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Friday, December 14, 2012

Dan Rooney, US Ambassador to Ireland, Returning to Pittsburgh after Distinguished Service to the United States and Ireland


Dan Rooney, United States Ambassador to Ireland, is resigning his post today after serving in President Barack Obama's Administration for over three years.  Mr. Rooney was sworn into his post on July 1, 2009 and arrived in Ireland later that month.

In an article he published in today's Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Mr. Rooney wrote, "It has been an honor and privilege to represent President Barack Obama and the United States of America as ambassador to Ireland.

"President Obama charged me to protect and build the historic and deep friendship between our two countries. I am pleased to say this relationship, which is built on enduring family ties, a common heritage and shared values, is the strongest it has ever been. Ours is not a foreign relationship between two countries; ours is a shared kinship between two great peoples," he concluded.

Mr. Rooney is also chairman emeritus of the Pittsburgh Steelers

Here is a video of US Ambassador Dan Rooney's time in Ireland




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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hillary Clinton Delivers Speech on Human Rights in Dublin




(December 6, 2012) -- US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a major speech at Dublin City University today entitled Frontlines and Frontiers: Making Human Rights a Human Reality.

You can view the video here, or read the entire remarks of the speech.

On Friday, December 7, Secretary Clinton travels to Belfast, Northern Ireland to discuss the peace process there. Here are details on the full itinerary.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Dublin and Belfast This Week


US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is traveling Ireland and Northern Ireland on December 6-7, 2012, as part of a European trip that includes visits to Prague and Brussels, according the State Department

In Dublin, Ireland on December 6-7, Secretary Clinton is participating in the ministerial meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).  The Secretary is also meeting with Irish officials to discuss areas of cooperation in promoting peace, human rights, and economic growth and will deliver a major speech on U.S. achievements in support of human rights globally.

Secretary Clinton travels to Belfast, Northern Ireland, December 7, where she will meet with Northern Ireland officials and discuss the peace process, the trilateral U.S.-Ireland Research and Development Partnership and economic opportunities for Northern Ireland.  She will attend an event hosted by The Ireland Funds

Find updated details by visiting the US Embassy in Dublin

Saturday, November 24, 2012

President Obama Supports Small Business Day in America, November 24


President Barack Obama supported Small Business Saturday across the United States on Saturday, November 24, 2012, by shopping with his daughters at One More Page Bookstore in Arlington VA.

President Obama wrote on his White House Twitter,  "My family & I started our holiday shopping at a local bookstore on #SmallBizSat. I hope you'll join & shop small this holiday season."

There are over 28 million small business in the United States, and last year over 100 million people shopped at independently owned small businesse6s on Small Business Saturday, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

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Friday, November 9, 2012

Thursday, November 8, 2012

President Barack Obama Issues 2012 Veterans Day Proclamation


VETERANS DAY, 2012
- - - - - - -
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION

Whether they fought in Salerno or Samarra, Heartbreak Ridge or Helmand, Khe Sanh or the Korengal, our veterans are part of an unbroken chain of men and women who have served our country with honor and distinction. On Veterans Day, we show them our deepest thanks. Their sacrifices have helped secure more than two centuries of American progress, and their legacy affirms that no matter what confronts us or what trials we face, there is no challenge we cannot overcome, and our best days are still ahead.

This year, we marked the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. We began to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. We welcomed our veterans back home from Iraq, and we continued to wind down operations in Afghanistan. These milestones remind us that, though much has changed since Americans first took up arms to advance freedom's cause, the spirit that moved our forebears is the same spirit that has defined each generation of our service members. Our men and women in uniform have taught us about strength, duty, devotion, resolve -- cornerstones of a commitment to protect and defend that has kept our country safe for over 200 years. In war and in peace, their service has been selfless and their accomplishments have been extraordinary.

Even after our veterans take off the uniform, they never stop serving. Many apply the skills and experience they developed on the battlefield to a life of service here at home. They take on roles in their communities as doctors and police officers, engineers and entrepreneurs, mothers and fathers. As a grateful Nation, it is our task to make that transition possible -- to ensure our returning heroes can share in the opportunities they have given so much to defend. The freedoms we cherish endure because of their service and sacrifice, and our country must strive to honor our veterans by fulfilling our responsibilities to them and upholding the sacred trust we share with all who have served.

On days like this, we are called to reflect on immeasurable burdens that have been borne by so few. We pay tribute to our wounded, our missing, our fallen, and their families -- men and women who have known the true costs of conflict and deserve our deepest respect, now and forever. We also remember that our commitments to those who have served are commitments we must honor not only on Veterans Day, but every day. As we do so, let us reaffirm our promise that when our troops finish their tours of duty, they come home to an America that gives them the benefits they have earned, the care they deserve, and the fullest opportunity to keep their families strong and our country moving forward.

