President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:
- Patricia Welbourn Lorsch – Member, Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
- Rusty Rueff – Member, Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
- Orlan Boston – Member, Board of Governors of the United Service Organizations, Incorporated
- John D. Goldman – General Trustee, Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
- Amalia Perea Mahoney – General Trustee, Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
- Alyssa Mastromonaco – General Trustee, Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
- Reginald Van Lee – General Trustee, Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
- Danielle Gray – Member, Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States
- Barry Thom – United States Commissioner, Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission
- Allan Holt – Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
President Obama said, “The extraordinary dedication these men and women bring to their new roles will greatly serve the American people. I am grateful they have agreed to serve in this Administration and I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come.”
Statement by Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco on Attempted Rescue Operation
As the Department of Defense has now announced, earlier this summer the President authorized an operation to attempt the rescue of American citizens who were kidnapped and held by ISIL against their will in Syria. The President authorized action at this time because it was the national security team’s assessment that these hostages were in danger with each passing day in ISIL custody. The U.S. Government had what we believed was sufficient intelligence, and when the opportunity presented itself, the President authorized the Department of Defense to move aggressively to recover our citizens. Unfortunately, that mission was ultimately not successful because the hostages were not present.
Given the need to protect our military’s operational capabilities, we will not be able to reveal the details of this operation. But the President could not be prouder of the U.S. forces who carried out this mission and the dedicated intelligence and diplomatic professionals who supported their efforts. Their effort should serve as another signal to those who would do us harm that the United States will not tolerate the abduction of our people, and will spare no effort to secure the safety of our citizens and to hold their captors accountable.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the remaining hostages’ families and their loved ones during this difficult time. We continue to call for their immediate release. On behalf of all Americans, we keep these individuals and their families in our thoughts and prayers.
President Obama: James Foley’s Life “Stands in Stark Contrast to His Killers”
02:16 PM EDT
This afternoon, the President made a statement on the killing of journalist James Foley by the terrorist group ISIL. He was 40 years old.
“The entire world is appalled by the brutal murder of Jim Foley,” President Obama said. “Jim was a journalist, a son, a brother, and a friend. He reported from difficult and dangerous places, bearing witness to the lives of people a world away.”
Foley was taken hostage in Syria almost two years ago while reporting on the conflict there. The President made clear in today’s statement that Foley’s life “stands in stark contrast to his killers”:
[ISIL has] rampaged across cities and villages — killing innocent, unarmed civilians in cowardly acts of violence. They abduct women and children, and subject them to torture and rape and slavery. They have murdered Muslims — both Sunni and Shia — by the thousands. They target Christians and religious minorities, driving them from their homes, murdering them when they can for no other reason than they practice a different religion. They declared their ambition to commit genocide against an ancient people.
So ISIL speaks for no religion. Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre innocents. No just God would stand for what they did yesterday, and for what they do every single day. ISIL has no ideology of any value to human beings. Their ideology is bankrupt. They may claim out of expediency that they are at war with the United States or the West, but the fact is they terrorize their neighbors and offer them nothing but an endless slavery to their empty vision, and the collapse of any definition of civilized behavior.
“People like this ultimately fail,” the President said. “They fail, because the future is won by those who build and not destroy and the world is shaped by people like Jim Foley, and the overwhelming majority of humanity who are appalled by those who killed him.”
The President also reiterated that the U.S. will continue to do whatever is necessary to protect the American people.
“We will be vigilant and we will be relentless,” he said. “When people harm Americans, anywhere, we do what’s necessary to see that justice is done. And we act against ISIL, standing alongside others.”
The people of Iraq, who with our support are taking the fight to ISIL, must continue coming together to expel these terrorists from their communities. The people of Syria, whose story Jim Foley told, do not deserve to live under the shadow of a tyrant or terrorists. They have our support in their pursuit of a future rooted in dignity.
From governments and peoples across the Middle East there has to be a common effort to extract this cancer, so that it does not spread. There has to be a clear rejection of these kind of nihilistic ideologies. One thing we can all agree on is that a group like ISIL has no place in the 21st century.
Friends and allies around the world, we share a common security and a common set of values that are rooted in the opposite of what we saw yesterday. And we will continue to confront this hateful terrorism, and replace it with a sense of hope and civility.
“That’s what Jim Foley stood for,” President Obama said. “A man who lived his work; who courageously told the stories of his fellow human beings; who was liked and loved by friends and family.”
Today, the American people will all say a prayer for those who loved Jim. All of us feel the ache of his absence. All of us mourn his loss. We keep in our prayers those other
Americans who are separated from their families. We will do everything that we can to protect our people and the timeless values that we stand for.
May God bless and keep Jim’s memory, and may God bless the United States of America.
The Attorney General’s Message to the People of Ferguson
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is traveling to Ferguson, Missouri today to review the Department of Justice’s ongoing independent investigation into the tragic death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
In an op-ed in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Attorney General Holder pledged to help find justice for a community that is rightfully hurting and looking for answers:
Today, I will be in Ferguson to be briefed on the federal civil rights investigation that I have closely monitored since I launched it more than one week ago. I will meet personally with community leaders, FBI investigators and federal prosecutors from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to receive detailed briefings on the status of this case.
The full resources of the Department of Justice have been committed to the investigation into Michael Brown’s death. This inquiry will take time to complete, but we have already taken significant steps. Approximately 40 FBI agents and some of the Civil Rights Division’s most experienced prosecutors have been deployed to lead this process, with the assistance of the United States Attorney in St. Louis. Hundreds of people have already been interviewed in connection with this matter. On Monday, at my direction, a team of federal medical examiners conducted an independent autopsy.
