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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

North Korea Heating Up

Hope Obama is watching this CLOSELY.

Hey folks,

Obama leaves today to do a little Glob Trotting trip and I hope he takes time out to keep an eye on North Korea. This needs watching. VERY CLOSE watching. Others are not so willing to sit back and hope that a smile and a wave will work.

This photo shows a rocket on the launch pad ready to go. Now they claim it is for a satellite. Others and I are not so sure about that. According to the AP - Warships set sail ahead of N. Korean rocket launch

SEOUL, South Korea – Japanese, South Korean and U.S. missile-destroying ships set sail to monitor North Korea's imminent rocket launch, as Pyongyang stoked tensions Monday by detaining a South Korean worker for allegedly denouncing the North's political system. North Korea says it will send a communications satellite into orbit between April 4 and 8.

The U.S., South Korea and Japan suspect the regime is using the launch to test long-range missile technology, and warn it would face U.N. sanctions under a Security Council resolution banning the country from any ballistic activity.

North Korea has threatened to quit international talks on its nuclear disarmament if punished with sanctions. The communist regime's main newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, reiterated that warning Sunday, saying the talks will "completely collapse" if taken to the Security Council.

Further heightening tensions on the divided peninsula, North Korean authorities detained a South Korean worker at a joint industrial zone in the North for allegedly denouncing Pyongyang's political system and inciting female northern workers to flee the country.

North Korea assured Seoul it would guarantee the man's safety during an investigation, according to the South Korean Unification Ministry, which handles relations with the North.

The detention came as two American journalists working for former Vice President Al Gore's Current TV media venture remained in North Korean custody after allegedly crossing the border illegally from China on March 17.

The state-run Korean Central News Agency said early Tuesday that the two reporters would be indicted and tried for illegal entry and "hostile acts." The report did not elaborate on what "hostile acts" the journalists allegedly committed and did not say when a trial might take place.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid said Monday that a Swedish diplomat met with the detained journalists, Euna Lee and Lisa Ling, individually over the weekend. Sweden represents the U.S. in consular affairs in Pyongyang since the U.S. and North Korea do not have diplomatic relations.

The Committee to Protect Journalists issued a statement expressing concern about the North's action against the reporters. "We call on the North Korean government to explain the circumstances of the detention of these two journalists," said Bob Dietz, the groups Asia program coordinator.

South Korea has only been an observer to the Proliferation Security Initiative, a U.S.-led program aimed at halting the spread of weapons of mass destruction, but Seoul officials recently said they were considering fully joining the program after the North's rocket launch.

Seoul's participation would be treated as "a declaration of a war," Pyongyang's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

In preparation for the rocket launch, Japan deployed Patriot missiles around Tokyo and sent warships armed with interceptor missiles to the waters between Japan and the Korean peninsula as a precaution, defense officials said.

Two U.S. destroyers anchored at a South Korean port after holding military exercises with the South Korean navy also were believed to have departed for waters near North Korea to monitor the rocket launch.

The USS McCain and the USS Chafee left Busan on Monday, a U.S. military spokesman said. He declined to disclose their destination and spoke on condition of anonymity, saying he was not authorized to discuss the ships' routes.

South Korea also planned to dispatch its Aegis-equipped destroyer, according to a Seoul military official who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing department policy.

Those warships of the three nations are equipped with sophisticated combat systems enabling them to track and shoot down enemy missiles. However, leaders of the three countries indicated it was unlikely the warships would respond militarily to the North's launch.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said in an interview with the Financial Times published Monday that his government opposed any military response to the North's launch, saying that would be unhelpful in talks on dismantling North Korea's nuclear program.

In Washington, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in a TV interview aired Sunday that the U.S. had no plans to intercept the North Korean rocket but might consider it if an "aberrant missile" were headed to Hawaii "or something like that."

{Laughing} YOU THINK? I would hope that we would blow it out of the sky it were to head to Hawaii "or something like that."

Japan initially hinted it might shoot down the rocket, but then said it would fire interceptors only if debris from a failed launch appeared likely to hit Japanese territory.

Meanwhile, Obama wants to take over the Auto Industry. Who's next?
Peter

Sources:
AP - Warships set sail ahead of N. Korean rocket launch

Gays and Lesbians Starting To Feel Screwed By Obama

You Voted for him, he feels ya, but he is just to busy right now.

Hey folks,

Do you remember way back on March 2 2008, Obama sent an open letter to the Gay and Lesbian community?

Here are some of the highlights.

“In the U.S. Senate, I have co-sponsored bills that would equalize tax treatment for same-sex couples and provide benefits to domestic partners of federal employees,”

“And as president, I will place the weight of my administration behind the enactment of the Matthew Shepard Act to outlaw hate crimes and a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act to outlaw workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.”

The letter goes on to say that if elected president he would use the bully pulpit “to urge states to treat same-sex couples with full equality in their family and adoption laws.”

“I personally believe that civil unions represent the best way to secure that equal treatment.”

“I also believe that the federal government should not stand in the way of states that want to decide on their own how best to pursue equality for gay and lesbian couples — whether that means a domestic partnership, a civil union, or a civil marriage.”

“Unlike Senator Clinton, I support the complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) – a position I have held since before arriving in the U.S. Senate.”

“While some say we should repeal only part of the law, I believe we should get rid of that statute altogether. Federal law should not discriminate in any way against gay and lesbian couples, which is precisely what DOMA does.”

Obama also said that he supports the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.


The open letter was released as Obama prepares to run ads in four major LGBT newspapers in Texas and Ohio in advance of Democratic Party primaries.

It worked. The gays came out in support of Obama and threw Clinton under the bus.

But you have to also remember that Obama Said THIS on November 8 in one of his little Town Hall style meetings.

"I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. I'm not in favor of gay marriage."

The People voted on Prop 8, and other ballot measure of the same nature in various states. They all passed, in essence Banning Gay Marriage. We still await the California Supreme Court's Decision, but it is expected that they will uphold the Will of the People. Some are already planning protests. Where is Obama?

What about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell? Well, he seems to just be too busy to worry about that right now. Sorry. According to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who appeared on "Fox News Sunday," no change is likely in the near future.

Gates says both he and President Barack Obama have "a lot on our plates right now." As Gates puts it, "let's push that one down the road a little bit."

So what happened to Obama being this Super Gay Advocate? Oh yeah, he got the Votes. That's all that really matters. Right?
Peter

Sources:
OPNTalk - Hillary Is Not Lesbian Enough
OPNtalk -
Gays Targeting Wrong People
AP - Gates: No change soon on `don't ask, don't tell'

Monday, March 30, 2009

Obama's First Real Presidential Test

Obama insiders fear reality setting in.

Hey folks,

Happy Monday to you. That's right, tomorrow President Obama will be starting his whirlwind tour over seas. All we have heard is how if Obama is elected President, the World will love us, peace will reign supreme and the oceans will level off. The False Messiah will come in and save not only us, but the rest of the world as well.

Now on the eve of his historic trip, some insiders are starting to worry that reality may just set in. That the once "Rock Star" reception will be dampened to people actually concerned about REAL substance and the real Obama agenda.

According to the AP - Obama may find Europe reticent on some US goals By White House Correspondent Jennifer Loven, Ap

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama's first European trip could dampen his hopes that a new diplomatic style will convert once-reluctant allies into cooperative global partners.

What you mean he will not be able to just smile and wave his hand, making people love us, and bring about the end of anti-US sentiments? Really?

From taking in Guantanamo Bay prisoners to sending more troops into Afghanistan's most difficult regions and spending their way out of economic crisis, European nations remain reticent about some of the toughest U.S. priorities.

Translation time folks. Some of these nations ARE happy about what Obama is doing here, but they do not want him to dictate to THEM what THEY have to, in and with, their own countries.

But then again, some of these countries have and continue to rely on America being America. They see Obama attempting to turn America into, well, them. They do not want this any more than those of us here want that. They understand the reality that if America just becomes like them, their support and life lines will vanish and it will take their country down with us.

So Obama is set to start on Tuesday on an eight day, five country trip. According to the AP.

He will attend international summits on complex, urgent topics — the global financial meltdown and the downward-spiraling fight against terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He plans individual meetings with leaders important to U.S. strategic interests, from nations including Russia, China, Britain, France, Germany, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and India. Obama also will make his first stop in a Muslim nation, Turkey.

Wildly popular around the globe but relatively inexperienced in foreign affairs, Obama also will squeeze in a Buckingham Palace audience with Queen Elizabeth II, joined by his wife, Michelle; deliver a speech in France on the trans-Atlantic relationship and an address in Prague on weapons proliferation; and holding a round-table session with students in Turkey.

"Relatively inexperienced in foreign affairs?"
Really? I know more about foreign affairs than Obama does. That is just plain sad. But you have to give Ms. Loven credit for being honest here.

Then she speculates this.

When Obama went to Europe last summer as a presidential candidate, he was received like a rock star. His welcome this time is expected to be no less enthusiastic.

Why? It should be interesting to watch to say the least. But he will also be meeting some protests as well. Turns out that anti-globalization demonstrators planning a major show of force in London's streets, as well as others protesting around the globe.

Some experts warn that all is not peachy keen on the Ally Front. According to Nile Gardiner, Europe expert at the conservative Heritage Foundation, Obama has a lot of work to do.

"Obama remains a superstar in the eyes of European publics, and I think that rather drab figures like (German Chancellor) Angela Merkel, for example, or (British Prime Minister) Gordon Brown, like to bask in that sort of limelight," Gardiner said. "But that doesn't take away, I think, the fact that we are seeing some significant divisions now emerging."

One of Obama's first tasks will be to repair a possible rift with Brown. Whether slights by Obama were real or imagined during Brown's Washington visit this month, they have ballooned from the British public's perspective into fears that the staunch U.S. ally is getting short shrift.

Yeah ask Israel how it feels right now. Obama is NOT going to gain support by going over seas and attempting to dictate to them what they are going to do to help the world economy. Ms. Loven even points this out.

The Obama administration has talked about roughly commensurate levels of stimulus spending by all wealthy nations. But that idea holds little interest for debt-wary Europeans, and the White House has sought to lower expectations.

Obama's deputy national security adviser for international economics, Michael Froman, said that G20 nations already have enacted recovery and stimulus plans equaling about 1.8 percent of each nation's economic output, about the same as just one piece of the recovery efforts in the U.S., the $787 billion stimulus plan. So, Froman said, "Nobody is asking any country to come to London to commit to do more right now."

Then of course you know I will be watching this very closely.

Still, a major issue there will be whether the United States, in its enthusiasm for "resetting" prickly relations with Moscow, will abandon a Bush plan to build a new missile defense system in Eastern Europe. Poland and the Czech Republic agreed to U.S. requests to base the system in their countries, risking significant ire from Moscow in doing so.

