Gibbs: I was ordered not to acknowledge drone program existed

Robert Gibbs Drones

I was listening to Up Withe Chris Hayes yesterday morning  while doing some things around the house.  When Robert Gibbs made the above statement, I actually stopped what I was doing to hear Gibb’s revelation about White House policy on the use of drones (starting at 3:30…)

I’ve been opposed to the use of drones since I learned of speculation that he Bush administration had implemented the program and was disappointed to hear that President Obama was continuing the program.

The Hill

Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Sunday that he and other administration spokesmen often seem evasive about the government’s drone program because they are told not to acknowledge the secret strikes.

“When I went through the process of becoming press secretary,” Gibbs told MSNBC, “one of the things, one of the first things they told me was, ‘You’re not even to acknowledge the drone program. You’re not even to discuss that it exists.'”

The former press secretary said that instruction led to a sort of “Wizard of Oz” phenomenon when he was asked about drone operations in the press briefing.

“Here’s what’s inherently crazy about that proposition,” Gibbs said. “You’re being asked a question based on reporting of a program that exists. So you’re the official government spokesperson acting as if the entire program — pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”

Current White House press secretary Jay Carney has acknowledged the drone program in recent weeks, as questions have swirled over a leaked Justice Department white paper that outlines the legal justifications that the government claims enable it to carry out drone strikes against terrorist-affiliated American citizens abroad. But President Obama had previously spoken publicly about the drone program, freeing the current press secretary in some regards.

Carney said the strikes were “necessary to mitigate ongoing attacks” and argued “they are legal, they are ethical, and they are wise.”

On Sunday, Gibbs said he had not discussed transparency over the program with the president, but believed Obama saw an advantage in discussing the drone strikes more openly.

Gibbs said attempting to ignore the strikes “when it’s obviously happening, undermines people’s confidence overall in the decisions that their government makes.”

Lawmakers have called for greater scrutiny of the drone program, with Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) intending to hold hearings on a federal court to oversee the strikes.

During the State of the Union address earlier this month, Obama pledged greater transparency in the program.

“In the months ahead, I will continue to engage with Congress to ensure not only that our targeting, detention, and prosecution of terrorists remains consistent with our laws and system of checks and balances, but that our efforts are even more transparent to the American people and to the world,” Obama said.

Gingrich to Obama: ‘Respect our religion,’ not ‘every other religion’

So, Newt Gingrich has joined the chorus of other anti-Obama zealots with this latest statement and pushing everyone else out of the way so he can be the chorus leader.  Poor Newt, someone forgot to tell him that his “fifteen minutes” have lapsed…

The Raw Story

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich says he’s had it with President Barack Obama “respecting every other religion on the planet,” and thinks it’s time for him to “respect our religion” instead.

At a campaign event in Florida on Monday, Gingrich seized on letters read at Catholic Churches across the U.S. that condemned the Obama administration for making birth control more available to women.

“Callista and I were at mass last night, and I believe at every Catholic Church, they are reading a letter about the Obama administration’s attack on Christianity,” Gingrich explained. “This is a fundamental assault on the freedom of religion. … If you help me win the nomination and then you help me win the election, on the very first day I’m inaugurated, I will sign an executive order repealing every Obama attack on religion across the entire government.”

“I think we need to have a government that respects our religions,” he added. “I’m a little bit tired of being lectured about respecting every other religion on the planet. I’d like him to respect our religion.”

While he was at it, Gingrich also charged that the current Republican frontrunner, Mitt Romney, had waged his own war on religion.

“Gov. Romney imposed on the Catholic hospitals in Massachusetts, a position against their conscious,” he said, possibly referring to the misleading claim that Romney supported government-subsidized abortions. He could have also been referencing a decision the former Massachusetts governor made to provide the Plan B birth control pill under Medicaid.

“Gov. Romney cut off Kosher meals for Jewish senior citizens who were on Medicaid to save $5 a day,” Gingrich continued.

The New York Post reported last week that that Romney had used his veto in 2003 to reject $600,000 in funds that would have allowed poor Jewish nursing homes to get Kosher meals.

Watch this video from CNN, broadcast Jan. 30, 2012.

Obama Booed at Netroots! Some Liberals Frustrated by Pace of Obama’s Change!

Unfortunately, the POTUS’ hope and change message will not be as effective in 2012 as it was in 2008.

The  reality for liberals is that President Obama is not a liberal president.   Most people in the media and most politicians see him as a moderate.  Of course the exception is Fox News Channel which peddles the incessant “Obama is a socialist” meme.

A significant amount of liberals/progressives may not vote for Obama in November 2012, making it highly possible for  Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain,  Sarah Palin or any other Tea Party wacko to become President of the United States.

Common Dreams

What’s a frustrated liberal to do? Democrats on the ideological left are grousing that President Barack Obama is just not that into them, and they’re soul searching at a big weekend meeting about the strained political relationship as he seeks re-election.

Might they stay home when he asks them to vote for him again?

“We were promised he would be our fierce advocate. And I don’t think he has been fierce and I don’t think he likes to advocate very much,” said John Aravosis, an editor with AMERICAblog who has written about gay rights issues.

