AIG chiefs pressed to donate to Dodd

EXCLUSIVE: AIG chiefs pressed to donate to Dodd

EXCLUSIVE:

As Democrats prepared to take control of Congress after the 2006 elections, a top boss at the insurance giant American International Group Inc. told colleagues that Sen. Christopher J. Dodd was seeking re-election donations and he implored company executives and their spouses to give.

The message in the Nov. 17, 2006, e-mail from Joseph Cassano, AIG Financial Products chief executive, was unmistakable: Mr. Dodd was “next in line” to be chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, which oversees the insurance industry, and he would “have the opportunity to set the committee’s agenda on issues critical to the financial services industry.

“Given his seniority in the Senate, he will also play a key role in the Democratic Majority’s leadership,” Mr. Cassano wrote in the message, obtained by The Washington Times.

 

Mr. Dodd’s campaign quickly hit pay dirt, collecting more than $160,000 from employees and their spouses at the AIG Financial Products division (AIG-FP) in Wilton, Conn., in the days before he took over as the committee chairman in January 2007. Months later, the senator transferred the donations to jump-start his 2008 presidential bid, which later failed.

Now, two years later, Mr. Dodd has emerged as a central figure in the government’s decision to let executives at the now-failing AIG collect more than $218 million in bonuses, according to the Connecticut attorney general – even as the company was receiving billions of dollars in assistance from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). He acknowledged that he slipped a provision into legislation in February that authorized the bonuses, but said the Treasury Department asked him to do it.

The decision has generated national outrage and put the Obama administration into the position of trying to collect the bonuses after they were distributed. It also endangers Mr. Dodd’s re-election chances in 2010 as his popularity tumbles in his home state.

Despite all the claims that Washington has changed, the tale of Mr. Dodd’s lucrative political ties to AIG is a fresh reminder that special interests continue to use donations and fundraising to sow good will with powerful lawmakers like Mr. Dodd.

“The message seems clear: The boss says I want you to support the senator,” said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which studies political fundraising and ethics. “And I think the employees got the message.”

Representatives for Mr. Dodd did not answer specific questions about AIG’s fundraising, but spokesman Bryan DeAngelis said in a statement: “Senator Dodd´s fundraising has always been above board, transparent and in accordance with campaign finance rules.

“As he said [earlier this month], contributions received from any individual who accepted these bonuses from AIG last week will be donated to charity. And last fall, he made the decision to no longer accept contributions from [political action committees] of companies receiving TARP money.”

Officials at AIG-FP in Wilton referred inquiries to the firm’s New York headquarters, where spokesman Mark Herr said he had been on the job only three weeks and had no information about the e-mail or the campaign contributions to Mr. Dodd.

Mr. Cassano’s Washington attorney, F. Joseph Warin, did not return messages left on his voice mail or e-mail.

Mr. Dodd’s plight also signals that the actions taken by lawmakers after they receive big political donations are being scrutinized by an increasingly distrustful public. A recent Quinnipiac University poll found Mr. Dodd lagging 43 percent to 42 percent behind former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, a Republican who plans to challenge Mr. Dodd, in a hypothetical race.

“The concern and the question is whether AIG was purchasing kid-glove treatment from their home state senator – from the senator chairing the committee charged with overseeing their industry,” Ms. Krumholz said.

Political opponents already are using Mr. Dodd’s financial ties to AIG and his role in the bonuses to weaken his political standing heading into re-election.

AIG’s employees have been big financial backers of Mr. Dodd. Over his career, Mr. Dodd has collected $238,418 from AIG employees and their spouses, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Mr. Cassano has donated $7,118 to Mr. Dodd’s campaigns.

Mr. Cassano’s November 2006 e-mail instructed his colleagues on how to make donations to the senator from Connecticut.

“As he considers running for president in 2008, Senator Dodd has asked us for our support with his reelection campaign and we have offered to be supportive,” Mr. Cassano wrote.

The employees were told, “If you agree,” to write checks for $2,100 from themselves and their spouses and to send them to Mr. Dodd’s campaign within four days. They also were to ask the senior members of their management teams to do the same and send copies of their checks to the company.

The Dodd campaign collected $162,100 from AIG-FP employees and their spouses within six weeks of the e-mail, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics and the Federal Election Commission.

Each of the seven AIG-FP executives to whom the Cassano e-mail was sent made two $2,100 contributions to the Dodd campaign – one for the primary and another for the general election campaign. The records also show that five of their wives also contributed $4,200 each to the Dodd campaign. The executive vice presidents are Alan Frost, David Ackert, Douglas L. Poling, Jake DeSantis, Jon Liebergall, Robert Leary and William Kolbert.

Mr. Cassano, who resigned in February after AIG-FP posted losses of $11 billion, followed his own advice. He and his wife gave Mr. Dodd’s campaign $4,200 each.

Political fundraising in the workplace is legal, but a request from a boss may be viewed as a requirement, campaign watchdogs said.

“Implicit in this [e-mail] is the presumption that, at best, noncompliance will not be looked up favorably … at worst, it may have negative consequences on the employees,” Ms. Krumholz said.

Mr. Dodd’s campaign paid for events at AIG, as well. His Senate campaign recorded paying $400 at AIG Food Services on Dec. 7, 2006, about two weeks after the e-mail was sent. In March 2007, his presidential campaign paid AIG-FP $250 for a room rental fee, according to election commission filings. The payments could have been recorded weeks after the events took place.

Watchdog groups say Mr. Dodd’s close association with AIG – over his career, the company’s employees have been one of his largest donor bases – raises questions about his and his committee’s ability to provide objective oversight. It was the $218 million in bonuses paid by AIG that became the focus of public outrage, igniting a torrent of criticism and congressional hearings in the wake of federal loan packages.

Earlier this month, Mr. Dodd defended the amendment to an economic stimulus bill that exempted bonuses to which companies receiving federal bailout funds previously agreed. He initially denied having any role in crafting the language, but he later said Treasury Department officials pressured him to make the change to protect the government from lawsuits.

Although the AIG-FP headquarters is located in Mr. Dodd’s home state and a good number of the bonuses authorized for top company executives went to that office, Mr. Dodd has said he had no idea the amendment would impact the company.

“Let me be clear: I was completely unaware of these AIG bonuses until I learned of them last week,” he told CNN last week. “I agreed reluctantly. I was changing the amendment because others were insistent.”

Beyond AIG: A Bill to let Big Government Set Your Salary

Politics

Beyond AIG: A Bill to let Big Government Set Your Salary

By Byron York
Chief Political Correspondent 3/31/09

It was nearly two weeks ago that the House of Representatives, acting in a near-frenzy after the disclosure of bonuses paid to executives of AIG, passed a bill that would impose a 90 percent retroactive tax on those bonuses. Despite the overwhelming 328-93 vote, support for the measure began to collapse almost immediately. Within days, the Obama White House backed away from it, as did the Senate Democratic leadership. The bill stalled, and the populist storm that spawned it seemed to pass.

