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The Obama Timeline

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Harconen
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« Reply #165 on: July 29, 2009, 03:33:31 pm »

            At the G20 summit Obama greets Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, saying, “This is my man, right here. I love this guy.” The two-term socialist president, generally referred to as “Lula” in Brazil, had recently said that the world economic “…crisis was caused by the irrational behavior of white people with blue eyes, who thought they knew everything and now show they know nothing.” (The White House did not confirm whether Obama loves Lula because he is a socialist or because he is critical of blue-eyed white people.) [2175]

            The G20 economic summit meeting ends with little positive to show for the efforts of 20 governments other than a few official grandiose-sounding but essentially bland statements that something will be done soon to improve the world’s faltering economies. Obama backs off on key issues in order to make the meetings appear more successful than they were. He wanted Germany to implement a massive stimulus package of its own; it refused to do so. He wanted the European Union to bail out European banks while Germany wanted the IMF to do so; Germany got its way. He wanted a substantial troop commitment from Germany to assist in Afghanistan; he did not get it. The summit’s participants, all being in government and believing in it, generally refuse to accept that government is the cause of the global economic crisis and thus will return home to pursue additional deficit spending (which will lead to inflation as more currency is printed) and tighter regulations on business (which will lead to a slowdown of needed economic growth). None of the nations involved in the summit is likely to take the difficult but most reasonable approach: let the recession run its course, with losses for those who made bad investments and lessons learned by all. The summit does result in a commitment to give $1.1 trillion to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), without identifying the sources of the funding. (Perhaps as much as $250 billion of the $1.1 trillion will come from U.S. taxpayers. The worldwide recession destroyed as much as $50 trillion in capital in 2008; distributing $1.1 trillion to several third-world countries will do little to prompt a recovery.) One major success of the summit appeared to be an agreement to resist protectionist measures, but Obama’s own cap-and-trade proposal includes harsh penalties on goods from nations that do not also go along with his stop-global-warming schemes. It remains to be seen whether the G20 nations will in fact refrain from imposing trade restrictions. [2134, 2139, 2174]

            Arguably, Obama attended the G20 with hopes of getting some concessions but failed because he had nothing with which to bargain. He came across as pleasant and cooperative because he did not demand anything too forcefully. President Bush had occasional bad relations with the European Union mostly because he was prepared to confront them; Obama was more concerned with his image and thus did not overly pressure the other nations. Obama preferred a consensus of essentially nothing to criticism for demanding something, and, from the perspective of many, France’s Nicolas Sarkozy and Germany’s Angela Merkel departed the winners because they did not consent to be losers. [2207, 2412]

            Alarmingly, however, the G20 nations agreed to a Financial Stability Board (FSB) that would supposedly be an “early warning system” for future economic crises.  It would also “…extend regulation and oversight to all systemically important financial institutions, instruments and markets…” and “…endorse and implement tough new principles on paying compensation and to support sustainable compensation schemes and the corporate social responsibility of all firms.” With his endorsement of the FSB, Obama essentially agreed to place American financial businesses under the control of standards set by the 19 other nations of the G20. Great Britain argued that the FSB favors Germany and France and left it at a disadvantage. The appeal of the FSB to Europe is that it will attempt to “level the international playing field” by burdening the United States with strict regulations and standards, reining in the American free enterprise system so that it cannot continue to outperform the sluggish economies of socialist Europe. (To socialists, “leveling the playing field” means reducing the productivity of the successful, not improving the productivity of the unsuccessful. In other words, the United States is to be punished for being successful, with the willing consent of Obama. He either does not realize that he is undermining and violating the U.S. Constitution by giving other nations the power to regulate the American financial industry, destroying it in the process—or he does not care.) [2195, 2224, 2244]

            The Senate passes Obama’s massive budget by a vote of 55 to 43. The House and Senate versions must be reconciled before Obama can sign the approximately $3.6 trillion budget, which has a deficit of at least $1.2 trillion—the largest deficit in the history of the world, and more than double the deficit of President Bush’s final budget. All Republican Senators vote against the budget, as well as Democrats Bayh of Indiana and Nelson of Nebraska. A full one-third of Obama’s first budget, $1.2 trillion out of $3.6 trillion, is deficit spending. [2142]

            While on the G20 and NATO trip, Obama and Prime Minister Gordon Brown are asked by BBC political editor Nick Robinson, “A question for you both, if I may. The prime minister has repeatedly blamed the United States of America for causing this crisis. France and Germany both blame Britain and America for causing this crisis. Who is right? And isn’t the debate about that at the heart of the debate about what to do now?” Brown turns and forces the question on Obama who, lacking his teleprompter, responds, “I, I, would say that, er… pause …if you look at… pause …the, the sources of this crisis… pause …the United States certainly has some accounting to do with respect to… pause …a regulatory system that was inadequate to the massive changes that have taken place in the global financial system… pause …I think what is also true is that… pause …here in Great Britain … pause …here in continental Europe… pause …around the world. We were seeing the same mismatch between the regulatory regimes that were in place and er… pause …the highly integrated, er, global capital markets that have emerged… pause …So at this point, I’m less interested in… pause …identifying blame than fixing the problem. I think we’ve taken some very aggressive steps in the United States to do so, not just responding to the immediate crisis, ensuring banks are adequately capitalized, er, dealing with the enormous, er… pause …drop-off in demand and contraction that has taken place. More importantly, for the long term, making sure that we’ve got a set of, er, er, regulations that are up to the task, er, and that includes, er, a number that will be discussed at this summit. I think there’s a lot of convergence between all the parties involved about the need, for example, to focus not on the legal form that a particular financial product takes or the institution it emerges from, but rather what’s the risk involved, what’s the function of this product and how do we regulate that adequately, much more effective coordination, er, between countries so we can, er, anticipate the risks that are involved there. Dealing with the, er, problem of derivatives markets, making sure we have set up systems, er, that can reduce some of the risks there. So, I actually think… pause …there’s enormous consensus that has emerged in terms of what we need to do now and, er… pause …I’m a great believer in looking forwards than looking backwards.” [2155]
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Harconen
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« Reply #166 on: July 29, 2009, 03:34:11 pm »

            Rasmussen’s April 3 poll places Obama’s Presidential Approval Index at its lowest point so far, +3, with 35 per cent of those polled strongly approving of Obama’s performance and 32 per cent strongly disapproving. [2145]

            On April 3, Obama holds a town hall meeting in Strasbourg, France. After his prepared teleprompter speech, Obama tells the thousands gathered in the sports arena where the event is staged that he welcomes questions from average citizens because “…oftentimes during these foreign trips, you see everything from behind a window. And what we thought was important was for me to have an opportunity to not only speak with you, but also to hear from you, because that’s ultimately how we can learn about each other.” Obama then takes a mere five questions, none of which are from French citizens and all of which are softballs. “I was wondering if the dog (that Obama promised his daughters during the campaign) was already in the White House or not,” is asked by a Chicagoan attending a school in Strasbourg. When a Hungarian student asks if he ever regrets running for president, Obama mentions the loss of privacy, but says, “there’s nothing more noble than public service.” [2146, 2160]

            Obama thrills the French with the apologetic and fawning remark, “In America, there is a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world. Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.” (Obama criticizes arrogance, which many would consider his signature trademark.) French President Sarkozy then invites Obama to visit the cemetery in Normandy, where thousands of American soldiers who gave their lives on D-Day to liberate Europe from Hitler’s Nazi regime are buried. Obama declines, saying he does not wish to “offend” any Germans—or perhaps not believing it is important to honor the thousands of fallen soldiers who “arrogantly” liberated France in World War II. (A few days later Obama visits an Islamic mosque in Istanbul, suggesting he cares more about mollifying Muslims than honoring American military achievements.) [2312, 2343]

