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June 30th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

U.N. says scrap dollar as main global reserve currency

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Here's another very troubling sign about where we are these days:

The United Nations says it's time to scrap the dollar as the main global reserve currency. The U.S. dollar has for years been the currency of choice in troubled times - a safe haven when uncertainty arises.

But a new report by the U.N. suggests the dollar has become unreliable and needs to be replaced with a more stable system.

Many countries - especially in Asia - have been building up massive dollar reserves. But because the dollar has begun to fluctuate much more recently, these countries' currencies have become undervalued - which makes it harder for them to import goods.

The UN is backing a proposal which would replace the dollar with a basket of currencies. The report says a new reserve system should not be based on a single currency in order to create more stability in the global financial system.

Russia and China have already said they support creating a new reserve currency system... as does the International Monetary Fund.

But not everyone is so sure this is such a good idea. Some European officials suggest it should be the market, not politicians, which determines which currencies countries buy for reserves.

There's been increased debate about using the dollar for international trade ever since the U.S. economy slumped into a recession.

Unless and until something definitive is done about our $13 trillion dollar national debt and skyrocketing federal deficits, the future of the almighty greenback is very much in doubt.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean if the U.N. says the dollar should be scrapped as the main global reserve currency?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: United States • US Economy
June 30th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Immigration reform possible without first sealing border?

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A fence separates the cities of Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora Mexico. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Don't expect too much when President Obama delivers a speech about immigration reform tomorrow.

Officials say he won't introduce any new policy initiatives and won't announce whether the federal government has decided to sue Arizona.

Instead expect more of the same, which is nothing. Homeland Security chief, Janet Napolitano, recently said "you're never going to totally seal the border with Mexico."

She said it's a big border with some of the "roughest, toughest geographical terrain in the world." And she insists the border is "as secure now as it has ever been."

The governors of Arizona and Texas are criticizing the Obama administration for not deploying enough National Guard troops to their states... Arizona is getting just 524. And Texas is getting 250 as part of a total increase of 1,200. Arizona governor Jan Brewer had asked for 3,000 troops just for Arizona.

Meanwhile the president has been quietly moving forward on immigration reform - meeting with grass-roots leaders this week, talking about the need for a bipartisan solution and saying true border security requires comprehensive immigration reform. Same old, same old.

But most Americans want their border secured before there is any talk of a pathway to citizenship, or amnesty. A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows 60 percent of those polled say the focus of U.S. policy should be deporting illegal aliens and stopping more from coming into the country.

But these days what most Americans want doesn't seem to matter.

Here’s my question to you: Can immigration reform be done without first sealing the border?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.


Filed under: Immigration
June 29th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Is success possible in Afghanistan?

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(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The spotlight is back on the war in Afghanistan. Big time.

In the wake of the very public dismissal of General Stanley McChrystal and renewed talk of a withdrawal date - there's lots of debate over what is now this country's longest war.

And it isn't pretty.

As the U.S. continues to escalate troop levels, top officials are warning of a long road ahead.

CIA Director Leon Panetta says the Afghanistan war has "serious problems." He says progress is being made, but the fight is harder and slower than anyone anticipated. Panetta cites problems with the government, corruption, drug trafficking and the Taliban insurgency.

Speaking of corruption, The Wall Street Journal reports American investigators believe top Afghan officials have been flying more than $3 billion in U.S. aid and drug money to financial havens for 3 years.

That would be our tax dollars.

The Journal says President Hamid Karzai's brother, long suspected of being deeply involved in Afghanistan's drug trade, is one of the officials in question. What are we doing?

President Obama has said U.S. troops would start pulling out in July 2011... although he seems to be hedging on that lately.

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is warning the U.S. exit strategy "provides a mechanism for failure." He says the public needs to be prepared for a long struggle.

Here’s my question to you: Is success possible in Afghanistan?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Afghanistan
June 29th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Republican Brown outpolls Dems Obama & Kerry in Mass.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

If this doesn't set off huge warning bells for the Democratic Party, it should:

FILE PHOTO: Scott Brown (R-MA) participates in a ceremonial swearing-in February 4, 2010 on Capitol Hill after winning a special election for the seat that was held by the late Ted Kennedy.

FILE PHOTO: Scott Brown (R-MA) participates in a ceremonial swearing-in February 4, 2010 on Capitol Hill after winning a special election for the seat that was held by the late Ted Kennedy.

Newcomer Republican Senator Scott Brown is more popular in Massachusetts than top Democrats, like Pres. Obama and Sen. John Kerry. We're talking about Massachusetts here... the liberal bastion of politics where the late Ted Kennedy held his senate seat for nearly five decades.

A new Boston Globe poll shows that 55 percent of Massachusetts residents have a favorable view of Brown, who's been in Washington for only five months. 18 percent view him unfavorably...

