Jaar Tweedag 349 Obama -administrasie 4 Januarie 2010 - Geskiedenis

Jaar Tweedag 349 Obama -administrasie 4 Januarie 2010 - Geskiedenis

10:15 kom die eerste gesin by die Andrews -lugmagbasis aan

10:30 kom die eerste gesin by die White House South Lawn aan

16:30 vergader die PRESIDENT met die Oval Office van die Sekretaris van Defensie, Gates

Die president word hierbo getoon en onderteken 35 klein wetsontwerpe.


Goeie Donderdagoggend. EKSKLUSIEF: Robert Gibbs is die perssekretaris van die Withuis, het 'n top -demokratiese amptenaar aan Politico gesê. Die aankondiging sal waarskynlik deur verslaggewers verwelkom word, want Gibbs, wat gewoonlik die senior assistent van Air Obama was, het onbetwiste gesag, toegang en institusionele geheue. As kommunikasie -direkteur van die kantoor van die Senaat, het Gibbs gehelp om Obama se meteoriese styging op die nasionale verhoog te beplan en te verpak.

Gibbs, die trots van Auburn, Ala.

Uit sy aankondiging in Julie oor die promosie: "Robert Gibbs, een van senator Obama se langste en naaste assistente, is verhef tot senior strateeg vir kommunikasie en boodskap en neem 'n breër strategiese portefeulje vir die herfsveldtog aan terwyl hy steeds dien as senior kommunikasiehulp op reis met senator Obama. ”

Hoedpunt vir NBC se Chuck Todd, wat oor "Today" berig: "Robert Gibbs is waarskynlik die man agter die podium wat die bekende gesig van die administrasie sal word."

Die Elisabeth Bumiller van die N.Y. Times, wat die Pentagon -klop bereik het, het 'n heerlike lykskouing van die McCain -veldtog wat Randy Scheunemann as 'n "gif" -lek vir William Kristol wys en berig dat goewerneur Palin nie voorberei het op haar onderhoude met Katie Couric nie. (Oeps.) Bumiller beskryf 'n 'burgeroorlog' tussen die McCain- en Palin -spanne. Bespreek hieronder. MAAR EERSTE:

BESTUUR VAN DIE DAG: Die perskorps van Obama hoop vandag op 'n nuuskonferensie, terwyl Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) Formeel 'n pos aanvaar wat hy beslis sal aanvaar. (Laat Barack Obama verstyf lyk oor sy eerste besluit as die president wat verkies is? Uh, dit sou 'n 'nee' wees.) Amptelike bronne bevestig dat die pos aangebied is, maar ontken dat dit aanvaar is.

VANDAG NUUS - The We Campaign, 'n projek van The Alliance for Climate Protection - 'n nie -winsgewende, onpartydige poging wat deur Nobelpryswenner en voormalige vise -president Al Gore gestig is, vanaf die vrystelling: 'Vanaf 6 November sal 'n reeks nuwe advertensies verskyn op televisie, in druk en aanlyn. Die eerste advertensie stel die vraag: 'Nou wat' Die antwoord: 'Ons volk het pas geskiedenis gemaak. Ons het 'n historiese geleentheid om ons ekonomie 'n hupstoot te gee en Amerika binne 10 jaar met 100% skoon elektrisiteit te herstel. Dit sal nuwe Amerikaanse werkgeleenthede skep, ons verslawing aan vuil steenkool en buitelandse olie beëindig en die klimaatkrisis oplos. … Groot probleme het groot oplossings nodig. Die geskiedenis kyk. ’

PERSOON tydskrifvoorblad, met 'n glimlag en 'n vlagpen: "Barack Obama MAKES GESKIEDENIS!" Met plaag oor “Julianne Hough’s Surgery (‘ I Was So Bang ’)” en “BEYONCE My Best Dresses.”

TIME se herdenkingsuitgawe, met 'n portret van senator Obama Dinsdagaand in Chicago, is vandag op stand, 'n dag voor die gewone skedule. (Dit is dieselfde TYD wat 'n voorblad van Joe Klein in Oktober 2006 uitgevoer het, "Waarom Barack Obama die volgende president kan wees."

Nancy Gibbs, die digterpryswenner van presidente, skryf in "Hoe Barack Obama die boek herskryf": "Sommige prinse word in paleise gebore. Sommige word in mangers gebore. Maar 'n paar word in die verbeelding gebore, uit stukke geskiedenis en hoop. ... Ons kry die leiers wat ons verdien. En as ons hulle optel en dit dan afsny, weier om te volg, tensy hulle ons na Disneyland neem, dan kan geen president, hoe welsprekend, hoe histories ook al sy mandaat of deurdringende gevoel, wat ons moet doen, ons neem waarheen ons kan gaan nie weier om te gaan. Dit het nie alles op die verkiesingsdag geëindig nie, het Obama telkens gesê toe hy praat oor die moontlikheid dat gewone mense buitengewone dinge kan doen. En so is ons bloot aan die einde van die begin. ”

Nancy se ThinkPad is Smithsonian-gebonde. (Dramatiese voorlesings van die stuk is beskikbaar by Matt Cooper.)

In die slot sekondes van gisteraand se "Law & amp Order", vra 'n verslaggewer vir DA Jack McCoy terwyl hy 'n pers op die trappe van die hof verlaat: & quotMnr. McCoy: Is dit waar dat u gevra is om by die Obama -administrasie aan te sluit? & Quot (wenk: Jason Miller, nou by Dezenhall Resources)

PODESTA SAL NIE NA DIE REGERING KEER NIE-Oorgangsleier John PODESTA vertel "Think Progress", die blog van sy Center for American Progress: "Ek is geëerd dat ek gevra is om die oorgang van die president tot die nuwe regering te help organiseer. Vir hierdie doel neem ek tydelike verlof gedurende die oorgangstydperk. Soos ek Sen. Obama en die rade van CAP en CAPAF aangeraai het, sal ek nie by die nuwe administrasie aansluit nie en sal ek na American Progress terugkeer nadat die oorgang beëindig is. ” (Hoedwenk: Ryan Grim)

BAIE DANKIE VIR DIE KLEIN VOGEL WAT ONS GEHOU HET OM HOM OP ONS AGG -LYS TE LAAT.

Laaste politiekopgawe: 349 Obama -verkiesingsstemme - 56 (+5) setels in die Demokratiese Senaat - 251 (+19) setels in die Demokratiese Huis

John Bresnahan en Patrick O'Connor van Politico, "Huisgenote vier met interne gevegte": "Dinsdag se verkiesing het moontlik die speaker van die huis, Nancy Pelosi, die magtigste vrou in die Amerikaanse politieke geskiedenis gemaak, maar sy kry nie veel tyd om dit te vier nie: sommige van die haar kollegas beskuldig haar daarvan dat sy beplan het om 'n gewilde voorsitter van die komitee omver te werp, en die moontlike vertrek van Rahm Emanuel kan nuwe gevegte vir plekke in haar leierskapspan meebring. In 'n stap wat baie van sy kollegas geskok het, het Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) Woensdag aangekondig dat hy rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) Sal uitdaag vir die voorsitterskap van die House Energy and Commerce Committee. Dingell is 'n gewilde 'Old Bull' wat waarskynlik die ondersteuning sal kry van sy mede -komiteevoorsitters, wat die optrede van Waxman as 'n bedreiging vir die geheime senioriteitstelsel beskou. Maar daar is 'n geskiedenis van slegte bloed tussen Dingell en Pelosi - sy het hom verlede jaar van gesag ontneem oor aardverwarmingskwessies - en sommige van Dingell se bondgenote vermoed dat Pelosi en haar naaste vertroueling in die huis, rep. George Miller van Kalifornië, agter Waxman's staan opstand. ”

SCOOP - Patrick O'Connor van Politico sê dit blyk dat "Minority Whip Roy Blunt ... opsy sal tree en 'n onvermydelike uitdaging van sy top -adjunk, Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor, sal vermy." Boehner lyk veilig.

