I love cars…always have and always will. This is going to be my next ride, a smart car. Originally made by the Swiss company Swatch in a joint effort with Daimler-Benz (after GM rejected it), the smart is now being offered in the United States by racing guru Roger Penske’s company and has a 15-18 month wait list.

My cousin calls it a Benz Lite. Cute little bugger, isn’t it?

a smart car

a smart car "Fortwo"

But let’s get to the Vrooooom! part of this post. And that is a fantastic commercial for SEAT Panda (SEAT is an acronym derived from Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo, which roughly translates into English as Spanish Saloon Car Company. Another cute, eh?) SEAT is currently owned by the German Volkswagen Group.

Ok, ok!  Enough of the business lesson…let’s Vroooom!

Fox News: Confirmed Ministry of Governmental Propaganda

Much has been said about the propaganda effort the Pentagon got busted for not too long ago. Missed it? Read it here, here, here and here. In short:

The administration’s communications experts responded swiftly (to a wave of criticism over the Guantánamo Bay torture facility). Early one Friday morning, they put a group of retired military officers on one of the jets normally used by Vice President Dick Cheney and flew them to Cuba for a carefully orchestrated tour of Guantánamo.

To the public, these men are members of a familiar fraternity, presented tens of thousands of times on television and radio as “military analysts” whose long service has equipped them to give authoritative and unfettered judgments about the most pressing issues of the post-Sept. 11 world.

Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance…

Now, Scott McClelland publicly admits that Fox News is the official propaganda network for the White House.

This administration would make Joseph Goebbels proud.

Another one bites the dust..

FDIC takes over 1st National Bank of Nevada

Twenty-eight branches of 1st National Bank of Nevada and First Heritage Bank, operating in Nevada, Arizona and California, were closed Friday by federal regulators.
The banks, owned by Scottsdale, Ariz.-based First National Bank Holding Co., were scheduled to reopen on Monday as Mutual of Omaha Bank branches, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said.


Savage Lawsuit Tossed Out

Today, a San Francisco court dismissed right wing conservative talk radio Michael Savage’s copyright infringement lawsuit against the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Savage sued them for using his own words in four minutes of excerpts where Savage called the Quran a “hateful little book” and said that Muslims were “screaming for the blood of Christians or Jews or anyone they hate” and called for an advertising boycott.

He also claimed in his suit that the group was engaged in racketeering, describing it as a “mouthpiece of international terror” that helped to fund the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The council called those allegations preposterous, denied any connection to terrorism and said Savage was trying to intimidate and silence a critical voice.

The judge in the case, U. S. District Judge Susan Illston, said that Savage offered no evidence supporting his claim. She also said that “anyone who listens to a public broadcast is entitled to take excerpts and use them for purposes of comment and criticism” and that “reprinting small portions of a copyrighted work for those purposes helps to put it in context and benefits both the public and the target of the criticism.” In addition, Illston said that the ideas Savage put forth (as the basis of the lawsuit) were ideas constitutionally protected.

In dismissing the racketeering claim, Illston said that even if Savage could prove his “alarming allegations” that the council was part of a worldwide terrorist conspiracy, he hasn’t shown how those activities affected him or his broadcast.

Savage and his attorneys plan to rewrite the racketeering portion of the lawsuit.

“We are prepared to file a very detailed and well-documented new complaint” for racketeering, said attorney Daniel Horowitz, without going into detail. He said Illston’s ruling was “very carefully thought-out” even if its conclusion was unwelcome.

A spokesman for the council basically said Bring It On.

Ahmed Rehab, a spokesman for the council, said it “will continue to stand up to Savage’s bigotry and will not be bogged down by his knack for retaliatory fluff lawsuits.”

It’s a bitch when your own words of hatred and bigotry are used against you, eh, Michael?

Video from the Limits of Executive Power Hearings

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Vincent Bugliosi Testimony

More from Bugliosi

Be sure to pay close attention starting at 4:49. It’s truly amazing that this was said at a hearing.

Watch Kucinich, Wexler, Fein and more below the fold.
Continue reading

McCain’s 99 Worst Moments (to date)

99. Bush’s willingness to talk directly with Iran.
98. Bush’s new time “horizon” for troop withdrawals.
97. al-Maliki’s endorsement of Obama’s Iraq strategy.
96. Obama’s headline-dominating foreign tour.
95. His disagreement with the majority of Americans on Iraq.
94. His lack of economic expertise and policy.
93. Obama’s $52M June.
92. His $21M June.
91. 29% of the Latino vote.
90. 2% of the black vote.
89. Charles Keating (he’ll be back).
88. Vicki Iseman (she’ll be back).
87. Randy Scheunemann (he’ll be leaving).

