(SL) – A new survey shows most Americans believe Barack Obama is the best president in their lifetime.The Pew Research survey asked respondents to choose any president between Theodore Roosevelt to Donald Trump and 44-percent chose Obama. Bill Clinton was the second most popular, followed by Ronald Reagan. Nineteen-percent of those surveyed said President Trump is the best president of their lifetime.
(SL) – Former President Barack Obama will travel to Kenya next month. Obama will visit his father’s homeland as part of a trip that will include stops in South Africa, Spain and Portugal. While in Kenya in mid-July, Obama will attend the opening of a youth sports center founded by his sister Auma.
Obama will also meet with Kenya’s president and opposition leader during his visit. Obama will then head to South Africa where he will speak at an event honoring Nelson Mandela’s birthday. He will also take part in a town hall with African leaders of the Obama Foundation.
(Palm Beach, FL) – It started around 11 last night with this tweet: Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!And that was just the beginning. Since then, Trump has put his focus on Obama yet again and a reverse psychology tactic that is pretty worn out at this point saying Russia is laughing at America. “If it was the GOAL of Russia to create discord, disruption and chaos within the U.S. then, with all of the Committee Hearings, Investigations and Party hatred, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.” He then said Moscow is laughing and urged America to get smart. His comments come of course after more than a dozen Russians were indicted for meddling in the 2016 election.THEN he said that he never said that Russia didn’t meddle in the 2016 election noting his comments during his campaign that…“it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400 pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer.” Trump said the hoax is the idea that his campaign had colluded with Russia.
Naturally it didn’t stop there. Accompanied with the regular insult, Trump then praised Democratic Representative Adam Schiff for putting some of the blame for Russian meddling in the 2016 election on the Obama administration. “Finally, ‘Liddle’ Adam Schiff, the leakin’ monster of no control, is now blaming the Obama administration for Russian meddling in the 2016 Election. He is finally right about something. Obama was President, knew of the threat, and did nothing. Thank you Adam!” He followed that up with a tweet suggesting Democrats were trying to blame the Obama administration’s response to Russian meddling for Hillary Clinton’s loss.
Tired yet? It continued…..Of course it wouldn’t be Trump if he didn’t slam the media. He pointed fingers at news outlets over their coverage of the indictments and for not focusing on how the indictments exonerate his campaign from colluding with Russia. Trump noted it was “funny how the Fake News Media doesn’t want to say that the Russian group was formed in 2014,” long before he decided to run for President. He added, sarcastically, ” Maybe they knew I was going to run even though I didn’t know!” Trump’s critics have accused the President of trying to spin the indictments in his favor, even though he has previously called Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation a hoax.AND THEN….HE WENT BACK TO PRESIDENT OBAMA tweeting he’s “never gotten over the fact that Obama was able to send one-point-seven Billion Dollars in CASH to Iran and nobody in Congress, the FBI or Justice called for an investigation!” He’s referring to money delivered to Iran in 2016, which included interest on Iranian money held by the U.S. since the 1970s. Some of the money was given the same day four American prisoners were released from Iranian custody. The Obama White House denied it was a ransom payment but later admitted the money was used as leverage in the prisoner release. The payment was made in cash because Congress had outlawed dollar transfers to Tehran. Iranian media at the time played up the payment as if it were indeed a ransom.
(SL)- Donald Trump’s administration continues to mislead people with yet a new lie, this time about President Obama. The latest twitter rant accused the former POTUS of tapping his phone which is utterly ridiculous and unsubstantiated.
Trump, as he normally does, is basing his concerns off of a Breitbart article circulating that claims President Obama tapped his phones at Trump Tower before the election in a Nixon/Watergate style scandal.
The Executive office can not do this on its own. His claim is baseless and if there was a wire on his phone FISA (The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance ) would have ordered it and there would be proof of it. Trump hasn’t provided any evidence but fired off these words early Saturday morning.
A spokesman for Mr. Obama says any suggestion that the former president ordered such surveillance was “simply false.”
The New York Times reports, Mr. Trump’s aides declined to clarify whether the president’s explosive allegations were based on briefings from intelligence or law enforcement officials — which could mean that Mr. Trump was revealing previously unknown details about an investigation — or on something else, like a news report.
His decision to lend the power of his office to such a charged claim against his predecessor — without offering any initial proof — was remarkable, even for a leader who has repeatedly shown himself willing to make assertions that are false or based on dubious sources.
