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The Obama Timeline

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Harconen
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« Reply #150 on: July 29, 2009, 03:00:41 pm »

            Obama states that the goal of his bank bailout plan “…is to get banks lending again, so families can get basic consumer loans, auto loans, student loans, that small businesses are able to finance themselves, and we can start getting this economy moving again.” The real problem, however, is the lack of savings by Americans. Without an increase in savings, banks have limited funds to lend. If the government assists the banks in unloading their worst performing assets, the banks will still be reluctant to lend until the savings rate increases. In fact, banks will be stricter than ever in order to avoid the subprime and over-leveraged loans that contributed to the problem in the first place. Eventually, when savings levels increase and the banks have more cash, they will lend it. Those who favor nationalizing the banks do not want to wait for the recession to wind down on its own and for the savings rate to improve; they are instead attempting to defeat fundamental laws of economics and override human nature. They know the government will be more eager than the banks to lend money because “it can always print more money.” But the economy has not—as Obama incorrectly argues—experienced a credit crunch; it has experienced a debt explosion—and expanding debt even more will not return the economy to normalcy. It was the federal government that discouraged people from saving in the first place, by keeping interest rates artificially low and tempting them to invest unwisely with those low interest rates. (Americans were essentially forced to speculate because the return they got on their savings was negative as a result of income taxes and inflation.) [2136]

            On March 23, the Missouri Director of the Department of Public Safety, John Britt, sends a letter of apology to Congressman Ron Paul, former Congressman Bob Barr, and presidential candidate Chuck Baldwin for being singled out in its MIAC document that suggested their supporters were extremists and possible dangers to the community. Britt tells them, “I have ordered that the offending report be edited so as to excise all reference to Ron Paul, Bob Barr or Chuck Baldwin and to any third-party political organizations.” Two days later the head of the Missouri State Highway Patrol orders the Missouri Information Analysis Center to stop distributing the provocative and inaccurate report. It may likely be replaced with something only slightly less disturbing, however, and it is assumed that other states may still be using similar reports based on misguided information from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). There is a suspicion that the MIAC report originated from the Southern Poverty Law Center, which would mean that the DHS is relying on left-wing political groups to create police-profiles or political profiles of conservatives. The Missouri Highway Patrol states it will investigate the origin of the report. The state’s Lieutenant Governor, Peter Kinder, suggests placing Britt on leave until the matter is investigated. Missouri’s Governor, Jay Nixon, states, “Under a previous system, MIAC would prepare and distribute these reports to law enforcement agencies without review or approval from the colonel of the Highway Patrol or the director of Public Safety. That’s simply not acceptable.” [1946, 1993, 2080]

            The Pay for Performance Act of 2009 is introduced in the House of Representatives on March 23. The legislation prohibits the payment of “unreasonable and excessive” compensation. It will be up to Treasury Secretary Geithner to define “unreasonable or excessive”—giving one Washington bureaucrat the power to tell Americans how much they can earn. [2084, 2085]

            The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), free to outsource because of the removal of buy American provisions in the recent appropriations bill, announces it will now be distributing condoms purchased from companies in China and other countries rather than its traditional Alabama supplier, Alatech. The change will cost as many as 300 American jobs in the small town of Eufaula because the American company charges $0.05 per condom, while they can be purchased overseas for as little as $0.02 each. [1929]

            It is reported by Politico.com that Obama’s six-week-old, 16-member, blue-ribbon panel to resolve the economic crisis has yet to hold its first official meeting. It appears, however, that “…some members of the panel are meeting, in smaller gatherings that have not been announced or opened to the public,” which “…raises the question of whether an administration that (brags about its) openness and transparency is in fact finding it more convenient to conduct public business in private.” In the past, there has been public and media furor over secret meetings by government officials, such as with Hillary Clinton’s health care task force and former Vice-President Cheney’s energy policy task force. Wake Forest Law University professor Sidney Shapiro remarks, “If (Obama) wants private advice, he should pick up the telephone. He can call anybody he wants. If he wants to form a presidential advisory committee, they [sic] ought to meet in public.” [1930]
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« Reply #151 on: July 29, 2009, 03:01:27 pm »

            The army of Obama supporters envisioned by the Organizing for America (OFA) project turns out to be more of a platoon, according to early reports. The plan to get as many as one million Obama volunteers going door to door on March 21 to drum up citizen support for Obama’s $3.6 trillion budget fizzles. The initial door-to-door campaign attracts only about 1,200 volunteers, who manage to collect 642,000 signatures of people willing to support Obama’s budget and spending plans. Although volunteers rang doorbells at tens of thousands of homes, their efforts appear to have been wasted because they did not result in a flood of calls to legislators demanding that they pass Obama’s budget. Legislators said they felt little or no pressure from the canvassing, and most were unaware of the lobbying effort. Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) remarks, “News to me.” Professional pollsters comment that rallying behind a budget is not the same as drumming up support for a candidate. [1936, 2163]

            OFA manages to attract about 30 volunteers in the Birmingham, Alabama area to canvas shopping centers and other public locations to ask for signatures pledging support of Obama’s enormous budget. Before the group is sent out, organizer Chris DeHaven tells the volunteers, “If we don’t change these three things (“green” global-warming-free energy, nationalized health care, and massive public education funding) in the next 10 to 15 years, America is over as we know it.” DeHaven later states, “We’re looking for supporters. We’re not looking for a fight. That will come later, when we have an army”—suggesting that at least some Obama followers will not be reluctant to resort to violence if they do not get their socialist way. [1944]

            Roman Catholics express outrage that the University of Notre Dame will give the pro-abortion Obama an honorary degree and allow him to deliver a May 17 commencement address, and ask for a withdrawal of the invitation. The national director of the Pro-Life Action League, Joe Scheidler (a Notre Dame alumnus) says, “My alma mater should not be providing a platform for this president. Starting from his first week in office, President Obama has enacted a string of executive orders, appointments and policy decisions that contradict Catholic teaching on the sanctity of life—a teaching that Notre Dame is supposed to uphold. Father Jenkins cannot expect pro-life Catholics to stand back and allow the most pro-abortion president in United States history to make a mockery of Notre Dame’s Catholic identity.” Many anti-Obama and anti-abortion demonstrators will likely be present at the event, considering that more than 130,000 Catholics signed petitions objecting to Obama’s scheduled appearance. Scheidler adds, “And you know if Father (John I.) Jenkins won’t do the right thing and disinvite Barack Obama, then we are absolutely going to have no choice but to go out and rain on Barack Obama’s parade on May 17 in South Bend, Indiana. We are already working with pro-life leaders around the country, especially throughout the Midwest, to put on the mother of all protests.” The mainstream media, eager to avoid stories emphasizing Obama’s rigid pro-abortion stance, essentially ignores the story. [1941, 2021, 2022, 2062]

            Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says in an interview that the Obama-Geithner bank bailout plan “…is very badly flawed” and offers “perverse incentives” because the upside goes to the investors while the downside goes to the taxpayers. “Quite frankly,” says Stiglitz, “this amounts to robbery of the American people. I don’t think it’s going to work because I think there’ll be a lot of anger about putting the losses so much on the shoulder of the American taxpayer.” Stiglitz also warns that even if the banks can unload their riskiest assets, they may still be unwilling to make subsequent new loans with the prospect of rising inflation and income taxes further putting the brakes on the economy. [1942]

            Another Nobel Prize economist, Paul Krugman, also says the bank bailout plan will fail. “This (plan) is more than disappointing,” Krugman writes in the New York Times. “In fact it fills me with a sense of despair. But the fact is that financial executives literally bet their banks on the belief that there was no housing bubble, and the related belief that unprecedented levels of household debt were no problem. They lost that bet. And no amount of financial hocus-pocus—for that is what the Geithner plan amounts to—will change that fact.” Krugman adds, “If this plan fails—as it almost surely will—it’s unlikely that he (Obama) will be able to persuade Congress to come up with more funds to do what he should have done in the first place.” [1943]

            Obama nominates Harold H. Koh to be Legal Advisor of the Department of State. Koh is the Dean of Yale University Law School and served in the Clinton administration as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. The transnationalist Koh is critical of the United States for failing to “obey global norms,” and believes the United States should ratify the International Criminal Court (ICC) treaty and comply with ICC demands to eliminate the death penalty. Koh supports a “transnational legal process” with “transnational interactions” in order to “internalize” global legal interpretations into U.S. law. Koh believes U.S. courts “must look beyond national interest to the mutual interests of all nations in a smoothly functioning international legal regime,” have “a central role to play in domesticating international law into U.S. law,” and should “use their interpretive powers to promote the development of a global legal system.” (In other words, Koh believes that the U.S. Constitution should be considered subservient to the laws of the “more enlightened” European nations.) [1965, 1966, 2246]

