The Global Zero

Quick, someone tell Obama that “The Green Zone” is not an environmental pilot project and watch how quickly he runs out of Baghdad. Better yet, tell him we want him to stay over there, not come back over here to torture us with his Bush III cheap rationalizations and fictions.

Big Media though, continues to help stooge/tool Obama and wants him back in D.C., probably to save a few dollars on on travel costs. The latest bit of help Obama spin from Big Media is: Obama’s European Vacation is a “get acquainted” visit, not a get anything at all done trip, ergo a massive success.

Big Media will not admit the evidence points to Obama as a “Sucker” in the eyes of world leaders. No, Big Media will try to make a buck selling the idea that Obama knows what he is doing and it will be better luck next time. But even that spin has limits as the New York Times praises Obama but now finds “change” not to be such a valuable commodity as it was during the elections:

But with the notable exception of his approach to nuclear disarmament and countering proliferation — where radical shifts appear to be under way — what Mr. Obama described in public veered more toward a restoration of the old order than a vast strategic realignment. “There will be a moment for that,” one of Mr. Obama’s senior advisers said in London, Mr. Obama’s first stop. “This trip was more about reattaching all the cars on the train, and convincing them other leaders that we’re no longer headed for derailment.”

For Big Media: It’s the status quo stupid! Big Media likes the Third Bush Term.

Obama will get the trains to run on the old timetables and Big Media will celebrate. Big Media also applauds the new Obama distraction (the “vast strategic realignment”): Global Zero.

“Global Zero”, as six “security experts” wrote on April 1, is a plan to set the world on a course towards the total elimination of all nuclear weapons – global zero. We checked, this is not an April Fools Day joke.

Getting rid of nuclear weapons is a lovely idea. Ronald Reagan wanted to get rid of nuclear weapons too, but reality got in the way. Getting rid of nuclear weapons is a lovely idea. But… well we never thought we would ridicule the idea of getting rid of nuclear weapons, so we will let Anne Applebaum at Slate, do the honors:

Believe me, it is no fun to be the one who rains on the parade, and if nothing else, President Barack Obama’s trip to Europe this past week was quite a parade. Or maybe “sold-out concert tour” is the better metaphor. [snip]

Still, someone has to say it: Some things went well on this trip, and some things went badly. But the centerpiece of the visit, Obama’s keynote foreign-policy speech in Prague—leaked in advance, billed as a major statement—was, to put it bluntly, peculiar. He used it to call for “a world without nuclear weapons” and a new series of arms-control negotiations with Russia. This was not wrong, necessarily, and not evil. But it was strange.

Applebaum is right, it was strange. We don’t want anyone to get the impression that we dislike Obama so much we prefer to kiss a nuclear bomb than have to watch his kisser or listen to him drone on about arugula or “hope” or emit “inspirational” platitudes that weigh on our eyelids. But it was strange. Applebaum explains:

Clearly, the “no nukes” policy is one close to the president’s heart. The Prague speech even carried echoes of that most famous of all Obama speeches, the one he made after losing the New Hampshire primary. [snip]

This is all very nice—but as the central plank in an American president’s foreign policy, a call for universal nuclear disarmament seems rather beside the point. Apparently, the president’s intention is to lead by example: If the United States cuts its own nuclear arsenal and bans testing, others will allegedly follow.

Forgive me for joining the chorus of cynics, but there is no evidence that U.S. nuclear arms reductions have ever inspired others to do the same. All the world’s more recent nuclear powers—Israel, India, Pakistan—acquired their weapons well after such talks began more than 40 years ago.

Appelbaum is kind. She does not mention Obama’s denial, I’m not naive. She does however think, as we wrote, that the North Koreans chose to launch their missile in order to slap Obama right in the kisser. In addition Appelbaum agrees with us that all the world leaders’ backslaps and applause won’t get Obama a darn thing to restrain North Korea. And the Russians are slapping Obama around and making him like it and think it’s his idea:

As for the North Koreans, they chose the very day of the Prague speech to launch (unsuccessfully) an experimental missile. In its wake, neither China nor Russia wanted to condemn the launch, since to do so might set a precedent uncomfortable for them. “Every state has the right to the peaceful use of outer space,” said a Russian U.N. envoy. His government does want arms-reduction talks, it is true, but only because the Russian nuclear arsenal is rapidly deteriorating. By agreeing to start them, we’ve unnecessarily handed over a bargaining chip.

More to the point, nuclear weapons, while terrifying in the abstract, are not an immediate strategic threat to Europe or the United States—even from Iran. Biological weapons are potentially more lethal. Chemical weapons are far cheaper to produce. Within the United States, ordinary bombs and rogue airplanes have already caused plenty of damage.

Conventional weapons, meanwhile, have not gone out of fashion. The most recent use of military force in Europe—the Russian-Georgian conflict of last August—involved tanks and infantry, not nukes. Even if Russia sold its remaining nuclear weapons for scrap metal, Russia’s military would still pose a potential threat to its neighbors, just as a China without nukes could still invade Taiwan.

As we said, getting rid of nuclear weapons is a lovely idea – Anne Applebaum thinks so too. But…

Ridding the world of nuclear weapons would be very nice, in other words, but on its own, it won’t alter the international balance of power, stop al-Qaida, or prevent large authoritarian states from invading their smaller neighbors. However unsuccessful it has been so far, the promotion of democracy around the world is, ultimately, the only way to achieve these goals. Besides, however much the French loved Michelle’s flowery dress, I’m not sure they have much interest in giving up their force de frappe. Ditto the British. And since they don’t pose a threat, to us or anyone else, it’s not clear to me why we should waste diplomatic capital trying to make them do so.

Anne Applebaum finally gets to the point and agrees with us once again: It’s another Obama distraction from the mess Obama is making of the American economy – sound and fury signifying NOTHING.

It could be, of course, that the Prague speech represented a holding pattern: Obama will talk about “no nukes” until he finds a more satisfying idea on which to hang his foreign policy. And if it didn’t, all that goodwill, so much in evidence last week, might well go to waste.

It’s just talk. Silly talk from a silly man.

Obama’s policies are toxic assets. Obama is The Global Zero.

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134 thoughts on “The Global Zero

  1. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1168159/MAX-HASTINGS-Its-economy-stupid-Why-Obama-needs-learn-promise-deliver-more.html

    The big question in the minds of many Americans, however, is whether the breadth of their leader’s ambitions threatens to cripple his prospects of fulfilling them.

    ‘At home, Obama’s power has its limits,’ cautioned a columnist in yesterday’s Washington Post. For all the acknowledged triumph of his overseas trip, it ‘has also shown how much a president can’t do’.

    Now that initial euphoria about the G20 has faded, it is recognised that the meeting failed to generate the size of global fiscal stimulus Obama sought.

    No Western nation, including the U.S., has figured out how to rid its banks of toxic assets – or how to reconcile taxpayers to the appalling cost of doing so.

    For all the protestations of enthusiasm for free trade at the London summit, many nations are playing with protectionism.

    The threat of a world slump will persist until these perils have been addressed successfully. The U.S. President failed to secure from Nato the extra soldiers he wants for Afghanistan to support the 21,000 additional American soldiers who are headed there.

    Obama has committed himself to make Afghanistan work. Democrats decided during the election campaign that this is a ‘good war’, in contrast to the ‘bad war’ in Iraq. But Washington does not yet possess any clearer idea about how to win in Afghanistan – or even of what ‘winning’ might mean – than did the Bush administration.

    There is still no coherent U.S. strategy. Obama has endorsed the troop ‘surge’ as an act of faith, not because he has a cunning plan.

    Unless this changes fast, I have an uneasy feeling that, come autumn, not much will have changed on the battlefield except that there will be many more U.S. soldiers and helicopters there.

  2. What Obama’s Trip to Europe Revealed

    by Shamus Cooke
    Global Research, April 6, 2009

    Declaring something a success doesn’t necessarily make it so. We learned this at the Bush-led G-20 summit only four months ago, when global leaders were expected to do something far-reaching in response to the world-wide economic crisis, instead of chatting about it. When nothing came of the meeting, we were told that the summit “succeeded” because it “laid the groundwork” for the next G-20 gathering, recently led by Obama.

    The four months between G-20 summits was one of rising massive unemployment and social misery for millions of people, creating an urgency that was unmet by the world leaders in London. The truly pitiful joint-response of the summit sparked zero inspiration in the peoples of the world. The corporate controlled media, however, hailed the meeting a success of epic proportion and awarded Obama the title of Messiah.

    What were these successes? The triumph most blasted through the media was the one trillion dollars of stimulus spending agreed upon, to be funneled through the globally-hated International Monetary Fund (IMF). It needn’t be said that one trillion dollars, on a global scale, is peanuts. It should be mentioned, however, that much of this money was committed prior to the summit, and inserted into the G-20 numbers to beef up public relations.

    Another G-20 “triumph” paraded through the media was a $100 billion dollars committed to the equally-hated World Bank, supposedly to help the poorest of the poor countries. This benevolent act — itself peanuts— was immediately contradicted by the Wall Street Journal: “…anyone who has followed our editorials on the corrupt uses to which the bank’s [World Bank] existing $30 billion annual budget is routinely put can easily imagine that much of the G-20’s financial benevolence will never reach its intended targets in poor countries.”

    And then you have the hot topic issue of financial regulation, the complete absence of which allowed the illusory financial boom to go on for years, thus intensifying the current recession. Regulation was a central demand of the European countries, who are seeking curbs on the U.S. financial institutions that out-competed European companies, while invading their economies with “top-rated” stocks and bonds that were actually worthless. But a special hobby of Obama’s has been to prop up these institutions, as he continues to give billions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer money to U.S. mega-banks and insurance companies. This dynamic shaped Obama’s opinion on the G-20 debate: he agreed only to a vague and toothless international regulatory committee to be set up in the unforeseen future. The New York Times commented: “Mr. Obama and his team seem more committed to domestic regulation than their predecessors — but fiercely resistant to the idea of a global regulator.” And the Wall Street Journal concluded that the G-20’s “commitments will have to be implemented not by a single unit called the G-20 but by 20 or more separate, sovereign nations.”

    Ultimately, this means that each country will police itself, and depending on the shifting and conflicting interests of each country’s corporate elite, little is likely ever to be agreed on in a coordinated fashion (the conflicting countries within the E.U. have yet to agree to a common set of regulatory standards). In this light the G-20’s statement against economic protectionism is laughable, especially since the same statement was made at the last G-20 summit, and immediately afterwards nearly every country engaged in protectionist policy to one degree or another. To avoid future protectionism, a meeting of the World Trade Organization was supposed to be set up during the G-20 to discuss the equally disastrous concept of “free trade.” Apparently, they thought that such a meeting would be as pointless as the one they were currently attending. The utter silence on the matter is telling.

    All the frivolous talk of “global unity” was shelved when the G-20 summit ended, and the NATO summit began immediately afterwards. NATO was originally created as a U.S.-European military alliance to combat the influence of “communist” Russia and China, and is used presently to combat the rising influence of capitalist Russia and China, so as to maintain the international status-quo, with the U.S. and Europe on top. The NATO-led war in Afghanistan — now spilling over into Pakistan — has revved up world tensions to a boiling point. Russia and China both correctly view the war as a threat to their sphere of influence, and see the new front opening up in Pakistan as proof of their theory. In lieu of this, it was especially important for Obama to get further European support for his broadening wars. But the silence of the Europeans was deafening; only 5,000 troops were committed for Obama’s war. France’s President committed zero. After hearing Obama’s plans for Afghanistan and Pakistan, many Europeans were stunned. This was not the change they expected. One French journalist reportedly responded, “We have all been surprised. He is so … American!” Jennifer Loven, a White House Correspondent, explains why: “In real life, neither U.S. foreign policy nor that of other nations tends to change all that much when a government shifts to a different party.” This is indeed true for the corporate-controlled U.S. two-party system, whose main interests are: securing markets for corporations so their products can be sold; securing raw materials for corporations to cheaply produce commodities; and securing “spheres of influence” so that the banks and corporations of other countries will be excluded. Obama’s failure to secure more NATO troops — and adequate funds from the G-20 — shows just how weak the U.S. has grown internationally. After World War II the U.S. needed only to snap its fingers and the rest of the world would fall into line. Now, however, these countries have mature economies of their own, led by giant corporations that compete with those of the U.S.

    Ultimately, the global recession is having barbarous consequences all over the world and the problem is not being seriously addressed. The Global Monitoring Report from Unesco estimates that, in Africa starvation will endanger the lives of tens of millions of people. In the U.S. 1 in 9 people now need government assistance for food. The G-20 correctly stated in their joint communiqué that “A global crisis requires a global solution.” The G-20, however, is unable to put forth such a solution. In charge of nearly every capitalist economy of the G-20 lies a head of state hated by its people, as it pursues policies that help the owners of banks and corporations, but not those who work for them. This public disdain was displayed during the NATO protests, where $150 million dollars was spent to protect the alliance government representatives from the native population.

    An Op-Ed in The New York Times recently pointed out:

    “Mr. Obama is the only popular politician left in the world. He would win an election in any one of the G-20 countries, and his fellow world leaders will do anything to take home a touch of that reflected popularity” (4/5/09). This is only half true. Out of the countries fiercely clinging to the market economy (capitalism), Obama is indeed the ONLY popular President. But this popularity is based on lingering illusions and not concrete results. The only truly popular presidents in the world are from the Latin American countries that have begun to subordinate capitalistic principles (competition) to socialistic ones (cooperation). In doing so, the above-stated interests of corporations that lead to international stalemates and conflicts can be subdued, and polices that benefit ordinary people and induce cooperation can be pursued instead. Only when society’s resources are run for the benefit of everyone, and not the profit of small groups of very rich people, will international cooperation be possible. Obama’s trip to Europe merely highlighted this fact.

    globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=13072

  3. obama’s got a new best friend…

    Gaddafi praises Obama
    07/04/2009

    Tripoli – Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi compared US President Barack Obama on Tuesday to a beacon of light in the “obscurity of imperialism”, and said his reasoned remarks shattered the “arrogance” of his predecessors. “President Obama is a beacon of light in the obscurity of imperialism,” the Libyan leader said in a speech broadcast on state radio. “So far his political discourse has been reasonable, breaking with the arrogance that was prevalent in statements by former US presidents,” he said after Obama spoke in favour of a Palestinian state and reached out to Muslims.

    Gaddafi also spoke of his fear that “this new young American president will be killed, as happened to American presidents Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy, and also to Martin Luther King”, the US black civil rights leader. He also hailed “the commitment of the United States to a world without nuclear weapons”, after Obama pledged in a speech in Prague on Sunday to lead the quest for a world without atomic weapons.

    Gaddafi renounced ambitions to build weapons of mass destruction in 2003, resulting in the return of his oil-rich north African nation to the international fold.

    news24.com/News24/World/News/0,,2-10-1462_2498223,00.html

  4. Obama , seemingly is the new BFF of every tyrant in the world. The scary part, however, is he (BO) probably is enjoying said accolades.

  5. god forbid obama be assassinated as he would then become the worlds biggest liar martyr

    he just needs to be proven a USURPER and then shipped off to Gitmo with the rest of the terrorists.

  6. Admin,

    The way the media caters to this idiot is mindboggling. Prior to the “Trip/Tour of the Century they were touting his majestic presence and ability to “calm the waters” and create world peace once and for all. Now they are scrambling to find anything positive to whitewash this failed, botched up holiday of his.

  7. as we were saying on the last thread…all this guy does is flit around reading his teleprompter – from one stop to another – one state to another – one country to another…read, read, read, talk, talk…talk…bla, bla, bla…while our treasury continues to be emptied and we end up more in debt by the day…everything he does is meant to be a distraction from what is being done to our economy and treasury…(had to laugh when he was in Europe telling the media that he is, “I am the President of the USA”)

    JanH…the media continues to fall over itself to make MO not only the next Jackie, but now we are to imagine she is the next Princess Diana…the whole thing is so manufactured it is ridiculous and as someone commented earlier, a big joke…MO can’t even sell the numerous magazine covers she is on…the media is force feeding her just like they force fed us him…they make up their own polls to tell us how much we like them and are so happy with them…one big joke…

  8. Jan

    he no longer NEEDS to go to Hawaii now that Granny is no longer able to talk out of school he’s free to travel to other destinations ..perhaps a visit to the gag ordered Kenya relatives are the next vacation destination??!!

  9. According to BO, ‘Austrian’ is a language.

    🙄

    In one of his many campaign stops he said something to the effect that he didn’t know how to translate a particular phrase into AUSTRIAN!

    Hey, Jan, BO probably thinks CANDADIAN is a language, too!

  10. We also have the first special prosecutor investigating the B.O. administration. While the Stevens trial proceeded during the Bush II administration, the special prosecutor might have questions to ask Attorney General Holder and what he discussed and with whom when he decided to drop the case. One string is in play, let’s see where it leads and what unravels:

    http://legaltimes.typepad.com/blt/2009/04/sullivan-to-commence-criminal-contempt-proceedings-against-stevens-prosecutorss.html

    Judge Emmet Sullivan today dismissed the indictment against former Alaskan Sen. Ted Stevens with prejudice — but the case is hardly over for the Justice Department.

    Dissatisfied with the pace of DOJ’s internal investigation into the bungled prosecution, Sullivan said today that he would commence criminal contempt proceedings against the original trial team and their supervisor, and appoint a non-government lawyer to prosecute the case.

    The contempt proceedings will implicate William Welch II, chief of the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section; Brenda Morris, his principal deputy and former lead prosecutor in the case; public integrity prosecutors Edward Sullivan and Nick Marsh; and Alaska-based assistant U.S. attorneys James Goeke and Joseph Bottini.

    The judge said that “the interest of justice” he would appoint Henry Schuelke III, name partner at Janis, Schuelke & Wechsler, to investigate and prosecute team for violating court orders and potentially obstructing justice.

    Schuelke served for seven years as an assistant U.S. attorney in the District of Columbia, including three years as the office’s executive assistant before entering private practice in 1979.

    Sullivan said he looked forward to the results of the Justice Department investigation, but said the “events and allegations are too serious and too numerous.” The court has an obligation to ensure that any misconduct is investigated and addressed independently, he said.

  11. Sullivan said he looked forward to the results of the Justice Department investigation, but said the “events and allegations are too serious and too numerous.” The court has an obligation to ensure that any misconduct is investigated and addressed independently, he said.

    UH ROH….. 😀

  12. LOL Basil,

    I am so keeping my fingers crossed that some comedian/writer out there is collecting all of this clown’s foot in mouth phrases. They are becoming to many to count!

  13. We also have the first special prosecutor investigating the B.O. administration. While the Stevens trial proceeded during the Bush II administration, the special prosecutor might have questions to ask Attorney General Holder and what he discussed and with whom when he decided to drop the case.
    —————————-
    I do not think this case should have been dismissed with prejudice. I think the judge should have ordered a new trial, with a new jury and given the defense the evidence which the prosecution wrongfully withheld. I do think he should determine why Holder was so anxious to dismiss, rather than refile. My intuition tells me this was a cover-up by Holder, or perhaps an effort to create an IOU with the Republicans, as they frequently do in the Illinois Combine. It stinks.

    Thirty years ago, I had a case in Alaska where a plaintiffs attorney I had had a prior run-in with, introduced a forged deed into evidence. That Judge who I admired stopped the proceeding at that point and read the attorney his Miranda rights. He was led out of court in handcuffs. Justice delayed is justice denied.

    The other thing I would say is beware of any entity called the Public Integrity Unit–in any part of law enforcemeng. It means gestapo.

  14. wbboei siad:
    I do think he should determine why Holder was so anxious to dismiss, rather than refile. My intuition tells me this was a cover-up by Holder, or perhaps an effort to create an IOU with the Republicans, as they frequently do in the Illinois Combine.

    ==============

    Isn’t Stevens an enemy of Palin?

  15. whatever thiscase with Stevens, and the judge’s ruling, for once I am pleased on the Bush admin’s appoitnments withe the judges…..

    The issue and what happens in this country is beyond just the BO and his administration….I want the judge around to stop what the Pelosi, Reid and the corrupt DIMO’s held accountable as well…

  16. President Barack Obama is going home with non, nein and no ringing in his ears:
    The US President has to explain why he is sending more troops into Afghanistan and his Nato allies won’t.

    By Irwin Stelzer
    07 Apr 2009

    Fugedaboutit. For those of you who don’t speak New York, that’s “forget about it”, the most emphatic of the negatives in a New Yorker’s repertoire. But it has nothing like the power to influence events that the “non”, “nein” and “no” that capped Barack Obama’s tour of Europe have. It is one thing to attract a crowd in Berlin, a city in which politicians have historically been successful in attracting mass audiences, or to wow several hundred adolescents in Strasbourg and thousands of adults in Prague with talk of a nuclear-free world, and quite another to get the elected representatives of those crowds to shoulder a fair share of the burden of the fight against Islamist terrorists.

    The leaders of Europe came naked to the Nato meeting last weekend, shorn of the cover provided by Bush-hatred. As the American commentator Robert Kagan puts it: “George W Bush did the Europeans a great favour by giving them the best excuse for inaction in transatlantic history.” Europe’s leaders have always claimed they would co-operate with America in all things, were it not for that toxic Texan with his unilateralist belief in spreading democracy and free markets. Well, George W Bush is safely back in Texas, Barack Obama wants to listen as well as lead, and Michelle Obama, after a touchy-feely visit with the Queen, proved to have more crowd-appeal than Carla Bruni. One astute observer told me that British and European crowds “went weak-kneed in the presence of the Obamas”. But popularity on the streets means little in the conference room.

    At the Nato meetings, “weak-kneed” took on an added meaning – no significant permanent deployment of fighting troops to aid the Americans. Obama was prepared for the turn-down, although he did harbour the illusion that in the end Gordon Brown would come up with more than a few poll-watchers. After all, the President had gone out of his way to sprinkle some of his stardust on the embattled Prime Minister. Unfortunately, Obama had not been briefed by Tony Blair on Brown’s capacity for gratitude.

    Turkey was a somewhat better stopover for the travelling President, who had no specific requests that could be turned down. The persistently fawning New York Times reported that the President was “showing more self-confidence each day on his maiden overseas trip as President”, although how Obama could show more self-confidence than he already has is difficult to imagine: this is a man confident in self to a point that is slightly unnerving.

    Obama had won favour with European audiences by proclaiming that America has shown inadequate respect for Europe’s accomplishments. So he carried his I-am-not-George-Bush campaign to Ankara by implying that the US bears responsibility for “the difficulties of these last few years” between Muslim countries and America. No need to mention the World Trade Centre, Khobar Towers, the USS Cole or his support in the Senate for labelling as “genocide” the killing of Armenian Christians by Ottoman Turks. More politic to support Turkey’s application for membership in the EU, despite a mind-your-own-business warning from President Sarkozy, who earlier agreed to accept one – yes, one – of the 245 Guantánamo detainees because that is “what being allies is about”. After having spent an entire presidential campaign playing down his full name and early years, the President had himself introduced to the Turkish parliament as Barack Hussein Obama, and pointed out that “Many other Americans have Muslims in their family, or have lived in a Muslim-majority country. I know, because I am one of them.” This, on the heels of his deep bow to Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah (the Queen of England merited what can at best be described as a deferential nod). There is more to come: the President will soon travel to an as yet unnamed Muslim country to deliver a major speech laying out his views on Islam.

    The question for Obama is what he does about coming home with nothing tangible to show for his trip. He has made the war in Afghanistan his very own, deploying the forces that he claims were diverted from the real fight against terrorism by the war in Iraq. He has set forth a reasonable strategy and been careful not to ask his Nato allies to join America in attacking terrorist bases inside Pakistan. Still, a Bushless America, with a coherent strategy, making a measured request for help, could not win over European leaders who have learned to free-ride on America. After all, the Europeans have their welfare states to fund, and Britain is so broke that ministers are leaking stories about the non-humiliating virtues of an IMF bail-out.

    The usually soft-spoken Charles Krauthammer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and Fox television commentator, created something of a television, and subsequently YouTube, sensation when he said Europe “has been sucking on… [America’s] tit for 60 years… parasitically”. And so it has.
    Obama now has to explain to his pacifist Democratic Left why he is sending tens of thousands of troops into Afghanistan when his Nato allies, equally threatened – witness terrorist attacks on Madrid and London – won’t. He must also explain his plan to spend billions on what looks very much like a “surge” – a policy that dare not speak its name in the White House. Especially when that effort will shore up the regime of Hamid Karzai, who is stalling on the repeal of new laws that restrict women’s rights every bit as much as did the Taliban zealots.

    Fortunately for the President, the Republican opposition is more loyal than was the Democratic opposition to Bush. John McCain has backed Obama’s Afghanistan policy, and conservative commentators, although more than a little annoyed by the President’s rubbishing of his own country in order to pander to European and Muslim audiences, are supporting him. Democrats in Congress are sullen but not (yet) mutinous. But their President’s failure to wring a single dollar of added stimulus from the G20, or a meaningful commitment of fighting troops at the Nato meeting, has persuaded many that a conservative colleague of mine was right when he told the then-president of the European Commission – at a dinner in your Washington embassy – that “Europe is irrelevant to the 21st century”. Administration economists are predicting that the EU economies will fall off a cliff by year end, and Obama and Congress will have little reason to offer any help. Obama returns home knowing that the success of his administration will depend on working out reasonable arrangements in Beijing, New Delhi, Moscow and Islamabad. London and Paris remain nice places to visit.

    The President’s more immediate task is to get his daughters the dog he promised them. After his European tour, it is not likely to be a French poodle, a dachshund, or a bulldog.

    telegraph.co.uk/comment/5121615/President-Barack-Obama-is-going-home-with-non-nein-and-no-ringing-in-his-ears.html

  17. Home News World News North America USA Barack ObamaBarack Obama rejects Normandy trip to avoid offending Germany
    Barack Obama, concerned about offending Britain and Germany, rebuffed strenuous attempts by President Nicolas Sarkozy of France to persuade the new American president to make a trip to Normandy this week.

    By Toby Harnden, US Editor, and Henry Samuel in Paris
    Last Updated: 10:12PM BST 02 Apr 2009

    White House officials travelled to France at the start of March to discuss a visit by Mr Obama to Omaha Beach, the site of the American Cemetery, established in 1944 just after D-Day and where 9,387 American personnel are buried. Among them is Theodore Roosevelt Jr the eldest son of the 26th US President.

    French officials and senior American military officers walked with White House staff through the cemetery discussing how the two presidents might follow the same route. But even before their trip, the White House had decided that Mr Obama would not travel there this week.

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    President Barack Obama arrives in Turkey on last stop of European tour”It wasn’t going to happen,” said an American official in Washington. “We went through the motions to placate President Sarkozy but giving special treatment to France was not on our agenda.

    “During this trip, we wanted to maintain a balance between the British, German and France”. A White House spokesman in London declined to comment. Last month, White House officials briefed that a Normandy visit had been considered but it had not been logistically possible.

    Mr Obama will arrive in Strasbourg on Friday for the Nato summit. He will hold a meeting with Mr Sarkozy and a brief press appearance in Strasbourg and then fly to Baden-Baden to do exactly the same with Chancellor Merkel of Germany. He will then fly to Prague on Saturday.

    Mr Sarkozy is said by French officials to be piqued that Gordon Brown became the first European leader to meet Mr Obama and was then lavished with praise by him at a 50-minute joint press conference in London on Wednesday.

    The French president tried unsuccessfully to meet Mr Obama before he was sworn in after the G20 summit in Washington last November, even stationing a French military plane on 24-hour standby nearby to whisk him to Chicago should the then US president-elect change his mind.

    He had also hoped Mr Obama would agree to a meeting before attending the G20 summit in London on April 3. The French had suggested that Mr Obama fly from London to Normandy on Friday morning for a stop before the Nato summit. Instead, he is going directly to Strasbourg.

    According to French reports, Mr Obama was to visit the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial at Colleville-sur-mer, just north of Omaha Beach. The pair were apparently to have dined at the nearby chateau de Bénouville in Caen.

    The White House rejected the offer, but Mr Sarkozy’s most senior aide said Mr Obama had agreed to come back in June for the 65th anniversary of the June 6th 1944, D-Day landings. A White House spokesman declined to comment on whether Mr Obama would travel to France in June.

    “This will allow for a longer conversation and a more ambitious bilateral visit,” said Claude Gueant, the secretary general of the Elysée Palace, last week.

    He denied any strains and said the two held an hour-long videoconference, which the Elysée hyped up as a “mini-summit”, on the economic crisis.

    “Relations between the presidents are excellent and very productive,” he said. “Mr Sarkozy is not courting Mr Obama,” he said.

  18. Can’t offend the Nazi’s or honor our bravest and best that sacrificed all for this great nation. And does the media yell, do they care he travels the World apologizing for the Ugly Americans?

    I HATE THIS MAN…..

  19. I was stuck watching CNN this morning while waiting for a car repair. They gave me a good laugh!

    They did a piece on Barfy and MEchelle looking for a new church. They said it was taking so long because the Whitehouse was vetting possible churches. They were looking over all the church’s records and reading all their old sermons, etc.

    The laugh line:

    This had nothing to do with Rev. Wright!!!!

    LOL!!!! Assholes, like we believe that!
    ******************************

    fROM bITERPOLITIZ

  20. gonzotx,

    Give him a break! He has his own priorities you know. He needs to bow down to the Saudis, Suck up to those muslims who promote terrorism, and make sure he has romantic dinners with his wife in Prague instead of meeting with legislators. And all on the taxpayers dime!

    What a guy!!!

  21. gonzotx: re: CNN, WH vetting churches

    now that’s funny right there i tell ya!!…….git r done!

  22. My intuition tells me this was a cover-up by Holder,
    *********
    There is an increasing pattern of the Obama/Holder DOJ covering up criminal activity of the Bush DOJ.

    “(04-06) 15:26 PDT SAN FRANCISCO — The Obama administration is again invoking government secrecy in defending the Bush administration’s wiretapping program, this time against a lawsuit by AT&T customers who claim federal agents illegally intercepted their phone calls and gained access to their records.
    (snip)
    Individual customers cannot show their messages were intercepted, and thus have no right to sue, because all such information is secret, government lawyers said. They also said disclosure of whether AT&T took part in the program would tell the nation’s enemies “which channels of communication may or may not be secure.”
    ww.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/04/06/BARP16TJOQ.DTL

  23. Just wish we could take his sorry ass off this blog. Oh please admin. I cannot stand to have to scroll through to read and have to look at his mug.

  24. dot48 Says:
    April 7th, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    Just wish we could take his sorry ass off this blog. Oh please admin. I cannot stand to have to scroll through to read and have to look at his mug.

    =============

    I agree, except that I keep Opera browser open just to read h44 and dailypuma.com because it’s very easy to keep images turned off.

  25. Big Media though, continues to help stooge/tool Obama and wants him back in D.C., probably to save a few dollars on on travel costs. The latest bit of help Obama spin from Big Media is: Obama’s European Vacation is a “get acquainted” visit, not a get anything at all done trip, ergo a massive success.
    ————————-
    This was far more than a get acquainted trip. He made two important and unnecessary concessions, which big media has sought to cover up with fluff and pagentry. Those concessions drew applause from the foreign nations but were highly detrimental to our country:

    1. HE GAVE AWAY A MAJOR PIECE OF OUR ECONOMIC SOVEREIGNTY: Before he went to G-20 the final authority over the regulation of economic activity was vested in the SEC, Federal Reserve and private individuals. Shockingly, he subordinated that authority to an international body comprised of twenty central bankers for any business which has a significant impact on global commerce. And, he diluted our say over such decision to a single vote in the aforesaid twenty even though we are 40% of the GDP. This will adversely affect our ability to implement economic actions which are beneficial to the United States.

    2. HE PLEADED US GUILTY TO A CRIME WE DID NOT COMMIT: Before he went to G-20, most people understood that the cause of the economic crisis was improvident lending practices by bankers forced by democrats in Congress, the creation of exotic investment vehicles by Wall Street, and fraudulent business practices by global bankers and hedge funds–who were key players in his presidential campaign and beneficiaries of his bailouts. Shockingly, however he told the group that the United States (the prior administration) was responsible for the global economic crisis. Thus, he opened our treasury to the world.

    Both of these are megapolitical mistakes. Instead of focusing on the fluff big media should be exposing the truth of what occured, which will adversely affect our future.

  26. Isn’t Stevens an enemy of Palin?
    —————————–
    Yes. She fought against the corrupt old boy network which has run Alaska since territorial days. Ted has been up to his eyeballs in it since territorial days. Believe me this is only the tip of the iceberg. I spend over 10 years going up there and seeing is believing.

  27. h…/ no w’s
    thehill.com/leading-the-news/senate-republicans-alaska-gop-at-odds-over-stevens-seat-2009-04-03.html
    But Palin, who endorsed Stevens’s opponent in the Republican primary, now says Stevens was treated unfairly.

    “Alaskans deserve to have a fair election not tainted by some announcement that one of the candidates was convicted fairly of seven felonies, when in fact it wasn’t a fair conviction,” Palin told the Anchorage Daily News on Thursday.

