Posts Tagged ‘sweden

07
Sep
13

Rise and Shine

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The Week Ahead:

Saturday and Sunday: The President has no public events scheduled

Monday: Attends meetings at the White House

Tuesday: Addresses the nation from the White House

Wednesday: The President, the Vice President, the First Lady, Dr Jill Biden and White House staff will gather on the South Lawn of the White House to observe a moment of silence to mark the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The President will then travel to the Pentagon Memorial to attend the September 11th Observance Ceremony

Thursday: The President will hold a Cabinet Meeting. The Vice President will attend

Friday: Welcomes to the White House the Amir of Kuwait, His Highness Shaykh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al Sabah

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Steve Benen: Putting the goalposts firmly in place

…. If congressional Republicans ignore President Obama, it’s evidence of Obama failing. If congressional Republicans ignore their own party’s leaders, it’s still evidence of Obama failing.

If the president bypasses Congress to pursue his national security strategy, he’s dictatorial. If he seeks congressional authorization for his national security strategy, he’s weak and undermining the stature of his office.

If lawmakers reject a resolution authorizing force in Syria, Obama will struggle to get anything through Congress for the rest of his term. If lawmakers approve a resolution authorizing force in Syria, Obama will struggle to get anything through Congress for the rest of his term.

If the president uses the military to intervene in Syria, Obama will have undermined the credibility of the United States on the global stage. If the president honors a congressional vote against using the military to intervene in Syria, Obama will have undermined the credibility of the United States on the global stage.

I’m starting to think this game is rigged in a heads-I-win; tails-you-lose sort of way…..

Full post here

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The People’s View: When Democrats Were Humanitarian Hawks (#KosovoDems)

It passed the Senate by a 58-41 vote, and failed in the House in a 213-213 tie. 93% of Democrats in the Senate voted for it, as did 86% of House Democrats – that made for 42 Democratic senators and 180 Democratic House members. It was the Congressional resolution to allow the United States to intervene militarily, unilaterally if needed, to end a humanitarian catastrophe – under a Democratic president. It was the humanitarian catastrophe of death and displacements in Kosovo. President Clinton lead an airstrike despite the failure of the vote in Congress, under the NATO umbrella.

Kosovo’s civil war was a humanitarian disaster of epic proportions, but in the perspective of Syria, it is in danger of looking miniscule….

Yet, Congressional Democrats remain largely skeptical of an intervention in Syria while roughly 90% of Democrats in Congress in 1999 voted to allow Bill Clinton to intervene in Kosovo. I am left wondering why this is….

Full post here

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Smartypants: Rep. Keith Ellison asks us to listen to Syrian Americans

While an awful lot of liberals are jumping in front of TV cameras to announce their collaboration with tea party libertarians to oppose military intervention in Syria, one of the co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (and one of only two members of the House who are Muslim) seems to be struggling a bit more deeply with the issues involved.

You can bet that with that kind of nuance, Rep. Ellison isn’t going to be asked to appear on any of the cable network shows.

But I’d ask you to do what the Congressman has requested: take a moment to read the letter to the anti-war movement from the group known as United for a Free Syria…..

Full post here

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It was hard to imagine Alan Grayson could sink any lower this week  – see ‘Alan Grayson Conspires with Far Right Lunatics to Lie and Fundraise off of Syria’ at The People’s View and ‘Rep Alan Grayson Cackles That Syrian Atrocities ‘Simply Not Our Problem’ at Mediaite) – but then there was this:

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Steve Benen: When crass fundraising takes a Grimm turn

Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) announced just days ago that he would support President Obama’s call for military intervention in Syria. “We have to keep our word; this is about our credibility,” the New York Republican said last weekend. “We can’t permit a precedent where there is a use of chemical weapons and there is no response.”

Four days later, Grimm changed his mind, and announced yesterday he opposes the policy he’d previously endorsed.

I’ll leave it to others to speculate as to why, exactly, the congressman reversed course so quickly and completely …. The fundraising appeal, sent within a few hours of Grimm’s newly announced position, asks donors, “Will you stand with me in opposing President Obama’s plan with a donation of $25 or more right now?” It adds, “Stand with me today with a donation of $25 or more to strongly oppose military action in Syria.”

Full post here

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Smartypants: President Obama and WMD’s

The whole concept of reducing the threat of weapons of mass destruction was seriously discredited when Bush/Cheney used it as an excuse to lie us into an unnecessary war. Its clear by now that some people simply cannot have a rational conversation about the topic as a result.

