WH: Biden finds China one-child policy ‘repugnant’

WH: Biden finds China one-child policy ‘repugnant’

Follow on Twitter:@charliespiering

The White House today addressed Vice President Biden’s controversial comments concerning China’s one-child policy.

From a spokesman:

“The Obama Administration strongly opposes all aspects of China’s coercive birth limitation policies, including forced abortion and sterilization.”

The spokesman added that Biden found the policy ‘repugnant’ and was trying to point out to the Chinese that the one-child policy was economically unsustainable.

GOP presidential candidates Rick Perry and Mitt Romney together with Speaker of the House John Boehner previously issued statements criticizing the Vice-President remarks.

Jon Huntsman also released a statement prior to the Vice President’s remarks:

“As an adoptive father, whose daughter was abandoned by her parents in China, Gov. Huntsman is intimately familiar with the impact of China’s ‘one-child’ policy. As someone who is firmly pro-life, he feels the policy runs counter to the fundamental value of human life and is heartbroken by the destructive nature of the policy that has cost millions of lives.”

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GOP critic calls Joe Biden’s $53 billion high-speed rail plan ‘insanity’

GOP critic calls Joe Biden’s $53 billion high-speed rail plan ‘insanity’

By Daniel B. Wood                    Daniel B. WoodTue Feb 8, 8:39 pm ET

Los Angeles – Vice President Joe Biden Tuesday proposed that the US government infuse $53 billion into a national high-speed rail network. The announcement was met immediately by deep skepticism from two House Republicans that could be crucial to the plan’s success, raising questions about whether it can clear Capitol Hill.

House Transportation Committee Chair Rep. John Mica (R) of Florida said previous administration grants to high-speed rail projects were a failure, producing “snail speed trains to nowhere.” He called Amtrak a “Soviet-style train system” and said it “hijacked” nearly all the administration’s rail projects.

Meanwhile, Railroads Subcommittee Chair Rep. Bill Shuster (R) of Pennsylvania said Mr. Biden’s plan was “insanity,” adding: “Rail projects that are not economically sound will not ‘win the future’ ” – coopting the slogan President Obama coined in his State of the Union address.

IN PICTURES: Developments in robotics

With Republicans controlling the House and dedicating themselves to deep budget cuts, any new spending proposed by the White House will face stiff scrutiny. But Congressman Shuster offers some hope of compromise. On Jan. 28 in Hartford, Conn., he proclaimed his support for expanding high-speed rail in the Northeast, backing a network that could stretch from Montreal to Washington, D.C.

“This is the most congested region in the country. High-speed rail here could be profitable,” he said.

Biden’s planAccording to the plan laid out Tuesday by Biden, the first step of the six-year plan would be to invest $8 billion to develop or improve three types of interconnected corridors:

Core express corridors would form the backbone of the national high-speed rail system, with electrified trains traveling on dedicated tracks at speeds of 125 to 250 m.p.h or higher.

Regional corridors would lay the foundation for future high-speed service, with trains traveling between 90 to 125 m.p.h.

Emerging corridors would provide travelers with access to the larger national high-speed network and travel at as much as 90 m.p.h.

To backers, the benefits of the plan are twofold. First, it would give a much-needed boost to America’s spending on infrastructure. And second, it would provide jobs for the economic recovery.

“If you look at the last 100 years, it has been large public-works projects which have pulled our nation out of every recession,” says Barry LePatner, author of “Too Big to Fall: America’s Failing Infrastructure and the Way Forward.”

Mr. LePatner notes that the building of the Erie Canal opened the Northeast in 1819, the transcontinental railroad connected the populated East to the developing West, and the interstate highway system built under Eisenhower “all opened up vast reservoirs of trade and economic investment.â€

He suggests that studies show $1 billion spent on infrastructure remediation produces between 18,000 and 34,000 jobs. “Twenty-five to 35 percent of that then comes back in taxes, and the other multiplies in geometric ratios as spending on food, clothing, shelter, and other goods,â€

Big projects, big delaysBut building high-speed rail is no easy process, says Leslie McCarthy, a high-speed rail expert at Villanova University’s College of Engineering. “Whether or not a bill would or should pass is the easiest part of all this,” she says. “The bigger part of the question is purchasing the land, getting right of ways, zoning issues, environmental impact assessments, laying dedicated tracks in a reasonable amount of time.”

She says the typical US highway project can be held up anywhere from three to five years at the low end to 12 to 20 years at the high end. “Legislators and the public aren’t aware of the number of federal, state, and local laws that agencies have to comply with that can’t be gotten around,” she adds.

