Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Statement on Passing of Senator Edward M. Kennedy

/PRNewswire/ -- Public Campaign issued the following statement today regarding the news that Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) passed away:

"Senator Ted Kennedy was a giant of a public figure who shaped legislation that impacted people's lives in ways big and small. With today's roiling debate on health insurance reform, much attention will rightly be placed on Sen. Kennedy's legacy of leadership and passion on ensuring that all Americans have access to affordable, quality coverage.

"But among the other issues he championed over his career were those that expanded the promise of democracy for more people, including landmark civil rights and voting rights laws. Always ahead of his time, as early as 1973 and before the Watergate reforms the following year, Sen. Kennedy was working to pass forward-looking congressional public financing of elections legislation.

"Today, we offer our condolences to his family and friends, and join the citizens of Massachusetts and Americans in every corner of this nation in mourning the passing of one of the greatest little 'd' democrats of our time. Tomorrow, we pledge to continue to work towards his vision of a democracy that works for all of us."

Public Campaign is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to sweeping reform that aims to dramatically reduce the role of big special interest money in American politics. For more information, go to

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Boehner Statement on New Federal Deficit Projections

House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement on the new federal deficit estimates released by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Obama Administration’s Office of Management & Budget (OMB):

“Today’s reports confirm what the White House has been trying to hide: the Democrats’ out-of-control spending binge is burying our children and grandchildren under a mountain of unsustainable debt. Instead of putting the brakes on Washington’s spending habits as they promised they’d do, Democrats have stepped on the accelerator and spent taxpayer dollars with reckless abandon all year, refusing to make tough choices and putting all the sacrifice on future generations. That’s not leadership; it’s negligence.

“The costly government-run health care plan put forth by President Obama and Speaker Pelosi is just the latest in a long line of expensive Democratic experiments that will add to the deficit, raise taxes on families and small businesses, and cost more American jobs. It’s time for the Administration and congressional Democrats to face the consequences of this dangerous fiscal agenda and change course.

“Republicans have proposed better solutions to curb out-of-control spending and control the debt on behalf of middle-class families, including a fiscally-responsible federal budget that includes strict annual caps on federal spending and forces Congress to live within its means on a yearly basis, something the Democratic-controlled Congress has refused to do. Republicans are ready to work in a bipartisan way to get control of our budget. For the sake of our children and grandchildren, let’s hope this Administration and the Democrats in charge of this Congress are as well.”

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Libertarians press Congress on Defense of Marriage Act, "don't ask, don't tell"

America's third largest party challenged House and Senate Democrats Monday to fully commit to the equal justice for gay and lesbian Americans by rejecting a proposed hate crimes law and repealing the Defense of Marriage Act and the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy barring military service by 'out' gays and lesbians.

"Libertarians are the only party committed to equal justice under the law, whether it is protection from violence, marriage equality or the ability of a qualified person to serve in the military," said Cat Sumner, Libertarian National Committee gay and lesbian policy advisor. "So-called " hate crimes' bills further divide America by creating different classes of victims for the same crime. Instead of dividing the gay and straight communities, we should be treating everyone equally."

"This so-called "hate crimes" bill is just an attempt by Democrat opponents of marriage equality to hold on to gay and lesbian support without actually fighting for them," said Sumner. The Libertarian Party is the only party in America not afraid to engage in a no-compromise fight for a country where gays and lesbians can live their lives without government-sponsored harassment. Libertarians challenge Congress to prove they are truly committed to equal justice for gays and lesbians by dropping so-called hate crimes legislation and instead repealing DOMA and "don't ask, don't tell."

Libertarians consider the hate crimes bill not just a violation of equal justice under the law, but an attempt by legislators to buy gay and lesbian support while still opposing gay marriage and military service. The original sponsor of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, then-Republican Congressman Bob Barr (GA,) has recanted his support of the bill and is seeking its repeal. He was the Libertarian presidential nominee in 2008, winning the party's second-highest presidential vote total in its 38-year history.

The House passed a hate crimes bill, H.R. 1913, on Apr. 29. On Jul 16. the Senate attached a hate crimes amendment to a military spending bill, both of which were approved. The House bill and Senate amendment must be reconciled in committee before being sent to President Obama for his signature.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Governor Issues Writ of Election for State House Seat

Governor Sonny Perdue today issued a writ of special election to fill the vacancy of State House District 75 due to the resignation of State Rep. Celeste Johnson.

