Archive for the ‘Reid’ Category

Mass Migration, Internet Threatens Britain’s National Security

November 17, 2008

Mass migration and the internet are increasing threats to Britain’s national security, according to former Home Secretary John Reid.

By Christopher Hope, Whitehall Editor
The Telegraph (UK)

National crises which threatened the UK were happening far more than people thought, he added, and were no longer “one-off events”.

The MP for Airdie and Shotts, who will leave the House of Commons at the next general election, said he is setting up a new think tank called the Institute of Security and Resilience Studies.

The new centre will assess long term threats against the UK and other countries.

International migration had increased the range of threats against the UK after the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, he said.

He told The Daily Telegraph: “The chief characteristic of the world we have to face is mobility.

John Reid says mass migration threatens Britain's national security

Above: John Reid listed cyber attacks, pandemics, global warming and energy shortages as threats Photo: PHILIP HOLLIS

“Forty years ago, the Cold War meant that the borders were inviolate, extremist religious groups and ethnic tensions were suppressed, there was no internet and travel was difficult.

“Now you have a completely mobile world. So the great questions of mass migration, international crime and international terrorism were much higher than they were previously.”

The result was “far more sources of insecurity than ever before”, made worse by the advent of the internet which increased the interdependence of the world.

He said: “We have to recognise that on the net you can practically get the full DNA of the First World War flu that killed 24 million people.”

National emergencies were no longer one-off events, he said. “Crises are looked upon as very exceptional circumstances.

“Actually they occur a lot more than people think, a lot more often than people know and they are getting more regular.”

Threats were now cyber attacks, pandemics, global warming and energy shortages.

Politicians were forced to make key decisions under “huge pressure” from the internet and 24 hour news media. Too often Governments were “behind the curve” when trying to deal with new threats, he added.

“Countries, societies and economies that cannot develop better the capacity to prevent, resist and recover will be left vulnerable and exposed.”

The new institute would work on long term solutions with academics and the private sector to try to come up with long term solutions to help ministers on a “non-partisan” basis.

Read the rest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/
labour/3467978/Mass-migration-threatens-Britains
-national-security-says-John-Reid.html

Top Republican senators oppose automaker bailout

November 16, 2008

Top Republican senators said Sunday they will oppose a Democratic plan to bail out Detroit automakers, calling the U.S. industry a “dinosaur” whose “day of reckoning” is coming. Their opposition raises serious doubts about whether the plan will pass in this week’s postelection session.

Democratic leaders want to use $25 billion of the $700 billion financial industry bailout to help General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC.

By Stephen Ohlemacher, Associated Press Writer

Sens. Richard Shelby of Alabama and Jon Kyl of Arizona said it would be a mistake to use any of the Wall Street rescue money to prop up the automakers. They said an auto bailout would only postpone the industry’s demise.
Richard Shelby
Senator Shelby

“Companies fail every day and others take their place. I think this is a road we should not go down,” said Shelby, the senior Republican on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.

General Motors headquarters is seen October 26, 2008 in Detroit, ... 
General Motors headquarters is seen October 26, 2008 in Detroit, Michigan. Picture taken October 26, 2008.(Rebecca Cook/Reuters)

“They’re not building the right products,” he said. “They’ve got good workers but I don’t believe they’ve got good management. They don’t innovate. They’re a dinosaur in a sense.”

Added Kyl, the Senate’s second-ranking Republican: “Just giving them $25 billion doesn’t change anything. It just puts off for six months or so the day of reckoning.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said over the weekend that the House would provide aid to the ailing industry, though she did not put a price on her plan.

“The House is ready to do it,” said Democratic Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. “There’s no downside to trying.”
Rep. Barney Frank, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Christopher J. Dodd were among the congressional Democrats negotiating the bailout settlement on Sunday. (Joseph Silverman/The Washington Times)

Above: Ready to bail, from L to R: Rep. Barney Frank, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Christopher J. Dodd. Photo by Joseph Silverman

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081116/ap_on_go
_co/auto_bailout;_ylt=AmAt77VLR57r0Uq41kBoeYWs0NUE

Say it Isn’t So, Joe: Lieberman May Join GOP Senate Caucus

November 7, 2008

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is talking to Connecticut independent Sen. Joe Lieberman about the possibility of Lieberman caucusing with the GOP.

