Loving the Sacred through Word and Image. AIDS – THIS IS MY PRIDE – SURVIVAL !!! A Wordpress Production

U.S. Politics

Thursday … Let’s Start with this …

tumblr_lcxi09wRjw1qzizdco1_500Right now it is (-3c with a wind chill of -11c) … And it was bitterly windy and cold outside tonight.

It is a momentous day today. And it was a very productive day today.

I was up very early this morning, with a plan in mind to get many things done early and have the afternoon free to fart around. I made one phone call to make a hair appointment, that I wanted in the morning, because, like I said, I was up already. What I got was a 2 p.m. appointment, which shifted my morning into the afternoon, because I wanted to make one trip and not several.

I thought about going back to bed, but thought better. Today is our tenth wedding anniversary, and I wanted to do something special, since tonight and tomorrow night I am busy.

I trashed an old monitor that’s been sitting in the living room gathering dust. I wasn’t sure what to do with it, since it is electronic, so I dumped it in the basement for the super to take care of. Then I cleaned up the apartment, and decided that I would put the Christmas Tree up.

I un-crated the tree and put it up, and loaded it up with lots of lights. We usually wait until the first snow to put the tree up. And it’s not so much a bother really, so that is a thing…

I went and did my grocery shopping early on.

I had to fill a few hours of time, I usually loathe daytime television. And I am finding that the massive amount of “stupid news” in the news is beginning to get on my nerves. I wish there was another page I could assign as my homepage instead of Yahoo or Bing or BBC. UGH !!!

My take on the news is this … If it ain’t Canadian, It’s not my bother… And most of that shit news is coming from all points south. But the Canadian Yahoo picks up every stupid news story that comes across the wire on any given day.

I mean really, people are being denied marriage rights in the states and with the push of marriage equality coming to South Carolina, we’ve broken into the RED south. And as of a few days ago, Charles Manson, was given a fucking marriage license to marry some tart who is trying to exonerate a killer who is in prison for life, and some say she is “smart???”

Let’s deny marriage rights to gays, yet let’s give a murderer a marriage license !!!

The world is seriously coming to an end me thinks …

I got prepped to go early, I really did not have a plan in mind, besides getting my hair cut. So I headed out to the mall with plenty of time. My favorite card store was having a sale on Christmas Cards, and I needed a card for hubby, so that was stop one. This year I was smart, I bought regular sized cards, and not those micro cards that aren’t mailable.

I saw a commercial on tv for this great little griller from T-Fal. It would make a great little Christmas present. So stop two was Canadian Tire. I was terribly disappointed to see that that little gift was running a whopping $300.00 !!! Certainly out of my price range.

I went and looked at decorations, like we need more? We have a huge box of baubles that we have collected over the years and we really don’t have any extra room for another storage box for more baubles.

I went and had some lunch. My one guilty pleasure, fatty, fast food. It was good !!!

Finally I made my hair appointment. It was pretty cut and dry. High and tight, just like Papi !!!

I’ve seen many variations on this haircut, and it seems to be the most popular cut as of late.

I made my way home with a couple hours to waste before my evening departure.

When the sun went down, the temp’s plummeted. But it wasn’t as cold, early on, as it was on the way home. They have rerouted sidewalk traffic up the block, because workers have dug up the entire walkway in front of the Forum, and they created a pedestrian lane counter traffic with big cement barricades.

I got to the church. There is a nice blanket of snow on the yard. I am sure this will be a good first layer of snow, that will now pile up over the winter. The shrubbery by the main door is covered in snow.
We sat a small group. And the writing is on the wall. We won’t be going into December. I now have both keys, to turn in for their deposits, $25.00 a head. And I am slowly redirecting supplies to other meetings, since others can use them so we don’t have to bring them home and store them.

We don’t have very much in the way of supplies, but we do have a $65.00 coffee urn that will go into storage. And the literature as well. I might just donate it to the other house meetings. They will go to good use.

We talked about self acceptance, which lead back around to page 417.

Acceptance is the KEY to ALL my problems.

It was a nice little discussion. We walked home, and it was bitter.

**** **** ****

evils-wedding-13So monumental day today… Ten years ago today, hubby and I were married in front of family and friends, at the Loyola Chapel on the Loyola Campus of Concordia University. It was the most responsible decision I have ever made in my life. We made a good choice. Marriage is a good thing.

I don’t see why some people in America can’t support marriage equality for every one. But like I said above, it ain’t Canadian, so why bother? Another great reason I left the U.S. when I did, because I have certainly more rights and privileges and a better life than had I stayed down there.

Life is beautiful, Marriage is beautiful. Family is beautiful. I could not have asked for more.

That was the day as it happened.

More to come, stay tuned …


Image

The President on LGBT Rights …

GLAADid2013


Holiness and the Myth of Gay Marriage.

A Fascinating read from: Don’t Eat Trash

Ok time for my two cents I suppose.

I have been discussing a few things with people for the last few days because of some decision in a state of a country that i don’t live in. Makes me laugh a little. Because a couple of days ago, it wasn’t really being spoken about. But the issue still existed.

I want to illustrate two things and see where that gets me.

Number one – democracy is not Gods best.

No where in the bible do you find the blue print of democracy. The trinity isn’t a democracy. Its holy. It is perfectly relational? Do I tongue in cheek think that the three members of the trinity discuss things and disagree on certain designs? Maybe. But are they relational perfect anyway? YES. More then our peon brains understand.

