The Native American Heritage Day Bill encourages Americans of all backgrounds to observe Friday, November 28, 2008, as Native American Heritage Day, through appropriate ceremonies and activities. It also encourages public elementary and secondary schools to enhance student understanding of Native Americans by providing classroom instructions focusing on their history, achievements, and contributions.
The Medal of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.
Awarded for “a meritorious act or service which has aided the United States in the prosecution of a war against an enemy or enemies and for which an award of another United States medal or decoration is considered inappropriate”
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Executive Order signed by President John F. Kennedy establishing the Presidential Medal of Freedom, as well as the first ceremony bestowing the honor on an inaugural class of 31 recipients. Since that time, more than 500 exceptional individuals from all corners of society have been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
President Obama said, “The Presidential Medal of Freedom goes to men and women who have dedicated their own lives to enriching ours. This year’s honorees have been blessed with extraordinary talent, but what sets them apart is their gift for sharing that talent with the world. It will be my honor to present them with a token of our nation’s gratitude.”
November 16, 2016
President Obama Names Recipients of the 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Barack Obama named 21 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. The awards will be presented at the White House on November 22th.
President Obama said, “The Presidential Medal of Freedom is not just our nation’s highest civilian honor – it’s a tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have the opportunity to change this country for the better. From scientists, philanthropists, and public servants to activists, athletes, and artists, these 21 individuals have helped push America forward, inspiring millions of people around the world along the way.”
The following individuals will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom:
Abraham Lincoln’s carefully crafted address, secondary to other presentations that day, came to be regarded as one of the greatest speeches in American history. In just over two minutes, Lincoln reiterated the principles of human equality espoused by the Declaration of Independence and proclaimed the Civil War as a struggle for the preservation of the Union sundered by the secession crisis, with “a new birth of freedom,” that would bring true equality to all of its citizens. Lincoln also redefined the Civil War as a struggle not just for the Union, but also for the principle of human equality.
The International Day for Tolerance is an annual observance declared by UNESCO in 1995 to generate public awareness of the dangers of intolerance.
The United Nations is committed to strengthening tolerance by fostering mutual understanding among cultures and peoples. This imperative lies at the core of the United Nations Charter, as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and is more important than ever in this era of rising and violent extremism and widening conflicts that are characterized by a fundamental disregard for human life.
Steele recalls one study that had a group of adults watch a video of two children playing. The video stopped at different points, and observers had to record what they thought was happening: Were the boys were just horsing around? Were they being aggressive? Or violent?
“In the last frame, one boy shoves another boy, and the critical question is: How do you rate that behavior? When the boy who shoves is white, raters tend to rate that action as just fooling around. When the boy is African-American, they tend to rate that behavior as violent,” Steele says.
He points out that African-American raters are almost as likely to stereotype the boys as violent.
Steele’s research also touches on the huge role of stereotypes in education. Take feedback that a teacher might give to a student.
Steele says a white professor can give critical evaluations of an African-American student in way that doesn’t make the student think the critique is based on race — but the feedback must be offered in the right way. A study by Geoffrey Cohen of Stanford shows professors shouldn’t just deliver the criticism straight, nor should they simply give a positive bromide before launching into the feedback.
What works better, Steele argues, is a professor saying ‘”I’ve looked at your work, we really have high standards here. And though you need to improve those things, I really think you can meet those standards.’ That combination of using high standards signals you’re not just seeing them stereotypically.”
Because America has an extremely diverse student body, schools are melting pots where these sorts of issues have to be dealt with. But Steele actually sees this obligation as a source of hope.
World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”
In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”
The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.
The Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year on November 11th at Arlington National Cemetery . The ceremony commences precisely at 11:00 a.m. with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and continues inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans’ organizations and remarks from dignitaries. The ceremony is intended to honor and thank all who served in the United States Armed Forces.
“It’s terrifying. We are seeing in America these terrible rallies occurring where the people are becoming violent. Now, democracy should be robust, but it certainly shouldn’t be violent. And I think the Donald Trump phenomenon is a real problem for the United States — it’s making their democracy look kind of weird.” — 3/17/16 Australian Government Minister Christopher Pyne
“Whether Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen or Geert Wilders — all these right-wing populists are not only a threat to peace and social cohesion, but also to economic development.” — 3/6/16 German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel
“Saying the U.S. will no longer engage in anything that is a burden in terms of its relationships with allies, it would be almost like abandoning those alliances … It will inevitably give rise to anti-American sentiment worldwide.” — 4/29/16 Former South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Sung-han
“In the presidential elections, there are arguments whether the United States is going for the isolationist stance. I don’t want to see that kind of United States. I want to see the United States to be strong and come with a strong robust position, not really thinking of the United States only.” — 5/6/16 Kenichiro Sasae, Japan’s ambassador to the U.S.
