GOP-Obama love affair fizzles

Obama Fails First Week

Barack Obama promised “change we can believe in,” a new “hope” and “transparency in government” in the days leading up to his inauguration.  However, his first week in office has been mired by a series of missteps and failures.  The following report card by the “Our Country PAC” highlights a week in office that reveals Obama hasn’t changed at all from the liberal he was in the U.S. Senate and Illinois State Senate.

We’ve included citation links to support each of the claims made here.  So be sure to SHARE THIS WITH YOUR FRIENDS – CLICK HERE.

At a time of staggering deficits that require fiscal responsibility from the President and Congress, Obama and the Democratic leadership in the House & Senate are trying to outdo one another in spending more of your tax dollars.

Obama’s currently pushing for a $1 TRILLION spending plan that is heavy on big government programs with very little tax relief.

Before he even took office, Obama pressed then-President Bush to request the second $350 billion in federal bailout money.  This is despite the fact that the first installment of bailout funds failed to loosen up credit markets as anticipated.  Instead, many banks kept the money to pad their own balance sheets, and proceeded to cut credit limits on their customer’s bank credit cards.

Obama has placed a desire to “be liked” and to appease America’s enemies ahead of our national security concerns.  He has emboldened America’s enemies and showed a dangerous weakness that some will be sure to challenge or exploit with Obama as Commander in Chief.

First Obama suspended the trials of terrorists being held at GITMO (Guantamo Bay Cuba Terrorist Detention Facility).  Then Obama announced that GITMO would be closed altogether within one year – despite not having a plan in place on what to do with the terrorists being held there.  Shortly after his announcement a video surfaced featuring two al-Qaida terrorists who had been held at GITMO – but then released.  A Pentagon report indicates at least 61 GITMO detainees went on to commit or attempt to commit terrorist attacks after they were released from GITMO.  And Obama now foolishly wants ALL detainees released from GITMO.

Obama similarly signed an executive order limiting the interrogation techniques U.S. intelligence officers can use in trying to obtain critical information from terrorists that could save American lives.

Obama also undermined the U.S. War on Terror by appeasing those who have been most critical of the missions of U.S. troops.  His first call to a foreign head of state was not to a key U.S. ally (such as Britain or Israel) but instead to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.  Similarly, Obama’s first official interview since becoming president was with a Middle Eastern television network known for broadcasting anti-American tirades, al-Arabiya television.

Barack Obama angered pro-life advocates across the globe when he signed an executive order allowing taxpayer funding of abortions at U.S. facilities around the globe.

While people may differ on abortion policies here in America, it is an affront to pro-life Americans to take their tax dollars and use them to end human life.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week pushed for $200 million in funding for birth control saying, “we have to deal with the consequences of the downturn in our economy.”  Astonishingly, the Democratic leadership was arguing that children are too costly for the nation at this time.

To his credit, Obama did ask House leaders to scrap the funding proposal, but he did not denounce Speaker Pelosi’s comments, but instead said it was not the right time for such a proposal – concerned about the backlash from some Republicans on Capitol Hill over the issue,

For all the talk of “change” that Obama pledged to bring to Washington, he has instead surrounded himself with the same Washington establishment figures he had said were part of the nation’s problems.

But what’s been worse is seeing the controversies surrounding Obama’s appointments.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has been called a “tax cheat” for having evaded his taxes.

His pick for Commerce Secretary was forced to withdraw his name from consideration after it was announced that he was the target of a federal corruption probe.

Obama’s nominee for Attorney General, Eric Holder, advocated clemency for 16 FALN terrorists during the Clinton administration and his law firm represents numerous individuals held at the GITMO terrorist detention facility.

And after Obama pledged not to have lobbyists serving in key posts in his administration he nominated an ex-lobbyist to serve as Deputy Secretary of Defense.