Democracy is a stunted version of what God envisioned for government. A very stunted version. And although most of the conservative right of the western world has convinced themselves and the rest of humanity that capitalism is Gods best, that is also a fallacy. Capitalism works in a supply and demand language, collecting as much as one can. Gods kingdom works on a giving and receiving mentality. Balance. Not consumptive excess.

So when one argues that God wants us to uprise and call on our governments to outlaw gay marriage, it makes me laugh. Because it makes Jesus look bad. When we call on our governments to give more in international aid, it makes me die a little inside, as we facebook our friends sitting next to us, buy our retardedly expensive cars that drive on a fuel that will cease to exist in 40 years and think ‘i have no money to help’.

Christ attacked

– The spiritual elite – the hypocrites.
– The pagans that got in the way of the gentiles having access to God in the courts.
– and Peter.
– aaaaaand technically Satan by destroying the enemies power at the cross.

Why do we think we can attack sinners when Jesus called for no rocks to be thrown, no judgements to be made, and no stumbling blocks put in their way.

Where would one find a bigger stumbling block then presenting a Jesus that hates people and protests friendship even going as far as picketing funerals with signs that speak of God hating fags. Does God really hate fags?

Back to the point. Taking Australia for example, through wise choices and intelligent living we could each afford to personally send financial support to the developing world, making sure everyone can eat. Aid money accounted for. If the body of Christ took to loving and servant-hearted community, we would fully exemplify the freedom of Gods love, as opposed to carbon copying the world in our day to day lives and saving Jesus for the church service. We are a tribal people of significant influence over life and love. We need not mere nation state puppet governments, who can neither legislate morality or stop love from changing the world.

Point 2
If Jesus was invited to a gay wedding, would he go?

As he walks in he begins to teach people how to live abundantly. He dances hard, he drinks wisely, he has crazy conversations, he’s honest and real and affirms people deeply. he becomes the king of the party because he is the best partyer. and people are drawn to his freedom-from-fear-of man. He walks out of that wedding with more people following him then if he stayed at home angry that gay people get to marry.

Secondly, if God calls us to not judge people outside of the ‘church’ could it be because he wants us soft hearted so that the holy spirit can move? But if we are elitist, judgmental – we toe the line of broken-relationship or ‘sin’. Let God do what he does best – healing the broken, freeing the captive. Hes much better at it then our sinful hearts, hands and feet.

The last few days i’ve heard scripture quoted as the reason we should out law ‘the gays’ as if a law would stop people falling in love. Does the fact that divorces happen stop you from being in a committed loving marriage? Does the law that permits tobacco being sold to people mean you have to be addicted to it or smoke at all? The law means crud-all when you are a free man. The law is for the guilty. But so is human non law.

If pedophilia wasn’t against the law does that mean we let people abuse our kids? FRAG NO.

And no i am not making a correlation between homosexuality and pedophilia. They are two completely different things. Pedophilia just seems to be the universal moral absolute. #pointmade

Lastly, to those who are already formulating comments to do with ‘But God says homosexuality is wrong, we must stamp it out’ God’s perfection speaks of everything less then holiness is wrong. We were designed for relational perfection. Pointing fingers is the echo from the garden of eden when Adam first felt uncomfortable being naked of Gods holiness. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil means we compare, judge, become prideful and faux humble.

God wants YOU, reader, to be able to love uncomfortably, and unceasingly.

Can you?


Presidential Proclamation …

Courtesy: BarackObama Tumblr

The Greatest Commandment Matthew 22:34-40

 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

*** *** *** ***

You wonder if all those voters read the same bible as I do? And if they do, why did they vote the way they voted? Because in the end Love will win. You reap what you sow people. And one day, you will reap it big …


We want a Canadian Divorce please !!! Update 13Jan12

Courtesy: Flickr 21lau_z

What a bru-ha-ha it has been today.

Are you married or are you not? Does Canada acknowledge your marriage as legal and binding if you live elsewhere other than in Canada? Did the government nullify more than 15,000 gay marriages that have been performed in Canada since the law went into effect in 2004? The Government says it isn’t opening the marriage debate again, but what is it going to do with you all who want divorces???

This story is still evolving. From CTV News:

Sonja Puzic, CTVNews.ca

Date: Thu. Jan. 12 2012 11:30 PM ET

The federal government is considering changes to the law that will make it easier for foreign same-sex couples who married in Canada to obtain divorces, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said Thursday.

Nicholson also stressed the government has no intention of reopening the same-sex marriage debate after a day of confusion over the validity of marriage licences issued in Canada to same-sex couples from abroad.

Ottawa was pressed to clarify its position on gay marriage after an apparent about-face on the issue surfaced in a Toronto divorce case.

A lesbian couple who married in Canada seven years ago and recently filed for divorce was told by a Department of Justice lawyer that their marriage was not legal.

The stated reason was that because the partners live in Florida and England, where same-sex marriage remains illegal, their Canadian union was invalid too.

The case threw into question thousands of marriages non-residents entered into since 2004, when same-sex marriage became legal in Canada under a Liberal government.

In a statement, Nicholson said the issue centres on dissolution of marriages performed in Canada.

Non-resident couples who marry here must live in Canada for one year before they can legally divorce. The lesbian couple at the centre of the controversy has launched a constitutional challenge of that provision in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

Nicholson said he will be “looking at options to clarify the law so that marriages performed in Canada can be undone in Canada.”

