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Someone You Should Know So You Can Avoid Them: KEITH KOFFLER, A White House Has Been.


 

By Jueseppi B.

I am veteran White House reporter Keith Koffler. Let's talk about what's really going on here. Well whats really going on here is stupidity Keith.

I am veteran White House reporter Keith Koffler. Let’s talk about what’s really going on here. Well whats really going on here is stupidity Keith.

 

I have been reading Keith Koffler’s attempt at running a blog for about 6 months. While I understand that not everybody loves our beloved President, Barack Hussein Obama, why some so called reporter would choose to write garbage in place of facts, well thats beyond my scope of comprehension.

 

I was building websites and computers back in 1985, and know from that experience the more people that visit a website and the more traffic that website draws, the slower and more difficult it is to process that website traffic.

 

Yesterday there was a rush on the Healthcare.gov website because as with most things involving humans, people waited until the very last possible moment to sign up and visit the Healthcare Marketplace, which caused a “glitch” in how smooth that website was able to process applications.

 

The very uneducated Mr. Keith Koffler reacted to a rush on the Healthcare.gov website in this way:

 

Healthcare.gov on the Fritz

 

by KEITH KOFFLER on MARCH 31, 2014, 4:53 PM

I’d say it’s incomprehensible that all these months after the site didn’t work, it still can’t handle a large load of people – except of course nothing with Obamacare is incomprehensible anymore.

 

I mean, THE OBAMA PEOPLE THEMSELVES PREDICTED A SURGE OF ENROLLMENTS TODAY.

 

I tried to enroll on the Virginia exchange – not that I would have completed the process – and got this:

 

healthcare.gov-error

 

As John McEnroe used to say to umpires, YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!

 

 

Now knowing Mr. Keith Koffler wouldn’t know his ass from a gopher hole when it comes to running a website or anything remotely connected to Internet Technologies….I would be willing to over look his dumbfuckery. The problem is his mindset is so screwed by his blatant racism and hatred of any & all things Barack Hussein Obama, that I cannot over look his dumbfuckery.

 

The sign posted on the Healthcare.gov website during the heavy usage at the website is the same type of notification I get when I visit my utilities website during a thing called “peak usage times.” It’s the same thing I hear when I call my local cable company during the hours between 10 AM and 3 PM, heavy usage times….and listen to a recording telling me “how important my business is and a customer service professional will be with me momentarily.”

 

I assume Mr. Keith Koffler has never experienced such daily occurrences when dealing with a business.

 

I seriously dislike a racist TeaTardedRepubliCANT Pseudo-Freudian Psycho-Sexual Secret-Whore Pro-caucasian Pro-Racist Anti-LGBTQA1 Anti- Feminist Reich Wing GOPretender Conselfishservative NRA-Gun Loving Nut Bag Party member such as Mr. Keith Koffler. Especially when that racist TeaTardedRepubliCANT Pseudo-Freudian Psycho-Sexual Secret-Whore Pro-caucasian Pro-Racist Anti-LGBTQA1 Anti- Feminist Reich Wing GOPretender Conselfishservative NRA-Gun Loving Nut Bag Party member has the nerve to write such dumbfuckery as what this Mr. Keith Koffler writes.

 

Stop by his blog spot and take a gander at what comes from his tiny diseased mind…. White House Dossier,

 

About

 

White House Dossier, written by veteran White House reporter Keith Koffler, is the only 24/7, totally independent, and fully unauthorized White House news website.  It delivers a unique blend of White House reporting, commentary and analysis – with frequent doses of humor and satire – to carry forward journalism’s traditional mission of holding the powerful to account. The website focuses mainly on President Obama, his administration, and his antagonists.

 

Award winning journalist Keith Koffler has 16 years of experience covering Washington. As a reporter for CongressDailyNational Journal magazine, and Roll Call, Keith wrote primarily from the White House, covering three presidents and learning as few have the intricacies of the West Wing and the behavior and motivations of its occupants. While mainly stationed at the White House, he also extensively covered Congress and Washington’s lobbyists.

 

Keith has also written for a variety of other news organizations, including PoliticoReutersThe Daily Caller, and The London Observer and appeared on Fox News, C-Span, Sirius XM’s POTUS radio, and numerous other radio and TV outlets. He currently writes regular opinion columns for Politico.

 

His work has been referenced in many major domestic and international news outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the BBC, the Washington Post, the London Telegraph, the Daily Mail,National Review the Weekly Standard and the Huffington Post.

 

Keith is a past winner of the $10,000 Force of Language prize for writing from the publishers of The Atlantic magazine.

 

 

Yeah. Uh Huh.

 

Racist GOPukes are so worried that The Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act (ObamaCARES) will be successful and that a Negro President will get credit for giving 7 million to 9.5 million Americans a pathway to affordable healthcare, many for the very first time, that they will do anything possible to derail that healthcare train. Sad thing is that most of these traitors are in the media. Are in our houses of local and federal government. Meaning we the people voted them into office.

 

The Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act (ObamaCARES) will be successful, because Americans need and want healthcare coverage. That you can take to the bank.

 

 

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Where In The World Is Barack™: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The White House Blog Updates AND West Wing Week.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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President’s Schedule – March 28th, 2014

 

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 28th, 2014

 

DAILY GUIDANCE AND SCHEDULE FOR
FRIDAY, MARCH 28th, 2014

 

In the morning, the President will depart Rome, Italy en route Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The President’s departure from the Fiumicino Airport is open press. The President’s arrival at the King Khalid International Airport is pooled press.

 

In the evening, the President arrives to the Rawdat Khuraim and participates in a bilateral meeting with His Majesty Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. There will be travel pool coverage of the President’s arrival and a pool spray at the top of the bilateral meeting.

 

The President will remain overnight in Saudi Arabia.

 

 

Friday, March 28 2014 All Times ET

 

On Friday, the President will travel from Rome, Italy to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. While in Saudi Arabia, the President will participate in a bilateral meeting with His Majesty Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  The President will remain overnight in Saudi Arabia.

 

10:10 AM: The President arrives Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Local Event Time: 5:10 PM ASTKing Khalid International Airport – Riyadh – Saudi Arabia.

 

10:55 AM: The President arrives and is greeted by the Saudi delegation. Local Event Time: 5:55 PM AST, Rawdat Khuraim.

 

11:00 AM: The President participates in an expanded bilateral meeting with His Majesty King Abdullah, Local Event Time: 6:00 PM AST, Rawdat Khuraim.

 

 

Raw: Obama Arrives in Saudi Arabia

 

Published on Mar 28, 2014

Subscribe for more Breaking News:http://smarturl.it/AssociatedPress
President Barack Obama paid a visit to the desert oasis of wary ally King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, hoping to reassure the aging monarch who is nervously watching Washington’s negotiations with Iran and other U.S. policy in the Middle East. (March 28)

 

 

 

Barack Leaving Italy....

Barack Leaving Italy….

Marine helicopters carry President Barack Obama and his delegation for a meeting with Saudi King Abdullah at Rawdat al-Khraim (Desert Camp) near Riyadh

Marine helicopters carry President Barack Obama and his delegation for a meeting with Saudi King Abdullah at Rawdat al-Khraim (Desert Camp) near Riyadh

President Obama is welcomed by Governor of Riyadh Prince Khalid Bandar bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud on arriving in Riyadh

President Obama is welcomed by Governor of Riyadh Prince Khalid Bandar bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud on arriving in Riyadh

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Walking That Barack Swag On "The Red Carpet."

Walking That Barack Swag On “The Red Carpet.”

President Obama meets with Saudi King Abdullah at Rawdat Khuraim

President Obama meets with Saudi King Abdullah at Rawdat Khuraim

THIS is how Saudi King Abdullah at Rawdat Khuraim does it in the desert.

THIS is how Saudi King Abdullah at Rawdat Khuraim does it in the desert.

 

 

FACT SHEET: United States-Saudi Arabia Bilateral Relationship

 

In his meetings with King Abdullah in Riyadh, President Obama reiterated the significance the United States places on its strong relationship with Saudi Arabia, which has endured for over 80 years.  The United States and Saudi Arabia are working together to address a number of critical bilateral and regional issues, including resolving the crisis in Syria, preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, counterterrorism efforts to combat extremism, and supporting negotiations to achieve Middle East peace.