Lieberman’s affiliation with Democrats is up in the air. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, angered by Lieberman’s support of Republican John McCain for president, is considering yanking Lieberman’s chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee as punishment.

By ANDREW MIGA, Associated Press Writer

Independent Senator Joseph Lieberman makes a statement following ... 
Independent Senator Joseph Lieberman makes a statement following a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Capitol Hill in Washinton, DC. Emboldened by their electoral triumph, Democratic lawmakers look set to launch into a mountain of urgent business pushing ahead with new legislation including a fresh economic stimulus bill.(AFP/Getty Images/Brendan Hoffman)

Lieberman and Reid met Thursday to discuss Lieberman’s options, including possible committee and subcommittee posts for him. Those talks are ongoing.

A Lieberman aide, who requested anonymity because the talks are confidential, said Friday that Lieberman and McConnell, R-Ky., have spoken in recent days about the possibility of Lieberman joining the GOP conference. McConnell spokesman Don Stewart would only confirm that the two men have had recent discussions.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081107/ap_on_go_co/lieberman_
republicans;_ylt=ApFV9TdCaUvLK3fZ19m9SzCs0NUE

We Could Be In for a Lurch to the Left

November 4, 2008

There’s an old saying that politics in America is played between the 40 yard lines. What this means, for those unfamiliar with football, is that we’re a centrist country, never straying very far to the left or the right in elections or national policies. This has been true for decades. It probably won’t be after today’s election.

For the first time since the 1960s, liberal Democrats are dominant. They are all but certain to have a lopsided majority in the House, and either a filibuster-proof Senate or something close to it. If Barack Obama wins the presidency today, they’ll have an ideological ally in the White House.

A sharp lurch to the left and enactment of a liberal agenda, or major parts of it, are all but inevitable. The centrist limits in earlier eras of Democratic control are gone. In the short run, Democrats may be constrained by the weak economy and a large budget deficit. Tax hikes and massive spending programs, except those billed as job creation, may have to be delayed.

By Fred Barnes
The Wall Street Journal
.
But much of their agenda — the “card check” proposal to end secret ballots in union elections, the Fairness Doctrine to stifle conservative talk radio, liberal judicial nominees, trade restrictions, retreat from Iraq, talks with Iran — doesn’t require spending. And after 14 years of Republican control of Congress, the presidency, or both, Democrats are impatient. They want to move quickly.

Democrats had large majorities when Jimmy Carter became president in 1977 (61-38 in the Senate, 292-143 in the House) and when Bill Clinton took office in 1993 (56-44, 258-176). So why are their prospects for legislative success so much better now?

The most significant change is in the ideological makeup of the Democratic majorities. In the Carter and Clinton eras, there were dozens of moderate and conservative Democrats in Congress, a disproportionate number of them committee chairs. Now the Democratic majorities in both houses are composed almost uniformly of liberals. Those few who aren’t, including the tiny but heralded gang of moderates elected to the House in 2006, usually knuckle under on liberal issues. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi bosses them around like hired help.

In the past, senior Democrats intervened to prevent a liberal onslaught. Along with Republicans, they stopped President Carter from implementing his plan to pull American troops out of South Korea.

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http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122576065024095511.html

Election: Routine, Historic or Catastrophic?

November 2, 2008

Some elections are routine, some are important and some are historic. If Sen. John McCain wins this election, it will probably go down in history as routine. But if Barack Obama wins, it is more likely to be historic – and catastrophic.

By Thomas Sowell
The Washington Times

Once the election is over, the glittering generalities of rhetoric and style will mean nothing. Everything will depend on performance in facing huge challenges, domestic and foreign. Performance is where Barack Obama has nothing to show for his political career, either in Illinois or in Washington.

US Democratic presidential candidate Illinois Senator Barack ... 

Policies that he proposes under the banner of “change” are almost all policies that have been tried repeatedly in other countries – and failed repeatedly in other countries.

Politicians telling businesses how to operate? That has been tried in countries around the world, especially during the second half of the 20th century. It has failed so often and so badly even socialist and communist governments were freeing up their markets by the end of the century.

The economies of China and India began their take-off into high rates of growth when they got rid of precisely the kinds of policies Mr. Obama is advocating for the United States under the magic mantra of “change.”

Putting restrictions on international trade in order to save jobs at home? That was tried here with the Hawley-Smoot tariff during the Great Depression. Unemployment was 9 percent when that tariff was passed to save jobs, but unemployment went up instead of down, and reached 25 percent before the decade was over.