So Barack? You wanted to be President. Now BE the President. This is your first real test. This is NOT going to be you flying around this country talking to a bunch of Sheeple that have already been brainwashed by the hype machine AKA the Mainstream Media. This is you talking to other world leaders, of whom some of them, see you for who you are. Don't blow it. Too much is at stake here. Are you ready for reality?
Peter

Sources:
AP - Obama may find Europe reticent on some US goals

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Big Evolutionary Question Answered

Preview for Sunday 032909

Hey folks,

Welcome to the Big Sunday Edition of the OPNTalk Blog. Before we get started today, I want to give you the Coffee of the day. Today is one of my favorites, you can find it in most local Supermarkets, or here at there Website www.folgers.com Today's flavor, Chocolate Truffle.

So it seems I have some exciting news for all of you Evolutionists out there. They have solved a huge Evolutionary question. That's right. This find is so big that according to Live Science.com - Big Blobs Change View of Evolution

Yet as they cruised above the seafloor, the team was distracted by hundreds of bizarre, sediment-coated balls the size of grapes. Each sat at the end of a sinuous track in the seafloor ooze. Indeed, the balls appeared to have made the tracks; some even seemed to have rolled upslope.

The team collected specimens and identified the creatures as giant protozoans, Gromia sphaerica, each one a single large cell with an organic shell, or "test." When cleaned of sediment, the test feels like grape skin, but squishier, Matz says.

Surprisingly, the tracks on the Bahamian seafloor resemble grooves found in sedimentary rocks formed as long as 1.8 billion years ago. The ancient grooves, bisected by a low ridge, had constituted the only evidence that multicellular, bilaterally symmetrical animals, such as worms, might have evolved so early in Earth's history.

So there you go. The groves were not formed by multi celled creature like worms, but by these grape sized single celled organism. Now we all go Ooooh. OK. So where did THESE come from? Answer me that, and I will be impressed.

Anyway, coming right up today.

Socialism Next Victim, The Auto Industries
How To Move Up In The Democrat Party
Israel successfully tests anti-rocket system Out of Necessity
Islamofascist Now a Human Rights Violation
How to Solve Toddler Tantrums: Let Daddy Be King Lion
One Dinner I Will NOT Be Attending
IWA for Sunday 032909

By the way, please do not tell me you one of the Idiots that turned their lights off last night? Seriously? You know while you were in the dark between 8:30 and 9:30 pm last night, I was right here in the OPNTalk Office, computer fired up, coffee maker going, TV on, lights, and even had my Cell Phone Charger plugged in.

However, I guess according to the AP,

Time zone by time zone, nearly 4,000 cities and towns in 88 countries joined the event sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund to dim nonessential lights from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The campaign began in Australia in 2007 and last year grew to 400 cities worldwide.

So all the Chicken Little Crowd, Kooks, and Sheeple can feel good about themselves and feel like they actually did something. That's really the only point to this. They even admit this.

Earth Hour organizers say there's no uniform way to measure how much energy is saved worldwide.

Or what effect it even has on the Global Warming Scam. Or what the point really is. Hell, it did not even stop the NCAA tournament from being watched.

In the Chicago suburb of Blue Island, Eli Rodriguez, 41, owner of a Mexican restaurant called Tenochtitlan switched off not only the lights but also the television, which was playing a NCAA tournament basketball game.

"Everybody was happy I did it," Rodriguez said. "They support this. They understood."

But after a few seconds, he turned the game back on and kept the lights dim.

{Laughing} I guess Basketball is more essential than saving the planet. {Smile}

Lot's to do today, so let's get going. I'm going to refill my cup. Be right back.
Peter

Sources:
Live Science.com - Big Blobs Change View of Evolution
AP - Antarctica to Pyramids — lights dim for Earth Hour

Socialism Next Victim, The Auto Industries

First the warnings, then the take overs.

Hey folks,

The next victim of Obama's Socialistic Agenda is the Auto Industries. He is setting them up to fail and claiming that it is his job to fix them. It's not. Not even close.

Obama said this.

"We will provide them some help," Obama said. "I know that it is not popular to provide help to auto workers — or to auto companies. But my job is to measure the costs of allowing these auto companies just to collapse versus us figuring out — can they come up with a viable plan?"

No Mr. President. It is NOT your job in any way shape or form to save, bailout, dictate, control, or do ANYTHING with Private Business. Sorry. It just is not. Your, and ANY President's number one job is to keep America SAFE. How are you doing with that?

It is NOT your job Mr. President to "measure the costs of allowing these auto companies just to collapse versus us figuring out — can they come up with a viable plan?" If they make mistakes and they fail, they FAIL. Someone will figure out a way to either bring them back or start NEW companies. So sad, so long, see ya.

"If they're not willing to make the changes and the restructurings that are necessary, then I'm not willing to have taxpayer money chase after bad money."

You should not be giving them, Banks, Financial Institutions, Insurance Companies, or ANY Private Businesses Tax Payers money. That is NOT your job. It is NOT the job of Government.

"Everybody is going to have to give a little bit — shareholders, workers, creditors, suppliers, dealers — everybody is going to have to recognize that the current model, economic model, of the U.S. auto industry is unsustainable," Obama said.

What everyone should recognize that the Obama "Economic Plan" is unsustainable. Not only is it unsustainable, it is beyond dangerous and bringing us into an area that we should never be heading.

Obama said his job was to protect U.S. taxpayers and he wouldn't spend federal dollars on "a model that doesn't work."

HELLO??? AIG? Fannie and Freddie?

The president said the industry has been hamstrung by the sharp decline in auto sales. Last year the industry sold 13.2 million new vehicles in the U.S., but the annual sales rate has dropped to around 9 million for both January and February. Obama said many Americans are struggling to get auto loans and are wary of big-ticket purchases as jobs disappear.

Why do you think that is? Absurd Regulations?

The president said that even as the economy bounces back, Detroit can't focus on "trying to build more and more SUVs and counting on gas prices being low."

Yeah because Obama WANTS the Gas Prices to go back up. He has said so. He likes High Gas Prices.

In that vein, the administration on Friday is expected to announce plans to raise fuel efficiency standards by 2 miles per gallon to 27.3 mpg for new cars and trucks in the 2011 model year, an administration official said Thursday. That would be the first increase in passenger car standards in more than two decades.

Under the changes, new passenger cars will need to meet 30.2 mpg for the 2011 model year and pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles, and minivans will need to reach 24.1 mpg, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak in advance of the announcement.

So let's put even MORE absurd regulations on them and then say if they fail, uh, what? You just got done saying that they can not fail, so this is why you Mr. President justify bailing them out. Yet if they do not do what you tell them then what? Are you going to take the money back and let them fail? I thought they were to big to fail. I know, I know, you will just use the new authority that you are trying to get to justify taking over yet another PRIVATE Industry. Right?

But what about them being forced to build cars nobody wants? I love this answer.

Gibbs said Obama still thinks U.S. automakers build cars that Americans want to buy. Both he and the president own Ford Escape hybrids. "It's a nice car," Gibbs said. "It really is."

{Laughing} It's a nice car. The President is happy with it, so you should be too. Talk about arrogance. Folks, Obama is setting up the Auto Industry to fail. When they do, he will be there to take them over. Then we will be talking about the NEXT victim.
Peter

Sources:
AP - Obama says automakers need 'drastic changes'

How To Move Up In The Democrat Party

Buy your way.

Hey folks,

I just found this humorous. I was always under the impression that, like in any business, the way you get the job, move up in the company, and come to a place of position of power, is to know more than the other person. Be smarter, or more qualified. But not in the Democrat Party. How do you move up? How do you keep your position of power? Money.

According to CQ Politics - Democrats Keep Track of Who's Helping the Party
By Emily Cadei, CQ Staff Emily Cadei, Cq Staff – Thu Mar 26, 5:55 pm ET

It's never too early in election cycle to start fundraising -- or to shame your colleagues into contributing.

The campaign arm of Democrats serving in the House is privately circulating a tally showing members of that caucus where they stack up in fundraising for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).

With a quarterly filing period coming to an end next week, the internal list provides an early look at which members of the majority are looking to flex fundraising muscle within the party -- and earn favor with the leadership while they're at it.

Yeah, forget right and wrong. Forget Morals. Just raise the cash. {Laughing}

The Democratic leadership in the House is, not surprisingly, leading the way in DCCC fundraising thus far this cycle. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has raised close to $5 million for the committee; raised or contributed another $650,000 to Democrats' most vulnerable House members; and paid $250,000 in "dues," as they call the minimum expected contribution at each level of the partisan ladder.

Pelosi needed to get a head start, however, given that she has set a DCCC fundraising goal for herself of $25 million. The next largest goal is set for DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, at $10 million, not counting dues or money raised or contributed to vulnerable members.

Next in total fundraising for the committee are Majority Whip James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, with $861,000, Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland with $811,000 and Van Hollen, with $784,000.

Outside of the leadership, two up and coming Democrats with leadership aspirations have pitched in large bundles of cash. Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the recently appointed DCCC vice chairwoman for incumbent retention, has raised a total of $637,000 for the committee, including $450,000 for vulnerable Democrats, dubbed "Frontline" members.

New York Rep. Joseph Crowley, the DCCC's new vice chairman for fundraising, has chipped in $347,000, the internal document shows. Crowley also was recently named chairman of the centrist New Democrat Coalition.

Crowley's goal for committee fundraising this cycle is $6 million, while Wasserman Schultz's is $4 million.

Another young House Democrat looking to raise his profile in the party has also been noticeably active. Second-term Rep. Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut has raised $494,000 for vulnerable members, despite the fact that he may become one in 2010. Murphy got his first Republican challenger for his 5th District seat on Thursday.

Other veteran members have also taken somewhat unexpected steps to help their party early on. Massachusetts Rep. Edward J. Markey, chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, has already raised $200,000 of his $250,000 goal for the DCCC. And Virginia Rep. James P. Moran has exceeded his $250,000 goal with $414,000 raised.

Not everyone in the Democratic leadership is pulling their weight at this juncture. Caucus Vice Chairman Xavier Becerra of California and Steering Committee co-chairwoman Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut both have fundraising goals of $500,000, but Becerra has raised just a bit over $30,000 and DeLauro has raised nothing. Each has pitched in $26,000 to Frontline members thus far.

Becerra has, however, been actively contributing to the Democratic candidate in New York's 20th District special election, providing $4,000 for businessman Scott Murphy from his campaign committee and another $2,000 via his political action committee.

The Democrats' chief deputy whips have also been quiet on the fundraising front in the first quarter. DCCC records show that only Rep. Ed Pastor of Arizona has raised any money for the committee -- $14,000 -- so far, while Georgia Rep. John Lewis has paid $100,000 of $300,000 in dues and Tennessee Rep. John Tanner has given $51,000 to Frontline members.