But now, in a little-noticed move, the House Financial Services Committee, led by chairman Barney Frank, has approved a measure that would, in some key ways, go beyond the most draconian features of the original AIG bill. The new legislation, the “Pay for Performance Act of 2009,” would impose government controls on the pay of all employees — not just top executives — of companies that have received a capital investment from the U.S. government. It would, like the tax measure, be retroactive, changing the terms of compensation agreements already in place. And it would give Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner extraordinary power to determine the pay of thousands of employees of American companies.

The purpose of the legislation is to “prohibit unreasonable and excessive compensation and compensation not based on performance standards,” according to the bill’s language. That includes regular pay, bonuses — everything — paid to employees of companies in whom the government has a capital stake, including those that have received funds through the Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP, as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The measure is not limited just to those firms that received the largest sums of money, or just to the top 25 or 50 executives of those companies. It applies to all employees of all companies involved, for as long as the government is invested. And it would not only apply going forward, but also retroactively to existing contracts and pay arrangements of institutions that have already received funds.

In addition, the bill gives Geithner the authority to decide what pay is “unreasonable” or “excessive.” And it directs the Treasury Department to come up with a method to evaluate “the performance of the individual executive or employee to whom the payment relates.”

The bill passed the Financial Services Committee last week, 38 to 22, on a nearly party-line vote. (All Democrats voted for it, and all Republicans, with the exception of Reps. Ed Royce of California and Walter Jones of North Carolina, voted against it.)

The legislation is expected to come before the full House for a vote this week, and, just like the AIG bill, its scope and retroactivity trouble a number of Republicans. “It’s just a bad reaction to what has been going on with AIG,” Rep. Scott Garrett of New Jersey, a committee member, told me. Garrett is particularly concerned with the new powers that would be given to the Treasury Secretary, who just last week proposed giving the government extensive new regulatory authority. “This is a growing concern, that the powers of the Treasury in this area, along with what Geithner was looking for last week, are mind boggling,” Garrett said.

Rep. Alan Grayson, the Florida Democrat who wrote the bill, told me its basic message is “you should not get rich off public money, and you should not get rich off of abject failure.” Grayson expects the bill to pass the House, and as we talked, he framed the issue in a way to suggest that virtuous lawmakers will vote for it, while corrupt lawmakers will vote against it.

“This bill will show which Republicans are so much on the take from the financial services industry that they’re willing to actually bless compensation that has no bearing on performance and is excessive and unreasonable,” Grayson said. “We’ll find out who are the people who understand that the public’s money needs to be protected, and who are the people who simply want to suck up to their patrons on Wall Street.”

After the AIG bonus tax bill was passed, some members of the House privately expressed regret for having supported it and were quietly relieved when the White House and Senate leadership sent it to an unceremonious death. But populist rage did not die with it, and now the House is preparing to do it all again.

Byron York, The Examiner’s chief political correspondent, can be contacted at byork@washingtonexaminer.com. His column appears Tuesday and Friday, and his stories and blog posts can be read daily at ExaminerPolitics.com.

 
 
 

Breitbart: The war against online Obamabots

Breitbart: The war against online Obamabots

Rick Moran
Andrew Breitbart has an interesting column in today’s Washington Times where he analyzes the internet phenomenon of the Obama trolls who masquerade as conservatives trying to sow dissension in the ranks:

Uninvited Democratic activists are on a mission to demoralize the enemy – us. They want to ensure that President Obama is not subject to the same coordinated, facts-be-damned, multimedia takedown they employed over eight long years to destroy the presidency – and the humanity – of George W. Bush.

Political leftists play for keeps. They are willing to lie, perform deceptive acts in a coordinated fashion and do so in a wicked way – all in the pursuit of victory. Moral relativism is alive and well in the land of Hope and Change and its Web-savvy youth brigade expresses its “idealism” in a most cynical fashion.

The ends justify the means for them – now more than ever.

Much of Mr. Obama’s vaunted online strategy involved utilizing “Internet trolls” to invade enemy lines under false names and trying to derail discussion. In the real world, that’s called “vandalism.” But in a political movement that embraces “graffiti” as avant-garde art , that’s business as usual. It relishes the ability to destroy other people’s property in pursuit of electoral victory.

Hugh Hewitt’s popular site shut off its comments section because of the success of these obnoxious invaders. Breitbart.com polices nonpartisan newswire stories for such obviously coordinated attacks. Other right-leaning sites such as Instapundit and National Review Online refuse to allow comments, knowing better than to flirt with the online activist left.

Limbaugh calls them “seminar callers” because they always have a list of talking points that usually begin with the idea they were “outraged” with something some conservative said or did and were quitting the party because of it.

We get a few of them here at AT but they are usually pretty obvious about their true stands on the issues. But other bloggers have reported being inundated with these trolls and they are a real bother because they try and start flame wars between commenters and even between bloggers.

Breitbart explains why he believes the right won’t do anything similar:

 

The right, for the most part, embraces basic Judeo-Christian ideals and would not promote nor defend the propaganda techniques that were perfected in godless communist and socialist regimes. The current political and media environment crafted by supposedly idealistic Mr. Obama resembles Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela more than John F. Kennedy’s America.

The Huffington Post, Daily Kos and other left-leaning sites benefit from the right’s belief that there are rules and decorum in political debate and civic engagement. Of course, every now and then, a curious right-winger will go in and engage in discussion at a left-wing site, but rarely under purely disingenuous and mass coordinated means.

I believe that an oversimplification. The fact is, righty bloggers don’t engage in the same kind of tactics because, 1) liberal sites vet their commenters a lot more thoroughly than conservatives; 2) the righty blogosphere is not as organized as the left; and 3) fewer conservatives even bother to read liberal blogs than liberals who read conservative ones.

Andrew is crediting righty internet users with way too much piety. If we were more organized and the interest was there, I have no doubt we would be engaging in the same kind of disinformation campaign as the left does with us – Judeo-Christian values and aping the communists notwithstanding. The reason is, it works. And in politics, what works matters more than what’s right.

Cynical? Politics is a rather cynical enterprise and always has been.

 

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky

 

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/03/breitbart_the_war_against_onli.html at March 31, 2009 – 10:42:51 AM EDT

Obama’s Most Telling Answer

Obama’s Most Telling Answer

By Joseph Ashby

Liberal columnist E.J. Dionne got it right when he recognized that the charitable deduction question was the most significant moment of the recent presidential press conference. (Now no one can say I never agree with a liberal.)

Like so many of President Obama’s off-prompter remarks, his answer on charitable deductions exposes him for what he is: an ideologically driven man whose philosophy is based on falsehoods and whose public persona is merely a marketing scheme to acquire the power he really wants.

 

In the press conference, The Politico’s Mike Allen asked: “Are you reconsidering your plan to cut the interest rate deduction for mortgages and for charities and do you regret having proposed that in the first place?”

 

Obama responded:

 

No, I think it’s the right thing to do; where we’ve got to make some difficult choices. Here’s what we did with respect to tax policy. What we said was that over the last decade the average worker the average family have seen their wages and incomes flat; even at times where, supposedly, we were in times of an economic boom.

 

Without hesitation, Obama begins his answer with deception. Incomes are simply not flat. It is true that Household income (the statistic used to defend Obama’s premise) has only risen slightly. But household size has declined. Income per person has increased significantly.

 

Obama has promoted “income stagnation” from a throwaway line in a campaign speech to the foundational basis of his tax policy.

