obama videotapes

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  • Obama Checks Out Sphinx And Pyramids – Political Hotsheet



    9 Sep 2009
    In Egypt, President Obama Claims That Hieroglyphs Looks Like Him; “Look At Those Ears,” He Exclaims. Obama Checks Out Sphinx And Pyramids
    http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/06/04/politics/politicalhotsheet/entry5062724.shtml Related videos
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  • Transcript of Barack Obama’s speech at Cairo University

    4 Jun 2009 Transcript of US President Barack Obama’s speech at Cairo University on June 4, 2009.
    http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2009/06/…/f-obamaegypt-speech004.html – Similar
  • In the Oval Office with Barack and

  • Image results for obama in egypt

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  • Obama in Egypt reaches out to Muslim world – CNN.com

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  • Obama Checks Out Sphinx And Pyramids – Political Hotsheet



    9 Sep 2009
    In Egypt, President Obama Claims That Hieroglyphs Looks Like Him; “Look At Those Ears,” He Exclaims. Obama Checks Out Sphinx And Pyramids
    http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/06/04/politics/politicalhotsheet/entry5062724.shtml Related videos
  • Image results for obama in egypt

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  • Transcript of Barack Obama’s speech at Cairo University

    4 Jun 2009 Transcript of US President Barack Obama’s speech at Cairo University on June 4, 2009.
    http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2009/06/…/f-obamaegypt-speech004.html – Similar
  • Stephen



    By Luiza Ch. Savage – Wednesday, September 16, 2009 – 14 Comments


    What they say is true. The Oval Office is smaller in person than it looks on TV. But it’s not that small and still impressive. So Stephen Harper must be pleased with the rarefied photo-op Barack Obama gave him by hosting him there today.


    As you walk from the press briefing room through the colonnade facing Rose Garden,


    past the Cabinet Room and enter the iconic curved room with the presidential seal on the ceiling, you can’t help but feel the weight of history.

    It was hard to tell which particular ghosts were on the mind of outgoing Canadian ambassador Michael Wilson today as his fingertips reverently caressed the top of the elaborately carved Resolute Desk — the same one that young JFK Jr. once used as a hiding place at his father’s feet –  while Stephen Harper and Barack Obama gave their short press availability (one question per county.) I couldn’t take a picture of Wilson’s reverie because prior to being led into the room, we were specifically instructed not to take pictures of the president’s desk or anything that might be on it. I scoped it out for classified documents, or at least a presidential Macbook, but the desk was clear except for a plaque and a ceremonial pen.


    • Well, that was quick: Ambassador to Canada hearing

      By Luiza Ch. Savage – Wednesday, August 5, 2009 at 2:43 PM – 7 Comments

      Well, that was quick: Ambassador to Canada hearingDavid Jacobson’s Senate confirmation hearing this morning lasted about 19 minutes by my watch. A Chicago lawyer (specialties included trade, e-commerce, energy, intellectual property) and a prolific Obama fundraiser, he sounded very enthusiastic about becoming ambassador to Canada and knowledgeable, or at least well briefed, on the issues. He noted in his remarks that he has been working in the White House since January, (helping fill jobs in the executive branch). “During that time, I have developed an understanding of how this administration works as well as strong relationships with decision-makers in the White House and across our government,” he said.

      I spoke with him briefly afterward. He’s in a hurry to get to Ottawa as soon as he gets confirmed, he said. His family is looking forward to it too. He told me his wife speaks French and his son may be enrolling at McGill.

      He’s not supposed to do substantive media interviews until after he is confirmed by the Senate, so he wouldn’t say much more than that. He seemed a bit nervous and made the gaffe of referring to the Secretary of State as “Senator” Clinton. But it really didn’t matter since there was only one senator on the panel to hear him.

      Below is his statement and Q & A with Senator Ted Kaufman of Delaware. Highlights were his praise for Canada’s role in Afghanistan, and his suggestion that the US could learn from Canada’s more conservative banking practices.


    • Finally, we might get an ambassador

      By Luiza Ch. Savage – Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 1:13 PM – 6 Comments

      I see that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has just scheduled a confirmation hearing for David Jacobson, Obama’s nominee for ambassador to Canada, for Wednesday morning. Given that the Senate adjourns for the summer at the end of the week, this is the last chance to get the ambassador in place before the trilateral North American leaders’ summit in Guadalajara later this month.