AP: 'Senator Taska Stevens van Alaska ... lê voor, maar slegs ongeveer 3500 stemme skei die Republikein van die Demokratiese uitdager Mark Begich. Stevens se politieke toekoms is nou afhanklik van ongeveer 60 000 stembriewe wat afwesig was en 9 000 vroeë stemme en stembriewe wat bevraagteken is. Die stemme word dae lank nie getel nie.

Bogenoemde Chuck Todd, oor 'Today', is die Amerikaanse senaatwedloop tussen Norm Coleman en die komediant Al Franken: 'Beslis 'n verhaal in Minnesota, so ons sal 'n maand lank niks in Minnesota weet nie. In Georgië, die 50-persentasiepunt vir 'n afloop, sit Saxby Chambliss op ongeveer 49,9, so daar kan 'n telling wees om dit te bepaal. Ons sal sien. Oregon lyk asof die Demokrate die een sal optel. ”

VERJAARDAG MEISIE: Herfs VandeHei.

TOP BUZZ-Reuters se Matthew Bigg, "Michelle Obama: nuwe styl van presidentsvrou": "Michelle Obama bring die vaardighede van 'n korporatiewe prokureur na die Withuis as presidentsvrou by die gekose president Barack Obama, maar sy sê dat haar prioriteit sal wees haar rol as 'hoofma' vir die egpaar se twee dogters. ... Michelle Obama het sedert die byeenkoms teruggekeer uit die kollig, al trek sy groot menigtes terwyl sy solo vir haar man kampanje voer. Sy is baie gewild onder Demokrate wat hulself toewy aan die sterkte en slimheid wat sy voorhou. ”

REALITEITSKONTROLE van Rick Klein van ABC: 'Wat Rahm Emanuel weet terwyl hy hom voorberei om die belangrikste taak in die Withuis van Obama te beklee: Mandate en wittebrood klink baie lekker totdat jy begin stem. ... John Dingell en Dave Obey het Barack Obama nie nodig gehad om voorsitters te word nie - en hy hoef ook nie sy voorsitterskap te behou nie. ... Dit was makliker om die Rahm -pas te hou voordat hy kinders gehad het. ”

N.Y. Voorblad: "BAMELOT: Kennedys hoog op Barack se kabinetslys."

Eksklusief vir gister se bekendstelling van "Politico 44", ons nuwe middelpunt van die Withuis: "Obama oorweeg dit sterk om Robert F. Kennedy jr. Aan die hoof van die Environmental Protection Agency te staan ​​... oorweeg vir die Amerikaanse ambassadeur by die Verenigde Nasies, ... Obama-adviseurs het gesê dat die benoeming [van Robert Kennedy] beide senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (DN.Y.) en senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) sal behaag. Dit sal ook die profiel van die EPA verhoog. ”

KONTROLEER: Obama se Italiaanse "Canali" -etiket in 'n Reuters -prent op bladsy A30 van vandag se WashPost.

SHOT - WashPost -voorblad - "Obama -ondersteuners se vieringe: regoor die land, 'It's Like a New Aura.'

CHASER - Wall Street Journal, C1: 'Ekonomiese bekommernisse bring 'n roete: in 'n ander herinnering dat asemrowende struikelblokke die nuwe norm is, het die Dow -nyweraars 486,01 punte gedaal, 'n dag nadat hulle 305 punte gestyg het op 'n golf van wêreldwye optimisme.'

Die (Britse) voog: "Obama se nuwe Amerika." The (London) Daily Telegraph: "Die droom word waar." ... The (London) Times: Obama gaan aan die werk. ”

KOERANTVERKOPE: John Solomon, uitvoerende redakteur van Washington Times - 'Ons het 'n buitengewone ervaring gehad van gewone burgers wat heeldag en nag langs ons oprit ry op soek na afskrifte van ons' President Obama 'voorblad. Ons het vanoggend gereageer met 'n spesiale herdenkingsafdeling, wat 'n replika van die voorblad van Woensdagoggend bevat. Uit Solomon's Analysis wat die gedeelte open: 'Hy het 'n beweging gelei wat die kieskaart hervorm het en die laaste rassehindernis in die Amerikaanse politiek afgebreek het, 'n struikelblok so oud soos die land self. En ongeag die rekord wat hy as president maak, die geskiedenis se maatstaf sal byna seker die gebeure van 4 November 2008 gebruik om Obama se groot opkoms tot presidentskap te vergroot. ”

Editor & amp Publisher tydskrif aanlyn: “Die New York Times druk nog 50 000 eksemplare van [Woensdag] se historiese koerant uit… ... 'Dit het binne enkele ure verdwyn,' het 'n woordvoerder gesê. ... & quot Meer as 200 advertensies was op Ebay ... vir die presidensiële koerantuitgawes van Obama, met minstens een wat $ 100 vir 'n New York Times -eksemplaar soek. Die meeste ander wissel van $ 6 tot $ 25. Die Chicago Tribune het aangekondig dat dit nog 200.000 eksemplare sal druk en versprei ... in 7-11 winkels, terwyl The Los Angeles Times, wat die persversending verhoog het ... met 40.000, nou nog 42.000 eksemplare druk om aan die vraag te voldoen ... USA Today is ook volgens 'n personeellid die persdruk verhoog met ongeveer 500 000 eksemplare. 'Ons het mense in ons voorportaal wat wag op afskrifte van die koerant,' het Jennifer Morrow, eksterne kommunikasiebestuurder van die Atlanta Journal-Constitution, gesê. ... [Vroeë] navrae het die AJC, wat gewoonlik 50 000 enkele eksemplare afdruk, gevra om dit tot 150 000 vandag te verhoog. Dit beplan ook 'n spesiale afdeling vir Sondag. ”
Voorblad van die spesiale WashPost -middag "gedenkuitgawe."

HOE HET HY DIT GEDOEN - WashPost A1: 'Demokrate voeg voorstede by hul groeiende koalisie.'

TWEE ONTLEDINGS OP DIE VELDOE VANDAG VANDAG: Kathy Kiely: "Obama neem krisisse met rus - hoe hy gewen het: Optimis het ongelukke herhaaldelik in geleentheid verander."
David Jackson: 'Die missie van McCain was onmoontlik - hoe hy verloor het: kritici sê dat die geëerde veteraan die doelwit op sy boodskap misgeloop het en dat finansiering nie verdiskonteer kan word nie.'

