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A new Gallup Poll finds President Barack Obama is steadily losing the battle to be seen a strong leader:

Americans have grown increasingly less likely to view President Obama as a strong and decisive leader since he took office. Roughly half now believe this aptly describes, him compared with 60% a year ago and 73% in April 2009.


Some other perceptions have not changed:

The decline in Obama’s leadership rating stands in contrast to the stability in the trend for two other personal dimensions. Fifty-seven percent of Americans believe the president understand the problems Americans face in their daily lives, essentially unchanged from 56% in March 2010. And 51% of respondents believe Obama shares their values, similar to 48% last year. Both ratings are down from early 2009.

And, overall, this represents a steady erosion in image:
Altogether, Obama’s ratings on being a strong and decisive leader are down a total of 21 percentage points since taking office, compared with a 15-point decline on understanding Americans’ daily problems and a 9-point decline in sharing their values. Obama’s overall job approval rating declined 16 points over the same time period.

Additionally, Gallup notes :

  • Obama’s leadership ratings are down among all political groups.
  • All groups find Obama’s honesty his biggest attribute “the only trait ascribed to Obama by a majority of independents. Majorities of Democrats attribute each of the four other positive characteristics to Obama, but they are notably less likely to believe Obama has a clear plan for solving the country’s problems.”
  • Gallup then draws its conclusions but in sheer political terms the bottom line is this: the GOP does have an opening to blast Obama on leadership, keep using the phrase “dithering” (even if he is not), say he’s not providing strong leadership. Just like audiences turning into talk radio do so because they agree with what the host will say in advance, if the GOP uses these themes there is fertile ground there. Are the Democrats prepared for it — seeing what lies ahead?

    So far the Democrats’ — and the White Houses’ — record in effectively predicting Republicans’ next step and having a plan to counter it has been incompetent at beset, dismal at worst.


    The Moderate Voice

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    Pakistani official have claimed that a top Indonesia terrorist linked to the 2002 bombings in Bali was recently arrested in Pakistan.

    Pakistani officials say that Umar Patek, the most wanted member of the al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah, was arrested on March 2. The location and circumstances of his arrest were not disclosed.

    Indonesia has dispatched a team of police and intelligence officials to Pakistan in an attempt to confirm the identity of the man. Pakistani officials are confident that the man captured is indeed Patek.

    Indonesia officials are attempting to determine how he was able to leave the country. Patek is believed to have spent time in Bangkok, Thailand before entering Pakistan.

    Patek’s purpose in Pakistan has not been disclosed, however commanders of al Qaeda’s regional affiliates often travel to the country to meet with senior leadership to discuss funding, recruiting, and current and future operations. Commanders from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, al Qaeda in Iraq, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and Jemaah Islamiyah are occasionally reported to have traveled in and out of the country.

    Patek is one of the top remaining leaders of Jemaah Islamiyah who has fought with the group since the 1990s. Patek is among the leadership cadre who trained in Pakistan and Afghanistan and Pakistan during the 1980s and 1990s. Other top Jemaah Islamiyah leaders, such as Hambali, Noordin Mohammed Top, Dulmatin, Abu Rusdan, Mukhlas, Abu Dujana, and Zarkasih, have been killed or captured over the past decade.

    The US government has put out a $ 1 million bounty out for Patek for his involvement in the 2002 bombing at the Bali nightclubs in Indonesia. Patek “served as the assistant for the field coordinator” of the Bali attack, according tot he Rewards for Justice website. Seven US and 88 Australian citizens were killed in the attack.

    Patek is thought to have fled Indonesia and joined up with members of Abu Sayyaf and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the Philippines. While in the Philippines, he is thought to have led a Jemaah Islamiyah training camp in Mindanao.

    Patek is believed to have returned to Indonesia sometime in 2010 to help establish an “al Qaeda in Aceh” training camp in Aceh. Indonesia is currently prosecuting Abu Bakar Bashir, the co-founder and spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyah for his role in establishing and funding the Aceh terror camp. If convicted, Bashir can receive the death penalty.

    Sources:

    1 The Long War Journal

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    An Islamic Jihad leader has condemned the Israeli airstrike that killed a member of his group this morning, in response to rocket fire.

    One of the things he said is interesting:

    Palestine is holy ground, a royal land, and it is not for the Palestinians only , but for all Muslims.