But remember, THEY are for the poor and down trodden. As long as they can give them money that is. {Smile} Be right back.
Peter

Sources:
CQ Politics - Democrats Keep Track of Who's Helping the Party

Israel successfully tests anti-rocket system Out of Necessity

They are starting to question our Friendship

Hey folks,

Why not? Why should Israel NOT have a better defensive system. With all this talk by Obama and Crew about a Two State Solution. Video messages to Little Hitler in Iran, and promises that President Obama has already broken with Israel, why would they NOT start looking at ways to defend themselves better. They are most likely starting to question our resolve and friendship.

According to the AP - Israel successfully tests anti-rocket system By MATTI FRIEDMAN, Associated Press Writer Matti Friedman, Associated Press Writer

JERUSALEM – Israel's Defense Ministry says it has successfully tested a high-tech system designed to intercept incoming rockets.

A ministry statement says the Iron Dome system successfully dealt with incoming rockets of the types fired by Palestinian and Lebanese militants in tests this week, terming the test a "milestone."

The statement stopped short of saying the system shot rockets down with an interceptor missile. Defense officials said Friday the system will likely be ready by the 2010 target date for deployment.

The system fires missiles that home in on incoming short and medium-range rockets of the type used by militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah.

Israel is spending more than $200 million on the system.

I would be. They have been threatened, attacked over and over, and now we have a President that has not been the best of friends with them thus far. A President that wants to sit down and have tea and pastries with someone who is actively pursuing a Nuclear Bomb, and has said he wants to wipe Israel off the map. If I was Israel, at this point, I would be investing a lot more in a lot more. I would not be all the confident in America's backing if needed.

President Obama needs to reassure the Israelis that we still see them as one of our number one allies and he needs to reassure them we have their back. As of yet, he has done neither. The signals he has been sending them are mixed to say the least. This is a great move on their part. They can not afford to sit around and wait for Obama to get his head out of his ass. They need to protect themselves. Congratulations Israel on this accomplishment.
Peter

Sources:
AP - Israel successfully tests anti-rocket system

Islamofascist Now a Human Rights Violation

But never mind about China, Iran, or any of those Dictatorships.

Hey folks,

This is just utterly absurd. Did you know that if you use the phrase Islamofascist, according to the UN, you are now guilty of a Human Rights Violation? I'm not kidding. Get this.

NEW YORK, March 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The World Jewish Congress (WJC) strongly condemned today's passage in the United Nation Human Rights Council of a resolution calling "defamation of religion" a human rights violation. The Council adopted the text proposed by Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference that, in essence, deems criticism of Islam a human rights violation.

It's will not be long folks, until Obama and Crew sign up with this. They already have proven that they are no friend of Israel, and they want to continue to push this two State Solution.

"The World Jewish Congress, long a leader in the effort to champion human rights and freedom of religion, has for many years defended the rights of the members of all faiths, including the Muslim faith," said Ronald S. Lauder, president of the WJC. "However, we strongly oppose the issue of "defamation of religions" being cast as a human rights violation at the United Nations. We see it as weakening the rights of individuals to express their views and criticize other religions, and, in the case of this specific resolution, particularly Islam." Lauder added," This resolution is an attempt to bring to the international body the blasphemy laws prevalent in some Muslim countries. In accordance with human rights laws, the rights of individuals to express their views should be protected and not restricted or punished by the state. Today's vote is unfortunately only a harbinger for what may yet transpire in Geneva at the upcoming Durban Review Conference as proposals such as this one keep coming to the fore," he said.

The World Jewish Congress is the international organization representing Jewish communities in 92 countries. Founded in Geneva in 1936, the WJC serves as the diplomatic arm of the Jewish people to governments and international organizations. It has special consultative stays with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

The Durban Review Conference is to be held from 20-24 April 2009 in Geneva. The UN Human Rights Council is organizing the event.


Well, then I call for our government to enact new laws in this country. Anyone that attempts to degrade Christianity, or those that practice it, should be locked up and charged with Human Rights Violations. No more will we stand for "Bitter Clinger" comments, called stupid, or told that we are outdated, Racist, Bigoted, Homophobes. Now, since Obama wants to be one with the world, we should place ALL religion, and Free Speech, under these new restrictions. Right? {Sigh} Unbelievable.
Peter

How to Solve Toddler Tantrums: Let Daddy Be King Lion

Health and Science for Sunday 032909

Hey folks,

While I was looking for something to talk about in this week's Health and Science Segment, I came across the duh factor of Toddlers do not think like Adults, therefore this is why they do not always do what you want them to. But then I caught this. This is by our friend Meredith F. Small. You know her, you love her. She is wrong 90 percent of the time, but she seems to be a good person. {Smile}

Ms Small actually wrote this last year, but being a Neanderthal, I know from first hand experience that this is actually close to being true. Not exactly, but along the same lines. I know, it does kind of fit in the Duh Category, but some really do not get the concept. This is also something that our good Friend Dr. Laura preaches about all the time. Here is what I'm talking about.

Live Science - How to Solve Toddler Tantrums: Think Like a Neanderthal

By Meredith F. Small

You're in a store, little kid in hand, and then suddenly she tries to pull away. You bend down and whisper quietly in her ear, "Stay with Mommy, honey," knowing full well that this reasonable request is a foolish attempt to dampen the temper tantrum that is rising like a tsunami inside your kid. With a pounding heart, you scoop her up and run from the store before someone shouts, "Bad parent. Dreadful child. Get out!"

You know, just as a side note, notice how Ms Small always talks about Females? I'm not saying anything. Just saying.

No one knows why 2-year-olds have temper tantrums, but most of them do. It starts with mild anger over something simple but then quickly escalates into full blown fury dramatized by screaming, fist pounding, foot-stomping, and screaming. The child also descends psychologically into a place where they can't be reached by words or physical comfort, and parents stand by helpless and confused.

Clearly, the child is distressed, but to the parent, the distress seems way out of proportion to the situation. And it is physically stressful for the child, which suggests that there must be some evolutionary reason why temper tantrums are so universal for little kids.

Uh, no. But we will leave the disturbelution stuff alone for now.

Pediatrician Harvey Karp, author of "The Happiest Toddler on the Block," and an expert in getting babies and toddlers to quiet down, claims that tantrums are an expected product of human development. He sees our little darlings as less-evolved savages driven by instinct and emotion, not thoughtful reasoning, and he suggests it's our job as parents to civilize them into Homo sapiens.

What it actually is folks, is that they have no experience to have learned from. We learn from experience. Do this, that happens. They have not done this yet, therefore they have no idea what that is. Nothing to do with "evolution." It is just the natural life experience or inexperience that causes this.

It goes on about "Evolution" and Dr. Spock type stuff. Leaving the Psychobabble, and disturbelution BS aside. Kids respond better to the Father than they do the Mother. Sorry. That is just simple fact. Here is where I agree with them, in a matter of speaking. The Father is like the King Lion. The Leader of the Pack of Wolves. The Father is the dominate Bear. It is the Father that should be the one to teach discipline, and the way the Child should go. Male and Female.

A Father need not reason, or relate with the Child. I know that when me and Josh are together, he is a prefect child. He plays, laughs, pouts if he does not get his way sometimes, but then refocuses on something else and goes back to learning and playing. When Mommy is with him, he does not get his way, he says "No," throws fits from time to time, and really get's Mommy's anger up. Why?

Because he sees Mommy as the nurturer and a comfortable place. Safety, and security. He sees Mommy as someone to take care of all his needs and a constant source of comfort. When that changes, she says no, he gets angry and doesn't want to listen.

Dad? Daddy is the King. The final authority. He sees Dad as the one that will protect him, and one that knows better than he. He actually fears, in a way, The King. He does not want to make the King mad. Therefore, when Dad says no, he may pout, but in the end, he will KNOW that no is no. Therefore move on.

My job as Dad, is to teach Josh the way to be a Man. How to treat Women, and others when he gets older. My job is not to kiss the boo boo, or say, that's OK, Oh my little snooky, whatever. My job is to teach him that stuff happens and you deal with it.

A Father is the one that teaches his Daughter how men should treat her. Not by saying this or that, but by how he treats her, Mom, and other Women in her life. Why do you think that she will seek out and find "Daddy" to marry? If Dad is a Drug Addicted Abuser, more times than not, that is what she will seek out and find.

Kids learn A LOT from Dad. Social things, work ethics, self discipline, and pretty much life in general. This is why it is so vitally important that a single Mother should have a positive Male role model as a friend, or family member for the kids to learn from. It is this way in nearly all species. The Male is the leader. It is just the natural way of things. So in this one aspect, I agree. Josh just knows instinctively, even if I say nothing, just a look, that he is in need of correcting his behaviour. Then he does.

Do not get me wrong here folks, Mom is just as important. This is why it is the best case scenario to have children in a loving home with BOTH Mom and Dad. They need to learn from both to be a well rounded person.
Peter

Sources:
Live Science - How to Solve Toddler Tantrums: Think Like a Neanderthal

One Dinner I Will NOT Be Attending

You Can't Make This Stuff Up 032909

Hey folks,

I have been to many dinners. Black Tie, World Summit, $100 a plate, ETC. I eat out a lot when on the road so I have eaten in many Restaurants and have eaten many different things.

Having said all that, I can say this. This IS one dinner that I will NOT be going to. In the YCMTSU Category this week, well, here it is.

AP - Diners can 'have a ball' at testicle festival

OAKDALE, Calif. – The fundraising idea may seem a little nuts, but Oakdale's annual Testicle Festival is always a big hit. On Monday, volunteers with the town's Rotary Club plan to fry up 400 pounds of the private parts of bulls and serve them to diners who pay $50 apiece for the sit-down meal.

The event, whose proceeds also benefit the Oakland Cowboy Museum, has drawn an average of 450 people and last year raised $28,000.

It's common practice on cattle ranches for young male bovines to be castrated into steers, which after the initial loss, eventually makes them more docile and easier to handle. Fans of the delicacy, also referred to as "mountain oysters," come from around the state.

According to Rotarians, everyone who buys a ticket is guaranteed to "have a ball."


Eh, have fun. If this is your thing, then Bonappetit. As for me? I will skip this one. Be right back.
Peter

Sources:
AP - Diners can 'have a ball' at testicle festival

IWA for Sunday 032909

What IS the President's Job anyway?

Hey folks,

Time to wrap things up with the IWA. So let's examine the difference between Truth and Delusion shall we? So what IS the President's job anyway?

“Article II" Of the US Constitution

Section 1.

The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his office during the term of four years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same term, be elected, as follows:

No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty five years, and been fourteen Years a resident within the United States.

The President shall, at stated times, receive for his services, a compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that period any other emolument from the United States, or any of them.

Before he enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation:--"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Section 2.

