The Obama Threat To National Security

The slow learners need help to understand. American prosperity and the American economy are in danger. We are sure to be attacked, once again, as deficit hawks and worriers. But let the facts speak. Slow learners will kill us all.

Three articles from very recent days put into perspective the danger Americans face. The articles are not in alarmist news outlets nor from right-wing perspectives. The three articles do outline the dangers.

First Gerald Seib at the Wall Street Journal discuses the deficit:

The federal budget deficit has long since graduated from nuisance to headache to pressing national concern. Now, however, it has become so large and persistent that it is time to start thinking of it as something else entirely: a national-security threat.

The budget plan released Monday by the Obama administration illustrates why this escalation is warranted. The numbers are mind-numbing: a $1.6 trillion deficit this year, $1.3 trillion next year, $8.5 trillion for the next 10 years combined—and that assumes Congress enacts President Barack Obama’s proposals to start bringing it down, and that the proposals work.

These numbers are often discussed as an economic and domestic problem. But it’s time to start thinking of the ramifications for America’s ability to continue playing its traditional global role.

American military power, American power itself is based on American prosperity. Slow learners will recite this truth by rote, but without understanding. Let’s understand and help out the slow learner in chief:

The U.S. government this year will borrow one of every three dollars it spends, with many of those funds coming from foreign countries. That weakens America’s standing and its freedom to act; strengthens China and other world powers including cash-rich oil producers; puts long-term defense spending at risk; undermines the power of the American system as a model for developing countries; and reduces the aura of power that has been a great intangible asset for presidents for more than a century.

We’ve reached a point now where there’s an intimate link between our solvency and our national security,” says Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and a senior national-security adviser in both the first and second Bush presidencies. “What’s so discouraging is that our domestic politics don’t seem to be up to the challenge. And the whole world is watching.”

Seib bullet points the dangers of deficits for the slow learner:

• They make America vulnerable to foreign pressures.

The U.S. has about $7.5 trillion in accumulated debt held by the public, about half of that in the hands of investors abroad.

Aside from the fact that each American next year will chip in more than $800 just to pay interest on this debt, that situation means America’s government is dependent on the largesse of foreign creditors and subject to the whims of international financial markets. A foreign government, through the actions of its central bank, could put pressure on the U.S. in a way its military never could. [snip]

• Chinese power is growing as a result.

A lot of the deficit is being financed by China, which is selling the U.S. many billions of dollars of manufactured goods, then lending the accumulated dollars back to the U.S. The IOUs are stacking up in Beijing.

So far this has been a mutually beneficial arrangement, but it is slowly increasing Chinese leverage over American consumers and the American government. At some point, the U.S. may have to bend its policies before either an implicit or explicit Chinese threat to stop the merry-go-round. [snip]

• Long-term national-security budgets are put at risk.

This year, thanks in some measure to continuing high costs from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. will spend a once-unthinkable $688 billion on defense. (Before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, by contrast, the figure was closer to $300 billion.)

Staggering as the defense outlays are, the deficit is twice as large. [snip]

These national-security budgets have been largely sacrosanct in the era of terrorism. But unless the deficit arc changes, at some point they will come under pressure for cuts.

• The American model is being undermined before the rest of the world.

This is the great intangible impact of yawning budget deficits. The image of an invincible America had two large effects over the last century or so. First, it made other countries listen when Washington talked. And second, it often—not always, of course, but often—made other peoples and leaders yearn to be like America.

Seib hopes for a commission to lead us away from the economic threats but what Americans require is leadership.

David E. Sanger at the New York Times has also written how huge Deficits May Alter U.S. Politics and Global Power:

In a federal budget filled with mind-boggling statistics, two numbers stand out as particularly stunning, for the way they may change American politics and American power.

The first is the projected deficit in the coming year, nearly 11 percent of the country’s entire economic output. That is not unprecedented: During the Civil War, World War I and World War II, the United States ran soaring deficits, but usually with the expectation that they would come back down once peace was restored and war spending abated.

But the second number, buried deeper in the budget’s projections, is the one that really commands attention: By President Obama’s own optimistic projections, American deficits will not return to what are widely considered sustainable levels over the next 10 years. In fact, in 2019 and 2020 — years after Mr. Obama has left the political scene, even if he serves two terms — they start rising again sharply, to more than 5 percent of gross domestic product. His budget draws a picture of a nation that like many American homeowners simply cannot get above water.

For Mr. Obama and his successors, the effect of those projections is clear: Unless miraculous growth, or miraculous political compromises, creates some unforeseen change over the next decade, there is virtually no room for new domestic initiatives for Mr. Obama or his successors. Beyond that lies the possibility that the United States could begin to suffer the same disease that has afflicted Japan over the past decade. As debt grew more rapidly than income, that country’s influence around the world eroded.

The dangers are very real to all but the slow learner. The not very bright Barack Obama is a slow learner in everything except how to advance himself and play Joe Cool to the former high school geeks who now work at Big Media. But even some at Big Media now speak out on the danger of Obama’s policies:

Or, as Mr. Obama’s chief economic adviser, Lawrence H. Summers, used to ask before he entered government a year ago, “How long can the world’s biggest borrower remain the world’s biggest power?

The Chinese leadership, which is lending much of the money to finance the American government’s spending, and which asked pointed questions about Mr. Obama’s budget when members visited Washington last summer, says it thinks the long-term answer to Mr. Summers’s question is self-evident. The Europeans will also tell you that this is a big worry about the next decade.

Obama, we have noted for years, recites words by rote for which he has no understanding. Obama told West Point cadets at one of his publicity stunts, “Our prosperity provides a foundation for our power.” “It pays for our military. It underwrites our diplomacy. It taps the potential of our people, and allows investment in new industry.” Words, but no understanding. Words but willful disregard of their meaning. Slow learner. During the campaign Obama would steal Hillary Clinton’s language and position but he has never attained Hillary’s understanding of the meaning of her words. Obama is not ready on Day 1 or even Day 1 plus a year. Slow learner.

His prescription is that the problem has to be made worse, with intense deficit spending to lower the unemployment rate, before the deficits can come down. [snip]

But with this budget, Mr. Obama now owns this deficit.

Even Obama lovin’ Politico understands, at least the politics, of the “busted budget”.

President Barack Obama’s new $3.83 trillion budget is a chickens-come-home-to-roost moment for Democrats who skipped past the deficit to tackle health care last year and now risk paying a heavy price in November.

The great White House political gamble was to act quickly — before the deficits hit home — and institute major changes which proponents say will serve the long-term fiscal health of the country. Instead, a year of wrangling and refusal to consider more incremental steps have brought Obama and Congress to this juncture, where waves of red ink threaten to swamp their boat and drown reform altogether.

Early last year we stated that the Obama plan was to deceive the nation with gimmicks, pass scam after scam to help Dimocrats with the 2010 elections – all before the numbers emerged and sensible people could see the numbers. It has taken Politico this long to write what has been obvious all along. In all scams the goal is to stay a few minutes ahead of the police. For Obama, the police are banging on the door.

“They are sending a toy firetruck to combat a five-alarm fire,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).

The timing could not be harder for Democrats, who must complete passage of the $1.9 trillion debt ceiling increase this week.

Old party fissures are reopening. In the Senate last week, fiscal moderates, many of them junior senators, joined Republicans in backing what would be tougher spending limits than the president’s budget proposes. At the same time, the president’s increased war funding for Afghanistan has reopened the “guns vs. butter” divisions in his party.

To show discipline, the White House is betting heavily on the symbolism of a three-year freeze on domestic discretionary spending accounts totaling about $447 billion annually. [snip]

Just a year ago, the president’s 2010 defense budget requested $130 billion for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and only $50 billion in 2011. The new budget ramps up 2010 spending to $163 billion and, for 2011, requests $159 billion in overseas contingency funds for the military.

This reverses the drop in war-related spending seen in fiscal 2009, which ended Sept. 30 and was a transition year of sorts between the two administrations. When compared to the peak war spending of the Bush years, Obama is only about 10 percent below Bush’s annual average of $176 billion in fiscal years 2007 and 2008 — the time of the Iraq war surge.

Core defense spending is also feeling the strain, and the president’s $549 billion request reflects less than 2 percent real growth over inflation.

At a time when Obama is emphasizing job creation, this sets up what could be bitter election-year fights with Democrats about plans to halt C-17 and Humvee production important to employment in California and Indiana — two battleground states in the fall.

Obama’s greatest risk is that his “freeze” becomes only a symbol — more cute than cutting.

In designing its cap, the administration has a built-in cushion because about $6 billion in 2010 census spending won’t have to be repeated in 2011. It also took advantage of a scorekeeping convention allowing it to claim a $4.5 billion “savings” within the Justice Department by capping expenditures from the Crime Victims Fund.

In the case of Education, Pell Grants for low-income college students are treated as a mandatory cost outside the cap. And while NASA’s budget makes some high-profile changes — canceling the always-doubtful Constellation program — the agency’s budget still goes up by about $275 million.

All this can seem too clever against the great constant of a deficit that threatens to set new records, topping $1.55 trillion in 2010.

The $5.08 trillion in red ink over the next five years is $1.32 trillion, or 35 percent more than the White House predicted 12 months ago — worse even than current projections by the Congressional Budget Office.

Revenues continue to lag, even after Obama’s budget claims credit for about $120 billion in unrealized receipts from health care reform. In fact, two-thirds of the deficit deterioration can be traced directly back to lower revenues and the high cost of the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

An entire year has been wasted, added to the eight years of George W. Bush.

‘The president should have a tougher plan to address our fiscal crisis,” Gregg said, “because this budget will solve nothing.”

Americans are slow learners. Eight years of Bush, incurious and inexperienced, was not enough. Dimocrats and Big Media forced through self-interested and inexperienced Obama, and Americans forgot the lessons eight years taught.

To stop the threats to American National Security, a leader is needed. Her voice must be heard. Her experience must be put to work to save the nation and indeed, the world.


114 thoughts on “The Obama Threat To National Security

  1. above video was removed by the “user’

    It’s always about the debt. Who ever controls the debt, controls the Country…World…

  2. That is why it is so important for America to get out of this debt. This 4 trillion dollar budget, they should all resign.

    Americans will tighten their collective belt for America and good causes as long as we know where the money is actually going, like Clinton’s Foundation. But these goon’s. I really trust so few of them I find it actually hard to trust any of them. Term limits, term limits, term limits…

  3. Sen.-elect Scott Brown may be sworn in Thursday

    Republican Massachusetts Senator-elect Scott Brown
    CAPTIONBy Elise Amendola, AP
    Updated 2:55 p.m. ET.

    Sen.-elect Scott Brown, the Republican who won last month’s upset victory in Massachusetts, appears likely to be sworn in tomorrow — a week earlier than originally anticipated.

    A spokesman for Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said in a statement that the governor will certify the results of the Jan. 19 special election tomorrow and a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Brown could take his seat as early as tomorrow afternoon.

    Brown’s lawyers wrote Patrick today, asking that he be seated immediately because of pending Senate votes this week.

    “While Senator-elect Brown had tentatively planned to be sworn into office on February 11, he has been advised that there are a number of votes scheduled prior to that date,” the letter reads. “For that reason, he wants certification to occur immediately.

    “As he is the duly elected United States Senator from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, he is entitled to be seated now.”

    The issue of when Brown would be seated took on added significance after the election because President Obama’s health care legislation was still pending in the Senate. Brown will give Republicans the 41 votes they need to block controversial bills.

    But while the health care legislation has stalled, the Senate has been taking other key votes. For instance, the Senate voted last week to raise the nation’s debt ceiling and is expecting several confirmation votes later this week.

    Brian McNiff, a spokesman for Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin, said official results have been transmitted to Patrick’s office today and that he expects the governor to certify them tomorrow.

    Patrick spokesman Kyle Sullivan said in a statement that Brown’s paperwork should be finalized by 11 a.m.

    “Once we have his certificate, there is no reason why he can’t be sworn in tomorrow afternoon,” said Jim Manley, a Reid spokesman.

  4. You know, I may disagree with the uber-fiscal-conservatives on a lot of other stuff, BUT I think that in this crisis I will cheer them on. It’s going to take strong medicine and those with a stiff unyielding spine to put the brakes on this MADNESS. Unfortunately, Hillary is not in a position to do it.

    Rep. Paul Ryan ate Geithner’s lunch at the hearing today. BTW, those “bond vigilantes” he refers to are those buying our debt – like China that admin referred to. He clearly outlines the danger, and calls BS on this budget. Good for him.

  5. Okay, this is the last Paul Ryan video I’ll post. I’m not endorsing him. BUT – I mentioned on this board over a year ago to WATCH THIS MAN on the GOP side. I am a long-time political observer, and I objectively recognize a political winner when I see one, whether I fully agree or not. He will run for president at some point. Mark my words, if the GOP has a lick of sense, they will get behind this guy. He’s a star. He’s down-to-earth, clear, and unafraid. And he’s not an old geezer. You heard it here first.

    He talks about who America is, what we stand for with great passion here. If the GOP is smart, they will put him on the stump in 2012.

  6. Hillary the ‘soothsayer’ in reality speak to Obama and Edwards at the debates. Hillary was right about them all along.

    Enough time has passed giving hindsight a clear vision of what Obama’s election has cost us…

    Hillary cleans Edwards clock (left him drooling spittle)
    ….. accurately predicting things to come, if (she is) not elected…

    Hillary explains what “CHANGE” is ALL about!
    Unfortunately, Iowans picked a pig in a poke as their change candidate/president, rather than a proven candidate. A sure thing if Hillary is elected….

