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Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

Category: Taliban

Day No. 972: President Obama unveils a deficit reduction plan

Obama talks about the Deficit 9-19-11

"We didn’t need a rating agency to tell us that we need a balanced, long-term approach to deficit reduction. That was true last week. That was true last year. That was true the day I took office." --Barack Obama, Aug. 8, 2011.

Barack Obama took office Jan. 20, 2009. That was 972 days ago this morning, almost to the hour when he finally offered his newest full-blown deficit reduction plan. (See full Obama text below.)

Or as he put it, "Good morning, everybody. Please have a seat."

If it's Monday, the campaigning president must be issuing a new plan for something (before another $35,800 per ticket fundraiser in New York City). Last week it was his new Monday stimulus package, which was so urgent it's been delayed, as we discussed right here this morning.

Today, it was how to pay for his new stimulus package plus how to start reducing overspending and paying down the $14,000,000,000,000+ in debt that someone else is responsible for accumulating in recent years.

Here's the Washington Democrat's diagnosis:

During this past decade, profligate spending in Washington, tax cuts for multimillionaires and billionaires, the cost of two wars and the recession turned a record surplus into a yawning deficit, and that left us with a big pile of IOUs.

Everyone remembers his last deficit reduction plan in April. Back then he was determined "to shrink the deficit as a share of the economy, but not to do so so abruptly with spending cuts that would hamper growth or prevent us from helping small businesses and middle-class families get back on their feet."

Which struck many as suspiciously like not much of a shovel-ready deficit reduction program.

Now that it's autumn, it will surprise only children that the Democrat wants to increase taxes because we aren't paying enough and need more to spend. He also details impressive, large-scale cuts that include $1 trillion that we don't have and he says we won't be spending on wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

According to this line of thinking, our spouse has been informed that we'll be buying a Lamborghini (red) with the cuts we've made in not buying a corporate jet.

"This plan cuts $2 in spending for every dollar in new revenues," the president proclaimed. Reforms to....

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America's newest hero, Sgt. Dakota Meyer: How he rescued 36 guys under fire

Dakota Meyer in Afghanistan USMC

President Obama awards Medal of Honor to Sgt. Dakota Meyer, as provided by the White House

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. Please be seated. Thank you, Chaplain Kibben. Good afternoon, everyone. And on behalf of Michelle and myself, welcome to the White House. 

It’s been said that “where there is a brave man, in the thickest of the fight, there is the post of honor.”  Today, we pay tribute to an American who placed himself in the thick of the fight -- again and again and again.  In so doing, he has earned our nation’s highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor. And we are extraordinarily proud of Sgt. Dakota Meyer.(Applause.)
Today is only the third time during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that a recipient of the Medal of Honor has been able to accept it in person.  And we are honored to be joined by one of the two other recipients -- Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry, who is here.  (Scroll to bottom for the story of Sgt. Petry and other Medal of Honor winners.)

I would point out something else -- of all the Medal of Honor recipients in recent decades, Dakota is also one of the youngest. He’s 23 years old. And he performed the extraordinary actions for which he is being recognized today when he was just 21 years old.

Despite all this, I have to say Dakota is one of the most down-to-earth guys that you will ever meet. In fact, when my staff first tried to arrange the phone call so I could tell him that I’d approved this medal, Dakota was at work, at his new civilian job, on a construction site. 


He felt he couldn’t take the call right then, because he said, “If I don’t work, I don’t....


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Sunday shows: Giuliani, Rumsfeld, Brennan, McCain

Several of the Sunday mnorning programs have been preempted this week by coverage of the Sept. 11 anniversary memorial services in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani walks the streets in the hours after the 9-11 attacks

Bloomberg's "Political Capital with Al Hunt:" Sen. Michael E. Crapo (R-Idaho).

CBS' "Face the Nation" with Bob Schieffer: New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, Donald Rumsfeld and Obama advisor John Brennan.

Fox News Channel "Fox News Sunday" with Chris Wallace: Rumsfeld, Giuliani, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Dianne Feinstein (D-San Francisco) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Brennan, Michael Chertoff, Paul Wolfowitz and Gen. Jack Keane, with Brit Hume, Bill Kristol, Dana Priest and Juan Williams.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Associated Press (Giuliani, Sept. 2001).

Presidential debate: The most entertaining, unexpected, weirdest and awkward moments

presidential debate Reagan library Nancy reagan 8-9-7-11

Quick take-aways from last night's Republican presidential debate at the Reagan Presidential Library:

BIGGEST WINNERS: Rick Perry, who did much better than not bomb, and Mitt Romney, who looked presidential again and magnanimous.

BIGGEST LOSER: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who wasn't there, but will learn this morning that he'll be joining the 14 million unemployed if virtually any of these Republicans get to the White House.

BEST PRESIDENTIAL PUT-DOWN: Romney calling the president a nice fella but one who's clueless about economics.


MOST ELOQUENT: Newt Gingrich warning moderators probing for differences among the eight Republicans that any minor distinctions pale in comparison to their unity over defeating Barack Obama.

LOUDEST APPLAUSE: See Most Eloquent.


PINKEST TIE: Rick Santorum.


WARMEST FAMILY MENTION: Michele Bachmann, as message-disciplined as ever on Obama killing jobs, also recalling raising five biological and 23 foster children.


BEST FINANCIAL TIP IF THE GOP WINS NEXT YEAR: Buy stock in border fence companies.

MOST UNEXPECTED APPLAUSE-GETTER: NBC's Brian Williams asking Perry about Texas executing 234 convicted murderers.

BEST FIVE-WORD ANSWER: Perry asked to explain that applause: "I think Americans understand justice."


MOST AWKWARD MOMENT: Moderator John Harris introducing a gotcha video clip of Romney that wouldn't play. So, the gotcha guy got got.


WEIRDEST SUGGESTED ECONOMY MOVE: Ron Paul's idea to save billions by bringing home air conditioners cooling troop tents in Afghanistan.

BIGGEST UNANSWERED QUESTION: What in the world did Telemundo's Jose Diaz-Balart do to be denied a chair on stage like Williams and Harris had?


Ron Paul's federal disaster relief plan: Kill FEMA

Rick Perry grins, shrugs and swings away at GOP Reagan Library debate

Gov. Jon Huntsman's jobs plan: 'Straightforward and common sense'

-- Andrew Malcolm

Don't forget to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle. Use the re-Tweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photo: Chris Carlson / Associated Press (Nancy Reagan and the eight Republican presidential debaters in the library's reconstructed Oval Office).

Listen up! Here's how Obama wants 9/11 observed

Ground Zero the new World Trade Center tower rises 8-30-11

You may have thought as a regular American citizen you were capable of marking the upcoming 10th anniversary of the deadly 9/11 attacks in your own quiet, sad way as you and your family choose.

However, in its infinite federal wisdom and one-size-fits-all philosophy, the Obama White House has drafted a set of detailed orders for how it wants the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks observed, both at home and abroad.

We're not kidding.

After weeks of quiet internal planning, two sets of guidelines were dispatched by the Democratic administration, one for American representatives to use abroad and another to all federal agencies at home.

Suggestions for elaborate programs including speeches and other ceremonies to mark the murder of nearly 3,000 Americans on Sept. 11, 2001, were discarded by the administration in favor of low-key appearances by President Obama and a few other officials.

They are to emphasize that the day's observances are "not just about us," an unidentified administration source told the N.Y. Times, which obtained copies of the plans ...

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Obama: 'America’s military is the best that it’s ever been'

Obama addresses the American Legion in Minneapolis 8-30-11

Coincidence or not, President Obama and a Republican front-runner who would replace him, Mitt Romney, gave dueling speeches to American veterans today. Romney to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in San Antonio, Obama to the American Legion in Minneapolis.

As we often do, we are publishing the full texts of both addresses so that Ticket readers can see for themselves the scope and nuance of the men's spoken words. Gov. Romney's address is now available in excerpt and full text form by clicking here.

Now, some Obama excerpts:

There are some special guests here I want to acknowledge. They may have already been acknowledged, but they're great friends so I want to make sure that I point them out. First of all, the wonderful governor of Minnesota, Mark Dayton, is here. Two senators who are working on behalf of veterans every single day -- Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken.  Congressman Keith Ellison -- this is his district. Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, a great friend....

We’re still digging out from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. It’s taking longer and it's been more difficult than any of us had imagined. And even though we’ve taken some steps in the right direction, we've got a lot more to do....

We Americans have been through tough times before, much tougher than these. And we didn’t just get through them; we emerged stronger than before. Not by luck. Not by chance. But because, in hard times, Americans don’t quit....

We salute the extraordinary decade of service rendered by the 9/11 Generation -— the more than 5 million Americans who've worn the uniform over the past 10 years....

We see the wages of war in those patriots who never came home. They gave their all, their last full measure of devotion, in Kandahar, in the Korengal, in Helmand, in the battles for Baghdad and Fallujah and Ramadi. Now they lay at rest in quiet corners of America, but they live on in the families who loved them and in a nation that is safer because of their service....

America’s military is the best that it’s ever been. We saw that most recently in the skill and precision of our brave forces who helped the Libyan people finally break free from the grip of Moammar Qaddafi....

We’ve still got some work to do.  We got to break the backlog of disability claims.  I know that over the past year, the backlog has actually grown due to new claims from Agent Orange. But let me say this -- and I know Secretary Shinseki agrees -- when our veterans who fought for our country have to fight just to get the benefits that you’ve already earned, that’s unacceptable. So this is going to remain a key priority for us....

We’re facing some tough choices as we put our fiscal house in order. But I want to be absolutely clear: We cannot, we must not, we will not, balance the budget on the backs of our veterans....

I’ve proposed a Returning Heroes Tax Credit for companies that hire unemployed veterans and a Wounded Warrior Tax Credit for companies that hire unemployed veterans with a disability. When Congress returns from recess, this needs to be at the top of their agenda....

Now, the full Obama text:

President Obama's remarks to the American Legion, as provided by the White House

THE PRESIDENT: Hello Legionnaires! It is wonderful to see all of you. Let me, first of all, thank Commander Foster for your introduction and for your lifetime of service to your fellow Marines, soldiers and veterans. On behalf of us all, I want to thank Jimmie and I want to thank your entire leadership team for welcoming me here today. Thank you very much.

Your National Adjutant, Dan Wheeler; your Executive Director, your voice in....

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Is al Qaeda really dying? The birth of a news meme

armed Reaper drone maneuvers on the ground in Afghanistan

Washington Post news story, 7:01 p.m. Tuesday:

U.S. counterterrorism officials are increasingly convinced that the killing of Osama bin Laden and the toll of seven years of CIA drone strikes have pushed al ­Qaeda to the brink of collapse.

The assessment reflects a widespread view at the CIA and other agencies that a relatively small number of additional blows could effectively extinguish the Pakistan-based organization that carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — an outcome that was seen as a distant prospect for much of the past decade.

Do you want to believe this? Wouldn't that be nice to think that the worst bad guys in our worst nightmares from the last decade are near extinction? Brought to justice by SEALs, Special Forces and armed drones as swiftly and violently as they delivered their unjust death sentences on innocents?

(For a primer on armed drones in Afghanistan, scroll down for an interesting C-SPAN video.)

Now, ask yourself as a regular news reader why do you think the newspaper's unidentified sources are saying this? More importantly, why are they saying this now? And why, if things are going so swimmingly in the terrorist eradication business, these officials feel the need to hide their identities?

Wasn't it this President Obama and his Democratic administration that denied all but....