The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States; he may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices, and he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.

He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.

The President shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session.

Section 3.

He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper; he shall receive ambassadors and other public ministers; he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and shall commission all the officers of the United States.

Section 4.

The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.''

I don't know Mr. President. Nowhere in there did I see anything about you bailing out Private Businesses, dictating salaries, bonuses, operational procedures, as a matter of fact, not the setting of any regulation whatsoever on Private Businesses. I sure as hell do not see ANYWHERE you having the authority to take over Private businesses.

Just because most of your little followers are actually too ignorant to understand, if a Private Business fails, that does not mean the end of an entire Industry. Private Businesses fail all the time. What happens is another pops up to take it's place, or others come in and find ways to save them. NOT THE GOVERNMENT.

No Mr. President, you do NOT have this authority. It is NOT your job. Congratulations Mr. President Obama, for being either too ignorant to understand your JOB description, or too arrogant to care what you are doing is NOT Constitutional, you ARE the Idiot of the Week. So what's next? I'm betting on "Big Oil." Am I right?
Peter

Saturday, March 28, 2009

President Barack Obama Weekly Address 032809

President Obama Weekly Address

Saturday, March 28, 2009
Washington, DC

President Obama: "Even as we face an economic crisis which demands our constant focus, forces of nature can also intervene in ways that create other crises to which we must respond – and respond urgently. For the people of North and South Dakota and Minnesota who live along rivers spilling over their banks, this is one such moment.

Rivers and streams throughout the region have flooded or are at risk of flooding. The cities of Fargo and neighboring Moorhead are vulnerable as the waters of the Red River have risen. Thousands of homes and businesses are threatened.

That is why, on Tuesday, I granted a major disaster declaration request for the State of North Dakota and ordered federal support into the region to help state and local officials respond to the flooding. This was followed by an emergency declaration for the State of Minnesota. And we are also keeping close watch on the situation in South Dakota as it develops.

The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency continue to coordinate the federal response. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is helping to oversee federal efforts and she remains in close contact with state officials. Acting FEMA administrator Nancy Ward has been in the region since yesterday to meet with folks on the ground and survey the area herself.

In addition, The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is assisting in the emergency construction of levees. The Coast Guard is aiding in search and rescue efforts while the Department of Defense is helping to move people and supplies. Members of the National Guard have been activated and are on the scene as well.

Hospitals and nursing homes in the area are being evacuated and residents in poor health or with special needs are being transported to higher ground. Teams from the Department of Health and Human Services are aiding in this work. And the Red Cross is in place to provide shelter and supplies for folks in need.

It is also important for residents in these states to remain vigilant in monitoring reports on flood crests and to follow instructions from their state and local leaders in the event that evacuations become necessary.

My administration is working closely with Governors John Hoeven, Mike Rounds and Tim Pawlenty. And I’ve been meeting with Senators Byron Dorgan, Kent Conrad, and Amy Klobuchar, as well as Congressmen Earl Pomeroy and Collin Peterson, to pledge my support. I will continue to monitor the situation carefully. We will do what must be done to help in concert with state and local agencies and non-profit organizations – and volunteers who are doing so much to aid the response effort.

For at moments like these, we are reminded of the power of nature to disrupt lives and endanger communities. But we are also reminded of the power of individuals to make a difference.

In the Fargodome, thousands of people gathered not to watch a football game or a rodeo, but to fill sandbags. Volunteers filled 2.5 million of them in just five days, working against the clock, day and night, with tired arms and aching backs. Others braved freezing temperatures, gusting winds, and falling snow to build levees along the river’s banks to help protect against waters that have exceeded record levels.

College students have traveled by the busload from nearby campuses to lend a hand during their spring breaks. Students from local high schools asked if they could take time to participate. Young people have turned social networks into community networks, coordinating with one another online to figure out how best to help.

In the face of an incredible challenge, the people of these communities have rallied in support of one another. And their service isn’t just inspirational – it’s integral to our response.

It’s also a reminder of what we can achieve when Americans come together to serve their communities. All across the nation, there are men, women and young people who have answered that call, and millions of other who would like to. Whether it’s helping to reduce the energy we use, cleaning up a neighborhood park, tutoring in a local school, or volunteering in countless other ways, individual citizens can make a big difference.

That is why I’m so happy that legislation passed the Senate this week and the House last week to provide more opportunities for Americans to serve their communities and the country.

The bipartisan Senate bill was sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch and Senator Ted Kennedy, a leader who embodies the spirit of public service, and I am looking forward to signing this important measure into law.

In facing sudden crises or more stubborn challenges, the truth is we are all in this together – as neighbors and fellow citizens. That is what brought so many to help in North Dakota and Minnesota and other areas affected by this flooding. That is what draws people to volunteer in so many ways, serving our country here and on distant shores.

Our thanks go to them today, and to all who are working day and night to deal with the disaster. We send them our thoughts, our prayers, and our continued assistance in this difficult time.

Thank you."

Friday, March 27, 2009

Congressman Chaka Fattah To President Obama: Change the Tax Code

From the Emails 032709

Hey folks,

Happy Friday to you. Time to go to the Emails. I got this following letter from Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), to President Obama about changing the tax code. His idea is to eliminate all Federal taxes on Individuals and Corporations and replacing the taxes with a fee on transactions. Sounds good to me. Can you imagine how much it would help you out getting your GROSS PAY? Look at your check the next time you get paid.

Seriously, with all the extra money, you would be willing, and able, to go out and buy more goods and services. It sounded almost too good to me so I Googled it, and found this in SEVERAL Different places. So I just picked one for the link. Here is the letter.

March 25, 2009

Mr. Barack Obama
President
United States of America
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

I am writing to applaud your decision to appoint a Presidential task force to review and overhaul the nearly century old U.S. Tax Code. Costly, convoluted and confusing, the current code has left the American taxpayer to spend countless hours and dollars trying to comply with an antiquated system.

As the task force begins to examine ways to simplify revenue collection so that it works better for the American people, I ask that you direct the Treasury to analyze the objectives embodied within H.R.1703, the Comprehensive Transform America Transaction Fee Act of 2009, as they could be helpful in pursuing two of your goals; improving revenue collection and reduction of both the national debt and the deficit. It is legislation that I introduced today calling for Treasury to conduct a comprehensive analytical study on the viability of eliminating all federal taxes on individuals and corporations and replacing the taxes with a fee on transactions.

The transaction fee would be equivalent to current revenues generated by all federal taxes, and could provide addition revenues to reduce the national debt and the deficit. The transaction fee would help close tax loopholes and protect progressivity. Experts at the Congressional Research Service (CRS) have reviewed the transaction fee and find along with other tax policy organizations, that eliminating all federal taxes would further stimulate the economy and spur job growth by allowing businesses to expand their operations and hire more employees. CRS also estimates that with implementation of a transaction fee of less than half a percent, the nation could get to revenue neutrality.

As your Administration investigates avenues to eliminate the nation's escalating debt and deficit, the transaction fee offers a viable funding solution. In whole or in part, the transaction fee would also serve to support some of your other critical initiatives such as universal health care, an equitable public school system and investment in the infrastructure of urban and rural areas.

Should you or the tax review task force need additional information on the Comprehensive Transform America Transaction Fee Act, I will be more than happy to answer your questions.

Very truly yours,

Chaka Fattah

Member of Congress
cc: Mr. Rahm Emanuel

Here is the Link I chose: Yahoo News - Fattah to White House: Task Force Should Look to Transforming Tax Code With Transaction Fee. I see it is originally from PRNewswire-USNewswire. That makes sense.

Anyway, I think this is an idea that is really worth considering. What say you?

Have a great Weekend. I'm off to a Pow Wow tomorrow. Josh's first. See you Sunday.
Peter

Note: "From The Emails" is a weekly segment in the Friday edition of the OPNtalk Blog. If you care to send in News Articles, Comments, Stories, or anything else you may wish to share, please feel free to send it to opntalk@aim.com As always, you never know what you are going to see here.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Danger of Obama Focusing Solely Inward

From a guy that has been there.

Hey folks,

As you know, I am big on foreign affairs. I have been watching and warning about Iran and Little Hitler {President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad} rise to power, talking about what his goal is, and continue his pursuit for Nuclear Weapons. I have been watching North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, China, and of course Islamic Terrorists whenever they pop up. I have been watching Russia and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin very closely and warning you that they are attempting to bring back the USSR.

Since Obama was elected President. He has really done nothing on the foreign affairs front. He has sent a letter to Russia attempting to cut deals, a Video Message to Little Hitler, and talked about how we are losing in Afghanistan. Contrary to any REAL evidence, Obama and his Administration continues to LIE about Iran and their capabilities and quest for Nuclear Technologies that WILL lead to them having a Nuclear Weapon.

No, Obama would much rather focus all his efforts inward, in his attempt to change the very nature of this country. To Socialize everything he can. He has even said that we need to learn from people like Chavez and places like China.

Meanwhile, the world is becoming even MORE dangerous, not less. More unstable, not less. The threat is growing because those that would love to see America gone, now feel liberated because THEY know who Obama really is. Inexperienced, naive, and seemingly wanting to BE one of them. A Dictator.

So now a guy that has been there is coming out to warn you about the growing, not decreasing threat, that this country faces. Gen. Richard Myers, who served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from October 2001 until September 2005, is sounding the warning.

“They want to do away with our way of life,” Myers tells Newsmax TV’s Ashley Martella. “They could bring great harm to this country and our friends and allies.”

They may just have to be patient and allow Obama to do it for them. But Meyers IS right.

“After 9/11 we had some things we had to do right away,” said Myers, author of the new book, “Eyes on the Horizon: Serving on the Front Lines of National Security.”

“Afghanistan was one of them. Then we went into Iraq. But the development of a strategy to deal with the whole issue of violent extremism — we didn’t take the time to do that because we were so busy with the day to day."

Myers said the further America gets from the events of 9/11, the more complacent it gets, and the more danger the country is in.

“I’m not an alarmist but I did spend four years right after 9/11 looking at all this intelligence from violent extremists,” he says. “ They could [attack America] through biological weapons. God forbid if they get their hands on nuclear materials, they could do it that way as well. And they’re ruthless so we know they’d use them.”

Martella asked Myers about a new official British government report warning that the threat of a terrorist attack using a weapon of mass destruction, such as a nuclear or biological weapon, on a major city is higher than ever.

“I don’t see the intelligence on a daily basis anymore, but I do think the threat is very high,” Myers responded.

“It wasn’t that long ago, just a little more than a year ago, when that plot to bring airliners down over the North Atlantic [was thwarted]. I think there were 10 or 20 airliners involved in that plot. If that hadn’t been thwarted we’d be talking about 2,000 dead potentially from that.

