Tag Archives: Obama

Is Obama Wasting His Time In The Middle East.

So President Obama is in the Middle East trying to repair relations with countries in the region. Can he do the seemingly impossible?

The Middle East has a long and hate filled history with the U.S. and they don’t seem real keen to change in a hurry. Many terrorists seem to have the U.S. and their interests as their exclusive targets.

Sure Obama might be able to improve relations with some of the officials in this region but this is not going to change the views of the general population.

So what is it that people in the Middle East have against the U.S.?
Well largely the U.S. is seen as an empirical power trying to gain control over as much of the world as it can. They resent the U.S. using their military might to interfere in the region and acting like a bully protecting its own interests.

They also dislike the U.S. supporting Israel and giving them financial and military assistance.

There are also the obvious cultural differences between this largely Muslim area and the Christian dominated U.S.

As Obama lands in Saudi Arabia Al Quaeda has just released an audio message from Osama bin Landen denouncing Obama’s policies regarding the Middle East. The recording was released by news agency Al Jazeera shortly after Obama’s arrival in Saudi Arabia

In this recording he describes Obama as following the policy of his predecessor George Bush in “antagonising Muslims”.

“He has followed the steps of his predecessor in antagonising Muslims… and laying the foundation for long wars,” bin Laden says in the recording.

Saudi officials were quick to denounce the recording but bin Laden and Al Qaeda are quite effective at stirring up anti U.S. sentiment in the Middle East and as long as they and other groups like them can have an influence in the area it is going to be difficult to improve relationships in the region. The leaders of these countries are still politicians and they are, like politicians in other countries, interested in using the general opinion of the people to their advantage.

I hope Obama can make a peaceful difference and make the world a safer place but I fear it will take many more years of repair than there have been of damage to make a difference in Middle Eastern relations.

U.S. and Israel Don’t See Eye To Eye On Settlements.

Israel stands firm on its plans to continue building settlements in the West Bank.

The U.S. is also firm on its insistance that Israel must stop the building of its settlements in the West Bank.

Israel asserts that its plans to build settlements in the West Bank are nessecary due to ‘natural growth’. That term has been defined vaguely by Israeli officials, meaning for some that settlements should expand to accommodate only their own children.

Israel “cannot freeze life in the settlements,” Netanyahu said, describing the American call as an “unreasonable” demand.

Whatever the American demands and Israeli definitions, the reality is that no full freeze seems likely.

Mr Netanyahu is in a difficult position with factions pushing for the expansion of settlements and many opposed to the establishment of an independant Palestinian State. Support for succumbing to U.S. demands is not at all strong.

Netanyahu has set a stance to stop the spread of unofficial settlements however, that are not within the official settlement plans. Many successive governments have turned a blind eye to these unofficial settlements which largely contain rogue Israeli elements.

President Obama has played down tensions between the U.S. and Israel saying that “Part of being a good friend is being honest” in an interview with NPR News. “And I think there have been times where we are not as honest as we should be about the fact that the current direction, the current trajectory, in the region is profoundly negative, not only for Israeli interests but also U.S. interests.

“We do have to retain a constant belief in the possibilities of negotiations that will lead to peace,” he added. “I’ve said that a freeze on settlements is part of that.”

“Not only is it in the interest of the Palestinian people to have a state, it’s in the interest of the Israeli people to stabilize the situation there,” he said. “And it’s in the interest of the United States that we’ve got two states living side by side in peace and security.”

Despite Israeli objections to halt West Bank settlements President Obama is confident United States was “going to be able to get serious negotiations back on track” between Israel and the Palestinians.

In the interview with NPR News Obama also said “It’s in the interest of the United States that we’ve got two states living side by side in peace and security.”

Referring to the debate about settlements, he said: “Diplomacy is always a matter of a long hard slog. It’s never a matter of quick results.”

(Not) Having a Gay Old Time

Republished with permission from Just Politics?

Advocates of gay marriage were none-to-pleased by democracy in action. They sought redress from the courts (as Liberals often do) when the people don’t vote the way they should. The court did not actually take a stand on gay marriage but rather on the ability of the people to amend California’s constitution through propositions. The court did uphold the gay marriages that took place when they were legal, before California voters overturned the legislature.

I do feel sorry for the gays who seek marriage but can’t say as though I’m upset that a proposition that recieved a majority of the votes was upheld. In typical Liberal fashion, however, it was painted as a tyranny by the majority. Tough. I have to live with the many propositions that are passed in California with which I disagree and, because I live in San Francisco, have to deal with many of their stupid attempts to limit my freedoms such as the overturned handgun ban that recently cost San Francisco $800,000.00.

I’m not sure if gays were more upset that they could not wed or that a majority of voters didn’t want them to legally marry. After all, even if you do live in California, not everybody is okay with gay marriage.

Activists will put a proposition of their own on the ballot next time around seeking to overturn the last one. Maybe they will succeed, maybe they won’t. While I do empathize with their plight I am pleased that the law was upheld. And, had gay marriage been approved by the voters and had people sued to overturn that I would still have been in favor of the law being upheld.
There are some haters to be sure.

Unfortunately, many who are against gay marriage are none-to-nice about it. While I understand their religious beliefs might preclude them from advocating same sex marriage, it does not sit well with me that some have chosen to express their feelings in the form of hatred and anger.

We will see whether Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court, if she is confirmed, would uphold the law in general or whether she would bring her “unique life experiences” or whatever that garbage means to bear in her decisions.

As I’m sure time will show, the media will not portray this as the upholding of the law but, rather, some soft and squishy ideas about freedom and human rights. Those are issues, but not the central ones.

One thing is for sure today and that is that even in a Liberal state such as California not every idea goes down smoothly.

Sonia Sotomayor Nominated to US Supreme Court.

One woman has made the U.S. Hispanic population proud today. Sonia Sotomayor has been nominated as a Justice in the U.S. Supreme Court by President Obama.

Sotomayor has been often mentioned as a candidate for the Supreme Court position, replacing the retiring Justice David Souter. Sotomayor is not likely to change the ideological balance of the bench but she will add a great deal of diversity. The Supreme Court will consist of two women, with Sotomayor being only the third woman to sit on the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court members will include eight whites and one african american.

Sotomayor’s journey to the Supreme Court is also certain to add to the diversity she brings to the bench. Sotomayor was the daughter of working class parents in the Bronx Her father, who didnt speak english and only had a third grade education, died when she was nine. Her mother then worked six days a week to support them. Sotomayor worked hard throughout school and on a scholarship to Princeton and the went on to Yale to study Law. She became a prosecutor in New York, then a corporate litigator, before being seated to a federal trial court by the first President Bush. Six years later, President Clinton elevated her to a New York-based appeals court. Her rise through adversity would seem to be one that rivals Obama’s on rise to power.

While Sotomayors time in the judiciary has mostly concerned routine matters it has not been without controversy. The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), among other groups, called her an “activist” judge. One of her more controversial votes as a judge was one endorsing a Connecticut city’s decision to discard the results of a firefighter promotion test because blacks and Hispanics scored disproportionately lower than whites. The case is now before the Supreme Court.

Sotomayor will not be shy about countering such criticism. She said she decides cases based on the law, without an agenda in mind. “I firmly believe in the rule of law,” she said.
While Democratic members of the Senate back her nomination republican members say they will need some time to review her 17 year record.