VPOTUS @ Univ of Delaware 2014 Commencement & Citizens Congress Conference

UDelawareVP Biden @ UD 2014 Commencement

Vice President Joe Biden to deliver remarks at the University of Delaware’s 165th Commencement May 31st

April 7, 2014– udel.edu

Vice President Joe Biden will deliver the Commencement address at the University of Delaware, his alma mater, on Saturday, May 31.

The University’s 165th Commencement ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. in Delaware Stadium, rain or shine, and the event is free and open to the public.

For more: http://www.udel.edu/udaily/2014/apr/commencement-040714.html

The University of Delaware Class of 2014
165th Commencement Ceremony
Vice President Joe Biden – Commencement Speaker
Saturday, May 31, 2014 @ 9:00 AM ET
Delaware Stadium, Newark, Delaware

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Live Stream: http://udcapture.udel.edu/udlive/watch.php?t=f&s=thebob.flv&w=896&h=504

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Congress Can Be Better

 

ABOUT
Democrats and Republicans agree, the gridlock in Congress has frustrated the American people and complicated the critical decisions our country faces.

Our representatives in Washington are unable to render solutions for one reason- money.

Since the 1970s, corporate business organizations have focused billions of dollars to organize and lobby for legislation that favors their special interests. This money buys access and influence in Washington; it dominates our policies, and corrupts our politics. Polls indicate that 90% of Americans favor removing the corrosive influence of money in elections.

Citizens Congress Conference is a non-profit volunteer group of concerned citizens comprised of teachers, doctors, nurses, farmers, firefighters, web designers, business owners, artists and others who know that ending government corruption should be the number one national priority.

They are a non-partisan in our pursuit of this issue and are developing and working successfully with organizations across the nation who are deeply committed to restoring balance and faith in our political system.

For more: http://www.citizenscongress2014.org/about.html

 

Citizens Congress Conference
June 2 – 5, 2014
 Cal-Poly University,  Spanos Theatre, San Luis Obispo, California

The first national gathering of legislators, scholars, and public advocacy groups combating the corruptive influence of money in our political system. Learn more: http://www.citizenscongress2014.org

Conference Registration & Attendees: http://www.citizenscongress2014.org/conference-1.html

$ Should Not Run Politics

 

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Citizens United v. FEC and the Future of Federal Campaign Finance Reform

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. ___ (2010), (Docket No. 08-205), is a US constitutional law case, in which the United States Supreme Court held that the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting political independent expenditures by corporations, associations, or labor unions. The conservative lobbying group Citizens United wanted to air a film critical of Hillary Clinton and to advertise the film during television broadcasts in apparent violation of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (commonly known as the McCain–Feingold Act or “BCRA”). In a 5–4 decision, the Court held that portions of BCRA §203 violated the First Amendment.

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

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Wake up people, and see the danger we’re in

4/09/2014 10:14:54 AM By Leonard Pitts Jr. – mercurynews.com

This is a column about campaign finance reform.

And your eyes glazed over just then, didn’t they?

That’s the problem with this problem. Americans know that government truly of, by and for the people is unlikely if not impossible so long as the system is polluted by billions of dollars in contributions from corporations and individual billionaires. Half of us, according to Gallup, would like to see public financing of campaigns; nearly 80 percent want to limit campaign fundraising.

And yet somehow, the issue seems to lack a visceral urgency in the public mind. William Ostrander understands that all too well.

“There are people that will go nuts over the Second Amendment,” he says in a telephone interview. And not to diminish the importance of self-defense, he adds, but “when you look at the practical character of it, what’s going on in campaign finance corruption is far more injurious to their lives, their well-being and their children’s lives than anything most people have had to deal with the Second Amendment.”

Ostrander is a farmer in San Luis Obispo, and the director of something called Citizens Congress 2014. Its members include a schoolteacher, a small-business man, a firefighter, a general contractor and a doctor — your basic average Americans — who have collectively invested thousands of volunteer hours to set up a summit (June 2 to 5) of lawyers, lawmakers, academics, advocacy groups and other experts.

Their aim: to brainstorm strategies and craft a plan of action to eliminate the influence of big money in politics.