But since President Obama has been trying to convince the US and the world to live up to their commitments about responding to the use of chemical weapons, I’ve been thinking about how that position is linked to a rather bold promise he made back when he was running for president in 2008….

More here

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The PCTC Blog: Pacifists and Liberals ; When Do We Actually Stand Up For Those We Allegedly Care About?

Being a pacifist isn’t easy. Not easy at all.

A lot of self-described pacifists think it is easy. Essentially, the equation for many is, if it maims or kills, you don’t do it. Period. That’s easy, isn’t it?

There’s just one problem. It’s not pacifism.

Like everything else in life, being pro-peace is complicated. It’s a constant calculation, based on the circumstances  in each situation. It’s not a blanket belief that no one should ever do anything violent, but a calculation of which actions will bring us closer to peace, and save the most innocent lives? Unfortunately, sometimes, the necessary action may be a violent one. Sometimes, in the grand peace calculation, there is little choice but to act violently. It’s a sad but true fact of life….

Full post here

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Oh boy, these people…..

TPM: Weekly GOP Address Makes No Mention Of Syria

As the country debates what it should engage in another military conflict, the Senate Republican weekly address Saturday made no mention of Syria.

Instead the address, delivered by Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), was exclusively dedicated to attacking Obamacare ahead of the Oct. 1 initiation of enrollment in the law’s health insurance exchanges.

More here

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President Obama views the Gulf of Finland during a break before the first plenary session at the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg (Photo by Pete Souza)

More Pete Souza photos from the Summit here

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Paul Krugman: It Takes A Government (To Make A Market)

Lots of reporting on the new Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of what we know so far about premiums under Obamacare. It definitely looks as if there will be a mild “rate shock” — in the right direction….

What’s going on here? Partly it’s a vindication of the idea that you can make health insurance broadly affordable if you ban discrimination based on preexiting conditions while inducing healthy individuals to enter the risk pool through a combination of penalties and subsidies. But there’s an additional factor, that even supporters of the Affordable Care Act mostly missed: the extent to which, for the first time, the Act is creating a truly functioning market in nongroup insurance.

…. In an alternative universe, conservatives would be celebrating this good … But in this universe, conservatives claim that creating a real market for health insurance, and making sure that everyone can afford it, is the moral equivalent of slavery.

Full post here

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 OCare

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What Is Working: 40 Ways Obamacare is Working

The House of Representatives has voted  40 times to repeal Obamacare. To mark the occasion, here’s a quick rundown of 40 ways that Obamacare is already working for millions of Americans and will impact more beginning in 2014.

1. Say goodbye to lifetime limits: Insurance companies will no longer be able to place an arbitrary cap on coverage.

2. Children can no longer be denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition.

3. Starting in 2014, adults will no longer be denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition.

Free preventive care, including:

4. Annual check-ups

5. Contraception

6. Vaccinations

7. Gestational diabetes screenings

8. Mammograms….

More here

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ThinkProgress: North Carolina Hospital Will Shut Down In Six Months Because The State Won’t Expand Medicaid

On Wednesday, residents of Belhaven, North Carolina got a taste of how stubborn GOP opposition to the Affordable Care Act can affect them personally when executives at Vidant Health System unanimously voted to shut down the local Vidant Pungo Hospital within six months. Vidant officials said the move was necessary as a consequence of North Carolina’s refusal to participate in Obamacare’s optional Medicaid expansion.

Belhaven is a small town of 1,688 where more than 55 percent of the population is African-American and approximately 28 percent of residents live in poverty….

….. Obamacare reduced reimbursements to these so-called “disproportionate share hospitals” — one of which is Vidant Pungo — since the law originally intended all states to expand Medicaid for every American living up to 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. If things had unfolded that way, these hospitals wouldn’t need the additional government payments since their patients would finally be able to pay for their own care through Medicaid.

Full post here

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More information here

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ThinkProgress: Washington State Is Getting Flooded With Hundreds Of Phone Calls About Signing Up For Obamacare

Obamacare’s state-level insurance marketplaces open for enrollment on October 1, and state officials are trying to get out the word about the new health care options that will be available soon. But many uninsured Americans still aren’t aware that they’ll be able to qualify for assistance to buy new plans under Obamacare, and lots of people in general remain confused about what the health law means for them. Health reform skeptics aren’t convinced that the marketplaces’ roll-out will be smooth enough to successfully reach all of those people.

