Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Archive for December 2014

In the News: End of Combat Operations in Afghanistan

Found on the Internets …

A series of tubes filled with enormous amounts of material


Statement by the President on the End of the Combat Mission in Afghanistan

Today’s ceremony in Kabul marks a milestone for our country. For more than 13 years, ever since nearly 3,000 innocent lives were taken from us on 9/11, our nation has been at war in Afghanistan. Now, thanks to the extraordinary sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, our combat mission in Afghanistan is ending, and the longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion.


@BFriedmanDC: What the end of two wars looks like:


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“Sony wasn’t North Korea” Articles Boon to Media and Security Experts

Following the first use of “controversial” in a story on the FBI statement that North Korea was responsible for hacking Sony Pictures Entertainment, traffic to articles refuting the statement has brought information security experts and media editors to their knees in gratitude.

“The most hits one of my posts has ever gotten was just under 10,000”, said Bob Checksum, a previously obscure engineer known only to hacker convention attendees. “After writing my first North Korea denial post I am averaging 1.2 million hits per day to my blog.” A look of awe on his face and a tear in his eye, he added: “It’s like Christmas every day, now. Even my aunt shared one of my articles with the list of friends and relatives who have been too polite to ask her to stop forwarding crap to them.”

Weekly Address: Happy Holidays from the President and First Lady

From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President and First Lady wished Americans a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, and thanked our brave troops for their service. Especially as our combat mission in Afghanistan comes to a responsible end in the coming days, we are reminded of all that military men, women, and families sacrifice to keep us safe.

The President and First Lady asked everyone to take some time this holiday season to visit and find out how to give back to the men and women in uniform who have given so much for all of us.

In the News: Things are looking up.

Found on the Internets …

Well, of course there are probably some Republicans who are glad that the economy is doing well (perhaps as a sign that the trickling down that started in 1981 is finally reaching ordinary Americans????) … but in general terms Eric Boehlert is right: this is NOT good news for those who are willing to destroy the economy to bring down President Obama.

Here are the cold hard facts.


The White House: Third Estimate of GDP for the Third Quarter of 2014

Real gross domestic product (GDP) grew 5.0 percent at an annual rate in the third quarter of 2014-the strongest single quarter since 2003-according to the third estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. While quarterly growth reports are volatile, and some of the growth in Q3 reflected transitory factors, the recent robust growth data indicate a solid underlying trend of recovery. Indeed, the strong growth recorded in each of the last two quarters suggests that the economy has bounced back strongly from the first-quarter decline in GDP, which largely reflected transitory factors like unusually severe winter weather and a sharp slowdown in inventory investment. Consumer spending, business investment, and net exports all remained positive contributors this quarter. Real gross domestic income (GDI), an alternative measure of the overall size of the economy, was up 4.7 percent in Q3.



More Americans still disapprove of the job Obama is doing as President. But at 48%, Obama’s approval rating is at its highest point in CNN polling since May 2013.

The gains were driven by newfound backing among women, independents and millennials – groups where Obama’s approval numbers jumped 10 percentage points from a month ago. […]

Tuesday’s CNN/ORC poll showed for the first time in seven years, a majority of Americans – 51% – have a positive view of the economy, a sharp increase from the 38% who felt that way in October.


1.9 Million Americans Sign Up For Obamacare, 4.5 Million Renew Coverage

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell says health care sign-ups are off to an encouraging start, but a lot of work is still needed to make the second open enrollment season for the federal insurance market a success.

Burwell says 1.9 million new customers have picked a plan through the federal market as of Dec. 19. It serves 37 states.

Another 4.5 million have renewed existing coverage, with most automatically re-enrolled.


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Year-end Odds & Ends: News/Humor

I post a weekly diary of historical notes, arts & science items, foreign news (often receiving little notice in the US) and whimsical pieces from the outside world that I often feature in “Cheers & Jeers”.

OK, you’ve been warned – here is this week’s tomfoolery material that I posted.  

Weekly Address: President Obama – America’s Resurgence Is Real

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.


From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President reflected on the significant progress made by this country in 2014, and in the nearly six years since he took office.

This past year has been the strongest for job growth since the 1990s, contributing to the nearly 11 million jobs added by our businesses over a 57-month streak. America is leading the rest of the world, in containing the spread of Ebola, degrading and ultimately destroying ISIL, and addressing the threat posed by climate change. And earlier this week, the President announced the most significant changes to our policy towards Cuba in over 50 years.

America’s resurgence is real, and the President expressed his commitment to working with Congress in the coming year to make sure Americans feel the benefits.

In the News: President Obama’s very good month

Found on the Internets …

A series of tubes filled with enormous amounts of material


Lots of folks are noticing that the president is having a pretty good month. Republicans are beside themselves because they expected him to curl up in a fetal position in a corner after the midterm election. Instead, with a series of executive orders, new government agency rules, diplomatic initiatives, and the results of his policies yielding positive benefits,  the president is finishing the year strong.

Kevin Drum (Mother Jones): Obama’s Had a Helluva Good Month Since the Midterms

November 10: Surprised everyone by announcing his support for strong net neutrality.

November 11: Concluded a climate deal with China that was not only important in its own right, but has since been widely credited with jumpstarting progress at the Lima talks last week.

November 20: Issued an executive order protecting millions of undocumented workers from the threat of deportation.

November 26: Signed off on an important new EPA rule significantly limiting ozone emissions.

December 15: Took a quiet victory lap as Western financial sanctions considerably sharpened the pain of Vladimir Putin’s imploding economy.

December 16: Got nearly everything he wanted during the lame duck congressional session, and more. Democrats confirmed all important pending nominees, and then got Republican consent to several dozen lesser ones as well.

December 17: Announced a historic renormalization of relations with Cuba […]

All of these things are worthwhile in their own right, of course, but there’s a political angle to all of them as well: they seriously mess with Republican heads. GOP leaders had plans for January, but now they may or may not be able to do much about them. Instead, they’re going to have to deal with enraged tea partiers insisting that they spend time trying to repeal Obama’s actions. They can’t, of course, but they have to show that they’re trying. So there’s a good chance that they’ll spend their first few months in semi-chaos, responding to Obama’s provocations instead of working on their own agenda.

“Provocations”, indeed. Democrats like to call them “good government initiatives”.

Paul Waldman at The American Prospect: “… the man certainly looks like he’s been set free. He doesn’t have to worry about getting reelected or about losing Congress (done both), so he can go back to see what fell off the to-do list and do things that he’s always wanted to, whether they were politically risky or not.”

But Greg Sargent at WaPo notices something else about “Obama Unbound”: it is not just “cementing a legacy” but setting up some stark contrasts between Democrats and Republicans going into the 2016 election cycle:

When you step back and look at the degree to which these actions are beginning to frame [2016], it’s striking. Hillary Clinton has now endorsed Obama’s move on Cuba. GOP presidential hopefuls are lining up against it. She has vowed to protect Obama’s actions on climate “at all costs,” a stance that could take on added significance if a global climate treaty is negotiated next year. Potential GOP presidential candidates will likely vow to undo those actions and line up against U.S. participation in such a treaty. Clinton has come out in support of Obama’s action to shield millions from deportation. GOP presidential hopefuls have lined up against it, effectively reaffirming the party’s commitment to deporting as many low-level offenders and longtime residents as possible.

So to the extent that there is an “Obama coalition” to pass on to the Democratic nominee in 2016, his actions have created policy positions that the Republicans are already on board as opposing. These positions are popular with youth and minorities, groups that will be courted in the 2016 general election.


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“Thanks, President Obama!” – For Protecting Bristol Bay

From the White House:

President Obama just took action to protect one of Alaska’s most powerful economic engines and one of America’s greatest national treasures: Bristol Bay.

Today, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum that withdraws these beautiful and pristine waters from all future oil and gas drilling. “These waters are too special and too valuable to auction off to the highest bidder,” the President said.

Press Release: President Obama Protects Alaska’s Bristol Bay From Future Oil and Gas Drilling

This action safeguards one of the nation’s most productive fisheries and preserves an ecologically rich area of the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska that is vital to the commercial fishing and tourism economy and to Alaska Native communities.

Bristol Bay is at the heart one of the world’s most valuable fisheries, helping to provide 40 percent of America’s wild-caught seafood and support a $2 billion annual fishing industry.  The beautiful and remote area is also an economic engine for tourism in Alaska, driving $100 million in recreational fishing and tourism activity every year. Bristol Bay hosts the largest runs of wild sockeye salmon in the world, and provides important habitat for many species, including the threatened Stellar’s eider, sea otters, seals, walruses, Beluga and Killer whales, and the endangered North Pacific Right Whale.

Today’s decision to withdraw the area from all future oil and gas leasing extends indefinitely a temporary withdrawal that President Obama issued in 2010 and was set to expire in 2017.  This action builds on decades of local efforts to protect Bristol Bay from oil and gas development by Alaska Native tribes and organizations, as well as local seafood and tourism businesses that create jobs and strengthen Alaska and the nation’s economy. It also honors the legacy of Alaska residents like Harold ‘Harvey’ Samuelsen, a salmon fisherman who is legendary for his lifelong dedication to Bristol Bay and to creating economic opportunities for Alaska Native and rural communities.