Higher taxes to “spread the wealth around,” as Mr. Obama puts it? The idea of redistributing wealth has turned into the reality of redistributing poverty, in countries where wealth has fled and the production of new wealth has been stifled by a lack of incentives.

Economic disasters, however, may pale by comparison with the catastrophe of Iran with nuclear weapons. Glib rhetoric about Iran being “a small country,” as Mr. Obama called it, will be a bitter irony for Americans who will have to live in the shadow of a nuclear threat that cannot be deterred, as that of the Soviet Union could be, by the threat of a nuclear counterattack.

Suicidal fanatics cannot be deterred. If they are willing to die and we are not, then we are at their mercy – and they have no mercy. Moreover, once they get nuclear weapons, that is a situation that cannot be reversed, either in this generation or in generations to come.

Is this the legacy we wish to leave our children and grandchildren, by voting on the basis of style and symbolism, rather than substance?

If Barack Obama thinks such a catastrophe can be avoided by sitting down and talking with the leaders of Iran, then he is repeating a fallacy that helped bring on World War II.

In a nuclear age, one country does not have to send troops to occupy another country in order to conquer it. A country is conquered if another country can dictate who rules it, as the Mongols once did with Russia, and as Osama bin Laden tried to do when he threatened retaliation against places in the United States that voted for George W. Bush. But he didn’t have nuclear weapons to back up that threat – yet.

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http://www.washingtontimes.com/news
/2008/nov/02/a-perfect-storm/

Obama: ‘I Will Change The World’

November 2, 2008

With just three days to go he and his opponent John McCain are touring key states in an effort to woo undecided voters.

Senator Obama is still almost seven points ahead in the Real Clear Politics poll of polls, but the gap has narrowed slightly.

Don’t miss these other great pre-election treats:
Is The Maverick a Closer, or a Loser? Is Obama the Messiah? Tuesday We’ll Know!

Obama Says Election ‘Vindicated’ His Faith in America

From Sky News (UK)

At a rally in Henderson, Nevada, he warned his supporters against complacency.

“At this defining moment in history, you can give the country the change we need,” he said.

Sky News’ Michelle Clifford, who was at the rally, said Mr Obama was trying to leave nothing to chance.

“He’ll be using every ounce of his resources to get the vote out,” she said.

At the same time Senator McCain was rallying his followers in Newport Beach, Virginia.

In a usually safe Republican state, which is threatening to go to the Democrats, he asked for help on the home stretch.

He said: “Let me state the obvious again, we need to win Virginia on the 4th of November and with your help we’re going to win and bring real change to Washington.

The campaigning has been tough for both men, but Sky News’ Robert Nisbet, who has been following the McCain bandwagon, says the toll is beginning to show on the older man.

“Being on the road at rally after rally is exhausting and Mr McCain appears to be tired,” he said.

Obama, McCain promise respect for Congress

November 2, 2008

Voters for the first time in almost five decades on Tuesday will send a sitting member of Congress to the White House, with Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain both promising to thaw the prickly relationship between the two branches of government.

But congressional experience is no guarantee the next president will have a cozy time with his former colleagues, as both candidates would likely face obstacles on Capitol Hill that could slow or sidetrack their political agendas.

By Sean Lengell
The Washington Times
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“With Obama, he was not in the Senate very long, and John McCain is not very well-liked in the Senate, so [their congressional experience] might cut the other way,” said Gene Healy, a vice president at the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute and author of the 2008 book “The Cult of the Presidency.”

“I don’t know how much we can read into whether legislative experience at the federal level is going to lead to greater comity” between Capitol Hill and the White House.

With Democrats expected to make significant gains to their House and Senate majorities, a Democratic Obama administration would have a clear mandate to press ahead with his priorities, such as an expansion of government-subsidized health care, other spending programs, and a mix of tax increases and middle-class tax cuts.
Capitol Building Full View.jpg

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http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008
/nov/02/obama-mccain-promise-respect-for-congress/

Top U.S. Officer in Mideast Resigns

March 12, 2008

By Thomas E. Ricks 
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 12, 2008; Page A01

The top U.S. commander in the Middle East, whose views on strategy in the region have put him at odds with the Bush administration, abruptly announced his resignation yesterday, calling reports of such disagreements an untenable “distraction.”