    Which brings up two questions:

    Has any Palestinian Christian leader ever expressed discomfort at being explicitly sidelined and dhimmified when Islamic Jihad and Hamas make statements like these?

    Has any leftist “pro-Palestinian” group ever condemned the ambitions of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, whose clear goal is not to create an independent Palestine but to use it as a step in the creation of a pan-Muslim ‘umma?

    The answer to both can be found in the latter half of what the PIJ leader said:

    [All Muslims] must release the land from the terrorism of the Zionist enemy.

    As long as you frame your goals in terms of destroying Israel, who cares what your ultimate goal is? Because everyone can agree that the main goal is the destruction of the Jewish state, not the niggling details of what would replace it.



    Elder of Ziyon

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    Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad “is attempting a new survival tactic in this Arab Spring — organizing what looks like a coup against his own government. Over the next 48 hours, it should become clear whether he has the political muscle and dexterity to pull off this unusual maneuver,” the Washington Post reports.

    “Assad dismissed his cabinet ministers Tuesday, and his backers encouraged massive public demonstrations of support in Damascus, Aleppo and other Syrian cities… In their effort to turn the tables on protesters, the regime used Facebook as one of its tools to summon demonstrators. The social networking site was officially approved in Syria less than two month ago.”


    Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

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    Doku-Riyah-video-Kavkaz.jpg

    From left to right: Khamzat, the commander of the Riyad-us-Saliheen Martyr Brigade; Doku Umarov, the leader of the Caucasus Emirate; and Saifullah, the suicide bomber the deadly Jan. 24 suicide attack at Domodedovo International Airport in Moscow that killed 35 people.

    The leader of the al Qaeda-linked Caucasus Emirates is not thought to be among those killed in a raid yesterday by Russian security forces in the Republic of Ingushetia.

    Russia officials said that Doku Umarov’s body is not believed to be among those of the 17 people killed during a March 28 nighttime raid by Russian security forces on what was described as a suicide training camp for the Islamic Caucasus Emirates, in the town of Upper Alkun in Ingushetia. Three Russia commandos were also killed during the raid.

    Security forces are conducting DNA tests to see if Umarov was one of those killed in the attack, according to RIA Novosti.

    Rumors emerged earlier today in the Russian and Western press that Umarov was killed during the raid, which also included airstrikes.

    Emir Khamzat and Emir Supyan, two of Umarov’s top commanders, were also rumored to have been killed during the raid, according to Kavkaz Center, a propaganda arm of the Caucasus Emirate. Supyan is Umarov’s deputy, while Khazmat is the commander of the Riyad-us-Saliheen Martyr Brigade, the terror group’s suicide squad.

    Kavkaz Center neither confirmed nor denied the reports of the deaths of Umarov, Supyan, and Khazmat. “It is to be pointed out in this connection that the Kavkaz Center does not have any confirmed information about the possible death of Mujahideen leaders,” the terrorist media arm wrote, in a statement released on its English-language website.

    Russian security forces have been hunting Umarov and other top leaders of the Caucasus Emirates for years. Umarov and Khazmat have masterminded some of the most deadly terror attacks in Russia and the Caucasus republics. Umarov and Khazmat claimed credit for the deadly Jan. 24, 2010 suicide attack at Domodedovo International Airport in Moscow that killed 35 people and wounded scores more. Umarov also claimed responsibility for the March 29, 2010 suicide attack by two female bombers that killed 39 people in the Moscow metro.

    Several times in the past, Umarov has been rumored to have been killed, but he has later appeared on videotapes to confirm he was alive. [See LWJ reports, US designates Caucasus Emirate leader Doku Umarov a global terrorist, and Caucasus Emirate leader thought killed in raid.]

    For more information on the Islamic Caucasus Emirate and its war with Russia, see LWJ report, 35 killed in suicide attack at Moscow airport.

    1 The Long War Journal

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    With its union-busting “budget repair bill” tied up in court and as many as eight recall campaigns looming, the Wisconsin state GOP has apparently abandoned its argument that the fight to end collective bargaining rights was just about closing the state’s budget gap.

    State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) has already revealed that the true motivation behind the bill was to defund unions to make it “much more difficult” for Democrats, including President Obama, to get elected in Wisconsin. Now, attempting to fend off efforts to recall eight of his Senate colleagues, he’s mailed out a fundraising letter that removes any doubt about the GOP’s motive:

    “(Unions have) ruined California and Illinois, but they’re not going to ruin Wisconsin.

