Author Topic: 20 Jan 09: What the world wants from the new American president.  (Read 43605 times)

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Offline E.R. Campbell

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I’m rather a fan of Chris Patten and there is much with which I agree in his world view. I though I would use his analysis, therefore, to start a new, post election thread.

That analysis is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from yesterday’s Globe and Mail:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20081028.wcoamerica29/BNStory/specialComment/home
Quote
What the world will want from a new American leader

CHRIS PATTEN

From Wednesday's Globe and Mail
October 29, 2008 at 3:26 AM EDT

LONDON — Around the world, America's presidential election campaign has attracted as much attention as domestic political controversies in each of our own countries. The interest the world has taken in America's vote is the best example of America's soft power, and a lesson in democracy from the world's only superpower. If only we could all vote, as well as watch and listen, because the outcome is vital for everyone around the world.

What does the world want — and, perhaps more importantly, what does it need — from a new American president?

Much as some may hate to admit it, anti-Americanism is a sentiment that has been fed and nurtured during the Bush years. Yet the world still needs American leadership. Yes, we are witnessing the emergence of China, Brazil, and India as important global economic players. Yes, we have watched the humiliating fall of Wall Street's masters of the universe. Yes, American military prowess has drained away into what Winston Churchill called "the thoughtless deserts of Mesopotamia," and its moral authority has been weakened by events in places from Guantanamo Bay to Abu Ghraib.

All that is true. Yet, the United States remains the world's only superpower, the only nation that matters in every part of the globe, the only country capable of mobilizing international action to tackle global problems.

A new president's first task will be to return America's economic competitiveness and self-confidence. It will not be easy to rein in overspending and overborrowing, to restore the real family values of saving, thrift, responsibility and fair reward. Achieving these goals is bound to involve a greater regard for social equality, after a period in which the very rich have been able to protect a "Roaring Twenties" lifestyle through cleverly exploiting the "culture wars" — i.e., the populist prejudices of their much poorer fellow citizens.

With America turning away from its global role of borrower of last resort, the rest of us will need to sharpen our competitive edge to sell in other markets. What is imperative is that this should not be impeded by a return to protectionism. A new American president would do well to remember the disastrous consequences of protectionism in the 1920s and 1930s. President Herbert Hoover's failures should be a sanguinary lesson.

We all look to the next U.S. president to re-engage with the world community and international organizations, accepting that even a superpower should accept the rules that apply to others. The United Nations is far from perfect. It needs reform, as do the bodies that provide global economic governance. That will take time. But a necessary, if not sufficient, condition for change is America's commitment to and leadership of the process. Forget the distraction of trying to create an alternative to the UN — the so-called League of Democracies. It won't work.

We want a new president who will aim to make a success of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty renewal conference in 2010 by scrapping more weapons, abandoning research into them, and challenging others to do the same. That would be the best backdrop to establishing tougher surveillance and monitoring, beginning to engage with Iran, and searching for a way to involve India and Pakistan in a global nuclear agreement.

Ahead of that, a new president should unleash America's creative potential in boosting energy efficiency and developing clean technologies. It would be a welcome surprise if a comprehensive follow-up to the Kyoto Protocol could be agreed upon next year. At the least, we should aim to agree on the process that will move worldwide discussions in the right direction and, as part of that, America should aim to engage Europe, China, and India, in particular, on technological developments such as clean coal.

America's relationship with China will be a key to prosperity and security in this new century. I do not think that a struggle for hegemony is inevitable, or that it would be desirable. The U.S. should focus more attention on China, without ever pretending that China's record on human rights can be swept under the carpet. China cannot sustain its economic development without political changes and environmental improvements.

In the Middle East, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered wise advice to the next U.S. president upon his retirement. Israel and Palestine have become, he said, the hopeless and bloody prism through which American diplomacy often seems to see the world. It has long since been time to move on, making a sustained drive for the sort of settlement that was almost achieved in the Clinton era.

There is a paradox in all this. The world for years has called for a multilateral approach from Washington. When we get one, will the rest of us — Europe, for example — actually respond with sufficient commitment and drive? It would at least be a welcome challenge to be required to put our efforts where our mouths have been.

Chris Patten is an author, former EU commissioner for external relations, former chairman of the British Conservative Party, and was the last British governor of Hong Kong. He is currently chancellor of Oxford University and a member of the British House of Lords.


Patten’s “wish list” includes:

1.   “Return America's economic competitiveness and self-confidence:”

2.   No return to protectionism – do not heed the siren song of the Lou Dobbs lunatic fringe;

3.   “Re-engage with the world community and international organizations, accepting that even a superpower should accept the rules that apply to others;”

4.   “Make a success of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty renewal conference in 2010 by scrapping more weapons, abandoning research into them, and challenging others to do the same;”

5.   “Unleash America's creative potential in boosting energy efficiency and developing clean technologies;”

6.   “Focus more attention on China, without ever pretending that China's record on human rights can be swept under the carpet;” and

7.   Make “a sustained drive for the sort of [Middle East peace] settlement that was almost achieved in the Clinton era.”


I think 1,2, 3, 6 and 7 are all vital. The top here are, almost certainly, Canada’s wish list, too.

The 4th and 5th points are important, but reflect a certain Eurocentric myopia:

•   Decommissioning more and more nuclear weapons is a good thing if, but only IF they are accompanied by reductions to other nuclear arsenals, especially the British, Chinese, French, Israeli and, above all, Russian stockpiles. But R&D should not be abandoned; in fact, I would argue, it cannot be abandoned – the genie cannot be forced back into the bottle. China and Israel and Russia will not stop their R&D, nor should America; and

•   Green technology development – all technology development – is important but it is really a sub-set of item 1, just given prominence to pacify the eco-fascists.


It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Offline Hamish Seggie

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Re: 20 Jan 09: What the world wants from the new American president.
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2008, 10:00:45 »
This is very interesting and I would tend to agree.

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Online tomahawk6

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Re: 20 Jan 09: What the world wants from the new American president.
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2008, 10:29:13 »
I guess I take a contrarian view. Who cares what the world wants ? The US cannot make policy based on what other nations want. Rather policy must be driven by what is best for our national interest. Sometimes it will find favor in world capitols and sometimes it wont.


Offline S.M.A.

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Re: 20 Jan 09: What the world wants from the new American president.
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2008, 10:39:37 »
I’m rather a fan of Chris Patten and there is much with which I agree in his world view. I though I would use his analysis, therefore, to start a new, post election thread.

Oh wow. I didn't realize this was the same Chris Patten who was the last British governor/administrator of Hong Kong when I lived there.
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Offline Jed

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Re: 20 Jan 09: What the world wants from the new American president.
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2008, 11:15:40 »
T6, I understand your contrarian point of view, but would it not be better for the US to be a team player in a global context ? Even the biggest, fastest, best paid player on the team has to follow the same rules and adjust to the other player's capabilities.
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Offline S.M.A.

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Re: 20 Jan 09: What the world wants from the new American president.
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2008, 11:18:22 »
I guess I take a contrarian view. Who cares what the world wants ? The US cannot make policy based on what other nations want. Rather policy must be driven by what is best for our national interest. Sometimes it will find favor in world capitols and sometimes it wont.



Sir,

Yes, America must tend to its own self-interest, but tending to one's self-interest does not mean shirking the world leadership that Patten alluded to. In fact it may be within the interest of the United States to regain the global legitimacy and "moral authority" it lost during the Bush years. Otherwise, if it turns out most American voters agree with you at the polls, then perhaps it is time for the other Anglophone nations/the Commonwealth to step up? (e.g. Harper's speech on Canada and Australia when he visited Australia, although I am surprised he didn't include the UK)

(and yes, I am aware that the Commonwealth is nothing more than an exclusive club of former British territories and Dominions now than an actual security alliance- unless somehow that could be changed in the future)
« Last Edit: October 30, 2008, 11:27:27 by CougarDaddy »
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: 20 Jan 09: What the world wants from the new American president.
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2008, 11:32:43 »
I guess I take a contrarian view. Who cares what the world wants ? The US cannot make policy based on what other nations want. Rather policy must be driven by what is best for our national interest. Sometimes it will find favor in world capitols and sometimes it wont.


I think CougarDaddy is right.

America tells the world it is the ‘leader’ of the free world. That means, ipso facto, that we - Australia, Belgium, Chile and so on through to, presumably, Zambia – are clients. Clients may not get to vote but they do have legitimate expectations for their leader’s actions. If the leader fails to deliver the clients can and will seek new leadership.

Please remember there is neither "Gott mit uns" or manifest destiny or even special providence. Great nations and great empires come and go - history is written in sand, not stone.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Offline Inky

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Re: 20 Jan 09: What the world wants from the new American president.
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2008, 11:39:16 »
I guess I take a contrarian view. Who cares what the world wants ? The US cannot make policy based on what other nations want. Rather policy must be driven by what is best for our national interest. Sometimes it will find favor in world capitols and sometimes it wont.

