Anatomy Of A Flim-Flam Man

We’re not talking about his manboobs. We’re talking about what makes Barack Obama tick.

After a long year of ceaseless flim-flams, which make the year feel more like a decade, some are beginning to trace an outline of Obama’s innards. We are getting a version of what Big Media thinks Obama is made of. It is important that we are finally getting to some evidence based analysis instead of worship.

Doctors, cosmologists, detectives, lawyers, mothers, fathers, most everyone has to look at the world around them and figure out how things work. Doctors must make a diagnosis and then devise a treatment. Cosmologists look at the universe and decide upon a theory of what they are seeing.

In earlier Earth history cosmologists agreed that the universe revolved around the earth. These cosmologists fought and derided those who believed the Sun was the center of our star system. Eventually the cosmologists who, based on evidence – not faith nor hope, determined the Earth revolved around the Sun were proven right.

The same can be said of the current debate about Barack Obama. Here at Big Pink we have contended that Barack Obama is a flim-flam man. Obama is only interested, as his own wife has stated, in his selfish self-advancement and careerism. According to us, Barack Obama is an opportunist who has never accomplished anything but his own self-advancement; Obama is not qualified to be president; is a boob; and lacks a basic rational world-view as well as any experience for the job he has been gifted.

Our views of Obama are evidence based. Whether it’s Rezko, what happened in Illinois with health care, Exelon, Obama’s race-baiting which goes back to his early Hawaii days where Obama blamed all his failures on race (“The fact that Obama was half-black and half-white didn’t matter much to anyone but Obama, Kakugawa says: “He made everything out like it was all racial.” )

The opposite view of Obama we deride as creations by Hopium guzzlers and Mess-iah worshipers. Their view is that Obama is wonderful and gifted and deserving of great respect and applause.

The two views of Obama are opposed to each other just as the views of those earlier cosmologists were opposed to each other. Eventually the evidence will be in and one side will be proven correct beyond any doubt.

In March of 2008 we commented in Dumb White People:

Amazing how the recollections of Obama’s friends over and over again conflict with Obama’s fictionalized accounts of his life story.

He made everything out like it was all racial.” Sounds like Reverend Wright. 20 years he sat in that church and listened alongside his children.

At the embarrassment which is NBC we see a faith based boob trying to understand why Obama is such a failure when so much was expected of him. The boob at NBC is no ordinary boob. The boob is the Washington Bureau Chief for NBC. Scratching his head to try to figure out why his god has failed, Mark Whitaker, the NBC boob in chief, does exactly what he should not do.

Seeking to make sense of Barack Obama’s first year as president — and why he has come across as competent but less magical than many Americans hopedI’ve been rereading his autobiography, “Dreams From My Father.

To revisit that memoir is to be reminded of what a mixed-up childhood the president had. The brilliant but troubled Kenyan father who abandoned his teenage bride and their infant son. The footloose mother who took “Barry” to Indonesia with a second husband, then shipped him back to Hawaii to live with his grandparents. The sense of alienation he felt as a young black man growing up with few African American friends or role models.

Mark Whitaker is a fool. Instead of asking himself if “Dreams From My Father” is a bunch of lies, Whitaker goes on prayerful knees to his pilgrimage site, just like Muslims go to the Kaaba in Mecca. Losing his faith Whitaker re-reads his Barack Bible of lies to try to recapture the glow of earlier cathedral visits to light Obama Hope candles. This is the man in charge of NBC News is Washington!

Instead of acting like a journalist and wondering if he has been flim-flammed, Mark Whitaker seeks to renew his faith in the golden calf. Instead of asking if Obama’s “autobiography” is a bunch of lies which has deceived readers, Whitaker makes new excuses for Obama. Instead of asking, like a journalist, if Obama’s history is more akin to a rejected and dislocated youth who turned to back-slapping and flim-flam confidence games to fill the hole in his life (caused by his disgusting sperm-spraying father and his, to be polite, open petals mother) Whitaker swallows the fake history whole.

Whitaker also absolves Obama of any blame while blaming everyone else. Obama was brilliant on the economy says Whitaker, it was those dastard Dimocrats who harmed Obama’s brilliant plan by gorging themselves on pork projects. Whitaker blames evil Wall Street for being selfish, unlike his wonderful Obama. On Afghanistan Obama is brilliant, according to Whitaker but those “manipulative” generals and advisers made Obama look like a boob. Whitaker blames the health care fiasco not on wonderful Obama but on “grandiose” legislators who hijacked wonderful Obama’s plans.

This nonsense comes from NBC’s top man in Washington. And not to worry Obama fans, Whitaker is sure Obama will brilliantly learn from his boobery. This is the nonsense and worshipful crap that comes from NBC:

Yet, if this first year has sometimes made President Obama seem caught off-guard and frustrated by the meanness and mayhem of Washington, no one should assume that he won’t learn from the experience.

The other theme running through “Dreams From My Father” is Obama’s capacity for self-examination and self-improvement. He has applied that introspection to becoming a better person, a better writer and speaker, and a better politician. In Hawaii for the holidays, taking the long walks he so misses at the White House, Obama may well be reflecting on what he needs to do to be a more effective president.

Mark Whitaker writes like a love struck dumb teen. Mark Whitaker is a self-interested fool and boob, just like the network he serves.

Doyle McManus, at the L.A. Times has not yet caught up with our analysis, but at least he is acting like a journalist and holding Obama to account using Obama’s own words. McManus, is also slowly drawing the anatomy of a flim-flam man:

He promised to save the economy from ruin, redesign the healthcare system, reregulate the financial industry, retool energy policy, slow global warming, reform education, write a new immigration law and serve as midwife to a new era of bipartisan cooperation. He said he would close the prison camp at Guantanamo, organize an orderly withdrawal from Iraq, stave off defeat in Afghanistan, negotiate with Iran, make progress toward Israeli-Palestinian peace, convince the world’s Muslims that America was their friend, launch a new drive toward global nuclear disarmament — and, while he was at it, bring the 2016 Olympics to Chicago.

McManus outlines the celestial choir hopes and dreams of Obama worshipers. Then McManus does the important analysis which point by point shows Obama’s flim-flam in full flower:

Obama turned out to be masterful at launching new policies but inconsistent at getting them to work. His presidency threatened to fall into a worrisome pattern: the announcement of a lofty goal, the delegation of implementation to second-rank officials, a missed deadline or two, last-minute intervention by the president to rescue the effort from collapse, and, finally, mixed results — followed by a statement claiming victory.


Isn’t that exactly what we have seen?
Notice the fact based approach McManus employs at the L.A. Times versus the faith based boobery of Mark Whitaker at NBC. McManus looks at the facts as they are, not as he wishes they were. Obama’s stimulus scam McManus notes is a failure in voters eyes. The Obama homeowners plan (not the wonderful Hillary HOLC program which should have been the priority) McManus declares “a bust”, based on evidence. The Obama Wall Street bailout McManus measures appropriately as bankers “awarding themselves huge bonuses”.

McManus notes that, based on the evidence, Obama is not a communicator:

A Pew poll this month found that only 30% of respondents believed Obama’s policies had made the economy better. A president who made his name as a gifted speechmaker has fallen into a spectacular failure in communicating. He might have served himself better by making fewer trips to Scandinavia and more to construction sites in Middle America.

The effect, based on evidence, is failure:

There’s been an important spillover effect: Obama’s other policies — on healthcare and energy, for example — have lost popular support along with his economic plan. Despite the depth of the economic crisis, the public isn’t clamoring for more federal intervention; quite the contrary. That means Obama hasn’t succeeded in building a strong constituency for his overall philosophy of government, a shortfall that will limit what he can achieve from here on.

McManus is generous to Obama. He does not fully see the disaster this year has been. He credits Obama on the economy and on healthcare as well as in foreign policy, because there have been “no outright disasters.”

We of course see the economic devastation of mounting debt, likely inflation, and a looted middle class to benefit insurance companies. We see Iran as an outright disaster, and a lost opportunity.

McManus is to be complimented for holding Obama to account, using Obama’s own standards.

McManus is at least trying to act like a journalist, letting facts lead him to conclusions. It’s what good detectives and good journalists do.

Let facts lead to conclusions. It’s what flim-flam men fear.

Share

133 thoughts on “Anatomy Of A Flim-Flam Man

  1. Not only did they not build or do a darn thing with ground zero since 911 now i find out this!!!

    spread this news far and wide people! THIS MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO HAPPEN!!

    so that terrorists and their sympathizers don’t have a place to congregate and gloat next door to Ground Zero.

    therealbarackobama. wordpress. com/2009/12/27/pundita-the-mosque-being-built-next-door-to-911-ground-zero/

    snip:

    Mosque At the World Trade Center: Muslim Renewal Or Insult Near Ground Zero

    by Youssef M. Ibrahim
    for Hudson New York
    December 16, 2009

    An identified group with unknown sponsors has purchased building steps away from where the World Trade Center once stood — to turn it into potentially one of the largest New York City mosques.

    At the moment the building, the old Burlington Coat Factory, already serves as a mini-mosque: an iron grill lifts every Friday afternoon for a little known Imam leading prayers a few yards away from where Osama Bin Laden’s airborne Islamist bombers killed nearly 3000 people back in 2001.

    The Imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf, told the New York Times — which put the story on its front page Wednesday — that he has assembled several million dollars to turn it into “an Islamic center near the city’s most hallowed piece of land that would stand as one of ground zero’s more unexpected and striking neighbors.”

    The 61-year-old Imam said he paid $4.85 million for it — in cash, records show. With 50,000 square feet of air rights and enough financing, he plans an ambitious project of $150 million, he said, akin to the Chautauqua Institution, the 92 Street Y or the Jewish Community Center.

    The origins of such monies are unexplained; neither are the countries or entity advancing such huge donations. Most US mosques, including many in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx are funded directly or indirectly by Saudi Arabia — the country to which 15 of the 19 hijackers who bombed the World Trade Center belonged. The UAE, Qatar and Iran are other major sponsors across the USA.
    The money trail is an important question that must be answered

  2. A politically correct big media inspired holiday not worth celebrating if you look at the genesis. Its hard to build a secular religion at times. Pesky little facts keep getting in the way. My condolences. I wonder what BO’s position is on this one.
    ——————————————————————————-

    Kwanzaa: The Scientology of Holidays
    by Erick Erickson (more by this author)
    Posted 12/24/2008 ET

    What do you get when you take a bad science fiction writer with a desire for immortality and add a lust for tax breaks? Scientology. What do you get when you take a neo-marxist felon and add a desire for black nationalism? Kwanzaa. What do both Kwanzaa and Scientology have in common? They are fraudulent products of post-modern culture given legitimacy by a press hell bent on diminishing the Judeo-Christian heritage in the United States.

    Over the next few weeks, the media will be wishing people “Happy Holidays” and profiling families celebrating Kwanzaa — advent wreath lighters are too religious for media profiles. What they won’t tell you is what I will tell you.

    Kwanzaa has absolutely nothing to do with Africa and everything to do with hating the United States. Kwanzaa is the brain child of Ron Everett, who you will not be surprised to learn, chaired the African American Studies department of California State University, Long Beach, from 1989 to 2002. Some time before that, he spent several years in jail for torture, changed his name to Maulana Ron Karenga, put on a dashiki, embraced marxism, and declared Kwanzaa a real holiday.

    In 1971, a California jury convicted Karenga of assaulting and torturing two women. A May 14, 1971, article in the Los Angeles Times documented the torture: “Deborah Jones, who once was given the Swahili title of an African queen, said she and Gail Davis were whipped with an electrical cord and beaten with a karate baton after being ordered to remove their clothes. She testified that a hot soldering iron was placed in Ms. Davis’s mouth and placed against Ms. Davis’s face and that one of her own big toes was tightened in a vise. Karenga also put detergent and running hoses in their mouths, she said.”

    Being California, the state released Mr. Karenga in 1975, then promptly admitted him to public universities so he could become Dr. Ron Karenga. In 1977, Karenga outlined the principles of Kwanzaa and later noted, “People think it’s African, but it’s not. I came up with Kwanzaa because black people wouldn’t celebrate it if they knew it was American. Also, I put it around Christmas because I knew that’s when a lot of Bloods were partying.” Karenga went on to call Christ “psychotic” and declared Christianity a “white religion.” Apparently, the media agreed.

    As the late Tony Snow once commented, “There is no part of Kwanzaa that is not fraudulent.” Kwanzaa actually is the perfect holiday for the mainstream media. Every other holiday celebrates a religious miracle, patriotic heros, or America itself. Every other holiday celebrates something greater than the self. Kwanzaa was made up by a felon establishing a holiday whereby people can celebrates the racial self. The self-absorbed mainstream media has been looking for a self-absorbing holiday. Now they have it, with a self-absorbed President-Elect to boot.

    In short, Kwanzaa is the perfect post-modern politically correct holiday.

  3. Some quotes from wiki on kwanzaa back up Mr. Snow:

    During the early years of Kwanzaa, Karenga said that it was meant to be an alternative to Christmas, that Jesus was psychotic, and that Christianity was a white religion that black people should shun.[8] However, as Kwanzaa gained mainstream adherents, Karenga altered his position so that practicing Christians would not be alienated, then stating in the 1997 Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community, and Culture, “Kwanzaa was not created to give people an alternative to their own religion or religious holiday.”[9]

    In 1977, in Kwanzaa: origin, concepts, practice, Karenga stated that Kwanzaa “was chosen to give a Black alternative to the existing holiday and give Blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and history, rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society.”[21]

    In 1997, Karenga and the community evolved, stating that while Kwanzaa is an African-American holiday, it can be celebrated by people of any race: “Other people can and do celebrate it, just like other people participate in Cinco de Mayo besides Mexicans; Chinese New Year besides Chinese; Native American pow wows besides Native Americans.”

    Kwanzaa has been criticized[by whom?] because it is not a traditional holiday of African people, and because of its recent provenance, having been created in 1966. There has also been criticism[by whom?] of Kwanzaa’s authenticity and relevance to African American history or culture, and of the motivations of its founder, Karenga.

    Kwanzaa was also thought by some critics to imitate Chanukah, a Jewish holiday that falls on a variable date in December. Kwanzaa was meant to have a specific ethnocultural meaning for African Americans the same way Chanukah holds significance for Jews.[citation needed]

    In 1999, syndicated columnist and later White House Press Secretary Tony Snow wrote that “There is no part of Kwanzaa that is not fraudulent.”[25]

    Some African Americans have also charged Kwanzaa as being a fraud, and as a secular holiday meant to divert African Americans away from Christianity or Christmas.[26]

    In the late 2000s, Kwanzaa has been observed less commonly than ever, with its popularity fading away and the holiday no longer holding the same significance it had in the 1970s.[27] Some African Americans feel that Kwanzaa has a racial separatist message of maintaining blackness as more blacks began to feel that they are Americans or are “American first, black African next.

  4. Admin: Mark Whittaker’s spirited defense of manboobs Obama had a familiar ring to it. Manufacturing excuses, blaming everyone but the responsible party, and refusing to acknowledge his own delusion. He sounded to me like the character in the following clip. These statements should be reserved for the record so when things crash due to Obama there will be no question about who his aiders, abettors and enablers were. Like Queeg Whittaker is a sick man. All he needs is the ball bearings.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zgeQmzV9kk&feature=related

  5. djia
    December 28th, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Not only did they not build or do a darn thing with ground zero since 911 now i find out this!!!

    spread this news far and wide people! THIS MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO HAPPEN!!

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    djia, I agree. NY Firefighters and Paramedic Rescue workers will be outraged as well as we will with good reason.

    If the city doesn’t stop it, expect many fires and bonb blasts of suspicious origin to appear out of no-where.