            On April 3, Obama learns at his first meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO) that charming American voters is easier than persuading other nations to provide troops and money for his expansion of the war in Afghanistan. Obama, who was a vocal critic of former President Bush for not getting more cooperation from U.S. allies, persuades the British to offer only a few hundred extra British soldiers (but only for security during the next Afghan elections). Belgium offers 35 military trainers; Spain offers 12. France and the remaining nations offer no assistance to Obama, who recently ordered 21,000 additional American troops to Afghanistan. Obama tells the group, “Europe should not simply expect the United States to shoulder that burden alone,” but Europe resoundingly responds that Obama and the United States will in fact be shouldering it alone. NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer states, “We are (in Afghanistan) to defend universal values and when I see… a law (Shari’ah) threatening to come into effect which fundamentally violates women’s rights and human rights, that worries me. I have a problem to explain to a critical public audience in Europe, be it the U.K. or elsewhere, why I’m sending the guys to the Hindu Kush.” Off the record, a “senior European diplomat” says of the attempt by Obama to get more help for Afghanistan, “No one will say this publicly, but the true fact is we are all talking about our exit strategy from Afghanistan. We are getting out. It may take a couple of years, but we are all looking to get out.” The American media had blamed Europe’s reluctance to assist the United States in Afghanistan on its dislike for President Bush; now, despite Obama’s popularity in Europe, the reluctance is still there—but the media does not bother to ask why. [2154, 2276]

            Obama also unsuccessfully attempts to dump Guantanamo prisoners on any of the G20 and NATO nations. Austria’s interior minister, Maria Fekter, reasonably argues that if the prisoners are dangerous they should be kept at Guantanamo, and if they’re not dangerous then Obama shouldn’t mind letting them loose on American streets. (Columnist Charles Krauthammer points out, “When Austria is mocking you, you’re having a bad week.”) Obama also deserved criticism from that country after responding to an Austrian reporter’s question at a G20 news conference that he did not know what the term “wheeling and dealing” was called “in Austrian.” (Austrians speak German; there is no unique “Austrian” language.) [2277, 2604]

            Obama warns North Korea on April 3 that its upcoming missile launch would be “provocative” and would not go unpunished (but Obama had already signaled, through Defense Secretary Robert Gates, that the United States would not shoot down the missile). “Should North Korea decide to take this action, we will work… to take appropriate steps to let North Korea know that it can’t threaten the safety and security of other countries with impunity.” It is unclear what, if anything, Obama will do to punish the communist regime. [2157]

            Robert Bauer, one of the attorneys fighting the disclosure of Obama’s birth certificate and school records, sends a letter to attorney John Hemenway demanding that the appeal of Hollister v. Soetoro be withdrawn. Bauer warns, “Should you decline to withdraw this frivolous appeal, please be informed that we intend to pursue sanctions, including costs, expenses, and attorney’s fees…” Hemenway refuses to be intimidated, responding to Bauer that he will continue to “…write and protest and attack those (who are) against the demand that Obama show proof of his birth…” Hemenway notes that sanctions under Rule 11 are unlikely because they would give the plaintiff standing in the court of appeals, which Obama wants to avoid. [2499]

            Alaska Governor Sarah Palin suggests that the state’s new senator, Democrat Mark Begich, should resign and allow a new election. Begich won a close election after Republican Ted Stevens was convicted of lying on financial disclosure forms. On April 1, the Justice Department finally asks the judge to drop the charges, saying prosecutors withheld evidence that could have cleared Stevens. Had the evidence been presented and Stevens been acquitted, he easily would have won re-election to the Senate, but Democrats so desperately wanted to gain 60 votes in the Senate that they went after Stevens with a vengeance. Palin states, “Alaskans deserve to have a fair election not tainted by some announcement that one of the candidates was convicted fairly of seven felonies, when in fact it wasn’t a fair conviction.” Begich will of course not step down, and Obama needs his Democrat vote to help stop Republican filibusters in the Senate.
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« Reply #167 on: July 29, 2009, 03:34:43 pm »

            On April 3 William Black, a former senior regulator who helped expose the savings and loan frauds of the 1980s, appears on Bill Moyers’ Journal to discuss the causes of the current economic crisis. The targets of his criticism include Democrats, Republicans, Wall Street executives, and the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations. Black states that Obama’s Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner, “…is covering up. Just like Paulson did before him. Geithner is publicly saying that it’s going to take $2 trillion— a trillion is a thousand billion—$2 trillion taxpayer dollars to deal with this problem. But they’re allowing all the banks to report that they’re not only solvent, but fully capitalized. Both statements can’t be true. It can’t be that they need $2 trillion because they have massive losses and that they’re (also) fine.” Black says of Obama, “First, the policies are substantively bad. Second, I think they completely lack integrity. Third, they violate the rule of law. This is being done just like Secretary Paulson did it. In violation of the law. We adopted a law after the savings and loan crisis called the Prompt Corrective Action Law, and it requires them to close these institutions. And they’re refusing to obey the law.” When Moyers asks, “Are you saying that Timothy Geithner, the Secretary of the Treasury, and others in the administration, with the banks, are engaged in a cover up to keep us from knowing what went wrong?” Black responds, “Absolutely.” (Black is the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One, and is an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri.) [2194]

            The administration announces that Obama plans to lift travel restrictions on Cuba, allowing Cuban-Americans to visit the island and bring with them unlimited funds. Arguably, the ability to travel freely back and forth between the United States and Cuba works against the asylum pleas of Cuban refugees. Obama gets no concessions from Fidel Castro. In exchange for the easing of restrictions—which will move more American dollars to Cuba and further protect the Castro regime—Obama could have called for the release of political prisoners, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and even private enterprise. Castro may have agreed to none, but Obama apparently did not try too hard to broker a deal. (Castro is also kept in power with lop-sided European trade; Europe lends Cuba cash to buy European products, and Castro then neglects to re-pay the debt. Cuba owes Europe as much as $29 billion and the island nation has only 11 million residents.) The Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) expressed support for easing restrictions on Cuba, even though it is opposed to the Castro regime. Critics of U.S. policy charge that the U.S. embargo of Cuba hasn’t helped free its citizens because it keeps them poor and subservient to Castro, but the embargo is not a blockade, and Cuba trades freely with other nations. Cubans are poor because of communism and repression, not a lack of American merchandise. [2196, 2223, 2332]

            Ray Gonzales, Street Supervisor of Burleson, Texas tells organizers of a tea party tax-and-spend protest they will not be allowed to hold their demonstration. Gonzales, a Democrat, says it is “not in the public interest.” Organizers will appeal to the city manager. Meanwhile, the American Family Association (AFA) announces there are almost 1,600 tea parties scheduled for April 15, to protest the government’s reckless spending and accumulation of insurmountable debt. AFA chairman Donald E. Wildmon warns, “The runaway spending by President Obama and Congress will have a definite negative effect on our families. We are leaving a debt of trillions of dollars to be paid by our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.” Hundreds of other protests are planned for July 4 and several Saturdays over the next few months. [2159, 2165]

            Dr. Orly Taitz writes the Supreme Court and asks that it cooperate with an FBI investigation into “cyber crimes” related to her Obama-eligibility lawsuits. Taitz filed a complaint with the FBI alleging that a Supreme Court clerk intentionally interfered with her appeals, including deleting them (and other Obama-related challenges) from the Supreme Court docket. Because the Justices are also victims in the crime, their cooperation is needed for the FBI to conduct a more thorough investigation. [2166]