      Let’s just hope Jacobson hasn’t made any past speeches about “wise Latinas.”

    • Obama’s gift for Canada Day

      By Luiza Ch. Savage – Wednesday, July 1, 2009 at 4:22 PM – 5 Comments

      I was away for a few days, so this is a few days late, but I see that just in time for Canada Day, Barack Obama spoke out on Sunday against a provision in the climate change legislation he has been championing. First, he pushed the US House of Representatives to pass the sweeping Waxman-Markey bill, which it did on Friday. After it was passed, he spoke out against a section on carbon tariffs that was causing a lot of worry in Ottawa and in Alberta.

      His comments were aimed at the US Senate which takes up the legislation next. The Senate is more conservative and more evenly balanced between Democrats and Republicans than the House, and moderate Democrats have more sway. So there is a chance that the provision may be dropped in the Senate version of the bill. What will happen when the House and Senate versions have to be reconciled  later remains anyone’s guess. A lot of horse-trading will go on. Ottawa may be hoping that the Senate negotiators will have more leverage since they are less enthusiastic about the bill as a general matter. We shall see.

      After Obama made his tariff comments, economist Paul Krugman, spanked him.

    • Personal take on the shooting at the US Holocaust Museum

      By Luiza Ch. Savage – Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 2:30 PM – 0 Comments

      No one knows the identity or motive of the gunman yet who entered the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC and opened fire on a security guard, injuring him. Two other security guards shot back. Both the gunman and the security guard were taken to hospital.

      Watching the unfolding coverage of the attack on CNN is surreal. My 3-year-old goes to pre-school in the adjacent building. The kids have been in lockdown since the incident and are apparently safe and all accounted for.

      Security in the building where our preschool is located is tight. All cars entering the parking lot are swept for explosives, which makes the daily drop-off somewhat slow.  Going in and out of the building, we encounter numerous security guards each day. Most of them are sweet, kind and take an interest in the kids. It was one of these security guards who gave my kid his first candy cane last Christmas. Sometimes, we grouse about the repetitive ID checks; too often we take their work for granted. I certainly won’t after this. I am thinking of them all as we wait to hear the prognosis for the security guard who was shot.

      UPDATE: CNN is reporting (but DC officials won’t confirm) that the gunman was an 88-year-old white supremacist named James von Brunn.

    • Obama’s speech in Egypt

      By Luiza Ch. Savage – Thursday, June 4, 2009 at 10:56 AM – 16 Comments

      Obama's speech in EgyptObama gave his much anticipated speech to the Middle East today, or as he puts it, to the “Muslim World.” While people will debate the particulars for days to come, I think his main goal seems to have been to set a new tone in America’s relations with the Islamic world — to the extent that such a thing exists (so many different countries, cultures, and issues.)

      His overarching goal was to speak over the heads of leaders to people in the Middle East and change their attitudes toward America, to defuse tensions with his personal goodwill, and showcasing his personal ties and understanding of Islam. A good bit of the speech was dedicated to showing respect and appreciation for the religion and civilization.

      He said:

      “I’ve come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles — principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.”

      It was multi-faceted and aimed at a variety of audiences, from common people across the region, dictators, clerics, Al Qeda, Hamas, Israelis, Iranians, etc. etc.

      A few observations:

      – He spoke not of “terrorists” but of “violent extremists.”

      – He emphasized his plan to remove combat troops from Iraq and said the US would treat Iraqis as “partners” not “patrons.”

      – He seemed to equate the suffering of the Israelis and Palestinians and called for a two-state solution. He said America’s bond with Israel is “unbreakable” but described the situation of Palestinians as “intolerable.”

      – Critics disapproved of his choice of Egypt as a venue.

      – Critics also point out he dropped the Bush administration’s emphasis on “democracy.”

      What Obama said:

      “I know there has been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years, and much of this controversy is connected to the war in Iraq. So let me be clear: No system of government can or should be imposed by one nation by any other. That does not lessen my commitment, however, to governments that reflect the will of the people.”

      Obama’s full speech below the jump.


