Monday, November 30, 2009

Michael Moore's Pitiful Letter To Obama

I see now why the right thinks the left is foolish. Michael Moore's accusatory letter condemning Obama for his soon to be announced Afghanistan plan (tomorrow), is rather naive and arrogant. He tells Obama to be his mother's son:

Tonight we still have hope.

Tomorrow, we shall see. The ball is in your court. You DON'T have to do this. You can be a profile in courage. You can be your mother's son.
I think Obama's mother would be proud.

Unlike many supporters who've bailed on Obama because Obama isn't doing exactly what they want, I will continue to support Obama, despite the fact that I don't like some of his choices, such as escalating the war in Afghanistan. I trust that he's got the nation's best interests in mind, not my interests, not the left's, not the right's but the nation as a whole.

I voted for Obama because he's smart, empathetic, worldly and good. I trust his judgement. I trust that he knows things that I don't know and that he will make the best decision for the country, as opposed to making decisions for political ends. Obama has always said he'd be fine as a one-term president. I believe him. I know he's not in pursuit of power. I believe he's done his very best so far. He certainly is the hardest working president that I've ever known.

Obama's opposers on the right are plain wicked. Most have political motives and others are the ignorant Sarah Palin type of haters, those who profess to be Christians but are merely ignorant bigots. They are people who hate viscerally for reasons other than what they say. Whenever I hear the word "socialism" I know exactly what they mean.

I wish people on the left would think twice when they're criticizing Obama. He really gets enough of it from the right. Obama needs our support. I'm not talking about being a mindless fan of the president. We should always debate and discuss. But the kind of criticism that Michael Moore lobs at Obama is self serving. Obama isn't going to do everything that YOU want. He serves the WHOLE country.

White House Press Briefing Nov. 30

On the eve of Dec. 3, the Obamas will participate in the national Christmas Tree lighting ceremony. More on the week ahead:

The Heartland Hearts Palin

Book TV's interviews with "real America." Palin's appeal: She loves god, she's average and she says what she wants. Warning, this video contains more average people chattering about socialism. One 75-year-old woman calls Obama an "abomination" and says Obama went before our troops for a photo op. Ugh. Ignorance and prejudice runs rampant in the heartland:

Gibbs Answers Questions on Party Crasher Creeps

Many people seem ready to blame Desiree Rogers, who heads up the social office, for the security lapse. Hasn't the Secret Service already admitted fault? This is just politics as usual. At every turn, the goal of the republicans is to discredit the White House in any way possible. No republican really cares if Obama's life could've been in danger. The only thing republicans care about is if they can make hay over this and score more political points for themselves.

There will be a hearing on Thursday. The party crasher creeps aren't required to testify but will be asked to testify. They'll probably testify so long as the cameras are rolling.

Gibbs Offers Preview of Obama's Speech on Afghanistan

Obama has informed Stanley McChrystal of the plan--not the other way around:

Obama finalized the orders during a meeting with advisers including Vice President Joe Biden, Adm. Mike Mullen, Gens. James Cartwright and David Petraeus, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Immediately afterward, Obama spoke with Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top American commander in Afghanistan, and Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, the U.S. civilian leader there, via secure video conference in the Situation Room. Politico

Gen. William Caldwell, seen here mocking Obama with McChrystal, says Afghanistan is more complicated than Iraq but there is hope.

Here's something funny. People are mad that Obama's speech in some areas will replace A Charlie Brown Christmas. Ah, what a thoughtful and caring nation we are.

Dubai is Greed on Steroids

I'm beginning to feel like a very smart person. I didn't fall for Bush-Cheney's weapons of mass destruction and I absolutely knew that the economy would explode simply because people were using their houses like ATM machines. I looked around at my neighbors and knew they were deep in debt. It took a person of strong character to not play Keeping up With the Joneses. Dubai? Monstrosity at the get go. I'm smart but I'm not that smart. Smarter people should've known that Dubai would meltdown. I think people did know but as usual, they were so overcome with greed and the prospect of making money.

Joe Biden Asks: Who Do You Trust?

Joe Biden gets to the heart of the matter--insurance companies don't offer any value for the outrageous premiums they charge:

Prepare for the Great Republican Balk

Obama will talk about timetables and benchmarks in his address tomorrow at 5 pm eastern, and I think most Americans want to hear him talk about how this war ends. I'd also like to hear Obama explain why we need to be there. Connect the dots. How does being there prevent a terrorist event in the U.S.?
But when it comes to war, republicans don't believe in goals or timetables. The longer the war, the more profit for war contractors and the better for the war machine that republicans hold dear. Republicans have been saying that there shouldn't be mention of exit strategies because, they say, that will tell the enemy that we're not serious.
What a bunch of hooey. And whatever happened to the supposed patriotic duty of supporting the president in a time of war?
I'm sure republicans will be muted, however, once War God Stanley McChrystal testifies in favor of Obama's plan for Afghanistan. McChrystal is expected to testify with NATO officials on Dec. 8.

“It’s accurate to say that he will be more explicit about both goals and time frame than has been the case before and than has been part of the public discussion,” said a senior official, who requested anonymity to discuss the speech before it is delivered. “He wants to give a clear sense of both the time frame for action and how the war will eventually wind down.”

The officials would not disclose the time frame. But they said it would not be tied to particular conditions on the ground nor would it be as firm as the current schedule for withdrawing troops in Iraq, where Mr. Obama has committed to withdrawing most combat units by August and all forces by the end of 2011. More at NYT

Obama Meets With Australian Prime Minister Rudd

Obama plans to press PM Kevin Rudd for more troops in Afghanistan. The two will meet at about 11 a.m. eastern:

The White House announced the meeting Friday. It said the two men would "confer on a range of issues, including Afghanistan and climate change in the run-up to Copenhagen," referring to the United Nations environmental conference to be held in the Danish capital next month.

