Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Wake up America

Wake up America

Obama Wines and Dines Conservative Writers

Posted: 14 Jan 2009 04:27 AM PST

Making nice with conservatives was one of the promises Barack Obama made during his campaign and a new move in that direction has been to wine and dine some conservative pundits, like Weekly Standard's William Kristol, New York Times columnist David Brooks, and Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post.

I seriously doubt it will offer him any protections against being called out on bad decisions, but it is noteworthy that he took the time to get to know them and let those that would be most critical of him, get to know him.

This dinner occurred at the Chevy Chase, Maryland, home of syndicated columnist George Will.

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Hillary Clinton's Opening Statement At Senate Hearing

Posted: 14 Jan 2009 04:08 AM PST

Via Fox from Hillary Clinton's confirmation hearing yesterday, for her new position as Secretary of State for the Obama administration.

Thank you, Senator Schumer, for your generous introduction, and even more for your support and our partnership over so many years. You are a valued and trusted colleague, a friend, and a tribute to the people of New York whom you have served with such distinction throughout your career.

Mr. Chairman, I offer my congratulations as you take on this new role. You certainly have traveled quite a distance from that day in 1971 when you testified here as a young Vietnam veteran. You have never faltered in your care and concern for our nation, its foreign policy or its future, and America is in good hands with you leading this committee.

Senator Lugar, I look forward to working with you on a wide range of issues, especially those of greatest concern to you, including the Nunn-Lugar initiative.

And Senator Voinovich, I want to commend you for your service to the people of Ohio and ask for your help in the next two years on the management issues you champion.

It is an honor and a privilege to be here this morning as President-elect Obama's nominee for Secretary of State. I am deeply grateful for the trust – and keenly aware of the responsibility – that the President-elect has placed in me to serve our country and our people at a time of such grave dangers, and great possibilities. If confirmed, I will accept the duties of the office with gratitude, humility, and firm determination to represent the United States as energetically and faithfully as I can.

At the same time I must confess that sitting across the table from so many colleagues brings me sadness too. I love the Senate. And if you confirm me for this new role, it will be hard to say good-bye to so many members, Republicans and Democrats, whom I have come to know, admire, and respect deeply, and to the institution where I have been so proud to sere on behalf of the people of New York for the past eight years.

But I assure you that I will be in frequent consultation and conversation with the members of this committee, with the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the appropriations committees, and with Congress as a whole. And I look forward to working with my good friend, Vice President-elect Biden, who has been a valued colleague in the Senate and valued chairman of this committee.

For me, consultation is not a catch-word. It is a commitment. The President-elect and I believe that we must return to the time-honored principle of bipartisanship in our foreign policy – an approach that past Presidents of both parties, as well as members of this committee, have

subscribed to and that has served our nation well. I look forward to working with all of you to renew America's leadership through diplomacy that enhances our security, advances our interests, and reflects our values.

Today, nine years into a new century, Americans know that our nation and our world face great perils: from ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to the continuing threat posed by terrorist extremists, to the spread of weapons of mass destruction; from the dangers of climate change to pandemic disease; from financial meltdown to worldwide poverty.

The seventy days since the presidential election offer fresh evidence of the urgency of these challenges. New conflict in Gaza; terrorist attacks in Mumbai; mass killings and rapes in the Congo; cholera in Zimbabwe; reports of record high greenhouse gasses and rapidly melting glaciers; and even an ancient form of terror – piracy – asserting itself in modern form off the Horn of Africa.

Always, and especially in the crucible of these global challenges, our overriding duty is to protect and advance America's security, interests, and values: First, we must keep our people, our nation, and our allies secure. Second, we must promote economic growth and shared prosperity at home and abroad. Finally, we must strengthen America's position of global leadership – ensuring that we remain a positive force in the world, whether in working to preserve the health of our planet or expanding dignity and opportunity for people on the margins whose progress and prosperity will add to our own.

Our world has undergone an extraordinary transformation in the last two decades. In 1989, a wall fell and old barriers began to crumble after 40 years of a Cold War that had influenced every aspect of our foreign policy. By 1999, the rise of more democratic and open societies, the expanding reach of world markets, and the explosion of information technology had made "globalization" the word of the day. For most people, it had primarily an economic connotation, but in fact, we were already living in a profoundly interdependent world in which old rules and boundaries no longer held fast—one in which both the promise and the peril of the 21st century could not be contained by national borders or vast distances.

Economic growth has lifted more people out of poverty faster than at any time in history, but economic crises can sweep across the globe even more quickly. A coalition of nations stopped ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, but the conflict in the Middle East continues to inflame tensions from Asia to Africa. Non-state actors fight poverty, improve health, and expand education in the poorest parts of the world, while other non-state actors traffic in drugs, children, and women and kill innocent civilians across the globe.

Now, in 2009, the clear lesson of the last twenty years is that we must both combat the threats and seize the opportunities of our interdependence. And to be effective in doing so we must build a world with more partners and fewer adversaries.

America cannot solve the most pressing problems on our own, and the world cannot solve them without America. The best way to advance America's interest in reducing global threats and seizing global opportunities is to design and implement global solutions. This isn't a philosophical point. This is our reality.

The President-Elect and I believe that foreign policy must be based on a marriage of principles and pragmatism, not rigid ideology. On facts and evidence, not emotion or prejudice. Our security, our vitality, and our ability to lead in today's world oblige us to recognize the overwhelming fact of our interdependence.

I believe that American leadership has been wanting, but is still wanted. We must use what has been called "smart power," the full range of tools at our disposal -- diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal, and cultural -- picking the right tool, or combination of tools, for each situation. With smart power, diplomacy will be the vanguard of foreign policy. This is not a radical idea. The ancient Roman poet Terence, who was born a slave and rose to become one of the great voices of his time, declared that "in every endeavor, the seemly course for wise men is to try persuasion first." The same truth binds wise women as well.

The President-Elect has made it clear that in the Obama Administration there will be no doubt about the leading role of diplomacy. One need only look to North Korea, Iran, the Middle East, and the Balkans to appreciate the absolute necessity of tough-minded, intelligent diplomacy – and the failures that result when that kind of diplomatic effort is absent. And one need only consider the assortment of problems we must tackle in 2009 – from fighting terrorism to climate change to global financial crises – to understand the importance of cooperative engagement.

I assure you that, if I am confirmed, the State Department will be firing on all cylinders to provide forward-thinking, sustained diplomacy in every part of the world; applying pressure and exerting leverage; cooperating with our military partners and other agencies of government; partnering effectively with NGOs, the private sector, and international organizations; using modern technologies for public outreach; empowering negotiators who can protect our interests while understanding those of our negotiating partners. There will be thousands of separate interactions, all strategically linked and coordinated to defend American security and prosperity. Diplomacy is hard work; but when we work hard, diplomacy can work, and not just to defuse tensions, but to achieve results that advance our security, interests and values.

Secretary Gates has been particularly eloquent in articulating the importance of diplomacy in pursuit of our national security and foreign policy objectives. As he notes, it's not often that a Secretary of Defense makes the case for adding resources to the State Department and elevating the role of the diplomatic corps. Thankfully, Secretary Gates is more concerned about having a unified, agile, and effective U.S. strategy than in spending our precious time and energy on petty turf wars. As he has stated, "our civilian institutions of diplomacy and development have been chronically undermanned and underfunded for far too long," both relative to military spending and to "the responsibilities and challenges our nation has around the world." And to that, I say, "Amen!"

President-elect Obama has emphasized that the State Department must be fully empowered and funded to confront multi-dimensional challenges – from working with allies to thwart terrorism, to spreading health and prosperity in places of human suffering. I will speak in greater detail about that in a moment.

We should also use the United Nations and other international institutions whenever appropriate and possible. Both Democratic and Republican presidents have understood for decades that these institutions, when they work well, enhance our influence. And when they don't work well – as in the cases of Darfur and the farce of Sudan's election to the former UN Commission on Human Rights, for example – we should work with likeminded friends to make sure that these institutions reflect the values that motivated their creation in the first place.

We will lead with diplomacy because it's the smart approach. But we also know that military force will sometimes be necessary, and we will rely on it to protect our people and our interests when and where needed, as a last resort.

All the while, we must remember that to promote our interests around the world, America must be an exemplar of our values. Senator Isakson made the point to me the other day that our nation must lead by example rather than edict. Our history has shown that we are most effective when we see the harmony between our interests abroad and our values at home. And I takegreat comfort in knowing that our first Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, also subscribed to that view, reminding us across the centuries: "The interests of a nation, when well understood, will be found to coincide with their moral duties."

So while our democracy continues to inspire people around the world, we know that its influence is greatest when we live up to its teachings ourselves. Senator Lugar, I'm going to borrow your words here, because you have made this point so eloquently: You once said that "the United States cannot feed every person, lift every person out of poverty, cure every disease, or stop every conflict. But our power and status have conferred upon us a tremendous responsibility to humanity."

