Archive for the ‘President Obama’ Category

Obama Halts Troop Surge to Afghanistan

February 8, 2009

There has been some unease in defense and foreign policy circles about the U.S. plan to add 30,000 more troops into Afghanistan.  What exactly is our plan and how do we get out?  Add to that the fact that supply lines are tenuous from Pakistan and Russia has managed to cut off a U.S. base in Kyrgyzstan.

“Nobody can say the war in Afghanistan has gone well,” said Richard Holbrooke, President Obama’s special envoy to the region.

Now a U.S. rethinking of U.S. policy toward Afganistan is underway.

Related:
Russia Closed U.S. Air Base; Allowing ‘Non-Lethal’ Supplies Through to Afghanistan

Russia Boosts Aid To Neighbors; Wants U.S. Base, Influence Ended

 Russia says it wants to help US in Afghanistan

American Troops In Afghanistan Out On A Limb?

Pentagon study: US should pare Afghanistan goals

CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/02/07/h
olbrooke.afghanistan/index.html?section=cnn_latest

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PRESIDENT Barack Obama has demanded that American defence chiefs review their strategy in Afghanistan before going ahead with a troop surge.

There is concern among senior Democrats that the military is preparing to send up to 30,000 extra troops without a coherent plan or exit strategy.

The Times (UK)

The Pentagon was set to announce the deployment of 17,000 extra soldiers and marines last week but Robert Gates, the defence secretary, postponed the decision after questions from Obama.

The president was concerned by a lack of strategy at his first meeting with Gates and the US joint chiefs of staff last month in “the tank”, the secure conference room in the Pentagon. He asked: “What’s the endgame?” and did not receive a convincing answer.

Read the rest:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/w
orld/us_and_americas/article5683681.ece

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Obama Really Against Executive Perks? Give Up Air Force One

February 5, 2009

Even Donald Trump agrees with President Obama “100%” that there should be limits on executive pay and bonuses.

Tom Daschle gave new meaning to the term “Limousine Liberal.”

Now maybe we should have a government moritorioum on all those who turn in their excessive executive perks and goodies — their overpayments and bonuses by the tax deadline on April 15, 2009.

Maybe President Obama should give up his cool executive jet or his new limo, “The Beast.”

Air Force One over Mt. Rushmore.jpg

Here’s how Scott Mayerowitz of ABC sees this…. 

America’s CEOs are coming under fire these days not just for their hefty salaries but also for their use of private jets, limos with drivers and free trips to posh resorts.
But they aren’t alone in living this lavish lifestyle — the president of United States gets all these perks and more.

And unlike some of his Cabinet appointments, he doesn’t have to pay taxes on these benefits.

It might be a bit of a stretch to compare today’s corporate titans with the commander in chief, but some Wall Street bloggers clearly upset with President Obama’s attempts to rein in executive pay are doing just that.

“Some accountability needs to be put in place. We won’t have them kicking sand in the face of taxpayers any longer,” said one private equity worker on Dealbreaker.com, a Wall Street gossip site and blog.
 

Above: Donald Trump holds a driver. Photo: AP

Read the rest from ABC:
http://abcnews.go.com/Business/CEOProfi
les/Story?id=6806414&page=1

Related:
Freedom Watch Says Obama’s Promise of Transparency Really Only Partial Promise, Partial Transparency — “Worse Than Bush”
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White House Man Most Responsible For Air Force One Scare of NY Resigns; Investigation Ongoing, Photo Released
.
Obama White House “Dysfunction”

In this photograph released by the White House, Air Force One ...

In this photograph released by the White House, Air Force One flies over the Statue of Liberty in New York, April 27, 2009.

(AP Photo/The White House)

What we don’t know about Obama

January 22, 2009

We know a lot more about Barack Obama than we did on Election Day. He wastes little time making big decisions. He was serious about surrounding himself with seasoned people, even if they are outsized personalities likely to jostle one another and unlikely to salute on command. He intends to move quickly to put his personal stamp on government and national life. 

