Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Putin says WikiLeaks not 'a catastrophe'; but Kremlin leaders are terrified

In an interview with CNN's Larry King on Tuesday, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir played down the significance of the recent WikiLeaks disclosures of US diplomatic cables:

"It's necessary for the diplomatic services to be more attentive to their cables," said Putin. "Such leaks occurred before in previous times. So I don't see this as being a catastrophe."

However, Mr. Putin's cool reaction to the leaking of US diplomatic cables, belies his own [and his government's] concerns about the Wikileaks' website:
The National Security Agency, the U.S. government’s eavesdropping agency, has already picked up tell-tale electronic evidence that WikiLeaks is under close surveillance by the Russian FSB, that country’s domestic spy network, out of fear in Moscow that WikiLeaks is prepared to release damaging personal information about Kremlin leaders.

“We may not have been able to stop WikiLeaks so far, and it’s been frustrating,” a U.S. law-enforcement official said. “The Russians play by different rules.” He said that if WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, follow through on threats to post highly embarrassing information about the Russian government and what is assumed to be massive corruption among its leaders, “the Russians will be ruthless in stopping WikiLeaks.”
Sure sounds like a catastrophe to me. Or perhaps it is only a catastrophe when the leaked information pertains to Putin's corrupt affairs.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Hariri in '06: US must destroy Iran's nuclear program

American diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks indicate what has already been known for quite some time, namely that Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri is a fake, a phony and a spineless coward.

As I've noted previously, George W. Bush, during his Presidency, firmly backed international calls to end Syria's occupation of Lebanon.

In April of 2005, Mr. Bush told viewers of the LBC channel: "The United States can join with the rest of the world, like we've done, and say to Syria, get out, not only get out with your military forces, but get out with your intelligence services, too; get completely out of Lebanon, so Lebanon can be free and the people can be free."

Armed with the strong support of the US President, the Lebanese people took to the streets and waged massive protests against the Syrian regime. Under intense international pressure, Syria had no choice but to recall its troops from Lebanon.

With George W. Bush standing on the side of freedom and Democracy, voicing his strong support for a free and sovereign Lebanon - unfettered by outside interferences from tyrannical regimes the likes of Syria - Lebanese Prime Minister Sa'd Al-Hariri felt at ease to speak out fiercely against the Syrian regime and Hezbollah, who were responsible for the assassination of his father, the former Prime Minister of Lebanon.

But ever since Barack Obama set foot in the Oval Office and began to both reestablish U.S. diplomatic ties with Syria and ignore Syrian intransigence, the scene has taken a dramatic turn. The Syrians have begun to re-exert their influence in Lebanon, and Mr. Hariri has been forced to halt his criticism of Syria for fear that he might meet the same fate as his father. In September, the now-spineless Lebanese Prime Minister, who for years blamed Syria and Hezbollah for his father's death, asserted that it was a mistake to accuse them of killing his father.

And now the New York Times is reporting that diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks reveal that Mr. Hariri, 'like several other Arab leaders, told American officials in 2006 that the United States “must be willing to go all the way if need be,” to stop Iran’s nuclear program. According to one cable, Mr. Hariri called the war in Iraq “unnecessary,” and then asserted: “Iran is necessary.”

That was in 2006.

However, as the New York Times notes: Speaking at the end of a three-day visit to Iran on Monday, Mr. Hariri did not mention the leaked cables and told reporters that Lebanon “will never, ever consider itself as part of an international system which aims at pressurizing Iran” to end its nuclear program, "and has always condemned such moves." He added: “We believe that Iran reserves the right to enjoy peaceful nuclear technology".

During a meeting Monday with Iran's "Supreme Leader" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Hariri stated that, “we regard the Islamic Republic of Iran as a brotherly and friendly country"

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei chimed in and expressed satisfaction with the solid relationship shared between Hariri and Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah along with other officials from Hezbollah.

“These relationships should become stronger than before,” Khamenei said.

