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Jun-05-2009 16:26printcommentsVideo

Obama in Cairo: The Devil's in the Detail (VIDEO)

President Obama’s Cairo speech is a watershed event. However this plays out, he has done what no other American president of any party could or would have done, and for that alone he deserves praise.

President Obama speaking in Cairo
President Obama speaking in Cairo
Photos courtesy: White House Media

(JACKSON, Miss. AlJazeera) - Purists or fanatics may say that he did not go far enough in condemning past U.S. actions, or in reasserting his predecessor’s open-ended commitment to anything and everything Israel did or wanted.

But politics is the art of the practical, and neither groveling in the rhetorical dirt nor being an Israeli apologist would do anyone except those purists and fanatics any good.

Obama acquired a good deal of legitimacy as an intelligent, articulate and charismatic leader, thus distancing himself from a predecessor who was none of those things. I applaud him for that.

Reflecting on the details

Actions do speak louder than words, and it is those that will determine the proof of his intentions. But we should remember that the ship of state, like a ship at sea, cannot do an instantaneous change of course.

It needs to turn, and turn slowly and carefully, so it does not capsize or run aground, especially in a narrow channel with obstacles on all sides.

And Obama does face numerous obstacles. One is AIPAC's tame poodles in the U.S. Congress and Israel’s advocates in the mainstream media.

No matter what Obama wishes to do, it is absolutely certain that for now, Congress will vote for whatever Israel wishes, and a good part of the mainstream media will endorse that.

Another is his reaffirmation of a special relationship of unbreakable bonds with Israel.

The U.S. cannot hope to broker disputes anywhere if it enters the fray professing a clear preference for one of the parties, and refuses to penalize it in any substantive way.

A third is Palestinians bent on revenge against Israelis who have ravaged them and their land and families for decades. Whatever Palestinian representatives endorse, many who have been oppressed and lost loved ones to Israeli soldiers and settlers will want to return the “favor.”

And the most fundamental is the carefully ignored reality that whatever the two-state rhetoric employed, Palestinians and Israelis claim the same land, neither believes they can be safe without their own country, and neither believes they can be safe if the other has a country.

The Israelis now rule and have no intention of relinquishing that position. Some Palestine may emerge that is called a state, but that doesn’t mean it will be anything but an Israeli victim with a different status, barring external protection.

Making it happen

Good intentions do not have much leverage, but three things can still be done to help Obama begin to achieve his goals, not as Israel’s patron-in-chief but as a U.S. President committed to America’s interests overall. The most important is to replace many of the key players in the Administration now dealing with Middle East affairs.

Almost all now are either Jewish or firm Israeli partisans; Arab-Americans and those who are not staunch supporters of Israel are not exactly easy to find in the government.

Video

Watch President Barack Obama's speech in Cairo, Egypt.

But they are easy to find in America, and Obama should remember that another Democratic president, Jimmy Carter, was the last president with a senior Middle East adviser (William Quandt) who was not an Israeli partisan, and he managed to achieve the Camp David accords between Israel and Egypt. It is a precedent worth repeating.

Second, the so-called “special relationship” with Israel absolutely has to end, both because of Israel’s elected government and its behavior, and America’s own national self-interest. When one cuts through the rhetoric, the issue of Israel today comes down to parties and people: Who governs?

And this much is clear. If any other country elected someone like Binyamin Netanyahu from a party like Likud as its Prime Minister, and someone like Avigdor Lieberman from a party like Yisrael Beiteinu as its Foreign Minister, no one in Washington would be babbling about a "special relationship" between America and that country. No U.S. President would affirm that its security was America's paramount concern. No one in Congress would pledge continued support. In fact, no one in official Washington would give such people access to scraps in the White House kitchen, or send a penny to their country. And that is the only approach that may help less dogmatic Israelis come to the forefront.

Third, the U.S. must explicitly link the phased withdrawal of Jewish settlements from the West Bank and the lifting of the Israeli blockade of the beleaguered people of Gaza to a continuation of American military and economic assistance to Israel. A properly coached Congress will be enraged, but while Congress can authorize all the funds for Israel it wishes, the President is under no practical obligation to spend them (so-called “signing statements” may have a good purpose, after all!), and I do not see a Democratic Congress impeaching and convicting a black Democratic President.

Without this leverage, Israel has no reason whatsoever to support Obama’s expressed goals, and a failure to understand this essential point will entail the failure of Obama’s grand design, leaving the road to his political hell and more war truly paved with his own good intentions. With it, a safe and stable Palestine has a chance.

These proposals take more from Israel than from the Palestinians, and place a greater burden on Israelis than on the Palestinians. That is because Israel today is in the dominant position, whereas the Palestinians have lost almost everything and are subject to Israel’s whims. Doing what I propose will assuredly upset the Israelis and their supporters in the U.S. But America has better things to do than to underwrite Jewish settlers determined to play “master race” over impoverished and terrorized Palestinians.