  7. HFT – I agree with you on Paul Ryan…he has the whole package…and youth…if the repubs were smart they would have him out front more and more…could have VP potential…I believe he just turned about 40…

  8. JanH
    February 3rd, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    Great video, Jan. Thanks for posting.


    H4T… Paul Ryan is touching the right nerves-

  9. JanH, Thankyou for posting this video. I really enjoyed and also looked to see it was just post on Jan5th. Well lets hope she runs.

    As I looked at all those video’s of campaign stops you can clearly see who her constituents are “its the blue dogs”, “lunch bucket dems” or the “Reagan Dems”.

    I also noticed one of the videos, she stated “everybody wants to know what Hillary wants”, she told us and I think I now know why she is still working and working for Obama at that. This woman never gives up, just as we haven’t. I imagine the republicans know that and that why we need to be careful of them.

    She knew that Brazoid and company thought they did not need the “lunch bucket” dems anymore and she wanted as she stated in the video “she wanted us (her constituents) to count and be recognized. She knew that the lefties wanted us out of the party and that is why she is still working hard for us in what ever way she can. I pray she will run again and she and her image will not be destroyed by the bots and the republicans.

  10. Gah, I can’t stand that smarmy video of Edwards – sucking up to the hopey changey O to double-team that “old status quo” Hillary.

    The entire country should be made to watch that damn debate again – and to realize how FUCKING stupid they were to buy a SLOGAN rather than a grown-up hard worker. How do you like it, America, that you swooned over a sexual PIG and liar and his flim-flam man partner in “hope” and poo-poohed the boring old work ethic of a goddamn LEADER? Idiots.

  11. Mrs. Smith,

    I am so glad you are feeling better. Those are great videos you just posted. I had forgotten how strong this wonderful woman was during those biased debates in favor of the idiot and his pets.

  12. Admin: This is a good article.

    I do want to ask a question though, clearly in one of the video’s posted about Ryan and Gienther, I thought I heard Timothy say that he worked in Clinton’s administration and helped fix it mess that Bush I left?? Is that right??

    If he and Clinton, along with Summers and rest were able to fix this mess the last time, why are they getting so much resistant now?? It doesn’t make sense. Especially since we all agree that Bill Clinton’s administration was a very good one and we all agree that Hillary’s would have been good. She probably would have selected these same guys. MY guess is that Hillary would not have attempted to do it all at once like Obama has done, but it is exactly what Bill Clinton did. He had many irons in the fire too, but quickly changed after the 94′ loss.

  13. HillaryforTexas
    February 3rd, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    Of course, he’s from Wisconsin, where it’s 1950 everyday. I say that tongue in cheek, I know we had a few not so good ones…McCarthy comes to mind, the commie in every lunch pail McCarthy.

    Yes, I was born and raised cheese head! So you can guess how happy I was when Favre threw his usual interception in the NFC wearing his VikQueen outfit.

  14. Mrs Smith

    I remember that “debate’. I was so proud of her and it was exactly at that debate I realized what a creep Edwards was. Clearly he and the Fraud were tag teaming her and the stooge Richardson was not far behind.

  15. Gonzotex, So you were happy when Farve threw his last interception, LOL!! I kept thinking about what you said about him, but since I am old and broken down xray tech competing with the younger, healthier xray techs I have to admit I was rooting for the old guy. VikQueen outfit, ROTFLMAO!!

    I can’t even watch those videos of Edwards the (get me a diaper)jerk. That kid of his looks just like him.

  16. Confloyd, Rahm Emanuel worked in the Clinton White House. Hillary kicked him into a basement cubicle when he screwed up.

    We’ve addressed the “recipe” issue before. Just because you have the recipe and the ingredients does not mean you don’t need the best cook. Bill Clinton and Hillary originally hired some of the people Obama hired, but these employees did well when they were working for Bill and Hillary. Obama can hire all the Clinton people in the world; Obama can hire all the geniuses in the world – But, But, the problem is the boob at the top.

  17. Wow!! They got some pretty interesting stuff HB on Katy Couric. They say she is about to be fired. I will not cry for her. The boys of at HB have some racy pics of old Katy. Well worth a visit to see her.

    I will NEVER forget her asking Hillary about the boys in high school calling her the “refrigerator”. Well, by the looks of the pics over at HB we know what kind of girl Couric was in high school, certainly not of the class of Hillary Rodham.

  18. admin, agreed. He’s no Julie Childs is he! You just can’t get any better than Bill, Hillary and according to the book Al Gore. It’s a thing called leadership.

  19. admin, on second thought the whole situation with hiring all the economic brains of the Clinton administration and putting anybody (Obama) at the top clearly proves that the folks that run Bambi never considered that Bill Clinton had much to do with the economy and thought they could slip in the money changers and get the same affect. Guess they have figured out it won’t work without a Clinton at the helm leading. Run, Hillary Run.

  20. Katie Couric is a female Fraud. She was awful to both Hillary and Sarah and WTF has she done to help people in her life? Freaking nothing. A morning show really doesn’t count. Maybe the on air colonoscopy, but then she was always full of shit.

  21. Yeah, the “cook” analogy. Or try football: you can assemble various talented players, but if there is no coach to come up with a gameplan and keep them all in line, the stupid egos run amok.

    Hill and Bill are like Bear Bryant: they know how to win, how to use all those players (even the flawed ones) in the right way. Obama is like the snooty little rich boy who thought just because he could buy a team and draft some “stars”, he could forge a championship.

    No, you boob, that takes leadership – and you have zero of that quality. All your “stars” are running around doing cocaine with the hookers and having dogfights instead of knuckling down at practice. Bear woulda kicked their ass and made ’em work. You? No clue, you boob.

  22. Ahmandenijad is apparently saying he is going to deliver a blow to globalists on Feb. 11th. This guy is just plain nuts. I hope Israel is going to take care of this nut soon.

  23. Couric is one nasty a** kisser always trying to ingratiate herself to the newz anchor boyz. Katie simply put is an overachieving underachiever. Garbage in- Garbage out-

    I can see from the opines, we are all focused and on the same page. Frauds beware…

  24. JanH, sorry I had to go watch this weeks White Collar (we record it).

    Anyway, I have to admit, by the middle of that video, I was crying and mad at the same time. Her words are always you you you, you are the reason, we can do this together. I don’t see her use too many I. How this country did not realize what they had, I will never know. Again, Thanks for posting it.

  25. Gonzotex, That was some video about Tom Campbell. I guess you’ve seen Kay Bailey’s. I don’t even watch the dems. They are running White against the Palestinian. White has already lost once. The dem’s aren’t investing their money in Texas.

    I like Kay and always have. I don’t like the transtexas highway so Perry is not my favorite.

  26. Clinton regrets actions of Americans held in Haiti


    Wednesday, February 3, 2010

    WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday that the attempt to bring undocumented children out of Haiti by 10 American missionaries now detained in the country was “unfortunate” and that they should have followed proper procedures.

    Clinton told reporters at the State Department that the Americans should not have taken matters into their own hands by bringing children from earthquake-ravaged Haiti to the Dominican Republic and should have followed proper adoption procedures. She said U.S. officials were in discussions with Haitian authorities about how to resolve the case.

    “The Haitian nation acted to protect children who were being removed from their country without appropriate documentation,” she said. “We have worked with the Haitian governent over the last two-and-a-half, three weeks to help facilitate and transport children who are properly documented as having an adoptive family or guardianship waiting.”

    “We know how to do this in the right way,” Clinton said. “It was unfortunate, whatever the motivation that this group of Americans took matters into their own hands. As you know, they have been charged with breaking the laws of Haiti and we are engaged in discussions with the Haitian government about the appoproiate disposition of their cases.”

    The 10 Baptist missionaries are currently being held in a Port-au-Prince jail pending a judge’s decision on how to proceed. Haitian Prime Minister Max Bellerive has suggested the Americans could be prosecuted in the United States because Haiti’s shattered court system may not be able to cope with a trial.

    “We will be working through the questions that the Haitian government has,” she said, “and looking for the best way forward on this.”

  27. Clinton vetoes Iran prisoner swap

    The US has rejected Iran’s suggestion of a prisoner swap for several Iranians jailed in the US for the three American hikers currently being held in Iran.

    US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the hikers should be released immediately on humanitarian grounds. Her remarks came a day after Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suggested that talks were under way regarding such a swap.

    Mrs Clinton called Iran’s allegations against the hikers “unjust”.

    Iranian officials have previously alleged that the three were spying.

    “There are no negotiations taking place between the United States and Iran. We believe they should unilaterally release our detained citizens,” Mrs Clinton said at the State Department after a meeting with Bahrain’s foreign minister.

    The three hikers were jailed in Iran in July for allegedly straying across the country’s border while hiking in Iraq. The case of the hikers is not comparable to those of Iranians PJ Crowley told Reuters news agency earlier.

    “There is not really an equivalence, if you will, between, say an Iranian citizen who has been indicted and/or convicted of arms trafficking in violation of international law and three hikers who wandered across an unmarked border,” he said.

  28. Looks like things are heating up between Israel and Iran.
    DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 3, 2010, 10:12 PM (GMT+02:00)Tags: Egypt Iran Israel US-Iran

    Israel Saar-5 missile boatArab voices were fanning Middle East war fever Wednesday night, Feb. 3. debkafile’s military sources report that not only are Syrian leaders beating war drums – Syrian foreign minister Walid Muallem said in Damascus: “Israelis, do not test the power of Syria since you know the war will move into your cities” – but Egyptian military sources have put out information purporting to outline Israel’s preparations to strike Iran.
    They report that the Israeli Navy together with the US Fifth Fleet have for some weeks been charting Persian Gulf waters and Iranian shorelines in preparation for attacks by Israeli naval and special operations forces.

    IDF intelligence and special forces officers, they also say, have been marking out routes for their air and ground forces to drive into Iran and hit its nuclear installations.
    According to these Egyptian sources, Saudi Arabia has demanded clarifications from Washington about reported US-assisted Israeli preparations to strike Iran and asks why they were not brought to the notice of Riyadh and the Gulf Arab governments.
    The Saudis added that several Gulf intelligence and naval units had tracked Israeli movements and gathered documentary evidence.
    Some of this information was leaked in Cairo Wednesday night to Shorouk, a publication which Egyptian intelligence often uses as an outlet for information held to be credible.
    Shorouk was first out with the story of the Israeli Air Force attack on Iranian arms convoys in Sudan in January 2009

  29. I made a mistake and would like to retract my smug comment about someone I saw just for a moment on tv last Sunday. It was the Paul Ryan featured here. I am so sick of slick politicians and that is how he seemed to me, especially if one of those talking heads are fawning over him. The post about Giannoulias got me down, I can’t believe the people of Ill let him get the nomination, but I have read that they are disheartened, I can’t blame them. Anyway I apologize for misjudging Representative Ryan.

  30. Looks like Iran and Hezbollah have battle plans to invade Israel.

    DEBKAfile Special Expose February 1, 2010, 9:19 AM (GMT+02:00) Jones was not talking out of the top of his head, but on the strength of solid US intelligence gathered over months on detailed war plans Iran, Syria, Hizballah and Hamas have drawn up to send five Hizballah brigades sweeping across the border to seize five sectors of Galilee, while also organizing a massive Israeli-Arab uprising against the Jewish state.
    Hamas would open a second front in the south and in the east. Syria is expected to step in at some stage.
    This plan with attached special map was first published exclusively by DEBKA-Net-Weekly 430 on Jan. 22, 2010. Key excerpts appear here.

    Iran’s Revolutionary Guards instructors at especially established training facilities near Tehran are already well advanced in training a cadre of 5,000 Hizballah fighters in special operations and urban combat tactics to standards equivalent to those current in similar US and Israeli military forces.

    At the outset of the course, the group was split up into five battalions, each given a specific northern Israeli sector for capture with details of its topography and population for close study.
    (See attached map).

    1st Battalion:
    This unit will break through the Naqura-Rosh Haniqra border pass and sweep south along seven kilometers to seize Nahariya, the Israeli Mediterranean city of 55,000 – or parts thereof.
    UN peacekeepers have their headquarters at Naqura, the other side of Rosh Haniqra, and Israel defenses there are lax, so no military or geographic obstacles to this Hizballah drive are anticipated. This battalion will capture a large number of Israeli hostages for use as live shields against an Israeli counter-attack
    A small group of 150 fighters, trained by Revolutionary Guards marines, will also try and reach the coast by swift boats. They are already standing by in Lebanon.

    2nd Battalion:

    This unit is assigned to capture the northern Israeli town of Shlomi, 300 meters southeast of the Naqura border pass and home to 6,500 inhabitants. Holding this town and its environs will give Hizballah control of a key road hub and stand in the path of Israeli reinforcements heading for Nahariya through routes 89 and 899 from key Israeli bases in the Galilee and Upper Galilee regions to the east. (See map).

    3rd Battalion:

    Driving further south than any other Hizballah unit, this battalion must reach the three Israeli-Arab villages of B’ina, Deir al-Asad and Majd el-Krum, which are located north of the town of Carmiel and alongside Israel’s Route 85 which connects Acre on the Mediterranean with Safad in the central Galilee mountains.

    Iranian war planners want Hizballah to control the three Israeli-Arab locations for two advantages:

    One: As a commanding position for stirring up the disaffected Israeli-Arab villages and towns of Lower Galilee and Wadi Ara to the south into a full-blown uprising. The incoming combat force will be backed up by clandestine Hizballah cells which for some years have established, armed and funded the underground “Galilee Liberation Battalions” in Sakhnin, Araba and Deir Hana, by means of drug smugglers.

