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Tag: Barack Obama

Obama and the Limits of Mastery

President Obama wants to build a new liberal majority and to do it he’s trying to charm everyone left of Rush Limbaugh. That strategy has led to some awkward moments.

Posted on May 24, 2009 READ MORE


Netanyahu
World Economic Forum

Netanyahu Backs Settlement Expansion

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet he would not oppose the “natural growth” of settlements, saying, “There is no way that we are going to tell people not to have children or to force young people to move away from their families.” Israeli settlements are widely seen as a hindrance to the peace process.

Posted on May 24, 2009 READ MORE


Packing Heat in the Parks

With their usual steely conviction, contempt for the rights and safety of others, and string of nonsensical arguments, gun supporters in Congress managed to push through a law to allow national park visitors to carry loaded weapons—openly or concealed—in the millions of acres of wilderness, scenic byways and historic sites.

Posted on May 24, 2009 READ MORE


Jon Kyl
senate.gov

Top GOP Senator Threatens High Court Filibuster

President Obama has said he wants to nominate someone to the Supreme Court capable of “understanding and identifying with people’s hopes and struggles.” That’s just too much for Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl, who has threatened to filibuster if Obama appoints anyone more empathetic than your garden variety liberal.

Posted on May 24, 2009 READ MORE


Guantanamo soldier
AP photo / Brennan Linsley

Congressional Duck and Cover

Congress is broken. The framers of the Constitution, building on nearly six centuries of parliamentary experience, situated Congress at the heart of the American constitutional system. For the past 25 years, however, Congress has made a joke of that system, as it has trivialized and mocked any meaningful representation in the sense that the makers of the Constitution framed it.

Posted on May 23, 2009 READ MORE


Left, Right & Center

‘Left, Right & Center’: Is Torture a Partisan Issue?

Former Vice President Dick Cheney has been reasserting himself, for good or ill, in the public sphere this week. President Obama was ready with his own take on torture, aka “extreme interrogation” methods. Is this a media-enabled setup or a legitimate face-off between executive powers past and present?

Posted on May 22, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
AP photo / J. Scott Applewhite

Obama Signs Weapons Spending Reform Bill

President Obama signed a weapons acquisition bill on Friday that aims to curb massive cost overruns in defense programs while increasing oversight and stimulating competition for contracts. The bill was passed unanimously by both the House and Senate earlier this week.

Posted on May 22, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT

The Obama/Cheney Throwdown

As other news anchors gush over Thursday’s face-off between President Obama and former Vice President Cheney, Jon Stewart enlightens us on the discrepancies in their speeches. While Cheney wooed the crowd with his usual charm, Obama’s rhetoric sounded oddly familiar. Check out this clip from “The Daily Show.” 

Posted on May 22, 2009 READ MORE


Obama
AP photo / J. Scott Applewhite

Obama Can’t Duck the Tough Ones

President Obama’s lieutenants would love it if all the networks ran a crawl line at the bottom of the screen during news broadcasts that kept repeating: “The economy, health care, energy, education. The economy, health care ... .”

Posted on May 21, 2009 READ MORE


In Praise of Empathy

So it is that I am watching the run-up to the nomination of a new Supreme Court justice with eyes wide open. We’ve already had pre-emptive strikes against three women on the media short list. Elena Kagan, Diane Wood and Sonia Sotomayor are getting the scary radical treatment without even getting picked.

Posted on May 21, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
AP photo / Charles Dharapak

Obama Defends Gitmo’s Closure, Cheney Rebukes It

President Obama spoke on Thursday to clean up the “mess” that Guantanamo Bay has become and stood firmly by his decision to close the detention center. The speech came after the Senate voted 90-6 to block $80 million for shutting down Gitmo. Meanwhile, across town, former Vice President Dick Cheney gave a speech harshly criticizing Obama’s actions and defending the anti-terrorism policies of the Bush administration.

Posted on May 21, 2009 READ MORE


BlackRock HQ
AP photo / Mark Lennihan

Our Loss Is BlackRock’s Gain

How much do you know about BlackRock and the hedge funds they manage? Better bone up fast, now that the folks at BlackRock are calling the shots in the government’s trillion-dollar bailout program. BlackRock execs are now directing key elements of the government program at a time when they stand to reap great profits from the fallout of a problem they helped create. 

