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  • Technorati: graph / links

    Is an assassination-attempt now a real possibility?

    by Sunny on 1st October, 2009 at 3:12 AM    

    Thomas Friedman in the New York Times is very afraid:

    I was in Israel interviewing Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin just before he was assassinated in 1995. We had a beer in his office. He needed one. I remember the ugly mood in Israel then — a mood in which extreme right-wing settlers and politicians were doing all they could to delegitimize Rabin, who was committed to trading land for peace as part of the Oslo accords. They questioned his authority. They accused him of treason. They created pictures depicting him as a Nazi SS officer, and they shouted death threats at rallies. His political opponents winked at it all.

    And in so doing they created a poisonous political environment that was interpreted by one right-wing Jewish nationalist as a license to kill Rabin — he must have heard, “God will be on your side” — and so he did.

    Of course he’s drawing parallels with what is happening now and pointing out that an atmosphere is being created where someone will try to assassinate Barack Obama. It doesn’t surprise me. Media Matters for USA points out that a popular right-wing website this week published an article essentially stating that a military coup was needed to solve “the Obama problem”. These people are not only nutjobs, they are now mainstream Republicans.

    What’s all the more interesting in this ongoing saga is that all those people who screamed about “anti-Americanism” for the vitriol that was hurled at Bush are now keeping very quiet on Obama even though he’s not started any wars. Double-standards? Of course. Initially I used to dismiss notions that people would kill Obama just because he was black. Now I’m not so sure. These people are seriously unhinged. And there are a lot of them out there.

    Filed in: Current affairs, United States

    • Kendra Roberts
      Wow. Great post. Although society would dictate a possible assassination attempt, it's not likely to happen.
    • me
      They're building up a helluva head of steam over there, something truly ugly will probably happen, but perhaps it'll be a wake up call that suddenly has the wing-nuts deciding they're not "like that" after all. Just hope whatever it is doesn't get too close to the Presidency.
    • Binkstein
      Is it still the case that the British bookmaking fraternity refuse to accept bets which specifically entail loss of life?

      Just wondering.
    • Neil
      OTOH, Thomas Friedman. He's called absolutely everything else wrongly, so hopefully he's wrong again.
    • zak
      its not beyond the realm of possibility violent polarising talk eventually poisons the discourse..clinton had it easy by comparison he was considered slick but Obama literally represents everything the loonies despise.
    • qidniz
      Thomas Friedman?

    • soru
      @3: http://www.sportsintensity.com/news_dtls.php?ne...
    • cjcjc
      And now he's won the Nobel Peace Prize - without having actually done anything yet!
    • Ravi Naik
      And now he’s won the Nobel Peace Prize – without having actually done anything yet!

      This made my day, as I am sure it will make neocons very angry. But this prize also must give Obama a sense of responsibility.

      As for his accomplishments, here is what he has achieved...

      On the environment:

      * Included funding for "green" jobs in the stimulus bill

      * Initiated first steps to develop a legally-binding treaty to reduce mercury emissions worldwide

      * Dedicated more than $60 billion for clean energy

      * Instituted "cash for clunkers," getting more fuel efficient cars on the street

      * Acknowledges reality of climate change and his desire to work on an international policy like Kyoto

      * Emphasized the value of science (not political opinion) within the EPA

      * Allocated $2 billion in stimulus cash for advanced batteries systems (for automobiles)

      * Declared (via EPA) carbon dioxide a threat to health, the first step towards regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act

      * Funded Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant, which gives $2.8 billion to cities

      * Put over 2 million acres of wilderness, thousands of miles of river and a host of national trails and parks under federal protection, the largest conservation effort in 15 years
      * Funding a $475 million initiative to restore and clean the Great Lakes

      On healthcare:

      * Overturned the federal funding ban for stem cell research

      * Instituted better standards for comparative research in medicine and an agency to handle this

      * Added staff to the FDA and brought back emphasis on science

      * Allocated over $1 billion to the National Institutes of Health, whose budget Bush let stagnate

      * Eliminated funding for abstinence-only education

      * Signed an executive order repealing the "Mexico City policy" or "global gag rule" that withheld U.S. funds from organizations that discuss or provide family planning services abroad

      * Announced US would resume contributions to the UN population fund for family planning and more than double the previous contribution made in 2001

      * Appropriated $19 billion in the stimulus package to help implement an electronic medical record system

