Reducing Gun Violence

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A Message from President Obama about Your Petition on Reducing Gun Violence

Bruce Reed December 21, 2012 06:00 AM EST

Ed. Note: Today, the White House responded to a number of petitions on We the People asking the Administration to take action to reduce gun violence in our country. The response is below and can be viewed on We the People here.

In the days since the tragedy in Newtown, Americans from all over the country have called for action to deter mass shootings and reduce gun violence. Hundreds of thousands of you have signed petitions on We the People.

I’m writing you today to thank you for speaking up, to update you on an important development, and to encourage you to continue engaging with the White House on this critical issue.

First, you should know that President Obama is paying close to attention to the public response to this tragedy. In fact, he sat down to record a message specifically for those of you who have joined the conversation using We the People. Watch it now:

On Wednesday, the President outlined a series of first steps we can take to begin the work of ending this cycle of violence. This is what he said:

We know this is a complex issue that stirs deeply held passions and political divides. And as I said on Sunday night, there’s no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence in our society. We’re going to need to work on making access to mental health care at least as easy as access to a gun. We’re going to need to look more closely at a culture that all too often glorifies guns and violence. And any actions we must take must begin inside the home and inside our hearts.

But the fact that this problem is complex can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing. The fact that we can’t prevent every act of violence doesn’t mean we can’t steadily reduce the violence, and prevent the very worst violence.

Vice President Biden has been asked to work with members of the Administration, Congress, and the general public to come up with a set of concrete policy proposals by next month — proposals the President intends to push swiftly. The President asked the Vice President to lead this effort in part because he wrote and passed the 1994 Crime Bill that helped law enforcement bring down the rate of violent crime in America. That bill included the assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004.

As the Vice President’s Chief of Staff, I’m going to do everything I can to ensure we run a process that includes perspectives from all sides of the issue, which is why I wanted to respond to your petition myself. Two decades ago, as domestic policy adviser in the Clinton White House, I first worked with Joe Biden as he fought to enact the Crime Bill, the assault weapons ban, and the Brady Bill. I will never forget what a key role the voices of concerned citizens like you played in that vital process.

The President called on Congress to pass important legislation “banning the sale of military-style assault weapons,” “banning the sale of high-capacity ammunition clips,” and “requiring background checks before all gun purchases, so that criminals can’t take advantage of legal loopholes to buy a gun from somebody who won’t take the responsibility of doing a background check at all.”

An issue this serious and complex isn’t going to be resolved with a single legislative proposal or policy prescription. And let’s be clear, any action we take will respect the Second Amendment. As the President said:

Look, like the majority of Americans, I believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. This country has a strong tradition of gun ownership that’s been handed down from generation to generation. Obviously across the country there are regional differences. There are differences between how people feel in urban areas and rural areas. And the fact is the vast majority of gun owners in America are responsible — they buy their guns legally and they use them safely, whether for hunting or sport shooting, collection or protection.

But you know what, I am also betting that the majority — the vast majority — of responsible, law-abiding gun owners would be some of the first to say that we should be able to keep an irresponsible, law-breaking few from buying a weapon of war. I’m willing to bet that they don’t think that using a gun and using common sense are incompatible ideas — that an unbalanced man shouldn’t be able to get his hands on a military-style assault rifle so easily; that in this age of technology, we should be able to check someone’s criminal records before he or she can check out at a gun show; that if we work harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, there would be fewer atrocities like the one in Newtown — or any of the lesser-known tragedies that visit small towns and big cities all across America every day.

The President said it best: “Ultimately if this effort is to succeed it’s going to require the help of the American people — it’s going to require all of you. If we’re going to change things, it’s going to take a wave of Americans — mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, pastors, law enforcement, mental health professionals — and, yes, gun owners — standing up and saying ‘enough’ on behalf of our kids.”

So let’s continue this conversation and get something meaningful done. If you have additional ideas and are interested in further engagement with the White House on this issue, please let us know and share your thoughts here:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/share-your-thoughts-reducing-gun-violence

Thank you for speaking out and staying involved.

.

Gun Violence Reduction Task Forcee

President Obama asked Vice President Biden to lead this effort in part because he wrote and passed the 1994 Crime Bill that helped law enforcement bring down the rate of violent crime in America. That bill included the assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004.

On January 9th and 10th Vice President Biden’s meets with victims groups, gun safety organizations, advocates for sportsmen and women, gun ownership groups and representatives of the entertainment and video game industries on how to prevent shooting massacres, and limit gun violence.

Other White House representatives also held meetings:

* Secretary Duncan meets with representatives from parent, teacher, and education groups.
* Secretary Sebelius meets with mental health and disability advocates.
* Senior White House staff meets with a variety of stakeholders, including medical groups, community organizations, child and family advocates, business owners, faith leaders, and others.

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MEASURES CONGRESS SHOULD PASS RIGHT NOW:

“The most important changes we can make depend on congressional action. They need to bring these proposals up for a vote.”

—President Obama

 

President Obama is asking Congress to urgently introduce legislation to:

* Eliminate loopholes and require background checks for all gun sales

* Reinstate the prohibition on high-capacity magazines

* Renew and strengthen the ban on assault weapons

* Create serious penalties for gun traffickers

* Get armor-piercing bullets off the streets by prohibiting the possession and transfer of this dangerous ammunition

* Keep 15,000 cops on the street

* Further research on gun violence

* Help schools develop and implement comprehensive emergency management plans

* Remove restrictions that require ATF to authorize importation of dangerous weapons simply because of their age\

Source: http://www.barackobama.com/gun-reform/

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Supreme Court rules on ‘straw purchaser’ law

6/16/14 10 minutes ago By SAM HANANEL – Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A divided Supreme Court sided with gun control groups and the Obama administration Monday, ruling that the federal ban on “straw” purchases of guns can be enforced even if the ultimate buyer is legally allowed to own a gun.

The justices ruled 5-4 that the law applied to a Virginia man who bought a gun with the intention of transferring it to a relative in Pennsylvania who was not prohibited from owning firearms.

The ruling settles a split among appeals courts over federal gun laws intended to prevent sham buyers from obtaining guns for the sole purpose of giving them to another person. The laws were part of Congress’ effort to make sure firearms did not get into the hands of unlawful recipients.

Writing for the majority, Justice Elena Kagan said the federal government’s elaborate system of background checks and record-keeping requirements help law enforcement investigate crimes by tracing guns to their buyers. Those provisions would mean little, she said, if a would-be gun buyer could evade them by simply getting another person to buy the gun and fill out the paperwork.

Kagan’s opinion was joined by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is often considered the court’s swing vote, as well as liberal Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor.

In dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia said the language of the law does not support making it a crime for one lawful gun owner to buy a gun for another lawful gun owner. He was joined by the court’s other conservatives — Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

The case began after Bruce James Abramski, Jr. bought a Glock 19 handgun in Collinsville, Virginia, in 2009 and later transferred it to his uncle in Easton, Pennsylvania. Abramski, a former police officer, had assured the Virginia dealer he was the “actual buyer” of the weapon even though he had already offered to buy the gun for his uncle using a police discount.

Abramski purchased the gun three days after his uncle had written him a check for $400 with “Glock 19 handgun” written in the memo line. During the transaction, he answered “yes” on a federal form asking “Are you the actual transferee buyer of the firearm(s) listed on this form? Warning: You are not the actual buyer if you are acquiring the firearm(s) on behalf of another person. If you are not the actual buyer, the dealer cannot transfer the firearm(s) to you.”

Police later arrested Abramski after they thought he was involved in a bank robbery in Rocky Mount, Virginia. No charges were ever filed on the bank robbery, but officials charged him with making false statements about the purchase of the gun.

A federal district judge rejected Abramski’s argument that he was not a straw purchaser because his uncle was eligible to buy firearms and the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed.

The Obama administration had argued that accepting Abramski’s defense would impair the ability of law enforcement officials to trace firearms involved in crimes and keep weapons away from people who are not eligible to buy them. The administration said that even if the purchase is made on behalf of someone eligible to buy a firearm, the purpose of the law is frustrated since Congress requires the gun dealers — not purchasers — to run federal background checks on people buying guns.

For more: http://news.yahoo.com/supreme-court-rules-straw-purchaser-law-140713053–finance.html

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85 Responses to Reducing Gun Violence

  1. CR says:

    WH

    Thursday, January 10, 2013

    All Times Eastern

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    10:30 AM
    President Obama and Vice President Biden receive the presidential daily briefing

    11:00 AM
    11:45 AM
    Vice President Biden meets with advocates for sportsmen and women and wildlife interest groups as part of the Administration’s effort to develop policy proposals in response to the tragedy in Newtown
    Eisenhower Executive Office Building

    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    1:30 PM
    President Obama makes a White House personnel announcement

    1:45 PM
    Vice President Biden meets with representatives from gun owners’ groups

    2:00 PM
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  2. CR says:

    Reducing Gun Violence

    A Message from President Obama about Your Petition on Reducing Gun Violence

    Bruce Reed December 21, 2012 06:00 AM EST

    Ed. Note: Today, the White House responded to a number of petitions on We the People asking the Administration to take action to reduce gun violence in our country. The response is below and can be viewed on We the People here.

    In the days since the tragedy in Newtown, Americans from all over the country have called for action to deter mass shootings and reduce gun violence. Hundreds of thousands of you have signed petitions on We the People.

    I’m writing you today to thank you for speaking up, to update you on an important development, and to encourage you to continue engaging with the White House on this critical issue.

    First, you should know that President Obama is paying close to attention to the public response to this tragedy. In fact, he sat down to record a message specifically for those of you who have joined the conversation using We the People. Watch it now:

    On Wednesday, the President outlined a series of first steps we can take to begin the work of ending this cycle of violence. This is what he said:

    We know this is a complex issue that stirs deeply held passions and political divides. And as I said on Sunday night, there’s no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence in our society. We’re going to need to work on making access to mental health care at least as easy as access to a gun. We’re going to need to look more closely at a culture that all too often glorifies guns and violence. And any actions we must take must begin inside the home and inside our hearts.

    But the fact that this problem is complex can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing. The fact that we can’t prevent every act of violence doesn’t mean we can’t steadily reduce the violence, and prevent the very worst violence.

    Vice President Biden has been asked to work with members of the Administration, Congress, and the general public to come up with a set of concrete policy proposals by next month — proposals the President intends to push swiftly. The President asked the Vice President to lead this effort in part because he wrote and passed the 1994 Crime Bill that helped law enforcement bring down the rate of violent crime in America. That bill included the assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004.

    As the Vice President’s Chief of Staff, I’m going to do everything I can to ensure we run a process that includes perspectives from all sides of the issue, which is why I wanted to respond to your petition myself. Two decades ago, as domestic policy adviser in the Clinton White House, I first worked with Joe Biden as he fought to enact the Crime Bill, the assault weapons ban, and the Brady Bill. I will never forget what a key role the voices of concerned citizens like you played in that vital process.

    The President called on Congress to pass important legislation “banning the sale of military-style assault weapons,” “banning the sale of high-capacity ammunition clips,” and “requiring background checks before all gun purchases, so that criminals can’t take advantage of legal loopholes to buy a gun from somebody who won’t take the responsibility of doing a background check at all.”

