- President Obama's latest campaign / economic reboot
- Reports of campaign challenges for President Obama
- The Eurocrisis
- DoJ vs. Florida
- The Media
Today, June 14th is Flag Day - commemorating the day in 1777 when the Continental Congress adopted this design as the flag of the United States - "Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation."
The country has received more challenging economic news - with today's report that first time jobless claims have increased this week to 386,000 in another example of continued employment number struggles. In a number of states, foreclosure actions have also leaped, with foreclosures jumping 118% in New Jersey, and increases also seen in Florida.
In this situation, both President Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney took to the battleground state of Ohio for campaign speeches about the economy. The Hill notes that...
President Obama has picked the key swing state of Ohio to deliver a speech Thursday he hopes will serve as a reset button for a campaign that has begun to struggle.
Mitt Romney, on the other hand, will continue to hammer at the economic record of President Obama while advocating tax reform, spending reductions, and a pro-business pro-private sector approach. As a lead-in to the Romney address, the Republican National Committee released this advertisement to 'pre-empt' President Obama's 'reframing' his economic policies...
My main focus is going to be on the President's economic speech - as a voter, I want to see what that 'reboot' is going to be.
Here's what we got...
OK, as a 'techie' - there's something about computers and reboots. Reboots can help. But there are times when one tries a reboot, the problem - device driver or operating system - can be such that the computer will still not load or run. That is the problem with this latest reboot of the President's economic policies - they still fundamentally will not solve our current problem.
Here's the President's economic address from Cleveland, Ohio...
How much of a reboot was this really? More blaming George W. Bush? More demands for government spending and hiring in the public sector? More investments in green energy and infrastructure projects? The current levels of unemployment (8.2%) is a good thing - a sign that recovery is happening, but that recoveries take 10 years? This address wasn't a reboot, it was a rehash calling for doing more of more of the policies of the last 3 1/2 years, a litany of false 'accomplishments', and noting that recoveries take 10 years.
As Breitbart.com notes, this was a speech from the Hope and Change President that offered no hope and no change.
Ace from Ace of Spades was viewing MSNBC to catch their commentary and observations on this major economic address. He notes that the liberal Jonathan Alter 'calls this one of Obama's least effective speeches, noting, as was obvious (I gave up) it was 'long winded'. Other words used to describe the address included 'unconvincing' and 'uninspiring'.
Recoveries do not take 10 years....and in every single economic recovery since World War 2, including the double-dip of 1980 and then 1981-82, they recovered faster and stronger than this Obama 'recovery'....
As for the President's comments about unemployment (8% or larger is now good?!) - let's look back in time a bit...
In March 2004, when Barack Obama was a candidate for the U.S. Senate in the Illinois Democratic primary, he excoriated President George W. Bush for creating a "jobless recovery." The month he said that, 334,000 new jobs were created—none of them temporary Census ones—and unemployment was 5.8%.Ed Morrissey compares the jobless rates - not only of Bush (43) v Obama, but of the Reagan recovery...
Even on the jobless rate, the context between Reagan, Bush, and Obama diverge – and not to Obama’s favor. While unemployment spiked dramatically under Reagan, it didn’t result in an outflow of workers from the workforce. The civilian population participation rate actually went up from 63.9 percent at the start of Reagan’s term to 64.2 percent at the midterms. By the election in 1984, it rose to 64.5 percent, and rose rapidly to 66.2 percent by the end of Reagan’s second term. In Bush’s first term, the rate went from 67.2 percent — nearly its historical peak – to 65.8 percent, and ended in his second term at 65.7 percent, when Obama took the reins.The Wall Street Journal's Opinion page featured this analysis as to the debate as to who owns today's bad economy - is it President George W. Bush as President Obama contends? Or is it President Obama as GOP candidate Mitt Romney contends?
In contrast, Obama’s policies have resulted in a historic exodus from the workforce. By the time of the recovery, four months after the passage of Obama’s stimulus bill, the unemployment rate was 9.5 percent and the participation rate still at 65.7 percent.
Three years later, the unemployment rate has dipped to 8.2 percent, but the participation rate has actually dropped below the level seen during Reagan’s “stay the course” argument to 63.8 percent. That actually represents an improvement from the previous month, which hit a 30-year low at 63.6 percent. The only reason the unemployment rate isn’t in double digits is because millions of former workers have despaired of finding work to the point where they no longer count in the statistics.
