Archive for the ‘Kerry’ Category

Gushing Over Hillary

January 14, 2009

We seem in a moment of gushing over everybody.  All are gushing over barack Obama, the man of hope.  Terrific.

But yesterday, the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, gushed all over hillary Clinton, and that was unnecessary and sad….


By Dana Milbank
The Washington Post

At Hillary Clinton‘s confirmation hearing yesterday, senators came up with a new interpretation of the Constitution’s “advice and consent” clause. This one could be called the “admire and congratulate” clause.

“In Senator Clinton, President-elect Obama has boldly chosen the epitome of a big-leaguer,” gushed Sen. Richard Lugar (Ind.), the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee.

“She’s an excellent choice,” asserted Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.).

“There couldn’t be a better person to represent our nation,” Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) amended.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) sounded as if she were writing for Hallmark as she told Clinton: “I truly appreciate all that you are poised to do and what you have done in the past.”

The line of spectators trying to get into the hearing room snaked the length of the Hart Senate Office Building — more than even a nominee to the Supreme Court can expect — and yet there was no suspense inside. Clinton’s confirmation was a sure thing, and the senators were so deferential to their colleague that they didn’t bother to swear her in, the way they did when her predecessor, Condoleezza Rice, came for her confirmation.

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Economy: What Do We Really Want? Immediate Pain Relief or Wealth for Children?

January 11, 2009

Americans are hurting.  The economy is in freefall and will probably continue on a downward path for at least the rest of 2009.  A newly elected President Obama campaigned on “audacity” and “hope” and will do just about anything to resolve the economic mess.

What we here at Peace and Freedom hope for is  a long-lasting solution.  Not a band- aid.

And even a huge spending bill that doesn’t create wealth and long term economic solutions is still only a band-aid over what may be an economic cancer.

And if we want a long-term solution don’t we want wealth and prosperity for our children and grand children?

And will massive debt bring us that?

Do we want some immediate economic pain relief?  Some Xanax?  Some “feel good” stimulus?  Xanax (alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety and panic disorder.

Like a band-aid, it doesn’t cure anything.

One of our great industrialists, Norman Augustine,  recently told Congress, “America is becoming a nation of the unemployed.”

How do we cure that?

What do we do here?  And what will Americans do in the future?  And are the things we do economically “sustainable”?


We hope for jobs, but not just any jobs.  We hope for jobs that continue after the government spending stops.  And that may mean we have not yet finished “thinking out of the box.”

Maybe we haven’t really started, yet.

Spending massive amounts, and in a hurry-through-Congress manner, as the President-elect has requested, just doesn’t seem smart.

Our “New Deal” spending didn’t kill the Great Depression as I recall.

The Republicans don’t seem too smart on the economic thinking train as Tom Raum’s article below says.  But maybe the Republicans are trying to say, “let’s think this through some more.”

Because some Democrats are saying that too.

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia

 Audacity, Hope and Obama’s Spending Stimulus: Once Discredited Theory Gets A Real Try
Obama Pressed From Left on Stimulus
Obama Stimulus: Trapped Between Too Little Rock and Paul Krugman Nightmare
Pelosi, Committee Told, “America becoming the nation of the unemployed,” — Congress to Blame?

A bank employee counts US dollar bank notes. The euro fell sharply ...


By TOM RAUM, Associated Press Writer

Out of power, Republicans appear to be retreating to familiar old ground. They’re becoming deficit hawks again.

GOP lawmakers didn’t seem to mind enjoying the fruits of government largesse for the past eight years while one of their own was in the White House. Now they’re struggling to regain footing at a time of economic rout, a record $1.2 trillion budget deficit and an incoming Democratic president claiming a mandate for change.

It might not be the best time for running against more government spending. But that hasn’t stopped Republicans from casting themselves as protectors of the public purse, striving for relevancy as Congress tackles President-elect Barack Obama‘s stimulus legislation.

“Congress cannot keep writing checks and simply pass IOUs to our children and grandchildren,” says Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. Asks House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio: “How much debt are we going to pile on future generations?”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., gets more specific: “We would like, on the spending side, obviously, to avoid funding things like a mob museums or water slides.” Mob museums?

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, seen in 2008, speaks ... 
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, seen in 2008, speaks during a press conference.AFP/Getty Images

Las Vegas’ effort to include in the stimulus legislation federal money to set up a museum to showcase Nevada‘s colorful and storied past in organized crime has suddenly become the cited example of wasteful spending for some Republicans.

Perhaps they hope the proposed project in the home state of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., can divert attention from the “Bridge to Nowhere,” an Alaska project that was initially a Republican initiative and which became the target of Democratic scorn.

Obama has pledged the economic aid legislation will be free of such pork-barrel and “earmark” spending.

“It is somewhat disingenuous on the part of Republicans to be totally concerned about the debt and the deficit at this point because they were there when the debt went up,” said James Thurber, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University.

When Republican President George W. Bush took office in 2001, the government had a projected $5.6 trillion, 10-year surplus.


EDITOR’S NOTE — Tom Raum has covered Washington for The Associated Press since 1973, including five presidencies.

Democrats Pounce on Obama Stimulus

January 9, 2009

President-elect Barack Obama’s economic recovery plan ran into crossfire from his own party in Congress on Thursday, suggesting that quick passage of spending programs and tax cuts could require more time and negotiation than Democrats once hoped.
Senate Democrats complained that major components of his plan were not bold enough and urged more focus on creating jobs and rebuilding the nation’s energy infrastructure rather than cutting taxes.

