyn if after all she’d been through she decided to quit reporting and pursue an easier career. But these young women -- and these are just examples of stories that go on and on -- these young women could not be content with their own comfort and success when they knew that other people were struggling.

You see, that’s how people of conscience view the world. It’s the belief, as my husband often says, that if any child goes hungry, that matters to me, even if she’s not my child. (Applause.) If any family is devastated by disease, then I cannot be content with my own good health. If anyone is persecuted because of how they look, or what they believe, then that diminishes my freedom and threatens my rights as well.

And in the end, that sense of interconnectedness, that depth of compassion, that determination to act in the face of impossible odds, those are the qualities of mind and heart that I hope will define your generation.

I hope that all of you will reject the false comfort that others’ suffering is not your concern, or if you can’t solve all the world’s problems, then you shouldn’t even try.

Instead, as one of our great American presidents, Teddy Roosevelt, liked to say, I hope that you will commit yourselves to doing “what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are,” because in the end, that is what makes you a lion. Not fortune, not fame, not your pictures in history books, but the refusal to remain a bystander when others are suffering, and that commitment to serve however you can, where you are.

Now it will not be easy. You women know that already. You will have failures and setbacks and critics and plenty of moments of frustration and doubt. But if you ever start to lose heart, I brought you all here today because I want you to think of each other.

Think about Grace, supporting her family all by herself. And think about Robyn, who endured that beating so she could tell other people’s stories. Think about Ma Sisulu, raising her kids alone, surviving banishment, exile, and prison. When reflecting on her journey, Ma Sisulu once said, with her signature humility, she said, “All these years, I never had a comfortable life.”

So you may not always have a comfortable life. And you will not always be able to solve all the world’s problems all at once. But don’t ever underestimate the impact you can have, because history has shown us that courage can be contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own.

It’s what happens when folks start asking questions -- a father asks, “Why should my son go to school, but not my daughter?” Or a mother asks, “Why should I pay a bribe to start a business to support my family?” Or a student stands up and declares, “Yes, I have HIV, and here’s how I’m treating it, and here’s how we can stop it from spreading.”

See, and then soon, they inspire others to start asking questions. They inspire others to start stepping forward.

And those are the “ripples of hope” that a young U.S. senator named Robert Kennedy spoke of when he came here to South Africa 45 years ago this month. In his words, he said, the “numberless diverse acts of courage and belief which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

And that is how a church can become a parliament. That is how a hymn can be a call to action.

That is how a group of young people with nothing more than some handmade signs and a belief in their own God-given potential can galvanize a nation.

And that’s how young people around the world can inspire each other, and draw strength from each other.

I’m thinking today of the young activists who gathered at the American Library here in Soweto to read the speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King for their inspiration.

And I’m thinking of how Dr. King drew inspiration from Chief Luthuli and the young people here in South Africa.

And I’m thinking about how young South Africans singing the American civil rights anthem “We Shall Overcome” in the streets of Cape Town and Durban.

And I’m thinking of how Nkosi Sikelel iAfrica echoed through university campuses in the U.S., as students -– including my husband –- planned boycotts to support students here in South Africa.

And I’m thinking of this church and how those stained windows depicting the struggle were donated by the people of Poland, and how the peace pole in the park outside was donated by people from Japan, and how every week, visitors from every corner of the globe come here to bear witness and draw inspiration from your history.

And finally, I’m thinking of the history of my own country. I mean, America won its independence more than two centuries ago. It has been nearly 50 years since the victories of our own civil rights movement. Yet we still struggle every day to perfect our union and live up to our ideals. And every day, it is our young people who are leading the way. They are the ones enlisting in our military. They’re the ones teaching in struggling schools, volunteering countless hours in countless ways in communities.

And in this past presidential election, they were engaged in our democracy like never before. They studied the issues, followed the campaign, knocked on doors in the freezing snow and the blazing sun, urging people to vote. They waited in line for hours to cast their ballots.

And I have seen that same passion, that same determination to serve in young people I have met all across the world, from India to El Salvador, from Mexico to the United Kingdom to here in South Africa.

So today, I want you to know that as you work to lift up your families, your communities, your countries and your world, know that you are never alone. You are never alone.

