Notice

I am working on the template of this blog today in order to chase down some problems that have developed with my template and widgets.

Macon County Commissioners

Coverage of the meetings of the Macon County Board of County Commissioners.

Franklin Town Board of Aldermen

Coverage of the meetings of the Franklin Town Board of Aldermen.

Macon County School Board

Coverage of the meetings of the Macon County School Board.

Photoblog

Photos from my photoblog.

Nothing is here yet

I haven't decided what to put here yet, so look at this pretty photo.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pat Caddell: The Media Have Become an "Enemy of the American people"


Pat Caddell gave an important talk this past week entitled “The Audacity of Corruption” and it addressed some themes that are very dear to my heart. Most significantly, corruption and bias in the media. I suggest that you find time to watch the whole speech.

Pat Caddell closed with these words: “The press’s job is to stand in the ramparts and protect the liberty and freedom of all of us from a government and from organized governmental power. When they desert those ramparts and go to serve—to decide that they will now become an active participants—when they decide that their job is not simply to tell you who you may vote for, and who you may not, but, worse—and this is the danger of the last two weeks—what truth that you may know, as an American, and what truth you are not allowed to know, they have, then, made themselves a fundamental threat to the democracy, and, in my opinion, made themselves the enemy of the American people. And it is a threat to the very future of this country if…we allow this stuff to go on, and…we’ve crossed a whole new and frightening slide on the slippery slope this last two weeks, and it needs to be talked about.”

Source: Pat Caddell – “The Audacity of Corruption



Transcript:

Thank you. Glad to be with you. This could take a long time, but we don’t have that, so let me just get right to this. I think we’re at the most dangerous time in our political history in terms of the balance of power in the role that the media plays in whether or not we maintain a free democracy or not. You know, when I first started in politics – and for a long time before that – everyone on both sides, Democrats and Republicans, despised the press commonly, because they were SOBs to everybody. Which is exactly what they should be. They were unrelenting. Whatever the biases were, they were essentially equal-opportunity people. That changed in 1980. There’s a lot of reasons for it. It changed—an important point in the Dukakis-Bush election, when the press literally was trying to get Dukakis elected by ignoring what was happening in Massachusetts, with a candidate who was running on the platform of “He will do for America what he did for Massachusetts”—while they were on the verge of bankruptcy.

Also the change from evening news emphasis to morning news by the networks is another factor that’s been pointed out to me. Most recently, what I call the nepotism that exists, where people get jobs—they’re married to people who are in the administration, or in politics, whatever. But the overwhelming bias has become very real and very dangerous. We have a First Amendment for one reason. We have a First Amendment not because the Founding Fathers liked the press—they hated the press—but they believed, as [Thomas] Jefferson said, that in order to have a free country, in order to be a free people, we needed a free press. That was the job—so there was an implicit bargain in the First Amendment, the press being the only institution, at that time, which was in our process of which there was no checks and balances. We designed a constitutional system with many checks and balances. The one that had no checks and balances was the press, and that was done under an implicit understanding that, somehow, the press would protect the people from the government and the power by telling—somehow allowing—people to have the truth. That is being abrogated as we speak, and has been for some time. It is now creating the danger that I spoke to.

This morning, just this morning, Gallup released their latest poll on the trust, how much trust—the Congressman [Lamar Smith] made reference to an earlier poll—when it comes to reporting the news accurately, fairly, and fully, and it’s the highest in history. For the first time, 60% of the people said they had “Not very much” or “None at all.” Of course there was a partisan break: There were 40% who believed it did, Democrats, 58% believed that it was fair and accurate, Republicans were 26%, Independents were 31%. So there is this contempt for the media – or this belief—and there are many other polls that show it as well. I want to just use a few examples, because I think we crossed the line the last few weeks that is terrifying.

A few weeks ago I wrote a piece which was called “The Audacity of Cronyism” in Breitbart, and my talk today is “The Audacity of Corruption.” What I pointed out was, that it was appalling that Valerie Jarrett had a Secret Service detail. A staff member in the White House who is a senior aide and has a full Secret Service detail, even while on vacation, and nobody in the press had asked why. That has become more poignant, as I said, last week, when we discovered that we had an American ambassador, on the anniversary of 9/11, who was without adequate security—while she still has a Secret Service detail assigned to her full-time, at a massive cost, and no one in the media has gone to ask why.

The same thing: I raised the question of David Plouffe. David Plouffe, who is the White House’s Senior Advisor—and was Obama’s campaign manager last time, he and [David] Axelrod sort of switched out, Axelrod going back to Chicago for the campaign—and just after it was announced that he was coming, an Iranian front group in Nigeria gave him $100,000 to give two speeches in Nigeria. Now, let me tell you: There’s nobody that hands—no stranger gives you $100,000 and doesn’t expect something in return, unless you live in a world that I don’t. And no one has raised this in the mainstream media. He was on with George Stephanopoulos, on ABC, a couple of weeks ago, and they were going through all these questions. No one asked him whatsoever about that. He was not inquired. George Stephanopoulos, a former advisor to Bill Clinton—who every morning, while Rahm Emmanuel was Chief of Staff, had his call with Rahm Emmanuel and James Carville, and the three of them have been doing it for years—and he is held out as a journalist. He has two platforms. I mean, he’s a political hack masquerading as a journalist. But when you don’t ask the questions you need to ask of someone like David Plouffe, who’s going in the White House—when we’re talking about Iran. I just finished surveys, some of you may have seen, with John McLaughlin this week, with Secure America Now, and found out just how strongly Americans are concerned with Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, what’s happening in the Middle East, and cuts in defense spending. This is not the place for that, but it strikes me as the American people identify, in the polling we’ve done over the last year, Iran as the single greatest danger to the United States. And here’s a man who’s being paid by an already named front group for that—for a terrorist regime, and is not asked about it, or queried about it!

The third thing I would say is that—then there’s of course [National Security Advisor] Tom Donilon, who I know very well from years back, who I caused a little bit of a stir over a few months ago when I said he was the “leaker-in-chief.” I mean this ridiculous running around—“How did these secrets get out?”—when it is clear he has no credentials for foreign policy; who has been in the White House; who was a political operative for Walter Mondale, Jimmy Carter, and others; who was known to have, in my opinion, to be just the most amoral person I know in politics; and who is using and orchestrating national security. In Mr. [David] Sanger’s book [Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power], as a reviewer at [The New York Times] said, “The hero of this book, and the clear source of it, is Tom Donilon”—but let me just make a point. Neither does—and I would say this to the Congressman—“You know, all the Republicans have to do”—you know, I talk often about the “Corrupt Party” and the “Stupid Party,” but the Stupid Party couldn’t be stupider when it comes to things like this. They could have called Tom Donilon and other people down to the Congress, put them under oath, and asked them if they had leaked. Instead you have Eric Holder, who runs the most political Justice Department since John Mitchell—only in John Mitchell’s administration we had Justice Departments that were so politicized and so corrupted by politics—and he appoints someone who gave two people to do a study on the leaks, sometime in the next century will come out, and one of them is a, was a contributor to Barack Obama when he was a state Senator. That’s a really unbiased source! And the press, of course, won’t look into this. It will not ask the question. But the Republicans could have called them down. Yes, the President could have extended Executive Privilege, but let him say “I will not answer that question, sir” on the question of “Did you leak these secrets that Dianne Feinstein, the Chairman, the Democratic Chairman, of the Senate Intelligence Committee said were endangering national security and American lives?” As she said when she read Sanger’s book, “My God, every page I turn I learn something that I don’t know!” I mean, these are serious matters but in Washington they’re playful, and the press does not pursue any of them.

Peter Schweizer has done a study talking about corruption. 60%, or 80%—it’s closer to 80% I think, now—of the money given under the stimulus to green energy projects—the President and this administration’s great project—has gone to people who are either bundlers or major contributors to Barack Obama. But nobody says a word. Of course Republicans don’t raise it because in Washington, they simply want to do it when they get back in power. And, of course, the press doesn’t because they basically have taken themselves out of doing their job.

