Editor's Update: Here's the video the chapter made about their activism, and the text of the "programs" they handed out is at the bottom of the post:
From YAL at NC State:
Monday morning September 12 at around 11 AM I was sitting in our campus’ brickyard waiting to head inside to class when I got a notification on my phone. Our chapter president, Brady Nemeth, had posted on our facebook page an article from The Technician, our school newspaper, saying that President Obama would be coming to campus.
When I read the article I realized two things: The first being that this was purely a campaign speech because Obama was coming to speak in North Carolina, a potential swing state, about the “American Jobs Act” or as we here at NC State YAL decided to call “Stimulus Round 2.”
The other thing I noticed was the speech was at noon on Wednesday September 14th…exactly two days from that moment. It was a brilliant move by the Obama administration to only give us a two days notice because he could easily rally supporters and students interested in seeing a sitting president while it would be quite difficult for those who oppose his failed policies to organize a counter-demonstration. Well, I’d say we managed to do ok, as you will see.
This statement from Mr. Schiff was entered into the Congressional Record on the morning of September, 13 2011 as testimony before the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending hearing: “Take Two: The President’s Proposal to Stimulate the Economy and Create Jobs.”
Emboldened by their victory in Libya, the U.S. and its NATO allies have shifted their attention away from Muammar Gaddafi to Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. Not content with regime changes in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. has decided to co-opt the Arab Spring to pursue a policy of military intervention in the Middle East starting with Libya, then Syria, and beyond.
Victory in Libya is the inevitable post-Gaddafi chaos
Gaddafi might be an evil man to his own people (and he was a longtime sponsor of international terrorism), but in the past decade he has shown an effort to normalize relations with the U.S. by ending his sponsorship of terrorism and disarming Libya. Relationship has improved so much so that the normally hawkish Sen. John McCain is revealed by newly released diplomatic cables to have been pushing the U.S. government to sell weapons to Libya. How does the U.S. and NATO reward Gaddafi? They oust him.
It would seem that America's newest war in Libya is supposedly coming to an end as rebels have now entered the capitol city of Tripoli. So what should America and the rest of the world expect to see from Libya?
One thing I think we can safely assume is that, like Iraq and Afganistan, when this war is declared "over" it will not be over. Gaddafi remains at large, and the media has reported the man still has many supporters. Another thing to consider is that these rebels have just entered the capitol and could very well lose control of it to pro-Gaddafi fighters, or face a population which does not recongize their control and takes up arms against them.
In what I believe to be the United States government's hope, we may see a new, pro-American regime put in place. Our military has actively supported the rebel's cause through bombs, CIA assistance, and by spending nearly a billion dollars on the operation. Since we do not provide these things to just anyone and everyone (though it may seem like we do), I suspect the Obama Adminstration expects something in return for all of their assistance.
Mohamed is one of a growing number of American Muslims who claim they were captured overseas and questioned in secret at the behest of the United States, victims of what human rights advocates call “proxy detention”—or “rendition-lite.” The latter is a reference to the Bush- and Clinton-era CIA practice of capturing foreign nationals suspected of terrorism and “rendering” them to countries such as Egypt, Jordan, or Morocco for interrogations that often involved torture.
Al Jazeera reports that Human Rights Watch (HRW) has asked President Obama to prosecute his predecessor and many prominent members of the Bush Administration for torture of terror suspects in legal limbo at prisons like Guantanamo Bay. “Instead of looking at isolated cases, Obama should probe those responsible for setting up the harsh interrogation practices at Guantanamo and the secret rendition programs overseas as America went to war in Afghanistan,” the humanitarian group said in a public statement.
It’s a well-intentioned plan, certainly. That the American government tortures (even in spite of its own Constitution and legal code) is an established and despicable fact. The problem is that the torture didn’t stop when Dubya went home to Texas in 2009. As with so many other issues, Barack Obama has followed in Bush’s footsteps in matter of detainee treatment, secrecy, and rendition.
HRW is correct that we must be consistent in condemning torture when we find at home as well as abroad. But the organization’s appeal to Obama as a potential ally is…credulous, to put it mildly.
As per the usual during an economic crisis, President Obama entered the homes of average Americans through their TVs this week to tell them about his plans for fiscal recovery. After a major stock sell-off following S&P's downgrade of the U.S. credit rating, Obama wanted to stop the flood of investors leaving the market.
Average Americans responded by selling even more stocks than they already had:
After the first day of trading following Standard and Poor's downgrade of the U.S. government's credit rating, markets around the world tumbled well into the red for the day. In particular, the U.S.-based Dow Jones Industrial average fell over 630 points, losing 5.55% of its value in a single day.
This is the second drop of over 500 points in less than a week, the biggest dip in value in U.S. stocks since the 2008 financial collapse. While stocks recovered on Friday following the latest U.S. jobs report, S&P released its downgrade after the markets closed for the weekend, reducing the government's AAA rating to AA+. S&P cited the political impasse in Washington, the "rising public debt burden," and the fact that the debt ceiling deal reached by the President and Congress last week "falls short of the amount that [they] believe is necessary the general government debt burden by the middle of the decade." (Read the [S&P's] full report here.) Naturally the economic pains felt by the U.S. and around the world are not purely the result of this downgrade, but the downgrade itself is far from negligible...
President Obama followed the government's credit downgrade with a speech to the nation, but don't worry if you didn't get a chance to see it -- you've probably heard the speech before in his other press conferences. He opened up this talk by discussing the S&P downgrade. Like many on his side of the aisle, he pinned the blame on political squabbles over the past month, rather than the actual numbers that show a $15 trillion debt that is now 100% of our GDP. Also, he tried to cast blame on those that used the threat of default as a "bargaining chip" in the negotiations, even though the threat of default was dubious as best.
He then decided to attack the rating agency's integrity as well, by saying the markets still look at the USA as a AAA nation, even with the Dow Jones falling like a rock in the first US market day since the downgrade. Even though his speech was meant to sooth markets and reassure people about the full faith and credit of the United States government, he didn't admit that the mounting debt was a serious concern, and we wouldn't be in this mess to begin with if we had actually taken the necessary steps to rein it in.
However, Obama made some good recommendations in how we should tackle this problem, namely through entitlement reforms and tax reforms, which the House of Representatives was calling for these past eight months, and in the recent negotiations, yet have been withdrawn due to pressure from Democrats who consider any reforms in government programs to be ideological and destructive, even when the President proposes them first. While he should be commended for trying to not sound like a partisan, he continues to miss the point of the whole debate.