            In a March 24 newspaper editorial called “A Time for Global Action,” Obama, totally ignoring the actions he and the Congress have taken over the first two months of his administration, states, “We must put an end to the reckless speculation and spending beyond our means.” He argues “…we need not choose between a chaotic and unforgiving capitalism and an oppressive government-run economy…” at the same time that he is working to prevent Americans from being allowed anything but an oppressive big government. [2023]
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« Reply #152 on: July 29, 2009, 03:01:54 pm »

            A group of 33 Senators (25 Republicans and eight Democrats) writes Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad and ranking Republican member Judd Gregg asking that they oppose use of the budget reconciliation process to pave the way for Obama’s cap-and-trade taxes. (Budget reconciliation allows a simple majority of Senators to approve a usually minor amendment to the budget without the possibility of being blocked by a filibuster.) The letter argues, “Legislation so far-reaching should be fully vetted and given appropriate time for debate, something the budget reconciliation process does not allow,” and charges “Using this procedure would circumvent normal Senate practice and would be inconsistent with the Administration’s stated goals of bipartisanship, cooperation, and openness.” [1949]

            The Heritage Foundation reviews Obama’s budget proposal, compares White House deficit estimates with those of the Congressional Budget Office, and confirms that the administration’s massive spending plans will cause record-setting deficits and an incredible increase in the already gargantuan national debt. [2086]

            Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) indicates he will oppose the “card check bill” (the intentionally misnamed Employee Free Choice Act) if brought up for a vote in its present form. The bill would allow unions to organize companies without a secret ballot, thus enabling the bullying of workers to get them to vote for union representation. Because the Democrats will likely be unable to get the bill passed without the support of liberal Republican Specter, organized labor is staging an all-out effort to pressure him into supporting the legislation (which Obama has promised union leaders he will sign). The AFL-CIO tells Specter it will encourage Democrat members to switch to Republican ballots in the 2010 primary to help Specter fight off expected challenges from conservatives. Several Democrats in the Senate may also have trouble supporting the bill, especially Blanch Lincoln and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, who will be reluctant to vote for a bill that causes Wal-Mart’s growth to slow and its profits to shrink. (Wal-Mart is headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas and is the largest employer in the state; it is also non-union). A Gallup poll reflects that 53 per cent of those polled favor the proposed Employee Free Choice Act, but the generally left-leaning Gallup organization conveniently neglects to mention that the law would eliminate secret ballots, and merely asks, “Generally speaking, would you favor or oppose a new law that would make it easier for labor unions to organize workers?” If the question had instead been, “Would you favor a law that eliminates the right to a secret ballot in union organizing elections?” the poll’s results would certainly have been different. Employees at Dana Corporation in Albion, Indiana are among those who have experienced tremendous pressure and threats from organized labor’s thugs during a card check sign-up campaign. [1950, 1951, 1959, 2088, 2389]

            Democrats who support the Employee Free Choice Act may have forgotten their admonishment of Mexico in 2001, when many of them said, “The secret ballot is absolutely necessary in order to ensure that workers are not intimidated into voting for a union they might not otherwise choose.” In 2008, the highest court in Mexico affirmed the right to a secret ballot. Obama and some U.S. legislators apparently do not believe that American workers deserve the same protections afforded to Mexican employees. [1955]

            Secretary Treasurer Geithner asks Congress for the power to take control of large insurers, investment firms, and hedge funds, and not be limited to seizing banks. “The proposed resolution authority would allow the government to provide financial assistance to make loans to an institution, purchase its obligations or assets, assume or guarantee its liabilities and purchase an equity interest,” Geithner tells the House Financial Services Committee. Obama says he hopes “it doesn’t take too long” for Congress to give Geithner the unprecedented (and unconstitutional) powers. But even Democrats may be reluctant to turn over such power to one man, especially one whose performance has been considerably less than impressive. Federal Reserve Board chairman Ben Bernanke tells the same committee he wanted to sue AIG to prevent the executive bonus payments, but was told by legal counsel that was a risky course of action because the laws in Connecticut (where AIG is based) would award the employees substantial punitive damages if the government were to lose the lawsuit. Constitutional lawyer Mark Levin, author of the best-selling Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto, correctly states, “There is no Constitutional authority…” for giving Geithner the power he has requested. “We have an administration full of czars, full of people who don’t comply with the Constitution. The question today is, ‘What is your authority, Mr. Secretary, to do this? I would like to know what’s the president’s authority to do this?’”  [1953, 2051]
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« Reply #153 on: July 29, 2009, 03:02:34 pm »

Energy, Health Care, and Education

 

On March 24, Obama gives his second prime-time news conference, where he continues to pound the theme that if only the government would spend more money on “green” energy, health care for all, and education, all will be well. (He is careful, however, to use the term “investment” to trick Americans into believing that spending tax dollars is something other than spending tax dollars.) “Let’s make the investments that ensure that we meet our growth targets that put us on a pathway to growth as opposed to a situation in which we’re not making those investments and we still have trillion-dollar deficits,” says Obama. He argues that the biggest cause of long-term deficits is “huge health care costs,” which he claims his budget addresses. (Obama is incorrect; the cause of long-term deficits is not health care costs, it is politicians of both parties foolishly and consistently spending more than is collected in taxes. Obama’s budget deficit “solution” is to spend hundreds of billions more on health care and dramatically increase the deficit.) Obama states, “This budget is inseparable from this recovery because it is what lays the foundation for a secure and lasting prosperity,” but critics argue it will add at least $9.3 trillion to the national debt over the next 10 years. Most of Obama’s remarks consist of pompous nonsense, including “We will recover from this recession, but it will take time, it will take patience, and it will take an understanding that when we all work together, when each of us looks beyond our own short-term interests to the wider set of obligations we have to each other—that’s when we succeed.” When asked why he took so long to respond to the AIG bonus issue, Obama quickly gives a well-rehearsed answer, “It took us a couple days because I like to know what I’m talking about before I speak.” (He likely needed several days to ensure that everyone in the administration would agree to the same “spin” about who knew what when.) Obama also has the audacity to brag that he would cut the deficit in half in five years, while neglecting to mention that he will first more than triple the deficit. Obama takes credit for an increase in housing sales, saying that his economic program is already showing results. But that increase is simply the result of shrewd buyers taking advantage of the depressed housing prices and low mortgage rates and has nothing to with Obama’s stimulus bill. Incredibly, Obama also tells the reporters present that his budget, which reduces tax exemptions for charitable donations, will not have a negative effect on charities. (Some argue that Obama’s plan to influence a reduction of charitable donations is intentional, and is a way for him to create more voter-dependent federal programs that would take up the slack of reduced donations.) [1952, 2027]

            Stung by criticism that he is unable to speak adequately without the assistance of a teleprompter, which can often be seen on camera, Obama does not use one for his evening press conference. In its place, however, is a large-screen television positioned behind the reporters seated in the East Room, from which Obama reads his opening remarks. It is unclear why the White House thought no one would notice the television and its purpose, although the media can truthfully say that Obama “did not use a teleprompter during the press conference.” (Columnist Michael Gerson refers to the teleprompter as Obama’s “linguistic push-up bra.”) [1956, 2008]

            Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) appears on the CBS Morning Show on March 25 and criticizes Obama’s budget proposal, saying, “We’re looking at inflation and financial and economic destruction. We cannot go down this road.” Vacuous host Maggie Rodriguez, seemingly incapable of appreciating that “economic destruction” might be something worth avoiding, asks Shelby, “But it looks like we are, and what good does it do the American people to, to point that out? Why not work with the president to try to reach a compromise?” Rodriguez’s “don’t worry, be happy” treatment of the budget is indicative of the mainstream media’s coverage, which treats anything Obama proposes and supports as good, and everything else as negative and counter-productive. [2234]
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« Reply #154 on: July 29, 2009, 03:12:44 pm »

            Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, speaking before the European (Union) Parliament on March 25, strongly criticizes Obama’s unfathomable spending plans and calls it a “road to Hell” that EU governments must avoid. Obama has argued that the European nations need to engage in even more deficit spending to stimulate the world economy. Most Western European nations have, in fact, been digging themselves into financial holes as quickly as is the United States under Obama, but the Eastern European countries (like the Czech Republic) are more familiar with the failures of socialism and are less willing to head back in that direction. Obama nevertheless insisted at his March 24 press conference that his budget “is inseparable from this recovery, because it is what lays the foundation for a secure and lasting prosperity.” [1960]

            Eager for additional revenue for Obama’s massive spending plans, the administration announces plans to close the “tax gap” by finding ways to be more aggressive in collecting taxes, with a goal of an additional $300 billion per year—approximately $1,000 for every man, woman, and child in the U.S. Budget Director Peter Orszag states on March 25, “The task force on tax reform that will be formed by the Volcker board will be examining ways of being even more aggressive on reducing the tax gap, which could provide funding for tax provisions.” [2000]