BUMILLER TO THE PENTAGON - The Daily Northwestern: 'Elisabeth Bumiller, 'n Medill -gegradueerde uit 1977, behandel sedert die voorverkiesing president John McCain se presidensiële veldtog vir The New York Times. ... 'Ek neem 'n rukkie en dan dek ek die Pentagon.' '(Hoed: Romenesko)

BESTE AUTOPSIE-"CIVIL WAR"-Palin het hom nie voorberei op Couric-onderhoude nie-Elisabeth Bumiller het alles vertel met 'n Phoenix-dateline: "[A] burgeroorlog tussen haar veldtog en McCain's ... het van middel September tot oomblikke gewoed voor meneer McCain se toegewingsrede Dinsdagaand. Teen daardie tyd was mev. Palin slegs in seldsame kontak met McCain, het topadviseurs gesê. ... woede in die McCain -kamp dat mev. Palin politieke ambisies na 2008 gehad het ... Tot laat Dinsdagaand, het 'n adviseur van McCain gesê, het mevrouw Palin aangedring om haar eie toespraak te lewer net voor mnr. praat nie tradisioneel op die verkiesingsaand nie. Maar mevrou Palin ontmoet meneer McCain met teks in die hand. Mark Salter, een van McCain se naaste raadgewers, en Steve Schmidt, die beste strateeg van mnr. McCain, het vir haar gesê. …

'Adviseurs in die McCain -veldtog, deur aan te dui dat Palin -adviseurs skadelike inligting oor die McCain -veldtog aan die nuusmedia uitgelek het, het gesê dat hulle veral agterdogtig is oor Randy Scheunemann, mnr. Palin vir die vise -presidensiële debat. Gevolglik het twee senior lede van die McCain -veldtog Woensdag gesê dat Scheunemann in die laaste dae uit die veldtog ontslaan is. Maar Rick Davis, die veldtogbestuurder van McCain, en Salter, een van McCain se naaste adviseurs, het Woensdag gesê dat Scheunemann in werklikheid nie ontslaan is nie. Mnr. Scheunemann, wat Woensdagmiddag die telefoon in sy kantoor by die hoofkwartier van die McCain -veldtog opgetel het, het geantwoord dat 'enigiemand wat sê ek is afgedank, 'n leuen of 'n dwaling is'

'[Die] adviseurs het gesê dat hulle sterk glo dat Scheunemann, soos 'n mens dit stel,' 'n konstante stroom gif 'aan William Kristol, die redakteur van die konserwatiewe Weekly Standard en 'n rubriekskrywer van The New York Times, bekend maak. ... meneer Kristol het gesê ... 'Randy Scheunemann is 'n vriend van my en ek dink hy het hom goed van sy taak gekwyt. Ek het met hom gepraat, maar ek het met baie mense tydens die veldtog gepraat. 'Die McCain -kamp was verder ontsteld oor mevrou Palin se onderhoud met me. Couric ... me. Palin, wat voorberei het op en 'n eerste onderhoud met Charles Gibson oorleef het van ABC News, het nie die tyd of fokus gehad om voor te berei vir mevrou Couric nie, het die McCain -adviseurs gesê. 'Sy het nie gesê:' Ek sal nie voorberei nie ',' het 'n adviseur van McCain gesê. 'Sy het net nie 'n bandwydte gehad om 'n bespotlike onderhoudsessie te doen soos ons voorheen voorberei het nie. Sy was net oorlaai. ’”

USA Today -vaandel: '' ''n Droom vervul': Obama bied 'n poshoof aan Emanuel Bush aan en noem oorwinning 'opbouend'. ”

OOR LAASTE NAG - Jay Leno se monoloog: 'Natuurlik was daar 'n groot viering by die hoofkwartier van Barack Obama - andersins bekend as MSNBC. ... U besef dat dit ons eerste swart president is sedert die eerste seisoen van '24. 'Dit is histories! ... Mense was bekommerd oor die 'Bradley -effek.' Dit is blykbaar nie naastenby so sterk soos die Bush -effek nie. ... Ek moet erken dat ek as komediant president Bush gaan mis. Barack Obama is nie maklik om grappies oor te maak nie - hy gee jou nie veel om aan te gaan nie. Kyk, daarom het God vir ons Joe Biden gegee. As een deur toemaak, gaan 'n ander een oop. ... Het u die hologram -ding gesien wat hulle op CNN gebruik het? ... Dit is dieselfde tegnologie wat hulle gebruik om Larry King te laat lyk asof hy nog lewe. ”
En terwyl Jay 'n grap maak oor 'konings' in die hologram, slaan 'n vreemdeling Wolf Blitzer uit.

DIE UI: "Bush: 'Kan ek nou ophou om president te wees?'"

NIE DIE UI nie - 'Bacon wen Fries in 'n lekker Colorado -wedloop: LOVELAND, Colo. (AP) ... die posbekleër van die demokraat, Bob Bacon, verslaan die Republikeinse uitdager Matt Fries [vir die Colorado -senaat] Dinsdag met 63 persent tot 37. " Jammer, AP: Dit word uitgespreek as 'vries'.

DESSERT - Wall Street Journal, 'A Race to Deliver Election Books', Deur Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg: 'Politieke titels in die werke bevat 'n insider -kyk na die presidensiële veldtog deur Haynes Johnson, 'n wenner van die Pulitzerprys, en Dan Balz, 'n Washington Pos verslaggewer. Die boek wat nog nie getiteld is nie, word in die herfs van 2009 gepubliseer deur Penguin's Viking imprint, wat deel uitmaak van Pearson PLC se Penguin Group (VSA). 'Ons doel is om die beste verhaalgeskiedenis van die hele veldtog te skryf, want dit was een van die belangrikste en fassinerende veldtogte wat die land deurgemaak het,' het Balz gesê. 'N Mededingende titel deur joernaliste John Heilemann, nasionale politieke rubriekskrywer vir New York Magazine, en Mark Halperin, senior politieke ontleder by die tydskrif Time en redakteur van' The Page ', 'n politieke wenkblad by Time.com, is ook aan die gang. Tim Duggan, uitvoerende redakteur van die Harper imprint, wat in besit is van HarperCollins Publishers van News Corp., het gesê die boek het nog nie 'n publikasiedatum nie. 'Dit gaan die verhaal agter die skerms wees van die belangrikste verkiesing van ons tyd,' het mnr. Duggan gesê. News Corp besit ook The Wall Street Journal. Boonop publiseer PublicAffairs, 'n afdruk van Perseus Books LLC, vroeg in Januarie 'A Long Time Coming: The Historic, Combative, Expensive and Inspiring 2008 Election and the Victory of Barack Obama' deur Evan Thomas en die personeel van Newsweek. Elke vier jaar sluit Newsweek 'n spesiale span in albei veldtogte in, en 'n spesiale verkiesingskwessie word aangebied. Die weergawe van hierdie jaar word Donderdag verkoop. Die boek, wat in Januarie verskyn, sal addisionele materiaal bevat, sê Peter Osnos, die stigter en hoofredakteur van PublicAffairs. 'Daar is mense vir wie hierdie onderwerp onweerstaanbaar is,' het hy bygevoeg. Die vinnige ommekeer van die Newsweek -boek maak die heer Osnos hoopvol - 75 000 eksemplare word gedruk - maar die spoed van vandag se nuussiklus het sommige van hierdie boeke riskanter gemaak. 'Die konvensionele wysheid is dat hierdie boeke ou nuus is teen die tyd dat dit gepubliseer word, en daarom wil die meeste uitgewers dit nie hê nie,' sê Jonathan Karp, uitgewer en hoofredakteur van Twaalf, 'n afdruk van Hachette Livre van Lagardere SCA. ”

Uit Dave Letterman se TOP TEN STOME DINGE AMERIKANE Sê VIR BRITS: 'Weet u wat, moet Engeland sy eie weergawe van' The Office 'doen. "


Obama se goedkeuring die meeste gepolariseer vir die eerstejaarspresident

PRINCETON, NJ-Die gaping van 65 persentasiepunte tussen Demokrate ' (88%) en Republikeine ' (23%) se gemiddelde posgoedkeuring vir Barack Obama is maklik die grootste vir enige president in sy eerste ampstermyn, wat baie groter is die vorige hoogtepunt van 52 punte vir Bill Clinton.

