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U.S. President Barack Obama speaking at Hradcany Square on 5 April 2009

"A World Without Nuclear Weapons" was a speech[1][2] made by US President Barack Obama on April 5, 2009 at Hradcany Square[3][4] in Prague, Czech Republic, in which he spoke about the threat of nuclear weapons in the post–Cold War era, how to stop the spread of these weapons and laid out an agenda to seek the goal of a world without nuclear weapons.[5][6][7]

Contents

Speech background[edit]

Barack Obama had as a U.S. Senator co-sponsored legislation to reduce risks of nuclear terrorism.[8] In a speech in Berlin on July 24, 2008 Senator Obama noted: "This is the moment when we must renew the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. The two superpowers that faced each other across the wall of this city came too close too often to destroying all we have built and all that we love. With that wall gone, we need not stand idly by and watch the further spread of the deadly atom. It is time to secure all loose nuclear materials; to stop the spread of nuclear weapons; and to reduce the arsenals from another era. This is the moment to begin the work of seeking the peace of a world without nuclear weapons."

After his inauguration as U.S. president undertook in early April 2009 a journey to several European countries[9][10] (See List of presidential trips made by Barack Obama during 2009). After Obama had attended 2009 G-20 London Summit and the 2009 Strasbourg–Kehl summit[11] he arrived in Prague on the evening of April 4 from Strasbourg, where he attended NATO's 60th anniversary summit.[10] President Obama visited the Czech Republic, then holding the rotating presidency of the European Council, to attend a US-EU-meeting.[12][13][10] Obama hold his speech after conferring with Czech leaders.[7] and before the US-EU-summit.[12][14] After the speech and a round of private meetings with foreign leaders and former Czech President Václav Havel Obama continued his Europe journey to Turkey.[15][14]

President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev - meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in London - agreed to reopen negotiations about reducing nuclear warheads. They aimed to produce a new arms control treaty to replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty I (START I) which expired in December 2009.[9] During the NATO summit Obama noted although NATO's old Soviet-bloc enemy has long gone, the threat of nuclear catastrophe remained. "Even with the Cold War over, the spread of nuclear weapons or the theft of nuclear material could lead to the extermination of any city on the planet," Obama said at a U.S.-style town hall meeting in the French city of Strasbourg on April 3, 2009.[16] "This weekend in Prague, I will lay out an agenda to seek the goal of a world without nuclear weapons," he said, referring to the EU-U.S. summit in the Czech Republic on April 5, 2009 which followed the NATO gathering.[16][17][18]

In the hours before Obama's speech the North Korean government had launched according to ABC News a Taepodong-2 missile in the late night of April 4, 2009.[19][15][20] World leaders, including President Obama on April 3, 2009, had issued repeated warnings to North Korea that such an act would be considered a "provocative" act and would further isolate the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea from the international community, but North Korea claimed its missile launch was merely a way to put a communications satellite into orbit.[19] North Korea had notified the international community that the launch was coming and the route the rocket would take. North Korea had also warned that debris might fall off Japan's northern coast when the rocket's first stage fell away, so Tokyo positioned batteries of interceptor missiles on its coast and radar-equipped ships to monitor the launch.[21] North Korea declared the missile launch a success. But the U.S. military said "no object entered orbit," with the first stage of the rocket falling into the waters between Korea and Japan, and the two other stages and its payload landing in the Pacific Ocean.[7]

Confirmation of the launch by the Pentagon occurred at approximately 10:30 pm ET, 4:30 am in Prague. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs immediately woke up the president after receiving word of the confirmation.[19] At an event at the Prague Castle with President Václav Klaus and Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek of the Czech Republic on the morning of April 5, President Obama said that "North Korea made a launch this morning that defies U.N. Security Council resolutions, (and) that harms peace and stability for Northeast Asia."[19] Obama referenced here the in October 2006 passed United Nations Security Council Resolution 1718 which demanded that North Korea refrain from conducting any further tests of ballistic missiles.[19]

A military band and honor guard greeted U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, as they arrived at Prague's majestic medieval castle grounds early Sunday morning.[10] After his meeting at Prague Castle with President Klaus and Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek[19] Obama spoke outside Prague Castle against the backdrop of a hazy Prague skyline.[10]

According to NBC News The choice of Prague for a nuclear weapons disarmament speech carried strong symbolism which that Obama didn't miss. One of the few peaceful overthrows of communism in the Iron Curtain was the 1989 Velvet Revolution which originated in Prague and toppled decades of communism in Czechoslovakia.[7][15] And the BBC's Mark Mardell noted with respect to Hradcany Square: "The backdrop was ideal for President Obama's initial message of a world that had changed beyond recognition. These were the gates through which Hitler drove to glory in his conquest of Czechoslovakia, this the castle in which Communist presidents used to receive like-minded leaders of the unfree world."[22]

Speech[edit]

Speaking before an estimated crowd between of 20,000[23][7] and 30,000 people[10] Obama played down the adulation which he received during his trip to Europe[11] by stating "to paraphrase one of my predecessors, I am also proud to be the man who brought Michelle Obama to Prague."[11] This was a reference to John F. Kennedy who stated during a 1961 trip to France: "I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris — and I have enjoyed it!"[24]

After his opening remarks Obama spoke about the history of the Czech people in the 20th century by referencing the founder and first President of Czechoslovakia, Thomas Masaryk, the Prague Spring and the Velvet Revolution.[25] Obama then called for cooperation in the face of common threads such as the 2008–2012 global recession and the changing climate.[9][25] "Together, we must confront climate change by ending the world's dependence on fossil fuels, by tapping the power of new sources of energy like the wind and sun, and calling upon all nations to do their part."[25] The next section of Obama's speech was devoted to NATO in which Obama's remarks stretched from NATO's founding over the Cold War years to NATO response to the 9/11 attacks and NATO's subsequent mission in Afghanistan.[25] In his remarks Obama noted that the NATO memebers "must pursue constructive relations with Russia on issues of common concern."[25]

Obama then adressed the thread posed by nuclear weapons in the post Cold War world:

Barack Obama attributed this situation to the circumstances that more nations have acquired nuclear weapons, that nuclear testings continues, that the technology to build nuclear weapons has spread and that terrorists will do anything they can to get hold of nuclear material.[26][13] He warned:

Obama then directly addressed those who think it’s likely too late to rid the world of nuclear weapons. “Some argue that the spread of these weapons cannot be checked – that we are destined to live in a world where more nations and more people possess the ultimate tools of destruction," he said. "This fatalism is a deadly adversary. For if we believe that the spread of nuclear weapons is inevitable, then we are admitting to ourselves that the use of nuclear weapons is inevitable."[27]

After adressing the thread posed by nuclear weapons in the post Cold War world Obama laid out an agenda which was dubbed later by US officials like US Vice President Joe Biden[28] and US National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon[29] as the Prague Agenda.

Obama said that the United States, with its huge arsenal and its history using two atomic bombs against Japan in 1945, had to lead the world and a "moral responsibility" to start taking steps now.[15]. Reducing and eventually eliminating existing nuclear arsenals, halting proliferation of nuclear weapons to additional states, and preventing terrorists from acquiring nuclear weapons or materials are the goals of the Prague Agenda according the White House.[19][17] The Prague Agenda includes the following items:

Prague Agenda Später löschen !!!![edit]

Obama's speech does not mean the US has immediate plans to get rid of all its nuclear weapons, because Obama noted in his speech that the United States will maintain a safe, secure and reliable nuclear capability to deter adversaries and reassure its allies.[31] The US president also raised in his speech a sticky subject between the United States and Russia — the missile defense shield the U.S. government has discussed building in Poland and the Czech Republic, which Russian leaders have said is provocative.[27] He told the Czech Republic and neighbouring Poland that they could still host US missile defence facilities provided the missile shield project was deemed to be "proven and cost-effective".[4] During his speech Obama stated as long as Iran's nuclear programm and its missile activities pose a threat to Iran's neighbors, the United States allies and the United States itself, the United States will pursue its missile defense system in Europe.[5][27] Obama also adressed the North Korea's programm of weapons of mass destruction by stating that North Korea’s missile test on April 5, 2009[7][19] illustrated “the need for action, not just this afternoon at the U.N. Security Council, but in our determination to prevent the spread of these weapons.”[5] The President underscored: "Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something. The world must stand together to prevent the spread of these weapons. Now is the time for a strong international response, and North Korea must know that the path to the security and respect will never come through threats and illegal weapons."[25][27]

Before closing his speech Obama adressed those who doubt that the Prague Agenda can be realized. He said:

Barack Obama noted that human destiny is what humans make of it[25] and closed his speech in this context with a call for common action: "[L]et us honor our past by reaching for a better future. Let us bridge our divisions, build upon our hopes, accept our responsibility to leave this world more prosperous and more peaceful than we found it. Together we can do it."[25]

Speech reactions[edit]

Al Jazeera's Prague correspondent Rob Reynolds noted that Obama is going to try to lead by example and rally international support for renewed anti-nuclear weapons steps.[13] "More concretely he is going to, and has already begun engaging the Russians to restart nuclear arms reduction and limitation talks with a view towards having a treaty on that subject completed before the end of the year."[13] The Guardian's Ian Traynor noted that Obama "put flesh on the bones of his utopian vision for ridding the world of nuclear weapons"[4]

According Fox News few experts think it's possible to completely eradicate nuclear weapons, and many say it wouldn't be a good idea even if it could be done. Even backward nations such as North Korea have shown they can develop bombs, given enough time. But a program to drastically cut the world atomic arsenal carries support from scientists and lions of the foreign policy world.[15][2] Local reactions in Prague reached from approval to dispointment.[14] "I found the speech uplifting," said Prague resident Paul Allen. "He made a lot of concrete promises."[14] Prague resident Svétlana Simonovská, originally from Macedonia, said she attended Obama's speech. "I was pretty disappointed. He sounded like Bush," she said.[14] Former President Václav Havel offered some advice to the younger politician during their half-hour meeting following the EU-U.S. summit. Havel told the Czech News Agency that he warned Obama that people had enormous hopes pinned on him, and their enthusiasm could turn into disappointment if their hopes are not realized. "People may believe that he has cheated them, gave them more hope than what was justified," Havel said.[14] Former french foreign minister Hubert Védrine welcomed the debate on reducing the nuclear arsenal in an interview with France Info television on Apr. 6, 2009, but called Obama’s vision “demagogic.”[26] “No U.S. President has been able to reduce nuclear arms because they could never be sure of a world without conflict.”[26] Vedrine believes that “in a world with fewer nuclear armaments there will be not less war, but more.” He argued that “in a world of nuclear weapons, they function as a means to dissuade war.”[26]

One year after the speech and a New York Times report which cited some senior US aides as saying that President Obama plans to permanently reduce the American arsenal of nuclear warheads Key-young Son, an expert on international affairs in Japan, said with respect to six party talks on North Korea's nuclear program and a nuclear free Korean peninsula: "If the Obama Administration is moving to build trust in terms of nuclear issues, I think it will obviously help in the restart of nuclear talks and also it might change the attitude of North Korea in a more positive direction in the near future."[32] "There are some 23,000 weapons all over the world. Out of this 22,000 are shared between US and Russia," says Retired Gen. Talat Masood, a security analyst in Islamabad. "The remaining one thousand are with other countries. So I don't think anyone should expect any change among other nuclear powers. The lead has to come from US, Russia, and then followed by other permanent UN members and India, Pakistan and Israel."[32]

Post Speech Developments[edit]

Prior to North Korea's rocket launch, concern was raised by other nations, particularly the United States, South Korea and Japan, that the rocket was a Taepodong-2,[33], but according to the North Korean government it was an Unha-2 rocket.[34] The launch of the rocket was sharply condemned by the United States[35] and the European Union,[36] while the People's Republic of China[37] and Russia[38] urged restraint. On 13 April 2009, the United Nations Security Council issued a Presidential Statement condemning the launch as a violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1718 (2006).[39][40] One day after, on 14 April 2009, North Korea called the Presidential Statement an infringement on a country's right for space exploration embodied in the Outer Space Treaty and withdrew from Six Party Talks.[41]

On 17 September 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama announced with respect to the missile defense system in Europe that the planned deployment of long-range missile defence interceptors and equipment in Poland and the Czech Republic was not to go forward, and that a defence against short- and medium-range missiles using AEGIS warships would be deployed instead.[42][43][44] For further information see NATO missile defence system.

On 24 September 2009 US President Obama chaired a United Nations Security Council Summit on Nonproliferation and Nuclear Disarmament in New York City whose participating members unanimously adopted United Nations Security Council Resolution 1887. The resolution commits UN member nations to work toward a world without nuclear weapons, and endorses a broad framework of actions to reduce global nuclear risks. It also urges states to join and comply with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT); refrain from testing nuclear weapons and ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and ensure safeguards of nuclear material and prevent trafficking of this material.[45]

In 2010 the IAEA Board of Governors has approved the creation of two separate fuel banks. The first, formally established by the IAEA and the Russian government in March 2010, is owned, operated, and paid for by the Russian Federation and located near the Siberian city of Angarsk. The reserve has been fully stocked and became operational on 1 December 2010. The Board of Governors approved a second fuel reserve in December 2010, which will be owned and operated by the IAEA itself, but this fuel bank is not yet operational.[46] And on March 29, 2011 US National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon stated that for the purpose of "building a new international framework to support peaceful uses of nuclear energy without increasing the risk of proliferation" the United States are committed to develop "commercial concepts for nuclearfuel leasing, so all countries can benefit from nuclear energy without spreading dangerous technology and materials."[47] For further information see Nuclear fuel bank.

The 2010 Review Conference for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons was held at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 3 to 28 May 2010.[48] The final document of this summit supported the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, as well as the prompt negotiation of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, recognized the legitimate interest of non-nuclear weapon states to request nuclear weapon states to reduce operational status of their nuclear weapons.[49] It also called to achieve total disarmament and then to maintain a world without nuclear weapons.[49] For further information see 2010 Review Conference for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

In early April 2010 the Obama administration released its Nuclear Posture Review.[50][51][52] renounces development of any new nuclear weapons such as the bunker-busters proposed by the Bush Administration, and for the first time rules out a nuclear attack against non-nuclear-weapon states who are in compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. This rule pointedly excludes Iran and North Korea.[53][54][55] With respect to these countries Thomas Donilon noted in 2011 that the Obama administration is working with the International Atomic Energy Agency to ensure inspections and verifications, while tightening international sanctions against Iran and North Korea.[47] For further information see Nuclear Posture Review.

A new nuclear arms reduction treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation was signed on 8 April 2010 in Prague,[56] and, after ratification[57], entered into force on 5 February 2011.[58] US Acting Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller said in June 2012 in this context: "Beyond responsibly reducing the number of nuclear weapons, the Obama Administration has been committed to reducing their role in our national security strategy as well. We are not developing new nuclear weapons; we are not pursuing new nuclear missions; we are working toward creating the conditions to make deterring nuclear use the sole purpose of our nuclear weapons; and we have clearly stated that it is in our interest and the interest of all other states that the more than 65-year record of nuclear non-use be extended forever."[59] And in March 2011 Thomas Donilon, Barack Obama's national security advisor, stated the U.S. plans to negionate a nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia which covers nondeployed and nonstrategic nuclear weapons. "A priority will be to address Russian tactical nuclear weapons. We will work with our NATO allies to shape an approach to reduce the role and number of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons, as Russia takes reciprocal measures to reduce its nonstrategic forces and relocates its nonstrategic forces away from NATO’s borders."[47] He added that no previous arms control agreement has included provisions to limit and monitor non-deployed warheads or tactical warheads.[47] For further information regarding the 2011 treaty see New START.

The "Global Summit on Nuclear Security" took place April 12–13, 2010. The summit was proposed by President Obama in Prague and was intended to strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in conjunction with the Proliferation Security Initiative and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.[60] The Summit focused on how to better safeguard weapons-grade plutonium and uranium to prevent nuclear terrorism.[61] Forty seven states and three international organizations took part in the summit[62], which issued a communiqué[63] and a work plan.[64] According Thomas Donilon "the Washington summit built high level political support for nuclear security and created a concrete work plan to support a global effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear materials within four years."[47] He stated in March 2011 that since April 2009 thousands of kilograms of nuclear materials at over 20 sites around the world have either been removed or eliminated. "In locations where material elimination is not possible, we have worked with other governments to lock down materials through robust security enhancements. Countries are also beefing up transport security and response forces. But nuclear security is more than about protecting material with guards, guns, and gates. It also means addressing the human element by establishing a security culture and training programs for the personnel responsible for protecting nuclear materials."[47] Therefore the United States signed with several countries like Japan, China, India, Italia or Algeria agreements to establish and work together at regional "Centers of Excellence" to provide training and education for nuclear security officials. Donilon also stated that the Obama Administration 1.) worked at home and around the world to convert research reactors so they no longer use Highly Enriched Uranium fuel and 2.) has committed an additional $10 billion to the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction to help countries pay for nuclear and biosecurity upgrades.[47] The Global Partnership is a multilateral initiative to reduce the risk of WMD terrorism through cooperative capacity building on specific projects. It consists of 24 countries: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, the European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States.[65] For further information regarding the 2010 meeting see 2010 Nuclear Security Summit.

On March 26, 2012 during the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit President Obama delivered remarks at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul in which he discussed his Prague agenda to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and seek the peace and security of a world without them. In his remarks talked about the securing of vulnerable nuclear material, the nuclear activities of Iran and North Korea and further reductions in the United States nuclear weapons arsenal.[66][67]

As of June 4, 2012 neither the US ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty has occured nor has been the negotiation of a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty be succesful. The United States is still committed to both projects realization according to Rose Gottemoeller, US Acting Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security and New START negotiator.[68][69] US National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon stated in March 2011 three reasons for US ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. First he argued that by a US treaty ratification others would be induced also to ratify the treaty and thus the legal and political barriers to a resumption of nuclear testing would be strengthened. Second he noted that due the treaty's global monitoring system and strengthened US national capabilities the United states are in better position to verify the treaty. And third he said that the U.S. could maintain an effective and reliable nuclear arsenal without nuclear testing due to the US Stockpile stewardship programm.[47]

As of August 4, 2015 the pursuit of a treaty that verifiably ends the production of fissile materials intended for use in state nuclear weapons wasn't crowned by success because has blocked moves to cut off such supplies in international talks that require unanimity.[70] In Prague Barack Obama vowed to strengthen the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but the review conference failed to approve a consensus document in 2015.[70]

December[edit]

7 December 2012: Morsi supporters and anti-Morsi demonstrators continued their protests in different cities including Cairo, Alexandria, and Assiut. Demonstrators in Assiut chanted "No Brotherhood, no Salafis, Egypt is a civic state."[71] Dozens of protesters threw rocks and glass bottles at Morsi's home in Sharkia province and tried to push aside a police barrier.[72] Advisers and Brotherhood leaders acknowledged that outside his core base of Islamist supporters President Morsi feels increasingly isolated in the political arena and even within his own government.[73] Opposition leaders said in a statement that Morsi's December 6 dialogue offer failed to meet “the principles of real and serious negotiations” and displayed “the complete disregard” for the opposition’s demands. They said they would not negotiate with Morsi until he cancels his Nov. 22 decree and calls off the Dec. 15 referendum on the draft constitution.[74][75][76] Opposition protesters marched on the presidential palace and breached a security perimeter built by the military’s elite Republican Guard — charged with protecting the palace — which withdrew behind the palace walls.[74][75][76] The Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm also reported that individuals suspected of protesting against the Muslim Brotherhood were being tortured and beaten in a facility run by the Brotherhood in Heliopolis, a Cairo suburb.[77]

8 December 2012: The Egyptian Army issued its first statement since the protests erupted, stating that it would protect public institutions and innocent people and not allow the events to become more serious.[78] The Qandil Cabinet also authorized the army to help Egypt's police maintain security.[79] Egypt state news media reported that Morsi was moving toward imposing a form of martial law to secure the streets and allow the vote on the draft charter constitutional referendum.[80][78][81] Morsi annulled his decree which had expanded his presidential authority and removed judicial review of his decrees, an Islamist official said, but added that the effects of that declaration would stand.[82][83][84][85] In addition the mostly annuled November 2012 constitutional declaration should be replaced by a modificated one.[86] The new decree Morsi issued Saturday night said he retained the limited authority to issue “constitutional declarations” protecting the draft charter constitution that judges could not overturn.[80] George Isaac of the Constitution Party said that Mursi’s declaration did not offer anything new, the National Salvation Front rejected it as an attempt save face, and the April 6 Movement and Gamal Fahmi of the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate said the new declaration failed to address the “fundamental” problem of the nature of the assembly that was tasked with drafting the constitution.[82]

9 December 2012: Confusion and disarray pervaded the ranks of Egypt’s opposition after Morsi rescinded his November 22 constitutional declaration a day earlier.[87][88][89] Despite the declaration's annullment the general prosecutor, who was dismissed, will not be reinstated, and the retrial of the former regime officials will go ahead.[90] Opposition leaders also called for more protests after Morsi refused to cancel the constitutional referendum in the wake of the declaration's annullment.[87][91][92] In response, the Alliance of Islamist Forces, an umbrella group that includes Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, said it would hold rival demonstrations. The group said its rallies would support of the referendum and the president under the slogan "Yes to legitimacy".[90]

On 10 December, the opposition group, the National Salvation Front, announced that it would organize a rally on 11 December.[93]

Der Dom wurde am 15. Februar 2013 wiedereröffnet worden.[94] An der 15-monatigen Renovierungsphase vom 7. 6. 2010 bis 15. 2. 2013 waren 15 Büros und 51 Handwerksbetriebe mit 350 Mitarbeitern beteiligt. Während dieser Zeit wurden 10.000 Quadratmeter Wand- und Gewölbeflächen aufgefrischt und 24 Kilomterkabel verlegt. Ein komplett neues, 5500 Quadratmeter umfassendes Kupferdach wurde während der ersten Sanierungsphase installiert. Decken, Wände und Kunstwerke im Dom wurden gesäubert und farblich neugefasst. Im Zuge der Erneuerung der Technik wurde eine energiesparende Erdwärmeheizung, eine moderne LED-Beleuchtung und eine neue Mikrofonanlage installiert. Die digitale Lautsprecheranlage wurde zudem neu konzipiert und auch für Hörgeschädigte auf den neuesten Stand gebracht. Am Portal zur astronomischen Uhr wurde ein behindertengerechter Zugang eingefügt. Der Glockenstuhl wurde aus Eichenholz neu gezimmert. Die Steuerung von Licht, Mikros und Glocken erfolg von einer Leitstelle in der Sakristei aus. Eine aus „Lichtspeiern“ (bei diesen handelt es sich um "kleine, aus der Wand ragende Messingarme, die wie Wasserspeier aussehen und ihr LED-Licht nach unten zu den Gläubigen und nach oben an Wand und Decke werfen, sodass der Dom mit seinem Gewölbe auch indirekt strahlt")[95] und Strahlenkränzen bestehende Beleuchtung sorgt für helles Licht. Die Gesamtkosten all dieser Maßnahmen belaufen sich auf rund 14 Millionen Euro.[96]

Due Process of Law gewährt prozeduralen und substantiellen Schutz. Beim sogenannten procedural due process (Deutsch: Angemessener prozeduraler Rechtsprozess) handelt es sich faire und unparteiische Rechtsverfahren, die anhand etablierter Regeln und Prinzipien funktionieren. Hier dem sogenannten substantive due process (Deutsch: Angemessener substantieller Rechtsprozess) verbirgt sich das Prinzip, dass Gesetze und Verordnungen nur den legitimen Regierungszwecken dürfen dienen und weder willkürlich noch unfair sein dürfen. [97]

2013-06-18 Security handover from NATO to Afghan forces[edit]

On June 18, 2013 the handover of security from NATO to Afghan forces was completed.[98][99][100][101] The International Security Assistance Force formally handed over control of the last 95 districts to Afghan forces at a ceremony attended by President Hamid Karzai and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at a military academy outside Kabul.[98] Following the handover, Afghan forces will have the lead for security in all 403 districts of Afghanistan's 34 provinces. Before the handover they were responsible for 312 districts nationwide, where 80 percent of Afghanistan's population of nearly 30 million lives.[99]"Our security and defense forces will now be in the lead," Karzai said. "From here, all security responsibility and all security leadership will be taken by our brave forces. When people see security has been transferred to Afghans, they support the army and police more than before."[98] Rasmussen said that by taking the lead in security on Tuesday, Afghan forces were completing a five-stage transition process that began in March 2011. "They are doing so with remarkable resolve," he said. "Ten years ago, there were no Afghan national security forces... now you have 350,000 Afghan troops and police, a formidable force."[98] he security transition signaled an important shift. The U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force is slated to end its mission by the end of 2014, and coalition forces are in the process of closing bases and shipping out equipment.[101] Rasmussen stated that the focus of ISAF forces will shift fom combat to support and that by the end of 2014 Afghanistan will be fully secured by Afghans. After the handover, 100,000 NATO forces will play a supporting and training role, as Afghan soldiers and police take the lead in the fight against armed groups.[99] "We will continue to help Afghan troops in operations if needed, but we will no longer plan, execute or lead those operations, and by the end of 2014 our combat mission will be completed," Rasmussen added.[98]

Kennedy Inaugural Speech Quotes - NEVER DELETE!!! - NICHT LÖSCHEN!!![edit]

[[Datei:President Kennedy inaugural address (color).jpg|miniatur|Kennedy bei seiner Amtsantrittsrede vor dem United States Kapitol in Washington, District of Columbia.]] thumb|140px|"Fragt nicht, was euer Land für euch tun kann - fragt, was ihr für euer Land tun könnt." - Zitat in Englisch auf einem Gedenkstein in Elmira, NY

