Is Obama The New Nixon?

1 03 2013

 By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

Barack Obama said recently:

I am not a dictator.[2]

For many Americans who detest him totally—at the very least—this statement is all too reminiscent of Richard M. Nixon’s famous words:

I’m not a crook.[3]

The parallels are emerging rapidly; and Obama may suffer a similar fate.

Both had serious psychological issues: in the case of Obama, stemming from the fact that he grew up in Hawaii and Indonesia without his natural father; and his mother shipped him off to live with her parents in Honolulu, at a very young age, where he remained until he left to attend college on the American mainland.[4]

He is a Narcissist and a demagogue; and his reelection in 2012 merely elevated and reinforced these qualities in him.  Indeed, he has come to believe that he is invincible, politically; and he has set about to change America, much like Nixon did after his landslide reelection victory in 1972.

In an earlier article about Obama, I asked:

In the final analysis, will he be viewed as a fad and a feckless naïf, and a tragic Shakespearean figure who is forgotten and consigned to the dustheap of history?  Will his naïveté have been matched by his overarching narcissism, and will he be considered more starry-eyed and “dangerous” than Jimmy Carter?  Will his presidency be considered a sad watershed in history?  Or will he succeed and prove his detractors wrong, and be viewed as the “anointed one” and a true political “messiah”?  Even Abraham Lincoln was never accorded such accolades, much less during his lifetime.  And Barack Obama’s core beliefs are light years away from those of Ronald Reagan.[5]

Has Obama reached the apex of his presidency; and will his fall from grace, high atop “Mount Olympus,” be devastating for the United States and the American people?  Only time will tell.

© 2013, Timothy D. Naegele


[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the United States Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass).  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates, which specializes in Banking and Financial Institutions Law, Internet Law, Litigation and other matters (see www.naegele.com and http://www.naegele.com/naegele_resume.html).  He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University.  He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars.  He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal.  Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years (see, e.g.,www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles), and can be contacted directly at tdnaegele.associates@gmail.com; see also Google search:Timothy D. Naegele

[2] See http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2013/03/01/obama_i_am_not_a_dictator_im_the_president.html

[3] See, e.g.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sh163n1lJ4M

[4] See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/

On most issues, I was politically in tune with former Senator Edward W. Brooke, for whom I worked; I am not with Barack Obama at all.

See, e.g.http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/barack-obama-is-a-lame-duck-president-who-will-not-be-reelected/ (see also the footnotes and comments beneath the article)

[5] See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/


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103 responses

1 03 2013
PalomaGenios

One small caveat,….Nixon did however at the stroke of midnight assist Golda Mier with a crucial arms shipment that prevented Israel’s extinction…thus, although not a fan personally, possibly I would extend Obama one last straw to get the land for peace deal done with the same desired outcome.

Regardless of our national or international aggregate politics, Israel’s completion as a nation is sacred to God; woe be to men or nations that wish to see it otherwise.

1 03 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you for your comments.

First, with due respect, the single greatest threat to the two-state solution today is Benjamin Netanyahu.

See, e.g., http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/the-madness-of-benjamin-netanyahu/#comment-2440 and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/the-madness-of-benjamin-netanyahu/#comment-2407 (see also the article itself, as well as all of the other comments beneath it)

Second, Barack Obama is not a “fan” of either Netanyahu or Israel. He hated Apartheid in South Africa; and he views today’s Israel much the same way, which is discussed in my earlier article and the comments beneath it.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/the-madness-of-benjamin-netanyahu

Third, I respectfully submit that most of the world disagrees strongly with your last paragraph.

See also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/israels-senseless-killings-and-war-with-iran/#comment-544

Lastly, at least Nixon loved his country, he served in our military, and he was an expert about something; namely, foreign policy. Obama spent his time in college using illegal drugs; and he is not an expert about anything.

See, e.g., http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/ (“Junkie. Pothead. That’s where I’d been headed: the final, fatal role of the young would-be black man”)

1 03 2013
PalomaGenios

Well,

The first two points regarding whom is the worst will be self evident and to be born out over the course of the not to distant future ….

As for point three….you are precisely correct, although it isn’t my paragraph they disagree with; It is God’s. Most of the world does not truly understand the role of Israel or Jerusalem, the Jewish people, or God’s purpose for them. They do not truly Believe.

Enjoy your commentary. Let’s see where six months takes us.

23 05 2013
RayUSA

“Regardless of our national or international aggregate politics, Israel’s completion as a nation is sacred to God; woe be to men or nations that wish to see it otherwise.” – PalomaGenios

Could you please expound on this statement? Based on what authority do you make the claim that “Israel’s completion as a nation is sacred to God…” and perhaps more importantly the statement “… woe be to men or nations that wish to see it otherwise.”

23 05 2013
PalomaGenios

Ray,

Those comments are basically a paraphrased summary that the Bible lays out for the fate of Israel and the nations that rise up against it.

Whether you are a believer in biblical positioning or not, the nation of Israel is specifically identified as the apple of God’s Eye, and Jerusalem is His Holy City.

God will sometimes use an enemy nation to deliver chastisement against the nation of Israel, with the purpose being to bring the nation to repentance, … which has happened in its history.

There will come a period, which could develop shortly, that Israel will be cornered into a defense posture against a multi-nation armada arrayed against it, …. and with the supernatural provisions of God, will face utter destruction….again, detailed in Scripture.

What makes it difficult to comprehend is that most of the world looks at these events simply as human events. If one does not consider the underlying biblical spiritual connection behind the unfolding events, it will always appear as arrogant warmongering.

Gary

27 05 2013
RayUSA

Gary,

Respectfully, I would like to point out several items for your consideration:

The position that you are referring to is based on the doctrinal system known as Dispensationalism. Dispensationalism is a relatively new system that was originally devised in the 1850′s by John Nelson Darby (England) of the Plymouth Brethern movement. (Its most famous sub-doctrine is the pre-tribulational “rapture” theory, which is a study in itself). Where the system really got its legs was via the Scofield reference “bible” along with its copious notes, whereby C. I. Scofield took great liberty in “dividing” God’s dealings with mankind (and especially “Israel”) into various periods (or dispensations of time) through various means. Keep in mind, that Dispensationalism was NEVER taught prior to the development of this system in the 1850′s. In fact, it didn’t catch on at all here in America until about 1910, due primarily to the Scofield bible and the hyper-dispensational school Dallas Theological Seminary. In order to accept this system, one has to literally throw out Orthodox teachings of the previous 1850 years.

As to Israel. The primary scripture that is typically used to elevate the nation of Israel above all else … including Christ’s church … is Genesis 12:3 “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” … (the “Abrahamic Covenant”). However, there is a huge problem with interpreting this verse as representing the NATION of Israel. Why? Because what is being referred to in Gen. 12:3 is prophetically all believers in Christ (including those in the Old Testament that believed in his future promised advent) … NOT the physical nation of Israel. Note Galations 3:7,8 “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.” … and verse 29: “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Paul addresses this same issue in Romans 9: 6 – 9

Orthodox Biblical Christianity has always held to the doctrinal position that there are “two Israels” … one that is represented as the “Israel” (or Jews) which have rejected the Messiah … and the other that is “spiritual” Israel … which are the believers, by faith through grace, in Christ.

That is what is meant by Paul’s statement in Romans 9:6 “… For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel.” The Old Testament clearly teaches that within the “nation” of Israel, God always had His “remnant” of believers. These believers are the “apple of His eye”… not those that have rejected His Son as the promised Messiah. In reality, the nation of Israel is actually under the “curse of the law” as stated in Galations 3:10 “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; ” Israel has collectively rejected Christ as the Messiah and are making the vain attempt at obtaining righteousness through the “law” while rejecting Christ and his redemptive sacrifice on the cross.

I could go on … I’ll stop here. I sincerely hope this helps.

Ray

28 05 2013
PalomaGenios

Thanks RayUSA

I don’t believe I disagree with the end of some of your assessments, and I have over the years studied these various positions between the Church and Israel. No doubt, the Israel factor remains, and has been a lightening rod for conversation, if not outright war over the centuries!

Like yourself, there are pages of debate available, and probably Mr Naegele’s blog may not be the correct forum for a long running debate of this nature.

I agree with some points you make, but with the support of Scripture should time allow, I do believe that there is a strong case for dispensational time frames that God has provided to deal with the nature of man upon the earth. He is obviously a God of order and system and is not just tossing mud at the wall.

To the end, that many thousands of well learned and well read men like yourself and Mr Naegele have ‘proven’ their respective positions both pro and con especially as it relates to the 3000 year old Israel question. In the final analysis, the mere fact that here we are again in 2013 with Israel as the centerpiece of the geopolitical firestorm, begs everyone to ask; Why? Why still? The only answer that makes sense is: Read the Bible. It tells us why…even if we the non Jews, and the Jews themeselves, argue the outcome along the way.

Thanks for your insights and knowledgable history. God Bless you.

Gary,
Canada

28 05 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

[Editor's comments: Three other articles at this blog, and the comments beneath them, bear on these discussions as well.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/what-and-where-is-god/ ("What And Where Is God?") and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/the-madness-of-benjamin-netanyahu/#comment-2515 ("The Madness Of Benjamin Netanyahu") and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/israels-senseless-killings-and-war-with-iran/ ("Israel’s Senseless Killings And War With Iran")]

2 03 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Obama’s Enemies List And His Thugocracy

Barack Obama seems to smile endlessly; however, at or near the top of his “enemies list” are those people who would dare to criticize or expose him, or say—in the words of the little child in Hans Christian Andersen’s fable, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”—”But he has nothing on at all,” thereby exposing the grand swindle or fraud for all to see.

The Washington Post‘s associate editor Bob Woodward, of Watergate fame, is on the list. Having written an Op-Ed piece entitled, “Obama’s sequester deal-changer,” Obama and his “fellow travelers” have been attacking him.

See, e.g., http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/kathleen-parker-the-obama-white-house-threat-to-bob-woodward-matters/2013/03/01/f5d36d5e-82b3-11e2-b99e-6baf4ebe42df_story.html (“Why the ‘threat’ on Bob Woodward matters”—”[N]o president since Richard Nixon has demonstrated such overt contempt for the messenger“)

Woodward wrote:

The finger-pointing began during the third presidential debate last fall, on Oct. 22, when President Obama blamed Congress. “The sequester is not something that I’ve proposed,” Obama said. “It is something that Congress has proposed.”

The White House chief of staff at the time, Jack Lew, who had been budget director during the negotiations that set up the sequester in 2011, backed up the president two days later.

. . .

The president and Lew had this wrong. My extensive reporting for my book “The Price of Politics” shows that the automatic spending cuts were initiated by the White House and were the brainchild of Lew and White House congressional relations chief Rob Nabors—probably the foremost experts on budget issues in the senior ranks of the federal government.

Obama personally approved of the plan for Lew and Nabors to propose the sequester to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). They did so at 2:30 p.m. July 27, 2011, according to interviews with two senior White House aides who were directly involved.

Nabors has told others that they checked with the president before going to see Reid.

. . .

Key Republican staffers said they didn’t even initially know what a sequester was—because the concept stemmed from the budget wars of the 1980s, when they were not in government.

See http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/bob-woodward-obamas-sequester-deal-changer/2013/02/22/c0b65b5e-7ce1-11e2-9a75-dab0201670da_story.html

In addition:

The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward ripped into President Barack Obama on “Morning Joe” today, saying he’s exhibiting a “kind of madness I haven’t seen in a long time” for a decision not to deploy an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf because of budget concerns.

“Can you imagine Ronald Reagan sitting there and saying, ‘Oh, by the way, I can’t do this because of some budget document?’” Woodward said.

“Or George W. Bush saying, ‘You know, I’m not going to invade Iraq because I can’t get the aircraft carriers I need?’” Or even Bill Clinton saying, ‘You know, I’m not going to attack Saddam Hussein’s intelligence headquarters,’ … because of some budget document?”

See http://www.businessinsider.com/bob-woodward-obama-sequester-republicans-2013-2 and http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/27/us-usa-fiscal-woodward-idUSBRE91Q11620130227 (“Journalist Bob Woodward blasts Obama ‘madness’ in handling cuts”); see also http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/sperling-admits-obama-misled-debate-president-did-propose-sequester_705015.html (“Sperling Admits Obama Misled in Debate: The President Did Propose the Sequester“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-economic-tsunami-continues-its-relentless-and-unforgiving-advance-globally/#comment-2483 (“The Fiscal Cliff Explained, And Sequestration”)

Nile Gardiner, writing an excellent article in the UK’s Telegraph, has noted:

[T]he current presidency . . . is undeniably nasty and brutish, as veteran Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward has found after questioning President Obama’s narrative on the sequester issue.

. . .

Woodward is hardly a conservative, and has been at the heart of the liberal media establishment for decades. He is, however, not afraid of challenging the status quo, as he did with his 2010 book Obama’s Wars. Woodward is not alone. Lanny Davis, another liberal columnist and former special counsel to Bill Clinton, who has penned several pieces critical of Obama’s policies, has also spoken out against similar White House tactics.

The threats being dished out to Woodward, Davis and others are extremely disturbing in a free society, and are a reflection of an imperial presidency that acts with impunity and is highly intolerant of dissent. The heavy-arm tactics that Obama’s team have deployed for years against conservatives are now being increasingly implemented as well against liberals questioning the president’s record.

Leading US political analyst Michael Barone predicted all this in a piece for National Review Online back in October 2008, when he wrote about “The Coming Obama Thugocracy.” It is an article that is strikingly accurate in its predictions. Here’s what Barone had to say before Obama even entered the White House:

“I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors,” Barack Obama told a crowd in Elko, Nev. “I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face.” Actually, Obama supporters are doing a lot more than getting into people’s faces. They seem determined to shut people up.

. . . Once upon a time, liberals prided themselves, with considerable reason, as the staunchest defenders of free speech. Union organizers in the 1930s and 1940s made the case that they should have access to employees to speak freely to them, and union leaders like George Meany and Walter Reuther were ardent defenders of the First Amendment.

Today’s liberals seem to be taking their marching orders from other quarters. Specifically, from the college and university campuses where administrators, armed with speech codes, have for years been disciplining and subjecting to sensitivity training any students who dare to utter thoughts that liberals find offensive. The campuses that used to pride themselves as zones of free expression are now the least free part of our society.

Obama supporters who found the campuses congenial and Obama himself, who has chosen to live all his adult life in university communities, seem to find it entirely natural to suppress speech that they don’t like and seem utterly oblivious to claims that this violates the letter and spirit of the First Amendment. In this campaign, we have seen the coming of the Obama thugocracy, suppressing free speech, and we may see its flourishing in the four or eight years ahead.

Will American liberals now stand up to the Obama White House and condemn its blatant attempts to suppress criticism and free speech? I doubt it. The Washington Post has provided relatively little coverage of the story, despite the fact that one its own star writers has been targeted. The New York Times is, unsurprisingly, completely silent (with the exception of a small mention in a single blog) on the issue. Ironically, most of the reporting of the White House’s attempts to intimidate liberal critics has come from the conservative press, led by the Drudge Report, which has propelled the story to national prominence. Both conservatives and liberals should be rallying to the defence of free speech and freedom of the press, holding the Obama presidency to account. All Americans should be concerned by government attempts to stifle press criticism in the land of the free, tactics which undermine the very foundations of liberty.

See http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/nilegardiner/100204252/a-nasty-brutish-imperial-presidency/#comment-816124520 (emphasis in bold print added)

. . .

The latest target of Obama and his Hitler-esque thugs may be Rupert Mudoch’s News Corp and its Wall Street Journal. After that, it may be Mudoch’s Fox News and other entities in his empire, which constitutes payback for opposing Obama:

Dow Jones & Co said it found no sign of impropriety at its China operations, after the Wall Street Journal reported that a whistleblower had accused Journal employees of bribing Chinese officials for information.

The U.S. Department of Justice had asked Dow Jones to investigate the matter, as part of a wider probe into the 2011 British phone hacking scandal at its parent company, Rupert Mudoch’s News Corp.

It is not clear if the DoJ is satisfied with Dow Jones’ findings or if it is still looking into the allegations separately. . . .

The Wall Street Journal reported on its website on Sunday that an unidentified informant had told the DoJ that Journal employees in China had given gifts to Chinese officials in exchange for information. The accusations related to the Journal’s reporting activity in Chongqing, the power base of disgraced Chinese official Bo Xilai, according to WSJ.com.

News Corp said it does not know the identity of the informant, and has told the DOJ that some company officials suspected it was an agent of the Chinese government upset about the Journal’s reporting on Chinese leadership, said the report.

“After a thorough review of our operations in China conducted by outside lawyers and auditors, we have not found any evidence of impropriety at Dow Jones. Nor has anyone taken issue with our findings,” Dow Jones said in a statement emailed to Reuters on Sunday.

“We are extremely proud of our important and impactful coverage coming out of China and regret that some unknown source has sought to taint that work.”

News Corp is under investigation by U.S. and U.K. regulators over allegations that its now-defunct British tabloid, News of the World, had hacked phones and bribed public officials. Legal experts say News Corp could face scrutiny over whether it had violated the U.S. foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

“In regards to U.K. matters, we’ve delivered on our commitment to uncover wrongdoing and feel confident about the work we’ve done to put us on the right path, including sweeping changes to our global internal controls, compliance programs and ethics requirements,” News Corp said in a statement on Sunday.

See http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/17/us-newscorp-wsj-bribery-idUSBRE92G0J620130317 (“Dow Jones investigates bribery allegations against WSJ China”); see also http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324532004578365064172055862.html?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTWhatsNewsCollection (“Bribery Allegations Surfaced Against WSJ in China”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/21/the-united-states-department-of-injustice/ (“The United States Department of Injustice”)

. . .

Americans can only hope and pray that the Obama Thugocracy is brought to its knees in short order, and ended, and never repeated again in our great nation’s history.

8 03 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

89,304,000 AMERICANS: NOT WORKING

It has been reported:

The number of Americans not in the labor force increased by 296,000 in February, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest jobs report. According to the report, there were a total of 89.3 million people not in the labor force, up from 89 million in January.

BLS labels people who are unemployed and no longer looking for work as “not in the labor force,” including people who have retired on schedule, taken early retirement, or simply given up looking for work.

The increase marks the second month in a row, after rising in January from 88.8 million in December.

See http://cnsnews.com/news/article/296000-americans-drop-out-labor-force-february

. . .

As Peggy Noonan noted in the Wall Street Journal:

[T]he general fear [is] that we’re on a long slide and can’t turn it around.

See http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323628804578346680172271600.html?mod=WSJ_hps_sections_opinion

This is totally consistent with my article on the economy and the comments beneath it. The worst is yet to come, and things will get very ugly!

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-economic-tsunami-continues-its-relentless-and-unforgiving-advance-globally/ (“The Economic Tsunami Continues Its Relentless And Unforgiving Advance Globally”); see also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/the-next-major-war-korea-again/#comment-2501 (“North Korea Says It Will Launch Nuclear Attack On America“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/china-is-americas-enemy-make-no-mistake-about-that/ (“China Is America’s Enemy: Make No Mistake About That”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/poverty-in-america/#comment-2301 (“Crime Will Increase Dramatically In America”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-2494 (“Obama’s Enemies List And His Thugocracy”)

Noonan added:

[I]t’s a jobs crisis that’s the central thing. And you see it everywhere you look.

I’m in Pittsburgh, making my way to the airport hotel. The people movers are broken and we pull our bags along the dingy carpet. There’s an increasing sense in America now that the facades are intact but the machinery inside is broken.

This is so so true. I grew up a block away from the fabled Sunset Boulevard in Westwood, a mile west of the lovely UCLA college campus, in an affluent area of Los Angeles—with the super-rich Beverly Hills to the east, Bel Air to the northeast, and Brentwood, Pacific Palisades and Malibu to the west. Leaving the UCLA campus recently, I hit a pothole in the street near the campus, which was similar to those I had hit in Washington, D.C. a number of years before. The streets that I had traveled on my bike as a kid, to watch movies at the Village and Bruin theaters in Westwood, have not been paved in all those years. Hefty tax monies paid by residents have been diverted elsewhere, and wasted.

Noonan continued:

The man who checked me in put his phones on hold when I asked for someone to accompany me upstairs. As we walked to the room I felt I should explain. I told him a trial attorney had told me a while back that there are more lawsuits involving hotels than is generally known, and more crime, so always try to have someone with you when you first go to your room. I thought the hotel clerk would pooh-pooh this. Instead he said, “That’s why we just put up mirrors at each end of the hall, so you can see if someone’s coming.” He made it sound like an amenity.

“What should we do then, scream?” I asked. He laughed and shrugged: “Yeah.”

Things are getting pretty bare-bones in America. Doormen, security, bellmen, people working the floor—that’s maybe a dozen jobs that should have been filled, at one little hotel on one day in one town. Everyone’s keeping costs down, not hiring.

What that hotel looked like is America without its muscle, its efficiency, its old confidence.

. . .

ObamaCare is being cited as a reason employers are laying people off and not hiring, according to a report from the Federal Reserve.

What a mess.

. . .

But what is the sequester about? At the end of the day it’s about fewer jobs or fewer hours. In the midst of what is already a jobs crisis.

. . .

[Obama's] whole approach is still stoke and scare—stoke resentment and scare the vulnerable into pressuring Republicans.

. . .

Mr. Obama is making the same mistake he made four years ago. We are in a jobs crisis and he does not see it. He thinks he’s in a wrestling match about taxing and spending, he thinks he’s in a game with those dread Republicans. But the real question is whether the American people will be able to have jobs.

. . .

