Ultimate outrage: On same day. Obama blaming sequester cuts education money for soldiers. Money going to educating children of illegal immigrants.

Army suspends tuition assistance program for troops

Empty classrooms like this one on Kleber Kaserne, Germany, may be the new norm as the Army has suspended its tuition assistance program, citing fiscal challenges. The Army’s announcement follows a similar message affecting the Marine Corps.
JOSHUA L. DEMOTTS/STARS AND STRIPES
By Mark Patton

Stars and Stripes
Published: March 8, 2013

RELATED

  • Marines halt new enrollments in tuition assistance programs; other services could follow
  • Student vets furious over tuition assistance cuts
  • Stars and Stripes’ sequestration coverage
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A view of the entrance to the Kleber Kaserne education center at Kaiserslautern, Germany. The Army has suspended its tuition assistance program, citing fiscal challenges. The Army’s announcement follows a similar message affecting the Marine Corps.
JOSHUA L. DEMOTTS/STARS AND STRIPES

WIESBADEN, Germany — The Army announced Friday it is suspending its tuition assistance program for soldiers newly enrolling in classes due to sequestration and other budgetary pressures.

“This suspension is necessary given the significant budget execution challenges caused by the combined effects of a possible year-long continuing resolution and sequestration,” Paul Prince, an army personnel spokesman at the Pentagon, wrote in an email to Stars and Stripes. “The Army understands the impacts of this action and will re-evaluate should the budgetary situation improve.”

The Army’s announcement follows a similar move by the Marine Corps.

The Army’s tuition assistance program was available for troops to complete a high school diploma, certificate program or college or master’s degree. Under the program, the Army paid 100 percent of the tuition and authorized fees charged by a school up to established limits of $250 per semester hour or credit hour or up to $4,500 per fiscal year.

“The Secretary of the Army has approved the suspension of Tuition Assistance effective 5 p.m. (Eastern Time) on March 8, 2013. Soldiers will no longer be permitted to submit new requests for Tuition Assistance,” read a statement posted Friday on the GoArmyEd.com website. “However, Soldiers currently enrolled in courses approved for Tuition Assistance are not affected, and will be allowed to complete current course enrollment(s).

“This change in the Army Tuition Assistance program applies to all Soldiers, including the Army National Guard and Army Reserves,” the statement read.

Student Veterans of America on Friday blasted the decision, saying the move could hurt troops’ post military careers and leave them in debt.

“It is utterly unacceptable that the first casualties of Congress’ inability to act are education benefits for servicemembers,” Michael Dakduk, executive director of SVA, said in a statement. “The decisions of the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Army set a dangerous precedent that educating our nation’s servicemembers and veterans is an expendable option.”

Prior to the official announcement, messages about the suspension were circulating on various Facebook pages and on University of Maryland University College Europe’s webpage.

Frustrations were evident on GoArmyEd’s Facebook page on Friday.

“Wouldn’t one think that GoArmyEd would have sent a mass e-mail to everyone enrolled instead of a few people here and there? I haven’t gotten anything from my chain of command, GoArmyEd, or my school!,” read one post.

Others expressed concern about remaining college requirements or how the suspension will affect the enlisted promotion system, where civilian education is valued and rewarded.

Sgt. 1st Class Vido Barina with the 66th Military Intelligence Brigade in Wiesbaden, Germany, said taking away tuition assistance is the wrong move.

“Every commercial, every brochure, has money for college written all over it … recruiting us into the Army and then taking away one of the main reasons we joined is a bit hypocritical,” said Barina, who added that as an 11-year Army veteran, it’s his junior troops he is concerned about. “There are so many things that cost a lot of money and don’t need to take place that are not getting the ax.”

Although tuition assistance is being suspended, soldiers can continue to access their GI Bill benefits or use other funding sources, such as grants and scholarships or state tuition assistance for Army National Guard soldiers.

Sgt. Daniel Phillips, with the 66th MI Brigade, said he was hoping to save the GI Bill to pass on to his kids, adding that paying for classes out of his own pocket isn’t a realistic option.