As Bobby Kennedy said here in South Africa all those years ago: “…you are joined with fellow young people in every land, they struggling with their problems and you with yours, but all joined in a common purpose…determined to build a better future.”

And if anyone of you ever doubts that you can build that future, if anyone ever tells you that you shouldn’t or you can’t, then I want you to say with one voice –- the voice of a generation –- you tell them, “Yes, we can.” (Applause.) What do you say? Yes, we can. (Applause.) What do you say? Yes, we can!

AUDIENCE: Yes, we can!

MRS. OBAMA: What do you say?

AUDIENCE: Yes, we can!

MRS. OBAMA: Thank you all so much. God bless you. (Applause.)


President Barack Obama Weekly Address June 18, 2011 (Video/Transcipt)

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
June 18, 2011

Hi, everybody. This Father’s Day weekend, I’d like to spend a couple minutes talking about what’s sometimes my hardest, but always my most rewarding job – being a dad.

I grew up without my father around. He left when I was two years old, and even though my sister and I were lucky enough to have a wonderful mother and caring grandparents to raise us, I felt his absence. And I wonder what my life would have been like had he been a greater presence.

That’s why I’ve tried so hard to be a good dad for my own children. I haven’t always succeeded, of course – in the past, my job has kept me away from home more often than I liked, and the burden of raising two young girls would sometimes fall too heavily on Michelle.

But between my own experiences growing up, and my ongoing efforts to be the best father I can be, I’ve learned a few things about what our children need most from their parents.

First, they need our time. And more important than the quantity of hours we spend with them is the quality of those hours. Maybe it’s just asking about their day, or talking a walk together, but the smallest moments can have the biggest impact.

They also need structure, including learning the values of self-discipline and responsibility. Malia and Sasha may live in the White House these days, but Michelle and I still make sure they finish their schoolwork, do their chores, and walk the dog.

And above all, children need our unconditional love – whether they succeed or make mistakes; when life is easy and when life is tough.

And life is tough for a lot of Americans today. More and more kids grow up without a father figure. Others miss a father who’s away serving his country in uniform. And even for those dads who are present in their children’s lives, the recession has taken a harsh toll. If you’re out of a job or struggling to pay the bills, doing whatever it takes to keep the kids healthy, happy and safe can understandably take precedence over all else.

That’s why my administration has offered men who want to be good fathers a little extra support. We’ve boosted community and faith-based groups focused on fatherhood, partnered with businesses to offer opportunities for fathers to spend time with their kids at the bowling alley or ballpark, and worked with military chaplains to help deployed dads connect with their children.

We’re doing this because we all have a stake in forging stronger bonds between fathers and their children. And you can find out more about some of what we’re doing at

But we also know that every father has a personal responsibility to do right by our kids as well. All of us can encourage our children to turn off the video games and pick up a book. All of us can pack a healthy lunch for our son, or go outside and play ball with our daughter. And all of us can teach our children the difference between right and wrong, and show them through our own example the value in treating one another as we wish to be treated.

Our kids are pretty smart. They understand that life won’t always be perfect, that sometimes, the road gets rough, that even great parents don’t get everything right.

But more than anything, they just want us to be a part of their lives.

So recently, I took on a second job: assistant coach for Sasha’s basketball team. On Sundays, we’d get the team together to practice, and a couple of times, I’d help coach the games. It was a lot of fun – even if Sasha rolled her eyes when her dad voiced his displeasure with the refs.

But I was so proud watching her run up and down the court, seeing her learn and improve and gain confidence. And I was hopeful that in the years to come, she’d look back on experiences like these as the ones that helped define her as a person – and as a parent herself.

In the end, that’s what being a parent is all about – those precious moments with our children that fill us with pride and excitement for their future; the chances we have to set an example or offer a piece of advice; the opportunities to just be there and show them that we love them.

That’s something worth remembering this Father’s Day, and every day.

Thanks, and Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. Have a great weekend.


Is this the philosophy of the Republican Party?

If you want to know what the philosophy of the Republican Party is, you should have watched Fareed Zakaria's GPS show or watch it on line.