            In an apparent effort to keep the United States dependent on foreign oil, on March 25 the House approves (285–140) a bill placing 1.2 million acres of land in Wyoming off-limits for resource development. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) states that the legislation (which has already passed the Senate) “…would permanently take 8.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 300 million barrels of oil out of production.” The bill creates 60 federally protected wildernesses in nine states, and prevents oil and gas exploration in 26 million acres of existing BLM-managed land. Congressman Tom Price (R-GA) comments, “This is not the agenda of the American people. With Americans looking for economic relief, now is not the time to obstruct American energy production.” [1999]

            On March 25, Geithner remarks that he is “quite open” to China’s suggestion to move away from a dollar-based reserve currency. (Just the day before Geithner had told the House Financial Services Committee that he “categorically renounces” the idea.) In order to stop critics from assuming he is a supporter of a single, worldwide currency, Geithner adds that his viewpoint should be viewed as an “evolutionary building on the current architecture rather than moving us to a global monetary union.” His clarification will likely do little to stop the rumor from spreading that he supports a global currency. Just ten minutes after Geithner’s “quite open” statement the dollar falls 1.3 per cent against the Euro. Congressman John Shadegg (R-AZ) later criticizes Geithner, saying “Beginning with his tax difficulties, and continuing through the puzzling narrative of when and what he knew about the AIG bonuses, Treasury Secretary Geithner has done little to inspire the confidence of the American people. Oddly, Secretary Geithner continued his bizarre and puzzling conduct this week, making flatly contradictory statements about the dollar in a span of only 24 hours. This weakens confidence not only in him, but in the currency he is entrusted to protect… Is it too much to ask that (his) position remain unchanged over a 24 hour period?”  [1962, 2001]

            Within days of Geithner’s conflicting remarks, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) introduces legislation barring the recognition of any currency other than the dollar as the reserve currency. Bachmann warns, “If we give up the dollar as our standard, and co-mingle the value of the dollar with the value of coinage in Zimbabwe, that dilutes our money supply. We lose control over our economy. And economic liberty is inextricably entwined with political liberty. Once you lose your economic freedom, you lose your political freedom.” [2019]

            George Soros, billionaire friend of Obama and financial supporter of far-left organizations like MoveOn.org, states, “I’m having a very good crisis.” While millions of people worldwide were losing trillions of dollars in the stock market, Soros made a fortune in 2008 by betting the U.S. economy would fall apart. (Many wonder if Soros acted behind the scenes to help the economy collapse, as he had previously manipulated currency markets to increase his personal fortune.) The world economic collapse prompted an increased growth in government worldwide, and the election of Obama and the rise of his socialist policies in the United States. “It is, in a way, the culminating point of my life’s work,” Soros tells the newspaper The Australian. [1967, 1968, 1969]

            Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits Mexico and meets with President Felipe Calderon to discuss the worsening problem of drugs and violence in Mexico and at the U.S. border. Clinton states, “Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade,” and “Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the deaths of police officers, soldiers and civilians.” Clinton announces that the United States will give Mexico helicopters and night-vision goggles to help with its enforcement. Meanwhile, Congress has failed to fund the Merida Initiative, a $1.4 billion drug counter-trafficking program. Many contend that most of the weapons in Mexico are not in fact smuggled across the border from the United States. The Mexican drug dealers obtain many weapons by bribing the Mexican military. U.S. Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO) states that “The heavy weaponry is not coming from the United States” and points out that the many Mexican Army deserters (more than 110,000 over the last few years) take their weapons with them when they flee military service so they can sell them on the black market. [1970, 2036]

            Senator Joseph Lieberman, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, says that Obama is not doing enough to control drug violence or protect the U.S.-Mexico border. Obama has asked for 500 additional federal agents for border posts; Lieberman wants funding for at least 1,600. “I don’t think it’s enough,” says Lieberman at a committee hearing. “The danger here is clear and present. It threatens to get worse.” More than drugs and illegal Mexican immigrants cross the border; Hizbullah uses the same routes for getting its terrorists into the United States. (Some downplay the danger of terrorists sneaking across the border; Michael Slackman of the New York Times has called Hizbullah not a terrorist organization but a “military, political and social organization…”) [1975, 2041, 2354]
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« Reply #155 on: July 29, 2009, 03:13:18 pm »

            Stephen Pidgeon, an attorney representing Washington State plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging Obama’s eligibility to serve as president, claims he has been “tailed” by federal officers of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the county sheriffs, and the local police department. “There’s definitely observation,” said Pidgeon. “Maybe observation in anticipation of making an arrest.” Pidgeon states that three black vehicles with agents wearing camouflage had been parked near his home, and he was followed as he drove into town. He was then followed into a restaurant by an armed agent in plain clothes, and his lunch was observed by a security guard reporting by cell phone from that location. The incident was reported live to Bob Unruh at WorldNetDaily, whose inquiries to DHS may have been instrumental in thwarting a false arrest. [1977]

            NBC reports that the Obama administration has decided to stop using the term “global war on terror” and will instead use the phrase, “Overseas Contingency Operation.” (Some staffers purportedly suggested the term, Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism, or GSAVE.) Obama has been using the term “Global Contingency Operation” for several weeks. The change has likely not caused many terrorists to cringe in fear, but it may have prompted laughter. (Columnist Doug Giles asks why the White House doesn’t simply call it the “Hello Kitty Campaign?”)  Secretary of State Clinton remarks, “The administration has stopped using the phrase and I think that speaks for itself.” (Columnist Jonah Goldberg wonders if the Obama administration was influenced by Leo Tolstoy’s epic novel, Overseas Contingency Operations and Cessation of Overseas Contingency Operations—more commonly referred to as War and Peace.) [1978, 1982, 2037, 2077, 2306]

            Secretary of State Clinton warns that if North Korea fires a ballistic missile it would be considered a “provocative act” that would have “consequences.” Neither Clinton nor Obama define what those consequences might be. [1981]

            The Washington Post confirms that North Korea is holding two American journalists hostage, possibly as leverage to keep Japan and the United States from interfering with its upcoming test firing of a ballistic missile. Euna Lee and Laura Ling were abducted by North Korean soldiers while they were filming, allegedly from Chinese territory. The administration has been keeping the situation quiet, and North Korea has the advantage of knowing that Obama wants to avoid an international crisis. [1983]

            Alarmed by the speed of Obama’s power grabs and eagerness to tax-and-spend the United States into a European-socialist economy, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) urges citizens to stand up to Obama before it’s too late to fight back. Bachmann charges that “nefarious activities were taking place in Washington” with regard to global warming policies, and tells her constituents, “I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us ‘having a revolution every now and then is a good thing,’ and the people—we the people—are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country. And I think this has the potential of changing the dynamic of freedom forever in the United States.” Bachmann asks Republicans to “…do everything they can to thwart (the Democrats) at every turn to make sure that they aren’t able to secure a power base that for all time can never be defeated.” [1985]

            A federal criminal complaint is brought against Obama by retired U.S. Navy officer Walter Francis Fitzpatrick III, charging that he is an “imposter” who gained the White House by “…force of contrivance, concealment, conceit, dissembling, and deceit.” A defiant Fitzpatrick, who has been visited by Secret Service agents, said, “They either have to come and get me or get Mr. Obama’s eligibility proved. He has an officer in his military saying he is guilty of trespass on the Constitution.” [1986]

            On March 26, Obama’s National Intelligence Director, Dennis Blair, holds a news conference and confirms that some of the Guantanamo detainees who are considered “non-threatening” may be released into the United States as free men. The United States supposedly cannot return them to their home countries because their governments will not accept them (perhaps because they are not, in fact, “non-threatening”) or because the Obama administration fears they will be tortured upon their return. Blair says the prisoners would have to get some form of assistance to begin new lives in the United States because “we can’t put them out on the street.” Blair’s response suggests the former terrorists would be treated like individuals in a witness protection program, with the taxpayers footing the bill. The “relocation program” apparently would involve 17 “Uighers,” Chinese Muslim separatists who received terrorist training from al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Bora Bora. The Uighers were captured at an al-Qaeda training camp and are members of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM). [1995, 1996, 2492]