I agree,

I'ts naive of us to believe that the opinion of your average word "citizen" is going to be a major issue to the President of the US, it shouldn't be for any world leader since, last time I checked, their mandate was limited to their own country.

It always surprises me to see the almost child-like optimism that some of the people in my entourage exhibit by expressing thir belief that the election of the "messiah) will be the biggest damn change in their life. Incidentally, some of tem didn't vote at the last federal elections. >:(

Offline Thucydides

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Re: 20 Jan 09: What the world wants from the new American president.
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2008, 17:40:43 »
An interesting wish list, particularly if you compare that to the rather vague set of promises that Senator Obama has made during his campaign. In fact, the idea of raising taxes and adopting a redistributuive economic policy (about the only clear promise he has made) is destabilizing the markets now, and if implimented, will bring on an American recession and possibly a global one as well. For those of you who pooh pooh that notion, the evidence is pretty conclusive; these policies adopted by FDR in the 1930's prolonged the Great Depression by seven years, and similar policies such as LBJ's "Great Society" unleased rampant inflation, while President Carter's economic policies generated "Stagflation" (his foreign policies invited every thug and tinpot dictator to "come and get us" as well).

Senator Obama and the Democratic Congress share a "Progressive" worldview (often mislabled "liberal"). Here is a wider ranging analysis of what the "Progressive" worldview may end up doing to us instead, and perhaps how to get out of the trap (hint, this next President isn't going to be the one to do this):

http://www.forbes.com/opinions/forbes/2008/1117/023.html

Quote
Can We Afford Liberalism Now?
Paul Johnson 11.17.08, 12:00 AM ET

The financial crisis, detonated by greed and recklessness on Wall Street and in the City of London, is for the West a deep, self-inflicted wound. The beneficiary won't be Russia, which, with its fragile, energy-based economy, is likely to suffer more than we shall; it will be India and China. They will move into any power vacuum left by the collapse of Western self-confidence.

If we seriously wish to repair the damage, we need to accept that this is fundamentally a moral crisis, not a financial one. It is the product of the self-indulgence and complacency born of our ultraliberal societies, which have substituted such pseudo-religions as political correctness and saving the planet for genuine distinctions between right and wrong and the cultivation of real virtues.

India and China are progress-loving yet morally old-fashioned societies. They cannot afford liberalism. Their vast populations have only recently begun to emerge from subsistence living. Their strength is in the close, hard-working family unit in which parents train their children to work diligently at school and go to university when possible so they can acquire real and useful qualifications to then go out into the world as professional men and women determined to reach the top.

I am impressed at the rapid headway Indians (benefiting from their knowledge of spoken and written English) are making in all the advanced sectors of the global employment market--science, technology, medicine, communications, the law, engineering and mining. They are ousting Westerners from top jobs, and rightly so. They are better qualified, more highly motivated and more reliable and honest. They have the old-style work ethic that we, in many cases, have lost.

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was sneered at for stressing the Victorian virtues of industry and thrift. But she was right. These emergent Asian professionals have precisely those virtues, which is why they're moving forward and will eventually conquer the world--not by force but by hard work, intelligence and skill.

Equally impressive is the sheer physical power of the Chinese workforce. Anyone who goes to Beijing or Shanghai can't help but notice the astonishing speed at which buildings are rising.

There is nothing new in this. It was once the West that taught the world how to change its skylines through fast and furious efforts. One of the first examples was the Eiffel Tower, designed by engineering genius Gustave Eiffel (who also created the Statue of Liberty's internal structure). It was the centerpiece of the Paris Exposition of 1889. Using the principles of prefabrication, the 150 to 300 workers on the site put it up in only 26 1/2 months.

Another example is the Empire State Building, which officially opened on May 1, 1931. Masterpiece of the firm of Shreve, Lamb & Harmon, the Empire State Building was completed in only one year and 45 days, a testament to business efficiency and the determination of the dedicated workforce.

We couldn't match those time frames today, despite the advances in technology, because the advances have been outstripped by an even more rapid growth in complex and idiotic planning procedures, bureaucracy, myopic trade unionism and restrictive legislation.

Wake-Up Call

In London today, for example, residents are infuriated and visitors horrified by the way in which the main sewer and water lines are being replaced over much of the city. The work is agonizingly slow. Contractors claim they are paralyzed by the laws (especially so-called health and safety regulations) that now govern work practices. Depending on the type of activity, these regulations can lower productivity by 15% to 25%. They don't save lives or prevent injuries; they provide lucrative jobs for bureaucrats and fit in well with the ideas of union officials on how things should be run. They are a typical by-product of a liberal society.

In an earlier age New York City would have defied the terrorists who brought down the World Trade Center by speedily rebuilding what they destroyed. What's happened instead is a sad and revealing story.

In August China pulled off a propaganda triumph with its staging of the Summer Olympic Games, which involved huge construction projects--all completed on time. London is currently preparing for the 2012 games. All indications, so far, are that this is going to be an embarrassing and hugely expensive fiasco.

I don't know whether this year's financial catastrophe will shock the politicians and people of the West into a new seriousness. There's certainly no sign of it yet. I had to laugh when a Chinese visitor recently said to me: "I see you're going back to the windmill in Britain. We Chinese cannot afford that."

That comment puts things in a nutshell: We are traveling along the high road to incompetence and poverty, led by a farcical coalition of fashionably liberal academics on the make, assorted eco-crackpots and media wiseacres. This strain of liberalism is highly infectious. The Indians and Chinese have yet to be infected. They're still healthy, hard at work and going places, full speed ahead.

Paul Johnson, eminent British historian and author; Lee Kuan Yew, minister mentor of Singapore; Ernesto Zedillo, director, Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, former president of Mexico; and David Malpass, chief economist for Bear Stearns Co., Inc., rotate in writing this column. To see past Current Events columns, visit our Web site at www.forbes.com/currentevents.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: 20 Jan 09: What the world wants from the new American president.
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2008, 06:41:28 »
Here, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from today’s Globe and Way is an interesting analysis of the next few years from Prof. Richard Florida:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20081101.wflorida01/BNStory/Front/home
Quote
The new politics of class war point to a frightening future

RICHARD FLORIDA

Globe and Mail Update
November 1, 2008 at 12:47 AM EDT

Two years ago almost to the day, I sat at a coffee shop in Washington, D.C., talking about the upcoming U.S. election with a good friend who was an editor at a major political monthly. Though never a fan of George W. Bush, I suggested that the President might be a transitional figure, his administration essentially holding back a tectonic populist, rightward shift in American politics. I told my friend I was fearful of what could come next. He looked me squarely in the eye and said simply: “That's not what frightens me. What has me terrified is the right-wing backlash that will come when a more liberal, left-leaning administration takes office in January, 2009.”

I've since come around to his way of thinking. Barring some unforeseen event, Barack Obama can count on victory in Tuesday's election. He is running a considerable lead in the national polls and even in the electoral college, and he appears to have mobilized huge numbers of younger and African-American voters who will push him to victory in the key swing states. He has the money – more than $150-million raised just in September – to counter virtually any negative advertising. But his job once in office may be harder than he anticipated.

When people like Colin Powell say Mr. Obama is a “transformational figure,” they're suggesting that an Obama administration can somehow heal the deep divisions within the American electorate and move the country forward, the way Franklin D. Roosevelt did during the Great Depression. And certainly projected Democratic majorities in Congress make that kind of transformation appear plausible.

I wish that would happen. But I doubt it will, and the reason is simple: The divisions run too deep. The realignment that propelled and kept FDR in office is not happening today. American politics is distinguished today by shifting electoral coalitions, candidate-centred elections, and what some political scientists call de-alignment. America isn't just suffering from political polarization, but a burgeoning economic divide and class war.

Since 1980, the year Ronald Reagan was first elected, the U.S. economy has been undergoing a shift more thorough and massive than the rise of industrial economy a century and a half ago. Since then, 20 million jobs in the creative sector have been created, and the ranks of what I call the creative class have grown to 40 million – nearly a third of the work force. That group has become powerful in American politics, and it is squarely behind Mr. Obama. New York Times columnist David Brooks recently reported that Republicans have all but lost creative professionals working in law, medicine and high technology.

Republican strategists have exploited this shift to their party's advantage, beginning with the ever-prescient Kevin Phillips's identification of the “silent majority” of white working-class voters in 1968.

The rise of the creative economy generated a shift in social values. Tolerance, diversity and self-expression became prized. Diversity and self-expression became necessary for the creative economy to flourish and function.

As it grew and became more concentrated in locations such as San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Boston and Washington D.C. – what we now know as blue America – the working class fell further and further behind. Globalization shipped jobs overseas, while institutional supports that led to higher working-class incomes during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s – powerful U.S. companies and powerful unions – were simultaneously being undercut. The great genius of former Bush political strategist Karl Rove was to seize upon the church as the one remaining constant in the lives of working Americans and to use it to his political organizational advantage.