But Obama’s advisers hope that between now and November 2012 the president can persuade this critical part of his base to turn out in droves again, and the wooing by aides was well under way Friday.

“I promise he is as frustrated as you are,” White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer told about 2,400 bloggers and activists attending the annual Netroots Nation conference. He assured them they were “a very important part of the coalition that got him here.”

Not that it feels that way for many liberals who consider Obama’s record a mixed bag at best when it comes to championing their causes.

They see him as being too willing to compromise with Republicans on such issues as dropping the proposed public option for the health insurance overhaul and extending George W. Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest. They’re pleased he signed a law to repeal the ban on openly gay service members, but many feel that happened only after incessant pressure on the White House.

Others complain that Obama has embraced big business, unimpressed by Wall Street regulation changes and annoyed that Obama appointed General Electric chief executive Jeff Immelt to lead a presidential advisory council on competitiveness even as the company avoided paying federal taxes in 2010.

One panel at the conference reflected the rift: “What to Do When Your President Is Just Not That Into You.” Moderator Joan McCarter jokingly called it “The ‘president isn’t our boyfriend anymore’ panel.”

Continue reading here…

Invoking Hitler, Allen West Accuses Obama Of ‘Conscious, Nefarious, And Malicious Intent’ To Destroy Israel

Once again we focus on sorting out the crazies, and undoubtedly, Rep. Allen West is one of the craziest of the crazies…

Think Progress

Like many Republicans, Rep. Allen West (R-FL) hyperventilated about President Obama’s non-controversial Middle East speech last week, in which Obama called for a two-state solution based on Israel’s 1967 borders, with some land swaps. In West’s typical hyperbole, he said the speech was the “beginning of the end” of Israel and mysteriously accused Obama of giving Islamists a “Pavlovian-style” reward. But in a statement quoted by the Broward County New Times yesterday, West took things further than any Republican lawmaker yet, invoking Hitler and accusing Obama of “nefarious” intent toward Jews:

In reviewing history, I would say Sir Neville Chamberlain was naive in his negotiations with German Chancellor Adolph Hitler. However, when one examines the state of affairs in the Middle East, including the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation pact, increase of rocket/mortar attacks from Gaza, the definitive Hamas Charter statement vowing the destruction of Israel, and the Hamas condemnation of America for killing Osama bin Laden…I cannot attribute this incompetent statement to naivete, but rather to conscious, nefarious, and malicious intent.

As the New Times points out, West’s over-the-top rhetoric relies on an ignorant or intentionally dishonest interpretation of Obama’s speech and the facts of the Middle East situtation — not the mention the spelling of Adolf Hitler. But West comments go far beyond criticizing Obama’s policy to explicitly questioning, or rather assigning, motives. West’s previous comments suggests a belief in some sort of religious supremacy over co-existence — he even said people with “co-exist” bumper stickers want to “give away our country” — and it seems anyone who doesn’t share his hegemonic views is of dubious intent and worth relating to Hitler

By The Numbers: The hunt for Osama bin Laden

The Week

Nearly 10 years after September 11, the terrorist leader has been killed… but at what (human and financial) cost?

The successful raid on Osama bin Laden’s Pakistani compound Sunday, and the subsequent killing of the terrorist leader, came nearly 10 years after the 9/11 attacks he engineered. Over those 10 years, the U.S. spent tens of billions on intelligence operations and aiding the Pakistani military. Here, a brief guide by the numbers:

Total number of people killed in the 9/11 attacks, per official figures

Percent of Americans that knew someone injured or killed in the attacks

Days that had passed since 9/11 before the U.S. started bombing Afghanistan

Nearly $5.3 billion
Amount of aid the U.S. funneled to Pakistan in the 1980s during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, indirectly funding the rise of the Taliban

$5.4 billion
Amount of military aid the U.S. gave to Pakistan from 2002 to 2008 to help that country’s military patrol the Afghan border where the Taliban and al Qaeda have been known to take shelter

Percent of that aid that was allegedly “misspent” on expenditures, such as a new house for a Pakistani general

Number of “terrorists” Pakistani officials claim to have killed between 2002 and 2008

Nearly 10
Number of years that Osama bin Laden eluded capture

Less than 40
Number of minutes U.S. special forces spent at bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, to complete the mission that killed him

At least 9
Number of planning meetings in which Obama participated prior to the raid that killed bin Laden

20 to 25
Number of Navy SEALs who carried out the raid mission

Casualties sustained by U.S. forces in the raid

Number of men, in addition to bin Laden, killed in the raid. One of the casualties was bin Laden’s son.

Number of women used as a human shield and killed in the raid

$80 billion
Approximate cost of maintaining U.S. intelligence operations for one year

$40 billion
Approximate cost of doing so a decade ago. “Bin Laden and what happened on 9/11 contributed to an enormous increase in intelligence spending that would have to be measured in the many tens of billions of cumulative dollars by now,” says Michael O’Hanlon at Marketplace.