    An issue this serious and complex isn’t going to be resolved with a single legislative proposal or policy prescription. And let’s be clear, any action we take will respect the Second Amendment. As the President said:

    Look, like the majority of Americans, I believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. This country has a strong tradition of gun ownership that’s been handed down from generation to generation. Obviously across the country there are regional differences. There are differences between how people feel in urban areas and rural areas. And the fact is the vast majority of gun owners in America are responsible — they buy their guns legally and they use them safely, whether for hunting or sport shooting, collection or protection.

    But you know what, I am also betting that the majority — the vast majority — of responsible, law-abiding gun owners would be some of the first to say that we should be able to keep an irresponsible, law-breaking few from buying a weapon of war. I’m willing to bet that they don’t think that using a gun and using common sense are incompatible ideas — that an unbalanced man shouldn’t be able to get his hands on a military-style assault rifle so easily; that in this age of technology, we should be able to check someone’s criminal records before he or she can check out at a gun show; that if we work harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, there would be fewer atrocities like the one in Newtown — or any of the lesser-known tragedies that visit small towns and big cities all across America every day.

    The President said it best: “Ultimately if this effort is to succeed it’s going to require the help of the American people — it’s going to require all of you. If we’re going to change things, it’s going to take a wave of Americans — mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, pastors, law enforcement, mental health professionals — and, yes, gun owners — standing up and saying ‘enough’ on behalf of our kids.”

    So let’s continue this conversation and get something meaningful done. If you have additional ideas and are interested in further engagement with the White House on this issue, please let us know and share your thoughts here:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/share-your-thoughts-reducing-gun-violence

    Thank you for speaking out and staying involved.

    • CR says:

      Biden, NRA to meet on guns

      1/08/13 11:58 AM ET By Daniel Strauss – TheHill

      Vice President Biden will meet this week with the National Rifle Association and a variety of other groups as his task force on guns intensifies its efforts.

      Biden will meet Wednesday with gun-safety organizations and shooting victims groups and on Thursday will meet with gun ownership organizations and sportsmen who use guns recreationally, according to the White House.

      NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said the organization accepted an invitation received from the White House late Friday.

      “We are sending a rep to hear what they have to say,” Arulanandam said.

      Biden will also meet with members of the video game and entertainment industry, which have come under scrutiny in the debate over gun violence.

      Biden is leading a task force charged with making recommendations to President Obama to prevent shooting massacres, and it increasingly looks like the task force is taking a broad look at how to limit gun violence.

      Source: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/276077-biden-holding-meetings-with-gun-groups-

      • CR says:

        Gun Violence Reduction Task Force

        On January 9th and 10th Vice President Biden’s meets with victims groups, gun safety organizations, advocates for sportsmen and women, gun ownership groups and representatives of the entertainment and video game industries on how to prevent shooting massacres, and limit gun violence.

        Other White House representatives also held meetings:

        * Secretary Duncan meets with representatives from parent, teacher, and education groups.
        * Secretary Sebelius meets with mental health and disability advocates.
        * Senior White House staff meets with a variety of stakeholders, including medical groups, community organizations, child and family advocates, business owners, faith leaders, and others.

        • CR says:

          Biden hears from governors, mayors on guns

          1/9/13 6:59 PM EST By JENNIFER EPSTEIN – POLITICO44

          Vice President Joe Biden held conference calls on gun safety with governors and local officials on Wednesday, his office said, following up on a meeting he held with gun safety and victims’ groups.

          Fifteen governors including Republicans Jan Brewer (Ariz.), John Kasich (Ohio), Rick Snyder (Mich.) and Scott Walker (Wis.) were on one call — along with Democrats John Hickenlooper (Colo.) and Dan Malloy (Conn.), among others — with Biden. In a second call, Biden heard from the mayors of New Orleans, New Haven and Des Moines.

          Biden “listened to the unique perspectives of all the participants and solicited their ideas and input on how to curb gun violence in this country,” a White House official said.

          The vice president has three more meetings on guns scheduled for Thursday. In the morning, he’s set to meet with representatives from sports and wildlife groups. Later on in the day, he’ll hear from the National Rifle Association and other gun owners’ groups and in the evening he’ll meet with representatives from the entertainment industry.

          Full list of participants on Biden’s conference calls: http://www.politico.com/politico44/2013/01/biden-hears-from-governors-mayors-on-guns-153790.html

      • CR says:

        Obama ready to act on gun control

        Published on Jan 9, 2013

        White House officials tell CBS News that President Obama is likely to unveil new ideas to reduce gun violence next week. And, as Major Garrett reports, they say the president is ready to act with or without Congress.

    • CR says:

      GOP WRONG WAY

      NRA chief calls for armed cops in schools, blasts media and Hollywood in bizarre rant

      December 22, 2012 By S.A. MILLER – newyorkpost

      WASHINGTON — The chief of the nation’s powerful gun lobby yesterday broke his weeklong silence since the Newtown school massacre in a bizarre rant that called for armed guards in every school and suggested that more guns in citizens’ hands is the solution to mass murder.

      “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” a defiant National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre declared in a 30-minute press conference where he declined to take questions from the press.

      “With all the money in the federal budget, can’t we afford to put a police officer in every single school?” LaPierre said, as he pinned the blame for the school shooting on “blood-soaked” films and video games.

      It was the NRA’s first response to last week’s Connecticut bloodbath that prompted President Obama to call for sweeping new gun-control laws.

      For more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/nra_goes_off_half_cocked_oxTZv5q1rEmt1KQQ3BQuzI?utm_medium=rss&utm_content=National

      • CR says:

        A stumbles in fight with Obama over gun-control proposals

        1/19/13 12:05 PM ET By Mike Lillis – TheHill

        Facing its toughest fight over gun reform in decades, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has stumbled out of the gate.

        The powerful gun-lobby group responded to last month’s Newtown, Conn., massacre with a defiant press conference calling for more guns in schools, then doubled down this week with an in-your-face web ad that drew President Obama’s young daughters into the fray.

        To be sure, the NRA — which did not respond to a request to comment for this story — remains an enormous influence on Capitol Hill, and there’s no evidence its actions have increased the likelihood that Obama’s ambitious gun-reform agenda can move this year, even through the Democratically controlled Senate.
        Yet the public relations missteps have given Obama an opening in the difficult fight by making him look like the more reasonable party, even as it has made the NRA look out of touch with mainstream thinking.

        The NRA’s web ad in particular – which called President Obama an “elitist hypocrite” because he’s pushing tougher gun laws while his daughters receive armed protection – led Republicans to lash out at the group.

        “Are the president’s kids more important than yours? Then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools when his kids are protected by armed guards at their school?” the ads asks.

        “To talk about the president’s children, or any public officer’s children, who have –not by their own choice, but by requirement – to have protection, and to use that somehow to try to make a political point is reprehensible,” said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), who is seen as a 2016 White House contender.

        “Get to the real issues. Don’t be dragging people’s children into this,” the Republican added in comments Thursday. “It’s wrong, and I think it demeans them [the NRA] and it makes them less of a valid, trusted source of information on the real issues.”

        Television commentator Joe Scarborough, a former GOP member of the House, hammered the group’s leaders for creating a “fringe organization.”

        “Their children have targets on their backs and the NRA is putting something out like [this]? What’s wrong with these people?” Scarborough said Wednesday on his “Morning Joe” program on MSNBC.

        “They need new leadership is what they need. Their leadership has dragged them over the cliff, they are now a fringe organization,” added Scarborough, who routinely mentions he maintained an A-rating from the NRA through his tenure in the House. “What the NRA once was, it no longer is. This extremism is so frightening, and just over, over, over the line.”

        For more: http://thehill.com/homenews/news/278157-nra-stumbles-in-fight-with-obama-over-guns

    • CR says:

      Bill Clinton on Gun Control: ‘This Is Nuts’

      Published on Jan 9, 2013

      In a speech at the Consumer Electronics Show, former President Bill Clinton outlined the importance mobile technology but also talked about political issues like gun control calling the availability of high-capacity gun magazines “nuts.” (Jan. 9)

    • CR says:

      Vice President Meets with Video Game Industry

      Published on Jan 11, 2013

      Vice President Joe Biden meets with representatives from the video game industry as part of the Administration’s effort to develop policy proposals in response to the tragedy in Newtown. The Vice President is joined by Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. January 11, 2013.

    • CR says:

      Thousands march for gun control in Washington

      1/26/13 By BRETT ZONGKER | Associated Press

      WASHINGTON (AP) — Thousands of people, many holding signs with names of gun violence victims and messages such as “Ban Assault Weapons Now,” joined a rally for gun control on Saturday, marching from the Capitol to the Washington Monument.

      Leading the crowd were marchers with “We Are Sandy Hook” signs, paying tribute to victims of the December school shooting in Newtown, Conn. Washington Mayor Vincent Gray and other city officials marched alongside them. The crowd stretched for at least two blocks along Constitution Avenue.

      Participants held signs reading “Gun Control Now,” ”Stop NRA” and “What Would Jesus Pack?” among other messages. Other signs were simple and white, with the names of victims of gun violence.

      About 100 residents from Newtown, where a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six teachers, traveled to Washington together, organizers said.

      Participant Kara Baekey from nearby Norwalk, Conn., said that when she heard about the Newtown shooting, she immediately thought of her two young children. She said she decided she must take action, and that’s why she traveled to Washington for the march.

      “I wanted to make sure this never happens at my kids’ school or any other school,” Baekey said. “It just can’t happen again.”

      Once the crowd arrived at the monument, speakers called for a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition and for universal background checks on gun sales.

      Education Secretary Arne Duncan told the crowd it’s not about taking away Second Amendment gun rights, but about gun safety and saving lives. He said he and President Barack Obama would do everything they could to enact gun control policies.

      “This is about trying to create a climate in which our children can grow up free of fear,” Duncan said. “This march is a starting point; it is not an ending point … We must act, we must act, we must act.”

      For more: http://news.yahoo.com/thousands-march-gun-control-washington-164306917.html

      ————-

      Thousands march on Washington for gun control

      Published on Jan 26, 2013

      Thousands of protesters marched in Washington on Saturday calling for for stricter gun control laws following the Sandy Hook school massacre.

    • CR says:

      Michael Bloomberg group’s gun-control scorecard will give lawmakers letter grades

      April 8, 2013 By Philip Rucker, washingtonpost

      New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, one of the nation’s most committed and deep-pocketed gun-control proponents, is ratcheting up pressure on lawmakers by launching a new system to grade them based on their votes and statements on gun issues.

      Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the nonprofit group financed by Bloomberg (I), will unveil a scoring system Tuesday to award lawmakers grades of A through F, much like the National Rifle Association, which has derived much of its power by deploying letter rankings against politicians at election time. The group’s strategists briefed The Washington Post on the plans ahead of Tuesday’s announcement.

      “For decades, the NRA has done an admirable job of tracking to minute detail how members of Congress stand on gun bills. We’ve simply decided to do the same,” said Mark Glaze, director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which is chaired by Bloomberg and is made up of more than 900 mayors from across the country.

      This is Bloomberg’s latest move to establish his organization as a counterweight to the influential NRA and to create legislative momentum on Capitol Hill around President Obama’s proposals to toughen the nation’s gun laws.

      Mayors Against Illegal Guns will start airing a 60-second ad on Tuesday featuring Neil Heslin, whose son, Jesse Lewis, was killed in December’s elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn. The group is spending more than $1 million to air the ad on cable news in Washington and on television stations in 10 targeted states, officials said.

      The group is targeting Sens. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Daniel Coats (R-Ind.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.).

