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The Obama Timeline

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Harconen
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« Reply #180 on: July 29, 2009, 03:45:19 pm »

Tea Parties

 

Hundreds of thousands of Americans at more than one thousand locations protest high taxes and the administration’s unbridled deficit spending with tax day (April 15) tea party demonstrations across the country. When a protestor tosses a box of tea bags over the White House fence, police and Secret Service officers force thousands of demonstrators away from the area. (A robot used for bomb inspection is sent to examine the tea bags; they contained tea.) An estimated 15,000 turn out in Atlanta; 13,000 in New York City; 8,000 in Madison, Wisconsin; 4,000 in Chicago; 5,000 in Denver; 5,000 in Olympia, Washington; 5,000 in Oklahoma City; 5,000 in Sacramento (The Associated Press reports the enormous crowds with the words, “Hundreds protest tax increases in California,” but the police estimate the crowd in Sacramento alone to be 5,000); 3,000 in Washington, D.C. (in a cold rain), 1,000 in Bellevue, Washington; 2,500 in Boise, Idaho; 7,000 in Lansing, Michigan; 3,000 in Hartford, Connecticut; 1,200 in Columbus, Indiana; 4,000 in Cincinnati; 7,000 in Houston; 5,000 in Phoenix; 10,000 in Overland Park, Kansas; 8,000 in Kansas City; and between 15,000 and 20,000 in San Antonio. At the California capitol, Congressman Tom McClintock comments, “In the 27 years since I came to this building I have never seen a protest this large. The silent majority is no longer silent.” Annoying the mainstream media, protesters participate in such “subversive” activities as reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and singing the National Anthem. In an attempt to play down the political significance of the tax protests, the White House laughingly states “…the President is unaware of the tea parties and will hold his own event today.” [2355, 2361, 2362, 2373, 2374, 2375, 2376, 2377]

            One report estimates that more than one million Americans attended tea party protests at over one thousand locations in all 50 states. “The Obama administration has awakened a sleeping giant,” says Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. (Norquist realizes that few of the protesters had ever publicly demonstrated for or against anything.) “The establishment in Washington, D.C., is terrified. There were no such demonstrations four months into the administrations of Democratic presidents Carter or Clinton.” [2385]

            At the tax protest rally in Chicago, some reporters are clearly annoyed that anyone would dare demonstrate against the administration, and seem more eager to promote Obama’s agenda than report the events unfolding in front of them. CNN reporter Susan Roesgen rudely interrupts a demonstrator she is interviewing when he starts talking about individual liberty, yelling, “Sir, what does this have to do with taxes? What does this have to do with your taxes? Do you realize that you’re eligible for a $400 credit?” and “Do you know that the state of Lincoln gets $50 billion out of the stimulus? That’s $50 billion for this state, sir.” (It does not occur to Roesgen that the federal government can only give $50 billion to the state of Illinois if it first takes that $50 billion from the taxpayers of Illinois or other states.) Roesgen, who is apparently willing to give up essential liberties for a $400 bribe, gives up interviewing people when people in the crowd started shouting at her, “You’re not a reporter!” She finishes her report with, “I think you get the general tenor of this, uh, it’s anti-government, anti-CNN since this is highly promoted by the right-wing conservative network, Fox.” (To the extent that CNN is considered an unofficial mouthpiece for the Obama administration, many of the demonstrators likely are “anti-CNN.” Fox News coverage of the tax protests draws about three times as many viewers as CNN.) [2358, 2359, 2367, 2380, 2386]

            Because reporter Roesgen would not let the person being interviewed discuss individual liberty, one person in the crowd tells her to “Shut up,” prompting her to say “…this is not really family viewing.” Her own network’s Anderson Cooper later intentionally makes a vulgar on-air comment about conservative tax protesters and Republicans when he says, “It’s hard to talk when you’re tea-bagging.” The “tea-bagging” term has nothing to do with dumping tea into Boston harbor to protest taxes; it relates to a homosexual practice involving testicles (“tea bags”) in someone’s mouth. Throughout the day, similar comments are made by innumerable sophomoric leftists on CNN and MSNBC posing as “journalists.” CNN apparently believes that the broadcast of a rude reporter being told to “shut up” because she would not allow the speaker to finish his brief comment about freedom is not family viewing, while a crude sexual remark intended to ridicule conservatives, taxpayers, and the American patriots of 1773 is acceptable. (The fact that Cooper even chose to use the term may bring to mind the proverb, “What occupies your mind your mouth will sing about.”) While the overwhelming majority of Americans are no doubt unfamiliar with the CNN host’s homosexual reference (this author had to look it up) Cooper and his laughing guest David Gergen certainly knew what it meant. (Cooper, who many believe to be homosexual, and Gergen have refused to apologize.) The media’s ridicule of and anger toward the tax protests is a reflection of its fear; fear that protests will continue and opposition to Obama’s policies is mounting, and fear that the sentiment is unstoppable. The media was able to get Obama elected, but it will not be able to maintain his popularity when his policies fail. After Roesgen’s on-air report ends, several people in the crowd try to explain to her why CNN’s coverage is missing the point; it is not only high taxes that are at issue, it is federal spending run amok and total disregard for the taxpayers. That conversation is not aired by the network, but was recorded by foundingbloggers.com and is viewable on YouTube.com. (CNN works to remove the controversial Roesgen clips from YouTube.com in an attempt to control the controversy.) Critics take note of Roesgen’s past coverage of liberal demonstrations where she is polite and accommodating to the protesters. [2358, 2359, 2367, 2380, 2386, 2415, 2417, 2431, 2432]
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Harconen
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« Reply #181 on: July 29, 2009, 03:45:57 pm »

            Complaints against Anderson Cooper, CNN, and MSNBC are filed with the Federal Communications Commission for their on-air vulgarity and violation of broadcast standards. [2538]

            Reporter Roesgen also confronts a protestor who is equating Obama with fascism, asking him “Why do you say he’s a fascist? He’s the President of the United States. Do you realize how offensive that is?” In a 2006 report covering New Orleans residents who demanded even more federal assistance after hurricane Katrina, Roesgen noted someone with a George W. Bush mask that made him look like a combination of Hitler and the devil. She remarked that “…while a look-alike showed up with a wad of (phony) cash, Mr. Bush did not.” Roesgen did not suggest the Bush/Hitler/devil costume was offensive. [2457]

            At a tax protest rally in Austin, Texas several in the crowd yell “Secede!” while Governor Rick Perry speaks. When reporters later ask Perry about secession, he responds, “There’s [sic] a lot of different scenarios. We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people… who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we’re a pretty independent lot to boot.” One protestor says the forced resignation of General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner was what pushed her over the edge. “When a president can fire the head of a company, that’s too much.” One protester in Florida, who was attending her first political rally, states, “I have never in my entire life demonstrated, and I’m in my mid-sixties,” and complains that legislators are “signing these bills giving out money. They haven’t even read them.” Another says that Obama has no “…knowledge of running businesses to appreciate what it’s like to be able to pay your taxes, pay your employees, pay all your bills,” and “He thinks that he’s got an endless pot of money that he can continue to spend, and he’s mistaken. He does not. People are just at the tipping point right now, and if they don’t change their ways in Washington, people are going to stop… maybe they just stop paying taxes. If everyone stopped paying their taxes, I think that would really impact what’s going on.”  [2357, 2378]

            Despite media criticism of Perry’s comment and its ridicule of even the thought of secession, Obama’s favorite president, Abraham Lincoln, famously stated, “Any people anywhere… have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government and to form one that suits them better.” In his first inaugural, address Lincoln said revolution is justified “…if a majority deprives a minority of a clearly written constitutional right.”

            In Chicago and its suburbs, thousands of protesters demonstrate at several locations. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) says the tea parties are “despicable” and a “shameful political stunt.” In contrast, Illinois State Representative Darlene Senger (R-Naperville) blasts Governor Pat Quinn’s proposal to increase the Illinois state income tax by a whopping 50 per cent. “How many of you have had an increase of 50 per cent in revenue this year?” Senger asks. (Quinn’s increase would not be limited to those earning $250,000 or more.) [2382]

            The mainstream media reluctantly covers the tax protests, but does its best to discredit the demonstrators, ridicule them, and call them angry, ill-informed, extremists. ABC’s Dan Harris charges that the tax protests are “…not a real grassroots phenomenon at all, that it’s actually largely orchestrated by people fronting for corporate interests,” but he offers no evidence. (Nor is there any mention that typical left-wing protests are funded by liberal political action groups, like ACORN and MoveOn.org, and boost attendance by unions pushing members to attend.) Dean Reynolds of CBS is eager to point out that a recent Gallup poll shows “61 per cent of Americans see their federal income taxes as fair,” but neglects to mention that the tens of millions who pay no income taxes at all would obviously consider the situation “fair.” (A proper poll would only count people who actually pay income taxes. A 2006 Tax Foundation study estimated that 121 million Americans pay no federal income taxes, with many of them not even filing tax returns; those 121 million no doubt consider the arrangement “fair.”) The media reports focus primarily on the issue of taxes, ignoring the fact that most of the protesters are more angry about the government’s massive deficit spending that will add trillions to the national debt. More tax protests are scheduled for May 30 and July 4. [2359, 2360, 2365]