The Pelosi-Obama-Reid Trillion Dollar Debt Plan

From the Heritage Foundation

Morning Bell: The Pelosi-Obama-Reid Trillion Dollar Debt Plan

Last Friday we warned you about some family planning provisions tucked away in the House stimulus bill. Some conservative lawmakers then took up the issue on the Sunday shows, and the provisions quickly became a symbol of how completely unrelated to “economic stimulus” the House bill really is. Being the savvy political operator he is, President Barack Obama has now instructed House Democrats to remove that one provision. But, like much of Obama’s presidency so far, this was a completely symbolic move. The family planning provisions are just one small loophole inside of a massive new permanent expansion of socialized medicine. Don’t believe us? Here is how the New York Times reports (not editorializes, a hard news report) on the bill:

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The stimulus bill working its way through Congress is not just a package of spending increases and tax cuts intended to jolt the nation out of recession. For Democrats, it is also a tool for rewriting the social contract with the poor, the uninsured and the unemployed, in ways they have long yearned to do.

As Congress rushes to inject cash into a listless economy, it is setting aside many of the restraints that have checked new domestic spending for more than a decade.

The economic stimulus bill prevents states from enforcing a means test. … Republicans said this proposal would take a big step toward federalizing Medicaid. For their part, Democrats said the changes took a major step toward their goal of coverage for all Americans.

This is why long time advocates for socialized medicine, like Ways and Means health subcommittee chair Pete Stark (D-CA), have been telling reporters not to expect any other health care legislation this year. This “stimulus” bill is the left’s major down payment for socialized medicine. By making everyone eligible, the bill makes government health care the default option for the unemployed. Coupled with their SCHIP legislation that makes three-fourths of all American children eligible for Medicaid, this stimulus bill is designed to maximize the pushing of Americans off their current private coverage and into government run health care.

The left’s power grab does not end with health care. As we noted last week, and the New York Times reports today, the bill will “profoundly change the federal government’s role in education, which has traditionally been the responsibility of state and local government.” The NYT continues: “The proposed emergency expenditures on nearly every realm of education … would amount to the largest increase in federal aid since Washington began to spend significantly on education after World War II.”

And we haven’t even got to the Christmas tree like wish list of other long sought after leftist spending priorities, which include: $1 billion for Amtrak, $2 billion for child-care subsidies; $50 million for the National Endowment of the Arts; $400 million for global warming research; $2.4 billion for clean coal; $650 million for even more digital TV conversion coupons; $600 million for new government cars; $7 billion for modernizing federal buildings; $150 million for the Smithsonian; and $54 billion for Economic Development Office and Small Business Administration programs that the OMB or GAO have already analyzed to be “ineffective.”

All of this deficit spending has a cost. And the Congressional Budget Office confirmed yesterday that the cost of servicing the mountains of new debt of all this government expansion pushes the total price tag of just the existing House spending plans (before a single cent of Senate waste is added) to over $1 trillion dollars. In a letter to Rep. Paul Ryan (D-WI) CBO director Doug Elmendorf writes: “CBO estimates that the government’s interest costs would increase by $0.7 billion in fiscal year 2009 and by a total of $347 billion over the 2009- 2019 period.” In other words, the Pelosi-Obama-Reid Debt Plan already weighs in at $1.172 trillion.

President Obama reportedly told Republicans yesterday, “I would love to not have to spend this money.” Every American is free to take Obama’s words at face value. Or you could believe the President’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Commenting on the left’s governing plans this November, he said: “Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things you couldn’t do before.” Exactly.

Predicting Obama’s Presidency

Predicting Obama’s Presidency

langeKit Lange is an Air Force veteran and military writer. Her blog, EuphoricReality.com, was named as one of the top 10 milblogs of the year.

My Predictions for the New Obama “Presidency”.

Now that America has shown us all that affirmative action even works in politics, I’ve compiled a list of things that you can probably expect to happen. These predictions are 80% gleaned from information all of us have access to, and 15% gut instinct based on many years of research, historical study, and being glued to current affairs. The other 5% is just anger at my countrymen’s stupidity–I admit it.

    - Israel will understand this election was the end of any type of assistance, military or otherwise, from the U.S., and will stop holding back their defense at the request of the American administration. Look for a first strike on Iran soon, as well as increased activity by the Israeli military in general. Israel is on her own now, and God help us all because of it.

    - Websites and mass emails offering “free grants,” courtesy of the government and “Obama’s wealth redistribution.” Actually, this one’s a freebie, because I have an email with a date and timestamp of literally minutes after Obama was declared the winner, offering exactly that.- Look for Iranian retaliation–against American targets. That goes doubly for other terrorist organizations. We just elected a man with the full endorsement of every major terrorist group in the world as leader of the free world. It’s the political equivalent of hiring a child molester to babysit your kids while you leave for the weekend. Not only is HE going to have fun with your child, but he’ll probably sit and watch while his friends come over and do it too.

    - Look for far-left justices appointed to the Supreme Court, effectively tying up the entire government in a trifecta of liberal humanism, the buzzwords of which remain empty platitudes like “hope and change,” and the ultimate goal of which is socialism–and soon, sharia law.

    - Military cases of troops being tried and convicted for killing the enemy in combat will continue to rise–and the conviction/plea-bargain rate will stay at nearly 100%, as the government seeks to use the best men and women this country has to offer as sacrificial lambs on the altar of global appeasement. Those brave and honorable men who currently reside in prison cells across the country, stripped of their rank, their careers, families, and their good name, will not taste free air again for many years. Their sacrifices and their stories will be forgotten by the general public, remembered only by those of us who continue to fight for them.

    - Look for the slow but steady erosion of rights you have enjoyed for your entire lives–all the while being told it’s “for your own good.” Restrictions on gun ownership, home schooling, encouraged dependence on the ever-growing federal government. More nanny-state provisions will be put into place to protect the “disadvantaged” and the “poor,” (read: lazy, uneducated, unwilling to better themselves) even while groups like the unborn, the mentally handicapped, elderly, and terminally ill are slowly pushed toward euthanasia. Of course, this will be done with feel-good phrases like “death with dignity,” “not wanting to be a burden,” and “merciful release from suffering,” all of which ignore the basic fact that we are killing people without their consent for the “good of the people.” Before you tell me I’m crazy, let’s just remember that Barack Obama was the ONLY senator in the Illinois state senate to vote against providing medical care for babies who were inconsiderate enough to survive an abortion.. Also, look for taxes to go up. Yes, they’ll go up.

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    - You think the economy is bad now? Just wait. You’ll have the most expensive “free” health care ever. Bread lines aren’t just for Russians anymore. We have traded experience for color, freedom for slavery–and the irony is that the average American sheeple thinks their vote somehow righted an ancient wrong, somehow ENDED the spectre of slavery and ushered in some beautiful era of liberty. In reality, we are about to be less free than you ever thought possible.

I watched the faces of those crowded into the mob (excuse the pun) in Chicago. They stared at Obama like he was a god, an idol, a panacea to their every want and need. We have truly failed as a nation if we are at the point where we feel we must look to one man to take care of us all, to be our father figure and our sugar daddy. We have lost not only the “can-do” attitude of past generations, but the “MUST-do” attitude of our forefathers. We have allowed ourselves to become reduced from Patrick Henry’s proud cry of “liberty or death” to the sniveling, whining idea that we are owed something. We have gone from being the honorable defenders of freedom to being told we are the problem.

The eyes of Obama and McCain were also telling. McCain acted with class and grace in his concession speech, offering the most honorable response I’ve seen yet. I don’t agree with all of McCain’s positions, but it cannot be denied that the man has served his nation–at permanent and severe detriment to himself–for half a century. His eyes were clear and sincere, honest. His speech underlined the very reasons why, of the two men offered, he was hands down the better choice.

On the other hand, Obama’s eyes were cold, calculating. His manner was smug and still carried the arrogance he has always had. His facial expression was one of barely disguised disdain for everything people like me believe in. His body language was smooth, polished–too much so. He talked of patriotism as though it is a value he is familiar with–and yet, his horrifying attitude toward the country he now leads is as well-documented as his friendships with those who seek its demise. He is charismatic to those who don’t know what to look for, and he is inspiring to those who cannot or will not think for themselves. However, too many who voted for him are guilty of the most dangerous kind of hypocrisy. You see, we are told daily that we must not see color, just mankind. (We are all family, you know–or so we’re told.) And yet Barack Obama was handed the White House on a silver platter by a fawning media, a bevy of foreign donors (who, to this day and in violation of U.S. election laws, remain nameless and unaccounted for), and a populace who voted based on color instead of right and wrong–even in the face of the most damning evidence against a Presidential candidate in many years, perhaps ever.