Picture this scenario in baseball: Pitcher Smith replaces a starting pitcher in the fourth inning, when his team is down by three runs. The team scores two runs in the next inning, almost tying the score. But in the sixth inning, Smith gives up five runs, putting his team hopelessly behind. After the loss, Smith tells reporters that he did not pitch well in the sixth inning because the team was behind before he entered the game in the fourth.Then we have the President's own problem with jobs - the fact that he can't keep his own jobs stories straight...
Claiming that the U.S. economy has slowed during the past couple of years because it was in poor shape when a new president took office in January 2009 makes no more sense than Smith's explanation of his disastrous sixth inning. Just as poor pitching by Smith doomed the home team, ineffective and counterproductive policies of the past three years have put us back on the brink of recession.
There can be no dispute that the economy was in recession in January 2009. That recession had started a little over a year before, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, and it was long and deep. Whereas the average postwar recession lasted 11 months, the 2007-09 recession lasted 18. But all recessions end, and the 2007-09 one ended in June 2009. What we are experiencing today is a new wave of slowdowns, not a continuation of past problems.
On Friday, President Obama was demanding that Congress put "teachers, cops and firefighters" back to work. But his own website says he's already accomplished that.
At that press briefing, Obama complained that while the private sector has been "hiring at a solid pace," the "biggest weaknesses (have) been state and local governments, which have laid off 450,000 Americans."
"These are teachers and cops and firefighters," he said. "Congress should pass a bill putting them back to work right now, giving help to the states so that those layoffs are not occurring."
On the official White House schedule, this briefing was billed as Obama "delivering remarks urging Congress to act on the 'To Do List.'"
Maybe Obama should have checked that list first, since, of the five items on it, not one has anything to do with saving state and local jobs.
Nope. The only things on that list are tax incentives for companies to create jobs at home; help for underwater homeowners who want to refinance; some targeted small business tax credits; more money wasted on "green" energy; and a silly new "Veterans Jobs Corps."
Not that it matters, since Democrats have entirely ignored Obama's picayune To Do List anyway.
However, on that same White House web page, Obama lists all his amazing job creation accomplishments, with little green check marks to show they've been done. Things like "Rescue the auto industry" and "Sign 18 tax cuts to help small businesses."
And right there on that list are these: "Keep 400,000 teachers in the classroom" and "Keep police officers, firefighters and other first responders on the job."
The President's use of the 'reset' button here is about as effective as his use of the 'reset' button vis a vis our relationship with Russia has been.
More government spending, more federal government aid to state and local governments to hire more public sector workers, more green energy investments (Solyndra), more infrastructure projects (Shovel ready jobs?) was the prescription offered by President Obama in early 2009 to end the recession and spark a vibrant economic recovery. We were told by the WH that not only would spending $850 billion in the stimulus program would prevent unemployment from surpassing 8%, but that in 2012, we would be seeing 6% unemployment and nearly 6% GDP growth. What we got was -
So is President Obama turning the economy around?
Today, we are 17 quarters from the beginning of the last recession that started in December 2007. At this point in the 1980s, the economy was well on its way to normal levels: output stormed back to near normal levels: GDP growth without inflation averaged 4.9 percent during the recovery period. The unemployment rate was in the low 6 percent range by the 17th quarter and would get to 5.6 percent by the end of that year, 1987.
By contrast, our economy today, 17 quarters after the start the recent recession, remains dramatically weaker than it should be: real GDP growth over the current “recovery” has averaged only 2.5 percent and the unemployment rate stands at very high 8.2 percent, well above the normal, full-employment rate of 5.5 percent. Millions of people lack work and, more importantly, little prospect of finding employment.
These numbers starkly indict the president’s economic recovery program. Unprecedented deficit spending has done little else than create ballooning federal debt that itself now slows the economy. Rather than lighten regulations and lower taxes as President Reagan did in the 1980s, this president has launched 3,611 new regulations. 106 of them are major regulations, those with an annual impact of $100 million or more, which discourages entrepreneurship, investment and innovation.
With this economic record, and a series of several bad weeks, including reports that Mitt Romney and the RNC out raised President Obama and the DNC by 25% in May, there are growing signs within Democrat circles of real concern with the President's campaign and reelection hopes.