“(Tuition Assistance) is something I’ve been utilizing my whole Army career to help me stand out from my peers and benefit my family,” Phillips said. “I had a degree plan set up and this is going to be a huge setback.”

Prince advised that soldiers contact their local education centers with questions and to get updates. Army officials say that updated information will also be posted to http://www.goarmyed.com.

patton.mark@stripes.com

Air Force joins Army, Marines in cutting tuition assistance

An airman speaks with a Grand Canyon University representative at an education fair at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., Aug. 16, 2012.
U.S. AIR FORCE, FLICKR
By Charlie Reed and Jennifer H. Svan

Stars and Stripes
Published: March 12, 2013
40237_92212568.jpg

Servicemembers and civilians take a test in Moriaki Kanai’s Elementary Japanese class at the University of Maryland College at Yokota Air Base, Japan, September of 2006.
CHRISTOPHER B. STOLTZ / S&S

The Air Force has joined the Marines and the Army in dropping tuition assistance due to sweeping federal budget cuts.

Word of the decision began reaching airmen in the Pacific on Tuesday morning. During a commander’s call at Yokota Air Base, 374th Airlift Wing commander Col. Mark August told airmen that applications for tuition assistance submitted after March 12 likely would be rejected by the Air Force.

“I suggest you call and see where your application’s at,” he said.

Because the Air Force is also strictly limiting TDY, professional education at the service’s Non-Commissioned Officer Academy and Squadron Officer School, would also be limited, he said.

Commanders would likely have to limit and prioritize airmen scheduled to attend those schools, August said.

At Ramstein Air Base in Germany, phones at the education center were busy Tuesday morning with callers ranging from the distressed to those in disbelief asking: “What do you mean, I can’t apply?”

“It has been probably one of the craziest mornings of my career,” said Keith Davis, the chief of education and training at Ramstein, who fielded some of those phone calls. “It has been unbelievable.”

The official message that the Air Force was suspending all new requests for tuition assistance effective immediately, came out “stateside time yesterday,” Davis said Tuesday.

“We pushed an email out this morning from the education center,” informing airmen of the change, Davis said.

By the time airmen woke up Tuesday morning in Germany, they were shut out from submitting new requests for tuition assistance through the Air Force Portal. A message on the application site says in red letters: “Air Force Military Tuition Assistance Currently Not Available.”

Capt. Nicholas Plante, an Air Force spokesman at the Pentagon, said Tuesday that Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley made the decision at about 5 p.m. Washington time Monday to suspend military tuition assistance. The service’s education offices were promptly notified, and the Air Force planned to put out a statement Tuesday on its web site, www.af.mil, Plante said.

Sequestration, he said, is having “devastating effects” on readiness, mobilization and the workforce. “We have to make difficult choices to preserve those types of things.”

Plante said the suspension applies to all components, including the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard on extended active duty orders.

Last week, the Army and the Marines announced similar moves and the Navy was expected also to announce changes to its tuition assistance program.

As of Monday, airmen are not permitted to submit new requests for tuition assistance, Plante said. Airmen currently enrolled in approved courses are not affected, he said and are allowed to complete them. Applications from airmen submitted before the suspension but not yet approved will be processed normally, Plante said. The Air Force will evaluate the program in coming months, he said.

The Air Force has been providing $250 per semester credit hour and up to $4,500 a year to airmen pursuing associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The Air Force does not charge for professional education courses.

At Ramstein, about 1,600 students are currently taking advantage of tuition assistance benefits, according to Davis. About 70 requests are pending approval. To date this fiscal year, the base’s education office has issued about $4 million in tuition assistance benefits.

“The advice is not to go away from education” but to still take advantage of other education benefits that are available, such as the G.I. Bill, Plante said. The cuts do not affect the G.I. Bill.

Yokota commander August told airmen who are concerned about how the cuts in education would affect their promotion prospects that review boards would factor in the education cuts.