We understand the need for an independent investigation, and we hope that the independence and thoroughness of our investigation will bring some measure of calm to the tensions in Ferguson. In order to begin the healing process, however, we must first see an end to the acts of violence in the streets of Ferguson. Although these acts have been committed by a very small minority — and, in many cases, by individuals from outside Ferguson — they seriously undermine, rather than advance, the cause of justice. And they interrupt the deeper conversation that the legitimate demonstrators are trying to advance.
The Justice Department will defend the right of protesters to peacefully demonstrate and for the media to cover a story that must be told. But violence cannot be condoned. I urge the citizens of Ferguson who have been peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights to join with law enforcement in condemning the actions of looters, vandals and others seeking to inflame tensions and sow discord.
Attorney General Holder offered a pledge to the Ferguson community:
This is my pledge to the people of Ferguson: Our investigation into this matter will be full, it will be fair, and it will be independent. And beyond the investigation itself, we will work with the police, civil rights leaders, and members of the public to ensure that this tragedy can give rise to new understanding — and robust action — aimed at bridging persistent gaps between law enforcement officials and the communities we serve. Long after the events of Aug. 9 have receded from the headlines, the Justice Department will continue to stand with this community.
The President Speaks on Iraq and Ferguson
August 18, 2014 | 26:55 | Public Domain
President Obama discusses the latest developments with U.S. operations in Iraq, as well as the ongoing situation in Ferguson, Missouri.
A Day in the Life: Austraberta from Houston
August 19, 2014
04:37 PM EDT
Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the U.S. Department of Labor’s blog. See the original post here.
Leading up to Labor Day 2014, Secretary Tom Perez is traveling across the country to talk with Americans about how we can help more people succeed in the workplace and at home. Follow him along the way with live updates at www.dol.gov/LaborDay.
71-year-old Austraberta Rodriguez has been a janitor for more than 30 years. For most of those years, she could only dream about vacation days and paid time off. She was making $5.15 per hour and she had small children and grandchildren. All of her money was going to the bare essentials. Looking back, she doesn’t know how she survived. In 2006, all of that changed.
Austraberta led her co-workers to strike to form a union and raise their families out of extreme poverty. When they first discussed organizing to form a union, there was resounding reluctance. People were scared. “We work in quiet, empty offices. We were used to being hidden away,” she said. “It was a challenge to decide to go public and to tell everybody we were fighting for something better for our families.”
They began rallying in 2006, and eventually won wage increases, vacation time, paid holiday time, and affordable health care. But eight years later, Austraberta is still fighting for an equal voice at the table.
Today, Secretary Tom Perez is traveling to Houston to meet with her. This is the second of five “day in the life” visits Secretary Perez will be making over the next week during his travel across the country – a chance to talk directly with the people the Labor Department works for every day.
We want to make sure you see what he sees, too. Follow along for updates from his trip.
Day One: Mikey Dickerson, U.S. Digital Service Administrator
10:49 AM EDT
Ever wondered what a first day as a new employee at the White House looks like?
What about a first day as the very first employee of a brand-new government service designed to remake the way people and businesses interact with their government online?
From parking forms to press conferences, from orientation to setting a new BlackBerry password to meeting with senior advisors, follow along as Mikey Dickerson, Administrator of the newly created U.S. Digital Service, makes his way through Day One.
Introducing the U.S. Digital Service
Published on Aug 20, 2014
Follow along with Mikey Dickerson — the administrator of the newly launched U.S. Digital Service — on his first day on the job, where he’ll be leading a team responsible for remaking the digital experience that people and businesses have with their government.. Take a look, and pass it on: http://wh.gov/lSi0k
Vice President Biden Congratulates Winners of National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition
August 20, 2014
03:40 PM EDT
Yesterday afternoon, Vice President Joe Biden welcomed the University of Central Florida’s cyber defense team to the White House to congratulate them on their victory in the 2014 National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition. Beating out more than 2,000 students from over 180 schools, the Central Florida team members demonstrated their ability to protect complex networks from skilled cyber criminals.
Joined by the Director of the Secret Service, the President’s Cyber Coordinator, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy’s Director for National Security and International Affairs, the Vice President underscored the vital national security and economic need to prepare Americans for jobs in cyber security.
Chart of the Week: Auto Production at Its Highest Rate Since 2002
August 21, 2014
11:42 AM EDT
The American auto industry remains a cornerstone of the American economy — a key source of our ability to export, innovate, and create jobs. During the economic turmoil of the Great Recession, the auto sector shed hundreds of thousands of jobs, and production dropped to the lowest level recorded in data going back to the 1960s. In 2009, President Obama took decisive action to rescue the industry from imminent collapse, saving more than 1 million jobs across the country.
Now, our auto industry is once again a source of economic strength, with more and more of the world’s top-of-the-line, fuel-efficient vehicles being made by American workers in American factories. In fact, the number of cars coming off our assembly lines just reached its highest level in 12 years.
Check out how fast the American auto industry has bounced back under President Obama — then share this chart with everyone who needs to see this progress:
GRAPHIC: Witness video of deadly St. Louis police shooting
Published on Aug 21, 2014
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has released mobile phone footage that seems to be at odds with parts of its story surrounding the officer-involved shooting of Kajieme Powell in the weeks after Michael Brown’s death. FULL STORY:http://on.rt.com/uernn7
Police Brutality | Jesse Ventura Off The Grid
Published on Aug 21, 2014
The cops are supposed to protect us… but who can protect us from the cops? Today on #OffTheGrid, Jesse Ventura takes on the tragic rash of police brutality that has struck the United States in Ferguson, Missouri, New York City, and even small town Ohio. Are badge cameras the answer? Or is accountability only the beginning of a deeper issue? Tell the Governor what you think at http://www.ora.tv/offthegrid/askjesse.
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