Of course, we must be realistic about achieving our goals. Even under the best of circumstances, our nation cannot solve every problem or meet every global need. We don't have unlimited time, treasure, or manpower. And we certainly don't face the best of circumstances today, with our economy faltering and our budget deficits growing.

So to fulfill our responsibility to our children, to protect and defend our nation while honoring our values, we have to establish priorities. Now, I'm not trying to mince words here. As my colleagues in the Senate know, "establishing priorities" means making tough choices. Because those choices are so important to the American people, we must be disciplined in evaluating them -- weighing the costs and consequences of our action or inaction; gauging the probability of success; and insisting on measurable results.

Right after I was nominated a friend told me: "The world has so many problems. You've got your work cut out for you." Well, I agree that the problems are many and they are big. But I don't get up every morning thinking only about the threats and dangers we face. With every challenge comes an opportunity to find promise and possibility in the face of adversity and complexity. Today's world calls forth the optimism and can-do spirit that has marked our progress for more than two centuries.

Too often we see the ills that plague us more clearly than the possibilities in front of us. We see threats that must be thwarted; wrongs that must be righted; conflicts that must be calmed. But not the partnerships that can be promoted; the rights that can be reinforced; the innovations that can be fostered; the people who can be empowered.

After all, it is the real possibility of progress—of that better life, free from fear and want and discord—that offers our most compelling message to the rest of the world.

I've had the chance to lay out and submit my views on a broad array of issues in written responses to questions from the committee, so in this statement I will outline some of the major challenges we face and some of the major opportunities we see.

First, President-Elect Obama is committed to responsibly ending the war in Iraq and employing a broad strategy in Afghanistan that reduces threats to our safety and enhances the prospect of stability and peace.

Right now, our men and women in uniform, our diplomats, and our aid workers are risking their lives in those two countries. They have done everything we have asked of them and more. But, over time we have seen that our larger interests will be best served by safely and responsibly withdrawing our troops from Iraq, supporting a transition to full Iraqi responsibility for their sovereign nation, rebuilding our overtaxed military, and reaching out to other nations to help stabilize the region and to employ a broader arsenal of tools to fight terrorism.

Equally important will be a comprehensive plan using all elements of our power – diplomacy, development, and defense – to work with those in Afghanistan and Pakistan who want to root out al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and other violent extremists who threaten them as well as us in what President- Elect Obama has called the central front in the fight against terrorism. We need to deepen our engagement with these and other countries in the region and pursue policies that improve the lives of the Afghan and Pakistani people.

As we focus on Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, we must also actively pursue a strategy of smart power in the Middle East that addresses the security needs of Israel and the legitimate political and economic aspirations of the Palestinians; that effectively challenges Iran to end its nuclear weapons program and sponsorship of terror, and persuades both Iran and Syria to abandon their dangerous behavior and become constructive regional actors; that strengthens our relationships with Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, other Arab states, with Turkey, and with our partners in the Gulf to involve them in securing a lasting peace in the region.

As intractable as the Middle East's problems may seem – and many Presidents, including my husband, have spent years trying to help work out a resolution – we cannot give up on peace. The President-Elect and I understand and are deeply sympathetic to Israel's desire to defend itself under the current conditions, and to be free of shelling by Hamas rockets.

However, we have also been reminded of the tragic humanitarian costs of conflict in the Middle East, and pained by the suffering of Palestinian and Israeli civilians. This must only increase our determination to seek a just and lasting peace agreement that brings real security to Israel; normal and positive relations with its neighbors; and independence, economic progress, and security to the Palestinians in their own state.

We will exert every effort to support the work of Israelis and Palestinianswho seek that result. It is critical not only to the parties involved but to our profound interests in undermining the forces of alienation and violent extremism across our world.

Terrorism remains a serious threat and we must have a comprehensive strategy, leveraging intelligence, diplomacy, and military assets to defeat al- Qaeda and like-minded terrorists by rooting out their networks and drying up support for their violent and nihilistic extremism. The gravest threat that America faces is the danger that weapons of mass destruction will fall into the hands of terrorists. To ensure our future security, we must curb the biological, chemical, or cyber – while we take the lead in working with others to reduce current nuclear stockpiles and prevent the development and use of dangerous new weaponry.

Therefore, while defending against the threat of terrorism, we will also seize the parallel opportunity to get America back in the business of engaging other nations to reduce stockpiles of nuclear weapons. We will work with Russia to secure their agreement to extend essential monitoring and verification provisions of the START Treaty before it expires in December 2009, and we will work toward agreements for further reductions in nuclear weapons. We will also work with Russia to take U.S. and Russian missiles off hair-trigger alert, act with urgency to prevent proliferation in North Korea and Iran, secure loose nuclear weapons and materials, and shut down the market for selling them – as Senator Lugar has done for so many years. The Non Proliferation Treaty is the cornerstone of the nonproliferation regime, and the United States must exercise the leadership needed to shore up the regime. So, we will work with this committee and the Senate toward ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and reviving negotiations on a verifiable Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty.

Today's security threats cannot be addressed in isolation. Smart power requires reaching out to both friends and adversaries, to bolster old alliances and to forge new ones.

That means strengthening the alliances that have stood the test of time— especially with our NATO partners and our allies in Asia. Our alliance with Japan is a cornerstone of American policy in Asia, essential to maintaining peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region, and based on shared values and mutual interests. We also have crucial economic and security partnerships with South Korea, Australia, and other friends in ASEAN. We will build on our economic and political partnership with India, the world's most populous democracy and a nation with growing influence in the world.

Our traditional relationships of confidence and trust with Europe will be deepened. Disagreements are inevitable, even among the closest friends, but on most global issues we have no more trusted allies. The new administration will have a chance to reach out across the Atlantic to leaders in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and others across the continent, including the new democracies. When America and Europe work together, global objectives are well within our means.

President-Elect Obama and I seek a future of cooperative engagement with the Russian government on matters of strategic importance, while standing up strongly for American values and international norms. China is a critically important actor in a changing global landscape. We want a positive and cooperative relationship with China, one where we deepen and strengthen our ties on a number of issues, and candidly address differences where they persist.

But this a not one-way effort – much of what we will do depends on the choices China makes about its future at home and abroad. With both Russia and China, we should work together on vital security and economic issues like terrorism, proliferation, climate change, and reforming financial markets.

The world is now in the cross currents of the most severe global economic contraction since the Great Depression. The history of that crisis teaches us the consequences of diplomatic failures and uncoordinated reactions. Yet history alone is an insufficient guide; the world has changed too much. We have already seen that this crisis extends beyond the housing and banking sectors, and our solutions will have to be as wide in scope as the causes themselves, taking into account the complexities of the global economy, the geopolitics involved, and the likelihood of continued political and economic repercussions from the damage already done.

But here again, as we work to repair the damage, we can find new ways of working together. For too long, we have merely talked about the need to engage emerging powers in global economic governance; the time to take action is upon us. The recent G-20 meeting was a first step, but developing patterns of sustained engagement will take hard work and careful negotiation. We know that emerging markets like China, India, Brazil, South Africa, and Indonesia are feeling the effects of the current crisis. We all stand to benefit in both the short and long term if they are part of the solution, and become partners in maintaining global economic stability.

In our efforts to return to economic growth here in the United States, we have an especially critical need to work more closely with Canada, our largest trading partner, and Mexico, our third largest. Canada and Mexico are also our biggest suppliers of imported energy. More broadly, we must build a deeper partnership with Mexico to address the shared danger arising from drug-trafficking and the challenges of our border, an effort begun this week with a meeting between President-elect Obama and President Calderon.

Throughout our hemisphere we have opportunities to enhance cooperation to meet common economic, security and environmental objectives that affect us all. We will return to a policy of vigorous engagement throughout Latin America, seeking deeper understanding and broader engagement with nations from the Caribbean to Central to South America. Not only do we share common political, economic and strategic interests with our friends to the south, our relationship is also enhanced by many shared ancestral and cultural legacies. We are looking forward to working on many issues during the Summit of the Americas in April and taking up the President-Elect's call for a new energy partnership of the Americas built around shared technology and new investments in renewable energy.

In Africa, the foreign policy objectives of the Obama administration are rooted in security, political, economic, and humanitarian interests, including: combating al Qaeda's efforts to seek safe havens in failed states in the Horn of Africa; helping African nations to conserve their natural resources and reap fair benefits from them; stopping war in Congo; ending autocracy in Zimbabwe and human devastation in Darfur; supporting African democracies like South Africa and Ghana--which just had its second change of power in democratic elections; and working aggressively to reach the Millennium Development Goals in health, education, and economic opportunity.

Many significant problems we face challenge not just the United States, but all nations and peoples. You, Mr. Chairman, were among the first, in a growing chorus from both parties, to recognize that climate change is an unambiguous security threat. At the extreme it threatens our very existence, but well before that point, it could very well incite new wars of an old kind—over basic resources like food, water, and arable land. The world is in need of an urgent, coordinated response to climate change and, as President- Elect Obama has said, America must be a leader in developing and implementing it. We can lead abroad through participation in international efforts like the upcoming UN Copenhagen Climate Conference and a Global Energy Forum. We can lead at home by pursuing an energy policy that reduces our carbon emissions while reducing our dependence on foreign oil and gas—which will benefit the fight against climate change and enhance our economy and security.