It would have been difficult for federal agents, working within the law, to obtain a wiretap order to target Mr. Trump’s phone conversations. It would have meant that the Justice Department had gathered sufficient evidence to persuade a federal judge that there was probable cause to believe he had committed a serious crime or was an agent of a foreign power, depending on whether it was a criminal investigation or a foreign intelligence one.
Former officials pointed to longstanding laws and procedures intended to ensure that presidents cannot wiretap a rival for political purposes.
“A cardinal rule of the Obama administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice,” said Kevin Lewis, a spokesman for Mr. Obama. “As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen.”
Attending ‘The Price’ On Broadway, the father-daughter pair even sneaked backstage during intermission to chat with the A-list cast and crew, which included Mark Ruffalo, Danny DeVito, Tony Shalhoub and Jessica Hecht.
(SL) – As we say goodbye to one of the BEST Presidents to ever lead the United States, let’s take a look at some of his top accomplishment. To be honest there were more than 400 positives that we could list, but those most impacting were comprised quite nicely in a top ten list written by Kimberly Amedeo.
As President Barack Obama struggled with the 2008 financial crisis and controversy over the ambitious Affordable Care Act. His Administration battled the tea party Republicans ever since the 2010 mid-term elections. Despite these challenges, he’s managed to accomplish many great things. Here are the top eleven. Find out how they match up to the 2008 “Yes We Can!” campaign promises.
1. Ended the 2008 Recession
In February 2009, Congress approved Obama’s $787 billion economic stimulus package.
It cut taxes, extended unemployment benefits, and funded public works projects. The recession ended six months later when GDP growth turned positive. In just seven months, ARRA pumped $241.9 billion into the economy, stirring growth to a robust 3.9 percent by early 2010. By March 30, 2011, nearly all ($633.5 billion) of the funds were spent.
Obama bailed out the U.S. auto industry on March 30, 2009. The Federal government took over General Motors and Chrysler, saving three million jobs. It forced the companies to become more fuel efficient and therefore more globally competitive.
2. Received 2009 Nobel Peace Prize
Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize in March 2010. The Committee lauded “..his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” He withdrew troops from Iraq in 2011. He reduced the U.S. nuclear warhead stockpile by 10 percent. (Source: “Inspires Hope for a Better Future,” Nobel Peace Prize 2009)
3. Reformed Health Care
On March 23, 2010, Obamacare revolutionized healthcare. Six months later, concerns over the program’s cost helped Republicans win control of the House of Representatives in the mid-term elections. Why did healthcare need to be reformed? Rising costs threatened to outstrip Medicare’s ability to pay for it, and contributed to 50 percent of all bankruptcies.
The quality of care was one of the worst in the world. For more, see Obama’s Plan to Reform Healthcare.
By 2014, the economy benefited from having 95 percent of the population on health insurance. That should reduce the number of emergency visits to the hospital and lower costs. Bankruptcies should decline since medical expenses are the number one cause. For more, see Obamacare Pros and Cons.
4. Regulated the Big Banks
In July 2010, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act improved regulation of eight areas that led to the financial crisis. The Consumer Financial Protection Agencyimproved regulation of credit cards and mortgages. The Financial Stability Oversight Council regulated hedge funds and banks that became too big to fail. The “Volcker Rule” banned banks from being too involved with hedge funds. Dodd-Frank clarified which agencies regulated which banks, stopping banks from cherry-picking their regulator.
Dodd-Frank asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to regulate the riskiest derivatives, like credit default swaps and commodities futures.
It asked the SEC to recommend how the credit rating agencies, like Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, could be improved.
5. 2010 Tax Cuts
In December 2010, Obama and Congress agreed upon additional stimulus in the form of a $858 billion tax cut. It had three main components: a $350 billion extension of the Bush tax cuts, a $56 billion extension of unemployment benefits, and a $120 billion reduction in workers’ payroll taxes. Businesses received $140 billion in tax cuts for capital improvements and $80 billion in research and development tax credits. The estate tax was exempted (up to $5 million), and there were additional credits for college tuition and children. For more, see Obama Tax Cuts.
