2015 US Government Budget

04/01/2014

gopbudget

Why Paul Ryan’s Budget Is A Fantasy

Rep. Paul Ryan, the chair of the House Budget Committee, released the fiscal-year 2015 House Budget proposal on Tuesday, a largely political document that will help shape the partisan debate ahead of the 2014 midterm elections.

As with some of his past budget proposals, Ryan will have trouble explaining the details and the means that get to the end — a balanced budget. This year, the consensus on the most implausible parts of his plan comes on two fronts.

The first are the levels at which non-defense discretionary spending is set in the budget. Discretionary spending is comprised of  spending on programs that have to be reauthorized by Congress every year, not including entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

The second is an accounting trick that is likely to be controversial, and that some call a gimmick.

The last year of the budget window, 2024, gives a good example of what Ryan does to balance the budget:

  • He ups non-defense discretionary cuts by $50 billion in 2024.
  • He assumes lower war spending by about $25 billion that same year.
  • He still needs a trick to get the budget to complete balance. Ryan uses a “dynamic” scoring method that helps balance his budget — one that could generate controversy. The “macroeconomic feedback effect” assumes the macroeconomic effects of cutting deficits will lead to about $74 billion in savings in 2024.

The non-defense discretionary spending levels, especially in the last year, seem to be the most implausible part of the budget. In 2024, per the budget, the non-defense discretionary spending levels would be $467 billion — a 22 percent cut from post-sequester levels.  In raw dollars, that’s lower than it was in 2005. It’s also much lower than the 2013 level of $576 billion.

Loren Adler, a research director at the  at  Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, told Business Insider it would “c ertainly be one of the toughest pieces to feasibly achieve.”

In inflation-adjusted terms, it amounts to about a 29 percent cut from current levels. According to a Senate Democratic aide, it’s also 28 percent below the average amount of the non-defense discretionary spending levels during the Bush administration.

By 2024, the Ryan budget adds $483 billion to defense spending beyond sequester-set spending caps. But to get overall savings, the budget cuts $791 billion from non-defense discretionary spending.

“NDD levels by end of budget window totally implausible — damage to safety net as well,” Jared Bernstein, a former Obama administration economist and now a senior fellow at the left-leaning  Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said in an email.

Ryan also uses the accounting trick to achieve balance. It’s a method he hasn’t employed in past budgets, and one that usually isn’t used by the Congressional Budget Office when scoring legislation. Ryan says the “macroeconomic feedback effect” of the deficit-cutting provisions in his budget will amount to $175 billion in savings over the 10-year budget window. And about $74 billion of that will come in the last year — coincidentally providing the U.S. with a $5 billion surplus.

Here’s Ryan’s reasoning for doing so:

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated several times over nearly 20 years that congressional action to reduce deficits will ultimately result in lower interest rates and faster economic growth by freeing up savings for use in productive investment. In addition, CBO has estimated that the positive economic effects of deficit reduction will feed back into the budget and further reduce deficits and debt over the medium and longer term.

Ryan notes the CBO used such dynamic scoring, for example, in 1998, when analyzing the 1998 bipartisan budget resolution that planned to balance the budget. But in general, the CBO says it does not usually analyze the macroeconomic effects due to several reasons (emphasis added):

Doing macroeconomic analysis of all proposed legislation would not be feasible; nearly all legislation analyzed by CBO would have negligible macroeconomic effects anyway (and thus negligible feedback to the federal budget); and estimates of macroeconomic effects are highly uncertain.

In his budget last year, Ryan included guidance about the macroeconomic effects to argue how his budget would be even better for deficits than the numbers showed. However, he did not employ the scoring method to achieve a balanced budget.

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Republican budget proposes deep cuts in domestic programs

4/1/14 2 hours ago By David Lawder – Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Representative Paul Ryan, the leading Republican voice on budget policy, rolled out a new fiscal blueprint on Tuesday that calls for deep cuts in domestic programs, increased defense spending and a goal of erasing annual deficits in 10 years.

Ryan’s budget, called the “Path to Prosperity,” has almost no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate but is expected to serve as a campaign manifesto for Republicans in November’s congressional elections.

It proposes to kill President Barack Obama’s 2010 healthcare reforms and revives cuts in social programs such as the popular Medicare entitlement for the elderly that Ryan, who chairs the House Budget Committee, has proposed in other recent budgets.

The plan calls for savings of $5.1 trillion over a decade, with the goal of reaching a balanced budget by 2024 with no new tax revenues but increased defense spending.

Nearly $2.1 trillion would be saved over a decade by the proposal to kill Obamacare, according to the plan.

A sweeping overhaul of Medicare has been slightly revised, with phased-in changes applying to workers 55 years old and younger, compared to last year’s proposal which affected workers who were 54 and younger.

The document aims to bolster Republicans’ credentials as the party of fiscal prudence, but could open them up to fresh attacks from Democrats, who are calling for steps to reduce the gap between the rich and poor.

For more: http://news.yahoo.com/republican-budget-proposes-deep-cuts-social-programs-143537137–business.html;_ylt=AwrTWVVA.TpT_kMAeebQtDMD

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Pelosi Statement on Ryan Republican Budget

April 1, 2014

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today after Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan released this year’s version of the House Republican budget:

“Today, Republicans have laid out their vision for a less prosperous America, demonstrating, yet again, the weakness of their arithmetic and the strength of their indifference to the concerns of struggling middle class families across the country.  They are proving the lengths they will go to protect the special interests at the expense of the public interest.  They are undermining seniors, students, and the middle class, crippling our economic competitiveness, and gutting our nation’s investments in the future – all to protect loopholes for the wealthy few and corporations that ship jobs overseas.

“Under this Republican budget, the wealthy and well-connected wouldn’t be asked to pay even a little more.  But seniors would be asked to pay more for preventive services and prescription drugs and see the end of the Medicare guarantee.  Families would witness devastating cuts to research, innovation, education, clean energy, and manufacturing, ceding economic leadership to other nations.  All Americans would see a budget that rejects comprehensive immigration reform, with its promise of job creation, stronger small businesses, a growing economy, and a shrinking deficit.

“Democrats have a better approach: creating jobs, strengthening the middle class, investing in our infrastructure and our children’s education, closing the opportunity gap, and responsibly reducing the deficit.  Together, we can reignite the American Dream and build an economy that works for everyone.”

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Hoyer Statement on Republican Budget for Fiscal Year 2015

April 1, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today in response to the House Republican budget for Fiscal Year 2015:

“No one ought to be surprised at the budget unveiled by Chairman Paul Ryan and House Republicans today, which once again asks those with less to give more and those with more to give less.  This year’s Republican budget builds on the disastrous approach Republicans have followed over the past three years, embracing the painful and irrational sequestration cuts and slashing funding that supports investments in opportunity, growth, and security.

“While anyone who looks at the FY2015 Republican budget can readily see that it would do serious damage to our economy and society, Republicans do their best to hide the extent of the damage.  As in previous years, Chairman Ryan relies on gimmicks, magic asterisks, and spurious accounting assumptions to presume that his budget will achieve its anticipated deficit savings.  Additionally, his budget ends the Medicare guarantee as we know it, turns Medicaid into a block grant, repeals the Affordable Care Act [aka ObamaCare], fails to invest in job creation, and does not include any new revenue.  His budget simply doesn’t work – and would lead to significant harm for our country.