The great statesman and general George Marshall noted that our gravest enemies are often not nations or doctrines, but "hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos." To create more friends and fewer enemies, we can't just win wars. We must find common ground and common purpose with other peoples and nations so that together we can overcome hatred, violence, lawlessness, and despair.

The Obama administration recognizes that, even when we cannot fully agree with some governments, we share a bond of humanity with their people. By investing in that common humanity we advance our common security because we pave the way for a more peaceful, prosperous world.

Mr. Chairman, you were one of the first to underscore the importance of our involvement in the global AIDS fight. And you have worked very hard on this issue for many years. Now, thanks to a variety of efforts—including President Bush's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief as well as the work of NGOs and foundations—the United States enjoys widespread support in public opinion polls in many African countries. This is true even among Muslim populations in Tanzania and Kenya, where America is seen as a leader in the fight against AIDS, malaria, and TB.

We have an opportunity to build on this success by partnering with NGOs to help expand the infrastructure of health clinics in Africa so that more people can have access to life-saving drugs, fewer mothers transmit HIV to their children, and fewer lives are lost.

And we can generate even more goodwill through other kinds of social investment, by working effectively with international organizations and NGO partners to build schools and train teachers, and by ensuring that children are free from hunger and exploitation so that they can attend those schools and pursue their dreams for the future. This is why the President- Elect supports a Global Education Fund to bolster secular education around the world.

I want to take a moment to emphasize the importance of a "bottom-up" approach to ensuring that America remains a positive force in the world. The President-elect and I believe in this strongly. Investing in our common humanity through social development is not marginal to our foreign policy but integral to accomplishing our goals.

Today more than two billion people worldwide live on less than $2 a day. They are facing rising food prices and widespread hunger. Calls for expanding civil and political rights in countries plagued by mass hunger and disease will fall on deaf ears unless democracy actually delivers material benefits that improve people's lives while weeding out the corruption that too often stands in the way of progress.

Our foreign policy must reflect our deep commitment to the cause of making human rights a reality for millions of oppressed people around the world. Of particular concern to me is the plight of women and girls, who comprise the majority of the world's unhealthy, unschooled, unfed, and unpaid. If half of the world's population remains vulnerable to economic, political, legal, and social marginalization, our hope of advancing democracy and prosperity will remain in serious jeopardy. We still have a long way to go and the United States must remain an unambiguous and unequivocal voice in support of women's rights in every country, every region, on every continent.

As a personal aside, I want to mention that President-elect Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, was a pioneer in microfinance in Indonesia. In my own work on microfinance around the world – from Bangladesh to Chile to Vietnam to South Africa and many other countries -- I've seen firsthand how small loans given to poor women to start small businesses can raise standards of living and transform local economies. President-elect Obama's mother had planned to attend a microfinance forum at the Beijing women's conference in 1995 that I participated in. Unfortunately, she was very ill and couldn't travel and sadly passed away a few months later. But I think it's fair to say that her work in international development, the care and concern she showed for women and for poor people around the world, mattered greatly to her son, and certainly has informed his views and his vision. We will be honored to carry on Ann Dunham's work in the months and years ahead.

I've discussed a few of our top priorities and I know we'll address many more in the question-and-answer session. But I suspect that even this brief overview offers a glimpse of the daunting, and crucial, challenges we face, as well as the opportunities before us. President-elect Obama and I pledge to work closely with this Committee and the Congress to forge a bipartisan,

integrated, results-oriented sustainable foreign policy that will restore American leadership to confront these challenges, serve our interests, and advance our values.

Ensuring that our State Department is functioning at its best will be absolutely essential to America's success. This is a top priority of mine, of my colleagues' on the national security team, and of the President-elect's. He believes strongly that we need to invest in our civilian capacity to conduct vigorous American diplomacy, provide the kind of foreign assistance I've mentioned, reach out to the world, and operate effectively alongside our military.

I realize that the entire State Department bureaucracy in Thomas Jefferson's day consisted of a chief clerk, three regular clerks, and a messenger – and his entire budget was $56,000 a year. But over the past 219 years the world, and the times, have certainly changed. Now the department consists of foreign service officers, the civil service, and locally engaged staff working at Foggy Bottom, in offices across our country, and at some 260 posts around the world. And today, USAID carries out a critical development mission that is essential to representing our values across the globe.

These public servants are too often unsung heroes. They are in the trenches putting our policies and values to work in an increasingly complicated and dangerous world. Many risk their lives, and some lose their lives, in service to our nation. And they need and deserve the resources, training, and support to succeed.

I know this committee, and I hope the American public, understand that right now foreign service officers, civil service professionals, and development experts are doing work essential to our nation's strength – whether helping American businesses make inroads in new markets; being on the other end of the phone at a United States embassy when an American citizen needs help beyond our shores; doing the delicate work of diplomacy and development with foreign governments that leads to arms control and trade agreements, peace treaties and post-conflict reconstruction, greater human rights and empowerment, broader cultural understanding and stronger alliances.

The State Department is a large, multi-dimensional organization. But it is not a placid or idle bureaucracy, as some would like to paint it. It is an outpost for American values that protects our citizens and safeguards our democratic institutions in times both turbulent and tame. State Department employees also offer a lifeline of hope and help – often the only lifeline – for people in foreign lands who are oppressed, silenced, and marginalized.

Whether they are an economic officer in a large embassy, or an aid worker in the field, or a clerk in a distant consulate or a country officer working late in Washington, they do their work so that we may all live in peace and security. We must not shortchange them, or ourselves, by denying them the resources they need.

One of my first priorities is to make sure that the State Department and USAID have the resources they need, and I will be back to make the case to Congress for full funding of the President's budget request. At the same time, I will work just as hard to make sure that we manage those resources prudently so that we fulfill our mission efficiently and effectively.

In concluding, I hope you will indulge me one final observation. Like most Americans, I never had the chance to travel widely outside our country as a child or young adult. Most of my early professional career was as a lawyer and advocate for children and who found themselves on society's margins here at home. But during the eight years of my husband's presidency, and then in my eight years as a Senator, I have been privileged to travel on behalf of the United States to more than 80 countries.

I've had the opportunity to get to know many world leaders. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee I've spent time with our military commanders, as well as our brave troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I have immersed myself in an array of military issues. I've spent many hours with American and non-American aid workers, businessmen and women, religious leaders, teachers, doctors, nurses, students, volunteers and others who have made it their mission to help people across the world. I have also learned invaluable lessons from countless ordinary citizens in foreign capitals, small towns, and rural villages whose lives offered a glimpse into a world far removed from what many of us experience on a daily basis here in America.

In recent years, as other nations have risen to compete for military, economic, and political influence, some have argued that we have reached the end of the "American moment" in world history. I disagree. Yes, the conventional paradigms have shifted. But America's success has never been solely a function of our power; it has always been inspired by our values.

With so many troubles here at home and across the world, millions of peopleare still trying to come to our country -- legally and illegally. Why? Because we are guided by unchanging truths: that all people are created equal; that each person has a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And in these truths we will find, as we have for more than two centuries, the

courage, the discipline, and the creativity to meet the challenges of this everchanging world.

I am humbled to be a public servant, and honored by the responsibility placed on me by our President-Elect, who embodies the American Dream not only here at home but far beyond our shores.

No matter how daunting our challenges may be, I have a steadfast faith in our country and our people, and I am proud to be an American at the dawning of this new American moment.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, for granting me your time and attention today. I know there is a lot more territory to cover and I'd be delighted to answer your questions.

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Conflict: The Power of Propaganda trailer

If Mr. Carter had stuck to Habitat for Humanity instead of Inaccurate Boloney, we could admire him and I did. He has lost all credibility due to his ignorance of the truth in the Middle East. What a sad legacy to leave! Some have said that he has consumed too many bad peanuts and it has affected his brain making him nuttier in his old age.

Blacks Held Back - Dr. Walter E Williams

THE NEW GAME: POWER CLING !!!

Obama learned his lesson well


"Obama learned his lesson well. I am proud to see that my father's model for organizing is being applied successfully beyond local community organizing to affect the Democratic campaign in 2008. It is a fine tribute to Saul Alinsky as we approach his 100th birthday." --Letter from L. DAVID ALINSKY, son of Neo-Marxist Saul Alinsky


Hillary, Obama and the Cult of Alinsky: "True revolutionaries do not flaunt their radicalism, Alinsky taught. They cut their hair, put on suits and infiltrate the system from within. Alinsky viewed revolution as a slow, patient process. The trick was to penetrate existing institutions such as churches, unions and political parties....