The special election to fill the vacancy will be held Tuesday, November 3 in conjunction with municipal elections.

Qualifying dates will be set by the Secretary of State’s office.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Libertarians: Obama promises of postal system-style health care fail to deliver

America’s third largest party Wednesday took aim at comments made by President Barack Obama in a New Hampshire press event Tuesday, in which he took questions from a pre-selected audience. Obama compared his proposed government-run health care system to the nation’s postal system, which he admitted is “always having problems.”

“My answer is that if the private insurance companies are providing a good bargain, and if the public option has to be self-sustaining…then I think private insurers should be able to compete. They do it all the time. I mean, if you think about it, UPS and FedEx are doing just fine, right? No, they are. It's the Post Office that's always having problems," said Obama.

“For once, President Obama is right. His proposal for government-run health care is exactly like the current government-run postal system,” said William Redpath, Libertarian National Committee Chairman.

“Like the postal system, which is cutting post offices, delivering less often and runs multi-billion dollar deficits, government-run health care always leads to fewer facilities, rationed care and crippling deficits,” said Redpath. “Obama admitted the postal system he wants to model health care on is ‘always having problems.’ It’s one thing to have ‘problems’ when delivering a Christmas card on time. It’s a matter of life or death when the government-run health care system is ‘always having problems.’”

Libertarians urge Democrats and the White House to make health care accessible and affordable by dropping massively unpopular plans for government-run care and to instead repeal laws restricting competition in the health insurance industry.

“Like most Americans, Libertarians oppose government mandates that force you to pay for coverage you don’t need, driving up costs. Libertarians also believe you should be able to pool together freely to buy group plans and should be able to shop across state lines,” said Redpath.

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Specter Promises to Oppose Health Care Reform That Covers Illegal Aliens

/PRNewswire/ -- During a town hall meeting Tuesday on health care reform, Senator Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) stated his opposition to legislation that would cover illegal aliens. Specter has been a long-time champion of amnesty for illegal aliens, he was the author of the 2006 amnesty bill (S. 2611) that was widely rejected by the American people. Specter's opposition to including illegal aliens under the proposed reforms is a clear indication of how strongly the public opposes the idea.

Facing constituents in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, yesterday, Specter said he "wouldn't support a bill that extends coverage to illegal immigrants." However, Specter went on to state erroneously that "none of the bills in Congress would provide health insurance to illegal immigrants."

A detailed analysis by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) of the America's Affordable Health Care Act of 2009, H.R. 3200, reveals that illegal aliens would be eligible for government provided insurance, and could easily obtain government "affordability credits" to buy private insurance. An amendment that would have effectively prevented illegal aliens from receiving these benefits was blocked by Democrats on the House Ways & Means Committee. FAIR's analysis of the provisions of H.R. 3200 that pertain to illegal aliens can be found at

"FAIR commends Sen. Specter for opposing this costly benefit for illegal aliens," said Dan Stein, president of FAIR. "Illegal aliens and their dependent children account for as much as one-third of the medically uninsured in the U.S. Including them under the plan is unwarranted and would add billions to the price tag. We hope that the senator will use his influence in Congress to ensure that deliberate omissions and loopholes, like those in the House bill, that allow illegal aliens to benefit from taxpayer funded health care, will be corrected in the Senate."

The concerns raised by constituents at the Lebanon town hall meeting reflect the growing costs of illegal immigration both nationally and in Pennsylvania. According to a new report by FAIR, The Costs of Illegal Immigration to Pennsylvanians, state taxpayers spend nearly $49 million annually to provide health care to illegal aliens.

"In Pennsylvania and all across the nation, the public is understandably upset about the staggering costs of illegal immigration and adamantly oppose providing a full range of health benefits to illegal aliens," said Stein. "We hope that others in Congress join Sen. Specter in opposing any provisions that would require American taxpayers to provide the full spectrum of health benefits to illegal aliens."

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Rep. Marin Calls for Passage of Legislation to End Racial Profiling in Georgia

Rep. Pedro Marin (D-Duluth), the only Latino democrat in the Georgia General Assembly, is calling for passage of legislation to end racial profiling in Georgia. After attending a forum in Gwinnett County on August 1, 2009, hosted by the ACLU of Georgia and ABLE (Atlantans Building Leadership for Empowerment), where attendees shared stories of verbal abuse, harassment and alleged civil rights violations, his resolve for ending such practices intensified.

