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Friday, 22 February 2013 16:44

Israel unveils logo for Obama visit

Obama's visit to Israel gets a logo


It's official: Visitors to the Facebook page of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have chosen a logo for President Obama's visit to Israel next month.

The winner, above, got 2,600 "likes" beating out two others (below), which garnered 786 and 521, respectively.


Netayahu's office is promising a big social media push around the visit. So far, there has been much more publicity about the trip in Israel than there has been in the United States. The Israeli government last month even released a tentative schedule for the president, something the White House has declined to talk about at all.

The media in Israel, it seems, are taking the hubbub in stride, even jabbing a little fun at it.


"One government official deflected criticism that the logo idea was kitschy, saying there was a great deal of public enthusiasm in the visit, and this was one way of tapping into it," the Jerusalem Post reports. "He chuckled dismissively when asked if there would also be a soft drink sponsor."


Here are the second- and third-place logo designs:


Wednesday, 30 January 2013 04:43

President Obama’s Big Speech on Immigration

President Obama’s big speech on immigration  in Las Vegas at an event where he is asking for sweeping reforms to the United States immigration laws.





Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you. (APPLAUSE)


Thank you. It is good to be back in Las Vegas.




And it is good to be among so many good friends. Let -- let me start off by thanking everybody at Del Sol High School for hosting us.




Go Dragons. Let me especially thank your outstanding principal, Lisa Primos (ph).




There are all kinds of notable guests here, but I just want to mention a few. First of all, our outstanding secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, is here.




Our wonderful secretary of the interior, Ken Salazar.




Former Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.




Two of the outstanding members of the congressional delegation from Nevada, Steve Horsford and Dina Titus.




Your own mayor, Carolyn Goodman.




But we also have some mayors that flew in because they know how important the issue we’re going to talk about today is -- Marie Lopez Rogers from Avondale, Arizona...




... Kasim Reed from Atlanta, Georgia...




... Greg Stanton from Phoenix, Arizona...




... and Ashley Swearengin from Fresno, California...


(APPLAUSE) ... and all of you are here, as well as some of the top labor leaders in the country, and we are just so grateful -- some outstanding business leaders are here as well. And of course, we’ve got wonderful students here. So I could not be prouder of our students.




Now, those of you who have a seat, feel free to take a seat. I don’t mind.


I love you back.




Last week -- last week, I had the honor of being sworn in for a second term as president of the United States.




And during my inaugural address, I talked about how making progress on the defining challenges of our time doesn’t require us to settle every debate or ignore every difference that we may have, but it does require us to find common ground and move forward in common purpose. It requires us to act.


I know that some issues will be harder to lift than others. Some debates will be more contentious. That’s to be expected. But the reason I came here today is because of a challenge where the differences are dwindling; where a broad consensus is emerging; and where a call for action can now be heard coming from all across America.


OBAMA: I’m here today because the time has come for common sense, comprehensive immigration reform.




The time is now.


Now’s the time.


Now’s the time.


Now’s the time.


I’m here because -- I’m here because most Americans agree that it’s time to fix the system that’s been broken for way too long. I’m here because business leaders, faith leaders, labor leaders, law enforcement, and leaders from both parties are coming together to say now is the time to find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as the land of opportunity.



Obama's immigration platform is based on the following principles, according to a fact sheet released by the White House:


- Continuing to Strengthen Border Security: President Obama has doubled the number of Border Patrol agents since 2004 and today border security is stronger than it has ever been. But there is more work to do. The President’s proposal gives law enforcement the tools they need to make our communities safer from crime. And by enhancing our infrastructure and technology, the President’s proposal continues to strengthen our ability to remove criminals and apprehend and prosecute national security threats.

- Cracking Down on Employers Hiring Undocumented Workers: Our businesses should only employ people legally authorized to work in the United States. Businesses that knowingly employ undocumented workers are exploiting the system to gain an advantage over businesses that play by the rules. The President’s proposal is designed to stop these unfair hiring practices and hold these companies accountable. At the same time, this proposal gives employers who want to play by the rules a reliable way to verify that their employees are here legally.

- Earned Citizenship: It is just not practical to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants living within our borders. The President’s proposal provides undocumented immigrants a legal way to earn citizenship that will encourage them to come out of the shadows so they can pay their taxes and play by the same rules as everyone else. Immigrants living here illegally must be held responsible for their actions by passing national security and criminal background checks, paying taxes and a penalty, going to the back of the line, and learning English before they can earn their citizenship. There will be no uncertainty about their ability to become U.S. citizens if they meet these eligibility criteria. The proposal will also stop punishing innocent young people brought to the country through no fault of their own by their parents and give them a chance to earn their citizenship more quickly if they serve in the military or pursue higher education.