=======================================================

Alan Sabrosky (Ph.D., University of Michigan) is a writer and consultant specializing in national and international security affairs. In December 1988, he received the Superior Civilian Service Award after more than five years of service at the U.S. Army War College as Director of Studies, Strategic Studies Institute, and holder of the General of the Army Douglas MacArthur Chair of Research. He is listed in WHO'S WHO IN THE EAST (23rd ed.). A Marine Corps Vietnam veteran and a 1986 graduate of the U.S. Army War College, Dr. Sabrosky's teaching and research appointments have included the United States Military Academy, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Middlebury College and Catholic University; while in government service, he held concurrent adjunct professorships at Georgetown University and the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Dr. Sabrosky has lectured widely on defense and foreign affairs in the United States and abroad. You can email Dr. Alan Sabrosky at: docbrosk@comcast.net




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Corey Clearwater June 9, 2009 6:31 pm (Pacific time)

With the recent Supreme Court ruling today to allow the bankruptcy of GM and Chrysler to go forward without a full court hearing actually pits union members against union members and will probably make future investments in the bond market highly unpredictable, and may even collapse this investment market which is highly needed for capitalizing literally tens of thousands of government projects (local, state, and federal). Initially the state of Indiana filed a lawsuit to stop the GM payout which subordinated the prime bondholders to the UAW. The prime bondholders have always been entitled to be paid first in a bankruptcy, but not this time, they are just going to get about 29 cents on the dollar instead of 100 cents. So this Indiana pension program, made up of civil service workers, including police, firemen, teachers (NEA members) just got the short end. I personally have decades of experience as a private investor and I just cannot believe what I've witnessed today. I would like to point out that there is not one economic model out there that has shown one scintilla of success with the government getting involved in running/controling the private market. I would challenge anyone to show me where it has worked and is still working because it would be highly visible if any state was successful who pursued that economic model. No one can. Seeing the recent voting going on in Europe, it appears our relatives there are hopefully about to begin to change their government enhanced system(s), which some here in America want us to follow. Not a wise idea. Our unemployment rate is at 9.4%, but it is no doubt much higher because of those who quit looking and then all those recent (millions) of high school and college graduates are looking for work. Recently Bill Gates of Microsoft has threatened to move many of his jobs overseas if certain taxes go up. But for some reason, Ford Motor Company and many other businesses who rejected government stimulus money are at least still healthy. If income continues to slide this recession will be a depression, and still they are raising taxes, unbelievable! I am skeptical when someone says they have saved jobs, when we are still losing jobs. Political Spin from those who essentially have no private market experience.


Henry Ruark June 9, 2009 1:12 pm (Pacific time)

Corey: Beg to disagree, sir. Some 30 years of writing in management communications has taught me, long ago, to look with great suspicion on anyone claiming wide publication on any point, but NEVER showing direct citation OR solid and sensible quotes from same. No matter how stimulus may play out --and latest word is that its successful impacts are already evident in nearly every state -- yours makes claims without proof, thus now, AGAIN, remaining only a personal proclamation. Re auto management failures, all three have shared damned near equally, with "bad design" driving their own destruction. Re imputed blame on union actions, that's fully,very disputable on public record, with full documentation from both-sides recording agreement on well-understood "social contract" built by bloody struggles -- in lieu of otherwise inevitable govt. action on healthcare et al, costly in the billions already despite their profits well bolstered by those productive years. Re rest of resounding pap and propaganda, any thinking citizen can explore for self on rapid acccess to any computer, so need no help here except to say "see with own eyes, evaluate with own mind" --whether mine own words or those of prolific producers of propaganda meant to mislead, misinform, and misguide. Fact remains that "miracle of the markets" has been and still is misleading massively, and remains now obvious most malign producer of components for our present economic disaster, with even The ECONOMIST not stating direct American actions as a main, if not THE main, cause. Do you ever consult such consequential sources, surely not radical nor far-left/wing, as The ECONOMIST,sir ? OR is your browsing, as with so many others, directed mainly if not mostly to those sources sure to return what you seek ? IF not-so, WHY NOT supply full "see with own eyes" links rather than equivocating with such statements as just displayed ??? IF you read it, WHY NOT record source and share here for our mutual learning ? That's the purpose of this open, honest, democratic channel, supplied by Tim's generosity, which you abuse by continuing rants,rage, and the personal-declaration approach we have seen so far. We recognize rational and reasonable dissent, but do insist it be accompanied by direct-source access, sinc we owe that responsibility to every reader, as do you, too.


Corey Clearwater June 9, 2009 9:19 am (Pacific time)

Next to buying real estate, the purchase of a vehicle is a significant expenditure. So it's good to become a savvy buyer and do your research based on objective measurements when possible. Typically, one would think that in a particular industry, if one corporation is suffering badly, then others would follow suit. Apparently, that is not the case in the automobile industry as "government-controlled" General Motors and Chrysler are struggling with the bottom line, Ford Motor Company seems to be doing just fine. And they’re doing well without the benefit of federal bailout money, Treasury-led restructurings or bankruptcy judges. if GM and Chrysler had at the very least had a better business model - even emulating some of what Ford has done - they wouldn’t be in the poor shape that they’re in, in my opinion. They didn’t take federal bailout money - basically cutting out the government’s involvement - or allow the union to participate in their restructuring, better positioning themselves for better flexibility and long-term financial health, which includes keeping union members working! Suffice it to say, Ford learned from lessons past. Any search engine will allow one to see dozens of articles, free of potential bias from a source you may question, on how the Ford Motor Company is currently doing. The Free Market is infinitely superior to anything else, so far.


