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President’s Suprise Afghanistan Visit; President and The Troops Cheer Each Other On

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BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan — In a rousing holiday-season visit, President Barack Obama on Friday told cheering U.S. troops in Afghanistan they’re succeeding in their vital mission fighting terrorism. But after he flew in secrecy for 13 hours to get here, foul weather kept him from nearby Kabul and a meeting to address frayed relations with Afghan President Hamid Karzai

Obama’s surprise visit to the war zone, his second as president, came 10 days before he is to address the nation about a new review of U.S. strategy to defeat the Taliban and strengthen the Afghan government so American troops can begin leaving next year.

The trip also came at a particularly awkward moment in already strained U.S. relations with Afghanistan because of new and embarrassing leaked cables alleging widespread fraud and underscoring deep American concerns about Karzai.

There was no mention of that as the president spoke to more than 3,500 service members packed into a huge airplane hangar. After his remarks, he spent more than 10 minutes shaking hands, going around the hangar three times as they grabbed his hand and held cameras and cell phones high to take photos.

Obama stayed on this U.S. military base, the headquarters of the 101st Airborne Division, the entire time he was here, just under four hours. He huddled with U.S. Gen. David Petraeus, the top NATO commander in Afghanistan and U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry. And he visited wounded soldiers at a base hospital, personally dispensing five Purple Hearts to wounded service members.

“Because of the progress we’re making, we look forward to a new phase next year, the beginning of the transition to Afghan responsibility,” Obama told the troops. He thanked them for their efforts, noting the difficulty in being away from home during the holidays, and they repeatedly cheered him in return.

He said the U.S. was continuing “to forge a partnership with the Afghan people for the long term.” And he said, “we will never let this country serve as a safe haven for terrorists who would attack the United States of America again. That will never happen.”

Read More Here

Pictures courtesy of White House Photographer Pete Souza


Follow the Money: GOP and Tea Party…Bought, Sold, Pawned and Owned

The supporters of the Tea Party are being duped. Duped by Billionaires no less. Bilionaires bent on taking over the US Government by eliminating the very programs so many supporting the Tea Party depend on. So on Thursday Sept 16th President Obama spoke of this very fact at a Fundraiser for Dick Blumenthal (D-CT). He touched on the reality of the who really funds the Tea Party and other falsely labeled ‘grass roots movements’.

This is something the majority of the mainstream media has yet to do yet deserves the full attention of Americans. Wealthy billionaires like Rupert Murdoch (FOX), and brothers Charles and David Koch are spending millions of dollars in an effort to dismantle the US Government and further their pro-corporate agendas. These are the very people paying people like Sarah Palin,
Glenn Beck, Newt Gingrich and the like to muck up the water and confuse the average voter. Paid to tap into the fears and frustrations of Americans while convincing them to support the destruction of the very government that provides them protection as a citizen.

Here the President points out to those in attendance just where all the money and outrage is coming from and just what they have in mind for Americans if we continue to allow a corporate takeover of our government:
That’s what they’re offering the American people — a future that looks just like the past, one where special interests get free reign to play by their own rules and where middle-class families are left to fend for themselves.

Now, that’s not a future I accept for the United States of America. That is not a future that Dick Blumenthal accepts for the United States of America.

This is a tough election season. People are hurting and they are understandably frustrated. And a lot of them are scared. And a lot of them are anxious. And that means that even when people don’t have ideas, if they’ve got enough money behind them, they may be able to convince some folks that, you know what, just cast a protest vote, throw the bums out. That’s a mentality that has an appeal. And you can’t blame folks for feeling that way sometime. But that’s not a future for our country, a country that’s more divided, that’s more unequal, that’s less dynamic, where we’re falling behind in everything from investment in infrastructure to investment in R&D. That’s not a vision for the future.

And if that’s not a future you accept for this nation, if that’s not the future you want for your kids and for your grandkids, then we are asking you for help in this election.

Because if you don’t think the stakes are large — and I want you to consider this — right now, all across the country, special interests are planning and running millions of dollars of attack ads against Democratic candidates. Because last year, there was a Supreme Court decision called Citizens United. They’re allowed to spend as much as they want without ever revealing who’s paying for the ads. That’s exactly what they’re doing. Millions of dollars. And the groups are benign-sounding: Americans for Prosperity. Who’s against that? Or Committee for Truth in Politics. Or Americans for Apple Pie. Moms for Motherhood. I made those last two up.

