Category: Obama


Source: FoxNews

A year after President Obama pledged to end the practice of funding the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq with “emergency” spending bills, the Senate is taking up a $60 billion request that would do exactly that.

The spending bill, which includes $33 billion for the two wars in addition to disaster relief funds and aid for Haiti, is running headlong into concern from war-weary Democrats and deficit-conscious Republicans.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called the bill a “heavy lift” in her chamber. But the Senate, which is taking up the request first, could be the scene of a spending stand-off between Democrats and Republicans.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., plans to offer an amendment requiring Congress to offset the cost of the package with spending cuts elsewhere. He slammed the administration for continuing to use the “emergency” supplemental to fund the wars — by designating the spending bill as “emergency,” Congress avoids having to find a way to pay for it.

“The last day war funding was unforeseen was September 10, 2001,” the first-term senator said in a written statement. “This legislation is designed to bail out career politicians who want to avoid the hard work of prioritizing spending.”

The Bush administration routinely used supplemental spending bills to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama criticized the practice as a candidate and when he came into office pledged to keep war funding within the traditional budget request.

“For seven years, we have been a nation at war. No longer will we hide its price,” he said in his February 2009 address to a joint session of Congress.

When Obama requested $83 billion in additional funding last spring for the wars, he said he would draw the line there.

“This is the last planned war supplemental,” he wrote in April 2009 to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, calling for “an honest, more accurate and fiscally responsible estimate of federal spending” after years of “budget gimmicks and wasteful spending.”

But while Congress provided $130 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan at the end of last year as part of the traditional budget process, Obama this year came back to Capitol Hill for the additional $33 billion — mostly to cover the cost of sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.

“The irony certainly isn’t lost on us,” a Senate GOP aide told FoxNews.com. “Obviously they stuck with that pledge about as well as they stuck with most the other pledges they made.”

But the aide said pending the consideration of the Coburn amendment, “the process for the supplemental could move relatively expeditiously.”

The aide said House Democrats could pose a bigger hurdle. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said earlier this month that it would be easier to get the legislation passed in the House if it were approved by the Senate first since that would limit a back-and-forth debate.

The bill includes money for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, aid for Haiti earthquake relief and money for flood relief in Rhode Island and Tennessee.

The White House Office of Management and Budget defended the package in a statement Monday, calling the funding “essential” and urging Congress to act quickly to approve it.

“The administration looks forward to working with the Congress to further refine the bill as the legislative process moves forward and to meet these urgent and essential needs,” the statement said.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, also defended the package after his committee unanimously approved it earlier this month.

“This bill is neither a bailout nor a stimulus. Instead it is the minimum necessary to meet emergency requirements and the cost of war,” he said. “We recognize that many on both sides of the aisle believe we simply shouldn’t spend more, but I say to you the nation still has legitimate needs and a responsibility to act.”

Source: Komo News

It’s now law in Hawaii that the state government can ignore repetitive requests for President Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

Republican Gov. Linda Lingle signed into law Wednesday a bill allowing state government agencies not to respond to follow-up requests for information if they determine that the subsequent request is duplicative or substantially similar to a previous request.

The law is aimed at so-called “birthers,” who claim Obama is ineligible to be president. They contend the Democratic president was born outside the United States, and therefore doesn’t meet a constitutional requirement for being president.

Lingle didn’t elaborate on her reasons for signing the bill, but state Health Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino previously issued statements saying that she’s seen vital records that prove Obama was born in Hawaii and is a natural-born American citizen.

Both Fukino and the state registrar of vital statistics have verified that the Health Department holds Obama’s original birth certificate.

Health Department officials supported the law because the state still gets between 10 and 20 e-mails seeking verification of Obama’s birth each week, most of them from outside Hawaii.

A few of those requesters file repeated inquiries seeking the same information, even after they’re told state law bars release of a certified birth certificate to anyone who does not have a tangible interest.

Advocates for openness in government oppose the law because they fear it could be used to ignore legitimate requests for information.

The bill is SB2937.


Josh Gerstein over at Politico sent Threat Level his piece underscoring once again President Barack Obama is not the civil-liberties knight in shining armor many were expecting.