It is said that the people receive the government they deserve. Sadly, I fear that’s correct. We have become complacent, unwilling to see the writing on the wall, content to frolic in the warm water without bearing to notice that it’s been getting hotter by the minute. We are two seconds from a rolling boil–and perhaps it is already too late.

So, liberals, enjoy your victory. Jump around. Have a party, file for your free grants. Scream “Gimme my handout!” and make fun of those of us who fought to make sure your “messiah” didn’t get access to the most powerful position in the world. Just remember when it all comes crashing down: You own the White House, the Congress, and soon the Supreme Court. You have no one to blame but yourselves for the mess you just created.

That is, those who voted for him. Interesting commentary. Time will tell.

Acorn’s Seed Money

Acorn’s Seed Money

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Tuesday, January 27, 2009 4:20 PM PT

Stimulus: The group that pushed banks into the risky loans that brought the economy down is now eligible for a huge chunk of stimulus cash. The stimulus plan does create jobs — for community activists.


Read More: Economy


As in any agreement, contract or piece of legislation, the devil is in the details. So it is with the stimulus package percolating in Congress.

Analysts are beginning to figure out that only a small percentage of the money will actually trickle down into the economy in the first two years, not enough to do much stimulating.

Yet in this package is a $4 billion pot for community groups like ACORN to draw upon for what are called “neighborhood stabilization activities,” which include “redevelopment of abandoned and foreclosed homes.”

That is a worthy goal in a troubled economy. But money was already appropriated for that purpose in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act signed into law in 2008.

The problem for activists is the money was limited to state and local governments, where presumably there is greater transparency on how it is spent, and some measure of accountability.

Community groups like the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now felt left out.

So their Democratic patrons in Congress have included language to expand the eligible recipients of up to $4 billion in assistance to include “nonprofit entities or consortia of nonprofit entities,” which translates into groups such as ACORN.

ACORN has been accused of perpetrating voter registration fraud numerous times in the last several elections; is reportedly under federal investigation; and played a key role in the irresponsible schemes that caused a financial meltdown that American taxpayers are now paying dearly for.

This is like giving fire-prevention money to arsonists.

It was ACORN, under the cover of the Community Reinvestment Act, that intimidated banks into making risky loans to people who could not afford them in the name of “fairness.”

ACORN organized to intimidate financial institutions into giving what have been called “ninja” loans — no income, no job, no assets — to people who could not afford them.

The CRA empowered regulators to punish banks that failed to “meet the credit needs” of “low-income, minority and distressed neighborhoods.”

It gave groups such as ACORN a license and a means to intimidate banks, claiming they were “redlining” poor and minority neighborhoods.

The CRA was designed to increase minority homeownership. Whenever a bank wanted to grow or expand, ACORN would file complaints that the bank was not sufficiently sensitive to the needs of minorities in providing home loans.

The agitators would then be unleashed to seal the deal — for a cut, of course. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac then would buy up these bad loans, creating a market for them, and the rest is history.

A major part of ACORN’s sordid history is vote fraud. ACORN has been implicated in voter fraud and bogus registration schemes in Missouri, Ohio and at least 12 other states.

Last July, ACORN settled the largest case of voter fraud in Washington state history, involving nearly 2,000 bogus voter forms. In Ohio in 2004, ACORN submitted forms for the likes of Mary Poppins, Dick Tracy and someone named Jive Turkey.

In 2008, ACORN filed more than 43,000 new voter registration forms in Minnesota, where the razor-thin margin of victory for Republican Sen. Norm Coleman over former “Saturday Night Live” comedian Al Franken evaporated.

Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, who orchestrated the recount that gave Franken a lead six weeks after Coleman appeared to win by 725 votes on Election Day, has extensive ties to ACORN.

It’s becoming clear that the stimulus package in its current form is less about jump-starting the economy than it is about pursuing a political agenda.

To give access to stimulus money to a group waist deep in the mortgage crisis and vote fraud like ACORN is, well, just plain nuts.

Another TALE OF TWO HEADLINES!

Another TALE OF TWO HEADLINES!

Posted By Roger Kimball On January 26, 2009 @ 7:54 am In Uncategorized | 47 Comments

OK, Sherlock, what do you make of this?