Adm. William J. “Fox” Fallon became head of U.S. Central Command last March, putting him ostensibly in charge of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But he clashed frequently with Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, over strategy and troop levels, Pentagon officials said. Though technically Fallon’s subordinate, Petraeus has more experience in Iraq and has forged a strong connection with President Bush.
Adm. William Fallon, commander of the U. S. Central Command, ...
Adm. William Fallon, commander of the U. S. Central Command, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington in this May 3, 2007 file photo. Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced Tuesday, March 11, 2008, that Fallon is resigning.
(AP Photo/Dennis Cook)  

Fallon, 63, had made several comments reflecting disagreement with the administration’s stance on Iran, most recently in an Esquire magazine article last week that portrayed him as the only person who might stop Bush from going to war with the Islamic republic.

“Recent press reports suggesting a disconnect between my views and the president’s policy objectives have become a distraction at a critical time,” Fallon said in a statement. Though he denied that any discrepancies exist, he said “it would be best to step aside and allow” Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates “and our military leaders to move beyond this distraction.”

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, seen here in February 2008, ...
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, seen here in February 2008, chose not to comment Monday on a magazine article that says the commander of US forces in the Middle East may soon be replaced because of his opposition to war with
Iran.  Gates suffered a shoulder injury this winter when he slipped on ice ourside his Washington DC home.
(AFP/File/Raveendran)


Fallon is expected to step down at the end of the month, after barely a year in his position, and just eight days before Petraeus is scheduled to testify before Congress about conditions in Iraq. Military officers said it appeared that it was made clear to Fallon that nobody would object if he stepped down.

Admiral Fallon reached this difficult decision entirely on his own,” Gates said yesterday in an unscheduled news conference. He added: “I believe it was the right thing to do, even though I do not believe there are, in fact, significant differences between his views and administration policy.”

The defense secretary also praised Fallon’s abilities as a strategist, even though it was the admiral’s strategic views that seemed to trouble the administration. “He is enormously talented and very experienced, and he does have a strategic vision that is rare,” Gates said.

The Esquire article, written by Thomas P.M. Barnett, a former Naval War College professor, asserted that if Fallon left his job anytime soon, it could signal that Bush intends to go to war with Iran. Asked about that yesterday, Gates called it “just ridiculous.”

Several Democrats were quick to accuse the administration of not tolerating dissent. “It’s distressing that Admiral Fallon feels he had to step down,” said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (Mass.). “President Bush’s oft-repeated claim that he follows the advice of his commanders on the ground rings hollow if our commanders don’t feel free to disagree with the president.” Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) asked whether Fallon’s resignation is a reflection that the administration is hostile to “the frank, open airing of experts’ views.”

A likely successor to Fallon is Petraeus, some defense experts said. The general could be promoted to the Centcom post and replaced in Baghdad by Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, who until last month was Petraeus’s deputy in Iraq. Odierno, who has been nominated to become Army vice chief of staff, developed a strong working relationship with Petraeus.

The top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, center, ...
The top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, center, arrives for a youth soccer tournament in central Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, March 1, 2008. Gen. Petraeus will ask President Bush to wait until as late as September to decide when to bring home more troops than already scheduled, a senior administration official said Friday.
(AP photo/Dusan Vranic)
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Another possible successor mentioned yesterday is Lt. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the head of Special Operations in Iraq. McChrystal recently was nominated to be director of the staff of the Joint Chiefs, a key Pentagon position.On Iraq, Fallon butted heads with Petraeus over the past year, arguing for a more rapid drawdown of U.S. troops and a swifter transition to Iraqi security forces. Fallon even carried out his own review of the conduct of the war — a move that surprised many Pentagon officials, in part because Odierno and Petraeus had already revamped U.S. strategy in Iraq and, with Bush’s approval, had implemented a buildup of about 30,000 additional troops, moving them off big bases and deploying them among the Iraqi population.

In the Esquire article, Fallon contends that Iraq was consuming excessive U.S. attention. In a part of the world with “five or six pots boiling over,” he is quoted as saying, “our nation can’t afford to be mesmerized by one problem.”

The article was “definitely the straw that broke the camel’s back,” a retired general said, especially because of its “extraordinarily flip, damning and insulting” tone. He noted that since it appeared last week, it has been the talk of military circles, where it was expected that Fallon would be disciplined.
 
Shah Marai/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images.
Adm. William J. Fallon, left, in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2007.