Gerstein posts a televised interview of Obama and John Walsh of America’s Most Wanted. The nation’s chief executive extols the virtues of mandatory DNA testing of Americans upon arrest, even absent charges or a conviction. Obama said, “It’s the right thing to do” to “tighten the grip around folks” who commit crime.

When it comes to civil liberties, the Obama administration has come under fire for often mirroring his predecessor’s practices surrounding state secrets, the Patriot Act and domestic spying. There’s also Gitmo, Jay Bybee and John Yoo.

Now there’s DNA sampling. Obama told Walsh he supported the federal government, as well as the 18 states that have varying laws requiring compulsory DNA sampling of individuals upon an arrest for crimes ranging from misdemeanors to felonies. The data is lodged in state and federal databases, and has fostered as many as 200 arrests nationwide, Walsh said.

The American Civil Liberties Union claims DNA sampling is different from mandatory, upon-arrest fingerprinting that has been standard practice in the United States for decades.

A fingerprint, the group says, reveals nothing more than a person’s identity. But much can be learned from a DNA sample, which codes a person’s family ties, some health risks, and, according to some, can predict a propensity for violence.

The ACLU is suing California to block its voter-approved measure requiring saliva sampling of people picked up on felony charges. Authorities in the Golden State are allowed to conduct so-called “familial searching” — when a genetic sample does not directly match another, authorities start investigating people with closely matched DNA in hopes of finding leads to the perpetrator.

Do you wonder whether DNA sampling is legal?

The courts have already upheld DNA sampling of convicted felons, based on the theory that the convicted have fewer privacy rights. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that when conducting intrusions of the body during an investigation, the police need so-called “exigent circumstances” or a warrant. That alcohol evaporates in the blood stream is the exigent circumstance to draw blood from a suspected drunk driver without a warrant.

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Wed May 20, 2009 5:39am EDT
By Chelsea Emery and Tom Hals

NEW YORK (Reuters) – If General Motors Corp (GM.N) files for bankruptcy, as widely expected, its healthy assets will be quickly sold to a new company owned by the U.S. government, a source familiar with the situation said on Tuesday.

The source, who was not cleared to speak with the media and would not be identified, said the U.S. government would pay for the assets by assuming the automaker’s $6 billion of secured debt and forgiving the bulk of the $15.4 billion of emergency loans that the U.S. Treasury has provided to GM.

The government is negotiating the terms on which it will assume GM’s secured debt and might make an the offer to holders of the debt that is far superior to the one made to Chrysler LLC’s secured lenders, the source said.

Chrysler filed for bankruptcy in April and has proposed paying its secured lenders about 28 cents on the dollar.

The new GM is likely to distribute stock in the company to GM’s unions in return for concessions on wages and benefits, the source said.

The percentage of stock given to the unions, bondholders and other creditors whose debt is not repaid by new GM has not been determined, the source said.

In addition, the government would extend a credit line to the new company, the source said.

The remaining assets of GM would stay in bankruptcy protection to satisfy other outstanding claims.

Read Article


By Thomas Black

April 25 (Bloomberg) — Mexican President Felipe Calderon declared an emergency in his country’s swine flu outbreak, giving him powers to order quarantines and suspend public events.

Authorities have canceled school at all levels in Mexico City and the state of Mexico until further notice, and the government has shut most public and government activities in the area. The emergency decree, published today in the state gazette, gives the president authority to take more action.

“The federal government under my charge will not hesitate a moment to take all, all the measures necessary to respond with efficiency and opportunity to this respiratory epidemic,” Calderon said today during a speech to inaugurate a hospital in the southern state of Oaxaca.

At least 20 deaths in Mexico from the disease are confirmed, Health Minister Jose Cordova said yesterday. The strain is a variant of H1N1 swine influenza that has also sickened at least eight people in California and Texas. As many as 68 deaths may be attributed to the virus in Mexico, and about 1,000 people in the Mexico City area are showing symptoms of the illness, Cordoba said.

Obama’s Visit

The first case was seen in Mexico on April 13. The outbreak coincided with the President Barack Obama’s trip to Mexico City on April 16.
Obama was received at Mexico’s anthropology museum in Mexico City by Felipe Solis, a distinguished archeologist who died the following day from symptoms similar to flu, Reforma newspaper reported. The newspaper didn’t confirm if Solis had swine flu or not.

