Clinton-Obama Rift Begins

Clinton-Obama Rift Begins

A little bit of daylight has begun to emerge between the Clintons and President Obama. As the president’s ratings drop — recently, particularly among liberals — the first signs are beginning to show of distance between the former rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination.
 
As always with the Clintons, the signs are made evident by a carefully choreographed two-step in which they fill their separate roles, one as an outsider and the other as a loyal insider to the Obama administration. But never doubt that everything these two do is coordinated and orchestrated.
 
On Bill’s end, there emerge faint signs of disagreement with the president. Commenting on the Gulf oil spill, the former president warned against ratcheting up the rhetoric against BP noting that it is that firm’s expertise upon which the administration must rely to end the spill and terminate the slide in his ratings that it has triggered.
 
More confrontationally, Bill has endorsed Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff for the Democratic Senate nomination in Colorado even as the Obama White House is strongly backing Michael Bennet, the Democratic senator appointed to fill the seat vacated by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
 
For Bill Clinton to challenge Obama so overtly to a proxy battle in the Colorado Senate primary is, indeed, remarkable considering his wife’s role in the administration.
 
Hillary, as befits her position — but not necessarily her personality — is more demure. While she takes no shots at her boss and does not cross him in any way, she is gradually expanding her purview beyond the foreign affairs mandate of her job.
 
It was Secretary of State Clinton who first released to the media the fact that Obama’s Justice Department would be suing the state of Arizona over their new anti-illegal immigration law. And it was also the secretary of state who noted that she felt that rich people were not paying their “fair share” of taxes in the U.S., while carefully explaining that she was only expressing her personal views.

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Don’t cry for me Palestine

Don’t cry for me Palestine

Ethel C. Fenig

The terrorists and their bigoted, smug enablers set sail from Turkey on a propaganda voyage to ostensibly deliver goods to the deprived residents of Gaza living under conditions Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton called

“unsustainable and unacceptable. Israel’s legitimate security needs must be met just as the Palestinians’ legitimate needs for sustained humanitarian assistance and regular access for reconstruction materials must also be assured.”

But is the situation “unsustainable and unacceptable”? Are the Gazans lacking “humanitarian assistance and regular access for reconstruction materials”? Let’s take a look at how the Gazans themselves are faring, courtesy of their own magazine, Palestine Today.

Just look at that bountiful supply of all kinds of healthy food, clothing, even electronic goodies and toys! Such fun in the sun.

Thanks to regular trade, deliveries of food and medicines from Israel and Egypt plus financial aid from a broke Europe and smuggling the objects of misguided international affection are doing very well–better than their imperialist saviors.

Meanwhile the humanitarian aid deprived Gazans fired several more of their endless supply of rockets into civilian areas, luckily causing no harm according to Reuters . The Israelis fired back, killing five terrorists. Does this meet Clinton’s standard of “legitimate security needs”? Condemnation of Israel for defending itself undoubtedly to follow.

So, will the next wave of the fascist flotilla change course to Kurdistan, Darfur or, for the truly courageous, North Korea? And will Turkey finally apologize to Armenia and somehow compensate its citizens for the Turk slaughter of Armenians nearly a century ago? Will the Palestinians share their good fortune and wealth with those truly deserving? Will the UN divert its attention from bashing Israel to the vital humanitarian issues of the day?

Because the true issue for all involved is demonizing Israel rather than aid the truly deserving, the answer is no. The Big Lie continues, devaluing all those who spout it.

hat tip: Phyllis Dreazin

Hillary: Brazil Growing Like Crazy

Hillary: Brazil Growing Like Crazy

Gene Schwimmer

What’s rapid economic growth to a Democrat?  Or truth?  Or fairness?  Hillary Clinton gave us pretty good indication of all three on May 27th, when she said:

The rich are not paying their fair share in any nation that is facing the kind of employment issues [America currently does] – whether it’s individual, corporate or whatever [form of] taxation forms.
She then went on to cite Brazil as a paragon of economic growth – and taxation:
Brazil has the highest tax-to-GDP rate in the Western Hemisphere and guess what – they’re growing like crazy.
But, as with any “fact” a Clinton or an Obama apparatchik cites, you need to look it up for yourself.  Which I did.   Brazil’s GDP grew 2.0% in the last quarter.  The average rates for 2007, 2008 and 2009 were 1.61%, 0.39% and 0.96%, respectively.
For those who may be wondering, our own GDP growth in the last quarter was 3.00%.  But I digress.  The point is:  Either (1) Hillary didn’t know Brazil’s actual growth rate; (2) she did know, but lied about it or (3) she knew and considers 3.00% GDP growth “growing like crazy.”  Pick any one, two, or – this is the Obama administration, after all – all three.