There’s little sense he sees this. Dr. Doom talks about coming disaster when businessmen need the confidence to hire someone. He’s missing the boat on the central crisis of his second term.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-economic-tsunami-continues-its-relentless-and-unforgiving-advance-globally/#comment-2483 (“The Fiscal Cliff Explained, And Sequestration”); compare http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/342366/white-house-saving-18000-week-cancelling-tours-patrick-brennan (“White House Is Saving $18,000 a Week By Cancelling Tours”) with http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2290937/MoS-Diary-Adele-lands-biggest-gig-Michelle-Obamas-50th-birthday-party.html (“ADELE, BEYONCE TO PERFORM AT MICHELLE’S 50TH [BIRTHDAY PARTY]“); see also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/barack-obama-is-a-lame-duck-president-who-will-not-be-reelected/#comment-1172 (“Michelle Obama: ‘Let Them Eat Cake!’”) and http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-savings-financial-emergency-20130130,0,4750796.story (“Nearly half of Americans are one emergency from financial ruin“)

13 03 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Worldwide Approval And Image Of The United States Declines Under Obama

POLITICO has reported:

Worldwide approval of U.S. leadership dipped considerably during President Barack Obama’s fourth year in office. . . .

The median approval rating for U.S. leadership for 130 countries was 41 percent in 2012, down 8 percentage points from the 49 percent approval during Obama’s first year in office, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday.

Gallup asked, “Do you approve or disapprove of the job performance of the leadership of the United States?”

“This shift suggests that the president and the new secretary of state may not find global audiences as receptive to the U.S. agenda as they have in the past. In fact, they may even find even once-warm audiences increasingly critical,” Gallup’s Julie Ray wrote.

. . .

In Europe, U.S. leadership dipped from 42 percent in 2011 to 36 percent for last year.

See http://www.politico.com/story/2013/03/world-poll-image-of-us-declines-88816.html (“World poll: Image of U.S. declines”)

1 04 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

North Korea Says It Will Launch Nuclear Attack On America

In an article subtitled, “NORTH Korea led by tyrant Kim Jong-un has sensationally vowed to launch a NUCLEAR attack on the USA,” the UK’s Sun has reported:

The provocative statement comes weeks after the country conducted underground nuclear tests which caused a massive earthquake.

America’s west coast cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco are feared to be in Kim’s sights.

A foreign ministry spokesman said: “Since the United States is about to ignite a nuclear war, we will be exercising our right to pre-emptive nuclear attack against the headquarters of the aggressor in order to protect our supreme interest.”

. . .

On Tuesday North Korea threatend to scrap the armistice that ended the 1950-53 war with South Korea.

And it criticised military exercises between the US and South Korea. Pyongyang said it was shutting off a military hotline with the US and South Korea.

North Korea’s KCNA agency quoting a military source said: “We will completely nullify the Korean armistice”.

Last month the world was put on high alert when North Korea carried out its biggest nuclear blast yet.

The giant underground explosion caused an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.9.

The banned blast—which took place in the remote, snowy, north-east of the country—drew global outrage, even from Pyongyang’s only major ally China.

The actual device was thought to be smaller than those in two earlier tests—raising fears that the crackpot Communist state is close to its aim of perfecting a missile capable of hitting its number one enemy the US.

. . .

In February North Korea poached Michael Jackson’s peace anthem We Are the World to soundtrack a chilling video showing a US city under missile attack.

The bizarre footage was uploaded on the secretive state’s official webpage.

The propaganda movie depicts a smiling lad dreaming of a regime rocket being launched into the air and travelling to America.

The three-and-a-half minute vid[eo] then showed a mystery city full of skyscrapers being attacked with multiple explosions, while the Stars and Stripes flag flutters in the background.

See http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4829035/north-korea-says-it-will-launch-nuclear-attack-on-america.html (emphasis added); see also http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2288445/Kim-Jong-Un-North-Korea-vows-end-ceasefire-South-Korea-revenge-nuclear-test-punishments.html (“North Korea threatens U.S. with ‘thermonuclear war’: Rogue nation vows to launch attacks ‘at any time’ in revenge for sanctions”) and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2290052/North-Korea-cancels-peace-pact-South-revenge-tough-UN-sanctions-threatens-thermonuclear-war-US.html (“‘Prepare for all-out war’: Kim Jong Un vows to attack South Korea as he cancels peace pact in revenge for tough UN sanctions“) and http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323826704578353710011020122.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_MIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsThird (“North Korea Declares War Truce ‘Invalid’“) and http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/15/17327806-us-to-deploy-more-ground-based-missile-interceptors-as-north-korea-steps-up-threats?lite (“US to deploy more ground-based missiles as North Korea steps up threats“)

To some in this world, the destruction of San Francisco (e.g., the Gay capital of the United States) and LA (e.g., the global center of far-Left, immoral “entertainment”) would be the 21st Century equivalent of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah—which were completely consumed by fire and brimstone.

See also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/08/earthquakes-the-big-one-is-coming-to-at-least-los-angeles/ (“Earthquakes: The Big One Is Coming To At Least Los Angeles”)

. . .

As reported by the UK’s Sun, North Korea has released a video that depicts 150,000 U.S. prisoners taken in a Blitzkrieg or lightning war that would overrun South Korea:

The bizarre mocked-up footage—released on the secretive state’s official website—imagines a full-scale war against the South and a quick victory inside three days.

US Navy ships in the region would be destroyed and thousands of troops and expats would be held prisoner according to the nightmare scenario.

The four-minute film, titled A Short, Three-Day War, starts with images of a massive rocket and artillery bombardment.

Tanks and infantry—carrying huge Communist banners—are then seen streaming across a snowy landscape towards Seoul amid dramatic Hollywood style explosions.

A male narrator describes different stages of the invasion, including the destruction of forces under the US Pacific Command with “powerful weapons of mass destruction.”

The video shows pictures of an American aircraft carrier, and images of the Seoul skyline superimposed with footage of paratroopers and North Korean military aircraft.

The narrator says: “The crack stormtroops will occupy Seoul and other cities and take 150,000 US citizens as hostages.”

The video was posted on the North’s official website, Uriminzokkiri, which distributes news and propaganda from the state media.

A video released early last month showed New York in flames after an apparent missile attack, and another two weeks later depicted US soldiers and President Barack Obama burning in the flames of a nuclear blast.

And earlier this week, another video showed the dome of the US Capitol building in Washington exploding in a fireball.

The latest offering from the Pyongyang propaganda department comes during escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Kim jong-un’s brutal regime has threatened strikes on US military bases in Japan and Guam, and is trying to build nuclear armed ballistic missiles that could hit Europe.

See http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4854885/nightmare-of-150000-us-prisoners-in-new-north-korean-propaganda-video.html; see also http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2297677/North-Korea-propaganda-video-shows-troops-taking-150-000-US-hostages-destroying-South-Korea.html and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2300964/North-Korea-revealed-Inside-Kim-Jong-Uns-war-room-signs-plan-attack-US-mainland.html (“Kim Jong Un reveals his ‘U.S. mainland strike plan’: Pictures inside North Korean leader’s war room show him plotting to attack America (with a map of target cities on the wall behind him)“) and http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Military/2013/0329/North-Korea-What-happens-if-Kim-Jong-un-acts-on-his-threats (“In the event that the ‘bellicose rhetoric’ of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un turns into something more serious, the opening hours of conflict could be ‘pretty ugly,’ defense analysts warn“) and http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/31/17543980-us-navy-shifts-destroyer-in-wake-of-north-korea-missile-threats?lite (“South Korean President Park Geun-hye appeared to give her country’s military permission to strike back at any attack from the North without further word from Seoul”—”‘As commander-in-chief of the armed forces, I will trust the military’s judgment on abrupt and surprise provocations by North Korea,’ she said“)

. . .

ABC News has reported:

Gen. James Thurman, the top U.S. commander in South Korea, said that in his two years on the job he has never seen things as tense as they are right now, telling ABC News the situation on the Korean peninsula as “volatile” and “dangerous.”

Thurman said in his exclusive interview with ABC News that his ” job is to prevent war,” but that his greatest fear is a “miscalculation” that causes “a kinetic provocation.” In military parlance, kinetic refers to combat.

Thurman said North Korea’s recent rhetoric has made the situation on the Korean peninsula “a dangerous period,” but he added, “I think we’re managing it quite well because on this side of the line we’re very calm. And we’re confident.”

Thurman commands the 28,500 American military forces based in South Korea and also serves as the commander of United Nations Command.

. . .

While he described North Korea’s missiles as their largest threat, Thurman pointed across the DMZ and noted “there’s 14,000 tubes of artillery just across this line beyond that far mountain range over there.” That artillery poses a direct threat to Seoul, the South Korean capital which is located just 27 miles from the DMZ.

See http://abcnews.go.com/International/us-general-north-korea-situation-volatile-dangerous/story?id=18863864&singlePage=true#.UVtV27vLjZ- (emphasis added); see also http://www.latimes.com/news/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-north-korea-danger-20130402,0,7973635.story (North Korea analyst: “[T]his is one of the most dangerous moments since 1953″“) and http://thehill.com/video/house/291579-rep-king-us-could-make-preemptive-strike-on-north-korea (“Rep. Peter King: US could make preemptive strike on North Korea“) and http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gpuimXzka5inwGnL0c9vZsbQ54fw?docId=CNG.4eb43e27607cb9d4be6b952b88ddefeb.01 (NORTH KOREA APPROVES ‘MERCILESS’ NUKE ATTACK ON US) and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2303227/North-Korea-says-approval-use-cutting-edge-nuclear-weapons-United-States-merciless-attack-just-hours-Chuck-Hagel-calls-clear-present-danger.html (“North Korea says it has approval to use its ‘cutting edge’ nuclear weapons against the United States in a ‘merciless’ attack just hours after Chuck Hagel calls them a ‘clear and present danger’“) and http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4874435/north-korea-moves-second-missile-to-east-coast.html (“North Korea tells Brit diplomats to get out—then sets chilling April 10 deadline“) and http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/391376/North-Korea-states-nuclear-war-is-unavoidable-as-it-declares-first-target-will-be-Japan (“North Korea states ‘nuclear war is unavoidable’ as it declares first target will be Japan“)

. . .

It is only possible to deal with rash actors and actions if one’s opponent is rational if not sane.

We learned from Pearl Harbor and 9/11 that there are enemies in this world who want to destroy the United States, and are willing to defy conventional norms. One such actor is North Korea under Kim Jong-un.

He could launch an invasion of the south that would be tantamount to a Blitzkrieg, killing or taking American military personnel as prisoners, and overrunning our South Korean ally. He could launch missiles against Japan and American forces in the Pacific that would be devastating.

The U.S. would have to act quickly, and the only real deterrents are nuclear strikes against the command and control in North Korea, and against key military targets and forces massed against us and our ally.

No amount of talking would have prevented Pearl Harbor or 9/11, and the same may be true this time. Indeed, a massive strike against the North may prevent a “Pearl Harbor” that reaches American cities, including but not limited to a nation-ending EMP Attack.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/emp-attack-only-30-million-americans-survive/ (“EMP Attack: Only 30 Million Americans Survive“)

. . .

North Korea has always eclipsed Iran as a nuclear-arms threat to the United States, except in the mind of Benjamin Netanyahu—who has been the greatest threat to peace in the Middle East, and has continuously sought to provoke America into a third war in the region.

As I have written:

The path on which Netanyahu is leading the Israelis is fraught with peril for their tiny Jewish nation . . . and potentially for Jews worldwide. He is determined to take the United States and the American people on the “joy ride” with him, which is utter madness.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/the-madness-of-benjamin-netanyahu/ (see also the comments beneath the article)

Barack Obama should leave Israel to sink or swim, alone; and turn his attention to where it really counts for Americans, which is not Iran.

Also, as I have written:

I am an American nationalist, not a Jew or Israeli, or a Palestinian. . . . I do not have any allegiance to another country.

See also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/israels-senseless-killings-and-war-with-iran/#comment-544

3 04 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

The Great Depression II Is Here To Stay, And It Will Last At Least Through The End Of This Decade

While many Americans and the “elite” of other countries have never had it so good financially—including Barack Obama and his family—as their yachts cruise the waters of the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and elsewhere in this world, others are living in poverty and utter desperation. This will continue unabated for many years to come, with no relief in sight. As I have written, things will only get far worse; and the human suffering will be unfathomable.

See, e.g., http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/poverty-in-america/ (“Poverty In America“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-economic-tsunami-continues-its-relentless-and-unforgiving-advance-globally/#comment-2135 (“Suicides, Growing Despair And Hopelessness May Be The Future“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-economic-tsunami-continues-its-relentless-and-unforgiving-advance-globally/#comment-2177 (“The Risk Of Runs Is Real“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/barack-obama-is-a-lame-duck-president-who-will-not-be-reelected/#comment-1172 (“Michelle Obama: ‘Let Them Eat Cake!’”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-economic-tsunami-continues-its-relentless-and-unforgiving-advance-globally/#comment-1516 (“Debtors’ Prisons“)

Evidence of this is reflected in the latest statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau:

[N]early 50 million Americans—one in six—were living below the income line that defines poverty, according to the bureau. . . . The bureau said 20 percent of the country’s children are poor.

See http://news.yahoo.com/help-shrinks-poverty-spikes-us-122230503.html (“Help shrinks as poverty spikes in the US“); see also http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2302997/U-S-sees-highest-poverty-spike-1960s-leaving-50-million-Americans-poor-government-cuts-billions-spending.html (“U.S. sees highest poverty spike since the 1960s, leaving 50 million Americans poor as government cuts billions in spending“) and http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-04-05/people-not-labor-force-soar-663000-90-million-labor-force-participation-rate-1979-le (“[T]he number of people not in the labor force . . . in March soared by a massive 663,000 to a record 90 million Americans who are no longer even looking for work“)

It is a myth and downright lie woven by our politicians and their counterparts in other countries that America and Europe are slowly climbing out of the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s. It must never be forgotten that the depression of the last century did not end with the onset of World War II, but rather it abated only after the war’s end. During the 1930s, there were “green shoots” as there are now—or signs that things were improving economically—which did not materialize until the end of that devastating war.

As I wrote almost four years ago:

International terrorism and other very real national security concerns still loom, which might produce flashpoints at any time. We have enemies who seek to destroy us—a fact that is sometimes forgotten as 9/11 recedes in our memories. While it might be attractive . . . to take a “meat ax” to the Defense Department, it would be foolhardy to gut our military precisely when it has been performing magnificently and its continued strength is needed most. America’s economic and military strength go hand in hand. Both are indispensable ingredients of our great nation’s future strength.

See http://www.realclearpolitics.com/news/tms/politics/2009/Apr/08/euphoria_or_the_obama_depression_.html; see also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/the-next-major-war-korea-again/#comment-2501 (“North Korea Says It Will Launch Nuclear Attack On America”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/emp-attack-only-30-million-americans-survive/ (“EMP Attack: Only 30 Million Americans Survive”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/the-madness-of-benjamin-netanyahu (“The Madness Of Benjamin Netanyahu”)

And I added almost four years ago:

While U.S. politicians and their counterparts in other countries have been trying to convince their electorates that they have the answers, they are simply holding out false hopes that real solutions are at hand. . . .

America and other nations are in uncharted waters; and their politicians may face backlashes from disillusioned and angry constituents that are unprecedented in modern times. Also, the limits of godless secularism and paying homage to the false gods of materialism may become self-evident.

See http://www.realclearpolitics.com/news/tms/politics/2009/Apr/08/euphoria_or_the_obama_depression_.html; see also http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/9985280/Big-banks-more-dangerous-than-ever-IMFs-Christine-Lagarde-says.html (“Big banks ‘more dangerous than ever’, IMF’s Christine Lagarde says“)

The chickens are coming home to roost as fewer and fewer Americans and other nationalities trust their governments, and as economic and other forms of chaos reign.

HOLD ON TIGHT. THINGS WILL GET VERY UGLY!

5 04 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

My Predictions Of Obama’s Defeat Last November

Some critics keep raising the issue that I predicted Barack Obama’s electoral defeat last November, which did not happen. Like many others, I was mistaken.

See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/barack-obama-is-a-lame-duck-president-who-will-not-be-reelected/ (see also the comments beneath the article)

Indeed, with respect to the exact numbers in last November’s elections, 58.9 percent of Americans who were eligible to vote actually voted. Of them, 65,907,213 or 51.1 percent voted for Obama; and 60,931,767, or 47.2 percent voted for Mitt Romney. Obama carried 26 States plus the District of Columbia, while Romney carried 24 States.

See, e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election,_2012

It was not a landslide for Obama by any means; and those Americans who voted against him are tuning him out . . . or fighting against everything that he stands for.

As our economy continues to decline, this will become truer with each passing day.

See, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-economic-tsunami-continues-its-relentless-and-unforgiving-advance-globally/#comment-2555 (see also the article itself, as well as the other comments beneath it)

9 04 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

“Watergate II”?

In an article entitled, “Mitch McConnell seeks FBI investigation,” POLITICO reported:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s reelection campaign asked the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office on Tuesday to investigate how Mother Jones magazine obtained a recording of a February strategy session.

“Senator McConnell’s campaign is working with the FBI and has notified the local U.S. Attorney in Louisville, per FBI request, about these recordings,” McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton said in a statement. “Obviously a recording device of some kind was placed in Senator McConnell’s campaign office without consent. By whom and how that was accomplished presumably will be the subject of a criminal investigation.”

Added a source close to the campaign: “We’re going on the assumption that a crime has been committed. No one at the meeting leaked this.”

. . .

On Tuesday morning, Mother Jones, a liberal magazine, published an audio recording of McConnell staffers discussing opposition research they could use against actress Ashley Judd, who was considering running against veteran senator in the 2014 Senate race. Judd announced last week that she would not make the race.

See http://www.politico.com/story/2013/04/mitch-mcconnell-ashley-judd-recordings-fbi-89803.html?hp=r2; see also http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/top-senate-republican-asks-feds-investigate-possible-illegal-wiretap_716166.html

17 05 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Obama’s Fall From Grace . . . Or “Watergate II”

Perhaps the only things that will save Barack Obama and his presidency are (1) the near-total ineptitude of the Republican Party and “Neanderthals” like its Senate leader and ranking “buffoon,” Mitch McConnell; (2) Joe Biden as Vice President, who is a joke but a heartbeat away from the Oval Office; (3) a Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate, and the utter ruthlessness and proven diabolical political skills of that Party; (4) the failure of the GOP to remove Bill Clinton from the presidency after he was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives, which reinforces their spinelessness now; (5) the “inertia” of Americans who have been “shell-shocked” by tragedies, and yearn for lasting political and economic stability; and (6) Obama is America’s first half-black president, which means that the “race card” will be played again and again.

Certainly, the ingredients of “Watergate II” are present and growing: (1) “Sequestration,” which emanated from Obama and his minions and is devastating the United States in countless ways, which will produce long-term negative consequences for our national security, at the very least; (2) misuse of the IRS by Obama and his lieutenants to target their political enemies; (3) unilateral disarmament by the United States at a time when the list of our real enemies is growing, not diminishing; (4) the terrorist attacks on the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya, which were distorted by Obama and others right before the 2012 presidential election, to skew the results in favor of Obama; (5) an American economy that is being buoyed up by the Fed, but will come crashing down with a thud that is reminiscent of the Great Depression of the last century, or worse; (6) ObamaCare, which will devastate America’s health care system; and (7) . . . the list goes on and on, including unprecedented reckless abuses of governmental powers and perks.

See, e.g., http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/18/us/politics/irs-scandal-congressional-hearings.html?_r=0 (“Obama administration officials were aware of [and orchestrated the targeting of political enemies] during the presidential campaign year“) and http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-redacted-truth-subjunctive-outrage/2013/05/16/de28aee8-be64-11e2-97d4-a479289a31f9_story.html (Krauthammer: “[I]t might well be [bigger than Watergate and Iran-contra]“) and http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/05/irs-official-in-charge-during-tea-party-targeting-now-runs-health-care-office/ (“IRS Official in Charge During Tea Party Targeting Now Runs [IRS' ObamaCare] Office“) and http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323582904578487460479247792.html (Noonan: “We are in the midst of the worst Washington scandal since Watergate“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-economic-tsunami-continues-its-relentless-and-unforgiving-advance-globally/#comment-2555 (“The Great Depression II Is Here To Stay, And It Will Last At Least Through The End Of This Decade“) and http://www.rove.com/articles/473 (“A White House Under Siege“); see also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impeachment_of_Bill_Clinton (“Impeachment of Bill Clinton”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/ (“Is Barack Obama A Racist?”)

Barack Obama is the president from Hell; and things will only get far worse before his presidency ends . . . the sooner, the better.

27 05 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Free George Zimmerman, And Shut Down The Racists!

There is little question that Zimmerman is being persecuted by racists—of the same ilk as those who freed O.J. Simpson after this heinous murders of his wife Nicole and Ron Goldman on June 12, 1994 in Los Angeles.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/barack-obama-is-a-lame-duck-president-who-will-not-be-reelected/#comment-2098 (“Trayvon Martin Protesters Ransack Store”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/barack-obama-is-a-lame-duck-president-who-will-not-be-reelected/#comment-2101 (“OBAMA PLAYS THE RACE CARD”); see also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/ (“Is Barack Obama A Racist?”)

Racial politics must not be allowed to condemn and imprison Zimmerman!

2 06 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Bill Clinton On Barack Obama: “He’s Incompetent”

The New York Post has reported in an article by Edward Klein, author of “The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House”:

President Obama made a secret deal to support Hillary Clinton when she runs for president in 2016, campaign sources say, payback for the support her husband gave him in 2012.

