Editors’ Choice

Posts selected by Moose editors

President Obama Speaks on New Initiatives Aimed at Reducing Gun Violence #StopGunViolence UPDATED with Transcript

President Obama Delivers Remarks on Reducing Gun Violence and Making Our Communities Safer

(Video of the live event includes remarks from a Newtown parent and the president arriving and leaving – event starts at 36:35 on this video, with the president speaking at 42:30)

President Obama (at 1:11:00 in this video):

All of us should be able to work together to find a balance that declares the rest of our rights are also important — Second Amendment rights are important, but there are other rights that we care about as well. And we have to be able to balance them. Because our right to worship freely and safely –- that right was denied to Christians in Charleston, South Carolina. (Applause.) And that was denied Jews in Kansas City. And that was denied Muslims in Chapel Hill, and Sikhs in Oak Creek. (Applause.) They had rights, too. (Applause.)

Our right to peaceful assembly -– that right was robbed from moviegoers in Aurora and Lafayette. Our unalienable right to life, and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness -– those rights were stripped from college students in Blacksburg and Santa Barbara, and from high schoolers at Columbine, and from first-graders in Newtown. First-graders. And from every family who never imagined that their loved one would be taken from our lives by a bullet from a gun.

Every time I think about those kids it gets me mad. And by the way, it happens on the streets of Chicago every day. (Applause.)

The answer? Vote … make this issue a campaign issue:

Ninety percent of Americans supported [the idea of expanded background checks]. Ninety percent of Democrats in the Senate voted for that idea. But [the post-Sandy Hook reforms] failed because 90 percent of Republicans in the Senate voted against that idea. […] The bill before Congress three years ago met [the test of saving more lives]. Unfortunately, too many senators failed theirs. […]

So the gun lobby may be holding Congress hostage right now, but they cannot hold America hostage. (Applause.) We do not have to accept this carnage as the price of freedom. (Applause.) […]

Yes, the gun lobby is loud and it is organized in defense of making it effortless for guns to be available for anybody, any time. Well, you know what, the rest of us, we all have to be just as passionate. We have to be just as organized in defense of our kids. This is not that complicated. The reason Congress blocks laws is because they want to win elections. And if you make it hard for them to win an election if they block those laws, they’ll change course, I promise you.

Full transcript below.

Weekly Address: President Obama – Making America Safer for Our Children

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 reflected on the progress of the past year, and looked forward to working on unfinished business in the coming year, particularly when it comes to the epidemic of gun violence. As he has many times before, the President reminded us that Congress has repeatedly failed to take action and pass laws that would reduce gun violence. That’s why the President a few months ago tasked his White House team with identifying new actions he can take to help reduce gun violence, and on Monday will meet with the Attorney General to discuss the options. In his address, the President called on everyone to join him in the fight to reduce gun violence, because it’s going to take all of us to make America safer for our children.

President Obama: Selma “… one day’s commemoration, no matter how special, is not enough”

Official White House photographer Pete Souza posted his year-end retrospective on medium.com a few days ago (Behind the Lens: 2015 Year in Photographs). People were posting and Tweeting and blogging their favorites and there were a lot of excellent ones to choose from: families, babies, poignant moments, celebrations. These two stood out for me:

On March 7, 2015, the president and First Family traveled to Selma Alabama to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, part of the march that led to the passage of the Voter Rights Act. Nothing is more sacred in a democracy than the right for all citizens to vote. As we enter an election year where we will decide whether we move forward or if we will cast aside the advances of the last 150 years, preserving and protecting the right to vote is our most important job.

The president spoke …

… and we need to listen:

Selma shows us that America is not the project of any one person. Because the single-most powerful word in our democracy is the word “We.” “We The People.” “We Shall Overcome.” “Yes We Can.” That word is owned by no one. It belongs to everyone. Oh, what a glorious task we are given, to continually try to improve this great nation of ours. […]

We honor those who walked so we could run. We must run so our children soar.