“Last week, I delivered a speech in which I called on both parties in Congress to maximize every opportunity to move us closer toward the long-term fiscal sustainability that our country needs.  Our budget process is just such an opportunity; unfortunately, House Republicans chose to make it a partisan messaging exercise rather than a real effort to achieve balanced deficit savings and invest in the programs that strengthen our economy, grow our middle class, and help more of our businesses and families Make It In America.”

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Statement by the White House Press Secretary on the House Republican Budget

April 01, 2014

To build real, lasting economic security for the middle class, the President and Democrats in Congress have a plan to grow our economy from the middle out, not the top down, and create more opportunities for every hardworking American to get ahead. Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress do not have a plan that works for the middle class and the House Republican Budget is the same old top-down approach. Because of a stubborn unwillingness to cut the deficit in a balanced way by closing tax loopholes for the wealthy and well connected, the House Republican Budget would slow the economy, stack the deck against the middle class, and threaten the guaranteed benefits seniors have paid for and earned.

The House Republican Budget would raise taxes on middle class families with children by an average of at least $2,000 in order to cut taxes for households with incomes over $1 million. It would force deep cuts to investments in our roads and bridges, scientific research to cure diseases like Alzheimer’s and at every level of education from early childhood to community college. It would end Medicare as we know it, turning it into a voucher program and risking a death spiral in traditional Medicare. Instead of ensuring that Americans earn a fair wage for a hard day’s work and lifting millions of people out of poverty, the House Republican approach undermines Americans working hard to support their families by slashing food stamps and Medicaid. And rather than expanding health coverage for all Americans and making it more affordable, it would repeal the Affordable Care Act, raising health care costs on families and businesses and eliminating coverage for the 3 million young adults who have gained coverage by staying on their parent’s plan, the millions of people who have signed up for private insurance plans through the Marketplaces, and millions more who can continue to gain coverage through Medicaid.

The House Republican Budget stands in stark contrast to the President’s Budget, which would accelerate economic growth and expand opportunity for all hardworking Americans, while continuing to cut the deficit in a balanced way. The President has put forward a Budget that rewards hard work with fair wages, equips all children with a high-quality education to prepare them for a good job, puts a secure retirement within reach, and ensures health care is affordable and reliable, while at the same time asking the wealthiest to pay their fair share and making tough cuts to programs we can’t afford. And by paying for new investments and tackling our true fiscal challenges, the President’s Budget builds on the progress we’ve already made to cut the deficit by more than half since 2009 and cuts the deficit as a share of the economy to 1.6 percent by 2024. It also stabilizes the debt as a share of the economy by 2015 and puts it on a declining path after that.

Budgets are about choices and values. House Republicans have chosen to protect tax breaks for the wealthiest rather than create opportunities for middle class families to get ahead. The President believes that is the wrong approach and that we should instead be making smart investments necessary to create jobs, grow our economy, and expand opportunity, while still cutting the deficit in a balanced way and securing our nation’s future.

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A State-by-State Breakdown of the Damage That Would Be Caused by the House Republican Budget

Amy Brundage April 09, 2014 05:13 PM EDT

House Republicans this week are voting on a budget that protects tax breaks for the wealthiest rather than create opportunities for middle-class families to get ahead. It is the same old top-down approach and would raise taxes on middle-class families with children by an average of at least $2,000 in order to cut taxes for households with incomes over $1 million.

As in previous years, the House Republican Budget proposes deep funding reductions that would result in severe cuts to critical areas that are needed to support job creation, economic growth, a strong middle class, and assistance for lower income individuals, especially when compared to the overall level of investment in the President’s budget. Since House Republicans aren’t willing to identify specifically what they actually want to cut, one way to assess the potential damaging impact is to look at what would happen to key programs if the cuts compared to the President’s budget were applied evenly across the board.

The results show the potential extent of the damage across the country. Within a few years:

  • In Florida, 290,000 seniors benefited from the closure of the Medicare Part D prescription drug donut hole in 2013 alone and at least that many likely would have to pay more for their needed medications in future years.
  • In California, more than 50,000 fewer students would receive Pell Grants to help them pay for college.
  • In Ohio, the proposed Medicaid block grant would cut federal Medicaid funding for the state by more than $30 billion over the next decade, likely resulting in more uninsured individuals and less care for those still covered.
  • In Texas, 12,000 fewer children would receive Head Start services.
  • In Pennsylvania, more than 100,000 people would lose job search assistance.
  • In Missouri, 1,700 fewer victims of domestic violence would be served through the STOP Violence Against Women Program.

A full list of state-by-state impacts can be found here.

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President Obama’s 2015 Budget Proposal

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Pres Obama’s European Travel: NS Summit, EU-US Summit & NATO

03/22/2014

2014 Nuclear Security Summit The Netherlands, the organising country, will focus on the following achievable and visible goals:

  1. Optimal security for and, if at all possible, a reduction in the use of highly enriched uranium and plutonium.
  2. Ratification of the amended Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material by more countries to ensure that the amendment enters into force as soon as possible.
  3. More frequent reviews of state security structures by IAEA advisory missions.
  4. National registration and protection of highly radioactive sources (e.g. medical equipment).
  5. Greater role for industry in nuclear security, to enhance the security culture and existing regulations.States should provide information to their own people and the international community to demonstrate that they are taking appropriate measures to maintain the security of their nuclear material and facilities.
  6. These confidence-building measures will increase trust in the international protection system.

For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Nuclear_Security_Summit http://youtu.be/IA-iJtNNir0

NSS  2014 2014 Nuclear Security Summit

2014 NSS Family Photo

2014 Nuclear Security Summit
24-25 March 2014
World Forum Convention Center The Hague, Netherlands

Website: https://www.nss2014.com

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President Obama’s European Travel Itinerary

March 24, Monday

President Obama arrives in the Hague, Netherlands

President Obama meets with Dutch Prime Minister Rutte
Amsterdam, Netherlands

President Obama tours the Rijksmuseum with Dutch Prime Minister Rutte
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

President Obama and Dutch Prime Minister Rutte hold a bilateral meeting
U.S. Ambassador’s Residence, The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama and Dutch Prime Minister Rutte deliver remarks
U.S. Ambassador’s Residence, The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping hold a bilateral meeting
U.S. Ambassador’s Residence, The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama attends opening Nuclear Security Summit sessions
World Forum Convention Center , The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama attends first plenary Nuclear Security Summit sessions
World Forum Convention Center , The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama attends Nuclear Security Summit scenario-based policy seasons
World Forum Convention Center , The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama attends a G-7 meeting
Dutch Prime Minister Rutte’s residence, Catshuis, The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama meets with Dutch King Willem-Alexander
Royal Palace of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands

President Obama participates in a family photo
Royal Palace of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands

President Obama and Dutch King Willem-Alexander hold a working dinner
Royal Palace of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands

March 25, Tuesday

President Obama meets with Kazakhstan President Nazarbayev
U.S. Ambassador’s residence, The Netherlands

