From time to time, it's always important to rehash events to keep the record straight, because moonbats are always trying to revise it. :yes:
[B][U]Analysis: Barack Obama's call for change rings hollow in Iran [/U][/B]
Change may be the word he made his own during the election campaign but President Barack Obama's uncertain and timid response to the Iran protests suggests he views it as a slogan with little application beyond America's shores.
By Toby Harnden in Washington
6:17PM BST 22 Jun 2009
Just over two weeks ago, Mr Obama stood beneath the dome of Cairo University's Great Hall and gave a speech that stirred hearts throughout the Middle East and won him plaudits across the world.
Promising a "new beginning" in relations between the Islamic world and the West, he proclaimed his "unyielding belief" in a set of universal principles.
These included "the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed, confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice, government that is transparent and doesn't steal from the people, the freedom to live as you choose".
Yet although his statements on the events in Tehran grew tougher over the weekend, Mr Obama has given the protesters – who are calling for the enactment of his Cairo principles – the cold shoulder. Change in Iran, it appears, is the last thing he wants.
Mr Obama stunned supporters of a potential nascent Green Revolution – perhaps a successor to the "colour revolutions" in Ukraine, Georgia and Burma and Lebanon's "Cedar revolution" – by stating that one Iranian leader was pretty much the same as the next.
"It is important to understand that although there is amazing ferment taking place in Iran, that the difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi in terms of their actual policies may not be as great as has been advertised," Mr Obama said loftily last week, minutes after his "Dirty Harry" moment in which he dispatched a fly to its maker with the words: "I got the sucker."
Mohsen Makhmalbaf, a Mousavi spokesman, wondered bitterly whether Mr Obama liked it when it was said he was just the same as his predecessor, adding: "Ahmadinejad is the Bush of Iran. And Mousavi is the Obama of Iran."
Careful to avoid what he said could be seen in Iran as "meddling" or "moralising", Mr Obama has tried to maintain a restrained, neutral stance, brushing aside the advice of Vice President Joe Biden, who in off-the-record comments has been forcefully advocating a full-throated endorsement of the protesters.
Instead, Mr Obama has played the foreign policy realist – notwithstanding his idealistic rhetoric in Cairo.
His Norwuz message in March broke with tradition by appealing to the "leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran" as well as the people. This month, by visiting Saudi Arabia and choosing to speak in Egypt sent a message that he was ready to deal with Arab autocrats and turn a blind eye to human rights abuses.
This is partly a reaction to President George W. Bush's policy championing of freedom and democracy in the Middle East – not to mention "regime change" – which became discredited by Iraq. But in jettisoning everything that seems tainted by his predecessor, Mr Obama is in danger of throwing out the baby with the bath water.
The new president is an admirer of such Realpolitik figures as Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft and even President George H W Bush. In emulating them, he is essentially now saying that he wants a grand bargain on Iran's nuclear programme and stability in Iran, rather than revolutionary upheaval, suits America's interests.
Following the surprise victory in the Lebanese elections by a moderate, pro-Western coalition over its Hizbollah-led opponents just three days after the Cairo speech, some – encouraged by the White House – proclaimed an "Obama effect" sweeping the Middle East.
But such talk has been muted in recent days. Michael Rubin, a former Bush administration official in Iraq and scholar at the hawkish American Enterprise Institute, said: "There's an unfortunate tendency in Washington to assume that the failure of diplomacy is more to do with one's predecessor than one's adversary.
"And at the same time, there's a tendency to try to take credit while ignoring the fact that the Middle East is a lot more complicated and it doesn't just respond to American rhetoric."
On the Right, there have been heated demands that Mr Obama champion the protesters and declare the election a fraud.
Such an approach would certainly have its perils. White House advisers believe that American encouragement of the protesters could be used as an excuse for brutal repression by the Iranian regime, perhaps triggering bloodshed on the scale of the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989.
But in his early statements, Mr Obama clearly assumed that the election was over and that he would be dealing with Mr Ahmadinejad, thereby implicitly aligning himself with the theocratic Iranian regime.