Henry Ruark June 9, 2009 8:43 am (Pacific time)

Friend Mark: Familiar with Scheer piece; thanks for pointing out the disagreements with others viewing same seminal events. That's great strength of open, honest, democratic dialog, exemplified when each one,with special qualification for that dissenting view, is allowed open access to all of us for our own evaluation with own minds. For me, he overlooks much happening prior to events he details fairly with fine insights. For Krugman, he must speak for self, but believe he will point out to many-such prior-events to final actions in Reagan-times. For others,inclding Stigitz, Nobel-winning economist, see his HARPERs Jan '09 artice for following events tied neatly, if not nicely, to the Reagan beginnings, ending in the Bush bash by cabal and TEN TRILLION lost to what we could have done with those missing many dollars. My very intense readings of Reagan impacts come from very personal experience as well as observation, some on-site, and many since over decades; with consequences both personal and by professional experience. That's thewayits'posed to work, and I give NATION kudos for opening up further detailed discussion on major seminal era from which we now still suffer very many complex and both unforeseen and very obvious-expected consequences. Do NOT denigrate R.R.Himself but only his great mistake, as actor, to take on role far,far beyond his capabilities --and the American public for being so misled by early impacts of GOPster noise machine. Full documentation, probably numbering now into the low hundreds, from books, magazine articles, studies, journal and news clips, writer's files, et al, are bassis for what I now write re Reagan and his co-conspirators, including Cheney as Gush I staff chief, and one of main signators for the Project for A New American Century, the projector of the Iraq occupation and much else. Yr insightful participation appreciated for opportunity to explain for all involved here. Per usual here,all described always open to every-reader's own evaluation with own mind, including your Scheer-piece ref. Thank you for that honest link, motivating my reply and hopefully further cogitation by all reading here now. THAT,too, is "how it s'posed to be" !!


Mark Simpson June 9, 2009 7:29 am (Pacific time)

Henry Ruark as per your earlier request here is the article link (Nation magazine) written by progressive Robert Schheer. It's quite an article, maybe a 45-60 second read, which clearly exposes the genesis of our current poor economy. I am impressed that the Nation allowed this to be published, which also took Paul Krugman to the woodshed in a most polished and convincing manner. http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090615/scheer "...How can Krugman ignore the wreckage wrought during the Clinton years by the gang of five? Rubin, who convinced President Clinton to end the New Deal restrictions on the merger of financial entities, went on to help run the too-big-to-fail Citigroup into the ground..." This was definitely a groundbreaking article by Mr. Scheer.


Henry Ruark June 8, 2009 2:18 pm (Pacific time)

Corey:
  Is 60 working years in most levels of both journalism and education of value in forming and testing an opinion ?
  Re the Washington TIMES what I related is the most widely held view within the profession.
  ARE YOU a member ? What experence, special training, recorded accomplishments do you offer us" So far it is only single-name and overly strong expression of personal opinion, when "informed" is of rather different nature and can be so proven by checking with other nonpartisan sources.
  Re denigrating those at the WTIMES, happens I have known a few. Can you say same ? Those I knew stayed as short a time as possible, for the same sort of reasons I implied.
  Re yr other points, still miss anything here except yr personal insistenced on personal insistence.
  Surely you can do better than that if there is solid fact from nonpartisan and respectable sources documenting your pet ideas.
  Open, honest, democratic dialog is just that; built on "informed opinion" from such sources.
  Can you document for any of mine what is wellknown re the Moon holdings ?
  Re Murdoch, have you read the famed biog. by famed English writer William Shawcross ? ISBN 0-684-83015-9
  See esp. Afterword, pp.424-425, re standards for what media makers must give the public it purports to serve.


Corey June 8, 2009 1:22 pm (Pacific time)

Earlier I posted a story on the Ford Motor Company turning a profit during this depressed economy. In fact their sales are beating both Toyota and Honda. They refused all government stimulus money. They do not have the federal government in a position to dictate their policies as does GM and any other organization, including political entities like a state. This is how it should be in a free market economy and a state's rights republic. I have seen this report of Ford's success in a multitude of different publications and on several cable business news programs. I earlier used a Washington Times story as my post source. This is a respected newspaper and though it may be owned by someone who others disaprove of, this should not reflect negatively on the professionals who work there in my opinion. If we are left to just site sources that come from say a specific pre-approved list, then who makes and approves that list? I agree there are some publications on both the far left and far right one should be cautious of, but when it comes to news that is on the wires and is verifiable then the source should be treated as legitimate until one can prove material facts are incorrct. There are many publications and other news sources that I find highly objectionable, but I read and/or listen to them. When I find that they are willfully trying to mislead me by misinformation, even distraction, the latter is so common and easy to detect, then I quit paying attention to them. I have to say it's those that deal in distraction that are the most common misbehavior I see for those who attempt to sumerge real facts about an issue, either past or present.


Henry Ruark June 8, 2009 12:52 pm (Pacific time)

Mark: Attitudes rule all in corporate management and if we allow it to happen in our government as well. Remember "Greed is GOOD !", stated in that melliflous actor's trained voice ? Remember all those tax-cuts transferring wealth from all to a very few ? Remember "supply-side" wiith its erroneous emphasis on fiscal manipuliation vs honest accounting principles ? Major Econ text (Samuelson) denies it ever attained any broad professional acceptance, and Reagan's own main man termed it a fraud early on...before it resulted in then-largest national debt in history. Want more ? There;s plenty...start with own biog. by choice of writer, school friend of R.R.: DUTCH. That pictures someone where the where went missing early-on...


Henry Ruark June 8, 2009 11:44 am (Pacific time)

Corey: Millions share your concerns, we can be sure, and rightly so...no possible political pander intended ! BUT fact is fact, and no matter how strong personal feeling ALONE cannot possibly guide any wise actions. SO supply link to solid, reliable national source for what you believe. That way we get to see with own eyes and evaluate with own minds. That cannot but beat any one set of bias/driven, emotional and background-shaped points or pretensions, do you agree ? Open, honest, democratic dialog depends on deeply documented details for its own strength and integrity. How can it be otherwise, with allathose masked-men and single-names out to lay on the lamentablly deficient-of-fact stuff we find so often used, these days ? National nonpartisan checkable and open sources are there for access easily, via same computer used to shape and distort other statements. See mine own "see with own eyes" parts/and[pieces, all open to "evaluate with own minds", far beyond mine own poor words however painfully wrapped ! !