For more: http://www.mercurynews.com/News/ci_25529920/Leonard-Pitts-Jr:-Wake-up-people

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19 Responses to VPOTUS @ Univ of Delaware 2014 Commencement & Citizens Congress Conference

  1. CR says:

    WH

    Saturday, May 31, 2014

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    White House’s Second Annual Civic Hackathon

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    Vice President Joe Biden Delivers the Commencement Speech at The University of Delaware
    Delaware Stadium, Newark, Delaware

    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    6:15 PM
    President Obama Delivers a Statement on Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl
    Rose Garden, White House

    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

  2. CR says:

    Vice President Biden speaks at Univ of Delaware 2014 Commencement

    Commencement speaker

    Vice President Joe Biden to deliver remarks at the University of Delaware’s 165th Commencement May 31st

    2:30 p.m., April 7, 2014–Vice President Joe Biden will deliver the Commencement address at the University of Delaware, his alma mater, on Saturday, May 31.

    The University’s 165th Commencement ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. in Delaware Stadium, rain or shine, and the event is free and open to the public.

    For more: http://www.udel.edu/udaily/2014/apr/commencement-040714.html

  3. CR says:

    Citizens Congress Conference

    Democrats and Republicans agree, the gridlock in Congress has frustrated the American people and complicated the critical decisions our country faces.

    Our representatives in Washington are unable to render solutions for one reason- money.

    Since the 1970s, corporate business organizations have focused billions of dollars to organize and lobby for legislation that favors their special interests. This money buys access and influence in Washington; it dominates our policies, and corrupts our politics. Polls indicate that 90% of Americans favor removing the corrosive influence of money in elections.

    Citizens Congress Conference is a non-profit volunteer group of concerned citizens comprised of teachers, doctors, nurses, farmers, firefighters, web designers, business owners, artists and others who know that ending government corruption should be the number one national priority.

    They are a non-partisan in our pursuit of this issue and are developing and working successfully with organizations across the nation who are deeply committed to restoring balance and faith in our political system.

    For more: http://www.citizenscongress2014.org/about.html
    .

    Citizens Congress Conference
    June 2 – 5, 2014
    Cal-Poly University, Spanos Theatre, San Luis Obispo, California

    The first national gathering of legislators, scholars, and public advocacy groups combating the corruptive influence of money in our political system. Learn more: http://www.citizenscongress2014.org

    Conference Registration & Attendees: http://www.citizenscongress2014.org/conference-1.html

    • CR says:

      Citizens United v. FEC and the Future of Federal Campaign Finance Reform

      Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. ___ (2010), (Docket No. 08-205), is a US constitutional law case, in which the United States Supreme Court held that the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting political independent expenditures by corporations, associations, or labor unions. The conservative lobbying group Citizens United wanted to air a film critical of Hillary Clinton and to advertise the film during television broadcasts in apparent violation of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (commonly known as the McCain–Feingold Act or “BCRA”). In a 5–4 decision, the Court held that portions of BCRA §203 violated the First Amendment.

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

    • CR says:

      Campaign Money Case Could Propel More Deregulation

      June 26, 2012, 02:34 am ET by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

      WASHINGTON (AP) — Corporations and labor unions have been emboldened this election season to spend unlimited sums of cash. The Supreme Court is telling them to go full speed ahead.

      The high court on Monday reaffirmed its controversial Citizens United decision from 2010, following a challenge to a Montana law that prohibited corporate spending in elections. But the decision in the Montana case probably will mean a push for more campaign-finance deregulation.

      In the middle of a presidential race already brimming with cash from “super” political committees, the decision leaves no ambiguity that the practice can continue — benefiting the campaigns of President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney the most. Super PACs so far have spent tens of millions of dollars on the presidential election.

      The ruling was a victory for those who support few restrictions, saying the First Amendment affords them the right to spend as much as they want to support or defeat a candidate. Reformers vowed to press on, hoping to craft new laws to curb what they call the corrupting influence of money in politics.

      “The Supreme Court today has left standing the disastrous Citizens United decision and the enormous damage it is doing to our democracy and political system,” Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer said Monday.

      The ruling, more importantly, leaves the campaign finance system with fewer restrictions on how money may be spent in politics. It could mean that advocates of deregulation will push for stripping away existing limits on direct contributions to candidates, or turning back disclosure laws some call anathema to anonymous speech.

      Citizens United and a handful of other recent federal court decisions have collectively wiped out many campaign finance regulations born out of the Watergate era and the early 2000s.

      Election law observers had awaited Monday’s decision, which could have seen the court revisit Citizens United.

      The Montana case could give the Supreme Court “an opportunity to consider whether, in light of the huge sums currently deployed to buy candidates’ allegiance, Citizens United should continue to hold sway,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a dissenter in Citizens United, said in granting a February stay of the Montana Supreme Court’s decision upholding the state’s century-old law.