None of them will disclose who’s paying for these ads. You don’t know if it’s a Wall Street bank. You don’t know if it’s a big oil company. You don’t know if it’s an insurance company. You don’t even know if it’s a foreign-controlled entity. In some races, they are spending more money than the candidates. Not here because here the candidate is spending a lot of money.

They’re spending more money than the parties. They want to take Congress back and return to the days where lobbyists wrote the laws. It is the most insidious power grab since the monopolies of the Gilded Age. That’s happening right now. So there’s a lot of talk about populist anger and grassroots. But that’s not what’s driving a lot of these elections.

We tried to fix this, but the leaders of the other party wouldn’t even allow it to come up for a vote. They want to keep the public in the dark. They want to serve the special interests that served them so well over the last 19 months.

We will not let them. We are not about to allow a corporate takeover of our democracy. We’re not about to go back to the days when special interests took advantage of Main Street families. (Applause.) We’re not going to go back to the days when insurance companies wrote the rules that let you languish without health care because you had a preexisting condition. We’re not going to go back to the exact same agenda we had before I took office.

A lot has changed since that last election, but what hasn’t changed is the choice facing this country. It is still fear versus hope. It is still the past versus the future. It is still a choice between sliding backwards and moving forward. That is what this election is about. That’s the choice you will face in November.

Watch The President’s Remarks Here

These are the people trying to take over the United States Government. Wonder where all the Tea Party candidates suddenly came from? Wonder why most of these virtually unknown candidates suddenly are winning races and raking in millions in donations when most Americans are struggling to make ends meet? Where did these people come from? Why do they only appear on Fox News and get away with refusing to do any interviews? Why are they always only on Fox News and why does it appears Fox News provides free campaign air time to these virtual unknowns? Why are all of these newcomers to the political scene all in favor of ending Medicare, Social Security, Unemployment Compensation, Healthcare and other social programs?

Rachel examines how Billionaires Charles & David Koch & Koch Industries fund AFP, Americans For Prosperity, & the Tea Parties, yet deny it.

David and Charles Koch:
A few weeks after the Lincoln Center gala, the advocacy wing of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation—an organization that David Koch started, in 2004—held a different kind of gathering. Over the July 4th weekend, a summit called Texas Defending the American Dream took place in a chilly hotel ballroom in Austin.Though Koch freely promotes his philanthropic ventures, he did not attend the summit, and his name was not in evidence. And on this occasion the audience was roused not by a dance performance but by a series of speakers denouncing President Barack Obama. Peggy Venable, the organizer of the summit, warned that Administration officials “have a socialist vision for this country.”

Five hundred people attended the summit, which served, in part, as a training session for Tea Party activists in Texas. An advertisement cast the event as a populist uprising against vested corporate power. “Today, the voices of average Americans are being drowned out by lobbyists and special interests,” it said. “But you can do something about it.” The pitch made no mention of its corporate funders. The White House has expressed frustration that such sponsors have largely eluded public notice. David Axelrod, Obama’s senior adviser, said, “What they don’t say is that, in part, this is a grassroots citizens’ movement brought to you by a bunch of oil billionaires.”

Koch Brothers funding of a tight knit network of lobbyists, former executives and organizations has created a forceful stream of misinformation that Koch-funded entities produce and disseminate.

Koch Industries is the second largest private company in the U.S., with estimated 2008 revenues of $100 billion. Started as a petroleum business by their father Fred Koch, who was also a founder of the right-wing extremist John Birch Society, Koch Industries has become a diversified enterprise that funds large-scale lobbying and a range of libertarian policy and activist groups that play a significant role in the global warming denial machine.

To New Yorkers who associate the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center with the New York City Ballet, it’s startling to learn that the Texas branch of that foundation’s political arm, known simply as Americans for Prosperity, gave its Blogger of the Year Award to an activist who had called President Obama “cokehead in chief.”

