Saturday, October 11, 2008


Obama: Bush's decision on North Korea an
"appropriate response"

Statement of Senator Barack Obama on the Agreement with North Korea:

“North Korea’s agreement to these verification measures is a modest step forward in dismantling its nuclear weapons programs. President Bush’s decision to remove North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism is an appropriate response, as long as there is a clear understanding that if North Korea fails to follow through there will be immediate consequences. It is now essential that North Korea halt all efforts to reassemble its nuclear facilities, place them back under IAEA supervision, and cooperate fully with the international community to complete the disablement of the Yongbyon facilities and to implement a robust verification mechanism to confirm the accuracy of its nuclear declaration.

“The last eight years have demonstrated the necessity of confronting the threat from North Korea through aggressive, sustained, and direct bilateral and multilateral diplomacy. Too often, there has been a failure to effectively engage our partners throughout this effort. We must dramatically improve coordination with our allies Japan and South Korea, as well as with China and Russia, particularly as we ensure that any agreement reached on verification is fully implemented.

“If North Korea refuses to permit robust verification, we should lead all members of the Six Party talks in suspending energy assistance, re-imposing sanctions that have recently been waived, and considering new restrictions. Our objective remains the complete and verifiable elimination of North Korea's nuclear weapons programs. This must include getting clarity on North Korea’s efforts to enrich uranium and its proliferation of nuclear technology abroad

“Looking ahead, North Korea must also resolve all questions about the abduction of Japanese and South Korean citizens, and of the Reverend Kim Dong-Shik. I urge the Bush Administration to continue to use our diplomatic and economic leverage to press North Korea to cooperate fully with Tokyo, Seoul and Washington on these matters.

“The Six Party Talks offer North Korea a clear choice. If North Korea abandons its nuclear weapons programs, there will be meaningful incentives. If it refuses, it faces a future of political and economic isolation,” said Senator Barack Obama.


Sunday editorial: Barack Obama for president
By Editorial Board

Nine Days before the Feb. 5 presidential primaries in Missouri and Illinois, this editorial page endorsed Barack Obama and John McCain in their respective races.

We did so enthusiastically. We wrote that either Mr. Obama’s message of hope or Mr. McCain’s independence and integrity offered America “the chance to turn the page on 28 years of contentious, greed-driven politics and move into a new era of possibility.”

Over the past nine months, Mr. Obama, the junior senator from Illinois, has emerged as the only truly transformative candidate in the race. In the crucible that is a presidential campaign, his intellect, his temperament and equanimity under pressure consistently have been impressive. He has surrounded himself with smart, capable advisers who have helped him refine thorough, nuanced policy positions.

In a word, Mr. Obama has been presidential.

Meanwhile, Mr. McCain, the senior senator from Arizona, became the incredible shrinking man. He shrank from his principled stands in favor of a humane immigration policy. He shrank from his universal condemnation of torture and his condemnation of the politics of smear.

He even shrank from his own campaign slogan, “County First,” by selecting the least qualified running mate since the Swedenborgian shipbuilder Arthur Sewall ran as William Jennings Bryan’s No. 2 in 1896.

In making political endorsements, this editorial page is guided first by the principles espoused by Joseph Pulitzer in The Post-Dispatch Platform printed daily at the top of this page. Then we consider questions of character, life experience and intellect, as well as specific policy and issue positions. Each member of the editorial board weighs in.

On all counts, the consensus was clear: Barack Obama of Illinois should be the next president of the United States.

We didn’t know nine months ago that before Election Day, America would face its greatest economic challenge since the Great Depression. The crisis on Wall Street is devastating, but it has offered voters a useful preview of how the two presidential candidates would respond to a crisis.

Very early on, Mr. Obama reached out to his impressive corps of economic advisers and developed a comprehensive set of recommendations for addressing the problems. He set them forth calmly and explained them carefully.

Mr. McCain, a longtime critic of government regulation, was late to recognize the threat. The chief economic adviser of his campaign initially was former Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, who had been one of the architects of banking deregulation. When the credit markets imploded, Mr. McCain lurched from one ineffectual grandstand play to another. He squandered the one clear advantage he had over Mr. Obama: experience.

Mr. McCain first was elected to Congress in 1982 when Mr. Obama was in his senior year at Columbia University. Yet the younger man’s intellectual curiosity and capacity — and, yes, also the skills he developed as a community organizer and his instincts as a political conciliator — more than compensate for his lack of more traditional Washington experience.

A presidency is defined less by what happens in the Oval Office than by what is done by the more than 3,000 men and women the president appoints to government office. Only 600 of them are subject to Senate approval. The rest serve at the pleasure of the president.

We have little doubt that Mr. Obama’s appointees would bring a level of competence, compassion and intellectual achievement to the executive branch that hasn’t been seen since the New Frontier. He has energized a new generation of Americans who would put the concept of service back in “public service.”

Consider that while Mr. McCain selected as his running mate Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, a callow and shrill partisan, Mr. Obama selected Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware. Mr. Biden’s 35-year Senate career has given him encyclopedic expertise on legislative and judicial issues, as well as foreign affairs.

The idea that 3,000 bright, dedicated and accomplished Americans would be joining the Obama administration to serve the public — as opposed to padding their resumés or shilling for the corporate interests they’re sworn to oversee — is reassuring. That they would be serving a president who actually would listen to them is staggering.

And the fact that Mr. Obama can explain his thoughts and policies in language that can instruct and inspire is exciting. Eloquence isn’t everything in a president, but it is not nothing, either.