 

Defense Cooperation:  U.S. and Saudi defense forces enjoy outstanding partnerships and regularly participate in joint exercises to advance shared interests in Gulf security.  The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customer, with active and open cases valued at approximately $97 billion, as Saudi forces build capabilities across the full spectrum of regional challenges.  The United States and Saudi Arabia currently are enhancing partnerships on critical infrastructure and border security, including on the Interior Ministry’s multi-billion dollar initiative to enhance land and coastal border defenses.

 

Counterterrorism:  Saudi Arabia has been a strong U.S. counterterrorism (CT) partner, particularly on disrupting Al Qaeda (AQ) elements.  We work closely with Saudi authorities on a range of CT issues, including countering terrorist financing (CTF), and the United States and Saudi Arabia work together to help various nations in the region counter shared terrorist threats.

 

Bilateral Trade and Investment:  U.S. exports to Saudi Arabia exceeded $35 billion in 2013, including direct exports of $19 billion (a 76 percent increase since 2009) and roughly $2 billion in service exports (Engineering, Procurement, and Construction; Design; Financial; and Legal).  Indirect exports and other goods and services were valued at an additional $15 billion.  The bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement provides a forum for the United States and Saudi Arabia to explore ways to advance economic relations.  Among other successes, Saudi Arabia has followed up on its commitment to improve its intellectual property rights regime since being removed from the United States Trade Representative’s Special 301 Watch List in 2010.  Continual improvements in its intellectual property rights regime facilitate the Kingdom’s efforts to develop a diversified knowledge economy and improve the investment climate for U.S. businesses.

 

Energy Cooperation:  As U.S. oil and gas production increases, and as Saudi Arabia works to diversify its energy mix and improve energy efficiency, our longstanding bilateral cooperation on energy issues is getting stronger, not just on conventional energy market issues, but also energy efficiency, renewable and other alternative energy sources, and science and technology research.  For example, Saudi Arabia is working with the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory on measuring its solar energy resources.  The Saudis are also working with the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and others on developing energy efficiency for the Kingdom, including automotive fuel economy standards.  The United States and Saudi Arabia hold an annual Bilateral Energy Dialogue to explore broader energy cooperation, including potential cooperation on advanced geothermal research and other issues relating to alternative energies.

 

Educational Programs:  There are more Saudi students in the United States now than ever before, with approximately 80,000 Saudi students in the United States representing Saudi Arabia’s future political, business, and social leadership.  U.S. education and the American experience help to shape Saudi Arabia’s future workplace and national outlook and will encourage new perspectives on diversity, tolerance, and global affairs.

 

Citizen Exchanges:  The United States and Saudi Arabia have a decades-long history of citizen exchanges.  International Visitor Leadership Programs (IVLP) focus on interfaith dialogue, volunteerism, women’s empowerment, entrepreneurship, and public health issues.  A number of American Fulbright scholars are working with Saudi higher education institutions to develop and strengthen their graduate curricula and offer new academic majors.  Several thousand Saudis have participated in citizen exchange programs over the past several decades.

 

Science and Technology Cooperation:  In keeping with its interest in developing knowledge-based industries, Saudi Arabia has significantly expanded its scientific research and technological development.  Under the U.S.-Saudi Science and Technology Agreement, signed in 2008, the King Abdulaziz City of Science and Technology (KACST) is currently working with NASA on several projects including the Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) and space geodesy and geodynamics research.  KACST also collaborates with numerous U.S. universities and is exploring collaborative programs with the U.S. Geological Survey and the Department of Energy on projects important to both of our countries, including dust storm monitoring, seismic imaging of the Earth’s crust, and solar energy.

 

Environmental Programs:  Saudi Arabia joined the Global Methane Initiative in January 2014, providing a vehicle for enhanced cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce emissions of a powerful greenhouse gas.  The Department of Energy, through an MOU signed in 2010, and the EPA are also working to enhance cooperation with the Kingdom on research and application of carbon capture, use, and storage.

 

Health Cooperation Programs:  The United States and Saudi Arabia have been close partners in health cooperation for over three decades.  Currently, a number of U.S. scientists have collaborative National Institutes of Health grants with Saudi partners.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a long history with the Saudi Ministry of Health and Saudi Arabian National Guard Health Affairs; both have hosted CDC experts for one to two year stints and work with the CDC on infectious disease surveillance during the yearly Hajj pilgrimage.  CDC also works closely with Saudi Arabia on a range of issues including smoking cessation, breast cancer awareness, control and prevention of diabetes and heart disease, and epidemiology and surveillance of infectious diseases.

 

 

FRIDAY

  • President Obama participates in a bilateral meeting with King Abdullah of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

 

SATURDAY

  • President Obama meets with employees and family members of the U.S. embassy

 

 

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West Wing Week 03/28/14 or, “The 2014 European Edition”

 

Published on Mar 28, 2014

Welcome to a special, travel edition of the West Wing Week. The President spent this whirlwind week working in Europe, where he attended the third, biennial Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, traveled to Brussels for an EU-US Summit, and then on to Rome, where he met with His High Holiness Pope Francis.

 

 

 

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Statements and Releases - March 28, 2014/March 27, 2014

 

 

Statement by the Press Secretary on the Selection of former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg as the Next NATO Secretary General

 

We welcome the selection of former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg as NATO’s next Secretary General, beginning October 1, 2014.  Mr. Stoltenberg is a proven leader with a demonstrated commitment to the transatlantic Alliance.  As Prime Minister, he built Norway’s military capabilities and actively contributed to NATO operations and political dialogue.  We are confident he is the best person to ensure the continued strength and unity of the NATO Alliance.

 

We also are grateful for the service of current NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and will rely on his expertise to bring the Alliance through the NATO Summit in September.  Secretary General Rasmussen has been an exceptional leader at an extraordinary time.  His vision and dedication have strengthened the Alliance’s strategic direction and focus on ways to bolster defense capabilities while reinforcing the commitments and values underpinning it.  From preparing for NATO’s transition in Afghanistan, to seeing us through the intervention in Libya, and – now – to providing strong leadership in the face of Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine, Secretary General Rasmussen has been a steadfast partner and a trusted friend of the United States throughout his tenure.  We know that Mr. Stoltenberg will prove the same.

 

 

FACT SHEET: Climate Action Plan – Strategy to Cut Methane Emissions

 

A Strategy to Cut Methane Emissions

 

 

In June 2013, President Obama gave a speech at Georgetown University where he laid out both the case for action on climate change and the steps his Administration will take to address it. The Climate Action Plan that the President announced includes steps to cut carbon pollution, help prepare the United States for the impacts of climate change that are already on the way, and continue American leadership in international efforts to combat global climate change.

 

In his Climate Action Plan, President Obama directed the Administration to develop a comprehensive, interagency strategy to cut methane emissions. Today, the White House released the Climate Action Plan – Strategy to Cut Methane Emissions. Learn more about the strategy in the fact sheet below, and check out the full Strategy here.

 

 

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Statement by NSC Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden on UN Human Rights Council Vote on Sri Lanka

 

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

 

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

 

 

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Supreme Court Decision in U.S. v. Castleman Will Save Women’s Lives

 

 

This week, the Supreme Court decided a case that will save women’s lives.

 

Back in 1996, Congress made it a crime for anyone convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence to possess a gun. As Vice President Biden has often noted, there is a direct connection between gun violence and domestic violence: when a domestic abuser has a gun, a victim is 12 times more likely to die than when he doesn’t.

 

Some courts, however, have set a high bar for what counts as a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” – which has meant that many domestic abusers have been allowed to keep their guns.

 

But in United States v. Castleman (written by Justice Sotomayor), the Court changed all that. It recognized that domestic violence is a unique kind of crime that doesn’t always fit everyone’s idea of what’s “violent”: often, it can involve pushing, grabbing, shoving, scratching, or hair pulling – and which, over time, can “subject one intimate partner to the other’s control.” The Court also recognized that, in a number of states, these acts are prosecuted as crimes of “offensive touching” – which, before this week, meant some courts didn’t consider them to be domestic violence. But now, according to the Court, that’s enough to subject a convicted domestic abuser to the federal gun ban.

 

This is a landmark opinion. As so many abused women know, what happens to them is a far cry from “offensive touching.” It is terrifying and debilitating, and can rob her of all manner of trust, security, and hope. It can make her – as the Vice President has also said – a prisoner in her own home. But at least now, the law recognizes that those who are convicted of these crimes have no business having a gun.