            After the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) gives the Obama administration a legal opinion that it would be unconstitutional to give Congressional voting rights to the District of Columbia because it is not a state, Attorney General Holder defies the opinion and “shops around” for one to his and Obama’s liking; he finds it in one of his own appointees, Deputy Solicitor General Neal K. Katyal. Holder refuses to make public the OLC opinion, which is consistent with over 45 years of legal opinions on the D.C. voting issue. Holder had promised at his confirmation hearing that “We don’t change OLC opinions simply because a new administration takes over,” and any review “will not be a political process, it will be one based solely on our interpretation of the law.” The issue, if pursued by Democrats in Congress, will end up in the Supreme Court, which will more likely rule in accordance with the U.S. Constitution than with the political schemes of Obama and Holder. The District of Columbia’s non-voting delegate to the House, Eleanor Holmes-Norton, is more than willing to ignore the U.S. Constitution. She remarks, “I don’t think members are in the least bit affected in their votes on the question of its constitutionality. People vote their politics in the House and in the Senate.” A Department of Justice spokesman says that Holder “…made his own determination that the D.C. voting rights bill is constitutional.” (Holder apparently prefers not to consult the U.S. Constitution or the Supreme Court on the issue.) [2171, 2172, 2173]

            Under pressure from Wall Street and the Obama administration, the Federal Accounting Standards Board (FASB) relaxes mark-to-market valuation rules. The action will allow banks and investment firms to value their assets at higher levels. The result is that “troubled assets” might be re-valued more generously than they should be, allowing Wall Street and the administration to say, “Hey, things are getting better!” when they are not. (If a homeowner with a $500,000 mortgage defaults after the house has declined in value to $300,000, the bank will lose money regardless of the book value of the loan.) [2182]
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« Reply #168 on: July 29, 2009, 03:35:14 pm »

            An April 3–4 “National Conference on Barack Obama’s Missing Birth Certificate and College Records” ends with the announcement of a boycott of Hawaii’s tourism, products, and businesses, in response to the state’s refusal to release documents relating to Obama. [2272]

            It is reported that the Obama administration has refused an offer from at least one prominent bank to return all the TARP money it received late in 2008 and which it says it does not need. There is no justification for the government’s refusal to accept the return of taxpayer cash other than the desire of the Obama administration to be able to control the bank’s executive payroll and lending practices. According to the Wall Street Journal, the bank has been “threatened with adverse consequences if its chairman persists” in trying to return the money. [2188, 2476]

            On April 5, in violation of a 2006 U.N. Security Council resolution, North Korea goes through with its threat to launch a rocket. The communist nation announces publicly that it successfully sent a communication satellite into orbit. The United States, which had been monitoring the activities, confirms there was a launch but no satellite or object made it into orbit. With a satellite in orbit or not, North Korea demonstrates that it has the ability to launch ballistic missiles, perhaps as far as 2,000 miles. That is sufficient to prompt an emergency meeting of the U. N. Security Council later the same day. (Iranian officials are reportedly present to witness the North Korean launch; Israel is well within 2,000 miles of Iran.) Obama responds to the launch by saying, “North Korea broke the rules once more by testing a rocket that could be used for a long-range missile. This provocation underscores the need for action—not just this afternoon at the U.N. Security Council, but in our determination to prevent the spread of these weapons.” It is not clear what action might be taken in retaliation, other than a strongly worded statement from Obama and the United Nations. Had Kim Jong-Il been worried about a tough response he would not have launched the missile, and North Korea still holds hostage two American journalists it had apprehended at its border with China. (The Security Council takes no action, and Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, states “any threat of sanction” against North Korea “would be counterproductive.”) [2181, 2185, 2208, 2252]

            In Prague on April 5, as Kim Jong-Il upstages him, Obama repeats his call for a world without nuclear weapons, na´vely saying “The basic bargain is sound: countries with nuclear weapons will move toward disarmament, countries without nuclear weapons will not acquire them.” He adds, “This goal will not be reached quickly, perhaps not in my lifetime,” and “(everyone) must ignore the voices who tell us that the world cannot change. We have to insist, ‘Yes, we can.’” (It is not clear how Obama will be able to “uninvent” nuclear weapons, or why he believes it is a good idea for America to lead the way and dismantle its nuclear weapons first… while Iran and terrorists are scrambling to obtain them and China, Israel, North Korea, Russia, Great Britain, France, India, and Pakistan will never give up theirs.) Obama says he will negotiate a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (SALT), but his odds of getting it ratified by the Senate are minimal. (Clinton’s 1999 agreement was rejected by the Senate.) Strangely, Obama suggests he would continue U.S. plans for a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic, even though he has long hinted he is willing to give that up in exchange for concessions from Russia. “As long as the threat from Iran persists,” said Obama, “we will go forward with a missile defense system that is cost-effective and proven.” (Obama’s “out” may be the words, “cost-effective and proven,” which he can use as an argument against any missile defense system, and Obama can use his own criteria to determine whether Iran is a threat.) [2191, 2192, 2202, 2231, 2235]

            Although the crowd in Prague cheers Obama’s call for a world without nuclear weapons, clearly the United States does not intend to dismantle its nuclear arsenal. Even the Obama administration admits the remark was simply a sop to the masses, with White House arms control advisor Gary Samore saying, “In terms of a nuclear-free world, we recognize this is not a near-term possibility. Rather, the call was an attempt to ‘seize the moral high ground’ in order to increase pressure on countries such as North Korea and Iran.” The odds that Obama’s “let’s all play nice” remarks will have a helpful effect on North Korea or Iran are zero. As one columnist points out, Obama has replaced Teddy Roosevelt’s saying, “Speak softly and carry a big stick” with “Speak apologetically and carry a big shtick.” (The Arabs have an ancient proverb, “An army of lions led by a sheep is easily defeated by an army of sheep led by a lion.”) [2242, 2305]

            Although the crowds in Europe welcomed Obama, some in the British press are less thrilled with him than they were six months earlier. An editorial in the Telegraph remarks that Obama’s “speeches have long under-delivered, usually leaving a faintly empty sensation,” some of the answers at his press conference “were interminable, windy and not very impressive. At points there were pauses so long that it appeared he had simply lost his train of thought,” and “…I’ll wager that within a year or so he’ll be marked down as a wind-bag.” [2229]

            Hundreds of anti-abortion demonstrators attend a rally at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana to protest the school’s decision to present the pro-abortion Obama with an honorary degree and allow him to give the commencement address on May 17. The pro-abortion New York Times calls the criticism of Obama’s planned visit “high-pitched indignation” and “insulated and narrow-minded.” [2219, 2226]
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« Reply #169 on: July 29, 2009, 03:35:52 pm »

            More than one hundred prominent scientists (including a Nobel Prize winner) send a letter to Obama telling him his climate change views are “simply incorrect,” and that his oft-repeated statement that the global warming “science is beyond dispute” is not true. The letter reads, in part, “We, the undersigned scientists, maintain that the case for alarm regarding climate change is grossly overstated. Surface temperature changes over the past century have been episodic and modest and there has been no net global warming for over a decade now,” and “The computer models forecasting rapid temperature change abjectly fail to explain recent climate behavior. Mr. President, your characterization of the scientific facts regarding climate change and the degree of certainty informing the scientific debate is simply incorrect.” Obama is nevertheless charging down a path of imposing punitive taxes on carbon dioxide emissions to slow down what he believes is man-caused global warming—or as a first step in an attempt to take over the energy industries. [2193]

            Obama visits Turkey on April 6 and addresses its parliament, where he says the United States has been “enriched by Muslim-Americans” and offers “deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over the centuries to shape the world—including in my own country.” Obama’s remark no doubt leads many skeptical critics on a search to find any shred of evidence that Islam has “shaped the United States.” (Some might argue that Muslims “re-shaped” the New York skyline on September 11, 2001; others might argue that by “in my own country” Obama meant Indonesia.) Obama states, “Many other Americans have Muslims in their family, or have lived in a Muslim-majority country. I know, because I am one of them.” (The New York Times calls the statement a “bold move,” because of “right-wing web site” claims that Obama is a Muslim.) Obama adds, “America’s relationship with the Muslim community, (and with) the Muslim world, cannot and will not just be based upon opposition to terrorism. We seek broader engagement based on mutual interest and mutual respect.” With his comment, Obama suggests it is only the issue of terrorism that should divide the United States and Muslim countries; he ignores the fact that tens of millions of Muslims hate America (and Western Europe) for significant core reasons—including democracy, rights for women, capitalism, culture, and comparatively unrestricted freedoms—that simply capturing Osama bin Laden and some terrorists will not resolve. Although Obama also states, “The United States is not and never will be at war with Islam,” a large part of Islam is certainly at war with the United States. Obama says nothing to challenge any moderate Muslims to stop radical Islamists from engaging in terrorist activities that reflect negatively on their religion. Obama also pledges support for Turkey’s desire to join the European Union. (President Sarkozy then tells French television the decision is not Obama’s to make, essentially telling Obama to mind his own business. Europe does not want Turkey in the EU because of concerns about open borders and massive emigration from Turkey into Western Europe, and because Turkey does not embrace European culture and is not a European country.) [2199, 2201, 2207, 2227, 2233, 2267, 2313]

 
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« Reply #170 on: July 29, 2009, 03:36:26 pm »

Not a Christian Nation…

 

Obama’s address in Turkey also includes the astounding statement, “We do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens bound by ideals and a set of values”—a statement totally at odds with the history of the United States and the beliefs and traditions of its citizens. Obama, apparently eager to please the citizens of Turkey and Muslims around the world, chose instead to insult the American people. (He is willing to casually disown America’s history and Judeo-Christian heritage, but resisted disowning his minister, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, for two decades of racist and anti-American sermons.) [2283]

            Obama also touches on the topic of the Turkish massacre of millions of Christian Armenians, Greeks, and Syrians by the Turks in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which many nations consider to have been genocide. Obama chooses to refer to the victims as mere casualties of war, to avoid arousing Muslim anger. Rather than dare blame Muslims for murdering Christians, Obama instead blames Americans for killing Indians, saying, “Our country still struggles with the legacy of our past treatment of native Americans.” More than once during the trip Obama makes “I apologize for America being so bad” comments. Obama also states, “An enduring commitment to the rule of law is the only way to achieve the security that comes from justice for all people. Robust minority rights let societies benefit from the full measure of contributions from all citizens. I say this as the president of a country that not too long ago made it hard for someone who looks like me to vote,” falsely suggesting that blacks in the United States have not had the right to vote until “not long ago.” When he remarks that “…we recently ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed, and prohibited—without exception or equivocation—any use of torture,” he implies that he personally ended torture when, in fact, the practice of waterboarding was banned by the military in 2006, before Obama had even announced his candidacy. (With each passing day, Obama is also finding it more difficult to close Guantanamo.) [2199, 2201, 2207]

            Although Obama’s refusal to use the term genocide to describe the Turkish killings of Armenians placates the Turks, it immediately arouses the anger of Armenians. The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) had endorsed Obama, who said in January of 2008 that he had a “firmly held conviction that the Armenian genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence.” While in Turkey, however, Obama refers only to the “terrible events of 1915,” suggesting that both sides shared blame, and makes the meaningless statement, “…the best way forward for the Turkish and Armenian people is a process that works through the past in a way that is honest, open and constructive.” The ANCA responds that Obama fell “far short of the clear promise he made as a candidate that he would, as president, fully and unequivocally recognize this crime against humanity.” [2222]

            Not everyone in Turkey is as impressed with Obama as the American media lapdogs. One Turkish television station broadcasts a parody of Obama featuring an actor wearing blackface make-up. [2241]

            Michelle Obama does not join her husband in Turkey; she instead heads back to Washington alone. The White House states she wanted to return home to be with her children on Sunday night. One Turk suggested, “I bet she decided not to come because she didn’t want to be involved with our headscarved crowd.” Regardless of the reason behind it, the decision to return to Washington early allowed the administration to avoid the issue of how the First Lady should act or dress when appearing with her husband. (Former First Ladies have accompanied their husbands to Muslim countries, but they were Christians married to Christians. Regardless of Obama’s professed religion, much of the Muslim world considers him a Muslim, and the presence of his Christian wife would have introduced protocol concerns.) [2605, 2606]

            The American mass media gushes over Obama’s trip, calling it a success even though it was remarkably unsuccessful because it accomplished none of his planned goals. Obama fails to get massive stimulus spending from European nations, troop commitments for Afghanistan, assistance from Russia in slowing Iran’s nuclear program, help from China in reining in North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il, or a place to dump terrorists he wants to remove from Guantanamo. Many in the media are, however, clearly happy to hear Obama repeatedly apologize to the rest of the world for American arrogance, abuse of world resources, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, slavery, torture at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, failing to show more respect for Islam, and mistreating native Americans. (Some suggest that Obama came close to making Jimmy Carter look patriotic.) CNN calls for Obama to “teach Americans about Islam,” saying that many “…Americans see Islam as an ideology instead of a religion, and maybe, President Obama has to kind of… kind of put a definition on it from the American standpoint in Turkey.” CNN does not recognize that Islam is in many ways an ideology more than it is a religion. Reporter Christiane Amanpour states that Obama was “trying to smooth over and correct (the) terrible rupture” between the United States and the Islamic world “over the past eight years,” suggesting to ill-educated viewers that Muslims have held the United States in contempt only since George W. Bush became president. Amanpour completely ignores all the pre-2001 history that demonstrates centuries of hatred of Western civilization by Muslims. [2230, 2312]
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« Reply #171 on: July 29, 2009, 03:36:53 pm »

            The European media and European governments are less impressed by Obama than are average citizens. French officials call Obama’s efforts to redefine the United States “unoriginal, unsubstantial, and overrated.” Obama’s call for a reduction of nuclear weapons is labeled “hot air” and “rhetoric—not a speech on American security policy” but words meant only to improve the U.S. image. At the NATO summit in Strasbourg, Obama initially sides with Turkey’s refusal to endorse the appointment of the new NATO Secretary General. French President Sarkozy and German Chancellor Merkel have to persuade the weak-willed Obama to stand up to Turkey. (The new NATO Secretary General will be Denmark’s Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who was opposed by Turkey because of “anti-Islam” political cartoons that appeared in Danish newspapers in 2005.) [2371, 2372]

            AtlasShrugs.com reports that behind the scenes Obama is not held in high regard by the French government. A French intelligence officer is asked what Sarkozy thinks of Obama and he responds, “Nothing but contempt… My agency considers him a joke. Every day there is some fresh lunacy that we cannot believe. Mr. Bush would often make us angry. But at this man, we just laugh. In truth, it also makes us sad. French resentment towards America is strong, so being able to laugh at your country feels good. But it is such a sad and strange thing to see America—America the Great!—do something so crazy as to elect this ridiculous man.” He adds, “For one hundred days your president has been a laughingstock among the tout le monde. No one may be laughing one hundred days or ten months from now.” [2619]

            London’s Financial Times reports that the Obama administration is considering allowing Iran to enrich uranium as long as it “promises” to use it for fuel and not weapons. Israel is unlikely to find that policy comforting. [2232]

            Despite North Korea’s provocative missile launch just the day before, and Iran’s determined efforts to obtain nuclear weapons, the Obama administration announces on April 6 that it will cut the U.S. missile defense system budget by $1.4 billion. (The move will please Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il.) [2225]

 
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« Reply #172 on: July 29, 2009, 03:37:23 pm »

“We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Stealth Fighters”

 

Obama’s Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, announces a 15 per cent cut in U.S. defense spending at a press conference discussing the 2010 defense budget. The vehicle component of the Army’s Future Combat Systems (FCS) program will be canceled (which means a delay in obtaining more bomb-resistant vehicles for combat troops). No additional F-22 Raptor fighter jets will be purchased beyond the first 187. A satellite program will be cancelled. Missile Defense Agency funding will be cut by $1.4 billion, despite North Korea’s test launch of a ballistic missile. Other defense cuts include reducing the number of aircraft carriers, delaying amphibious ship programs, halting a planned increase of ground-based interceptors in Alaska, ending development of a new search and rescue helicopter, canceling plans for a new stealth fighter bomber, ending the C-17 transport aircraft, and canceling the Airborne Laser (ABL) Missile Defense program (which destroys enemy ballistic missiles in their vulnerable boost phase). [2232, 2261, 2286]

            Retired Air Force General Thomas G. McInerney tells Human Events, “I am appalled at the decisions just made by the (defense) secretary, as are other very senior Air Force general officers.” The general wonders why the F-22 (stealth) Raptor is being canceled, when “the F-35 cannot survive a Russian S-300 surface-to-air missile, and the F-22 (is the only one that) can,” and adds that Obama “does not understand airpower.” The F-22 is the world’s most advanced multi-role air superiority aircraft—and Obama wants it cancelled. McInerney is also critical of Obama’s gag order on the military, prohibiting discussion of details of the defense budget. “It’s the first time it (the gag order) has ever been done in history. If I was one of the (Joint) chiefs (of Staff), I would have said there is no way I’m signing anything.” One unnamed general tells Human Events that a “…serious na´vetÚ has begun to fester (in Washington, D.C.),” and the White House and senior defense officials “want to shape the military the way they think it should be without debate. They don’t see Russia or China as a threat. And the idea that we should not focus on future potential conflicts—from guerrilla operations to even air or sea battles—is troubling.” Former deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army Forces Pacific, retired Major General Paul E. Vallely, comments, “There is no overriding strategy, not only for the war against radical Islam—the planners don’t even know what to call it anymore—but no broad strategy for the Middle East and beyond. We do not seem to have senior people—particularly among the political appointees—who understand the threats against us, much less how to develop a strategy to meet those threats.” Obama’s defense budget is less than four per cent of U.S. Gross Domestic Product. During World War II, the defense budget was as much as 34 per cent of GDP. [2232, 2261, 2286]

            On April 7, a federal judge throws out all charges against former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan says, “In nearly 25 years on the bench, I’ve never seen anything approaching the mishandling and misconduct that I’ve seen in this case,” and orders a special prosecutor to conduct a criminal investigation of the prosecutors who handled the case. The 2008 indictment against Stevens caused him to narrowly lose his November re-election contest, giving Obama one more Democrat vote in the Senate. [2158, 2210]

            Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is asked at a press conference about her offer to deal with “moderate” members of the Taliban. Clinton replies that if the moderates lay down their weapons the United States would work to help them become part of the Afghan government. Afghan diplomats later remark, “She’s wrong. The vast majority of the Taliban are extremists. Had she said that, we would agree with her. To say the vast majority are moderate is not the truth.” (The Taliban would of course welcome an opportunity to be handed “part of the Afghan government” on a silver platter as an alternative to fighting for it on the battlefield.) [2245]

            George Soros states the economy will not recover in 2009 because “the banking system as a whole is basically insolvent.” Soros also brings up the issue of a “currency basket” comprising of dollars, euros, yen, and sterling to replace the dollar as the sole world reserve currency. [2200]

            An earthquake in L’Aquila, Italy kills at least 130 people, injures more than 1,500, and leaves tens of thousands homeless. A State Department spokesman, Robert Wood, tells reporters, “We send our heartfelt condolences to the families of those killed in the earthquake. Our embassy in Rome will provide 50,000 (dollars) in emergency relief funding.” An Internet article about the donation prompts readers who recall that the Obama administration had recently pledged a whopping $900 million to the Palestinians for Gaza relief to post comments like, “I bet if this was in some Muslim crap hole they would give about $50 million,” and “Don’t send money, send ACORN, they are better then cadaver dogs, they can even find people that were never there!”  [2211, 2212]
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« Reply #173 on: July 29, 2009, 03:38:00 pm »

            The White House confirms it has received more than 2.5 million red envelopes meant to protest the nation’s continuing abortions and Obama’s plan to remove the “conscience clause” so that physicians and facilities that oppose abortions cannot refuse to perform them. One White House mail worker states, “I’ve been here 35 years, so I’ve seen presidents come and go. This campaign ranks up there with the big ones.” [2220]

            On April 7, on his return to the United States from Turkey, Obama makes what the media calls a “surprise” stop in Baghdad to visit the troops and meet with Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. (Any visit by any American president to a war zone is necessarily a “surprise” because it would be foolish to give the enemy access to advance notice of the trip.) In a photo-op with about 600 soldiers assembled in one of Saddam Hussein’s former palaces, Obama says, “We’ve made significant political progress,” but “There is still a lot of work to do here.” [2221]

            The media notes that Obama was “cheered wildly by U.S. troops” in Iraq, which is in stark contrast to the virtually applause-free reception he received when visiting Camp Lejeune for a February speech. The enthusiastic Baghdad welcome was the result of pre-screening by officials who asked soldiers beforehand, “Who voted for Obama?” and then moved those who raised their hands to the front of the line. Digital cameras were passed out to the soldiers, who were told to display them prominently for the media. [2326]

 
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« Reply #174 on: July 29, 2009, 03:38:54 pm »

Beware of Patriots and Veterans

 

Obama’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issues a nine-page document warning about rising “rightwing extremist activity.” While it is not known whether Obama personally authorized or approved the report, its contents are not inconsistent with his stated public views and historical actions. The authors of the report—apparently totally unaware of the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution—define right-wing extremism as including groups that reject “federal authority in favor of state or local authority.” The document, called “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” is distributed to police and sheriff’s departments across the United States. The document generally reads as though the administration believes conservatives who support the U.S. Constitution are a major threat to the security of the United States. The document warns that returning veterans could be dangerous, with the statement, “The possible passage of new restrictions on firearms and the return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.” The report alleges that “rightwing extremist groups’ frustration over a perceived lack of government action on illegal immigration has the potential to incite” violence (The lack of action on illegal immigration is not “perceived” but real.) The report claims, “Prominent civil rights organizations have observed an increase in anti-Hispanic crimes over the past five years.” Such crimes are shameful but are no doubt inconsequential in number compared to the increases in violent crimes committed in the United States by illegal immigrants. The document mentions six arrests in 2007 for various weapons and explosives violations by “right-wingers.” It does not state the number of weapons arrests involving illegal immigrants in that same year, but that number is certainly thousands of times greater than six. The report makes the statement, “Many rightwing extremist groups perceive recent gun control legislation as a threat to their right to bear arms.” Again, the threat is not “perceived,” it is real; the authors of the report apparently believe Americans should welcome a diminution of their Second Amendment rights. [2334, 2346, 2348]

            The administration’s “beware of the right-wing” report essentially warns law enforcement of the potential danger of anyone who opposes illegal immigration, gun control, martial law, a global “new world order,” outsourcing of American jobs, citizen detention camps, abortion… and legislators who ignore the U.S. Constitution. (The DHS may thus have to round up and arrest most of the nation’s citizens, leaving only members of Congress, Hollywood actors, the media, and illegal immigrants free to roam the streets.) The White House argues unconvincingly that Obama knew nothing of the report, and attempts to turn the criticism against those who were offended by it when spokesman Nick Shapiro says, “The President is focused not on politics but rather taking the steps necessary to protect all Americans from the threat of violence and terrorism regardless of its origins. He also believes those who serve (in the Armed Forces) represent the best of this country, and he will continue to ensure that our veterans receive the respect and benefits they have earned.” [2334]

            National Commander of the American Legion veterans group, David K. Rehbein, sends Homeland Security head Janet Napolitano a letter complaining about her release of the “Rightwing Extremism” report, telling her, “I think it is important for all of us to remember that Americans are not the enemy. The terrorists are.” Despite the immediate negative reaction to her report, Napolitano states she stands by its contents. Afraid to use the word “terrorism” with regard to bombings by radical Islamists (instead calling them “man-caused disasters”) Napolitano, and by extension Obama, nevertheless have no problem using the term “terrorist” to define veterans and conservative Americans who believe in the U.S. Constitution, the right to bear arms, free speech, secure borders, and the limited government espoused by the nation’s Founding Fathers and required by the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution.  (Civil liberties officials at DHS warned about some of the language in the report, but it was issued anyway.) [1767, 1921, 2350, 2353, 2390]

            In criticism of the DHS document, Congressman Peter King, (R-NY) tells MSNBC that the Department “…has never put out a report talking about ‘look out for mosques. Look out for Islamic terrorists in our country. Look out for the fact that very few Muslims come forward to cooperate with the police.’ If they sent out a report saying that, there would be Hell to pay.” The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) immediately complains that Muslims are being stereotyped. King responds, “I stand by everything I said. I consider any attack by CAIR to be a badge of honor.” [2440]

            Conservative talk show host Michael Savage works with the Thomas More Law Center of Ann Arbor, Michigan to file a civil rights action against Janet Napolitano and the DHS for its Rightwing Extremism report, claiming violations of the First and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution. Savage seeks a court order enjoining the policy. The Law Center’s Richard Thompson charges that the DHS document “…is not an intelligence report but a diatribe against those who oppose the policies of the Obama administration… It is a declaration of war against the American people and our Constitution. It is a prelude to extreme gun control legislation and hate speech laws targeting Christian churches and others who oppose abortion and same sex marriage. The federal government should be focusing its attention on the 35 radical Muslim compounds in the United States (which are) training its followers on how to kidnap and kill Americans.” [2384, 2429]
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« Reply #175 on: July 29, 2009, 03:40:25 pm »

            Seven Democrat U.S. Congressmen, led by Barbara Lee (D-CA) and including former Black Panther Bobby Rush (D-IL), visit Cuba and are warmly greeted by dictator Fidel Castro, who asks “How can we help President Obama?” The gullible legislators return home gushing about the pleasant reception given them by Castro, while they ignored Castro’s human rights violations, the plight of the more than 100,000 political prisoners he has imprisoned since 1959, and the destitute poverty of the Cuban people. Lee (who chose not to ask to visit any political prisoners) states, “It is time to open dialogue and discussion. Cubans do want dialogue. They do want talks”—without recognizing that Castro will not allow his own people to speak freely. Strangely, most of the visiting Congressmen are black and seem unaware that blacks face even more difficult hardships in Cuba than do the island’s whites. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver announces on his return to Washington, “If there is repression in Cuba we didn’t see it,” and “We’ve been led to believe that the Cuban people are not free, and they are repressed by a vicious dictator, and I saw nothing to match what we’ve been told.” Clearly, the Congressmen saw only what Castro allowed them to see. (Meanwhile, Castro’s friend, Venezuelan socialist President Hugo Chavez, was in Beijing declaring, “The power of the U.S. empire has collapsed.”) [2252, 2254, 2258, 2282, 2285]

            In an interview with CNN, Vice-President Biden says Israel should not plan on taking out Iran’s nuclear facilities in a military strike, but does not “believe Prime Minister Netanyahu would do that. I think he would be ill advised to do that. And so my level of concern is no different than it was a year ago.” (Biden may not have noticed that Iran is much further along in its nuclear program than it was a year ago, and its inflammatory statements regarding Israel have not become any less aggressive.) Netanyahu has made it clear that Israel cannot tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran, saying, “You don’t want a messianic apocalyptic cult controlling atomic bombs. When the wide-eyed believer gets hold of the reins of power and the weapons of mass death, then the entire world should start worrying. That is what is happening in Iran.” Biden and Obama have so far not suggested how to stop Iran’s nuclear program. The more Obama seems willing to accept a nuclear-armed Iran, the more likely Israel will feel obligated to strike militarily. Some Arab nations, such as Saudi Arabia, would likely even welcome such a move by Israel because they also fear a nuclear Iran and threats to their own regimes. (Obama and Biden may not see a threat to Israel until Iran fires a nuclear missile toward Tel Aviv—and they will then blame Israel.) [2239, 2240, 2286]

            The White House announces that tickets for its annual Easter Egg Roll are being set aside for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender organizations. The executive director of the Family Equality Council, Jennifer Chrisler, says, “The Obama administration actually reached out to us as an organization, and said we want gay families there, and they are an important part of the American family fabric.” More than one hundred gay and lesbian families are expected to participate in the egg roll. (Gays and lesbians have attended the event since 2006 but the Bush administration chose not to make a fuss about it because the event is for children… not for pushing an agenda.) [2237]

            Obama appoints Harry Knox to the White House Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The move angers many Christians because Knox is an open homosexual and director of the Human Rights Campaign’s Religion and Faith program, which is alleged to be “fundamentally bigoted against Christians.” Critics charge that Knox will use his influence to keep Christians out of government-funded programs. Roman Catholics are angered by the appointment because Knox has called Catholic bishops and Pope Benedict XVI “discredited leaders” because they oppose same-sex marriage. [2228, 2265]

            Obama’s science advisor, John Holdren, is interviewed by the Associated Press and states the United States may have to consider “climate engineering” because “We don’t have the luxury of taking any approach off the table.” One process would involve firing pollution particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect the sun’s rays and reduce global warming. Holdren also proposes “artificial trees” to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and then put it in storage. (Holdren made his remarks with a straight face.) Senior meteorologist at Accuweather, Joe Bastardi, later comments, “The idea that you will shoot pollutants in the air to cool the atmosphere shows the lunacy of the people advising President Obama.” [2236, 2280]

            On April 8, pirates seize the Maersk Alabama, a U.S.-flagged ship loaded with relief aid for Africa, in waters off the coast of Somalia. Crewmembers manage to retake control of the ship, but the pirates take the captain hostage and flee in one of the lifeboats. Secretary of State Clinton states, “We’re deeply concerned and we’re following it very closely. More generally, the world must come together to end the scourge of piracy.” Denis McDonough, a senior foreign policy advisor at the White House, remarks, “The administration has an intense interest in the security of navigation.” Terrorists worldwide are likely watching to see what, if anything, the United States will do beyond Obama making public statements and Senator John Kerry (D-MA) calling for hearings. A weak response will signal to its adversaries that they may be free to attempt additional actions. At an April 9 homeowner refinancing discussion Obama is asked about the situation by reporters, but he declines to comment, saying, “Guys, we’re talking about housing right now.” Democrat strategist Doug Schoen calls the piracy both “a real test of national resolve” and “a distraction.” (The ship captain being held hostage and his distraught family are likely not using the word “distraction” to explain how they feel.) [2248, 2249, 2250, 2251, 2253, 2256, 2264]
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« Reply #176 on: July 29, 2009, 03:42:52 pm »

            CIA director Leon Panetta announces on April 8 that the agency will be closing all of its secret detention centers. (There is no official word as to how terrorists reacted to the announcement.) [2273]

            Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, in words clearly intended for Obama, states, “Those who think that through concessions they will gain respect and peace are wrong. It’s the other way around—it will lead to more wars.” There is no doubt that Israel will be a thorn in Obama’s side, with Obama wanting significant concessions from the Jewish state in order to appease Palestinians, Iran, and the rest of the Arab world, and Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu wanting to stop Iran’s nuclear program and prevent further attacks from Hamas and other terrorists backed by Iran and Syria. Israeli President Shimon Peres states that while he hopes that U.S.-Iran talks could be productive, if they are not Israel will “strike him (Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad).” [2320, 2331]

            The White House announces that Obama plans on immigration legislation in 2009 to secure a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. (There already is a “pathway” for them, but it involves returning to their homeland and then entering the United States legally.) Such a bill may be a tough sell in the middle of a recession. Roy Beck, executive director of NumbersUSA, an organization that favors tighter controls on immigration, states, “It just doesn’t seem rational that any political leader would say, let’s give millions of foreign workers permanent access to U.S. jobs when we have millions of Americans looking for jobs.”  [2257]

            Obama asks Congress for $83.4 billion for continuing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, despite having criticized former President Bush for making the same kind of off-budget supplemental funding requests in the past. [2266, 2530]

            Republican strategist Karl Rove calls Vice-President Joe Biden a liar by for a story he told about an alleged encounter with former President Bush. Biden claims that Bush had once told him in the Oval Office, “I’m a leader,” and Biden (according to Biden) replied, “Mr. President, turn around and look behind you. No one is following.” Biden also alleges he had spent “many hours” speaking privately with Bush. Rove states the story is “fictional,” and says, “If you notice, all of these incidents have the same structure: Joe Biden courageously raises the impudent question; the president befuddles the answer; and Joe Biden drives home the dramatic response.” Former Bush staffers agree with Rove, and they confirm that Biden was probably never alone with Bush and certainly never spent hours with him. (Biden has a history of making up stories, exaggerating events, and plagiarizing.) [2268]

            Pharmacy chain Walgreens pulls the “Chia Obama” product off its shelves after some shoppers complain that it makes fun of Afro hairstyles and is racist. The Chia Obama is the latest addition to the “Chia pet” line of planters shaped like animals or people that grow “hair” from tiny plants. The product’s inventor and promoter, Joseph Pedott, had asked Jesse Jackson for his opinion and was told by him, “I think this is a fine product.” Pedott’s ad campaign includes the pitch, “Can you grow one? Yes you can!” [2269]

            Obama’s head of the National Economic Council, Lawrence Summers, addresses the Economic Club of Washington on April 9 and says the unemployment rate will likely go higher. “I don’t think we can hold out the prospect that unemployment would stabilize at the current level,” says Summers. When asked to guess how high the rate might go he refuses to be pinned down, saying, “There are seven cameras there, which means there are seven too many for me to provide a number for the number at which it might be likely to peak.” [2279]

            Attorney Philip J. Berg announces he will appeal the case Hollister v. Soetoro. The case is one of many that challenge Obama’s eligibility to serve as president. The judge, James Robertson, had denied the lawsuit because he felt the issue of Obama’s citizenship had been sufficiently “vetted, blogged, texted, twittered” during the campaign. [2342]

            Texas Governor Rick Perry announces his support of his state’s sovereignty resolution, stating, “I believe that our federal government has become oppressive in its size, its intrusion into the lives of our citizens, and its interference with the affairs of our state. That is why I am here today to express my unwavering support for efforts all across our country to reaffirm the states’ rights affirmed by the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I believe that returning to the letter and spirit of the U.S. Constitution and its essential Tenth Amendment will free our state from undue regulations, and ultimately strengthen our Union. Millions of Texans are tired of Washington, D.C. trying to come down here to tell us how to run Texas.” [2341, 2351]

            On April 9, Obama hosts a Jewish Seder dinner. Aides brag that it was likely the first president-hosted Seder at the White House. DebbieSchlussel.com calls it a “stunt and a Jewish minstrel show,” as well as hypocritical because the food served was not Kosher but simply Jewish ethnic food. Schlussel labels the event “lipstick on an unkosher pig.” No rabbi or religious scholar joins Obama for the meal, but political advisor David Axelrod (who is Jewish) attends. [2338, 2339, 2356]

            Kentucky’s Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Leslie A. Fugate asks the state’s Attorney General, Jack Conway, to investigate the issue of Obama’s eligibility to be on the ballot in Kentucky. [2294]
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« Reply #177 on: July 29, 2009, 03:43:29 pm »

            Shareholders of AIG add former and current Treasury Secretarys Henry Paulson and Timothy Geithner to the list of defendants in their $200 billion class action lawsuit against former SEC head Christopher Cox, AIG CEO Edward Libby, former AIG board member Richard Holbrooke, Martin Feldstein, and others. The complaint alleges that the constitutional rights of shareholders were violated by denying them the right to property (their shares of stock). The lawsuit charges that the defendants “jointly and severally, have seriously undermined and damaged AIG’s financial health and valuable past reputation by systematically causing and/or permitting the company to engage in a litany of highly risky, detrimental and reckless business dealings… that have caused the company to verge on bankruptcy and which have required in excess of $190 billion dollars to date of government provided monies to prevent total company failure.” [2295]

            Obama has a chef flown from to the White House from St. Louis, Missouri to make pizzas for the first family. Obama had enjoyed the pizza at Chris Sommers’ restaurant in 2008, where he had made a campaign stop, and no one in the administration was apparently willing to tell Obama that flying in the chef was ridiculously wasteful of tax dollars. (Al Gore is not asked to calculate the “carbon footprint” of the flight or the baking of the pizzas.) [2299, 2311]

            Hillary Clinton addresses reporters about the hostage situation off the coast of Somalia and laughs when noting that piracy is still an issue after hundreds of years. The family of the hostage is likely not similarly amused, but the U.S. Navy is later able to successfully intervene after Captain Richard Phillips jumps overboard (a second time) to flee from the Muslim Somali terrorists who had been holding him captive. Three of the four pirates are killed by expert Navy Seal snipers and one (Abduhl Wal-i-Musi) is taken into custody. The media makes a big fuss about how “Obama ordered the action,” in order to give him credit for the situation’s positive outcome when in fact normal military rules of engagement would have allowed the actions that were taken. (Permission from Obama would have been needed to take out the pirates only if he had previously ordered the Navy not to do so.) Somali pirates holding other ships immediately threaten action against Americans in retaliation, saying, “Every country will be treated the way it treats us. In the future, America will be the one mourning and crying.” Upon hearing that their captain had been saved by the U.S. Navy, the crew of the Maersk Alabama chants, “We are the best! We are Americans!” (Their patriotic celebration likely annoyed Obama, who had just returned from his “apologize for America” tour of Europe.) Crewmembers later say that their ship had been under attack for a week even before the hostage situation and implied the Navy could have arrived sooner and prevented the boarding. (NBC later removes that criticism from its news reports of the incident.) [2308, 2309, 2315, 2325, 2335, 2337, 2381]

