Archive for March 25th, 2011

25
Mar
11

democracy. now.

WH: In video-taped remarks, President Obama sent an important and very clear message today to President Alassane Ouattara, Laurent Gbagbo, and the people of Cote d’Ivoire:  the United States recognizes President Ouattara as the rightful leader of Cote d’Ivoire and calls on Laurent Gbagbo to step aside in the best interests of the country and its people…

The United States is not alone in standing by the people of Cote d’Ivoire.  The international community is united in recognizing President Ouattara as its duly elected leader…

***

AFP: Hundreds of Liberian “mercenaries” have gone on a rampage of rape, murder and looting in the western Ivory Coast region of Guiglo, a virtual lawless zone, the UN refugee agency says.

Spokesman Jacques Franquin told AFP on Friday the mercenaries are an opportunistic “third force” taking advantage of post-election clashes between troops loyal to strongman Laurent Gbagbo and those supporting internationally recognised president Alassane Ouattara.

“They loot, they rape, they kill,” said Franquin, of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Abidjan.

25
Mar
11

muppet show update

Thank you lookingglassjourney 🙂

Gallup: Mike Huckabee tops a large list of potential GOP presidential candidates in current support for the party’s 2012 nomination, with 19% of Republicans saying they are most likely to back him. This gives Huckabee a slight edge over Mitt Romney (15%). Sarah Palin is now at 12% after receiving 16% support in three prior Gallup polls. Newt Gingrich is the only other potential candidate who registers double-digit support. Sixteen percent of Republicans currently have no preference.

25
Mar
11

just sayin’

Remember this?

And this:

(The first guy in the video is Peter Morici who wrote an article recently entitled ‘In Wisconsin, the governor is right, Obama is wrong’ – so you get the drift. The second guy, Carl Horowitz, is from the National Legal and Policy Center which, like lots of conservative groups, is funded by billionaire right-winger Richard Mellon Scaife – see here)

Just sayin’:

Detroit News: The United Auto Workers union says that by fall, General Motors Co. will recall the last 2,000 of its laid-off workers, clearing the way for new hiring at its U.S. plants.

Most of the recalls will be in southeastern Michigan, whose economy was devastated in the downturn.

GM declined to confirm the timeline, but Joe Ashton, UAW vice president in charge of GM, said Wednesday “those people will all be back at work in September. We will have full employment in September for the first time in a long time.”

The recalls are further evidence of the recovery of GM, and the auto industry as a whole….

…GM spokeswoman Kimberly Carpenter: “We have announced several actions that will help people get back to work,” she said. Among them: adding a third shift of 750 to GM’s truck plant in Flint, a second shift of 600 in Lansing to build a small Cadillac and 1,550 workers being recalled to build two small cars at the Lake Orion assembly plant.

😉

Oh, almost forgot this:

Mlive.com: Flint Democratic lawmakers and UAW officials gathered this afternoon to celebrate a nearly $5,000 profit sharing check being given to General Motors’ employees this week.

The check, they say, is a sign of the progress GM has made since it filed for bankruptcy in June 2009.

President Barack Obama and the then-Democratic Congress made the right decision to bail out the automaker, said Norwood Jewell, Region 1-C director of the UAW.

“What would have happened to Genesee County? What would have happened to Flint,” he said of the government’s loans to the automaker.

***

Yup, a disaster.

25
Mar
11

briefing

File photo

On March 25, President Obama briefed a bipartisan, bicameral group of members of Congress on the situation in Libya. The President and his team provided an update on accomplishments to date, including the full transfer of enforcement of the no-fly zone to NATO, and yesterday’s unanimous agreement among NATO allies to direct planning for NATO to assume command and control of the civilian protection component in accordance with UNSCR 1973.

Following the briefing, the President answered multiple questions from the members of Congress. The discussion lasted approximately one hour and took place in the White House Situation Room. Joining from the Administration: Chief of Staff Bill Daley, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (via phone), CJCS Mike Mullen and GEN Carter Ham (via video conference).

Bipartisan bicameral group of members of Congress that participated (in person or by phone): Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican Whip Jon Kyl, Democratic Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Rep. Adam Smith, Senator Carl Levin, Senator John McCain, Senator John Kerry, Senator Richard Lugar, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Rep. Howard Berman, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Saxby Chambliss, Rep. Mike Rogers, Senator Daniel Inouye, Senator Thad Cochran, Rep. Hal Rogers, Rep. Norm Dicks.