 

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President Obama: We need “Russia to move back those troops”

 

Published on Mar 28, 2014

In an interview with “CBS Evening News” anchor and managing editor Scott Pelley, President Obama spoke about the steps Russia must take to reduce tensions over Ukraine.

 

 

 

Statement by the Press Secretary on Ukraine

The United States welcomes the preliminary agreement between the Government of Ukraine and International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff on a loan program of $14-18 billion.  This represents a powerful sign of support from the international community for the Ukrainian government, as we help them stabilize and grow their economy, and move their democracy forward.  The agreement is expected to unlock roughly $27 billion in total support from the international community for Ukraine’s people over the next two years, as the country implements historic reforms to address long-standing problems that have undermined Ukraine’s economic strength and prosperity.  It is important now for both the Government of Ukraine and the IMF to move expeditiously and complete the steps necessary to gain approval from the IMF Executive Board.

Together with our allies and partners, President Obama will continue to build international support for the Ukrainian people at this critical time.  The IMF program will be a central component of a package of assistance to support Ukraine as it implements reforms and conducts free and fair elections that will allow all the Ukrainian people to determine the future of their country.  We are working alongside international partners, including the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), to disburse rapid additional assistance to complement the IMF program and ease Ukraine’s economic transition, particularly for the most vulnerable.  As part of this international effort, we are working with Congress to quickly provide a $1 billion loan guarantee and are offering technical and financial assistance to help Ukraine meet its most pressing needs.  We also remain committed to providing the IMF with the resources it needs – in partnership with Congress – to provide strong support to countries like Ukraine as well as reinforcing the Fund’s governance to reflect the global economy.

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The Pope Meets The President. Photos Taken From Every Angle Imaginable.


 

By Jueseppi B.

These two icons & mavericks will meet for the first time, scheduled for this Thursday.

These two icons & mavericks met for the very first time today.

 

There are so many photos floating around of Barack Hussein Obama and Jorge Mario Bergoglio. These are my favorites…in no particular order whatsoever….cause that makes it just that more fun.

 

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Readout of the President’s Audience with His Holiness Pope Francis

 

Excerpts of the President’s remarks on his meeting with His Holiness Pope Francis are below, from a press conference:

 

Q   Mr. President, in your meeting with His Holiness, Pope Francis, did he register any objections with you about the contraception coverage mandate in the Affordable Care Act or your efforts to advance the rights of gays and lesbians in the United States that worry so many Catholics?  And what were his concerns?

 

And on Russia, with reports of troops building on the Ukrainian border, by taking the military option off the table are you sending a signal to Vladimir Putin that other parts of Ukraine are his for the taking?  And why not send multinational peacekeepers to the Ukrainian border as a deterrent?

 

And to you, Mr. Prime Minister, the President said yesterday that the U.S. would defend any NATO ally.  Are you making that same commitment when it comes to Russia?

 

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  In terms of the meeting with His Holiness, Pope Francis, we had a wide-ranging discussion.  I would say that the largest bulk of the time was discussing two central concerns of his.  One is the issues of the poor, the marginalized, those without opportunity, and growing inequality.

 

And those of us as politicians have the task of trying to come up with policies to address issues, but His Holiness has the capacity to open people’s eyes and make sure they’re seeing that this is an issue.  And he’s discussed in the past I think the dangers of indifference or cynicism when it comes to our ability to reach out to those less fortunate or those locked out of opportunity.

 

And then we spent a lot of time talking about the challenges of conflict and how illusive peace is around the world.  There was some specific focus on the Middle East where His Holiness has a deep interest in the Israeli-Palestinian issue, but also what’s happening in Syria, what’s happening in Lebanon, and the potential persecution of Christians.  And I reaffirmed that it is central to U.S. foreign policy that we protect the interests of religious minorities around the world.  But we also touched on regions like Latin America, where there’s been tremendous progress in many countries, but there’s been less progress in others.

 

I think the theme that stitched our conversation together was a belief that in politics and in life the quality of empathy, the ability to stand in somebody else’s shoes and to care for someone even if they don’t look like you or talk like you or share your philosophy — that that’s critical.  It’s the lack of empathy that makes it very easy for us to plunge into wars.  It’s the lack of empathy that allows us to ignore the homeless on the streets.  And obviously central to my Christian faith is a belief in treating others as I’d have them treat me.  And what’s I think created so much love and excitement for His Holiness has been that he seems to live this, and shows that joy continuously.

 

In terms of domestic issues, the two issues that we touched on — other than the fact that I invited and urged him to come to the United States, telling him that people would be overjoyed to see him — was immigration reform.  And as someone who came from Latin America, I think he is very mindful of the plight of so many immigrants who are wonderful people, working hard, making contribution, many of their children are U.S. citizens, and yet they still live in the shadows, in many cases have been deported and are separated from families.  I described to him how I felt that there was still an opportunity for us to make this right and get a law passed.

 

And he actually did not touch in detail on the Affordable Care Act.  In my meeting with the Secretary of State, Cardinal Parolin, we discussed briefly the issue of making sure that conscience and religious freedom was observed in the context of applying the law.  And I explained to him that most religious organizations are entirely exempt.  Religiously affiliated hospitals or universities or NGOs simply have to attest that they have a religious objection, in which case they are not required to provide contraception although that employees of theirs who choose are able to obtain it through the insurance company.

 

And I pledged to continue to dialogue with the U.S. Conference of Bishops to make sure that we can strike the right balance, making sure that not only everybody has health care but families, and women in particular, are able to enjoy the kind of health care coverage that the AC offers, but that religious freedom is still observed.

Q    Mr. President, I just want to follow up on Jim’s question on your meeting with the Pope today.  Do you think some of the schisms that he referenced on social issues would stand in the way of you and Pope Francis collaborating or forming a strategic alliance to tackle income inequality?

 

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  First of all, I just want to make clear — maybe it wasn’t clear from my answer to Jim — that we actually didn’t talk a whole lot about social schisms in my conversations with His Holiness.  In fact, that really was not a topic of conversation.  I think His Holiness and the Vatican have been clear about their position on a range of issues, some of them I differ with, most I heartily agree with.  And I don’t think that His Holiness envisions entering into a partnership or a coalition with any political figure on any issue.  His job is a little more elevated.  We’re down on the ground dealing with the often profane, and he’s dealing with higher powers.

 

I do think that there is a potential convergence between what policymakers need to be thinking about and what he’s talking about.  I think he is shining a spotlight on an area that’s going to be of increasing concern, and that is reduced opportunities for more and more people, particularly young people — who, by the way, have more and more access to seeing what’s out there and what’s possible because they have access to the Internet or they have access to other media, and they see the inequality and they see themselves being locked out in ways that weren’t true before. And that’s true internationally, not just within countries.

 

And so, for him to say that we need to think about this, we need to focus on this, we need to come up with policies that provide a good education for every child and good nutrition for every child, and decent shelter and opportunity and jobs — he is not going to get into details of it, but he reminds us of what our moral and ethical obligations are.  It happens also to be good economics and good national security policy.  Countries are more stable, they’re going to grow faster when everybody has a chance, not just when a few have a chance.

 

So he’s, hopefully, creating an environment in which those of us who care about this are able to talk about it more effectively.  And we are in many ways following not just his lead but the teachings of Jesus Christ and other religions that care deeply about the least of these.

 

 

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And just for the heck of it…..here’s a video of the meeting…..

 

Vatican – President Obama meet Pope Francis for first time (March 27 2014)

 

Published on Mar 27, 2014

President Barack Obama and Pope Francis met for the first time Thursday at Vatican City.

 

 

 

Thought we were done did you?

 

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OK, we’re done now.

 

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TheObamaCrat™ Wake-Up Call For Thursday The 27th Of March: Barack & The Pope.


 

By Jueseppi B.

These two icons & mavericks will meet for the first time, scheduled for this Thursday.

These two icons & mavericks will meet for the first time, scheduled for this Thursday.

 

 

White House Schedule – March 27th, 2014

 

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 27th, 2014

 

DAILY GUIDANCE AND SCHEDULE FOR
THURSDAY, MARCH 27th, 2014

 

 

In the morning, the President will visit the Vatican where he will have an audience with His Holiness Pope Francis. There will be a limited pool spray of the meeting and the President’s arrival at the Vatican is open press.