At a joint news conference on Monday with Iran’s Vice President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi, Hariri said that "the political results of his visit were “good and useful because they again highlighted the common principles on which the relations of both countries are founded and has proved beyond any doubt that Iran is a friendly state.”

During a meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad later in the day, Mr. Hariri stated that "excellent relations have been formed between the governments in Tehran and Beirut and their consolidation and expansion serve the two nations and the region."

On Sunday, the Lebanese Prime Minister told Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi that "the defense ministries of Iran and Lebanon should pave the way for the expansion of defense relations between the two countries."

Question: Who's to blame for the Lebanese Prime Minister's dramatic change of heart, specifically his willingness to bow before the murderers who facilitated his father's death?

President Obama, who conceived a dangerously inane and convoluted foreign policy toward Syria and its rogue allies? Or Saad Hariri, who possesses an extremely cowardly disposition and a inordinately craven personality?

Answer: Both of them are equally to blame.

What's more, they are both culpable for the inevitable disasters that are about to befall Lebanon. Sadly, rather than own up to their cowardly, ill-conceived and brainless policies that are slowly but surely facilitating Lebanon's inevitable demise, the two of them will no doubt take credit for the disastrous changes that will soon beset the beleaguered country.

That's their nature, it's in their DNA, it is who they are.

Unfortunately, Barack Obama will never change. Instead, he chooses to inflict "change" upon everyone else. "Change you can believe in."

Truth be told, it is no longer necessary to merely believe in Barack Obama's vision of "change" when we can see it clearly before our very own eyes.

Indeed, it ain't a pretty picture, it ain't pretty at all....

Related Post: Ahmadinejad, Obama & Medvedev to bolster Lebanese military

Ahmadinejad, Obama & Medvedev to bolster Lebanese military

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi visited an Iranian military equipment exhibit on Sunday

The Iranian regime will soon follow the lead of President Obama and his Russian counterpart by strengthening its defense ties with Lebanon.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Sunday called for the expansion of defense cooperation between Tehran and Beirut, according to Iranian news outlets.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has done great things for Lebanon in difficult situations," Hariri said in a meeting with Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi on Sunday. "The defense ministries of Iran and Lebanon should pave the way for the expansion of defense relations between the two countries."

Hariri, who arrived in the Iranian capital of Tehran on Saturday for a three-day visit, said that "the Lebanese government will try to strengthen Lebanon's army with all its might."

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri seated next to Iran's Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi, apparently signing some sort of agreement

General Vahidi reassured the Lebanese Prime Minister that Iran would "stand beside" the Lebanese army and the Hezbollah organization.

As a symbolic gesture, the General presented Mr. Hariri with a gift: an Iranian-made Tondar (Thunder) machine gun, used in urban warfare.

Earlier this month, US lawmakers, under pressure from the Obama administration, agreed to lift a freeze on $100 million in US military aid to Lebanon.

The US embassy, in April, released a statement saying that various arms shipments had already been delivered to Lebanon. The statement said as follows:

"The United States delivered to the Lebanese Army the first in a series of shipments of weapons and ammunition... This equipment will be supported with training provided by the United States government. The United States is committed to providing assistance to the LAF to help them increase their capacity. This assistance includes training and equipment to meet the LAF's long-term needs."

And, after meeting with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin earlier this month, Mr. Hariri announced that Moscow would provide the Lebanese Army with helicopter gunships, tanks and munitions, including six MI 24 helicopters, 31 T-72 tanks, 36 cannons of 130 mm caliber, around half a million different munitions for medium-sized weapons, and 30,000 artillery shells. Hariri added that he hoped to finalize a deal to acquire MIG-29 fighter jets from Russia, which Russia had originally promised to give the Lebanese air force. The Lebanese prime minister highlighted the importance of security and military ties between Russia and Lebanon.

The latest Lebanese/Iranian defense pact would essentially consummate the establishment of a new Axis comprised of three entities: the Obama, Ahmadinejad and Medvedev/Putin regimes - otherwise known as "The Axis of Virtue & Morality."