An oil company headed by conservative billionaires David and Charles Koch has contributed $1 million to the campaign to suspend the state’s landmark climate change law. Flint Hills Resources does not have any oil interests in California but is a big opponent of climate change legislation around the country. On Thursday, the Kansas-based refining and chemicals manufacturer threw its weight behind Proposition 23, the ballot initiative that seeks to suspend California’s greenhouse gas reduction law until the economy improves.

Rupert Murdoch:
The opponents of the proposed Cordoba Initiative Islamic center planned for Lower Manhattan are fond of suggesting, by way of lengthy and often confusing chains of causation and association, that its principal planner, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, is connected to terrorism. “The imam has been tied to some shady characters,” Fox Business Channel’s Eric Bolling recently said, “so should we worry that terror dollars could be funding the project?” Blogger Pamela Geller, who has become a regular talking head on cable-news channels to denounce the mosque, has noted Rauf’s involvement with a Malaysian peace group that funded the group that organized the Gaza flotilla under the headline, “Ground Zero Imam Rauf’s ‘Charity’ Funded Genocide Mission.”

On last night’s “Daily Show,” Jon Stewart skewered these antics as a “dangerous game of guilt by association you can play with almost anybody,” and proceeded to tie Fox News to al-Qaida by connecting Fox News parent News Corp’s second-largest shareholder, Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, to the Carlyle Group, which has done business with the bin Laden family, “one of whose sons — obviously I’m not going to say which one — may be anti-American.” But Stewart didn’t need to take all those steps to make the connection: Al-Waleed has directly funded Rauf’s projects to the tune of more than $300,000. If Fox newscasters can darkly suggest “terror dollars” are sluicing into the Islamic center’s coffers via “shady characters,” then are Al-Waleed, and News Corp. leader Rupert Murdoch, by the same logic, also terror stooges?

For anybody still harboring the belief that the Tea Party movement is a grassroots insurgency, you may want to look at where two of the movement’s biggest backers are throwing their cash. Politico’s Ben Smith reports that News Corporation, the parent company of Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, and David Koch, the oil magnate who chairs the board of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation (the Koch-funded astroturf powerhouse behind a lot of Tea Party organizing), each threw a cool $1 million at the Republican Governors Association — hardly a rogue operation, and very much a part of the Republican establishment.

Yes, News Corp.’s software division is funneling money into the pocket of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il. Sean Hannity has asked, “Why would we sit down with a mad man like Adolf Jr., Ahmadinejad or Kim Jong-Il?” Perhaps he needs to pose that same question in News Corp.’s executive suite. In fact, I wonder what Fox News personalities think of their boss’ business dealings considering their own thoughts on the North Korean regime

In November 2005, three senior aides to Britain’s royal family noticed odd things happening on their mobile phones. Messages they had never listened to were somehow appearing in their mailboxes as if heard and saved. Equally peculiar were stories that began appearing about Prince William in one of the country’s biggest tabloids, News of the World. The stories were banal enough (Prince William pulled a tendon in his knee, one revealed). But the royal aides were puzzled as to how News of the World had gotten the information, which was known among only a small, discreet circle. They began to suspect that someone was eavesdropping on their private conversations.

As of this summer, five people have filed lawsuits accusing News Group Newspapers, a division of Rupert Murdoch’s publishing empire that includes News of the World, of breaking into their voice mail. Additional cases are being prepared, including one seeking a judicial review of Scotland Yard’s handling of the investigation. The litigation is beginning to expose just how far the hacking went, something that Scotland Yard did not do. In fact, an examination based on police records, court documents and interviews with investigators and reporters shows that Britain’s revered police agency failed to pursue leads suggesting that one of the country’s most powerful newspapers was routinely listening in on its citizens.

Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal now owns a 7 percent stake in Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., the parent company of Fox News, making him the company’s largest shareholder outside of Murdoch’s own family. Alwaleed is best known for going to Ground Zero after the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks and personally handing then-mayor Rudolph Giuliani a check for $10 million to help finance relief efforts. Afterwards, Alwaleed released a statement blaming the attacks not on the Saudi airline hijackers, but on U.S. policies in the middle east. As a result, Giuliani returned the prince’s donation, gaining him praise from Fox News for doing so. Now that Alwaleed has a controlling ownership in News Corp., he is gaining influence over Fox News.