With respect for and in recognition of the contributions our service members have made to the cause of peace and freedom around the world, the Congress has provided (5 U.S.C. 6103(a)) that November 11 of each year shall be set aside as a legal public holiday to honor our Nation's veterans.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim November 11, 2012, as Veterans Day. I encourage all Americans to recognize the valor and sacrifice of our veterans through appropriate public ceremonies and private prayers. I call upon Federal, State, and local officials to display the flag of the United States and to participate in patriotic activities in their communities. I call on all Americans, including civic and fraternal organizations, places of worship, schools, and communities to support this day with commemorative expressions and programs.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventh day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

BARACK OBAMA

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Full Text of President Barack Obama's Remarks on Election Night



THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
November 7, 2012
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT ON ELECTION NIGHT
Courtesy of the United States Embassy in Dublin, Ireland

McCormick Place
Chicago, Illinois
12:38 A.M. CST

THE PRESIDENT: Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward. (Applause.)
It moves forward because of you. It moves forward because you reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war and depression; the spirit that has lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope -- the belief that while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family, and we rise or fall together, as one nation, and as one people. (Applause.)
Tonight, in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come. (Applause.)
I want to thank every American who participated in this election. (Applause.) Whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line for a very long time -- (applause) -- by the way, we have to fix that. (Applause.) Whether you pounded the pavement or picked up the phone -- (applause) -- whether you held an Obama sign or a Romney sign, you made your voice heard, and you made a difference. (Applause.)
I just spoke with Governor Romney, and I congratulated him and Paul Ryan on a hard-fought campaign. (Applause.) We may have battled fiercely, but it’s only because we love this country deeply, and we care so strongly about its future. From George to Lenore to their son Mitt, the Romney family has chosen to give back to America through public service, and that is a legacy that we honor and applaud tonight. (Applause.)
In the weeks ahead, I also look forward to sitting down with Governor Romney to talk about where we can work together to move this country forward. (Applause.)
I want to thank my friend and partner of the last four years, America’s happy warrior -- (applause) -- the best Vice President anybody could ever hope for -- Joe Biden. (Applause.)
And I wouldn’t be the man I am today without the woman who agreed to marry me 20 years ago. (Applause.) Let me say this publicly -- Michelle, I have never loved you more. I have never been prouder to watch the rest of America fall in love with you, too, as our nation’s First Lady. (Applause.) Sasha and Malia, before our very eyes, you're growing up to become two strong, smart, beautiful young women, just like your mom. (Applause.) And I’m so proud of you guys. But I will say that for now, one dog is probably enough. (Laughter.)
To the best campaign team and volunteers in the history of politics -- (applause) -- the best. The best ever. (Applause.) Some of you were new this time around, and some of you have been at my side since the very beginning. But all of you are family. No matter what you do or where you go from here, you will carry the memory of the history we made together, and you will have the lifelong appreciation of a grateful President. Thank you for believing all the way, through every hill, through every valley. (Applause.) You lifted me up the whole way. And I will always be grateful for everything that you've done and all the incredible work that you put in. (Applause.)
I know that political campaigns can sometimes seem small, even silly. And that provides plenty of fodder for the cynics who tell us that politics is nothing more than a contest of egos, or the domain of special interests. But if you ever get the chance to talk to folks who turned out at our rallies, and crowded along a rope line in a high school gym, or saw folks working late at a campaign office in some tiny county far away from home, you'll discover something else.
You’ll hear the determination in the voice of a young field organizer who’s worked his way through college, and wants to make sure every child has that same opportunity. (Applause.) You’ll hear the pride in the voice of a volunteer who’s going door to door because her brother was finally hired when the local auto plant added another shift. (Applause.) You’ll hear the deep patriotism in the voice of a military spouse who’s working the phones late at night to make sure that no one who fights for this country ever has to fight for a job, or a roof over their head when they come home. (Applause.)
That’s why we do this. That’s what politics can be. That’s why elections matter. It's not small; it's big. It's important.
Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated. We have our own opinions. Each of us has deeply held beliefs. And when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy. That won’t change after tonight -- and it shouldn’t. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty, and we can never forget that as we speak, people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter, the chance to cast their ballots like we did today. (Applause.)
But despite all our differences, most of us share certain hopes for America’s future. We want our kids to grow up in a country where they have access to the best schools and the best teachers -- (applause) -- a country that lives up to its legacy as the global leader in technology and discovery and innovation, with all the good jobs and new businesses that follow.
We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt; that isn’t weakened by inequality; that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet. (Applause.)
We want to pass on a country that’s safe and respected and admired around the world; a nation that is defended by the strongest military on Earth and the best troops this world has ever known -- (applause) -- but also a country that moves with confidence beyond this time of war to shape a peace that is built on the promise of freedom and dignity for every human being.
We believe in a generous America; in a compassionate America; in a tolerant America, open to the dreams of an immigrant’s daughter who studies in our schools and pledges to our flag. (Applause.) To the young boy on the South Side of Chicago who sees a life beyond the nearest street corner. (Applause.) To the furniture worker’s child in North Carolina who wants to become a doctor or a scientist, an engineer or entrepreneur, a diplomat or even a President. That’s the future we hope for. That’s the vision we share. That’s where we need to go. Forward. (Applause.) That's where we need to go.
Now, we will disagree, sometimes fiercely, about how to get there. As it has for more than two centuries, progress will come in fits and starts. It's not always a straight line. It's not always a smooth path. By itself, the recognition that we have common hopes and dreams won’t end all the gridlock, or solve all our problems, or substitute for the painstaking work of building consensus, and making the difficult compromises needed to move this country forward. But that common bond is where we must begin.
Our economy is recovering. A decade of war is ending. A long campaign is now over. (Applause.) And whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you. I have learned from you. And you've made me a better President. With your stories and your struggles, I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do, and the future that lies ahead. (Applause.)
Tonight, you voted for action, not politics as usual. (Applause.) You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours. And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together: reducing our deficit; reforming our tax code; fixing our immigration system; freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We've got more work to do. (Applause.)
But that doesn’t mean your work is done. The role of citizen in our democracy does not end with your vote. America has never been about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government. (Applause.) That's the principle we were founded on.
This country has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our university, culture are the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores.
What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on Earth -- the belief that our destiny is shared; that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another, and to future generations; that the freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for comes with responsibilities as well as rights, and among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That's what makes America great. (Applause.)
I am hopeful tonight because I have seen this spirit at work in America. I’ve seen it in the family business whose owners would rather cut their own pay than lay off their neighbors, and in the workers who would rather cut back their hours than see a friend lose a job.
I’ve seen it in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb, and in those SEALs who charged up the stairs into darkness and danger because they knew there was a buddy behind them, watching their back. (Applause.)
I’ve seen it on the shores of New Jersey and New York, where leaders from every party and level of government have swept aside their differences to help a community rebuild from the wreckage of a terrible storm. (Applause.)
And I saw it just the other day in Mentor, Ohio, where a father told the story of his eight-year-old daughter, whose long battle with leukemia nearly cost their family everything, had it not been for health care reform passing just a few months before the insurance company was about to stop paying for her care. (Applause.) I had an opportunity to not just talk to the father, but meet this incredible daughter of his. And when he spoke to the crowd, listening to that father’s story, every parent in that room had tears in their eyes, because we knew that little girl could be our own. And I know that every American wants her future to be just as bright.
That’s who we are. That’s the country I'm so proud to lead as your President. (Applause.) And tonight, despite all the hardship we’ve been through, despite all the frustrations of Washington, I've never been more hopeful about our future. (Applause.) I have never been more hopeful about America. And I ask you to sustain that hope.
I’m not talking about blind optimism -- the kind of hope that just ignores the enormity of the tasks ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. I’m not talking about the wishful idealism that allows us to just sit on the sidelines or shirk from a fight. I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us, so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting. (Applause.)
America, I believe we can build on the progress we’ve made, and continue to fight for new jobs, and new opportunity, and new security for the middle class. I believe we can keep the promise of our founding -- the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are, or where you come from, or what you look like, or where you love -- it doesn’t matter whether you're black or white, or Hispanic or Asian, or Native American, or young or old, or rich or poor, abled, disabled, gay or straight -- you can make it here in America if you’re willing to try. (Applause.)
I believe we can seize this future together -- because we are not as divided as our politics suggest; we're not as cynical as the pundits believe; we are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions; and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and forever will be, the United States of America. (Applause.) And together, with your help, and God’s grace, we will continue our journey forward, and remind the world just why it is that we live in the greatest nation on Earth. (Applause.)
Thank you, America. God bless you. God bless these United States. (Applause.)