            An unconfirmed report states that Obama has asked actor Bob Basso to the White House to discuss the popular and controversial YouTube.com videos in which Basso appears in 18th century garb as Thomas Paine, author of the Common Sense pamphlet that encouraged the American Revolution. Basso says he was personally invited by Obama “to discuss the disturbing nature of the videos.” More than one million Americans have seen Basso’s videos. The second video excoriates Congress for approving the “largest spending bill in history without reading it.” Basso’s videos take neither a Democrat nor Republican stance, but the pro-liberty stance of the Founding Fathers, with such statements as, “Wake up, America. While you were playing with the toys of your consumer wealth, you lost much more than your bloated economy of living beyond your means. You lost your representative democracy. Your servants have become your masters. Taxation without representation is tyranny.” If the videos are “disturbing” to the administration, it may be because they have ignited the spark of protest, encouraging millions of citizens to engage in tax protests and send tea bags to the White House in honor of the Boston Tea Party tax protest against the British on December 16, 1773. [2042, 2056]
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« Reply #156 on: July 29, 2009, 03:13:55 pm »

            Obama holds an “Open for Questions” forum on March 26 in which he takes questions selected from over one hundred thousand Internet submissions. Most are generic “puff” questions, such as “How do you plan to restore education as a right and core cultural value in America?” “Why can we not have a universal health care system, like many European countries, where people are treated based on needs rather than financial resources?” and “…are you willing to have teachers on the platform, in the committees, as a part of developing (education) plans?” The pre-selected questions allow Obama a chance to give lengthy stump speeches on his three pet projects: “green” energy, increased education spending, and national health care. Obama also takes questions from an audience, all of which come from (later identified) Obama campaign supporters. [2032, 2033, 2114]

            During the Open for Questions forum Obama laughs off a question about legalizing marijuana (the most frequent topic of all online questions submitted) but replies that he would not consider doing so. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) reports that its donations quadrupled over the subsequent 24 hours, with many contributors disappointed that Obama did not take the question seriously. [2035]

            In a closed-door meeting of the House Democrat Caucus, Obama tells Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) “Don’t think we’re not keeping score, brother!” Obama’s remark was prompted by DeFazio’s vote against the massive stimulus bill. Using adviser Valerie Jarrett as the “point person,” the White House keeps in contact with MoveOn.org, Americans United for Change, and other leftist groups to coordinate efforts to go after Republicans and any “wayward Democrats” who do not support the Obama agenda. The groups put pressure on Democrats to tow the line and threaten them with primary challengers if they do not. [2163, 2530]

            An editorial in The Economist suggests it may have been wrong in supporting Obama. It criticizes Obama’s “…failure to grapple as fast and as single-mindedly with the economy as he should have done. His stimulus package, though huge, was subcontracted to Congress, which did a mediocre job: too much of the money will arrive too late to be of help in the current crisis. His budget… is wildly optimistic. And he has taken too long to produce his plan for dealing with the trillions of dollars of toxic assets which fester on banks’ balance sheets.” It also criticizes his political mistakes, stating, “If Mr. Obama cannot work with the Republicans he needs to be certain that he controls his own party. Unfortunately, he seems unable to. Put bluntly, the Democrats are messing him around.” [2055]

            Senator David Vitter (R-LA) introduces an amendment to the National Service Act that would prohibit federal funds from going to the controversial leftist activist group ACORN. Vitter states, “At the heart of this debate is whether this new federal bureaucracy would, in effect, politicize charitable activity around the country, which we certainly do not want.” Although ACORN workers have been arrested for voter registration fraud activities in 17 states (one Ohio man says he was given cash and cigarettes by ACORN to register to vote 72 times), the amendment is defeated, 53–43. [2011, 2012]

            The Senate passes the GIVE Act, with the support of two liberal Republicans from Maine (Collins and Snowe). [2013]

            Alan Keyes decides to appeal his Obama eligibility lawsuit. The court had ruled that California’s Secretary of State has “no duty to demand proof of eligibility from candidates.” Keyes’ attorney, Gary Kreep, criticizes Judge Michael P. Kenny’s decision, arguing that his “…ruling in the case that only Congress and only on January 6 of each year following a presidential election can object as to whether the nominee is eligible to serve as president of the United States is, in our opinion, completely wrong and eviscerates the requirements for serving as president in the United States Constitution.” Kreep informs the media, “Obama, as far back as 2006, had a relationship (with) a law firm that was coincidentally researching ways to get around the Article 2 requirements of the U.S. Constitution for serving as president.” (Kreep is likely referring to Sarah P. Herlihy, of the Chicago law firm of Kirkland and Ellis LLP, who authored “Amending the Natural Born Citizen Requirement: Globalization as the Impetus and the Obstacle,” in which she argues for the elimination of the natural born citizen requirement of the U.S. Constitution. Kirkland and Ellis law partner Bruce I. Ettleson was a member of Obama’s campaign finance committee.) [581, 582, 588, 598, 2001]

            Former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan (husband of NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell) states in the Financial Times that banks should be prevented from getting too big to fail. “The solution is to have graduated regulatory capital requirements to discourage them from becoming too big and to offset their competitive advantage.” (Greenspan does not suggest that government should be prevented from growing too large.) [2006]

            The United Nations’ Human Rights Council approves a proposal urging the passage of laws offering “protection against acts of hatred, discrimination, intimidation and coercion resulting from defamation of religions and incitement to religious hatred in general,” but the resolution singles out only Islam for protection. The resolution states “Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism.” The United States is not a member of the council and does not cast a vote. Previous presidents ignored the council (and its predecessor, the Human Rights Commission) because of its constant anti-Israel statements. Obama’s ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, has a decidedly anti-Israel bias and may prompt changes in U.S. policies toward the United Nations. [1247, 1344, 2015, 2140]

            An Oakland, California school, the Alternative Learning Community, is being renamed the “Barack Obama Academy” at the request of its students, who are primarily low-income blacks. In support of the change, eighth-grader Mikela Mosely told the school district “To graduate from Barack Obama Academy means I am part of history in the making, and I want to be a part of history. This is an inspiration to me and for many generations to come.” According to the San Francisco Chronicle, many of the school’s students have “…a history of poor grades, lax attendance, and school discipline (problems).” [2018]
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« Reply #157 on: July 29, 2009, 03:14:58 pm »

            Obama presents his Afghanistan plans on March 27, which he describes as a “comprehensive new strategy.” Although Obama states “This is not simply an American problem,” and says “It is instead an international security challenge of the highest order,” he will be unlikely to get other nations eager to commit large number troops and substantial sums of money to an area he calls “the most dangerous place in the world.” Obama calls for “a stronger, smarter and more comprehensive strategy,” more money for the war, and recognition of the “connection” between the “future prospects of Afghanistan and Pakistan.” He also orders 4,000 additional U.S. troops to the region (to add to the 17,000 recently requested, and the 38,000 already there), and asks Congress for $1.5 billion each year for five years to rebuild “schools, roads, and hospitals” in Pakistan. Obama’s “strategy” appears to many observers to be a “work in progress,” lacking any details. His stated goal in Afghanistan is advancing “security, opportunity and justice, not just in Kabul but from the bottom up in the provinces.” (Obama’s plan sounds remarkably like the “nation-building” in Iraq for which he frequently criticized former President Bush.) [2024, 2025, 2168]

            Obama’s public statement on Afghanistan is accompanied by a March 27 position paper released by the White House, called the “White Paper of the Interagency Policy Group’s Report on U.S. Policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan.” The document states, “The ability of extremists in Pakistan to undermine Afghanistan is proven, while insurgency in Afghanistan feeds instability in Pakistan. The threat that al-Qaeda poses to the United States and our allies in Pakistan—including the possibility of extremists obtaining (nuclear weapon) fissile material—is all too real. Without more effective action against these groups in Pakistan, Afghanistan will face continuing instability.” The document, like Obama’s public statement, is vague and obtuse. There are no clear attainable objectives, no apparent exit strategies, no end to the troop deployments, and no end to the tax dollars sent to Afghanistan and Pakistan. The likelihood is that in another 10 years those two nations will still be run by corrupt and ineffective governments or Islamic fundamentalists who hate the United States. The administration appears to be on a path to nation building, involving a long-term military and financial investment in one of the most backward regions on earth, an area that is even less prepared than Iraq to know what to do with a democracy. [2135]

            Obama meets with CEOs of 15 financial institutions on March 27; they include the heads of Bank of America, Citigroup, Freddie Mac, and American Express. The meeting is not as cordial as the media reports, with the term “mutual wariness” later being used. Obama tyrannically threatens the group, “My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.” (Some might argue that Obama, with his incessant trashing of capitalism and corporate America, has been providing the pitchforks and riling up the citizenry for his own political purposes.) [2176, 2177]

