On October 19th, David Axelrod, the former Senior Advisor to President Obama and now head of his 2012 re-election campaign, spoke at Fordham University to a crowd of roughly 200 students in Keating 1st Auditorium at the request of the Fordham College Democrats for Fordham's American Age Lecture Series.
He opened his speech by singing verses from the school anthems of P.S. 40 and J.S. 104, the two NYC public schools he attended, describing how his first campaign experience was when he was only 10 years old for a local candidate who later won, then attended the University of Chicago, one of the most prominent universities in the country for the study of political science. It was while attending this university that he worked on the Senate campaign of Rep. Paul Simon (D-IL), his first major campaign activity.
Editor's Update: Here's the video the chapter made about their activism, and the text of the "programs" they handed out is at the bottom of the post:
From YAL at NC State:
Monday morning September 12 at around 11 AM I was sitting in our campus’ brickyard waiting to head inside to class when I got a notification on my phone. Our chapter president, Brady Nemeth, had posted on our facebook page an article from The Technician, our school newspaper, saying that President Obama would be coming to campus.
When I read the article I realized two things: The first being that this was purely a campaign speech because Obama was coming to speak in North Carolina, a potential swing state, about the “American Jobs Act” or as we here at NC State YAL decided to call “Stimulus Round 2.”
The other thing I noticed was the speech was at noon on Wednesday September 14th…exactly two days from that moment. It was a brilliant move by the Obama administration to only give us a two days notice because he could easily rally supporters and students interested in seeing a sitting president while it would be quite difficult for those who oppose his failed policies to organize a counter-demonstration. Well, I’d say we managed to do ok, as you will see.
This statement from Mr. Schiff was entered into the Congressional Record on the morning of September, 13 2011 as testimony before the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending hearing: “Take Two: The President’s Proposal to Stimulate the Economy and Create Jobs.”
Emboldened by their victory in Libya, the U.S. and its NATO allies have shifted their attention away from Muammar Gaddafi to Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. Not content with regime changes in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. has decided to co-opt the Arab Spring to pursue a policy of military intervention in the Middle East starting with Libya, then Syria, and beyond.
Victory in Libya is the inevitable post-Gaddafi chaos
Gaddafi might be an evil man to his own people (and he was a longtime sponsor of international terrorism), but in the past decade he has shown an effort to normalize relations with the U.S. by ending his sponsorship of terrorism and disarming Libya. Relationship has improved so much so that the normally hawkish Sen. John McCain is revealed by newly released diplomatic cables to have been pushing the U.S. government to sell weapons to Libya. How does the U.S. and NATO reward Gaddafi? They oust him.
It would seem that America's newest war in Libya is supposedly coming to an end as rebels have now entered the capitol city of Tripoli. So what should America and the rest of the world expect to see from Libya?
One thing I think we can safely assume is that, like Iraq and Afganistan, when this war is declared "over" it will not be over. Gaddafi remains at large, and the media has reported the man still has many supporters. Another thing to consider is that these rebels have just entered the capitol and could very well lose control of it to pro-Gaddafi fighters, or face a population which does not recongize their control and takes up arms against them.
In what I believe to be the United States government's hope, we may see a new, pro-American regime put in place. Our military has actively supported the rebel's cause through bombs, CIA assistance, and by spending nearly a billion dollars on the operation. Since we do not provide these things to just anyone and everyone (though it may seem like we do), I suspect the Obama Adminstration expects something in return for all of their assistance.
Mohamed is one of a growing number of American Muslims who claim they were captured overseas and questioned in secret at the behest of the United States, victims of what human rights advocates call “proxy detention”—or “rendition-lite.” The latter is a reference to the Bush- and Clinton-era CIA practice of capturing foreign nationals suspected of terrorism and “rendering” them to countries such as Egypt, Jordan, or Morocco for interrogations that often involved torture.
Al Jazeera reports that Human Rights Watch (HRW) has asked President Obama to prosecute his predecessor and many prominent members of the Bush Administration for torture of terror suspects in legal limbo at prisons like Guantanamo Bay. “Instead of looking at isolated cases, Obama should probe those responsible for setting up the harsh interrogation practices at Guantanamo and the secret rendition programs overseas as America went to war in Afghanistan,” the humanitarian group said in a public statement.
It’s a well-intentioned plan, certainly. That the American government tortures (even in spite of its own Constitution and legal code) is an established and despicable fact. The problem is that the torture didn’t stop when Dubya went home to Texas in 2009. As with so many other issues, Barack Obama has followed in Bush’s footsteps in matter of detainee treatment, secrecy, and rendition.
HRW is correct that we must be consistent in condemning torture when we find at home as well as abroad. But the organization’s appeal to Obama as a potential ally is…credulous, to put it mildly.