This has led to deep discomfort on the Left. Steve Clemons, a self-described "progressive realist" and senior fellow at the New America Foundation think tank, said that Mr Obama's stance as it developed last week was "somewhat tragic" as well as flawed.
"These speeches he's been giving have been designed to reach deep down into these societies, past their governments to the publics. Now, he's stopped doing that... it showed that the Obama mystique of reaching out to these citizens around the world has reached its limit."
Perhaps the biggest irony is that there might be an Obama effect but that Mr Obama himself is stifling it.
"To a certain degree," said Mr Clemons, "he's undermining his own mystique and frankly his own effect, if in fact it does exist, with this premature, cynical realism."
WASHINGTON – Forcefully stepping into an explosive Middle East debate, President Barack Obama on Thursday endorsed a key Palestinian demand for the borders of its future state and prodded Israel to accept that it can never have a truly peaceful nation based on "permanent occupation."
Obama's urging that a Palestinian state be based on 1967 borders — before the Six Day War in which Israel occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza — was a significant shift in the U.S. approach. It drew an immediate negative response from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is to meet with Obama at the White House Friday.
In a statement released late Thursday in Jerusalem, Netanyahu called the 1967 lines "indefensible," saying such a withdrawal would jeopardize Israel's security and leave major West Bank settlements outside Israeli borders, though Obama left room for adjustments reached through negotiations.
At the same time, it was not immediately clear whether Obama's statement on the 1967 borders as the basis for negotiations — something the Palestinians have long sought — would be sufficient to persuade the Palestinians to drop their push for U.N. recognition of their statehood. Obama rejected the Palestinians' unilateral statehood bid Thursday as he sought to underscore U.S. support for Israel notwithstanding the endorsement of the 1967 borders.
"Symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the United Nations in September won't create an independent state," Obama said.
Obama's comments came in his most comprehensive response to date to the uprisings sweeping the Arab world. Speaking at the State Department, he called for the first time for the leader of Syria to embrace democracy or move aside, though without specifically demanding his ouster.
As he addressed audiences abroad and at home, Obama sought to leave no doubt that the U.S. stands behind the protesters who have swelled from nation to nation across the Middle East and North Africa, while also trying to convince American viewers that U.S. involvement in unstable countries halfway around the world is in their interest, too.
Obama said the United States has a historic opportunity and the responsibility to support the rights of people clamoring for freedoms, and he called for "a new chapter in American diplomacy."
"We know that our own future is bound to this region by the forces of economics and security; history and faith," the president said.
He hailed the killing of al-Qaida terrorist leader Osama bin Laden and declared that bin Laden's vision of destruction was fading even before U.S. forces shot him dead.
Obama said the "shouts of human dignity are being heard across the region."
The president noted that two leaders had stepped down — referring to Egypt and Tunisia — and said that "more may follow." He quoted civilian protesters who have pushed for change in Egypt, Libya, Syria and Yemen — though without noting that among those nations, only Egypt has seen the departure of a long-ruling autocratic leader.
Obama said that while there will be setbacks accompanying progress in political transitions, the movements present a valuable opportunity for the U.S. to show which side it is on. "We have a chance to show that America values the dignity of the street vendor in Tunisia more than the raw power of a dictator," he said, referring to the fruit vendor who killed himself in despair and sparked a chain of events that unleashed uprisings around the Arab world.
On the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the president cautioned that the recent power-sharing agreement between the mainstream Palestinian faction led by Mahmoud Abbas and the radical Hamas movement that rules Gaza "raises profound and legitimate" security questions for Israel. Netanyahu has refused to deal with a Palestinian government that includes Hamas.
"How can one negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist?" Obama asked. "In the weeks and months to come, Palestinian leaders will have to provide a credible answer to that question."
The president ignored many of the most divisive issues separating the two sides. He did not speak about the status of Jerusalem or the fate of Palestinian refugees. And, he did not discuss a way to resolve Israel's concerns about a Hamas role in a unified Palestinian government, telling the Palestinians that they would have to address the matter themselves.
On Syria, Obama said President Bashar Assad must lead his country to democracy or "get out of the way," his most direct warning to the leader of a nation embroiled in violence. Obama said the Syrian government "has chosen the path of murder and the mass arrests of its citizens." He praised the Syrian people for their courage in standing up to repression in a bloody crackdown that has killed hundreds.