    That is because Republicans faced down Big Labor’s bully tactics and a Democratic walk-out in the state Senate to break the power of unions like WEAC and AFSCME once and for all,” Fitzgerald said in his letter.

    Fitzgerald’s letter is in stark contrast from his all-about-the-budget rhetoric after the bill passed, when he said, “Today’s passage is a momentous step toward getting our state’s fiscal house in order.”

    Fitzgerald, however, isn’t alone. In Ohio, where the state senate is expected to vote on a similar union-busting bill tomorrow, state Rep. Joe Uecker (R) made it clear that the bill isn’t merely about the budget, but about “set[ting] the framework” for further anti-union efforts.

    Oklahoma has now also joined the list of states considering anti-union legislation. The state Senate passed a bill through committee Monday that would repeal a 2004 law that guaranteed collective bargaining rights for municipal employees in cities with more than 35,000 residents. If the bill passes, 13 cities could collectively bargain with unions but would no longer be required to do so.

    ThinkProgress

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    President Obama spoke to the nation tonight, supposedly to make the case for why we’re involved in a war in Libya. After the fact. Retroactively, you might say.

    Oh, wait…he didn’t make any kind of case for it. He just sort of updated us. Nor did he call it a war.

    According to Obama, this was all about what a great humanitarian he is.

    “To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and — more profoundly — our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are,” Obama said. “Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as president, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.”

    After dithering for weeks and letting all those other Libyan cities get sacked? He ummm…’refused to wait’?

    And if it’s all about being a humanitarian, where was Obama when the Mullahs were murdering protesters en masse in Tehran and Ishfahan? How about Darfur? What about Syria? And didn’t a certain Senator from Illinois do everything he could to sabotage the efforts of President Bush to take out another tyrant who made a specialty of slaughter and mass graves?

    You see, that’s the thing about President Obama. He thinks we’re all stupid except him.

    This was about three things: a wag the dog moment for the Prevaricator-in-Chief,rescuing the multimillion dollar oil deals of the Brits and French once they decided to support the rebels and then the tide turned in favor of Khaddaffi, and to provide Obama with a precedent for the UN’s ‘responsibility to protect(R2P) doctrine.

    Now, our troops are fighting a war as rent-a-cops for the UN and the Arab League at our expense to the tune of $ 600 million in six days…and I’m almost certain that figure is lowballed.

    I’m waiting to see the Left start carrying this sign, courtesy of my friend Greg over at Rhymes With Right:

    http://rhymeswithright.mu.nu/archives/images/nobloodforoil.jpg

    As for our president, I can’t decide what’s more despicable….his shredding of the Constitution, his callous disregard for any semblance of truth, his contempt for his ‘subjects’ or his overblown sense of himself.

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    J O S H U A P U N D I T

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    After displaying a highly offensive anti-abortion billboard campaign, the anti-choice organization Life Always ran into trouble when New York City denizens demanded it remove its colossal billboard declaring “the most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb.” Tricia Fraser, the mother of the little girl on the billboard, was enraged to learn of the billboard. She hadn’t expected a photo taken at a modeling agency to be abused for that purpose. Life Always promised not to use the girl’s picture again.

    Instead, they’ll use President Obama’s. As Right Wing Watch notes, Life Always and ThatsAbortion.com will unveil 30 new billboards in President Obama’s hometown — “where residents are predominantly black” — that declares, “Every 21 minutes, our next possible leader is aborted.” These are babies who could grow to be the future Presidents of the United States, or the next Oprah Winfrey, Denzel Washington or Maya Angelou,” said Life Always Board Member Reverend Derek McCoy.

    Since 2010, multiple right-wing anti-choice groups have been running “Abortion as Black Genocide” billboard campaigns across the country to target Planned Parenthood. Anti-choice groups are even defending the “Black genocide in the 21st century” fliers “displayed a noose” or said “in the new klan lynching is for amateurs.” State and federal lawmakers are now even trying to ban “race-based abortion.”

    As the Guttmacher Institute notes, these groups are “exploiting and distorting” the fact that “the abortion rate for black women is almost five times that for white women” to falsely blame the “aggressive marketing by abortion providers to minority communities.” In reality, the higher abortion rate reflects higher rate of unintended pregnanices resulting from wider disparities in geographic and financial access to health services — most notably “being able to afford the more effective — usually more expensive — prescription methods.” These obstacles, ironically, are what Planned Parenthood actively seeks to remove.