President Obama Thanks His Supporters on Election Night




(November 6, 2012) --  Message from President Barack Obama to his supporters at 11:47 p.m. on election night:

I'm about to go speak to the crowd here in Chicago, but I wanted to thank you first.

I want you to know that this wasn't fate, and it wasn't an accident. You made this happen.

You organized yourselves block by block. You took ownership of this campaign five and ten dollars at a time. And when it wasn't easy, you pressed forward.

I will spend the rest of my presidency honoring your support, and doing what I can to finish what we started.

But I want you to take real pride, as I do, in how we got the chance in the first place.

Today is the clearest proof yet that, against the odds, ordinary Americans can overcome powerful interests.

There's a lot more work to do. But for right now: Thank you.

###




Sunday, November 4, 2012

Bill Clinton and Barack Obama Campaign Together in the Final Days Before the Election


Former President Bill Clinton has teamed up with President Barack Obama on the final weekend before the general election next Tuesday, November 6, 2012.

On Saturday, Clinton and Obama campaigned in Virginia, and on Sunday the two leaders are in New Hampshire. 

Here is a video of President Clinton's speech in Bristow, Virginia.



Support the re-election of Barack Obama

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Irish Voice Newspaper in New York City Endorses Barack Obama for President


(This editorial appeared in the October 24, 2012 issue of the Irish Voice Newspaper)

Four years ago American international standing received an enormous boost when Barack Obama was elected president.

There is simply no other country on Earth where it could happen that the African American son of a teenage mother who barely knew his father and had every reason to end up a failure becomes the first black president.

Overnight the image of America was transformed internationally after the miserable years of the Bush reign when wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a cowboy mentality towards the rest of the world had created a fierce anti-Americanism.

The last four years could not be more different, with America acknowledged again across the world as the international leader, taking the initiative in major international crises such as Iran and Libya and restoring the good name of this country.

Obama has strode manfully on that world stage and won respect and admiration for his nuanced, serious and inclusive view of how best to use American power.

He has kept America safe, killed Osama bin Laden, decimated much of the Al-Qaeda power structure and projected an air of competence and authority in his international dealings.

Domestically Obama has tried to soften the blow of the worst recession since the thirties which he inherited from his predecessor. There seems little doubt that inch by inch, slowly America is coming back.

It hardly seems the ideal time to switch horses for the United States, especially as Obama’s opponent Mitt Romney has shifted shapes so dramatically in the past month or so that the real GOP candidate remains something of a mystery.

Is he the moderate governor of Massachusetts, or the right wing acolyte we saw in the Republican primaries?

Is he the creature of a right-wing America-first bellicose foreign policy like George W. Bush, or is he the kinder gentler character who emerged in the final presidential debate?

