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What have we got today? Obama and Berlin, “tough love” says Der Spiegel. Obama will probably win in a landslide, assumes the Financial Times. What is liberty to you? Positive or negative liberty? Johan Hari explains in The Independent. US exports to Iran at record high, The Guardian has the story. George W. Bush is the most underrated President ever! I couldn’t resist to post this article from The Telegraph – Opinion. Now, have a good read all!
Berlin is anxiously awaiting Barack Obama, Germans would vote for him without any second thoughts and there is no doubt, that some German politicians would love to bathe in the limelight along Barack Obama. Berlin’s mayor is one.
“Many Germans want to get to know him,” Ruprecht Polenz, chair of the foreign relations committee in the German parliament, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. “It’s not just politicians, but the broader public. When the best possibility for that to happen is at this place, then I have no problem with it,” he said, referring to the Brandenburg Gate site.
Polenz’s comments come a day after a number of other German politicians came out in favor of allowing the Obama event, reportedly scheduled for July 24. Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit said he would love to see the candidate hold a major trans-Atlantic speech in the heart of Berlin. “We will prepare a warm welcome for him and will undertake all measures necessary so that he can deliver his message in Berlin,” Wowereit said on German television.(read more)
But there is more to expect from the candidate than just pop star appeal:
It’s [therefore] unlikely that Obama will wax lyrical about Europe’s leadership on combating climate change or health insurance. And he won’t shy away from some “tough love” in his speech, said the advisor, noting that he would spell out clearly that Europe needs to assume more international responsibility, especially in Afghanistan, and perhaps in Iraq as well. (read more)
Some 74% of Germans would vote for Obama without any hesitation, but how many Americans will? The Financial Times hazards a guess. It is quite likely that he will win the general election in a landslide even.
When Democrats criticise John McCain, they first praise his honourable military record. When Republicans do the same to Barack Obama, many begin by conceding that he is an “attractive and talented candidate”.
Recent history says that Mr Obama will have to fight a bitter campaign if he is to scrape a narrow victory for the White House. But a number of independent operatives believe an Obama landslide is a growing possibility. (read more)
The sensation of freedom is ultimately an individual thing. When do you personally feel free? Johann Hari has some ideas about that and analyses the differences in positive and negative liberty. A controversy during a by election in the UK prompted this article.
Like opposing Robert Mugabe and cuddling puppies, everybody in Britain is theoretically in favour of freedom. But the battle in Haltemprice and Howden is a slap-in-the-face reminder that we fundamentally disagree about what freedom means – so we are increasingly shouting at each other across a chasm of miscomprehension. The philosopher Isaiah Berlin said there was an irreconcilable divide between those who believe in “negative liberty” and those who believe in “positive liberty.” He was right. The divide survives.(read more)
If I may add to what Johann Hari says. Negative liberty, the absence of restrictions has been a concept used widely by most neo-con small government proponents. The thing is, they are using it almost exclusively for economic matters. That theory is cut out for the rich and powerful, but cunningly targeted on the middle and working classes. They are not so freedom oriented, when it comes to your civil liberties, aren’t they?
Change of topic. The Bush administration falls over itself in demanding sanctions agains Iran. During the Bush years the trade with Iran has grown dramatically.
Analysis of US government trade figures published yesterday by Associated Press revealed a near tenfold increase in US sales to Iran over the past seven years. Goods included cigarettes, aircraft spare parts, bras, musical instruments, films, sculpture, fur, golf carts and snowmobiles. Although the sums involved are small, the disclosure is a political embarrassment for the US, coming at a time when it has been putting pressure on European governments, banks and companies to cut ties with Tehran.
AP found data suggesting military equipment had been exported, even though there are sanctions to prevent this. The Treasury is still investigating but Rankin said initial findings indicated there had been no such sales and described the data as a “clerical error”.(read more)
In the light of this obvious cluelessness of his Administration, reading why President Bush is a great leader as opposed to a buffoon is all the more interesting. Sameh-El-Shahat seems to think so.
Whatever happened to leadership and honesty as presidential traits? I happen to believe that the only leader in the West to have these two admirable qualities in droves is the leader of the free world: George W Bush.
Yes, we’ve all heard the Bushisms and laughed at them but do you really think somebody supposedly that thick can make it to the top of the most sophisticated political system the world has ever seen?
No, and that is because Mr Bush is far cleverer than most of his predecessors. He may not have been a Rhodes Scholar, but he has the ability to reach out to his people and read them.(read more)
This is satire, no?
Have a good day all of you. Hump Day and only two more to go until the weekend! Take care.