  6. FROM LAST WEEK…

    Obama Helps the Fat Cats
    =======================

    By Jack Kelly
    December 20, 2009

    Dana Milbank of The Washington Post is the latest to notice President Barack Obama often has done the opposite of what he promised to do when he was seeking the job.

    “On the campaign trail, Barack Obama vowed to take on the drug industry by allowing Americans to import cheaper prescription medicine,” Mr. Milbank recalled Wednesday. ” ‘We’ll tell the pharmaceutical companies thanks but no thanks for the overpriced drugs,’ he said back then.”

    The Senate voted Tuesday on an amendment to the health-care bill that would have permitted the reimportation of drugs.

    “Siding with the pharmaceutical lobby, the administration successfully fought against the very idea Obama had championed,” Mr. Milbank said.

    If the flip-flop on drug importation was the most recent example of hypocrisy, the kabuki in the White House the day before was the most blatant.

    On CBS’ “Sixty Minutes” last Sunday, the president excoriated Wall Street bankers who had received bailouts for not lending more money.

    “I didn’t run for office to help out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street,” Mr. Obama said. He called bankers to the White House for a meeting Monday, presumably to chew them out in person.

    But that isn’t what happened.

    “I expected to be taken to the woodshed, but the tone was quite the opposite,” one CEO told Charles Gasparino of CNBC.

    “The whole thing was so telegraphed that not much was accomplished, other than giving Obama a PR stunt,” said another.

    Actions speak louder than words. On Tuesday, the administration “quietly agreed to forgo billions of dollars in potential tax payments from Citigroup as part of the deal announced this week to wean the company from the massive taxpayer bailout that helped it survive the financial crisis,” The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

    Thanks to the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the big banks made substantial profits in the year since the meltdown. The banks did this not by loaning money to private businesses, but by investing what were essentially interest-free loans mostly in government bonds.

    The banks are “taking free money from the government (taxpayers) and lending it back to the government (taxpayers) at a phenomenal markup of 3 full percentage points,” said Henry Blodget of the Business Insider. “And they’re taking almost no risk, to boot!”

    With the repayment of TARP funds, the administration lost most of its leverage over the “excessive” compensation against which Mr. Obama railed on “Sixty Minutes.”

    Since bank lending has declined sharply in the last year, it appears that administration policies are benefiting only “fat cat bankers on Wall Street.”

    Mr. Obama switched sides on drug reimportation to get the pharmaceutical industry to support his health-care bill. Mr. Gasparino suspects a similar motive when it comes to the banks.

    “Maybe Obama’s softened tone was recognition of Wall Street’s election help,” Mr. Gasparino said. “Firms like Goldman [Sachs] — now getting ready to dish out $20 billion in bonuses after nearly imploding last year — favored Obama over John McCain by a fairly wide margin. Nearly all the major Wall Street CEOs — including [Jamie] Dimon [JP Morgan], [Lloyd] Blankfein [Goldman] and [John] Mack [Morgan Stanley] have told people that they voted for Obama.”

    “The president has packed his economic team with Wall Street insiders intent on turning the bailout into an all-out giveaway,” charged Rolling Stone magazine in an article Dec. 9 by lefty writer Matt Taibbi.

    The coziness between the president and Wall Street fat cats reminds us that little is more dangerous to the public interest than crony capitalism. Businesses want subsidies, restrictions on competitors and provisions like the insurance companies got in the health-care bill that Americans be required to buy their products.

    Crony capitalism couldn’t exist if businesses couldn’t buy these favors with campaign contributions, or politicians couldn’t extort them by threats of punitive laws.

    “With Washington leading the way, it makes sense for the big boys to redirect their resources to their lobbying shop and government affairs office,” said Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. “They’re far less interested in expanding the economic pie than with making certain that they get their slice.”

  7. Funny, I work right across the street from the WTC site…looks like I’ll have a place to worship at lunch time. :^)

  8. Admin: Doyle is moving in the right direction alright

    Obama turned out to be masterful at launching new policies but inconsistent at getting them to work. His presidency threatened to fall into a worrisome pattern: the announcement of a lofty goal, the delegation of implementation to second-rank officials, a missed deadline or two, last-minute intervention by the president to rescue the effort from collapse, and, finally, mixed results — followed by a statement claiming victory.

    But he still does not see the scam for what it is. Far from masterful it is manipulative. As I said yesterday, here is how Obama operates:

    Step 1> Crisis: select a problem or invent one. Characterize it as a crisis. Marshall false prophets of doom and phony statistics. Demand instant government action. Use big media to communicate all this.

    Step 2> Solution: meet privately with business interests. Let them suggest a remedy which lines their pockets. Trumpet their solution as the solution. Characterize it as a public private partnership. Pay people to endorse it.

    Step 3> Implementation: unveil that solution with great pomp and ceremony. Express personal commitment to its success. Characterize opponents as ignorant or malicious. Dismiss their arguments as flat earth enthusiasts, racists, people who lack intelligence and compassion. Preen before the mirror and the lens of an adoring big media.

    Step 4> Failure: as the looting occurs get your share of it. The high cost precludes the use of those monies for alternative approaches that would solve the problem. Ignore feedback from reality. When failure hits, find convenient scapegoats. Express personal disappointment. Pass another stimulus plan so you can repeat the cycle.

    (Note: to gain a deeper understanding of this, read The Vision of The Annointed by Thomas Sowell).

  9. Since you brought up dreams of my father, I periodically point out that it appears that while Barack Obama was finishing his book in Bali about his dad, his mother was battling cancer in Hawaii.

    Was there a point in time when Barack Obama flew over Hawaii to watch over his mother so he could instead write his book in Bali? It was worthy of a vetting to know what Barack Obama’s priorities were.

  10. Since you brought up dreams of my father, I periodically point out that it appears that while Barack Obama was finishing his book in Bali about his dad, his mother was battling cancer in Hawaii.

    Was there a point in time when Barack Obama flew over Hawaii and rather than watch over his mother, he instead went to Bali to write his book? It was worthy of a vetting to know what Barack Obama’s priorities were.

  11. Surprise surprise …..hello Bush aint been President for a year and you’ve had control of congress since 2006.

    Obama administration blames Bush for airport security failures

    http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-22564-Des-Moines-Conservative-Examiner~y2009m12d28-Obama-administration-blames-Bush-for-airport-security-failures

    First she said “the system worked”. Now, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano admits the system failed miserably, but repeatedly points out it was a system put in place while George W. Bush was President. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs made similar statements.

    The “Blame Bush” mantra helped get Obama elected and has been used as an excuse for his entire first 11 months as President. Now they are using it as an excuse for allowing a Nigerian terrorist to almost blow up a U.S. bound plane on Christmas Day. Interviewed this morning on “Today”, Napolitano repeatedly tried to shift blame to Bush for the numerous failures of her department. She kept noting “the rules have been in place since 2006” or “for a number of years”.

    Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was on a watch list, had no passport, and carried explosives onto the plane. His own father warned officials at the U.S Embassy in Lagos, Nigeria, that Abdulmutallab had became radicalized. That means Hillary Clinton’s State Department knew about him. Our government had a file on him. Abdulmutallah should have been on the no-fly list. But the warnings were ignored.

    The excuses are piling up. Napolitano insists her “system worked” comment is being taken out of context, despite all evidence to the contrary. She also claims there is no proof that Abdulmutallab was part of a larger plot, despite his own statements and mounting evidence that he was not acting alone.

    If not for the bravery of a few passengers, almost 300 people would have died in a massive airline explosion over U.S. soil, on Christmas Day. Our government, run by Barack Obama, failed miserably. His top agenda item in fighting terrorism seems to be closing Gitmo and transferring terrorist prisoners to the U.S. It is time for Obama to take the War on Terror seriously. His “Overseas Contigency Operation” is not working.

  12. Items Obama administration blames Bush for:

    1) The climate
    2) the cold snap in Copenhagen Dec 2009
    3) Breakup of the Beatles
    4) Michael Moore’s latest movie box office bomb
    5) any business that makes a profit without SEIU input
    6) Sarah Palin’s book selling more than Obama
    7) Glenn Beck’s success on FOX
    8) record firearm sales
    9) too many Christian Christmas decorations leftover in the White House from GW’s tenure
    10)a US military that really does not respect Obama
    11)Healthcare reform
    12)Islamists bombing american planes.
    13)Anything Obama does
    14) losing the Govs of Virg and NJ.

    Anything else.

  13. I have been thinking about the recent purchase of NBC (and MSNBC I presume) by Comcast. Specifically, the motive behind it. If their motive is the same as General Electric then the goal was to use that network to elect a president who would be a friendly to their business, and to twist, censor and distort the news to that single end. Inevitably, this produced a culture which was incapable of honest journalism, and a cadre of journalists like Andrea Mitchell, Brian Williams and Mark Whitaker who never let a little thing like the truth stand in the way of a pro Obama story.

    If the motive of Comcast was the same as GE’s which was to use dishonest journalism to promote the interests of the parent company, then by all means stay the course. The right liars and distorters are in the right positions to continue that stategy but over time more and more of the audience will abandon them. The alternative course is to return to the standards of honest journalism and if that is the objective, then a change of management is imperative. If they do not make that change, they will go the way of the dinosaur.

    But as the new owner, before they answer that question with finality, they would do well to review the sexism and turrets syndom dyatribes of Chris Matthews and Olbeman. Then decide whether they want to be associated with those kind of people going forward. If not get rid of them. That will do more to reform the culture than anything else.

  14. …blaming Bush for:
    15) Obama’s bad golfing
    16) Michelle’s frigidity
    17) Losing the Chicago Olypmics Games
    18) Obama’s sinking polling numbers
    19) Retiring Dem congressmen
    20) This year’s poor White House arugula crop
    21) Hiding Obama’s birth certificate
    22) the “poisonous environment” in DC
    23) the Washington Redskins failure to make the playoffs yet again

  15. rgb–you have given me an idea. A monopoly board designed with Obama excuses. Phony money denominated in special drawing rights. Barack on one side, and soros on the other. The goal is to amass a fortune and to bankrupt the country.

  16. and then you could have Community Organizer instead of community chest with things like “Obama has ordered you to the death panel, pay 200 dollars tax”.

    also Just visiting with a picture of Rezko in jail.

    Democratic interest tax hike pay 50 dollars.

    Free Parking becomes Planting Arugula.

    Train stations are now places obama claims to come from (kenya, hawaii, kansas, heaven)

  17. moononpluto
    December 28th, 2009 at 4:12 pm
    Items Obama administration blames Bush for:

    —————
    Moon you forgot a few…

    – Gingivitis
    – Full moons
    – Global warming
    – The Clintons continued popularity
    – bambi’s stupidity
    – meme’s lobotomy

  18. Gee, whatever this is, it made Obama move faster than ever. He even quit playing golf to go to this.

    KAILUA, Hawaii – President Barack Obama has abruptly ended a round of golf and sped toward his family’s vacation home for what is being described as a “personal matter.” An ambulance was seen speeding toward their compound.

    White House aides said the speedy departure and return to the president’s home was not a matter of national security or because of a threat to Obama’s safety.

    Obama was playing golf when reporters who travel with him were quickly assembled for a return to the first family’s neighborhood.

    Journalists saw an ambulance speed past with its lights on, heading toward the end of Obama’s street. The ambulance would have passed through a security checkpoint at the end of the street

  19. A White House intervention for bickering leaders of U.S. intelligence

    A classified order is issued to defuse tensions between Dennis Blair, head of national intelligence, and the CIA’s Leon Panetta. It deflects a power move by Blair but keeps him closely in the loop.

    By Greg Miller
    December 28, 2009

    The White House this month issued a classified order to resolve mounting frictions between the nation’s intelligence director and the CIA over issues including how the agency conducts covert operations, U.S. officials said.

    The intervention reflects simmering tension between the two most powerful players in the U.S. intelligence community: Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair and CIA Director Leon E. Panetta.

    The memo maintains the CIA’s status as the nation’s lead spy service on covert missions, rejecting an attempt by Blair to assert more control. But the document also includes language detailing the agency’s obligation to work closely with Blair on sensitive operations.

    The two sides have sparred in recent months over the CIA’s role in Afghanistan, officials said, with Blair voicing frustration that the agency had given too little attention to supporting U.S. efforts to strengthen the existing government in Afghanistan and reduce the power of Taliban insurgents. In meetings, Blair had pushed an effort “to turn the CIA around,” said a senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the discussions. In particular, Blair has prodded the agency to curtail support to discredited warlords who may help in the hunt for Al Qaeda but also contribute to corruption in Kabul.

    Senior lawmakers and U.S. military officials also have voiced concern that the CIA’s mission is too narrow. “Right now, the CIA is focused on the counter-terrorism-only mission,” said Sen. Christopher S. Bond of Missouri, ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Unless the CIA does more to help stabilize local provinces, “all the work they do hunting bad guys is for naught when the Taliban can come in at dark and wipe out anybody” trying to help the United States.

    CIA officials disagree with the characterization of the agency’s work. “The CIA does more in Afghanistan than counter-terrorism, though that priority is decisive to the success of everything else,” said a U.S. intelligence official who, like others interviewed, requested anonymity when discussing sensitive operations. The agency understands “that our government needs to know about a host of other issues, from narcotics flows and corruption to local perceptions of the United States.”

    The White House memo, signed by National Security Advisor James L. Jones, was an attempt to settle a collection of disputes that have plagued the relationship between the director of national intelligence and the CIA director for several years.

    The White House sided with the CIA on one of the thorniest issues — who would select the top U.S. spy representatives to countries overseas. The Jones memo establishes that the prestigious posts always will be held by the CIA, rejecting Blair’s request to be free to choose representatives from other U.S. intelligence agencies.

    Blair also sought a place in the chain of command on covert action — activities that include paramilitary operations and Predator strikes in Pakistan. But Panetta fought to preserve the CIA’s direct line to the White House, a relationship the agency considers crucial to its unique status in the spy community.

    U.S. officials said the disputes became so heated that Blair refused to sign an agreement brokered by the White House last month. Panetta, pleased with the White House document, signed almost immediately. Blair’s protest forced Jones to issue the new memo. A U.S. official familiar with the document said it keeps “a direct chain of communication” between the White House and the CIA on covert action but that Blair is to be “kept informed of covert actions and, as the president’s principal foreign intelligence advisor, can be asked to provide his views on them.”

    CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano said Panetta believes the White House memo “brings much-needed clarity to intelligence roles and responsibilities.” Gimigliano said Panetta had instructed the agency to “move forward” with the office of the director of national intelligence “as one team.”

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nation-and-world/la-na-cia-digest29-2009dec29,0,2395015.story

  20. confloyd,

    I read that is was because of a “friend’s” “minor injury” that the drama queen left his golf game.

  21. JanH, Have you heard anything else about Israel calling back all their ambassadors?? I found that last night, but haven’t seen it elsewhere. That scared me, although Israel has every right to bomb Iran, it will shocking when it happens.

  22. The conservatives are deeply suspicious of the Republican leadership. Instead of fighting this bill they let it go through on the premise that it is so bad that it will fracture the democratic party. Never interrupt an enemy in the middle of a mistake was their strategy. I know for a fact that the Republicans did not use every tool at their disposal to stop it. They did not use Brydlock, and they voted instead of walking out thereby ratifying a corrupt process.

    Thus in both parties, politics is taking precedence over the welfare of the nation. But the greatest threat to our country and our future is Barack Hussein Obama. There can be no doubt about that. (Note: I had the same reaction that erick did to McConnell’s evasive response to Tappers question yesterday.)
    ———————————————————–

    MC CONNELL WANTS TO HAVE IT BOTH WAYS

    Posted by Erick Erickson (Profile)
    Monday, December 28th at 3:15PM EST
    34 Comments

    Friends, it is important for me to keep harping on this issue because we have really been betrayed in the Senate by the Republican leadership. It is abundantly obvious now that the Senate GOP played to beat the spread, not to beat the bill.