Tamir would be alive if he had been white

The New York Times goes there … lays in out in, yes, black and white and in plain sight.

Tamir Rice of Cleveland would be alive today had he been a white 12-year-old playing with a toy gun in just about any middle-class neighborhood in the country on the afternoon of Nov. 22, 2014.

snip

Mr. McGinty described the events leading up to Tamir’s death as tragic series of errors and “miscommunications” that began when a 911 caller said a male who was “probably a juvenile” was waving a “probably fake” gun at people in a park.  The fact that those caveats never reached Officer Loehmann — who shot the child within seconds of arriving on the scene — was more than just an administrative misstep. It reflects an utter disregard for the lives of the city’s black residents. That disregard pervades every aspect of this case and begins with the fact that the department failed to even review Officer Loehmann’s work history before giving him the power of life and death over the citizens of Cleveland.

Probably the most important part to me, though, is:

In addition to portraying the killing as a result of a tragic misunderstanding, prosecutors have also suggested the officer’s decision to kill Tamir was shaped by the fact that the surrounding neighborhood had a history of violence and that the boy appeared to be older than 12 because he was big for his age.

Weekly Address: Merry Christmas from the President and First Lady

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 and First Lady wished Americans a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. They celebrated the values of the season, and in that spirit of gratitude honored all the brave men and women in uniform fighting to keep us safe, as well as the families that stand by them. The President and First Lady asked that everyone take time this holiday season to visit JoiningForces.gov, and find out how to give back to the troops, veterans, and military families in your community.

Weekly Address: President Obama – Top 10 Things that Happened in 2015

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 celebrated the end of the year tradition of list-making with a year-in-review list of his own. The President offered his roundup of the top 10 things that happened in 2015, all of which should make us optimistic about the prospects for 2016. This past year has been one where we’ve seen unprecedented progress in areas ranging from the Iran deal to marriage equality to concluding a historic trade agreement. The year 2015 brought economic growth, with our unemployment rate dropping to five percent; the normalization of our relations with Cuba and a newly opened U.S. Embassy in Havana; and a historic agreement in Paris to take real action on climate change. The President acknowledged the significant progress of the past year, and looked forward to 2016 and all we have yet to accomplish.

Naturalize Now! New campaign to increase naturalization

 photo 3a3c435b-14cd-4265-adbf-e3db0ac9ab6c_zpsuj4flrck.jpg

In this new ad campaign video, we hear the hateful anti-immigrant rhetoric of Donald Trump, overlaid with visuals of the faces of Latinos in the United States, including former astronaut José M. Hernández, who is a first generation American. His parents are from Michoacán, Mexico.

Latino Victory Foundation and National Partnership for New Americans Launch the New American Democracy Campaign to Increase Naturalization and Mobilize Immigrant Voters

The NADC’s mission is to increase the naturalization rate, and register and mobilize millions of voters, with the goal of increasing naturalization by 38 percent to 1 million in 2016. Currently, there are 8.8 million legal permanent residents who are eligible to apply for citizenship but don’t do so because they don’t have the resources—financial or other—to do so, don’t understand the process, or are scared.

The New Americans Democracy Campaign is supporting a national goal of raising the number of naturalizations next year by 38% to 1,000,000 new citizens. The NADC field will engage 750,000 immigrants and assist 98,000 with their naturalization applications. In addition the NADC will engage and assist 45,400 new Americans with their voter registrations.

If we add the 8.8 million residents who are eligible to naturalize to the 1.9 million U.S. citizen children of immigrants who are eligible to vote, and an additional 11.5 million Latino voters who do not turn out to vote, this would add a significant number of voters to the electorate. If only 20 percent of these potential voters naturalize and vote, 4.4 million Latino and immigrant voters’ voices would be heard at election time.

The ad:

President Obama: “That is what makes America great — not just the words on these founding documents, as precious and valuable as they are, but the progress that they’ve inspired.”

Speaking at the National Archives, President Obama addresses 31 newly sworn in citizens.

