Friday wrap

Obama: Abandons global freedom agenda, spurned by Hagan, wears thin on voters, acted stupidly, beloved in Europe.

Mismanagement: GovMo know-nothings in charge, Rathke preens anti-capitalism, Obamunists stoke Birthers, SEIU bleeds pensions, secret-ballot hypocrisy, sticky labor-state laws.

International: Hollywood Leftists feted in Cuba, Castros shut economy to save jobs, Hondurans heart Constitution, Lula welcomes striking Steelworkers, Hugo adds force, Hugo perfects democracy, Putin hearts Hugo.

Obama disinterested in freedom ... For more than twenty years American foreign policy has been guided by a freedom agenda: the notion that our security interests are best protected by advancing the cause of freedom around the world. Ronald Reagan championed it when he won the cold war, George H.W. Bush when he fought the first gulf war, and Bill Clinton when he committed America to defending human rights in the Balkans. Now, here comes President Barack Obama. who has effectively turned America’s back on the cause of freedom around the globe. (townhall.com)

Obama spurned by freshman Dem Sen. ... Senator Kay Hagan's stance on health care may have played a big role in President Barack Obama's visit Wednesday. Some think the Senator is the reason the President came to Raleigh, but she wasn't in town Wednesday. That's because she was in Washington when Obama wooed an audience at Broughton High School. She told reporters on a conference call Thursday that she was "very concerned" that she had to miss the event, but was hard at work in DC. (abclocal.go.com)

Obama: The more we know, the more we disapprove ... An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found Obama’s job approval at 53 percent, down from 61 percent in April. Obama dropped 10 percentage points among those who believe he would bring real change, from 61 percent in February to 51 percent now. Those who said he could be trusted to keep his word dropped to 48 percent in July, from 58 percent in April. Perhaps most starkly, the poll show that the harder Obama campaigns for health care reform, the worse it gets for him. The poll found 42 percent say the president’s plan is a bad idea — a 10 percentage point jump from a month ago. Thirty-six percent said it was a good idea. (washingtonexaminer.com)

General agreement: Obama acted stupidly ... President Barack Obama's approval rating among white Americans has fallen as they have watched him wade into the racially tinged dispute between a white Cambridge, Mass., police officer and a well-known black Harvard scholar, according to a poll released Thursday. The July 16 arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr. for disorderly conduct in his own home sparked a national debate over racial profiling and police conduct. The controversy intensified days later after Obama said police "acted stupidly" when they arrested Gates, who is a friend of his. The poll by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center found that 41 percent of respondents disapproved of Obama's handling of the Gates arrest, compared with 29 percent who approved. The poll also found the incident and Obama's reaction saturated the public consciousness. As many as 80 percent of Americans said they are now aware of Obama's comments on the matter. (washingtonexaminer.com)

Doesn't anyone here know how to play this game? ... Dear Mr. President, I understand you’ve been patching together a board of directors and a management team for General Motors, the company you are not trying to run. Looks like you’ve completed a job ... er, done. The new board is just about in place, and in a rather impressive feat of outside-the-box thinking, you’ve managed to appoint a board of directors for a car company with basically no car company experience whatsoever. (northstarwriters.com)

Disgraced ACORN-SEIU founder plots Obama-Dem agenda ... On his TV show today, Glenn Beck spotlighted a fascinating interview that ACORNcracked.com editor Kyle Olson conducted with disgraced ACORN founder Wade Rathke. Olson visited Rathke’s book signing in New Orleans to get the footage. The book is Citizen Wealth: Winning the Campaign to Save Working Families, in which Rathke serves up some community organizing war stories, and offers his thoughts on the future of organizing. As I wrote in the American Spectator, Rathke is a pioneer of the so-called welfare rights movement that aims to get Americans on welfare. He devotes an entire chapter of his book to what he calls “The ‘Maximum Eligible Participation’ Solution.” It is a strategy for orchestrated crisis that savvy leftist groups across America are likely to embrace. (canadafreepress.com)