Percent accuracy, according to officials, of a DNA test confirming that the man shot in Abbottabad on Sunday was indeed Osama bin Laden

Sources: New York, Newsweek, Guardian, Marketplace, TIME

Limbaugh: ‘We Need To Open The Program Today By Congratulating President Obama’

This won’t last, but for today at least, bipartisanship is in effect across the country…


Amidst all the revelry on Twitter last night, tons of people were voicing their concerns that the death of Osama bin Laden would inevitably be twisted for political gain, that some person would force this huge moment straight into the political Spin Machine. Let it be known; Rush Limbaugh is not that person. Limbaugh opened his show today with huge praise for his President, his military, and his country. That’s right, folks. America can still get along.

While Limbaugh pointed out that President Obama was successful because he continued President Bush’s, a cynic might have expected the host to harp on this point. That’s not at all what happened.

“President Obama has continued the Bush policies of keeping a military presence in the Middle East. He did not scrub the mission to get Bin Laden. In fact, it may be that President Obama single-handedly came up with the technique in order to pull this off. You see, the military wanted to go in there and bomb as they always do. They wanted to drop missiles and drop bombs and a number of totally destructive techniques here. But President Obama, perhaps the only qualified member in the room to deal with this, insisted on the Special Forces. No one else thought of that. President Obama. Not a single intelligence adviser, not a single national security adviser, not a single military adviser came up with the idea of using SEAL Team 6 or any Special Forces.”

While he was glad Obama didn’t listen to his military advisers, Limbaugh was just as effusive in his praise for the brave men and women who protect our nation and pulled this mission off. “Last night,” he said. “I was as proud of the US military as I’ve been in I don’t know how long.”

You know how people always talk about getting back to the way we were on September 12th? It may have just happened.

Check out the opening of Limbaugh’s show below:

See video at end of article here…

Obama Job Approval Reaches 50% for First Time Since Spring

This can’t be good news for the incoming GOP led Congress…LOL!


Obama Job Approval Reaches 50% for First Time Since Spring

Barack Obama averaged 50% job approval in the most recent three days of Gallup Daily tracking, the first time his rating has reached that mark since the Memorial Day holiday last year.
Americans enter the new year with considerably more optimism than pessimism about what it may bring: 58% say 2011 will be better than 2010, 20% say 2011 will be worse, and 21% say it will be the same.

Looking at 2011 Economy, Optimists Double Pessimists

Twice as many Americans think the U.S. economy will be better rather than worse in 2011. Forty-four percent think their personal financial situations will be better this year than in 2010.

Joe Biden To Take Bigger Role As Obama Faces Stronger GOP

Joe Biden und Barack Obama in Springfield, Ill...
Image via Wikipedia


Vice President Joe Biden is a career politician who has spent virtually his entire adult life in Washington politics — seemingly the antithesis of Barack Obama’s hope-and-change message.

Yet with a new political order in Washington, the success of Obama’s presidency hinges more and more on the negotiating skills and political instincts of his No. 2.

Facing a revived Republican Party, the White House is expected to increasingly deploy Biden as a presidential surrogate to find compromises and coax reluctant lawmakers into crossing party lines. Even Biden’s penchant for veering off message is being re-evaluated inside the White House as a bridge to ordinary voters who appreciate blunt talk.

A model for Biden’s role in the next session of Congress was the recent passage of the New START nuclear arms treaty with Russia. Biden, who built a reputation as a foreign policy expert during his 36 years in the Senate, prevailed in an internal White House debate over whether to press for ratification in the lame-duck session.  More…

Majority of Public Backs Obama’s Bid to Reach Compromise With Republicans.

This news will undoubtedly make Fox News and the Tea Party unhappy…

The Wall Street Journal

President Barack Obama has public opinion and the Democratic grass roots with him as he searches for common ground with Republicans in the wake of his party’s historic defeats in last month’s midterm elections, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds.

Overall, the survey indicates that, for all the criticism the president is taking in Washington from Democratic leaders and liberal activists, he is shifting in a direction supported by many Democrats outside Washington and by the public in general.

In all, 63% of Democrats polled said they wanted to see Democratic leaders in Washington make compromises to gain consensus on legislation, about the same percentage of independents who expressed that view. Just 29% of Democrats said they would rather see their elected leaders stick to their positions, even if that meant not reaching any consensus.    More…

Related Articles

Approval By Numbers: How Obama Compares To Past Presidents


By some measures, it’s been a rough first two years in office for President Obama, as the soaring rhetoric of his campaign speeches has given way to the unglamorous reality of governing. With the messy debate over health care reform and a slowly recovering economy steadily tugging his approval ratings down, it may seem like Obama is slipping toward a uniquely inglorious first term.

Yet despite all the chatter, Obama’s slide in approval ratings is really nothing special.

According to an analysis of Gallup’s presidential polling data, the general trend of Obama’s approval ratings closely resemble those of other modern Presidents over their first two years in office.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Approval By Numbers: How Obama Compares To Past Presidents.]

A look at how Obama fares over his first two years versus every President since Dwight Eisenhower provides a slightly jumbled comparison, yet there’s an evident downward trend for almost everyone.

In fact, the early drop in Obama’s approval is strikingly similar to that of two historically popular former presidents — Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

Continue reading here…