Fallon, one of the last Vietnam veterans in the U.S. military, was the first Navy officer selected to lead Centcom, a role traditionally granted to Army and Marine generals such as H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Tommy R. Franks and Anthony C. Zinni. One reason he was chosen to replace Army Gen. John P. Abizaid was because the administration — dealing with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as a diplomatic crisis over Iran’s nuclear program — wanted a seasoned officer who could step into the job quickly, without having to learn the ropes of top command, according to a person involved in his selection.

As a veteran of Pacific Command, where he focused on dealing with the rise of China, Fallon was seen as someone who would be comfortable operating at the highest levels of diplomacy and politics. He had told colleagues that he viewed Iran as a problem similar to China — one that mainly required steady engagement rather than aggressive confrontation. That stance put him at odds with Iran hawks both inside and outside the administration.

Peter D. Feaver, a former staff member of Bush’s National Security Council, said that the public nature of Fallon’s remarks made it necessary for the admiral to step down. “There is ample room for military leaders to debate administration policy behind closed doors,” said Feaver, a political scientist at Duke University. “However, taking such arguments into the media would violate basic democratic norms of civil-military relations.”

But Richard Danzig, who served as Navy secretary from 1998 to 2001 and has known Fallon for 15 years, said Fallon’s departure will leave a significant hole in a critical region. “Any turnover in Centcom has real costs, because this is an arena in the world, more than others, that depends a lot on relationships and extensive periods of conversation and mutual understanding,” he said.

That might prove especially true in Pakistan. Fallon had become a point man for crucial military relations there as the Pentagon implements a stepped-up program to help Pakistani forces deal with Islamic extremism along the border with Afghanistan. In visits to Islamabad in November and January, he cemented ties with Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani, the new armed forces chief of staff. The administration hopes that Kiyani will keep the military out of Pakistani politics while showing new aggression toward al-Qaeda and Taliban forces along the Afghan border.

Fallon’s departure also reflects Gates’s management style. During his 15 months at the Pentagon, the defense secretary has shown a willingness to move decisively in cases of internal conflict. A career intelligence officer, he demanded the resignation of Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey last year because of the way he handled the fallout from reports about substandard care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Gates also declined to nominate Gen. Peter Pace, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for a second two-year term, amid concerns that a Democratic-controlled Congress would grill Pace on Iraq.

Yesterday, Gates said the perception that Fallon disagreed with the administration’s policies was enough to concern Fallon that he may no longer be effective in the region. Gates quoted Fallon as saying that the situation was “embarrassing.”

Staff writers Josh White, Karen DeYoung and Peter Baker contributed to this report.

Related:
Admiral William Fallon Resigns as U.S. Mideast Military Chief

Esquire Magazine on Admiral William “Fox” Fallon

Pakistan rejects call for conditions on U.S. aid

January 11, 2008
By Robert Birsel

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan rejected on Friday a call by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for President George W. Bush to consider cutting Pakistani aid unless it restores full civil rights and does more to fight terrorism.

U.S. Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) speaks to the ...
U.S. Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) speaks to the media at the Capitol building in Washington in this July 17, 2007 file photo. Pakistan rejected on Friday a call by Reid for President George W. Bush to consider cutting Pakistani aid unless it restores full civil rights and does more to fight terrorism. REUTERS/Jason Reed
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Reid, a Nevada Democrat, told Bush in a letter that the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto two weeks ago had deepened worries about Pakistan’s future and President Pervez Musharraf‘s “dismal record of performance.”

Reid, who called for a full review of U.S. policy after Musharraf imposed emergency rule in November, said Bush should make aid conditional….

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080111/ts_nm/pakistan_usa_dc_1

Bush says Congress wasting time, money

December 20, 2007
By TERENCE HUNT, AP White House

WASHINGTON – President Bush, successful in forcing the Democratic Congress to bend to his will, complained Thursday that lawmakers had wasted time and taxpayers’ money. His aggressive stand set a confrontational tone for Bush’s final year in the White House.

Bush used a year-end news conference to scold lawmakers for stuffing 9,800 special-interest projects into a $550 billion spending measure. He directed his budget director to explore how to erase what Bush considers wasteful spending.

What began as a troubling year for Bush, facing a new, energetic Democratic Congress, ended in triumph for the president as frustrated Democrats nursed their losses.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071220/ap_on_go_pr_wh/bush;_ylt=
AhmuAeIL0F87H2.gDQCtoECs0NUE