Bill Clinton’s animosity toward Obama is legendary. A year before the last election, he was urging Hillary to challenge the sitting president for the nomination—a move she rejected.

According to two people who attended that meeting in Chappaqua, Bill Clinton then went on a rant against Obama.

“I’ve heard more from Bush, asking for my advice, than I’ve heard from Obama,” my sources quoted Clinton as saying. “I have no relationship with the president—none whatsoever. Obama doesn’t know how to be president. He doesn’t know how the world works. He’s incompetent. He’s an amateur!”

For his part, Obama wasn’t interested in Bill Clinton upstaging him during the presidential campaign. He resisted giving him any role at the convention.

But as last summer wore on, and Democrat enthusiasm waned, chief political strategist David Axelrod convinced the president that he needed Bill Clinton’s mojo.

A deal was struck: Clinton would give the key nominating speech at the convention, and a full-throated endorsement of Obama. In exchange, Obama would endorse Hillary Clinton as his successor.

Clinton’s speech was as promised; columnists pointed out the surprising enthusiasm in which he described the president. It also lived up to Obama’s fears, as more people talked about Clinton’s speech in the weeks following than his own.

But after his re-election, Obama began to have second thoughts. He would prefer to stay neutral in the next election, as is traditional of outgoing presidents.

Bill Clinton went ballistic and threatened retaliation. Obama backed down. He called his favorite journalist, Steve Kroft of “60 Minutes,” and offered an unprecedented “farewell interview” with departing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The result was a slobbering televised love-in—and an embarrassment to all concerned.

It is just one of the debacles that have marked Obama’s second term, from Benghazi to the IRS scandal. While he was effective on the campaign trail, once in the Oval Office, he becomes a different person, one who derives no joy from the cut and thrust of day-to-day politics and who is inept in the arts of management and governance.

Obama has made a lot of promises—and nothing ever happened.

He once boasted that he’d bring the Israelis and Palestinians to the negotiating table and create a permanent peace in the Middle East. Nothing happened.

He said he’d open a constructive dialogue with America’s enemies in Iran and North Korea and, through his special powers of persuasion, help them see the error of their ways. And nothing happened.

He said he’d solve the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression and put millions of people back to work. And nothing happened.

He may yet try to back out of his promise to Hillary Clinton. But as Obama’s presidency sinks deeper into scandal and inaction, the question is—will Clinton even still want his endorsement?

See http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/gets_hill_bullied_EjhPAdD8Ati7RRkMlNqHbM (emphasis added)

14 07 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: NOT GUILTY!

See also http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/us/2013/07/14/sot-zimmerman-trial-verdict.cnn.html

Bravo! Justice has been served!

. . .

Unfortunately, in the next breath, Barack Obama’s disgraced Justice Department has announced that “it is looking into the shooting death of Trayvon Martin to determine whether federal prosecutors should file criminal civil rights charges now that George Zimmerman has been acquitted in the state case.”

See http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_NEIGHBORHOOD_WATCH_JUSTICE_DEPT_?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-07-14-16-02-34; see also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/21/the-united-states-department-of-injustice/ (“The United States Department of Injustice”)

An AP story on the subject adds:

In a statement Sunday, the Justice Department said the criminal section of the civil rights division, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Middle District of Florida are continuing to evaluate the evidence generated during the federal probe, in addition to the evidence and testimony from the state trial.

The statement said that, in the government’s words, “experienced federal prosecutors will determine whether the evidence reveals a prosecutable violation.”

See id.

This is totally consistent with how Barack Obama, his administration, and his Democratic Party operate. Despite having said that “[a] jury has spoken,” Obama and his Justice Department—and key party members, such as Harry Reid—are still trying to find a way to destroy George Zimmerman.

See http://www.politico.com/story/2013/07/george-zimmerman-verdict-94130.html?hp=t1; see also http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/07/14/Reid-Zimmerman-not-over (“REID ON ZIMMERMAN: ‘THIS ISN’T OVER WITH’”)

This is unconscionable, and Obama should be impeached—for this, and a long list of other issues!

14 07 2013
RayUSA

This case should have never gone to trial. The only reason it did was because of the race baiters (Sharpton, Jackson, Obama, etc.) along with their fellow travelers in the mainstream media. The entire trial was a complete sham from the start as evidenced by the state’s own witnesses, which more often than not helped the defense. Their “star” witness Rachel Jeantel was an absolute train wreck.

Without a blind and unbiased judicial system, no American can truly be free and safe … as further illustrated by the Justice Department announcing that they are now “looking” for something else in which to “charge” George Zimmerman. From the very beginning, this entire distasteful episode has been nothing short of the public persecution of an American citizen. What happened to Zimmerman could happen to anyone of us.

14 07 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Ray, for your thoughtful comments.

In response to your last sentence: it has, and continues to happen each and every day.

See, e.g., http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/justice-and-the-law-do-not-mix/ (“Justice And The Law Do Not Mix”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/the-american-legal-system-is-broken-can-it-be-fixed/ (“The American Legal System Is Broken: Can It Be Fixed?”) (see also the comments beneath these articles)

15 07 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Dershowitz: ‘Prosecutorial Tyrant’ Violated Zimmerman’s Rights

It has been reported:

Famed defense lawyer and Harvard law professor Alan M. Dershowitz is calling for a federal investigation into civil rights violations stemming from the George Zimmerman case—but he says the probe should focus on prosecutorial misconduct rather than on allegations of racial profiling and bias.

. . . Dershowitz said the jury’s finding that Zimmerman was not guilty of either second-degree murder or manslaughter was “the right verdict.”

He added, “There was reasonable doubt all over the place.”

Immediately after the verdict was announced, however, the NAACP and outspoken activist Al Sharpton called on the Justice Department to launch a federal civil-rights probe, charging that the case had been racially tainted.

Dershowitz is calling for a civil-rights probe as well. But he contends the person whose rights were violated was Zimmerman.

“I think there were violations of civil rights and civil liberties—by the prosecutor,” said the criminal-law expert. “The prosecutor sent this case to a judge, and willfully, deliberately, and in my view criminally withheld exculpatory evidence.”

He added: “They denied the judge the right to see pictures that showed Zimmerman with his nose broken and his head bashed in. The prosecution should be investigated for civil rights violations, and civil liberty violations.”

Dershowitz said the second-degree murder case should never have gone to trial considering the flimsy evidence against Zimmerman. He also does not believe it was strong enough to be submitted to a jury for deliberation.

“If the judge had any courage in applying the law, she never would have allowed the case to go to the jury. . . . She should have entered a verdict based on reasonable doubt.”

Dershowitz singled out special prosecutor Angela Corey for “disciplinary action.”

He criticized the state’s probable-cause affidavit for not including evidence indicating Zimmerman could have been acting in self-defense, including graphic images of blood streaming from his scalp and nose.

“The prosecutor had in her possession photographs that would definitely show a judge that this was not an appropriate case for second-degree murder. . . . She deliberately withheld and suppressed those photographs, refused to show them to the judge, got the judge to rule erroneously this was a second-degree murder case.

“That violated a whole range of ethical, professional, and legal obligations that prosecutors have. Moreover, they withheld other evidence in the course of the pretrial and trial proceedings, as has been documented by the defense team,” he said.

Dershowitz described the prosecution’s attempt late in the case to add a third-degree murder charge by asserting the shooting constituted child abuse “so professionally irresponsible as to warrant sanctions and investigations.”

Dershowitz said various legal and bar association organizations could investigate how the state handled the prosecution. He added it could warrant a federal investigation as well.

“I think people’s rights have been violated, . . . but it was the rights of the defendant and the defense team, by utterly unprofessional, irresponsible, and in my view criminal actions by the prosecutor,” he said.

Dershowitz went on to express his opinion that Corey is “basically a prosecutorial tyrant, and well known for that in Florida.”

Dershowitz and Corey have had run-ins before. She contacted Harvard Law School demanding that he be disciplined for voicing his opinion that she had improperly omitted information that could have exonerated Zimmerman.

“Of course, the Harvard Law School laughed at [her complaint],” he said.

. . . Even after the verdict was rendered Saturday, Corey continued to defend her decision to charge Zimmerman with second-degree murder.

“We charge what we believe we can prove,” she told the media. “That’s why we charged second-degree murder. We truly believe that the mindset of George Zimmerman and the words that he used and the reason he was out doing what he was doing fit the bill for second-degree murder.”

Corey said the case “has never been about race,” but also said there was “no doubt” young Trayvon Martin had been “profiled to be a criminal.”

Although Zimmerman was cleared of all charges, Corey told the media: “This case was about boundaries and George Zimmerman exceeded those boundaries.

Dershowitz [said] he expects there will probably be a lawsuit filed against Zimmerman for civil damages. He said civil-damage cases require a lower standard of proof that a wrong has been committed, and Zimmerman would not be able to avoid testifying.

But Dershowitz adds: “I don’t know where you’ll find a lawyer who is prepared to bring it, because it has very little chance of success.”

Asked if he expects Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department to launch a civil-rights investigation targeting Zimmerman, Dershowitz stated: “I don’t think that’s going to happen, and if it happens, I don’t think it would succeed.”

Dershowitz [said] the prosecutor overcharged the case, and never should have sought a second-degree murder conviction.

“The theory was clearly to charge second-degree murder, and hope for a compromise verdict of manslaughter,” he said.

Dershowitz was careful to add that the tragic killing of Trayvon Martin exposes a need to reform Florida laws.

He believes the Stand Your Ground law should be changed because it “elevates macho over the need to preserve life.”

He also stated that racial profiling “has to be addressed.”

“I think these vigilante community groups have to be disarmed,” he said. “I don’t think Zimmerman should have been allowed to have a gun.

“He should have been walking around with a walkie-talkie and calling the police,” he said. “It’s the job of the police to investigate and apprehend suspects based on their professional training.”

But the need for future legal reforms had no bearing on the Zimmerman trial, Dershowitz said, and insisted the case should never have reached a jury.

See http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/Dershowitz-Zimmerman-Prosecutorial-Misconduct/2013/07/14/id/514957?s=al&promo_code=142AB-1; see also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/#comment-2640 (“Zimmerman Prosecutors ‘Should Be Disbarred’”)

Of course, Dershowitz is correct!

15 07 2013
Dayl B

Dershowitz is correct except for the gun part… why should police be able to carry a gun and a private citizen cannot? I still like the saying, when Colt created the gun, ALL men and women were created equal.

15 07 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Dayl.

Yes, I agree with you.

23 07 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

OBAMA’S LEGACY: AL QAEDA MILITANTS FLEE IRAQ jAIL IN VIOLENT MASS BREAK-OUT

As reported by Reuters:

Hundreds of convicts, including senior members of al Qaeda, broke out of Iraq’s Abu Ghraib jail as comrades launched a military-style assault to free them, authorities said on Monday.

The deadly raid on the high-security jail happened as Sunni Muslim militants are gaining momentum in their insurgency against the Shi’ite-led government that came to power after the U.S. invasion to oust Saddam Hussein.

Suicide bombers drove cars packed with explosives to the gates of the prison on the outskirts of Baghdad on Sunday night and blasted their way into the compound, while gunmen attacked guards with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.

Other militants took up positions near the main road, fighting off security reinforcements sent from Baghdad as several militants wearing suicide vests entered the prison on foot to help free the inmates.

Ten policemen and four militants were killed in the ensuing clashes, which continued until Monday morning, when military helicopters arrived, helping to regain control.

By that time, hundreds of inmates had succeeded in fleeing Abu Ghraib, the prison made notorious a decade ago by photographs showing abuse of prisoners by U.S. soldiers.

“The number of escaped inmates has reached 500, most of them were convicted senior members of al Qaeda and had received death sentences,” Hakim Al-Zamili, a senior member of the security and defense committee in parliament, told Reuters.

“The security forces arrested some of them, but the rest are still free.”

One security official told Reuters on condition of anonymity: “It’s obviously a terrorist attack carried out by al Qaeda to free convicted terrorists with al Qaeda.”

A simultaneous attack on another prison, in Taji, around 20 km (12 miles) north of Baghdad, followed a similar pattern, but guards managed to prevent any inmates escaping. Sixteen soldiers and six militants were killed.

CONVOY ATTACK

Sunni insurgents, including the al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq, have been regaining strength in recent months and striking on an almost daily basis against Shi’ite Muslims and security forces amongst other targets.

The violence has raised fears of a return to full-blown conflict in a country where Kurds, Shi’ite and Sunni Muslims have yet to find a stable way of sharing power.

Recent attacks have targeted mosques, amateur football matches, shopping areas and cafes where people gather to socialize after breaking their daily fast for the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

Relations between Islam’s two main denominations have been put under further strain from the civil war in Syria, which has drawn in Shi’ite and Sunni fighters from Iraq and beyond to fight against each other.

In the city of Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, a suicide bomber detonated a vehicle packed with explosives behind a military convoy in the eastern Kokchali district, killing at least 22 soldiers and three passers-by, police said.

Following the attack, leaflets were found near mosques in Mosul signed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which was formed earlier this year through a merger between Syrian and Iraqi affiliates of al Qaeda.

“After receiving information from our precious nation’s sons about the arrival of a convoy of the Safavid Raafidi Army… the lions of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have confronted them,” read the leaflets, using derogatory terms to refer to Shi’ites.

Four other policemen, were killed in a separate attack in western Mosul, Iraq’s third-largest city and capital of the Sunni-dominated Nineveh province.

Nearly 600 people have been killed in militant attacks across Iraq so far this month, according to violence monitoring group Iraq Body Count.

That is still well below the height of bloodletting in 2006-07, when the monthly death toll sometimes exceeded 3,000.

See http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/22/us-iraq-violence-idUSBRE96L0RM20130722

Because of Barack Obama, Iraq and Afghanistan are looking more and more like Vietnam!

See also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/09/are-afghanistan-iraq-and-pakistan-hopeless-and-is-the-spread-of-radical-islam-inevitable-and-is-barack-obama-finished-as-americas-president/ and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/26/obama-in-afghanistan-doomed-from-the-start/

29 07 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

4 Out Of 5 in USA Face Near-Poverty, No Work . . .

The AP has reported:

Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.

Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor and loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend.

The findings come as President Barack Obama tries to renew his administration’s emphasis on the economy, saying in recent speeches that his highest priority is to “rebuild ladders of opportunity” and reverse income inequality.

Hardship is particularly on the rise among whites, based on several measures. Pessimism among that racial group about their families’ economic futures has climbed to the highest point since at least 1987. In the most recent AP-GfK poll, 63 percent of whites called the economy “poor.”

“I think it’s going to get worse,” said Irene Salyers, 52, of Buchanan County, Va., a declining coal region in Appalachia. Married and divorced three times, Salyers now helps run a fruit and vegetable stand with her boyfriend, but it doesn’t generate much income. They live mostly off government disability checks.

“If you do try to go apply for a job, they’re not hiring people, and they’re not paying that much to even go to work,” she said. Children, she said, have “nothing better to do than to get on drugs.”

While racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to live in poverty, race disparities in the poverty rate have narrowed substantially since the 1970s, census data show. Economic insecurity among whites also is more pervasive than is shown in government data, engulfing more than 76 percent of white adults by the time they turn 60, according to a new economic gauge being published next year by the Oxford University Press.

The gauge defines “economic insecurity” as experiencing unemployment at some point in their working lives, or a year or more of reliance on government aid such as food stamps or income below 150 percent of the poverty line. Measured across all races, the risk of economic insecurity rises to 79 percent.

“It’s time that America comes to understand that many of the nation’s biggest disparities, from education and life expectancy to poverty, are increasingly due to economic class position,” said William Julius Wilson, a Harvard professor who specializes in race and poverty.

He noted that despite continuing economic difficulties, minorities have more optimism about the future after Obama’s election, while struggling whites do not.

“There is the real possibility that white alienation will increase if steps are not taken to highlight and address inequality on a broad front,” Wilson said.

___

Sometimes termed “the invisible poor” by demographers, lower-income whites are generally dispersed in suburbs as well as small rural towns, where more than 60 percent of the poor are white. Concentrated in Appalachia in the East, they are also numerous in the industrial Midwest and spread across America’s heartland, from Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma up through the Great Plains.

More than 19 million whites fall below the poverty line of $23,021 for a family of four, accounting for more than 41 percent of the nation’s destitute, nearly double the number of poor blacks.

Still, while census figures provide an official measure of poverty, they’re only a temporary snapshot. The numbers don’t capture the makeup of those who cycle in and out of poverty at different points in their lives. They may be suburbanites, for example, or the working poor or the laid off.

In 2011 that snapshot showed 12.6 percent of adults in their prime working-age years of 25-60 lived in poverty. But measured in terms of a person’s lifetime risk, a much higher number—4 in 10 adults—falls into poverty for at least a year of their lives.

The risks of poverty also have been increasing in recent decades, particularly among people ages 35-55, coinciding with widening income inequality. For instance, people ages 35-45 had a 17 percent risk of encountering poverty during the 1969-1989 time period; that risk increased to 23 percent during the 1989-2009 period. For those ages 45-55, the risk of poverty jumped from 11.8 percent to 17.7 percent.

By race, nonwhites still have a higher risk of being economically insecure, at 90 percent. But compared with the official poverty rate, some of the biggest jumps under the newer measure are among whites, with more than 76 percent enduring periods of joblessness, life on welfare or near-poverty.

By 2030, based on the current trend of widening income inequality, close to 85 percent of all working-age adults in the U.S. will experience bouts of economic insecurity.

“Poverty is no longer an issue of ‘them’, it’s an issue of ‘us’,” says Mark Rank, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis who calculated the numbers. “Only when poverty is thought of as a mainstream event, rather than a fringe experience that just affects blacks and Hispanics, can we really begin to build broader support for programs that lift people in need.”

Rank’s analysis is supplemented with figures provided by Tom Hirschl, a professor at Cornell University; John Iceland, a sociology professor at Penn State University; the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey Institute; the Census Bureau; and the Population Reference Bureau.

Among the findings:

—For the first time since 1975, the number of white single-mother households who were living in poverty with children surpassed or equaled black ones in the past decade, spurred by job losses and faster rates of out-of-wedlock births among whites. White single-mother families in poverty stood at nearly 1.5 million in 2011, comparable to the number for blacks. Hispanic single-mother families in poverty trailed at 1.2 million.

—The share of children living in high-poverty neighborhoods—those with poverty rates of 30 percent or more—has increased to 1 in 10, putting them at higher risk of teen pregnancy or dropping out of school. Non-Hispanic whites accounted for 17 percent of the child population in such neighborhoods, up from 13 percent in 2000, even though the overall proportion of white children in the U.S. has been declining.

The share of black children in high-poverty neighborhoods dropped sharply, from 43 percent to 37 percent, while the share of Latino children ticked higher, from 38 to 39 percent.

___

Going back to the 1980s, never have whites been so pessimistic about their futures, according to the General Social Survey, which is conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago. Just 45 percent say their family will have a good chance of improving their economic position based on the way things are in America.

The divide is especially evident among those whites who self-identify as working class: 49 percent say they think their children will do better than them, compared with 67 percent of non-whites who consider themselves working class.

In November, Obama won the votes of just 36 percent of those noncollege whites, the worst performance of any Democratic nominee among that group since 1984.

Some Democratic analysts have urged renewed efforts to bring working-class whites into the political fold, calling them a potential “decisive swing voter group” if minority and youth turnout level off in future elections.

“They don’t trust big government, but it doesn’t mean they want no government,” says Republican pollster Ed Goeas, who agrees that working-class whites will remain an important electoral group. “They feel that politicians are giving attention to other people and not them.”

See http://bigstory.ap.org/article/exclusive-4-5-us-face-near-poverty-no-work-0

Hold on tight. It will get far worse between now and the end of this decade!

. . .

But nothing interrupts the Obamas’ lavish vacations!

See, e.g., http://washingtonexaminer.com/obama-vineyard-vacation-at-7.6m-private-resort-over-75-rooms-booked-for-staff/article/2533598 (“Obama Vineyard vacation at $7.6m private resort, over 75 rooms booked for staff”) and http://www.whitehousedossier.com/2013/07/29/wh-tours-parade-special-visitors-continues/ (“Still No [White House] Tours, but Parade of Special Visitors Continues”)

11 08 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Obama Is Not To Be Trusted On Foreign Policy—As 50 Percent Of Americans Disapprove Of The Job He Is Doing As President

These are the results of the latest Gallup poll, and an assessment of his presidency by the UK’s Telegraph:

The West can no longer rely on American leadership in the world. For the remaining duration of the Obama administration, Washington’s judgment and effectiveness in foreign policy cannot be trusted.

. . .

The president’s global strategy in his second term was based on two resounding premises. First, al‑Qaeda was “on the run” having been smashed by the killing of Osama bin Laden and the successful US drone operations in Pakistan: in May, Mr Obama gave a triumphal speech in which he declared the War on Terror officially over.

That was then. This is now: over the past week, 19 US embassies in the Middle East and North Africa had to be closed for a week, and diplomatic staff evacuated from Yemen because of “specific terrorist threats”. So who exactly is on the run? When the embarrassing contrast between this mass exit of the American presence and the “War on Terror (End of)” speech was pointed out, White House spokesmen clarified—as government spokesmen like to call it—what the president had said: it was al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan that had been all but defeated, not its franchise in Yemen, which was clearly still alive and kicking.

This clarification was followed shortly by the evacuation of diplomatic staff from Lahore in Pakistan due to—a specific terrorist threat. In his most recent comment, Mr Obama rephrased his dismissal of the Islamist forces: al-Qaeda may not be “on the run” but it is “on its heels”. (Meaning: still facing forward and able to fight?) More confusingly still, Mr Obama is apparently determined to return some Guantánamo prisoners to Yemen, where they will presumably add to the dangerous mix of jihadi terrorists.

