I have to start with a startling admission from John McCain: most of the people who voted for him were actually voting “for Sarah Palin.” Speaking before the Heritage Foundation, McCain admitted that many of the 50 million people who voted for him were actually swayed by Palin. He went on to bash President Obama’s efforts to overhaul and regulate financial markets. McCain, who is “very nervous” about the President, did (to his credit) admit that the “status quo [was] not acceptable”.
Last week, as part of a media blitz, President Obama blasted former-VP Dick Cheney on 60 Minutes. The former Veepster has been somewhat vocal in his opposition as of late, which earned him the following retort from the President: “I think that Vice President Cheney has been at the head of a movement whose notion is somehow that we can’t reconcile our core values, our Constitution, our belief that we don’t torture, with our national security interests. I think he’s drawing the wrong lesson from history.”
This public slap-down came just before a revelation from Seymour Hersh that VP Cheney headed an “executive assassination ring.” It was, according to Hersh, “something known as the Joint Special Operations Command — JSOC” who “do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office.” He went on in detail:
Congress has no oversight of it. It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on. Just today in the Times there was a story that its leaders, a three star admiral named [William H.] McRaven, ordered a stop to it because there were so many collateral deaths.
Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That’s been going on, in the name of all of us.
It’s complicated because the guys doing it are not murderers, and yet they are committing what we would normally call murder. It’s a very complicated issue. Because they are young men that went into the Special Forces. The Delta Forces you’ve heard about. Navy Seal teams. Highly specialized.
In many cases, they were the best and the brightest. Really, no exaggerations. Really fine guys that went in to do the kind of necessary jobs that they think you need to do to protect America. And then they find themselves torturing people.
Hersh also spent some time discussing the Iran-Contra scandal, in which Cheney was a participant. Cheney, as Hersh noted, only gleamed from the scandal one lesson: that only a few people should be in the know. Ah, Cheney. I’m sure as the years progress we’ll learn more about your evil ways.
Following the G20 Summit, at which President Obama heroically settled a disagreement between French and Chinese leaders, he attended the NATO summit. He was “pleased NATO allies pledged their strong and unanimous support” for the war in Afghanistan. They have promised another 5,000 troops, who will supervise the upcoming elections, reinforce the American troops already in place, and to train Afghan police forces. This is a huge get for the President, who succeeded where his predecessor failed. Many political observers predicted that the President would not succeed in convincing NATO to shore up more troops, but this latest commitment, from NATO has shown them wrong. Not that 5,000 troops is a lot, but it certainly is improvement.
Yesterday (April 3rd) reporters attempting to call Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were connected to a phone sex line. Instead of hearing Clinton’s voice, they heard: “Do you have any hidden desires? If you feel like getting nasty, then you came to the right place.” It is unknown how long and how much money they spent on the phone call (*lol*).
On a sexy and unrelated note, the House and Senate passed President Obama’s $3.55 trillion budget. Like President Clinton’s 1993 budget proposal, the vote fell along party lines, an ominous sign for a President hoping for a new era of bi-partisanship. While in Europe for the G20 Summit, the President applauded the passage of the bill saying: “And by making hard choices and challenging the old ways of doing business, we will cut in half the budget deficit we inherited within four years. With this vote comes an obligation to pursue our efforts to go through the budget line-by-line, searching for additional savings. Like the families we serve, we must cut the things we don’t need to invest in those we do.”
And finally, North Korea has launched a long-range missile, which landed in the Pacific Ocean. South Korea had predicted the launching of the missile, and leaders from China and the U.S. both were trying to talk North Korea from such a “provocative” act. Japan has called for an emergency UN Security Council meeting. Analysts predict that this launching was only a precursor to the launching of a long-range missile that would have the capabilty of reaching Alaska.
They might hit Sarah Palin! Then who’ll run against Obama in 2012?!