Obama administration officials said that much of the discussion would focus on whether Australia would contribute more troops to the Afghan mission. They indicated that Rudd would be the first of several allied leaders whom Obama intends to meet with on the issue in the coming weeks.

Rudd announced in April that he would send 450 additional troops to Afghanistan, bringing the Australian deployment to more than 1,500 soldiers. About 100,000 international forces operate in Afghanistan under Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, 68,000 of them U.S. soldiers and Marines. WaPo

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Treasury to Shame Financial Firms for Not Modifying Home Loans

“The banks are not doing a good enough job,” Michael S. Barr, Treasury’s assistant secretary for financial institutions, said in an interview Friday. “Some of the firms ought to be embarrassed, and they will be.”

Even as lenders have in recent months accelerated the pace at which they are reducing mortgage payments for borrowers, a vast majority of loans modified through the program remain in a trial stage lasting up to five months, and only a tiny fraction have been made permanent.

Mr. Barr said the government would try to use shame as a corrective, publicly naming those institutions that move too slowly to permanently lower mortgage payments. The Treasury Department also will wait until reductions are permanent before paying cash incentives that it promised to mortgage companies that lower loan payments. Read more at the NYT
Treasury has been shaming since August. The laggards in modifications and the standouts:
And among the laggards are two of the top three: Wells Fargo and Bank of America (the largest).

There are some standouts among the large servicers: JPMorgan Chase, GMAC, Aurora and Saxon. The gap between those top performers and the others is quite wide. JPMorgan Chase, for instance, has started nearly three times as many trial modifications under the program as Bank of America. But it services only about half as many eligible loans that are 60 days or more delinquent, a rough indicator that Treasury used to estimate the total eligible loan pool. ProPublica

Orrin Hatch to Introduce Abortion Amendment to Healthcare Bill

The Senate begins debate on healthcare tomorrow. Both republicans and democrats will be offering amendments. If healthcare passes, Harry Reid is the King. If it's going to pass, there has to be a lot of give and take.

The Senate is set to begin debate on its health-overhaul bill Monday, with Democrats and Republicans planning to offer amendments on divisive subjects such as abortion and taxes that could hamper passage of the bill.

The debate is expected to last at least several weeks. Democrats would like to pass a bill by Christmas, but have yet to find a formula that can win 60 votes, the number required to conclude debate.

Complicating the situation, lawmakers from both parties are planning to introduce dozens of amendments, addressing issues from a government-run health-care plan to medical malpractice lawsuits to abortion and taxes. The aim isn't just to shape the bill but also to make political points.

Any of the amendments will also likely require 60 votes to pass, because opponents can threaten to filibuster any amendment that has less support. That sets a high bar, but even unsuccessful amendments can send a message.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah), for example, is expected to offer an amendment to insert tough abortion restrictions in the bill, mirroring language in the bill that narrowly passed the House Nov. 7. Republicans are also likely to offer at least one amendment limiting medical malpractice lawsuits.

Republicans Serve No Purpose

At every turn, republicans have made themselves an obstacle. I understand differing viewpoints. I understand opposition but republicans have gone deeper and further in their opposition of Obama. It's almost wicked.

Jon Kyl essentially dismisses Obama's Afghan plan before it's even announced, says there shouldn't be an exit plan. There better be an exit strategy. The more rational and reasonable among us are expecting to hear how the war ends:

Google, Comcast, Disney, Krugman to Attend Jobs Summit Dec. 3

Obama will hold a jobs summit at the White House Dec. 3. Some of the confirmed attendees:

Eric Schmidt, CEO, Google Inc (GOOG.O)

Randall Stephenson, CEO, AT&T Inc (T.N)

Surya Mohapatra, CEO, Quest Diagnostics Inc (DGX.N)

Frederick Smith, CEO, FedEx Corp (FDX.N)

Brian Roberts, CEO, Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O)

Bob Iger, CEO, Walt Disney Co (DIS.N)

W. James McNerney, CEO, Boeing (BA.N)

Andrew Liveris, CEO, Dow Chemical Co (DOW.N)

Peter Solmssen, Siemens (SIEGn.DE)

Stephanie Burns, CEO, Dow Corning [DOWCR.UL]

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO, Green for All

See more at Reuters

Sarah Palin's Advice for Canadians

I actually admire Sarah Palin's dogged sincerity she displays in this video intended to mock her. I can see what her supporters see. But it also shows that Palin and presidency shouldn't be mixed, not even in jest:

Newsweek Comes Out For Dick Cheney

Newsweek's editor Jon Meacham thinks Dick would be good for the country. I couldn't disagree more. The world may not end in 2012 but if Dick runs for office, it will be one awful time. Dick's presence is chilling. How forgetful we all are. It was Dick who advocated torture and invading a country under false pretenses.

Also, Meacham's mention of liberal and latte in the same sentence is a useless stereotype and is tired journalism. I'm weary of the country being characterized as a battle between the left and the right. There are more people who are in the middle, but those views aren't media worthy because they're not controversial. Our media greatly dis-serves this nation with its mindless chatter and little appreciation for nuance and complexity. Maybe it's what we deserve.
Gallup is not asking about him in its prospective polling, and his daughter Liz's recent Fox News Sunday allusion to a presidential run provoked good-natured laughter, as though the suggestion were just a one-liner. Float the hypothetical in political conversation, and people roll their eyes dismissively.

