Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Watcher’s Council Nominations – Snowed In Edition 01.28.15

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Video: Margaret Whiting and Johnny Mercer - Baby Its Cold Outside

Welcome to the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the ‘sphere, and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council.Then we vote on the best two posts, with the results appearing on Friday morning.

Council News:

The Council In Action!

*Terresa Monroe-Hamilton of The Noisy Room was quoted from coast to coast on Christian radio for a post at Right Wing News For God and country’ recruiting poster was ordered removed by the US Army; ‘God’ is a problem in Obama’s military

*This week, Trevor Loudon, Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion, The Political Commentator and The Pirate’s Cove earned honorable mention status with some great articles.

You can, too! Want to see your work appear on the Watcher’s Council homepage in our weekly contest listing? Didn’t get nominated by a Council member? No worries.

To bring something to my attention, simply head over to Joshuapundit and post the title and a link to the piece you want considered along with an e-mail address (mandatory, but of course it won’t be published) in the comments section no later than Monday 6PM PST in order to be considered for our honorable mention category. Then return the favor by creating a post on your site linking to the Watcher’s Council contest for the week when it comes out on Wednesday morning

Simple, no?

It’s a great way of exposing your best work to Watcher’s Council readers and Council members while grabbing the increased traffic and notoriety. And how good is that, eh?

So, let’s see what we have for you this week….

Council Submissions
Honorable Mentions
Non-Council Submissions

Enjoy! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that!And don’t forget to tune in Friday for the results!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Sarah Palin is the perfect foil to take on Hillary Clinton

Hillay Pouty Mouth

AP Photo

Adriana Cohen  -  Boston Herald

Sarah Palin says she’s seriously considering a 2016 presidential run.

Why not? The GOP needs women on the ticket for many reasons, not least because it steals the Democratic Party’s thunder. They want to be the “first” at breaking cultural barriers and glass ceilings. With Hillary Clinton expected to be their front-runner in 2016, they’ll use her gender as a tactic to gin up support from their base — especially female voters.

I can already see Emily’s List pushing out emails nationwide saying, “Let’s make history by electing the first female president of the United States.”

It’s imperative Republicans put forward their own female leaders for the presidential ticket to counter that Democratic message.

Yes, Sarah Palin was bludgeoned in the 2008 race by the Democratic machine, which tried to discredit her unfairly and turn her into a cartoon figure. But Americans — especially Republicans — understand the game. There’s a double standard in gender politics.

If you’re a female leader on the Democratic ticket, you’re a “hero” regardless of how many times you put your foot in your mouth, embarrass yourself or worse.

We haven’t forgotten Hillary Clinton saying that we should empathize with our enemies or that businesses and corporations don’t really create jobs. Both absurd statements that should disqualify any candidate — male or female — from any race, never mind the top slot.

But if you’re a female conservative? Watch out! Liberals will pounce and do everything they can to marginalize a conservative woman who runs for office no matter how educated, or talented, or accomplished she is. Liberals only “tolerate” others if they agree with them and follow their agenda.

Skeptics will say Sarah Palin doesn’t have a chance in the GOP race because she’s too polarizing. But what about Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren? They’re polarizing too, with supporters and haters in equal measure.

The reality is Sarah Palin draws huge crowds at speaking engagements, has millions of social media followers and just as many supporters across the nation.

Hilary Clinton has been giving speeches to half-filled rooms.

If Sarah Palin chooses to throw her proverbial hat in the ring for 2016, there’s no doubt she’d make the race exciting and bring a welcome woman’s point of view to the GOP field.

Adriana Cohen is co-host of 
“Boston Herald Drive” on WMEX 1510 AM weekdays from 7-9 a.m. Follow Adriana on Twitter 
@AdrianaCohen16.

Video: Two Women, Two Paths

Related:

Ask Marion

  Palin Derangement Syndrome Continues

US 4 Palin

Sarah Palin: Would Love to See Two Women Run in 2016

Governor Palin’s Executive Accomplishments

Master List of Governor Palin’s 2014 Accomplishments

Master List of Governor Palin’s 2013 Accomplishments

Master List of Governor Palin’s 2012 Accomplishments

Master List of Governor Palin’s 2011 Accomplishments

Master List of Governor Palin’s 2010 Accomplishments

Master List of Governor Palin’s 2009 Accomplishments

A Time For Choosing

September 4, 2008: Governor Sarah Palin’s Historic RNC Vice Presidential Nomination Speech

Forum: Will You Watch The Super Bowl? Why Or Why Not?

Every week on Monday morning , the Council and our invited guests weigh in at The Council Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question:Will You Watch The Super Bowl? Why Or Why Not?

Super  Bowl 49

The Razor: I gave up watching the Super Bowl or any NFL game two years ago. At the time CTE or chronic traumatic encephalopathy was making the news, as was the NFL channeling their inner tobacco company to deny it just as the latter denied the cancer link to smoking. I was also getting sick of seeing players laid out in the field. I was eating at some sports themed restaurant one Sunday afternoon and there were three games on at the same time, each showing players injured on the field. I felt that it was only a matter of time before someone died, and that even though I loved the sport, I couldn’t stomach it anymore.

The business of the game had also pulled at my libertarian and populist instincts. Seeing taxpayer money funneled to billionaires to pay for their stadiums as they blackmailed their host cities appalled me, a situation that my hometown of St. Louis finds itself in yet again with the owner of the Los Angeles St. Louis Rams threatening to move the team back to LA if he doesn’t get a grand stadium his team can lose games in. St. Louis has one of the best baseball teams in that sport, and even its hockey team is worthy of celebrating, but it has never had a decent football team. For some reason the NFL owners have some kind of mind control over politicians to fund their pet projects, and St. Louis is no different. They seem willing to spend hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to keep a bad football team around.

So no I won’t watch the Super Bowl even if the New England Patriots aren’t a bunch of cheating weasels which I believe without a shadow of a doubt they are. Instead I’ll be streaming Downton Abbey or a Sons of Anarchy episode through my Roku as I gather my courage to cancel my DirecTV subscription and cut the cable once and for all. But in the meantime a pox on the Pats.

Belichick vs Carroll

CheaterGate – Belichick vs Carroll (Getty Images)

Ask Marion :  No…NO…No…NO!!!!

My husband is a sports fanatic. He loves every sport and I’ve watched more games than I care to remember, so I really pick and choose the ones I will waste my time on these days! And this upcoming Super Bowl is not one!

I’m tired of hearing about soft and squishy balls!!

I don’t like the Patriots and I don’t like Pete Carroll!!

The Patriots have cheated before, so does anybody really believe that they didn’t this time around? Neither Tom Brady nor Bill Belichick have reasonable explanations for ‘DeflateGate’. Plus, Brady and his wife are arrogant and have severe potty mouths. None of which excites me.

Pete Carroll was definitely part of the problem that ultimately crippled the USC football program in 2010, bailed when everything hit the fan for the school and the program, deserting them for the Seahawks to line his own pockets. I can never understand why any USC fan would root for him or the Seahawks.