Henry Ruark June 8, 2009 11:35 am (Pacific time)

To all: Perhaps you'd prefer this "see with own eyes" link to wartime corruption afoot, costing us billions in wasting war, while 50 MILLION do what they can without healthcare: www.truthout.org. (Excerpt;whole story at link) "In its first report to Congress, the Wartime Contracting Commission presents a bleak assessment of how tens of billions of dollars have been spent since 2001. "The 111-page report, obtained by The Associated Press, documents poor management, weak oversight, and a failure to learn from past mistakes as recurring themes in wartime contracting. "The report is scheduled to be made public Wednesday at a hearing held by the House Oversight and Government Reform's national security subcommittee. "U.S. reliance on contractors has grown to 'unprecedented proportions,' says the bipartisan commission, established by Congress last year. "More than 240,000 private sector employees are supporting military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thousands more work for the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development. "But the government has no central data base of who all these contractors are, what services they provide, and how much they're paid. The Pentagon has failed to provide enough trained staff to watch over them, creating conditions for waste and corruption, the commission says." ----------------- Why wonder where the dollars go, when one can find out so rapidly and easily ? Given untouchable fact, any rational, reasonable and properly informed American public will know what to do, via its proven wit, wisdom and will.


Henry Ruark June 8, 2009 11:10 am (Pacific time)

To all: Here's current comment from van Heuvel, NATION Editor, re where that leading magazine stands on stimulus. This is excerpt; see "rest of story" at www.nation.com: "As economist and Nation contributor, Jamie Galbraith, wrote me in an e-mail: "This crisis is, above all, a crisis of unemployment, of foreclosures, and--as we see in California--of the essential services, including healthcare, that state and local governments provide. None of these will be remedied fast enough by the stimulus already in the pipeline. New, stronger, better targeted and faster-acting measures are needed, including general revenue sharing, a national infrastructure fund, a housing program and publicly-funded health care." "Meanwhile, the deficit hawks continue their damaging and alarmist talk of a federal debt that will soon be above 57 percent of GDP, or 82 percent of GDP by 2019. They overlook the fact that--as Mark Weisbrot, co-director of CEPR, writes--"the United States had a public debt of 109 percent of GDP in 1946, as it began the 'golden age' of its historically most rapid economic growth over the ensuing 27 years--growth that resulted in broadly shared prosperity, unlike that of the last three decades." "Just as we saw during the New Deal, there will be signs of recovery during which the deficit hawks will urge for spending cuts. In fact, after New Deal policies cut the unemployment rate from a peak of more than 25 percent to just over 10 percent in 1936, similar calls for fiscal restraint then led President Roosevelt to try to balance the budget. The result? The unemployment rate rose again in 1937 and 1938 and the country went back into a severe recession." ---------------- WHEN will we ever LEARN that sometimes, in some circumstances, it is ONLY "the government" that can take the absolutely demanded, sometimes radical, action for survival ? Capitalism has its flaws, of that there's no longer any possible question: See ECONOMIST inserts in several threads. What we do NOW is open to full dialog but MUST begin with unchallengable facts for any realities to be realized.


Corey June 8, 2009 10:26 am (Pacific time)

I earlier mentioned that we are trillions of dollars in debt. Possibly someone has posted something similar about putting the number "trillion" to scale, but here's my scale: One million in ten dollar bills stacks two feet high; a billion in tens stacks two thousand feet high; one trillion in tens stacks "two million feet" high, or approximately 380 miles high. A billion is one heck of a lot of money, but a trillion is really hard to perceptualize. The ongoing government borrowing (and from some countries who are not big fans of us, like China) and the never ending printing of currency is going to have an inconceiveable negative impact on us. We need to start turning this spending monster off, now. The vast majority of Americans were against the recent GM/Union bailout, but we were ignored. The Ford Motor Company declined government funding and they are expeiencing profits in this down economy. That's what happens when you have good management who provide for both their customers and their employees. Look what happened to those who took the other route. I fear that the 2010 election is to far off to stop this misguided (though maybe there is a nefarious plan behind this) economic misadventure. Those who will statistically be around in 10 plus years will live in a very different America than what we have now. Pray that our political leaders start to seek out more expert analysis on our current financial direction.


Henry Ruark June 8, 2009 10:19 am (Pacific time)

Corey: Surely you must know that the Washington TIMES is owned, funded, and its content shaped for his own propaganda purposes by Myung Moon, a noted Far East radical dissident and highly questionable proprietor for any respectable-source citation. Within the journalistic profession, he is looked upon with deeper, more passionate disdain that even Murdoch, the acquisitive Australian press guru now reshaping the Wall St. JOURNAAL for his own purposes. Do YOU wish to stand with them and their known highly questionable economic and cultural policies and statements ? You might as well cite The WEEKLY STANDARD, also owned and controlled by Murdock, and edited by Kristol, perpetraton with Cheney cabal of the notoriou Project for A New American Century, now well known as a major component of our irresponsible occupation of Iraq.


Henry Ruark June 8, 2009 9:58 am (Pacific time)

(Forgive partial transmission. Here's rest.) Re Corey: Denial reigns supreme in any suggestion to do without TARP or similar. Improved, better executed, and closer-surveilled could have been done, except for the already-shaped Bush massive mess in place when rapid remedy demanded. Re Ford, never forget his first company went bankrupt. This one was sued early-on by stockholders for raising wages of workers to levels needed for them to purchase what they built --perhaps better move by Henry F. than production line itself. Check for "rest of story" in any leading business history... THEN propose any other real source for absolutely now- essential assistance than government. If you find one, you will set real history event for all of us...


