President Barack Obama’s Farewell Address

Hello Chicago!

It’s good to be home!

Thank you, everybody!

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you so much, thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

It’s good to be home.

Thank you.

We’re on live TV here, I’ve got to move.

You can tell that I’m a lame duck, because nobody is following instructions.

Everybody have a seat.

My fellow Americans, Michelle and I have been so touched by all the well-wishes that we’ve received over the past few weeks. But tonight it’s my turn to say thanks.

Whether we have seen eye-to-eye or rarely agreed at all, my conversations with you, the American people — in living rooms and in schools; at farms and on factory floors; at diners and on distant military outposts — those conversations are what have kept me honest, and kept me inspired, and kept me going. And every day, I have learned from you. You made me a better president, and you made me a better man.

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President Obama’s Security Speech

Remarks by the President on the Administration’s Approach to Counter-terrorism

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release-December 06, 2016

MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Florida

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much! (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you so much, everybody. Thank you. Everybody, please have a seat. Have a seat. Well, thank you so much.

Good afternoon, everybody. I was just told that was going to be the last “Hail to the Chief” on the road, and it got me kind of sentimental. I want to first and foremost say thanks to all of you. Just before I came here, I was able to visit with some of the men and women from MacDill Air Force Base, Central Command, our Special Operations Command to thank them for their extraordinary service. And so to you and your families, and to the extended family of American servicemembers, let me say that our nation owes you an unbelievable debt of gratitude. We are grateful for you, and will be praying for you over the holidays. (Applause.)

As you know all too well, your mission — and the course of history — was changed after the 9/11 attacks. By the time I took office, the United States had been at war for seven years. For eight years that I’ve been in office, there has not been a day when a terrorist organization or some radicalized individual was not plotting to kill Americans. And on January 20th, I will become the first President of the United States to serve two full terms during a time of war. (Applause.) Now, we did not choose this fight, but once it came to us, the world saw the measure of our resolve.

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Donald Trump’s Noxious Vision

After Donald Trump’s scary, dark musings last night–laden as it was with lies, threats and his profoundly disturbing vision of what he aims to do as president–a little reflection is in order.

Think about it. Is our common public weal more imperiled today than it was in those dark days of 2008?

Yet, neither of the two major party candidates that year offered as dark a vision of the nation nor offered as harsh a prescription of how to rebuild our nation.

Looking back through the tunnel of time, back to 2008, we found a cratered U.S. economy. Banks deemed too big to fail were nevertheless filing for bankruptcy protection. Despite billions in government assistance to financial firms, a historic economic recession was just around the corner.

With the worst attack on American soil in our history within memory, the U.S. military was enmeshed in two wars, American service personnel dying in pursuit of Osama bin Laden in the mountains and caves of Afghanistan and a self-inflicted misadventure in Iraq as we expended treasury we could not afford.

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The 2013 State of the Union Address

February 13, 2013 | 1:01:01 | Public Domain

Remarks by the President in the State of the Union Address

U.S. Capitol
Washington, D.C.

9:15 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, fellow citizens:

Fifty-one years ago, John F. Kennedy declared to this chamber that “the Constitution makes us not rivals for power but partners for progress.” (Applause.) “It is my task,” he said, “to report the State of the Union — to improve it is the task of us all.”

Tonight, thanks to the grit and determination of the American people, there is much progress to report. After a decade of grinding war, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home. (Applause.) After years of grueling recession, our businesses have created over six million new jobs. We buy more American cars than we have in five years, and less foreign oil than we have in 20. (Applause.) Our housing market is healing, our stock market is rebounding, and consumers, patients, and homeowners enjoy stronger protections than ever before. (Applause.)

So, together, we have cleared away the rubble of crisis, and we can say with renewed confidence that the State of our Union is stronger. (Applause.)

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SEIU President Mary Kay Henry at the DNC


The following is a transcript of a speech, as prepared for delivery, by Mary Kay Henry, International President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, September 4, 2012.

Mary Kay Henry

International President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

Hello, delegates, and hello to my sisters and brothers in the American labor movement! My name is Mary Kay Henry. I am here tonight on behalf of millions of Americans who work for a living: the home care worker in Columbus, the janitor in Denver, the correctional officer in Raleigh. These are the men and women who make our country strong.

And these are the men and women whom President Obama is fighting for every single day. I grew up in Southeast Michigan, just a few miles from Mitt Romney. Just a few miles away, but a world apart. But here’s the thing: Even though Mitt Romney and I both call Detroit home, it seems like he learned a very different set of values.

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The 2012 State of the Union

Remarks by the President in State of the Union Address
United States Capitol
Washington, D.C.
9:10 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:

Last month, I went to Andrews Air Force Base and welcomed home some of our last troops to serve in Iraq. Together, we offered a final, proud salute to the colors under which more than a million of our fellow citizens fought — and several thousand gave their lives.

We gather tonight knowing that this generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected around the world. (Applause.) For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq. (Applause.) For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country. (Applause.) Most of al Qaeda’s top lieutenants have been defeated. The Taliban’s momentum has been broken, and some troops in Afghanistan have begun to come home.

These achievements are a testament to the courage, selflessness and teamwork of America’s Armed Forces. At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations. They’re not consumed with personal ambition. They don’t obsess over their differences. They focus on the mission at hand. They work together.

Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example. (Applause.) Think about the America within our reach: A country that leads the world in educating its people. An America that attracts a new generation of high-tech manufacturing and high-paying jobs. A future where we’re in control of our own energy, and our security and prosperity aren’t so tied to unstable parts of the world. An economy built to last, where hard work pays off, and responsibility is rewarded.

We can do this. I know we can, because we’ve done it before. At the end of World War II, when another generation of heroes returned home from combat, they built the strongest economy and middle class the world has ever known. (Applause.) My grandfather, a veteran of Patton’s Army, got the chance to go to college on the GI Bill. My grandmother, who worked on a bomber assembly line, was part of a workforce that turned out the best products on Earth.

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A Recurring Nightmare

The BP Deepwater Horizon catastrophe is a perfect Republican Party trap: Watch as a Democratic administration and Congress drown in the oil disaster while they clean up at the polls. Then Republicans return to office and begin the cycle by laying the bombs that’ll detonate under the next Democratic administration.

Does anyone remember Dick Cheney’s behind-the-door meetings with energy executives in W.’s maladministration? Or the two wars they bequeathed Americans?

For those who have forgotten, Brian Conners has written a recap at Associated Content that I think is worth reading. His earlier piece pointed fingers also.

Sure, President Barack Obama has been feckless in dealing with a disaster-not-of-his-making.

How difficult can it be to say that British Petroleum, besides paying for every penny that it costs to clean up the Gulf and other regions affected by this disaster, should have all of its officers brought to account for this disaster.

Yet, the president has  not been able to summon the passion to condemn this crime. Fine, set up a commission, if you must. But, first, BP executives should be wearing prison jumpsuits.

Cheney has some explaining to do. Before Congress.

A final question: Why is it that Halliburton (Dick Cheney’s employer) is always around looking guilty whenever something is hurting our nation?

. . . and, War Starts?

Remember, at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in December no less, President Barack Obama spelled out the conditions under which and reserved for himself the right to wage “Just Wars.”

Has Iran, by its nuclear recalcitrance, tripped a condition?

This story out of Scotland said some very big munitions are on their way to a place not too far from where they could be delivered to Iran at a moment’s notice:

Hundreds of powerful US “bunker-buster” bombs are being shipped from California to the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean in preparation for a possible attack on Iran.

The Sunday Herald can reveal that the US government signed a contract in January to transport 10 ammunition containers to the island. According to a cargo manifest from the US navy, this included 387 “Blu” bombs used for blasting hardened or underground structures.

Experts say that they are being put in place for an assault on Iran’s controversial nuclear facilities. There has long been speculation that the US military is preparing for such an attack, should diplomacy fail to persuade Iran not to make nuclear weapons.

The story continued here.

In Oslo, Norway, on December 10, President Obama said this:

War, in one form or another, appeared with the first man. At the dawn of history, its morality was not questioned; it was simply a fact, like drought or disease — the manner in which tribes and then civilizations sought power and settled their differences.

And over time, as codes of law sought to control violence within groups, so did philosophers and clerics and statesmen seek to regulate the destructive power of war. The concept of a “just war” emerged, suggesting that war is justified only when certain conditions were met: if it is waged as a last resort or in self-defense; if the force used is proportional; and if, whenever possible, civilians are spared from violence.

With Iran’s continuing nuclear folly, are we about to see the terrible things Obama talked about just a few months ago when he declared himself a man of peace who would wage war if he had to?

Howell Raines is Neither a ‘Liar’ Nor is He Crazy

In this Sunday’s Washington Post Op-Ed, he asks questions that have long needed to be asked.

Take this one, his first:

Why haven’t America’s old-school news organizations blown the whistle on Roger Ailes, chief of Fox News, for using the network to conduct a propaganda campaign against the Obama administration — a campaign without precedent in our modern political history?

It is not enough to ignore Fox News anymore because, clearly some people are watching and they are forming their opinions of what is happening in the world based on what that outlet tells them. The question that Raines asks is this: In the face of silence from all known authorities, when every credible voice is silent, who will tell the people the truth?

Of course, much of Raines’ cherished media is either in dire straits and/or too compromised to do much of anything about any issue of importance facing the nation. A case in point being Raines’ old shop, the New York Times.

Why has our profession, through its general silence — or only spasmodic protest — helped Fox legitimize a style of journalism that is dishonest in its intellectual process, untrustworthy in its conclusions and biased in its gestalt? The standard answer is economics, as represented by the collapse of print newspapers and of audience share at CBS, NBC and ABC. Some prominent print journalists are now cheering Rupert Murdoch, the head of News Corp. (which owns the Fox network) for his alleged commitment to print, as evidenced by his willingness to lose money on the New York Post and gamble the overall profitability of his company on the survival of the Wall Street Journal. This is like congratulating museums for preserving antique masterpieces while ignoring their predatory methods of collecting.

Why can’t American journalists steeped in the traditional values of their profession be loud and candid about the fact that Murdoch does not belong to our team? His importation of the loose rules of British tabloid journalism, including blatant political alliances, started our slide to quasi-news. His British papers famously promoted Margaret Thatcher’s political career, with the expectation that she would open the nation’s airwaves to Murdoch’s cable channels. Ed Koch once told me he could not have been elected mayor of New York without the boosterism of the New York Post.

The rest of the piece, which continues here, is just as sharp and on point, despite Bill O’Reilly’s protestations.