  28. U.S. secretary of state urges Fiji to restore democracy

    2009-04-08

    WELLINGTON, April 8 (Xinhua) — United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged the Fiji interim government to restore democracy to the Pacific island country, Radio New Zealand International reported on Wednesday.

    She made the call following her meeting with visiting New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully in Washington.
    Clinton also said she backed a demand by South Pacific leaders for elections in the Fiji this year. Clinton said the United States joins New Zealand in encouraging Fiji’s interim government to abide by the Pacific Islands Forum’s benchmarks and timetable to restore democracy to that country. Fiji interim Prime Minister Commodore Bainimarama said Fiji must first change its racially based electoral system, which he blames for past instability.

    Fiji has suffered four coups and an army mutiny since 1987.

    xinhuanet.com/english/2009-04/08/content_11146981.htm

  29. thehill.com/leading-the-news/senate-republicans-alaska-gop-at-odds-over-stevens-seat-2009-04-03.html
    But Palin, who endorsed Stevens’s opponent in the Republican primary, now says Stevens was treated unfairly.

    “Alaskans deserve to have a fair election not tainted by some announcement that one of the candidates was convicted fairly of seven felonies, when in fact it wasn’t a fair conviction,” Palin told the Anchorage Daily News on Thursday.
    ———————————
    Not inconsistent. They are two unrelated issues. Big Media conflates them to undermine Palin. Journalistic whores.

  30. State tidbits: morale rising, reviews underway, building sightings

    04/07/2009

    After a period of anxiety and uncertainty during the transition and its aftermath, morale seems to be generally up at the State Department, sources there say, in part due to appreciation shown to staff by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as well as more appointments getting into place. It will be even higher, they add, when multiple remaining appointment vacanies are filled and policy reviews are completed, and officials are able to talk more substantively about various policies.

    Sources said Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg is leading senior staff meetings two or three times a week, at which more and more officials are showing up (after getting confirmed). This week, he introduced newly confirmed Assistant Secretary of State for Compliance and Verification Rose Gottemoeller, ambassador at large for women’s issues Melanne Verveer, and Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations Esther Brimmer to the group of 20-30 senior officials. The secretary of state also holds a daily, 8:45 a.m., invite-only early morning meeting with just a handful of her most senior staff and inner circle. Steinberg is also leading regular policy-review meetings with relevant officials, with multiple policy reviews underway. Most of them are not currently expected to get high profile rollouts upon completion. Sometimes, officials whose appointments have not yet been confirmed are included at those policy review meetings.

    As those reviews from Cuba to Iran chug along, and appointment puzzle pieces move into place, Clinton is drawing praise from some State Department officials for making a real effort to show her appreciation for staff. The secretary is doing thank-yous to the people who worked on her recent trips, one senior State Department official told The Cable. “She invited the drafters and desk officers from [the South Asia] bureau, Holbrooke’s office and the European bureau up this morning to the Treaty Room to say thanks and shake everyone’s hand. Unprecedented. I understand she’s done this four or five times, including for her Mexico trip.” She also came down to shake hands and thank people from the Near East Asia bureau after her Sharm el-Sheikh trip, Middle East hands noted.

    “I do think the secretary has been a real good thing for morale in the building,” another senior State Department official said. “She goes out of her way to show appreciation.” “Morale is pretty high,” a State Department Middle East hand said. “People will be even happier when we can start talking publicly about a lot of the policies still under review.”

    In the absence of completed policy reviews or fully articulated policies toward some areas, however, some officials are feeling a bit “skittish,” he added, unable to fully engage with a lot of the “back and forth in the media.” Administration Middle East hands are looking to U.S. Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell’s trip to the region next week as an opportunity for U.S. officials to actually sit down with the new Israeli government to clarify some things. The Iran review, which is by some accounts nearing completion and yet not expected to be ready until May, is not expected to have as high profile a rollout as the Af-Pak one, which was announced by President Obama from the Oval Office. Nevertheless, parts of it seem to be emerging, including in Obama’s speeches abroad this past week, where he discussed an international nuclear fuel bank and asserted the right of countries that renounce nuclear weapons to pursue peaceful nuclear energy programs.

    “We should build a new framework for civil nuclear cooperation, including an international fuel bank, so that countries can access peaceful power without increasing the risks of proliferation,” Obama said in Prague Saturday. “That must be the right of every nation that renounces nuclear weapons, especially developing countries embarking on peaceful programs. And no approach will succeed if it’s based on the denial of rights to nations that play by the rules.” Meantime, sources say that Judith McHale, the administration’s expected pick to serve as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy (“R”), has been seen attending meetings in the building and around an office on the first floor. Officials say she is not yet fully in place in the building, however.

    Asia hands say that Kurt Campbell has finally been cleared to be appointed assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, as has been widely expected, and is awaiting official announcement of his nomination. Still, several vacancies remain. No word still on who may be appointed to be under secretary of state for global affairs. (State Department sources said there had been some earlier talk of transforming the position, and possibly combining it with international women’s issues, but weren’t sure where those deliberations were). Also not clear is who will be appointed to head the State Department intelligence bureau, INR.

    The exception to generally rising morale at State is USAID, where there has been increased grumbling over the fact that there’s no word on who the next administrator may be. Some people have expressed a sense the agency is somewhat orphaned and adrift so far in the new administration, despite its rhetorical commitment to development issues. Some development hands said they’d heard a new administrator may not be in place until June. “Not having Senate-confirmed leadership at the U.S.’s lead development agency is extremely problematic, and it is something that the U.S. NGO community is very concerned about,” Todd Shelton, senior director of public policy at Interaction, told The Cable Monday. “For that reason, InterAction submitted a letter (.pdf) to President Obama on Thursday co-signed by more than 90 NGOs calling on the administration to nominate a qualified USAID administrator very soon.”

    thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/04/07/state_tidbits_morale_rising_reviews_underway_building_sightings

  31. Blame America First.

    1. Obama says America is responsible for the global economic crisis.

    2. Obama says America is responsible for bad relations with Islam.

    3. Obama will soon say America is resposible for global warming.

    According to Obama, America is responsible for everything bad in the world. I think Obama’s solution is to destroy the America we grew up in and create one that none of us really want to live in. He is a sick puppy.

  32. Ridding the world of nuclear weapons sounds a lot like the idea of leaving behind partisanship. I’d like to do both, but neither are terribly practical.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’d like to see as many nukes dissembled as possible and I’d also like to see the Republicans be more responsible and less obstreperous.

    But both issues sound a lot more high-minded than they really are. Ridding the world of nukes would be great, but it really doesn’t solve many problems. Leaving behind partisanship would be great too but people have competing interests. Are we supposed to believe that the bankers that created our financial crisis can be reasoned with?

    It’s just more fairy tales for the Kool Aid happy.

  33. Not inconsistent. They are two unrelated issues
    **********
    Exactly…Stevens was one of the most corrupt Senators but that doesn’t justify misconduct by the prosecutors. Hopefully the judge will have the prosecutors go to trial..if convicted they need to see the inside of a Federal prison.

  34. President’s rubbishing of his own country in order to pander to European and Muslim audiences
    ———————-
    If you are president you do not do this. It is verbotten. But with Obama it is de rigeur.

    His consistent pattern has been to throw the people he represents under the bus. Trouble is alot of them are too dumb to realize it.

  35. Sometimes I wonder why I follow the headlines. I find that they are always taking you down this rabbit trail, and the headline many times mean nothing.

    Well, this was the wax figure of MO. They lead you to believe that it might be unflattering. You get to this video of the Today program just gushing about how great it is. She had a black sweater on with a red dress. A big nothing. I am going to stop following these dumb headlines.

  36. If we had a president who knew what he was doing, he would play hardball with the Europeans on Afganistan. He would tell them that he is getting pressure from his own side of the aisle to cut and run. He woulld tell them that the only way he can head off that tsunami is for Germany, France, Italy, Russia are as much or more at risk than we are and if they have reason to believe we will reduce forces and leave them exposed they will have an incentive to ante up. Krauthammer is wrong to criticize the Europeans for behaving like free riders. We are the ones who have allowed them to do so. Under this nevish president I seriously doubt that will change because he bows to people he cannot control and thus becomes their patsy.

  37. The voices of dissent: 22 Democrats voted against Obama’s budget…

    starexponent.com/cse/news/opinion/columnists/article/the_voices_of_dissent_22_democrats_voted_against_obamas_budget/33303/

  38. Earmarks: Online hide and go seek

    By Jared Allen
    04/07/09

    Scores of House members are hiding their earmark requests in obscure corners of their official websites — sticking to the letter of their new rule while shunning its spirit. The lawmakers are interpreting an ambiguous rule liberally, disclosing their requests as required on their official congressional webpages but avoiding any prominent display.

    Under the new rule, touted by House Democrats and echoed by President Obama as a move toward a more open system of earmarking, members submitting spending requests for 2010 to the Appropriations Committee are required to create an active link on their webpages giving the details. But the requirement to create a link allows for great disparity, from Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) down the line to the most junior member of the minority, in how and where those requests are displayed. The result was a hodgepodge, with some members of each party proudly displaying their requests while many others apparently did their utmost to keep their requests out of public view.

    Fullest disclosures included those made by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) — who is a notorious earmarker — and even Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.), who as the last freshman Republican to be sworn in this year is arguably the lowest-ranking member of the House. All of these lawmakers created new categories on their main banners or menus for “Appropriations.”

    Many members, including Majority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Minority Deputy Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the highest-ranking Republican to request any earmarks, opted to disclose theirs in press releases, either on their main page or a click away. The ranking Republican on the Appropriations Committee, Rep. Jerry Lewis (Calif.), could not display his requests any more prominently. They are his leading news item, nearly impossible to miss.

    But dozens of members’ requests could be found only by scouring their pages and trolling through any number of different categories, from “Issues” to “Legislation” to “District” to — in at least one case — “Other.” Viewers of these members’ pages would have to click three or more times to get the list of submitted projects, and that is assuming the website visitor knows where to look. According to Taxpayers for Common Sense, 71 lawmakers, not including those known to have rejected earmarks for at least this year, had failed to establish their links or created links that were simply not findable as of 1 p.m. Tuesday.

    The Hill reviewed hundreds of member pages, as did outside watchdog groups, after the Friday (later extended to Saturday) deadline to determine which members who appeared to comply with the letter of the law went the furthest to meet — or, conversely, to avoid — its intent.

    article continued at…

    thehill.com/leading-the-news/earmarks-online-hide-and-go-seek-2009-04-07.html

  39. wbboei

    O does not understand the culture of Europe or Asia. However, he does not think he has to, as the American Press will declare him a success regardless. He feels he just has to assume that if the breaths the economy and the world will get better. Gosh such HARD work, it is so HARD.

  40. NewMexicoFan Says:
    April 7th, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    Sometimes I wonder why I follow the headlines. I find that they are always taking you down this rabbit trail, and the headline many times mean nothing.

    ==================

    I’ve noticed the same thing. It’s like the person who wrote the headline scarcely read the article, and just made up a headline that would get attention, or that they had a good photo for, whether it related to the story or not. Same with photo captions.

  41. Sometimes I wonder why I follow the headlines. I find that they are always taking you down this rabbit trail, and the headline many times mean nothing.

    ==================

    I’ve noticed the same thing. It’s like the person who wrote the headline scarcely read the article, and just made up a headline that would get attention, or that they had a good photo for, whether it related to the story or not. Same with photo captions
    ———————-
    Two things are going on. First, the editor at AP writes the headlines. Second, his goal is to plant a subliminal message, as Professor Jameison described then they were gunning for Hillary. Many people skim headlines and dont read stories. That message is then broadcast across the county through the local newpapers that print AP stories. It is intentional, purposeful and yet another technique of propaganda.

  42. NewMexicoFan Says:
    He feels he just has to assume that if the breaths the economy and the world will get better.

    ====================

    That may be a pretty conscious belief. In some more or less serious profile iirc Obama talked about Mayor Daley (dunno which one) having a talent for making different factions find their own solutions by shutting them together in a room for a while. Really, he talked about this as some sort of mystical talent of Daley. I bet he thinks he has the same talent: that just because he ‘is President’ somehow all the underlings will find their own solutions and he will bet the credit, whether he ever paid attention to the problems or not. (Or everything will magically work itself out somehow.)

  43. The headliner at our 10pm news was the 4 words Obama spoke today set off a firestorm of emails to our Tyler, Texas TV station.
    He apparently said American was not a Christian nation. Oh boy, does this guy ever think before he speaks! This is the bible belt and it did not go over well. LOL!! an idiot is what he is!!

  44. He apparently said American was not a Christian nation.
    *************
    Can’t Obama ever say anything original??? He is just repeating John Adams and the “Treaty of Tripoli”

    “”As the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

  45. I was sanguine until last week that it would be possible to draw a clear line of demarcation between the domestic agenda which would belong to Obama and the international agenda which would belong to Hillary. I no longer think that is realistic.

    Here is my logic.

    First, Obama made it clear that he was prepared to deal with the foreign countries personally, instead of telling them that this would be Hillarys job. Consequently, they are apt to go around her to him and he in turn knows little or nothing about the details. What generally happens in those circumstances is he says yes when he should say no. Here it is worse because of his alpahbet soup pathologies. The two bad concessions he has made thus far are symptomatic of the problem.

    Second, Obama has a proven track record of running away from serious problems. The problems of the domestic economy are challenging and intractable. Ergo, he will get on an airplane and visit foreign countries where he can give vague speeches, and appear to be doing something constructive. He can then blame the domestic problems on someone else. Finally, he wants to be the leader of the world. The interantional arena is where he wants to be.

    For those reasons, I see problems ahead. I doubt he will support Hillary. Let us hope I am wrong.

  46. Besides Hopium, what else is Camille Paglia on? She’s a Hopium addict who sometimes sobers up. Paglia does not know what happened during the primaries. Paglia’s latest:

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/paglia/2009/04/08/bow/index.html

    Dear Camille,

    In your column, you say, “President Obama has been ill-served by his advisors and staff.”

    The primary job requirement of a good senior executive is the ability to judge character and ability, in order to be able to select people to whom responsibilities may be safely delegated. If these advisors and staff are inadequate, the responsibility for their failures should be laid at the feet of the person who was ultimately responsible for their selection and placement.

    Charles
    Pennsylvania

    You are absolutely correct! The buck stops with the top executive. But we all know how little executive experience Barack Obama has had. He was elected for his vision and his steady, deliberative character, not his résumé. For better or worse, Obama is learning as he goes — and surely most fair-minded people would grant him reasonable leeway as he grows into the presidency, one of the hardest jobs in the world.

    At a certain point, however, Obama will face an inescapable administrative crux. Arriving at the White House, he understandably stayed in his comfort zone by bringing old friends and allies with him — a team that had had a fabulous success in devising the hard-as-nails strategy that toppled the Clintons, like crumbling colossi, into yesterday’s news. But these comrades may not have the practical skills or broad perspective to help Obama govern. Like Shakespeare’s Prince Hal ascending the throne, Obama may have to steel his heart and banish Falstaff and the whole frat-house crew.

    Obama’s staffing problems are blatant — from that bleating boy of a treasury secretary to what appears to be a total vacuum where a chief of protocol should be. There has been one needless gaffe after another — from the president’s tacky appearance on a late-night comedy show to the kitsch gifts given to the British prime minister, followed by the sweater-clad first lady’s over-familiarity with the queen and culminating in the jaw-dropping spectacle of a president of the United States bowing to the king of Saudi Arabia. Why was protest about the latter indignity confined to conservatives? The silence of the major media was a disgrace. But I attribute that embarrassing incident not to Obama’s sinister or naive appeasement of the Muslim world but to a simple if costly breakdown in basic command of protocol.

    Enough already! These slips are worsening the anti-Obama backlash, which began with the administration’s bungled handling of the grotesquely swollen stimulus package. Conservatives seem deliriously drunk with their cartoon picture of Obama, to whom is glibly attributed every pathology in the book. Yes, there were ambiguities about Obama’s birth certificate that have never been satisfactorily resolved. And the embargo on Obama’s educational records remains troubling. But I am still waiting for hard evidence about the host of other charges that are continually being hammered against him — from his alleged fidelity to the crypto-tactics of Chicago leftist Saul Alinsky to the questions raised by right-wingers about the production of Obama’s two memoirs. Out of respect for the presidency, conservatives need to put up or shut up about these issues.

    I still strongly believe in Obama’s promise as a world leader. I was thrilled, for example, by his call this week for an end to nuclear weapons — a goal that he frankly admitted would not be attained in his lifetime. We have waited a long time for an American president who dreams big. Yes, there are bitter cells of fanatics everywhere who hate America and want a repeat of 9/11. And yes, there will always be petty dictators who covet the bomb and conspire to get it. But the mass of people around the world want to be inspired to a higher good. Whether the Obama presidency succeeds or fails will depend on his ability to sustain his ideals in the face of the testing crises that will inevitably erupt in far-flung regions where ethnic or religious strife has been a way of life for thousands of years. And closer to home, Obama will need to cut the umbilical to his hometown posse, whose inefficiency and poor decision-making took the shine off his honeymoon and brought the dispirited Republicans back from the dead.

  47. Paglia is a total idiot. She loves to get in pissing contests with Naomi Wolfe, Suzie Bright and others. She hates professional women. It is so typical of her that she would reject Hillary and embrace Obama. She likes the street throng and the Madi Gras, Carnival, or in her own town the Murmers parade. She has consistently exercised poor judgment.

  48. You are absolutely correct! The buck stops with the top executive. But we all know how little executive experience Barack Obama has had. He was elected for his vision and his steady, deliberative character, not his résumé. For better or worse, Obama is learning as he goes — and surely most fair-minded people would grant him reasonable leeway as he grows into the presidency, one of the hardest jobs in the world.
    ——————————-
    He is responsible for hiring decisions, but he has little executive experience so fair minded people will not hold him responsible? That is pure sophistry.

    He was elected because of his vision, and steady, deliberative character? Then it wasnt Bush fatigue or media coddling? It was a vision based on nothing but vague words. What evidence is there of his deliberative character? He is a sociopath for gosh sakes.

  49. Paglia is a total idiot
    ********
    It’s her shtick. I don’t thing she even takes her self seriously. I can’t stand her.

  50. and while Rome burns…

    Pizza from St. Louis restaurant is headed to the White House

    April 6, 2009 – Chris Sommers, owner of Pi on the Delmar Loop, will be serving his pizza at the White House later this week.

    St. Louis — After wowing the immense crowd at a campaign rally under the Gateway Arch last fall, Barack Obama found himself wowed by the pizza his staff ordered from the Delmar Loop. Now that he’s the big cheese in Washington, he’s calling for seconds.

    Pi, which opened in St. Louis just over a year ago, is expanding its political circumference all the way to Pennsylvania Avenue, where later this week the proprietors will prepare a pizza feast for Obama and his family. It’s a rare honor for anyone other than the president’s personal staff to cook at the White House kitchen, especially for an establishment that offers recycled cardboard to-go boxes instead of fine dining. But Obama, whose culinary tastes lean more toward comfort food than gourmet cuisine, enjoys pizza enough that he’s calling across the country to get a slice.

    And the staff at Pi is thrilled to deliver. What can you say?” said Pi partner Ryan Mangialardo. “It’s incredible.”

    stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/stlouiscitycounty/story/3C8F43FA92719BDC862575910082922A?OpenDocument

  51. Paglia is an idiot. No, fair-minded people will not give him “leeway to grow”. Because fair-minded people KNEW that the next president needed to be ready to start solving the huge problems on day one, so rightly questioned 0bama’s readiness to do so.

    And we were told in no uncertain terms that he would HAVE no learning curve, that he WAS ready on day one, that our concerns were not only baseless and ridiculous, but RACIST. No, he had superior judgement, superior skills, and could DO the job.

    So now that exactly what we expected and were worried about is coming to pass, she wants everyone to give him a pass? I don’t think so, Paglia you ignorant whiner. Our country does not have the time or luxury for on-the-job training, which is what we tried to tell you – so he needs to man up and do the damn job, NO EXCUSES, or face the wrath of the People.

  52. Ethics board launches probe into Rep Jesse Jackson Jr.

    April 7, 2009
    BY NATASHA KORECKI

    A congressional ethics board has launched a preliminary inquiry into U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), related to President Obama’s vacant Senate seat and the corruption investigation of ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

    The Office of Congressional Ethics, formed just last year, voted in late March to conduct a “preliminary review” of actions surrounding Jackson’s bid to be appointed to the Senate seat, according to documents released to parties involved in the probe. The revelation means Jackson is the second member of the Illinois delegation undergoing an ethical review related to the Blagojevich scandal. The U.S. Senate ethics committee is investigating U.S. Sen. Roland Burris.

    The Office of Congressional Ethics has launched an inquiry into Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) related to President Obama’s vacant Senate seat and the corruption investigation into ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

    The committee probing Jackson launched its action Thursday — the same day Blagojevich was indicted on corruption charges. The panel has asked parties in the Blagojevich case — including his former gubernatorial staff and campaign staff — to turn over any documents, e-mails, or other correspondence involving Jackson Jr. and his campaign staff; Jackson’s brother, Jonathan, and political fund-raisers Raghuveer Nayak and Rajinder Bedi, lawyers close to the probe told the Sun-Times. The request for information is from June of last year through Dec. 31, 2008.

    Nayak, Bedi and Jonathan Jackson attended a Dec. 6 fund-raiser hosted by the Indian community for Friends of Blagojevich. People attending the event have told the Sun-Times that discussions about future fund-raising for Rep. Jackson’s Senate candidacy took place at the function. The ex-governor was arrested three days later on accusations that he tried to sell the Senate seat appointment, among other charges. Jesse Jackson Jr. has not been accused of wrongdoing in the Blagojevich case. He was referred to as “Candidate A” in the indictment of Blagojevich and was recently interviewed by the feds. Blagojevich believed he would be paid $1.5 million through Jackson Jr. “emissaries” if he named Jackson to the Senate seat, according to the federal charges.

    A federal criminal complaint alleges that the ex-governor told his brother in a recorded call to meet with Nayak, referred to as “Individual D,” to ask about giving money upfront for Jackson’s appointment. The next day the ex-governor told his own brother to “undo that [Nayak] thing” after reports surfaced that the feds could be recording conversations, according to the criminal complaint against Blagojevich. Nayak has since been in discussions with federal investigators.

    The ethics panel typically investigates a matter for 30 days before making a recommendation to the House members’ chief ethics panel, the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct. That committee can take action, refuse action or continue the probe. Leo Wise, who heads the Office of Congressional Ethics, said he could not confirm or deny the existence of any investigation. His nonpartisan panel, made up of private citizens, was created by the House last year to review allegations against its members. Judge Abner Mikva is among those on the panel. “We’re a fact-gathering, investigative entity,” Wise said. He explained that the panel does not have subpoena abilities but the House dictated powers allowing it to interview witnesses and request documents. The office has no power to compel cooperation.

    A spokesman for Rep. Jackson did not return a call seeking comment. Jonathan Jackson also did not respond to a request for comment.

    The Senate ethics committee launched an inquiry into Burris’ appointment by Blagojevich. Burris has given conflicting answers about his contacts with the former governor and his campaign operation before the appointment.

    suntimes.com/news/metro/blagojevich/1515427,jesse-jackson-jr-ethics-probe-blagojevich-040709.article

  53. Admin, if this is just too long get rid of it and I will post the link.

    This is really long and i do apologize. I probably should not have done it but it opened my eyes on so many levels. It really depressed as it solidified my fears of people i had believed in but shouldn’t. I don’t know who to believe in anymore. i got it from NQ, maybe i should have just sent ya all there but many times I don’t follow a link secondary to time.…………………………………………………………………….

    Prophet and Loss
    Brooksley Born warned that unchecked trading in the credit market could lead to disaster, but power brokers in Washington ignored her. Now we’re all paying the price.
    BY RICK SCHMITT
    PHOTOGRAPHY BY ERIKA LARSEN

    SHORTLY AFTER she was named to head the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in 1996, Brooksley E. Born was invited to lunch by Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan.

    The influential Greenspan was an ardent proponent of unfettered markets. Born was a powerful Washington lawyer with a track record for activist causes. Over lunch, in his private dining room at the stately headquarters of the Fed in Washington, Greenspan probed their differences.

    “Well, Brooksley, I guess you and I will never agree about fraud,” Born, in a recent interview, remembers Greenspan saying.

    “What is there not to agree on?” Born says she replied.

    “Well, you probably will always believe there should be laws against fraud, and I don’t think there is any need for a law against fraud,” she recalls. Greenspan, Born says, believed the market would take care of itself.

    For the incoming regulator, the meeting was a wake-up call. “That underscored to me how absolutist Alan was in his opposition to any regulation,” she said in the interview.

    Over the next three years, Born, ’61, JD ’64, would learn first-hand the potency of those absolutist views, confronting Greenspan and other powerful figures in the capital over how to regulate Wall Street.

    More recently, as analysts sort out the origins of what has become the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, Born has emerged as a sort of modern-day Cassandra. Some people believe the debacle could have been averted or muted had Greenspan and others followed her advice.

    As chairperson of the CFTC, Born advocated reining in the huge and growing market for financial derivatives. Derivatives get their name because the value is derived from fluctuations in, for example, interest rates or foreign exchange. They started out as ways for big corporations and banks to manage their risk across a range of investments. One type of derivative—known as a credit-default swap—has been a key contributor to the economy’s recent unraveling.

    FRONT AND CENTER: Born became the first woman at Stanford Law School to be president of the Law Review. In this 1964 photo, she is pictured with senior editors and classmates (back row, from left) Bruce Gitelson, Robert Johnson and Paul Ulrich, and (front row) Richard Roth and James Gaither.

    The swaps were sold as a kind of insurance—the insured paid a “premium” as protection in case the creditor defaulted on the loan, and the insurer agreed to cover the losses in exchange for that premium. The credit-default swap market—estimated at more than $45 trillion—helped fuel the mortgage boom, allowing lenders to spread their risk further and further, thus generating more and more loans. But because the swaps are not regulated, no one ensured that the parties were able to pay what they promised. When housing prices crashed, the loans also went south, and the massive debt obligations in the derivatives contracts wiped out banks unable to cover them.

    Back in the 1990s, however, Born’s proposal stirred an almost visceral response from other regulators in the Clinton administration, as well as members of Congress and lobbyists. The economy was sailing along, and the growth of derivatives was considered a sign of American innovation and a symbol of the virtues of deregulation. The instruments were also a growing cash cow for the Wall Street firms that peddled them to eager takers.

    Ultimately, Greenspan and the other regulators foiled Born’s efforts, and Congress took the extraordinary step of enacting legislation that prohibited her agency from taking any action. Born left government and returned to her private law practice in Washington.

    ‘History already has shown that Greenspan was wrong about virtually everything, and Brooksley was right. If there is one person we should have listened to, it was Brooksley.’

    “History already has shown that Greenspan was wrong about virtually everything, and Brooksley was right,” says Frank Partnoy, a former Wall Street investment banker who is now a professor at the University of San Diego law school. “I think she has been entirely vindicated. . . . If there is one person we should have listened to, it was Brooksley.”

    Speaking out for the first time, Born says she takes no pleasure from the turn of events. She says she was just doing her job based on the evidence in front of her. Looking back, she laments what she says was the outsized influence of Wall Street lobbyists on the process, and the refusal of her fellow regulators, especially Greenspan, to discuss even modest reforms. “Recognizing the dangers . . . was not rocket science, but it was contrary to the conventional wisdom and certainly contrary to the economic interests of Wall Street at the moment,” she says.

    “I certainly am not pleased with the results,” she adds. “I think the market grew so enormously, with so little oversight and regulation, that it made the financial crisis much deeper and more pervasive than it otherwise would have been.”

    Greenspan, who retired from the Fed in 2006, acknowledged in congressional testimony last October that the financial crisis, which he described as a “once in-a-century credit tsunami,” had exposed a “flaw” in his market-based ideology.

    He says Born’s characterization of the lunch conversation she recounted does not accurately describe his position on addressing fraud. “This alleged conversation is wholly at variance with my decades-long held view,” he said in an e-mail, citing an excerpt from his 2007 book The Age of Turbulence, in which he wrote that more government involvement was needed to root out fraud. Born stands by her story.

    Robert Rubin, who was treasury secretary when Born headed the CFTC, has said that he supported closer scrutiny of financial derivatives but did not believe it politically feasible at the time.

    A third regulator opposing Born, Arthur Levitt, who was chairman of the Securities Exchange Commission, says he also now wishes more had been done. “I think it is fair to say that regulators should have considered the implications . . . of the exploding derivatives market,” Levitt told STANFORD.

    In a way, the battle had the look and feel of a classic Washington turf war.

    The CFTC was created in the ’70s to regulate agricultural commodities markets. By the ’90s, its main business had become overseeing financial products such as stock index futures and currency options, but some in Washington thought it should stick to pork bellies and soybeans. Born’s push for regulation posed a threat to the authority of more established cops on the beat.

    “She certainly was not in their league in terms of prominence and stature,” says a lawyer who has known Born for years and requested anonymity to avoid appearing critical of her. “They probably thought, ‘Here is a little person from one of these agencies trying to assertively expand her jurisdiction.’”

    Some of the other regulators have said they had problems with Born’s personal style and found her hard to work with. “I thought it was counterproductive. If you want to move forward . . . you engage with parties in a constructive way,” Rubin told the Washington Post. “My recollection was . . . this was done in a more strident way.” Levitt says Born was “characterized as being abrasive.”

    Her supporters, while acknowledging that Born can be uncompromising when she believes she is right, say those are excuses of people who simply did not want to hear what she had to say.

    “She was serious, professional, and she held her ground against those who were not sympathetic to her position,” says Michael Greenberger, a Washington lawyer who was a top aide to Born at the CFTC. “I don’t think that the failure to be ‘charming’ should be translated into a depiction of stridency.”

    Others find a whiff of sexism in the pushback. “The messenger wore a skirt,” says Marna Tucker, a Washington lawyer and a longtime friend of Born. “Could Alan Greenspan take that?”

    Greenspan dismisses the notion that he had problems with Born because she is a woman. He points out that when he took a leave from his consulting firm in the 1970s to accept a job in the Ford administration, he placed an all-female executive team in charge.

    It was not the first time that Born, 68, had pushed back against convention.

    Her doggedness over a career spanning more than 40 years propelled her into the halls of power in Washington. She was a top commercial lawyer at a major firm, as well as a towering figure in the area of women’s rights, and a role model for women lawyers. She was on Bill Clinton’s short list for attorney general.

    One of seven women in the Class of 1964 at Stanford Law School, she graduated at the top of her class, and was elected president of the law review, the first woman to hold either distinction. She is credited with being the first woman to edit a major American law review.

    In the early 1970s, at a time when women had few role models at major law firms, she became a partner at the Washington, D.C., firm of Arnold & Porter, despite working part time while raising her children.

    She helped establish some of the first public-interest firms in the country focused on issues of gender discrimination. She helped rewrite American Bar Association rules that made it possible for more women and minorities to sit on the federal bench, and she prodded the group into taking stands against private clubs that discriminated against women or blacks.

    She was used to people trying to push her around, or being perceived as a potential troublemaker. She remembers being shouted down during an ABA meeting in the 1970s when she proposed that the organization take a position supporting equal rights for gay and lesbian workers. A former ABA president stood up and said, “that the subject was so unsavory that it should not be discussed . . . and was not germane to the purposes of the ABA,” she recalls. She lost that fight, although the group reversed its stand years later.

    “She looks at things not just from a technical perspective or the perspective of an insider. She looks at the perspective of outsiders and how people without power are going to be affected,” says Esther Lardent, a Washington lawyer who worked with Born on various ABA matters. “That is a theme constantly running through her life and career.”

    “She is a very polite and low-key person but she is never somebody who steps back from a disagreement or a fight if it is a matter of importance to her,” Lardent adds. “Did that make people uncomfortable? Did that make the men who dominated the leadership fail to take her seriously enough? I am sure that was the case.”

    SHE WAS BORN in San Francisco. Her mother, an English teacher, and her father, the head of the city’s public welfare department, were both Stanford graduates.

    An early mentor was her mother’s best friend from Stanford, Miriam E. Wolff, JD ’40, who became a deputy state attorney general and judge and the first woman to ever head a major port.

    Born entered Stanford with the thought of being a doctor, but switched majors after a career counselor interpreted her answers on a series of vocational tests. In those days, women were assessed for their interest in nursing or teaching, men for the professional jobs, including law and medicine. The tests were even color coded—pink for women, blue for men.

    Born says she insisted on taking both. Her mother, who had a master’s degree in psychology, felt that was the only way her daughter’s professional interests could be evaluated properly.

    She scored high on being a doctor—and low on being a nurse. But rather than suggest she pursue a career as a physician, the counselor said the test proved that her interest in medicine was not genuine and that she was really only interested in making a lot of money. Born quit premed and majored in English.

    “It was a turning point. What can I say? I was 18 years old. I didn’t know any better,” Born says. “Unfortunately, I was, you know, a member of the society as it was then. I was hurt by the advice, and kind of believed in it. I don’t believe in it now. It is ridiculous in retrospect.”

    A decade later, one of the public-interest firms she founded challenged the tests as discriminatory.

    Law school was welcoming and intellectually stimulating, even if some people were still getting used to the idea of having women around. Male law students got their own dormitory; women were left to make their own housing arrangements in off-campus boarding houses or apartments. “I also had . . . one student in my class tell me I was taking the place of a man who had to go to Vietnam and was risking his life because of me, which was sobering to say the least,” she recalls.

    Making a mark in the classroom could also be a challenge. Some professors refused to call on women, thinking it rude or unbecoming. She remembers an episode in her first year when her professor appeared to have the class stumped after quizzing several men about a problem. “The little girl has it!” she recalls the professor declaring, after she blurted out the right answer.

    “I was very worried that I would not do well and that I would disgrace myself, and women,” Born says. “I worked very hard during my first year because I was afraid I would flunk out.” In those Darwinian times in law schools, that was not an idle concern: professors tried to weed out all but the most qualified students, and about a third were dismissed from school after the first year. That would not be her fate.

    “She was off the charts,” says Pamela Ann Rymer, JD ’64, a judge on the federal appeals court in Pasadena. “Brooksley never wore it on her sleeve. She is not quiet, but she is a very unpretentious kind of person, just plainly and obviously with a brilliant mind.”

    Despite her grades, Born was passed over for a clerkship on the U.S. Supreme Court, the most coveted opportunity for a young lawyer. Stanford’s top students were good candidates for the clerkships, but a faculty committee decided to recommend two men for the positions even though Born had a superior academic record. It was a bitter introduction to a gender-biased legal culture. “They were sure I would understand that it would be unseemly for women to be clerks on the Supreme Court,” she says of the committee members. “I felt very disappointed and angry.”

    Undaunted, she headed to Washington, and arranged an interview on her own with Arthur Goldberg, then one of the most liberal members of the high court. Goldberg would not hire her either but recommended her to a judge on the federal appeals court in Washington. Henry Edgerton, who wrote an opinion that became a basis for the landmark Supreme Court decision in the Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation case, gave her a clerkship. (Law school professor emerita Barbara Babcock also clerked for Edgerton.)

    A year later, taken with the Washington scene and its place on the front lines of the civil rights movement, Born scrapped plans to return to San Francisco. “I wanted in,” she says. Arnold & Porter, a firm with a liberal tradition of public service, offered her a job, and she started work the same day that a former name partner of the firm, Abe Fortas, was sworn in as a justice of the Supreme Court.

    The firm was one of a few that were beginning to hire women and treat them on par with men. But there were challenges, especially for those interested in a career and a family. Many firms up to that point refused to hire women who were married or who were interested in children.

    The lone woman partner at Arnold & Porter at the time was married to Fortas and was renowned for her “misanthropic toughness,” including a preference for “thick cigars,” according to Charles Halpern, an associate with Born at the firm in the 1960s. “Our swimming pool has two deep ends,” Halpern recalls her once saying, “so that people aren’t tempted to drop by with their small children for a swim on a hot summer day.”

    Born soon faced a difficult choice. She took a one-year leave when her then-husband got a Nieman fellowship at Harvard, where her first child was born. Returning to Washington, she tried to juggle full-time work and child rearing but it quickly became apparent that the arrangement didn’t work.

    “I went to the partner I was working with the most and said I just didn’t think I could do this,” she says. “I thought I had to resign.” To her surprise, the partner suggested she work three days a week with the understanding she would not be considered for partner until she returned full time.

    In 1974, when she had a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old, she was still working part time. The firm promoted her anyway. The family-friendly development was a stunning breakthrough at a time when law firms were focused on billable hours and the bottom line, and little else. It further raised her profile.

    “When I met her I was in awe of her because the idea that she could be a partner in that firm was just unbelievable,” says Tucker, her longtime friend. The women bonded after being asked to teach a course on women and the law at two Washington-area law schools, and being horrified at what they found during their research. “We were surprised to find the degree to which discrimination was embodied in the law,” Born says. “It was a real consciousness-raising experience.”

    Lawyer Marcia Greenberger sought out Born in the 1970s when she was named to start a new women’s rights project in Washington. Born agreed to chair an advisory board for the project, and became a guiding force, mentor and opener of doors, leveraging her contacts and credibility, Greenberger says. One of the first broad-based challenges to how universities were implementing Title IX—the 1972 law requiring equal programs and activities for women and men—was brought after Born passed along the name of a colleague who was incensed at the poor athletic facilities his daughter was forced to use at her school. Born also helped win Ford Foundation grants that enabled the project to hire its second lawyer. What is now called the National Women’s Law Center today has a staff approaching 60 and a budget of almost $10 million. Born remains chair of its board of directors.

    Clinton named her to head the CFTC in 1996. She was not without experience: at Arnold & Porter she had represented the London Futures Exchange in rule making and other matters before the commodities agency.

    She also knew how markets could be manipulated, having represented a major Swiss bank in litigation stemming from an attempt by the Hunt family of Dallas to corner the silver market in the 1980s.

    “Brooksley had the advantage of knowing the law and understanding the fragility of the system if it weren’t regulated,” says Michael Greenberger, her former adviser at the CFTC. “She could see that the data points, by lack of regulation, were heading the country into a serious set of calamities, each calamity worse than the one before.”

    Under a Republican predecessor, the CFTC had in 1993 largely exempted from regulation more exotic derivatives that involved just two parties. The thinking was that sophisticated entities negotiating individually tailored derivatives could look out for themselves. More generic derivatives still had to be traded on exchanges, which were subject to regulation.

    By 1997, the over-the-counter derivatives market had more than doubled in size, by one measure, reaching an estimated $28 trillion, based on the value of the instruments underlying the contracts. (It has now reached an estimated $600 trillion.)

    And some cracks were already surfacing in the landscape. Several customers of Bankers Trust, including Procter & Gamble, sued for fraud and racketeering in connection with several OTC derivative deals. Orange County, Calif., had gone bankrupt in part because of an OTC derivative-trading scheme gone awry.

    What is more, all the growth had taken place at a time of economic prosperity. Some people were beginning to ask what would happen if the market suffered a major reversal.

    “The exposures were very, very big and if it was your job to worry about things that could go wrong, and I think it was, this is one of the things you couldn’t help but notice,” says Daniel Waldman, a Washington lawyer who was the CFTC general counsel under Born. “It was only your blind faith in the participants that could give you much comfort because you really did not know much about the real risks.”

    ‘There was no transparency of these markets at all. No market oversight. No regulator knew what was happening,” Born says. “There was no reporting to anybody.’
    “There was no transparency of these markets at all. No market oversight. No regulator knew what was happening,” Born says. “There was no reporting to anybody.”

    She chose what she thought was a middle ground, circulating a draft “concept release,” to regulators and trade associations, which was intended to gather information about how the markets operated. She and her staff suspected the industry was trying to exploit the earlier regulatory exemption.

    But even the modest proposal got a vituperative response. The dozen or so large banks that wrote most of the OTC derivative contracts saw the move as a threat to a major profit center. Greenspan and his deregulation-minded brain trust saw no need to upset the status quo. The sheer act of contemplating regulation, they maintained, would cause widespread chaos in markets around the world.

    “We would go to conferences and it would be viciously attacked,” Waldman says. “They would just be stomping their feet and pounding the tables.” With Born unlikely to change her mind, the industry focused on working through the other regulators.

    Born recalls taking a phone call from Lawrence Summers, then Rubin’s top deputy at the Treasury Department, complaining about the proposal, and mentioning that he was taking heat from industry lobbyists. She was not dissuaded. “Of course, we were an independent regulatory agency,” she says.

    The debate came to a head April 21, 1998. In a Treasury Department meeting of a presidential working group that included Born and the other top regulators, Greenspan and Rubin took turns attempting to change her mind. Rubin took the lead, she recalls.

    “I was told by the secretary of the treasury that the CFTC had no jurisdiction, and for that reason and that reason alone, we should not go forward,” Born says. “I told him . . . that I had never heard anyone assert that we didn’t have statutory jurisdiction . . . and I would be happy to see the legal analysis he was basing his position on.”

    She says she was never supplied one. “They didn’t have one because it was not a legitimate legal position,” she says.

    Greenspan followed. “He maintained that merely inquiring about the field would drive important and expanding and creative financial business offshore,” she says. CFTC economists later checked for any signs of that, and came up with no evidence, Born says.

    “It seemed totally inexplicable to me,” Born says of the seeming disinterest her counterparts showed in how the markets were operating. “It was as though the other financial regulators were saying, ‘We don’t want to know.’”

    She formally launched the proposal on May 7, and within hours, Greenspan, Rubin and Levitt issued a joint statement condemning Born and the CFTC, expressing “grave concern about this action and its possible consequences.” They announced a plan to ask for legislation to stop the CFTC in its tracks.

    At congressional hearings that summer, Greenspan and others warned of dire consequences; Born and the CFTC were cast as a loose cannon.

    Reverting to a theme Born claims he raised at their earlier lunch, Greenspan testified there was no need for government oversight, because the derivatives market involved Wall Street “professionals” who could patrol themselves.

    Summers, Rubin’s deputy (and now director of the National Economic Council), said the memo had “cast the shadow of regulatory uncertainty over an otherwise thriving market, raising risks for the stability and competitiveness of American derivative trading.”

    Born assailed the legislation, calling it an unprecedented move to undermine the independence of a federal agency. In eerily prescient testimony, she warned of potentially disastrous and widespread consequences for the public. “Losses resulting from misuse of OTC derivatives instruments or from sales practice abuses in the OTC derivatives market can affect many Americans,” she testified that July. “Many of us have interests in the corporations, mutual funds, pension funds, insurance companies, municipalities and other entities trading in these instruments.”

    That September, seemingly bolstering her case, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York was forced to organize a rescue of a large private investment firm, Long Term Capital Management, which was a big player in the OTC derivatives market. Fed officials said they acted to avoid a meltdown that could have impacted the wider economy.

    But the tide of opinion that had risen up against Born was irreversible. Language was slipped into an agriculture appropriations bill barring the CFTC from taking action in the six months left in her term.

    “I felt as though that, at least, relieved me and the commission of any public responsibility for what was happening,” she says. Clinton aides sounded her out about a second term, but she said she wasn’t interested and left the agency in June 1999.

    A year later, Congress enacted the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which effectively gutted the ability of the CFTC to regulate OTC derivatives. With no other agency picking up the slack, the market grew, unchecked.

    Some observers say now the episode and infighting showed how even a decade ago a patchwork system of regulating Wall Street was badly in need of reform.

    “The fact that the . . . issue created such a threat to the marketplace to me confirmed the fact that something was not right,” says Richard Miller, a lawyer and editor of a widely read newsletter on derivatives. “How could we have a system that hangs together by such a narrow thread?” Miller testified at the time that the idea Born proffered should at least have been considered.

    The Obama administration has pledged an overhaul of the financial system, including the way derivatives are regulated. Worrisome to some observers is the fact that his economic team includes some former Treasury officials who were lined up in opposition to Born a decade ago.

    Born, who retired from her law firm in 2003, is not playing a formal role in the process. An outdoor enthusiast, she was planning a trip to Antarctica this winter, as the Obama team was settling in. “The important thing,” she advises, “is that the new administration should not be listening to just one point of view.”

    RICK SCHMITT, a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal, is a freelance writer based in Washington, D.C.

  54. admin Says:
    April 8th, 2009 at 12:03 am

    You are absolutely correct! The buck stops with the top executive. But we all know how little executive experience Barack Obama has had. He was elected for his vision and his steady, deliberative character, not his résumé. For better or worse, Obama is learning as he goes — and surely most fair-minded people would grant him reasonable leeway as he grows into the presidency, one of the hardest jobs in the world.
    &&&&&&&&&&

    Forget about “fair-minded” people. What about the American electorate? And media? Shouldn’t they care if a candidate is **capable** of doing a particular job? And how can you determine if someone might be capable of a particular job? By looking at their past, their career.

    obama had NO executive experience, not even managing a bagel shop.

    Imagine: “Joe Torre, you were a wonderful manager of the Yankees and now your current team. But we looking a coach for the Olympic skiing team. What do you know about skiing??”

    I guess the line to sucker in voters about obama was that his “career trajectory” was so spectacular, that it showed how incredibly smart and sophisticated and nuanced his mind is, and that he can learn *anything*, and that he is a master politician who knows how to get people on board with his line of thinking. And that he can “do anything he wants”. The trouble is, he doesn’t really have an agenda, that’s someone else’s job, he doesn’t have causes (that’s “Hillary’s thing”), and he is incurious, just like W.

  55. rgb44hrc

    I totally agree. We elected the least experience possible to Presidency, and now we are trying to cover it up. You would have had to had more experienced to be dog catcher.

  56. Ethics board launches probe into Rep Jesse Jackson Jr.
    ————————————————
    I expect that Dirty Dick Durbin will control this show from behind the scenes. Illinois Combine Rules to apply. It will be bi-partisan sure–but look to see whom he gets as Republicans.

    This is where people I do not much care for like Lindsey Graham and the soon to be defeated traitor Arlen Spector would be appropriate. Both of them have Prosecutrial backgrounds–Graham in the Air Force and Spector in Philadelphia.

    Meanwhile, you can be sure Jesse Jackson III is sweating like a greased pig over this one. Speaking of greased pigs I wonder what deer in the headlights Roland Martin is doing these days, other than lying his fat little ass off.

    Personally, I am not getting my hopes up on this one because the process itself is too corrupt. Axelrod will not allow Jackson to be thown to the wolves because he knows where too many bodies are buried in the land of the Combine.

  57. Gonzotx, yes, I read that one too.
    This is the link to gonzotx Says:
    April 8th, 2009 at 9:54 am
    stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/2009/marapr/features/born.html

  58. Greenspan followed. “He maintained that merely inquiring about the field would drive important and expanding and creative financial business offshore,” she says. CFTC economists later checked for any signs of that, and came up with no evidence, Born says.
    ——————————————–
    Greenpsan: okay, so what if it is an iceberg. If we do not remain on this course we will never get to our destination. After all, I am Alan Greenspan. Better we should hit the iceberg and eveyone go down.

    How can a regulator like Greenspan to say we cannot intervene to control fraud, abuse and practices which will create a massive bubble because it may drive some money off shore.

    Rather than blaming America for this world economic crisis, the fool at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. should narrow the indictment to the specific parties who caused it through greed and failure to regulate.

    Surely Greenspan, and in some respects that little nevish he is married to should be placed at the front of the who destroyed the economic system hit parade like circus freaks for everyone to gaze at.

  59. Summers, Rubin’s deputy (and now director of the National Economic Council), said the memo had “cast the shadow of regulatory uncertainty over an otherwise thriving market, raising risks for the stability and competitiveness of American derivative trading.”
    ——————————————————-
    Same guy who is engineering Bambis bank bailout plan.

  60. Goals of Obama’s overseas trip debated

    April 8, 2009

    WASHINGTON, April 8 (UPI) — U.S. President Barack Obama returned Wednesday from his first overseas visit as commander in chief with analysts debating whether he achieved his goals. Despite the warm reception he received at nearly every stop, Obama fell short on getting European allies to open their wallets for increased stimulus spending or commit to sending more troops to Afghanistan for long-term deployment, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

    “Why didn’t the waters part, the sun shine and all ills of the world disappear because President Obama came to Europe this week? That wasn’t our expectation,” David Axelrod, a key Obama aide, said to the Post. “We understand … that this involves solving the problems, the difficult, thorny problems we face in the world.”

    Advisers point to the Group of 20’s commitment of more than $1 trillion to the International Monetary Fund and programs to pick up the global economy and protect the poorest nations from the economic downturn. In addition, new arms reduction talks are on tap with Russia and Obama outlined a basis for improving U.S. relations with the world. “There was a sense that America was back. So many of the leaders basically said, ‘It’s nice to have America back at its place,'” White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said.

    Critics, however, said Obama showed more form than substance, the Post said.
    Thomas Donnelly, a foreign and defense policy fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, said Obama “maintained, and if anything added to, the feeling of bonhomie that the rest of the world now regards him.”
    Substantively, Donnelly told the Post, there wasn’t much “and what there was, if you hold it up to the light, there should be many questions about it.”

    upi.com/Top_News/2009/04/08/Goals-of-Obamas-overseas-trip-debated/UPI-12271239178870/

    ——————————————

    Except that the $1 trillion was already agreed upon months before so in other words, G20 was just a pompous opportunity for the leaders to play politics and pretend that they were saving the world.