But I think we should be taking the possibility of a Dick Cheney bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 more seriously, for a run would be good for the Republicans and good for the country. (The sound you just heard in the background was liberal readers spitting out their lattes.)

Why? Because Cheney is a man of conviction, has a record on which he can be judged, and whatever the result, there could be no ambiguity about the will of the people. The best way to settle arguments is by having what we used to call full and frank exchanges about the issues, and then voting. A contest between Dick Cheney and Barack Obama would offer us a bracing referendum on competing visions. One of the problems with governance since the election of Bill Clinton has been the resolute refusal of the opposition party (the GOP from 1993 to 2001, the Democrats from 2001 to 2009, and now the GOP again in the Obama years) to concede that the president, by virtue of his victory, has a mandate to take the country in a given direction. A Cheney victory would mean that America preferred a vigorous unilateralism to President Obama's unapologetic multilateralism, and vice versa. Read more if you want.

War Advice for Obama Pouring In

Everyone is getting their last words in before Obama's address to the nation on Tuesday. Amid the chatter about Afghanistan, Jack Reed is one of the saner voices:

I'm for the war tax, discussed on This Week by Bernie Sanders and Lindsay Graham. If we're going to have a war, we, the taxpayer, ought to directly pay for it. That way, in the future, we might think twice about allowing our government to invade countries on false premises. If we're paying for wars through a surtax, it might shift our spending habits (perception of war). Ultimately, we pay for it anyway.
This week:

OBEY: If we have to pay for the health care bill, we should pay for the war as well.

JON KARL, ABC NEWS: How?

OBEY: By having a new war surtax. The problem in this country with this issue is that the only people who have been asked to sacrifice are military families.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Does he have a point there, Senator Graham? If we're going to fight a war, shouldn't the American people pay for it?

GRAHAM: Well, I'd like to see an endeavor to see if we can cut current spending and find some dollars that we're spending today to pay for the war, and prioritize American spending. Where does our national security rate in terms of spending? Are there things that we can do in the stimulus package? Can we trim up the health care bill and other big-ticket items to pay for a war that we can't afford to lose?

So I welcome a debate about how to control government spending and pay for the war. I do want to let Bernie and anyone else listening know that from my point of view, the president is correct in assessing that Afghanistan is a war that must be won because the national security implications of what happens in Afghanistan will follow this country for decades, so I intend to support the president.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to -- I want to ask Senator Sanders to comment on this, but first, let me press you on that. You're against -- let me first get Senator Graham on one point there. So you are against the tax, but you are for cutting spending to pay for this, not increasing the deficit? Senator Graham?

GRAHAM: I think it would be a good exercise for the Congress to look at ways to trim up the spending, which has been out of control since the administration came into power, and prior towards this war, the way it should be. Our national security future depends on getting it right in Afghanistan, and there is no better use of taxpayer dollars than to defend America, in my view.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Sanders?

SANDERS: Well, let's see. We spent perhaps $2 or $3 trillion in the war in Iraq that Bush got us into that we never should have been in, which we didn't pay. We sent that bill to our kids and our grandchildren. And what Senator Graham is now saying is, as I understand it, is hey, we can cut back on education so middle-class families can't afford to send their kids to college. We don't have to rebuild our infrastructure. We don't have to invest in sustainable energy, so we stop importing $350 billion a year of foreign oil. We don't have to do all that stuff. Let's just spend more money in Afghanistan, while Europe and the people of China and the people of Russia watch us do that work. I think that is a very poor set of national priorities.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, Senator Sanders, if I hear you correctly, if you're against -- if you have a big problem with sending more troops, does that also mean that you're against this surtax that Congressman Obey is talking about in order to pay for the troops?

SANDERS: Look, we have a presence in Afghanistan now. No one is talking about bringing the troops home tomorrow. What we need is more international cooperation. We need an Afghan government that resonates with its people, that is not corrupt. But if you're going to have a presence there, you just can't pass the bill on, as we did in Iraq, to our kids and our grandchildren. I think that's wrong. I think that's immoral. Read the whole transcript.

At the roundtable, Matthew Dowd suggests that it took Obama this long to make a decision, whereas it woul've taken Bush 2 days to make the same decision. I love how these people try to blame Obama.
That's a foolish thing to assert because Obama isn't just making a decision, he's getting buy-in and accountability from all parties. Strategizing on the front end--as opposed to just escalating troops--will pay off.
If Dowd were correct in his theory that Bush's gut is better, then war in Iraq would've been a good decision. But it was not, which is why we still have to consider war in Afghanistan. Dowd, who was a strategist for Bush-Cheney, has a nice pair of blinders on.

Rick Warren on Meet the Press Nov. 29

An interesting conversation with Rick Warren:

Rick Warren, a human being, contradicts himself and he is, no doubt, right wing.
He says that he loves everyone and yet he takes a stand against gay people. That's because Warren's bible tells him to.
He says Obama should be focused on jobs, yet Warren is not an economist.
Obama is focused on jobs. I don't understand it when people say Obama should be focused on jobs. Exactly what is it that people want Obama to do, personally hand out jobs. Actually, the government has handed out plenty of jobs and has allowed for people to keep their jobs.
The way to create jobs is to lift the economy.
Who creates jobs? People do. People create jobs by starting business and by buying things.
The fact of the matter is people are buying less because they have less money and banks are lending less. People can no longer tap their home equity to buy that car--and that's a good thing.
Therefore businesses aren't making as much stuff and so there are fewer jobs.
Obama is trying to tackle that issue in the long run by setting up our economy to transition to a green economy. That's what China is doing.
In the short term, there isn't a whole lot Obama can do to create jobs. He's already enacted the stimulus, after much opposition.
Warren talks about healthcare and poverty abroad, but what about in our own backyard. He doesn't seem to be as fervent about that. I like his stance on caring for the whole life in addition to caring about the unborn.
Religious types don't realize that if they fix some of the other issues, such as poverty and if they strengthen adoption and foster care and do any number of things to care about people once they're born, then that will slow abortion. Most women and girls get abortions because they don't have the wherewithal to care for a child. For some people, life is just brutal. They have no support and they're horribly abused. It's hypocritical to care about the unborn and not care about the born.
Also, healthcare is a right. At the very least, people should not be dying in THIS COUNTRY because they don't have healthcare. Not caring about the born is just as immoral as not caring about the unborn.
I like what Warren has to say about Muslims, but why doesn't he speak out against the hatred of Muslims in this country by many so-called Christians?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Obamas Attend Oregon State Game Video

