Occupy Wall Street movement

I am glad to see the occupation of Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan finished its first month and that the Occupy Wall Street movement has spread to cities and college campuses across the United States and to more than 70 other countries.

However, I am concerned about the police brutality in the United States.

Here we are complaining about the brutality of tyrants in the Middle East when our own government is condoning such violent acts as seen in Oakland, California, insuring one of the demonstrated lift-threatening. It seems like when it comes to demonstrations in other countries, politicians are cheering. However, as soon as it happens on their own doorsteps, it becomes too inconvenient and threatening to their own survival  and they are moving to use tactics they condemn on other countries.

People of this world should have the right to voice their concerns and dismay without interferences of their government.

President Barack Obama Weekly Address October 29, 2011 (Video/Transcipt)

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House

This week, a new economic report confirmed what most Americans already believe to be true: over the past three decades, the middle class has lost ground while the wealthiest few have become even wealthier. In fact, the average income for the top one percent of Americans has risen almost seven times faster than the income of the average middle class family. And this has happened during a period where the cost of everything from health care to college has skyrocketed.

Now, in this country, we don’t begrudge anyone wealth or success – we encourage it. We celebrate it. But America is better off when everyone has had the chance to get ahead – not just those at the top of the income scale. The more Americans who prosper, the more America prospers.

Rebuilding an economy where everyone has the chance to succeed will take time. Our economic problems were decades in the making, and they won’t be solved overnight. But there are steps we can take right now to put people back to work and restore some of the security that middle-class Americans have lost over the last few decades.

Right now, Congress can pass a set of common-sense jobs proposals that independent economists tell us will boost the economy right away. Proposals that will put more teachers, veterans, construction workers and first responders back on the job. Proposals that will cut taxes for virtually every middle class family and small business in America. These are the same kinds of proposals that both Democrats and Republicans have supported in the past. And they should stop playing politics and act on them now.

These jobs proposals are also paid for by asking folks who are making more than a million dollars a year to contribute a little more in taxes. These are the same folks who have seen their incomes go up so much, and I believe this is a contribution they’re willing to make. One survey found that nearly 7 in 10 millionaires are willing to step up and pay a little more in order to help the economy.

Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress aren’t paying attention. They’re not getting the message. Over and over, they have refused to even debate the same kind of jobs proposals that Republicans have supported in the past – proposals that today are supported, not just by Democrats, but by Independents and Republicans all across America. And yet, somehow, they found time this week to debate things like whether or not we should mint coins to celebrate the Baseball Hall of Fame. Meanwhile, they’re only scheduled to work three more weeks between now and the end of the year.

The truth is, we can no longer wait for Congress to do its job. The middle-class families who’ve been struggling for years are tired of waiting. They need help now. So where Congress won’t act, I will.

This week, we announced a new policy that will help families whose home values have fallen refinance their mortgages and save thousands of dollars. We’re making it easier for veterans to get jobs putting their skills to work in hospitals and community health centers. We reformed the student loan process so more young people can get out of debt faster. And we’re going to keep announcing more changes like these on a regular basis.

These steps will make a difference. But they won’t take the place of the bold action we need from Congress to get this economy moving again. That’s why I need all of you to make your voices heard. Tell Congress to stop playing politics and start taking action on jobs. If we want to rebuild an economy where every American has the chance to get ahead, we need every American to get involved. That’s how real change has always happened, and that’s how it’ll happen today.

Thank you.


Too Much Money Corrupts Congress

Everywhere we read about “How Money Corrupts Congress” !
However, the fact is that there is too much money and that MONEY is corrupting the congress. 
Lobbyists are dwarfing the voices of the people.
We need to find a way to get money and the influence of BIG MONEY out of politics.

What we see today is not Democracy any more.

Watch out, this is not only a problem in the U.S.A but in many countries around the world.


How can I be a proud American with such an U.S. congress?

It is quite remarkable when a country is spending billions of dollars on three wars but sees the need to save money when it comes to rescue their own population.

On Tuesday Sep 13, 2011, the Reuters News Agency reported that the number of Americans living below the poverty line rose to a record 46 million 2010.

On October 21, 2011 a divided Senate rejected two jobs initiatives supported by the president on Thursday night and President Obama issued a midnight denunciation of the political gridlock.

All Senate Republicans voted NO to teachers being in Americas classrooms.
All Senate Republicans voted NO to bringing more police officers to the streets of America.
All Senate Republicans voted NO to having more firefighters.
All Senate Republicans voted NO to construction workers getting to work on the ‘crumbling’ infrastructure.


I ask myself, what kind of people did we elect to the U.S. Congress?
Are these politicians only interested in their own well-being?

How can I be a proud American when my country is failing its own people, especially the 46 million poor people?

Lets kick them all out and replace them with politicians who care about ALL American people!

President Barack Obama Weekly Address October 22, 2011 (Video/Transcipt)

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
October 22, 2011

This week, we had two powerful reminders of how we’ve renewed American leadership in the world. I was proud to announce that—as promised—the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of this year. And in Libya, the death of Moammar Qadhafi showed that our role in protecting the Libyan people, and helping them break free from a tyrant, was the right thing to do.

In Iraq, we’ve succeeded in our strategy to end the war. Last year, I announced the end of our combat mission in Iraq. We’ve already removed more than 100,000 troops, and Iraqi forces have taken full responsibility for the security of their own country. Thanks to the extraordinary sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, the Iraqi people have the chance to forge their own future. And now the rest of our troops will be home for the holidays.

In Libya, our brave pilots and crews helped prevent a massacre, save countless lives, and give the Libyan people the chance to prevail. Without putting a single U.S. service member on the ground, we achieved our objectives. Soon, our NATO mission will come to a successful end even as we continue to support the Libyan people, and people across the Arab world, who seek a democratic future.

These successes are part of a larger story. After a decade of war, we’re turning the page and moving forward, with strength and confidence. The drawdown in Iraq allowed us to refocus on Afghanistan and achieve major victories against al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. As we remove the last of our troops from Iraq, we’re beginning to bring our troops home from Afghanistan.

To put this in perspective, when I took office, roughly 180,000 troops were deployed in these wars. By the end of this year that number will be cut in half, and an increasing number of our troops will continue to come home.

As we end these wars, we’re focusing on our greatest challenge as a nation—rebuilding our economy and renewing our strength at home. Over the past decade, we spent a trillion dollars on war, borrowed heavily from overseas and invested too little in the greatest source of our national strength—our own people. Now, the nation we need to build is our own.

We have to tackle this challenge with the same urgency and unity that our troops brought to their fight. That’s why we have to do everything in our power to get our economy moving again. That’s why I’m calling on Congress to pass the American Jobs Act, so we can rebuild our country – our schools, our roads, our bridges – and put our veterans, construction workers, teachers, cops and firefighters back to work. And that’s why I hope all of us can draw strength from the example of our men and women in uniform.

They’ve met their responsibilities to America. Now it’s time to meet ours. It’s time to come together and show the world why the United States of America remains the greatest source for freedom and opportunity that the world has ever known.

President Obama Honors the Country’s Top Innovators and Scientists (Video/Transcipt)

Remarks by the President at Presentation of the National Medals of Science and the National Medals of Technology and Innovation

THE PRESIDENT: Welcome, everybody. Please have a seat. It is a great pleasure to be with so many outstanding innovators and inventors. And I’m glad we could convince them all to take a day off -- (laughter) -- to accept our nation’s highest honor when it comes to inventions and innovation, and that is the National Medals of Science, and the National Medals of Technology and Innovation.

It’s safe to say that this is a group that makes all of us really embarrassed about our old science projects. (Laughter.) You know, the volcano with the stuff coming out -- (laughter) -- with the baking soda inside -- apparently, that was not a cutting-edge achievement -- (laughter) -- even though our parents told us it was really terrific.