            It is later alleged that Obama’s interference with the pirate/hostage situation significantly delayed the rescue operation. Obama had first ordered the Navy not to attempt a rescue; he insisted on a “peaceful outcome” without the killing of the Muslim pirates. Although Navy Seals arrived quickly at the scene and could have taken out the pirates, Obama purportedly insisted on no action until “his people” (FBI agents) arrived. (Apparently Obama does not consider the U.S. military “his people.”) That took an additional 24 hours or more of preparations and flying time. The FBI could only negotiate because they did not have the shooting skills of the Navy Seals. When Captain Phillips first jumped overboard from the lifeboat, the Navy snipers could then have taken out the captors, but Obama had specifically restricted the use of force unless the hostage’s life was in imminent danger… and the pirates were able to force Phillips back on board. Eventually the on scene commander (OSC) took it upon himself to decide whether Phillips’ life was in imminent danger, and ordered the snipers to fire. If these accusations are accurate, the Navy needed Obama’s order to act only because he had first ordered them not to act. Had he stayed out of the situation completely the snipers could have taken out the pirates days earlier. [2405, 2408, 2414, 2495]
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« Reply #178 on: July 29, 2009, 03:44:08 pm »

            Obama’s choice of Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg to be U.S. ambassador to the Vatican is rejected because of her pro-abortion stance. (Two other candidates are rejected for the same reason, leading some to wonder why Obama is unable to comprehend that a pro-abortion ambassador would not be welcomed by the Vatican.) [2530, 2532]

            Rasmussen’s April 12 poll places Obama’s Presidential Approval Index at its lowest point so far, +2, with 34 per cent of those polled strongly approving of Obama’s performance and 32 per cent strongly disapproving. [2145]

            It is reported that the Obama administration may, in fact, participate in the United Nations’ anti-racism Durban II conference scheduled for April 20. (In late February, it had been suggested that Obama would not send representatives to the conference.) Israel and Canada are boycotting the meetings because of its expected anti-Semitic bias, and Jewish groups in the United States have been pushing for a boycott. The keynote speaker for the purported anti-racism event will be Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called Israel a “stinking corpse” that should be wiped off the map. [1448, 2370]

            After several months in Washington, D.C. the allegedly Christian Obama is still looking for a permanent church to attend. His indecision is likely the result of trying to choose a church that helps him politically (or at least does not hurt him politically). His first appearance in church since the inauguration takes place on Easter, at St. John’s Episcopal Church (located across the street from the White House). [2302, 2356]

            Obama finally gets around to giving to his daughters the dog he had promised during the campaign. The “first pet” is a six month-old Portuguese water dog named “Bo.” The dog is a gift from Senator Edward Kennedy. [2310]

            Obama moves closer to getting one more leftist vote in the U.S. Senate when a Minnesota court declares comedian Al Franken the winner in his contest against Norm Coleman. Coleman, who argues that thousands of absentee ballots were not properly counted, has 10 days to appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court. As long as appeals continue, Governor Tim Pawlenty can keep Franken out of the Senate by delaying the signing of a required election certificate. [2316]

            “Unnamed sources” state that Obama is less than thrilled with the performance of his Vice-President, Joe Biden. Some advisors believe he has been unpredictable and frequently “not on message.” The recent accusation by former Bush advisor Karl Rove that Biden fabricated a story about the former president likely did not help matters, especially when even many Democrats believe Rove over Biden. [2320]

            Virginia legislators vote to turn down the portion of Obama’s stimulus funds allocated for higher unemployment compensation benefits because the money comes with expensive strings attached that will cost the state money in the future (and which would force it to raise taxes on businesses). [2322]

            While Obama worries about his war in Afghanistan, concerns rise over Pakistan because its government is weak and the Taliban has control of the large Swat and Malakand regions where it has imposed strict Shari’ah law. Terrorists are increasingly moving from Afghanistan into Pakistan, where al-Qaeda is already headquartered. Terrorist control of Pakistan’s estimated 50–100 nuclear weapons would create a much greater problem than now faced by American troops in Afghanistan or Iraq. David Kilcullen, former Bush advisor and now consultant to the Obama administration, states, “We have to face the fact that if Pakistan collapses it will dwarf anything we have seen so far in whatever we’re calling the war on terror now.” Many members of Pakistan’s military may not be willing to take up arms against the Taliban, who are “fellow travelers” in Islam’s fight against western culture. (The Pakistani Army may be engaged in only half-hearted fighting, just enough to keep the flow of money from the United States coming.) If that reluctance to fight allows the Taliban to take control of Pakistan, its nuclear weapons may end up in the hands of al-Qaeda, other terrorists, or any nation willing to purchase them. (At that point Obama may wish that Musharraf, who he was happy to see resign in 2008, were still in power.) [2336]
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« Reply #179 on: July 29, 2009, 03:44:44 pm »

            On April 14, Obama gives a speech on the economy in Georgetown University’s Gaston Hall. Obama suggests there has been economic progress since he became president and there are “glimmers of hope,” but warns the nation is not “out of the woods just yet.” He half-heartedly admits, “Now, I realize that for some, this isn’t enough. I know there is a criticism out there that my administration has somehow been spending with reckless abandon, pushing a liberal social agenda while mortgaging our children’s future.” Obama then proceeds to argue why his deficit spending is not wasteful, because it is an “investment.” Although stained glass windows of the hall are visible behind Obama as he speaks, the White House insisted that the monogram “IHS” on the wall be covered up. (IHS stands for Jesus Christ, from the Latin “Iesous Christos.”) The incident encourages more Catholics to plan to protest Obama’s May 17 commencement address at Notre Dame. [2363, 2364]

            In his Georgetown address Obama says America’s future depends on following his “foundation built on five pillars,” which he states are increased education spending,  federal funding of “green” energy research, expanded federal health care programs, increasing regulations on the financial industry, and reducing the deficit. It is unclear how Obama plans to reduce the deficit when his other four pillars will contribute to rising federal spending and reduced tax revenues. Strangely, Obama uses the concept of “five pillars” in his speech. To many people the term brings to mind the “Five Pillars of Islam,” which are the foundation of Muslim life: faith (imam) in Allah and the prophet Muhammad, five scheduled daily prayers (salah), alms for the needy (zakat), self-purification through fasting (sawm), and the pilgrimage to “Mecca” (hajj). [2368, 2369]

            By April 14, over 50 lawsuits have been filed challenging Obama’s status as a natural born citizen eligible to serve as president. A number of the cases have been dismissed on technical grounds, such as lack of plaintiff standing, but no judge has so far allowed an evidentiary hearing on the merits of the natural born citizen dispute. One upcoming case allegedly includes a plaintiff who is a blood relative of Obama. Hawaii allows a birth certificate to be requested by (among other persons) “…a person having a common ancestor with the registrant (e.g., a sibling, grandparent, aunt/uncle, or cousin).” [2422, 2423, 2424, 2425]

            It is reported that 8.7 million square feet of retail store space has been vacated in the first quarter of 2009, compared with 8.6 million square feet in all of 2008. Much of the newly vacated space is due to store closings at malls and strip malls. Many property owners have lowered rents in an effort to keep tenants, but that isn’t enough to keep some failing businesses from closing. Victor Calanog, with the real estate research firm Reis, Inc., states that it is likely to get worse before it gets better, with mall vacancies not stabilizing until mid-2012. “Commercial real estate usually shows a lag based on jobs growth. In the last down cycle, commercial rents didn’t turn positive until 18 months after jobs started to grow,” says Calanog. [2349]

 
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