“Today in the 21st century, here in the United States, a climate of intolerance is sending a similar message: Mexicans go home. Separate those who are different, blame the minorities, demonize the stranger.” — Claudia Ruiz Massieu, Mexico’s foreign minister, on June 6, in a speech that made reference to the struggles of the Jewish community
“His excesses end up giving a retching feeling, even in the US, especially when — as was Donald Trump’s case — he speaks ill of a soldier, of the memory of a soldier….” If Trump wins, “there will be consequences because the American election is a global election … Democracy is also a major issue considering the authoritarian temptation that we see arising.” — 8/2/16 French President Francois Hollande
“When America retrenches and retreats, it leaves behind a vacuum, and that vacuum is filled by bad guys.” — Former NATO Secretary-General 8/8/16 Anders Fogh Rasmussen
The consequences of Trump’s victory are coming into focus
11/09/16 09:09AM By Steve Benen – maddowblog
David Axelrod, the former senior strategist for President Obama, has long espoused an interesting theory about national elections. As Axelrod explained in January, “Open-seat presidential elections are shaped by perceptions of the style and personality of the outgoing incumbent. Voters rarely seek the replica of what they have.”
By Axelrod’s reasoning, it’s expected that voters will choose a new president who is roughly the opposite of the departing executive — an assertion that looks quite sound this morning.
Some of this will be obvious immediately, because the shifts in presidential style will be jarring. President Obama is measured; Donald Trump is erratic. Obama is intellectual; Trump is incurious. Obama is honest; Trump is pathological. Obama is serious and committed to sound policymaking; Trump is clownish and dismissive of the details of public affairs.
But come next year, the stylistic differences will be an inconsequential afterthought by the time a Trump/Pence administration begins governing alongside a far-right, radicalized Republican majority in the House and Senate. The New Republic‘s Brian Beutler had a good piece on this overnight:
At a minimum, Republicans are going to do incredible violence to President Barack Obama’s accomplishments…. Trump will almost certainly abrogate Obama’s international climate agreement and the global powers agreement preventing Iran from creating their own nuclear arsenal. Republicans will send Trump legislation undermining Obama’s legacy everywhere they can find congressional majorities to do so, and Trump will sign those bills. Republicans don’t know how to repeal Obamacare, let alone replace it. But they will try.
The Supreme Court will return to conservative control, and over the next four years, it may very well become far more conservative. Voting rights will be further weakened; the constitutional right to abortion is vulnerable to abolition.
But things could get much, much worse.
There’s a temptation among some to try to look for comfort where available. We collectively hit an iceberg, but maybe we can cling to some floating debris for a while until help arrives. Americans are resilient, and we’ve been through rough times before.
I’d like to offer some kind of assurances along these lines, but I can’t do so with any honesty.
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. Yesterday, before votes were tallied, I shot a video that some of you may have seen in which I said to the American people: Regardless of which side you were on in the election, regardless of whether your candidate won or lost, the sun would come up in the morning.
And that is one bit of prognosticating that actually came true. The sun is up. And I know everybody had a long night. I did, as well. I had a chance to talk to President-elect Trump last night — about 3:30 in the morning, I think it was — to congratulate him on winning the election. And I had a chance to invite him to come to the White House tomorrow to talk about making sure that there is a successful transition between our presidencies.
Now, it is no secret that the President-elect and I have some pretty significant differences. But remember, eight years ago, President Bush and I had some pretty significant differences. But President Bush’s team could not have been more professional or more gracious in making sure we had a smooth transition so that we could hit the ground running. And one thing you realize quickly in this job is that the presidency, and the vice presidency, is bigger than any of us.
So I have instructed my team to follow the example that President Bush’s team set eight years ago, and work as hard as we can to make sure that this is a successful transition for the President-elect — because we are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country. The peaceful transition of power is one of the hallmarks of our democracy. And over the next few months, we are going to show that to the world.
This nation has survived political crises before, and it will again if progressives refrain from pointing fingers and start organizing.
At a time like this, many liberals and progressive will recall the words of labor activist Joe Hill: “Don’t mourn, organize.”
But let’s be honest. We’re in shock. We need time to mourn. To recover from the trauma of this election.
I feel awful for my 19-year-old twin daughters, who voted for the first time this year and now have to spend their college years with Trump as president. They’re upset. They talked about moving to Canada. They were half serious. We talked and texted all night, trying to console ourselves. It was tough.
I reminded them that we’ve been through periods like this before. The Civil War. The Gilded Age. The Great Depression.
I told them that in 1968, when I was 20, America elected Richard Nixon. At the time, we thought that this was the apocalypse. I had worked for Bobby Kennedy’s campaign. His murder in June of that year was traumatic. He certainly would have beaten Nixon, brought together the civil rights, union, and anti-war movements, and pushed to end the war in Vietnam, escalate and war on poverty, and expand workers rights.
After Nixon won, I considered moving to Canada myself, not just out of fear of Nixon’s agenda but also to avoid the draft and Vietnam. I even submitted an application to the University of Toronto.
But I stayed. I didn’t want to abandon my country. Like many others of my generation, I wanted to change it.
After Nixon beat Hubert Humphrey in November 1968, a massive resistance movement emerged to make it harder for Nixon to govern. In 1970, we started electing anti-war candidates to Congress. We started a backyard revolution of community organizing in urban communities. Then activists also built the women’s movement, the consumer movement, and the environmental movement.
Nixon did great damage (including the invasion of Cambodia, the killings at Jackson State and Kent State, the government infiltration and surveillance of dissenters), but the country survived.