            Many reporters and commentators are clearly confounded by the demonstrators—possibly because their experience with past protests leaves it unprepared for throngs of friendly, polite, and fully clothed people who shaved and showered before arriving. Looking for a way to discredit the protesters, the media attempts to portray them as racists opposed to a “progressive” black president, but fails to note that big-spending Republicans did not escape the wrath of the demonstrators. Columnist Michelle Malkin points out “…a crowd of 2,000 repeatedly booed GOP Senators Orrin Hatch and Bob Bennett, who both supported the $700 billion TARP bailout, and protested GOP Governor Jon Huntsman’s decision to accept $1.6 billion in porky stimulus funds.” Malkin notes that California Republican party chairman Ron Nehring and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger got their share of boos and catcalls, and in Greenville, South Carolina Republican Congressman Gresham Barrett was “practically booed and heckled off the stage at a Tea Party… for supporting the trillion-dollar TARP and embracing the pork-laden stimulus law.” Liberal Republicans who have fallen for the global warming line were also less than favorites with the crowds, which consisted mostly of people fed up with high taxes and wasteful government spending by legislators—regardless of their party affiliation. [2407, 2470]
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Harconen
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« Reply #182 on: July 29, 2009, 03:46:30 pm »

            In what may be his most bizarre and extreme appointment to date, Obama selects far left-wing Rosa Brooks to be “principal advisor” to Michele Flourney, the Defense Undersecretary for Policy. The anti-military Brooks has no military experience or defense knowledge; she is merely a leftist columnist for the Los Angeles Times. Brooks served as special counsel to the president at George Soros’ Open Policy Institute. The anti-Semitic Brooks has also worked for Harold Koh, Legal Advisor of the Department of State (who believes that the U.S. Constitution should be subjugated to international law). Brooks believes the federal government should subsidize newspapers and grant licenses to them in order to control their operations. Brooks has pushed for war crimes trials for former President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney. She is the daughter of radical socialist and atheist Barbara Ehrenreich (the honorary chairman of the Democratic Socialists of America and active supporter of Progressives for Obama). In Brooks’ new position, she will have access to classified information within the Pentagon. Thrilled when an Iraqi threw his shoes at President Bush, Brooks wrote, “He reminded the powerful and powerless alike that a single gesture can be more effective than a thousand grenades.” Many Defense Department officials were “shocked” at the appointment of Brooks, who has called former President Bush “our torturer in chief,” and said that Bush and Dick Cheney “should be treated like psychotics who need treatment.” (Global socialist George Soros is no doubt pleased that he has an inside contact in the Pentagon.) [2443, 2444, 2445, 2446, 2455, 2493]

            Great Britain’s Telegraph says of the Brooks appointment, “It is hard to think of a more inappropriate political appointment at a time when America needs a hard-headed approach to winning a global war instead of defeatist, far-left rhetoric. Let’s hope this is isn’t the kind of advice the new administration takes on for the war in Afghanistan.” The choice of Brooks apparently came from her new boss, Michele Flourney (a Clinton administration re-tread). Secretary of Defense Robert Gates “did not hire her,” a Department of Defense official is quick to emphasize. [2460]

            Congressman Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) of the House Intelligence Committee asks the Director of National Intelligence ombudsman to investigate the authorization of the Department of Homeland Security report that essentially labeled all conservatives as “right-wing extremists.” Hoekstra states, “Beyond apologizing for its obviously offensive references, the administration needs to get to the bottom of how and why a report like this was written, and put standards in place to keep it from happening again. This report has significant analytic shortcomings and does not deserve to be called an intelligence product.” Congressman Bernie Thompson (D-MS) said he was “dumbfounded” by the report’s release, and it raises “significant issues involving the privacy and civil liberties of many Americans—including war veterans.” [2366, 2396]

            North Korea, emboldened by the lack of response to its launching of a ballistic missile on April 5, ejects inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency. (When Kim Jong-Il did that in 2002, media critics immediately blamed President Bush, but Obama will likely get a free pass from the media for the same situation.) The communist regime plans to reactivate its nuclear facilities and continue with the reprocessing of spent fuels for nuclear weapons. Thumbing his nose at Obama, Kim Jong-Il also pulls North Korea out of the six-party talks (with China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, and the United States). [2430, 2582]

            As special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell meets with Palestinian Authority (PA) officials, the Obama administration’s plans become clearer. One PA negotiator says that a Palestinian state will be established sooner than most might expect. Obama appears not to care that Israel’s new prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, will be opposed to most of the concessions he expects from the Jewish state. The PA confirms that the U.S. negotiating team stated, “We don’t mind who is (running) the government in Israel. Things will be closed (for a Palestinian state) and more quickly than anybody could imagine.” Obama expects Israel to withdraw completely from Gaza, the West Bank, Golan Heights, and eastern Jerusalem, and wants Israel to accept any Palestinian refugees who wish to move within Israel. For Israel, those terms are suicidal. Arab control of those areas will mean Hamas rockets would be capable of striking both Tel Aviv and Israel’s international airport, and the assimilation of more Arabs into the country will eventually give them the voting strength to destroy the Jewish state. (Many Palestinians live in U.N. refugee camps because no Arab nation will accept them, preferring to use them as pawns in their anti-Israel politics. Israel would prefer that Jordan accept the refugees because it is already approximately 65 per cent Palestinian.) Of the plan upon which the Mitchell negotiations are based, Obama has stated, “Look at the proposal that was put forth by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia… I might not agree with every aspect of the proposal, but it took great courage to put forward something that is as significant as that.” Obama does not explain why it takes “great courage” to devise a plan in which one side (Israel) is expected to give considerable concessions while the other side gives up nothing. Obama, unwilling to confront Iran, is instead attempting to bully and restrain Israel, essentially preventing it from defending itself. If Israel attacks Iran to take out its nuclear facilities, Iran may respond by blockading the Strait of Hormuz to prevent deliveries of crude oil. Obama, who is desperately trying to avoid taking any decisive action against Iran, would then be forced to act—or submit to Iran’s demands. (Obama seems unaware that several Arab states, including Egypt, Jordan, and Bahrain, would just as soon see Israel take out Iran’s nuclear facilities because they would also be threatened by a nuclear-armed Ahmadinejad.) [2387, 2388, 2487]

            Obama visits Mexico City on April 16 to discuss cooperation between Mexico and the United States, on his way to Trinidad and Tobago for the Summit of the Americas. The White House states the Mexican visit would focus on environmental issues and the economic crisis. Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano states the Mexico trip is “not about pointing fingers, it’s about solving a problem: What can we do to prevent the flow of guns and cash south that fuel these cartels?” (She makes no mention of stopping the flow of Mexicans into the United States.) Critics expect Obama to use the drug issue to help enact strict weapons bans in the United States. [2379, 2383]
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« Reply #183 on: July 29, 2009, 03:47:04 pm »

            At the Fifth Summit of the Americas Obama apologetically remarks, “Too often, the United States has not pursued and sustained engagement with our neighbors. We have been too easily distracted by other priorities and failed to see that our own progress is tied directly to progress through the Americas.” It is uncertain where Obama got the idea that the United States has not engaged in “sustained engagement” with its neighbors; his statement is ludicrous on its face (although he personally never set foot in Mexico or any Central, South American, or Caribbean nation before becoming president). Eager to apologize for the United States as he had just done in Europe, Obama tells CNN en Espanol that the American governments have been “heavy-handed when it comes to foreign policy in Latin America…” which he says “…dates back to the Monroe Doctrine.” (Obama is stunningly ignorant of the U.S. history for which he is apologizing; the Monroe Doctrine was not a policy against Latin America, it was a policy intended to protect their emerging democracies from European heavy-handedness.) [2392, 2393]

            While at the Summit of the Americas, Obama meets Venezuela’s president, socialist Hugo Chavez. The photo of the friendly greeting and warm handshake may arguably not play well back in the United States. Chavez presents Obama with a book that is highly critical of U.S. involvement south of the border, The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent. (Tellingly, Time magazine later states the book is an appropriate gift because Obama “gets it.” That is, Obama appreciates and understands the America-hating sentiment in the book. The book has been widely discredited and its allegations disproved; it is called by some an “idiot’s bible.”) Former U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela Otto Reich warns that Obama’s smiling greetings with the socialist leader gave Chavez the “greatest triumph in Venezuelan diplomacy ever,” and says, “I think it’s very unfortunate. I don’t think President Obama really understands, perhaps out of lack of experience in international affairs, the importance of symbolism.” (In Venezuela, Chavez later portrays the meeting as an endorsement of his polices by Obama, leading anti-Chavez factions in the country to believe they no longer have a friend in the United States.) Obama also listens to a 50-minute speech by Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, most of which is severe criticism of the United States. Obama remarks that the speech was “50 minutes too long.” He also says, “I’m grateful that President Ortega did not blame me for things that happened when I was three months old,” but makes no effort to challenge Ortega’s rabid denouncement of the United States or defend his own country. (Obama’s reference was perhaps to Kennedy’s failed April, 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion to overthrow Castro’s communist regime and put an America-friendly leader in place until free elections could be held. Obama’s remark continues his “don’t blame me, just blame my country” approach to foreign policy, although it is not clear whether Obama would have welcomed a successful 1961 invasion had it led to democracy in Cuba. His remark, if that is what he meant, got the date wrong: the Bay of Pigs invasion took place several months before Obama was born, not when he was three months old.) [2409, 2411, 2441, 2451, 2471, 2540]