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Barack Obama accused of crime against humanity for killing Bin Laden


Barack Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning president who ordered the Seal Team Six to kill Osama bin Laden, is now being accused of committing a crime against humanity for the act that sent countless people to the streets to celebrate.

Daniel Fiol, a Spanish lawyer, submitted a written complaint to the International Criminal Court accusing Obama of violating the Geneva Convention, according to the Telegraph UK.

Fiol wrote that the terrorist leader should have been "pursued, arrested, tried and convicted" as opposed to being assassinated in his hideout in Abbotabad, Pakistan.

Later Fiol joked that he was “not being paid by Al Qaeda.”

But could he have been hired by Bin Laden's son? Omar Bin Laden issued a statement in the wake of his father's death asking why the U.S. didn't follow international law like it had with other dictators.

Speaking on behalf of his family, Omar wrote days after the mission: "If he has been summarily executed then, we question the propriety of such assassination where not only international law has been blatantly violated but USA has set a very different example whereby right to have a fair trial, and presumption of innocence until proven guilty by a court of law has been sacrificed on which western society is built and is standing when a trial of OBL was possible for any wrongdoing as that of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic."

In the treasure trove of documents and porn found in Bin Laden's compound was a hit list of targets the Al Qaeda leader was interested in striking around the 10th anniversary of the terrorism on Sept. 11.

At the top of the list was Barack Obama, whom Bin Laden wanted to take out while he was aboard Air Force One.


Osama bin Laden's son says U.S. broke international law 'if' his father is dead

Rush Limbaugh on Osama bin Laden's death: 'Thank God for President Obama'

Days after calling him stupid, Donald Trump praises Obama on Osama bin Laden's death

-- Tony Pierce

Andrew Malcolm is on vacation through Tuesday.

Photo: People burn an effigy of US president Barack Obama, during a protest against the US drones attacks in country's tribal region near the Afghan border, in Multan, Pakistan on July 13, 2011.  The latest attacks came amid strained relations between Islamabad and Washington since the US commando raid that killed al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in the north-western city of Abbottabad on May 2. Credit: EPA/MK CHAUDHRY

The amazing story of America's newest hero: Medal of Honor recipient Leroy Petry

Medal of Honor recipient Leroy Petry 7-12-11


Medal of Honor ceremony for Army First Sgt. Leroy Arthur Petry, as provided by the White House

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Chaplain Rutherford.  Please be seated.  Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to the White House as we present our nation’s highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor, to an extraordinary American soldier —- Sergeant First Class Leroy Petry.

This is a historic occasion.  Last fall, I was privileged to present the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta for his heroism in Afghanistan, and Sal joins us this afternoon. Where's Sal?  Good to see you.  

So today is only the second time during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq —- indeed, only the second time since Vietnam —- that a recipient of the Medal of Honor from an ongoing conflict has been able to accept this medal in person.  And having just spent some time with Leroy, his lovely wife Ashley, their wonderful children, in the Oval Office, then had a chance to see the entire Petry family here -- I have to say this could not be happening to a nicer guy or a more inspiring family. 

Leroy, the Medal of Honor reflects the deepest gratitude of our entire nation.  So we’re....


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Obama's speech on the Afghanistan war: Draining a political mess of his own making

Afghanistan casualties 6-21-11 Sgt Edward F Dixon comes home

Here's some important new information that President Obama should certainly leave out of his big Afghanistan speech Wednesday evening:

Only 12% of people in our most important regional ally, Pakistan, now have a positive view of the United States. And only 8% express confidence in the American leader to do the right thing, according to a new Pew Research Center poll.

This could have something to do with deadly U.S. drone raids on Pakistan and the assassination of Osama bin Laden there in a commando incursion; a whopping 14% of Pakistanis think the latter was a good thing.

Full Transcript of Obama Speech

Obama's speech from the White House this evening will be his third major address on Afghanistan, now ...

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
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