The rise of “hockey moms,” “Joe Six-Pack” and “Joe the Plumber” in this election cycle testifies to this growing sense of unease. This is the kind of economic split that Mr. Obama tried to capture with his infamous “bitter-gate” statement, which he now says he regrets. But what can we expect from people who know that the economic system is leaving them behind?

This class divide is overlaid on America's economic and political geography, with the U.S. economy being driven by centres of innovation such as San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, and Washington D.C.; finance, entertainment and media cities such as New York and Los Angeles; and university-anchored tech centres such as Austin, Tex., Boulder, Colo., and Raleigh-Durham, N.C.

My team and I looked at the state-by-state polls and compared them to our measures of the creative economy – a broad index of technology, talent and tolerance. Blue states had a higher median creativity index score than red states (.68 versus .38). Mr. Obama leads John McCain among those with a postgraduate education 59 to 36 per cent; among those with a college education 50 to 44 per cent; and among 18-to-29-year-olds 65 to 31 per cent.

As Republican congressman Tom Davis recently opined, U.S. politics, including in his own district in northern Virginia, is being reshaped as high-tech economies lean more Democratic: “Economic development works.” He decided not to seek re-election.

These class divides will only deepen. Fear and anxiety will probably get worse. And a strange kind of reactive populism, much worse than anything we have seen before, could be on the rise. Unless Mr. Obama can fashion a broad, inclusive appeal that extends the benefits of the creative economy to working and service economies, the bitterness he himself acknowledged, in a moment of candour, will grow deeper.

If you think the stock market has been volatile, get ready for an extended period of volatility and conflict in American politics.

Richard Florida is the author of Who's Your City? and director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto.

It is important to note, first, that Prof. Florida has a vested interest in a class divide because he proposes that there is a new ‘class’ – the creative class that goes beyond just artistic creativity and embraces those people in ”centres of innovation such as San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, and Washington D.C.; finance, entertainment and media cities such as New York and Los Angeles; and university-anchored tech centres such as Austin, Tex., Boulder, Colo., and Raleigh-Durham, N.C.” He theorizes that ‘creativity,’ rather than wealth, per se, is the new dividing line between classes – the old rich may be in the same class as the “hockey moms,” “Joe Six-Pack” and “Joe the Plumber” while the other class consists of the ‘creators’ – artists, financiers, scientists and so on – many of whom will be wealthy, too, but for whom wealth will not be the be-all and end-all.

Prof. Florida makes education and urbanity important markers for ‘creativity.’ Essentially he sees a critical mass of well educated, engaged and, ipso facto ‘creative’ living and working in large urban centres and, consequentially, draining ‘creativity’ from small cities, towns and rural areas. This is much discussed by political analysts in both Canada and the USA regarding e.g. the Conservative Party’s strength in (over represented) rural and small town Canada and the Liberals’ stranglehold in the (underrepresented) major urban centres of Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. By definition the Liberals and NDP are ‘creative’ and the Tories are akin to those so often characterized as the poor, dim-witted denizens of the Red States.

That being said it is an analysis that is worth considering.

It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Offline S.M.A.

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Re: 20 Jan 09: What the world wants from the new American president.
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2008, 00:55:37 »
I guess I take a contrarian view. Who cares what the world wants ? The US cannot make policy based on what other nations want. Rather policy must be driven by what is best for our national interest. Sometimes it will find favor in world capitols and sometimes it wont.



 ::) There's a difference between taking into account one nation's self-interest because you want to isolate yourself from everyone else and working with others to better achieve your common self-interests with others.

http://www.iftheworldcouldvote.com/
« Last Edit: November 04, 2008, 01:06:10 by CougarDaddy »
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: 20 Jan 09: What the world wants from the new American president.
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2008, 06:53:19 »
As I have said before, Globe and Mail columnist Lawrence Martin hates George W Bush and all his works. This column, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from today’s Globe and Mail is, however, I suspect, reflective of much of the ‘world view:’

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20081105.wcomartin06/BNStory/specialComment/home
Quote
Exit the ugly American, enter a new Can-Am era

LAWRENCE MARTIN

From Thursday's Globe and Mail
November 5, 2008 at 11:45 PM EST

The election of Barack Obama sets the stage for a new era of harmony and respect in Canada-U.S. relations. The ugly American has been kicked out the door. The United States, with its eternal resourcefulness, has brought forward a leader of grace and brilliance and vision. There is hope, some at least, that it can again become the model it once held promise of being.

Mr. Obama projects values that are at one with the great Canadian mainstream - values that are multilateral, multicultural and moderate. Power has swung from the rigid right, the religious conservative swath of the Great Republic, to the pragmatic secularists.

Americans have come to their senses and, in so doing, will be embraced in Canada and most everywhere with good faith and goodwill.

In our bilateral context, relations at the government level need reflect the new enthusiasm at the people level. For years, such ties have been at a near standstill as the Washington ideologues wreaked havoc.

Some suggest Mr. Obama and his Democrats might be damaging to Canada's interests because they are protectionist. The Bush administration undermined the free-trade deal by essentially ignoring its jurisdiction during softwood lumber negotiations. It brought in passport requirements and other regulations that turned the border into a barrier.

Mr. Obama campaigned against George W. Bush's culture of fear - a culture that sees Americans humiliating themselves on a daily basis by taking off their shoes to get on an airplane, that sees the world's greatest military power erecting perimeter walls around its embassy in Ottawa, projecting cowardice instead of courage.

The values of the unilateralist Bush administration were all about borders. The values of the multilateralist Mr. Obama transcend borders. While there are many protectionist Democrats in Congress who would like to see trade barriers go up, Washington is in no position to start pushing Canada around on the trade front. A priority of Mr. Obama is independence from foreign oil held by hostile regimes. For energy security, it needs Canada; it won't want to mess with a free-trade accord that enhances its security.

Although Stephen Harper is a conservative who is more at one with the Republican philosophy than Mr. Obama's, officials say the Prime Minister will be most accommodating with the new president. Given Mr. Obama's popularity, he can scarcely afford to be otherwise.

As part of that accommodation, officials say Mr. Harper could well decide to replace Canadian ambassador Michael Wilson before Mr. Obama takes office in January. While there's no evidence he was at fault, Mr. Wilson was caught up in the so-called NAFTA-gate controversy in which a leaked Canadian diplomatic memo embarrassed Mr. Obama during his primary campaign against Hillary Clinton in Ohio. Mr. Wilson will soon have served three years in the post. The rumour mill has David Emerson, the former foreign affairs minister, as a lead candidate to become the new ambassador.

One of the rare occasions when there's been a liberal in the White House and a conservative in office in Ottawa was in the 1930s, when R. B. Bennett worked hard to carve out a good relationship with Franklin Roosevelt. A young diplomat of the day named Lester Pearson recalled writing a speech on American relations for Mr. Bennett that contained thoughts "more likely to be popular with a socialist than a Tory." To his surprise, Mr. Bennett gave the speech almost word for word.

Mr. Harper is not about to start sounding like a socialist, but the likelihood is that the Obama liberal tides will tend to accelerate his course toward the moderate middle. The Obama administration will be well aware that Mr. Harper supported the invasion of Iraq. But Mr. Harper probably will endorse Mr. Obama's withdrawal position on Iraq, saying his own views have evolved on the subject. On Afghanistan, Ottawa's end-of-mission stand is clear, and officials expect no pressure from Mr. Obama to change it.

In the early going, at least, Mr. Harper should be able to avoid getting on the wrong side of the new administration. At some point, philosophical differences will rear their heads. But, for now, the Harper government should view Barack Obama's arrival as people everywhere do - an opportunity to bring those on this continent and beyond together.


Martin has, quite uncritically, bought into the Obama as “superman” myth; he is ”a leader of grace and brilliance and vision,” nothing less than a saviour. In this respect Martin seems to reflect the general world view. He, like the world, is in for a sad surprise when Obama turns out to be oh so very human.

He spews forth a veritable paroxysm of juvenile, knee-jerk, anti-American rage before he gets to a couple of sensible bits:

•   Obama -  his ‘team’ led by Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, anyway  - likely, sees American energy “independence” from “foreign” oil as being possible because most Americans believe Canada is not “foreign” – that’s what Emaneul meant when he said “Natural gas is 98 percent North American.” Our current petroleum based prosperity will continue to rest on a firm foundation of insatiable American demand; and
 
•   Obama will help Harper ”accelerate his course toward the moderate middle”. Martin, grudgingly, recognizes that Harper is already on that course. The problem for the rest of the world is that too many countries – Russia amongst them – are on course for the “hard” extremes and Obama’s perceived personality and expected policies are likely to embolden them and “accelerate” their progress towards the dangerous extremes.

My guess is that most of the world will end up disappointed in Obama – how could they not be given their expectations of perfection? Canada may be the exception. Canadian companies have, broadly, done well during Democratic administrations – protectionist or not – by being able to exploit the opportunities created by big spending. Obama will have less to spend – Bush has left HUGE deficits – but spending will happen and Canadians should get a fair share.