6. Eliminated bin Laden Threat and Ended Iraq and Afghanistan Wars
On May 1, 2011, Navy Seals attacked the al Quaeda leader’s compound in Pakistan and eliminated Osama bin Laden. Later that year, Obama ended the Iraq War. However, renewed threats from ISIS meant renewed military presence. For more, see Will It Ever End? How the Sunni-Shiite Split Affects the U.S. Economy.
In 2014, Obama wound down the War in Afghanistan. He increased defense spending to new record levels, partly by improving care and benefits for veterans. Ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan should have reduced the more than $800 billion in annual military spending. That’s the largest discretionary budget item. It’s one of the leading causes of the budget deficit and debt levels. Instead, it remained higher than during the Bush Administration. For more, see War on Terror Costs.
7. Won 2012 Presidential Re-election
Obama won a second term as President on November 6, 2012. Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney promised to repeal Obamacare and Dodd-Frank. Voters were not sure about eliminating health benefits and regulations against big banks. Romney failed to capture the country’s imagination by not presenting a new vision for economic growth.
8. Nuclear Agreement With Iran
On July 14, 2015, Obama brokered a nuclear peace agreement with Iran. In return, the United Nations lifted the economic sanctions it imposed in 2010. For details, see Iran’s Economy: Impact of Nuclear Deal and Sanctions.
9. World’s Largest Trade Agreement
On October 4, 2015, Obama’s team negotiated the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). If ratified by Congress, it would replace NAFTA as the world’s largest free-trade agreement. It would remove tariffs between the United States and 11 other countries that border the Pacific Ocean.
Obama launched the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the United States and the European Union. His term ended before negotiations could be finalized. If would have been bigger than the TPP.
10. International Climate Change Agreement
Obama led global efforts to reach the International Climate Agreement. It was negotiated in Paris on December 12, 2015. Countries agreed to reduce carbon emissions and increase carbon trading. Members decided to limit global warmingto 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures. Developed countries will contribute $100 billion a year to assist emerging markets. Many of them bear the brunt of damage from climate change.These include typhoons, rising sea levels, and droughts.
At least 55 of the 196 countries participating must now ratify the agreement before it can go into effect. At the 2016 G20 meeting, China and the United States agreed to ratify the agreement. These two countries are the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gasses. (Source: “Climate Agreement Best Chance We Have to Save the Planet,” CNN, December 14, 2015)
Obama announced carbon reduction regulations in 2014. He enacted the Clean Power Plan in 2015. It reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. It does this by setting carbon reduction goals for the nation’s power plants. To comply, power plants will create 30 percent more renewable energy generation by 2030. It encourages carbon emissions trading by allowing states that already below the caps to trade their surplus to states that are above the cap. (Source: “Obama Just Created a Carbon Cap and Trade Program,” Climate Central, August 4, 2015. “President Obama to Announce Historic Carbon Pollution Standards for Power Plants,” The White House, August 3, 2015.)
11. Job Growth
Obama’s policies helped the country recover from the Great Recession. He created 17.267 million jobs since he took office. That makes him the second best job-creator, following Bill Clinton.
But Obama actually created more jobs than that. Unemployment continued to rise even after the recession was over. That’s because it takes a few months of economic growth before businesses are confident enough to begin hiring again. As a result, the economy continued to lose jobs until January 2010. If you add up all the jobs created since then, it totals 22.309 million jobs. That would make Obama the biggest job creating President in U.S. history. Job gains would have been even better if Congress had approved Obama’s proposed Americans Jobs Act. For more, see Job Creation by President.
Maintained Continuation of Federal Reserve Policy – Obama appointed Federal Reserve Vice-Chair Janet Yellen to replace Ben Bernanke. She maintained an expansionary monetary policy that created the lowest interest rates in 200 years. That allowed the early stages of the housing recovery, and slow but steady business expansion, to continue. For more, see Relationship Between Treasury Notes and Mortgage Rates.
OBAMA’S SPEECH IN FULL
It’s good to be home. My fellow Americans, Michelle and I have been so touched by all the well-wishes we’ve received over the past few weeks. But tonight it’s my turn to say thanks. Whether we’ve seen eye-to-eye or rarely agreed at all, my conversations with you, the American people – in living rooms and schools; at farms and on factory floors; at diners and on distant outposts – are what have kept me honest, kept me inspired, and kept me going. Every day, I learned from you. You made me a better President, and you made me a better man.