The New York Times

President-elect Barack Obama makes remarks on the nations economy, ... 
President-elect Barack Obama makes remarks on the nations economy, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2009, at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.(AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)

Just hours earlier, Mr. Obama called for speedy passage of the stimulus measure, warning that the recession “could linger for years” if Congress did not pass his plan within weeks.

Further complicating the picture, Democratic senators said Thursday that they would try to attach legislation to the package that would allow bankruptcy courts to modify home loans, a move Republicans have opposed.

Parallel to its work on the stimulus plan, the Obama team has also been considering how to use the second $350 billion of the bailout program approved by Congress. A transition team official said Thursday night that the new approach would give government officials broader range to provide relief on consumer loans for homes, automobiles and education, while also doing more to address foreclosures and the problems of municipalities and small businesses.

For his recovery plan, meanwhile, Mr. Obama has been assembling a package worth as much as $775 billion over two years to revive the sagging economy, using the plan to define his presidency even before it begins and to foreshadow his broader approach to governing.

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Transcript of President-Elect Barack Obama’s Speech on the Economy
 Democrats Admit: “We Are Our Own Worst Enemies”

Senate Democrats Aleady Critical Of Obama Tax Cut Ideas

January 8, 2009

President-elect Barack Obama‘s proposed tax cuts ran into opposition Thursday from senators in his own party who said they wouldn’t do much to stimulate the economy or create jobs.

Senators from both parties agreed that Congress should do something to stimulate the economy. But Democratic senators emerging from a private meeting of the Senate Finance Committee criticized business and individual tax cuts in Obama’s stimulus plan.

They were especially critical of a proposed $3,000 tax credit for companies that hire or retrain workers.

By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER, Associated Press Writer

“If I’m a business person, it’s unlikely if you give me a several-thousand-dollar credit that I’m going to hire people if I can’t sell the products they’re producing,” said Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., a member of the committee.

“That to me is just misdirected,” Conrad said.

Sen John Kerry, D-Mass., said, “I’d rather spend the money on the infrastructure, on direct investment, on energy conversion, on other kinds of things that much more directly, much more rapidly and much more certainly create a real job.”

In this Dec. 13, 2008 file photo, Sen. John Kerry speaks at ... 

Burris Caper Highlights Bad Thinking of Congressional Democrats, Harry Reid

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History, dissent cloud Pakistan’s Mumbai reaction

December 19, 2008

The black-and-white flag of Jamaat-ud-Dawa still flutters over a relief camp for survivors of an earthquake that hit a remote corner of Pakistan in October.

But bearded medics who work with the group had vanished from the huddle of tents and mud huts when a half-dozen police showed up to close the operation following allegations the charity was linked to militants blamed for the deadly Mumbai attacks in India.

How Pakistan deals with the Islamic group — popular among many for its aid to the needy — is a key test of its pledge to help investigate the Mumbai tragedy and, more broadly, to prevent militants from using its soil to attack both India and Afghanistan.

The U.S. and the U.N. say Jamaat-ud-Dawa is a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group India says trained and sent the gunmen who attacked India’s commercial capital last month, killing 164 people and straining what had been improved relations between the countries.

Lashkar-e-Taiba has been an unofficial ally of the Pakistan army in Kashmir, a disputed territory claimed by both India and Pakistan.

Some believe the moment has come for Pakistan, which also backed the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, to make clear it has abandoned a shadowy policy of using militant proxies as a foreign policy tool.

The country stands before a “moment of change in people’s attitudes and thinking” toward militants, Sen. John Kerry said Tuesday in Islamabad.

Pakistan must see that Lashkar-e-Taiba has “morphed into a more al-Qaida-esque and radicalized entity” that is damaging the country’s interests, said Kerry, incoming chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-MA) (L), designated head of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, talks with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in Islamabad December 16, 2008.REUTERS/Mian Khursheed (PAKISTAN)

Russia Retakes Georgian Village Near South Ossetia, In New Provocation

December 13, 2008

Russian troops retook a village near the breakaway region of South Ossetia Saturday just hours after withdrawing, Georgia’s Interior Ministry and European Union peace observers said.

The move drew criticism from Georgia, the EU and U.S. Senator John Kerry, who was on a half-day visit to Tbilisi.

Georgian police had already moved into Perevi on Saturday to remove Russian-built roadblocks when Russian troops and helicopters unexpectedly returned, said Shota Utiashvili, a ministry spokesman.

“They left, and we went in with about 40 people to remove the roadblocks,” he said. “While they were doing this, the Russians deployed a battalion of special forces with helicopters and armor and told the Georgian policemen to get out immediately,” he said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry refused immediate comment and South Ossetian officials could not be immediately reached.

By MATT SIEGEL, Associated Press Writer

A Russian armoured vehicle drives through the Georgian village ... 
A Russian armoured vehicle drives through the Georgian village of Kvemo-Achebeti in August 2008. Georgia has said that hundreds of Russian troops have moved into a disputed Georgian village near the rebel region of South Ossetia after previously appearing to be pulling out of Perevi.(AFP/File/Dmitry Kostyukov)

The European monitoring mission, which is observing an EU-brokered cease-fire, quickly issued a statement calling on Russia to pull back once more.

“The renewed Russian military occupation of the Perevi checkpoint, and in addition, the Perevi village, is incompatible with the provisions of the … peace plan,” the statement said.

The mission added that it was unacceptable that Russian troops had stopped EU ambassadors from visiting Perevi.

Kerry, in Tbilisi to meet with the government, the opposition and President Mikhail Saakashvili, addressed reporters at the airport before leaving.

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