 

Obama continues:

 

As a practical matter [working families'] incomes didn’t go up. And so what we said let’s give them a tax cut, let’s give them some relief; some help; 95% of American families. Now, for the top 5%, they’re the ones who typically saw huge gains in their income. I fall in that category.

 

After setting the false premise of 95% of incomes stagnating, Obama begins to attack the “rich.” To do so he makes the incorrect statement: the top 5% saw huge gains. The correct statement is: those who saw huge gains were in the top 5%.

 

This linguistically subtle change wholly invalidates Obama’s philosophy. In Obama’s mind, the top 5% exist independent of the world around them. They did have, do have, and will have more income than everyone else. In reality, there is massive turnover among the top wage earners. (For example, over half of the top 1% of wage earners in 1996 were in a lower category ten years later.)

 

Obama proceeds:

 

And what we’ve said is, for those folks (top wage earners) let’s not renew the Bush tax cuts. So let’s go back to the rates that existed back in the Clinton era, where wealthy people were still wealthy, were doing just fine.

 

Do we elect the president to decide who is wealthy or when they have enough? Is it the president’s job to take as much as is politically viable from citizens under the pretense they will still be “fine”?

 

Government’s responsibility is not to decide how much each citizen needs but to protect what each citizen earns. Only after the government secures earnings (aka property), can we address needs without danger of arbitrary confiscation based political expediency or misguided moral crusades (both of which motivate Obama).

 

Obama persists (later in his answer):

 

People are still going to be able to make charitable contributions, it just means that if you give $100, and you’re in this tax bracket at a certain point, instead of being able to write off 36 or 39%, you’re writing off 28%. Now, if it’s really a charitable contribution, I’m assuming that shouldn’t be the determining factor as to whether you’re giving that $100 to the homeless shelter down the street.

 

Here Obama seeks to obscure the fact that charities will be significantly hurt by this tax provision. To do so he refocuses on feelings of spite toward the high income earner, this time by questioning his motives for donating to charity. He claims:

 

And so this provision would only affect about 1% of the American people, they would still get deductions, it’s just that they wouldn’t be able to write off 39%.

 

This argument is both spurious and morally bankrupt. The provision he’s referring to would affect 2-3 times as many people as he claims. But even granting that the provision applies to just 1%, are we to conclude that because of the smallness of a minority we are justified in reducing its property rights? We would be rightly horrified if a president curtailed the rights of racial minority under the pretense of its small population.

 

It is itself misleading to argue in terms of the number of income earners affected. Dick Morris points out that the top 3% of tax filers make 44% of all charitable contributions. This provision will not have the inconsequential impact the president would have us believe.

 

Obama concludes:

 

In that sense what it would do is it would equalize. When I give a $100 I’d get the same amount of deduction as when a bus driver who’s making $50,000 a year or $40,000 a year gives that same $100. Right now he gets to write off 28%, I get to write off 39%. I don’t think that’s fair. So I think this was a good idea.

 

To summarize, Obama makes a persuasive case that a person should not pay higher tax rates based on that person’s income level. I’m sure Obama wasn’t intentionally endorsing a flat tax, but if his logic is applied generally we would all be paying an equal tax rate.

 

Inconsistency is typical of Obama’s policies. On the tax side, Obama advocates ever higher rates for certain income groups. On the deduction side he argues unequal rates are unfair.

 

Though Obama’s logic is cluttered, the results of his policies are not. Obama dependably advocates taking more and more from those he considers wealthy. His logical contradictions serve as cover for his ideological purity by allowing him to sound more reasonable from time to time.

 

There are many who maintain that Obama is not an ideologue. While there is no way to know for sure, his off-propter remarks seem to paint the most accurate picture. Since no one can read his mind, we are left to speculate as to his true intentions and ideas. As interesting as that debate is, it ultimately doesn’t matter what he thinks, only what he does. What Obama is doing is advocating laws that confiscate and control more money, thereby affording him more power and tighter command over the country.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/03/obamas_most_telling_answer.html at March 31, 2009 – 10:36:03 AM EDT

Obama’s Appointment Crisis

Obama’s Appointment Crisis

By Kathy Shaidle
FrontPageMagazine.com | 3/31/2009

On March 25, yet another Obama administration nominee was forced to withdraw under a cloud of scandal. Jon Cannon had been President Barack Obama’s choice to become second in command at the Environmental Protection Agency. But the appointment has been scuttled by allegations of financial “irregularities” at the now-defunct America’s Clean Water Foundation, on whose board Cannon once served.

 

Two days later, the administration was hit with another personnel problem. One of the country’s main bank regulators, Scott Polakoff, was forced to take an open-ended “leave of absence” from the Treasury Department after internal audits suggested that he allowed financial institutions like IndyMac and AIG to exaggerate their balance sheets – in effect, to cook the books – a failure of oversight that contributed to the current financial meltdown. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told the Senate Budget Committee on March 3 that American International Group (AIG) “exploited a huge gap in the regulatory system” and that “there was no oversight of the Financial Products division,” an indictment that would seem to fall on Polakoff, who was second-in-command at the Treasury Department unit known as the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS).

 

To be sure, Polakoff had been appointed to OTS by former president George W. Bush. But the Obama administration has also been tainted by the appointment, because Polakoff was promoted to acting director of the OTS in February by President Obama, after the retirement of former director John Reich. This pair of ignoble departures from the ranks of the new administration is another embarrassment for President Obama, whose term in office already has been marred by a series of disastrous high-level appointments.

 

The list of casualties is long and growing: controversial “energy and environment czar” Carol Browner; Tom Daschle, who owed $140,000 in back taxes; and most recently Charles Freeman, whose connections with Saudi Arabia and China raised questions about possible conflicts of interest, forcing Freeman to withdraw his name from consideration for a top intelligence post in the administration.

 

Other high-level appointees have also forced to step aside during Obama’s first few weeks in office. Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson was widely touted as a possible Secretary of State in an Obama administration, and was later tapped for the position of Commerce Secretary after Hillary Clinton landed the job at State. However, Richardson withdrew his name on January 4 due to a federal grand jury probe into “pay-to-play” contract influence allegations in his state. Obama’s second choice for Commerce Secretary was a Republican, Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, who later withdrew as well, citing policy differences. An outspoken critic of the Iraq war, retired four-star Marine General Anthony C. Zinni, had been promised the job as ambassador to Iraq in late January only to be unceremoniously dropped from consideration.

 

The appointment crisis was starkly illustrated on a single day, when three different nominees backed out of senior positions with the Obama administration: Annette Nazareth, the nominee for Treasury deputy secretary; Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the senior medical correspondent with CNN who had been slated to step in as Surgeon General; and Caroline Atkinson, who’d been chosen to serve as undersecretary of international affairs by U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (who’d been confirmed after paying $35,000 in back taxes.)

 

Nancy Killefer was supposed to become Washington’s “first official waste watchdog,” but Obama’s choice to take the newly created post of White House Chief Performance Officer was also forced to withdraw due to pay unemployment taxes “on household help.” In her oddly worded official withdrawal statement, Killefer seemed eager to blame public scrutiny over her tax-troubles for her decision to withdraw, writing: “I recognize that your agenda and the duties facing your Chief Performance Officer are urgent. I have also come to realize in the current environment that my personal tax issue of D.C. Unemployment tax could be used to create exactly the kind of distraction and delay those duties must avoid.”

