It’s Official: A Teenager Now Lives At The White House…Happy Birthday Malia Obama!

How cool is this?

Becoming a teenager in the White House!

Malia Obama is 13 today….the 4th of July.

Malia Obama, the eldest of President Barack Obama’s two daughters, turned 13  on the Fourth  of July. But as usual, she’ll have to share her parents with hundreds of  others on her special day.

Obama and first lady Michelle Obama have invited hundreds of troops and their  families from across the country to attend a special barbecue and USO concert on  the South Lawn. They’ll also have one of the best views of the annual fireworks  show on the National  Mall.

Malia’s younger sister, Sasha, turned 10 last month. 

Sarah Palin Says President Obama Should Not Be “Pussy-Footing” Over Osama Bin Laden Photos

Looks to me that Sarah Palin feels she has not had enough attention given all the news about the killing of Osama bin Laden.  So in her usual Wasilla-Hillbilly way Palin makes a play for the headlines. 

What Palin does not understand is that the last few days have demonstrated the amount of intellect and fortitude required to be President of the United States.  President Obama has been masterful in his job, and we are well aware that the last many months have been one long series of manuevers to make for the events that unfolded Sunday. 

There is no doubt Palin does not have the  mental skills required for the Oval Office.  In addition, Palin’s track record of  quitting in the middle of an elected term underscores her lack of resolve.   What would the men of the SEAL unit have done had Palin decided to quit and go shoe shopping on the day the tapping of bin Laden was to take place?

No one has ever accused Palin of being ‘Stable-Mable’.  Therefore to have her enter into any discussion at all about the events that this nation is now watching unfold is just amusing.  It goes to show Palin’s inordinate fascination with herself has no bounds, and that headlines are about all she can create.

Sarah Palin, on Twitter:

“Show photo as warning to others seeking America’s destruction. No pussy-footing around, no politicking, no drama;it’s part of the mission”

What Was On President Obama’s Mind When Planning To Kill Osama Bin Laden?

We all knew the ‘birther’ issue was pure nonsense, and yet the President Obama and the White House had to deal with it.   At the time Donald Trump was racing around the airwaves creating chaos over a birth certificate, the adults in the White House were working on a plan to make sure Osama Bin Laden was brought to justice.

One of the best reads this morning comes from Slate.  A portion is posted here.

In the timeline of the Bin Laden operation, we see just how closely the secret life of a president bumps against his public life. Though this operation was a special case, it puts in high relief an oft-forgotten truth about the presidency: The president is occupied by a lot more than the public can see.

This would seem obvious, but it gets lost in the endless assessments of whether the president is “showing leadership” on any given topic. Much of that coverage assumes a president with more time than he actually has, buffeted only by the facts we know.

During the period of intense focus on Bin Laden, other problems and issues the president was dealing with included: a government shutdown, a big speech on the budget, the start of his presidential campaign, the birth-certificate follies, and the bombing of Libya. Oh, and trying to “win the future.”

The most acute recent moments of compartmentalization for Obama had to have been Friday and Saturday. On Friday he gave the final order and then flew to Alabama to visit with families ravaged by the recent tornado. He ended the day in Florida visiting with Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her astronaut husband. On Saturday he attended the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, where he had to tell jokes and sit through a comedy routine during which everyone watched his every facial twitch for insights into his psyche.

A president criticized for playing golf or spending time in Brazil on the eve of the Libyan invasion would have been relentlessly skewered for engaging in banter with the press on the eve of a dangerous military operation. But it wasn’t just Saturday night that the president had to keep his serious brain cordoned off from his less serious brain. During the final phase of the multiyear operation, Obama chaired the National Security Council on five occasions to discuss progress. A look at those five days tells the story of not just how quickly a president must switch between his public and private duties but also how silly some of the public calls for his attention must have seemed to him at the time.

Of all the secrets President Obama has had to carry, the details of the Bin Laden operation was probably one of the biggest. He may have had a special delight in bringing it to the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, where much of the audience lives to publish a president’s secrets before he can reveal them. A year earlier, as Obama spoke at the same dinner, the Times Square bomb plot was being foiled. Obama was informed of this shortly after he left the stage. The public wouldn’t know for a few hours. Unlike the dinner, such crises are not an annual event. For a president, though, they happen every day.

President Obama’s Poll Numbers Will Reflect American’s Views About Killing Osama Bin Laden

Nate Silver is the man I want to provide analysis on a daily basis concerning the world of politics.  But when something momentous happens, as it did Sunday with the killing of Osama Bin Laden, Silver is the only one that can translate the world of political chaos into a cogent snapshot of where we stand today, and where we might be headed tomorrow.

In part Nate Silver’s latest post includes the following.

I don’t want to get too carried away with this. The halo effect of a successful presidency can cause a president’s ratings to rise in a number of areas at once, which makes it difficult to deduce cause and effect. And the relative salience of different issues can wax and wane at different times. Up until 24 hours ago, both Mr. Obama and his Republican opponents seemed inclined to make the 2012 election be about the economy. More importantly, so did voters. That’s much better for the G.O.P. than a scenario in which national security had been receiving a greater degree of emphasis.

But Americans, contrary to the way they are sometimes characterized by pundits, can walk and chew gum and the same time — and they consider both foreign and domestic policy when they cast their ballots. The killing of Osama bin Laden is going to be perceived as unambiguously good news by almost all Americans. It makes it easier for Mr. Obama to make the case that the country has made progress since he took office.

Yes, Mr. Obama is still far from able to run commercials like those “Morning in America” ads Ronald Reagan used in 1984. Unless the economic indicators significantly outperform consensus expectations, the election is still liable to be fairly close, with Mr. Obama hardly assured of coming out on top.

But killing Osama bin Laden, the world’s most wanted terrorist, is going to be a point in Mr. Obama’s favor. I really don’t know exactly what impact it will have, and the magnitude of the bounce that Mr. Obama receives in the polls over the next few days and weeks may not shed much light on that question. But to claim that it will have no impact at all is as daft as claiming that Mr. Obama is now a shoo-in for re-election.

Was Pakistan Involved In Killing Of Osama Bin Laden?

My first thought when I heard the news that Osama Bin Laden was killed was where do we go from here.  I was not expecting the news on a late Sunday night that the most-wanted man in the world had been killed.  When I did hear the news my mind did not go back to 9/11 but instead searched for news on how this event occurred within Pakistan.  At a time when Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda had a wide swath of support in the country that neighbors Afghanistan, how did the Pakistan government play a role in the killing?

This will be one of the major spokes of this story, and I have been following that part of the news for a couple of hours.

There are many reports from NBC and CNN over what happened in Pakistan, and how much the Pakistani government and military were aware of what was being planned that finally ended with the killing of Bin Laden on Sunday.  These reports are very important, and how this took place in Pakistan over the past days and weeks will have a huge impact on how this region moves forward in the months to come.

NBC is reporting that for U.S. security needs Pakistan was not informed about  the months of preparation for the attack on the compound where Bin Laden was living.  It has long been reported that the internal security forces in Pakistan have members who support Al-Qaeda, and have posed problems with leaks about planned attacks.   That is easy to understand, and makes sense from a U.S. military planning perspective to keep the mission secret.

However, CNN reported online that Pakistan had members of Pakistan’s intelligence service – the ISI –  on site in Abbotabad, Pakistan, during the operation that killed  bin Laden.

Later CNN reported much the same as NBC.

 A senior administration official told reporters that U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration did not share intelligence gathered before the attack on bin Laden in Pakistan with any other country – including Pakistan – for security reasons.

As much as the world is correctly lifted by the news over the end to Bin Laden, the very last thing we need would be for a totally unilateral effort where Pakistan was not involved with, or privy to the plans until the time military action was underway, or until after it was completed.  The complexity of the reasons for keeping Pakistan stable and in a working mode with US interests is vital.  Having the U.S. take the bold but necessary steps it did without Pakistan’s involvement will roil those elements hostile to the current Pakistani government, and make our mission in the region far more tenuous.  It will make Pakistan look weak if their airspace was invaded, and  a mission of this scope took place without their knowledge or involvement.

It may seem like there are no good military or diplomatic options at times in many places around the globe.  Often that is the case, and tonight we are witnessing one of those moments seemingly play out.

We now know which story is going to drive the week.

President Obama’s Foreign Policy

This whole article will either catch your interest or bore you.

I offer the summation here.

This spring, Obama officials often expressed impatience with questions about theory or about the elusive quest for an Obama doctrine. One senior Administration official reminded me what the former British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan said when asked what was likely to set the course of his government: “Events, dear boy, events.”

Obama has emphasized bureaucratic efficiency over ideology, and approached foreign policy as if it were case law, deciding his response to every threat or crisis on its own merits. “When you start applying blanket policies on the complexities of the current world situation, you’re going to get yourself into trouble,” he said in a recent interview with NBC News.

Obama’s reluctance to articulate a grand synthesis has alienated both realists and idealists. “On issues like whether to intervene in Libya there’s really not a compromise and consensus,” Slaughter said. “You can’t be a little bit realist and a little bit democratic when deciding whether or not to stop a massacre.”

Brzezinski, too, has become disillusioned with the President. “I greatly admire his insights and understanding. I don’t think he really has a policy that’s implementing those insights and understandings. The rhetoric is always terribly imperative and categorical: ‘You must do this,’ ‘He must do that,’ ‘This is unacceptable.’ ” Brzezinski added, “He doesn’t strategize. He sermonizes.”

The one consistent thread running through most of Obama’s decisions has been that America must act humbly in the world. Unlike his immediate predecessors, Obama came of age politically during the post-Cold War era, a time when America’s unmatched power created widespread resentment. Obama believes that highly visible American leadership can taint a foreign-policy goal just as easily as it can bolster it. In 2007, Obama said, “America must show—through deeds as well as words—that we stand with those who seek a better life. That child looking up at the helicopter must see America and feel hope.”