If Washington State is any indication, however, some of those fears may be overblown. Washington hopes to target about one million uninsured residents with information about signing up for Obamacare. And it’s off to a relatively good start, as state officials there say that hundreds of people have contacted them this week asking for more details about the new Obamacare plans.

More here

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President Obama during a briefing in Sweden (Pete Souza)

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@petesouza: Instagram photo from Air Force One leaving Russia

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MooooOOOOoooorning – and the deepest of sympathies to our Australian TOD friends on Tony Abbott becoming their next PM 😦

05
Sep
13

Chat Away

President Obama boards Air Force One at Stockholm-Arlanda International Airport in Sweden en route to Saint Petersburg to attend the G20 summit

05
Sep
13

Rise and Shine

Two years ago today: President Obama greets a man in the crowd after addressing the Labor Day celebration in Detroit, Mich., Sept. 5, 2011. (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today:

This morning, President Obama met with the King and Queen of Sweden before departing Stockholm for Saint Petersburg, Russia for the G-20 summit.

Through the day, the President takes part in G-20 meetings and working sessions, finishing with a working dinner at 8:0 local time (Saint Petersburg is eight hours ahead of US Eastern)

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President Obama arrives to take part in the G20 Summit in St Petersburg, September 5

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President Barack Obama meets with Sweden’s King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia at the Royal Palace in Stockholm

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Nicholas Kristof (NYT): The Right Questions On Syria

Critics of American military action in Syria are right to point out all the risks and uncertainties of missile strikes, and they have American public opinion on their side. But for those of you who oppose cruise missile strikes, what alternative do you favor?

It’s all very well to urge the United Nations and Arab League to do more, but that means that Syrians will continue to be killed at a rate of 5,000 every month….

…. A decade ago, I was aghast that so many liberals were backing the Iraq war. Today, I’m dismayed that so many liberals, disillusioned by Iraq, seem willing to let an average of 165 Syrians be killed daily rather than contemplate missile strikes that just might, at the margins, make a modest difference.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks the number of dead in the civil war, is exasperated at Western doves who think they are taking a moral stance.

…. how is being “pro-peace” in this case much different in effect from being “pro-Assad” and resigning oneself to the continued slaughter of civilians?

More here

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National Memo: Obama Still Most Popular World Leader

Though his popularity is down from its peak in 2009, President Obama remains the world’s most popular leader among the world’s citizens as the G20 gathers for a summit in Russia, according to Pew Research.

“Only Angela Merkel comes close to the breadth of Obama’s popularity,” writes Pew’s Andrew Kohut. However, Obama inspired more confidence than the German chancellor in seven out of eight major German countries polled last year.

…. President’s Obama’s median popularity of 42 percent is more than double that of G20 summit host Vladimir Putin’s 19 percent. The only country where Putin inspires more confidence than Obama is China.

More here

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Steve Benen: Jobless Claims Improve, Remain Near Six-Year Low

Today’s report on initial unemployment claims was widely expected to be good, but the newly released figures from the Department of Labor were even better than expected.

More here

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‘Sweden in World Focus’

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Smartypants:  Why The Most Liberal President In A Generation Is Driving Some Progressives Bonkers

Just as President Obama is taking huge steps to walk back the imperial presidency and making tremendous strides on issues like health care reform and LGBT rights and ending the war on drugs and fighting to curb climate change and ending the perpetual war and taking on the NRA and fighting for immigration reform and trying to curb the rising costs of college tuition and proposing things like a minimum wage increase along with universal day care, there is a group of progressives who have gone absolutely bonkers with their conspiracy theories about him. As Bob Cesca points out this morning, many of them are are so deranged that they’re staring to line up with tea party libertarians to destroy the Democratic Party.

Its no wonder that many of us are saying “WTH? Why now? You want to jump ship just when we’re starting to make some progress?”

To be honest, I’ve been trying to understand this particular variety of Obama Derangement Syndrome for quite a while now.

More here

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Steve Benen: Rumsfeld Just Keeps Talking

If there’s anyone in America who should go enjoy a little quiet time right about now, it’s failed former Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld. Nevertheless, he just keeps talking, appearing this morning on Fox News (thanks to my colleague Tricia McKinney for the heads-up) …Rumsfeld, who earned public scorn for his leadership of the Pentagon during the Iraq War, said Obama didn’t need to ask Congress for authorization and may have made a mistake in doing so.

