Archive for June 4th, 2014

04
Jun
14

Night owl chat – The Four Seasons

After this most annoying of days, I think we need to be reminded that beauty abounds in the world. Ugliness always gets a bad writeup in history; beauty and humanity are what endure.

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Dream dreams of beauty, night owls.

04
Jun
14

First Lady Announces Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness

First Lady Michelle Obama announces the creation of the Mayors Challenge to End Veterans Homelessness in the East Room of the White House June 4

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Text of remarks here

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First Lady Michelle Obama embraces veteran Chris Fuentes, of Philadelphia, during a Joining Forces initiative event announcing “The Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness” program

04
Jun
14

Chat away

President Barack Obama and President-elect Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine talk after statements to the press following their bilateral meeting at the Warsaw Marriott Hotel in Warsaw, Poland, June 4, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Chat on!

04
Jun
14

GOP Bergdahl attack is about Erasing Obama’s National Security Creds

GOP Bergdahl attack is about Erasing PBO’s badass Creds

by @zizii2

It is sickening. It is disgusting. Attack an American POW and his family? Never happened before according to Media Matters. It is a new venal low for the Republican Party that many Americans thought could not sink any lower. Well, they have sunk that far into Hades, and they will do worse, because they have turned into an autoimmune disease that cannot but cannibalistically attack any and all body cells in sight. They’ve destroyed their own humanity and now prey on the rest of us with intent to dismantle the very foundations of our socius. Theirs is a cult of nihilism crossbred with wanton greed performing séances at the altar of the insatiable demon Hate who demands a never ending hatred-orgy at greater velocity every day. No let up.

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The vicious frothing we’ve seen since this past weekend from Conservative wingnuts when news broke about the release of POW Bowe Bergdahl, is partly another chapter in Republicans’ unsuccessful attempts to reclaim the mantle of “strong on defense” party. But before we get to their real target, Obama, it is important to pause and let it sink in what they just did to Bowe Bergdahl’s family.

Bergdahl2

Never before has the family of a serving soldier been attacked for no other reason than their desire to see their child who is held in captivity, brought back home. Think about that. We’ve sung platitudes to the “families of our men and women in uniform,” joined them in tying yellow ribbons to trees in honor of the “brave soldiers,” and saluted their valor at parades, and on Memorial, Veterans, and Armistice Days.

cancellationh/t Aamon. Sad state of our country

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We deck cars in “Support Our Troops” bumper stickers while waving American flags. Even at the height of the war in Vietnam when some liberals dissed returning soldiers for serving in an unpopular war, their families were off limits. Nobody thought families were fair game. Yet we’ve just seen Republicans and their megaphone FOX thrust a dagger into the very heart of the common bonds we hold (even hypocritically sometimes) as sacred Americana – flags, men and women in uniform, families and small towns sprucing up and decking streets in bunting and ribbons, kisses and tears of reunion, or standing at solemn attention as Taps waft over flag-draped coffins…. All that now superlaced with the poison of hatred and division. Yeah conservatives “built that”!!! And they PLANNED this ugliness as far back as 2011/2012 because they wanted to turn any possibility of Bowe Bergdahl’s release into President Obama’s “Willie Horton” moment in an election year. Again, let that sink in.

bergdahlThe late Michael Hastings reported this in 2012 in Rolling Stone Magazine

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Continue reading ‘GOP Bergdahl attack is about Erasing Obama’s National Security Creds’

04
Jun
14

Agendas?

A tweet from last year by Cody Full (@CodyFNfootball), the RW media star leading the campaign of vilification against Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.

There are lots more, like his ceaseless venom towards President Obama, his support for Cliven Bundy, his regular use of ‘Libtard’ – and his scrubbing of his social media offerings that included ‘a N****r’ pic once he began his Twitter campaign against Bergdahl.

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And this, a screenshot from a fundraising site for the other RW media star leading the campaign of vilification against Sergeant Bergdahl, Josh Korder:

That’s right, he is looking for money to help him tell the ‘truth’.

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Both soldiers are everywhere in the media at the moment, casting Bergdahl – and, ultimately, their President – as a traitor, and so far, absolutely nobody has questioned them about any possible agenda.