Ann Hart Coulter who advocates Republican values and frequently appears on television, radio, and as a speaker at public events and private events to amplify her right-wing political opinions, participated in FAREED ZAKARIA GPS  panel discussion and stated,

“It's the utter irresponsibility of former Democrats. It's hard to take treats away from people, and that's what we've done. And Democrats set up a Ponzi scheme with social security and Medicare, and it's running out now. And, yes, it's very hard to take the treats away once you start giving them away, which is why it was utterly irresponsible for Democrats long dead and gone to set up these systems that could never last.”

This shows clearly Republican Party is trying to disseminate within the U.S population.
What’s going on? Where is the U.S.A going if people with opinions like Ann Hart Coulter come to power?
If you are poor, handicap, unemployed or an elderly person, you better look for another country if you want to survive when the Republican Party is elected in 2012!


President Barack Obama Weekly Address June 11, 2011 (Video/Transcipt)

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
June 11, 2011
Washington D.C.

Hello, everyone. I want to spend a couple minutes talking with you about our economy. We’ve just come through the worst recession since the Great Depression, and while our economy as a whole has been growing and adding private sector jobs, too many folks are still struggling to get back on their feet. I wish I could tell you there was a quick fix to our economic problems. But the truth is, we didn’t get into this mess overnight, and we won’t get out of it overnight. It’s going to take time.

The good news is, when it comes to job-creation and economic growth, there are certain things we know we can do. Now, government is not – and should not be – the main engine of job-creation in this country. That’s the role of the private sector. But one thing government can do is partner with the private sector to make sure that every worker has the necessary skills for the jobs they’re applying for.

On Wednesday, I announced commitments by the private sector, colleges, and the National Association of Manufacturers that will make it possible for 500,000 community college students to get a manufacturing credential that has the industry’s stamp of approval. If you’re a company that’s hiring, you’ll know that anyone who has this degree has the skills you’re looking for. If you’re a student considering community college, you’ll know that your diploma will give you a leg up in the job market.

On Monday, I’ll travel to North Carolina, where I’ll meet with my Jobs Council and talk about additional steps we can take to spur private sector hiring in the short-term and ensure our workers have the skills and training they need in this economy.

There are also a few other things we know will help grow our economy, and give people good jobs that support a middle-class lifestyle. We know that a quality education is a prerequisite for success, so we’re challenging states and school districts to improve teaching and learning, and making it a national goal to once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.

We know that more and more jobs are being created in the clean energy sector, so we’re investing in wind power, solar power, and biofuels that will make us less dependent on foreign oil and clean up our planet for our children. These are steps we know will make a difference in people’s lives – not just twenty years from now, or ten years from now, but now, and in the months to come.
In the end, the folks I hear from in letters or meet when I travel across the country – they aren’t asking for much. They’re just looking for a job that covers their bills. They’re just looking for a little financial security. They want to know that if they work hard and live within their means, everything will be all right. They’ll be able to get ahead, and give their kids a better life. That’s the dream each of us has for ourselves and our families. And so long as I have the privilege of serving as President, I’ll keep fighting to put that dream within reach for all Americans. Have a great weekend, everybody.

President Obama exchanges toasts with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (Video/Transcipt)

Rose Garden

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good evening. Guten abend. Michelle and I are honored to welcome you as we host Chancellor Merkel, Professor Sauer, and the German delegation for the first official visit and State Dinner for a European leader during my presidency. (Applause.)

Angela, you and the German people have always shown me such warmth during my visits to Germany. I think of your gracious hospitality in Dresden. I think back to when I was a candidate and had that small rally in Berlin’s Tiergarten. (Laughter.) So we thought we’d reciprocate with a little dinner in our Rose Garden.

Now, it’s customary at these dinners to celebrate the values that bind nations. Tonight, we want to do something different. We want to pay tribute to an extraordinary leader who embodies these values and who’s inspired millions around the world -- including me -- and that’s my friend, Chancellor Merkel.

More than five decades ago -- in 1957 -- the first German chancellor ever to address our Congress, Konrad Adenauer, spoke of his people’s “will of freedom” and of the millions of his countrymen forced to live behind an Iron Curtain. And one of those millions, in a small East German town, was a young girl named Angela.

She remembers when the Wall went up and how everyone in her church was crying. Told by the communists that she couldn’t pursue her love of languages, she excelled as a physicist. Asked to spy for the secret police, she refused. And the night the Wall came down, she crossed over, like so many others, and finally experienced what she calls the “incredible gift of freedom.”