But thanks to the men and women on the stage, we are one step closer to curing diseases like cancer and Parkinson’s. Because of their work, soldiers can see the enemy at night and grandparents can see the pictures of their grandchildren instantly and constantly. Planes are safer, satellites are cheaper, and our energy grid is more efficient, thanks to the breakthroughs that they have made.

And even though these folks have not sought out the kind of celebrity that lands you on the cover of People magazine, the truth is that today’s honorees have made a bigger difference in our lives than most of us will ever realize. When we fill up our cars, talk on our cell phones, or take a lifesaving drug, we don’t always think about the ideas and the effort that made it all possible. We don’t always ask ourselves how many sleepless nights went by and how many family dinners were sacrificed. But the folks behind me -- they know. They worked those long nights. They made those sacrifices. They took on those challenges and ran those experiments and devoted their lives to expanding the reach of human understanding.

And that’s why we recognize them today. Because America has always been a place where good ideas can thrive and dreams can become real -- where innovation is encouraged and the greatest minds in the world are free to push the very limits of science and technology.

To understand that, you don’t have to look any further than the people on this stage. Three-quarters of our honorees were born outside of the United States. From China, Germany, India, Canada and England, they searched for the best universities and the most advanced labs -- and they found them here, because America is the best place in the world to do the work that they do.

And now more than ever, it’s critical that we make the investments necessary to keep it that way. We live in a global economy where companies and factories can be located anywhere there’s an Internet connection. And to compete in that economy, we can’t cut corners by paying workers less or building cheaper products. We won’t be able to engage in a race to the bottom -- that's not who we are.

The key to our success has always been and always will be our unparalleled ability to think up new ideas, create new industries, and lead the way in discovery and innovation. And that’s how the future will be won.

Right now, unfortunately, barely more than one in 10 of all undergraduate students are enrolled in what we call the STEM subjects -- science, technology, engineering and math -- areas that will be critical if America is going to compete for the jobs of the future. And that’s troubling, because no matter how many great minds we attract from around the world, it won’t be enough if we can’t grow some here at home.

That’s why we’ve worked to make college more affordable, why we've set a goal to train 100,000 new teachers in the next decade, and started a Race to the Top to encourage schools to improve the way they teach these subjects. That’s why we’re working with businesses to train more engineers, and help community colleges provide more workers with the skills that businesses need.

And just as we’re working to cultivate the next generation of thinkers, we’re also working to fast-track the next generation of doers. We’ve made historic investments in technology and research, made the most meaningful reforms to our patent process in 50 years, and made it easier for entrepreneurs to turn new ideas into new businesses and new jobs. I want to thank someone who helped make that happen -- NASA Administrator Charles Bolden is here, and we're very pleased to have him as well.

As the men and the women on this stage will tell you, nobody gets here on their own. Each of them succeeded because they had a great teacher, a great mentor, or a great partner. Some of them don’t have to look far for inspiration. In fact, I hear that Jackie Barton’s husband won the same award she’s getting today in 2006 -- (laughter) -- and they plan on displaying their medals next to each other on a mantle at home -- which I would imagine will intimidate dinner guests. (Laughter.)

And just as each of today’s honorees has had someone in their lives who lit a spark, or kept that spark burning, they’ve paid it back by inspiring somebody else. When Peter Stang won this award, he made sure to thank the 100 post-doctoral and Ph.D. students he’s mentored over the years, because, as he said, “this recognizes their work as well.” When Jay Baliga first got interested in physics by picking up a book at the local bookstore, he remembered that and he now tells his students to go beyond the curriculum and come up with ideas of their own. When Richard Tapia remembers what it’s like growing up as a son of Mexican immigrants and the first one in his family to go to college, today, he is a world-class mathematician, but he, because of those memories, helps more young people –- especially women and minorities -- to get involved in math and in science.

And in the end, that’s what today is all about. One of the best ways we can inspire more young people to think big, dream big dreams is by honoring the people who already do -- folks who are smart and aren’t afraid to show it, but also folks who have taken that brilliance and gone out and changed the world.

Because that next generation is already coming; they’re already knocking on the door. A couple of weeks ago, I got a chance to meet the winners of the Google Science Fair. I want to point out that all three of them were girls. (Applause.) They had beat out 10,000 other applicants from over 90 countries. So I had them over to the Oval Office, and they explained their projects to me, and I pretended that I understood. (Laughter.)

One of the winners, Shree Bose, did her first experiment in second grade by trying to turn spinach blue. (Laughter.) In fourth grade, she built a remote-controlled garbage can. And for this science fair, at the age of 17, she discovered a promising new way to improve treatment for ovarian cancer -- at 17. And she also told me very matter-of-factly that she’ll be going to medical school and getting a doctorate, and I suspect she will do so. (Laughter.) She did not lack confidence.

And it’s young people like Shree, but also the people on this stage, who make me incredibly hopeful about the future. Even at a time of great uncertainty, their stories remind us that there are still discoveries waiting to be made and unlimited potential waiting to be tapped. All we have to do is encourage it and support it.

So I want to congratulate today’s honorees for their extraordinary and inspiring work. We could not be prouder of all of you.

And now it is my privilege to present the National Medals of Science and the National Medals of Technology and Innovation. (Applause.)

(The citations are read and the medals are presented.)

MILITARY AIDE: Jacqueline K. Barton. The 2010 National Medal Science to Jacqueline K. Barton, California Institute of Technology, for discovery of a new property of the DNA helix long-range electron transfer, and for showing that electron transfer depends upon stacking of the base pairs and DNA dynamics. Her experiments reveal a strategy for how DNA repair proteins locate DNA lesions and demonstrate a biological role for DNA-mediated charge transfer. (Applause.)

Ralph L. Brinster. The 2010 National Medal of Science to Ralph L. Brinster, University of Pennsylvania, for his fundamental contributions to the development and use of transgenic mice. His research has provided experimental foundations and inspiration for broad progress in germ line genetic modification in a range of species, which has generated a revolution in biology, medicine and agriculture. (Applause.)

Shu Chien. The 2010 National Medal of Science to Shu Chien, University of California, San Diego, for pioneering work in cardiovascular physiology and bioengineering, which has had tremendous impact in the fields of microcirculation, blood rheology, and mechanotransduction in human health and disease. (Applause.)

Rudolf Jaenisch. (Applause.) The 2010 National Medal of Science to Rudolph Jaenisch, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for improving our understanding of epigenetic regulation of gene expression, the biological mechanisms that affect how genetic information is variably expressed. His work has led to major advances in our understanding of mammalian cloning and embryonic stem cells. (Applause.)

Peter J. Stang. The 2010 National Medal of Science to Peter J. Stang, University of Utah, for his creative contributions to the development of organic super-molecular chemistry, and for his outstanding and unique record of public service. (Applause.)

Richard A. Tapia. The 2010 National Medal of Science to Richard A. Tapia, Rice University, for his pioneering and fundamental contributions in optimization theory and numerical analysis, and for his dedication and sustained efforts in fostering diversity and excellence in mathematics and science education. (Applause.)

Srinivasa S.R. Varadhan. The 2010 National Medal of Science to Srinivasa S. R. Varadhan, New York University, for his work in probability theory, especially his work on large deviations from expected random behavior which has revolutionized this field of study during the second half of the 20th century, and become a cornerstone of both pure and applied probability. The mathematical insights he developed have been applied in diverse fields, including quantum field theory, population dynamics, finance, econometrics and traffic engineering. (Applause.)

Rakesh Agrawal. The 2010 National Medal of Technology and Innovation to Rakesh Agrawal, Purdue University, for an extraordinary record of innovations in improving the energy efficiency and reducing the cost of gas liquifaction and separation. These innovations have had significant positive impacts on electronic device manufacturing, liquefied gas production and the supply of industrial gases for diverse industries. (Applause.)