    Yesterday, I noted Jake Tapper asked Mitch McConnell a plainly worded question: “[W]ill that be one of your first items should you regain control of the Senate, repealing what you guys call Obama-care?”

    McConnell refused to say yes or no. In fact, he never answered the question.

    There was, however, another nugget in the interview with Tapper that needs the spotlight.

    From the transcript, Jake Tapper asked, “You’ve been criticized by several conservative voices, Rush Limbaugh, Erick Erickson at Redstate.com and others, for not doing enough to stop health care reform. As the Senate Democrats passed the bill, you said this fight is not over, my colleges and I will work to stop this bill from becoming law. So what are you going to do and what can you do with only 40 votes?”

    McConnell answered

    Well, first, every single Republican opposed the measure. All of the procedural devices that are available to slow down a measure were employed. It didn’t pass until Christmas eve at 7:00 a.m. The American people are overwhelmingly opposed to the bill. I’m not sure what’s to criticize about that from a conservative point of view. And of course, the bill is not law yet. It’s still got be reconciled between the House and Senate. There are deep differences among Democrats. Every single Democrat in the Senate provided the one vote that passed this 2,700-page monstrosity. It cuts Medicare by half a trillion dollars, raises taxes by half a trillion dollars, and instead of curbing the rate of increase of insurance premiums, most Americans’ insurance premiums are going to go up.

    This bill is a colossal failure, and that’s why the American people were literally screaming at us, you know, please, don’t pass this bill.

    Two things to point out here. First, he says “all of the procedural devices” were used to slow the bill. Second, he again falls back on “deep differences among Democrats” — the same differences he said he would exploit to kill the bill.

    Let’s roll the tape.

    On Thursday, December 3rd, Senator Jon Kyl, the Senate Minority Whip, went on the Bill Bennett show and said, “I think we can be fairly upfront about it. Our strategy is not actually to delay and not take votes. . . .Our strategy is to have a lot of good amendments and highlight the problems in the bill,” and “it is not our strategy to somehow slow things down.”

    This came after someone leaked the Judd Gregg memorandum that outlined all the minority rights available in the Senate to obstruct the health care legislation.1

    Notwithstanding the memo, Senator McConnell said

    “I think it’s clearly not the case that the Republicans want to delay a process that we’ve only now gotten an opportunity to participate in, since this has been a strictly partisan adventure from the beginning,” McConnell said, at one point stifling a chuckle. “But we’ll have an opportunity over a number of weeks to offer amendments.”

    Then there is this rather indicting report from Congressional Quarterly. Unfortunately it is not online, but some choice highlights include:

    McConnell and aides have denied Democrats’ charges that the GOP’s only plan is delay, disputing that a memorandum by Senate Budget ranking memberJudd Greggon procedural steps the minority can use to slow the bill amounts to “an obstruction manual.”

    Senate aides said McConnell appears to have his eye on the bill’s political implications for the fractious Democratic majority.

    Yet again, McConnell seemingly based his entire strategy on the idea that the Democrats would defeat the legislation, not the Republicans. McConnell was so convinced that the Democrats would kill the bill themselves, he shut down Tom Coburn’s attempts to have all 3000 pages of the legislation read in an effort to tie up the Senate for, potentially, more than a week.

    Before Thanksgiving, Sen.Tom Coburn, R-Okla., backed off a threat to force a reading of the healthcare bill. But appearing miffed, he made clear he did so reluctantly at the request of leadership.

    McConnell wants to have it both ways. He is now saying that the GOP used every procedural weapon available, but said repeatedly and backed up those words with actions to prove he was not actually working to delay the legislation.

    Again from Congressional Quarterly:

    Cracks have appeared between GOP leadership and conservatives favoring less accommodation than McConnell. When Republican objections prevented votes on amendments from the start of debate Monday to late Wednesday, Democrats used the delay to hammer the GOP for stalling. Appearing sensitive to those charges, McConnell said he had hoped for votes last Tuesday, but that some Republican senators had sought more time for floor speeches.

    It’s not just McConnell appearing sensitive to being labeled an obstructionist. Even Orrin Hatch has gotten in on the game.

    “Nobody’s been an obstructionist. All we wanted to do was participate in the process,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said on CNN during a back and forth over the health care bill. “I think [Democrats] deserve some credit for getting it done, as bad as it is. But it’s going to wreck our country, I have to tell you. And people out there know that.”

    The Senate Republicans leaders seem to think that for success with independents and Republicans they must beat the spread, but not actually beat any legislation lest they be seen as obstructionists.

    We have the Senate Minority Whip, the Senate Minority Leader, and the ranking minority member on the Senate Finance Committee’s health care subcommittee all saying the GOP had no intention of obstructing the health care bill. And there was action to back it up. We know it was not just spin for the media.

    After it’s over? We have Mitch McConnell saying the Senate GOP did everything in its power to stop the bill.

    The facts show just the opposite.

    Some people, mostly Senate staff hacks, are trying to make this about the filibuster. They say that because the GOP did not have 41 votes, the bare minimum to filibuster, the GOP could do nothing. That’s the argument of lazy intellectuals and dishonest rubes. Read Gregg’s memo. Read this post of mine.. Consider that:

    all the GOP had to do was pick off one Democrat;
    had the GOP promptly forced a vote, the bill would have failed because the Democrats did not have sixty votes;
    the GOP strategy let the Democrats get to sixty votes;
    had the GOP run the clock out to Christmas, the Democrats would have had to go home and face voters before voting; and lastly,

    Mitch McConnell had 55 Republicans, but under his leadership it dwindled to 40. This record of success is only matched by his time as Chairman of the NRSC where, as you might have guessed, the GOP also lost seats.

  23. confloyd,

    I know that it was posted on Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs site but other than that, just what you posted earlier.

  24. Further to the above, from a pure political standpoint, the best outcome for Obama in the health care deform debate would have been an omnibus bill full of goodies that could never be delivered shot down by obstructionist republicans who he could blame for the failure. He could have campaigned from here to kingdom come on that issue, and big media would have provided the orchestra pit for that obscene aria. Conversely, the worst outcome for Obama would be a bill which reflects a Rezko type sellout to big pharma, a pay now buy a pig in a poke later, a rationing of health care, no reimportation of cost effective drugs etc. He may or may not care about fluctuating poll numbers, but I guaran-damn-tee you he cares about the loss of a critical component of the democratic base, namely seniors. That is what this bill does, and I seriously doubt it can be cured in the reconciliation process. He cannot repudiate what the agreements he made to big pharma. The stupidity of Emanuel et al on his issue is unfathomable. That is why the Republicans played their hand the way they did. Personally, I would rather have seen them fight it. Time will tell whether McConnell played his hand well or poorly.

  25. tee hee hee wbboei,

    KILL THE BILL; NO RED PILLS!!!!

    I am going to wear a t-shirt with that slogan at a political group meeting the middle of January.

  26. Admin, someone needs to keep track of how many vacations and how much time is spent on vacations. If I were them, I would be ashamed to eat cake while the citizens are hurting. Is Camp David not exotic enough?

    I could not watch Shaft, did he use the term TERROISTS now?

  27. Jan–I do not know what to make of that information–I mean who to root for. I think Blair was right and got out maneuvered by Leon who is a bureaucratic in fighter. My bias was in favor of the CIA until I found out how influential doctor Zbig and Soros have been in their shock doctrine operations. Those two remind me of Dr. Strangelove and should scare the hell out of anybody who cares about the constitution and a system of ordered liberty.

  28. Think about this as a play in the theatre of the absurd.

    1. the dems pass a health care bill which screws their base and call it a gift to America

    2. the repubs cry crockadile tears, put up token resistance and bemoan that lack the votes to stop it.

    3. the repubs then vow to fight the bill but not to kill it

    4. the dems collect all the pork they can get

    5. the dems realize too soon old too late smart

    6. the public pays the cost of a dysfunctional program

  29. “He could have campaigned from here to kingdom come on that issue, and big media would have provided the orchestra pit for that obscene aria.

    ——————

    wbboei,

    wouldn’t it mean that the potus would have to actually sweat a little and do some work? I thought his whole philosophy was to take credit once all the hard labor was done and to make inane speeches inbetween.

    ————-

    As far as the CIA, Leon, and Blair goes, I keep flipping back and forth. There has been so much confusing information being batted back and forth that I was hoping a far wiser person on this board could make sense of it for me.

  30. JanH, Do you think that Bibi is getting ready with the big shock and awe. How about the U.S. helping Russia in Yemen??? This is strange times. I don’t know what to think. Yemen is bad news. I think Hillary is trying to get Osama harder than anyone else ever has. She smart enough to know that his head on a silver platter would guarantee her the White House.

  31. THE FACE OF A FLIM-FLAM MAN:
    ———-

    SOS to that IDIOT Sullivan who said: “a muslim terrorist leaning kid looking at FLIM-FLAM’s face and say that we are not the enem———-

    A 23 yr old black african muslim nearly brings down a plane….all the while looking at the FLIM-FLAM’s face……more like a muslim brothers working together!!!

    I mean there was some time before the FLIM-FLAM man even made a statement on this subject….did not even break his vacation to make a statement!!! And his homeland securitty thought there were no problems…..

    I wonder if Hillary at State was notified when this terrorist’s father when to the Us embassy trying to get his son exposed…..I sincerely hope not!!!

  32. confloyd
    December 28th, 2009 at 7:34 pm
    JanH, Do you think that Bibi is getting ready with the big shock and awe. How about the U.S. helping Russia in Yemen??? This is strange times. I don’t know what to think. Yemen is bad news. I think Hillary is trying to get Osama harder than anyone else ever has. She smart enough to know that his head on a silver platter would guarantee her the White House.

    ——————

    I wouldn’t even attempt to second-guess bibi at the moment. It could be a show of postering, it could also be intelligence gathering and policy making on how they will go ahead given the current turbulent/anti-semitic environment world over.

    Then again, Israel is supposed to be releasing it’s response to the Goldstone Report at the end of this week so maybe it has to do with that as well.

    Both the U.S. and Russia are worried about a complete terrorist takeover of Yemen, Iran involvement and the effect on surrounding countries, i.e. Saudi Arabia, etc. The Arab countries do not want Iran to grow as a megapower of influence, at least to my way of thinking. Yemen’s geographical location is extemely strategic for all sides.

  33. I think Hillary is trying to get Osama harder than anyone else ever has. She smart enough to know that his head on a silver platter would guarantee her the White House.
    ———————————————–
    Obama is chasing Osama as well. Osama was last seen snorkeling off Oahu. Ergo Obama aka Manboobs in on station body surfing. According to Co-biblical Ambinder this is strategy. Meanwhile Obama’s body person Reggie Love is in hot pursuit of Obama– not Osama.

  34. Matt Churchboy Iglesias selling degrees in anti terrorism at his site? For your edification Matt the problem is your light of love Obama. He is soft on Muslim terrorists.

  35. Yesterday, I noted Jake Tapper asked Mitch McConnell a plainly worded question: “[W]ill that be one of your first items should you regain control of the Senate, repealing what you guys call Obama-care?”

    McConnell refused to say yes or no. In fact, he never answered the question.
    ———————————————————————-
    Okay hot shot Tapper, here is how it is done: to Senator McConnell:

    Q-1: you oppose this bill on the merits do you not?

    Q-2 it will cost the American People more more, cut benefits and limit choices?

    Q-3: your oppose this bill based on the process as well?

    Q-4: you were frozen out of the formulation process were you not?

    Q-5: finally, you oppose this bill because of the special inducements that were offered?

    Q-6 in fact, special benefits were conferred on certain democrat senators in exchange for their votes?

    Q-6: at the same time, special burdens were imposed on the remaining states as a result?

    Q-7: indeed, one of your colleagues characterized those as bribes, and questioned their constitutionality?

    Q-8: in sum, you believe this is bill is bad for the country?

    Q-9: and you will fight it accordingly, true?

    Q-10: yet you refuse to say you will repeal it if it passes and you regain the majority?

    Q-11: this bill is based on a prior agreement reached with the health care industry and the Obama Administration true?

    Q-12: that agreement was bad for the country for the reasons you previously described?

    Q-13: but damned good for the industry, in terms of limiting liability, new customers, and elim. foreign competition?

    Q-14: contrary to what Mr Obama promised, that deal was struck in secret, rather than on c-span correct?

    Q-15: prior to that deal, those insurance companies were aligned with your party?

    Q-16: you would like to have them back in the fold?

    Q-17: if you regain the majority then you could offer to preserve the deal if they came back to your side true?

    Q-18: is that why you are committed to fight this bad bill but will not agree at this point to repeal it?

  36. Clyburn Abandons Public Option On Behalf of the (Unpricipaled) Democratic Party.
    Moe Lane
    —————————————————————–
    Here we go.

    The House’s third-ranking Democrat said Sunday that he can support a healthcare reform bill without a public option.

    House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) — a proponent of a government-run public plan — said that he could back the bill as long as it creates more choice and competition in the insurance industry and reduces costs. “It’s of no consequence” whether it’s done via the public option or not.

    (H/T: Hot Air Headlines) Translation: House Democrats are going to abandon the public option. Ignore the nonsense about more choice and reduced costs: that’s for the rubes and the netroots. They went with the #3 House Democrat to make the announcement because both Pelosi and Hoyer want to appear to be reluctantly going along with this, instead of enthusiastically: if the endgame ends up reminding you of their FISA ‘capitulation,’ well, there’s a reason for that. Anyway, this is probably back on track for being settled by the State of the Union address. In fact, they’re probably right now working out how many liberal House members can vote ‘no’ on the bill and still get it to pass.

    I’d be offended at the Democratic leadership’s upcoming betrayal of their own (loudly stated) principles, if only I believed that they had them in the first place. As I didn’t and don’t, the best that I can muster is a slightly cynical moue of distaste. And that’s only because I’ve never gotten to use the word ‘moue’ in a post before.

    Moe Lane

    PS: The final language on federal funding on abortion will be at whatever point between Stupak’s and the Senate’s version that will cause the NRLC to stop threatening to score the final vote. If that call hasn’t been made yet, it will be.

  37. Wbboei, I told you that the whole healthcare thing was theatrics. The rethugs got exactly what they wanted, it was predetermined and so was the mumbo-jumbo on Fox’s Glenn Beck show about hc. All theatrics so the people would think they really worked hard to get it done, when all sides including insurance companies agreed before Obama got the nomination. Its all bullshit that we, the people run this government, hell, the corporations run this government and have for a long, long, long time, for the exception of 1992 thru 2000, and thats when all hell broke loose to f*&k the Clintons. They also got away with it with Hillary this primary season again.

  38. In fact, they’re probably right now working out how many liberal House members can vote ‘no’ on the bill and still get it to pass.
    ——————————–
    This bill is assailable both from the right and the left. Yet Moe thinks they are looking to protect the left only, and if the objections were limited to abandoning the public option then that would make sense. But the blue dogs have exposure for other reasons. The point is they are not giving similar cover to the blue dogs– who are more apt to lose their jobs over this.

  39. Somebody should remind Clyburn of Jessee Jackson’s comment that you cannot call yourself a black man and be against this bill. If memory serves, the bill he was referring to was the House Bill with the public option.