Tonight, we honor Angela Merkel not for being denied her freedom, or even for attaining her freedom, but for what she achieved when she gained her freedom. Determined to finally have her say, she entered politics -- rising to become the first East German to lead a united Germany, the first woman chancellor in German history, and an eloquent voice for human rights and dignity around the world.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest honor a President can bestow on a civilian. Most honorees are Americans; only a few others have received it, among them Pope John Paul II, Nelson Mandela, and Helmut Kohl. So please join me in welcoming Chancellor Merkel for the presentation of the next Medal of Freedom. (Applause.)

MILITARY AIDE: Presidential Medal of Freedom to Dr. Angela Merkel. Dr. Angela Merkel came to symbolize the triumph of freedom by becoming the first East German to serve as chancellor of a united Federal Republic of Germany. She also made history when she became Germany’s first female chancellor. A dedicated public servant, Chancellor Merkel has promoted liberty and prosperity in her own country, in Europe, and throughout the world.

[The medal is presented.]

PRESIDENT OBAMA: You can all applaud. (Laughter and applause.)

I’ve got to do the toast. (Laughter.) I want to conclude by inviting all of you to stand and join me in a toast. And I want to do so with the words that Angela spoke two years ago when she became the first German leader to address our Congress since Chancellor Adenauer all those decades ago.

Her words spoke not only to the dreams of that young girl in the East, but to the dreams of all who still yearn for their rights and dignity today: to freedom, which “must be struggled for, and then defended anew, every day of our lives.”

Cheers. Zum wohl. (Applause.)

CHANCELLOR MERKEL: (As translated.) Mr. President, dear Barack, dear Michelle, ladies and gentlemen -- the first political event during my childhood that I distinctly remember is the building of the Berlin Wall 50 years ago. I was seven years old at the time. Seeing the grownups around me, even my parents, so stunned that they actually broke out in tears, was something that shook me to the core. My mother’s family were separated through the building of the Wall.

I grew up in the part of Germany that was not free, the German Democratic Republic. For many years, I dreamt of freedom, just as many others did. Also of the freedom to travel to the United States. And I already had planned this out for the day that I would reach retirement age. That was the age of 60 for men -- sorry, for women at the time, and 65 for men. So we as women were somewhat privileged at the time. (Laughter.)

But imagining that I would one day stand in the Rose Garden of the White House and receive the Medal of Freedom from an American President, that was certainly beyond even my wildest dreams. And believe me, receiving this prestigious award moves me deeply.

My thanks go to the American people, first and foremost, for this extraordinary honor, knowing full well how much you have done for us Germans. And I thank you personally, Mr. President, because you are a man of strong convictions. You touch people with your passion and your visions for a good future for these people, also in Germany.

You have been able time and again to put down important international goalposts, injecting issues such as disarmament, the question of how to shape our relations with the countries of the Middle East, and last but not least, the Middle East -- the solution to the Middle East conflict with new dynamism.

Mr. President, I see the award of the Medal of Freedom as a testimony of the excellent German-American partnership. Our countries stand up together for peace and freedom.

History has often showed us the strength of the forces that are unleashed by the yearning for freedom. It moved people to overcome their fears and openly confront dictators such as in East Germany and Eastern Europe about 22 years ago.

Some of those courageous men and women are with me here tonight. And the Medal of Freedom you so kindly bestowed on me, you also bestowed on them.

The yearning for freedom cannot be contained by walls for long. It was this yearning that brought down the Iron Curtain that divided Germany and Europe, and indeed the world, into two blocs.

America stood resolutely on the side of freedom. It is to this resolve that we Germans owe the unity of our country in peace and freedom.

Also today, the yearning for freedom may well make totalitarian regimes tremble and fall. We have followed with great interest and empathy the profound changes in North Africa and in the Arab world.

Freedom is indivisible. Each and every one has the same right to freedom, be it in North Africa or Belarus, in Myanmar or Iran.

Still, the struggle for freedom is demanding far too many sacrifices, and claiming far too many victims. My thoughts are with our soldiers, our policemen, and the many, many volunteers who try to help. I humbly bow to all those who risk their lives for the cause of freedom.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the horrible attacks of 9/11. Over the past 10 years, we have stepped up significantly our joint fight against terror and for freedom and this in many ways.