            It is reported that Obama has made a concerted effort to add Muslims to administration positions. The stated goal of the Congressional Muslim Staffer Association (CMSA) is “…to effectively represent the Islamic faith and the Muslim American community to Representatives, Senators, Congressional Staff, and other government organizations and officials. CMSA seeks to promote the active participation of Muslim Americans in U.S. public affairs, contributing to and strengthening American pluralism, multiculturalism, and democratic institutions.” Apparently on Obama’s behalf, CMSA coordinator J. Saleh Williams has reviewed more than 300 resumes, but the project has not been widely promoted. “It was mostly under the radar,” said Williams. “We thought it would put (Obama) in a precarious position. We didn’t know how closely he wanted to appear to be working with the Muslim American community.” The leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood (founded in 1928, with the goal of instilling the Quran as the “sole reference point for… ordering the life of the Muslim family, individual, community…  and state”) has said that its work in the United States is “a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”  [2029, 2030, 2031]

            On March 28, a Common Law Grand Jury (citizen grand jury) in Stockbridge, Georgia returns an indictment against Barack Hussein Obama (aka Barry Soetoro aka Barry Sutoro) on charges of fraudulently taking the office of the presidency. The indictment, which includes counts of fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud, is presented to prosecutors on March 30. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution allows the citizens to instigate criminal charges when they believe the government is abusing power. [2057, 2058, 2059]

            Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) delivers the Republican response to Obama’s radio address of March 28. Gregg states, “In the next five years, President Obama’s budget will double the national debt, in the next ten years it will triple the national debt. To say this another way, if you take all the debt of our country run up by all of our presidents from George Washington through George W. Bush, the total debt over all those 200 plus years since we started as a nation, it is President Obama’s plan to double that debt in just the first five years that he is in office.” [2103, 2104]

            London’s March 29 Sunday Times reports that European nations are less than eager to support the calls of Obama and Great Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown for additional stimulus spending for their purported $2 trillion Global New Deal. German Chancellor Angela Merkel states, “I will not let anyone tell me that we must spend more money,” and Spain’s finance minister comments, “In these conditions I and the rest of my colleagues from the Eurozone believe there is no room for new fiscal stimulus plans.” Not all national leaders are as eager to print worthless money as are Obama and Brown. [2044]
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« Reply #158 on: July 29, 2009, 03:15:28 pm »

            Defense Secretary Robert Gates tells Fox News Sunday that the United States will not attempt to shoot down the anticipated North Korean missile. Gates tells host Chris Wallace, “I would say we’re not prepared to do anything about it,” despite the fact that the missile launch violates a U.N. resolution and only a week earlier U.S. Pacific Commander Admiral Timothy Keating told Senators at a hearing there is a “high probability” that the Navy could knock down the missile. Japan had previously suggested it had the right to shoot down the missile, but Gates says that is now unlikely. Gates further remarks, “If this is Kim Jong-Il’s welcoming present to a new president, launching a missile like this and threatening to have a nuclear test, I think it says a lot about the imperviousness of this regime in North Korea to any kind of diplomatic overtures.” Others might suggest it also says a lot about Obama—that he is weak and na´ve, and that North Korea is looking to see what Obama would do if pressed and learning that he will likely do nothing. (A non-response by Obama may encourage even more aggressive activity from Kim Jong-Il.) The change in public statements over a period of only one week suggests that Obama told the Defense Department to allow North Korea to proceed unhindered with its violation of a U.N. resolution. [2091, 2092]

            A tea party tax protest planned for Coral Gables, Florida may be canceled because of permit and insurance requirements imposed by the local government. The city officials want an insurance policy taken out by the organizers because it expects a large crowd and wants to protect itself against possible damages. Nationwide, organizers of anti-tax, anti-deficit, and anti-Obama rallies are running up against roadblocks caused by permit costs, restrictions, red tape, and demands for insurance. (Leftist demonstrations run into those same roadblocks, but with years of community activist experience and financing from wealthy backers their organizers already “know the ropes.”) [2090]
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« Reply #159 on: July 29, 2009, 03:16:05 pm »

Off the Wagoner

 

Obama forces General Motors (GM) chairman and 32-year company veteran Rick Wagoner to resign, apparently as part of a deal in which the automaker will receive additional federal bailout cash. In an amazing display of cowardice and lack of principles and patriotism, Wagoner submits rather than call for a press conference to defy and expose the unconstitutional power grab by Obama and his comrades. Although the United Auto Workers Union is as responsible as GM management for the company’s failure, the UAW’s president, Ron Gettelfinger, is not forced by Obama to resign. The firing of Gettelfinger is later called for by Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work organization. (Obama has no Constitutional authority to force anyone not working in the Executive Branch of the federal government or the military to resign.) Wagoner was unable to provide a restructuring plan for GM that satisfied the government, which likely demanded that GM manufacture fewer profitable SUVs and trucks and more unprofitable small vehicles, while not allowing significant but desperately needed concessions from the union. GM is given additional funds to carry it for an additional 60 days, at which point it will be expected to submit yet another restructuring plan. (GM has been on the road to insolvency for 30 years; if it were capable of coming up with a decent restructuring plan it would have done so long ago. It has also been hamstrung for decades by oppressive collective bargaining agreements.) Obama, who fired Wagoner mostly for symbolism, also selects his replacement, calls for new board members, and sends a team of hand-picked advisors to develop a new business plan and negotiate bankruptcy terms with bondholders and the United Auto Workers union. (It is worth noting that General Motors was profitable even during the Great Depression of the 1930s, but it was not then burdened with strict government regulations and unreasonable collective bargaining agreements.) [2047, 2065, 2066, 2093, 2187, 2281, 2520]

            Chrysler is ordered to work out a merger deal with Italy’s Fiat within 30 days or be left to sink or swim on its own, without additional federal money. (Chrysler may be given an additional $6 billion in federal funds if it arranges a Fiat deal. The clear winner in the deal would be Fiat, obtaining Chrysler for next to nothing at the expense of U.S. taxpayers and Chrysler bondholders. Also gaining would be Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi, who owns a substantial amount of Fiat stock.) White House aides predictably blame former President Bush for the problems of the automakers, but the head of the popular auto Web site Edmunds.com, Jeremy Anwyl, calls the Obama move “political theater” just to fool the public into thinking something productive is being done. GM and Chrysler are not too big to fail economically, just politically, because Obama is in debt to organized labor for its enormous campaign contributions. David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research, states, “I don’t think you would see any shift or significant change at all with Rick’s leaving. I think the course that they’re on, they’re on.” Wagoner arguably made it possible for GM to survive to 2009, by reducing the number of employees from 177,000 to 92,000, closing unprofitable factories, eliminating the weak Oldsmobile nameplate, and improving vehicle quality, but that was not enough to offset the massive union wage and benefits costs that have decimated the company’s profits. White House critics complain that GM relied too long on high-profit trucks and SUVs—but those were precisely the vehicles that have kept it in business. Both GM and Chrysler may end up in bankruptcy, which many argue should have been allowed to happen months ago (and which would have saved the taxpayers billions in wasted bailout money that did nothing but prolong the agony). [2047, 2065, 2066, 2093, 2187, 2659]

            Only hours after Obama’s announcement of his auto industry plans, affected workers start complaining that “Wall Street was treated better than Main Street,” with the financial firms repeatedly getting billions while GM and Chrysler are essentially told “shape up in 30–60 days or else we’ll allow you to go bankrupt.” The president of United Auto Workers Union Local 602, Brian Fredline, comments, “You have all kinds of funding available to banks that are apparently too big to fail, but they’re also too big to be responsible. But when it comes to auto manufacturing and middle-class jobs and people that don’t matter on Wall Street, there are certainly different standards that we have to meet—higher standards—than the financials. That is a double standard that exists and it’s unfair.” The stock market reacts to the possibility of GM and Chrysler ceasing to exist with a drop in the DJIA of 254 points, to 7,522.02. Nevertheless, equity analyst Dan Greenhaus states, “This will be devastating in the short term; to many lives, to the stock market, to our economic performance. But in the long term, our country will benefit from more productive and innovative companies which no doubt will spring up to take the place of GM, Ford and Chrysler.” Is unclear how General Motors can be expected to survive when the government is demanding that the company discontinue 11 of its high-profit trucks and SUVs (even though they generate the bulk of its domestic profits) because they are not energy-efficient enough for Obama’s tastes. (Before becoming president, Obama drove a gas-guzzling Chrysler 300C with a large, gas guzzling, Hemi V-8 engine.) The White House expects GM and Chrysler to thank it for bailouts by building “green” cars, but those are not the vehicles that contribute to the profits needed to keep the companies in business. (Nor are they the vehicles that most consumers want. Even much-praised Toyota makes the bulk of its profits from trucks, not its smaller, fuel-efficient vehicles.) The Treasury Department admits that GM’s electric Chevrolet Volt is “too expensive to be commercially successful.” If Obama expects the automakers to eliminate many trucks and SUVs and concentrate on small econoboxes, the taxpayers will be subsidizing those vehicles for a long time to come. (There will also be more highway deaths because of consumers being forced into smaller vehicles.) [353, 2074, 2078]
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« Reply #160 on: July 29, 2009, 03:16:47 pm »