The questions remain: is the US “at war” with global jihad or isn’t it? It is now engaged in drone attacks on Yemen, whose government is repeatedly declaring victory over the local al-Qaeda branch. What precisely is America’s role in this, if not as part of an international “War on Terror”? When Barack Obama first ran for the presidency, he committed himself to the war in Afghanistan (rather than Iraq) and refused to rule out the possibility of invading Pakistan. Does he now have any clear, coherent objectives or is his White House simply reacting to events?

The second plank of the Obama global plan was that America’s contentious relationship with Russia would be “re-set”, thereby eliminating one of the main obstacles to the West’s attempts to deal with Syria and Iran. But last week, to pursue the computing metaphor, the re-set crashed rather spectacularly taking the entire software program with it. The White House decided to cancel the scheduled Obama-Putin meeting during the G20 summit in what was publicly presented as a “snub” to the Russian president, who had been so famously unhelpful over the matter of Edward Snowden.

Well, one man’s “snub” is another’s attempt to save face. In fact, one commentator close to the Obama administration put it quite frankly: “The calculation… was [that] going to Moscow would have yielded no benefit to the president’s agenda and he would have paid a price over Snowden and human rights in Russia.”

In other words, Mr Obama would have emerged from this one-to-one meeting having to admit that he had gained absolutely nothing from an obdurate Mr Putin. So he decided to get his own snub in first, and to try to make it seem like an international humiliation for Russia—when in reality Russia has made the US look impotently furious over the Snowden affair. This presupposes, of course, that we take the White House statements over Snowden at face value. Suppose we assume for a moment that, in foreign diplomacy, nothing is as it seems. Does the administration really want to take Snowden back to America to be put on trial for espionage or treason?

Public opinion polls in the US show that a majority of the electorate is concerned about NSA surveillance and could be ready to see Snowden as a genuine whistleblower who performed a national service. And this dissident view stretches right up to Capitol Hill, where two politicians of wildly different orientations—liberal Democrat Congressman John Lewis and Republican Senator Rand Paul—have both compared Snowden to Martin Luther King, which is about as close as you can get in American political culture to secular sainthood. (This may be why the president was tying himself in knots at his Friday press conference, insisting that the NSA surveillance programme was not being abused—but that he was still determined to reform it.)

So if Snowden, who has shown himself to be very articulate indeed, was taken back to the US and put on trial, isn’t there a chance that, with the help of a clever defence counsel, he might inspire an enormous national controversy about mass surveillance and data mining that would create serious problems for the administration? Might it be that the US security services are quietly advising the White House not to try too hard to get Snowden back? The Obama putdown of Putin looking like the “bored kid at the back of the class” was an attempt to counter the damage done to US prestige by the mischievous Russian president.

But a bit of international embarrassment is preferable to the undermining of your entire intelligence programme, and American transparency being what it is, an awful lot of awkward questions might have to be answered about how much access the federal government already has to everybody’s “private” electronic communications. At any rate, the heavily publicised cancellation of the one-on-one session with Putin is neither here nor there. The US and Russian foreign and defence secretaries were meeting as planned in Washington, quite as if nothing had happened. The presidential sulk on both sides is public relations tosh.

But for the rest of the free world, or the West as it is now loosely defined (including, as it does, much of Eastern Europe), this is all deeply worrying. The American government seems to be incapable of stating—or acting—in a consistent, decisive way at a very dangerous time. Mr Obama has accused Mr Putin of having a Cold War mentality. This is a charge with a real sting, since we all know that the Russian president is an authoritarian KGB man at heart.

But there must be at least a glimmering of doubt even in Europe—where the Obama presidency has been given an absurdly easy ride—that America, too, is adrift in the post-Cold War landscape: that it no longer has any clear conception of its global role. Mr Obama, who talks constantly about his hopes for the future, seems to have very little interest in the new demands this new landscape might make on his country.

See http://www.gallup.com/poll/113980/Gallup-Daily-Obama-Job-Approval.aspx and http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/barackobama/10234042/Obamas-not-to-be-trusted-on-foreign-policy.html (“[T]he US president no longer has any clear idea of his country’s global role“)

Obama is hopeless; and Putin is far more than “an authoritarian KGB man at heart.” He is a killer, who must be terminated.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/ and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/#comment-2729 (see also the comments beneath these articles)

12 08 2013
boomerang

Mr. Naegele,
I read your biography, at least in paper you seem to be a gainfully employed and reasonable individual. I wonder then, what your motivation for showing so much personal disdain towards the President is… I’m not a Democrat follower but I am particularly interested in people like you. Question: Did you or your parents belong to the Democratic party before the 60′s?
To te best of my understanding , most Americans want to give it a rest as far as international involvement, there’s just not enough money and more than enough animosity towards US, without mentioning the saturation with the last 10 years of war.
Why then are you so interested in demeaning someone that is representing the majority of Americans. Also, have you thought that it is probably because of opinions like yours that the Republican Party is just not making the cut?
I’d suggest you give it a rest, there is a fairly radical agenda behind your opinions and it’s pretty clear. Your ideology reached its climax in 1943 in Germany. Nothing good came out of it, we are trying to adjust and make things work, please let us do so. If you think the situation is bad it is because you have not realized that 1936-1944 is way gone, those theories proved unscientific and wrong, the more you want to go back to this era, the more you will hurt the Republican party.
If you think I’m mistaken, please let us know how your theories differ from those postulated in Germany during the period of 1936-1944?

Thank you

12 08 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you for your comments.

I sought and was originally offered a role in the Obama campaign prior to the 2008 election. They wanted me to work on housing matters, which I had worked on in the U.S. Senate (e.g., the Brooke Amendment, and what was to become the Section 8 housing program, which have helped millions of Americans). However, I wanted to work on other issues.

See http://www.naegele.com/naegele_resume.html

In the final analysis, I voted for John McCain. After that election, I read and reread Obama’s book, “Dreams from My Father,” written in his own words. If you have not done so, I recommend it to you. It is truly an eye-opener; and I have written about it, quoting Obama’s words.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/

Only by reading his views on life will anyone understand the man that he is today, and what he has been doing, and his innate and very deep prejudices and anger.

I am an Independent, and I have been one for more than 20 years. I grew up in a “devoutly” Republican family, and first registered and voted as a Democrat. Because friends of mine were killed in Vietnam—for nothing—owing to the errors of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Robert McNamara, I switched and became a Republican. Then, I could not stomach either party, so I became an Independent.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/03/31/the-rise-of-independents/

I believe Obama is a fraud, and that history will prove this to be true. Also, I was against the war in Iraq, principally because I believed WMDs would be used against our forces, which Saddam Hussein had used against Iranian forces earlier. Also, I do not believe that the United States has vital interests in the Middle East; and that we must avoid any more wars in the region.

Next, Barack Obama does not represent the majority of Americans. As cited in my comments above yours, 50 percent of Americans disapprove of the job he is doing as president. Today’s RealClearPolitics Poll Averages show that 51.1 percent of Americans “Disapprove” of his job performance; 61.8 percent believe that America is on the “Wrong Track”; and 75.8 percent “Disapprove” of Congress’ job performance.

See http://www.realclearpolitics.com/polls/

Lastly, I am “floored” by your following comments:

[T]here is a fairly radical agenda behind your opinions and it’s pretty clear. Your ideology reached its climax in 1943 in Germany. Nothing good came out of it, we are trying to adjust and make things work, please let us do so. If you think the situation is bad it is because you have not realized that 1936-1944 is way gone, those theories proved unscientific and wrong, the more you want to go back to this era, the more you will hurt the Republican party.

If you think I’m mistaken, please let us know how your theories differ from those postulated in Germany during the period of 1936-1944?

I have been to Germany several times, and have traveled throughout the country—both the East and the West—and I respectfully disagree with what you have written. I am not advocating anything like that. In fact, the people who were hurt the most by Hitler and his policies were the Germans themselves.

I voted for Mitt Romney, and I would do so again today.

15 08 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Barack Obama Is A Total Idiot, And Sinister

He has already lost Iraq; he is losing Afghanistan and Pakistan; much of the rest of the Middle East is in turmoil; and now he is on the verge of turning Egypt over to the Muslim Brotherhood.

See http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/08/15/20033815-obama-condemns-egypt-over-violence-cancels-joint-military-exercise?lite (“Obama condemns Egypt over violence, cancels joint military exercise”)

He was raised in a Muslim country, Indonesia; and it is not surprising at all that he is doing this.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/ (see also the comments beneath the article)

To make matters even worse, Obama’s policies are turning Egypt against the United States. Famed reporter Bill Gertz has written:

The Obama administration support for Muslim Brotherhood Islamists in Egypt is driving the powerful military there against the United States and toward Moscow, according to U.S. officials and reports from the region.

The pro-Muslim Brotherhood stance is undermining decades of U.S. policy toward the Middle East state and prompting concerns that the United States is about to “lose” Egypt as a strategic partner, said officials familiar with intelligence reports.

Disclosure of the concern over the administration’s policy failure in Egypt comes as a security crackdown on pro-Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Cairo resulted in scores killed.

“The Obama administration’s blatant Islamist support is risking the decades-long security arrangement with Egypt,” one U.S. official told the Washington Free Beacon.

“The Egyptians are so upset they might very well give up our support,” the official added, noting the military regime is currently leaning toward seeking backing from Russia, and possibly China in the future.

The United States has provided Egypt with more than $49 billion in both military and economic assistance since 1979. Cairo was viewed as a key strategic partner in the region.

However, the 2011 ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a long-time U.S. ally, as part of the pro-democracy Arab Spring movement began a shift in U.S. policy. At that time, the Obama administration began covertly backing the Muslim Brotherhood, an anti-democratic Islamist group.

The policy shift was a marked change from past policy. During the 1970s, the United States successfully diverted Egypt’s alignment with Soviet Union under Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser by developing close ties to Nasser’s successor, Anwar Sadat, and later Mubarak.

“The administration, through a combination of ignorance, incompetence and support for the Islamists is reversing the strategy gains we made in Egypt,” the official said.

. . .

U.S. officials said there are signs Egypt’s military is taking steps to expand control over the political system.

Current Defense Minister Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is being touted by government controlled news media as a patriotic, Nasser-like figure who should run for president.

According to the officials, since the June 30 military takeover, pro-military groups and backers of the new regime are promoting anti-American policies in news outlets.

The campaign, which appears to have high-level Egyptian military support, also calls for shifting Egypt’s alliance from the United States to Russia.

Numerous photos promoting the theme have appeared at rallies and on social media in the past month and half.

The campaign also has included an effort to expel U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson, who the pro-militarists say was a backer of the Muslim Brotherhood.

A military source was quoted in the Egyptian newspaper Al-Youm al-Sabi as saying Patterson was responsible for the killing of Muslim Brotherhood protesters at Rab’a al Adawiya following a reported meeting between her and senior Muslim Brotherhood officials. The reported plot was discussed at a hotel that called for a plan to foment violence that would justify military intervention and sanctions against Egypt.

On Twitter, a pro-military politician, Mustafa Bakri, criticized President Barack Obama for delaying the sale of four F-16 jets to Egypt and called the president “an ally” of the Brotherhood.

In tandem with the anti-U.S. campaign, pro-military news outlets have been promoting a shift in policy toward Russia. The Al Watan newspaper on July 29 quoted several Egyptian foreign affairs experts as urging the government to replace the United States with Russia as a key ally, based on the failure of the U.S. government to support the military takeover.

A pro-military online forum called the “Arabic Military” on July 29 quoted “diplomatic sources” as saying Putin would soon visit Egypt in the aftermath of calls for a reevaluation of U.S.-Egypt ties.

Russia is known to be seeking a foothold in the Middle East following the turmoil in Syria that prompted a Russian pullout [] from the port of Tartus.

Russia also is setting up a new naval headquarters in the Mediterranean.

Other pro-military Facebook pages have criticized Obama and praised Putin. One site called “Egypt will Not Fall” praised Putin as “great Caesar and leader” who is offering to sell Egypt 55 MiG fighter jets to replace the U.S. F-16s.

See http://freebeacon.com/obama-policies-turning-egypt-against-u-s/; see also http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/08/19/senator-obama-administration-secretly-suspended-military-aid-to-egypt.html (“Obama Administration Secretly Suspended Military Aid to Egypt”)

. . .

In an article entitled, “Can Obama write his own laws?,” the Washington Post‘s Charles Krauthammer has written:

As a reaction to the crack epidemic of the 1980s, many federal drug laws carry strict mandatory sentences. This has stirred unease in Congress and sparked a bipartisan effort to revise and relax some of the more draconian laws.

Traditionally—meaning before Barack Obama—that’s how laws were changed: We have a problem, we hold hearings, we find some new arrangement ratified by Congress and signed by the president.

That was then. On Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder, a liberal in a hurry, ordered all U.S. attorneys to simply stop charging nonviolent, non-gang-related drug defendants with crimes that, while fitting the offense, carry mandatory sentences. Find some lesser, non-triggering charge. How might you do that? Withhold evidence—for example, the amount of dope involved.

In other words, evade the law, by deceiving the court if necessary. “If the companies that I represent in federal criminal cases” did that, said former deputy attorney general George Terwilliger, “they could be charged with a felony.”

But such niceties must not stand in the way of an administration’s agenda. Indeed, the very next day, it was revealed that the administration had unilaterally waived Obamacare’s cap on a patient’s annual out-of-pocket expenses—a one-year exemption for selected health insurers that is nowhere permitted in the law. It was simply decreed by an obscure Labor Department regulation.

Which followed a presidentially directed 70-plus percent subsidy for the insurance premiums paid by congressmen and their personal staffs—under a law that denies subsidies for anyone that well-off.

Which came just a month after the administration’s equally lawless suspension of one of the cornerstones of Obamacare: the employer mandate.

Which followed hundreds of Obama­care waivers granted by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to selected businesses, unions and other well-lobbied, very special interests.

Nor is this kind of rule-by-decree restricted to health care. In 2012, the immigration service was ordered to cease proceedings against young illegal immigrants brought here as children. Congress had refused to pass such a law (the DREAM Act) just 18 months earlier. Obama himself had repeatedly said that the Constitution forbade him from enacting it without Congress. But with the fast approach of an election that could hinge on the Hispanic vote, Obama did exactly that. Unilaterally.

The point is not what you think about the merits of the DREAM Act. Or of mandatory drug sentences. Or of subsidizing health care premiums for $175,000-a-year members of Congress. Or even whether you think governors should be allowed to weaken the work requirements for welfare recipients—an authority the administration granted last year in clear violation of section 407 of the landmark Clinton-Gingrich welfare reform of 1996.

The point is whether a president, charged with faithfully executing the laws that Congress enacts, may create, ignore, suspend and/or amend the law at will. Presidents are arguably permitted to refuse to enforce laws they consider unconstitutional (the basis for so many of George W. Bush’s so-called signing statements). But presidents are forbidden from doing so for reasons of mere policy—the reason for every Obama violation listed above.

Such gross executive usurpation disdains the Constitution. It mocks the separation of powers. And most consequentially, it introduces a fatal instability into law itself. If the law is not what is plainly written, but is whatever the president and his agents decide, what’s left of the law?

The problem is not just uncertain enforcement but the undermining of the very creation of new law. What’s the point of the whole legislative process—of crafting various provisions through give-and-take negotiation—if you cannot rely on the fixity of the final product, on the assurance that the provisions bargained for by both sides will be carried out?

Consider immigration reform, now in gestation. The essence of any deal would be legalization in return for strict border enforcement. If some such legislative compromise is struck, what confidence can anyone have in it—if the president can unilaterally alter whatever (enforcement) provisions he never liked in the first place?

Yet this president is not only untroubled by what he’s doing, but open and rather proud. As he tells cheering crowds on his never-ending campaign-style tours: I am going to do X—and I’m not going to wait for Congress.

That’s caudillo talk. That’s banana republic stuff. In this country, the president is required to win the consent of Congress first.

At stake is not some constitutional curlicue. At stake is whether the laws are the law. And whether presidents get to write their own.

See http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-can-obama-write-his-own-laws/2013/08/15/81920842-05df-11e3-9259-e2aafe5a5f84_story.html

. . .

Ann Coulter has added:

I didn’t care for the “Arab Spring,” but the “Arab Summer” is a blockbuster!

Liberals’ rosy predictions for Egypt’s Islamic revolution didn’t turn out as planned. Who could have guessed that howling mobs in Tahrir Square in 2011 would fail to produce a peaceful democracy?

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak had supported U.S. policy, used his military to fight Muslim extremists and recognized Israel’s right to exist. So naturally, Obama told him he had to go.

Let’s review what liberals said at the time about that glorious people’s revolution—only from The New York Times:

– “(Egyptian) Officials blamed the Muslim Brotherhood (for the protests). . . . Even if the Brotherhood had a role—the group denies it; the truth seems more complex—it is easy to understand why Egyptians are fed up.” (Editorial: “Mr. Mubarak Is Put on Notice,” Jan. 26, 2011)

– “The mistake, which still emanates from think tanks stocked with neoconservatives, is assuming that democracy can come at the end of sword. . . . Now that some of the dominoes appear to be falling, this has more to do with Facebook and the frustrations of young, educated adults who can’t earn enough money to marry than it does with tanks rolling into Baghdad, or naive neocons guiding the State Department.” (Timothy Egan, “Bonfire of American Vanities,” Feb. 3, 2011)

– “It’s time to be clear: Mubarak’s time is up.” (Roger Cohen, “Hosni Mubarak Agonistes,” Feb. 4, 2011)

– “What is unfolding in Arab streets is not an assertion of religious reaction but a yearning for democracy with all its burdens and rewards.” (Ray Takeyh, “What Democracy Could Bring,” Feb. 4, 2011)

Oops! Within less than a year, we found out that the truth wasn’t “complex”: The Muslim Brotherhood was behind the revolution. They rigged an election and were planning to implement Sharia law—until the Egyptian military stepped in on behalf of the people this year and removed the Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi as president.

In Arab countries, at least, it seems that democracy can come only “at the end of a sword.”

Also in 2011, Obama ordered air strikes in Libya against Moammar Gadhafi—at the precise moment Gadhafi was no longer a threat to anyone. After Bush invaded Iraq, Gadhafi promptly gave up his nuclear program and invited U.N. weapons inspectors in to prove it. Apparently, he wasn’t interested in becoming the next Saddam Hussein.

Obama’s bombing of Gadhafi was also enthusiastically supported at the Times. Gadhafi, you see, had killed hundreds of his own people. Meanwhile, President Bashar Hafez al-Assad of Syria can preside over the slaughter of more than 100,000 of his people since that time without a cross word from the left.

Libyan people proceeded to stalk and kill Gadhafi in the desert (video on YouTube). A year later, the happy people of Libya murdered our ambassador and three other Embassy staff. But as Hillary said, “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

After all their carping about the Iraq War, you’d think liberals would have waited a few years before getting sentimental about democracy in Egypt and Libya. At least democracy is working in Iraq, despite Obama’s attempt to wreck it by withdrawing all U.S. troops. (We still have troops in Germany—but not in Bush’s Iraq.) Still, our ambassador wasn’t assassinated in Baghdad.

Speaking of which, what is the geopolitical strategy behind Obama’s sending more troops to Afghanistan? The 9/11 attack was not committed by Afghanistan. That country has no history of exporting terrorism. Afghans have traditionally been the invaded, not the invaders. They’re too busy herding goats.

The 9/11 attack was planned by foreigners who had decamped to Afghanistan. Although the Taliban was eager for al-Qaida’s help in fighting the Northern Alliance, it had no interest in attacking America. Mullah Omar dissented from Osama bin Laden on that brilliant idea.

It was one thing to go in and wipe out the Taliban after 9/11 in retaliation for their allowing bin Laden to set up shop there, but what was the point after that? Three months into President Bush’s war in Afghanistan, we had accomplished all we were ever going to accomplish in that godforsaken area of the world.

To quote one of liberals’ favorite arguments against the Iraq War: What does victory in Afghanistan look like?

The one place Obama should have intervened was Iran. The moderate, pro-Western, educated Iranian people were being shot in the street in 2010 for protesting an election stolen by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a messianic lunatic in a Members Only jacket. There was a clear alternative in that case that didn’t involve the Muslim Brotherhood, to wit: the actual winner of the election.

But Obama turned his back on the Iranians. Democrats are so opposed to promoting the United States’ interests around the globe, it doesn’t occur to them that, sometimes, our national interests might coincide with the interests of other people.

Liberals made fun of Sarah Palin for not being able to define “the Bush doctrine.” Can Obama tell us what “the Obama doctrine” is? Leap in only to make the rest of the world a more dangerous place? At least Egyptians are safe now, thanks to their military and no thanks to Obama.

See http://www.humanevents.com/2013/08/21/arab-spring-worst-soap-ever/ (emphasis added)

. . .

Charles Krauthammer has added:

Egypt today is a zero-sum game. We’d have preferred there be a democratic alternative. Unfortunately, there is none. The choice is binary: the country will be ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood or by the military.

Perhaps it didn’t have to be this way. Perhaps the military should have waited three years for the intensely unpopular Mohamed Morsi to be voted out of office. But Gen.Abdel Fatah al-Sissi seems to have calculated that he didn’t have three years, that by then there would be no elections—as in Gaza, where the Palestinian wing of the Brotherhood, Hamas, elected in 2006, established a one-man-one-vote-one-time dictatorship.

