Weekly Address: President Obama – Giving Veterans Their Chance

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, President Obama honored our nation’s veterans, who have served and sacrificed in defense of our country. This past week, Americans came together on Veterans Day to pay tribute to those men and women in uniform who have risked their lives to protect our freedom.

In recent years we’ve worked to reduce the veterans’ unemployment rate to 3.9 percent and slash the disability claims backlog at the VA by nearly 90 percent from its peak. But there is still more that can be done. Since day one of his Administration, the President has remained committed to serving the brave men and women who have served us. And in his address, he reminded us that we all have a role to play in ensuring that veterans have the opportunities and support they deserve.

(In this week’s address, President Obama honored our nation’s veterans, who have served and sacrificed in defense of our country.)

Transcript: Weekly Address: Giving Veterans their Chance

Remarks of President Barack Obama, Weekly Address, The White House, November 14, 2015

Hi, everybody. This week, America came together to salute our veterans – to express our appreciation to all who served so that we might live free. But our gratitude should extend beyond what our veterans have done for us in the past. It should remind us of our responsibility to serve them as well as they have served us. It should compel us to keep our veterans central to the ongoing work of this nation.

In recent years, we’ve made historic investments to boost the VA budget, expand veterans’ benefits, and improve care for our wounded warriors. We’ve now slashed the disability claims backlog by nearly 90 percent from its peak. We’re reducing the outrage of veterans’ homelessness and we’ve helped tens of thousands of veterans get off the streets. The veterans’ unemployment rate is down to 3.9 percent – even lower than the national average.

Of course, we’re not satisfied. We’ve still got more work to do – and I’ve directed my Administration to keep doing everything it can to fulfill our promise to our veterans. But this isn’t just a job for government alone. We all have a role to play. Less than one percent of Americans are serving in uniform. So it’s true most Americans don’t always see and appreciate the incredible skills and assets that our veterans can offer. But every American should know that our veterans are some of the most talented, capable people in the world. They’ve mastered skills and technologies and leadership roles that are impossible to teach off the battlefield. They know how to get stuff done.

And as our veterans will tell you themselves, they’re not finished serving their country. They’re teachers and doctors, engineers and entrepreneurs, social workers and community leaders. They serve in statehouses across the country and in Congress. As I tell small business owners and CEOs on a regular basis, if you want to get the job done, hire a vet. Every sector, every industry, every community in this country can benefit from the incredible talents of our veterans.

Our troops and veterans give us their very best. That’s what a soldier named Captain Florent Groberg proved. Three years ago, on patrol in Afghanistan, Flo saw a suicide bomber coming toward his unit. Without hesitating, Flo grabbed him by his vest and helped push him to the ground. When the bomb went off, Flo was badly injured, and four of his comrades were killed. But many more were saved because of Flo’s sacrifice. Flo represents the very best of America – and this week, I was proud to present him with the Medal of Honor for his actions.

Veterans like Flo, they deserve our undying gratitude. They deserve the chance to keep serving the country they risked everything to defend. And so we must come together to keep giving them that chance, not just on Veterans Day, but on every single day of the year. May God bless all those who serve and all who have given their lives for our country. And may God bless the United States of America.

Bolding added.

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  5 comments for “Weekly Address: President Obama – Giving Veterans Their Chance

  1. JanF
    November 14, 2015 at 7:39 am

    President Obama presents the Medal of Honor to Captain Florent Groberg, United States Army. November 12, 2015.

    Transcript: Remarks by the President in Medal of Honor Presentation to Captain Florent Groberg, United States Army
    PRESIDENT OBAMA:

    Flo did something extraordinary — he grabbed the bomber by his vest and kept pushing him away. And all those years of training on the track, in the classroom, out in the field — all of it came together. In those few seconds, he had the instincts and the courage to do what was needed. One of Flo’s comrades, Sergeant Andrew Mahoney, had joined in, too, and together they shoved the bomber again and again. And they pushed him so hard he fell to the ground onto his chest. And then the bomb detonated. […]

    Today, we honor Flo because his actions prevented an even greater catastrophe. You see, by pushing the bomber away from the formation, the explosion occurred farther from our forces, and on the ground instead of in the open air. And while Flo didn’t know it at the time, that explosion also caused a second, unseen bomb to detonate before it was in place. Had both bombs gone off as planned, who knows how many could have been killed. […]

    And every day that he is serving, he will be wearing a bracelet on his wrist — as he is today — a bracelet that bears the names of his brothers in arms who gave their lives that day. The truth is, Flo says that day was the worst day of his life. And that is the stark reality behind these Medal of Honor ceremonies — that for all the valor we celebrate, and all the courage that inspires us, these actions were demanded amid some of the most dreadful moments of war.