The Obamas attended the Oregon State-George Washington University basketball game Saturday. Michelle's brother, Craig Robinson, is the Oregon State coach. Oregon beat Washington 64-57.

White House Says Krauthammer Column Inaccurate

The White House says Krauthammer's column is inaccurate. The White House is tackling bad journalism in general, not just Fox. Krauthammer, an opinion columnist, is so biased that I never read what he writes. I don't have to. Just take an issue and oppose it. Voila! Krauthammer has a world view that's not remotely close to mine.

In today's Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer takes great pains to paint a bleak picture of health care reform as "monstrous," "overregulated," and rife with "arbitrary bureaucratic inventions." The columnist's argument may be cogent and well-written, but it is wholly inaccurate. Read the rest here.

Obama Photos State Dinner and More

Nancy Pelosi and Colin Powell at Obama's table at the Obamas' first State dinner in honor of India's PM Singh






Obama & Hu Jintao
The Great Wall

Obama in Shanghai
Aboard Air Force One to Singapore

Cash for Appliances Coming

The program will be administered by states (funded by stimulus), which could offer $100 for each appliance traded in:

In U.S. history, there may have been no better time to own a junk car, a rattling old fridge and a leaking dishwasher.

On the heels of its ballyhooed "Cash for Clunkers" program for cars, the federal government is expected to finalize details in the coming weeks of another tax-supported shopping extravaganza, known as "Cash for Appliances ."

Supported by $300 million from the economic stimulus, the program will offer rebates to consumers who buy energy-efficient refrigerators, dishwashers, air conditioners and other appliances to replace their older models.

And like the $3 billion cars program that gave consumers money for swapping their clunkers for more fuel-efficient rides, the appliance initiative seems destined to inspire shoppers, drive up sales for a while and profoundly divide economists over how much lasting good this chunk of government spending will do for the economy. More at WaPo

Friday, November 27, 2009

Secret Service Embarrassed About Creepy Couple

I'm sure wingnuts are taking note of the lax security.

"Although these individuals went through magnetometers and other levels of screening, they should have been prohibited from entering the event entirely. That failing is ours.

"The Secret Service safely processed more than 1.2 million visitors last year to the White House complex. In the last several years, the agency has successfully protected more than 10,000 sites for the President, Vice President and other Secret Service protectees, screening more than 7 million people through magnetometers at campaign related events, with more than 1 million during the Inauguration alone.

"Even with these successes, we need to be right 100% of the time. While we have protocols in place to address these situations, we must ensure that they are followed each and every time.

"As our investigation continues, appropriate measures have been taken to ensure this is not repeated.

"The men and women of the U.S. Secret Service are committed to providing the highest level of security for those we are charged to protect, and we will do whatever is necessary to accomplish this mission." Read more at Politico


Read more about the high flying creeps here:
Reached on his cell, their attorney, Paul W. Gardner, said, "Okay. No. No. No." and hung up.

The pair is slated to be on "Larry King Live" Monday night.

Tareq Salahi's stake to local fame and wealth stems from the family winery, Oasis, in Fauquier County. It is one of Virginia's oldest, founded in 1977 by Dirgham and Corinne Salahi. It was known for its sparkling blended wines, and it hosted large social events and provided an attractive tourist destination.

But it had fallen into debt in recent years. It became the subject of ugly local complaints about the disruption that the winery's events caused on narrow back roads. And it devolved into a bitter family squabble pitting parents against son.

The family put it up for sale in 2007, and a year ago it was still on the market for $4.7 million. In February 2009, according to court records, the winery filed for bankruptcy. In a civil suit in Fauquier County Circuit Court last year, Dirgham and Corinne Salahi alleged that Tareq had interfered with the winery's sale. WaPo

Republicans Use Thanksgiving to Criticize Obama

Criticizing Obama, by the left and the right, has become a bloodsport of sorts. It's gotten silly too. People actually criticized Obama's Thanksgiving proclamation. Mike Pence goes at it:

White House Christmas Tree Arrives Nov. 27

Update: Obamas to spend Christmas in Hawaii. Watch the Obama girls talk about Christmas here.

Today, the White House Christmas Tree arrives.

The West Virginia Douglas-fir will be presented to Michelle Obama. The White House floral department will decorate the tree, which will sit pretty in the Blue Room. Watch a video about the history of the White House Christmas tree.
A beautiful Douglas-fir from Shepherdstown, W.V., will be the official White House Christmas Tree this year.
The Blue Room Christmas Tree will be officially presented to First Lady Michelle Obama by Christmas Tree growers Eric and Gloria Sundback. The Sundbacks earned this honor by winning the National Christmas Tree Association's (NCTA) national Christmas Tree contest held in August 2009 in Chattanooga, Tenn., and becoming Grand Champion.
The Blue Room Christmas Tree was handpicked by Director of the Executive Residence and White House Chief Usher Stephen Rochon and Superintendent of Grounds Dale Haney on Oct. 20, 2009. The tree, which was planted by the Sundbacks in 1996, will be cut in late November and sent to
Washington, D.C. Eric and Gloria are no strangers to the White House Christmas experience. This will be the fourth time that the couple has won the contest and presented a tree to the First Lady. “It is always an exciting time and it is interesting to meet all the First Ladies,” Gloria says. More here.