Continue reading

Senate Republicans Block Oil Speculation Bill

Today, Senate Republicans blocked a vote on legislation to rein in speculation in the oil markets. Instead, they are calling for votes to expand oil drilling at home as well as expansion of nuclear energy.

In a 50-43 vote, Democrats failed to gain enough support to bring the bill forward for consideration on the Senate floor and now face another week of energy debate as Republicans threatened to hold up the measure to hammer home their “drill more, use less” policy.


“There’s clearly nothing more important in the country for Congress to deal with…than the price of gas at the pump,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. The Minority Leader said his party would continue to hold up business on the Senate floor until Democrats allowed them to offer a series of amendments on expanded offshore drilling, oil shale development, nuclear power and other energy solutions.

“We’re not getting off this bill very quickly,” said Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Read the full report here.

This comes on the heels of the Republicans obstructing oil companies drilling on the 68 million acres of public land they already have leases on instead of obtaining new lease rights – at dirt cheap prices.

If you are expecting any relief at the pump, don’t look to the Republicans to help you.

It sounds as if we need to contact our elected officials and tell them what we think. Click here and then on your state for all your elected official’s contact information. Remember, letters and faxes are more effective than calls.

h/t: Liam at TPM.

UPDATE: FireDogLake and DailyKos have more on this.

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Impeachment Hearings Are the Appropriate and Necessary Next Step

by John Nichols – via Truthout

As the House Judiciary Committee took up the question of how best to address what its chairman described as “the Imperial Presidency of George W. Bush,” it was the ranking Republican in the room, Iowa Congressman Steve King, who observed that, “We are here having impeachment hearings before the Judiciary Committee.

These are impeachment hearings before the United States Congress, King continued. “I never imagined I would ever be sitting on this side when something like this happened.”

King was not happy about the circumstance.

A resolute defender of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, the congressman was objecting to the very mention of the “I” word.

As it happened, impeachment was mentioned dozens of times during the hearing, often in significant detail and frequently as a necessary response to lawless actions of the president and vice president.

Read on…

John Nichols ends his article with this:

As we know, the framers of our Constitution called for impeachment only in the case of high crimes and misdemeanors. The standard is purposely set high because we should not impeach for personal or political gain – only to uphold and safeguard our democracy. Sadly, in my judgment, at least two high-ranking administration officials have met that standard. Although the call to impeach is one I take neither easily nor lightly, I now firmly believe that impeachment hearings are the appropriate and necessary next step.

I agree wholeheartedly. I listened to the entire nearly 6 hours of the hearing today. Surely members of the Judiciary will come to the same conclusion. One can still hope..

John Nichols and Constitutional scholar Bruce Fein were guests of Bill Moyers Journal (PBS) on July 13, 2007 where they did a segment called “Tough Talk on Impeachment“. One of the House members this morning read quotes of John Nichols from the transcript of that segment before asking Bruce Fein to expand on it (which he was happy to do, and did it well).

If you haven’t watched this episode of Bill Moyers Journal, do yourself a favor and watch it.

Here’s the segment of the interview I am referring to:

BILL MOYERS: That struck me about your writings and your book. You say your great– your great fear is that Bush and Cheney will hand off to their successors a toolbox that they will not avoid using.

JOHN NICHOLS: Well, let’s try a metaphor. Let’s say that– when George Washington chopped down the cherry tree, he used the wood to make a little box. And in that box the president puts his powers. We’ve taken things out. We’ve put things in over the years.

On January 20th, 2009, if George Bush and Dick Cheney are not appropriately held to account this administration will hand off a toolbox with more powers than any president has ever had, more powers than the founders could have imagined. And that box may be handed to Hillary Clinton or it may be handed to Mitt Romney or Barack Obama or someone else. But whoever gets it, one of the things we know about power is that people don’t give away the tools. They don’t give them up. The only way we take tools out of that box is if we sanction George Bush and Dick Cheney now and say the next president cannot govern as these men have.