Korder, for example, appeared on Britain’s Channel 4 news yesterday where he was interviewed by the usually excellent Krishnan Guru-Murthy – but not once was he questioned about a possible personal agenda, or about his efforts to profit from his media tour.

So, I tweeted this to Guru-Murthy, and to his credit he replied:

If he does look in to it, that would be great, but I don’t see any US media big guns promising to do the same

No reply, needless to say, from Mr Tapper:

Just this:

So, anticipate yet another unquestioning chat with Cody Full, a far right racist with a seething hatred for the President – one who was particularly alarmed by Sergeant Bergdahl’s habit of reading books and desire to learn languages other than his own. Which he thought made him weird

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This, incidentally, is the guy who is pimping Cody Full to the media:

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Are Cody Full and Josh Korder telling the truth?

Maybe they are. Maybe Sergeant Bergdahl does have serious questions to answer – no one knows for certain yet.

But before the media present ‘witnesses’, shouldn’t they at least vet these people to check for motives? You know, a simple Twitter search would do the job.

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My own hunch, for what it’s worth (not much): Sergeant Bergdahl is a thinking man, unlike Cody and Josh, who was horrified by what went on in his unit, and was utterly disillusioned and depressed by it all and the pointless war he had signed up for. He was, I think, just 23 at the time, and had witnessed unrelenting carnage, much of it committed by his own unit. And, so, he broke down. And wandered away.

A traitor?

No. A broken human being.

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Interesting:

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From Rolling Stone:

As his tour dragged on, the hellish reality of war – including seeing an Afghan child run over by an American truck – weighed on Bergdahl, who came to see America’s presence in Afghan as “disgusting.”

“I am sorry for everything here,” Bowe told his parents. “These people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid…

“We don’t even care when we hear each other talk about running their children down in the dirt streets with our armored trucks.”

Cody Full says he’s lying. But why would he lie about something like that in a personal email to his parents?

He can’t have known then that those personal emails would become public.

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Is that what’s behind the campaign against Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl?

He knows stuff.

Stuff the racist Cody and profit-seeking Josh really, really don’t want anyone to know – so, best brand Bergdahl as a traitor, with the the help of an unquestioning media.

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Love and best wishes to the Bergdahl family. The hate they are enduring is simply beyond belief.

04
Jun
14

Bowe Bergdahl and the Politics of Shamelessness

There are times I think the Right can’t sink any lower. Surely it has reached its nadir and will just wallow in its self-imposed muck. There’s nothing it can do which would shock the conscience or incense the soul. Birtherism, rooting for citizens to not get health care, swearing fealty to the NRA after thousands die each year from gun murders. The list goes on, and it makes for sad reading.

However, I’ve learned to put aside my disbelief and prepare myself for the descent into the next circle of hell.

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s release should have been a moment of unity. The one US soldier held captive by the Taliban was coming home. For that we gave up five Taliban prisoners, who will be locked up in velvet confinement in Qatar, unable to “take the field” against the US and its allies.

But, true to form, the Right—which had called for years for Sgt. Bergdahl’s release—saw not a moment of unity, but an opportunity to mount another frontal assault against Barack Obama.

Bob Bergdahl—Sgt. Bergdahl’s father—looks like a Taliban! And he learned Pashto! Unamerican!

Or: Bergdahl is a deserter, and cost the lives of men sent to look for him. Let him rot!

Or: We’ve never negotiated with terrorists! Obama is a weak appeaser!

Those are just some of the more tepid arguments from the Right. They range up to wanting to execute Sgt. Bergdahl for “desertion”, promising that it will come to pass in a Ted Cruz Administration.

Continue reading ‘Bowe Bergdahl and the Politics of Shamelessness’

04
Jun
14

Rise and Shine

President Obama delivers remarks at 25th Anniversary Freedom Event in Castle Square, Warsaw (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today

The President left Poland for Belgium this morning. After arriving he will meet King Philippe and Prime Minister Di Rupo of Belgium, attend the Council of the European Union in Brussels and attend a G-7 working dinner.

