President Barack Obama

A Message to Joe Biden

I received an email from the Barack Obama campaign this morning - specifically addressed as if it was from Vice President Joe Biden - asking if I'd be willing to send in $5 for a chance at a drawing to enable 5 people to have dinner with the President.

I had to decline.

As folks may realize from the two diaries currently on the Rec list by shannika and stonedoubt, jobs are a big issue right now; the economy as a whole, of course, is a huge issue. And if you read a little into stonedoubt's diary, you'll find a comment from me that explains my response to Joe indirectly: I'm closing my business.

Below the fold is the short, simple text of what I sent back. I realize it will never be seen by Vice President Biden, or the President. I know it will likely never be read by anyone in Congress or in a position to pass along my simple response.

Nonetheless, I felt better sending it. No histrionics, no propaganda - just a simple statement and plea.

Make the jump if you'd like to read it, and perhaps add your own comment.

Namaste.

 

Mission Accomplished: Osama Bin Laden Dead in Pakistan

Tonight, the White House made the surprise announcement that Osama Bin Laden is dead as a result of small precision strike against his compound in Pakistan, following a brief fire-fight.

Eight years to the day, on the anniversary of former President George W. Bush's infamous "Mission Accomplished" carrier speech, the mission has - finally - been accomplished.

Osama Bin Laden has been killed, and his body is in US custody. For those who fear that an outbreak of outraged violence may result from accusations of mishandling of the body, it appears that assurances of proper handling of the body have already been made. Via Meteor Blades of Daily Kos:

In a background briefing from several senior officials, which is now in the question-and-answer phase, it was stated:

The action was a surgical raid by small team and sought to minimize civilian damage.

In addition to Osama bin Laden, three adult men were killed, including one believed to be bin Laden's son. One woman being used as a shield in the compound was also killed. Two women were injured.

The team was in the compound for 40 minutes.

Lost a helicopter due to mechnical failure. It was destroyed.

[Update]: Osama bin Laden's body will be handled in accordance with Islamic tradition.

[...Read the rest on Daily Kos...]

Get the full text of the President's remarks over the fold.

 

U.S. to Pass the Baton in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?

Originally posted David Harris-Gershon on April 5, 2011. Reprinted here with permission. - GH

Tony Karon, in a recent piece from The National entitled, "Obama's retreat leaves Israel at the mercy of multilateralism," brilliantly argues what most have come to realize: the United States can no longer serve as an effective broker between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Given the current multilateral approach being championed by the U.S. in Libya, is a similar multilateral approach with regard to Israeli-Palestinian talks – with the Obama administration standing on the sidelines and letting others take the lead – on its way?

According to Karon, many U.S. allies, namely France, Britain and Germany, certainly hope so, and are currently holding out their hands, asking for the baton.

It is a baton the U.S. may be willing to pass.

It is a baton Israel hopes the Obama administration does not relinquish.

******

 

Setting the record straight on Presidential Accomplishments

Very interesting video clip from Rachel Maddow's show:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Maddow touches upon the accomplishments to date of President Barack Obama's first term, referencing an article by Taegan Goddard on the same topic. When she ran down the list of accomplishments, I found myself thinking "That's a lot, in a little time." Certainly not "perfect" but a far cry from what and where the previous Administration and it's congressional majority of Republicans had done with, for and to the nation.

Just think of how much more could have been accomplished, too, if the Republicans in Congress would stop working and praying for failure in order to try and re-seize any kind of political majority and power --you know, if the GOP actually did their jobs, as duly appointed representatives of, by and for the people? Just think of how much better things could be in all sectors, if they'd only work with America, instead of hoping for failure and undermining the nation...

Hat-tip Moby of DelphiForums.

A Frank Response In Three, Two, One...

In a discussion over on DelphiForums, a poster by the name of Frank had made some observations regarding the bleak situation that Barack Obama inherited when he stepped into the Oval Office. One particular sentence jumped out at me -- something about two wars.

No! -- the cry of my subconscious was instant, unexpected and vehement. Not two! Four!

I almost felt like I was in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Over the jump, I'll repeat my reasoning.

Republicans In Retreat

Below is the video from the White House website on President Barack Obama's question and answer session with House Republicans. President Obama accepted an invitation from the GOP to speak and participate at their annual retreat. GOP pundits and advisors later said that having cameras broadcast the session was a bad idea, admitting that their hope to embarass the President and further their agenda of opposition took a major body blow by the event.

Let's watch (85 minutes):

And the GOP reaction, via Think Progress?


Hat-tip LordRag of DelphiForums for pointing out the link to this.

Fun, eh?

Obama's Leadership: DADT, EFCA, Etc.

Self-bumped and promoted. Originally posted 2009-12-10 15:40:12 -0500. Also available in orange. -- GH

Because of a thread that hit the flame folder here where the original poster was demonstrably uninterested in reality, I'm posting this -- feel free to add, amend, correct, elucidate, qualify or quantify.

  • DADT: Obama hasn't demonstrated any overt leadership on this, and appears to be dragging his heels. But he also has reaffirmed that he will get it repealed/replaced, and other promising signs of culture-shifts that recognize the importance of full equality and non-discrimination are emerging.

  • EFCA: (Employee Free Choice Act) Obama was an original co-sponsor of this while he was still in the Senate, and pledged to sign it into law upon becoming President. The qualifier, of course, was that Congress had to pass the legislation so it would appear on his desk for him to sign -- as it is with any law. The Obama WH had reiterated support for the legislation, but it has so far been stalled by the GOP and a group of wayward Democrats.

  • Economy, Wall Street and the Banks: This is a mess that Obama inherited from his predecessor -- a stinking, seething pile of sh!t festering throughout the economic and social infrastructure of the nation, with vast ties to the world economy. Made ever-more complicated by the expansive reduction in regulatory controls that the GOP's unfettered majorities of the preceding 12 years made possible, this is one of the biggest messes to clean up. Obama has made several unpopular decisions, some of which appear to be strategically necessary and others which appear unfathomable betrayals...yet, behind the scenes, other steps have been taken that have garnered less attention and move us further toward unraveling the twisted knots of red tape. (See House Committee votes to let regulators break up Too Big to Fail Banks, for example.)

  • Healthcare: Under Obama's initiative, a healthcare reform bill was taken up -- and subsequently ding'd repeatedly as Dems caved and capitulated to the GOP (and other screwheads) -- and yet, a better-we-have-had-to-date bill looks to be on the verge of passing. Behind the scenes, other actions are helping to lay and set a foundation for improvements that will also make further future reforms easier while reducing overhead cost and bureaucracy. One of the little-recognized big changes that looks like it may stay in the current form of the bill is the push to keep 90% of premium money focused on health care, not administrative costs. Wile this may result in hiked premiums (there's little regulatory strength to help ensure affordable premiums are raised beyond a fair limit), it does stand to significantly impact the insurer's bottom lines and fat margins.

    See CTMan's earlier front-page post for some in-depth perspective and more information.

So, yeah -- Obama's been making progress, not always in a popular way, but against insane opposition, increasing security threats and a huge mess.1, 2, 3 If you're having issues with his performance given the size and heft of the sh!t sandwich he was handed, and upon which the GOP, the teabaggers and recalcitrant politico Dems keep dolluping more crap, then grab a mop.

Obama, Vietnam, and Afghanistan

I've spent a good part of the last week re-reading Neil Sheehan's book, A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam. Partly, this is just happenstance; I found a nicely annotated hardback copy in a local used book store. But it's also because I wanted to look again at the 1962-64 period of the Vietnam War to see how much it resembles our current situation in Afghanistan. I don't have good news to report.

Starting in earnest in 1962, the U.S. began arming the Viet Cong inadvertently through the strategic hamlet and strategic outpost programs. The communist side in the South was not relying on Chinese or Soviet supplies, except for heavy weapons that could not easily be captured. They got all the guns and ammo they needed simply by taking them from the people the U.S. handed them out to. The strategic hamlet program turned the peasants against the Saigon regime for good. Indiscriminate bombing of villages turned the rural populace into mortal foes of the United States. The cities were lost because the Catholic regime was brutal, corrupt, and attempted to crush the power of the Buddhist leadership.

The parallels to Afghanistan are not perfect, but the situations have enough commonality to give serious pause. The most worrisome feature is the corruption and illegitimacy of the Karzai Regime. If this was 1963, our ambassador would be plotting a coup to make sure Karzai and his opium-selling brother were assassinated and replaced by a (hopefully) more competent and popular successor. But, with hindsight, we know that that gambit didn't save South Vietnam and it probably wouldn't save Afghanistan either.

The Right's Coming Blowout: Watch Faux Patriotic Colors Run

From the inset called "Other Voices" in the CBC.ca article Obama's Nobel win draws mixed reaction, a small subset of the comments:

__________

"A bold statement of international support for his vision and commitment."
    — Jimmy Carter, 2002 Peace Prize laureate

"We trust that this award will strengthen his commitment, as the leader of the most powerful nation in the world, to continue promoting peace and the eradication of poverty."
    — Nelson Mandela, 1993 Peace Prize laureate

"In these hard times people who are capable of taking responsibility, who have a vision, commitment and political will, should be supported."
    — Mikhail Gorbachev, 1990 Peace Prize laureate

"It is an award that speaks to the promise of President Obama's message of hope."
    — Archbishop Desmond Tutu, 1984 Peace Prize laureate

[...snip...]

"The Nobel prize for peace? Obama should have won the 'Nobel Prize for escalating violence and killing civilians.' "
    — Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid

[...snip...]

"I do hope that Obama will make efforts to work for peace and he will try to scrap the policies of Bush who put the world peace in danger."
    — Pakistan Islamic leader Hanif Jalandhri

__________

Mmm...notice how you could take this statement:


__________

"The Nobel prize for peace? Obama should have won the 'Nobel Prize for escalating violence and killing civilians.' "
    — Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid

__________

And, with the following substitution, make it into what you're likely to hear from Reich-wing pundits today, like so:


__________

"The Nobel prize for peace? Obama should have won the 'Nobel Prize for escalating violence and killing civilians.' "
    — Radio personality Rush Limbaugh

__________

Try substituting "Congressman John Boehner" or "FOX News correspondent Sean Hannity" too.

It's sad, the way the lipstick washes off and the "true colors" of these self-inflated domestic terrorists runs off their backs...but at least once they've stepped up to show themselves for what they are, we'll be able call them what they are and they'll be unable to hide from their own flatulent bloviance.

Spread This Around: National Health Care Forum with President Obama

Promoted. Originally posted in DelphiForums. -- GH

Put this out there... these explanations are easy to understand, and the word has to get out to those who are confused and confounded by the misinformation that the GOP and the Lobbyists are spreading like so much dung...

This evening compared to Franklin Roosevelt

June 27, 1936: “What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power.” March 21, 2009: “... the rest of us can't afford to demonize every investor or entrepreneur who seeks to make a profit.” The Washington Post has available the full text of President Obama’s press conference this evening. Near the end of his remarks, the President said:

Bankers and executives on Wall Street need to realize that enriching themselves on the taxpayers' dime is inexcusable, that the days of outsized rewards and reckless speculation that puts us all at risk have to be over.

Why “have to be over”? Why not “are over”?

At the same time, the rest of us can't afford to demonize every investor or entrepreneur who seeks to make a profit. That drive is what has always fueled our prosperity, and it is what will ultimately get these banks lending and our economy moving once more.

From Franklin Roosevelt’s first fireside chat, “On the Bank Crisis,” Sunday, March 12, 1933

As a result we start tomorrow, Monday, with the opening of banks in the twelve Federal Reserve bank cities -- those banks which on first examination by the Treasury have already been found to be all right. This will be followed on Tuesday by the resumption of all their functions by banks already found to be sound in cities where there are recognized clearing houses. That means about 250 cities of the United States.

Change of Culture at VA Called For

From: Veterans for Common Sense

 

During Confirmation Hearing for New Veterans Secretary

 

(Washington, D.C.) - Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) questioned Retired General Eric Shinseki, President-elect Barack Obama's nominee to be the next Secretary of Veterans Affairs, about challenges facing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Senator Murray, a senior member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee and an outspoken leader in fighting for veterans' benefits and care, discussed changing the overall culture at the VA, improving care for women veterans, and working to make the VA a more proactive agency. Secretary-Designate Shinseki"s nomination is expected to be voted on by the full Senate as part of a package of Obama administration nominees on January 20th.