McChrystal Refrains From Criticizing Obama

Stanley McChrystal refrained from criticizing Obama, but his thoughts on the matter and his insubordination is clear.

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, told a group of key congressmen Thursday that President Obama was engaged in a "thoughtful process" of deciding on his request for additional troops in the region.

Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), in a telephone interview from Afghanistan, said that McChrystal declined to criticize Obama's nearly three month review of the general's request to send up to 40,000 more troops into the war-torn nation. Instead, McChrystal - whose opinion has been treated as sacrosanct by many Republicans - told the group that the U.S. forces could still achieve the mission of routing the Taliban. WaPo

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Obama's Thanksgiving Message 2009

This is Obama's weekly address, early for the holidays:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Obama to Attend Copenhagen Climate Change Conference Dec. 9

Update Dec. 4: Obama pushes the trip to Dec. 18.

US President Barack Obama will attend the UN climate conference in Copenhagen on December 9, the White House said Wednesday according to international news media.

During the president’s one-day stopover on his way to Oslo, where he will receive the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, Obama is expected to announce a provisional US emissions reduction target of 17 percent from 2005 levels.

This target – the first ever of its kind from a US administration – is in line with pending US climate legislation.

The announcement of Obama’s brief visit to Copenhagen was welcomed by the UN and the Danish conference hosts.

UN climate chief Yvo de Boer told reporters in Bonn that Obama’s attendance was critical.

“The world is very much looking to the United States to come forward with an emission reduction target and contribute to financial support to help developing countries,” he said according to AFP. More at COP15

Wingnuts Disappointed in Lou Dobbs

Lou Dobbs, who's seeking to become a politician, now appears to support amnesty for illegal immigrants. No one is cured from being a hater so quickly. Dobbs, also a birther, is an idiot for thinking we're all that stupid.

Wingnuts are also disappointed in Lou, especially Alipac. Alipac's William Gheen's desperate twitter:
We would like your opinion on this Shocking Lou Dobbs Video! ASAP http://bit.ly/8lrTlB illegal immigration #toct
I'm hoping that Dobbs makes a run for office, along with Beck and Sarah. That way they'll all get to see "real America" and realize that tea partiers are a sliver of America, not the majority. We need immigration reform but we don't need haters who scapegoat Hispanics leading the way on reform.
In an interview with the Spanish-language network Telemundo gaining attention Wednesday, Dobbs told interviewer Maria Celeste he is one of the Latino community's "greatest friends" and appeared willing to embrace a form of amnesty he spent years criticizing.

"What isn't working is a penalty to those who are in this country illegally for whom we can both be building a bridge to the future in which there is legalization and at the same time constructing an environment in which everyone is clear and unequivocal about the need for boarder security and a regulated flow of immigration," Dobbs said. CNN

Obama Family Distributes Goodies at Martha's Table Nov. 25

See more photos here


The Obama family, including grandma Marian Robinson, distribute food at Martha's Table in DC:
The Obama family is passing out turkeys, stuffing and other Thanksgiving favorites to people at a food pantry organization.

President Barack Obama tucked pumpkin pies into people's bags at Martha's Table in downtown Washington on Wednesday evening and wished them a happy holiday. AP

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano helps at Reagan airport:

Obama on Oprah's Christmas at the White House Dec. 13

Obama visits troops last Christmas

Update Dec. 14: Watch video here.
Oprah Winfrey will interview President Obama for a holiday special on ABC called "Christmas at the White House: An Oprah Primetime Special," the Live Feed reports.

The talk show host, who recently announced that she would end her show in two years, is fresh off a high-profile sit down with former GOP Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. The special with the president will reportedly include the interview with Mr. Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama as well as a White House tour.

The special is scheduled to air on Sunday, December 13th. CBS

State Dinner More Than a Party

A review of the State dinner honoring India's Prime Minister Singh, including one pastry chef's quibble:

Obama Speaks on Afghanistan at West Point Dec. 1

Update Dec. 1: Speech over. Watch the video here.
At 8 pm eastern, from West Point, Obama will address the nation for about 30 minutes in prime time on Dec. 1. Here is a good outline from the Center for American Progress of what Obama needs to explain:
The international community has a stake in fostering stability in Afghanistan and South Asia, and the United States is playing an important leadership role in addressing the security threats. The region is host to two nuclear powers and several terrorist networks with a global reach, and addressing these threats to global stability is vital. U.S. objectives should be to ensure that Afghanistan does not again become a launching pad for international terrorism and to prevent a power vacuum in Afghanistan that would further destabilize Pakistan and the region. We believe that any strategy moving forward requires these five critical elements:

1. Set a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. forces. Ultimately, Afghans must take control of their own destiny. A flexible timeframe for U.S. military engagement is necessary; the United States and NATO should aim to turnover security in certain areas to the Afghan Security Forces beginning in 2011 and have all Afghan forces in the lead within four years, or the 12-year mark of our engagement. Throughout this time period, the United States must continue to prioritize the training of Afghan National Army and Police.