“[1] U.S. business climate worst in 27 years

Whoa–bad news, what? Reuters explains: “Slack demand and lack of credit are forcing firms to cut capital spending and axe jobs, according to the survey. About 39 percent of firms said they planned to reduce payrolls over the next six months, while 17 percent expected to hire people.”

OK, let’s say you are the President of the United States and you wake up to headlines like that. What do you do? Do you set about trying to create an environment that is business friendly, that promotes growth by reducing red-tape and onerous regulations that make it more difficult for U.S. businesses to compete at home and abroad? Not If you’re Barack “I won” Obama. No siree. If you rule with his divine mandate you end your first week in office by making things more difficult for U.S. businesses, especially the suffering automobile industry:

“[2] Obama acts to reverse Bush climate moves

Yes, that’s right, “U.S. President Barack Obama will start reversing former President George W. Bush’s climate change policies on Monday with steps to raise fuel efficiency standards and grant states authority to limit greenhouse gas emissions from cars.” It’s part of Obama’s promise “to take aggressive action to fight global warming and reduce emissions blamed for heating the earth.”

Blamed by whom, pray tell? Everyone outside of Al Gore’s extended family now knows that man-made global warming is an urban legend cooked up by painty-waist eco-nuts who never got over the fact that George W. Bush was (twice!) elected President of the United States. Doesn’t matter. Combating an illusory beast like Manmade Global Warming ™ is a perfect task for this administration: it produces the necessary Green Vibrations to soothe liberal anxieties and–the really important thing–it is incredibly expensive. Indeed, Manmade Global Warming ™ is the ultimate Democratic boondoggle, potentially even more costly than nationalized health care. There may be a limit to how much you can spend on health care–granted, we don’t know what that limit is yet–but Manmade Global Warming ™? The sky’s the limit. After Nancy Pelosi gets done bankrupting your children by adding another zero or two to the TARP package, she can move on to bankrupting your grandchildren as well. (If there are any grandchildren, that is: Pelosi’s latest idea seems to be that, babies are a [3] dispensable and expensive luxury: “the family planning services reduce cost,” she said. “They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now [and] contraception will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.”)

If only one had a safe spot from which one could watch this exercise in self-righteous melodrama unfold it would be almost amusing. Alas, no such safe spot exists: we’re stuck here on planet earth. Exactly what planet the Obamas and Pelosis of the script inhabit is not yet clear.


Article printed from Roger’s Rules:  http://pajamasmedia.com/rogerkimball

What the Stimulus Will Cost You

Islam Demands Surrender


Amil Imani

Islam Demands Surrender
January 26, 2009

What’s in a name? A great deal. Democracy, fascism, and communism represent different systems of government. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are also titles for different religious systems.

Whereas democracy is defined as the rule of the people, by the people, for the people, Islam is defined as the rule of Allah, by Allah and his emissaries, for the pleasure of Allah. And when people, out of concern for political correctness or ignorance, describe Islam as a religion of peace, they are, at the very least, guilty of misrepresenting it.

The word “Islam,” is derived from the word “taslim,” which means surrender. The word for peace is not “taslim,” but it is “solh.” Hence, when Muslims behave in violent barbaric ways, they are only doing so in obedience to the dictates of their creed. They are surrendering and sacrificing anything and everything in service to the will and pleasure of Allah, as they see it.

Of course, not every Muslim surrenders fully to the will of Allah. The great majority of Muslims are only partial Muslims. They may say their daily obligatory prayers, they may tithe some, and they may keep the fast from time to time. Yet, they may also have a few drinks now and then, and do many things that they are not supposed to do.

But Islam can be a “forgiving” religion, specifically for the male. If you neglect to say your prayers or you simply don’t want to, you can hire someone, preferably an imam or a mullah, to pray on your behalf. Going to the Hajj is too onerous and takes you away from the pleasures and comforts of your life? You can deputize someone else to go in your stead. You have a few drinks of the forbidden brew and it is time to say your prayer? Simply rinse your mouth and go ahead with praying. But, always remember the will of Allah and serve him. Do your duties to vanquish the unbelievers, promote the rule of the Shari’a, and make the earth Allah’s.

