The US President told an audience in Belfast that many people in theprovince did not yet feel they had benefited from the fruits of the peace process.
“For all the strides that you’ve made there’s still much work to do. There’s still people who haven’t reaped the rewards of peace, those who aren’t convinced that the effort is worth it,” he said.
“There are still wounds that haven’t healed and communities where tension and mistrust hangs in the air. There are walls that still stand, there are still many miles to go.”
President Obama arrived in Northern Ireland on Monday morning after an overnight flight from Washington.
Acknowledging the reality of a sometimes-fragile peace, the American President recalled the Omagh bombings that killed 29 people and injured hundreds more.
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President Obama warned that the peace which had broken out between Protestants and Catholics would be tested again.
Speaking to an audience of teenagers at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall, he said: “Whenever your peace is attacked, you will have to choose whether to respond with the same bravery you’ve summoned so far. You will have to choose whether to keep going.”
The president specifically endorsed an end to segregated housing and schools, calling it an essential element of lasting peace.
Former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan told conservatives Friday that Obamacare helped President Obama defeat Mitt Romney in the 2012 election, decrying the “empty promises” of the law that hadn’t yet been implemented.
“This was our challenge that Mitt Romney and I had in this last election,” Ryan said in a speech at the annual Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in Washington, DC. “We had to argue against the promise and the rhetoric of President Obama. The great soaring rhetoric, all of the empty promises.”
“Remember in his first term, in his first two years, he passed his program but didn’t implement his program,” he said. “Now in the second term, we are seeing it implemented and it’s pretty darn ugly. We are seeing the assault on our liberties.”
The Republican congressman from Wisconsin and House Budget Committee chairman went on to argue that the Affordable Care Act was an example of “big government assaulting our First Amendment rights” when it comes to religious liberty.
He cited the mandate under the law that employer health insurance plans include contraception without co-payments for female employees — a rule that was announced early in 2012 and became an issue in the presidential campaign.
“Obamacare says that if you believe in the social teaching of your Church, if you disagree, you know, with abortifacients, abortion-inducing drugs, it doesn’t matter,” Ryan said. “This is what the federal government is demanding.” (The rule he was referring to involves contraceptives, which prevent — not terminate — pregnancies.)
If and when Republicans gain a modest number of House and Senate seats in November 2014, the Beltway set may be tempted to interpret the results as a sixth-year itch rebuke of President Obama on everything from IRS/DOJ/Benghazi to rocky implementation of the Affordable Care Act. To do so would be to ignore simple demographic math: likely GOP success in 2014 has much more to do with a shifting electorate than shifting opinions.
Republicans in particular have become perennial prophets of doom, warning that President Obama’s foreign policies will destroy our standing in the world, that Obamacare will destroy our health care system, that out-of-control spending, growth-killing taxes, and loose monetary policy will turn us into a dystopia of inflation, high interest rates and economic paralysis.
Things are OK. And while you can’t tell from following the news—the press doesn’t like to report on planes that land safely, or seemingly obvious stuff that didn’t happen yesterday—things are getting better. The apocalypse is not nigh.
We are now in the fourth year of a slow but steady recovery. The economy is adding about 200,000 jobs a month, and has added 6.8 million private-sector jobs since the end of the Great Recession. The stock market is at an all-time high, and has almost doubled since Obama took office. The housing market is rebounding. It’s true that 7.5% unemployment is way too high, but it’s better than the double-digit unemployment we had in the wake of the financial meltdown, when the apocalypse really was nigh. The government has even turned a profit on the reviled Wall Street bailouts that ended the meltdown.
Fox News, of course.
I believe that the Obama administration is conducting psychological warfare on conservative Americans. Not only that but it is also waging this war on all Americans who previously viewed themselves, their country, their Constitution and their overwhelming belief in God as a force for good in the world.
The psychological warfare began with an apology tour in which President Obama publicly “confessed,” presuming to speak for all of us, for the shortcomings of America and our supposed contributions to tyranny and all manner of evils around the world.
This confession planted in the American mind the notion that our values and beliefs might not be in line with freedom and truth.
It was reinforced by the first lady stating during the 2008 presidential campaign that she had never felt pride in our country.
These statements were seemingly shrugged off by Americans who, collectively, seemed to be telling themselves that they were hearing discontent channeled from disenfranchised groups in our nation who, nonetheless, loved the country—and all of us, too.
But, deep inside the American psyche, something more malignant could have been planted—the seeds of self-hatred and self-doubt. And I no longer believe that those seeds were planted unintentionally by people as smart and capable as the president and first lady.
Our laws constrain the power of the President, even during wartime, and I have taken an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States,” President Obama said in a speech Thursday at the National Defense University. Obama’s role as defender of the Constitution has been subject to justified criticism recently, with the rise of the secretive drone war in Pakistan and elsewhere. Obama took belated steps to address those concerns. And he did more: He committed himself to a legal path to ending the current “war” with the Taliban, and vowed not to allow Congress to expand it.
There seem to be two Obamas: the public idealist who seeks to harness and fulfill American ideals, and the tight-lipped commander in chief who asks the nation to trust him. The two dueled uneasily in the speech, but the advantage goes to the idealist.
In his discussion of the “drone war,” the speech rates a B. Because the administration has stonewalled on the law and the policy behind the use of drones, the president found himself forced to make the following disavowal: “For the record, I do not believe it would be constitutional for the government to target and kill any U.S. citizen — with a drone, or a shotgun — without due process.”
If Obama really has committed himself to ending the war on the Taliban, he has taken a course few presidents can be expected to choose.