I first came to Chicago when I was in my early twenties, still trying to figure out who I was; still searching for a purpose to my life. It was in neighborhoods not far from here where I began working with church groups in the shadows of closed steel mills. It was on these streets where I witnessed the power of faith, and the quiet dignity of working people in the face of struggle and loss. This is where I learned that change only happens when ordinary people get involved, get engaged, and come together to demand it.
After eight years as your President, I still believe that. And it’s not just my belief. It’s the beating heart of our American idea – our bold experiment in self-government.
It’s the conviction that we are all created equal, endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It’s the insistence that these rights, while self-evident, have never been self-executing; that We, the People, through the instrument of our democracy, can form a more perfect union.
This is the great gift our Founders gave us. The freedom to chase our individual dreams through our sweat, toil, and imagination – and the imperative to strive together as well, to achieve a greater good.
For 240 years, our nation’s call to citizenship has given work and purpose to each new generation. It’s what led patriots to choose republic over tyranny, pioneers to trek west, slaves to brave that makeshift railroad to freedom. It’s what pulled immigrants and refugees across oceans and the Rio Grande, pushed women to reach for the ballot, powered workers to organize. It’s why GIs gave their lives at Omaha Beach and Iwo Jima; Iraq and Afghanistan – and why men and women from Selma to Stonewall were prepared to give theirs as well.
So that’s what we mean when we say America is exceptional. Not that our nation has been flawless from the start, but that we have shown the capacity to change, and make life better for those who follow.
Yes, our progress has been uneven. The work of democracy has always been hard, contentious and sometimes bloody. For every two steps forward, it often feels we take one step back. But the long sweep of America has been defined by forward motion, a constant widening of our founding creed to embrace all, and not just some.
If I had told you eight years ago that America would reverse a great recession, reboot our auto industry, and unleash the longest stretch of job creation in our history. If I had told you that we would open up a new chapter with the Cuban people, shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program without firing a shot, and take out the mastermind of 9/11 . If I had told you that we would win marriage equality, and secure the right to health insurance for another 20 million of our fellow citizens – you might have said our sights were set a little too high.
But that’s what we did. That’s what you did. You were the change. You answered people’s hopes, and because of you, by almost every measure, America is a better, stronger place than it was when we started.
In ten days, the world will witness a hallmark of our democracy: the peaceful transfer of power from one freely-elected president to the next. I committed to President-Elect Trump that my administration would ensure the smoothest possible transition, just as President Bush did for me. Because it’s up to all of us to make sure our government can help us meet the many challenges we still face.
We have what we need to do so. After all, we remain the wealthiest, most powerful, and most respected nation on Earth. Our youth and drive, our diversity and openness, our boundless capacity for risk and reinvention mean that the future should be ours.
That’s what I want to focus on tonight – the state of our democracy.
Understand, democracy does not require uniformity. Our founders quarreled and compromised, and expected us to do the same. But they knew that democracy does require a basic sense of solidarity – the idea that for all our outward differences, we are all in this together; that we rise or fall as one.
There have been moments throughout our history that threatened to rupture that solidarity. The beginning of this century has been one of those times. A shrinking world, growing inequality; demographic change and the specter of terrorism – these forces haven’t just tested our security and prosperity, but our democracy as well. And how we meet these challenges to our democracy will determine our ability to educate our kids, and create good jobs, and protect our homeland.
In other words, it will determine our future.
Our democracy won’t work without a sense that everyone has economic opportunity. Today, the economy is growing again; wages, incomes, home values, and retirement accounts are rising again; poverty is falling again. The wealthy are paying a fairer share of taxes even as the stock market shatters records. The unemployment rate is near a ten-year low. The uninsured rate has never, ever been lower. Health care costs are rising at the slowest rate in fifty years. And if anyone can put together a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we’ve made to our health care system – that covers as many people at less cost – I will publicly support it.
That, after all, is why we serve – to make people’s lives better, not worse.
But for all the real progress we’ve made, we know it’s not enough. Our economy doesn’t work as well or grow as fast when a few prosper at the expense of a growing middle class. But stark inequality is also corrosive to our democratic principles. While the top one percent has amassed a bigger share of wealth and income, too many families, in inner cities and rural counties, have been left behind – the laid-off factory worker; the waitress and health care worker who struggle to pay the bills – convinced that the game is fixed against them, that their government only serves the interests of the powerful – a recipe for more cynicism and polarization in our politics.