      For more: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=155748177

    • CR says:

      Constitutional amendment required to undo Citizens United, Senate panel told

      No Republicans on the Senate Judiciary subcommittee attended the hearing, which heard testimony from lawmakers opposed to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling and constitutional scholars.

      July 24, 2012 By Warren Richey – csmonitor

      It will take a constitutional amendment to reverse the flood of independent money inundating American elections in the aftermath of the US Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United decision, a Senate Judiciary subcommittee was told on Tuesday.

      New laws alone will not be enough to counter the impact of the 2010 high court decision establishing that corporations have a First Amendment right to make independent political expenditures during election season, witnesses told the panel.

      The hearing of the Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights arises in a particularly heated election season in which new political spending enabled by Citizens United has played a prominent role. The hearing was chaired by Sen. Richard Durbin (D) of Illinois and was entirely a production of Democratic members of the Senate.

      “I believe, as you believe, that the solution here is a constitutional amendment to restore the power to the hands of the people, not the corporations,” said Senator Max Baucus (D) of Montana, one of the witnesses.

      “My proposal would right the wrong of Citizens United – simply overturn it – and give back to the people, like those in Montana, the ability to once again say we are not for sale,” he said.

      A campaign to amend the Constitution is already underway with nearly 1.9 million signatures, supportive resolutions from 275 cities and towns, and the backing of state legislatures in California, Maryland, Hawaii, Vermont, and Rhode Island.

      Senator Durbin compared the campaign finance issue to other historic national problems that required constitutional amendments to resolve, such as ending slavery, extending the vote to women, and invalidating poll taxes.

      “I have reached the conclusion that a constitutional amendment is necessary,” Senator Durbin said. “It is an uphill battle. It may take years.”

      The hearing came a week after a campaign spending disclosure law – the DISCLOSE Act – was bottled up in the US Senate by Republican opposition. It also comes amid what is expected to be the most expensive presidential election season in history – including massive spending by so-called super PACs.

      The Citizens United decision and a related federal appeals court ruling five months later set the stage for the current proliferation of organizations seeking to influence the outcome of national elections while working independently of candidates and their political parties.

      By remaining independent they are protected by the First Amendment from federal campaign finance restrictions, under the court decisions.

      President Obama and other Democrats have denounced the Citizens United decision as a setback for American democracy by empowering wealthy corporations at the expense of ordinary voters.

      Republicans have defended the decision on free speech grounds. Not a single Republican committee member made an appearance at Tuesday’s hearing.

      The hearing featured Senator Baucus and three other Democratic lawmakers who have introduced measures designed to undercut or completely overturn Citizens United.

      For more: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2012/0724/Constitutional-amendment-required-to-undo-Citizens-United-Senate-panel-told

      • CR says:

        Obama calls for constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United

        8/29/12 5:35 PM EDT POLITICO44

        In a chat with the website Reddit, President Obama called for serious look at a constitutional amendment to reverse the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling.

        “Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn’t revisit it). Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight of the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change,” Obama wrote.

        The 2010 case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission allowed for unlimited corporate and union spending on electioneering communication.

        Critics charge that it has opened the door for big-money anonymous contributors to dominate politics — but many of the third-party issue ads and big money outside groups were legal before the decision.

        More immediately, Obama renewed his call for strict disclosure rules.

        “Money has always been a factor in politics, but we are seeing something new in the no-holds barred flow of seven and eight figure checks, most undisclosed, into super-PACs; they fundamentally threaten to overwhelm the political process over the long run and drown out the voices of ordinary citizens,” Obama wrote.

        “We need to start with passing the Disclose Act that is already written and been sponsored in Congress – to at least force disclosure of who is giving to who. We should also pass legislation prohibiting the bundling of campaign contributions from lobbyists,” Obama wrote.

        Obama’s allies are currently running a super PAC on his behalf, but they refuse to accept anonymous donations.

      • CR says:

        Senate Democrats plan vote to reverse Citizens United decision

        04/30/14 10:23 AM EDT Alexander Bolton – TheHill

        Senate Democrats will schedule a vote this year on a constitutional amendment to reform campaign finance [Citizens United] as they face tens of millions of dollars worth of attack ads from conservative groups.

        The Senate will vote on an amendment sponsored by Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) that would overturn two recent court cases that have given corporations, labor unions and wealthy individuals free rein to spend freely on federal races.

        “The Supreme Court is trying to take this country back to the days of the robber barons, allowing dark money to flood our elections. That needs to stop, and it needs to stop now,” said Senate Rules Committee Chairman Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who announced the plan.