      For more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/michael-bloomberg-groups-gun-control-scorecard-will-give-lawmakers-letter-grades/2013/04/08/a1ab3c0c-a09f-11e2-82bc-511538ae90a4_story.html

      • CR says:

        More Senators Vote To Loosen Gun Laws Than Tighten Them

        APRIL 18, 2013, 11:10 AM 4654  SAHIL KAPUR - tpmFifty-seven senators voted Wednesday to dramatically expand gun rights after the background check legislation was scuttled, a sign that even amid the most concerted gun control push in two decades, there remains more Senate support for loosening gun laws than tightening them.

        The National Rifle Association-backed measure, brought by Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) as an amendment to gun legislation, would have made a concealed carry permit in one state valid in other states. In other words, if it passed, California would be forced to let someone carry a concealed weapon in public if they were permitted to do so, say, by the state of Kansas.

        The bill failed as it was subject to a filibuster-proof 60 vote threshold, like all amendments. But thirteen Democrats joined all but one Republican (Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk) in voting for it. It received more votes than background check legislation, which would have modestly tightened the nation’s gun laws and managed to find 55 supporters.

        “This amendment would wreak havoc in large portions of America — suburban and urban areas,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said just before the vote on Cornyn’s amendment. “Because there are no residency requirements, criminals from all states could go to states, Florida is one, get a concealed carry permit and legally — criminals, felons — concealed carry in other states.”

        “Let Wyoming do what they want to do on concealed carry, but don’t impose that on New York, and vice versa,” he said.

        Cornyn said his legislation was “designed to protect the fundamental Second Amendment rights of American citizens who are traveling or temporarily away from home while they hold a concealed handgun license.” He called it “background checks on steroids.”

        Pro-gun proponents love the measure. Similar legislation was brought in 2009 by Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and received 58 votes. Democratic leaders worked hard to ensure its defeat this time around, worrying that its inclusion could poison and likely scuttle the final legislation.

        Along with the Cornyn measure Wednesday, well over a majority of senators also voted for amendments offered by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Richard Burr (R-NC) that contained provisions gun control advocates feared would weaken gun safety laws. By contrast, fewer than a majority of senators to ban assault weapons or restrict high-capacity ammunition clips.

        The votes reveal that the filibuster, shortly after killing expanded background checks supported by 90 percent of the public, worked to protect a priority of the gun control side.

        Fifty-five senators supported the background check bill. The final tally was 54-46 because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), switched his vote to no in the last minute to reserve the right to bring up the bill again, which he later pledged to keep fighting for.

      • CR says:

        April 17, 2013

        Statement by the President

        Rose Garden

        5:35 P.M. EDT

        MR. BARDEN: Hello. My name is Mark Barden. Just four months ago, my wife Jackie and I lost our son, and our children, James and Natalie, they lost their little brother Daniel. Daniel was a first-grader at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Our sweet, 7-year-old Daniel was one of 20 children, six adults lost on December 14th. I have to say it feels like it was just yesterday.

        In our deepest grief, we were supported by the love of our families and comforted by the love and prayers we received from millions of America, from every corner of the country.

        What happened in Newtown can happen anywhere. In any instant, any dad in America could be in my shoes. No one should feel the pain. No one should feel our pain or the pain felt by the tens of thousands of people who’ve lost loved ones to senseless gun violence.

        And that’s why we’re here. Two weeks ago, 12 of us from Newtown came to meet with U.S. senators and have a conversation about how to bring common-sense solutions to the issues of gun violence. We came with a sense of hope, optimistic that real conversation could begin that would ultimately save the lives of so many Americans. We met with dozens of Democrats and Republicans and shared with them pictures of our children, our spouses, our parents who lost their lives on December 14th.

        Expanded background checks wouldn’t have saved our loved ones, but still we came to support the bipartisan proposal from two senators, both with “A” ratings from the NRA — a common-sense proposal supported by 90 percent of Americans. It‘s a proposal that will save lives without interfering with the rights of responsible, law-abiding gun owners.

        We’ll return home now, disappointed but not defeated. We return home with the determination that change will happen — maybe not today, but it will happen. It will happen soon. We’ve always known this would be a long road, and we don’t have the luxury of turning back. We will keep moving forward and build public support for common-sense solutions in the areas of mental health, school safety, and gun safety.

        We take strength from the children and loved ones that we lost, and we carry a great faith in the American people.

        On behalf of the Sandy Hook Promise, I would like to thank President Obama, Vice President Biden for their leadership and for standing strong and continuing to fight for a safer America. I would like to thank Senators Toomey, Manchin, Schumer and Kirk on coming together to seek common ground on legislation that would keep guns out of the hands of criminals and save lives.

        And I would like to thank Connecticut’s Senators Blumenthal and Murphy. They’ve been right with us. They stood by us right from the very beginning. From the first few hours after this tragedy they were with us.

        We will not be defeated. We are not defeated, and we will not be defeated. We are here now; we will always be here because we have no other choice. We are not going away. And every day, as more people are killed in this country because of gun violence, our determination grows stronger.

        We leave Washington hoping that others, both here and across the country, will join us in making the Sandy Hook Promise, a pledge that we’d had great hope that more U.S. senators would take literally. I’d like to end by repeating the words with which the Sandy Hook Promise begins: Our hearts are broken. Our spirit is not.

        For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/04/17/statement-president

    • CR says:

      April 13, 2013

      Weekly Address: Sandy Hook Victim’s Mother Calls for Commonsense Gun Responsibility Reforms

      The White House

      Remarks of Francine Wheeler
      The President’s Weekly Address

      Hi. As you’ve probably noticed, I’m not the President. I’m just a citizen. And as a citizen, I’m here at the White House today because I want to make a difference and I hope you will join me.

      My name is Francine Wheeler. My husband David is with me. We live in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.

      David and I have two sons. Our older son Nate, soon to be 10 years old, is a fourth grader at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Our younger son, Ben, age six, was murdered in his first-grade classroom on December 14th, exactly 4 months ago this weekend.

      David and I lost our beloved son, but Nate lost his best friend. On what turned out to be the last morning of his life, Ben told me, quite out of the blue, “ I still want to be an architect, Mama, but I also want to be a paleontologist, because that’s what Nate is going to be and I want to do everything Nate does.”

      Ben’s love of fun and his excitement at the wonders of life were unmatched His boundless energy kept him running across the soccer field long after the game was over. He couldn’t wait to get to school every morning. He sang with perfect pitch and had just played at his third piano recital. Irrepressibly bright and spirited, Ben experienced life at full tilt.

      Until that morning. 20 of our children, and 6 of our educators – gone. Out of the blue.

      I’ve heard people say that the tidal wave of anguish our country felt on 12/14 has receded. But not for us. To us, it feels as if it happened just yesterday. And in the four months since we lost our loved ones, thousands of other Americans have died at the end of a gun. Thousands of other families across the United States are also drowning in our grief.

      Please help us do something before our tragedy becomes your tragedy.

      Sometimes, I close my eyes and all I can remember is that awful day waiting at the Sandy Hook Volunteer Firehouse for the boy who would never come home – the same firehouse that was home to Ben’s Tiger Scout Den 6. But other times, I feel Ben’s presence filling me with courage for what I have to do – for him and all the others taken from us so violently and too soon.

      We have to convince the Senate to come together and pass commonsense gun responsibility reforms that will make our communities safer and prevent more tragedies like the one we never thought would happen to us.

      When I packed for Washington on Monday, it looked like the Senate might not act at all. Then, after the President spoke in Hartford, and a dozen of us met with Senators to share our stories, more than two-thirds of the Senate voted to move forward.

      But that’s only the start. They haven’t yet passed any bills that will help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. And a lot of people are fighting to make sure they never do.

      Now is the time to act. Please join us. You can talk to your Senator, too. Or visit WhiteHouse.gov to find out how you can join the President and get involved.

      Help this be the moment when real change begins. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

    • CR says:

      August 29, 2013

      FACT SHEET: New Executive Actions to Reduce Gun Violence

      Today, the Obama administration announced two new common-sense executive actions to keep the most dangerous firearms out of the wrong hands and ban almost all re-imports of military surplus firearms to private entities. These executive actions build on the 23 executive actions that the Vice President recommended as part of the comprehensive gun violence reduction plan and the President unveiled on January 16, 2013.

      Even as Congress fails to act on common-sense proposals, like expanding criminal background checks and making gun trafficking a federal crime, the President and Vice President remain committed to using all the tools in their power to make progress toward reducing gun violence.

      Building on the 23 Executive Actions the President and Vice President Unveiled Last January

      * Last December, the President asked the Vice President to develop a series of recommendations to reduce gun violence. On January 16, 2013, they released these proposals, including 23 executive actions. With the first Senate confirmation of an ATF Director on July 31, 2013, the Administration has completed or made significant progress on 22 of the 23 executive actions. The new executive actions unveiled today build on this successful effort.

      Closing a Loophole to Keep Some of the Most Dangerous Guns Out of the Wrong Hands

      * Current law places special restrictions on many of the most dangerous weapons, such as machine guns and short-barreled shotguns. These weapons must be registered, and in order to lawfully possess them, a prospective buyer must undergo a fingerprint-based background check.

      * However, felons, domestic abusers, and others prohibited from having guns can easily evade the required background check and gain access to machine guns or other particularly dangerous weapons by registering the weapon to a trust or corporation. At present, when the weapon is registered to a trust or corporation, no background check is run. ATF reports that last year alone, it received more than 39,000 requests for transfers of these restricted firearms to trusts or corporations.

      * Today, ATF is issuing a new proposed regulation to close this loophole. The proposed rule requires individuals associated with trusts or corporations that acquire these types of weapons to undergo background checks, just as these individuals would if the weapons were registered to them individually. By closing this loophole, the regulation will ensure that machine guns and other particularly dangerous weapons do not end up in the wrong hands.

      Keeping Surplus Military Weapons Off Our Streets

      * When the United States provides military firearms to its allies, either as direct commercial sales or through the foreign military sales or military assistance programs, those firearms may not be imported back into the United States without U.S. government approval. Since 2005, the U.S. Government has authorized requests to reimport more than 250,000 of these firearms.

      * Today, the Administration is announcing a new policy of denying requests to bring military-grade firearms back into the United States to private entities, with only a few exceptions such as for museums. This new policy will help keep military-grade firearms off our streets.

    • CR says:

      Mother Of Mass Shooting Victim Becomes Gun-Control Advocate

      September 19, 2013 4:00 AM NPR

      Summary: After her daughter was killed in the theater shooting in Aurora, Colo, last year, Sandy Phillips became a full-time advocate for universal background checks for gun buyers. Phillips was on her way to Washington, D.C. to lobby for gun legislation when the Navy Yard shooting happened. She tells Steve Inskeep she’s been meeting with members of Congress.

      For the entire audio interview: http://www.npr.org/2013/09/19/223965801/mother-of-colo-mass-shooting-victim-becomes-gun-control-advocate

  3. CR says:

    Gun Control Advocates Say ATF’s Hands Have Been Tied

    January 08, 2013 4:52 PM by BRIAN NAYLOR – NPR

    After the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., President Obama asked Vice President Biden to lead a group tasked with drafting policies to reduce gun violence. One of the issues sure to come up in the Biden group’s discussions is the role of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

    The ATF is the primary enforcer of the nation’s gun laws, but advocates and former ATF officials say the agency has been underfunded, understaffed and handcuffed in its abilities to go after gun crimes.