President Obama holds a joint press conference with Dutch Prime Minister Rutte
Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama attends plenary Nuclear Security Summit sessions
World Forum Convention Center , The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama attends additional Nuclear Security Summit sessions
World Forum Convention Center , The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama speaks at the closing session of the Nuclear Security Summit 
World Forum Convention Center , The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan hold a bilateral meeting
United States Ambassador’s residence, The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama, South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe hold a trilateral meeting
United States Ambassador’s residence , The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama meets with U.S. Embassy members
United States Ambassador’s residence , The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama travels to Brussels, Belgium

March 26, Wednesday

President Obama meets with Belgian King King Philippe and Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo
Flanders Fields Cemetery, Brussels, Belgium

President Obama attends a wreath laying
Flanders Fields Cemetery, Brussels, Belgium

President Obama tours battlefield
Flanders Fields Cemetery, Brussels, Belgium

President delivers remarks
Flanders Fields Cemetery, Brussels, Belgium

President Obama attends the US-EU Summit
Council of the European Union, Brussels, Belgium

President Obama meets with European Commission Presidents Barroso and Van Rompuy – US-EU Summit
Council of the European Union, Brussels, Belgium

President Obama attends a US-EU Summit working lunch
Council of the European Union, Brussels, Belgium

President Obama, European Commission Presidents Barroso and Van Rompuy hold a press conference – EU-US Summit
Council of the European Union, Brussels, Belgium

President Obama meets with employees and family members of the U.S. Tri-Mission to Belgium
The Hotel, Brussels, Belgium

President Obama meets with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen
The Hotel, Brussels, Belgium

President Obama in Address to European Youth
The Palais des Beaux-Arts (BOZAR) aka Paleis voor Schone Kunsten (PSK) The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels, Belgium

President Obama departs for Rome

March 27, Thursday

President Obama meets with His Holiness Pope Francis
The Holy See Vatican City, Italy

President Obama meets with Cardinal Secretary of State Parolin
The Holy See, Vatican City, Italy

President Obama participates in a restricted bilateral meeting with President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy
Quirinal Palace, Rome, Italy

President Obama participates in a extended bilateral meeting with President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy

President Obama and Italian President Napolitano hold a working lunch
Quirinal Palace, Rome, Italy

President Obama and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy participates in a bilateral meeting
Villa Madama, Rome, Italy

President Obama and Italian Prime Minister Renzi hold a press conference
Villa Madama, Rome, Italy

President Obama tours the Colossum
Rome, Italy

President Obama meets with members of The Holy See,The Holy See, and the UN Agencies in Rome
U.S. Ambassador’s residence, Rome, Italy

March 28, Friday

President Obama and His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz of His Majesty hold a bilateral meeting
Rawdat Khuraim,  Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

President Obama spends the night
Ritz Carlton, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

March 29, Saturday

President Obama Presents to Dr. Maha Al Muneef the State Department’s 2014 Women of Courage Award
Ritz Carlton, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

President Obama meets and greets with Embassy personnel
Ritz Carlton, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

President Obama departs Saudi Arabia for the White House

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North American Leaders’ Summit 2014

02/16/2014

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Canada's Prime Minister Harper, President Obama and Mexico's President Pena Nieto hold a press conference

Canada’s Prime Minister Harper, President Obama and Mexico’s President Pena Nieto hold a press conference

On February 19. 2014, Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto will host President Obama and  Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the 2014 North American Leader’s Summit (NALS) to be held in Toluca, Mexico.

This meeting  built on wide-ranging and ongoing cooperation among the United States, Canada, and Mexico with a particular focus on economic competitiveness, energy and the environment, and defence and security cooperation. They will also have the opportunity to exchange views on a number of important regional and global security issues.

Canada, the U.S. and Mexico have a successful history of cooperation on environmental issues. This cooperation includes efforts to safeguard North America’s natural resources and ecosystems, as well as efforts to address the global challenges posed by climate change.

The United States, Canada and Mexico celebrate the 20th anniversary of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Other successful cooperative agreements like the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC) , the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) safeguard the natural resources of North America.

U.S.-Canada Trade http://www.ustr.gov/countries-regions/americas/canada

U.S.-Mexico Trade  http://www.ustr.gov/countries-regions/americas/mexico

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North American Leaders’ Summit 2014
February 19, 2014
Toluca, Mexico

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President Obama, Canada’s Prime Minister Harper and Mexico’s President Pena Nieto hold a bilateral meeting
Palacio de Gobierno del Estado de Mexico, Toluca, Mexico

President Obama, Canada’s Prime Minister Harper and Mexico’s President Pena Nieto hold a working lunch
Cosmovitral, Botanical Gardens, Toluca, Mexico

President Obama, Canada’s Prime Minister Harper and Mexico’s President Peña Nieto meet with North American Business, Civil Society and Education Leaders
Salon del Pueblo, Palacio de Gobierno, Toluca, Mexico

President Obama, Canada’s Prime Minister Harper and Mexico’s President Pena Nieto participates in the Trilateral North American Leaders Summit Meeting
Courtyard, Palacio de Justicia, Toluca, Mexico

President Obama, Canada’s Prime Minister Harper and Mexico’s President Pena Nieto hold trilateral meetings
Courtyard, Palacio de Justicia, Toluca, Mexico

President Obama, Canada’s Prime Minister Harper and Mexico’s President Pena Nieto hold a press conference
Patio Cental, Palacio de Gobierno, Toluca, Mexico

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Intelligence Programs Reforms

01/16/2014

nsa

Obama Announces Steps to Advance Surveillance Debate

Aug. 9, 2013 By Cheryl Pellerin - American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON– President Barack Obama today announced four steps that he said would move the public debate forward about classified government surveillance programs that gather data about the telephone records of Americans and others.

During an hour-long press conference at the White House, Obama said it is right to ask questions about surveillance, particularly as technology reshapes every aspect of people’s lives.

“I’m also mindful of how these issues are viewed overseas …,” he said. “In other words, it’s not enough for me as president to have confidence in these programs. The American people need to have confidence in them as well.”

Over the past few weeks the president said he has consulted with members of Congress, asked the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board to review tensions between counterterrorism efforts and American values, and directed the national security team to be more transparent and pursue reforms of laws and practices.

“Today,” Obama said, “I’d like to discuss four specific steps — not all inclusive, but some specific steps that we’re going to be taking very shortly to move the debate forward.”

These include the following –

1. The president will work with Congress to pursue reforms to Section 215 of the 2001 Patriot Act, the program that authorizes collects the collection telephone records.

Obama called the program an important tool in the effort to disrupt terrorist plots that does not allow the government to listen to phone calls without a warrant.

“But given the scale of this program,” he said, “I understand the concerns of those who would worry that it could be subject to abuse.”

After speaking with members of Congress and civil libertarians, Obama said he thinks there are steps that can be taken to give Americans more confidence that there are safeguards against abuse.

“For instance,” he said, “we can take steps to put in place greater oversight, greater transparency and constraints on the use of this authority.”

2. The president will work with Congress to improve public confidence in oversight conducted by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISC.

Congress created this court to provide judicial review of certain intelligence activities so a federal judge must find that federal actions are consistent with the Constitution.

But to build greater confidence, Obama said, “I think we should consider some additional changes to the FISC. One of the concerns that people raise is that a judge reviewing a request from the government to conduct programmatic surveillance only hears one side of the story — may tilt it too far in favor of security, may not pay enough attention to liberty.”

The president said looking at such issues from the perspectives of security and privacy might provide greater assurances to the public.