Obama said that while each country in the region is unique, there are shared values in the push for political change that will define the U.S. approach.
"Our message is simple: If you take the risks that reform entails, you will have the full support of the United States," he said.
The speech was in some ways notable for what Obama did not mention.
While critical of autocracy throughout the Mideast, he failed to mention the region's largest, richest and arguably most repressive nation, U.S. ally Saudi Arabia. Nor did he discuss Jordan, a staunch U.S. ally that has a peace deal with Israel. Also left out was the United Arab Emirates, the wealthy, pro-American collection of mini-states on the Persian Gulf. And he gave little attention to Iran, where U.S. attempts at outreach have gone nowhere.
The speech included somewhat tepid admonitions of U.S. allies Yemen and Bahrain. On Yemen, a key partner in the U.S. fight against al-Qaida, Obama called on President Ali Abdullah Saleh to "follow through on his commitment to transfer power." His language was stronger on Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, where Obama said the only way forward is dialogue between the government and opposition, "and you can't have a real dialogue when parts of the peaceful opposition are in jail."
Obama announced economic incentives aimed at steering a region roiling in violence toward democratic change that lasts, though some would require congressional approval that might prove difficult to obtain.
Among the elements of his approach:
• The canceling of roughly $1 billion in debt for Egypt. The intention is that money freed from that debt obligation would be swapped toward investments in priority sectors of the Egyptian economy, likely to focus on entrepreneurship and employment for younger people. Unemployment rates are soaring in Egypt and across the region.
• The guaranteeing of up to $1 billion in borrowing for Egypt through the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, a U.S. government institution that mobilizes private capital.
• Promises by the U.S. to launch a new trade partnership in the Middle East and North Africa and to prod world financial institutions to help Egypt and Tunisia.
[B][U]Ahmadinejad: Iran is determined to eradicate Israel[/U][/B]
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Iran was determined to eradicate Israel, ISNA news agency reported Thursday.
"Iran believes that whoever is for humanity should also be for eradicating the Zionist regime (Israel) as symbol of suppression and discrimination," Ahmadinejad said in an interview with a Lebanese television network, carried by ISNA.
"Iran follows this issue (the eradication of Israel) with determination and decisiveness and will never ever withdraw from this standpoint and policy," the Iranian president added in the interview with the Al-Manar network.
The remarks by Ahmadinejad came one day before the annual anti-Israeli rallies named Qods (Jerusalem) Day, which are held nationwide in Iran on the last Friday of the fasting month of Ramadan.
Ahmadinejad on Monday said that Iranians and Muslim nations worldwide should hold Qods rallies and show their willingness to dispose of this "infectious tumor and this regime full of rascality."
The Iranian president provoked international condemnation in 2005 when he said that Israel should be eliminated from the map of the Middle East and transferred to Europe or North America.
The mainstream media are willfully ignoring many questionable ties and friendships of Barack Obama. The list does not end with the radical racist preacher Jeremiah Wright and unrepentant domestic terrorist William Ayers. They have totally ignored Obama campaigning for the socialist revolutionary Raila Odinga in Kenya. They have also ignored his ties with radical Islamic extremist Khalid Al Masour.
LA Times takes things to the next level. They are going beyond the level of ignoring to the level of willfully witholding informative evidence from the public. The associate of Barack Obama in question this time is Rashid Khalidi, a former PLO operative and best friend of William Ayers. The LA times has a video of Barack Obama toasting this friend of his while attending a Jew bashing dinner, and they are refusing to release the video to the public.
Gateway Pundit has the scoop and what I summarize here is lifted from him.
Here is a video that explains his history and ties with Obama. He is a long time friend of Obama and shares a mutual friend, Bill Ayers.
Barack Obama funnelled thousands of dollars of cash to Rashidi’s anti-Israel Foundation through his work on the Woods Fund.
In 2000, Rashid Khalidi, a former PLO operative who justified Palestinian terrorism as contributing to “political enlightenment,” threw a fundraiser for his friend Barack Obama.