Posted on May 19, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT

Hannity and Ventura Step Into the Ring

Fox News gasbag Sean Hannity and former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura tackle the state of our nation before and after Bush. Watch them finger-point, talk over each other and play the deficit blame game in their debate on Monday.

Posted on May 19, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
AP photo / Mary Altaffer

Democrats Block Funds to Close Gitmo

On Tuesday, even before the Republicans had the chance to do it, Senate Democrats blocked $80 million allocated for the closure of Guantanamo Bay in a supplemental war bill approved last week. The decision comes as a blow to President Obama, whose plan to shut the base by next January had given him major popularity points. Despite this new funding cut, plans to close the base will move forward.

Posted on May 19, 2009 READ MORE


Pelosi
AP photo / Alex Brandon

Pelosi Finds Some Backing

Three new developments in the Nancy Pelosi drama this week: The Democrats are said to stand “solidly behind” the House speaker, who is under fire from Republicans for talking smack about the CIA that “misled” her on waterboarding. Meanwhile, President Obama gives a vote of confidence to Pelosi, while CIA Director Leon Panetta urges Congress to focus on actual national security threats, stating “We are a nation at war.”

Posted on May 19, 2009 READ MORE


Netanyahu

Bibi and Barack Talk Mideast Peace

While the cameras rolled, President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu huddled at the White House on Monday and waxed diplomatic about the usual lineup of regional concerns: Israeli-Palestinian relations, Iran and the possibility of peace in the Middle East.

Posted on May 18, 2009 READ MORE


Moses at ND
Flickr / Paul J Everett

Obama Scores at Notre Dame

There were many messages sent from South Bend on Sunday. Obama’s opponents seek to reignite the culture wars. He doesn’t. They would reduce religious faith to a narrow set of issues. He refused to join them.

Posted on May 18, 2009 READ MORE


Obama
AP photo / Gerald Herbert

Obama Sparks Abortion Protests at Notre Dame

President Barack Obama attempted the impossible during his commencement speech at Notre Dame University in Indiana on Sunday: He asked those on both sides of the abortion debate to “join hands in common effort.”

Posted on May 17, 2009 READ MORE


Left, Right & Center

‘Left, Right & Center’: Pelosi Waffles, Obama Falters

Will Nancy Pelosi survive the onslaught of scrutiny and criticism in the wake of recent CIA torture-briefing revelations with her House speaker status intact? Is President Obama in over his head, what with all the hubbub over torture photos and military tribunals?

Posted on May 16, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
AP photo / Lauren Victoria Burke

‘Nancy, It’s Leon. We Have to Talk.’

On Friday, CIA Director Leon Panetta fired back at Nancy Pelosi’s claims that she had been misled by the agency on its use of harsh interrogation techniques, declaring that congressional leaders had been “briefed truthfully” on the methods in September 2002. The controversy surrounding Pelosi has led some to call for a probe of Bush administration abuses while others, such as Rush Limbaugh, are demanding her resignation.

Posted on May 16, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
Flickr.com / HSeverson

Health Care’s Enigma in Chief

The most stunning and least reported news about President Obama’s press conference with health industry executives this week wasn’t those executives’ willingness to negotiate with a Democrat. It was that Democrat’s eagerness to involve those executives in a discussion about health care reform even as they revealed their previous plans to pilfer $2 trillion from Americans.

Posted on May 15, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT

Drawing the Chorus Line in the Sand

President Obama this week blocked the release of controversial photos of detainees in order to not “further enflame anti-American opinion.” But without the pictures, whatever are we to do with all these frames? Meanwhile, Lt. Dan Choi an Arabic interpreter (for those who give in to harsh interrogation techniques) has been discharged because he is gay. Once again, torture is rendered less intelligible.

Posted on May 15, 2009 READ MORE


Obama Torture
rebelreports.com

Torture on Obama’s Watch

Gang-beatings, breaking bones, gouging eyes, squeezing testicles and dousing detainees with chemicals. Those Bush-era actions are still going on under Obama’s regime at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo, as the narrowing of the “torture debate” has occluded attention from such grotesque practices.