What’s the United States to do? Any response demands two considerations: (a) moral, i.e., which outcome offers the better future for Egypt, and (b) strategic, i.e., which outcome offers the better future for U.S. interests and those of the free world.

As for Egypt’s future, the Brotherhood offered nothing but incompetent, intolerant, increasingly dictatorial rule. In one year, Morsi managed to squander 85 years of Brotherhood prestige garnered in opposition—a place from which one can promise the moon—by persecuting journalists and activists, granting himself the unchallenged power to rule by decree, enshrining a sectarian Islamist constitution and systematically trying to seize the instruments of state power. As if that wasn’t enough, after its overthrow the Brotherhood showed itself to be the party that, when angry, burns churches.

The military, brutal and bloody, is not a very appealing alternative. But it does matter what the Egyptian people think. The anti-Morsi demonstrations were the largest in recorded Egyptian history. Revolted by Morsi’s betrayal of a revolution intended as a new opening for individual dignity and democracy, the protesters explicitly demanded Morsi’s overthrow. And the vast majority seem to welcome the military repression aimed at abolishing the Islamist threat. It’s their only hope, however problematic, for an eventual democratic transition.

And which alternative better helps secure U.S. strategic interests? The list of those interests is long: (1) a secure Suez Canal, (2) friendly relations with the United States, (3) continued alliance with the pro-American Gulf Arabs and Jordanians, (4) retention of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty, (5) cooperation with the U.S. on terrorism, which in part involves (6) isolating Brotherhood-run Gaza.

Every one of which is jeopardized by Brotherhood rule.

What, then, should be our policy? The administration is right to deplore excessive violence and urge reconciliation. But let’s not fool ourselves into believing this is possible in any near future. Sissi crossed his Rubicon with the coup. It will either succeed or not. To advocate a middle way is to invite endless civil strife.

The best outcome would be a victorious military magnanimously offering, at some later date, to reintegrate the more moderate elements of what’s left of the Brotherhood.

But for now, we should not be cutting off aid, civilian or military, as many in Congress are demanding. It will have no effect, buy no influence and win no friends on either side of the Egyptian divide. We should instead be urging the quick establishment of a new cabinet of technocrats, rapidly increasing its authority as the soldiers gradually return to their barracks.

Generals are very bad at governance. Give the reins to people who actually know something. And charge them with reviving the economy and preparing the foundations for a democratic transition—most importantly, drafting a secular constitution that protects the rights of women and minorities.

The final step on that long democratic path should be elections. First municipal, then provincial, then national. As was shown in the post-World War II democratizations, the later the better.

After all, we’ve been here. Through a half-century of cold war, we repeatedly faced precisely the same dilemma: choosing the lesser evil between totalitarian (in that case, communist) and authoritarian (usually military) rule.

We generally supported the various militaries in suppressing the communists. That was routinely pilloried as a hypocritical and immoral betrayal of our alleged allegiance to liberty. But in the end, it proved the prudent, if troubled, path to liberty.

The authoritarian regimes we supported—in South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Chile, Brazil, even Spain and Portugal (ruled by fascists until the mid-1970s!)—in time yielded democratic outcomes. Gen. Augusto Pinochet, after 16 years of iron rule, yielded to U.S. pressure and allowed a free election—which he lost, ushering in Chile’s current era of democratic flourishing. How many times have communists or Islamists allowed that to happen?

Regarding Egypt, rather than emoting, we should be thinking: what’s best for Egypt, for us and for the possibility of some eventual democratic future.

Under the Brotherhood, such a possibility is zero. Under the generals, slim.

Slim trumps zero.

. . .

Before the Obama presidency ends, he will have single-handedly destroyed America as we have known it, economically, racially and in terms of our national security and foreign policy. He makes Richard Nixon seem like an American patriot by comparison; and I never voted for Nixon either! However, there is a consensus today that Nixon was a foreign policy expert, unlike Obama who knows little or nothing about foreign policy.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/ (see also the comments beneath the article)

30 08 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Barack Obama’s Syrian Debacle [UPDATED]

According to the Washington Post:

Only 9 percent of [Americans] said that the Obama administration should intervene militarily in Syria; a RealClearPolitics poll average finds Congress has a 15 percent approval rating, making the country’s most hated political body almost twice as popular.

See http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/08/26/new-poll-syria-intervention-even-less-popular-than-congress/

Yet, the foreign policy naïf, Obama, plunges ahead with his war plans for Syria.

As the Post‘s Charles Krauthammer has written:

Having leaked to the world, and thus to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a detailed briefing of the coming U.S. air attack on Syria—(1) the source (offshore warships and perhaps a bomber or two), (2) the weapon (cruise missiles), (3) the duration (two or three days), (4) the purpose (punishment, not “regime change”)—perhaps we should be publishing the exact time the bombs will fall, lest we disrupt dinner in Damascus.

So much for the element of surprise. Into his third year of dithering, two years after declaring Assad had to go, one year after drawing—then erasing—his own red line on chemical weapons, Barack Obama has been stirred to action.

Or more accurately, shamed into action. Which is the worst possible reason. A president doesn’t commit soldiers to a war for which he has zero enthusiasm. Nor does one go to war for demonstration purposes.

Want to send a message? Call Western Union. A Tomahawk missile is for killing. A serious instrument of war demands a serious purpose.

. . .

There are risks to any attack. Blowback terror from Syria and its terrorist allies. Threatened retaliation by Iran or Hezbollah on Israel—that could lead to a guns-of-August regional conflagration. Moreover, a mere punitive pinprick after which Assad emerges from the smoke intact and emboldened would demonstrate nothing but U.S. weakness and ineffectiveness.

In 1998, after al-Qaeda blew up two U.S. embassies in Africa, Bill Clinton lobbed a few cruise missiles into empty tents in Afghanistan. That showed ’em.

It did. It showed terminal unseriousness. Al-Qaeda got the message. Two years later, the USS Cole. A year after that, 9/11.

Yet even Clinton gathered the wherewithal to launch a sustained air campaign against Serbia. That wasn’t a mere message. That was a military strategy designed to stop the Serbs from ravaging Kosovo. It succeeded.

If Obama is planning a message-sending three-day attack, preceded by leaks telling the Syrians to move their important military assets to safety, better that he do nothing. Why run the considerable risk if nothing important is changed?

. . .

Would the American people support it? They are justifiably war-weary and want no part of this conflict. And why should they? In three years, Obama has done nothing to prepare the country for such a serious engagement. Not one speech. No explanation of what’s at stake.

On the contrary. Last year Obama told us repeatedly that the tide of war is receding. This year, he grandly declared that the entire war on terror “must end.” If he wants Tomahawks to fly, he’d better have a good reason, tell it to the American people and get the support of their representatives in Congress, the way George W. Bush did for both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

It’s rather shameful that while the British prime minister recalled Parliament to debate possible airstrikes—late Thursday, Parliament actually voted down British participation—Obama has made not a gesture in that direction.

If you are going to do this, Mr. President, do it constitutionally. And seriously. This is not about you and your conscience. It’s about applying American power to do precisely what you now deny this is about—helping Assad go, as you told the world he must.

Otherwise, just send Assad a text message. You might incur a roaming charge, but it’s still cheaper than a three-day, highly telegraphed, perfectly useless demonstration strike.

See http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-shamed-into-war/2013/08/29/b97a67a8-10cb-11e3-b4cb-fd7ce041d814_story.html; see also http://freebeacon.com/pentagon-cant-afford-syria-operation-must-seek-additional-funds/ (“Pentagon Can’t Afford Syria Operation; Must Seek Additional Funds” . . . because the unconscionable naïf, Obama, has been systematically gutting our military!) and http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_OBAMA_SYRIA?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-08-31-13-57-17 (Obama caves and proves he is a wimp: “[H]e will seek congressional authorization for the use of force . . . and a vote as soon as Congress comes back in September”) and http://dailycaller.com/2013/08/31/amateur-hour-krauthammer-slams-obamas-sudden-decision-to-delay-syria-strike-video/ (“‘AMATEUR HOUR’: Krauthammer slams Obama’s sudden decision to delay Syria strike”) and http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/sep/1/bashar-assad-loses-us-friends-as-kerry-hagel-and-b/ (“The Obama national security team that wants to go to war with Syria and demonizes President Bashar Assad is the same group that, as senators, urged reaching out to the dictator“) and http://www.turkishweekly.net/news/151261/russia-asks-turkey-for-info-on-sarin-terrorists.html (Syrian rebels arrested with Sarin gas!) and http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/inside-politics/2013/sep/4/liberals-reject-obamas-case-syria-strikes-believe-/ (“Liberals reject Obama’s case for Syria strikes; believe Obama and Kerry are lying“) and http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09-04/adelson-new-obama-ally-as-jewish-groups-back-syria-strike.html (“Adelson New Obama Ally as Jewish Groups Back Syria Strike,” which is not surprising in light of the fact that the “Neocons” pushed America into the Iraq War too, on behalf of Israel) and http://www.infowars.com/video-syrian-rebel-admits-using-chemical-weapons/ (“Video: Syrian Rebel Admits Using Chemical Weapons“) and http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/08/syria-chemical-weapons-not-assad-bild (“Syria chemical weapons attack not ordered by Assad, says German press“) and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2415081/Britain-sent-poison-chemicals-Assad-Proof-UK-delivered-Sarin-agent-Syrian-regime.html (“Britain sent poison gas chemicals to Assad: Proof that the UK delivered Sarin agent to Syrian regime for SIX years“) and http://www.thenation.com/blog/176040/obamas-syria-war-really-about-iran-and-israel# (“The dirty little not-so-secret behind President Obama’s much-lobbied-for, illegal and strategically incompetent war against Syria is that it’s not about Syria at all. It’s about Iran—and Israel“)

. . .

No more wars—nor one drop of American blood should be shed—for Israel. It is on its own; sink or swim. Iraq was enough!

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/the-madness-of-benjamin-netanyahu/ (see also the comments beneath the article)

. . .

It has been said: “Jimmy Carter may be heading to #2 on the [list of] all-time worst presidents in American history, thanks to ‘O.’” This is an understatement.

Barack Obama is pathetic. He has lost Iraq, after so many Americans died there, and other Americans suffered life-long injuries. He has effectively lost Afghanistan, with the same result—as well as much of the Middle East.

Now he wants to commit U.S. military forces to attacks on Syria, which would likely benefit America’s enemy—al Qaeda—that attacked us on 9/11. This man should be impeached . . . if the Republicans had any guts at all, which they don’t.

Any senators and members of Congress who vote in favor of such strikes must be voted out of office!

See also http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/nilegardiner/100234866/flailing-obama-slumps-to-lowest-ratings-of-his-presidency-as-us-voters-see-him-as-a-weak-and-indecisive-leader/ (“Flailing Obama slumps to lowest ratings of his presidency, as US voters see him as ‘a weak and indecisive leader’“)

4 09 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

COMMUNITY ORGANIZER GOES TO WAR

This is the title of an article by Ann Coulter, which is worth reading and states:

Oh, how I long for the days when liberals wailed that “the rest of the world” hated America, rather than now, when the rest of the world laughs at us.

With the vast majority of Americans opposing a strike against Syria, President Obama has requested that Congress vote on his powers as commander in chief under the Constitution. The president doesn’t need congressional approval to shoot a few missiles into Syria, nor—amazingly—has he said he’ll abide by such a vote, anyway.

Why is Congress even having a vote? This is nothing but a fig leaf to cover Obama’s own idiotic “red line” ultimatum to President Bashar al-Assad of Syria on chemical weapons. The Nobel Peace Prize winner needs to get Congress on the record so that whatever happens, the media can blame Republicans.

No Republican who thinks seriously about America’s national security interests—by which I mean to exclude John McCain and Lindsey Graham—can support Obama’s “plan” to shoot blindly into this hornet’s nest.

It would be completely different if we knew with absolute certainty that Assad was responsible for chemical attacks on his own people. . . .

It would be different if instead of killing a few hundred civilians, Assad had killed 5,000 civilians with poison gas in a single day, as well as tens of thousands more with chemical weapons in the past few decades.

It would be different if Assad were known to torture his own people, administer summary executions, rapes, burnings and electric shocks, often in front of the victim’s wife or children.

It would be different if Assad had acted aggressively toward the United States itself, perhaps attempting to assassinate a former U.S. president or giving shelter to terrorists who had struck within the U.S.—someone like Maj. Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood terrorist.

It would be different if Assad were stirring up trouble in the entire Middle East by, for example, paying bounties to the families of suicide bombers in other countries.

It would also be different if we could be sure that intervention in Syria would not lead to a multi-nation conflagration.

It would be different if we knew that any action against Syria would not put al-Qaida or the Muslim Brotherhood in power, but rather would result in a functioning, peaceful democracy.

And it would be different if an attack on Syria would so terrify other dictators in the region that Iran would respond by instantly abandoning its nuclear program.

If all of that were true, this would be a military intervention worth supporting!

All of that was true about Iraq, but the Democrats hysterically opposed that war. They opposed it even after all this was known to be true—indeed, especially after it was known to be true! The loudest opponent was Barack Obama.

President Saddam Hussein of Iraq had attempted to assassinate former president George H.W. Bush. He gave shelter to Abdul Rahman Yasin, a conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He paid bounties to the families of suicide bombers in Israel.

Soon after Bush invaded Iraq in 2003, Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi was so terrified of an attack on his own country, he voluntarily relinquished his WMDs—which turned out to be far more extensive than previously imagined.

Al-Qaida not only did not take over Iraq, but got its butt handed to it in Iraq, where the U.S. and its allies killed thousands of al-Qaida fighters, including the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Iraq became the first genuine Arab democracy, holding several elections and presiding over a trial of Saddam Hussein.

Does anyone imagine that any of this would result from an Obama-led operation in Syria? How did his interventions work out in Egypt and Libya?

As for chemical weapons—the casus belli for the current drums of war—in a matter of hours on March 16, 1988, Saddam Hussein slaughtered roughly 5,000 Kurdish civilians in Halabja with mustard, sarin and VX gas. The victims blistered, vomited or laughed hysterically before dropping dead. Thousands more would die later from the after-effects of these poisons.

Saddam launched nearly two dozen more chemical attacks on the Kurds, resulting in at least 50,000 deaths, perhaps three times that many. That’s to say nothing of the tens of thousands of Iranians Saddam killed with poison gas. Indeed, in making the case against Assad recently, Secretary of State John Kerry said his use of chemical weapons put him in the same league as “Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein.”

Not even close—but may we ask why Kerry sneered at the war that removed such a monster as Hussein?

There were endless United Nations reports and resolutions both establishing that Saddam had used chemical weapons and calling on him to give them up. (For the eighth billionth time, we did find chemical weapons in Iraq, just no “stockpiles.” Those had been moved before the war, according to Saddam’s own general, Georges Sada—to Syria.)

On far less evidence, our current president accuses Assad of using chemical weapons against a fraction of the civilians provably murdered with poison gas by Saddam Hussein. So why did Obama angrily denounce the military operation that removed Hussein? Why did he call that a “war of choice”?

Obama says Assad—unlike that great statesman Saddam Hussein—has posed “a challenge to the world.” But the world disagrees. Even our usual ally, Britain, disagrees. So Obama demands the United States act alone to stop a dictator, who—compared to Saddam—is a piker.

At this point, Assad is at least 49,000 dead bodies short of the good cause the Iraq War was, even if chemical weapons had been the only reason to take out Saddam Hussein.

See http://www.humanevents.com/2013/09/04/community-organizer-goes-to-war/

Barack Obama is pathetic! And anti-war activist John Kerry has finally found a war that he believes is worth fighting!

6 09 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Obama at sea

Chris Wallace: Obama in Worst Possible Fix

“Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace laid out his thoughts on President Obama’s approach to the situation in Syria in an interview for POLITICO’s “Turn The Table” series, calling it “a tremendous gamble he’s taken.”

“I think, in a sense, the president is in the worst of all possible fixes,” Wallace said. “On the one hand, the hawks, the interventionists, are saying it’s not enough, that if we’re going to go to all this effort and take these risks, that we ought to do more than just punish Assad or, as the president said, send a shot across the bow, that we ought to degrade his capabilities and change the momentum on the battlefield. They’re not satisfied with it from that point of view.”

Wallace said there was a second group of people who worried about how narrow a strike this would be.

“Then you’ve got the other people who doubt it and think, well, the president talks about this as strictly narrow and tailored, but who knows what happens once we get in there. Does Assad retaliate? Does Iran? Does Hezbollah? Now Putin is talking about sending anti-missile, anti-aircraft systems into the country. So, for them, it’s too much.”

“And then—and I think this is probably the biggest issue for politicians who focus on their own self-preservation—when they go home to their home districts, eight or nine out of every ten voters they talk to say ‘no’ or ‘hell no.’ So it’s really a very tough vote,” Wallace added. “And I think right now the president, he might win in the Senate, I don’t think he’d have a chance in the House. He has to change some minds.”

. . .

If both houses reject the president, Wallace say it’s “very serious.”

“I think he makes himself and the country look weak,” Wallace said. “And, in a Parliament, in Britain, if you took this kind of vote, if you said, ‘I believe we should do this’ and you took it, the government might fall. In a sense, it’d be a vote of no confidence in President Obama. If he takes this action and he loses, why would a member of Congress then fear the president when it comes to the debt limit or to the budget or anything. It almost seems to me he almost immediately becomes a lame duck. I think it’s a tremendous gamble he’s taken. We’ll see whether it turns out to be a smart one or not.”

And if Congress rejects the president and Obama intervenes in Syria anyway—something Wallace thinks is unlikely—Wallace says the president sours congressional relations for such future negotiations on the budget and the debt ceiling.

See http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/chris-wallace-syria-96384.html (emphasis added)

Vast numbers of Americans hate Obama for a variety of reasons (e.g., ObamaCare, cutting our military, losing Iraq and Afghanistan, his deep-seated liberalism, racial reasons), and will do anything to see his presidency fail. Couple that with the anti-war folks—of which John Kerry used to be a “card-carrying member”—and there is likely to be a solid majority against the Syrian strikes.

8 09 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Collapse Of American Influence Recalls Dis-Integration Of Soviet Union, Fall Of France [UPDATED]

In a provocative New York Sun article of this title by Conrad Black—a Canadian-born former newspaper publisher, a historian, a columnist, and a non-affiliated life peer—it is written:

Not since the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991, and prior to that the fall of France in 1940, has there been so swift an erosion of the world influence of a Great Power as we are witnessing with the United States.

The Soviet Union crumbled jurisdictionally: In 1990-1991, one country became the 16 formerly constituent republics of that country, and except perhaps for Belarus, none of them show much disposition to return to the Russian fold into which they had been gathered, almost always by brute force, over the previous 300 years.

The cataclysmic decline of France, of course, was the result of being overrun by Nazi Germany in 1940. And while it took until the return of de Gaulle in 1958 and the establishment of the Fifth Republic with durable governments and a serious currency, and the end of the Algerian War in 1962, and the addition of some other cubits to France’s stature, the largest step in its resurrection was accomplished by the Allied armies sweeping the Germans out of France in 1944.

What we are witnessing now in the United States, by contrast, is just the backwash of inept policy-making in Washington, and nothing that could not eventually be put right. But for this administration to redeem its credibility now would require a change of direction and method so radical it would be the national equivalent of the comeback of Lazarus: a miraculous revolution in the condition of an individual (President Obama), and a comparable metamorphosis (or a comprehensive replacement) of the astonishingly implausible claque around him.

Until recently, it would have been unimaginable to conceive of John Kerry as the strongman of the National Security Council. This is the man who attended political catechism classes from the North Vietnamese to memorize and repeat their accusations against his country of war crimes in Indochina, and, inter alia, ran for president in 2004 asserting that while he had voted to invade Iraq in 2003, he was not implicated in that decision because he did not vote to fund the invasion once underway. . . .

[T]he desire to avoid America in another foreign conflict is understandable. But if that is the policy, the president of the United States should not state that presidents of countries in upheaval (e.g., Bashar Assad) “must go,” should not draw “red lines” and ignore them, should not devise plans to punish rogue leaders but not actually damage their war-making ability, should not promise action and send forces to carry out the action, and then have, in current parlance, a public “conversation” with himself about whether to do anything, and should not thereby abdicate his great office in all respects except the salary and perquisites.

A Senate committee has voted President Obama the authority to attack Syria. But he is the commander-in-chief. He has that authority already, and what he is doing is implicitly making the exercise of that power dependent on Congressional approval. How does that square with the presidential oath, which requires of the inductee that he “faithfully execute the office” and that he “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution”?

President Truman famously said, “The buck stops here,” and he was right. The American public despises Congress, with good reason. Most of the members are venal, politically cowardly, and incompetent; the idea of those 535 log-rolling gas-bags sharing the command of the United States armed forces does not bear thinking about.

And if the United States is effectively blasé about countries using chemical weapons on their people, as it apparently is about the formerly “unacceptable” development of nuclear weapons by Iran, this depressing news should be imparted to the world explicitly by the administration and not left to be surmised from the waffling of the Congress.

What is more worrisome than the fact that the United States has an inadequate president, is that the public still accords the incumbent a significant degree of support. If the American people, who have responded to intelligent leadership so often within living memory, has become so morally obtuse that it buys into this flimflam, the problem is more profound than I imagined.

What American will need in 2016 is a new president who enunciates a clear policy: foreign intervention only to prevent genocide, to avenge extreme provocations, or to preserve world peace, and in accord with constitutional and international law. That policy would have cut post-Korea war-making to evicting Saddam from Kuwait, the Taliban from Afghanistan, modestly assisting the opponents of Gaddafi and Assad, (as leaders who had monstrously provoked the West), and would have spared everyone the chimerical extravagance of nation-building in hopeless places. Vietnam and the second Iraq War would have been sidestepped altogether.