One hopes it is the former in both cases, but it is hardly the most convincing of arguments for electing him.  Romney appears to understand that shifting to the center is where the election can be won, but his sharp departure from previous positions is surely a cause for concern.

The voters who know Romney best, those in Massachusetts, will hand Obama a 20 or so wining point margin in the election.  That surely says something about his long-term impact on a state that he claims he successfully governed, and the voters who had four years to rate him.

Why at this critical time should America take a chance on a politician who has failed to forge a clear identity and persona at a time when clear leadership is desperately needed?

Obama seems the far safer choice for these troubled times, a man who has learned many hard lessons during his first four years in power and now seems ready to take on a second term with far more knowledge and insight for the job than he had when he first took over.

Running for president of the United States is a difficult, fraught and often times vexing prospect, with the race seemingly starting earlier every election cycle.

Be that as it may, we have a clear choice between the two contenders who have made it to Election Day.

Barack Obama represents a far better, safer and more credible choice than Mitt Romney.

We are proud to endorse him.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's Statement on the Murder of Northern Ireland Prison Officer



(November 2, 2012) - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued the following statement on the murder of David Black in Northern Ireland:

"I strongly condemn yesterday’s senseless murder of David Black, an officer in the Northern Ireland Prison Service, and applaud the swift efforts of the Police Service of Northern Ireland to bring the perpetrators to justice. There is no justification for this outrageous and cowardly act. I offer my sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Officer Black, who had a long and distinguished record of service. The United States remains resolute in support of the people of Northern Ireland, who have condemned violence and embraced the path to peace and reconciliation."

For more remarks by Secretary Clinton on Northern Ireland during the Obama Administration, click here. 

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President Obama's Weekly Address: Recovering and Rebuilding After the Storm


(November 3, 2012) -- The President Gives His Weekly Address, Recovering and Rebuilding After the Storm:

This weekend, millions of our fellow Americans are still picking up the pieces from one of the worst storms in our history.  

I toured New Jersey on Wednesday with Governor Christie, and witnessed some of the terrible devastation firsthand.  It’s heartbreaking.  Families have lost loved ones.  Entire communities have been wiped away.  Even some of the first responders who repeatedly put themselves in harm’s way to bravely save the lives of others have suffered losses of their own.

Today, I ask everyone to keep them in your prayers.  And as President, I promise them this: your country will be there for you for as long as it takes to recover and rebuild.

Throughout the week, I’ve been in constant contact with governors and mayors in the affected areas, who are doing an excellent job in extraordinarily difficult circumstances. And we owe the first responders and National Guardsmen who have been working around the clock our deepest gratitude.

Our number one concern has been making sure that affected states and communities have everything they need to respond to and recover from this storm. 

From the earliest hours, I ordered that resources be made available to states in the path of the storm as soon as they needed them.  And I instructed my team not to let red tape and bureaucracy get in the way of solving problems – especially when it came to making sure local utilities could restore power as quickly as possible. 

Before the storm hit, FEMA pre-staged emergency response teams from North Carolina to Maine, and deployed resources like food, water, and generators up and down the coast.  As the storm passed, thousands of FEMA personnel were on the ground responding to those in need.  And by midweek, the Department of Defense was ready to fly in cargo planes that could be loaded with trucks and equipment to help local power companies get up and running faster.

But recovery will be a long, hard road for many communities.  There’s a lot of work ahead.

If you’ve been directly impacted by this storm and need temporary assistance getting back on your feet, you can call 1-800-621-FEMA, or apply at DisasterAssistance.gov.  If you know folks who are still without power, please spread the word and let them know.

And if you don’t live in an affected area and want to help, supporting the Red Cross is the best and fastest way. 

This week, we have been humbled by nature’s destructive power.  But we’ve been inspired as well.  For when the storm was darkest, the heroism of our fellow citizens shone brightest. 

The nurses and doctors at NYU Medical Center who evacuated fragile newborns, carrying some down several flights of stairs. 

The firefighters in Queens who battled an inferno from flooded streets, and rescued people from an apartment building by boat. 

The Coast Guard crews from North Carolina who saved a sinking ship in stormy seas – and their rescue swimmer who, when he reached those in need, said, “I’m Dan, and I hear you guys need a ride.” 

That’s who we are.  We’re Americans.  When times are tough, we’re tougher.  We put others first.  We go that extra mile.  We open our hearts and our homes to one another, as one American family.  We recover, we rebuild, we come back stronger – and together we will do that once more. 

Thanks, God bless you, and God bless America.

Boston Irish Reporter Newspaper Endorses President Barack Obama

(This editorial appeared in the November 2012 issue of Boston Irish Reporter)


If only every decision in life were this easy.

President Barack Obama has earned re-election with an impressive first term that will come to be viewed as one of the most productive, progressive, and — ultimately— successful periods in the history of the modern US presidency. Obama has done so in spite of an inherited economic crisis that would have upended lesser leaders and in the face of a Republican Congress whose sole reason for existence over the last two years has been to undermine the president and his initiatives at every turn. The GOP has failed, the president has prevailed, and we enthusiastically endorse his re-election next Tuesday.

The president’s health care reform initiative is a milestone achievement. (In a great irony, his detractors quickly labeled the Affordable Care Act measure “Obamacare”, a term that the president came to embrace and one that will no doubt come to carry his name, to positive effect, through the ages.) Rarely has a president so effectively used his election mandate to such far-reaching and substantive effect. Tens of millions of our fellow Americans— and untold generations to come— will benefit from the reforms. That includes young Americans struggling to find a foothold in the workforce and seniors who will benefit immediately from enhanced prescription drug benefits.

