"Barack Obama is being politically crushed in a vise. From above, by elite opinion about his competence. From below, by mass anger and anxiety over unemployment. And it is too late for him to do anything about this predicament until after November's elections." - Mark Helperin
"Here’s the narrative you hear everywhere: President Obama has presided over a huge expansion of government, but unemployment has remained high. And this proves that government spending can't create jobs. Here’s what you need to know: The whole story is a myth." - Paul Krugman
"This is a strange development. President Obama, after all, has been working overtime to save capitalism... Nonetheless, corporations and affluent individuals are pouring tens of millions of dollars into attack ads aimed almost exclusively at Democrats." - EJ Dionne Jr
Here is an interview with his wife, who was put under house arrest after she had visited her husband in prison on Sunday. Her cell phone has been jammed, her computer has been blocked, and she is not allowed any contact with her friends...This is from Der Spiegel, and the interview was given right before she left to visit the prison: "A few days before the prize was announced, SPIEGEL met with Liu Xia in a teahouse near the China Millennium Monument in Beijing. The petite intellectual with her distinctive close-cropped hair smoked menthol cigarettes and laughed easily during the interview.
She told SPIEGEL she wanted to travel to Oslo to accept the prize on her husband's behalf. "I have a passport," she says. "I will go if they let me."
SPIEGEL: Your husband is the first Chinese person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. What will change?
Liu Xia: I can only cite what Xiaobo's friends are saying. They are convinced that the prize is an opportunity to change the entire country.
SPIEGEL: And what does the award mean for your husband?
Liu: I hope that his treatment in prison will improve.
SPIEGEL: Have you signed the "Charter 08," the pro-reform manifesto co-authored by your husband?
Liu: No. I am not politically involved. I behave as if I live in a different world. We discuss politics as little as possible at home. My husband knows that it doesn't interest me.
SPIEGEL: Haven't you ever discussed the risks?
Liu: Oh yes, we have. We thought about what would happen if one of us were sent to prison. We discussed what we would do for each other and what we wouldn't do. I said to my husband: I will not fight for you every day, but I promise that I will visit you every month.
SPIEGEL: And now?
Liu: Now I'm doing all the things that I really didn't want to do. He probably can't imagine that I am no longer a housewife, which is what he would jokingly call me.
SPIEGEL: Your husband is in a prison in Liaoning province, which is a great distance for you to travel. Why does he have to serve his sentence there?
Liu: Government officials like to make people suffer. It's part of their nature. The worse off you are, the better they feel. It's sick.
SPIEGEL: How is your husband?
Liu: His frame of mind is very good, but he has stomach problems and possibly hepatitis B. I cook for him, and I send him powdered milk and vitamin pills. We are also permitted to write to each other, but the letters are censored.
SPIEGEL: What is his life in prison like?
Liu: He doesn't have to work. He reads -- among other things -- French novels, and historical books. Politics is banned, and so are newspapers.
SPIEGEL: Does he have to practice self-criticism and attend political lessons, as is common in Chinese prisons?
Liu: No. They know it's useless.
SPIEGEL: Are you under surveillance?
Liu: Yes. I live in an apartment building owned by the tax office, my former employer. The security police have a booth at the north gate to our courtyard. So far the officers have been very friendly, and the tone isn't as brusque as it used to be. When the EU recently invited me to attend an event, they said: "Big sister, let's talk about it. Do you really have to go?"
SPIEGEL: What was your reply?
Liu: "Of course I'll go, if you don't stop me." They said: "Well, then go." Otherwise they greet me politely, remind me not to forget my umbrella and send greeting cards to my parents on holidays.
SPIEGEL: But your movements are not restricted?
Liu: The police often follow me. Once, when I invited some friends to a restaurant, we sat at two tables while police officers sat at four tables surrounding us. My life won't change. My husband and I have never thought about the prize. It all seems unreal to me.