Specifically, he said, “we can take steps to make sure civil liberties, concerns, have an independent voice in appropriate cases by ensuring the government’s position is challenged by an adversary.”

3. The president said the government can and must be more transparent.

The president said he’s directed the intelligence community to make public as much information about these programs as possible.

“We’ve already declassified unprecedented information about the [National Security Agency] but we can go further,” he said. “So at my direction the Department of Justice will make public the legal rationale for the government’s collection activities under Section 215 of the Patriot Act.”

The NSA is taking steps to put in place a full-time civil liberties and privacy officer, Obama said, and release information that details its mission, authorities and oversight.

The intelligence community is also creating a website that will serve as a hub for further transparency, the president said.

“This will give Americans and the world the ability to learn more about what our intelligence community does and what it doesn’t do, how it carries out its mission and why it does so,” Obama said.

4. The president is forming a high-level group of outside experts to review all intelligence and communications technologies.

“We need new thinking for a new era,” Obama said. “We now have to unravel terrorist plots by finding a needle in a haystack of global telecommunications. And meanwhile, technology has given governments, including our own, unprecedented capability to monitor communications.”

The president is tasking the independent group to review U.S. capabilities, particularly surveillance technologies.

“They’ll consider how we can maintain the trust of the people, how we can make sure that there absolutely is no abuse in terms of how these surveillance technologies are used, ask how surveillance impacts our foreign policy, particularly in an age when more and more information is becoming public,” Obama said.

The group will provide an interim report in 60 days and a final report by year’s end, he said, “so we can move forward with a better understanding of how these programs impact our security, our privacy and our foreign policy.”

To others around the world, Obama said he wants to make clear that America is not interested in spying on ordinary people.

“Our intelligence is focused above all on finding the information that’s necessary to protect our people — and in many cases, protect our allies,” he said.

“It’s true, we have significant capabilities,” he added. “What’s also true is we show a restraint that many governments around the world don’t even think to do …. That includes, by the way, some of America’s most vocal critics.”

This is how the United States will resolve its differences, the president said. “Through vigorous public debate guided by our constitution, with reverence for our history as a nation of laws, and with respect for the facts.”

President Obama and various members of Congress are currently working to change laws on survelliance that were introduced by the 2001 Patriot Act:

Changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Feinstein (D)

ANNA ESHOO (D) INTRODUCES BILL TO END SURVEILLANCE OF AMERICANS BY U.S. INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D) Co-Sponsors Bipartisan Bill to Reform NSA Spying Policies

Potential Changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) - House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rogers (R)

USA Freedom Act  - Rep. Sesenbrenner (R)

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1/17/14 President Obama delivers remarks on Intelligence Programs Reforms 

Key Points From President Obama’s 1/17/14 Speech:

“today, I can announce a series of concrete and substantial reforms that my Administration intends to adopt administratively or will seek to codify with Congress.

First, I have approved a new presidential directive for our signals intelligence activities, at home and abroad. This guidance will strengthen executive branch oversight of our intelligence activities. It will ensure that we take into account our security requirements, but also our alliances; our trade and investment relationships, including the concerns of America’s companies; and our commitment to privacy and basic liberties. And we will review decisions about intelligence priorities and sensitive targets on an annual basis, so that our actions are regularly scrutinized by my senior national security team.

Second, we will reform programs and procedures in place to provide greater transparency to our surveillance activities, and fortify the safeguards that protect the privacy of U.S. persons. Since we began this review, including information being released today, we have declassified over 40 opinions and orders of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which provides judicial review of some of our most sensitive intelligence activities – including the Section 702 program targeting foreign individuals overseas and the Section 215 telephone metadata program. Going forward, I am directing the Director of National Intelligence, in consultation with the Attorney General, to annually review – for the purpose of declassification – any future opinions of the Court with broad privacy implications, and to report to me and Congress on these efforts. To ensure that the Court hears a broader range of privacy perspectives, I am calling on Congress to authorize the establishment of a panel of advocates from outside government to provide an independent voice in significant cases before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Third, we will provide additional protections for activities conducted under Section 702, which allows the government to intercept the communications of foreign targets overseas who have information that’s important for our national security. Specifically, I am asking the Attorney General and DNI to institute reforms that place additional restrictions on government’s ability to retain, search, and use in criminal cases, communications between Americans and foreign citizens incidentally collected under Section 702.

Fourth, in investigating threats, the FBI also relies on National Security Letters, which can require companies to provide specific and limited information to the government without disclosing the orders to the subject of the investigation. These are cases in which it is important that the subject of the investigation, such as a possible terrorist or spy, isn’t tipped off. But we can – and should – be more transparent in how government uses this authority. I have therefore directed the Attorney General to amend how we use National Security Letters so this secrecy will not be indefinite, and will terminate within a fixed time unless the government demonstrates a real need for further secrecy. We will also enable communications providers to make public more information than ever before about the orders they have received to provide data to the government.”

For the entire speech: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/read-obama-s-full-remarks-on-nsa-surveillance-reforms

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January 17, 2014

FACT SHEET: Review of U.S. Signals Intelligence

In the latter half of 2013 and early 2014, the United States Government undertook a broad-ranging and unprecedented review of our signals intelligence programs, led by the White House with relevant Departments and Agencies across the Government. In addition to our own intensive work, the review process drew on input from key stakeholders, including Congress, the tech community, civil society, foreign partners, the Review Group on Intelligence and Communication Technologies, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, and others.  The Administration’s review examined how, in light of new and changing technologies, we can use our intelligence capabilities in a way that optimally protects our national security while supporting our foreign policy, respecting privacy and civil liberties, maintaining the public trust, and reducing the risk of unauthorized disclosures. On January 17, 2014, the President delivered a speech at the Department of Justice to announce the outcomes of this review process.

For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/01/17/fact-sheet-review-us-signals-intelligence

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March 27, 2014
Fact Sheet: The Administration’s Proposal for Ending the Section 215 Bulk Telephony Metadata Program

 

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President Obama – Our Civil Rights Advocate

11/05/2013

President Obama is a civil rights advocate as well as a guardian for America’s safety and his choice of James Comey for FBI Director reflects that.

President Obama nominated James Comey in June 2013 to head the FBI because of his intergrity and fight for justice for all.

In 2004 James Comey threatened to resign as Acting Attorney General if the then White House under President George W. Bush (R) ignored the Department of Justice’s legal conclusions on the wiretapping under the Patriot Act which Preisdent George W. Bush signed into law  on October 26, 2001.

Here is the Wikipedia section on James Comey’s NSA Domestic Wiretapping:

NSA domestic wiretapping
In early January 2006, The New York Times, as part of their investigation into alleged domestic surveillance by the National Security Agency, reported that Comey, who was Acting Attorney General during the March 2004 surgical hospitalization of John Ashcroft, refused to “certify” the legality of central aspects of the NSA program at that time. The certification was required under existing White House procedures to continue the program.

After Comey’s refusal, the newspaper reported, Andrew H. Card Jr., White House Chief of Staff, and Alberto R. Gonzales, then White House counsel and future Attorney General, made an emergency visit to the George Washington University Hospital to attempt to win approval directly from Ashcroft for the program. According to the 2007 memoir of Jack Goldsmith, who had been head of the Office of Legal Counsel at the time, Comey went to the hospital to give Ashcroft support to withstand the pressure from the White House.