Henry Ruark June 8, 2009 9:40 am (Pacific time)

To all: Here's "see with own eyes" lead and ending from 6/09 issue of The Economist, for your evaluation with own mind: “Defending America capitalism these days is a thankless job. Reckless lending by American financiers produced a crisis that has pushed the world into its worst recession ssince the 1930’s. Tales of greed and fraud during the boom years abound. Small wonder that although Americans still prefer their government neat and local, they are a little less hostile to federal activism these days. ------ (Ending words, same Lead Edit): America’s free market capitalism hsd always been a model for the rest of the world. By all means fix its flaws, Mr. Obama; but do not take its dynamism for granted. __________________________ To see and evaluate with own mind “the rest of the story”, with this issue’s special report devoted to the whole range of American business: www.Economist.com


Corey June 8, 2009 8:58 am (Pacific time)

From the below story it appears that maybe we should not have passed the Stimulus or Tarp legislation and allowed the market to work things out. Now we are trillions in debt and the jobs that may be created this summer will be "stimulus jobs" that will be gone when the money runs out. We should have stimulated private business with enticements like tax cuts which have proven in the past to create jobs. "Ford pulls its weight without bailout funds - Surpasses Toyota in May sales Wash Times ^ | 6/8/09 | Katherine Timpf Amid bankruptcies and forecasts of Detroit doom, one of the Big Three is hanging tough. Ford tough. Once defined by the revolutionary Model T, Ford is motoring on without federal bailouts, Treasury-led restructurings or bankruptcy judges. Ford Motor Co.'s U.S. market share grew last month, and sales surpassed even mighty Toyota's. Ford's shares have outperformed those of Honda and Toyota over the past year. Shares of archrival General Motors Corp., now in bankruptcy, are nearly worthless. Shareholders and analysts see pluses and minuses in Ford's decision to steer clear of government interference.


Mark Simpson June 8, 2009 8:27 am (Pacific time)

As I've posted below, my observations dealt with someone providing something the public wants and will spend their hard earned money (and time) on. I noticed Henry Ruark alluded to some Reagan viewpoints. I am wondering Henry are you familiar with the Nation magazine? Here is a recent quote from that rather liberal mag and I must admit it is rather incredible that they published this, so it's worthwhile info to absorb and reflect on, especially in terms of corporate accountibility. "It is disingenuous to ignore the fact that the derivatives scams at the heart of the economic meltdown didn't exist in President Reagan's time. The huge expansion in collateralized mortgage and other debt, the bubble that burst, was the direct result of enabling deregulatory legislation pushed through during the Clinton years. Ronald Reagan's signing off on legislation easing mortgage requirements back in 1982 pales in comparison to the damage wrought fifteen years later by a cabal of powerful Democrats and Republicans who enabled the wave of newfangled financial gimmicks that resulted in the economic collapse. Reagan didn't do it, but Clinton-era Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers, now a top economic adviser in the Obama White House, did. They, along with then-Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan and Republican congressional leaders James Leach and Phil Gramm, blocked any effective regulation of the over-the-counter derivatives that turned into the toxic assets now being paid for with tax dollars. Reagan signed legislation making it easier for people to obtain mortgages with lower down payments, but as long as the banks that made those loans expected to have to carry them for thirty years they did the due diligence needed to qualify creditworthy applicants. The problem occurred only when that mortgage debt could be aggregated and sold as securities to others in an unregulated market."


Henry Ruark June 8, 2009 8:26 am (Pacific time)

Corey: Last time we heard this guff was from one who then stated he had just checked his Econ 101 notes --from 20-yr. prior college time. You miss implications and ongoing record now being made HERE from Nov. 4, while also distorting results from other countries, without link to source. THEY, TOO suffer from the same ongoing noise machine put out, paid for, pushed madly by same corp. controls, per much previous history available for those who can read when found. See mainstream media for everyday proof of propaganda paid for publication in multiple ways despite obvious damage to democratic institutions. Fundamental forces furiously at work worldwide now shape and remedy raw edges and flaws in capitalist system, with new corp. charter changes coming internationally soon. ECONOMIST (famed British journal) recently reported more than TWO BILLION joining THEIR level of "middle class" worldwide, changing every rule in ongoing game. We reported that here in Op Ed. Did you read it ? EITHER the journal report OR our Op Ed ? HOW do you expect THAT FACT to impact economies? Did you see Davos group report, OR any other recent reality-record ? Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, 38 others who lead worldwide corporations, agencies,institutions, joined in recent recorded dialog fleshing out details of these changes. Did you see that ? Reported here and linked for access. "See also" HARPERS Jan. 09 issue for TEN TRILLION article by economist Stiglitz, Nobel Winner...you wish to argue any further on past history, per your 20-yr.old perspective, take him on... Will be well worth ticket here to see any success you may have, OR v-versa.... For further descriptive detail, see any of ten or so Op Eds in Archives here. You are clearly uninformed, misinformed, OR suffering from noise machine impacts. Wise to refrain here until, unless you make sure to have solid fact from impartial and reputable sources. Personal declaration alone does not cut it here...too many sharp other persons who DO check and learn from facts and others here. Can you cite any solid sources here ? Let's hear 'em... that's open, honest democratic dialog,achieved, to share and learn. We await your sources and "see with own eyes" for the inevitable evaluation with own minds on which our readers continue to insist, rightly so...and note the lower-case "r": NOT RIGHTly.