"In a country where our President is African American and the newest Supreme Court Justice is Latina, we can no longer tolerate practices such as Driving While Black or Driving While Brown. I understand the challenges law enforcement officials face to protect and serve citizens, but racial profiling is not a solution to fighting crime. It only creates more resentment and mistrust," stated Rep. Marin.

According to attendees of the forum and a report authored by the ACLU and the Rights Working Group, "there are serious allegations of racial profiling . . ., especially in the context of traffic stops." With Latinos and immigrants being consistently targeted, Rep. Marin hopes President Obama will soon begin steps to reform federal immigration law. "If we continue to rely on state and local governments to establish policy specific to immigrants, the challenges we now face will continue to escalate and worsen. Immigrants are not our enemies and should not be treated as such. Federal immigration reform must become a priority for the Administration," offered Rep. Marin.

Currently, there are two bills in the Georgia General Assembly which target racial profiling, HB 110 sponsored by Rep. Marin and HB 53 sponsored by Rep. Tyrone Brooks (D-Atlanta) of Atlanta. The bills would prohibit law enforcement officers from impermissibly using race or ethnicity in determining whether or not to stop a motorist.
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Monday, August 10, 2009

White House “Reality Check” Website on Health Care Full of Errors, Misstatements, Falsehoods

Facing mounting criticism from the American people over President Obama’s proposed trillion-dollar government takeover of health care, the White House has responded this morning by launching a “reality check” website, featuring videos and preloaded messages that purportedly debunk “health care myths.” In reality, the website simply recycles the same false claims that the Administration and its allies in Congress have been pedaling for weeks.

After no fewer than five polls released at the end of July showed increasing, if not outright, opposition to government-run health care, and with Members of Congress taking heat from constituents during the August district work period, it’s understandable that the White House is getting nervous about the prospects for its health care experiment.

The following are some of the discredited claims the Administration’s new website repeats:

CLAIM: If You Like It, You Can Keep Your Health Care Plan. Kavita Patel, who works with Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett, said “if you like your insurance, if you like the kind of health care you have right now and the plan you have, you can keep it.” She also stated that “the notion that the government will interfere with what you have…really is laughable.” Linda Douglass of the White House Office of Health Reform also played a clip of President Obama’s June 23, 2009 press conference where he stated that: “If you like your plan and you like your doctor, you won't have to do a thing. You keep your plan. You keep your doctor. If your employer is providing you good health insurance, terrific, we're not going to mess with it.”

FACT: That’s simply not true. Both the Associated Press and ABC News have already debunked this pledge, noting that White House officials have acknowledged the president’s rhetoric shouldn’t be taken “literally.” An independent study conducted by the Lewin Group predicted that 114 million Americans may be forced out of their current health care coverage, including more than 106 million Americans who currently have employer-provided health care. The point is, this White House cannot guarantee that Americans will be able to keep their plan – because they don’t know how many employers are going to drop their coverage altogether if their plan goes into effect.

Lastly, the Wall Street Journal noted in a July 20, 2009 editorial:

“The House bill says that after a five-year grace period all Erisa [Employee Retirement Income Security Act] insurance offerings will have to win government approval—both by the Department of Labor and a new ‘health choices commissioner’ who will set federal standards for what is an acceptable health plan. This commissar—er, commissioner—can fine employers that don’t comply and even has ‘suspension of enrollment’ powers for plans that he or she has vetoed, until ‘satisfied that the basis for such determination has been corrected and is not likely to recur.’ In other words, the insurance coverage of 132 million people—the product of enormously complex business and health-care decisions—will now be subject to bureaucratic nanomanagement.”

CLAIM: Reform Will Benefit Small Business – Not Burden It. Christina Romer, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers stated that, “The facts are very clear. The system doesn’t work for small businesses now, and reform is very much aimed at easing the burdens, making it easier for this crucial sector of our economy.”