Comey confirmed these events took place (but declined to confirm the specific program) in testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on 16 May 2007.FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, like Comey, also supported Ashcroft’s decision; both men were prepared to resign if the White House ignored the Department of Justice’s legal conclusions on the wiretapping issue. FBI director Mueller’s notes on the March 10, 2004 incident, which were released to a House Judiciary committee, confirms that he “Saw [the] AG, John Ashcroft in the room. AG is feeble, barely articulate, clearly stressed.” Comey withdrew his threat to resign after meeting directly with President Bush, who gave his support to making changes in the surveillance program.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Comey#NSA_domestic_wiretapping

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New FBI pick condoned waterboarding, indefinite detention

7/07/13 11:00 PM Adam Serwer – msnbc

James B. Comey isn’t afraid to stand up to a president. So nominating him to replace Robert Mueller III as head of the FBI at a time when the Obama administration is facing hard questions over its civil liberties record is supposed to show that the president still prioritizes the rule of law and national security in equal measure.

“Jim understands that in time of crisis, we aren’t judged solely by how many plots we disrupt or how many criminals we bring to justice,” Obama said as he officially nominated Comey in June. “We’re also judged by our commitment to the Constitution that we’ve sworn to defend, and to the values and civil liberties that we’ve pledged to protect.”

Comey nearly resigned over domestic surveillance programs when he was deputy attorney general. But his reputation for defiance of Bush-era excesses in the fight against Al Qaeda may be overstated, and some civil liberties and human rights groups are considerably less impressed than the Obama administration.

“There are some very serious questions that need to be asked about the role that he’s played on various issues related to the detention, interrogation and surveillance of terrorism suspects during those years,” says Raha Wala, an attorney with Human Rights First, which hasn’t taken an official position on Comey’s nomination. “We’re certainly not attacking his character, but these are important questions that need to be asked.”

Comey was one of the few Bush-era officials willing to stand up to the Bush administration’s claim to near-unlimited power in the realm of national security. He considered resigning in 2004 over Bush’s warrantless surveillance program. But Comey’s service coincided with other Bush excesses in the war on terror, including torture and indefinite detention. An Inspector General’s report recently reviewed by The Guardian shows that even with warrantless surveillance, legal changes to the basis for secret bulk Internet metadata collection by the National Security Agency were enough to satisfy Comey, who stayed on as a Justice Department official for almost a year as the program continued as an exercise of unilateral power by the president.

“It seems to parallel the concerns with the torture memos, where it’s not so much that they’re offended by the conduct, or the legality of the conduct, but rather the sloppy legal opinions justifying the conduct,” says Mike German, a former FBI agent now with the ACLU, of the internal Bush administration arguments over warrantless surveillance. “In fact the illegal conduct was authorized to continue.” The ACLU does not take positions on nominations, but it is challenging the NSA’s current surveillance practices as unconstitutional.

For more: http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/new-fbi-pick-condoned-waterboarding-indefini

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October 28, 2013

Remarks by the President and FBI Director James Comey
12:34 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you, FBI. (Applause.) Thank you so much. Please, everybody, be seated — those of you who have seats. (Laughter.)

Well, good afternoon, everybody. I am so proud to be here and to stand once again with so many dedicated men and women of the FBI. You are the best of the best. Day in and day out, you work tirelessly to confront the most dangerous threats our nation faces. You serve with courage; you serve with integrity. You protect Americans at home and abroad. You lock up criminals. You secure the homeland against the threat of terrorism. Without a lot of fanfare, without seeking the spotlight, you do your jobs, all the while upholding our most cherished values and the rule of law.

Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity: That’s your motto. And today, we’re here to welcome a remarkable new leader for this remarkable institution, one who lives those principles out every single day: Mr. Jim Comey.

Before I get to Jim, I want to thank all the predecessors who are here today. We are grateful for your service. I have to give a special shout-out to Bob Mueller, who served longer than he was supposed to, but he was such an extraordinary leader through some of the most difficult times that we’ve had in national security. And I consider him a friend and I’m so grateful for him and Ann being here today. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

Now, Jim has dedicated his life to defending our laws — to making sure that all Americans can trust our justice system to protect their rights and their well-being. He’s the grandson of a beat cop. He’s the prosecutor who helped bring down the Gambinos. He’s the relentless attorney who fought to stem the bloody tide of gun violence, rub out white-collar crime, deliver justice to terrorists. It’s just about impossible to find a matter of justice he has not tackled, and it’s hard to imagine somebody who is not more uniquely qualified to lead a bureau that covers all of it — traditional threats like violent and organized crime to the constantly changing threats like terrorism and cyber-security. So he’s got the resume.

But, of course, Jim is also a famously cool character — the calmest in the room during a crisis. Here’s what a fellow former prosecutor said about him. He said, “You know that Rudyard Kipling line — ‘If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs’– that’s Jim.”

For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/10/28/remarks-president-and-fbi-director-james-comey

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Obama Announces Steps to Advance Surveillance Debate

Aug. 9, 2013 By Cheryl Pellerin - American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON– President Barack Obama today announced four steps that he said would move the public debate forward about classified government surveillance programs that gather data about the telephone records of Americans and others.

During an hour-long press conference at the White House, Obama said it is right to ask questions about surveillance, particularly as technology reshapes every aspect of people’s lives.

“I’m also mindful of how these issues are viewed overseas …,” he said. “In other words, it’s not enough for me as president to have confidence in these programs. The American people need to have confidence in them as well.”

Over the past few weeks the president said he has consulted with members of Congress, asked the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board to review tensions between counterterrorism efforts and American values, and directed the national security team to be more transparent and pursue reforms of laws and practices.

“Today,” Obama said, “I’d like to discuss four specific steps — not all inclusive, but some specific steps that we’re going to be taking very shortly to move the debate forward.”

These include the following –

1. The president will work with Congress to pursue reforms to Section 215 of the 2001 Patriot Act, the program that authorizes collects the collection telephone records.

Obama called the program an important tool in the effort to disrupt terrorist plots that does not allow the government to listen to phone calls without a warrant.

“But given the scale of this program,” he said, “I understand the concerns of those who would worry that it could be subject to abuse.”

After speaking with members of Congress and civil libertarians, Obama said he thinks there are steps that can be taken to give Americans more confidence that there are safeguards against abuse.

“For instance,” he said, “we can take steps to put in place greater oversight, greater transparency and constraints on the use of this authority.”

2. The president will work with Congress to improve public confidence in oversight conducted by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISC.

Congress created this court to provide judicial review of certain intelligence activities so a federal judge must find that federal actions are consistent with the Constitution.

But to build greater confidence, Obama said, “I think we should consider some additional changes to the FISC. One of the concerns that people raise is that a judge reviewing a request from the government to conduct programmatic surveillance only hears one side of the story — may tilt it too far in favor of security, may not pay enough attention to liberty.”

The president said looking at such issues from the perspectives of security and privacy might provide greater assurances to the public.

Specifically, he said, “we can take steps to make sure civil liberties, concerns, have an independent voice in appropriate cases by ensuring the government’s position is challenged by an adversary.”

3. The president said the government can and must be more transparent.

The president said he’s directed the intelligence community to make public as much information about these programs as possible.