1:30 EDT: First Lady Michelle Obama Announces The Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness

White House Live

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President Obama’s speech in Poland this morning – forward to 53 minutes

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The Week Ahead – See Here

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FACT SHEET: U.S. Security Assistance to Ukraine

The United States is working to bolster Ukraine’s ability to secure its borders and preserve its territorial integrity and sovereignty in the face of Russian occupation of Crimea and a concerted effort by Russian-backed separatists to destabilize eastern Ukraine.  President Obama has approved more than $23 million in additional defensive security assistance since early March.

This assistance includes:

A new tranche of $5 million for the provision of body armor, night vision goggles, and additional communications equipment.  This is in addition to the approximately 300,000 Meals Ready to Eat (delivered in March), as well as assistance for the provision of materiel using Foreign Military Financing to support Ukraine’s armed forces with medical supplies, service member equipment (e.g., helmets, sleeping mats, water purification units), explosive ordnance disposal equipment, and handheld radios.

The United States also has allocated Cooperative Threat Reduction funding to support Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service with supplies (e.g., clothing, shelters, small power generators and hand fuel pumps, engineering equipment, communications equipment, vehicles, and non-lethal individual tactical gear).

More here

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Washington Post: Obama vows to defend freedom in Europe, support democratic movements worldwide

Surrounded by throngs celebrating Poland’s 25 years of democracy, President Obama on Wednesday pledged to uphold the United States’ longtime commitment to the defense of Eastern Europe against new threats, using the opportunity to deliver a resounding endorsement of democratic movements across the world.

“Throughout history, the Polish people were abandoned by friends when you needed them most,” Obama said. “I have come to Warsaw today — on behalf of the United States, on behalf of the NATO Alliance — to reaffirm our unwavering commitment to Poland’s security.”

Speaking at the “Freedom Day” event in a historic square by the Royal Castle, the president said he would use the full might of the American armed forces to protect Poland and other Eastern European allies and called out Russia as a threat to regional security and democracy.

“Our free nations will stand united so that further Russian provocations will only mean more isolation and costs for Russia,” he said. “We refuse to allow the dark tactics of the 20th century to define the 21st.”

More here

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Brilliant:

Stonekettle Station: Negotiating With Terrorists

Are we really going to do this?

Is this what it’s finally come down to, is it really?

Look at yourselves, you silly selfish bastards.

Look. At. Yourselves.

Go on, do it, find a mirror and look into your own dead zombie eyes and see the empty void looking back.

This revolting, disgusting display of hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy, is this what we’ve finally become?

Are we now so filled with foul bilious hatred, are we now so consumed with soul-destroying fear, do we now despise our own selves so much that we would actually protest the return of one of our own? Is that it?

Is that what we’ve become?

If so, then the sooner America collapses of its own maggot-ridden gangrenous rot, the better.

No. No, don’t you dare look away.

More here

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Steve Benen: McCain’s reversals on Bowe Bergdahl

It was just last week when Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) delivered a Memorial Day message in which she urged Americans to keep Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl “in our thoughts and prayers.” She added, “I renew my call on the Defense Department to redouble its efforts to find Sergeant Bergdahl and return him safely to his family.”

Less than a week later, the Defense Department announced that Bergdahl had been freed and he’ll be returned safely to his family – prompting a new round of criticism from Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.).

But all things considered, these conflicting statements are mild compared to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and his recent reversals…

More here

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Michael Tomasky: The Bowe Bergdahl Story Is Right-Wing Crack

Never mind that Bush would have done the same as Obama. Republicans are hitting the pipe big time on the ‘deserter’ — and their creepy bottom line is that he should have been left to die.

I was amazed but not surprised by my Twitter feed Monday. More than 200 tweets from conservatives, I would estimate, calling me a host of names and Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl a menu of worse ones. That’s the most ever in one day, I think, even more than for my most scorching anti-NRA columns, which have heretofore set the gold standard for inspiring drooling right-wing vitriol.

I was not, as I say, surprised. This story has every element right-wingers dream of. Every dark suspicion they harbor about President Obama can be wedged into the narrative conservatives are constructing about how Saturday’s prisoner exchange supposedly went down and what the president’s presumed motivations were. So I knew instantly, when I read Michael Hastings’s 2012 Rolling Stone profile of Bergdahl on Sunday afternoon, that this was going to be the next Benghazi. The story is right-wing crack. And sure enough, Republicans are hitting the pipe big time.