 

Afterward, the President will meet with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin. There will be a limited pool spray of the meeting.

 

In the afternoon, the President will hold a restricted bilateral meeting followed by an expanded bilateral meeting with President Napolitano. Afterward the President and President Napolitano will meet for a working lunch. There will be pre-set pool coverage of the President’s arrival at the Quirinal Palace. There will be a limited pool spray of the restricted bilateral meeting and pool spray of the expanded bilateral meeting. The working lunch is closed press.

 

Later in the afternoon, the President will travel to Villa Madama where he will hold a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Renzi of Italy before participating in a joint press conference with Prime Minister Renzi. There will be pre-set pool coverage of the President’s arrival at Villa Madama; there will be a pool spray at the top of the bilateral meeting; and the joint press conference is open press.

 

Afterward, the President will tour The Colosseum. There will be travel pool coverage of the President’s tour.

 

In the evening, the President will participate in a meet and greet with employees and families of the U.S. Tri-Mission to Italy, The Holy See, and the UN Agencies in Rome at the United States Ambassador’s residence. This meet and greet is closed press.

 

The President will remain overnight in Rome.

 

 

Thursday, March 27 2014. All Times Central European Time, which is five hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Time.

 

 

10:30 AM: THE PRESIDENT has an audience with His Holiness Pope Francis, Vatican City, The Holy See. Local Time: 5:30 AM.

 

11:25 AM: THE PRESIDENT meets with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican City, The Holy See. Local Time: 6:25 AM.

 

 

12:15 PM: THE PRESIDENT arrives the Quirinal Palace, Quirinal Palace, Rome, ItalyLocal Time: 7:15 AM.

 

 

12:25 PM: THE PRESIDENT participates in a restricted bilateral meeting with President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy, Quirinal Palace, Rome, Italy. Local Time: 7:25 AM.

 

 

12:40 PM: THE PRESIDENT participates in an expanded bilateral meeting with President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy, Quirinal Palace, Rome, Italy. Local Time: 7:40 AM.

 

1:05 PM: THE PRESIDENT attends a working lunch with President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy, Quirinal Palace, Rome, Italy. Local Time: 8:05 AM.

 

2:20 PM: THE PRESIDENT arrives Villa Madama, Villa Madama, Rome, Italy. Local Time: 9:20 AM.

 

 

2:25 PM: THE PRESIDENT participates in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy, Villa Madama, Rome, Italy. Local Time: 9:25 AM.

 

 

3:35 PM: THE PRESIDENT holds a joint press conference with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy, Villa Madama, Rome, Italy. Local Time: 10:35 AM.

 

4:40 PM: THE PRESIDENT tours The Colosseum, The Colosseum, Rome, Italy. Local Time: 11:40 AM.

 

6:30 PM: THE PRESIDENT meets with employees and families of the U.S. Tri-Mission to Italy, The Holy See, and the UN Agencies in Rome. U.S. Ambassador’s residence, Rome, Italy. Local Time: 1:30 PM.

 

 

On Thursday, the President will visit the Vatican where he will meet with His Holiness Pope Francis followed by a meeting with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin. Afterwards, the President will participate in a bilateral meeting with President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy at the Quirinal Palace. Later, the President will participate in a bilateral meeting and joint press conference with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy at Villa Madama. In the evening, the President will tour the Colosseum and meet with employees and families of the U.S. Tri-Mission to Italy, The Holy See, and the UN Agencies in Rome.

 

 

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President Obama Plans to Visit Pope Francis

 

President Barack Obama meets with Pope Francis on Thursday, departing for an overseas swing on Sunday evening—with an added starter in talks at other stops—figuring out how to punish Russia for invading Ukraine, since economic sanctions haven’t done much so far. The Sunday New York Times featured a front page story on Obama’s work with black Roman Catholic groups in Chicago in the 1980s.

 

It will be the first time Obama meets with the current pope. In July, 2009, Obama and First Lady Michelle (who wore a mantilla—a black lace head covering) visited with Pope Benedict XVI. (Former Obama advisor David Axelrod, now back in Chicago, was also part of the group.)

 

Discussing the upcoming audience with the pope at the Vatican, White House Deputy National Security AdvisorBen Rhodes used a phrase during  Friday briefing—“income inequality”—that is a term embraced by Obama, the White House and Democrats to pressure Republicans to raise the minimum wage and approve other Obama proposals to help low-and-middle income earners.

 

Be aware of that when you read Rhodes’ comments in the next paragraphs about Obama’s meeting with the pope.

 

Rhodes said on Friday, Obama “will begin his day with an audience with Pope Francis. He has long looked forward to meeting Pope Francis. He has very much admired the leadership he has provided in his first year as Pope, his commitment to address issues like income inequality, and his leadership of the church more broadly. So that will be an important time for the President to have some personal interaction with the Pope and to hear about the very ambitious agenda that he has launched in his first year.”

 

Obama in the next week will travel to the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, the Vatican and Saudi Arabia.

 

The New York Times story is headlined, “The Catholic Roots of Obama’s Activism: He Found His Voice in a Chicago Parish. Now He’ll Speak With the Pope,” and reported by Jason Horowitz who quotes, among others, Andrew Lyke, the director of the Chicago Archdiocese’s Office for Black Catholics.

 

Excerpt: “Mr. Obama’s old friends in the priesthood pray that Francis will discover a president freed from concerns about re-election and willing to rededicate himself to the vulnerable.

 

“…But the Vatican — aware that Mr. Obama has far more to gain from the encounter than the pope does, and wary of being used for American political consumption — warns that this will hardly be like the 1982 meeting at which President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II agreed to fight Communism in Eastern Europe.”

 

 

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From The New York Times:

 

 

When Barack Obama arrived in Chicago in 1985 as a community organizer, he held meetings in what was then Holy Rosary Church and is now New Day Ministries. Credit Taylor Glascock for The New York Times

When Barack Obama arrived in Chicago in 1985 as a community organizer, he held meetings in what was then Holy Rosary Church and is now New Day Ministries. Credit Taylor Glascock for The New York Times

 

 

The Catholic Roots of Obama’s Activism

 

By JASON HOROWITZ & The New York Times

 

CHICAGO — In a meeting room under Holy Name Cathedral, a rapt group of black Roman Catholics listened as Barack Obama, a 25-year-old community organizer, trained them to lobby their fellow delegates to a national congress in Washington on issues like empowering lay leaders and attracting more believers.

 

“He so quickly got us,” said Andrew Lyke, a participant in the meeting who is now the director of the Chicago Archdiocese’s Office for Black Catholics. The group succeeded in inserting its priorities into the congress’s plan for churches, Mr. Lyke said, and “Barack Obama was key in helping us do that.”

 

By the time of that session in the spring of 1987, Mr. Obama — himself not Catholic — was already well known in Chicago’s black Catholic circles. He had arrived two years earlier to fill an organizing position paid for by a church grant, and had spent his first months here surrounded by Catholic pastors and congregations. In this often overlooked period of the president’s life, he had a desk in a South Side parish and became steeped in the social justice wing of the church, which played a powerful role in his political formation.

 

Mr. Obama's organizing job was paid for by a church grant, and he spent his first months in Chicago surrounded by Catholic pastors and congregations. Credit Joe Wrinn/Harvard University, via Associated Press

Mr. Obama’s organizing job was paid for by a church grant, and he spent his first months in Chicago surrounded by Catholic pastors and congregations. Credit Joe Wrinn/Harvard University, via Associated Press

 

 

This Thursday, Mr. Obama will meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican after a three-decade divergence with the church. By the late 1980s, the Catholic hierarchy had taken a conservative turn that de-emphasized social engagement and elevated the culture wars that would eventually cast Mr. Obama as an abortion-supporting enemy. Mr. Obama, who went on to find his own faith with the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.’s Trinity United Church of Christ, drifted from his youthful, church-backed activism to become a pragmatic politician and the president with a terrorist “kill list.” The meeting this week is a potential point of confluence.

 

A White House accustomed to archbishop antagonists hopes the president will find a strategic ally and kindred spirit in a pope who preaches a gospel of social justice and inclusion. Mr. Obama’s old friends in the priesthood pray that Francis will discover a president freed from concerns about re-election and willing to rededicate himself to the vulnerable.