    In an ad campaign launched Tuesday by the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Roxanna Green, whose child was killed two years ago, appeals directly to the camera: “My 9-year-old daughter was murdered in the Tucson shooting. I have one question for our political leaders: When will you find the courage to stand up to the gun lobby?”

    Standing up to the gun lobby is seen by gun control advocates to mean not only banning assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, but restoring some teeth to the ATF.

    “The restrictions on ATF are absurd,” says Jon Lowy of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “They’re not allowed to use computers in doing their trace work. They’re not allowed to do more than one spot inspection on a gun dealer.”

    When looking at the problems facing the ATF, it’s instructive to start at the top. The current acting director of the Washington agency is B. Todd Jones, who is juggling the ATF post with his other job, that of U.S. attorney in Minneapolis.

    There hasn’t been a permanent ATF director for six years, since back in the Bush administration.

    Michael Bouchard, a former ATF assistant director, says that lack of leadership has handicapped the agency.

    “You need somebody there who has ownership and is going to be there for the long haul and can start projecting a couple years out, versus people who are just brought in for a temporary fix,” Bouchard says.

    Obama has nominated a permanent director, but there hasn’t even been a hearing on the nomination because of opposition from the gun lobby.

    There are other administrative issues: Funding has been relatively flat, and the agency has roughly the same number of agents today as it did a decade ago.

    Then there are the issues ATF agents face with gun laws. Congress refuses to allow a centralized gun database, so tracing a weapon used in a crime means a lot of legwork, says former ATF agent William Vizzard.

    “They have to contact the manufacturer or importer, who tells them, ‘Oh, on July 14, 2009, we shipped that gun to Buckeye Sporting Goods, a wholesaler.’ Then you contact Buckeye Sporting Goods, and they say, ‘Oh, yeah, we received that gun four days later and we shipped it out to Billy Bob’s Bait and Tackle Shop.’ Then you go to Billy Bob and you say, ‘OK, what do your records say?’ ”

    For the entire article and audio interview: http://www.npr.org/2013/01/08/168889491/gun-control-advocates-say-atfs-hands-have-been-tied

    • CR says:

      Past time for an ATF director

      January 8, 2013 progress-index

      Each time someone responds to a mass murder with a call for tougher laws and regulations regarding weapons, the gun lobby contends that the laws are tough enough but not adequately enforced.

      The argument would carry more weight if the National Rifle Association, early this year, would endorse the appointment of a permanent director for the agency that is primarily responsible for enforcing federal gun laws. The Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives has been without a permanent director for six years.

      Over that period several acting directors have resigned amid controversy and withering congressional criticism, most recently over the failed “Fast and Furious” operation that attempted to track, but lost track, of guns sold in the United but ultimately transferred to Mexican drug gangs.

      In 2010 President Obama nominated Andrew Traver, head of the ATF’s Chicago office, but the nomination has languished in the Senate.

      Meanwhile, current and former ATF staffers have complained about the agency’s lack of consistent leadership and under-funding by Congress.

      Enforcing gun laws is a fine idea. Gun advocates should make it happen by joining Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group of 750 mayors from across the country who are trying to make their cities’ streets safer, in calling on the Senate to confirm a leader for ATF and fully fund its operations.

      For more: http://progress-index.com/news/op-ed/past-time-for-an-atf-director-1.1426166

      • CR says:

        Senate approval controversy

        The job of ATF director has required Senate confirmation only since 2006, but that has never happened, leaving the agency in the hands of acting directors.

        The National Rifle Association of America strongly opposes President Obama’s nomination of Andrew Traver as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE). Traver has been deeply aligned with gun control advocates and anti-gun activities. This makes him the wrong choice to lead an enforcement agency that has almost exclusive oversight and control over the firearms industry, its retailers and consumers. Further, an important nomination such as BATFE director should not be made as a ‘recess appointment,’ in order to circumvent consent by the American people through their duly-elected U.S. Senators. Traver served as an advisor to the International Association for Chiefs of Police’s (IACP) ‘Gun Violence Reduction Project,’ a ‘partnership’ with the Joyce Foundation. Both IACP and the Joyce Foundation are names synonymous with promoting a variety of gun control schemes at the federal and state levels. Most of the individuals involved in this project were prominent gun control activists and lobbyists.

        “The bottom line is the gun lobby will oppose any nominee who promises to be a strong and effective director of the ATF,” said Dennis Henigan, vice president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Indeed, it was persistent lobbying by the NRA. that helped to get the confirmation requirement instated. In 2007, Bush nominated Mike Sullivan for the position, a U.S. Attorney from Boston with a good reputation, but Republican Sens. Larry Craig and Michael D. Crapo, both from Idaho, blocked his confirmation after complaints from an Idaho gun dealer. In 2010, Obama nominated Andrew Traver, head of the ATF’s Denver division, to fill the top spot, but the Senate is yet to hold his confirmation hearings as of December 26, 2012.

        Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bureau_of_Alcohol,_Tobacco,_Firearms_and_Explosives#Senate_approval_controversy

  4. CR says:

    Giffords Anti-Gun Group Gets $1 Million Texas Donation

    Jan 9, 2013 8:00 AM PT By Julie Bykowicz – bloomberg

    Biden, Advocates Swing Into Action on Gun Control

    Steve and Amber Mostyn, wealthy Texas trial attorneys, said today that they are giving $1 million to help start the gun-control advocacy group formed by former Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly.

    Steve Mostyn, one of the top contributors to a super political action committee that helped President Barack Obama’s re-election effort, is listed as treasurer of Giffords’s new super-PAC, Americans for Responsible Solutions. Mostyn said the group will have a nonprofit wing, which will be used to conduct a public education campaign.

    Mostyn said the super-PAC will counter the political contributions of the National Rifle Association, which is how he’s pitching it to other big Democratic donors.

    “It’s time to stop the NRA from bullying common sense out of the discussion,” he said in an interview. “There are more options than just ’guns or no guns.’”

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-09/giffords-anti-gun-group-gets-1-million-texas-donation.html

    ———–

    Gabrielle Giffords, husband form gun-control PAC

    Published on Jan 8, 2013

    Gabrielle Giffords, husband form gun-control PAC
    Tuesday was not just a day for Tucson to remember the victims of the deadly shooting that severely injured Representative Gabrielle Giffords. It was also a day when residents could see firsthand the nation’s gun debate play out in a busy parking lot outside a city police station.

    On one side was a councilman, who supports gun control, leading an effort to give $50 grocery store gift cards to anyone who turned in their guns to police. And on the other was an event organized by a state senator that turned into an open, unregulated, and legal marketplace for firearms.

    The dueling gun buy-back programs — and the annual ringing of bells to remember the six dead and 13 injured, including Giffords — came as the former congresswoman and her husband announced that they are forming a political action committee aimed at curbing gun violence.

    Giffords and Mark Kelly, a former astronaut, wrote in an op-ed published in USA Today that their Americans for Responsible Solutions initiative will raise money to support greater gun control efforts and take on the powerful gun lobby.

    “Achieving reforms to reduce gun violence and prevent mass shootings will mean matching gun lobbyists in their reach and resources,” the couple wrote, and they will “raise funds necessary to balance the influence of the gun lobby.”

    There was already concern among gun control advocates that they are losing the momentum they hoped to have after the Newtown, Conn., shooting left 20 children and six adults dead. Congress was already occupied with budget concerns.

    Giffords’s announcement brought back memories from the 1980s when Jim and Sarah Brady formed the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Brady, President Ronald Reagan’s press secretary, was wounded in the 1981 presidential assassination attempt by a mentally ill gunman.

    Brady’s organization has been among the most vocal champions of gun control since then, but it remains to be seen whether Giffords’s group can better compete against the National Rifle Association.

    ———

    Gabby Giffords Statement At Gun VIolence Hearing

    Published on Jan 30, 2013

  5. Kat 4 Obama says:

    Happy & HOPEful Wednesday, CR and all friends!

    >^..^<

    Great, great topic & information, CR.

  6. CR says:

    ECB Maintains Benchmark Rate at 0.75% as Economic Mood Brightens

    Jan 10, 2013 4:45 AM PT By Jeff Black & Gabi Thesing – bloomberg

    The European Central Bank kept interest rates on hold as improving economic sentiment underpinned expectations of a gradual recovery this year.

    Policy makers meeting in Frankfurt today left the benchmark rate at a record low of 0.75 percent, as predicted by 50 out of 55 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. The deposit and marginal lending rates were also unchanged at 0 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively. ECB President Mario Draghi will hold a press conference at 2:30 p.m. to explain the decision.

    Improving confidence indicators have eased pressure on the ECB to reduce rates from a record low, a move fraught with the unknown consequences of possibly pushing the deposit rate below zero. A pledge last year to buy as many government bonds as it takes to stabilize the single currency, buttressed by political progress on bringing economies of the 17 member states closer together, has eased fears the bloc would splinter.

    “Risks will always be there but there’s no reason to cut rates,” Marco Valli, chief euro-area economist at UniCredit Global Research in Milan, said before the decision. “Signs of economic stabilization are likely already in the first half of the year, thanks to the latest stabilization in financial markets. We’ll then see a modest recovery.”

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-10/ecb-maintains-benchmark-rate-at-0-75-as-economic-mood-brightens.html

  7. CR says:

    Karzai, US Officials Consider Afghan Future

    January 10, 2013 – VOA News

    Afghan President Hamid Karzai is set to meet in Washington Thursday with U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as the Obama administration deliberates the U.S. military future in Afghanistan.

    Karzai is set to meet with Panetta early in the day Thursday, following a full military honors ceremony to welcome him to the Pentagon.

    He is scheduled to meet with Secretary Clinton in the early evening and will then join her for a working dinner.

    Karzai’s talks at the Pentagon and the State Department come one day ahead of a one-on-one meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama. The two leaders are expected to discuss security issues, namely how many U.S. troops might be stationed in Afghanistan after the majority pull out in 2014, and under what conditions.

    Current plans call for the United States to withdraw nearly all of its 68,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

    But that plan hinges on a number of conditions, including whether Afghan forces will be capable of taking over security at that time. It is also not clear what would be the role of the Americans who stay behind, if any do remain.

    For more: http://www.voanews.com/content/karzai-us-officials-consider-afghan-future/1581058.html

  8. CR says:

    Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Issues Rule to Protect Consumers from Irresponsible Mortgage Lending

    Rule Requires Lenders Ensure Borrowers Have the Ability to Repay Their Mortgage

    JAN 10 2013 consumerfinance.gov

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) adopted a new rule that will protect consumers from irresponsible mortgage lending by requiring lenders to ensure prospective buyers have the ability to repay their mortgage. The rule also protects borrowers from risky lending practices such as “no doc” and “interest only” features that contributed to many homeowners ending up in delinquency and foreclosure after the 2008 housing collapse.

    “When consumers sit down at the closing table, they shouldn’t be set up to fail with mortgages they can’t afford,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Our Ability-to-Repay rule protects borrowers from the kinds of risky lending practices that resulted in so many families losing their homes. This common-sense rule ensures responsible borrowers get responsible loans.”

    Leading up to the mortgage crisis, certain lenders originated mortgages to consumers without considering their ability to repay the loans. The gradual deterioration in underwriting standards led to dramatic increases in mortgage delinquencies and rates of foreclosures. What followed was the collapse of the housing market in 2008 and the subsequent financial crisis. The 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act created broad-based changes to how creditors make loans and included new ability-to-repay requirements, which the CFPB is charged with implementing.

