Tuesday, May 25, 2010

There Is Plenty Of News But A Shortage Of The Truth,

There Is Plenty Of News But A Shortage Of The Truth,

Right-Wing Media Attack Obama Over Memorial Day Plans

Conservative media have attacked President Obama, claiming that his plans to attend a Memorial Day ceremony in Chicago while allowing Vice President Joe Biden to lay a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery are disrespectful to the military. However, previous presidents -- including Ronald Reagan -- allowed others to lay the wreath at Arlington to honor fallen troops.

Media conservatives slam Obama's Memorial Day plans as "offensive" to soldiers

Beck criticizes Obama over wreath laying, says he is "sick and tired of people believing the lie" that Obama "has respect for the soldiers." Glenn Beck stated, "Obama is skipping out on a Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington Cemetery because he'll be in Chicago on vacation. I'm sorry, I don't ever, ever question the president's vacation. I didn't under Bush, I didn't under Clinton, I don't under Obama." He later stated: "I have no problem with the man taking a vacation. But I am sick and tired -- sick and tired -- of people believing the lie that this administration has respect for the police or has respect for the soldiers of our country. I'm tired of it." [Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program, 5/25/10]

Erickson: "Obama skipping the Tomb of the Unknowns this weekend for Chicago is offensive."In a Twitter post, CNN contributor and RedState blogger Erick Erickson wrote: "Obama skipping the Tomb of the Unknowns this weekend for Chicago is offensive. Chicago can wait. The Commander-in-Chief has a job to do."

Malkin guest blogger: "Boy, I'm starting to think that West Point speech wasn't from the heart."On MichelleMalkin.com, guest blogger Doug Powers wrote: "President Obama went to Arlington Cemetery to lay the wreath last year, but this year Obama's handing the wreath to Plugs and heading off to the more welcoming political climes of Chicago." Powers later added: "Obama will however make it back to Washington in time to honor Paul McCartney next week. Boy, I'm starting to think that West Point speech wasn't from the heart."

JammieWearingFool: "Obama Blows Off Arlington Visit on Memorial Day," in a "slap in the face to our veterans." Right-wing blogger JammieWearingFool wrote that Obama's plans for Memorial Day are "[a]nother slap in the face to our veterans." He also stated: "Poor baby needs some rest, so he's going to Chicago. Will probably take in some relaxing fundraising and golf or something."

Obama to honor troops in Chicago ceremony while Biden attends Arlington ceremony

AP: Obama "scheduled to participate in a Memorial Day ceremony" in Illinois; Biden to lay wreath in Arlington National Cemetery. A May 24 Associated Press article reported that during a "long holiday weekend in Chicago," Obama "is scheduled to participate in a Memorial Day ceremony at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Ill." The article further reported, "Vice President Joe Biden will participate in the customary wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington."

Previous presidents have allowed others to lay wreath at Arlington Cemetery to honor troops

1983: Reagan attended summit meeting; Defense Department official Thayer laid wreath at Arlington. Deputy Secretary of Defense W. Paul Thayer laid a wreath at Arlington Cemetery during the Memorial Day ceremony in 1983, according to a May 31, 1983, Washington Post article (accessed via Nexis). The AP reported that President Reagan attended a "summit meeting in Williamsburg, Va., with leaders of the industrialized democracies."

1992: George H.W. Bush allowed VP Quayle to lay wreath. In 1992, Vice President Dan Quayle laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, according to a May 26, 1992, Boston Globe article (accessed via the Nexis database). The Globe reported that President George H.W. Bush attended a wreath-laying ceremony and made brief remarks at an American Legion hall in Kennebunkport, Maine, where he also played a round of golf.

Veterans Day 2007: Cheney attends ceremony to pay tribute at Arlington as Bush remained in Texas. On November 11, 1007, the AP reported that "President Bush honored U.S. troops past and present at a tearful ceremony Sunday for four Texans who died there." The AP further reported that "Vice President Dick Cheney went to Arlington to pay tribute to Iraq veterans."

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Obama, Corker Clash In Private Meeting

Lead GOP negotiator on Wall Street bill conflicts with the president on claims of party bipartisanship : By Laurie Kellman, Associated Press

Republican officials say President Barack Obama and Sen. Bob Corker clashed during a private meeting over whether anyone in either party was really trying to be bipartisan this election year.

Four officials present at the rare session said that when Obama appealed for bipartisanship, Corker accused him of "audacity" given the administration's handling of the financial reform package and other legislation. Corker was a lead GOP negotiator on the bill to regulate Wall Street.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the private session, said Obama bristled and defended his negotiations over the bill.

Applause could be heard as Obama exited the room. Obama described the lunch-hour session as a frank discussion on a range of issues.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama and Senate Republicans called a high-noon cease-fire in their long-running political feud Tuesday, holding a rare, private meeting on Capitol Hill to discuss what legislation can be achieved during this volatile election year.