Oor die algemeen het Obama gemiddeld 57% werkgoedkeuring onder alle Amerikaners gehad vanaf sy inhuldiging tot aan die einde van sy eerste volle jaar op 19 Januarie. Hy het in die amp gekom om die land te verenig, en sy aanvanklike goedkeuringsgraderings was onder die beste vir post-wêreld Presidente van die Tweede Wêreldoorlog, insluitend gemiddeld 41% goedkeuring van Republikeine in sy eerste week in die amp. Maar hy verloor vinnig die grootste deel van sy Republikeinse steun, met sy goedkeuring onder Republikeine in die middel van Februarie onder 30% en in Augustus onder 20%. Gedurende die jaar het sy goedkeuring onder Demokrate 80%oorskry, en dit het min gedaal, selfs al het sy algehele goedkeuringsgradering van die middel 60's tot ongeveer 50%gedaal.

Die buitengewone polarisasievlak in die eerste jaar van Obama in die amp is dus 'n kombinasie van dalende steun van Republikeine, tesame met hoë en volgehoue ​​goedkeuring van die Demokrate. Trouens, sy 88% gemiddelde goedkeuring van sy eie party se ondersteuners word slegs deur George W. Bush se 92% oorskry tydens Bush se eerste ampstermyn. Obama se goedkeuring van 23% onder ondersteuners van die opposisieparty stem ooreen met Bill Clinton en die laagste vir 'n eerstejaarspresident. Maar Clinton was minder gewild onder die Demokrate as wat Obama tot dusver was, wat die waardering van Obama meer gepolariseer het.

Obama het nog drie jaar oor in sy eerste termyn en moontlik nog sewe as president, so daar is baie tyd om die polarisasie van sy goedkeuringsgraderings te verminder. As die huidige polarisasievlak egter aan die einde van sy termyn voortduur, sou Obama Bush as die president met die meeste gepolariseerde goedkeuringsgraderings oorskry.

Bush se gemiddelde Republikeins-Demokratiese gaping vir sy agt jaar in die amp was 61 punte. Dit bevat die rekordgaping vir 'n enkele goedkeuring: 83 punte, wat twee keer plaasgevind het - in September 2004 (95% Republikein, 12% Demokraties) en Oktober 2004 (94% Republikein, 11% Demokraties).

Die politieke verdeeldheid in Bush se graderings word egter in 'n mate onderskat, gegewe die toename in openbare steun vir Bush na die terreuraanvalle van 11 September, toe hy rekord-hoë goedkeuring gekry het. Selfs met hierdie goedkeuringsgraderings, was hy gemiddeld 'n gaping van 55 punte in die goedkeuring deur die party tydens sy eerste termyn. Gedurende sy tweede termyn was die gemiddelde partygaping in sy graderings 68 punte, hoër as Obama's tot dusver.

Die meegaande grafiek maak duidelik hoeveel die politieke polarisasie in Amerikaanse evaluerings van presidente die afgelope dekades gegroei het. Voor Ronald Reagan was geen president gemiddeld meer as 'n 40-punt gaping in die graderings van goedkeuring deur die party sedert sy ampstermyn nie, maar slegs die ouer George Bush het gemiddeld minder as 'n 50-punt-gaping gehad, insluitend die gemiddelde gaping van Obama op 65-punte tot op hede.

Bottom Line

As kandidaat en as president het Obama, net soos sy onmiddellike voorganger, Bush, probeer om Amerikaners bymekaar te bring na periodes van toenemende politieke polarisasie in die Verenigde State. Maar ten spyte van hul beste bedoelings en pogings, word beide mans se goedkeuringsgraderings gekenmerk deur uiterste partydigheid - met 'n hoë en skynbaar onwrikbare goedkeuring van hul eie party se ondersteuners en baie min van die opposisieparty.

Die manier waarop Amerikaners presidente beskou, het die afgelope dekades duidelik verander, miskien as gevolg van die toename in verskeidenheid, bronne en selfs politisering van nuus op kabeltelevisie en die internet, en die voortgesette gewildheid van polities georiënteerde praatradio. Die uitkoms is dat Amerikaners hul presidente en ander politieke leiers evalueer deur toenemend dik partydige lense.


Obama -administrasie kondig betaalde siekteverlof aan vir regeringskontrakteurs - en 'n nuwe beleid om betaalverskille aan te spreek

Die Obama -administrasie het Donderdag twee nuwe reëls aangekondig wat volgens hom werkende gesinne sal bevorder. Vanaf volgende jaar moet kontrakteurs van die federale regering betaalde siekteverlof aan werknemers verskaf, en groot ondernemings moet aan die regering rapporteer hoe hulle werknemers volgens ras en geslag betaal.

Die opdaterings weerspieël die behoeftes van die moderne arbeidsmag, het Valerie Jarrett, senior adviseur van die Withuis, gesê en is bedoel om die sukkelende broodwinners in die land op te hef. Teenstanders van albei maatreëls sê dat hulle besighede oorlaai en werkgeleenthede kan bedreig.

"Om 'n werkplek van die 21ste eeu te bou wat wêreldwyd mededingend is," het Jarrett gesê, "moet werkgewers die werkplekbeleid van die 21ste eeu aanvaar."

Volgens die Departement van Arbeid sal die betaalde siekteverlofmandaat, wat slegs deur die regering gevraagde kontrakte raak, ongeveer 1,1 miljoen werkers bereik. Geskikte werknemers verdien een uur betaalde siekteverlof vir elke 30 wat hulle werk.

Thomas Perez, minister van arbeid, het gesê gesinne wat 'n dag of twee se lone verloor, loop die risiko om in armoede te beland. 'Dit is die verskil tussen kos op die tafel,' het hy gesê, 'en gas in die tenk.'

Die maatreël kom 'n jaar nadat president Obama die eerste keer 'n uitvoerende bevel onderteken het wat federale kontrakteurs dwing om betaalde siekteverlof te gee en sewe maande nadat die departement van arbeid 'n konsep van die richtlijn bekend gemaak het. Perez het gesê dat die Withuis sal voortgaan om die voordeel vir alle werkers oop te maak.

'Betaalde siekteverlof is nie net 'n noodsaaklikheid vir die gesin nie,' het hy gesê. 'Dit is 'n ekonomiese noodsaaklikheid en 'n noodsaaklikheid vir openbare gesondheid.'

Die departement van arbeid beraam dat die verlof vir die jaar gemiddeld $ 349,5 miljoen sal kos

Carrie Lukas, besturende direkteur van die Independent Women's Forum, 'n regs-denkende dinkskrum in Washington, DC, het gesê werkers sal uiteindelik die rekening aanvaar. "Ons erken dat alle Amerikaners - mans en vroue - verlof van hul werk moet neem om persoonlike aangeleenthede aan te spreek," het sy Donderdag in 'n verklaring gesê. meer geld in hul salarisse eerder as gewaarborgde afbetaalde tyd. ”

Advokate vir betaalde verlof beskou die program as 'n belegging, wat werkers produktief en gesond sal hou.

Tydens die H1NI -uitbraak in 2008 het ongeveer 7 miljoen mense byvoorbeeld die gogga opgedoen en 1,500 is dood omdat aansteeklike werknemers nie tuis gebly het nie, volgens die American Public Health Association. In 'n Augustus -studie van die Stefan Pichler van die Switserse Ekonomiese Instituut en Nicolas Ziebarth van die Cornell -universiteit, is bevind dat Amerikaanse stede wat die afgelope dekade betaalde siekteverlof aangeneem het - insluitend San Francisco en Washington, DC - gemiddeld 5 persent daal.