“We’ve already declassified unprecedented information about the [National Security Agency] but we can go further,” he said. “So at my direction the Department of Justice will make public the legal rationale for the government’s collection activities under Section 215 of the Patriot Act.”

The NSA is taking steps to put in place a full-time civil liberties and privacy officer, Obama said, and release information that details its mission, authorities and oversight.

The intelligence community is also creating a website that will serve as a hub for further transparency, the president said.

“This will give Americans and the world the ability to learn more about what our intelligence community does and what it doesn’t do, how it carries out its mission and why it does so,” Obama said.

4. The president is forming a high-level group of outside experts to review all intelligence and communications technologies.

“We need new thinking for a new era,” Obama said. “We now have to unravel terrorist plots by finding a needle in a haystack of global telecommunications. And meanwhile, technology has given governments, including our own, unprecedented capability to monitor communications.”

The president is tasking the independent group to review U.S. capabilities, particularly surveillance technologies.

“They’ll consider how we can maintain the trust of the people, how we can make sure that there absolutely is no abuse in terms of how these surveillance technologies are used, ask how surveillance impacts our foreign policy, particularly in an age when more and more information is becoming public,” Obama said.

The group will provide an interim report in 60 days and a final report by year’s end, he said, “so we can move forward with a better understanding of how these programs impact our security, our privacy and our foreign policy.”

To others around the world, Obama said he wants to make clear that America is not interested in spying on ordinary people.

“Our intelligence is focused above all on finding the information that’s necessary to protect our people — and in many cases, protect our allies,” he said.

“It’s true, we have significant capabilities,” he added. “What’s also true is we show a restraint that many governments around the world don’t even think to do …. That includes, by the way, some of America’s most vocal critics.”

This is how the United States will resolve its differences, the president said. “Through vigorous public debate guided by our constitution, with reverence for our history as a nation of laws, and with respect for the facts.”

President Obama and various members of Congress are currently working to change laws on survelliance that were introduced by the 2001 Patriot Act:

Changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Feinstein (D)

ANNA ESHOO (D) INTRODUCES BILL TO END SURVEILLANCE OF AMERICANS BY U.S. INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D) Co-Sponsors Bipartisan Bill to Reform NSA Spying Policies

Potential Changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) - House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rogers (R)

USA Freedom Act  - Rep. Sesenbrenner (R)

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P5+1 Negotiations – Geneva 2013

10/14/2013

UN Geneva

The P5+1 is a group of countries which in 2006 joined the diplomatic efforts with Iran in regard to its nuclear program. The term refers to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, namely United StatesRussiaChinaUnited Kingdom,France and Germany. P5+1 is sometimes referred to as the E3+3 by European countries.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P5%2B1

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* Background Briefing on P5+1 Negotiations http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2013/10/215369.htm

P5+1 Meeting
October 15-16, 2013
Geneva, Switzerland

Secretary of State Department Under Secretary Wendy R. Sherman to lead the United States’ delegation

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UPDATE:   Iran, six world powers clinch breakthrough nuclear deal

11/23/13 1 hour ago By Parisa Hafezi and Justyna Pawlak – Reuters

GENEVA (Reuters) – Iran and six world powers reached a breakthrough agreement early on Sunday to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for limited sanctions relief, in a first step towards resolving a dangerous decade-old standoff.

The deal between the Islamic state and the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia was nailed down after more than four days of negotiations.

“We have reached an agreement,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced on his Twitter feed. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius also confirmed the deal.

Iran will get access to $4.2 billion in foreign exchange as part of the accord, a Western diplomat said. No other details of the agreement were immediately available.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and foreign ministers of the five other world powers joined the negotiations with Iran early on Saturday as the two sides appeared to be edging closer to a long-sought preliminary agreement.

The talks were aimed at finding a package of confidence-building steps to ease decades of tensions and banish the specter of a Middle East war over Tehran’s nuclear aspirations.

The Western powers’ goal had been to cap Iran’s nuclear energy program, which has a history of evading U.N. inspections and investigations, to remove any risk of Tehran covertly refining uranium to a level suitable for bombs.

For more: http://news.yahoo.com/iran-nuclear-deal-reached-geneva-021222943.html

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November 23, 2013

Statement By The President On First Step Agreement On Iran’s Nuclear Program

THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. Today, the United States — together with our close allies and partners — took an important first step toward a comprehensive solution that addresses our concerns with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear program.

Since I took office, I’ve made clear my determination to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. As I’ve said many times, my strong preference is to resolve this issue peacefully, and we’ve extended the hand of diplomacy. Yet for many years, Iran has been unwilling to meet its obligations to the international community. So my administration worked with Congress, the United Nations Security Council and countries around the world to impose unprecedented sanctions on the Iranian government.

These sanctions have had a substantial impact on the Iranian economy, and with the election of a new Iranian President earlier this year, an opening for diplomacy emerged. I spoke personally with President Rouhani of Iran earlier this fall. Secretary Kerry has met multiple times with Iran’s Foreign Minister. And we have pursued intensive diplomacy — bilaterally with the Iranians, and together with our P5-plus-1 partners — the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China, as well as the European Union.

Today, that diplomacy opened up a new path toward a world that is more secure — a future in which we can verify that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful and that it cannot build a nuclear weapon.

While today’s announcement is just a first step, it achieves a great deal. For the first time in nearly a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program, and key parts of the program will be rolled back. Iran has committed to halting certain levels of enrichment and neutralizing part of its stockpiles. Iran cannot use its next-generation centrifuges, which are used for enriching uranium. Iran cannot install or start up new centrifuges, and its production of centrifuges will be limited. Iran will halt work at its plutonium reactor. And new inspections will provide extensive access to Iran’s nuclear facilities and allow the international community to verify whether Iran is keeping its commitments.

These are substantial limitations which will help prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon. Simply put, they cut off Iran’s most likely paths to a bomb. Meanwhile, this first step will create time and space over the next six months for more negotiations to fully address our comprehensive concerns about the Iranian program. And because of this agreement, Iran cannot use negotiations as cover to advance its program.

For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/11/23/statement-president-first-step-agreement-irans-nuclear-program


9/11 Patriot Day 2013

09/10/2013

In the United States, Patriot Day occurs on September 11 of each year, designated in memory of the 2,993 killed in the September 11, 2001 attacks. Most Americans refer to the day as “Nine-Eleven (9/11),” “September Eleventh,” or some variation thereof. U.S. House of Representatives Joint Resolution 71 was approved by a vote of 407-0 on October 25, 2001. It requested that the President designate September 11 of each year as “Patriot Day.”

On this day, President Obama asks Americans to observe a moment of silence at 8:46 AM ET and calls upon all departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the United States to display the flag of the United States at half-staff on Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance in honor of the individuals who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.

President Obama urges Americans to we mark each September 11th as a National Day of Service and Remembrance.