Thomas Lifson adds:

Brazil’s economy is benefitting from offshore oil exploration and development – the sort of thing Obama wants to stop in the wake of his failure to contain the Gulf oil spill by implementing the the existing plan.

STATE DEPT. DECLARES: ‘Global warming unequivocal and primarily human-induced’…

US climate report publicized in runup to Senate bill
20 Apr 2010 00:35:50 GMT

Source: Reuters

(Corrects headline and first paragraph to reflect that report was publicized on Monday, 2nd paragraph notes report released April 8) 

WASHINGTON, April 19 (Reuters) – An environmental coalition publicized a new U.S. draft report on climate change on Monday, one week before the expected unveiling of a compromise U.S. Senate bill that aims to curb greenhouse gas emissions. 

The Project on Climate Science, a coalition of environmental groups, publicized the report in advance of Earth Day on April 22, a spokeswoman said. The report was released with little fanfare on April 7 and posted on the Federal Register on April 8. 

The report, a draft of the Fifth U.S. Climate Action Report that will be sent to the United Nations, says bluntly: “Global warming is unequivocal and primarily human-induced … Global temperature has increased over the past 50 years. This observed increase is due primarily to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases.” 

Without action to stop them, climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions will rise over 8,000 megatonnes by mid-century, the draft said. By adopting measures detailed in a bill passed last year by the U.S. House of Representatives, these emissions will drop beneath 2,000 megatonnes. They’re now about 6,500 megatonnes. The United Nations measures greenhouse gas emissions in megatonnes, or million metric tons. 

The effects of climate change are already evident, the draft said: warming air and oceans, vanishing mountain glaciers, thawing permafrost, signs of instability in the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica and rising sea levels. 

The State Department draft, now open for public comment, precedes the expected April 26 unveiling of Senate legislation by Democrat John Kerry, Republican Lindsey Graham and Independent Joe Lieberman. 

Supporters of the bill hope this will pave the way for the full Senate to debate and pass a measure in June or July. 

The State Department report will ultimately go to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; previous U.S. reports to this body were in 1994, 1997, 2002 and 2007. 

The draft report is available online at http://www.state.gov/g/oes/rls/rpts/car5/index.htm. 

(Editing by Jackie Frank)

New York Times – Muslims Shaping War On Terror Policies!!!: Obama, Jarret, Holder, Napolitano In Clandestine Campaign To Build Islamic Power In America

New York Times – Muslims Shaping War On Terror Policies!!!: Obama, Jarret, Holder, Napolitano In Clandestine Campaign To Build Islamic Power In America

April 19th, 2010 Posted By Pat Dollard.

valerie_jarrett_with_hillary_clinton_and_barack_obama

New York Times:

When President Obama took the stage in Cairo last June, promising a new relationship with the Islamic world, Muslims in America wondered only half-jokingly whether the overture included them. After all, Mr. Obama had kept his distance during the campaign, never visiting an American mosque and describing the false claim that he was Muslim as a “smear” on his Web site.

Nearly a year later, Mr. Obama has yet to set foot in an American mosque. And he still has not met with Muslim and Arab-American leaders. But less publicly, his administration has reached out to this politically isolated constituency in a sustained and widening effort that has left even skeptics surprised.

Muslim and Arab-American advocates have participated in policy discussions and received briefings from top White House aides and other officials on health care legislation, foreign policy, the economy, immigration and national security. They have met privately with a senior White House adviser, Valerie Jarrett, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to discuss civil liberties concerns and counterterrorism strategy.

The impact of this continuing dialogue is difficult to measure, but White House officials cited several recent government actions that were influenced, in part, by the discussions. The meeting with Ms. Napolitano was among many factors that contributed to the government’s decision this month to end a policy subjecting passengers from 14 countries, most of them Muslim, to additional scrutiny at airports, the officials said.

That emergency directive, enacted after a failed Dec. 25 bombing plot, has been replaced with a new set of intelligence-based protocols that law enforcement officials consider more effective.

Also this month, Tariq Ramadan, a prominent Muslim academic, visited the United States for the first time in six years after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reversed a decision by the Bush administration, which had barred Mr. Ramadan from entering the country, initially citing the U.S.A. Patriot Act. Mrs. Clinton also cleared the way for another well-known Muslim professor, Adam Habib, who had been denied entry under similar circumstances.