There are no quick fixes to this long-term trend. I agree that our trade should be fair and not just free. But the next wave of economic dislocation won’t come from overseas. It will come from the relentless pace of automation that makes many good, middle-class jobs obsolete.
And so we must forge a new social compact – to guarantee all our kids the education they need; to give workers the power to unionize for better wages; to update the social safety net to reflect the way we live now and make more reforms to the tax code so corporations and individuals who reap the most from the new economy don’t avoid their obligations to the country that’s made their success possible. We can argue about how to best achieve these goals. But we can’t be complacent about the goals themselves. For if we don’t create opportunity for all people, the disaffection and division that has stalled our progress will only sharpen in years to come.
There’s a second threat to our democracy – one as old as our nation itself. After my election, there was talk of a post-racial America. Such a vision, however well-intended, was never realistic. For race remains a potent and often divisive force in our society. I’ve lived long enough to know that race relations are better than they were ten, or twenty, or thirty years ago – you can see it not just in statistics, but in the attitudes of young Americans across the political spectrum.
But we’re not where we need to be. All of us have more work to do. After all, if every economic issue is framed as a struggle between a hardworking white middle class and undeserving minorities, then workers of all shades will be left fighting for scraps while the wealthy withdraw further into their private enclaves. If we decline to invest in the children of immigrants, just because they don’t look like us, we diminish the prospects of our own children – because those brown kids will represent a larger share of America’s workforce. And our economy doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game. Last year, incomes rose for all races, all age groups, for men and for women.
Going forward, we must uphold laws against discrimination – in hiring, in housing, in education and the criminal justice system. That’s what our Constitution and highest ideals require. But laws alone won’t be enough. Hearts must change. If our democracy is to work in this increasingly diverse nation, each one of us must try to heed the advice of one of the great characters in American fiction, Atticus Finch, who said “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
For blacks and other minorities, it means tying our own struggles for justice to the challenges that a lot of people in this country face – the refugee, the immigrant, the rural poor, the transgender American, and also the middle-aged white man who from the outside may seem like he’s got all the advantages, but who’s seen his world upended by economic, cultural, and technological change.
For white Americans, it means acknowledging that the effects of slavery and Jim Crow didn’t suddenly vanish in the ’60s; that when minority groups voice discontent, they’re not just engaging in reverse racism or practicing political correctness; that when they wage peaceful protest, they’re not demanding special treatment, but the equal treatment our Founders promised.
For native-born Americans, it means reminding ourselves that the stereotypes about immigrants today were said, almost word for word, about the Irish, Italians, and Poles. America wasn’t weakened by the presence of these newcomers; they embraced this nation’s creed, and it was strengthened.
So regardless of the station we occupy; we have to try harder; to start with the premise that each of our fellow citizens loves this country just as much as we do; that they value hard work and family like we do; that their children are just as curious and hopeful and worthy of love as our own.
None of this is easy. For too many of us, it’s become safer to retreat into our own bubbles, whether in our neighborhoods or college campuses or places of worship or our social media feeds, surrounded by people who look like us and share the same political outlook and never challenge our assumptions. The rise of naked partisanship, increasing economic and regional stratification, the splintering of our media into a channel for every taste – all this makes this great sorting seem natural, even inevitable. And increasingly, we become so secure in our bubbles that we accept only information, whether true or not, that fits our opinions, instead of basing our opinions on the evidence that’s out there.
This trend represents a third threat to our democracy. Politics is a battle of ideas; in the course of a healthy debate, we’ll prioritize different goals, and the different means of reaching them. But without some common baseline of facts; without a willingness to admit new information, and concede that your opponent is making a fair point, and that science and reason matter, we’ll keep talking past each other, making common ground and compromise impossible.
Isn’t that part of what makes politics so dispiriting? How can elected officials rage about deficits when we propose to spend money on preschool for kids, but not when we’re cutting taxes for corporations? How do we excuse ethical lapses in our own party, but pounce when the other party does the same thing? It’s not just dishonest, this selective sorting of the facts; it’s self-defeating. Because as my mother used to tell me, reality has a way of catching up with you.
Take the challenge of climate change. In just eight years, we’ve halved our dependence on foreign oil, doubled our renewable energy, and led the world to an agreement that has the promise to save this planet. But without bolder action, our children won’t have time to debate the existence of climate change; they’ll be busy dealing with its effects: environmental disasters, economic disruptions, and waves of climate refugees seeking sanctuary.