“So like I said, they’re relentless, they’re ruthless. If they can get their hands on dangerous material, nuclear material, biological weapons, they wouldn’t hesitate to use them. They want to bring down the United States in particular and the West in general.”


This is one of the things I have been warning you about. You have a guy like Little Hitler. He said "Death to America." He Said, "I will wipe Israel off the map." He said, "Sanctions will never work, we will have nuclear technologies." He IS pursuing that. We have nothing he needs. He does not want money. He does not want land, goods, or services. How do you negotiate with someone who's starting point is you die? You can't.

On the Iranian threat, Myers declared: “Any country that sponsors terrorism, which Iran does, that doesn’t believe in the existence of the state of Israel, that is aggressively pursuing nuclear weapons — this is not a good thing.”

That is an understatement. But he is 100 percent correct. This is from a guy that has been there. A person that use to get daily updates and inside information. This is a guy that KNOWS these threats that America faces.

As President Obama runs around the country, playing Emperor, giving phony press conferences, the World grows darker. The danger grows. America is increasingly more vulnerable. The dangers we face from the outside are growing. What are we focused on? AIG Bonuses that the Obama Administration arranged to be put in the Stimulus to begin with. Meanwhile Iran is building a Nuclear Weapon with EVERY INTENT on using it.

Some say the danger we face on the INSIDE is even more dangerous for this country. I tend to agree.
Peter

Sources:
Newsmax - Gen. Richard Myers: U.S. Enemies Seek WMDs to End 'Our Way of Life'

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Analyses of Obama New Conference 032409

Well, sort of.

Hey folks,

Normally I would spend the next hour or so dissecting the News Conference that you just saw last night or the Transcript you just read this morning. With this one, I could spend the next three hours pointing out the lies, inaccuracies, and agendas. But I already do that, and I'm sure I will be in the days, months, years to come. Nothing was new here. It was all a show, just like so many other things that the Obama Administration and this Congress does.

Don't be fooled today when watching the news coverage of all this. How strong Obama was. The "tough questions" that the Reporters were asking. How he will "bend but not break." He was brilliant. Oh, how smart Obama is. "That's it, it's settled. Obama answered that tough question." "Let's move on." So on and so forth.

I'm serious folks, This was all nothing more than attempting to put away the critics, and further the agenda. The questions were prearranged and the people asking them were preselected.

OK. For the most part, these things go pretty much the same. The President comes in and gives a speech. Then the Reporters, with questions that most of the time are written by someone else for them to ask, turn into Horseshack from Welcome Back Carter. "Oh, oh, oh, Mr. President? Pick me, pick me." Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.

But not last night. Last night Obama went looking for the questioner. Call it his "inexperience showing" or whatever, but he did not do that great of job attempting to be spontaneous. Here are a few examples.

First up, Jenifer Loven from the AP. We know her, and we love her. I have posted her stuff here at the OPN before. She hated Bush, LOVES Obama, and does pretty much nothing but puff pieces about Obama. Her question, the AIG mess and the fact that this Administration is asking for UNPRECEDENTED Power and authority to take over Private Businesses. This was just a set up for him to attempt to explain it away as it being necessary for the good of the country.

Then Chuck Todd, who asked about the economic crisis being a "war," during wars people have to sacrifice and do things that they do not like nor would normal except. Get the point? Will you sign a budget without tax cuts? What about the tax burden on our children? He never really answered any of that. But then you have this. This was just to funny.

Obama "Is Lourdes here, from Univision?"

To set up his agenda of Gun Control and Immigration.

Obama "Kevin Baron, Stars and Stripes. Is Kevin here? There you go."

To attempt to silence his critics, like me, and the VA, about his proposals to cut the budget dealing with Veterans and attempt to force them to get their own Health care.

Obama "Okay. Ed Henry. Where’s Ed? There he is."

Why did it take him so long to show his "outrage" toward AIG? He wanted to know what he was talking about was the answer. I kid you not.

Then Major Garrett set him up to talk about our standing and the Global Economy. But then the follow up was off script.

QUESTION: Is there a need --

PRESIDENT OBAMA: That will just strengthen -- excuse me?

QUESTION: Is there a need for a global currency?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I don’t believe that there’s a need for a global currency.

Then those tough questions about him DECREASING tax write offs for Charitable contributions. Paraphrasing here, Obama said. "Well, that will not stop them. I mean, if all you are looking for is a tax break, then I guess you really do not care about the cause." Talk about arrogance.

Then you have this little gem. Sorry folks, but this was suppose to come across as an example of spontaneous, but what it came across as was nothing but.

Obama calls on Ann Compton

Obama "Ann Compton. Hey, Ann."

QUESTION: Sir. (Soft laughter.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: You sound surprised. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: I am surprised! (Chuckles.) Could I ask you about race?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: You may.

Folks, {Laughing} this sounded like "Your Majesty. You oh great one, you will humble yourself to ask little old me if I have a question for you? Oh Sir. You said my name. Please oh Great One, may I ask you about Race?" Obama "Yes you may peasant. I want people to know that I do not see my critics as Racist, just stupid and bitter clingers,,uh, I mean, no. They are doing what they should do, holding me accountable."

{Sigh} So WHY was he looking for these people in the attendance? Because he KNEW the questions. He had his answers ready. When they went off script, he moved on. He was not brilliant. The questions were not tough. He was not even that good an Actor. But people will buy it.

Read the whole transcript if you want and you be the judge. See you tomorrow.
Peter

Sources:
OPNTalk - Transcript of Obama News Conference 0324009

Transcript of Obama News Conference 0324009

As prepared by FNS











PRESIDENT OBAMA: Hello, everybody. Please have a seat.

Good evening. Now, before I take questions from the correspondents, I want to give everyone who’s watching tonight an update on the steps we’re taking to move this economy from recession to recovery, and ultimately to prosperity. Now, it’s important to remember that this crisis didn’t happen overnight and it didn’t result from any one action or decision. It took many years and many failures to lead us here. And it will take many months and many different solutions to lead us out. There are no quick fixes, and there are no silver bullets.

That’s why we’ve put in place a comprehensive strategy designed to attack this crisis on all fronts. It’s a strategy to create jobs, to help responsible homeowners, to restart lending, and to grow our economy over the long term. And we’re beginning to see signs of progress.

The first step we took was to pass a recovery plan to jump-start job creation and put money in people’s pockets. And this plan’s already saved the jobs of teachers and police officers. It’s creating construction jobs to rebuild roads and bridges. And yesterday I met with a man whose company is reopening a factory outside of Pittsburgh that’s rehiring workers to build some of the most energy-efficient windows in the world.

And this plan will provide a tax cut to 95 percent of all working families that will appear in people’s paychecks by April 1st.

The second step we took was to launch a plan to stabilize the housing market and help responsible homeowners stay in their homes. This plan’s one reason that mortgage interest rates are now at near- historic lows.

We’ve already seen a jump in refinancings of mortgages as homeowners take advantage of lower rates. And every American should know that up to 40 percent of all mortgages are now eligible for refinancing. This is the equivalent of another tax cut, and we’re also beginning to see signs of increased sales and stabilizing home prices for the first time in a very long time.

The third part of our strategy is to restart the flow of credit to families and businesses. To that end, we’ve launched a program designed to support the markets for more affordable auto loans, student loans and small-business loans -- a program that’s already securitized more of this lending in the last week than in the last four months combined.

Yesterday, Secretary Geithner announced a new plan that will partner government resources with private investment to buy up the assets that are preventing our banks from lending money. And we will continue to do whatever is necessary in the weeks ahead to ensure the banks Americans depend on have the money they need to lend, even if the economy gets worse.

Finally, the most critical part of our strategy is to ensure that we do not return to an economic cycle of bubble and bust in this country. We know that an economy built on reckless speculation, inflated home prices and maxed-out credit cards does not create lasting wealth. It creates the illusion of prosperity, and it’s endangered us all.

The budget I submitted to Congress will build our economic recovery on a stronger foundation so that we don’t face another crisis like this 10 or 20 years from now. We invest in the renewable sources of energy that will lead to new jobs, new businesses and less dependence on foreign oil. We invest in our schools and our teachers, so that our children have the skills they need to compete with any workers in the world.

We invest in reform that will bring down the cost of health care for families, businesses and our government.

And in this budget, we have -- we have to make the tough choices necessary to cut our deficit in half by the end of my first term, even under the most pessimistic estimates.

At the end of the day, the best way to bring our deficit down in the long run is not with a budget that continues the very same policies that have led us to a narrow prosperity and massive debt. It’s with a budget that leads to broad economic growth by moving from an era of borrow-and-spend to one where we save and invest.

And that’s why clean-energy jobs and businesses will do -- all across America. That’s what a highly skilled workforce can do all across America. That’s what an efficient health-care system that controls costs and entitlements like Medicare and Medicaid will do.

That’s why this budget is inseparable from this recovery, because it is what lays the foundation for a secure and lasting prosperity.

The road to that prosperity is still long, and we will hit our share of bumps and setbacks before it ends. But we must remember that we can get there if we travel that road as one nation, as one people.

You know, there was a lot of outrage and finger-pointing last week, and much of it is is understandable. I’m as angry as anybody about those bonuses that went to some of the very same individuals who brought our financial system to its knees, partly because it’s yet another symptom of the culture that led us to this point.

But one of the most important lessons to learn from this crisis is that our economy only works if we recognize that we’re all in this together, that we all have responsibilities to each other and to our country.

Bankers and executives on Wall Street need to realize that enriching themselves on the taxpayer’s dime is inexcusable, that the days of outsize rewards and reckless speculation that puts us all at risk have to be over. At the same time, the rest of us can’t afford to demonize every investor or entrepreneur who seeks to make a profit. That drive is what has always fueled our prosperity, and it is what will ultimately get these banks lending and our economy moving once more.

We’ll recover from this recession, but it will take time; it will take patience; and it will take an understanding that when we all work together, when each of us looks beyond our own short-term interest to the wider set of obligations we have towards each other, that’s when we succeed. That’s when we prosper. And that’s what is needed right now.

So let’s look towards the future with a renewed sense of common purpose, a renewed determination, and, most importantly, renewed confidence that a better day will come.

All right. With that, let me take some questions. And I’ve got a list here; let’s start off with Jennifer Loven, AP.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.

Your Treasury secretary and the Fed chair have been -- were on Capitol Hill today, asking for this new authority that you want to regulate big, complex financial institutions. But given the problems that the financial bailout program has had so far -- banks not wanting to talk about how they’re spending the money, the AIG bonuses that you mentioned -- why do you think the public should sign on for another new, sweeping authority for the government to take over companies, essentially?


PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, keep in mind that it is precisely because of the lack of this authority that the AIG situation has gotten worse. Now, understand that AIG’s not a bank, it’s an insurance company. If it were a bank and it had effectively collapsed, then the FDIC could step in, as it does with a whole host of banks -- as it did with IndyMac -- and in a structured way renegotiate contracts, get rid of bad assets, strengthen capital requirements, resell it on the private marketplace.