Rumsfeld, who seemed generally supportive of intervention in Syria, added that President Obama “doesn’t have the kind of support that President Bush had in respect to his military actions.” Yep, he really said that. Part of me continues to wonder why Rumsfeld is still allowed to speak in polite company. Lance Armstrong isn’t asked for his opinions about athletes and performance-enhancing drugs; Miley Cyrus isn’t sought out for analysis on public modesty; so why should anyone take seriously what Donald Rumsfeld has to say foreign policy and the use of military force abroad?

Don’t go away mad, Rumsfeld. Just go away.

More here

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Jonathan Cohn: ObamaCare Implementation: Clinton Speech Gives The Big Picture

The Secretary of Explaining Stuff is back on the job. On Wednesday, former President Bill Clinton gave a speech about Obamacare—why it was necessary, how it will work, and what it will do in the future. In the speech, Clinton acknowledged some of Obamacare’s flaws and he urged Republicans to join Democrats in trying to fix them.

But Clinton also pointed out the benefits Obamacare has already produced. Young adults are getting insurance through their parents. The insured have new consumer protections, like those eliminating lifetime limits on benefits. Seniors have more coverage of prescription drugs and preventative services. The list goes on: In all, many millions of Americans are better off because of these provisions. Meanwhile, the year-to-year increases in health care spending have been lower than usual, which means government is saving money and premiums for the privately insured aren’t rising as fast as they would be otherwise. Obamacare isn’t the only reason for this change and it probably isn’t the primary reason, either. But most experts think it has played a role.

Those savings are likely to grow with time. Health improvement might follow, since the changes underway—like a reduction in hospital readmisisons—save lives as well as money. And that’s not all—not by a longshot. Starting next year, millions of people without insurance today will get coverage via expanded state Medicaid programs or through the new insurance exchanges. Thanks to generous federal subsidies, many people will pay less for their insurance than they pay now. And those who do pay more will at least have more comprehensive and stable coverage, while paying premiums that are pretty much comparable to what employer-sponsored insurance costs. Oh, and if the Congressional Budget Office is right, the deficit will be lower than it might otherwise be.

More here

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A Year Ago Yesterday (Chips had the photo and video ready to post yesterday, but then glitch-a-rama struck):

President Obama and his daughters Malia and Sasha watch on television as First Lady Michelle Obama begins her speech at the Democratic National Convention, in the Treaty Room of the White House, Sept. 4, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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On This Day:

President Obama hugs a woman in the crowd after addressing the Labor Day celebration in Detroit, Mich., Sept. 5, 2011 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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05
Sep
13

Early Bird Chat – And 21 Million Thanks!

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MooooOOOOoooorning Early Birds! 21 million thank yous to UT and everyone for last night’s Cheesy Puff party – which I missed because, as you suspected, I was ZzzzzzZZZzzzzzZZZZzzzzzing. From bin Laden to 21 million hits, I’ve missed it all 😕

Back in a while – and from me and all the blog tyrants, thank you again, 21 million is eye-watering!

04
Sep
13

Dinner

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President Barack Obama poses with leaders of Nordic countries before a dinner together in Stockholm. From L-R: Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Finland President Sauli Niinisto, Obama, Sweden Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, Norway Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Iceland Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson.

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04
Sep
13

The Day in Sweden

President Obama at the Great Synagogue in Stockholm

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President Obama talks with Foreign Minister Carl Bildt of Sweden during the arrival ceremony at Stockholm-Arlanda International Airport

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….. speaking at the Great Synagogue and Holocaust Memorial

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With Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and Nina Lagergren, sister of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, viewing Wallenberg’s Swedish passport and samples of the many thousands of protective passports Wallenberg issued to Jews in Nazi-occupied Hungary in 1944-45 at a ceremony in Stockholm’s synagogue

President Obama places a stone in memory of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg at the Stockholm Synagogue

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The Press Conference (sound way out of synch, but the only complete video I could find so far):

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President Obama listens to a question on Syria during a joint press conference with Swedish Prime Minister

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President Obama is shown an example of a vehicle that uses fuel cells by Professor Goran Lindbergh during a tour of an energy expo at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm

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04
Sep
13

Respect

Pete Souza: President Obama at a celebration of Raoul Wallenberg at the Great Synagogue and Holocaust Memorial of Stockholm

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Hope this post works?? If it does, I’ll sort out the previous posts from today so they appear correctly on the front page, back in a bit.

04
Sep
13

Keep Chatting, WordPress is Still Broken!