- Streamlining Legal Immigration: Our immigration system should reward anyone who is willing to work hard and play by the rules. For the sake of our economy and our security, legal immigration should be simple and efficient. The President’s proposal attracts the best minds to America by providing visas to foreign entrepreneurs looking to start businesses here and helping the most promising foreign graduate students in science and math stay in this country after graduation, rather than take their skills to other countries. The President’s proposal will also reunify families in a timely and humane manner.





















"From presidential rivals to political allies, here's a look at President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton's relationship over the years."  -  Vivyan Tran

President Obama and Hillary Clinton tour the Wat Pho Royal Monastery with Chaokun Suthee Thammanuwat, the Dean, Faculty of Buddhism Assistant to the Abbot of Wat Phra Chetuphon in Bangkok, Thailand, Nov. 18, 2012. AP

Obama and Clinton wave as they arrive at Yangon International Airport in Yangon, Myanmar, on Air Force One, Nov. 19, 2012. It was the first visit to Myanmar by a sitting U.S. president. AP

Clinton and Obama walk to the Oval Office from the Rose Garden of the White House, Sept. 12, 2012, after the president spoke on the death of U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. AP

President Obama smiles as he is seated with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the start of a Cabinet meeting at the White House, May 3, 2011. AP

Obama, with Clinton, delivers a statement on Libya in the Grand Foyer of the White House, Feb. 23, 2011. AP

Obama meets with his national security team on Afghanistan and Pakistan, March 12, 2010, in the Situation Room. From left are, Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, United States Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry, and the president. AP


Hillary Clinton confers with President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama prior to a reception in the Yellow Oval Room of the White House for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India and his wife, Mrs Gursharan Kaur, Nov. 24, 2009. (Photo: White House)

Obama meets with his national security team including Undersecretary of State Bill Burns (right) and Hillary Clinton, Sept. 30, 2009, in the Situation Room.(Photo: White House)

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (left) and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greet President Obama as he arrives to addresses a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol, Sept. 9, 2009. AP

Obama signs a proclamation celebrating the 19th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act in the East Room of the White House Friday, July 24, 2009. From left: Rep. Jim Langevin, Sen. Daniel Inouye, Rep. Steny Hoyer, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, Obama, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  AP

Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (left) talk in the Oval Office, June 26, 2009. At right is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. AP

President Obama tours the Sultan Hassan Mosque with Secretary of State Clinton in Cairo, Egypt, June 4, 2009.  AP

Obama talks with Clinton at a North Atlantic Council meeting in Strasbourg, France, April 4, 2009, during a summit celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.  AP
President Obama gestures after his address to a joint session of Congress, Feb. 24, 2009. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is at left, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is at right.  AP
Obama leaves a news conference with Clinton, in Chicago, Dec. 1, 2008. Pictured from top left: Eric Holder, Janet Napolitano, Robert Gates, Joe Biden, and James Jones.  AP

Then-Sen. Hillary Clinton delivers a speech supporting then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, at a rally in Orlando, Fla., Oct. 20, 2008.  AP
Then-Democratic presidential hopefuls, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, debate at the University of Texas campus in Austin, Texas, Feb. 21, 2008. AP
Source: Photos from AP, words from Vivyan Tran, Huffington post

Wednesday, 23 January 2013 18:44

Obama May Visit Nigeria This Year - Leadership

The Minister, Culture, Education and Information in the Nigeria Embassy in Washington DC, Dr Stephen Momoh Baba,has said President of the United States Barack Obama has promised to visit Nigeria this year.


President Obama was on Monday sworn in for his second term of another four years as president.


In an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP, Dr Baba said:Obama has promised to visit Nigeria towards the end of the year; we are working with the state department and the Nigeria ambassador to ensure reality of the visit. We are doing everything we can to make sure he keeps to his promise and visit to Nigeria this year.


“America has been working with Africa and Nigeria behind the scenes even in Obama’s first term.They are helping us with agricultural credit activities; they are also assisting us in terms of security by tackling the Boko Haram insurgence.


On Obama’s inaugural speech Baba believes the speech was very pragmatic and straight to the point.


“Obama’s speech was very pragmatic, he focused on what he was going to do and he showed he is in control. He was asking everybody to come on board and make America great again, irrespective of party or colour,” he added.

TRANSCRIPT of President Barack Obama, as prepared for delivery, given at his second Inauguration as President of the United States.

At National Mall. (Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)


Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief Justice, Members of the United States Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:


Each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional – what makes us American – is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:


“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”


Today we continue a never-ending journey, to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a Republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.