Interview conducted by Andreas Lorenz
"says Israel will extend settlement freeze if the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, Abbas spokesman says 'issue of Jewishness of the state has nothing to do with the matter.'" The recognition of each other as a state comes at the end of negotiations, but Netanyahu went one step further in defining Israel as the true homeland of the Jews. This has legal repercussions involving several cases before the Israeli courts right now, and for Abbas to accept this would strip away the Palestinian plaintiff's legal basis for their lawsuits. Netanyahu knew what the answer would be from the PA, so he is making a play for public opinion here...
foreign ministers of France and Spain, he "violated every rule of diplomatic etiquette." The meeting was supposed to not be publicized, but one hour after dinner ended, Lieberman was before the press cameras, bragging that he had told them to: "... solve your own problems in Europe before you come to us with complaints. Maybe then I will be open to accepting your suggestions." Lieberman emphasized to that "Israel will not be the Czechoslovakia of 2010." Haaretz also reported, that on Monday, Lieberman told reporters: "... Lieberman denied the reports that the dinner was unpleasant, and said despite the fact that it was at times complicated, the dinner was "very tasty, and there was a good, honest and open atmosphere. We spoke openly, as friends do." Lieberman added that he indeed spoke with Moratinos on the phone and described the conversation as "good." He stressed that he did not reprimand anyone, and said that "we need to stop squirming and stuttering. In Europe they passed the Burka ban law [France] and a Minaret ban [Switzerland] and no one got excited about it.
"In the reality of the middle East, only the strong survive." I don't know if Lieberman thinks he is priming himself for the next Israeli election, or is he is priming himself for the next Russian election by out-machoing Putin, or if he has been hanging out with the military too much and taking too many steroids... In a similar vein, Lebanon may erupt into civil war next week if Iran's Prime Minister Mahmoud Ahmadinejad comes to visit. He has stated his desire to visit the border with Israel and throw a rock across it. Of course, he might get stoned to death in return, in proper tribal fashion...
I'm not sure if this qualifies as news, but you can watch California candidates Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorino drink some tequila shots at a Hispanic 100 Lifetime Achievement Awards dinner in San Francisco. TPM reports it: "Friday night at the Hispanic 100 Lifetime Achievement award dinner, the women -- both former CEOs of Silicon Valley businesses -- were captured on video doing tequila shots and getting into the spirit as a mariachi band played. The video, shot and edited by NBC's John Boxley and NBC's Domenico Montanaro, also portrays Fiorina saying the night had "spoiled" her forever.
"I think every speech should begin with a shot of tequila," Fiorina said, letting out a loud trill."
It's true that in order to win in California you need to ask for the Hispanic vote, but neither woman has wowed the Hispanic community. Whitman, by hiring an illegal maid for nine years, then firing her once she found out, not once offering to help the woman gain citizenship. So, Meg has problems in the way she treats employees. Carly supports the Arizona anti-immigration law, but she at least showed that she knows how to party.
What I found more interesting, was the reaction by Hispanics and other TPM readers who watched the video. Here are a few:
- Okay, help me out; I'm a Latino. Why isn't this really insulting to me?
- I don't get the feeling California is overrun with Tea Party people.
- Just travel to the outskirts of the Bay Area, and you will see all kinds of Tea party-like signs and bumper stickers right along the highway. The ratio of signs for the Congress seat here is approx 70-30 in favor of the GOP candidate.
- You don't even have to go to the outskirts. San Pablo and El Sobrante have long been quiet strongholds of the KKK.
- Neither one of these clowns can solidify their credentials with the Latino community until they go into San Francisco's Mission District and polish off a couple of al pastor burritos loaded with chili verde, and washed down with a beer.
- I agree: everyone who must endure a Carly Fiorina speech should take a shot of Tequila beforehand.
- No wait .... maybe not. Surely no sober person would vote for her.
- A second shot might have let out some inadvertent truth.
- As a Mexican-American myself, I am proud that they can drink like fish and pound tequila like an illegal alien from Jalisco. I'm going to go put on my sombrero, nap in fron of my cactus, and vote Republican! To hell with the fact that Whitman threw her illegal immigrant maid under the bus. To hell with the fact that Fiorina supports AZ's SB 1070.
F**K THEM. F**K THEM AND F**K ANY LATINO WHO WOULD TAKE SERIOUSLY THESE WOMEN'S EFFORTS TO LAUGH IN OUR FACES WHILE THEY SPIT ON OUR COMMUNITY.
Whew, its heating up in the Golden State...