By JESSE J. HOLLAND, Associated Press Writer
July 29, 2008
WASHINGTON - Barack Obama told House Democrats on Tuesday that as president he would order his attorney general to scour White House executive orders and expunge any that "trample on liberty," several lawmakers said.
Presidents, as head of the executive branch of government, issue such orders to direct operations of executive branch agencies, like the Justice Department and the CIA. For example, President Bush used an executive order last year to breathe new life into the CIA's controversial terror interrogation program that allowed harsh questioning of suspects.
Obama "talked about how his attorney general is to review every executive order and immediately eliminate those that trample on liberty," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.
"He indicated there would be a review in his administration," said Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., the House majority whip.
Obama did not mention executive orders when he addressed reporters who waited for him outside the closed-door meeting. He said only that he would be campaigning alongside members to win the presidency and help expand Democratic majorities in the House and Senate.
"I am looking forward to collaborating with everyone here to win the election, but more importantly to collaborate with everybody here and also some like-minded Republicans to actually govern and to deliver on behalf of the American people," Obama said.
During his presidency, Bush increasingly has relied on executive orders to dictate policies without seeking congressional approval. His orders have ranged from restrictions on striped bass fishing to sanctions against Myanmar's government.
Obama did not indicate who his attorney general would be, or any other member of his Cabinet. To lawmakers who asked about his Cabinet plans, Obama said: "Get me elected, and then I'll worry about the Cabinet," according to Nadler.
Clyburn added that Obama said there were "people in the room with more expertise than him."
Obama's meeting with the House Democratic caucus came hours after he spoke with both Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke about the faltering economy, part of his effort to refocus the campaign on domestic issues after last week's foreign trip.
Obama spokesman Michael Ortiz said the senator and Bernanke discussed the outlook for consumers and businesses, as well as the effect of rising home foreclosures on families nationwide. They also talked about the "strengths of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and other financial institutions," Ortiz said.
Obama called Paulson as he rode to a meeting with Pakistan's new prime minister, the campaign said.
A campaign statement said Obama asked how the Treasury Department planned to use its new authority with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and whether the government had the tools it needs to address the challenges in the banking industry. As part of the government's effort to provide mortgage relief to hundreds of thousands of homeowners, Paulson has sought emergency power to rescue lending giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Congress approved a housing plan last week that would provide relief for 400,000 homeowners who can't afford their payments by allowing them to refinance their mortgages with more affordable, government-backed loans. President Bush has promised to sign the package into law.
In a day of meetings, Obama also met with Pakistan's new leader, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
At a fundraising luncheon, he said he told Gilani "the only way we're going to be successful in the long term in defeating extremists ... is if we are giving people opportunities. If people have a chance for a better life, then they are not as likely to turn to the ideologies of violence and despair."
Associated Press writer Mike Glover contributed to this report.
Personal revelations are not something I do, freely or easily. Neighbors or my interest in moats or travels to England or Canada are really not all that personal if you think about it. The following is. I make the revelation not for the 400 or so strangers each week from around the world who accidentally stop by, rather, it is for others who are directed here - students, let's say. Everyone in college would like to understand their professor a little better. It's easy - we're all pretending at something.
The nexus between these ramblings and the above column will become clearer, as I proceed.
Without hinting at age, I could not have any memory of President Kennedy, nor his administration, nor anything that happened for a decade or so after, but I did grow up hearing his name. My parents and or teachers, films, songs, a punk group in the 80s, a German female singer in the 80s - all of them propounded his name, and the myth, as did his remaining brother, and his son, and daughter. I was caught in the myth. I knew nothing else, but the myth.
In college, I had a professor who had a charcoal drawing of President Kennedy on his wall, and a lithograph of Robert Kennedy on an adjacent wall. The myth continued. The ideals, the dreams, the aspirations of a generation I was not part of, but it appealed to me because it was an aspiration all generations hoped for, wished for, dreamed of - wanted. Kennedy was our Arthur and it makes perfect sense the association White made with Camelot. Arthur would leave, but in Britain's darkest hour, it was believed, he would return. Kennedy was taken, but we kept hoping and praying another would rise to satisfy the unfinished dream.