The president injected life-saving government dollars into the economy at a moment of great gravity at the dawn of his tenure. He saved the American automotive industry— against the advice of Romney— and has begun to rebuild the economy, add jobs, and rebuild confidence and sales activity the housing market— a gradual turnaround that is now in clear evidence in the Boston area.

The president has struck important blows for civil rights, especially for gay Americans. He has ended the military’s ridiculous half-measure— ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’— and has affirmed his own support for gay marriage, a civil right that will one day be as commonplace as interracial marriage, which was also banned (even criminalized) in this president’s lifetime. Critically, the president is, and always has been, a stalwart supporter of a woman’s right to make her own reproductive decisions and as such he has, and will, appoint Supreme Court justices who will reject efforts from the right to turn back the clock on this essential civil liberty.

The president has been decisive and impressive on foreign policy. He followed through on his campaign pledge to kill Osama bin Laden if we had the opportunity, pulled US forces from Iraq, and set a reasonable timetable for a withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. He has kept ground troops out of further entanglements in the quicksand of the Middle East while assisting Libya in the overthrow of Khadafy. His even-tempered approach to staring down nuclear proliferation in Iran with unprecedented sanctions is the rational, most viable way forward without a costly war involving Israel.

Obama’s second term offers great promise. The president has laid the groundwork for a robust economic comeback fueled by the nation’s energy sector. By extricating us from two meandering foreign wars, he will have new resources to allocate into state and local spending and pay down the national debt.

A note about his competitor: Bain and Company’s Mitt Romney (who moonlighted as a “moderate” Massachusetts governor for four years) is a fraud. Like the aging utility infielder who’s willing to take any position — no matter how far afield from the last one he held— Romney has proven in this campaign that he’ll say and do anything it takes in order to stay in the game. There is no lie that he won’t tell in a desperate attempt to win the White House, even if comes at the expense of our own economy. Witness his latest assault on the facts this past weekend: an out-and-out whopper intended to scare Ohio voters into thinking that their car jobs with Chrysler were about to be outsourced to China. The false claim resulted in a sharply worded rebuttal from Chrysler, the corporation that makes the Jeeps that Romney lied about. All this from a man who two years ago announced that it was his policy— in ruthless slash and burn fashion— to force the American car industry into bankruptcy.

Take it from Massachusetts voters who’ve seen in action the sneering, jaded shape-shifter exposed in the now infamous “47 percent” video that everyone watched gape-mouthed this fall: Yes, that is the Mitt Romney you can expect to govern the country if he is elected. That said, we wish him well in his political retirement, which will begin around 9:30 p.m. EST next Tuesday night.

Our president stands his ground, takes principled and decisive action, and is a steady hand at the helm of a complicated, diverse but still-optimistic country that finds in their president an equal. He is a leader, and our children and grandchildren will be proud of us for supporting him as we go to the polls enthusiastically to return him to office.

- Bill and Ed Forry 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Brian O'Dwyer: Absolutely Essential that Barack Obama is Reelected

(This opinion piece appeared in the Irish Echo, October 31, 2012 )

by Brian O'Dwyer


As is the case every four years, Irish Americans find themselves facing a difficult decision on election day, November 6.

Once again, there are two candidates with two very different visions for the future of the United States and for Irish-American relations. Between the many attack ads and campaign commercials that seemingly never stop on television, many Irish Americans have probably been left wondering the same question, “which candidate should Irish America stand behind – Governor Mitt Romney or President Barack Obama?”

When one examines each candidate’s interaction with Ireland and the Irish-American community and their specific plans, however, the choice becomes much clearer. President Obama is the only candidate who has shown the necessary dedication and hard work needed to ensure a thriving Ireland and prosperous Irish-American relations.

The Obama Administration has also continued to work for peace in Northern Ireland in the same manner that former President Bill Clinton had ten years earlier. Along with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, President Obama has pledged his support for The International Fund for Ireland, which promotes dialogue and discussion between unionists and nationalists in Northern Ireland.

Seeing as Secretary Clinton has promoted peace in Northern Ireland for the last ten years, there is no doubt that this level of support will continue throughout the next Obama administration.

In addition to his foreign policy toward Ireland itself, President Obama can certainly be praised for his efforts to keep America out of additional wars in the Middle East. Irish Americans in the U.S. military have bravely fought in both Iraq and Afghanistan, but no one wants to see them drawn into yet another conflict. By limiting intervention in Libya and Syria, the president has ensured that American boots will remain on American soil.

There is good reason that when the citizens of the Republic of Ireland were polled as to who they would like to be the next President of the United States they expressed an overwhelming preference for President Obama.

President Obama has also showed his concern for the well being of Ireland by visiting there in May 2011. The visit came in the midst of Ireland’s most severe economic difficulties.
             
Aside from meeting with the prime minister, the president gave an uplifting speech to Dubliners, in which he intertwined Gaelic phrases. While one might counter that a speech should not be significant enough to win the vote of a people, the trip shows that the Obama administration took the time to visit a small nation during a pivotal point in its troubles.

In contrast, Governor Romney failed to visit Ireland on his European campaign trip back in July of this year. While the governor had kind words for the “special relationship” between the United States and Great Britain he had little to say about the “special relationship” that exists between the more than forty million Irish Americans and their Irish cousins.