Arab-American and Muslim leaders said they had yet to see substantive changes on a variety of issues, including what they describe as excessive airport screening, policies that have chilled Muslim charitable giving and invasive F.B.I. surveillance guidelines. But they are encouraged by the extent of their consultation by the White House and governmental agencies.

“For the first time in eight years, we have the opportunity to not only meet, engage, discuss, disagree, but have an impact on policy,” said James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute in Washington.

The administration’s approach has been understated. Many meetings have been private; others were publicized only after the fact. A visit to New York University in February by John O. Brennan, Mr. Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser, drew little news coverage, but caused a stir among Muslims around the country. Speaking to Muslim students, activists and others, Mr. Brennan acknowledged many of their grievances, including “surveillance that has been excessive,” “overinclusive no-fly lists” and “an unhelpful atmosphere around many Muslim charities.”

“These are challenges we face together as Americans,” said Mr. Brennan, who momentarily showed off his Arabic to hearty applause. He and other officials have made a point of disassociating Islam from terrorism in public comments, using the phrase “violent extremism” in place of words like “jihad” and “Islamic terrorism.”

While the administration’s solicitation of Muslims and Arab-Americans has drawn little fanfare, it has not escaped criticism….research analysts, bloggers and others complain that the government is reaching out to Muslim leaders and organizations with an Islamist agenda or ties to extremist groups abroad.

They point out that Ms. Jarrett gave the keynote address at the annual convention for the Islamic Society of North America. The group was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in a federal case against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, a Texas-based charity whose leaders were convicted in 2008 of funneling money to Hamas. The society denies any links to terrorism.

“I think dialogue is good, but it has to be with genuine moderates,” said Steven Emerson, a terrorism analyst who advises government officials. “These are the wrong groups to legitimize.” Mr. Emerson and others have also objected to the political appointments of several American Muslims, including Rashad Hussain.

In February, the president chose Mr. Hussain, a 31-year-old White House lawyer, to become the United States’ special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference. The position, a kind of ambassador at large to Muslim countries, was created by Mr. Bush. In a video address, Mr. Obama highlighted Mr. Hussain’s status as a “close and trusted member of my White House staff” and “a hafiz,” a person who has memorized the Koran.

Within days of the announcement, news reports surfaced about comments Mr. Hussain had made on a panel in 2004, while he was a student at Yale Law School, in which he referred to several domestic terrorism prosecutions as “politically motivated.” Among the cases he criticized was that of Sami Al-Arian, a former computer-science professor in Florida who pleaded guilty to aiding members of a Palestinian terrorist group.

At first, the White House said Mr. Hussain did not recall making the comments, which had been removed from the Web version of a 2004 article published by a small Washington magazine. When Politico obtained a recording of the panel, Mr. Hussain acknowledged criticizing the prosecutions but said he believed the magazine quoted him inaccurately, prompting him to ask its editor to remove the comments. On Feb. 22, The Washington Examiner ran an editorial with the headline “Obama Selects a Voice of Radical Islam.”

Muslim leaders watched carefully as the story migrated to Fox News. They had grown accustomed to close scrutiny, many said in interviews, but were nonetheless surprised. In 2008, Mr. Hussain had co-authored a paper for the Brookings Institution arguing that the government should use the peaceful teachings of Islam to fight terrorism.

“Rashad Hussain is about as squeaky clean as you get,” said Representative Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat who is Muslim. Mr. Ellison and others wondered whether the administration would buckle under the pressure and were relieved when the White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, defended Mr. Hussain.

“The fact that the president and the administration have appointed Muslims to positions and have stood by them when they’ve been attacked is the best we can hope for,” said Ingrid Mattson, president of the Islamic Society of North America.

It was notably different during Mr. Obama’s run for office. In June 2008, volunteers of his campaign barred two Muslim women in headscarves from appearing behind Mr. Obama at a rally in Detroit, eliciting widespread criticism. The campaign promptly recruited Mazen Asbahi, a 36-year-old corporate lawyer and popular Muslim activist from Chicago, to become its liaison to Muslims and Arab-Americans.

Bloggers began researching Mr. Asbahi’s background. For a brief time in 2000, he had sat on the board of an Islamic investment fund, along with Sheikh Jamal Said, a Chicago imam who was later named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land case.

Shortly after his appointment to the Obama campaign, Mr. Asbahi said, a Wall Street Journal reporter began asking questions about his connection to the imam. Campaign officials became concerned that news coverage would give critics ammunition to link the imam to Mr. Obama, Mr. Asbahi recalled. On their recommendation, Mr. Asbahi agreed to resign from the campaign, he said.