The Americans show no sign of wanting their country to be regarded as absurd in the world, and they are so America-centric, and so suffused with the heroic mythos of America, that they seem unable to grasp the possibility that it is.

There is a contagion that makes the condition less startling: The United Kingdom suddenly has begun to appear ridiculous, too. The British replaced leaders who did not conduct wars effectively, during the Seven Years’, American Revolutionary, Napoleonic, Crimean, and both World Wars. But never in their history until last week have they had a prime minister who summoned Parliament to seek authority to make war and then was denied that authority. The Grand Alliance of Churchill and Roosevelt, the Special Relationship of Thatcher and Reagan, is reduced to slap-stick, farce.

The country that could pick up the slack and lead is Germany, but it is psychologically incapable. A third of its voters are communists, eco-extremists or cyber-nihilists calling themselves “pirates.” They are still in attrition-therapy over the after-effects of Nazi and communist rule. And the European power that can’t take the lead, because it is almost bankrupt, over-centralized, suffocating in pettifogging regulations and governed by idiots, is France (though it yet has the superb, often misplaced, feline confidence of a Great Power, and admittedly has been magnificent on Libya, Mali and Syria).

Canada could play a role—but first it must acquire an aircraft carrier and the other equipment necessary to project power. For starters, we should buy one of these splendid aircraft carriers the United States is retiring because of the gridlock-fed deficit and the idiocy of sequestration, rename it H.M.C.S. Canada, recruit the 6,000 people necessary for the crew and partner with other countries in the aviation industry that can help provide it with the aircraft it would carry, and show the aid and defense flag in the world. Nearly 70 years ago, recall, we had two—admittedly much smaller—aircraft carriers despite having a population of just 11.5-million. At the least we could get a helicopter carrier.

The United States is a hard-working, patriotic country with a talented work force and a political system that can generate policy and govern and lead effectively. Unless the environmentalist extremists who predicted that by now Manhattan would be underwater, the average temperature in Toronto in February would be 20 centigrade, and that we would all be gasping for oxygen, find richer electoral sugar daddies than the oil industry and get political control of that country (almost impossible), the United States will be self-sufficient in energy in a few years.

This will end the suicidal U.S. balance-of-payments deficit, cut the worst terrorist-supporting, oil-producing regimes in the world off at the ankles financially, and drastically reduce the federal government budget deficit.

See http://www.nysun.com/foreign/collapse-of-american-power-recalls-dis/88400/ (emphasis added)

But all of this is and/or was predictable. Barack Obama is an utter neophyte at everything, except being a politician. If you have any doubts whatsoever, read his book “Dreams from My Father.” It is all there, in his own words; and it is how he has been governing as president. He has no experience or moral compass!

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/

. . .

Or, as the Wall Street Journal observed after his speech to the American people:

A weak and inconstant U.S. President has been maneuvered by America’s enemies into claiming that a defeat for his Syria policy is really a triumph.

The Iranians will take it as a signal that they can similarly trap Mr. Obama in a diplomatic morass that claims to have stopped their nuclear program. Israel will conclude the same and will now have to decide if it must risk a solo strike on Tehran. America’s friends and foes around the world will recalculate the risks ahead in the 40 dangerous months left of this unserious Presidency .

See http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324094704579066774128762480.html?mod=WSJ_hps_sections_opinion (emphasis added).

. . .

Putin is evil personified, but he has outwitted Obama, and made him look like a naïf and totally incompetent!

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/ (“Russia’s Putin Is A Killer”) (see also the comments beneath the article)

12 09 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Obama, The Democrats And War

Ann Coulter has written:

Americans unsure what to think about President Obama’s plans for Syria should remember that all military action undertaken by Democrats for the last half-century has led to utter disaster. . . .

Republican President Dwight Eisenhower, the supreme commander of the Allied forces in World War II, said he could conceive of no greater tragedy than the U.S. getting heavily involved in Vietnam. He sent aid to the anti-communist forces, but no troops.

Democratic President John F. Kennedy sent troops. But in short order he was conniving to assassinate South Vietnamese president Ngo Dinh Diem—also known as “our ally in the middle of the war.”

. . .

Kennedy’s successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, escalated the war in Vietnam in order to prove that Democrats could be trusted with national defense. Which they cannot. As journalist David Halberstam reported, LBJ would “talk to his closest political aides about the McCarthy days, of how Truman lost China and then the Congress and the White House, and how, by God, Johnson was not going to be the president who lost Vietnam and the Congress and the White House.”

LBJ sacrificed tens of thousands of American lives to try to make the Democrats look manly.

Nixon came in and honorably ended the Democrats’ disastrous handling of the Vietnam War by signing the Paris Peace Accords in January 1973. In return for the lousy terms we jammed down South Vietnam’s throat, America promised that, if the North attacked, the U.S. would resume bombing missions and military aid.

. . . The media invented Watergate, Nixon was forced to resign and a crazily left-wing Congress was inaugurated. Just a month later, North Vietnam attacked the South, and the Democratic Congress turned its back on South Vietnam, betrayed an ally and trashed America’s word. . . .

. . .

When Islamic fundamentalists staged a revolution in Iran, Carter refused to come to the aid of the shah, a staunch American ally. Liberals praised Ayatollah Khomeini to the skies—Carter’s U.N. ambassador Andrew Young, Princeton’s Richard Falk and LBJ attorney general Ramsey Clark all assured us that life would be peachy under him. What could go wrong?

The ayatollah had barely seized power when Islamic lunatics took 52 Americans hostage in Tehran, where they remained for 444 days, until Carter was safely removed from office.

By giving Islamic fanatics their first nation-state, Carter produced the global Islamofacist movement we’re still dealing with today.

For the next eight years, peace and freedom spread throughout the world as President Ronald Reagan destroyed the Soviet Union and restored America’s power. Liberals wailed and stamped their feet throughout this period.

In the face of mass starvation in Somalia, President George H.W. Bush sent troops to ensure that aid could get into the country. President Clinton came in and decided to convert this simple relief effort into an exercise in “nation-building.” . . .

In short order, the Muslim rebels killed some of our troops and dragged their corpses through the streets. Clinton instantly withdrew our entire military operation. . . .

Years later, Osama bin Laden would laugh about America cutting and running from Somalia, noting how this show of weakness had encouraged his al-Qaida fighters.

Which led, like night into day, to . . . the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In response, President George W. Bush invaded Afghanistan and wiped out the Taliban and al-Qaida strongholds in a few months. Bush left a limited force behind to prevent a return of the terrorist training camps.

Most crucially, President Bush removed a monstrous dictator from Iraq and established the only Islamic democracy in the Middle East. Iraq’s Saddam Hussein had aided and sheltered terrorists, attempted to assassinate a former president of the United States, and horribly brutalized his own people, murdering a million of them, according to The New York Times—including with chemical weapons, far worse than anything Syrian president Bashar Assad is accused of doing.

Iraq became a beacon of hope for all Muslims still living under despotic regimes.

For absolutely no reason, with no objective and no concept of “victory,” Barack Obama came into office and massively escalated the number of troops in Afghanistan. When Bush left office, there had been only about 625 U.S. troop fatalities in the entire course of the Afghanistan War. Obama has quadrupled that to nearly 2,300 troop deaths today.

For no purpose whatsoever—no purpose, that is, other than fulfilling Obama’s idiotic campaign talking point about Afghanistan being a “war of necessity,” contrasted with Iraq, a potty little “war of convenience.” . . .

Then Obama threw away our victory in Iraq. By withdrawing every last troop, Obama has allowed al-Qaida and Iran to overrun this one shining example of an Arab democracy. We have American troops stationed in Germany, Japan, Belgium, Africa, Norway (a notorious al-Qaida hotbed!), Singapore, Qatar, Diego Garcia, even little Djibouti. But no troops for you, Iraq!

Obama didn’t even have to do anything in Iraq! He only had to not remove all our troops.

Instead, Obama flung America’s prestige into removing the pro-Western Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. Mubarak supported U.S. policy, used his military to fight Muslim extremists and recognized Israel’s right to exist. Or as the left calls it: Three strikes and you’re out. The Muslim Brotherhood immediately seized control of Egypt, leading to this year’s military takeover. . . .

Then Obama ordered air strikes in Libya against Moammar Gadhafi. . . . The timing couldn’t have been better! Gadhafi had already agreed to give up his nuclear program after George W. Bush invaded Iraq. Seeing that, the Libyan strongman went whimpering to the British to ask if Bush was going to invade him, too.

. . .

I know you liberals care more about free birth control than geopolitics, but if you keep electing Democrats, you’ll be getting fitted for burqas, not IUDs.

See http://www.humanevents.com/2013/09/11/syrial-losers/; see also http://m.cnsnews.com/news/article/dennis-m-crowley/12-year-war-73-us-casualties-afghanistan-obamas-watch (“The 12-Year War: 73% of U.S. Casualties in Afghanistan on Obama’s Watch”)

I left the Democrat Party because of Lyndon Johnson and his Vietnam War, where friends of mine were tragically killed.

13 09 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Obama’s Epic Incompetence

Obama-incompetence

The Washington Post‘s Charles Krauthammer has probably made the best case for Barack Obama’s utter incompetence:

The president of the United States takes to the airwaves to urgently persuade the nation to pause before doing something it has no desire to do in the first place.

Strange. And it gets stranger still. That “strike Syria, maybe” speech begins with a heart-rending account of children consigned to a terrible death by a monster dropping poison gas. It proceeds to explain why such behavior must be punished. It culminates with the argument that the proper response—the most effective way to uphold fundamental norms, indeed human decency—is a flea bite: something “limited,” “targeted” or, as so memorably described by Secretary of State John Kerry, “unbelievably small.”

The mind reels, but there’s more. We must respond—but not yet. This “Munich moment” (Kerry again) demands first a pause to find accommodation with that very same toxin-wielding monster, by way of negotiations with his equally cynical, often shirtless, Kremlin patron bearing promises.

The promise is to rid Syria of its chemical weapons. The negotiations are open-ended. Not a word from President Obama about any deadline or ultimatum. And utter passivity: Kerry said hours earlier that he awaited the Russian proposal.

Why? The administration claims (preposterously, but no matter) that Obama has been working on this idea with Putin at previous meetings. Moreover, the idea was first publicly enunciated by Kerry, even though his own State Department immediately walked it back as a slip of the tongue.

Take at face value Obama’s claim of authorship. Then why isn’t he taking ownership? Why isn’t he calling it the “U.S. proposal” and defining it? Why not issue a U.S. plan containing the precise demands, detailed timeline and threat of action should these conditions fail to be met?

Putin doesn’t care one way or the other about chemical weapons. Nor about dead Syrian children. Nor about international norms, parchment treaties and the other niceties of the liberal imagination.

He cares about power and he cares about keeping Bashar al-Assad in power. Assad is the key link in the anti-Western Shiite crescent stretching from Tehran through Damascus and Beirut to the Mediterranean—on which sits Tartus, Russia’s only military base outside the former Soviet Union. This axis frontally challenges the pro-American Sunni Arab Middle East (Jordan, Yemen, the Gulf Arabs, even the North African states), already terrified at the imminent emergence of a nuclear Iran.

At which point the Iran axis and its Russian patron would achieve dominance over the moderate Arab states, allowing Russia to supplant America as regional hegemon for the first time since Egypt switched to our side in the Cold War in 1972.

The hinge of the entire Russian strategy is saving the Assad regime. That’s the very purpose of the “Russian proposal.” Imagine that some supposed arms-control protocol is worked out. The inspectors have to be vetted by Assad, protected by Assad, convoyed by Assad, directed by Assad to every destination. Negotiation, inspection, identification, accounting, transport and safety would require constant cooperation with the regime, and thus acknowledgment of its sovereignty and legitimacy.

So much for Obama’s repeated insistence that Assad must go. Indeed, Putin has openly demanded that any negotiation be conditioned on a U.S. commitment to forswear the use of force against Assad. On Thursday, Assad repeated that demand, warning that without an American pledge not to attack and not to arm the rebels, his government would agree to nothing.

This would abolish the very possibility of America tilting the order of battle in a Syrian war that Assad is now winning thanks to Russian arms, Iranian advisers and Lebanese Hezbollah shock troops. Putin thus assures the survival of his Syrian client and the continued ascendancy of the anti-Western Iranian bloc.

And what does America get? Obama saves face.

Some deal.

As for the peace process, it has about zero chance of disarming Damascus. We’ve spent nine years disarming an infinitely smaller arsenal in Libya—in conditions of peace—and we’re still finding undeclared stockpiles.

Yet consider what’s happened over the last month. Assad uses poison gas on civilians and is branded, by the United States above all, a war criminal. Putin, covering for the war criminal, is exposed, isolated, courting pariah status.

And now? Assad, far from receiving punishment of any kind, goes from monster to peace partner. Putin bestrides the world stage, playing dealmaker. He’s welcomed by America as a constructive partner. Now a world statesman, he takes to the New York Times to blame American interventionist arrogance—a.k.a. “American exceptionalism”—for inducing small states to acquire WMDs in the first place.

And Obama gets to slink away from a Syrian debacle of his own making. Such are the fruits of a diplomacy of epic incompetence.

See http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-the-fruits-of-epic-incompetence/2013/09/12/7e6771d2-1bdf-11e3-a628-7e6dde8f889d_story.html; see also http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/charlescrawford/100235857/syria-assad-must-go-said-obama-but-putin-has-carved-him-down-to-size-and-soon-it-will-be-assad-must-stay/ (“In due course Washington will have so much credibility invested in Syria’s [chemical weapons] non-disarmament that it will start to need Assad to stay in power to guarantee some crumbs of success. . . . The Obama administration knows that it is experiencing unprecedented humiliation. So it proclaims victory. . . . This is something quite new in world affairs: Washington sprawling on its back after falling for the Grandmother of All Putinesque Judo-flips“) and http://nationalreview.com/corner/359557/libya-muslim-brotherhood-and-other-jihadists-grab-massive-amounts-us-weapons-andrew-c (“In Libya, Muslim Brotherhood and Other Jihadists Grab ‘Massive Amounts’ of U.S. Weapons“) and http://www.upi.com/Top_News/Analysis/de-Borchgrave/2013/10/02/Commentary-Mixed-signals-from-Moscow/UPI-18871380713939/?spt=hs&or=an (“What is becoming increasingly clear is that Assad wasn’t behind the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack in an eastern suburb of Damascus“)

. . .

Once again, Americans need to read (or reread) Obama’s book, “Dreams from My Father,” to realize fully how incompetent he is, and how out of touch he is with Americans who were born and raised on the U.S. mainland.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/

He has been exposed for America and the world to see—like the potentate in Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”

Those Americans who voted for him—not just once, but twice—are getting exactly what they deserve. The rest of us can only count the days until his presidency ends!

14 09 2013
RayUSA

Proving Obama’s incompetence is a relatively easy task that could, in my opinion, be accomplished by anyone with an adult sized brain. However, let’s not lose sight of what and who Charles Krauthammer is; a staunch Neo-Con that enthusiastically supported the wars (illegal debacles) in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has also steadfastly supported a strong arm American military approach regarding Iran. I’m not at all surprised by his hissy fit over “doing nothing” in Syria, because Krauthammer knows that US military action in Syria could lead to back a “back door” war with Syria’s ally Iran. As if that isn’t enough, it could lead to WW 3 involving China & Russia.

Krauthammer is a radical in other ways as well, as evidenced by his support to eventually “disarm the citizenry.” Krauthammer’s “conservative” supports would probably be surprised that he doesn’t hold a very strong view (as in none) of the 2nd. Amendment, as illustrated in a Washington Post article written by him in 1996:

“Ultimately, a civilized society must disarm its citizenry if it is to have a modicum of domestic tranquility of the kind enjoyed in sister democracies like Canada and Britain….

Passing a law like the assault weapons ban is a symbolic — purely symbolic — move in that direction. Its only real justification is not to reduce crime but to desensitize the public to the regulation of weapons in preparation for their ultimate confiscation….

Yes, in the end America must follow the way of other democracies and disarm.”

For the full text see:

http://sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com/2011/03/anybody-have-complete-text-of-this.html

Personally, I put Krauthammer in the same league with William Kristol, David Frum, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Cheney, Douglas Feith, Rumsfeld, and the rest of that distasteful cabal.

Krauthammer’s accurate assessment of Obama is fueled by ulterior motives. This Dr. Strangelove in real life wants nothing other than a major war (as do all the Neo-Con loonies) in the Middle East that will remake the entire region into the image that they have envisioned. I personally have always read or heard anything he says with a very large dose of salt; a simple grain of salt will not be an ample amount when dealing with Krauthammer.

15 09 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Lord of the Flies

Thank you, Ray, for your comments.

Your first sentence is priceless. . . . and true. :-)

Second, Krauthammer is a staunch advocate of Israel, right or wrong. I do not share his beliefs in that regard.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/israels-senseless-killings-and-war-with-iran/#comment-544 (see also the article itself, as well as the other comments beneath it) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/the-madness-of-benjamin-netanyahu/ and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/israels-senseless-killings-and-war-with-iran/#comment-1825

Third, I believe strongly in the Second Amendment to our Constitution (i.e., “the right of the people to keep and bear arms [] shall not be infringed”), and do not believe that the right of Americans to keep and bear arms should be circumscribed.

Criminals, terrorists and our other enemies can get guns easily. Americans need to be able to protect themselves, now and in the future.

25 09 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Putin’s Macho Posturing Obscures Russia’s Continuing Decline, And Prevents Action To Avert It

This is the conclusion reached in a fascinating article by Richard Spencer, which appears in the UK’s Telegraph:

As time passes, the more it becomes apparent, as it should have been from the start, that the Russian “triumph” over America on the chemical weapons deal in Syria was an illusion. Vladimir Putin is driving Russia ever deeper into a mire in Syria. The conflict is repeatedly compared to the Iraq war, but the comparison with Afghanistan is much closer. Some have called it “Iran’s Vietnam” but there’s a chance it may become Russia’s Afghanistan all over again. President Obama’s decision to call off air and missile strikes in return for a chemical weapons deal may have been a short-term tactical win for Mr Putin, in that America was stopped, for now, from intervening in Russia’s “patch” (though such an intervention was beginning to look less and less likely anyway). That is one stated goal of Mr Putin. His longer-term goal is to frustrate American expansionism (what Washington likes to see as the spread of Western democratic values).

. . .

We have been told in Britain to worry about hardened jihadists returning from Syria (or Somalia) to strike back home. Yet we are no longer such a target as we were, having pulled out of Iraq, and being about to pull out of Afghanistan. Yet jihadists are being regularly told to focus on the insurgencies in those parts of the Russian Caucasus home to Muslim populations, such as Chechnya, Ingushetya and Daghestan. Remember Beslan? And this is before Russia is sucked militarily into the conflict. A good opportunity for that will come if, as its foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov has promised, it provides troops to defend the chemical weapons inspectors tasked with dealing with the chemical weapons programme under the UN-sponsored deal.

. . . Russian prestige in its announcement depended on the outside world listening to two very strong messages—without noticing that they were contradictory. One, repeated by Vladimir Putin in his article for The New York Times, was that President Assad was innocent of using chemical weapons and that it was the opposition’s doing. The second was that Russia had scored a hit in persuading Mr Assad to give up his chemical weapons. There will be some who are so determined to deny Mr Assad’s guilt that they will insist that this was some act of extraordinary benevolence by both leaders—a supreme example of turning the other cheek, to be the victim of a chemical weapons attack and give up your own in response.

However, if that is the case, the implicit agreement must be that Russia will defend Assad to the end, having taken away its ultimate deterrent, and that Russia has tied its own fortunes to the regime, as it unwittingly did in Afghanistan in the 1980s. It is far more likely, it seems to me, that Russia is convinced that the Aug 21 attack was the work of Mr Assad and that giving up his chemical weapons was its own (despairing) demand in return for continued support. There’s an interesting anecdote (among many) in a New Yorker profile this week of the head of the Iranian al-Quds force in which US intelligence agencies in December saw Assad troops loading up chemical weapons, and, via Russia and Iran, had the attack stopped. It’s unverifiable—of course—but it makes much more sense to see Russia as also tearing its hair out over its Syrian protégé (even Putin has given hints of that). Now Mr Putin has been handed the Syrian brief, but it is one he cannot now win. Russia will be vilified for Assad’s crimes; but if Assad somehow wins—or at least stays in some sort of power—it is Iran whose interests will be preserved. It is not clear, any more, what interests Russia has in Syria, other than pride, and it can’t have a lot of that, can it?

So much for Syria, but that’s just one strategic loss suffered by Mr Putin. It is often said that he is more determined to oppose a UN resolution over Syria because he allowed one over Libya and felt cheated when the West used it to help topple Col Gaddafi. This argument has always seemed odd to me since it was perfectly obvious at the time that this was the intention of the UN resolution Britain and France pushed through, but it remains the case that the fall of Gaddafi also represented the death of someone else who—like Saddam before him—was an albeit eccentric and unreliable part-client of Russia (at least of its arms industry). Of course it needs to defend Assad—from Ceaucescu to Gaddafi, the final moments of Russian proteges have not been pretty. Meanwhile, while Mr Putin’s attention was turned elsewhere, he’s losing elsewhere too: see this Economist article) for how Russia is being replaced by China as the leading influence in Moscow’s former Central Asian colonies.

