Weekly Address: President Obama – “We will not be terrorized” – UPDATED

UPDATE – Statement by the White House Press Secretary:

On Sunday, December 6th at 8:00PM EST, President Obama will address the nation from the Oval Office about the steps our government is taking to fulfill his highest priority: keeping the American people safe. The President will provide an update on the ongoing investigation into the tragic attack in San Bernardino. The President will also discuss the broader threat of terrorism, including the nature of the threat, how it has evolved, and how we will defeat it.

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, the President offered his condolences to the families and community of the victims of the San Bernardino shooting. He recognized the possibility that the two attackers may have been radicalized, a reminder to all of us that we need to work together to prevent people from falling victim to attempts by extremist organizations to encourage violence. The President called on Congress to close the loophole that allows people on the No-Fly list to purchase guns, a simple and logical step that would make it harder for potential terrorists to acquire weapons. And he reminded us that we cannot accept mass shootings like this one as routine in our country, and emphasized that above all else, his priority is the safety and security of the American people.

Transcript: WEEKLY ADDRESS: We Will Not Be Terrorized

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address, The White House, December 5, 2015

Hi, everybody. This weekend, our hearts are with the people of San Bernardino—another American community shattered by unspeakable violence. We salute the first responders—the police, the SWAT teams, the EMTs—who responded so quickly, with such courage, and saved lives. We pray for the injured as they fight to recover from their wounds.

Most of all, we stand with 14 families whose hearts are broken. We’re learning more about their loved ones—the men and women, the beautiful lives, that were lost. They were doing what so many of us do this time of year—enjoying the holidays. Celebrating with each other. Rejoicing in the bonds of friendship and community that bind us together, as Americans. Their deaths are an absolute tragedy, not just for San Bernardino, but for our country.

We’re also learning more about the killers. And we’re working to get a full picture of their motives—why they committed these revolting acts. It’s important to let the investigators do their job. We need to know all the facts. And at my direction, federal law enforcement is helping in every way that they can. We’re going to get to the bottom of this.

It is entirely possible that these two attackers were radicalized to commit this act of terror. And if so, it would underscore a threat we’ve been focused on for years—the danger of people succumbing to violent extremist ideologies. We know that ISIL and other terrorist groups are actively encouraging people—around the world and in our country—to commit terrible acts of violence, often times as lone wolf actors. And even as we work to prevent attacks, all of us—government, law enforcement, communities, faith leaders—need to work together to prevent people from falling victim to these hateful ideologies.

More broadly, this tragedy reminds us of our obligation to do everything in our power, together, to keep our communities safe. We know that the killers in San Bernardino used military-style assault weapons—weapons of war—to kill as many people as they could. It’s another tragic reminder that here in America it’s way too easy for dangerous people to get their hands on a gun.

For example, right now, people on the No-Fly list can walk into a store and buy a gun. That is insane. If you’re too dangerous to board a plane, you’re too dangerous, by definition, to buy a gun. And so I’m calling on Congress to close this loophole, now. We may not be able to prevent every tragedy, but—at a bare minimum—we shouldn’t be making it so easy for potential terrorists or criminals to get their hands on a gun that they could use against Americans.

Today in San Bernardino, investigators are searching for answers. Across our country, our law enforcement professionals are tireless. They’re working around the clock—as always—to protect our communities. As President, my highest priority is the security and safety of the American people. This is work that should unite us all—as Americans—so that we’re doing everything in our power to defend our country. That’s how we can honor the lives we lost in San Bernardino. That’s how we can send a message to all those who would try to hurt us. We are Americans. We will uphold our values—a free and open society. We are strong. And we are resilient. And we will not be terrorized.

Bolding added.

~

  16 comments for “Weekly Address: President Obama – “We will not be terrorized” – UPDATED

  1. JanF
    December 5, 2015 at 6:22 am

    President Obama:

    We may not be able to prevent every tragedy, but—at a bare minimum—we shouldn’t be making it so easy for potential terrorists or criminals to get their hands on a gun that they could use against Americans.

    This is the NRA canard: “We can’t stop EVERY bad person from getting a gun so we should not bother trying to stop ANY bad person from getting a gun”.

    We need to call bs on this ignorant argument in favor of inaction.