Die Kommissie vir Gelyke Indiensnemingsgeleenthede sal intussen begin met die insameling van summiere betaaldata van werkgewers met meer as 100 werkers, met inligting oor werknemersvergoeding volgens geslag, ras, etnisiteit en poskategorie. Die vereiste, wat in Januarie vir die eerste keer voorgestel is, dra by tot die regering se papierwerk wat sulke ondernemings jaarliks ​​by die regering indien, sê Jenny Yang, voorsitter van die EEOC.


Geweerwette onderteken deur Obama Uitgebreide regte

Gedurende sy eerste termyn het Obama geen groot nuwe beperkings op wapens of wapeneienaars gevra nie. In plaas daarvan het hy die owerhede aangemoedig om die staats- en federale wette wat reeds op die boeke is, af te dwing. Trouens, Obama het slegs twee groot wette onderteken wat handel oor die manier waarop wapens in Amerika vervoer word, en beide brei eintlik die regte van wapeneienaars uit.

Een van die wette stel wapeneienaars in staat om wapens in nasionale parke te dra, die wet het in Februarie 2012 in werking getree en het president Ronald Reagan se beleid vervang wat vereis dat wapens in handskoenkompartemente van katte van motors wat nasionale parke binnegaan, toegesluit moet word.

'N Ander wapenwet wat deur Obama onderteken is, laat Amtrak -passasiers toe om gewere in ingepakte bagasie te dra, 'n stap wat 'n maatreël wat na die terreuraanvalle van 11 September 2001 ingestel is, omgedraai het.


Obama het ondanks ou retoriek die mees fiskaal -onverantwoordelike president van die geskiedenis geword

In 'n veldtogrede in Junie 2008 in Raleigh, Noord-Carolina, destyds sen. Barack Obama Barack Hussein ObamaObama: Wetsontwerp op stemreg moet aanvaar word voor die volgende verkiesing Die wêreld se mees passievolle UFO -skeptikus teenoor die regering Biden beplan om Obama aan te bied vir portret onthulling wat Trump oorgeslaan het: berig MEER teen die "berg van skuld" en roekelose belastingkode.

"Die beleid van George Bush het ons van 'n beraamde surplus van $ 5,6 biljoen aan die einde van die Clinton -administrasie tot groot tekorte en byna $ 4 triljoen nuwe skuld vandag geneem," het Obama gesê. 'Ons is 'n fiskale konserwatief belowe. In plaas daarvan het ons die mees fiskaal -onverantwoordelike administrasie in die geskiedenis gekry. ”

Dit is moeilik om te argumenteer met die grondslag van die ontleding van kandidaat Obama, Republikeine en die Bush-administrasie het in die vroeë en middel 2000's veels te veel geld bestee. Een ontleding deur Veronique de Rugy by die Mercatus -sentrum bereken die grootte van die federale begroting wat met president Bush toegeneem het met meer as 50 persent, en de Rugy het bevind dat diskresionêre uitgawes met die boekjaar met 96 % gestyg het tussen die boekjaar 2002 en die boekjaar 2009. Hierdie kommerwekkende statistieke is die teenoorgestelde van wat 'n mens na bewering van 'fiskaal konserwatiewe' president kan verwag.

Al die goeie punte wat kandidaat Obama gemaak het, blyk egter verlore te gaan op president Obama, wat volgens sy eie standaarde nie net veel erger sou wees as wat George W. Bush ooit was nie, hy sou die nuwe “mees fiskaal onverantwoordelik ”president in die geskiedenis.

Teen die tyd dat Obama in Januarie sy amp verlaat, het hy die reeds groot nasionale skuld byna verdubbel, en byna $ 10 biljoen bygevoeg sedert 2009. Dit is nog meer afgryslik dat Obama byna net soveel nasionale skuld sal toevoeg as elke ander president en kongres. voor hom - gekombineer.

Obama se ondersteuners sal sê, soos van die begin af, so 'n groot hoeveelheid staatsuitgawes was nodig om te voorkom dat een van die ergste ekonomiese ineenstortings in die moderne geskiedenis tot 'n tweede groot depressie lei. Maar selfs as ons aanneem dat groot finansiële hulpverleninge van miljarde dollar nodig was en die aanvanklike belegging werd was, is dit moeilik om te dink hoe iemand op hierdie stadium kan argumenteer met die ander biljoene dollars aan uitgawes wat die ekonomie die 'n hupstoot gee vir Obama en die Demokrate het belowe dat hulle dit sou doen.

Neem byvoorbeeld die American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, wat in Februarie 2009 aangeneem is. Hierdie "stimuleringspakket" van $ 830 miljard sou die werkloosheid bo 8 persent laat beweeg, maar teen April 2009 het die werkloosheidsyfer 9 persent bereik en dit sou eers in Oktober 2011 onder die punt terugsak-en selfs toe daal dit grootliks as gevolg van miljoene mense wat uit die arbeidsmag val, nie as gevolg van beduidende ekonomiese verbetering nie.

Ondanks die triljoene dollars aan staatsuitgawes wat elke jaar onder Obama in die ekonomie ingepomp word, het Amerika nog nooit een keer 'n jaarlikse BBP -groeikoers van 3 persent of hoër geniet nie, wat Obama die minste suksesvolle president gemaak het - ten minste wat ekonomie betref - in die moderne tyd geskiedenis.

'N Histories trae BBP is nie die enigste bron van aandag nie. Onder die ampstermyn van Obama het die gemiddelde jaarlikse inskrywing van voedselstempels met meer as 15 miljoen gestyg (vergeleke met 2008). Die huiseienaarskapskoers is die laagste sedert 1995, die vroegste jaar wat in die mees onlangse verslag van die Amerikaanse sensusburo verskaf is. Die Buro vir Arbeidsstatistiek berig dat meer as 590 000 Amerikaners sê dat hulle nie in die arbeidsmag is nie omdat hulle moedeloos is, 'n syfer wat 26 persent hoër is as selfs die slegste jaarlikse gemiddelde onder George W. Bush. Boonop was die verhouding tussen werk en bevolking deurlopend onder die drumpel van 60 persent onder Obama, laas 1985 was dit so laag.

Obama het dikwels gewys op die groot aantal werkgeleenthede wat gedurende sy agt jaar in die amp bygevoeg is, as bewys dat sy regeringsgesentreerde ekonomiese benadering werk, maar hy noem altyd die ongemaklike feit dat die groei van werk nie by die bevolkingsgroei was nie. In vergelyking met die vorige hoogtepunt in Januarie 2008, het die Amerikaanse bevolking met meer as 20 miljoen gegroei, maar die aantal werkgeleenthede het met minder as sewe miljoen toegeneem. Die omvang van die bevolking op die werkende ouderdom het ook die groei van werk verbygesteek.

Some of Obama’s supporters have acknowledged the economy has failed to grow in a substantial way, but they maintain Obama was instrumental in ensuring the state of the nation didn’t get much worse after the 2008 crash. Yes, Obama failed to fix the economy, they say, but at least things aren’t as bad as they would have been without his massive government-funded investments.

This short-sighted view, while commonly held, is exceedingly dangerous. Make no mistake about it: America is treading in dangerous waters. Trillions of dollars of debt, year after year of low interest rates, and a giant pile of IOUs made out to foreign governments have created artificial market bubbles that could potentially pop if the economy and the government’s balance sheet don’t turn around soon.

