For the first time since Vietnam, the U.S. armed forces will begin recruiting immigrants in America on temporary visas. In return for their service, the recruits will be fast-tracked to citizenship in a process that could take less than six months.
ITEM: The Buffalo News for January 25 called for entitlement reform, noting that, for example, the trustees for Social Security "have long foreseen the problems. In 2011 — just two years from now — Social Security will begin taking in less money than it pays out. Without action, the program's reserves will be depleted by 2041.... Theoretically, Washington should have attended to this problem already, but it is almost certainly better that it didn't."
Just as President Bush publicly and repeatedly stated that “this nation does not torture,” but then secretly engaged in torture, President Obama’s public rhetoric against torture is increasingly at odds with his decisions to defend John Yoo (the former Justice Department official who authored the "torture memo" justifying Bush administration policy), keep in place policies that have protected torture, and even keep in office Bush-era appointees who helped establish torture policies.
A Gallup Poll released February 12 revealed that 62 percent of Americans want to investigate or criminally prosecute Bush administration officials who authorized torture in the so-called “war on terror.” But even though President Obama has said numerous times that “nobody's above the law,” on February 10 he used the Bush administration’s “state secrets” gambit to quash a lawsuit attempting to penalize some of those involved in renditioning torture subjects.
It wasn’t as expensive as one of former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens’ public works projects, but the strange alliance between President Barack Obama and Sen. Judd Gregg turned out to be a “Bridge to Nowhere” yesterday when the New Hampshire Republican announced he was withdrawing his name for nomination as secretary of Commerce.
President Obama on February 5 fulfilled another of his campaign promises by expanding on former President Bush's faith-based initiatives. Obama created a new office named "the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships" with the issuance of an executive order. Obama made a concerted effort to assure his secular followers on the left that his faith-based program is different from Bush's much criticized one. The Guardian reports:
Caving in to pressure from the European Union, President Barack Obama signaled this week that he wanted “Buy American” provisions struck from the so-called economic stimulus package now going through Congress. The $819 billion plan, which passed on the House of Representatives on January 28, requires the use of U.S.-made iron and steel in public works projects. This set off a “quiet fury” among politicians in the European Union, who have denounced the provisions as “protectionism,” even though they are proceeding with protectionist measures of their own on products ranging from auto parts to dairy products.
The 63-year-old woman who will soon become the newest member of the U.S. Senate has a blank slate on political issues, despite a long record of administrative and leadership roles in government, business, and academia over the last 40 years. J. Bonnie Newman, the New Hampshire Republican chosen by the state’s Democratic governor to fill out the remainder of Judd Gregg’s term, has served two presidents, was chief of staff to Gregg when he was a congressman, and has supported a number of mostly Republican candidates for elective office. But she has never run for office herself and has never attached herself to causes and controversies that would define her politically.
Bipartisanship, like budget deficits, was breaking out all over when President Barack Obama named U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) as his choice for secretary of commerce. Pending his all-but-certain confirmation by his Senate colleagues, Gregg will be the third Republican to join the Obama cabinet, following Robert Gates at Defense and for Rep. Ray LaHood of Illinois at Transportation.
President Barack Obama's inaugural committee billed his January 20 National Prayer Service at the National Cathedral as a celebration of America's "diversity of faith." Among the official participants offering prayers at the event was Dr. Ingrid Mattson, president of the Islamic Society of North America.
Former Justice Department lawyer John Yoo castigated President Obama’s decision to ban torture and close Guantanamo in a January 29 Wall Street Journal opinion column that somehow avoided the use of the word "torture." As we shall see, his column was a dance of obviously false assumptions and false conclusions designed to justify the Bush policy of torture (in his column Woo calls it "tough interrogation") and endless detention without trial.