In an interview with CTV’s Power Play, Nicholson’s parliamentary secretary Kerry-Lynne Findlay said the Canadian marriages of non-resident same-sex couples are legal in Canada.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper had little to say Thursday other than relate his government’s reluctance to wade back into a same-sex marriage debate.

“We have no intention further of opening or reopening this issue,” Harper told reporters gathered for a shipbuilding agreement announcement in Halifax.

“This, I gather, is a case before the courts where Canadian lawyers have taken particular positions based on the law. But I will be asking officials to provide me more details with this particular case.”

Opposition parties and critics quickly weighed in on the issue, accusing the prime minister of trying to rewrite Canada’s same-sex marriage laws “in stealth.”

In a statement, Egale Canada, a human rights organization advocating equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, called the apparent flip-flop “a direct insult to gays and lesbians both in Canada and abroad.”

If the federal lawyer’s arguments in the Toronto divorce case are a misunderstanding, Harper should make that clear, NDP MP Olivia Chow said.

With files from Kieron Lang and The Canadian Press

We shall see where this story goes. It was all over the news tonight. All those people came to Canada to get married and have that joyous moment in their lives. And now I fear that we are beginning to see just how long those marriages lasted, as this is probably not the last divorce case we will see come from abroad.

I mused earlier that you came all this way to get married, and you spent all that money on that day. And now you want a divorce. What to do??? They say in gay circles that lesbians mate for life. I guess that’s not really true any more.

I guess you all got caught up in the woo hoo about being able to get married so you came here and cashed in your relationship chips for a marriage license.

From Wiki:

Six state governments (along with the District of Columbia, the Coquille Indian Tribe, and the Suquamish tribe) have passed laws offering same-sex marriage: New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, and New Hampshire. In all six states, same-sex marriage has been legalized through legislation or court ruling. Same-sex marriage has been legal in Massachusetts since May 17, 2004; in Connecticut since November 12, 2008;[13] in Iowa since April 27, 2009; in Vermont since September 1, 2009; New Hampshire since January 1, 2010; and New York since July 24, 2011.In 2009, New England became the center of an organized push to legalize same-sex marriage, with four of the six states in that region granting same-sex couples the legal right to marry.

And now couples are starting to figure out that they really don’t want to be married any more. And we could speculate on just what the reasons are that a couple would want a dissolution of marriage.

As good gays and lesbians we are supposed to show up the heterosexuals and prove to them that we can marry and stay together longer and truer than our straight counterparts.

Marriage in celebrity circles has become a mockery and a joke. What have they done to the institution of marriage for all of us ???

This whole push to legalize gay marriage nationwide in the United States is going to come up eventually in the campaign race. They just haven’t gotten around to it yet, but rest assured those Christians who want to see us damned are going to make sure their chosen candidate does all he can to stop gay marriage from being passed across the rest of the 44 states.

Why did you come here and get married then gone home with that little piece of paper, that got all dusty and forsaken. And now you want a divorce. What a waste. It is very sad to see couples separate for any reason. I just hope it was a good reason and not something stupid like, “oh well, we thought we’d get in on the excitement and really when we came to think about it, we really did not want to abide by our wedding vows, till death do us part …”

So now we want a Canadian divorce because we got a made in Canada marriage.

I Don’t think Canada prepared for this contingency in hindsight.

*** *** *** ***

Ottawa will change law so same sex marriages are valid: Nicholson. 

By The Canadian Press | The Canadian Press
 13 January 2012

TORONTO – The federal justice minister says the government will change the law to ensure gay couples from abroad who marry in Canada will have their unions recognized here.

Rob Nicholson says it’s the government’s view that these marriages “should be valid.”

“We will change the Civil Marriage Act so that any marriages performed in Canada that aren’t recognized in the couple’s home jurisdiction will be recognized in Canada,” Nicholson said Friday during a speech to the Canadian Club of Toronto.

Doubts were raised about the validity of thousands of marriages conducted in Canada for same-sex couples from the United States and elsewhere following a federal twist in a Charter of Rights case launched in Ontario by two foreign women seeking a divorce.

A legal brief filed by federal lawyers denies the women are even legally married.

Critics accused Stephen Harper’s Conservative government of seeking to rewrite the rules on gay marriage to suit its right-wing agenda.

In announcing the government would change the law, Nicholson said Friday that “the confusion and pain resulting from this gap … is completely unfair to those affected.”

Liberal Leader Bob Rae, speaking to reporters at the party’s policy convention in Ottawa, responded to Nicholson by lamenting, “Oh please, give me a break.”

“These guys specialize in trying to turn the tables,” Rae said of the Harper Conservatives.

“The only gap is the gap between the heads of Conservative cabinet ministers who have failed to live up the best and finest traditions of Canada with respect to our positions of tolerance,” Rae added.

The couple seeking a divorce, identified in court records only by initials to protect their privacy, were married in Toronto in December 2005 and separated two years ago. One lives in Clearwater, Fla., the other in London, England.

Their marriage is not recognized either in Florida or the United Kingdom. As a result, they are unable to obtain a divorce in their home cities.

The couple also faced a barrier to divorce in Ontario — a requirement that at least one of them live in the province for a year or more. They have launched a constitutional challenge of that provision in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.