BRUCE FEIN: Well, that’s accurate but also we do find this peculiarity that Congress is giving up powers voluntarily. because there’s nothing right now, Bill, that would prevent Congress from the immediate shutting down all of George Bush’s and Dick Cheney’s illegal programs. Simply saying there’s no money to collect foreign intelligence-

BILL MOYERS: The power of the purse-

BRUCE FEIN: –the power of the purse. That is an absolute power. And yet Congress shies from it. It was utilized during the Vietnam War, you may recall, in 1973. Congress said there’s no money to go and extend the war into Laos and Cambodia. And even President Nixon said okay. This was a president who at one time said, “If I do it, it’s legal.” So that it we do find Congress yielding the power to the executive branch. It’s the very puzzle that the founding fathers would have been stunned at. They worried most over the legislative branch in, you know, usurping powers of the other branches. And–

BILL MOYERS: Well, what you just said indicts the Congress more than you’re indicting George Bush and Dick Cheney.

BRUCE FEIN: In some sense, yes, because the founding fathers expected an executive to try to overreach and expected the executive would be hampered and curtailed by the legislative branch. And you’re right. They have basically renounced– walked away from their responsibility to oversee and check. It’s not an option. It’s an obligation when they take that oath to faithfully uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. And I think the reason why this is. They do not have convictions about the importance of the Constitution. It’s what in politics you would call the scientific method of discovering political truths and of preventing excesses because you require through the processes of review and vetting one individual’s perception to be checked and– counterbalanced by another’s. And when you abandon that process, you abandon the ship of state basically and it’s going to capsize.

They lay out the important piece concerning the precident that is being set by this Congress allowing this administration and this president to run roughshod over the Constitution and our laws with no oversight or accountability, and what it means to future presidencies –  and ultimately the very future survival of our form of government and of this nation.

Watch entire interviewRead entire transcript

CSPAN will be running the entire hearing of today again this evening in case you missed it.

Karl’s getting desperate..?

Brad Blog

Rove Threatened GOP IT Guru If He Does Not ‘Take the Fall’ for Election Fraud in Ohio, Says Attorney 

Letter Sent to Attorney General Mukasey Requesting ‘Protection for Mr. Connell and His Family From This Reported Attempt to Intimidate a Witness’ After Tip from ‘Credible Source’

UPDATE: OH AG Reportedly Asked to Provide Immunity Protection…

Karl Rove has threatened a GOP high-tech guru and his wife, if he does not “‘take the fall” for election fraud in Ohio,” according to a letter sent this morning to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, by Ohio election attorney Cliff Arnebeck.

Read entire article..

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11th Hour Effort to Screw American Workers

On Wednesday, ProPublica noted that the Washington Post reported that political appointees at the Department of Labor were trying to push through regulations making it more difficult to regulate workers’ exposure to chemicals and toxins. It didn’t disclose the proposal (which is required), but Bush’s pet at the DoL, Elaine Chao, is attempting to change the methods used to measure risks to American workers. This is a shady attempt to tie the hands of the next administration in its ability to protect Americans.

Not surprisingly:

The department’s speed in trying to make the regulatory change contrasts with its reluctance to alter workplace safety rules over the past 7 1/2 years. In that time, the department adopted only one major health rule for a chemical in the workplace, and it did so under a court order.

Today, the WaPo obtained a copy of the 11th hour rule and reported the following:

The Labor Department has refused to discuss or disclose the proposal, which has spurred anger and condemnation from unions, Democrats in Congress and public health scientists.

So, what’s in this 28 page document? Let’s look at a few tidbits:

The Acts also state that, “in addition to the attainment of the highest degree of health and safety protection for the employee, other considerations shall be the latest available scientific data in the field.’ In sum, the OSHA Act and Mine Act reflect a basic principle that agency actions should be based on the best scientific information available at the time of the agency action.

Out of curiosity, when did this administration give one whit about scientific data (unless, of course, it supports their own agenda)?

I believe that this pretty well sums up this administration’s thoughts on safety:

The agencies are statutorily required to eliminate significant risk to the extent economically and technologically feasible.


This is another aspect of risk characterization that is provided in the Benefits chapter of the full Economic Analysis that accompanies the Department’s proposed and final rules.

Additionally, parts of the agencies’ risk analysis generally appear in the Economic Analysis section of proposed and final rules. The Economic Analysis includes an analysis of worker exposures to the health hazard of interest, estimates of the sizes of the exposed worker populations in affected industry sectors, the number of exposure-related illnesses that occur in those populations, and the number of illnesses potentially avoided by the new standard.

So, what is it they are trying to accomplish here? In a nutshell, they are trying to change the measurement of acceptable levels of exposure. To wit:

For occupational health risks from toxic substances and hazardous chemicals, OSHA and MSHA historically report their “best estimate” of the risk to workers exposed to a health hazard. This is typically an estimate that the agencies refer to as a “maximum likelihood” estimate derived from the statistical procedure of fitting a mathematical exposure-response curve to dose-response data.