When we see what happened this week in Libya—and when I said I was more frightened than I’ve ever been, this is true, because I think it’s one thing that, as they did in 2008, when the mainstream press, the mainstream media and all the press, jumped on the Obama bandwagon and made it a moral commitment on their part to help him get elected in a way that has never happened, whatever the biases in the past. To give you an example of the difference, I’ll just shortly tell you this: In 1980, when [Jimmy] Carter was running for reelection, the press—even though 80% of them, after the election, reporters said they voted for Carter over [Ronald] Reagan, or 70% percent of them, a very high percentage—they believed, so much, that the Carter campaign and the Carter White House had abused the Rose Garden against [Ted] Kennedy that they made a commitment, as they discussed, that they would not serve as the attack dogs on Reagan for the Carter White House because they thought it was unfair and they weren’t to be manipulated. I totally disagree with their analysis, but that was when you actually had a press corps. Whatever their own personal feelings, they made judgments that were, “We’re not going to be manipulated.” This press corps serves at the pleasure of this White House and President, led by people like Ezra Klein and JournoList, where they plot the stories together. The problem here is that no one will name names.

But I want to talk about this Libyan thing, because we crossed some lines here. It’s not about politics. First of all we’ve had nine day of lies over what happened because they can’t dare say it’s a terrorist attack, and the press won’t push this. Yesterday there was not a single piece in The New York Times over the question of Libya. Twenty American embassies, yesterday, were under attack. None of that is on the national news. None of it is being pressed in the papers. If a President of either party—I don’t care whether it was Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton or George Bush or Ronald Reagan or George H. W. Bush—had a terrorist incident, and got on an airplane after saying something, and flown off to a fundraiser in Las Vegas, they would have been crucified! It would have been—it should have been the equivalent, for Barack Obama, of George Bush’s “flying over Katrina” moment. But nothing was said at all, and nothing will be said.

It is one thing to bias the news, or have a biased view. It is another thing to specifically decide that you will not tell the American people information they have a right to know, and I choose right now, openly, and this is—if I had more time I’d do all the names for it—but The New York Times, The Washington Post, or the most important papers that influence the networks, ABC, NBC, and, to a lesser extent—because CBS has actually been on this story, partly because the President of Libya appeared on [Bob Schieffer’s Face the Nation] and said, on Sunday, while [U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.] Susan Rice was out—the U.N. Ambassador has no portfolio on this matter—lying, said of the Secretary—you know why, notice the Secretary of State wasn’t out there doing this—was on national television, lying and promoting the White House line while the Libyan President, the very same moment, is saying “This is a premeditated attack.” Nobody has asked that question. This morning—take a look at The New York Times this morning, it’s a minor reference. Oh, now we’ve decided that it was a terrorist incident. But this is—that would have changed, that should change the politics.

This is not without accomplices, because the incompetence of the [Mitt] Romney campaign, which I said a week ago is the—my God!—the worst campaign in my lifetime, and the Republican establishment in general’s inability to fight, has allowed these things to happen in part because they don’t do it. But I want to go through two other quick points.

[Mohamed] Morsi and Egypt: The President of Egypt, we find out now, that his whole agenda has been getting the “Blind Sheikh” [Omar Abdel-Rahman], who’s responsible for the bombings of the World Trade Center in 1993, out of jail. Prison. I’ve been told specifically, by a member of the intelligence community that the White House and State Department are negotiating that now. They have now come out and denied it, but [Morsi] comes out, that they ordered—he’s the head of the Muslim Brotherhood! The American people know what they think of the Muslim Brotherhood: They are against them eleven to one, all right? And he’s the president of the Muslim Brotherhood, giving $2 billion to United States. He tells them—we had advance warning because they had said they were gonna do this, attack our embassy. The President—after the incident, after 48 hours, Mr. Morsi does nothing and says nothing—picks up the phone, calls him, and demands that they call it off. On Friday—last Friday, a week ago today—there was supposed to be a big demonstration. We thought that would be the big day—no, it disappeared, because Morsi called it off. But no press person has investigated this, just as no press person will go and ask the most obvious questions, when there are really good stories here, good media stories, and good news stories. They are in the tank and this is a frightening thing.

Another example has been the polling, which everyone wants to talk to me about. Look: There is no doubt that Romney is blowing an election he could not lose, and has done everything he can to lose it. But the bias, the polling, it’s very complicated. Some of it is error, some of it is miscalculation, but some of it is deliberate, in my opinion—to pump up the numbers using 2008 base to give a sense of momentum to the Obama campaign. When I have polls that have the preference of Democrats over Republicans higher than it was in 2008, which was a peak Democratic year, I know I am dealing with a poll that shouldn’t be reported. And yet they are being done, and they are being done with that knowledge and with that basis for some people, and the answer, as I said, some of it is incompetence, some of it is they just don’t know, really know, how to handle it, and some of it is on purpose, and it’s purposeful. But all of it is just to serve a basic point, just as JournoList was—Mr. Klein’s JournoList—but as I said there is no pushback. We have a political campaign where, to put the best metaphor I can on it, where the referees on the field are sacking the quarterback of one team, tripping up their runners, throwing their bodies in front of blockers, and nobody says anything. The Republicans don’t. The reason you will lose this battle is for one reason. Despite organizations like AIM and others who are pointing this out, and the fact that 60% of the American people are in on the secret here—I mean, they’re no idiots—Republicans and those candidates who are not the candidates of the press refuse to call them out. If I were the Romney campaign I would’ve been doing this for months! I’d have been looking at individual reporters! I would be telling the American people, “They’re not trying to stop me; they’re trying to stop you! And they are here to do this!” And I would have made the press themselves an issue because, until you do, what happens is, they are given the basic concession of authenticity and accuracy, or that they are credible, by not doing that.

Now too many reporters, too many political people in the Republican party in this town, want to maintain their relationships with the press. This is how Sarah Palin got handed over to Katie Couric and to ABC before she was ready—because Steve Schmidt and others want to preserve their view, their relationships with the press. You know, people have their own agendas, and often it’s not winning. But this not-pushing-back is a problem, and they don’t do it. And, you know what this is a different era: The old argument of “You don’t attack someone in the press”—or “You don’t get in a pissing match with someone who buys ink by the barrel”—doesn’t apply anymore. There are too many outlets, too many ways to do it, and the country doesn’t have the confidence in the press that they once had.

But all I want to conclude to this is that we face a fundamental danger here. The fundamental danger is this: I talked about the defense of the First Amendment. The press’s job is to stand in the ramparts and protect the liberty and freedom of all of us from a government and from organized governmental power. When they desert those ramparts and decide that they will now become active participants, that their job is not simply to tell you who you may vote for, and who you may not, but, worse—and this is the danger of the last two weeks—what truth that you may know, as an American, and what truth you are not allowed to know, they have, then, made themselves a fundamental threat to the democracy, and, in my opinion, made themselves the enemy of the American people. And it is a threat to the very future of this country if that—we allow this stuff to go on. We have crossed a whole new and frightening slide on the slippery slope this last two weeks, and it needs to be talked about. And so that’s as much as I can do in twenty minutes. So then we—we have a few moments for questions. Yes, sir?

ARONOFF: Let’s get a few questions here.

AUDIENCE MEMBER : Yes, I wanted to offer my interpretation for why this dynamic is happening. I’d like your reaction. I think that the media is working with the government, because the government hands out so many freebies—

CADDELL: Yes.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: —you know, for market share, and, therefore, they have to work in sync with them in order to ensure the good graces. I think, also, the advertisers who generate the revenue for the newspapers are also getting those freebies, and so they can then influence the media—

CADDELL: The corruption in this town is so great. Everybody in Washington seems to almost be on the take—with the exception of everybody in this room, and the assistants here. But, I swear to God, it’s so—the idea that I should get something, you know—the reason, when you have firms that have Ed Gillespie in business with Jack Quinn, who was the counsel for Bill Clinton, and responsible for the pardon of Marc Rich, among other things, is because everybody in this—those people on K Street, in both parties, are about arrangements and money. Everyone in the press is. We have stimulus money being given. We have people who, as I said, the relationships, when people are making contracts, and their husbands and wives are getting—Jay Carney’s wife works in the government! Now he works—he was the head of the Time Magazine! He was a liar then, and a liar now, apparently! You know—and nobody says there’s anything wrong with this. And you’re right: Everybody’s on the take here, and everybody’s cutting up their stock. That’s why, what used to be one of the best and most important things for the press, which was the investigative journalism of corruption and money, the stealing of the taxpayers, the looting of the Treasury, isn’t an issue, and why no one speaks of it in this town. Yes, sir?