FACT: A broad coalition of job-creating groups – representing small businesses to homebuilders and manufacturers – has come together to oppose the Democrats’ government takeover of health. In a letter to Congress, this coalition wrote: “We are specifically concerned with a proposal to mandate that employers either provide health insurance or pay a new eight percent payroll tax. The House ‘pay or play’ proposal is even more troublesome because employers are also mandated to pay the majority of employee premiums. Exempting some micro-businesses will not prevent this provision from killing many jobs.”

And the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), representing small businesses across the country, also weighed in, saying it would destroy jobs and reduce access to affordable health care: “NFIB opposes the [Democrats’ bill] because it threatens the viability of our nation’s job creators, fails to increase access and choice to all small businesses, destroys choice and competition for private insurance and fails to address the core challenge facing small businesses – cost.”

CLAIM: Medicare Will Not Face Cuts Under Democrats’ Plan. Robert Kocher of the National Economic Council repeated president Obama’s claim that “nobody is talking about reducing Medicare benefits.”

FACT: Today’s New York Times rebuts this claim: “To help finance coverage for the uninsured, Congress would squeeze huge savings out of Medicare, the program for older Americans and the disabled. These savings would pay nearly 40 percent of the bills’ cost. The legislation would trim Medicare payments for most services, as an incentive for hospitals and other health care providers to become more efficient. The providers make a plausible case that the cutbacks could inadvertently reduce beneficiaries’ access to some types of care.” An independent analysis of the House Democrats’ government-run plan shows the legislation slashes Medicare to the tune of $361.9 billion. That means fewer choices and lower health care quality for our nation’s seniors – exactly what then-Senator Obama blasted last fall, during the presidential campaign.

Republicans agree that Congress should pursue meaningful health care reform, but none of the legislation that Democratic leaders are pursuing at this time actually meet this description. Instead, their proposals will increase costs, lower quality, and cause millions of Americans to lose their current health coverage.

Americans want health care reform, but the Democrats’ go-it-alone, government takeover of health care isn’t the way to improve the best health care system in the world. House Republicans have a plan that will reduce costs, expand access and increase the quality of care in a way we can afford – without raising taxes on small businesses or middle class.

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Libertarians turn up August heat on health care takeover

America’s third-largest party urged its members Monday to attend public forums being held by House members over the August recess and put their signature to one simple pledge – will they promise not to vote for any health care reform legislation they haven’t personally read in full and understand?

“No responsible Congressperson would vote to drastically alter one-seventh of the American economy, whether it is health care or something else, without first reading the bill,” said William Redpath, Libertarian National Committee Chairman. “It comes down to one issue. Will you promise to be responsible and not approve something you didn’t even read?”

In a Monday e-mail, the Libertarian Party provided members and supporters with a one-page pledge form they can ask their congressman to sign. The pledge simply requests a commitment to not support any health care reform legislation he or she has not fully read in its entirety, and understands.

“If a Congressperson won’t be responsible and read the entire bill, he or she should make sure they understand in detail all of its provisions, then read something that is a lot shorter: The United States Constitution. Then, they need to ask where is the authority for any federal government involvement in medical care at all. That alone is sufficient reason to vote ‘no’ on the President’s version of health care ‘reform,’” said Redpath

Libertarians oppose the proposed “reform” of the nation’s health care system, citing its unsustainable costs and reliance on tax hikes and rationing. Libertarians instead support proposals to open up the health insurance market. More competition and choice in health insurance would drive down costs and force insurers to offer more choices in coverage.

The Libertarian Party Responsible Legislator Pledge is available to download at

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Friday, August 7, 2009

Chief Kelvin Cochran Confirmed as U.S. Fire Administrator

Today, by voice vote, Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran received the Senate’s confirmation as U.S. Fire Administrator. Cochran’s priorities would include reassessing the use of firefighter grants and building a closer relationship between the federal government and local fire departments.

“Chief Kelvin Cochran has brought a wealth of knowledge to Atlanta Fire Rescue and has been an invaluable member of our team. During one of the most difficult times in the City of Atlanta, he oversaw 35 fire stations providing fire, rescue and emergency medical services, successfully managed the departmental furloughs, instituted fire station open houses across the city, and has served as the city lead in the expansion and improvement of the Atlanta Region Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI),” said Mayor Shirley Franklin. “While we will miss him, we are proud that President Obama selected him for US Fire Administrator and are certain he will continue his public service with distinction.”

