Saturday, September 5, 2015

Weekly Address: This Labor Day, Lets Talk About the Budget


In this week's address, the President recognized Labor Day by highlighting the economic progress our country has made, and underlining what needs to be done to continue that growth.

West Wing Week 09/04/15


Welcome to a very special Dispatches edition of West Wing Week, where we go behind the scenes as the President travels in Alaska to shine a spotlight on what Alaskans in particular have come to know, that climate change is one of the biggest threats we face, it is being driven by human activity, and it is disrupting Americans’ lives right now. During the visit, the President shares his experience with people around the country first-hand, even going behind the camera himself. Follow along as he travels to Anchorage, Seward, Dillingham, and Kotzebue, and becomes the first president to travel above the Arctic Circle.

Friday, September 4, 2015

NYS Senator on Latest Legionnaires' Case: 'I Am Afraid to Think That This Administration Could Be Lying to Us'

 


WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz
District 32 Bronx County, New York


"I am extremely concerned about the most recent case of Legionnaires at Melrose Houses, and I am afraid to think that this Administration could be lying to us. Not too long ago they said that everything is fine, and now they say it's not and more people are dying. Are they hiding something? If there is something else we need to know, I pray that they will tell us before more lives are lost."

Source: Press Office, Senator Rev. Ruben Diaz

White House Press Briefing


President Obama Speaks on Energy Policy



Kotzebue, AK. September 2, 2015.

President Obama Meeting with Saudi King Salman



President Obama speaks to reporters ahead of a meeting with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Defense Department Briefing on Military Operations Against ISIS

 
Brigadier General Kevin Killea, chief of staff of the Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve, briefs reporters and responds to their questions on military efforts to fight the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) in Iraq and Syria.  

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations


Politico Trade reporter Adam Behsudi spoke about negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement.

Click here for the video.

Source: C-Span

Discussion on the Iran Nuclear Deal


As Congress prepares to debate and vote on a resolution of disapproval of the Iran nuclear agreement, a panel of experts assesses the pros and cons of the deal. The Center on Global Interests hosts this event.

Click here for the video. 

Source: C-Span

China Victory Day Commemoration

 
Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks at a military parade in Beijing commemorating the end of World War II.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Statement on the Employment Situation in August



WASHINGTON, DC – Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, issued the following statement today on the employment situation in August. 

Our economy has now added 8.0 million jobs over the past three years, a pace that has not been exceeded since 2000. And while the economy added jobs at a somewhat slower pace in August than in recent months, the unemployment rate fell to 5.1 percent—its lowest level since April 2008—and the labor force participation rate remained stable. Our businesses have now added 13.1 million jobs over 66 straight months, extending the longest streak on record. In addition, hourly earnings for American workers continued to rise. But there’s more work to do to ensure that America’s domestic momentum can continue to offset some of the headwinds from the global economy. That starts with avoiding self-inflicted wounds: Congress needs to pass a budget that reverses the sequester and avoids shutting down the government. But it’s also why the President is committed to pushing Congress to increase investments in infrastructure as part of a long-term transportation reauthorization, open new markets with expanded trade, and raise the minimum wage.  

FIVE KEY POINTS ON THE LABOR MARKET IN AUGUST 2015

1. The private sector has added 13.1 million jobs over 66 straight months of job growth, extending the longest streak on record. Today we learned that private-sector employment rose by 140,000 in August, below the recent pace. Despite the monthly volatility in employment growth, long-term trends remain strong. The unemployment rate declined to 5.1 percent, its lowest level since early 2008, while the labor force participation rate remained stable. Wages continued to rise, with average hourly earnings for all private-sector workers up 2.2 percent over the past year.


 (Click on graphs to increase their size.)

2. Over the past twelve months, rising real hourly earnings accounted for close to 40 percent of the increase in real aggregate weekly earnings. Aggregate weekly earnings are the total wages and salaries paid to all private employees on nonfarm payrolls. Changes in aggregate earnings can be driven by contributions from employment, from the length of the average workweek, and from average hourly earnings. The large contribution of rising hourly earnings is a recent trend. Aggregate earnings reached a cyclical trough in December 2009, and over the following year-and-a-half, real hourly wages declined. The aggregate earnings increase during that early period was more than accounted for by a combination of rising employment and a longer workweek. Over the next three years, both hourly earnings and the workweek were largely stable, with rising employment accounting for more than 80 percent of the growth in aggregate earnings. Real wage growth over the past year has been a major contributor to the speed-up in aggregate earnings, due to both rising nominal wages and slowing consumer price growth as oil prices have declined.