In fact, the very thing that makes the Northeast so attractive for high-speed rail – its population density – could also make it the most difficult place to build. “There is so much population in the Northeast corridor that I don’t know if there is even enough room for the dedicated tracks needed for high-speed rail,” says Professor McCarthy. “And if the distances you are going are not sufficient to make efficient use of the high speeds, what’s the point?”

Wise investment or money pit?Critics agree. Only two rail corridors in the world – France’s Paris to Lyon line and Japan’s Tokyo to Osaka line – cover their costs, says Ken Button, director of the Center for Transportation Policy at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.

“Both of these are the perfect distance for high-speed rail, connect cities over flat terrain with huge populations that have great public transportation to get riders to the railway,” he says, dismissing French claims that other lines make money. He says they calculate costs in ways which ignore capital costs.

To supporters of high-speed rail expansion, however, US transportation must move beyond its reliance on oil. High-speed rail is the only form of intercity transportation that has a 45-year record of moving people without oil, says Anthony Perl, professor of political science at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, and a fellow at the Post Carbon Institute.

“That’s why 30 countries around the world have done this and the US and Canada are just laggards,” he says. “If people want to get where they are going between cities they are going to need high-speed rail because flying and driving will only become more and more costly.”

FEC Likely to Allow Obama Bailout for Biden

FEC Likely to
Allow Obama Bailout for Biden

By Alex Knott

In a flashback to the campaigns of
yesterday, the Federal Election Commission released a draft opinion to allow
President Barack Obama’s campaign committee to transfer money to pay for
campaign finance penalties left over from Vice President Joseph Biden’s 2008
White House run.

While a majority vote by the
six-person FEC will be required for passage, the agency’s single draft bodes
well for the former six-term Democratic Senator from Delaware.

Biden’s presidential campaign was
fined $133,000 earlier this year after an FEC audit found minor violations,
including stale-dated checks.

But his campaign does not have enough
money in reserve, reporting just $82,000 in available cash on hand as of the
end of September and nearly $8,000 in other debts.

So the president’s 2008 campaign,
which has nearly $3.2 million in the bank, formally asked the FEC whether Obama
for America could pay the outstanding fees to the Treasury Department on behalf
of the vice president. The FEC is slated to vote on the measure at this week’s
regular Thursday meeting.

Max Baucus on Obamacare’s hidden agenda – redistribution of wealth

Thursday, March 25, 2010
Posted by: Hugh Hewitt at 5:08 PM

Max Baucus is the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, and the Democrat most responsible fo Obamacare’s final shape other than Nancy Pelosi.

In an unusual speech on the Senate floor moments ago, Max Baucus declares that the “healthcare bill” to be  “an income shift, it is a shift, a leveling to help lower income middle income Americans.”  Baucus continued, “[t]oo often, much of late, the last couple three years the mal-distribution of income in America is gone up way too much, the wealthy are getting way, way too wealthy, and the middle income class is left behind.  Wages have not kept up with increased income of the highest income in America.  This legislation will have the effect of addressing that mal-distribution of income in America.”

Max Baucus on Obamacare’s hidden agenda – redistribution of wealth
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY4Qbv7gPbo&feature=player_embedded

Baucus’ candor is appreciated, though the fact that he waited until the bill passed to announce the real agenda behind the massive tax hikes isn’t a profile in courage.  And the seniors on fixed income who are about to lose Medicare Advantage would laugh at Baucus’ pseudo-populism.

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Biden Damages Israel Relationship

Biden Damages Israel Relationship

Posted 03/12/2010 ET

 

I’ve spent the last week traveling across Israel as part of a delegation from Christians United for Israel (CUFI). I’ve had individual meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Ehud Barak, President Shimon Peres, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and others. As always, it has been an eye opening experience.

Vice President Joe Biden also spent the past few days in Israel, consorting with many of the same leaders I met with, visiting some of the same historic sites and perhaps walking many of the same streets in Jerusalem and elsewhere. But what he seems to have missed on his trip is at the heart of the troubles that the Obama administration is having in the Middle East.

Despite having similar itineraries, Biden and I come to strikingly different conclusions about America’s relationship with Israel, and what it will take to resolve the world’s most intractable conflict. The vice president (and the administration he works for) treats Israel as the primary obstacle to peace in the Middle East. They seem blind to the Islamic fundamentalist who want Israel and the U.S. wiped off the map. But I regard the Jewish state as a lonely outpost of Western Civilization deserving and in dire need of our unwavering support.  