Now, we can and should argue about the best approach to the problem. But to simply deny the problem not only betrays future generations; it betrays the essential spirit of innovation and practical problem-solving that guided our Founders.
It’s that spirit, born of the Enlightenment, that made us an economic powerhouse – the spirit that took flight at Kitty Hawk and Cape Canaveral; the spirit that that cures disease and put a computer in every pocket.
It’s that spirit – a faith in reason, and enterprise, and the primacy of right over might, that allowed us to resist the lure of fascism and tyranny during the Great Depression, and build a post-World War II order with other democracies, an order based not just on military power or national affiliations but on principles – the rule of law, human rights, freedoms of religion, speech, assembly, and an independent press.
That order is now being challenged – first by violent fanatics who claim to speak for Islam; more recently by autocrats in foreign capitals who see free markets, open democracies, and civil society itself as a threat to their power. The peril each poses to our democracy is more far-reaching than a car bomb or a missile. It represents the fear of change; the fear of people who look or speak or pray differently; a contempt for the rule of law that holds leaders accountable; an intolerance of dissent and free thought; a belief that the sword or the gun or the bomb or propaganda machine is the ultimate arbiter of what’s true and what’s right.
Because of the extraordinary courage of our men and women in uniform, and the intelligence officers, law enforcement, and diplomats who support them, no foreign terrorist organization has successfully planned and executed an attack on our homeland these past eight years; and although Boston and Orlando remind us of how dangerous radicalization can be, our law enforcement agencies are more effective and vigilant than ever. We’ve taken out tens of thousands of terrorists – including Osama bin Laden. The global coalition we’re leading against ISIL has taken out their leaders, and taken away about half their territory. ISIL will be destroyed, and no one who threatens America will ever be safe. To all who serve, it has been the honor of my lifetime to be your Commander-in-Chief.
But protecting our way of life requires more than our military. Democracy can buckle when we give in to fear. So just as we, as citizens, must remain vigilant against external aggression, we must guard against a weakening of the values that make us who we are. That’s why, for the past eight years, I’ve worked to put the fight against terrorism on a firm legal footing. That’s why we’ve ended torture, worked to close Gitmo, and reform our laws governing surveillance to protect privacy and civil liberties. That’s why I reject discrimination against Muslim Americans. That’s why we cannot withdraw from global fights – to expand democracy, and human rights, women’s rights, and LGBT rights – no matter how imperfect our efforts, no matter how expedient ignoring such values may seem. For the fight against extremism and intolerance and sectarianism are of a piece with the fight against authoritarianism and nationalist aggression. If the scope of freedom and respect for the rule of law shrinks around the world, the likelihood of war within and between nations increases, and our own freedoms will eventually be threatened.
So let’s be vigilant, but not afraid. ISIL will try to kill innocent people. But they cannot defeat America unless we betray our Constitution and our principles in the fight. Rivals like Russia or China cannot match our influence around the world – unless we give up what we stand for, and turn ourselves into just another big country that bullies smaller neighbors.
Which brings me to my final point – our democracy is threatened whenever we take it for granted. All of us, regardless of party, should throw ourselves into the task of rebuilding our democratic institutions. When voting rates are some of the lowest among advanced democracies, we should make it easier, not harder, to vote. When trust in our institutions is low, we should reduce the corrosive influence of money in our politics, and insist on the principles of transparency and ethics in public service. When Congress is dysfunctional, we should draw our districts to encourage politicians to cater to common sense and not rigid extremes.
And all of this depends on our participation; on each of us accepting the responsibility of citizenship, regardless of which way the pendulum of power swings.
Our Constitution is a remarkable, beautiful gift. But it’s really just a piece of parchment. It has no power on its own. We, the people, give it power – with our participation, and the choices we make. Whether or not we stand up for our freedoms. Whether or not we respect and enforce the rule of law. America is no fragile thing. But the gains of our long journey to freedom are not assured.
In his own farewell address, George Washington wrote that self-government is the underpinning of our safety, prosperity, and liberty, but “from different causes and from different quarters much pains will be taken.to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth;” that we should preserve it with “jealous anxiety;” that we should reject “the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest or to enfeeble the sacred ties” that make us one.