A petition created March 8 — the day the Army announced its cuts — on the ‘We the People’ section of WhiteHouse.gov already has more than 27,000 signatures. It urges President Barack Obama to reinstate tuition assistance through an executive order. A petition must reach 100,000 signatures within 30 days to receive a response from the White House, according to its website.

reed.charlie@stripes.com
svanj@estripes.osd.mil

House approves lowering tuition for Colorado illegal immigrant students, bill goes to governor

Students to get in-state tuition rates

Colorado-House-of-Representatives-Inside-14885284.jpg

(Photo courtesy: Colorado State Legislature)

Posted: 03/08/2013
Last Updated: 5 days ago

DENVER – A bill allowing lower tuition rates for illegal immigrant students received final approval from state House lawmakers Friday.

The bill passed 40-21 and will now proceed to Gov. John Hickenlooper, who is expected to sign the bill. Three Republicans joined with all the Democratic lawmakers to approve the bill.

Hickenlooper tweeted, “Undocumented kids will now have a fair and equitable way to pursue a higher education in CO. Well done.”

The bill allows students who graduate from Colorado high schools to attend college at the in-state rate regardless of their immigration status.

Currently, students in the country illegally must pay the non-resident tuition rate, which can be more than three times higher than the in-state rate.

The proposal and similar bills have been debated at the Colorado Legislature for a decade. Both parties have voted to defeat the bills in the past.    Republicans argued that a federal immigration overhaul needs to happen first.

The bill has some specific requirements:  Students must graduate from a Colorado high school, they must have resided in Colorado for at least three consecutive years and they must sign an affidavit stating they are seeking citizenship.

Legislative analysts say the measure could affect some 500 students next school year.

In the past, many Republicans have said that the legislation raises an issue of fairness because illegal immigrants would be receiving a benefit that other students don’t receive. But Democrats say the state has invested in the immigrants’ education in state public schools and they should have the chance to attend college at an affordable rate.

Obama threatens those that write anything against him.

 

WMAL EXCLUSIVE: Woodward’s Not Alone – Fmr. Clinton Aide Davis Says He Received White House Threat

8:39AM Thursday
February 28, 2013

WASHINGTON — Bob Woodward isn’t the only person who’s received threats for airing the Obama administration’s dirty laundry.  It seems anyone is a potential target of the White House these days – even former senior members of the Clinton administration.

A day after Woodward’s claim that a senior White House official had told him he would “regret” writing a column criticizing President Obama’s stance on the sequester, Lanny Davis, a longtime close advisor to President Bill Clinton, told WMAL’s Mornings on the Mall Thursday he had received similar threats for newspaper columns he had written about Obama in the Washington Times.

Davis told WMAL that his editor, John Solomon, “received a phone call from a senior Obama White House official who didn’t like some of my columns, even though I’m a supporter of Obama. I couldn’t imagine why this call was made.”  Davis says the Obama aide told Solomon, “that if he continued to run my columns, he would lose, or his reporters would lose their White House credentials.”

Davis says he does not know if the White House official involved in his case is the same one who is alleged to have threatened Woodward, but he says the language used in both cases is very similar.  In any case, Davis says his editor, Solomon, was not worried by the threat.

“He didn’t take it seriously, because he didn’t think that could ever happen.  He thought it was bluster,” Davis told WMAL. “I called three senior people at the White House, and I said, ‘I want this person to be told this can never happen again, and it’s inappropriate.’  I got a call back from someone who was in the White House saying it will never happen again.”

BOB WOODWARD: A ‘Very Senior’ White House Person

Warned Me I’d ‘Regret’ What I’m Doing

Brett LoGiurato | Feb. 27, 2013, 6:53 PM | 308,736 | 326obama_angry_2012_8_6
Bob Woodward

Bob Woodward said this evening on CNN that a “very senior person” at the White House warned him in an email that he would “regret doing this,” the same day he has continued to slam President Barack Obama over the looming forced cuts known as the sequester.