By Jim VandeHei, John F. Harris
Politico

Yet much about how the 44th president will govern remains a mystery—perhaps even to Obama himself.
 
The stirring rhetoric witnessed on the campaign trail and in Tuesday’s inaugural address is laced with spacious language — flexible enough to support conflicting conclusions about what he really believes.
Only decisions, not words, can clarify what Obama stands for. Those are coming soon enough. 

Until then, here are the questions still left hanging as the Obama administration begins:

DOES HE REALLY THINK AFGHANISTAN IS WINNABLE?

The new president has strongly signaled that he thinks the answer is yes. But neither his rhetoric nor his policy proposals so far have fully reckoned with the implications….

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/200901
22/pl_politico/17769

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Does Obama Really Believe in Transparency?

Ed Henry
CNN

What a long, strange trip Barack Obama’s first full day as president turned out to be.

He began the day pushing for more transparency in government, only to end it by keeping TV cameras out when Chief Justice John Roberts re-administered the oath of the presidency.

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/

Obama’s Ethical Government: It’s Your Call

January 22, 2009

The Obama Administration has sworn to uphold the highest ethical standards ever.

Have we heard this before?

And haven’t we already seen ethical callenges for the new administration?

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson removed himself from consideration after the then President-elect nominated him as Commerce Secretary.

Richardson said he had done no wrong.

Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy F. Geithner told the Senate Committee considering his nomination that the nonpayment of payroll taxes in the three years he was at the International Monetary Fund from 2001 to 2004 “were careless mistakes. They were avoidable mistakes. But they were unintentional. I should have been more careful.”

Timothy Geithner testifies before the Senate Finance Committee ...
Fool Timothy Geithner testifies before the Senate Finance Committee on his nomination to be US Treasury Secretary at the Dirksen Senate office Building in Washington, DC. Geithner apologized Wednesday over past tax transgressions….  He wants to run the IRS so he can make sure you pay your taxes….”I was careless”….(AFP/Mandel Ngan)

He remains the nominee for Secretary of the Treasury.

The “G Man” did do wrong, got caught making money instead of paying taxes, and paid up and got away with it.

Apparently, if you are in any questionable ethical jam in the Obama Administration: it’s your call.

Since we are in an economic mess and Timothy Geithner is apparently a well qualified nominee for Treasury, even though his recent service dolling out the people’s money might be questionable, his ego allows him to stay in contention.  His President and the Senate will probably support him.

Ethics sometimes looks “situational.”  No wrongdoing has been proven in the case of Illinois Governor Blagojevich, yet he stands impeached.  Nobody liked him anyway.

Blago: call G-Man.  He made some money and got away with it, for a while.  You didn’t make a dime and got impeached.  Go figure.

In this Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008 file photo, Illinois Gov. Rod ...
Not guilty of anything…In this Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008 file photo, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has some final words for the media after he announces his choice of former Ill. Attorney General Roland Burris to fill President-elect Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat in Chicago. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has revoked embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s access to classified federal security information.(AP Photo/Paul Beaty, file)

“We need Geithner in this economic crisis,” Democrats are saying all over news TV shows.

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson is seen at the University ...
Bill Richardson

So Richardson apparently said to Barack Obama, “Please do not consider me for Commerce any more, as I have this little grand jury problem to deal with.” This is really too bad, because Bill Richardson speaks Spanish, represents well some in the minority community, and is extremely well qualified at just about anything he tries to do.  He also proved his skill and experienced in talking with nasty dictators.

Mr. Richardson has my respect and admiration for pulling his name at the slightest hint of trouble…

Geithner?  I can’t give him the same kudo…

Related:
 Bill Richardson Exits Obama Cabinet Under The Cloud of Possible Corruption
.
Obama Stresses Transparency, Ethical Conduct to New Administration

Read the rest:
Obama, Biden: Fight Scandal, Corruption, Bad Government Please….

 Democratic Scandals Boring, Less Sexual, But Genuine

Carville’s 2009 Predictions: Stand By For More Democrat Scandals
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 Obama Gets an “F” on Transition Openness, Transparency

In this Aug. 17, 2005, file photo Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, ... 
In this Aug. 17, 2005, file photo Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, left, laughs with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich during Governor’s Day at the Illinois State Fair  in Springfield, Ill.  Blago’s real crime: nobody really likes him….