AUDIENCE MEMBER 3: Pat, just a quick question. Is it in violation—can it be seen as a violation of their charter for the major networks to demonstrate such obvious bias? I mean, is that a violate their FCC license agreements?

CADDELL: Well, their license agreements only go to their stations. They don’t really go to the networks themselves. But I—you see, that’s why we’re at this slippery slope. This is what scares me. Because you start saying, “Well, somebody should do something about this.”

My argument, when I speak to the press, is very simple: One day you’re going to get my combination of George Wallace and Huey Long running for public office. He’s going to get up and say how—he’s going to point out “How the press is going to get me, and let me tell you what they’re going to say about me, because they want to stop me,” and he’s going to say, “You know what? We’ve gone too far with this First Amendment stuff. We need to make them serve the people.” We’re sliding toward a system by establishing the fact that the press, in fact, has prostituted themselves in the service of a political party, or a political candidate, and once you go down this road and say, “That’s happening,” then people say, “Why do we need a First Amendment? Why should we protect them? They’re not protecting us.” That’s the threat here. That’s the danger that I worry about, because we desperately need a real free press, whatever its faults, that protects the people. And soon, they will be owned by the people—we’re getting very close to that. Watching the coverage of this stuff, in the last ten days, on Libya, and the press corps and the networks serving as nothing but offshoots of the White House Press Office, is really scary. We’re going to get to this question, because that is down that road. These people are going to destroy freedom in America. I don’t care about their partisan preferences, I care that, in the end of the day, somebody’s going to say, “Enough of this!” And somebody will carry the day, and that’ll be that. Yes, sir?

AUDIENCE MEMBER 4: Thank you. You—thank you! Incredibly good twenty minutes! I agree with everything you said! I am very concerned about Romney’s poor campaign, combined with the media bias the way it is. Is there anything that Romney can do at this point?

CADDELL: Well, he should’ve been out there already! He should’ve been out there pushing back—and so should the Republican establishment. The Republican establishment, as I said, in this town—I mean, all they seem to be in the business, to me, a lot of the establishment, is getting a lot of money to line their pockets, and not fighting or doing things that are effective. Why aren’t they out there challenging this? Why isn’t Romney himself getting up and saying, “I’m running against two organizations: I’m running against the Democrats and the President, and I’m running against the mainstream media, which will not tell you the truth”? Now let me tell you something: You want to liven up some of your rallies? That’ll do it. But they don’t do it because this man dares to be cautious. He’s going to dare-to-be-cautious himself right out of a race that was his to lose, and he’s losing it.

ARONOFF: One last question. Anybody? Go ahead.

AUDIENCE MEMBER 5: Are there no patriots in the media who—

CADDELL: Oh, yes, there are! There are some.

AUDIENCE MEMBER 5: Do they not see where—

CADDELL: Well, the problem is—let me say this—because nobody raises the question, because no one raises from the viewpoint that I’m raising it from. To raise it from the viewpoint where Republicans or conservatives “We don’t like what you’re doing to us,” only makes them dismiss that. What is not to be dismissed is what this is doing, and what it is in terms of the specifics of challenge. These individual reporters—let me tell you something about the press: Reporters become reporters and don’t enter the political fray because, basically, they can’t stand the heat. That’s my experience. You ever watch reporters under attack in a public venue and so forth? They wilt like—they melt like ice on the equator. The fact is that they need to be called out. Their organizations need to be called out. Ezra Klein still writes for The Washington Post? I mean, this is unbelievable! They had a secret operation group, “Journo” group, online, coordinating how they would promote Obama, and how they would attack Republicans—and he’s still there? But nobody calls out the publisher, or the editor, or whatever—there is no effort here—or calls him.

The fact is, if I were out there, if I were doing one of these campaigns, I wouldn’t let one of these guys by with anything. I would make the fact that the American people, already expressed in the Gallup poll, say—I would give them all the evidence they need to confirm their beliefs. I would change the dialogue here. But until that happens, you’re gonna have two teams—your whole team has an echo chamber of support—attacking you. How do you ever expect to win? Really? I mean, you can when it’s the national tide, 1980. We have a different press now. They have now made the decision they will control the political process. They are serving—with the hundreds of millions of dollars that the networks and these newspapers are, in effect, contributing—in-kind contributions to candidates in the Democratic Party. That’s the legal issue that I would have been exploring. I mean, I would begin to put the heat on.

But the Republicans never said a word. When Comcast, which bought out the administration—they’re my cable company in Charleston, they’re just so bad, I guess every cable company is awful, but they’re the worst—buys a network, is allowed to buy a network—the Justice Department allowed this—no Republican stood up and said, “This should be stopped!” I mean, really! You get what you ask for. So, anyway, I’ve got to go. I’ve got to go do TV.

ARONOFF: Thank you very much.








Bookmark and Share

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's 2012 Speech to the United Nations General Assembly


Bibi Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, spoke to the largest gathering of murderers and tyrants in the world at their headquarters in New York City today. Here is the video and transcript of that speech.

I wish that our President had the courage that this man has...



Transcript:

Ladies and gentlemen, Israel has extended its hand in peace from the moment it was established 63 years ago. On behalf of Israel and the Jewish people, I extend that hand again today. I extend it to the people of Egypt and Jordan, with renewed friendship for neighbors with whom we have made peace. I extend it to the people of Turkey, with respect and good will. I extend it to the people of Libya and Tunisia, with admiration for those trying to build a democratic future. I extend it to the other peoples of North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, with whom we want to forge a new beginning. I extend it to the people of Syria, Lebanon and Iran, with awe at the courage of those fighting brutal repression.

But most especially, I extend my hand to the Palestinian people, with whom we seek a just and lasting peace.

Ladies and gentlemen, in Israel our hope for peace never wanes. Our scientists, doctors, innovators, apply their genius to improve the world of tomorrow. Our artists, our writers, enrich the heritage of humanity. Now, I know that this is not exactly the image of Israel that is often portrayed in this hall. After all, it was here in 1975 that the age-old yearning of my people to restore our national life in our ancient biblical homeland -- it was then that this was braided -- branded, rather -- shamefully, as racism. And it was here in 1980, right here, that the historic peace agreement between Israel and Egypt wasn't praised; it was denounced! And it's here year after year that Israel is unjustly singled out for condemnation. It's singled out for condemnation more often than all the nations of the world combined. Twenty-one out of the 27 General Assembly resolutions condemn Israel -- the one true democracy in the Middle East.

Well, this is an unfortunate part of the UN institution. It's the -- the theater of the absurd. It doesn't only cast Israel as the villain; it often casts real villains in leading roles: Gadhafi's Libya chaired the UN Commission on Human Rights; Saddam's Iraq headed the UN Committee on Disarmament.

You might say: That's the past. Well, here's what's happening now -- right now, today. Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon now presides over the UN Security Council. This means, in effect, that a terror organization presides over the body entrusted with guaranteeing the world's security.

You couldn't make this thing up.

So here in the UN, automatic majorities can decide anything. They can decide that the sun sets in the west or rises in the west. I think the first has already been pre-ordained. But they can also decide -- they have decided that the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Judaism's holiest place, is occupied Palestinian territory.

And yet even here in the General Assembly, the truth can sometimes break through. In 1984 when I was appointed Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, I visited the great rabbi of Lubavich. He said to me -- and ladies and gentlemen, I don't want any of you to be offended because from personal experience of serving here, I know there are many honorable men and women, many capable and decent people serving their nations here. But here's what the rebbe said to me. He said to me, you'll be serving in a house of many lies. And then he said, remember that even in the darkest place, the light of a single candle can be seen far and wide.