"One Alinsky benefactor was Wall Street investment banker Eugene Meyer, who served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1930 to 1933. Meyer and his wife Agnes co-owned The Washington Post. They used their newspaper to promote Alinsky....Her series, called 'The Orderly Revolution', made Alinsky famous....

"Alinsky’s crowning achievement was his recruitment of a young high school student named Hillary Rodham. She met Alinsky through a radical church group. Hillary wrote an analysis of Alinsky’s methods for her senior thesis at Wellesley College. ...

"Many leftists view Hillary as a sell-out because she claims to hold moderate views on some issues. However, Hillary is simply following Alinsky’s counsel to do and say whatever it takes to gain power.

"Barack Obama is also an Alinskyite.... Obama spent years teaching workshops on the Alinsky method. In 1985 he began a four-year stint as a community organizer in Chicago, working for an Alinskyite group called the Developing Communities Project.... Camouflage is key to Alinsky-style organizing. While trying to build coalitions of black churches in Chicago, Obama caught flak for not attending church himself. He became an instant churchgoer." [by Richard Poe, 11-27-07] See also Community Oriented Policing


Quote from Saul Alinsky's Book "Rules for Radicals"

In this book we are concerned with how to create mass organizations to seize power and give it to the people; to realize the democratic dream of equality, justice, peace.... "Better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.' This means revolution." p.3

"Radicals must be resilient, adaptable to shifting political circumstances, and sensitive enough to the process of action and reaction to avoid being trapped by their own tactics and forced to travel a road not of their choosing." p.6

"A Marxist begins with his prime truth that all evils are caused by the exploitation of the proletariat by the capitalists. From this he logically proceeds to the revolution to end capitalism, then into the third stage of reorganization into a new social order of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and finally the last stage -- the political paradise of communism." p.10

The one thing he did not learn is the passion of FREE people to be free! - Press4TRuth

Saul Alinsky - Mentor of Obama

WorldNetDaily

War on Gaza. Whoops!

What Obama DOES NOT Know Can Hurt Us


The Financial Post today carried the following article by Alex Epstein that pretty well sums up the problem with a president with NO economic or business experience.

Obama doesn’t get roots of crisis
Posted: April 07, 2009, 7:04 PM by NP Editor
By Alex Epstein

Barack Obama rightly stresses that we first must understand how today’s problems emerged. It is “only by understanding how we arrived at this moment that we’ll be able to lift ourselves out of this predicament.”
Unfortunately, Obama (along with most of the Washington establishment) has created only misunderstanding. In calling for a massive increase in government control over the economy, he has evaded the mountain of evidence implicating the government. For example, Obama’s core explanation of all the destructive behaviour leading up to today’s crisis is that the market was too free. But the market that led to today’s crisis was systematically manipulated by government.
Fact This decade saw drastic attempts by the government to control the housing and financial markets — via a Federal Reserve that cut interest rates to all-time lows and via a gigantic increase in Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s size and influence.
Fact Through these entities, the government sought to “stimulate the economy” and promote home ownership (sound familiar?) by artificially extending cheap credit to home-buyers.
Fact Most of the (very few) economists who actually predicted the financial crisis blame Fed policy or housing policy for inflating a bubble that was bound to collapse.
How does all this evidence factor into Obama’s understanding of “how we arrived at this moment”? It doesn’t. Not once, during the solemn 52 minutes and 5,902 words of his speech to Congress did he mention the Fed, Fannie or Freddie. Not once did he suggest that government manipulation of markets could have any possible role in the present crisis. He just went full steam ahead and called for more spending, more intervention and more government housing programs as the solution.
A genuine explanation of the financial crisis must take into account all the facts. What role did the Fed play? What about Fannie and Freddie? To be sure, some companies and CEOs seem to have made irrational business decisions. Was the primary cause “greed,” as so many claim — and what does this even mean? Or was the primary cause government intervention — like artificially low interest rates, which distorted economic decision-making and encouraged less competent and more reckless companies and CEOs while marginalizing and paralyzing the more competent ones?
Entertaining such questions would also mean considering the idea that the fundamental solution to our problems is to disentangle the government from the markets to prevent future manipulation. It would mean considering pro-free-market remedies such as letting banks foreclose, letting prices reach market levels, letting bad banks fail, dismantling Fannie and Freddie, ending bailout promises and getting rid of the Fed’s power to manipulate interest rates.
But it is not genuine understanding the administration seeks. For it, the wisdom and necessity of previous government intervention is self-evident; no matter the contrary evidence, the crisis can only have been caused by insufficient government intervention. Besides, the administration is too busy following Obama’s chief of staff’s dictum, “Never let a serious crisis go to waste,” by proposing a virtual takeover of not only financial markets but also the problem-riddled energy and health-care markets — which, they conveniently ignore, are also already among the most government-controlled in the economy.
While Obama has not sought a real explanation of today’s economic problems, the public should. Otherwise, we will simply swallow “solutions” that dogmatically assume the free market got us here — namely, Obama’s plans to swamp this country in an ocean of government debt, government controls and government make-work projects.
Alternative, free-market explanations for the crisis do exist — ones that consider the inconvenient facts Washington ignores — and everyone should seek to understand them. Those who do will likely end up telling our leaders to stop saying “Yes, we can” to each new proposal for expanding government power, and start saying “Yes, you can” to those who seek to exercise their right to produce and trade on a free market.
Financial Post
Alex Epstein is an analyst at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights.

Deciphering Obama in Cairo


Deciphering Obama in Cairo

Center for Security Policy | Jun 05, 2009
By Frank Gaffney, Jr.

By and large, President Obama's address yesterday in Cairo has been well received in both the so-called "Muslim world" and by other audiences. Nobody may be happier with it, though, than the Muslim Brotherhood - the global organization that seeks to impose authoritative Islam's theo-political-legal program known as "Shariah" through stealthy means where violence ones are not practicable. Egyptian Muslim Brothers were prominent among the guests in the audience at Cairo University and Brotherhood-associated organizations in America, like the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), have rapturously endorsed the speech.

The Brotherhood has ample reason for its delight. Accordingly, Americans who love freedom - whether or not they recognize the threat Shariah represents to it - have abundant cause for concern about "The Speech," and what it portends for U.S. policy and interests.

Right out of the box, Mr. Obama mischaracterized what is causing a "time of tension between the United States and Muslims around the world." He attributed the problem first and foremost to "violent extremists [who] have exploited these tensions in a small but potent minority of Muslims." The President never mentioned - not even once - a central reality: The minority in question, including the Muslim Brotherhood, subscribes to the authoritative writings, teachings, traditions and institutions of their faith, namely Shariah. It is the fact that their practice is thus grounded that makes them, whatever their numbers (the exact percentage is a matter of considerable debate), to use Mr. Obama euphemistic term, "potent."

Instead, the President's address characterized the problem as a "cycle of suspicion and discord," a turn of phrase redolent of the moral equivalence so evident in the Mideast peace process with it "cycle of violence." There was not one reference to terrorism, let alone Islamic terrorism. Indeed, any connection between the two is treated as evidence of some popular delusion. "The attacks of September 11, 2001 and the continued efforts of these extremists to engage in violence against civilians has led some in my country to view Islam as inevitably hostile not only to America and Western countries, but also to human rights. This has bred more fear and mistrust."

Then there was this uplifting, but ultimately meaningless, blather: "So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, and who promote conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity."

More often than not, the President portrayed Muslims as the Brotherhood always does: as victims of crimes perpetrated by the West against them - from colonialism to manipulation by Cold War superpowers to the menace of "modernity and globalization that led many Muslims to view the West as hostile to the traditions of Islam." Again, no mention of the hostility towards the infidel West ingrained in "the traditions of Islam." This fits with the meme of the Shariah-adherent, but not the facts.

Here's the irony: Even as President Obama professed his determination to "speak the truth," he perpetrated a fraud. He falsely portrayed what amounts to authoritative Islam, namely Shariah Islam, as something that is "not exclusive," that "overlaps" and "need not be in competition" with "America. Actually, Shariah is, by its very nature, a program that obliges its adherents to demand submission of all others, Muslims (especially secular and apostate ones) and non-Muslims, alike.

This exclusiveness (read, Islamic supremacism) applies most especially with respect to democratic nations like America, nations founded in the alternative and highly competitive belief that men, not God, should make laws. Ditto nations that stand in the way of the establishment of the Caliphate, the global theocracy that Shariah dictates must impose its medieval agenda worldwide. In practice, Shariah is the very antithesis of Mr. Obama's stated goal of "progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings." Its "justice" can only be considered by civilized societies to be a kind of codified barbarism.

At least as troubling are what amount to instances of presidential dawa, the Arabic term for Islamic proselytization. For example, Mr. Obama referred four times in his speech to "the Holy Koran." It seems unimaginable that he ever would ever use the adjective to describe the Bible or the Book of Mormon.