  40. Wbboei, I told you that the whole healthcare thing was theatrics. The rethugs got exactly what they wanted, it was predetermined and so was the mumbo-jumbo on Fox’s Glenn Beck show about hc. All theatrics so the people would think they really worked hard to get it done, when all sides including insurance companies agreed before Obama got the nomination. Its all bullshit that we, the people run this government, hell, the corporations run this government and have for a long, long, long time, for the exception of 1992 thru 2000, and thats when all hell broke loose to f*&k the Clintons. They also got away with it with Hillary this primary season again.
    ————————————————-
    In one sense you are right. But the key point is that the democrats sold out their base, and Obama is the one who did it. The Senate bill is the mirror image of the Rezko deal he made with big business in secret in the white house, and that point will come back to haunt the dems again and again and again.

  41. What is the major theme at Big Pink?
    “Obama cannot be Trusted!” by his friends, foes, sponsors, contributors, voters.

    That mantra has gone Global- adding to the list, COUNTRIES cannot TRUST Obama

    Top Cuban official says Obama lied in Copenhagen

    By WILL WEISSERT, Associated Press Writer Will Weissert, Associated Press Writer –
    Mon Dec 21, 9:27 pm ET

    HAVANA – Cuba’s foreign minister called President Barack Obama an “imperial and arrogant” liar Monday for his conduct at the U.N. climate conference, a reflection of the communist island’s increasingly fiery verbal attacks on the U.S. government.

    Bruno Rodriguez spent an hour and a half lambasting Obama’s behavior in Copenhagen, telling a news conference, “at this summit, there was only imperial, arrogant Obama, who does not listen, who imposes his positions and even threatens developing countries.”

    He called the summit “a fallacy, a farce” and said Washington used back-room deals and strong-arm tactics to foist on the world a deal that he labeled “undemocratic” and “suicidal” because it urges — but does not require — major polluters to make deeper emissions cuts.

    Rodriguez also said Cuba and other poor nations have refused to recognize the agreement because they weren’t permitted to participate in its development.

    He singled out comments Obama made during a news conference in Copenhagen, when the U.S. president said no agreement had yet been reached but he was confident one would before the summit ended. “Obama knew he was lying, that he was deceiving public opinion,” the foreign minister said.

    When asked if Cuba was serious about forging a climate agreement given that President Raul Castro declared Copenhagen a failure days before it ended, Rodriguez said, “Cuba’s prestige is well-recognized in international negotiations.”

    “It was an open secret that countries would not reach an agreement,” he said.

    Rodriguez would not answer questions about the status of an American citizen who was detained in Cuba on Dec. 5 while working as a U.S. government contractor.

    Castro first publicly mentioned the detention Sunday, when he told the Cuban Parliament that the American was arrested for distributing illegal satellite communications equipment.

    “The United States won’t quit trying to destroy the revolution,” Castro said, referring to the armed rebellion that brought his brother Fidel to power on New Year’s Day 1959.

    “In the past few weeks we have witnessed the stepping up of the new administration’s efforts in this area,” he said, adding that the arrest “demonstrates that the enemy is as active as ever.”

    American diplomats in Cuba have requested — but not yet received — Cuba’s permission for consular access to the detainee, whose name has not been released. Rodriguez refused to say whether his office would grant the request.

    Rodriguez’s comments Monday echoed remarks by former President Fidel Castro, who in a weekend opinion column called Obama’s speech in Copenhagen “deceitful, demagogic and full of ambiguities.”

    Last week, the elder Castro, who stepped down as head of state in February 2008, wrote that Washington is looking to solidify its control over Latin America and that Obama’s “friendly smile and African-American face” hide his government’s sinister true intentions for the region.

    Raul Castro over the weekend mentioned recent war games Cuba conducted to prepare for a U.S. invasion and hinted that the contractor’s arrest shows further American aggression against his country is a real possibility.

    “I just want to note that here we have a people who are ready to protect, at any price, the successes of the revolution,” he said. “I’d advise one and all that they cease provocations of this type.”

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091222/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/cb_cuba_us_obama

  42. Dec 29, 2009

    Mitchell drawing up ‘terms of reference’ for relaunch of talks

    By HERB KEINON

    The “terms of reference” for restarting diplomatic discussions with the Palestinians are expected to be the main focus of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s discussions with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt on Tuesday, amid signs that US Middle East envoy George Mitchell has made inroads on this matter.

    Mitchell, who hasn’t been here since early November but has continued talks with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in the US, is due back in early January and is expected to bring with him a document that would provide a basis for relaunching the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations.

    AFP, in a story filed from Cairo, quoted an Arab diplomat as saying that Mitchell would present “two draft letters of guarantee, one for Israel and one to the Palestinian Authority, during his next visit to the region.”

    “The United States is hoping that the two letters will serve as a basis for the relaunch of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, but we don’t know if they will satisfy the Palestinians, who want a complete freeze of settlement activity before talks resume,” the diplomat said.

    One senior Israeli diplomatic source told The Jerusalem Post that the terms of reference Mitchell is reportedly bringing would probably closely resemble the statement US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released soon after Netanyahu announced his 10-month housing-start moratorium in the West Bank. “We believe,” that statement read, “that through good-faith negotiations the parties can mutually agree on an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements.”

    Netanyahu, in a speech Monday to 140 Israeli ambassadors and heads of delegations currently in Jerusalem for a series of high-level briefings, emphasized the importance in his mind of Palestinian acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state, and said that demilitarization was Israel’s key security requirement for any future Palestinian state.

    Recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, Netanyahu said, was necessary for any agreement with the Palestinians that would lead to an end to the conflict. “We want an end to the conflict,” he said. “That means the Palestinians must stop attempts to use a Palestinian state as jumping-off point for further claims against Israel. No claim to flood Israel with refugees, which would mean the end of the Jewish state; and no irredentist claims to the Negev, Galilee or Israeli citizens, which would mean the dissolution of the Jewish state.”

    Regarding Israel’s demands that any future Palestinian state be demilitarized, Netanyahu said this would necessitate preventing the import of rockets and missiles that could be fired into Israel, as was currently the situation in Gaza and Lebanon. He said the situation in Lebanon, and the rearming of Hizbullah despite Security Council Resolution 1701 prohibiting just that, proved that agreements on paper were ineffective.

    “I am doubtful that anyone can do this except a real Israeli presence, Israeli forces,” he said, intimating that in any future agreement with the Palestinians, Israeli forces – not international ones – would have to be on the eastern border of a future Palestinian state to prevent it from importing arms and staging attacks against Israel.

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1261364530808&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

  43. Wbboei, Yes, Obama sold out his base, the rethugs and their suppporters should be thrilled, its a republican bill. Its all for corporate bosses. It’s what GWB would have come up with. You notice those republicans talk a good story but their in no way going to stop the bill. I think the dims should point that out as much as possible. Obama is a sell out and the republicans are NOT for the middle class and never have been, they are all about corporate friends and the rich.

  44. Top Cuban official says Obama lied in Copenhagen

    Mon Dec 21, 9:27 pm ET

    HAVANA – Cuba’s foreign minister called President Barack Obama an “imperial and arrogant” liar Monday for his conduct at the U.N. climate conference, a reflection of the communist island’s increasingly fiery verbal attacks on the U.S. government.

    Bruno Rodriguez spent an hour and a half lambasting Obama’s behavior in Copenhagen, telling a news conference, “at this summit, there was only imperial, arrogant Obama, who does not listen, who imposes his positions and even threatens developing countries.”

    He called the summit “a fallacy, a farce” and said Washington used back-room deals and strong-arm tactics to foist on the world a deal that he labeled “undemocratic” and “suicidal” because it urges — but does not require — major polluters to make deeper emissions cuts.

    Rodriguez also said Cuba and other poor nations have refused to recognize the agreement because they weren’t permitted to participate in its development.

    He singled out comments Obama made during a news conference in Copenhagen, when the U.S. president said no agreement had yet been reached but he was confident one would before the summit ended. “Obama knew he was lying, that he was deceiving public opinion,” the foreign minister said.

    When asked if Cuba was serious about forging a climate agreement given that President Raul Castro declared Copenhagen a failure days before it ended, Rodriguez said, “Cuba’s prestige is well-recognized in international negotiations.”

    “It was an open secret that countries would not reach an agreement,” he said.

    Rodriguez would not answer questions about the status of an American citizen who was detained in Cuba on Dec. 5 while working as a U.S. government contractor.

    Castro first publicly mentioned the detention Sunday, when he told the Cuban Parliament that the American was arrested for distributing illegal satellite communications equipment.

    “The United States won’t quit trying to destroy the revolution,” Castro said, referring to the armed rebellion that brought his brother Fidel to power on New Year’s Day 1959.

    “In the past few weeks we have witnessed the stepping up of the new administration’s efforts in this area,” he said, adding that the arrest “demonstrates that the enemy is as active as ever.”

    American diplomats in Cuba have requested — but not yet received — Cuba’s permission for consular access to the detainee, whose name has not been released. Rodriguez refused to say whether his office would grant the request.

    Rodriguez’s comments Monday echoed remarks by former President Fidel Castro, who in a weekend opinion column called Obama’s speech in Copenhagen “deceitful, demagogic and full of ambiguities.”

    Last week, the elder Castro, who stepped down as head of state in February 2008, wrote that Washington is looking to solidify its control over Latin America and that Obama’s “friendly smile and African-American face” hide his government’s sinister true intentions for the region.

    Raul Castro over the weekend mentioned recent war games Cuba conducted to prepare for a U.S. invasion and hinted that the contractor’s arrest shows further American aggression against his country is a real possibility.

    “I just want to note that here we have a people who are ready to protect, at any price, the successes of the revolution,” he said. “I’d advise one and all that they cease provocations of this type.”

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091222/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/cb_cuba_us_obama

    What is the major theme at Big Pink?
    “Obama cannot be Trusted!” by his friends, foes, sponsors, contributors, voters.

    That mantra has gone Global- adding to the list, COUNTRIES cannot TRUST Obama

  45. wbboei, Can you honestly tell me of any bill that the republicans are put thru and is now law that has helped the middle class?? If there is such of one, I would really like to see and hear about it, b/c at this time, I don’t know of any. Reagan’s trickle down only trickled up. I not being ugly I am serious, as you know there aren’t many candidates on the dim side that I can believe in, so therefore I am left to find SOME reason to like the republicans, so far I can’t find one thing.

  46. No doubt about it, confloyd- and why I posted the above article… Cuba and all of Latin America are throwing stones at the impostor President!

  47. When and where can we submita vote of no confidence in this president, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

    Jay Leno ran a repeat show tonight. Matt Damon was on- his task was to read the Declaration of Independence while juggling 3 tennis balls. The words midway through are a reminder of the power of the People giving us the right to throw these people out of office for not serving in the best interests of the People and the Country.

    When do we start?

  48. None of us want the Democrats or the Republicans back in office. The “I’s” have it! Indy Democrats and Republicans would have to really be Independent of both Parties to get our vote!

  49. wbboei, Can you honestly tell me of any bill that the republicans are put thru and is now law that has helped the middle class?? If there is such of one, I would really like to see and hear about it, b/c at this time, I don’t know of any. Reagan’s trickle down only trickled up. I not being ugly I am serious, as you know there aren’t many candidates on the dim side that I can believe in, so therefore I am left to find SOME reason to like the republicans, so far I can’t find one thing.
    ——————————————–
    IRA and 401 (K) provisions. I am not in the business of defending either party, but I do understand the concept of the lesser of two evils. At one time, the greater evil was Bush–and by the way I never voted for either Bush ever. Today.the greater evil is Obama, and the degree of evil is worse because he does greater harm but is more adept at disguising it. Also, the media covers for him and that is the greatest evil of all. The lack of an honest press today is the greatest vulnerability and the greatest threat to democracy. All we can do is keep fighting.

  50. wbboei, I really would like to find something I can believe in at this point in the republican party as its all that is left. I realize they believe in supply side economics where the dims have bought into the banks, but both economic policies have hurt the working individual of this country.

    The only person I have ever believed in while they were campaigning was Hillary as she campaigned from her gut, where she grew knowing what it was like not be wealthy and what the avg. American wanted and I still believe she if left untethered could give us that, but there are so many special interests I doubt she could deliver as much as she would like too, but she would deliver more than any other person would.

    I believe in a separation of church and state so I can’t like the republicans for that, so I am really searching for something to snag my line on to that I could build a relationship with them. They are all about unfettered capitalism, and hell with the person who might be sick, old or not born with enough intelligence to be an entrepuenuer.

  51. For those of us who grew up after World War II and lived through Korea, Viet Nam and the Cold War, there was great distrust of the communist party newspapers like Pravda, Isvestia, The China Daily Worker and the Cuban rag. But today, any compaarative evaluation would rate their credibility far superior to their Big Media like NBC, CNN, NYT, Newsweek, Time, etc.

  52. wbboei, Ira’s and 401k’s are the republican’s answer to company and government (social security) retirement. Its there idea to make everything in life about capitalism. I have been working for 23 years, had 401k’s at every hospital I have worked at and yet I have NO retirement at any of them.

    My dad on the other hand worked for the telephone company for 37 years, he retired with they broke the Bell system up because it was too big and was a monopoly. He had not saved any money on his own as the company’s pay was no good, but the company paid into to a retirement for him as part of his wages and they also offered him stock options. He has now been retired for 27 years and has drawn upwards of 340,000 on his retirement and at one time his 7,000 investment in the stocks was worth over 110,000. So he only put in 7,000 in his whole 27 years of work. He lives well, has no worries. These kinds of retirements don’t exist anymore due to Reaganomics and trickle down. Please correct me if I am wrong.

  53. Wbboei, Your a genius, your above statement about our news organizations is exactly what is wrong. The have’s don’t want to pay people like my dad anymore, they want to pay what the Chinese pay. That’s the retirement they really want to pay.

  54. wbboei, BTW, that sum the Bell system is paying my dad is not including top notch medical and his long distance paid for the rest of his life.

  55. Connie: there are some extraordinary people in both parties. Webb and Sestak in the democratic party–and others. In the republican party there are people you probably have not heard of who will be leaders in the next generation. I think highly of Marco Rubio of Florida just to give you one example. I like Thune who co sponsored a bill I wrote (which went nowhere because of opposition by business republicans). There are others. If Hillary reenters political life my primary loyalty will be to her just as yours will be. But for the survival of the country Obama must be defeated. You can have Barack Obama or you can have a middle class but not both. I am quite sure that the hidden parts of his agenda are worse than what we have seen so far.

  56. wbboei, he is at this point the bigger evil, but if others can be purchased as he was, then there is no hope.
    —————————
    Oh hell Connie, there is always hope and it is always dawn. If the American People can see the danger posed by a man like Obama, they will rise up not in hate but in righteous indignation against his very calculated efforts to destroy their freedoma and their economic security. How long did the thousand year reich last–1933-1945= 12 years. Things move faster today, so I think we will see change, and by that I mean constructive change by the end of next year on the political front. On the economic front however I am far less optimistic. Obama has put us in a deep hole and it will take time to recover once he is gone.

  57. Wbboei, I fear you are right again. I think it must be the business republicans that I don’t care for. I now realize that the dim party had those folks in them too.
    What I find confusing about the dims is that the ultra-left seem to think that the bluedogs are the problem because they are corporatrists, is that true?? I seem to be getting confused on that.

    I think the ultra-left are so concerned with the planet and some other do good things that they knock out the middle class with regulations because then there is NO work

  58. Wbboei, I have to say that the little I have seen of Michelle Bachman, I like her, she seems to be giving straight answers, but you know the republicans talk only in one voice, they aren’t like the back stabbing dimocrats. Sometimes that one voice is the bussiness republicans.

  59. Wbboei, I have to say that the little I have seen of Michelle Bachman, I like her, she seems to be giving straight answers, but you know the republicans talk only in one voice, they aren’t like the back stabbing dimocrats. Sometimes that one voice is the bussiness republicans.
    —————————-
    I love her. Probably because she reminds me so much of the late congresswoman who was my great friend.