 

Last week, meanwhile, Obama’s choice for “urban policy czar,” Adolfo Carrion, was named in an investigation into possible wrongdoing. According to the New York Daily News, Carrion paid only $24,400 for a $50,000 home renovation project when he was still Bronx Borough President, raising concerns about possible favoritism.

 

Given the succession of failed nominees, it is should come as no surprise that the administration has struggled to fill cabinet positions. Of the 385 posts at cabinet-level agencies that a president must appoint, Obama had sent 100 names to the Senate as of March 24. So far, just 38 of those individuals have been confirmed. The President has also announced over twenty-five additional nominations which have yet to be submitted to the Senate. Nine weeks into the new administration, hundreds of other posts remain vacant.

 

Asked about the troubles plaguing the Obama administration, Susan Collins of Maine, the top Republican on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said that the White House’s “earlier vetting system was clearly flawed.” However, she added, “Now I think the administration may have gone to the other extreme and is being so stringent in its requirements and going through such a lengthy process that it is difficult for [nominees who] are willing to serve.”

 

The situation shows no sign of improving. Senator Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) is critical of two upcoming nominees for both ambassador to Iraq and for assistant attorney general at the Justice Department. “There are a raft of others,” Hatch said. “I come at these matters with a desire to help the president, have him get the people he wants around him. But I’m really getting alarmed at some of the — I don’t want to call them all radicals — but some of the radical people who are being put into these sensitive, big-time positions.”

 

President Obama had promised a smooth transition from the previous administration of George W. Bush, as well as a thorough, transparent vetting process to ensure each appointee’s suitability for each job. But the string of aborted appointments has been a blemish on his brief time in the White House. There is a dark irony in the fact that Hillary Clinton, whose nomination for secretary of state was considered the most controversial of the administration’s appointments, has so far proven to be the most worry-free member of the president’s team.



Kathy Shaidle blogs at FiveFeetOfFury.com. Her new book exposing abuses by Canada’s Human Rights Commissions, The Tyranny of Nice, includes an introduction by Mark Steyn.

The Obama We Knew But Denied

The Obama We Knew But Denied

By Kyle-Anne Shiver

What if an American President campaigned as a pragmatic centrist, promised tax cuts to 95% of the American people and pledged himself to a new era of government honesty, openness and bipartisanship, but never had any of those intentions?  The result might be a cabinet full of tax cheats, political cronies and lobbyists, and a president peddling an overstuffed budget of liberal dream-schemes at a time when the American economy can least afford an extra nickel for folderol or fiddling. 

 

Meanwhile Rome is burning. 

 

President Obama rolls the dice and grabs a can of kerosene.

 

This president’s budget, plus the Faux Stimulus monstrosity, plus the TARP bailouts all add up to the biggest, most irresponsible spending spree in American history.  Yet, according to some of the best and brightest economists on the planet, these schemes are built upon overly rosy expectations, will do little to stimulate any economic growth and promise to punitively tax the very people and industries we need to provide investment capital and jobs to actually create the pie from which all these liberal cherries are to be plucked.

 

Yet President Obama and his double host of Ivy League staffers are billed to be the smartest folks in the Country.

 

If I didn’t know better, I might suspect these people aren’t really interested in returning America to prosperity.

 

The Obama We Knew, but Most Denied

 

The man who is now president, Barack Obama, is precisely the man whose spiritual mentor for 2 decades, Jeremiah Wright, denounced “white folks greed” running  “a world in need.”  Barack Obama is precisely the man whose political mentor, Saul Alinsky, advised the use of any and all means necessary to take power in America, and to clothe his deceit in “moral garments.”  Barack Obama is precisely the man whose most influential and moneyed backer was George Soros, the Fabian socialist whose financial schemes have garnered great wealth for him while leaving whole economies in shambles, the way ours is now.

 

Anyone still harboring the illusion that President Barack Obama cares one whit about the millions of Americans whose retirement funds and futures dwindle with each passing day of this “regime change” needs a reality check. 

 

Barack Obama is the man who declared that bankrupting the coal industry would be the natural and desired result of his environmental policies, that his Global Poverty Act would bring “collective redemption” to an America presiding over an unfair world and that dismantling our defenses would make the world more safe.

 

So, as President Barack Obama now divvies up the slices of America’s pie in roll-the-dice fashion, while he takes it upon himself to demolish the defenses that have kept us safe for seven whole years in a world out to destroy us and our best ally, Israel, those moderates who looked the other way and denied the truth now claim this is not the Barack Obama they knew.

 

Smart people always make the most dangerous fools.

 

Why must it always be us fervent conservatives who see the truth and have the guts to proclaim it.

 

Now, surely I’m not the only person in America who remembers full-well this little tirade of candidate Obama’s on how we Americans “can’t just drive our SUVs, eat all we want and keep our thermostats at 72 degrees…and expect that the rest of the world will just say, “Okay.”  Surely, I’m not the only American citizen who remembers that George Soros was one of Barack Obama’s first and most influential backers and that Soros considers U.S. hegemony as an enemy to global governance,   of the sort he has always supported.

 

The sad truth is that Barack Obama and his cabal of international socialists have every intention of bursting the bubble of American supremacy.  They see America as the lynchpin of a global situation they deplore, a world that is inherently unfair.  A world in which there is no genuine evil, only valid grievances for past oppression.  It is that unfairness for which America now must pay with her 401Ks.  And to these “liberal communists,” Barack Obama declared fealty in his “Citizen of the World” speech in Berlin.

 

I’m thinking the words, “we’ve been had,” are now forming in the minds of moderates from coast to coast.

 

The Race-Card Jujitsu

 

A vast array of Americans seem to still be scratching their heads in wonder at how a complete political knave has been elected to the highest office in the land with nary a single real accomplishment on his resume.  But I would submit that it is not possible for an electorate to make wise decisions without the benefit of full disclosure about their candidates, without the tenacious investigating and forthright reporting by the fourth estate — our media complex.

 

It is now no secret that our press saw fit to emphasize non-stories about Governor Sarah Palin and Senator McCain, while all but completely ignoring genuinely troubling information and huge gaps in information about the man Americans eventually elected.  Voter surveys taken immediately after the election make this point painfully apparent.

 

This Zogby poll of Obama voters, at the behest of John Zeigler, has drawn wide attention and vociferous attacks, but the polling data seems to verify what many noticed during the election season.  Barack Obama was getting a free pass on just about anything and everything that made him look less than ready to lead our Nation.

 

The basics:

 

512 Obama Voters 11/13/08-11/15/08 MOE +/- 4.4 points

 

97.1% High School Graduate or higher, 55% College Graduates

 

Results to 12 simple Multiple Choice Questions

 

57.4% could NOT correctly say which party controls Congress (50/50 shot just by guessing)

 

71.8% could NOT correctly say Joe Biden quit a previous campaign because of plagiarism (25% chance by guessing)

 

82.6% could NOT correctly say that Barack Obama won his first election by getting opponents kicked off the ballot (25% chance by guessing)

 

88.4% could NOT correctly say that Obama said his policies would likely bankrupt the coal industry and make energy rates skyrocket (25% chance by guessing)

 

56.1% could NOT correctly say Obama started his political career at the home of two former members of the Weather Underground (25% chance by guessing).