We weaken those ties when we allow our political dialogue to become so corrosive that people of good character are turned off from public service; so coarse with rancor that Americans with whom we disagree are not just misguided, but somehow malevolent. We weaken those ties when we define some of us as more American than others; when we write off the whole system as inevitably corrupt, and blame the leaders we elect without examining our own role in electing them.
It falls to each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy; to embrace the joyous task we’ve been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours. Because for all our outward differences, we all share the same proud title: Citizen.
Ultimately, that’s what our democracy demands. It needs you. Not just when there’s an election, not just when your own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime. If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the internet, try to talk with one in real life. If something needs fixing, lace up your shoes and do some organizing. If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself. Show up. Dive in. Persevere. Sometimes you’ll win. Sometimes you’ll lose. Presuming a reservoir of goodness in others can be a risk, and there will be times when the process disappoints you. But for those of us fortunate enough to have been a part of this work, to see it up close, let me tell you, it can energize and inspire. And more often than not, your faith in America – and in Americans – will be confirmed.
Mine sure has been. Over the course of these eight years, I’ve seen the hopeful faces of young graduates and our newest military officers. I’ve mourned with grieving families searching for answers, and found grace in Charleston church. I’ve seen our scientists help a paralyzed man regain his sense of touch, and our wounded warriors walk again. I’ve seen our doctors and volunteers rebuild after earthquakes and stop pandemics in their tracks. I’ve seen the youngest of children remind us of our obligations to care for refugees, to work in peace, and above all to look out for each other.
That faith I placed all those years ago, not far from here, in the power of ordinary Americans to bring about change – that faith has been rewarded in ways I couldn’t possibly have imagined. I hope yours has, too. Some of you here tonight or watching at home were there with us in 2004, in 2008, in 2012 – and maybe you still can’t believe we pulled this whole thing off.
To Joe Biden, the scrappy kid from Scranton who became Delaware’s favorite son: you were the first choice I made as a nominee, and the best. Not just because you have been a great Vice President, but because in the bargain, I gained a brother. We love you and Jill like family, and your friendship has been one of the great joys of our life.
To my remarkable staff: For eight years – and for some of you, a whole lot more – I’ve drawn from your energy, and tried to reflect back what you displayed every day: heart, and character, and idealism. I’ve watched you grow up, get married, have kids, and start incredible new journeys of your own. Even when times got tough and frustrating, you never let Washington get the better of you. The only thing that makes me prouder than all the good we’ve done is the thought of all the remarkable things you’ll achieve from here.
And to all of you out there – every organizer who moved to an unfamiliar town and kind family who welcomed them in, every volunteer who knocked on doors, every young person who cast a ballot for the first time, every American who lived and breathed the hard work of change – you are the best supporters and organizers anyone could hope for, and I will forever be grateful. Because yes, you changed the world.
That’s why I leave this stage tonight even more optimistic about this country than I was when we started. Because I know our work has not only helped so many Americans; it has inspired so many Americans – especially so many young people out there – to believe you can make a difference; to hitch your wagon to something bigger than yourselves. This generation coming up – unselfish, altruistic, creative, patriotic – I’ve seen you in every corner of the country. You believe in a fair, just, inclusive America; you know that constant change has been America’s hallmark, something not to fear but to embrace, and you are willing to carry this hard work of democracy forward. You’ll soon outnumber any of us, and I believe as a result that the future is in good hands.
My fellow Americans, it has been the honor of my life to serve you. I won’t stop; in fact, I will be right there with you, as a citizen, for all my days that remain. For now, whether you’re young or young at heart, I do have one final ask of you as your President – the same thing I asked when you took a chance on me eight years ago.
I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change – but in yours.
I am asking you to hold fast to that faith written into our founding documents; that idea whispered by slaves and abolitionists; that spirit sung by immigrants and homesteaders and those who marched for justice; that creed reaffirmed by those who planted flags from foreign battlefields to the surface of the moon; a creed at the core of every American whose story is not yet written:Yes We Can.
Yes We Did.
Yes We Can.
Thank you. God bless you. And may God continue to bless the United States of America.
(SL) – I think most people already had a clue about this..because let’s just face it…..well no need…tired of saying it. But minus waking up the racists in America, we all know that Trump’s presidential run and win was void of anything Political or truly American. Hillary Clinton was he most qualified and the People’s choice. But when the electoral votes started running, the stop at 270 ended with Trump.
