In a few more words, Obama’s address, grounded in a mature appreciation of our limits, called for multilateralism–diplomatically whenever possible, militarily if inescapable; it called, given al Qaeda’s fragmentation and dispersal, for global “partners” to suppress it; and, in a direct shot at his Republican critics, it called for a world-involved America that leads by example at home–not through climate-change denialism, or unratified treaties, or the obscenities of a Gitmo that the propagandists and paranoids won’t close.
Because Obama’s speech was so magnificently sane, let the carping and slander begin.
Underclassmen listen from the back of the stadium as U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a commencement ceremony at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York
Gavin White, a West Point graduate who lost a leg in Afghanistan, is recognized by President Barack Obama during the commencement ceremonies for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point
CNN: Obama Outlines Foreign Policy Vision Of “Might And Right”
President Barack Obama on Wednesday outlined a foreign policy vision of “might doing right,” arguing that modern pragmatism requires both a strong military and the diplomatic tools of alliances and sanctions to exert influence and provide global leadership. He told graduating cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point that after the nation’s “long season of war and divisions about how to move forward,” they now would represent America with the duty “not only to protect our country, but to do what is right and just.” “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being,” he said, referring to a tenet of conservative ideology.” But what makes us exceptional is not flouting international norms and the rule of law; it’s our willingness to affirm them through our actions,” Obama said in arguing that true leadership involves not only having the world’s most powerful military, but in doing the right thing.
"Just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail." —President Obama on U.S. leadership in the world
“America must always lead on the world stage,” Obama said, and the military “always will be the backbone of that leadership,” but U.S. military action “cannot be the only — or even primary — component of our leadership in every instance.” In a sign of the sentiments of the cadets, Obama got big applause when he noted they were the first West Point graduates in more than a decade unlikely to be stationed in a war zone. Overall, Obama said, “America has rarely been stronger relative to the rest of the world,” and he contended that “those who argue otherwise — who suggest that America is in decline, or has seen its global leadership slip away — are either misreading history or engaged in partisan politics.” “The question we face — the question each of you will face — is not whether America will lead, but how we will lead, not just to secure our peace and prosperity, but also extend peace and prosperity around the globe,” Obama told the cadets.
"American influence is always stronger when we lead by example—we cannot exempt ourselves from the rules that apply to everyone else" —Obama
On Wednesday, Obama reiterated his policy that the United States will used military force, “unilaterally if necessary,” when its people are threatened, its livelihood is at stake or allies are in danger, but he said the threshold was higher when global issues “do not pose a direct threat” to the nation. “In such circumstances, we should not go it alone,” he said. “Instead, we must mobilize allies and partners to take collective action. We have to broaden our tools to include diplomacy and development; sanctions, isolation; appeals to international law and — if just, necessary, and effective — multilateral military action.” Such a collective approach “is more likely to succeed, more likely to be sustained, and less likely to lead to costly mistakes,” Obama said.
The Obama administration has long hoped that Affordable Care Act enrollment would follow a predictable trajectory: the totals would start slow, then pick up steam as the website improves and deadlines draw closer.At this point, the model is proving to be pretty accurate:
States running their own Obamacare insurance exchanges are reporting a significant surge in sign-ups just four days before the first major enrollment deadline. The increase has ranged from 30 percent to 40 percent in the past few weeks….
New York is enrolling about 4,500 people a day. In California, it’s 15,000 a day. In Kentucky, which has become something of a national model for implementation, enrollment totals are up 40% since Thanksgiving.
….. It would appear far-right calls for Americans to stay uninsured on purpose, just to satisfy conservative ideological goals, aren’t going over especially well.
LA Times: Another day, another leak from Issa, another credulous news report
The sun has risen in the East, so there must be a news report somewhere quoting a partial transcript leaked by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) purporting to show the shortcomings of Obamacare.
Bingo! We have not one but two “investigative” news reports, from CBS and ABC, based on the same partial transcript. And both, consequently, have the same level of credibility: none. CBS News even offers a dividend — a thoroughly dishonest and discreditable interview with Issa himself…..