      * Set aside billions in budget to overhaul the health care system

      * Enacted Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization, providing healthcare to 11 million children

      * Established 65% COBRA subsidy for 7 million unemployed Americans

      * Allocated $1 billion for prevention and wellness programs

      * Provided $87 billion to states to bolster their Medicaid programs during the downturn

      * Increased funding for urban HIV/AIDS Prevention and Awareness

      On Education, Equality, Public Safety, Families, etc.:

      * Expressed a desire to overturn Don't Ask Don't Tell

      * Described the Defense of Marriage Act as "unfair" and "discriminatory" and said they supported it being overturned

      * Includes atheists in his definition of Americans

      * Extended tax credits for mothers to return to college, for tuition, and for college textbook purchases

      * Has agreed to make the visitors' lists to the White House public

      * Signed executive order requiring Guantanamo to be closed within 1 year and allocated funds/personnel for that purpose

      * Included provision in stimulus legislation that, for the first time, supported the ideas of Net Neutrality-like non-discrimination and openness for the Internet

      * The administration demonstrated a new commitment to fighting for change on the UN Human Rights Council by announcing it will run for a seat next year, reversing the Bush administration boycott

      * Announced that the U.S. will support a United Nations declaration urging nations to decriminalize homosexuality

      * Created office of Urban Policy

      * Gave Department of Justice $2 billion for Byrne Grants, which funds anti-gang and anti-gun task forces (cut during Bush years)

      * Allocated $5 billion for early learning programs, including Head Start, Early Head Start, child care, and programs for children with special needs

      * Signed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure (CARD) Act to protect Americans from unfair and deceptive credit card practices

      * Enacted the Making Homes Affordable Program

      * Boosted credit flow to small businesses

      * Increased focus on funding for high speed rail

      * Funded the Community Oriented Police program (COPS)
      * Appointed first Hispanic justice to the Supreme Court and most qualified Supreme Court candidate in decades

      On foreign affairs (see link for more complete list):

      * Secured $5 billion in aid commitments "to bolster [Pakistan's] economy and help it fight terror and Islamic radicalism"

      * Foreign affairs experts insist that Obama's engagement with the Muslim world has been at once remarkable and under-appreciated..."He has been able to dramatically change America's image in that region"

      * Led global response to the economic crisis through the G20, obtaining commitments of $1.1 trillion to safeguard the world’s most vulnerable economies

      * Established major agenda to protect Americans from spread/use of deadly weapons, negotiating new nuclear weapon cuts with Russia and committing to the elimination of nuclear weapons

      * Signed an executive order banning torture and requiring interrogations to conform to Army Field Manual Standards and Geneva Conventions

      * Signed an executive order to close CIA secret prisons

      * Cut ineffective, unnecessary and outdated weapons programs such as the F-22, the DDG -1000 destroyer, and Future Combat Systems

      * Vowed to bring the costs of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq into the regular budget by 2010

      * Largest increase for veterans funding in 30 years

      * Restored the UN Ambassador to a cabinet level position

      * Signed Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act to stop fraud and wasteful spending in defense procurement and contracting
      * Helped free 2 American journalists from a North Korea prison
      * Led the UN Security Council in voting for strong sanctions against North Korea
      * Negotiated with Russia to allow overflights over their territory to establish a supply route into Northern Afghanistan

      On workers:

      * OSHA announced it was moving to protect workers from...popcorn long; last-minute Bush rules would have added 2 years before it could be considered

      * Revoked Bush administration executive order on regulatory review that enabled political appointees at the White House's OMB to override agencies' rulemaking, undermining everything from worker safety to environmental protection

      * Signed 3 executive orders, including one reversing a Bush order to limit union representation on federal contracts

      * Moved to prevent federal contractors from being reimbursed for unionbusting propganda compaigns during collective bargaining

      * Signed executive order overturning Bush administration's ban on project labor agreements (PLAs) on federally funded construction (PLAs set wages and establish work rules and methods of settling grievances on large multi-contractor construction projects)

      * Signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, guaranteeing the right to sue for wage discrimination based on gender, race, disability, etc.

      * Extended unemployment benefits for struggling Americans

      * Obama's Department of Transportation has approved 2,500 highway projects

      * Cut taxes for 95% of all working families

      * Provided over $500 million in funding for vocational rehabilitation services to help with job training, education and placement
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