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Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

Category: War

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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Jacqueline Kennedy: JFK's doubts on LBJ, Vietnam and hers on MLK

Diane-Sawyer-Caroline-Kennedy-Jackie-Kennedy-Interview

John F. Kennedy's brief presidency, ended with an assassin's bullet in November 1963, still has an enormous influence on many today, not just for its actual policies and actions but also for the notion of "Camelot," a mythologized, golden moment in American politics full of hope, promise and high style.

And no one knew Camelot better than First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy (later Onassis).

Monday at 9 p.m. Eastern/Pacific time, ABC News airs "Jacqueline Kennedy: In Her Own Words," a two-hour special reported by Diane Sawyer that focuses on audio interviews Kennedy recorded with her husband's longtime aide, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., in early 1964.

By her request, the recordings were kept under seal until after her death in 1994, but the Kennedy Library in Boston has held them back until this month.

Along with the TV special, the audio and transcripts of the interviews are being released in book form this week as "Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life With John F. Kennedy."

According to some reports the tapes were not to be released until 50 years after the former first lady's death. But daughter Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, the last surviving child of John F. Kennedy and the de facto protector of the family legacy who had her own brief unsuccessful flirtation with politics, decided to release them early.

ABC News disputed reports of sordid sexual content in the recordings, but they do reveal candid insights into Jackie Kennedy's feelings and recollections about Lyndon Johnson, the Vietnam War and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Says Kennedy, "Jack said it to me sometimes. He said, 'Oh, God, can you ever imagine what would happen to this country if Lyndon were president?' "

Reportedly, Kennedy believed her husband was skeptical of success in Vietnam.

On his appointing Republican Henry Cabot Lodge as U.S. ambassador to Vietnam, she says, "I think he probably did it ... rather thinking it might be such a brilliant thing to do because Vietnam was rather hopeless anyway, and put a Republican there."

Believing FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's report that his agency's wiretaps revealed King tried to arrange a sex party while in the nation's capital for the historic March on Washington in August 1963, Kennedy says, "I just can't see a picture of Martin Luther King without thinking, you know, that man's terrible."
Those original surveillance tapes of King remain sealed by court order until 2027.

According to ABC News, Kennedy also recalls a scene in which historian David Donald in 1962 spoke to JFK and some of his friends and aides about Abraham Lincoln's presidency.

Kennedy reports her husband's reaction, saying, " 'Do you think' -- it's the one thing that was on his mind -- 'would Lincoln have been as great a president if he'd lived?' And Donald, really by going round and round, had agreed with him that Lincoln, you know, it was better -- was better for Lincoln that he died when he did."

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Not that it matters to interractial couples, but Americans near unanimity in approval

-- Kate O'Hare

Media critic Kate O’Hare is a regular Ticket contributor. She also blogs about TV at Hot Cuppa TV and is a frequent contributor at entertainment news site Zap2it. Also follow O'Hare on Twitter @KateOH.

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Photo: ABC News' Diane Sawyer with Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg. Credit: Ida Mae Astute / ABC News

A moment of music to ponder those taken on 9/11 and since

For the fallen of 9/11 and all those since, a musical moment to remember and ponder with one of our favorite songs and one of our favorite voices, Anthony Kearns:

 

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9/11 a decade later: Most Americans now expect it to happen again

911 sunrise over washington capitol and damaged pentagon 2001 9-13-01

As most Americans pause at least a moment Sunday to remember 9/11/2001 and what they were doing on that deadly day that so fundamentally scarred the national psyche, an overwhelming majority have also told pollsters they think another mass attack will happen again before 9/11/2021.

Americans now believe that Al Qaeda as a global terrorist organization is weaker today, thanks to the extermination in May of Osama bin Laden and the less noticed elimination of hundreds of his associates by various violent means in recent years.

This year 50% of Americans say they believe Al Qaeda is weaker. That's double the percentage who thought that the previous two autumns.

Although, interestingly, a third (32%) still think the disparate terror group has managed to maintain its strength. Understandable. What's your first thought when you see an airliner low over any downtown?

However, according to this weekend's fresh Rasmussen Reports survey, despite all the country's sometimes controversial enhanced security precautions, a substantial majority of Americans (61%) still believe a similar-scale attack is at least somewhat likely to occur on the homeland during the next 10 years.

This includes nearly a third of Americans (29%) who think such a deadly repeat assault is very likely.

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911 New York City Smoke plume as seen from ISS astronaut Frank Culbertson NASA 250 miles up

-- 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

Photos, from top: Sunrise on Sept. 13, 2001, on the U.S. Capitol and the damaged Pentagon; New York City 9/11 smoke plume as seen from the International Space Station, 250 miles altitude. Credits: Luke Frazza / AFP /Getty Images; Frank Culbertson / NASA.

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

Why wait until Sunday for politics? Click here now to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or follow us @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle now. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share this item with friends.

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

Weekly remarks 9/11: Giuliani warns on hasty troop drawdowns; Obama on time for nation-building here

New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani recalls the events of September 2001

 Weekly remarks by New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, as provided by Republican Party leadership<

Everyone can remember exactly where they were when they first learned that our country had been attacked.  As with Pearl Harbor and the John F. Kennedy assassination, these defining events have a big impact on a nation because they're not just a shared experience, they're a shared memory.

On the 10th anniversary of the attacks, we must take stock of what we've learned.

The attacks had two purposes. The first was to kill as many Americans as possible. The second was to destroy America's spirit.

As we remember the thousands of lives lost on that day, there’s no doubt that the terrorists achieved their first goal and will leave us with a deep wound forever.

When it comes to destroying our spirit, however … as we consider the rescue and ....

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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 OUTSPOKEN LIBERTARIAN: Ron Paul.

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.

BIGGEST AIRPLANE EVER HANGING OVER DEBATERS: President Reagan's Air Force One 707.

PINKEST TIE: Rick Santorum.

MOST ENTERTAINING CHRIS MATTHEWS BLOOD PRESSURE RAISER: Perry on this whole global warming hoax.

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

MOST PUZZLING PLAN ABOUT SOMETHING: Herman Cain's 9-9-9.

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."

CALMEST CHINESE-SPEAKING EX-AMBASSADOR: Jon Huntsman.

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

UNDECLARED CANDIDATE WHOSE ABSENCE WENT LEAST NOTICED: What's-her-name from Alaska.

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?

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-- 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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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.
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