  60. Jan–George Mitchell is another outstanding guy. He was so much better as Senate Majority Leader than Wiley Coyote from Nevada.

  61. wbboei, Yes, he deserved it, he fougnt in WWII and worked on some suicide missions. He worked hard, but was with a good company his brother in law got him that job in 1948. He stayed with them when you could barely buy groceries with what they paid.
    BTW, his brother-in-law was the one who invented the touchtone phone we all have today. You can only imagine what the company gave him for his retirement. He has passed away now, but lived in North Dallas, he was a very rich man. MY dad used to laugh and shake his head when Uncle Bob told him about his stock options.

  62. Mrs. Smith, you said the latin american countries are throwing rocks at Obama. Well, you know Chavez said he smelt sulfur at Copenhaugen, well, I think he REALLY did. He knows Obama is a continuation of the Bush policy. He was bought and paid for by friends of the Bush family. They are setting up Jeb to be the next POTUS!

  63. Good to see Rangel, Dodd and Barny Frank on the list. If we could get rid of half of those jokers on the list, the world would be a better place.

  64. Chavez = Kennedy- An Odd couple.

    Chavez gives Joe Kennedy Free oil. Kennedy then delivers 100gal to those who qualify and are in need of home heating oil during the winters throughout the country.

  65. Mrs. Smith, I can’t see the list, I am at work and it is blocked. So I will see it at home.

    Yes, I would say that Chavez and Kennedy is an odd couple. I read in places that old man Kennedy even liked Hitler and he did not like Jews. I don’t know if that is true.

  66. Obama Extends Hand, But America’s Critics Keep Fists Clenched
    Hillary told him so in the debates. The problem with Obamas cloud cookoo land approach to foreign policy is he read rousseau when he should have read Machiavelli. He is loved, but not respected. (Note: I think Chavez is right. I too can smell the sulphur when Obama enters the room.)
    ——————————————-
    President Obama’s repeated attempts to reach out to America’s fiercest critics have ended on a sour note this year, with leaders of these nations lining up to criticize the commander-in-chief.

    print email share recommend (8)

    Dec. 18: Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez reacts during a press conference at the U.N. Climate Conference in Copenhagen. (AP Photo)
    In the realm of diplomacy with America’s detractors, President Obama ends his first year in office much as George W. Bush ended his last — unloved.

    Obama appeared to “extend a hand,” as he said he would do in his inauguration speech, but he didn’t find many “willing to unclench (their) fist” in return.

    Again and again, Obama made symbolic and concrete gestures toward some of the countries giving the United States the hardest time — Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Venezuela.

    Occasionally and briefly, recipients reciprocated. But while the intentions of these countries are shrouded and ultimately unclear, the year inarguably ended on a sour note.

    In the past two weeks alone, high-ranking officials from Cuba, Iran and Venezuela have personally insulted Obama or rejected U.S. appeals for cooperation. In some cases, they did both. North Korea continues to give forever-shifting signals about its willingness to engage with the rest of the world.

    The most boisterous rejection of the Obama administration came out of Iran, where President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered a speech last week to supporters in which he declared, “We don’t care” about international deadlines over Iran’s nuclear program.

    The Obama administration, working with Russia, China, France, England and Germany, set a year’s-end deadline for Iran to accept a deal to swap enriched uranium for nuclear fuel. Instead, Ahmadinejad boasted that his country is “not intimidated” and is “10 times stronger than last year.”

    In response, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs warned that the international community has set a “very real deadline” for Iran to cooperate. But the frustrated efforts suggest the short-lived and superficial era of engagement with Iran might take a turn in 2010.

    Jim Walsh, an international security analyst at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said he expects Obama will “recalibrate” his approach toward Iran and move toward more sanctions in the new year.

    But with both North Korea and Iran, Walsh said Obama likely will continue to aim for negotiations, considering those countries’ importance. He added that, in his opinion, some of the year-long criticism aimed at Obama’s diplomatic approach was unfair.

    “It’s not Obama’s fault that Iran had a disputed election and a meltdown,” he said. “They’re going into gigantic internal turmoil.” He said Iran is at a crossroads — the turmoil will either force the country to settle the nuclear issue with the West, or encourage its leaders to double down and expand the nuclear program.

    The Obama administration has made several diplomatic advances with other countries. It eased the trade embargo against Cuba. Over the summer, both the United States and Venezuela pledged to reinstate ambassadors to each other’s capital cities after President Hugo Chavez expelled the U.S. ambassador in September 2008. The U.S. tossed out the Venezuelan ambassador in response.

    But Chavez gave Obama the “sulfur treatment” during the Copenhagen climate conference this month, just as he did Bush at the United Nations General Assembly a few years back.

    “It still smells like sulfur in the world,” Chavez said, reprising a remark from his infamous speech in which he likened Bush to the devil. Chavez, referring to Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize, also called the U.S. president the “Nobel Prize of War,” criticizing him for ordering 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan to “kill innocent people.”

    The insults didn’t stop there.

    Bruno Rodriguez, Cuba’s foreign minister, went on a tirade about Obama last week over the Copenhagen conference, calling the U.S. president “imperial,” “arrogant” and a liar.

    “He lies all the time, deceives with demagogic words, with profound cynicism,” Rodriguez reportedly said.

    The caustic criticism comes on top of harsh words from President Raul Castro, as well as the Dec. 5 arrest of a U.S. citizen and contractor in Cuba.

    Walsh said countries like Cuba and Venezuela will probably fade in importance next year as targets for Obama administration diplomacy.

    In an interview with The Associated Press, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice defended the administration’s diplomatic record.

    “The change in the nature and tone of our relationships … is yielding concrete and tangible benefits here at the United Nations — benefits that advance U.S. interests,” Rice said. She cited widely supported sanctions against North Korea following its second nuclear test in May, and she said the world is responding “much more openly” to the United States.

    The administration continues to use a carrot-and-stick approach with North Korea. The regime acknowledged this month that Kim Jong Il received a personal letter from Obama reportedly presented by U.S. special envoy Stephen Bosworth on his recent visit to the country. That came after former President Bill Clinton went on a diplomatic mission seeking the release of two U.S. journalists — a mission that yielded Kim a well-publicized photo op.

    Following Bosworth’s visit, the foreign ministry said the two countries reached “common understandings” on the need to resume the stalled six-party talks over Pyongyang’s nuclear program.

    At the same time, North Korea reportedly demanded that U.N. sanctions be lifted, praised the soldiers who nabbed the two journalists at the border and may be preparing for another nuclear test next year, according to a South Korean think tank.

    Leave a Comment Sort: Newest Sort: Oldest Subscribe to CommentsSort: Newest Sort: Oldest Email
    * not displayed
    Comment Required
    Comment
    FOX News encourages you to participate in this discussion; however, please be sure to review our Terms of Use and Privacy Statement
    Leave a CommentYou must be logged in to comment. Please login or register below.
    Already a member of FOXNews.com?

    Log in now

    Username or Email Address
    Password
    Remember me on this computer Forgot your password? or login using a third-party account

    Reset Password
    To reset your password, please fill in your email below. A password reset link will be emailed to you.

    Email Address

    Not a member yet?

    Register Now
    On FOXNews.com
    It’s FREE and only takes a minute!

    Get access to:

    Breaking news and access to video and infographics Exclusive FOXNews blogs and community features Channel info and more!

  67. My daughter wants to go to Amsterdam right after the New Year. I hope she doesn’t, I won’t sleep a wink the whole time she’s gone. I keep telling her she has a baby to think about and that things around the world are unsafe right now, but you know they always thinks they are impervious to accidents.

  68. Reality is dawning on Obama because he finally used the word “terrorist”? What about being ready on day one? What a pathetic statement.

    Who would Hillary have appointed as head of Homeland Security?

  69. puma-sf, I am sure Hillary would have appointed someone with knowledge, depth, with ideas on how to improve national security. Not someone for a quid-pro-co.

    Taylors site has been bad lately. There’s one commentator on there that really gets under my skin. He/she always signs out peace. It must be Rosy O’donnel. I think its name is Imhotep.

  70. Puma-SF, Its a sad site, full of kool-aid drinkers on steroids. I like to go to see if they have sobered up yet, some have but their brains don’t function normally anymore. It’s like they’ve got a broken heart. Their little Bo, broke it for them.

  71. I wonder what Hillary is doing right now, no news anywhere of her and her Christmas holiday. I betcha she at the state dept. working on Iran, what do you’all think??

  72. confloyd: I’m sure she’s working and I’d like to think that she’s the puppetmaster pulling the strings on Obama’s statement today about the Iranian protestors.

  73. wbboei, You want to see how disgusted the democrats are that put him in the WH, just read the DNC partybuilder blog. Man are they pist.

  74. Happy New Year All:It will be if we make it by keeping Hillary in our sites for the POTUS until BOGUS is gone.What is left of the MSM has aonly one goal and that is to keep her out of the news completely.Her turn is coming if we keep our eye on the ball and hold gather all the information we can about her and expose the evil goals of slippery buckpasser while he whistles “ON THE ROAD AGAIN”.

    ____________________________________________________________________

    DipNote’s 2009 Year in Review

    Posted: 23 Dec 2009 01:36 PM PST

    About the Author: Luke Forgerson serves as the DipNote blog Managing Editor.

    As we approach the end of December, I find myself looking back at the year that was. I know it sounds cliché, but I can hardly believe how quickly this year has passed. I feel as if just yesterday, standing among the crowd on the National Mall, my friends and I observed President Obama take the oath of office, a historic moment watched by individuals around the world.

    A few days later, I joined colleagues in greeting Hillary Rodham Clinton upon her arrival to the State Department in Washington, DC as the 67th U.S. Secretary of State. Secretary Clinton soon gathered employees together for a town hall meeting where she said, “There is no doubt in my mind that we have barely scratched the surface as to what we can use to communicate with people around the world, and in fact, to use them [new technologies] as tools …to further our own work and to be smart about it….”

    My colleagues and I were encouraged by the Secretary’s remarks and soon watched her words turned into action. Secretary Clinton invited Americans to text a $5 contribution that helped the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) provide assistance to people affected by the humanitarian crisis in Pakistan and announced U.S. support for Humari Awaz (“Our Voice”), the first free Pakistani mobile phone-based social network. She responded to questions from the public through Text the Secretary and participated in webcasts and web chats during her travels. She became the first U.S. Secretary of State to blog when she contributed an entry to DipNote and has focused on new media to amplify the Department’s efforts around the globe.

    I am proud that DipNote is an essential ingredient of 21st century statecraft. More than ever, DipNote has become a means to educate, listen, learn and engage. DipNote passed 5 million page views in April and is on course to top 12 million by the end of the year. DipNote turned two years old in September and December ushered in a blog redesign, including the launch of three new channels on the blog: Afghanistan-Pakistan, Global Women’s Issues and Sudan.

    DipNote could not have achieved what it has to date, and what we expect it to achieve in the future, without the ongoing support from State Department colleagues. Their work on a broad range of issues – from human rights to nonproliferation, climate change to food security – inspires me. I am always grateful to State Department colleagues who share their work with DipNote’s readers.

    I also appreciate the support of our readers, who consistently impress me with their level of engagement in foreign affairs and their depth of contributions to DipNote’s dialogue. We could not have reached nearly 12 million page views without you, the DipNote community. I am eager to hear what entries you found most memorable over the last year and what you wish to see appear on DipNote in 2010.

    On behalf of everyone at DipNote – Katie Dowd, David Helfenbein, Jeff Jackson, Tamika Johnson, Eric Jones, Daniel Schaub, and all of the DipNote bloggers – I wish you a joyous holiday season and all the best in the New Year.

  75. This site has an excellent array of photos videos of Bill and Hillary and their travels.It is a good backup for our favorite Big Pink home.Try

    stil4hill.worldpress.com/

  76. Djia, Just want to comment on your comment at the beginning of this thread. I personally don’t think we should allow Mosques anywhere around airports, tall buildings, military bases. The reason is that I have noticed a small mosque near Houston Intercontinental Airport. Its a straight shot from that mosque to the flight paths of dozens of aircraft everyday. Think what they could do with this location. Think what they could do with a location near ground zero (aside from constant humiliation). The people that are allowing them to be built need to pull their liberal heads out of the place where the shine don’t shine and hook up reality. These places can be overtaken by the fundamentalists before the U.S. govt. could say 9/11. Wake up America!

  77. I am sure Zbig and Soros would like nothing better than to have a 9/11 or worse scenario to install a world govt.

  78. Posted by Moe Lane (Profile)
    Tuesday, December 29th at 8:36AM EST

    In fairness, that money was just sitting there, all fat, dumb and happy, and practically begging to be misappropriated to some domestic pork program. Besides, how was Dodd supposed to know that international terrorists would come up with the novel idea of using explosives to try to blow up airplanes?

    Now that our attention is focused on airline security measures thanks to the failed airline attack on Christmas Day, it’s worth mentioning that one Senator took money away from aviation security to line the pockets of constituency that supported his presidential campaign in a big way.

    Back in July, Senator Chris Dodd, D-Conn., proposed an amendment reducing aviation security appropriations by $4.5 million in favor of firefighter grants — a notoriously inneffective program. In fact, the money was specifically “for screening operations and the amount for explosives detection systems.”

    …oh, wait.

    Via Jim Geraghty, who notes that the Senate in general signed off on the amendment (S.AMDT.1458 to H.R.2892; it was part of the Homeland Security appropriations bill). This is fostering an atmosphere where you have the ability to read and assess bills before you sign them is so critically important…

    …oh, wait.

    Moe Lane

    PS: This pet program of Dodd’s wasn’t funding firefighters, by the way. It was funding firefighting-flavored processed pork substitute; you can tell the difference via the fact that the program doesn’t actually work.

    PPS: Would the extra money stopped the Christmas attack? Good question. Better one: why did Sen. Dodd cut national defense in favor of domestic pork?

    Crossposted to Moe Lane.

    Sphere: Related Content
    Share on: Facebook | | Reddit Category: airport security, Chris Dodd, fire grants, firefighters, Terrorism

  79. BOB HERBERT’S DETOX PROGRAM SLOWLY WORKING

    Excellent analysis of one aspect of the Senate’s health care plan; the “Cadillac plans” will soon apply to a broader range, forcing companies to provide cheaper (= worse) coverage, which in turn means…you guessed it, more costs for you. Ergo, a HIDDEN TAX.

    Nice research, Bob.

    nytimes.com/2009/12/29/opinion/29herbert.html?_r=2

    A Less Than Honest Policy
    =========================

    December 28, 2009
    By Bob Herbert

    There is a middle-class tax time bomb ticking in the Senate’s version of President Obama’s effort to reform health care.

    The bill that passed the Senate with such fanfare on Christmas Eve would impose a confiscatory 40 percent excise tax on so-called Cadillac health plans, which are popularly viewed as over-the-top plans held only by the very wealthy. In fact, it’s a tax that in a few years will hammer millions of middle-class policyholders, forcing them to scale back their access to medical care.

    Which is exactly what the tax is designed to do.

    The tax would kick in on plans exceeding $23,000 annually for family coverage and $8,500 for individuals, starting in 2013. In the first year it would affect relatively few people in the middle class. But because of the steadily rising costs of health care in the U.S., more and more plans would reach the taxation threshold each year.

    Within three years of its implementation, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the tax would apply to nearly 20 percent of all workers with employer-provided health coverage in the country, affecting some 31 million people. Within six years, according to Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation, the tax would reach a fifth of all households earning between $50,000 and $75,000 annually. Those families can hardly be considered very wealthy.