There is little evidence, to me, that by the time Mr Putin does eventually retire, he will have restored Russia’s place in the world. Much more likely, that his macho posturing will be seen to have obscured Russia’s continuing decline, and prevented action to prevent it. The worst that can be said of President Obama meanwhile is that he is making the same mistake in Syria as President George Bush senior (allegedly) did in Afghanistan. Mrs Thatcher’s famous warning about Mr Bush (“don’t go wobbly, George!) could certainly apply to his current successor. By standing aside as Syria burns in the fallout from the growing inability of Russia to control its fiefdoms, he may well be setting aside trouble for later. Assad is unlikely to win back his northern kingdom, which could easily become a lawless centre for al-Qaeda operations, as Afghanistan did. But the truth is that strategically America has little to lose. It still has its key Middle East allies—Israel, the Gulf states. If a consensus with Iran is formed, unlikely I know but not to be ruled out, it could find its position strengthened, even if conflict continues in Syria. It will not be lost on Russia that if some sort of deal is done allowing Iranian oil back on to the market, prices will fall and its own oil-dependent economy will be in jeopardy. And what of Assad? Will he not be strengthened by this deal? It hardly seems likely. The rebels are still as near to the centre of Damascus as they were on Aug 21. They still control large parts of the country. . . .

See http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/richardspencer/100237864/its-russia-not-america-that-has-most-to-fear-in-syria/ (“It’s Russia, not America, that has most to fear in Syria”); see also http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/12/opinion/putin-plea-for-caution-from-russia-on-syria.html (Putin: “A Plea for Caution From Russia”) and http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21586304-vast-region-chinas-economic-clout-more-match-russias-rising-china-sinking (“Rising China, sinking Russia”)

The article’s bottom line—”Vladimir Putin is driving Russia ever deeper into a mire in Syria”—is worth noting.

Down deep, Barack Obama is a pacifist. In his seminal book, “Dreams from My Father”—which discusses almost every aspect of his life, and sets forth his core beliefs—there is no hint of any militarism or global ambitions.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/

Because Obama has hated Apartheid in South Africa and British imperialism with a passion—and he made this crystal clear in his book, and by getting rid of the bust of Winston Churchill as one of his first acts as president—one can understand why he has drawn back from any strikes against Syria or confrontation with Iran.

He will not “carry water” for Benjamin Netanyahu because, on some level, he views the Israeli leader with the same disdain that Putin enjoys. Also, Obama hates the Israeli Apartheid and oppression of the Palestinians.

It is doubtful that Obama will ever intervene militarily in Syria, or Iran, because the American people do not want to be involved in any more wars in the Middle East. Obama understands this, which is consistent with his own innate pacifism.

Most Americans are “America-centric,” and only care about what is in the best interests of the United States. They do not have any allegiance to another country—especially Israel.

Next, Spencer’s observation is worth repeating:

There is little evidence, to me, that by the time Mr Putin does eventually retire, he will have restored Russia’s place in the world. Much more likely, that his macho posturing will be seen to have obscured Russia’s continuing decline, and prevented action to prevent it.

Amen!

Lastly, America’s attention has shifted to the Pacific, and rightly so. China is our greatest threat in the future, with Russia and North Korea behind it—not the Middle East.

See, e.g., http://freebeacon.com/russia-china-hold-large-scale-war-games/ (“Russia, China Hold Large-Scale War Games”); see also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/china-is-americas-enemy-make-no-mistake-about-that/ (“China Is America’s Enemy: Make No Mistake About That”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/ (“Russia’s Putin Is A Killer”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/the-next-major-war-korea-again/ (“The Next Major War: Korea Again?”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/emp-attack-only-30-million-americans-survive/ (“EMP Attack: Only 30 Million Americans Survive”)

25 09 2013
RayUSA

Mr. Naegele,

I always enjoy reading your blog. One minor suggestion that I think would improve your site:

I believe your latest blog entry should appear at the top of the page. It might be confusing to some to have to scroll to the bottom in order to read the new entry.

25 09 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Ray, for your comments as always.

This is a WordPress blog, and I did not set up the format or how it is structured. Sorry about that. :-)

My latest comments appear in the right column, under the heading “Recent Comments”—which is where your comments are noted as well.

27 09 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

The Surface Of Corruption In Washington Has Barely Been Scratched

Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and author Seymour Hersh is at it again, thank God!

In a riveting talk at the City University in London, which has been reported in the UK’s Guardian, Hersh opens up:

Seymour Hersh has got some extreme ideas on how to fix journalism—close down the news bureaus of NBC and ABC, sack 90% of editors in publishing and get back to the fundamental job of journalists which, he says, is to be an outsider.

It doesn’t take much to fire up Hersh, the investigative journalist who has been the nemesis of US presidents since the 1960s and who was once described by the Republican party as “the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist”.

He is angry about the timidity of journalists in America, their failure to challenge the White House and be an unpopular messenger of truth.

Don’t even get him started on the New York Times which, he says, spends “so much more time carrying water for Obama than I ever thought they would”—or the death of Osama bin Laden. “Nothing’s been done about that story, it’s one big lie, not one word of it is true,” he says of the dramatic US Navy Seals raid in 2011.

Hersh is writing a book about national security and has devoted a chapter to the bin Laden killing. He says a recent report put out by an “independent” Pakistani commission about life in the Abottabad compound in which Bin Laden was holed up would not stand up to scrutiny. “The Pakistanis put out a report, don’t get me going on it. Let’s put it this way, it was done with considerable American input. It’s a bullshit report,” he says hinting of revelations to come in his book.

The Obama administration lies systematically, he claims, yet none of the leviathans of American media, the TV networks or big print titles, challenge him.

“It’s pathetic, they are more than obsequious, they are afraid to pick on this guy [Obama],” he declares in an interview with the Guardian.

“It used to be when you were in a situation when something very dramatic happened, the president and the minions around the president had control of the narrative, you would pretty much know they would do the best they could to tell the story straight. Now that doesn’t happen any more. Now they take advantage of something like that and they work out how to re-elect the president.

He isn’t even sure if the recent revelations about the depth and breadth of surveillance by the National Security Agency will have a lasting effect.

Snowden changed the debate on surveillance

He is certain that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden “changed the whole nature of the debate” about surveillance. Hersh says he and other journalists had written about surveillance, but Snowden was significant because he provided documentary evidence—although he is sceptical about whether the revelations will change the US government’s policy.

“Duncan Campbell [the British investigative journalist who broke the Zircon cover-up story], James Bamford [US journalist] and Julian Assange and me and the New Yorker, we’ve all written the notion there’s constant surveillance, but he [Snowden] produced a document and that changed the whole nature of the debate, it’s real now,” Hersh says.

“Editors love documents. Chicken-shit editors who wouldn’t touch stories like that, they love documents, so he changed the whole ball game,” he adds, before qualifying his remarks.

“But I don’t know if it’s going to mean anything in the long [run] because the polls I see in America—the president can still say to voters ‘al-Qaida, al-Qaida’ and the public will vote two to one for this kind of surveillance, which is so idiotic,” he says.

Holding court to a packed audience at City University in London’s summer school on investigative journalism, 76-year-old Hersh is on full throttle, a whirlwind of amazing stories of how journalism used to be; how he exposed the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, how he got the Abu Ghraib pictures of American soldiers brutalising Iraqi prisoners, and what he thinks of Edward Snowden.

Hope of redemption

Despite his concern about the timidity of journalism he believes the trade still offers hope of redemption.

“I have this sort of heuristic view that journalism, we possibly offer hope because the world is clearly run by total nincompoops more than ever . . . Not that journalism is always wonderful, it’s not, but at least we offer some way out, some integrity.”

His story of how he uncovered the My Lai atrocity is one of old-fashioned shoe-leather journalism and doggedness. Back in 1969, he got a tip about a 26-year-old platoon leader, William Calley, who had been charged by the army with alleged mass murder.

Instead of picking up the phone to a press officer, he got into his car and started looking for him in the army camp of Fort Benning in Georgia, where he heard he had been detained. From door to door he searched the vast compound, sometimes blagging his way, marching up to the reception, slamming his fist on the table and shouting: “Sergeant, I want Calley out now.”

Eventually his efforts paid off with his first story appearing in the St Louis Post-Despatch, which was then syndicated across America and eventually earned him the Pulitzer Prize. “I did five stories. I charged $100 for the first, by the end the [New York] Times were paying $5,000.”

He was hired by the New York Times to follow up the Watergate scandal and ended up hounding Nixon over Cambodia. Almost 30 years later, Hersh made global headlines all over again with his exposure of the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

Put in the hours

For students of journalism his message is put the miles and the hours in. He knew about Abu Ghraib five months before he could write about it, having been tipped off by a senior Iraqi army officer who risked his own life by coming out of Baghdad to Damascus to tell him how prisoners had been writing to their families asking them to come and kill them because they had been “despoiled”.

“I went five months looking for a document, because without a document, there’s nothing there, it doesn’t go anywhere.”

Hersh returns to US president Barack Obama. He has said before that the confidence of the US press to challenge the US government collapsed post 9/11, but he is adamant that Obama is worse than Bush.

“Do you think Obama’s been judged by any rational standards? Has Guantanamo closed? Is a war over? Is anyone paying any attention to Iraq? Is he seriously talking about going into Syria? We are not doing so well in the 80 wars we are in right now, what the hell does he want to go into another one for. What’s going on [with journalists]?” he asks.

He says investigative journalism in the US is being killed by the crisis of confidence, lack of resources and a misguided notion of what the job entails.

“Too much of it seems to me is looking for prizes. It’s journalism looking for the Pulitzer Prize,” he adds. “It’s a packaged journalism, so you pick a target like—I don’t mean to diminish because anyone who does it works hard—but are railway crossings safe and stuff like that, that’s a serious issue but there are other issues too.

“Like killing people, how does [Obama] get away with the drone programme, why aren’t we doing more? How does he justify it? What’s the intelligence? Why don’t we find out how good or bad this policy is? Why do newspapers constantly cite the two or three groups that monitor drone killings. Why don’t we do our own work?

“Our job is to find out ourselves, our job is not just to say – here’s a debate’ our job is to go beyond the debate and find out who’s right and who’s wrong about issues. That doesn’t happen enough. It costs money, it costs time, it jeopardises, it raises risks. There are some people—the New York Times still has investigative journalists but they do much more of carrying water for the president than I ever thought they would . . . it’s like you don’t dare be an outsider any more.”

He says in some ways President George Bush’s administration was easier to write about. “The Bush era, I felt it was much easier to be critical than it is [of] Obama. Much more difficult in the Obama era,” he said.

Asked what the solution is Hersh warms to his theme that most editors are pusillanimous and should be fired.

“I’ll tell you the solution, get rid of 90% of the editors that now exist and start promoting editors that you can’t control,” he says. I saw it in the New York Times, I see people who get promoted are the ones on the desk who are more amenable to the publisher and what the senior editors want and the trouble makers don’t get promoted. Start promoting better people who look you in the eye and say ‘I don’t care what you say’.

Nor does he understand why the Washington Post held back on the Snowden files until it learned the Guardian was about to publish.

If Hersh was in charge of US Media Inc, his scorched earth policy wouldn’t stop with newspapers.

“I would close down the news bureaus of the networks and let’s start all over, tabula rasa. The majors, NBCs, ABCs, they won’t like this—just do something different, do something that gets people mad at you, that’s what we’re supposed to be doing,” he says.

Hersh is currently on a break from reporting, working on a book which undoubtedly will make for uncomfortable reading for both Bush and Obama.

“The republic’s in trouble, we lie about everything, lying has become the staple.” And he implores journalists to do something about it.

See http://www.theguardian.com/media/media-blog/2013/sep/27/seymour-hersh-obama-nsa-american-media (emphasis added); see also http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2436610/Pathetic-Award-winning-journalist-Seymour-Hersh-slams-American-press-challenging-US-governments-LIES-Bin-Laden-raid.html (“Not ONE word of official account of raid that killed Bin Laden is true, claims award-winning journalist Seymour Hersh“)

Among other things, Hersh laid bare the myths about John F. Kennedy—the most despicable president in American history—and his “Camelot” for the world to see.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/10/04/john-f-kennedy-the-most-despicable-president-in-american-history/

Hersh tells it like it is, not the sugar-coated pablum that comes out of Washington today, to be consumed by Americans and the world.

In the event that people have failed to notice, Americans have collective wisdom, and they have awakened to the mess that is Washington—brought to us principally by Obama and his “evil” Democrats, and their counterparts in the media.

1 10 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

If U.S. Government Shutdown or Debt Ceiling Causes An Economic Crisis, It’s On The President’s Head

This is the opinion of American investigative journalist, non-fiction author, and the Washington Post‘s Watergate guru, Bob Woodward:

Bob Woodward of The Washington Post said if there is a “downturn or a collapse” resulting from the failure of CR [Continuing Resolution] or debt ceiling negotiations it will be on President Obama’s “head” Monday on Morning Joe.

Woodward noted he respected President Obama’s objection to negotiating on the debt ceiling, but criticized the administration for failing to initiate any dialogue that could result in a deal on funding the government.

“It’s on the president’s head, he’s got to lead, he’s got to talk” Woodward said:

BOB WOODWARD: . . . [T]here is something the president could be doing. He said he will not negotiate on the debt ceiling. A reasonable position. “I will not be blackmailed” he said. But he should be talking. They should be meeting, discussing this, because as I think Steve Ratner showed earlier, the American economy is at stake and the president, if there is a downturn or a collapse or whatever could happen here that’s bad, it’s going to be on his head. The history books are going to say, we had an economic calamity in the Presidency of Barack Obama. Speaker Boehner, indeed, is playing a role on this. Go back to the Great Depression in the 1930s. I’ll bet no one can name who was the speaker of the House at the time. Henry Thomas Rainey. He’s not in the history book[;] it’s on the president’s head. He’s got to lead. He’s got to talk. And the absence of discussion here, I think, is baffling element.

See http://freebeacon.com/woodward-if-shutdown-or-debt-ceiling-causes-economic-crisis-its-on-the-presidents-head/ (emphasis added); see also http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/concoughlin/100238900/us-government-shutdown-barack-obama-is-presiding-over-the-end-of-americas-superpower-status/ (“[T]he shut down represents yet a further blow to the prestige of the Obama administration at a time when it is still reeling from its inept handling of the recent Syrian crisis. . . . [T]he longer the Obama presidency continues, the more America’s status as a superpower ebbs away“) and http://www.nationaljournal.com/politics/the-beginning-of-the-end-for-washington-20131001 (“While announcing historic negotiations with Iran, a regime that sponsors terrorism, Obama said he wouldn’t bargain with the GOP”)

I have spent most of my legal career working in or with government, including years spent at the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill.

I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat. I have been an Independent for more than 20 years, after first being a Democrat and then a Republican.

If there are any lessons that I have learned, it is that government does not work; and the government that governs least, governs best.

America’s governments—at the federal, State, and local levels—are grossly inefficient. Dealing with these governments is like dealing with some Third World “banana republic” . . . with the exceptions of the Pentagon and our military, which on balance are the best of American government.

This is why more and more Americans have such a low opinion of government, and do not trust it. When Obamacare gets into full swing, assuming that it does, the wrath of the American people may know no bounds; and Obama and his Democrats may pay a very heavy political price!

2 10 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Barack Obama’s Welfare Socialism Sparked The US Government Shutdown, Not The American Constitution

American founder weeping

This is the opinion of Dr. Tim Stanley, a historian of the United States, writing in the UK’s Telegraph:

One thing often heard in media commentary on the shutdown: what must the Chinese think when the US can’t even keep its government open? The correct answer: who cares? China’s a communist state—its government never sleeps. America’s a democracy—if it has an honest disagreement with itself then it debates it openly within the context of law and the Constitution. If things must shutdown for a bit, so be it.

The Founding Fathers divided the US government in order to keep it limited. No, they never thought things would break down quite this way, but then they never thought that elected officials would try to grow the government so large. Since the 1930s, a series of administrations has tried to expand the responsiblities of the federal government far beyond its original remit, usually bypassing the Constitution in order to avoid breaking with it altogether (covert action signed off by the executive, generously interpreting the Commerce Clause etc). Crucially, this was done by both parties with fairly equal contempt for the founding principles of their republic. Democrats gave us the Great Society, Republicans gave us Medicare part D, the Patriot Act and the Iraq War.

But in recent years things have gotten a lot worse. To understand the roots of the present crisis you have to understand how revolutionary the Democratic power grab of 2008-2010 was. Realising that their time in charge of all three parts of the government was short, the Dems tried to do as much as possible in those two years—which meant taking a leap towards refashioning America into a social democracy. The auto industry got a bailout with a nice sweet-heart deal for the unions. Welfare jumped an astonishing 32 per cent, with the outcome that by 2012 roughly 100 million Americans were getting some kind of benefit with the average outlay being $9,000. On top of all of this, Obama came up with Obamacare—the programme behind the shutdown. Crucially, the Democrats did not negotiate with the Republicans over its content and the only way they could get its patently unAmerican concept of a mandated-purchase into law was for the Supreme Court to redefine it as a tax. If the Republicans oppose it then they do so because it is expensive, may do damage to business and isn’t concomitant with the American Way.

So the Republicans are feeling obstinate. But so are the Democrats. It’s often forgotten that the Democrat-controlled Senate has failed to approve a budget for three years—that’s why it should could come as no surprise that they refused to do so again this time. And what won’t the Senate Democrats budge on? A one year delay in funding for Obamacare and a prohibition on lawmakers, their staff and top administration officials from getting government subsidies for their health care. If the Republicans are using their power to hold the Democrats hostage then the Democrats are using their power to hold the Republicans hostage. In fact, it’s less of a hostage situation than it is a Mexican standoff over a large cache of taxpayers’ money.

It all sounds calamitous, but when the US government shuts down what does it really amount to? Museums and parks are closed (and will probably soon reopen thanks to emergency legislation) but Social Security checks still go out and the military will still be paid. Some 800,000 federal workers have been sent home early but this only amounts to 20 per cent of the total federal workforce. That’s right. The US government has grown so big that 800,000 people is a drop in the ocean. Of course, things will be a lot worse when it comes to debating raising the debt ceiling. A default really would be disastrous for America and the entire global economy and everything should be done to avoid it.

The bottom line is that while America’s democracy is functioning the way it was intended to do (debating, mulling and even stalling grand utopian projects), its politicians are failing to live up to the standards and values set by the Founding Fathers. The largest party in Congress isn’t the Democrats or the Republicans. It’s become the welfare/warfare crowd who have been spending and spending for the last century like it has no consequences. And what has pushed America to the brink in the past few years has been an overambitious, highly partisan President willing to gamble everything on social reform. So enough grumbling about a broken America—let’s talk more about failed policies.

Finally, if you think China worrying about American democracy is hard enough to swallow, consider this. Al Jazeera says that the Republicans are guilty of “extremist actions”. Al Jazeera. “Mr Pot, let me introduce you to Mr Kettle…”

See http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/timstanley/100239347/us-government-shutdown-obamas-welfare-socialism-sparked-this-crisis-not-the-constitution/ (emphasis added)

Having worked on Capitol Hill and with government all of my legal career, it is nice to find an article that tells the truth. Tim Stanley is correct.

The only thing that I question are his statements:

[T]hings will be a lot worse when it comes to debating raising the debt ceiling. A default really would be disastrous for America and the entire global economy and everything should be done to avoid it.

Even here, the “game of chicken” may proceed; and the scare tactics and “climate of fear” spread by Obama and his far-Left Liberals may fall on deaf ears and be farfetched.

Shut down the government: it has happened, and few Americans are losing any sleep over it. The same thing may be true about a failure to raise the debt ceiling. Obama’s “Chicken Little-The Sky is Falling” approach is not working, inter alia, because Americans just witnessed his humiliating Syrian debacle.

See, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-2907 (“Obama’s Epic Incompetence”); see also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3079 (“[Moody's] says that the U.S. Treasury Department is likely to continue paying interest on the government’s debt even if Congress fails to lift the limit on borrowing“)

. . .

Also, any notion that the U.S. will lose its borrowing ability is utter nonsense. In borrowing money (e.g., for a large real estate project), it is always desirable to be the largest debtor of a small bank. Indeed, it is often said that the borrower “owns” the bank, because the borrower’s default can take down the bank.

The same thing applies to China, for example. If American purchases from China were to collapse, China would collapse economically. The Chinese leadership has to do business with us, and play ball with us, or suffer the consequences. “Devious” though they may be, they are not stupid.

See also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/china-is-americas-enemy-make-no-mistake-about-that/#comment-2251 (“China’s Hard Landing”)

. . .

Americans detest government, and rightly so. It is an integral part of the American psyche today. Barack Obama keeps emitting scare tactics; and we are getting very used to them, like the “Boy Who Cried Wolf” over and over again.

Of much greater concern to the American people on a daily basis is the damage that Obamacare may do to their health.

As Stanley notes correctly, Barack Obama and his Democrats are to blame. Even before the latest crisis, Obama had used his “Sequestration” to drastically cut our military, and even cut off White House tours:

Due to staffing reductions resulting from sequestration, we regret to inform you that WhiteHouse Tours will be canceled effective Saturday, March 9, 2013 until further notice.

