Archive for September 15th, 2012

Weekly Address of President Obama: Carrying on the Work of Our Fallen Heroes

Posted on September 15, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

This week in Libya, we lost four of our fellow Americans. Glen Doherty, Tyrone Woods, Sean Smith, and Chris Stevens were all killed in an outrageous attack on our diplomatic post in Benghazi.

These four Americans represented the very best of our country.

Glen and Tyrone had each served America as Navy SEALs for many years, before continuing their service providing security for our diplomats in Libya. They died as they lived their lives – defending their fellow Americans, and advancing the values that all of us hold dear.

Sean also started his service in uniform, in the Air Force. He then spent years at the State Department, on several continents, always answering his country’s call. And Ambassador Chris Stevens died a hero in two countries – here in the United States, where he inspired those of us who knew him; and in Libya, a country that he helped to save, where he ultimately laid down his life.

On Friday, I was able to tell their families how much the American people appreciated their service. Without people like them, America could not sustain the freedoms we enjoy, the security we demand, and the leadership that the entire world counts on.

As we mourn their loss, we must also send a clear and resolute message to the world: those who attack our people will find no escape from justice. We will not waver in their pursuit. And we will never allow anyone to shake the resolve of the United States of America.

This tragic attack takes place at a time of turmoil and protest in many different countries. I have made it clear that the United States has a profound respect for people of all faiths. We stand for religious freedom. And we reject the denigration of any religion – including Islam.

Yet there is never any justification for violence. There is no religion that condones the targeting of innocent men and women. There is no excuse for attacks on our Embassies and Consulates. And so long as I am Commander-in-Chief, the United States will never tolerate efforts to harm our fellow Americans.

Right now, we are doing whatever we can to protect Americans who are serving abroad. We are in contact with governments around the globe, to strengthen our cooperation, and underscore that every nation has a responsibility to help us protect our people. We have moved forward with an effort to see that justice is done for those we lost, and we will not rest until that work is done.

Most of all, we must reaffirm that we will carry on the work of our fallen heroes.

I know the images on our televisions are disturbing. But let us never forget that for every angry mob, there are millions who yearn for the freedom, and dignity, and hope that our flag represents. That is the cause of America – the ideals that took root in our founding; the opportunity that drew so many to our shores; and the awesome progress that we have promoted all across the globe.

We are Americans. We know that our spirit cannot be broken, and the foundation of our leadership cannot be shaken. That is the legacy of the four Americans we lost – men who will live on in the hearts of those they loved, and the strength of the country they served.

So with their memory to guide us, we will carry forward the work of making our country stronger, our citizens safer, and the world a better and more hopeful place. Thank you.

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Weekly Democratic Address by Rep. Seth Berry (Bowdoinham): Huge tax cuts for the rich won’t help middle-class Mainers

Posted on September 15, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

Audio link here.

Good morning, I’m State Rep. Seth Berry from Bowdoinham, where today we are celebrating the 250th birthday of our great town.

Thank you for tuning in this morning.

This week, we saw the latest U.S. Census data showing that Maine’s middle class is shrinking and that our economy is stagnant.

The new data confirms what families across Maine have been feeling lately. We work harder and harder for less and less. Some families are working two or three jobs to make ends meet, and have a little extra to buy new sneakers for the kids as they head back to school.

During the past two years Maine’s economy has slid backwards.

We are one of only a handful of states where the economy has shrunk.

Our personal income growth is dead last in the nation.

Thousands of Maine people are still looking for work.

Sometimes it feels like the American Dream we were raised to believe in is slipping away.

Yet Maine has incredible potential. Our story doesn’t have to end this way.

Maine Democrats believe families should be climbing into the middle class, not falling out of it. We have a vision for rebuilding Maine’s economy and opening the door of opportunity not closing it shut behind us.

To grow our economy, we need taxes to be fairer to middle class families. We need to make sure all Mainers have access to a quality education, affordable health care, and good job opportunities. We need to invest in innovation, R&D, and infrastructure. This is how we put more money back into our communities and businesses.

Middle-class families are the backbone of our economy. They are the small business owners on Maine Street; the teachers and childcare providers giving our kids a strong start; the nurses caring for us in the hospital; the farmers and fishermen bringing fresh local food to market.

The policies we pursue should be increasing opportunity for all hard working Maine people. Unfortunately, we’ve seen one Republican policy after another making it harder and harder for Maine’s middle class.

Republicans state lawmakers pushed hard for huge tax cuts for the rich during the past two years. If you’re a middle class Mainer, you can expect to get back under $100. If you are among the top 1 percent, you can expect to get back more than $3,000.

Worse, the tax cuts shift costs to local towns, schools, and property taxpayers. This budget is balanced on the backs of Maine seniors, working families and people with disabilities.

Have you noticed an increase in your property taxes or rent this year? If so, you may be starting to feel the impact of the cost shift.

While the tax cuts were passed as part of a budget negotiation, Democrats fought for them to benefit tens of thousands more middle class Maine families. We offered amendment after amendment to reverse the cost shift to property taxes and to make the system fairer.

And when we saw they were unaffordable, we were the first to propose that the huge tax cuts for the rich be suspended.

Rather than meeting us halfway, the Republicans went even further, resurrecting a TABOR-like measure that could further siphon funds from our schools, public safety, and our cities and towns in the long term. It will ratchet down our ability to pay for basic services that Maine people rely on and skew our tax code even more toward the rich.

Now, the chickens are coming home to roost. Some new estimates show that due to our budget decisions, between 50-80 percent of Mainers will experience an overall increase in state and local taxes.

Already, a single parent of two, working full time at minimum wage, pays nearly twice as high a state and local tax rate as an investor making three-quarters of a million dollars per year.

Increasing the burden on property taxes and middle class families will make this problem worse.

Maine should be building its economy from the middle out not from the top down.

Maine’s middle class needs leaders fighting for them in Augusta.

Thank you for listening. Have a great weekend. I’m Rep. Seth Berry from Bowdoinham.

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