More here

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ThinkProgress: Former Bush Official Blasts GOP On Bergdahl: Bush Would Have Done The Same Thing

A former Bush administration official broke with Republicans on Tuesday to defend President Obama’s prisoner exchange, arguing that since “the war in Afghanistan is winding down,” the United States would be required to return prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay back to Afghanistan.

… Asked about reports that Bergdahl deserted his unit, Bellinger added that the former hostage “will have to face justice, military justice.” “We don’t leave soldiers on the battlefield under any circumstance unless they have actually joined the enemy army,” he said. “He was a young 20-year-old. Young 20-year-olds make stupid decisions. I don’t think we’ll say if you make a stupid decision we’ll leave you in the hands of the Taliban.”

More here

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Smartypants: Why the prisoner exchange is a big issue for the neocons

We’re hearing all kinds of hysteria about the prisoner exchange that resulted in the release of Sergeant Bergdahl. The media is indulging claims about Bergdahl’s state of mind, whether or not the President was required to consult with Congress prior to finalizing the exchange and stories about soldiers who may have died trying to rescue him. But that’s all hyperbole designed to gin up the anti-Obama base. I propose that the real issue for conservatives actually centers on the other side of the exchange…the release of the 5 Taliban detainees from Gitmo.

More here

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From Donna Dem:

Good Morning TOD

Before I head out to work let’s make today a Day of Action

We can start by all of us contacting Sen. Dianne Feinstein

Here is her contact information

Phone: (202) 224-3841

Fax: (202) 228-3954

Email

Twitter: @SenFeinstein

We can help her to understand that as a Democrat it should be her primary goal to support this President and if she has issue with anything he does she needs to talk to his staff or him directly about it. It is not necessary for her to run to every open mike and give the Republicans and the media ammunition to bash President Obama.

Have a great O’Day Everyone!!

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TPM: Videos Showed Bergdahl’s Rapidly Deteriorating Health

Some critics of the prisoner swap that exchanged Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban detainees said there was no evidence, as President Barack Obama insisted in a press conference Tuesday, that the soldier’s deteriorating health necessitated swift action to secure his release.

But the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday night that the U.S. intelligence community had evidence of Bergdahl’s failing health, based on a secret analysis of two videos of the soldier in captivity ….

Officials who saw the recent video described Bergdahl’s condition as “alarming.” ….

“We believe they saw Bergdahl as a golden egg. That is why they kept him alive and as healthy as possible. But as he deteriorated, some people believe he became more of a burden to them,” the official told the Journal. “And as the war was ending some of them [Taliban] came to doubt his value. He was more of a liability as his health declined.”

More here

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LA Times Editorial: Editorial Freeing Sgt. Bergdahl: Why it was a good deal for all Americans

The release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a captive of Islamist extremists for almost five years, is good news not only for his family but for all Americans. But the price the Obama administration paid for the 28-year-old soldier’s repatriation was freedom for five detainees at Guantanamo Bay who are hardened Taliban commanders.

…. unless the U.S. were to assert the right to hold the detainees forever without trial, they would have been released at some point. Why not do it now when it helps to secure the release of an American?

…. Congress is free to press the administration about details of the arrangement that won Bergdahl’s freedom. But the president must be equally free to respond to a diplomatic opening that could mean the difference between freedom and captivity for an American soldier.

More here

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Meanwhile in the real world, while the GOP try to distract everyone with Bergdahlzi ->

Steve Benen: ID law blocks 93-year-old voter in Alabama

Two years ago, the nation was introduced to Viviette Applewhite, a 93-year-old widow in Pennsylvania who had marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Applewhite has voted in nearly every election for the last-half century – right up until 2012, when the state told this African-American woman she wouldn’t be allowed to cast a ballot because Republicans policymakers had created a voter-ID law to combat voter fraud that didn’t exist.

After Applewhite’s story garnered national attention, election officials helped get her situation straightened out – and more recently, the law itself was struck down as unconstitutional – but the incident was a reminder about the real-world impact of unnecessary voter-ID laws.