ThinkProgress: Nearly Four Million Low-Income Americans Now Have Health Coverage Under Obamacare
About 1.7 million poor Americans looking for health coverage were deemed eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in November, according to new government data released on Friday. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) also revised previous estimates that about 1.5 million people qualified for Medicaid or CHIP in October up to 2.1 million. All told, that means that just under four million low-income Americans now have access to public health insurance.
When the initial estimates for economic growth in the third quarter – covering July, August, and September – were released in early November, the figures exceeded expectations. Now that the totals have been revised twice, the GDP numbers turned out to be much better than than originally thought:
The U.S. economy expanded at a 4.1% annual clip in the third quarter, the strongest performance in two years … The Commerce Department previously reported that gross domestic product had risen at a 3.6% annual rate. Consumer spending rose 2% instead of 1.4% as previously reported….
To put this number in a slightly larger context, note that 4.1% quarterly growth is the second strongest growth we’ve seen since the start of the Great Recession nearly six years ago. What’s more, this is only the third time in the last nine years that the GDP has topped 4%.
The People’s View: How Has Barack Obama Disappointed YOU in 2013? – Outrage From A Parallel Reality
On Wednesday, NPR’s Liz Halloran told us how Barack Obama has disappointed liberals in 2013, how this was the year of disappointing the liberal base. Immediately, her comment section filled with Lefties panting and falling over themselves to declare how correct she is. And really, when hasn’t he, if you ask whoever this ever illusive “liberal base” is. So disappointing. How disappointing has Obama been to his liberal base? Oh, let me count the ways.
…. I implore you, liberals. Stick to your gut feelings. Stick to truthiness. Even if a preponderance of the evidence points to 2013 being a remarkably liberal year for President Obama and his administration, stick your head in the sand and yell about the NSA and drones. You don’t need evidence, facts, or data. All you need is a conservative columnist yanking your chain so you can lose your sh*t.
Steve Benen: Giving new meaning to ‘Do-Nothing’ Congress
If all goes according to plan, the Senate should wrap up its work for 2013 today and join the House on a holiday break. For his part, President Obama will sign the budget agreement into law before the end of the year, too.
And when he does, that will bring the grand total of bills signed into law in the 113th Congress to … 58…
…. The historic metrics are rather striking: 2013 was the least productive for any Congress since clerks on the Hill started keeping track, and this Congress is on track to pass fewer laws than any modern Congress.
You know, BuzzFeed is beginning to make GOPolitico look fair and balanced – this is hilarious:
ThinkProgress: BuzzFeed Declares Paul Ryan A ‘Champion Of The Poor,’ Offers No Supporting Evidence
If your only recent impressions of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) came from BuzzFeed, you’d be inclined to think that the former vice presidential candidate has made a major shift in policy to start focusing on poverty in the United States. You would be wrong.
On Friday, BuzzFeed ran a glowing profile of Ryan, entitled “Paul Ryan Finds God,” that portrayed him as a man who was inspired by religion and the ascendancy of a new pope to become a caretaker for the nation’s poor. But the piece, similar to another article that ran in the Washington Post last month, offered up no substance to show that Ryan’s policies have changed or that his religious outlook is any different than it was during the 2012 campaign. Rather, it relied on quotes from Paul Ryan’s own supporters — former campaign staffers and members of President George W. Bush’s cabinet — to demonstrate that Ryan has shifted his focus.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) was released from the hospital Friday afternoon, his office announced:
“Senator Reid has been released from the hospital and is back at home with his wife, Landra. As previously stated, he went to the hospital as a precaution,” Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson said in a statement. “The doctors diagnosed him as exhausted, not anything more serious, and have cleared him to go back to work. He spent today resting, talking to family, friends and colleagues, reading the news and discussing Senate business. He appreciates the kind words and thoughts sent by so many, thanks the doctors at George Washington University Hospital for the excellent care he received, and wishes everyone a Happy Holidays.”
Good news for voting rights: Pam Karlan to head Justice Department VR division. She’s brilliant & principled. http://t.co/zuMEnZ56jt
This past year included an overwhelming number of attacks on reproductive health and freedom, including some of the harshest abortion bans this country has seen since Roe v. Wade. However — despite the persistent attempts to silence, shame, and police women and their bodies — there is one positive benefit resulting from the ongoing War on Women. It gave rise to several champions who didn’t back down from fighting for the issues that matter. Here are ten people who inspired us in 2013….