B. Jayant Baliga. The 2010 National Medal of Technology and Innovation to B. Jayant Baliga, North Carolina State University, for development and commercialization of the insulated gate bipolar transistor and other power semiconductor devices that are extensively used in transportation, lighting, medicine, defense, and renewable energy generation systems. (Applause.)

C. Donald Bateman. The 2010 National Medal of Technology and Innovation to C. Donald Bateman, Honeywell, for developing and championing critical flight-safety sensors now used by aircraft worldwide, including ground-proximity warning systems and wind-shear detection systems. (Applause.)

Yvonne C. Brill. The 2010 National Medal of Technology and Innovation to Yvonne C. Brill, RCA Astro Electronics, for innovation in rocket propulsion systems and geosynchronous and low Earth orbit communication satellites, which greatly improved the effectiveness of space propulsion systems. (Applause.)

Michael F. Tompsett. The 2010 National Medal of Technology and Innovation to Michael F. Tompsett, TheraManager, for pioneering work in materials and electronic technologies including the design and development of the first charge-coupled device imagers. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Well, let’s, please, give one more big round of applause to the National Medals of Science, the National Medals of Technology and Innovation. (Applause.) We are very proud of them. And I hope all the young people who are either watching or who are here today take inspiration from the extraordinary work that they do.

I will say that the only problem with these wonderful awards is my military aides really have to practice reading the citations -- (laughter) -- because they are multi-syllabic. (Laughter.) But you did good. (Laughter and applause.)

All right, with that, I hope everybody enjoys this wonderful celebration and reception, and again, thank you so much for helping to make the world a better place.

Thank you, everybody. (Applause.)


Remarks by the President at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Dedication (Video/Transcipt)

The National Mall
Washington, D.C.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you. (Applause.) Please be seated.

An earthquake and a hurricane may have delayed this day, but this is a day that would not be denied.

For this day, we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s return to the National Mall. In this place, he will stand for all time, among monuments to those who fathered this nation and those who defended it; a black preacher with no official rank or title who somehow gave voice to our deepest dreams and our most lasting ideals, a man who stirred our conscience and thereby helped make our union more perfect.

And Dr. King would be the first to remind us that this memorial is not for him alone. The movement of which he was a part depended on an entire generation of leaders. Many are here today, and for their service and their sacrifice, we owe them our everlasting gratitude. This is a monument to your collective achievement. (Applause.)

Some giants of the civil rights movement –- like Rosa Parks and Dorothy Height, Benjamin Hooks, Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth –- they’ve been taken from us these past few years. This monument attests to their strength and their courage, and while we miss them dearly, we know they rest in a better place.

And finally, there are the multitudes of men and women whose names never appear in the history books –- those who marched and those who sang, those who sat in and those who stood firm, those who organized and those who mobilized –- all those men and women who through countless acts of quiet heroism helped bring about changes few thought were even possible. “By the thousands,” said Dr. King, “faceless, anonymous, relentless young people, black and white…have taken our whole nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in the formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.” To those men and women, to those foot soldiers for justice, know that this monument is yours, as well.

Nearly half a century has passed since that historic March on Washington, a day when thousands upon thousands gathered for jobs and for freedom. That is what our schoolchildren remember best when they think of Dr. King -– his booming voice across this Mall, calling on America to make freedom a reality for all of God’s children, prophesizing of a day when the jangling discord of our nation would be transformed into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.

It is right that we honor that march, that we lift up Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech –- for without that shining moment, without Dr. King’s glorious words, we might not have had the courage to come as far as we have. Because of that hopeful vision, because of Dr. King’s moral imagination, barricades began to fall and bigotry began to fade. New doors of opportunity swung open for an entire generation. Yes, laws changed, but hearts and minds changed, as well.

Look at the faces here around you, and you see an America that is more fair and more free and more just than the one Dr. King addressed that day. We are right to savor that slow but certain progress -– progress that’s expressed itself in a million ways, large and small, across this nation every single day, as people of all colors and creeds live together, and work together, and fight alongside one another, and learn together, and build together, and love one another.

So it is right for us to celebrate today Dr. King’s dream and his vision of unity. And yet it is also important on this day to remind ourselves that such progress did not come easily; that Dr. King’s faith was hard-won; that it sprung out of a harsh reality and some bitter disappointments.

It is right for us to celebrate Dr. King’s marvelous oratory, but it is worth remembering that progress did not come from words alone. Progress was hard. Progress was purchased through enduring the smack of billy clubs and the blast of fire hoses. It was bought with days in jail cells and nights of bomb threats. For every victory during the height of the civil rights movement, there were setbacks and there were defeats.

We forget now, but during his life, Dr. King wasn’t always considered a unifying figure. Even after rising to prominence, even after winning the Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. King was vilified by many, denounced as a rabble rouser and an agitator, a communist and a radical. He was even attacked by his own people, by those who felt he was going too fast or those who felt he was going too slow; by those who felt he shouldn’t meddle in issues like the Vietnam War or the rights of union workers. We know from his own testimony the doubts and the pain this caused him, and that the controversy that would swirl around his actions would last until the fateful day he died.

I raise all this because nearly 50 years after the March on Washington, our work, Dr. King’s work, is not yet complete. We gather here at a moment of great challenge and great change. In the first decade of this new century, we have been tested by war and by tragedy; by an economic crisis and its aftermath that has left millions out of work, and poverty on the rise, and millions more just struggling to get by. Indeed, even before this crisis struck, we had endured a decade of rising inequality and stagnant wages. In too many troubled neighborhoods across the country, the conditions of our poorest citizens appear little changed from what existed 50 years ago -– neighborhoods with underfunded schools and broken-down slums, inadequate health care, constant violence, neighborhoods in which too many young people grow up with little hope and few prospects for the future.

Our work is not done. And so on this day, in which we celebrate a man and a movement that did so much for this country, let us draw strength from those earlier struggles. First and foremost, let us remember that change has never been quick. Change has never been simple, or without controversy. Change depends on persistence. Change requires determination. It took a full decade before the moral guidance of Brown v. Board of Education was translated into the enforcement measures of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, but those 10 long years did not lead Dr. King to give up. He kept on pushing, he kept on speaking, he kept on marching until change finally came. (Applause.)

And then when, even after the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act passed, African Americans still found themselves trapped in pockets of poverty across the country, Dr. King didn’t say those laws were a failure; he didn’t say this is too hard; he didn’t say, let’s settle for what we got and go home. Instead he said, let’s take those victories and broaden our mission to achieve not just civil and political equality but also economic justice; let’s fight for a living wage and better schools and jobs for all who are willing to work. In other words, when met with hardship, when confronting disappointment, Dr. King refused to accept what he called the “isness” of today. He kept pushing towards the “oughtness” of tomorrow.

And so, as we think about all the work that we must do –- rebuilding an economy that can compete on a global stage, and fixing our schools so that every child -- not just some, but every child -- gets a world-class education, and making sure that our health care system is affordable and accessible to all, and that our economic system is one in which everybody gets a fair shake and everybody does their fair share, let us not be trapped by what is. (Applause.) We can’t be discouraged by what is. We’ve got to keep pushing for what ought to be, the America we ought to leave to our children, mindful that the hardships we face are nothing compared to those Dr. King and his fellow marchers faced 50 years ago, and that if we maintain our faith, in ourselves and in the possibilities of this nation, there is no challenge we cannot surmount.

And just as we draw strength from Dr. King’s struggles, so must we draw inspiration from his constant insistence on the oneness of man; the belief in his words that “we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.” It was that insistence, rooted in his Christian faith, that led him to tell a group of angry young protesters, “I love you as I love my own children,” even as one threw a rock that glanced off his neck.

It was that insistence, that belief that God resides in each of us, from the high to the low, in the oppressor and the oppressed, that convinced him that people and systems could change. It fortified his belief in non-violence. It permitted him to place his faith in a government that had fallen short of its ideals. It led him to see his charge not only as freeing black America from the shackles of discrimination, but also freeing many Americans from their own prejudices, and freeing Americans of every color from the depredations of poverty.