 

But the Vatican — aware that Mr. Obama has far more to gain from the encounter than the pope does, and wary of being used for American political consumption — warns that this will hardly be like the 1982 meeting at which President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II agreed to fight Communism in Eastern Europe.

 

“We’re not in the old days of the great alliance,” said a senior Vatican official who was granted anonymity to speak frankly about the mind-set inside the Holy See. While Mr. Obama’s early work with the church is “not on the radar screen,” the official said, his recent arguments with American bishops over issues of religious freedom are: Catholic leaders have objected to a provision in the administration’s health care law that requires employers to cover contraception costs, and have sharply questioned the morality of the administration’s use of drones to fight terrorism.

 

As in many reunions, expectations, and the possibility for disappointment, run high.

 

Working in Holy Rosary Church, Mr. Obama would sneak smoking breaks on the roof with the Rev. William Stenzel. Credit Taylor Glascock for The New York Times

Working in Holy Rosary Church, Mr. Obama would sneak smoking breaks on the roof with the Rev. William Stenzel. Credit Taylor Glascock for The New York Times

 

 

 

A Fast Learner

In 1967, as the modernizing changes of the Second Vatican Council began to transform the Catholic world, Ann Dunham, Mr. Obama’s mother, took her chubby 6-year-old son occasionally to Mass and enrolled him in a new Catholic elementary school in Jakarta, Indonesia, called Santo Fransiskus Asisi. At school, the future president began and ended his days with prayer. At home, his mother read him the Bible with an anthropologist’s eye.

 

Pious he was not. “When it came time to pray, I would pretend to close my eyes, then peek around the room,” Mr. Obama wrote in his memoir “Dreams From My Father.” “Nothing happened. No angels descended. Just a parched old nun and 30 brown children, muttering words.”

 

In 1969, Mr. Obama transferred to a more exclusive, state-run school with a mosque, but a development in the United States would have a greater impact on his future career. American Catholic bishops responded to the call of the Second Vatican Council to focus on the poor by creating what is now known as the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, an antipoverty and social justice program that became one of the country’s most influential supporters of grass-roots groups.

 

By the early 1980s, when Mr. Obama was an undergraduate at Columbia University, the campaign was financing a project to help neighborhoods after the collapse of the steel mills near Chicago. The program’s leaders, eager to expand beyond Catholic parishes to the black Protestant churches where more of the affected community worshiped, sought an African-American for the task. In 1985, they found one in Mr. Obama, a fledgling community organizer in New York who answered a want ad for a job with the Developing Communities Project. The faith-based program aimed to unify South Side residents against unsafe streets, poor living conditions and political neglect. Mr. Obama’s salary was less than $10,000 a year.

 

Mr. Obama had a small office on the ground floor of the church. Credit Taylor Glascock for The New York Times

Mr. Obama had a small office on the ground floor of the church. Credit Taylor Glascock for The New York Times

 

 

 

The future president arrived in Chicago with little knowledge of Catholicism other than the Graham Greene novels and “Confessions” of St. Augustine he had read during a period of spiritual exploration at Columbia. But he fit seamlessly into a 1980s Catholic cityscape forged by the spirit of Vatican II, the influence of liberation theology and the progressivism of Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin, the archbishop of Chicago, who called for a “consistent ethic of life” that wove life and social justice into a “seamless garment.”

 

On one of his first days on the job, Mr. Obama heard Cardinal Bernardin speak at an economic development meeting. He felt like a Catholic novice there, he wrote in his memoir, and later decided “not to ask what a catechism was.” But he was a quick study.

 

“He had to do a power analysis of each Catholic church,” said one of his mentors at the time, Gregory Galluzzo, a former Jesuit priest and disciple of the organizer Saul Alinsky. Mr. Obama, Mr. Galluzzo said, soon understood the chain of command and who had influence in individual parishes.

 

Mr. Obama had a small office with two cloudy glass-block windows on the ground floor of Holy Rosary, a handsome red brick parish on the South Side, where he would pop down the hall to the office of the Rev. William Stenzel, raise a phantom cigarette to his lips and ask, “Want to go out for lunch?” Besides sneaking smoke breaks with the priest on the roof, Mr. Obama listened to him during Mass. “He was on an exposure curve to organized religion,” Father Stenzel said.

 

The future president’s education included evangelizing. Mr. Obama often plotted strategy with the recent Catholic convert who had hired him, Gerald Kellman, about how to bring people into the program and closer to the church. The effort to fill the pews “was what Bernardin really bought into,” Mr. Kellman said.

 

Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin Credit Sue Ogrocki/Reuters

Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin Credit Sue Ogrocki/Reuters

 

 

To expand congregations as well as the reach of his organizing program, Mr. Obama went to Holy Ghost Catholic Church in South Holland, Ill., to ask Wilton D. Gregory, an African-American bishop and a rising star in the hierarchy, for a grant for operating costs. Archbishop Gregory, who now leads the Archdiocese of Atlanta, recalled Mr. Obama as a persuasive man who “wanted to engage the people of the neighborhood.” He recommended that Cardinal Bernardin release the funds.

 

As the months went on, Mr. Obama became a familiar face in South Side black parishes. At Holy Angels Church, considered a center of black Catholic life, he talked to the pastor and the pastor’s adopted son about finding families willing to adopt troubled children. At Our Lady of the Gardens, he attended peace and black history Masses and conferred with the Rev. Dominic Carmon on programs to battle unemployment and violence. At the neo-Gothic St. Sabina, he struck up a friendship with the Rev. Michael L. Pfleger, the firebrand white pastor of one of the city’s largest black parishes. The two would huddle in a back room and commiserate about the liquor stores and payday loan businesses in the neighborhood.

 

But even as Mr. Obama effectively proselytized for the church and its role in improving the community, and even as he opened meetings in the backs of churches with the Lord’s Prayer and showed a comfort with faith that put the people he hoped to organize at ease, Catholic doctrine did not tempt him. He was not baptized Catholic, priests said. But it was amid the trappings of Catholicism, according to his fellow organizers, that the future president began to express a spiritual thirst.

 

As Mr. Obama helped expand the program from Catholic parishes to megachurches and Protestant congregations, he felt that need slaked by the prevailing black liberation theology, inspired by the civil rights movement and preached by African-American ministers like Mr. Wright of Trinity. The notion that Jesus delivered salvation to communities that expressed faith through good deeds suited Mr. Obama’s instincts — and perhaps his interests.

 

For an ambitious black politician, Mr. Galluzzo said, “it was not politically advantageous to be in a Catholic church.”

 

Cardinal Francis George Credit Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

Cardinal Francis George Credit Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

 

 

Mr. Obama nevertheless maintained his Catholic connections, so much so that when he turned up in the basement of the Holy Name complex in 1987, “there was a need to clarify” that he was not a member of the flock, said the Rev. David Jones, who was at the meeting. And some members still tried to draw him in, in more ways than one.

 

“He was a man of integrity, very much to my disappointment,” joked Cynthia Norris, then the director of the Chicago Archdiocese’s black Catholics office, who found the young Mr. Obama appealing. The future president, who was dating another woman, did turn to Ms. Norris for a Harvard Law School recommendation, and kept in touch during a trip to Europe in 1988.

 

“I wander around Paris, the most beautiful, alluring, maddening city I’ve ever seen; one is tempted to chuck the whole organizing/political business and be a painter” on the banks of the Seine, Mr. Obama scribbled to Ms. Norris, along with “Love, Barack,” on one side of a postcard. On the other was a picture of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame.

 

 

A Partnership Falters

Mr. Obama entered Harvard in 1988, the same year he was baptized at Trinity, the power church of Chicago’s black professional class. Trinity served Mr. Obama well through his dizzying political ascent, which coincided with a period in which black Catholic churches in Chicago closed and the hierarchy shifted away from the progressive social engagement that had characterized Mr. Obama’s early years here.

