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Cuba’s President Castro Sends Positive Signals to the New Obama Administration
The Obama administration has taken note of remarks both by Cuban President Raul Castro and by his brother, former President Fidel Castro, expressing, in part, positive sentiments about Barack Obama and the significance of his presidency, according to a senior State Department official. Both Castros, using somewhat different language, have said they view Obama as intelligent and sincere in wanting to change U.S. foreign policy and see his presidency as historic.
The Castros’ remarks have come since the U.S. election and have continued occasionally in interviews, comments to the media, and, in the case of Fidel Castro, his frequent articles in the Cuban press. “I think the statements are important. They’ve registered,” said the State Department official.
U.S. policy toward Cuba, including the various restrictions that flow from a 47-year-old economic embargo, will be reviewed by Obama administration agencies. During the campaign, Obama said that he intended to remove restrictions on travel and remittances to Cuba by Cuban-Americans and that he favored well-prepared “direct diplomacy” with the island’s communist government.
WASHINGTON – Michael S. Steele, the newly elected chairman of the Republican National Committee, arranged for his 2006 Senate campaign to pay a defunct company run by his sister for services that were never performed, his finance chairman from that campaign has told federal prosecutors.
Federal agents in recent days contacted Steele’s sister, a spokesman for Steele said yesterday.
The claim about the payment, one of several allegations by Alan B. Fabian, is outlined in a confidential court document. Fabian offered the information last March as he was seeking leniency for himself during plea negotiations on unrelated fraud charges. It is unclear how extensively his claims have been pursued. Prosecutors gave him no credit for cooperation when he was sentenced in October.
The Senate said it would seek no punishment for the witnesses’ failure to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee last fall in an investigation into the governor’s firing of her public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan.
“During the Monegan investigation, we were reminded that the legislative branch’s power of subpoena is an important one, and must be respected by the executive branch,” said Sen. Hollis French, D-Anchorage. “With this resolution, the Senate is making it clear that we are a coequal branch of state government.”
When are people going to understand that Palin is just another self-promoting, lying republican who thinks that they are above the law. She is good for one thing and one thing only, and its not politics. She fulfills the sexual fantasy of the sexually oppressed republican male, nothing more. This is the one thing that the McCain camp got right in selecting her.
Ronald Reagan’s 98th birthday is being celebrated today at a time that should be a cause for soul searching among his admirers. The conservative revolution that Reagan unleashed upon the nation and much of the world lay in ashes, and Washington is embarking on a new epoch of government intervention to eradicate the excesses of free-market purism. One would expect liberals to be out in the streets looking for statues of the Gipper to topple from their pedestals.
But nothing of the kind is happening. While George W. Bush is now the bane even of many conservatives, a Marine Corps contingent will lay a wreath at Reagan’s gravesite safe in the knowledge that much of the nation holds his memory in a warm embrace.
Historians may one day view this as an odd historical conundrum, since Reagan’s legacy is so clearly imprinted on the myriad of forces that have vitiated the American dream for millions of working people and brought wreckage to the world economy.
The continuing fallout from Reagan’s policies – the meltdown of the financial sector, widening income inequality, the emergence of lockdown America, the obscene inflation of CEO compensation, the end of locally owned media, market crashes, blackouts, drug-company scandals, rampant greed and materialism — is all around us. As D.H. Lawrence once wrote in another context, “The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins.”
As President Obama makes his final push for approval of the $825 billion and growing job stimulus plan, he’s winning support from groups like Americans United for Change that are targeting opposing Republicans. We heard from Americans United boss Brad Woodhouse today, and he revealed plans to expand his ad campaign against Republican foes. The hook of the ads: Are Republicans going to walk in lock-step with popular conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh? “The time to act boldly to turn this economy around is now, and we are leaving no stone unturned, ratcheting up the pressure on key senators to do the right thing,” he says. “House Republicans decided to listen to Rush Limbaugh and put partisan politics ahead of getting people back to work as the Obama plan would do. We are putting senators on notice not to follow Limbaugh off the cliff into the political abyss but to support the Obama jobs plan instead.”
So, starting this week, he’s expanding TV and radio ads targeting Republicans. Included in the new wave are Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar, Missouri Sen. Kit Bond, Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning, North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, and Florida Sen. Mel Martinez. Woodhouse called the radio ads “Limbaugh themed.” Right now, the group is running ads against 13 of the 41 senators, or an entire third of the GOP caucus.
Just four days before he left office, President Bush instructed former White House aide Karl Rove to refuse to cooperate with future congressional inquiries into alleged misconduct during his administration. On Jan. 16, 2009, then White House Counsel Fred Fielding sent a letter (.pdf) to Rove’s lawyer, Robert Luskin. The message: should his client receive any future subpoenas, Rove “should not appear before Congress” or turn over any documents relating to his time in the White House. The letter told Rove that President Bush was continuing to assert executive privilege over any testimony by Rove—even after he leaves office. A nearly identical letter (.pdf) was also sent by Fielding the day before to a lawyer for former White House counsel Harriet Miers, instructing her not to appear for a scheduled deposition with the House Judiciary Committee. That letter reasserted the White House position that Miers has “absolute immunity” from testifying before Congress about anything she did while she worked at the White House—a far-reaching claim that is being vigorously disputed by lawyers for the House of Representatives in court.
(CNN) – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell painted a downright dismal view of the state of his party Thursday afternoon, telling Republican National Committee members the GOP is in grave danger of being marginalized to a regional party.
“We’re all concerned about the fact that the very wealthy and the very poor, the most and least educated, and a majority of minority voters, seem to have more or less stopped paying attention to us,” the Kentucky Republican said on the second day of the four-day gathering.
“And we should be concerned that, as a result of all this, the Republican Party seems to be slipping into a position of being more of a regional party than a national one.
“In politics there’s a name for a regional party, it’s called a minority party,” said McConnell.
Here’s a clue Mitch of what America wants of the GOP, get back to the basics of the 1970’s and 80’s, stop the preferential treatment of the rich at the expense of the middle class, and most importantly, stop pandering to the Christian right and their socially oppressive agenda.
A huge sculpture of the footwear hurled at President Bush in December during a trip to Iraq has been unveiled in a ceremony at the Tikrit Orphanage complex.
Assisted by children at the home, sculptor Laith al-Amiri erected a brown replica of one of the shoes hurled at Bush and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki by journalist Muntadhir al-Zaidi during a press conference in Baghdad.
Al-Zaidi was jailed for his actions, and a trial is pending. But his angry gesture touched a defiant nerve throughout the Arab and Muslim world. He is regarded by many people as a hero. Demonstrators in December took to the streets in the Arab world and called for his release.
The final moments of Bush’s presidency will be defined by this act, sad.
Suicides among Army troops hit a nearly three-decade high last year, senior defense officials tell The Associated Press.
The officials, speaking to the AP on condition of anonymity because the data have not been formally released, say at least 128 soldiers killed themselves in 2008, compared with 115 in 2007 and 102 in 2006.
Another example of the GOP’s “Country First”
Reports of a recent study by the Congressional Budget Office, showing that the vast majority of the money in the stimulus package won’t be spent until after 2010, have Democrats on the defensive and the GOP calling for a pullback in wasteful spending.
Funny thing is, there is no such report.
“We did not issue any report, any analysis or any study,” a CBO aide told the Huffington Post.