He is still unsettled by the power of his detractors. “To be in the midst of this campaign of change and hope and to have it stripped away over nothing,” he said. “It hurts.”

From the moment Mr. Obama took office, he seemed eager to change the tenor of America’s relationship with Muslims worldwide. He gave his first interview to Al Arabiya, the Arabic-language television station based in Dubai. Muslims cautiously welcomed his ban on torture and his pledge to close Guantánamo within a year.

In his Cairo address, he laid out his vision for “a new beginning” with Muslims: while America would continue to fight terrorism, he said, terrorism would no longer define America’s approach to Muslims.

Back at home, Muslim and Arab-American leaders remained skeptical. But they took note when, a few weeks later, Mohamed Magid, a prominent imam from Sterling, Va., and Rami Nashashibi, a Muslim activist from Chicago, joined the president at a White-House meeting about fatherhood. Also that month, Dr. Faisal Qazi, a board member of American Muslim Health Professionals, began meeting with administration officials to discuss health care reform.

The invitations were aimed at expanding the government’s relationship with Muslims and Arab-Americans to areas beyond security, said Mr. Hussain, the White House’s special envoy. Mr. Hussain began advising the president on issues related to Islam after joining the White House counsel’s office in January 2009. He helped draft Mr. Obama’s Cairo speech and accompanied him on the trip. “The president realizes that you cannot engage one-fourth of the world’s population based on the erroneous beliefs of a fringe few,” Mr. Hussain said.

Other government offices followed the lead of the White House. In October, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke met with Arab-Americans and Muslims in Dearborn, Mich., to discuss challenges facing small-business owners. Also last fall, Farah Pandith was sworn in as the State Department’s first special representative to Muslim communities. While Ms. Pandith works mostly with Muslims abroad, she said she had also consulted with American Muslims because Mrs. Clinton believes “they can add value overseas.”

Despite this, American actions abroad — including civilian deaths from drone strikes in Pakistan and the failure to close Guantánamo — have drawn the anger of Muslims and Arab-Americans.

Even though their involvement with the administration has broadened, they remain most concerned about security-related policies. In January, when the Department of Homeland Security hosted a two-day meeting with Muslim, Arab-American, South Asian and Sikh leaders, the group expressed concern about the emergency directive subjecting passengers from a group of Muslim countries to additional screening.

Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, pointed out that the policy would never have caught the attempted shoe bomber Richard Reid, who is British. “It almost sends the signal that the government is going to treat nationals of powerless countries differently from countries that are powerful,” Ms. Khera recalled saying as community leaders around the table nodded their heads.

Ms. Napolitano, who sat with the group for more than an hour, committed to meeting with them more frequently. Ms. Khera said she left feeling somewhat hopeful.

“I think our message is finally starting to get through,” she said.

Clinton alludes to 1995 bombing, says words matter He is still clueless

Clinton alludes to 1995 bombing, says words matter

 



Apr 16, 7:04 PM (ET)


WASHINGTON (AP) – Former President Bill Clinton warned of a slippery slope from angry anti-government rhetoric to violence like the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, saying “the words we use really do matter.”

The two-term Democratic president insisted he wasn’t trying to restrict free speech, but in remarks Friday he said incendiary language can be taken the wrong way by some Americans. He drew parallels to words demonizing the government before Oklahoma City.

On April 19, 1995, an anti-government conspiracy led by Army veteran Timothy McVeigh exploded a truck bomb outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 people.

“What we learned from Oklahoma City is not that we should gag each other or that we should reduce our passion for the positions we hold – but that the words we use really do matter, because there’s this vast echo chamber, and they go across space and they fall on the serious and the delirious alike. They fall on the connected and the unhinged alike,” he said.

“One of the things that the conservatives have always brought to the table in America is a reminder that no law can replace personal responsibility. And the more power you have and the more influence you have, the more responsibility you have.”

Clinton made the remarks at events sponsored by the Center for American Progress Action Fund on the upcoming anniversary of the bombing.

He mentioned the rancorous fight over President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. Passage of the law elicited threats against some lawmakers.

“I’m glad they’re fighting over health care and everything else. Let them have at it. But I think that all you have to do is read the paper every day to see how many people there are who are deeply, deeply troubled,” he said.

He also alluded to the anti-government tea party movement, which held protests in several states Thursday. At the Washington rally, Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota railed against “gangster government.”

Clinton argued that the Boston Tea Party was in response to taxation without representation. The current protesters, he said, are challenging taxation by elected officials, and the demonstrators have the power to vote them out of office.

“By all means keep fighting, by all means, keep arguing,” he said. “But remember, words have consequences as much as actions do, and what we advocate, commensurate with our position and responsibility, we have to take responsibility for. We owe that to Oklahoma City.”

Taxpayers foot State Department’s stiff liquor bill

Taxpayers foot State Department’s stiff liquor bill

Months after President Obama urged federal agencies last year to cut wasteful spending, the U.S. Department of State paid $3,814 to fill an order of Jack Daniel’s whiskey for gratuities at one of its many overseas embassies.

The booze buy wasn’t unusual.                                  

Last year alone, the State Department sent taxpayers tabs totaling nearly $300,000 for alcoholic beverages — about twice as much compared to the previous year, according to an analysis of spending records by The Washington Times.

The purchases, small and large, included $2,483 to pay for “assorted spirits for gratuities to vendors” at the U.S. mission to the United Nations in New York, and $9,501 in “Christmas gratuities” of whiskey and wine at the U.S. Embassy in South Korea.

Taxpayer watchdogs say while accounting for a small fraction of the State Department’s overall budget, some of the liquor expenditures reflect larger concerns about stewardship of federal tax dollars at a time when many recession-weary Americans find themselves struggling to hold onto jobs and pay mortgages.

“It’s indicative of the disconnect that bureaucrats have when they spend our money,” said David Williams, vice president of policy at the nonpartisan Citizens Against Government Waste.

State Department spokesman Noel Clay said such expenditures are permitted under law.

“As part of the department’s work in representing the United States and its interests here and abroad, U.S. officials may hold receptions and representational events,” he said.

“By law, the secretary of state may provide for such receptions and may pay entertainment and representational expenses to enable the Department of State and foreign service to provide for the proper representation of the United States and its interests,” he said.

Mr. Clay also added, “Alcohol is not served at all representational events or official receptions.”

The rise in alcohol spending could be attributed to the increasing number of official receptions that U.S. diplomats might have held after the presidential inauguration and changeover in administrations. But while much of the money paid for “representational activities,” dozens of other purchases in recent years — during both the Bush and Obama administrations — went to pay for what spending records describe as gratuities.

The U.S. Embassy in Germany, for instance, spent $555 in December on gratuities that included 15 bottles of Jim Beam bourbon and three dozen coffee mugs. In a country well-known for making fine beers, the U.S. Embassy in Belgium paid more than $5,000 by opting for “red and white wine for Christmas gratuities,” records show.

The U.S. Consulate in St. Petersburg spent $7,160 on alcoholic beverages for “gratuities for local contacts,” while the U.S. Embassy in Greece last year spent more than $20,000 for “representational liquors for Christmas gratuities.”

Other alcohol expenditures as described in purchasing records include:

• $7,554 by the U.S. Embassy in India in September 2008 for a “supply of alcoholic beverages for gratuities.”

• $3,814 by the U.S. Embassy in Slovenia last year for “Gratuities: Whiskey Jack Daniel’s.”

• $2,966 by the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York for 106 bottles of Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc wine at $27.99 per bottle for official events.

• $41.98, also by the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, for “purchase of two one-liter bottles of Jose Cuervo Clasico Silver Tequila for official events at the U.S. representative’s residence.”

Not all embassies bill taxpayers for liquor when they decide to spend taxpayer money on gratuities, spending records show.

The U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica bought “laser pens with USB drive,” documents show. The embassy in Sarajevo bought chocolate gift boxes from the Ghirardelli Chocolate Co., while the embassy in Botswana bought mugs.

Within the United States, dozens of the liquor purchases in recent years were made for the U.S. representation at the United Nations at an establishment in New York City called Suebob Liquors Inc. Since 2005, the State Department has spent more than $50,000 at the store, with purchases averaging a little over $1,000, records show.

“We have good prices and good service,” Bob Mann, an assistant manager at the store, said when asked why the State Department seems to prefer the store. He also said the store handles corporate accounts and delivers.

Mr. Clay said because the Suebob purchases are so low, the State Department doesn’t have to seek other bidders: “If the purchase is under $3,000, federal acquisition regulation says that it does not have to be competitively bid,” he said.

The Times’ review of purchasing records examined all expenditures listed under a specific product services code for “alcoholic beverages” contained in a federal spending database. The findings showed that purchases rose from $139,657 in 2008 to $294,639 last year.

Alcohol-related purchases totaled around $160,000 each in 2006 and 2007, down from $216,430 in 2005. That was up from $64,280 in 2004.

Since 2004, records show alcohol purchases at the State Department a little more than $1 million