As the Daily Mail reports, The CIA found that Russia’s interference with the presidential elections went beyond an attempt to undermine American democracy as a whole – and actively favored Donald Trump’s chances, according to the Washington Post.
Those who provided WikiLeaks with emails from hacked Democratic accounts have been identified by intelligence authorities as members of a Russian campaign who worked towards the goal of seeing Trump elected, officials told the Post.
The shocking conclusion, made by a ‘consensus’ of intelligence agencies, was reported the same day President Barack Obama ordered a review of cyber attacks that targeted Democratic organizations and operatives during the 2016 elections.
But Trump’s transition team shot down the findings, issuing a statement that read: ‘These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.’
Confidential emails from the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta, the campaign chairman for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, were steadily leaked on WikiLeaks in the months before the election, damaging Clinton’s White House effort.
The US has previously tiptoed around Russia’s involvement in the elections, saying the goal was to undermine the American electoral system as a whole.
But the CIA presented the growing evidence during a secret meeting with a number of senators last week, with agents saying it had become ‘quite clear’ that the Russians were supporting a Trump victory, the Post reported.
(SL) – 200 Guests including the First Lady’s brother Craig and his wife, Steve Jobs’ widow and her boyfriend former DC Mayor Adrian Fenty, Chrisette Michelle (who also performed) and her date, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and her date Jason Turner along with others were present at the white house for the 12th state dinner of President Obama’s administration.
A ‘Celebration of Summer Bounty’ marked the 50th anniversary of bilateral relations between the U.S. and the city-state, which Obama refers to as an anchor for the U.S. presence in Southeast Asia.
Sticking to her support of American designers, Michelle looked stunning in her custom made Brandon Maxwell gown. Maxwell, originally from Longview, Texas, became a household name because of his work with Lady Gaga, but has also dressed stars including Gwyneth Paltrow and Uma Thurman.
(SL) – President Obama spoke to the nation following the domestic terror attack in Orlando, Fl. 29-year old Omar Mateen, a security guard, opened fire in Pulse Nightclub – a popular LGBT club killing 50 people and critically injuring 53. Mateen had been on the FBI’s radar for a couple of years, but investigations left authorities with nothing to go on. Mateen’s father told MSNBC that Omar was extremely angry after watching two men kiss in Miami. His motives remain unclear but there is word that he was an ISIS sympathizer.
Watch President Obama’s statement:
Read the President’s full remarks:
Today, as Americans, we grieve the brutal murder — a horrific massacre — of dozens of innocent people. We pray for their families, who are grasping for answers with broken hearts. We stand with the people of Orlando, who have endured a terrible attack on their city. Although it’s still early in the investigation, we know enough to say that this was an act of terror and an act of hate. And as Americans, we are united in grief, in outrage, and in resolve to defend our people.
I just finished a meeting with FBI Director Comey and my homeland security and national security advisors. The FBI is on the scene and leading the investigation, in partnership with local law enforcement. I’ve directed that the full resources of the federal government be made available for this investigation.
We are still learning all the facts. This is an open investigation. We’ve reached no definitive judgment on the precise motivations of the killer. The FBI is appropriately investigating this as an act of terrorism. And I’ve directed that we must spare no effort to determine what — if any — inspiration or association this killer may have had with terrorist groups. What is clear is that he was a person filled with hatred. Over the coming days, we’ll uncover why and how this happened, and we will go wherever the facts lead us.
This morning I spoke with my good friend, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, and I conveyed the condolences of the entire American people. This could have been any one of our communities. So I told Mayor Dyer that whatever help he and the people of Orlando need — they are going to get it. As a country, we will be there for the people of Orlando today, tomorrow and for all the days to come.
(The White House) – President Barack Obama reassures the nation from the Oval Office.
On Sunday, December 6, at 8:00 pm ET, President Obama addressed the nation from the Oval Office about the steps our government is taking to fulfill his highest priority: keeping the American people safe.
He provided an update on the ongoing investigation into the tragic attack in San Bernardino. He also discussed the broader threat of terrorism — including the nature of the threat, how it has evolved, and how we will defeat it.
The president reiterated his firm conviction that ISIL will be destroyed and that the United States must draw upon our values — our unwavering commitment to justice, equality, and freedom — to prevail over terrorist groups that use violence to advance a destructive ideology.