We see that living in freedom and defending freedom are two sides of one and the same coin, for the precious gift of freedom doesn’t come naturally, but has to be fought for, nurtured, and defended time and time again.

Sometimes this may seem like an endless fight against windmills. But you see, my personal experience is a quite different one. What we dare not dream of today may well become reality tomorrow.

(Speaking in English.) Neither the chains of dictatorship nor the fetters of oppression can keep down the forces of freedom for long. This is my firm conviction that shall continue to guide me. In this, the Presidential Medal of Freedom shall serve to spur me on and to encourage me.

Mr. President, thank you for honoring me with this prestigious award. (Applause.)


President Obama on Skills for America’s Future Manufacturing Event (Video/Transcipt)

Northern Virginia Community College Alexandria Campus, Alexandria, Virginia

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you, everybody. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you so much. Everybody please have a seat. Thank you.

Thank you so much, everybody. It is great to be back at NOVA. I come here often enough that I think I should be getting some credits. (Laughter.) Plus I’ve got an in with Dr. Biden, and her husband owes me big time, so. (Laughter.)

It is wonderful to see everybody here. We’ve got some special guests. Our outstanding Labor Secretary Hilda Solis is here. Where’s Hilda? (Applause.) Congressman Jim Moran is here, putting on his jacket. (Applause.) The mayor of Alexandria, Bill Euille, is here. (Applause.) The president of Northern Virginia Community College, Dr. Robert Templin, is here. (Applause.)

I just had a chance to see the labs where students are training for jobs working on advanced vehicles, led by a teacher who’s here, Ernie Packer, who spent almost three decades at Ford Motor Company. Where’s Ernie? Did we get him back here? There he is. (Applause.)

That’s why my sleeves are rolled up. I was getting under the hood. (Laughter.) Do you guys want me to work on your car? Don’t do it. (Laughter.)

But I was so impressed not only with the skills that the young people were learning but also with the enthusiasm and excitement of what they see as a potential future. All across America, there are students like the ones that I’ve met here at NOVA, folks who are gaining skills, they’re learning a trade, they’re working hard and putting in the hours to move up the profession that they’ve chosen or to take a chance on a new line of work. Among the students I was meeting here, we saw some looked like 18-, 19-year-olds, but we also saw a couple of folks who were mid-career or even had retired and now were looking to go back to work.

So these are men and women like David Korelitz. David started at a car dealership as a apprentice. And he’ll tell you, he was at the low end of the totem pole. Then he entered GM -- the GM automotive program here at NOVA; started picking up new skills; led to better and more challenging work. He began to prove himself as a technician. And after he graduated he kept moving up. So now, David is hoping to work hard enough to earn a management position at the dealership where he was an apprentice just a few years ago.

And I want to quote David, because I think it captures what happens here at a place like NOVA. David said whatever he ends up doing, the automotive training program here was “the spark [he] needed to get [his] career started.” The spark he needed to get his career started.

Lighting a spark. That’s what community colleges can do. That’s what learning a new skill or training in a new field can do. And that’s the reason that I’m here today. We’ve got to light more sparks all across America, and that’s going to make a difference in the futures of individuals who are looking for a better life, but it’s also going to make a difference in America’s future. So I’ve set a goal that by the end of this decade, we are going to once again lead the world in producing college graduates. To achieve that, we’re making college more affordable and we’re investing in community colleges.

But the goal isn’t just making sure that somebody has got a certificate or a diploma. The goal is to make sure your degree helps you to get a promotion or a raise or a job. And that’s especially important right now. Obviously we’re slowly recovering from a very painful recession. But there are too many people out there who are still out of work -- without a job that allows them to save a little money or to create the life they want for their families. That’s unacceptable to me. It’s unacceptable to all of you.

So we’ve got to do everything we can, everything in our power, to strengthen and rebuild the middle class. We’ve got to be able to test new ideas, pull people together, and throw everything we’ve got at this challenge. So we’re going to have to have all hands on deck.

And that’s why, last year, we brought together major companies and community colleges to launch a new campaign, led by business leaders from across the country, called Skills for America. And the idea was simple. If we could match up schools and businesses, we could create pipelines right from the classroom to the office or the factory floor. This would help workers find better jobs, and it would help companies find the highly educated and highly trained people that they need in order to prosper and to remain competitive.