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Russia lends Venezuela $4 billion for arms

Russia has agreed to loan Venezuela $4 billion to buy Russian military hardware, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Saturday.

"We were in Russia not long ago and the Russian government gave us a $4-billion credit to help us with [building up] our defense capability," Chavez said.

"We are simply doing the task of defending the fatherland from the threat of [the U.S.] empire and its allies," he said.

In a related development, Russian President Dimitry Medvedev met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a couple of weeks ago, on the sidelines of the Caspian Sea summit.

After their meeting, Mr. Medvedev issued a statement saying that "Russia seeks to improve its political, economic and even military ties with Iran."

The Russian President went on to say that "following the" adoption of the UN "sanctions resolution", certain countries "sought to intensify sanctions against Iran, to which Russia strongly opposed and took stances against."

A few days later, Mr. Medvedev met with US President Barack Obama at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Japan, where the two visionaries pursued their longstanding goal of resetting US/Russian relations.

Hmmm..., Medvedev met with Chavez, Ahmadinejad and Obama, apparently, to solidify his relationship with his friends and allies - 'The Axis of Virtue & Magnanimity.'

Friday, November 19, 2010

Obama resetting relations with Russia?

President Obama is portraying Republican lawmakers as obstructionists because they're hindering his efforts to reset US relations with the Russia by opposing the ratification of a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty [during the current lame duck session of Congress].

However, truth be told, while Obama claims to be resetting relations with Russia, nothing could be further form the truth. The President is actually harming the US with his reset button because ultimately the Russians know they can do whatever their heart desires as long as Obama is in the Oval Office,

Case in Point: On Thursday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met with Russian President Dimitry Medvedev on the sidelines of the Caspian Sea summit on Thursday.

Medvedev issued a statement, saying "Russia seeks to improve its political, economic and even military ties with Iran."

He went on to say that "following the" adoption of the UN "sanctions resolution" certain countries "sought to intensify sanctions against Iran, to which Russia strongly opposed and took stances against it."

Medvedev also proposed that Russia and Iran adopt a joint stance in the international forums.

Ahmadinejad issued a statement saying, "The era of bullying and sanctions is over. “[We] believe that in the current global conditions, if Iran and Russia stand together, the enemies will fail in their plots against Iran, Russia and the region."

Resetting relations?

If this is what Obama's reset button looks like, we're in deep trouble!

CNN's Larry King jokes with Vice President Biden: "We both go out on a sinking ship"

CNN's Larry King shares a laugh with Vice President Joe Biden - November 18, 2010:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Carville not apologizing for his comments on Obama

"If I offended anybody, I am not sorry and I do not apologize. Of all the things people say about the president, I think this is fairly mild. I repeated a joke I made in the campaign."
Democratic strategist James Carville, in an interview with CNN, responding to criticsm over a comment he made about the President earlier in the day in which he asserted that "if Hillary [Clinton] gave up one of her [testicles] and gave it to Obama, he'd have two" - November 18, 2010

UN IPCC Official: 'We Redistribute World's Wealth By Climate Policy'

"But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world's wealth by climate policy... One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore."
UN IPCC Official, Ottmar Edenhofer, in an interview with Germany's NZZ Online - November 14, 2010 - via Newbusters

The Surge is Not Working! We need a Diplomatic Solution!

Democratic strategists James Carville and Stan Greenberg attributed their party's massive election losses earlier this month to poor messaging that made Democrats and the White House look "out of touch", The Hill reported on Thursday.

"A metaphor about a car in the ditch when people are in trouble and angry..., it's just out of touch with what's going on," said Greenberg.

"This is an almost Depression-like economic crisis that they minimized,'' Greenberg told reporters at a breakfast meeting Thursday, according to the LA Times. "They predicated everything as looking back – we got them out of the ditch. They're still in the middle of a crisis. This was a total mis-framing of the moment.''

Carville also criticized the Democratic message.

"What were they thinking?" he wondered out loud.

Asked if Obama appeared timid by not drawing a line in the sand with Republicans on certain issues, Carville, a former campaign adviser to Hillary Clinton, responded, "Well, I don't know, because I'm the guy that during the campaign said if Hillary gave him one of her balls, they'd both have two."

