Obama The Arrogant

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle arrived in India’s commercial hub of Mumbai on Saturday, days after voters punished his Democrats in mid-term elections.

Probably not since the days of the Pharaohs or the more ludicrous Roman Emperors has a head of state travelled in such pomp and expensive grandeur as the President of the United States of America.

While lesser mortals – the Pope, Queen Elizabeth and so on – are usually happy to let their hosts handle most of the security and transport arrangements when they venture beyond their home shores, the United States creates a mini-America on the move to ensure that nothing is left to chance.

Obama arrives in India at the start of a ten-day tour of Asia. At the heart of the White House caravan is ‘The Beast’, a gigantic, ‘pimped-up’ General Motors Cadillac which security experts say is, short of an actual battle tank, probably the safest road vehicle on the planet.

But an outlandish car is only the start. Mr Obama will fly, of course, on Air Force One, the presidential private jumbo jet, which, boasting double beds and suites, is fitted out more like a luxury yacht. Some reports suggest it costs around $50,000 (£31,000) an hour to operate.

Of course threats can come from any direction, so a squadron of U.S. naval ships will patrol offshore. Some reports have claimed that 34 ships, including two aircraft carriers, will be involved (not far off the size of the Royal Navy’s entire Surface Fleet) but the White House has denied this.

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Obama calls for compromise, won’t budge on tax cuts

Days after Democrats received a self-described “shellacking” at the polls, President Obama called for an end to campaigning and an embrace of compromise.

But he signaled no willingness to bend on the first challenge likely to face him from a Republican House as he advocated the permanent extension of Bush-era tax cuts for families making less than $250,000 a year despite the GOP’s resolve to extend the tax cuts for all income brackets.

In his weekly address Saturday, Obama said that Democrats and Republicans not only agree on middle-class tax cuts but the need to rein in spending, and used this to try to drive his position on the tax cuts.

“At a time when we are going to ask folks across the board to make such difficult sacrifices, I don’t see how we can afford to borrow an additional $700 billion from other countries to make all the Bush tax cuts permanent, even for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans,” the president said. “We’d be digging ourselves into an even deeper fiscal hole and passing the burden on to our children.”

Obama noted the importance of extending the tax cuts in the lame-duck session, but focused the address on digging in against the full extension sought by Republicans and some Democrats.

“If Congress doesn’t act by New Year’s Eve, middle-class families will see their taxes go up starting on New Year’s Day,” he warned.

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The Pelosi Minority: The Speaker decides to reward herself for an epic defeat.

We’re beginning to wonder if any Democrats take responsibility for this week’s election rout. President Obama blamed it Wednesday on a failure to communicate rather than substance, and now Speaker Nancy Pelosi is making a bid to keep her job as House Democratic leader. Lose 61 seats? Whatever.

As an historical matter, Mrs. Pelosi’s announcement yesterday was almost as extraordinary as the election itself, which saw the largest turnover of House seats since 1938. Speakers almost always resign after an electoral repudiation—even Newt Gingrich, who stepped down after the GOP lost a handful of seats in 1998 while retaining the majority. The last Speaker who accepted a demotion to minority leader was Democrat Sam Rayburn in 1946, who reclaimed the gavel two years later on Harry Truman’s coattails.

Presumably Mrs. Pelosi is entertaining similar hopes, which suggests that Democrats really do believe their own post-election spin. How else to explain her bid as a matter of political logic?

Remaining in power deprives her party of one of its better opportunities to show the public that Tuesday’s message was received. Even if Democrats have no plans for a policy turn, sacrificing the unpopular Mrs. Pelosi might stand as a down payment on winning back the trust of the independent and suburban voters who fled Democrats this year. Something like a dozen House Democrats ran against her as much as they did against their GOP opponents.

Nonetheless, in her letter to the Democratic caucus, Mrs. Pelosi eulogized “the most productive Congress in a half century,” adding that “Our work is far from finished.” (Cue the string section.) “We have no intention of allowing our great achievements to be rolled back,” she continued, citing ObamaCare, financial reregulation and job noncreation programs like the stimulus, with unspecified threats to Social Security and Medicare thrown in at no extra charge.