    • Obama’s first Supreme Court pick

      By Luiza Ch. Savage – Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 11:54 AM – 1 Comment

      Obama's first Supreme Court pickObama’s first nomination to the US Supreme Court is  Sonia Sotomayor, an experienced appellate judge based in New York. With only one woman (Ruth Bader Ginsburg) out of 9 on the current US Supreme Court, everyone expected a female appointment. Sotomayor,  54, was a heavy favourite because if confirmed, she would become the first Latina on the court (her parents were Puerto Rican.) She has a compelling life story: she grew up in a housing project in the Bronx, her dad died when she was young, and she went on to graduate from Yale Law School.

      During her Senate confirmation hearings, which are expected to be held in July, undoubtedly there will be some questions about comments that Sotomayor once made about the impact her gender and ethnicity has on her judging.

      Most relevant to evaluating her nomination is her record as a judge. Scotusblog has summed up her most important opinions here.

      (Of course, first impressions can be deceiving. The somewhat brittle Samuel Alito was widely expected to be the more hard-line conservative judge, and the boyish John Roberts who so charmed senators with his talk of judges as “umpires” and not policymakers, was expected to be more moderate. But Jeffrey Toobin recently made a compelling argument in the New Yorker that things turned out rather differently.)

      Here is a link to a controversial article about Sotomayor quoting unnamed detractors. And here is a website set up by conservative critics that accuses her of reverse racism in one case. No doubt much more to come. Below are the nice things that the White House had to say about Sotomayor today.


    • Obama spokesman: Cheney lying

      By Luiza Ch. Savage – Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 5:04 PM – 2 Comments

      Earlier today Dick Cheney made a speech in which he defended enhanced interrogations of high-value detainees and said that intelligence gained from the interrogations was used  to prevent specific attacks. He went on to make the allegation that:

      “This might explain why President Obama has reserved unto himself the right to order the use of enhanced interrogation should he deem it appropriate. What value remains to that authority is debatable, given that the enemy now knows exactly what interrogation methods to train against, and which ones not to worry about. Yet having reserved for himself the authority to order enhanced interrogation after an emergency, you would think that President Obama would be less disdainful of what his predecessor authorized after 9/11.”

      “It’s almost gone unnoticed that the president has retained the power to order the same methods in the same circumstances. When they talk about interrogations, he and his administration speak as if they have resolved some great moral dilemma in how to extract critical information from terrorists. Instead they have put the decision off, while assigning a presumption of moral superiority to any decision they make in the future.”

      Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs was just on CNN saying this is absolutely untrue.

      TPM tries to figure it out. And here.

    • Michael Wilson weighs in on Arthur Erickson

      By Luiza Ch. Savage – Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 1:03 PM – 1 Comment

      Michael Wilson weighs in on Arthur EricksonAmbassador Wilson Issues Statement Following the Death of Arthur Erickson

      Washington, DC, May 21, 2009 – “I was deeply saddened to learn of Arthur Erickson’s passing. Canada, and the world, have lost a remarkable architect, one whose accomplishments spanned the globe.  Here at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, I have the good fortune of working in one of his inspiring buildings every day, and I hope that his designs will continue to lead innovation and originality in the next generation of international designers.  He never forgot the quintessentially Canadian touchstones in his design of our iconic Embassy.”

      Arthur Erickson was chosen by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to design the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC. His design won widespread acclaim and was officially opened in May 1989 by then prime minister Brian Mulroney. Erickson designed countless buildings around the world including the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, San Diego Convention Center, the Napp Laboratories in Cambridge, England, California Plaza in Los Angeles, and most recently the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington. May 2009 marks the 20th anniversary of the Embassy of Canada residing in the Erickson building in Washington, D.C.

    • Dick Cheney: Obama gives “less than half the truth.”

      By Luiza Ch. Savage – Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 12:33 PM – 8 Comments

      Dick Cheney also gave his own speech on national security this morning, defending enhanced interrogations and criticizing Obama. You can read the full text here. A few excerpts:

      “In top secret meetings about enhanced interrogations, I made my own beliefs clear. I was and remain a strong proponent of our enhanced interrogation program. The interrogations were used on hardened terrorists after other efforts failed. They were legal, essential, justified, successful, and the right thing to do. The intelligence officers who questioned the terrorists can be proud of their work and proud of the results, because they prevented the violent death of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of innocent people.”