10 Years …

NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 11:  Hijacked United Airlines Flight 175 from Boston crashes into the south tower of the World Trade Center and explodes at 9:03 a.m. on September 11, 2001 in New York City.  The crash of two airliners hijacked by terrorists loyal to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and subsequent collapse of the twin towers killed some 2,800 people. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

*** *** *** ***

It has been a week of quiet reflection and introspection about those events that took place on September 11, 2001. Many people are writing on this memory over the last few days and I was going to write on Sunday, but I think I can write on it now.

It was a quiet morning in South Beach that morning. I was asleep in my bed when the phone rang. It was my friend Ricky. He said to turn on the tv, that something was going down in New York City.

I sat rapt and cold watching the events transpire as they did. At that time my memory started running because my brother was employed as was his wife by the government. And when the plane hit the Pentagon, I panicked. I called my mother for some shard of news that neither of them were there.

My mother would neither confirm nor deny where they were at that moment. The punishment of silence was being played out on me because of my parent’s belief that I was less than human and unacceptable as a member of the family. Even then relations were strained between us and she wasn’t going to give up her information without me groveling for it.

But after 12 hours of relentless questions she finally let go the info that they were not at the Pentagon.

I did not report to work that day or the next. I wandered up and down the island watching tv and talking with friends about what we had seen. We were all in shock. And life on the island stopped. The party hardy city was struck stone cold sober. I sat in an internet cafe on Lincoln Road trying to find things to do, people to help and news to watch. The young man who ran the cafe would eventually give me free time every day for the 2 week period of time that the benefit period lasted on the island.

We had a week of mourning. There were no parties. It seemed the club atmosphere was sobered up. Nobody was in the mood to party or drink to excess because of what happened in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

They told us that we should go to the beach and lay candles lit in the sand at nightfall, because the satellites above were taking pictures of the coastline from space. So we did that every night for two weeks.

After a week of not knowing what to do, and seven days of forced sobriety, the island began to open up again. And the fund raising began. At the major clubs on the beach would have matching donations drives and if you donate so much money – you could have the equal back in alcohol.

So we went from stone cold sober to hot stock drunk over night. We drank every drop of alcohol that was stocked on the island for more than a week. And whatever money we raised was sent to the disaster zones up North. It was a very emotional time for us.

I spent a lot of time in front of the television. I had a computer at home during this time, even writing to Peter Jennings while he talked on tv news for days and nights after it happened. I had a direct email address for him and I would write him during the night while he was alone on tv.

One night – and I have it recorded on vhs, Peter was having a hard night, trying to remain stoic and strong, and it was wearing on him badly. So I dropped him a note and I said “Peter, take a breath, loosen your tie and just relax for a few minutes. You aren’t alone. Just do it …”

That email reached him and there on live tv, he took a breath, he loosened his tie and he stopped talking for a few minutes and he got through the rest of that shift that night. Peter Jennings was the voice of reason I had grown up with from a young boy into the man I was at that time. I have 20 VHS tapes that I have in my video collection from the morning of 9-11 through the following weeks time of news, interviews and finally the first night David Letterman came back to do his first live show after 9-11 with Dan Rather in chairs – we all cried that night.

Peter Jennings, in a moment of weakness, started smoking again after 9-11 a choice that ended very badly for him as he contracted cancer and later died from it – it was a sad time for everyone. But for those crucial few days after 9-11 Peter Jennings was the man of the hour of ABC news. I will always be proud of him and what he did for the city, the world and his viewers.

This is what happened to my community in South Beach at the time of 9-11.

What is your story?


Don't Ask, Don't tell …

Courtesy: snooz3r

Just ashamed … what else do we have to say?


"Crimes that are meant not only to break bones but to break spirits"

hatex390

obamasigning

No one in America should ever be afraid to walk down the street holding the hand of the person they love.”
.
Here are the remarks President Obama made a few minutes ago following the signing of the Matthew Shepard/James Byrd Hate Crime Prevention Act into law.

“After more than a decade of delay, we have passed inclusive hate crimes legislation to help protect our citizens from violence based on what they look like, who they love, how they pray or who they are.”

“As a nation we’ve come far on the journey toward a more perfect union and today we’re taking another step forward.”

He described hate crimes as “… crimes that are meant not only to break bones but to break spirits, not only to inflict harm but to inspire fear. We understand that the rights afforded every citizen under our Constitution mean nothing if we do not protect those rights from unjust laws and violent acts and we understand how necessary this law continues to be.”

Lifted from: An Inch at a Time.


PM hails Obama's visit as 'great honour'

shake-cp-w6279781

Courtesy: CBC.CA Online

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Barack Obama shook hands and smiled Thursday as the U.S. president arrived on Parliament Hill for a meeting during which the two leaders are expected to take the first step toward a North American climate change treaty.

The pact involves carbon capturing, sequestration and the development of a so-called “smart grid,” or a more efficient power transmission and distribution system to save energy and reduce costs, White House officials told Reuters.

Obama, on his first foreign trip since taking office, arrived just before noon by motorcade at the Centre Block rotunda of Parliament Hill shortly after leaving the Ottawa International Airport.

The leaders met privately for 33 minutes, a session originally slated to last only 10 minutes. They then moved on to a meeting and working lunch with their staff teams. The president and the prime minister are scheduled to hold a joint news conference at 2:45 p.m. ET.