    Hizballah’s West Bank cells have been active for some time in the Wadi Ara region, through which National Route 65 connects central Israel to the North.
    Two: To gain fire control of Acre-Safed Route 85 from positions in occupied Arab villages and so have a shield ready for the Hizballah units holding Nahariya and Shlomi, and seriously impede the passage of Israeli forces from bases in the center of the country to relieve these northern towns. The Israeli Air Force will be constrained from attacking the areas held by Hizballah by the presence of large civilian populations.

    4th Battalion:
    This battalion will push southeast into the Kadesh Valley, on the rim of which the Makia and Yiftah kibbutzim and Makia moshav are clustered. Capture of these locations would afford Hizballah fire coverage of Israel’s northernmost Galilee Panhandle.

    5th Battalion: Hizballah’s Strategic Reserve.

    Rocket attacks from Lebanon will focus on disabling Israel’s strategic military sites, such as air force bases, missile bases, its nuclear facilities and naval bases. Targeting Israeli population centers is a lower Iranian priority.
    Syria’s initial involvement will be limited to cover by artillery or air for Hizballah operations. But if the fighting escalates or drags on, Hizballah will invite Syrian back-up forces to go into Lebanon; Damascus will open Front No. 4 against Israel from the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.

    The Tehran-Hizballah war strategy is all but ready for any contingency. The obvious trigger would be an Israeli military operation against Iran’s nuclear facilities, but once all the elements are in place, they could be activated by any other pretext conjured up in Tehran or Damascus.

    In recent weeks, both Hizballah and its Syrian allies have mobilized their forces while telling the Arab world that the Jewish state is about to attack Lebanon.
    Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah is straining at the leash to attack Israel however the crisis over Iran’s nuclear program turns out.
    Sunday, January 17, he said: “I promise you, in view of all the threats you hear today… that should a new war with the Zionists erupt, we [the Lebanese resistance movement] will crush the enemy, come out victorious, and change the face of the region.

    “God willing, Israel, the occupation, hegemony, and arrogance are in the process of disappearing!”

    Nasrallah was not alone in anticipating a troubled year for the Middle East

  31. The Winner’s Circle. Just like the candidates, some consultants did better than others in the Feb. 2 primaries in Illinois.
    For the Democrats, Chicago-based media firm Adelstein Liston and direct-mail firm the Strategy Group were big winners with clients such as newly minted Senate nominee Alexi Giannoulias and marketing consultant Dan Seals, the party’s nominee in the open-seat race in the 10th district.

  32. Puma-SF, use a Sham-WOW for the tears. 🙂

    Imagine the police when they read Obama his constitutional rights: “You have the right to remain silent.” Obama will be torn between self-incrimination and logorrhea.

  33. Watch Senator Gregg (R-NH) take on the brilliant White House Budget Director Peter Orszag when he tries to slip one past Gregg and his colleagues. Oh did I forget to mention that Orszag is brilliant–albeit ethically challenged just a tecth. But since he is Harvard trained (whatever the hell that means) he is by definition infallible–even though he is usually 180 out.

    “No! No! No!” he yelled out. “You can’t make that type of statement with any legitimacy. You cannot make that statement.”

    Gregg then held up a guideline for the TARP, which he helped write in 2008 to keep the country from further economic collapse.

    “This is the law,” he said. “Let me tell you what the law says. Let me read to you again because you don’t appear to understand the law. The law is very clear. The monies recouped from the TARP shall be paid into the general fund of the Treasury for the reduction of the public debt. It’s not for a piggy bank because you’re concerned about lending to small businesses and you want to get a political event when you go out and make a speech in Nashua, N.H.”

  34. admin
    February 3rd, 2010 at 10:08 pm
    Football fans, you will not be spared:

    how dare he violate footballs sacred day? fans will not be amused or happy to see his overexposed puss. this is a time away from the day-to-day for most folks. BO, GET OFF MY TV!!

  35. February 04. 2010

    Attorney general defends terror charges

    Atty. Gen. made call on civilian court for bomb plot suspect after informing top intel officials

    Nathan Hurst and Deb Price / Detroit News Washington Bureau

    Washington — Ten top national security and intelligence officials were informed more than a day before suspected terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was indicted under federal charges for trial in a civilian court, a top White House official said Wednesday.

    Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. said Wednesday that he personally made the decision. “I made the decision to charge Mr. Abdulmutallab with federal crimes, and to seek his detention in connection with those charges, with the knowledge of, and with no objection from, all other relevant departments of the government,” Holder said in a letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

    Among the Washington heavy-hitters in the Situation Room when that decision was made, according to Robert Gibbs, White House press secretary: Dennis Blair, the national director of intelligence; FBI Director Bob Mueller; CIA Director Leon Panetta; Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano; and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

    The revelation that a multitude of top intelligence officials were involved in the decision to read Abdulmutallab his Miranda rights and to offer court-appointed representation comes after weeks of growing criticism from legislators on Capitol Hill.

    The critics, including Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, derided the decision as detrimental to the task of getting additional information from the suspected terrorist.

    But on Tuesday, Blair told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that Abdulmutallab had in fact resumed talking to investigators. “We got good intelligence,” Blair said. “We’re getting more.”

    Family aided cooperation
    Blair’s comment tipped off a frenzy in the Capitol, where it was assumed that Abdulmutallab had kept silent since shortly after his arrest.

    Later Tuesday, a senior Obama administration official said Abdulmutallab was being cooperative because his family had been convinced to help American officials in the investigation. Abdulmutallab is accused of attempting to detonate an explosive on board Flight 253 from Amsterdam shortly before the flight’s Christmas Day landing at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

    The official said that on Jan. 1, “two experienced counter-terrorism agents from the FBI flew to Lagos, Nigeria” where they met with officials from the State Department, CIA and others before heading to Abuja, the Nigerian capital, to interview family members.

    In Abuja, some of Abdulmutallab’s family members were convinced to help investigators, and on Jan. 17, they flew to the United States. Though Abdulmutallab hadn’t cooperated with investigators since his release from University Hospital in Ann Arbor, the senior Obama administration official said the family members were able to approach the suspect with investigators and persuaded him to talk.

    The official would not say if a plea deal was in the works for Abdulmutallab, as some news outlets have reported, or if the suspect’s family members were still in the United States.

    Gibbs, the White House press secretary, said Wednesday that the suspect “has not been offered anything.” Gibbs, however, said the Justice Department was taking his cooperation “into consideration.”

    Handling draws criticism
    U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Holland, the ranking Republican of the House Intelligence Committee, criticized the Obama administration Wednesday for revealing that the suspect has been talking to U.S. officials.

    “(Al-Qaida) had a false sense of security hearing that (Abdulmutallab) had stopped talking,” Hoekstra said. “Now they are hearing he’s talking again. So they can go back and say, ‘What did he know. Let’s make sure nothing he can say can be used against us.’ ” Hoekstra said he expects to hear what the terror suspect has said at a classified briefing today for members of the House Intelligence Committee.

    In his letter to McConnell, the attorney general defended his office’s handling of the case. “The decision to charge Mr. Abdulmutallab in federal court, and the methods used to interrogate him, are fully consistent with the long-established and publicly known policies and practices of the Department of Justice, the FBI, and the United States government as a whole,” Holder’s letter read. “… They are among the many powerful weapons this country can and should use to win the war against al-Qaida.”

  36. Another hard working day for Hillary yesterday.Her popularity and demand get greater each and every day.Mean while the HOCUS POTUS becomes a very unwanted “Persona non Grata”


    President’s Interagency Task Force Paves New Path of Engagement Against Trafficking in Persons

    Posted: 03 Feb 2010 12:27 PM PST

    About the Author: Ambassador Luis CdeBaca is a Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State and serves as the director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, which assesses global trends, provides training and technical assistance, and advocates for an end to modern slavery.

    Today, Secretary Clinton chaired the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the Department of State. Although there have been yearly meetings of this entity that includes other members of the Cabinet, this is the first gathering under the Obama Administration.

    She was joined by the Attorney General, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Secretary of Labor, the Director of National Intelligence, and the USAID Administrator. Representatives from the White House, the Department of Defense, the Department of Education, the Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission also participated in the discussion.

    Secretary Clinton, who has been engaged on this human security issue since the 1990s, has played a key role in bringing human trafficking to the forefront of United States policy. As First Lady, she was instrumental in the development of the three “P” approach — prevention, protection, and prosecution — to combat this scourge. In the Senate, she fought to get resources for the fight against modern slavery. As Secretary of State, she is paving a new path of engagement on this issue to ensure that every person realizes the Constitution’s promise of freedom.

    To put this issue into broader context, human trafficking has cross-cutting implications throughout U.S. Government policy. In order to ensure the Obama Administration’s response and vision is realized, there is a great need for interagency cooperation. For example, the Department of Justice investigates, arrests, and prosecutes traffickers, working with the FBI and Department of Homeland Security to dismantle trafficking rings. The Department of Health and Human Services provides much-needed victim services. The United States Department of Agriculture and Department of Labor work to achieve slavery-free supply chains. This is an interactive web of ongoing work and today’s meeting was an important way to coordinate the collective United States Government’s effort against trafficking.

    Combating trafficking has not only policy implications, but most importantly, real life ones. As the President said in Tokyo, a young girl should be respected not for her body, but for her ideas. And, men, women, and children alike should be respected for their ideas and contributions to society that freely allows them to pursue their hopes and dreams. The United States commits to building on global partnerships and to working across borders and barriers to confront the traffickers. Strengthening our partnerships within the United States and throughout the world is integral to making progress against modern slavery and today’s discussion signified another step forward in our efforts to eradicate it once and for all.

    Related Content: Preview to Annual Meeting of the President’s Interagency Taskforce to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons

  37. ABM90:

    “Today, Secretary Clinton chaired the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the Department of State. Although there have been yearly meetings of this entity that includes other members of the Cabinet, this is the first gathering under the Obama Administration.”


    Again, Hillary is at the forefront of critical life altering issues. Nothing new for her. Hillary has been an advocate for children’s and women’s issues since she was our (authentic*) First Lady during her husband’s presidency in the early ninety’s.

    authentic*= someone we can be proud of..


    No points given for the First Lady of OBESITY.
    Give her another Chicago Pizza!

  38. The problems of deficits and debt, continued in the states:

    Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania, will consider Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection along with tax increases and asset sales as options to address $68 million in debt service payments due this year, the chairwoman of a City Council committee said last night.

    Every option, including tax and fee increases, bankruptcy and a state takeover through Pennsylvania’s Act 47 municipal oversight program will be considered, said Susan Brown-Wilson, chairwoman of the Budget and Finance Committee, which began a week of hearings last night to consider a 2010 spending plan.

    The $68 million in debt service payments that Harrisburg faces in connection with the construction of a waste incinerator this year is four times what the city of 47,000 expects to raise through property taxes, and $4 million more than the city’s entire proposed operating budget.

  39. New Mexico is a balance budget state, so we are not in debt to China. However, we have our legislation in session right now, and they are trying to balance the budget for the year. We have a big pot of money that we have put a side as a reserve and it is really being eyed right now to balance the budget. The legislature is trying to borrow from it to maintain the funding of the schools (which they know is a sellable rational). However, like every where else, once they borrow, will they ever put it back, or use it everytime they need it, thus hurting the fund, which will not be there later if we need it.

    In the discussion above, and the video posted here it brings us back to what happen with LBJ. He was the first President who BORROWED money from Social Security. As we know, they have now borrowed it all, and they are harrassing the American people about the SS being an entitlement program.

    How many time do we have to learn this lesson before we put a stop to it. Every state in trouble needs to bit the bullet, and go through some tough years to get out of debt, establish a surplus, and from now on balance their budgets every year.

    The Federal government needs to do the same. If you cannot afford something, you cannot do it.

    That is the way it is in most households.

  40. Today at the Prayer Breakfast Obama Said WHAT???!!!!

    Speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, President Obama appealed for a return to “civility” in politics, urging Americans to eschew personal and gratuitous political attacks.

    “You can question my policies without questioning my faith — or for that matter, my citizenship,” he said, a reference to persistent conspiracy theories about his national origins. h t m l



  42. Couric lobs soft balls at bambi but brutalized Palin and Hillary. Like most other prominent women last election, she betrayed strong women, whom without, a two bit hack lack couric would never be in the position she is in. Yet, if/when things son’t work out for her , she will play the gender card….

  43. alcina
    February 4th, 2010 at 4:47 am
    February 3rd, 2010 at 10:08 pm
    Football fans, you will not be spared:

    how dare he violate footballs sacred day? fans will not be amused or happy to see his overexposed puss. this is a time away from the day-to-day for most folks. BO, GET OFF MY TV!!

    People will enjoy seeing his mug on the tube, so they can throw things at the screen. Right now, he is not a popular person, contrary to what he almost certainly believes.

  44. Clinton calls parliament chief over bank data deal

    February 4, 2010

    EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS – US secretary of state Hillary Clinton has called EU parliament chief Jerzy Buzek to voice concern over a vote due next Thursday in which MEPs could scrap a deal allowing American investigators to track down terrorist funding via European bank transactions.

    Ms Clinton’s late-night phonecall to Mr Buzek comes on top of other efforts by the US administration to try and convince EU lawmakers not to reject the agreement.