President Obama, wearing a white yarmulke, listens to Nina Lagergren, 92, while looking over artifacts and personal possession of Raoul Wallenberg at the Great Synagogue and Holocaust Memorial of Stockholm. Nina Lagergren is Raoul Wallenberg’s half-sister

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Comments for this post (when it originally appeared) here

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Helloooooooo everyone. Well, I hoped WordPress would have glitch-a-rama fixed by the time I got back from being out and about 🙄

They say they are “currently experiencing issues” with the theme being used by this and a gazillion other blogs, so they’re having a bad day. “Our developers are actively investigating this issue and should have it resolved soon” …. so, we’ll see.

If it’s not fixed in the next while, I’ll just change the theme the blog uses and play around with it ’til it looks okay-ish. Worry not, all our posts are still there, the glitch is just preventing them from showing up.

Back in a bit – chat away.

04
Sep
13

WordPress Is Weird….Chat Away

Pete Souza: President Obama with PM Reinfeldt of Sweden

04
Sep
13

Rise and Shine: Sweden!

President Obama’s procession of vehicles drive from Arlanda Airport to Stockholm City

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*** Comments for this post here – it was WP glitch-a-rama-day ***

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All times US Eastern:

4:10 AM: President Obama arrived in Stockholm

7:20 AM: Holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Reinfeldt of Sweden

8:30 AM: Holds a press conference with PM Reinfeldt

9:30 AM: Participates in a celebration of Raoul Wallenberg and delivers a statement

10:40 AM: Tours an Energy Expo event

1:05 PM: Accompanies Nordic leaders for a family photo

1:15 PM: Attends an official dinner with Nordic leaders

White House Live * CBS

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Also today:

11:0 ET: Bill Clinton speaks about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act from Little Rock, Arkansas – Live here

1:45 ET: Vice President Biden Swears in Tom Perez as Secretary of Labor

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AP: President Obama opens 3-day foreign trip in Sweden

President Obama is seeking to use a 24-hour visit to this Swedish capital to show a softer side of American diplomacy even as the world’s gaze remains fixed anxiously on Syria.

He intends to focus in the Nordic nation on climate change, trade and technology, a trio of issues on which there is broad consensus with European allies….

… Obama’s trip to Sweden will mark the first bilateral visit by a sitting U.S. president to the northern European nation. While in Stockholm, Obama will meet with Reinfeldt and King Carl XVI Gustav and dine with Nordic leaders from Norway, Iceland, Finland and Denmark. He’ll also stop at Sweden’s premier technical university to call attention to Sweden’s goal to phase out fossil fuels by 2050.

…. A sobering moment is expected Wednesday afternoon when he honors the late Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, credited for saving at least 20,000 Jews during World War II before being arrested by Soviet forces in 1945 and then mysteriously disappearing.

Full post here

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… with Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt

…. with Swedish Ambassador to the U.S. Jonas Hafström on his arrival at Stockholm-Arlanda International Airport

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There’s a live blog (in English!) on President Obama’s visit to Sweden here – and one of their reporters is live tweeting:

And here’s his editor:

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AP: Raoul Wallenberg’s family seeks Obama’s help to find out WWII hero’s fate

The family of World War II hero Raoul Wallenberg will ask President Barack Obama for help in their quest to find out what happened to the Swedish diplomat who vanished after being arrested by Soviet forces in 1945.

Wallenberg’s niece, Marie Dupuy, said that the family will present a letter to Obama at a memorial ceremony for Wallenberg that the president is set to attend Wednesday in Stockholm.

…. Wallenberg’s work as Sweden’s envoy in Budapest in 1944 was a cover for a humanitarian mission as secret emissary of the U.S. War Refugee Board, created in an attempt to stem the annihilation of Europe’s Jews. He saved at least 20,000 Jews in Budapest by giving them Swedish travel documents or moving them to safe houses and is also credited with dissuading German officers from massacring the 70,000 inhabitants of the city’s ghetto.

Wallenberg disappeared after being arrested in Budapest by the Soviet Red Army in 1945. The Soviets initially denied Wallenberg was in their custody, but then said he died of a heart attack in prison on July 17, 1947.

Full post here

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From April, 2012:

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God mooooOOOOOOoooorgon – see what I did there?

😎

We’ll catch up with ‘non-Swedish’ news later in the day, just wanted to get your Swedish (very early) morning started.

Have to go out and about for a few hours soon, so won’t be around for the news conference – but will see ya when I get back and we’ll have a photo and video or two.




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