      “Over on the left wing of the president’s party, there appears to be little curiosity in finding out what was learned from the terrorists. The kind of answers they’re after would be heard before a so-called “Truth Commission.” Some are even demanding that those who recommended and approved the interrogations be prosecuted, in effect treating political disagreements as a punishable offense, and political opponents as criminals. It’s hard to imagine a worse precedent, filled with more possibilities for trouble and abuse, than to have an incoming administration criminalize the policy decisions of its predecessors.”

      “Yet somehow, when the soul-searching was done and the veil was lifted on the policies of the Bush administration, the public was given less than half the truth. The released memos were carefully redacted to leave out references to what our government learned through the methods in question. Other memos, laying out specific terrorist plots that were averted, apparently were not even considered for release. For reasons the administration has yet to explain, they believe the public has a right to know the method of the questions, but not the content of the answers.”

      “It is a fact that only detainees of the highest intelligence value were ever subjected to enhanced interrogation. You’ve heard endlessly about waterboarding. It happened to three terrorists. One of them was Khalid Sheikh Muhammed – the mastermind of 9/11, who has also boasted about beheading Daniel Pearl.”

      “The administration seems to pride itself on searching for some kind of middle ground in policies addressing terrorism. They may take comfort in hearing disagreement from opposite ends of the spectrum. If liberals are unhappy about some decisions, and conservatives are unhappy about other decisions, then it may seem to them that the President is on the path of sensible compromise. But in the fight against terrorism, there is no middle ground, and half-measures keep you half exposed. You cannot keep just some nuclear-armed terrorists out of the United States, you must keep every nuclear-armed terrorist out of the United States. Triangulation is a political strategy, not a national security strategy.”

    • Obama’s plans for Guantanamo

      By Luiza Ch. Savage – Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 12:09 PM – 0 Comments

      This morning, Barack Obama outlined his plans for the remaining detainees at Guantanamo — sounds like some of them will go to US supermax prisons — and defended his release of secret CIA documents, argued that he has not made a reversal on military commissions, and defended his administration’s use of the State Secrets doctrine. The rather meaty and sometimes barbed speech is below. A  few excerpts:

      On the Bush administration’s reaction to 9/11 and Democratic complicity therein:


      “Unfortunately, faced with an uncertain threat, our government made a series of hasty decisions. And I believe that those decisions were motivated by a sincere desire to protect the American people. But I also believe that – too often – our government made decisions based upon fear rather than foresight, and all too often trimmed facts and evidence to fit ideological predispositions. Instead of strategically applying our power and our principles, we too often set those principles aside as luxuries that we could no longer afford. And in this season of fear, too many of us – Democrats and Republicans; politicians, journalists and citizens – fell silent.”

      On the failures of Guantanamo:

      “For over seven years, we have detained hundreds of people at Guantanamo. During that time, the system of Military Commissions at Guantanamo succeeded in convicting a grand total of three suspected terrorists. Let me repeat that: three convictions in over seven years. Instead of bringing terrorists to justice, efforts at prosecution met setbacks, cases lingered on, and in 2006 the Supreme Court invalidated the entire system. Meanwhile, over five hundred and twenty-five detainees were released from Guantanamo under the Bush Administration. Let me repeat that: two-thirds of the detainees were released before I took office and ordered the closure of Guantanamo.”

      On the difficulty in closing it:

      “There are 240 people there who have now spent years in legal limbo. In dealing with this situation, we do not have the luxury of starting from scratch. We are cleaning up something that is – quite simply – a mess; a misguided experiment that has left in its wake a flood of legal challenges that my Administration is forced to deal with on a constant basis, and that consumes the time of government officials whose time should be spent on better protecting our country.

      Indeed, the legal challenges that have sparked so much debate in recent weeks in Washington would be taking place whether or not I decided to close Guantanamo. For example, the court order to release seventeen Uighur detainees took place last fall – when George Bush was President. The Supreme Court that invalidated the system of prosecution at Guantanamo in 2006 was overwhelmingly appointed by Republican Presidents. In other words, the problem of what to do with Guantanamo detainees was not caused by my decision to close the facility; the problem exists because of the decision to open Guantanamo in the first place.”

