6:00 PM, Dec 5, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Barack Obama, on the passing of Nelson Mandela:
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT ON THE DEATH OF NELSON MANDELA
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
5:25 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: At his trial in 1964, Nelson Mandela closed his statement from the dock saying, “I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
And Nelson Mandela lived for that ideal, and he made it real. He achieved more than could be expected of any man. Today, he has gone home. And we have lost one of the most influential, courageous, and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth. He no longer belongs to us -- he belongs to the ages.
Through his fierce dignity and unbending will to sacrifice his own freedom for the freedom of others, Madiba transformed South Africa -- and moved all of us. His journey from a prisoner to a President embodied the promise that human beings -- and countries -- can change for the better. His commitment to transfer power and reconcile with those who jailed him set an example that all humanity should aspire to, whether in the lives of nations or our own personal lives. And the fact that he did it all with grace and good humor, and an ability to acknowledge his own imperfections, only makes the man that much more remarkable. As he once said, “I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”
I am one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela's life. My very first political action, the first thing I ever did that involved an issue or a policy or politics, was a protest against apartheid. I studied his words and his writings. The day that he was released from prison gave me a sense of what human beings can do when they’re guided by their hopes and not by their fears. And like so many around the globe, I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set, and so long as I live I will do what I can to learn from him.
To Graça Machel and his family, Michelle and I extend our deepest sympathy and gratitude for sharing this extraordinary man with us. His life’s work meant long days away from those who loved him the most. And I only hope that the time spent with him these last few weeks brought peace and comfort to his family.
To the people of South Africa, we draw strength from the example of renewal, and reconciliation, and resilience that you made real. A free South Africa at peace with itself -- that’s an example to the world, and that’s Madiba’s legacy to the nation he loved.
We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again. So it falls to us as best we can to forward the example that he set: to make decisions guided not by hate, but by love; to never discount the difference that one person can make; to strive for a future that is worthy of his sacrifice.
For now, let us pause and give thanks for the fact that Nelson Mandela lived -- a man who took history in his hands, and bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice. May God Bless his memory and keep him in peace.
END 5:30 P.M.
12:07 PM, Dec 5, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
With all the other problems experienced by consumers at Healthcare.gov, actually making payments for plans selected has gotten relatively little attention until recently. As the end of the year draws closer, however, the importance of making a payment to secure coverage by January 1 has increased.
5:21 PM, Dec 3, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Chuck Schumer will introduce legislation to make it illegal to make guns with 3-D printers, according to the Huffington Post. He's expected to introduce the bill in the Senate next week.
3:43 PM, Dec 3, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama sent a memorandum to Secretary of State John Kerry to direct him not to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to the capital city Jerusalem. Despite U.S. law, the embassy is currently in Tel Aviv, though there's an American consulate in Jerusalem.
As Barack Obama has done throughout his presidency, and as previous presidents did before him, here's the memo sent today to John Kerry:
MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE
SUBJECT: Suspension of Limitations under the Jerusalem Embassy Act
1:22 PM, Dec 3, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
In Politico, Trudy Lieberman delivers a careful, detailed analysis of how the media failed to see the approaching Obamacare storm:
12:26 PM, Dec 3, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The bankruptcy of Detroit, which has been a widely appreciated fact for some time now, has now become sanctioned by law. As Reuters reports:
11:55 AM, Dec 3, 2013 • By GARY SCHMITT
Absolute coherence when it comes foreign policy is a rare thing. International relations will forever be a mix of principles, interests, circumstances, and necessities. But recognition of that fact doesn’t mean one has to jump to the opposite conclusion that foreign policy is simply a grab bag of decisions, lacking any coherence whatsoever. But, more and more, this appears to be the case when it comes to the Obama administration’s so-called “pivot” to Asia.
9:48 PM, Dec 2, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
CNN host wondered out loud on his show this evening whether the physically unfit Chris Christie could follow the "perfect physical specimen" Barack Obama into the White House:
1:14 PM, Dec 2, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
In a routine, short-run economic downturn, people tend to adopt more healthy behaviors. You quit smoking and cut back on the drinking because … well, maybe to save money and maybe because you tend to focus more on the essentials and live less indulgently. But our current long, lingering economic malaise seems to have pushed people toward unhealthy choices. For release, perhaps, or from a fatalistic sense that things may not get better and so what.
10:46 AM, Dec 2, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The Kuwaiti news outlet Al-Jarida reports that President Obama is seeking to arrange a trip to Tehran, Iran next year.
7:27 AM, Dec 2, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs called on the Obama administration to be more forthcoming about Obamacare:
One reporter asked Gibbs: "Is the administration being as forthcoming as it could be or should be about what's working and what's not?"
10:04 AM, Dec 1, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Peter Doocy of Fox News reports that Healthcare.gov has not been working properly today:
"Federal officials promised that healthcare.gov would work smoothly for a vast majority of users starting today. But that has not been the case so far because this morning the critical verification system is unavailable. That's the system that confirms identities and makes sure people are receiving proper coverage information.