Rachel Maddow interviews Tim Phillips of Americans for Prosperity

Time to wake up people. No one can sit home this November, especially Democrats. Americans are being scammed by the tea party movement and the billionaires behind it. We need all hands on deck to fight the money and influence that is hijacking this country. We can not sit idly by while they pawn our future and fill Congress with a bunch of dangerous kooks.


FEAR vs HOPE

President Obama took on the GOP and Senator John Boehner (R-OH) in Cleveland in his continued fight for the middle class today. Today the President reminded us exactly why we elected him to lead our country.

He spoke of the disaster and misguided proposal of the GOP to grant permanent, budget-busting tax cuts to the wealthiest Americansand elaborated on his own proposals.

Some notable portions:
I know that folks are worried about the future. I know there’s still a lot of hurt out here. And when times are tough, I know it can be tempting to give in to cynicism and fear and doubt and division -– and just settle our sights a little bit lower, settle for something a little bit less. But that’s not who we are, Ohio. Those are not the values that built this country.

We are here today because in the worst of times, the people who came before us brought out the best in America. Because our parents and our grandparents and our great-grandparents were willing to work and sacrifice for us. They were willing to take great risks, and face great hardship, and reach for a future that would give us the chance at a better life. They knew that this country is greater than the sum of its parts -– that America is not about the ambitions of any one individual, but the aspirations of an entire people, an entire nation.

That’s who we are. That is our legacy. And I’m convinced that if we’re willing to summon those values today, and if we’re willing to choose hope over fear, and choose the future over the past, and come together once more around the great project of national renewal, then we will restore our economy and rebuild our middle class and reclaim the American Dream for the next generation.

Near the end:
A few weeks ago, the Republican leader of the House came here to Cleveland and offered his party’s answer to our economic challenges. Now, it would be one thing if he had admitted his party’s mistakes during the eight years that they were in power, if they had gone off for a while and meditated, and come back and offered a credible new approach to solving our country’s problems.

But that’s not what happened. There were no new policies from Mr. Boehner. There were no new ideas. There was just the same philosophy that we had already tried during the decade that they were in power — the same philosophy that led to this mess in the first place: Cut more taxes for millionaires and cut more rules for corporations.

Instead of coming together like past generations did to build a better country for our children and grandchildren, their argument is that we should let insurance companies go back to denying care for folks who are sick, or let credit card companies go back to raising rates without any reason. Instead of setting our sights higher, they’re asking us to settle for a status quo of stagnant growth and eroding competitiveness and a shrinking middle class.

Cleveland, that is not the America I know. That is not the America we believe in. A lot has changed since I came here in those final days of the last election, but what hasn’t is the choice facing this country. It’s still fear versus hope; the past versus the future. It’s still a choice between sliding backward and moving forward.

It doesn’t take a genius or financial wizard to understand that tax cuts for the top 2% in our country does nothing to help the rest of Americans. Just look back over the last 8 years since the Bush Tax cuts for the wealthy went into effect what it has done to our economy.


Historic Health Care Reform Signed by The President

Patrick Kennedy left a note for his father the late Ted Kennedy

So What does this mean for Americans? Well for starters we know this much.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act includes health insurance market reforms that will bring immediate benefits to millions of Americans, including those who currently have coverage. The following benefits will be available in the first year after enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Access to Affordable Coverage for the Uninsured with Pre-existing Conditions
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will provide $5 billion in immediate federal support for a new program to provide affordable coverage to uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions.

Coverage under this program will continue until new Exchanges are operational.
Re-insurance for Retiree Health Benefit Plans. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will create immediate access to re-insurance for employer health plans providing coverage for early retirees. This re-insurance will help protect coverage while reducing premiums for employers and retirees.

Closing the Coverage Gap in the Medicare (Part D) Drug Benefit The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will reduce the size of the “donut hole” by raising the ceiling on the initial coverage period by $500 in 2010.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will also guarantee 50 percent price discounts on brand-name drugs and biologics purchased by low and middle-income beneficiaries in the coverage gap.

