Posted tagged ‘Bush’

President Obama to Reverse Stem Cell Ban

March 6, 2009

President Obama is planning to sign an executive order this coming Monday to overturn a policy that limited federal tax dollars for embryonic stem cell research, this according to administration officials familiar with the deliberations.

From CNN:

Obama’s move will be hailed by advocates for those suffering from a host of afflictions, ranging from diabetes to Parkinson’s disease, who believe that an expansion of stem cell research could boost medical progress toward eradicating the debilitating diseases.

But many conservatives object to the destruction of human embryos because they contend it ends a human life.

The officials said the administration is planning a Monday event at the White House in which Obama will overturn the executive order signed by President Bush in August 2001 that barred the National Institutes of Health from funding research on embryonic stem cells beyond using 60 cell lines that existed at that time. Interactive: Unlocking the promise of stem cells »

Bush also twice vetoed legislation, in July 2006 and June 2007, that would have expanded federally funded embryonic stem cell research.

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President Bush Announces Auto Industry Bailout

December 19, 2008

President Bush announced a rescue plan for General Motors and Chrysler this morning that will make $13.4 billion in federal loans available to the industry almost immediately.

From CNNMoney:

A senior administration official briefing reporters said he expects that GM and Chrysler LLC will be signing the loan papers to access the cash later Friday morning.

The money will come from the $700 billion fund set aside to bailout Wall Street firms and banks in October.

With these loans, Treasury will have committed virtually all of the $350 billion of that fund that it can hand out without additional authorization from Congress. Once Congress releases the other $350 billion, the two automakers will be able to borrow an additional $4 billion.

GM will get $9.4 billion from the first allocation of federal loan money, while Chrysler would get the other $4 billion.

The loans are for three years but the money will have to be repaid in full within 30 days if the firms do not show themselves to be viable by March 31. It is expected that the companies will have to negotiate new agreements with unions and creditors in order to do so.

Here is the text of President Bush’s remarks delivered this morning at the White House, courtesy of the Associated Press, on financial assistance to troubled auto makers:

BUSH: Good morning.

For years, America’s automakers have faced serious challenges; burdensome costs, shrinking share of the market and declining profits. In recent months, the global financial crisis has made these challenges even more severe.

Now, some U.S. auto executives say that their companies are nearing collapse and that the only way they can buy time to restructure is with help from the federal government. It’s a difficult situation that involves fundamental questions about the proper role of government.

On the one hand, government has the responsibility not to undermine the private enterprise system. On the other hand, government has a responsibility to safeguard the broader health and stability of our economy.

Addressing the challenges in the auto industry requires us to balance these two responsibilities. If we were to allow the free market to take its course now, it would almost certainly lead to disorderly bankruptcy and liquidation for the automakers.

Under ordinary economic circumstances, I would say this is the price that failed companies must pay. And I would not favor intervening to prevent the automakers from going out of business. But these are not ordinary circumstances.

In the midst of a financial crisis and a recession, allowing the U.S. auto industry to collapse is not a responsible course of action. The question is how we can best give it a chance to succeed.

Some argue the wisest path is to allow the auto companies to reorganize through Chapter 11 provisions of our bankruptcy laws and provide federal loans to keep them operating while they try to restructure under the supervision of a bankruptcy court.

But given the current state of the auto industry and the economy, Chapter 11 is unlikely to work for American automakers at this time. American consumers understand why. If you hear that a car company is suddenly going into bankruptcy, you worry that parts and servicing will not be available and you question the value of your warranty.

With consumers hesitant to buy new cars from struggling automakers, it would be more difficult for auto companies to recover. Additionally, the financial crisis brought the auto companies to the brink of bankruptcy much faster than they could have anticipated. And they have not made the legal and financial preparations necessary to carry out an orderly bankruptcy proceeding that could lead to a successful restructuring.

The convergence of these factors means there is too great a risk that bankruptcy now would lead to a disorderly liquidation of American auto companies. My economic advisers believe that such a collapse would deal an unacceptably painful blow to hardworking Americans far beyond the auto industry. It would worsen a weak job market and exacerbate the financial crisis. It could send our suffering economy into a deeper and longer recession.

And it would leave the next president to confront the demise of a major American industry in his first days of office.

The more responsible option is to give the auto companies an incentive to restructure outside of bankruptcy and a brief window in which to do it. And that is why my administration worked with Congress on a bill to provide automakers with loans to stave off bankruptcy while they develop plans for viability.

This legislation earned bipartisan support from majorities in both houses of Congress. Unfortunately, despite extensive debate and agreement that we should prevent disorderly bankruptcies in the American auto industry, Congress was unable to get a bill to my desk before adjourning this year.

This means the only way to avoid a collapse of the U.S. auto industry is for the executive branch to step in. The American people want the auto companies to succeed and so do I.

So today I’m announcing that the federal government will grant loans to all the companies under conditions similar to those Congress considered last week. These loans will provide help in two ways. First, they will give automakers three months to put in place plans to restructure into viable companies which we believe they are capable of doing.

Second, if restructuring cannot be accomplished outside of bankruptcy, the loans will provide time for companies to make the legal and financial preparations necessary for an orderly Chapter 11 process that offers a better prospect of long-term success and gives consumer confidence that they can continue to buy American cars.

Because Congress failed to make funds available for these loans, the plan I’m announcing today will be drawn from the financial rescue package Congress approved earlier this fall. The terms of the loans will require auto companies to demonstrate how they would become viable.

They must pay back all their loans to the government and show that their firms can earn a profit and achieve a positive net worth. This restructuring will require meaningful concessions from all involved in the auto industry — management, labor unions, creditors, bond holders, dealers, and suppliers.

In particular, automakers must meet conditions that experts agree are necessary for long-term viability, including putting their retirement plans on a sustainable footing, persuading bond holders to convert their debt into capital that companies need to address immediate financial shortfalls, and making their compensation competitive with foreign automakers who have major operations in the United States.

If a company fails to come up with a viable plan by March 31st, it would be required to repay its federal loans. The automakers and unions must understand what is at stake and make hard decisions necessary to reform.

These conditions send a clear message to everyone involved in the future of American automakers. The time to make hard decisions to become viable is now. Or the only option will be bankruptcy.

The actions I’m announcing today represent a step that we wish were not necessary. But given the situation, it is the most effective and responsible way to address this challenge facing our nation. By giving the auto companies a chance to restructure, we will shield the American people from a harsh economic blow at a vulnerable time and we will give American workers an opportunity to show the world, once again, they can meet challenges with ingenuity and determination and bounce back from tough times and emerge stronger than before.

Thank you.

Iraqi Journalist Throws Shoes at President Bush

December 14, 2008

President Bush made a farewell visit Sunday to Baghdad, Iraq, where he met with Iraqi leaders and was targeted by an angry Iraqi man, who jumped up and threw shoes at Bush during a news conference. I’m sure others would have loved to have thrown more than just their shoes.

From CNN:

Among Muslims, throwing shoes at someone, or sitting so that the bottom of a shoe faces another person, is considered an insult.

The man was dragged out screaming after throwing the shoes. Bush ducked, and the shoes, thrown one at a time, sailed past his head during the news conference with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in his palace in the heavily fortified Green Zone.

As the man continued to scream from another room, Bush said: “That was a size 10 shoe he threw at me, you may want to know.”

Bush had been lauding the conclusion of the security pact with Iraq as journalists looked on.

Bush landed at Baghdad International Airport on Sunday and traveled by helicopter to meet with President Jalal Talabani and his two vice presidents at Talabani’s palace outside the Green Zone.

It marked the first time he has been outside the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad without being on a military base.

The visit was Bush’s fourth since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

Afterward, Talabani praised his U.S. counterpart as a “great friend for the Iraqi people” and the man “who helped us to liberate our country and to reach this day, which we have democracy, human rights, and prosperity gradually in our country.”

Barack Obama Steps Into Leadership Gap

December 8, 2008

Barack Obama has chosen not to observe the tradition requiring a president-elect to keep quiet on the sidelines until Inauguration Day. He made a series of bold calls this weekend for action on the economy, including a fiscal stimulus package and a plan to help homeowners. “I am disappointed that we haven’t seen quicker movement on this issue by the administration,” he said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

From Financial Times:

With dutiful regularity, America’s president-elect has reminded the US public since November 4 that the country only has one president at a time. What he forgot to add was that his name is Barack Obama, not George W. Bush.

In a series of weekend statements – a radio address to the public on Saturday, a prime time Sunday morning interview and an afternoon press conference in Chicago – Mr Obama made it plain that economic events will not respect America’s oddly archaic 77-day transition.

Since his emphatic victory last month, Mr Obama has watched the economy fall off a cliff. The most recent data came on Friday, with the largest single monthly jump in unemployment since 1974. The Obama transition team, which has produced the fastest series of economic appointments “in history”, according to Mr Obama, has observed Mr Bush’s abdication of presidential authority with mounting concern.

Almost two million jobs have been lost since September. One in ten American mortgage holders are either in arrears or have had their homes repossessed by the banks. In what may well qualify as an understatement, Mr Obama on Sunday told NBC’s Meet the Press: “I am disappointed that we haven’t seen quicker movement on this issue [to assist struggling homeowners] by the administration.”

Mr Obama’s chief source of frustration with the outgoing president is Mr Bush’s refusal to agree to a second fiscal stimulus package, at a time when economists of all political stripes are calling for what the president-elect described as a “blood transfusion” to stabilise the patient. Hence Mr Obama’s intervention this weekend.

Without putting a cost-estimate on the package, Mr Obama on Sunday outlined the contours of a fiscal stimulus that would keep the US economy alive pending more substantial action. The plan, which emphasises aid to struggling states, many of which are deepening the crisis by cutting spending to meet their legal balanced budget requirements, could be passed by Congress some time in January.

Some hope the plan, which would cost at least $500bn, may even be ready for Mr Obama to sign on January 20 after he has taken the oath of office. The 111th Congress starts work on 6 January. “Things are going to get worse before they get better,” said Mr Obama yesterday. “My number one priority going in is to make sure we have an economic recovery plan that is equal to the task.”

Bush Says Iraq War Has Been Longer, More Costly Than Expected

December 5, 2008

Wow, now that’s an understatement! President Bush said this morning that the fight in Iraq has been longer and more costly than he expected, but he defended the U.S.-led invasion, saying the world could not risk leaving Saddam Hussein‘s power unchecked.

From the Associated Press:

In a speech he was giving later Friday about his Middle East policies, Bush said he sees progress toward finding a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and reaffirmed the U.S. position that Iran should not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon.

Bush, in a sweeping overview outlining ongoing challenges in the Mideast, acknowledged his critics who said his administration tried to link the war in Iraq to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. While it’s true that Saddam Hussein was not connected to the attacks, Bush said the decision to oust him cannot be viewed in isolation from them.

“In a world where terrorists armed with boxcutters had just killed nearly 3,000 people, America had to decide whether we could tolerate a sworn enemy that acted belligerently, that supported terror and that intelligence agencies around the world believed had weapons of mass destruction,” Bush said, referring to intelligence reports that later proved false.

“It was clear to me, to members of both political parties, and to many leaders around the world that after Sept. 11, this was a risk we could not afford to take,” the president said about the war, which has claimed the lives of more than 4,200 U.S. military personnel and will define his legacy,

Moreover, Bush said that after Saddam’s regime had been toppled by U.S.-led forces, his administration chose to stand by the Iraqi people, help nurture a budding democracy — even launch a military buildup when increased violence threatened to tear the nation asunder.

Should We Be Afraid of “That One”…

October 8, 2008

So it appears that the Obama campaign is not too happy with John McCain’s reference to him last night as “that one”. I missed that part of the debate but have seen it over and over again on the news this morning. I’ve included video of this portion of the debate below.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Obama spokesman Bill Burton sent a one-line message to reporters after McCain made the comment that said, “Did John McCain just refer to Obama as ‘that one’?” And again at the conclusion of the debate, the Obama campaign emailed reporters, “Did John McCain refer to Obama as ‘that one’?”

McCain made the remark tonight when discussing a 2005 Senate vote on an energy bill. “There was an energy bill on the floor of the Senate loaded down with goodies, billions for the oil companies, and it was sponsored by Bush and Cheney You know who voted for it? You might never know. That one,” he said, pointing to Obama. “You know who voted against it? Me.”

