What About Berlin?

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by WillowTree, Nov 8, 2009.

  1. WillowTree
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    WillowTree Diamond Member

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    Obama Draws Criticism for Sitting Out Berlin Wall Anniversary










    President Obama squeezed in a trip to Copenhagen last month to lobby, unsuccessfully, for Chicago to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. He plans to travel to Oslo next month to accept the Nobel Peace Prize, an award that even Obama has said he does not deserve. And this coming week, he sets out on a weeklong tour of Asia.

    But the president does not plan to travel to Germany to attend the 20th anniversary celebration Monday of the fall of the Berlin Wall, drawing heated criticism from those who say he's ignoring a shining triumph of American-inspired democracy.

    "A tragedy," is how former House Speaker Newt Gingrich described Obama's absence.

    Some question whether the decision not to go was a nod to Russia, with which the Obama administration is trying to mend relations, or just another attempt to play down the perception of the United States as an exceptional superpower.

    For its part, the administration is citing a scheduling conflict. The White House says the president simply does not have the time to go, with the trip to Asia starting Wednesday.

    "Obviously we have a lot to work on here and we have commitments for an upcoming Asia trip," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday, noting that a "very senior delegation" of U.S. officials would attend.







    Obama Draws Criticism for Sitting Out Berlin Wall Anniversary - FOXNews.com
     
  2. Oddball
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    Oddball BANNED Supporting Member

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    Prolly still has a bug up his butt about not being able to give his campaign speech for President of the World at the Brandenburg Gate.
     
  3. hjmick
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    hjmick Gold Member

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    This is easy: Communists never celebrate defeat...

    :eusa_whistle:
     
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  4. Missourian
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    Missourian Gold Member

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    You must spread some reputation around....
     
  5. WillowTree
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    WillowTree Diamond Member

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    :eusa_shhh:
     
  6. rightwinger
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    rightwinger Paid Messageboard Poster Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Maybe he is traveling to Ft Hood this week.

    He would get a negative thread regardless of where he goes
     
  7. Hinemoa
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    Hinemoa BANNED

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    Hans Modrow was a communist reformer in the Gorbachev mould. He had only just been given a place on the Politburo as East Germany's leaders tried to head off the demands for change that were sweeping the country. But as a new boy his opinions counted for little.

    He remembers an agitated discussion about the travel restrictions - the laws which banned most East Germans from leaving the country and which had sparked off the popular discontent.

    At the end of it the party leader, Egon Krenz, suddenly produced a new set of regulations. From now on it would be much easier for East Germans to travel.

    What annoyed Mr Modrow was the autocratic way in which the Communist Party still did business. "We couldn't change anything, he says, We sat there like stupid little boys. We just had to do what we were told."

    But now came a blunder that would bring down the Berlin Wall and the East German state with it.

    The intention was to announce the changes overnight and phase in the new rules the next morning. Instead one of the Politburo members, Gunter Schabowski, blurted out the plans during a televised press conference - and compounded his error by adding the new rules would come into force "immediately".

    Live press conferences were a novelty in communist days, and Mr Schabowski was becoming something of a celebrity through his appearances. Mr Modrow is still scathing about Mr Schabowski's preening in front of the media.


    The Politburo announce the decision to allow people to cross the border
    "The order wasn't to be published until 0400 in the morning. But Mr Schabowski didn't notice. He went into an international press conference. And he was so arrogant and full of himself. We had no idea this was happening."

    Mr Schabowski's announcement was complicated and bureaucratic, and like many others that evening I puzzled over it before concluding that it signalled free travel. If this was true it would mean the end of the Berlin Wall because the whole fearsome structure with its watchtowers, barbed wire and guard dogs had become redundant.

    East Berliners were rather quicker off the mark. Tens of thousands of them started turning up at the border demanding to be let across.

    But the guards hadn't been told anything - their standing orders were to stop anyone crossing. Until recently they'd been instructed to shoot to kill anyone who tried.

    This night they tried to turn people back - but after a generation being pushed about Berliners turned belligerent and refused to go.

    The standoff between the armed guards and the angry crowds soon grew tense and dangerous.

    The guards asked their headquarters for orders but the government ministries in charge of security told them nothing. Mr Modrow and the other Politburo members had gone home unaware of what was going on.



    With radio and TV reports bringing more people on to the streets, Mr Modrow says it was the border guards themselves who decided what to do.

    "With hindsight it's the border guards we must thank, not any of us in the Politburo. The guards on the ground - at the time - made the critical decision. They ignored their standing orders. They said, 'Open the border.'"

    I arrived at the main border post just in time to see the barriers swing open as the guards gave up any attempt to regulate the crossing. They looked stunned at the mass of people streaming past them. Their whole world was collapsing about them.

    But if East Germany's leaders were ignorant of what was happening, the rest of the world was already watching on television.

    In Washington, James Baker was at lunch with the President of the Philippines, Cory Aquino, when he was told the news. A short while later, hearing that people were taking sledgehammers to the wall, he abandoned the table and hastened over to the White House.

    There he and President Bush were taken aback at what they saw. They'd had no warning. "It was happening before our eyes. Maybe the Soviet leadership saw it coming but I don't think anyone in allied capitals anticipated it happening with that speed."

    And Mr Baker admitted candidly that he was daunted by the scale of the task ahead in reshaping world alliances. As the West's chief diplomat he would have to do most of it. "The world as I had known it all my adult life changed that day, and it changed fundamentally. I had grown up with the Cold War. Everyone in my generation had."

    In the Kremlin the man most responsible for the change slept through it. The Soviet leader had been tipped off a few days earlier about the way the East Germans were thinking.

    Mr Gorbachev chuckled as he remembered the rush to tell him what had happened. "They reported to me quite early in the morning. They were in a hurry to let me know. We had been expecting it to happen. It could have happened at any time."

    And he was matter-of-fact about the consequences. "I took note of the report. It moved us on to a new phase. Not that I was enthusiastic about it, but I accepted it as something that had to happen. We understood that the time was coming for the German problem to be addressed."

    In London Douglas Hurd had been foreign secretary for just 15 days. He noted the news from Berlin in his diary. "The regime and now the wall are crumbling fast," he wrote. But he was already wondering how he could persuade the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, to consider the idea of a united Germany.

    Berliners were only just opening the bottles of sparkling Sekt at the beginning of a street party that would last for days. Many were still uncertain what exactly was happening.

    But in a few short hours they had changed the contours of world politics and there could be no going back. The inevitable, unthinkable accident had happened.


    (BBC / Europe report
     
  8. bao
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    bao Rookie

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    Why are they giving him a Nobel Peace Prize he cant even get the Olympics. Is it true that obama want's to do away with C.H.I.P program for children in 2012?
     
  9. Old Rocks
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    Old Rocks Diamond Member

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    No, what would even give you that idea? Unless, of course, by then we have all children covered with a real Health Care System.

    It is the Republicans that fought the idea of C.H.I.P. tooth and nail.

    Rockefeller Salvages the CHIP Program « The Washington Independent

    Rockefeller Salvages the CHIP Program
    By Mike Lillis 10/2/09 12:39 PM
    A little after midnight, nearing the end of yesterday’s marathon health reform debate in the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) had the stage, and the audience fell strangely silent. Rockefeller talked about his experiences as a VISTA volunteer in Appalachia decades ago; he talked about the destitution and absence of health care in the region; and finally, with tears in his eyes, he talked about the need to preserve Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, for the sake of people like those.

    Under the finance panel’s bill, Medicaid would be expanded, but the CHIP program would phase out as those kids transitioned into insurance plans on newly proposed state insurance exchanges. Rockefeller argued the need to keep those youngsters in CHIP, rather than pushing them to the exchange, “where they’re at the mercy of people who will have them for lunch.” He was talking about private insurance companies.

    The West Virginia Democrat, who chairs the Finance Committee’s health subpanel, sponsored an amendment to keep CHIP as it is. “I don’t think there’s any reason to dismantle a program that works,” he said.

    Republicans were unmoved. Sen. Charles Grassley (Iowa), the panel’s senior Republican, said that keeping kids in a public program rather than moving them to private coverage “is contrary to everything we’ve been working for.”

    Yet a report released yesterday seems to bolster Rockefeller’s argument. According to researchers at Watson Wyatt Worldwide, a financial consulting firm, shifting kids from CHIP to the exchange would put increased cost burdens on those families. Specifically, the study found that children currently enrolled in median CHIP plans living at 175 percent of poverty pay nothing for their care, while those living at 225 percent of poverty pay about 2 percent of treatment costs. By contrast, those same kids getting coverage through private insurers on the exchange would pay between 5 percent and 35 percent of health costs, respectively, “greatly increasing their financial burden and leaving low-income children worse off as a result of health reform,” the researchers noted.

    Children’s health care advocates quickly jumped on the findings as reason to preserve CHIP. Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus, a children’s advocacy group that commissioned the study, said the findings confirm that CHIP provides kids “the best, most affordable care.”

    “Congress should be fixing what is broken and building on what works,” Lesley said in a statement. “CHIP works for kids and we should be expanding this program, not phasing it out.”

    The vote approving Rockefeller’s amendment was 13 to 9, with Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) the only member crossing party lines. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) remained neutral, voting “present.”
     
  10. Oddball
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    Oddball BANNED Supporting Member

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    What does that dreck have to do with the thread topic?
     

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