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The global warming situation has become so dire that Barack Obama’s chief scientific adviser has raised with the president the possibility of massive-scale technological fixes to alter the climate known as ‘geo-engineering’.

John Holdren, who is a member of the president’s cabinet, said today the drastic measures should not be “off the table” in discussions on how best to tackle climate change. While his office insisted that he was not proposing a dramatic switch in policy, Holdren said geo-engineering could not be ruled out.

“It’s got to be looked at. We don’t have the luxury of taking any approach off the table,” Holdren said in an interview with Associated Press. He made clear these were his personal views.

The suite of mega-technological fixes includes everything from placing mirrors in space that reflect sunlight from the Earth, to fertilising the oceans with iron to encourage the growth of algae that can soak up atmospheric carbon dioxide. Another option is to seed clouds which bounce the sun’s rays back into space so they do not warm the Earth’s surface.

Such global-scale technological solutions to climate change may seem fantastical, but increasing numbers of scientists argue that the technologies should at least be investigated.

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UN official suggests US courts can still try accused torturers

The United Nation’s top torture investigator has suggested it is illegal under International law for President Barack Obama to announce that the United States government has no intention of prosecuting low-level CIA officers who carried out torture sanctioned by the Bush Administration.

President Barack Obama’s release on Thursday of four Bush administration memos sanctioning torture has been widely praised. However, word that government will go so far as to offer a fully-paid legal defense for agents who applied torture techniques to terror war prisoners has triggered loud criticism.

“Like all other contracting states to the UN convention against torture, the US has committed to conduct criminal investigations of torture and to bring all persons to court against whom there is sound evidence,” Manfred Nowak, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on torture, told Austrian weekly paper Der Standard.

“They are party to the convention and the convention is very, very clear,” Nowak told the paper. “The fact that you carried out an order doesn’t relieve you of your responsibility.”

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What If?

This was an email that was circulating around my office; I thought it deserved a spot.

Obama/Biden vs McCain/Palin, what if things were switched
around?…..think about it.

Ponder the following:

What if the Obamas had paraded five children across the stage,
including
a three month old infant and an unwed, pregnant teenage
daughter?

What if John McCain was a former president of the Harvard Law
Review?
What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his
graduating class?

What if McCain had only married once, and Obama was a divorcee?

What if Obama was the candidate who left his first wife after a
severe
disfiguring car accident, when she no longer measured up to his
standards?

What if Obama had met his second wife in a bar and had a long
affair while
he was still married?

What if Michelle Obama was the wife who not only became addicted
to pain
killers but also acquired them illegally through her charitable
organization?

What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?

What if Obama had been a member of the Keating Five?
(The Keating Five were five United States Se nators accused of
corruption
in 1989, igniting a major political scandal as part of the
larger Savings
and Loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s.)

What if McCain was a charismatic, eloquent speaker?
What if Obama couldn’t read from a teleprompter?

What if Obama was the one who had military experience that
included
disc ipline problems and a record of crashing seven planes?

What if Obama was the one who was known to display publicly, on
many
occasions, a serious anger management problem?

What if Michelle Obama’s family had made their money from beer
distribution?

What if the Obamas had adopted a white child?

You could easily add to this list. If these questions reflected
reality,
do you really believe the election numbers would b e as close as
they are?

This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and
minimizes
positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative
qualities in
another when there is a color difference.

Educational Background:

Barack Obama:
Columbia University – B.A. Political Science with a
Specialization in
International Relations.
Harvard – Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude

Joseph Biden:
University of Delaware – B.A. in History and B.A. in Political
Science.
Syracuse University College of Law – Juris Doctor (J.D.)

vs.

John McCain:
United States Naval Academy – Class rank: 894 of 899

Sarah Palin:
Hawaii Pacific University – 1 semester
North Idaho College – 2 semesters – general study
University of Idaho – 2 semesters – journalism
Matanuska-Susitna College – 1 semester
University of Idaho – 3 semesters – B.A. in Journalism

Education isn’t everything, but this is about the two highest
offices in
the land as well as our standing in the world. You make the call

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