And so at this moment, when our politics appear so sharply polarized, and faith in our institutions so greatly diminished, we need more than ever to take heed of Dr. King’s teachings. He calls on us to stand in the other person’s shoes; to see through their eyes; to understand their pain. He tells us that we have a duty to fight against poverty, even if we are well off; to care about the child in the decrepit school even if our own children are doing fine; to show compassion toward the immigrant family, with the knowledge that most of us are only a few generations removed from similar hardships. (Applause.)

To say that we are bound together as one people, and must constantly strive to see ourselves in one another, is not to argue for a false unity that papers over our differences and ratifies an unjust status quo. As was true 50 years ago, as has been true throughout human history, those with power and privilege will often decry any call for change as “divisive.” They’ll say any challenge to the existing arrangements are unwise and destabilizing. Dr. King understood that peace without justice was no peace at all; that aligning our reality with our ideals often requires the speaking of uncomfortable truths and the creative tension of non-violent protest.

But he also understood that to bring about true and lasting change, there must be the possibility of reconciliation; that any social movement has to channel this tension through the spirit of love and mutuality.

If he were alive today, I believe he would remind us that the unemployed worker can rightly challenge the excesses of Wall Street without demonizing all who work there; that the businessman can enter tough negotiations with his company’s union without vilifying the right to collectively bargain. He would want us to know we can argue fiercely about the proper size and role of government without questioning each other’s love for this country -- (applause) -- with the knowledge that in this democracy, government is no distant object but is rather an expression of our common commitments to one another. He would call on us to assume the best in each other rather than the worst, and challenge one another in ways that ultimately heal rather than wound.

In the end, that’s what I hope my daughters take away from this monument. I want them to come away from here with a faith in what they can accomplish when they are determined and working for a righteous cause. I want them to come away from here with a faith in other people and a faith in a benevolent God. This sculpture, massive and iconic as it is, will remind them of Dr. King’s strength, but to see him only as larger than life would do a disservice to what he taught us about ourselves. He would want them to know that he had setbacks, because they will have setbacks. He would want them to know that he had doubts, because they will have doubts. He would want them to know that he was flawed, because all of us have flaws.

It is precisely because Dr. King was a man of flesh and blood and not a figure of stone that he inspires us so. His life, his story, tells us that change can come if you don’t give up. He would not give up, no matter how long it took, because in the smallest hamlets and the darkest slums, he had witnessed the highest reaches of the human spirit; because in those moments when the struggle seemed most hopeless, he had seen men and women and children conquer their fear; because he had seen hills and mountains made low and rough places made plain, and the crooked places made straight and God make a way out of no way.

And that is why we honor this man –- because he had faith in us. And that is why he belongs on this Mall -– because he saw what we might become. That is why Dr. King was so quintessentially American -- because for all the hardships we’ve endured, for all our sometimes tragic history, ours is a story of optimism and achievement and constant striving that is unique upon this Earth. And that is why the rest of the world still looks to us to lead. This is a country where ordinary people find in their hearts the courage to do extraordinary things; the courage to stand up in the face of the fiercest resistance and despair and say this is wrong, and this is right; we will not settle for what the cynics tell us we have to accept and we will reach again and again, no matter the odds, for what we know is possible.

That is the conviction we must carry now in our hearts. (Applause.) As tough as times may be, I know we will overcome. I know there are better days ahead. I know this because of the man towering over us. I know this because all he and his generation endured -- we are here today in a country that dedicated a monument to that legacy.

And so with our eyes on the horizon and our faith squarely placed in one another, let us keep striving; let us keep struggling; let us keep climbing toward that promised land of a nation and a world that is more fair, and more just, and more equal for every single child of God.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)


President Barack Obama Weekly Address October 15, 2011 (Video/Transcipt)

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
October 15, 2011

I’m here in Detroit visiting workers at a GM plant in the heart of a resurgent American auto industry. And I brought a guest with me – President Lee of South Korea.

We’re here because this week, Congress passed landmark trade agreements with countries like Korea, and assistance for American workers that will be a big win for our economy.

These trade agreements will support tens of thousands of American jobs. And we’ll sell more Fords, Chevys and Chryslers abroad stamped with three proud words – “Made in America.”

So it was good to see Congress act in a bipartisan way on something that will help create jobs at a time when millions of Americans are out of work and need them now.

But that’s also why it was so disappointing to see Senate Republicans obstruct the American Jobs Act, even though a majority of Senators voted “yes” to advance this jobs bill.

We can’t afford this lack of action. And there is no reason for it. Independent economists say that this jobs bill would give the economy a jumpstart and lead to nearly two million new jobs. Every idea in that jobs bill is the kind of idea both parties have supported in the past.

The majority of the American people support the proposals in this jobs bill. And they want action from their elected leaders to create jobs and restore some security for the middle class right now. You deserve to see your hard work and responsibility rewarded – and you certainly deserve to see it reflected in the folks you send to Washington.

But rather than listen to you and put folks back to work, Republicans in the House spent the past couple days picking partisan ideological fights. They’re seeing if they can roll back clean air and water protections. They’re stirring up fights over a woman’s right to make her own health care choices. They’re not focused on the concrete actions that will put people back to work right now.

Well, we’re going to give them another chance. We’re going to give them another chance to spend more time worrying about your jobs than keeping theirs.

Next week, I’m urging Members of Congress to vote on putting hundreds of thousands of teachers back in the classroom, cops back on the streets, and firefighters back on the job.

And if they vote “no” on that, they’ll have to tell you why. They’ll have to tell you why teachers in your community don’t deserve a paycheck again. They’ll have to tell your kids why they don’t deserve to have their teacher back. They’ll have to tell you why they’re against commonsense proposals that would help families and strengthen our communities right now.

In the coming weeks, we’ll have them vote on the other parts of the jobs bill – putting construction workers back on the job, rebuilding our roads and bridges; providing tax cuts for small businesses that hire our veterans; making sure that middle-class families don’t see a tax hike next year and that the unemployed and our out-of-work youth have a chance to get back in the workforce and earn their piece of the American Dream.

That’s what’s at stake. Putting people back to work. Restoring economic security for the middle class. Rebuilding an economy where hard work is valued and responsibility is rewarded – an economy that’s built to last. And I’m going to travel all over the country over the next few weeks so that we can remind Congress that’s their job. Because there’s still time to create jobs and grow our economy right now. There’s still time for Congress to do the right thing. We just need to act.

Thank you.

Close Transcript

President Barack Obama Weekly Address October 8, 2011 (Video/Transcipt)

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House

Next week, the Senate will vote on the American Jobs Act. It’s a bill that will put more people to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans. And it will provide our economy with the jolt that it really needs right now

This is not the time for the usual games or political gridlock in Washington. The challenges facing financial markets around the world could have very real effects on our own economy at a time when it’s already fragile. But this jobs bill can help guard against another downturn here in America.

This isn’t just my belief. This is what independent economists have said. Not just politicians. Not just people in my administration. Independent experts who do this for a living have said that this jobs bill will have a significant effect for our economy and middle-class families all across America. But if we don’t act, the opposite will be true – there will be fewer jobs and weaker growth.

So any Senator out there who’s thinking about voting against this jobs bill needs to explain why they would oppose something that we know would improve our economic situation. If the Republicans in Congress think they have a better plan for creating jobs right now, they should prove it. Because one of the same independent economists who looked at our plan just said that their ideas, quote, wouldn’t “mean much for the economy in the near term.”

If their plan doesn’t measure up, the American people deserve to know what it is that Republicans in Congress don’t like about this jobs plan. You hear a lot of our Republican friends say that one of the most important things we can do is cut taxes. Well, they should love this plan. The American Jobs Act would cut taxes for virtually every worker and small business in America. And if you’re a small business owner that hires new workers, raises wages, or hires a veteran, you get an additional tax cut.