      On sending detainees to supermax:

      “Let me begin by disposing of one argument as plainly as I can:  we are not going to release anyone if it would endanger our national security, nor will we release detainees within the United States who endanger the American people. Where demanded by justice and national security, we will seek to transfer some detainees to the same type of facilities in which we hold all manner of dangerous and violent criminals within our borders – highly secure prisons that ensure the public safety. As we make these decisions, bear in mind the following fact: nobody has ever escaped from one of our federal “supermax” prisons, which hold hundreds of convicted terrorists. As Senator Lindsey Graham said: “The idea that we cannot find a place to securely house 250-plus detainees within the United States is not rational.”

      Full speech below:


    • How to become Barack’s BFF

      By Luiza Ch. Savage – Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 5:02 PM – 586008 Comments

      Okay, I’m guessing here, but I imagine that if some country called the White House tomorrow and said, hey buddy, I’ll take those Gitmo guys off your hands — they’d get more than a handwritten thank you note.

      One of Obama’s first acts as president was to issue an executive order on closing the US detention facility at Guantanamo within a year. Trouble is, he hasn’t been ably to convince allies to take many of the 240 detainees– and now it appears that nobody in the US wants them either.

      Lawmakers from both parties are having a severe case of Not in My Back Yard. Today the Senate voted overwhelmingly to strip funding for the Gitmo closure from a war funding bill and said no money would be authorized until Obama comes up with a plan for dealing with the detainees.  TPM has an interesting analysis of howTeam Obama screwed this one up.

      It’s hard for the White House to ask other countries to take in the detainees  if the US doesn’t take any itself. And he has already disappointed supporters by saying he will carry out modified military commissions rather than criminal trials for the detainees.

      The opposition by lawmakers, which was blamed in some quarters on Republican fear-mongering, got new credence today when Obama’s own FBI director Robert Mueller piled on, saying the FBI has concerns about bringing detainees to the US — even in supermax prisons — because they could radicalize others or orchestrate attacks from their cells.

      Obama is planning a speech tomorrow on national security and is expected to address the issue. Meanwhile, Dick Cheney is planning his own speech tomorrow about how Barack Obama is screwing up.

      Can Saudi Arabia come to the rescue? And if so, what do they get in return?

    • WaPo: trade war with Canada

      By Luiza Ch. Savage – Friday, May 15, 2009 at 10:00 AM – 5750112 Comments

      It’s official. Page one, above the fold in today’s Washington Post:

      Trade Wars Launched with Ruses, End Runs

      Outrage in Canada as U.S. Firms Sever Ties to Obey Stimulus Rules

      Excerpt #1:

      “Is this what the first trade war of the global economic crisis looks like?

      Ordered by Congress to “buy American” when spending money from the $787 billion stimulus package, the town of Peru, Ind., stunned its Canadian supplier by rejecting sewage pumps made outside of Toronto. After a Navy official spotted Canadian pipe fittings in a construction project at Camp Pendleton, Calif., they were hauled out of the ground and replaced with American versions. In recent weeks, other Canadian manufacturers doing business with U.S. state and local governments say they have been besieged with requests to sign affidavits pledging that they will only supply materials made in the USA.”


    • Team Obama considering prosecuting Bush lawyers

      By Luiza Ch. Savage – Tuesday, April 21, 2009 at 1:14 PM – 5142412 Comments

      Barack Obama has said that he intends to “look forward, not back” when it comes to demands that Bush administration officials be held accountable for the kinds of interrogation techniques they used against detainees. Yesterday, he assured CIA officers that anyone who followed legal advice from the Bush White House would not be prosecuted. But now after renewed demands for investigations, Obama is keeping the door open to going after the lawyers who crafted the advice. The decision is now up to his attorney general, Eric Holder, Obama said at a press conference this morning at the Oval Office with King Abduallah of Jordan:

      QUESTION:  I want to ask you about the interrogation memos that you released last week; two questions.  You were clear about not wanting to prosecute those who carried out the instructions under this legal advice.  Can you be that clear about those who devised the policy?  And then quickly on a second matter, how do you feel about investigations, whether special — a special commission or something of that nature on the Hill to go back and really look at the issue? Continue…

    • Who will Obama pick to be his ambassador to Canada?

      By Luiza Ch. Savage – Friday, April 17, 2009 at 3:20 PM – 5093115 Comments

      Latest rumour: A Chicago lawyer who raised gobs of cash for the campaign.

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