Then, the man now happy to call himself Barack Hussein Obama (in contrast to his attitude during the campaign) boasts of having "known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed." An interesting choice of words that, "first revealed." Not "established," "founded" or "invented." The President is, after all, a careful writer, so he must have deliberately eschewed verbs that reflect man's role, in favor of the theological version of events promoted by Islam. Thus, Mr. Obama has gone beyond the kind of "respectful language" he has pledged to use towards Islam. He is employing what amounts to code - bespeaking the kind of submissive attitude Islam demands of all, believers and non-believers alike.

Elsewhere in the speech, Mr. Obama actually declared that "I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear." Note that, although he referred in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian-Arab conflict to "vile stereotypes" of Jews, he did not describe it as "part of his responsibility as President" to counter anti-Semitic representations.

Unremarked was the fact that such incitement is daily fare served up by the state media controlled by his host in Egypt, President Hosni Mubarak, by the Palestinian Authority's Mahmoud Abbas and by every other despot in the region with whom Mr. Obama seeks to "engage." Worse yet, no mention was made of the fact that some of those "vile stereotypes" - notably, that Jews are "descendants of apes and pigs" - are to be found in "the Holy Koran," itself.

Perhaps the most stunning bit of dawa of all was a phrase the President employed that, on its face, denies the divinity of Jesus - something surprising from a self-described committed Christian. In connection with his discussion of the "situation between Israelis, Palestinians and Arabs," Mr. Obama said, "...When Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed (peace be upon them) joined in prayer."

Muslims use the term "peace be upon them" to ask for blessings on deceased holy men. In other words, its use construes all three in the way Islam does - as dead prophets - a treatment wholly at odds with the teachings of Christianity which, of course, holds Jesus as the immortal Son of God.

If Mr. Obama were genuinely ignorant about Islam, such a statement might be ascribed to nothing more than a sop to "interfaith dialogue." For a man who now pridefully boasts of his intimate familiarity with Muslims and their faith, it raises troubling questions about his own religious beliefs. At the very least, it conveys a strongly discordant message to "the Muslim world" about a fundamental tenet of the faith he professes.

Finally, what are we to make of Mr. Obama statements about America and Islam? Since he took office, the President has engaged repeatedly in the sort of hyping of Muslims and their role in the United States that is standard Muslim Brotherhood fare. In his inaugural address, he described our nation as one of "Christians, Muslims and Jews." Shortly thereafter, he further reversed the demographic ordering of these populations by size in his first broadcast interview (with the Saudi-owned al-Arabiya network), calling America a country of "Muslims, Christians and Jews."

Yesterday in Cairo, the President declared that "Islam has always been a part of America's story." Now, to be sure, Muslims, like peoples of other faiths, have made contributions to U.S. history. But they have generally done so in the same way others have, namely as Americans - not as some separate community, but as part of the "E pluribus unum" (out of many, one) that Mr. Obama properly extolled in The Speech.

Unfortunately, a pattern is being established whereby President Obama routinely exaggerates the Muslim character of America. For example, at Cairo University, he claimed there are nearly seven million Muslims in this country - a falsehood promoted by the Muslim Brotherhood and its friends - when the actual number is well-less than half that. Shortly before The Speech, in an interview with a French network, Mr. Obama said, "If you actually took the number of Muslims Americans, we'd be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world."

Incredible as these statements may seem, even more astounding is their implication for those who adhere to Shariah. The President's remarks about America as a Muslim nation would give rise to its treatment by them as part of dar al-Islam, the world of Islam, as opposed to dar al-harb (i.e., the non-Muslim world).

Were the former to be the case, Shariah requires faithful Muslims to rid the United States of infidel control or occupation. And we know from last year's successful prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation - a so-called "charity" engaged in money-laundering for one of the Muslim Brotherhood's terrorist operations, Hamas - that such an agenda tracks precisely with the Brothers' mission here: "To destroy Western civilization from within America, by its own miserable hand."

This reality makes one of Mr. Obama's promises in Cairo especially chilling. Near the end of his address, the President expressed concern that religious freedom in the United States was being impinged by "rules on charitable giving [that] have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation." He went on to pledge: "That is why I am committed to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat."

Let us be clear: Muslim charities have run into difficulty with "the rules" because they have been convicted in federal court of using the Muslim obligation to perform zakat (tithing to charity) to funnel money to terrorists. At this writing, it is unclear precisely what Mr. Obama has in mind with respect to this commitment to "ensure [Muslims] can fulfill zakat." But you can bet that the Brotherhood will try to translate it into the release of their imprisoned operatives and new latitude to raise money for their Shariah-promoting, and therefore seditious, activities in America.

I could go on, but you get the point. The Speech contained a number of statements about the laudable qualities of America, the need for freedom in the Muslim world, about women's rights and the desirability of peace. But its preponderant and much more important message was one that could have been crafted by the Muslim Brotherhood: America has a president who is, wittingly or not, advancing the Brotherhood's agenda of masking the true nature of Shariah and encouraging the West's submission to it.

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is President of the Center for Security Policy in Washington. An abbreviated version of this article appeared in Newsmax, June 5, 2009.

OBAMA for CHANGE ??? A Stimulating Thought !!!

[As you will see below, even Jackie Mason doesn't think this is funny!] Rahm Emanuel's statement in November, "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."

Well now we have the proof. I said it before Mr. Obama was elected. The ONLY change that Obama expects to bring to Washington is him in the white house!

Now we have the proof. This "STIMULUS" bill is anything BUT stimulating! Apparently hundreds of phone calls against the bill are coming into government offices. But the government of the people, by the people and for the people has now become the government OVER the people, right by the people and FOR the democratic party in government!

Didn't Mr. Obama say that he wanted to CHANGE the way Washington worked? Ha, well now we know how.

So Mr. Obama has brought CHANGE TO AMERICA... yes CHANGE AS TO WHO GETS THE PORK. - His soundbytes about there being NO PORK in the bill are absolute blatant lies.

The letters and calls to the congress were 100:1 AGAINST this package but that did not thwart the courageous congress from paying back all their supporters AGAINST the will of the people!

However it was that unofficial third party in the U.S. called the left-wing socialist media combined with the fairy-tale elite in Hollywood. who actually elected Mr. Obama.

The so-called "stimulus" bill just passed in the U.S. will stimulate that famous employer, the National Association for the Endowment for the Arts, build Milwaukee schools when 15 are empty with declining enrolment and so on.

It is complete PORK. There may be a few million of the billions here and there which might actually do a little but the stock market tells all as they have been in freefall as the "package" made it's way through the congress.

Yes is it payback time as the hog trough package goes out to all the supporters which the Democrats did not have the power to reward previously.

What Mr. Obama came to the Whitehouse to change was ONE THING ... WHO GET'S THE PORK?

The bill is full of nothing but spending to reward those who elected Mr. Obama and his "Democratic" presidential guards and very little to help the average worker at all.

It is a sad time when telling blatant lies and rewarding those who support you are more important than actually helping people cope with this deep recession.

So much for the country of Abraham Lincoln and a country which was "of the people, by the people, for the people". Unless of course those people are Democratic suckies.

If even comedian Jackie Mason sees this, there perhaps is hope for the American people somewhere.

Obama's Plan for Change

Research Suggests That GOVERNMENT STIMULUS SPENDING May Worsen Situation

Terence Corcoran reports in the National Post on Friday, January 16, 2009 that the STIMULUS everyone is yelling for may only work over a short period and may actually MAKE THE ECONOMY WORSE over longer periods.

See original article here.


WHO SAYS A STIMULUS ACTUALLY STIMULATES?

or is it simply temporary VIAGRA for the ECONOMY?

POINTS from article above ...

-"Except for one problem: What if it's not true? What if, as a wide and growing school of economists now suspect, the government spending and stimulus theory is a crock that is shovel-ready to be heaved out into the barnyard of economic waste?

- "What if, as a wide and growing school of economists now suspect, the government spending and stimulus theory is a crock that is shovel-ready to be heaved out into the barnyard of economic waste?"

- Even disciples of Keynes, such as Harvard's Greg Mankiw, recently highlighted economic studies that show government spending binges -- shocks, they are sometimes called -- don't seem to help the economy grow. They might even make it worse.

-One of the studies cited by Mr. Mankiw was by two European economists (Andrew Mountford and Harald Uhlig), titled "What are the Effects of Fiscal Shocks?" It looked at big deficit-financed spending increases and found that they stimulate the economy for the first year, but "only weakly" compared with a deficit financed tax cut. The overriding problem is that the deficits crowd out private investment and, over the long run, may make the economy worse. "The resulting higher debt burdens may have long-term consequences which are far worse than the short-term increase in GDP."

-A paper by two economists, including the current chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, Olivier Blanchard, concluded that increased taxes and "increases in government spending have a strong negative effect on private investment spending."

-Roberto Perotti, an Italian economist with links to Columbia University, in "Estimating the Effects of Fiscal Policy in OECD Countries," found nothing but bad news for Keynesians. Economic growth is little changed after big increases in government spending, but there are signs of weakening private investment.

