Archive for the ‘Foreign relations’ Category

How Hillary Clinton learned Moammar Gadhafi was a goner

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s BlackBerry moment in the Libya campaign:

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Your morning jolt: Johnny Isakson skeptical of claims that Pakistan didn’t know of Osama bin Laden raid

Morning TV chatter is circling around the likelihood that Osama bin Laden lived several years in his in-plain-sight compound.

How could the Pakistani government not know? many members of Congress are asking.

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson isn’t one of them. Nor is Isakson yet buying into assertions from both the U.S. and Pakistani governments that there was no contact between the two about the Sunday raid that resulted in bin Laden’s death.

“You don’t land helicopters in a compound like that, in the middle of a foreign country, without some help and cooperation. So let’s just leave it at that,” said Isakson, in an interview with Denis O’Hayer of WABE (90.1) on Monday.

In other words, Pakistani claims of ignorance, and U.S. claims of lone wolf-ism may be a ruse for local consumption.

Isakson said he would wait until a meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee before he did any more speculating.

*** this morning wonders whether the Osama bin Laden raid marked the …

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Your morning jolt: Max Cleland on Afghanistan as Vietnam, and struggles with depression

Revised at 4:55 p.m.:

On a quiet Tuesday night in the shadow of downtown Atlanta, Max Cleland rolled his wheelchair to the head of a welcoming crowd and explained where he’d been the last seven years.

Down the dank rabbit hole of depression and out the other side.

The gathering of 150 or so at the Carter Center was the first event in Georgia associated with the publication of Cleland’s new book, “Heart of a Patriot: How I Found the Courage to Survive Vietnam, Walter Reed and Karl Rove.”

Attendees were mostly older. Many were former military, and some were from Cleland’s old neighborhood in Lithonia. A C-SPAN camera was there as well. At least one Republican was in the audience.

The former U.S. senator, who lost his seat to Republican Saxby Chambliss in 2002, disappointed some who had assumed that, in the years since, the Vietnam veteran had drifted into the ranks of conspiracy theorists.

Cleland had no answer for the lanky fellow who assumed that, because the former Georgia …

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Your morning jolt: The four-month fund-raising desert

In a weekly column he writes for Georgia newspapers, attorney and Republican strategist Randy Evans points to the tough choice many of the 2010 candidates for governor — Republican and Democrat — will face as the new year approaches.

Fund-raising pressures, he says, will force some of them to quit the race — or quit the state office that gives them a prominent platform from which to speak.

Georgia has a law that prohibits any elected statewide officeholder or member of the Georgia General Assembly from asking for or receiving a campaign contribution while the Georgia General Assembly is in session. The General Assembly convenes on January 11, 2010 and will probably extend into April 2010.

As a result, current statewide elected officials and members of the General Assembly can not raise any money during this time.

What does this mean? Well, in the Republican Primary, Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, Secretary of State Karen Handel, state
Sen. Eric Johnson, and state …

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Your morning jolt: The melody of murder, mayhem, and shopping in Atlanta

Polls aren’t the only means of judging the imprint that crime is making on season’s race for mayor of Atlanta.

Newspaper headlines are one additional gauge, though they carry the disadvantage of self-reference.

We’ve had the murder of a boxer, the carjacking of a councilman, the home invasion of a city council president (and mayoral candidate), and a spate of robberies around Georgia Tech.

That says something.

But music can be another measure. And an Atlanta politician might find meaning in the fact that one of the more popular songs by one of the more popular bands in Atlanta is a paean to murder, mayhem and neighborhood shopping.

By day, Mack Williams, 28, is an animator who works on the edge of the Georgia Tech district. He’s familiar with the string of assaults around the campus.

He lives in the Ponce de Leon Avenue area near the local Kroger. Monday, on his Twitter account, he described a chase by police of some culprit from the grocery store to his street.

“Back yard is …

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Your morning jolt: Thank God for California

Taxes collected by the 50 states dropped by nearly 12 percent overall in the first three months of 2009 over the year before – the largest such decline in nearly half a century, according to the Rockefeller Institute of Government.

According to a report issued late last week, the only good news is that Georgia is somewhere in the middle:

All regions of the country saw declines in total state tax collections, with the Far West seeing the largest decline at 16 percent. Only the Rocky Mountain and Plains regions saw single-digit declines at 5 and 6 percent, respectively.

In other words, forget Mississippi. Thank goodness for California. Read the entire report here.

With that kind of data in mind, my AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin spoke with Sonny Perdue about the 2010 budget and what the governor estimates as an immediate, $800 million shortfall. Click here for details.

The Republican base will want to read Perdue’s comments on his veto of a capital gains tax cut bill …

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Your morning jolt: Borders names a new campaign manager

In April, Atlanta City Council President Lisa Borders sat in the home of Verna Cleveland and said she was re-entering the race for mayor and that Cleveland would be her campaign manager.

Late Wednesday, the Borders campaign confirmed to my AJC colleague Eric Stirgus that Cleveland is out as campaign manager and state Rep. Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta) is in.

Borders campaign spokeswoman Liz Flowers said Cleveland wasn’t fired, and this isn’t a campaign shake-up.

Instead, Flowers said Borders needed a new set of troops as the campaign “ramps up” for the final four months. Cleveland will still volunteer for the campaign.

“Verna will still support Lisa,” Flowers said. “This was all about the relaunch [of the campaign].”

In other words, Flowers said the campaign is shifting its focus from raising money to winning endorsements and votes.

Cleveland was Shirley Franklin’s campaign finance director for her successful 2001 mayoral bid and Borders needed some fund-raising prowess after …

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Your morning jolt: Johnny Isakson’s homebuyer tax credit again stripped away

Spurned again.

For the second time this year, a $15,000 tax credit for homebuyers backed by Johnny Iskason made it into a Senate bill — only to be eliminated by a House-Senate conference committee.

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson. Kimberly Smith/

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson. Kimberly Smith/

“I would like to thank the Senate for its wisdom in adopting the $15,000 credit, express my deep disappointment in the conference committee for dropping it and encourage our president and the leadership of our country to give a second thought to what this credit could do,” Isakson said after it happened late Wednesday.

In February, Isakson was able to insert the tax credit provision into a $787 billion stimulus bill (which the senator voted against). The tax credit was removed during House-Senate negotiations as too expensive.

This month, the Senate again approved the Isakson amendment, attaching it to the $3.56 trillion budget resolution. Isakson again voted against the main bill, which passed 53 to 43. Final passage by …

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Your morning jolt: Panic in the skies, followed by a Bloomberg political ad

Embarrassing screw ups don’t get much bigger than sending a Barack Obama-less Air Force One and a fighter escort into a quiet blue sky over Ground Zero, creating panic among the Manhattan herds for a mere photo op.

The only thing more egregious were the puns. This from the New York Post:

“Air Farce One” played out over lower Manhattan yesterday — in a terrifyingly bizarre military photo op that sent office workers fleeing from their buildings fearing a new 9/11-type attack….

Although the Air Force had permission for the 10 a.m. flyover, no one bothered to warn the people on the ground, and as the two jets hurtled toward lower Manhattan, many mistook Obama’s plane for Osama’s.

The Daily News focused on groveling apologies from the White House:

Louis Caldera, the director of the White House military office who sent Air Force One and the fighter jet on an “aerial photo mission,” got slammed by an angry President Obama.

“I approved a mission over New York,” Caldera said in a …

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Your morning jolt: A straw poll in the race for lieutenant governor, other manuevering

Ignoring the gorgeous weather, both Democrats and Republicans continued shaping the 2010 field over the weekend.

Republicans held congressional district conventions intended to select another round of delegates to the state convention In Savannah on May 15 and 16.

Candidates for governor where highly active, as were two of the three current candidates for lieutenant governor: Eric Johnson of Savannah and David Shafer of Duluth.

Both are contemplating how to proceed, now that Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle has announced he’s running for re-election as governor.

Numerous straw polls were held — too many to mention. But one in the 11th District, for lieutenant governor, is worth mentioning. Johnson won 61 percent, to Cagle’s 21 percent. Shafer drew 13 percent.

So Jason Shepherd reports on PeachPundit.

Note that this is prime territory for House Speaker Glenn Richardson, and that might have had a bearing. (Johnson was also the only lite gov candidate there. Shafer supporters also told us …

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