If only the masses of Muslims arise and carry out the orders of Allah, then we would have the promised paradise of Islam on earth as exemplified by such rules as that of the Taliban, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, and of course the Shiite nirvana of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

In these model Islamic societies, freedom of expression, worship, and assembly are taken away. Women are treated as chattel. Young girls are subjected to barbaric genital mutilation to make them sex slaves and birth channels without the ability to enjoy intercourse. Minors are executed, adulterers are stoned to death, thieves have their limbs amputated, and much much more. Isn’t that everyone’s idea of paradise?

This misogynist religion of Allah is custom-made for the savage male. A faithful follower of Allah is allowed to have as many as four permanent wives – and replace any of them at any time he wants — as well as an unlimited number of one-night or one-hour-standers that he can afford to rent. But, woe unto a woman if she even has a single love affair with another man. Nothing less than death by stoning is her just punishment.

The partial-Muslims are seemingly harmless, may appear normal, and are under the radar. What gets our attention is the die-hard, the real Muslims who are a small minority. Yet this virulent combative minority is campaigning simultaneously on two major fronts. It works to herd the partial-Muslim majority into its fold and vanquish all other non-believers by any and all means.

It is prudent to keep in mind that all important events in the history of humanity have been instigated by either an individual or a small group. These individuals or groups have been the sheep-dogs that have directed the movements and activities of the masses, the sheep.

This is exactly what the real Muslims, the Islamists, are doing in the world today. It is suicidal to dismiss the Islamists as a bunch of zealots of no consequences or as a fringe group that will burn itself out. Sadly enough, it is the bulk of the Muslims that pundits portray as “peaceful” who is either irrelevant or often serves as an instrument in the hands of the Islamists. A couple of examples from recent history conclusively prove the point that it is the fanatical minorities that launch and implement campaigns that inflict immense suffering on the larger society.

In the 1930s, very few Germans were Nazis, but many basked in the resurgence of German pride and many others were too busy with their own lives to care. Thus, Germany presented a wide-open unchallenged opportunity for the Nazis to push forward their agenda and gather power to a point that it was too late for any other force to stem their tide.

And we all know what suffering this gang of radical supremacists inflicted on millions of people before their own demise.

The Khomeinism of Iran was started by a band of Shiite fanatics who rode the tide of opposition to the rule of the Shah and promised the masses the Islamic nirvana. No sooner had the Khomeinists ascended to power than they made the entire nation captive by murdering tens of thousands of the complacent and the late-to-awaken opposition, imprisoning and torturing untold thousands more, and creating a state of Islamic menace that threatens the entire free world.

The fact is that too many die-hard Islamists continue leaving the failed Islamic states and settling in the lands of the Kafir. These new arrivals bring with them the deeply engrained hatred of the infidels and believe that they are indeed the rightful owner of the entire earth and all other non-Muslims are mere squatters that must be either subjugated or eliminated all together. In this relentless campaign, the Islamists have a vast cadre of “experts,” “talking heads,” and for-purchase politicians who keep endlessly broadcasting the false mantra that Islam is religion of peace. This latter bunch is criminally complicit in making the populace complacent and furthering the work of the Islamists.

Islam may be a religion of peace. It is the kind of peace imbedded in its very name: Surrender. Free people shouldn’t be cowed by the Islamist savages and should take into account their accomplices who are shamelessly deceiving the public regarding the true nature of Islam

Islam demands surrender of all that free people cherish and hold sacred. It is Islam, a pathological doctrine and a vestige of long ago barbarism that must surrender to the wholesome principles of freedom and free people.

Top Obama Aides Subject of Blago Subpoenas Alexrod, Jarrett among names

Top Obama Aides Subject of Blago SubpoenasAlexrod, Jarrett among names

Updated 11:40 AM CST, Mon, Jan 26, 2009

Related Topics:Patricia Blagojevich | U.S. Government | U.S. State Government

 

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Among 43 subpoenas released by the Blagojevich administration Friday, one from Dec. 8 seeks notes, calendars, correspondence and any other data that relate to some of Obama’s top advisors.

 

Sweeping federal subpoenas of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich‘s administration include requests for records involving David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett, senior advisers to President Barack Obama.