3. Across most industries, real weekly earnings for production and nonsupervisory workers have grown at a faster pace during this business cycle than the previous cycle. Real weekly earnings have grown faster since 2008—including both recession and recovery—than during the previous recession and recovery. Wage gains relative to the previous business cycle have been especially pronounced in the transportation, wholesale trade, retail trade, financial activities, and other services sectors, while mining & logging, education & health services, and leisure & hospitality are the only sectors to have underperformed. Relative employment trends are more diffuse, with some industries growing at a slower pace during this cycle (such as financial activities and construction, which grew quickly during the 2000s). Notably, manufacturing contracted during the 2000s but has since reversed that trend and outpaced the previous business cycle. 



4. Summer seasonal fluctuations in auto manufacturing employment have moderated during this recovery as demand for autos continues to grow. Historically, large auto manufacturers tended to shed jobs in July and recoup many of them in August, as manufacturing plants typically shut down temporarily in July. But over this recovery, auto manufacturers have reduced these seasonal fluctuations. During the previous business cycle, July losses tended to exceed August gains, with auto manufacturing losing jobs on balance over the summer. But since the financial crisis, July losses and August gains have tended to balance one another. The summer turnover has decreased against a backdrop of continued strong growth in auto sales. Indeed, 2015 is on pace to be the strongest year for car and truck sales since 2001. Overall, the auto industry has added over 600,000 new jobs since Chrysler and General Motors emerged from bankruptcy in mid-2009—including solid growth in both the manufacturing and retail sectors.



5. The distribution of job growth across industries in August generally followed recent trends, with this month’s slower growth affecting a number of industries. Despite the overall slower pace of job growth, above-average gains relative to the past year were seen in State and local government (+31,000), financial activities (+19,000), utilities (+2,000), Federal government (+2,000), and health care and social assistance (+56,000). August was an especially weak month in manufacturing (-17,000), information services (-7,000), professional and business services (+22,000, excluding temporary help), and other services (-4,000). Across the 17 industries shown below, the correlation between the most recent one-month percent change and the average percent change over the last twelve months rose to 0.92 from 0.68 last month, well above the average correlation over the past two years.


As the Administration stresses every month, the monthly employment and unemployment figures can be volatile, and payroll employment estimates can be subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, and it is informative to consider each report in the context of other data as they become available.

Source: The White House Press Office

New Yorkers Warned of Wildfire Risks During Labor Day Weekend


Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced that during Labor Day weekend, much of New York is expected to have warm and dry weather which can increase the likelihood of conditions that allow wildfires to start and spread quickly. Residents and visitors are being urged to exercise extreme caution with campfires.

“Reckless behavior during these dry conditions can be a recipe for disaster," Governor Cuomo said." I urge everyone to stay safe and be responsible while enjoying the outdoors this holiday weekend in order to prevent avoidable dangers and senseless tragedies.”

Currently, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers are working to extinguish six small wildfires that have been contained at a combined total of 3.4 acres. Two fires are in Suffolk County, two in the eastern Catskills and two in the eastern Adirondacks. Three fires were caused by unextinguished campfires, two by lightning strikes and one is under investigation. Rangers have contained the spread of these fires but the fires are burning deep into the soil and are difficult to extinguish.

Tips for campers to be cautious with campfires include: 
  1. Use a cooking stove instead of a campfire to prepare meals.
  2. Use existing campfire rings when possible and keep fires small.
  3. Scrape away litter, duff and any burnable material within a 10-foot diameter circle. This will keep the campfire from spreading.
  4. Never leave a campfire unattended.
  5. Drown the fire with water. Make sure all embers, coals and sticks are wet. Stir the remains, add more water and stir again.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Acting Commissioner Marc Gerstman said, “We encourage people to get out and enjoy camping and other outdoor adventures as we approach the end of summer. Please keep in mind, safety during these fire warnings is critical to ensure our outdoor recreation sites and surrounding communities take the measures necessary to prevent wildfires.”

Campfires are prohibited in the Eastern Adirondack High Peaks Wilderness Area and on all Department of Environmental Conservation state lands in Suffolk County.
 
New York State is also reminding people to be cautious with barbeque grills by keeping them away from brush, grass and other flammable materials. Charcoal ashes or embers should not be disposed of until they are cool to the touch. The illegal use of fireworks can also start wildfires and is prohibited.