2. Maintain the international nature of the mission. The United States cannot advance stability in Afghanistan alone, nor should it have to. Instability in Afghanistan and the region affects the globe, and all countries must take responsibility for the mission. Currently, more than 40 countries are contributing to the NATO mission, but support for the mission in NATO countries is deteriorating. Canada and the Netherlands have decided to withdraw within the next two years, and attacks on United Nations employees have caused them to relocate hundreds of personnel outside of the country. The U.S. administration must reassure allies through consultation and concrete steps that it has a viable strategy to address their concerns, especially corrupt Afghan leadership and the sustainability of Afghan security forces. It must also highlight the shifts in strategy that have already occurred, which were major points of disagreement with our European partners, related to civilian casualties and the absence of a regional strategy.

3. Insist that the Pakistani government battle extremists within its borders. Pakistan has served as a partner in the hunt for Al Qaeda and has recently undertaken some effective military actions against the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (Taliban Movement of Pakistan) in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. However, it has not yet taken sufficient steps to counter those militant actors within their territory that threaten regional security but do not directly target the Pakistani state. Its concern about threat posed by its neighbor India and the short-term nature of U.S. interests in the region have prevented it from undertaking any full-scale divestiture of ties to groups attacking coalition and Afghan troops like Mullah Omar’s Quetta Shura in Balochistan or the network of Jalaluddin and Sirajuddin Haqqani. The United States should work with international allies to have a coordinated effort to shape Pakistan’s calculations and actions in order to reduce official support that it extends to militant groups, while playing a behind-the-scenes role in decreasing tensions between India and Pakistan.

4. Press reform and require good governance in the Afghan government. The United States cannot defend an Afghan government that has little support from the Afghan people and continues to pursue policies of cronyism and self-enrichment. The majority of the Afghan people see their government as corrupt and predatory, and they possess few levers with which to hold these officials accountable. The Afghan constitution—which was developed in late 2001—created a strong central government in the form of the presidency and a weak parliament, and local governing structures have been weak and neglected. By supporting the re-entrenchment of former warlords in government positions and pouring aid money into Afghanistan with inadequate monitoring, the international community has played a critical role in enabling this corruption. Moreover, the absence of effective local and national-level justice systems has ultimately allowed for a “culture of impunity” in Afghanistan. The Taliban insurgency has taken advantage of this situation by offering quick arbitration where none exists, thereby increasing their support in certain communities. The international community needs to pressure its Afghan partners to follow through on recent commitments to tackle corruption, and reform its own practices in order to provide the Afghan government with the political support necessary to confront well-entrenched figures. Ultimately the justice vacuum will only be solved when the Afghan government and its international supporters show the political will to demand and enforce its provision.

5. Pay for the mission. The United States currently spends more than $3.6 billion a month in Afghanistan, and these troop increases will raise monthly costs to at least $6 billion. The Bush administration hid the costs of the war in Afghanistan and Iraq by hiding the expenses in congressional supplementals, outside of the normal budgeting process. The nation’s debt is now approximately $12 trillion. The United States cannot push the cost of the war to future generations, and should not use the deficit to finance the conflict.
Stanley McChrystal and others are expected to testify before Congress on Afghanistan right after Obama's address. Apparently, the smug McChrystal would be satisfied with 30,000 troops. Afghanistan's defense minister recently mocked Obama's "over elaborated" decision on Afghanistan while announcing that Afghanistan was beefing up Afghani troops. I find it interesting that the defense minister would be mocking Obama when adding more Afghanistan forces is what Afghanistan should've been doing a long time ago. It's their country.

Ultimately, I think all the Afghanistan hoopla has been another attempt by the rightwing to discredit Obama. McChrystal may be a party to that if he leaked his report to the media. Robert Gates warned against further media leaks.

Al Jazeera has a report on the leaks, including one on Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry's viewpoint (no troop escalation), which it attributes to the Obama administration:

Escalating troops will be a tough sell for Obama:

White House Releases November Visitor Records

From the White House:

Building upon last month’s historic release of nearly 500 White House visitor records, today the White House releases more than 1,600 records of visits to the White House in response to another month’s worth of requests. You can view all the records in a searchable database in our Disclosures section.

We announced earlier that in December the White House would -- for the first time in history -- begin posting all White House visitor records under the terms of our new voluntary disclosure policy. As part of that initiative, we also offered to look back at the records created before the announcement of the policy and answer specific requests for visitor records created earlier in the year. More
Note that some names on the list aren't who they might seem. On the last list that was released, wingnuts thought Michael Moore was The Michael Moore and Bill Ayers was The Bill Ayers. Of course, facts don't make much difference to wingnuts who live in an alternate reality.

Sarah Palin to Headline Tea Party Nation Convention

There is the Tea Party Express and the Tea Party Patriots and now, the Tea Party Nation.

As conservatives and wingnuts try to define themselves, they're moving into different tea party camps. There are legit conservatives, who aren't birthers or conspiracists, and then there are the wingnuts. Glenn Beck is shaking out to be the leader of the wingnuts. I'm not sure which tea party he is aligning with, but i think it's safe to say that as Beck takes up more of a leadership role, it would be realistic to call him a cult leader. Essentially, we have the makings of a cult here.

I haven't figured out which tea party is which, but the tea party groups appear to be varying shades of birthers, who claim to be Constitutionalists, and in favor of low taxes, but also have the core belief that Obama is changing "white culture" and therefore, the nation. It also appears that more conservatives are buying into the birther movement, which says Obama is a Muslim and a terrorist sympathizer, and that the legit conservatives haven't found a group to belong to.

Sarah Palin will be the main attraction at what's being billed as the "First National Tea Party Convention."

Tea Party Nation announced Wednesday that last year's Republican vice presidential candidate will serve as keynote speaker for the conference, scheduled to take place in Nashville, Tennessee February 4-6. A representative for Palin has not confirmed the former Alaska governor's speaking role at the gathering.