Related:
CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/01/21/
campbell.brown.obama/index.html

Most World Leaders Encouraged By Obama Time; Putin Ready for Disappointment

January 21, 2009

Asked about the prospects of the world with a President of the United States Barack Obama, Russin Preident Vladimir Putin said, “I am deeply convinced that the biggest disappointments are born out of big expectations.”

Other world leaders were more upbeat…

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AFP

Obama-fever swept the globe Tuesday (20 Jan) carrying widespread public hopes that the incoming US president would lead the world into a new crisis-free era.

In the hours before Barack Obama took the oath of office in Washington, foreign governments and new polls all showed huge support for the Democratic president even though many analysts have warned that expectations for his rule are unrealistic.

Pictures of Obama dominated front pages and television news programmes around the world. Spain’s El Pais newspaper published a photo of Obama and his wife Michelle above the headline: “The American Dream Comes to Power”

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero said an “Obama effect” could shorten the global recession.

“In my opinion, the economic crisis could be shorter than expected if the new administration of Barack Obama generates confidence,” said Zapatero.

“We could see a rebound faster than expected, it is a question of confidence because the fundamentals of the global economy are good enough,” added the socialist premier.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was looking forward to working closely with Obama, a spokesman for the German leader said.

Obama will make two visits to Europe in April for an international summit on the economic crisis and a NATO alliance meeting.

“In general, we are looking forward to co-operating with the new US president and are expecting to tackle the many questions which concern us both,” spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm told a news conference.

Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown has already said the Middle East should be Obama’s top foreign priority and other leaders have also pressed the case for issues ranging from climate change to helping the world’s poor.

Hopes that Obama can improve US ties with the rest of the world have grown in the run-up to his inauguration, according to a poll of people in 17 countries for the BBC World Service radio.

An average of 67% of people believe Obama will strengthen America’s relations abroad, with more than 50% thinking so in all but two — Japan and Russia — of the countries polled.

The global financial crisis should be Obama’s top priority, followed by pulling US troops out of Iraq, tackling climate change, and brokering peace in the Middle East, the survey said.

Ghanaians are most positive, on 87%, followed by Italy (79%), Germany and Spain (78% each), and France (76%), followed by Mexico and Nigeria (74% each).

Polls in Canada suggest more than 80% of people there approve of the new US president. Obama could visit Canada in Feb and its Prime Minister Stephen Harper described the trip as “a wonderful gesture and a great sign of re-establishing the strong Canadian-American relations.”

But Harper was also among leaders to douse hopes that Obama could fix all problems ranging from wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan to the economic crisis and global warming.

“None of us are under any illusions about the great challenges that face President Obama,” commented Harper, who said Obama should concentrate on the economy.

Other warnings have already come from Germany where Merkel said last week that there would be “very serious discussions” if the United States gave what Europe considers unfair help to its ailing auto industry.

Russia has expressed hope that Obama will make concessions on US plans to build a missile shield in central Europe and on NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine, which Russia considers its sphere of influence.

But Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin expressed scepticism while on a trip to Berlin on Saturday (17 Jan). “I am deeply convinced that the biggest disappointments are born out of big expectations,” he said of Obama’s inauguration.

“Familiarity with Obama seems to be breeding hope,” said Steven Kull of the University of Maryland in the United States, which compiled the BBC survey with polling firm GlobeScan.

Read the rest:
http://www.mysinchew.com/node/20349?tid=14

On Inauguration Day, One Nation

January 21, 2009

Time and again, incoming presidents point Americans toward unity. Jefferson did so in the great debate over strong central government. Lincoln did when slavery cleaved the country. Now, after decades of cultural and political polarization and in the face of great challenges, it’s Barack Obama‘s turn at choirmaster for the nation’s disparate voices.