And this is based upon:

The Supreme Court has confirmed that OSHA, “is free to use conservative assumptions in interpreting the data with respect to carcinogens, risking error on the side of overprotection rather than underprotection.’

And to get to the most fundamental purpose of the attempt at this ruling is to change how they measure carcinogens by using “peer reviewed data” most of which will be forthcoming from the very industries the rulings will affect (think Energy Task Force).

And while I was surfing, I happened on the following Executive Report from OMB Watch, from 2002, which I thought tied in nicely:

Industry Targets EPA Data Quality

Government agencies are busy working on their data quality guidelines in order to release drafts for public comment by May 1, as they move toward the implementation deadline of Oct. 1, set by the Office of Management and Budget in January.

A great deal of concern surrounds these guidelines, as business groups are gearing up to use them to challenge regulatory protections.

Looks like business groups didn’t have to invest time, effort or money into the effort. The Bush All-For-Industry-Nothing-For-Workers administration has them covered.

UPDATE: This from ThinkProgress:

Rep. George Miller (D-CA) pledged today to introduce legislation that would “block an eleventh-hour effort by the Labor Department to make it more difficult to limit workers’ exposure to chemicals on the job.” Miller said he was determined to stop the “secret rule” that has been described as “a parting gift” to industry from the Bush administration.

Good for you, Mr. Miller!

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“Lecture of a Lifetime” Randy Pausch dies at age 47

The below video is one of the most inspirational things I have ever had the privilege of watching. This was such a gift he left not just to his family and students, but to us all, and something to strive for in our own lives.

Excite News (AP)

Randy Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist whose “last lecture” about facing terminal cancer became an Internet sensation and a best-selling book, died Friday. He was 47.

Pausch died at his home in Virginia, university spokeswoman Anne Watzman said. Pausch and his family moved there last fall to be closer to his wife’s relatives.

Pausch was diagnosed with incurable pancreatic cancer in September 2006. His popular last lecture at Carnegie Mellon in September 2007 garnered international attention and was viewed by millions on the Internet.

In it, Pausch celebrated living the life he had always dreamed of instead of concentrating on impending death.

“The lecture was for my kids, but if others are finding value in it, that is wonderful,” Pausch wrote on his Web site. “But rest assured; I’m hardly unique.”

Randy Pausch Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams (entire lecture)

My sincere condolences to the family, friends, and students of Professor Pausch, and I just want to express my deep gratitude for the gift of his lecture. It touched me deeply.

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Kudos to Rep. Ellison

TPMM reported this yesterday but I just had to repost these two exchanges between Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Hans von Spakovsky – Bush’s butt boy and Bishop of election disenfranchisement (Rove being the King of slime, of course). These exchanges took place during a hearing on the 2004 elections by the House Judiciary Subcommittee panel discussion. TPMM is promising a link to the video and I will update this post when it is available. In the meantime, enjoy these two exchanges:

ELLISON: Now here’s something that happened on the May 7th Indiana election. A dozen nuns and another unknown number of students were turned away from the polls Tuesday in the first use of Indiana’s stringent voter ID law since it was upheld last week by the United State Supreme Court. Mr. von Spakovsky, you wanna stop nuns from voting?

VON SPAKOVSKY: [silence]

ELLISON: Why don’t you want nuns to vote, Mr. von Spakovsky?

VON SPAKOVSKY: Congressman Ellison, uh-

ELLISON: I’m just curious to know.

VON SPAKOVSKY: Those individuals, uh, were told, were- knew that they had to get an ID, they could have easily done so. They could have voted, uh, by absentee ballot- uh, nursing homes under the law are able to get-

ELLISON: . . . Mr. von Spakovsky, are you aware that a 98-year old nun was turned away from the polls by a-

VON SPAKOVSKY: They all had passports-

ELLISON: Excuse me.

VON SPAKOVSKY: They had expired passports which meant that they could have gotten-

ELLISON: Mr. von Spakovsky, do you know a 98-year old nun was turned away from the polls by a sister who’s in her order and who knew her, but had to turn her away because she didn’t have a government-issued ID? That’s okay with you?


And this:

ELLISON: Were you part of the discussion that U.S. Attorney Heffelfinger of Minnesota should be fired because he expressed deep concern that a directive that could have discouraged Indians from voting in Minnesota?