    Ability to Repay
    In the years leading up to the financial crisis, lenders too often offered mortgages to consumers who could not afford them. Under the Ability-to-Repay rule announced today, all new mortgages must comply with basic requirements that protect consumers from taking on loans they don’t have the financial means to pay back. Among the features of the new rule:

    * Financial information has to be supplied and verified: Lenders must look at a consumer’s financial information. A lender generally must document: a borrower’s employment status; income and assets; current debt obligations; credit history; monthly payments on the mortgage; monthly payments on any other mortgages on the same property; and monthly payments for mortgage-related obligations. This means that lenders can no longer offer no-doc, low-doc loans, where lenders made quick sales by not requiring documentation, then offloaded these risky mortgages by selling them to investors.

    * A borrower has to have sufficient assets or income to pay back the loan: Lenders must evaluate and conclude that the borrower can repay the loan. For example, lenders may look at the consumer’s debt-to-income ratio – their total monthly debt divided by their total monthly gross income. Knowing how much money a consumer earns and is expected to earn, and knowing how much they already owe, helps a lender determine how much more debt a consumer can take on.

    * Teaser rates can no longer mask the true cost of a mortgage: Lenders can’t base their evaluation of a consumer’s ability to repay on teaser rates. Lenders will have to determine the consumer’s ability to repay both the principal and the interest over the long term − not just during an introductory period when the rate may be lower.

    For more: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/pressreleases/consumer-financial-protection-bureau-issues-rule-to-protect-consumers-from-irresponsible-mortgage-lending/

  9. CR says:

    Cabinet pushback and the case for filibuster reform

    Jan 10, 2013 9:14 AM EST By Steve Benen – maddowblog

    At a certain level, Senate Republicans huffing and puffing about President Obama’s recent nominations seems irrelevant, since the GOP has a 45-seat minority. Unless Republicans intend to start filibustering qualified nominees — a step without precedent in American history — it’s pretty likely the president will be able to pick the members of his own team.

    And yet, the aggressive posturing continues. Republicans killed Susan Rice’s nomination before it even happened, based on nothing but misplaced spite. They started trying to crush Jack Lew’s nomination yesterday and Chuck Hagel’s nomination last week. And don’t even get me started on Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-S.C.) tantrum on John Brennan’s CIA nomination.

    There is, however, an unintended consequence to all of this chest-thumping: Republicans are making an excellent case for filibuster reform, just as Senate Democrats have to decide on how best to proceed. Jonathan Bernstein had a good piece on this.

    Political scientist Stephen Smith made a good point today: Republican knee-jerk opposition to Barack Obama’s Cabinet picks may well push reluctant Democrats to embrace stronger Senate reform. [...]

    [A]ll Republicans are doing by threatening to block nomination after nomination is making it more likely that swing Democratic senators will realize that the current rules just aren’t working. Overall, filibuster reform is badly needed, and there are some good ideas out there to solve a fairly difficult problem. But on executive branch nominations, reform is urgent, and easy.

    When it comes to legislation, filibuster reform is far less urgent — allowing Senate Democrats to pass bills that will quickly die in a GOP-led House is unappealing. But when it comes to confirming qualified nominees that Republicans oppose for nonsensical reasons, filibuster reform starts to look increasingly important.

    GOP senators probably didn’t intend to help make the case for procedural changes, but they’re helping make the reformers’ case for them.

  10. CR says:

    Wholesale Inventories in U.S. Increase 0.6% as Sales Surge

    Jan 10, 2013 7:00 AM PT By Michelle Jamrisko – bloomberg

    Inventories at U.S. wholesalers rose more than forecast in November as companies tried to keep up with a surge in demand.

    The 0.6 percent increase in stockpiles followed a 0.3 percent rise in October that was less than initially estimated, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for a 0.2 percent gain. Sales jumped 2.3 percent, the most since March 2011, as auto demand rebounded from a superstorm Sandy-related drop.

    The acceleration in purchases left wholesalers with enough goods on hand to last 1.19 months at the current sales pace, the lowest since May. Stabilization in global growth and clarity on U.S. budget issues may help bolster demand and spur companies to step up orders.

    “If you look at sales over the final two months of the year, this was a good thing,” Brian Jones, a senior U.S. economist at Societe Generale in New York, said before the report. “They were building inventories and importing cars in anticipation of solid year-end demand.”

    The median forecast for wholesale inventories was based on a Bloomberg survey of 23 economists. Estimates ranged from a decrease of 0.4 percent to a 0.9 percent gain after an initially reported 0.6 percent advance in October.

    Another report today showed initial jobless claims climbed to 371,000 last week from 367,000. A consistent decline in firings, along with a rise in payrolls, is needed to spur consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy.

    Wholesalers’ stockpiles of durable goods, or those meant to last several years, increased 0.4 percent, led by autos, electrical equipment and machinery, today’s report showed. Demand for goods meant to last at least three years surged 2.7 percent, the biggest gain since December 2011.

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-10/wholesale-inventories-in-u-s-increase-0-6-as-sales-surge.html

  11. CR says:

    11:45 AM ET
    Vice President Biden meets with advocates for sportsmen and women and wildlife interest groups as part of the Administration’s effort to develop policy proposals in response to the tragedy in Newtown
    Eisenhower Executive Office Building

    • CR says:

      Vice President Biden Meets with Sportsmen and Wildlife Interest Groups

      Published on Jan 10, 2013

    • CR says:

      Entertainment industry thanks W.H. for inclusion in gun debate

      1/10/13 10:39 PM EST By JENNIFER EPSTEIN – POLITICO44

      Several of the entertainment industry groups that met Thursday with Vice President Joe Biden to discuss gun violence thanked the White House for including them in the post-Newtown shooting conversation.

      “The entertainment community appreciates being included in the dialogue around the administration’s efforts to confront the complex challenge of gun violence in America,” the groups said. “This industry has a longstanding commitment to provide parents the tools necessary to make the right viewing decisions for their families. We welcome the opportunity to share that history and look forward to doing our part to seek meaningful solutions.”

      The statement came from the Directors Guild of America, Independent Film & Television Alliance, Motion Picture Association of America, National Association of Broadcasters, National Association of Theatre Owners, and National Cable & Telecommunications Association.

      The groups didn’t reveal more about their meeting, which Biden hosted along with Attorney General Eric Holder, and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius were also at the meeting.

    • CR says:

      Video game lobby CEO set to meet with Biden on gun violence

      1/10/13 06:32 PM ET By Jennifer Martinez – TheHill

      Entertainment Software Association CEO Mike Gallagher and other video game industry representatives will meet with Vice President Biden on Friday as President Obama’s gun violence task force prepares to release its policy recommendations next week.

      The Entertainment Software Association represents video game companies in Washington and counts Electronic Arts and Microsoft as members. The video game industry has been criticized for producing first-person shooter games, such as “Call of Duty” and “Medal of Honor Gunfighter,” and other violent content in the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last month.

      Lawmakers and the National Rifle Association have suggested that violent video games contribute to aggressive behavior in real life. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) introduced a bill last month that would require the National Academy of Sciences to study the effects violent video games and video programming have on children.

  12. CR says:

    Next Up…

    1:30 PM ET
    President Obama makes a White House personnel announcement

    WhiteHouse.gov http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

    ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/Live/

    CSPAN http://www.c-span.org/Events/Pres-Obama-to-Nominate-Jack-Lew-as-Treasury-Secretary/10737437104/

  13. CR says:

    Honda to build new Accord hybrid car in U.S.

    1/10/13 Ben Klayman – Reuters – 2 hrs 39 mins ago

    DETROIT (Reuters) – Honda Motor Co Ltd said on Thursday it will invest $23 million to build a hybrid version of its popular Accord sedan at its plant in Marysville, Ohio.

    The Japanese automaker said it will add about 50 jobs at the plant to build the car, which will go on sale this fall as a 2014 model.
    It will be the third hybrid vehicle Honda builds in the United States, following hybrid versions of the Civic and Acura ILX built at the company’s Greensburg, Indiana, plant.

    The Ohio plant is undergoing an expansion of 95,000 square feet to house assembly processes and logistics specifically for production of the Accord hybrid, Honda said. The project includes lengthening the main assembly line and adding space for related parts receiving and sub-assembly operations.

    In the last three years, Honda has announced investments at its Ohio manufacturing facilities exceeding $800 million.

  14. CR says:

    Next Up..

    1:30 PM ET
    President Obama makes a White House personnel announcement

    WhiteHouse.gov http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

    ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/Live/

    CSPAN http://www.c-span.org/Events/Pres-Obama-to-Nominate-Jack-Lew-as-Treasury-Secretary/10737437104/

    • CR says:

      January 10, 2013

      Remarks by the President in Nomination of Secretary of the Treasury

      East Room

      1:40 P.M. EST

      THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. Please have a seat. A little more than four years ago, I stood with Mr. Tim Geithner and announced him as my first nominee to my Cabinet. We were barely two months into the financial crisis. The stock market had cratered. The housing market had cratered as well. Bank after bank was on the verge of collapse. And worst of all, more than 800,000 Americans would lose their jobs in just that month. And the bottom was not yet in sight.

      So I couldn’t blame Tim when he tried to tell me he wasn’t the right guy for the job. (Laughter.) But I knew that Tim’s extensive experience with economic policy made him eminently qualified, and I also knew that he could hit the ground running. As Chairman of the New York Federal Reserve, he had just spent several sleepless and chaotic weeks immersed in the complexities of the crisis, and had been working closely with his Republican predecessor at Treasury to save the financial system.

      Then, with the wreckage of our economy still smoldering and unstable, I asked Tim to help put it back together. And thanks in large part to his steady hand, our economy has been growing again for the past three years, our businesses have created nearly 6 million new jobs. The money that we spent to save the financial system has largely been paid back. We’ve put in place rules to prevent that kind of financial meltdown from ever happening again. An auto industry was saved. We made sure taxpayers are not on the hook if the biggest firms fail again. We’ve taken steps to help underwater homeowners come up for air, and open new markets to sell American goods overseas. And we’ve begun to reduce our deficit through a balanced mix of spending cuts and reforms to a tax code that at the time that we both came in was too skewed in favor of the wealthy at the expense of middle-class Americans.

      So when the history books are written, Tim Geithner is going to go down as one of our finest Secretaries of the Treasury. (Applause.)

      All right, don’t embarrass him. (Laughter.)

      On a personal note, Tim has been a wonderful friend and a dependable advisor throughout these last four years. There’s an unofficial saying over at Treasury — “no peacocks, no jerks, no whiners.” That would be a good saying for all of Washington — (laughter) — “no peacocks, no jerks, no whiners.” Few embody that ideal better than Tim Geithner. That’s why, when Tim was thinking about leaving a couple of years ago — (laughter) — I had to personally get on my knees with Carole to help convince him to stay on a little bit longer. And I could not be more grateful to Carole and the entire Geithner family for allowing him to make the sacrifices that so many of our Cabinet members ask of their families in serving the country.

      The fact is, while a lot of work remains, especially to rebuild a strong middle class and offer working folks new pathways to rise into the middle class, our economy is better positioned for tomorrow than most of those other countries hit by the financial crisis. The tough decisions Tim made and carried out deserve a lot of credit for that. So I understand that Tim is ready for a break. Obviously, we’re sad to see him go. But I cannot think of a better person to continue Tim’s work at Treasury than Jack Lew.

