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Hey Obama, America needs give NO APOLOGIES!!

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The President’s Apology Tour

Great leaders aren’t defined by consensus.

President Barack Obama has finished the second leg of his international confession tour. In less than 100 days, he has apologized on three continents for what he views as the sins of America and his predecessors.

Mr. Obama told the French (the French!) that America “has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive” toward Europe. In Prague, he said America has “a moral responsibility to act” on arms control because only the U.S. had “used a nuclear weapon.” In London, he said that decisions about the world financial system were no longer made by “just Roosevelt and Churchill sitting in a room with a brandy” — as if that were a bad thing. And in Latin America, he said the U.S. had not “pursued and sustained engagement with our neighbors” because we “failed to see that our own progress is tied directly to progress throughout the Americas.”

By confessing our nation’s sins, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that Mr. Obama has “changed the image of America around the world” and made the U.S. “safer and stronger.” As evidence, Mr. Gibbs pointed to the absence of protesters during the Summit of the Americas this past weekend.

That’s now the test of success? Anti-American protesters are a remarkably unreliable indicator of a president’s wisdom. Ronald Reagan drew hundreds of thousands of protesters by deploying Pershing and cruise missiles in Europe. Those missiles helped win the Cold War.

There is something ungracious in Mr. Obama criticizing his predecessors, including most recently John F. Kennedy. (“I’m grateful that President [Daniel] Ortega did not blame me for things that happened when I was three months old,” Mr. Obama said after the Nicaraguan delivered a 52-minute anti-American tirade that touched on the Bay of Pigs.) Mr. Obama acts as if no past president — except maybe Abraham Lincoln — possesses his wisdom.

Mr. Obama was asked in Europe if he believes in American exceptionalism. He said he did — in the same way that “the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks in Greek exceptionalism.” That’s another way of saying, “No.”

Mr. Obama makes it seem as though there is moral equivalence between America and its adversaries and assumes that if he confesses America’s sins, other nations will confess theirs and change. But he won no confessions (let alone change) from the leaders of Venezuela, Nicaragua or Russia. He apologized for America and our adversaries rejoiced. Fidel Castro isn’t easing up on Cuban repression, but he is preparing to take advantage of Mr. Obama’s policy shifts.

When a president desires personal popularity, he can lose focus on vital American interests. It’s early, but with little to show for the confessions, David Axelrod of Team Obama was compelled to say this week that the president planted, cultivated and will harvest “very, very valuable” returns later. Like what?

Meanwhile, the desire for popularity has led Mr. Obama to embrace bad policies. Blaming America for the world financial crisis led him to give into European demands for crackdowns on tax havens and hedge funds. Neither had much to do with the credit crisis. Saying that America’s relationship with Russia “has been allowed to drift” led the president to push for arms negotiations. But that draws attention away from America’s real problems with Russia: its invasion of Georgia last summer, its bullying of Ukraine, its refusal to join in pressuring Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions, and its threats of retaliation against the Poles, Balts and Czechs for standing with the U.S. on missile defense.

Mr. Obama is downplaying the threats we face. He takes comfort in thinking that Venezuela has a defense budget that “is probably 1/600th” of America’s — it’s actually 1/215th — but that hasn’t kept Mr. Chávez from supporting narcoterrorists waging war on Colombia (a key U.S. ally) or giving petrodollars to anti-American regimes. Venezuela isn’t likely to attack the U.S., but it is capable of harming American interests.

Henry Kissinger wrote in his memoir “Years of Renewal”: “The great statesmen of the past saw themselves as heroes who took on the burden of their societies’ painful journey from the familiar to the as yet unknown. The modern politician is less interested in being a hero than a superstar. Heroes walk alone; stars derive their status from approbation. Heroes are defined by inner values; stars by consensus. When a candidate’s views are forged in focus groups and ratified by television anchorpersons, insecurity and superficiality become congenital.”

A superstar, not a statesman, today leads our country. That may win short-term applause from foreign audiences, but do little for what should be the chief foreign policy preoccupation of any U.S. president: advancing America’s long-term interests.

Mr. Rove is the former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush.

God Bless,
The Truth Tracker
Jason R. Bootie

Piracy Is Funny To S.O.S Clinton!!

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What a disgraceful politician!!

Let’s just hope Capt. Richard Phillips, is brought home to his family safe and sound.

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The Truth Tracker
Jason R. Bootie

Who is President of France??

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Obama Hacks Off France In Latest Foreign Policy Blunder

Someone forgot to tell Barack Obama that Jacque Chirac is no longer the President of France.

We would like to think that this is a joke. Sadly, the French media is reporting as true that Barack Obama sent a letter to the President of France pledging support and friendship. His actual words were

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The Truth Tracker
Jason R. Bootie

A Saudi operative in our government?

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Via(Washington Times)

BENOIT: Big national intelligence misstep

A free man or a mole for the royal House of Saud?

by Sammy Benoit

Charles W. Freeman Jr.

Charles W. Freeman Jr.

Ambassador Charles W. “Chas” Freeman Jr.’s nomination as chairman of the National Intelligence Council (NIC) has quickly become the Obama administration’s most controversial appointment to date.

Mr. Freeman’s two post-government activities involved being a de facto employee of Saudi Arabia. In exchange, he received lavish support for his Middle East Policy Center (MEPC) and lucrative contracts for the consulting firm he founded to guide international companies into finding royal family-connected partners within the Saudi elite. This raises the reasonable questions as to whether Ambassador Freeman acted as an unregistered Saudi agent. This role has created significant concern about his impartiality as chief U.S. intelligence analyst on matters that will clearly involve Saudi views and interests.

While many former diplomats, especially former Saudi ambassadors, are not known for being big fans of Israel, Mr. Freeman presided over a center and publication featuring hostility to Israel that is beyond the broadest mainstream of U.S. thinking on the region. In addition, his slavish following of the Saudi “party line” has involved Mr. Freeman in some embarrassing situations.

For example the MEPC, which receives major funding from the Saudi royal family, publishes a resource for American teachers called “Arab World Studies Notebook.” This notebook includes bizarre historical anomalies, such as that Muslims inhabited the New World in pre-Columbian times, and English explorers met “Iroquois and Algonquin chiefs with names like Abdul-Rahim and Abdallah Ibn Malik.”

Another MEPC project is the quarterly magazine, Middle East Policy, the editorial pages of which are filled with disturbingly radical anti-Israel polemics. Claims such as the Iraq war was waged for the United States on behalf of Israel (fall 2008 issue) or that the United States allows Israel to “call the shots” on policy in the region, including a strategy of “buying off Fatah and starving Hamas” that is “an Israeli plan that Washington has had to accept” (fall 2007 issue). Mr. Freeman’s willingness to push these extreme positions for financial reward is troubling.

The chairman of the National Intelligence Council serves many of the same functions as the editor of a journal. He must review, edit, add context to and decide what to present in terms of good intelligence.

Mr. Freeman’s judgment may be tainted because of a desire to stay in the good graces of the House of Saud for his post-NIC career. As long as we are fighting a global war on Islamic terrorism, Mr. Freeman’s judgment as a de facto employee of the Saudi government should trouble citizens and supporters of the United States.

The Obama administration should also find it trouling. The new president has pledged to run a transparent operation. The job for which Mr. Freeman is nominated is not one the Senate must confirm. Neither is it one the president has to “own,” as the word is the Freeman nomination came not from the Oval Office but from Dennis Blair, director of national intelligence, who is a personal friend of the former ambassador.

Members of Congress from the president’s own party are deeply concerned about the appointment. Last week, Sen. Charles Schumer, New York Democrat, called Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel regarding the appointment, and Rep. Steve Israel, New York Democrat, asked the inspector general for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to look into the Saudi funding of the MEPC.

Perhaps, for its own good the White House should ask those same tough questions and think about whether the appointment of Chas Freeman suits the interests of the United States, or those of the House of Saud.

Charles W. Freeman Jr.

Sammy Benoit is editor of the political blog Yid With Lid

God Bless,
The Truth Tracker
Jason R. Bootie

Texas Preparing For Mexican Drug Violence!!

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Mexican Drug Violence Has Crossed U.S. Border, State Officials Say


The violence associated with Mexican drug cartels is now spilling over onto the America side of the border in Arizona and Texas, state officials have admitted.

The New York Times reports that Arizona has seen a dramatic spike in drug-related abductions, home invasions, and even men dressed in SWAT gear wielding military-grade weaponry.

A home invasion here last year was carried out by attackers wielding military-style rifles and dressed in uniforms similar to a Phoenix police tactical unit. The discovery of grenades and other military-style weaponry bound for Mexico is becoming more routine, as is hostage-taking and kidnapping for ransom, law enforcement officials said.

The Phoenix police regularly receive reports involving a border-related kidnapping or hostage-taking in a home.

The Maricopa County attorney’s office said such cases rose to 241 last year from 48 in 2004, though investigators are not sure of the true number because they believe many crimes go unreported.

The violence, said Commander Dan Allen of the State Department of Public Safety, is “reaching into Arizona, and that is what is really alarming local and state law enforcement.”

In Texas, state Homeland Security Director Steve McCraw told the El Paso Times that drug violence has indeed crossed the border.

“Yes, absolutely it has occurred; there’s no question about it,” he said.

The violence has led Governor Rick Perry to request an additional $135 million for border security from the state legislature.

This admission comes after news that Texas activated the lowest stage of its border security plan after protests and violence broke out in Mexican border towns last week and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, the former governor of Arizona, told reporters last Thursday that drug-related violence has not crossed the Mexican-American border.

“Right now it has not (crossed the border). But it is a contingency we have in mind because it could,” she said. “We have contingency plans should violence spread into the United States.”

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The Truth Tracker
Jason R. Bootie

Clooney goes from Dinner’s to Private Meetings!

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Clooney gets W.H. promises on Darfur

Academy Award-winning actor and activist George Clooney met privately Monday night with President Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to urge the new administration’s action on the crisis in the Darfur region of the Sudan.

Mr. Clooney told reporters that Mr. Obama said once a foreign policy review is completed, he would appoint a “full-time, high-level envoy” to the region to report directly to the White House.

“The administration has assured me that Darfur is one of a small handful of foreign-policy reviews being undertaken at the [most senior] level,” Mr. Clooney said.

He said the envoy would be “a huge policy step” since, in many cases, envoys have only been in the region “when the fire starts.”

The actor, who made a documentary highlighting the Darfur conflict and has been outspoken on the issue, said it was “nice to hear” that the region is a priority for the Obama White House.

“There was some concern that this could fall off the radar,” he said. “There’s quite a few other things [the administration is tackling], but they assured me this is high on their agenda.”

He also delivered to Mr. Obama 250,000 postcards from Americans who want the new president to help end the crisis in Darfur.

“This is a moment in time with a brand-new administration,” Mr. Clooney said, adding that Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden were active on the issue “long before” winning the election. He also praised the work of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Mr. Clooney said he was not seeking government money or government troops.

“It’s about involvement, it’s about diplomacy,” he said, adding it is “not something the U.S. could do alone.”

The meeting was not announced beforehand by the White House; the actor had been scheduled to meet with Mr. Biden only, but ended up getting face time with both men.

An official statement from the vice president’s office described the meeting.

“The Vice President met this evening with George Clooney to discuss Mr. Clooney’s recent trip to Eastern Chad, where he visited Darfurian refugee camps,” the statement read.

“The Vice President informed Mr. Clooney about the Administration’s ongoing review of Sudan policy and welcomed his observations from his trip. The Vice President thanked Mr. Clooney for his work on this issue, which he believes is an important contribution to the public’s understanding of the conflict in Darfur.”

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The Truth Tracker
Jason R. Bootie

Gas is Going Up but Why?

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Crude oil is getting cheaper — so why isn’t gas?

NEW YORK – Crude oil prices have fallen to new lows for this year. So you’d think gas prices would sink right along with them.

Not so.

On Thursday, for example, crude oil closed just under $34 a barrel, its lowest point for 2009. But the national average price of a gallon of gas rose to $1.95 on the same day, its peak for the year. On Friday gas went a penny higher.

To drivers once again grimacing as they tank up, it sounds like a conspiracy. But it has more to do with an energy market turned upside-down that has left gas cut off from its usual economic moorings.

The price of gas is indeed tied to oil. It’s just a matter of which oil.

The benchmark for crude oil prices is West Texas Intermediate, drilled exactly where you would imagine. That’s the price, set at the New York Mercantile Exchange, that you see quoted on business channels and in the morning paper.

Right now, in an unusual market trend, West Texas crude is selling for much less than inferior grades of crude from other places around the world. A severe economic downturn has left U.S. storage facilities brimming with it, sending prices for the premium crude to five-year lows.

But it is the overseas crude that goes into most of the gas made in the United States. So prices at the pump will probably keep going up no matter what happens to the benchmark price of crude oil.

“We’re going definitely over $2, and I bet we’ll hit $2.50 before spring,” said Tom Kloza, publisher and chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Service. “This is going to be an unusual year.”

On the last day of 2008, gas went for $1.62 on average, according to the auto club AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and Wright Express, a company that tracks transportation data.

The recession in America has dramatically cut demand for crude oil, and inventories are piling up. So prices for West Texas crude have fallen well below what oil costs from places like the North Sea, Saudi Arabia and South America.

That foreign oil sells in some cases for $10 more per barrel — and that doesn’t even include shipping.

Brent North Sea crude, which feeds some East Coast refineries — and therefore winds up at many gas pumps around America — now costs about $7 more per barrel than the West Texas crude. Deutsche Bank analysts say the trend should continue.

Historically, West Texas International crude has cost more. So nobody bothered building the necessary pipelines to carry it beyond the nearby refineries in the Midwest, parts of Texas and a handful of other places.

Now that the premium oil is suddenly very inexpensive, refiners elsewhere can’t get their hands on it.

“It’s so cheap,” said Lynn Westphall, the senior VP of external affairs at San Antonio-based Tesoro, which owns a half dozen refineries on the West Coast and Hawaii. “But you can’t just build a pipeline to everywhere. We know we can’t get it.”

Tesoro’s refineries in North Dakota and Utah use locally drilled oil and Canadian oil, which also has been running about $10 more per barrel than West Texas crude.

So why not build more pipelines? Because investing billions of dollars over several years makes no sense when the prices could just flip a year from now to where they were before.

“How long is WTI going to be cheaper than Venezuelan oil? Than Canadian?” asked Charles T. Drevna, president of the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association. “You just don’t build a pipeline like that.”

At the same time, refiners have seen the same headlines as everyone else about job losses and consumer spending. They’ve slashed production just to avoid taking losses on gasoline no one will buy. Result: Higher gas prices.

“Why should a refiner produce more gasoline when the stuff we produce is not being used?” Drevna said.

Of course, complex explanations of the diverging price paths of West Texas crude and gas are unlikely to placate frustrated drivers. Memories of last summer’s $4-plus gas have not receded.

“Drivers are being ripped off even more now than before,” said Stuart Pollok, who was filling up recently at a Chevron station in downtown Los Angeles. He pointed out Exxon Mobil Corp. reeled in billions in profits last year when oil prices neared $150.

Others see the conspiracy reaching higher.

“It got really low during the elections and now it’s going back up,” said Christel Sayegh, a 23-year-old graphic designer in Los Angeles. “They do that every election, though, right?

God Bless,
The Truth Tracker
Jason R. Bootie