Yes, Trump is worse than Nixon. He’s a demagogue, a white supremacist, a psychopath. But we’ll resist again.
I reminded my daughters that probably 35 percent of eligible voters didn’t vote this year. Most of them are poor, people of color, and/or young. Had they voted, Clinton would have won a big victory. Don’t judge the whole country by the election returns. The American people, overall, are better than the people who voted.
There will be many post mortems trying to explain how and why Trump won. Among the key factors:
James Comey: No major election analyst tonight (not even Rachel Maddow) mentioned the impact of FBI director Comey’s outrageous intervention on the outcome of this election. That, more than anything else, stopped Clinton’s momentum, diverted attention away from Trump’s sex and other scandals, and refocused public attention on Clinton’s emails. More than 20 million people voted between his letter to Congress 11 days ago, and his statement two days ago that the FBI found nothing damning in the new wave of Clinton emails. Much damage was done. Comey, the rogue FBI director, was more responsible for Trump’s victory than anyone else. A Republican under pressure from GOP lawmakers, Comey intentionally caused the damage.
Voter Suppression: The Republicans’ voter suppression campaign (including voter ID and felon disenfranchisement laws) in key battleground states—particularly in poor and minority areas—gave Trump the margin of victory. This was true in Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Charlotte, and other cities. Republicans engaged in such fraudulent election activities as sending phony robocalls to black households with misinformation about voting locations and times. Our arcane election laws also played a role. If Election Day were a national holiday (as it is in most democracies), or if most states had same-day voter registration, turnout among those groups would have been higher, and Clinton would have won in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and other swing states, and won the presidency.
Media Bias: The mainstream media gave Trump a free ride for most of the past year; treating him like a normal candidate rather than a racist demagogue. That allowed him to win the GOP nomination and to gain traction after the Republican convention. The media’s obsession with Clinton’s emails obscured the much-more-serious Trump scandals—his failure to pay taxes, his sexism, his bogus and self-serving foundation, his lies about his fortune, his fraudulent and abusive business practices, his total ignorance about public policy, Only in the past month did the media wake up and begin serious reporting on the real Trump. But it was too little, too late.
Right-Wing Money: The Koch brothers didn’t back Trump, but their political empire—including other right-wing billionaires who joined forces with them—may have spent close to a billion dollars helping Republican candidates for House and Senate. That increased GOP turnout in battleground states, and helped Trump.
Other factors—WikiLeaks, Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s stupid meeting with Bill Clinton on the airport tarmac, and the persistence of racism and sexism among a significant segment of the American population—all also played a role.
How did so many pollsters get it wrong?
How did so many pollsters get it wrong? Trump benefited from what political scientists call the “Bradley effect.” Just before Election Day in November 1982, polls showed that Tom Bradley, the African American mayor of Los Angeles, was going to beat Republican George Deukmejian in the race for California governor. But on Election Day, Deukmejian won. It appeared that many voters had lied to pollsters (or even to themselves). They didn’t want to appear racist, so they told pollsters they favored Bradley, but they voted for Deukmejian. Apparently, a significant number of people this year told pollsters they were voting for Clinton, or were undecided, but wound up voting for Trump. Perhaps they didn’t want to admit to pollsters, or to themselves, that they preferred Trump over Clinton.
The future looks better. Although turnout was low among the under-30 generation, those who went to the polls voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton and liberal Democrats for Congress. Latinos—the fastest-growing part of the electorate—voted overwhelmingly for Clinton. Within a few years, their growing numbers will determine elections in Florida, Arizona, Nevada, even Texas.
There were even some silver linings on Tuesday. Voters in Maricopa County, Arizona, defeated the right-wing immigrant-bashing Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Voters in Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington state approved ballot initiatives on Tuesday to increase their states’ minimum wages. Voters in Arizona and Colorado approved measures to require businesses to provide employees with paid sick days. California voters approved statewide ballot measures to extend current income tax rates for the wealthy to pay for public education, to raise tobacco tax by $2 a pack, to repeal the ban on bilingual education, to strengthen gun control laws, and to legalize marijuana. And some might find solace knowing that even though Trump beat Clinton in the Electoral College, she won the popular vote.
Moreover, all polls show that large majorities of Americans support a progressive policy agenda that links economic prosperity with fairness. They want higher taxes on the super-rich, stronger regulations on Wall Street, and big business to protect consumers, workers, and the environment, a significant increase in the federal minimum wage, some version of universal health insurance, a large-scale job-creating infrastructure program, and more affordable colleges and universities.
But public opinion, on its own, doesn’t bring about change. That’s what movements do. Americans need to join forces to resist where Trump, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, the Koch brothers, and Wall Street want to take the country. We need to build on the momentum of the Black Lives Matter and Fight for $15 campaigns, and the movements to protect immigrants, block the Keystone and Standing Rock pipelines, divest from fossil fuels, and defend Planned Parenthood and women’s right to choose.
We need new Democratic Party leadership. We need a progressive like Senators Elizabeth Warren or Dick Durbin, or Congressman John Lewis as the next head of the Democratic National Committee.