United We Serve http://www.serve.gov/sept11.asp

President Obama, Vice President Biden, First Lady Michelle, Dr. Jill Biden mark the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by observing a moment of silence on the South Lawn of the White House at 8:46 AM ET September 11, 2013

President Obama, Vice President Biden, First Lady Michelle, Dr. Jill Biden mark the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by observing a moment of silence on the South Lawn of the White House at 8:46 AM ET September 11, 2013

9/11 Memorial

The Pentagon Memorial

Flight 93 National Memorial - Donate To Help It’s Construction

Beyond the 11th

Better Business Bureau Human Service Charities http://www.bbb.org/charity-reviews/national/human-services/

Better Business Bureau Police and Fire Fighters Charities http://www.bbb.org/charity-reviews/national/police-and-firefighter/

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Wednesday, September 11

8:39 AM ET
9/11 Memorial – http://www.911memorial.org/watch-911-anniversary-ceremony
Live webcast of the September 11, 2001 anniversary ceremony. The observance of the 12th anniversary
9/11 Memorial Plaza, New York, NY

8:46 AM ET
President Obama, Vice President Biden, First Lady Michelle, Dr. Jill Biden and White House staff observe a moment of silence to mark the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks
South Lawn of the White House

9:30 AM ET
President Obama attends the Pentagon Memorial to attend the September 11th Observance Ceremony
Pentagon, Washington DC

9:45 AM ET
U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell attends the memorial for the passengers and crew aboard United Flight 93
Shanksvillle, PA


Pres Obama’s Trip to Sweden and 2013 G20 Leaders’ Summit

09/02/2013

Pres Obama Sweden Trip

August 07, 2013

Statement by the Press Secretary on the President’s Travel to Sweden

Before traveling to Russia, the President will travel to Stockholm, Sweden, on September 4 and 5.  Sweden is a close friend and partner to the United States.  Sweden plays a key leadership role on the international stage, including in opening new trade and investment opportunities through the U.S.-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, advancing clean technologies, and promoting environmental sustainability.

Welcome to #KTH, Obama! #ObamainSweden pic.twitter.com/3ghms3DDb2— KTH aktuellt (@KTHinfo) August 31, 2013

Sweden American flags

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G20 Russia 2013

The G20 was created in December 1999 in response to the financial crises affecting the emerging countries in the late 1990s. The initial aim was to have the finance ministers and central bank governors of the industrialised and emerging countries meet once a year to facilitate international economic policy cooperation.

Confronted with the deepest economic and financial crisis since World War II, the G20 went into high gear in late 2008 at the initiative of France, the holder of the rotating EU presidency at the time. What emerged was an economic steering body that brought together the world’s major political leaders at the highest level. At the pioneering Washington Summit in November 2008, heads of States and governments agreed on an extraordinary plan of action to prevent the financial system and the global economy from collapsing.

The 8th G20 Leaders’ Summit will be held on September 5-6, 2013 in St. Petersburg, Russia.

G20 Russia: http://www.g20.org/en

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Rainbow spectrum

President Obama’s Sweden, G20 Russia Travel Schedule

Tuesday, September 3
President Obama departs Washington, DC en route Stockholm, Sweden

Wednesday, September 4
President Obama is welcomed to Stockholm, Sweden

President Obama and Prime Minister Reinfeldt hold a bilateral meeting and joint press conference, Stockholm, Sweden

President Obama participates in an event honoring Raoul Wallenberg at the Great Synagogue, Stockholm, Sweden

President Obama tours an expo featuring clean energy innovations
Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm, Sweden

President Obama attends a dinner with Nordic Leaders, Stockholm, Sweden

Thursday, September 5
President Obama and the King and Queen of Sweden hold a bilateral meeting, Stockholm, Sweden

President Obama departs Stockholm en route Saint Petersburg, Russia

President Obama attends G-20 Summit Leaders working session on growth and the global economy,  Konstantinovsky Palace, Saint Petersburg, Russia

President Obama attends the G-20 Leaders working dinner on sustainable development,   Konstantinovsky Palace, Saint Petersburg, Russia

Friday, September 6

President Obama attends the G-20 Leaders session on investing in growth and Summit session on investing in growth and jobs, Saint Petersburg, Russia

President Obama participates in the G-20 Leaders family photo
Konstantinovsky Palace, Saint Petersburg, Russia

President  Obama participates in the G-20 Leaders working lunch on growth and trade,  Konstantinovsky Palace, Saint Petersburg, Russia

President Obama participates in a press conference,  Konstantinovsky Palace,, Saint Petersburg, Russia

President Obama meets with human rights activists and LGBT rights groups, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Saint Petersburg, Russia

President Obama returns to Washington, DC

Rainbow spectrum

 

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Emergency Preparedness For Adults & Kids

08/30/2013

Natl Preparedness Month

Ready is a national public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies including natural and man-made disasters. The goal of the campaign is to get the public involved and ultimately to increase the level of basic preparedness across the nation.

Ready and its Spanish language version Listo ask individuals to do three key things: (1) build an emergency supply kit, (2) make a family emergency plan and (3) be informed about the different types of emergencies that could occur and their appropriate responses.

The campaign’s messages have been distributed through: television, radio, print, outdoor and Web (PSAs) developed and produced by The Advertising Council; brochures;

www.Ready.gov and www.Listo.gov Web sites; toll-free phone lines 1-800-BE-Ready and 1-888-SE-Listo; and partnerships with a wide variety of public and private sector organizations.

FEMA app

Get a Kit Build a Kit
Basic Disaster Supplies Kit…… Make a Plan
Plan for Your Risks Research & Publications
Natural Disasters Be Informed
Hurricane App by American Red Cross Replace Your Vital Documents

“Preparedness is an essential element of a resilient and secure Nation. My Administration has made preparedness a top priority, and we are working every day to ensure our country stands ready to respond to any disaster or emergency — from wildfires and hurricanes, to terrorist attacks and pandemic disease. Our goal is to ensure a more resilient Nation — one in which individuals, communities, and our economy can adapt to changing conditions as well as withstand and rapidly recover from disruption due to emergencies.

During National Preparedness Month, we underscore the responsibility of individuals, families, and communities — including the private and nonprofit sectors — to do their part before an emergency. I urge all Americans to take time to prepare an emergency supply kit and a family emergency plan, and to educate themselves about potential disasters. I also ask Americans to work within their own communities to coordinate emergency preparedness efforts. All Americans share this responsibility, and we must all work together to safeguard the Nation from harm.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) supports and promotes citizen education and grassroots preparedness efforts. FEMA’s Ready Campaign provides simple and practical steps that all Americans can take to protect themselves, their families, and their neighbors. Additionally, the Citizen Corps educates, trains, and coordinates volunteer activities that help make our communities safer and better prepared for emergencies. I encourage all Americans to learn more at www.ready.gov and www.citizencorps.gov.

9/4/09 President Barack Obama

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Animal Disaster Preparedness:  AnimalsInDisasterFactSheet.pdf

Ready.gov Animal information: http://www.ready.gov/search/node/animals


Ready.gov:kids
* Make A Plan 
* Build A Kit
* Know The Facts
* Get Involved

Learn more: FEMA for KIDS 


G8 Summit 2013

06/15/2013

g8 lough erne - lrg

Created at the initiative of France in 1975 to address the first oil crisis, the G8 is an informal group of advanced economies, which meets once a year at a Summit of Heads of State and Government. It has essentially a role of guidance and political impetus.

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39th G8 United Kingdom Leader’s Meeting

Lough Erne, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland

June 17–18, 2013

Host: David Cameron

In January 2013 the UK assumed the one-year Presidency of the G8. Leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, USA and UK will meet at Lough Erne in Northern Ireland for the G8 Summit 17-18 June.