LA Times writer Peter Wallsten wrote about Barack Obama’s close association with former Palestinian operative Rashid Khalidi back in April.
“During the dinner a young Palestinian American recited a poem accusing the Israeli government of terrorism in its treatment of Palestinians and sharply criticizing U.S. support of Israel. If Palestinians cannot secure their own land, she said, “then you will never see a day of peace.”
One speaker likened “Zionist settlers on the West Bank” to Osama bin Laden, saying both had been “blinded by ideology.”
….His many talks with the Khalidis, Obama said, had been “consistent reminders to me of my own blind spots and my own biases… It’s for that reason that I’m hoping that, for many years to come, we continue that conversation — a conversation that is necessary not just around Mona and Rashid’s dinner table,” but around “this entire world.”
…The event was videotaped, and a copy of the tape was obtained by The Times.
Jim Hoft (Gateway Pundit) talked to Peter Wallsten from the Los Angeles Times about the article on Obama and Khalidi on Wednesday.
I asked him if he was planning on releasing this video of Obama toasting the radical Khalidi at this Jew-bash. He told me he was not releasing the video. He also would not comment on his source for the video. Wallston also said he did not know if Khalidi’s good friend Bill Ayers was at the event or not.
So, the LA Times has video of Obama attending a Jew bash and toasting a radical former PLO operative, and they are not sharing it with the public. I think we all know they would immediately release the tape if it were Sarah Palin making the toast.
If not for double standards the media would have no standards at all.
Elected in the midst of a crushing economic crisis brought on by a decade of orgiastic deregulation and unchecked greed, Obama had a clear mandate to rein in Wall Street and remake the entire structure of the American economy. What he did instead was ship even his most marginally progressive campaign advisers off to various bureaucratic Siberias, while packing the key economic positions in his White House with the very people who caused the crisis in the first place. This new team of bubble-fattened ex-bankers and laissez-faire intellectuals then proceeded to sell us all out, instituting a massive, trickle-up bailout and systematically gutting regulatory reform from the inside.
How could Obama let this happen? Is he just a rookie in the political big leagues, hoodwinked by Beltway old-timers? Or is the vacillating, ineffectual servant of banking interests we've been seeing on TV this fall who Obama really is?
Whatever the president's real motives are, the extensive series of loophole-rich financial "reforms" that the Democrats are currently pushing may ultimately do more harm than good. In fact, some parts of the new reforms border on insanity, threatening to vastly amplify Wall Street's political power by institutionalizing the taxpayer's role as a welfare provider for the financial-services industry. At one point in the debate, Obama's top economic advisers demanded the power to award future bailouts without even going to Congress for approval — and without providing taxpayers a single dime in equity on the deals.
How did we get here? It started just moments after the election — and almost nobody noticed.
'Just look at the timeline of the Citigroup deal," says one leading Democratic consultant. "Just look at it. It's ****ing amazing. Amazing! And nobody said a thing about it."
Barack Obama was still just the president-elect when it happened, but the revolting and inexcusable $306 billion bailout that Citigroup received was the first major act of his presidency. In order to grasp the full horror of what took place, however, one needs to go back a few weeks before the actual bailout — to November 5th, 2008, the day after Obama's election.
That was the day the jubilant Obama campaign announced its transition team. Though many of the names were familiar — former Bill Clinton chief of staff John Podesta, long-time Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett — the list was most notable for who was not on it, especially on the economic side. Austan Goolsbee, a University of Chicago economist who had served as one of Obama's chief advisers during the campaign, didn't make the cut. Neither did Karen Kornbluh, who had served as Obama's policy director and was instrumental in crafting the Democratic Party's platform. Both had emphasized populist themes during the campaign: Kornbluh was known for pushing Democrats to focus on the plight of the poor and middle class, while Goolsbee was an aggressive critic of Wall Street, declaring that AIG executives should receive "a Nobel Prize — for evil."