Biden’s trip has been dominated by controversy over new settlements. The Israeli government this week revealed plans to build 1,600 new housing units in response to a housing shortage in an Orthodox community of East Jerusalem.

Because much of the so-called “international community,” including the U.S., refuses to recognize Israeli sovereignty over East Jerusalem, the new settlement plan has prompted the usual anti-Israel outrage. In a particularly harsh condemnation, Biden said, “The substance and timing of the announcement…is precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now.”

But the timing of the new housing announcement was drafted three years ago and is under the authority of district planning committees, not Israel’s political leadership. And according to Ehud Barak, the settlement area “is an ultra-Orthodox city very close to the green line, and these are housing units for people who are struggling and cannot buy elsewhere.”

Biden’s blistering response is emblematic of the Obama administration’s antipathy toward Israel. Obama, who has made outreach to the Muslim world a feature of his presidency, has left Israelis skeptical about his support for them. A poll last August found that just four percent of Israelis viewed Obama’s policies as more “pro-Israel” than “pro-Palestinian” or neutral.

Most Israelis doubt that the Obama administration understands the singular importance of the U.S.-Israeli alliance. Administration officials will sometimes sound reassuring. Biden told an audience at Tel Aviv University this week that the U.S. has “no better friend” than Israel. But his boss has exasperated the Israeli leadership by berating it over natural growth expansion of West Bank housing settlements.

Even worse have been Obama’s overtures to Iran, a regime that by arming Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon has become Israel’s greatest menace. Iran’s leadership rejects freedom and individual rights for its own people. Its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is a Shiite fundamentalist who believes a Muslim messiah will soon appear to kill Jews and Christians. With Iran’s nuclear program in full force, Ahmadinejad may soon be able to deliver on his promise to “wipe Israel off the map.”

I confess that I have always had a deep instinctual love for Israel that has deepened during each of my numerous trips here. My faith teaches me that God blesses those who bless Israel. But it has become increasingly apparent that one doesn’t need a theological view to understand that Israel is an outpost of Western Civilization that’s threatened by the same death-worshipping wave of radical Islamists that targets the U.S. 

Many Israeli Jews are Americans too. More than 110,000 American Jews have immigrated to Israel, and 2009 saw the most immigrants from North America in 36 years.

Most of those who come do so for religious, ideological and political reasons; not financial ones. They come, risking death and enduring the constant anxiety of knowing that they are rich targets of Muslim hatred, to live in solidarity with fellow Jews. They come also because, in the middle of a region dominated by tyrannical regimes, Israel stands as the lone beacon of democracy. 

And that’s the reason I, with hundreds of other Christians, have come to Israel. We recognize that abandoning Israel would not only seriously threaten Israel’s existence, but also imperil the United States.

One of the most moving activities I participated in this week was a solidarity march through Jerusalem’s Old City. We marchers were met with the astonished faces of city residents more accustomed to witnessing anti-Israel rallies. Some passersby began weeping at our display of support, and one man threw rose petals at our feet. Many ran up to offer their heartfelt “thank-yous.”

I wish Joe Biden had been able to witness the outpouring of love and appreciation we’ve received from the Israeli people.

In late January, President Obama tried to explain his lack of success thus far in brokering Middle East peace by saying, “This is just really hard.” Middle East peace will remain really hard for the Obama administration until it stops accommodating those who seek to destroy both Israel and the United States and begins treating Israel like the “no better friend” Joe Biden insists it is.

 

Former presidential candidate Mr. Gary Bauer is president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families.

Joe Biden’s snub to Netanyahu as he arrives 90minutes late for dinner in middle of row with Israel over West Bank houses

Joe Biden’s snub to Netanyahu as he arrives 90minutes late for dinner in middle of row with Israel over West Bank houses

By Mail Foreign Service
Last updated at 5:48 PM on 10th March 2010

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden snubbed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last night by arriving 90 minutes late to a scheduled dinner.

Mr Biden’s late arrival was in response to Israel announcing 1,600 new homes will be built in disputed east Jerusalem during his visit to the region.

He sharply rebuked the Israeli step – which came just after the Palestinians agreed to a new round of indirect peace talks under U.S. mediation after a 14-month lapse.

Joe Biden, Jill Biden, Benjamin Netanyahu, Sara NetanyahuSnub: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (left) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) pose for photographers before their dinner. Mr Biden arrived 90 minutes late after Israel’s announcement to build homes on war-won land

‘The substance and timing of the announcement, particularly with the launching of proximity talks, is precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now,’ Mr Biden said.

