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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obama's First Crisis on Day One & GLobal Challenge

President Obama's first crisis happened yesterday right after the swearing in - the collapse during lunch of Sen. Edward Kennedy. He did the right thing and rushed over to try to help the senior Senator. Somehow, it goes with the situation the President has inherited. Banks and homeowners are having seizures. Many are on life support.

Not only does President Obama face a global financial meltdown, he also faces a disturbing trend that is melting down personal freedoms overseas.

In Korea, a blogger was arrested for...blogging. Apparently the Korean government didn't like his financial predictions that happened to be accurate. It's another case of "shooting the messenger." What is so strange about this is that Korea has a democratically elected government.

In Russia, a lawyer who had just held a press conference on a case involving a Chechen girl murdered by a Russian soldier, was shot in the head a few blocks away --along with a journalist who tried to help him. It's the latest in a series of execution-style killings of journalists and others who shed light on the darker side of Russian politics.

In Nigeria, the religious police have blocked a rally by women who wanted to protest unfair divorce laws.

China censored the new President's inaugural speech when he referred to "communism" --pulling the plug on him. With increasing unemployment for hundreds of millions of people thrown out of work by the downturn, China faces a potential political disaster they were able to avoid when times were good.

In Thailand an Australian man was arrested for an obtuse paragraph he wrote in a book that sold only 7 copies - for supposedly insulting the King. The lines don't even mention the King, who is worshipped by Thai's, who need some international reality therapy. They should read a Hollywood Tabloid if they want to see some real insults. His sentence was over 5 years. Nuts.

These challenges to freedom and the rule of law around the world will also need to be addressed by the President dealing with trillion-dollar deficits. It won't be easy but it will be necessary.

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