Karen Tumulty, a liberal Washington Post journalist, asks in today's WaPo, 'Is it time for Democrats to panic?' In her answer to her own question, she is the loyal progressive, saying no, it's not time to panic despite the President's challenges. She states that the President's campaign advisers are ready and mobilized to win the key states - that they are 'laser focused' on getting out the vote and winning swing voters. That they are better positioned to do this now in 2012 than they were in 2008.
It is all false bravado....and reeks of 'fighting the last war' - or in this case, refighting the 2008 election as if 2010 never happened and the President's record is seen by a near majority as dismal. Hugh Hewitt looks at the state of the President's campaign and wonders if it has already peaked - and is ill-prepared for more bad news on the President's record...
What if the president and his team aren't competent at campaigns. Heresy, I know, but put aside the 2008 win and mark it down to the unique circumstances against running in the middle of financial panic against a great American who happened to be a terrible candidate, and doing so with a massive financial advantage, bolstered by a fawning press corps in a complete swoon, and at the close of an eight-year presidency that had bee surrounded by controversy since before it began.
Since then the president lost New Jersey to Chris Christie, Virginia to Bob McDonnell, Massachusetts too Scot Brown, 2010 to everyone, and so many foreign policy fiascos as to defy easy counting. He's on the cusp of losing Obamacare.
What, say it quietly now, he's just a loser with a lucky streak and the love of the Beltway-Manhattan media elite?
What if all those data mining stories are just the Potemkin villages of politics? What if Axelrod, Plouffe and Messina are the Larry, Curly and Moe of politics just as they have been of policy, and their candidate Chance the Gardner?
Esteemed political analyst, Michael Barone, highlights one of the real issues around the status of the President's campaign - and the mistake that the President's team might be making if they ignore 2010....
It seems to be a standard rule in assessing the prospects of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in particular states to use the November 2008 numbers as a benchmark. However, as I have pointed out, in the last three presidential elections, the winning candidate has won a percentage of the popular vote identical to or within 1% of the percentage of the popular vote for the House of Representatives in the election held two years before. In this case, the November 2010 results are very different from 2008. In 2008 Obama won 53% of the popular vote. In 2010 House Democrats won 45% of the popular vote.President Obama has, thusfar in this campaign season, conducted more than twice the number of fundraisers than President George W. Bush did through this part of the 2004 Presidential campaign - 169 to 79 - not including his next run into New York City for more fundraisers. Despite all of this, Mitt Romney and the RNC raised 25% more in May than President Obama and the DNC did. All talk about a $1 billion Obama campaign war chest are largely forgotten as the President is raising funds at a far slower pace than he did for the 2008 campaign. Now, we have one of the major allies of the Democrat Party and President Obama, the AFL-CIO has announced that it is shifting resources away from the President and the party....
The AFL-CIO, the largest federation of unions in the U.S., announced in the middle of election season that it will redistribute funds away from supporting political candidates.
According to the U.S. News’ Washington Whispers, “The federation says the shift has been in the works for months.”
“We wanted to start investing our funds in our own infrastructure and advocacy,” AFL-CIO spokesman Josh Goldstein told Whispers. ”There will be less contributions to candidates.”
Whispers says this means funds will be pulled from candidates “including President Obama.”
Then there are the challenges that the hard left group, MoveOn.org is having with raising funds in the current political environment.
The liberal group’s PAC is on pace to have its worst cycle since its founding in terms of fund raising - between 2003 and 2010, the group raised 127.4 million, with a peak of 39 mill in 2007-2008. Between January 2011 and March 31, 2012, the group has only raised $9.1 million. By March 31 in the 2010 election cycle, the group had raised $18.5 million – double the current amount.Yes, President Obama's campaign is in trouble. Real trouble. France vs Germany in June 1940 trouble. Not only the President, but it seems as if the tide is turning this cycle against progressives as well as public sector unions. But what's most important about this - there appears to be no sign that the President or his campaign knows what to do to turn this around.
President Obama is not only in trouble in the US - but it looks as if the rest of the world is falling out of love with him...
The world's love affair with Barack Obama is not quite over – but it's on the rocks. A survey of global opinion of the US president shows large numbers of non-Americans feel badly let down by the man awarded the 2009 Nobel peace prize.