Right now, hundreds of thousands of teachers and firefighters and police officers have been laid off because of state budget cuts. This jobs bill will put a lot of these men and women back to work. Right now, there are millions of laid-off construction workers who could be repairing our bridges and roads and modernizing our schools. Why wouldn’t we want to put these men and women to work rebuilding America?

The proposals in this bill are steps we have to take if we want to build an economy that lasts; if we want to be able to compete with other countries for jobs that restore a sense of security for the middle-class. But we also have to rein in our deficit and start living within our means, which is why this jobs bill is paid for by asking millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share.

Some see this as class warfare. I see it as a simple choice. We can either keep taxes exactly as they are for millionaires and billionaires, or we can ask them to pay at least the same rate as a plumber or a bus driver. And in the process, we can put teachers and construction workers and veterans back on the job. We can either fight to protect their tax cuts, or we can cut taxes for virtually every worker and small business in America. But we can’t afford to do both. It’s that simple.

There are too many people hurting in this country for us to simply do nothing. The economy is too fragile for us to let politics get in the way of action. The people who represent you in Washington have a responsibility to do what’s best for you – not what’s best for their party or what’s going to help them win an election that’s more than a year away. So I need you to keep making your voices heard in Washington. I need you to remind these folks who they work for. And I need you to tell your Senators to do the right thing by passing this jobs bill right away. Thank you.


President Obama on Retaining Teachers (Video/Transcipt)

THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Dallas! Thank you so much. Thank you, everybody. Please have a seat, have a seat. (Applause.) Thank you.

It’s good to be back in Texas. (Applause.) It is good to be back in Texas. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be with all of you.

I want to thank a couple of people. First of all, the mayor of Mesquite, John Monaco is here. (Applause.) And the mayor of Dallas, Mike Rawlings is in the house. (Applause.) And I want to thank the former mayor of Dallas, who I stole from you to be one of the best trade representatives this country has ever had -- my dear friend Ron Kirk is in the house. (Applause.)

I also want to thank -- I want to thank the folks over at the Children’s Lab School, who gave me a tour, and I want to especially thank Kim Russell for sharing her story. Thank you, Kim. (Applause.)

Now, teachers like Kim are why I came here today. Teachers like Kim and her former students. That’s why I’ve been traveling all across this country for the last few weeks. These are the toughest times we’ve been through since the Great Depression. And because the problems that led to the recession weren’t caused overnight, they won’t be solved overnight. That’s the hard truth. It took us a decade to see the culmination of some of the bad ideas that had been put into place -- the lack of regulation on Wall Street, middle-class folks struggling.

So we’re not going to solve all those problems overnight. But that doesn’t mean we have to sit back and do nothing about this economy. There are steps we can take right now to put people back to work. There are steps we can take right now to put money in the pockets of working Americans. There are things we can do right now to restore some of the security and fairness that has always defined this great country of ours. And that’s what will happen if this Congress will finally get its act together and pass the American Jobs Act. (Applause.)

It has now been three weeks since I sent this bill to Congress. It’s a detailed plan to get this economy moving. It’s the kind of proposals that, in the past, Democrats and Republicans have supported. There’s nothing radical in this proposal. These are the kinds of things that in the past we’ve had bipartisan support for. It’s fully paid for. And that’s why I need you to help me convince the people you sent to Washington that it’s time to pass this jobs bill and get America working again. (Applause.)

Now, you just heard Kim’s story. There are teachers and educators like Kim all over the country. I met a first-grade teacher from Minnesota at the White House who was laid off after having been named the Teacher of the Year in her school district. Her peers, students, determined she was the best teacher in her school district -- she got laid off. There’s a teacher over in Grand Prairie, Texas, who actually chose to resign in order to protect the job of a single mom who also taught at the school. Think about that. Here in Dallas, all across the state of Texas, you’ve seen too many teachers lose their jobs because of budget cuts. And thousands more could be at risk in the coming year.

Now, understand, this doesn’t just hurt these teachers. It doesn’t just hurt them and their families. It hurts our children. It undermines our future as a nation. If you’ve got Kim, an AP teacher, not in the classroom, those kids aren’t going to have the same opportunities. And I want everybody to understand that what is at stake is nothing less than our ability to compete in this 21st century economy.

I told the story -- a while back I was visiting South Korea and had lunch with the President there. And I asked the President, I said, what’s your biggest challenge right now? He said, well, my biggest challenge is our parents are way too demanding. He said, they want their kid to learn English when they’re in first grade. So in addition to all the science and all the math classes, I’m now having to ship in teachers from outside the country just to teach our kids English, starting in elementary school. This is what the President of South Korea said.

They can’t hire teachers fast enough. They call them “nation builders” -- that’s what they call teachers in Korea, “nation builders,” because they know that educating their children is the best way to make sure their economy is growing, make sure that good jobs are locating there, making sure they’ve got the scientists and the engineers and the technicians who can build things and ship them all around the world. That’s what he understands. And the whole country supports him. Here in America, we’re laying off teachers in droves. It makes no sense. It has to stop. It has to stop. (Applause.)

Now, this bill will prevent up to 280,000 teachers from losing their jobs. (Applause.) This bill will support almost 40,000 jobs right here in the great state of Texas. (Applause.) So here’s what I need you to do: Tell Congress to pass this bill and put teachers back in the classroom where they belong. (Applause.)

It’s not just teachers. Tell Congress to pass the American Jobs Act, and there also will be funding to save the jobs of firefighters and police officers and first responders who risk their lives to keep us safe. That’s what happens if they pass this bill. (Applause.)

Pass this jobs bill, and hundreds of thousands of unemployed construction workers will get back on the job rebuilding our schools, rebuilding our roads, rebuilding our bridges, rebuilding our ports, rebuilding our airports. The other day I visited a busy bridge in Ohio -- actually it’s between Ohio and Kentucky. Speaker Boehner, he’s from Ohio; Republican Leader McConnell is from Kentucky. I thought it would be a good place to have an event. (Laughter.) This bridge is classified as functionally obsolete. That’s a fancy way of saying it’s old and needs to be fixed. (Laughter.)

There’s a public transit project in Houston that would help clear up one of the worst areas of traffic in the country. There are schools all over this country that are literally falling apart -- roof crumbling, rain dripping in, too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter, science labs all worn out, got a couple of beakers and that’s it, built back in the ‘50s before the Internet was invented. (Laughter.)

That’s an outrage. Understand, America became an economic superpower in part because we had the best infrastructure. We built the transcontinental railroad, the Interstate Highway System, the Hoover Dam, Grand Central Station. How can we sit back and now we’re seeing China build better airports than us, Europe build better railroads than us, Korea more broadband access than us -- at a time when millions of unemployed construction workers could be building all that stuff right here in the United States of America. (Applause.)

My question to Congress is, what are you waiting for? The work is there to be done. There are workers ready to do it. Contractors, they’re begging for work. They’ll come in on time, under budget. Interest rates have never been lower. It is time for us to put those folks back to work. It’s time for them to pass the American Jobs Act. Pass this bill. (Applause.)

If Congress passes this jobs bill, new companies will get new tax credits for hiring America’s veterans. Think about it. We ask these men and women to leave their families, disrupt their careers, risk their lives for our nation. The last thing they should have to do is to fight for a job when they come home. (Applause.)

Tell Congress pass this bill so we can help the people who create most of the new jobs in this country: America’s small businesses. Folks in the other party, they like to talk a good game about helping America’s job creators. “Let’s help America’s job creators.” Okay, let’s do that. This jobs bill provides tax cuts for nearly every small business in America. If you hire new employees, or raise your workers’ wages, you get an extra tax cut. (Applause.) So my message to Congress is, don’t just talk about helping job creators; actually help some job creators by passing this bill. (Applause.)

Here’s another reason why they need to pass this bill. On January 1st, if nothing is done, everybody here is going to get a tax hike.