Obama network stokes Birthers ... Using the debunked conspiracy about the authenticity of President Obama's birth certificate, CNN's Lou Dobbs and executives at that network have managed to redefine the professional standards of journalism. On both his radio show and his CNN TV program over the past month (as well as in 2008), Lou Dobbs has expressed the opinion that the birth certificate released by the state of Hawaii and posted at various media and watchdog websites isn't real. On his radio show, which he always promotes on his CNN show, Dobbs stated that based on his belief that the certificate provided by Hawaii authorities isn't real President Obama's citizenship is in question and that he has a "document" problem. Dobbs implied that the president may be an undocumented immigrant. (pww.org)

Related video:

SEIU bigs bleed rank-and-file pensions


Two-faced Dems: Secret-ballots for me, but not for thee ... In an apparent warning to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), some liberal Democrats have suggested a secret-ballot vote every two years on whether or not to strip committee chairmen of their gavels. Baucus, who is more conservative than most of the Democratic Conference, has frustrated many of his liberal colleagues by negotiating for weeks with Republicans over healthcare reform without producing a bill or even much detail about the policies he is considering. “Every two years the caucus could have a secret ballot on whether a chairman should continue, yes or no,” said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), the chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “If the ‘no’s win, [the chairman’s] out. (thehill.com)

Organized-labor subsidies resist reform ... Pennsylvania was one of the most dynamic and rapidly growing states for nearly 130 years following the nation’s founding. But by 1930, population growth drastically weakened, virtually stopping altogether from 1970 to today. The rise in political power of labor unions has been coincident to Pennsylvania’s precipitous economic fall. Though representing fewer than two out of 10 workers today, Big Labor maintains a stranglehold on a sizable bloc of legislators, ensuring that no legislation it disapproves of, no matter how beneficial it might be for the state as a whole, ever sees the light of day. The source of Big Labor’s political strength is decades of favorable federal and state laws that are extraordinarily resistant to reform. (tribune-democrat.com)

International Collectivism

Castro Bros. honor Hollywood communists, big screen flop ... Benicio del Toro accepted a new Cuban government award for international artists at a ceremony in Havana on Thursday, while Bill Murray entertained a small audience by crooning from "As Time Goes By". Fellow actors Robert Duval and James Caan were also on hand as the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba gave Puerto Rican-born del Toro the first Tomas Gutierrez Alea Prize for his career body of work, including the lead in "Che." (sfexaminer.com)

Trouble in Workers Paradise ... It's hard to find a spare tire in Cuba these days, or a cup of yoghurt. Air conditioners are shut off in the dead heat. Factories close at peak hours, and workers go without their government-subsidized lunches. Cuba has ordered austere energy savings this summer, and the secretive Council of Ministers and Communist Party Central Committee met this week to consider more cuts to cope with budget deficits and plummeting export profits. The communist government imposed conservation measures even as it continues to get free oil for services from Venezuela, fueling rumors that Cuba is selling President Hugo Chávez's crude on the side to raise cash. More likely, the shortages result from a global recession that hit an already struggling economy still reeling from last year's hurricanes. President Raul Castro scolded Cubans in a national address Sunday to work harder because they have no one to blame but themselves. "The only thing I know is that we're screwed," said one 27-year-old who only gave the name Raul because he sells cement and housing materials on the black market. "I don't work. I find a way to survive." (google.com)

Socialist Europeans heart Obama ... Barack Obama's star may be fading slightly at home but it is still so bright in Europe that he outshines the leaders of Germany and France in their own countries, according to a poll that shows a remarkable global shift in attitudes towards the U.S. since he took office. The question is: does it matter? First, the statistics. The latest Pew Global Attitudes Project, a widely respected survey that has tracked anti-Americanism around the world since 2002, polled 26,397 people in 25 nations in May and June and found that the image of the United States had improved in all but one (Israel), reflecting, it said, "global confidence in Barack Obama". (nanyang100.com)

Hondurans heart Constitutionalism ... The Obama Administration – siding with democracy stalwarts such as Cuba’s Fidel Castro and Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez – has rejected the Honduran action and tried, through Costa Rican President Arias, to mediate Zelaya’s return. Mack thinks Obama is entirely wrong. He says that no part of the Zelaya removal can be reasonably characterized as a coup. Mack said that it was “reckless and irresponsible” to label Zelaya’s removal as such. Despite the United States’ recent decision to cancel the visas of representatives from the Honduran government the Honduran government is not budging. Mack discovered that the new president, Micheletti, is “bound and determined to fight for the rule of law.” Support for the government’s decision is wide spread in Honduras. Mack said that “everywhere people have a copy of the constitution, and they are quick to pull out their constitution and point to the page that shows that trying to change the constitution is illegal.” (humanevents.com)

Striking Steelworkers to Brazil for solidarity with Trotskyite Lula ... United Steelworkers members, on strike against Vale Inco in Sudbury, are heading to Brazil this weekend to "escalate" their public campaign against the global mining giant and cement ties with international trade unionists. At least a couple of Sudbury union representatives are travelling this weekend to Brazil — headquarters of Vale SA — and other members will replicate the trip in a couple of weeks, said Wayne Fraser, director of Steelworkers District 6. “They are going to meet with all the unions from Vale,” Fraser said. “They are having a collective bargaining session and our guys are going to be there.” Steelworkers representatives also will attend a conference in Brazil with 350 trade union leaders from around the world. “Our guys are going to make a presentation about what is happening with respect to the strike,” Fraser said. “We are going to escalate our campaign against Vale, our corporate campaign worldwide against Vale in terms of their atrocious behaviour here in Canada.” (thesudburystar.com)

Venezuela: Persuasion combined with force ... Since January this year, the government has been running an implacable, persistent race to strip the regional authorities belonging to the democratic alliance of the mandates they were given by the population in November 2008. Yet, what Hugo Chávez and his subordinates are demonstrating with this attitude is that they are shaking in their shoes. Listen to what they crow about and you’ll know what their weak spots are. After ten years of enjoying absolute power and having access to resources wholesale, the Chávez administration has very few achievements to write home about. Faced with that harsh truth, the guardians of the Chavista process fear that any passable performance by opposition governors and mayors will inevitably show up the ineptitude, bad management, and inefficiency of the “Bolivarians,” not to mention the corruption and other trifles. Hence the fury and violence with which the government, at all levels, has attacked Antonio Ledezma, César Pérez Vivas, and Henrique Capriles Radonski, in particular. Initially, this aggression was “limited” to stripping opposition governors and mayors of their spheres of competence and the budgets to which they are entitled under the Constitution and the law; then came the physical aggression and attacks by Chavismo’s violent supporters against opposition mayors and governors and their officials.

LatAm Progressive perfects democracy ... Venezuela's top prosecutor insisted Thursday that freedom of expression in Venezuela "must be limited" and proposed legislation that would slap additional restrictions on the country's news media. The new law would punish the owners of radio stations, television channels and newspapers that have attempted to "cause panic" and "disturb social peace," Attorney General Luisa Ortega said. It also would punish media owners who "manipulate the news with the purpose of transmitting a false perception of the facts." "Freedom of expression must be limited," Ortega said. Ortega urged lawmakers to consider her suggestions as they debate a bill that would punish as-yet-undefined "media crimes." The National Assembly, which is controlled by allies of President Hugo Chávez, is expected to approve the measure in coming months. (google.com)

Putin: Happy Birthday, Hugo! ... Russian President Dmitry Medvedev recently sent warm birthday wishes to the neo-Communist president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, with tighter military cooperation as one of Moscow's presents. A formal Russian-Venezuelan commission on military-technical cooperation will coordinate future Russian arms sales to Chávez. Medvedev's sentiments were conveyed by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, who was presentin the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, to conclude a series of cooperation agreements with the Chávez regime. Sechin also worked with Chávez to set up in Russia an up-coming mid-August meeting of what is referred to as the Russian-Venezuelan High Level Intergovernmental Commission. (rightsidenews.com)
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