William Katz / Urgent Agenda
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We have been flooded with e-mails in the last few days, coinciding with the start of the Obama presidency. Each one will be answered. Please give us a little time. Thanks.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 24, 2009
COMMENT: This doesn't do the president a bit of good. After a while, it starts looking ridiculous. Some people need maturity lessons. The president should be embarrassed, and should tell his friends to cool it.
COMMENT: Mexico is another country that likes to lecture the United States. It should solve some of its problems first.
COMMENT: Very preliminary. Israel votes on February 10th, so the current government is a lame-duck affair. The Palestinians are almost in a civil war. Why would Mitchell want a job like this?
COMMENT: Please notice that there are also early references in the news to the fact that there'll be another election in two years - for Congress. Not too early to plan. If the economy doesn't revive by then, it's possible Republicans can make great gains.
ACTION IN AFGHANISTAN: From The New York Times:
COMMENT: The key point here is that this occurred on Obama's watch, and his administration went forward with the raid. There was also a missile strike into the border area with Pakistan. Too early to detect the specifics of the Obama policy, but the fact that both attacks went forward is telling.
It is approaching armed combat within the Democratic Party of New York. Sides are being chosen. Gun stores are being emptied. At its core: Instead of picking Caroline Kennedy for the Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton, Governor David Paterson picked an upstate congresswoman backed by the NRA, someone whose apparent sin is that she doesn't do fine dining in Manhattan often enough. The Caroline thing won't go away, as the New York Post reports:
There is now widespread talk of the Dem establishment mounting primary campaigns in 2010 against both Paterson and Gillibrand. The Kennedy crowd is angry. The gun-control crowd is angry. The chic New York City feminists are angry. And there is salt in the wound. Again, the New York Post reports:
The fact is that Gillibrand was once an intern for D'Amato.
Two notes: President Obama pointedly called Senator-designate Gillibrand to congratulate her. Also, the Post reports, and no one denies, that allies of Hillary Clinton worked to get Gillibrand the appointment, something they'd never have done without Clinton's approval. Clinton, understandably, did not want to be succeeded by Caroline Kennedy, who worked against her in the presidential primaries.
This is a continuing saga, with national implications. If the New York Dems dissolve into civil war, the GOP could conceivably win Gillibrand's Senate seat, and the right GOP candidate for president might have a shot at the state in 2012.
So much fun.
January 24, 2009. Permalink
MORE DISGRACE, AT 7:02 A.M. ET: From The New York Times:
COMMENT: Wasn't the purpose of the first bailout to get the credit markets going? There is no accountability and not many questions asked in Washington. Republicans should have opposed this bailout. They should oppose new ones that don't have absolute transparency. I'd love to know how many "executive" bonuses were paid with our money, while charities like the ones above go begging. We, on our side, claim that we'd rather have private agencies dispense social services, rather than governments. Let's back up the rhetoric with action.
COMMENT: Utterly disgraceful language. This is the ambassador to Washington from a country shoulder deep in preaching hatred of Christians and Jews, and he presumes to lecture us, and to make entirely inappropriate remarks about the former president. It won't happen, but the proper response should be a formal protest by the State Department, and a possible demand that the ambassador be replaced. You can be sure, though, that the Saudi lobby will make sure things are glossed over.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 23, 2009
COMMENT: Now, do Republicans have to certify that they've thrown away their radios? Taken the batteries out? What if they're caught listening by the Radio Police? Does this include car radios? If Rush is interviewed on another show, do they have to turn that off, too? The president should be clear on what the rules are for participation in government. They should be written.
THE LATEST IN CULTURE - AT 8:51 P.M. ET: From London's Telegraph:
COMMENT: Thought you'd like to know about the latest trend. I give this trend a week.
COMMENT: Can you just imagine if George W. Bush had done this.