Additionally, residents and visitors should avoid burning brush at this time, especially from late morning through early evening and whenever windy conditions are present. Never leave a fire unattended until it is completely out and all ashes and embers are cool.

Wildfire prevention is everyone’s responsibility. Do your part to keep New York safe from wildfires. The Department of Environmental Conservation’s Outdoor Fire Safety webpage has additional safety tips for campfires and burning brush. More information on wildlife prevention may be found on the FIREWISE New York web pages. Click here to see the current fire danger map in New York State. 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo 

'Flashback Friday': President Jimmy Carter - Remarks on the Camp David Summit (1978)

Uploaded to YouTube on Mar 28, 2008

View the full speech here.

President Carter reviews the agreements between President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin to settle the Palestinian settlement problems in Israel and to allow Egypt sovereignty over Sinai. The President emphasizes that more issues must be settled, but he congratulates the two leaders on a historic first step.

September 17th, 1978

Trailblazers in Black History: Pearl Bailey



Pearl Mae Bailey (March 29, 1918 – August 17, 1990) was an American actress and singer. After appearing in vaudeville, she made her Broadway debut in St. Louis Woman in 1946.

She won a Tony Award for the title role in the all-black production of Hello Dolly! in 1968. In 1986, she won a Daytime Emmy Award for her performance as a fairy godmother in the ABC Afterschool Special, Cindy Eller: A Modern Fairy Tale.

Her rendition of "Tales Two to Tango" hit the top ten in 1952. She received the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award in 1976 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom on October 17, 1988. 

Source: Wikipedia

Today in History: September 4th


TSA Agents Fired


Passengers are allegedly being groped during some security searches at various airports.

Lawyer of Kentucky Marriage Clerk Speaks Out


Matthew Staver defends the actions of Kim Davis and her religious freedom.

Joe Biden Weighs Run in Wake of Recent Family Tragedy

Donald Trump Vows Not to Run as Third-Party Candidate


The controversial Republican candidate signed a loyalty pledge saying he will not turn his back on the party if he loses the nomination.

Hillary Clinton to NBC: 'Sorry' about Email Confusion


In an exclusive interview with NBC News/MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell on Friday, Hillary Clinton said she's "sorry" there's been so much controversy over her private email server, but declined to apologize for the decision to use it. She also suggested that GOP front-runner Donald Trump is unqualified to be president and weighed in on the surprisingly robust challenge to her candidacy from Democratic primary rival Bernie Sanders.

"At the end of the day, I am sorry that this has been confusing to people and has raised a lot of questions, but there are answers to all these questions," Clinton said of her email server after being pressed by Mitchell on whether she should apologize for the controversy that has dogged her campaign from the outset. "And I take responsibility and it wasn't the best choice." 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News

Trump vs. Bush: Is It the GOP's Defining Fight?





Just three months ago, the Republican presidential race appeared to be less about policy differences than factors like age, electability and the candidates' records and likeability. The leading candidates at that time, ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker differed on policy specifics but were similarly conservative and resided mostly within the establishment.

But the rise of Donald Trump has completely reshaped the Republican race. Trump has proposed a starkly different vision for the GOP than establishment figures like Bush. The Republican primary is now a fight between two competing ideologies: what some have dubbed "Trumpism," which borrows heavily from ideas of Tea Party activists, versus the views of the GOP elite, who helped Bush raised more than $100 million in the first six months of the year.

That divide was illustrated most clearly this week when Trump bashed Jeb Bush not just for his positions on immigration, but for speaking Spanish in interviews and on the campaign trail. "We're a nation that speaks English, and while we're in this nation, we should speak English," Trump said at a press conference on Thursday.


All New York City Inmates Ages 18 to 21 to Be Housed in Single Jail


More than 1,000 hard-to-manage inmates ages 18 to 21 will be moved to a single Rikers Island facility by the end of the year and will be required to take hours of classes, receive counseling and be exempt from solitary confinement. 

The plan, to be detailed publicly before the jail oversight board Tuesday, comes as officials continue to be frustrated by increased levels of violence across the lockups. It departs from a long-standing practice of housing young adult inmates among more hardened, experienced prisoners — and builds on an inmate management strategy commonly used in juvenile jails across the country to promote and reward good behavior.

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News

Three Santa Clara County Correctional Deputies Arrested After 'Brutal' Inmate Death


Head of U.N. Refugee Agency to Step Down This Year

 Antonio Guterres


Reuters, 04/09 15:44 CET

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said on Friday he would step down at the end of this year and not seek a renewal of his mandate.