 

Cynthia Norris, then the director of the Chicago Archdiocese’s black Catholics office, wrote Mr. Obama a Harvard Law School recommendation, and kept in touch during a trip to Europe in 1988. Credit Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times

Cynthia Norris, then the director of the Chicago Archdiocese’s black Catholics office, wrote Mr. Obama a Harvard Law School recommendation, and kept in touch during a trip to Europe in 1988. Credit Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times

 

 

In 1997, the year Mr. Obama was sworn in as an Illinois state senator, Cardinal Francis George succeeded Cardinal Bernardin as archbishop of Chicago. One of the church’s leading conservative intellectuals, called “Francis the Corrector” by local liberal priests, Cardinal George was emblematic of the bishops installed by John Paul II and his successor, Benedict XVI. Some of them looked with skepticism at the social justice wing that had financed Mr. Obama’s organizing efforts, and later sought to block his election as president by suggesting that Catholics could not in good conscience vote for a candidate who supported abortion rights.

 

Mr. Obama still won the Catholic vote in 2008. In his campaign, he had held out the goal of finding common ground between supporters and opponents of abortion rights, chiefly by reducing unintended pregnancies and increasing adoptions. Cardinal George quickly dashed those hopes. “The common good can never be adequately incarnated in any society when those waiting to be born can be legally killed at choice,” he said in November 2008 in his opening address as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

 

Mr. Obama, seeking to avoid confrontation with the church, invited Cardinal George to the White House in March 2009; said at a news conference that April that abortion rights were “not my highest legislative priority”; and told graduates at the University of Notre Dame in May, after some initial boos from the crowd, that Cardinal Bernardin had touched “my heart and mind.” He recalled his years in Chicago’s Catholic parishes and said that after branching out to work with other Christian denominations, “I found myself drawn not just to the work with the church; I was drawn to be in the church.”

 

Two months later, speaking to reporters from Catholic publications, he said again that the Campaign for Human Development and Cardinal Bernardin had inspired him. “I think that there have been times over the last decade or two where that more holistic tradition feels like it’s gotten buried under the abortion debate,” he said.

 

Church leaders were unimpressed. A week after his session with Catholic reporters, Mr. Obama met with Benedict, who pointedly offered him a Vatican document on bioethics that condemned abortion and stem cell research. The relationship deteriorated further during Mr. Obama’s push for health care reform, specifically the provision on contraception, which will be argued before the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

 

Mr. Obama sent a postcard to Ms. Norris when he visited Paris in the summer of 1988. Credit Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times

Mr. Obama sent a postcard to Ms. Norris when he visited Paris in the summer of 1988. Credit Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times

 

 

Still, Mr. Obama had not lost all his friends in the church. As the president’s relations with Catholic leaders reached their nadir, Father Stenzel, Mr. Obama’s old smoke-break friend, visited the White House. As they walked into the Oval Office, Mr. Obama joked to his staff that the priest had given him his first office in Chicago. Father Stenzel reminded him that his old surroundings were far humbler: “The office I gave you had two rows of glass-block windows!”

 

 

Pope Francis’ Impression

Mr. Obama’s parish days seemed far behind him when he won re-election in 2012 with a slimmer margin of Catholic votes. Not only did Catholic conservatives view him as a secularist forcing them to pay for contraceptives, but some of his old allies in the church’s left wing criticized his use of drones and lack of emphasis on the poor.

 

But the election of Pope Francis last March seemed to breathe new life into the Catholic Church and, potentially, into the relationship between Mr. Obama and the institution that gave him his start. While far from an ideological progressive, Francis does sometimes appear cloaked in Cardinal Bernardin’s “seamless garment.” His de-emphasis of issues like abortion and same-sex marriage and his championing of the poor and vulnerable — articulated in his mission statement, “The Joy of the Gospel” — have impressed a second-term president who argues that income inequality undermines human dignity.

 

“Whether you call that the ‘seamless garment’ or ‘the joy of the Gospel’ or what, I’ve said to the president I consider that a pretty Catholic way of looking at the world,” said Denis McDonough, the White House chief of staff, who is Roman Catholic. Mr. McDonough added that the community-organizer-turned-president had expressed admiration to him about “how important it is for the Holy Father to be so in the community.”

 

Last month, Catholic activists made their case for social justice on Capitol Hill. Afterward, relaxing over beers and a buffet in the Russell Senate Office Building, they discussed whether Cardinal George, who is retiring as archbishop of Chicago, would be replaced by Archbishop Gregory, who helped secure Mr. Obama’s church grant application in the 1980s. Among them was Mr. Lyke, the man who had received coaching from Mr. Obama years earlier in the basement of Holy Name Cathedral. He characterized Francis and Mr. Obama as a match made in heaven.

 

Mr. Lyke’s view is not universal. Vatican officials have made clear Mr. Obama will not get special treatment, and leaders of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, also gathered in the Russell Building, saw the coming papal audience as a chance for Mr. Obama to return to the church’s social justice values, not the other way around.

 

Dylan Corbett, one of the Campaign for Human Development leaders, said the president was “welcome to the conversation” that the pope was driving about income inequality and poverty. He added with a grin, “We’re happy to have him back, actually.”

 

Thank you  The New York Times.

 

 

 

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President Obama travels to Rome, Italy and takes part in an arrival ceremony

 

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President Obama is greeted by Archbishop Francesco Canalini and Monsignor Jose Avelino Battencourt (L) as he arrives in Rome

President Obama is greeted by Archbishop Francesco Canalini and Monsignor Jose Avelino Battencourt (L) as he arrives in Rome

 

 

On Thursday, the President will visit the Vatican where he will meet with His Holiness Pope Francis followed by a meeting with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin. Afterwards, the President will participate in a bilateral meeting with President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy at the Quirinal Palace. Later, the President will participate in a bilateral meeting and joint press conference with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy at Villa Madama. In the evening, the President will tour the Colosseum and meet with employees and families of the U.S. Tri-Mission to Italy, The Holy See, and the UN Agencies in Rome.

 

 

 

THURSDAY

  • In the morning, President Obama has an audience with His Holiness Pope Francis at the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City
  • President Obama participates in a meeting with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin
  • In the afternoon, President Obama takes part in an arrival ceremony at Quirinale Palace
  • President Obama participates in a meeting and working lunch with President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy
  • President Obama participates in a meeting with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy at Villa Madama
  • President Obama participates in a joint press conference with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy
  • President Obama takes a tour of the Colosseum
  • In the evening, President Obama meets with employees and families of the U.S. Tri-Mission to Italy, the Holy See, and the UN Agencies in Rome

 

 

FRIDAY

  • President Obama participates in a bilateral meeting with King Abdullah of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

 

 

SATURDAY

  • President Obama meets with employees and family members of the U.S. embassy

 

 

Participate in the President’s Trip

 

People in the U.S. — and around the world — can participate and follow along on social media through the White House Twitter and Instagram accounts.

 

 

 


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The President Visits The Pope: The Catholic Roots Of Obama’s Activism


 

By Jueseppi B.

These two icons & mavericks will meet for the first time, scheduled for this Thursday.

These two icons & mavericks will meet for the first time, scheduled for this Thursday.

 

On Thursday, the President will visit the Vatican where he will meet with His Holiness Pope Francis followed by a meeting with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin. Afterwards, the President will participate in a bilateral meeting with President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy at the Quirinal Palace. Later, the President will participate in a bilateral meeting and joint press conference with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy at Villa Madama. In the evening, the President will tour the Colosseum and meet with employees and families of the U.S. Tri-Mission to Italy, The Holy See, and the UN Agencies in Rome.

 

 

 

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President Obama Plans to Visit Pope Francis

 

President Barack Obama meets with Pope Francis on Thursday, departing for an overseas swing on Sunday evening—with an added starter in talks at other stops—figuring out how to punish Russia for invading Ukraine, since economic sanctions haven’t done much so far. The Sunday New York Times featured a front page story on Obama’s work with black Roman Catholic groups in Chicago in the 1980s.

 

It will be the first time Obama meets with the current pope. In July, 2009, Obama and First Lady Michelle (who wore a mantilla—a black lace head covering) visited with Pope Benedict XVI. (Former Obama advisor David Axelrod, now back in Chicago, was also part of the group.)

 

Discussing the upcoming audience with the pope at the Vatican, White House Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes used a phrase during  Friday briefing—“income inequality”—that is a term embraced by Obama, the White House and Democrats to pressure Republicans to raise the minimum wage and approve other Obama proposals to help low-and-middle income earners.

 

Be aware of that when you read Rhodes’ comments in the next paragraphs about Obama’s meeting with the pope.