VON SPAKOVSKY: I don’t recall being part of any such conversation.

ELLISON: Did you ever discuss U.S. Attorney Heffelfinger in regards to any voter fraud cases?


ELLISON: What involvement did you have in the voting prosecution brought by Brad Schlozman in Missouri?

VON SPAKOVSKY: I had none, I was at the Federal Elections Commission. Why would I have anything to do with what the Department of Justice was doing when I wasn’t even working there?

ELLISON: Maybe because you have an obsessive fear that people might vote who you don’t want to, so you try to contact the U.S. Attorney’s office to try to stop people from voting.

VON SPAKOVSKY: That’s a fantasy that you’re making up. I had nothing to do with federal prosecutions going on at the Department of Justice when I was at the Federal Elections Commission. That’s ridiculous.

ELLISON: Well, I’m asking you, you’re on record now. And we’ll see if it matches up with the facts.

VON SPAKOVSKY: Are you accusing me of lying Congressman?

ELLISON: I’m asking you questions sir, haven’t you been here?

VON SPAKOVSKY: And I’m telling you that’s a ridiculous question.

ELLISON: And you put yourself on record, and we’ll check it out.

VON SPAKOVSKY: You go ahead and do that.

ELLISON: We will. You can plan on it.

Priceless! Nothing gives me the warm and fuzzies as to see a Bushbot squirm at the thought of punishment for their wrong-doings.

Do drop a dime to Rep. Ellison and say Thanks! His DC line is 202-225-4755.

Why Obama Didn’t Visit Injured Troops

The latest talking point of the the right is that Barack Obama couldn’t be bothered visiting injured troops because ____________. Insert your own lie just as they’re doing. Andrea Mitchell mentioned briefly that the Obama campaign feels that McCain’s Pentagon contacts had something to do with preventing the visit and now she has incurred the wrath of the right. I thought she was one of them.

ANDREA MITCHELL: The background on the military flap is that they [Obama campaign] had clearly planned a trip to Ramstein [AFB]. They were planning to visit the injured troops. And then the Pentagon explained that they couldn’t go as part of a political trip. The Obama campaign thought that they could go, leave the press corps on the tarmac, and then take off with military escort and make this one last visit. As he did in Iraq, by the way. He visited a casualty unit in the Green Zone, without photographers, as part of the congressional delegation. But the military said that the rules are that he could only go as part of a previously-arranged congressional delegation, to Ramstein.

Clearly, people in the campaign are really angry. They had wanted this to be the final stop on the trip here in Germany, and to do it without the press corps, just to do it on his own. But the objections of the military are that he is now being staffed by campaign aides, not by his Senate staff, who are the people of course with him when he went with Hagel and Jack Reed in Iraq. So, you know, the anger here in the campaign is pretty intense at the Pentagon. They feel that the military are drawing some lines–they’re not saying this publicly of course–but drawing lines that they might have drawn for other people. He was planning to just go by himself, not with cameras, not with any entourage, as he had done in Walter Reed in the past in Washington, as he did in Iraq. Joe.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: It’s curious, if that’s the case, why the campaign didn’t make that announcement yesterday, and allowed stories to go like this. I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of he said/she said in the days to come about this.

MITCHELL: But they thought that they couldn’t win. Yeah. They thought that they were, you know, you know, no-win situation, that the Pentagon, perhaps the military with cooperation from some Republican operatives and, that’s the sort of scuttlebutt, that there have been some foreign policy advisers of John McCain with connections in the Pentagon who had something to do with this. But that is, perhaps, just the normal political paranoia of the season.

Obama in Berlin: The German Press coverage

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Barack Obama was greeted by 200’000 Berliners with much enthusiasm. The German Press is, unsurprisingly, busily reporting and commenting it. I will give you some quotes in German, the translations will be mine, so if any misinterpretation should occur it will be my fault.

Der Spiegel makes it easy for me, the have an International page in English:

Anyone who saw Barack Obama at Berlin’s Siegessäule on Thursday could recognize that this man will become the 44th president of the United States. He is more than ambitious — he wants to lay claim to become the president of the world.