    On Wednesday, US ambassador to Brussels William E. Kennard went to the European Parliament and held talks with several political group leaders and MEPs dealing with justice and home affairs. The day before, Stuart Levey, the under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, wrote an op-ed in Europolitics warning against the “tragic mistake” of scrapping the deal.

    The interim deal, which came into force provisionally on 1 February but still requires the European Parliament’s approval to be legally binding, allows US authorities to tap into intra-European bank transactions as part of anti-terrorist investigations.

    MEPs were infuriated when EU ministers agreed the interim deal with the US on 30 November last year, just a day before the bloc’s new rulebook, the Lisbon Treaty, came into force. The treaty give euro-deputies a greater say over data protection issues. The controversial deal was negotiated to help the US out of a legal hole, following the relocation of the US database of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (Swift) to the Netherlands on 1 January. It will only be in force until the end of September, allowing the negotiation of a full agreement, together with the EU parliament, in the intervening time.

    A majority against the deal seemed to be forming on Wednesday, when the second-largest group – the Socialists and Democrats – joined forces with the Liberals, Greens and far left to scrap the agreement.

    The parliament’s civil rights, justice and home affairs committee on Thursday (4 February) recommended that the plenary rejects the agreement. But parliament officials point out that this may be a “warning shot”, while the final vote next week could still be positive.

    The main argument of opponents to the deal was that the Parliament was sidelined in negotiations with the US authorities and the privacy guarantees for EU citizens were not satisfactory. They also pointed out that scrapping the interim deal now would give the EU a bigger leverage for the final agreement, as currently only 60-70% of the parliament’s recommendations on data protection have been taken into account.

    Accepting this threshold now would give the Americans a reason not to make more concessions in the final agreement, they argue. But supporters of the deal, especially within the parliament’s biggest group – the centre-right European People’s Party – point to the security gap if US authorities were to no longer receive Swift data until a final agreement is reached.

    In Brussels’ diplomatic circles, the parliament’s muscle flexing is seen with increased concern. “If it’s voted down, the US will be extremely frustrated. It’s not only about the security of Americans, it’s also about the security of European citizens. The data that they send back to us is very useful in preventing terrorist attacks,” one EU diplomat told this website.

    Another one even called the vote a “test case for the credibility of the parliament” and warned against “playing politics with the security of our citizens.”

    On the diplomatic side, the rebuff would add up to increasingly cooling relations between the EU and US after a highly enthusiastic start last year upon the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Earlier this week, the Spanish EU presidency had to cancel a planned EU-US summit after being notified that Mr Obama would not attend the meeting in Madrid.

    Swift in standby mode

    Meanwhile, at Swift, company officials are waiting for the parliament’s final say on the interim deal. “We have a situation where there is an agreement, but no legal basis on which Swift can be compelled to give information to US authorities,” Euan Sellar, the company’s spokesman told this website. He added that there was no request yet from the US side to send any information, after the company reconfigured its data structure on 1 January. “For us it’s a good agreement, it enables us to ensure that data of our customers is protected, we know who gets the data and how it’s used,” Mr Sellar added.

    Roughly 60 percent of the data processed by Swift is European, the rest is American and Asian.

    The company records international transactions worth trillions of dollars daily, between nearly 8,000 financial institutions in over 200 countries.

  45. The Fraud is a fool. Bringing up his birth certificate…it fuels the fire and I for one say…BRING IT ON BARACK (OR OUT)

    Laura is talking about it right now, and the fact that he doesn’t really talk about faith , only himself…surprise

  46. Re: HillaryforTexas
    February 3rd, 2010 at 10:14 pm
    I love your analogy using Bear Bryant. I attended the University of Alabama, my Alma Mater, when Bear was there. What I loved most about Bear was that he inspired those players and all the students. He did this while holding their feet to the fire to achieve academically as well as athletically with his No Pass – No Play. And he stuck to his guns. So often, I would see him on the stand watching his players practice; and he was a strong magnificent figure. He was a very grounded and principled man, unlike those in the Administration. And, after all these years Alabama Alumni hold him in high regard and respect for him has never diminished.

  47. Good Lord, the boob cannot even go to the National Prayer breakfast without making it a platform to whine and talk about me me me me.

  48. I guess Emanuel is still trying to recover from the R word.


    Obama Aide’s Fiasco Goes On, Despite ApologiesUpdated: 4 hours 28 minutes ago
    .Print Text Size E-mail More
    Carl Franzen
    (Feb. 3) – White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has long been known for his foul mouth and ferocious temper. But one particularly inelegant remark he made last fall resurfaced with a vengeance recently and may yet turn out to be the most contentious of his career.

    Emanuel is reported to have told several liberal groups their idea was “f—ing retarded,” during a political strategy meeting in August.

    The groups wanted to air attack ads against Democratic lawmakers who were unsupportive of President Obama’s health care reform initiative, which was already facing tough opposition from town hall protesters and Republicans.

    The Wall Street Journal’s Peter Wallsten broke the news of this incident last week in a story about Emanuel’s escalating conflicts with the progressive factions that make up Obama’s base. Now the story has taken on a life of its own, provoking a controversy across the political spectrum about the use of the “R-word.”

    AFP / Getty Images
    White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel met with disability advocates Wednesday to apologize for a remark he made last year, when he told several liberal groups their idea was “f—ing retarded.”
    Newly minted Fox News contributor Sarah Palin quickly responded via Facebook on Monday, calling upon the president to dismiss Emanuel as chief of staff for his “slur on all God’s children with cognitive and development disabilities – and the people who love them.” Palin’s son Trig was born with Down syndrome.

    On Tuesday, a White House official claimed in an e-mail to Politico that Emanuel apologized for his remark by telephone to Tim Shriver, chairman and CEO of the Special Olympics.

    Shriver was perhaps chosen to receive the apology because of his organization’s work with people with disabilities. Besides hosting the pre-eminent international competition for athletes with disabilities, the Special Olympics last year launched a public-awareness campaign to discourage use of the word “retarded,” which the organization calls the “R-word,” citing its frequent pejorative connotation and discriminatory context.

    As others have pointed out, this is actually the second time in less than a year the White House has run afoul of the Special Olympics. Back in March 2009, it was the President evaluating his poor bowling score (129) on the Jay Leno Show, saying it was “like the Special Olympics,” a remark for which he also apologized.

    One big problem with Emanuel’s mea culpa quickly arose, though: It wasn’t accepted, at least not at first. According to a spokeswoman for the Special Olympics, the White House’s initial statement that it was accepted was “inaccurate.”

    “Tim didn’t accept his apology,” the spokeswoman revealed to Politico today. “Tim can’t do that. He can’t accept an apology on behalf of all people with disabilities.”

    So Emanuel met with disabilities advocates later this afternoon, during which time he “sincerely apologized for his mistake and the pain it caused,” and pledged to join the “Spread the Word to End the Word” campaign. He also committed to using his capacity within the administration to examine “pending legislation in Congress to remove the R-word from federal law.”

    That has scarcely halted the heated debate within the punditry, however, many of whom have now turned to attacking one another for their respective positions on the use of the “R-word.”

    For example, The Atlantic writer Andrew Sullivan contested Palin’s call for Emanuel’s removal with a blog entry that has been deemed by one blogger to be “the ugliest post ever to appear on a highly trafficked, allegedly serious political blog.” While Sullivan claims not to like the term “retarded,” he defends Emanuel’s apology and accuses Palin of using the term frequently to poke fun at her own disabled son. Going further, he theorizes that she named Trig after the medical classification for Down syndrome, trisomy G.

    Rush Limbaugh, on the other hand, maintaining his longstanding aversion to political correctness, took the opportunity to redirect Emanuel’s controversial quote into an indictment of the media and the left.

    “I think the big news is the crack-up going on,” Limbaugh said on his radio show. “Our political society is acting like some giant insult’s taken place by calling a bunch of people who are retards retards. I mean, these people, these liberal activists are kooks, they are loony tunes. I’m not going to apologize for it, I’m just quoting Emanuel, it’s in the news.”

    Meanwhile, liberal commentators like Jane Hamsher at the blog FireDogLake are still waiting for Emanuel to apologize to the progressive groups he was addressing last August, in the tense meeting that started it all.

    Apologies notwithstanding, Emanuel’s offensive language appears scarcely forgiven, let alone forgotten. How long the matter embroils him and what effect it will have on the upcoming political climate, already gearing up for the 2010 midterm elections, remains to be seen.
    Filed under: Nation, Politics


    Katy Couric and other fluff “journalists” have access.

    Accountability you can believe in?

    Mr. Transparency?

    Or Mr. Invisible?

    Few News Conferences, but Still Taking Questions

    Published: February 3, 2010
    WASHINGTON — Over the last two weeks, President Obama has taken questions from unemployed workers in Ohio, students in Florida and a cancer survivor in New Hampshire. He took questions from YouTube users, Senate Democrats and even House Republicans. Almost everyone, it seems, but the White House press corps.

    After a year in office, Mr. Obama has managed to do what every modern president may have wanted to do but never did: effectively shut out the reporters who work just a few feet from the Oval Office. He has not had a full-scale White House news conference in seven months, the longest such stretch by any president in a decade. And he has made a practice of not taking reporters’ questions at day-to-day events, as other presidents did.

    None of that means that Mr. Obama has shielded himself from public scrutiny. But he has fundamentally altered the way a president deals with the news media. Instead of open-ended sessions with multiple reporters, he prefers one-on-one interviews, particularly with television anchors. He gives far more interviews than his two most recent predecessors did, reflecting the conclusion that the format is a more effective means for getting his message through.

    “He’s getting plenty of tough questions,” said Joe Lockhart, a press secretary for President Bill Clinton. “I just think they want to put him in environments where he can demonstrate both his mastery of the subject and make a compelling case for his agenda. A White House press conference isn’t at the top of that list. That’s just the reality.”

    The president’s strategy reflects the changing nature of the media as much as political calculation by the White House. Whereas the wire services, major newspapers and broadcast networks once dominated the White House briefing room, today they are hardly the only filter for news.

    Mr. Obama has made a concerted effort to tap into alternative avenues, including blogs, Internet videos, Facebook, Twitter, Spanish-language television and magazines oriented to African-Americans. He eats lunch with columnists and talks with ESPN and People. He was the first president to appear on the Jay Leno and David Letterman shows.

    “The power and influence among the press used to be concentrated in a small handful of people who sit in the first two rows of the White House briefing room,” said Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director. “And that’s no longer the case.”

    “On any given day,” Mr. Pfeiffer added, “an item on Huffington Post or The Drudge Report can be as influential as something in The New York Times or Washington Post.”

    Indeed, the White House press corps itself is evolving. The press pool that takes turns covering the president up close now includes Web-only publications like Talking Points Memo, The Huffington Post and The Daily Caller. And given the widespread disdain for the mainstream media, there seems to be no price to be paid for bypassing beat reporters, who risk looking like whiners if they complain.

    “I would never have been bold enough to say totally ignore the mainstream media when it comes to pool sprays,” said Ari Fleischer, a White House press secretary for President George W. Bush. “And what’s even more breathtaking is, he’s been able to carve out the mainstream media and he’s getting away with it.”

    Pool spray is the term for an event where a representative pool of journalists is brought in to record the president meeting with a foreign leader or discussing a policy initiative. Past presidents have typically taken two or three questions at such moments. Mr. Obama typically does not.

    During his first year in office, Mr. Obama took questions at pool sprays 46 times, compared with the 147 times Mr. Bush did and 252 times Mr. Clinton did in the comparable periods, according to statistics compiled by Martha Joynt Kumar, a professor of political science at Towson University.

    And while Mr. Obama had five full-scale White House news conferences early in his tenure, he has not had any since July, when he declared that the police had “acted stupidly” in arresting a black Harvard professor, touching off a racial furor that distracted from his health care message for days. Mr. Pfeiffer said the episode had nothing to do with the lack of White House news conferences since then, and Mr. Obama has held limited sessions with reporters on the road or jointly with foreign leaders.

    Still, the seven months without a formal White House news conference is longer than Jimmy Carter or either George Bush went without one. Mr. Clinton and Ronald Reagan, on the other hand, each went long stretches without one, most notably during the Monica Lewinsky and Iran-contra scandals.

    Mr. Obama has been much more expansive with interviews than either of them. In his first year, he gave 161 interviews, compared with 50 by Mr. Bush and 53 by Mr. Clinton in their first year in office.

    “In an interview, you talk about what you want to talk about,” Ms. Kumar said. “In a press conference, you talk about what the reporters want to talk about. That’s the difference and why you want to do one and not the other.”

    Mr. Pfeiffer said the White House media strategy was based on discipline. “We have done press conferences and we will do them again,” he said. But, he added, “you want to do these things when you have something to communicate, something to say, not just be a piñata for the press corps.”

  50. His unwillingness to hold real press conferences belies:

    a) he is not experienced or knowledgable
    b) imagine facing anyone without a teleprompter?
    c) he lied when he promised transparency
    d) the White House can try to spin this as “discipline”, but it shows weakness.

    The way Bush could only cover up incompetency for so long, Obama’s flaws can only be explained away for so long. And that fuse is growing shorter, as the public got tired of the manipulation treatment under Bush, and will now demand more right away. Only one year and the public already has their eyes trained on him.

  51. Admin:Thank you for your comment.I did catch her keynote speech on C-Span but I could not bare to watch Hocus Potus show his inexperience and bad judgement in almost every speech he throws at us to digest.Hillary never looked and sounded better than this keynote speech this am.I am sure she was chosen by her peers to show the world that “We could have and will have her as our NEXT PRESIDENT”
    mean time here is todays schedule and her verbal campaign speech.