    Proponents say the tax will raise nearly $150 billion over 10 years, but there’s a catch. It’s not expected to raise this money directly. The dirty little secret behind this onerous tax is that no one expects very many people to pay it. The idea is that rather than fork over 40 percent in taxes on the amount by which policies exceed the threshold, employers (and individuals who purchase health insurance on their own) will have little choice but to ratchet down the quality of their health plans.

    These lower-value plans would have higher out-of-pocket costs, thus increasing the very things that are so maddening to so many policyholders right now: higher and higher co-payments, soaring deductibles and so forth. Some of the benefits of higher-end policies can be expected in many cases to go by the boards: dental and vision care, for example, and expensive mental health coverage.

    Proponents say this is a terrific way to hold down health care costs. If policyholders have to pay more out of their own pockets, they will be more careful — that is to say, more reluctant — to access health services. On the other hand, people with very serious illnesses will be saddled with much higher out-of-pocket costs. And a reluctance to seek treatment for something that might seem relatively minor at first could well have terrible (and terribly expensive) consequences in the long run.

    If even the plan’s proponents do not expect policyholders to pay the tax, how will it raise $150 billion in a decade? Great question.

    We all remember learning in school about the suspension of disbelief. This part of the Senate’s health benefits taxation scheme requires a monumental suspension of disbelief. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, less than 18 percent of the revenue will come from the tax itself. The rest of the $150 billion, more than 82 percent of it, will come from the income taxes paid by workers who have been given pay raises by employers who will have voluntarily handed over the money they saved by offering their employees less valuable health insurance plans.

    Can you believe it?

    I asked Richard Trumka, president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., about this. (Labor unions are outraged at the very thought of a health benefits tax.) I had to wait for him to stop laughing to get his answer. “If you believe that,” he said, “I have some oceanfront property in southwestern Pennsylvania that I will sell you at a great price.”

    A survey of business executives by Mercer, a human resources consulting firm, found that only 16 percent of respondents said they would convert the savings from a reduction in health benefits into higher wages for employees. Yet proponents of the tax are holding steadfast to the belief that nearly all would do so.

    “In the real world, companies cut costs and they pocket the money,” said Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers of America and a leader of the opposition to the tax. “Executives tell the shareholders: ‘Hey, higher profits without any revenue growth. Great!’ ”

    The tax on health benefits is being sold to the public dishonestly as something that will affect only the rich, and it makes a mockery of President Obama’s repeated pledge that if you like the health coverage you have now, you can keep it.

    Those who believe this is a good idea should at least have the courage to be straight about it with the American people.

  80. Here is one of a million lies fed to the American People by big media. Previously, those lies were about Hillary, then they were about Sarah and now they are about a prominent republican. Trust me, there is not lie too small, or too big that they will not tell it. This particular case involves McCatchy and WashPo effort to blame De Mint for what the Obama Administration has finally come to recognize as systemic failure in the most recent terrorist incident.

    You cannot have a functional democracy when big media is in the business of lying to the American People. As they say in a courtroom, can just as easily be said to the publisher of WashPo: you are entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts. The American People do not have the time to verify everything newspapers say. They rely upon their reputation as the badge of truth. When they are presented with false facts, inevitably they draw false conclusions. In that case, they cannot vote intelligently, through no fault of their own.

    Therein lies an escape hatch for those who voted for Obama and have since come to realize that he is something he is not. The argument would be that he, his campaign and big media entered into an unholy alliance to promote him as a demigod, and a solution to all the problems of a complex society. At the same time, they censored information about his Chicago ties, and his congenital habit of selling out constituents to big business. Finally, they presented false stories about his opponents, hunted them down like dogs, and did their level best to destroy them and their families. You can only act on what you are told and they told you the big lie.

    This lie is symptomatic of the problem. It is reason enough to credit Pravda over WashPo when it comes to Obama and his enemies. In fact, it is patriotic to call big media traitors, because that is really what they are.
    ————————————————————

  81. Here is irrefutable proof that they lied and that lie was intentional:

    Posted by Erick Erickson (Profile)
    Tuesday, December 29th at 7:00AM EST
    6 Comments

    McClatchy Newspapers is the alleged “news” organization that runs terrorist propaganda out of Iraq as legitimate news. It’s Washington editor tried very hard to push local McClatchy reporters in North Carolina to write damaging stories on Blackwater. It hired anonymous Iraqis during the Iraq War to write lots of unverifiable stories about the horrors of American soldiers.

    Today, in another example of its bias, its national news feed runs the headline Who’s running the TSA? No one, thanks to Sen. Jim DeMint.

    Compare that to the Washington Post, which ran the identical story with the headline “Republican senator DeMint holds up nomination for TSA chief“.

    The McClatchy headline is not even true. In fact, it is objectively a lie.

    From the story itself, “Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) had not scheduled a floor vote on Southers before the Senate left town on Christmas Eve, and the Senate will not be back in session for another three weeks.”

    So Reid hasn’t even tried to schedule a vote.

    But what is most important is the reason for Jim DeMint’s hold on the TSA nominee. The nominee, Erroll Southers, has refused to go on record opposing the TSA from hooking up with a labor union. That’s right — the Obama administration is flirting with unionizing the TSA and Southers is refusing to say whether he supports or opposes the efforts.

    Remember the Department of Homeland Security votes in 2002? The effort by Max Cleland (D-GA) to let that department unionize sank his re-election bid. The public does not want federal agents charged with protecting them unionizing.

    We must prevent the TSA from operating like a trip to the DMV. Imposing union work rules would cripple an already burdensome airport experience. Jim DeMint is on the right side of this, despite McClatchy Newspapers and the White House trying to make him look like the bad guy.

  82. Puma-SF
    December 29th, 2009 at 2:21 am
    confloyd: Don’t even waste your time going there. TM and the rest of them are bottom of the barrel trash.
    &&&&&&&&

    Well, maybe her own site is lacking, but her contribution to HuffPo from 12/16/2009 does a good job of laying the blame for the lousy health care bill where it belongs. And she drops the “H” bomb (Hillary):

    “Would this be happening with Hillary? Her unflinching passion and purpose for health care reform, seen through her first failure, would have given us a leader who’d put political capital down to get it done. No, she wouldn’t have written the bill, learning from her mistake, but she would have laid out markers of what was expected and she would have fought tooth and nail to get it done right. She certainly wouldn’t have accepted a bill that put more burden on the American middle class, while not coming close to covering enough people to make it matter, with costs not contained. And she wouldn’t have stood by silently while the bill was crafted as a gift to bolster the insurance monopoly across this country. Oh, and Clinton would never have sold out women to a bunch of men willing to put our civil rights on the chopping block. She’d have worked with Republicans and conservative Dems to the end, but used reconciliation in a heartbeat to get a bill to the public that was actually good and actually meant health care reform. Whatever bill Obama ends up signing won’t be either. ”

    Here’s the link:

    huffingtonpost.com/taylor-marsh/its-not-lieberman-its-oba_b_393668.html

    It’s Not Lieberman, It’s Obama
    ==============================

    We’ve gone from the Teddy Kennedy health care bill to the Joe Lieberman bill.

    The Senate is proving it’s a failed institution if the Democratic majority can only support legislation that does nothing close to what its original intent. Senators are unwilling to stand up on principle rather than the holy writ of getting any win, no matter what it means. But the anger directed towards Joe Lieberman is off-base; where this failure lands is on the doorstep of Pres. Obama, an executive who can’t bring himself to lead.

    Pres. Obama is desperate for “a win” on health care (and everyone, especially Joe Lieberman, knows it), because he took for granted that it would be easy to get it done. Naive doesn’t even come close to the President’s miscalculation, but that’s what happens when you stand too long looking into the reflecting pool.

    A commenter who has frequented my blog, a Republican turned Obama Democrat, wrote this yesterday on my Facebook page:

    “Lieberman is disgusting. I’m furious with the entire Democratic party. To think I switched party for change, what a damn laugh. I agree with Howard Dean. vote down the bill in the Senate. Harry Reid is a creep and a sleaze. These guys all are just concerned with themselves, not the American people.
    Pres. Obama doesn’t care. It’s a win or bust for him, with the health care train now careening towards an end of the year crash.”
    &&& end quote &&&

    First Obama let the August recess come and go without a bill. Getting bested by Sarah Palin’s “death panels” squeal came next. The finale of getting beat by Joe Lieberman having operatic overtones, given Joe’s recent history with progressives in Connecticut. Mr. Obama doesn’t care about the details as long as he can say he beat seven presidents who failed that came before him. He’s betting history won’t remember the minutia; it will simply be written that it was Barack Obama who got it done.

    He never expected Dr. Howard Dean to throw a rhetorical grenade in the middle of his end of the year finale.

    What it all illustrates is that the Democrats now in the majority don’t have the moral purpose for this fight. They’re not Republicans, who actually are willing to go down fighting, no matter how wrong they are on any given issue.

    Talking about his grade the first year with Oprah, Pres. Obama said he’d give himself a B+. With a health care “win,” in his eyes, he goes up to A-. If you’re judging through the lense of ego gratification, I’d say he’s right.

    Late yesterday NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell reported that abortion is still a sticking point, with Sen. Nelson wanting his own Lieberman prize, but Jonathan Cohn says not so fast.

    “One interesting question is how Republicans Olympia Snowe and, maybe, Susan Collins fit into this picture. She was unhappy with the Medicare buy-in plan, saying she opposed the idea in principle and didn’t appreciate the rush to concoct a compromise. But that effort is now over. The bill that remains looks remarkably like the one that passed the Finance Committee. As you may recall, Snowe voted for that bill.
    The great advantage of recruiting Snowe is that she supports abortion rights. Remember, she joined the majority of Democrats in voting against Nelson’s amendment that would have introduced language prohibiting the coverage of abortion services within the new insurance exchanges. (Collins did, too.) That would actually produce a bill more liberal than the House alternative, at least on this one issue, with the differences to be settled in conference.
    &&& end of quote &&&

    This as Pres. Obama says, “We simply cannot allow differences over individual elements from meeting our responsibility to solve a longstanding and urgent problem for the American people.” To women, even some Republicans, reproductive rights aren’t simply “individual elements.” They are longstanding issues over which we have a charge to keep, even if Pres. Obama isn’t interested.

    Would this be happening with Hillary? Her unflinching passion and purpose for health care reform, seen through her first failure, would have given us a leader who’d put political capital down to get it done. No, she wouldn’t have written the bill, learning from her mistake, but she would have laid out markers of what was expected and she would have fought tooth and nail to get it done right. She certainly wouldn’t have accepted a bill that put more burden on the American middle class, while not coming close to covering enough people to make it matter, with costs not contained. And she wouldn’t have stood by silently while the bill was crafted as a gift to bolster the insurance monopoly across this country. Oh, and Clinton would never have sold out women to a bunch of men willing to put our civil rights on the chopping block. She’d have worked with Republicans and conservative Dems to the end, but used reconciliation in a heartbeat to get a bill to the public that was actually good and actually meant health care reform. Whatever bill Obama ends up signing won’t be either.

    The problem isn’t Joe Lieberman, who simply read the political wind to find no will from his adversaries for the fight. It’s Barack Obama. It’s easy to roll a politician whose only goal is a win, details be damned.

  83. rgb: if they end up tinkering with this bill to eliminate the take aways noted by Herbert which produce phantom savings, then it will not bend the cost curve anymore to use )to use their stupid fucking jingo). In that case, it needs to be re-scored by CBO prior to any vote on it. Will McConnell raise that argument? Consider the line of questioning Tapper never pursued. I used to think he was just being elitist to avoid drawing hard and fast conclusions by leaving the reader hanging with inuendo. I now believe he lacks the fundamental ability to connect the dots.

  84. Hillary is tireless. The boob is tired. He sounds more and more like “I want my pillow” George W. Bush every day:

    http://apnews.myway.com/article/20091229/D9CSP5F82.html

    After a sleepless, overnight flight to Oslo to accept the Nobel Peace Prize earlier this month, President Barack Obama made a not altogether surprising admission. He was tired. [snip]

    As a presidential candidate, Obama was known to get grumpy about grueling travel schedules, questioning why so many events had to be layered on top of each other and why the days had to be so long. He not only hated being away from his family for long stretches but, in his typically rational style, questioned the reasoning behind the craziness of the campaign trail. Aides came to dread having tell him about certain aspects of his schedule.

  85. rgb: that HuffPo article is pure unadulterated bullshit in my opinion. The truth is we have gone from Hillarycare which protected the American People to Obamacare which protects big business. That writer must be one of the 400 Obama shills paid to mislead the left wing audience of HuffPo. This bill is based on the Rezko deal cut by Obama with the industry in secret in the white house. Teddy Kennedy and Joe Lieberman have nothing to do with it.

  86. My last sentence was too strong. Kennedy had nothing to do with it. Lieberman was made to appear as if he was the killer of the public option, when in fact it was the White House who killed it ab initio–at the outset.

  87. Dave Barry’s year end hope and change review:
    http://www.miamiherald.com/living/columnists/dave-barry/story/1397654.html

    It was a year of Hope — at first in the sense of “I feel hopeful!” and later in the sense of “I hope this year ends soon!”

    It was also a year of Change, especially in Washington, where the tired old hacks of yesteryear finally yielded the reins of power to a group of fresh, young, idealistic, new-idea outsiders such as Nancy Pelosi. As a result Washington, rejecting “business as usual,” finally stopped trying to solve every problem by throwing billions of taxpayer dollars at it and instead started trying to solve every problem by throwing trillions of taxpayer dollars at it.

  88. Would this be happening with Hillary? Her unflinching passion and purpose for health care reform, seen through her first failure, would have given us a leader who’d put political capital down to get it done. No, she wouldn’t have written the bill, learning from her mistake, but she would have laid out markers of what was expected and she would have fought tooth and nail to get it done right. She certainly wouldn’t have accepted a bill that put more burden on the American middle class, while not coming close to covering enough people to make it matter, with costs not contained. And she wouldn’t have stood by silently while the bill was crafted as a gift to bolster the insurance monopoly across this country. Oh, and Clinton would never have sold out women to a bunch of men willing to put our civil rights on the chopping block. She’d have worked with Republicans and conservative Dems to the end, but used reconciliation
    ——————————-
    Forgive me RGB. I saw Huffpo, and the headline. I got so mad I did not read far enough down the page. Come back Shane, all is forgiven.

  89. wbboei
    December 29th, 2009 at 10:12 am
    My last sentence was too strong. Kennedy had nothing to do with it. Lieberman was made to appear as if he was the killer of the public option, when in fact it was the White House who killed it ab initio–at the outset.
    &&&&&

    Which is why “our good friend” Taylor Marsh called her op-ed piece, “It’s Not Lieberman, Its’ Obama”. She agrees with you that the blame goes to the top.

  90. admin
    December 29th, 2009 at 10:09 am
    Hillary is tireless. The boob is tired.
    &&&&&&

    Maybe Obama was under the impression that the presidency was an easy job, because you snap your fingers and everyone comes running. And then there are the long vacations. Maybe he only followed presidents going back to the 43rd, Slacker Rancher Nicknamy Guy.

  91. When I was musing about a script for a play in the theater of the absurd called Health Care Deform, I neglected to mention the inclusion of Ted Kennedy who was transformed by the magic of the written word from a drunken vainglorious skirt chasing lout he was in real life into Saint Teddy an estimable human being and a compassionate legislator committed to the betterment of humankind–whose name is uttered over the corpse of healthy care delivered to this nation by Barack Hussein Obama.

  92. “Obama was known to get grumpy about grueling travel schedules, questioning why so many events had to be layered on top of each other and why the days had to be so long.”

    ———————-
    Um…so he thought that once he stole the election he could sleep in until noon and then play golf the rest of the day?