        “The only way to undo the damage the court has done is to pass Senator Udall’s amendment to the Constitution, and Senate Democrats are going to try to do that,” he said.

        Schumer said the vote would take place by year’s end and called on Republican colleagues to join Democrats to ensure “the wealthy can’t drown out middle-class voices in our Democracy.”

        Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/204788-senate-democrats-plan-vote-to-reverse-citizens-united-decision

  4. CR says:

    Announcing the White House’s Second Annual Civic Hackathon

    Leigh Heyman May 01, 2014 11:50 AM EDT

    May 31 kicks off the second annual National Day of Civic Hacking. It’s a day for civic activists, technology experts, and entrepreneurs around the country to combine their expertise with new technologies and publicly released data to build tools that help others in their own neighborhoods and across the United States.

    We can’t wait to take part, which is why we’re inviting developers and tech experts to the White House for an all-day (civic) hackathon on May 29.

    Last year we hosted 30 participants who built apps and visualizations based on the new Petitions API for We the People — the White House petitions system (check out some of those projects here). Feedback from the participants helped improve the API, and we’re adding code from their projects to a software development kit (SDK) to help others who want to start using the API too.

    The focus of this year’s National Day of Civic Hacking event? Our Petitions Write API, which is currently in beta testing, and will help even more Americans make their voices heard — allowing them to use the platform of their choice to reach the White House.

    READ MORE: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/05/01/announcing-white-houses-second-annual-civic-hackathon

  5. CR says:

    May 31, 2014

    Weekly Address: Reducing Carbon Pollution in Our Power Plants

    Remarks of President Barack Obama
    Weekly Address
    Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
    May 31, 2014

    Hi, everybody. I’m here at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., visiting with some kids being treated here all the time for asthma and other breathing problems. Often, these illnesses are aggravated by air pollution – pollution from the same sources that release carbon and contribute to climate change. And for the sake of all our kids, we’ve got to do more to reduce it.

    Earlier this month, hundreds of scientists declared that climate change is no longer a distant threat – it “has moved firmly into the present.” Its costs can be measured in lost lives and livelihoods, lost homes and businesses; and higher prices for food, insurance, and rebuilding.

    That’s why, last year, I put forward America’s first climate action plan. This plan cuts carbon pollution by building a clean energy economy – using more clean energy, less dirty energy, and wasting less energy throughout our economy.

    One of the best things we can do for our economy, our health, and our environment is to lead the world in producing cleaner, safer energy – and we’re already generating more clean energy than ever before. Thanks in part to the investments we made in the Recovery Act, the electricity America generates from wind has tripled. And from the sun, it’s increased more than tenfold. In fact, every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar – and every panel is pounded into place by a worker whose job cannot be shipped overseas.

    We’re wasting less energy, too. We’ve doubled how far our cars and trucks will go on a gallon of gas by the middle of the next decade, saving you money at the pump – and we’re helping families and businesses save billions with more efficient homes, buildings, and appliances.

    This strategy has created jobs, grown our economy, and helped make America more energy independent than we’ve been in decades – all while holding our carbon emissions to levels not seen in about 20 years. It’s a good start. But for the sake of our children, we have to do more.

    This week, we will. Today, about 40% of America’s carbon pollution comes from power plants. But right now, there are no national limits to the amount of carbon pollution that existing plants can pump into the air we breathe. None. We limit the amount of toxic chemicals like mercury, sulfur, and arsenic that power plants put in our air and water. But they can dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the air. It’s not smart, it’s not safe, and it doesn’t make sense.

    That’s why, a year ago, I directed the Environmental Protection Agency to build on the efforts of many states, cities, and companies, and come up with commonsense guidelines for reducing dangerous carbon pollution from our power plants. This week, we’re unveiling these proposed guidelines, which will cut down on the carbon pollution, smog, and soot that threaten the health of the most vulnerable Americans, including children and the elderly. In just the first year that these standards go into effect, up to 100,000 asthma attacks and 2,100 heart attacks will be avoided – and those numbers will go up from there.

    These standards were created in an open and transparent way, with input from the business community. States and local governments weighed in, too. In fact, nearly a dozen states are already implementing their own market-based programs to reduce carbon pollution. And over 1,000 mayors have signed agreements to cut their cities’ carbon pollution.

    So the idea of setting higher standards to cut pollution at our power plants is not new. It’s just time for Washington to catch up with the rest of the country.