    Daily Appointments: Daily Appointments Schedule for February 4, 2010
    Thu, 04 Feb 2010 07:14:06 -0600

    Daily Appointments Schedule for February 4, 2010

    Washington, DC

    February 4, 2010



    7:30 a.m. Secretary Clinton delivers the Keynote Address at the 58th National Prayer Breakfast, at the Washington Hilton Hotel.

    12:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton delivers Remarks at the Orientation of the 150th Foreign Service Officer Class and the 111th Foreign Service Specialists Class, at the Department of State.

    12:15 p.m. Secretary Clinton hosts the Diplomatic Partnerships Women’s Group Luncheon, at the Department of State.

    2:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton meets with US Ambassador to the Organization of American States Carmen Lomellin, at the Department of State.

    2:30 p.m. Secretary Clinton holds a Bilateral Meeting with Kazakh State Secretary and Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev, at the Department of State.
    Pre-set time for cameras: 1:45 p.m. at the 23rd Street Entrance.
    Final access time for journalists and still photographers: 2:15 p.m. at the 23rd Street Entrance.


    1:00 p.m. The Daily Press Briefing

  52. More tampering with the evidence by . . . guess who . . . Washpo? Note the AP connection.

    Read the Washington Post Quick Before It Changes.
    Moe Lane
    Red State Blog (today)

    I’m not sure if this reflects a bad link on Hot Air’s part, or whether the AP’s Erica Werner really did drastically did rewrite this article between 10:35 PM and 12:52 AM. Compare two equivalent passages for an idea of how extensive the latter would have been.

    Original (WaPo, supposedly; copy found at Breitbart)

    Obama used the same language toward Republicans as he did toward extremists in the Muslim world in his inaugural address. Of Republicans, he said Wednesday, “We extend a hand and get a fist in return.” In his inaugural address last year, he said the United States “will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

    WaPo’s version:

    The president said he meant it when he told House Republicans that he wants to work with them. Then he sharply added: “We’ll call them out when they say they want to work with us, and we extend a hand and get a fist in return.”

    The rest of the piece is like that, of course. I’m singling out Erica Werner because she’s listed on the WaPo article as a contributor to the article, but not what looks to be the original: if this was a rewrite, presumably she had a busy night*. Or somebody did. If we start seeing articles being rewritten hastily after they show up in major blogs, well, then we’ll know. And need to start screenshotting again, of course.

    As to the specific bit here about how the President thinks of my party in the same terms as he does of armed terrorists who take special care to murder women and homosexuals… well, let me put it this way. The first draft of this post was a satirical apologia for President Obama’s repeated attacks on Las Vegas. I was going to excuse him for it because he had been raised in a profoundly insular, somewhat xenophobic, and definitely rigid sub-culture that was notoriously intellectually indifferent to the belief structures of other groups: in short, he was a typical urban academic. I couldn’t make it work, and I couldn’t figure out why.

    I have now figured out why: I wasn’t being satirical. It was all true.

    Moe Lane

  53. Admin,

    Is there any way to see Hillary’s speech at the prayer breakfast, and Obama’s subsequent remarks — I’d be curious to see the contrast! Thanks.

  54. PSALM 2010

    Obama is the shepherd I did not want.
    He leadeth me beside the still factories.
    He restoreth my faith in the Republican party.
    He guideth me in the path of unemployment for his party’s sake.
    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the bread line,
    I shall fear no hunger, for his bailouts are with me.
    He has anointed my income with taxes, my expenses runneth over.
    Surely, poverty and hard living will follow me all the days of my life,
    and I will live in a mortgaged home forever.
    I am glad I’m American, I’m glad that I am free.
    But I wish I was a dog …… and Obama was a tree.

  55. Forget Polls, Here’s Tangible Proof the Obama Honeymoon is Over!

    One sign that Washington, D.C., had been home to Obama Mania was the number of independent retailers selling all sorts of Obama merchandise. Every street corner, it seemed, had Obama wares (or Obama wear) for sale. Now, however, most of the winter caps for sale are not emblazoned with the Obama logo. T-shirts depicting our president as a dunking Michael Jordan, a victorious Muhammad Ali, or saber-baring Luke Skywalker (yes, these shirts all existed) are nowhere to be found.

    This time last year, the Obama Store was teeming with customers. Ideally situated in the basement of Washington’s Union Station, the store was filled with consumers eager to buy anything with Obama’s likeness while others took pictures of the life-size cut-outs of the president and first lady. Now, the Obama Store is boarded up.

    The Obama Store was capitalism at its most brilliant rawness; find a market and exploit it quickly. The store made possible one-stop shopping for all of your tacky Obama merchandise needs. T-shirts! Hats! Calendars! Hand-warmers! Keychains! It was like something out of Spaceballs (“Obama: The Flame Thrower! The kids love this one.”). The store carried every imaginable product with the words “Obama” and “Commemorative,” except, notably, the Obama Chia Pet.

    Of course, the closing of the Obama Store may not be due solely to Obama’s falling popularity. Perhaps the faltering economy (which Obama has nothing to do with, he keeps telling us) played a role. Regardless, the store was ideally situated to make big profits. Not only was it in the District of Columbia, where Obama won 93 percent of the vote, but Union Station is swarmed by the most wallet-opening demographic of them all—tourists!

    Sure, polls are unanimous that support from Obama loyalists is receding, but polls pale in comparison to real anecdotal evidence. Last week, Amber Lee Ettinger, better known as “Obama Girl,” announced that she has fallen out of love with the president—leading to the question: If Obama has lost Obama Girl, has he lost America? Meanwhile, the Pepsi campaign that borrowed heavily from Obama has fizzled. (more at link)

    I imagine Obama memorabilia that made it into peoples homes will be finding a special place in the closet next to their Chucky and Freddy dolls. Or in complete remediation, out in front of the house in anticipation of this week’s trash pickup.

  56. Bill Clinton to return to Haiti to coordinate aid
    (AFP) – 1 hour ago

    NEW YORK — Former US president and special UN envoy Bill Clinton was to travel to Haiti on Friday to coordinate aid efforts and meet with leaders of the country devastated in an earthquake last month.

    Clinton, who was asked by UN chief Ban Ki-moon to help lead international aid efforts to the Caribbean nation, said he would meet Haitian leaders, visit the Gheskio medical clinic in Port-au-Prince, and deliver supplies.

    “More than three weeks after the earthquake, the relief efforts in Haiti have been increasing to meet staggering needs, but the long road to recovery has just begun,” Clinton said.

    The Clinton Foundation in New York said the long-time UN special envoy to Haiti would be delivering “water, food, medical supplies, solar flash lights, portable radios, and generators donated by Home Depot (and) Walmart.”

    In addition to his UN role, Clinton has been asked by President Barack Obama to join former president George W. Bush in private fund raising efforts.

    The January 12 earthquake devastated the desperately poor Caribbean nation, killing more than 200,000 people, leaving another 300,000 injured and a million homeless, according to authorities.

  57. Feb 04, 2010

    Bill Clinton helps Democrats claim mantle of fiscal responsibility

    Former president Bill Clinton is scheduled to join a conference call this afternoon of House Democrats bragging about pay-as-you-go legislation set for a vote today.

    Clinton’s presence on the call is a clear effort by Democrats to remind voters that it was their party that brought the nation its last budget surplus. Though there’s lots of dispute about how you count these things, according to Congressional Budget Office figures, the year Clinton left office was last time the federal budget was in the black.

    Congress had “pay-go” legislation, which requires most new expenditures to be offset by new revenue (a.k.a. taxes) or spending cuts, during much of the Clinton administration, but the law expired in 2002. Democratic fiscal conservatives are hailing the new pay-go measure as a return to fiscal responsibility.

    Republicans are focusing on the fact that pay-go is being enacted in conjuction with a measure that raises the debt ceiling by $1.9 trillion.

    Expected House passage of the pay-go measure will send the bill to President Obama’s desk. He has said he will sign it into law.

  58. February 3, 2010

    CNN Fact Check: The last president to balance the budget
    Posted: February 3rd, 2010 04:36 PM ET

    From CNN’s Jim Dexter

    (CNN) – President Obama declared on Wednesday that Democrats can be trusted on the budget because, “the last time the budget was balanced was under a Democratic president.”

    Fact Check: Who was president the last time the budget was balanced?

    – The U.S. government suffered budget deficits every year from 1970 through 1997.
    – Democrat Bill Clinton was president in 1998, when the government finally recorded a surplus.
    – There also were budget surpluses in 1999, 2000 and in 2001. 2001 was the last year the Clinton administration proposed the budget.
    – Republican George W. Bush succeeded Clinton in 2001. The United States had a budget deficit in 2002, and it has recorded budget deficits every year since. The deficit is projected to increase substantially this year under President Barack Obama.
    – Republicans say they should get at least some of the credit for the balanced budgets during the Clinton administration, because Republican majorities controlled both the House and Senate.

    Read the bottom line after the jump.

    Bottom Line: Democrat Bill Clinton was president the last time the federal budget was balanced, and Republicans controlled Congress.

  59. Part of the problem: 14 “journalists” (pronounced propaganists) and counting join the Fraud’s Administration. More evidence of the incestuous relationship which distorts and hides the truth.

    Washington Post’s Thomson the 14th Journalist to Join Obama Administration
    By Brent Baker (Bio | Archive)
    Wed, 02/03/2010 – 13:04 ET
    Not a move by a political correspondent, but it counts nonetheless. “Former Washington Post film critic Desson Thomson will join the Obama administration and head to London as a speechwriter for Ambassador Louis Susman,” a big Obama fundraiser, Washington Post “Federal Eye” blogger Ed O’Keefe reported on Monday in a post I saw highlighted on

    O’Keefe elaborated: “Thomson, who grew up in Surrey, England, worked for The Post from 1983 to 2008, most recently as a film critic for the Weekend and Style sections.”

    By O’Keefe’s count, “Thomson is one of at least 14 journalists to join the Obama administration, with virtually all of them serving in a communications capacity,” and, intriguingly, O’Keefe asserted “other reporters at national outlets are known to be considering similar roles.”

    My Revolving Door list from late July of last year when it stood at 12. MRC BiasAlert item updated with a 13th revolver.

    Read more:

  60. Curtain Call?
    Curtain Call?
    By Eastan McNeal on February 4, 2010 at 11:00 AM in Current Affairs
    No Quarter

    Say Goodnight


    I’ve never seen a lame duck sit down and shut up after just one quarter way into his journey, but this one might have to do it just to keep from explaining why he was flying in the wrong direction.

    When a Rolling Stone Magazine writer turned on Obama we were surprised. Roll Away the Stone And when GQ Magazine quoted Clint Eastwood saying (about race relations, post Obama) “we are stepping on our dicks” Ready to Receive we thought we were seeing a trend emerge. And we have. Even the Kosbie Kids and the Puffing Dragon Queen have allowed the man child to be criticized, to an extent.

    But when an intelligent, talented writer who has never let a drop of orange kool-aid stain his pen points out the obvious markers of a failed presidency we don’t go out, wave flags and announce their intellectual awakening. That is unless what they write is so profound in accuracy we must take notice. Fouad Ajami has written a piece that should be preserved for a presidential history book and reserved for a chapter titled “An then there was this odity called Obama.” His latest essay wraps up how America came to love and now pity’s its egotistical, overrated president.

    As stated earlier Ajami is not new to seeing through Obama and has written fearlessly about what he, and others in the world think. Before exposing Ajami’s most recent work (later) take in a few of his previous observations.

    He Talks Too Much

    ‘He talks too much,” a Saudi academic in Jeddah, who had once been smitten with Barack Obama, recently observed to me of America’s 44th president. He has wearied of Mr. Obama and now does not bother with the Obama oratory.

    He is hardly alone, this academic. In the endless chatter of this region, and in the commentaries offered by the press, the theme is one of disappointment. In the Arab-Islamic world, Barack Obama has come down to earth.

    He has not made the world anew, history did not bend to his will, the Indians and Pakistanis have been told that the matter of Kashmir is theirs to resolve, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the same intractable clash of two irreconcilable nationalisms, and the theocrats in Iran have not “unclenched their fist,” nor have they abandoned their nuclear quest.

    He Cheats

    In the absence of an overriding commitment to the defense of American primacy in the world, the Obama administration “cheats.” It will not quit the war in Afghanistan but doesn’t fully embrace it as its cause. It prosecutes the war but with Republican support—the diehards in liberal ranks and the isolationists are in no mood for bonding with Afghans. (Harry Reid’s last major foreign policy pronouncement was his assertion, three years ago, that the war in Iraq was lost.)

    In retrospect, that patina of cosmopolitanism in President Obama’s background concealed the isolationism of the liberal coalition that brought him to power.

    And now the one you have been waiting to read.

    A Brief Un-American Moment


    The curtain has come down on what can best be described as a brief un-American moment in our history. That moment began in the fall of 2008, with the great financial panic, and gave rise to the Barack Obama phenomenon.

    The nation’s faith in institutions and time-honored ways had cracked. In a little-known senator from Illinois millions of Americans came to see a savior who would deliver the nation out of its troubles. Gone was the empiricism in political life that had marked the American temper in politics. A charismatic leader had risen in a manner akin to the way politics plays out in distressed and Third World societies.