      This is bittersweet not only because Tim is leaving, but also because Jack has been my Chief of Staff for the last year. He was my budget director before that. I trust his judgment. I value his friendship. I know very few people with greater integrity than the man to my left. And so I don’t want to see him go because it’s working out really well for me to have him here in the White House. But my loss will be the nation’s gain.

      Jack has the distinction of having worked — and succeeded — in some of the toughest jobs in Washington and the private sector. As a congressional staffer in the 1980s, he helped negotiate the deal between President Reagan and Tip O’Neill to save Social Security. Under President Clinton, he presided over three budget surpluses in a row. So for all the talk out there about deficit reduction, making sure our books are balanced, this is the guy who did it — three times. He helped oversee one of our nation’s finest universities and one of our largest investment banks.

      In my administration, he has managed operations for the State Department and the budget for the entire executive branch. And over the past year, I’ve sought Jack’s advice on virtually every decision that I’ve made, from economic policy to foreign policy.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/01/10/remarks-president-nomination-secretary-treasury

    • CR says:

      President Obama noimates White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew to be the next US Treasuer.

      Oooooo0O‘ !!!

      ———-

      Jack Lew

      From February 1993 to 1994, Lew served as Special Assistant to the President under President Clinton. Lew was responsible for policy development and the drafting of the national service initiative (AmeriCorps) and health care reform legislation.

      Lew left the White House in October 1994 to work as OMB’s Executive Associate Director and Associate Director for Legislative Affairs. From August 1995 until July 1998, Lew served as Deputy Director of OMB. There, Lew was chief operating officer responsible for day-to-day management of a staff of 500. He had crosscutting responsibilities to coordinate Clinton administration efforts on budget and appropriations matters. He frequently served as a member of the Administration negotiating team, including regarding the Balanced Budget Act of 1997.

      President Clinton nominated Lew to be Director of the OMB, and the United States Senate confirmed him for that job on July 31, 1998. He served in that capacity until the end of the Clinton administration in January 2001. As OMB Director, Lew had the lead responsibility for the Clinton Administration’s policies on budget, management, and appropriations issues. As a member of the Cabinet and senior member of the economic team, he advised the President on a broad range of domestic and international policies. He represented the Administration in budget negotiations with Congress and served as a member of the National Security Council.

      Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Lew

      • COS says:

        I love Geitner and Lew. I am so happy that Geitner stayed with PBO the first four years. I give him a lot of credit for steering us out of the horrible mess PBO faced when he took office in spite of the ugly criticism from the PL. He did not deserve that.

        • CR says:

          Yes, I agree Geithner did a great job.

          Lew is very competent at what he does and I hear that his demeanor is that of a gentle giant (tough too as he still lives in the Bronx!)

  15. CR says:

    Joe Biden to deliver gun proposals by Tuesday

    1/10/13 1:24 PM EST By REID J. EPSTEIN – POLITICO44

    Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that he will deliver his recommendations on reducing gun violence to President Barack Obama by Tuesday.

    Biden gave the most detailed description so far of what his panel will propose, telling sporting groups at the start of a meeting that there is broad consensus among those he’s surveyed to require universal background checks on all gun purchases and to restrict the amount of ammunition that can be included in a gun magazine.

    “There’s a real, very tight window to do this,” Biden said. “I committed to him I’d have these recommendations to him by Tuesday and it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the discussion, but the public wants us to act.”

    “There is nothing that has pricked the consciousness of the American people, there is nothing that has gone to the heart of the matter more than the visual image people have of little six year old kids riddled — not shot with a stray bullet — riddled, riddled with bullet holes in their classroom,” Biden said. “And the public demands we speak to it.”

    The sessions come at a moment of high drama on the gun issue. Biden on Wednesday made the Obama administration’s most explicit promise to curb gun violence. He is scheduled to meet Thursday afternoon with the NRA and other gun-owners groups, and Attorney General Eric Holder will meet with representatives from Wal-Mart and eight sporting good stores that sell guns.

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/01/joe-biden-gun-proposals-by-tuesday-86014.html?hp=t1_3

  16. CR says:

    Holiday retail sales up 2.5 percent from last year

    1/09/2013 05:43:53 PM PST By Heather Somerville – bayareanewsgroup.com

    Extended shopping hours and big sales helped retailers overcome a sluggish start to the holiday season and post strong sales during the final shopping days of the year.

    National retail sales and shopper traffic increased 2.5 percent from the holiday shopping season last year, ShopperTrak announced Wednesday. The boost came largely from last-minute shoppers who waited until the final weekend before Christmas to hit the stores, according to ShopperTrak, which follows retail foot traffic.
    The uptick in sales offers some much-needed positive news for retailers, who scrambled through the holiday season with a flurry of extreme discounts and promotions, “but it’s a little bit unremarkable,” said Bill Martin, ShopperTrak founder.

    “I don’ think the retailers could have done anything differently,” he said, citing consumer uncertainty about the fiscal cliff and pre-occupation with the election.

    In October, the research firm had projected a 3.3 percent increase in sales from last year, but in mid-December scaled it back to 2.5 percent to account for the sluggish activity.

    The 2012 holiday season had an unusually long stretch — 32 days — between Black Friday and Christmas, and many shoppers procrastinated. After a shopping lull that worried retailers, the Saturday before Christmas — known as Super Saturday in the retail world — turned out o be the second busiest day of the year, after Black Friday. Sales on Sunday were also among the strongest for the year.

    ShopperTrak estimates that shoppers spent $249 billion during November and December, when some retailers get up to 40 percent of their annual sales.

    For more: http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_22342665/holiday-retail-sales-up-2-5-percent-from

  17. CR says:

    Please join me in lighting a candle for our President, First Family and our Nation.

    http://www.gratefulness.org/candles/candles.cfm?l=eng&gi=PBO

  18. CR says:

    Obama’s 81% New York City Support is Best in 114 Years

    Jan 9, 2013 9:00 PM PT By Greg Giroux – bloomberg

    President Barack Obama won more support from New York City in November’s election than any White House candidate in more than 100 years, according to a final tally of votes.

    Obama beat Republican challenger Mitt Romney by 81 percent to 18 percent in the nation’s largest city, according to a certified vote count released Dec. 31 by the state board of elections. Some New York ballots were counted late in part because of complications caused by Hurricane Sandy.

    Obama’s share of the vote is the best showing by a presidential nominee in New York since its five boroughs were consolidated in 1898, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from the state elections board and the 2005 books “America at the Polls” and “The Encyclopedia of New York State.”

    The results underscore New York’s decades-long status as a Democratic bastion where most residents are racial and ethnic minorities. Of the city’s 8.2 million residents, 29 percent are Hispanic, 23 percent are non-Hispanic black and 13 percent are non-Hispanic Asian, according to 2011 estimates from the Census Bureau.

    “Demographic shifts are permanently changing the political landscape,” said Bruce Berg, a political scientist at Fordham University in New York. Census data show New York “is a more minority city than it already was,” he said in a telephone interview.

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-09/obama-s-81-support-in-new-york-city-is-best-in-114-years.html

  19. CR says:

    1:45 PM ET

    Vice President Biden meets with representatives from gun owners’ groups

  20. CR says:

    Ambassador Charles Rivkin and American Diplomacy in Paris Suburbs

    JANUARY 10, 2013 theworld.org

    Among the plumb posts President Obama is expected to refill this year is Ambassador to France. The current holder of that position is Charles Rivkin, the former CEO of the Jim Henson Company, in Hollywood, and a major contributor to Obama’s first presidential campaign. He will be remembered for his attention to neighborhoods traditionally ignored by high-level public officials.

    When Ambassador Charles Rivkin once told a reporter that he wanted to go where no American ambassador had been before, he was referring to low-income, ethnically diverse suburbs of Paris. To Villiers Le Bel, a largely West African community that was partly destroyed by riots in 2007, Rivkin paid a visit to inaugurate a mural of Martin Luther King. After the ambassador’s speech, his delegation sang, “We Shall Overcome.”

    Ah, good old US public diplomacy. It has a long history in Europe. But the 21st century has seen a shift, with stepped up outreach into minority — especially Muslim — communities. In France, where the policy is carried out by the cinematic Ambassador Rivkin, it has been very well-received in the immigrant suburbs.

    Take, for example, the time Rivkin showed up at a minority-run media outlet with the actor Samuel L. Jackson. “I’m a fervent supporter of this approach,” says Editor Nordine Nabili. “It’s not that I love Americans. It’s that we welcome anyone who wants to see what we do and exchange practices. When the ambassador came with Samuel Jackson, when the representative of the most important power comes and spends two hours here, with all the young people, it’s very important symbolically. It’s validating.”

    For the entire aritcle and audio interview: http://www.theworld.org/2013/01/american-diplomacy-paris/

  21. CR says:

    WH

    Friday, January 11, 2013

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    President Obama holds an expanded bilateral meeting with President Karzai of Afghanistan; Vice President Biden attends
    Cabinet Room

    10:30 AM
    President Obamaholds a restricted bilateral meeting with President Karzai of Afghanistan
    Oval Office

    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    President Obama meets for lunch with President Karzai; Vice President Biden also attends.
    Old Family Dining Room

    1:00 PM
    1:15 PM
    President Obama and President Karzai hold a joint press conference.
    East Room

    2:00 PM
    2:15 PM
    Vice President Biden will meet with representatives from the video game industry as part of the Administration’s effort to develop policy proposals in response to the tragedy in Newtown
    Eisenhower Executive Office Building

    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

  22. CR says:

    January 07, 2013

    Statement by the Press Secretary on the visit of President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan to the White House

    President Obama will host President Hamid Karzai and his delegation at the White House for bilateral meetings on Friday, January 11. President Obama looks forward to welcoming the Afghan delegation to Washington, and discussing our continued transition in Afghanistan, and our shared vision of an enduring partnership between the United States and Afghanistan.

  23. CR says:

    AFGHAN PRESIDENT HAMID KARZAI TO SPEAK AT GEORGETOWN

    When: January 11, 2013 5:30 p.m.

    JANUARY 10, 2013 – HAMID KARZAI, PRESIDENT OF the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan will talk about the future of Afghan-U.S. Relations when he visits Georgetown for the third time on Jan. 11.

    Karzai, who first came to the university in 2002 for the Afghanistan America Summit on Recovery and Reconstruction, returned in 2006 to receive an honorary degree from the university.

    During this year’s visit, Karzai’s evening talk will be “Afghanistan Beyond 2014: A Perspective on Afghan-U.S. Relations.”

    The White House recently announced that Obama will host Karzai and his delegation at the White House for “bilateral meetings” Friday before the speech at Georgetown.

    “President Obama looks forward to welcoming the Afghan delegation to Washington, and discussing our continued transition in Afghanistan, and our shared vision of an enduring partnership between the United States and Afghanistan,” the White House statement said.

    The university houses the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council, a public-private partnership created in 2002 by Karzai and then-President George W. Bush. The council connects the U.S. and Afghan governments, the private sector, academia, and non-governmental organizations to develop and implement initiatives in support of Afghan women and children.