AUDIENCE: Booo! (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: That’s right. See, back in December, I got an agreement with the Republicans to lower the payroll tax so that there would be more money in folks’ pockets and we could protect ourselves against recession. Now, since that time, we’ve had a tsunami in Japan; we’ve had the Arab Spring, which shot up gas prices. We’ve had problems in Europe. And so the economy has gotten weaker.

That tax cut is scheduled to expire by the end of this year. But if the American Jobs Act passes, the typical working family in Texas will have an extra $1,400 in their pockets. (Applause.) Now, if the bill doesn’t pass, virtually every worker in America will see their taxes go up -- at the worst possible time.

So I’m not about to let that happen, Texas. (Applause.) Look, Republicans say they’re the party of tax cuts. Tell them to prove it. Tell them to fight just as hard for tax cuts for working Americans as they do for the wealthiest Americans. (Applause.) Pass this bill.

Now, what you’ll hear from some of these folks is, well, we’re not going to support any new spending that’s not paid for. All right, I agree with that. I think that’s important. So I laid out a plan to pay for the American Jobs Act, and then some -- a plan that not only pays for the bill to put folks back to work to raise our growth rate, but to also pay down more of our debt over time. It builds on the $1 trillion in spending cuts that I already signed this summer, making it one of the biggest spending cuts in history.

So, look, I believe we’ve got to make cuts in programs that don’t work and things that aren’t helping the economy grow so we can pay for the things that are. Right? (Applause.) We all believe that a government needs to live within its means. We all agree with that. But we also believe that how you bring down the deficit is important. If we want to actually close the deficit -- not just talk about closing the deficit, not just using it for a campaign slogan, not just playing politics -- if we want to actually close the deficit, then you’ve got to combine the tough cuts with a strategy to ask the wealthiest Americans and the biggest corporations to do their part, to pay their fair share. (Applause.)

Look, I’m not telling you anything you don’t know. Do you really think the tax code is written for you?


THE PRESIDENT: You think the tax code -- maybe you’ve got a bunch of lobbyists in Washington. Maybe you’ve got a bunch of special interests in there in the back rooms trying to carve something out -- I don’t know. But most folks don’t. So the tax code, the way it’s structured, is not fair. And so what we’ve said is, let’s reform our tax code based on a very simple principle, and it will raise more money without hurting working families. Here’s the principle: Middle-class families, working families, should not pay higher tax rates than millionaires or billionaires. (Applause.) I don’t know how you argue against that; seems pretty straightforward to me. Warren Buffett’s secretary shouldn’t pay a higher tax rate than Warren Buffett. (Applause.)

Now, when I point this out -- it seems very logical to me, but when I point this out, some of the Republicans in Congress, they say, oh, you’re engaging in class warfare. Class warfare? Let me tell you something. Years ago, a great American had a different view. All right? I’m going to get the quote just so you know I’m not making this up. (Laughter.) Great American, said that he thought it was “crazy” that certain tax loopholes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying 10 percent of his salary. All right?

You know who this guy was? Wasn’t a Democrat. Wasn’t some crazy socialist. It was Ronald Reagan. (Applause.) It was Ronald Reagan. Last time I checked, Republicans all thought Reagan made some sense. (Laughter.) So the next time you hear one of those Republicans in Congress accusing you of class warfare, you just tell them, I’m with Ronald Reagan. (Laughter.) I agree with Ronald Reagan that it’s crazy that a bus driver pays a higher tax rate than a millionaire because of some loophole in the tax code. (Applause.)

And by the way, I don’t mind being called a warrior for the working class. You guys need somebody fighting for you. (Applause.) The only warfare I’ve been seeing is the war against middle-class families and their ability to get ahead in this economy.

And let me make one last point, because you’ll hear this argument made: This is not about trying to punish success. This is the land of opportunity. And what’s great about our country is our belief that anybody can succeed. You’ve got a good idea? Go out there and start a new business. You’ve got a great product? You invented something? I hope you make millions of dollars. We want to see more Steve Jobs and more Bill Gates -- creating value, creating jobs. That’s great.

Your current mayor did great work in the private sector creating jobs, creating value. That’s important. But remember, nobody got there on their own. I’m standing here today, Michelle is standing here today -- or Michelle’s not standing here today -- (laughter) -- but I know you wish she was. I’m standing here today, Michelle -- we always remind ourselves, the reason we’ve had this extraordinary opportunity is because somewhere along the line, some teacher helped us. Somewhere along the line, we got a student loan. We lived in a country that could move products and services everywhere. We lived in a country where if there’s a fire, somebody comes and puts out the fire. If you’re burglarized, somebody is coming to try to solve the crime. I’m sure the mayor of Dallas feels the same way. We’re here because somebody laid the foundation for success. So the question is, are we going to maintain that foundation and strengthen that foundation for the next generation?

And this is all about priorities. This is about choices. If we want to actually lower the deficit and put people back to work -- if we want to invest in our future, if we want to have the best science, the best technology, the best research, we want to continue to be inventing new drugs to solve cancer and making sure that the new cars of the future that are running on electricity are made here in America -- if we want to do all those things, then the money has got to come from somewhere. I wish I could do it all for free. I wish I could say to all of you, you don’t have to pay any taxes and companies can keep all their stuff and rich people don’t have to do anything, and somehow it all works out.

But you know what, we tried it and it didn’t work. So now you’ve got a choice. Would you rather keep tax loopholes for big corporations that don’t need it? Or would you rather put construction workers back to work rebuilding our schools and our roads and our bridges? (Applause.) Would you rather I keep a tax break that I don’t need and wasn’t looking for, didn’t ask for and if I don’t have it, I won’t miss it? Or do you want to put teachers like Kim back to work and help small businesses and cut taxes for middle-class families? (Applause.) This is a choice that we’ve got to make.

And I believe, and I think you believe, it’s time we build an economy that creates good, solid, middle-class jobs in this country. It’s time to build an economy that values the -- that honors the values of hard work and responsibility. It’s time for us to build an economy that lasts, that’s not just based on speculation and financial shenanigans, but rather is based on us making stuff and selling things to other people around the world instead of just importing from all around the world. (Applause.) That’s the America I believe in. That’s the America you believe in.

And, Dallas, that starts now. That starts with your help. Yesterday, the Republican Majority Leader in Congress, Eric Cantor, said that right now he won’t even let this jobs bill have a vote in the House of Representatives.


THE PRESIDENT: This is what he said. Won’t even let it be debated. Won’t even give it a chance to be debated on the floor of the House of Representatives. Think about that. I mean, what’s the problem? Do they not have the time? (Laughter.) They just had a week off. (Laughter.) Is it inconvenient?

Look, I’d like Mr. Cantor to come down here to Dallas and explain what exactly in this jobs bill does he not believe in. What exactly is he opposed to?

Does he not believe in rebuilding America’s roads and bridges? Does he not believe in tax breaks for small businesses, or efforts to help our veterans?

Mr. Cantor should come down to Dallas and look Kim Russell in the eye and tell her why she doesn’t deserve to be back in the classroom doing what she loves, helping our kids. Come tell her students why they don’t deserve to have their teacher back.

Come tell Dallas construction workers why they should be sitting idle instead of out there on the job.

Tell small business owners and workers in this community why you’d rather defend tax breaks for folks who don’t need them -- for millionaires -- rather than tax cuts for middle-class families.

And if you won’t do that, at least put this jobs bill up for a vote so that the entire country knows exactly where members of Congress stand. (Applause.)
Put your cards on the table. I realize that some Republicans in Washington are resistant, partly because I proposed it. (Laughter and applause.) I mean, they -- if I took their party platform and proposed it, they’d suddenly be against it. (Laughter.)

We’ve had folks in Congress who have said they shouldn’t pass this bill because it would give me a win. So they’re thinking about the next election. They’re not thinking about folks who are hurting right now. They’re thinking, well, how is that going to play in the next election?