    There is nothing surprising about where Mr. Obama finds himself today. He had been made by charisma, and political magic, and has been felled by it. If his rise had been spectacular, so, too, has been his fall. The speed with which some of his devotees have turned on him—and their unwillingness to own up to what their infatuation had wrought—is nothing short of astounding. But this is the bargain Mr. Obama had made with political fortune.

    Progressives pressed for a draconian attack on the workings of our health care, and on the broader balance between the state and the marketplace. The economic stimulus, ObamaCare, the large deficits, the bailout package for the automobile industry—these, and so much more, were nothing short of a fundamental assault on the givens of the American social compact.

    And then there was the hubris of the man at the helm: He was everywhere, and pronounced on matters large and small. This was political death by the teleprompter.

    Americans don’t deify their leaders or hang on their utterances, but Mr. Obama succumbed to what the devotees said of him: He was the Awaited One. A measure of reticence could have served him. But the flight had been heady, and in the manner of Icarus, Mr. Obama flew too close to the sun.

    We have had stylish presidents, none more so than JFK. But Kennedy was an ironist and never fell for his own mystique. Mr. Obama’s self-regard comes without irony—he himself now owns up to the “remoteness and detachment” of his governing style. We don’t have in this republic the technocratic model of the European states, where a bureaucratic elite disposes of public policy with scant regard for the popular will. Mr. Obama was smitten with his own specialness.

    There had been that magical moment—the campaign of 2008—and the true believers want to return to it. But reality is merciless. The spell is broken.

    Mr. Ajami, a professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, is the author of “The Foreigner’s Gift” (Free Press, 2007).

    Echo 18 Items

  61. The constant sight of Barack everywhere you turn blathering pure nonsense stepping on land mines stumbling across the stage insulting millions of people imperiling our future and blaming Bush for EVERYTHING as the scions of old media swoon swoon swoon and tell us how grand he is, reminds me of the the lyric from There’s No Business Like Show Business. Irving Berlin must have been thinking about Barack Obama when he wrote these lines:

    Even with a Turkey
    That you know will fold
    And leave you stranded
    Out in the cold

  62. Mrs. Smith: it could be that the market for Obama paraphernalia has simply moved–to Tehran, Syria, Caracas, Havana and North Korea. He has a very diverse audience of anti American interests from our own beloved big media to Hugo to Fidel to Assad. Yes, diversity is a good thing. After all he is a citizen of the world.

    Breathes there a man
    With soul so dead
    That never to himself
    Has said
    This is my native land
    And I you will never see
    My certificate of live birth

  63. Its pretty funny to see Obama quoting Hillary during the prayer breakfast. He was spouting her name alot. LOL!!! COULD IT BE HE IS LATCHING ON TO THE ONLY RISING STAR IN HIS ADMINISTRATION.

    His poll numbers are in the tank and hers are high. I bet he never thought he would have to do that.

    He needs the Reagan Democrats, LOL!! I want to hear Donna Brazoid quote Hillary now, that will be soooo good. LOL!!

  64. JanH @ 12:20

    Whoever wrote that USAToday article should be fired, as well as their copy editor. No one is claiming the “mantel” of fiscal responsibility, since a mantel is that thing above your fireplace from which you hang Christmas stockings. A “mantle” is a cloak, that in history was seen as a symbol of one’s power or authority, much as a crown was, as in “claiming his father’s mantle”.

  65. Never a dull day in Illinois, that ticket lasted long……….classy people running in Illinois, he held a knife to the throat of a prostitute ex-girlfriend. Yup what i expected.

    CHICAGO — Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says he expects Scott Lee Cohen ultimately will have to step down as the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor over charges that he once abused his girlfriend.

    Quinn called Thursday for Cohen to answer all questions about his 2005 arrest for domestic battery. But Quinn says he thinks Cohen will end up dropping out of the race.,cohen-quinn-knife-quit-020410.article

  66. Big Media claims that it is delusional for ordinary citizens to ask for proof that Obama is a citizen of the United States. Indeed, they have made that the linchpin of credibility which is why people like Beck and O’Reilly join in that chorus. Bear in mind there has never been a judicial finding that he is a US citizen. There has only been judicial findings that congress and not the people have standing to raise the issue. The fact that Republicans have not pressed the issue suggests they know the answer which is either that he is a US citizen, or he is not but to publicize the issue would open a Pandora’s Box of some sort. But the most pertinent question of all remains, and it should be asked by anyone who wants the truth: why would he spend $1.7 million to hide the answer to this question. He is either mentally unbalanced or has something to hide. There is no other possibility. If someone asked to see your birth certificate in connection with a job you were seeking would you tell them no, demand the job and spend a fortune fighting them. Of course not. Yet that is what he does. And that should be the question everyone is asking rather than reacting to something which has now been decided by the courts as a matter of law not fact.

  67. Amazing, is there anyone in Illinois in office or running for office that does not have shaddy behavior that they need to hide.

    The other thing that is going on here is the competition between the Dims, and how they will pull out all the crap on fellow Dims. It happened here, a last minute scandal developed, and the Gov put in his choice, and there was very little time to tear apart that man, and he slide to a very quick victory.

    I would say that the guy was lucky, but with all I learned in the last two years about the Dim politics, I can’t help but think the Dims power structure made sure their man got in.

  68. The Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor held a knife to the throat of a prostitute ex-girlfriend.
    Just practicing for the Chief of Staff to Obama, which will be open when Rahm Emanuel steps down.

  69. RASMUSSEN HAS Repub Kirk +6 (46 – 40 %) over Dem Giannoulias in IL, for “Obama’s seat”.

    And yet, apparently Obama is worried. Why else would he say, “Don’t worry”.

    Obama to Senate Democrats: Don’t fret about your jobs

    By David Lightman | McClatchy Newspapers
    WASHINGTON — A feisty but occasionally frustrated President Barack Obama tried Wednesday to calm nervous Senate Democrats about their political futures and prospects for passing major legislation, as he urged them to keep pushing hard for solutions to the nation’s most vexing problems.

    “The American people are out of patience with business as usual,” he told a Senate Democrats’ issues conference. “They’re fed up with a Washington that has become so absorbed with who’s up and who’s down that we’ve lost sight of how they’re doing.

    “They want us to start worrying less about keeping our jobs and more about helping them keep their jobs.”

    Obama’s 75-minute meeting was a combination pep talk and down-to-earth question-and-answer session with worried lawmakers. Congress so far this year has been far less eager to move forward to finish large 2009 initiatives such as health care overhaul and climate change legislation, preferring smaller, more careful steps.

    The House of Representatives plans a vote next week to strip health insurers of their partial exemption from federal antitrust laws, a small piece of the health bill now stalled in Congress. Senate Democrats are expected shortly to take up Obama’s job creation package as a series of smaller bills rather than the kind of comprehensive stimulus package it passed last year.

    Obama wants the Democrats’ big legislative ambitions to stay in the forefront. First, though, he had to try to defuse tension over last month’s special election in Massachusetts for the seat long held by the late Sen. Edward Kennedy. The winner, Republican Scott Brown, will be sworn in Thursday, reducing the Democrats’ majority by one. Democrats will still control 59 seats, but 60 votes are needed to cut off debate in the 100-member Senate.

    The loss of one Senate Democratic vote should not be so jarring, Obama said. “All that’s changed in the last few weeks is our party has gone from having the largest Senate majority in a generation to the second-largest Senate majority in a generation,” he said.

    Still, the Democrats’ unease was palpable. Thirty-seven Senate seats are at stake in November, including 18 now held by Democrats.

    Seven of the eight questions posed to Obama came from senators up for re-election this year, and they had a similar theme: “This place looks broken to the American people,” as Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., put it.

    Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., perhaps the most vulnerable Senate Democrat, stressed the same concern. “People out there watching us, they see us as nothing more than Democrats and Republicans up here fighting, fighting only to win a few political points, not to get the problem solved,” she said.

    Obama said he understood: “The point I’m making, and Blanche is exactly right — we’ve got to be non-ideological about our approach to these things.”

    Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., who also faces a tough re-election fight, twice wanted to press the point further, stressing that Democrats need to appeal to moderate Republicans, conservative Democrats and independents to win elections.

    “So my question to you, Mr. President, is, speaking to independents, conservative Democrats, moderate Republicans — people who know we have to do this — why should the Democratic Party be trusted?” Bayh asked.

    Remind constituents, Obama said, that the last time the budget was balanced, for four years beginning in fiscal 1998, Bill Clinton was president.

    The president’s appearance illustrated both the promise and problems that he and Democrats face in the months ahead. The president had a similar question and answer session with House Republicans last week, and plans to meet Tuesday with congressional leaders from both parties.

    Obama voiced some partisan exasperation on Wednesday.

    Why, he asked, do Republicans insist on delaying judicial confirmations? For that matter, he added, why do they slow down the confirmations of a lot of other people?

    He cited the delay confirming Martha Johnson as head of the General Services Administration. “Nobody can tell me that there’s anything particularly wrong with her,” he said. She’s one of several appointees whose confirmation is being held up, usually because one or more Republican senators have philosophical disagreements with them.

    “Let’s have a fight about real stuff,” Obama urged. “Don’t hold this woman hostage.”

    The president’s overarching message to the senators was that they should talk policy, not politics, to their constituents, not only because good policy ultimately leads to successful politics, but also because people too often don’t understand complex issues such as health care or the debt.

    Ask a constituent where the budget should be cut, he said, and they’ll probably mention foreign aid, a tiny part of the budget. Next, they might cite earmarks — local projects inserted by lawmakers into spending bills — which also are but a fraction of the overall budget.

    The only effective solution requires looking at the big-ticket programs — and that’s going to take time and patience.

    “If anybody is looking for a lesson from Massachusetts,” he said, recalling the Senate upset, “I promise you the answer is not to do nothing.”

  70. per the clinton articles posted here up thread…

    …’they’ all run to the Clintons whenever anything goes wrong, don’t they?

    Hillary there to save O’s foreign policy a–! (the woman who knew nothing about foreign policy except drinking tea)

    …and Bill…well, why don’t they just clone Bill…the man is expected to do everything…rescue Haiti, recue Pay as you go, suddenly be remembered for the surplus HE, BILL, LEFT BEHIND HIS PRESIDENCY…not just some democratic president as O likes to say, two term President Bill Clinton’s surplus…

    …for two people O and his cohorts were so intent on “turning the page on”…they sure the hell need them now…lucky for them, the clintons are such gracious patriots…

  71. I can imagine that the republicans were complicit in knowing and allowing him to run is why Beck and O’Reilly are backing that we are not allowed to ask.

    CW is stirring the pot against Beck, (their once savior), I think things will change as we get further into this financial crisis. The people are going to demand it, they got Scott Brown, they will get the BC and those who knew it and allowed it to happen will come down with the ONE.

    There is just too much evidence of foul play regarding the origins of Obama. They have just about figured out all of his pics as a baby/child/adolescent were photochopped.

    The Saudi’s are in this bc problem up to their neck.


    video of Obama saying:

    “Surely you can question my policies without questions my faith, or for that matter my citizenship.”


    What happens if you DON’T want to question his policies, but on principle, you want question his citizenship?

    Of in many people’s case, we question his policies, his faith, and his citizenship.

    YOU HAVE TO ANSWER ON ALL FRONTS (although faith is a gray, private issue).

  73. S, yes and I am waiting for the jerk to finally have to say Bill Clinton’s administration was the only President to balance the budget after the republicans destroyed it. They do this everytime, they get us in wars for their corporate interests and then run up the deficet and give the democrats two weeks to fix it until they try and blame it on the current President. Its all so easily remembered, I believe they did the same thing to Bill, the only fiscally responsible Potus in recent times. It just irritates the republicans who spout fiscal responsibility as their meme that a democrat actually balanced the budget and had a surplus in 8 years.

    I remember the same deficit clocks during the Reagan/Bush and the beginning of the Clinton years being on every TV station 24/7.

    Its called instant replay.

  74. Dick Morris @Newmax

    Obama Neck Deep in Recession, Deficit, and Stagnation
    Obama’s Spin and Speeches Won’t Win Over America
    We Can Defeat Obamacare

    Socialist Agenda Continues Under Obama
    Massachusetts Is the Game Changer

    President Obama is being disingenuous when he says that the budget deficit he faced “when I walked in the door” of the White House was $1.3 trillion. He went on to say that he only increased it to $1.4 trillion in 2009 and was raising it to $1.6 trillion in 2010.

    Congressman Joe Wilson might have said “you lie,” but we’ll settle for “you distort.”

    (As Mark Twain once said, there are three kinds of lies: “lies, damn lies, and statistics.”)

    Here are the facts:

    In 2008, Bush ran a deficit of $485 billion. By the time the fiscal year started on Oct. 1, 2008, it had gone up by another $100 billion due to increased recession-related spending and depressed revenues. So it was about $600 billion at the start of the fiscal crisis. That was the real Bush deficit.

    But when the fiscal crisis hit, Bush had to pass TARP in the final months of his presidency which cost $700 billion. Under the federal budget rules, a loan and a grant are treated the same. So the $700 billion pushed the deficit — officially — up to $1.3 trillion.

    But not really.

    The $700 billion was a short term loan and $500 billion of it has already been repaid.

    So what was the real deficit Obama inherited? The $600 billion deficit Bush was running plus the $200 billion of TARP money that probably won’t be repaid (mainly AIG and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac). That totals $800 billion. That was the real deficit Obama inherited.