For more than two hundred years, we have.


Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together.


Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce; schools and colleges to train our workers.


Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play.


Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune.


Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise; our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, are constants in our character.


But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action. For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people.


This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience. A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun. America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it – so long as we seize it together.


For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work; when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship. We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.


We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time. We must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, and reach higher. But while the means will change, our purpose endures: a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American. That is what this moment requires. That is what will give real meaning to our creed.


We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty, and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn. We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other – through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security – these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.


We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure – our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.


We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war. Our brave men and women in uniform, tempered by the flames of battle, are unmatched in skill and courage. Our citizens, seared by the memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is paid for liberty. The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant against those who would do us harm. But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war, who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends, and we must carry those lessons into this time as well.


We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law. We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully – not because we are naïve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear. America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe; and we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation. We will support democracy from Asia to Africa; from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom. And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice – not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity; human dignity and justice.


We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.


It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.


That is our generation’s task – to make these words, these rights, these values – of Life, and Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – real for every American. Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life; it does not mean we will all define liberty in exactly the same way, or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time – but it does require us to act in our time.


For now decisions are upon us, and we cannot afford delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate. We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act, knowing that today’s victories will be only partial, and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years, and forty years, and four hundred years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.


My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction – and we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration of our service. But the words I spoke today are not so different from the oath that is taken each time a soldier signs up for duty, or an immigrant realizes her dream. My oath is not so different from the pledge we all make to the flag that waves above and that fills our hearts with pride.


They are the words of citizens, and they represent our greatest hope.


You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course.


You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.


Let each of us now embrace, with solemn duty and awesome joy, what is our lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.


Thank you, God Bless you, and may He forever bless these United States of America.











President Obama has refused to tell Congress or the American people why he believes the Constitution gives, or fails to deny, him the authority to secretly target and kill American citizens who he suspects are involved in terrorist activities overseas. So far he has killed three that we know of.


Presidents had never before, to our knowledge, targeted specific Americans for military strikes. There are no court decisions that tell us if he is acting lawfully. Mr. Obama tells us not to worry, though, because his lawyers say it is fine, because experts guide the decisions and because his advisers have set up a careful process to help him decide whom he should kill. He must think we should be relieved.


The three Americans known to have been killed, in two drone strikes in Yemen in the fall of 2011, are Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Muslim cleric who was born in New Mexico; Samir Khan, a naturalized American citizen who had lived in New York and North Carolina, and was killed alongside Mr. Awlaki; and, in a strike two weeks later, Mr. Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, who was born in Colorado.


Most of us think these people were probably terrorists anyway. So the president’s reassurances have been enough to keep criticism at an acceptable level for the White House. Democrats in Congress and in the press have only gingerly questioned the claims by a Democratic president that he is right about the law and careful when he orders drone attacks on our citizens. And Republicans, who favor aggressive national security powers for the executive branch, look forward to the day when one of their own can wield them again.


But a few of our representatives have spoken up — sort of. Several months ago, Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, began limply requesting the Department of Justice memorandums that justify the targeted killing program. At a committee hearing, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., reminded of the request, demurred and shared a rueful chuckle with the senator. Mr. Leahy did not want to be rude, it seems — though some of us remember him being harder on former President George W. Bush’s attorney general, Alberto R. Gonzales, in 2005.


So, even though Congress has the absolute power under the Constitution to receive these documents, the Democratic-controlled Senate has not fought this president to get them. If the senators did, and the president held fast to his refusal, they could go to court and demand them, and I believe they would win. Perhaps even better, they could skip getting the legal memos and go right to the meat of the matter — using oversight and perhaps legislating to control the president’s killing powers. That isn’t happening either.


Thank goodness we have another branch of government to step into the fray. It is the job of the federal courts to interpret the Constitution and laws, and thus to define the boundaries of the powers of the branches of government, including their own.


In reining in the branches, the courts have been toughest on themselves, however. A long line of Supreme Court cases require that judges wait for cases to come to them. They can take cases only from plaintiffs who have a personal stake in the outcome; they cannot decide political questions; they cannot rule on an issue not squarely before them.


Because of these and other limitations, no case has made it far enough in federal court for a judge to rule on the merits of the basic constitutional questions at stake here. A pending case filed in July by the families of the three dead Americans does raise Fourth and Fifth Amendment challenges to the president’s killings of their relatives. We will see if the judge agrees to consider the constitutional questions or dismisses the case, citing limitations on his own power.


In another case, decided two weeks ago, a federal judge in Manhattan, Colleen McMahon, ruled, grudgingly, that the American Civil Liberties Union and two New York Times reporters could not get access, under the Freedom of Information Act, to classified legal memorandums that were relied on to justify the targeted killing program. In her opinion, she expressed serious reservations about the president’s interpretation of the constitutional questions. But the merits of the program were not before her, just access to the Justice Department memos, so her opinion was, in effect, nothing but an interesting read.


So at the moment, the legislature and the courts are flummoxed by, or don’t care about, how or whether to take on this aggressive program. But Mr. Obama, a former constitutional law professor, should know, of all people, what needs to be done. He was highly critical when Mr. Bush applied new constitutional theories to justify warrantless wiretapping and “enhanced interrogation.” In his 2008 campaign, Mr. Obama demanded transparency, and after taking office, he released legal memos that the Bush administration had kept secret. Once the self-serving constitutional analysis that the Bush team had used was revealed, legal scholars from across the spectrum studied and denounced it.


While Mr. Obama has criticized his predecessor, he has also worried about his successors. Last fall, when the election’s outcome was still in doubt, Mr. Obama talked about drone strikes in general and said Congress and the courts should in some manner “rein in” presidents by putting a “legal architecture in place.” His comments seemed to reflect concern that future presidents should perhaps not wield alone such awesome and unchecked power over life and death — of anyone, not just Americans. Oddly, under current law, Congress and the courts are involved when presidents eavesdrop on Americans, detain them or harshly interrogate them — but not when they kill them.


It is not just the most recent president, this one and the next whom we need to worry about when it comes to improper exercise of power. It is every president. Mr. Obama should declassify and release, to Congress, the press and the public, documents that set forth the detailed constitutional and statutory analysis he relies on for targeting and killing American citizens.


Perhaps Mr. Obama still believes that, in a democracy, the people have a right to know the legal theories upon which the president executes his great powers. Certainly, we can hope so. After all, his interpretation might be wrong.


Vicki Divoll is a former general counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and former deputy legal adviser to the C.I.A.’s Counterterrorism Center.

© 2012 The New York Times   Published on Thursday, January 17, 2013 by The New York Times






















President Barack Obama step-brother  is seeking  a governor's office in Kenya's next election. Malik Obama and President Obama have same father.

Malik Obama, 54, is making plans to run for the governorship as independent candidate in Siaya county, which is in western Kenya. In making his announcement for the governorship of Siaya, Malik Obama told the rally that he would use his connection with U.S. President Obama as a leverage to improve the lives of his constitutency according to report by Bloomberg News Network.

His words, “Siaya county is facing a lot of problems from poor infrastructure to poverty due to bad leadership, I will change this if elected.”


According to Politico, " Kenya’s elections are scheduled for March, and Malik Obama is likely to face the brother of Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga in the election, according to Bloomberg. The elections will be the first since 2007, when fighting surrounding Odinga’s election erupted, killing 1,100."


Siaya is a county of  842,000 residents with a poverty rate above above 30 percent according to data from Kenya 's Commission on Revenue Allocation .

The major problem of Malik Obama's political ambition apart from going against the powerful opponent  is lack of political party membership and backing.



TIME has chosen President Barack Obama as its Person of the Year for 2012.



Richard Stengel, Managing editor Richard Stengel  of TIME wrote that, "Obama is the first Democratic President since FDR to win more than 50% of the vote in consecutive elections and the first President since 1940 to win re-election with an unemployment rate north of 7.5%. He has stitched together a winning coalition and perhaps a governing one as well. His presidency spells the end of the Reagan realignment that had defined American politics for 30 years. We are in the midst of historic cultural and demographic changes, and Obama is both the symbol and in some ways the architect of this new America."

According to Politico, "Obama beat out Apple CEO Tim Cook and Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani blogger grievously injured by a Taliban militant."

This is the second time for the president,  in  2008 President Obama was also selected Time 'Person of the Year'.


On June 14, 2012, President Obama affixed his signature to the “U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa.” It identified four focus areas: democratic institutions; growth, trade and investment; peace and security; and opportunity and development. The response from the policy community was a shrug. Mwangi Kimenyi of the Brookings Institution claimed that the policy document was neither “new” nor “strategic,” and did not establish a “foundation for creative engagement with an emerging Africa.”


The Obama administration must confront two challenges. First, it must convey more effectively the important contributions the U.S. has already made toward these priorities. Second, Mr. Obama has to put his personal stamp on specific initiatives he considers central to his legacy.


The president’s talk in Ghana in July 2009 electrified the audience by declaring that America was ready to help the continent build a broader base for prosperity. The gateway to that transformation was eliminating bad governance. While this message was repeated in the June 2012 policy document, it is lost in the long list of program initiatives.


The president’s critics suggest that the U.S. should focus on the great opportunities in an economically resurgent Africa. Look at the dizzy expansion, they say, of China in Africa and how its engagement in mineral extraction, trade, construction, and infrastructure has been supported by frequent visits from China’s top leaders.


Often overlooked in these critiques is that the American predominant role in advancing global peace and security includes Africa. This is an argument Mr. Obama himself needs to make. Africa is not only a continent of “frontier economies,” it remains one of “frontier states.” The U.S. plays a unique role in conflict resolution, peacebuilding, and increasing good governance within African states.


Mr. Kimenyi suggests that Mr. Obama should “shelve” his June 12 strategy and “start afresh.” I won’t go that far. But Mr. Obama needs to step up to the plate. He should plan a visit to Africa in 2013 that includes stops in several countries, convene a roundtable on Africa to garner policy ideas from academic experts and analysts, and lay out his “Agenda for Africa” in a major address to the American public. Moreover, he should lead a comprehensive international effort to end the relentless wars and economic predation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The consequences have been genocidal for the Congolese people.


Despite the economic upswing, and China’s growing presence in African infrastructure, manufacturing accounts for a paltry share of Africa’s output. Mr. Obama should highlight the contributions American corporations can make to industrialization and job creation in the continent. He should put forward incentives for American institutions to pursue deeper engagement with their African counterparts, especially in higher education and health care. Mr. Obama’s name is on a dozen program initiatives in Africa, but who knows it? That must change, and soon.


Richard Joseph is the John Evans Professor of International History and Politics at Northwestern University and a Senior Fellow with the Program on Global Economy and  Development of The Brookings Institution.






The fiscal cliff is the result of a do nothing Congress intent on stopping the President from getting a second term, and President Obama's inability to create any bipartisan movement during his first term. So on January 2, 2013, to reduce the budget deficit, $530 million in tax increases will combine with massive spending cuts. This was a short term plan President Obama made with the Republican Congress. If this happens, the economy will fall into a deep recession meaning unemployment could rise to above 12%, and the whole world economy could fall apart. Most of Europe is in a recession and the economies in China and India are beginning to slow significantly.  An American recession would have catastrophic effects internationally as well as in this country.


The good news is that the re-election of President Obama deflates the do nothing agenda of the Republicans. Doing nothing means Republicans will be responsible for the national and world economy collapsing. So hopefully Congress is motivated to finally do something. And while the President has always attempted to compromise, now Speaker of the House, John Boehner, has indicated that he is open to compromise. The biggest obstacle to reform and compromise are the extreme right wing Republicans and Tea Party members who advocate no new taxes of any kind. Ironically, should these extremists refuse to compromise and stall progress, then taxes will be raised and spending cuts will be implemented. 5 Key Pieces of the Fiscal Cliff:


1. Expiration of the Bush Tax Cuts. Tax changes ratified in 2001 and 2003 are set to expire at the end of this year. If they do expire, the top tax rate rises from 35% to 39.6%. and all other income brackets also rise. The child tax credit is cut in half and taxes on capital gains rise. Potential Cost to the Economy $110 billion.


2. End of Payroll Tax Holiday and Extended Unemployment Benefits. In February, President Obama signed a continuation of a 2% payroll tax holiday and extended the number of weeks a worker can receive unemployment benefits. These are both set to expire on December 31. Potential Cost to the Economy $115 billion.


3. Reduction in Medicare Payments to Doctors. Lawmakers have delayed for years the Sustainable Growth Rate Formula. This requires a substantial reduction in Medicare payments to physicians. If this change is not delayed again, Medicare payments to doctors will drop 27.4%.  Potential Cost to the Economy $10 billion.


4. Introduction of Automatic Spending Cuts. Stating January 2 across the board spending cuts take effect because the congressional super committee failed to reach a budget deal. Defense spending will be cut nearly 10 %, non discretionary spending falls about 8% and Medicare payments to providers fall 2%. Potential Cost to the Economy $65 billion.


5. Debut of Obamacare Taxes The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act includes several tax increases, including a 1% increase in payroll taxes on high earners.  Potential Cost to the Economy $25 billion.


To avoid disaster the President will need to convey to Congress his reelection mandate. The American people have chosen to not fund the recovery on the backs of  he middle class and poor. Instead, the highest earners in society who have recently benefited the most from the Bush tax breaks will pay a little more.  This is the will of the people. Speaker Boehner and President Obama will need to be strong leaders and move this country in a direction consistent with the vote of the people.


Dr. Charles C. Mbonu writes from USA





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