S.LaMarche; June 8, 2009 4:19 am (Pacific time)

Anon;to whit,firstly:Rush lost seventy pounds by switching drug regemins from the opiates to methamphetamine derivitives, easily obtainable from offshore pharmacies,or so I've read. Secondly: I didn't mention my part as a protester in the mid 60's.,but I admit taking part in several demonstrations against communism with a plithora of weaponry both government provided and privately acquired.I wouldn't mention any m-16 story to a f.n.g. either. I'm surprised you hadn't heard of me,having nearly won the war single handedly,all but for no American flag available at the moment,it maight have been another Iwo Jima!,but no,as you may have guessed.,the rightist press twisted victory into defeat and here we f*&%$g are again today!So,take it easy,Anon,(Rosenberg?),may the president do what he promised to do, and I hope Rush continues to diminish into a pool of something useful,thank you very much.


Henry Ruark June 7, 2009 6:25 pm (Pacific time)

M.S. Corporate charters from earliest days originally specified public purpose, NOT ONLY pursuit of profit. Shareholders never did win control from entrencched management, who then often gleefully feathered own nests via pay, pension, personal takes, other peccadilloes well hidden by THEIR accountants, hired, supervised, fired by their powers, in defiance often of "boards" who were themselves often CEOs in other similar perp/producing parties. Regulation went by default in Reagan days, with DEreg on the menu for nearly every area, leading to current huge crisis worldwide 40 yrs.later. STAKEHOLDERS concept, with ALL-involved now taken into at least partial account, grown fast in past 30 years, includes community, workers, and suppliers, as well as ONLY those sharing stock...which fast traded internationally for any small possible gain, thus obviating any ongoing responsibilities by STOCKholders, seeking rapid gain by manipulations. See dozen prior Op Eds via STAFF "Written by..." line, or ID with phone to Editor Tim for detail, 30-book bibliog., other materials, LMA report, we charge for reproduction. OR check any library for overwhelming flood of solid studies, books, reports, and national magazines, nearly every issue, making same points Editor Tim laid on you so kindly. IF you sincere, find out the indisputable facts via "see with own eyes, evaluate with own mind" from sources shared here with you now. THEN report what you find, if you can do so in good faith from new learnings demanded.


Corey June 7, 2009 6:21 pm (Pacific time)

Editor I am always hoping that there is a better economic system than what happens when greed becomes the one and only way to operate. As I'm sure you realize, most businesses need investment dollars, especially growing businesses, because growth is how you attain economies of scale and allows for the business to make a better profit while the consumer gets a product they want at a lower price because of economies of scale. Investors in many cases become shareholders. Because of our huge and growing population our economy will always be going through up and down cycles, it's just the nature of successful economies. The free market rewards those who develop a good product/service people want and remove those who don't. It's called competition, that is we're constantly improving the mousetrap so to speak. When we intervene via government intrusion, or some other non-market reason, and keep a business afloat that does not meet the free market principals of attaining a product/service people want, then we are entering into an economic business model that is doomed to fail. I just came across the below article and it speaks for itself when government exercises too much control as they have been doing in Europe for decades, and for those decades they have had double digit unemployment most of the time, something that may happen here on a national level. If it does, then our politicans may start listening to their bosses, so there may be a silver lining to this recession: "Conservatives racing ahead in EU parliament voting Breitbart.com ^ | June 7 2009 | MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN and ROBERT WIELAARD Conservatives raced toward victory in some of Europe's largest economies Sunday as initial results and exit polls showed voters punishing left-leaning parties in European parliament elections in France, Germany and elsewhere. Some right-leaning parties said the results vindicated their reluctance to spend more on company bailouts and fiscal stimulus amid the global economic crisis. First projections by the European Union showed center-right parties would have the most seats—between 263 and 273—in the 736-member parliament. Center-left parties were expected to get between 155 to 165 seats. Right-leaning governments were ahead of the opposition in Germany, France, Italy and Belgium, while conservative opposition parties were leading in Britain and Spain."


Henry Ruark June 7, 2009 1:57 pm (Pacific time)

D.J. et al: You wrote: "...we need to walk away from religion itself, a destructive, backward-looking restraint on our place in the universe." Are you then an atheist ?: atheist (as in"disbeliever") n. : someone who denies the existence of god. religion (as in "belief") n. : a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny. If one, the believer,demands too much of the other, the dis -believer, and the other then demands disbelief of the religionist, we have ongoing conflict unconquerable by either and the sure death of freedom for both. WHY NOT allow both, each built on the normal, natural cooperative and contemplative nature of humankind when real freedom is allowed for all ? Why NOT promote and protect and preserve the strong values and incomparably strong drive of emotional involvement for each, while understanding that neither has the natural right to overwhelm or dominate or even restrict the other ? Is the natural world --our Earth-- too small to allow us each our own psychologically driven choice ? IF we cannot manage even that small step, how can we control our Earth, environment and culture and economy and governance ? It is the role of governance to supply that management for all, with every freedom in access for all, on a base of equality of opportunity; and with governance supply that essential balance life teaches us is itself fundamental -- or so sayeth the foundation our Founders built into our famed Constitution.


Mark Simpson June 7, 2009 1:00 pm (Pacific time)

HR the pupose of my below post was to allow other posters/readers to see actual audience population sizes that are measured by a professional organization that helps set advertising rates. That's what makes the world go around, money! I am not interested personally who has the bigger audience, but it's been my observation that if you have a better product, whatever it may be, then the people will vote with their time and eventually their money. It's quite valid, in most cases, that the bottom line is what corporations are motivated by, but there are some shows on the media that are not profitable, so in that case, in my opinion, we may see them on the air for non-business reasons which would most likely be for ideological reasons, ergo, propaganda. Do you see another reason to keep a non-profitable program up and running? Keep in mind that corporation management has a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders, right? I read where the last General Electric shareholder meeting went badly. I don't have stock in that company personally, but my wife does via her retirement fund, so we are interested parties.