    Then . . . he added $300 billion in his stimulus package, bringing the deficit to $1.1 trillion. This $300 billion was, of course, totally qualitatively different from the TARP money in that it was spending not lending. It would never be paid back. Once it was out the door, it was gone. Other spending and falling revenues due to the recession pushed the final numbers for Obama’s 2009 deficit up to $1.4 trillion.

    So, effectively, Obama came close to doubling the deficit.

    Obama seems not to understand that the deficit is the jobs problem. To add to the deficit in the hope of creating more jobs is an oxymoron. Additional deficit spending just crowds out small businesses trying to borrow money to create jobs and consumers seeking credit to buy cars and homes.

    Soon, when the Fed stops printing money and we have to borrow real funds from real lenders, the high deficit will send interest rates soaring, further retarding growth and creating a cost-push inflation.

    The interest rate we are now paying for the debt — about 3.5 percent — is totally artificial and based on the massive injection of money supply created by the purchase of mortgage backed securities by an obliging Federal Reserve.

    Once these injections of currency/heroin stop, the rate will more than double, sending our debt service spending into the stratosphere. Once we had to choose between guns and butter.

    Now we will have to choose between guns and butter on the one hand and paying our debt service on the other.

    Obama’s program of fiscal austerity in this new budget is a joke. He freezes very selected budget items while he shovels out new spending in his stimulus packages. If he wanted to lower the deficit, here’s what he could do:

    1. Cancel the remaining $500 billion of stimulus spending and

    2. Cancel the $300 billion of spending in stimulus II.

    Those are the real numbers. Or, as Al Gore would have it, “the inconvenient truth.”

  75. The Market has dropped 500 points since Barack opened his mouth with his faux populist rhetoric.

    Today, it is down 241 points.

    But he is the one we have been waiting for according to Maria Shriver.

    Which goes to show as someone said we should not listen to the opinions of people who have chefs.

    Why this Bonaparte’s Retreat by the Market.

    Surely they are not afraid of Barack.

    Maybe this budget proposal has something to do with it.

    I guess when you are a Messiah you don’t sweat the small stuff.

    Trouble is a lot of his erstwhile supporters do.

    Lets hope that all the money lost as a result of his dearth of leadership.

    Is lost by the people who voted for him.

  76. A familiar topic, more appropriate elsewhere than here. However:

    The Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor issued a statement today saying he has no intention of dropping out of the race, just hours after Gov. Pat Quinn said the Chicago pawnbroker should consider stepping aside for the good of the party’s ticket. Scott Lee Cohen said he wants his ex-girlfriend to talk about her prior complaint against him, which resulted in his 2005 arrest.


  77. Obama: Surely you can question my policies without questions my faith, or for that matter my citizenship.

    American People: Surely you should not post phony birth certificates on your website which trigger the issue.

    Obama: Surely you do not presume to question the bona fides of the President of the United States.

    American People: Surely you realize that we are no longer interested in Bush.

    Obama: Surely you know that I am the President of the United States.

    American People: Surely you understand that you have not proven that to our satifaction.

    Obama: Surely you know that my citizenship is none of their business. Congress has decided the issue.

    American People: Surely your realize that we are still left with the question of why you spent a fortune refusing to produce a document that the rest of us would produce upon request.

    Obama: Surely you realize that is my prerogative–as in the Divine Right of Kings.

    American People: then surely you realize why you are not trusted.


    Presidential Promises and Pretenses
    Obama’s contribution to the “deficit of trust”

    Jacob Sullum
    February 3, 2010

    The day before President Obama delivered his State of the Union address last week, The New York Times reported that “aides said he would accept responsibility, though not necessarily blame” for failing to deliver on promises he made during his campaign. If you accept responsibility for something bad, aren’t you accepting blame by definition? Not if you’re Barack Obama, who has a talent for accepting responsibility while minimizing and deflecting it.

    “With all the lobbying and horse trading, the process [for producing health care legislation] left most Americans wondering, ‘What’s in it for me?'” Obama said in his SOTU speech. “I take my share of the blame.” For breaking his oft-repeated promise to televise health care negotiations on C-Span? For agreeing to provisions that would benefit special interests at the expense of the general public? No. “For not explaining it more clearly to the American people”—as if the problem could have been solved with a nifty PowerPoint presentation.

    At his meeting with House Republicans on Friday, Obama conceded that pointing out his failure to televise health care negotiations was “a legitimate criticism.” But he also said coverage would have been hard to arrange because the negotiations occurred in several locations. Anyway, he said, “overwhelmingly the majority of it actually was on C-Span, because it was taking place in congressional hearings”—as if he had promised that C-Span would continue its longstanding practice of covering congressional hearings.

    The president is even less forthright when it comes to the fiscal responsibility he keeps promising. On Monday he declared, “We simply cannot continue to spend as if deficits don’t have consequences, as if waste doesn’t matter, as if the hard-earned tax money of the American people can be treated like Monopoly money.”

    Yet somehow he manages to do so. Obama’s much-ballyhooed spending “freeze” would affect just one-eighth of the budget, would not begin until 2011, and would be accompanied by continued increases in outlays on the president’s pet projects.

    If you are serious about reducing spending, you don’t increase it. Yet Obama’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2011 totals $3.8 trillion, compared to the $3.6 he proposed the previous year. The deficit would drop a bit, from a record $1.6 trillion to around $1.3 trillion, only because of increased tax revenue.

    Last year Obama said the deficit, expected to be 11 percent of gross domestic product this year, would fall to a “sustainable” 3 percent by the end of his first term. His new budget projections, even with the benefit of optimistic assumptions, indicate that he will never reach that goal even if he serves two terms and that the deficit will rise above 5 percent of GDP after he leaves office.

    On Friday the president blamed the economy for his fiscal incontinence, saying “most of the increases in this year’s budget” were “a consequence of the automatic stabilizers that kick in because of this enormous recession.” But as Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) noted, legislation signed by Obama increased domestic discretionary spending by 84 percent.

    In addition to the health care transparency and spending restraint he has failed to deliver, Obama has broken promises to reduce the influence of special-interest lobbyists, to let people who like their current medical coverage keep it, to refrain from raising taxes on households earning less than $250,000 a year, to cut earmarks to 1994 levels, to take a more modest view of executive power and the “state secrets” privilege, to close Guantanamo by last month, to end medical marijuana raids, to allow five days of public review before signing bills, and to recognize the Armenian genocide. counts 15 broken promises so far, and its standards are conservative.

    In his SOTU address, Obama bemoaned “a deficit of trust—deep and corrosive doubts about how Washington works that have been growing for years.” He blamed the public’s “disappointment” and “cynicism” on powerful lobbyists, reckless bankers, highly paid CEOs, superficial TV pundits, and mud-slinging politicians. Conspicuously missing from the list: a president who breaks promises while pretending he isn’t.

  79. Bravo Miss Hillary!
    Keynote Address at the 58th National Prayer Breakfast

    Hillary Rodham Clinton
    Secretary of State
    Washington Hilton Hotel

    Washington, DC
    February 4, 2010

    SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you very much. I have to begin by saying I’m not Bono. (Laughter.) Those of you who were here when he was, I apologize beforehand. (Laughter.) But it is a great pleasure to be with you and to be here with President and Mrs. Obama, to be with Vice President Biden, with Chairman Mullen, with certainly our host today, my former colleagues and friends, Senators Isakson and Amy Klobuchar. And to be with so many distinguished guests and visitors who have come from all over our country and indeed from all over the world.

    I have attended this prayer breakfast every year since 1993, and I have always found it to be a gathering that inspires and motivates me. Now today, our minds are still filled with the images of the tragedy of Haiti, where faith is being tested daily in food lines and makeshift hospitals, in tent cities where there are not only so many suffering people, but so many vanished dreams.

    When I think about the horrible catastrophe that has struck Haiti, I am both saddened but also spurred. This is a moment that has already been embraced by people of faith from everywhere. I thank Prime Minister Zapatero for his country’s response and commitment. Because in the days since the earthquake, we have seen the world and the world’s faithful spring into action on behalf of those suffering. President Obama has put our country on the leading edge of making sure that we do all we can to help alleviate not only the immediate suffering, but to assist in the rebuilding and recovery. So many countries have answered the call, and so many churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples have brought their own people together. And even modern technology through Facebook and telethons and text messages and Twitter, there’s been an overwhelming global response. But of course, there’s so much more to be done.

    When I think about being here with all of you today, there are so many subjects to talk about. You’ve already heard, both in prayer and in scripture reading and in Prime Minister Zapatero’s remarks, a number of messages. But let me be both personal and speak from my unique perspective now as Secretary of State. I’ve been here as a First Lady. I’ve been here as a senator, and now I am here as a Secretary of State. I have heard heartfelt descriptions of personal faith journeys. I’ve heard impassioned pleas for feeding the hungry and helping the poor, caring for the sick. I’ve heard speeches about promoting understanding among people of different faiths. I’ve met hundreds of visitors from countries across the globe. I’ve seen the leaders of my own country come here amidst the crises of the time and, for at least a morning, put away political and ideological differences. And I’ve watched and I’ve listened to three presidents, each a man of faith, speak from their hearts, both sharing their own feelings about being in a position that has almost intolerably impossible burdens to bear, and appealing often, either explicitly or implicitly, for an end to the increasing smallness, irrelevancy, even meanness, of our own political culture. My own heart has been touched and occasionally pierced by the words I’ve heard, and often my spirit has been lifted by the musicians and the singers who have shared their gifts in praising the Lord with us. And during difficult and painful times, my faith has been strengthened by the personal connections that I have experienced with people who, by the calculus of politics, were on the opposite side of me on the basis of issues or partisanship.

    After my very first prayer breakfast, a bipartisan group of women asked me to join them for lunch and told me that they were forming a prayer group. And these prayer partners prayed for me. They prayed for me during some very challenging times. They came to see me in the White House. They kept in touch with me and some still do today. And they gave me a handmade book with messages, quotes, and scripture, to sustain me. And of all the thousands of gifts that I received in the White House, I have a special affection for this one. Because in addition to the tangible gift of the book, it contained 12 intangible gifts, 12 gifts of discernment, peace, compassion, faith, fellowship, vision, forgiveness, grace, wisdom, love, joy, and courage. And I have had many occasions to pull out that book and to look at it and to try, Chairman Mullen, to figure out how to close the gap of what I am feeling and doing with what I know I should be feeling and doing. As a person of faith, it is a constant struggle, particularly in the political arena, to close that gap that each of us faces.

    In February of 1994, the speaker here was Mother Teresa. She gave, as everyone who remembers that occasion will certainly recall, a strong address against abortion. And then she asked to see me. And I thought, “Oh, dear.” (Laughter.) And after the breakfast, we went behind that curtain and we sat on folding chairs, and I remember being struck by how small she was and how powerful her hands were, despite her size, and that she was wearing sandals in February in Washington. (Laughter.)

    We began to talk, and she told me that she knew that we had a shared conviction about adoption being vastly better as a choice for unplanned or unwanted babies. And she asked me – or more properly, she directed me – to work with her to create a home for such babies here in Washington. I know that we often picture, as we’re growing up, God as a man with a white beard. But that day, I felt like I had been ordered, and that the message was coming not just through this diminutive woman but from someplace far beyond.

    So I started to work. And it took a while because we had to cut through all the red tape. We had to get all the approvals. I thought it would be easier than it turned out to be. She proved herself to be the most relentless lobbyist I’ve ever encountered. (Laughter.) She could not get a job in your White House, Mr. President. (Laughter.) She never let up. She called me from India, she called me from Vietnam, she wrote me letters, and it was always: “When’s the house gonna open? How much more can be done quickly?”

    Finally, the moment came: June, 1995, and the Mother Teresa Home for Infant Children opened. She flew in from Kolkata to attend the opening, and like a happy child, she gripped my arm and led me around, looking at the bassinets and the pretty painted colors on the wall, and just beaming about what this meant for children and their futures.

    A few years later, I attended her funeral in Kolkata, where I saw presidents and prime ministers, royalty and street beggars, pay her homage. And after the service, her successor, Sister Nirmala, the leader of the Missionaries of Charity, invited me to come to the Mother House. I was deeply touched. When I arrived, I realized I was one of only a very few outsiders. And I was directed into a whitewashed room where the casket had already arrived. And we stood around with the nuns, with the candles on the walls flickering, and prayed for this extraordinary woman. And then Sister Nirmala asked me to offer a prayer. I felt both inadequate and deeply honored, just as I do today. And in the tradition of prayer breakfast speakers, let me share a few matters that reflect how I came on my own faith journey, and how I think about the responsibilities that President Obama and his Administration and our government face today.

    As Amy said, I grew up in the Methodist Church. On both sides of my father’s family, the Rodhams and the Joneses, they came from mining towns. And they claimed, going back many years, to have actually been converted by John and Charles Wesley. And, of course, Methodists were methodical. It was a particularly good religion for me. (Laughter.) And part of it is a commitment to living out your faith. We believe that faith without works may not be dead, but it’s hard to discern from time to time.

    And of course, John Wesley had this simple rule which I carry around with me as I travel: Do all the good you can by all the means you can in all the ways you can in all the places you can at all the times you can to all the people you can, as long as ever you can. That’s a tall order. And of course, one of the interpretive problems with it is, who defines good? What are we actually called to do, and how do we stay humble enough, obedient enough, to ask ourselves, am I really doing what I’m called to do?