 

And yet…..

 

Only 13.7% failed to identify Sarah Palin as the person on which their party spent $150,000 in clothes

 

Only 6.2% failed to identify Palin as the one with a pregnant teenage daughter

 

And 86.9 % thought that Palin said that she could see Russia from her “house,” even though that was Tina Fey who said that!!

 

Only 2.4% got at least 11 correct.

 

Only .5% got all of them correct. (And we “gave” one answer that was technically not Palin, but actually Tina Fey)

 

The only suggestions from any candidate that Barack Obama was receiving extra favorable coverage came from Bill and Hillary Clinton during the primaries, and they were slam-dunked for being racists in nearly all corners. 

 

Were the Clintons being racist in their complaints?  I don’t think so.

 

In fact, I would venture to say at this juncture that it was Obama’s race – and nothing else – that enabled his election to the presidency.  President Obama is now the president owing to a perfect race-card jujitsu.

 

There are two kinds of racism.  One is openly hateful and virulent.  The other is elitist and condescending, and deceitfully parades as generous niceness.

 

We saw next to no racism of the first kind during this election campaign.  The other may have been the guiding force behind our liberal media’s disinclination to hold candidate Barack Obama to the same standards as his white-peer candidates.

 

I first encountered this condescending type of prejudice as the mother of a handicapped child.  Our son became deaf at age three due to a near-fatal bout of meningitis, and I was suddenly thrust into the world of special education.  This world is filled with lovely liberals with the very best of intentions.  They offer a host of helpful information and provide a great service for students, who were once shuffled off to residential institutions, out of sight and equally out of mind, much the way black students were once contained to all-black schools.

 

But the ugly side of special education is that many (if not most) of the educators have a very condescending view of their students, very seldom expecting them to work as hard or ever come even close to meeting the same expectations we have for so-called normal students of the same age and intelligence.  And sad to say, black parents report much of this same condescension from teachers of both races, especially when economic disadvantage and broken homes affect the student.

 

It boils down to an unspoken belief that certain students simply cannot be held to the same standard as other, more advantaged students.  This attitude is not only unspoken, it is actively hidden from view.

 

We saw a perfect glimpse of this condescending prejudice from Rev. Jeremiah Wright, when he spoke to the NAACP on the differences between white children and black children.  Wright declared that black children simply could not learn in the same rigid type of environment in which white children thrived.  “Their brains are wired differently,” he proclaimed. 

 

This is simply a way of saying, “Black children can’t succeed” in a white world with the same standards of achievement for all.  This prejudiced attitude is the foundation of affirmative action, whether in education or employment.  Whatever standards cannot be met by the disadvantaged group must be waived out of deceptive “niceness.”

 

This is the insidious prejudice that has all-but destroyed our nation’s public schools.  For the past 40 years, we have disregarded objective standards of proficiency in favor of student self-esteem.  We have discarded uniform discipline and standards of civil behavior in favor of a system with double standards, high for those we deem worthy of it, very low for those we believe deficient. 

 

Wright was widely condemned for saying out loud and in public exactly what was happening with his own candidate for president.  In failing to adequately cover candidate Obama’s past, the host of his unreleased documents, including grades, and in otherwise defending every deficiency, from over-dependence on the teleprompter to his refusal to answer questions, our press demonstrated at nearly every turn its own institutional racism of the most condescending nature.

 

President Obama took advantage of this and received a 53% majority of the vote.  This election, I predict, will stand as the most perfect example of political jujitsu ever enacted.  An entire Nation choked on its own liberal-racism petard and doesn’t even have the courage to admit it.  We have become a Nation of fools and President Barack Obama is our just dessert.

 

Kyle-Anne Shiver is a frequent contributor to American Thinker.  She welcomes your comments at kyleanneshiver@gmail.com.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/03/the_obama_we_knew_but_denied.html at March 30, 2009 – 06:49:05 PM EDT

Obama and Khamenei

By Amil Imani

During the U.S. presidential election, President Obama boasted that he would embark on personal diplomacy to solve our foreign policy problems with terrorist countries such as Syria and the Islamic Republic. He said that he would meet their leaders without any preconditions to settle our disputes. Doesn’t that sound like a change of heart, a real change and a great relief to us all? Never mind the fact that this president has about zero experience in foreign policy matters, he is foolish enough to aim to negotiate with the ever-conniving Assad of Syria and masters of deceptions such as the mullahs of Iran.

President Obama, how do you propose to engage the point-man of the end-of-the-worlder Shiite regime in negotiation or discussion without sacrificing the valiant Iranian people who are struggling to free themselves from the yoke of fascist Islamists? You believe that you, still somewhat wet behind the ears, can do better than the four-year combined efforts of seasoned diplomats from France, Germany, and Great Britain?
There are those who see the solution in negotiation with the Mullahs. These people are either naïve or dishonest. The Mullahs’ idea of negotiation is Islamic to the core. They take all and you give all since you, according to Islamic fiat, are not entitled to anything. The track record of Muslims negotiating even among themselves in places like Iraq, the Palestinian territory, Pakistan and almost every other Islamic land speaks volumes.
President Obama, it takes two to tango, as the old saying goes. The uncompromising oil-intoxicated fanatics of Iran and their proxies don’t want to dance with you. They want the entire floor — the Middle East — and the rest of the world down the road.
Sure enough, a week ago, President Obama broadcast a goodwill video for the Iranians celebrating their thousands of years-old Persian New Year, offering the country a “new beginning” in relations. While Iranians welcomed President Obama’s goodwill gesture, at the same time they were disgusted when President Obama did not differentiate between a gang of terrorists who have been holding Iran and the Iranian people hostage for 30 years.
President Obama said, “The United States wants the Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations.” But, Mr. President, the Iranian nation does not wish to be associated with this occupying regime, whatsoever. In fact, they want the Islamic Republic to be thrown into the dustbin of history as quickly as possible. Mr. President, today, the Islamic Republic of Iran is one of the greatest threats to the stability of the civilized world and humanity at large. It continues to impose its horrendous ideology on the Iranian population.
It also looks like my people are going to be betrayed once again by a badly misguided American president. Jimmy Carter helped give birth to the virulent Shiite Islamism by forbidding the Shah of Iran to crush the bloodthirsty Ayatollah Khomeini and his band of rabid Islamists. Now, President Obama intends to confer legitimacy on the illegitimate child, the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Jimmy Carter did his thing and my people died. In no time at all, the vicious mullahs gutted the Iranian armed forces and executed many of its most capable officers. Saddam Hussein watched gleefully as the Iranian military disintegrated and found the opportunity to carry out his Pan Arabism ambition by attacking Iran. Some eight years of barbaric butchery killed and maimed millions on both sides, gutted the vibrant Iranian economy, and visited misery of all sorts upon the Iranian people.
Mr. President, I have been observing and worrying about my country of birth, Iran, ever since a gang of murderous mullahs and their functionaries assumed power. To my infinite regret and the regret of millions of Iranians, the situation in Iran under the fascist rule of Mullahs is rapidly deteriorating in every respect. And the last thing they need is appeasing negotiators to give the mullahs a new lease on life.

Mr. President, beware of mullahs bearing gifts! The mullahs are diehard adherents of the Islamists’ eleventh commandment “Thou shall not lie or dissimilate (Taqqyeh), deceive or cheat (ketman) unless they serve a higher purpose.” And to these devoted faithful, there is no higher purpose in the world than serving Allah’s bidding, as they like it and as they interpret it.

And in the Quran itself, Allah gives these fellows their mandate: Cleanse the earth from all kefirs (infidels), and help usher in the golden rule of Islam over a corrupt world. This high-purpose strategic goal of Islamization legitimizes any and all tactics.

Qur’an 8:39 “Fight them until all opposition ends and all submit to Allah.”

Allah, in his kindness, leaves a bit of wiggle room for the unbelievers. Those who refuse to convert or whose life is spared may live under the rule of Islam by paying poll taxes.

Quran 9:29, “Fight those who do not believe until they all surrender, paying the protective tax in submission.”

These men of Allah are urged to use every “stratagem of war,” to kill and take the disbelievers as captives. The ones they do not kill, mostly women and children, they take as spoils of war and slaves. These devotees of Allah have been and continue to be among the most persistent practitioners of slavery.

Quran 9:5, “Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, harass them, lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war.”

And, as for Iran’s mullahs’ unyielding drive to acquire the ultimate weapon, it is in obedience to the command of the Quran. And “terrorism,” abhorrent to the civilized world, is explicitly enjoined on the faithful.

Quran 8:59 “The infidels should not think that they can get away from us. Prepare against them whatever arms and weaponry you can muster so that you may terrorize them. They are your enemy and Allah’s enemy.”

And for those who advocate retreating to the safety of “the fortress of America,” the following warning should dispel their vain hope. Europe is already partly invaded; America and other infidel lands are next.

Quran 13:41 “Do they not see us advancing from all sides into the land (of the disbelievers), reducing its borders (by giving it to believers in war victories).

It is worse than appeasement to negotiate a “deal” with the Islamists in Iran because any deal struck with these mullahs is only another ruse for them to further their plans. “The UN resolutions are nothing more than pieces of paper good for fire, they can pass them all they want,” President Ahmadinejad proclaims, belligerently. These Islamists go by their 1400-year-old charter of Allah, the Quran, the same charter that they hold in one hand while slashing the throat of an innocent infidel and yelling joyously “Allah is the greatest” the whole time.

In return, the head of the hostage takers, the supreme leader Ali Khamenei uncompromising broadcast his own video address to a crowd in the northeastern city of Mashhad. Chants of “Death to America” broke out as he spoke. Khamenei said there will be no change between the two countries unless the American president puts an end to US hostilities toward Iran and brings “real changes” in foreign policy. In other words, allow us to continue butchering the Iranian people, developing our nuclear bomb, assassinate Persian bloggers, support any and all terrorist groups around the globe, hang under age children, rape virgin girls before their execution, lift all the sanctions on Iran and stay out of our family business. In return, we will give you what you deserve, nothing.

To the misguided President Obama who wants to make peace with the devil, “Supreme Guide,” mullah Ali Khamenei, the civilized Iranians, who are descendants of Cyrus the Great, find mullah Ali Khamenei and his cabal of Islamists guilty of heinous crimes. A partial list of charges is given below.

Domestically:
*He does not represent the Iranian people. He is a usurper of power. He is guilty of transforming a noble nation into a world pariah. He is an Islamic terrorist.

*He is denying and violating a long-suffering people of all its human rights.

* He is guilty of beating, imprisoning and torturing a few dozen women who braved participating in a peaceful demonstration pleading for equal family rights at the International Day of Women.

* He systematically beats, imprisons, and tortures all manner of citizens, from schoolteachers to students to union workers, for daring to raise their voices against the plight to which they have been subjected.

* He has savagely beaten and hauled to his dungeons of torture and death over a thousand of the tens of thousands of teachers who gathered in front of the parliament, requesting nothing more than their back pay and living wage.

* He directs systematic genocidal measures against all non-Shi’a religious minorities, with Baha’is as the prime target.

* He arrests some Christians that even his holy book Quran calls “People of the Book,” for observing Christmas.

* He implements barbaric practices of stoning, hanging and amputations for those who are convicted of crimes in his kangaroo courts without due process. He even imprisons those few lawyers who rise in the defense of the innocent.

* He has plundered, mismanaged and doled out Iran’s national wealth with the result that the great majority of the people are living in poverty. Iranian women are forced into prostitution to survive or simply sold as sex slaves in Persian Gulf states.

* His fascist misrule of nearly three decades has driven millions of Iran’s best children to the four corners of the world. Hundreds of thousands of educated Iranians are compelled to continue the exodus, depriving Iran of their sorely needed talents at home.

* He spends a fortune on the nuclear program that he claims is only aimed for peaceful purposes, while turning Iran into little more than a gas station nation, with its precious oil wealth squandered and its facilities on the verge of collapse through neglect.

* He has created a suffocating social atmosphere that has driven masses of the people to the use of hard drugs as a way of numbing their pain.

Internationally

* He looks far and wide to support any and all terrorists. His delusional theology mandates the creation of horrific conditions in the world so that the Hidden Imam is compelled to appear and establish his rule.

* He spares no efforts at sabotaging any settlement between the Palestinians and Israelis. He arms and trains all Palestinian factions such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and any and all that come.

* He directs similar criminal schemes on his eastern flank, in Afghanistan. He considers any democratic system as the enemy of Islamofascism, and rightfully so.

* He works ceaselessly, expands Iran’s stolen funds, and does all he can in support of his Shi’a co-fascists Hezbollah in Lebanon.

* His hands are dripping with the blood of thousands of Iraqis, victims of his bloodthirsty kin mercenaries aiming to kill a budding democracy in Iraq next door.

* He supplied his mercenaries with armor-piercing projectiles for killing and maiming the coalition forces in Iraq. He, cowardly killing by proxy, using roadside-planted bombs, has taken the lives of nearly 200 Americans.

Mr. President, do you still want to make a deal with this mullah? Misguided advocates of negotiation with the mullahs, beware. The mullahs are on an Allah-mandated mission. They are intoxicated with Petrodollars and aim to settle for nothing less than complete domination of the world under the Islamic Ummah. It is precisely for this reason that they consider America and the West as “Ofooli,” setting-dying system, while they believe their Islamism as “Tolooi,” rising-living order. They are in no mood for negotiating for anything less than the total surrender of democracy, the very anathema to Islamism.

And to you, the misguided mullah Ali Khamenei, don’t be fooled by the sycophants who misinform you. Don’t threaten the West by either as-yet-to-come online nuclear weapons or your fantasized sleeper cells. You will be terribly disappointed when Iranian expatriates everywhere will be among the very first to help the authorities find your sleeper cells, if any actually exist, and put them into permanent sleep.
President Obama, I repeat, please don’t betray the Iranian people as your predecessors have done.

GM CEO resigns after Obama demands it ???Germany 1939???

GM CEO resigns after Obama demands it

March 30th, 2009

 

By MIKE ALLEN & JOSH GERSTEIN, Politico

Obama is running GM from the White House

Obama is running GM from the White House and fires Wagoner

The Obama administration asked Rick Wagoner, the chairman and CEO of General Motors, to step down and he agreed, a White House official said.

On Monday, President Barack Obama is to unveil his plans for the auto industry, including a response to a request for additional funds by GM and Chrysler. The plan is based on recommendations from the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry, headed by the Treasury Department.

The White House confirmed Wagoner was leaving at the government’s behest after The Associated Press reported his immediate departure, without giving a reason.

General Motors issued a vague statement Sunday night that did not officially confirm Wagoner’s departure.

Same Obama Who Lectures Corporations On Lavish Excess To Take 500 Person Entourage To G-20

Barack Obama

Barack Obama makes remarks renewable energy in Washington. Photograph: Gerald Herbert/AP

Britain will get its first chance to see Barack Obama this week when a White House cavalcade – complete with armoured limousines, helicopters, 200 US secret service staff and a six-doctor medical team – sweeps into the UK.

Obama will fly into London for his first visit to the UK as president of the United States on Tuesday to take part in the G20 summit in the capital’s Docklands area. He will not be travelling light.

More than 500 officials and staff will accompany the president on his tour this week – along with a mass of high-tech security equipment, including the $300,000 presidential limousine, known as The Beast. Fitted with night-vision camera, reinforced steel plating, tear- gas cannon and oxygen tanks, the vehicle is the ultimate in heavy armoured transport.

In addition, a team from the White House kitchen will travel with the president to prepare his food. As one official put it: “When the president travels, the White House travels with him, right down to the car he drives, the water he drinks, the gasoline he uses, the food he eats. America is still the sole superpower and the president must have the ability to handle any crisis, anywhere, any time.”

US security teams have already carried out three visits to prepare for Obama’s first official visit to Britain. The first was a “site survey”, the second a “pre-advance visit” which was carried out to pick sites that the president would visit. Finally there was the “advance trip”, which took place last week. Its purpose was to set up equipment, sweep venues for electronic bugs, test food for poison and measure air quality for bacteria.

Obama will start his first presidential visit to Europe when he steps down from the US presidential jet, Air Force One, at Stansted airport on Tuesday. The Boeing 747-200B is fitted with its own gym, electronic defence units and shielding to protect its complex communication devices from radiation from nuclear blasts. Among the officials on the flight will be a military officer carrying America’s nuclear missile launch codes.

Obama will then be flown to central London in a VH-3D helicopter known as Marine One. Again, high-tech security will dominate his journey. Marine One is fitted with flares that can be fired to confuse heat-seeking missiles and always flies in groups containing several identical decoy helicopters.

While in town, the president will be guarded by more than 200 US secret servicemen – easily identifiable by their shirt-cuff radios and Ray-Ban sunglasses. Obama has already had some time to get used their attention. It was decided 18 months ago, when he was still a presidential candidate, that his African-American background put him at particular risk of an assassination attempt and he was provided with his security guards.

And should anything befall the President, a White House medical unit will be at hand to provide emergency care. The team consists of surgeons, nurses and other medical personnel and carries supplies of blood of the type AB, the president’s blood group. At the same time, Obama will be constantly minded by his personal aide Reggie Love, who dials his BlackBerry, fetches his jacket and tie and supplies him with snacks. First Lady Michelle Obama will also have a coterie of assistants, including a secretary, a press officer and several bodyguards.

It is a striking presence and shows that, for the next few days, London, not Washington, will be the beating heart of American foreign policy. At the end of the week Obama and his massive retinue will head off for meetings in France, Germany and the Czech Republic, although not before he has indulged in an unprecedented whirlwind of diplomatic activity – he and his advisers will not just be involved in complex summit negotiations, but will also be camped out in London conducting a series of individual high-level mini-summits with the most powerful leaders in the world.

Indeed, despite all the heat and fury over this week’s G20, the most important work might actually emerge from the meetings that Obama and his team have scheduled on the side, far away from the debate over the economic crisis. In effect, if the G20 were a party with a guest list, then Obama’s series of mini-summits would be a VIP room; open only to a select few powerful players and conducted firmly behind closed doors.

The schedule is hectic and the subjects are weighty. On Wednesday, Obama will hold his first bilateral talks with President Hu Jintao of China. The meeting of America’s first black president at a time of almost unprecedented economic crisis with the leader of the world’s foremost rising power is historic. It comes at a time when China has been asserting its international role and taking on the US by talking of replacing the dollar as the main international currency and having a recent naval showdown with a US spy ship in the South China Sea. On the same day, Obama will also meet Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev, again in the first face-to-face talks between the two. Subjects up for discussion will include ways to co-operate to limit Iran’s nuclear ambitions and debate over plans for a US missile shield that Russia views as a hostile act.

But that will be just the beginning. On Thursday, Obama will hold his first personal meeting with India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh. Their discussions will be crucial, given the fact that the explosive situation in India’s neighbour, Pakistan, is the most pressing foreign policy concern of Obama’s administration. Then, just to add another massively complex problem to an already exhaustive list, Obama will hold bilateral talks with the South Korean president, Lee Myung-bak. That chat comes against the backdrop of an increasingly erratic North Korea, which is threatening to attack the South and is moving to launch a long-range missile which Japan has said it might try to shoot down. “He does have a huge amount of challenges to try to tackle,” said Larry Haas, a political commentator and former aide in the Clinton White House.

That is putting it mildly. But Obama is far from alone in dealing with his intense schedule. At his London “diplomatic base camp” will be an array of the best and the brightest from his new administration. Chief among them will be former rival Hillary Clinton, now secretary of state and the public face of American diplomacy. His famously combative chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, will also be travelling to London on Air Force One. Obama’s economic team includes Larry Summers, head of the National Economic Council, and Christina Romer, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

The reasoning behind Obama’s sudden flurry of international diplomacy is complex and only partly explained by the number of thorny problems in need of attention. In fact, Obama is cramming so much diplomacy into such a short time because so far his concerns have all been domestic. “Even when his attention has to be focused on foreign policy, his mind is still bound to be on the thing that really matters: the American economy,” said Haas. Indeed Obama has been so consumed by efforts to stop and then solve America’s domestic woes that the White House has barely had time to put its mind to international affairs. The London meetings offer a rare opportunity to do just that in a highly compressed time frame. “This is his time to make his pitch to world leaders,” said Christian Weller, a senior fellow at the Centre for American Progress.

It also offers a brief break from dealing with domestic woes, where Obama’s popularity has been slipping slightly in the face of the scandal over AIG bonuses and political splits over his huge proposed budget. Holding high-powered meetings with world leaders will allow Obama to remind Americans how much the rest of the world still admires him. It will also be good for the leaders who meet him as they play to domestic audiences. “Personally, I think every one of those leaders wants to sit down and get a photo opportunity with Obama,” said Dan Mitchell, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. “The mere fact that he is the new president has still got something special about it abroad.”

The entourage

Apart from the 200 secret service personnel who will follow Obama on his European tour, the president’s entourage will also include representatives of the White House Military Office, the White House Transportation Agency, the White House Medical Unit, the Marine Corps Helicopter Squadron, the State Department Presidential Travel Support Service, the US Information Agency, the Immigration and Naturalisation Service and the Customs Service.