Give me a win? Give me a break! (Laughter.) That’s why folks are fed up with Washington. (Applause.) This isn’t about giving me a win. This isn’t about giving Democrats or Republicans a win. This is about giving people who are hurting a win. (Applause.) This is about giving small business owners a win, and entrepreneurs a win, and students a win, and working families a win. This is about giving America a win. (Applause.)

Dallas, the next election is 13 months away. The American people don’t have the luxury of waiting 13 months. A lot of folks are living week to week; some are living paycheck to paycheck; some folks are living day to day. (Applause.) They need action on jobs, and they need it now. They want Congress to do what they were elected to do. They want Congress to do their job. Do your job, Congress! (Applause.)

I need you all to lift your voice -- (applause) –- not just here in Dallas, but anyone watching, anyone listening, everybody following online. I need you to call and tweet and fax and visit and email your congressperson and tell them the time for gridlock and games is over. The time for action is now. (Applause.)

Tell them that if you want to create jobs -- pass this bill. (Applause.)

If you want to put teachers back in the classroom -- pass this bill. (Applause.)

If you want construction workers back on the job -- pass this bill. (Applause.)

If you want tax cuts for the middle class and small business owners -- pass this bill.

You want to help some veterans? Pass this bill. (Applause.)

Now is the time to act. We are not people who sit back in tough times. We step up in tough times. We make things happen in tough times. (Applause.) We’ve been through tougher times before, and we got through them. We’re going to get through these to a brighter day, but we’re going to have to act. God helps those who help themselves. We need to help ourselves right now.

Let’s get together. Let’s get to work. Let’s get busy. Let’s pass this bill. Let’s make sure that we are shaping a destiny for our children that we are proud of, and let’s remind the entire world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on the planet. (Applause.)

God bless you. God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)


Has the Republican Party of Lincoln become a party of theocracy?

Has the Republican Party of Lincoln become a party of theocracy? Theocracy is a form of government in which a country is ruled by religious leaders. Isn’t that what the al-Qaida and courtiers like Iran are aspiring to?

Well, watching the decent of the Republican Party together with the increase of orthodox evangelicals in the Republican Party, one must believe that the goal of these groups is to turn the United States into a country in which only their own Christian Laws are valid. However, doesn’t this stands again all principals of the United States and its constitution where freedom of religion is guarantied even for Islam?

It seems like the Republican Party ignores one main principal of humanity which is equality: freedom of religion, equal rights for any race and gender, and also the equal duty to pay their fair share of taxes.

It is time that we stand up for our rights and the rights of the poor and fight against these new forms of extremism in the Republican Party/Tea Party.


Remarks by the President at the Human Rights Campaign's Annual National Dinner (Video/Transcipt)

Washington Convention Center

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much. It is great to be back. (Applause.) I see a lot of friends in the house. I appreciate the chance to join you tonight. I also took a trip out to California last week, where I held some productive bilateral talks with your leader, Lady Gaga. (Laughter.) She was wearing 16-inch heels. (Laughter.) She was eight feet tall. (Laughter.) It was a little intimidating.

Now, I don’t want to give a long speech. Cyndi Lauper is in the house. I can’t compete with that. (Applause.) But I wanted to come here tonight, first of all, to personally thank Joe for his outstanding years of leadership at HRC. (Applause.) What he has accomplished at the helm of this organization has been remarkable, and I want to thank all of you for the support that you’ve shown this organization and for your commitment to a simple idea: Every single American -- gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, transgender -- every single American deserves to be treated equally in the eyes of the law and in the eyes of our society. It’s a pretty simple proposition. (Applause.)

Now, I don’t have to tell you that we have a ways to go in that struggle. I don’t have to tell you how many are still denied their basic rights -- Americans who are still made to feel like second-class citizens, who have to live a lie to keep their jobs, or who are afraid to walk the street, or down the hall at school. Many of you have devoted your lives to the cause of equality. So you know what we have to do; we’ve got more work ahead of us.

But we can also be proud of the progress we’ve made these past two and a half years. Think about it. (Applause.) Two years ago, I stood at this podium, in this room, before many of you, and I made a pledge. I said I would never counsel patience; that it wasn’t right to tell you to be patient any more than it was right for others to tell African Americans to be patient in the fight for equal rights a half century ago. (Applause.) But what I also said, that while it might take time –- more time than anyone would like -– we are going to make progress; we are going to succeed; we are going to build a more perfect union.

And so, let’s see what happened. I met with Judy Shepard. I promised her we would pass a hate crimes bill named for her son, Matthew. And with the help of my dear friend Ted Kennedy we got it done. Because it should never be dangerous -- (applause) -- you should never have to look over your shoulder -- to be gay in the United States of America. That’s why we got it done. (Applause.)

I met with Janice Langbehn, who was barred from the bedside of the woman she loved as she lay dying. And I told her that we were going to put a stop to this discrimination. And you know what? We got it done. I issued an order so that any hospital in America that accepts Medicare or Medicaid -– and that means just about every hospital -– has to treat gay partners just as they do straight partners. Because nobody should have to produce a legal contract to hold the hand of the person that they love. We got that done. (Applause.)

I said that we would lift that HIV travel ban -- we got that done. (Applause.) We put in place the first comprehensive national strategy to fight HIV/AIDS. (Applause.)

Many questioned whether we’d succeed in repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell.” And, yes, it took two years to get the repeal through Congress. (Applause.) We had to hold a coalition together. We had to keep up the pressure. We took some flak along the way. (Applause.) But with the help of HRC, we got it done. And “don’t ask, don’t tell” is history. (Applause.) And all over the world, there are men and women serving this country just as they always have -- with honor and courage and discipline and valor. We got it done. (Applause.) We got that done. All around the world, you’ve got gays and lesbians who are serving, and the only difference is now they can put up a family photo. (Laughter.) No one has to live a lie to serve the country they love.

I vowed to keep up the fight against the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. There’s a bill to repeal this discriminatory law in Congress, and I want to see that passed. But until we reach that day, my administration is no longer defending DOMA in the courts. I believe the law runs counter to the Constitution, and it’s time for it to end once and for all. It should join “don’t ask, don’t tell” in the history books. (Applause.)

So, yes, we have more work to do. And after so many years -- even decades -- of inaction you’ve got every right to push against the slow pace of change. But make no mistake -- I want people to feel encouraged here -- we are making change. We’re making real and lasting change. We can be proud of the progress we’ve already made.

And I’m going to continue to fight alongside you. And I don’t just mean in your role, by the way, as advocates for equality. You’re also moms and dads who care about the schools your children go to. (Applause.) You’re also students figuring out how to pay for college. You’re also folks who are worried about the economy and whether or not your partner or husband or wife will be able to find a job. And you’re Americans who want this country to succeed and prosper, and who are tired of the gridlock and the vicious partisanship, and are sick of the Washington games. Those are your fights, too, HRC. (Applause.)

So I’m going to need your help. I need your help to fight for equality, to pass a repeal of DOMA, to pass an inclusive employment non-discrimination bill so that being gay is never again a fireable offense in America. (Applause.) And I don’t have to tell you, there are those who don't want to just stand in our way but want to turn the clock back; who want to return to the days when gay people couldn’t serve their country openly; who reject the progress that we’ve made; who, as we speak, are looking to enshrine discrimination into state laws and constitutions -- efforts that we’ve got to work hard to oppose, because that’s not what America should be about.

We’re not about restricting rights and restricting opportunity. We’re about opening up rights and opening up opportunity -- (applause) -- and treating each other generously and with love and respect. (Applause.)

And together, we also have to keep sending a message to every young person in this country who might feel alone or afraid because they’re gay or transgender -- who may be getting picked on or pushed around because they’re different. We’ve got to make sure they know that there are adults they can talk to; that they are never alone; that there is a whole world waiting for them filled with possibility. That’s why we held a summit at the White House on bullying. That’s why we’re going to continue to focus on this issue. (Applause.) This isn’t just “kids being kids.” It’s wrong. It’s destructive. It’s never acceptable. And I want all those kids to know that the President and the First Lady is standing right by them every inch of the way. (Applause.) I want them to know that we love them and care about them, and they’re not by themselves. That’s what I want them to know. (Applause.)

