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Legislative Update from Rep. Reginald Meeks

From: State Rep. Reginald K. Meeks

It’s not the stuff of rabid public interest -- and it will probably garner only passing notation from reporters, but those who have been around Frankfort for some time are not likely to stop talking about yesterday’s end to this Special Session for some time. Call it the Politics of Procedure or the Procedure of Politics, but be sure to call it “Mission Accomplished!” -- well, partially. Governor Steve Beshear called the General Assembly back to address two matters: the Graduation/Drop Out bill and the Medicaid budget.The Senate completely dismissed consideration of the former.

That bill was saddled with a big, bright bull’s-eye from the start given the Governor’s and the First Lady’s personal investment in it. Senate President David Williams -- the Governor’s potential foe in the November General Election -- had no intention of allowing the Graduation/Drop Out bill to see the light of day in that chamber; some would say for obvious reasons. And so, for yet another year, some 6,500 children under age 15 will be able to hit the bricks and hightail it out of Kentucky schools and on to – well, let’s see…hmmmm, not much except maybe the welfare rolls, or the justice system…Either way, you and I will continue paying for children who are allowed to flush themselves out of any possibility of contributing to our schools, or society…Way to go, Senate?

Read more: Legislative Update from Rep. Reginald Meeks

Editorial: End-game in Libya?

Editors Note: The views expressed here are solely those of the author.

What is the End-Game for Libya?Since the beginning of the revolution in Libya, President Obama has received criticism from all sides. Some of it fair, some of it...not so much. We have heard members from both sides of the aisle complain that the President hasn't sought their council or guidance for his campaign in the North African nation, rather, choosing to follow his own course, his own advisors, his own time table.

Again, some of that is fair, some of it isn't. Several hours before he publicly announced his intention to join the UN campaign of air-strikes against Moammar Gadhafi's (No one can quite settle on the spelling of this name, so this is the one I am going with) regime, President Obama did in fact meet with several Congressional leaders from both parties. This hasn't gotten a lot of coverage of course, as Republicans seek to paint him as a "go it alone" guy. What nerve.

While Obama has accepted the advice of some and rejected it from others, he hasn't had a national tragedy to exploit in the form of 9/11 in the way that his predecessor did to twist arms, and garner support...deservedly or not. Had Obama taken this issue to the Congress before taking any sort of action we would have witnessed the likely deaths of tens-of-thousands Libyans at the hands of Moammar Gadhafi and his loyalists, which would have effectively crushed any real chance of regime change in that nation. We would have seen a rebellion crushed by the tanks, jets, and bombs of a leader who simply doesn't wish to give up power; Civil-War or not. In my view, this would have been another "Rwanda", another stain on the international community, and another addition to the long list of Gadhafi's crimes against humanity. The world would most certainly not have been a better place for it.

The reason is simple: You have a political party who opposes this President on absolutely everything...even if they agree with his decisions. This is obstructionism for the sake of obstructionism. Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell has repeatedly stated that the single goal of the GOP is to make Obama a one term President. That's it, and that's all. Nothing more. McConnell and his cohorts have made it their policy to throw out all other policy matters to obstruct. The Republican party has made it their mission to ignore the people who sent them to Washington in the first place: What about fiscal issues? What about doing "something" about America's growing deficit? What about governmental reform? Campaign slogans all. Their voting sheep have bought this hook-line-sinker, and American lives are being lost every day as a result. Most Republicans supported Mitt Romney's Health Care plan before it was adopted by the Obama camp, and now they act as if the legislation was drafted by Satan himself. Why? Because Obama approved it. Nothing more.

So, now we have jets flying over Libya in a supposed campaign to prevent the deaths of thousands, and again, the Republicans are against it. Why? Because Obama supports it. Nothing more. Were this the Bush White House, you would see every member of their lock-step party in front of any camera that would have them...thumping their chest.."America! Rah Rah Rah!!". Of course they would. They LOVE it when we bomb brown people, reason be damned. But Obama approves so they must be against it.