            Appearing on television as though he were a salesman pitching new cars, Obama tells potential buyers, “It is my hope that the steps I am announcing today will go a long way toward answering many of the questions people may have about the future of GM and Chrysler. But just in case there are still nagging doubts, let me say it as plainly as I can—if you buy a car from Chrysler or General Motors, you will be able to get your car serviced and repaired, just like always. Your warranty will be safe. In fact, it will be safer than it’s ever been. Because starting today, the United States government will stand behind your warranty.” Columnist Ann Coulter notes, “To promote the sales of GM vehicles, Obama says the government will stand by your GM car warranty. And all the taxpayers will get a lube job. The new GM owner’s manual will come with a disclaimer: ‘Close enough for government work.’” Obama makes his warranty announcement without having any authority to do so; no legislation has been passed that would fund those costs. (The White House will no doubt start getting telephone calls asking for the warranty department and requesting a repair appointment. The number is 1-202-456-1414.) [2113, 2149]

            Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) calls Obama’s firing of Wagoner “a major power-grab by the White House on the heels of another power-grab from Secretary Geithner, who asked last week for the freedom to decide on his own which companies are ‘systemically’ important to our country and worthy of taxpayer investment, and which are not. (This is) …a marked departure from the past,” “truly breathtaking,” and something that “should send a chill through all Americans who believe in free enterprise.” Obama is himself taking a significant risk in deciding to have the government control GM and Chrysler. As additional workers are laid off, those who are affected will start blaming Obama as much as company management; if Obama avoids lay-offs by dumping more federal cash into the car companies, he will anger the taxpayers who are tiring of bailouts with their tax dollars. Obama can avoid criticism only if the automakers recover quickly, which is no more likely than balancing the federal budget within the next four years.  [2087]

            As Obama prepares to leave for a G20 summit meeting in London, some note that the worldwide economic downturn may dampen Europe’s enthusiasm for his visit. An eager welcome of his “hope and change” message will be replaced with the hard reality of dealing with a global crisis and evaluating economic policies. Obama’s massive deficit spending has alarmed some European governments, especially because he expects them to do the same and contribute even more than they already have. Germany in particular is worried about the massive debt the U.S. government will incur to finance Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package and $410 billion spending bill. During his European trip Obama will also be asking other nations to offer military and financial assistance for the war in Afghanistan but that is likely to be a tough sell—especially if he refers to it not as a “global war on terror” but uses the new officially-sanctioned White House term, “Overseas Contingency Operation.” [1978, 1982, 2037, 2060, 2064]

            The Guardian reports on the “necessities” Obama will bring with him to London for the G20 summit. Obama will arrive with “limousines, helicopters, 200 U.S. Secret Service staff and a six-doctor medical team.” “More than 500 officials and staff will accompany the president on his tour… along with a mass of high-tech security equipment, including the $300,000 presidential limousine, known as ‘The Beast.’ Fitted with night-vision camera, reinforced steel plating, tear-gas cannon and oxygen tanks, the vehicle is the ultimate in heavy armoured transport.” “Obama will be constantly minded by his personal aide Reggie Love, who dials his BlackBerry, fetches his jacket and tie and supplies him with snacks.” Love also stands at the ready to “shoot hoops” on the basketball court and watch television sports with Obama, should the temporary resident of the Oval Office run out of things to do. Obama will also take along four speechwriters, 12 teleprompters, a personal chef, and his own food and water. [2137]

            Obama’s Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, receives the Margaret Sanger Award from the nation’s largest pro-abortion organization, Planned Parenthood. The award is for Clinton’s “leadership, excellence, and outstanding contributions to the reproductive health and rights movement.” It is not known whether Clinton is aware that Sanger (founder of Planned Parenthood and a proponent of eugenics) once referred to blacks as “human weeds,” and encouraged the intentional reduction of their numbers through abortion. Upon accepting the award, Clinton states, “Yet we know that Margaret Sanger’s work here in the United States and certainly across our globe is not done.” Clinton also remarks that she respects Sanger more than Thomas Jefferson because he owned slaves. In her view, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America is deserving of less respect than a woman who once said, “The most merciful thing that a large family can do to one of its infants is to kill it.” [2061, 2657]

            On March 30, investigator Andy Martin sends a letter to Obama inviting him to attend the National Conference on Barack Obama’s Missing Birth Certificate and College Records scheduled for April 3 and 4 in Washington, D.C. [2073]

            By the end of March, the White House receives over one million empty red envelopes. The back of the envelope reads, “This envelope represents one child who died in abortion. It is empty because that life was unable to offer anything to the world. Responsibility begins with conception.” The Red Envelope Project is the grass-roots idea of Christ Otto, an anti-abortion activist, who says that the red “envelopes represent the innocent blood shed through abortion.” [2081, 2082]

            It is reported that during 2008 the New York Times spent months gathering facts about Obama’s connections to the activist group ACORN but decided not to run additional final stories—developed by reporter Stephanie Strom—because the information would damage the candidate. Among other things, Strom learned that the Obama campaign had illegally provided ACORN with a copy of its “maxed out donor list,” so that ACORN could solicit “get out the vote” donations from those individuals who had already contributed the maximum to Obama. Providing the list to ACORN was a violation of the law, and its tax-exempt status forbids it from engaging in partisan politics. (Strom’s source states that there was “constant contact” between the Obama campaign and ACORN’s Project Vote operation.) The decision to drop the story was made by the New York Times on October 21, 2008. Strom told her ACORN whistleblower, Anita MonCrief, the editors wanted the story killed because “it was a game changer.” Reporter Strom telephoned MonCrief to tell her, “I have just been asked by my bosses to stand down… they want me to hold off on coming to Washington. Sorry, I take my orders from higher up… ah… sometimes. Anyway, umm… I’m sorry about this and we’ll still be in touch…” (The New York Times, somehow expecting critics to believe the public would not be interested in knowing that Obama was not only heavily involved with ACORN he was breaking the law to assist its operations, later laughingly states that “…political considerations played no role in our decision about whether to cover this story.” Perhaps tellingly, the Times statement is issued on April 1.) [2108, 2141, 2666, 2667]
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« Reply #161 on: July 29, 2009, 03:17:22 pm »

            Yet another Obama cabinet nominee is caught not paying income taxes. Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, Obama’s pro-abortion pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services, recently paid $7,040 in back taxes (and $878 in interest) for 2005–2007. Sebelius said the mistake was the result of “unintentional errors.” Sebelius was chosen by Obama for the position after Tom Daschle withdrew from consideration because of unpaid tax issues. Sebelius’ husband is a federal magistrate judge in Kansas. The issue suggests either that federal income tax returns are far too complicated for even a governor and a judge to figure out, or Democrats in high places have a tendency to disregard IRS regulations. Sebelius will nevertheless likely be confirmed by the Democrat-controlled Senate, but opponents will put up a brief fight. [2094, 2096]

            The Obama administration decides the United States will join the United Nations Human Rights Council. The United States has never been a member because of the council’s decidedly anti-Israel bias, but Obama’s also decidedly anti-Israel U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, joins Secretary of State Clinton in announcing the change on March 31. Rice states, “The United States is seeking election to the Council because we believe that working from within, we can make the council a more effective forum to promote and protect human rights. We hope to work in partnership with many countries to achieve a more effective Council.” Just days before, the Human Rights Council had approved a proposal urging the passage of laws offering “protection against acts of hatred, discrimination, intimidation and coercion resulting from defamation of religions and incitement to religious hatred in general,” but the resolution singled out only Islam for protection. In 2006, the U.N. General Assembly voted down a U.S. proposal that the Human Rights Council only allow members that protect human rights, prompting the United States to withhold funding for the council. Obama is reversing that policy. There are 191 member nations in the United Nations; the Human Rights Council has issued condemnations against Israel more often than all the other nations combined, and prohibits any condemnation of Islamic human rights violations. The Council is essentially a stacked deck of anti-Israel members, which Obama now chooses to promote with U.S. membership and funding. [1247, 1344, 2015, 2095, 2140]

            Baitullah Mehsud, head of the Pakistan Taliban, announces on March 31 that he will soon “amaze everyone in the world” with an attack on the U.S. Capitol or the White House. Mehsud has made similar claims in the past, and he is considered the prime suspect in the December 2007 killing of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. [2102]

