7:31 AM, May 9, 2013 • By JAIME DAREMBLUM
During his trip to Mexico and Costa Rica last week, President Obama tried to highlight the positive and downplay the negative. Thus, he spoke at length about the growth of trade, commerce, and economic partnerships, arguing that security issues should not be allowed to dominate all discussions of U.S. policy in the region. (Of course, Obama voted against the Central America Free Trade Agreement when he was a senator, and he canceled a U.S.-Mexico pilot trucking program during his first months as president, but never mind.) His remarks were surely welcomed by Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, who has taken great pains to transform his country’s image abroad. Whereas many Americans and others have come to associate Mexico with drug trafficking and brutal cartel violence, Peña Nieto wants them to learn more about Mexico’s emergence as a manufacturing powerhouse, its increasingly important role in the global economy, and the expansion of its middle class.
His desire to emphasize good news, rather than the latest news of gangland violence, is of course understandable. But rhetoric and optimism are no substitute for a real strategy to destroy the drug cartels. Not only has Peña Nieto failed to offer one, his administration is significantly reducing Mexican security cooperation with the United States.
Indeed, shortly before President Obama left for Mexico City, the Washington Post and the New York Times both published articles documenting U.S. concerns that the bilateral progress made under President Felipe Calderón—Peña Nieto’s predecessor, who served from December 2006 to December 2012—is being threatened by Mexico’s changing approach to the war against organized crime. Post reporter Dana Priest observed that the new Mexican administration has backed away from the so-called kingpin strategy of targeting cartel bosses—a strategy backed by Washington and implemented by Calderón—and instead claims to be focused on reducing violence. It is establishing five “fusion centers” where intelligence will be gathered and analyzed by Mexican officials, but “Americans will no longer be allowed to work inside any fusion center,” not even a key facility in Monterrey that was sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Given that Mexico’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) was known for making corrupt deals with drug traffickers during the 1980s and 1990s, it is not surprising that “some U.S. officials fear the coming of an unofficial truce with cartel leaders.”
Mexican authorities have dismissed these concerns as overblown. In his May 2 press conference with Obama, Peña Nieto stressed that he is merely adopting a “more efficient” strategy that will reduce the number of drug-related killings and improve public safety. He insisted that curbing violence and fighting organized crime are not contradictory objectives. But he also said that he wanted the United States and Mexico “to cooperate on the basis of mutual respect.” That was a polite way of declaring that Mexico will no longer give U.S. officials such wide access to their territory or their security and intelligence operations.
3:33 PM, May 8, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
In a statement to the press, the State Department is calling "on all Libyans to refrain from armed protest and violence during this difficult time in the democratic transition."
The rest of the statement reads:
2:12 PM, May 3, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
In a petition emailed today to supporters, Organizing for Action, President Obama's former campaign group, uses violence in Chicago to push for more gun control.
"In 2009, my schoolmate Greg Robinson was in the backseat of a car returning home from a basketball game when someone with a gun opened fire," the letter from "Ronnie Mosley," of Morehouse College Class of 2013, emails.
7:19 AM, May 2, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Vice President Joe Biden made the case last night at a Washington, D.C. hotel that abused women fear getting "raped again by the system." Biden made the comments in remarks to a fundraiser for the Volunteer Lawyers Project, which is co-chaired by his daughter.
10:45 AM, Mar 27, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
First Lady Michelle Obama is headed next month to Chicago to discuss "Youth Violence," the White House announced today.
"On Wednesday, April 10, First Lady Michelle Obama will return to her hometown to address local business and community leaders about providing more opportunities for young people to achieve their full potential," the White House press release reads.
9:01 AM, Jan 27, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
In an interview with the New Republic, President Barack Obama is asked, "I'm wondering if you, as a fan, take less pleasure in watching football, knowing the impact that the game takes on its players."
3:46 PM, Jan 23, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Just a couple minutes ago, presidential advisor Valerie Jarrett, who is personally close to President Barack Obama, tweeted, that "If there's one thing we should all agree on, it's protecting women from violence."
12:01 PM, Jan 16, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Barack Obama will put more "counselors" in school to help thwart gun violence. According to a background briefer provided by the White House, Obama hopes to add an additional 1,000 "school resource officers and counselors."
From the White House's document:
11:17 AM, Jan 16, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
On Laura Ingraham's radio show this morning, Florida senator Marco Rubio, a Republican, said the media opposes the Second Amendment.
“[T]he mass media in this country, both entertainment and news media… leans lefts and would prefer that there not be Second Amendment,” said Rubio.
1:19 PM, Jan 15, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The White House has invited children for President Barack Obama's gun control roll out, which is scheduled for tomorrow:
3:03 PM, Dec 19, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Barack Obama announced today that he's "asked the Vice President to lead an effort that includes members of my Cabinet and outside organizations to come up with a set of concrete proposals no later than January -- proposals that I then intend to push without delay."
5:57 PM, Dec 14, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
After the mass shooting Connecticut today, Rep. Dennis Kucinich reiterated his support for a "Department of Peace."
"It is long past time that we take an organized approach to addressing the violence in our society and that is exactly what the proposal for a cabinet level Department of Peace is all about. We must reject violence and take an organized approach to averting violence," said the congressman in a prepared statement.
11:03 AM, Dec 12, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Senator Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat from Michigan, encouraged folks to "keep fighting!" after her side lost the labor dispute that will now give union members the right-to-work.