Small Business Tax Credits
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will offer tax credits to small businesses to make employee coverage more affordable.
Tax credits of up to 50 percent of premiums will be available to firms that choose to offer coverage.

Extension of Dependent Coverage for Young Adults
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will require insurers to permit children to stay on family policies until age 26.

Free Prevention Benefits
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will require coverage of prevention and wellness benefits and exempt these benefits from deductibles and other cost-sharing requirements in public and private insurance coverage.

No Arbitrary Limits on Coverage
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will prohibit insurers from imposing lifetime limits on benefits and will restrict the use of annual limits.

Protection from Rescissions of Existing Coverage
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will stop insurers from rescinding insurance when claims are filed, except in cases of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of material fact.

Prohibits Discrimination Based on Salary
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will prohibit group health plans from establishing any eligibility rules for health care coverage that have the effect of discriminating in favor of higher wage employees.

Ensuring Value for Premium Payments
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will establish standards for insurance overhead to ensure that premiums are spent on health benefits. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will also require public disclosure of overhead and benefit spending and require premium rebates for insurers that exceed established standards for overhead expenses.

Public Access to Comparable Information on Insurance Options
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will enable creation of a new website to provide information on and facilitate informed consumer choice of insurance options.
Health Insurance Consumer Information. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will provide assistance to States in establishing offices of health insurance consumer assistance or health insurance ombudsman programs to assist individuals with the filing of complaints and appeals, enrollment in a health plan, and, eventually, to assist consumers with resolving problems with tax credit eligibility.

Clear Summaries, Without the Fine Print
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will require insurance companies to outline coverage options using a simple and standard format that enables consumers to make an apples-to-apples comparison when they are choosing their health insurance plan.

Appeals Process
Under The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, all health plans will implement an effective appeals process for appeals of coverage determinations and claims.

Administrative Simplification
Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, all health plans will adopt uniform descriptions of plan benefits and appeals procedures and will use uniform forms and claims processing processes to reduce costs.

To see more of what this bill does………….

The White House offers an interactive guide to the bill and how it will affect you ‘Putting Americans in Control of Their Health Care’.

The New York Times also has a great interactive guideline ‘How the Health Care Overhaul Could Affect You’


Who Is The President Fighting For? Us – That’s Who!

Click the First Picture To View in A Separate Slide show

To View More or To Add Yours Visit The I’m Here For Project


Denial, Delusion, Hypocrisy, Hate in full bloom at CPAC

Thursday February 18th was the start of the GOP’s annual CPAC convention. All of the potential hopeful’s for the GOP ticket in 2012 were in appearance. Well that is all but one but she only gives speeches if there is a payment of $100,000 or more so she chose to sit this one out. The hate, hypocrisy, denial and calls for violence were in full attendance as well.

First we have good old Mitt Romney(R-MA).
If you had attended the CPAC event this year, you could have heard Mitt Romney’s great speech about former president George W. Bush. It would have been a very comforting and soothing listen especially when Romney reminded us that there is no longer a threat of terrorism due to GW’s destruction of the Taliban and no recession since GW got us out of one the greatest we’ve ever suffered.

“I am convinced that history will judge President Bush far more kindly — he pulled us from a deepening recession following the attack of 9-11, he overcame teachers unions to test schoolchildren and evaluate schools, he took down the Taliban, waged a war against the jihadists and was not afraid to call it what it is — a war, and he kept us safe. I respect his silence even in the face of the assaults on his record that come from this administration.”

Yep, I know I feel better now don’t you? I didn’t realize we had it so good with GW. Wonder what happened to the economy?

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Or you could have kicked back and enjoyed the inspiring and inciteful speech by another 2012 GOP hopeful Tim Pawlenty(R-MN) who advised those in attendance to think of themselves as similiar to Elin, the wife of recent tabloid fodder Tiger Woods. If they don’t like what the government is doing or how things are going, just smash out the windows.

“At this very hour or very shortly this morning a big event is happening in the United States of America,” Pawlenty said in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference. “Tiger Woods is holding his press conference at 11 o’clock eastern. Now, I think we can learn a lot about that situation,” he said. “Not from Tiger but from his wife. She said, ‘I’ve had enough.’ She said, ‘No more.’ I think we should take a page out of her playbook and take a nine-iron and smash the window out of big government in this country. We’ve had enough.”