  61. The point which his supporters cover up and his critics keep missing is that he advanced his personal standing in the g 20 group by throwing his own country under the bus–blaming America for the economic crisis, and subordinating our economic sovereignty to world bodies. Just like he did with Rezko, Excelon, etc.

    When you concede a contested position it is hardly surprising that your adversaries love you. They love nothing more than to negotiate with a rube on the other side. It is like taking candy from a baby. And, as you say the monies were already allocated. If you look at the whole thing objectively, the trip was worse than a failure. It was a disaster.

  62. Judge Abner Mikva is an Obama toadie. He will not redeem the ethics panel from being what it always is a political body. If he is the hope for tansparancy and justice then forgettaboutit.

  63. It is terrible when you get your news from fox and Colbert and Jon Stewart. Last Night, Colbert, who says he is not an O fan, loved the overseas O trip, even if O accomplished nothing.

    A person telling the world that the emperor has no clothes. I guess it is OK if he is a satire comic.

  64. Below is the full text of an article by Gingrich commenting upon Obamas foreign policy. You do not have to be a Republican or a supporter of Gingrich to find some merit in what he is saying. The paragraph that struck me was the following:

    “The embarrassing repudiation of the United States appeal to the United Nations Security Council Sunday afternoon is a vivid demonstration of weakness,” Gingrich said in the Politico forum. “This is beginning to resemble the Carter administration’s weakness in foreign policy.”

    Was this widely reported and did I miss it? It is a conspicuous failure by Susan Rice. Here is why. In the hopey dopey world of Obama, realpotic and unilateral action are contra bonus mores. The alternative prescription is to defend national interests through the collective action of world bodies. We must be able to drive a consensus among nations who have interests which differ from our own.

    The idea has merit in the abstract. We all know what the Iraq War has cost this country. But if collective action through world bodies is to be our new policy then it only works if it works. Here it did not work because Obama failed to achieve the concurrence of the Security Counsel. The reason it did not work is because Russia and China want to undermine US influence in the world. This was predictable.

    So what do we do now? I mean what is the plan? Do we walk away from the problem? Do we tell Japan they had better get their own nuclear weapon so they can defend themselves? Does China move in to fill the power vaccuum. It is funny that we would go hat in hand to China to support that resolution when the Peoples Liberation Army was probably the one who encouraged North Korea to do this. They are slapping Obama silly and he does not even know it. They know a rube when they see one. Combine rules are minor league in this forum.

    By the same token, this is why it was such a dreadful mistake for Obama to surrender regulatory authority to international bodies. It is Carteresque. In the end, national interests suffer.
    ———————————————–

    Gingrich: Obama’s ‘Fantasy Foreign Policy’ Endangering America

    Tuesday, April 7, 2009 6:28 PM

    By: Rick Pedraza Article Font Size

    Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says President Barack Obama is making some dangerous choices in rejecting the anti-terrorism policies of the Bush administration and backing down from confronting North Korea over its threatening missile program.

    In a Politico forum with readers, and in several recent interviews, Gingrich has discerned a weakness in the new administration’s foreign policy that he fears is going to embolden America’s enemies.

    Moreover, the effort to treat terrorism as a criminal justice problem – rather than an act of war – will only bog the country down in pursuit of enemy combatants, Gingrich fears.

    “Dick Cheney is clearly right in saying that, between the court decisions about terrorists and the administration actions, the United States is running greater risks of getting attacked than we were under President Bush,” Gingrich said.

    Pointing to what he described as a “vivid demonstration of weakness in foreign policy” the former House speaker said Obama’s actions, including his proposal for a resumption of nuclear arms limitation talks, reflect “a dangerous fantasy that runs an enormous risk.

    “The embarrassing repudiation of the United States appeal to the United Nations Security Council Sunday afternoon is a vivid demonstration of weakness,” Gingrich said in the Politico forum. “This is beginning to resemble the Carter administration’s weakness in foreign policy.”

    Sure enough, on Tuesday a North Korean envoy threatened retaliation if the United Nations imposed further sanctions for the missile launch.

    North Korea warned the U.N. Security Council that it would take “strong steps” if the 15-nation body took any action in response to Pyongyang’s launch of a long-range rocket, Reuters reported.

    “If the Security Council, they take any kind of steps whatever, we’ll consider this is (an) encroachment on our sovereignty and the next option will be ours,” Deputy Ambassador Pak Tok Hun told reporters. “Necessary and strong steps will … follow that.”

    In several interviews, Gingrich has suggested that the United States should have shot down the North Korean missile, while making it very clear that any missile launched with a trajectory in the direction of the United States will be met with an overwhelming counter-attack.

    North Korea “is a totally irresponsible dictatorship run by a person who is clearly out of touch with reality,” says Gingrich, who suggests the threat of “unconventional forces to stand-off capabilities; to say we’re not going to tolerate a North Korean missile launch, period.”

    “I think to say, ‘We are now going to have another meeting of the U.N. to have another paper resolution that has meaningless effect,’ is very dangerous,” Gingrich says. “I have yet to see the United Nations do anything effective with either Iran or North Korea.”

    Gingrich also raised a moral question. North Korea is responsible for the deaths of at least several million people because of its totalitarian rule, he said. How much longer should a world power like the United States tolerate such a regime.

    “Under Kim Jong-Il this dictatorship has been so bad it has starved the people and the average North Korean today is several inches shorter than a generation ago,” Gingrich pointed out. “If we do nothing they are going to continue building nuclear weapons and missiles. If they are this aggressive when they are weak what do you think they will be like when they are strong?”

    The Obama administration is rapidly undermining the U.S. missile defense system while imagining a fantasy world of trust and cooperation, Gingrich says.

    “Ronald Reagan believed we had to have a missile defense system to stop any country from breaking free and blackmailing other countries,” Gingrich says, adding the reminder that there were only five nuclear powers at the time: the Soviet Union, China, France, Britain, and the United States.

    “Reagan would have been much more skeptical about a plan in an age of North Korean, Iranian and Pakistani nuclear developments. How do you apply his slogan of ‘trust but verify’ in dictatorships you can’t trust and can’t verify?”

    It was left up to Reagan to rebuild the United States after Carter allowed U.S. security policy to wither in the late 1970s.

    “There’s a fascinating analysis of Jimmy Carter’s Notre Dame speech when he spoke at the commencement in 1977. And that was the moment in which Carter’s fantasy view of the world became clear, and the beginning, I think, of the end of his — of his administration,” Gingrich said, likening Carter to Obama. “The president’s in a world where Hamas is firing missiles every day into Israel, Iran is building nuclear weapons, and the North Koreans today during — basically during his speech fired a missile, and he has some wonderful fantasy idea that we’re going to have a great meeting next year.

    I just think that it’s very dangerous to have a fantasy foreign policy, and it can get you in enormous trouble, just like giving — you know, we don’t have a war on terror anymore,” Gingrich said. “We don’t have terrorist attacks anymore. So now homeland security has manmade disasters.

    “I’m somehow not comforted with the thought that 9/11 was a manmade disaster but not a terrorist attack, and I’m not comforted with words instead of serious systematic policies.”

  65. Georgia Legislature Ends, Passes Bill Making it Harder to Register to Vote
    April 4th, 2009

    The Georgia legislature adjourned Friday night, April 3, a few minutes before midnight. On the last day the House passed SB 86. It requires people who are registering to vote to submit either a birth certificate or, if the person was born in a foreign country, documents showing the person was born a citizen, or naturalization documents.

    Although a great deal of work was done in the last six months to find a sponsor for Georgia ballot access reform, no bill was introduced in the 2009 session.

    On the last day of the session, HB 848 was introduced, to move the presidential primary from February to March. Of course the bill could not be acted upon, having been introduced so late, but the bill will be introduced again in 2010. The Democratic National Committee hopes to move all presidential primaries and caucuses that choose delegates from February to March, except for the four states that have special permission to be earlier than March. Thanks to Joshua Putnam for the news about HB 848.

    ballot-access.org/

    why does the DNC want to do this????

  66. wwoebi,

    Russia and China are laughing their heads off. Obama just gave them the keys to the country. Does he even know the damage he has done on this so called magical mystery ride tour of his???

    Gingrich is right. This is Carter all over again.

  67. gonzo

    Re “Prophet and Loss”

    Please note that the direct quotes attributed to Greenspan in the openinf of the article are all modifed by ‘Born says’ or ‘Born recalls.’ We do not get Greenspan’s side till way down the page. She said he said — with one big difference. [ Greenspan ] cites EVIDENCE for his position: a book he wrote in 2007. And lord knows what other evidence Greenspan may have, which the obviuosly slanted author of the article, omitted.

    [ Greenspan ] says Born’s characterization of the lunch conversation she recounted does not accurately describe his position on addressing fraud. “This alleged conversation is wholly at variance with my decades-long held view,” he said in an e-mail, citing an excerpt from his 2007 book The Age of Turbulence, in which he wrote that more government involvement was needed to root out fraud. Born stands by her story.

    AGain, here is Greenspan citing EVIDENCE:

    Greenspan dismisses the notion that he had problems with Born because she is a woman. He points out that when he took a leave from his consulting firm in the 1970s to accept a job in the Ford administration, he placed an all-female executive team in charge.

  68. wbboei said:
    When you concede a contested position it is hardly surprising that your adversaries love you.

    ===============

    Yes, those EU leaders will praise him because they want to KEEP him in power over here.

  69. Two parties to one conversation. One says X about it. The other says -X. Who is lying? Born or Greenspan? I say Greenspan. He was in a position to do something about government fraud–and did not.

  70. And now I finally get where wbboei and a few others were coming from yesterday regarding Hillary. How can she do her job with this bozo in power?

  71. do something about fraud–though government regulation.

    Greenspans recollections seem to me utterly self serving.

  72. Greenspans recollections seem to me utterly self serving.

    =============

    So do Born’s. Greenspan cited evidence: a book he published in 2007 (so probably wrote a couple of years before). Born cited no evidence, just her personal memory. (And even if Greenspan had held such strong anti-regulation views at that time, is it likely he would have told her so, in such quoteable words?)

  73. Jan–that is the dilemma. If you go back to the debates, we saw the real Hillary and she was opposed to things like meeting with enemies of the United States without preconditions which Obama espoused (until later he changed the word preconditions to preparations). You can read it on the faces of Gates and Hillary. Gates is a real patriot and has no party affiliation which might prevent him from pulling the plug. My sense he will be gone in a year. Hillay is a real patriot too, but for her it is a closer question. She is doing alot of good in the state department and around the world, but Obama can wash it all away by a single stupid act. That statement by his wife dismissing Hillary as a mere secretary is symptomatic of the problem. On the other hand, she has some very solid people in her chain of command. Holbrooke is the best diplomat of his generation and he appears to be loyal to her. I am not saying it is hopeless. But I am not hopeful. The Republican Party needs to weigh in on the issues as Gingrich is doing.

  74. Iran charges US reporter with spying

    TEHRAN (AFP) — US-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi, who has been detained in a notorious Tehran prison since January, has been charged with spying, deputy prosecutor Hassan Haddad said on Wednesday. “Her case has been sent to the revolutionary court. She, without press credentials, was carrying out spying activities under the guise of being a reporter,” Haddad was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency. “The evidence is mentioned in her case papers and she has accepted all the charges. She has been arrested under the laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

    The decision to charge the journalist comes despite calls by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her release and US President Barack Obama extending diplomatic overtures towards Iran. Saberi, who holds both US and Iranian nationalities, was initially reportedly detained for buying alcohol which is prohibited in the Islamic republic.

    google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jT4RKFecWDs0BzOvfhW7oglY43vw

    ———————————————————

    obama is an idiot to think that Iran’s thug of a leader is ever going to change.

  75. Greenspans recollections seem to me utterly self serving.

    =============

    So do Born’s. Greenspan cited evidence: a book he published in 2007 (so probably wrote a couple of years before). Born cited no evidence, just her personal memory. (And even if Greenspan had held such strong anti-regulation views at that time, is it likely he would have told her so, in such quoteable words?)
    ——————-
    Greenspan failed to blow the whistle on this fraud at the time, regardless of the defenses he tries to cobble together now. He has a clear motive to lie about the conversation which called him to task on it. Born on the other hand is retired, involved in other field of endeavor and has no apparent motive to lie about the conversation. Finally, Born is not married to a malignant dwarf.

  76. Obamas approach to foreign policy can be summarized as follows: the lion will lie down with the lamb, and not eat him, if Massobama asks him to politely and signs his autograph.

  77. Quagmire, anyone?

    This video will make you weep for our soldiers, and what they face in Afghanistan. They are trying to train unmotivated dopeheads with the mentality of 12-year-olds to be soldiers, and it’s not working:

    shock.military.com/Shock/videos.do?displayContent=187920

  78. BTW, I am DONE with Barney Frank. I hope he gets voted out never to return.

    A student tried to VERY politely ask him about his role in the Fannie Freddie crisis, and Frank was arrogant, rude, dismissive, and accusatory that this young citizen would DARE to question him.

    Frank may have been a friend of Hillary at one time, but he is SLIME in my book:

    foxnews.com/video/index.html?playerId=videolandingpage&streamingFormat=FLASH&referralObject=4249125&referralPlaylistId=undefined

  79. HillaryforTexas Says:

    April 8th, 2009 at 1:36 pm
    Quagmire, anyone?

    This video will make you weep for our soldiers, and what they face in Afghanistan. They are trying to train unmotivated dopeheads with the mentality of 12-year-olds to be soldiers, and it’s not working:

    shock.military.com/Shock/videos.do?displayContent=187920
    ——————————————————
    On our side we have the Afgahan army as you describe it. On the other side a highly disciplined and motivated army fired by religious passion. And the United States standing right in the middle of it and pretty much alone.

    Obama proposes to triple our existing contingent. This will make it our war. If nothing changes, it will be Viet Nam all over again.

    If we are to assume a risk this large then we must have money, allies and the right to drug test the Afgahan army. We have got to bargain tough with our European friends–the way he did no do at NATO.

  80. A student tried to VERY politely ask him about his role in the Fannie Freddie crisis, and Frank was arrogant, rude, dismissive, and accusatory that this young citizen would DARE to question him.
    ———————————————
    If I were the RNC, I would produce a campaign ad showing the before and after. Before, when he dissed regulators who tried to sound the alarm. After, the arroance he displayed in this vignette to this young citizen whose generation will be paying the price for his malfeasance.

  81. wbboei, I agree. We need to soberly decide what it will take to get it DONE, then soberly decide if we have the manpower, the support, and the political will to do it.

    If we do, then go for it. If we don’t, then get the hell out. Those are the only two sane choices.

  82. wbboei, I was not so much angry at him sidestepping the question (I sort of expect politicians to do that) as with the way he spoke to and insulted this very polite young man.

    The hubris was astounding.

  83. Obama has committed himself to make Afghanistan work. Democrats decided during the election campaign that this is a ‘good war’, in contrast to the ‘bad war’ in Iraq. But Washington does not yet possess any clearer idea about how to win in Afghanistan – or even of what ‘winning’ might mean – than did the Bush administration.
    ————————————————–
    Afganistan is a good war? Is that really what the Democrats decided? I dont think that is true at all. It was the forgotten war because everyone was so focused on Iraq, Sadam and the failure to find nuclear weapons.

    But let us say for the sake of argument that the writer is right and I am wrong. Then it is true that Democrats decided Afghanistan was a good war. Democrats decided that Viet Nam was a good war initially, before we made a full commitment, and it became a war of attrition.

  84. Obama proposes to triple our existing contingent. This will make it our war. If nothing changes, it will be Viet Nam all over again.
    **********
    The Afghan “surge” maybe one of the few policies that belongs to Obama. Only a sociopath would totally ignore history and reality and think expanding the US involvement in Afghanistan can have a positive result. Obama thought the Afghan people spoke Arabic, so I doubt he could point to the country on a World map.

  85. djia Says:

    April 8th, 2009 at 12:14 pm
    Georgia Legislature Ends, Passes Bill Making it Harder to Register to Vote
    April 4th, 2009

    The Georgia legislature adjourned Friday night, April 3, a few minutes before midnight. On the last day the House passed SB 86. It requires people who are registering to vote to submit either a birth certificate or, if the person was born in a foreign country, documents showing the person was born a citizen, or naturalization documents.
    &&&&&&&&

    Can you just show up at the polls and say, “Go to my web site, dude”? Probably not.

    So obama wouldn’t be allowed to vote if he lived in Georgia…but he can be the President.

  86. Try not to hurt yourself when you fall over laughing….

    This is not a snark!!!!

    Obama looks at climate engineering

    WASHINGTON (AP) – The president’s new science adviser said Wednesday that global warming is so dire, the Obama administration is discussing radical technologies to cool Earth’s air.