    • December 6, 2015 at 11:05 am

      Jan—I read recently that the guns used to commit mass murders in other countries were obtained illegally. However, since 1996 Australia has not had a gun massacre.

      • JanF
        December 6, 2015 at 11:26 am

        Australia decided that keeping their populace safe from the menace of gun violence was more important than the rights of their citizens to arm themselves to the teeth with no restrictions.

        Our situation is trickier because we have the 2nd Amendment enshrining some kind of gun rights (exactly what is up for debate) into the constitution. However, even this Supreme Court has not declared that people can own any weaponry and carry them any place: they have consistently left the door open for restrictions. Someone pointed out that we have lots of restrictions on the First Amendment and the Fourth Amendment. It is only the Second Amendment that the gun rights groups feel cannot be touched.

  2. JanF
    December 5, 2015 at 7:03 am

    In the News: Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) “I’ve been angry since December of 2012”

    On Wednesday, hours after the massacre in San Bernardino, Murphy sent out a tweet condemning the many members of Congress who publicly offered “thoughts and prayers” for victims of Wednesday’s massacre in Sen Bernardino.

    Chris Murphy @ChrisMurphyCT

    Your “thoughts” should be about steps to take to stop this carnage. Your “prayers” should be for forgiveness if you do nothing – again.

    Murphy subsequently went viral. News outlets like CNN, Vox, the Huffington Post and the Washington Post picked up his remark. He garnered thousands upon thousands of retweets, and words of praise from gun control advocates. “I’m going to have to pay more attention to this guy,” one user wrote. “It’s spot on.”

    Others, however, derided him. Murphy himself, they pointed out, had sent out “thoughts and prayers” for victims of tragedies past. Former New York Gov. George Pataki called Murphy’s tweet “Trump-like in its absurdity,” and said he was “disgusted” by the suggestion that prayer wasn’t enough.

    On Friday, however, Murphy doubled down on his controversial remarks. He told ThinkProgress that when it comes to Congress, prayers for mass shooting victims are no longer enough. For them, he said, prayer is not part of the job description.

    “I don’t deny the importance of expressing sympathies for these shootings, but that’s an insufficient response from elected officials today,” he said. “You get elected to Congress not to send your sympathy tweets, but to pass laws to keep people safer.”

    I recommend reading the entire interview on ThinkProgress.

    Sen. Murphy took a lot of flak for what people called “prayer shaming”, saying it is not enough to pray for the victims but that we need to do more. Here are two pieces that speak to that …

    Charlie Pierce: A Few Words About ‘Prayer-Shaming’

    It’s long past the time to break the power and influence held over our politics by a splinter faction of one form of American Christianity. It’s long past time to make refashioning the Gospel into talking-points—​and, worse, a vehicle for ratfcking—​a political liability rather than a political asset. It’s long past time to ignore the bleating of self-professed Christians who specialize in marinating in their victimology, who build their own Golgothas, and who drive the nails into their own palms. If so-called “prayer-shaming” is the first step in that direction, then Chris Murphy’s entire career in politics has been worthwhile.

    Wonkette: Peggy Noonan Will Slur Through Her Prayers If She Wants To, Jerks!

    A politician calling for action to try and solve a problem! Why she never! Didn’t Sen. Murphy of Connecticut who had seen two dozen constituents murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary three years ago know that his job was to keep a stiff upper lip and offer only condolences to the families of the dead?

    There’s more but Wonkette would like your clicks! Please give them one. :)

  3. JanF
    December 5, 2015 at 7:07 am

    The Transportation Bill was signed by President Obama yesterday:

    On Friday, December 04, 2015, the President signed into law:

    H.R. 22, the “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act),” which authorizes budgetary resources for surface transportation programs for FYs 2016-2020; reauthorizes taxes that support the Highway Trust Fund through September 30, 2022, and expenditures from that Fund through October 1, 2020; reauthorizes the Export-Import Bank through September 30, 2019; and improves the Federal permit review process for major infrastructure projects.

    President Obama asked for more:

    This morning we learned that our businesses have added 13.7 million jobs over 69 months, extending the longest streak on record. Last night, Democrats and Republicans came together to pass a transportation bill that will help us build on America’s progress by growing our economy and creating more good jobs for our middle class. This bill is not perfect, but it is a commonsense compromise, and an important first step in the right direction. I look forward to signing this bill right away, so that we can put Americans to work rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges, and transit systems, reauthorize the Export-Import Bank that helps our companies compete around the world, and give local and state governments and employers the certainty they need to invest and hire for the long term.