By overspending, the United States has created a great deal of distrust with much of the rest of the world, which still uses the dollar for the vast majority of international transactions. If the federal government doesn’t get its act together, it’s entirely possible, perhaps even inevitable, the world will move to some sort of a global, United Nations-backed currency for international transactions, a decision that would prove apocalyptic for Americans.

The president is leaving office with a sluggish economy, more Americans dependent on government, and with a national debt that dwarfs the failings of every other president in history, making Barack Obama, according to his own 2008 standards, the most fiscally irresponsible president ever.

Justin Haskins ([email protected]) is executive editor of The Heartland Institute.

The views expressed by Contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.


Why Obama Has Failed to Close Guantánamo

At the Guantánamo military prison—a desolate place near the eastern tip of Cuba—detainees began a chant that grew louder as it spread: “Obama! Obama! Obama!” It was Election Night in November of 2008, and the returns had made it clear that Barack Obama had soundly defeated John McCain. The chant echoed from blocky concrete buildings arranged into camps, where “compliant” detainees watched television and took classes, and “non-compliant” ones passed their time in twelve-by-eight-foot cells. The sound of the chant stopped short of the top-secret Camp 7, where the C.I.A. held “high value” detainees, including five men charged with participating in the attacks of September 11, 2001. But at Camp Justice, which housed visiting defense lawyers and military prosecutors in facing rows of tin sheds, the lawyers formed a chain and mamboed through the prosecutors’ side, chanting their own refrain: “Hey, hey . . . goodbye!” The prosecutors evidently took offense: a shoving match broke out.

When Obama began his first Presidential campaign, in 2007, the idea of closing the prison facilities at Guantánamo seemed to be gathering political force. Both Hillary Clinton, Obama’s main opponent in the Democratic primaries, and McCain, the Republican nominee and a former prisoner of war in North Vietnam, endorsed it. But Obama spoke about the issue with particular passion. “In the dark halls of Abu Ghraib and the detention cells of Guantánamo, we have compromised our most precious values,” he said. Guantánamo has been the scene of dubious, lengthy detainments, force-feedings, sleep deprivation, stress positions, vicious beatings, and other forms of torture, and yet in 2005 Vice-President Dick Cheney dismissed accusations that the camp was, in the words of one Red Cross report, a place of “humiliating acts.” He said of the prisoners, “They’re living in the tropics. They’re well fed. They’ve got everything they could possibly want. There isn’t any other nation in the world that would treat people who were determined to kill Americans the way we’re treating these people.”

For Obama, closing Guantánamo was an essential break with the Bush-Cheney era. On January 22, 2009, his second day in office, he issued an executive order, directing that the prison be shut down within a year. When detainees got the news, they shouted to the guards, “Have you heard? We’re getting out of here!”

Guantánamo, which has held as many as seven hundred and seventy-nine prisoners, now houses just seventy-six. But it remains open, at a cost of $445 million last year—an expensive reminder that the United States, contrary to the ideals of its judicial system, is willing to hold people captive, perhaps for life, without a trial. For Obama, it is also painful evidence of the difference between the campaign promises of a forty-six-year-old aspirant and the realities of governing in a bitterly polarized time. Last March, when he made an appearance in Cleveland, Ohio, a seventh grader asked what advice he would give himself if he could go back to the start of his Presidency. Obama said, “I think I would have closed Guantánamo on the first day.” But the politics had got tough, he said, and “the path of least resistance was just to leave it open.”

Obama may yet close Guantánamo before he leaves office, but his failure to do so in nearly eight years as President has drawn criticism from a vast number of people who otherwise support him: liberals, centrists, officials in his own Administration. Obama and his aides are keenly aware of the unfulfilled promise, and of the short time—six months—left to them. Susan Rice, the national-security adviser, has spoken of the urgency around closing the prison: “I can’t say with certainty that we’re one hundred per cent going to get there, but I can tell you we’re going to die trying.”

In recent months, Guantánamo has been swarmed by defense lawyers trying to clear cases. The rush is inspired partly by Obama’s concerns about his legacy and partly by political calculations, as the Presidential election approaches. Hillary Clinton, who will accept the Democratic nomination this week, in Philadelphia, has vacillated on Guantánamo. But as Secretary of State, Administration sources say, she was far more willing than Obama to take political risks to get it closed.

Donald Trump has vowed to keep the prison open, and to “load it up with some bad dudes.” According to a leaked memo obtained by CNN, those prisoners will include American ISIS supporters—which, critics say, will likely mean American Muslims, deprived of their constitutional rights. “I would bring back waterboarding, and I’d bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding,” Trump has said, adding, in other appearances, “Don’t tell me it doesn’t work—torture works,” and “If it doesn’t work, they deserve it anyway, for what they’re doing to us.”

In public remarks, Obama has usually blamed Congress for his failure to close the prison. But months of reporting revealed a highly charged series of political maneuvers, involving nearly every part of the Administration. The attempt to close the prison has entailed tense negotiations with foreign officials, heated confrontations during meetings in the White House Situation Room, and, especially, a long-running fight with the Pentagon, which outplayed Obama for years. For those who worked to implement his policy, often without support, the frustrations were acute. “You need White House backing,” a senior Administration official told me. “If something went wrong, the risk was all ours. Gitmo was a potential career-ender.”

The Guantánamo detention center was built on a forty-five-square-mile U.S. naval base, situated on land that has been leased from Cuba since 1903. When the prison opened, in 2002, it seemed like a rogue intelligence agent’s dream—an offshore facility, free from U.S. laws, where foreign prisoners could be held without access to family or lawyers, and interrogated however their jailers saw fit. Prisoners were brought there after 9/11 to remove any threat they might pose and to provide intelligence, but there was little expectation that they would be criminally prosecuted, so scant attention was given to the kind of evidence-gathering that would be required in court.

Despite persistent rhetoric from figures like Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who described the detainees as “the worst of the worst,” some members of the Bush Administration felt ambivalent about Guantánamo. The overwhelming majority of detainees were not terrorist leaders but low-level foot soldiers, along with some men who were just unlucky. Many had been turned over to the American military by local warlords for a bounty of as much as twenty-five thousand dollars a head. A leaflet distributed by the U.S. in Afghanistan and Pakistan promised that anyone who handed in an “Arab terrorist” would receive “enough to feed your family for life.”

Major General Michael Lehnert, the first commanding officer of Guantánamo, quickly understood the complexities of the situation. “Some of these people had simply been turned over with essentially a made-up rap sheet,” Lehnert told me. “The problem we faced was that almost everybody that got there said they were innocent and they’d simply been studying in a madrassa,” an Islamic religious school. “Some of them had been, there is no doubt in my mind,” he said. “And others were fairly senior in the Taliban or Al Qaeda. These types of things should have been sorted out in Afghanistan, with Article 5 hearings—the usual procedure followed under the Geneva Conventions to sort out ‘the sheep from the goats.’ That didn’t happen, largely because the decision was made that the Geneva Conventions did not apply in this conflict.”

Lehnert pressed repeatedly for hearings, but the Defense Department turned him down. “In retrospect, I should have continued to push,” he said. “At that time, Guantánamo could have gone either way. We could have sorted them out, and moved those who should be moved.” When the detainees staged a hunger strike, in February, 2002, Lehnert sat outside their cells, trying to persuade them to eat. The next month, he left for a new posting. Major General Michael Dunlavey, who succeeded him, sent a memo to his commanders later that year requesting authorization to use harsher interrogation techniques.