Blago’s Impeachment Day

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Blagojevich Busted

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Embattled Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich discusses his upcoming impeachment trial and his thoughts on going to prison, during an interview with NBC,…

Blago Talks Gandhi, Dr. King and Mandela

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Among 43 subpoenas released by the Blagojevich administration Friday, one from Dec. 8 seeks notes, calendars, correspondence and any other data that relate to Axelrod, Jarrett and 32 other people and organizations.

That was the day before the FBI arrested Blagojevich, a two-term Democrat, on charges that he tried to trade his appointment to replace Obama in the Senate for campaign contributions. Wiretapped conversations show Blagojevich thought Jarrett was interested in the seat and he wanted campaign money or a high-paying job in return, according to a sworn statement.

Obama’s staff released a report in December that said his staff had no inappropriate contact with the governor’s office about the Senate seat, nor was anyone aware of any dealmaking. Axelrod, a Chicago political strategist now in the White House, was not mentioned in the report.

Prosecutors have said Obama is not implicated in the case, and none of his advisers has been accused of wrongdoing. Aides to the president did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Others listed on the subpoena are people linked to the 76-page criminal complaint against Blagojevich, which does not identify anyone by name except the governor and his former chief of staff, John Harris, arrested the same day.

They include first lady Patricia Blagojevich and her former employer, River Realty; former Blagojevich aides Lon Monk, John Wyma, Christopher Kelly and Doug Scofield; his brother and campaign manager Robert Blagojevich; Chicago Tribune owner Sam Zell; and Tom Balanoff, Illinois director of the Service Employees International Union.

The federal complaint charges Blagojevich with trying to pressure the Tribune into firing unfriendly editorial writers and seeking a six-figure job with an activist group affiliated with SEIU. Prosecutors say he also discussed a better job for his wife.

Dec. 11 subpoenas to the Capital Development Board and Transportation Department requested contract-bidding documents and other information on 22 engineering firms and individuals. They include a company whose president hosted a Nov. 10 fundraiser for Blagojevich that brought in $60,000 as prosecutors claim the governor sought to cash in on Illinois Tollway construction.

The Illinois House impeached Blagojevich earlier this month. A Senate trial over his ouster starts Monday, and Blagojevich said Friday that he will not participate because he believes the process is unfair.

The 43 subpoenas released Friday under the Freedom of Information Act, plus seven previously disclosed, cut a wide swath through the beleaguered administration, demanding everything from complex hiring records to Patricia Blagojevich’s appointment calendar.

Blagojevich acknowledged in fall 2005 that his office and several cabinet agencies had received subpoenas seeking hiring records, but then he stopped talking about them.

The Better Government Association, a Chicago-based public watchdog group, fought a two-year lawsuit over release of the subpoenas, which it won late last month when Blagojevich’s office turned over five subpoenas BGA sought under FOIA.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation into Blagojevich hiring practices was reported as early as 2005 and a Fitzgerald letter was released in June 2006 that indicated he had witnesses to “endemic hiring fraud.”

But the investigation appears to have heated up again in 2007.

Since February 2007, 22 federal subpoenas have arrived at the governor’s office. They include requests to four state agencies for contract information involving Ali Ata. Ata is the one-time Illinois Finance Authority director who testified last spring in federal court that Blagojevich was present when he turned over a $25,000 check to Blagojevich fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko, then asked Rezko if he had discussed a state job with Ata.

Rezko was convicted in the case of 16 counts of fraud, aiding bribery and money laundering in trying to get Blagojevich campaign contributions from companies seeking state business. Ata’s allegation that he bought his job is part of the federal complaint filed last month.

The government also has demanded information on Blagojevich appointments to boards and commissions and documents that show “favors, official action or any other benefit” promised to people who were potential donors and records related to anyone who contributed $25,000 or more to his campaign.

Other subpoenas requested all appointment calendars kept by the governor and first lady, paychecks issued to the governor, and air travel records for Blagojevich and his bodyguards. The governor has been criticized for his frequent use of state aircraft for daily round trips between his Chicago home and Springfield’s state Capitol.

Obama’s Graciousness Deficit

Obama’s Graciousness Deficit

Posted By Jennifer Rubin On January 26, 2009 @ 12:01 am In . Feature 01, . Positioning, Politics | 54 Comments

President Obama ran his campaign on “change” and he declares now at every turn just how changey he is — on torture, the economy, the Middle East, ethics, etc.