Obama campaign manager David Plouffe also referenced the remark in his post-debate statement. “John McCain was all over the map on the issues, and he is so angry about the state of his campaign that he referred to Barack Obama as ‘that one’ – last time he couldn’t look at Senator Obama, this time he couldn’t say his name,” Plouffe said, referencing the first presidential debate at the University of Mississippi.

UPDATE: Asked about the remark, McCain campaign adviser Charlie Black said he didn’t believe McCain meant any disrespect and that Obama’s campaign was spinning the remark. “I’d have to go back and look at it. It appears to me that the Obama campaign decided before the debate that they would come in the spin room and instead of debating the issues they would say ‘John McCain is erratic,’” Black told reporters, “The American people think a lot of things about John McCain, but they don’t think he’s erratic. They [the Obama campaign] don’t have any substance in this debate, so let ‘em say it.”

From MSNBC:

Per NBC/NJ’s Mike Memoli, Biden said this morning that he didn’t think McCain meant to diminish Obama last night when he referred to him as “that one,” chalking it up instead to his discomfort in being the aggressor. “When John knows that he’s on the attack and he’s not feeling good about it, John never looks you straight in the eye,” Biden told TODAY’s Ann Curry. “If you notice, John didn’t make a whole lot of eye contact last night because I think John when he’s on the attack mode and making the other guy a bad guy, it’s just not his style.”

From the Huffington Post:

When McCain uses dehumanizing phrases like “that one” to refer to Barack Obama, he is implementing long-standing military techniques for dehumanizing one’s opponent during wartime.

According to military wisdom, dehumanization is a necessary technique during wartime because it enables human beings to kill other human beings without hesitation in combat situations.

Think about that.

Now, think about that in the context of an election in a country where racism is still prevalent and McCain’s opponent is the first black Presidential nominee in our nation’s history.

When McCain refuses to look at Barack Obama and refuses to use his name, he is employing modified versions of this same technique – and versions that could be said to fall on the acceptable side of the line of strategic judgment. But when McCain tolerates expressions of “Kill him!” targeted at Barack Obama during pro-McCain political rallies, he steps over the line – very, very far over the line.

McCain Clamps Down on Troopergate

September 17, 2008

Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is turning over questions about her record as Alaska’s governor to John McCain‘s campaign. This is part of an ambitious strategy to limit any embarrassing disclosures and carefully shape her image for voters in the rest of the country.

From the Associated Press:

Republican efforts include dispatching a former top U.S. terrorism prosecutor from New York, Ed O’Callaghan, to assist Palin’s personal lawyer working to derail or delay a pending ethics investigation in Alaska. The probe, known as “Troopergate,” is examining whether the governor abused her power by trying to remove her former brother-in-law as a state trooper.

O’Callaghan is just part of a cadre of high-powered operatives patrolling Alaska as reporters and Democrats scrutinize every detail of Palin’s tenure in government, plus her family and friends. One strategy: Carefully coordinate any information that’s released. The McCain campaign is demanding that it becomes the de facto source for answers about the operations of Alaska’s government during the past 20 months.

Palin’s normal press secretary, for example, now turns away inquiries from any reporter who isn’t permanently based in Alaska, referring questions to the presidential campaign. Trouble is, some of McCain operatives only recently have arrived in Alaska and struggle to explain Palin’s positions on arcane state issues.

When a reporter for The Associated Press asked the state’s Department of Health and Social Services about lawsuits involving state health policies, he was directed to call Meg Stapleton, a former spokeswoman for Palin now working for McCain.

“In general the state is sending media inquiries this way because we’re just inundated with hundreds and hundreds of phone calls,” Stapleton said. “It provides for the most expeditious channel to get stuff out there.”

O’Callaghan, who helped prosecute terrorism and national security cases for the Justice Department until a few weeks ago, was sent to Alaska to handle “legal issues that are affecting the political dynamic of the campaign,” said Taylor Griffin, a former Treasury Department spokesman in the Bush administration. O’Callaghan is expected to leave after this week.