Compare that to Pres. Obama, who gets a 54 percent favorable rating in Mass. And 41 percent unfavorable. Or the state's other Senator, John Kerry, who has been in the Senate for years - he gets a 52 percent favorable rating... and a 37 percent unfavorable rating.

The poll also shows support for Brown runs deep; with majorities of Republicans and Independents... and a plurality of Democrats - viewing him favorably.

Democrats are hoping to defeat brown in 2012 - when he has to run for a full term. They want to recapture Ted Kennedy's seat.

That's a very tall order at this point. Brown has become a hugely popular figure on the national stage, and that means he should have no trouble raising whatever money he needs to run for re-election.

People also like the fact that as a candidate, Brown said he would be an Independent person in Washington - and he has stuck to that... at times voting with Republicans, at times crossing the aisle to work with Democrats. Imagine that - a politician who keeps his word. The sky could be the limit for him.

Here’s my question to you: Republican Sen. Scott Brown outpolls Democrats Pres. Obama and Sen. Kerry in Massachusetts. What's up with that?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: John Kerry
June 28th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Is U.S. entering a depression?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Forget all the talk about an economic recovery - the U.S. just might be headed in the opposite direction.

Paul Krugman - who has a Nobel Prize in economics - writes in the New York Times that he fears we are in the early stages of a depression.

Krugman says a failure of policy is to blame - that it's a mistake for governments around the world to raise taxes and cut spending at this time. Krugman says nations should be spending more to stimulate the economy.

And, at the end of the day - it is the unemployed and their families who will pay the high cost of this depression. Krugman writes about the "tens of millions of unemployed workers, many of whom will go jobless for years, and some of whom will never work again."

Speaking of the unemployed - almost one million Americans are losing their unemployment benefits because the Senate failed to extend the deadline.

The bill didn't get the 60 votes needed to pass because lawmakers are looking for ways to put the brakes on skyrocketing deficits.

The same bill also contained another $24 billion for Medicaid funding for various states. And since they won't be getting that money right now, they will be forced to cut hundreds of millions of dollars, on top of what they've already cut.

It's getting very ugly out there.

Despite the Obama administration crowing about the so-called recovery summer - 78% of Americans say the economy is still in a recession according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll. Some recovery.

Here’s my question to you: Is the U.S. entering a depression?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Economy • United States
June 28th, 2010
04:56 PM ET

Does 'angry' best describe how you feel about midterm elections?

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(PHOTO CREDIT: THINKSTOCK)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The incumbents are already running for the hills... fearing the wrath of the American voters.

Poll after poll shows how fed up the public is with Washington, with incumbents, with the direction the country is headed and on and on.

So The Washington Post decided to find out if "angry" is the best way to describe how voters feel headed into the midterm elections.

The answer is mixed.

On the one hand, pollsters say describing voters as "angry" is too narrow... because there's actually a whole range of other emotions mixed with the anger. Things like dissatisfaction, anxiety, frustration, pessimism, doubt, etc.

One Republican pollster says most voters are "anxious"... he believes the key voting bloc in November will be the 25% of voters who backed President Obama in 2008, say they will vote this fall - but don't plan to vote for a Democrat.

Other polling experts say describing voters as angry is "too broad."

Republicans are more enthusiastic about voting in the upcoming elections... probably because lots of them want to kick Democrats out of office.

We've also seen an unusual level of energy and excitement among the Tea Party branch of the GOP.

The midterm elections historically have low voter turnout, so any kind of passion is helpful... and this time around, it seems like the Republican party is getting ready to benefit from that passion.

Here’s my question to you: Is "angry" the best word to describe how you feel about the midterm elections?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Elections
June 25th, 2010
03:35 PM ET

Why is support declining for Kagan to be Supreme Court justice?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Elena Kagan's confirmation hearings to be the nation's next Supreme Cort justice begin next Monday. But the number of people who think she belongs on the high court is declining.

A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows 44 percent of Americans want the Senate to confirm Kagan which is down 10 points since may.

39 percent oppose Kagan's confirmation - that's up three points.

And 17 percent now say they're unsure or undecided... up from 11 percent in May.

Not surprising since people probably don't know a whole lot about Kagan.

Opinion on her has changed the most among women and Democrats. These are people who initially supported the nomination because Kagan is a woman or because Mr. Obama chose her; but now that they're getting some information on her views - they're not so sure.

It will be interesting to see how much information the senators can get out of Kagan... with lawmakers complaining in recent years how difficult it is to get substantive answers out of nominees.

15 years ago - Kagan herself complained about Senate confirmation hearings... calling them a "hollow charade" and a "ritual dance."

One issue that will likely dominate the hearings is Kagan's banning of military recruiters from Harvard law school due to the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Another hot topic could be Kagan's lack of judicial experience - she has none.