Pawlenty also went on to talk about President Obama’s supposed use of a teleprompter when speaking to schoolchildren recently. So Pawlenty isn’t also a proponent of violence, he’s also a proponent of lying.

President Obama was in a grade school classroom speaking to elementary school children and he was using a teleprompter,” Pawlenty said Friday in a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” he added. “That’s not a joke. That’s a real story.”

In reality, Obama sat on a chair and spoke with the pupils without the device. In a different classroom, he used the teleprompter to give scripted remarks on education to television cameras.

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There was also Rep. Steve King (R-IA)who thinks the best way to save America from that black guy in the White House by stopping that black guys mojo.


“He had more mojo than any president that I remember when he was inaugurated a year and a month ago. But now, the master-mesmerizer has lost his mojo,” King said to rousing applause. “And if we stand our ground as constitutional conservatives, he’s not going to get it back.”

Yeah, that’ll do it……….get his mojo, get his mojo.

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You also might have also found yourself overjoyed at a surprise appearance from Darth Vadar himself, former VP Dick Cheney(R-Hell). You remember him right? The man that helped to start two bogus wars, then made sure that the company he once ran as CEO, Haliburton, now Blackwater to be awarded the billion(s) dollar jackpot of the exclusive no-bid contracts to service all needs for both of those wars. You remember him right?


The same man who thought it was not only perfectly legal to torture, but also thought it was perfectly acceptable to spy on Americans. Yeah, him. You might also remember he and his buddy GW had no problem cutting taxes for the top 4% in this country, then saddled the middle and lower class with all the additional taxes needed to make up for it? Or maybe you remember Cheney as the guy who outed a CIA agent because her husband told the truth about the Iraq war and the non-existent WMDs used to justify the war. Yeah him. If you still don’t recall who this Dick Cheney is there’s always the google.

“A welcome like that is almost enough to make me want to run for office again.” When that resulted in an ovation, he smiled and said, “But I’m not gonna do it.”

Those lucky CPAC members were treated to their very own special visit from the Dick himself.

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Or do it Eric Cantor’s(R-VA) way, just say NO. No to everything. It’s what American want.

They don’t want their lives to improve, they don’t want to stop paying high medical bills to cover those that don’t have insurance, they don’t want the right to basic health coverage regardless of previous medical diagnosis, they don’t want their coverage to be affordable, they don’t want all of the services they need to be covered by their plans, they don’t want to be able to go to the doctor, hospital or ER. They don’t want their government making sure they have affordable and effective health care.

Doesn’t Washington get it? We like paying high rates, having our services denied, not being able to afford a doctor or medicine when we’re sick and we like paying high premiums. We get a thrill when we fall behind on our mortgages or have to file bankruptcy due to medical bills. It’s comforting to know health care in America means successful businesses with CEOs taking home huge bonuses and making millions a year. We don’t want to do anything to interfere with their success, we’ll just keep hoping we stay healthy. Don’t worry about us.

“These bills are predicated upon backdoor dealing. They are predicated upon requiring the purchase of health care insurance that has a questionable constitutional origin. These bills are ultimately designed to lead this country to a single payer system, something that the American people reject.”

Cantor insisted that the only way Democrats and Republicans will come to agreement is if the president “push the reset button” on health care legislation. “We will say no,” to his bill, he added, “because that’s what the American people want.”

We especially like watching those we love die unnecessary and painful deaths. It makes us feel so American. Geesh Eric Cantor realizes we like taking up the wazoo, when will the Dems get it?

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 Had you attended CPAC on Friday 02/19 you could have heard the biggest delusion of the day when Viet Dinh, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center and one of the authors of the USA Patriot Act discussed President Obama and terrorism.

Now just to refresh your memory for a second, just what is the USA Patriot Act that Mr. Dinh helped to author all about? Well, the Patriot Act was a connconction of none other than former President George Bush and former VP Dick Cheney came up with as a way to justify spying on American citizens and torture in the name of safety.