Carville and Greenberg, however, are grossly mistaken. They are both suffering from an extreme case of delusion, and, like Obama, they seem to be in a hallucinatory state of denial. They refuse to recognize that it is the failed policies of Obama and the Democratic Party - and not a messaging problem - that actually facilitated last week's elections blowout.

President Obama believed he could pull off a midterm election victory by means of demagoguery and ridicule. He thought he could achieve victory by deriding and ridiculing the Republicans, and by appealing to the lowest instincts of his hard core base: the extreme left-wing fringe of the Democratic Party.

At Democratic campaign rallies last month, the crowds laughed and cheered as Obama mocked Republicans and cast his rhetorical scorn upon them. But Obama failed to recognize that mainstream America had fallen into a state of despair, despondency and ire as a result of his failed, socialist-inclined policies, and even those among the mainstream who previously had fallen for Obama's superficially false message of hope, were not about to be hoodwinked again.

Contrary to Carville and Greenbergs' assessment, no amount of messaging could have changed the reality on the ground. It was too late for messaging, no matter what those messages may have been.

If Obama truly wishes to make amends with the American people, he will need to cross party lines and to conduct negotiations with the other side of the aisle - without preconditions. The President's rhetorical surge against the GOP and mainstream America is not working. The demagoguery and the ridicule-filled invectives must cease. For indeed, there is no military solution to this conflict.

A diplomatic solution, however, is still viable.

The President needs to reach out to mainstream America - or they will look elsewhere for leadership, like the Iraqis who are now looking to Iran for assistance, because, as they themselves have acknowledged, Obama has abandoned them for good.

Yes, a diplomatic solution is still viable, if Obama would only abandon his warmongering ways.

Obama, Ghailani, Ailes & Evil - a different belief system

During the Saddleback Presidential candidates' forum in 2008, moderator, Rick Warren, asked the following questions to Barack Obama:

"Does evil exist? And if it does, do we ignore it? Do we negotiate with it? Do we contain it? Do we defeat it?"

Barack Obama knew full well that, in his questions about 'evil', Rick Warren was alluding to terrorism and to terrorist' attacks against the US, including the 9/11 attacks, and yet, Obama, in his response, deliberately evaded the subject:

"Evil does exist," said Obama. "I mean, I think we see evil all the time. We see evil in Darfur. We see evil, sadly, on the streets of our cities. We see evil in parents who viciously abuse their children. I think it has to be confronted."

But, Obama wasn't satisfied with this cunning and evasive response - and his refusal to cite America's terrorist adversaries as an example of Evil - for this did not allow him to adequately convey his true feelings.

Hence, Obama added the following tidbit:

"Now, the one thing that I think is very important is for to us have some humility in how we approach the issue of confronting evil, because a lot of evil’s been perpetrated based on the claim that we were trying to confront evil..."

The ever-wily Obama refused to label the terrorists as evil, but instead chose to bestow the moniker of evil on the US by depicting America's confrontation with terror and tyranny as evil.

Mr. Warren then asked Sen. McCain the aforementioned questions:

"Does evil exist? And if it does, do we ignore it? Do we negotiate with it? Do we contain it? Do we defeat it?"

"Of course, evil must be defeated," said McCain to a loud round of applause from the audience. "We are facing the transcended challenge of the 21st century — radical Islamic extremism... We must face this challenge. We can face this challenge. And we must totally defeat it!"

Sadly, the President's views on the subject of evil are eerily similar to those of Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Ground Zero Mosque developer Feisal Abdul Rauf, who've opined that Al Qaeda and the US are morally, or immorally, equivalent when it comes to terrorism.

Which leads me to the following subject:

Shortly after taking office, President Obama made the decision to try a number of Al Qaeda/Gitmo detainees in civilian courts, rather than military courts. This was in line with Obama's stated view that "it's very important for to us have some humility in how we approach the issue of confronting evil, because a lot of evil’s been perpetrated based on the claim that we were trying to confront evil..." Perpetrating evil against terrorists is morally abhorrent, hence, Al Qaeda's terrorists were to be tried in the good ol' USA - in a civilian court of law.

And now it seems as if Obama has been rewarded for this good deed. For indeed, Ahmed Ghailani, an al Qaeda terrorist, who conspired to blow up American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, was acquitted today - in a New York City court room - of all but one of the 286 charges levied against him, including one count of murder for each of the 224 people killed and the thousands who were injured in the attacks.

I can't help but paraphrase Barack Obama's statement [cited above] by saying that a lot of evil was perpetrated today in a New York City court room, based on the claim that Obama was trying to confront evil, in America.

Which leads to me to another related topic: The uproar in the mainstream liberal media concerning a remark that Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes made about President Obama - in a recent interview with a liberal News outlet [website].

"He [Obama] just has a different belief system than most Americans," said Ailes.

The Libs are all aghast over this remark. But unfortunately, Roger Ailes is right on the mark. Obama does indeed have a different belief system than most Americans, a belief system that allows mass-murdering terrorists to be acquitted - all in the name of confronting evil - the evil that Obama sees in America.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Biden: Implementation of Stimulus Package was "a serious mistake"

Speaking at the Biennial National Procurement and Grant Fraud Conference in Philadelphia on Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden lightheartedly reflected on "a serious mistake" he had made in 2009.

I had written a “long and detailed memo to the president telling him exactly how I thought the Recovery Act should be implemented, ” the Politico quotes Biden as saying. During a lunch meeting at the White House, Biden handed the memo to Obama. After reading the memo, the President handed it back to Biden and said, “It’s great, Joe – go do it.”

“I have not since written him a memo,” Biden told the audience. “I should have known better.”

Monday, November 15, 2010

Putin & Obama, like-minded allies, ideological twins

US lawmakers on Friday dropped their opposition to $100 million in new military aid to Lebanon after the Obama administration had given them assurances that the aid would not be hijacked by Hezbollah.

In a related development: After meeting with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Monday, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced that Moscow would provide the Lebanese Army with helicopter gunships, tanks and munitions, including six MI 24 helicopters, 31 T-72 tanks, 36 cannons of 130 mm caliber, around half a million different munitions for medium-sized weapons, and 30,000 artillery shells - for free.

The Lebanese prime minister highlighted the importance of security and military ties between Russia and Lebanon.

Earlier this year, Lebanese President Michel Sleiman announced that Russia had agreed to a request for Mi-24 helicopter gunships instead of the MIG-29 fighter jets originally promised in 2008. On Sunday, however, Hariri had said he hoped to finalize that deal and said Lebanese helicopter pilots were already training for the new aircraft.

No word yet on whether Mr. Putin had given the Kremlin assurances that the aid would not be hijacked by Hezbollah.... Ahem....

Putin & Obama, like-minded allies, ideological twins - indeed.

News Briefs

Mr. President, how are those civilian trials working out for you?
Deadlock in First Civilian Trial of Gitmo Detainee, Ahmed Ghailani

The first civilian trial of a Guantanamo Bay terrorism suspect appeared deadlocked Monday when a juror asked to be dismissed because she felt "attacked" for being a lone holdout in reaching a verdict.

The potential for a hung jury and mistrial in the case of alleged Al Qaeda accomplice Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani threatened to further undermine the Obama administration's objective of trying "high-value" terror suspects in U.S. federal courts, including Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan declined to dismiss Juror No. 12 from his courtroom in Lower Manhattan and ordered the panel to resume deliberations despite the reported 11-1 impasse...

[Ghailani has been] charged with murder and conspiracy in the 1998 Al Qaeda bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The coordinated attacks killed 224 people, including 12 Americans, and injured thousands.

President Obama signed executive orders two days after taking office vowing to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility within a year and review prosecution options for the remaining terrorism suspects. In June 2009, Ghailani became the first foreign prisoner transferred from Guantanamo to the U.S. mainland for trial...
Obama's labor secretary to honor communist
The International Labor Communications Association, a national coalition of labor organizers, is bestowing its media award to John Wojcik, the labor editor for People's World, the official Communist Party USA publication...

According to an announcement of the Nov. 19 awards ceremony, President Obama's labor secretary, Hilda Solis, will be on hand for the awards dinner to lead a special session on how to respond to "expected" attacks from the new Republican-led House...
Petraeus warns Karzai on Afghan exit timing; He should have issued the same warning to Obama? Karzai=Obama

From CNN:
In what may be one of the most significant breaches between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the Obama administration, Gen. David Petraeus personally warned Afghan officials over the weekend the U.S.-Afghan partnership could be "untenable" if Karzai wants U.S. troops out of Afghanistan prematurely...
Last year, President Obama told Gen. Petraeus in no uncertain terms that US troops must be withdrawn from Afghanistan in a shorter time frame than the one Petraeus had sought:
The president wanted to know why the Pentagon needed 21 months to send 40,000 troops to Afghanistan when it had taken only six months to send a similar number to Iraq in 2007. When Petraeus began to explain - saying that the Afghanistan escalation wasn’t modeled on his surge in Iraq -' Obama rejected this explanation. 'Petraeus was expected to work his magic' in Afghanistan in roughly the same amount of time that he had accomplished this feat in Iraq.

“The only way we’ll consider this [continuing the war with more troops], is if we get the troops in and out in a shorter time frame,” Obama told Petraeus and other advisers in the room that day.
[Obama also disagreed with Gen. Petraeus on the troop surge in Iraq.]

Why then, didn't Gen. Petraeus personally warn the President that the Petraeus-Obama partnership would be "untenable" if Obama insisted on withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan prematurely? Karzai=Obama, Obama=Karzai!

Obama, true to his word, brings 'real change' to America & Washington, DC

During his run for the Presidency, Barack Obama pledged that, if elected, he would bring about "real change" both in America and in Washington DC. And, lo and behold, less than two years into his Presidency, and Obama has already fulfilled his campaign pledge.

One only needs to read the following headline/article from the AP to realize that Obama has already ushered in the dramatic change that he promised to bring to the US and to Washington DC:

From the AP:
Obama lands back in CHANGED Washington

President Barack Obama landed in a politically-changed Washington after 10 days abroad...

Obama returned from Asia to reverberating aftershocks of mid-term elections which dealt Democrats a crushing defeat and handed Republicans the House of Representatives...

Flying into Washington on Air Force One on Sunday, after a trip that circled the globe, Obama reflected on the meaning of the election defeat two weeks ago...
As a result of his monumental policies, Barack Obama has managed - in his short tenure in office - to shift the balance in Congress, as evinced by the recent midterm elections. With newly elected members in the House and Senate, who represent the views of the American people - and not the views of a group of left wing fanatics - President Obama has indeed created change both in Washington DC and in the US - change we can believe in.

Obama has remained true to his word.

But one question still remains: Can Obama keep this incredible dynamic in motion until the 2012 Presidential elections and successfully bring about change in the White House and Oval Office too?

Only time will tell. But, if Obama turns out to be as successful over the next two years as he was during his first two years in office, 2012 will likely usher in some new, refreshing faces in the White House and Oval Office. And then Obama will have finally cemented his monumental legacy - the legacy of change - change we can ALL believe in.

Good luck, Mr. President!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

WH surreptitiously dishes out 111 Obamacare waivers to Unions & Special companies

The information is buried on the Health and Human Services' website. It takes 6 separate clicks to find it. Watch the Fox News [video] report here.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Obama consumes Ice Cream, while Americans struggle to pull the economy out of the ditch

Although President Obama, last week, failed to reach a free trade agreement with South Korea and was unable get the G20 leaders to stand behind his criticism of China’s currency policies, that didn't stop him from indulging in one of his favorite pastimes: Eating Ice Cream.

While Americans here at home were focusing their attention on pulling the economy [the car] out of the proverbial ditch, President Obama, while visiting a statue of Buddha in the city of Kamakura - during his trip to Japan over the weekend - indulged himself, not in slurpee consumption, but in some delicious, Japanese-style, green tea [Matcha] ice cream.

In 2009, while visiting Japan, Obama extolled the virtues of Kamakura's Matcha ice cream, telling a Japanese crowd: "When I was a young boy, my mother brought me to Kamakura, where I looked up at that centuries-old symbol of peace and tranquility - the bronze Buddha. [However], as a child I was more focused on the Matcha ice cream..."

According to CNN, it was Obama's mention of Matcha ice cream, or Green tea ice cream, in 2009, "that really endeared President Obama to the locals. They even renamed the ice cream from Matcha to Obamatcha."

One of the town's ice cream vendors said that sales had shot through the roof after Obama mentioned the ice cream in his 2009 speech.

Adds CNN: "President Obama may be taking some hits at home over questions about his [current] policies when it comes to the US economy, But when it comes to ice cream economics in this [Japanese] town, he has single-handedly boosted conditions here."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

U.N. report: North Korea exporting nuclear & missile technology to Iran & Syria

The report was prepared in May by a panel that had been appointed by the UN Security Council. The panel included specialists from China, France, Japan, Russia, South Korea, the UK and the US. However, the document's submission to the full U.N. Security Council had been held up for months by China, a staunch ally of North Korea. But now, China has finally acquiesced and allowed the report to be submitted - at least that's the official explanation that's been tossed out. Incidentally, the AP [and other news outlets] obtained this document back in May, and reported about it at the time:

From Global Security:
A newly released U.N. report charges that North Korea is annually exporting missiles and weaponry worth $100 million in contravention of international sanctions imposed on the isolated regime...

The report alleges that North Korea is taking part in "nuclear and ballistic missile related activities in certain other countries including Iran, Syria and Myanmar."...

The 75-page document was prepared in May by a panel that included specialists from China, France, Japan, Russia, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States. They were assigned to assess Pyongyang's adherence to sanctions levied in response to its 2006 and 2009 nuclear tests.

The document's submission to the U.N. Security Council was held up for months by China, North Korea's historic ally and defender. Beijing dropped its opposition to the report's release last week.

The North in recent years has been linked to construction of a suspected Syrian nuclear reactor destroyed in a 2007 Israeli air strike, along with alleged efforts by Myanmar to develop a nuclear-weapon capability...

Responding to the report, the anticipated next head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), yesterday called on the White House to focus on penalties rather than diplomatic outreach to Pyongyang.

"Instead of continuing its failed strategy of seeking to engage the regime in endless negotiation, the administration must ratchet up pressure on Pyongyang," Ros-Lehtinen said...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

George W. Bush Interview: Confronting Evil; 9/11 - Plus, flashbacks & footage from the past

Former President George W. Bush discusses the horrific 9/11 attacks, in an interview - November 8, 2010 - Plus, additional footage & flashbacks from the past:

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Obama joined Muslim prayers at Jakarta school - despite his mother's objections, teacher says

From The Australian:
As a schoolboy in Jakarta, Barack Obama attended Muslim prayer sessions with his classmates against the wishes of his mother.

The US President's former grade three teacher [Mr. Effendi] said that Mr Obama - who was known as "Barry" when he attended the Menteng One school in Jakarta - studied the Koran and went to classes on Islam, despite the objections of Anne Dunham, a Roman Catholic...

Mr Obama attended classes on Islam while the Christians attended classes on Christianity, said Effendi. Barry, he said, was alone among the pupils in that he insisted on attending both.

"His mother did not like him learning Islam, although his father was a Muslim. Sometimes she came to the school; she was angry with the religious teacher and said 'Why did you teach him the Koran?'" said Effendi.

"But he kept going to the classes because he was interested in Islam. He would also join the other pupils for Muslim prayers."
Earlier this year, Indonesian filmmaker Damien Dematra announced his decision to make a film about President Obama's childhood years in Jakarta. The film's release was scheduled to coincide with the President's planned visit to Indonesia last June. [The President later postponed the visit.]

The movie was expected to include scenes of a young Barack Obama prostrating [in prayer] in the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca, as well as reciting from the Koran.

Mr. Dematra said he had proof that Obama prayed in the manner of a Muslim and recited the Koran...

“Tomorrow we’re going to finalize the movie script," Dematra said at the time, "including whether we’ll show Obama praying or reciting from the Koran."“The movie is an account of the people around him, friends, neighbors, teachers, schoolmates," he said...

However, several weeks later, M. Dematra announced that the depiction of Obama praying toward Mecca would not be included in the film.

Mr. Dematra said that, upon receiving "input from various parties", he had decided not to include the prayer scenes in the film. Mr. Dematra did not identify the "various parties".

"Whether the decision to nix the prayer scenes was due to 'outside political pressure' or not," I noted at the time, "is likely to remain unknown."

Obama on "Jihad" - EDITED & UNEDITED versions

A student from Mumbai's St. Xavier's college asks President Obama for his views on 'Jihad'. The video below contains both the unedited version and MSNBC's edited version of the exchange:

Heh - Obama: "The best is yet to come!" - Election night victory speech

During his election night victory speech on Tuesday, Barack Obama told the exuberant crowd of supporters that despite the difficulties of the first four years of his Presidency, "we know in hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come."

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

State Dept: Obama is pulling Iraq into an abyss - endangering US diplomats

From the AP:
The Obama administration could be overstating what U.S. diplomats can do to contain Iraq's ethnic and sectarian tensions without U.S. military forces, a State Department audit concluded Tuesday, raising fresh concerns about the planned pullout of American troops next year.

The auditors also questioned whether American diplomats who remain behind will be adequately protected against insurgent violence, and their report faulted Washington for its planning of the transition from a U.S. military-led mission in Iraq to one run by American civilians in 2011.

The audit's findings echo worries expressed by some U.S. defense analysts and former diplomats. They say hard-won security gains in Iraq could crumble if U.S. forces leave on schedule.

In the latest outbreak of violence, bombings and mortar strikes killed dozens and wounded scores across Baghdad's mostly Shiite neighborhoods Tuesday...


Stephen Biddle, an Iraq watcher at the Council on Foreign Relations, said it will be difficult for U.S. diplomats to keep a lid on Sunni-Shiite and Arab-Kurd rivalries in the absence of a sizable American military presence...

The report... questioned whether the U.S. can meet President Barack Obama's goal of ensuring a safe work environment for remaining U.S. personnel in Iraq in 2012. "Security risks are expected to increase," the report said.

The... planning process "requires clearer and more timely high-level focus and policy guidance from Washington," including the White House, it said...

Arabs and Kurds have managed to avoid large-scale clashes since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, with U.S. troops playing a critical security role. The U.S. now has just under 50,000 troops in Iraq, down from a wartime high of 170,000...

"Does the United States risk overselling what it can and will accomplish?" the report asks. It does not explicitly answer that question but implies that the U.S. is promising more than it can deliver.

Ryan Crocker, ambassador to Iraq from 2007 to 2009, said last week that the U.S. military's departure from Iraq will likely create a security vacuum and set Iraq on a dangerous course...

"I worry that what we're seeing is a transition from a military lead to no lead," he said.

"Simply put, the capacity does not exist on the civilian side to take on the vast array of roles and missions that the military has so ably performed in Iraq."

Monday, November 1, 2010

Obama tells supporters: "I don't want to relive the past!"

At campaign rallies across the country, President Obama told his supporters that he "doesn't want to relive the past." He then went on to wax nostalgic about the bygone days of the 2008 Presidential campaign, when, allegedly, according to his recollection, many Americans said "you can't elect a skinny guy with a funny name to the Presidency", "but", the President told his supporters, "you said, 'Yes We Can'." Mr. Obama then went on to exhort the crowds to defy conventional wisdom [and common sense] and to vote the Democrat ticket in Tuesday's midterm elections: