Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Arlen Specter's JFK Specter

Please see my article today at re Arlen Specter's JFK Specter.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Something important is missing from this story. What is the military hiding re the NYC low flyover?

Why was the military trying to film a plane low-flying over NYC?

I don't buy the explanation - the only one given - that they were just trying to update file photos. Because according to this article, the exercise cost nearly $330,000!

But what really disturbs me are two lines in this story:
... The Federal Aviation Administration said the aircraft, which functions as Air Force One when the president is aboard, was taking part in a classified, government-sanctioned photo shoot.

... New York Police Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne said the department had been alerted about the flight "with directives to local authorities not to disclose information about it."

Why would such a public act be "classified"?

Why would the government officials direct the NYPD to keep silent?

I mean, why shouldn't I jump to a conclusion here?. Why not pre-film a plane low-flying over NYC and then use that in some story later to present an event as real that might be entirely fake? A "Wag the Dog" scenario, so to speak?

I'd really like to hear a better explanation. Because lacking one, this story reeks of something far more sinister. I hope Obama and McCain join forces to get to the bottom of why this plane was launched on such a mission, which ended up retraumatizing some citizens of NYC. I know how they feel. I start to feel ill when I see planes over downtown Los Angeles, and we weren't even attacked. It's a horrible feeling, to be afraid of something I never gave a second thought to before.

I really want to know, now. What the heck was the military doing, and why?

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Obama is already writing the book on Diplomacy

This story is a reminder of why so many of us worked so hard to get Barack Obama elected President. He's showing exactly the kind of diplomatic skills we so desperately need in anyone who would help America be a leader in the world again.

Read the full thing, but here's a teaser:

According to sources inside the room, President Obama just played peacemaker in a spat between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Hu Jintao, President of the People's Republic of China.
The dispute? Sarkozy, on behalf of France and other European nations, wants stricter standards for tax havens, and specifically wanted to publish a list of non-compliant jurisdictions. The Chinese fear that cracking down on such places would endanger major Chinese banking centers like Hong Kong and Shanghai.

So what did Obama do?

Mr. Obama, according to this account, stepped between the two men, urging them to try to find consensus, and giving them a "pep talk" about the importance of working together.

The senior adminstration official said that Mr. Obama pulled Mr. Sarkozy aside, took him to a corner, "and discussed possible alternatives," the senior official said.

Once they arrived at one, President Obama "sent a message to the Chinese" that a counter-offer was on the table. The Chinese spent some time considering the offer. But they took a few minutes.

So Mr. Obama, with the assistance of translators, suggested that he and Mr. Hu have a conversation as well. They, too went to the corner to talk. After a few minutes, Mr. Obama called upon Mr. Sarkozy to join them.

"Translators and sherpas in tow, they reached an agreement," the official said. "There was a multiple shaking of hands."

That is what diplomacy looks like. You look for your common concerns and build on those. You don't go for the heart of the issue, which can be divisive. You nibble around the edges until you find the core principles you both agree on.

I wish activists across the political spectrum could learn this trick. And I wish a lot of journalists and historians could UNLEARN this one. I recall talking to a mainstream journalist, who was very much about forging a "consensus" about what happened in Dealey Plaza. To me, the truth is absolute, whether we ever agree upon it or not. But in politics, and action, consensus-building is a necessary skill.

His ability to talk to differing parties and bring them together is what drew me to Obama in the first place. I started looking into his background, since the press wasn't talking about it, and found he had a long history of bringing disparate groups together (like getting the police and anti-death penalty advocates to agree on measures that would reduce the number of innocent people on death row).

I'm really proud of my president today. I hope we get to hear many more stories like this in the months and years to come.