Today I hope that the light of truth will shine, if only for a few minutes, in a hall that for too long has been a place of darkness for my country. So as Israel's prime minister, I didn't come here to win applause. I came here to speak the truth. (Cheers, applause.) The truth is -- the truth is that Israel wants peace. The truth is that I want peace. The truth is that in the Middle East at all times, but especially during these turbulent days, peace must be anchored in security. The truth is that we cannot achieve peace through UN resolutions, but only through direct negotiations between the parties. The truth is that so far the Palestinians have refused to negotiate. The truth is that Israel wants peace with a Palestinian state, but the Palestinians want a state without peace. And the truth is you shouldn't let that happen.

Ladies and gentlemen, when I first came here 27 years ago, the world was divided between East and West. Since then the Cold War ended, great civilizations have risen from centuries of slumber, hundreds of millions have been lifted out of poverty, countless more are poised to follow, and the remarkable thing is that so far this monumental historic shift has largely occurred peacefully. Yet a malignancy is now growing between East and West that threatens the peace of all. It seeks not to liberate, but to enslave, not to build, but to destroy.

That malignancy is militant Islam. It cloaks itself in the mantle of a great faith, yet it murders Jews, Christians and Muslims alike with unforgiving impartiality. On September 11th it killed thousands of Americans, and it left the twin towers in smoldering ruins. Last night I laid a wreath on the 9/11 memorial. It was deeply moving. But as I was going there, one thing echoed in my mind: the outrageous words of the president of Iran on this podium yesterday. He implied that 9/11 was an American conspiracy. Some of you left this hall. All of you should have. (Applause.)

Since 9/11, militant Islamists slaughtered countless other innocents -- in London and Madrid, in Baghdad and Mumbai, in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, in every part of Israel. I believe that the greatest danger facing our world is that this fanaticism will arm itself with nuclear weapons. And this is precisely what Iran is trying to do.

Can you imagine that man who ranted here yesterday -- can you imagine him armed with nuclear weapons? The international community must stop Iran before it's too late. If Iran is not stopped, we will all face the specter of nuclear terrorism, and the Arab Spring could soon become an Iranian winter. That would be a tragedy. Millions of Arabs have taken to the streets to replace tyranny with liberty, and no one would benefit more than Israel if those committed to freedom and peace would prevail.

This is my fervent hope. But as the prime minister of Israel, I cannot risk the future of the Jewish state on wishful thinking. Leaders must see reality as it is, not as it ought to be. We must do our best to shape the future, but we cannot wish away the dangers of the present.

And the world around Israel is definitely becoming more dangerous. Militant Islam has already taken over Lebanon and Gaza. It's determined to tear apart the peace treaties between Israel and Egypt and between Israel and Jordan. It's poisoned many Arab minds against Jews and Israel, against America and the West. It opposes not the policies of Israel but the existence of Israel.

Now, some argue that the spread of militant Islam, especially in these turbulent times -- if you want to slow it down, they argue, Israel must hurry to make concessions, to make territorial compromises. And this theory sounds simple. Basically it goes like this: Leave the territory, and peace will be advanced. The moderates will be strengthened, the radicals will be kept at bay. And don't worry about the pesky details of how Israel will actually defend itself; international troops will do the job.

These people say to me constantly: Just make a sweeping offer, and everything will work out. You know, there's only one problem with that theory. We've tried it and it hasn't worked. In 2000 Israel made a sweeping peace offer that met virtually all of the Palestinian demands. Arafat rejected it. The Palestinians then launched a terror attack that claimed a thousand Israeli lives.

Prime Minister Olmert afterwards made an even more sweeping offer, in 2008. President Abbas didn't even respond to it.

But Israel did more than just make sweeping offers. We actually left territory. We withdrew from Lebanon in 2000 and from every square inch of Gaza in 2005. That didn't calm the Islamic storm, the militant Islamic storm that threatens us. It only brought the storm closer and make it stronger.

Hezbollah and Hamas fired thousands of rockets against our cities from the very territories we vacated. See, when Israel left Lebanon and Gaza, the moderates didn't defeat the radicals, the moderates were devoured by the radicals. And I regret to say that international troops like UNIFIL in Lebanon and UBAM (ph) in Gaza didn't stop the radicals from attacking Israel.

We left Gaza hoping for peace.

We didn't freeze the settlements in Gaza, we uprooted them. We did exactly what the theory says: Get out, go back to the 1967 borders, dismantle the settlements.

And I don't think people remember how far we went to achieve this. We uprooted thousands of people from their homes. We pulled children out of -- out of their schools and their kindergartens. We bulldozed synagogues. We even -- we even moved loved ones from their graves. And then, having done all that, we gave the keys of Gaza to President Abbas.

Now the theory says it should all work out, and President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority now could build a peaceful state in Gaza. You can remember that the entire world applauded. They applauded our withdrawal as an act of great statesmanship. It was a bold act of peace.

But ladies and gentlemen, we didn't get peace. We got war. We got Iran, which through its proxy Hamas promptly kicked out the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian Authority collapsed in a day -- in one day.

President Abbas just said on this podium that the Palestinians are armed only with their hopes and dreams. Yeah, hopes, dreams and 10,000 missiles and Grad rockets supplied by Iran, not to mention the river of lethal weapons now flowing into Gaza from the Sinai, from Libya, and from elsewhere.

Thousands of missiles have already rained down on our cities. So you might understand that, given all this, Israelis rightly ask: What's to prevent this from happening again in the West Bank? See, most of our major cities in the south of the country are within a few dozen kilometers from Gaza. But in the center of the country, opposite the West Bank, our cities are a few hundred meters or at most a few kilometers away from the edge of the West Bank.

So I want to ask you. Would any of you -- would any of you bring danger so close to your cities, to your families? Would you act so recklessly with the lives of your citizens? Israel is prepared to have a Palestinian state in the West Bank, but we're not prepared to have another Gaza there. And that's why we need to have real security arrangements, which the Palestinians simply refuse to negotiate with us.

Israelis remember the bitter lessons of Gaza. Many of Israel's critics ignore them. They irresponsibly advise Israel to go down this same perilous path again. Your read what these people say and it's as if nothing happened -- just repeating the same advice, the same formulas as though none of this happened.

And these critics continue to press Israel to make far-reaching concessions without first assuring Israel's security. They praise those who unwittingly feed the insatiable crocodile of militant Islam as bold statesmen. They cast as enemies of peace those of us who insist that we must first erect a sturdy barrier to keep the crocodile out, or at the very least jam an iron bar between its gaping jaws.

So in the face of the labels and the libels, Israel must heed better advice. Better a bad press than a good eulogy, and better still would be a fair press whose sense of history extends beyond breakfast, and which recognizes Israel's legitimate security concerns.

I believe that in serious peace negotiations, these needs and concerns can be properly addressed, but they will not be addressed without negotiations. And the needs are many, because Israel is such a tiny country. Without Judea and Samaria, the West Bank, Israel is all of 9 miles wide.

I want to put it for you in perspective, because you're all in the city. That's about two-thirds the length of Manhattan. It's the distance between Battery Park and Columbia University. And don't forget that the people who live in Brooklyn and New Jersey are considerably nicer than some of Israel's neighbors.

So how do you -- how do you protect such a tiny country, surrounded by people sworn to its destruction and armed to the teeth by Iran? Obviously you can't defend it from within that narrow space alone. Israel needs greater strategic depth, and that's exactly why Security Council Resolution 242 didn't require Israel to leave all the territories it captured in the Six-Day War. It talked about withdrawal from territories, to secure and defensible boundaries. And to defend itself, Israel must therefore maintain a long-term Israeli military presence in critical strategic areas in the West Bank.

I explained this to President Abbas. He answered that if a Palestinian state was to be a sovereign country, it could never accept such arrangements. Why not? America has had troops in Japan, Germany and South Korea for more than a half a century. Britain has had an airspace in Cyprus or rather an air base in Cyprus. France has forces in three independent African nations. None of these states claim that they're not sovereign countries.

And there are many other vital security issues that also must be addressed. Take the issue of airspace. Again, Israel's small dimensions create huge security problems. America can be crossed by jet airplane in six hours. To fly across Israel, it takes three minutes. So is Israel's tiny airspace to be chopped in half and given to a Palestinian state not at peace with Israel?