In 2009 and early 2010, Obama was sometimes criticized for not acting at all. He was cautious during Iran’s Green Revolution and deferential to his generals during the review of Afghanistan strategy. But his response to the Arab Spring has been bolder. He broke with Mubarak at a point when some of the older establishment advised against it. In Libya, he overruled Gates and his military advisers and pushed our allies to adopt a broad and risky intervention. It is too early to know the consequences of these decisions. Libya appears to be entering a protracted civil war; American policy toward Mubarak frightened—and irritated—Saudi Arabia, where instability could send oil prices soaring. The U.S. keeps getting stuck in the Middle East.

Nonetheless, Obama may be moving toward something resembling a doctrine. One of his advisers described the President’s actions in Libya as “leading from behind.” That’s not a slogan designed for signs at the 2012 Democratic Convention, but it does accurately describe the balance that Obama now seems to be finding. It’s a different definition of leadership than America is known for, and it comes from two unspoken beliefs: that the relative power of the U.S. is declining, as rivals like China rise, and that the U.S. is reviled in many parts of the world. Pursuing our interests and spreading our ideals thus requires stealth and modesty as well as military strength. “It’s so at odds with the John Wayne expectation for what America is in the world,” the adviser said. “But it’s necessary for shepherding us through this phase.”

Obama: “You Don’t Get That Every Day”

Great story.

–Singing demonstrators, interrupting Obama remarks at a fundraiser in S.F. to protest treatment of suspected WikiLeaker Bradley Manning: “[W]here’s our change? We’ll vote for you in 2012, yes that’s true / Look at the Republicans – what else can we do?”

–Carney, on POTUS’ reaction: “He was talking about it when he came out. … He said, ‘You don’t get that every day’ … And he thought it was kind of funny. … It certainly perked up the morning.”

President Obama Shows American Resolve In Libya Speech

If anyone wonders why I voted for President Obama to lead the nation the answer was found in the speech he delivered concerning military action in Libya.  Obama’s advancing of a larger parameter from which to lead the world was powerful, and essential.

I am glad that President Obama made it clear that there is a difference between values and interests. 

And that values in foreign affairs matter.

It is essential for America  to be engaged in putting pressure on Col. Moammar Gadhafi, and protecting the Libyan people.  Obama also made the  case I have argued for concerning the larger role our nation needs to play in the world. 

Operating from a moral perspective even when there is not a direct threat to the United States is one that matches our ideals, along with the expectations of those who want our deeds to match our words.

Bottom line is I am not ashamed of our power or the wise use of it. 

The reason we are now engaged with our international partners in Libya is to make sure the historic moment of democratic uprisings is not undone by the  ruthless hand of Gadhafi.  It would send a horrible message to the people in the Middle East and northern Africa if America did not put our resolve where out mouth is. 

President Obama said it perfectly.

To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and — more profoundly — our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are. Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as President, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action

I almost jumped to my feet several times to applaud certain sections of the speech.  He stated what I firmly have believed for a long time about the use of force for the betterment of others.

Sadly, we do not always employ this framework as evidenced by the slaughter that took place in Darfur.  International politics and human nature never allows for perfection. 

I am very pleased with these sections of the speech tonight which I post.  

I am one who strongly supports these thoughts having been put into action in Libya.  

Thank you, Mr. President.

There will be times, though, when our safety is not directly threatened, but our interests and values are. Sometimes, the course of history poses challenges that threaten our common humanity and common security — responding to natural disasters, for example; or preventing genocide and keeping the peace; ensuring regional security, and maintaining the flow of commerce. These may not be America’s problems alone, but they are important to us, and they are problems worth solving. And in these circumstances, we know that the United States, as the world’s most powerful nation, will often be called upon to help.

In such cases, we should not be afraid to act — but the burden of action should not be America’s alone. As we have in Libya, our task is instead to mobilize the international community for collective action. Because contrary to the claims of some, American leadership is not simply a matter of going it alone and bearing all of the burden ourselves. Real leadership creates the conditions and coalitions for others to step up as well; to work with allies and partners so that they bear their share of the burden and pay their share of the costs; and to see that the principles of justice and human dignity are upheld by all.

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Born, as we are, out of a revolution by those who longed to be free, we welcome the fact that history is on the move in the Middle East and North Africa, and that young people are leading the way. Because wherever people long to be free, they will find a friend in the United States. Ultimately, it is that faith — those ideals — that are the true measure of American leadership.

My fellow Americans, I know that at a time of upheaval overseas — when the news is filled with conflict and change — it can be tempting to turn away from the world. And as I have said before, our strength abroad is anchored in our strength at home. That must always be our North Star — the ability of our people to reach their potential, to make wise choices with our resources, to enlarge the prosperity that serves as a wellspring of our power, and to live the values that we hold so dear.