Remember it gave them the power to tap our phones, view our e-mail accounts, our internet activity and our snail mail without ever having to notify us they were doing so, while also giving them permission to torture inmates at Guantanamo in violation of the Genenva Convention. Why did we need the Patriot Act? Well 9/11, WMDs, Iraq War, Al-Queda and the Taliban remember? We had to stop them at all costs remember? Stop them no matter what, even if we must violate the U.S. Constitution and the very Americans we represent, even if we must kill those very terrorists.

Yet now, Mr. Dinh who helped author the very document making that legal for Bush and Cheney now is concerned that President Obama just might be killing too many terrorists and that’s a concern? What? I don’t understand? We don’t want to kill or stop the terrorists now?

“Why have executions increased?” asked Viet Dinh, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center and one of the authors of the USA Patriot Act. Citing a recent Washington Post article on the increased targeted killing of terrorists, Dinh complained that “the president and vice president expound this fact as a fact that they are actually successful in war.”

“That doesn’t mean I think they are not illegitimate,” he added. “No, we have every right to kill the other side’s warriors. But at what cost? When we do not have an effective detention policy the only option we have is to kill them before we can detain them. And if we don’t detain them, we don’t know what they know and what they are up to.”

The crowd applauded. Though, it should be noted, Dinh got a scattering of hisses and boos when he defended the Patriot Act.

Hmmmmm, I’m confused more than ever now. So which is it? Get the terrorists or don’t get the terrorists?


The Right: Still Jealous After All This Time

I will never stop being amazed at the number of idiots in this country who are still so spiteful and so jealous of ‘That One’ that they come up with such ridiculous theories and attacks. I understand they think these attacks actually work, but it’s beginning to get old and frankly embarrassing.

I will also NEVER for the life of me understand what is so awful, so anti-American, so dangerous about our President trying to restore some of the diplomacy lost during the Bush/Cheney years? Nor will I ever understand what the crime is in knowing your audience.

We lost a lot during those eight years and did very little to maintain or create new allies or relationships. Any wonder why we’re falling behind.

Since when do we want a President that offends other world leaders? Since when do we want a President that is embarrassing because he doesn’t know the customs of another country? Since when do we want a President that makes our relationships with other countries tenser and more tenuous?

Do we really want a President that offends the very people he’s attempting to have discussions with?

Has the right become such a jealous and hateful bunch that they’d rather he go around the world kicking butt and taking names?

I for one prefer to see my President not only show respect for their customs, but their people as well. I want a President that is admired by other world leaders and citizens even if his politics may not be. I want a President that leaves a positive and long lasting impression on our fellow citizens of the world. I want a President that other world leaders view as not only intelligent, but respectful, yes I said respectful, which is conducive to progress.

Do we want our President to be a laughing stock in other countries?

Or rather a person who is admired and appreciated if nothing else his understanding of the rest of the world.

I know what the majority of us would like, but the rest just want him out of the way.

This little snippet from The Washington Times editor Wesley Pruden’s column on Nov 17 illustrates just how delusional they still are about Barack Obama winning the White House, their White House.

Obama lacks “blood impulse” for what America “is about” due to “Kenyan father,” “mother attracted to men of the Third World”

A little traveling, like a little learning, can be a dangerous thing. Barack Obama on the loose in a foreign land is enough to frighten protocol officers and embarrass the rest of us.

He went off to Asia to tell the Chinese a thing or two about world trade, to prepare the world for a treaty to make the sun change its spots, and of course to pay his respects to assorted heads of state, with particular attention to any royal head (perhaps even including Miss Universe) who crosses his path.

Courtesy of Life Magazine

So far it’s a memorable trip. He established a new precedent for how American presidents should pay obeisance to kings, emperors, monarchs, sovereigns and assorted other authentic man-made masters of the universe. He stopped just this side of the full grovel to the emperor of Japan, risking a painful genuflection if his forehead had hit the floor with a nasty bump, which it almost did. No president before him so abused custom, traditions, protocol (and the country he represents). Several Internet sites published a rogue’s gallery showing how other national leaders – the prime ministers of Israel, India, Slovenia, South Korea, Russia and Dick Cheney among them – have greeted Emperor Akihito with a friendly handshake and an ever-so-slight but respectful nod (and sometimes not even that).