- What we all might logically intuit to be true -- spend government money, especially borrowed money, and you stimulate growth -- has long been thought to be a fallacy by some economists. That thought is now spreading. British economist William Buiter said the massive Obama fiscal stimulus proposals "are afflicted by the Keynesian fallacy on steroids."

Except for one problem: What if it's not true? What if, as a wide and growing school of economists now suspect, the government spending and stimulus theory is a crock that is shovel-ready to be heaved out into the barnyard of economic waste?

The Prime Minister, in his comments on Friday, seemed to be riding right into the barnyard. He said the government would be simply "borrowing money that is not being used" and "that business is afraid to invest." By borrowing that money, and turning it over to all the groups and interests looking for part of the stimulus spending, he would be jump-starting activity while the private sector got its legs back.

Even disciples of Keynes, such as Harvard's Greg Mankiw, recently highlighted economic studies that show government spending binges -- shocks, they are sometimes called -- don't seem to help the economy grow. They might even make it worse.

One of the studies cited by Mr. Mankiw was by two European economists (Andrew Mountford and Harald Uhlig), titled "What are the Effects of Fiscal Shocks?" It looked at big deficit-financed spending increases and found that they stimulate the economy for the first year, but "only weakly" compared with a deficit financed tax cut. The overriding problem is that the deficits crowd out private investment and, over the long run, may make the economy worse. "The resulting higher debt burdens may have long-term consequences which are far worse than the short-term increase in GDP."

Two other studies point in the same direction. A paper by two economists, including the current chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, Olivier Blanchard, concluded that increased taxes and "increases in government spending have a strong negative effect on private investment spending."

Roberto Perotti, an Italian economist with links to Columbia University, in "Estimating the Effects of Fiscal Policy in OECD Countries," found nothing but bad news for Keynesians. Economic growth is little changed after big increases in government spending, but there are signs of weakening private investment.

What we all might logically intuit to be true -- spend government money, especially borrowed money, and you stimulate growth -- has long been thought to be a fallacy by some economists. That thought is now spreading. British economist William Buiter said the massive Obama fiscal stimulus proposals "are afflicted by the Keynesian fallacy on steroids."

Over at Stimulus Canada, Mr. Harper's plan looks somewhat more modest and Canada is not in the same fiscal fix as the United States. But Ottawa and the provinces are clearly ready to borrow big wads of money from the future to stimulate the economy today. It's money that is supposedly sitting out there in the timid hands of investors who will be repaid with tax dollars later.

But if that stimulus spending does not generate much fresh economic growth, and the borrowing chews up money that private investors could invest in the future, the shovel-ready brigades who get the cash today will produce only short term gains at the expense of the long term health of the economy.

[Doesn't it make you wonder when nobody seems to know what to do but some of the advice of the best researchers suggests that a STIMULUS may actually HARM the economy? Some economic researchers point to FDR and the Great Depression and suggest that FDR actually INCREASED the length of the depression. He was obviously and encourager and inspired hope which is an important factor as we see when the markets fall like bricks. But did his fiscal policy actually make it longer?]

The Stimulus Package

FDR POLICIES Prolonged Depression

FDR's policies prolonged Depression by 7 years, UCLA economists calculate

Two UCLA economists say they have figured out why the Great Depression dragged on for almost 15 years, and they blame a suspect previously thought to be beyond reproach: President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

After scrutinizing Roosevelt's record for four years, Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian conclude in a new study that New Deal policies signed into law 71 years ago thwarted economic recovery for seven long years.

"Why the Great Depression lasted so long has always been a great mystery, and because we never really knew the reason, we have always worried whether we would have another 10- to 15-year economic slump," said Ohanian, vice chair of UCLA's Department of Economics. "We found that a relapse isn't likely unless lawmakers gum up a recovery with ill-conceived stimulus policies."

In an article in the August issue of the Journal of Political Economy, Ohanian and Cole blame specific anti-competition and pro-labor measures that Roosevelt promoted and signed into law June 16, 1933.

"President Roosevelt believed that excessive competition was responsible for the Depression by reducing prices and wages, and by extension reducing employment and demand for goods and services," said Cole, also a UCLA professor of economics. "So he came up with a recovery package that would be unimaginable today, allowing businesses in every industry to collude without the threat of antitrust prosecution and workers to demand salaries about 25 percent above where they ought to have been, given market forces. The economy was poised for a beautiful recovery, but that recovery was stalled by these misguided policies."

Using data collected in 1929 by the Conference Board and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Cole and Ohanian were able to establish average wages and prices across a range of industries just prior to the Depression. By adjusting for annual increases in productivity, they were able to use the 1929 benchmark to figure out what prices and wages would have been during every year of the Depression had Roosevelt's policies not gone into effect. They then compared those figures with actual prices and wages as reflected in the Conference Board data.

In the three years following the implementation of Roosevelt's policies, wages in 11 key industries averaged 25 percent higher than they otherwise would have done, the economists calculate. But unemployment was also 25 percent higher than it should have been, given gains in productivity.

Meanwhile, prices across 19 industries averaged 23 percent above where they should have been, given the state of the economy. With goods and services that much harder for consumers to afford, demand stalled and the gross national product floundered at 27 percent below where it otherwise might have been.

"High wages and high prices in an economic slump run contrary to everything we know about market forces in economic downturns," Ohanian said. "As we've seen in the past several years, salaries and prices fall when unemployment is high. By artificially inflating both, the New Deal policies short-circuited the market's self-correcting forces."

The policies were contained in the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), which exempted industries from antitrust prosecution if they agreed to enter into collective bargaining agreements that significantly raised wages. Because protection from antitrust prosecution all but ensured higher prices for goods and services, a wide range of industries took the bait, Cole and Ohanian found. By 1934 more than 500 industries, which accounted for nearly 80 percent of private, non-agricultural employment, had entered into the collective bargaining agreements called for under NIRA.

Cole and Ohanian calculate that NIRA and its aftermath account for 60 percent of the weak recovery. Without the policies, they contend that the Depression would have ended in 1936 instead of the year when they believe the slump actually ended: 1943.

Roosevelt's role in lifting the nation out of the Great Depression has been so revered that Time magazine readers cited it in 1999 when naming him the 20th century's second-most influential figure.

"This is exciting and valuable research," said Robert E. Lucas Jr., the 1995 Nobel Laureate in economics, and the John Dewey Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago. "The prevention and cure of depressions is a central mission of macroeconomics, and if we can't understand what happened in the 1930s, how can we be sure it won't happen again?"

NIRA's role in prolonging the Depression has not been more closely scrutinized because the Supreme Court declared the act unconstitutional within two years of its passage.

"Historians have assumed that the policies didn't have an impact because they were too short-lived, but the proof is in the pudding," Ohanian said. "We show that they really did artificially inflate wages and prices."

Even after being deemed unconstitutional, Roosevelt's anti-competition policies persisted — albeit under a different guise, the scholars found. Ohanian and Cole painstakingly documented the extent to which the Roosevelt administration looked the other way as industries once protected by NIRA continued to engage in price-fixing practices for four more years.

The number of antitrust cases brought by the Department of Justice fell from an average of 12.5 cases per year during the 1920s to an average of 6.5 cases per year from 1935 to 1938, the scholars found. Collusion had become so widespread that one Department of Interior official complained of receiving identical bids from a protected industry (steel) on 257 different occasions between mid-1935 and mid-1936. The bids were not only identical but also 50 percent higher than foreign steel prices. Without competition, wholesale prices remained inflated, averaging 14 percent higher than they would have been without the troublesome practices, the UCLA economists calculate.

NIRA's labor provisions, meanwhile, were strengthened in the National Relations Act, signed into law in 1935. As union membership doubled, so did labor's bargaining power, rising from 14 million strike days in 1936 to about 28 million in 1937. By 1939 wages in protected industries remained 24 percent to 33 percent above where they should have been, based on 1929 figures, Cole and Ohanian calculate. Unemployment persisted. By 1939 the U.S. unemployment rate was 17.2 percent, down somewhat from its 1933 peak of 24.9 percent but still remarkably high. By comparison, in May 2003, the unemployment rate of 6.1 percent was the highest in nine years.

Recovery came only after the Department of Justice dramatically stepped enforcement of antitrust cases nearly four-fold and organized labor suffered a string of setbacks, the economists found.

"The fact that the Depression dragged on for years convinced generations of economists and policy-makers that capitalism could not be trusted to recover from depressions and that significant government intervention was required to achieve good outcomes," Cole said. "Ironically, our work shows that the recovery would have been very rapid had the government not intervened."

-UCLA-

http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/FDR-s-Policies-Prolonged-Depression-5409.aspx?RelNum=5409

LSMS368


AIG & Taxes & Free Enterprise

Mr Obama: Please Prove You ARE Non-Partisan

Mr. Obama will now have to prove he is non-partisan.

Editor: If he makes the mistake of believing that he is only the President of the 52% of the population that elected him and of the far-left liberal democrats, and tries to enact laws which the 46% who voted for McCain vehementally oppose, he will create more partisanship than has ever occurred before.

