Thursday, December 23, 2010

Obama To Focus On foreign Policy, Time To Fix Rape In The Military, My Apologies To The Custodian Of The Two Holy Mosques And Wish Good Luck To His Health

Gail Collins
Dana Milbank
Steve Benen
"President Obama met with leaders of 60 American Indian tribes. I don't want to say the country's in bad shape, but he offered to give it back to them." – Jay Leno

"The president was honored by the Indians with his own Indian name. They now call him, 'Dances With Republicans.'" – Jay Leno
"It was so cold in Washington, President Obama got into bed with the Republicans just for the warmth." – Jay Leno

Funny how, in just a few days, Barack Obama went from being the goat of Washington, to the master negotiator, getting through the DADT legislation, the START treaty, and health care for 9/11 first-responders. Mitch McConnell is warning that if that's not enough, he will really give him hell over the next two years...

And Obama really doesn't have to do any more legislation, just fine tune and tweak what has already been passed, probably try to protect the health care bill from all of the legal attacks that are mounting up in the courts. The real emphasis will  be on foreign policy, since most of his national security team may have retired, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and even Hillary Clinton, who is tired from the sheer amount of work she has to do in her job as Secretary of State. There will also be a new team of military commanders taking over, and Leon Panetta has said that he might quit the CIA. Richard Dreyfuss blogs in the Nation, that: "Obama could recast his foreign policy by ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, making a deal with Iran,and reducing military spending and improving relations with China and Russia." Each step being fought and challenged by the GOP, brought to you by CSPAN... If he does accomplish all of this, he will have been the most successful president we've had, despite whatever trash talk McConnell and Boehner attempt...

Now that it's officially OK for gays to join the military, we can tackle the problem of heterosexual rape in the military, with reported incidents steadily going up each year. This was one reality that was feared would happen ever since the military was integrated for women; that male soldiers would attack the females. So far it has been swept under the rug instead of confronting head-on. The incidence of soldiers raping members of the native populations have also continually gone up since 2001...

I guess I can eat a little crow for dinner tonight. Yesterday I posted that the King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia's health was going downhill because of the lack of communication from his retinue. This morning, Saudi Arabia issued a press release that the King had been discharged from the hospital and was on his way back home: "The king underwent two surgeries in a New York hospital following a herniated disc and blood clot. The first surgery to correct the disc and remove the clot was undertaken on Nov. 24. The second operation on Dec. 3 was to stabilize several vertebrae on the spinal cord, according to an earlier Royal Court statement."

What I have to do now is learn the obscure way of using flowery compliments and being able to work in everyone's full title when referring to them. King Abdullah is "Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah," and if I want to congragulate the king on his recovery, I have to include his sons, some ministers, and maybe his racing camels that produce such fine camel's milk chocolates, too. All I know is that each compliment must be better than the preceding ones, until we all have thanked Allah: "Assistant Minister of Interior for Security Affairs Prince Muhammad bin Naif expressed his great happiness at the recovery of King Abdullah who left hospital late Tuesday.“This is a historic day that will remain fresh in the hearts of all Saudis.”

Prince Muhammad congratulated Crown Prince Sultan, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense and Aviation; Second Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Prince Naif and the entire Saudi citizens for the recovery of the king.

In a statement on the occasion, Secretary-General of the Shoura Council Muhammad Al-Ghamdi congratulated the crown prince, second deputy premier and the royal family. State Minister and Member of the Council of Ministers Prince Abdul Aziz bin Fahd expressed his happiness at the news of the king leaving the hospital.

On receiving the news of the king’s regained health, President of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Humayen thanked Almighty Allah." I hope I haven't left anyone out, and really am happy to see Abdullah in good health, especially because he is such a stabilizing influence in his country and in the region, despite calling on the US and Israel to remove the head of the Iranian snake... If these guys have to refer to each other all of the time by their titles and their names, it might explain why it takes so long to get anything done in the Middle East. Because this reads like such a good-old-boys network, women working to get their rights must feel like they are flinging themselves against a brick wall... or is it that I don't understand Old World courtesy?

When is a lame duck Congress not such a lame duck? The GOp spent the last two years just saying no and being content to filibuster their time away. They didn't do diddlysquat to help make any of the legislation that has been passed, and now they are complaining that they have been had... You can't even give them a grade for effort, not one Republican tried to work with any of the Democrats, except when Ron Paul and Barney Frank got together to ask for an audit of the Fed, which is now available... TPM has the full list of complaints, here I offer you a sampling:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC) attacked his fellow Republicans for the Democrats' legislative wins: "Harry Reid has eaten our lunch. This has been a capitulation in two weeks of dramatic proportions of policies that wouldn't have passed in the new Congress. The lame duck session was meant to basically transition from one Congress to the next, not take every special interest item the liberals want and pass it in two weeks."

Sen. Jim DeMint (SC) tweeted his displeasure over the START Treaty: "Passing a major arms agreement in lame duck is outrageous. Dems trying to jam through a liberal agenda before conservatives come to town."

Sen. John Thune (SD) agreed: "It really does appear that the Administration wanted a treaty so badly that they agreed to a bad treaty. And I think the reason they're trying to rush it through here at the end of the year, here in a lame-duck session, when most Americans aren't paying attention, is because they know all the concessions our side made in order to get this."

Sen. Jon Kyl (AZ) hearkened back to an even darker time in Senate history -- when the health care bill was passed: "I remember just a year ago when we were here on this Senate floor debating the health care bill, and one of the primary criticisms of it was the way it was done." Kyl said that now he is "concerned about the precedent that we're setting here in the Senate, taking a lame-duck session to jam so many things through."

And, of course, no Republican outrage would be complete without the Tea Partying-est members of Congress. Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX) talked about START on the House floor, calling it "so inappropriate" for the treaty to be passed during the lame duck. "People who have been voted out of office because the majority in their state did not want them representing them anymore and they're down there cutting a deal with the Russians. The election should have consequences." Hint: Louie Gohmert has to be one of the dumbest people in all of Congress, along with Little Jeff Sessions...

Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN) told Fox News host Greta Van Susteren that the lame duck is "awful." She listed all of the legislation that is being passed, and said: "In other words, a whole year's worth of work after the voters already spoke at the polls." For her part, Van Susteren shot back: "Well that's because you all didn't do it before the election." Amen to that, Sister Greta, amen to that...

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