    It was a good rule to be raised by and it was certainly a good rule for my mother and father to discipline us by. And I think it’s a good rule to live by, with the appropriate dose of humility. Our world is an imperfect one filled with imperfect people, so we constantly struggle to meet our own spiritual goals. But John Wesley’s teachings, and the teachings of my church, particularly during my childhood and teenage years, gave me the impetus to believe that I did have a responsibility. It meant not sitting on the sidelines, but being in the arena. And it meant constantly working to try to fulfill the lessons that I absorbed as a child. It’s not easy. We’re here today because we’re all seekers, and we can all look around our own lives and the lives of those whom we know and see everyone falling so short.

    And then of course, as we look around the world, there are so many problems and challenges that people of faith are attempting to address or should be. We can recite those places where human beings are mired in the past – their hatreds, their differences – where governments refuse to speak to other governments, where the progress of entire nations is undermined because isolation and insularity seem less risky than cooperation and collaboration, where all too often it is religion that is the force that drives and sustains division rather than being the healing balm. These patterns persist despite the overwhelming evidence that more good will come from suspending old animosities and preconceptions from engaging others in dialogue, from remembering the cardinal rules found in all of the world’s major religions.

    Last October, I visited Belfast once again, 11 years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, a place where being a Protestant or a Catholic determined where you lived, often where you worked, whether you were a friend or an enemy, a threat or a target. Yet over time, as the body count grew, the bonds of common humanity became more powerful than the differences fueled by ancient wrongs. So bullets have been traded for ballots.

    As we meet this morning, both communities are attempting to hammer out a final agreement on the yet unresolved issues between them. And they are discovering anew what the Scripture urges us: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we don’t give up.” Even in places where God’s presence and promise seems fleeting and unfulfilled or completely absent, the power of one person’s faith and the determination to act can help lead a nation out of darkness.

    Some of you may have seen the film Pray the Devil Back to Hell. It is the story of a Liberian woman who was tired of the conflict and the killing and the fear that had gripped her country for years. So she went to her church and she prayed for an end to the civil war. And she organized other women at her church, and then at other churches, then at the mosques. Soon thousands of women became a mass movement, rising up and praying for a peace, and working to bring it about that finally, finally ended the conflict.

    And yet the devil must have left Liberia and taken up residence in Congo. When I was in the Democratic Republic of Congo this summer, the contrasts were so overwhelmingly tragic – a country the size of Western Europe, rich in minerals and natural resources, where 5.4 million people have been killed in the most deadly conflict since World War II, where 1,100 women and girls are raped every month, where the life expectancy is 46 and dropping, where poverty, starvation, and all of the ills that stalk the human race are in abundance.

    When I traveled to Goma, I saw in a single day the best and the worst of humanity. I met with women who had been savaged and brutalized physically and emotionally, victims of gender and sexual-based violence in a place where law, custom, and even faith did little to protect them. But I also saw courageous women who, by faith, went back into the bush to find those who, like them, had been violently attacked. I saw the doctors and the nurses who were helping to heal the wounds, and I saw so many who were there because their faith led them to it.

    As we look at the world today and we reflect on the overwhelming response of outpouring of generosity to what happened in Haiti, I’m reminded of the story of Elijah. After he goes to Mount Horeb, we read that he faced “a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence – a still small voice.” It was then that Elijah heard the voice of the Lord. It is often when we are only quiet enough to listen that we do as well. It’s something we can do at any time, without a disaster or a catastrophe provoking it. It shouldn’t take that.

    But the teachings of every religion call us to care for the poor, tell us to visit the orphans and widows, to be generous and charitable, to alleviate suffering. All religions have their version of the Golden Rule and direct us to love our neighbor and welcome the stranger and visit the prisoner. But how often in the midst of our own lives do we respond to that? All of these holy texts, all of this religious wisdom from these very different faiths call on us to act out of love.

    In politics, we sometimes talk about message discipline – making sure everyone uses the same set of talking points. Well, whoever was in charge of message discipline on these issues for every religion certainly knew what they were doing. Regardless of our differences, we all got the same talking points and the same marching orders. So the charge is a personal one. Yet across the world, we see organized religion standing in the way of faith, perverting love, undermining that message.

    Sometimes it’s easier to see that far away than here at home. But religion, cloaked in naked power lust, is used to justify horrific violence, attacks on homes, markets, schools, volleyball games, churches, mosques, synagogues, temples. From Iraq to Pakistan and Afghanistan to Nigeria and the Middle East, religion is used a club to deny the human rights of girls and women, from the Gulf to Africa to Asia, and to discriminate, even advocating the execution of gays and lesbians. Religion is used to enshrine in law intolerance of free expression and peaceful protest. Iran is now detaining and executing people under a new crime – waging war against God. It seems to be a rather dramatic identity crisis.

    So in the Obama Administration, we are working to bridge religious divides. We’re taking on violations of human rights perpetrated in the name of religion. And we invite members of Congress and clergy and active citizens like all of you here to join us. Of course we’re supporting the peace processes from Northern Ireland to the Middle East, and of course we are following up on the President’s historic speech at Cairo with outreach efforts to Muslims and promoting interfaith dialogue, and of course we’re condemning the repression in Iran.

    But we are also standing up for girls and women, who too often in the name of religion, are denied their basic human rights. And we are standing up for gays and lesbians who deserve to be treated as full human beings. (Applause.) And we are also making it clear to countries and leaders that these are priorities of the United States. Every time I travel, I raise the plight of girls and women, and make it clear that we expect to see changes. And I recently called President Museveni, whom I have known through the prayer breakfast, and expressed the strongest concerns about a law being considered in the parliament of Uganda.

    We are committed, not only to reaching out and speaking up about the perversion of religion, and in particularly the use of it to promote and justify terrorism, but also seeking to find common ground. We are working with Muslim nations to come up with an appropriate way of demonstrating criticism of religious intolerance without stepping over into the area of freedom of religion or non-religion and expression. So there is much to be done, and there is a lot of challenging opportunities for each of us as we leave this prayer breakfast, this 58th prayer breakfast.

    In 1975, my husband and I, who had gotten married in October, and we were both teaching at the University of Arkansas Law School in beautiful Fayetteville, Arkansas – we got married on a Saturday and we went back to work on a Monday. So around Christmastime, we decided that we should go somewhere and celebrate, take a honeymoon. And my late father said, “Well, that’s a great idea. We’ll come, too.” (Laughter.)

    And indeed, Bill and I and my entire family – (laughter) – went to Acapulco. We had a great time, but it wasn’t exactly a honeymoon. So when we got back, Bill was talking to one of his friends who was then working in Haiti, and his friend said, “Well, why don’t you come see me? This is the most interesting country. Come and take some time.” So indeed, we did. So we were there over the New Year’s holidays. And I remember visiting the Cathedral in Port-au-Prince, in the midst, at that time, so much fear from the regime of the Duvaliers, and so much poverty, there was this cathedral that had stood there and served as a beacon of hope and faith.

    After the earthquake, I was looking at some of our pictures from the disaster, and I saw the total destruction of the cathedral. It was just a heart-rending moment. And yet I also saw men and women helping one another, digging through the rubble, dancing and singing in the makeshift communities that they were building up. And I thought again that as the scripture reminds us, “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed.”

    As the memory of this crisis fades, as the news cameras move on to the next very dramatic incident, let us pray that we can sustain the force and the feeling that we find in our hearts and in our faith in the aftermath of such tragedies. Let us pray that we will all continue to be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. Let us pray that amid our differences, we can continue to see the power of faith not only to make us whole as individuals, to provide personal salvation, but to make us a greater whole and a greater force for good on behalf of all creation.

    So let us do all the good we can, by all the means we can, in all the ways we can, in all the places we can, to all the people we can, as long as ever we can.

    God bless you. (Applause.)

  80. “Conspicuously missing from the list: a president who breaks promises while pretending he isn’t.”

    Well said.

  81. Obama: I will accept the responsibility but not the blame.

    That statement is who he is–a sociopath.

    If you review the symptoms you will find he is a classic case. i.e.

    1 Glibness and Superficial Charm

    2 Manipulative and Conning

    They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.

    3. Grandiose Sense of Self

    Feels entitled to certain things as “their right.”

    4. Pathological Lying

    Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.

    5. Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt

    A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.

    6. Shallow Emotions

    When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.

    7. Incapacity for Love

    Need for Stimulation. Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal.

  82. Obama: I will accept the responsibility but not the blame.

    That statement is who he is–a sociopath. See:

    If you review the symptoms you will find he is a classic case. i.e.

    1 Glibness and Superficial Charm

    2 Manipulative and Conning

    They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.

    3. Grandiose Sense of Self

    Feels entitled to certain things as “their right.”

    4. Pathological Lying

    Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.

    5. Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt

    A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.

    6. Shallow Emotions

    When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.

    7. Incapacity for Love

    Need for Stimulation. Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal.

  83. Palin Camp Rips Limbaugh, Hits His “Retard” Comment As “Crude And Demeaning”

    Sarah Palin versus Rush Limbaugh!

    Palin believes Limbaugh’s repeated use of the word “retard” yesterday was “crude and demeaning,” her spokesperson emails.

    In the wake of Palin’s demand that Rahm Emanuel be fired for saying the liberal activist strategy on health care was “f–king retarded,” a bunch of people have been asking how she’d react to Limbaugh’s tirade on the air yesterday.

    “Our political correct society is acting like some giant insult’s taken place by calling a bunch of people who are retards, retards,” Rush said, adding that Rahm’s meeting yesterday with advocates for the mentally handicapped was a “retard summit at the White House.”

    I asked Palin spokesperson Meghan Stapleton for comment on Rush’s rant, and she emailed me this:

    “Governor Palin believes crude and demeaning name calling at the expense of others is disrespectful.”

    It hardly has the passion of her response to Rahm, and there’s no call for him to step down. But given Rush’s stature among conservatives, it’s pretty interesting that she went this far, denouncing his on-air rant as “crude and demeaning name-calling.”

  84. Breaking : Scott Brown has been sworn into the Senator, he is officially the NEW senator from Massachussets.

  85. Go Sarah, if you keep this up I might like you as much as I do Hillary. Tear Limbaugh a new one.

    What I get from Morris is, when Bush screwed up and his deficit was huge and growing Morris calls it recession related expenses and a depressed market. When the democrats are overdrawn, they are breaking the country and are marxist, communist, socialist, porkers that want to take care of the world’s poor and make us pay for it.

    I just love this, our country is on the verge of capsizing and we are still name calling. Its time to quit calling each other whores and go to church and clean up our act. Both sides have done enough damage that calling each other out is counterproductive. THey need to grow up and get to work and save this country. I think the tea party people (grownups) know this.

  86. wbboei
    February 4th, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Mrs. Smith: it could be that the market for Obama paraphernalia has simply moved-

    No doubt you are right, wbb-

  87. JanH
    February 4th, 2010 at 4:42 pm
    Bravo Miss Hillary!

    JanH —

    Thank you so much for posting Hillary’s amazing speech. And people said this woman is not inspiring? She’s got Obie beats hands dowbn.

  88. Obama’s aunt fights Kenya deportation in US court

    By Marcia Scott Harrison (AFP)

    BOSTON, Massachusetts — President Barack Obama’s aunt, an illegal immigrant from Kenya, pleaded for political asylum before a Boston court Thursday in a case that risks embarrassing the embattled president.

    Zeituni Onyango, 57, arrived at the Boston federal immigration court in her second attempt to secure asylum after ignoring a 2004 deportation order.

    Defense attorney Margaret Wong said Onyango would “testify and there will be two other witnesses,” both doctors.

    “They’re probably going to try to prevent the deportation because of medical issues,” Wong said. “But we have more than one ground.”

    Wong said that Onyango would plead to be allowed to stay in the United States citing “tribal violence” in Kenya.

    It was not clear whether Judge Leonard Shapiro would make a ruling at Thursday’s closed-door hearing.

    Wong said that Onyango would appeal if ordered deported. The US government also has the right of appeal.

    The case puts Obama in a delicate position at a time when he is reeling from his Democratic party’s failure to pass health care reform legislation and a surge in momentum for the opposition Republicans.

    Although there is no suggestion of favoritism or intervention by the White House, the issue could provide an unwelcome distraction as the year-old Obama presidency struggles to impose itself, as well as fueling right-wing conspiracy theories about Obama’s exotic family background.

    Despite having lived illegally for years in Massachusetts, Onyango was unearthed by the US media in 2008 only days before Obama’s November election.

    The White House said the president was unaware of her illegal status and that the appropriate laws should be followed.

    The publicity could also affect how Onyango is treated, both here and back in her homeland, lawyers say.

    “She’s the aunt of the president of the United States — the most famous man in the world,” Mike Rogers, spokesman for the Ohio law firm defending Onyango, told the Boston Herald.

    The newspaper reported that Onyango has requested the case be heard before a closed session, though that is not unusual in immigration hearings.

    “The immigration judge will hear the merits of the case from both parties,” said Lauren Alder Reid of the US Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review, which speaks for the court. “The judge may make a ruling from the bench, but there’s no guarantee.”

    Onyango has said she never asked Obama for help and that she cut off any ties to the president. It remains unclear who is paying for her legal representation, since Onyango has been living in public housing and has no know funds of her own.

    She is the half-sister of Obama’s late father, who was Kenyan and married a white American, who gave birth to Obama in Hawaii.

    Onyango moved to the United States in 2000 and applied for political asylum two years later, but was turned down. She was ordered deported in 2004.

  89. Mrs. Smith, She is probably Obama’s real mother. I find it ironic she lives in Massachusettes. I also find it unusual that she requested a closed court, but I guess the reporters would be there by the groves. Of coarse none would report the truth so she has nothing to fear.

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