The fact that the governor flew over Ireland twice during his brief foray into foreign policy and did not take the time to stay for a few hours and show his concern for the Irish economy and the Irish people speaks volumes as to what four years of a Romney foreign policy would be like.

Aside from that, the Ireland trip also had a deeper meaning for President Obama since he took the opportunity to visit Moneygall – a small village to which he can actually trace one of his ancestors. It is an often overlooked fact that President Obama is himself a member of the Irish American community whose ancestors came here during the famines of the 19th century. The overall message of the president to the Irish people can be summed up in only one line of his, “Your best days are still ahead.”

Governor Romney’s message is profound silence.

President Obama’s domestic policies should be of particular note to Irish Americans. In short, he supports comprehensive immigration reform. Governor Romney does not.

Those of us seeking a fair deal for the Irish and an end to the discriminatory preferences in our nation’s immigration laws know that only with an Obama victory can we have any chance of correcting the inequities that single out the Irish for harsh treatment.

This nation was, and continues, to be built on the hard work of its immigrants, and that sentiment must always be fostered. President Obama has demonstrated that he still believes in protecting that tradition and does not want to close the U.S. borders to those that through hard work and dedication pursue their own American Dream.

The president has also provided two other very important factors in those American dreams – fair jobs and health benefits. Irish Americans and labor rights have always been intimately tied together in the past, and it still holds true today. Governor Romney would have us believe that America is best served by taking care of the wealthiest. President Obama believes that a strong middle class is best for America’s future. He will strengthen workers’ rights, not destroy them . As Vice President Biden put it, under President Obama General Motors is alive and well, and Osama Bin Laden is not.

When it comes down to the ballot box on election day, every Irish American has a clear choice in reelecting President Barack Obama. An Irish American himself, he shares our values, those instilled in us from childhood.

We believe in hard work and education and we also believe that each of us has a special responsibility to take care of the poor and dispossessed; so does he. Those values were emphasized when he visited Ireland.

The president has continued the work before him for peace in Northern Ireland, an economically viable Ireland, and a strong middle class at home.

As election day draws closer, the importance of every American’s vote cannot be stressed enough, and the voice of every Irish American must be heard. For a brighter future for both Ireland and America it is absolutely essential that our president be reelected.

Brian O’Dwyer is a New York-based attorney, a member of the board of Irish American Democrats, and founder and chairman of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center.

Irish Echo Newspaper in New York City Endorses Barack Obama for Four More Years


This editorial appears in the October 31, 2012 edition of the Irish Echo.

In a few days the result will be in after voters in all fifty states cast their ballots for the next president. At the time of writing, it looks like a toss-up between President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney. Close elections are good things in that they exercise more minds than might be the case if a runaway win by one candidate seems the likely outcome.

This year, voters have been presented with vigorous argument from both incumbent and challenger, and campaigns and debates that have had an especially significant and broad impact on the battle for the White House.

Mitt Romney, to the surprise of many in both parties, and those who do not link themselves to either party, has shown himself to be a worthy challenger.

It’s clear that many voters, perhaps even a majority, think that he should be the next president. Equally, it’s evident that many voters, again perhaps a majority, feel that President Obama deserves a second term, and the kind of mandate that comes with being elected to that second four years.

A one term presidency always leaves questions in its wake, a sense of promise unfulfilled.

The two most recent examples are the presidencies of President George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter.

In the case of Carter, the extraordinary challenge posed by the Iranian hostage crisis, the disastrous attempt to rescue them, economic hardship at home, and the challenge of an especially formidable rival for office, Ronald Reagan, consigned the 39th president to the category of a one-termer. To this day, the decision of voters in 1982 still retains the aura of being clear cut.

With regards to President Bush, there is, by contrast, a lingering sense that he might have been unlucky, a bit hard done by. Bush was, to say the least, a presidential president. Yes, he did seem a bit uniformed regarding the daily cares of voters, but he was far from being hard hearted.

What did happen in 1992 is that “Bush One” walked into an electoral maelstrom that was a combination of a tough economy and the opposition of not one, but two, formidable candidates: Bill Clinton and Ross Perot.

Barack Obama is facing one opponent, again, a candidate who has emerged as a hard fighter and skilled debater.

As much as the question as to whether Obama deserves to be reelected, there is the question as to whether or not he deserves to be fired from the job based on the record amassed during his four years in office.

We are inclined to respond no to this question and here’s why. Yes, the economy is still in trouble, but it is not in the kind of freefall that was the case four years ago.   Obama, though he does come across as being a bit aloof at times, does seem to feel the pulse of ordinary Americans trying to make ends meet, or secure a job against the backdrop of unemployment numbers that, while unacceptable, were previously worse, and could have been worse again but for the president’s particular part in the economy’s stewardship.

But our deciding factor in favoring a second four years is born from the sense that President Obama cannot be judged without factoring in the record of Congress these past four years. If any entity deserves a pink slip, it is this Congress which looks all too often like a class in need of a teacher.

Should Governor Romney be elected president on Nov. 6 it can only be hoped that he is shown more respect and afforded greater cooperation from Congress than has been the case with President Obama and the two congressional combinations that have presided during his, Obama’s, four years in Washington.

Had the president benefited from less congressional obstruction than has been the case, and if the economy was in the same shape that it is now, then the case against his reelection would actually be stronger.