A Pew Research Centre poll of attitudes toward the US in 21 countries found that confidence in Obama's foreign policy has fallen sharply since he took office three years ago, particularly over the use of drone attacks. Hopes that Washington would prove more internationalist, seek UN approval for military action and be more even-handed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have been dashed. Foreigners also feel let down by the president's inertia on climate change.
Perhaps most worryingly for Washington, the real collapse in confidence is over the US economy, with majorities in the UK, Germany and France saying that China is now the world's top economic power.
PJ Media's Roger L. Simon has a very interesting look at which prior President does Barack Obama most resemble...
The conventional wisdom, especially on the right, is that of all past presidents Barack Obama most closely resembles Jimmy Carter. Both men, after all, presided over parlous economic times and chose ultra-typical liberal solutions that did not work, apparently worsening the situation and leading to, in Carter’s own term, national “malaise.” Both men also had to deal with serious challenges from Iran and did so, to say the least, ineffectually.
So the case for Carter — who, as we all know, was not reelected — is strong. But I have another candidate, one who to me resembles Barack Obama more, especially in personality and style.
His name is Richard Nixon.
Now I realize the comparison is unfair to Nixon who, other than Watergate of course, was a pretty decent president. He and his cohort Henry Kissinger opened Red China and effectively changed history by triangulating the Soviet Union. What those two men did helped lead to the diminution of Maoism as well and probably saved a huge number of lives.
Tricky Dick also ratified the first, and ultimately most significant, U. S. environmental legislation, the kind that actually had a positive effect on the air and water, as opposed to the destructive self-regarding nonsense we have today.
Unfortunately, Nixon, for all his political brilliance, was an overly suspicious, many have even said paranoid, man.
And therein lies the similarity to Barack Obama. Call Obama “Nixon lite.”
As we move closer to the next Greek national elections on Sunday, we learn that Greek's are withdrawing nearly $1 billion a day from banks in concern for what will happen with the election and the possibility of a Greek exit from the Euro. Information is that the Greek government only has about $2 billion in cash on hand as tax receipts appear to be collapsing as the Greek people try to prepare themselves.
But this is not the only crisis that is breaking in the Eurozone - and more shoes are lining up to drop...
Egan Jones has cut France's national credit rating from A- to BBB+, with a negative outlook for the future.
Following Fitch's downgrade of Spain's credit rating to just 1 level above junk status, Moody's late Wednesday night downgraded Spain from A3 to Baa3 - one level above junk status.
Moody's also downgraded Cyrpus 2 levels into junk status as that nation looks like the next one in most immediate need for a bailout.
Other downgrades are likely in the near future as Spain moves closer to needing a national bailout (not just a bailout of its banks) and Italy continues to see near record level borrowing costs - approaching the same level of issues as Spain. Germany remains unwilling to commit to a banking union which would put that country's wealth on the line to bail out the troubled nations in the EU.
The WSJ looks at this and offers 'How the Euro will end'...
The euro is the world's first currency invented out of whole cloth. It is a currency without a country. The European Union is not a federal state, like the United States, but an agglomeration of sovereign states. European countries are plagued by rigidities, including those in labor markets—where language differences and the protection of trades and professions in many countries impede labor mobility. That makes it difficult for their economies to adjust to cyclical and structural economic shifts.
For such reasons, when the euro was created in 1999, Milton Friedman famously predicted its demise within a decade. He was wrong about the timing, but he may yet be proven right about the fact.
Spanish banking problems are not the end, but only the beginning, of European banking problems. Banks in France, the U.K. and Germany also hold large amounts of the sovereign and private debt of Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain. The government of Cyprus has already made an "exceptionally urgent" request for funds to recapitalize its banks, and markets are now worried about Italy's debt, which limits Rome's ability to deal with banking problems.
The euro zone is in a crisis, in the correct sense of the word, a turning point from which it will either recover or enter a terminal phase. One important factor that may determine the outcome is the degree of leadership in Europe.
By and large, political leaders in Europe are a feckless lot. There are exceptions, particularly in some of the Nordic countries (e.g., Estonia), but the absence of leadership may be the decisive factor leading to the euro's demise. In Spain and elsewhere, leaders have been willing to apply temporary fixes to their banking problems rather than to recognize the true size of the problem. The banks, not fiscal deficits, will be the undoing of the euro.