            The March 31 election in New York’s 20th Congressional District finishes too close to call and as many as 6,000 absentee and military ballots will end up deciding whether the victory goes to Democrat Scott Murphy or Republican Jim Tedisco. The special election was held to fill the seat vacated when Democrat Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand was appointed Senator (to fill Hillary Clinton’s vacated seat). Political analyst Dick Morris states, “This is a seat held by a Democratic congresswoman in one of the bluest of the blue states, 70 days after a (Democrat) president was overwhelmingly elected… Let’s remember that 57 per cent still approve of what Obama is doing, and the fact that Tedisco came so close that the absentee ballots might put him over the top I think was an extraordinary showing… To expect a takeaway to the Republican Party this early in a president’s administration I think is facile. I think what it really demonstrates is that Obama is in trouble. The fact that he can’t win an election like that by a significant margin I think really shows that people are beginning to tire of his agenda.” He adds, “…the issue is not why didn’t the Republican win (if he indeed did not), but why didn’t the Democrat win by a lot.” Gillibrand beat her Republican opponent in her November 2008 re-election contest 62–38 per cent (and Obama handily beat McCain in her district). If Murphy is her successor and he wins by just barely exceeding 50 per cent, some will look at the race as a significant drop-off in Obama’s appeal and opposition to his massive sending plans. Should Tedisco lose the election by a close margin, a court challenge may be filed because the New York Board of Elections mailed the military absentee ballots far too late (March 12 and 13) for them to be received by approximately one thousand soldiers, filled out, postmarked by March 30, and returned by the April 7 counting deadline. (The Military Postal Service recommends mailing them at least 60 days before the election; two Democrat members of the New York State Board of Elections voted against mailing the ballots earlier.) [2097, 2098, 2100, 2153]

            March unemployment figures show that 663,000 jobs were cut by employers that month, raising the unemployment rate to 8.5 per cent, its highest level since 1983. Many economists predict a 10 per cent rate by the end of 2009 and believe it may take years to drop back down to 5 per cent. [2147]

 

 
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« Reply #162 on: July 29, 2009, 03:31:31 pm »

April

 

The Apology Tour

 

While in London for the G20 summit on April 1, Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announce they will meet later in the year and attempt to work out an arms control treaty that reduces the number of nuclear weapons. They issue the joint statement, “We are instructing our negotiators to start talks immediately on this new treaty and to report on results achieved in working out the new agreement by July.” Russia is likely to take advantage of Obama’s desire to limit nuclear arsenals by persuading him to drop U.S. plans for a missile defense system in Eastern Europe that it vehemently opposes. Obama may believe he will score “peace points” by reducing the number of nuclear warheads, but Russia will emerge the clear winner if it stops a missile defense system that is designed to neutralize its weapons. (Russia would no doubt rather have fewer missiles that cannot be intercepted than more missiles that can.) Medvedev later refers to Obama as “my new comrade,” and expresses pleasure that he is not pursuing President Bush’s “mistake” of a missile shield. (The United States has not yet officially ruled out the missile defense installation planned for Poland, but Russia is clearly pressuring Obama to cancel it.) [2101, 2152]

            Gun stores around the nation continue to experience increased sales of weapons and ammunition. Demand is so great that many stores run out of ammunition shortly after their shelves are stocked, and manufacturers are struggling to keep up with orders. A Denver resident tells KMGH-TV, “Just about everywhere I’ve been, it’s sold out.” A National Rifle Association (NRA) spokesman states, “Folks have been experiencing shortages all over the country. Since the election, there has been a great increase in firearms sales as well. Background checks are up, enrollment in training and safety classes is up, concealed weapons permits are up, gun sales are up—and ammo manufacturers can’t keep up with demand.” One NRA member explains, “Everybody’s just worried about the new government coming in and trying to ban guns and make everything more difficult to obtain. Well, the way (Obama) has been acting, there may be a little truth to the rumor.” The owner of a gun shop says that even “old ladies and young people and liberals” have been buying ammunition from his store, and that Obama’s ill-advised (but revealing) campaign remark about how people “cling to guns or religion” may have sparked the fears and the purchases. [2105]

            More than 60 members of Congress ask Obama to withdraw his nomination of Dawn Johnsen to the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, partly because of her having described pregnancy as a form of slavery. Congressman Steve King (R-IA) complains that Johnsen has “…compared pregnancy to slavery and described it as involuntary servitude.” Johnsen has described pro-life activists as “terrorists,” and in arguing a case before the Supreme Court, Johnsen stated, “The woman is constantly aware for nine months that her body is not wholly her own: the state has conscripted her body for its own ends. Thus, abortion restrictions ‘reduce pregnant women to no more than fetal containers.’” [2106]

            The honeymoon—or at least the media adulation—is not yet over for Obama, as NBC’s Today show predicts that Queen Elizabeth will be overwhelmingly thrilled just to meet Obama during a break in the G20 activities. “This is gonna [sic] be the most exciting encounter of her (the Queen’s) long and successful reign. I think she’ll be absolutely fascinated.” [2119]

            When Obama and his wife meet England’s Queen Elizabeth II on April 1, he illustrates that he and his staff learned very little from the Gordon Brown DVD gift fiasco. Obama presents the Queen with a Chinese-made iPod. (She has had one since 2005.) Fortunately, Obama also presents her with a songbook autographed by the great American composer, Richard Rodgers. (Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! is one of the Queen’s favorites musicals.) The Queen gives Obama a signed photo of herself and her husband, a gift she routinely presents to visiting foreign dignitaries. The Queen says nothing to suggest the Obama visit is her “most exciting encounter” since her 1953 coronation, nor is it known how she will react upon learning that the iPod contains not an Oklahoma! soundtrack but a recording of Obama’s 2004 DNC speech and his 2009 inauguration address. [2107, 2124]

            Although Obama shakes the hand of Queen Elizabeth upon meeting her, he bows from the waist when later presented to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Proper protocol would have been a handshake for both Queen Elizabeth and the Saudi king, but only a Muslim would bow to a Saudi Wahhabi. One columnist writes of Obama’s act of submission to the Muslim king that it “…is not the protocol, and is most unbecoming a president of the United States.” Jamie Glazov (author of United in Hate, which “…analyzes the left’s romance with tyranny and terror”) is less generous in his criticism of Obama and comments, “And people don’t know what’s going on here? Are we kidding? This is simply the continuation of fellow traveling. It’s to be totally expected.” Obama was the only foreign leader to bow, and several laughed as Obama did so. (Whether Obama kissed the ring of the king is unclear from the available video of the event.) It is worth noting again that Obama had attended Harvard Law School with the help of Khalid Abdullah Tariq al-Mansour. Al-Mansour is the principal financial advisor to Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, the nephew of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah (the world’s 19th wealthiest person, worth $29.5 billion, who donated $20 million to Harvard to fund an Islamic studies program, and who gave $1.35 million to the families of Hamas suicide bombers out of gratitude for their having killed innocent Jews). Although protocol states it was most certainly improper for Obama to bow before the Saudi king, for perhaps more than one reason he felt obligated to bow; the king’s nephew is also the largest shareholder in Citigroup, which received billions in bailout dollars from American taxpayers and which has donated generously to Obama campaigns. [41, 380, 381, 382, 408, 558, 2144, 2150, 2203, 2312]

            The White House is put in damage control mode and denies that Obama bowed to the Saudi king, even though the action was caught on videotape. An Obama aide claims, “It wasn’t a bow. He grasped his hand with two hands, and he’s taller than King Abdullah.” (The video clearly shows Obama’s left hand at rest until after he rises from the bow; England’s Queen Elizabeth is shorter than King Abdullah and Obama did not bow to her.) Although the White House unconvincingly argues that Obama’s bow was not a bow, at least one Saudi newspaper recognized the gesture and stated, “Obama wished to demonstrate his respect and appreciation of the personality of King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, who has made one of the most important calls in the modern era, namely the call for inter-faith and inter-cultural dialogue to defuse the hatred, conflict and wars.” The Washington Times calls the bow a “shocking display of fealty to a foreign potentate” that violates centuries of American tradition of not deferring to royalty. [2238, 2263]
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« Reply #163 on: July 29, 2009, 03:32:06 pm »

            George Soros tells the Times of London that if the G20 summit meeting fails it could “push the world into depression.” The leftist investor who has made a fortune betting on other people’s failures states, “I have to admit that actually I flourish, I’m more stimulated by the bust. On the one hand, there’s the tremendous human suffering, which is very distressing. On the other hand, to be able to handle the situation is exhilarating.” [2109]

            While in London for the G20 summit, Obama angers reporters by prohibiting coverage of many of his activities and demanding that they not mention by name any “senior administration officials” they interview in his stead. The media is left to cover the many street demonstrators, whose protest themes seemed to be class warfare, anti-capitalism, and global warming. Some protesters are violent, wrecking a bank and attacking police officers. (The crowds of G20 demonstrators are considerably smaller than those of the recent tea party tax protests in the United States, which the mainstream media generally did not cover.) [2110, 2128, 2169]