Editor: Mark, that bottom line notion and that drive for profit is in the end, well beyond excess.  In prior generations, people in the U.S. had more respect and they were humble and didn't strive to be in the "He who dies with the most toys wins" mentality.  I know that mentality, and I also see the damage it has caused.  Larger money is still oriented around corporate America, sure, you bet, but that is changing and people are again realizing that the drive for corporate greed has shoved our nation's weaknesses to the forefront.  I can reassure you that reasonable, conscience, environmentally sound business practices are today and shareholder profits are yesterday.  You don't still think those shareholders are keeping the faith do you?  OMG, look at newspaper, it is quite literally a dying industry.  There are none that are accelerating today, they are all going backwards, fighting to keep profits, and in many cases closing.  TV is in better shape but also struggling.  And please remember that we were a part of these industries for many years and we don't speak out of inexperience.  It's time to bring thinking forward.  Marijuana related business will be the next big thing as the nation regains the simple ability to harness the energy of the cannabis plant.  I know a group in Los Angeles headed in part by a former investment banker who is paving the way on that.  There will be a story forthcoming report.  For the record, I know where you are coming from in many respects but I believe that times are changing along with the conscience of the average American and I honestly think great things are in the future for Internet based news, the only medium that makes sense in this day and age.   


Henry Ruark June 7, 2009 12:14 pm (Pacific time)

M.S. et al: For most cogitating persons sensitive to realities, the numbers game of ratings proves only how many fish there are out there in the sea, now reflecting how manipulative is the advertising impacts, which then drives the dollar-fueled engine, together shaping society for private purposes. Ratings are notoriously deceptive of "honest" public opinion, itself now under very heavy attack by these same forces, for identical purposes and with same dollar-pursuit uber alles as motivation. "Politics" is now partially obscured, emasculated, and woefully distorted/perverted for the same dollar-seeking reasons, and by some of the same methods. WHERE and WHY do you think concept of "corporate campaign contributions", provider of lush/lavish lubrication at all levels, came from ? Born of sheer necessity in early era of U.S. railroad expansion, from then-lavish advertising funds forced from corporate interests, utilized as first buys in governance to gain huge land grants for capital base. Natural transition from edit-purchase to political funds-provision was one of strongest components in the working kits of corporate influence-seekers then, was carried over into even larger dispensations in early party history, both sides of aisle.


Daniel Johnson June 7, 2009 12:09 pm (Pacific time)

I have my doubts about any positive potential in O's speech. In an enlightened society we must have freedom *from* religion, not freedom *of* religion. The result of religious coercion, said Thomas Jefferson in 1782, is “to make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth”. "Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum" said the Roman philosopher Lucretius 21 centuries ago— too much religion leads to evil. It’s all around us. In a March 2006 speech former president Bill Clinton talked about the threat to the world from religious fundamentalism saying that, “if we don’t walk away from that, we’re going to tear the world apart.” He didn’t take the next logical step to say that we need to walk away from religion itself, a destructive, backward-looking restraint on our place in the universe.


Mark Simpson June 7, 2009 9:37 am (Pacific time)

To help clear up some information regarding some of the below posts, the following first link provides the population of the viewing audiences of the different cable news programs. This source is used by advertisers to set their rates. The second link from the Washington Post discusses Rush Limbaugh's audience size which is evidently difficult to measure, but is surely over 25 million and it is still growing. To make comparisons on who has the largest audiences is very easy to make with these links. http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/ratings/ // http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/06/AR2009030603435.html


Randy June 7, 2009 7:12 am (Pacific time)

All this talk of MSNBC tilting to the left is overblown. Sure they have Olberman, but they balance him out with Maddow. Sure they have Shultz, but then they temper that with Matthews.
Hey, wait a minute…

Editor: I know, it's almost like FOX News reversed, isn't that awesome?


Henry Ruark June 6, 2009 8:27 pm (Pacific time)

"Anon": You miss the point, or should I say padding, re Fat-A.. Limbaugh: NOT the rear that tells his true tale (NO pun !) but the top, where the talk comes out. Sometimes hard to tell the difference, if any... Then there's the part that putatively provides a place for the brain... Not hard to tell what's there in place, with him. You sound far too much the same, given the searing sense of your overly simplistic sensitivities, sir. So go soak it...and be sure to hit that small lever to release the water, too. That's the least you can do after messing up so much space here.


David June 6, 2009 9:43 am (Pacific time)

I just heard of one heckler during the speech, though others may not construe it as heckling. There was just one disheveled man sreaming: "We love you Obama. We love you." Found out later it was Chris Mathews of MSNBC.


Anonymous June 6, 2009 2:36 pm (Pacific time)