In other words, Mrs. Pelosi thinks she should remain in power to preserve the agenda that forfeited the House. And she may well succeed, not least because of her fund-raising and proven log-rolling skills that were necessary to pass some of the worst legislation in generations.

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Tea Party Is Evidence ‘Democracy Works,’ President Bush Tells Fox News

The rise of the Tea Party movement shows “democracy works,” former President George W. Bush says in an interview to air Tuesday night on Fox News’ “Hannity.”

“Here’s what I see. I see democracy working. People are expressing a level of frustration or concern and they’re getting involved in the process,” Bush told Sean Hannity in advance of the release Tuesday of his memoir, “Decision Points.”

“And the truth of the matter is, democracy works in America,” Bush said.

He singled out Tea Party-backed Scott Brown’s January victory in the race to succeed the late Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy. “When Senator Brown wins, it — the attitude began to change. People showed up and voted. And people are concerned enough to take to the streets.”

The conservative Tea Party movement is credited with shaking up this year’s midterm elections and helping Republicans win control of the House and cut into the Democrats’ majority in the Senate, though some critics have argued that Republicans lost some races because Tea Party candidates weren’t viable.

Britain urges action over extremist U.S. website

“Jihadist content” on a U.S.-based website calling for action against British lawmakers who backed the Iraq War has been removed after Britain contacted U.S. authorities, police said on Friday.

The RevolutionMuslim.com website printed the details after Roshonara Choudhry was jailed for life on Wednesday for stabbing former minister Stephen Timms twice during an advice surgery in east London in May in revenge for his support for the war.

Choudry, 21, said she had been radicalized by sermons and teachings she had read on the website, particularly those of Anwar al-Awlaki, a preacher based in Yemen who is wanted by Washington for links to al Qaeda.

After her conviction, the website published a list of all 395 members of parliament (MPs) who voted in favor of the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and how to track them, British media reported.

“We ask Allah to raise the knife of Jihad against those who voted for the countless rapes, murders, pillages and torture of Muslim civilians as a direct consequence of their vote,” said an entry on the website, according to the reports.

Britain’s Home Office (interior ministry) said it had contacted U.S. officials asking them to deal with the material as it could not take action directly against websites hosted outside the country.

“We should all stand up against extremists, we have raised this with our overseas counterparts to encourage them to remove this content from the website,” the Home Office said.

“We are determined to tackle extremism and always press for the removal of jihadist material on the internet.”

Britain’s Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit, a specialist police squad set up to deal with such online issues, said the material had now been removed from the website.

The content had been referred to them and was assessed to be in breach of British law, a spokeswoman for the unit said.

RevolutionMuslim.com says on its site that it provides Islamist news and analysis to “counter the mainstream propaganda.”

It said “in no, way, shape or form do we call for war against the U.S. government or adhere to the enemies of the United States elsewhere.”

Read more here.

Obama to use teleprompter for Hindi speech

Namaste India! In all likelihood that will be silver-tongued Barack Obama’s opening line when he addresses the Indian parliament next week. But to help him pronounce Hindi words correctly will be a teleprompter which the US president uses ever so often for his hypnotising
speeches.

According to parliament sources, a technical team from the US has helped the Lok Sabha secretariat install textbook-sized panes of glass around the podium that will give cues to Obama on his prepared remarks to 780 Indian MPs on the evening of Nov 8.

It will be a 20-minute speech at Parliament House’s Central Hall that has been witness to some historic events, including first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s “tryst with destiny” speech when India became independent.

Obama will make history for more than one reason during the Nov 6-9 visit. This will be the first time a teleprompter will be used in the nearly 100-feet high dome-shaped hall that has portraits of eminent national leaders adorning its walls.

Indian politicians are known for making impromptu long speeches and perhaps that is why some parliament officials, who did not wish to be named, sounded rather surprised with the idea of a teleprompter for Obama.

“We thought Obama is a trained orator and skilled in the art of mass address with his continuous eye contact,” an official, who did not wish to be identified because of security restrictions, said.