  93. December 29, 2009

    Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates the Only Two Leaders in Washington Who Get More Positive Than Negative Ratings

    Most people are not familiar with Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell or John Boehner, but most of those who are give them negative ratings

    NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Most of the ratings of leading political figures including Cabinet members and congressional leaders make for pretty dismal reading. “Are you familiar enough with each of the following to have an opinion regarding them?”

    A recent Harris Poll asked the public to rate the performance of eight leaders and both parties in Congress. Many people were not familiar with some of those on the list. Among those who were familiar with them, eight of the ten received more positive than negative ratings.

    These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,276 adults surveyed online between December 7 and 14, 2009 by Harris Interactive®.

    Most adults were not familiar with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (56%), Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner (57%), House Minority Leader John Boehner (72%) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (72%). Only half of all adults (49%) were familiar with Bob Gates.

    The two most favorably rated leaders were Hillary Clinton (48% positive, 34% negative) and Bob Gates (28% positive, 21% negative).

    Among those who were familiar with them, all of the other leaders rated had more negative than positive ratings:

    Vice President Joe Biden (42% negative to 30% positive);
    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (49% to 22%);
    Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner (29% to 15%);
    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (33% to 11%);
    House Minority Leader John Boehner (19% to 8%); and,
    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (20% to 8%).
    In addition, this Harris Poll asked the public what they thought of Republicans and Democrats in Congress. The replies to these questions, among those familiar with them, were overwhelmingly negative for both Democrats (50% negative and only 18% positive) and Republicans (50% negative and 14% positive).

    None of the ratings in this poll were very different from the ratings in September.

    So what?

    These findings confirm that only a minority of the public is familiar with more than a small number of leaders in D.C.; and that most people with opinions continue to hold much more negative than positive feelings about Washington and most of our Federal Government leaders. It is reasonable to expect this to continue until the economy is seen to be improving, which means that the numbers of unemployed are falling substantially (jobless growth is unlikely to make these numbers better).

    It is interesting that Hillary Clinton is the most popular leader in D.C., as were both Secretaries of State in the Bush Administration, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. Whether that is because fewer people blame them for the country’s economic and domestic problems or because they are often seen on a world stage, this survey does not tell us.

    cont…

    http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/permalink/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20091229005011&newsLang=en

  94. DECEMBER 28, 2009

    The Tyranny of the Majority Party

    If Democrats insist on passing unpopular laws, they won’t control Congress for long.

    By FRED BARNES

    Alexis de Tocqueville never met Harry Reid. Had he encountered the Senate Democratic leader—or President Barack Obama or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi—de Tocqueville might have learned about a new twist on his concept of the “tyranny of the majority.”

    The Frenchman toured America in the 1830s and published his conclusions in the classic “Democracy in America.” He noted the powerful impact of public opinion. “That is what forms the majority,” he wrote. Congress merely “represents the majority and obeys it blindly” and so does the president. They are free to brush aside minority opinion, creating a threat de Tocqueville described as the “tyranny of the majority.”

    Democrats in Washington do have large majorities in Congress. But instead of reflecting popular opinion, they are pursuing wide-ranging initiatives in defiance of the views of the majority of Americans. This stands de Tocqueville’s concept on its head.

    The most striking example is health-care reform. It is intensely unpopular but was approved by the House in November and the Senate on Christmas Eve. Asked in a Rasmussen poll in mid-December if they’d prefer no bill to ObamaCare, 57% said they would. Only 34% said they’d rather ObamaCare be enacted. Yet Democrats are forging ahead as if the public actually approves of their health-care reform. Why, when Republicans are preparing to hammer them on the issue in next year’s elections, would they do that?

    Democrats offer different explanations—besides their obsessive attachment to national health care—which suggests that they aren’t quite sure of the political fallout.

    After Senate Democrats locked up the 60th vote to assure Senate passage of ObamaCare, Mr. Obama sounded worry-free. Risk? What risk? The bill “is a major step forward for the American people,” he said. The president didn’t mention the public’s disapproval as expressed in countless polls. Vice President Joe Biden, in an op-ed in the New York Times, didn’t either. David Axelrod, a senior adviser to the president, is more realistic. While acknowledging bad poll numbers, he suggested recently on ABC’s “This Week” that enactment of sweeping health-care legislation will melt public misgivings. “The reality, I think, will trump poll numbers in the dead of winter as this debate is going on,” Mr. Axelrod said.

    Ms. Pelosi, too, is brimming with wishful thinking. “Now we will have the attention placed on the truly great things that are in the bill that we have in common,” she declared recently. And Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) told Politico, “When people see what is in this bill and when people see what it does, they will come around.”

    Then there are the martyrs. Doing a reverse de Tocqueville, willingly endangering one’s political career by voting for ObamaCare, hasn’t fazed Democrat Michael Bennet, the appointed senator from Colorado. He was asked by CNN’s John King whether he’d vote for ObamaCare “if every piece of evidence tells you, if you support that bill, you’ll lose your job.” Mr. Bennet said “yes.” Mr. Bennet isn’t the only potential martyr. A Democratic strategist told Byron York of the Washington Examiner that Mrs. Pelosi “believes losing 20 or even 40 Democratic seats in the House would be an acceptable price for achieving a goal the party has pursued since Franklin Roosevelt.” Now that Alabama Rep. Parker Griffith has bolted the Democratic Party, Republicans need 40 seats to capture control of the House.

    With large congressional majorities, Democrats decided to forget about Mr. Obama’s campaign theme of bipartisanship. They brook no compromise with Republicans and forge ahead on issue after issue—health care, cap and trade, Guantanamo, spending, the deficit—despite the public’s mounting disapproval. That arrogance shaped the economic stimulus passed in February. Republicans wanted tax cuts to spur investment and create jobs. Democrats rejected that idea and enacted a huge increase in spending. As unemployment continued to rise, public opinion turned against the stimulus. Nonetheless, House Democrats passed a new, smaller stimulus bill last week with the same emphasis on spending.

    Large majorities create what de Tocqueville called a sense of “omnipotence.” This leads to overreaching and spawns dubious ideas. Since Democrats believe they will benefit from passing any sort of health-care bill regardless of public opinion, they’re committed to passing anything they can call a “historic” achievement. That makes little sense.
    With history in mind, cutting procedural corners becomes acceptable. Thus Democrats have set arbitrary deadlines, scheduled post-midnight votes and put limits on debate, all in the name of achieving a breakthrough.

    Not that such behavior is anomalous. To pass a Medicare prescription drug benefit in 2003, Republicans kept the House vote open for three hours to round up votes. Unlike ObamaCare, however, the drug benefit had popular support.

    This is not the first time in recent memory when a sizeable congressional majority, feeling self-sufficient, ignored popular opinion at its peril. In 1995, Republicans, led by newly installed House Speaker Newt Gingrich, shut down the federal government in their fight over spending with President Bill Clinton. The public sided with Mr. Clinton, and the clash spurred his re-election in 1996.

    William Daley, who was Mr. Clinton’s Commerce secretary and is the brother of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, worries that Democrats are doing now what Republicans did then: provoking a public backlash. Democrats must “acknowledge that the agenda of the party’s most liberal supporters has not won the support of a majority of Americans,” he wrote last week in the Washington Post. “Either we plot a more moderate, centrist course or risk electoral disaster not just in the upcoming midterms but in many elections to come.” “I regard as impious and detestable the maxim that in matters of government the majority of a people has the right to do everything,” de Tocqueville wrote roughly 175 years ago. But what about a congressional majority—which lacks a mandate from a majority of Americans—seeking to do everything? The Frenchman might have dubbed that the “tyranny of the minority.”

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703478704574612630389421904.html?mod=rss_Today's_Most_Popular

  95. Hillarys job performance numbers are net 14% positive over negative, with no help from the media. By extrapolation, if the undecideds were presented with the facts, the spread would be 20% positive over negative.

    Obama job performance numbers are a mere 4% positive over negative, and only because he has a lapdog press willing to prop him up every time he makes a mistake.

  96. DISTURBING TREND…

    …reveals vacuum at the top. The phone rang at 3am, no answer, just a message:

    “Sorry, no one is home right now. No one is ‘watching the country’. Like the song, ‘Vacation, had to get away…’. I’m tired and need a rest, and to work on my golf game. Leave a message if you like; see ya in a couple of weeks.”

    This also has this nice analogy to W.:

    Without naming names, the White House also put blame at the feet of the departed Bush administration even as Obama’s speech-to-golf-course moment Monday conjured up memories of President George W. Bush on a golf course angrily decrying recent suicide bombings in Israel and capping off his remarks with, “Thank you. Now watch this drive.”

    politico.com/news/stories/1209/31021.html

    Handling problems the Obama way
    ===============================

    By CAROL E. LEE
    12/29/09

    HONOLULU — There is a sense of déjà vu in the Obama administration’s response to the attempted terrorist attack on Christmas Day. A by-now familiar pattern has been established for dealing with unexpected problems.

    First, White House aides downplay the notion that something may have gone wrong on their part. While staying out of the spotlight, the president conveys his efforts to address the situation and his feelings about it through administration officials. After a few days, the White House concedes on the issue, and perhaps Barack Obama even steps out to address it.

    That same scenario unfolded over the summer, when Obama said Sgt. James Crowley, a white Cambridge, Mass., police officer, “acted stupidly” when he arrested Henry Louis Gates Jr., a black Harvard professor, in his own home. It happened in March when the public was outraged over AIG dishing out hefty bonuses. More recently the public witnessed the dynamic after a security breach at President Barack Obama’s first state dinner.

    But the fact that the issue now is a terrorist incident — albeit an unsuccessful one — makes the stakes much higher, and the White House’s usual approach more questionable. That this test of his leadership comes while he’s on vacation in tropical Hawaii further complicates things.

    After delivering his first public remarks Monday about a Nigerian man’s attempt to blow up a Northwest Airlines jetliner over Detroit, the president motorcaded to the golf course at a nearby country club. Optics aside, it had taken Obama three days to issue a statement on the incident, and the administration was left struggling to control the message.

    By the time Obama addressed the public with a brief televised statement, his critics had made such headway that the White House was left with this lede in the New York Times: “President Obama emerged from Hawaiian seclusion on Monday to try to quell gathering criticism of his administration’s handling of the thwarted Christmas Day bombing of an American airliner as a branch of Al Qaeda claimed responsibility.”

    It’s the kind of story the White House might have avoided if Obama hadn’t waited so long to forcefully react to the incident.

    Critics on the right have predictably seized on his response as a sign of weak leadership. After Obama spoke Monday, Benjamin Friedman, a research fellow for defense and homeland security at the Cato Institute, said his remarks did not do a great job of calming the public.

    “He didn’t try that hard,” Friedman said. “He just made that comment that we ought to be confident, but he didn’t really go into much detail about why we ought to be confident.”

    But Obama’s aides say that a measured approach is Obama’s style. The president has said as much himself. When asked at a news conference in March why it took him days to respond to the AIG bonuses, Obama snapped: “It took us a couple of days because I like to know what I’m talking about before I speak — alright?”

    Over the past few days that reticence created a vacuum his critics were only too happy to fill. As Obama let things play out, Republicans slammed him for not addressing Americans about the situation and Congress called for hearings on the matter. The White House released updates on how he was monitoring the situation, as well as background guidance to reporters to help shape the narrative. Obama’s chief spokesman, Robert Gibbs, was already scheduled to be on Sunday news shows, and National Security Council chief of staff Denis McDonough said it was Obama’s idea to also dispatch his Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, to explain what was going on.

    But both Napolitano and Gibbs seemed to carry a message that the White House quickly backed away from Monday morning — that “the system worked.”

    Gibbs said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that “in many ways, this system has worked.” Napolitano also said “the system worked.” But by Monday morning she was on NBC’s “Today” show explaining that her words had been taken out of context and that she was referring to what happened after the incident occurred. “Our system did not work in this instance,” she explained clearly.

    The comments of Gibbs and Napolitano — whether planned or unplanned — did not come off as being slips of the tongue, as when Vice President Joe Biden advised Americans against traveling on airlines after the swine flu outbreak, and Gibbs later cleaned up the message by explaining what Biden meant to say.

    The decision for Obama to leave the talking to his aides in the aftermath of the attempted terrorist attack was not “standard operating procedure,” McDonough said after Obama’s statement Monday.

    “We thought it made sense for him to handle it in that way and then we thought today was a good opportunity for the president to go out there,” McDonough said. “We don’t really have a standard operating procedure for when is best to go out.”

    The White House pushed back against criticism that the president was not properly engaged.

    McDonough told reporters that Obama is getting at least half a dozen briefings a day — a morning briefing with administration officials about the Northwest Airlines incident and five paper briefings, two from the National Counterterrorism Center and three from the Situation Room.

    “The president has been very engaged on this, has been leading our response effort, asking agencies to take a variety of steps including all the steps he outlined today,” McDonough said. “He recognizes that it’s very important that we communicate to the American people what we know and the steps that we’re taking.”

    Without naming names, the White House also put blame at the feet of the departed Bush administration even as Obama’s speech-to-golf-course moment Monday conjured up memories of President George W. Bush on a golf course angrily decrying recent suicide bombings in Israel and capping off his remarks with, “Thank you. Now watch this drive.”

    “Obviously the procedures and the protocols employed in this instance are ones that we’ve inherited that had been built over the course of several years since 2003,” McDonough said. His comments echoed Obama, who pointed out that the review he ordered of the government’s terrorist watch-list procedures is of a system that “our government has had in place for many years.”

    “In general, I think that the president’s inclinations as a leader work fairly well for this issue — no-drama Obama,” Friedman said. “In some ways Al Qaeda is trying to be relevant and trying to be politically relevant, and in some sense they achieved that. He’s denying them that relevance by acting like it’s not the No. 1 thing on his agenda. We credit them with more power and credibility than they have.”

    Obama heading to the golf course, Friedman said, “signals that it’s not a crisis, and he’s the president and he has a lot of things to do and this is just one of them.”

    There are times when the Obama White House has responded swiftly. When Somali pirates captured the American captain of a merchant vessel, the president appeared engaged from the start. After the Air Force One flyover that brought back memories of Sept. 11 throughout Manhattan, the White House quickly apologized and Obama’s aides informed reporters that he was furious when he learned about it.

    But other times the administration seems to have a tin ear.

    The White House refused to accept any responsibility for the security breach at last month’s state dinner — allowing the Secret Service to accept complete fault — even after it became clear that Obama’s social secretary, Desiree Rogers, had nixed a practice to have an East Wing staffer with the Secret Service verifying names on a guest list. Only after mounting pressure did the White House quietly order an internal review and reinstate that procedure.

    And for days, as controversy over Obama’s “acted stupidly” remark about the Cambridge police officer continued to swirl, the White House downplayed its significance. Indeed on the Friday after he uttered it, Gibbs still defended Obama’s remark and told reporters in his office that they had heard the last from the president on the issue. But a few hours later, Obama interrupted Gibbs during his daily briefing and stepped to his podium to apologize for his remarks and offer up the now famous “beer summit.”

    Obama will continue to monitor the aftermath of the Northwest Airlines incident with close advisers and top aides. But Americans probably won’t see more of Obama at a podium speaking about the issue again this week as he continues to balance his family vacation with his duties as commander-in-chief.

    McDonough left reportrers with the impression that if the public sees Obama again in Hawaii he’ll likely be heading to the golf course or the beach. “We haven’t really talked through when he’ll go out, but you guys — I’m sure you’ll see him,” McDonough said half-jokingly

  97. From the above Politico piece, note this little inaccuracy:

    “There are times when the Obama White House has responded swiftly. When Somali pirates captured the American captain of a merchant vessel, the president appeared engaged from the start.”

    Ummm, no, he wasn’t. Not engaged. Had to be forced to act. The military were getting testy that they weren’t getting green-lighted to act, and had get action at the White House by leaks to the press.