"We want to see if we can get some more work done," Obama told reporters on the way into the session.

The question went unanswered, according to early readouts from those in the room. Obama gave opening remarks before a question-and-answer session; one official said senators fussed at the president a bit. Applause could be heard emanating from the parlor just before the president exited, however.

"It was a good, frank discussion about a whole range of issues," Obama reported as he left.

The prospects for progress weren't high. Relations between Republicans and Democrats are extraordinarily strained, a reflection of constituencies inflamed by the struggling economy and the government's role in transcendant problems facing the nation. Jobs, immigration, the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the federal budget all were topics of discussion.

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“The only way to say that ex-Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano has ‘turned a blind eye’” to the state’s border woes after taking the helm at DHS “is to turn a blind eye” to the moves she has made since, Arizona Republic columnist E. J. Montiniexonerates. “What is the job of [DHS]? Looking at the current controversy over Arizona’s immigration law, we can take a few guesses as to what it isn’t,” an Augusta Chronicle editorial assails. Congress and DHS have been “giving short shrift to their most important job: preventing and preparing an effective response to potentially catastrophic disasters,” James Jay Carafano complains in The Washington Examiner.

Homies: Developers protesting a federal search for a million square feet of new DHS office space complain that the specifications favor one property holder in particular, The Washington Post’s Jonathan O’Connell recounts. The Washington acronym dictionary “has two additions from the counterterrorism world which you’ll likely hear more about in the future: HIG and MIT,” a CNN primer on terror interrogation teams leads. Eighteen employees of DHS’s Federal Protective Serviceremain unpunished after spending $100,000-plus on clothing and flat-screen TVs, gym memberships and such, Fox News reports by way of the Washington Times’ uncovering GSA IG documents.

Feds: Hotheaded Florida Dem Alan Grayson suggested Saturday that returning control of Congress to the GOP is like letting al Qaeda terrorists pilot a plane, Politico’s Jake Sherman posts. Prominent political figures and intelligence veterans aren’t exactly leaping at the opportunity to replace Adm. Dennis Blair, the ousted director of national intelligence, Josh Gerstein points out for, again, Politico — as the Post’s Anne E. Korblut and Scott Wilson see “a pattern of problems involving senior administration officials who once served in the upper ranks of the military.” A secret Pentagon directive authorizes covert U.S. ops to “disrupt militant groups or counter threats in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and other countries in the region,” The New York Times Mark Mazzetti reveals.

State and local: Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., has asked DHS’s Napolitano to close a little-used Vermont-Quebec border station, the planned expansion of which has sparked a heated eminent domain battle, The Associated Press reports. Gov.Jan Brewer wants President Obama to send choppers and aerial drones to help patrol the Arizona border, The Arizona Daily Star says. Pittsburgh police have notified the FBI and DHS about three men who managed to scale the fence at the Steelers’ Heinz Field, the Post-Gazette recounts — while the News-Sentinel sees a “suspicious package” giving Fort Wayne, Ind., police a chance to strut their new DHS-funded bomb containment truck. In the “Get a Game Plan” coloring book prepared by Louisiana’s homeland security office the main character, Get-a-Game-Plan Gator, instructs elementary students on the merits of being prepared, The Opelousas Daily World spotlights.

Bid-ness: Michigan’s 10-year, billion-dollar push to create jobs in homeland security, among several other sectors, has yet to generate much employment, The Detroit Free Press updates. “From home security equipment sales and manufacturing to private security companies to government homeland security, the field is burgeoning,” The Kansas City Star assesses in a service feature on “occupational areas that stand a good chance of needing you.” TechRadium, meantime, has won a contract from the Northeast Kansas Regional Homeland Security Council to deploy its instant comm technology to the region’s 23 counties, The Houston Business Journal relates. A prominent Raleigh Muslim who worked to better relations with law enforcement agencies was charged last week with exporting computer equipment to Libya without a license, The News & Observer notes. With the one manufacturer that made coral snake antivenin no longer doing so, the last batch hits its expiration date in October, The Tampa Tribune tells.

Bugs ‘n bombs: Now that DHS is shifting its animal disease research center to Kansas, the much-novelized, much-speculated-about Long Island sound Plum Island lab is on the block, AP reports. Army scientists have discovered a means of “tricking” the anthrax bacterium into shedding its protective covering, making it easier for a victim’s immune system to mount a defense, innovations report reports. Ebola, a potential bioterror agent that kills up to 90 percent of infected humans, “may be one step closer to a cure,” Cosmos Magazine relates. “A super-germ that’s become a lethal threat to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan may have met its match in a novel technique that kills entire bacterial colonies within hours,” Danger Room leads.