So what is Europe to do? [This shouldn't be a surprise to my readers...]
Here's pro-growth advice no one in Europe will take: Stop listening to the IMF bleeders and the Obama spenders. If you wish to relearn real, long-term growth, consult the U.S. governors who did that themselves. Scott Walker in Wisconsin, Mitch Daniels in Indiana and Chris Christie in New Jersey all took over states nearly as moribund as Italy and Spain and put before their publics hard but obvious choices about spending, taxes, pensions, unions and bureaucracies. Their publics voted against dying.
One may ask: Would a European electorate, if given an honest chance to choose self-salvation rather than the bleed-to-death choices they've been given the past two years, vote to save themselves? The betting here is many indeed would vote for a liberated future. Or would have.
Watch Greece's election on Sunday...I think we will not be seeing a vote for a liberated future...
For those of us in the US, the lesson that we have to learn now, in November, is that we are, under Barack Obama and the progressive Democrats, racing to catch up and pass the Eurozone at Mach 3 - as we are on pace to add three times more debt than the Eurozone will add over the next five years...
The White House has been quick to blame the eurozone crisis for the financial troubles here in America. "Broadly speaking, the eurozone crisis remains a headwind to the U.S. recovery," White House spokesman Jay Carney recently said at a press briefing. "Our economic stake in Europe is immense, as you know. Europe is our largest economic relationship and our financial systems are deeply connected. And it is because the stakes are so high that throughout this crisis the President and his administration have been in close contact with their European counterparts and closely engaged in developments as they emerge."Moving on to other topics -
And while the eurozone crisis is by no means just about debt, this new chart suggests that America must also look at its own fiscal problems as it tries to solve the great financial troubles it currently faces.
Attorney General Eric Holder's Department of Justice is arguing in the defense of letting foreigners vote in Florida's elections as they file a lawsuit against the state for its efforts to remove non-US citizens from its voter rolls. J. Christian Adams, a former DoJ Civil Rights Attorney, writes in PJ Media about the flawed logic being used by the DoJ in their suit against the State of Florida...
Justice claims that immediate removal of foreigners falls within time limits that restrict Florida’s ability to remove legitimately registered voters.The Washington Post has tossed about all remaining vestiges of objectivity as it decides to compete with the New York Times as the most biased major newspaper with national exposure. In their front page mega-story about the Federal Reserve report that highlighted the 39% drop in the median net worth of US families in just three years, 2007-2010, they never once mentioned President Obama. However, within the article, the WaPo structures the framework of the article to support the Obama meme to 'Blame Bush'.
But a citizen of Guatemala isn’t a legitimately registered voter in Florida in the first place. They committed a crime when they registered to vote. Florida and the Justice Department should be indicting and prosecuting these voters who falsely registered.
But maybe they made a simple mistake when the registered to vote? Nonsense.
The voter registration form requires two very deliberate mistakes to be made if a foreigner registers to vote. First, the foreigner must mark a “YES/NO” check-box that they are a citizen. Then the foreigner must sign on a line that swears under penalty of perjury they are eligible to vote. The very first instructions on the form say: “To Register in Florida you must be a US Citizen.” Then in red print it states: if you are not a citizen “you are not eligible to register.”
President George W. Bush is not without blame. But it's not all about him or because of him. The primary factor for the drop in net worth has been in the collapse in housing values across the country. What are rarely mentioned are the efforts made by President Bush and his Administration to reform Fannie and Freddie which played a central role in the housing collapse - efforts that were blocked by Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, and the other progressives who had a vested interest in keeping Fannie and Freddie on their corrupt path.
The extremely overrated and biased NBC News 'journalist', Andrea Mitchell, also references the Federal Reserve report in an interview with Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) to advocate directly for President Obama's agenda... From Newsbusters.org -
In an interview with Republican Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey on her Tuesday MSNBC show, host Andrea Mitchell attempted to use a new Federal Reserve report showing massive wealth loss for the American middle class to promote President Obama's agenda: "Does that, in fact, justify what the President has been saying...about the need for more help and the need for more stimulus?"