    As we applaud the kind of bipartisan compromise that was reached last night, we should also recognize that we still have work to do. Congress should pass a bill like the GROW AMERICA Act I’ve proposed in the past, one that supports even more jobs and invests even more in our roads and highways than the bill passed last night so we can meet our country’s infrastructure needs. Congress should pass a complete budget and avoid a government shutdown. And Congress should approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership to open up new markets and support new jobs. If we take these kinds of commonsense steps, we can continue building an economy where every middle-class family has the chance to get ahead.

  4. JanF
    December 5, 2015 at 8:40 am

    In the News: Island Nations Disappearing

    Tony A. deBrum, the foreign minister of the Marshall Islands, tells the stories of men like Anej to convey to more powerful policymakers the peril facing his island nation in the Pacific as sea levels rise — and to shape the legal and financial terms of a major United Nations climate change accord now being negotiated in Paris. […]

    “It does not make sense for us to go to Paris and come back with something that says, ‘In a few years’ time, your country is going to be underwater,’” deBrum said in an interview at his seaside home in Majuro, the capital of the Marshall Islands. “We see the damage occurring now. We’re trying to beat back the sea.”

    In the global fight over climate change, leaders of vulnerable low-lying island nations have long sought to draw attention to their plight. They have staged symbolic events like an underwater Cabinet meeting, gone on hunger strikes and delivered anguished speeches to the United Nations. Those efforts have had little effect on the substance of the energy and economic policies that dictate governmental response to climate change.

    Democracy Now: Marshall Islands Poet to the U.N. Climate Summit: “Tell Them We Are Nothing Without Our Islands”

    The Global Call for Climate Action (GCCA), an organization that uses art to inspire social change, brought a delegation of poets from around the world to Paris to highlight the impacts of climate change and inspire climate action. Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, a poet and climate activist from the Marshall Islands, led the group. She shared a poem at a protest at COP21 called “Tell Them,” calling for fossil fuel divestment.

    President Obama in Multilateral Meeting with Island Nation Leaders:

    And as I mentioned to my friends around the table, I’m an island boy. I grew up on an island and understand both the beauty but also the fragility of island ecosystems. I spent time in Indonesia, a large developing country where you could see how shifts in climate could have extraordinarily destructive effects. And so the views of the smaller nations, their voice in these negotiations, will be absolutely vital.

    And one of the things that we’ve heard — the consensus between the United States and the small island nations — is that we have to have an ambitious agreement; that although the targets themselves may not have the force of treaties, the process, the procedures that ensure transparency and periodic reviews — that needs to be legally binding. And that’s going to be critical in us having high ambitions and holding each other accountable for those ambitions. That the climate financing has to reflect the unique needs of the most vulnerable countries in how it operates, and that those pledges have to be real.

    • JanF
      December 6, 2015 at 10:02 am

      Ten United States Senators went to Paris:

      “What you see here are people who are going to protect what the president is putting on the table here in Paris as a promise from the American people to the world,” Ed Markey, (D-MA), said during a press conference held Saturday. “We are going to back up the president every step of the way.”

      As the Guardian pointed out, Markey, a long-time champion of climate action who co-wrote a 2009 climate bill that passed through the House, was hardly the only long-time advocate of climate action to make the journey to Paris, as he was joined by both Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), who has given over 100 speeches related to climate change on the floor of the Senate, and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), who recently co-sponsored a bill that would end the extraction of fossil fuels on public lands. Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chris Coons (D-DE), Al Franken (D-MN), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Tom Udall (D-NM), rounded out the coalition.

      “We are moving in the right direction and we are not going to back down,” Udall said. “We have the president’s back and we are going to make sure we keep moving in the right direction.”

      It is important to remind the people of the world that the Congress we have in 2015 will NOT be the Congress we have in 2017. Letters from Senators to Iran, fist shaking at the people whose islands are disappearing not withstanding, there is an America willing to be a partner in the world community.

  5. JanF
    December 5, 2015 at 8:44 am

    In The News: About that “We Are Strong On Terrorism” campaign issue

    On the question of who is more trusted to handle terrorism, Clinton leads Trump among Americans by 50-42; she leads Ben Carson by 49-40; she leads Ted Cruz by 48-40; she leads Marco Rubio by 47-43; and she leads Jeb Bush by 46-43. In fairness, the last two of those are not statistically significant leads, and among registered voters, her lead “slims or disappears.” But this poll does suggest at a minimum that there is no clear edge for the GOP candidates over Clinton on the issue.

    If the Republicans want to run on “scaring the crap out of Americans”, they may want to revisit if Americans are buying their solutions.

  6. JanF
    December 5, 2015 at 8:46 am

    In The News: FCC vigorously defending Net Neutrality …

    The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) went to court once again on Friday to defend its rules that ban the slowing or blocking of Internet traffic by Internet service providers (ISPs), in a landmark case that advocates of “net neutrality” fear could open the door for favoritism on the Internet and dramatically alter how consumers access data. […]

    The latest case deals with the FCC’s newest set of rules, approved in February. The key element in those rules, which the agency argues are necessary to protect the interests of consumers, is the FCC’s reclassification of broadband Internet as a telecommunications service — rather than an information service — thereby exposing it to greater agency regulation.

    Net neutrality advocates who attended Friday’s hearing were optimistic that their argument stood on firm legal ground.

    “There is very strong Supreme Court precedent which says the FCC has discretion in this area,” said John Bergmayer, a senior staff attorney for Public Knowledge, a Washington, D.C.-based public interest group that works on net neutrality.

    More from NPR.

  7. JanF
    December 5, 2015 at 8:53 am

    In The News: Snippets …

    Arkansas still trying to block disclosure of its killing drugs

    UAW wins right to unionize VW plant in Tennessee, first in the southern United States.

    Supreme Court to hear case involving Puerto Rican debt.

  8. JanF
    December 5, 2015 at 8:58 am

    In The News: Anti-Abortion Extremists Trying to Hide Their Donors Dealt a Blow in the Courts

    A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals handed David Daleiden and his anti-choice front group, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), another decisive loss on Thursday.

    The court rejected Daleiden and CMP’s efforts to withhold from the National Abortion Federation (NAF) the names of the “handful of supporters” that were “intimately involved in the planning and funding of the Center’s alleged conspiracy” on the basis that disclosing that information to NAF would violate Daleiden’s First Amendment rights to associational privilege.

    Daleiden and CMP will now have to comply with NAF’s request under the court’s order.

    NAF filed a lawsuit in late July alleging civil conspiracy, racketeering, fraud, and breach of contract, among other civil and criminal allegations, stemming from the release of video footage deceptively edited to suggest that NAF members, including certain Planned Parenthood affiliates, are engaged in illegal trafficking of fetal “body parts.”

    CMP appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court and Justice Kennedy denied it:

    UPDATE, December 4, 10:00 p.m.: On Friday afternoon, David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress appealed the Ninth Circuit’s ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court and requested an emergency stay of discovery. Their request was denied Friday evening.

  9. JanF
    December 5, 2015 at 9:07 am

    The Grey Lady breaks a nearly hundred year old tradition:

    The New York Times is running an editorial on its front page on Saturday, the first time the paper has done so since 1920, calling for greater regulation on guns in the aftermath of a spate of mass shootings. […] The last time The Times ran an editorial on the front page was in June 1920, when it lamented the nomination of Warren G. Harding as the Republican presidential candidate.

    The editorial:

    End the Gun Epidemic in America

    ​It is a moral outrage and national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency.

    By THE EDITORIAL BOARD DEC. 4, 2015

    All decent people feel sorrow and righteous fury about the latest slaughter of innocents, in California. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies are searching for motivations, including the vital question of how the murderers might have been connected to international terrorism. That is right and proper.

    But motives do not matter to the dead in California, nor did they in Colorado, Oregon, South Carolina, Virginia, Connecticut and far too many other places. The attention and anger of Americans should also be directed at the elected leaders whose job is to keep us safe but who place a higher premium on the money and political power of an industry dedicated to profiting from the unfettered spread of ever more powerful firearms.

    It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency. These are weapons of war, barely modified and deliberately marketed as tools of macho vigilantism and even insurrection. America’s elected leaders offer prayers for gun victims and then, callously and without fear of consequence, reject the most basic restrictions on weapons of mass killing, as they did on Thursday. They distract us with arguments about the word terrorism. Let’s be clear: These spree killings are all, in their own ways, acts of terrorism.

    Opponents of gun control are saying, as they do after every killing, that no law can unfailingly forestall a specific criminal. That is true. They are talking, many with sincerity, about the constitutional challenges to effective gun regulation. Those challenges exist. They point out that determined killers obtained weapons illegally in places like France, England and Norway that have strict gun laws. Yes, they did.

    But at least those countries are trying. The United States is not. Worse, politicians abet would-be killers by creating gun markets for them, and voters allow those politicians to keep their jobs. It is past time to stop talking about halting the spread of firearms, and instead to reduce their number drastically — eliminating some large categories of weapons and ammunition.

    It is not necessary to debate the peculiar wording of the Second Amendment. No right is unlimited and immune from reasonable regulation.

    Certain kinds of weapons, like the slightly modified combat rifles used in California, and certain kinds of ammunition, must be outlawed for civilian ownership. It is possible to define those guns in a clear and effective way and, yes, it would require Americans who own those kinds of weapons to give them up for the good of their fellow citizens.

    What better time than during a presidential election to show, at long last, that our nation has retained its sense of decency?

    (Bolding added)

    • December 6, 2015 at 11:09 am

      My fellow gun-toting Americans are the ones who frighten me—not any refugees.

  10. JanF
    December 6, 2015 at 5:49 am

    From President Obama in an interview with CBS This Morning on Friday:

    “In terms of my own legacy, I think about it this way: Malia is 17, Sasha is 14. Every once in a while, I tear up thinking about how fast it’s gone and they’re about to go. And I do picture that, if I’m lucky and I have enough years left—and I’m in no rush on this, but 20 years from now, let’s say, and I’m still around, I’ve got some grandkids—I want to be able to take my little grandson or granddaughter on a walk to the park and know that the planet is in pretty good shape. And I want to feel like I contributed to that. And when I’m holding that little hand or pushing that kid on a swing and I look up at the sky and I know that it’s okay—that little kid may not know that there was an alternative future there that could have been grim. He may not know that there was the possibility that we had really catastrophic changes in the climate. And that’s fine with me. If he or she are able to enjoy that sunny day and feel good about it, and breathe clean air, and go swimming in an ocean, and I can watch them play—that will be a pretty good legacy. I’ll feel pretty good about that.” —President Obama speaking to CBS This Morning ‪#‎ActOnClimate‬ ‪#‎COP21‬

    • princesspat
      December 6, 2015 at 10:53 am

      I share President Obama’s hopes for his grandchildren, and so does the Lummi Nation.

      Lummi Nation youth bring climate film to summit in France

      Lummi Nation has a message for global leaders gathered at the COP21 United Nations conference on climate change in France: The Earth is alive.

      Youth representatives from the Lummi youth canoe family left for Paris Thursday, Dec. 3, with plans to dance and sing, add their voices to the larger climate discussion, and screen a climate change film featuring the voices of Coast Salish people.

  11. JanF
    December 7, 2015 at 7:27 am

    In the News, more from Paris and COP21: Indigenous Leaders In Paris Issue Declaration Calling For The End Of Fossil Fuel Extraction

    PARIS, FRANCE — The sound of drums and chanting rang across the Bassin de la Villette — Paris’ largest artifical lake — on Sunday as representatives from indigenous tribes stretching from the Arctic to the Amazon demonstrated against the extraction of fossil fuels and the omission of indigenous’ rights from an international climate treaty. A group of about 25 activists gathered in canoes and kayaks on the lake, displaying flags emblazoned with traditional symbols, while others joined from above, hanging banners off of a nearby bridge.

    Following the demonstration on the water, six indigenous leaders spoke about their desires for a climate agreement that respects their territorial rights and traditional lands. Together, the leaders released three declarations: one signifying the creation of a coalition between all indigenous women of America, one asking that sacred Amazon forests be legally protected, and one asking for an end of fossil fuel extraction and subsidies. […]

    Indigenous peoples, who are often still dependent on the land for subsistence and cultural traditions, are some of the first communities to feel the full force of climate changes.

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