Posted on May 15, 2009 READ MORE


Obama Pride
flickr.com

The Fierce Urgency of Whenever

Andrew Sullivan has some sharp words for how the Obama administration is dealing with LGBT issues: “I lived through eight years of the Clintons and then eight years of Bush. Through it all, gay people were treated at the federal level like embarrassments or impediments. With Clinton, we were the means to raise money. With Bush, we were the means to leverage votes by exploiting bigotry. Obama seemed in the campaign to promise something else.”

Posted on May 15, 2009 READ MORE


military tribunal
AP photo / Brennan Linsley

Again With the Military Tribunals

Funny how declarations made in the heat of campaign season can be later forgotten by our nation’s elected officials. President Obama continued to do the reversal cha-cha late into the week with his decision to take up the very military tribunals he had sharply criticized before taking office.

Posted on May 14, 2009 READ MORE


Obama
AP photo / Charles Dharapak

Obama’s Coalition of the Unwilling

President Barack Obama dramatically changed course twice on May 13 when he announced he would not release photos of American military personnel “abusing” detainees, reversing the Pentagon’s statement on April 26 that it would comply with a court order—with the president’s own prompt and emphatic support for release.

Posted on May 14, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
Flickr.com / Kevin Burkett

Mo’ Money, Mo’ War

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved a $91.3 billion supplemental measure to finance the Iraqi and Afghan wars. An additional $80 million has been set aside to support the shutting down of Gitmo, $50 million of which is contingent on the Pentagon coming up with a plan on relocating prisoners. Another $900 million has been allocated to aid Pakistan in its battle against the Taliban.

Posted on May 14, 2009 READ MORE


high school hallway
Flickr / dave_mcmt

Some Educational Action Items for Obama

So, with the economy in the proverbial toilet and the D word (depression) hovering on the periphery, what is the Obama administration supposed to do about education? What can it do? Will additional and new funding be necessary to address his main concerns? 

Posted on May 14, 2009 READ MORE


No Mirrors

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Posted on May 14, 2009 READ MORE    


Consider The Source

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Posted on May 14, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
AP photo / Ron Edmonds

Cheney Denied by the CIA

The CIA has denied the lovable Dick Cheney’s request to release memos that, in the ex-veep’s eyes, would prove the effectiveness of torture administered under Bush’s reign. “I’m convinced, absolutely convinced, that we saved thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of lives,” he said last week. The documents in question will not be declassified, as they are the subject of pending litigation.

Posted on May 14, 2009 READ MORE


Obama Reneges on Torture Photo Release

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama went back on his administration’s previous plan to release photos reportedly showing prisoner abuse at American military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. Team Obama may also follow in the Bushies’ footsteps by detaining some prisoners “on U.S. soil” and “indefinitely and without trial,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

Posted on May 13, 2009 READ MORE


Baucus
baucus.senate.gov

Baucus’ Raucous Caucus

Single-payer advocates have been protesting in Senate Finance Committee hearings, chaired by Democratic Montana Sen. Max Baucus. Last week, at a committee hearing with 15 industry speakers, not one represented the single-payer perspective.

Posted on May 13, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT

Wanda Sykes Brings Down the (White) House

Wanda Sykes stirred controversy at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on Saturday, taking a jab at Obama’s nipples, Dick Cheney’s creepiness, and calling for Rush Limbaugh’s kidneys to fail. The White House is now distancing itself from the comedian’s comments. Watch as Wanda brings down the house!

Posted on May 11, 2009 READ MORE


Gates Orders a Change of Command in Afghanistan

The Pentagon will be replacing the current top American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David McKiernan, who has served in the position a mere 11 months. The decision comes on the heels of President Obama’s new plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan and marks a clear change in strategy in an increasingly complex war.

Posted on May 11, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
flickr.com / mape_s

Obama Leaves Polar Bears Out in the Cold

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that the Obama administration will leave in place an unpopular Bush rule on the protection of polar bears. The decision comes despite an outcry from Democrats, environmental activists and scientists alike, who promised to push to overturn the rule in court.