So today, we’re announcing several new commitments by the private sector, colleges, and the National Association of Manufacturers, to help make these partnerships a reality. Through these efforts, we’re going to make it possible for 500,000 community college students -- half a million community college students -- to get industry-accepted credentials for manufacturing jobs that companies across America are looking to fill. Because the irony is even though a lot of folks are looking for work, there are a lot of companies that are actually also looking for skilled workers. There’s a mismatch that we can close. And this partnership is a great way to do it.

So if you’re a company looking to hire, you’ll know exactly what kind of training went into a specific degree. If you’re considering attending a community college, you’ll be able to know that the diploma you earn will be valuable when you hit the job market. And a lot of that’s already happening here at NOVA. If you participate in the GM program here, like David did, you can count on being prepared to work on GM cars.

We’re also taking some additional steps today: a new resource on the Internet so workers can sign on and see what jobs their skill sets allow them to access all across America. It’s interesting, I was talking to Ernie, and he was saying how a lot of the young people who go through this program, they think initially that they can only get a job at a dealership. And then they realize that there are a whole range of possibilities out there. You might end up working for a company maintaining its fleet. You might end up working for NTSA, making sure that automobile safety is practiced all across the country.

So part of what this website will do is give people a better idea of the scope of opportunities available for the skill sets that they’re gaining.

A new push to make it easier for high school students to get a head start on their degrees at 3,500 participating schools -- because part of our task is making sure that young people even in high school see a relevance between what they’re learning and a potential career.

New mentoring programs and scholarships for folks who are thinking about careers in engineering -- something that’s going to be vital to our manufacturing success. And more business leaders, companies, colleges, and organizations are joining this campaign all the time.

What all these steps boil down to is this: Right now, there are people across America with talents just waiting to be tapped, sparks waiting to be lit. Our job is to light them. And there’s no time to lose when we’ve got folks looking for work, when we’ve got companies that need to stay competitive in this 21st-century economy, and when we know that we’ve got to rebuild a middle class, and a lot of that is going to have to do with how well we do in manufacturing and how well we do in those jobs that are related to making products here in the United States of America.

The fact is, we understand what it takes to build a stronger economy. We know it’s going to require investing in research and technology that will lead to new ideas and new industries. We know it means building the infrastructure, the roads and bridges, and manufacturing the new products here in the United States of America that create good jobs. Above all, it requires training and educating our citizens to out-compete workers from other countries.

That’s why today’s announcement is so important. And that’s why I also want to see Congress -- so, Jim, get working on this -- (laughter) -- pass the Workforce Investment Act, to build on this progress -- (applause) -- to build on this progress with new and innovative approaches to training -- and to really figure out what works. We’ve got a lot of programs out there. If a program does not work in training people for the jobs of the future and getting them a job, we should eliminate that program. If a program is working, we should put more money into that program. So we’ve got to be ruthless in evaluating what works and what doesn’t in order for folks to actually obtain a job and industry to get the workers they need. That’s how we’re going to help more Americans climb into the middle class and stay there. That’s how we’re going to make our overall economy stronger and more competitive.

Let me just make this point. If we don’t decide to do this -- it’s possible that we could choose not to do the things that I just talked about. We could choose not to make investments in clean energy or let tuition prices rise and force more Americans to give up on the American Dream. We could choose to walk away from our community college system. We could say to ourselves, you know what, given foreign competition and low wages overseas, manufacturing is out the door and there’s not much we can do about it. We could decide, in solving our fiscal problems, that we can’t afford to make any of these investments, and those of us who’ve done very well don’t have to pay any more taxes in order to fund these investments.

But I want to make clear, that’s not our history. That’s not who we are. I don’t accept that future for the United States of America. I see a United States where this nation is able to out-compete every country on Earth, where we continue to be the world’s engine for innovation and discovery. I see a future where we train workers who make things here in the United States, and continue a important and honorable tradition of folks working with their hands, creating value, not just shuffling paper. That’s part of what has built the American Dream.

And if anybody doubts that future is possible, they should come to this school and talk to the young people who are getting trained and the folks who are doing the training. They ought to go to Detroit where auto companies are coming back and hiring again, after a lot of people declared that entire industry dead and buried. They ought to travel all across the country like I do and meet men and women who are starting businesses, testing new ideas, bringing new products to market, and helping this country come back stronger than before.

We are in a tough fight. We’ve been in a tough fight over the last two and a half years to get past a crippling recession, but also to deal with the problems that happened before this recession -- the fact that manufacturing had weakened, the middle class was treading water. I don’t think the answer is for us to turn back. I think the answer is to stand up for what this country is capable of achieving, and to place our bets on entrepreneurs and workers and to get behind some of the great work that’s being done here at NOVA and in schools all across the country.

That’s how we’re going to win this fight. That’s how we’re going to win the future.

For all of those who are participating, including National Association of Manufacturers and the companies who have already begun to participate in this process, thank you. These young people are excited. They’re ready to get trained. They’re ready to go to work. America is ready to win the future.

Thank you very much everybody. God bless you. Thank you. (Applause.)


President Barack Obama Weekly Address June 4, 2011 (Video/Transcipt)

Remarks of President Barack Obama
As Prepared for Delivery
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Toledo, Ohio

Hello, everyone. I’m speaking to you today from a Chrysler plant in Toledo, Ohio, where I just met with workers, including Jill. Jill was born and raised here. Her mother and step-father retired from this plant. And she met her husband here, and now they have two children of their own. This plant has not only been central to the economy of this town. It’s been a part of the lifeblood of this community.

The reason I came to Toledo was to congratulate Jill and her co-workers on the turnaround they helped bring about at Chrysler and throughout the auto industry. Today, each of the Big Three automakers – Chrysler, GM, and Ford – is turning a profit for the first time since 2004. Chrysler has repaid every dime and more of what it owes American taxpayers for their support during my presidency – and it repaid that money six years ahead of schedule. And this week, we reached a deal to sell our remaining stake. That means soon, Chrysler will be 100% in private hands.

Most importantly, all three American automakers are now adding shifts and creating jobs at the strongest rate since the 1990s. Chrysler has added a second shift at the Jefferson North plant in Detroit that I visited last year. GM is adding a third shift at its Hamtramck plant for the first time ever. And GM plans to hire back all of the workers they had to lay off during the recession.

That’s remarkable when you think about where we were just a couple of years ago. When I took office, we were facing the worst recession since the Great Depression – a recession that hit our auto industry particularly hard. In the year before I was President, this industry lost more than 400,000 jobs, and two great American companies, Chrysler and GM, stood on the brink of collapse.

Now, we had a few options. We could have done what a lot of folks in Washington thought we should do – nothing. But that would have made a bad recession worse and put a million people out of work. I refused to let that happen. So, I said, if GM and Chrysler were willing to take the difficult steps of restructuring and making themselves more competitive, the American people would stand by them – and we did.

But we decided to do more than rescue this industry from a crisis. We decided to help it retool for a new age, and that’s what we’re doing all across the country – we’re making sure America can out-build, out-innovate, and out-compete the rest of the world. That’s how we’ll build an economy where you can see your incomes and savings rise again, send your kids to college, and retire with dignity, security, and respect. That’s how we’ll make sure we keep that fundamental American promise – that if you work hard and act responsibly, you’ll be able to pass on a better life to your kids and grandkids.

Now, we’ve got a ways to go. Even though our economy has created more than two million private sector jobs over the past 15 months and continues to grow, we’re facing some tough headwinds. Lately, it’s high gas prices, the earthquake in Japan, and unease about the European fiscal situation. That will happen from time to time. There will be bumps on the road to recovery.

We know that. But we also know what’s happened here, at this Chrysler plant. We know that hardworking Americans like Jill helped turn this company and this industry around. That’s the American story. We’re a people who don’t give up – who do big things, who shape our own destiny. And I’m absolutely confident that if we hold on to that spirit, our best days are still ahead of us. Thanks for tuning in, and have a great weekend.


President Obama presents the Pritzker Architecture Prize (Video/Transcipt)

Andrew Mellon Auditorium, Washington, D.C.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Please -- please, everybody, have a seat.

Well, thank you, Tom, for that introduction. Thank you to the entire Pritzker family for your friendship and incredible generosity towards so many causes. I want to welcome as well the diplomatic corps that is here, as well as Secretary Arne Duncan.

On behalf of Michelle and myself, I want to begin by congratulating tonight’s winner, Eduardo Souto de Moura. And I also want to recognize the members of the prize jury, who I think have a very difficult task in choosing from so many outstanding architects all around the world.

Now, as Tom mentioned, my interest in architecture goes way back. There was a time when I thought I could be an architect, where I expected to be more creative than I turned out, so I had to go into politics instead. (Laughter.)

And as the Pritzkers and so many others here can attest, if you love architecture there are few better places to live than in my hometown of Chicago. (Applause.) It is the birthplace of the skyscraper -- a city filled with buildings and public spaces designed by architects like Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank Gehry, who is here tonight.

In fact, the headquarters of our last campaign was in a building based on a design by Mies van der Rohe. And for two years, we crammed it full of hundreds of people working around the clock and surviving on nothing but pizza. (Laughter.) I’m not sure if that’s what Mies had in mind, but it worked out pretty well for us.

And that’s what architecture is all about. It’s about creating buildings and spaces that inspire us, that help us do our jobs, that bring us together, and that become, at their best, works of art that we can move through and live in. And in the end, that’s why architecture can be considered the most democratic of art forms.

That's perhaps why Thomas Jefferson, who helped enshrine the founding principles of our nation, had such a passion for architecture and design. He spent more than 50 years perfecting his home at Monticello. And he spent countless hours sketching and revising his architectural drawings for the University of Virginia –- a place where he hoped generations would study and become, as he described it, “the future bulwark of the human mind in this hemisphere.”

Like Jefferson, tonight’s honoree has spent his career not only pushing the boundaries of his art, but doing so in a way that serves the public good. Eduardo Souto de Moura has designed homes, shopping centers, art galleries, schools and subway stations –- all in a style that seems as effortless as it is beautiful. He’s an expert at the use of different materials and colors, and his simple shapes and clean lines always fit seamlessly into their surroundings.

Perhaps Eduardo’s most famous work is the stadium he designed in Braga, Portugal. Never one to settle for the easy answer, Eduardo wanted to build this particular stadium on the side of a mountain. So he blasted out nearly a million and a half cubic yards of granite from the mountainside, then crushed it to make the concrete necessary to build the stadium.

He also took great care to position the stadium in such a way that anyone who couldn’t afford a ticket could watch the match from the surrounding hillsides. Kind of like Portugal’s version of Wrigley Field. (Laughter.)

And that combination of form and function, of artistry and accessibility, is why today we honor Eduardo with what is known as the “Nobel Prize of architecture.” As Frank Gehry, a former winner of this prize, said, “Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness.” I want to thank all the men and women who create these timeless works of art -- not only to bring us joy, but to help make this world a better place.

And, Tom, thank you again for your extraordinary patronage of architecture. It makes an enormous difference. Thank you very much. (Applause.)


Republican rhetoric and their plan, with lipstick!

Welfare is a type of financial or other aid provided to people in need! Thus it guarantees at the same time a minimal level of well-being and social support for all citizens without the stigma of charity.

However, it appears that in the Unites States people have been over many decades mislead to believe that Welfare or Social services are equal to socialism.

Republican lawmakers continue to spread such kind of misinformation and at the same time scaring citizens by claiming ever so often that President Barack Obama is actually a Socialist because he is “taking from the rich and giving it to the poor”. However, he has never taken from the rich but is trying to create a fair system in which the middle class and even the poor have a chance of a decent life. This is however impossible if lawmakers continue to channel tax money to the super rich and at the same time trying to degrade the system (Welfare, Social Security, Medicare, etc) to pay for these giveaway for the wealthiest. Do Republican lawmakers actually know what a Socialist is?

Well according to Merriam-Webster a Socialist is a person who believes in socialism. And Socialism is a way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies. As you can see this definition does not apply to President Barack Obama.

However, Republican lawmakers continue to stick to their rhetoric because they are willing to scarify the needy to enrich the super-rich!
Robert Reich points out such behavior using Medicare as a reasonable example to describe such new threat, a Medicare Kill Switch disguised as a reasonable-sounding spending cap. As he puts it, it's the Republican plan, with lipstick!