It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: 20 Jan 09: What the world wants from the new American president.
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2008, 07:44:22 »
Here, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of he Copyright Act from today’s Globe and Mail, is a thoughtful column on “Obama and the world:”

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20081105.wcoash06/BNStory/specialComment/home
Quote
'Yes we can.' But can he?

TIMOTHY GARTON ASH

From Thursday's Globe and Mail
November 5, 2008 at 11:44 PM EST

WASHINGTON — To join that ebullient crowd in front of the White House shortly after midnight on Tuesday was to dance with history. "Bush out now!" and "Goodbye, nananana," they chanted, to the sound of drums. "Obama! Obama!" Car horns honked. A young man beat a saucepan with a metal spoon. "This is the biggest housewarming party I've ever been to," said a black woman wearing a Stars and Stripes head scarf. And, this being our time, everyone yapped and photo-snapped on their cellphones.

Most of all, though, these mainly young revellers chanted the slogan that Barack Obama had just made the leitmotif of his acceptance speech in Chicago: "Yes we can! Yes we can!' When I went to bed, I could still hear the chants reverberating up to my hotel window. Yes we can! Yes we can! But can they? Can he? Can we?

To say he is the first black president in American history is more to write the last lines of the last chapter than the start of a new one. That chapter of pain is both remarkably ancient and shockingly recent. I saw people voting in a polling station located in an African Methodist Episcopal church, which, a sign records, was established to protest against segregated worship in 1787. Across the Anacostia River, in a poor neighbourhood where mine was almost the only white face, an election supervisor - a Baptist preacher in everyday life - told me how blacks had brought their children to witness the moment of which Martin Luther King had dreamed. Only by listening to their voices can you fully appreciate the impact at the mere sight of a black family occupying the white house.

But Mr. Obama is much more than a black American. Like a growing number of citizens of our mixed-up world, he is, as columnist Michael Kinsley puts it, "a one-man ethnic stew." This qualifies him to represent all those Americans, of every hue and mix, who I saw in the long lines of people waiting to vote in downtown Washington.

Mr. Obama is simultaneously the first post-ethnic president. To reduce this story to the black-white dichotomy is as useful as a black and white photograph of a colourful scene. John McCain may have singled out Joe the plumber to represent an old-fashioned "silent majority" of white, working-class Americans, but they now constitute a not-so-silent minority. And José the plumber voted for Mr. Obama. In fact, Mr. Obama's vote benefited from almost every aspect of America's demographic diversity. Introducing him in Florida during the campaign, Bill Clinton highlighted this new diversity, saying that both Florida and Mr. Obama represent "the world's present and America's future." That seems to me the wrong way around: It's America's present and the world's future. Where once America lagged, it now leads.

But mark what the Obama model is. It deploys civic nationalism to transcend ethnic diversity. Many of Tuesday's revellers were waving the Stars and Stripes, or sporting it on some part of their dress. No right-wing Republican could insist more than Mr. Obama does on American uniqueness and manifest destiny. His proclaimed purpose is "to make this century the next American century." If George Bush said that, the rest of the world might regard it as rank nationalist arrogance. Because it's Mr. Obama, we somehow accept it.

Now comes the test. The very circumstances that ensured his victory make it more difficult for him to succeed. It's indisputable that the campaign turned decisively in his favour following the financial meltdown. Now the crisis is really hitting the real economy, on his chosen terrain of jobs, homes, savings and health care for ordinary Americans. He inherits a soaring national debt from Mr. Bush, who presided over a massive redistribution of wealth from future generations to the current one. The country faces two wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a host of other challenges around the world.

America itself, meanwhile, is still divided. The gulf between red and blue may even be more difficult to bridge than that between black and white. Many Americans are still irrationally suspicious of Barack Hussein Obama, but an entirely rational observer could conclude that his instincts are more socially and culturally liberal than those of a cultural-conservative Republican, and less economically liberal than those of a libertarian Republican. To overcome those concerns, he would have to govern from the centre or even centre-right, disappointing his own supporters.

Has he got what it takes? I spent the days before the vote talking to not a few Washington insiders. Their unanimous refrain was: We don't know. We don't know which of the many policy options he'll plump for; we don't know who he'll choose for the key posts; we don't know what he'll be like on the job. Few presidential candidates have had less of an executive or legislative track record from which to guess their future performance.

On one thing, all agree: If he can run the country the way he ran his campaign, America will be in good hands. But a country is not a campaign. He is, in every sense of that overused word, cool. He barely looked excited even as he accepted the presidency before an ecstatic crowd. As president, his hard power resources may be somewhat diminished, but no one in the world currently has more soft power. Where the Bush administration used military "shock and awe" to hunt down weapons of mass destruction that turned out not to be there, Mr. Obama is himself a weapon of mass attraction.

And he can appeal to what is perhaps America's greatest power resource: the can-do spirit of innovation and hard work, mixed with patriotism. This is the promise summed up in what Mr. Obama called in his acceptance speech "that American creed: Yes we can." The creed they were chanting on Tuesday night.

Will this be enough to surmount all the obstacles America faces? I doubt it. But we can again hope, and hope we must.

There was a real, measurable shift away from the Republicans on Tuesday, but I was a bit surprised at how (relatively) small it was given all the election hype. The Red/Blue divide remains and it is deep. My reading is that the shift we saw had less to do with supporting Obama or disliking McCain than it did with a desire to punish George W Bush for his mismanagement of the economic file. When things do not, as they will not, get much better very quickly I think some of that ‘shift’ will disappear. In other words, while Timothy Garton-Ash is correct that this election represents the ”last lines of the last chapter [rather] than the start of a new one,” the real, deep divisions between (badly misnamed) ‘conservatives’ and ‘liberals’ are still there and will continue to drive the US political system for years to come – unless Obama can do something to bridge the gap, which I doubt is within his capabilities.
 

It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Offline S.M.A.

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Re: 20 Jan 09: What the world wants from the new American president.
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2008, 10:29:33 »
And Obama begins naming his cabinet...

http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/11/06/obama.transition/index.html

Quote
Obama eyes both sides of the aisle for transition team

Story Highlights
Rep. Rahm Emanuel considered front-runner for White House chief of staff

Obama will be sworn in as president on January 20, 2009

Preparations for transition have been under way for months
     
(CNN) -- President-elect Barack Obama was considering who will be on his transition team long before Tuesday's election declared him the nation's leader, and several Republicans were on the short list.

 
Reports say Barack Obama is close to naming Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel as White House chief of staff.

 1 of 2  Obama is looking at many Democrats -- most notably, Rep. Rahm Emanuel, who helped choreograph the party's 2006 House takeover -- but he also is thinking about bringing GOP Sens. Chuck Hagel and Dick Lugar on board, according to sources close to the president-elect.

Hagel, R-Nebraska, is a Vietnam War veteran and fierce critic of the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq war.


Lugar, R-Indiana, is minority leader of the Foreign Relations Committee and worked with Obama last year to expand a program aimed at destroying weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union.

Also, the sources say Obama is considering adding Robert Gates -- Bush's defense secretary -- to his national security team.

It is common for presidential candidates to begin setting up a transition team before they are elected. The 10 weeks between the election and the inauguration isn't enough time to assemble a team to lead the country.  Watch Obama's acceptance speech »

CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger said that it's important to take steps quickly to set the right tone, referring to President Clinton, who waited weeks to fill Cabinet positions and announced many of his top staffers just five days before he was sworn in.

"Everything you do early on in a presidency gets magnified. You don't want to make the same mistakes that Bill Clinton made," Borger said. iReport.com: What's Obama's biggest challenge?

Obama did not hold a news conference Wednesday, though he is expected to hold one by the end of the week.

Emanuel helped lead Democrats to majority control of the House in 2006. He was elected to the House in 2002 and is the fourth-highest-ranking member of the chamber's Democratic leadership.

He also worked on Clinton's first presidential campaign and served as a White House adviser to Clinton.

John Podesta, a former chief of staff under Clinton, will be among those leading Obama's transition team. Valerie Jarrett, one of Obama's top advisers, and Peter Rouse, Obama's Senate chief of staff, will also be involved in the effort.

Obama will begin publicizing "the steps that he'll be taking to get prepared to lead on January 20," Jarrett said shortly after Obama gave his victory speech.

Filling out his economic team is a top priority for Obama as he begins to implement a strategy to quell the economic crisis. See the candidates

"This is one of the first times that I can remember that the secretary of the treasury is going to be almost as important as the secretary of state," said CNN senior political analyst David Gergen, who served in the Reagan and Clinton administrations.

Names circulating for the secretary of the treasury position include Timothy Geithner, Lawrence Summers and Paul Volcker, among others.

Geithner helped deal with Wall Street's financial meltdown earlier this year, overseeing the acquisition of Bear Stearns by JPMorgan Chase and the bailouts of AIG and Lehman Brothers. He was appointed president of the New York Federal Reserve in November 2003.