Now is his test. Will he leave failed socialistic policies like the War on Poverty and the Great Society behind, or will he make the same mistakes as his liberal precessors?

So now is the time for Mr. Obama to shine, but shine on the right as well as the left. Shine on the almost half the United States which are part of red states and red counties in blue states. He will become president of both and to be inclusive as an agent of change, he must govern in the best interests of middle America.

This article from the NP reflects some of that concern:

Sharing wealth will drain it

Obamanomics a drag on growth

Jacqueline Thorpe, National Post Published: Thursday, November 06, 2008

As the fervour fades, the world will have to get used to a new word: Obamanomics.

It means tax hikes for the rich, tax cuts for the poor and middle class, a promise to renegotiate NAFTA, greater union power, windfall taxes on oil and gas profits, higher taxes on capital gains and corporate dividends and more comprehensive health care coverage.

Barack Obama's economic plan may deliver the greater income equality Americans have apparently been craving, but also slower growth. Despite the vast tax hikes, it will cost a vast sum and U. S. federal finances, already ravaged by bailouts and recession, will slide deeper into the red.

The plan is not market-friendly but that does not mean the markets will not like an Obama presidency. If he can give the U. S. back its confidence, restore its reputation and sense of optimism, markets will take the bait as they have done with Democratic presidents so often in the past.

If he can become a Clintonstyle pragmatist, resist caving to every whim of a deeply left Congress, and not meddle with the bailouts that seem to be gingerly gaining traction, markets might even run with his presidency. The year from hell for investors could then be nearing an end.

Obamanomics is essentially about taking more money from the rich and giving it to the poor, plain old-fashioned "neighbourliness" as Mr. Obama has described it.

-

Or, as others have remarked, taking money from those who earn it and giving it to those who don't.

Under his income tax plan, Mr. Obama says he will provide tax cuts for 95% of Americans. He will do this by repealing Bush tax cuts -- set to expire in 2010 -- and bumping the top rates back to 36% from 33% and to 39.6% from 35%. Individuals earning over US$200,000 and families over US$250,000 will see sizable tax increases. This includes sole proprietors of businesses such as lawyers, accountants or plumbers called Joe.

Since 38% of Americans currently do not pay federal income taxes, Mr. Obama will provide them with refundable tax credits. Under his plan, 48% of Americans will pay no income tax.

"For the people that don't pay taxes, he is simply going to write them a cheque," says Andy Busch, global foreign exchange strategist at BMO Capital Markets. "That is income redistribution at its worst and produces very little value."

Other plans include raising taxes on capital gains and dividends to 20% from 15% for families earning more than US$250,000. He plans to leave the corporate tax rate at 35%, which in a world of rapidly falling rates, looks positively anti-business. He will introduce windfall taxes on oil and gas companies but offer US$4-billion in credits to U. S. auto-makers to retool to greener cars.

Much has been made of Mr. Obama's plan to renegotiate NAFTA to make it more labour-friendly, though no one seems to believe he will actually make it more protectionist.

The bottom line is this: Obama's economic plan is likely to be a drag on growth and it will cost money. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates Obama's program would add US$3.5-trillion to U. S. debt over the next 10 years, including interest. His plans for health care-- which may be delayed by financial necessity -- would tack on another US$1.6-trillion.

Read more here.

Obama - Who Are You?

Obama Sued by Democrat to Produce Birth Certificate Obama's Birth Certificate MUST SEE VIDEO Philip Berg, a DEMOCRAT is the man who is suing Barack Obama to hand over his Birth Certificate. The video below gives his Credentials and the Mr. Berg lays out his case in Berg v. Obama, and explains why it is important for the case to be resolved quickly. In his argumentation, Mr. Berg points out that Senator Obama could settle the lawsuit immediately by producing the proper documents to prove Obama is a natural-born citizen as required by our constitution. It is A MUST SEE..MUST PASS AROUND VIDEO!

NOW LA PRESIDENT SUPPORTS SARAH PALIN

Veteran Accuses Senator Obama of Being Wrong

OBAMA'S ECONOMIC PLAN

WHY IT IS WRONG TO CALL IRAQ A MISTAKE

OBAMA Comment by AltMuslim.com

This is an interesting comment by the website AltMuslim.com.
[Editor:Just because his middle name is Hussain does NOT mean he's a Muslim. Just because his church gave Lewis Farakhan last year a Lifetime Achievement award does

NOT mean he is a Muslim. Just because he wore traditional Muslim dress when visiting in Sudan does NOT mean he is a Muslim. So what does it mean? Read what they say for yourself.]
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Friday, April 18, 2008

Obama's Problem with the Truth [David Freddoso]

First the "hundred years" controversy, and now this. Is the man a liar, or are his speechwriters and advisors just that willing to leave him vulnerable to attack?

Obama's Problem
February 07, 2008 01:00 PM EST

The Peculiar Theology of Black Liberation

Spengler, Asia Times (Hong Kong), March 18, 2008

Senator Barack Obama is not a Muslim, contrary to invidious rumors. But he belongs to a Christian church whose doctrine casts Jesus Christ as a “black messiah” and blacks as “the chosen people”. At best, this is a radically different kind of Christianity than most Americans acknowledge; at worst it is an ethnocentric heresy.

What played out last week on America’s television screens was a clash of two irreconcilable cultures, the posture of “black liberation theology” and the mainstream American understanding of Christianity. Obama, who presented himself as a unifying figure, now seems rather the living embodiment of the clash.

One of the strangest dialogues in American political history ensued on March 15 when Fox News interviewed Obama’s pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, of Chicago’s Trinity Church. Wright asserted the authority of the “black liberation” theologians James Cone and Dwight Hopkins:

Wright: How many of Cone’s books have you read? How many of Cone’s book have you read?

Sean Hannity: Reverend, Reverend?

(crosstalk)

Wright: How many books of Cone’s have you head?

Hannity: I’m going to ask you this question . . .

Wright: How many books of Dwight Hopkins have you read?

Hannity: You’re very angry and defensive. I’m just trying to ask a question here.

Wright: You haven’t answered—you haven’t answered my question.

Hopkins is a full professor at the University of Chicago’s Divinity School; Cone is now distinguished professor at New York’s Union Theological Seminary. They promote a “black power” reading of Christianity, to which liberal academic establishment condescends.

Obama referred to this when he asserted in a March 14 statement, “I knew Reverend Wright as someone who served this nation with honor as a United States Marine, as a respected biblical scholar, and as someone who taught or lectured at seminaries across the country, from Union Theological Seminary to the University of Chicago.” But the fact the liberal academy condescends to sponsor black liberation theology does not make it less peculiar to mainstream American Christians. Obama wants to talk about what Wright is, rather than what he says. But that way lies apolitical quicksand.

Since Christianity taught the concept of divine election to the Gentiles, every recalcitrant tribe in Christendom has rebelled against Christian universalism, insisting that it is the “Chosen People” of God—French, English, Russian, Germans and even (through the peculiar doctrine of Mormonism) certain Americans. America remains the only really Christian country in the industrial world, precisely because it transcends ethnicity. One finds ethnocentricity only in odd corners of its religious life; one of these is African-American.

During the black-power heyday of the late 1960s, after the murder of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr, the mentors of Wright decided that blacks were the Chosen People. James Cone, the most prominent theologian in the “black liberation” school, teaches that Jesus Christ himself is black. As he explains:

Christ is black therefore not because of some cultural or psychological need of black people, but because and only because Christ really enters into our world where the poor were despised and the black are, disclosing that he is with them enduring humiliation and pain and transforming oppressed slaves into liberating servants.

Theologically, Cone’s argument is as silly as the “Aryan Christianity” popular in Nazi Germany, which claimed that Jesus was not a Jew at all but an Aryan Galilean, and that the Aryan race was the “chosen people”. Cone, Hopkins and Wright do not propose, of course, to put non-blacks in concentration camps or to conquer the world, but racially-based theology nonetheless is a greased chute to the nether regions.

Biblical theology teaches that even the most terrible events to befall Israel, such as the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BCE, embody the workings of divine justice, even if humankind cannot see God’s purpose. James Cone sees the matter very differently. Either God must do what we want him to do, or we must reject him, Cone maintains:

Black theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him. The task of black theology is to kill Gods who do not belong to the black community. . . . Black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy. What we need is the divine love as expressed in Black Power, which is the power of black people to destroy their oppressors here and now by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject his love. [1]

In the black liberation theology taught by Wright, Cone and Hopkins, Jesus Christ is not for all men, but only for the oppressed:

In the New Testament, Jesus is not for all, but for the oppressed, the poor and unwanted of society, and against oppressors. . . . Either God is for black people in their fight for liberation and against the white oppressors, or he is not [Cone].