John Bellinger, a legal adviser to the National Security Council and the State Department in the Bush Administration, thought that, even if some detainees were being held unfairly, the first media stories about the prison portrayed them too sympathetically, as “innocent shepherds.” He asked an interagency group to help him provide a rebuttal: a list of a dozen prisoners who were plainly dangerous. “They came up with nothing,” he said. “The C.I.A. said, ‘No. Classified.’ And D.O.D. said, ‘No. Defense classified.’ And the F.B.I. said, ‘Law-enforcement sensitive.’ ” In time, he became convinced that the prison should be closed.

“It was an albatross,” a senior Bush White House official told me recently. “We really wanted to get it closed—but we didn’t want a political firestorm. A large part of it was the Defense Department. They were against closing it then, and they still are.”

But Robert Gates, then the Secretary of Defense, wrote in his memoir, “Duty,” that he saw the mistreatment of detainees as “at odds with our traditions, culture, and history.” He has said repeatedly that he was in favor of closing the prison. When I mentioned this, the official said, “Right,” and winked. “No, he was not. He had to deal with the building, with all the career people. The resistance there goes through the building.”

The department had created Guantánamo and invested in it extravagantly. Many Defense officials viewed it as an asset too important to lose. Leon Panetta, the Secretary of Defense from 2011 to 2013, told me, “There was an attitude that, in war, if you’re capturing those involved, you need to have a place to secure them, or you’re not going to have the intelligence you need.”

By January, 2009, when Obama took office, the Bush Administration had transferred some five hundred and thirty-two detainees out of Guantánamo. Two hundred and forty-two remained.

Despite Obama’s sweeping campaign rhetoric, the first effort to close the prison was distinctly technocratic: he created interagency task forces to vet detainees and to study detention policy. The process began with little urgency, since he and his advisers believed that there was a bipartisan consensus on closing the prison. This measured approach turned out to be a miscalculation. Greg Craig, a former Obama White House counsel, told me recently, “Maybe it was a mistake to put together these task forces, to be so rational in the way we approached the topic. Maybe the President should have told the Secretary of Defense, ‘I want this closed in one year. You figure out how, but do it.’ ”

Obama’s officials began the task with abundant assurance. In January, Craig went to Capitol Hill to meet with Ike Skelton, the Democratic chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. According to a congressional staffer who attended the meeting, Craig spoke of the prison as a moral travesty and vowed that it would be closed by the end of the year. Skelton was incredulous. “How?” vra hy. “Where are the detainees going to go?” Craig did not have an answer. (Craig disputes this account.) The staffer said that the plan was little more than a sketch: “It was so haphazard on specifics, and on strategy. I thought of it as Obama’s ‘Field of Dreams’ approach: ‘If I say it, they will come.’ ”

As Obama began trying to empty the prison, it became clear that few people with political power were invested in seeing the detainees moved. The first major effort involved seventeen Uighurs—Chinese Muslims, most of whom had travelled to Afghanistan in the nineties, fleeing persecution by the Communist government. After the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, the Uighurs were turned over to the military, in exchange for a bounty of five thousand dollars each.

When the Bush Administration took up their case, Bellinger, the legal adviser, thought that the Uighurs’ situation was a “tragedy.” But they could not be repatriated to China, where they would likely be tortured or executed. And, when he tried to persuade other countries to accept them, foreign officials wanted to know why they should take people whom the U.S. didn’t want—particularly when China was threatening economic retribution. Bellinger argued that some of the Uighurs should be resettled in the U.S. But, he said, “arrayed against us were Defense, Justice, the C.I.A., Homeland Security, and the Vice-President’s Office.”

The case made its way to U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. As hearings began, the judge, Ricardo Urbina, wondered if he was “misunderstanding the situation,” as he recalled in an oral history sponsored by Columbia University. “When I reviewed the submissions, there was nothing that suggested anything dangerous about these people.” In October, 2008, Urbina ruled the detention unconstitutional and ordered the Uighurs released into the United States. Bellinger recalled, “That decision was such a shock to Justice, Defense, and Homeland Security. They filed an emergency appeal to reverse, saying, ‘These are dangerous people!’ ” The appeal succeeded, and the Uighurs remained in prison when Obama took office.

In April, 2009, Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s chief of staff, hosted a principals-committee meeting, assembling Cabinet secretaries and agency directors involved in national security. At this meeting, the group concluded that at least two of the Uighurs should be brought to northern Virginia, which had one of the country’s largest Uighur communities.

Frank Wolf, a Republican congressman from the area, was a fervent supporter of the Uighurs and a critic of China. But, as the White House worked on a plan, it failed to involve him the information was leaked to him, one Friday afternoon, by a contact in the Administration. Wolf angrily refused to accept the detainees, describing them in a letter to Obama as “terrorists” who “would be released into neighborhoods.” Other Republicans joined him even Harry Reid, the Senate Democratic leader, said, “We don’t want them.” Emanuel abandoned the idea of a transfer, and Obama did not force the issue.

As the Administration was planning to move the Uighurs, Congress was working on legislation that would temporarily prohibit bringing detainees to the United States. With the provisions gathering momentum, Craig recalled, he got a call from Senator Dianne Feinstein, a longtime proponent of closing Guantánamo, saying, “Do you guys care about all this stuff? Because no one’s here from the White House—no one’s pushing back.” By then, White House officials were consumed with other issues, particularly with lining up votes for the Affordable Care Act, Obama’s foremost domestic initiative. “Rahm’s job was to get the President’s agenda through,” a former high-ranking White House official told me. “He said, Why are we going to waste our political capital on detainees? No one is going to give you any credit for closing Guantánamo—and you’re willing to risk being the only Democratic President to solve the health-care problem?”

With Obama’s team focussed on other goals, the bill that forbade moving detainees to the U.S. passed with overwhelming bipartisan majorities. Elisa Massimino, the C.E.O. of the advocacy group Human Rights First, described the White House’s decision as the template for many others that followed: “It was Obama’s lack of nerve to do what was politically difficult that created space for all the mischief that Congress made.”

When Hillary Clinton was appointed Secretary of State, it was unclear how strong an ally she would be in the closing of Guantánamo. As a senator, she had at times seemed to waver in her views on how detainees should be treated. In July, 2006, she noted that American law permitted them to be held until the war on terrorism was over, even if they had been tried and acquitted. “I mean, we had Nazis in prison camps in our country for years,” she said. Then, reportedly after a series of tense meetings, she agreed to support legislation that would allow detainees to challenge their detention in court. She told the Daily News that she would endorse torture to gain information in a “ticking-time-bomb scenario” that put many lives at immediate risk, but she subsequently reversed herself, saying, “It cannot be American policy, period.” In 2007, she co-sponsored legislation that would allow detainees to be moved to a facility in the United States. A month later, she voted for an amendment intended to prevent just such a move.

But, after losing to Obama in the Presidential primary, Clinton saw the State Department as a place to establish herself as an effective leader. Her new staff members described Guantánamo as a painful liability. “Gitmo was a goddam weight around our neck,” Daniel Fried, who had worked under Bush as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, told me. “It hurt everything we tried to do. I went to Germany to talk about Russia, I got a lecture on Gitmo. I’d talk about energy security, I got a Gitmo lecture. It cost us political capital.”

Soon after arriving at the State Department, Clinton asked Fried to take the newly created job of Special Envoy for Closure of Guantánamo. He would help lead the transfer process, in which State’s role was to find other countries willing to take detainees and then work with Defense and other agencies to make sure that the security arrangements were adequate. A seasoned, irrepressible diplomat, fond of quoting Napoleon, Fried saw the political risks involved. As he moved into his unprepossessing office, on the department’s sixth floor, Clinton told him, “Good luck—and I’m afraid we’re already in trouble!”