Posted on May 9, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
AP photo / Kiichiro Sato

The Good News on Jobs: Less Bad

While the unemployment rate climbed to 8.9% in April, the number of job losses was down to 539,000, a sign that the recession may be slowing and recovery is on its way. Meanwhile, President Obama proposes an ambitious reform on education for the unemployed while Paul Krugman reminds us of the dangers of keeping banks unchecked.

Posted on May 8, 2009 READ MORE


Israel’s Bad-Faith Negotiating Position

Israel has always believed in “creating facts on the ground,” whose existence may later come as an unpleasant surprise to others. Iran now seems to have learned from this Israeli precedent, to Israel’s disadvantage.

Posted on May 7, 2009 READ MORE


Notre Dame basilica
UND / Ben Franske

The Stakes at Notre Dame

You have heard the expression “more Catholic than the pope.” We now know that the reaction of right-wing Catholics to Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama falls into this category.

Posted on May 7, 2009 READ MORE


When Rationing May Be Rational

I was not surprised by the president’s story. Health care reform is not just a matter of spreadsheets and patient charts. It’s a repository of the personal narratives we carry around in our family hard drives.

Posted on May 7, 2009 READ MORE


American soldiers
army.mil

Democracy at Gunpoint Guarantees U.S. Defeat

An account from the Taliban side of the Afghanistan war, which was published in The New York Times on May 5, provides devastating evidence of the failure that almost certainly will eventually overtake the United States and NATO.

Posted on May 5, 2009 READ MORE


Obama in office
AP photo / Charles Dharapak

Taking a Page From the Bush Playbook

The Obama administration is now considering reinstating the Military Commissions Act after a four-month suspension, in contradiction to the president’s promise to end military tribunals for detainees and to close down Gitmo. 

Posted on May 5, 2009 READ MORE


Where’s the Sterno?

Share
Posted on May 4, 2009 READ MORE    


May Day rally
AP photo / Reed Saxon

Buying Time on Immigration

On many questions, President Obama’s approach is full speed ahead. On immigration reform, he prefers to take one step at a time. There really is no alternative.

Posted on May 4, 2009 READ MORE


Pakistan missile
AP photo / B.K. Bangash

How Safe Are Pakistan’s Nukes?

President Barack Obama and his Pakistani counterpart, Asif Ali Zardari, will have a lot to talk about when Zardari visits the White House on Wednesday, what with al-Qaida and the Taliban stirring up trouble of late and sparking concerns over the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

Posted on May 4, 2009 READ MORE


Gates

Gates: ‘Everybody Knows We Still Have the Big Stick’

Having moved from the Bush administration to Obama’s camp, Defense Secretary Robert Gates takes stock of the White House’s new occupant on Sunday’s episode of “Fareed Zakaria GPS”  and defends Obama’s recent diplomatic outreach during his international debut: “I have not seen it as an apology tour,” says Gates.

Posted on May 4, 2009 READ MORE


Obama
AP photo / Charles Dharapak

Buying Brand Obama

The Obama brand is about being happy consumers. We are entertained. We feel hopeful. We like our president. We believe he is like us. But like all branded products spun out from the manipulative world of corporate advertising, we are being duped into doing and supporting a lot of things that are not in our interest.

Posted on May 3, 2009 READ MORE


Dudes
forward.com

Justice Dept. Drops AIPAC Spy Case

President Obama’s Justice Department has moved to drop all espionage charges against two former AIPAC lobbyists after they were accused of disseminating sensitive information to journalists and diplomats gleaned from conversations with senior Bush administration officials.

Posted on May 1, 2009 READ MORE


book cover

Lou Cannon on Ronald Reagan

The debate over our 40th president’s role in ending the Cold War continues with the publication of James Mann’s “The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan.”

Posted on May 1, 2009 READ MORE


Obama
AP photo / Gerald Herbert

Obama’s Next Target: Hedge Funds

President Obama gave certain hedge fund manager types who held out for “an unjustified taxpayer bailout,” as he put it, a dressing down in the midst of his comments about Chrysler’s bankruptcy filing on Thursday. Needless to say, that didn’t go over so well with the targeted demographic.

Posted on Apr 30, 2009 READ MORE


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