Perhaps the bigger question the media, who have been obsessed with the ‘deflated balls’ should be asking is: Which NFL Super Bowl XLIX (49) coach is a bigger cheater Bill Belichick or Pete Carroll?

Patriots Coach Bill Belichick:

SpyGate Scandal

In 2007, Bill Belichick was fined $500,000 and the New England Patriots had their 2008 first round draft pick taken away by the NFL after the Patriots had videotaped New York Jets defensive assistant coaches calling signals from the sidelines. Belichick admitted he had been taping other teams since 2000, and that he thought it was a legal practice because he did not use the tapes in the same game.

The Patriots have actually had a better overall record (75% wins verses 71%) after the taping controversy ended from 2008 to today than they did from 2000 to 2007. It’s highly questionable how much the team benefited from the tapes.

DeflateGate Football Scandal

After the Patriots beat (could be said clobbered) the Indianapolis Colts, 45-7, in the AFC Championship game for the 2014 season, 11 of the 12 footballs the Patriots used in the game were found to have less air pressure in them than required by NFL rules.

The footballs in question clearly played little in the outcome of the game, something the Colts players themselves have said, so it remains to be seen what sanctions will be imposed. But looking at the Patriot’s history the sanctions and penalties should be tough.

Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll:

USC NCAA Sanctions

On June 10, 2010, the NCAA imposed a two-year bowl ban, the elimination of 30 football scholarships and the forfeiture of many wins from the 2004 to 2006 seasons on the USC Trojans college football team due to the rules that USC broke over the time frame. Pete Carroll was USC head football coach during the time the rules were broken and he had victories removed from his college coaching record.

Some would say the sanctions were overdone considering the allegations primarily focused on Reggie Bush getting improper gifts like a house for his family to temporarily live in.

NFL Fines and Penalties for Illegal Practices

In August of 2014, the Seattle Seahawks and Pete Carroll were fined $300,000 by the NFL for holding contact practices during training camps when it was forbidden by the rules during the offseason. Carroll was found to be a repeat offender for the offense over many years and the Seahawks are being further penalized by not being allowed to hold a few practices in the upcoming 2015 mini-camp season. Seahawks players will still be paid for those now missing practices.

Drug Suspensions

Since 2010, when Pete Carroll left USC to take over the coaching job, at least eight Seattle Seahawks players have been suspended nine times by the NFL for drug violations. The Seahawks players suspended were LenDale White (played for Carroll at USC), Brandon Browner (twice), Leroy Hill, John Moffitt, Allen Barbre, Winston Guy, Bruce Irvin, and Walter Thurmond.

I would say it’s a toss-up which coach has been the bigger cheater. So no thank you… I will not be watching the upcoming CheaterGate Super Bowl.

GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD: I reckon I’ll watch the ads and the haff time entertainment yet sports on TV knocks me out faster than the Golf Channel or Canadian Parliament…

Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason: Being a diehard Pittsburgh Steelers fan, if they are not in the Super Bowl I don’t have much interest in the outcome. However, it is a big day and our extended families get together for lots of food and fun. The game will be on for the guys, while the girls will be catching up on family events. And of course, we will be watching the commercials and half-time show.

The Independent Sentinel : I’m going to watch it because it’s the game of the year. Ballgazi doesn’t affect it. I won’t stop watching baseball because Whitey Ford is in the Hall of Fame even though he cheated and threw a spitball.

The Glittering Eye:  I don’t plan to watch the SuperBowl next weekend. I rarely watch it–only when I’m out of town and the people I’m visiting are watching it.

I’m just not particularly interested in professional athletics and I’ve always found the half-time show lame.

The only reason to watch it would be the ads and if I were that interested I’d could catch those on YouTube.

Well, there you have it!

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. and every  Tuesday morning, when we reveal the weeks’ nominees for Weasel of the Week!

And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.

It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere, and you won’t want to miss it...or any of the other fantabulous Watcher’s Council content.

And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that, y’know?

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Council Has Spoken!! Watcher’s Council Results 01.23.15

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The Council Has Spoken! The votes have been cast and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match up.

“I came from the United States of America to stand for freedom, with all free people, against the forces of oppression and darkness which you are representing. … You are fighting for the most radically intolerant and hateful ideology on the planet. … You are already subjugated! You are already their useful idiots. You are already their tools. “ – Robert Spencer, speaking to a Left wing audience in Europe, June 2, 2011.

“Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran…should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.” – CAIR co-founder Omar Ahmad

The ideological descendants of the communist/progressive Left that spent its capital hoping the West would lose the Cold War to the Soviet Union are today’s leftist core. Based on their hatred for the United States, the Left has forged a symbiotic relationship with radical Islam, whose hatred for America equals theirs. Both make it clear that they consider Western civilization evil and unworthy of preservation. - Ben R. Furman, Former FBI Counterterrorism Chief

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This week’s winning essay, The Noisy Room’sAn American Intifada – Communists and Radical Islamists Join Forces is a scintillating piece that concerns something only the most blind refuse to see, the alliance between the Red and the Green, between the radical Left and Islam. Here’s a slice:

Trevor Loudon wrote an article that each and every one of us should read and take note of: Intifada USA? American Radicals Build Ties to “Palestinian” Revolutionaries. I agree completely with Trevor when he says that 2015 could usher in chaos, unrest and violence as we have not seen in our lifetime. The Communists are now joining hands in America with the Radical Islamists, forming an American Intifada – an uprising, resistance, revolt. They are using racism as the building blocks and their hate for America as the glue to forward massive havoc and violence in our streets.

The riots in Ferguson and New York were just the warm up act for these thugs. They are looking to create what they think is an American Spring, which will push every radical and Communist ideal there is out there. It will scream racism, go after the police and alphabet agencies, cry social and environmental injustice, push demands for Islamic acceptance and Shariah law – and in the mix will be the ever-present Jew-hatred which is the kindling for their hatred. In this twisted case, the enemy of my enemy is my ally. For the short term anyway.

Taking the lead are primarily Black and Latino revolutionaries who claim to represent the movements for “black lives” and racial justice, who took a jaunt to Palestine to show solidarity against – you guessed it – Israel. Meet the Dream Defenders Palestine Delegation:

Representatives at the forefront of the movements for Black lives and racial justice took a historic trip to Palestine in early January to connect with activists living under Israeli occupation.

Black journalists, artists and organizers representing Ferguson, Black Lives Matter, Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100) and more have joined the Dream Defenders for a 10-day trip to the occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel.

The trip comes after a year of highly-publicized repression in Ferguson, the Gaza Strip and West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as well as solidarity between these places.

Ahmad Abuznaid, Dream Defenders’ legal and policy director and a co-organizer of the delegation, said that the goal of the trip was to make connections.

“The goals were primarily to allow for the group members to experience and see first-hand the occupation, ethnic cleansing and brutality Israel has levied against Palestinians, but also to build real relationships with those on the ground leading the fight for liberation,” wrote Abuznaid.

“In the spirit of Malcolm X, Angela Davis, Stokely Carmichael and many others, we thought the connections between the African American leadership of the movement in the U.S. and those on the ground in Palestine needed to be reestablished and fortified.”