Obama is known to captivate audiences with his one-liners that sound like extempore and his deep gaze. But few in India know that the US president always carries the teleprompter with him wherever he speaks.

Teleprompters, also called autocue or telescript, are mostly used by TV anchors to read out texts scrolling on a screen and attached to a camera in front of them.

Parliament officials have had a busy week preparing for a red carpet welcome for Obama and his wife Michelle. Parliament House these days looks fresh with a new coat of paint, new carpeting and new green plants in mud vases decorating the corridors.

Sources said the Obamas will pose for a photograph with Indian leaders at one of the three well laid-out courtyards that have lush green lawns and fountains.

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Activist organizes Tea Party convention that ‘aint gonna be country club Republican’

Mark Skoda says the first Tea Party convention he was involved in was “too country club,” so he’s breaking away and helping to organize a separate convention this spring.

Like the first one that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin keynoted earlier this year, Skoda’s will be in Tennessee and will also use the name, “National Tea Party Convention.”

But Skoda, who leads the Memphis Tea Party, stresses that it’s an entirely different event. Judson Phillips, the leader of Tea Party Nation who organized the first convention, is not involved in this one. And unlike Phillips’ convention, Skoda said, the event will not be a for-profit event and guests won’t dine on seafood or steak.

“It aint gonna be country club Republican,” Skoda told The Daily Caller. He said the convention will be in Memphis, Tenn. and he’s hoping to keep tickets to event $250 or less, though organizers are still working out logistics.

Skoda, who served as a spokesman for Phillips’s event, said Phillips does not have the rights to the name “National Tea Party convention,” so he plans to using his experience at the first convention to help “get the bad taste” out of the name. The perception of it being expensive and “country club” really hurt it, he said.

“I was at a table with Sarah Palin. She didn’t even want to eat because she didn’t want people taking pictures of her,” he said.

Phillips, reached at home, is not happy that Skoda is using the same name for the convention. “It does bother me … I think he needs to call it something else,” he said.

But, Phillips said, Skoda’s “got the right to do it. Clearly he recognizes a good idea.”

Phillips also defended his convention: “We had a first-class event and people really liked it … If he wants to go serve people Happy Meals from McDonalds. That’s his call.”

As for speakers for the upcoming event, Skoda said the board overseeing the convention is still “in negotiations.”

The event will focus on the theme of “liberty through accountability,” he said, and will be chaired by Tennessee state Rep. Mark White.

Obama visit to Delhi: Special vigil against monkeys and dogs

Besides the high-level security apparatus in place for US President Barack Obama’s visit here tomorrow, dog and monkey catchers are also being roped in to avert any ‘animal invasion’ on his route.

Security officials have sought the help of trained animal handlers from civic agencies so that no untoward situation is created during Obama’s tour to the national capital.

Special focus is being given to the Central Ridge forests opposite ITC Maurya Sheraton, which will host the American president during his stay here, and Rajghat, where Obama will visit to pay respects at the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi.

Monkeys are seen in large numbers at both the places.

The Delhi police sought assistance of Municipal Corporation of Delhi in keeping monkeys and dogs at bay by providing trained personnel.

“Our help had been sought in these aspects (catching monkeys and dogs) and we have done the needful. Personnel have been deployed wherever they were needed and the areas have been sanitized,” a senior MCD official said adding, special focus was given on Rajghat area.

He, however, refused to divulge the number of personnel being deployed and the animals caught.

The Ridge area, which falls under the jurisdiction of NDMC, has also been lit up as part of the security arrangements for the US President’s visit.

The officials and organizers of the events of the president are not taking any chances in ensuring his safety. In Mumbai, branches and coconut from a tree at Mani Bhavan in south Mumbai, where Obama paid a visit today, were removed.

“We requested the ward officer to remove the branches as they kept falling and coconuts had become dry. We thought it would be better to get them removed,” Mani Bhavan executive secretary Meghshyam Ajgaonkar had said. Following the request, civic workers from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation had removed them.