CNN host Wolf Blitzer said that the network invited a White House official to debate Woodward on-air, but the White House declined.

“I think they’re confused,” Woodward said of the White House’s pushback on his reporting.

Earlier today on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Woodward ripped into Obama in what has become an ongoing feud between the veteran Washington Post journalist and the White House. Woodward said Obama was showing a “kind of madness I haven’t seen in a long time” for a decision not to deploy an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf because of budget concerns.

The Defense Department said in early February that it would not deploy the U.S.S. Harry Truman to the Persian Gulf, citing budget concerns relating to the looming cuts known as the sequester.

“Can you imagine Ronald Reagan sitting there and saying, ‘Oh, by the way, I can’t do this because of some budget document?'” Woodward said on MSNBC.

“Or George W. Bush saying, ‘You know, I’m not going to invade Iraq because I can’t get the aircraft carriers I need?'” Or even Bill Clinton saying, ‘You know, I’m not going to attack Saddam Hussein’s intelligence headquarters,’ … because of some budget document?”

Woodward began stirring controversy last weekend, when he called out Obama for what he said was “moving the goal posts” on the sequester by requesting that revenue be part of a deal to avert it.

Woodward: Obama’s Decision Not To Deploy Carrier “A Kind Of Madness”

Bob Woodward blasted President Obama on Wednesday morning for deciding to recall an aircraft carrier from the Persian Gulf because of impending budget cuts, calling the decision “a kind of madness.”

Woodward: Can you imagine Ronald Reagan sitting there and saying ‘Oh, by the way, I can’t do this because of some budget document?’ Or George W. Bush saying, ‘You know, I’m not going to invade Iraq because I can’t get the aircraft carriers I need’ or even Bill Clinton saying, ‘You know, I’m not going to attack Saddam Hussein’s intelligence headquarters,’ as he did when Clinton was president because of some budget document? Under the Constitution, the president is commander-in-chief and employs the force. And so we now have the president going out because of this piece of paper and this agreement, I can’t do what I need to do to protect the country. That’s a kind of madness that I haven’t seen in a long time.

Time to pray the madman out!  By Mario Murillo

This is a moment of madness.  Obama like Nero of Rome has lost his mind.  He wants to keep spending and raise taxes this bad?  So bad in fact that he is pouting  refusing to deploy an Aircraft Carrier  to the Persian Gulf where it would stand as a deterrent to Iran and protector of Israel.

Daily he has fed us lies about what the SEQUESTER would do but to do this????  For those who have been under a rock let me explain that Obama came up with the idea of automatic spending cuts if he did not reach an agreement with Republicans by March.   Then he refused to negotiate in good faith for spending cuts.  At the last moment he turns the tables and blames the Republicans for not reaching an agreement and then he begins lying about the damage that the automatic cuts would do.  All this so he can keep spending and raising taxes.

Now in a dangerous game of chicken, he recalls an Aircraft Carrier.   He disregards human life in his quest for power.

People ask me, “Mario, are you praying for our president?”  Yes I am.  I am praying him out of office. “But Mario, why don’t you pray for God to change his heart?”  I am, but I want God to change his heart when he is out of office and facing the consequences of his abuse of power.  If a pilot is drunk in the cockpit I am not going to pray for a change of heart.  Get him out of the cockpit and then pray for repentance. 

A few days ago, Obama essentially fired the American news media.  He is done answering questions.  We can understand that the media is not going to do anything about this.  Like battered wives they still love Obama.  So in my prayers I am moving on to another target.

Here is my prayer over this situation:  Today I am asking God to do a miracle in Democratic leaders in the Senate and the House.  I am asking for them to grow a conscience and to force this madman out of office before he destroys this nation.  We do not need to impeach Obama we need to fire him.

How can you as a democratic leader sleep at night knowing you are condoning this man’s outright evil?  How can you look in the mirror and continue to remain silent about the tyranny of this man?  History will call you a traitor and a coward.  You have the power, the Republicans do not.  Wake up and give us back our country! 

As far as Christians who still support Obama this comment at our website from Linda sums up my conviction:

“As a Christian….and having paid attention to Obama….the President…. I am beside myself….I seriously cannot understand how a Christian could possibly have voted for him… My spirit….knows well that he is laughing at the Christians….to say the very least. There is such a sinister presence in this nation…which I am so well aware of….personally I do not feel man can turn this around….unless repentance occurs and a revival……which corporate prayer could and would be essential to kick-start the “Revival”………have already been praying for revival……God Bless and lift you up.”

Woodward: Obama’s Decision Not To Deploy Carrier “A Kind Of Madness”

Woodward: Obama’s Decision Not To Deploy Carrier “A Kind Of Madness”

Bob Woodward blasted President Obama on Wednesday morning for deciding to recall an aircraft carrier from the Persian Gulf because of impending budget cuts, calling the decision “a kind of madness.”

Woodward: Can you imagine Ronald Reagan sitting there and saying ‘Oh, by the way, I can’t do this because of some budget document?’ Or George W. Bush saying, ‘You know, I’m not going to invade Iraq because I can’t get the aircraft carriers I need’ or even Bill Clinton saying, ‘You know, I’m not going to attack Saddam Hussein’s intelligence headquarters,’ as he did when Clinton was president because of some budget document? Under the Constitution, the president is commander-in-chief and employs the force. And so we now have the president going out because of this piece of paper and this agreement, I can’t do what I need to do to protect the country. That’s a kind of madness that I haven’t seen in a long time.

obama_angry_2012_8_6

Time to pray the madman out!  By Mario Murillo

This is a moment of madness.  Obama like Nero of Rome has lost his mind.  He wants to keep spending and raise taxes this bad?  So bad in fact that he is pouting  refusing to deploy an Aircraft Carrier  to the Persian Gulf where it would stand as a deterrent to Iran and protector of Israel.

Daily he has fed us lies about what the SEQUESTER would do but to do this????  For those who have been under a rock let me explain that Obama came up with the idea of automatic spending cuts if he did not reach an agreement with Republicans by March.   Then he refused to negotiate in good faith for spending cuts.  At the last moment he turns the tables and blames the Republicans for not reaching an agreement and then he begins lying about the damage that the automatic cuts would do.  All this so he can keep spending and raising taxes.

Now in a dangerous game of chicken, he recalls an Aircraft Carrier.   He disregards human life in his quest for power.

People ask me, “Mario, are you praying for our president?”  Yes I am.  I am praying him out of office. “But Mario, why don’t you pray for God to change his heart?”  I am, but I want God to change his heart when he is out of office and facing the consequences of his abuse of power.  If a pilot is drunk in the cockpit I am not going to pray for a change of heart.  Get him out of the cockpit and then pray for repentance. 

A few days ago, Obama essentially fired the American news media.  He is done answering questions.  We can understand that the media is not going to do anything about this.  Like battered wives they still love Obama.  So in my prayers I am moving on to another target.

Here is my prayer over this situation:  Today I am asking God to do a miracle in Democratic leaders in the Senate and the House.  I am asking for them to grow a conscience and to force this madman out of office before he destroys this nation.  We do not need to impeach Obama we need to fire him.

How can you as a democratic leader sleep at night knowing you are condoning this man’s outright evil?  How can you look in the mirror and continue to remain silent about the tranny of this man?  History will call you a traitor and a coward.  You have the power, the Republicans do not.  Wake up and give us back our country! 

As far as Christians who still support Obama this comment at our website from Linda sums up my conviction:

“As a Christian….and having paid attention to Obama….the President…. I am beside myself….I seriously cannot understand how a Christian could possibly have voted for him… My spirit….knows well that he is laughing at the Christians….to say the very least. There is such a sinister presence in this nation…which I am so well aware of….personally I do not feel man can turn this around….unless repentance occurs and a revival……which corporate prayer could and would be essential to kick-start the “Revival”………have already been praying for revival……God Bless and lift you up.”