    For more: http://www.georgetown.edu/news/karzai-2013.html

  24. CR says:

    National Human Trafficking Prevention Month and Awareness Day

    September 25, 2012

    Executive Order – Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking In Persons In Federal Contracts

    EXECUTIVE ORDER

    - – - – - – -

    STRENGTHENING PROTECTIONS AGAINST TRAFFICKING
    IN PERSONS IN FEDERAL CONTRACTS

    By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act (40 U.S.C. 101 et seq.) and the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, as amended (TVPA) (Public Law 106-386, Division A), and in order to strengthen protections against trafficking in persons in Federal contracting, it is hereby ordered as follows:

    Section 1. Policy. More than 20 million men, women, and children throughout the world are victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons (“trafficking” or “trafficking in persons”) — defined in section 103 of the TVPA, 22 U.S.C. 7102(8), to include sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age, or the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion, for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

    The United States has long had a zero-tolerance policy regarding Government employees and contractor personnel engaging in any form of this criminal behavior. As the largest single purchaser of goods and services in the world, the United States Government bears a responsibility to ensure that taxpayer dollars do not contribute to trafficking in persons. By providing our Government workforce with additional tools and training to apply and enforce existing policy, and by providing additional clarity to Government contractors and subcontractors on the steps necessary to fully comply with that policy, this order will help to protect vulnerable individuals as contractors and subcontractors perform vital services and manufacture the goods procured by the United States.

    For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/09/25/executive-order-strengthening-protections-against-trafficking-persons-fe

    • CR says:

      National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline

      1.888.3737.888

      The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) is a national, toll-free hotline, available to answer calls from anywhere in the United States, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. It is operated by Polaris Project, a non-government organization working to combat human trafficking. Callers can report tips and receive information on human trafficking by calling the hotline at 1.888.3737.888

      The hotline provides data on where cases of suspected human trafficking are occurring within the United States. A national map of calls is updated daily to reflect the sources of calls to the hotline.

      To learn more: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/trafficking/hotline/index.html

    • CR says:

      September 25, 2012

      Fact Sheet: Executive Order Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking in Persons in Federal Contracts

      More than 20 million men, women, and children worldwide are victims of human trafficking. Companies around the world are taking steps to eliminate the potential for trafficked labor in their operations and supply chains, and President Obama is committed to protecting vulnerable individuals as government contractors and subcontractors perform vital services and manufacture goods procured by the United States. As the largest single purchaser of goods and services in the world, the U.S. Government has a responsibility to combat human trafficking at home and abroad, and to ensure American tax dollars do not contribute to this affront to human dignity.

      Building on the Obama Administration’s existing efforts to end human trafficking, today the President signed an Executive Order to strengthen protections against trafficking in persons in federal contracting. The importance of taking action to end human trafficking in government contracting is a matter of significant bipartisan agreement, and the Executive Order issued today incorporates approaches supported by business leaders, researchers, and members of Congress for how to effectively achieve that shared goal.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/09/25/fact-sheet-executive-order-strengthening-protections-against-trafficking

    • CR says:

      September 25, 2012

      Fact Sheet: the Obama Administration Announces Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking at Home and Abroad

      “It ought to concern every person, because it’s a debasement of our common humanity. It ought to concern every community, because it tears at the social fabric. It ought to concern every business, because it distorts markets. It ought to concern every nation, because it endangers public health and fuels violence and organized crime. I’m talking about the injustice, the outrage, of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name—modern slavery.”

      “Our fight against human trafficking is one of the great human rights causes of our time, and the United States will continue to lead it…”

      –President Barack Obama, September 25, 2012

      In March 2012, President Obama directed his Cabinet to redouble the Administration’s efforts to eliminate human trafficking, which afflicts more than 20 million people around the world, including in communities here at home. Today, building on the strong record of the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and its member agencies, the President is announcing several initiatives:

      * Executive Order Strengthening Protections in Federal Contracts
      * Tools and Training to Identify and Assist Trafficking Victims
      * Increased Resources for Victims of Human Trafficking
      * Comprehensive Plan for Future Action

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/09/25/fact-sheet-obama-administration-announces-efforts-combat-human-trafficki

    • CR says:

      White House Hangout: Combating Human Trafficking

      Published on Sep 27, 2012 by whitehouse

      In a Google+ Hangout moderated by Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Joshua DuBois, Executive Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls Tina Tchen, Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs Samantha Power, and leaders from NGO and faith communities discuss the global fight against modern slavery and the Obama Administration’s efforts to combat human trafficking at home and abroad. September 27, 2012.

  25. CR says:

    West Wing Week: 01/11/13 or “The Interests of Our Country”

    Published on Jan 10, 2013

    Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that’s happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This week, the President nominated a bipartisan slate of leaders to key administration jobs and the Vice President met with a wide array of organizations to talk about efforts to reduce gun violence.

  26. CR says:

    West Virginia Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller won’t run in 2014

    1/11/13 9:30 AM EST By JOHN BRESNAHAN – POLITICO

    Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller will not run for reelection in 2014, passing up a bid for a sixth term and putting in play a Senate seat in deep red West Virginia.

    In an interview with POLITICO, Rockefeller — the chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and one of the most senior Senate Democrats — said he had been wrestling with the question of whether to run again since October but had not made up his mind to retire until very recently.

    “I’m going to serve out my term,” the 75-year-old Rockefeller said. “It was a very hard decision for me. Once it’s made, like any hard decision, it eases up. But it was a very tough decision for me.”

    Rockefeller is scheduled to make a formal announcement at 11 a.m. back home in West Virginia.

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/01/jay-rockefeller-to-retire-86054.html?hp=t3_3

  27. CR says:

    Next Up..

    1:15 PM ET
    President Obama and President Karzai hold a joint press conference.

    WhiteHouse.gov http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

    ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/Live/

    CSPAN http://www.c-span.org/Events/President-Obama-Meets-With-Afghan-President-Karzai/10737437176/

    • CR says:

      January 11, 2013

      Joint Press Conference by President Obama and President Karzai

      East Room

      1:40 P.M. EST

      PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good afternoon, everybody. Please have a seat.

      It is my pleasure to welcome President Karzai back to the White House, as well as his delegation. We last saw each other during the NATO Summit, in my hometown of Chicago — a city that reflects the friendship between our peoples, including many Afghan-Americans, as well as the Karzai family. So, Mr. President, welcome.

      We meet at a critical moment. The 33,000 additional forces that I ordered to Afghanistan have served with honor. They’ve completed their mission and, as promised, returned home this past fall. The transition is well underway, and soon nearly 90 percent of Afghans will live in areas where Afghan forces are in the lead for their own security.

      This year, we’ll mark another milestone — Afghan forces will take the lead for security across the entire country. And by the end of next year, 2014, the transition will be complete –Afghans will have full responsibility for their security, and this war will come to a responsible end.

      This progress is only possible because of the incredible sacrifices of our troops and our diplomats, the forces of our many coalition partners, and the Afghan people who’ve endured extraordinary hardship. In this war, more than 2,000 of America’s sons and daughters have given their lives. These are patriots that we honor today, tomorrow, and forever. And as we announced today, next month I will present our nation’s highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor, to Staff Sergeant Clinton Romesha for his heroic service in Afghanistan.

      Today, because of the courage of our citizens, President Karzai and I have been able to review our shared strategy. With the devastating blows we’ve struck against al Qaeda, our core objective — the reason we went to war in the first place — is now within reach: ensuring that al Qaeda can never again use Afghanistan to launch attacks against our country. At the same time, we pushed the Taliban out of their strongholds. Today, most major cities — and most Afghans — are more secure, and insurgents have continued to lose territory.

      Meanwhile, Afghan forces continue to grow stronger. As planned, some 352,000 Afghan soldiers and police are now in training or on duty. Most missions are already being led by Afghan forces. And of all the men and women in uniform in Afghanistan, the vast majority are Afghans who are fighting and dying for their country every day.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/01/11/joint-press-conference-president-obama-and-president-karzai

      • CR says:

        Obama, Karzai announce scaled-back role for US military in 2013

        1/11/13 02:24 PM ET By Jonathan Easley – TheHill

        President Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Friday announced that the U.S. military would begin a scaled-back role in Afghanistan in mid-2013, sooner than initially projected.

        “Starting this spring our troops will have a different mission — training, advising and assisting Afghan forces,” Obama said in a joint press conference with Karzai in the East Room of the White House.
        “By the end of next year — 2014 — the transition will be complete,” he continued. “This war will come to a responsible end.”

        Obama said he’d be taking recommendations from commanders on the ground to determine how many — or if any — troops would stay in the country after 2014. In a statement released just moments before the press conference, the White House said the two governments hoped to soon finalize an agreement on residual U.S. troops.

        Obama and Karzai met privately in the Oval Office earlier in the day, where the two “discussed the possibility of a post-2014 U.S. presence that is sustainable, that supports a capable and effective Afghan National Security Force, and that continues to pressure the remnants of al-Qaeda and its affiliates,” according to a statement from the White House, which said the “scope and nature” would be hammered out in a Bilateral Security Agreement “as soon as possible.”

        At the press conference Friday, Obama said he would announce the next phase of the drawdown in “coming months.”

        Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/global-affairs/asia-pacific/276725-obama-karzai-discuss-post-2014-us-role-in-afghanistan-#ixzz2HhQU55u0

    • CR says:

      January 11, 2013

      Joint Statement by President Obama and President Karzai

      At the invitation of President Obama, President Karzai and his delegation visited Washington January 8-11, 2013. President Karzai’s visit comes at an important juncture for both our nations, as we take steps to further strengthen an enduring partnership as sovereign nations, and based upon recognition of our shared interests and shared security.

      In their meetings today, President Obama and President Karzai discussed a strategic vision for a secure, stable and prosperous Afghanistan and reaffirmed the U.S.-Afghanistan Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement signed in May 2012. Further, the Leaders’ discussion emphasized a convergence of interests and vision. The two Presidents reviewed the security and economic transitions underway in Afghanistan, election preparations, evolving threats and opportunities in the region, and reaffirmed shared commitments to U.S. and Afghan strategic objectives: advancing peace, security, reconciliation, and regional cooperation; strengthening Afghanistan’s democratic institutions; and supporting Afghanistan’s long-term economic and social development.

      * Security Transition
      * Economic Transition
      * Elections 2014
      * Peace and Reconciliation
      * Regional Environment
      * Bilateral Security Agreement
      * Conclusion

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/01/11/joint-statement-president-obama-and-president-karzai

  28. CR says:

    2:15 PM ET
    Vice President Biden will meet with representatives from the video game industry as part of the Administration’s effort to develop policy proposals in response to the tragedy in Newtown

    • CR says:

      Vice President Meets with Video Game Industry

      Published on Jan 11, 2013

      Vice President Joe Biden meets with representatives from the video game industry as part of the Administration’s effort to develop policy proposals in response to the tragedy in Newtown. The Vice President is joined by Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. January 11, 2013.

  29. CR says:

    Boehner invites Obama to give State of the Union on Feb. 12

    1/11/13 By Olivier Knox, Yahoo! News | The Ticket – 1 hr 24 mins ago

    Republican House Speaker John Boehner on Friday formally invited President Barack Obama to deliver his State of the Union address on Feb. 12.

    “Our nation continues to face immense challenges, and the American people expect us to work together in the new year to find meaningful solutions,” Boehner said in a letter to Obama released by the speaker’s office. “This will require a willingness to seek common ground as well as presidential leadership.

    “For that reason, the Congress and the Nation would welcome an opportunity to hear your plan and specific solutions for addressing America’s great challenges,” the lawmaker continued. “Therefore, it is my privilege to invite you to speak before a Joint Session of Congress on February 12, 2013, in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol Building.”

    Obama will get two high-profile opportunities to address the country (and the world) within just a few weeks. He will make his inaugural address on Jan. 21, laying out his broad vision for his second term in the White House. The State of the Union is expected to be more heavy on policy (though that particular speech is sometimes lampooned as “I come before you tonight to speak in ringing tones and stare into the middle distance,” no matter who is the president).