Guterres goes as Europe struggles with its biggest refugee crisis since World War Two, as some of the 4 million Syrians who have fled war seek safety in the West, adding to numbers of people escaping violence and hardship in Africa and Asia.

Guterres declined to confirm or deny rumours that he might seek to replace U.N. Secretary-General Ban 
Ki-moon who will step down next year. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: Euronews

Insight – Mexican Probe into Possible Massacre of 43 Students Deeply Flawed



Reuters, 04/09 14:29 CET

By Anahi Rama and Lizbeth Diaz

AYOTZINAPA, Mexico (Reuters) – Mexico’s investigation into the abduction and apparent massacre of 43 students last year is plagued with errors and omissions and key parts may need to be redone, a review of the evidence shows.

The government’s team lost evidence, did not properly investigate some leads and failed to provide scientific proof to back up its account that the students were abducted and incinerated and their remains dumped in a river, lawyers familiar with the case documents say.

The government says its investigation is thorough and proves the students were murdered by a drug cartel in league with corrupt local police who mistook them for members of a rival gang and burnt them to ashes at a rural garbage dump.

But evidence of flaws in government case documents reviewed by Reuters include how municipal and federal police and the army knew of the students’ movements before they were abducted in the southwestern city of Iguala last September.

That undermines the government’s assertion that local police confused the students with members of a criminal group called Los Rojos (The Reds), rivals of the Guerreros Unidos (United Warriors) gang that it says murdered them.

Lawyers who have seen the government’s case file found a host of problems and say authorities cut corners because they were in a hurry the close the case, which drew international criticism.

Click here for the full article.

Source: Euronews

Ahead of Greek Election, Syriza’s ‘Lost Generation’ Deserts Tsipras


Reuters, 04/09 13:10 CET

By Renee Maltezou

ATHENS (Reuters) – So divided has Syriza’s youth wing become over the direction of Greece’s leftist party, that when its council planned to convene at the end of August, the meeting was abandoned. Too many of its 71 members were on the point of quitting.

The incident showed the disillusionment Syriza’s twenty-somethings feel with leader Alexis Tsipras, the former Communist student activist they once celebrated as one of their own.

In just seven months as premier, Tsipras, under pressure from Greece’s creditors, has backtracked on his pre-election promises to end austerity.

“Syriza’s youth is almost over, very few people are staying behind,” said one of those who walked out.

Tsipras has called an election on Sept. 20 in an effort to win a fresh mandate to push through the economic reforms that are a condition of Greece’s latest 86 billion euro bailout.

But Syriza’s lead over its rivals has crumbled, with one poll this week showing the conservative New Democracy party in front.

Support from those aged 18-44 – once the backbone of Syriza’s support according to pollsters – has plummeted. The most popular party for 18-24-year-olds now is the far right Golden Dawn, while Syriza languishes in fourth place, data by the pollster Alco show.

Click here for the full article.

Source: Euronews

Syria’s Assad May Share Power with ‘Healthy’ Opposition – Putin


Source: Euronews

Aylan: Kobani Awash with Tears as the Toddler, His Brother and Mother are Buried


Source: Euronews

Egyptian Billionaire Offers to Buy Mediterranean Island to House Refugees


Naguib Sawiris, an Egyptian telecommunications tycoon, has offered to buy an island from Greece or Italy in order to provide a refuge for families fleeing violence in Syria and elsewhere.

Click here for details. 

Source: Euronews

Hungarian ‘Freedom Train’ Stationary for a Second Day


Source: Euronews

Czech Police Marking Refugees Directly on Their Skin



By Adrian Lancashire | With REUTERS, AFP

Officials in the Czech Republic are facing an outcry from human rights activists over their police writing on refugees’ arms.

The refugees were travelling by train from Austria and Hungary when stopped by officers in the town of Breclav. They wrote the names and train numbers on 214 people, mostly from Syria, all of whom had valid tickets. 

Click here for the full article and video. 

Source: Euronews

Migrant Transit Route: Libya Urges Outside Help to Combat Crisis


Source: Euronews

Insecurity Greets Returning Afghan Refugees After Exile in Pakistan


Source: Euronews

Europe Faces a “Moment of Truth” Over Migrants


The European Commission has confirmed plans for bigger refugee relocation quotas.

It follows a visit to the Greek island of Kos by the First Vice President Frans Timmermans and the EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulous.