Two years later, Zachary Roth introduces us to a similar face – of the same age – in the “war on voting.”

More here

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ThinkProgress: Major Companies Distance Themselves From U.S. Chamber Campaign Against Obama’s Climate Plan

Days before President Obama’s EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy announced sweeping new rules to limit the amount of carbon pollution that existing power plants can dump into the atmosphere, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a report blasting the then-unreleased regulations as certain to raise electricity prices, kill jobs, and slow the economy. But leading climate-friendly members of Chamber don’t want to be associated with its anti-climate report. Several member companies, contacted by ThinkProgress, declined to endorse the Chamber’s efforts against the administration’s move to address a direct cause of climate change.

ThinkProgress reached out to several dozen of the major corporations that have either contributed to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce or had executives currently serving on its board of directors. None endorsed the new report.

More here

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Steve Benen: An exceedingly rare NRA apology

It’s been about four decades since Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal introduced us to an unfortunate catchphrase: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” More recently, I’ve always thought it was better applied to the National Rifle Association, which never has to say it’s sorry, either.

No matter how extreme the far-right group gets, no matter who it offends, no matter the consequences of its policy purism, the NRA just doesn’t apologize for anything, ever.

Once in a great while, however, there are exceptions.

More here

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AP: Brisk demand for SUVs and pickup trucks pushed U.S. auto sales to a nine-year high in May

Chrysler, Nissan and Toyota all reported double-digit sales gains over last May. Even General Motors, battling bad publicity from a mishandled recall, surprised with a 13 percent sales increase.

Ford’s sales rose a better-than-expected 3 percent, while Hyundai’s were up 4 percent. Of major automakers, only Volkswagen’s sales fell.
Video: Is 16M Vehicles the New Normal for Auto Sales?

May is traditionally a strong month for the auto industry, as buyers spend their tax returns and think ahead to summer road trips. This year’s calendar, with five weekends, gave it an extra boost. Sales were particularly strong the last weekend of the month, automakers said.

Sales rose 11 percent to just over 1.6 million in May. That was the highest monthly total since July 2005, according to Kelley Blue Book.

More here

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USA Today: White House to host event on working dads

The White House, which is preparing a summit on working families later this month, sponsors an event Monday devoted to working fathers.

Business leaders, administration officials, and other working fathers will “explore the breadth of roles dads play today at home” and “the new challenges dads experience balancing career and family,” says a White House announcement.

…. Speakers will include New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, and Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Jason Furman.

More here

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On This Day

President Obama speaks at Cairo University in Cairo, Thursday, June 4, 2009. In his speech, President Obama called for a ‘new beginning between the United States and Muslims’, declaring that ‘this cycle of suspicion and discord must end’. (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama jokingly shows off the hat he was given during his tour of the Pyramids and Sphinx in Egypt on June 4, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama tours the Pyramids and Sphinx with Secretary General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, Zahi Hawass (left), Senior Advisor David Axelrod and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (right), June 4, 2009. (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama tours the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt on June 4, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama ducks his head to get through an entranceway on a tour of the Pyramids and Sphinx in Egypt, June 4, 2009. At center-right is the hieroglyphic that the President comment on saying it looked like him. (Photo by Pete Souza)

Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, personal aide to the president Reggie Love, and Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett take a ride on camels in Egypt on June 4, 2009. (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama looks out the window of Marine One as they leave the Pyramids of Giza and Sphinx in Egypt, June 4, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama tours the Sultan Hassan Mosque with Dr. Zahi Hawass (left), Iman Abdel Fateh (right), and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Cairo, Egypt, June 4, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza).

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President Obama gestures during a meeting on the response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, at the Tarmac Field House at Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans, La., June 4, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

 President Obama, at left, eats boiled seafood with residents at Carmandelle’s Live Bait and Boiled Seafood in Grand Isle, La., June 4, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama jokes with members of the Chilean delegation as President Sebastián Piñera of Chile sits at the Resolute Desk following a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office, June 4, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama embraces Myrlie Evers-Williams during her visit in the Oval Office, June 4, 2013. The President met with the Evers family to commemorate the approaching 50th anniversary of Medgar Evers’ death (Photo by Pete Souza)

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