Our major international airport is a few kilometers away from the West Bank. Without peace, will our planes become targets for antiaircraft missiles placed in the adjacent Palestinian state? And how will we stop the smuggling into the West Bank? It's not merely the West Bank, it's the West Bank mountains. It just dominates the coastal plain where most of Israel's population sits below. How could we prevent the smuggling into these mountains of those missiles that could be fired on our cities?

I bring up these problems because they're not theoretical problems. They're very real. And for Israelis, they're life-and- death matters. All these potential cracks in Israel's security have to be sealed in a peace agreement before a Palestinian state is declared, not afterwards, because if you leave it afterwards, they won't be sealed. And these problems will explode in our face and explode the peace.

The Palestinians should first make peace with Israel and then get their state. But I also want to tell you this. After such a peace agreement is signed, Israel will not be the last country to welcome a Palestinian state as a new member of the United Nations. We will be the first. (Applause.)

And there's one more thing. Hamas has been violating international law by holding our soldier Gilad Shalit captive for five years.

They haven't given even one Red Cross visit. He's held in a dungeon, in darkness, against all international norms. Gilad Shalit is the son of Aviva and Noam Shalit. He is the grandson of Zvi Shalit, who escaped the Holocaust by coming to the -- in the 1930s as a boy to the land of Israel. Gilad Shalit is the son of every Israeli family. Every nation represented here should demand his immediate release. (Applause.) If you want to -- if you want to pass a resolution about the Middle East today, that's the resolution you should pass. (Applause.)

Ladies and gentlemen, last year in Israel in Bar-Ilan University, this year in the Knesset and in the U.S. Congress, I laid out my vision for peace in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the Jewish state. Yes, the Jewish state. After all, this is the body that recognized the Jewish state 64 years ago. Now, don't you think it's about time that Palestinians did the same?

The Jewish state of Israel will always protect the rights of all its minorities, including the more than 1 million Arab citizens of Israel. I wish I could say the same thing about a future Palestinian state, for as Palestinian officials made clear the other day -- in fact, I think they made it right here in New York -- they said the Palestinian state won't allow any Jews in it. They'll be Jew-free -- Judenrein. That's ethnic cleansing. There are laws today in Ramallah that make the selling of land to Jews punishable by death. That's racism. And you know which laws this evokes.

Israel has no intention whatsoever to change the democratic character of our state. We just don't want the Palestinians to try to change the Jewish character of our state. (Applause.) We want to give up -- we want them to give up the fantasy of flooding Israel with millions of Palestinians.

President Abbas just stood here, and he said that the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the settlements. Well, that's odd. Our conflict has been raging for -- was raging for nearly half a century before there was a single Israeli settlement in the West Bank. So if what President Abbas is saying was true, then the -- I guess that the settlements he's talking about are Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jaffa, Be'er Sheva. Maybe that's what he meant the other day when he said that Israel has been occupying Palestinian land for 63 years. He didn't say from 1967; he said from 1948. I hope somebody will bother to ask him this question because it illustrates a simple truth: The core of the conflict is not the settlements. The settlements are a result of the conflict. (Applause.)

The settlements have to be -- it's an issue that has to be addressed and resolved in the course of negotiations. But the core of the conflict has always been and unfortunately remains the refusal of the Palestinians to recognize a Jewish state in any border.

I think it's time that the Palestinian leadership recognizes what every serious international leader has recognized, from Lord Balfour and Lloyd George in 1917, to President Truman in 1948, to President Obama just two days ago right here: Israel is the Jewish state. (Applause.)

President Abbas, stop walking around this issue. Recognize the Jewish state, and make peace with us. In such a genuine peace, Israel is prepared to make painful compromises. We believe that the Palestinians should be neither the citizens of Israel nor its subjects. They should live in a free state of their own. But they should be ready, like us, for compromise. And we will know that they're ready for compromise and for peace when they start taking Israel's security requirements seriously and when they stop denying our historical connection to our ancient homeland.

I often hear them accuse Israel of Judaizing Jerusalem. That's like accusing America of Americanizing Washington, or the British of Anglicizing London. You know why we're called "Jews"? Because we come from Judea.

In my office in Jerusalem, there's a -- there's an ancient seal. It's a signet ring of a Jewish official from the time of the Bible. The seal was found right next to the Western Wall, and it dates back 2,700 years, to the time of King Hezekiah. Now, there's a name of the Jewish official inscribed on the ring in Hebrew. His name was Netanyahu. That's my last name. My first name, Benjamin, dates back a thousand years earlier to Benjamin -- Binyamin -- the son of Jacob, who was also known as Israel. Jacob and his 12 sons roamed these same hills of Judea and Sumeria 4,000 years ago, and there's been a continuous Jewish presence in the land ever since.

And for those Jews who were exiled from our land, they never stopped dreaming of coming back: Jews in Spain, on the eve of their expulsion; Jews in the Ukraine, fleeing the pogroms; Jews fighting the Warsaw Ghetto, as the Nazis were circling around it. They never stopped praying, they never stopped yearning. They whispered: Next year in Jerusalem. Next year in the promised land.

As the prime minister of Israel, I speak for a hundred generations of Jews who were dispersed throughout the lands, who suffered every evil under the Sun, but who never gave up hope of restoring their national life in the one and only Jewish state.

Ladies and gentlemen, I continue to hope that President Abbas will be my partner in peace. I've worked hard to advance that peace. The day I came into office, I called for direct negotiations without preconditions. President Abbas didn't respond. I outlined a vision of peace of two states for two peoples. He still didn't respond. I removed hundreds of roadblocks and checkpoints, to ease freedom of movement in the Palestinian areas; this facilitated a fantastic growth in the Palestinian economy. But again -- no response. I took the unprecedented step of freezing new buildings in the settlements for 10 months. No prime minister did that before, ever. (Scattered applause.) Once again -- you applaud, but there was no response. No response.

In the last few weeks, American officials have put forward ideas to restart peace talks. There were things in those ideas about borders that I didn't like. There were things there about the Jewish state that I'm sure the Palestinians didn't like.

But with all my reservations, I was willing to move forward on these American ideas.

President Abbas, why don't you join me? We have to stop negotiating about the negotiations. Let's just get on with it. Let's negotiate peace.

I spent years defending Israel on the battlefield. I spent decades defending Israel in the court of public opinion. President Abbas, you've dedicated your life to advancing the Palestinian cause. Must this conflict continue for generations, or will we enable our children and our grandchildren to speak in years ahead of how we found a way to end it? That's what we should aim for, and that's what I believe we can achieve.

In two and a half years, we met in Jerusalem only once, even though my door has always been open to you. If you wish, I'll come to Ramallah. Actually, I have a better suggestion. We've both just flown thousands of miles to New York. Now we're in the same city. We're in the same building. So let's meet here today in the United Nations. Who's there to stop us? What is there to stop us? If we genuinely want peace, what is there to stop us from meeting today and beginning peace negotiations?

And I suggest we talk openly and honestly. Let's listen to one another. Let's do as we say in the Middle East: Let's talk "doogri". That means straightforward. I'll tell you my needs and concerns. You'll tell me yours. And with God's help, we'll find the common ground of peace.

There's an old Arab saying that you cannot applaud with one hand. Well, the same is true of peace. I cannot make peace alone. I cannot make peace without you. President Abbas, I extend my hand -- the hand of Israel -- in peace. I hope that you will grasp that hand. We are both the sons of Abraham. My people call him Avraham. Your people call him Ibrahim. We share the same patriarch. We dwell in the same land. Our destinies are intertwined. Let us realize the vision of Isaiah -- (speaks in Hebrew) -- "The people who walk in darkness will see a great light." Let that light be the light of peace.





Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Medallion of Honor Presentation Ceremony
Macon County Honors Two Favorite Sons


Here is the video of the Macon County Medallion of Honor presentation ceremony that took place in Franklin, NC on September 26, 2012. Nat Henry and Dr Thomas McNish were the honorees. Both were POWs for several years in North Vietnam.