They discussed plans to create a so-called “hot-spot” to enable quick identification, an assessment of people’s needs and humanitarian assistance.

Click here for the full article and video.

Source: Euronews

Thursday, September 3, 2015

A Hundred Black Men High-Five Students on First Day of School

When most black men see themselves portrayed in the media today, it is often in the form of a mugshot or a hashtag.

These dominant and pervasive images provoke an inescapable infection on the nation'spsyche. It's an imprint that distills the identity of black men to nothing more than "dangerous" and "uneducated."

With that in mind, a hundred black men in Hartford, Connecticut decided to reform this perception by pushing forward a new image — not only for themselves, but for the younger generation to follow. 

On August 25, a group of black men organized by Pastor AJ Johnson and Attorney DeVaughn Ward dressed for work and anxiously awaited the arrival of students at Martin Luther King Elementary School on their first day.

Among the men present were lawyers, judges, CEOs, dentists and doctors; a sea of suits, with a few men in scrubs and police uniforms.

Johnson donned a navy blue suit, pink shirt with a navy blue and pink bow tie while Ward rocked a monochromatic palate: a navy suit, light blue shirt and dark blue tie.

Growing up, Johnson said his mother instilled in him the importance of looking his best. Like so many mothers of black youth, Johnson's mother told him that he would be judged by his appearance.

For Ward, it was important for the students to see the men in their professional attire. 

Click here for the full article and video. 

Source: NBC News

Congressman John Kline Says it's Time to Bounce

 
Statement by the President on the House
Education Committee Chairman's Retirement

During his 25 years in the Marine Corps, and more than a decade in Congress, John Kline has served his country and his constituents with honor and distinction.  He's the proud husband of an Army nurse and the proud father of two children, including a son who has served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.  John's never been afraid to stand up for what he believes in, and as the Chairman of the House Education Committee, he's shown a willingness to work together with anybody - Republican or Democrat - who has the best interests of our students at heart.  I look forward to continuing to work with John in the coming months, especially as we continue our efforts to give every child in America the fair shot in life they deserve, and I wish him and Vicky well in whatever their future holds.

Click here for details on Congressman Kline's life.  

From The G-Man salutes the congressman for his service to the country as a U.S. Marine and elected representative.

Source: The White House Press Office

“Keeping it Real w/ Rev. Al Sharpton”: Secretary of State John Kerry (Full Transcript)


Sec. Kerry Makes Case for Iran Deal, Responds
to Criticism from Former Vice President Dick Cheney
 
New York, NY - Today, Secretary of State John Kerry appeared on Rev. Al Sharpton’s nationally syndicated radio show, “Keeping it Real,” and made a powerful case for support of the Iran nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action). Here is a key excerpt from the interview, where Rev. Sharpton asks Sec. Kerry to respond to criticism of the deal by former Vice President Dick Cheney:

Here is the transcript. 

Rev. Al Sharpton: I believe we are being joined by the Secretary of State John Kerry, who has come on the line, Secretary Kerry?

Secretary of State John Kerry: Reverend Al, how are you? It’s good to hear your voice.

Rev. Al Sharpton: Good, good. Thank you, you called right on time, and we’ll be taking some calls, thank you for taking time -

Secretary of State John Kerry: Of course, I’m happy to talk to you, happy to catch up with you.

Rev. Al Sharpton: Happy to, we go back a little while…

Secretary of State John Kerry: Yes, sir, we do.

Rev. Al Sharpton: Let me ask you to explain to our listeners around the country the importance of this agreement, because we’ve been urging people to tell their pastors, announce at their churches and gatherings, to call members of Congress and the Senate to tell them to vote yes with the President and you and the administration on this agreement. Explain the significance, particularly in areas where we have an inordinate or disproportionate amount of people that are in the armed services. 