    “No woman’s reproductive choices should be questioned or subjected to more scrutiny or control based on her racial or ethnic background—and that’s exactly what these billboards do,” Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America told ThinkProgress. NARAL recently launched a campaign to remove these billboards. “We also find it deeply offensive that the group behind these billboards is wrapping its anti-choice agenda in the language and framework of civil rights. This cynical campaign represents politics at their worst,” she said.

    ThinkProgress

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    After displaying a highly offensive anti-abortion billboard campaign, the anti-choice organization Life Always ran into trouble when New York City denizens demanded it remove its colossal billboard declaring “the most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb.” Tricia Fraser, the mother of the little girl on the billboard, was enraged to learn of the billboard. She hadn’t expected a photo taken at a modeling agency to be abused for that purpose. Life Always promised not to use the girl’s picture again.

    Instead, they’ll use President Obama’s. As Right Wing Watch notes, Life Always and ThatsAbortion.com will unveil 30 new billboards in President Obama’s hometown — “where residents are predominantly black” — that declares, “Every 21 minutes, our next possible leader is aborted.” These are babies who could grow to be the future Presidents of the United States, or the next Oprah Winfrey, Denzel Washington or Maya Angelou,” said Life Always Board Member Reverend Derek McCoy.

    Since 2010, multiple right-wing anti-choice groups have been running “Abortion as Black Genocide” billboard campaigns across the country to target Planned Parenthood. Anti-choice groups are even defending the “Black genocide in the 21st century” fliers “displayed a noose” or said “in the new klan lynching is for amateurs.” State and federal lawmakers are now even trying to ban “race-based abortion.”

    As the Guttmacher Institute notes, these groups are “exploiting and distorting” the fact that “the abortion rate for black women is almost five times that for white women” to falsely blame the “aggressive marketing by abortion providers to minority communities.” In reality, the higher abortion rate reflects higher rate of unintended pregnanices resulting from wider disparities in geographic and financial access to health services — most notably “being able to afford the more effective — usually more expensive — prescription methods.” These obstacles, ironically, are what Planned Parenthood actively seeks to remove.

    “No woman’s reproductive choices should be questioned or subjected to more scrutiny or control based on her racial or ethnic background—and that’s exactly what these billboards do,” Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America told ThinkProgress. NARAL recently launched a campaign to remove these billboards. “We also find it deeply offensive that the group behind these billboards is wrapping its anti-choice agenda in the language and framework of civil rights. This cynical campaign represents politics at their worst,” she said.

    ThinkProgress

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    The new Democratic Party leader for Weston, Davie, Cooper City and Southwest Ranches is trying to mobilize the party faithful into an army to combat the opposition, which he views as an army of hate.

    “As it is clear that our values, education and livelihoods are under attack in Tallahassee and DC, we must organize to GOTV [get out the vote] protect the seats we have left. The 2012 election will be vital,” area leader Randy Fleischer e-mailed to Democrats in his West Broward territory. “As we under attack, we need an army to GOTV.”

    Here’s more of Fleischer’s thinking:

    “We need an army, because we are fighting an army.

    “They have an army based on hate. They hate Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

    “We need an army of love - love of country, love of life, love for each other.

    “They believe that the best of life should be stockpiled at the top, claiming that it will trickle down to those who they are certain exist below them.

    “We know that the high tide lifts all boats.”

    As a first step, he’s trying to get Democrats to a bar happy hour featuring half price drinks, food and political talk Monday night.

    The event is from 5 to 7 p.m. at Gatsby’s at University Drive and Interstate 595.

    Below, on the continuation, read Fleischer’s call for mobilization on the new website for the Broward Democratic Party’s Area 10 organization.




    Broward Politics

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    It’s been a long, hard-fought competition, but we’re down to our final two leaders. And let’s just say, things aren’t looking so great for that ol’ reset strategy. We’ll announce the tournament winner on Monday and the readers with the best bracket predictions later next week. 

    FP Passport

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    The failure to vote Thursday on a controversial resolution to overturn the Michigan Civil Service Commission decision to extend health benefits to unrelated adults living with state employees has been explained by a top House Republican.

    The resolution was slated for a vote on Thursday, but the House adjourned without action. In an e-mail, Speaker Jase Bolger’s spokesperson Ari Adler explained:

    We understood there would not be enough Democrats voting yes on the resolution; we need 11 to join the 63 Republicans prepared to approve the resolution.

    We have until April 18 to address this issue. We are giving the House Democrats more time to think about standing up for taxpayers by overturning the Civil Service Commission’s irresponsible actions before we put this up for a vote again.

    The measure has to be approved by a two-thirds majority in order to take effect. The resolution failed to garner that level of support in a Tuesday vote on the measure, but GOP leaders promised to bring the resolution back up.

    Advocates in support of the MCSC decision have raised concerns the resolution would be passed through by a bureaucratic measure called “fast gaveling.” But Adler says that is not going to happen.

    By the way, there has been much speculation that we would use a procedural maneuver to “fast-gavel” this resolution. The Speaker has never had any intention of doing this. The only people to ever suggest it are Democrats, with one of them telling MIRS that if they were in charge that’s how they would do it. We intend on having a record roll-call vote on this issue so the voters can see for themselves who is willing to stand up for taxpayers and who wants to continue burdening them with increased spending.

    Emily Dievendorf, policy director for Equality Michigan, said she was pleased Adler was making such assurances. But she was not sure she believed them.

    While I appreciate Ari Adler’s claim that a plan to fast-gavel SCR 9 is not in the works, I think we can also recognize that not many promises to legislate in inclusive bipartisan ways have been kept by Republican leadership thus far. Our Democratic legislators were elected to office with the expectation that they would have a voice but have been regularly shut out of the process since day one on the job. Supporters of fundamental fairness and collective bargaining should be prepared for sleight of hand on this issue, and perhaps countless others we will encounter this year.

    The Michigan Civil Service Commission approved the benefits in January.

    Opponents of the plan have said it will cost the cash strapped state too much money. They have bandied about various figures on the cost, anywhere from $ 4.5 million to $ 8 million, since the January approval of the plan. However, those opponents have been unable to verify where those numbers have come from, or how they were arrived at. Jan Winters, who runs the Office of the State Employer and oversees state employee pay and benefits, told Michigan Messenger she was unsure if the figures included the projected increase in tax revenues that would be generated by the measure. The benefits are taxed as income for the state employee, unlike benefits provided to married partners and their benefits.

    Even at the highest estimates, the cost represents only approximately .003 percent — three one-thousandths of a percent — of the cost of the business tax breaks the Republicans are pushing for.

    In order for the state to overturn the benefits, two-thirds of both houses have to approve a resolution rescinding the benefit. The Senate overwhelmingly approved the resolution last week. But the House has a much tighter GOP majority.

    Michigan Messenger

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    Failure to Lead …

    According to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, only 17% of Americans believe that President Barack Obama is a strong and decisive leader. Who would have thunk it? Because Obama has showed so much deceive leadership in everything else he has done since he as been president. After all, what kind of leader is he really when he cannot call a military action for what is really is … a war. Instead under the Community Organizer in Chief it is a “Kinetic Military Action”.

    Only 17 percent of Americans see President Barack Obama as a strong and decisive military leader, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll taken after the United States and its allies began bombing Libya.

    Nearly half of those polled view Obama as a cautious and consultative commander-in-chief and more than a third see him as indecisive in military matters.

    Obama was widely criticized in 2009 for his months-long consultations with senior aides and military chiefs on whether to send more troops to Afghanistan. Critics called it dithering, but he said such a big decision required careful deliberation. He eventually dispatched 30,000 more troops.

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    Scared Monkeys

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    (John)

    Drudge is headlining this Reuters/Ipsos poll on how Americans view Barack Obama as a military leader. I think my answer would have been that he is not a military leader at all, but here is how responses broke down:

    Strong and decisive: 17%
    Cautious and Consultative: 48%
    Indecisive and Dithering: 36%

    Through pretty much all of American history, those numbers would have spelled doom, but I doubt that they are a particularly bad sign for President Obama. Few of those who voted for him thought they were electing a strong and decisive military leader, nor did most of them want such a leader. The 36% who consider Obama indecisive and dithering-a fair evaluation, I think-represents the portion of the electorate who find him wanting more or less across the board.

    So one could say that this is an instance where Obama benefits from low expectations.




    Power Line

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