Mr. Suskind doesn't know what he's talking about. Human intelligence didn't die under Bush. The fact is, we've never been very good at it. When I was in the CIA, and that was in the sixties, one of the first things were were told was that the agency was strong on technology, weak on human intelligence. Human intelligence depends on "native assets," citizens of a particular country who are willing to help us. Rarely is this willingness related to how much we've loved. It usually has more to do with money, resentments, and favors. (We recently bribed some local chieftains in the Afghan/Pakistan border area with Viagra.)
The fact is, though, that very few people in any country will stick their necks out to help a foreign intelligence organization, even if they hate their own government. And, by the way, about 80 percent of intelligence information is collected openly.
Mr. Suskind has seen too many James Bond movies.
COMMENT: We're so moved that Ms. Sarandon knows what the world is thinking. Apparently, actresses have this sixth sense. Oh, by the way, we wonder if she knows that Egypt and Abu Dhabi are dictatorships. Just asking.
COMMENT: Bottom line - President Obama doesn't want thousands of American casualties on his head if we fail to get information from a high-value subject. He's left the required loophole.
COMMENT: An informed source tells me that the governor's state-funded health plan includes psychiatric care. He should avail himself of the benefit.
COMMENT: We can't even trust our classical musicians anymore. Civilization is near its end.
WITH THE CLINTONS, IT'S ALWAYS SOMETHING - AT 8:37 A.M. ET: From The Washington Times:
COMMENT: Influence the Clintons? Whoever heard of such a thing? Look, I suspect Hillary has enough smarts to insulate herself. She's ambitious. She doesn't want to blow it. But money can complicate things.
COMMENT: Puts all the fast talk about "closing Gitmo" in a bit of perspective, ay? Maybe the fast closers should be put in a room with parents of some Americans who'll probably be killed by this guy. And, of course, once again the name Saudi Arabia surfaces. You know that great ally of the United States?
COMMENT: As reported here yesterday, there were also testy moments between the press corps and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. Already there is some tension between the media and the new administration. In a way, that's good for the reporters. The more they get out of the in-the-tank-for-Obama mode, the better for all of us.
COMMENT: The building was just built. There are still factory warranties on the equipment. The Times is in serious trouble, and does not want to confront the fact that its product just isn't as respected as it once was. That is why readers drop away, and fewer readers means less advertising. This is an important story because The Times is still the most influential journalistic institution in the country.
COMMENT: The Palestinians are in a near civil-war situation. The more moderate (comparatively) wing, the Palestinian Authority, is in conflict with Hamas, a radical Islamic group. The PA official is right: Once again, under international pressure, Israel withdrew before the job was done. Soon, though, Israel will have a new government - elections are scheduled for next month - and maybe some better strategic planning will result.
CUE ORGAN MUSIC: In today's episode, Caroline Kennedy, daughter of fame and fortune, is crushed by press reports saying that she had to bow out of the race to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate because of problems involving taxes, a nanny, and possibly her marriage.
ORGAN MUSIC UP: At the same time, David Paterson, wily governor of New York and son of Democratic power Basil Paterson, is ready to appoint Kirsten Gillibrand, upstate congresswoman, to Clinton's seat.
PATRIOTIC ORGAN MUSIC: Meanwhile, back at the State Department, Hillary Clinton, who has it in for Caroline because Caroline backed Obama in the primaries, is in her glory, with a wide smile, introducing the president and vice president to the State Department staff. She is satisfied that Caroline didn't get her seat.
SINISTER ORGAN MUSIC: But in Albany, State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, son of the powerful Mario, and who was once married to Caroline's cousin, and who wanted to be senator, steams over the rejection by the hated David, and plots revenge as he paces his office.
HAPPY ORGAN MUSIC: As all this is going on, Rose, daughter of Caroline, whoops it up at Harvard, hanging with guitarist Mike Einziger, who's some kind of important music guy.
FUNEREAL ORGAN MUSIC: Watching are liberal Dems, seething, angry, weeping, because new Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is backed by the NRA. There is talk of revenge, plots, betrayal.
Brought to you by Tide, for whiter whites and bluer blues. Tune in tomorrow...
January 23, 2009. Permalink
"What you see is news. What you know is background. What you feel is opinion."
THE ANGEL'S CORNER
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