Tales from the Trail

Iranian leader’s plane shares tarmac with Air Force One

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrives at Tehran’s Mehrabad airport after a visit to Latin American countries January 14, 2012. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi

WASHINGTON, Sept. 26 – As President Barack Obama and passengers on Air Force One left for campaign events in Ohio on Wednesday, there was an unusual sight spotted from the presidential aircraft: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s plane.

At Joint Base Andrews, which houses the U.S. president’s jet, reporters traveling with Obama spotted a plane marked “Iran Air” parked on the tarmac.

The 89th Airlift Wing, which oversees the runway at Andrews, confirmed the Boeing 747 was indeed Ahmadinejad’s plane, which was used for this week’s United Nations General Assembly gathering in New York before parking at the U.S. military base.

“It is something we afford all heads of state,” said Major Michelle Lai, a spokeswoman for the 89th Airlift Wing. “It’s a courtesy that allows them a place to put their aircraft and provides a little bit of extra security,” she added.

Old film shows Paul warning of UN plot

Conspiracy theories are nothing new to Ron Paul. Witness his lengthy appearance in this 1998 John Birch Society documentary, in which he predicts that the United Nations “would confiscate our guns’ and the rest of Americans’ private property. The United States, he says in the video, “will become nothing more than a pawn of the United Nations.”

“The election process will become the task of world government monitors,” the documentary’s narrator says at the 2:16 mark. “The U.S. Congress, president, judicial system and state and local government shall exist only as a facade to assure American citizens that they still have a voice in government.”

The documentary goes on to suggest the UN could disband and even burn down U.S. churches that don’t submit to its control, and throw their ministers in jail (3:15). Paul chimes in: “If the United Nations has their way, there will be curtailment of our right to practice religion,” he is shown saying (4:12).

Obama defends Libya policy during hectic New York day

President Barack Obama followed up his speech to the nation defending his Libya policy on Monday night with a whirlwind visit to New York City. He explained the policy in three network news  interviews  (ABC, NBC, CBS)  — at the city’s famed Museum of Natural History.

Then he made a quick visit to a kids’ science fair, joking to the high school students that they are smarter than he is, before dedicating the new Ronald H. Brown U.S. Mission to the United Nations building.bill_barack

There his Libya strategy was applauded by a roomful of diplomats and endorsed by a Democratic predecessor, ex-President Bill Clinton, the husband of his secretary of state.

Obama urges leaders to work harder for peace

OBAMA

U.S. President Barack Obama, mixing with other world leaders at the the United Nations on Thursday over lunch, toasted the organization and urged his dining companions to work harder for peace.

“In the months and years ahead, the challenges we face will require the work of all nations and all peoples … it will require the leadership of everybody in this room,” he said.

Obama arrived late for the lunch after a bilateral meeting with Chinese premier Wen Jiabao, waving and greeting other leaders as they tucked into pate on toast and sipped chilled white Burgundy wine.

U.S. lawmakers wonder, where did our love go? with Turkey

It almost sounded as if U.S. lawmakers felt jilted by Washington’s long-time NATO ally Turkey.

“How do we get Turkey back?” demanded Representative Gary Ackerman at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing exploring “Turkey’s New Foreign Policy Direction.”

“Why is Turkish public opinion … perhaps one of the most anti-American of any of the countries of the world?” asked the committee’s chairman, Representative Howard Berman.

from Global News Journal:

Obama, Susan Rice and the U.N. — The right approach or too cuddly?

U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, briefs press at the White House.

When U.S. President Barack Obama came to power, he announced a "new era of engagement" at the United Nations. He appointed his longtime friend and foreign policy adviser Susan Rice to be his ambassador to the world body. He also raised her post to cabinet level, as some previous Democratic presidents have done, and made her a member of the powerful National Security Council

In an August 2009 speech at New York University, Rice outlined the Obama's administration's new approach to the United Nations, an organization that was often criticized and occasionally ridiculed by members of the administration of former President George W. Bush. She said that from now on Washington would do away with the "condescension and contempt" that she said had crept into U.S. government attitudes toward the international community. 

The First Draft: Team Obama’s Full-Court Press on Climate

OBAMAAs a drippy day dawns in Washington, Team Obama is suiting up for a full-court press on climate change. Three cabinet secretaries — from Energy, Transportation and Interior departments — the head of the EPA and the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Five — are headed for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on the first of three full days of hearings.

As those hearings go forward, President Barack Obama is announcing a $3.4 billion program to build a “smart” electric grid, which would among other things carry solar and wind power, which are free of carbon emissions.

It’s all meant to convince international climate negotiators that Washington is serious about tackling climate change. A global gathering set for Copenhagen in December aims to set up a system to curb climate-warming carbon emissions after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. For months, environmental activists have looked to the Copenhagen meeting as a deadline for action. But now, the deadline is looking a bit blurry.

Senate rebukes Libya, and it wasn’t for Gaddafi’s speech…

Coincidence? Maybe.

The U.S. Senate rebuked Libya Wednesday during the nearly two-hour speech that leader Muammar Gaddafi gave to the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

While Gaddafi was excoriating world powers in his first address to the United Nations, the Senate approved a resolution condemning the “lavish” welcome home ceremony that Libya gave last month for a convicted Lockerbie bomber and demanding an apology for the celebration. UN-ASSEMBLY/GADDAFI

Gaddafi’s words, heard through the lively voice of the translator, went on for nearly two hours at the U.N. podium, raising some questions about whether the U.N. had time limits on speeches.

Obama takes on anti-Americanism, calls for new era

President Barack Obama began his first speech before the U.N. General Assembly by taking on the anti-Americanism that spread overseas in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq (six years before his presidency).

“I took office at a time when many around the world had come to view America with skepticism and distrust,” he told world leaders. UN-ASSEMBLY/

Misperceptions, misinformation, opposition to U.S. policies, and a belief that the United States acted unilaterally “fed an almost reflexive anti-Americanism which, too often, has served as an excuse for collective inaction,” Obama said.

The First Draft: Gaddafi, the tent and The Donald

UE-AFRICA/Official Washington is gazing northward this morning toward New York and the United Nations, where President Barack Obama will be followed in the General Assembly by Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi. The big question in the blogosphere is not what Obama will tell the gathered diplomats of the world — the White House has indicated he will stress a new tone in foreign policy — but where Gaddafi spent the night.

Unlike the rest of the assembled envoys, Gaddafi prefers a Bedouin tent to a hotel (hates elevators, reportedly) but his plans to pitch a tent in the suburban town of Bedford, New York, hit a snag with local authorities. Construction of the tent, featuring draperies with a camel print, was halted on Tuesday. ABC News reported that he bedded down in Manhattan close to the United Nations.

ITALY-GADDAFI/The titillation factor grew when it was discovered that the estate in Bedford was owned by none other than Donald Trump, New York real estate magnate and publicity magnet extraordinaire.