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Tags: Obamas | Eyes | and | Ears

Valerie Jarrett Is Obama's 'Eyes and Ears'

By    |   Sunday, 02 August 2009 02:49 PM EDT

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Valerie Jarrett Is Obama's 'Eyes and Ears'
2. Newsmax Poll: Strong Support for Sarah Palin in 2012
3. Dan Rather: Obama Should Save the Press
4. Global Warming Efforts Called 'Immoral' in Africa
5. Chavez Threatens Colombia With Pipeline Shutdown
6. Science Czar: Newborn Will 'Ultimately' Become a Human Being
7. Obama Is 'Camera Hog in Chief'


1. Valerie Jarrett Is Obama's 'Eyes and Ears'

Officially, Valerie Jarrett is White House senior adviser and assistant to the president for intergovernmental affairs and public engagement.

In reality, Jarrett is Obama's "intermediary to the outside world" and his "closest friend in the White House," according to an in-depth New York Times report on Jarrett's role in the Obama administration.

Obama told The Times' Robert Draper that Jarrett has served "as my eyes and ears."

He also said Jarrett, former head of a Chicago real estate development firm, "combines the closeness of a family member with the savvy and objectivity of a professional businesswoman and public-policy expert."

And an Obama associate disclosed that there are two people Obama is "not going to say no to" — his wife Michelle, and Jarrett.

Jarrett, 52, was born of Africa-American parents in Iran, where her physician father was working with an American aid program. She earned a law degree at the University of Michigan, and was serving as Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley's deputy chief of staff in 1991 when she befriended a young lawyer named Michelle Robinson, and through Michelle, her fiancé, Barack Obama.

Jarrett and Obama became close friends, and she gave him guidance on the book he was writing, "Dreams of My Father."

When Obama, then a state senator, decided to run for the U.S. Senate in 2002, Jarrett originally opposed the idea. But she went along when Obama promised his wife he would quit politics if he lost the election, and Jarrett helped with his fundraising efforts.

She was again at Obama's side in 2006 when he discussed a run for the White House with political strategist David Axelrod, and again served as an important adviser during the campaign.

A few days after Obama won the presidency, Draper reported, he told his new chief of staff Rahm Emanuel: "I want her inside the White House."

When Emanuel found out in December that Jarrett had been looking at office space in the White House, "Emanuel was not happy to learn this," according to Draper. "He confronted Jarrett, and today he says, 'There was a misunderstanding . . . It wasn't a dust-up.'"

Jarrett's director of intergovernmental affairs said there is no "power struggle" between Jarrett and Emanuel. But Draper notes that when Emanuel talks about Jarrett, "it's fair to say that his words fall short of effusive."

In the administration, Jarrett now serves as Obama's conduit to the business community, and as "unofficial champion of minority issues," the Times report discloses.

Beyond that, a friend of advisers Jarrett and Axelrod observed that while Obama gets "brilliant political advice from David, from Valerie he gets wisdom."

When Draper asked Obama if he runs every decision past Jarrett, he answered quickly: "Absolutely."

Editor's Note:

2. Newsmax Poll Shows Strong Support for Sarah Palin in 2012

An Internet poll sponsored by Newsmax.com reveals that nearly 4 out of 5 respondents would support Sarah Palin as the Republican nominee for president in 2012.

A slightly larger majority believe the then-Alaska governor helped John McCain in the 2008 presidential race — while only 31 percent think McCain did a good job running for president.

The poll drew more than 600,000 responses, and Newsmax will provide the results to major media and share them with radio talk-show hosts across the country.

Here are the poll questions and results:

1) What is your opinion of Sarah Palin? Favorable: 83 percent Unfavorable: 17 percent

2) Do you believe Sarah Palin as a running mate helped or hurt John McCain? Helped: 80 percent Hurt: 20 percent

3) In the election between McCain-Palin and Obama-Biden, who did you vote for? McCain-Palin: 81 percent Obama-Biden: 16 percent
Other: 3 percent

4) Would you support Sarah Palin as the Republican nominee for president in 2012? Yes: 78 percent No: 22 percent

5) Do you believe McCain did a good job running for president? Good Job: 31 percent Bad Job: 69 percent

6) Do you believe Barack Obama "bought" the White House by outspending McCain? Yes: 72 percent No: 28 percent

Editor's Note:

3. Dan Rather: Obama Should Save the Press

Former CBS News anchor Dan rather had called on President Barack Obama to come to the rescue of the ailing mainstream media.

In a speech at the Aspen Institute in Colorado on Tuesday, Rather said Obama should form a commission to save the press.

"I personally encourage the president to establish a White House commission on public media," he told the gathering.

That commission should make recommendations on saving journalism jobs and creating new business models to keep news organization alive, according to Rather, who currently hosts "Dan Rather Reports" on HDNet.

"A truly free and independent press is the red beating heart of democracy and freedom," Rather said in an interview with the Aspen Daily News.

"This is not something just for journalists to be concerned about, the loss of jobs and the loss of newspapers, and the diminution of the American press' traditional role of being the watchdog on power. This is something every citizen should be concerned about."

Without action from the government, or from an organization like the Carnegie Foundation, Rather predicted, American will lose its independent media.

"If we do nothing more than stand back and hope that innovation alone with solve this crisis, then our best-trained journalists will lose their jobs."

Rather left "CBS Evening News" in 2005 after 24 years, following a controversy surrounding his use of allegedly false documents to discredit George W. Bush.