It was a ton to absorb — and what a stupendous ride through world history: the story of his own family, the Berlin Airlift, terrorists, poorly secured nuclear material, the polar caps, World War II, America’s errors, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, freedom. It’s amazing one could even pack such a potpourri of issues into sentences and then succeed in squeezing them all into the space of a speech that lasted less than 30 minutes. (read more)

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, states that one of the reasons Obama was so welcome in Berlin is the fact that he is not George W.Bush:

Diese Begeisterung wird auch nicht durch den ins Auge springenden Showcharakter seiner Auftritte gedämpft. Obamas Weltreise ist eine perfekt kalkulierte Inszenierung für den heimischen Wählermarkt, mit der eine seiner Schwächen – Mangel an internationaler Erfahrung – verdeckt werden soll. Selbst Obamas mehrfach geäußerte Aufforderung an die Europäer, sich im Kampf gegen den Terror, vor allem in Afghanistan, stärker zu engagieren, scheint dem deutschen Publikum bisher die Laune nicht zu verderben – so genau will man es vorerst, solange der mutmaßliche Kandidat noch nicht in der Kommandozentrale der Supermacht sitzt, gar nicht wissen.

Vielleicht gelingt es Obama tatsächlich nach dem Vorbild Clintons, Härte in der Sache mit versöhnlichen Worten und Gesten zu kaschieren. Bush jedenfalls hat nicht nur seine faktische Politik ins Popularitätstief gerissen; seine aggressive, zum intellektuell Groben und politisch Unhöflichen neigende Art, hat zu den Fehlern noch die negative Ausstrahlung hinzugefügt. (full story)

This enthusiasm is not mellowed by the obvious showmanship of his appearance. Obama’s world trip is a perfectly calculated orchestration for the electorate at home, to cover up for his weakness – lack in international experience. Even Obama’s repeatedly expressed request to the Europeans, to engage more in the war on terror mainly in Afghanistan couldn’t sour the mood of his audience – one prefers not to know as long as the candidate has not really reached the command center of the super power.

Maybe Obama will really succeed, after the manner of Clinton, to cover up tough decision with engaging gestures and conciliatory words. Bush, however, hasn’t been swept into his lows in popularity by the facts of his policies alone, his aggressive, intellectually blunt and politically rude manner, has added a negative perception to his mistakes.

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung points out:

Obama, daran gibt es keinen Zweifel, wird den Europäern mehr abverlangen, um in Afghanistan und im Irak erfolgreich zu sein. Er sprach in Berlin von “geteilten Opfern”. Europa müsse “mehr, nicht weniger tun”. Und er verlangte explizit deutsche Soldaten für Afghanistan. Er sagte nicht “mehr Soldaten”, aber das war gemeint. Und auch das deutete Obama an: Er will als Präsident Unterstützung für die Abwicklung des Irak-Abenteuers. Obama wird teuer für Deutschland. (full story)

Obama will doubtless ask more from Europeans to be successful in Iraq and Afghanistan. He spoke about “shared sacrifices” in Berlin. Europe must “do more, not less”. And he asked for German soldiers in Afghanistan. He didn’t say more soldiers, but that’s what he meant. And Obama hinted at this, too: He wants support for the phaseout of the Iraq adventure. Obama is going to come at a high price for Germany.

Germany’s most important tabloid Bild, has it’s own team of i-reporters and 1414 were out to cover Obama’s speech. And Bild provides you with the pictures.

Die Welt is maintaining an English site, too, immensely helpful.

Barack Obama’s displayed all his charismatic colours before Berlin’s Victory Column to more than 200,000 cheering fans on Sunday. His rousing speech resonated well with Germans, with newspapers lauding the Democratic presidential hopeful’s appearance as a historic event. (full story)

There is lots of criticism, too. In many newspapers, Obama is accused of the usual failures, lack of substance mostly. But let me close with the assumption of Gabor Steingart in his “West Wing” column of Der Spiegel:

The 200,000 onlookers who thronged to listen to Obama’s speech should not deceive us. Listening is not the same as agreeing. Obama divides people, and not along traditional party lines.

It is, anyway, a great mistake to divide the voters in Western nations into left and right, aggressive and peace-loving, market orientated and critical of capitalism. In reality there are just two types of voters: the romantic democrats and the common-sense democrats.

I wish you all a good and healthy day. I have a friend, whose friend is undergoing a severy surgical procedure today. If you can, send some healing thoughts to all the people out there, who are suffering. Thank you.

Obama in Berlin: The video

US embassy workers were not allowed to attend Obama’s rally in Berlin. If I understood the reason for this correctly, it’s because someone a German or whoever could mistake them for Democrats. Well, I think they’d have mingled ok with the crowd. There were more than 200’000 listening to Senator Obama. And they were pretty pleased with what they heard.

The transript is below the fold Continue reading