    For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/05/31/weekly-address-reducing-carbon-pollution-our-power-plants

  6. CR says:

    9:00 AM ET
    Vice President Joe Biden Delivers the Commencement Speech at The University of Delaware
    Delaware Stadium, Newark, Delaware

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

    University of Delaware http://udcapture.udel.edu/udlive/watch.php?t=f&s=thebob.flv&w=896&h=504

  7. CR says:

    6:15 PM ET
    President Obama Delivers a Statement on Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl
    Rose Garden, White House

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

    CSPAN http://www.c-span.org/video/?319707-1/statement-sgt-bergdahl-release

    • CR says:

      May 31, 2014

      Statement by the President on the Release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl

      Rose Garden

      6:16 P.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. This morning, I called Bob and Jani Bergdahl and told them that after nearly five years in captivity, their son, Bowe, is coming home.

      Sergeant Bergdahl has missed birthdays and holidays and the simple moments with family and friends, which all of us take for granted. But while Bowe was gone he was never forgotten. His parents thought about him and prayed for him every single day, as did his sister, Sky, who prayed for his safe return.

      He wasn’t forgotten by his community in Idaho, or the military, which rallied to support the Bergdahls through thick and thin. And he wasn’t forgotten by his country, because the United States of America does not ever leave our men and women in uniform behind.

      As Commander-in-Chief, I am proud of the servicemembers who recovered Sergeant Bergdahl and brought him safely out of harm’s way. As usual, they performed with extraordinary courage and professionalism, and they have made their nation proud.

      Right now, our top priority is making sure that Bowe gets the care and support that he needs and that he can be reunited with his family as soon as possible.

      I’m also grateful for the tireless work of our diplomats, and for the cooperation of the government of Qatar in helping to secure Bowe’s release. We’ve worked for several years to achieve this goal, and earlier this week I was able to personally thank the Emir of Qatar for his leadership in helping us get it done. As part of this effort, the United States is transferring five detainees from the prison in Guantanamo Bay to Qatar. The Qatari government has given us assurances that it will put in place measures to protect our national security.

      I also want to express gratitude to the Afghan government, which has always supported our efforts to secure Bowe’s release. Going forward, the United States will continue to support an Afghan-led process of reconciliation, which could help secure a hard-earned peace within a sovereign and unified Afghanistan.

      As I said earlier this week, we’re committed to winding down the war in Afghanistan, and we are committed to closing Gitmo. But we also made an ironclad commitment to bring our prisoners of war home. That’s who we are as Americans. It’s a profound obligation within our military, and today, at least in this instance, it’s a promise we’ve been able to keep.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/05/31/statement-president-release-sergeant-bowe-bergdahl

    • CR says:

      May 31, 2014

      Statement by the President on Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl

      Today the American people are pleased that we will be able to welcome home Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, held captive for nearly five years. On behalf of the American people, I was honored to call his parents to express our joy that they can expect his safe return, mindful of their courage and sacrifice throughout this ordeal. Today we also remember the many troops held captive and whom remain missing or unaccounted for in America’s past wars. Sergeant Bergdahl’s recovery is a reminder of America’s unwavering commitment to leave no man or woman in uniform behind on the battlefield. And as we find relief in Bowe’s recovery, our thoughts and prayers are with those other Americans whose release we continue to pursue.

      For his assistance in helping to secure our soldier’s return, I extend my deepest appreciation to the Amir of Qatar. The Amir’s personal commitment to this effort is a testament to the partnership between our two countries. The United States is also grateful for the support of the Government of Afghanistan throughout our efforts to secure Sergeant Bergdahl’s release.

      This week the United States renewed its commitment to the Afghan people and made clear that we will continue to support them as they chart their own future. The United States also remains committed to supporting an Afghan-led reconciliation process as the surest way to achieve a stable, secure, sovereign, and unified Afghanistan. While we are mindful of the challenges, it is our hope Sergeant Bergdahl’s recovery could potentially open the door for broader discussions among Afghans about the future of their country by building confidence that it is possible for all sides to find common ground.