Kennedy was brilliant, he read 1200 words per minute, he loved the arts, and his family - he was strong, courageous, brave - he stood up to the Soviets and led us through crisis after crisis. He awakened in us a desire to be better, to dream the impossible dream and make it possible.
It was all a lie.
Kennedy didn't read 1200 words per minute. Decades later we find out it was exaggerated to make him appear more erudite, more academic. He could muster 200 or so words a minute, and often grew tired of reading due to whatever ailment afflicted him at the moment. He was not brilliant - he was a C student. He hated opera, loathed Robert Frost and poetry, and he fell asleep through most of the musical performances at the White House.
He had no dream nor did he truly care deeply - his was a learned interest, events dictated what he believed and when - not the other way around. He entered the White House with very few solid ideas, and no clue. He was overwhelmed, and out of his league - and that inexperience led us into the crisis of 1000 days we endured with Kennedy. One crisis after another. He did get us through, but remember, the government is another 400+ people, not just the president.
On my college webpage, I had a section that listed various presidents and my thoughts (brief word association) on each. About Kennedy, I wrote that he was one of the greatest presidents we have ever had. I removed that statement a few days ago. I took down a lithograph I have had on my wall for several years. I bought it 15 years ago and have had it on one wall or another since that time. I liked it very much - it is really quite silly to keep it up now. I had a couple photos - one that he handed out during a stop at an aerospace factory in Los Angeles in 1962. I received it from a relative of someone who was at the factory that day and was given the photos from Kennedy. It had two photos - one side was him and the other was Jacqueline. I took it down, and put it in an envelope, and packed it away in a box in the garage. There were a couple others - one taken September 1963, during an interview at his Hyannis Port home. I took them all down, repainted the wall where needed, and put the paintings, pictures, and photos away.
It is very odd that it has taken me so long, at my age, to realize how foolish I was, how naive I was. Had anyone told me five years ago that I was naive or foolish for admiring the man, I might have punched them. Today, I would agree.
If I was unable to detach myself from the myth, I could very easily understand how I could support Obama. He is a replica of Kennedy, minus the wealth, and class.
That is not what we need - another person who has no fucking clue being president at a time when more than ever people wake up every fucking day and want to kill us, and those people ARE NOT POOR AND NEEDY WITH NO CHOICE, BUT TO HATE, AND KILL.
Of the hijackers who attacked the United States in 2001, all but a couple came from families of wealth and education, of opportunity and class. NONE were poor.
The majority of people who lead terrorist groups come from wealth and or privilege, and education. Providing for them with food or books or clothing, will not redirect their hate nor will it turn it into love and respect.
It shows a fundamental failure to understand a culture and a cause. It shows naivete - dangerous for a president who wants to remove the causes of terrorism. Foolish and ignorant.
Kennedy at least understood you negotiate from strength - and you use the stick to get the enemy to negotiate. It makes my actions even harder, knowing that I believe he acted reasonably on some issues, but failed on the major issues.
Obama doesn't understand. He believes that if we just help Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Philippines, or whatever place, and provide them with money and food for the poor, that the poor will not flock to al qaida.
Naive. Foolish and wrong.
Rather than expending the time to explicate this further - very simply put: Europeans do not like us (generalization) and it is not because they are poor. People join al qaida, not because they are poor, but because we are who we are and we support Israel.
Obama does not understand this very simple truth.
That truth, is why he is too naive and therefore, too dangerous, to serve as our president.
We can't do on the job training, and cannot afford to have him make mistakes, and learn from those mistakes at a time when it will cost billions, and untold numbers of American lives.
It is very difficult to reach this point, where the man I admired most, and believed to be the single greatest or near greatest president, was nothing more than mediocre at best. That everything was myth and no substance existed - that we had all been lied to, including his children who led the crusade. I had to, however, reach this conclusion or face an irreconcilable position concerning my opposition to Obama. How can I have Kennedy on my wall, and oppose Obama.
Back to the article - so Obama will have his Attorney General go through all the Executive Orders one by one and rip up any that trample on civil liberties. He is directly referring to Bush and his actions and he is ignorant and his platitudes are offensive.
Here are a few you should consider - 2000, the eve of leaving office, Clinton signs an executive order permitting dissemination of information from medical files be made available to 'interested parties'.
CALEA !!!! 1995, Clinton signed CALEA into law. A Congress, supported by the DEMOCRATS (same ones who cheered Obama when he said he would rip up any Executive Orders that infringed on civil liberties) passed the law. Forget the issue with protection of children or reimbursement of ... oh, well, maybe the whole law should be looked into a bit further. I think it infringes upon our right to privacy and the government requires the telecoms to make available to the government access to communications via new optics, which we the American people paid for, so we could be spied on. But it isn't an Executive Order, so I guess he won't rip it up.
There are a number of other requests made by Janet Reno, to the Congress to enable the FBI to enlarge its wiretap capabilities, trap 1% of ALL communications made in the United States in any given hour and record those details on a massive new computer system. That seems to me to be a HUGE violation of privacy AND THIS IS BEFORE anyone attacked us, sort of kind of.
I suppose Obama won't be ripping up those laws or acts.
Nor will he be ordering his Attorney General to rip up the authorization for the FBI to attach emergency wiretaps to your line - without court approval. Why? because it is done on an exigency basis, and you may flee in the time it takes to get a court order, so other than to count how many they do, no records are provided of who they tap/listen in on. The emergency basis is for 24 hours at a time. Safe enough I suppose. Democrats can't count past 24 so they don't mind 24 hours ... unless we remove the trap from your line and place it on the person you most often call, and thus avoid losing all conversations with you, and then replace it - doing so every 23 or so hours in perpetuity - without court authorization.
I suppose Obama won't be ripping that authorization up - as it would reveal the widest use was under Clinton, and his Attorney General authorized said use. It doesn't suit Obama's purposes.
The greatest infringement upon our privacy - whether Magic Lantern, or programs of similar nature - begun under Clinton, and implemented - used to monitor what you type 'real time' on your keyboard and what pages you visit. I suppose Obama will not rip those orders up. Nor will he dare to intrude upon the use of Echelon or whatever name it goes by today. That is way beyond a president's pay grade. So instead, Obama will pick on the actions Bush has taken, which, when taken in context, pale next to those taken by Clinton. Doesn't matter - instead, pick on Bush.
Petty and pathetic. The list goes on Mr. Obama. I kept a list and as I recall, it is many pages long. I doubt you would spend any time concerned about anything anyone did, but Bush, because the stupid squad hates him, and needs you to vindicate their having lived in 'darkness' for eight years.
Ignorant Mr. Obama, is what you are. Ignorant and petty. You play politics, and cheer on the stupid squad to get elected, and you have no idea what it entails to be a president, to be THE President. You make insipid comments about privacy issues, and have no fucking clue what you are talking about. I barely do, but apparently more than you do, and I am not running for any office.
It is not that I believe government should intrude on our privacy any more than absolutely required, and even then to err on the side of not ... rather, they won't stop. Obama will make a spectacle of ripping up Bush's actions, to the cheering throngs who are too stupid to understand everything Bush is doing, was done before, with the full consent of a Democratic Congress. Rather, the stupid squad will cheer Obama on, as if he truly is the Messiah come to save their privacy. The secret is, you moronic imbeciles - you lost the privacy before Bush even walked into the White House - it happened under your last Democratic president-cum savior Bill Clinton.
I do not care for McCain as I would place myself, far more extreme on issues of privacy (hence my interest in moats) and free choice in many other areas, but I trust him, and know his actions will not be based on politics, or what action he could take to achieve the loudest applause.
The box is put away, as is the naivete of a someone who wanted to believe in an ideal that never existed. Johnny We Hardly Knew Ya, I knew you even less. Obama, I hope we will never have to know you any more than we do.
Going on idiot