So we’ve got a regular mechanism whereby we deal with FDIC-insured banks. We don’t have that same capacity with an institution like AIG, and that’s part of the reason why it has proved so problematic. I think a lot of people understandably say: Well, if we’re putting all this money in there, and if it’s such a big systemic risk to allow AIG to liquidate, why is it that we can’t restructure some of these contracts? Why can’t we do some of the things that need to be done in a more orderly way? And the reason is -- is because we have not obtained this authority.

We should have obtained it much earlier, so that any institution that poses a systemic risk that could bring down the financial system we can handle, and we can do it in an orderly fashion that quarantines it from other institutions. We don’t have that power right now. That’s what Secretary Geithner was talking about.

And I think that there’s going to be strong support from the American people and from Congress to provide that authority so that we don’t find ourselves in a situation where we’ve got to choose between either allowing an enormous institution like AIG, which is not just insuring other banks but is also insuring pension funds and potentially putting people’s 401(k)s at risk if it goes under -- that’s one choice -- and then the other choice is just to allow them to take taxpayer money without the kind of conditions that we’d like to see on it. So that’s why I think the authority’s so important.


QUESTION: But why should the public trust the government to handle that authority well?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, as I said before, if you look at how the FDIC has handled a situation like IndyBank, for example, it actually does these kinds of resolutions effectively when it’s got the tools to do it.

We don’t have the tools right now.

Okay. Chuck Todd.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. Some have compared this financial crisis to a war, and in times of war, past presidents have called for some form of sacrifice. Some of your programs, whether for Main Street or Wall Street, have actually cushioned the blow for those that were irresponsible during this -- during this economic period of prosperity or supposed prosperity that you were talking about.

Why, given this new era of responsibility that you’re asking for, why haven’t you asked for something specific that the public should be sacrificing to participate in this economic recovery?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, let me -- let me take that question in a couple -- couple of phases. First of all, it’s not true that we have not asked sacrifice from people who are getting taxpayer money. We have imposed some very stiff conditions. The only problem that we’ve had so far are contracts that were put in place before we took over.

But moving forward, anybody -- any bank, for example, that is receiving capital from the taxpayers is going to have to have some very strict conditions in terms of how it pays out its executives, how it pays out dividends, how it’s reporting its lending practices. So we want to make sure that there’s some stiff conditions in place.

With respect to the American people, I think folks are sacrificing left and right. They -- you’ve got a lot of parents who are cutting back on everything to make sure that their kids can still go to college. You’ve got workers who are deciding to cut an entire day and entire day’s worth of pay so that their fellow co-workers aren’t laid off. I think that across the board people are making adjustments, large and small, to accommodate the fact that we’re in very difficult times right now.

What I’ve said here in Washington is that we’ve got to make some tough choices. We got to make some tough budgetary choices. What we can’t do, though, is sacrifice long-term growth investments that are critical to the future. And that’s why my budget focuses on health care, energy, education -- the kinds of things that can build a foundation for long-term economic growth as opposed to the fleeting prosperity that we’ve seen over the last several years. I mean, when you have an economy in which the majority of growth is coming from the financial sector -- when AIG selling a derivative is counted as an increase in the gross domedic -- domestic product, then that’s not a model for sustainable economic growth.

And what we have to do is invest in those things that will allow the American people’s capacity for ingenuity and innovation, their ability to take risks but make sure that those risks are grounded in good products and good services that they believe they can market to the rest of the country, that those models of economic growth are what we’re promoting, and that’s what I think our budget does.


QUESTION: But you don’t think there should be a specific call to action that you want the American -- I mean, this is -- you’ve described this as an economic crisis like nothing we have seen since the Great Depression.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, as I said, the American people are making a host of sacrifices in their individual lives. We are going through an extraordinary crisis, but we believe that taken -- if you take the steps that we’ve already taken with respect to housing, with respect to small businesses, if you look at what we’re doing in terms of increasing liquidity in the financial system, that the steps that we’re taking can actually stabilize the economy and get it moving again.

What I’m looking from the American people to do is that they are going to be doing what they’ve always done, which is working hard, looking after their families, making sure that despite the economic hard times that they’re still contributing to their community, that they’re still participating in volunteer activities, that they are paying attention to the debates that are going on in Washington.

And the budgets that we’re putting forward and some of the decisions that we’re having to make are going to be tough decisions, and we’re going to need the support of the American people, and that’s part of why what I’ve tried to do is to be out front as much as possible, explaining in very clear terms exactly what we’re doing.

Jake?

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. Right now on Capitol Hill, Senate Democrats are writing a budget, and according to press accounts and their own statements, they’re not including the middle-class tax cut that you include in the stimulus. They’re talking about phasing that out. They’re not including the cap-and-trade that you have in your budget, and they’re not including other measures.

I know when you outlined your four priorities over the weekend, a number of these things were not in there. Will you sign a budget if it does not contain a middle-class tax cut, does not contain cap-and- trade?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I’ve emphasized repeatedly what I expect out of this budget. I expect that there’s serious efforts at health care reform, and that we are driving down costs for families and businesses, and ultimately for the federal and state governments that are going to be broke if we continue on the current path.

I’ve said that we’ve got to have a serious energy policy that frees ourselves from dependence on foreign oil and makes clean energy the profitable kind of energy. We’ve got to invest in education, K through 12 and beyond, to upgrade the skills of the American worker so we can compete in -- in the international economy. And I’ve said that we’ve got to start driving our deficit numbers down.

Now, we never expected, when we printed out our budget, that they would simply Xerox it and vote on it. We assume that it has to go through the legislative process. I have not yet seen the final product coming out of the Senate or the House, and we’re in constant conversations with them. I am confident that the budget we put forward will have those principles in place.

When it comes to the middle-class tax cut, we already had that in the recovery. We know that that’s going to be in place for at least the next two years. We had identified a specific way to pay for it. If Congress has better ideas in terms of how to pay for it, then we’re happy to listen.

When it comes to cap-and-trade, the broader principle is that we’ve got to move to a new energy era. And that means moving away from polluting energy sources towards cleaner energy sources.

That is a potential engine for economic growth.

I think cap-and-trade is the best way, from my perspective, to achieve some of those gains, because what it does is it starts pricing the pollution that’s being sent into the atmosphere.

The way it’s structured, it has to take into account regional differences. It has to protect consumers from huge spikes in electricity prices. So there are a -- a lot of technical issues that are going to have to be sorted through.

Our point in the budget is, let’s get started now. We can’t wait. And my expectation is that the energy committees, or other relevant committees in both the House and the Senate, are going to be moving forward a strong energy package. It’ll be authorized. We’ll get it done. And I will sign it. Okay?

QUESTION: So is that a yes, sir? You’re willing to sign a budget that doesn’t have those two provisions?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: No; I -- what I said was -- is I haven’t seen yet what provisions are in there. The bottom line is -- is that I want to see health care, energy, education and serious efforts to reduce our budget deficit.

And there are going to be a lot of details that are still being worked out. But I have confidence that we’re going to be able to get a budget done that’s reflective of what needs to happen in order to make sure that America grows. Okay?

Chip Reid.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.

At both of your town hall meetings in California last week, you said, quote, ”I didn’t run for president to pass on our problems to the next generation.”

But under your budget, the debt will increase $7 trillion over the next 10 years. The Congressional Budget Office says $9.3 trillion. And today on Capitol Hill, some Republicans called your budget, with all the spending on health care, education and environment, the most irresponsible budget in American history.

Isn’t that kind of debt exactly what you were talking about when you said passing on our problems to the next generation?


PRESIDENT OBAMA: First of all, I suspect that some of those Republican critics have a short memory, because as I recall, I’m inheriting a $1.3 trillion deficit, annual deficit, from them. That would be point number one.

Point number two. Both under our estimates and under the CBO estimates, both -- the most conservative estimates out there, we drive down the deficit over the first five years of our budget. The deficit is cut in half. And folks aren’t disputing that.

Where the dispute comes in is what happens in a whole bunch of out years. And the main difference between the budget that we presented and the budget that came out of Congressional Budget Office is assumptions about growth.

They’re assuming a growth rate of 2.2. We’re assuming a growth rate of 2.6. Those small differences end up adding up to a lot of money. Our assumptions are perfectly consistent with what blue chip forecasters out there are saying.

Now, none of us know exactly what’s going to happen six or eight or 10 years from now. Here’s what I do know: If we don’t tackle energy, if we don’t improve our education system, if we don’t drive down the costs of health care, if we’re not making serious investments in science and technology and our infrastructure, then we won’t grow 2.6 percent; we won’t grow 2.2 percent. We won’t grow.

And so what we’ve said is let’s make the investments that ensure that we meet our growth targets, that put us on a pathway to growth, as opposed to a situation in which we’re not making those investments and we still have trillion-dollar deficits.

And there’s a interesting reason why some of these critics haven’t put out their own budget. I mean, we haven’t seen an alternative budget out of them. And the reason is because they know that, in fact, the biggest driver of long-term deficits are the huge health care costs that we’ve got out here that we’re going to have to tackle.

And we -- that if we don’t deal with some of the structural problems in our deficit, ones that were here long before I got here, then we’re going to continue to see some of the problems in those out years.

And so what we’re trying to emphasize is let’s make sure that we’re making the investments that we need to grow, to meet those growth targets. At the same time, we’re still reducing the deficit by a couple of trillion dollars. We are cutting out wasteful spending in areas like Medicare. We’re -- we’re changing procurement practices when it comes to the Pentagon budget. We are looking at social- service programs and education programs that don’t work and eliminate them. And we will continue to go line-by-line through this budget, and where we find programs that don’t work we will eliminate them.

But it is -- it is going to be a(n) impossible task for us to balance our budget if we’re not taking on rising health care costs. And it’s going to be an impossible task to balance our budget or even approximate it if we are not boosting our growth rates. And -- and that’s why our budget focuses on the investments we need to make that happen.


QUESTION: But even under your budget -- as you said, over the next four or five years, you’re going to cut the deficit in half. Then, after that, six years in a row it goes up, up, up.

If you’re making all these long-term structural cuts --


PRESIDENT OBAMA: Right.

QUESTION: -- why does it continue to go up in the out years?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, look. It is going to take a whole host of adjustments, and we couldn’t reflect all of those adjustments in this budget. Let me give you an example. There’s been a lot of talk about entitlements and Medicare and Medicaid. The biggest problem we have long term is Medicare and Medicaid, but whatever reforms we initiate on that front -- and we’re very serious about working on a bipartisan basis to reduce those deficits -- or reduce those costs -- you’re not going to see those savings reflected until much later.