In this respect black liberation theology is identical in content to all the ethnocentric heresies that preceded it. Christianity has no use for the nations, a “drop of the bucket” and “dust on the scales”, in the words of Isaiah. It requires that individuals turn their back on their ethnicity to be reborn into Israel in the spirit. That is much easier for Americans than for the citizens of other nations, for Americans have no ethnicity. But the tribes of the world do not want to abandon their Gentile nature and as individuals join the New Israel. Instead they demand eternal life in their own Gentile flesh, that is, to be the “Chosen People”.

That is the “biblical scholarship” to which Obama referred in his March 14 defense of Wright and his academic prominence. In his response to Hannity, Wright genuinely seemed to believe that the authority of Cone and Hopkins, who now hold important posts at liberal theological seminaries, was sufficient to make the issue go away. His faith in the white establishment is touching; he honestly cannot understand why the white reporters at Fox News are bothering him when the University of Chicago and the Union Theological Seminary have put their stamp of approval on black liberation theology.

Many things that the liberal academy has adopted, though, will horrify most Americans, and not only “black liberation theology” (Queer Studies comes to mind, among other things). It cannot be in Obama’s best interests to appeal to the authority of Cone, whose unapologetic racism must be repugnant to the great majority of Americans, including the majority of black Americans, who for the most part belong to Christian churches that preach mainstream Christian doctrine. Christianity teaches unconditional love for a God whose love for humankind is absolute; it does not teach the repudiation of a God who does not destroy our enemies on the spot.

Whether Obama takes seriously the doctrines that Wright preaches is another matter. It is possible that Obama does not believe a word of what Wright, Cone and Hopkins teach. Perhaps he merely used the Trinity United Church of Christ as a political stepping-stone. African-American political life is centered around churches, and his election to the Illinois State Senate with the support of Chicago’s black political machine required church membership. Trinity United happens to be Chicago’s largest and most politically active black church.

Obama views Wright rather at arm’s length: as the New York Times reported on April 30, 2007:

Reverend Wright is a child of the 60s, and he often expresses himself in that language of concern with institutional racism and the struggles the African-American community has gone through,” Mr Obama said. “He analyzes public events in the context of race. I tend to look at them through the context of social justice and inequality.

Obama holds his own views close. But it seems unlikely that he would identify with the ideological fits of the black-power movement of the 1960s. Obama does not come to the matter with the perspective of an American black, but of the child of a left-wing anthropologist raised in the Third World, as I wrote elsewhere (Obama’s women reveal his secret , Asia Times Online, February 26, 2008). It is possible that because of the Wright affair Obama will suffer for what he pretended to be, rather than for what he really is.

Note

1. See William R Jones, “Divine Racism: The Unacknowledged Threshold Issue for Black Theology”, in African-American Religious Thought: An Anthology, ed Cornel West and Eddie Glaube (Westminster John Knox Press).

Original article

(Posted on March 17, 2008)


Comments

I have mixed feelings about the whole Jeremiah Wright ordeal. On one hand, I understand his feelings. As a white man, I choose to stand with my race just as he chooses to stand with his. Thus, I can’t fault him for his views. On the other hand, I also recognize that Rev. Wright would never attempt to understand my feelings or concerns so why should I try to understand his? The fact is, people like Wright are not intellectually consistent with their beliefs; they preach ethno-centrism and border-line hatred of other races yet would accuse a white man of being “racist” for the slightest perceived insult.

Posted by Conrad R. at 6:03 PM on March 17


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Jeremiah Wright, Obama's Former Pastor - Christian in Name but what???

March 26, 2008

How the Leftist Churches Set a Time Bomb for the Democrats

By James Lewis
Until the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Senator Obama's spiritual mentor in Black Liberation Theology, popped out of the woodwork, I didn't even know about BLT -- Black Liberation Theology. But the doctrines of Black Liberation have been preached since 1966 in black churches, with the enthusiastic support of white churches of the Left, notably the United Church of Christ. The Rev. Wright runs an official UCC church.

Though I am not a professional theologian, I daresay that Jesus would not, repeat not, approve of BLT. Because Black Liberation Theology seems to go straight against every single word in the Sermon on the Mount. Odd that the UCC has never noticed that over the last fifty years.

In fact, the liberal churches have bestowed great influence and prestige on the inventor of Black Liberation Theology, a Dr. James Hal Cone. Writes Dr. Cone, among other things,


* "Black theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him."

* "All white men are responsible for white oppression."

* "While it is true that blacks do hate whites, black hatred is not racism."

* "Theologically, Malcolm X was not far wrong when he called the white man "the devil.""

* "The black theologian must reject any conception of God which stifles black self-determination by picturing God as a God of all peoples."

* "We have had too much of white love, the love that tells blacks to turn the other cheek and go the second mile. What we need is the divine love as expressed in black power, which is the power of blacks to destroy their oppressors, here and now, by any means at their disposal."

Apparently liberal religious authorities like those at the United Church of Christ love this preaching so much that they have made Dr. Cone a professor at the Union Theological Seminary, the "Charles Augustus Briggs Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology." It is a stamp of official approval for a peddler of race hatred.

What would Jesus say? Well, we may never know that, but in a month we'll know what Pennsylvania Democrats will say. And if they turn thumbs down on that grandchild of Black Liberation Theology, Senator Barack Obama, the Democrats will have no one to blame but themselves. Including the Churches of the Left, which have reveled in rage-mongering radical chic since the Sixties.

If you've ever wondered why black people in America have had such a hard time rising in society, even after slavery ended in 1865, even after the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s, even after affirmative action tilted the playing field in their favor, the answer has to be found in the doctrines that have been preached to blacks by their most powerful leaders. If Black Liberation Theology is to be believed, blacks can never make it on their own. They have to rely on a separatist, rage-filled ideology, supported whole-heartedly by white Leftist churches.

The Left has a long, long habit of shafting the very people is purports to love. Instead, the Left only empowers Leftist elites. Look at the history of the Soviet Union, of Maoist China, of Fidel Castro. Who profited from those regimes except the elites, dining on caviar while ordinary people starved? Today Hugo Chavez is squandering Venezuela's oil wealth on his personal ego trips. It is the poor who suffer from Chavez' caudillismo.

What the Church of the Left have done to poor blacks is just like that. Instead of supporting messages of hope and strength, they celebrated the rage demagogues who keep people in thrall. "Black Liberation" is an enslavement of the mind. If you keep black people popping with anger at whites, half a century after the end of Jim Crow, you are not helping them. You are hurting them.

For the Democrats, who have knowingly supported this corruption of the poor for decades, the churches of Left have set a time bomb. Next month we'll see if it explodes.

Maybe it's Divine justice.

James Lewis blogs at dangeroustimes.wordpress.com/

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/03/how_the_leftist_churches_set_a.html at March 30, 2008 - 11:06:16 PM EDT

Why is Obama Ducking the Questions? Only One Possible Reason!

[excerpted from http://proteinwisdom.com/?p=11541]

March 21, 2008
Dems 2008: McClatchy discovers Black Liberation Theology [Karl]

Given the chain’s general leftward slant, it is all the more notable that McClatchy is perhaps the first establishment media outlet to report some of the specifics of the Black Liberation Theology that is the vision of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Barack Obama’s church — and to note (as already noted here) that Obama dodged the larger issue:

Obama’s speech Tuesday on race in America was hailed as a masterful handling of the controversy over divisive sermons by the longtime pastor of Trinity United, the recently retired Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.

But in repudiating and putting in context Wright’s inflammatory lines about whites and U.S. foreign policy, the Democratic presidential front-runner didn’t address other potentially controversial facts about his church and its ties.

McClatchy’s Margaret Talev went so far as to interview Dr. James H. Cone, who first presented Black Liberation Theology as a system of thought in the late 1960s. Dr. Cone reaffirmed his prior view that Trinity most embodies his message and opined that he thought the Rev. Wright’s successor, the Rev. Otis Moss III, would continue the tradition. (It does seem likely so far.)

Unfortunately, the piece quotes only Dr. Cone and Dwight Hopkins, a Trinity member and liberation theology professor at the University of Chicago’s divinity school. Apparently, McClatchy could not be bothered to contact neutral theologians or critics of Black Liberation Theology. As a result, Cone and Hopkins get away with softening the harder edges of their theology.

Nevertheless, McClatchy has now done more than most of the establishment media (and certainly more than TIME magazine’s new puff piece or the ignorant and inane ramblings of E.J. Dionne, Jr.) on the underlying issue, even as it hypothesizes Obama’s church membership is one of political convenience rather than reading Obama’s writings on the subject, which are consistent with the theology.

Most important, McClatchy sought answers from the Obama campaign on the issue:

It isn’t clear where Obama’s beliefs and the church’s diverge. Through aides, Obama declined requests for an interview or to respond to written questions about his thoughts on Jesus, Cone or liberation theology.

That is the standard response of the Obama campaign to any controversy, as anyone trying to report on Obama’s relationship with Tony Rezko will tell you. Obama will not answer press inquiries until the establishment media turns up the heat to the point where he feels compelled to do so. That pattern should trouble people far beyond those concerned about the degree to which Obama susbscribes to Black Liberation Theology.

(h/t Gateway Pundit.)

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