The congressional restriction on bringing detainees into the United States had already taken effect, so Fried had to look abroad. The Bush Administration had transferred detainees mostly to their home countries—Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Kuwait. Fried enlarged the focus to include “third countries,” for detainees who risked being tortured if they were sent home, or whose home countries were too unstable. In the first two years, he said, seventeen countries took detainees: from Ireland and Spain to Latvia, Cape Verde, and Palau.


Debunking the Myth: Obama's Two-Year Supermajority

Mitt Romney's at it again -- shading the truth on CBS News' 60 Minutes .

In this video he's perpetuating the false Republican narrative that President Obama should have gotten more done during his first two years in office because he had a supermajority in the Senate.

A supermajority is a filibuster-proof 60 or more Senate seats, allowing one party to pass legislation without votes from the other,

Don't forget: the president needed a supermajority because of the Republicans' unprecedented use of the filibuster as an obstruction tactic -- they've used it more than 400 times.

But here's the deal -- the real deal -- there actually wasn't a two year supermajority.

President Obama was sworn in on January 20, 2009 with just 58 Senators to support his agenda.

He should have had 59, but Republicans contested Al Franken's election in Minnesota and he didn't get seated for seven months.

The President's cause was helped in April when Pennsylvania's Republican Senator Arlen Specter switched parties.

That gave the President 59 votes -- still a vote shy of the super majority.

But one month later, Democratic Senator Byrd of West Virginia was hospitalized and was basically out of commission.

So while the President's number on paper was 59 Senators -- he was really working with just 58 Senators.

Then in July, Minnesota Senator Al Franken was finally sworn in, giving President Obama the magic 60 -- but only in theory, because Senator Byrd was still out.

In August, Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts died and the number went back down to 59 again until Paul Kirk temporarily filled Kennedy's seat in September.


Earth science, planetary science and more

President Obama's space-science legacy is perhaps a bit more complicated. In these tough budget times, the outgoing administration seems to have prioritized Earth science and full funding of the $8.8 billion James Webb Space Telescope over robotic-exploration missions, Dreier said. He pointed to a $300 million cut to NASA's planetary science funding in the White House's proposed budget for fiscal year 2013 as an example.

The planetary-exploration cupboard therefore looks to be somewhat bare in the near future, two recently announced asteroid missions notwithstanding, Dreier said. There are no uncrewed NASA Mars missions on the books beyond the Mars 2020 rover, he pointed out, and, in a year or so, the agency won't have an active probe at Jupiter or Saturn for the first time in two decades (excepting a nine-month stretch in 2003 and 2004).

The Cassini spacecraft, which has been orbiting Saturn since July 2004, will wrap up its work this September, and the Jupiter-orbiting Juno probe's mission is scheduled to end in early 2018. NASA is developing a mission to the Jovian moon Europa, but that effort's not slated to launch until the mid-2020s.

"You have a generation of missions about to end and nothing ready to replace them for five to 10 years," Dreier said.

But it's possible that there could have been more happening now on NASA's robotic-exploration front if the White House had cooperated to a greater extent with Congress, Dreier said.

"They almost wouldn't believe that Congress was willing to give them extra money on planetary science, but year after year after year, Congress added money to planetary science, particularly in the House," he said. "I think there are a lot of lost opportunities there."

Pace agreed, lamenting the lack of "new starts" in NASA's exploration pipeline. But he said the Obama administration deserves credit in some other areas, such as space defense.

"Putting more money into DoD [the Department of Defense] and recognizing the Russian and Chinese counterspace threat — that's, I think, in the positive column, so I hope that continues," Pace said.

"Most of the Obama space policy, I would argue, is actually quite reasonable," he added.

Pace did have some major caveats, however. He's not a fan of the move away from the moon for human exploration, and he said the Obama administration employed an overly broad definition of "commercial spaceflight," resulting in some confusion about the roles the private and public sectors should play.


Friday, November 14, 2008

The Birth Certificate Flap That Wasn't

It's pathetic, really. This is all they've got?

I'm talking about the big "birth certificate" flap that is being ginned up by wingnut media over whether President Obama's birth certificate is bogus, some kind of a Photoshopped facsimile that obscures the "fact" that he was born in Kenya or where-the-fuck-ever.

Now he's being sued by some knuckledragging kool-aid drinker in the wingnuttery to force him to "prove" that he's a "natural born" American citizen and therefore eligible to be president.

Bullshit. The certificate is there, online, for anyone to see, PLUS the state of Hawaii has certified that it is, in fact, an actual copy of the certificate they have in their own files AND the extremely reliable factcheck.org has verfied that the birth certificate is real, valid and true.

But none of that matters when it comes to the usual game of dirty-pool politics.

Most of this is being promoted by the talking heads mouths assholes of the radical right with their various talk radio shows, but the prime sponsor seems to be one Michael Weiner (aka "Michael Savage" -- I can see why he changed his name. ), who has a little-listened-to show (he claims eight million listeners, which I sincerely doubt) syndicated through something called the Talk Radio Network. Other noted stars in the wingnut firmament syndicated by this same network include such wise and notable commentators on the American scene as Laura Ingaham, Rusty Humphries and Tammy Bruce.

In other words, not the sharpest knives in the drawer.

Mikey the Weiner is all over this "issue", almost to the detriment of any and every other issue that he could be talking about. But where was Little Mikey eight years ago when people were asking for a similar documentary proof, specifically where was George W. Bush when he was supposed to be showing up for duty with the Texas Air National Guard?

Short answer: Nowhere to be found. What a fucking hypocrite Little Mikey is. But what can we expect from someone who was fired from a major cable network for attacking a caller who claimed to be not only gay but also infected with AIDS: "Oh, so you're one of those sodomites. You should only get AIDS and die, you pig how's that? Why don't you see if you can sue me, you pig? You got nothing better to do than to put me down, you piece of garbage? You got nothing to do today? Go eat a sausage, and choke on it. Get trichinosis. Now do we have another nice caller here who's busy because he didn't have a nice night in the bathhouse who's angry at me today? Put another, put another sodomite on. no more calls. I don't care about these bums they mean nothing to me. They're all sausages."

The facts mean less than nothing to these people. All they can do, all they feel like doing, their only sexual outlet, lies in attacking the "left", wherever and whenever they can identify them.

So fuck you, Mikey the Weiner. May you rot in whatever hell you happen to believe in.

And all of you people who are part of the Reality-Based Community, here's the 411 on Obama's birth certificate, and likewise, the straight dope on the peripheral "issues" as to whether his mother was somehow too young to be "eligible" to give birth to a child who would be a "natural born" American citizen.

It's all a bunch of fucking bullshit, of course, but the truth really doesn't seem to matter to these fuckers. Give me a break. Even I, the original Pissed Off Veteran, was willing to give Baby Doc the benefit of the doubt between the time of the SCOTUS coup until he proved once and for all that he was the profoundly moronic and irretreviably evil asshole that history will undoubtedly judge him to be. Which sadly did not take long.

On a side note, I wish that the Seattle Air America station, KPTK (1090 on the AM dial), would boost their signal at night. It seems that all I can pick up in those wee hours of the morning, when I am teetering between staying up all night in fear of the American fascists and sleeping snugly in the knowledge that the progressive left has finally won and all is well, are those goddam wingnut stations.

Maybe I should take more drugs. A nice cocktail of Xanax and Ambien might do it.


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