Editor have you heard that Rush has lost over 70 lbs since last March and is on a steady decline. Good for him. Regarding LaMarche's one tour as a young Marine in Vietnam, I applaud his service! Millions of us served there and I dare say I know more about combat and leadership during that war than most anyone you would ever associate professionally or personally with, though frankly my combat peers have little time for discussing our records with nubes. It is too bad some personnel never learned to keep their M-16's in good operational order. Rather an important thing to be skilled at while in combat. LaMarche you familiar with that aspect? Of course going to a combat zone is light years away from combat and I'm sure a seasoned veteran like you Mr Editor would be aware of that. Did you know that people like Limbaugh and literally all the top national talk radio hosts (no liberals in that "TOP" classification) raise millions of dollars for veterans, their children, police, firemen and all other public service workers? In fact Hannity is on a national tour with several top recording artists putting on shows where all the proceeds go to the above mentioned people/organizations. O'Reilly sells a ton of products on his show and 100% go to veterans groups. His current book has been on the best seller list for over 8 months and a big portion of that goes to veterans and groups like the Wounded Warriors. Limbaugh is very popular with our service personnel and his show is the top one our military listen to. He has gone and visited them in Afghanistan, don't know about Iraq. As far as him not being a veteran, well he sure does more for them than most veterans I know do. Bill Clinton was in Moscow in 1968 protesting Vietnam, now that is your typical liberal, and if you are intellectually honest you know that. How many on the left do that? Note: I do admit that I can't stand that pompous ass O'Reilly!Other than spending taxpayer funds those on the left are pretty cheap. Like Al Gore, when he left office he was worth around 2 million now over 100 million. Biggest source of his wealth is investing other people's money on global warming projects. He has no record of significant involvement with veterans issues, nor does Kerry, Clinton, Carter and most any liberal out there. Can you name many? I have researched some on Olberman (his audience is listed at slightly over one million, Rush has passed 20 million and may be near 30 million when new stat methodology is updated) and I cannot see where Olberman is involved in raising money for our vets, maybe all those super character traits are tiring that selfless dynamo out? As far as who has the best educated audience, Rush or Olberman, you got some numbers? I do.

Editor: These people are a scourge and your statistics can be viewed and tailored to fit any specific agenda.  You suggest that these fringe media mouthpieces are more popular than Keith Olberman, which I disagree with, but since we are going there why don't you compare them to the Daily Show Audience and Jon Stewart?  That show along with SNL have always personified the way the educated people see it.  You think people that believe that crap from Limbaugh and the veteran insulter O'Rielly and Hannity are smart?  These are the people who have the wool pulled firmy over their eyes and they are the ones that look the other way all too often and fail to see any truth at all.  You and I both know that this is about money people versus regular people.  That's it.  The rich greedy bastards hate seeing Democrats take everything back from the right wing warmongers.  They hate to think of having to fund programs to help the poor.  Those who truly fit the bill are the most worthless of all.  They spew hate and bigotry and their little time has come and gone.  The hardcore sheep will still flock to these guys because they require a comfort zone of denial, but professing your love of these haters is something we will see fewer people doing over time, trust me on that one.  We're in the business of journalism and there is no place for propaganda when that is your life's dedication.  Your hero's wouldn't know anything about it.  Thanks for your thoughts.


Henry Ruark June 6, 2009 1:23 pm (Pacific time)

"Anon": If you so sure of your comments, sir, why NOT sign with checkable name to tell us via background precisely WHO you are ? Your current cowardice here kills any possible credibility you might have on responsible. accountable comment -precisely what those who have NONE do to make sure their true nature is not revealed. We warn our children to make sure to avoid any unknown men making welcoming gestures, but some few readers here still fall for same signals from manipulators who seek somewhat the same level and kind of significantly malignant invasion of self as those queer men seek to commit re our children. First principle of any valid communication is "KNOW THY SOURCE !" You allow it to be violated at peril of precisely the same kind of impure mental invasion of self as those other odd-ones seek to commit. Only takes few words to tell us status and background, with honesty demanded for checkable ID when requested; avoiding that basic in public comment is dead-sure sign of reason to do so...and dead give-away for any cogitating reader today. FCC is under increasing new pressures to change pattern for Internet permitting such bald abuse. Continued usage here can only speed that new restriction on open, honest, democratic dialog now possible via S-N and similar channels. SO rising scorn and scathing comment for abusers here is surely in order, first step in protecting rights open to all when privilege of open space here applied honestly, with respect due to all readers.


Anonymous June 6, 2009 11:57 am (Pacific time)

LaMarche what does Rush have to do with this matter? He is not an elected offical, he does not have any policy power. Actuall your beef may be better directed at the mainstream media and their use of omission techniques to keep the masses uniformed. But considering that our political leaders ignore the voters positions on many different issues, it's unlikely they will do things differently anyway. Poor Rush, just a person exercising his 1st Amendment rights. Now take someone like that nut Olberman, now that's a guy I would like some brief seconds with in an intense commo, but hey, just because he's an idiot clown, he has the lawful right to expose himself as an idiot clown. Though very few people even listen to him compared to Rush, whose audience is over 20 times larger. I dare say the people who listen to Rush are better educated and far more successful than those tiny audiences the loons get, so maybe we're talking jealosy?

Editor: Rush is a band, the obese entertainer that breeds so much hatred on right wing radio is a pathetic loser and the leader of the squares.  Why on earth would you talk him up?  These "followers" of his still think there were WMD's in Iraq which there were not.   Let's talk about this lardass hero of yours for a second: in addition to the hate and division, the SOB is just a bad American.  In fact I think there is absolutely not one good thing to say about him.  He's a drug addict who has been repeatedly arrested and/or questioned for it while he rallies against marijuana on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry.  I know that the Limbaugh audience isn't exactly physically fit, but I think 20 timers larger is an exaggeration under any conditions.  Keith Olberman has two things that bug you, and those things are honesty and integrity.  I'm sure that just tears you up.  I can tell you something about Mr. Lamarche too, that is is an American who served his nation at war unlike that idiot joke loser Limbaugh.  I'm sure you're not, and that about 95% or more of the Limbaugh audience are also pasty white losers that never served their country.  Why does that Limbaugh go to the Dominican Republic for anyway?  Isn't that a major zone for people who attempt to buy sex from child prostitutes?  Bring it on man, let's talk about this guy for a while.    


S.LaMarche; June 6, 2009 7:46 am (Pacific time)

well donne Salem-News! a fine piece and cmpetant to say the least, writer. Congratulations!, and may Rush burn in his own refuse. I'm being f$^&*(g diplomatic for a change, aren't I?

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