    John Holdren told The Associated Press in his first interview since being confirmed last month that the idea of geoengineering the climate is being discussed. One such extreme option includes shooting pollution particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect the sun’s rays. Holdren said such an experimental measure would only be used as a last resort.

    SNIP

    But Holdren noted that shooting particles into the air—making an artificial volcano as one Nobel laureate has suggested—could have grave side effects and would not completely solve all the problems from soaring greenhouse gas emissions. So such actions could not be taken lightly, he said.

    Still, “we might get desperate enough to want to use it,” he added.

    Another geoengineering option he mentioned was the use of so-called artificial trees to suck carbon dioxide—the chief human-caused greenhouse gas—out of the air and store it. At first that seemed prohibitively expensive, but a re-examination of the approach shows it might be less costly, he said.

    breitbart.com/article.php?id=D97ECHLG1&show_article=1

    And it looks like this is not a NEW IDEA and has support on both sides of the isle…..with even wackier ideas!!

    globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=1120

  87. Democrats decided during the election campaign that this is a ‘good war’, in contrast to the ‘bad war’ in Iraq.

    ===============

    Obama certainly said that loud and clear several times, starting with his alleged 2002 speech iirc. In summer 2007 he was talking about moving our troops from Iraq to the “right battlefield in Pakistan and Afganistan.”

    In his ‘2002’ speech he kept saying he was not against war, just against ‘dumb wars’. I’m not sure whether he specified Afganistan at that time.

    Btw he was quoted not too long ago as saying it didn’t matter whether we find bin Laden or not at this point??????

  88. breitbart.com/article.php?id=D97ECHLG1&show_article=1

    And it looks like this is not a NEW IDEA and has support on both sides of the isle…..with even wackier ideas!!

    globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=1120

    =================

    Something like that gives more money to the people who will engineer it — and gives the current polluters an entrenched ecological niche. Of course Obama would be for it.

  89. JanH Says:
    April 8th, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Gingrich is right. This is Carter all over again.
    &&&&&&&&&&&&&&

    …less Carter’s executive experience as Governor of Ga., and his military experience, and his expertise in “nucular” power, and a fuller political experience, and some principled stands. Despite the deragatory manner his name is uttered, especially in conservative circles, he was an accomplished man.

    It was a shame to see him stoop so low when, as many other Dems did, quiver at the prospect of challenging the vastly under-experience AA candidate called “Obama”. But seeing Carter dissed after being used, I had no sympathy.

    From Wiki:

    Naval career
    ========
    Carter served on surface ships and on diesel-electric submarines in the Atlantic and Pacific fleets. As a junior officer, he completed qualification for command of a diesel-electric submarine. He applied for the U.S. Navy’s fledgling nuclear submarine program run by then Captain Hyman G. Rickover. Rickover’s demands on his men and machines were legendary, and Carter later said that, next to his parents, Rickover had the greatest influence on him.

    Carter has said that he loved the Navy, and had planned to make it his career. His ultimate goal was to become Chief of Naval Operations. Carter felt the best route for promotion was with submarine duty since he felt that nuclear power would be increasingly used in submarines. During service on the diesel-electric submarine USS Pomfret, Carter was almost washed overboard.[6] After six years of military service, Carter trained for the position of engineering officer in submarine USS Seawolf, then under construction.[7] Carter completed a non-credit introductory course in nuclear reactor power at Union College starting in March 1953. This followed Carter’s first-hand experience as part of a group of American and Canadian servicemen who took part in cleaning up after a nuclear meltdown at Canada’s Chalk River Laboratories reactor.[8][9]

    Upon the death of his father, James Earl Carter, Sr., in July 1953, however, Lieutenant Carter immediately resigned his commission, and he was discharged from the Navy on October 9, 1953.[10][11] This cut short his nuclear powerplant operator training, and he was never able to serve on a nuclear submarine, since the first boat of that fleet, the USS Nautilus, was launched on January 17, 1955, over a year after his discharge from the Navy.[12]

    State Senate
    =========
    Jimmy Carter started his career by serving on various local boards, governing such entities as the schools, hospitals, and libraries, among others. In the 1960s, he served two terms in the Georgia Senate from the fourteenth district of Georgia.

    His 1962 election to the state Senate, which followed the end of Georgia’s County Unit System (per the Supreme Court case of Gray v. Sanders), was chronicled in his book Turning Point: A Candidate, a State, and a Nation Come of Age. The election involved corruption led by Joe Hurst, the sheriff of Quitman County; system abuses included votes from deceased persons and tallies filled with people who supposedly voted in alphabetical order. It took a challenge of the fraudulent results for Carter to win the election. Carter was reelected in 1964, to serve a second two-year term.

    For a time in State Senate he chaired its Education Committee[15].

    In 1966, Carter declined running for re-election as a state senator to pursue a gubernatorial run. His first cousin, Hugh Carter, was elected as a Democrat and took over his seat in the Senate.

  90. One of the things I have noticed about Obama is the lack of a fall back position. In other words, when and if they say no to the bombastic oratory for help on Afganistan or North Korea, what is your next move?

    His A.D.D. addled mind says is gosh I didnt realize it was this late, I have an airplane to catch so I can be in Timbucktoo tomorrow for yet another important speech. Please let the press know that if they are not to the airport in time my plane will leave without them. Everything is beautiful.

  91. Obama looks at climate engineering
    **********
    The “tipping” point for major climate change probably occurred several decades ago. So why worry..it’s “self” correcting anyway.

  92. This is a VERY INTERESTING READ…..i encourage you all to read it

    aim.org/aim-report/how-obama-revolution-came-to-america/

  93. …less Carter’s executive experience as Governor of Ga., and his military experience, and his expertise in “nucular” power, and a fuller political experience, and some principled stands. Despite the deragatory manner his name is uttered, especially in conservative circles, he was an accomplished man.

    It was a shame to see him stoop so low when, as many other Dems did, quiver at the prospect of challenging the vastly under-experience AA candidate called “Obama”. But seeing Carter dissed after being used, I had no sympathy.
    —————–
    RGB– I voted for Carter–one time. But what most of us remember about him was the hi jacking of the Pan Am airplane, the hostage taking and his failure to understand the nature of his enemy. As you know, he persisted in calling the hostage takers students, as if they were a bunch of pampered pets who took over an adiminstration building on some American campus. He failed to grasp the fact that they were they were rutheless theocrats and vangards of a religous fundamentalism which was destined to sweep through the middle east and endanger the future of civilization. It was that naivatee that so many of us remember about him. And we see it again in Mr. Obama.

    If Carter was determined to be Chief of Naval Operations, why would he resign just because his father died. I too am an admirer of Rickover. But he was a real excentric. . .

    In those days you could not get into sub school without a personal interview. One midshipment went to see the Vice Admiral in his office. Rickover asked him if he was married. The applicant said no, since that was a form 1 offense at Annapolis. However, he did assure the Vice Admiral that come June Week graduation he would have a sword ceremony wedding at the Naval Academy chapel.

    Whereupon the Vice Admiral cautioned him about the perils of being married on the one hand and being at sea for a six month period on the other. He asked the applicant if he loved her, and was told he did. He then told the applicant that he must choose between the bride and the navy. He did not demand an answer on the spot but told him to go home, think about it for two weeks and report back on a date certain with his answer, whereupon the Vice Admiral would apprise him of his decision. Aye aye sir.

    (Two weeks later):

    Applicant: sir, request permission to enter the Admirals office, sir.

    Admiral: come aboard. What is it that you want.

    Applicant: sir, you told me that marriage and the submarine corps do not mix. You told me I would have to choose between the two.

    Admiral: I did . . . oh thats right. So tell me midshipman what have you decided?

    Applicant: sir, I have talked to my bride and her parents. She was crestfallen, and her family was upset. But they have accepted it, and the wedding guests have been notified.

    Admiral: and how do you feel about all this midshipman. You told me before that you loved her.

    Applicant: I feel fine. I am committed to a naval career, and nothing will stand in my way.

    Admiral: well, that is too bad. Your application for sub school is hereby rejected. You may return to the Academy for further assignment.

    Applicant: but sir . . . I did what you said.

    Admiral: I was testing your character. You failed. Dismissed.

  94. Bush and Obama Administrations Both Broke Law By Refusing to Close Insolvent Banks

    “George Washington’s Blog”
    Sunday, April 5, 2009

    Geithner’s statements that he didn’t have the power to close down the big banks are false. Moreover, Geithner and Paulson actually broke the law which requires the government to close down insolvent banks, no matter how big.

    The Prompt Corrective Action Law (PCA) – 12 U.S.C. § 1831o [link: law.cornell.edu/uscode/uscode12/usc_sec_12_00001831—o000-.html ]
    not only authorizes the government to seize insolvent banks, it mandates it.

    Continue reading:

    http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2009/04/bush-and-obama-administrations-both.html

  95. As far as Carter is concerned, he lost all my respect over his stance on the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

  96. HillaryforTexas,

    I agree about Frank. Actually so many of those dims that I used to respect have shocked me with their actions since obama entered the picture.

  97. Clinton says U.S. aim is to curb Iran nuclear plans
    Wed Apr 8, 2009 7:59pm BST Email | Print | Share| Single Page[-] Text [+]
    Market News
    US panel–AstraZeneca drug effective for new use
    US STOCKS SNAPSHOT-Market trims gains after Fed minutes
    HEADLINE STOCKS-U.S. stocks on the move on April 8
    More Business & Investing News… WASHINGTON, April 8 (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday the United States would be a “full participant” in talks by major powers with Iran over its nuclear program.

    “Obviously we believe that pursuing very careful engagement on a range of issues that affect our interests and the interests of the world with Iran makes sense. There is nothing more important than trying to convince Iran to cease its efforts to obtain a nuclear weapon,” Clinton told reporters.

    uk.reuters.com/article/oilRpt/idUKWBT01101020090408

  98. Peru’s foreign affairs minister meets with Hillary Clinton

    Israel Ruiz
    8 April, 2009

    Peru’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jose Antonio Garcia Belaunde affirmed this week that the Andean country and the United States had an excellent relationship and were ready to establish “new assignments”. Garcia Belaunde made these statements after meeting with U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and Dan Restrepo, the director of the Western Hemisphere Affairs for the National Security Council. The Peruvian minister stated that “the right conditions existed between the two countries so that everything could progress well”.

    “I met with a Secretary of State that was very up to date on the relationship with Peru and very willing to deepen it,” said Belaunde. “She feels the right conditions exist so that there can be a deeper relationship, closer and richer with more elements.” In his meeting, Garcia Belaunde suggested that the U.S. take a different approach towards the war on drugs. He affirmed that is was necessary to focus on organized crime and not just on the eradication of drugs. “The idea is that the war on drugs is a shared responsibility,” said the minister, explaining it was necessary to have a broader vision on the problem and not just focus on the drugs themselves.

    He stated he thought Obama’s administration was willing to work with Peru on this matter.

    livinginperu.com/news/8704

  99. wbboei Says:

    April 8th, 2009 at 2:12 pm
    Obama has committed himself to make Afghanistan work. Democrats decided during the election campaign that this is a ‘good war’, in contrast to the ‘bad war’ in Iraq. But Washington does not yet possess any clearer idea about how to win in Afghanistan – or even of what ‘winning’ might mean – than did the Bush administration.
    ————————————————–
    Afganistan is a good war? Is that really what the Democrats decided? I dont think that is true at all. It was the forgotten war because everyone was so focused on Iraq, Sadam and the failure to find nuclear weapons.

    But let us say for the sake of argument that the writer is right and I am wrong. Then it is true that Democrats decided Afghanistan was a good war. Democrats decided that Viet Nam was a good war initially, before we made a full commitment, and it became a war of attrition.
    **************************************
    It could have been the “right war’ if we had responded appropriately after 9/11 and focused on Afghan and not Iraq for Bush’s insane lust and revenge strategy.
    This ship has sailed…

  100. “It could have been the “right war’ if we had responded appropriately after 9/11 and focused on Afghan and not Iraq for Bush’s insane lust and revenge strategy.”

    —————————

    Amen!

  101. Truthfully, it was a depressing eight (8) days of Obamamania once again. It was like watching the primary/campaign all over again and the unmitigated love fest heaped upon him by the MSM. Anyway, hopefully Hillary will make some news soon and let her actions, not words, make headlines.
    Happy Passover to all my fellow Jewish posters as well.

  102. Fidel Castro: How Can We Help President Obama?

    Wednesday, April 8, 2009 2:33 AM

    Article Font Size

    HAVANA — A “very healthy, very energetic” Fidel Castro asked visiting Congressional Black Caucus members what Cuba could do to help President Barack Obama improve bilateral relations during his first meeting with U.S. officials since falling ill in 2006.

    Caucus leader Rep. Barbara Lee, a Democrat from California, said the ailing former Cuban president talked for nearly two hours with her and two other delegation members on Tuesday in a meeting seen as signaling Cuba’s willingness to discuss better relations with the United States.

    “We believe it is time to open dialogue and discussion with Cuba,” Lee told a news conference in Washington upon the caucus members’ return. “Cubans do want dialogue. They do want talks. They do want normal relations.”

    Lee said the group would present its findings to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a fellow Democrat from California, and White House and State Department officials.

    California Democratic Rep. Laura Richardson, who also met Castro with Illinois Democratic Rep. Bobby Rush, said Castro “looked directly into our eyes” and asked how Cuba could help Obama in his efforts to change the course of U.S. foreign policy.

    Richardson said she had the impression that 82-year-old Castro wants to see changes in U.S.-Cuba relations in his lifetime.

    Lee said she found Castro “very healthy, very energetic, very clear thinking.”

    The surprise encounter came a day after the full delegation of six representatives spent more than four hours talking privately with Cuban President Raul Castro, his first encounter with U.S. officials since formally replacing his brother as head of state nearly 14 months ago.

    And it comes as Washington discusses whether to warm up long-chilly relations with Cuba. Obama has ordered an assessment of U.S. policy toward the communist nation and some members of Congress are pushing to lift a ban on Americans visiting the island.

    Fidel Castro has not been seen in public since undergoing emergency intestinal surgery in July 2006 and it was his first meeting in several years with American officials. Although he gave up his presidential duties after becoming ill, he remains an influential force in Cuba.

    In a column posted on a government Web site late Tuesday night, Castro wrote about his meeting with the three U.S. representatives, saying Cuban leaders “weren’t aggressors, nor did we threaten the United States.”

    “Cuba did not have any alternative but to take the initiative,” he said in explaining why he sought the lawmakers’ advice on what his country could do to help Obama improve bilateral relations.

    He did not spell out what they recommended but applauded “the interest and depth with which they expounded on their points of view and the quality of their simple and profound words.”

    “The three reflected transparency, pride in their work, their organization and the fight for their country,” Castro wrote. “It’s evident that they know Obama and have confidence and security in, and sympathy for him.”

    Among the last U.S. officials to see him face-to-face were state governors visiting the island separately on farm trade missions in 2005: Dave Heineman of Nebraska and Kathleen Blanco of Louisiana.

    Lee’s group was in Cuba five days on a trip meant to encourage dialogue between the United States and Cuba.

    Jeffrey Davidow, the White House adviser for this month’s Summit of the Americas, which Obama will attend, says the U.S. president has no plans to lift the 47-year-old trade embargo against Cuba. But he says Obama will soon ease travel and financial restrictions affecting the island as his administration reviews its Cuban policy.

    Lee’s delegation is sympathetic to Cuba, with most of its members openly praising the country’s communist government while decrying U.S. policy.

    Before the meeting with Fidel Castro was revealed, Lee said her group’s talks with Raul Castro left lawmakers “convinced that President Castro sees normalization of relations and an end to the embargo as a benefit to both countries.”

    Bills in both houses of the U.S. Congress would effectively bar any president from prohibiting Americans from traveling to Cuba except in extreme cases such as war.

    Lee predicted the measures will be approved, but said that will not spell the end of the embargo.

    “This would be a wonderful step, allowing American citizens the right to travel to Cuba, but much would follow after that,” she said in an interview.

    The lawmakers’ meeting with Raul Castro touched on few specific issues, especially thorny ones like Cuba’s checkered human rights record.

    “We did not come to negotiate, we came to associate and cultivate,” said Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri, another delegation member.

    Asked about the lawmakers’ trip, U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Wood said members of Congress are free to go where they want and to discuss issues with world leaders.

    “And I’m sure that the members of that delegation will be raising some of the concerns that the U.S. government has with Cuba in terms of allowing Cubans to have the same rights and freedoms as (citizens of) other countries in the hemisphere,” Wood said.