But come November 5th, both were banished from Obama's inner circle — and replaced with a group of Wall Street bankers. Leading the search for the president's new economic team was his close friend and Harvard Law classmate Michael Froman, a high-ranking executive at Citigroup. During the campaign, Froman had emerged as one of Obama's biggest fundraisers, bundling $200,000 in contributions and introducing the candidate to a host of heavy hitters — chief among them his mentor Bob Rubin, the former co-chairman of Goldman Sachs who served as Treasury secretary under Bill Clinton. Froman had served as chief of staff to Rubin at Treasury, and had followed his boss when Rubin left the Clinton administration to serve as a senior counselor to Citigroup (a massive new financial conglomerate created by deregulatory moves pushed through by Rubin himself).
Incredibly, Froman did not resign from the bank when he went to work for Obama: He remained in the employ of Citigroup for two more months, even as he helped appoint the very people who would shape the future of his own firm. And to help him pick Obama's economic team, Froman brought in none other than Jamie Rubin, a former Clinton diplomat who happens to be Bob Rubin's son. At the time, Jamie's dad was still earning roughly $15 million a year working for Citigroup, which was in the midst of a collapse brought on in part because Rubin had pushed the bank to invest heavily in mortgage-backed CDOs and other risky instruments.
Now here's where it gets really interesting. It's three weeks after the election. You have a lame-duck president in George W. Bush — still nominally in charge, but in reality already halfway to the golf-and-O'Doul's portion of his career and more than happy to vacate the scene. Left to deal with the still-reeling economy are lame-duck Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, a former head of Goldman Sachs, and New York Fed chief Timothy Geithner, who served under Bob Rubin in the Clinton White House. Running Obama's economic team are a still-employed Citigroup executive and the son of another Citigroup executive, who himself joined Obama's transition team that same month.
So on November 23rd, 2008, a deal is announced in which the government will bail out Rubin's messes at Citigroup with a massive buffet of taxpayer-funded cash and guarantees. It is a terrible deal for the government, almost universally panned by all serious economists, an outrage to anyone who pays taxes. Under the deal, the bank gets $20 billion in cash, on top of the $25 billion it had already received just weeks before as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program. But that's just the appetizer. The government also agrees to charge taxpayers for up to $277 billion in losses on troubled Citi assets, many of them those toxic CDOs that Rubin had pushed Citi to invest in. No Citi executives are replaced, and few restrictions are placed on their compensation. It's the sweetheart deal of the century, putting generations of working-stiff taxpayers on the hook to pay off Bob Rubin's ****-up-rich tenure at Citi. "If you had any doubts at all about the primacy of Wall Street over Main Street," former labor secretary Robert Reich declares when the bailout is announced, "your doubts should be laid to rest."
It is bad enough that one of Bob Rubin's former protégés from the Clinton years, the New York Fed chief Geithner, is intimately involved in the negotiations, which unsurprisingly leave the Federal Reserve massively exposed to future Citi losses. But the real stunner comes only hours after the bailout deal is struck, when the Obama transition team makes a cheerful announcement: Timothy Geithner is going to be Barack Obama's Treasury secretary!
Geithner, in other words, is hired to head the U.S. Treasury by an executive from Citigroup — Michael Froman — before the ink is even dry on a massive government giveaway to Citigroup that Geithner himself was instrumental in delivering. In the annals of brazen political swindles, this one has to go in the all-time ****-the-Optics Hall of Fame.
Wall Street loved the Citi bailout and the Geithner nomination so much that the Dow immediately posted its biggest two-day jump since 1987, rising 11.8 percent. Citi shares jumped 58 percent in a single day, and JP Morgan Chase, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley soared more than 20 percent, as Wall Street embraced the news that the government's bailout generosity would not die with George W. Bush and Hank Paulson. "Geithner assures a smooth transition between the Bush administration and that of Obama, because he's already co-managing what's happening now," observed Stephen Leeb, president of Leeb Capital Management.
Left unnoticed, however, was the fact that Geithner had been hired by a sitting Citigroup executive who still had a big bonus coming despite his proximity to Obama. In January 2009, just over a month after the bailout, Citigroup paid Froman a year-end bonus of $2.25 million. But as outrageous as it was, that payoff would prove to be chump change for the banker crowd, who were about to get everything they wanted — and more — from the new president.
The irony of Bob Rubin: He's an unapologetic arch-capitalist demagogue whose very career is proof that a free-market meritocracy is a myth. Much like Alan Greenspan, a staggeringly incompetent economic forecaster who was worshipped by four decades of politicians because he once dated Barbara Walters, Rubin has been held in awe by the American political elite for nearly 20 years despite having ****ed up virtually every project he ever got his hands on. He went from running Goldman Sachs (1990-1992) to the Clinton White House (1993-1999) to Citigroup (1999-2009), leaving behind a trail of historic gaffes that somehow boosted his stature every step of the way.
As Treasury secretary under Clinton, Rubin was the driving force behind two monstrous deregulatory actions that would be primary causes of last year's financial crisis: the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act (passed specifically to legalize the Citigroup megamerger) and the deregulation of the derivatives market. Having set that time bomb, Rubin left government to join Citi, which promptly expressed its gratitude by giving him $126 million in compensation over the next eight years (they don't call it bribery in this country when they give you the money post factum). After urging management to amp up its risky investments in toxic vehicles, a strategy that very nearly destroyed the company, Rubin blamed Citi's board for his screw-ups and complained that he had been underpaid to boot. "I bet there's not a single year where I couldn't have gone somewhere else and made more," he said.
Despite being perhaps more responsible for last year's crash than any other single living person — his colossally stupid decisions at both the highest levels of government and the management of a private financial superpower make him unique — Rubin was the man Barack Obama chose to build his White House around.
There are four main ways to be connected to Bob Rubin: through Goldman Sachs, the Clinton administration, Citigroup and, finally, the Hamilton Project, a think tank Rubin spearheaded under the auspices of the Brookings Institute to promote his philosophy of balanced budgets, free trade and financial deregulation. The team Obama put in place to run his economic policy after his inauguration was dominated by people who boasted connections to at least one of these four institutions — so much so that the White House now looks like a backstage party for an episode of Bob Rubin, This Is Your Life!
At Treasury, there is Geithner, who worked under Rubin in the Clinton years. Serving as Geithner's "counselor" — a made-up post not subject to Senate confirmation — is Lewis Alexander, the former chief economist of Citigroup, who advised Citi back in 2007 that the upcoming housing crash was nothing to worry about. Two other top Geithner "counselors" — Gene Sperling and Lael Brainard — worked under Rubin at the National Economic Council, the key group that coordinates all economic policymaking for the White House.
As director of the NEC, meanwhile, Obama installed economic czar Larry Summers, who had served as Rubin's protégé at Treasury. Just below Summers is Jason Furman, who worked for Rubin in the Clinton White House and was one of the first directors of Rubin's Hamilton Project. The appointment of Furman — a persistent advocate of free-trade agreements like NAFTA and the author of droolingly pro-globalization reports with titles like "Walmart: A Progressive Success Story" — provided one of the first clues that Obama had only been posturing when he promised crowds of struggling Midwesterners during the campaign that he would renegotiate NAFTA, which facilitated the flight of blue-collar jobs to other countries. "NAFTA's shortcomings were evident when signed, and we must now amend the agreement to fix them," Obama declared. A few months after hiring Furman to help shape its economic policy, however, the White House quietly quashed any talk of renegotiating the trade deal. "The president has said we will look at all of our options, but I think they can be addressed without having to reopen the agreement," U.S. Trade Representative Ronald Kirk told reporters in a little-publicized conference call last April.
The announcement was not so surprising, given who Obama hired to serve alongside Furman at the NEC: management consultant Diana Farrell, who worked under Rubin at Goldman Sachs. In 2003, Farrell was the author of an infamous paper in which she argued that sending American jobs overseas might be "as beneficial to the U.S. as to the destination country, probably more so."
Joining Summers, Furman and Farrell at the NEC is Froman, who by then had been formally appointed to a unique position: He is not only Obama's international finance adviser at the National Economic Council, he simultaneously serves as deputy national security adviser at the National Security Council. The twin posts give Froman a direct line to the president, putting him in a position to coordinate Obama's international economic policy during a crisis. He'll have help from David Lipton, another joint appointee to the economics and security councils who worked with Rubin at Treasury and Citigroup, and from Jacob Lew, a former Citi colleague of Rubin's whom Obama named as deputy director at the State Department to focus on international finance.
Over at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which is supposed to regulate derivatives trading, Obama appointed Gary Gensler, a former Goldman banker who worked under Rubin in the Clinton White House. Gensler had been instrumental in helping to pass the infamous Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, which prevented deregulation of derivative instruments like CDOs and credit-default swaps that played such a big role in cratering the economy last year. And as head of the powerful Office of Management and Budget, Obama named Peter Orszag, who served as the first director of Rubin's Hamilton Project. Orszag once succinctly summed up the project's ideology as a sort of liberal spin on trickle-down Reaganomics: "Market competition and globalization generate significant economic benefits."
Taken together, the rash of appointments with ties to Bob Rubin may well represent the most sweeping influence by a single Wall Street insider in the history of government. "Rather than having a team of rivals, they've got a team of Rubins," says Steven Clemons, director of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation. "You see that in policy choices that have resuscitated — but not reformed — Wall Street."
While Rubin's allies and acolytes got all the important jobs in the Obama administration, the academics and progressives got banished to semi-meaningless, even comical roles. Kornbluh was rewarded for being the chief policy architect of Obama's meteoric rise by being outfitted with a pith helmet and booted across the ocean to Paris, where she now serves as America's never-again-to-be-seen-on-TV ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Goolsbee, meanwhile, was appointed as staff director of the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, a kind of dumping ground for Wall Street critics who had assisted Obama during the campaign; one top Democrat calls the panel "Siberia."
Joining Goolsbee as chairman of the PERAB gulag is former Fed chief Paul Volcker, who back in March 2008 helped candidate Obama write a speech declaring that the deregulatory efforts of the Eighties and Nineties had "excused and even embraced an ethic of greed, corner-cutting, insider dealing, things that have always threatened the long-term stability of our economic system." That speech met with rapturous applause, but the commission Obama gave Volcker to manage is so toothless that it didn't even meet for the first time until last May. The lone progressive in the White House, economist Jared Bernstein, holds the impressive-sounding title of chief economist and national policy adviser — except that the man he is advising is Joe Biden, who seems more interested in foreign policy than financial reform.
The significance of all of these appointments isn't that the Wall Street types are now in a position to provide direct favors to their former employers. It's that, with one or two exceptions, they collectively offer a microcosm of what the Democratic Party has come to stand for in the 21st century. Virtually all of the Rubinites brought in to manage the economy under Obama share the same fundamental political philosophy carefully articulated for years by the Hamilton Project: Expand the safety net to protect the poor, but let Wall Street do whatever it wants. "Bob Rubin, these guys, they're classic limousine liberals," says David Sirota, a former Democratic strategist. "These are basically people who have made ****loads of money in the speculative economy, but they want to call themselves good Democrats because they're willing to give a little more to the poor. That's the model for this Democratic Party: Let the rich do their thing, but give a fraction more to everyone else."
Even the members of Obama's economic team who have spent most of their lives in public office have managed to make small fortunes on Wall Street. The president's economic czar, Larry Summers, was paid more than $5.2 million in 2008 alone as a managing director of the hedge fund D.E. Shaw, and pocketed an additional $2.7 million in speaking fees from a smorgasbord of future bailout recipients, including Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. At Treasury, Geithner's aide Gene Sperling earned a staggering $887,727 from Goldman Sachs last year for performing the punch-line-worthy service of "advice on charitable giving." Sperling's fellow Treasury appointee, Mark Patterson, received $637,492 as a full-time lobbyist for Goldman Sachs, and another top Geithner aide, Lee Sachs, made more than $3 million working for a New York hedge fund called Mariner Investment Group. The list goes on and on. Even Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, who has been out of government for only 30 months of his adult life, managed to collect $18 million during his private-sector stint with a Wall Street firm called Wasserstein-Perella.
The point is that an economic team made up exclusively of callous millionaire-*******s has absolutely zero interest in reforming the gamed system that made them rich in the first place. "You can't expect these people to do anything other than protect Wall Street," says Rep. Cliff Stearns, a Republican from Florida. That thinking was clear from Obama's first address to Congress, when he stressed the importance of getting Americans to borrow like crazy again. "Credit is the lifeblood of the economy," he declared, pledging "the full force of the federal government to ensure that the major banks that Americans depend on have enough confidence and enough money." A president elected on a platform of change was announcing, in so many words, that he planned to change nothing fundamental when it came to the economy. Rather than doing what FDR had done during the Great Depression and institute stringent new rules to curb financial abuses, Obama planned to institutionalize the policy, firmly established during the Bush years, of keeping a few megafirms rich at the expense of everyone else.
[B][U]Sharia was signed into law today, August 27, 2010[/U][/B]
A victory for the Obama-backed Odinga putsch. Obama campaigned as far back as 2006 and $upported Islamist Raila Odinga in Kenya, and today, the poisonous fruit of that dangerous liaison became law.
Present at the signing of the new sharia constitution in Kenya was Sudanese President Umar al- Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for genocide, and is responsible for the death of millions in a jihad against the people of Darfur and Sudan.
Islamic governments have targeted Kenya as a key element in the spread of Islam in Horn of Africa and ultimately the world. The Kenyan Diaspora including Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Hussein Obama has also played a part.
In August and September 2006, Senator Barack Obama traveled to South Africa, Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Chad and Kenya as a congressional delegation of one (Codel Obama) (“Codel Obama” The Hill 9/7/2006) While in Kenya, Obama consistently appeared at the side of fellow Luo Raila Odinga (“your agent for change’), who was running for President. Because of his African heritage, Obama was treated as a virtual “Head of State” in Kenya While campaigning with Odinga, Obama was openly critical of governmental corruption under President Mibaki –usually a fair, if undiplomatic, criticism from an objective observer.
However, Kibaki’s government has been better than most—-and Odinga has his own corruption issues.
Obama’s partisan support for Odinga was considered so transparent, that the Kenyan Government spokesman, Alfred Matua, complained of political posturing to aid Odinga’s election chances: “It is very clear that the senator has been used as a puppet to perpetuate opposition politics,”(“Walking The World Stage” Newsweek 9/11/06) And, “...we earlier thought he was mature in his assessment of Kenyan and African politics,” Mutua told AFP.“We forgive him because it is his first time in the Senate and he is yet to mature into understanding issues of foreign policy,” he said.”(“Obama’s Kenya Honeymoon Ends Abruptly After Graft Rebuke” 8/29/06)
Raila Odinga subsequently lost the controversial (probably rigged) presidential election. In what appeared to many—including Human Rights Watch—as a coordinated strategy from the top, (“Violence We Fled was Planned, Say Kenyan Refugees” Reuters 1/26/2008 and “Kenya: Violence Planned Before Poll, Says Report” The Nation 3/18/2008) his Luo supporters (a core of whom call themselves The Taliban”(“Ethnic Gangs Rile Kenyan Slums” Newsweek 1/10/08)) engaged in what US Envoy Jendayi Frazer called “clear ethnic cleansing” (“US Envoy Calls Violence in Kenya ‘Ethnic Cleansing’” USA Today 1/30/2008) of the Kikuyu opposition.
Odinga’s supporters went on a rampage—burning Kikuyu homes and businesses, (“Ethnic Cleansing in Luoland” The Economist 2/7/2008) raping Kikuyu women, and murdering everyone in their path—including at least 50 Christian Kikuyu woman & children who had sought refuge in a church. They burned them alive. (“Mob Burns Kenyans Seeking Refuge In Church” CNN 1/10/2008)
“We have evidence that ODM [Odinga’s party] politicians and local leaders actively fomented some post-election violence,” Georgette Gagnon, acting Africa director for the New York based Human Rights Watch (HRW), said on Thursday.” (Violence We Fled was Planned, Say Kenyan Refugees” Ibid)
Since December 27 elections, Kenya has been rocked by tribal clashes which have left at least 600 people dead after President Mwai Kibaki claimed victory and opposition leader Raila Odinga declared the vote had been rigged.
The US Democrat visited Kenya in August and made a speech that was televised live in which he touched on themes not normally debated openly in Kenya, criticizing the high-level corruption and the tribal politics that have dominated the country since its 1963 independence from Britain.