Let Us Talk

July 19, 2008

Saturday: Senator Obama Visits Kuwait Arrives in Kabul, Afghanistan

    Senator Barack Obama has arrived in Afghanistan, the second stop on his international tour which started in Kuwait and will include Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Germany, France and Britain.

Obama flew to the Afghan capital, Kabul, as part of an official congressional delegation. Senator Obama is hoping to address security issues, seen as the weakest aspect of his presidential bid.

The campaign announced early this morning, Eastern Time that Obama was on the ground in Kabul, Afghanistan. The U.S. military later said Obama was greeting U.S. troops at Jalalabad airfield in eastern Afghanistan.

  Obama’s first stop was in Kuwait at Camp Arifjan, the main U.S. military base in Kuwait and a major gateway for U.S. soldiers moving into and out of Iraq.

Lt. Col. Bill Nutter, a spokesman for the U.S. military in Kuwait, said, “He talked to soldiers and constituents and met with senior military leadership.”

During the two-hour visit, Nutter said, the officers gave him an overview of operations. Obama shook hands, answered questions, posed for photos and played a little basketball during the visit. 

Obama and his party also met with troops and military brass at the huge Bagram Air Base, according to reporters on the ground.  Bagram is a militarized airport and housing complex that is located next to the ancient city of Bagram, Afghanistan. The base is currently occupied and maintained by the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army, with the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing of the United States Air Force and other U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps.

In a speech earlier this week Obama said the US military should focus on Afghanistan rather than Iraq.

There has been an upsurge in fighting in recent months between Taliban rebels and international and Afghan forces.

Asked what message he would convey to Afghan and Iraqi leaders, Senator Obama said: “I’m more interested in listening than doing a lot of talking.”

Speaking to reporters before leaving, he added: “I’m going over there as a US senator. We have one president at a time, so it’s the president’s job to deliver those messages.”

As Senator Obama arrives in Kabul (local time is 8 hours 30 minutes ahead of EST – when it’s 6am on the East Coast, it’s 2:30pm Kabul time) the temperature is expected to reach a hazy and hot 102 degrees.   But it’s not just the temperature that’s hot — war and heated disputes rages on in Afghanistan.

The NATO-led international force in Afghanistan rejected on Friday reports from Afghan officials that it killed more than 50 civilians in air strikes the previous day in the West of the country.

(more…)

June 11, 2008

Economy: America’s For Sale!

Because of George W. Bush and his economic non-strategies, America is for sale – again. 

I distinctly remember in the late 1980s when the Japanese started to purchase significant amounts of American real estate in Hawaii.  The yen had improved and the US economy was struggling and Hawaii saw a substantial increase of Japanese tourists and subsequently Japanese investors.  It got to the point where local home buyers and investors in Hawaii were competing for the limited supply of real estate with investors from Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong and Canada.  Once the Japanese investors bought up Honolulu and The Big Island, they set their eyes on the “The Big Kahuna”.  They came to Manhattan and purchased Rockefeller Center.  New Yorkers were up in arms!  Shocked!  Livid!

It was a matter of pride with New Yorkers and most Americans. The very idea that the center of journalistic and architectural modernity, Rockefeller Center, should belong to another country was beyond comprehension.  Things were THAT bad in America.

Rockefeller Center was named after John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who leased the space from Columbia University in 1928 and developed it from 1930.  It was the largest private building project ever undertaken in modern times. Construction of the 14 buildings in the Art Deco style began on May 17, 1930 and was completed on November 1, 1939 when he drove in the final (silver) rivet into 10 Rockefeller Plaza. Rockefeller Center is a magnificent complicated beauty.  Radio City Music Hall is a part of it. It’s the home of NBC and it’s where Saturday Night Live broadcasts from.  It is the home of the iconic Rockefeller Center Ice Skating Rink which we see in the background of so many movies.  It is where thousands gather each December to watch the lighting of “The Christmas Tree”.

In the late 80s, sadly, the Japanese purchased a major slice of America’s apple pie.

Here we are in 2008, 20 years later and the Chrysler Building is for sale; the world’s tallest brick building is now owned by the United Arab Emirates.   Another beautiful Art Deco building being purchased by a foreign country, this time the super-rich Abu Dhabi Investment Council is negotiating an $800 million deal for a 75 percent stake in the Art Deco treasure that has defined the Midtown skyline since 1930. (more…)

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.