Presidents come in for a lot of criticism, most of it legitimate and some of it nonsense. This president has had to tolerate more nonsense than most, nonsense that has been both distracting and sometimes downright insulting.

President George W. Bush came in for a lot of criticism too, but he would rightly remind people that while you might have no time for the occupant of the office, you must always respect the office. This implies respect for the verdict of the voters and the electoral system. By that measure, so-called “birthers,” have shown little respect for the decision of the majority in 2008.

Has Barack Obama been such an outstanding president that he deserves a clear run to a second term?

Well, it would seem that the electorate isn’t prepared to give him that clear run. He is having to fight, and fight hard, for a second term.

But that’s a healthy state of affairs, and it should make Barack Obama a better president over the next four years.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Mitt Romney Opposes FEMA to Handle America's Natural Disasters


CNN/New Hampshire GOP Debate, June 13, 2011
 
What would happen if all natural disaster decisions and funding responsibilities went back to individual states, as candidate Mitt Romney advocates in this 2011 New Hampshire Republican debate? What would happen with cash-strapped states, where would they turn? What about small states like Delaware and Rhode Island, how could they cope?

Read Ryan Grim's take on this issue on Huffington Post

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, US President George W. Bush recognized in a report prepared by his Administration that a "National Preparedness System must also recognize the role of the Federal government for monitoring and guiding national preparedness efforts."

Read President Bush's summary of lessons learned from the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe, where states were overwhelmed by the magnitude of the episode as the federal government failed to step up.

Indeed, the report acknowledges that dealing with natural disasters goes beyond the response of individual states.  "Preparedness is inextricably intertwined with our national security, counter terrorism, and homeland security strategies," the report concludes. 

President Obama Meets with FEMA Officials in Wake of Hurricane Sandy


President Barack Obama met with top officials at the FEMA headquarters in Washington DC on Sunday evening to discuss plans for the agency's Hurricane Sandy emergency response. 

President Obama said afterwards, "We all owe a debt of thanks to the first responders who will be dealing with the immediate impact of the storm."

You can follow the progress of the storm at the National Hurricane Center.  

And here is the FEMA Blog for Hurricane safety tips. 

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Saturday, September 15, 2012

President Obama's Weekly Address: Carrying on the Work of Our Fallen Heroes

President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton at the White House on September 12, 2012 

(September 15, 2012) -- President Barack Obama gave his weekly address to the nation on the subject, Carrying on the Work of Our Fallen Heroes, in which he says, "This week in Libya, we lost four of our fellow Americans. Glen Doherty, Tyrone Woods, Sean Smith, and Chris Stevens were all killed in an outrageous attack on our diplomatic post in Benghazi. These four Americans represented the very best of our country."

President Obama concluded by saying, "We will carry on the work of our fallen heroes....We are Americans. We know that our spirit cannot be broken, and the foundation of our leadership cannot be shaken. That is the legacy of the four Americans we lost – men who will live on in the hearts of those they loved, and the strength of the country they served."

Read the entire speech.

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Friday, September 7, 2012

President Obama Proclaims National Days of Prayer and Remembrance in Honor of 9/11 Victims


(September 7, 2012) -- President Barack Obama today proclaimed National Days of Prayer and Remembrance, from Friday, September 7 through Sunday, September 9, 2012.  Here is the full text:


NATIONAL DAYS OF PRAYER AND REMEMBRANCE, 2012
- - - - - - -
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION

Eleven years ago, America confronted one of our darkest days. The events of September 11, 2001, brought collapsing towers in Manhattan and billowing smoke at the Pentagon, wreckage on a Pennsylvania field, and deep ache to the soul of our Nation. Nearly 3,000 innocent people lost their lives that morning; still more gave theirs in service during the hours, days, and years that followed. All were loved, and none will be forgotten. On these days of prayer and remembrance, we mourn again the men, women, and children who were taken from us with terrible swiftness, stand with their friends and family, honor the courageous patriots who responded in our country's moment of need, and, with God's grace, rededicate ourselves to a spirit of unity and renewal.

Those who attacked us sought to deprive our Nation of the very ideals for which we stand -- but in the aftermath of this tragedy, the American people kept alive the virtues and values that make us who we are and who we must always be. Today, the legacy of September 11 is one of rescue workers who rushed to the scene, firefighters who charged up the stairs, passengers who stormed the cockpit -- courageous individuals who put their lives on the line to save people they never knew. It is also a legacy of those who stood up to serve in our Armed Forces. In the 11 years since that day, more than 2 million American service members have gone to war. They have volunteered, leaving the comforts of home and family to defend the country they love and the people they hold dear. Many have returned with dark memories of distant places and fallen friends; too many will never return at all. As we mark these solemn days, we pay tribute to the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in faraway lands, to heroes who died in the line of duty here at home, and to all who keep faith with the principles of service and sacrifice that will always be the source of America's strength.

On September 11, 2001, in our hour of grief, a Nation came together. No matter where we came from, what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family. This weekend, as we honor the memory of those we have lost, let us summon that spirit once more. Let us renew our sense of common purpose. And let us reaffirm the bond we share as a people: that out of many, we are one.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Friday, September 7 through Sunday, September 9, 2012, as National Days of Prayer and Remembrance. I ask that the people of the United States honor and remember the victims of September 11, 2001, and their loved ones through prayer, contemplation, memorial services, the visiting of memorials, the ringing of bells, evening candlelight remembrance vigils, and other appropriate ceremonies and activities. I invite people around the world to participate in this commemoration.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventh day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

BARACK OBAMA
 ***

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President Barack Obama Maps Out His Vision for Four More Years


President Barack Obama accepted his party's nomination last night at the Democratic National Convention, and laid out his vision for moving America forward.