****

On Monday, March 28 at 7:30PM ET, the President will deliver an address at the National Defense University in Washington, DC to update the American people on the situation in Libya, including the actions we’ve taken with allies and partners to protect the Libyan people from the brutality of Moammar Qaddafi, the transition to NATO command and control, and our policy going forward.

President Barack Obama talks with Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., left, and Rep. C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger, D-Md., in the Situation Room of the White House, March 25, 2011. The President briefed a bipartisan, bicameral group of Members of Congress, many of whom joined via conference call, on the situation in Libya. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

25
Mar
11

‘gop’s adult deficit disorder’

Boston Globe: The Republican Party has a serious problem. Or rather, a seriousness problem … Although the left sometimes chafes under President Obama’s measured and mild manner, grousing that he lacks the combativeness the political era requires, Obama understands something they don’t: Voters want a calm, reasonable adult, not a partisan warrior, in the Oval Office.

Obama takes a page from both Ronald Reagan, who perfected the role of national leader high-minded enough to rise above his detractors, and Bill Clinton, who projected the air of a reasonable man ruefully trying to reason with a horde of hyper-partisans who preferred combat to compromise. The president knows that he enhances his image by comporting himself that way. But mostly, that’s just Obama leaning into who he is.

And as for the men and women who would replace him? ….Mike Huckabee spent some time mucking about in that favorite quagmire of conservative kooks: the Obama-really-isn’t-one-of-us swamp. First, Huckabee transplanted Obama’s four out-of-country boyhood years from Indonesia to Kenya, maintaining that that (supposed) span of time in a former British colony explained the president’s (supposedly) anti-British outlook. Huckabee later portrayed it as an innocent mistake and said that in his new book he had “clearly said’’ that Obama “grew up’’ in Indonesia.

Two problems. The book actually doesn’t say that. And the section Huckabee cited traffics in equally egregious — and revealing — nonsense … the best one can say about Huckabee’s insidiousness is that it’s not as outright idiotic as Gingrich’s new book, in which the author asserts that Obama and his allies represent “as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union once did.’’ But then, when it comes to howl-at-the-moon hysteria, Newt is tough to top.

…It has been a diverting spectacle, certainly. Unfortunately, it’s one that suggests part of the Grand Old Party is suffering from Adult Deficit Disorder.

Full terrific article here

****

Thanks so much for the link to this article, Suzanne, absolutely loved it. 😉

25
Mar
11

dates for your diary

USA Today: Mrs. Obama isn’t just giving one commencement address this spring grad season. She is set to deliver several.

On May 7: The First Lady will address 1,900 graduates of the University of Northern Iowa.

On May 15, she will speak to more than 500 graduates of Spelman College in Atlanta.

On May 20, Mrs. Obama will be making her first visit to West Point as the banquet speaker for the U.S. Military Academy Class of 2011. Held in the historic Cadet Mess, she will address an audience of more than 3,000 graduating cadets, their families and guests.

And on June 3, she will will speak to graduates of Quantico Middle High School on the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Va.

25
Mar
11

hey, happy greek independence day! (video added)

President Barack Obama looks on as Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, speaks at an event commemorating Greek Independence Day in the East Room of the White House, March 25

25
Mar
11

‘born-again doves’

Sacramento Bee editorial: It didn’t take until Monday for the Monday morning quarterbacks to start criticizing President Barack Obama’s decision to join U.S. allies in a campaign to stop Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi from killing his own people.

Born-again doves such as George Will, Donald Rumsfeld and Newt Gingrich ganged up on the president for the bombing Saturday of Gadhafi’s air defenses and implementation of a no-fly zone over Libya.

….Gingrich says that, if he were president, he “would not have intervened,” even though on March 7 he criticized the president for his restraint on Gadhafi. “This is a moment to get rid of him,” Gingrich said then. “Do it. Get it over with.”

….Obama did act, and part of the delay involved assembling an international coalition to carry out the mission. And what is the mission? At least part of it – the major part – is to prevent Gadhafi from engaging in a further bloodbath. The allies have been largely successful in that goal, a fact that detractors such as Will, Rumsfeld and Gingrich should at least acknowledge.

Americans should also recognize that, unlike the intervention that Rumsfeld helped orchestrate in Iraq, this one wasn’t grounded in false pretenses of “weapons of mass destruction,” etc.

President Obama has been clear that allies and U.S. forces are carrying out a humanitarian mission, not a chess move in an attempt to reshape the Arab world. And though the international coalition seems divided on responsibilities and the endgame, it is far more broad and cohesive than the one the Bush administration assembled in its reckless invasion of Iraq…..

Full article here

The Syracuse Post Standard: Wonder why the United States has just one president and one secretary of state? Imagine trying to set U.S. foreign policy with 535 members of Congress in charge.

House Speaker John Boehner this week sent a huffy note to the president complaining that Congress wasn’t sufficiently consulted in the decision to help implement the United Nations resolution calling for measures to protect civilians from a vengeful Col. Moammar Gadhafi in Libya….

Is Boehner’s second-guessing really saying it was a mistake to commit the United States to the U.N.-sanctioned effort to prevent Gadhafi from his avowedly “merciless” campaign to subdue his own citizens? That the administration acted too precipitously in joining its allies to prevent more bloodletting?

…it’s pretty clear that if the U.N. and allied nations had not acted, Gadhafi would be back in control, with blood flowing in ever-greater quantities. What message would that have sent to democracy advocates in Tunisia and Egypt, not to mention Syria, Iran, Yemen, Bahrain and elsewhere?

There’s no question that this is a messy operation. Libya’s rebels appear nowhere close to organizing a coherent democratic alternative to Gadhafi’s police state — hardly surprising, considering his relentless mission to crush any opposition. Efforts by the Obama administration to hand off major responsibilities for the operation may bring results as soon as this weekend….

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton notes that the protection of civilians in Benghazi already is a sign the U.N.-backed effort is succeeding — though she added Gadhafi’s defiance poses a continuing challenge. Meeting that challenge will require dexterous diplomacy in coming days. But it’s worth the effort.

25
Mar
11

time of need

Thank you Meta

25
Mar
11

in defense of ‘dithering’

Timothy Egan (New York Times): Five years ago a young politician who seemed wise beyond his years was asked by Tim Russert what makes a great president … he took a thought breath before proceeding: “Obviously, most of the time it seems that the president has maybe 10 percent of his agenda set by himself, and 90 percent of it set by circumstance.”

Barack Obama: meet your 90 percent. The senator who so accurately predicted how events make the leader now finds himself a president trying to lead through those events.

….Libya ….In his deliberative fashion, Obama ultimately saved countless lives in the short term, and will allow the rebels in Libya to own their revolution in the long term, if they can push ahead….

What Obama wanted to avoid … was the “messianic certainty” that led President George W. Bush to start a disastrous, trillion-dollar occupation of Iraq. In putting together an international coalition, backed by a United Nations resolution and the Arab League — all in record time — Obama also pulled off a nice bit of statecraft…

Still, Republicans can’t cope with a president who tries to think before he leaps. Mitt Romney, who wakes most mornings in a groggy scramble to find his principles, faults Obama for the nuance of his Libya policy. How dare the president see shades of gray instead of black and white!

Newt Gingrich first criticized Obama for not imposing a no-fly zone, but now hits him for imposing a no-fly zone. You read that right…. Obama’s least-thoughtful critics attack him for thinking….

….His 90 percent of circumstances started on Inauguration Day, when Bush handed him the worse recession since the Great Depression, and continued through an oil spill that nearly poisoned an entire ecosystem.

During the spill, it was liberal cable pundits who wanted a president who could shout, emote and point fingers. Instead, he quickly negotiated a $20 billion escrow fund from BP that attempts to make whole those hurt by the spill. Similar success followed with the auto bailout, which saved General Motors, but cost Obama much of his early political capital.

…A poll just published by Reuters/Ipsos found 48 percent of respondents describing Obama’s military leadership as “cautious and consultative.” Another 36 percent chose “indecisive and dithering.”

I would argue that the combined 84 percent are basically saying the same thing — that this president is anything but impulsive. And next year, with an improving economy in a world where the United States is held in much higher regard, most people will probably choose a president who takes time to get it right, rather than one who is afraid to dither for a good outcome.

Full article here




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