Cameras were briefly allowed into the Prime Minister’s Office, where both men were seen smiling and chatting.

“Thank you so much for having me,” Obama said to Harper as they stood and shook hands for the cameras.

“It’s a great honour to have you here on your first visit. We really appreciate it,” Harper said.

A senior PMO official said the private meeting gave the leaders a chance to establish a “good rapport. This was a good start and bodes well for the rest of the day.”

When the president arrived on the Hill, he waved to a cheering crowd of an estimated 2,500 people who had gathered in front, hoping to catch a glimpse of the U.S. leader.

Clary Fraser, who drove from Toronto to take in the moment, said he was in Birmingham, Ala., during a tragic race bombing in 1963.

“No one, no one in the world would have dreamed, could suggest that there would one day be a black president of the United States,” Fraser said.

Obama had been greeted at the airport by Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean after Air Force One touched down around 10:30 a.m.

An RCMP honour guard lined the airport tarmac as Obama was welcomed by the Governor General and other officials, including Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon and Michael Wilson, the Canadian ambassador to the U.S.

Obama, who was wearing a long, dark coat with a dark crimson scarf tucked into the collar, and Jean, who was wearing a long, charcoal coat and matching hat, smiled and chatted as they walked side by side toward the airport terminal.

Crowds of people braved the light snow and chilly, damp weather to line the heavily guarded and barricaded streets of Ottawa. Busloads of police started arriving in the downtown area around 7:30 a.m. ET to start shutting down the streets.

The RCMP arrested a 20-year-old man Thursday morning who apparently tried to jump a barrier set up on Parliament Hill. The man is being questioned.

Yellow-jacketed officers are patrolling the streets by foot, scanning the sidewalks for any suspicious items.

Afghanistan, economy on agenda

During their meeting, the president, who took office in January, is expected to gauge the prime minister’s views on the future of the Afghanistan mission, as well as discuss what each country is doing to get the global economy back on its feet, CBC national affairs editor Chris Hall said.

Almost certain to come up is the controversial “Buy American” provision in the $787-billion US stimulus package Obama signed into law this week, despite fierce lobbying efforts by Canadian officials against the measure.

In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Harper warned that protectionist measures are the greatest threat to the global economy and that Canada will take action if the U.S. violates its international trade agreements.

Obama said in an interview this week with CBC chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge that Canadians should not be “too concerned” about the “Buy American” clause and that the U.S. would abide by trade agreements such as NAFTA, “just as we always have.”

He also said that he did not plan to make a specific request for Harper to reconsider Canada’s decision to end the military component of its mission in Afghanistan.

Obama will not address Parliament during his six-hour visit, but will meet with Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff at the airport before departing for Washington at around 4:30 p.m. ET.

Ignatieff said he viewed his meeting with Obama later in the day as a “get-to-know.

“I think I want to excite Mr. Obama with the possibilities of working with Canada,” Ignatieff told CBC’s Susan Bonner outside the House of Commons. “There is so much we can do together.”

He said he wouldn’t use his time with Obama to “score political points” in the meeting, but added it was “appropriate for the Americans to be skeptical about the credibility of this government with respect to the environment.”

With files from the Canadian Press


Text of President Barack Obama's inaugural address

capitol-inaug

Text of President Barack Obama‘s inaugural address on Tuesday, as prepared for delivery and released by the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

OBAMA: My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we the people have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land — a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted — for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act — not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions — who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them — that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account — to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day — because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control — and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart — not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort — even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West — know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment — a moment that will define a generation — it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence — the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed — why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

“Let it be told to the future world … that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive…that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet (it).”

America, in the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.


+ Gene Robinson's Invocation

Gene Robinson’s Prayer Kicks off Inaugural Events


Developing: HBO says they aren't to blame for not including Gene Robinson in concert special

USA-OBAMA/

Afterelton.com

Sunday afternoon, HBO televised the Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial — a concert planned by the Presidential Inauguration Committee — to kick off the festivities surrounding Obama’s inauguration on Tuesday.

Openly gay bishop Gene Robinson delivered the opening prayer before the start of the concert, but the prayer was not included as part of HBO’s broadcast.

Contacted Sunday night by AfterElton.com concerning the exclusion of Robinson’s prayer, HBO said via email, “The producer of the concert has said that the Presidential Inaugural Committee made the decision to keep the invocation as part of the pre-show.”

Uncertain as to whether or not that meant that HBO was contractually prevented from airing the pre-show, we followed up, but none of the spokespeople available Sunday night could answer that question with absolute certainty.

However, it does seem that the network’s position is that they had nothing to do with the decision.

We have also contacted a spokesperson from the Presidential Inauguration Committee (PIC) for their  explanation and will post what we learn either from PIC or HBO .

Wherever the fault lies, this is yet another unfortunate turn involving GLBT concerns over Obama’s selection of Rick Warren to deliver the prayer at Obama’s inauguration. Many in the gay community saw Robinson’s selection to deliver Sunday’s prayer as an olive branch.

But given that most Americans could not attend the concert, instead having to watch it on television, the decision to not broadcast the prayer is being seen by many in the GLBT community as a slight.

The exclusion of Robinson, even if unintentional, does not reflect well on the Obama administration’s ability thus far to think through these sorts of nuances.


Sean Penn's new gay drama avoiding publicity

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) – The opening of “Milk,” director Gus Van Sant‘s account of California‘s first openly gay politician, is four weeks away. Yet you wouldn’t know it.

Unlike the hoopla over Focus Features‘ previous gay-themed awards magnet, “Brokeback Mountain,” which was drawing calls of agenda-pushing from right-wingers months before it opened in 2005, there’s been hardly a peep in editorial pages or on talk radio.

Admittedly, the election is a major distraction. But Focus also is doing something deliberate: It’s eschewing publicity for the Sean Penn vehicle, keeping it out of the high-profile fall film festivals and heavily restricting media screenings.

“The best way to help this film win over a mainstream audience is to avoid partisanship, and the best way to avoid partisanship is to let people find out about the film from the film itself,” said one person involved with the film.

Giving up word-of-mouth to avoid hot air is not a typical trade-off — notice how Lionsgate effectively flogged politically charged movies like Oliver Stone‘s George W. Bush biopic “W.” and the Bill Maher documentaryReligulous” — but it’s one Focus is willing to make.

Not that it will last. The political football will be kicked off when the movie premieres Tuesday night in San Francisco and then put in play after the November 4 election. And when that happens, the studio will face a marketing dilemma: how to accommodate the gay-rights angle the core audience expects while appealing to mainstream filmgoers who might not be immediately moved to see a movie about the subject.

One example of those filmgoers: At a recent Vegas test-screening for a middle-class, straight audience, several senior citizens tried to leave after a gay love scene in the early moments but couldn’t because they were trapped in the middle of a row (near Focus production chief John Lyons, in fact). The seniors eventually said they were happy that they stayed, but, like independent voters in an election contest, these are the viewers Focus must woo.

Like its initial phase of playing keep-away from cable news, the post-election phase will also involve staying above politics. Focus plans on selling “Milk” in part as a story of hope and change (Harvey Milk, a member of San Francisco’s Board of Superviors until his assassination in 1978, won equal-rights battles against great odds), just as it sold “Brokeback” as a love story.

The ploy was logical with “Brokeback.” It’s less so here.

Like “Brokeback,” “Milk” features a gay romance. But unlike “Brokeback,” “Milk” is made by gay filmmakers, features the polarizing Penn and puts itself squarely in a political context. Milk’s fight against California‘s anti-gay-rights Proposition 6 — a drama the movie deals with in great detail — spookily parallels the current California fight over Proposition 8, a measure that would ban gay marriage.

Neil Giuliano, president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, said that “since this movie is about a beloved politician who was killed, it won’t be easy for our adversaries to fight us on it.” Focus and its Oscar handlers should get the weaponry ready anyway.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter


Roman priest preaches "No on 8"

Originally posted on: An Inch at a time, Reflections on the Journey.

You can watch the video report here … but here’s a transcript of the “Breaking news” from Fresno:

10/5/2008 Fresno, CA, USA (KFSN) — Father Geoffrey Farrow of the Saint Paul Newman Center in northeast Fresno shocked parishioners Sunday morning when he came out against Proposition 8, an initiative that would eliminate the right for same sex couples to marry in California.

After 23 years as an ordained Catholic Priest, Father Geoffrey Farrow has likely given his final mass. Sunday morning he invited us to hear his message, a message that shocked many parishioners.

11 o’clock mass began as usual Sunday. Father Geoff led parishioners through prayer and communion.

The homily taught of acceptance, love and rejection. But it was his closing remarks that left some parishioners stunned. “What most Catholics hear about being gay or lesbian at their parish is silence.”

Fr. Geoff says after numerous inquiries from parishioners asking for direction on Proposition 8, if passed would ban gay marriage, the Father said he must go against the Bishops recommendation and instead go with what he feels is right.

“In directing the faithful to vote yes on proposition 8, the California Bishops are not only entering the political arena, they are ignoring the advances and insights of neurology, psychology and the very statements by the church itself that homosexuality is innate,” says Fr. Geoff.

The priest acknowledges his controversial comments will have consequences. “I know that these words of truth will cost me dearly. But to withhold them would be far more costly and I would become an accomplice to a moral evil that strips gay and lesbian couples, not only of their civil rights but of their human dignity as well.”

We sat down with Father Geoff before mass, and he answered the question many are probably wondering… Is he gay? “It’s a secondary issue. But yes, I am. And when I was a boy I asked God please make me normal and the prayer never got answered and I realized why. Because God would’ve made somebody else he wouldn’t have made me.”

Sunday mass ended with about half the congregation giving a standing ovation. Outside parishioners had mixed reaction about the priest’s remarks.

Esmeralda Gonzalez, Parishioner, says “My reaction was extremely shocking I believe that as the body of Christ and as being Catholics we are made to follow by commandments. And God made it to be Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve.”

Joshua De La Cerda, Parishioner, says “This is something Jesus would have done, or Christ would have done, spoke out for the truth.”

Fr. Geoff said after months of struggling with what to do, said in the end he followed his heart. “In any event regardless of what I or anyone else does in their life, one day you die, and on that day were you true to your conscience, were you true to what you believe. And I think that’s the question each of us has to answer. If the answer is no, hell already began before you died.”

The parish is clearly divided over this controversy. A few parishioners left in tears.

We contacted Bishop John Steinbock, the head of the Diocese of Fresno this afternoon. He said he has not talked to Father Geoff Farrow, only has heard rumors about what happened today. He told us Proposition 8 is not a homosexuality issue rather about the institution of marriage which is the basis of our society.