  98. He is handling the terrorist plot abominably. His comments that this is an isolated incident/terrorist is ridiculous to the extreme. Where did this guy come from? Where/who trained him? Al Queda has it’s fingerprints marked all over this keystone cop situation.

    His comments on Iran are equally ridiculous. Does he think that by all of a sudden supporting the dissidents and calling on Iran to protect their rights that Iran is going to just nod and say okay, whatever you want?

    For every potus issue that he has had to deal with, this guy has taken the lazy way out. He has been a day late and a dollar short as he continually blames the previous potus for all his own mistakes.

    He may have inherited the economic downturn, but no one can tell me that this huge deficit he and the dims are amassing have done anything but make things so much worse.

  99. O’Riley, whom I could never stand,(see also Hannity, Beck, Hume, and that token lib they use ot have Colmes ) wrote an op ed complimenting the Obamas at their hospitality at Holiday party….he is a opportunist and has greatly lessened his attacks on Obama .

  100. EUGENE ROBINSON CRITICIZES, EVER SO GENTLY

    realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/12/29/the_system_needs_fixing_99706.html

    The System Needs Fixing
    =======================

    By Eugene Robinson

    WASHINGTON — Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano’s initial assessment of the Christmas Day airliner attack — that “the system worked” — doesn’t quite match the absurdity of “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” But only because she quickly took it back.

    A system that allows a man identified to U.S. officials as a potential threat — by his own concerned father — to board a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit with powerful explosives sewn into his underwear? That lets this man detonate his bomb as the plane prepares to land, igniting a potentially catastrophic fire? That depends on a young, athletic passenger to be seated nearby? That counts on this accidental hero to react quickly enough to thwart the terrorist’s plans?

    If that’s how the system works, we need a new system.

    Don’t misunderstand. I’m not blaming the Obama administration for Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s alleged terrorist attack, and it would be reprehensible for anyone to try to use the incident to score political points. The White House is guilty only of defensiveness in not immediately recognizing the obvious: We have a problem. Actually, we have two problems.
    [SNIP]

    go to link for the full deal.

  101. jbstonesfan

    December 29th, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    ——————-

    I remember how tough he was when he interviewed Hillary during the primaries and how he just about genuflected to bambi with his inane/soft questions.

  102. birdgal
    December 29th, 2009 at 10:58 am
    -15 today.
    ************

    I believe in reality they are much lower. It’s the Holidays and people are all over the place, New years around the corner. People are really too stressed out right now to think about another bumming thing.

    The only reason the Dow has been going up is that the Gov is intentionally forcing people to gamble with their money by keeping rates done. Cash is losing much to inflation. This game can not go on much longer.

  103. from BP
    **********

    TSA All the Way

    Naturally, between his swimming, biking, gift-opening, long walks on the beach, contemplative time for photo ops on the shore at sunset, eating, reading the comics, playing with the kids, playing with Bo, reading me, naps, and shopping, Big Guy is focused like a laser on national security right now.

    His main concern is this story we’ve been hearing about out here in Hawaii about this fellow from a foreign land who tried to blow up a plane. Big Guy was on the phone with Bruno, his head of Homeland Security, and she/he said that everything was under control and that everything had worked according to plan.

    And by plan, he/she meant fooling this African fellow – who by the way has no ties to our Administration whatsoever, just in case anyone cares to read the authoritative background check we did on him before we took a deep sigh of relief – into believing he’d successfully gotten passed our security net to bring highly explosive underwear on board an international flight, and then put our super-secret civilian patrol on duty to take him out mid-flight. Big Guy said that didn’t sound like much of a plan, but as Bruno said, it worked just fine. And she was right.

    Big Guy said it was amazing what Americans could do when government got out of the way and let them protect their lives and future on their own terms. He said he wished they’d do more of that every day here at home.

    Unfortunately, something tells me that’s exactly what they’re going to do, oh, in about 11 months.

  104. Correct Jan H….his treatment of Hillary was bully like. He is a despicable person whom only cares about his ratings and wallet.

  105. O’Riley, whom I could never stand,(see also Hannity, Beck, Hume, and that token lib they use ot have Colmes ) wrote an op ed complimenting the Obamas at their hospitality at Holiday party….he is a opportunist and has greatly lessened his attacks on Obama .
    ————————
    The worst kind of charlatan.

  106. U.S. concerned about new Japanese premier Hatoyama

    By John Pomfret
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Tuesday, December 29, 2009; A08

    While most of the federal government was shut down by a snowstorm last week, there was one person in particular whom Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called in through the cold: Japanese Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki.

    Once he arrived, Clinton told him in blunt, if diplomatic, terms that the United States remains adamant about moving a Marine base from one part of Okinawa to another. That she felt compelled to call the unusual meeting highlights what some U.S. and Asian officials say is an alarming turn in relations with Japan since Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama led an opposition party to victory in August elections, ending an almost uninterrupted five decades of rule by the Liberal Democratic Party.

    Since the election, a series of canceled dinners, diplomatic demarches, and publicly and privately broken promises from the new government has vexed senior White House officials, causing new concern about the U.S. friendship with its closest Asian ally. The worry extends beyond U.S. officials to other leaders in Southeast Asia, who are nervous about anything that lessens the U.S. security role in the region.

    A pledge of assertiveness

    At the center of concern are Hatoyama and his Democratic Party of Japan. Hatoyama had campaigned on promises he would be more assertive than previous Japanese leaders in dealings with the United States. He and his coalition partners opposed parts of a $26 billion agreement between the two nations to move the Marine base to a less-populated part of Okinawa and to transfer 8,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam.

    The United States has seen the moves as central to a new Asian security policy to assure Japan’s defense and to counter the rise of China. But Hatoyama and his allies saw the agreement as the United States dictating terms, and wanted the base removed.

    Increasingly, U.S. officials view Hatoyama as a mercurial leader. In interviews, the officials said he has twice urged President Obama to trust him on the base issue and promised to resolve it before year’s end — once during a meeting between the two in Tokyo last month and another in a letter he wrote Obama after the White House had privately expressed concerns about the Japanese leader’s intentions.

    On Dec. 17, Hatoyama officially informed the Obama administration that he would not make a decision about the air base by the end of the year. He told Clinton the news in conversation at a dinner in Copenhagen at the conclusion of the United Nations climate-change summit.

    After the dinner, Hatoyama told Japanese reporters that he had obtained Clinton’s “full understanding” about Tokyo’s need to delay. But that apparently was not the case. To make sure Japan understood that the U.S. position has not changed, Clinton called in the Japanese ambassador during last week’s storm, apparently having some impact.

    “This is a thing that rarely occurs, and I think we should take this [Clinton’s action] into account,” the ambassador told reporters as he left the State Department.

    Hatoyama’s moves have befuddled analysts in Washington. So far, most still think he and his party remain committed to the security relationship with the United States.

    They explain his behavior as that of a politician who is not accustomed to power, who needs to pay attention to his coalition partners — one of which, the Social Democratic Party of Japan, is against any U.S. military presence in the country. They note that Hatoyama has put money aside for the base-relocation plan in Japan’s budget and that other senior members of his party have told their U.S. counterparts they will honor the deal.

    Shifting policy?

    But some U.S. and Asian officials increasingly worry that Hatoyama and others in his party may be considering a significant policy shift — away from the United States and toward a more independent foreign policy.

    They point to recent events as a possible warnings: Hatoyama’s call for an East Asian Community with China and South Korea, excluding the United States; the unusually warm welcome given to Xi Junping, China’s vice president, on his trip to Japan this month, which included an audience with the emperor; and the friendly reception given to Saeed Jalili, the Iranian national security council secretary, during his visit to Japan last week.

    Michael Green, senior director for Asia at the National Security Council during the Bush administration, said the concern is that senior officials in Hatoyama’s party with great influence, such as Ichiro Ozawa, want to push Japan toward closer ties with China and less reliance on the United States. That would complicate the U.S. position not just in Japan but in South Korea and elsewhere.

    “I think there are questions about what kind of role Ozawa is playing,” Green said, adding that Ozawa has not been to the United States in a decade, has yet to meet the U.S. ambassador to Japan, John Roos, and only grudgingly met Clinton during an earlier trip to Japan.

    “The prevailing view is that this is basically a populist, inexperienced government sorting out its foreign policy,” he said, “but now there is a 10 to 20 percent chance that this is something more problematic.”

    U.S. allies in Singapore, Australia, South Korea and the Philippines — and Vietnamese officials as well — have all viewed the tussle between Washington and Tokyo with alarm, according to several senior Asian diplomats.

    The reason, one diplomat said, is that the U.S.-Japan relationship is not simply an alliance that obligates the United States to defend Japan, but the foundation of a broader U.S. security commitment to all of Asia. As China rises, none of the countries in Asia wants the U.S. position weakened by problems with Japan.

    Another senior Asian diplomat, speaking on the condition of anonymity in order to be candid, noted that recent public opinion polls show Hatoyama’s approval rating slipping below 50 percent, while Obama remains popular.

    “Let’s hope Hatoyama gets the message that this is not the way to handle the United States,” he said.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/28/AR2009122802271.html?hpid=topnews

  107. The Open Hand, Slapped
    By Richard Perle

    The American Interest
    Friday, January 1, 2010

    A friend as troubled as I am at President Obama’s mounting misadventures in foreign and security policy said, “I hope he knows what he’s doing.” I hope he doesn’t.

    I hope he doesn’t because I prefer the alternative explanation: that he has spent nearly a year getting it wrong out of inexperience, naiveté, the distraction of an aggressive domestic agenda and an inflated sense that he can charm our adversaries into submission. If this is how we are to understand the President’s Plan A–ill-conceived approaches toward the Middle East, the Americas, our European allies, nuclear proliferation and strategy, Iran, Russia and human rights–there is some hope that eventually reality will intrude and he will move to a very different Plan B.

    After all, even Jimmy Carter, whom Barack Obama increasingly resembles, discovered after three years as President that he had failed to grasp the reality of the dictators in Moscow and Tehran. And while Carter’s loss of innocence came too late for the Afghan victims of Soviet aggression or our embassy staff in Tehran, he did, in his last year, careen toward a Plan B that included an armed rescue attempt and at least arrested a sharp decline in defense spending.

    Unlike the hapless Carter, Obama after only a year in office has enough runway in front of him to take off in a new direction. He would have help. Hillary Clinton is much tougher than Cyrus Vance, whose abhorrence of force, and faith in diplomacy, led him to resign over the plan to rescue American hostages. James L. Jones could manage a turnaround far better than Zbigniew Brzezinski, who surely knew better but, having little in common with his President, was largely ineffective. Robert Gates would not lament a burst of realism in defense affairs, and I suspect Richard Holbrooke would be thrilled.

    Obama would certainly enjoy public support for more robust policies. Opinion surveys show that the American people are uncomfortable with his dithering and his incessant apologizing, and growing weary of the high ratio of talk to action. The Nobel Peace Prize highlighted the paucity of results from Obama’s first year, causing many to reflect on what he has actually accomplished. And while the left wing of the Democratic Party would likely resent any shift toward a policy that mainstream America would welcome, Obama’s sharply declining approval among moderates and independents will sober all but the Party’s lunatic fringe.

    But what if Plan A is not the product of inexperience and naiveté (with a dash of incompetence)? What if we are witnessing the deliberate, measured implementation of a deeply entrenched ideology reflecting such influences as the scarcely acknowledged Bill Ayers and the once inconveniently visible Reverend Jeremiah Wright? What if they shaped Obama’s worldview in the years when they were ministering to and counseling a young, charismatic politician? Americans have never been tempted to elect a “blame America first” President, and they did not think they were doing so last November. Indeed, 17 percent of Obama voters said they considered him a “conservative.” Now they are not so sure.

    The key elements of Obama’s foreign and defense policy are the belief that we must “engage” our adversaries and cultivate our allies (after a cathartic admission of what he sees as America’s shortcomings and misdeeds). Now, there is nothing unusual about the idea of engaging adversaries. Every American President has done so. The most fruitful and effective engagements have been those in which diplomacy was conducted from a position of strength and clear purpose: Think of Ronald Reagan and the four Soviet leaders he dealt with. Nor is it unusual to cultivate allies; indeed, it would be unusual not to.

    But Obama’s approach to engaging adversaries has none of the signs of operating from strength. On the contrary, he appears as an anxious supplicant. Consider his “engagement” with Iran and Russia. In the case of Iran, the Administration has been practically begging the Iranians to talk while appeasing them with near indifference to the theft of an election, brutality against the regime’s opponents and continuing support for terrorism. In the case of Russia, the absurd “reset” button hoopla must have astonished the Kremlin leaders–but not nearly so much as the abrupt decision to scrap missile defense deployments in Poland and the Czech Republic, alarming both governments with an unmistakable message: Moscow once again has a say in the policies of two sovereign states, both allies of the United States and members of NATO.

    Obama’s approach to Moscow smacks of appeasement, an eagerness to accommodate unreasonable Russian positions made worse by an exaggerated focus on refurbishing the antique arms control arrangements of the Cold War while embracing a utopian vision of a world without nuclear weapons. The predictable results are already emerging: Moscow gleefully accepted the abandonment of the Polish missile defense deployment and shortly thereafter conducted an in-your-face military exercise in which Russia “invaded” Poland. The exercise included the use of nuclear-capable aircraft.

    Obama’s Russian agenda is, but should not be, the mirror image of Putin’s American agenda. That is why it is missing any hint of a strategy to oppose Russian intimidation of its former but now independent republics or its erstwhile “allies.” While we are busy engaging Moscow in arms control negotiations, Georgia, Ukraine, the Baltic States and others are increasingly apprehensive that an American President is oblivious to the danger a resurgent Russia poses to their freedom and independence.

    As for working with allies, Obama seems to think that his popularity with Europeans is not just the beginning, but the end of the story. He has managed in his first year to humiliate Gordon Brown, annoy Nicolas Sarkozy, offend Silvio Berlusconi, and leave Angela Merkel lukewarm, at best. He seems not to grasp that popularity does not count for much when working on hard issues like getting help from our allies in Afghanistan or closing Guantánamo. Obama’s idea, trumpeted during the campaign, that he would abandon his predecessor’s “unilateralism”, retrieve America’s standing, and go on to elicit the allied cooperation that eluded George W. Bush, was naive. Moreover, it wrongly assumed that Bush actually preferred unilateral action. In fact, Bush acted without the support of allies only when allied policies left him no choice. As Obama is in the process of discovering, allied support sometimes requires either abandoning or diluting American security interests. There will be times when the price of that support is prohibitive.

    The President’s conceit–that he can charm adversaries and mobilize allies–has so far proven empty. His belief that an open hand will be seen as an expression of good will to be reciprocated is simply wrong. Unless it is part of a larger strategy, an outstretched hand runs the risk of conveying weakness. Take Venezuela as a case in point. Obama was all smiles with Hugo Chávez, even as Chávez presented him with–and Obama accepted with thanks–the “gift” of an anti-American diatribe. This was followed by a number of taunting moves from Chávez–from Castro, Putin and Ahmadinejad, too–all of which demonstrated that the outstretched hand had earned not good will, but contempt.

    If, as I hope, Obama simply did not understand how to use American power to achieve American objectives, there is hope that his dismal first year will see the scrapping of Plan A and the adoption of a better Plan B. But if he believes against all evidence in Plan A and sticks with it, we–and many who depend on us–will almost certainly come to regret it.

    http://www.aei.org/article/101469

  108. REv. Manning has an idea why O’Reilly seems to fall all over himself for Obama. It seems there is some kind of a lawsuit against O’Reilly from a woman. I betch Axelrod has the full details and O’Reilly doesn’t want it out in the publics view.

Comments are closed.