Know nukes: NYPD officials are frustrated by DHS’s “delay in releasing funds that the Finest badly need for the prevention of a ‘dirty bomb’ attack,” The New York Post notes. A Brit chemicals firm is involved in a secret MI5 inquiry into the illegal export to Iran of material that could make a radioactive “dirty bomb,” The Times of London tells. “Looking back on nuclear history, Iranian nukes don’t amount to much more than coals to Newcastle,” a Jerusalem Post columnist calmly contends — while RT hears Israel denying a Guardian report that it offered nuke arms to South Africa in 1975. A U.S. air war planner tells The Washington Times Israel lacks the assets “to properly hit all the necessary Iranian [nuclear] targets.”

Talking terror: Nuclear terrorism poses two unique problems in terms of deterrence. One is that the elements liable to employ nuclear terrorism are nihilist in nature . . . The other is the absence of an ‘address’ for purposes of deterrence andretaliation,” a Haaretz op-ed assesses. The “secular socialism” that has “infiltrated” the courts, government, Hollywood and news media is “even more disturbing than the threats from foreign terrorists,” Politico’s Andy Barr hears 2012 wanna-beNewt Gingrich arguing. “It’s been said that terrorism is bullying on a large scale. It is fearmongering with guns and bombs, on a national or international stage. But the core is the same: acting from fear and acting to generate fear,” The Christian Science Monitor’s Ethel Baker explores. “If you blinked you might have missed it,” Marc Ambinder writes in The Atlantic of the Obama administration’s unofficial rebranding of the “war on terror” as “Countering Violent Extremism.”

Close air support: A Florida woman is suing TSA over the disappearance at a Norfolk checkpoint of a $24,000 Rolex, Jacksonville’s Florida Times-Union tells. Southwest Airlines flights out of Sacramento stalled for several hours Sunday while TSA sought luggage that had triggered an alarm, ABC News 10 notes — while WHAM 13 News has one passenger’s security concerns about another prompting evacuation of a Rochester, N.Y., JetBlue flight, and My FOX Orlando reports aMelbourne airport TSA supervisor dead in an apparent homicide. A Georgia congressman’s bill to ban concealed gun carriage in airports has incited Second Amendment attacks from a GOP challenger, The Gwinnett Daily Post reports. Cars parking at the Austin (Texas) airport will henceforth be subject to random security checks, KVUE-TV News notes. Ottawa is unveiling new security measures at Canada’s airports in a bid to crack down on illegal cargo, CTV News learns.

Coming and going: A May 6 Portsmouth, N.H., bomb scare started with a Greyhound manager reporting an “Arabic” passenger on a walkie-talkie overheard referencing a bomb, Foster’s Daily Democrat has newly released transcripts showing. When she sought to turn in an unclaimed bag at a D.C. metro station, a ticked off Washington Post reader writes, she couldn’t find an employee willing to deal with the matter. The theft of a city-issued truck from the Edinburg, Texas, fire chief’s home driveway “could put many police officers and fire agencies at risk,” he tells KRGV 5 News. “Highway robbers and railway bandits are riding high in Mexico, pulling off brazen daylight heists and inflicting serious damage on the national economy,” McClatchy Newspapers surveys.

Courts and rights: Attorneys for seven North Carolina men accused of terrorist activities said Monday it’s hard to decipher audio recordings the FBI made in the case, Raleigh’s WRAL 5 News notes. “Neither the criminal justice system nor law of war is perfectly suited for dealing with terrorism,” David Schanzer comments in The Raleigh News & Observer. Five Americans on trial in Pakistan for terrorism claimed in court that wedding finery and return tickets to the United States proved they had nothing to do with militancy, Agence France-Presse reports.

Over there: A ruling that a section of Canada’s Anti-terrorism Act requiring authorities to prove terror offenses are motivated for political, religious or ideological reasons was unconstitutional appears set to be overturned, The Canwest News Service notes. “The path to terrorist training in Pakistan is well worn — developed and maintained by established militant groups that have operated for decades,” AP spotlights. “American troops temporarily stationed in Mindanao are helping Filipino soldiers combat terrorism in the region ‘by treating farm animals one at a time,’” The Manila Daily Bulletin leads. Tribal gunmen kidnapped two American tourists in Yemen yesterday, Al Bawaba reports.

In loco parvulus: “Stationed just outside of Baghdad for the past 26 months, Corporal Emmitt Brown hasn’t seen his wife or young daughter since his deployment, but thanks to the Pentagon putting a new use to an old technology, he feels they are still very much a part of his daily life,” CAP News notes. “’See that little brown bar there? The longer it is, the worse her diaper is,’ Cpl. Brown says as he deftly manipulates the buttons on the small handheld device he holds. The device starts to gurgle and coo. ‘All set now, but boy, that was a nasty one. I forgot to bring her on patrol with me. Bad daddy.’ The device, manufactured by Japan’s Tamagotchi, Inc., is called a Famagotchi, and it’s giving soldiers throughout the Middle Eastern theater a chance to reclaim some of the family time their deployments are costing them. Based upon the virtual pet craze of the late ’90s, each Famagotchi is custom coded to represent a specific soldier’s family.”

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