Abuznaid said the trip represented a chance to bring the power of Black organizing to Palestine.

“As a Palestinian who has learned a great deal about struggle, movement, militancy and liberation from African Americans in the U.S., I dreamt of the day where I could bring that power back to my people in Palestine. This trip is a part of that process.”

[…]

For Steven Pargett, communications director for Dream Defenders, visiting the Dheisheh Refugee Camp outside of Bethlehem made these connections clearer: “A camp doesn’t have to have a fence with barbed wire all around it in order to be a place where displaced people are struggling to survive.”

Pargett said that Black people in the United States are also displaced refugees.

“Our refugee camps are lower income communities and project buildings all around the country that many would not be living in had we not been taken into slavery generations ago. Rather than having the Israeli Defense occupation in our hoods, we have the occupation of police officers who often prove to have little regard for our lives, being that they are not from these communities,” Pargett wrote.

Hip-hop was a unifying force for the delegation, Pargett said, commenting that Palestinians have been inspired by hip-hop in the U.S. and use it as a tool to amplify their own voices.

St. Louis-based rapper and activist Tef Poe said his experience in the camps connecting through hip-hop was the best day of his life.

“A refugee camp with a bunch of people fighting for their lives and using hip hop to lift their spirits and spark the minds of the children and break down gender barriers between young girls and boys,” Tef posted to Facebook. “I spent a day with these ppl .. Most amazing day of my life. Thanks be to the Most, the struggle is beautiful.”

This trip is another chapter in the recent history of Black-Palestinian solidarity. In November, a group of 10 Palestinian student activists visited Ferguson and St. Louis, meeting with people organizing in the streets.

A month later, upon their return, the students hosted a series of events at their university in the West Bank to raise awareness with the Black struggle and stand in solidarity. Dream Defenders unanimously passed a resolution to support the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement in this interval.

[…]

Moving forward, delegates expressed a desire for Black and American action in support of Palestine.

“I believe the Black Lives Matter movement can benefit greatly by learning about struggles outside of the U.S., but particularly the Palestinian struggle,” said Patrisse Cullors. “I want this trip to be an example for how Black folks and Arab communities can be in better solidarity with one another.”

Cherrell Brown sees joint action as a way to global freedom.

“I want us to take back things we can do in the now, as Americans, to raise awareness and action around Palestinian liberation. I want us to reimagine what society could and will look like when we’ve dismantled this white-supremacist patriarchal and capitalist society. I want us to do it together. I want to bring back these conversations and stories in hopes that it will help add to this global struggle to get free.”

The full list of delegates includes five Dream Defenders (Phillip Agnew, Ciara Taylor, Steven Pargett, Sherika Shaw, Ahmad Abuznaid), Tef Poe and Tara Thompson (Ferguson/Hands Up United), journalist Marc Lamont Hill, Cherrell Brown and Carmen Perez (Justice League NYC), Charlene Carruthers (Black Youth Project), poet and artist Aja Monet, Patrisse Cullors (Black Lives Matter), and Maytha Alhassen, a USC PhD student. Catch up with the delegation and follow their last few days using #DDPalestine on Twitter and Instagram.

Gee, that’s a who’s who of racists, social justice agitators and Communists. Just look how chummy and united they have all become. I know you will be really, really shocked to learn that the Tides Foundation is funding this. And who is behind the Tides Foundation? Why, that old spider George Soros who hates Jews, America and freedom in general. You know, the guy who gave $33 million to the activists who took part in Ferguson and other venues of violence.

This is all part of a movement that has been gathering steam for a while now and it is thoroughly anti-Israel. Guess who is in the thick of it? Dr. Marc Lamont Hill of HuffPost Live, BET News and CNN. Watch it Marc, your antisemitism is showing and badly. Our comrade Hill also spouted revolutionary rhetoric to promote the Dream Defenders. Ferguson, Eric Garner and #BlackLivesMatter protests have become the calling card for the new face of the Occupy Movement. You are witnessing the rise of the Islamo-Communist Axis in America.

More at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Victor Davis HansonMuslims And Islamists submitted by Joshuapundit. I’m a huge fan of VDH, even when I disagree with him. In this particular case, I think he is spot on, and all I’ll say is that what he wrote here deserves your utmost attention.

Here are this week’s full results:

Council Winners
Non-Council Winners

See you next week!

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. and every  Tuesday morning, when we reveal the weeks’ nominees for Weasel of the Week!

And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.

It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere, and you won’t want to miss it...or any of the other fantabulous Watcher’s Council content.

And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that, y’know?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Obama State of the Union 2015 Address: President's [FULL] SOTU Speech Today on 1/20/15

Video:  Obama State of the Union 2015 Address: President's [FULL] SOTU Speech Today on 1/20/15

By Marion Algier – Ask Marion

President Barack Obama delivered his 2015 State of the Union address on Tuesday night where he laid out his agenda for the coming year.

Below is the full text transcript of the speech and a video of the president's address:

obama state of the union (Photo: Reuters/Larry Downing)

President Barack Obama delivered his 2015 State of the Union address on Tuesday night where he laid out his agenda for the coming year.

Below is the full text transcript of the speech and a video of the president's address:

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 20, 2015.

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, my fellow Americans:

We are fifteen years into this new century. Fifteen years that dawned with terror touching our shores; that unfolded with a new generation fighting two long and costly wars; that saw a vicious recession spread across our nation and the world. It has been, and still is, a hard time for many.

But tonight, we turn the page.

Tonight, after a breakthrough year for America, our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999. Our unemployment rate is now lower than it was before the financial crisis. More of our kids are graduating than ever before; more of our people are insured than ever before; we are as free from the grip of foreign oil as we've been in almost 30 years.

Tonight, for the first time since 9/11, our combat mission in Afghanistan is over. Six years ago, nearly 180,000 American troops served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, fewer than 15,000 remain. And we salute the courage and sacrifice of every man and woman in this 9/11 Generation who has served to keep us safe. We are humbled and grateful for your service.

America, for all that we've endured; for all the grit and hard work required to come back; for all the tasks that lie ahead, know this:

The shadow of crisis has passed, and the State of the Union is strong.

At this moment — with a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry, and booming energy production — we have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth. It's now up to us to choose who we want to be over the next fifteen years, and for decades to come.

Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well? Or will we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and chances for everyone who makes the effort?

Will we approach the world fearful and reactive, dragged into costly conflicts that strain our military and set back our standing? Or will we lead wisely, using all elements of our power to defeat new threats and protect our planet?

Will we allow ourselves to be sorted into factions and turned against one another — or will we recapture the sense of common purpose that has always propelled America forward?

In two weeks, I will send this Congress a budget filled with ideas that are practical, not partisan. And in the months ahead, I'll crisscross the country making a case for those ideas.

So tonight, I want to focus less on a checklist of proposals, and focus more on the values at stake in the choices before us.

It begins with our economy.

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 20, 2015.

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, my fellow Americans:

We are fifteen years into this new century. Fifteen years that dawned with terror touching our shores; that unfolded with a new generation fighting two long and costly wars; that saw a vicious recession spread across our nation and the world. It has been, and still is, a hard time for many.

But tonight, we turn the page.

Tonight, after a breakthrough year for America, our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999. Our unemployment rate is now lower than it was before the financial crisis. More of our kids are graduating than ever before; more of our people are insured than ever before; we are as free from the grip of foreign oil as we've been in almost 30 years.

Seven years ago, Rebekah and Ben Erler of Minneapolis were newlyweds. She waited tables. He worked construction. Their first child, Jack, was on the way.

They were young and in love in America, and it doesn't get much better than that.

"If only we had known," Rebekah wrote to me last spring, "what was about to happen to the housing and construction market."

As the crisis worsened, Ben's business dried up, so he took what jobs he could find, even if they kept him on the road for long stretches of time. Rebekah took out student loans, enrolled in community college, and retrained for a new career. They sacrificed for each other. And slowly, it paid off. They bought their first home. They had a second son, Henry. Rebekah got a better job, and then a raise. Ben is back in construction — and home for dinner every night.

"It is amazing," Rebekah wrote, "what you can bounce back from when you have to…we are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times."

We are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times.

America, Rebekah and Ben's story is our story. They represent the millions who have worked hard, and scrimped, and sacrificed, and retooled. You are the reason I ran for this office. You're the people I was thinking of six years ago today, in the darkest months of the crisis, when I stood on the steps of this Capitol and promised we would rebuild our economy on a new foundation. And it's been your effort and resilience that has made it possible for our country to emerge stronger.

obama state of the union (Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

Democratic members of congress stand and applaud U.S. President Barack Obama (C) as he delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in the U.S. Capitol in Washington January 20, 2015.

We believed we could reverse the tide of outsourcing, and draw new jobs to our shores. And over the past five years, our businesses have created more than 11 million new jobs.

We believed we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil and protect our planet. And today, America is number one in oil and gas. America is number one in wind power. Every three weeks, we bring online as much solar power as we did in all of 2008. And thanks to lower gas prices and higher fuel standards, the typical family this year should save $750 at the pump.

We believed we could prepare our kids for a more competitive world. And today, our younger students have earned the highest math and reading scores on record. Our high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high. And more Americans finish college than ever before.

We believed that sensible regulations could prevent another crisis, shield families from ruin, and encourage fair competition. Today, we have new tools to stop taxpayer-funded bailouts, and a new consumer watchdog to protect us from predatory lending and abusive credit card practices. And in the past year alone, about ten million uninsured Americans finally gained the security of health coverage.

At every step, we were told our goals were misguided or too ambitious; that we would crush jobs and explode deficits. Instead, we've seen the fastest economic growth in over a decade, our deficits cut by two-thirds, a stock market that has doubled, and health care inflation at its lowest rate in fifty years.

So the verdict is clear. Middle-class economics works. Expanding opportunity works. And these policies will continue to work, as long as politics don't get in the way. We can't slow down businesses or put our economy at risk with government shutdowns or fiscal showdowns. We can't put the security of families at risk by taking away their health insurance, or unraveling the new rules on Wall Street, or refighting past battles on immigration when we've got a system to fix. And if a bill comes to my desk that tries to do any of these things, it will earn my veto.

Today, thanks to a growing economy, the recovery is touching more and more lives. Wages are finally starting to rise again. We know that more small business owners plan to raise their employees' pay than at any time since 2007. But here's the thing — those of us here tonight, we need to set our sights higher than just making sure government doesn't halt the progress we're making. We need to do more than just do no harm. Tonight, together, let's do more to restore the link between hard work and growing opportunity for every American.

Because families like Rebekah's still need our help. She and Ben are working as hard as ever, but have to forego vacations and a new car so they can pay off student loans and save for retirement. Basic childcare for Jack and Henry costs more than their mortgage, and almost as much as a year at the University of Minnesota. Like millions of hardworking Americans, Rebekah isn't asking for a handout, but she is asking that we look for more ways to help families get ahead.

In fact, at every moment of economic change throughout our history, this country has taken bold action to adapt to new circumstances, and to make sure everyone gets a fair shot. We set up worker protections, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid to protect ourselves from the harshest adversity. We gave our citizens schools and colleges, infrastructure and the internet — tools they needed to go as far as their effort will take them.

obama state of the union (Photo: Reuters/Larry Downing)

U.S. Rep. Ted Cruz (R-TX) (C) and Republican congressional colleagues listen as U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 20, 2015.

That's what middle-class economics is — the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. We don't just want everyone to share in America's success — we want everyone to contribute to our success.

So what does middle-class economics require in our time?

First — middle-class economics means helping working families feel more secure in a world of constant change. That means helping folks afford childcare, college, health care, a home, retirement — and my budget will address each of these issues, lowering the taxes of working families and putting thousands of dollars back into their pockets each year.

Here's one example. During World War II, when men like my grandfather went off to war, having women like my grandmother in the workforce was a national security priority — so this country provided universal childcare. In today's economy, when having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families, we need affordable, high-quality childcare more than ever. It's not a nice-to-have — it's a must-have. It's time we stop treating childcare as a side issue, or a women's issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us. And that's why my plan will make quality childcare more available, and more affordable, for every middle-class and low-income family with young children in America — by creating more slots and a new tax cut of up to $3,000 per child, per year.

Here's another example. Today, we're the only advanced country on Earth that doesn't guarantee paid sick leave or paid maternity leave to our workers. Forty-three million workers have no paid sick leave. Forty-three million. Think about that. And that forces too many parents to make the gut-wrenching choice between a paycheck and a sick kid at home. So I'll be taking new action to help states adopt paid leave laws of their own. And since paid sick leave won where it was on the ballot last November, let's put it to a vote right here in Washington. Send me a bill that gives every worker in America the opportunity to earn seven days of paid sick leave. It's the right thing to do.

Of course, nothing helps families make ends meet like higher wages. That's why this Congress still needs to pass a law that makes sure a woman is paid the same as a man for doing the same work. Really. It's 2015. It's time. We still need to make sure employees get the overtime they've earned. And to everyone in this Congress who still refuses to raise the minimum wage, I say this: If you truly believe you could work full-time and support a family on less than $15,000 a year, go try it. If not, vote to give millions of the hardest-working people in America a raise.

These ideas won't make everybody rich, or relieve every hardship. That's not the job of government. To give working families a fair shot, we'll still need more employers to see beyond next quarter's earnings and recognize that investing in their workforce is in their company's long-term interest. We still need laws that strengthen rather than weaken unions, and give American workers a voice. But things like child care and sick leave and equal pay; things like lower mortgage premiums and a higher minimum wage — these ideas will make a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of families. That is a fact. And that's what all of us — Republicans and Democrats alike — were sent here to do.

Second, to make sure folks keep earning higher wages down the road, we have to do more to help Americans upgrade their skills.

America thrived in the 20th century because we made high school free, sent a generation of GIs to college, and trained the best workforce in the world. But in a 21st century economy that rewards knowledge like never before, we need to do more.

By the end of this decade, two in three job openings will require some higher education. Two in three. And yet, we still live in a country where too many bright, striving Americans are priced out of the education they need. It's not fair to them, and it's not smart for our future.

That's why I am sending this Congress a bold new plan to lower the cost of community college — to zero.

Forty percent of our college students choose community college. Some are young and starting out. Some are older and looking for a better job. Some are veterans and single parents trying to transition back into the job market. Whoever you are, this plan is your chance to graduate ready for the new economy, without a load of debt. Understand, you've got to earn it — you've got to keep your grades up and graduate on time. Tennessee, a state with Republican leadership, and Chicago, a city with Democratic leadership, are showing that free community college is possible. I want to spread that idea all across America, so that two years of college becomes as free and universal in America as high school is today. And I want to work with this Congress, to make sure Americans already burdened with student loans can reduce their monthly payments, so that student debt doesn't derail anyone's dreams.

Thanks to Vice President Biden's great work to update our job training system, we're connecting community colleges with local employers to train workers to fill high-paying jobs like coding, and nursing, and robotics. Tonight, I'm also asking more businesses to follow the lead of companies like CVS and UPS, and offer more educational benefits and paid apprenticeships — opportunities that give workers the chance to earn higher-paying jobs even if they don't have a higher education.  

obama state of the union (Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices (L-R) Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonya Sotomayor listen to U.S. President Barack Obama as he delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 20, 2015.

And as a new generation of veterans comes home, we owe them every opportunity to live the American Dream they helped defend. Already, we've made strides towards ensuring that every veteran has access to the highest quality care. We're slashing the backlog that had too many veterans waiting years to get the benefits they need, and we're making it easier for vets to translate their training and experience into civilian jobs. Joining Forces, the national campaign launched by Michelle and Jill Biden, has helped nearly 700,000 veterans and military spouses get new jobs. So to every CEO in America, let me repeat: If you want somebody who's going to get the job done, hire a veteran.

Finally, as we better train our workers, we need the new economy to keep churning out high-wage jobs for our workers to fill.

Since 2010, America has put more people back to work than Europe, Japan, and all advanced economies combined. Our manufacturers have added almost 800,000 new jobs. Some of our bedrock sectors, like our auto industry, are booming. But there are also millions of Americans who work in jobs that didn't even exist ten or twenty years ago — jobs at companies like Google, and eBay, and Tesla.

So no one knows for certain which industries will generate the jobs of the future. But we do know we want them here in America. That's why the third part of middle-class economics is about building the most competitive economy anywhere, the place where businesses want to locate and hire.

21st century businesses need 21st century infrastructure — modern ports, stronger bridges, faster trains and the fastest internet. Democrats and Republicans used to agree on this. So let's set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline. Let's pass a bipartisan infrastructure plan that could create more than thirty times as many jobs per year, and make this country stronger for decades to come.

21st century businesses, including small businesses, need to sell more American products overseas. Today, our businesses export more than ever, and exporters tend to pay their workers higher wages. But as we speak, China wants to write the rules for the world's fastest-growing region. That would put our workers and businesses at a disadvantage. Why would we let that happen? We should write those rules. We should level the playing field. That's why I'm asking both parties to give me trade promotion authority to protect American workers, with strong new trade deals from Asia to Europe that aren't just free, but fair.

Look, I'm the first one to admit that past trade deals haven't always lived up to the hype, and that's why we've gone after countries that break the rules at our expense. But ninety-five percent of the world's customers live outside our borders, and we can't close ourselves off from those opportunities. More than half of manufacturing executives have said they're actively looking at bringing jobs back from China. Let's give them one more reason to get it done.

obama state of the union (Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

Members of the U.S. military's Joint Chief of Staff (L) listen as U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 20, 2015.

21st century businesses will rely on American science, technology, research and development. I want the country that eliminated polio and mapped the human genome to lead a new era of medicine — one that delivers the right treatment at the right time. In some patients with cystic fibrosis, this approach has reversed a disease once thought unstoppable. Tonight, I'm launching a new Precision Medicine Initiative to bring us closer to curing diseases like cancer and diabetes — and to give all of us access to the personalized information we need to keep ourselves and our families healthier.

I intend to protect a free and open internet, extend its reach to every classroom, and every community, and help folks build the fastest networks, so that the next generation of digital innovators and entrepreneurs have the platform to keep reshaping our world.

I want Americans to win the race for the kinds of discoveries that unleash new jobs — converting sunlight into liquid fuel; creating revolutionary prosthetics, so that a veteran who gave his arms for his country can play catch with his kid; pushing out into the Solar System not just to visit, but to stay. Last month, we launched a new spacecraft as part of a re-energized space program that will send American astronauts to Mars. In two months, to prepare us for those missions, Scott Kelly will begin a year-long stay in space. Good luck, Captain — and make sure to Instagram it.

Now, the truth is, when it comes to issues like infrastructure and basic research, I know there's bipartisan support in this chamber. Members of both parties have told me so. Where we too often run onto the rocks is how to pay for these investments. As Americans, we don't mind paying our fair share of taxes, as long as everybody else does, too. But for far too long, lobbyists have rigged the tax code with loopholes that let some corporations pay nothing while others pay full freight.

They've riddled it with giveaways the superrich don't need, denying a break to middle class families who do.

This year, we have an opportunity to change that. Let's close loopholes so we stop rewarding companies that keep profits abroad, and reward those that invest in America. Let's use those savings to rebuild our infrastructure and make it more attractive for companies to bring jobs home. Let's simplify the system and let a small business owner file based on her actual bank statement, instead of the number of accountants she can afford. And let's close the loopholes that lead to inequality by allowing the top one percent to avoid paying taxes on their accumulated wealth. We can use that money to help more families pay for childcare and send their kids to college. We need a tax code that truly helps working Americans trying to get a leg up in the new economy, and we can achieve that together.

Helping hardworking families make ends meet. Giving them the tools they need for good-paying jobs in this new economy. Maintaining the conditions for growth and competitiveness. This is where America needs to go. I believe it's where the American people want to go. It will make our economy stronger a year from now, fifteen years from now, and deep into the century ahead.

Of course, if there's one thing this new century has taught us, it's that we cannot separate our work at home from challenges beyond our shores.

My first duty as Commander-in-Chief is to defend the United States of America. In doing so, the question is not whether America leads in the world, but how. When we make rash decisions, reacting to the headlines instead of using our heads; when the first response to a challenge is to send in our military — then we risk getting drawn into unnecessary conflicts, and neglect the broader strategy we need for a safer, more prosperous world. That's what our enemies want us to do.

I believe in a smarter kind of American leadership. We lead best when we combine military power with strong diplomacy; when we leverage our power with coalition building; when we don't let our fears blind us to the opportunities that this new century presents. That's exactly what we're doing right now — and around the globe, it is making a difference.

First, we stand united with people around the world who've been targeted by terrorists — from a school in Pakistan to the streets of Paris. We will continue to hunt down terrorists and dismantle their networks, and we reserve the right to act unilaterally, as we've done relentlessly since I took office to take out terrorists who pose a direct threat to us and our allies.

At the same time, we've learned some costly lessons over the last thirteen years.

Instead of Americans patrolling the valleys of Afghanistan, we've trained their security forces, who've now taken the lead, and we've honored our troops' sacrifice by supporting that country's first democratic transition. Instead of sending large ground forces overseas, we're partnering with nations from South Asia to North Africa to deny safe haven to terrorists who threaten America. In Iraq and Syria, American leadership — including our military power — is stopping ISIL's advance. Instead of getting dragged into another ground war in the Middle East, we are leading a broad coalition, including Arab nations, to degrade and ultimately destroy this terrorist group. We're also supporting a moderate opposition in Syria that can help us in this effort, and assisting people everywhere who stand up to the bankrupt ideology of violent extremism. This effort will take time. It will require focus. But we will succeed. And tonight, I call on this Congress to show the world that we are united in this mission by passing a resolution to authorize the use of force against ISIL.

Second, we are demonstrating the power of American strength and diplomacy. We're upholding the principle that bigger nations can't bully the small — by opposing Russian aggression, supporting Ukraine's democracy, and reassuring our NATO allies. Last year, as we were doing the hard work of imposing sanctions along with our allies, some suggested that Mr. Putin's aggression was a masterful display of strategy and strength. Well, today, it is America that stands strong and united with our allies, while Russia is isolated, with its economy in tatters.

That's how America leads — not with bluster, but with persistent, steady resolve.

In Cuba, we are ending a policy that was long past its expiration date. When what you're doing doesn't work for fifty years, it's time to try something new. Our shift in Cuba policy has the potential to end a legacy of mistrust in our hemisphere; removes a phony excuse for restrictions in Cuba; stands up for democratic values; and extends the hand of friendship to the Cuban people. And this year, Congress should begin the work of ending the embargo. As His Holiness, Pope Francis, has said, diplomacy is the work of "small steps." These small steps have added up to new hope for the future in Cuba. And after years in prison, we're overjoyed that Alan Gross is back where he belongs. Welcome home, Alan.

Our diplomacy is at work with respect to Iran, where, for the first time in a decade, we've halted the progress of its nuclear program and reduced its stockpile of nuclear material. Between now and this spring, we have a chance to negotiate a comprehensive agreement that prevents a nuclear-armed Iran; secures America and our allies — including Israel; while avoiding yet another Middle East conflict. There are no guarantees that negotiations will succeed, and I keep all options on the table to prevent a nuclear Iran. But new sanctions passed by this Congress, at this moment in time, will all but guarantee that diplomacy fails — alienating America from its allies; and ensuring that Iran starts up its nuclear program again. It doesn't make sense. That is why I will veto any new sanctions bill that threatens to undo this progress. The American people expect us to only go to war as a last resort, and I intend to stay true to that wisdom.

Third, we're looking beyond the issues that have consumed us in the past to shape the coming century.

No foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets, or invade the privacy of American families, especially our kids. We are making sure our government integrates intelligence to combat cyber threats, just as we have done to combat terrorism. And tonight, I urge this Congress to finally pass the legislation we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyber-attacks, combat identity theft, and protect our children's information. If we don't act, we'll leave our nation and our economy vulnerable. If we do, we can continue to protect the technologies that have unleashed untold opportunities for people around the globe.

obama state of the union (Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 20, 2015.

In West Africa, our troops, our scientists, our doctors, our nurses and healthcare workers are rolling back Ebola — saving countless lives and stopping the spread of disease. I couldn't be prouder of them, and I thank this Congress for your bipartisan support of their efforts. But the job is not yet done — and the world needs to use this lesson to build a more effective global effort to prevent the spread of future pandemics, invest in smart development, and eradicate extreme poverty.

In the Asia Pacific, we are modernizing alliances while making sure that other nations play by the rules — in how they trade, how they resolve maritime disputes, and how they participate in meeting common international challenges like nonproliferation and disaster relief. And no challenge — no challenge — poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.

2014 was the planet's warmest year on record. Now, one year doesn't make a trend, but this does — 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century.

I've heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they're not scientists; that we don't have enough information to act. Well, I'm not a scientist, either. But you know what — I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA, and NOAA, and at our major universities. The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we'll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe. The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We should act like it.

That's why, over the past six years, we've done more than ever before to combat climate change, from the way we produce energy, to the way we use it. That's why we've set aside more public lands and waters than any administration in history. And that's why I will not let this Congress endanger the health of our children by turning back the clock on our efforts. I am determined to make sure American leadership drives international action. In Beijing, we made an historic announcement — the United States will double the pace at which we cut carbon pollution, and China committed, for the first time, to limiting their emissions. And because the world's two largest economies came together, other nations are now stepping up, and offering hope that, this year, the world will finally reach an agreement to protect the one planet we've got.

There's one last pillar to our leadership — and that's the example of our values.

As Americans, we respect human dignity, even when we're threatened, which is why I've prohibited torture, and worked to make sure our use of new technology like drones is properly constrained. It's why we speak out against the deplorable anti-Semitism that has resurfaced in certain parts of the world. It's why we continue to reject offensive stereotypes of Muslims — the vast majority of whom share our commitment to peace. That's why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. We do these things not only because they're right, but because they make us safer.

As Americans, we have a profound commitment to justice — so it makes no sense to spend three million dollars per prisoner to keep open a prison that the world condemns and terrorists use to recruit. Since I've been President, we've worked responsibly to cut the population of GTMO in half. Now it's time to finish the job. And I will not relent in my determination to shut it down. It's not who we are.

As Americans, we cherish our civil liberties — and we need to uphold that commitment if we want maximum cooperation from other countries and industry in our fight against terrorist networks. So while some have moved on from the debates over our surveillance programs, I haven't. As promised, our intelligence agencies have worked hard, with the recommendations of privacy advocates, to increase transparency and build more safeguards against potential abuse. And next month, we'll issue a report on how we're keeping our promise to keep our country safe while strengthening privacy.

Looking to the future instead of the past. Making sure we match our power with diplomacy, and use force wisely. Building coalitions to meet new challenges and opportunities. Leading — always — with the example of our values. That's what makes us exceptional. That's what keeps us strong. And that's why we must keep striving to hold ourselves to the highest of standards — our own.

You know, just over a decade ago, I gave a speech in Boston where I said there wasn't a liberal America, or a conservative America; a black America or a white America — but a United States of America. I said this because I had seen it in my own life, in a nation that gave someone like me a chance; because I grew up in Hawaii, a melting pot of races and customs; because I made Illinois my home — a state of small towns, rich farmland, and one of the world's great cities; a microcosm of the country where Democrats and Republicans and Independents, good people of every ethnicity and every faith, share certain bedrock values.

Over the past six years, the pundits have pointed out more than once that my presidency hasn't delivered on this vision. How ironic, they say, that our politics seems more divided than ever. It's held up as proof not just of my own flaws — of which there are many — but also as proof that the vision itself is misguided, and na├»ve, and that there are too many people in this town who actually benefit from partisanship and gridlock for us to ever do anything about it.