And so a -- a budget is a snapshot of what we can get done right now, understanding that eight, 10 years from now we will have had a whole series of new budgets. And we’re going to have to make additional adjustments. And once we get out of this current economic crisis, then it’s going to be absolutely important for us to take another look and say, ”Are we growing as fast as we need to grow? Are there further cuts that we need to make? What other adjustments are -- is it going to take for us to have a sustainable budget level?”

But keep in mind -- just to give one other example, as a percentage of gross domestic product, we are reducing non-Defense discretionary spending to its lowest level since the ’60s -- lower than it was under Reagan, lower than it was under Clinton, lower than it was under Bush or both Bushes.

And so if we’re growing, if we are doing what’s necessary to create new businesses and to expand the economy, and we are making sure that we’re eliminating some of these programs that aren’t working, then over time that gap can close.

But I’m -- look, I’m not going to lie to you. It is tough. As I said, that’s why the critics tend to criticize, but they don’t offer an alternative budget, because even if we were not doing health care, we were not doing energy, we were not doing education, they’d still have a whole bunch of problems in those out years, according to CBO projections. The only difference would -- is that we will not have invested in what’s necessary to make this economy grow.

Is Lourdes here, from Univision? (Let’s see ?).


QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. Today your administration presented a plan to help curb the violence in Mexico and also to control any or prevent any spillover of the violence into the United States. Do you consider the situation now a national security threat?

And do you believe that it could require sending national troops to the border? Governor Perry of Texas has said that you still need more troops and more agents. How do you respond to that?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all let’s focus on what we did today. It’s very significant. We are sending millions of dollars in additional equipment to provide more effective surveillance. We are providing hundreds of additional personnel that can help control the border, deal with customs issues. We are coordinating very effectively with the Mexican government and President Calderon, who has taken on a(n) extraordinarily difficult task dealing with these drug cartels that have gotten completely out of hand.

And so the steps that we’ve taken are designed to make sure that the border communities in the United States are protected and you’re not seeing a spillover of violence, and that we are helping the Mexican government deal with a very challenging situation.

Now, we are going to continue to monitor the situation. And if the steps that we’ve taken do not get the job done, then we will do more.

One last point that I want to make about this. As I said, President Calderon has been very courageous in taking on these drug cartels.

We’ve got to also take some steps. Even as he is doing more to deal with the drug cartels sending drugs into the United States, we need to do more to make sure that illegal guns and cash aren’t flowing back to these cartels. That’s part of what’s financing their operations. That’s part of what’s arming them. That’s what makes them so dangerous. And this is something that we take very seriously, and we’re going to continue to work on diligently in the months to come.

Kevin Baron, Stars and Stripes. Is Kevin here? There you go.

QUESTION: Mr. President, where do you plan to find savings in the Defense and Veterans Administration’s budgets when so many items that seem destined for the chopping block are politically untenable, perhaps?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I’m sorry, so many?

QUESTION: When so many items that may be destined for the chopping block seem politically untenable, from major weapons systems -- as you mentioned, procurement -- to wounded warrior care costs, or increased operations on Afghanistan, or the size of the military itself.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, a couple of -- a couple of points I want to make.

The budget that we’ve put forward reflects the largest increase in veterans funding in 30 years. That’s the right thing to do. Chuck asked earlier about sacrifices. I -- I don’t think anybody doubts the extraordinary sacrifices that men and women in uniform have already made. And when they come home, then they have earned the benefits that they receive.

And unfortunately, over the last several years, all too often the VA has been under-resourced when it comes to dealing with things like post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury, dealing with some of the backlogs in admission to VA hospitals.

So there are a whole host of veterans’ issues that I think every American wants to see properly funded, and that’s what’s reflected in our budget. Where the savings should come in -- and I’ve been working with Secretary Gates on this and will be detailing it more in the weeks to come -- is how do we reform our procurement system so that it keeps America safe and we’re not wasting taxpayer dollars? And there is uniform acknowledgment that the procurement system right now doesn’t work. That’s not just my opinion; that’s John McCain’s opinion; that’s Carl Levin’s opinion.

There are a whole host of people who are students of the procurement process that will say if you’ve got a whole range of billion-dollar, multi-billion-dollar systems that are -- where we’re seeing cost overruns of 30 percent or 40 percent or 50 percent, and then still don’t perform the way they’re supposed to or are providing our troops with the kinds of tools that they need to succeed on their missions, then we’ve got a problem.

Now, I think everybody in this town knows that the politics of changing procurement is tough, because, you know, lobbyists are very active in this area. You know, contractors are very good at dispersing the jobs in plants in the Defense Department widely.

And so what we have to do is to go through this process very carefully, be more disciplined than we’ve been in the last several years. As I’ve said, we’ve already identified, potentially, $40 billion in savings, just by some of the procurement reforms that are pretty apparent to a lot of -- a lot of critics out there. And we are going to continue to find savings in a way that allows us to put the resources where they’re needed but to make sure that we’re not simply fattening defense contractors.

One last point. In order for us to get a handle on these costs, it’s also important that we are honest in what these costs are. And that’s why it was so important for us to acknowledge the true costs of the Iraq war and the Afghan war, because if -- if those costs are somehow off the books and we’re not thinking about them, then it’s hard for us to make some of the tough choices that need to be made.


Okay. Ed Henry. Where’s Ed? There he is.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. You spoke again at the top about your anger about AIG. You’ve been saying that for days now. But why is it that it seems Andrew Cuomo seems to be, in New York, getting more actual action on it? And when you and Secretary Geithner first learned about this, 10 days, two weeks ago, you didn’t go public immediately with that outrage. You waited a few days, and then you went public after you realized Secretary Geithner really had no legal avenue to stop it.

And more broadly -- I just want to follow up on Chip and Jake -- you’ve been very critical of President Bush doubling the national debt. And to be fair, it’s not just Republicans hitting you. Democrat Kent Conrad, as you know, said, quote, ”When I look at this budget, I see the debt doubling again.” You keep saying that you’ve inherited a big fiscal mess. Do you worry, though, that your daughters, not to mention the next president, will be inheriting an even bigger fiscal mess if the spending goes out of control?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Of course I do, Ed, which is why we’re doing everything we can to reduce that deficit. Look, if this were easy, then we would have already had it done and the budget would have been voted on and everybody could go home. This is hard. And the reason it’s hard is because we’ve accumulated a structural deficit that’s going to take a long time, and we’re not going to be able to do it next year or the year after or three years from now.

What we have to do is bend the curve on these deficit projections, and the best way for us to do that is to reduce health care costs. That’s not just my opinion; that’s the opinion of almost every single person who has looked at our long-term fiscal situation.

Now, how do we -- how are we going to reduce health care costs? Because the problem is not just in government-run programs, the problem is in the private sector as well. It’s experienced by families. It’s experienced by businesses. And so what we’ve said is, look, let’s invest in health information technologies, let’s invest in preventive care, let’s invest in mechanisms that look at who’s doing a better job controlling costs while producing good-quality outcomes in various states, and let’s reimburse on the basis of improved quality as opposed to simply how many procedures you’re doing. Let’s do a whole host of things, some of which cost money on the front end but offer the prospect of reducing costs on the back end.

Now, the alternative is to stand pat, and to simply say we are just going to not invest in health care; we’re not going to take on energy, we’ll wait until the next time that gas gets to $4 a gallon; we will not improve our schools, and we’ll allow China or India or other countries to lap our young people in terms of their performance; we will settle on lower growth rates, and we will continue to contract both as an economy and our ability to -- to provide a better life for our kids.

That I don’t think is the better option.

Now, have -- am I completely satisfied with all the work that needs to be done on deficits? No. That’s why I convened a fiscal responsibility summit, started in this room, to start looking at entitlements and to start looking at the big drivers of costs over the long term. Not all of those are reflected in our budget, partly because the savings we anticipate would be coming in years outside of the 10-year budget cycle that we’re talking about. Okay?

QUESTION: So on AIG, why did you wait -- why did you wait days to come out and express that outrage?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I --

QUESTION: It seems like the action is coming out of New York in the attorney general’s office. It took you days to come public with Secretary Geithner and say, look, we’re outraged. Why did it take so long?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, it took us a couple of days because I like to know what I’m talking about before I speak. (Laughter.) All right?

QUESTION: Secretary Geithner alluded --

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Major?

QUESTION: (Off mike.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yeah.

QUESTION: Good evening, Mr. President. Thank you. Taking this economic debate a bit globally, senior Chinese officials have publicly expressed an interest in an international currency. This is described by Chinese specialists as a sign that they are less confident than they used to be in the value and the reliability of the U.S. dollar. European countries have resisted your calls to spend more on economic stimulus.

I wonder, sir, as a candidate who ran concerned about the image of the United States globally, how comfortable you are with the Chinese government, run by communists, less confident than they used to be in the U.S. dollar, and European governments, some of the center-left, some of them socialist, who say you’re asking them to spend too much?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, I haven’t asked them to do anything. What I’ve suggested is -- is that all of us are going to have to take steps in order to lift the economy. We don’t want a situation in which some countries are making extraordinary efforts and other countries aren’t, with the hope that somehow the countries that are making those important steps lift everybody up.

And so somebody’s got to take leadership. It’s not just me, by the way. I was with Kevin Rudd, prime minister of Australia, today, who was very forceful in suggesting that countries around the world, those with the capacity to do so, take the steps that are needed to fill this enormous hole in global demand. Gordon Brown, when he came to visit me, said the exact same thing.

So the goal at the G-20 summit, I think, is to do a couple of things. Number one, say to all countries: Let’s do what’s necessary in order to create jobs and to get the economy moving again. Let’s avoid steps that could result in protectionism, that would further contract global trade. Let’s focus on how are we going to move our regulatory process forward in order so that we do not see the kinds of systemic breakdowns that we’ve already seen.

And that -- that means not just dealing with banks, but also some of the other financial flows that are out here that are currently unregulated. We’ve got to update regulations that date back to the 1930s, and we’re going to have to do some coordination with other countries in order to accomplish that.

As far as confidence in the U.S. economy or the dollar, I would just point out that the dollar is extraordinarily strong right now. And the reason the dollar is strong right now is because investors consider the United States the strongest economy in the world, with the most stable political system in the world.

So you don’t have to take my word for it. I think that there is a great deal of confidence that ultimately, although we are going through a rough patch, that the prospects for the world economy are very, very strong.

And -- and last point I would make in terms of changing America’s image in the world, Garrett, I -- you know, I haven’t looked at the latest polling around the world, but I think the -- it’s -- I think it’s fair to say that the response that people have had to our administration and the steps we have taken are ones that are restoring a sense of confidence and the ability of the United States to assert global leadership.

QUESTION: Is there a need --

PRESIDENT OBAMA: That will just strengthen -- excuse me?

QUESTION: Is there a need for a global currency?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I don’t believe that there’s a need for a global currency.