Here is the resolution for Nat Henry:


Macon County
Medallion of Honor
Resolution

WHEREAS, Nathan B. Henry is a native and lifelong resident of Macon County, North Carolina; and

WHEREAS, Nathan B. Henry a Vietnam Veteran, was the sole survivor from Headquarters Platoon in a battle on July 12th, 1967 in Ia Drang Valley, Pleiku Province, Republic of Vietnam between Company B 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry, 4th Division and the (NVA) North Vietnamese Army; and

WHEREAS, Following that battle, Nathan B. Henry was captured by the NVA, and subsequently remained a prisoner of war (POW) for almost six years where he endured the brutality and depravation of NVA and Vietcong (VC) POW camps until his release on 5 March, 1973; and

WHEREAS, Nathan B. Henry has been recognized for his outstanding service and bravery to the United States of America by being awarded two (2) Silver Stars, and two (2) Bronze Stars and ; and two (2) Purple Hearts with Oak Leaf Clusters along with numerous other medals for valor; and

WHEREAS, Nathan B. Henry has always made himself available to promote veterans and other humanitarian efforts, and is representative of the struggles of Vietnam Era Veterans; and

WHEREAS, after his release he returned home to the Burningtown Community of his native Macon County, where he graduated from Haywood Community College with a degree in horticulture; and

WHEREAS, Nathan B. Henry has continued to serve his community in various volunteer capacities including being an original member of the Burningtown Volunteer Fire department, where he was instrumental in securing a donation of land for the construction of the present fire department, and as a charter member, serving two terms as President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Macon County Vietnam Veterans Chapter 994; and

WHEREAS, Nathan B. Henry has always made himself available to promote veterans and other humanitarian efforts, and is representative of the struggles of Vietnam Era Veterans; and

WHEREAS, Nathan B. Henry is a much sought after speaker at military events, is a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion; and

WHEREAS, the Macon County Board of Commissioners and the Franklin Town Board desires to honor Nathan B. Henry for his sacrifice and dedication to his country and his community,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Macon County Board of Commissioners does hereby proclaim and honor Nathan B. “Nat” Henry”, for his bravery, fortitude, and service to the United States of America and Macon County; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Macon County Board of Commissioners hereby awards the Macon County Medallion of Honor to Nathan B. “Nat” Henry in recognition of his unselfish service and contributions to Macon County and North Carolina.


and the resolution for Tomas McNish:


Macon County
Medallion of Honor
Resolution

WHEREAS, Dr. Thomas M. McNish was born May 1st, 1942 in Madison, Tennessee; and

WHEREAS, The McNish Family moved to Franklin, Macon County, North Carolina in 1945; and

WHEREAS, Dr. McNish grew up in Macon County, North Carolina, graduating from Franklin High School in May, 1959; and

WHEREAS, Dr. McNish attended North Carolina State University for one year before entering the United States Air Force Academy where he graduated June, 1964; and

WHEREAS, Dr. McNish entered Pilot Training at Williams Air Force Base, Arizona, and received his wings in September, 1965; and

WHEREAS, after completing advanced Pilot Training at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Dr. McNish was assigned to Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand in June, 1966 where he flew 45 combat missions over North Vietnam before being shot down and captured near Hanoi on September 4th, 1966: and

WHEREAS, Dr. McNish was repatriated after serving six and one half years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam; and

WHEREAS, Dr. McNish in 1973 enrolled in Emory University School of Medicine and graduated June, 1978; and

WHEREAS, Dr. McNish went on to complete his residency in Aerospace Medicine at Brooks Air Force Base, Texas graduating June 1983; and

WHEREAS, Dr. McNish earned a Master’s Degree in Public Health and is Board Certified by The American Board of Family Practice and The American Board of Preventive Medicine; and

WHEREAS, Dr. McNish also distinguished himself as a Top Pilot and graduated in the A-10 program and was awarded The Top Gun Trophy; and

WHEREAS, Dr. McNish continued his career by serving as Chief Aero Medical Services and Commander of The Transportable Hospital at Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, South Carolina, Commander USAF Hospital Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, South Carolina, Commander of the 833rd Medical Group and the 833rd Tactical Hospital at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, Chief of Flight Medicine in the Office of The Air Force Surgeon General, Senior Military Consultant to the Surgeon General in Aerospace Medicine, Command Surgeon Office of the Air Force Reserve, Pentagon, Washington, DC completing 30 years of active duty and retiring with the rank of Colonel in 1994; and

WHEREAS, Dr. McNish’s awards and decorations include the Silver Star, with Two Oak Leaf Clusters, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star with “V” device for Valor, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with Four Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Purple Heart with One Oak Leaf Cluster, Prisoner of War Medal, Distinguished Unit Citation, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, and Vietnam Service Medal with Fifteen Campaign Stars; and

WHEREAS, Dr. McNish played a key role in the repatriation of POW’s from Desert Storm; and

WHEREAS, Macon County is proud of the lifetime of sacrifice and distinguished Military service by one of our own, Dr. Thomas M. McNish; and

WHEREAS, The Citizens of Macon County by and through the Macon County Board of Commissioners wish to formally recognize and honor the extraordinary service and achievements of Dr. Thomas N. McNish;

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Macon County Board of Commissioners does hereby award to Dr. Thomas McNish the Macon County Medallion of Honor in recognition of his unselfish service and contributions to Macon County and North Carolina









Bookmark and Share

President Obama Addresses the United Nations


President Obama addressed the United Nations yesterday, and a video and transcript of that speech is below.


Transcript:

Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, fellow delegates, ladies and gentleman: I would like to begin today by telling you about an American named Chris Stevens.

Chris was born in a town called Grass Valley, California, the son of a lawyer and a musician. As a young man, Chris joined the Peace Corps, and taught English in Morocco. And he came to love and respect the people of North Africa and the Middle East. He would carry that commitment throughout his life. As a diplomat, he worked from Egypt to Syria, from Saudi Arabia to Libya. He was known for walking the streets of the cities where he worked -- tasting the local food, meeting as many people as he could, speaking Arabic, listening with a broad smile.

Chris went to Benghazi in the early days of the Libyan revolution, arriving on a cargo ship. As America’s representative, he helped the Libyan people as they coped with violent conflict, cared for the wounded, and crafted a vision for the future in which the rights of all Libyans would be respected. And after the revolution, he supported the birth of a new democracy, as Libyans held elections, and built new institutions, and began to move forward after decades of dictatorship.

Chris Stevens loved his work. He took pride in the country he served, and he saw dignity in the people that he met. And two weeks ago, he traveled to Benghazi to review plans to establish a new cultural center and modernize a hospital. That’s when America’s compound came under attack. Along with three of his colleagues, Chris was killed in the city that he helped to save. He was 52 years old.

I tell you this story because Chris Stevens embodied the best of America. Like his fellow Foreign Service officers, he built bridges across oceans and cultures, and was deeply invested in the international cooperation that the United Nations represents. He acted with humility, but he also stood up for a set of principles -- a belief that individuals should be free to determine their own destiny, and live with liberty, dignity, justice, and opportunity.

The attacks on the civilians in Benghazi were attacks on America. We are grateful for the assistance we received from the Libyan government and from the Libyan people. There should be no doubt that we will be relentless in tracking down the killers and bringing them to justice. And I also appreciate that in recent days, the leaders of other countries in the region -- including Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen -- have taken steps to secure our diplomatic facilities, and called for calm. And so have religious authorities around the globe.

But understand, the attacks of the last two weeks are not simply an assault on America. They are also an assault on the very ideals upon which the United Nations was founded -- the notion that people can resolve their differences peacefully; that diplomacy can take the place of war; that in an interdependent world, all of us have a stake in working towards greater opportunity and security for our citizens.

If we are serious about upholding these ideals, it will not be enough to put more guards in front of an embassy, or to put out statements of regret and wait for the outrage to pass. If we are serious about these ideals, we must speak honestly about the deeper causes of the crisis -- because we face a choice between the forces that would drive us apart and the hopes that we hold in common.

Today, we must reaffirm that our future will be determined by people like Chris Stevens -- and not by his killers. Today, we must declare that this violence and intolerance has no place among our United Nations.

It has been less than two years since a vendor in Tunisia set himself on fire to protest the oppressive corruption in his country, and sparked what became known as the Arab Spring. And since then, the world has been captivated by the transformation that’s taken place, and the United States has supported the forces of change.

We were inspired by the Tunisian protests that toppled a dictator, because we recognized our own beliefs in the aspiration of men and women who took to the streets.