Toomey dismantled that argument: "The problem is the President's program has been making it worse. The President got the big stimulus bill that he wanted.... the economic growth is so feeble that we're not even creating enough jobs to meet the demands of the new entrants in the work force....Unfortunately, the President wants to double down on all the failed policies that he's been pursuing."
Not pleased with Toomey's response, Mitchell pushed back: "Of course we should point out that that Fed report only went through 2010. So it doesn't even bring us up to date. So we don't know what the data are from the last two years."
Toomey replied: "But we do know the last year hasn't gone very well and even now, our economy is not even growing at 2%....we're still in a very bad place and we really need to break from these – these policies that have gotten us here."
HBO, home of the repugnant Bill Maher, and the producers of the hit series, Game of Thrones, find themselves in a firestorm after it became known that in a scene with severed heads mounted on pikes, one of the heads was that of President George W. Bush...
Both HBO and Game of Thrones producers have apologized - with both saying the act was an accident. HBO classed it as a 'inadvertent careless mistake'. The producers said...
We use a lot of prosthetic body parts on the show: heads, arms, etc. We can’t afford to have these all made from scratch, especially in scenes where we need a lot of them, so we rent them in bulk. After the scene was already shot, someone pointed out that one of the heads looked like George W. Bush.Do you buy the explanation and accept the apology?
I don't. It doesn't pass the smell test. Then there is the media hypocrisy, because if that was the current President's head.....do you imagine such a lame apology ending the outrage?
In addition to watch Europe's crisis, and the continued carnage in Syria as the Assad regime decimates his own population in an effort to remain in power, we have new turmoil in both Egypt and Iraq.
Egypt's highest court ordered the Islamist dominated parliament dissolved - saying its election 6 months ago was unconstitutional. In a separate case, the court also ruled that former President Mubarak's Prime Minister can remain in the Presidential race by rejecting a law passed by Parliament last month that barred major officials from the former regime from running for office. With this - it appears that the Egyptian military has decided to reassert itself as the leadership of the country and stand opposite the Islamist movement that is trying to gain control of the country.
On Wednesday, Iraq was rocked by a wave of attacks on Shiite targets across the country which killed 70 and wounded more than 100 in one of the worst days of violence since the US withdrawal in 2011.
Political analyst, commentator, and tedious liberal, Juan Williams tried to play the elitist card when in a debate with political analyst, commentator, NYT Best Selling author, and New Media expert, Michelle Malkin on Fox News... with the haughty declaration that 'I'm a real journalist, not a blogger' when called on his positions...
This is one of the times when the insufferable Williams is extremely insufferable - as he tries the 'Alan Colmes' debate tactics. Williams forgets that when he was sacked by National Public Radio for speaking his mind, it was the conservative blogosphere that rallied to his side - putting free speech before partisan differences.
This Day in History
323 BC - Alexander the Great dies in Babylon at the age of 33.
1864 - The Army of the Potomac, led by General Ulysses S. Grant, begins to move towards Petersburg, Virginia, precipitating a siege and trench warfare that would last 9 months.
1966 - The SCOTUS hands down the decision in Miranda v Arizona establishing the principle that all criminal suspects must be advised of their rights before interrogation.
1967 - President Lyndon Johnson appoints Thurgood Marshall to the SCOTUS. Justice Marshall would be the first African-American on the SCOTUS. He would retire in 1991.
1971 - The NY Times begins to publish sections of the ‘Pentagon Papers’ – a top secret DoD study of America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. The papers indicated that the American government had been lying to people for years about the Vietnam War – and the release seriously damaged the credibility of America’s Cold War foreign policy. The study was ordered and done in 1967 by SecDef Robert McNamara.
1777 - The Continental Congress adopts the Stars and Stripes as the national flag.
1940 - German troops enter Paris
1982 - The Argentinian forces at Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands surrenders to the forces of Great Britain, ending the Falkland Islands War. Humiliated by the defeat, Argentina's ruling military junta would be swept from power in 1983.
1985 - TWA Flight 847, flying from Athens to Rome, is hijacked by Shiite Hezbollah terrorists taking the passengers and crew hostage. The hijackers targeted those passengers with 'Jewish sounding names'. US Navy diver, Robert Stetham, was killed by the hijackers as the plane sat at Beirut International Airport. The standoff would continue for 17 days before the last of the hostages were released.