Meanwhile - a group of nearly 900 orthodox rabbis are opposed to Kagan's nomination. they say she is "not kosher" and unfit to serve on the high court. The rabbis take issue with Kagan's views on homosexuality and abortion.

Here’s my question to you: Why has support been declining for Elena Kagan to be the next Supreme Court justice?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Elena Kagan • Supreme Court
June 25th, 2010
03:30 PM ET

Would you vote for or against candidate endorsed by Sarah Palin?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

While Sarah Palin has been helping rack up primary wins for Republican candidates - it looks like she may be the kiss of death in a general election.

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll shows a majority of Americans would respond negatively if they knew Palin backed a candidate.

37 percent of those surveyed say they would be "very uncomfortable" about a candidate endorsed by the former Alaska governor, while 15 percent say they would have "some reservations."

Only 25 percent say they would be "comfortable" or "enthusiastic" about Palin's support.

What's more - this poll finds there are only two attributes that a candidate could have that would be worse than a Sarah Palin endorsement. They are: support for Bush's economic policies - and support for getting rid of various federal agencies and Social Security.

In other words, this poll seems to confirm the conventional wisdom about Palin: She's a hugely divisive politician. The base loves her... but, the rest of the country? Well, not so much.

Republicans seemingly can't get enough of her. Almost every candidate Palin has supported in the Republican primaries this season has won; she's especially credited with helping long shot Nikki Haley win the Republican primary for South Carolina governor.

But the rest of Americans aren't buying what she's selling. Of course, if you look closely, what she's selling is Sarah Palin.

A recent CNN poll shows nearly 70 percent of Americans say Sarah Palin is unqualified to be president.

And while Palin is popular in the South and in rural areas, her unfavorable rating is about 60 percent among women, suburbanites, independents and in the west and north east.

Here’s my question to you: Would you vote for or against a candidate who was endorsed by Sarah Palin?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Republicans • Sarah Palin
June 24th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

What's the message when many states want an immigration law like Arizona's?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

While the federal government twiddles its thumbs concerning the issue of illegal immigration - states across the country are following Arizona's lead.

The Washington Post reports that five states - South Carolina, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Michigan - are considering laws like Arizona's. And lawmakers in 17 other states, including Virginia, have expressed support for similar measures.

It seems pretty clear that people are sick and tired of waiting for Washington to act on this crisis.

Consider that the National Conference of State Legislatures reports nearly 1,200 bills or resolutions dealing with immigrants were introduced in 45 states in the first three months of this year alone.

1,200!

These include both pro and anti-immigration measures.

For example, in Massachusetts the Senate has required state contractors to make sure their workers are legal.

This week the small town of Fremont, Nebraska - not exactly a border state - voted to ban the hiring of illegal aliens or renting property to them.

Supporters say Fremont is an example of "if Washington won't, Nebraskans will," while critics like the ACLU suggest there's "no rational reason" for Fremont to worry about protecting our border.

One reason that could prevent activity at the local level may be the economy. With many state budgets in crisis, they may not have the money for additional law enforcement or to fight the court challenges that would likely follow passage.

As for the federal government, instead of protecting our borders, they might sue Arizona for trying to protect itself. And by the way, almost 60 percent of Americans support the Arizona law.

Here’s my question to you: What’s the message for the federal government when states across the country want to adopt an immigration law like Arizona’s?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Government • Immigration
June 24th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

How much confidence do you have in Pres. Obama?

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(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's only 17 months into Barack Obama's presidency... and the American people seem to be losing faith in him.

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows Americans are more pessimistic about the state of the country... and less confident in the president's leadership than at any time since Mr. Obama took office.

The poll finds 62 percent of Americans say the country is on the wrong track - that's the highest level since before the 2008 election... and only one-third think the economy will improve in the next year... the lowest in Mr. Obama's presidency and a seven-point drop from one month ago.

It gets worse - support for the president is not only declining among independents... it's also dropping among his base. And, the president has lost support among Latinos, small-town residents, white women and seniors.

What's more - the poll shows a big jump in people who say they don't relate to President Obama... less than half say he has strong leadership qualities... and only 40 percent rate him positively on his "ability to handle a crisis."

Meanwhile, Roger Simon of Politico wonders if President Obama has run out of luck. Simon writes the President "used to be one lucky guy," describing his meteoric rise to power from the Illinois statehouse to the White House in 12 years.

He also points to the president's ability to escape several issues - like the preacher Jeremiah Wright - that might have derailed another candidate.

But now with the unstable economy, high unemployment, the Gulf oil spill, the "runaway general" Stanley McChrsytal and international threats like Iran and North Korea, Mr. Obama's luck is mostly bad.

Here’s my question to you: How much confidence do you have in President Obama?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: President Barack Obama
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