  30. CR says:

    Please join me in lighting a candle for our President, First Family and the Nation.

    http://www.gratefulness.org/candles/candles.cfm?l=eng&gi=PBO

  31. CR says:

    WH

    Saturday, January 12, 2013

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    President Obama has his routine fitness exam
    Pentagon

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
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  32. Kat 4 Obama says:

    Happy and HOPEful Friday, CR and all friends!

    >^..^<

  33. CR says:

    January 12, 2013

    WEEKLY ADDRESS: Ending the War in Afghanistan and Rebuilding America

    Remarks of President Barack Obama
    As Prepared for Delivery
    The White House
    January 12, 2013

    Hi, everybody. This week, I welcomed President Hamid Karzai to the White House to discuss the way ahead in Afghanistan. And today, I want to update you on how we will end this war, bring our troops home, and continue the work of rebuilding America.

    Over the past four years, thanks to our brave men and women in uniform, we’ve dealt devastating blows to al Qaeda. We’ve pushed the Taliban out of their strongholds. And our core objective – the reason we went to war in the first place – is now within reach: ensuring that al Qaeda can never again use Afghanistan to launch attacks against America.

    The 33,000 additional forces that I ordered to Afghanistan served with honor, completed their mission, and – as promised – returned home last fall. This week, we agreed that this spring, Afghan forces will take the lead for security across the entire country, and our troops will shift to a support role. In the coming months, I’ll announce the next phase of our drawdown. And by the end of next year, America’s war in Afghanistan will be over.

    This progress has only been possible because of the heroic sacrifices of our troops and diplomats, alongside forces from many other nations. More than a half million Americans – military and civilian – have served in Afghanistan. Thousands have been wounded. More than 2,000 have given their lives.

    This remains a very difficult mission. The work ahead will not be easy. Our forces are still in harm’s way. But make no mistake – our path is clear, and we are moving forward. Because after more than a decade of war, the nation we need to rebuild is our own.

    As we do, we have to care for our troops and veterans who fought in our name. We have to grow our economy and shrink our deficits. Create new jobs and boost family incomes. We have to fix our infrastructure and our immigration system. We have to protect our planet from the destructive effects of climate change – and protect our children from the horrors of gun violence.

    These, too, will be difficult missions for America. But they must be met. And if we can summon just a fraction of the determination of our men and women in uniform, I know we can meet them. And I intend to work as hard as I know how to make sure we do.

    Thank you.

  34. CR says:

    WH

    Sunday, January 13, 2013

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    7:00 AM
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  35. CR says:

    Sunday talk show tip sheet

    1/11/13 4:02 PM By KATIE GLUECK – POLITICO

    “Meet the Press” in NBC
    • Former Secretary of State Colin Powell
    • Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D)
    • Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R)
    • Mike Murphy, Republican strategist

    “This Week” on ABC
    • Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.)
    • Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)
    • Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)
    • Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R)
    • Richard Haass, president, Council on Foreign Relations

    “Face the Nation” on CBS
    • Manchin
    • Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)
    • Ret. Gen. Stanley McChrystal
    • Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D)

    “State of the Union” on CNN
    • Manchin
    • Huntsman
    • David Keene, president, National Rifle Association
    • Sen. Chirs Murphy (D-Conn.)
    • Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.)
    • Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.)

    “Fox News Sunday” on Fox
    • Neera Tanden, president and CEO, Center for American Progress
    • Larry Pratt, executive director, Gun Owners of America
    • Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.)
    • Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)
    • Former Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.)

    “Newsmakers” on C-SPAN
    • Rep. Xavier Becerra (Calif.), chairman, Democratic House Caucus
    “Political Capital” on Bloomberg TV
    • Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright

    “Al Punto” on Univision
    • Rep. Juan Vargas (D-Calif.)

  36. CR says:

    Obama plans to push Congress on immigration overhaul

    1/12/2013 07:23:14 PM PST By Julia Preston – New York Times

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama plans to push Congress to move quickly in the coming months on an ambitious overhaul of the immigration system that would include a path to citizenship for most of the 11 million illegal immigrants in the country, senior administration officials and lawmakers said last week.

    Obama and Senate Democrats will propose the changes in one comprehensive bill, the officials said, resisting efforts by some Republicans to break the overhaul into smaller pieces — separately addressing young illegal immigrants, migrant farmworkers or highly skilled foreigners — that might be easier for reluctant members of their party to accept.

    The president and Democrats will also oppose measures that do not allow immigrants who gain legal status to become U.S. citizens one day, the officials said.

    Even while Obama has been focused on fiscal negotiations and gun control, overhauling immigration remains a priority for him this year, White House officials said. Top officials there have been quietly working on a broad proposal. Obama and lawmakers from both parties believe that the early months of his second term offer the best prospects for passing substantial legislation on the issue.

    Obama is expected to lay out his plan in the coming weeks, perhaps in his State of the Union address early next month, administration officials said. The White House will argue that its solution for illegal immigrants is not an amnesty, as many critics insist, because it would include fines, the payment of back taxes and other hurdles for illegal immigrants who would obtain legal status, the officials said.’

    The president’s plan would also impose nationwide verification of legal status for all newly hired workers; add visas to relieve backlogs and allow highly skilled immigrants to stay; and create some form of guest-worker program to bring in low-wage immigrants in the future.

    A bipartisan group of senators has also been meeting to write a comprehensive bill, with the goal of introducing legislation as early as March and holding a vote in the Senate before August. As a sign of the keen interest in starting action on immigration, White House officials and Democratic leaders in the Senate have been negotiating over which of them will first introduce a bill, Senate aides said.

    “This is so important now to both parties that neither the fiscal cliff nor guns will get in the way,” said Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and a leader of the bipartisan discussions.

    For more: http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_22363559/obama-plans-push-congress-immigration-overhaul?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com

  37. CR says:

    Please join me in lighting a candle for the President, First Family and our Nation.

    http://www.gratefulness.org/candles/candles.cfm?l=eng&gi=PBO

  38. CR says:

    Powell defends Clinton on Benghazi: ‘You can’t keep everything from happening’

    1/13/13 By Dylan Stableford, Yahoo! News | The Ticket – 1 hr 13 mins ago

    Former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell defended current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s handling of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, saying it could’ve happened under anyone’s watch.

    “I think she’s had a distinguished record,” Powell said in an interview on NBC’s “Meet The Press” broadcast Sunday. “And I don’t think that this one incident–which is one of these things that those of us in government have been through many, many times where suddenly an action happens late at night … I don’t think it’s a blot on her record.”

    “You’re surprised,” Powell said of the Sept. 11, 2o12, attack that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. “Somebody gets killed, something gets blown up. And then the after-action reports start and everybody wants to know who was at fault. Who was responsible? ‘Why didn’t you keep this from happening?’ Well, you can’t keep everything from happening.

    Benghazi was a very, very difficult one and a difficult situation, and maybe they shouldn’t have been there in the first place.”
    Earlier, Powell was asked for his assessment on Chuck Hagel, President Barack Obama’s nominee for defense secretary.

    “This is a guy who knows veterans, knows the troops,” Powell said. “And when people say, ‘Well, that doesn’t necessarily make him a good candidate for secretary of defense,’ I’ll tell you who thinks that makes him a good candidate for secretary of defense: The men and women in the armed forces of the United States and their parents, who know that this is a guy who will be very careful about putting their lives at risk, ’cause he put his life at risk.”

    Powell continued: “He knows what war is, and he will fight a war if it’s necessary. But he’s a guy who will do it with great deliberation and care. … He is a fellow he speaks his mind. He sometimes gets in trouble with those who thinks he should not speak his mind, but he says what he believes and he sticks with it.”

    For more: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/colin-powell-hillary-clinton-benghazi-libya-184718922–politics.html

    • CR says:

      Sen. Rand ‘I don’t have any proof’ Paul

      Jan 29, 2013 10:41 AM EST By Steve Benen – maddowblog

      Last week, during a Senate hearing on the Benghazi attack, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a deeply strange question: “[I]s the U.S. involved with any procuring of weapons, transfer of weapons, buying, selling, anyhow transferring weapons to Turkey out of Libya?”

      Clinton, confused, said, “To Turkey?” Paul insisted this story has “been in news reports.” The Secretary of State said she didn’t have “any information on that” and the hearing moved on.

      But it was hard not to wonder what in the world the Republican senator was talking about. Today, the kooky conspiracy website World Net Daily published a new report, explaining that Paul believes the Obama administration may be “covering up a gun-running scheme in Benghazi that fell apart when jihadists attacked the U.S. mission there.”

      In an interview with WND, the senator said his “suspicion, although I don’t have any proof, is that guns were being smuggled out of Libya, through Turkey and into Syria.”

      I have a few follow-up questions for Rand Paul. First, if you “don’t have any proof,” what on earth are you talking about? Second, why do you keep falling for silly conspiracy theories?

      Third, why is a sitting U.S. senator talking to a fringe website like World Net Daily?

      For more: http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/01/29/16754786-sen-rand-i-dont-have-any-proof-paul?lite

  39. CR says:

    11:00 AM ET
    Vice President Biden meets with Members of the House of Representatives to discuss ways to curb gun violence. Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius also attend

  40. CR says:

    Lack Of Up-To-Date Research Complicates Gun Debate

    January 14, 2013 3:23 AM by CARRIE JOHNSON – NPR

    Vice President Joe Biden is getting ready to make recommendations on how to reduce gun violence in the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

    But he says his task force is facing an unexpected obstacle: slim or outdated research on weapons.

    Public health research dried up more than a decade ago after Congress restricted the use of some federal money to pay for those studies.

    A Researcher Under Fire

    Art Kellermann was raised in eastern Tennessee, where his father taught him how to shoot a long gun when he was 10 years old. Kellermann grew up to become an emergency room doctor — and a target for gun-rights groups when he started asking questions like, “If a gun kept in a home was used, who did it shoot, and what were the consequences?”

    Kellermann found people turned those guns on themselves and others in the house far more often than on intruders. “In other words, a gun kept in the home was 43 times more likely to be involved in the death of a member of the household than to be used in self-defense,” he says.

    Kellermann says the National Rifle Association and other Second Amendment advocates leaned on his then-employer, Emory University, to stop the research. That didn’t work.

    So, he says, “they turned to a softer target, which was the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], the organization that was funding much of this work. And although gun injury prevention research was never more than a tiny percentage of the CDC’s research budget, it was enough to bring them under the fire of the NRA.”

    The Tiahrt Amendments

    Lawmakers — both Democrats and Republicans — held back some money from the CDC and made clear that no federal funds should be used to promote gun control.

    Many researchers interpreted that message to mean no public health studies about injuries from weapons.

    Then, a few years later, Congress weighed in again, in a slightly different way.

    In 2003, Rep. Todd Tiahrt, a Republican from Kansas, added language to the Justice Department’s annual spending bill. It says the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives can’t release information used to trace guns involved in crime to researchers and members of the public. It also requires the FBI to destroy records on people approved to buy guns within 24 hours.

    For the entire article and auido interview: http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2013/01/14/169164414/lack-of-up-to-date-research-complicates-gun-debate

  41. CR says:

    ********************
    THIS POST IS NOW CLOSED NBLB

    Come on over to my newest post titled: ” International Year of Water Cooperation – 2013″

    ********************

    To get to the newest post click on “HOME” at the top of the thread

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