This issue was always a red herring. The NDU speech identified the real problem with drones: “The very precision of drones strikes, and the necessary secrecy involved in such actions, can end up shielding our government from the public scrutiny that a troop deployment invites,” he acknowledged. But there was no commitment that I can see to opening the drone war to public scrutiny. Instead, Obama offered the standard defense of the policy — it is effective, aimed against only those terrorist targets who cannot be captured, and conducted to minimize civilian casualties — in even more truncated form than that given months ago by figures like former State Department Legal Adviser Harold Koh and Attorney General Eric Holder.
Just don’t tell Glenn Beck, Alex Jones, or Matt Drudge.
In April, the Obama administration unveiled its 2014 budget proposal, which included $145.8 billion for agriculture, $520 million for the International Trade Administration, and a bunch of other stuff. It also included a $105-million initiative to lasso an asteroid, tow it toward Earth, place it into the moon’s orbit, and claim the space rock for the United States of America. The idea is to eventually have astronauts travel to the asteroid to conduct mining operations, test technology for missions to Mars, and research strategies for deflecting future world-ending asteroids.
On Thursday, NASA chief Charles Bolden got a good look at the progress being made. The Associated Press reports (emphasis mine):
Bolden checked on…the mission, which may eventually cost more than $2.6 billion. Engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California and Glenn Research Center in Ohio are developing a thruster that relies on ion propulsion instead of conventional chemical fuel…NASA is under White House orders to fly humans to an asteroid as a stepping stone to Mars. Instead of sending astronauts to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, as originally planned, the space agency came up with a quicker, cheaper idea: Haul the asteroid close to the moon and visit it there…”If you can’t get to the asteroid, bring the asteroid to you,” Bolden said.
President Obama had previously established a goal of landing astronauts on a near-Earth asteroid by 2025. This plan bumps the date up to 2021. Last month, an administration official with knowledge of the mission filled in some of the details.
With less than six weeks left until the interest rate on Stafford loans are set to double if Congress doesn’t act, proposals on how to address these federal interest rates have been pouring in from all branches of the government.
On Thursday, the House passed the Smarter Solutions for Students Act, which would put Stafford loan interest rates in step with financial markets from year to year, ending a system in which rates are set by Congress. This “simple” solution likely won’t get far, as it faces opposition from Senate Democrats who have a competing bill that would extend the current interest rate of 3.4 percent for two years, giving Congress time to consider a long-term approach to address the growing student debt crisis that impacts 38 million Americans.
President Obama also threatened to veto the bill, calling it the “wrong approach” for students and their families, citing the lack of transparency and clarity for student and parents who try to garner the true price tag of borrowing for college, missing repayment options for borrowers who don’t attend school anymore, and shifting the burden of reducing the deficit on the shoulders of student loan borrowers among others.
In response to the House’s passage of the bill Carmel Martin, executive vice-president for policy at the Center for American Progress, our parent organization, said in:
The decision by the House of Representatives to approve Rep. Kline’s proposal is a step in the wrong direction for students and the economy. Rep. Kline’s bill taxes students to pay down the deficit. Congress should act to stop rates from doubling and build in protections for students to help them manage their debt. The House measure would divert $3.7 billion from the program to deficit reduction and result in an increase in student debt of close to $4 billion over what borrowers would pay under current law.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Hello, Morehouse! Thank you Dr. Wilson, the Board of Trustees; Congressman Cedric Richmond and Sanford Bishop – both proud alumni of this school; Congressman Hank Johnson and the great John Lewis; Mayor Reed, and all the members of the Morehouse family. Most of all, congratulations to this distinguished group of Morehouse Men, the Class of 2013! Some of you are graduating summa cum laude, some of you are graduating magna cum laude, and I know some of you are just graduating, “thank you Lordy.”
I see some good looking hats on the moms and grandmas here today. Which is appropriate, since we’re here on Sunday, and folks are in their Sunday best. Congratulations to all of you – the parents and grandparents, brothers and sisters, family and friends who supported these young men in so many ways. This is your day, too. Just think about it – your sons and brothers have spent the last four years far from home and close to Spelman. And they still made it here today. So you must be doing something right. Graduates, give them a round of applause.
I know some of you had to wait in long lines to get into today’s ceremony. I would apologize, but it didn’t actually have anything to do with security. These graduates just wanted you to know what it’s like to register for classes. And this time of year brings a different kind of stress, with every senior stopping by Gloster Hall over the past week making sure your name was on the list of students who’ve met all the graduation requirements. If it wasn’t, you had to figure out why. Was it the library book you let your roommate borrow freshman year? Was it Dr. Johnson’s policy class? Did you get enough Crown Forum credits?
Sarah Palin can’t handle the fact that President Obama won reelection, so she is blaming the IRS for Obama’s victory. The problem with Palin’s latest outburst is that the IRS didn’t stop these conservative groups from existing. The conservative groups who were flagged by the IRS were petitioning for tax exempt status. They were trying to get out of having to pay taxes. It is a shame that they had to go through the extra hassle and paperwork because they were targeted by the IRS for review, but let’s not make too much of this.
The IRS was wrong to target these groups based on their use of certain words, but the IRS didn’t shut down the groups. They simply reviewed their applications to see if they should be given tax exempt status.
It is ironic to say the least that Sarah Palin would be whining about conservatives being targeted and harassed when Sarah Palin has spent years whining about voter fraud that doesn’t really exist. Palin supports excluding and targeting minorities to keep them from voting, but screams bloody murder at the thought of any of the shady conservative super PACs paying taxes. (Remember, Sarah Palin has a shady superPAC of her own that serves as her lifestyle slush fund, so she definitely has a dog in this fight.)
Sarah Palin is so full of hatred and envy that she is looking for any reason to delegitimize the president’s reelection. Obama couldn’t have possibly won in 2012 because he was the better candidate. In Sarah Palin’s warped mind, the president must have cheated.