Forget for a moment whether there is anything to the high-minded talk. That’s his theme and ticket to wielding political power.

The unfortunate result of this is that he is now given to jab continually at his predecessor. Some might attribute this to the failure to realize “the campaign is over” but it is perhaps better understood as milking his change meme for all its worth. He is changing from the Bush era, he repeats ad nauseam. The result, nevertheless, is a decided lack of graciousness toward his predecessor.

[1] Peter Robinson, former Reagan speech writer, observes of the Inaugural Address:

George W. Bush had gone to exceptional lengths to ensure a smooth transition, even making some unpopular moves — such as asking Congress to release some $350 billion bailout funds — to spare Obama the trouble. Obama offered Bush no more than a single, curt sentence of thanks. Then he blamed Bush for the economic crisis, denouncing his “failure to make hard choices” — as if Bush hadn’t attempted to deal with the crisis by enacting a stimulus measure of the very kind Obama himself now proposes — and accused Bush of “protecting narrow interests.” For that matter, the new president all but ignored the principal task of any inaugural address, that of reuniting the nation after the divisiveness of a campaign. Almost 60 million Americans cast their ballots for Sen. John McCain. What did Obama have to say to his opponents? “What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them.” Some olive branch.

And the same smallness of spirit is showing up in rhetoric directed toward the Republicans in Congress.

At a White House meeting he throws an elbow (”[2] I won“) and chides them for supposedly following the dictates of radio talk show host [3] Rush Limbaugh. (The Beltway Republicans are not above the latter, by the way, but their objections to the “stimulus” plan are on sound policy grounds.) Anyone who gets in his way is just opposed to “change.”

Why do this? President Obama is the one whom we were told has unlimited empathy, who can bring people with differing perspectives together without recrimination. He is not hobbled by the Bush-Clinton political wars which left both sides of the political aisle exhausted and in low repute. He, of all people, had the ability to start fresh and elevate the tone in Washington.

We are seeing, I think, the unlimited hubris of a candidate enjoying sky-high poll ratings and media adoration who believes he owes his opponents only civility, but not respect. And it suggests that the need to maintain the high-wire act of “change” (without the benefit of true policy innovation) feeds the constant need to differentiate himself from — and ultimately diminish– his predecessor and opponents.

The danger is that he loses that rarest of presidential commodities, which is the ability to operate on a higher plane than the squabbling politicians and sniping pundits surrounding him. Indeed, by invoking [4] Limbaugh’s name he brought on not only a finely crafted response (which made a convincing case that the stimulus is a political maneuver not an economic recovery plan), but ensnared himself in exactly the sort of political bric-a-brac he wants to avoid.

It may not matter in the end because he does, after all, have the votes to pass much of his agenda. But it is being remembered and absorbed by his opponents, and even by less politically-minded onlookers. They might wonder why the new president who has the luxury to be magnanimous isn’t. And when the going gets tough, or his Congressional majority narrows (as it usually does after the first mid-year election), he might need the good will of the other party.

So perhaps President Obama, who has an overabundance of confidence, can settle into his new surroundings and find ways to maintain his own standing without sniping at his opponents.

He might, for example, acknowledge that we aren’t just “ending” the war or leaving Iraq to the Iraqis. We are winning, or if he prefers, “completing the mission.” Those who championed the surge, not to mention the troops still fighting, would certainly notice and appreciate it. (Like it or not he’s completing Bush’s Iraq policy — not departing from it.) And when he talks about changing stem cell policy — which is so ticklish a subject he [5] may defer to Congress — he can leave out the dig about “restor[ing] science to its rightful place.” He can just tell us what he wants to do and why he thinks it is right. And he might argue the merits of his stimulus plan rather than resort to ad hominem attacks.

In sum, President Obama is an elegant man who enjoys the goodwill of most citizens. He should not fritter away his standing nor diminish his stature by perpetuating “childish things,” including a constant stream of one-upsmanship. Graciousness goes a long way in life, and in politics.

And it may come in handy some day


Article printed from Pajamas Media: http://pajamasmedia.com

URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/obamas-graciousness-deficit

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