Now, I also need your help in the broader fight to get this economy back on track. You may have heard, I introduced a bill called the American Jobs Act. (Applause.) It’s been almost three weeks since I sent it up to Congress. That’s three weeks longer than it should have taken to pass this common-sense bill. (Applause.) This is a bill filled with ideas that both parties have supported -- tax breaks for companies that hire veterans; road projects; school renovations; putting construction crews back to work rebuilding America; tax cuts for middle-class families so they can make ends meet and spend a little more at local stores and restaurants that need the business.

Now, you may have heard me say this a few times before -- I’ll say it again: Pass the bill. (Applause.) Enough gridlock. Enough delay. Enough politics. Pass this bill. Put this country back to work. (Applause.) HRC, you know how Congress works. I’m counting on you to have my back. Go out there and get them to pass this bill. (Applause.) Let’s put America back to work.

Now, ultimately, these debates we’re having are about more than just politics; they’re more about -- they’re about more than the polls and the pundits, and who’s up and who’s down. This is a contest of values. That’s what’s at stake here. This is a fundamental debate about who we are as a nation.

I don’t believe -- we don’t believe -- in a small America, where we let our roads crumble, we let our schools fall apart, where we stand by while teachers are laid off and science labs are shut down, and kids are dropping out.

We believe in a big America, an America that invests in the future -- that invests in schools and highways and research and technology -- the things that have helped make our economy the envy of the world.

We don’t believe in a small America, where we meet our fiscal responsibilities by abdicating every other responsibility we have, and where we just divvy up the government as tax breaks for those who need them the least, where we abandon the commitment we’ve made to seniors though Medicare and Social Security, and we say to somebody looking for work, or a student who needs a college loan, or a middle-class family with a child who’s disabled, that “You’re on your own.” That’s not who we are.

We believe in a big America, an America where everybody has got a fair shot, and everyone pays their fair share. An America where we value success and the idea that anyone can make it in this country. But also an America that does -- in which everyone does their part -- including the wealthiest Americans, including the biggest corporations -- to deal with the deficits that threaten our future. (Applause.)

We don’t believe in a small America. We don’t believe in the kind of smallness that says it’s okay for a stage full of political leaders -- one of whom could end up being the President of the United States -- being silent when an American soldier is booed. (Applause.) We don’t believe in that. We don’t believe in standing silent when that happens. (Applause.) We don’t believe in them being silent since. (Applause.) You want to be Commander-in-Chief? You can start by standing up for the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States, even when it’s not politically convenient. (Applause.)

We don’t believe in a small America. We believe in a big America -- a tolerant America, a just America, an equal America -- that values the service of every patriot. (Applause.) We believe in an America where we’re all in it together, and we see the good in one another, and we live up to a creed that is as old as our founding: E pluribus unum. Out of many, one. And that includes everybody. That’s what we believe. That’s what we’re going to be fighting for. (Applause.)

I am confident that’s what the American people believe in. (Applause.) I’m confident because of the changes we’ve achieved these past two and a half years -– the progress that some folks said was impossible. (Applause.) And I’m hopeful -- I am hopeful --


THE PRESIDENT: I’m fired up, too. (Laughter.) I am hopeful -- (applause) -- I am hopeful -- I am still hopeful, because of a deeper shift that we’re seeing; a transformation not only written into our laws, but woven into the fabric of our society.

It’s progress led not by Washington but by ordinary citizens, who are propelled not just by politics but by love and friendship and a sense of mutual regard. (Applause.) It’s playing out in legislatures like New York, and courtrooms and in the ballot box. But it’s also happening around water coolers and at the Thanksgiving table, and on Facebook and Twitter, and at PTA meetings and potluck dinners, and church socials and VFW Halls.

It happens when a father realizes he doesn’t just love his daughter, but also her wife. (Applause.) It happens when a soldier tells his unit that he’s gay, and they tell him they knew it all along and they didn’t care, because he was the toughest guy in the unit. (Applause.) It happens when a video sparks a movement to let every single young person know they’re not alone, and things will get better. It happens when people look past their ultimately minor differences to see themselves in the hopes and struggles of their fellow human beings. That’s where change is happening. (Applause.)

And that’s not just the story of the gay rights movement. That’s the story of America -- (applause) -- the slow, inexorable march towards a more perfect union. (Applause.) You are contributing to that story, and I’m confident we can continue to write another chapter together.

Thank you very much, everybody. God bless you. (Applause.)


President Barack Obama Weekly Address October 1, 2011 (Video/Transcipt)

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
October 1, 2011

Hello, everyone. It’s been almost three weeks since I sent the American Jobs Act to Congress – three weeks since I sent them a bill that would put people back to work and put money in people’s pockets. This jobs bill is fully paid for. This jobs bill contains the kinds of proposals that Democrats and Republicans have supported in the past. And now I want it back. It is time for Congress to get its act together and pass this jobs bill so I can sign it into law.

Some Republicans in Congress have said that they agree with certain parts of this jobs bill. If so, it’s time for them to tell me what those proposals are. And if they’re opposed to this jobs bill, I’d like to know what exactly they’re against. Are they against putting teachers and police officers and firefighters back on the job? Are they against hiring construction workers to rebuild our roads and bridges and schools? Are they against giving tax cuts to virtually every worker and small business in America?

Economists from across the political spectrum have said that this jobs bill would boost the economy and spur hiring. Why would you be against that? Especially at a time when so many Americans are struggling and out of work.

This isn’t just about what I think is right. It’s not just about what a group of economists think is right. This is about what the American people want. Everywhere I go, they tell me they want action on jobs. Every day, I get letters from Americans who expect Washington to do something about the problems we face.

Destiny Wheeler is a sixteen year old from Georgia who wants to go to college. She wrote to me saying, “Now-a-days it is hard to see myself pushing forward and putting my family in a better position, especially since the economy is rough and my starting situation is so poor. Yet, the American Jobs act gives me hope that I might start to receive a better education, that one day job opportunities will be open for me to grasp, and that one day my personal American Dream will be reached.” Destiny needs us to pass this jobs bill.

Alice Johnson is an Oregon native who, along with her husband, has been looking for a job for about two years. She writes, “I have faithfully applied for work every week…Of the hundreds of applications I have put in, I received interview requests for about 10…I too, am sick of all the fighting in Washington DC. Please tell the Republicans that people are hurting and are hungry and need help, pass the jobs bill.” Alice Johnson needs our help.

Cathleen Dixon sent me pictures of the aging bridge she drives under when she takes her kids to school in Chicago every day. She worries about their safety, and writes, “I am angry that in this country of vast resources we claim that we cannot maintain basic infrastructure. How can we ever hope to preserve or regain our stature in this world, if we cannot find the will to protect our people and take care of our basic needs?”

I also heard from Kim Faber, who told me about the small carpet business her husband owns in New Jersey. “We hang on by a shoe String,” she writes, “my husband worries every day about if checks might bounce, he uses our home loan to put money in the business so they will be covered. Please pass this jobs bill! This is the job creating we need right now! It breaks my husband’s heart when he has to let people go! Pass the bill!”

Kim said it best: Pass the bill. I know one Republican was quoted as saying that their party shouldn’t pass this jobs bill because it would give me a win. Well this isn’t about giving me a win, and it’s not about them. This is about Destiny Wheeler and Alice Johnson. It’s about Cathleen Dixon’s children, and the Fabers’ family business. These are the people who need a win, and I will be fighting for this jobs bill every day on their behalf. If anyone watching feels the same way, don’t be shy about letting your Congressman know. It is time for the politics to end. Let’s pass this jobs bill.