“Serving the American Fire Service and the Obama Administration as the U.S. Fire Administrator is an honor. I look forward to engaging all federal and non-governmental fire service stakeholders to enhance or service, reduce fire losses and ensure domestic tranquility,” said Cochran.

Prior to joining the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department, he served in the Shreveport, La. fire department as a Firefighter, Assistant Chief Training Officer, and Fire Chief. Cochran also served as President of the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association, the 1st Vice President of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), and Vice Chairman of Volunteers of America (VOA).

Mayor Franklin will review the recommendations from the Interview Committee and will timely appoint an Interim Fire Chief to ensure a well-organized, smooth transition.

Libertarians to Democrats: Call off the thugs

America’s third largest party Friday called on Democrats to end what appears to be a budding campaign of union violence targeted at citizens who differ with the White House at town hall meetings across the country. Libertarians oppose not only the White House’s plans for government-run medicine, but the use of violence to achieve political or social goals.

A Tampa Bay Tribune story and a video posted to the Drudge Report both report physical assaults on dissenting citizens by union organizers brought to meetings by Democrats. In Tampa, union organizers blocked citizens who differed with the White House from entering a public town hall with Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL,) and allegedly scuffled with some of them. A video posted to YouTube appears to show union organizers physically attacking citizens who disagreed with the White House.

“The Libertarian Party is founded on one principle. We do not support the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals,” said Donny Ferguson, Libertarian National Committee Communications Director. “Democrats seem to think differently. When the Obama administration ordered Democrats to ‘punch back twice as hard’ against citizens who question them, Democrats responded. This Chicago-trained White House has brought Chicago-style union violence to small towns across America.”

“The White House told Democrat leaders Thursday to ‘punch back twice as hard’ when citizens express disapproval. That kind of irresponsible rhetoric is never proper when discussing popular dissent. The also made it clear they will bend Senate rules and force through government-run health care whether or not America supports it. That is a frightening departure from the traditional American practice of governing though popular will,” said Ferguson.

“If bringing in union thugs is an attempt by Democrats to scare citizens into not questioning them, it won’t work. Union violence may be how communities are organized in Chicago, but the American people won’t stand for people who think violence is the proper response to the fact they no longer have majority support.”

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“Americans still believe in the consent of the governed. Libertarians urge Democrats to listen to the American people, call off their union enforcers and drop their wildly unpopular scheme of government-run medicine,” said Ferguson.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Libertarians: Sotomayor confirmation a defeat for individual, property, gun rights

Libertarian National Committee Communications Director Donny Ferguson released the following statement Thursday, after the Senate’s 68-31 vote to confirm Second Circuit Judge Sonia Sotomayor to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated by retiring Justice David Souter:

“Today’s confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court is a significant defeat for individual, property and gun rights. The Libertarian Party was the first political party to announce its opposition to Judge Sotomayor’s nomination, after reviewing her history on the bench.

“Judge Sotomayor’s ruling in cases such as Ricci v. DeStefano, overturned by the Supreme Court, violates the Libertarian belief in equality under the law. Judge Sotomayor’s ruling in cases such as Maloney v New York and United States v Sanchez-Villar violated basic rights protected under the Second Amendment. Judge Sotomayor’s ruling in Didden v. Village of Port Chester violated personal property rights and affirmed the power of government to confiscate property for purposes beyond public use. Judge Sotomayor also has a long and troubling history of ruling on cases based on personal feelings and prejudices, rather than the letter of the law.

“Libertarians are joined by millions of Americans in their beliefs in equality under the law and the protection of individual, property and gun rights. Libertarians hope President Obama will work harder in the future to appoint justices who uphold our constitutionally-protected rights, not someone else’s narrow political agenda.”

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Secretary Handel Sets Dates for Qualifying for Special Elections in House Districts 58, 129 and 141

Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel announced today receipt of Governor Sonny Perdue’s Writ of Election setting Tuesday, November 3, 2009 as the date for special elections to fill the unexpired terms of State Representative Robbin Shipp (HD 58), State Representative Vance Smith, Jr. (HD 129) and State Representative Bobby Parham (HD 141).

Secretary Handel set candidate qualifying for Monday, August 31 through Wednesday, September 2, 2009. Qualifying on Monday will run from 9:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.; on Tuesday from 8:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.; and on Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. Candidates will qualify in the Elections Division of the Office of Secretary of State, 1104 West Tower, 2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, SE, Atlanta, Georgia 30334-1505. The qualifying fee is $400.