‘We must build an atmosphere to support negotiations, not complicate them,’ he added, warning that ‘unilateral action taken by either party cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations.’

Israel today apologised for disrupting Mr Biden’s visit with its announcement, but made clear it had no intention of reversing the order that has cast a shadow over the latest U.S. push for peace in the Middle-East.

As Mr Biden held talks with top Palestinian leaders in the West Bank, Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai, whose office announced the new construction on lands Palestinians claim for a future state, said the problem was about timing, not substance.

‘We had no intention, no desire, to offend or taunt an important man like the vice president during his visit,’ Mr Yishai told Israel Radio.

‘I am very sorry for the embarrassment. We need to remember that approvals are done according to law even if the timing was wrong… Next time we need to take timing into account.’

 

Joe Biden and Benjamin NetanyahuTable talk: Mr Biden and Mr Netanyahu exchange serious words before starting their dinner

Mr Biden’s talks with the Palestinians today were aimed in part to ease their doubts about the latest U.S. peace efforts.

Israel’s planned construction in east Jerusalem was an embarrassing setback for Mr Biden after a day of warm meetings with senior Israeli officials – and drew an unusually harsh condemnation from the vice president.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said the Israeli announcement was ‘damaging’ and posed a ‘great challenge’ to restarting peace talks.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the new construction would be the main item on the Mahmoud Abbas-Joe Biden agenda.

‘I think the Israeli government is making it almost impossible for us, the Americans and the international community, to take a one centimeter step in the direction of reviving the peace process,’ he said.

Palestinian security forces lined the streets of Ramallah as Mr Biden’s convoy of black SUVs made its way from Mr Fayyad’s office to Mr Abbas’ headquarters, a ten-minute drive. Riot policemen, with their backs to the road, faced small groups of Palestinians watching from side roads and shops.

Fayyad said the Palestinians appreciated ‘the strong statement of condemnation’ of Israel’s announcement by the U.S. administration.

Israel’s opposition Kadima party said it is planning a no-confidence vote in the prime minister in parliament for ‘destroying’ the Biden visit.

The new construction plan also drew a sharp rebuke from Egypt, Israel’s closest ally in the Arab world, and from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Hossam Zaki, a spokesman for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, said: ‘This is absurd. It is disdainful of the Arab and the Palestinian positions and the American mediation.’

Joe Biden and Salam FayyadAll smiles: Mr Biden shakes hands with Palestinian leader Salam Fayyad

Israeli media lambasted the move, calling it an embarrassment.

‘A slap heard round the world,’ read the headline of a front-page commentary in Israel’s Haaretz daily.

Israel’s refusal to halt building on war-won land has infuriated the Palestinians and undermined their faith in the U.S. as an effective mediator.

President Barack Obama initially called for a complete settlement freeze, but did not take Israel to task when it only agreed to a ten-month moratorium on housing starts in the West Bank. Mr Netanyahu refuses to stop building in east Jerusalem, saying he will never partition the city.

The Palestinians want east Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast War, as their future capital.

Earlier this week, the Palestinians reluctantly agreed to indirect negotiations with Israel, with U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell to shuttle between Mr Abbas and Mr Netanyahu in coming months.

Mr Abbas has said he won’t resume direct negotiations without a settlement freeze, leaving the U.S. no choice but to arrange the indirect talks in hopes of ending the impasse.

Growing settlements take up more and more of the land the Palestinians want for their state and make partition increasingly difficult. Today, nearly 300,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank and 180,000 in east Jerusalem.

The ongoing construction is also eroding domestic support for Abbas and his policy of trying to negotiate the terms of Palestinian statehood with Israel.

Many Palestinians are critical of U.S.-led peace efforts, saying two decades of on-and-off negotiations have deepened Israeli control over the lands they want for their state, instead of bringing them closer to independence.

The latest Israeli building plan is undermining Mr Abbas, said Mr Erekat. ‘It’s a really disastrous situation. I hope that this will be an eye-opener for all in the international community.’

At Tuesday’s dinner, Mr Netanyahu told Mr Biden he was caught off guard by the ministry’s announcement, a senior Israeli official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the dinner was closed.

While Mr Netanyahu considers east Jerusalem to be part of Israel, he acknowledged the timing of the announcement was poor and said he had no intention of sabotaging Mr Biden’s visit. He stressed that there are no plans to begin construction anytime soon.

Top 10 Gaffes By Obama And Biden