I know how tempting such cynicism may be. But I still think the cynics are wrong.

I still believe that we are one people. I still believe that together, we can do great things, even when the odds are long. I believe this because over and over in my six years in office, I have seen America at its best. I've seen the hopeful faces of young graduates from New York to California; and our newest officers at West Point, Annapolis, Colorado Springs, and New London. I've mourned with grieving families in Tucson and Newtown; in Boston, West, Texas, and West Virginia. I've watched Americans beat back adversity from the Gulf Coast to the Great Plains; from Midwest assembly lines to the Mid-Atlantic seaboard. I've seen something like gay marriage go from a wedge issue used to drive us apart to a story of freedom across our country, a civil right now legal in states that seven in ten Americans call home.

So I know the good, and optimistic, and big-hearted generosity of the American people who, every day, live the idea that we are our brother's keeper, and our sister's keeper. And I know they expect those of us who serve here to set a better example.

So the question for those of us here tonight is how we, all of us, can better reflect America's hopes. I've served in Congress with many of you. I know many of you well. There are a lot of good people here, on both sides of the aisle. And many of you have told me that this isn't what you signed up for — arguing past each other on cable shows, the constant fundraising, always looking over your shoulder at how the base will react to every decision.

Imagine if we broke out of these tired old patterns. Imagine if we did something different.

Understand — a better politics isn't one where Democrats abandon their agenda or Republicans simply embrace mine.

A better politics is one where we appeal to each other's basic decency instead of our basest fears.

A better politics is one where we debate without demonizing each other; where we talk issues, and values, and principles, and facts, rather than "gotcha" moments, or trivial gaffes, or fake controversies that have nothing to do with people's daily lives.

A better politics is one where we spend less time drowning in dark money for ads that pull us into the gutter, and spend more time lifting young people up, with a sense of purpose and possibility, and asking them to join in the great mission of building America.

obama state of the union (Photo: Reuters/Joshua Roberts)

U.S. President Barack Obama points into the crowd of legislators on the floor near the start of his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 20, 2015.

If we're going to have arguments, let's have arguments — but let's make them debates worthy of this body and worthy of this country.

We still may not agree on a woman's right to choose, but surely we can agree it's a good thing that teen pregnancies and abortions are nearing all-time lows, and that every woman should have access to the health care she needs.

Yes, passions still fly on immigration, but surely we can all see something of ourselves in the striving young student, and agree that no one benefits when a hardworking mom is taken from her child, and that it's possible to shape a law that upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.

We may go at it in campaign season, but surely we can agree that the right to vote is sacred; that it's being denied to too many; and that, on this 50th anniversary of the great march from Selma to Montgomery and the passage of the Voting Rights Act, we can come together, Democrats and Republicans, to make voting easier for every single American.

We may have different takes on the events of Ferguson and New York. But surely we can understand a father who fears his son can't walk home without being harassed. Surely we can understand the wife who won't rest until the police officer she married walks through the front door at the end of his shift. Surely we can agree it's a good thing that for the first time in 40 years, the crime rate and the incarceration rate have come down together, and use that as a starting point for Democrats and Republicans, community leaders and law enforcement, to reform America's criminal justice system so that it protects and serves us all.

That's a better politics. That's how we start rebuilding trust. That's how we move this country forward. That's what the American people want. That's what they deserve.

I have no more campaigns to run. My only agenda for the next two years is the same as the one I've had since the day I swore an oath on the steps of this Capitol — to do what I believe is best for America. If you share the broad vision I outlined tonight, join me in the work at hand. If you disagree with parts of it, I hope you'll at least work with me where you do agree. And I commit to every Republican here tonight that I will not only seek out your ideas, I will seek to work with you to make this country stronger.

Because I want this chamber, this city, to reflect the truth — that for all our blind spots and shortcomings, we are a people with the strength and generosity of spirit to bridge divides, to unite in common effort, and help our neighbors, whether down the street or on the other side of the world.

I want our actions to tell every child, in every neighborhood: your life matters, and we are as committed to improving your life chances as we are for our own kids.

I want future generations to know that we are a people who see our differences as a great gift, that we are a people who value the dignity and worth of every citizen — man and woman, young and old, black and white, Latino and Asian, immigrant and Native American, gay and straight, Americans with mental illness or physical disability.

I want them to grow up in a country that shows the world what we still know to be true: that we are still more than a collection of red states and blue states; that we are the United States of America.

I want them to grow up in a country where a young mom like Rebekah can sit down and write a letter to her President with a story to sum up these past six years:

"It is amazing what you can bounce back from when you have to…we are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times."

My fellow Americans, we too are a strong, tight-knit family. We, too, have made it through some hard times. Fifteen years into this new century, we have picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and begun again the work of remaking America. We've laid a new foundation. A brighter future is ours to write. Let's begin this new chapter — together — and let's start the work right now.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless this country we love.

Video:  Joni Ernst GOP Response to SOTU 2015

Video: Tea Party Response to 2015 SOTU

Video:  Sen. Ted Cruz Reaction to 2015 SOTU with Neil Cavuto

Video: Taxed To The Max - President Touts Plan In State Of The Union - Valerie Jarrett - Fox & Friends

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Forum: What Is Your Opinion Of the New Proposed Internet Rules President Obama Wants The FCC To Impose?

Every week on Monday morning , the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question: What Is Your Opinion Of the New Proposed Internet Rules President Obama Wants The FCC To Impose?

The Independent Sentinel : It’s the government getting its tentacles into one more thing.

It gives companies immunity when they share our data. We no longer have privacy protections from the government in the name of security. The government will freely share our information among government agencies.

The government claims the information-sharing system would not put privacy at risk as the information disclosed will principally concern the method of attack on computer data and systems, rather than its content.

Who trusts them?

Why do they need these rules when they can already do it? Is it just a way of bullying companies into doing it more readily? They have been resistant.

According to the Guardian, “it would criminalize the overseas sale of stolen US financial information like credit card and bank account numbers, would expand federal law enforcement authority to deter the sale of spyware used to stalk or commit ID theft, and would give courts the authority to shut down botnets engaged in distributed denial of service attacks and other criminal activity.”

Meanwhile, our government won’t allow illegal immigrants to be charged or held if they steal IDs.

There will be more consumer notifications pushed on companies who become aware of breaches but they already notify consumers. It’s more regulation and more expense that will be passed down to consumers.

The bill is vague and will be misinterpreted.

Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason: If we have learned anything with this administration, what they say and what we get are diametrically opposed. The Affordable Care Act has proven unaffordable for many. President Obama wants the FCC to reclassify the internet under Title II of the Telecommunications Act and extend that regulation to mobile broadband service as well. Net neutrality will not lead to a fairer, more open and free internet as the president promises. As Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz stated: “Net neutrality puts the government in charge of determining Internet pricing, terms of service, and what types of products and services can be delivered, leading to fewer choices, fewer opportunities, and higher prices for consumers.” I believe that about sums it up.