The election for House District 58 will occur in portions of DeKalb and Fulton Counties. The election for House District 129 will occur in portions of Harris, Muscogee and Troup Counties. The election for House District 141 will occur in Baldwin County and in a portion of Putnam County. Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 3, 2009.

Voters can request an absentee ballot from their county registrar’s office through the close of business on Friday, October 30, 2009. Absentee ballots must be returned to the county registrar by the close of polls on Election Day. Photo identification is not required when voting by mail. To download an absentee ballot request form, please visit:

Citizens must be registered to vote by Monday, October 5, 2009 to participate in the November 3, 2009 election. Voter registration forms can be obtained at any county registrar’s office or from the Secretary of State’s website:

Karen Handel was sworn in as Secretary of State in January 2007. The Secretary of State's office offers important services to our citizens and our business community. Among the office’s wide-ranging responsibilities, the Secretary of State is charged with conducting efficient and secure elections, the registration of corporations, and the regulation of securities and professional license holders. The office also oversees the Georgia Archives and the Capitol Museum.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Libertarians call on Democrats to end their 'war on dissent'

Libertarian National Committee Communications Director Donny Ferguson released the following statement Wednesday, after Democratic National Committee Communications Director Brad Woodhouse released a statement Tuesday accusing private citizens opposed to the proposed government takeover of health care of being part of a paid, organized conspiracy against the president:

“Whether it’s having the Franking Commission censor congressional opponents’ outgoing mail, sliming private citizens who question their agenda or urging their followers to report critics directly to the White House, desperate Democrats have only one way of dealing with Americans’ overwhelming opposition to their radical agenda -- using the power of government to silence dissent.

“After years of paying ACORN radicals to show up at events and having union members take paid vacations to go protest, I can see how Democrats are now incapable of recognizing free speech when they see it. They appear to have conceded the fact their government takeover of health care sends costs skyrocketing, innovation plummeting and waiting lists growing. Unable to sell Americans on the virtues of government control, Democrats have now resorted to trying to silence them.

“Among them is Congressman Lloyd Doggett, who claimed citizens spontaneously and freely expressing mainstream opinions he didn’t agree with were conspiring with Libertarians to stop government-run medicine. Libertarians didn’t organize this expression of free speech, they’re just joined by millions of other mainstream Americans in opposing this dangerous plan for government-run, rationed care.

“The Democrat war on dissent reached a peak this week when the White House posted a blog entry urging the president’s followers to find people who criticize the president, even “in casual conversation,” and forward the information to That is a brazen attempt to bully people into silence by leading them to believe any statements critical of the president will land them on the new version of the ‘White House enemies list.’”

“Libertarians find it ironic a community organizer is now using the government to try and to stop people from organizing their communities. Instead of using official edicts to smear, slander and intimidate everyday Americans into silence, Democrats should listen to the majority of Americans and drop their plans for a radical government takeover of their health care.

“Libertarians call on President Obama to issue a public apology to the millions of independent-thinking Americans his administration has slimed, to call off his plans to compile the enemies list and to end the Democrats’ use of government power to silence dissent.”

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Libertarians decry Blue Dog deal on government-controlled health care

America’s third largest party Tuesday criticized Blue Dog Democrat Caucus leaders for finalizing a deal with party leadership on a September vote on the proposed health care reform bill before heading back to their districts to meet with constituents.

The compromise claims to remove some costs, reduce the employer mandate requirements to provide health care to employees and change the so-called “public option” in the initial draft of the bill in exchange for an agreement to hold a vote when Congress reconvenes in September. Libertarians point out the deal is simply “delayed-onset government control” as the offensive provisions will simply be added once the bill is passed.

“This compromise makes the eventual government control of your health care even more likely,” said Donny Ferguson, Libertarian National Committee Communications Director. “Congress wants to make it look like government-controlled health care is off the table so they can just get something passed. Once it’s law, all it takes is a few quick amendments to get the government-controlled system they wanted all along. It’s delayed-onset government control.”