    2009 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

    ************************************
    Lee’s delegation is sympathetic to Cuba, with most of its members openly praising the country’s communist government while decrying U.S. policy.
    **************************************
    THAT ABOUT SAY’S IT ALL. AA GOV OFFICIAL’S BASH AMERICA AND PRAISE COMMUNIST CUBA! YA, THANKS HUSSEIN, IT’S OPEN SEASON ON AMERICA BY OUR ‘ELECTED’ OFFICIALS.

    I FEEL LIKE WE ARE BEING RUN BY AND LIKE A BANANA REPUBLIC!

  103. April 08, 2009
    Clinton: We don’t support lifting the embargo
    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — who criticized Barack Obama during the campaign for suggesting he’d talk to Castro — doesn’t back lifting the economic embargo against Cuba — her spokesman said today.

    “I think we’ve been very clear that we don’t think the time is right for lifting the embargo,” said spokesman Robert Wood. His remarks came as reporters asked whether Clinton would meet with members of the Congressional Black Caucus who returned Tuesday from a 5-day trip to Cuba. They said Tuesday they hope to convince Clinton and Obama, who is poised to roll back some restrictions, to lift everything.

    “I’m sure the secretary, her schedule permitting, will be certainly more than happy to sit down and talk about it,” Wood said. “The secretary looks forward to hearing the views of members of Congress on not just Cuba but on a wide range of issues.”
    ———————————–
    Why would five members of the black caucus take a five day all expenses paid trip to Cuba at the behest of Castro?

    Now they want us to lift the entire embargo on Cuba. Again, the question is why.

    If Clyburn was part of that group you can be sure there was bribery.

    Hillary has said no. I am sure she spoke to Obama. Will they go to Obama? Will he back her up or change his mind.

    When you are dealing with a sociopath there is just no telling.

  104. mail this to a friend Printable version

    Hijacked US crew ‘retake vessel’

    The pirates used small boats to attack the vessel for several hours
    US crew members have retaken their hijacked ship but their captain is still being held by Somali pirates on a lifeboat, reports say.

    Pentagon sources and relatives of the Maersk Alabama’s 20 crew were earlier quoted as saying the ship was back under control after a struggle.

    But later reports emerged that the captain was still in the hands of the hijackers, adrift in the lifeboat.

    It was the sixth ship seized off Somalia in recent days.

    It is reportedly the first time in 200 years that a US-flagged vessel has been seized by pirates.

    The Associated Press reported that they had spoken to a sailor on board the Maersk Alabama who said the crew had retaken the vessel and one pirate had been captured.

    But the unnamed sailor told AP that three of the pirates were now holding the captain hostage in a lifeboat.

    The ship’s owners later confirmed that the pirates were off the ship but holding the captain.

    “We are working closely with the US military and other government agencies to continue to respond to this situation as it develops further and will provide additional information as we are able,” Maersk said in a statement.

    The ship was attacked by several small boats in the early hours of Wednesday in an incident apparently lasting for about five hours.

    Maritime officials said the vessel took all possible evasive action before it reported that the pirates had boarded.

    More than 130 pirate attacks were reported in 2008, including almost 50 successful hijacks.

    Pirates typically hold the ships and crews until large ransoms are paid by the shipping companies – last year the firms handed over about $80m (£54m).

    The huge increase in frequency of attacks has forced several navies to deploy warships in the Gulf of Aden to protect one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.

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

    Let’s swap the fraud for the Captain! Way to go American’s, while waiting for the Fraud they took the matter into their own hands…

  105. wow…obama is making friends left and right…Castro, Ghadafi, Ahmadinejad…see a trend happening here???

  106. Abler Minded: The real poverty

    By Pete Abler
    Columnist

    We made a driving trip to Oklahoma a few weeks ago and spent a fair amount of time listening to the radio. I have a habit of switching stations after a while because I eventually get bored with the music or the discussion topic.
    I guess it’s a good thing I don’t have a remote control like the TV, because I’d probably change stations a lot more often – earning more than a few choice words from my wife.

    Anyway, during one of my surfing excursions I happened to stop on a National Public Radio station and a presentation on how to raise responsible children.

    The narrator mentioned how we give our children far too much in terms of material things and expect far too little of them in terms of chores and work. She suggested children should have specific tasks to do every day and every week.

    As they grow older, the tasks should be much more than just keeping their room picked up and getting their laundry together. The tasks should grow with age so the children have an understanding of what it takes to maintain a household, including dusting, cleaning, yard work, snow shoveling, meal preparation and cleanup, and many others.

    An allowance and other privileges – television time, computer games, etc. – should be the reward for their work.

    Her final point made me almost run off the road when she said in no case – other than modest gifts for special occasions – should children be given anything major for free. She made the point that when too much is given for free it eventually will have no value to the recipient.

    As I pondered that statement, I wondered if her advice ought not to apply to our politicians and our governmental agencies that have deemed it appropriate to give away massive amounts of money to achieve the stated goal of “fairness” – whatever that is – and to bring people out of poverty.

    What these politicians won’t admit is that the government’s anti-poverty expenditures and policies to date have not eradicated poverty, but rather have institutionalized it. And “fairness” in simply material terms is ludicrous.

    As I recall from a number of studies, the overall percentage of people under the defined poverty line is basically unchanged since long before the beginning of the “Great Society.” Now I know there are a number of you professional conservative haters who will insist this is all the fault of greedy, unregulated bankers, Wall Street investors, and business people in alliance with the Republican Party. But let’s think about this for a minute.

    Is the income disparity because the successful people are deliberately trying to keep others from achieving that same level of success or is it rather that the unsuccessful often lack the education, skills, motivation and self-discipline necessary to become successful?

    I firmly believe we have to provide help – financial and otherwise – to those people who are truly in need and without the resources to provide the basic necessities – food, shelter and clothing. If some of the people in need are there because they dropped out of school and don’t qualify for a job because they lack basic skills, we should provide them the opportunity to gain the education and skills they lack.

    But that should not include a blank check nor should it be an endless entitlement just because someone is 98.6 degrees and can fog a mirror.

    The welfare system has become entrenched in a significant portion of our society. If there was ever an example of the “failed policies of the past,” this has to be it. And yet, we are going to blindly continue that which has so miserably failed so many Americans. Not only are we going to continue it, but we will add to it helping triple the national debt in the next 10 years.

    Have you noticed we have some of the richest poor people in the world? It was great to see a photo of the first lady serving meals recently to the “poor,” at least one of whom was chatting on his cell phone.

    We are going against the advice of the NPR program by continuously giving away money without demanding something in return. The Great Society created a poverty subculture that expanded because enlightened forces simultaneously dismantled the basic family and undermined the rights and authority of parents. Once children were granted unlimited privacy rights by more enlightened folks in the legal system, the die was cast. Our president thinks we can fix the educational system without fixing the root causes of its national decline. Dumping more money into this system without fundamental changes that restore meaningful, logical discipline in our schools and self-discipline and motivation for learning in our children is a true waste.

    Our new president has been compared to Abraham Lincoln. I can only say with a head nod to Lloyd Bentsen, I’ve never met Abraham Lincoln, but Barack Obama is no Abraham Lincoln. Here are several quotes from our greatest president:

    “You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.”

    “Property is the fruit of labor, property is desirable, is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.”

    “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

    And finally, in thinking about the politically-manufactured necessity for bold and swift actions to create the bloated stimulus packages and budget, “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my ax.”

    Whatever measures and treasure we expend in the national efforts to properly educate our children must be implemented within the framework of President Lincoln’s quotations, or we are doomed to fail – miserably. And the poverty of our minds will far surpass the poverty of the pocketbooks.

    Well, that’s what’s been on my mind.
    ***********************************************
    From pineandlakes.com by way of bitterpolitiz…

  107. Hillary has said that ‘sanctions’ aren’t working in some countries, eg Burma iirc. Why is she supporting the embargo on Cuba?

  108. Here’s to the crew of the ship. They gave the affirmative action president a chance to take affirmative action but he froze up. So they took matters into their own hands.

    In due course, Obama will extend his apologies to the somali pirates for any transgression against islam which may have occured in retaking the ship. Meanwhile Eric Holder will launch a full scale investigation into any racism by US national againt the Soamali pirates. Yes, I am a sucker for Hollywood endings.

  109. Hillary has said that ’sanctions’ aren’t working in some countries, eg Burma iirc. Why is she supporting the embargo on Cuba?
    ————————————————-
    It should be lifted–after Castro dies. I rather suspect he is deeply involved in the drug trafficing. He is closely allied with Chavez.

  110. It should be lifted–after Castro dies. I rather suspect he is deeply involved in the drug trafficking.
    *********************************************

    This man will never die I think. As far as drug trafficking, our banks are just as deep.

    Money really is the root of all evil.

  111. Treasury may aid some life insurers, shares rise

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hJB8F_pc3QCTmW11PVyhHSGm6cRgD97EFV905

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Shares of large U.S. life insurance companies surged Wednesday following news they may receive aid from the government’s $700 billion financial industry rescue program. But the Treasury Department said only life insurers that own banks or saving and loans qualify for assistance, and that no new programs for the industry were being considered.

    Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. and Lincoln National Corp., two of the nation’s largest life insurers, and several others applied to become thrift holding companies last fall.
    **********************************************

    Sooo, if you have bank interests your in, if not fail. US Gov plays king maker.

    I wonder if you can sue the Gov for this blatant favoritism and by the way, here we go again with tax payers money…..

    Thanks above to Mary B for the article @ bitterpoitiz…

  112. Did obama really think that by making Hillary SOS he would heal the rift as far as her supporters were concerned? Does he even understand that some of us would have even rather had McCain instead of him as potus?

    I don’t see that rift healing at all.

  113. Obama Admin Seeks to Legalize And Expand Government Spying

    teve Watson
    Infowars.net
    Wednesday, April 8, 2009

    Obama Admin Seeks to Legalize And Expand Government Spying 080409wiretappingAdvocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has warned that the Obama administration is seeking to expand the government’s authority to carry out wiretapping under the auspices of national security.

    The EFF points to the dismissal of its own litigation against the National Security Agency for the warrantless wiretapping, warning that arguments made in defense of wiretapping by Obama’s Department of Justice are worse than Bush’s.

    EFF writer Tim Jones explains the arguments that were made by the DOJ in the Jewel v. NSA case:

    First, they argued, exactly as the Bush Administration did on countless occasions, that the state secrets privilege requires the court to dismiss the issue out of hand. They argue that simply allowing the case to continue “would cause exceptionally grave harm to national security.” As in the past, this is a blatant ploy to dismiss the litigation without allowing the courts to consider the evidence.[…]

    it’s the Department Of Justice’s second argument that is the most pernicious. The DOJ claims that the U.S. Government is completely immune from litigation for illegal spying — that the Government can never be sued for surveillance that violates federal privacy statutes. […]

    The Obama Administration goes two steps further than Bush did, and claims that the US PATRIOT Act also renders the U.S. immune from suit under the two remaining key federal surveillance laws: the Wiretap Act and the Stored Communications Act. Essentially, the Obama Administration has claimed that the government cannot be held accountable for illegal surveillance under any federal statutes.

    The Obama Administration’s full motion to dismiss can be read here (PDF).

    In short, not only is the Obama administration actively defending and protecting Bush officials over illegal wiretapping, they are arguing in favor of expanding the practice and already seeking to protect themselves and any other administration past or present from legal challenge.

    Watch a Keith Olbermann report on this story:
    [10 min video on infowars site]

    When dovetailed with recent announcements by Obama’s Director of National Intelligence Admiral Dennis Blair, that the NSA is seeking to expand it’s power, a clear and disturbing picture emerges.

    Blair’s intention to encompass all electronic communications within the NSA’s scope is a direct continuation of the policy under the Bush administration. Last year the former US National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell announced plans for cyberspace spying that would make the current debate on warrantless wiretaps look like a “walk in the park”.

    The plan would mean giving the government the authority to examine the content of any e-mail, file transfer or Web search.

    This is exactly the kind of thing we warned our readers of before Obama was elected. Instead of repealing the freedom stripping tools put into place by the Bush administration, Obama is continuing to use them and is even seeking to enhance them.

    infowars.com/obama-admin-seeks-to-legalize-and-expand-government-spying/

  114. This man will never die I think. As far as drug trafficking, our banks are just as deep.

    Money really is the root of all evil.
    —————————–
    Then you favor lifting the embargo?

  115. Did obama really think that by making Hillary SOS he would heal the rift as far as her supporters were concerned? Does he even understand that some of us would have even rather had McCain instead of him as potus?

    I don’t see that rift healing at all.
    ——————————
    It will not heal. It will intensify.

  116. wbboei Says:

    April 8th, 2009 at 5:46 pm
    Did obama really think that by making Hillary SOS he would heal the rift as far as her supporters were concerned?
    &&&&

    Well TRUE Hillary supporters were not fooled by the faux candidate.

    But there TONS of Dems who would have *preferred* Hillary, but thought “Oh well, at least let’s vote for a Democrat, because we’ve had too many years of Bush”. But these folks were not that deeply informed about who “this guy” was, nor about his stances.

    I would have to assess that far too many people of voting age don’t even care about politics to even vote.

    Of those that vote at all, far too many think “I usually vote, but they’re all bums, so whatever”

    Of those that vote for a specific party, they too may not care to be deeply versed in the candidates, their stances, their backgrounds. They are locked into a rigid way of thinking.

    So pat yourself on the back, you’ve passed the test. You care. You are informed. You demand better. You care about your country. You care about the world. You care about the environment.

    You are also RARE.

  117. Democratic Senator Chris Dodd is in deep trouble. According to Stuart Rothenberg, Dodd is the most vulnerable Senator up for re-election in 2010 – despite the fact that he’s coasted to election easily in this deep blue state since his first Senate run in 1980.

    A March Quinnipiac University poll of registered voters showed only 33% of voters approve of the job Dodd is doing, while 58% disapprove. He trailed his likely Republican opponent, Rob Simmons by double digits.

    Dodd’s reputation has been sullied in the financial collapse. Chair of the Senate Banking Committee, he received special treatment from lender Countrywide Financial (and was designated as a “friend of Angelo”). Countrywide, founded by Angelo Mozilo, was a leading peddler of the toxic loans that poisoned the financial system – particularly the subprime “Ninja loans” – mortgages to applicants with no income, no job and no hope.

    As Chair, Dodd also was thrown under the bus by Treasury officials in the AIG bonus brouhaha, finally admitting that he had stripped the provision that would have limited the bonuses of AIG execs from the stimulus bill. Worse, Dodd’s wife turned out to be on the board of directors of IPC Holdings, a Bermuda based insurance company controlled by AIG.

    Very deep trouble.

    So, why not turn the lemons into lemonade? As Chair of the Senate Banking Committee, Dodd could make himself into the source of the solution, not part of the problem. We need a Pecora Commission – a grand inquest into the roots of the financial crisis, modeled after the investigation led by Ferdinand Pecora in the 1930s. But the Pecora wasn’t running an independent commission. He was Chief Counsel for the investigation of the Senate Banking Committee.

    Dodd would render the country – and possibly his own political fortunes – remarkable service if he decided to lead a similar investigation into the current collapse. Subpoena the records of Countrywide and others and expose the systematic fraud and malpractice that went on. Call in the heads of Citibank and Goldman Sachs and Bank of America and detail how they abandoned all prudence in pursuit of millions in private profits. Lay out for Americans the conflicts of interest that led the rating companies to go with the flow, the ideological blinders that allowed the regulators and Federal Reserve to overlook the gambling going on in the casino. Expose the banking lobbies and deregulation that spawned the shadow banking system.

    Serious hearings on the roots of the collapse are essential if we are to achieve fundamental reform and restructuring of finance. Explosive hearings could warn the Obama administration off its unworkable plans to enlist hedge funds in the effort to prop up the zombie banks.

    By making himself the scourge of Wall Street rather than its servitor, by championing reform in public rather than dealing in Senate cloakrooms, Senator Dodd would not only create a proud legacy, he might also be revive his own political fortunes. Chris Dodd, driving the change that we need. Sounds like a plan.

  118. But there TONS of Dems who would have *preferred* Hillary, but thought “Oh well, at least let’s vote for a Democrat, because we’ve had too many years of Bush”. But these folks were not that deeply informed about who “this guy” was, nor about his stances.
    ———————————————–
    They sold out cheap. Others like Taylor Marsh just fell on their swords. She of all people knew better.

  119. A year from now those kind of Democrats will be supporting Dodd and telling us to err is human to forgive divine. And we will be telling them to forgive a thief like Dodd is stupid not divine. They will tell us that even if he is a thief he is one more vote for Barack. And we will say we cannot support a thief so he can help a bigger thief steal from us.

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