            On April 1, the Senate votes 67 (41 Republicans and 26 Democrats) to 31 (all Democrats) against using the budget reconciliation process to sneak Obama’s cap-and-trade legislation into the federal budget. The defeat for Obama and the Democrat leadership means that Senators will need fewer votes to amend or stop the legislation, which many fear will dramatically raise consumer costs and cause massive job losses. If Obama is unable to get his desired global warming bill through Congress, he will readily hide behind the skirts of Carol Browner (his climate czar) and Lisa Jackson (EPA chief) while they regulate carbon dioxide as a “pollutant”—giving him much of the energy regulation he wants without the “burden” of the legislative process required by the U.S. Constitution. [2115, 2125, 2170]

            The Cybersecurity Act of 2009 is introduced in the Senate. The legislation, if passed, will give Obama authority over private-sector Internet services, applications, and software. Without congressional review, Obama could “declare a cyber-security emergency and order the limitation or shutdown of Internet traffic to and from” any “critical infrastructure system or network.” General Counsel of the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), Greg Nojeim, states Obama “…would decide not only what is critical infrastructure but also what is an emergency.” The law would also impose federal standards for security software, testing, licensing, and security professional certification. Nojeim warns, “Requiring firms to get government approval for new software would hamper innovation and would have a negative effect on security. If everyone builds to the same (federal) standard and the bad guys know those standards it makes it easier for the bad guys.” Although the legislation contains some arguably worthwhile methods of fighting cyber-crimes and global cyber-espionage, critics fear individual liberties and freedom of speech will be restricted by an over-zealous government under the guise of protecting the citizenry. The legislation would give the administration access to privately owned information networks critical to the nation’s infrastructure “without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule or policy restricting such access.” A Zogby poll shows that only five per cent of Americans support such legislation. [2167, 2184, 2570]

            Obama’s aunt, Zeituni Onyango, temporarily avoids deportation to Kenya when the judge reschedules her case to February of 2010. (A favorite saying of immigration lawyers is, “It ain’t over until the alien wins.”) [2180, 2186]

            Vice-President Biden visits a fire station in Pikeville, North Carolina to brag about how Obama’s stimulus legislation will bring billions of dollars to rural communities across the nation. Biden states, “We’re investing in places like this all across the country to demonstrate the vital role towns like this play in the recovery.” State Senator David Rouzer, however, confirms that he helped get the fire department funds from the Bush administration. Rouzer complains, “They’re (the Obama administration) coming in and cherry-picking the best projects and switching out the money, saying it’s stimulus money. But it was already approved and in the pipeline. It’s totally disingenuous to come down here and say this is stimulus money, when regardless of whether a stimulus bill passed, they were getting the money.” [2121, 2122]

            On April 2, House Republicans release their budget proposal, an alternative to Obama’s $3.55 trillion budget. Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI), the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, tells the media the GOP budget proposal would include less spending, smaller deficits, lower taxes, reduced debt, and more job creation. Congressional Budget Office (CBO) numbers show the Obama budget increasing the national debt from 40 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to 82 per cent over 10 years; under the GOP proposal the percentage will still be high, but at a lower 60 per cent. The last federal budget prepared and passed by a Republican majority was in 2006 for fiscal year 2007; its deficit was 1.2 per cent of GDP. The deficit in Obama’s first budget is 13.1 per cent of GDP, the largest in U.S. history. Obama’s budget calls for 34 per cent more spending than the previous year’s budget, and represents 28.5 per cent of the nation’s GDP; more than one-quarter of the nation’s productive output will therefore be consumed by the federal government. The GOP proposal will also repeal the $787 billion “stimulus legislation.” According to The American Spectator, the “GOP alternative budget includes no tax increases. Instead, it reforms income taxes, with a low rate of 10 per cent applying to the first $100,000 in income, and a top rate of 25 per cent applying to all income after that. Those lower tax rates will provide powerful incentives to boost the economy, by allowing producers to keep a higher percentage of what they produce. At the same time, the GOP alternative budget will also show an eventual balanced budget, as scored by (the) CBO.” More than 25 years earlier liberals complained that Ronald Reagan and the Republicans were drastically cutting taxes to make it impossible for Congress to increase spending; conservatives now complain that Obama and the Democrats are drastically increasing spending to make it impossible to cut taxes. [2112, 2116, 2126, 2127]
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« Reply #164 on: July 29, 2009, 03:32:39 pm »

            Obama’s new envoy to Sudan, Scott Gration, arrives in Khartoum with “hands open” to establish a relationship of “friendship and cooperation” between the two countries. It is not clear why Obama now seeks relations with a regime that has engaged in an Islamic jihad and killed over two million innocent people in Sudan and Darfur. On March 4, the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Sudan’s President, Omar al-Bashir, for his war crimes. Obama nevertheless wants to establish normal relations with the al-Bashir regime. [2197]

            It is reported that the FBI is engaged in a criminal fraud investigation against Joseph Cassano, former head of the Financial Products Group of AIG. Cassano allegedly set up multiple companies (some outside the United States) to handle fraudulent transactions in an effort to keep the details off the books of AIG and to hide the deals from regulators. [2120]

            A Zogby poll shows Obama’s approval rating at 49 per cent. Other polls (such as Gallup) still show Obama at around 60 per cent, but they count “fair” ratings together with “good” and “excellent,” while Zogby counts only “good” and “excellent” as favorable, treating “fair” and “poor” as not favorable. Says pollster John Zogby, “Fair is a negative because it doesn’t get you anywhere. Presidents don’t run on the basis of saying re-elect me, I did a fair job.” (Polls also usually count more Democrats in their sampling than Republicans.) [2129]

            At London’s G20 economic summit Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France, states that the world economic breakdown is “not a crisis of capitalism” but the result of shifting “away from capitalism’s most fundamental values.” Obama and Prime Minister Gordon Brown fail to get the G20 leaders to commit hundreds of billions of dollars for their proposed Global New Deal, as most nations are unwilling to replicate the massive budget deficits that the United States and Great Britain have generated. [2130]

            At a press conference in London on April 2, attended by about 2,500 journalists, Obama finishes calling on reporters from his official list and takes questions from the others, saying he’ll take a question from “a foreigner.” After he catches his error he quickly admits, “I am the foreigner.” Perhaps believing she is a Muslim who will toss him a softball question, Obama then calls on Simrat Ghuman, a television reporter from India who asks if he had discussed Pakistan terrorism against India with the Indian prime minister. Clearly unwilling or unable to answer the question, Obama instead says, “First of all, your prime minister is a wonderful man,” teases the reporter about whether she supports him, and then finishes with, “I think he’s a very wise and decent man. And he’s done a wonderful job of guiding India, even prior to being prime minister, along a path of extraordinary economic growth that is a marvel, I think, for all the world.” The media gushes about how Obama “charmed” the reporter, but virtually all reports fail to mention that Obama never answered her question. [2161, 2162]

            The Senate votes on April 2 to reject Obama’s plan to reduce the tax deductibility of charitable donations. Obama planned to limit the tax deduction for charitable giving in order to generate an additional $318 billion in additional tax revenues, but critics argued the proposed change would significantly reduce donations to charities. Obama na´vely claimed that charities would not suffer with his tax change proposal; the Senate believed his critics. [2131]

            The House of Representatives approves Obama’s massive $3.55 trillion budget on April 2 by a vote of 233–196. Two less expensive Republican budget proposals were voted down 322–111 and 293–137. [2132, 2138]

            Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez meets with Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran. The two have become increasingly close, and they share a common hatred of the United States. Iran already has extensive human smuggling operations along the southern U.S. border, and is extending its already significant influence in South and Central America. Iran Air recently began weekly flights from Tehran to Caracas, Venezuela, with a stop in Damascus, Syria. Publicly portrayed as commercial airline flights, they are instead likely being used to ship weapons and other military equipment from Iran to Syria, and terrorists from Syria to Venezuela. The dangers of Iran extend far beyond the Middle East, even though Obama has remarked that it does not “pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us.” Obama may want to re-think the nature Iran’s threat if missile parts are on those weekly flights. [2671, 2672, 2673, 2674]

            A federal grand jury indicts former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich on April 2. The 19-count indictment includes 16 felony counts for racketeering, conspiracy, wire fraud, extortion conspiracy, attempted extortion, and making false statements. Also charged were Blagojevich’s former chief of staff Alonzo Monk, his subsequent chief of staff John Harris, and several others. The 75-page indictment references Blagojevich’s wife Patti and Obama moneyman Tony Rezko. Some of the charges relate to Blagojevich’s attempt to sell the Illinois Senate seat vacated by Obama. Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is “Congressman A” in the Blagojevich indictment. [2133, 2148]
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