“Don’t be fooled by the crocodile tears of the Progressive Caucus. Their objections are meant to make it look like their wildly unpopular plans to eliminate private health insurance are dead. They know this deal makes the elimination of private insurance even more of a reality by making it easier to pass the bill,” said Ferguson.

Blue Dogs also claim credit for loosening employer mandates. The original draft included language requiring employers with a payroll over $100,000 to provide health insurance to employees. The compromise increases that threshold to $500,000.

“Every employer in America knows what’s going to happen because it’s happened with every other bill. They’ll claim defeat so the looser mandate can pass, then once it’s law amend one number to get what they wanted all along,” said Ferguson.

“There are many problems with our current health care system, but this compromise still leads to a government-run health care system that maximizes what’s wrong with the current system and eradicates what works,” said Ferguson.

“Libertarians aren’t fooled, and neither are the millions of independent voters who live in Democrat districts. More and more Americans are finding out the devilish details of this plan and they’ll hold accountable on Election Day anyone who supports it,” said Ferguson. “The only way to make health care affordable and universally available is to defeat this bill entirely. Then we can start brand new negotiations on solutions that work,” said Ferguson.

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Pittsburgh Summit Venues

The President and First Lady look forward to welcoming world leaders to the Pittsburgh Summit September 24-25. The White House is working closely with state and local officials to plan for a successful and productive meeting. At the Pittsburgh Summit, President Obama and leaders representing 85 percent of the world’s economy will assess progress made since the Washington and London G-20 Summits and discuss further steps to achieve a sound and sustainable recovery from the global financial and economic crisis.

White House staff and State Department officials will return to Pittsburgh this week to continue planning for the summit. Countries and organizations participating in the Pittsburgh Summit have been invited to send representatives to tour Pittsburgh, the David L. Lawrence Convention Center which will be the primary home of the summit, and additional event sites on Tuesday, August 4th.

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens:

The President and First Lady look forward to welcoming leaders, their spouses and officials to Pittsburgh at the city’s Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. After welcoming the leaders and spouses, President Obama and world leaders will remain at the conservatory for a working dinner. Known as “the Green Heart of Pittsburgh,” Phipps’ earth-sheltered Welcome Center was the first LEED-certified building in a public garden. Its newest addition, the Tropical Forest Conservatory, is the world’s most energy efficient conservatory and is the only conservatory powered by a solid oxide fuel cell.

David L. Lawrence Convention Center:

Demonstrating the possibilities presented by employing new and innovative technology to further economic recovery and development, the Pittsburgh Summit will be held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh. The facility was the first “green” convention center in the world to be awarded the LEED® Gold Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council for leadership in energy and environmental design.

Rosemont Farm:

The First Lady is looking forward to welcoming and hosting the Pittsburgh Summit spousal program. Following the leaders reception, the program will kick off with a private dinner for spouses at the farm of well known Pittsburgh philanthropist Teresa Heinz. The farm is set in the rolling hills just outside of Pittsburgh and will serve as a beautiful and intimate place for the spouses to gather. Rosemont Farm is a fully working farm where they grow their own fruits and vegetables and raise cows, chickens and produce their own fresh eggs.

Creative & Performing Arts School (“CAPA”):

Stemming from the White House's commitment to and encouragement of arts education for young people, Mrs. Obama will share with her counterparts the outstanding arts education opportunities afforded to the students of Pittsburgh. The group will tour and view a performance at the Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12 school, located in downtown Pittsburgh’s Cultural District. CAPA, a Creative & Performing Arts public magnet school, enrolls more than 800 full time students who major in dance, instrumental music, vocal music, literary arts, theatre and visual arts. CAPA’s vision, “excellence for all in the arts and academic areas,” is supported by their state of the art facilities and the latest technology.

The Andy Warhol Museum:

The Andy Warhol Museum, located on the north shore of Pittsburgh, will be the setting for a luncheon hosted by the First Lady. The Warhol Museum, one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, houses the definitive collection of art and archives from the renowned 20th century artist Andy Warhol, who was born and raised in Pittsburgh. The museum is known regionally for being a forum for lively, creative community dialogue, and its staff works with educators, students, and community organizations to encourage and enhance learning through the arts. The museum is also known for bringing the work of Andy Warhol to the world through popular traveling exhibitions, which have been viewed by more than six million people throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia including 15 of the G-20 nations.

To learn more about the Pittsburgh Summit please visit