Secretary of State John Kerry: Well, absolutely, I’m delighted to do so. Look, I heard the last bit of the Wills comment, about wasn’t sure this would help Iran get rid of a nuclear weapon. We are sure that this program, this agreement, actually rolls back the Iranian program from where it is today and it puts additional inspectors into Iran, and creates a system of accountability to know what Iran is doing with respect to its so-called peaceful nuclear program and it makes sure that it is peaceful. Because there’ll be additional inspectors going into Iran, because they have a right to 24/7 access to their facility, to be able to track what is happening. We have a reduction in the Iranian stockpile, that they’re allowed to keep 300 kilograms and the limit on their enrichment for 15 years at 3.67 percent. It’s physically impossible to make a bomb at that level of stockpile or at that level of enrichment. And then for 25 years, Al, we have a tracking of the uranium production from their mines, into their mills, into their, you know, materials the yellow cake, the gas, the centrifuge and then out in the waste. So we track it from cradle to grave. And the result will be that we’ll have a level of accountability that has not existed. The choice of voting no is to have none of those things. No inspections, no limitations, no inspectors, no requirements on the size of their stockpile, Iran will be free to go enrich, do what it wants and that’s how you begin to have a conflict, and I don’t want to see, the President doesn’t want to see, more young Americans being sent over to fight because we made the wrong decision about how we could diplomatically put in place a program that could account for what they’re doing. 

Rev. Al Sharpton: You know, Secretary Kerry, the political season, you’ve been in the Senate, both of us ran for President in ’04, you became the nominee, I campaigned for you, so we know about campaign rhetoric. Some of the Republican candidates are saying Iran has gotten all it wants here, one said that the Ayatollah and others would be dancing in the streets if they believed in dancing. Is there any measure of truth to that we gave too much to Iran, in your judgment?

Secretary of State John Kerry: Well, in Iran, they’re fighting, suggesting that their negotiators gave up too much to us. They’re arguing that they shouldn’t have had to destroy so much of their stockpile or they shouldn’t have to dismantle their centrifuges. I mean Iran has to do major steps to take the break out time – there’s a thing called break out time, which is the amount of time that Iran would need to have enough fissile material for one bomb, not the bomb itself, but enough fissile material for the bomb. That’s been around two months, during these last years. Under our program, under our agreement, that’s going to stretch out to a year for ten years or more, and we will have an extraordinary set of limits on their ability to go break out at all, thereafter, because we will have this level of inspection, intrusive inspections that take place. So we didn’t give up any fundamental principles whatsoever here. The President said that we have to shut off their pathway to an enrichment track for a bomb, we have. We have to shut off their plutonium track, we’ve done that, with a reactor that’s going to be destroyed and we have to shut off the covert approach, and we’ve done that through the access agreement that we have that allows us to require inspection wherever we have suspicion of a nuclear facility and if they don’t let us in, then we have every option available to us that we have today. We haven’t lost a thing.

Rev. Al Sharpton: How did you react to those that have said, mainly former VP Cheney, that this makes Iran the strongest power in the Middle East, and that somewhere he has accused the administration of making it their goal to strengthen Iran in the region?

Secretary of State John Kerry: Well, that’s very ironic, coming from a guy who invaded Iraq and basically took the Sunni leadership of Iraq, threw them out and gave Iraq to the Shia majority, which has huge, close ties to Iran. So if you want to talk about strengthening Iran, go back and look at what happened in the Iraq war, and the decision Cheney made, and particularly, how wrong he was about what he said about them possessing weapons of mass destruction. So I don’t really listen very carefully to that particular judgment, if you want to know the truth, the fact is that Iran will have to live up to these agreements and we have an inspection mechanism put in place that is so intrusive and complete that we will know what Iran is doing and if Iran decides they want to break this, and I’m not telling you they might not, but if they do, we will know it and we will have all the options available to us that we have today. I think to say, vote no, and willfully turn your backs on the international community that supports what we’re doing, to take the five countries that negotiated with us, Germany, France, Britain, China, Russia, and tell them, sorry guys, we’re going to go do something else, and think that you’re going to put sanctions in place or have their support in the future if you need to take military action, just doesn’t make sense. So, I think that it is very clear that we got an agreement, there are 29 or 30 major nuclear scientists and physicists in America, nuclear experts who all congratulated the President for this agreement. We have admirals and generals who are retired who agree this is the best way to prevent them from getting a weapon. We have a former national security advisor to President Bush, Brent Scowcroft, who has supported this agreement, we have republican Senator Dick Lugar, Republican Senator John Warner, who was chairman of the Armed Services Committee, supports the agreement. I think we got a good agreement, we wouldn’t earn the support of all those people if it wasn’t a good agreement.     

Rev. Al Sharpton: Well, thank you for taking time to come on Secretary Kerry, and always good to speak with you, we’re going to continue our drive because we think it’s in the interest of all of us, not only in the United States but around the world to try and deal with the question of the potential of nuclear weapons in Iran. Thank you so much, Secretary Kerry.

Secretary of State John Kerry: Thank you so much, Rev. Al.
 
Source: The National Action Network