Editor's Note:

4. Global Warming Efforts Called 'Immoral' in Africa

Africans are battling AIDS, malaria, lung infections, intestinal diseases, war, malnutrition and other problems that kill millions each year, "and yet day after day, Africans are told the biggest threat we face is global warming."

That's the complaint of leading African social worker Fiona Kobusingye, coordinator of Congress of Racial Equality Uganda and the Kill Malarial Mosquitoes Now Brigade.

In a column for Townhall.com, Kobusingye writes that predictions of global warming disasters are being used "to justify telling Africans that we shouldn’t build coal or natural gas electrical power plants. It’s the almost total absence of electricity [that is] keeping us from creating jobs and becoming modern societies . . . These policies kill.

"The average African lifespan is lower than it was in the United States and Europe 100 years ago. But Africans are being told we shouldn’t develop, or have electricity or cars because, now that those countries are rich beyond anything Africans can imagine, they’re worried about global warming.

"Al Gore and [United Nations] climate boss Yvo de Boer tell us the world needs to go on an energy diet. Well, I have news for them. Africans are already on an energy diet. We’re starving!

"Al Gore uses more electricity in a week than 28 million Ugandans together use in a year. And those anti-electricity policies are keeping us impoverished."

Not having electricity "means disease and death" in Africa, Kobusingye said. "It means millions die from lung infections, because they have to cook and heat with open fires; from intestinal diseases caused by spoiled food and unsafe drinking water; from malaria, TB, cholera, measles and other diseases that we could prevent or treat if we had proper medical facilities.

"Hypothetical global warming a hundred years from now is worse than this?

"Telling Africans they can’t have electricity and economic development — except what can be produced with some wind turbines or little solar panels — is immoral. It is a crime against humanity."

Kobusingye concludes: "Uganda and Africa need to stop worrying about what the West, the U.N. and Al Gore say. We need to focus on our own needs, resources, and opportunities."

Editor's Note:

5. Chavez Threatens Colombia With Pipeline Shutdown

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says he might seize control of Colombian-owned businesses in his country in a dispute over an arms cache.

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe last week said anti-tank rocket launchers sold to Venezuela by Sweden were found in a cache belonging to Colombia's main rebel group, FARC.

Sweden confirmed those weapons were sold to Venezuela. But Chavez insists there is no evidence that Venezuela was the source of the rebel weapons and vowed to seize control of Colombian-owned businesses "if there's one more accusation against Venezuela," according to The Associated Press.

Chavez also threatened to shut down a 140-mile pipeline that carries up to 300 million cubic feet of natural gas daily from Colombia to installations in Venezuela, saying the gas "isn't indispensable to us."

The dispute has heightened tensions between Venezuela and its neighbor amid Chavez's criticism of a pending deal to increase American military presence in Colombia, which has charged Venezuela with aiding rebels.

As Newsmax reported earlier this week, Chavez recalled his ambassador to Colombia and froze diplomatic relations with the U.S. ally over the arms dispute.

Editor's Note:

6. Science Czar: Newborn Will 'Ultimately' Become a Human Being

President Barack Obama's top science adviser John Holdren is best known today as a staunch believer in the dangers of global warming, but in the 1970s he was an abortion proponent who questioned whether an offspring is actually a "human being" even at birth.

Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, in 1973 co-authored the book "Human Ecology: Problems and Solutions."

It contained this passage: "The fetus, given the opportunity to develop properly before birth, and given the essential early socializing experiences and sufficient nourishing food during the crucial early years after birth, will ultimately develop into a human being."

"Human Ecology" argued that the human race faced dire consequences unless population growth was stopped. At the time it was written, the Supreme Court had not yet handed down its Roe v. Wade decision, "and the passage in question was part of a subsection of the 'Population Limitation' chapter that argued for legalized abortion," CNSNews reported.

The book also raised the possibility that "involuntary fertility control" might ultimately be needed to control population growth.

The authors stated, "Compulsory control of family size is an unpalatable idea, but the alternatives may be much more horrifying."

Holdren, a former Harvard professor, advised Al Gore on his climate change documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Editor's Note:

7. Obama Is 'Camera Hog in Chief'

President Barack Obama is shattering every record kept on U.S. presidential press coverage in all forms of media.

Over the first six months of 2009, Obama was cited in 1.1 million stories in the mainstream, Internet, and social media — an average of 6,100 references a day, according to a Forbes.com article headlined "Camera Hog in Chief."

"That's more than triple what Obama's last two predecessors, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, got in the mainstream press during their first six months," Forbes observed.

In the first half of this year, Obama delivered 281 speeches, gave 88 interviews to journalists, hosted 30 news conferences, and emceed 14 town hall meetings, according to Mark Knoller of CBS News, who has covered every president since Gerald Ford.

There is evidence, however, that Americans could be getting "Obama-ed out." His February address to Congress drew 52 million viewers. His news conference in late July, focusing on healthcare, drew 29 million viewers.

Editor's Note:

Editor's Notes:

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Valerie Jarrett Is Obama's 'Eyes and Ears'2. Newsmax Poll: Strong Support for Sarah Palin in 20123. Dan Rather: Obama Should Save the Press4. Global Warming Efforts Called 'Immoral' in Africa5. Chavez Threatens Colombia With...
Sunday, 02 August 2009 02:49 PM
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