            An unscientific poll on MSNBC.msn.com asks readers to rate Obama’s performance as president. As of April 18, with 2,229,092 votes cast, the results were: 29 per cent rating Obama A, 6.2 per cent B, 5.6 per cent C, 15 per cent D, and 45 per cent F. [2398]

 
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« Reply #184 on: July 29, 2009, 03:47:34 pm »



Torture Memos

 

Obama releases several classified memos from the Bush administration that detail terrorist interrogation methods. Obama is immediately criticized by conservatives for releasing the information, and by liberals for saying he would not prosecute any CIA agents who followed the practices under orders. The procedures described in the memos include sleep deprivation, keeping detainees in cold cells for long periods, allowing nourishing liquids but no solid foods, slapping detainees, and threatening to put insects in the cell of a terrorist who was afraid of them. Former CIA Director Michael Hayden and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey jointly charge in a Wall Street Journal editorial that the release of the information will “…invite the kind of institutional timidity and fear of recrimination that weakened intelligence gathering in the past, and that we came sorely to regret on September 11, 2001,” and “assures that terrorists are now aware of the absolute limit of what the U.S. government could do to extract information from them, and can supplement their training accordingly and thus diminish the effectiveness of these techniques.” Some critics decry the use of torture by the United States, while others believe it is a strain to call it torture to threaten someone with a caterpillar because he fears insects. Retired Army Colonel Bob Maginnis states, “We’re at war. It’s a strategic mistake on the part of the president to release the details on how we will address would-be or confirmed terrorists who may have information that could lead us to stop pending attacks. I find it unacceptable completely.” Maginnis adds that sleep deprivation and slapping “seem to be rather benign given what goes on the world.” Treatment of the detainees included “dietary manipulation” (giving the terrorists healthy and nutritious but bland and unappetizing food). Obama’s release of the memoranda tells terrorists around the world what the United States is and is not prepared to do to stop them. Seeing what little the United States has done and will no longer do may prompt them to take even bolder actions. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum remarks, “I’d say if I’m a terrorist I’m feeling pretty good. I am now going to know every trick in the book that if I am captured they will use to interrogate me,” and charges, “This is an absolute betrayal of the national security of this country, to give away these techniques to the enemy.” [2399, 2400, 2452, 2466, 2467, 2523]

            Obama’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, has his own experience with “sleep deprivation as torture.” In February, 1993 Bill Clinton’s Attorney General, Janet Reno, ordered a religious compound of Branch Davidians near Waco, Texas surrounded by federal agents. The standoff lasted 51 days, during which those inside were subjected to sleep deprivation from constant loud noise and music. Reno eventually ordered tanks to attack the buildings. Fire ensued, shots were fired, and 76 people inside were killed (including 23 children). Reno’s second in command was Eric Holder. Tanks came from Fort Hood, then commanded by Wesley Clark. Most who today argue that the government should not use sleep deprivation against terrorist detainees because they consider it torture likely did not protest against Clinton, Reno, Holder, and Clark for their use of the method in 1993. [2466, 2467]

            Some of the torture methods used by al-Qaeda include: drilling through the victim’s hands with an electric drill; severing arms and legs; dragging victims behind cars; gouging out eyes; burning skin with a blowtorch; electrocution; breaking limbs; binding and beating; whipping; hanging the victim upside down from the ceiling; burning the skin with a hot clothes iron; and squeezing the victim’s head in a vice. [2576]

            On April 18, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announces it will begin regulating greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, because of the “grave danger” they pose to the planet and human health. The EPA will have no choice but to make arbitrary and inconsistent rulings because every living creature exhales carbon dioxide and it is also created by millions of furnaces, automobiles, and production processes. (Water vapor is a much more significant greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and even a hydrogen-powered car creates water vapor, as does the simple act of taking a shower, exhaling outdoors on a cold day, or boiling water for a cup of tea.) The new EPA regulations will impose costs on virtually all businesses, costs that will necessarily be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices for all goods and services. While the Obama administration is thus preparing to tax Americans hundred of billions of dollars to prevent global warming, new studies show that ice is expanding in Antarctica, not melting. The Australian states that a Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research report prepared for a meeting of Antarctic Treaty nations in Washington showed the South Pole has shown “significant cooling in recent decades.” Some widely reported loss of ice in the west Antarctic has been more than offset by expansion of ice in the east Antarctic, but that expansion has been largely ignored by the fear-mongering media. The conclusion of an extensive report prepared for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce recommends “…the Committee should consider again, and carefully, the question whether the anthropogenic effect on global mean surface temperature has—albeit inadvertently—been considerably exaggerated. Upon this question all else depends. If climate sensitivity is as low as theory and the satellite data are agreed in showing it to be, then that is the end of the ‘climate crisis,’ and it would be foolish to spend trillions on addressing a non-problem when there are so many real problems that need to be addressed.” [2401, 2403, 2404]
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« Reply #185 on: July 29, 2009, 03:48:27 pm »

            Iran convicts an American journalist of spying and sentences her to prison for eight years. Roxana Saberi, an Iranian-American from Fargo, North Dakota, was arrested in January for “purchasing wine,” and then accused of working without press credentials. Charges were later upgraded to spying. The U.S. State Department says the imprisonment is not helpful and that Iran could gain the “good will” of the United States if it responds “in a positive way.” The conviction and sentencing are perhaps an indication that Iran views Obama as weak and is willing to push him simply to see how far he will lean, as well as an effort to buy more time for its nuclear program while it negotiates an easing of sanctions in exchange for the release of the reporter. (Iran may also be holding former FBI agent Robert Levinson.) Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is well aware that what may have worked well at home for Obama politically (“I’m willing to sit down with no pre-conditions”) may mean he is ripe for the picking on the world stage. [2402, 2412, 2613]

            The anti-war sentiments so prominent before the election die down to almost nothing with Obama in the White House. American troops are still in Iraq, they are not leaving as soon as Obama had promised during the campaign, and he is sending additional troops to Afghanistan—where he has less support from other nations than President Bush had in Iraq, and where he lacks an exit strategy that seemed so critical before he became president. MoveOn.org, which was vehemently anti-war during the previous administration, is strangely silent about Obama’s continuation of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama’s call for additional troops in Afghanistan is met with very little criticism, certainly much less than would have been directed at President Bush. [2406]

            The Obama administration announces it will not, after all, send representatives to the United Nations’ anti-racism Durban II conference because of objectionable language in its final document. Obama was likely pressured by his United Nations ambassador Susan Rice and others to send a representative, but others at the State Department eventually were more persuasive. Sweden, Australia, the Netherlands, Germany, Canada, Poland, New Zealand, and Israel have also announced they will not attend the conference. [1448, 2370, 2410, 2419, 2426]

            Obama’s State Department says it will not accept Israel’s demand that Palestinians accept the Jewish state’s right to exist as a pre-condition to peace talks. It also appears that the United States is willing to proceed with discussions without first demanding an end to Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Obama may be heading on a collision course with Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, expecting Israel to change its borders, give up strategically important land, allow mass migration of Palestinians into Israel, and accept the continuance of Iran’s nuclear program—while giving Israel nothing in return but vague promises of peace. Israel is expected by Obama to accept the existence of 57 Islamic nations in the Organization of the Islamic Conference, but Obama will not press Fatah, Hamas, and Palestinians to recognize the existence of Israel. [2418]

            While the Obama administration appears to be doing everything it can to undermine the security of Israel, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) is engaging in drills as practice for a possible strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. A former (1989–1996) chief of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, Shabati Shavit, states, “My concern is that until Obama finishes his learning curve of the subject, the Iranians are going to have maybe the first or even more nuclear bombs.” [2420]

            Obama’s Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, warns about rising global temperatures and rising sea levels that will cause more intense hurricanes and flooding in Caribbean nations, Gulf Coast states, and California. Chu states global temperatures have risen by 0.8 degree, another one degree is “certain” to occur, and “there’s a reasonable probability we can go to 4 degrees Centigrade to 5 and 6 or more.” In contrast, a climate report prepared for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce states that “there has been global cooling for (the last) seven years, at a rate equivalent of 3.5 Fahrenheit degrees per century,” the world is experiencing “…an exceptionally low level of hurricane and tropical storm activity,” and sea levels are rising, on average, at only “about one-fifth of the mean centennial rise… over the past 10,000 years.” In September of 2008 Chu said he believed the United States should intentionally raise the price of gasoline to European levels (approximately $8.00 per gallon at that time) in order to encourage a change in the habits of Americans. [2404, 2428, 2497]