What is interesting here is they have several valid points that Democrats tend to agree with: He should have publicly gone for Congressional approval. Of course that would have led to nothing but gridlock, and a worsening of the American image among the Muslim world (again, Republicans care more about defeating Obama than governing), but it would have been the "right thing to do". Politics sometimes supersedes morality especially in Washington.

So the best political course would have been for the President to go before the American people. He should have been thumping HIS chest about the cause of liberty, a cause that the Republicans claimed to hold so near and dear to their hearts. He should have announced airstrikes, taking a leading role in the UN mission, and THEN went to Congress for approval. This would have allowed the Democrats to say to the American people: "You don't want to cut off soldiers and airmen in the field, do you?"

This might still be in the works, but suddenly "the media" has decided to have some integrity. (Oh my) By "integrity" I mean they have started doing their job. Asking basic questions: What are we actually doing in Libya? Who are we really supporting? What are our goals? What is our end-game?

These basic questions would have been nice before the U.S. invaded Iraq, but media elites were far too busy worrying about being labeled as "Un-American". Now we face the opposite: Too many questions for a situation that is literally fluid and fluctuating. With only days into the physical portion of the conflict everyone suddenly demands to know when it will be over. What is the point of this? Things could change at any moment, which will immediately effect whatever end-game we have considered. Italy has already threatened to prevent the use of its air-bases due to an argument with Turkey and several other things. If the UN coalition loses these bases a quick re-tool will be required. This changes the end-game. The Arab League might pull out. What will NATO's role be, if any? Saudi Arabia might decide to send in ground-troops. Another nation might join in...all of these things effects the end-game. I believe it was wise for the Obama Administration to step back from being the lead in this as it grants us greater latitude to make decisions that we would otherwise be unable to do...just because of being in that "lead role".

There are so many factors at play here that it would be irresponsible for any government to announce a pre-determined outcome. It is healthy to start thinking about such questions, but to make a hard decision? Seriously?

I believe this is some sort of over-zealous guilt on the part of the media because they utterly failed to ask such questions before the "Coalition of the Willing" (Afrika Bambaataa & the Zulu Nation. ha!) stormed into Iraq without the most basic strategy of how to handle the conflict, the reasoning behind the whole thing, how much it might cost, and most importantly: How would we pay for it?

When I say "pay for it" I mean that in terms of blood and treasure. Would we have the correct intel to allow us to actually achieve anything? What are at least our most basic goals? How many soldiers were we prepared to sacrifice, and for what reason? WHAT REASON?

In Libya, the reasoning is pretty clear, but the guilt from Iraq's past is haunting. If the United States is SO worried about civilians being crushed by evil regimes, what justification do we have for ignoring our oil partners such as Bahrain & Saudi Arabia? How about Yemen? Are we prepared to launch air-strikes in those nations as well? If protecting innocents who "yearn to be free" what justification do we have, other than oil, to ignore the atrocities in those nations?

Especially Saudi Arabia, the nation MOST responsible for the 9/11 attacks. The nation MOST responsible for telegraphing the kind of religious insanity that has held that part of the world back for years and years. What about them? Will the United States continue to engage in such hypocrisy in the name of oil and "stability" indefinitely?

There are many questions to be asked right now, but I don't believe trying to force the Obama Administration to look into a crystal ball and see an unknown future are among them.

-Chuck Campbell
This article appeared originally at: BlackWednesday.org

Memorial Day

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Honored, Never Forgotten

Memorial Day is not just the beginning of a summer of barbeques, pool parties, and great times with good friends. There is an important reason we set aside this day. Our brothers and sisters went off to war in distant lands by the millions with the dream of coming back to their loved ones. Many never made it home.

We can agree or disagree with the wars of our nation, but we can never forget those who made great sacrifices for the ideals and liberties we cherish. This sacrifice is borne not only by the brave soldiers, but their friends and family back home.

This Memorial Day, we commend and honor each and every soldier and military family member. All our soldiers, including those coming home from the current war need and deserve our support for their health and well-being.

The greatest respect we can pay our veterans is to reaffirm our commitment to those who serve our nation.

From all of us at the Louisville Jefferson County Democratic Party, we wish you a wonderful Memorial Day. For all the soldiers and their loved ones, you are in our thoughts.

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