    That’s precisely why we honor heroes like Flo — because on his very worst day, he managed to summon his very best. That’s the nature of courage — not being unafraid, but confronting fear and danger and performing in a selfless fashion. He showed his guts, he showed his training; how he would put it all on the line for his teammates. That’s an American we can all be grateful for. It’s why we honor Captain Florent Groberg today.

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  2. JanF
    November 14, 2015 at 8:18 am

    In the News: Harry Reid on the plan by the Republican Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act via reconciliation:

    To: Interested Parties

    From: Office of Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid

    Date: Thursday, November 12, 2015

    Re: Parliamentarian Ruling on Reconciliation

    The Parliamentarian has ruled that Obamacare cannot be repealed through reconciliation, period. The idea put forth by Senator McConnell’s office that a so-called “technical fix” can save Obamacare repeal in reconciliation is simply false.

    While Republicans may be able to make narrowly tailored changes that primarily have a budgetary effect, any fix that repeals the individual or employer mandates will require 60 votes and therefore will not pass. The Parliamentarian’s decision almost certainly rules out one idea currently being floated among Republicans: to repeal the mandates temporarily now and allow them to come back into effect in the future. Even this change will almost certainly require 60 votes and therefore will not happen.

    The Senate is not the House of Representatives. Based on the Parliamentarian’s ruling, the Senate reconciliation bill will have to be more supportive of Obamacare’s mandates than the House-passed bill. There is no way around this simple fact.

    False Claims from Republicans: This Problem Can be Fixed With “Technical” Changes

    McConnell Spokesman Don Stewart: “There will be a substitute amendment, as my statement makes clear, that can fix any technical changes that are needed in one fell swoop.” [Morning Consult, 11/11/2015]

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  3. JanF
    November 14, 2015 at 9:26 am

    In the News: SCOTUS to rule on Virginia gerrymandering case:

    For the second time in two years, the court will try to decide whether a Republican state legislature violated the Constitution by packing too many black voters into one district, which helped GOP candidates elsewhere. […]

    The new case comes from Virginia, where Republicans drew the 3rd congressional district of Rep. Bobby Scott, the state’s lone black representative, to include a 56% black population. Earlier this year, the court ruled 5-4 that Alabama Republicans had done much the same thing with state legislative districts and sent the maps back for further review.

    In Virginia’s case, a federal district court tossed out the maps, which helped Republicans win eight of 11 House districts in a state that voted for President Obama over Mitt Romney, 51% to 47%, in 2012. The state did not appeal, but a group of current and former Republican members of Congress did; the Supreme Court said Friday it must determine if the lawmakers have standing to sue, since they do not live in the district in question. […]

    The GOP members of Congress argue that politics, not race, was the predominant factor in how the district was drawn. While the Supreme Court has ruled against racial gerrymanders, it has never settled on a standard by which to judge how much emphasis on politics is too much. For that reason, drawing maps for political gain remains commonplace — and legal.

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  4. JanF
    November 14, 2015 at 10:19 am

    In the Environmental News:

    Teen fighting climate change sues North Carolina environmental regulators

    A 13-year-old North Carolina girl, who is suing the state over its greenhouse gas emissions, argued in court Friday that regulators don’t have the right to dismiss a petition she made asking the state to limit carbon pollution.

    Hallie Turner, a Raleigh middle school student, submitted a petition in December 2014 calling for the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission (EMC) to cut the state’s emissions by 4 percent each year until 2050.

    The children know … now we just need to get more adults on board.

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    US, France debate whether Paris climate treaty would be ‘legally binding’

    U.S. President Barack Obama spoke by phone Friday with French President Francois Hollande to discuss the upcoming Paris climate conference — with both leaders emphasizing their personal commitment to reach an “ambitious and durable” treaty to avert the worst effects of global warming, the White House said.

    The call came a day after Hollande and France’s foreign minister responded to comments by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who said Wednesday that the December agreement in Paris was “definitely not going to be a treaty.”

    Kerry also said the text would not set “legally binding reduction targets.”

    I hope this disagreement does not diminish the value of the summit.

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  5. JanF
    November 15, 2015 at 9:14 am

    In The News: The Paris Attacks and saber rattling … What Digby Said

    Let’s invade the bad people’s country immediately!

    Unless you are of the “kill ’em all and let God sort it out school” it’s obvious that this is an extremely difficult problem. President Obama has done the right thing by holding back from getting into the middle of it. It’s dragging the US in anyway — and hell, maybe we deserve it in the abstract since we were instrumental in tearing up the mideast. But still, it’s an awful mess, a basically sectarian religious war overlaid with massive amounts of valuable resources.

    Republican golden boy Marco Rubio want to make it a clash of civilizations:

    Us or them sounds pretty ominous. I am not sure you can nuke just part of a region so what is he really advocating for?

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