In addition, there will be staff from the White House kitchen ready to turn out a quick burger should the president suddenly feel peckish.

Michelle Obama will have eight of her own staff, including a secretary, a press officer and bodyguards. And Obama’s personal aide Reggie Love – called by the president “the kid brother I never had” – will be at hand to provide pens, Nicorette gum, throat lozenges, tea or even aspirins.

The Beast

With its armour-plated body and doors, a raised roof, and reinforced steel and aluminium, The Beast will be Obama’s official car. It boasts a titanium and ceramic superstructure and a sealed interior forming a “panic room” capable of shielding him from even a chemical weapons attack. Equipped with a night-vision camera and an armoured petrol tank filled with foam to prevent explosion should it suffer a direct hit, it also has pump-action shotguns, tear-gas cannon, oxygen tanks and bottles of the president’s blood. Its tyres allow it to keep driving even if they have been punctured.

Marine One

Obama will be ferried from Stansted to the US ambassador’s residence in Regent’s Park, London, in a VH-3D helicopter. For security reasons, helicopters are now preferred to motorcades, which are also dearer and more difficult to organise. Much of the current fleet of 19 presidential helicopters was built in the 1970s and after 11 September 2001, when it was decided faster and safer helicopters were needed. But last month Obama said his current presidential helicopter was “perfectly adequate”, a clear sign he is ready to cancel a multibillion-pound contract to replace it.

Air Force One

Using the most famous air traffic control call sign of any US aircraft, Air Force One, the president will arrive in his customised Boeing 747-200B series aircraft.

Beyond its armoured glass in all windows, Obama will have dined in the presidential suite and could even have worked out in his personal gym and taken a shower.

The aircraft has been designed with security as its priority and is equipped with armour-plated wings capable of withstanding a nuclear blast from the ground, flares to confuse enemy missiles and electric defence systems able to jam enemy radar. Mirror-ball technology in the wings is able to scramble infra-red guidance systems. More than 200 miles of wiring are specially shielded from electromagnetic interference caused by a nuclear attack.

Should the president feel the need to retaliate offensively, Obama is able to launch a nuclear strike while flying. The aircraft, among the most photographed in the world, has 85 telephones, 19 televisions, computer suites and faxes to ensure Obama stays in touch with the outside world. At the rear of the aircraft is Obama’s travelling press corps.

Secret Service

More than 200 Secret Service staff will protect the president during the trip, instantly recognisable by their dark business suits, sunglasses and communication earpieces.

John F Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and George W Bush were attacked while appearing in public. Kennedy was killed and Reagan seriously injured, while Bush survived when a hand grenade thrown towards his podium failed to detonate.

Secret Service personnel have made three missions to the UK during which they have swept venues for bugging devices, tested food for contamination and measured air quality for bacteria. Obama was offered bodyguards over a year ago following concern that his African-American roots made him a target.

BREITBART: Online activists on the right, unite!

Monday, March 30, 2009

BREITBART: Online activists on the right, unite!

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

A digital war has broken out, and the conservative movement is losing. Read the comment sections of right-leaning blogs, news sites and social forums, and the evidence is there in ugly abundance. Internet hooligans are spewing their talking points to thwart the dissent of the newly-out-of-power.

We must not let that go unanswered.

Uninvited Democratic activists are on a mission to demoralize the enemy – us. They want to ensure that President Obama is not subject to the same coordinated, facts-be-damned, multimedia takedown they employed over eight long years to destroy the presidency – and the humanity – of George W. Bush.

Political leftists play for keeps. They are willing to lie, perform deceptive acts in a coordinated fashion and do so in a wicked way – all in the pursuit of victory. Moral relativism is alive and well in the land of Hope and Change and its Web-savvy youth brigade expresses its “idealism” in a most cynical fashion.

The ends justify the means for them – now more than ever.

Much of Mr. Obama’s vaunted online strategy involved utilizing “Internet trolls” to invade enemy lines under false names and trying to derail discussion. In the real world, that’s called “vandalism.” But in a political movement that embraces “graffiti” as avant-garde art , that’s business as usual. It relishes the ability to destroy other people’s property in pursuit of electoral victory.

Hugh Hewitt’s popular site shut off its comments section because of the success of these obnoxious invaders. Breitbart.com polices nonpartisan newswire stories for such obviously coordinated attacks. Other right-leaning sites such as Instapundit and National Review Online refuse to allow comments, knowing better than to flirt with the online activist left.

During the Clinton impeachment scandal, a new group out of California called MoveOn.org employed a plan to get its members to dial into right-leaning talk radio shows with scripted talking points falsely claiming that they were Republicans. They said they would never vote for the GOP again if the case against Bill Clinton was pursued.

Rush Limbaugh was the first to isolate these “seminar callers,” whose mission during the Lewinsky mess was to fool the listening audience into believing they were outraged conservatives willing to cut their ties to the Republican Party if the GOP-led Congress continued down the impeachment path.

Eleven years later, “seminar callers” abound and call screeners are trained in the art of weeding them out. But the filtering does not always work.

“This is nothing more than the Internet version of Soviet disinformation,” Human Events editor Jed Babbin told me. “MoveOn.org and the little boys from ‘Lord of the Flies’ who run Media Matters want to make it appear that there’s huge dissension within conservative ranks on issues on which we’re most united.”

The left also uses disinformation to inundate the advertisers of conservative-leaning talk shows to intimidate them from financially supporting popular mainstream shows.

Media Matters even offered its services to an autism support group in its attempt to bring down talk-show host Michael Savage. It had nothing to do with Mr. Savage’s underlying offense. Would Media Matters go after Keith Olbermann if he made a tirade against the afflicted? David Brock and company certainly didn’t raise a peep when President Obama made a joke at the expense of the Special Olympics.

So now that the right is vanquished and thoroughly out of power, why doesn’t it learn from its conquerors and employ similar tactics?

The answer is obvious. The right, for the most part, embraces basic Judeo-Christian ideals and would not promote nor defend the propaganda techniques that were perfected in godless communist and socialist regimes. The current political and media environment crafted by supposedly idealistic Mr. Obama resembles Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela more than John F. Kennedy’s America.

The Huffington Post, Daily Kos and other left-leaning sites benefit from the right’s belief that there are rules and decorum in political debate and civic engagement. Of course, every now and then, a curious right-winger will go in and engage in discussion at a left-wing site, but rarely under purely disingenuous and mass coordinated means.

David Brock, John Podesta, am I missing something?

As a prolific consumer of online content, I value nothing more than the sincere expression of opinion that differs from mine. Sometimes I am even moved or swayed from my dogma. But that was not the type of communication that got Mr. Obama elected.

The American right is in a heap of trouble in a media age that doesn’t shun the goons and liars that have poisoned the political process and won the American presidency by breaking the rules of fair play. It is time to fight back, but it won’t be easy. The enemy is willing to do and say anything in order to win.

Andrew Breitbart is the founder of the news Web site http://www.breitbart.com and is co-author of “Hollywood Interrupted: Insanity Chic in Babylon – the Case Against Celebrity

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