=========

Take a minute and join me in emailing Fr. Geoff for his witness:

Vote NO on Proposition 8.


Excerpts of Sen. Joe Biden's speech at the Democratic convention

Los Angeles Times Link Here
Beau, I love you. I am so proud of you. Proud of the son you are. Proud of the father you’ve become. And I’m so proud of my son Hunter, my daughter Ashley, and my wife Jill, the only one who leaves me breathless and speechless at the same time.

It is an honor to share this stage tonight with President Clinton. And last night, it was moving to watch Hillary, one of the great leaders of our party, a woman who has made history and will continue to make history: my colleague and my friend, Senator Hillary Clinton.

And I am honored to represent our first state — my state — Delaware.

Since I’ve never been called a man of few words, let me say this as simply as I can: Yes. Yes, I accept your nomination to run and serve alongside our next President of the United States of America, Barack Obama.

Let me make this pledge to you right here and now. For every American who is trying to do the right thing, for all those people in government who are honoring their pledge to uphold the law and respect our Constitution, no longer will the eight most dreaded words in the English language be: “The vice president’s office is on the phone.”

Barack Obama and I took very different journeys to this destination, but we share a common story. Mine began in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and then Wilmington, Delaware. With a dad who fell on hard economic times, but who always told me: “Champ, when you get knocked down, get up. Get up.”

I wish that my dad was here tonight, but I am so grateful that my mom, Catherine Eugenia Finnegan Biden, is here. You know, she taught her children — all the children who flocked to our house — that you are defined by your sense of honor, and you are redeemed by your loyalty. She believes bravery lives in every heart and her expectation is that it will be summoned.

Failure at some point in everyone’s life is inevitable, but giving up is unforgivable. As a child I stuttered, and she lovingly told me it was because I was so bright I couldn’t get the thoughts out quickly enough. When I was not as well dressed as others, she told me how handsome she thought I was. When I got knocked down by guys bigger than me, she sent me back out and demanded that I bloody their nose so I could walk down that street the next day.

After the accident, she told me, “Joey, God sends no cross you cannot bear.” And when I triumphed, she was quick to remind me it was because of others.

My mother’s creed is the American creed: No one is better than you. You are everyone’s equal, and everyone is equal to you.

My parents taught us to live our faith, and treasure our family. We learned the dignity of work, and we were told that anyone can make it if they try.

That was America’s promise. For those of us who grew up in middle-class neighborhoods like Scranton and Wilmington, that was the American dream and we knew it.

But today that American dream feels as if it’s slowly slipping away. I don’t need to tell you that. You feel it every single day in your own lives.

I’ve never seen a time when Washington has watched so many people get knocked down without doing anything to help them get back up. Almost every night, I take the train home to Wilmington, sometimes very late. As I look out the window at the homes we pass, I can almost hear what they’re talking about at the kitchen table after they put the kids to bed.

Like millions of Americans, they’re asking questions as profound as they are ordinary. Questions they never thought they would have to ask: Should mom move in with us now that dad is gone?

Fifty, sixty, seventy dollars to fill up the car?

Winter’s coming. How we gonna pay the heating bills?

Another year and no raise?

Did you hear the company may be cutting our health care?

Now, we owe more on the house than it’s worth. How are we going to send the kids to college?

How are we gonna be able to retire?

That’s the America that George Bush has left us, and that’s the future John McCain will give us. These are not isolated discussions among families down on their luck. These are common stories among middle-class people who worked hard and played by the rules on the promise that their tomorrows would be better than their yesterdays.

That promise is the bedrock of America. It defines who we are as a people. And now it’s in jeopardy. I know it. You know it. But John McCain doesn’t get it. Barack Obama gets it. Like many of us, Barack worked his way up. His is a great American story.

You know, I believe the measure of a man isn’t just the road he’s traveled; it’s the choices he’s made along the way. Barack Obama could have done anything after he graduated from college. With all his talent and promise, he could have written his ticket to Wall Street. But that’s not what he chose to do. He chose to go to Chicago. The South Side. There he met men and women who had lost their jobs. Their neighborhood was devastated when the local steel plant closed. Their dreams deferred. Their dignity shattered. Their self-esteem gone.

And he made their lives the work of his life. That’s what you do when you’ve been raised by a single mom, who worked, went to school and raised two kids on her own. That’s how you come to believe, to the very core of your being, that work is more than a paycheck. It’s dignity. It’s respect. It’s about whether you can look your children in the eye and say: we’re going to be OK.

Because Barack made that choice, 150,000 more children and parents have health care in Illinois. He fought to make that happen. And because Barack made that choice, working families in Illinois pay less taxes and more people have moved from welfare to the dignity of work. He got it done.

And when he came to Washington, I watched him hit the ground running, leading the fight to pass the most sweeping ethics reform in a generation. He reached across party lines to pass a law that helps keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists. And he moved Congress and the president to give our wounded veterans the care and dignity they deserve.

You can learn an awful lot about a man campaigning with him, debating him and seeing how he reacts under pressure. You learn about the strength of his mind, but even more importantly, you learn about the quality of his heart.

I watched how he touched people, how he inspired them, and I realized he has tapped into the oldest American belief of all: We don’t have to accept a situation we cannot bear.

We have the power to change it. That’s Barack Obama, and that’s what he will do for this country. He’ll change it.