Experience aside, the 25-year difference in the ages of Mr. McCain, 72, and Mr. Obama, 47, is important largely because Mr. Obama’s election would represent a generational shift. He would be the first chief executive in more than six decades whose worldview was not formed, at least in part, by the Cold War or Vietnam.

He sees the complicated world as it is today, not as a binary division between us and them, but as a kaleidoscope of shifting alliances and interests. As he often notes, he is the son of a Kenyan father and a mother from Kansas, an internationalist who yet acknowledges that America is the only nation in the world in which someone of his distinctly modest background could rise as far as his talent, intellect and hard work would take him.

Given the damage that has been done to America’s moral standing in the world in the last eight years — by a preemptory war, a unilateralist foreign policy and by policies that have treated both the Geneva Conventions and our own Bill of Rights as optional — Mr. Obama’s election would help America reclaim the moral high ground.

It also must be said that Mr. Obama is right on the issues. He was right on the war in Iraq. He is right that all Americans deserve access to health care and right in his pragmatic approach to meeting that goal. He is right on tax policy, infrastructure investment, energy policy and environmental issues. He is right on American ideals.

He was right when he said in his remarkable speech in March in Philadelphia that “In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world’s great religions demand: that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother’s keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister’s keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.”

John McCain has served his country well, but in the end, he may have wanted the presidency a little too much, so much that he has sacrificed some of the principles that made him a heroic figure in war and in peace. In every way possible, he has earned the right to retire.

Finally, only at this late point do we note that Barack Obama is an African-American. Because of who he is and how he has run his campaign, that fact has become almost incidental to most Americans. Instead, his countrymen are weighing his talents, his values and his beliefs, judging him not by the color of his skin, but the content of his character.

That says something profound and good — about him as a candidate and about us as a nation.

"In honor" to George Bush... (Córdoba Capital, Córdoba, Argentina).

"In honor" to George Bush... (Córdoba Capital, Córdoba, Argentina). by thejourney1972.



From William Cohan's report in

"Detoxification is never a pleasant experience, as any addict can attest. But during the cleansing period, there is always the hope that on the other side lay the chance for a fresh beginning. The time has come for what remains of Wall Street to return to the period when banks knew their borrowers, when bankers and traders were held accountable for their actions through some form of shared liability, and where compensation was a reflection of the actual contribution to society discounted for future disasters rather than a short-term grab for riches.

Only then will the graduating class of Harvard Business School—always a harbinger—choose professions other than those whose main criteria for success seems to be nothing more than the ability to push paper around."

Troopergate Conclusion: Palin Abused Her Office

posted by John Nichols on 10/10/2008 @ 10:07pm

Posted from

Far from being the good-government "reformer" that Republicans have attempted to present her as, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has governed in an abusive manner that violated the public trust and the statutes of the state.

So concluded special investigator Steve Branchflower, a veteran Anchorage prosecutor who was hired by Alaska's Republican-controlled legislature to investigate Palin's firing in July of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. The firing caused a firestorm in Alaska because Monegan, a former Anchorage police chief was a highly-regarded lawman and because the public service commissioner and other state officials suggested that he had been removed because he refused to dismiss Mike Wooten, a state trooper was the governor's former brother-in-law.

Alaska's Republican-dominated Legislative Council, which authorized the investigation of Palin's wrongdoing, voted unanimously to release the 263-page report in which Branchflower writes:

"I find that Governor Palin abused her power by violating Alaska Statute 39.52 110(a)of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act. Alaska Statute 39.52 110(a) provides:

The legislature affirms that each public officer holds office as a public trust, and any effort to benefit a personal or financial interest through official action is a violation of that trust."

Branchflower said the evidence he gathered in the course of a two-a-half-month inquiry led to the conclusion that "Governor Palin and Todd Palin and her family have, over an extended period of time, endeavored to get Trooper Michael Wooten fired from his job as an Alaskan State Trooper."

Branchflower does not dispute that, as governor, Palin had the authority to fire Monegan. Alaska's Constitution, written in the 1950s at a time Alaskans were seeking statehood status, created an extremely strong governorship, with what the investigator describes as "broad" authority to appoint and dismiss state department heads.

But, even if Palin used powers vested in her as governor, she did so in a manner that put her in conflict with the ethics act. How so? Branchflower determined that Monegan's refusal to do the governor's personal bidding -- and fire Wooten -- was "likely a contributing factor" in her decision to remove him from his position.

"The evidence supports the conclusion that Governor Palin, at the least, engaged in 'official action' by her inaction if not her active participation or assistance to her husband in attempting to get Trooper Wooten fired [and there is evidence of her active participation]," concludes Branchflower.

Specifically, the investigator writes, "The governor knowingly... permitted [husband] Todd Palin to use the Governor's office and the resources of the Governor's office ... in an effort to find some way to get Trooper Wooten fired."

Governor Palin, who once welcomed the "Troopergate" inquiry and demanded that the legislature "hold me accountable," refused to cooperate with Branchflower after she accepted the Republican vice presidential nomination. Branchflower's report details the many roadblocks placed in the way of his investigation by Palin and her appointees, especially Alaska Attorney General

McCain campaign operatives and associates of former White House political czar Karl Rove made a number of moves to shut down the inquiry. But Republican legislators in Alaska refused to do so.

The Legislative Council's unanimous vote to release the report, which came after seven hours of deliberation, was the latest evidence of the determination of the state's legislators, Democrats and Republicans, to check and balance an abusive executive who now seeks to move from the state to federal level of government.