The group also announced that Rep. Michele Bachmann will be speaking at the gathering as well. The Minnesota Republican has become a hero among many in the conservative movement. A representative for Bachmann confirms her speaking role. CNN

Obama Pardons Courage The Turkey

Obama says we have "saved or created four turkeys:"

Malia said: "He's like a large chicken." More Courage photos


Courage the Turkey is now headed to Disneyland.
Obama, accompanied by Malia and Sasha, talked about the fate of Courage. It was pretty entertaining. If you missed the Turkey pardon trailer, check it out here.
Abraham Lincoln was the first to pardon a turkey:
President Harry Truman is often cited, incorrectly, as the first president to pardon a Thanksgiving turkey. (Just Google first president to pardon a turkey and see how many wiki Truman answers you get.)

Adding to the confusion, President Bill Clinton claimed on Nov. 26, 1997 at his pardoning ceremony: "President Truman was the first President to pardon a turkey."

But the Truman Library wrote in 2003: "The Library's staff has found no documents, speeches, newspaper clippings, photographs, or other contemporary records in our holdings which refer to Truman pardoning a turkey that he received as a gift in 1947, or at any other time during his Presidency."

In fact, "Truman sometimes indicated to reporters that the turkeys he received were destined for the family dinner table," the library wrote.

It appears that Abraham Lincoln, in a way, was the first to spare a turkey. But it wasn't a Thanksgiving turkey. It was a Christmas turkey his son had taken for a pet. Read more at First Read.

Jill Biden Speaks on Military Families

A rare interview with Jill Biden:

Netanyahu to Propose 10 Month Settlement Freeze

From the Prime Minister Netanyahu's office:

As part of the efforts to give momentum to the peace talks with the Palestinian Authority and advance Israel's comprehensive national interests, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will today (Wednesday), 25.11.09, ask the Security Cabinet to approve a ten-month suspension of new residential construction permits and new residential construction starts in Judea and Samaria.

Prime Minister Netanyahu told Security Cabinet members at the start of today's meeting that, "In the international circumstances that have been created, this step will promote Israel's broad national interests. This is neither simple nor easy but it has many more advantages than disadvantages. It allows us to place a simple fact before the world: The Government of Israel wants to enter into negotiations with the Palestinians, is taking practical steps in order to do so and is very serious in its intentions to promote peace."
Hillary Clinton's statement:
"Today's announcement by the Government of Israel helps move forward toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We believe that through good-faith negotiations the parties can mutually agree on an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements. Let me say to all the people of the region and world: our commitment to achieving a solution with two states living side by side in peace and security is unwavering."

Wingnuts Trying to Prove Obama a Terrorist Sympathizer

This is why the wingnuts have been so anxious to label Fort Hood a terrorist attack-- so that they can blame Obama for a terrorist attack on "our soil" and insinuate that it's the Obama presidency that is encouraging terrorists and that Obama is a terrorist sympathizer. I get it now. Took me long enough. Whew. That's a grand leap that wingnuts are making, but I see how wingnuts perceive it this way, especially since most wingnuts think Obama is Muslim and the other core wingnut belief is that Islam is an evil religion. Only Christians are good, according to them. Does anyone see the irony? I think Dana Perino knows better. She's just playing politics, exploiting wingnuts, a meek group of conspiracists. I could be wrong. She might be a full fledged wingnut. The difference between a republican and a democrat? Republicans are absolutely ruthless. They'll use whatever means for political ends. They'll sign on to any bandwagon so long as it serves their purpose.

Palin Beck 2012 Yay!

A Fox reporter asks Sarah Palin if there could be a Palin/Beck 2012 ticket. Palin actually answered like it was feasible. Palin and Glenn are delusional. I'd love to see them run so we could, alas, pop that bubble and put to rest any notion that tea baggers represent something more than a sliver of America.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Obama Toasts Singh at White House State Dinner

Obama speaks, then India's Prime Minister Singh. He wishes us a Happy Thanksgiving. I like Singh. He's eloquent and serene. I'll post more video as it pops up.

Michelle Obama Speaks on State Dinner History and Protocol

Updated with photo from dinner


As usual, Michelle Obama uses tonight's State dinner as an opportunity to teach.
Michelle speaks to young women who are part of the White House Leadership and Mentoring Program on the history and protocol surrounding State and Official Visits. Tonight's dinner is in honor of Prime Minister Singh of India. For details on the din din menu itself, visit ObamaFoodORama. Jennifer Hudson is performing, along with an orchestra directed by Marvin Hamlisch. Slumdog Millionaire's A.R. Rahman is also performing and so is jazz singer Kurt Elling. See Obama's press conference with Singh here. The State dinner will be live streamed here and at cnn.com or whitehouse.gov. See the official guest list here. Author Jhumpa Lahiri will be there, as well as Bobby Jindal, Sanjay Gupta, Thomas Friedman, David Geffen, Katie Couric and Deepak Chopra.

Jennifer Hudson offers a preview:

Preview Trailer of the Obama Turkey Pardon

Update Nov. 25: Watch Obama pardon Courage the Turkey here.
Obama pardons the turkey tomorrow at 11:30 am eastern. Someone at the White House had a little fun:

Creepy Car Dealer Calls Obama Jihaidst Says Obama Anti Christian

Obama IS A Christian.
Phil Wolf is a dimwit. What a numskull. What do we do about these people who threaten our country with such profound ignorance? That's what I want to know.
This guy is actually a businessman--he sells cars--who put up a billboard accusing Obama of being a jihadist. He is THE threat to our country. Phil Wolf is a very dangerous man. He's as dangerous as any extremist. It's ironic that these people who rail against extremists ARE extremists. They need to hold a mirror up to get a dose of reality.