  • "Wir feiern heute nicht den Sieg einer Partei, sondern ein Fest der Freiheit – als Symbol für einen Endpunkt und einen Neuanfang – als Zeichen der Neubelebung und des Wandels. Denn ich habe vor euch und dem allmächtigen Gott denselben feierlichen Eid geschworen, den unsere Vorfahren verordnet haben, vor fast eindreiviertel Jahrhunderten." - Antrittsrede, 20. Januar 1961, jfklibrary.org
  • (Original engl.: "[w]e observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom--symbolizing an end, as well as a beginning--signifying renewal, as well as change. For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forebears prescribed nearly a century and three quarters ago." - en.wikisource)
  • "Die Welt hat sich inzwischen dramatisch verändert. Denn der Mensch hält in seinen vergänglichen Händen die Macht zur endgültigen Beseitigung aller Formen menschlicher Armut und aller Formen menschlichen Lebens. Und eben derselbe revolutionäre Glaube, für den unsere Vorfahren gefochten haben, ist noch immer Mittelpunkt unversöhnlicher Konfrontation überall auf dieser Welt – der Glaube, dass die Rechte des Menschen nicht großzügig vom Staat gewährt werden, sondern aus der Hand Gottes gegeben sind." - Antrittsrede, 20. Januar 1961, jfklibrary.org
  • (Original engl.: "The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe--the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God." - en.wikisource)
  • "Wir dürfen keinesfalls vergessen, dass wir die Erben jener ersten Revolution sind. Von diesem Ort und dieser Stunde soll an Freund und Feind gleichermaßen die Kunde ausgehen, dass die Fackel weitergereicht wurde an eine neue Generation von Amerikanern – geboren in diesem Jahrhundert, gehärtet durch Krieg, diszipliniert durch einen harten und bitteren Frieden, stolz auf das Vermächtnis unserer Vorfahren – und nicht bereit, tatenlos einer schleichenden Aushöhlung jener Menschenrechte zuzusehen, denen diese Nation immer verpflichtet war, und denen wir auch heute verpflichtet sind, in unserem eigenen Land und auf der ganzen Welt." - Antrittsrede, 20. Januar 1961, jfklibrary.org
  • (Original engl.: "Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans--born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage--and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world." - en.wikisource)
  • "Jede Nation, sei sie uns gut oder böse gesinnt, soll wissen, dass wir jeden Preis zahlen, jede Last und Not ertragen, jede Entbehrung auf uns nehmen, jeden Freund unterstützen und jedem Feind entgegentreten werden, um das Überleben und den Sieg der Freiheit zu sichern." - Antrittsrede, 20. Januar 1961, jfklibrary.org
  • (Original engl.: "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty." - en.wikisource)
  • "Unseren alten Verbündeten, deren kulturelle und geistige Wurzeln wir teilen, geloben wir die Loyalität treuer Freunde. Solange wir zusammenstehen, gibt es wenig, was wir nicht schaffen können in einem ganzen Heer gemeinsamer Wagnisse. Sind wir aber gespalten, bleibt nur noch wenig zu tun – denn keiner mächtigen Herausforderung könnten wir uneins und entzweit entgegentreten." - Antrittsrede, 20. Januar 1961, jfklibrary.org
  • (Original engl.: "To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do--for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder." - en.wikisource)
  • "Jenen neuen Staaten, die wir in den Reihen der Freien willkommen heißen, geloben wir, dafür zu bürgen, dass die eine Form kolonialer Herrschaft nicht überwunden sein wird, um lediglich durch eine noch härtere Tyrannei ersetzt zu werden. Wir erwarten nicht, dass wir sie alle als Unterstützer unserer Weltsicht erleben werden. Aber wir hoffen zu erleben, dass sie alle willensstark ihrem eigenen Weg vertrauen – und sich daran erinnern, dass in der Vergangenheit jene, die in ihrem Streben nach Macht töricht auf dem Rücken des Tigers reiten wollten, in seinem Bauch endeten." - Antrittsrede, 20. Januar 1961, jfklibrary.org
  • (Original engl.: "To those new States whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom--and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside." - en.wikisource)
  • "Den Menschen in den Hütten und Dörfern auf der halben Welt, die darum ringen, die Fesseln des Massenelends zu sprengen, geloben wir, die bestmögliche Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe zu leisten, so lange wie dies auch immer nötig sein sollte – nicht, weil es sonst vielleicht die Kommunisten tun würden, und nicht, weil wir ihre Zustimmung erheischen möchten, sondern weil es richtig ist. Wenn eine freie Gesellschaft den vielen nicht helfen kann, die arm sind, kann sie die wenigen nicht retten, die reich sind." - Antrittsrede, 20. Januar 1961, jfklibrary.org
  • (Original engl.: "To those people in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required — not because the communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." - en.wikisource)
  • "Und an jene Nationen schließlich, die unsere Gegner sein wollen, richten wir kein Gelöbnis, sondern einen Aufruf: dass sich beide Seiten erneut der Suche nach Frieden zuwenden, bevor die dunklen Mächte der Zerstörung, die von der Wissenschaft entfesselt wurden, alle menschliche Existenz auslöschen in geplanter oder versehentlicher Selbstvernichtung. Wir dürfen es nicht wagen, sie durch Schwäche in Versuchung zu führen. Denn nur wenn es über die Wirksamkeit unserer Waffen keinen Zweifel geben kann, können wir ohne Zweifel sicher sein, dass sie niemals eingesetzt werden." - Antrittsrede, 20. Januar 1961, jfklibrary.org
  • (Original engl.: "Finally, to those nations who would make themselves our adversary, we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction. We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed." - en.wikisource)
  • "Deshalb wollen wir einen Neuanfang – und beide Seiten daran erinnern, dass Umgangsformen kein Zeichen von Schwäche sind und dass Aufrichtigkeit sich stets bewähren muss. Wir sollten niemals aus Furcht verhandeln. Aber wir sollten Verhandlungen auch niemals fürchten. Wir wollen, dass beide Seiten erkennen, welche Probleme uns verbinden, statt auf den Problemen herumzureiten, die uns trennen. [...] Wir wollen, dass beide Seiten danach streben, die Wunder der Wissenschaft zu erwecken, statt ihrer Schrecken. Wir wollen gemeinsam die Sterne erkunden, die Wüsten erobern, Krankheit ausrotten, die Tiefen der Ozeane erschließen und die Künste und den Handel beleben. Wir wollen, dass beide Seiten in allen Winkeln dieser Erde den Aufruf des Jesaja beherzigen, "die schweren Bürden hinwegzunehmen ... und den Unterdrückten Freiheit zu geben"." - Antrittsrede, 20. Januar 1961, jfklibrary.org
  • (Original engl.: "So let us begin anew — remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate. Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us. [...] Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce. Let both sides unite to heed in all corners of the earth the command of Isaiah--to "undo the heavy burdens ... and to let the oppressed go free."" - en.wikisource)
  • "Und wenn es mit einem Brückenkopf der Verständigung gelingt, den Dschungel des Misstrauens zurückzudrängen, wollen wir, dass sich beide Seiten gemeinsam ein neues Ziel setzen, nicht ein neues Gleichgewicht der Macht, sondern eine neue Weltordnung des Rechts, in der die Starken gerecht und die Schwachen geschützt sind und der Frieden gesichert bleibt. Dies alles wird nicht in den ersten hundert Tagen vollbracht sein. Und es wird auch nicht in den ersten tausend Tagen vollbracht sein, nicht während der Amtszeit dieser Regierung und vielleicht nicht einmal zu unseren Lebzeiten auf diesem Planeten. Aber wir wollen beginnen." - Antrittsrede, 20. Januar 1961, jfklibrary.org
  • (Original engl.: "If a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavor, not a new balance of power, but a new world of law, where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved. All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin." - en.wikisource)
  • "In euren Händen, meine Mitbürger, mehr als in meinen wird es liegen, ob unsere Politik letztendlich erfolgreich sein oder scheitern wird. Seit diese Nation gegründet wurde, war jede Generation von Amerikanern aufgerufen, Zeugnis der Treue zu ihrer Nation abzulegen. Die Gräber junger Amerikaner, die diesem Ruf folgten, sind auf dem gesamten Erdball verstreut." - Antrittsrede, 20. Januar 1961, jfklibrary.org
  • (Original engl.: "In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than in mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe." - en.wikisource)
  • "Und wieder ruft uns jetzt das Trompetensignal – es ruft nicht zu den Waffen, obwohl wir Waffen brauchen – es ruft nicht zur Schlacht, obwohl wir zur Schlacht gerüstet sind – sondern es ruft, die Bürde eines langen Kampfes in der Dämmerung auf uns zu nehmen, Jahr für Jahr, "fröhlich in der Hoffnung, geduldig in Bedrängnis" – eines Kampfes gegen die gemeinsamen Feinde aller Menschen: Tyrannei, Armut, Krankheit und den Krieg selbst. Kann es uns gegen diese Feinde gelingen, eine große und weltumspannende Allianz zu schmieden, von Nord und Süd, Ost und West, die der gesamten Menschheit ein erfüllteres Leben sichern kann? Werdet ihr an dieser historischen Kraftanstrengung mitwirken?" - Antrittsrede, 20. Januar 1961, jfklibrary.org
  • (Original engl.: "Now the trumpet summons us again--not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are--but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, "rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation"--a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself. Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance, North and South, East and West, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that historic effort?" - en.wikisource)
  • "In der langen Geschichte der Welt ist nur wenigen Generationen die Rolle übertragen worden, die Freiheit zu verteidigen in der Stunde ihrer größten Gefahr. Ich schrecke vor dieser Verantwortung nicht zurück – ich heiße sie willkommen. Ich glaube nicht, dass auch nur ein einziger von uns mit einem anderen Volk oder einer anderen Generation tauschen möchte. Die Energie, der Glaube, die Hingabe, die wir diesem Unterfangen widmen, werden leuchten in unserem Land und in allen, die ihm dienen – und der Schein dieses Feuers kann wahrhaftig ein Licht sein für die Welt. Und deshalb, meine amerikanischen Mitbürger: Fragt nicht, was euer Land für euch tun kann - fragt, was ihr für euer Land tun könnt. Meine Mitbürger in der ganzen Welt: Fragt nicht, was Amerika für euch tun wird, sondern fragt, was wir gemeinsam tun können für die Freiheit des Menschen." - Antrittsrede, 20. Januar 1961, jfklibrary.org
  • (Original engl.: "In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility — I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it — and the glow from that fire can truly light the world. And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man." - en.wikisource)
  • "Und schließlich, Bürger Amerikas und Bürger der Welt, fordert von uns hier dasselbe hohe Maß an Standhaftigkeit und Opfer, das wir von euch verlangen. Mit einem guten Gewissen als unserem einzigen sicheren Lohn, mit der Geschichte als letzter Richterin unserer Taten wollen wir die Aufgabe in Angriff nehmen, das Land zu führen, das wir lieben, und Seinen Segen und Seine Hilfe erbitten, wohl wissend, dass Gottes Werk hier auf Erden wahrhaft unser eigenes sein muss." - Antrittsrede, 20. Januar 1961, jfklibrary.org
  • (Original engl.: "Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own." - en.wikisource)


Foreign Intelligence Surveillance[edit]

In United States v. U.S. District Court (1972) the U.S. Supreme Court expressly disavowed a “domestic security surveillance” exception to the Warrant Clause of the Fourth Amendment by holding that government officials were obligated to obtain a warrant before beginning electronic surveillance even if domestic security issues were involved. The Court however left open the possibility for a foreign intelligence surveillance (FIS) exception to the Fourth Amendment’s Warrant Clause.[102] Following the USCC's ruling three U.S. Federal Circuit Courts recognized a foreign intelligence surveillance exception to the Warrant Clause, but tied them to certain requirements.[102] In United States of America v. Truong Dinh Hung[103] the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit said that “this foreign intelligence exception to the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement must be carefully limited to those situations in which the interests of the executive branch of government are paramount.”[102] In particular the Truong court required that the object of the search or surveillance be “a foreign power, its agent or collaborators,” and that ”the executive should be excused from securing a warrant only when the surveillance is conducted ‘primarily’ for foreign intelligence reasons.”[102] Finally the existence of the FIS exception was squarely tied to the “practical difficulties of obtaining a warrant for foreign intelligence surveillance . . . at the time [the underlying] surveillance was conducted,”[102] which the courts described as “particularly acute” prior to the enactment of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.[102] According to law professor Steve Vladeck "part of the justification for the FIS exception was the absence of a FISA-like procedure that balanced the need for secrecy with the need to secure ex ante judicial approval before conducting foreign intelligence surveillance."[102]

With Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act enactment in 1978 the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review (FISCR) was established in the same year. As part of the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 the U.S. Congress eliminated the second prong of Truong i.e. the requirement that the “primary purpose” of the search be the gathering of foreign intelligence surveillance (as opposed to law enforcement evidence).[102] In re: Sealed Case No. 02-001 the FISCR upheld 2002 the elimination of the primary purpose test without specifically endorsing a categorical foreign intelligence surveillance exception. Given the language of FISA at the time, there was no real need to reach that issue because "virtually of the surveillance undertaken pursuant to FISA was with a (FISA) warrant."[102] This changed with the 2008 In re Directivesref name="Seyla20080822">Selya, Bruce M. (August 22, 2008). "United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review Case No. 08-01 In Re Directives [redacted text] Pursuant to Section 105B of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act" (PDF). U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review (via the Federation of American Scientists). Retrieved July 15, 2013. </ref> of the FISCR with which the FISCR formally rcognized for the first time a “foreign intelligence surveillance” exception to the Fourth Amendment.[104] The FISCR hold that “a foreign intelligence exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement exists when surveillance is conducted to obtain foreign intelligence for national security purposes and is directed against foreign powers or agents of foreign powers reasonably believed to be located outside the United States.”[104]

In a press conference on August 9, 2013 President Obama annouced four steps to reform U.S. intelligence gathering measures, to increase transparency and restore public trust in surveillance by NSA, but made no indication to alter the NSA's ongoing mass collection of phone data and surveillance of internet communications in the short term.[105][106]. These four steps are:[107][108][109]

  1. Reform Section 215 of the Patriot Act which allows the National Security Agency to collect telephone data from millions of communications without a warrant.[107]
  2. More transparency: Declassification of the legal rationale for the US government's phone-data collection,[110][111][112][113] release of NSA information that details its mission, authorities, and oversight,[114][112][115] installation of a "civil liberties and privacy officer" at the National Security and a website created by the American intelligence community to inform Americans and the world what the intelligence community does and what it doesn’t do, how it carries out its mission, and why it does so.[107]
  3. More balance between security and privacy at the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court by appointing an adversarial voice — such as a lawyer assigned to advocate privacy rights[116] - to argue against the US government to ensure to make sure civil liberties concerns have an independent voice in appropriate cases.[107]
  4. Review of all US government intelligence and communications technologies by a group of external experts (composed of former intelligence officials, civil liberties and privacy advocates, and others)[116] which shall provide an interim report in 60 days and a final report by the end of 2014 outlining how the US government can maintain the trust of the people, how it can make sure that there absolutely is no abuse in terms of how surveillance technologies are used and how surveillance impacts US foreign policy.[107] Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper has been directed on August 13, 2013 to form and review the new Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, which is to brief Obama on its interim findings within 60 days of the establishment of the group. A final report and recommendations are to be submitted through Clapper to the president no later than December 15, 2013.[117][118][119] The groups purpose is to assess whether the US "employs its technical collection capabilities in a manner that optimally protects our national security and advances our foreign policy while appropriately accounting for other policy considerations, such as the risk of unauthorized disclosure and our need to maintain the public trust."[120]


Foreign Intelligence Surveillance exception[edit]

In United States v. U.S. District Court (1972),[121] the U.S. Supreme Court expressly disavowed a “domestic security surveillance” exception to the Warrant Clause of the Fourth Amendment by holding that government officials were obligated to obtain a warrant before beginning electronic surveillance even if domestic security issues were involved. The Court however left open the possibility for a foreign intelligence surveillance (FIS) exception to the Fourth Amendment’s Warrant Clause.[102] Following the Supreme Court's ruling, three United States Courts of Appeals recognized a foreign intelligence surveillance exception to the Warrant Clause, but tied them to certain requirements.[102] The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit In United States of America v. Truong Dinh Hung[122] for example hold

  1. that the exception “must be carefully limited to those situations in which the interests of the executive branch of government are paramount”[102],
  2. that the object of the search or surveillance be “a foreign power, its agent or collaborators,” and
  3. that ”the executive should be excused from securing a warrant only when the surveillance is conducted ‘primarily’ for foreign intelligence reasons.”[102]

For the first time a foreign intelligence surveillance exception to the Fourth Amendment was recognized by the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review recognized in its 2008 In re Directives[123] decision.[104] The court hold that “a foreign intelligence exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement exists when surveillance is conducted to obtain foreign intelligence for national security purposes and is directed against foreign powers or agents of foreign powers reasonably believed to be located outside the United States.”[104]

, nachdem der Forschers Jeffrey T. Richelson vom Nationalen Sicherheitsarchiv der George Washington Universität einen Freedom of Information Act stellte.[124] Laut einem von der CIA freigegebenen Dokument sei der Militärstandort rund 200 Kilometer nordwestlich der Casino-Metropole Las Vegas bloß ein Testgelände für die Spionageflugzeuge U-2 und Lockheed A-12 Oxcart etwa während des Kalten Krieges gewesen.[125] Es handelt sich um ein 407 Seiten starkes Dokument, in dem Spionage-Flüge der US-Streitkräfte in den Jahren 1954 bis 1974 festgehalten wurden. Niemand, sei es nun Piloten und Passagiere kommerzieller Flüge oder ob Beobachter auf der Erde, konnten sich rasend schnelle, blitzhelle Lichterscheinungen am Himmel erklären. Die Erklärung der CIA: Mitte der fünfziger Jahre flogen Passagierflugzeuge in Höhen zwischen drei und sechs Kilometern, militärische Flugzeuge wie Bomber der Typen B-47 und B-57 blieben unter zwölf Kilometern. Die Spionageflugzeuge warem dagegen eigens dafür konstruiert, enorme Höhen zu erreichen. Als sie begannen höher als 18 Kilometer zu fliegen, bekamen die Fluglotsen steigende Zahlen an Ufo-Meldungen. Da die Spionageflugzeuge in rund 20 Kilometer Höhe in der Stratosphäre verkehrten, wurden von ihren Flügeln Sonnenstrahlen auch dann noch reflektiert, wenn es in tieferen Schichten der Atmosphäre längst dunkel geworden war. Das erweckte den Anschein, als seien Ufos im Anflug. Hunderte Ufo-Sichtungen sind nun aufgeklärt.[126][127][128][129]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Afghan President Hamid Karzai annouced on October 12, 2013 that they reached an agreement on a set of core elements of the biltareral security.[130][131] Both however didn't reach an agreement on immunity from prosecution under Afghan law for American troops who remain in Afghanistan after 2014. This issue along with the entire agremment will be decided first by a traditional gathering of elders and other powerful people known as a loya jirga and then by the Afghan Parliament.[130] The agreement provides a legal framework for continued U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, including the leasing of Afghan bases.[132] Karzai said the draft framework agreement included his demands for the protection of Afghan sovereignty and rules on how military operations are to be carried out on Afghan territory. "Tonight we reached some sort of agreement," Karzai told reporters. U.S. forces "will no longer conduct operations by themselves. We have been provided written guarantee of the safety of the Afghan people. And a clear definition of 'invasion' was provided."[133] "The one issue that is outstanding is the issue of jurisdiction," Kerry added. "We need to say that if the issue of jurisdiction cannot be resolved, unfortunately there cannot be a bilateral security agreement."[133]

Neither Kerry nor Karzai provided details of what exactly had been agreed to, and it was not clear how they had forged a compromise on an Afghan demand that the United States guarantee Afghanistan’s security as it would if the country were a NATO ally. That could compel the United States to send troops on raids into America's nuclear-armed power ally Pakistan. Afghan officials had said that demand was crucial to the country’s sovereignty and must be met. The Obama administration had said it would not consider making any such guarantee.[130] According to the BBC's David Loyn saidPresident Karzai failed to win security guarantees so that Afghanistan would be protected by US troops from external attack. Loyn added the US will not grant that as it could mire them in a war with Pakistan.[134] On the other main sticking point, the outlines of a compromise seemed clearer. Karzai had refused to allow American forces to hunt for operatives of Al Qaeda here on their own. Instead, he wanted any intelligence gathered by the United States handed over to Afghan forces, who could then conduct the raids. Karzai said on October 12, 2013 he had been assured that American forces would not conduct any unilateral operations in Afghanistan after 2014, leaving open the possibility that raids against Al Qaeda would be conducted jointly with Afghan forces.[130]

[135]

Rediscovering Lost Values (1954)[edit]

There is something wrong with our world, something fundamentally and basically wrong. [...] The great problem facing modern man is that, that the means by which we live have outdistanced the spiritual ends for which we live. So we find ourselves caught in a messed-up world. The problem is with man himself and man's soul. We haven't learned how to be just and honest and kind and true and loving. And that is the basis of our problem. The real problem is that through our scientific genius we've made of the world a neighborhood, but through our moral and spiritual genius we've failed to make of it a brotherhood.
The real danger confronting civilization today is that atomic bomb which lies in the hearts and souls of men, capable of exploding into the vilest of hate and into the most damaging selfishness—that's the atomic bomb that we've got to fear today. Problem is with the men. Within the heart and the souls of men. That is the real basis of our problem.
Sometimes [...] it's necessary to go backward in order to go forward.[...] We've left a lot of precious values behind; we've lost a lot of precious values. And if we are to go forward, if we are to make this a better world in which to live, we've got to go back. We've got to rediscover these precious values that we've left behind.
Some things are right and some things are wrong. (Yes) Eternally so, absolutely so. It's wrong to hate. It always has been wrong and it always will be wrong.
Some things are right and some things are wrong, no matter if everybody is doing the contrary. Some things in this universe are absolute. The God of the universe has made it so. And so long as we adopt this relative attitude toward right and wrong, we're revolting against the very laws of God himself.
The thing that we need in the world today is a group of men and women who will stand up for right and to be opposed to wrong, wherever it is. A group of people who have come to see that some things are wrong, whether they're never caught up with. And some things are right, whether nobody sees you doing them or not.
It is not enough to know that two and two makes four, but we've got to know somehow that it's right to be honest and just with our brothers. It's not enough to know all about our philosophical and mathematical disciplines, but we've got to know the simple disciplines of being honest and loving and just with all humanity. If we don't learn it, we will destroy ourselves by the misuse of our own powers.
It's possible to affirm the existence of God with your lips and deny his existence with your life. The most dangerous type of atheism is not theoretical atheism, but practical atheism [...]. And the world, even the church, is filled up with people who pay lip service to God and not life service. And there is always a danger that we will make it appear externally that we believe in God when internally we don't. We say with our mouths that we believe in him, but we live with our lives like he never existed. That is the ever-present danger confronting religion. That's a dangerous type of atheism.
We have so many conveniences and luxuries and all of that, there is the danger that we will unconsciously forget about God. I'm not saying that these things aren't important; we need them, we need cars, we need money; all of that's important to live. But whenever they become substitutes for God, they become injurious.
If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover these precious values: that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control.
Rediscovering Lost Values, Sermon delivered at Detroit's Second Baptist Church (28 February 1954).
  • There is something wrong with our world, something fundamentally and basically wrong. I don't think we have to look too far to see that. I'm sure that most of you would agree with me in making that assertion. And when we stop to analyze the cause of our world's ills, many things come to mind. We begin to wonder if it is due to the fact that we don't know enough. But it can't be that. Because in terms of accumulated knowledge we know more today than men have known in any period of human history. We have the facts at our disposal. We know more about mathematics, about science, about social science, and philosophy than we've ever known in any period of the world's history. So it can't be because we don't know enough.And then we wonder if it is due to the fact that our scientific genius lags behind. That is, if we have not made enough progress scientifically. Well then, it can't be that. For our scientific progress over the past years has been amazing. Man through his scientific genius has been able to dwarf distance and place time in chains, so that today it's possible to eat breakfast in New York City and supper in London, England. Back in about 1753 it took a letter three days to go from New York City to Washington, and today you can go from here to China in less time than that. It can't be because man is stagnant in his scientific progress. Man's scientific genius has been amazing. I think we have to look much deeper than that if we are to find the real cause of man's problems and the real cause of the world's ills today. If we are to really find it I think we will have to look in the hearts and souls of men.
  • The trouble isn't so much that we don't know enough, but it's as if we aren't good enough. The trouble isn't so much that our scientific genius lags behind, but our moral genius lags behind. The great problem facing modern man is that, that the means by which we live have outdistanced the spiritual ends for which we live. So we find ourselves caught in a messed-up world. The problem is with man himself and man's soul. We haven't learned how to be just and honest and kind and true and loving. And that is the basis of our problem. The real problem is that through our scientific genius we've made of the world a neighborhood, but through our moral and spiritual genius we've failed to make of it a brotherhood. And the great danger facing us today is not so much the atomic bomb that was created by physical science. Not so much that atomic bomb that you can put in an aeroplane and drop on the heads of hundreds and thousands of people—as dangerous as that is. But the real danger confronting civilization today is that atomic bomb which lies in the hearts and souls of men, capable of exploding into the vilest of hate and into the most damaging selfishness—that's the atomic bomb that we've got to fear today. Problem is with the men. Within the heart and the souls of men. That is the real basis of our problem.
  • My friends, all I'm trying to say is that if we are to go forward today, we've got to go back and rediscover some mighty precious values that we've left behind. That's the only way that we would be able to make of our world a better world, and to make of this world what God wants it to be and the real purpose and meaning of it.
  • Sometimes, you know, it's necessary to go backward in order to go forward. That's an analogy of life. I remember the other day I was driving out of New York City into Boston, and I stopped off in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to visit some friends. And I went out of New York on a highway that’s known as the Merritt Parkway, it leads into Boston, a very fine parkway. And I stopped in Bridgeport, and after being there for two or three hours I decided to go on to Boston, and I wanted to get back on the Merritt Parkway. And I went out thinking that I was going toward the Merritt Parkway. I started out, and I rode, and I kept riding, and I looked up and I saw a sign saying two miles to a little town that I knew I was to bypass—I wasn't to pass through that particular town. So I thought I was on the wrong road. I stopped and I asked a gentleman on the road which way would I get to the Merritt Parkway. And he said, "The Merritt Parkway is about twelve or fifteen miles back that way. You've got to turn around and go back to the Merritt Parkway; you are out of the way now." In other words, before I could go forward to Boston, I had to go back about twelve or fifteen miles to get to the Merritt Parkway. May it not be that modern man has gotten on the wrong parkway? And if he is to go forward to the city of salvation, he's got to go back and get on the right parkway. [...] Now that's what we've got to do in our world today. We've left a lot of precious values behind; we've lost a lot of precious values. And if we are to go forward, if we are to make this a better world in which to live, we've got to go back. We've got to rediscover these precious values that we've left behind.
  • I want to deal with one or two of these mighty precious values that we've left behind, that if we're to go forward and to make this a better world, we must rediscover. The first is this—the first principle of value that we need to rediscover is this: that all reality hinges on moral foundations. In other words, that this is a moral universe, and that there are moral laws of the universe just as abiding as the physical laws. I'm not so sure we all believe that. We never doubt that there are physical laws of the universe that we must obey. We never doubt that. And so we just don't jump out of airplanes or jump off of high buildings for the fun of it—we don't do that. Because we unconsciously know that there is a final law of gravitation, and if you disobey it you'll suffer the consequences—we know that. Even if we don't know it in its Newtonian formulation, we know it intuitively, and so we just don't jump off the highest building in Detroit for the fun of it—we don't do that. Because we know that there is a law of gravitation which is final in the universe. (Lord) If we disobey it we'll suffer the consequences. But I'm not so sure if we know that there are moral laws just as abiding as the physical law. I'm not so sure about that. I'm not so sure if we really believe that there is a law of love in this universe, and that if you disobey it you'll suffer the consequences.
  • The first thing is that we have adopted in the modern world a sort of a relativistic ethic. [...] Most people can't stand up for their convictions, because the majority of people might not be doing it. See, everybody's not doing it, so it must be wrong. And since everybody is doing it, it must be right. So a sort of numerical interpretation of what's right. But I'm here to say to you this morning that some things are right and some things are wrong. Eternally so, absolutely so. It's wrong to hate. It always has been wrong and it always will be wrong. It's wrong in America, it's wrong in Germany, it's wrong in Russia, it's wrong in China. It was wrong in 2000 B.C., and it's wrong in 1954 A.D. It always has been wrong, and it always will be wrong. It's wrong to throw our lives away in riotous living. No matter if everybody in Detroit is doing it, it's wrong. It always will be wrong, and it always has been wrong. It's wrong in every age and it's wrong in every nation. Some things are right and some things are wrong, no matter if everybody is doing the contrary. Some things in this universe are absolute. The God of the universe has made it so. And so long as we adopt this relative attitude toward right and wrong, we're revolting against the very laws of God himself.
  • Now that isn't the only thing that convinces me that we've strayed away from this attitude, this principle. The other thing is that we have adopted a sort of a pragmatic test for right and wrong—whatever works is right. If it works, it's all right. Nothing is wrong but that which does not work. If you don't get caught, it's right. [laughter] That's the attitude, isn't it? It's all right to disobey the Ten Commandments, but just don't disobey the eleventh, "Thou shall not get caught." [laughter] That's the attitude. That's the prevailing attitude in our culture. No matter what you do, just do it with a bit of finesse. You know, a sort of attitude of the survival of the slickest. Not the Darwinian survival of the fittest, but the survival of the slickest—whoever can be the slickest is the one who right. It's all right to lie, but lie with dignity. [laughter] It's all right to steal and to rob and extort, but do it with a bit of finesse. It's even all right to hate, but just dress your hate up in the garments of love and make it appear that you are loving when you are actually hating. Just get by! That's the thing that's right according to this new ethic. My friends, that attitude is destroying the soul of our culture. It's destroying our nation.
  • The thing that we need in the world today is a group of men and women who will stand up for right and to be opposed to wrong, wherever it is. A group of people who have come to see that some things are wrong, whether they're never caught up with. And some things are right, whether nobody sees you doing them or not.
  • All I'm trying to say to you is that our world hinges on moral foundations. God has made it so. God has made the universe to be based on a moral law. So long as man disobeys it he is revolting against God. That's what we need in the world today: people who will stand for right and goodness. It's not enough to know the intricacies of zoology and biology, but we must know the intricacies of law. It is not enough to know that two and two makes four, but we've got to know somehow that it's right to be honest and just with our brothers. It's not enough to know all about our philosophical and mathematical disciplines, but we've got to know the simple disciplines of being honest and loving and just with all humanity. If we don't learn it, we will destroy ourselves by the misuse of our own powers.
  • There is something in this universe that justifies the biblical writer in saying, "You shall reap what you sow." This is a law-abiding universe. This is a moral universe. It hinges on moral foundations. If we are to make of this a better world, we've got to go back and rediscover that precious value that we've left behind.
  • And then there is a second thing, a second principle that we've got to go back and rediscover. And that is that all reality has spiritual control. In other words, we've got to go back and rediscover the principle that there is a God behind the process. Well this you say, "Why is it that you raise that as a point in your sermon, in a church? The mere fact we are at church, we believe in God, we don't need to go back and rediscover that. The mere fact that we are here, and the mere fact that we sing and pray, and come to church—we believe in God." Well, there's some truth in that. But we must remember that it's possible to affirm the existence of God with your lips and deny his existence with your life. The most dangerous type of atheism is not theoretical atheism, but practical atheism [...]. And the world, even the church, is filled up with people who pay lip service to God and not life service. And there is always a danger that we will make it appear externally that we believe in God when internally we don't. We say with our mouths that we believe in him, but we live with our lives like he never existed. That is the ever-present danger confronting religion. That's a dangerous type of atheism.
  • And I think, my friends, that that is the thing that has happened in America. That we have unconsciously left God behind. Now, we haven't consciously done it; we have unconsciously done it. You see, the text, you remember the text said that Jesus' parents went a whole day's journey not knowing that he wasn't with them. They didn't consciously leave him behind. It was unconscious; went a whole day and didn't even know it. It wasn't a conscious process. You see, we didn't grow up and say, "Now, goodbye God, we're going to leave you now." The materialism in America has been an unconscious thing. Since the rise of the Industrial Revolution in England, and then the invention of all of our gadgets and contrivances and all of the things and modern conveniences—we unconsciously left God behind. We didn't mean to do it. We just became so involved in getting our big bank accounts that we unconsciously forgot about God—we didn't mean to do it. We became so involved in getting our nice luxurious cars, and they're very nice, but we became so involved in it that it became much more convenient to ride out to the beach on Sunday afternoon than to come to church that morning. (Yes) It was an unconscious thing—we didn't mean to do it. We became so involved and fascinated by the intricacies of television that we found it a little more convenient to stay at home than to come to church. It was an unconscious thing—we didn't mean to do it. We didn't just go up and say, "Now God, we’re gone." We had gone a whole day's journey and then we came to see that we had unconsciously ushered God out of the universe. A whole day's journey—didn't mean to do it. We just became so involved in things that we forgot about God. And that is the danger confronting us, my friends: that in a nation as ours where we stress mass production, and that's mighty important, where we have so many conveniences and luxuries and all of that, there is the danger that we will unconsciously forget about God. I'm not saying that these things aren't important; we need them, we need cars, we need money; all of that's important to live. But whenever they become substitutes for God, they become injurious. And may I say to you this morning, that none of these things can ever be real substitutes for God. Automobiles and subways, televisions and radios, dollars and cents can never be substitutes for God. For long before any of these came into existence, we needed God. And long after they will have passed away, we will still need God.
  • And I say to you this morning in conclusion that I'm not going to put my ultimate faith in things. I'm not going to put my ultimate faith in gadgets and contrivances. As a young man with most of my life ahead of me, I decided early to give my life to something eternal and absolute. Not to these little gods that are here today and gone tomorrow, but to God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Not in the little gods that can be with us in a few moments of prosperity, but in the God who walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death, and causes us to fear no evil. That's the God. Not in the god that can give us a few Cadillac cars and Buick convertibles, as nice as they are, that are in style today and out of style three years from now, but the God who threw up the stars to bedeck the heavens like swinging lanterns of eternity. Not in the god that can throw up a few skyscraping buildings, but the God who threw up the gigantic mountains, kissing the sky, as if to bathe their peaks in the lofty blues. Not in the god that can give us a few televisions and radios, but the God who threw up that great cosmic light that gets up early in the morning in the eastern horizon, ( who paints its technicolor across the blue —something that man could never make. I'm not going to put my ultimate faith in the little gods that can be destroyed in an atomic age, but the God who has been our help in ages past, and our hope for years to come, and our shelter in the time of storm, and our eternal home. That's the God that I'm putting my ultimate faith in.
  • Go out and be assured that that God is going to last forever. Storms might come and go. Our great skyscraping buildings will come and go. Our beautiful automobiles will come and go, but God will be here. Plants may wither, the flowers may fade away, but the word of our God shall stand forever and nothing can ever stop him. All of the P-38s in the world can never reach God. All of our atomic bombs can never reach him. The God that I'm talking about this morning is the God of the universe and the God that will last through the ages. If we are to go forward this morning, we've got to go back and find that God. That is the God that demands and commands our ultimate allegiance.
  • If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover these precious values: that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control.

