In my last post I very clearly flipped the bird @ the Religious Right, well now Vladimir Putin of Russia and the National Security Advisor of India have done the same to American efforts in the War On Terror, eeh no wait what are we calling it now, that would be too provocative (We The People)! The attached video is an interview Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC via FIREDOGLAKE @ YouTube. Hoosier Pundit provides more information on the stories below:
In a setback to the escalating U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan, the president of Kyrgyzstan said Tuesday that his government will shut down the American air base in his country. U.S. officials say that the Manas Air Base is vital to plans to send an additional 30,000 American troops to Afghanistan, a linchpin of President Barack Obama’s efforts to pacify the country.In another news story, India has warned US President Barack Obama that he risks “barking up the wrong tree” if he seeks to broker a settlement between Pakistan and India over the disputed territory of Kashmir. MK Narayanan, India’s national security advisor, said that the new US administration was in danger of dredging up out of date Clinton administration-era strategies in a bid to bring about improved ties between the two nuclear armed neighbours. Mr Narayanan said in an interview with CNBC TV18:
The announcement by President Kurmanbek Bakiyev came in Moscow, not in his own capital, and shortly after the Russian government reportedly agreed to lend Kyrgyzstan $2 billion, write off $180 million in debt and add another $150 million in aid. Although the Russian government didn’t release a statement about the decision, the timing and place of the announcement indicated that the Kremlin had been involved.
“I do think that we could make President Obama understand, if he does nurse any such view, that he is barking up the wrong tree. I think Kashmir today has become one of the quieter and safer places in this part of the world.It’s possible that at this time there are elements, perhaps in the administration who are harking back to the pre-2000 era."
The first article continues: ....The problem was never in Krygyzstan. Biden predicted that world leaders would challenge Obama and his inexperience within the first few months of the administration, but they’ve already started to line up in the first few days. Iran launched a satellite on an ICBM to show they could go ballistic once they have nuclear weapons. North Korea reportedly has set up another ICBM for a test to threaten Seoul. Now Russia has flipped an ally in the war on terror — and all of this in the first 14 days of Obama’s presidency.Another One Bites The Dust
First we reported on Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico stepping away from his nomination as Commerce Secretary under the Obama Administration, due to a Federal Investigation over government bond issues. The new nominee is Republican Senator Judd Gregg, from New Hampshire for Commerce, as revealed today during yet another press conference (Video: CSPANJUNKIE). Then we all learned about Tim Geithner, the Treasury Secretary's tax evasion history for four years, but he was still approved by the Senate.
I was originally okay with his original explanation, given the personal circumstances; however what I am not okay with is, that when he was informed of the issue for two of the four years, he resolved the issue at hand but did not resolve the other two years until much later when he got bitch slapped for them. That makes it a case of holding your cards to your chest politically and praying they don't find the extra Queen under your sleeve, rather than just 'fessing up and dealing with the consequences.
Tim still earns the Hunk of Flesh award for January, he is slick enough to get through the Senate approval process unscathed. He is kind of hot and geeky all at the same time, especially for being in his late forties, it makes one wonder what is under the suit and tie.
To top it off, former South Dakota Senator, Tom Daschle , now a lobbyist for Alston & Bird a health care law firm on K Street, came up for a vote as the Secretary for Health and Human Services, and it was revealed that he too had a current one hundred and forty thousand dollar tax evasion problem that hadn't been resolved until it came to light.
This is the same Senator who back in 1998 said, "Make no mistake Tax Cheaters! Cheat us all and the IRS should enforce our laws to the letter." and is now asking us to overlook these very recent infractions and subversion of the law. Senator Daschle, given his previous elected offices, which he lost in 2004, after serving in Washington D.C. since 1978, was viewed as a critical appointment, since he would give the Obama Administration pull in the Senate to get the Nationalized Health Care Package passed later this year.
So much for that bird taking flight.