 

Rhodes said on Friday, Obama “will begin his day with an audience with Pope Francis. He has long looked forward to meeting Pope Francis. He has very much admired the leadership he has provided in his first year as Pope, his commitment to address issues like income inequality, and his leadership of the church more broadly. So that will be an important time for the President to have some personal interaction with the Pope and to hear about the very ambitious agenda that he has launched in his first year.”

 

Obama in the next week will travel to the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, the Vatican and Saudi Arabia.

 

The New York Times story is headlined, “The Catholic Roots of Obama’s Activism: He Found His Voice in a Chicago Parish. Now He’ll Speak With the Pope,” and reported by Jason Horowitz who quotes, among others, Andrew Lyke, the director of the Chicago Archdiocese’s Office for Black Catholics.

 

Excerpt: “Mr. Obama’s old friends in the priesthood pray that Francis will discover a president freed from concerns about re-election and willing to rededicate himself to the vulnerable.

 

“…But the Vatican — aware that Mr. Obama has far more to gain from the encounter than the pope does, and wary of being used for American political consumption — warns that this will hardly be like the 1982 meeting at which President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II agreed to fight Communism in Eastern Europe.”

 

 

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From The New York Times:

 

 

When Barack Obama arrived in Chicago in 1985 as a community organizer, he held meetings in what was then Holy Rosary Church and is now New Day Ministries. Credit Taylor Glascock for The New York Times

When Barack Obama arrived in Chicago in 1985 as a community organizer, he held meetings in what was then Holy Rosary Church and is now New Day Ministries. Credit Taylor Glascock for The New York Times

 

The Catholic Roots of Obama’s Activism

 

By JASON HOROWITZ & The New York Times

 

CHICAGO — In a meeting room under Holy Name Cathedral, a rapt group of black Roman Catholics listened as Barack Obama, a 25-year-old community organizer, trained them to lobby their fellow delegates to a national congress in Washington on issues like empowering lay leaders and attracting more believers.

“He so quickly got us,” said Andrew Lyke, a participant in the meeting who is now the director of the Chicago Archdiocese’s Office for Black Catholics. The group succeeded in inserting its priorities into the congress’s plan for churches, Mr. Lyke said, and “Barack Obama was key in helping us do that.”

By the time of that session in the spring of 1987, Mr. Obama — himself not Catholic — was already well known in Chicago’s black Catholic circles. He had arrived two years earlier to fill an organizing position paid for by a church grant, and had spent his first months here surrounded by Catholic pastors and congregations. In this often overlooked period of the president’s life, he had a desk in a South Side parish and became steeped in the social justice wing of the church, which played a powerful role in his political formation.

 

Mr. Obama's organizing job was paid for by a church grant, and he spent his first months in Chicago surrounded by Catholic pastors and congregations. Credit Joe Wrinn/Harvard University, via Associated Press

Mr. Obama’s organizing job was paid for by a church grant, and he spent his first months in Chicago surrounded by Catholic pastors and congregations. Credit Joe Wrinn/Harvard University, via Associated Press

 

This Thursday, Mr. Obama will meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican after a three-decade divergence with the church. By the late 1980s, the Catholic hierarchy had taken a conservative turn that de-emphasized social engagement and elevated the culture wars that would eventually cast Mr. Obama as an abortion-supporting enemy. Mr. Obama, who went on to find his own faith with the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.’s Trinity United Church of Christ, drifted from his youthful, church-backed activism to become a pragmatic politician and the president with a terrorist “kill list.” The meeting this week is a potential point of confluence.

A White House accustomed to archbishop antagonists hopes the president will find a strategic ally and kindred spirit in a pope who preaches a gospel of social justice and inclusion. Mr. Obama’s old friends in the priesthood pray that Francis will discover a president freed from concerns about re-election and willing to rededicate himself to the vulnerable.

But the Vatican — aware that Mr. Obama has far more to gain from the encounter than the pope does, and wary of being used for American political consumption — warns that this will hardly be like the 1982 meeting at which President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II agreed to fight Communism in Eastern Europe.

“We’re not in the old days of the great alliance,” said a senior Vatican official who was granted anonymity to speak frankly about the mind-set inside the Holy See. While Mr. Obama’s early work with the church is “not on the radar screen,” the official said, his recent arguments with American bishops over issues of religious freedom are: Catholic leaders have objected to a provision in the administration’s health care law that requires employers to cover contraception costs, and have sharply questioned the morality of the administration’s use of drones to fight terrorism.

As in many reunions, expectations, and the possibility for disappointment, run high.

 

Working in Holy Rosary Church, Mr. Obama would sneak smoking breaks on the roof with the Rev. William Stenzel. Credit Taylor Glascock for The New York Times

Working in Holy Rosary Church, Mr. Obama would sneak smoking breaks on the roof with the Rev. William Stenzel. Credit Taylor Glascock for The New York Times

 

 

A Fast Learner

In 1967, as the modernizing changes of the Second Vatican Council began to transform the Catholic world, Ann Dunham, Mr. Obama’s mother, took her chubby 6-year-old son occasionally to Mass and enrolled him in a new Catholic elementary school in Jakarta, Indonesia, called Santo Fransiskus Asisi. At school, the future president began and ended his days with prayer. At home, his mother read him the Bible with an anthropologist’s eye.

Pious he was not. “When it came time to pray, I would pretend to close my eyes, then peek around the room,” Mr. Obama wrote in his memoir “Dreams From My Father.” “Nothing happened. No angels descended. Just a parched old nun and 30 brown children, muttering words.”

In 1969, Mr. Obama transferred to a more exclusive, state-run school with a mosque, but a development in the United States would have a greater impact on his future career. American Catholic bishops responded to the call of the Second Vatican Council to focus on the poor by creating what is now known as the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, an antipoverty and social justice program that became one of the country’s most influential supporters of grass-roots groups.

By the early 1980s, when Mr. Obama was an undergraduate at Columbia University, the campaign was financing a project to help neighborhoods after the collapse of the steel mills near Chicago. The program’s leaders, eager to expand beyond Catholic parishes to the black Protestant churches where more of the affected community worshiped, sought an African-American for the task. In 1985, they found one in Mr. Obama, a fledgling community organizer in New York who answered a want ad for a job with the Developing Communities Project. The faith-based program aimed to unify South Side residents against unsafe streets, poor living conditions and political neglect. Mr. Obama’s salary was less than $10,000 a year.

 

Mr. Obama had a small office on the ground floor of the church. Credit Taylor Glascock for The New York Times

Mr. Obama had a small office on the ground floor of the church. Credit Taylor Glascock for The New York Times

 

 

The future president arrived in Chicago with little knowledge of Catholicism other than the Graham Greene novels and “Confessions” of St. Augustine he had read during a period of spiritual exploration at Columbia. But he fit seamlessly into a 1980s Catholic cityscape forged by the spirit of Vatican II, the influence of liberation theology and the progressivism of Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin, the archbishop of Chicago, who called for a “consistent ethic of life” that wove life and social justice into a “seamless garment.”

On one of his first days on the job, Mr. Obama heard Cardinal Bernardin speak at an economic development meeting. He felt like a Catholic novice there, he wrote in his memoir, and later decided “not to ask what a catechism was.” But he was a quick study.

“He had to do a power analysis of each Catholic church,” said one of his mentors at the time, Gregory Galluzzo, a former Jesuit priest and disciple of the organizer Saul Alinsky. Mr. Obama, Mr. Galluzzo said, soon understood the chain of command and who had influence in individual parishes.

Mr. Obama had a small office with two cloudy glass-block windows on the ground floor of Holy Rosary, a handsome red brick parish on the South Side, where he would pop down the hall to the office of the Rev. William Stenzel, raise a phantom cigarette to his lips and ask, “Want to go out for lunch?” Besides sneaking smoke breaks with the priest on the roof, Mr. Obama listened to him during Mass. “He was on an exposure curve to organized religion,” Father Stenzel said.

The future president’s education included evangelizing. Mr. Obama often plotted strategy with the recent Catholic convert who had hired him, Gerald Kellman, about how to bring people into the program and closer to the church. The effort to fill the pews “was what Bernardin really bought into,” Mr. Kellman said.