Conquering Self-centeredness (1957)[edit]

An individual has not begun to live until he can rise above the narrow horizons of his particular individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. And this is one of the big problems of life, that so many people never quite get to the point of rising above self. And so they end up the tragic victims of selfcenteredness. They end up the victims of distorted and disrupted personality.
Life has its beginning and its maturity comes into being when an individual rises above self to something greater.
When people are self-centered, they are self-centered because they are seeking attention, they want to be admired and this is the way they set out to do it. But in the process, because of their self-centeredness, they are not admired; they are mawkish and people don’t want to be bothered with them. And so the very thing they seek, they never get. And they end up frustrated and unhappy and disillusioned.
Find your sense of importance in something outside of the self. And you are then able to live because you have given your life to something outside and something that is meaningful, objectified. You rise above this self-absorption to something outside. This is the way to go through life with a balance, with the proper perspective because you’ve given yourself to something greater than self. Sometimes it’s friends, sometimes it’s family, sometimes it’s a great cause, it’s a great loyalty, but give yourself to that something and life becomes meaningful.
[N]o matter where you stand, no matter how much popularity you have, no matter how much education you have, no matter how much money you have, you have it because somebody in this universe helped you to get it. And when you see that, you can’t be arrogant, you can’t be supercilious. You discover that you have your position because of the events of history and because of individuals in the background making it possible for you to stand there.
Another way to rise above self-centeredness [...] is by having the proper inner attitude toward your position or toward your status in life or whatever it is. You conquer self-centeredness by coming to the point of seeing that you are where you are today because somebody helped you to get there.
We never get anywhere in this world without the forces of history and individual persons in the background helping us to get there. [...] So don’t boast, don’t be arrogant. You, at that moment, rise out of your self-centeredness to the type of living that makes you an integrated personality.
[Y]ou are what you are because of somebody else. You are what you are because of the grace of the Almighty God. He who seeks to find his ego will lose it. But he who loses his ego in some great cause, some great purpose, some great ideal, some great loyalty, he who discovers, somehow, that he stands where he stands because of the forces of history and because of other individuals; he who discovers that he stands where he stands because of the grace of God, finds himself. He loses himself in that something but later finds himself. And this is the way, it seems to me, to the integrated personality.
Sermon Delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama (11 August 1957) - Transcript of speech with notes
  • I want to continue the series of sermons this morning that I started several weeks ago. The series dealing with problems of personality integration. This morning our subject is: “Conquering Self-centeredness.” […] I at least want to suggest certain ways to conquer self-centeredness and at least place the subject before you. So that you can go out and add the meat and try, in some way, to make it meaningful and practical in your everyday lives.
  • An individual has not begun to live until he can rise above the narrow horizons of his particular individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. And this is one of the big problems of life, that so many people never quite get to the point of rising above self. And so they end up the tragic victims of selfcenteredness. They end up the victims of distorted and disrupted personality.
  • Life has its beginning and its maturity comes into being when an individual rises above self to something greater. Few individuals learn this, and so they go through life merely existing and never living. Now you see signs all along in your everyday life with individuals who are the victims of self-centeredness. They are the people who live an eternal “I.” They do not have the capacity to project the “I” into the “Thou." They do not have the mental equipment for an eternal, dangerous and sometimes costly altruism. They live a life of perpetual egotism. And they are the victims all around of the egocentric predicament. They start out, the minute you talk with them, talking about what they can do, what they have done. They’re the people who will tell you, before you talk with them five minutes, where they have been and who they know. They’re the people who can tell you in a few seconds, how many degrees they have and where they went to school and how much money they have. We meet these people every day. And so this is not a foreign subject. It is not something far off. It is a problem that meets us in everyday life. We meet it in ourselves, we meet in other selves: the problem of selfcenteredness.
  • Now, we can say to a certain extent that persons in this situation are persons who have really never grown up. They are still children, at a point. For you see, a child is inevitably, necessarily egocentric. He is a bundle of his own sensations, clamoring to be cared for. And, to be sure, he has his own social context. He belongs to his mother, but he cares for her only because he wants to be fed and protected. He does not care for his mother for her sake but he cares for his mother for his own sake. And so a child is inevitably egocentric, inevitably self-centered. And that is why Dr. Burnham says that during the first six or seven years of development, the ego is dominant within the child. And both in behavior and in attitudes, a child is a victim of self-centeredness. This is a part of the early development of a little child. When people become mature, they are to rise above this.
  • I look at my little daughter every day and she wants certain things and when she wants them, she wants them. And she almost cries out, “I want what I want when I want it.” She is not concerned about what I think about it or what Mrs. King thinks about it. She wants it. She’s a child and that’s very natural and normal for a child. She is inevitably self-centered because she’s a child. But when one matures, when one rises above the early years of childhood, he begins to love people for their own sake. He turns himself to higher loyalties. He gives himself to something outside of himself. He gives himself to causes that he lives for and sometimes will even die for. He comes to the point that now he can rise above his individualistic concerns, and he understands then what Jesus meant when he says, “He who finds his life shall lose it; he who loses his life for my sake, shall find it.”’ In other words, he who finds his ego shall lose his ego, but he who loseth his ego for my sake, shall find it. And so you see people who are apparently selfish; it isn’t merely an ethical issue but it is a psychological issue. They are the victims of arrested development, and they are still children. They haven’t grown up. And like a modern novelist says about one of his characters, “Edith is a little country, bounded on the east and the west, on the north and the south, by Edith.” And so many people are little countries, bounded all around by themselves and they never quite get out of themselves. And these are the persons who are victimized with arrested development.
  • Now the consequences, the disruptive effects of such self-centeredness, such egocentric desires, are tragic. And we see these every day. At first, it leads to frustration and disillusionment and unhappiness at many points. For usually when people are self-centered, they are self-centered because they are seeking attention, they want to be admired and this is the way they set out to do it. But in the process, because of their self-centeredness, they are not admired; they are mawkish and people don’t want to be bothered with them. And so the very thing they seek, they never get. And they end up frustrated and unhappy and disillusioned.
  • I’m sure you have seen people in life who are so desirous of gaining attention that if they cannot have and gain attention through normal channels, through normal social channels, they will gain it through anti-social means. […] They are so selfcentered that they must gain attention and they must be seen in order to survive. They want to be admired and in their quest for admiration, they don’t gain it and in their failure to gain it, they become frustrated and bewildered and disillusioned. Also, it leads to extreme sensitiveness.
  • The individual who is self-centered, the individual who is egocentric ends up being very sensitive, a very touchy person. And that is one of the tragic effects of a self-centered attitude, that it leads to a very sensitive and touchy response toward the universe. These are the people you have to handle with kid gloves because they are touchy, they are sensitive. And they are sensitive because they are self-centered. They are too absorbed in self and anything gets them off, anything makes them angry. Anything makes them feel that people are looking over them because of a tragic self-centeredness. That even leads to the point that the individual is not capable of facing trouble and the hard moments of life. One can become so self-centered, so egocentric that when the hard and difficult moments of life come, he cannot face them because he’s too centered in himself. These are the people who cannot face disappointments. These are the people who cannot face being defeated. These are the people who cannot face being criticized. These are the people who cannot face these many experiences of life which inevitably come because they are too centered in themselves. In time, somebody criticizes them, time somebody says something about them that they don’t like too well, time they are disappointed, time they are defeated, even in a little game, they end up broken-hearted. They can’t stand up under it because they are centered in self.
  • Then, finally, it can become so morbid that it rises to ominous proportions and leads to a tragic sense of persecution. There are persons who come to the point that they are so self-centered that they end up with a persecution complex and the end result is insanity. They end up thinking that the universe stands against them, that everybody is against them. They are turning around within themselves. They are little solar systems within themselves and they can’t see beyond that. And as a result of their failure to get out of self, they end up with a persecution complex and sometimes madness and insanity. These are some of the effects of selfcenteredness.
  • Now one will inevitably raise the question: How then do we conquer self-centeredness? How do we get away from this thing that we call self-centeredness? How can we live in this universe with a balance and with a type of perspective that keeps us going smoothly and we are not too absorbed in self? How do we do it?
  • I think one of the best ways to face this problem of self-centeredness is to discover some cause and some purpose, some loyalty outside of yourself and give yourself to that something. The best way to handle it is not to suppress the ego but to extend the ego into objectively meaningful channels. And so many people are unhappy because they aren’t doing anything. They’re self-centered because they aren’t doing anything. They haven’t given themselves to anything and they just move around in their little circles. One of the ways to rise above this self-centeredness is to move away from self and objectify yourself in something outside of yourself. Find some great cause and some great purpose, some loyalty to which you can give yourself and become so absorbed in that something that you give your life to it. Men and women have done this throughout all of the generations. And they have found that necessary ego satisfaction that life presents and that one desires through projecting self in something outside of self. As I said, you don’t solve the problem by trying to trample over the ego altogether. That doesn’t solve the problem. For you will always have the ego and the ego has certain desires, certain desires for significance. The three great psychoanalysts of this age, of this century, pointed out that there are certain basic desires that human beings have and that they long for and that they seek at any cost. And so for Freud the basic desire was to be loved. Jung would say that the basic desire is to be secure. But then Adler comes along and says the basic desire of human nature is to feel important and a sense of significance. And I think of all of those, probably- certainly all are significant but the one that Adler mentions is probably even more significant than any: that all human beings have a desire to belong and to feel significant and important. And the way to solve this problem is not to drown out the ego but to find your sense of importance in something outside of the self. And you are then able to live because you have given your life to something outside and something that is meaningful, objectified. You rise above this self-absorption to something outside. This is the way to go through life with a balance, with the proper perspective because you’ve given yourself to something greater than self. Sometimes it’s friends, sometimes it’s family, sometimes it’s a great cause, it’s a great loyalty, but give yourself to that something and life becomes meaningful.
  • I’ve seen people who discovered a great meaning in their jobs and they became so absorbed in that that they didn’t have time to become self-centered. They loved their job. And the great prayer that anyone could pray at that point is: “O God, help me to love my job as this individual loves his or hers. O God, help me to give my self to my work and to my job and to my allegiance as this individual does.” And this is the way out. And I think this is what [Ralph Waldo] Emerson meant when he said: “O, see how the masses of men worry themselves into nameless graves, while here and there, some great unselfish soul forgets himself into immortality.” And this becomes a point of balance when you can forget yourself into immortality. You’re not so absorbed in self, but you are absorbed in something beyond self.
  • And there is another way to rise above self-centeredness and that is by having the proper inner attitude toward your position or toward your status in life or whatever it is. You conquer self-centeredness by coming to the point of seeing that you are where you are today because somebody helped you to get there. And so many people, you see, live a self-centered, egocentric life because they have the attitude that they are responsible for everything and for their position in life. For everything they do in life, they feel, somehow, that they are responsible and solely responsible for it.
  • An individual gets away from this type of self-centeredness when he pauses enough to see that no matter what he does in life, he does that because somebody helped him to do it. And he then gains the type of perspective and the type of balance which keeps him from becoming self-centered. He comes to see that somebody stands in the background, often doing a little job in a big way, making it possible for him to do what he’s doing.
  • [N]o matter where you stand, no matter how much popularity you have, no matter how much education you have, no matter how much money you have, you have it because somebody in this universe helped you to get it. And when you see that, you can’t be arrogant, you can’t be supercilious. You discover that you have your position because of the events of history and because of individuals in the background making it possible for you to stand there.
  • One of the problems that I have to face and even fight every day is this problem of self-centeredness, this tendency that can so easily come to my life now that I’m something special, that I’m something important. Living over the past year, I can hardly go into any city or any town in this nation where I’m not lavished with hospitality by peoples of all races and of all creeds. I can hardly go anywhere to speak in this nation where hundreds and thousands of people are not turned away because of lack of space. And then after speaking, I often have to be rushed out to get away from the crowd rushing for autographs. I can hardly walk the street in any city of this nation where I’m not confronted with people running up the street, “Isn’t this Reverend King of Alabama?” Living under this it’s easy, it’s a dangerous tendency that I will come to feel that I’m something special, that I stand somewhere in this universe because of my ingenuity and that I’m important, that I can walk around life with a type of arrogance because of an importance that I have. And one of the prayers that I pray to God everyday is: “O God, help me to see myself in my true perspective. Help me, O God, to see that I’m just a symbol of a movement. Help me to see that I’m the victim of what the Germans call a Zeitgeist and that something was getting ready to happen in history; history was ready for it. And that a boycott would have taken place in Montgomery, Alabama, if I had never come to Alabama. Help me to realize that I’m where I am because of the forces of history and because of the fifty thousand Negroes of Alabama who will never get their names in the papers and in the headline. O God, help me to see that where I stand today, I stand because others helped me to stand there and because the forces of history projected me there. And this moment would have come in history even if M. L. King had never been born.” And when we come to see that, we stand with a humility. This is the prayer I pray to God every day, “Lord help me to see M. L. King as M. L. King in his true perspective.” Because if I don’t see that, I will become the biggest fool in America.
  • We never get anywhere in this world without the forces of history and individual persons in the background helping us to get there. If you have the privilege of a fine education, well, you have it because somebody made it possible. If you have the privilege to gain wealth and a bit of the world’s goods, well, you have it because somebody made it possible. So don’t boast, don’t be arrogant. You, at that moment, rise out of your self-centeredness to the type of living that makes you an integrated personality.
  • Finally, the proper religious faith gives you this type of balance and this type of perspective that I’m talking about. This, you see, is something of the genius of great religion, that on the one hand, it gives man a sense of belonging and on the other hand, it gives him a sense of dependence on something higher. So he realizes that there is something beyond in which he lives and moves and even moves and gains his being. This is what great religion does for him.
  • And there needs to be something in your life of a goddess of Nemesis which pulls you down when you get too high and pulls you up when you feel the sense of inadequacy and that is what religion at its best does. It keeps you to the point that you don’t feel like you are too low and you don’t feel like you are too high but you’ll maintain that type of balance. And you come to see that you’re an adjective, not a noun. It is only God that is a noun, you are a dependent clause not an independent clause. You come to see through great religion, somehow, there is only one being in this universe that can say “I am” unconditionally. We turn over to Genesis and we read of God saying, “I am that I am,” and that’s the only being that can say that. But man is a child of God and he must always say, “I am, because of.” And when you come to see that, you see that your existence is adjectival; it is dependent on something else. Your existence is dependent on the existence of a higher power and you can’t walk around the universe with arrogance. You can’t walk about the universe with a haughty spirit because you know that there is a God in this universe that you are dependent on.
  • For a long time, man felt that he was the center of the universe and all of his science had given him that. All of the days in the past he came up under what was known as the geocentric theory: the earth was the center of the universe and everything revolved around the earth. Then came Copernicus and Galileo and others, said that the sun is the center, the heliocentric theory came into being. And that reminded us somehow that we are dependent on something. We are not just at the center of this universe. We are only at the center to the extent that we give ourselves and our allegiance to God Almighty. And I’m so glad that the new science came into being to dampen our arrogance. It says to us that our earthly planet is a dependent planet; it is a small planet in the orbits of this universe. The sun is the center of this universe, that man must look beyond himself to discover his significance. And that does something to each of us so that we can see when we have faith in God that we have nothing to boast about, we have nothing to be arrogant about but we live with a humility that keeps us going.
  • As I look at drunkard men walking the streets of Montgomery and of other cities every day, I find myself saying, “But by the grace of God, you too would be a drunkard.” As I look at those who have lost balance of themselves and those who are giving their lives to a tragic life of pleasure and throwing away everything they have in riotous living, I find myself saying, “But by the grace of God, I too would be here.” And when you see that point, you cannot be arrogant. But you walk through life with a humility that takes away the self-centeredness that makes you a disintegrated personality.
  • [Y]ou are what you are because of somebody else. You are what you are because of the grace of the Almighty God. He who seeks to find his ego will lose it. But he who loses his ego in some great cause, some great purpose, some great ideal, some great loyalty, he who discovers, somehow, that he stands where he stands because of the forces of history and because of other individuals; he who discovers that he stands where he stands because of the grace of God, finds himself. He loses himself in that something but later finds himself. And this is the way, it seems to me, to the integrated personality.

Remarks at Clinton Global Initiative (September 2012)[edit]

Our people and our children are not for sale.
A sense of justice that says no child should ever be exploited, that has to be burned into the cultures of every country.
Human trafficking is not a business model, it is a crime.
Remarks by the President to the Clinton Global Initiative at Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers in New York City, New York on September 25, 2012
  • As Bill mentioned, I’ve come to CGI every year that I’ve been President, and I’ve talked with you about how we need to sustain the economic recovery, how we need to create more jobs. I’ve talked about the importance of development -- from global health to our fight against HIV/AIDS to the growth that lifts nations to prosperity. We've talked about development and how it has to include women and girls -- because by every benchmark, nations that educate their women and girls end up being more successful. And today, I want to discuss an issue that relates to each of these challenges. It ought to concern every person, because it is a debasement of our common humanity. It ought to concern every community, because it tears at our social fabric. It ought to concern every business, because it distorts markets. It ought to concern every nation, because it endangers public health and fuels violence and organized crime. I’m talking about the injustice, the outrage, of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name -- modern slavery.
  • Now, I do not use that word, "slavery" lightly. It evokes obviously one of the most painful chapters in our nation’s history. But around the world, there’s no denying the awful reality. When a man, desperate for work, finds himself in a factory or on a fishing boat or in a field, working, toiling, for little or no pay, and beaten if he tries to escape -- that is slavery. When a woman is locked in a sweatshop, or trapped in a home as a domestic servant, alone and abused and incapable of leaving -- that’s slavery. When a little boy is kidnapped, turned into a child soldier, forced to kill or be killed -- that’s slavery. When a little girl is sold by her impoverished family -- girls my daughters’ age -- runs away from home, or is lured by the false promises of a better life, and then imprisoned in a brothel and tortured if she resists -- that’s slavery. It is barbaric, and it is evil, and it has no place in a civilized world.
  • Our people and our children are not for sale. But for all the progress that we’ve made, the bitter truth is that trafficking also goes on right here, in the United States. It’s the migrant worker unable to pay off the debt to his trafficker. The man, lured here with the promise of a job, his documents then taken, and forced to work endless hours in a kitchen. The teenage girl, beaten, forced to walk the streets. This should not be happening in the United States of America.
  • Of course, no government, no nation, can meet this challenge alone. Everybody has a responsibility. Every nation can take action. Modern anti-trafficking laws must be passed and enforced and justice systems must be strengthened. Victims must be cared for. [...] And more broadly, as nations, let’s recommit to addressing the underlying forces that push so many into bondage in the first place. With development and economic growth that creates legitimate jobs, there’s less likelihood of indentured servitude around the globe. A sense of justice that says no child should ever be exploited, that has to be burned into the cultures of every country.
  • Human trafficking is not a business model, it is a crime, and we are going to stop it.
  • And every business can take action. All the business leaders who are here and our global economy companies have a responsibility to make sure that their supply chains, stretching into the far corners of the globe, are free of forced labor. [...] Every faith community can take action as well, by educating their congregations, by joining in coalitions that are bound by a love of God and a concern for the oppressed. And like that Good Samaritan on the road to Jericho, we can’t just pass by, indifferent. We’ve got to be moved by compassion. We’ve got to bind up the wounds. Let’s come together around a simple truth -- that we are our brother’s keepers and we are our sister’s keepers. And finally, every citizen can take action: by learning more; by going to the website that we helped create -- SlaveryFootprint.org; by speaking up and insisting that the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the products we buy are made free of forced labor; by standing up against the degradation and abuse of women.

Keep Moving From This Mountain (1965)[edit]

In every age and every generation, men have envisioned a promised land.
What doth it profit a man to gain the whole world of means — airplanes, televisions, electric lights — and lose the end: the soul?"
No nation can rise to its full moral maturity so long as it subjects a segment of its citizenry on the basis of race or color.
A great nation is a compassionate nation.
Love is the supreme unifying principle of life.
It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence; it is either nonviolence or nonexistence.
Sermon at Temple Israel of Hollywood (25 February 1965) - Online text and audio
  • I would like to take your minds back many, many centuries into a familiar experience so significantly recorded in the sacred Scriptures. The Children of Israel had been reduced into the bondage of physical slavery... three groups of people emerged. One group said in substance that "We would rather go back to Egypt." They preferred the flush parts of Egypt to the challenges of the Promised Land. A second group that abhorred the idea of going back to Egypt, and yet they abhorred the idea of facing the difficulties of moving ahead to the Promised Land and they somehow wanted to remain stationary and choose the line of least resistance. There was a third group, probably influenced by Caleb and Joshua who had gone over to spy a bit and who admitted that there were giants in the land but who said, "We can possess the land." This group said in substance that "We will go on in spite of...," that "We will not allow anything to stop us," that "We will move on amid the difficulties, amid the trials, amid the tribulations."
  • Now certainly, one could almost preach a sermon from either of these groups. This evening I want to deal mainly with the second group: those individuals that chose the line of least resistance, those individuals who didn’t want to go back to Egypt but who did not quite have the strength to move on to the Promised Land. These are probably the people who wanted to remain stationary. These are the people who probably wanted to stop at a particular point and remain right there in the wilderness. God speaks through Moses to these people. The first chapter of the book of Deuteronomy said, “Ye have been in this mountain long enough. Turn you and take your journey and go to the mount of the Amorites.” In other words, God was saying through Moses that you must not allow yourself to get bogged down with unattained goals. You must not allow yourself to get caught up in impeding mountains. Whenever God speaks, he says, "Go forward." Whenever God speaks, he says, "Move on from mountains of stagnant complacency and deadening pacifity." So this is the great challenge that always stands before men.
  • In every age and every generation, men have envisioned a promised land. Some may have envisioned it with the wrong ideology, with the wrong philosophical presupposition. But men in every generation thought in terms of some promised land. [...] Whenever men have thought seriously of life, they have dreamed of a promised land, and so in a sense we are all moving toward some promised land.
  • Each of us lives in two realms, the "within" and the "without." The within of our lives is somehow found in the realm of ends, the without in the realm of means. The within of our [lives], the bottom — that realm of spiritual ends expressed in art, literature, morals, and religion for which at best we live. The without of our lives is that realm of instrumentalities, techniques, mechanisms by which we live. Now the great temptation of life and the great tragedy of life is that so often we allow the without of our lives to absorb the within of our lives. The great tragedy of life is that too often we allow the means by which we live to outdistance the ends for which we live.
  • We have allowed our civilization to outrun our culture; we have allowed our technology to outdistance our theology and for this reason we find ourselves caught up with many problems. Through our scientific genius we made of the world a neighborhood, but we failed through moral commitment to make of it a brotherhood, and so we’ve ended up with guided missiles and misguided men. And the great challenge is to move out of the mountain of practical materialism and move on to another and higher mountain which recognizes somehow that we must live by and toward the basic ends of life. We must move on to that mountain which says in substance, "What doth it profit a man to gain the whole world of means — airplanes, televisions, electric lights — and lose the end: the soul?"
  • And now it is time for us to move on to that great and noble realm of justice and brotherhood. That is the great struggle taking place in our nation today. It isn’t a struggle just based on a lot of noise; it is a struggle to save the soul of our nation for no nation can rise to its full moral maturity so long as it subjects a segment of its citizenry on the basis of race or color. And somehow we must come to see more than ever before that racial injustice is a cancer in the body politic which must be removed before our moral health can be realized. Racial segregation must be seen for what it is — and that is an evil system, a new form of slavery covered up with certain niceties of complexity. [...] Segregation is evil because it relegates persons to the status of things. [...] And segregation is evil because it stigmatizes the segregated as an untouchable in a caste system. We’ve been in the mountain of segregation long enough and it is time for all men of goodwill to say now, “We are through with segregation now, henceforth, and forever more.”
  • A great nation is a compassionate nation. Who are the least of these? The least of these are those who still find themselves smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in an affluent society. Who are the least of these? They are the thousands of individuals who see life as a long and desolate corridor with no exit sign. Who are the least of these? They are the little boys and little girls who grow up with clouds of inferiority floating in their little mental skies because they know that they are caught in conditions of economic depravation. Who are the least of these? They are the individuals who are caught in the fatigue of despair. And somehow if we are to be a great nation, we must be concerned about the least of these, our brothers.
  • And we’ve been in the mountain of indifference too long and ultimately we must be concerned about the least of these; we must be concerned about the poverty-stricken because our destinies are tied together. And somehow in the final analysis, as long as there is poverty in the world, nobody can be totally rich. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. And what affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. John Donne caught it years ago and placed it in graphic terms, “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” And he goes on toward the end to say, “Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never sin to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.” And when we see this, we will move out of the mountain of indifference concerning poverty.
  • I’m more convinced than ever before that violence can not solve the problems of the world. Violence is both impractical and immoral. This is why I’ve tried in my little way to teach it in our struggle for racial justice that I’ve come to see and I believe with all my heart that we can not make the great moral contribution to our nation that we should make, and we can not win the battle for justice if we stoop to the point of using violence in our struggle.
  • Love is basic for the very survival of mankind. I’m convinced that love is the only absolute ultimately; love is the highest good. He who loves has somehow discovered the meaning of ultimate reality. He who hates does not know God; he who hates has no knowledge of God. Love is the supreme unifying principle of life. Psychiatrists are telling us now that many of the strange things that happen in the [subconscious], many of the inner conflicts are rooted in hate, and they are now saying “Love or perish.” Oh, how basic this is. It rings down across the centuries: Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy strength, with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself. We’ve been in the mountain of violence and hatred too long.
  • We’ve got to move on to the point of seeing that on the international scale, war is obsolete -- that it must somehow be cast into unending limbo. But in a day when Sputniks and Explorers are dashing through outer space and guided ballistic missiles are carving highways of death through the stratosphere, no nation can win a war. It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence; it is either nonviolence or nonexistence. And the alternative to disarmament, the alternative to a greater suspension of nuclear tests, the alternative to strengthening the United Nations and thereby disarming the whole world may well be a civilization plunged into the abyss of annihilation. And so we must rise up and beat our swords into plowshares, and our spears into pruning hooks and nations must not rise up against nations, neither must they study war anymore.
  • We’ve been in the mountain of war. We’ve been in the mountain of violence. We’ve been in the mountain of hatred long enough. It is necessary to move on now, but only by moving out of this mountain can we move to the promised land of justice and brotherhood and the Kingdom of God. It all boils down to the fact that we must never allow ourselves to become satisfied with unattained goals. We must always maintain a kind of divine discontent.
  • Modern psychology has a word that is probably used more than any other word in psychology. It is the word "maladjusted." Certainly we all want to live the well adjusted life in order to avoid neurotic and schizophrenic personalities. But I must honestly say to you tonight my friends that there are some things in our world, there are some things in our nation to which I’m proud to be maladjusted, to which I call upon all men of goodwill to be maladjusted until the good society is realized. I must honestly say to you that I never intend to adjust myself to segregation and discrimination. I never intend to become adjusted to religious bigotry. I never intend to adjust myself to economic conditions that will take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few. I never intend to adjust myself to the madness of militarism and the self defeating effects of physical violence.
  • If physical death is the price that some must pay to free their children and their white brothers from a permanent death of the spirit, then nothing can be more redemptive.
  • And I believe it because somehow the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice. We shall overcome because Carlyle is right: “No lie can live forever.” We shall overcome because William Cullen Bryant is right: “Truth crushed to earth will rise again.” We shall overcome because James Russell Lowell is right: “Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne. Yet, that scaffold sways the future and behind the dim unknown standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own.” With this faith we will be able to hue out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to speed up the day. And in the words of prophecy, “Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The rough places will be made plain and the crooked places straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.” This will be a great day. This will be a marvelous hour. And at that moment, figuratively speaking in biblical words: “the morning stars will sing together and the sons of God will shout for joy.”

The United States and Afghanistan reached an agreement on the final language of the bilateral security agreement[136], which according State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki wasn't the final document and which U.S. officials were still reviewing it, [137] on November 20, 2013.[138][139][140][141][137] A letter written by U.S. President Obama[142] said U.S. forces will be “cooperating in training, advising, and assisting” Afghan forces “in a targeted, smaller, counterterrorism mission.”[143] There is no limit on how long U.S. forces would remain in Afghanistan[138] The accord also has no expiration date.[144] The agreement says that “unless mutually agreed, United States forces shall not conduct combat operations in Afghanistan.” It states the parties’ “intention of protecting U.S. and Afghan national interests without U.S. military counter-terrorism operations” but does not specifically prohibit such operations.[138] United States Special Operations forces will retain leeway to conduct antiterrorism raids on private Afghan homes[139] American counterterrorism operations will be intended to “complement and support” Afghan missions[139] and that US forces will not conduct military operations in Afghanistan "unless mutually agreed" the text says.[145]. It underscores that Afghan forces will be in the lead and that any American military operations will be carried out “with full respect for Afghan sovereignty and full regard for the safety and security of the Afghan people, including in their homes.”[139][140] It also notes that “U.S. forces shall not target Afghan civilians, including in their homes, consistent with Afghan law and United States forces’ rules of engagement.”[138] U.S. President Barack Obama wrote in a letter to his Afghan counterpart: "US forces shall not enter Afghan homes for the purposes of military operations, except under extraordinary circumstances involving urgent risk to life and limb of US nationals. We will continue to make every effort to respect the sanctity and dignity of Afghans in their homes and in their daily lives, just as we do for our own citizens."[146]

The agreement does not spell out the number of U.S. forces who will remain, but Afghan President Karzai said on November 21, 2013 that he envisions up to 15,000 NATO troops being based in the country. According to several estimates, the United States plans to maintain a force of no more than 10,000 troops in Afghanistan after 2014. The draft agreement allows an indefinite U.S. presence, but Karzai said on November 21, 2013 it would be in place for 10 years.[143] The agreement also includes language on the U.S. government's continued funding for Afghan security forces, funneling such contributions through the Kabul-based government.[140]

The agreement text grants the United States full legal jurisdiction over U.S. troops and Defense Department civilians working in Afghanistan.[138] On troop immunity, it says that Afghanistan agrees “that the United States shall have the exclusive right to exercise jurisdiction” over members of the force and its civilian component “in respect of any criminal or civil offenses committed in the territory of Afghanistan.”,[138] and that "Afghanistan authorises the United States to hold [civil and criminal] trial in such cases, or take other disciplinary action, as appropriate, in the territory of Afghanistan.",[141][145] but Afghan authorities can ask that anyone be taken out of the country.[140] Afghan authorities are prohibited from detaining American troops or U.S. civilians working with them. In the event that happens “for any reason,” however, those personnel “shall be immediately handed over to United States forces authorities.”[138] The agreement also specifies that American troops and civilians cannot be surrendered to any “international tribunal or any other entity or state” without express U.S. consent. Afghanistan, it says, retains legal jurisdiction over civilian contractors, and contractors are prohibited from wearing military uniforms and “may only carry weapons in accordance with Afghan laws and regulations.”[138]

The document has a clause committing the United States to consulting with the Afghan government in the event of external threats, but not the sort of NATO-style mutual defense pact the Afghans originally wanted. “The United States shall regard with grave concern any external aggression or threat of external aggression against the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Afghanistan,” the proposed agreement states. There is a later clause saying they would “consult urgently” in the event of such aggression.[139] U.S. President Obama added in a letter to his Afghan counterpart: "The US commitment to Afghanistan's independence, territorial integrity, and national unity, as enshrined in our Strategic Partnership Agreement, is enduring, as is our respect for Afghan sovereignty."[146]

In a preamble, the draft specifies that “the United States does not seek permanent military facilities in Afghanistan, or a presence that is a threat to Afghanistan’s neighbors, and has pledged not to use Afghan territory or facilities as a launching point for attacks on other countries.”[138] It says that “unless otherwise mutually agreed, United States forces shall not conduct combat operations in Afghanistan” and makes no promise of U.S. military support in the event of an attack or other security threat to Afghanistan. If there is such a threat, it says, the United States will regard it with “grave concern,” consult and “shall urgently determine support it is prepared to provide.”[138] But the United States stated the U.S. will regard any external aggression with "grave concern" and will "strongly oppose" military threats or force against Afghanistan after 2014.[137]

The draft agreement says that U.S. military and Defense Department civilian personnel are exempt from visa requirements and taxation. Afghan taxes and other fees will not be imposed on the entry or exit of goods specifically for the use of U.S. forces.[138] An annex to the draft lists locations where Afghanistan agrees to provide facilities for U.S. forces, including Kabul; Bagram, north of the capital, where the United States has its largest current base; Mazar-e Sharif in northern Afghanistan; Herat in the west; Kandahar in the south; Shindand in Herat province; Sharab in Helmand province; Gardez, south of Kabul; and Jalalabad, to the east.[138] The draft document gives the U.S. the right to deploy American forces on nine bases, including the two biggest, the airfields in Bagram and Kandahar. It also allows U.S. military planes to fly in and out of Afghanistan from seven air bases, including Kabul International Airport.[137] U.S. forces would be permitted under the document to transport supplies from five border crossings, described along with the air bases as "official points of embarkation and debarkation."[137] All bases in Afghanistan would revert to Afghan ownership and sovereignty after 2014, according to the draft.[137]

The draft of the agreement was finalized early on November 19, 2013 after Obama wrote Karzai a letter assuring him that U.S. forces will continue to respect the “sanctity and dignity of the Afghan people.”[143] The agreement must as of November 21, 2013 be ratified by an Afghan grand council of elders[139] and by ratified by the parliaments of Afghnistan and the United States.[138] The agreement ,according to the draft wording, takes effect Jan. 1, 2015 and then “it shall remain in force until the end of 2024 and beyond“ unless terminated with two years’ advance notice.[139] Afghan President Karzai said that the agreement would not be signed until after 2014 elections in Afghanistan,[147][148] but U.S. officials have said unequivocally that the agreement must be signed by the end of the year 2013, if not sooner, to allow the Pentagon to prepare for its role after the American combat mission ends.[143][148]

Nach Recherchen des NDR und der Süddeutschen Zeitung werden Aussagen von Asylbewerbern über die Sicherheitslage in ihren Heimatländern von deutschen Geheimdienstlern der "Hauptstelle für Befragungswesen" (HBW) (eine Einrichtung, die eng mit dem Bundesnachrichtendienst zusammenarbeitet und direkt dem Kanzleramt unterstellt ist) gesammelt und dann vom BND[149] an die Militärgeheimdienste der USA und Großbritanniens weitergegeben. Dort fließen sie auch in die Zielerfassung für US-Tötungsaktionen mit Kampfdrohnen in Krisengebieten wie Somalia oder Irak ein.[150][151][152]

Karzai, who earlier stated he would sign what he had agreed to sign, stated later, after the annoucement of the Bilatereal Security Agreement (BSA) draft textthat, he wouldn’t sign it until 2014, after a presidential election to choose his successor, but before he leaves office. Aimal Faizi, a spokesman for Karzai, stated that Karzai wanted to wait until after the election in April 2013 to test further conditions: whether American forces would stop raids on Afghan homes, whether the Obama Administration will help stabilize security in Afghanistan, help promote peace talks and not interfere in the election.[153][154] Officials of the Obama Administration consider the signing date to be non­­negotiable, citing the need for at least a year to plan future deployments and to allow coalition partners, including Germany and Italy, to plan for a residual troop presence that they have offered.[154]

The text of the BSA was approved by the delegates at the Loya Jirga on November 24, 2013 and must now be signed by the Afghanistan president, who rejected the final recommendation of the Loya Jirga promptly to sign the BSA with the United States, and sent to the parliament for final ratification.[155][156][157][158][159] If approved, the agreement would allow the U.S. to deploy military advisors to train and equip Afghan security forces, along with U.S. special-operations troops for anti-terrorism missions against Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. President Obama will determine the size of the force.[158][160] The jirga set a few conditions before expressing approval for the agreement among them a 10-year time limit on the post-2014 troop presence and reparations for damages caused by U.S. troops deployed in Afghanistan.[156] It also voted attach a letter of U.S. President Obama; pledging that U.S. troops would enter Afghan homes only in "extraordinary" circumstances and only if American lives were at direct risk, to the BSA.[158] The elder assembly also demanded the release of 19 Afghans from the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay and a stronger U.S. pledge to defend Afghanistan from any incursion from it neighbors, particularly Pakistan. The loya jirga also voted to request that the U.S. military add a base[159] to the nine bases that would be occupied by U.S. troops under the proposed security pact after combat forces depart Afghanistan by the end of 2014. The base is in Bamian Province in central Afghanistan, where the NATO-led military coalition has maintained a presence. Bamian is a population center for Hazaras, a Shiite minority whose members were massacred by the Taliban prior to the U.S.-led invasion that toppled the militant group. Afghan analysts said Hazara delegates proposed the additional base.[158] At least five of the 50 jirga committees raised objections to the article addressing “status of personnel” which “authorises the United States to hold [civil and criminal] trial … or take other disciplinary action, as appropriate, in the territory of Afghanistan” when a US soldier is accused of criminal activity.[159] Spokespeople from at least two committees directly stated that Afghanistan should have jurisdiction over any US soldiers accused of crimes on Afghan soil. Several committees also stated that if trials are held in the United States, families of victims should have access to and presence in US-held trials at the expense of Washington.[159]

Sixth State of the Union Address (2014)[edit]

Citizenship means standing up for everyone's right to vote.[...] It should be the power of our vote, not the size of our bank account, that drives our democracy.
Citizenship demands a sense of common purpose; participation in the hard work of self-government; an obligation to serve to our communities.
We counter terrorism not just through intelligence and military action but by remaining true to our constitutional ideals and setting an example for the rest of the world.
America has never come easy. Our freedom, our democracy, has never been easy. Sometimes we stumble; we make mistakes; we get frustrated or discouraged. But for more than two hundred years, we have put those things aside and placed our collective shoulder to the wheel of progress: to create and build and expand the possibilities of individual achievement; to free other nations from tyranny and fear; to promote justice and fairness and equality under the law, so that the words set to paper by our founders are made real for every citizen.
Sixth State of the Union Address delivered on January 28, 2014 during a joint session of the United States Congress
  • Tonight this chamber speaks with one voice to the people we represent: It is you, our citizens, who make the state of our union strong.
  • And in the coming months, let's see where else we can make progress together. Let's make this a year of action. That's what most Americans want, for all of us in this chamber to focus on their lives, their hopes, their aspirations. And what I believe unites the people of this nation, regardless of race or region or party, young or old, rich or poor, is the simple, profound belief in opportunity for all, the notion that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead in America.
  • The point is, there are millions of Americans outside Washington who are tired of stale political arguments and are moving this country forward. They believe, and I believe, that here in America, our success should depend not on accident of birth but the strength of our work ethic and the scope of our dreams.
  • This year let's all come together, Congress, the White House, businesses from Wall Street to Main Street, to give every woman the opportunity she deserves, because I believe when women succeed, America succeeds.
  • Now, women hold a majority of lower-wage jobs, but they're not the only ones stifled by stagnant wages. Americans understand that some people will earn more money than others, and we don't resent those who, by virtue of their efforts, achieve incredible success. That's what America's all about. But Americans overwhelmingly agree that no one who works full-time should ever have to raise a family in poverty.
  • That's why tonight I ask every American who knows someone without health insurance to help them get covered by March 31st. Help them get covered. Moms, get on your kids to sign up. Kids, call your mom and walk her through the application. It'll give her some peace of mind, and plus, she'll appreciate hearing from you. After all, that -- that's the spirit that has always moved this nation forward. It's the spirit of citizenship, the recognition that through hard work and responsibility, we can pursue our individual dreams, but still come together as one American family to make sure the next generation can pursue its dreams as well.
  • Citizenship means standing up for everyone's right to vote. Last year, part of the Voting Rights Act was weakened, but conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats are working together to strengthen it. And the bipartisan commission I appointed, chaired by my campaign lawyer and Governor Romney's campaign lawyer, came together and have offered reforms so that no one has to wait more than a half hour to vote. Let's support these efforts. It should be the power of our vote, not the size of our bank account, that drives our democracy.
  • Citizenship demands a sense of common purpose; participation in the hard work of self-government; an obligation to serve to our communities.
  • For while our relationship with Afghanistan will change, one thing will not: our resolve that terrorists do not launch attacks against our country. [...] We have to remain vigilant. But I strongly believe our leadership and our security cannot depend on our outstanding military alone. As commander in chief, I have used force when needed to protect the American people, and I will never hesitate to do so as long as I hold this office. But I will not send our troops into harm's way unless it is truly necessary, nor will I allow our sons and daughters to be mired in open-ended conflicts. We must fight the battles that need to be fought, not those that terrorists prefer from us -- large-scale deployments that drain our strength and may ultimately feed extremism. So even as we actively and aggressively pursue terrorist networks, through more targeted efforts and by building the capacity of our foreign partners, America must move off a permanent war footing. That's why I've imposed prudent limits on the use of drones, for we will not be safer if people abroad believe we strike within their countries without regard for the consequence.
  • And with the Afghan war ending, this needs to be the year Congress lifts the remaining restrictions on detainee transfers and we close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, because we counter terrorism not just through intelligence and military action but by remaining true to our constitutional ideals and setting an example for the rest of the world.
  • If John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan could negotiate with the Soviet Union, then surely a strong and confident America can negotiate with less powerful adversaries today.
  • And finally, let's remember that our leadership is defined not just by our defense against threats but by the enormous opportunities to do good and promote understanding around the globe, to forge greater cooperation, to expand new markets, to free people from fear and want. And no one is better positioned to take advantage of those opportunities than America. Our alliance with Europe remains the strongest the world has ever known. From Tunisia to Burma, we're supporting those who are willing to do the hard work of building democracy. In Ukraine, we stand for the principle that all people have the right to express themselves freely and peacefully and to have a say in their country's future. [...] We do these things because they help promote our long-term security. And we do them because we believe in the inherent dignity and equality of every human being, regardless of race or religion, creed or sexual orientation. [...] My fellow Americans, no other country in the world does what we do. On every issue, the world turns to us, not simply because of the size of our economy or our military might but because of the ideals we stand for and the burdens we bear to advance them.
  • America has never come easy. Our freedom, our democracy, has never been easy. Sometimes we stumble; we make mistakes; we get frustrated or discouraged. But for more than two hundred years, we have put those things aside and placed our collective shoulder to the wheel of progress: to create and build and expand the possibilities of individual achievement; to free other nations from tyranny and fear; to promote justice and fairness and equality under the law, so that the words set to paper by our founders are made real for every citizen. The America we want for our kids -- a rising America where honest work is plentiful and communities are strong; where prosperity is widely shared and opportunity for all lets us go as far as our dreams and toil will take us -- none of it is easy. But if we work together; if we summon what is best in us [...], with our feet planted firmly in today but our eyes cast towards tomorrow, I know it's within our reach. Believe it.

Grundrecht aller Bürger auf Belastungsgleichheit bei Beiträgen zur Sozialversicherungs[161]

Address to European Youth (2014)[edit]

Through conscience and free will, each of us has the right to live as we choose.
Our enduring strength is also reflected in our respect for an international system that protects the rights of both nations and people -- a United Nations and a Universal Declaration of Human Rights; international law and the means to enforce those laws. But we also know that those rules are not self-executing; they depend on people and nations of goodwill continually affirming them.
No amount of propaganda can make right something that the world knows is wrong.
Our democracy, our individual opportunity only exists because those who came before us had the wisdom and the courage to recognize that our ideals will only endure if we see our self-interest in the success of other peoples and other nations.
Do not think for a moment that your own freedom, your own prosperity, that your own moral imagination is bound by the limits of your community, your ethnicity, or even your country. You’re bigger than that. You can help us to choose a better history.
Address to European Youth delivered on March 26, 2014 at Palais des Beaux Arts Brussels, Belgium
  • Throughout human history, societies have grappled with fundamental questions of how to organize themselves, the proper relationship between the individual and the state, the best means to resolve inevitable conflicts between states. And it was here in Europe, through centuries of struggle -- through war and Enlightenment, repression and revolution -- that a particular set of ideals began to emerge: The belief that through conscience and free will, each of us has the right to live as we choose. The belief that power is derived from the consent of the governed, and that laws and institutions should be established to protect that understanding. And those ideas eventually inspired a band of colonialists across an ocean, and they wrote them into the founding documents that still guide America today, including the simple truth that all men -- and women -- are created equal. But those ideals have also been tested -- here in Europe and around the world. Those ideals have often been threatened by an older, more traditional view of power. This alternative vision argues that ordinary men and women are too small-minded to govern their own affairs, that order and progress can only come when individuals surrender their rights to an all-powerful sovereign. Often, this alternative vision roots itself in the notion that by virtue of race or faith or ethnicity, some are inherently superior to others, and that individual identity must be defined by “us” versus “them,” or that national greatness must flow not by what a people stand for, but by what they are against. In many ways, the history of Europe in the 20th century represented the ongoing clash of these two sets of ideas, both within nations and among nations. The advance of industry and technology outpaced our ability to resolve our differences peacefully, and even among the most civilized of societies, on the surface we saw a descent into barbarism.
  • This morning at Flanders Field, I was reminded of how war between peoples sent a generation to their deaths in the trenches and gas of the First World War. And just two decades later, extreme nationalism plunged this continent into war once again -- with populations enslaved, and great cities reduced to rubble, and tens of millions slaughtered, including those lost in the Holocaust. It is in response to this tragic history that, in the aftermath of World War II, America joined with Europe to reject the darker forces of the past and build a new architecture of peace. Workers and engineers gave life to the Marshall Plan. Sentinels stood vigilant in a NATO Alliance that would become the strongest the world has ever known. And across the Atlantic, we embraced a shared vision of Europe -- a vision based on representative democracy, individual rights, and a belief that nations can meet the interests of their citizens through trade and open markets; a social safety net and respect for those of different faiths and backgrounds.
  • Young people in the audience today, young people like Laura, were born in a place and a time where there is less conflict, more prosperity and more freedom than any time in human history. But that’s not because man’s darkest impulses have vanished. Even here, in Europe, we’ve seen ethnic cleansing in the Balkans that shocked the conscience. The difficulties of integration and globalization, recently amplified by the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes, strained the European project and stirred the rise of a politics that too often targets immigrants or gays or those who seem somehow different. While technology has opened up vast opportunities for trade and innovation and cultural understanding, it’s also allowed terrorists to kill on a horrifying scale. Around the world, sectarian warfare and ethnic conflicts continue to claim thousands of lives. And once again, we are confronted with the belief among some that bigger nations can bully smaller ones to get their way -- that recycled maxim that might somehow makes right. So I come here today to insist that we must never take for granted the progress that has been won here in Europe and advanced around the world, because the contest of ideas continues for your generation. And that’s what’s at stake in Ukraine today. Russia’s leadership is challenging truths that only a few weeks ago seemed self-evident -- that in the 21st century, the borders of Europe cannot be redrawn with force, that international law matters, that people and nations can make their own decisions about their future.
  • None of us can know for certain what the coming days will bring in Ukraine, but I am confident that eventually those voices -- those voices for human dignity and opportunity and individual rights and rule of law -- those voices ultimately will triumph. I believe that over the long haul, as nations that are free, as free people, the future is ours. I believe this not because I’m naïve, and I believe this not because of the strength of our arms or the size of our economies, I believe this because these ideals that we affirm are true; these ideals are universal.
  • Yes, we believe in democracy -- with elections that are free and fair; and independent judiciaries and opposition parties; civil society and uncensored information so that individuals can make their own choices. Yes, we believe in open economies based on free markets and innovation, and individual initiative and entrepreneurship, and trade and investment that creates a broader prosperity. And, yes, we believe in human dignity -- that every person is created equal, no matter who you are, or what you look like, or who you love, or where you come from. That is what we believe. That’s what makes us strong. And our enduring strength is also reflected in our respect for an international system that protects the rights of both nations and people -- a United Nations and a Universal Declaration of Human Rights; international law and the means to enforce those laws. But we also know that those rules are not self-executing; they depend on people and nations of goodwill continually affirming them.
  • Of course, neither the United States nor Europe are perfect in adherence to our ideals, nor do we claim to be the sole arbiter of what is right or wrong in the world. We are human, after all, and we face difficult choices about how to exercise our power. But part of what makes us different is that we welcome criticism, just as we welcome the responsibilities that come with global leadership.
  • No amount of propaganda can make right something that the world knows is wrong.
  • There will always be voices who say that what happens in the wider world is not our concern, nor our responsibility. But we must never forget that we are heirs to a struggle for freedom. Our democracy, our individual opportunity only exists because those who came before us had the wisdom and the courage to recognize that our ideals will only endure if we see our self-interest in the success of other peoples and other nations.
  • And it is you, the young people of Europe, young people like Laura, who will help decide which way the currents of our history will flow. Do not think for a moment that your own freedom, your own prosperity, that your own moral imagination is bound by the limits of your community, your ethnicity, or even your country. You’re bigger than that. You can help us to choose a better history. That’s what Europe tells us. That’s what the American experience is all about.
  • In the end, the success of our ideals comes down to us -- including the example of our own lives, our own societies. We know that there will always be intolerance. But instead of fearing the immigrant, we can welcome him. We can insist on policies that benefit the many, not just the few; that an age of globalization and dizzying change opens the door of opportunity to the marginalized, and not just a privileged few. Instead of targeting our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, we can use our laws to protect their rights. Instead of defining ourselves in opposition to others, we can affirm the aspirations that we hold in common. That’s what will make America strong. That’s what will make Europe strong. That’s what makes us who we are. And just as we meet our responsibilities as individuals, we must be prepared to meet them as nations. Because we live in a world in which our ideals are going to be challenged again and again by forces that would drag us back into conflict or corruption. We can’t count on others to rise to meet those tests.
  • And that’s the question we all must answer -- what kind of Europe, what kind of America, what kind of world will we leave behind. And I believe that if we hold firm to our principles, and are willing to back our beliefs with courage and resolve, then hope will ultimately overcome fear, and freedom will continue to triumph over tyranny -- because that is what forever stirs in the human heart.

People are intellectual disabled and thus uneligble for the death penalty if these three conditions are met the Aktins court :“subaverage intellectual functioning,” meaning low I.Q. scores; a lack of fundamental social and practical skills; and the presence of both conditions before age 18.[162] The Aktins court also stated I.Q. scores under “approximately 70” typically indicate disability, but the court let it the states determine who is mentally disabled and thus can't be executed.Cite error: A <ref> tag is missing the closing </ref> (see the help page). the U.S. Supreme Court narrowed the discretion under which U.S. states can designate an individual convicted of murder as too intellectually incapacitated to be executed.[163] The court prohibited states in borderline cases from relying only on intelligence test scores to determine whether a death row inmate is eligible to be executed. States must look beyond IQ scores when inmates test in the range of 70 to 75. IQ tests have a margin of error, and those inmates whose scores fall within the margin must be allowed to present other evidence of mental disability, Justice Anthony Kennedy said in his majority opinion.[164]

In a 5 to 4 decision authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy the Hall court held that the tates may not use a "rigid rule" that denies leniency to defendants with severe mental disabilities simply because they score 70 or above on an IQ test.[165] “Florida seeks to execute a man because he scored a 71 instead of 70 on an I.Q. test,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority.[162] "This rigid rule, the court now holds, creates an unacceptable risk that persons with an intellectual disability will be executed, and thus is unconstitutional," Kennedy said.[165] If an individual claiming intellectual incapacity has an IQ score that falls somewhere between 70 and 75, then that individual’s lawyers must be allowed to offer additional clinical evidence of intellectual deficit, including, most importantly, the inability to learn basic skills and adapt how to react to changing circumstances.[163] The court also modified its 2002 Aktkins decision by adopting the term "intellectually disabled" to replace "mentally retarded," which had been used in prior opinions. Intellectually disabled refers to people of limited intellectual and adaptive capabilities, according to the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, and the term is preferred by the medical profession.[166]

25th Anniversary of Polish Freedom Day Speech[edit]

Democracy is more than just elections. True democracy, real prosperity, lasting security -- these are neither simply given, nor imposed from the outside. They must be earned and built from within.
The blessings of liberty must be earned and renewed by every generation -- including our own.
Remarks by President Obama at 25th Anniversary of Polsih Freedom Day delivered on June 4, 2014 at Castle Square, Warsaw, Poland
  • Poland reminds us that sometimes the smallest steps, however imperfect, can ultimately tear down walls, can ultimately transform the world.
  • For democracy is more than just elections. True democracy, real prosperity, lasting security -- these are neither simply given, nor imposed from the outside. They must be earned and built from within. They must be earned and built from within. And in that age-old contest of ideas -- between freedom and authoritarianism, between liberty and oppression, between solidarity and intolerance -- Poland’s progress shows the enduring strength of the ideals that we cherish as a free people. Here we see the strength of democracy: Citizens raising their voices, free from fear. Here we see political parties competing in open and honest elections. Here we see an independent judiciary working to uphold the rule of law. Here in Poland we see a vibrant press and a growing civil society that holds leaders accountable -- because governments exist to lift up their people, not to hold them down.
  • Poland understands as few other nations do that every nation must be free to chart its own course, to forge its own partnerships, to choose its own allies.
  • Our democracies must be defined not by what or who we’re against, but by a politics of inclusion and tolerance that welcomes all our citizens. Our economies must deliver a broader prosperity that creates more opportunity -- across Europe and across the world -- especially for young people. Leaders must uphold the public trust and stand against corruption, not steal from the pockets of their own people. Our societies must embrace a greater justice that recognizes the inherent dignity of every human being. And as we’ve been reminded by Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, our free nations cannot be complacent in pursuit of the vision we share -- a Europe that is whole and free and at peace. We have to work for that. We have to stand with those who seek freedom.
  • Thank you, Poland -- thank you for your courage. Thank you for reminding the world that no matter how brutal the crackdown, no matter how long the night, the yearning for liberty and dignity does not fade away. It will never go away. Thank you, Poland, for your iron will and for showing that, yes, ordinary citizens can grab the reins of history, and that freedom will prevail -- because, in the end, tanks and troops are no match for the force of our ideals.
  • There is no change without risk, and no progress without sacrifice, and no freedom without solidarity.

Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative Town Hall Speech[edit]

Securing the gains of freedom and democracy requires good faith and strength of will, and tolerance and respect for diversity, and it requires vigilance from all citizens.
Rights and freedoms are not given; they have to be won through struggle and through discipline, and persistence and faith. And it’s often young people who have led these struggles.
Human dignity is not just a universal aspiration, but a human right.
Societies that are most successful also treat their women and girls with respect. Otherwise, they won’t be successful.
It is important for a democracy that people's identities are also a national identity. [...] If people think in terms of ethnic identity before national identity, then I think over time the country will start breaking apart and democracy will not work. So there has to be a sense of common purpose.[...] both the majority and the minority, the powerful and the powerless, also have to have a sense of national identity in order to be successful.
Remarks by President Obama at Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative Town Hall delivered on November 14, 2014 at Yangon University, Rangoon, Burma
  • Whenever I travel the world, from Europe to Africa, South America to Southeast Asia, one of the things I most enjoy doing is meeting young men and women like you. It’s more fun than being in a conference room. And it’s also more important -- because you are the young leaders who will determine the future of this country and this region. So I’m going to keep my remarks short at the top, because I want to take as many questions and comments from you.
  • So progress is not inevitable. History does not always march forward. History can travel sideways and sometimes backwards. Building trust after years of conflict takes time. Being able to look past the scars of violence takes courage. Securing the gains of freedom and democracy requires good faith and strength of will, and tolerance and respect for diversity, and it requires vigilance from all citizens. The American people know well that rights and freedoms are not given; they have to be won through struggle and through discipline, and persistence and faith. And it’s often young people who have led these struggles; who have compelled us to slowly but surely perfect our own union in America over time.
  • We see young leaders who embrace the diversity of this region not as a weakness, but as a strength, and who realize that even though we are all individually different and come from different traditions and different communities, we're stronger when we work together.
  • So the future of this region, your region, is not going to be determined by dictators or by armies, it's going to be determined by entrepreneurs and inventors and dreamers and people who are doing things in the community. And you're going to be the leaders who make that happen. Your generation has greater potential to shape society than any generation that's come before because you have the power to get knowledge from everywhere, and you have more sophistication and experiences than your parents or your grandparents. And you have now the chance to share knowledge and experiences with other young people all across this region and around the world. And that wasn't true 20 years ago or 50 years ago.
  • You have the power to remind us all that human dignity is not just a universal aspiration, but a human right.
  • There is no example of a country that is successful if its people are divided based on religion or ethnicity. If you look at the Middle East right now and the chaos that’s taking place in a place like Syria, so much of that is based on religious differences. Even though they’re all Muslim, Shia and Sunni are fighting each other. If you look in Northern Ireland, then Catholics and Protestants fought for decades and only now have arrived at peace. So in this globalized world where people of different faiths and cultures and races are going to meet each other inevitably -- because nobody just lives in a village anymore; people are constantly getting information from different places and new ideas and meeting people who are different from them –- it is critical for any country to abide by the basic principle that all people are equal, all people are deserving of respect, all people are equal under the law, all people can participate in the life of their country, all people should be able to express their views without fear of being repressed. And those attitudes start with each of us individually. It’s important that government play a role in making sure that it applies laws fairly, not arbitrarily, not on the basis of preferring one group over another.
  • But what’s also true is that each of us have to cultivate an attitude of tolerance and mutual respect. And for young people, we have to try to encourage each other to be tolerant and respectful. So in the United States, obviously one of the biggest problems historically has been the issue of racial discrimination. And part of our efforts to overcome racial discrimination involve passing laws like the Civil Rights Law and the Voting Rights Law, and that required marches and protests and Dr. King. But part of the effort was also people changing the hearts and minds, and realizing that just because somebody doesn’t look like me doesn’t mean that they’re not worthy of respect. And when you’re growing up and you saw a friend of yours call somebody by a derogatory name, a rude name because they were different, it’s your job to say to that person, actually, that’s not the right way to think. If you are Christian and you have a friend who says I hate Muslims, then it’s up to you to say to that friend, you know what, I don’t believe in that; I think that’s the wrong attitude, I think we have to be respectful of the Muslim population. If you’re Buddhist and you say -- you hear somebody in your group say I want to treat a Hindu differently, it’s your job to speak out. So the most important thing I think is for you to, in whatever circle of influence you have, speak out on behalf of tolerance and diversity and respect. If you are quiet, then the people who are intolerant, they’ll own the stage and they’ll set the terms of the debate. And one of the things that leadership requires is saying things even when it’s uncomfortable, even when it’s unpopular -- especially when it’s unpopular. So I hope that as you get more influence, you’ll continue to speak out on behalf of these values.
  • Okay, I’m going to go –- now, the one thing I’m going to do is I’m going to go boy, girl, boy, girl to make sure that it’s fair, because one thing I didn’t say in my initial speech is societies that are most successful also treat their women and girls with respect. Otherwise, they won’t be successful.
  • I’m very proud of the United States. I believe that the United States is a force for good around the world. But I wouldn’t be a good President if I don’t listen to criticism of our policies and stay open to what other countries say about us. Sometimes I think those criticisms are unfair. Sometimes I think people like to complain about the United States because we’re doing too much. Sometimes they complain because they’re doing too little. Every problem around the world, why isn’t the United States doing something about it. Sometimes there are countries that don’t take responsibility for themselves and they want us to fix it. And then when we do try to fix it, they say why are you meddling in our affairs. Yes, it’s kind of frustrating sometimes. But the fact that we are getting these criticisms means that we’re constantly thinking, okay, is this how we should apply this policy? Are we doing the right thing when we provide aid to a country, but the country is still ruled by a small elite and maybe it’s not getting down to the people? Are we doing the right thing when we engage in training a military to become more professional, but maybe the military is still engaging in repressive activity? If we’re not open to those criticisms, then we won’t get better, we won’t improve.
  • But my understanding is there are many villages you go to where there’s really no schools, as a practical matter, and many of the schools still teach just how to memorize certain things rather than how to think critically about problems. And every country at this point, if it wants to succeed, needs to put in place free, compulsory education for its young people -- because they just can’t succeed unless they have some basic skills. They have to be able to read. They have to be able to do mathematics. They have to have some familiarity with computers. They have to be able to understand basic principles of science. If you don’t have those basic tools, then it’s very hard to find a decent job in today’s economy.
  • But what I said to the civil society groups is, yes, it is important to protect specific ethnic groups from discrimination. And it is natural in a democracy that ethnic groups organize among themselves to be heard in the halls of power. So in the United States, for example, as its democracy developed, the Irish in big cities, they came together and they built organizations, and they were able to promote the interests of Irish Americans. And African Americans, when they were seeking their freedom, you had organizations like the NAACP that promoted the interests of African Americans. So there's nothing wrong with groups organizing around ethnic identity, or around economic interests, or around regional concerns. That's how a democracy naturally works. You get with people who agree with you or who are like you to make sure that your concerns are heard. But what I said is that it is important for a democracy that people's identities are also a national identity. If you walk down the streets of New York City, you will see people looking more different than this group right here. You'll see blue-eyed, blonde people. You'll see dark-skinned, black people. You'll see Asians. You'll see Muslims. You'll see -- but if you ask any of those people, “What are you?” -- I'm American. Now I may be an African American or an Asian American or an Irish American, but the first thing I'll say is, I'm an American. And if you don't have that sense of national unity, then it's very hard for a country to succeed -- particularly a small country like Myanmar. If people think in terms of ethnic identity before national identity, then I think over time the country will start breaking apart and democracy will not work. So there has to be a sense of common purpose. But that's not an excuse then for majority groups to say, don’t complain, to ethnic minorities -- because the ethnic minorities may have some real complaints. And part of what is important for the majority groups to do -- if, in fact, you have a national identity, that means that you've got to be concerned with a minority also because it reflects badly on your country if somebody from a minority group is not being treated fairly. America could not live up to its potential until it treated its black citizens fairly. That's just a fact, that that was a stain on America when an entire group of people couldn't vote, or didn't have legal protections. Because it made all [[United States Declarations of Independence|the Declarations of Independence and Constitution and rule of law, it made that seem like an illusion. And so when the Civil Rights Movement happened in the United States, that wasn't just a victory for African Americans, that was a victory for America because what it showed was that the whole country was going to be concerned about everybody, not just about some people. And it was a victory for America's national identity that it was treating minorities fairly. And that's I think how every country in ASEAN, including Myanmar, needs to think about these problems. You need to respect people's differences. You need to be attentive to the grievances of minorities that may be discriminated against. But both the majority and the minority, the powerful and the powerless, also have to have a sense of national identity in order to be successful.
  • But I also think that from what I've heard, one of the reforms that will need to take place in universities here is to make sure that in all the departments there is the ability for universities and students to shape curriculums and to have access to information from everywhere around the world, and that it's not just a narrow process of indoctrination. Because the best universities are ones that teach you how to think not what to think, right? A good education is not just knowing facts, although you need to know facts. You need to know that two plus two is four; it's not five. That's an important fact. But you also need to know how to ask questions, and how to critically analyze a problem, and how to be able to distinguish between fact and opinion, and how to compare two different ideas.
  • And this is probably a good place for me to end by just saying that the issue of climate change is a perfect example of why young people have to lead. Because old people, they've created a mess, and then they'll be gone. And then you -- (applause) -- you're the ones who have to deal with it. And also what happens is old people get set in their ways. So the older you get, the more likely you are to say, that's how it's always been so that's how I'm going to keep on doing it -- even if there's a better way to do things. Young people, they're asking, well, why do I have to do it that way? Let's try it this way. And that kind of willingness to accept challenges and try things in a new way, to not be stuck in the past, or to look towards the future, that's what all of you represent.

State of the Union Address (January 2015)[edit]

A better politics is one where we appeal to each other’s basic decency instead of our basest fears. A better politics is one where we debate without demonizing each other; where we talk issues and values, and principles and facts, rather than “gotcha” moments, or trivial gaffes, or fake controversies that have nothing to do with people’s daily lives.

Remarks by the President in State of the Union Address at U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (January 20, 2015)

  • The shadow of crisis has passed, and the State of the Union is strong.
  • We are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times.
  • Middle-class economics works. Expanding opportunity works. And these policies will continue to work as long as politics don’t get in the way. We can’t slow down businesses or put our economy at risk with government shutdowns or fiscal showdowns. We can’t put the security of families at risk by taking away their health insurance, or unraveling the new rules on Wall Street, or refighting past battles on immigration when we’ve got to fix a broken system.
  • And in fact, at every moment of economic change throughout our history, this country has taken bold action to adapt to new circumstances and to make sure everyone gets a fair shot. We set up worker protections, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid to protect ourselves from the harshest adversity. We gave our citizens schools and colleges, infrastructure and the Internet -- tools they needed to go as far as their effort and their dreams will take them. That’s what middle-class economics is -- the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, everyone plays by the same set of rules. We don’t just want everyone to share in America’s success, we want everyone to contribute to our success.
  • When we make rash decisions, reacting to the headlines instead of using our heads; when the first response to a challenge is to send in our military -- then we risk getting drawn into unnecessary conflicts, and neglect the broader strategy we need for a safer, more prosperous world. That’s what our enemies want us to do. I believe in a smarter kind of American leadership. We lead best when we combine military power with strong diplomacy; when we leverage our power with coalition building; when we don’t let our fears blind us to the opportunities that this new century presents. That’s exactly what we’re doing right now. And around the globe, it is making a difference. [...] That’s how America leads -- not with bluster, but with persistent, steady resolve.
  • Looking to the future instead of the past. Making sure we match our power with diplomacy, and use force wisely. Building coalitions to meet new challenges and opportunities. Leading -- always -- with the example of our values. That’s what makes us exceptional. That’s what keeps us strong. That’s why we have to keep striving to hold ourselves to the highest of standards -- our own.
  • A better politics is one where we appeal to each other’s basic decency instead of our basest fears. A better politics is one where we debate without demonizing each other; where we talk issues and values, and principles and facts, rather than “gotcha” moments, or trivial gaffes, or fake controversies that have nothing to do with people’s daily lives. A politics -- a better politics is one where we spend less time drowning in dark money for ads that pull us into the gutter, and spend more time lifting young people up with a sense of purpose and possibility, asking them to join in the great mission of building America. If we’re going to have arguments, let’s have arguments, but let’s make them debates worthy of this body and worthy of this country.
  • Because I want this chamber, I want this city to reflect the truth -- that for all our blind spots and shortcomings, we are a people with the strength and generosity of spirit to bridge divides, to unite in common effort, to help our neighbors, whether down the street or on the other side of the world. I want our actions to tell every child in every neighborhood, your life matters, and we are committed to improving your life chances as committed as we are to working on behalf of our own kids. I want future generations to know that we are a people who see our differences as a great gift, that we’re a people who value the dignity and worth of every citizen -- man and woman, young and old, black and white, Latino, Asian, immigrant, Native American, gay, straight, Americans with mental illness or physical disability. Everybody matters. I want them to grow up in a country that shows the world what we still know to be true: that we are still more than a collection of red states and blue states; that we are the United States of America.

Supreme Court Decision on Marriage Equality (June 2015)[edit]

Small actions can be like pebbles being thrown into a still lake, and ripples of hope cascade outwards and change the world.

Remarks by the President on the Supreme Court Decision on Marriage Equality at the White House Rose Garden, Washington, District of Columbia, USA (June 26, 2015)

  • Our nation was founded on a bedrock principle that we are all created equal. The project of each generation is to bridge the meaning of those founding words with the realities of changing times -- a never-ending quest to ensure those words ring true for every single American. Progress on this journey often comes in small increments, sometimes two steps forward, one step back, propelled by the persistent effort of dedicated citizens. And then sometimes, there are days like this when that slow, steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt.
  • This morning, the Supreme Court recognized that the Constitution guarantees marriage equality. In doing so, they’ve reaffirmed that all Americans are entitled to the equal protection of the law. That all people should be treated equally, regardless of who they are or who they love. [...] This ruling will strengthen all of our communities by offering to all loving same-sex couples the dignity of marriage across this great land.
  • In my second inaugural address, I said that if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. It is gratifying to see that principle enshrined into law by this decision.
  • This ruling is a victory for Jim Obergefell and the other plaintiffs in the case. It's a victory for gay and lesbian couples who have fought so long for their basic civil rights. It’s a victory for their children, whose families will now be recognized as equal to any other. It’s a victory for the allies and friends and supporters who spent years, even decades, working and praying for change to come. And this ruling is a victory for America. This decision affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts: When all Americans are treated as equal we are all more free.
  • I know that Americans of goodwill continue to hold a wide range of views on this issue. Opposition in some cases has been based on sincere and deeply held beliefs. All of us who welcome today’s news should be mindful of that fact; recognize different viewpoints; revere our deep commitment to religious freedom. But today should also give us hope that on the many issues with which we grapple, often painfully, real change is possible. Shifts in hearts and minds is possible. And those who have come so far on their journey to equality have a responsibility to reach back and help others join them. Because for all our differences, we are one people, stronger together than we could ever be alone. That’s always been our story. We are big and vast and diverse; a nation of people with different backgrounds and beliefs, different experiences and stories, but bound by our shared ideal that no matter who you are or what you look like, how you started off, or how and who you love, America is a place where you can write your own destiny.
  • What an extraordinary achievement. What a vindication of the belief that ordinary people can do extraordinary things. What a reminder of what Bobby Kennedy once said about how small actions can be like pebbles being thrown into a still lake, and ripples of hope cascade outwards and change the world.
  • I believe in the principle of treating people equally under the law, and that they are deserving of equal protection under the law and that the state should not discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation. And I say that, recognizing that there may be people who have different religious or cultural beliefs. But the issue is how does the state operate relative to people. If you look at the history of countries around the world, when you start treating people differently -- not because of any harm they’re doing anybody, but because they’re different -- that’s the path whereby freedoms begin to erode and bad things happen. And when a government gets in the habit of treating people differently, those habits can spread. And as an African-American in the United States, I am painfully aware of the history of what happens when people are treated differently, under the law, and there were all sorts of rationalizations that were provided by the power structure for decades in the United States for segregation and Jim Crow and slavery, and they were wrong.
  • So I’m unequivocal on this. If somebody is a law-abiding citizen who is going about their business, and working in a job, an obeying the traffic signs and doing all the other things that good citizens are supposed to do, and not harming anybody -- the idea that they are going to be treated differently or abused because of who they love is wrong. Full stop. And the state does not need to weigh in on religious doctrine. The state just has to say we’re going to treat everybody equally under the law. And then everybody else can have their own opinions.

Remarks by President Obama to the Kenyan People (July 2015)[edit]

We study the past so it can guide us into the future, and inspire us to do better.
A politics that’s based solely on tribe and ethnicity is a politics that's doomed to tear a country apart.
You can't be complacent and accept the world just as it is. You have to imagine what the world might be and then push and work toward that future. Progress requires that you honestly confront the dark corners of our own past; extend rights and opportunities to more of your citizens.
And the ability of citizens to organize and advocate for change -- that's the oxygen upon which democracy depends.
There is a tradition of repressing women and treating them differently, and not giving them the same opportunities, and husbands beating their wives, and children not being sent to school. Those are traditions. Treating women and girls as second-class citizens, those are bad traditions. They need to change.

Remarks by President Obama to the Kenyan People at Safaricom Indoor Arena, Nairobi, Kenya (July 26, 2015)

  • We know a history so that we can learn from it. We learn our history because we understand the sacrifices that were made before, so that when we make sacrifices we understand we're doing it on behalf of future generations. There’s a proverb that says, “We have not inherited this land from our forebears, we have borrowed it from our children.” In other words, we study the past so it can guide us into the future, and inspire us to do better.
  • I want to be very clear here -- a politics that’s based solely on tribe and ethnicity is a politics that's doomed to tear a country apart.
  • In the United States, I always say that what makes America exceptional is not the fact that we’re perfect, it's the fact that we struggle to improve. We're self-critical. We work to live up to our highest values and ideals, knowing that we're not always going to achieve them perfectly, but we keep on trying to perfect our union.
  • You can't be complacent and accept the world just as it is. You have to imagine what the world might be and then push and work toward that future. Progress requires that you honestly confront the dark corners of our own past; extend rights and opportunities to more of your citizens; see the differences and diversity of this country as a strength, just as we in America try to see the diversity of our country as a strength and not a weakness. So you can choose the path to progress, but it requires making some important choices.
  • And the ability of citizens to organize and advocate for change -- that's the oxygen upon which democracy depends.
  • Democracy is sometimes messy, and for leaders, sometimes it's frustrating. Democracy means that somebody is always complaining about something. Nobody is ever happy in a democracy about their government. If you make one person happy, somebody else is unhappy. Then sometimes somebody who you made happy, later on, now they’re not happy. They say, what have you done for me lately? But that's the nature of democracy. That's why it works, is because it's constantly challenging leaders to up their game and to do better.
  • Because corruption holds back every aspect of economic and civil life. It’s an anchor that weighs you down and prevents you from achieving what you could. If you need to pay a bribe and hire somebody’s brother -- who’s not very good and doesn’t come to work -- in order to start a business, well, that’s going to create less jobs for everybody. If electricity is going to one neighborhood because they’re well-connected, and not another neighborhood, that’s going to limit development of the country as a whole. If someone in public office is taking a cut that they don't deserve, that’s taking away from those who are paying their fair share. So this is not just about changing one law -- although it's important to have laws on the books that are actually being enforced. It’s important that not only low-level corruption is punished, but folks at the top, if they are taking from the people, that has to be addressed as well. But it's not something that is just fixed by laws, or that any one person can fix. It requires a commitment by the entire nation -- leaders and citizens -- to change habits and to change culture. [...] People who break the law and violate the public trust need to be prosecuted. NGOs have to be allowed to operate who shine a spotlight on what needs to change. And ordinary people have to stand up and say, enough is enough.
  • Every country and every culture has traditions that are unique and help make that country what it is. But just because something is a part of your past doesn’t make it right. It doesn’t mean that it defines your future. [...] Just because something is a tradition doesn’t make it right.
  • Well, so around the world, there is a tradition of repressing women and treating them differently, and not giving them the same opportunities, and husbands beating their wives, and children not being sent to school. Those are traditions. Treating women and girls as second-class citizens, those are bad traditions. They need to change. They’re holding you back.
  • Treating women as second-class citizens is a bad tradition. It holds you back. There’s no excuse for sexual assault or domestic violence. There’s no reason that young girls should suffer genital mutilation. There’s no place in civilized society for the early or forced marriage of children. These traditions may date back centuries; they have no place in the 21st century. These are issues of right and wrong -- in any culture. But they’re also issues of success and failure. Any nation that fails to educate its girls or employ its women and allowing them to maximize their potential is doomed to fall behind in a global economy.
  • You know, we're in a sports center. Imagine if you have a team and you don't let half of the team play. That's stupid. That makes no sense. And the evidence shows that communities that give their daughters the same opportunities as their sons, they are more peaceful, they are more prosperous, they develop faster, they are more likely to succeed. [...] And that's why one of the most successful development policies you can pursue is giving girls and education, and removing the obstacles that stand between them and their dreams. And by the way, if you educate girls -- they grow up to be moms -- and they, because they’re educated, are more likely to produce educated children.
  • Terrorists who try to sow chaos, they must be met with force and they must also be met, though, with a forceful commitment to uphold the rule of law, and respect for human rights, and to treat everybody who’s peaceful and law-abiding fairly and equally.
  • So we can all appreciate our own identities, our bloodlines, our beliefs, our backgrounds -- that tapestry is what makes us who we are. But the history of Africa -- which is both the cradle of human progress and a crucible of conflict -- shows us that when define ourselves narrowly, in opposition to somebody just because they’re of a different tribe, or race, or religion -- and we ignore who is a good person or a bad person, are they working hard or not, are they honest or not, are they peaceful or violent -- when we start making distinctions solely based on status and not what people do, then we're taking the wrong path and we inevitably suffer in the end. This is why Martin Luther King called on people to be judged not by the color of their skin but the content of their character. And in the same way, people should not be judged by their last name, or their religious faith, but by their content of their character and how they behave. Are they good citizens? Are they good people?


Remarks to the People of Africa (July 2015)[edit]

The most powerful antidote to the old ways of doing things is this new generation of youth. History shows that the nations that do best are the ones that invest in the education of their people.
If we sacrifice liberty in the name of security, we risk losing both.
If each of us is to be treated with dignity, each of us must be sure to also extend that same dignity to others.
The single best indicator of whether a nation will succeed is how it treats its women.
We’ll all be better off when women have equal futures.
In this tree of humanity, with all of our branches and diversity, we all go back to the same root.  We’re all one family -- we're all one tribe. And yet so much of the suffering in our world stems from our failure to remember that -- to not recognize ourselves in each other.
Every one of us is equal. Every one of us has worth. Every one of us matters. And when we respect the freedom of others -- no matter the color of their skin, or how they pray or who they are or who they love -- we are all more free. Your dignity depends on my dignity, and my dignity depends on yours.

Remarks by President Obama to the People of Africa at Mandela Hall, African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (July 28, 2015)

  • For us, for our children, Africa and its people teach us a powerful lesson -- that we must uphold the inherent dignity of every human being. Dignity -- that basic idea that by virtue of our common humanity, no matter where we come from, or what we look like, we are all born equal, touched by the grace of God. Every person has worth. Every person matters. Every person deserves to be treated with decency and respect. Throughout much of history, mankind did not see this. Dignity was seen as a virtue reserved to those of rank and privilege, kings and elders. It took a revolution of the spirit, over many centuries, to open our eyes to the dignity of every person. And around the world, generations have struggled to put this idea into practice in laws and in institutions.
  • Africa’s progress will depend on unleashing economic growth -- not just for the few at the top, but for the many, because an essential element of dignity is being able to live a decent life. That begins with a job. And that requires trade and investment.
  • It is not unique to Africa -- corruption exists all over the world, including in the United States. But here in Africa, corruption drains billions of dollars from economies that can't afford to lose billions of dollars -- that's money that could be used to create jobs and build hospitals and schools. And when someone has to pay a bribe just to start a business or go to school, or get an official to do the job they’re supposed to be doing anyway -- that’s not “the African way.” It undermines the dignity of the people you represent.
  • But, ultimately, the most powerful antidote to the old ways of doing things is this new generation of African youth. History shows that the nations that do best are the ones that invest in the education of their people. You see, in this information age, jobs can flow anywhere, and they typically will flow to where workers are literate and highly skilled and online.
  • Africa’s progress will depend on development that truly lifts countries from poverty to prosperity -- because people everywhere deserve the dignity of a life free from want.
  • I believe Africa’s progress will also depend on democracy, because Africans, like people everywhere, deserve the dignity of being in control of their own lives. We all know what the ingredients of real democracy are. They include free and fair elections, but also freedom of speech and the press, freedom of assembly. These rights are universal. […] And I have to proclaim, democracy is not just formal elections. When journalists are put behind bars for doing their jobs, or activists are threatened as governments crack down on civil society then you may have democracy in name, but not in substance. And I'm convinced that nations cannot realize the full promise of independence until they fully protect the rights of their people.
  • No country is perfect, but we have to be honest, and strive to expand freedoms, to broaden democracy. The bottom line is that when citizens cannot exercise their rights, the world has a responsibility to speak out.
  • I have to also say that Africa’s democratic progress is also at risk when leaders refuse to step aside when their terms end. […] When a leader tries to change the rules in the middle of the game just to stay in office, it risks instability and strife -- as we’ve seen in Burundi. And this is often just a first step down a perilous path. And sometimes you’ll hear leaders say, well, I'm the only person who can hold this nation together. If that's true, then that leader has failed to truly build their nation. […] Nobody should be president for life. And your country is better off if you have new blood and new ideas. I'm still a pretty young man, but I know that somebody with new energy and new insights will be good for my country. It will be good for yours, too, in some cases.
  • Africa’s progress will also depend on security and peace -- because an essential part of human dignity is being safe and free from fear.
  • Our efforts to ensure our shared security must be matched by a commitment to improve governance. Those things are connected. Good governance is one of the best weapons against terrorism and instability. Our fight against terrorist groups, for example, will never be won if we fail to address legitimate grievances that terrorists may try to exploit, if we don’t build trust with all communities, if we don’t uphold the rule of law. There’s a saying, and I believe it is true -- if we sacrifice liberty in the name of security, we risk losing both.
  • And finally, Africa’s progress will depend on upholding the human rights of all people -- for if each of us is to be treated with dignity, each of us must be sure to also extend that same dignity to others.
  • Our girls have to be treated the same. We can’t let old traditions stand in the way. The march of history shows that we have the capacity to broaden our moral imaginations. We come to see that some traditions are good for us, they keep us grounded, but that, in our modern world, other traditions set us back. When African girls are subjected to the mutilation of their bodies, or forced into marriage at the ages of 9 or 10 or 11 -- that sets us back. That's not a good tradition. It needs to end. […]
  • And when girls cannot go to school and grow up not knowing how to read or write -- that denies the world future women engineers, future women doctors, future women business owners, future women presidents -- that sets us all back. That's a bad tradition -- not providing our girls the same education as our sons. I was saying in Kenya, nobody would put out a football team and then just play half the team. You’d lose. The same is true when it comes to getting everybody and education. You can't leave half the team off -- our young women.
  • [...] let girls learn so they grow up healthy and they grow up strong. And that will be good for families. And they will raise smart, healthy children, and that will be good for every one of your nations. Africa is the beautiful, strong women that these girls grow up to become. The single best indicator of whether a nation will succeed is how it treats its women. When women have health care and women have education, families are stronger, communities are more prosperous, children do better in school, nations are more prosperous. Look at the amazing African women here in this hall. If you want your country to grow and succeed, you have to empower your women. […] Let’s work together to stop sexual assault and domestic violence. Let’s make clear that we will not tolerate rape as a weapon of war -- it’s a crime.And those who commit it must be punished.  Let’s lift up the next generation of women leaders who can help fight injustice and forge peace and start new businesses and create jobs -- and some might hire some men, too. We’ll all be better off when women have equal futures.
  • In this tree of humanity, with all of our branches and diversity, we all go back to the same root.  We’re all one family -- we're all one tribe. And yet so much of the suffering in our world stems from our failure to remember that -- to not recognize ourselves in each other. We think because somebody’s skin is slightly different, or their hair is slightly different, or their religious faith is differently expressed, or they speak a different language that it justifies somehow us treating them with less dignity. And that becomes the source of so many of our problems. And we think somehow that we make ourselves better by putting other people down. And that becomes the source of so many of our problems. When we begin to see other as somehow less than ourselves -- when we succumb to these artificial divisions of faith or sect or tribe or ethnicity -- then even the most awful abuses are justified in the minds of those who are thinking in those ways. And in the end, abusers lose their own humanity, as well.
  • Every one of us is equal. Every one of us has worth. Every one of us matters. And when we respect the freedom of others -- no matter the color of their skin, or how they pray or who they are or who they love -- we are all more free. Your dignity depends on my dignity, and my dignity depends on yours. Imagine if everyone had that spirit in their hearts. Imagine if governments operated that way. Just imagine what the world could look like -- the future that we could bequeath these young people.
  • Yes, in our world, old thinking can be a stubborn thing. That's one of the reasons why we need term limits -- old people think old ways. […] The old ways can be stubborn. But I believe the human heart is stronger. I believe hearts can change.  I believe minds can open. That’s how change happens. That’s how societies move forward. It's not always a straight line -- step by halting step -- sometimes you go forward, you move back a little bit. But I believe we are marching, we are pointing towards ideals of justice and equality.
  • New thinking. Unleashing growth that creates opportunity. Promoting development that lifts all people out of poverty.Supporting democracy that gives citizens their say. Advancing the security and justice that delivers peace. Respecting the human rights of all people. These are the keys to progress -- not just in Africa, but around the world.

Town Hall meeting with Young Leaders of the Americas (April 2015)[edit]

Engagement is a more powerful force than isolation.
File:BObama at American University.jpg
With hard work and with hope, change is always within our reach.

Remarks by President Obama in Town Hall with Young Leaders of the Americas at University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica (April 9, 2015)

  • But I believe that engagement is a more powerful force than isolation, and the changes we are making can help improve the lives of the Cuban people.
  • And that impulse to make the world better, to push back on those who try to make it worse, that’s something that your generation has to hold on to. And you have to remember, it’s never easy; there are no days off. But if there’s one thing that I know from my own life, it’s that with hard work and with hope, change is always within our reach.
  • But I do believe there are certain principles that are universal. I think that all people want basic dignity and want basic freedom, and want to be able to worship as they please without being discriminated against, or they should be able to speak their mind about an important issue pertaining to their community without being arrested.
  • More broadly, I think that the -- if you look at some of the most successful countries in the world, they’re actually pretty small countries -- like Singapore, for example -- that on paper look like they have no assets, and yet, if you go to Singapore, it has one of the highest standards of living in the world. What is it that Singapore did that might be replicable? Well, one of the most important things they did was they made an enormous investment in their people. And if you’ve got a highly skilled, highly educated workforce, if you’ve set up rules of law and governance that are transparent and non-corrupt, then you can attract actually a lot of service industries to supplement the tourist industry, because people would want to locate in your country. You could envision people wanting to operate and have offices there where you’ve got a trained workforce. And these days, so many businesses are operating over the Internet that if you’ve got a really skilled workforce that provides value added, you will attract companies and you’ll attract businesses.
  • What deters people from investing in most countries is conflict, corruption, and a lack of skills or infrastructure. And those countries that are able to address those problems have rule of law and eliminate corruption. Make sure that you are investing in the education of your people and it’s a continuous education; it doesn’t just stop at the lower grades, but you give people constant opportunities to upgrade their skills. You have a decent infrastructure -- you’re going to be able to succeed. That’s the recipe, the formula for a 21st-century economy.
  • Because what it turns out is, is that if a -- the best way for a country to reduce its debt is to grow really fast, and to generate more income.
  • And I think the question that the people of Jamaica, just like the people of the United States and everywhere else, should be asking is: If the government is spending money right now, is it on something that is going to help create long-term growth and help people succeed? If the answer is no, you shouldn’t spend that money. Spending money just for the sake of spending money is not -- that’s not the formula for success. But if the money is being spent on what we talked about -- early childhood education; if it’s being spent on infrastructure; if it’s being spent on research; if it’s being spent on building skills for workers -- those are good investments.

Remarks at Panama Civil Society Forum (April 2015)[edit]

Strong, successful countries require strong and vibrant civil societies.
Civil society is the conscience of our countries. It’s the catalyst of change. It’s why strong nations don’t fear active citizens. Strong nations embrace and support and empower active citizens.

Remarks by President Obama at the Panama Civil Society Forum at Hotel El Panama, Panama City, Panama (April 10, 2015)

  • We believe that strong, successful countries require strong and vibrant civil societies. We know that throughout our history, human progress has been propelled not just by famous leaders, not just by states, but by ordinary men and women who believe that change is possible; by citizens who are willing to stand up against incredible odds and great danger not only to protect their own rights, but to extend rights to others.
  • It's the dreamers -- no matter how humble or poor or seemingly powerless -- that are able to change the course of human events. We saw it in South Africa, where citizens stood up to the scourge of apartheid. We saw it in Europe, where Poles marched in Solidarity to help bring down the Iron Curtain. In Argentina, where mothers of the disappeared spoke out against the Dirty War. It’s the story of my country, where citizens worked to abolish slavery, and establish women’s rights and workers’ rights, and rights for gays and lesbians.
  • So civil society is the conscience of our countries. It’s the catalyst of change. It’s why strong nations don’t fear active citizens. Strong nations embrace and support and empower active citizens.
  • We also know that our support for civil society is not just about what we’re against, but also what we’re for. Because we’ve noticed that governments that are more responsive and effective are typically governments where the people are free to assemble, and speak their minds, and petition their leaders, and hold us accountable.
  • We know that our economies attract more trade and investment when citizens are free to start a new business without paying a bribe. We know that our societies are more likely to succeed when all our people -- regardless of color, or class, or creed, or sexual orientation, or gender -- are free to live and pray and love as they choose. [...] And, increasingly, civil society is a source of ideas -- about everything from promoting transparency and free expression, to reversing inequality and rescuing our environment.

Final News Conference as President (January 2017)[edit]

It doesn’t work if we don’t have a well-informed citizenry, and you are the conduit through which they receive the information about what’s taking place in the halls of power. So America needs you and our democracy needs you. We need you to establish a baseline of facts and evidence that we can use as a starting point for the kind of reasoned and informed debates that ultimately lead to progress.
When we feel stress, when we feel pressure, when we’re just fed information that encourages some of our worst instincts, we tend to fall back into some of the old racial fears and racial divisions and racial stereotypes, and it’s very hard for us to break out of those and to listen and to think about people as people and to imagine being in that person’s shoes.
the only thing that is the end of the world is the end of the world. And so, you get knocked down, you get up, brush yourself off and you get back to work.
I believe in this country. I believe in the American people. I believe that people are more good than bad. I believe tragic things happen. I think there’s evil in the world, but I think at the end of the day, if we work hard and if we’re true to those things in us that feel true and feel right, that the world gets a little better each time. That’s what this presidency has tried to be about.
Full transcript of a news conference that President Obama held in the White House Washington, United States of America, as prepared by the Federal News Service. (January 18, 2017)
  • We have traveled the world together. We did a few singles, a few doubles together. I’ve offered advice that I thought was pretty sound, like don’t do stupid stuff.(LAUGHTER) And even when you complained about my long answers, I just want you to know that the only reason they were long was because you asked six-part questions.(LAUGHTER)But I have enjoyed working with all of you. That does not, of course, mean that I’ve enjoyed every story that you have filed, but that’s the point of this relationship. You’re not supposed to be (inaudible) fans, you’re supposed to be skeptics, you’re supposed to ask me tough questions. You’re not supposed to be complimentary, but you’re supposed to cast a critical eye on folks who hold enormous power and make sure that we are accountable to the people who sent us here, and you have done that. And you have done it for the most part in ways that I could appreciate for fairness, even if I didn’t always agree with your conclusions. And having you in this building has made this place work better. It keeps us honest, it makes us work harder. You have made us think about how we are doing what we do and whether or not we’re able to deliver on what’s been requested by our constituents.
    • On his reationship with the press in Washington, D.C. and its role in a democracy
  • I spent a lot of time on my — in my farewell address talking about the state of our democracy. It goes without saying that essential to that is a free press. That is part of how this place, this country, this grand experiment of self-government has to work. It doesn’t work if we don’t have a well-informed citizenry, and you are the conduit through which they receive the information about what’s taking place in the halls of power. So America needs you and our democracy needs you. We need you to establish a baseline of facts and evidence that we can use as a starting point for the kind of reasoned and informed debates that ultimately lead to progress. And so my hope is is that you will continue with the same tenacity that you showed us, to do the hard work of getting to the bottom of stories and getting them right and to push those of us in power to be the best version of ourselves and to push this country to be the best version of itself.
    • On the role of the press in a democracy
  • I can tell you that — and this is something I have told him — that this is a job of such magnitude that you can’t do it by yourself. You are enormously reliant on a team. Your Cabinet, your senior White House staff, all the way to fairly junior folks in their 20s and 30s but who are executing on significant responsibilities. And so, how you put a team together to make sure that they’re getting you the best information and they are teeing up the options from which you will ultimately make decisions. That’s probably the most useful constructive advice and the most constructive advice that I’ve been able to give him, that if you find yourself isolated because the process breaks down or if you’re only hearing from people who agree with you on everything or if you haven’t created a process that is fact-checking and probing and asking hard questions about policies or promises that you’ve made, that’s when you start making mistakes.And as I indicated in some of my previous remarks, reality has a way of biting back if you’re not paying attention to it.
    • On the job of the U.S. President and the need of good advisers and staff
  • Well, let me be absolutely clear. I did not mean that I was going to be running for anything anytime soon. So, what I meant is that it’s important for me to take some time to process this amazing experience that we’ve gone through; to make sure that my wife, with whom I will be celebrating a 25th anniversary this year, is willing to re-up and put up with me for a little bit longer. [...] But there’s a difference between that normal functioning of politics and certain issues or certain moments where I think our core values may be at stake. I put in that category if I saw systematic discrimination being ratified in some fashion. I put in that category explicit or functional obstacles to people being able to vote, to exercise their franchise.I’d put in that category institutional efforts to silence dissent or the press. And for me at least, I would put in that category efforts to roundup kids who have grown up here and for all practical purposes are American kids, and send them someplace else, when they love this country. They are our kids’ friends and their classmates, and are now entering into community colleges or in some cases serving in our military, that the notion that we would just arbitrarily or because of politics punish those kids, when they didn’t do anything wrong themselves, I think would be something that would merit me speaking out.
    • Partial answers on the questions: "And what did you mean when you said you would come back? Would you lobby Congress? Maybe explore the political arena again?"
  • But you know, we — when we feel stress, when we feel pressure, when we’re just fed information that encourages some of our worst instincts, we tend to fall back into some of the old racial fears and racial divisions and racial stereotypes, and it’s very hard for us to break out of those and to listen and to think about people as people and to imagine being in that person’s shoes. And by the way, it’s no longer a black and white issue alone. You got Hispanic folks and you got Asian folks, this is not just the same old battles that — we’ve got this stew that’s bubbling up from people everywhere and we’re going to have to make sure that we in our own lives and our own families and work places do a better job of treating everybody with basic respect and understanding that not everybody starts off in the same situation and imaging what would it be like if you were born in an inner city and had no job prospects anywhere within a 20 mile radius or how does it feel being born in some rural county where there’s no job opportunities within in a 20 mile radius and seeing those two things as connected as opposed to separate. So, you know, we got work to do, but overall, I think on this front, the trend lines, ultimately, I think will be good.
  • I think it was really interesting to see how Malia and Sasha reacted. They were disappointed. They paid attention to what their mom said during the campaign and believed it because it’s consistent with what we have tried to teach them in our household and what I’ve tried to model as a father with their mom and what we’ve asked them to expect from future boyfriends or spouses. But what we’ve also tried to teach them is resilience and we’ve tried to teach them hope and that the only thing that is the end of the world is the end of the world. And so, you get knocked down, you get up, brush yourself off and you get back to work.
  • I believe in this country. I believe in the American people. I believe that people are more good than bad. I believe tragic things happen. I think there’s evil in the world, but I think at the end of the day, if we work hard and if we’re true to those things in us that feel true and feel right, that the world gets a little better each time. That’s what this presidency has tried to be about.


The Bill of Rights imposes legal limits on the powers of governments and acts as anti-majoritarian/minoritarian safeguard by providing deeply entrenched legal protection for various civil libiterties and fundamental rights.[167][168][169] The Supreme Court for example concluded in the West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943) case that the founders intended the Bill of Rights to put some rights out of reach from majorities, ensuring that some liberties would endure beyond political majorities.[167][168][169][170] As the Court noted the idea of the Bill of Rights “was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts.”[170][171] This is why “fundamental rights may not be submitted to a vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.”[170][171]

I Am Not Your Negro Reviews[edit]

Für Philipp Holstein von der Rheinischen Post ist der Film "der sehenswerte und bedrückende Dokumentarfilm, der [...] Geschichte erzählt."[172] Für ihn bleiben die Texte von Baldwin angesichts von Organisationen wie Black Lives Matter, die sich gegen Rassismus engagieren, leider dringlich.[172] Beseelt vom gerechten Zorn über die Verhältnisse und gepaart mit kraftvoller Lust an Aufklärung gelinge nach Worten von Programmkinokritiker.de Luidgard Koch Regisseur Raoul Peck ein brennend aktueller Essayfilm. "Sein brillant komponierter Rückblick auf die Ära der amerikanischen Bürgerrechtsbewegung sowie das Leben und Werk des verstorbenen afroamerikanischen Schriftstellers James Baldwin erschüttert. Unmissverständlich zeigt der gebürtige Haitianer, dass Unterdrückung, Ungerechtigkeit, Rassismus und Klassenunterschiede keineswegs durch globalen Neoliberalismus verschwunden sind."[173]

Knut Elstermann vom MDR bezeichnete den Film als "großartigen Dokumentarfilm über den homosexuellen Schriftsteller und die bewegten sechziger Jahre", der "eine fulminante Montage aus Archivmaterial, Interviews mit dem 1987 gestorbenen, sprachgewaltigen und scharfsinnigen Autor und Reflexionen über den Zustand einer noch immer rassistisch geprägten Gesellschaft" darstelle.[174] Nach Worten von Susanne Lenz in ihrer Kritik für die Berliner Zeitung meint, dass I Am Not Your Negro eine aufwühlende Dokumentation sei, in der sich Baldwins Text und Pecks Bilder, die Filmausschnitte, Fotos, Nachrichtenbilder historisch und aktuell so kongenial ergänzen.[175] Gia Maihofer von der Zeitung Der Tagesspiegel meint, dass Regisseur Peck eine "essayistische Annäherung an Baldwins Denken" geschaffe habe. Der Regisseur habe aus dem reichen literarischen Œuvre der 1960er Jahre Peck ein Amalgam kreirt, das die Psychopathologie und paranoide Imagination des weißen Amerikas offenlege, im Privatleben wie in der Populärkultur. "Die Reise in die Vergangenheit wird zur Konfrontation mit der Gegenwart", in der sich das weiße, liberale Amerika sich mit einer medialen Fantasiewelt narkotisiere und halte in dieser Fantasiewelt die Illusion der eigenen Unschuld aufrecht.[176] "Es verweigert sich der Auseinandersetzung mit der von Sklaverei, Segregation und Unterdrückung geprägten Geschichte, die Baldwin immer wieder fordert [...]."[176] Maihofer bilanziert über Peck's Dokumentarfilm: "Pecks eindrucksvolle Hommage reiht sich in diese Erinnerungsarbeit ein. Ihm ist mit „I’m not your Negro“ ein pointierter Essay über Amerikas tief sitzenden Rassismus und ein Höhepunkt seines politischen Weltkinos gelungen. Ein Film der Stunde, dessen Botschaft und Botschafter nichts an Relevanz verloren haben."[176]

Geri Krebs meinte in der "Neuen Zürcher Zeitung", dass Raoul Peck mit I Am Not Your Negro eine Tour d'Horizon durch die Geschichte der Schwarzen in den USA vollziehe, die "beispielhaft von Vergangenem erzählt und dabei die Gegenwart im Auge hat."[177] Und wenn in den Nachrichtenbildern etwa die Unruhen von Watts 1965 mit jenen von Ferguson 2014 kollidieren, lässt sich die Aktualität von Vergangenem nicht leugnen.[177] Nach Auffassung von ttt – titel, thesen, temperamente Autor Joachim Gaertner habe Raoul Peck "einen faszinierenden Dokumentarfilm gemacht, in dem man mehr über amerikanische Geschichte lernt als in jedem Geschichtsbuch."[178] Gaertner bilanziert mit Blick auf US-Präsident Donald Trump: "Es ist beängstigend zu sehen, welche Aktualität Baldwins Analysen bis heute haben. Der Film macht klar: Unter dem heutigen Präsidenten, der offen rassistische Stereotype propagiert, fängt der Kampf für Bürgerrechte noch einmal ganz neu an. [...] Eine Lösung, folgerte Baldwin, kann also nicht sein, wenn Schwarze sich in die weiße Gesellschaft integrieren, sondern nur, wenn sie ihre eigene Identität und Geschichte in den Traum eines neuen, gemeinsamen Amerikas einbringen"[178]

Nach Weiland Freund von Der Welt erzählt I Am Not Your Negro die Geschichte der Bürgerrechtsbewegung, die Geschichte von Medgar Evers, Malcolm X und Martin Luther King, die Geschichte von James Baldwin und die Geschichte danach: Rodney King, Barack Obama, Trayvon Martin; Selma, Weißes Haus, Ferguson .[179] "„I Am Not Your Negro“ ist unter anderem deshalb ein eindrucksvoller, ein großer Dokumentarfilm, weil er in anderthalb Stunden fasst, was mit einiger Berechtigung auch den Platz einer vielteiligen Serie hätte beanspruchen können."[179] Jan Kedves von der Süddeutschen Zeitung betont, dass Raoul Peck ein sehr feinfühliges Porträt des Kämpfers James Baldwin, dessen Waffe unbedingt die Rhetorik war, gelungen sei. Er attestiert dem Film, dass er "auf beachtliche Weise dreierlei leistet: Er erinnert an Baldwin und illustriert dabei dessen Absicht, die "Geschichte Amerikas anhand der Leben dreier seiner ermordeten Freunde zu erzählen". Damit sind Medgar Evers, Malcolm X und Martin Luther King Jr. gemeint. Und drittens: Dass die Schwarzen in den USA nicht Schwarze sind, sondern zu Schwarzen gemacht werden, von den Weißen, das hat man lange nicht mehr so anschaulich in einem Film dargelegt bekommen."[180] Auch Julian Brimmers bemerkt die von Weiland Freund bemerkten Paralle zwischen den 1960er Jahre und aktuellen Ereignisse der 201er Jahren in den USA, indem auf folgenden Aspekt des Dokumentarfilm verweist: "Hier passiert alles auf einmal: die rassistischen Ausschreitungen in Little Rock 1957 und "Black Lives Matter"-Proteste in Ferguson 2014, die Vereidigung Barack Obamas neben den Morden an Evers, Malcolm X und King, die Aufstände in Watts von 1965 neben Bildern der jüngsten Opfer von Polizeigewalt."[181] Insgesamt sei I Am Not Your Negro weniger ein historisches Biopic als eine Aufforderung an den Zuschauer, seine eigene Toleranz und Handlungsfähigkeit zu hinterfragen.[181]

I am Not Your Negro ist die Biografie des Autors James Baldwin, welcher seine Geschichte anhand der Geschichte drei seiner Freunde aus der Zeit der ameriaknischen Bürgerrechtsbewegung erzählt. Bei den Freunden handelt es sich um den 1963 ermorderten Menschenrechtsanwalt Medgar Evers, den 1965 ermorderten Menschenrechtsaktivist Malcolm X und den 1968 ermorderten Pfarrer Martin Luther King.[182] Ausgangspunkt des Regisseur Raoul Peck ist ein 30-seitiger Textentwurf von Baldwin aus dem unvollendenten Roman Remember This House für eine Geschichte der Schwarzen.[182] Peck verwendet dazu eine Collage aus Briefen, die Baldwin an seinen Agenten Jay Acton schreibt (Tonspur: das Gehacke der Schreibmaschine), Texte, die aus dem Werk Baldwins von Samuel L. Jackson zitiert werden, und einer Fülle biografischer Fotos und Videoexzerpten von Baldwin.[182]

Thematisch handelt der Film von "Kapitel Zwei der sogenannten Befreiung der Schwarzen, in dem die Nachkommen der Sklaven um ihre Bürgerrechte kämpften [...]."[182] In einem zeitlichen Bogen von 1890 bis 2014 werden dabei Szenen weißer Gewalt gegenüber Farbigen jeder Couleur, welche die Historie Amerikas takteten, gezeigt. Dabei handelt es sich um das Massaker in Wounded Knee 1890, die Gewalt der Polizei unter Eugene „Bull“ Connor in Birmingham 1963, der Watts-Aufruhr in Los Angeles des Jahres 1965, und der Todesfall Michael Brown in Ferguson 2014.[182] [182]

I Am Not Your Negro grossed as of April 6, 2017 $6,838,593.[183][184] As of April 7, 2017 the movie was estimated to gross more than $7 million.[185] The film industry and review website IndieWire attributed the fiancial success of the movie to the three factors : 1.) The release date of February 3, 2017 which was less than two weeks after the Academy Award nominees would be announced, 2.) Opening the movie nationwide in 43 theaters and 18 cities and 3.) Opening in nontraditional movie theaters where “I Am Not Your Negro” would generate strong word of mouth.[185]

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Reviews[edit]

Der Film konnte bislang 86 Prozent der Kritiker bei Rotten Tomatoes überzeugen.[186] Karsten Scholz lobte etwa in seiner Kritik für die Internetseite buffed.de vier Sachen an Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: 1.) Die technische Perfektion, 2.) die neuen Völker und Schauplätze, 3.) die höhere Schlagzahl der Gags im Vergleich zum Vorgänger und 4.) "ein kunterbuntes Sammelsurium an Easter Eggs und Cameo-Auftritten, das dank des erneut fantastischen Soundtracks auch gleich den Retro-Fan in uns anspricht."[187] In seinem Fazit moniert er zwar Schwächen, diese sind aber marginal. So schreibt er über den Film in seinem Fazit: "Schwächen besitzt der Film nur wenige. Einige nicht zünden wollende Gags, aber auch der Bösewicht, der mit seinen Machenschaften zwar die gesamte Galaxie bedroht, der Marvel-typisch jedoch ziemlich blass bleibt. Unterm Strich spielt beides keine Rolle. Dafür sind alle anderen Facetten von Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 zu gut, dafür rockt der Streifen über die gesamte Laufzeit zu sehr die Leinwand."[187]

In einer Video-Kritk meinte Christoph Kellerbach von der Rheinischen Post, dass Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 ein "absolut fantastischer Weltraum-Spaß geworden" ist, "der etliche Sachen gleich, aber viele auch anders macht."[188] Die Charaktäre seien die große Stärke von James Gunn's Film. Ergänzt um eine fantastische Optik, auch in 3D, und einem wunderbarem Ohrwurm-Soundtrack ist Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 genau wie sein Vorgänger nach Auffassung von Kellerbach ein "exzellenter Weltraum-Comic-Spaß".[188] Hannes Könitzer bewertete in seiner Kritik für die Internetseite robots-and-dragons.de die drei primären Handlungsstränge des Films unteschiedlich: Während die Geschichte rund um Peter Quill und seinen Vater einen hohen Unterhaltswert hätten und die Geschichte rund um Rocket die richtige Mischung aus Spaß und Spannung aufweise, sei der Handlungsstrang um Gamorra und Nebula der schwächste der drei Handlungsstränge. Könnitzer lobte den Humor und die Musiktitel aus den 70ern und 80ern. In seinem Fazit urteilte er: "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 macht genauso viel Spaß wie Teil 1. Wer es im ersten Film genossen hat, Zeit mit der sympathischen Heldentruppe zu verbringen, der dürfte auch in der Fortsetzung auf seine Kosten kommen. Die Geschichte punktet dabei nicht nur durch Humor, sondern bietet auch auf emotionaler Ebene eine überraschende Tiefe. Ein dritter Teil darf sich gern anschließen."[189]

Dimitry Halley hebt in seiner Kritik für GameStar die Charaktäre besonders lobend hervor. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 punkte vor allem mit seinen meisterhaft inszenierten und unglaublich sympathischen Figuren. So schaffe es der Film nicht nur die komplette Truppe rund um Star Lord und Co. ins Herz der Zuschauer zu befördern, sondern auch jeder Figur mindestens einen glaubhaften inneren Konflikt zu geben.[190] "Der Film wärmt nicht einfach das Zusammentreffen aus dem ersten Teil auf, sondern setzt deren Beziehungen tatsächlich fort (wie es sich eben für eine Fortsetzung gehört). Oder anders: Wo Guardians of the Galaxy 1 die Truppe durch die stürmische Kennenlern-Phase führt, geht die Beziehung in Teil Zwei erst richtig los."[190] Er bilanzierte, dass die Guardians Star Lord, Rocket, Drax und Co. auf der Leinwand so unglaublich gut funktionieren, dass die Comics in seinen Augen im Vergleich den Kürzeren ziehen. Das war beim ersten Guardians of the Galaxy so, und das gelte auch für Teil Zwei. Denn der "Film baut eine Crew aus Charakteren auf, die den Avengers und auch der Justice League in puncto Persönlichkeit, Charme und Humor die Show stehlen."[191]

Vier von fünf Punkten vergebend ist bei MovieJones zu lesen:"Während die Dramaturgie zwar über weite Strecken schwächelt, wird dies durch Witz, ganz viel Familie und für Marvel sogar ungewöhnlich emotionale Momente wieder wettgemacht. Das neue Abenteuer bringt das MCU nicht vorwärts, dafür uns die Protagonisten noch näher und beschert uns eine verdammt gute Zeit."[192] Im Filmblog Filmverliebt wurden die Sammlung an verrückten Charakteren, die visuell einwandfreie Inszenierung und der Humor gelobt. Im Fazit ist dann zu lesen: "Auch wenn Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 nicht an die Qualität des Vorgängers heranreicht – Marvel hat hier wieder erstklassiges Popcorn-Kino abgeliefert."[193] Vienna Online meinte, dass der Film mit viel Liebe zum Detail und einem ausgewogenen Cast punkte, der bestens aufeinander eingespielt agiere. Fazit: "“Vol. 2” glänzt weniger als eigenständiges Album, denn als gelungene Compilation mit den “Greatest Hits” aus dem schenkelklopfendem Sci-Fi-Universum – und hat am Ende ein Versprechen parat: Fortsetzung folgt!"[194]

Auf der Interseite Filmfutter.com wurde dem Regisseur James Gunn ein konservativer Ansatz attestiert, der auf Bewährtes des Vorgängerfilms zurückgreife: Sympathische Antihelden, anarchischer Humor, freche Sprüche, ein flottes Erzähltempo, bunte Weltraumaction und ein fetziger Soundtrack. Dabei sei wie in Fast and Furious 8 Familie das Thema, das den Film zusammenhalte und den emotionalen Kern des Sequels bilde. Daran anknüpfend ist im Fazit folgendes zu lesen:"Man sucht sich seine Familie nicht aus, doch manchmal findet sie einen selbst, wenn man es am wenigsten erwartet. Das ist das Thema von Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, der zwar nicht mehr die Frische seines Vorgängers besitzt, dafür aber den größten emotionalen Kern unter allen bisherigen Marvel-Abenteuern. Mit viel Humor, Herz, fantastischen visuellen Einfällen, einer liebevollen Weiterentwicklung seiner Hauptfiguren und einem großartigen Kurt Russsell auf dem Hoch seines Karriere-Revivals zeigen James Gunn und Marvel, wie ein gutes Sequel sein sollte. Fans des Originals werden nicht enttäuscht sein!"[195] Auch die Interseite Ingame.de lobte den Film und meinte in Richtung der potentiell Zuschauenden: "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ist sein Kinogeld mehr als wert, denn selten wurden wir von einer Fortsetzung so gut unterhalten wie hier. Auf euch warten mal wieder abgefahrene Marvel-Helden, jede Menge Space-Action und ein lässiger Soundtrack für ein awesome Kinoerlebnis."[196]

Doch nicht bei allen Kritikern kam der Film gut an. Sascha Westphal schreibt in der Westdeutschen Allgemeinen Zeitung, anders als beim ersten Guardians of the Galaxy, in dem sich die einzelnen Elemente wunderbar zu einem ungeheuer mitreißenden Weltraum-Abenteuer zusammengefügt hätten, ergebe das Ganze diesmal weniger als die Summe der einzelnen Teile. Regisseur James Gunn begnüge sich über weite Strecken des Films damit, einfach nur Lücken in den Hintergründen seiner Figuren auszufüllen, so Westphal, wobei er sich vor allem auf den von Chris Pratt gespielten Peter Quill konzentriere. Durch dessen Begegnung mit seinem leiblichen Vater entwickele sich aus einer zunächst rührselig gestimmten Familienzusammenführung einer der zentralen Konflikte des Films.[197] Heiner Gumprecht von Blasting News nahm den Film mit zwiespältigen Gefühlen auf. Der Vorgängerfilm hatte seiner Meinung nach frische Ansätze, viele eigene Ideen und diese besondere Gruppendynamik innerhalb der Guardians, die keiner wirklich vermutet hätte. James Gunns Fortsetzung vertiefe stattdessen lieber jedoch die Eckpunkte des Films, die Teil 1 zu einem immensen Erfolg verholfen haben. Dabei bleibe die Geschichte auf der Strecke zurück und wirke eher wie ein Gerüst, dass die wertvolle Statue stützen soll, als selbst Teil des Kunstwerks zu sein. So fiel dann sein Fazit auch entsprechend zwiespältig aus: "Ohne Diskussion äußerst gelungen in dem, was er sein möchte, unterm Strich aber so viel weniger, als wir erwarten durften. "Würdig" ist in dieser Hinsicht ein hartes Wort, denn kommt es ganz darauf an, was ihr am ersten Teil so interessant/positiv fandet. Waren es die Sprüche, die Action und der derbe Mix aus Sci-Fi und Oldies der Popmoderne, dann macht ihr mit einem Kinobesuch in der Fortsetzung nichts falsch. Abseits davon bietet Vol. 2 jedoch keine neuen Gründe, sich ein Ticket zu kaufen."[198]

Björn Becher von der Filmstart Redaktion vergab 3,5 von 5 Punkten und verwies in seiner Kritk auf das Wechselspiel von Stärken und Schwächen des Films. Zwar sei der Film kurzweilig und mache viel Spaß, aber die erzählerische Stringenz lasse ein wenig zu wünschen übrig, die Spannung bleibe weitgehend auf der Strecke und die Bösewichte überzeugten nicht wirklich. Man lache immer wieder über eine wundervolle Hommage oder die ironische Brechung eines kitschigen Moments und freue sich über einen der vielen überraschenden Cameo-Auftritte oder die Entdeckung einiger Easter Eggs. Und auch James Gunn sorge konstant für Humor, doch er gebe den Zuschauern lange Zeit kaum Gelegenheit, mit den Figuren mitzufiebern. Becher Fazit: "„Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2“ ist nicht frei von Schwächen, macht aber sehr viel Spaß."[199] Marin Schwickert von der Augsburger Allgemeinen Zeitung konstatierte eine "eher schlaff-komische Gruppendynamik im Heldenteam"Cite error: The opening <ref> tag is malformed or has a bad name (see the help page). , die sich "auf ihren Charakterisierungen aus Teil 1"Cite error: The opening <ref> tag is malformed or has a bad name (see the help page). ausruhen und "in ihrem schrägen Dasein"Cite error: The opening <ref> tag is malformed or has a bad name (see the help page). erstarrt wirken. Zwei von fünf Punkten vergebend urteilte er: "„Vol. 2“ ist in 137 Minuten ein ermüdender Wiederaufguss und zeigt erneut, dass sich Humor und Komik selten erfolgreich in einem Franchise rekultivieren lassen."[200] Daniel Benedict von der Neuen Osnabrücker Zeitung bemerkte eine Selbstironie, die selbst im nonchalanten Marvel-Universum einzigartig sei. Action und Effekte seien in dieser immer wieder sehr lustigen „Guardians“-Fortsetzung grundsätzlich ihre eigene Persiflage. Sein Fazit fiel wie das seines Kollegen aus deer Ausgburger Allgemeinen Zeitung aber negativ aus: "Zwei Stunden lang feiern die Guardians gemeinsam mit ihren Fans eine funky Party, an deren Ende sogar die Asche kremierter Helden wie Holi-Puder durchs All schwebt. Konfetti in kosmischen Nichts: Ein schönes Bild für das jubelnde „Anything goes“ dieses Films, der in jeder Szene beides zugleich ist: übervoll, aber auch leer. . "[201]

Sokovia Accords[edit]

  1. ^ The accords mentioned in the second post-credits scene are the Sokovia Accords[202][203] which "ask each individual superhero to be accountable for their actions."[204][205]

Infrmation regarding the second post-credits scene and the mention of the accords therein was reversed with the following statement: "/Film uses the term "likely", Movieweb first says "may be" and in later articles doesn't give any attribution to where the information came from. Please wait for something more concrete and use the talk page first next time". Before I response to the accords itself some sentence with respect to the talk page process. I added information which in my eyes was concrete enough to added. After it was pointed out that I cited the wrong source I responded by adding other sources to support my claim. After the above cited response to my second edit I'm willing to discuss the issue at the talk page. So while I'm willing to react to responses I'm unwilling to use the talk page first to make my case without to the ability to use the article page first for some edits. At least two edits should be allowed for editors to react to edit responses before the accusation of edit warring is raised or an edit war starts.

I think the information that the accords mentioned in the second post credits scene are not speculative. Evidences (emphasis added):

  1. Dash Film source: "Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and and Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) discuss what to do next, revealing that they can’t call Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) because of “the Accords,” referencing the Sokovia Accords that have been put in place following the events of The Avengers: Age of Ultron[...]."[206]
  2. 2015-07-23 MovieWeb source: "And this is follow-up up by a plaque that may be The Sokovia Accords, which are the Accords Steve Rogers reveals during the Ant-Man stinger that won't allow Tony Stark to help them."[207]
  3. 2015-08-28 MovieWeb source: "Going off the Ant-Man post-credit scene, which finds Falcon and Captain America trying to free The Winter Solider's bionic arm from a vice, the Superhero Registration Act is being called the Sokovia Accords in Captain America: Civil War, and they ask each individual superhero to be accountable for their actions."[208]

As the wording of the stressed verbs shows the accords are not mentioned as something speculative but something of the past and present it is fair to say the accords are real and not speculative. Further evidence comes from Marvel President Kevin Feige. He revealed that the post-credit sequence was footage shot by Anthony and Joe Russo from Captain America: Civil War.[209][210] This reinforces the Dash Film source and 2015-07-23 MovieWeb source because thus we know the accords mentioned in the second Ant-Man post credits scene are real i.e. are already part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Conclusion: The accords mentioned in the second Ant-Man post credits scene aren't speculative, but real and concrete and should be therefore added as The Sokovia Accords.

Joseph Wigler of MTV.com considered the movie as "one of the most entertaining Ethan Hunt adventures" which proves that "the franchise still has plenty of fight left in it, with no signs of slowing down."[211][211] He praised the perfomances of Cruise and Ferguson, aplauding the latter for playing "the most fascinating character in the entire movie" and "one of the most complicated and alluring characters in the entire five film series."[212]

[213]

[214][215]

As of February 23, 2016 91 prisoners remain in Guantánamo. From these 91 prisoners 35 are recommended for transfer if security conditions can be met. The remaining prisoners are expected to be brought to U.S. facilities in the United States.[216][217][218][219] If brought to the United States, some of those detainees would continue through military commissions; others might face trial in civilian courts.[217] 13 potential facilities in the United States that might be used to house detainees were reviewed by the Obama Administration, but their names were not revealed.[217] The foregoing information were published because the U.S. Congress has asked the administration to include information about where and how the administration intends to hold existing and future detainees, if Guantanamo is closed.[220] Obama's plan was rejected by several Republicans in Congress.[221]

Der Einsatz militärischer Gewalt im Inland durch die Bundeswehr ist demnach unter engen Grenzen ultima ratio zulässig und durch Artikel 35 Absatz 2 Satz 2 und Absatz 3 Grundgesetz grundsätzlich auch nicht ausgeschlossen.[222][223]

= Nobel Peace Prize Lecture (December 10, 2014)[edit]

Education is one of the blessings of life — and one of its necessities.
Sometimes people like to ask me why should girls go to school, why is it important for them. But I think the more important question is why shouldn't they, why shouldn't they have this right to go to school.
Why is it that countries which we call strong" are so powerful in creating wars but are so weak in bringing peace? Why is it that giving guns is so easy but giving books is so hard? Why is it, why is it that making tanks is so easy, but building schools is so hard?

Nobel lecture during the Nobel Peace Prize awards ceremony at the City Hall in Oslo, Norway on December 10, 2014

  • This award is not just for me. It is for those forgotten children who want education. It is for those frightened children who want peace. It is for those voiceless children who want change. I am here to stand up for their rights, raise their voice ... it is not time to pity them. It is time to take action so it becomes the last time that we see a child deprived of education.
  • I have found that people describe me in many different ways. Some people call me the girl who was shot by the Taliban. And some, the girl who fought for her rights. Some people, call me a "Nobel Laureate" now. As far as I know, I am just a committed and stubborn person who wants to see every child getting quality education, who wants equal rights for women and who wants peace in every corner of the world.
  • Education is one of the blessings of life — and one of its necessities.
  • When my world suddenly changed, my priorities changed too. I had two options. One was to remain silent and wait to be killed. And the second was to speak up and then be killed. I chose the second one. I decided to speak up.
  • I am not a lone voice, I am not a lone voice, I am many. I am Malala. But I am also Shazia. I am Kainat. I am Kainat Soomro. I am Mezon. I am Amina. I am those 66 million girls who are deprived of education. And today I am not raising my voice, it is the voice of those 66 million girls.
  • Sometimes people like to ask me why should girls go to school, why is it important for them. But I think the more important question is why shouldn't they, why shouldn't they have this right to go to school.
  • I hope the steps that Kailash Satyarthi and I have taken so far and will take on this journey will also bring change – lasting change. My great hope is that this will be the last time, this will be the last time we must fight for education. Let's solve this once and for all. We have already taken many steps. Now it is time to take a leap. It is not time to tell the world leaders to realise how important education is - they already know it - their own children are in good schools. Now it is time to call them to take action for the rest of the world's children. We ask the world leaders to unite and make education their top priority.
  • The world can no longer accept, the world can no longer accept that basic education is enough. Why do leaders accept that for children in developing countries, only basic literacy is sufficient, when their own children do homework in Algebra, Mathematics, Science and Physics? Leaders must seize this opportunity to guarantee a free, quality, primary and secondary education for every child. Some will say this is impractical, or too expensive, or too hard. Or maybe even impossible. But it is time the world thinks bigger.
  • Why is it that countries which we call strong" are so powerful in creating wars but are so weak in bringing peace? Why is it that giving guns is so easy but giving books is so hard? Why is it, why is it that making tanks is so easy, but building schools is so hard?
  • We are living in the modern age and we believe that nothing is impossible. We have reached the moon 45 years ago and maybe will soon land on Mars. Then, in this 21st century, we must be able to give every child quality education.

Inaugural Address (1965)[edit]

Justice requires us to remember that when any citizen denies his fellow, saying, "His color is not mine," or "His beliefs are strange and different," in that moment he betrays America, though his forebears created this Nation.
We are all fellow passengers on a dot of earth. And each of us, in the span of time, has really only a moment among our companions. How incredible it is that in this fragile existence, we should hate and destroy one another. There are possibilities enough for all who will abandon mastery over others to pursue mastery over nature. There is world enough for all to seek their happiness in their own way.
Let us reject any among us who seek to reopen old wounds and to rekindle old hatreds. They stand in the way of a seeking nation. Let us now join reason to faith and action to experience, to transform our unity of interest into a unity of purpose. For the hour and the day and the time are here to achieve progress without strife, to achieve change without hatred—not without difference of opinion, but without the deep and abiding divisions which scar the union for generations.

Lyndon Baines Johnson: Inaugural Address (20 January 1965

  • We are one nation and one people. Our fate as a nation and our future as a people rest not upon one citizen, but upon all citizens. This is the majesty and the meaning of this moment.
  • For every generation, there is a destiny. For some, history decides. For this generation, the choice must be our own. [...] Our destiny in the midst of change will rest on the unchanged character of our people, and on their faith.
  • They came here—the exile and the stranger, brave but frightened—to find a place where a man could be his own man. They made a covenant with this land. Conceived in justice, written in liberty, bound in union, it was meant one day to inspire the hopes of all mankind; and it binds us still. If we keep its terms, we shall flourish.
  • First, justice was the promise that all who made the journey would share in the fruits of the land. In a land of great wealth, families must not live in hopeless poverty. In a land rich in harvest, children just must not go hungry. In a land of healing miracles, neighbors must not suffer and die unattended. In a great land of learning and scholars, young people must be taught to read and write.
  • Justice requires us to remember that when any citizen denies his fellow, saying, "His color is not mine," or "His beliefs are strange and different," in that moment he betrays America, though his forebears created this Nation.
  • Liberty was the second article of our covenant. It was self-government. It was our Bill of Rights. But it was more. America would be a place where each man could be proud to be himself: stretching his talents, rejoicing in his work, important in the life of his neighbors and his nation. This has become more difficult in a world where change and growth seem to tower beyond the control and even the judgment of men. We must work to provide the knowledge and the surroundings which can enlarge the possibilities of every citizen. The American covenant called on us to help show the way for the liberation of man. And that is today our goal. Thus, if as a nation there is much outside our control, as a people no stranger is outside our hope.
  • We are all fellow passengers on a dot of earth. And each of us, in the span of time, has really only a moment among our companions. How incredible it is that in this fragile existence, we should hate and destroy one another. There are possibilities enough for all who will abandon mastery over others to pursue mastery over nature. There is world enough for all to seek their happiness in their own way.
  • We aspire to nothing that belongs to others. We seek no dominion over our fellow man, but man's dominion over tyranny and misery. But more is required. Men want to be a part of a common enterprise—a cause greater than themselves. Each of us must find a way to advance the purpose of the Nation, thus finding new purpose for ourselves. Without this, we shall become a nation of strangers.
  • The third article was union. [...] By working shoulder to shoulder, together we can increase the bounty of all. We have discovered that every child who learns, every man who finds work, every sick body that is made whole—like a candle added to an altar—brightens the hope of all the faithful. So let us reject any among us who seek to reopen old wounds and to rekindle old hatreds. They stand in the way of a seeking nation. Let us now join reason to faith and action to experience, to transform our unity of interest into a unity of purpose. For the hour and the day and the time are here to achieve progress without strife, to achieve change without hatred—not without difference of opinion, but without the deep and abiding divisions which scar the union for generations.
  • I do not believe that the Great Society is the ordered, changeless, and sterile battalion of the ants. It is the excitement of becoming—always becoming, trying, probing, falling, resting, and trying again—but always trying and always gaining.
  • In each generation, with toil and tears, we have had to earn our heritage again. If we fail now, we shall have forgotten in abundance what we learned in hardship: that democracy rests on faith, that freedom asks more than it gives, and that the judgment of God is harshest on those who are most favored. If we succeed, it will not be because of what we have, but it will be because of what we are; not because of what we own, but, rather because of what we believe. For we are a nation of believers. Underneath the clamor of building and the rush of our day's pursuits, we are believers in justice and liberty and union, and in our own Union. We believe that every man must someday be free. And we believe in ourselves.
  • Our enemies have always made the same mistake. In my lifetime—in depression and in war—they have awaited our defeat. Each time, from the secret places of the American heart, came forth the faith they could not see or that they could not even imagine. It brought us victory. And it will again. For this is what America is all about. It is the uncrossed desert and the unclimbed ridge. It is the star that is not reached and the harvest sleeping in the unplowed ground. Is our world gone? We say "Farewell." Is a new world coming? We welcome it—and we will bend it to the hopes of man.
  • To these trusted public servants and to my family and those close friends of mine who have followed me down a long, winding road, and to all the people of this Union and the world, I will repeat today what I said on that sorrowful day in November 1963: "I will lead and I will do the best I can." But you must look within your own hearts to the old promises and to the old dream. They will lead you best of all.

Am 25.03.2013 erklärte das Bundesverfassungsgerichts Teile des ZDF-Staatsvertrages für unvereinbar mit der Rundfunkfreiheit,[224][225][226][227][228] nachdem es folgende Vorgaben für die Aufsichtsgremien von öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunkanstalten[228] gemacht hat:

  1. Der Anteil "staatlicher und staatsnaher Personen" in Aufsichtsgremien öffentlich-rechtlicher Rundfunkanstalten darf höchstens ein Drittel betragen.[229][230] Auf einen staatlichen oder staatsnahen Vertreter in den Aufsichtsgremien müssen mindestens zwei nicht dem Staat zuzurechnende Mitglieder kommen.[230][231] Zur staatlichen Sphäre gehören Ministerpräsidenten, Minister, politische Beamte und Parteivertreter.[232]
  2. Da die Rundfunkfreiheit auf eine Sicherung inhaltlicher Vielfalt angelegt sei, "wie sie allein über den freien Markt nicht gewährleistet werden kann", müssen in den Aufsichtsgremien "Personen mit möglichst vielfältigen Perspektiven und Erfahrungshorizonten aus allen Bereichen des Gemeinwesens" präsent sein.[233]
  3. VertreterInnen der Exekutive dürfen auf die Auswahl der staatsfernen Mitglieder keinen bestimmenden Einfluss haben; zudem sind Inkompatibilitätsregelungen zu schaffen, die die Staatsferne der staatsfernen Mitglieder in persönlicher Hinsicht gewährleisten.[224]
  4. Zur Stärkung der persönlichen Unabhängigkeit müssen Mitglieder von Aufsichtsgremien von etwaigen Weisungen unabhängig sein und dürfen nur aus "wichtigem Grund" abberufen werden.[233]
  5. Mindestmaß an Transparenz in den Aufsichtsgremien, d.h. 1.) Zusammensetzung der Gremien und Ausschüsse sowie die anstehenden Tagesordnungen müssen ohne Probleme erfahrbar sein & 2.) Zeitnahe Veröffentlichung der Sitzungsprotokolle der Aufsichtsgremien und -ausschüsse oder substanzielle Unterrichtung der Öffentlichkeit über Gegenstand und Ergebnisse der Beratungen auf anderem Weg.[224]

Remarks by the President on Economic Mobility (2013)[edit]

Remarks by the President on Economic Mobility (4 December 2013) at THEARC in Washington, D.C.

  • And your work reflects a tradition that runs through our history -- a belief that we’re greater together than we are on our own. And that’s what I’ve come here to talk about today.
  • Now, the premise that we’re all created equal is the opening line in the American story. And while we don’t promise equal outcomes, we have strived to deliver equal opportunity -- the idea that success doesn’t depend on being born into wealth or privilege, it depends on effort and merit. And with every chapter we’ve added to that story, we’ve worked hard to put those words into practice.
  • So let me repeat: The combined trends of increased inequality and decreasing mobility pose a fundamental threat to the American Dream, our way of life, and what we stand for around the globe. And it is not simply a moral claim that I’m making here. There are practical consequences to rising inequality and reduced mobility. For one thing, these trends are bad for our economy. One study finds that growth is more fragile and recessions are more frequent in countries with greater inequality. And that makes sense. When families have less to spend, that means businesses have fewer customers, and households rack up greater mortgage and credit card debt; meanwhile, concentrated wealth at the top is less likely to result in the kind of broadly based consumer spending that drives our economy, and together with lax regulation, may contribute to risky speculative bubbles.
  • And rising inequality and declining mobility are also bad for our families and social cohesion -- not just because we tend to trust our institutions less, but studies show we actually tend to trust each other less when there’s greater inequality. And greater inequality is associated with less mobility between generations. That means it’s not just temporary; the effects last. It creates a vicious cycle. For example, by the time she turns three years old, a child born into a low-income home hears 30 million fewer words than a child from a well-off family, which means by the time she starts school she’s already behind, and that deficit can compound itself over time.
  • And finally, rising inequality and declining mobility are bad for our democracy. Ordinary folks can’t write massive campaign checks or hire high-priced lobbyists and lawyers to secure policies that tilt the playing field in their favor at everyone else’s expense. And so people get the bad taste that the system is rigged, and that increases cynicism and polarization, and it decreases the political participation that is a requisite part of our system of self-government.
  • It’s true that government cannot prevent all the downsides of the technological change and global competition that are out there right now, and some of those forces are also some of the things that are helping us grow. And it’s also true that some programs in the past, like welfare before it was reformed, were sometimes poorly designed, created disincentives to work. But we’ve also seen how government action time and again can make an enormous difference in increasing opportunity and bolstering ladders into the middle class. Investments in education, laws establishing collective bargaining, and a minimum wage -- these all contributed to rising standards of living for massive numbers of Americans.
  • It was Adam Smith, the father of free-market economics, who once said, “They who feed, clothe, and lodge the whole body of the people should have such a share of the produce of their own labor as to be themselves tolerably well fed, clothed, and lodged.” And for those of you who don’t speak old-English let me translate. It means if you work hard, you should make a decent living. If you work hard, you should be able to support a family.
  • I realize we are not going to resolve all of our political debates over the best ways to reduce inequality and increase upward mobility this year, or next year, or in the next five years. But it is important that we have a serious debate about these issues. For the longer that current trends are allowed to continue, the more it will feed the cynicism and fear that many Americans are feeling right now -- that they’ll never be able to repay the debt they took on to go to college, they’ll never be able to save enough to retire, they’ll never see their own children land a good job that supports a family.
  • If you still don’t like Obamacare -- and I know you don’t even though it’s built on market-based ideas of choice and competition in the private sector, then you should explain how, exactly, you’d cut costs, and cover more people, and make insurance more secure. You owe it to the American people to tell us what you are for, not just what you’re against. That way we can have a vigorous and meaningful debate. That’s what the American people deserve. That’s what the times demand. It’s not enough anymore to just say we should just get our government out of the way and let the unfettered market take care of it -- for our experience tells us that’s just not true.
  • Look, I’ve never believed that government can solve every problem or should -- and neither do you. We know that ultimately our strength is grounded in our people -- individuals out there, striving, working, making things happen. It depends on community, a rich and generous sense of community -- that’s at the core of what happens at THEARC here every day. You understand that turning back rising inequality and expanding opportunity requires parents taking responsibility for their kids, kids taking responsibility to work hard. It requires religious leaders who mobilize their congregations to rebuild neighborhoods block by block, requires civic organizations that can help train the unemployed, link them with businesses for the jobs of the future. It requires companies and CEOs to set an example by providing decent wages, and salaries, and benefits for their workers, and a shot for somebody who is down on his or her luck. We know that’s our strength -- our people, our communities, our businesses. But government can’t stand on the sidelines in our efforts. Because government is us. It can and should reflect our deepest values and commitments. And if we refocus our energies on building an economy that grows for everybody, and gives every child in this country a fair chance at success, then I remain confident that the future still looks brighter than the past, and that the best days for this country we love are still ahead.

Love is not a feeling ~ The Article (1995)[edit]

Love is not a feeling ~ The Article by Barry Long, published in What is Enlightenment magazine, Volume 4, Number 2, Summer 1995.
  • I suppose the most radical part of my teaching at present is that love is not a feeling. Everybody suffers from love, or the fear of it, or the lack of it. Why? Why is love so universally and inevitably heart-breaking, whether it be through the end of a love affair, the death of a loved one or being locked in with the habitual casualness or grim indifference of a partner? The answer is because we've been taught and conditioned by the world to believe that love is a feeling.
  • Love is not a feeling; it's a sensation. Drinking water when you're thirsty is a sensation, not a feeling. Being in nature or swimming in the sea is a sensation, not a feeling. Lying down when you're tired is sensational, not a feeling, although you may say it feels good. Feeling is an emotional interpretation of experience and these sensations don't need interpretation; they are just good or right. Making physical love rightly is a sensation, not a feeling. So is the love of God. The same goes for joy and beauty; both are sensational.
  • But in our ignorance we emotionalise joy, beauty and love. We make feelings of them, personal interpretations based on our old emotions. We put our personal past on the present with the result that joy, beauty and love don't seem to last. But it's our emotional substitutes that don't last and we become bored, discontented and unhappy again. The sensation or knowledge of joy, beauty and love is of course still there but it's overwhelmed by these coarser feelings.
  • Feelings are constantly changing. None is dependable for long. You can love someone intensely today, and tomorrow or next month not feel a thing. Except perhaps for the feeling of doubt or depression that what was so beautiful could change so quickly.
  • Feelings, even the best of them, turn to negativity - disappointment, anger, discontent, resentment, jealousy, guilt, etc. A good feeling starts off being elevating, exciting, like taking a drug substance, alcohol or having sex. But what goes up must come down and feelings are no exception. So in a couple of hours or days the down side starts and you perhaps wonder why you feel moody, depressed, suicidal or just plain unhappy. You're paying the piper for yesterday's music. And between the upside and the downside is the no-man's and no-woman's land of boredom, indifference, inertia, weariness and pointlessness.
  • Okay, so you don't have drugs, alcohol and sex but you love someone, as a feeling. Then it won't be long before you'll be experiencing one or more of the painful feelings I've mentioned above - and thinking it's natural! Wait and see. Even in every day living you're continually interpreting experience via your emotions instead of being the experience direct. "This is good, that's bad," your feelings swing subtly to and fro all day long obscuring the reality, the sensational knowledge or gnosis that it's not bad at all; it's simply life as it is.
  • All feelings are false and deceptive. [...] Enlightenment is to be emptied (not empty) of feelings and thus at one with the pure sensation of divine being. And that pretty well sums up the whole spiritual process. But the spiritual process is so little understood that people don't realise their feelings are personal and false and have been misleading them all their life. If that's not true, why is humanity still unenlightened and basically unhappy after all this time - when enlightenment is the completely natural, sensational state of being every moment?
  • By disidentifying with your feelings you break your attachment to them. When that is done sufficiently you're back at the beginning, in pure sensation or unconditioned knowledge. You've been beating your head against the wall to get some feelings and all you've got to do is break the habit and get used to living anew without pain and conflict. But that's a mighty realisation, and a mighty simple one which few are going to accept - they'll be too busy defending their feelings! So, I guess I'll still be demonstrating this the day I die.
  • Incidentally, it seems to me that's why Andrew Cohen tells his students to be fearless and deadly serious. It takes that kind of one-pointed commitment to detach from the delusion of feelings and finally discover the blessing of the valiant; once freed of personal feelings the troublesome mind stops forever.
  • Enlightenment is enlightenment. And that's that. It's an unalterable, unwavering state of knowledge and being beyond doubt, a completion every moment by grace of the Most High, the unspeakable one, God. That's the ultimate; the absolute being beyond any description. But the ultimate, the enlightenment of man, must translate into his living life. And to me and my teaching that means an enlightened man is liberated from unhappiness. Being and living free of unhappiness is the natural and simple state of all life on earth - except man. He has been misled away from it by spiritual lures and glamour and the result is the conflict and pain, the fluctuating unhappiness, of his short life.
  • Enlightenment can't be pursued or sought after. [...] Truth is here now; no past, no future. People are unenlightened only because they believe in the truth of the past and therefore must look to the rewards of the future. To be enlightened, to return to the original state of life on earth, requires action now in the present with no reference to the past. What has to be done is to kill the old priest in you, starve out the traditionalist, the follower, the believer.
  • In other words, to be enlightened of the acquired burden every spiritual belief and notion has to be abandoned, every reference to what any spiritual teacher or master has ever said must be set aside. What does that leave? Your own experience. Not your historical or memorable experience, for that's the problem. Your own experience is your self-knowledge of life. Let's establish once and for all what this means now. Forget everything I've said in this article except this question: Do I want to suffer or not suffer NOW? That's the only truth for you. There's no tradition, no past, no discussion in it. It's all you need. Keep it with you and at the next temptation to suffer it will prevent you suffering. But only if you've learned in your own experience what causes you to suffer. If you haven't learned that, you're still attached to suffering and will unwittingly embrace it. In that case you have to read on, take more time and ask yourself more questions.
  • Have you learned yet that you only suffer when you think about events or feel about them, that you don't suffer from events themselves? Have you learned yet that every thought about yourself is a thought of the past, that worry is thinking and that all thinking eventually leads to worry, fear and insecurity? If so, each time you go to think, or catch the thinker thinking even about "good" things like last night's movie, don't; stop. Not because Barry Long says so but because you've realised the truth of thinking in your own experience. It's what you've learned from life, not from someone else's experience. Therefore it is the truth for you now and every moment. Otherwise you must go on thinking and go on suffering. One day, when you've had enough of the pain, you'll come to your senses. Have you learned yet that every feeling is a feeling of the past and that every "good" feeling soon changes and eventually becomes the feeling of doubt, confusion, boredom or sorrow? If so, stop believing your feelings; don't act on them; wait.
  • Action will happen in its own time. Action taken on strength of feelings inevitably leads to more feelings to correct the action previously taken - and so the feelings of discontent and conflict, and corrective actions go on and on repeating themselves.
  • If in your own experience you haven't yet learned the truth of the deception of feelings, then you just have to go on believing and thinking, having faith in the past and hope in the future, being happy today and unhappy tomorrow, but never being in command of your own life for long.

Love is not a feeling ~ The Interview (1995)[edit]

TLove is the state of enlightenment and enlightenment is the state of love. You can't make any separation between them. Enlightenment is the state of no feelings and pure knowledge and so is love.
The love of man and woman is the beginning of the love of God.
An interview of Barry Long by Hal Blacker, editor of What is Enlightenment magazine, published in What is Enlightenment magazine, Volume 4, Number 2, Summer 1995.
  • Love is the state of enlightenment and enlightenment is the state of love. You can't make any separation between them. Enlightenment is the state of no feelings and pure knowledge and so is love.
  • All your problems come down to love. Your love life is what your problem is, and everybody else's on earth. God in existence is man and woman. There's nothing else. And unless you have loved God in existence - your duality which is woman or man - unless you have united with that through love and devotion without going through your feelings of love, you're not going to be enlightened.
  • The love of man and woman is the beginning of the love of God. You can realise God within like many men have done. It's one of the rarest things on earth to realise God, but everybody seems to think that that's the end. Where I come from, realising God was the easy part of it. That God of love which is already here anyway - who wouldn't be able to realise it? The difficult part is to bring that God into this world where God or love is not, into that body listening to these words and this body speaking them. That's the task.
  • Do you know what humanity is, what the word "human" means? The word human where I come from - which is the enlightened state - means suffering. So when you say you're a human being, you're saying you're a suffering being. And I say you have to get rid of your suffering and then be being. Enlightenment is the state of being which I am, this moment and every moment. So I'm not suffering. But humanity loves to suffer. People love to suffer because they love to get excited with their feelings. All you've got to do is get rid of your feelings, which are always negative. Why not get rid of the whole lot of it, now? That means you don't know feelings and then you don't know negativity, and then you'd be in love, and then you would love everybody by not loving anybody in particular as a feeling. That's the state of enlightenment.
  • Yes, well I noticed that in your last issues' interviews with those Eastern teachers ["From light to Light," Jan. 1995], emptiness was mentioned a lot. I find that a wrong word. Because in God realisation and being one with God the Most High, the unspeakable one, there's no sense whatsoever of ever having done anything yourself. It is all done for you. It's by grace. And so it's not being empty, it's being emptied. There's a different emphasis or a different connotation to that.
    • Response to the question "You write, "Enlightenment is to be emptied (not empty) of feelings and thus at one with the purest sensation of divine being." What's the distinction here between being "emptied" and being "empty" of feelings?"

Allow the humblest man an equal chance (1860)[edit]

No policy that does not rest upon some philosophical public opinion can be permanently maintained.
I don't believe in a law to prevent a man from getting rich; it would do more harm than good. So while we do not propose any war upon capital, we do wish to allow the humblest man an equal chance to get rich with everybody else. When one starts poor, as most do in the race of life, free society is such that he knows he can better his condition; he knows that there is no fixed condition of labor, for his whole life.
I want every man to have the chance -- and I believe a black man is entitled to it -- in which he can better his condition -- when he may look forward and hope to be a hired laborer this year and the next, work for himself afterward, and finally to hire men to work for him! That is the true system.
You say you are conservative -- eminently conservative while we are revolutionary, destructive, or something of the sort. What is conservatism? Is it not adherence to the old and tried, against the new and untried?
Even though much provoked, let us do nothing through passion and ill temper. Even though the Southern people will not so much as listen to us, let us calmly consider their demands, and yield to them if, in our deliberate view of our duty, we possibly can.
Their thinking it right, and our thinking it wrong, is the precise fact upon which depends the whole controversy.
So long as we call Slavery wrong, whenever a slave runs away they will overlook the obvious fact that he ran because he was oppressed, and declare he was stolen off. Whenever a master cuts his slaves with the lash, and they cry out under it, he will overlook the obvious fact that the negroes cry out because they are hurt, and insist that they were put up to it by some rascally abolitionist.
Slavery is wrong. If Slavery is right, all words, acts, laws, and Constitutions against it, are themselves wrong, and should be silenced, and swept away.
Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government, nor of dungeons to ourselves. Let us have faith that right makes might; and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty, as we understand it.
"Allow the humblest man an equal chance" speech (6 March 1860) at New Haven, Connecticut
  • The truth is, that this question is one of national importance, and we cannot help dealing with it: we must do something about it, whether we will or not. We cannot avoid it; the subject is one we cannot avoid considering; we can no more avoid it than a man can live without eating. It is upon us; it attaches to the body politic as much and as closely as the natural wants attach to our natural bodies. Now I think it important that this matter should be taken up in earnest, and really settled. And one way to bring about a true settlement of the question is to understand its true magnitude.
  • Look at the magnitude of this subject! One sixth of our population, in round numbers -- not quite one sixth, and yet more than a seventh, -- about one sixth of the whole population of the United States are slaves! The owners of these slaves consider them property. The effect upon the minds of the owners is that of property, and nothing else -- it induces them to insist upon all that will favorably affect its value as property, to demand laws and institutions and a public policy that shall increase and secure its value, and make it durable, lasting and universal. The effect on the minds of the owners is to persuade them that there is no wrong in it. The slaveholder does not like to be considered a mean fellow, for holding that species of property, and hence he has to struggle within himself and sets about arguing himself into the belief that Slavery is right. The property influences his mind. [...] Certain it is, that this two thousand million of dollars, invested in this species of property, all so concentrated that the mind can grasp it at once -- this immense pecuniary interest, has its influence upon their minds.
  • To us it appears natural to think that slaves are human beings; men, not property; that some of the things, at least, stated about men in the Declaration of Independence apply to them as well as to us. I say, we think, most of us, that this Charter of Freedom applies to the slave as well as to ourselves, that the class of arguments put forward to batter down that idea, are also calculated to break down the very idea of a free government, even for white men, and to undermine the very foundations of free society. We think Slavery a great moral wrong, and while we do not claim the right to touch it where it exists, we wish to treat it as a wrong in the Territories, where our votes will reach it. We think that a respect for ourselves, a regard for future generations and for the God that made us, require that we put down this wrong where our votes will properly reach it. We think that species of labor an injury to free white men -- in short, we think Slavery a great moral, social and political evil, tolerable only because, and so far as its actual existence makes it necessary to tolerate it, and that beyond that, it ought to be treated as a wrong.
  • No policy that does not rest upon some philosophical public opinion can be permanently maintained. And hence, there are but two policies in regard to Slavery that can be at all maintained. The first, based on the property view that Slavery is right, conforms to that idea throughout, and demands that we shall do everything for it that we ought to do if it were right. We must sweep away all opposition, for opposition to the right is wrong; we must agree that Slavery is right, and we must adopt the idea that property has persuaded the owner to believe -- that Slavery is morally right and socially elevating. This gives a philosophical basis for a permanent policy of encouragement. The other policy is one that squares with the idea that Slavery is wrong, and it consists in doing everything that we ought to do if it is wrong. [...] I don't mean that we ought to attack it where it exists. To me it seems that if we were to form a government anew, in view of the actual presence of Slavery we should find it necessary to frame just such a government as our fathers did; giving to the slaveholder the entire control where the system was established, while we possessed the power to restrain it from going outside those limits. From the necessities of the case we should be compelled to form just such a government as our blessed fathers gave us; and, surely, if they have so made it, that adds another reason why we should let Slavery alone where it exists.
  • If I saw a venomous snake crawling in the road, any man would say I might seize the nearest stick and kill it; but if I found that snake in bed with my children, that would be another question. I might hurt the children more than the snake, and it might bite them. Much more if I found it in bed with my neighbor's children, and I had bound myself by a solemn compact not to meddle with his children under any circumstances, it would become me to let that particular mode of getting rid of the gentleman alone. But if there was a bed newly made up, to which the children were to be taken, and it was proposed to take a batch of young snakes and put them there with them, I take it no man would say there was any question how I ought to decide! That is just the case! The new Territories are the newly made bed to which our children are to go, and it lies with the nation to say whether they shall have snakes mixed up with them or not. It does not seem as if there could be much hesitation what our policy should be!
  • There is a falsehood wrapped up in that statement. "In the struggle between the white man and the negro" assumes that there is a struggle, in which either the white man must enslave the negro or the negro must enslave the white. There is no such struggle! It is merely an ingenious falsehood, to degrade and brutalize the negro. Let each let the other alone, and there is no struggle about it. If it was like two wrecked seamen on a narrow plank, when each must push the other off or drown himself, I would push the negro off or a white man either, but it is not; the plank is large enough for both. This good earth is plenty broad enough for white man and negro both, and there is no need of either pushing the other off.
  • So that saying, "in the struggle between the negro and the crocodile," &c., is made up from the idea that down where the crocodile inhabits a white man can't labor; it must be nothing else but crocodile or negro; if the negro does not the crocodile must possess the earth; [Laughter;] in that case he declares for the negro. The meaning of the whole is just this: As a white man is to a negro so is a negro to a crocodile; and as the negro may rightfully treat the crocodile, so may the white man rightfully treat the negro. This very dear phrase coined by its author, and so dear that he deliberately repeats it in many speeches, has a tendency to still further brutalize the negro, and to bring public opinion to the point of utter indifference whether men so brutalized are enslaved or not.
  • But those who say they hate slavery, and are opposed to it, but yet act with the Democratic party -- where are they? Let us apply a few tests. You say that you think slavery is wrong, but you denounce all attempts to restrain it. Is there anything else that you think wrong, that you are not willing to deal with as a wrong? Why are you so careful, so tender of this one wrong and no other? You will not let us do a single thing as if it was wrong; there is no place where you will allow it to be even called wrong! We must not call it wrong in the Free States, because it is not there, and we must not call it wrong in the Slave States because it is there; we must not call it wrong in politics because that is bringing morality into politics, and we must not call it wrong in the pulpit because that is bringing politics into religion; we must not bring it into the Tract Society or the other societies, because those are such unsuitable places, and there is no single place, according to you, where this wrong thing can properly be called wrong!
  • It is easy to demonstrate that "our Fathers, who framed this government under which we live," looked on Slavery as wrong, and so framed it and everything about it as to square with the idea that it was wrong, so far as the necessities arising from its existence permitted. In forming the Constitution they found the slave trade existing; capital invested in it; fields depending upon it for labor, and the whole system resting upon the importation of slave-labor. They therefore did not prohibit the slave trade at once, but they gave the power to prohibit it after twenty years. Why was this? What other foreign trade did they treat in that way? Would they have done this if they had not thought slavery wrong? Another thing was done by some of the same men who framed the Constitution, and afterwards adopted as their own act by the first Congress held under that Constitution, of which many of the framers were members; they prohibited the spread of Slavery into Territories. Thus the same men, the framers of the Constitution, cut off the supply and prohibited the spread of Slavery, and both acts show conclusively that they considered that the thing was wrong. If additional proof is wanting it can be found in the phraseology of the Constitution. When men are framing a supreme law and chart of government, to secure blessings and prosperity to untold generations yet to come, they use language as short and direct and plain as can be found, to express their meaning. In all matters but this of Slavery the framers of the Constitution used the very clearest, shortest, and most direct language. But the Constitution alludes to Slavery three times without mentioning it once! The language used becomes ambiguous, roundabout, and mystical. They speak of the "immigration of persons," and mean the importation of slaves, but do not say so. In establishing a basis of representation they say "all other persons," when they mean to say slaves -- why did they not use the shortest phrase? In providing for the return of fugitives they say "persons held to service or labor." If they had said slaves it would have been plainer, and less liable to misconstruction. Why didn't they do it. We cannot doubt that it was done on purpose. Only one reason is possible, and that is supplied us by one of the framers of the Constitution -- and it is not possible for man to conceive of any other -- they expected and desired that the system would come to an end, and meant that when it did, the Constitution should not show that there ever had been a slave in this good free country of ours!
  • I don't believe in a law to prevent a man from getting rich; it would do more harm than good. So while we do not propose any war upon capital, we do wish to allow the humblest man an equal chance to get rich with everybody else. When one starts poor, as most do in the race of life, free society is such that he knows he can better his condition; he knows that there is no fixed condition of labor, for his whole life. I am not ashamed to confess that twenty five years ago I was a hired laborer, mauling rails, at work on a flat-boat -- just what might happen to any poor man's son! I want every man to have the chance -- and I believe a black man is entitled to it -- in which he can better his condition -- when he may look forward and hope to be a hired laborer this year and the next, work for himself afterward, and finally to hire men to work for him! That is the true system.
  • You have done nothing, and have protested that you have done nothing, to injure the South. And yet, to get back the shoe trade, you must leave off doing something that you are now doing. What is it? You must stop thinking slavery wrong! Let your institutions be wholly changed; let your State Constitutions be subverted, glorify slavery, and so you will get back the shoe trade -- for what? You have brought owned labor with it to compete with your own labor, to underwork you, and to degrade you! Are you ready to get back the trade on those terms?
  • Let us notice some more of the stale charges against Republicans. You say we are sectional. We deny it. That makes an issue; and the burden of proof is upon you. You produce your proof; and what is it? Why, that our party has no existence in your section -- gets no votes in your section. The fact is substantially true; but does it prove the issue? If it does, then in case we should, without change of principle, begin to get votes in your section, we should thereby cease to be sectional. You cannot escape this conclusion; and yet, are you willing to abide by it? If you are, you will probably soon find that we have ceased to be sectional, for we shall get votes in your section this very year. The fact that we get no votes in your section is a fact of your making, and not of ours. And if there be fault in that fact, that fault is primarily yours, and remains so until you show that we repel you by some wrong principle or practice. If we do repel you by any wrong principle or practice, the fault is ours; but this brings you to where you ought to have started -- to a discussion of the right or wrong of our principle. If our principle, put in practice, would wrong your section for the benefit of ours, or for any other object, then our principle, and we with it, are sectional, and are justly opposed and denounced as such. Meet us, then, on the question of whether our principle, put in practice, would wrong your section; and so meet it as if it were possible that something may be said on our side. Do you accept the challenge? No? Then you really believe that the principle which our fathers who framed the Government under which we live thought so clearly right as to adopt it, and indorse it again and again, upon their official oaths, is, in fact, so clearly wrong as to demand your condemnation without a moment's consideration.
  • But you say you are conservative -- eminently conservative while we are revolutionary, destructive, or something of the sort. What is conservatism? Is it not adherence to the old and tried, against the new and untried? We stick to, contend for, the identical old policy on the point in controversy which was adopted by our fathers who framed the Government under which we live; while you with one accord reject, and scout, and spit upon that old policy, and insist upon substituting something new. True, you disagree among yourselves as to what that substitute shall be. You have considerable variety of new propositions and plans, but you are unanimous in rejecting and denouncing the old policy of the fathers. Some of you are for reviving the foreign slavetrade; some for a Congressional Slave-Code for the Territories; some for Congress forbidding the Territories to prohibit Slavery within their limits; some for maintaining Slavery in the Territories through the Judiciary; some for the "gur-reat pur-rin-ciple" that "if one man would enslave another, no third man should object," fantastically called "Popular Sovereignty;" [great laughter,] but never a man among you in favor of Federal prohibition of Slavery in Federal Territories, according to the practice of our fathers who framed the Government under which we live. Not one of all your various plans can show a precedent or an advocate in the century within which our Government originated. And yet you draw yourselves up and say "We are eminently conservative!"
  • It is exceedingly desirable that all parts of this great Confederacy shall be at peace, and in harmony, one with another. Let us Republicans do our part to have it so. Even though much provoked, let us do nothing through passion and ill temper. Even though the Southern people will not so much as listen to us, let us calmly consider their demands, and yield to them if, in our deliberate view of our duty, we possibly can. [...] we must not only let them alone, but we must, somehow, convince them that we do let them alone. This, we know by experience is no easy task. We have been so trying to convince them from the very beginning of our organization, but with no success. In all our platforms and speeches, we have constantly protested our purpose to let them alone; but this has had no tendency to convince them, Alike unavailing to convince them is the fact that they have never detected a man of us in any attempt to disturb them.
  • These natural and apparently adequate means all failing, what will convince them? This, and this only; cease to call slavery wrong, and join them in calling it right. And this must be done thoroughly -- done in acts as well as in words. Silence will not be tolerated -- we must place ourselves avowedly with them. Douglas's new sedition law must be enacted and enforced, suppressing all declarations that Slavery is wrong, whether made in politics, in presses, in pulpits, or in private. We must arrest and return their fugitive slaves with greedy pleasure. We must pull down our Free State Constitutions. The whole atmosphere must be disinfected of all taint of opposition to Slavery, before they will cease to believe that all their troubles proceed from us. So long as we call Slavery wrong, whenever a slave runs away they will overlook the obvious fact that he ran because he was oppressed, and declare he was stolen off. Whenever a master cuts his slaves with the lash, and they cry out under it, he will overlook the obvious fact that the negroes cry out because they are hurt, and insist that they were put up to it by some rascally abolitionist.
  • Slavery is wrong. If Slavery is right, all words, acts, laws, and Constitutions against it, are themselves wrong, and should be silenced, and swept away. If it is right, we cannot justly object to its nationality -- its universality; if it is wrong they cannot justly insist upon its extension -- its enlargement. All they ask, we could readily grant, if we thought Slavery right; all we ask, they could as readily grant, if they thought it wrong. Their thinking it right, and our thinking it wrong, is the precise fact upon which depends the whole controversy. Thinking it right as they do, they are not to blame for desiring its full recognition, as being right; but, thinking it wrong, as we do, can we yield to them? Can we cast our votes with their view, and against our own? In view of our moral, social, and political responsibilities, can we do this?
    Wrong as we think Slavery is, we can yet afford to let it alone where it is, because that much is due to the necessity arising from its actual presence in the nation; but can we, while our votes will prevent it, allow it to spread into the National Territories, and to overrun us here in these Free States?
    If our sense of duty forbids this, then let us stand by our duty, fearlessly and effectively. Let us be diverted by none of those sophistical contrivances wherewith we are so industriously plied and belabored -- contrivances such as groping for middle ground between the right and the wrong, vain as the search for a man who should be neither a living man nor a dead man -- such as a policy of "don't care" on a question about which all true men do care -- such as Union appeals beseeching true Union men to yield to Disunionists, reversing the divine rule, and calling, not the sinners, but the righteous to repentance -- such as invocations of Washington, imploring men to unsay what Washington did.
  • Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government, nor of dungeons to ourselves. Let us have faith that right makes might; and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty, as we understand it.

State Action/State Actor doctrine[edit]

Individual liberties guaranteed by the United States Constitution protect with exception of the Thirteenth Amendment’s ban on slavery not against actions by private persons or entities, but only against actions by government officials.[234] With respect to the 14th Amendment the Supreme Court ruled in Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1 (1948): "[T]he action inhibited by the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment is only such action as may fairly be said to be that of the States. That Amendment erects no shield against merely private conduct, however discriminatory or wrongful." And the court added in Civil Rights Cases, 109 U.S. 3 (1883): "It is State action of a particular character that is prohibited. Individual invasion of individual rights is not the subject matter of the amendment. It has a deeper and broader scope. It nullifies and makes void all State legislation, and State action of every kind, which impairs the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States, or which injures them in life, liberty, or property without due process of law, or which denies to any of them the equal protection of the laws."

Vindication of federal constitutional rights are limited to those situations where there is “state action” meaning action of government officials who are exercising their governmental power.[234] In Ex parte Virginia, 100 U.S. 339 (1880) the Supreme Court found that the prohibitions of the 14th Amendment "have reference to actions of the political body denominated by a State, by whatever instruments or in whatever modes that action may be taken. A State acts by its legislative, its executive, or its judicial authorities. It can act in no other way. The constitutional provision, therefore, must mean that no agency of the State, or of the officers or agents by whom its powers are exerted, shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. Whoever, by virtue of public position under a State government, deprives another of property, life, or liberty, without due process of law, or denies or takes away the equal protection of the laws, violates the constitutional inhibition; and as he acts in the name and for the State, and is clothed with the State's power, his act is that of the State."[235]

There are however instances where people are the victims of civil-rights violations that occur in circumstances involving both government officials and private actors.[234] In the 1960s the United States Supreme Court adopted an expansive view of state action opening the door to wide-ranging civil-rights litigation against private actors when they act as state actors[234] i.e. acts done or otherwise "sanctioned in some way" by the state (Compare Equal Protection Clause. The court found that the state action doctrine is equally applicable to denials of privileges or immunities, due process, and equal protection of the laws.[236]

The critical factor in determining the existence of state action is not governmental involvement with private persons or private corporations is not the critical factor in determining the existence of state action, but "the inquiry must be whether there is a sufficiently close nexus between the State and the challenged action of the regulated entity so that the action of the latter may be fairly treated as that of the State itself."[237] "Only by sifting facts and weighing circumstances can the nonobvious involvement of the State in private conduct be attributed its true significance."[238]

The Supreme Court asserted that plaintiffs must establish not only that a private party "acted under color of the challenged statute, but also that its actions are properly attributable to the State. [...] [239] And the actions are to be attributable to the State apparently only if the State compelled the actions and not if the State merely established the process through statute or regulation under which the private party acted.[236]

The rules developed by the Supreme Court for business regulation are that (1) the "mere fact that a business is subject to state regulation does not by itself convert its action into that of the State for purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment," [a] and (2) "a State normally can be held responsible for a private decision only when it has exercised coercive power or has provided such significant encouragement, either overt or covert, that the choice must be deemed to be that of the State."[b]

United States v. Windsor[edit]

A day after the decision in Windsor, the federal judge hearing McLaughlin v. Panetta asked the parties to explain by July 18 why the logic that found DOMA's section 3 unconstitutional did not apply equally to federal regulations that control eligibility for veterans' spousal benefits, which define "spouse" as "a person of the opposite sex."[240] On July 18, 2013, BLAG stated in a court filing that in light of Windsor, they would no longer seek to defend this case or similar statutes in court, and sought leave to withdraw from defending the case.[241]

In September 2013, a New Jersey judge ruled that the state's refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses contradicted Windsor.[242] Governor Chris Christie dropped his appeal of this ruling in October 2013 after the State Supreme Court signaled that they were likely to reject his appeal, making New Jersey the 14th state in the union to permit gay marriage.[243]

Following the Supreme Court's decision in Windsor and the New Mexico Supreme Court's ruling in Griego v. Oliver holding that marriage licenses must be issued to couples without respect to gender[244] four United States District Court judges (see Kitchen v. Herbert,[245] Bishop v. Oklahoma,[246] Bostic v. Rainey,[247] and De Leon v. Perry[248]) interpreted the Windsor decision as meaning that state laws defining marriage as one man and one woman are likewise unconstitutional.[249] In December 2013, a U.S. District Court judge for example ruled in Kitchen v. Herbert that Utah's prohibition of same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, citing Windsor to support his findings with respect to Baker v. Nelson and equal protection.[250]

A 3-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in SmithKline Beecham v. Abbott (Case 11-17357, Case ID:8944502) resolved a dispute between the two pharmaceutical companies SmithKline Beecham and Abbott Laboratories whether gay people could be kept off a jury in a trial involving HIV drugs. It ruled unanimously on January 21, 2014, that, based on its reading of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor, distinctions based on sexual orientation are subject to the "heightened scrutiny" standard of review and that "equal protection prohibits peremptory strikes based on sexual orientation".[251] The decision was not appealed.[252]

The Ninth Circuit looked at the Windsor decision and ruled that the Supreme Court applied heightened scrutiny, without naming it directly: “Windsor review is not rational basis review. In its words and its deed, Windsor established a level of scrutiny for classifications based on sexual orientation that is unquestionably higher than rational basis review. In other words, Windsor requires that heightened scrutiny be applied to equal protection claims involving sexual orientation.”[251] The Windsor Court, the opinion noted, reviewed the actual purposes and justifications for the law i.e. Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and not under the more lenient rational basis standard where any conceivable rationale is enough to sustain a law. The Ninth Circuit court also observed that the Windsor Court shifted the burden from the same-sex couple to the government when it wrote that the government has to “justify disparate treatment of the group.”[253] In sum the Ninth Cirucuit concluded: "In sum, Windsor requires that we reexamine our prior precedents, and Witt tells us how to interpret Windsor. Under that analysis, we are required by Windsor to apply heightened scrutiny to classifications based on sexual orientation for purposes of equal protection."[251] In holding that heightened scrutiny is required for classifications based on sexual orientation within the Ninth Circuit the court in SmithKline Beecham v. Abbott handed down a ruling whose underlying rationale could have broad implications outside of the case with respect to “the quest for marriage equality in every state in this country and greater constitutional protections for all LGBT Americans,” Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said in a statement.[252][254]

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling the Obama Administration and several federal agencies began to extend federal rights, priveleges and benefits to same-sex by changing regulations in order to conform with the Supreme Court decision in Windsor:

  • Medicaid annouced in August 2013 that "all beneficiaries in private Medicare plans have access to equal coverage when it comes to care in a nursing home where their spouse lives."[255][256]
  • All same-sex couples who are legally married will are recognized as such for federal tax purposes, even if the state where they live does not recognize their union.[255][257]
  • Federal employees in same-sex marriages can apply for health, dental, life, long-term care and retirement benefits.[258]
  • Legally married same-sex seniors on Medicare are eligible for equal benefits and joint placement in nursing homes.[258]
  • Death benefits are paid to survivors of a same-sex marriage by the Social Security Administration.[258]
  • The Department of Homeland Security treats same-sex spouses equally for the purposes of obtaining a green card if the spouse is a foreign national.[258]
  • Starting on Monday 8 February 2014 the Justice Department instructed all of its employees across the country to give lawful same-sex marriages sweeping equal protection under the law in every program it administers, from courthouse proceedings to prison visits to the compensation of surviving spouses of public safety officers. This means among other things that same-sex couples have the right to decline to give testimony that might incriminate their spouses, even if their marriages are not recognized in the state where the couple lives; and that federal inmates in same-sex marriages are entitled to the same rights and privileges as inmates in heterosexual marriages, including visitation by a spouse, escorted trips to attend a spouse’s funeral, correspondence with a spouse, and compassionate release or reduction in sentence based on the incapacitation of an inmate’s spouse. An inmate in a same-sex marriage can also be furloughed to be present during a crisis involving a spouse.[258] Same-sex married couples can also apply for federal programs such as the Sept. 11 fund to compensate victims of the terrorist attacks[259] and are eligible in bankruptcy cases to file for bankruptcy jointly.[260] Domestic support obligations include debts, such as alimony, owed to a former same-sex spouse. Certain debts to same-sex spouses or former spouses should be excepted from discharge.[258]

Despite the foregoing efforts the U.S. federal agencies are not working in concert. Instead "they are creating a patchwork of regulations affecting gay and lesbian couples — and may be raising questions about discrimination and fairness in the way that federal benefits are distributed."

NSA phone data ruling[edit]

US district court judge for the District of Columbia Richard Leon on declared[261][262][263][264][265][266] on December 16, 2013 that the mass collection of metadata of Americans’ telephone records by the National Security Agency probably violates the fourth amendment prohibition unreasonable searches and seizures.[267] “Given the limited record before me at this point in the litigation – most notably, the utter lack of evidence that a terrorist attack has ever been prevented because searching the NSA database was faster than other investigative tactics – I have serious doubts about the efficacy of the metadata collection program as a means of conducting time-sensitive investigations in cases involving imminent threats of terrorism.”[268] “Plaintiffs have a substantial likelihood of showing that their privacy interests outweigh the government’s interest in collecting and analysing bulk telephony metadata and therefore the NSA’s bulk collection program is indeed an unreasonable search under the fourth amendment,” he wrote.[268]

"The Fourth Amendment typically requires 'a neutral and detached authority be interposed between the police and the public,' and it is offended by 'general warrants' and laws that allow searches to be conducted 'indiscriminately and without regard to their connections with a crime under investigation,'" he wrote.[269] He added: "I cannot imagine a more 'indiscriminate' and 'arbitrary invasion' than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval. Surely such a program infringes on 'that degree of privacy' that the founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment. Indeed I have little doubt that the author of our Constitution, James Madison, who cautioned us to beware 'the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power,' would be aghast."[269]

Leon granted the request for an preliminary injunction that blocks the collection of phone data for two private plaintiffs (Larry Klayman, a conservative lawyer, and Charles Strange, father of a cryptologist killed in Afghanistan when his helicopter was shot down in 2011)[268] and ordered the government to destroy any of their records that have been gathered. But the judge stayed action on his ruling pending a government appeal, recognizing in his 68-page opinion the “significant national security interests at stake in this case and the novelty of the constitutional issues.”[267]

As a consequence of proposals made by his NSA-review pnale, the Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology,[270] U.S. President Obama is considering as of January 2014 to propose[271][272]

  1. court approval and review of national security letters compelling businesses, under a gag order, to turn over records about customer communications and financial transactions.[271][272]
  2. to have telecommunications firms or a private consortium, rather than the U.S. government, store vast troves of telephone metadata.[271]
  3. the establishment of a public advocate who argue against the U.S. government before the secret intelligence court FISC that oversees surveillance.[271][272]
  4. the extension of the protections of the Privacy Act of 1974 to non-U.S. citizens.[272]

According to the New York Times[273][274][275], The Guardian[276] and ProPublica[277]

Negotiations among intelligence agencies, the White House, lawmakers and their aides, and privacy advocates in the summer of 2014 led to a modified bill (S. S.2685) in the U.S. Senate[278]. This bill version addressed most privacy concerns regarding the NSA program that collects records of Americans’ phone calls in bulk and other issues. Under the bill the NSA would no longer collect those phone records. Instead, most of the records would have stayed in the hands of the phone companies, which would not have been required to hold them any longer than they already do for normal business purposes, which in some cases is 18 months. The bill would require the NSA to request specific data from phone companies under specified limits i.e. the NSA would need to show it had reasonable, articulable suspicion that the number it is interested in is tied to a foreign terrorist organization or individual. The proposed legislation would still have allowed analysts to perform so-called contact chaining in which they trace a suspect’s network of acquaintances, but they would been required to use a new kind of court order to swiftly obtain only those records that were linked, up to two layers away, to a suspect — even when held by different phone companies. It would also require the federal surveillance court to appoint a panel of public advocates to advance legal positions in support of privacy and civil liberties, and would expand company reporting to the public on the scope of government requests for customers’ data. This USA Freedom Act version thus gained the support of the Obama Administration, including the director of national intelligence and attorney general, as well as many tech companies including Apple, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo as well as a diverse range of groups, including the National Rifle Association and the American Civil Liberties Union.ref>Ellen Nakashima and Ed O'Keefe (November 18, 2014). "Senate fails to advance legislation on NSA reform". The Washington Post. The Washington Post. Retrieved November 19, 2014. </ref>[279]

Obsidian Press case[edit]

The Ninth Circuit Court ruled in Obsidian Finance Group LLC and Kevin Padrick vs. Crystal Cox (2014)[280] ruled that liability for a defamatory blog post involving a matter of public concern cannot be imposed without proof of fault and actual damages.[281] Bloggers saying libelous things about private citizens concerning public matters can only be sued if they’re negligent i.e. the plaintiff must prove the defendants negligence – the same standard that applies when news media are sued. The federal appellate court thus essentially said that journalists and bloggers are one and the same when it comes to the First Amendment[282] and, in the words of Eugene Volokh, a professor at the UCLA School of Law, that nonprofessional press, especially bloggers, "for First Amendment purposes, have the same rights as others do, as for example the institutional media does."[283] The unanimous three-judge panel rejected the argument that the negligence standard established for private defamation actions by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1974's Gertz v. Robert Welch Inc. only applied to "the institutional press."[283] "The Gertz court did not expressly limit its holding to the defamation of institutional media defendants," Judge Andrew Hurwitz wrote for the three-judge panel. "And, although the Supreme Court has never directly held that the Gertz rule applies beyond the institutional press, it has repeatedly refused in non-defamation contexts to accord greater First Amendment protection to the institutional media than to other speakers."[283] Hurwitz wrote: "The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others' writings or tried to get both sides of a story. … In defamation cases, the public-figure status of a plaintiff and the public importance of the statement at issue -- not the identity of the speaker -- provide the First Amendment touchstones."[284]

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in Obsidian Finance Group LLC and Kevin Padrick vs. Crystal Cox (2014)[280] that a blogger is entitled to the same free speech protections as a traditional journalist and cannot be liable for defamation unless he acted negligently.[281] The Ninth Circuit court essentially said journalists and bloggers are one and the same when it comes to the First Amendment[282] and in the words of Eugene Volokh, a professor at the UCLA School of Law, that nonprofessional press, especially bloggers, "for First Amendment purposes, have the same rights as others do, as for example the institutional media does."[283] The Ninth Circuit panel found the "protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others' writings, or tried to get both sides of a story. … In defamation cases, the public-figure status of a plaintiff and the public importance of the statement at issue -- not the identity of the speaker -- provide the First Amendment touchstones."[283][284]

Obsidian Press case shortened[edit]

The Ninth Circuit Court ruled in 2014[280] ruled that liability for a defamatory blog post involving a matter of public concern cannot be imposed without proof of fault and actual damages.[281] Bloggers saying libelous things about private citizens concerning public matters can only be sued if they’re negligent i.e. the plaintiff must prove the defendants negligence – the same standard that applies when news media are sued. [282] The Court held that in defamation cases not the identity of the speaker, but rather the public-figure status of a plaintiff and the public importance of the statement at issue provide the First Amendment foundation.[284] The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in 2014[280] that a blogger is entitled to the same free speech protections as a traditional journalist and cannot be liable for defamation unless the blogger acted negligently.[281] The Ninth Circuit court essentially said journalists and bloggers are one and the same when it comes to the First Amendment[282] because the "protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others' writings, or tried to get both sides of a story."[283][284]

The issue whether First Amendment defamation rules apply equally to both the institutional press and individual speakers has never been decided by the U.S. Supreme.[280] But every United States appeals court which adressed this issue concluded[285][286][287][288][289][290][280] that that the First Amendment defamation rules in Sullivan (1964) and its progeny case Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc. (1974) apply equally to the institutional press and individual speakers.[280][283]

While it is an open question whether people who blog, twitter or use other social media are journalists entitled to protection by Shield laws in the United States[291], they are protected equally by the Free Speech Clause and the Free Press Clause, because both clause don't difference between media businesses and nonprofessional speakers.[292][293][294] This is further evidenced by the United States Supreme Court who constantly refused to to accord greater First Amendment protection to the institutional media than to other speakers.[295][296][297] For example in a case involving campaign finance laws the Court rejected the “suggestion that communication by corporate members of the institutional press is entitled to greater constitutional protection than the same communication by” non-institutional-press businesses.[298]

Warrant[edit]

Under the Fourth Amendment, law enforcement must receive written permission from a court of law, or otherwise qualified magistrate, to lawfully search and seize evidence while investigating criminal activity. A court grants permission by issuing a writ known as a warrant. A search or seizure is generally unreasonable and unconstitutional if conducted without a valid warrant[299] and the police must obtain a warrant whenever practicable.[300] Searches and seizures without a warrant are not considered unreasonable if one of the specifically established and well-delineated exceptions to the warrant requirement applies.[301][302][303] These exceptions apply "[o]nly in those exceptional circumstances in which special needs, beyond the normal need for law enforcement, make the warrant and probable cause requirement impracticable."[304] In these situations where the warrant requirement doesn't apply a search or seizure nonetheless must be justified by some individualized suspicion of wrongdoing.[305] However the U.S. Supreme Court carved out an exception to the requirement of individualized suspicion. It ruled that "In limited circumstances, where the privacy interests implicated by the search are minimal and where an important governmental interest furthered by the intrusion would be placed in jeopardy by a requirement of individualized suspicion" a search [or seizure] would still be reasonable.[306]

Your comment and content deletion is based on wrong assumptions. I'm gonna respond to your comment by dividing my response into two parts: 1.) Thor's dream sequence and 2.) January 2015 trailer. Thor's dream sequence: The main aspect of the content addition was the splitting of Thor's dream sequence into two parts and why it was trimmed down i.e. the opinion differences between Whedon and Marvel Executives, not the info about Tom Hiddleston. Since the info about Tom Hiddleston not appearing in the movie has been already mentioned in the article I reworded the passage accordingly. (See this edit and the edit summary. January 2015 trailer: The content addition wasn't about "the fact that an image used in the trailer never was featured in the film." The content addition was about the information Marvel's marketing strategy for Avengers: Age of Ultron i.e. why and with what purpose a certain image from Thor's dream sequence was added to the January 2015 trailer. And that information is not "trivial", but "distinctive" enough to be mentioned. Based on the foregoing remarks I offer the following rewording as a proposal to get consensus in this issue: Instead film makers decided to split Thor's dream scene into two parts, but the second part was cut because Marvel Executives felt introducing the antagonist from the 2012 Avengers film at this point doesnt' work.[307][308] Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige explained a trailer scene showing a mysterious woman disrobing in a cave was added purposefully for marketing reasons since her appearance was "an arresting image" which in Feige's view would mean that "‘People are going to read into all this stuff.’"[309][310] Questions: Can these rewording be added as content. And if not which information in which way can be added? --P3Y229 (talkcontribs) 23:29, 22 May 2015 (UTC)

Afghanistan End of combat operations[edit]

After 13 years Britain and the United States officially ended their combat operation in Afghanistan on October 26, 2014. On that day Britain handed over its last base in Afghanistan, Camp Bastion in the southern province of Helmand, to Afghanistan, while the United States handed over its last base, Camp Leatherneck in the southern province of Helmand.[311][312][313][314][315][316]

Afghanistan and the United States signed the BSA signed through U.S. Ambassador James B. Cunningham and Afghan national security adviser Mohammad Hanif the bilateral security agreement on September 30, 2014 in a cordial ceremony at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afhanistan.[317][318][319] On that day the NATO Status of Forces Agreement was also signed, giving forces from Allied and partner countries the legal protections necessary to carry out the NATO Resolute Support mission when International Security Assistance Force comes to an end in 2014.[320] Under both agreements 9,800 American and at least 2,000 NATO troops are allowed to remain in Afghanistan after the international combat mission formally ends on December 31, 2014[317] while also enabling the continued training and advising of Afghan security forces, as well as counterterrorism operations against remnants of al-Qaeda.[318] Most of the troops will help train and assist the struggling Afghan security forces, although some American Special Operations forces will remain to conduct counterterrorism missions.[317] The Nato-led ISAF mission will transition to a training mission headquartered in Kabul with six bases around the country.[317] Under the BSA the United States are allowed to have bases at nine separate locations across Afghanistan.[318] A base in Jalalabad, in eastern Afghanistan, could also remain a launching point for armed drone missions in Afghanistan and across the border in Pakistan.[317][318] The agreement also prevents U.S. military personnel from being prosecuted under Afghan laws for any crimes they may commit; instead, the United States has jurisdiction over any criminal proceedings or disciplinary action involving its troops inside the country. The provision does not apply to civilian contractors.[318] The troop number of 9.800 Americans is to be cut in half by 2016, with American forces thereafter based only in Kabul and at Bagram air base. By the end of 2017, the U.S. force is to be further reduced in size to what U.S. officials have called a “normal” military advisory component at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, most likely numbering several hundred.[318] The BSA goes into force on January 1, 2015 and remains in force "until the end of 2024 and beyond" unless it is terminated by either side with two years' notice.[321]

At the end of March 2015 U.S. President Obama announced to slow the pace of the U.S. troop withdrawal by maintaining the current force levels of 9,800 troops through at least the end of 2015. This annoucement came after a request by the Afghan government under its new president Ashraf Ghani. Obama and Ghani stated the troops were needed to train and advise Afghan forces. According to U.S. official keeping the current force in place would allow American special operations troops and the Central Intelligence Agency to operate in southern and eastern Afghanistan, where the insurgents are strongest and where Al Qaeda’s presence is concentrated. Obama also stated to close the remaining U.S. bases in Afghanistan, to withdraw all but about 1,000 troops by the time he leaves office at the beginning of 2017 consolidate the remaining U.S. forces in Kabul. Those forces would operate largely in Kabul and protect embassy personnel and other American officials there.[322][323][324]

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