President Obama reportedly slumped over the podium and expressed dismay over the entire tax fraud Nominees scenario, "I screwed up. I take full responsibility for it. And I'm taking steps to make sure it doesn't happen again.". Tom Daschle "withdrew" his name from consideration as Secretary of Health and Human Services. Nancy Killefer, Obama's Performance Czar nominee, has withdrawn for the same reasons also. Afterward President Obama held a interview tour with the five major networks regarding this and other controversies. The following is excerpted from his interview with Chris Wallace on FOX NEWS:
WALLACE: Did you or anyone else in your administration tell Tom Daschle he had to step down as your nominee?So, we have Obama's Treasury pick getting in and these others hitting the road after setting the Administration up for a Public Relations nightmare. I thought the preinaugural vetting process which included the infamous 62 page questionnaire to be filled out by all people applying for a position with the new Administration, was suppose to have stopped this all ahead of time. This is what we call a consistent critical failure. After signing some of the most strongest employee ethics and lobbying restrictions, the Obama Administration then had to turn around and issue up to seventeen different waivers so far to high level individuals in all parts of government. So much for change you can believe in, it is politics as usual.
OBAMA: Well, you know, I'm not going to go into the details of it, but as has been reported, Tom made the decision that he was going to be too much of a distraction to carry out what he's so passionate about, which is health care reform. What I did tell him was that I take responsibility for this mistake. I mean, I think that Tom took responsibility for the mistake on his taxes. I think it was an honest mistake and I made the assessment — I made the judgment — that he was the best person to achieve health care reform and bring people together.
But, you know, what became clear to me is that we can't send a message to the American people that we got two sets of rules: one for prominent people and one for ordinary people. And you know, so I consider this a mistake on my part, and one that I intend to fix and correct and make sure that we're not screwing up again.
W: Well, the reason I ask is because yesterday in this office you were asked whether you supported him and you said absolutely.
W: And it becomes clear from your answer that you played a role in the decision for him to
OBAMA: No, no, no, no, no. I don't want to — I don't want to misstate the issue here. Tom made the decision here. He called me and indicated this was his decision.
W: Would you have continued to back him?
O: Well, I don't want to get into hypotheticals, Chris. Here's what I'll say: I think Tom is an outstanding person. I think this was an unintentional mistake on his part but a substantial one, and there's no excuse for the mistake. He took responsibility for it.
Ultimately, I have to take responsibility for a process that resulted in us not having an HHS secretary at a time when people need relief on their health care costs. And so, you know, this is a mistake, probably not the first one I'm going to be making in this office, but what I'm absolutely committed to doing is fixing it, getting a highly qualified HHS secretary, and then making sure that we start providing some health care relief to families who so desperately need it.
W: On your first day in office, you signed an executive order on lobbyists.
W: That you said marks a "clean break with business as usual."
W: And yet, in less than two weeks, you have signed waivers to allow the hiring of lobbyists to be deputy secretary at the Pentagon, deputy secretary at HHS and chief of staff at the treasury. Is that a clean break?
O: Well, that's three out of hundreds of appointments that we've made.
W: That is three of the top jobs that are really important.
O: Well, but let me say this, Chris. We disclosed these ahead of time. We set a very high bar, and everybody acknowledges that we have the toughest standards not only of people who have lobbied previously and the restrictions on them working in this White House, but also going forward, and those rules will still apply.
EDITOR: You can read the entire rough draft transcript and/or watch the interview via video.
On a lighter more environmentally friendly note:
Perez Hilton is reporting that the latest issue of Vanity Fair, has embraced a green initiative, and recycled their cover picture of President Obama from July 2007 to their latest issue, with just a change of background and text.The photograph was taken by Annie Leibovitz.
Wilhelmina, a character of ABC's Ugly Betty, would have a cow if they ever reused a cover on MODE! The Political Cartoon regarding Tom Daschle is by Gary Varvel of the Indianapolis Star. Stay Tuned for Part 2.