Summers was appointed treasury secretary in July 1999 and served as the chief economist of the World Bank from 1991 through 1993. Before his career in government, he taught economics at Harvard.


Volcker is a former chairman of the Federal Reserve, serving under Presidents Carter and Reagan. He also worked in the private sector as an investment banker and headed the investigation into the United Nations' oil-for-food program for Iraq.

The White House is holding an economic summit November 15. Obama could delay naming his economic team to avoid interfering with the G-20 summit.

Obama's national security team is another priority as the country fights wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It could also be an area where he goes outside his party for an appointee.

Hagel and Gates are both being considered.


Gates has served in Bush's cabinet for almost two years. He worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for 27 years, serving as its director from 1991 through 1993. He also served as deputy national security adviser under President George H. W. Bush.


"What Barack Obama has to do in the transition time is set the tone," Borger said. "If he reaches out to Republicans in the cabinet -- if he decided to keep Bob Gates at Defense -- that's really, really important."
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Offline 2 Cdo

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Re: 20 Jan 09: What the world wants from the new American president.
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2008, 16:44:41 »
As I have said before, Globe and Mail columnist Lawrence Martin hates George W Bush and all his works. This column, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from today’s Globe and Mail is, however, I suspect, reflective of much of the ‘world view:’

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20081105.wcomartin06/BNStory/specialComment/home

Martin has, quite uncritically, bought into the Obama as “superman” myth; he is ”a leader of grace and brilliance and vision,” nothing less than a saviour. In this respect Martin seems to reflect the general world view. He, like the world, is in for a sad surprise when Obama turns out to be oh so very human.

He spews forth a veritable paroxysm of juvenile, knee-jerk, anti-American rage before he gets to a couple of sensible bits:

•   Obama -  his ‘team’ led by Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, anyway  - likely, sees American energy “independence” from “foreign” oil as being possible because most Americans believe Canada is not “foreign” – that’s what Emaneul meant when he said “Natural gas is 98 percent North American.” Our current petroleum based prosperity will continue to rest on a firm foundation of insatiable American demand; and
 
•   Obama will help Harper ”accelerate his course toward the moderate middle”. Martin, grudgingly, recognizes that Harper is already on that course. The problem for the rest of the world is that too many countries – Russia amongst them – are on course for the “hard” extremes and Obama’s perceived personality and expected policies are likely to embolden them and “accelerate” their progress towards the dangerous extremes.

My guess is that most of the world will end up disappointed in Obama – how could they not be given their expectations of perfection? Canada may be the exception. Canadian companies have, broadly, done well during Democratic administrations – protectionist or not – by being able to exploit the opportunities created by big spending. Obama will have less to spend – Bush has left HUGE deficits – but spending will happen and Canadians should get a fair share.



I will file Mr Martens column in the usual spot. The garbage can by my desk. ::)
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: 20 Jan 09: What the world wants from the new American president.
« Reply #15 on: November 11, 2008, 07:16:27 »
Here, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from today’s Globe and Mail is a look at the near future in Obamaland:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20081111.wobamavisit11/BNStory/International/home
Quote
Erasing No. 43's legacy, one policy at a time

JOHN IBBITSON

From Tuesday's Globe and Mail
November 11, 2008 at 4:30 AM EST

WASHINGTON — It was a moment: the two seated in the Oval Office, legs crossed, the older one leaning back in his chair, relaxed, the younger one alert, a little tense. History, again.

George W. Bush is said to be at peace with his legacy, but it can't have been easy knowing that the man across from him is intent on dismantling everything the Republican President achieved.

Mr. Bush and his wife, Laura, invited the Obamas to the White House yesterday for a tour and talks. It was Barack Obama who patted the gregarious Mr. Bush on the shoulder, as the four greeted each other at the South Portico of the White House, and it was Michelle Obama who kissed Ms. Bush lightly on the cheek.

While the first lady showed off the place to her successor, president number 43 and incoming president number 44 went to the Oval Office, which Mr. Obama stepped into for the first time in his life, to discuss the issues that both men will be grappling with during the transition.

Obviously the economy is the overriding concern. Only yesterday, DHL pulled out of the domestic courier business, while Circuit City staggered toward bankruptcy.

On this, as on so many other matters, it is clear that Mr. Obama plans to chart a different course, vastly expanding the scope of the government-financed rescue, while directing the money away from corporate aid toward direct assistance for workers in distress.

But it's not just the economy. It has become perfectly clear over these past few days that the Obama team is utterly confident of its abilities and those of its leader. They're not waiting to master any learning curve. The new administration plans to move swiftly and emphatically on a broad front with one goal: To eliminate every vestige of George Bush's administration, to erase the past eight years.

Campaign surrogates haven't been shy in foreshadowing the incoming administration's agenda. They are examining more than 200 executive orders and other presidential decrees signed by the President that are said to be candidates for repeal.

So expect an immediate reversal of the ban on embryonic stem-cell research. The rejection of California's proposal to tighten automobile emission standards will be switched to approval. Seventeen other states have said they plan to follow California's lead.

Environmentally sensitive lands that the Bush administration opened to oil exploration will be protected again. Limits on overtime for some wage earners will be lifted. Guantanamo will be closed, and directives sent out to all defence, security and intelligence agencies prohibiting the tortures, such as water boarding, that the Bush administration insisted weren't really tortures at all.

On the economy, Mr. Obama has his own panel of august advisers. But the voice that many are listening to in Washington these days is that of Paul Krugman, the economist and New York Times columnist who is this year's Nobel Prize winner for economics, for his writings on trade theory many years ago. Well before it happened, Mr. Krugman predicted that the housing bubble was sustained by unstable mortgages and would collapse, taking the economy down with it.

Mr. Krugman's current mission is to use his bully pulpit to persuade the incoming administration and Congress not to be timid in their efforts to reflate the economy.

"My advice to the Obama people is to figure out how much help they think the economy needs, then add 50 per cent," he wrote yesterday.

"It's much better to err on the side of too much stimulus than on the side of too little."

Already, talk on the Hill is that any new stimulus package, originally slated to come in at around $100-billion, could instead reach $300-billion or even $500-billion, focusing on unemployment relief, infrastructure spending and help for the auto industry.

After all, once your deficit tops $1-trillion, you might as well just keep going.

Mr. Bush, to his great credit, is doing everything in his power to ensure a smooth transition, made manifest by this early invitation to the White House. In his weekend radio address, he referred to Mr. Obama's victory as "a triumph of the American story," and pledged to make a smooth transition "a top priority for the rest of my time in office."

This is a far cry from the 1980 election, when outgoing president Jimmy Carter prepared a detailed briefing for Ronald Reagan, only to find that his successor either didn't understand or didn't care about what Mr. Carter had to say.

And in 1932, Herbert Hoover was ice itself toward Franklin Roosevelt, who refused to co-operate with the lame-duck president during the transition.

Those are the last two instances in which a new president took power dedicated to dismantling the legacy of his predecessor. Both Mr. Reagan and Mr. Roosevelt were also supremely confident presidents who launched revolutionary changes immediately upon taking office.

Both turned out to be great presidents. With Mr. Obama - well, we'll see.


I hate to be repetitive, but the emerging stimulus programmes, especially Krugman’s “add 50% ‘on spec’” ideas, run the very real risk of transiting, quickly, from proper ‘damage control’ into illegal programmes aimed at giving US companies an unfair and wholly improper advantage over better managed foreign competitors – in other words, illegal, improper and destructive protectionism is already on the rise. That's exactly what the world, including the USA, neither wants nor needs.
 

It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Online tomahawk6

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Re: 20 Jan 09: What the world wants from the new American president.
« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2008, 08:31:54 »
I find this stimulus to be destructive to the economy long term.Companies that fail shouldnt be rewarded.They should go the way of companies like Studebaker.

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Re: 20 Jan 09: What the world wants from the new American president.
« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2008, 20:13:00 »
Friedrich A. Hayek and Ludwig von Mises pronounce judgement on the Obama Administration and the Democratic Congress. We will live in interesting times for the next four years:

Quote
Should we really prolong the death struggle for those countries, whose ruling intellectual caste is dependent on the resources that the capitalist west provides for its socialist experiments?
Friedrich A. Hayek

That which generates war is the economic philosophy of nationalism: embargoes, trade -- and currency control, devaluing, etc. The philosophy of protectionism is the philosophy of war.
Ludwig von Mises
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

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Re: 20 Jan 09: What the world wants from the new American president.
« Reply #18 on: November 20, 2008, 10:47:16 »
He's still all about image:

http://jerrypournelle.com/view/2008/Q4/view545.html

Quote
As to politics, I watched 60 Minutes Obama interview last night, and I learned:

1. Neither Obama nor CBS knows the difference between President Elect and President Designate or Presumptive President Elect. Obama does not become President Elect until the Electoral College meets and casts ballots and those are opened and recorded in the Capitol.

2. Obama will close Guantanamo; and he will forbid use of waterboarding by US agents. In an hour of interview that is all I got on specifics. Barrack Obama is good, excellent, at giving reassuring speeches without much in the way of content. I heard him on the finance issues, on military policies, on a whole bunch of stuff, and I was unable to determine what he is going to do. I also didn't get the impression that he understands what will happen when the ravenous wolves -- Democratic Committee Chairmen -- begin their pressure. (Ravenous wolves was Jimmy Carter's description of Congressional Chairmen; note that these were Democrats.) I don't think Obama will be able to resist them.

3. He has been reading Lincoln. I got the impression he was reading an autobiography, but I am not aware that one exists, so I probably got the wrong idea. Perhaps he is reading Lincoln's letters, possibly in conjunction with a biography. I'd love to know whose biography.

4. I don't think he has been reading Amity Schlaes The Forgotten Man, which in my judgment is essential for understanding the Great Depression and what effects The New Deal had (and didn't have. Roosevelt was not an ideologue. He thought himself a pragmatist. Most of what he did did not work as planned; we are stuck with the remnants of many of his measures, one of which, Fannie Mae which transmogrified from the rather successful FHA into a monster that triggered the crisis.

5. Obama is good. It was a good and reassuring interview, and Obama came off as a pragmatic and charismatic leader. I can just hear him saying that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. What I don't know is what he will actually do.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

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Re: 20 Jan 09: What the world wants from the new American president.
« Reply #19 on: November 22, 2008, 12:25:44 »
They will want value for money, apparently:

http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/german-publishings-man-in-the-white-house/

Quote
German Publishing’s Man in the White House

Obama's ties to Bertelsmann are a massive conflict of interest yet to be fully disclosed.
 
November 21, 2008 - by John Rosenthal
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The publicly funded Franco-German “cultural” channel Arte did not waste any time celebrating the dawn of a new era in transatlantic relations. This is the same Arte, incidentally, whose earlier contributions to transatlantic understanding have included a report accusing American soldiers of beheading Vietnamese civilians during the Vietnam War and a portrayal of President George W. Bush with devil’s horns and fangs. On the day after the election of Barack Obama to succeed the outgoing demon-president, the channel broadcast a 70-minute-long special, live from Washington, with the highly imaginative title “A Black Man in the White House” [Un Noir à la maison blanche]. (To their credit, the editors at Arte-Germany chose to abjure the racist impulses of their French counterparts and titled the show instead “Obama: A New Wind in the White House” [Frischer Wind im Weissen Haus].) The guests on the program included Annette Heuser, the executive director of the Bertelsmann Foundation’s new Washington, DC, office. The influential German foundation set up shop in DC just this past spring, presumably in anticipation of the impending “change.” Host Daniel Leconte revealed that the foundation had even helpfully prepared “a little aide, a little white book” for the incoming president on how to conduct his relations with Europe. He was careful to interject that the “white book” had been prepared for both candidates.

In any case, Bertelsmann can be sure that Mr. Obama will read its “little aide, its little white book” very carefully. For — as Ms. Heuser failed to disclose and as was not mentioned either in an op-ed on Obama that she published in the Washington Post in July — the Bertelsmann Corporation happens to be the president-elect’s principal source of income. It was Bertelsmann, namely, that agreed to pay Obama a reported $1.9 million in advances for a three-book deal that the then-senator-elect signed with its fully owned American subsidiary, the Random House publishing group, in December 2004. And who knows? The real amount of the deal might well be more than the reported amount. After all, it was only in April of this year that we discovered that a reported $10 million book deal signed by former President Bill Clinton with Bertelsmann/Random House in 2001 had in fact been worth $15 million. (See my earlier PJM report on “Bill Clinton’s German Paymasters.”)

Largely thanks to the Bertelsmann deal, Obama went from earning just over $85,000 in 2004 (see statement 3 in Barack and Michelle Obamas’ joint 2004 tax return here) to well over $1 million in 2005. His senate salary of $154,000 was dwarfed in that year by a reported $874,000 in income from Random House plus another $336,000 from literary agent Dystel & Goderich. (See statements 5 and 10 in the Obamas’ 2005 return here.) The Obamas’ most recent 2007 return lists a staggering $3,279,000 in income from Random House plus another nearly $816,000 from literary agent Dystel & Goderich, adding up to over $4 million in book-related revenues in all. (As so happens, Jane Dystel is Obama’s former literary agent, whom he is reported to have unceremoniously dumped before signing the Random House deal. That Obama should be receiving such large sums from Dystel & Goderich suggests some sort of complicated settlement between the three parties and this suggests in turn that the sums could well represent additional indirect payments to Obama from Random House. In any case, it is unusual for an agent to be paying a client rather than vice versa.) All told, from 2005 to 2007, Obama received some $4,556,636 in income from the Random House division of Bertelsmann and another $1,299,167 from Dystel & Goderich, adding up to nearly $6 million — presumably all of it related in one way or another to the Bertelsmann/Random House deal.

In the interest of transparency, Obama should surely now release the full details of his contractual relationship with the Bertelsmann Corporation. After all, if one is to judge by his recent tax returns, even as president, he will be paid far more by Bertelsmann than by the American taxpayers. For him to be taking advice from the Bertelsmann Foundation suggests conflict of interest on a magnitude that has perhaps never before been seen in the history of the American presidency. Although legally distinct, the foundation and the corporation are, in effect, just functionally distinct parts of a single entity. The Bertelsmann Foundation is in fact the majority shareholder in the corporation, presently holding roughly three-quarters of the company shares, to which, however, there correspond no voting rights. All the remaining shares are held by the Mohn family: family patriarch Reinhard, his wife Liz, and their children. The Mohns in turn control the foundation (to which Reinhard Mohn assigned a large part of the company capital in 1993), such that foundation and corporation are perfectly intertwined and both are, in effect, emanations of the Mohn family’s power.

It might be considered irrelevant today that Bertelsmann massively collaborated with the Nazi regime during World War II. (For more on this, see “Bill Clinton’s German Paymasters.”) But it is surely not irrelevant that when German researcher Hersch Fischler first brought this fact to light, the family proposed to have the matter further investigated by one Dirk Bavendamm. Bavendamm is the family’s “in-house” historian, having written no fewer than three commissioned histories of the Mohn family and the Bertelsmann Corporation. As so happens, he is also an open revisionist, who calls World War II “Roosevelt’s War” and suggests — à la contemporary 9/11 conspiracy theorists writing on George W. Bush — that Franklin Delano Roosevelt intentionally permitted the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor to occur. Bavendamm has even written a book on the subject with the curious title Roosevelt’s War 1937-45 and the Puzzle of Pearl Harbor [Roosevelts Krieg 1937 -- 45 und das Rätsel von Pearl Harbor]. “With the events of December 7-8, 1941 [i.e., the attack on Pearl Harbor], Roosevelt … had achieved his most important aims,” Bavendamm has written in an essay on the subject [German link], “America’s entry into the War occurred with the enthusiastic consent of the overwhelming majority of the American people — … Roosevelt had finally convinced them that it was their sacred duty, guns in hand to defend freedom, democracy, and prosperity around the world.” (For more on Bavendamm, see Hersch Fischler and John Friedman’s “Bertelsmann’s Revisionist” here.)

The theory that the Pearl Harbor attack was a set-up is, incidentally, standard neo-Nazi fare. Interestingly enough, in his infamous “God Damn America!” sermon, Obama’s longtime pastor Jeremiah Wright invokes precisely this theory as apparently well-established fact: “The government lied about Pearl Harbor too,” he says. “They knew the Japanese were going to attack. Governments lie.”

The Obama team and the Mohns would undoubtedly say that it is scandalous to suggest that the Mohns were using their millions to influence the American presidency or that Obama could possibly be corrupted. But as a reputed former professor of constitutional law, Obama will surely recall the famous words of James Madison in the Federalist Papers: “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” The president-elect’s most fervent followers may well be convinced that he is divine. But his financial relationship to Bertelsmann proves, after all, that he is only human.


Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: 20 Jan 09: What the world wants from the new American president.
« Reply #20 on: December 03, 2008, 14:30:00 »
The threats of unconventional attacks will need to be addressed on an ongoing basis (the political hype in the article notwithstanding). More continuation of the Bush legacy:

http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/editors/22207/?nlid=1554

Quote
Unconventional-Weapons Warnings from Obama Advisors

Members of Obama's transition team warn that the United States has not taken seriously the threat of bioterrorism, and that some chemical plants are potential targets.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
By Katherine Bourzac

Two reports in the news this week offer a glimpse of how unconventional-weapons oversight and government regulation of chemical plants might change under the next U.S. administration.

According to the New York Times, a report on the use of unconventional weapons calls congressional oversight of the issue "dysfunctional" and faults the Bush administration for not devoting enough resources to the threat of bioterrorism. The report, the result of six months of deliberation by the bipartisan, congressionally created Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Terrorism, will be released this week.

The report's authors hope that its recommendations will guide the next administration, which is likely, since some of its authors, including Wendy Sherman, have already been advising Obama during his transition.

From the Times story:

    Prepared before last week's deadly terrorist attacks in Mumbai--which American officials say were most likely carried out by Pakistani militant groups based in Kashmir--the report also singled out Pakistan as a top security priority for the coming Obama administration . . .

    The panel's 13 recommendations focus on fighting the threat of bioterrorism, including improved bioforensic capabilities, and strengthening international organizations, like the International Atomic Energy Agency, to address the nuclear threat. It also calls for a comprehensive approach for dealing with Pakistan . . .

    "Unless the world community acts decisively and with great urgency, it is more likely than not that a weapon of mass destruction will be used in a terrorist attack somewhere in the world by the end of 2013," the report states in the opening sentence of the executive summary.

And in related news, Chemistry World reports that the U.S. chemical industry is concerned about the release of a report by the Center for American Progress (CAP), a liberal think tank founded by John Podesta, the former Clinton chief of staff who heads Obama's transition team. The report, "Chemical Security 101," lists the country's most dangerous chemical-manufacturing and water-treatment plants. Based on an assessment of chemical facilities' risk-management plans, the report warns that hundreds of plants in 41 states put 110 million lives at risk. According to the report, these plants could become less vulnerable to terrorism--and would lower the risk to their neighbors--if they switched to alternative chemicals and processes. Bleach plants, for example, could generate chlorine on-site instead of having it shipped in by rail. And the report says that the Department of Homeland Security's plan for dealing with chemical safety (CFATS), which expires next year, is inadequate.

From Chemistry World:

    Paul Orum, a safety consultant who drafted the report for CAP, says the expiration of CFATS in October 2009, 'could provide an impetus for creating a comprehensive chemical safety programme. Just reauthorising the current programme will not provide effective chemical security.'

    Orum and others believe that Obama could significantly strengthen the government's chemical safety rules after taking office on 20 January, 2009. Obama and incoming vice president Joe Biden have both in the past introduced legislation that pushes chemical facilities to use safer alternatives where practicable.

    A Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Act, which requires high-risk chemical facilities to use safer methods and eliminates the exemption of water facilities, was introduced in March 2008, but has not yet been reviewed by the House, nor introduced in the Senate.

In our March/April 2006 cover story, Mark Williams reported on the threat of bioterror. And this year, TR has reported on how Obama used technology in his election campaign and on the science and technology policy challenges that he will face as president.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline S.M.A.

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Re: 20 Jan 09: What the world wants from the new American president.
« Reply #21 on: December 03, 2008, 15:34:01 »
Just more rhetoric? Or something to balance out the critics' doom and gloom predictions about the oncoming administration?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/29/AR2008112901912.html?hpid=topnews

Quote
Joint Chiefs Chairman 'Very Positive' After Meeting With Obama

Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, went unarmed into his first meeting with the new commander in chief -- no aides, no PowerPoint presentation, no briefing books. Summoned nine days ago to President-elect Barack Obama's Chicago transition office, Mullen showed up with just a pad, a pen and a desire to take the measure of his incoming boss.
There was little talk of exiting Iraq or beefing up the U.S. force in Afghanistan; the one-on-one, 45-minute conversation ranged from the personal to the philosophical. Mullen came away with what he wanted: a view of the next president as a non-ideological pragmatist who was willing to both listen and lead. After the meeting, the chairman "felt very good, very positive," according to Mullen spokesman Capt. John Kirby.
As Obama prepares to announce his national security team tomorrow, he faces a military that has long mistrusted Democrats and is particularly wary of a young, intellectual leader with no experience in uniform, who once called Iraq a "dumb" war. Military leaders have all heard his pledge to withdraw most combat forces from Iraq within 16 months -- sooner than commanders on the ground have recommended -- and his implied criticism of the Afghanistan war effort during the Bush administration.
But so far, Obama appears to be going out of his way to reassure them that he will do nothing rash and will seek their advice, even while making clear that he may not always take it. He has demonstrated an ability to speak the lingo, talk about "mission plans" and "tasking," and to differentiate between strategy and tactics, a distinction Republican nominee John McCain accused him of misunderstanding during the campaign.
Obama has been careful to separate his criticism of Bush policy from his praise of the military's valor and performance, while Michelle Obama's public expressions of concern for military families have gone over well. But most important, according to several senior officers and civilian Pentagon officials who would speak about their incoming leader only on the condition of anonymity, is the expectation of renewed respect for the chain of command and greater realism about U.S. military goals and capabilities, which many found lacking during the Bush years.
"Open and serious debate versus ideological certitude will be a great relief to the military leaders," said retired Maj. Gen. William L. Nash of the Council on Foreign Relations. Senior officers are aware that few in their ranks voiced misgivings over the Iraq war, but they counter that they were not encouraged to do so by the Bush White House or the Pentagon under Donald H. Rumsfeld.

"The joke was that when you leave a meeting, everybody is supposed to drink the Kool-Aid," Nash said. "In the Bush administration, you had to drink the Kool-Aid before you got to go to the meeting."
Obama's expected retention of Robert M. Gates as defense secretary and expected appointment of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state and retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones as national security adviser have been greeted with relief at the Pentagon.
Clinton is respected at the Pentagon and is considered a defense moderate, at times bordering on hawkish. Through her membership on the Senate Armed Services Committee -- sought early in her congressional career to add gravitas to her presidential aspirations -- she has developed close ties with senior military figures.
Some in the military are suspicious of "flagpole" officers such as Jones, whose assignments included Supreme Allied Commander at NATO, Marine commandant and other headquarters service, and who grew up in France and is a graduate of Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. But Jones also saw combat in Vietnam and served in Bosnia.

"His reputation is pretty good," one Pentagon official said. "He's savvy about Washington, worked the Hill," and at a lean 6-foot-4, the former Georgetown basketball player "looks great in a suit."
Although Jones occasionally and privately briefed candidate Obama on foreign policy matters -- on Afghanistan, in particular, as did current deputy NATO commander Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry -- he is not considered an intimate of the president-elect.
But as Obama's closest national security adviser, or at least the one who will spend the most time with him, Jones is expected to follow the pattern of two military predecessors in the job, Brent Scowcroft and Colin L. Powell, who injected order and discipline to a National Security Council full of strong personalities with independent power bases.
Although exit polls did not break out active-duty voters, it is virtually certain that McCain won the military vote.
In an October survey by the Military Times, nearly 70 percent of more than 4,000 officers and enlisted respondents said they favored McCain, while about 23 percent preferred Obama. Only African American service members gave Obama a majority.

In exit polls, those who said they had "ever served in the U.S. military" made up 15 percent of voters and broke 54 percent for McCain to 44 percent for Obama. "As a culture, we are more conservative and Republican," a senior officer said.
Obama has said he will meet with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs as well as the service chiefs during his first week in office. At the top of his agenda for that meeting will be what he has called the military's "new mission" of planning the 16-month withdrawal timeline for Iraq. Senior officers have publicly grumbled about the risk involved.
"Moving forward in a measured way, tied to conditions as they continue to evolve, over time, is important," Mullen said at a media briefing four days before his Nov. 21 meeting with Obama. "I'm certainly aware of what has been said" prior to the election, he said.
The last Democratic president, Bill Clinton, clashed with the chiefs during his first sit-down with them when they opposed his campaign pledge to end the ban on gays in the military. The chiefs, some of whom held the commander in chief in thinly veiled contempt as a supposed Vietnam draft dodger, won the battle, and Clinton spent much of his two terms seen as an adversary.
But Mullen came away from the Chicago talk reassured that Obama will engage in a discussion with them, balancing risks and "asking tough questions . . . but not in a combative, finger-pointing way," one official said.
The president-elect's invitation to Mullen, whom Obama previously had met only in passing on Capitol Hill and whose first two-year term as chairman does not expire until the end of September, was seen as an attempt to establish a relationship and avoid early conflict. While some Pentagon officials believe an Iraq withdrawal order could become Obama's equivalent of the Clinton controversy over gays, several senior Defense Department sources said that Gates, Mullen and Gen. David H. Petraeus, head of the military's Central Command, are untroubled by the 16-month plan and feel it can be accomplished with a month or two of wiggle room.
These sources noted that Obama himself has said he would not be "careless" about withdrawal and would retain a "residual" force of unspecified size to fight terrorists and protect U.S. diplomats and civilians. The officer most concerned about untimely withdrawal, sources said, is the Iraq commander, Gen. Ray Odierno.Even as the Iraq war continues, defense officials are far more worried about Afghanistan, where they see policy drift and an unfocused mission. With strategy reviews now being completed at the White House and by the chairman's office, an internal Pentagon debate is well underway over whether goals should be lowered.
Although Gen. David McKiernan, the U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, has requested four more U.S. combat brigades, some Pentagon strategists believe a smaller presence of Special Forces and trainers for Afghan forces -- and more attention to Pakistan -- is advisable.
Bush's ideological objective of a modern Afghan democracy, several officials said, is unattainable with current U.S. resources, and there is optimism that Obama will have a more realistic view.
A number of senior officers also look with favor on Obama's call for talks with Iran over Iraq and Afghanistan, separating those issues from U.S. demands over Tehran's nuclear program.
One of the biggest long-term military issues on Obama's plate will be the defense budget, currently topping 4.3 percent of gross domestic product once war expenditures are included.
Obama has said he will increase the size of the Army and the Marine Corps, finding savings in the Iraq drawdown and in new scrutiny of spending, including on contractors, weapons programs and missile defense.
"They know the money is coming down," a Pentagon official said of the uniformed services, and many welcome increased discipline.
But it's neither the military's nature nor its role to volunteer the cuts, the official said. "It's for Congress and the administration to say 'Stop it.' "
Our Country
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"A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves."   - Lao Zi (老子)
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"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."
- Winston Churchill

Offline Hamish Seggie

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Re: 20 Jan 09: What the world wants from the new American president.
« Reply #22 on: December 05, 2008, 09:55:47 »
Let's see how he reacts on his first major decision, domestic or foreign. Clinton caved into  everything. How will Obama react with Hillary in his cabinet?
Freedom Isn't Free   "Never Shall I Fail My Brothers"

“Do everything that is necessary and nothing that is not".

Offline Thucydides

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Re: 20 Jan 09: What the world wants from the new American president.
« Reply #23 on: December 09, 2008, 11:17:26 »
Remember, this is the political environment where President elect Obama learned the craft.....

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-rod-blagojevich-1209,0,7997804.story

Quote
Illinois Gov. Blagojevich, chief of staff, arrested
Read about the latest developments

By Jeff Coen, David Kidwell and Monique Garcia | Tribune staff reporters
    9:14 AM CST, December 9, 2008

Blagojevich responds

Gov. Rod Blagojevich arrives at the Tribune Tower for an interview with CNN in Chicago. He had earlier appeared outside Republic Windows and Doors plant to offer support for the workers. Outside the plant he spoke to the media for the first time since the Chicago Tribune revealed federal investigators had recorded him and others as part of their corruption probe. Blagojevich said his discussions were "always lawful." (Tribune photo by Nancy Stone / December 8, 2008)

Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris, were arrested by FBI agents on federal corruption charges Tuesday morning.

Blagojevich and Harris were arrested simultaneously at their homes at about 6:15 a.m., according to Frank Bochte of the FBI. Both were awakened in their residences and transported to FBI headquarters in Chicago.

In one charge related to the appointment of a senator to replace Barack Obama, prosecutors allege that Blagojevich sought appointment for himseld as Secretary of Health and Human Services in the new Obama administration, or a lucrative job with a union, in exchange for appointing a union-preferred candidate.

Another charge alleges Blagojevich and Harris conspired to demand the firing of Chicago Tribune editorial board members responsible for editorials critical of him in exchange for state help with the sale of Wrigley Field, the Chicago Cubs baseball stadium owned by Tribune Co.

Blagojevich and Harris, along with others, obtained and sought to gain financial benefits for the governor, members of his family and his campaign fund in exchange for appointments to state boards and commissions, state jobs and state contracts, according to the charges.

"The breadth of corruption laid out in these charges is staggering," U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said in a statement.

"They allege that Blagojevich put a 'for sale' sign on the naming of a United States senator; involved himself personally in pay-to-play schemes with the urgency of a salesman meeting his annual sales target; and corruptly used his office in an effort to trample editorial voices of criticism."


Blagojevich is scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nan Nolan later today, according to Randall Samborn of the U.S. attorney's office.

A three-year federal corruption investigation of pay-to-play politics in Gov. Rod Blagojevich's administration has expanded to include his impending selection of a new U.S. senator to succeed President-elect Barack Obama, the Tribune has learned.

Federal authorities got approval from a judge before the November general election to secretly record the governor, sources told the Tribune, and among their concerns was whether the selection process might be tainted. That possibility has become a focus in an intensifying investigation that has included recordings of the governor and the cooperation of one of his closest friends.

The governor has not been accused of any wrongdoing. The specific contents of the recent recordings have not been disclosed. Blagojevich has said the appointment of a Senate successor, which is his choice alone, could come in a matter of weeks.

Speaking to reporters Monday for the first time since the Tribune revealed federal investigators had recorded him and others as part of their corruption probe, Blagojevich said his discussions were "always lawful." He also defended close confidant John Wyma, whose cooperation with federal agents helped lead to the recordings, as "an honest person who's conducted himself in an honest way."

"I should say if anybody wants to tape my conversations, go right ahead, feel free to do it," he said. "I appreciate anybody who wants to tape me openly and notoriously, and those who feel like they want to sneakily, and wear taping devices, I would remind them that it kind of smells like Nixon and Watergate."

Unlike the recordings that the federal government has of Blagojevich, the tapes that led to President Richard Nixon's 1974 resignation over the burglary of Democratic offices at the Watergate complex and the ensuing coverup were made by Nixon himself.

Regardless of "whether you tape me privately or publicly, I can tell you that whatever I say is always lawful and the things I'm interested in are always lawful," Blagojevich said. "And if there are any things out there like that, what you'll hear is a governor who tirelessly and endlessly figures out ways to help average, ordinary working people."

Blagojevich's comments came amid increasing concern by Democrats that the governor's pending appointment of a Senate successor may become politically tainted as a result of the investigations surrounding his administration. Federal investigators have been looking into allegations of corruption regarding state jobs, appointments and contracts in connection with Blagojevich's prolific fundraising.

Blagojevich has not been charged with any wrongdoing and contended that if federal investigators areƒs "going to those lengths and extents [of obtaining recordings], if in fact that's true, that would suggest all the past has been pretty good."

"I don't believe there's any cloud that hangs over me. I think there's nothing but sunshine hanging over me," the governor said.

Blagojevich made the remarks at a Monday morning visit to laid-off workers staging a sit-in at the Republic Windows & Doors plant on Goose Island.

Later Monday, he met for 90 minutes with Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., the South Side and southwest suburban congressman who has been the most visibly active campaigner for the appointment to replace Obama. Jackson, who was among the last high-profile Senate successor candidates to speak with Blagojevich, has had disagreements with the governor and is not close to him.

Blagojevich issued a strong defense of Wyma and accused the Tribune of publishing misinformation and possibly defamatory material.

"To begin with, they didn't get it right," he said. "John Wyma's lawyer put out a statement. The Tribune was wrong and very well may have defamed him."

But the statement from Wyma's lawyer did not directly address the Tribune story and instead appeared directed at media outlets and others who reported Wyma wore a wire.

The Tribune noted that Wyma's cooperation with federal investigators helped lead to recordings of Blagojevich but did not report that he wore a wire.

Wyma's lawyer also did not respond to the Tribune's report that Wyma was cooperating with investigators. "John Wyma is a friend of mine, he was my chief of staff, and I'm sure whatever he does, he does ethically and follows the rules," the governor said.

Blagojevich said he would not remove Wyma from his inner circle of advisers. He also told the Tribune that Wyma was not involved in the deliberations over an Obama successor. "No, I consider him a friend. and I don't consider him as anything but a friend. And to someone who, as I've known him, always has been an honest person who's conducted himself in an honest way," Blagojevich said of Wyma. "That's the John Wyma I know and it's the John Wyma that [Obama's incoming chief of staff, Rep.] Rahm Emanuel knows and a lot of other people know."

Blagojevich said he had last spoken to Wyma the day before Thanksgiving, when he offered holiday wishes and "talked a little bit about the plight of the Detroit Lions. He's from Michigan."

And the governor indicated he was not concerned about Wyma cooperating with federal investigators. "Look, I believe everybody should just tell the truth and pursue the truth and be truthful and then you do that and everything's fine," he said.

Tribune reporter John Chase contributed to this report.

Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: 20 Jan 09: What the world wants from the new American president.
« Reply #24 on: December 11, 2008, 11:01:49 »
It seems that Google's unofficial motto "do no evil" is situational. Perhaps it is time to migrate en mass to another search engine that does not attempt to censor the Internet:

http://thesecretsofvancouver.com/wordpress/now-cached-pages-are-going-away/oddities

Quote
Now Cached Pages Are Going Away
December 11th, 2008 Posted in Oddities

It seems like web articles critical of Obama are disappearing faster than you can say Change.

The current crop of disappearing web stories are keeping bloggers busy, but now even cached versions are disappearing.

It’s starting to look like Obama’s machine has really kicked in.

Can you say cover-up?

Here’s Googles policy:

The “Cached” link will be missing for sites that have not been indexed, as well as for sites whose owners have requested we not cache their content.

I think that Google may be kept busy with requests over the next few days.

Control of information is how dictatorships and authoritarians survive. The question we should be asking about Google is who is directing this activity, and what are the owners and managers of Google receiving in return?

The real action we should take is to start changing our search pages away from Google and informing advertisers we will start boycotting anyone who appears on Google.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.