            Obama political strategist David Axelrod appears on CBS’ Face the Nation on April 19, and is asked whether the tax day protests signaled not just displeasure with the government but with Obama as well. Axelrod replies, “I think any time that you have severe economic conditions, there is always an element of disaffection that can mutate into something that’s unhealthy.” (The Obama administration believes that the concerns of Americans over high taxes and massive deficit spending are “unhealthy.”) [2481, 2482]

            Obama’s chief economic advisor, Lawrence Summers, appears on NBC’s Meet the Press. In discussing the administration’s health care plans, Summers states, “…by doing the right kind of cost-effectiveness, by making the right kinds of investments and protection, some experts …estimate that we could take as much as $700 billion a year out of our health care system.” That remarkable statement can mean nothing more than rationing of health care, as it represents approximately 30 per cent of all health care expenses in the United States. Although Obama has made it clear that the federal government should never tell a woman she cannot have an abortion, he is perfectly willing to tell Americans “they don’t need” 30 per cent of their current treatments or procedures. As examples, Summers mentions tonsillectomies and hysterectomies as being performed too frequently, where there is “no benefit in terms of the health of the population,” but he does not otherwise indicate which Americans would have to give up what health care so that Obama will have an additional $700 billion to spend on coverage for illegal immigrants and the unemployed. (The NBC host did not ask Summers whether Americans would soon need government permission to have a tonsillectomy or a hysterectomy.)  [2583, 2584]

            Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) addresses a group of government-run health care employees and admits that the goal of the Democrat Party is to close down the private insurance industry. “Those of us who are pushing for a public health insurance option don’t disagree with the goal (of eliminating private health insurance). This is not a principled fight. This is a fight about strategy for getting there, and I believe we will,” states Schakowsky. In other words, Obama and his administration have been lying to the American public when they say they can keep their private insurance if they like it. The ultimate goal is to have the government running the entire health care industry, with no private insurers permitted. The Obama plan involves burdening private insurance with so much red tape, regulations, and costs that they simply go out of business as customers switch to the federal plan, which will (if only in the short run) provide less expensive coverage because it will be subsidized by the taxpayers. Over time, however, in an effort to prevent the federal system from collapsing because of exploding costs, health care rationing will be implemented. Costs will also be reduced by cutting fees paid to hospitals and physicians. That will in turn lead to hospitals going out of business and doctor shortages (as physicians retire and fewer young people are willing to enter the profession because of reduced salaries). [2601]
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« Reply #186 on: July 29, 2009, 03:49:51 pm »

            On April 19, while attending the Summit of the Americas conference, Obama says he is “gravely concerned” about Roxana Saberi, the Iranian-American reporter convicted of espionage in Iran and sentenced to eight years in prison. “She is an American citizen and I have complete confidence that she was not engaging in any sort of espionage… it is appropriate for her to be treated as such and to be released,” said Obama. Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says Saberi will be allowed to file an appeal and offer a full defense. North Korea holds two American reporters hostage; Laura Ling and Euna Lee were abducted by Kim Jong-Il’s troops in March, allegedly while they were in Chinese territory. North Korea has charged the two women with “unspecified crimes.” The media has said virtually nothing about Saberi, Ling, and Lee… likely because it would emphasize that Obama has been unable to do anything to secure their release. (Saberi is released by Iran on May 11, 2009.) [2427, 2585]

            The New York Times reports that the Obama administration is considering converting the preferred stock it holds in 19 banks to common stock. Owning common stock gives the government voting rights with regard to company policy management. (The government would become Citigroup’s largest shareholder.) If the government owns enough common stock, it essentially owns and controls the bank (that is, socialism). Some banks are eager to return federal money received under TARP, but Obama is making it difficult to allow the repayment by first demanding that the banks pass a financial “stress test”—a test devised and interpreted by his own administration. [2472, 2476]

            It is reported that Michelle Obama travels with two “aesthetic assistants” who do her hair and make-up. (Make-up assistant Ingrid Grimes-Miles is allegedly responsible for toning down Obama’s angry-looking arched eyebrows.) The Obamas purportedly paid for the travel expenses of the two assistants on their recent trip to Europe, although it is not clear whether taxpayers are paying their salaries. [2433]

            The Jerusalem Post reports that Ya’acov Katz, chairman of the National Union, sent Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel a letter reminding him not to forget his Jewish and Israeli origins. The letter is partly in response to a private meeting in which Emanuel condescendingly told an American Jewish leader, “In the next four years, there will be a peace agreement with the Palestinians on the basis of two states for two peoples, and it does not matter to us (the Obama administration) who is the prime minister (of Israel).” Emanuel’s threat is that regardless of what Israel believes is best for itself, it will be expected by Obama to give up territory and surrender to Palestinian demands. [2450]

            Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, delivers the keynote address at the United Nations’ supposed anti-racism summit. His attacks on Israel (“a cruel and repressive racist regime”) prompt many in attendance walk out of the auditorium. (Several nations, including the United States, had not sent representatives to the event, assuming it would be an anti-Israel hate-fest.) State Department spokesman Robert Wood tells reporters, “The comments that he made… frankly feed racial hatred. If Iran… wants a different relationship with the international community, it’s got to change its behavior and stop this horrible rhetoric.” The Obama administration is still planning on talks with Iran, apparently even if it does not change its behavior. [2454, 2487]

            On April 20, Obama finally holds his first cabinet meeting, during which he asks the members to identify a combined $100 million that can be cut from the budget. That effort, a defensive response to the April 15 tea party protests, is intended to signal to the public that “Obama is serious” about cutting spending and reforming government, but the $100 million amount is laughably infinitesimal when compared with his $3.5 trillion budget and deficit of at least $1.2 trillion. ($100 million is 0.008 per cent of the projected budget deficit, or eight cents out of $1,000; it represents perhaps 15 minutes of federal spending.) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) responds, “Any amount of savings is obviously welcome, but ($100 million is) about the average amount we’ll spend every single day just covering the interest on the stimulus package that we passed earlier this year.” The Heritage Foundation points outs that $100 million out of the $3.5 trillion budget is like cutting $1.00 from a family’s $40,000 annual budget. The Obama administration may believe that a mere promise to look for $100 million in budget cuts is a great accomplishment, but when criticized just a few weeks earlier for $8 billion in wasteful earmarks that amount was considered “minuscule” by the White House. More than likely, Obama is simply betting that most Americans don’t know the difference between millions, billions, and trillions, and he knows that if he can get media accolades for even small budget cuts he will be the winner in the game. [2434, 2435, 2449, 2456, 2461]

            Obama visits the CIA for a “pep talk” because of low morale over the release of terrorist interrogation documents, and states that he supports their efforts. (At the same time, he is working to make their jobs more difficult.) Speaking as a teacher would to first-graders, Obama tells professional CIA officers, “Don’t be discouraged that we have to acknowledge (that) potentially we’ve made some mistakes. That’s how we learn.” It is assumed Obama’s visit did not improve morale because he said nothing to suggest that CIA actions will not continually be hindered by his public criticisms or Congressional hearings and investigations. [2534, 2535]

            Former Vice-President Dick Cheney criticizes Obama for releasing only one side of the terrorist interrogation documents, and calls for the CIA to release documents that prove the interrogations were successful in thwarting other attacks on U.S. soil after September 11, 2001. “One of the things that I find a little bit disturbing about this recent disclosure,” said Cheney, “is they put out the legal memos, the memos that the CIA got from the Office of Legal Counsel, but they didn’t put out the memos that showed the success of the effort. And there are reports that show specifically what we gained as a result of this activity. They have not been declassified.” (The waterboarding interrogation technique used by the CIA on al-Qaeda leader Khalid Sheik Mohammed prompted him to give up information about a planned attack on Los Angeles, led to the capture of Riduan bin Isamuddin, and enabled the discovery of a 17-member terror cell planning a second wave of attacks on the United States. The CIA used the waterboarding technique on only three detainees. In 2004 it had told the Justice Department it would be used only when it had “credible intelligence that a terrorist attack is imminent,” “substantial and credible indicators that the subject has actionable intelligence that can prevent, disrupt or deny this attack” and other “interrogation methods have failed to elicit the information within the perceived time limit for preventing the attack.”) Cheney also criticizes Obama’s tendency to bad-mouth the United States, saying, “What I find disturbing is the extent to which he has gone to Europe, for example, and seemed to apologize profusely in Europe, and then to Mexico, and apologize there, and so forth. And I think you have to be very careful. The world outside there, both our friends and our foes, will be quick to take advantage of a situation if they think they’re dealing with a weak president or one who is not going to stand up and aggressively defend America’s interests. The United States provides most of the leadership in the world… I don’t think we have much to apologize for.” There is a great difference between acknowledging mistakes and communicating weakness; in Obama’s eagerness to do the former he has succeeded mostly in accomplishing the latter. [2459, 2465, 2473, 2560]
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« Reply #187 on: July 29, 2009, 03:50:28 pm »