 

Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin Credit Sue Ogrocki/Reuters

Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin Credit Sue Ogrocki/Reuters

 

To expand congregations as well as the reach of his organizing program, Mr. Obama went to Holy Ghost Catholic Church in South Holland, Ill., to ask Wilton D. Gregory, an African-American bishop and a rising star in the hierarchy, for a grant for operating costs. Archbishop Gregory, who now leads the Archdiocese of Atlanta, recalled Mr. Obama as a persuasive man who “wanted to engage the people of the neighborhood.” He recommended that Cardinal Bernardin release the funds.

As the months went on, Mr. Obama became a familiar face in South Side black parishes. At Holy Angels Church, considered a center of black Catholic life, he talked to the pastor and the pastor’s adopted son about finding families willing to adopt troubled children. At Our Lady of the Gardens, he attended peace and black history Masses and conferred with the Rev. Dominic Carmon on programs to battle unemployment and violence. At the neo-Gothic St. Sabina, he struck up a friendship with the Rev. Michael L. Pfleger, the firebrand white pastor of one of the city’s largest black parishes. The two would huddle in a back room and commiserate about the liquor stores and payday loan businesses in the neighborhood.

But even as Mr. Obama effectively proselytized for the church and its role in improving the community, and even as he opened meetings in the backs of churches with the Lord’s Prayer and showed a comfort with faith that put the people he hoped to organize at ease, Catholic doctrine did not tempt him. He was not baptized Catholic, priests said. But it was amid the trappings of Catholicism, according to his fellow organizers, that the future president began to express a spiritual thirst.

As Mr. Obama helped expand the program from Catholic parishes to megachurches and Protestant congregations, he felt that need slaked by the prevailing black liberation theology, inspired by the civil rights movement and preached by African-American ministers like Mr. Wright of Trinity. The notion that Jesus delivered salvation to communities that expressed faith through good deeds suited Mr. Obama’s instincts — and perhaps his interests.

For an ambitious black politician, Mr. Galluzzo said, “it was not politically advantageous to be in a Catholic church.”

 

Cardinal Francis George Credit Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

Cardinal Francis George Credit Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

 

Mr. Obama nevertheless maintained his Catholic connections, so much so that when he turned up in the basement of the Holy Name complex in 1987, “there was a need to clarify” that he was not a member of the flock, said the Rev. David Jones, who was at the meeting. And some members still tried to draw him in, in more ways than one.

“He was a man of integrity, very much to my disappointment,” joked Cynthia Norris, then the director of the Chicago Archdiocese’s black Catholics office, who found the young Mr. Obama appealing. The future president, who was dating another woman, did turn to Ms. Norris for a Harvard Law School recommendation, and kept in touch during a trip to Europe in 1988.

“I wander around Paris, the most beautiful, alluring, maddening city I’ve ever seen; one is tempted to chuck the whole organizing/political business and be a painter” on the banks of the Seine, Mr. Obama scribbled to Ms. Norris, along with “Love, Barack,” on one side of a postcard. On the other was a picture of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame.

A Partnership Falters

Mr. Obama entered Harvard in 1988, the same year he was baptized at Trinity, the power church of Chicago’s black professional class. Trinity served Mr. Obama well through his dizzying political ascent, which coincided with a period in which black Catholic churches in Chicago closed and the hierarchy shifted away from the progressive social engagement that had characterized Mr. Obama’s early years here.

 

Cynthia Norris, then the director of the Chicago Archdiocese’s black Catholics office, wrote Mr. Obama a Harvard Law School recommendation, and kept in touch during a trip to Europe in 1988. Credit Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times

Cynthia Norris, then the director of the Chicago Archdiocese’s black Catholics office, wrote Mr. Obama a Harvard Law School recommendation, and kept in touch during a trip to Europe in 1988. Credit Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times

 

In 1997, the year Mr. Obama was sworn in as an Illinois state senator, Cardinal Francis George succeeded Cardinal Bernardin as archbishop of Chicago. One of the church’s leading conservative intellectuals, called “Francis the Corrector” by local liberal priests, Cardinal George was emblematic of the bishops installed by John Paul II and his successor, Benedict XVI. Some of them looked with skepticism at the social justice wing that had financed Mr. Obama’s organizing efforts, and later sought to block his election as president by suggesting that Catholics could not in good conscience vote for a candidate who supported abortion rights.

Mr. Obama still won the Catholic vote in 2008. In his campaign, he had held out the goal of finding common ground between supporters and opponents of abortion rights, chiefly by reducing unintended pregnancies and increasing adoptions. Cardinal George quickly dashed those hopes. “The common good can never be adequately incarnated in any society when those waiting to be born can be legally killed at choice,” he said in November 2008 in his opening address as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Mr. Obama, seeking to avoid confrontation with the church, invited Cardinal George to the White House in March 2009; said at a news conference that April that abortion rights were “not my highest legislative priority”; and told graduates at the University of Notre Dame in May, after some initial boos from the crowd, that Cardinal Bernardin had touched “my heart and mind.” He recalled his years in Chicago’s Catholic parishes and said that after branching out to work with other Christian denominations, “I found myself drawn not just to the work with the church; I was drawn to be in the church.”

Two months later, speaking to reporters from Catholic publications, he said again that the Campaign for Human Development and Cardinal Bernardin had inspired him. “I think that there have been times over the last decade or two where that more holistic tradition feels like it’s gotten buried under the abortion debate,” he said.

Church leaders were unimpressed. A week after his session with Catholic reporters, Mr. Obama met with Benedict, who pointedly offered him a Vatican document on bioethics that condemned abortion and stem cell research. The relationship deteriorated further during Mr. Obama’s push for health care reform, specifically the provision on contraception, which will be argued before the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

 

Mr. Obama sent a postcard to Ms. Norris when he visited Paris in the summer of 1988. Credit Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times

Mr. Obama sent a postcard to Ms. Norris when he visited Paris in the summer of 1988. Credit Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times

 

Still, Mr. Obama had not lost all his friends in the church. As the president’s relations with Catholic leaders reached their nadir, Father Stenzel, Mr. Obama’s old smoke-break friend, visited the White House. As they walked into the Oval Office, Mr. Obama joked to his staff that the priest had given him his first office in Chicago. Father Stenzel reminded him that his old surroundings were far humbler: “The office I gave you had two rows of glass-block windows!”

Pope Francis’ Impression

Mr. Obama’s parish days seemed far behind him when he won re-election in 2012 with a slimmer margin of Catholic votes. Not only did Catholic conservatives view him as a secularist forcing them to pay for contraceptives, but some of his old allies in the church’s left wing criticized his use of drones and lack of emphasis on the poor.

But the election of Pope Francis last March seemed to breathe new life into the Catholic Church and, potentially, into the relationship between Mr. Obama and the institution that gave him his start. While far from an ideological progressive, Francis does sometimes appear cloaked in Cardinal Bernardin’s “seamless garment.” His de-emphasis of issues like abortion and same-sex marriage and his championing of the poor and vulnerable — articulated in his mission statement, “The Joy of the Gospel” — have impressed a second-term president who argues that income inequality undermines human dignity.

 

“Whether you call that the ‘seamless garment’ or ‘the joy of the Gospel’ or what, I’ve said to the president I consider that a pretty Catholic way of looking at the world,” said Denis McDonough, the White House chief of staff, who is Roman Catholic. Mr. McDonough added that the community-organizer-turned-president had expressed admiration to him about “how important it is for the Holy Father to be so in the community.”

Last month, Catholic activists made their case for social justice on Capitol Hill. Afterward, relaxing over beers and a buffet in the Russell Senate Office Building, they discussed whether Cardinal George, who is retiring as archbishop of Chicago, would be replaced by Archbishop Gregory, who helped secure Mr. Obama’s church grant application in the 1980s. Among them was Mr. Lyke, the man who had received coaching from Mr. Obama years earlier in the basement of Holy Name Cathedral. He characterized Francis and Mr. Obama as a match made in heaven.

Mr. Lyke’s view is not universal. Vatican officials have made clear Mr. Obama will not get special treatment, and leaders of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, also gathered in the Russell Building, saw the coming papal audience as a chance for Mr. Obama to return to the church’s social justice values, not the other way around.

Dylan Corbett, one of the Campaign for Human Development leaders, said the president was “welcome to the conversation” that the pope was driving about income inequality and poverty. He added with a grin, “We’re happy to have him back, actually.”

 

Thank you  The New York Times.

 

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