Archive for February 11th, 2011

11
Feb
11

morning oprah

Thank you StylishGurl 😉

Joe Scarborough: “All I saw was a guy and a woman who I went to law school with. Or the type of….I didn’t go to law school, I’m just saying……”.

😕

(Ignore Joe, just listen to Oprah, loved what she had to say).

11
Feb
11

‘obama and his people ended up playing this rather well’

Michael Tomasky (The UK Guardian): ….President Obama’s remarks on Friday afternoon were appropriate and powerful: the people of Egypt have inspired the world. For all the understandable frustration on the part of Egyptian protesters over the fact the the US wouldn’t commit to them more fully earlier, I think Obama and his people ended up playing this rather well. They turned up the heat incrementally, and but for one or two missteps, the timing was actually pretty good.

Critics, neocons especially, will say he didn’t lead, he followed. That’s true. And that was appropriate. It was up to the Egyptian people to lead this, not the United States.

And the Egyptian military. Someday, we’ll get the back story on how, in just 24 hours, the military went from evidently backing Mubarak to ditching him. This was crucial, and I doubt very much the US played no role in this. I’d wager that Pentagon chief Robert Gates and Mike Mullen, the heads of the joint chiefs of staff, had quite a lot to do with that.

With the Egyptian army relying on US military aid basically to exist, their words surely carried weight. Maybe all that aid over years, excessive as it has been in many ways, paid important dividends in the last two weeks….

….Finally: no, I will not say that Obama deserves much credit for this. At the same time, I have no doubt in my mind that if President McCain had given a speech on democracy in Cairo 20 months ago and now this happened, the neocons and Fox News and the usual suspects would be calling it “the McCain Revolution” and baying about how it proved that a bold stance by an American president had made all the difference.

I won’t parrot that kind of inanity. I’ll simply say that, from his Cairo speech until today, Obama has helped this process more than he’s hindered it. And we didn’t have to invade two countries, either. That’s the right side – for him, and for us, the people of the United States. Now, we need to stay there.

Full article here

11
Feb
11

‘vindication’

Marc Lynch (ForeignPolicy.com): …This was an unprecedented victory for the Egyptian people, and at last a vindication of the Obama administration’s patient and well-crafted strategy.

There is no question that the first, second and third drivers of this Egyptian revolution were the Egyptian people. The creativity of the youth and their ability to mobilize a wide range of Egyptian society around a common demand against daunting odds are simply an inspiration. The fact that these massive crowds avoided violence under incredibly tense conditions and under great uncertainty speaks volumes.

…The Obama administration also deserves a great deal of credit, which it probably won’t receive. It understood immediately and intuitively that it should not attempt to lead a protest movement which had mobilized itself without American guidance, and consistently deferred to the Egyptian people. Despite the avalanche of criticism from protestors and pundits, in fact Obama and his key aides backed the Egyptian protest movement far more quickly than anyone should have expected.

Their steadily mounting pressure on the Mubarak regime took time to succeed, causing enormous heartburn along the way, but now can claim vindication. By working carefully and closely with the Egyptian military, it helped restrain the worst violence and prevent Tiananmen on the Tahrir – which, it is easy to forget today, could very easily have happened.

No bombs, no shock and awe, no soaring declarations of American exceptionalism, and no taking credit for a tidal wave which was entirely of the making of the Egyptian people – just the steadily mounting public and private pressure on the top of the regime  which was necessary for the protestors to succeed.

The Obama administration also understood from the start, and has consistently said, that removing Mubarak would not be enough. It has rejected “faux democracy,” and pushed hard for fundamental systemic reforms….

By the way, for those keeping score in the “peacefully removing Arab dictators” game, it’s now Obama 2, Bush 0. The administration has been subjected to an enormous amount of criticism over the last two weeks for its handling of Egypt, including by people inspired by or who worked on the previous administration’s Freedom Agenda. It was also attacked sharply from the left, by activists and academics who assumed that the administration was supporting Mubarak and didn’t want democratic change. In the end, Obama’s strategy worked. Perhaps this should earn it some praise, and even some benefit of the doubt going forward….

Marc Lynch is associate professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University.

Full article here

11
Feb
11

history

President Barack Obama reviews his prepared remarks on Egypt at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, Feb. 11, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Text of speech here

Joy:

Cairo, February 11, 2011

Thank you Sarah for the link to the photos

11
Feb
11

a gift for gibbs

Complete press conference:

11
Feb
11

charting progress

Marketwatch: New applications for regular state unemployment-insurance benefits moved below the closely watched level of 400,000 claims this week, cheering economists who say the data signal a strengthening employment environment. Initial claims for benefits fell 36,000 to a seasonally adjusted 383,000 in the week ended Feb. 5, the lowest level since July 2008, according to the Labor Department.

****

Slowly but surely …. check those unemployment figures when Bush left office.

11
Feb
11

coming up

Don’t forget Robert Gibbs’ last press briefing today at 12:15 PM EST – the President might make an appearance

Live here

Catch up with you all later




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