We insisted on change in Egypt, because our support for democracy ultimately put us on the side of the people.

We supported a transition of leadership in Yemen, because the interests of the people were no longer being served by a corrupt status quo.

We intervened in Libya alongside a broad coalition, and with the mandate of the United Nations Security Council, because we had the ability to stop the slaughter of innocents, and because we believed that the aspirations of the people were more powerful than a tyrant.

And as we meet here, we again declare that the regime of Bashar al-Assad must come to an end so that the suffering of the Syrian people can stop and a new dawn can begin.

We have taken these positions because we believe that freedom and self-determination are not unique to one culture. These are not simply American values or Western values -- they are universal values. And even as there will be huge challenges to come with a transition to democracy, I am convinced that ultimately government of the people, by the people, and for the people is more likely to bring about the stability, prosperity, and individual opportunity that serve as a basis for peace in our world.

So let us remember that this is a season of progress. For the first time in decades, Tunisians, Egyptians and Libyans voted for new leaders in elections that were credible, competitive, and fair. This democratic spirit has not been restricted to the Arab world. Over the past year, we’ve seen peaceful transitions of power in Malawi and Senegal, and a new President in Somalia. In Burma, a President has freed political prisoners and opened a closed society, a courageous dissident has been elected to parliament, and people look forward to further reform. Around the globe, people are making their voices heard, insisting on their innate dignity, and the right to determine their future.

And yet the turmoil of recent weeks reminds us that the path to democracy does not end with the casting of a ballot. Nelson Mandela once said: "To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." (Applause.)

True democracy demands that citizens cannot be thrown in jail because of what they believe, and that businesses can be opened without paying a bribe. It depends on the freedom of citizens to speak their minds and assemble without fear, and on the rule of law and due process that guarantees the rights of all people.

In other words, true democracy -- real freedom -- is hard work. Those in power have to resist the temptation to crack down on dissidents. In hard economic times, countries must be tempted -- may be tempted to rally the people around perceived enemies, at home and abroad, rather than focusing on the painstaking work of reform.

Moreover, there will always be those that reject human progress -- dictators who cling to power, corrupt interests that depend on the status quo, and extremists who fan the flames of hate and division. From Northern Ireland to South Asia, from Africa to the Americas, from the Balkans to the Pacific Rim, we’ve witnessed convulsions that can accompany transitions to a new political order.

At time, the conflicts arise along the fault lines of race or tribe. And often they arise from the difficulties of reconciling tradition and faith with the diversity and interdependence of the modern world. In every country, there are those who find different religious beliefs threatening; in every culture, those who love freedom for themselves must ask themselves how much they’re willing to tolerate freedom for others.

That is what we saw play out in the last two weeks, as a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world. Now, I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video, and I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity.
It is an insult not only to Muslims, but to America as well -- for as the city outside these walls makes clear, we are a country that has welcomed people of every race and every faith. We are home to Muslims who worship across our country. We not only respect the freedom of religion, we have laws that protect individuals from being harmed because of how they look or what they believe. We understand why people take offense to this video because millions of our citizens are among them.

I know there are some who ask why we don’t just ban such a video. And the answer is enshrined in our laws: Our Constitution protects the right to practice free speech.

Here in the United States, countless publications provoke offense. Like me, the majority of Americans are Christian, and yet we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs. As President of our country and Commander-in-Chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day -- (laughter) -- and I will always defend their right to do so. (Applause.)

Americans have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their views, even views that we profoundly disagree with. We do not do so because we support hateful speech, but because our founders understood that without such protections, the capacity of each individual to express their own views and practice their own faith may be threatened. We do so because in a diverse society, efforts to restrict speech can quickly become a tool to silence critics and oppress minorities.

We do so because given the power of faith in our lives, and the passion that religious differences can inflame, the strongest weapon against hateful speech is not repression; it is more speech -- the voices of tolerance that rally against bigotry and blasphemy, and lift up the values of understanding and mutual respect.

Now, I know that not all countries in this body share this particular understanding of the protection of free speech. We recognize that. But in 2012, at a time when anyone with a cell phone can spread offensive views around the world with the click of a button, the notion that we can control the flow of information is obsolete. The question, then, is how do we respond?

And on this we must agree: There is no speech that justifies mindless violence. (Applause.) There are no words that excuse the killing of innocents. There's no video that justifies an attack on an embassy. There's no slander that provides an excuse for people to burn a restaurant in Lebanon, or destroy a school in Tunis, or cause death and destruction in Pakistan.

In this modern world with modern technologies, for us to respond in that way to hateful speech empowers any individual who engages in such speech to create chaos around the world. We empower the worst of us if that’s how we respond.

More broadly, the events of the last two weeks also speak to the need for all of us to honestly address the tensions between the West and the Arab world that is moving towards democracy.

Now, let me be clear: Just as we cannot solve every problem in the world, the United States has not and will not seek to dictate the outcome of democratic transitions abroad. We do not expect other nations to agree with us on every issue, nor do we assume that the violence of the past weeks or the hateful speech by some individuals represent the views of the overwhelming majority of Muslims, any more than the views of the people who produced this video represents those of Americans. However, I do believe that it is the obligation of all leaders in all countries to speak out forcefully against violence and extremism. (Applause.)

It is time to marginalize those who -- even when not directly resorting to violence -- use hatred of America, or the West, or Israel, as the central organizing principle of politics. For that only gives cover, and sometimes makes an excuse, for those who do resort to violence.

That brand of politics -- one that pits East against West, and South against North, Muslims against Christians and Hindu and Jews -- can’t deliver on the promise of freedom. To the youth, it offers only false hope. Burning an American flag does nothing to provide a child an education. Smashing apart a restaurant does not fill an empty stomach. Attacking an embassy won’t create a single job. That brand of politics only makes it harder to achieve what we must do together: educating our children, and creating the opportunities that they deserve; protecting human rights, and extending democracy’s promise.

Understand America will never retreat from the world. We will bring justice to those who harm our citizens and our friends, and we will stand with our allies. We are willing to partner with countries around the world to deepen ties of trade and investment, and science and technology, energy and development -- all efforts that can spark economic growth for all our people and stabilize democratic change.

But such efforts depend on a spirit of mutual interest and mutual respect. No government or company, no school or NGO will be confident working in a country where its people are endangered. For partnerships to be effective our citizens must be secure and our efforts must be welcomed.

A politics based only on anger -- one based on dividing the world between "us" and "them" -- not only sets back international cooperation, it ultimately undermines those who tolerate it. All of us have an interest in standing up to these forces.

Let us remember that Muslims have suffered the most at the hands of extremism. On the same day our civilians were killed in Benghazi, a Turkish police officer was murdered in Istanbul only days before his wedding; more than 10 Yemenis were killed in a car bomb in Sana’a; several Afghan children were mourned by their parents just days after they were killed by a suicide bomber in Kabul.

The impulse towards intolerance and violence may initially be focused on the West, but over time it cannot be contained. The same impulses toward extremism are used to justify war between Sunni and Shia, between tribes and clans. It leads not to strength and prosperity but to chaos. In less than two years, we have seen largely peaceful protests bring more change to Muslim-majority countries than a decade of violence. And extremists understand this. Because they have nothing to offer to improve the lives of people, violence is their only way to stay relevant. They don’t build; they only destroy.

It is time to leave the call of violence and the politics of division behind. On so many issues, we face a choice between the promise of the future, or the prisons of the past. And we cannot afford to get it wrong. We must seize this moment. And America stands ready to work with all who are willing to embrace a better future.

The future must not belong to those who target Coptic Christians in Egypt -- it must be claimed by those in Tahrir Square who chanted, "Muslims, Christians, we are one." The future must not belong to those who bully women -- it must be shaped by girls who go to school, and those who stand for a world where our daughters can live their dreams just like our sons. (Applause.)

The future must not belong to those corrupt few who steal a country’s resources -- it must be won by the students and entrepreneurs, the workers and business owners who seek a broader prosperity for all people. Those are the women and men that America stands with; theirs is the vision we will support.

The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. But to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see in the images of Jesus Christ that are desecrated, or churches that are destroyed, or the Holocaust that is denied. (Applause.)