            Hillary Clinton is asked by a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee if she agrees with former Vice-President Dick Cheney that additional documents should be released to confirm that the heavily criticized interrogation methods were successful. Clinton replies, “Well, it won’t surprise you, I don’t consider him a particularly reliable source of information.” Although Clinton and members of Congress are eagerly denouncing the treatment of terrorist detainees in order to disparage the Bush administration, CIA leadership reported details of its techniques to members of Congress multiple times between 2002 and 2006 and had received permission to follow the practices. Confirmation of the disclosure comes from Obama’s national intelligence director, Dennis Blair, according to an April 22 WeeklyStandard.com story. Members of Congress repeatedly signed off on “enhanced interrogation methods,” such as waterboarding. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was a member of the House Intelligence Committee during the period she claims to have known nothing about the interrogation techniques. The Washington Post reported that in September of 2002 Pelosi attended a meeting on the subject and “…was given a virtual tour of the CIA’s overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.” Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) also attended. There were more than 30 such briefings, and former CIA director Porter Goss states, “Among those being briefed, there was a pretty full understanding of what the CIA was doing.” One Congressman recalls, “The reaction in the room was not just approval, but encouragement.” Blair has since stated, “…these techniques have hurt our image around the world, the damage they have done to our interests far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us, and they are not essential to our national security.” (Blair apparently believes that preventing a terrorist attack on Los Angeles was not worth the interrogation efforts.) [2479, 2480, 2498, 2535, 2654]

            Obama’s Justice Department asks a federal judge to toss out a lawsuit brought against Iran by American diplomats who had been held hostage at their embassy for 444 days in 1979–1980. [2613]

            There are reports that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had agents following the tax protests of April 15, and was keeping track of the organizers of each local event. FBI agents allegedly engaged in covert video surveillance and data collection, independent of local law enforcement. [2437, 2442]

            In an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Company on April 20, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano states the United States needs stronger border security because of 9/11 terrorists entering the country across the border with Canada. She is immediately corrected by the interviewer, who points out that none of the perpetrators of 9/11 entered the United States via Canada. Napolitano’s strange response is, “I can’t talk to that. I can talk about the future. And here’s the future. The future is we have borders.” [2468]

            Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu cancels plans to attend the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) summit in May because Obama is not willing to meet with him during the conference. [2453]

            Having intentionally released classified terrorist interrogation memos from the Bush administration, Obama is questioned on April 21 about criminal investigations into the involvement of former officials. He responds, “If and when there needs to be a fuller accounting of what took place during this period, I think for Congress to examine ways that it can be done in a bipartisan fashion, outside of the typical hearing process that can sometimes break down and break entirely along party lines… that would probably be a more sensible approach to take.” Although Obama has stated he will not prosecute CIA interrogators who were following orders, he would not rule out prosecuting those who drafted the orders and their related legal opinions—even though he had previously promised that he would not support such actions. “I would say that is going to be more of a decision for the attorney general, weighing the parameters of various laws and I don’t want to prejudge that. There are a host of very complicated issues involved there.” (Chief of staff Rahm Emanuel had stated on April 19 that there would be no such prosecutions; White House aides later said Emanuel “misspoke.”) Publicly going after CIA or Bush administration officials may have the effect of watering down future interrogation techniques to the extent that they will become ineffective, because those involved will tread lightly out of fear of prosecution. Further, foreign intelligence agencies will be less likely to share valuable information with U.S. operatives. Terrorists following the situation will be pleased if there are prosecutions of U.S. officials or intelligence officers because it will signal to them that they themselves have less to fear if apprehended. [2458, 2494]

            On April 21, Obama states that if Congress wants an investigation of the background of the alleged CIA tortures of terrorist detainees he would prefer an independent commission “outside of the typical (Congressional) hearing process” and it should include “independent participants who are above reproach and have credibility.” Two day later the White House changes its mind, with press secretary Robert Gibbs saying, “The President determined that the concept didn’t seem altogether that workable in this case.” [2506]

            Obama has not suggested how his administration would obtain information from Osama bin Laden should he be captured. If bin Laden has been following the U.S. media, he knows he would be well fed; given first-rate medical care; never slapped or deprived of sleep; safe from exposure to loud, obnoxious music; guaranteed a warm cell free of insects; and never be waterboarded. He likely would also expect a trial in the United States with an outstanding legal defense team generously paid for by U.S. taxpayers—and perhaps even an acquittal based on “improperly gained intelligence information” or “religious discrimination.”
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« Reply #188 on: July 29, 2009, 03:51:09 pm »

            Obama angers members of the National Black Farmers Association (NBFA) over the issue of a class action lawsuit known as the “Pigford case.” In 2007, during his campaign for the presidency, Obama introduced legislation that would extend the time limit period for farmers filing discrimination claims against the Department of Agriculture. Obama is now arguing for a $100 million cap on the payouts; there are an estimated 65,000 pending claims that could add up to $2 or $3 billion. John Boyd, head of the NBFA, states, “You can’t blame it on the Bush administration anymore. I can’t figure out for the life of me why the president wouldn’t want to implement a bill that he fought for as a U.S. senator.” [2530, 2531]

            Former United Nations ambassador and presidential candidate Alan Keyes warns that Obama will not hesitate to declare martial law should there be another terrorist attack against the United States. “It’s obvious that they (the Obama administration) will stop at nothing. We may wake up one day and there’s a series of terrorist attacks, the economy is paralyzed… martial law will be declared everywhere in the United States and it won’t end until the crisis ends.” Americans will then be lucky to see an election in 2012, cautions Keyes. “If we don’t wake up and work to (ensure) that it happens, we will not see another election. The minute they think they can get away with it, they will end this system of government and that is their intention.” Obama’s plan to create a “civilian national security force” is, according to Keyes, part of an ultimate agenda to disarm Americans and create a police state. [2486]

            The State of Illinois sells out 1,800 special license plates featuring the image of Obama.  Obama fans shelled out $50 for the ultimate vanity plates and the privilege of sporting his portrait on both ends of their vehicles—perhaps unwittingly reminding other motorists that Obama will tax them whether they are coming or going. [2477, 2478]

            David Kellerman, chief financial officer and 16-year veteran of mortgage giant Freddie Mac, is found dead in his Washington, D.C. home in a purported suicide. Kellerman, age 41, allegedly hanged himself in the basement while his family was upstairs. Freddie Mac, which owns or guarantees about 13 million home loans, is under investigation for possible improper accounting and disclosure procedures. Kellerman recently received a retention bonus of $850,000. [2483]

            Obama flies to Iowa to make an Earth Day speech at a plant that manufactures wind turbines. His trip consumes an estimated 9,000 gallons of fuel… a considerable amount for an unnecessary trip by someone who believes humans are causing global warming and destroying the planet. (With 9,000 gallons of fuel, an automobile that gets 25 miles per gallon can be driven 225,000 miles—about 15 years of driving at 15,000 miles per year.) [2485]

            In another move that has Israel on guard, Obama endorses a large sale of Turkish arms to Lebanon. Lebanon has threatened Israel on more than one occasion and pledged the use of its army to help the terrorist group Hizbullah in any fighting against the Jewish state. (Many members of the Lebanese army are Shiites who are also loyal to Hizbullah.) The move was made without the Obama administration warning Israel. Obama’s actions are likely a notice to Israel that he will not give it the support it has had in the past, in an effort to coerce it into making concessions to the Palestinians. (It will also not help Israel if Hizbullah takes over control of Lebanon in its June 7 elections.) [2496]

            At the April 22 shareholders meeting of General Electric (GE), company heads are bombarded with complaints and questions from people critical of MSNBC’s leftward political slant (GE owns MSNBC and NBC). One shareholder complains about a meeting where GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt and NBC CEO Jeff Zucker allegedly told broadcasters and “on air talent” to be less critical of Obama. (Immelt denies the charge, but some would argue that CNBC’s Jim Cramer has become noticeably less vocal in his criticism of Obama, and Rick Santelli says he was sent by NBC to a “re-education camp.”) Questioners at the meeting who voice criticism of MSNBC or CNBC are applauded, while Immelt is booed when he tries to defend the networks. (Immelt is on Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board; GE has received federal bailout funds; GE has a joint venture that could make billions off an Obama cap-and-trade program and windmill turbines; and GE Healthcare, which specializes in the electronic processing of medical records, would gain billions of dollars in business from Obama’s demand to computerize the medical records of all Americans.) [553, 1544, 1594, 1930, 2517, 2522]

            It is reported that the Obama for America campaign fund paid the law firm of Perkins Coie $688,316.42 in the first three months of 2009 and $378,375.52 in the last quarter of 2008. The law firm’s Robert Bauer represents Obama in the lawsuits challenging his eligibility to serve as president. [2484]
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« Reply #189 on: July 29, 2009, 03:51:53 pm »

            In an April 23 press statement, Congressman Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) says “Obama should release the memo on the (terrorist) attacks prevented,” not just the memos describing interrogation techniques. Hoekstra states “…Congress repeatedly approved and funded this (terrorist detainee interrogation) program on a bipartisan basis in both Republican and Democratic Congresses.” Hoekstra charges that Obama’s about-face decision to investigate the authorization of the interrogation techniques is a capitulation “…to left-wing groups and some in Congress who are demanding show trials over this program.” Because some of those now criticizing the interrogation methods had been informed of them and approved of them beforehand, Hoekstra asks Obama’s national intelligence director, Dennis Blair, to provide “a list of the dates, locations and names of all members of Congress who attended briefings on enhanced interrogation techniques.” In an interview on CNN the previous day Hoekstra warned that because of the release of the memos by Obama and the risk of prosecution CIA officers are “becoming more cautious, risk averse, and are going to lawyer up,” and “This is some reckless behavior on the part of this administration.” While CIA officers are “lawyering up,” America’s enemies are leaning how little they can expect in the form of interrogation if they are captured. [2490, 2491, 2492]

            Obama meets with House Republicans on April 23, chiding them several times for having voted against his stimulus bill. GOP sources say Obama mentioned the lack of support several times and appeared incredibly thin-skinned over the issue. Obama also threatened to push through his massive health care proposal using the budget reconciliation process, a procedural move that would enable him to avoid an expected filibuster in the Senate. Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader, later states “Fast-tracking a major legislative overhaul such as health care reform or a new (cap-and-trade) national energy tax without the benefit of a full and transparent debate does a disservice to the American people, and it would make it absolutely clear they (Democrats) intend to carry out their plans on a purely partisan basis.” [2527]

            The World Bank confirms that since the G20 meetings a few weeks earlier, nine of the 20 participating nations have imposed or are considering additional trade restrictions. Those countries, the United States, Brazil, Argentina, India, Russia, France, Germany, and Great Britain, are making the same mistake made during the Great Depression— restricting trade when the world economy needs more, not less, business activity. Most economists agree that protectionism in the late 1920s and early 1930s worsened the Great Depression. [2507]

            In an interview with CNN, Obama’s Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, says, “Crossing the border (from Mexico into the United States) is not a crime per se. It is civil.” With that inane remark coming after her incorrect statement that the 9/11 terrorists entered the United States through Canada, and her department’s memo branding American conservatives and returning veterans as potential terrorists, millions of citizens are furious with her and members of Congress are calling for her resignation. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) comments, “It is breathtaking that a Cabinet secretary, bestowed by the public with the responsibility to protect our nation’s borders, could be ignorant of the indisputable fact that it is a violation of the criminal code to enter our country illegally.” Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) asks, “Has this homeland security secretary gone absolutely stark raving mad? She needs to come before Congress. She needs to answer a few questions.” Congressman Michael Burgess (R-TX) says, “Janet Napolitano should resign or be fired.” Obama aides call the criticism “political theatre.” [2519]

            At the last minute, the House Energy and Commerce Committee rescinds an invitation to Great Britain’s Lord Christopher Monckton to testify at its April 24 global warming hearing. Monckton, science advisor to former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, had arrived from London but was turned away from the meeting by House Democrats. Al Gore was scheduled to appear before the committee and Republicans had invited Monckton, but Gore and the committee’s Democrats said “absolutely not” to his appearance. Monckton has previously challenged Gore to debate the issue of man-caused global warming, but Gore always insists on appearances where he does not have to face tough questioning or rebuttals from anyone of scientific stature who disagrees with him. Lord Monckton later remarks, “The Democrats have a lot to learn about the right of free speech under the U.S. Constitution. Congressman Henry Waxman’s (D-CA) refusal to expose Al Gore’s sci-fi comedy-horror testimony to proper, independent scrutiny by the House minority reeks of naked fear.” [2518]

            Republican Jim Tedisco concedes to Democrat Scott Murphy in the special election for New York’s 20th Congressional District. The seat was vacated when sitting Democrat Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand was chosen to replace Hillary Clinton as Senator. Many believe Tedisco lost because he did not come out firmly against the stimulus bill during a debate with Murphy. (It also did not help that Tedisco had not even lived in the 20th Congressional District.) [2563, 2564]

            The Obama administration tentatively decides to release to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) 44 photographs that allegedly show abuse of prisoners in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The ACLU has been requesting the photographs and related information since 2003, and the Bush administration had been fighting the release in court. Obama could continue to fight the release as far as the Supreme Court, but likely chose to give in to further embarrass Republicans and the Bush administration. Critics say there is no justification for the document release and it will only further degrade morale in U.S. intelligence agencies and the military. Former Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Analysis and Production, Dr. Mark D. Lowenthal, says, “We ask these (CIA) people to do extremely dangerous things, things they’ve been ordered to do by legal authorities, with the understanding that they will get top cover if something goes wrong. They don’t believe they have that cover anymore” and releasing the photographs “will make it much worse.” (Obama is later pressured to change his mind.) [2524]
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« Reply #190 on: July 29, 2009, 03:52:37 pm »

            Former Senator Fred Thompson states that Obama’s decision to release prisoner photographs serves no purpose “…other than to serve as propaganda tools for our worst enemies,” and his handling of national security issues reveals “na´vetÚ, ineptitude, and unbelievable arrogance and lack of experience.” Obama’s decision to release the CIA interrogation memos was, according to Thompson, meant “…to make him look good internationally and to the left wing here at home,” but “It did a lot of damage. In one stroke of a pen he declassified top-secret documents that people would otherwise go to jail for releasing. It gave al-Qaeda and the Taliban a blueprint as to the outer limits of our interrogation techniques.” Thompson warns that Obama has “…opened up a terrible Pandora’s Box and there’s going to be a price to pay before this thing is ended.” [2542]

            A Web site offering Obama a $2 million cash reward for producing his original long form birth certificate ups the ante to an astounding $25 million. The cash is Obama’s for the taking if he releases his original birth certificate. The owners of the site pledge to “increase the amount of the reward until it is so huge that the American people will begin to question why (Obama) has sealed all his background info to hide something.” [2525]

            Felipe Calderon, President of Mexico, declares a national emergency in response to an outbreak of swine flu (H1N1) in his country. At least 20 deaths have been confirmed, and more are suspected. Archeologist Felipe Solis, who met with Obama on his visit to a museum during his April 16 visit, died the next day; swine flu (caused by the H1N1 virus) is suspected of being the cause. [2526]

            As Obama approaches his first one hundred days in office, the New York Post runs an article on April 26 listing Obama blunders, titled, “100 Days, 100 Mistakes.” [2530]

            Porter J. Goss, former CIA director (2004–2006) and chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (1997–2004), writes in the Washington Post that members of Congress from both political parties were briefed by the CIA on interrogation techniques. He insists the members “understood what the CIA was doing,” “gave the CIA bipartisan support,” and “gave the CIA funding to carry out its activities.” Goss warns the Obama administration that “It is certainly not trust that is fostered when intelligence officers are told one day ‘I have your back’ only to learn a day later that a knife is being held to it. After the events of this week, morale at the CIA has been shaken to its foundation.” The United States was unable to prevent the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks partly because of a lack of communication between the CIA and the FBI (largely the fault of Clinton’s Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick, who was responsible for the intelligence wall between the two agencies), as well as reduced funding for counter-terrorism during the Clinton years. Obama is also reducing counter-terrorism funding at the same time he is making career intelligence officers shake in their boots over the possibility of facing criminal charges for following orders they believed were in the interests of national security. It will not be surprising if some officers choose retirement over possible future indictments. Nor will in be surprising if it becomes more difficult for the intelligence agencies to attract capable new talent when the threat of prosecution is constantly held over their heads. Taken collectively, Obama’s actions may cause irreparable harm to the security and safety of the United States. (Moreover, Obama may learn that the CIA can work against him as well as with him.) [2536, 2581, 2642, 2654]

            More than a few veterans of the Armed Forces of the United States send letters to their Senators, Congressmen, and Obama harshly criticizing the decision to release the classified terrorist interrogation memos. Many of them also state that the alleged torture of the terrorists was little different from what they had been subjected to as part of their survival training. One Navy pilot says in a letter to Obama, “I was… sleep deprived, got slapped, was knocked down, made to sit in my underwear or naked in 20 degree weather in a confined box, had a fire hose turned on me, and was threatened with a loaded gun. Most importantly, my further ‘torture’ included being chained to a bench, elevated by my feet and ‘water-boarded.’” The pilot states he endured the procedures during the administration of Jimmy Carter, and warns that if anyone in the Bush administration is convicted of torturing al-Qaeda terrorists he will encourage a class action lawsuit by every Navy pilot who has ever been waterboarded. Defendants would include “…every living president since Jimmy Carter,” and “all key players in their State, Defense, and Justice Departments.” [2594]

            The paperback edition of a book by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, The Good Fight, is published with an epilogue called “The Obama Era.” In that new section Reid relates that he complimented Obama on an anti-war speech, telling him, “That speech was phenomenal…” Reid states that Obama responded, “I have a gift, Harry.” [2541]
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« Reply #191 on: July 29, 2009, 03:53:11 pm »

            Former ambassador to the Vatican and Harvard Law School professor Mary Ann Glendon turns down the University of Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal because it would be awarded to her during the May 17 graduation ceremony at which the pro-abortion Obama will give the commencement address. The Laetare Medal is awarded to a candidate “…whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the church and enriched the heritage of humanity.” [2543, 2616]

            The Treasury Department announces on April 27 that it will borrow a record $361 billion for the three-month period of April through June. An estimated $515 billion will be needed for the subsequent quarter. (The federal fiscal year runs from October 1 through September 30 of the following year.) The national debt is $11.1 trillion, and is expected to increase by at least $9.3 trillion or more under Obama’s proposed budgets. [2544]

            The swine flu outbreak in Mexico that has claimed several lives prompts calls for the southern border of the United States to be completely closed. William Gheen of the Americans for Legal Immigration Political Action Committee (ALIPAC) warns “The Obama administration’s failure to secure our borders against a possible pandemic is putting American lives at risk at a time when days and hours matter. The weak and inadequate ‘passive surveillance’ described during Sunday’s press conference is offensive to the rational mind.” (Administration officials appeared on television April 26 to remind Americans to wash their hands often and cover their mouths when they cough.) As of April 27, there were 44 reported cases of swine flu reported in the United States and 11 in Canada. Mexico has reported 149 deaths, some of which may turn out not to be the result of swine flu. (The World Health Organization reports only seven deaths worldwide, all in Mexico, as of April 29.) Swine flu is unlikely to be a significant problem in the United States, where sanitary standards and high and health care is exceptional, but large areas of Mexico lack clean water, basic sanitation, and adequate medical care. (In a typical year, some 35,000 Americans die from common flu viruses.) [2545, 2546, 2573]

            The administration authorizes a low-altitude (1,000 feet) flight mission involving a Boeing 747 (a back-up Air Force One) and two F-16 fighters near the Statue of Liberty and New York City. Although the New York City Police Department is aware of the flights, the Federal Aviation Administration ordered it not to discuss the plans. Not surprisingly, many frightened New Yorkers run from buildings when they see the low-flying planes over the Hudson River, believing it might be a terrorist attack. A Merrill Lynch worker states, “Everybody panicked. Everybody was screaming and we all ran downstairs. I’m devastated… Everybody was running, we didn’t know why we were running. We just knew it was a plane, there we go, 9/11 again.” The flight was apparently for taking “souvenir publicity” photos of Air Force One flying past the city and the Statue of Liberty. The White House later apologizes in a written statement by Military Office Director Louis Caldera: “It’s clear that the mission created confusion and disruption. I apologize and take responsibility for any distress that flight caused.” Obama reportedly was not told about the plan, but retired Lieutenant Colonel Buzz Peterson, who for two years carried the briefcase of “secret codes” for Bill Clinton, argues that the “highest levels” of the administration (perhaps Rahm Emanuel, if not Obama himself) would have known about and approved the action. New York Senator Charles Schumer remarks, “To say that it should not be made public knowing that it might scare people it’s just confounding. It’s what gives Washington and government a bad name. It’s sheer stupidity.” The Air Force estimated the cost of the flights to be $328,835. It is not clear who was taking the “souvenir photos,” because a standard F-16 holds only the pilot—who certainly cannot take his hands from the controls in order to take photographs of a 747 flying past the New York skyline. (The White House later states the photos will not be released. Columnist Michelle Malkin files a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain the photographs and related documents.) [2547, 2548, 2557, 2565, 2566, 2596, 2636, 2637]

            Odds increase that Obama will have Senate Democrats use the budget reconciliation process to push through a national health plan and cap-and-trade global warming legislation in order to avoid a Republican filibuster. The reconciliation procedure was designed to speed up the process of making minor adjustments to legislation, not as a way of avoiding debate on significant changes or passing new legislation. But because Obama has only 58 votes in the Senate and needs 60 to stop a filibuster, he may have Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid abuse the rules to get his national health program. The risk for Obama is that he may start an all-out war with Republican legislators, and may be handing them significant ammunition for the 2010 and 2012 elections if the public ends up dissatisfied with the legislation he sneaks in through a back-door process. Republicans can disown any mess created by Obama and his fellow Democrats. [2549]

            It is reported that Obama’s regulatory czar nominee, Cass Sunstein, has advocated a “fairness doctrine” for the Internet, going so far as to suggest that angry e-mails should be prevented from being sent for a 24-hour cooling off period. (Sunstein once proposed “…a Civility Check that can accurately tell whether the e-mail you’re about to send is angry and caution you, ‘warning: this appears to be an uncivil e-mail. Do you really and truly want to send it?’”) Sunstein has also proposed that the Internet automatically post links to opposing opinions. (An article that disputes man-caused global warming could, for example, be required to display links to sites that promote the “Gore doctrine.”) Obama wants Sunstein to head the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. [2550]
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« Reply #192 on: July 29, 2009, 03:53:48 pm »

            Liberal Republican Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania announces on April 28 that he has switched parties and is now a Democrat. Specter says he “will not be an automatic 60th vote,” routinely voting with the Democrats simply because he changed parties. Specter often voted with the Democrats anyway (he voted for the $787 billion stimulus bill) so the switch may ultimately not make much difference, even though some Republicans seem stunned by the announcement. Specter made the decision after polls showed him likely to lose the 2010 Republican primary by a significant margin. Tossing aside any conservative principles he may have had, the 79-year-old Specter chose to switch parties rather than lose an election. (There is no guarantee he will win the 2010 Democrat primary election or the November 2010 general election, and many who have donated to Specter’s campaign have begun asking for refunds.) Specter goes so far as to bluntly state, “I’m not prepared to have my 29-year record in the United States Senate decided by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate, not prepared to have that record decided by that (Republican primary election) jury.” (Most Americans would be hard-pressed to name any significant legislation for which Specter was responsible during his decades on the public payroll.)  Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele says that Specter “…didn’t leave the G.O.P. based on principles of any kind. He left to further his personal political interests because he knew that he was going to lose a Republican primary due to his left-wing voting record. Republicans look forward to beating Senator Specter in 2010, assuming the Democrats don’t do it first.” (Those who have followed Specter’s career know he is willing to place personal advancement ahead of personal integrity. As a staffer on the 1964 Warren Commission that investigated the assassination of President Kennedy, Specter came up with the ludicrous “single bullet theory”—ridiculed by skeptics as the “magic bullet theory”—that made it possible for the Commission to fool most Americans into believing that a lone gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald, had killed the president and that there was no conspiracy.) After Senator Jim Jeffords switched parties in 2001, Specter proposed “a rule change which would preclude a future recurrence of a Senator’s change in parties, in mid-session, organizing with the opposition, to cause the upheaval which is now resulting.” Specter himself switched from the Democrat Party to the Republican Party in 1966, so he is no stranger to political expediency. [2553, 2554, 2567, 2602, 2603]

            Caterpillar CEO Jim Owens says the Obama stimulus package is too little, too late. Owens remarks that China has done a better job of improving its economy with stimulus funds even though it spent far less than the United States. “When they (China) say shovel ready, they mean nine weeks, not nine months or a year, and we are seeing a significant pickup (there).” [2555]

            The Sidwell Friends School, which Obama’s children attend, plans its annual School Dollars for Scholars benefit auction. Obama donates a copy of a Rolling Stones magazine he autographed and a Vogue magazine signed by his wife. (A round of golf with Bill Clinton was auctioned off in 1996 for almost $100,000, considerably more than an autographed magazine will fetch.) One unnamed Sidwell source states, “There were expectations that they might donate something more personal, like the Clintons did. Lots of people were disappointed.” [2556]

            On April 28, the Senate approves Obama’s appointment of Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services by a vote of 65 to 31. [2562]

            As Obama approaches his 100th day in office, his approval ratings are, depending on the poll, in the 50s and 60s. Pew Research shows Obama’s job approval rating at 63 per cent, which equals that of Jimmy Carter in April of 1977. Obama’s ratings reflect more partisanship and polarization than most presidents, however, with more reliance on Democrats for his positive approval ratings. According to the Washington Times, Gallup polls of presidential approval ratings near the end of the first one hundred days in office showed Ronald Reagan at 67 per cent in 1981, Carter at 63 per cent in 1977, George W. Bush at 62 per cent in 2001, Richard Nixon at 61 per cent in 1969, George H.W. Bush at 58 per cent in 1989, Obama at 56 per cent in 2009, and Bill Clinton at 55 per cent in 1993. Obama’s major polling strengths are with blacks, women, youth, and the poor. [2551, 2558, 2574]

            Lawyers for Obama and Congress ask the court for more time to prepare their defense for the case Charles F. Kerchner, Jr., et al. v. Barack Hussein Obama II, et al. The lawsuit is yet another which challenges Obama’s status as a natural born citizen and questions his eligibility to serve as president. The lawsuit can immediately be resolved with the release of Obama’s long form birth certificate; instead, Obama chooses to continue to fight the release of documents. [2568,2569]

 
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« Reply #193 on: July 29, 2009, 03:54:20 pm »

“My Way or the Highway”

 

Concerns about the government taking over General Motors increase as details of the latest “deal” are learned. According to the Wall Street Journal, the proposal would give the United Auto Workers Union (UAW) approximately 39 per cent of the company’s stock, and the federal government would own roughly 50 per cent. Obama expects existing bondholders to accept a mere 10 per cent of company stock; he is essentially demanding that they lose most of the value of their holdings. If stockholders refuse to accept the proposal, a restructuring of the plan or perhaps a bankruptcy will ensue. Obama is essentially turning the company over to the union and the government (that is, socialism), giving the shaft to stockholders who have supported the business for decades with their investments. At Chrysler, the proposal is to give 55 per cent ownership to the UAW, 35 per cent to the Italian automaker Fiat, with the federal government and creditors owning the remainder. Bankruptcy will be an alternative if shareholders refuse to allow Obama to confiscate their assets to hand over to the union, which is arguably largely responsible for the automaker’s inability to post a profit. (Obama’s power-grabbing actions may frighten Americans away from investing in the stock market at all if they begin to wonder, “If Obama can confiscate the wealth of GM and Chrysler stockholders, will he do it again with the companies in which I own stock? Why buy stock at all? Why invest in any American company if Obama can steal it from me later?” At a time when American industry needs more investors, Obama is frightening them away.) [2571, 2572]

            As an indication of the lengths to which Obama will go to pursue his agenda, the White House threatens Chrysler bondholders who refuse to “go along with the program.” Bankruptcy attorney Tom Lauria represents some lenders objecting to the administration’s Chrysler deal. Chrysler bondholders, who have a first-priority payback provision in their contracts, were willing to accept 50 cents on the dollar in the restructuring plan. Obama’s automaker team insisted on a reduction to 21 cents on the dollar. (Some banks accepted 29 cents on the dollar.) According to Lauria, at least one bondholder (purportedly Perella Weinberg) was “directly threatened by the White House” (possibly by Obama’s auto industry task force head Steven Rattner) and told to withdraw its opposition or the “full force of the White House press corps would destroy its reputation if it continued to fight.” The bondholders have put up billions over the years to keep Chrysler afloat and were willing to take 50 cents on the dollar for their investments, but balked at Obama’s demands for more. (Obama wants more from Chrysler’s creditors in order to hand over a larger share of its assets to an undeserving UAW.) Among those harmed by Obama’s deal will be the holders of Chrysler bonds—retirees, teachers, credit unions, college endowments, pension plans, 401(k) accounts, and IRAs, all of which are likely to lose more than they would in a traditional bankruptcy proceeding solely because Obama wants to give their money to the union. It remains to be seen whether the mainstream media will report the administration’s thug-like tactics in ignoring legal contractual rights. [2614, 2615, 2617, 2651]

            Some managers of funds holding Chrysler debt who were threatened by the administration to take pennies on the dollar for their assets are reluctant to speak out publicly because of fear of ruthless federal retaliation. One unconfirmed report accuses Obama’s car czar Rattner of threatening one fund manager with language closely resembling the following: “Who the **** do you think you’re dealing with? We’ll have the IRS audit your fund. Every one of your employees. Then we’ll have the Securities and Exchange Commission rip through your books looking for anything and everything… to destroy you with.” [2650, 2651, 2652]

            Due to “overwhelming public outrage” a planned New York Union Square unveiling of a painting portraying Obama as a crowned messiah is cancelled. The crucifixion-like painting features Obama with outstretched arms, wearing a crown of thorns. The painting was to have been revealed on April 29, Obama’s 100th day in office. [2537]

            Rasmussen’s daily presidential tracking poll at Obama’s 100th day in office shows that 35 per cent of Americans strongly approve of his performance while 31 per cent strongly disapprove, giving him a +4 Presidential Approval Index rating (the difference between the two numbers). [2575]

 
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« Reply #194 on: July 29, 2009, 03:55:17 pm »

“Nothing is My Fault”

 

At a town hall meeting in Arnold, Missouri on April 29, an overly defensive Obama ridicules the tax protestors who demonstrated on April 15. Obama says, “Those of you who are watching certain news channels (Fox News) on which I’m not very popular, and you see folks waving tea bags around, let me just remind them that I am happy to have a serious conversation about how we are going to cut our health care costs down over the long term, how we are going to stabilize Social Security.” (To shift blame from his deficit spending, Obama slyly moves the issue to health care costs and Social Security—neither of which were the focus of the tax protests.) He then incorrectly argues, “But let’s not play games and pretend that the reason (for the deficit) is because of the Recovery Act.” (Federal borrowing is in fact financing Obama’s $787 billion stimulus legislation.) In answer to a deficit question Obama gives his usual “It’s not my fault” excuse, saying, “Number one, we inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit… That wasn’t me.” Obama’s childish defense is unacceptable; he was a member of the Democrat-controlled Senate, which, along with the Democrat-controlled House, was fully responsible for the last two federal budgets. Further, Obama voted for the emergency bailout legislation in late 2008 that helped create the current deficit. Obama also continues to claim that his massive deficit spending is simply an “investment” that will pay off in the end, and brags that he will cut the deficit in half by the completion of his first term. (Even if he does that, it will not be much of an accomplishment because he would have first tripled or quadrupled it before cutting it in half. That’s the equivalent of someone having a $100 telephone bill he can’t afford to pay, increasing it to $400, and then bragging that he plans to “cut it in half” to $200.) Obama argues that his health care plan will cover more Americans but will help pay for itself through cost-cutting measures. His claim is ludicrous, and he will be able to get substantial savings only by reducing levels of health care for millions through rationing of services and by forced cuts in service fees that will lead to hospital and doctor shortages. Obama says he can “save Social Security” simply by raising the payroll tax cap; that alone will be insufficient to make the system solvent (and would mean increasing taxes on many people who earn less than $250,000 per year). Obama claims that his stimulus bill “has already created or saved over 150,000 jobs,” but unemployment rates have continued to rise. (More than 1.3 million jobs were lost in February and March. Approximately 539,000 were lost in April, and the month ended with a national unemployment rate of about 8.9 per cent, the worst in 26 years. The Obama administration had warned that the unemployment rate would reach 8.8 per cent if his stimulus bill did not pass; it has exceeded that level even though his legislation did pass) Finally, of course, Obama gives himself credit for bi-partisanship—when he and his party have been anything but cooperative with Republicans. [2579, 2586, 2587, 2632, 2662]

            While Obama holds his town hall meeting hundreds of demonstrators protest outside. The major television networks neglect to report those protests.

            It is reported that the Obama administration is asking Congress to change laws in order to reduce mandatory sentences for the sale of crack ****. Obama called for such changes during the campaign, charging that blacks are unfairly punished by strict sentencing guidelines. (An estimated 82 per cent of crack **** convicts are black; according to some critics that reflects unfair prosecutions based on race. But the higher black conviction rate may simply mean that more blacks than whites are dealing crack ****, which is less expensive but more dangerous than the powdered version.) [2595, 2607]

            The Commerce Department reports that the U.S. economy shrank at an annual rate of 6.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2009. [2600]

            On April 29, Obama holds a press conference during which he is still in campaign mode, frequently criticizing former President Bush and Republicans in Congress. (Some might argue he is needlessly defensive, considering he won the election and Democrats hold both the House and the Senate. With the Republicans being largely irrelevant, Obama should be able to ignore them and continue pursuing his agenda. His continuing criticism of the opposition party suggests that he wants at least some Republican votes for his leftist legislation to enable him to shift some of the blame to them later if the economy does not improve. Just as likely, it suggests that Obama is tremendously insecure and cannot tolerate criticism of any sort.)

            During the press conference Obama specifically states that “waterboarding is torture,” and says the CIA’s interrogation techniques did not save American lives—despite the fact that they led Khalid Sheik Mohammed to provide information about a planned massive attack on Los Angeles that was subsequently prevented. Although Obama asks a question no one can possibly answer, “Could we have gotten that same information without resorting to those techniques?” the residents of Los Angeles are likely very happy they did not have to put Obama’s hypothetical question to the test. Blaming Bush and the Republicans for the bad economy, Obama says, “even as we clear away the wreckage of this recession, I’ve also said that we can’t go back to an economy that’s built on a pile of sand.” (Obama is in fact continuing and worsening the same reckless policies of deficit spending and massive expansion of government.) When asked about the government takeover of banks and auto companies, Obama remarks, “I don’t want to run auto companies. I don’t want to run banks. I’ve got two wars I’ve got to run already”—which prompts unexplainable laughter from the reporters. Obama makes the claim that his goal is “to get the U.S. government out of the auto business as quickly as possible,” which certainly conflicts with his actions of the last one hundred days, which could have been avoided altogether. His excuse is that the problems of the auto companies are the fault of President Bush (“I would love a nice, lean portfolio to deal with, but that’s not the hand that’s been dealt us”), but their troubles have been brewing for decades. Had the government allowed GM and Chrysler to file bankruptcy in the first place, billions in taxpayer bailout funds would not have been wasted. In response to a question on immigration, Obama gives the expected answer that he would like to see “comprehensive” reform that gives illegal immigrants a “pathway to citizenship.” [2597, 2599]
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