The internet has been working very well in a free market system. If we want to keep an affordable, free, and open internet, we must keep government out of it.

The Glittering Eye : I’m not sure how to answer the question. Perhaps the best way would be for me to state what I’m in favor of. First, a brief preface.

The Internet grew from developments by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency for a computer network that could survive nuclear war. The Internet has succeeded because a) it was in the public domain, b) ICANN (the ultimate registrar of domain names) has been seen as apolitical and fair, c) it has largely been free of regulation and taxes, and d) the cost of entry was relatively low. Later that development was augmented by the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) and the University of Illinois’s computer science department.

Previous attempts at large scale computer networks whether public (in France) or private (by many companies) had failed. There is no reason to believe that any proprietary network would have succeeded.

I am unsympathetic to the complaints of the mega-service providers. In large part they enjoy the position of power they hold because of their government-granted monopolies. They have expended very little capital on research and development in their Internet service enterprises and have enjoyed substantial revenues with things as they are. That other companies, e.g. Google, Netflix, are making profits out of the Internet as it is is merely sour grapes on the part of the ISPs. If they demand more money from their investments on network infrastructure, minor relative to the revenues they’ve derived from them, they should meter bandwidth at the customer level and leave providers alone.

Consequently, I believe in network neutrality, that the Internet should be largely free of sales taxes, that it should remain predominantly uncensored, and that Time-Warner, Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, and so on should be regulated by the FCC. In particular I think that any business that has gained its present position as the result of government-granted monopoly should be kept out of the content business. I’m not sure where that puts me relative to the Obama Administration but that’s what I think.

JoshuaPundit: What government can regulate, it can control. And what it can control, it can tax. Ultimately, screwing yet more tax revenues out of the American people is a lot of what this is all about,and the fact that this president wants the FCC to impose these new proposed rules without congressional oversight while it has a  majority of his appointees who took their seats while he had a congressional majority tells me all I need to know.

The other major part of what this is about is censorship and control of content. This president is also not only hyper-partisan but a long time appeaser of Islamists, and he has already said that he is going to ‘fight the media ‘  and the nation’s journalism community when it is planning to publish anti-jihadi articles,using the lame excuse that he is suddenly concerned about the welfare of the same troops overseas whose lives he has endangered with ridiculous Rules of Engagement and his illegal wars. Rest assured that very selective censorship in a great many areas will be the order of the day if he gets his way.

Ask Marion: On Thursday 01.15.15 the White House said legislation was not necessary to settle the “net neutrality” rules issue because the Federal Communications Commission had the authority to write them. And President Obama’s rallying cry this past week has been… ‘Everyone deserves free Internet’. Beware of politicians bearing free gifts!!!

Quick Background:

What actually is at immediate stake here is what rules should govern how Internet service providers (ISPs) manage web traffic on their networks to ensure they treat all Internet content fairly. At the heart of the latest phase in the debate over the rules is what legal authority should guide those regulations.

Obama is urging the FCC to regulate ISPs more strictly under a section of communications law known as Title II, treating them more like public utilities. The broadband companies adamantly oppose this plan, saying the added regulatory burden would reduce investment and stifle innovation in their industry.

The Republican chairmen of the Senate and House commerce committees, John Thune and Fred Upton, have been working to strike a legislative deal with Democrats that would adopt some of the same net neutrality principles but without resorting to Title II.

Late on Wednesday, Thune released a list of the net neutrality principles he would pursue, which closely echoed Obama’s, such as bans on blocking or throttling of websites.

While some Republicans have also sought a delay in the FCC’s vote to establish new net neutrality rules, planned for February 26th, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has indicated no interest in a change or delay.

“Chairman Wheeler believes it is important to move forward as quickly as possible to protect consumers, innovation and competition online,” FCC spokeswoman Kim Hart said in a statement.

Evoking net-neutrality and expanding the scope and power the FCC has been on the Obama administrations’ radar since day one and now that they are in their final two years, the administration has entered their complete lawless phase. So controlling communication is high on their agenda. It is all about control and these changes are just the tip of the iceberg. Censorship; monitoring newsrooms; and taking control of every aspect of communication… newspapers, radio, TV, Internet, news outlets, textbooks, movies, even art, plus the services that support them have been on Obama’s list since 2009, when both minority groups and Democrats questioned net neutrality.

The Republicans in Congress are in favor of a net neutrality law as long as the federal government doesn’t handle it, so are trying to drum up support for a bill that would counter the FCC’s upcoming new rules. But after the Obama administration’s comments getting Democrats on board could be difficult.

The proposed bill attempts to offer a compromise between hard-line opponents of net neutrality and the larger changes preferred by President Obama and many progressive activists. It would modify the Communications Act of 1934, adding the basic elements of the FCC’s “open internet” plan. That includes the following major points:

The proposed bill attempts to offer a compromise between hard-line opponents of net neutrality and the larger changes preferred by President Obama and many progressive activists. It would modify the Communications Act of 1934, adding the basic elements of the FCC’s “open internet” plan. That includes the following major points:

No blocking of lawful services on a network
No prohibiting the use of non-harmful devices
No traffic throttling — except for “reasonable network management,” it would be illegal to slow or degrade any site or service
No paid prioritization
Transparency requirements for ISPs

Much of the language for this bill was lifted directly from the FCC’s 2010 Open Internet Order, which was thrown out in court last year?!? It includes less-than-ideal exceptions for network management and “specialized services” like VoIP, but it settles a major point of contention in Wheeler’s proposal by banning paid prioritization, which would have allowed ISPs to offer faster service for companies that paid more. In some ways, it’s exactly what net neutrality supporters have been asking for, although the advocacy group Public Knowledge has expressed concerns about how strong its protections would be in practice.

A crucial point is that the bill adds all of this to Title I of the Communications Act, classifying broadband as an “information service.” Title I services are regulated more lightly than Title II “common carriers” like telephone companies. The last FCC net neutrality framework plan was struck down because it came too close to making rules that only Title II allows:

“In terms of legislation, we don’t believe it’s necessary given that the FCC has the authorities that it needs under Title II,” said a White House official. “However, we always remain open to working with anyone who shares the president’s goal of fully preserving a free and open internet now and into the future.”

Of course in reality, preserving a free and open Internet is the opposite of the this administration’s goal and we all should have learned by know that anything regulated and run by the government makes it and us less free. In fact, in March of 2014 ICANN and the US government announced their intention to relinquish control of the Internet to the UN by 2015, so there is much more to this plan than just a few rule changes! Anything turned over to the United Nations brings us just us one step closer to globalization and the ruling elite’s goal of a New World Order which will definitely make us all less free.

Everyone deserves free Internet. Sounds good until you remember… you can’t have both freedom of speech and big government that controls the media… It is a choice!! And it not only won’t be free, it will more expensive for everyone. We (you) will all be paying for everyone’s Internet service plus the government bureaucracy that will run it.

Pay attention America, if government controls the media… TV, radio, the Internet… your free speech stops and the attempt to take over media and your information will be even easier and more blatant than it already is…

My feeling, like always, is less government involvement is always best!

Well, there you have it!

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