Let us condemn incitement against Sufi Muslims and Shiite pilgrims. It’s time to heed the words of Gandhi: "Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit." (Applause.) Together, we must work towards a world where we are strengthened by our differences, and not defined by them. That is what America embodies, that’s the vision we will support.

Among Israelis and Palestinians, the future must not belong to those who turn their backs on a prospect of peace. Let us leave behind those who thrive on conflict, those who reject the right of Israel to exist. The road is hard, but the destination is clear -- a secure, Jewish state of Israel and an independent, prosperous Palestine. (Applause.) Understanding that such a peace must come through a just agreement between the parties, America will walk alongside all who are prepared to make that journey.

In Syria, the future must not belong to a dictator who massacres his people. If there is a cause that cries out for protest in the world today, peaceful protest, it is a regime that tortures children and shoots rockets at apartment buildings. And we must remain engaged to assure that what began with citizens demanding their rights does not end in a cycle of sectarian violence.

Together, we must stand with those Syrians who believe in a different vision -- a Syria that is united and inclusive, where children don’t need to fear their own government, and all Syrians have a say in how they are governed -- Sunnis and Alawites, Kurds and Christians. That’s what America stands for. That is the outcome that we will work for -- with sanctions and consequences for those who persecute, and assistance and support for those who work for this common good. Because we believe that the Syrians who embrace this vision will have the strength and the legitimacy to lead.

In Iran, we see where the path of a violent and unaccountable ideology leads. The Iranian people have a remarkable and ancient history, and many Iranians wish to enjoy peace and prosperity alongside their neighbors. But just as it restricts the rights of its own people, the Iranian government continues to prop up a dictator in Damascus and supports terrorist groups abroad. Time and again, it has failed to take the opportunity to demonstrate that its nuclear program is peaceful, and to meet its obligations to the United Nations.

So let me be clear. America wants to resolve this issue through diplomacy, and we believe that there is still time and space to do so. But that time is not unlimited. We respect the right of nations to access peaceful nuclear power, but one of the purposes of the United Nations is to see that we harness that power for peace. And make no mistake, a nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained. It would threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of Gulf nations, and the stability of the global economy. It risks triggering a nuclear-arms race in the region, and the unraveling of the non-proliferation treaty. That’s why a coalition of countries is holding the Iranian government accountable. And that’s why the United States will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

We know from painful experience that the path to security and prosperity does not lie outside the boundaries of international law and respect for human rights. That’s why this institution was established from the rubble of conflict. That is why liberty triumphed over tyranny in the Cold War. And that is the lesson of the last two decades as well.

History shows that peace and progress come to those who make the right choices. Nations in every part of the world have traveled this difficult path. Europe, the bloodiest battlefield of the 20th century, is united, free and at peace. From Brazil to South Africa, from Turkey to South Korea, from India to Indonesia, people of different races, religions, and traditions have lifted millions out of poverty, while respecting the rights of their citizens and meeting their responsibilities as nations.

And it is because of the progress that I’ve witnessed in my own lifetime, the progress that I’ve witnessed after nearly four years as President, that I remain ever hopeful about the world that we live in. The war in Iraq is over. American troops have come home. We’ve begun a transition in Afghanistan, and America and our allies will end our war on schedule in 2014. Al Qaeda has been weakened, and Osama bin Laden is no more. Nations have come together to lock down nuclear materials, and America and Russia are reducing our arsenals. We have seen hard choices made -- from Naypyidaw to Cairo to Abidjan -- to put more power in the hands of citizens.

At a time of economic challenge, the world has come together to broaden prosperity. Through the G20, we have partnered with emerging countries to keep the world on the path of recovery. America has pursued a development agenda that fuels growth and breaks dependency, and worked with African leaders to help them feed their nations. New partnerships have been forged to combat corruption and promote government that is open and transparent, and new commitments have been made through the Equal Futures Partnership to ensure that women and girls can fully participate in politics and pursue opportunity. And later today, I will discuss our efforts to combat the scourge of human trafficking.

All these things give me hope. But what gives me the most hope is not the actions of us, not the actions of leaders -- it is the people that I’ve seen. The American troops who have risked their lives and sacrificed their limbs for strangers half a world away; the students in Jakarta or Seoul who are eager to use their knowledge to benefit mankind; the faces in a square in Prague or a parliament in Ghana who see democracy giving voice to their aspirations; the young people in the favelas of Rio and the schools of Mumbai whose eyes shine with promise. These men, women, and children of every race and every faith remind me that for every angry mob that gets shown on television, there are billions around the world who share similar hopes and dreams. They tell us that there is a common heartbeat to humanity.

So much attention in our world turns to what divides us. That’s what we see on the news. That's what consumes our political debates. But when you strip it all away, people everywhere long for the freedom to determine their destiny; the dignity that comes with work; the comfort that comes with faith; and the justice that exists when governments serve their people -- and not the other way around.

The United States of America will always stand up for these aspirations, for our own people and for people all across the world. That was our founding purpose. That is what our history shows. That is what Chris Stevens worked for throughout his life.

And I promise you this: Long after the killers are brought to justice, Chris Stevens’s legacy will live on in the lives that he touched -- in the tens of thousands who marched against violence through the streets of Benghazi; in the Libyans who changed their Facebook photo to one of Chris; in the signs that read, simply, "Chris Stevens was a friend to all Libyans."

They should give us hope. They should remind us that so long as we work for it, justice will be done, that history is on our side, and that a rising tide of liberty will never be reversed.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)









Bookmark and Share

Franklin Aldermen 09-25-2012


The Franklin Town Board of Aldermen met very briefly last night (for 18 minutes) to consider the Town Planner's recomemendations for reappointments to the Board of Adjustment/Planning Board.They also considered the Non-Profit funding pool requests of several non-profits.


MEDIA ROLL CALL

One person from each of the following was present:

Macon County News
The Franklin Press
Thunder Pig

The agenda and agenda packet are below. The next meeting of the town board is at 7pm on Monday, October 1, 2012.


Town of Franklin Board of Aldermen 
Meeting Agenda
Tuesday September 25, 2012 - 5:30 p.m. 
  1. Call to order -Mayor Collins
  2. Old (unfinished) business
    • Town Planner's recommendations for reappointments to the Board of Adjustment/Planning Board - Derek Roland
    • Non-Profit funding pool request
  3. Adjourn




Franklin Town Board of Agenda Packet 092512




Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Macon County Commissioners:
Video of 09/24/2012 Meeting


Here is the video, agenda and press packet for the September 24, 2012 meeting of the Macon County Commissioners.



MEDIA ROLL CALL

I was the only member of the media present for this meeting.




Here is the agenda and press packet for this meeting:


RECESSED MEETING
AGENDA


1. Reconvene - Chairman Corbin

2. Consideration of ambulance bids - David Key

3. Consideration of Change Order Number 13 on the Little Tennessee River/Cartoogechaye Creek Trunk Sewer Project - McGill Associates

4. Consideration of Budget Amendment #35 - Finance Director

5. Consideration of BB&T Resolutions - Finance Director and County Attorney

6. Other Business

7. Announcement - Joint meeting with the towns of Franklin and Highlands to be held Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. at the Highlands Country Club

8. Adjourn 



Macon County Commissioners Agenda Packet 09-24-2012


Bookmark and Share

Franklin Town Board of Aldermen:
09/25/2012 Meeting Agenda


The Franklin Town Board will be meeting tonight at 5:30pm and I'll be there to video it to share with you later. I apologize for missing the last meeting. I was under the mistaken impression they were meeting the Monday after Labor Day rather than the day after. D'Oh!

There will be no 'nearly live' play by play because my laptop is still down. I anticipate having it repaired in the next six weeks or so.

As you can see by the agenda and press packet below, this will be a short meeting.




Town of Franklin Board of Aldermen 
Meeting Agenda
Tuesday September 25, 2012 - 5:30 p.m. 
  1. Call to order -Mayor Collins
  2. Old (unfinished) business
    • Town Planner's recommendations for reappointments to the Board of Adjustment/Planning Board - Derek Roland
    • Non-Profit funding pool request
  3. Adjourn




Franklin Town Board of Agenda Packet 092512

Bookmark and Share