PM David Cameron is determined to achieve change on three issues which are critical for growth, prosperity and economic development across the world:

g8 uk trade

g8 uk tax

g8 uk transparency

39th G8 UK Leader’s Meeting Photo, Lough Erne, Northern Ireland

39th G8 UK Leader’s Meeting Photo, Lough Erne, Northern Ireland

What is the G8?

Background: G8 2013

G8 agenda – trade, tax, transparency

Nutrition for Growth event

Social Impact Investment Forum

G8 Events

39th G8 UK Fact Sheet

June 17-18, 2013

Remarks by President Obama, U.K. Prime Minister Cameron, European Commission President Barroso, and European Council President Van Rompuy on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

Fact Sheet: Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

G-8 Leaders Statement on the Global Economy 

G-8 Leaders Communique

Lough Erne Declaration

Fact Sheet: U.S. National Action Plan on Preventing the Misuse of Companies and Legal Arrangements

United States G-8 Action Plan for Transparency of Company Ownership and Control

Fact Sheet: The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition

Joint Statement on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict by Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, and Franсois Hollande, President of the French Republic

G8 UK Website

G8 UK Twitter

G8 UK Flicker

G8 Summit Livestream

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President Obama’s Travel to the UK and Germany

President Obama and the First Lady look forward to traveling to the United Kingdom and Germany from June 17-19. In both countries, the President will reinforce the importance we place on transatlantic ties, consult on shared security challenges, and discuss the global economy.

The President’s trip will begin in Belfast, where he will engage with the people of Northern Ireland and highlight the hard work, dialogue, and institutional development they have undertaken together. The President will then attend the G-8 Summit at Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, hosted by Prime Minister Cameron, from June 17-18. The Summit and related meetings will provide the President and his fellow world leaders an opportunity to address pressing economic, political, and security challenges around the globe and to promote the advancement of trade and greater transparency among G-8 members and the developing world.

Following the G-8, at the invitation of Chancellor Merkel, the President will travel to Berlin, Germany for an official visit to reaffirm the strong ties between the United States and Germany, our vital ally and economic partner. The President looks forward to meeting with the Chancellor and President Gauck to discuss a wide ange of bilateral and global issues including opportunities to further deepen transatlantic relations.

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

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President Obama’s Ireland & Germany Itinerary

Sunday, June 16

President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Malia and Sasha depart for Europe

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Monday, June 17

3:40 AM ET
President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Malia and Sasha arrive in Ireland

President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Malia and Sasha are welcomed to Northern Ireland

President Obama visits a Enniskillen Integrated primary school
Enniskillen, Northern Ireland

4:30 AM ET
President Obama delivers a speech to the people of Northern Ireland
Belfast Waterfront, Belfast, Northern Ireland

First Lady Michelle Obama, Malia and Sasha are welcomed to Moneygall, Ireland

First Lady Michelle Obama, Malia and Sasha meet with Cousin Henry Healy and Moneygall children and their teachers
Moneygall, Ireland

First Lady Michelle Obama, Malia and Sasha are welcomed to Dublin, Ireland

First Lady Michelle Obama, Malia and Sasha tour Trinity College Dublin
Dublin, Ireland

First Lady Michelle Obama, Malia and Sasha visit with embassy staff
Dublin, Ireland

First Lady Michelle Obama, Malia and Sasha meet with young Dubliners
Dublin, Ireland

First Lady Michelle Obama, Malia and Sasha attend a Riverdance demonstration
Gaiety Theatre, Dublin, Ireland

9:30 AM ET
President Obama delivers a EU-US press statement
G8 Summit, Lough Erne Resort, Lough Erne, Northern Ireland

11:20 AM ET
President Obama is greeted by Prime Minister Cameron as a part of the official leader arrivals
G8 Summit, Lough Erne Resort, Lough Erne, Northern Ireland

President Obama attends the plenary sessions
G8 Summit, Lough Erne Resort, Lough Erne, Northern Ireland

1:30 PM ET
President Obama and Russian President Putin hold a bilateral meeting
G8 Summit, Lough Erne Resort, Lough Erne, Northern Ireland

3:30 PM ET
Leaders Working Dinner
G8 Summit, Lough Erne Resort, Lough Erne, Northern Ireland

President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Malia and Sasha overnight in Ireland

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Tuesday, June 18

President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

First Lady Michelle Obama, Malia and Sasha tour Wicklow Mountains National Park
Dublin, Ireland

3:30 AM ET
President Obama and other world leaders attend the secondary pleneray sessions
G8 Summit, Lough Erne Resort, Lough Erne, Northern Ireland

5:00 AM ET
G8 leaders for a family photo
G8 Summit, Lough Erne Resort, Lough Erne, Northern Ireland

5:30 AM ET
President Obama attends the third plenary session.
G8 Summit, Lough Erne Resort, Lough Erne, Northern Ireland

8:00 AM ET
President Obama participates in a walk and talk with Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom and Taoiseach Enda Kenny of Ireland.
G8 Summit, Lough Erne Resort, Lough Erne, Northern Ireland

8:15 AM ET
Leaders Working Lunch
G8 Summit, Lough Erne Resort, Lough Erne, Northern Ireland

9:00 AM ET
President Obama attends a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, President François Hollande of France, Prime Minister Enrico Letta of Italy and Prime Minister Ali Zeidan of Libya.
G8 Summit, Lough Erne Resort, Lough Erne, Northern Ireland

9:30 AM ET
President Obama attends the concluding plenary session.
G8 Summit, Lough Erne Resort, Lough Erne, Northern Ireland

10:40 AM ET
President Obama holds a bilateral meeting with President Hollande.
G8 Summit, Lough Erne Resort, Lough Erne, Northern Ireland

12:30 PM ET
President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Malia and Sasha depart Ireland for Germany

2:25 PM ET
President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Malia and Sasha arrive in Berlin, Germany

President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Malia and Sasha are welcomed to Berlin

President Obama meets German President Gauck
Berlin, Germany

President Obama is hosted at dinner by Germany’s Chancellor Merkel
Chancellory, Berlin, Germany

President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Malia and Sasha overnight in Berlin, Germany

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Wednesday, June 19

First Lady Michelle Obama, Malia and Sasha visit with embassy staff
Berlin, Germany

First Lady Michelle Obama, Malia and Sasha tours the wall park
Potsdamer Platz, Berlin, Germany

First Lady Michelle Obama, Malia and Sasha tours Reichstag
Berlin, Germany

President Obama meets German President Gauck
Schloss Bellevue, Berlin, Germany

President Obama and Germany’s Chancellor Merkel hold a bilateral meeting
Chancellory, Berlin, Germany

6:30 AM ET
President Obama and Germany’s Chancellor Merkel hold a press conference
Chancellory, Berlin, Germany

President Obama and Germany’s Chancellor Merkel hold a working lunch
Chancellory, Berlin, Germany

President Obama, German President Gauck and Chancellor Merkel hold a bilateral meeting
Berlin, Germany

9:00 AM ET
President Obama delivers an address to the German public
Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany

President Obama meets President Steinbrueck of the Social Democratic Party
Berlin, Germany

President Obama is hosted at dinner by Germany’s Chancellor Merkel
Schloss Charlottenburg, Berlin, Germany

President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Malia and Sasha depart Germany

President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Malia and Sasha arrive at the White House

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