Now we know why Mr. Obama stunned everyone with an earlier similar bow to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, only the bow to the Japanese emperor was far more flamboyant, a sign of a really deep sense of inferiority. He was only practicing his bow in Riyadh. Sometimes rituals are learned with difficulty. It took Bill Clinton months to learn how to return a military salute worthy of a commander in chief; like any draft dodger, he kept poking a thumb in his eye until he finally got it. Mr. Obama, on the other hand, seems right at home now giving a wow of a bow. This is not the way an American president impresses evildoers that he’s strong, tough and decisive, that America is not to be trifled with.

Some of the president’s critics are giving him a hard time, and it’s true that this president seems never to have studied much American history. Not bowing to foreign potentates was what 1776 was all about. His predecessors learned with no difficulty that the essence of America is that all men stand equal and are entitled to look even a king, maybe particularly a king, straight in the eye. Can anyone imagine George Washington, John Adams or Thomas Jefferson making a similar gesture of servile submission? Or Harry Truman? Or FDR, who famously served the lowly hot dog, with ballpark mustard, to the king and queen of England? John F. Kennedy, on the eve of a trip to London, sharply warned Jackie not to curtsy to the queen.

Douglas MacArthur, who ranked above mere heads of state in his own mind, once invented his own protocol on greeting Emperor Hirohito. The emperor, the father of Akihito, wanted to meet MacArthur soon after he arrived to become the military regent of Japan in 1945, perhaps to thank him for saving the throne at the end of World War II. When the emperor invited MacArthur to call on him, the general sent word that the emperor should call on him – speaking of breaches of custom – and the two men were photographed together, astonishing the Japanese. The emperor arrived in full formal dress, cutaway coat and all, and MacArthur received him in summer khakis, sans tie, with his hands stuffed casually in his back pockets. Further astonishing the Japanese, he towered over the diminutive emperor.

Courtesy of Life Magazine

But Mr. Obama, unlike his predecessors, likely knows no better, and many of those around him, true children of the grungy ’60s, are contemptuous of custom. Cutting America down to size is what attracts them to “hope” for “change.” It’s no fault of the president that he has no natural instinct or blood impulse for what the America of “the 57 states” is about. He was sired by a Kenyan father, born to a mother attracted to men of the Third World and reared by grandparents in Hawaii, a paradise far from the American mainstream.

He no doubt wants to “do the right thing” by his lights, but the lights that illumine the Obama path are not necessarily the lights that illuminate the way for most of the rest of us. This is good news only for Jimmy Carter, who may yet have to give up his distinction as our most ineffective and embarrassing president.

The Washington Times might want to get a new editor since Mr. Pruden seems not only challenged in his history and facts, but also appears not to understand quite how ‘The Google’ works. For that matter maybe he needs a lesson in ‘The Internet’ because he doesn’t seem to realize that it is full of proof that President Obama isn’t the only US Leader to show respect.

Maybe Mr. Pruden would have seen this article in The New York Times about one George H.W. Bush……………………….

Then came the moment: When Mr. Bush approached the emperor’s casket, he bowed deeply.

Those of us who had lived in Japan thought nothing of it. That is how respect is shown in Japan. But the pre-cable pundits were screaming, and soon one of our colleagues, the late Gerald Boyd, asked Mr. Bush about it at a news conference.

Mr. Bush danced around an answer for a moment, mentioning members of his squadron who never came home, and Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s decision to keep the emperor system, as a way of unifying the Japanese people. Then he said this:

I’m representing the United States of America. And we’re talking about a friend, and we’re talking about an ally. We’re talking about a nation with whom we have constructive relationships. Sure, we got some problems, but that was all overriding — and respect for the Emperor. And remember back in World War II, if you’d have predicted that I would be here, because of the hard feeling and the symbolic nature of the problem back then of the former Emperor’s standing, I would have said, “No way.” But here we are, and time moves on; and there is a very good lesson for civilized countries in all of this.

So did President Obama violate protocol? Well, yes, but not by bowing. He made the mistake of both shaking hands and bowing at the same time, a big breach of etiquette. The truth was that he was supposed to choose one or the other.

Maybe Mr. Pruden needs a refresher course on etiquette AND history?


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