John McCain is my friend. We’ve known each other for three decades. We’ve traveled the world together. It’s a friendship that goes beyond politics. And the personal courage and heroism John demonstrated still amaze me.

But I profoundly disagree with the direction that John wants to take the country. For example, John thinks that during the Bush years “we’ve made great progress economically.” I think it’s been abysmal.

And in the Senate, John sided with President Bush 95 percent of the time. Give me a break. When John McCain proposes $200 billion in new tax breaks for corporate America, $1 billion alone for just eight of the largest companies, but no relief for 100 million American families, that’s not change; that’s more of the same.

Even today, as oil companies post the biggest profits in history — a half trillion dollars in the last five years — he wants to give them another $4 billion in tax breaks. But he voted time and again against incentives for renewable energy: solar, wind, biofuels. That’s not change; that’s more of the same.

Millions of jobs have left our shores, yet John continues to support tax breaks for corporations that send them there. That’s not change; that’s more of the same.

He voted 19 times against raising the minimum wage. For people who are struggling just to get to the next day, that’s not change; that’s more of the same.

And when he says he will continue to spend $10 billion a month in Iraq when Iraq is sitting on a surplus of nearly $80 billion, that’s not change; that’s more of the same.

The choice in this election is clear. These times require more than a good soldier; they require a wise leader, a leader who can deliver change the change everybody knows we need.

Barack Obama will deliver that change. Barack Obama will reform our tax code. He’ll cut taxes for 95 percent of the American people who draw a paycheck. That’s the change we need.

Barack Obama will transform our economy by making alternative energy a genuine national priority, creating 5 million new jobs and finally freeing us from the grip of foreign oil. That’s the change we need.

Barack Obama knows that any country that out teaches us today will out-compete us tomorrow. He’ll invest in the next generation of teachers. He’ll make college more affordable. That’s the change we need.

Barack Obama will bring down health care costs by $2,500 for the typical family, and, at long last, deliver affordable, accessible health care for all Americans. That’s the change we need.

Barack Obama will put more cops on the streets, put the “security” back in Social Security and never give up until we achieve equal pay for women. That’s the change we need.

As we gather here tonight, our country is less secure and more isolated than at any time in recent history. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has dug us into a very deep hole with very few friends to help us climb out. For the last seven years, this administration has failed to face the biggest forces shaping this century: the emergence of Russia, China and India as great powers; the spread of lethal weapons; the shortage of secure supplies of energy, food and water; the challenge of climate change; and the resurgence of fundamentalism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the real central front against terrorism.

In recent days, we’ve once again seen the consequences of this neglect with Russia’s challenge to the free and democratic country of Georgia. Barack Obama and I will end this neglect. We will hold Russia accountable for its actions, and we’ll help the people of Georgia rebuild.

I’ve been on the ground in Georgia, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and I can tell you in no uncertain terms: this administration’s policy has been an abject failure. America cannot afford four more years of this.

Now, despite being complicit in this catastrophic foreign policy, John McCain says Barack Obama isn’t ready to protect our national security. Now, let me ask you: whose judgment should we trust? Should we trust John McCain’s judgment when he said only three years ago, “Afghanistan we don’t read about it anymore because it’s succeeded? Or should we trust Barack Obama, who more than a year ago called for sending two additional combat brigades to Afghanistan?

The fact is, al-Qaida and the Taliban — the people who actually attacked us on 9/11 — have regrouped in those mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan and are plotting new attacks. And the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff echoed Barack’s call for more troops.

John McCain was wrong. Barack Obama was right.

Should we trust John McCain’s judgment when he rejected talking with Iran and then asked: What is there to talk about? Or Barack Obama, who said we must talk and make it clear to Iran that its conduct must change.

Now, after seven years of denial, even the Bush administration recognizes that we should talk to Iran, because that’s the best way to advance our security.

Again, John McCain was wrong. Barack Obama was right.

Should we trust John McCain’s judgment when he says there can be no timelines to draw down our troops from Iraq that we must stay indefinitely? Or should we listen to Barack Obama, who says shift responsibility to the Iraqis and set a time to bring our combat troops home?

Now, after six long years, the Bush administration and the Iraqi government are on the verge of setting a date to bring our troops home.

John McCain was wrong. Barack Obama was right.

Again and again, on the most important national security issues of our time, John McCain was wrong, and Barack Obama was proven right.

Folks, remember when the world used to trust us? When they looked to us for leadership? With Barack Obama as our president, they’ll look to us again, they’ll trust us again, and we’ll be able to lead again.

Jill and I are truly honored to join Barack and Michelle on this journey. When I look at their young children — and when I look at my grandchildren — I realize why I’m here. I’m here for their future.

And I am here for everyone I grew up with in Scranton and Wilmington. I am here for the cops and firefighters, the teachers and assembly line workers — the folks whose lives are the very measure of whether the American dream endures.

Our greatest presidents — from Abraham Lincoln to Franklin Roosevelt to John Kennedy — they all challenged us to embrace change. Now, it’s our responsibility to meet that challenge.

Millions of Americans have been knocked down. And this is the time as Americans, together, we get back up. Our people are too good, our debt to our parents and grandparents too great, our obligation to our children is too sacred.

These are extraordinary times. This is an extraordinary election. The American people are ready. I’m ready. Barack Obama is ready. This is his time. This is our time. This is America’s time.

May God bless America and protect our troops.