    • CR says:

      May 31, 2014

      Statement from Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on the return of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl

      A few hours ago, the family of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was informed by President Obama that their long wait for his return will soon be over. Sgt. Bergdahl is now under the care of the U.S. military after being handed over by his captors in Afghanistan. We will give him all the support he needs to help him recover from this ordeal, and we are grateful that he will soon be reunited with his family.
      Also today, I informed Congress of the decision to transfer five detainees from Guantánamo Bay to Qatar. The United States has coordinated closely with Qatar to ensure that security measures are in place and the national security of the United States will not be compromised. I appreciate the efforts of the Emir of Qatar to put these measures in place, and I want to thank him for his instrumental role in facilitating the return of Sgt. Bergdahl.
      Sgt. Bergdahl’s return is a powerful reminder of the enduring, sacred commitment our nation makes to all those who serve in uniform. The United States government never forgot Sgt. Bergdahl, nor did we stop working to bring him back. I am grateful to all the military and civilian professionals ­ from DOD and our interagency partners ­ who helped make this moment possible, and to all those Americans who stood vigil with the Bergdahl family.

      ————

      John Kerry, Secretary of State
      Washington, DC

      May 31, 2014

      Share on facebookShare on twitter Share
      The responsibility to make sure all of our men and women in uniform return from battle, especially those taken prisoner and held during war, is deeply personal to me as someone who has worn the uniform of my country – and as someone who was deeply involved in those efforts with respect to the unfinished business of the war in which I fought. Our nation has a sober and solemn duty to ensure that every single American who signs up to serve our country comes home. The cost of years of captivity to Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl and his family is immeasurable. Today, we are heartened that Sergeant Bergdahl will soon be reunited with his family and friends, from whom he has been apart for far too long.

      I extend my personal gratitude to the Government of Qatar – and especially to the Amir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani – who played such an instrumental role in returning Sergeant Bergdahl home. We work every day with Qatar on a range of critical foreign policy priorities. This effort – one that was personally so close to our hearts here – exemplifies how vital our partnership with Qatar is and will remain.

      I spoke today with Afghan President Karzai to brief him on this development and to discuss President Obama’s announcement this week about our efforts there. As we look to the future in Afghanistan, the United States will continue to support steps that improve the climate for conversations between Afghans about how to end the bloodshed in their country through an Afghan-led reconciliation process. As we’ve said, we look forward to working with the next President of Afghanistan and to standing side-by-side with the Afghan Government and the Afghan people as they build a secure, stable, sovereign, and unified country.

    • CR says:

      Five Taliban released for Sgt. Bergdahl? This is how wars end.
      A prisoner swap with sworn enemies is never pleasant. But sometimes, it’s necessary.

      June 1, 2014 By Dan Murphy, csmonitor.com

      Did Obama just swap five dangerous “terrorists” for Bergdahl, as Sen. Cruz alleges? It depends on your definition of “terrorism.”

      Four of the five men released into Qatar’s custody, where they are supposed to remain for at least a year before being allowed to return home, were indeed senior members of the Taliban movement. The Taliban have been seeking the release of the five in exchange for Bergdahl since 2011, and there had been fitful progress in that regard, with Qatar acting as a mediator, since at least 2013.

      Outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai has sought in recent years to find a reconciliation deal with the Taliban, and the release of the “Guantanamo Five” has been a part of those efforts.

      Who are they? Khairullah Khairkhwa was governor of Herat during Taliban rule and is a founder of the group. Fazl Mazlum was head of their army. Nurullah Nuri was the Taliban’s governor of Balkh province, and Abdul Haq Wasiq was the deputy head of Taliban intelligence. Mohammad Nabi Omeri is the most junior of the five, alleged by the US to have been the Taliban governments head of communications and has claimed that he had assisted the US in efforts to track down Mullah Omar, the titular head of the Taliban.

      As best as can be made out, none of the released men were ever directly involved in efforts to mount terrorist attacks on the US or any other foreign country. Kate Clark, writing about the group for the Afghan Analysts Network in 2013, said that while accusations of war crimes against the men have been common in US press reports, evidence is scant.

      Objections to their release appear based less on practical considerations, than on political ones, especially fears in the White House of being accused of dealing with the enemy during an election year

      It seems important, therefore, to be honest about the allegations made about the five. All or some of the five have been labelled in press reports as war criminals, but without giving details of where, when and against whom the crimes supposedly took place. There is only real evidence against Mullah Fazl Mazlum and the allegations against him were known about at the time – that he had command responsibility when civilians were massacred and civilian property willfully destroyed. Many figures in government today have similar records. As will be looked at in depth in a second blog, claims made in the Guantanamo Bay tribunals and in press reports sourced to unnamed US officials, frequently do not stand up to close inspection.

      For more: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Security-Watch/Backchannels/2014/0601/Five-Taliban-released-for-Sgt.-Bergdahl-This-is-how-wars-end

  8. CR says:

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

    Come on over to my newest post titled: ”First-Ever Carbon Pollution Protections″

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

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

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