Americans excel at pulling together when needed. Look no further than last week’s Hudson River emergency landing of US Airways Flight 1549, which combined the expertise of the pilots, the quick response of harbor boats, and the calm aid of crew and passengers.

But such common effort reaches far beyond a crisis, back over the centuries to the ideals that set the American experiment apart.

The diverse faces of the millions who came to witness the swearing in of the country’s first African-American president testify to what ultimately unifies. It’s not ethnicity or religious creed, which define so many nations, but the founding ideals of the United States – liberty, justice, and opportunity for all.

When put into practice, they attract and inspire the world over. They are the reason many in other countries tuned in to President Obama’s inauguration and sent e-mails like this one: “Today, I feel like an American, too.”

These values have had the power to throw off a monarchy, abolish slavery, and make way for women’s suffrage. They have been worth suffering and dying for. They have plied the decades, refining and improving laws and behaviors until almost unawares, they produced a president whose very identity embodies unity as none before him has, and whose personal story is a nonfiction American dream.

As a candidate, Mr. Obama campaigned on oneness. In the weeks since the election, he has put that concept into practice: in his Cabinet, in reaching out to Republicans (including his opponent, John McCain), and in meeting with conservative columnists. He appears to be not just asking for input, but listening. As Jefferson pointed out, woe to that democracy that does not protect minority interests.

Obama repeatedly states that his will be an administration influenced by what works, by empirical evidence – not by party ideology. He’s set a tone that honors that of his political hero, Lincoln: “With malice toward none, with charity for all.” Applied consistently, it may earn him charity in return when he disappoints either side – as he will.

So far, Obama’s having a unifying effect. Forty-seven percent of voters rejected him on Nov. 4, yet a New York Times/CBS News poll shows 79 percent of Americans are optimistic about the next four years under the new president – a level of support greater than that of the past five incoming chiefs.

It’s a tall order, bringing a country together. But Obama is reaching beyond political bridge-building – as hard as that is – to a spiritual union grounded in individuals caring for each other, what he calls “a new era of responsibility.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt hinted at the same in his first inaugural: “These dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves and to our fellow men.”

As America’s 44th president recognizes, the job ahead belongs to all of us.

From the Christian Science Monitor

New President Obama, Same Economy, Banks and Troubles on Wall Street

January 20, 2009

The dawn of the Obama presidency could not shake Wall Street Tuesday from its dejection over the banking industry’s growing problems. After hearing the new president’s inaugural address, investors continued selling, sending the major indexes down more than 2 percent.

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange paused at times to watch the inauguration ceremony and Obama’s remarks, but the transition of power cdidn’t erase investors’ concerns about the struggling economy.

Obama said the economic recovery would be difficult and that the nation must chose “hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord” to overcome the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

By STEPHEN BERNARD and TIM PARADIS, AP

Investors are expecting Washington will be a central part of the economic recovery. But the first few minutes of Obama’s term did little to ease their concerns.

“At this stage, markets in general and bank investors specifically are really looking to government as the way out,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Harris Private Bank in Chicago. “Certainly, of just about all of inaugurations that I can recall today’s event probably has the not only the symbolic importance but really tangible importance to the stock market.”

Investors already nervous about the state of U.S. banking were rattled by the Royal Bank of Scotland‘s forecast that its losses for 2008 could top $41.3 billion, the biggest ever for a British corporation. The British government injected more money into the struggling bank Monday. The government also announced another round of bailouts for the country’s banks.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/200901
20/ap_on_bi_st_ma_re/wall_street

U.S. Military: 60% Unsettled By Obama

January 2, 2009

When asked how they feel about President-elect Barack Obama as commander in chief, six out of 10 active-duty service members say they are uncertain or pessimistic, according to a Military Times survey.

By Brendan McGarry
Military Times

In follow-up interviews, respondents expressed concerns about Obama’s lack of military service and experience leading men and women in uniform.

“Being that the Marine Corps can be sent anywhere in the world with the snap of his fingers, nobody has confidence in this guy as commander in chief,” said one lance corporal who asked not to be identified.

Read the rest:
http://www.armytimes.com/news/200
8/12/military_poll_main_122908/