Google Documenting Iraqi Museum's Treasures

Google has sent workers to Iraq to photography a once looted museum's treasures, which will be displayed online:

Google is documenting Iraq's national museum and will post photographs of its ancient treasures on the Internet early next year, Google chief Eric Schmidt announced Tuesday.

The museum was ransacked in the chaotic aftermath of Saddam Hussein's ouster in April 2003, and only reopened to visitors early this year. Schmidt, who toured the museum with U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill on Tuesday, said it was important for the world to see Iraq's rich heritage and contribution to world culture.

"The history of the beginning of — literally — civilization is made right here and is preserved here in this museum," Schmidt said at a ceremony attended by Iraqi officials. More at NPR

I love the Pentagon Channel:

Obama Thanksgiving at the White House and Arrival of Christmas Tree

Update: Watch Courage the Turkey get his pardon video here.
Tomorrow at 11:30 am eastern, Obama will participate in the traditional turkey pardoning ceremony and then the Obamas will be volunteering in DC. The Obamas will spending Thanksgiving at the White House and on Friday, the White House Christmas tree from West Virginia will be presented. Robert Gibbs press briefing yesterday:

Obama's Thanksgiving proclamation:
PROCLAMATION

What began as a harvest celebration between European settlers and indigenous communities nearly four centuries ago has become our cherished tradition of Thanksgiving. This day's roots are intertwined with those of our Nation, and its history traces the American narrative.

Today, we recall President George Washington, who proclaimed our first national day of public thanksgiving to be observed "by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God," and President Abraham Lincoln, who established our annual Thanksgiving Day to help mend a fractured Nation in the midst of civil war. We also recognize the contributions of Native Americans, who helped the early colonists survive their first harsh winter and continue to strengthen our Nation. From our earliest days of independence, and in times of tragedy and triumph, Americans have come together to celebrate Thanksgiving.

As Americans, we hail from every part of the world. While we observe traditions from every culture, Thanksgiving Day is a unique national tradition we all share. Its spirit binds us together as one people, each of us thankful for our common blessings.

As we gather once again among loved ones, let us also reach out to our neighbors and fellow citizens in need of a helping hand. This is a time for us to renew our bonds with one another, and we can fulfill that commitment by serving our communities and our Nation throughout the year. In doing so, we pay tribute to our country's men and women in uniform who set an example of service that inspires us all. Let us be guided by the legacy of those who have fought for the freedoms for which we give thanks, and be worthy heirs to the noble tradition of goodwill shown on this day.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 26, 2009, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage all the people of the United States to come together, whether in our homes, places of worship, community centers, or any place where family, friends and neighbors may gather, with gratitude for all we have received in the past year; to express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own; and to share our bounty with others.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.

BARACK OBAMA

Dick Still Trying To Defend His Miserable Vice Presidency

On Morning Joe (see video below), Joe Scarborough gets a dig in saying that Obama has delayed the decision on Afghanistan (which by the way is coming Dec. 1) because he doesn't want to make one. Are people really that stupid? Why can't anyone understand the enormity of engaging in war? Obama actually asked for an exit strategy. He asked for "off ramps" if things aren't going well.

By having these war council meetings he made everyone accountable and aware of what's at stake.
Escalating war in Afghanistan makes me sick because Hamid Karzai is a despicably corrupt man and Stanley McChrystal should've been fired for insubordination.
Making things worse, Dick has emerged from Hell again and is saying that the reason Obama is taking a long time to make a decision is because he's inexperienced. Even if that were true, it isn't something to be saying.
If he really believed it, then he ought to have the decency to approach the Obama administration in a helpful and non combative way. But that's not what we've got here. We have a little competition going on with a meek Dick Cheney being shown up by a competent man with real power.
Dick can't stand it. He can't stand the fact that the U.S. is taking on a diplomatic role in the world. That's not the way Dick ticks. Dick is the playground bully who believes that powerful nations dominate. Obama and Dick are so very opposite.
Dick would never ever think to reckon with the fact that he nearly destroyed our country, so he's out at every chance blaming Obama. Dick isn't the thoughtful, contemplative sort. Dick is an old fashioned, neo conservative war monger. Dick is out of date. He's what the country was. He's just in the way.
The irony of it all is not only does the Obama administration have to put up with Dick, it's out there cleaning up Dick's mess at every turn.
Dick is like Sarah Palin. Neither know their own ignorance. Dick and Palin are both made up mostly of ego, cut from the same cloth. They both operate on gut because they think they're entirely right about everything. Their boldness compensates for thoughtful consideration. They are two peas in a pod.
Like Sarah, Dick is a danger because he incites wingnuts to stupidity. Dick needs to shut his pie hole.
The Morning Joe team takes the White House to task this morning. The way they tell it, Obama is the worst president ever. Not even Gayle King, an Obama supporter, makes a good argument. Everyone is buying the media narrative:

Obama Welcomes Prime Minister Singh to the White House

Update: Obama and Singh's press conference:

There will be a press conference at 11:40 am eastern, which will be live streamed at WhiteHouse.gov. It's also being live streamed at cnn.com. Politico is streaming tonight's state dinner here.
Here's something interesting, in his leaked document, Stanley McChrystal warned against a stronger relationship with India, which is more reason to fire him. In my humble opinion, McChrystal is aligned with the neoconservative war mongers, including Dick, and I think McChrystal's "leaking" his own documents.
Obama welcomes Singh:
The Obamas host their first state dinner tonight. A preview: