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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Obama's Secret Deal and failures. Plus:Iran test-fires long-range missile! Where are Hope and Change hiding?

Iran test-fires missile amid nuclear tension!
Iran successfully test-fired a long-range, improved Sejil 2 missile on Wednesday, state television reported, in an announcement that added to tension with the West. Skip related content
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the launch underlined the case for tougher sanctions against Tehran.
Al Alam, Iran's Arabic-language satellite television, said the two-stage, solid fuel Sejil missile had a longer range than the Islamic Republic's Shahab model.
Iranian officials have in the past said the Shahab 3 missile can reach targets up to 2,000 km (1,250 miles) away. Such a range would put Israel and U.S. bases in the Gulf within reach.
The missile test coincides with increased tension over Iran's nuclear programme, which the West fears is aimed at making bombs. Iran denies the charge. (see full story here)

Health Care:
President Barack Obama tried mightily Tuesday to jolt the Senate's stalled health care overhaul effort, but after an hour-long closed-door meeting with Senate Democrats, the fate of his top 2009 domestic priority remains unclear. Time for pre-Christmas action is running out, however, because Senate rules are likely to require several days of procedural votes that will need 60 members to cut off debate.
Many Democrats remained circumspect about the bill.
"We're all being urged to vote for something and we don't know the details of what's in it," said Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind. (full story here)

House Dems: Senate is 'dithering' 
House Democrats’ long-simmering frustration with the slow pace of the Senate has begun to boil over, with a broad swath of Democratic representatives accusing their Senate colleagues of failing both their party and their country.
The cross-chamber assessment is brutal:
• “There is a growing sense that we’re lifting more than our share,” says California Rep. Xavier Becerra, a member of the Democrats’ leadership team in the House. “Members are hoping the Senate will kick into gear because the public expects a lot more to get done.” (see full story here)

"We'll tell the pharmaceutical companies 'thanks, but no, thanks' for the overpriced drugs -- But he forgot the "no, thanks" part
On the campaign trail, Barack Obama vowed to take on the drug industry by allowing Americans to import cheaper prescription medicine. "We'll tell the pharmaceutical companies 'thanks, but no, thanks' for the overpriced drugs -- drugs that cost twice as much here as they do in Europe and Canada," he said back then.
On Tuesday, the matter came to the Senate floor -- and President Obama forgot the "no, thanks" part. Siding with the pharmaceutical lobby, the administration successfully fought against the very idea Obama had championed.
"It's got to be a little awkward," said Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.). (full story here)

Delay Is Expected on Treaty Talks with Russia
The United States does not expect to conclude negotiations with Russia on a nuclear arms treaty in time for an accord to be signed later this week when President Obama is in Copenhagen, the White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, said Tuesday. (full story here)

U.S. gave up billions in tax money in deal for Citigroup's bailout repayment
The federal government quietly agreed to forgo billions of dollars in potential tax payments from Citigroup as part of the deal announced this week to wean the company from the massive taxpayer bailout that helped it survive the financial crisis.
The Internal Revenue Service on Friday issued an exception to long-standing tax rules for the benefit of Citigroup and a few other companies partially owned by the government. As a result, Citigroup will be allowed to retain billions of dollars worth of tax breaks that otherwise would decline in value when the government sells its stake to private investors. (full story here)

Al Gore as he's caught exaggerating the threat of global warming... againGreen crusader Al Gore was at the centre of a new spin row last night after he was caught out for a second time exaggerating the threat of global warming.
In a keynote speech at the Copenhagen talks, the former U.S. vice-president claimed the North Pole could be completely free of ice by the middle of the next decade.
He claimed a study showed a ‘75 per cent chance’ that the Arctic could be ice-free in the summer months within five to seven years.
However, Dr Wieslaw Maslowski, the study’s author, said his research revealed ‘nothing of the sort’. (continues here)

Climategate: the lawyers move in – those scientists are toast!
God bless America and – can I really be saying this? – God bless the legal profession! Despite the best efforts of the Obama administration, most of the world’s other governments (save the plucky Canucks), the United Nations and the Mainstream Media (MSM) to sweep Climategate under the carpet, the lawyers are putting this shoddy scandal where it belongs: in the dock. (Hat tip: Platosays)
The US Department of Energy (DOE) – under pressure, most likely, from Senator Inhofe – has issued a “Litigation Hold Notice” to its various sub-departments asking them to retain any documents pertaining to the Climatic Research Unit at University of East Anglia. Below – reports Watts Up With That - is a copy of the notice sent to the DOE’s Savannah office in South Carolina:  (continues here)

More uninvited guests shake President's hand...
It wasn't a state dinner, and they didn't crash it on purpose.
Still, a Georgia couple who showed up at the White House a day early for a tour somehow wound up at an invitation-only breakfast with President Obama and the first lady.
It left the White House once again explaining how people who were not on an event guest list wound up being led into the presidential mansion anyway.
The improbable adventure of Harvey and Paula Darden, Obama supporters from Hogansville, Ga., took place on Veterans Day, two weeks before Virginia socialites Tareq and Michaele Salahi infamously crashed the Obamas' state dinner for the prime minister of India. (continues here)

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