Mike Allen, Politico. Hi, Mike.


QUESTION: Mr. President, are you -- (takes mic) -- thank you. Thank you, Mr. President. Are you reconsidering your plan to cut the interest-rate deduction for mortgages and for charities? And do you regret having proposed that in the first place?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: No, I think it’s -- I think it’s the right thing to do.

Where we’ve got to make some difficult choices -- here’s what we did with respect to tax policy. What we said was that over the last decade, the average worker, the average family have seen their wages and incomes flat. Even at times where supposedly we were in the middle of an economic boom, as a practical matter their incomes didn’t go up. And so (what/well ?) we said -- let’s give them a tax cut. Let’s give them some relief, some help -- 95 percent of American families.

Now, for the top 5 percent, they’re the ones who typically saw huge gains in their income. I -- I fall in that category. And what we’ve said is, for those folks, let’s not renew the Bush tax cuts. So let’s go back to the rates that existed back in -- during the Clinton era, when wealthy people were still wealthy and doing just fine. And let’s look at the level at which people can itemize their deductions.

And what we’ve said is let’s go back to the rate that existed under Ronald Reagan.

People are still going to be able to make charitable contributions. It just means if you give $100 and you’re in this tax bracket, at a certain point, instead of being able to write off 36 (percent) or 39 percent, you’re writing off 28 percent. Now, if it’s really a charitable contribution, I’m assuming that that shouldn’t be the determining factor as to whether you’re giving that hundred dollars to the homeless shelter down the street.

And so this provision would effect about 1 percent of the American people. They would still get deductions. It’s just that they wouldn’t be able to write off 39 percent. In that sense, what it would do is it would equalize. When I give $100, I get the same amount of deduction as when some -- a bus driver who’s making $50,000 a year or $40,000 a year gives that same hundred dollars. Right now, he gets 28 percent -- he gets to write off 28 percent, I get to write off 39 percent. I don’t think that’s fair.

So I think this was a good idea. I think it is a realistic way for us to raise some revenue from people who benefitted enormously over the last several years. It’s not going to cripple them.

They’ll still be well-to-do. And, you know, ultimately if we’re going to tackle the serious problems that we’ve got, then in some cases those who are more fortunate are going to have to pay a little bit more.


QUESTION: It’s not the well-to-do people; it’s the charities. Given what you’ve just said --

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yeah.

QUESTION: -- are you confident that charities are wrong when they contend that this would discourage giving?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yes. I am. I mean, if you look at the evidence -- there’s very little evidence that this has a significant impact on charitable giving. I’ll tell you what has a significant impact on charitable giving is a financial crisis and an economy that’s contracting. And so the most important thing that I can do for charitable giving is to fix the economy, to get banks lending again, to get businesses opening their doors again, to get people back to work again. Then I think charities will do just fine.

Kevin Chappell. Hi, Kevin.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. A recent report found that as a result of the economic downturn, one in 50 children are now homeless in America. With shelters at full capacity, tent cities are sprouting up across the country.

In passing your stimulus package, you said that help was on the way, but what would you say to these families, especially children, who are sleeping under bridges and in tents across the country?


PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, the first thing I’d say is that I’m heartbroken that any child in America is homeless.

And the most important thing that I can do on their behalf is to make sure their parents have a job. And that’s why the recovery package said, as a first priority, how are we going to save or create 3.5 million jobs? How can we prevent layoffs for teachers and police officers? How can we make sure that we are investing in the infrastructure for the future that can put people back to work right away? How do we make sure that when people do lose their jobs, that their unemployment insurance is extended, that they can keep their health care?

So there are a whole host of steps that we’ve done to provide a cushion for folks who have fallen on very hard times and to try to spur immediate projects that can put people back to work.

Now, in the meantime, we’ve got to work very closely with the states to monitor and to help people who are still falling through the cracks.

And, you know, the homeless problem was bad even when the economy was good. Part of the change in attitudes that I want to see here in Washington and all across the country is a belief that it is not acceptable for children and families to be without a roof over their heads in a country as wealthy as ours. And so we’re going to be initiating a range of programs as well to deal with homelessness.

One area in particular I want to focus on is the issue of veterans. The rate of homelessness among veterans is much, much higher than for non-veteran populations.

And so we’ve got -- a number of the increases that we’re looking for in our budget on veterans funding directly addresses the issue of homeless veterans. That, I think, can provide some real help.

Ann Compton. Hey, Ann.

QUESTION: Sir. (Soft laughter.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: You sound surprised. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: I am surprised! (Chuckles.) Could I ask you about race?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: You may.

QUESTION: Yours is a rather historic presidency, and I’m just wondering whether in any of the policy debates that you’ve had within the White House, the issue of race has come up, or whether it has in the way you feel you’ve been perceived by other leaders or by the American people. Or have the last 64 days been a relatively color- blind time?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I -- I think that the last 64 days has been dominated by me trying to figure out how we’re going to fix the economy, and that’s -- affects black, brown and white. And you know, obviously, at the Inauguration I think that there was justifiable pride on the part of the country that we had taken a step to move us beyond some of the searing legacies of racial discrimination in this country, but that lasted about a day. And you know, right now the American people are judging me exactly the way I should be judged, and that is, are we taking the steps to improve liquidity in the financial markets, create jobs, get businesses to reopen, keep America safe?

And that’s what I’ve been spending my time thinking about.

Okay. Jon Ward, Washington Times. Where’s Jon?

QUESTION: Right here, sir.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: There you go.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.

In your remarks on stem-cell research earlier this month, you talked about a majority consensus in determining whether or not this is the right thing to do, to federally fund embryonic stem-cell research. I’m just wondering, though, how much you personally wrestled with the morality or ethics of federally funding this kind of research, especially given the fact that science so far has shown a lot of progress with adult stem cells but not a lot with embryonic?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Okay. No, I -- I think it’s a -- I think it’s a legitimate question.

I -- I wrestle with these issues every day. As I mentioned to -- I think in an interview a couple of days ago, by the time an issue reaches my desk, it’s a hard issue. If it was an easy issue, somebody else would have solved it and it wouldn’t have reached me.

Look, I believe that it is very important for us to have strong moral guidelines, ethical guidelines, when it comes to stem-cell research or anything that touches on, you know, the issues of possible cloning or issues related to, you know, the human life sciences.

I think those issues are all critical, and I’ve said so before. I wrestle with it on stem cell; I wrestle with it on issues like abortion.

I think that the guidelines that we provided meet that ethical test. What we have said is that for embryos that are typically about to be discarded, for us to be able to use those in order to find cures for Parkinson’s or for Alzheimer’s or for, you know, all sorts of other debilitating diseases, juvenile diabetes, that -- that it is the right thing to do. And that’s not just my opinion. That is the opinion of a number of people who are also against abortion.

Now, I am glad to see progress is being made in adult stem cells. And if the science determines that we can completely avoid a set of ethical questions or political disputes, then that’s great. I have -- I have no investment in causing controversy. I’m happy to avoid it if that’s where the science leads us.

But what I don’t want to do is predetermine this based on a very rigid ideological approach. And that’s what I think is reflected in the executive order that I signed.


QUESTION: I meant to ask as a follow-up, though, do you think that scientific consensus is enough to tell us what we can and cannot do?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: No. I think there’s always an ethical and a moral element that has to be -- be a part of this. And so, as I said, I don’t take decisions like this lightly. They’re ones that I take seriously. And -- and I respect people who have different opinions on this issue.

But I think that this was the right thing to do and the ethical thing to do. And as I said before, my hope is, is that we can find a mechanism ultimately to cure these diseases in a way that gains a hundred percent consensus. And we certainty haven’t achieved that yet. But I think on balance this was the right step to take.

STAFF: Last question.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Okay. Stephen Collinson, AFP.

QUESTION: Mr. President, you came to office pledging to work for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yeah.

QUESTION: How realistic do you think those are hopes are now, given the likelihood of a prime minister who’s not fully signed up to a two- state solution and a foreign minister who’s been accused of insulting Arabs?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: It’s not easier than it was, but I think it’s just as necessary. We don’t yet know what the Israeli government is going to look like. And we don’t yet know what the future shape of Palestinian leadership is going to be comprised of.

What we do know is this; that the status quo is unsustainable. That it is critical for us to advance a two-state solution where Israelis and Palestinians can live side by side in their own states with peace and security. And by assigning George Mitchell the task of working as special envoy, what we’ve signaled is that we’re going to be serious from day one in trying to move the parties in a direction that acknowledges that reality. How effective these negotiations may be, I think we’re going to have to wait and see.

But, you know, we were here for Saint Patrick’s Day, and you’ll recall that we had what had been previously sworn enemies celebrating here in this very room; you know, leaders from the two sides in Northern Ireland that, you know, a couple of decades ago or even a decade ago people would have said could never achieve peace. And here they were, jointly appearing and talking about their commitment, even in the face of violent provocation.

And what that tells me is that if you stick to it, if you are persistent, then -- then these problems can be dealt with.

That whole philosophy of persistence, by the way, is one that I’m going to be emphasizing again and again in the months and years to come, as long as I am in this office. I’m a big believer in persistence. I think that when it comes to domestic affairs, if we keep on working at it, if we acknowledge that we make mistakes sometimes and that we don’t always have the right answer, and we’re inheriting very knotty problems, that we can pass health care, we can find better solutions to our energy challenges, we can teach our children more effectively, we can deal with a very real budget crisis that is not fully dealt with in my -- in my budget at this point, but makes progress.

I think when it comes to the banking system, you know, it was just a few days ago or weeks ago where people were certain that Secretary Geithner couldn’t deliver a plan. Today, the headlines all look like, well, all right, there’s a plan.

And I’m sure there’ll be more criticism and we’ll have to make more adjustments, but we’re moving in the right direction.

When it comes to Iran, you know, we did a video sending a message to the Iranian people and the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran. And some people said, ”Well, they did not immediately say they were eliminating nuclear weapons and stop funding terrorism.” Well, we didn’t expect that. We expect that we’re going to make steady progress on this front.

We haven’t immediately eliminated the influence of lobbyists in Washington. We have not immediately eliminated wasteful pork projects. And we’re not immediately going to get Middle East peace. We’ve been in office now a little over 60 days.

What I am confident about is that we’re moving in the right direction, and that the decisions we’re making are based on, how are we going to get this economy moving? How are we going to put Americans back to work? How are we going to make sure that our people are safe? And how are we going to create not just prosperity here but work with other countries for global peace and prosperity?

And we are going to stay with it as long as I'm in this office, and I think that -- you look back four years from now, I think, hopefully, people will judge that body of work and say, "This is a big ocean liner. It's not a speedboat. It doesn't turn around immediately. But we're in a better -- better place because of the decisions that we made."

All right? Thank you, everybody.