What a remarkable journey all of you have made. And as of today, your story is forever woven into the larger story of this nation. In the brief time that we have together, I want to share that story with you. Because even as you’ve put in the work required to become a citizen, you still have a demanding and rewarding task ahead of you — and that is the hard work of active citizenship. You have rights and you have responsibilities. And now you have to help us write the next great chapter in America’s story. […]

America: A place where we can be a part of something bigger. A place where we can contribute our talents and fulfill our ambitions and secure new opportunity for ourselves and for others. A place where we can retain pride in our heritage, but where we recognize that we have a common creed, a loyalty to these documents, a loyalty to our democracy; where we can criticize our government, but understand that we love it; where we agree to live together even when we don’t agree with each other; where we work through the democratic process, and not through violence or sectarianism to resolve disputes; where we live side by side as neighbors; and where our children know themselves to be a part of this nation, no longer strangers, but the bedrock of this nation, the essence of this nation. […]

That is what makes America great — not just the words on these founding documents, as precious and valuable as they are, but the progress that they’ve inspired. If you ever wonder whether America is big enough to hold multitudes, strong enough to withstand the forces of change, brave enough to live up to our ideals even in times of trial, then look to the generations of ordinary citizens who have proven again and again that we are worthy of that.

President Obama speaks on the historic Paris climate accord – UPDATED with Transcript

Saturday, December 12, 2015 at 5:30pm Eastern

PRESIDENT OBAMA:

The problem is not solved because of this accord. But make no mistake, the Paris agreement establishes the enduring framework the world needs to solve the climate crisis. It creates the mechanism, the architecture, for us to continually tackle this problem in an effective way.

… I believe this moment can be a turning point for the world. We’ve shown that the world has both the will and the ability to take on this challenge. It won’t be easy. Progress won’t always come quick. We cannot be complacent. While our generation will see some of the benefits of building a clean energy economy — jobs created and money saved — we may not live to see the full realization of our achievement. But that’s okay. What matters is that today we can be more confident that this planet is going to be in better shape for the next generation.

From the White House:

Today, nations of the world have come together to announce a historic achievement: The most ambitious global agreement to combat climate change. 

The Paris Agreement establishes a long term, durable global framework to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. For the first time, all countries commit to putting forward successive and ambitious, nationally determined climate targets and reporting on their progress towards them using a rigorous, standardized process of review.

President Obama: “Our freedom is bound up with the freedom of others”

From the White House:

On Wednesday, the President travelled to the U.S. Capitol to deliver remarks at an event commemorating the 150th anniversary of the 13th Amendment. The President was be joined by Members of both the House and Senate, including Congressional leadership and the Congressional Black Caucus, in marking this historic event.

(President Obama delivers remarks at the U.S. Capitol to commemorate the abolition of slavery in 1865.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:

We gather here to commemorate a century and a half of freedom — not simply for former slaves, but for all of us.

Today, the issue of chattel slavery seems so simple, so obvious — it is wrong in every sense. Stealing men, women, and children from their homelands. Tearing husband from wife, parent from child; stripped and sold to the highest bidder; shackled in chains and bloodied with the whip. It’s antithetical not only to our conception of human rights and dignity, but to our conception of ourselves — a people founded on the premise that all are created equal. […]

… for decades, America wrestled with the issue of slavery in a way that we have with no other, before or since …

At its heart, the question of slavery was never simply about civil rights. It was about the meaning of America, the kind of country we wanted to be –- whether this nation might fulfill the call of its birth: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” that among those are life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The president described the long struggle to move from freedom to full citizenship, paying homage to the civil rights leaders, and ordinary men and women who pursued justice for people of color. He cited the uneven progress, the ugliness that still “bubbles up” and concluded:

our freedom is bound up with the freedom of others -– regardless of what they look like or where they come from or what their last name is or what faith they practice. (Applause.) To be honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. To nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of Earth. To nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of Earth. That is our choice. Today, we affirm hope.