"On every issue, the choice you face won't be just between two candidates or two parties. It will be a choice between two different paths for America," President Obama said.  "A choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future."

View the Video of President Obama's speech:



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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Caroline Kennedy Endorses Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention


Caroline Kennedy, daughter of President John F. Kennedy and president of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, gave a rousing endorsement of President Barack Obama for re-election at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC.

Kennedy told the delegates, "Barack Obama is the kind of leader my father wrote about in "Profiles in Courage." He doesn't just do what's easy. He does what's hard. He does what's right. My father couldn't run for a second term. It was left to his brothers, our family and the generation they inspired to fight for the America he believed in. Now, it's up to a new generation, our children's generation, to carry America forward."

Here is the full transcript of Caroline Kennedy's speech

To support President Obama's election campaign go to BarackObama.com.

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Bill Clinton Gives Fiery Endorsement of Barack Obama at Democratic National Convention



Former US President Bill Clinton officially nominated President Barack Obama for a second term and praised him for laying "the foundation for a more modern, more well-balanced economy that will create millions of jobs."

The 48 minute speech before an enraptured and enthusiastic audience included a sweeping overview of economic history over the last fifty years and minute, in-depth analysis contrasting Democratic and Republican styles of governance.

At the end of the speech, President Obama walked out on stage and embraced President Clinton, ending an extraordinary night.  Here are highlights of President Clinton's speech, or read the full transcript

To support President Obama's election campaign go to BarackObama.com.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick Addresses Democratic National Convention



Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick gave a fiery speech at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, September 4, in praise of President Barack Obama, and urged Democrats to "grow a backbone" in terms of defending the president's record and for his re-election.

Read transcript of Governor Patrick's Speech, or view his speech here:



Governor Patrick also contrasted President Obama's success to Mitt Romney's one-term as Governor of Massachusetts, saying “Mitt Romney talks a lot about all the things he’s fixed...I can tell you Massachusetts was not one of them.”

Patrick, who formed Together PAC, "to encourage people to engage as active citizens at the grassroots level, to inspire candidates to run on their convictions, and to support governing for the long term with an unwavering commitment to generational responsibility as our compass."

To support President Obama's election campaign go to BarackObama.com.

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John F. Kennedy Library Foundation Hosts Forum on Changing Political Demographics at the Democratic National Convention on September 5


The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation in Boston is hosting a forum called Changing Political Demographics at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC on Wednesday, September 5, 2012 from 4:00 to 6:30 p.m.

The forum features a number of leading politicians and media experts, including Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Democratic strategist Maria Cardona, New York Times Columnist Matt Bai, Publisher and Editor in Chief of The New Republic Chris Hughes, and Meet the Press host David Gregory.

The event is available to view live on webcast starting at 4:00 p.m.

Find out more about the John F. Kennedy President Library, located at Columbia Point in Boston. 

To support President Obama's election campaign go to BarackObama.com.

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Joe Kennedy III Speaks at Democratic National Convention, Evokes Ted Kennedy's Spirit


(Photo Courtesy of Brian O'Connor)

Joseph P. Kennedy III , a candidate for the Fourth Congressional District of Massachusetts, spoke at the opening night of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC last evening.  He evoked the memory and the spirit of his late uncle Senator Ted Kennedy while introducing a video tribute to the senator.

Kennedy told the delegates, "This is the first convention since 1956 that we meet without Senator Kennedy, but make no mistake, he is here with us this evening.  I see it in the passion of our delegates, the character of the candidates and the causes that unite us."

Reminding delegates of the senator's strong support of Barack Obama in 2008, Kennedy said, "Four years ago, Uncle Teddy marveled at the grit and grace of a young senator who embodied the change our country sorely needed.  As we pause today to remember Senator Kennedy, we recommit ourselves to the learder he entrusted to carry on our cause."

Here is a video of Joe Kennedy's speech.


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Monday, August 6, 2012

Video: US Pre-Clearance at Dublin Airport, Ireland


The United States Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) facility at Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport in Ireland allows US bound passengers to undertake all immigration, customs and agriculture inspections at Dublin prior to departure.  Here is a short video describing the process:



For more information about going to the United States, contact the US Embassy in Dublin.

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President Obama Hails US Landing on Planet Mars


(August 6, 2012) -- Statement by President Barack Obama on Curiosity Landing on Mars:

"Tonight, on the planet Mars, the United States of America made history.

"The successful landing of Curiosity – the most sophisticated roving laboratory ever to land on another planet – marks an unprecedented feat of technology that will stand as a point of national pride far into the future.  It proves that even the longest of odds are no match for our unique blend of ingenuity and determination.

"Tonight’s success, delivered by NASA, parallels our major steps forward towards a vision for a new partnership with American companies to send American astronauts into space on American spacecraft. That partnership will save taxpayer dollars while allowing NASA to do what it has always done best – push the very boundaries of human knowledge. And tonight’s success reminds us that our preeminence – not just in space, but here on Earth – depends on continuing to invest wisely in the innovation, technology, and basic research that has always made our economy the envy of the world.

"I congratulate and thank all the men and women of NASA who made this remarkable accomplishment a reality – and I eagerly await what Curiosity has yet to discover."

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