See http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/tours-and-events; see also http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/10/02/Obama-Administration-Decided-to-Block-Access-to-Memorials (“OBAMA ADMINISTRATION DECIDED TO BLOCK ACCESS TO MEMORIALS“) and http://freebeacon.com/shutdown-theater/ (“[Obama Administration] Orders Closure of Park that Receives No Federal Funding“) and http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/oct/2/doves-and-peaceniks-no-more-these-democrats-relish/ (“Democrats relish the role of bullies“) and http://dailycaller.com/2013/10/03/need-health-care-coverage-just-dial-1-800-fuckyo-to-reach-obamacares-national-hotline/ (“Need health care coverage? Just dial 1-800-FUCKYO to reach Obamacare’s national hotline“) and http://washingtonexaminer.com/military-keeps-camp-david-open-halts-nfl-baseball-coverage-to-troops-overseas/article/2536819 (Obama cuts NFL, baseball coverage to troops overseas) and http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/nbc-police-remove-vietnam-war-veterans-memorial-wall_759267.html (“Police Remove Vietnam War Veterans at Memorial Wall“) and http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/10/05/Feds-Try-to-Close-the-OCEAN-Because-of-Shutdown (“FEDS TRY TO CLOSE THE OCEAN BECAUSE OF SHUTDOWN“) and http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/10/08/fox-news-poll-majority-would-vote-against-raising-debt-ceiling/ (“If it were up to the American public, they would vote no [on raising the nation’s debt limit so the federal government can borrow more money]—with a majority saying the debt limit should only be raised after major spending cuts have been made“) and http://weaselzippers.us/2013/10/09/gross-u-s-taxpayers-shelled-out-634320919-to-build-obamacare-website/ (“U.S. Taxpayers Shelled Out $634,320,919 To Build Obamacare Website“) and http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/oct/9/obamas-national-debt-rate-on-track-to-double/ (U.S. DEBT DOUBLES SINCE OBAMA…) and http://washington.cbslocal.com/2013/10/15/palin-defaulting-on-our-national-debt-is-an-impeachable-offense/ (“[W]e don’t have enough money to continue to finance our ever-growing federal government (with our $17 trillion dollar national debt that has increased over 50% since Obama took office). . . . That’s why President Obama wants to increase the debt limit”)

Obama never set foot on the American mainland until he attended Occidental College in Los Angeles. Instead, he grew up in Hawaii and Indonesia. His views are out of touch with most Americans who were born and raised here.

He is a Narcissist, a demagogue, a liar and incompetent; and his reelection in 2012 merely elevated and reinforced these qualities in him. Indeed, he has come to believe that he is invincible, politically; and he has set about to change America, much like Richard Nixon did after his landslide reelection victory in 1972.

Obama’s anger and willingness to punish his enemies are on display, each and every day, like Nixon’s anger and willingness to punish his enemies.

If you have any doubts whatsoever about such anger, which has undergirded Obama’s life and still does, read (or reread) his book “Dreams from My Father.” It is all there, in his own words.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/; see also http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/timstanley/100240627/barack-obamas-leviathan-even-when-the-us-government-is-shutdown-its-still-too-big/ (“[The Obama Administration] is engaging in high profile acts in an effort to exaggerate the impact of the shutdown”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/07/30/illegal-immigration-the-solution-is-simple/#comment-3100 (“Immigration Reform Must Be Blocked Forever“) and http://wfpl.org/post/mcconnell-reid-deal-includes-2-billion-earmark-kentucky-project (“McConnell-Reid Deal Includes $2 Billion Earmark for Kentucky Project“)

. . .

Obamacare—the signature and arguably the only “accomplishment” of the Obama presidency—will be hung around Barack Obama’s neck like a dead albatross, politically. It is merely a function of time before this happens.

America’s founders must be weeping . . .

4 10 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Obamacare Was Passed On A Democrat Party-Line Vote

It is worth reviewing how Obamacare came into being in the first place. As political pundit, Dick Morris—who was a principal advisor to former President Bill Clinton—writes:

In between crying wolf over the impact of a government shutdown triggered by no continuing resolution or an “economic shutdown” brought on by no debt limit increase, President Obama makes an institutional case saying that he is protecting the power of the presidency against legislative usurpation.

Within Congress, Democrats are asking if playing hardball with these two powers is an attempt by a minority to whipsaw a majority and reverse legislation already enacted.

While drenched in partisanship, both assertions have merit and deserve consideration.

No, this CR fight and the coming debt battle are attempts to expand the powers of Congress but are not usurpation.

ObamaCare was passed on Christmas Eve on a straight party line vote using a procedural gimmick—the Byrd Amendment—to circumvent the need for 60 votes, a tactic of which Senator Byrd himself disapproved.

But, more importantly, the CBO had been grossly negligent in estimating its cost as under a trillion. Congress bought a pig in a poke. It is now likely to cost almost $3 trillion over a decade. Oops. Slight mistake.

Normally, Congress could revisit the math and scale it back through the appropriations process, but as Obama cast the program as an entitlement, it does not go through appropriations. So Congress is fully within its rights to use its power over the budget and the debt to revisit the glossy assumptions on which passage was based. It is the only way they can.

On a political level, ObamaCare was passed on a party-line vote. Its passage reflects a unique moment in our history where one party government was possible, made more so by the shaky procedural ruling on the Byrd Amendment.

The program never had a majority or plurality in public opinion polls and was passed despite a high profile victory of Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts largely attributable to public anger over the new law.

When America saw what their super majority Democratic Congress had passed, they reversed field and threw them out of power in the House and reduced their Senate majority.

So are we not entitled to revisit the issue? Can we not now look back? With a threefold increase in cost, can’t we use fiscal checks and balances over the debt limit and budget to see if we really want to go down that road? Damn right we can.

See http://www.dickmorris.com/is-the-cr-or-debt-fight-a-usurpation-of-congress-power/ (emphasis added); see also http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-who-shut-down-yellowstone/2013/10/03/1b1cb4a8-2c64-11e3-b139-029811dbb57f_story.html (“From Social Security to civil rights to Medicaid to Medicare, never in the modern history of the country has major social legislation been enacted on a straight party-line vote. Never. . . . Yet Obama­care—which revolutionizes one-sixth of the economy, regulates every aspect of medical practice and intimately affects just about every citizen—passed without a single GOP vote. . . . Having stuffed Obamacare down the throats of the GOP and the country, Democrats are now paying the price“)

. . .

It is worth restating:

Obamacare, the signature and arguably the only “accomplishment” of the Obama presidency, must be—and will be—hung around Barack Obama’s neck like a dead albatross, politically. It is merely a function of time before this happens.

It has been said:

Jimmy Carter may be heading to #2 on the [list of] all-time worst presidents in American history, thanks to “O.”

This is an understatement!

9 10 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Obama Lies and Lies Again

The Washington Post has reported:

Moody’s offers different view on debt limit

One of the nation’s top credit-rating agencies says that the U.S. Treasury Department is likely to continue paying interest on the government’s debt even if Congress fails to lift the limit on borrowing next week, preserving the nation’s sterling AAA credit rating.

In a memo being circulated on Capitol Hill Wednesday, Moody’s Investors Service offers “answers to frequently asked questions” about the government shutdown, now in its second week, and the federal debt limit. President Obama has said that, unless Congress acts to raise the $16.7 trillion limit by next Thursday, the nation will be at risk of default.

Not so, Moody’s says in the memo dated Oct. 7.

“We believe the government would continue to pay interest and principal on its debt even in the event that the debt limit is not raised, leaving its creditworthiness intact,” the memo says. “The debt limit restricts government expenditures to the amount of its incoming revenues; it does not prohibit the government from servicing its debt. There is no direct connection between the debt limit (actually the exhaustion of the Treasury’s extraordinary measures to raise funds) and a default.

The memo offers a starkly different view of the consequences of congressional inaction on the debt limit than is held by the White House, many policymakers and other financial analysts. During a press conference at the White House Tuesday, Obama said missing the Oct. 17 deadline would invite “economic chaos.”

The Moody’s memo goes on to argue that the situation is actually much less serious than in 2011, when the nation last faced a pitched battle over the debt limit.

“The budget deficit was considerably larger in 2011 than it is currently, so the magnitude of the necessary spending cuts needed after 17 October is lower now than it was then,” the memo says.

Treasury Department officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

See http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics-live/liveblog/live-updates-the-shutdown-4/?id=c1e3ada3-dc00-41d8-92cb-327c5c814d82

Tragically, lying seems to undergird Barack Obama’s character. How can Americans and those abroad believe a word that he says anymore?

He makes Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon seem like choir boys, by comparison.

See, e.g., http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3109 (“When Americans Wallow In Obamacare, Their Anger Will Grow!”)

9 10 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

DEMOCRATS TO AMERICA: WE OWN THE GOVERNMENT!

I began as a Democrat, and I was proud of it. I grew up in a devoutly-Republican family; and my parents revered the famous general and president, Dwight Eisenhower, and I did too. My mother even had a photo of Pat and Dick Nixon prominently displayed.

I was in the Los Angeles Coliseum when John F. Kennedy give his acceptance speech at the Democrats’ convention in 1960, even though I was not old enough to vote; and I registered as a Democrat when I was able to do so. I left the party later because of Lyndon Johnson and his Vietnam War, where friends of mine were killed; and like Ronald Reagan who began as a Democrat, I believe my party had deserted me, rather than the other way around.

I became a Republican, and left that party more than 20 years ago, and became an Independent, because I did not feel comfortable in either major party. What Barack Obama and his Democrats have been doing since early 2009 turns my stomach. I do not anticipate voting for a Democrat ever again, because of it.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3042 (“Barak Obama’s Welfare Socialism Sparked The US Government Shutdown, Not The American Constitution”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/03/31/the-rise-of-independents/ (“The Rise Of Independents”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/ronald-reagan-and-john-f-kennedy-a-question-of-character/ (“Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy: A Question of Character”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/10/04/john-f-kennedy-the-most-despicable-president-in-american-history/ (“John F. Kennedy: The Most Despicable President In American History”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/washington-is-sick-and-the-american-people-know-it/ (“Washington Is Sick And The American People Know It”)

When all is said and done, Barack Obama may truly take the “prize.” It has been said:

Jimmy Carter may be heading to #2 on the [list of] all-time worst presidents in American history, thanks to “O.”

This may prove to be one of the greatest understatements in American history; and the United States and the American people must withstand and survive another three years of the Obama presidency.

Conservative political pundit Ann Coulter writes:

In the current fight over the government shutdown, Republicans are simply representing the views of the American people.

Americans didn’t ask for Obamacare, they don’t want it, but now their insurance premiums are going through the roof, their doctors aren’t accepting it, and their employers are moving them into part-time work—or firing them—to avoid the law’s mandates.

Contrary to Obama’s promises, it turns out: You can’t keep your doctor, you can’t keep your insurance—you can’t even keep your job. In other words, it’s a typical government program, but this one wrecks your health care.

Also, the president did raise taxes on the middle class in defiance of his well-worn campaign promise not to. Indeed, Obamacare is the largest tax hike in U.S. history.

Among the other changes effected by this law are:

– Obamacare will allow insurers to charge 50 percent higher premiums for smokers, but prohibits insurers from increasing premiums for those with HIV/AIDS.

– Nationally, Obamacare will increase men’s individual insurance premiums by an average of 99 percent and women’s by 62 percent. In North Carolina, for example, individual insurance premiums will triple for women and quadruple for men.

– Health plans valued at $27,500 or more for a family of four will be taxed at a rate of 40 percent.

– No doctors who went to an American medical school will be accepting Obamacare.

– A 62-year-old man earning $46,000 a year is entitled to a $7,836 government tax credit to buy health insurance. But if he earns an extra $22 in income, he loses the entire $7,836 credit. He will have more take-home pay by earning $46,000 than if he earns $55,000. (If he’s lucky, he already works for one of the companies forced by Obamacare to reduce employees’ hours!)

– Merely to be eligible for millions of dollars in grants from the federal government under Obamacare, education and training programs are required to meet racial, ethnic, gender, linguistic and sexual orientation quotas. That’s going to make health care MUCH better!

– Obamacare is turning America into a part-time nation. According to a recent report by economist John Lott, 97 percent of all jobs added to the economy so far this year have been part-time jobs. Ninety-seven percent!

– Obamacare is such a disaster that the people who wrote it refuse to live under it themselves. That’s right, Congress won a waiver from Obamacare.

Responding to the people’s will, House Republicans first voted to fund all of government—except Obamacare. Obama refused to negotiate and Senate Democrats refused to pass it.

Then the Republicans voted to fully fund the government, but merely delay the implementation of Obamacare for one year. Obama refused to negotiate and Senate Democrats refused to pass it.

Finally, the Republicans voted to fully fund the government, but added a requirement that everyone live under Obamacare. No more special waivers for Congress and their staff, and no waivers for big business without the same waivers for individuals.

Obama refused to negotiate and Senate Democrats refused to pass it. So as you can see, Republicans are the big holdup here.

A longtime Democratic operative, Karen Finney, explained the Democrats’ intransigence on MSNBC to a delighted Joan Walsh (aka the most easily fooled person on TV) by comparing House Republicans to a teenager trying to borrow his mother’s car. “No, I’m not negotiating!” Mother says. “It’s MY CAR!”

This wasn’t a stupid slip of the tongue that other Democrats quickly rejected. Finney had used the exact same metaphor to a panel of highly agreeable MSNBC guests the day before. (MSNBC books no other kind of guest.)

The left thinks the government is their car and the people’s representatives are obstreperous teenagers trying to borrow the government. Which belongs to Democrats.

That’s not how the Constitution views the House of Representatives. To the contrary, the House is considered most reflective of the people’s will because its members are elected every two years.

As a matter of fact, the Republicans who mistakenly assume they have something to do with running the government represent most of the people who pay taxes to run it. So it’s more like a teenager who is making the car payments, maintaining the car insurance and taking responsibility for registering the car being told: “It’s not your car.”

But the Democrats refuse to even negotiate. It’s their government—and if you Republicans think you’re going out dressed like that, you’ve got another thing coming! Needless to say, they absolutely will not consider the Republicans’ demand that Democrats merely live under Obamacare themselves.

Instead, Democrats say “the Koch brothers” are behind the effort to defund Obamacare.

They say Republicans are trying to “burn the whole house down” (Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz); “have lost their minds” (Sen. Harry Reid); are trying to negotiate “with a bomb strapped to their chest” (senior White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer); are “legislative arsonists” (Rep. Nancy Pelosi); and are engaging in “blatant extortion” (White House press secretary Jay Carney).

The MSNBC crowd calls Republicans “arsonists” every 15 minutes. They ought to check with fellow MSNBC host Al Sharpton. He knows his arsonists! In 1995, Sharpton whipped up a mob outside the Jewish-owned Freddy’s Fashion Mart with an anti-Semitic speech. Sometime later, a member of the mob torched the store, killing seven Hispanic employees.

Every single Democrat in the country uses the exact same talking point: We “refuse to negotiate with a gun being held to our head.”

Which means the Democrats will not negotiate at all—not now, not ever. House Republicans have already passed three-dozen bills defunding, or otherwise modifying, Obamacare. Senate Democrats and liberal commentators had a good laugh at Republicans for passing them. Now they’re paying attention!

If you are in the minority of Americans not already unalterably opposed to Obamacare, keep in mind that the only reason the government is shut down right now is that Democrats refuse to fund the government if they are required to live under Obamacare.

That’s how good it is!

See http://www.humanevents.com/2013/10/09/democrats-to-america-we-own-the-government/; see also http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/public-blames-obama-gop/2013/10/09/id/530025 (“Most Americans disapprove of the way Obama is handling his job, the poll suggests, with 53 percent unhappy with his performance and 37 percent approving of it”)

Obamacare—the signature and arguably the only “accomplishment” of the Obama presidency—will be hung around Barack Obama’s neck like a dead albatross, politically. It is merely a function of time before this happens.

10 10 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

The Democrat-Controlled U.S. Senate Passes Bill To Pay Military Death Benefits, But Obama Rejects It [UPDATED]

As the Washington Examiner has reported:

President Obama opposed passage of funding for veterans’ death benefits because the Fisher House Foundation has agreed to cover the costs, according to his spokesman.

“The legislation is not necessary,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters Thursday when asked about legislation approved by the House and Senate that would pay for those benefits. “Our view has been, this piecemeal funding is, again, a gimmick.”

Carney faulted Congress on Wednesday for not covering the death benefits in the Pay Our Military Act, though the Congressional Research Service rendered a legal opinion that the legislation did fund the program.

“[Obama] was not pleased to learn of this problem,” Carney said during the Wednesday briefing. “And he has directed the OMB and his lawyers to find a solution. And he expects to have one today.”

But the president opposes the legislative fix. “We don’t need legislation,” Carney said Thursday. “The president directed that this be resolved and it has been. What is preposterous is this notion that we should, piecemeal, fix all the consequences caused by shutdown.”

The Defense Department, under the current agreement, will reimburse the Fisher House after the government shutdown ends.

See http://washingtonexaminer.com/jay-carney-says-we-dont-need-legislation-to-pay-military-death-benefits/article/2537106

Barack Obama is truly bizarre. Now he spurns an agreement with the Republicans and prefers, instead, to have a private group fund military death benefits.

How much more contempt can he show for our wonderful and courageous military and their bereaved families?

Obama must be impeached. The United States and the American people cannot endure more than three years of this evil naïf. He is disgusting!

See also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3042 (“Barack Obama’s Welfare Socialism Sparked The US Government Shutdown, Not The American Constitution”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/

. . .

Fox News has reported:

Families of fallen troops will be assured of receiving death benefits under legislation President Barack Obama signed Thursday amid a national firestorm after [he] suspended the roughly $100,000 payments during the partial government shutdown.

Obama signed the bill into law after it won final passage in the Senate earlier in the day.

But his chief spokesman, Jay Carney, had said the measure was unnecessary because a military charity had stepped in to continue the payments. Carney also had declined to say whether Obama would sign the bill, which reinstates benefits for surviving family members, including funeral and burial expenses, and death gratuity payments.

The Pentagon typically pays out $100,000 within three days of a service member’s death. It said 29 active-duty service members have died since Oct. 1, when parts of the government shut down in a dispute between the White House and Congress over the president’s health care law.

The Pentagon had said the lapse in funding meant it had no authority to continue the payments, but that explanation [] did not sit well with members of Congress in either party. The Pentagon said a law allowing members of the military to be paid during the shutdown did not cover the death benefit payments. Congress passed and Obama signed that measure into law before the shutdown began, and lawmakers insisted the benefits shouldn’t have been affected.

In stepped the Fisher House Foundation, which Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday would cover the costs during the shutdown. Hagel said the Pentagon would reimburse the foundation after the shutdown ends. The government could not actively solicit funds from private organizations but could accept an offer.

The administration said Thursday night that the Pentagon’s agreement with Fisher House would remain intact to make sure the benefits are delivered without further interruption until officials can get the program up and running again.

The bill is the second “piecemeal” measure Obama has signed to hold the military harmless during the shutdown. At the same time, the White House has threatened vetoes of other “piecemeal” measures passed by the Republican-controlled House to continue funding for certain government operations. The White House has said the House should reopen the entire government and not choose to fund some agencies and programs over others.

. . .

Across the Capitol, Republicans on a House Armed Services panel excoriated Pentagon comptroller Robert Hale, accusing him of playing politics with his interpretation of the original law. They said the law was designed to pay the death benefits as well as keep all Defense Department civilians on the job—not to select the most essential.

“You went out of your way to make this as ugly as possible, to inflict as much pain as possible on this department,” said Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., who introduced the first bill days before the shutdown in an attempt to exempt the military.

Hale responded that the law was poorly written and there never should have been a shutdown in the first place.

“I resent your remarks,” the budget chief said. “I acted on the advice of attorneys and our best reading of a loosely worded law.”

See http://www.myfoxdc.com/story/23660879/bill-to-pay-military-death-benefits-heads-to-obama#axzz2hOIqIvOO

The mere fact that Obama has caused the bereaved families additional pain is cruel and disgusting, but it is totally consistent with his character.

12 10 2013
hi

It’s easy to rant against “Obamacare” when you yourself have good health insurance!

The fact that Republicans are holding our government hostage for what they stupidly believe will be their own political gains is the real disgusting thing going on around here. It is Republican policies that are the cause of this pain.

12 10 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you for your comments.

I have Medicare, period.

With all due respect, it is not the GOP that is holding America hostage, it is Obama and his Democrats, as I have discussed in my comments above.

And no, I am not a Republican, but an Independent.

17 10 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Shame . . .

Shame

The Republicans in the Senate—led by Mitch McConnell—caved to Barack Obama and Harry Reid, and the House Republicans did the same. Any efforts to defund or otherwise scuttle Obamacare, or scale back Obama’s runaway spending, have come to naught.

Clearly, the GOP consists of a spineless group of politicians; and Obama has won the game of “chicken,” at least for the moment.

. . .

America’s founders must be weeping . . .

. . .

See, http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3042; see also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/07/30/illegal-immigration-the-solution-is-simple/#comment-3100 (“Immigration reform must be blocked forever because the Democrats will never allow reasonable reform, but will fight tenaciously to achieve [a one-party system of government skewed by the new immigrants' voting]. The ‘Neanderthal’ Republicans will give in at some point, [as they just did]“) and http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/oct/18/us-debt-jumps-400-billion-tops-17-trillion-first-t/ (“U.S. debt jumps a record $328 billion—tops $17 trillion for first time“) and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2470238/Obama-asks-people-sign-Obamacare-phone.html (“Obama asks people to call in to sign up to Obamacare after ‘unacceptable’ problems with $634million website… but now the PHONES aren’t working“)

17 10 2013
RayUSA

What far too few people realize is the fact that the GOP has been in the past, and is now, being controlled by the east coast Rockefeller establishment wing of the party. Aside from rhetoric, the GOP has NEVER been a conservative party in practice, proven by the fact that when Bush and the GOP controlled the House, Senate and WH, they ended up spending like out of control drunken Democrats. Regarding this latest fiasco, the “leadership” virtually trashed, both publically and privately, the true fiscal conservatives led by Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee. Neoconservative David Frum recently stated that the “conservatives should just leave” the GOP. And what will be left if they do? Establishment types such as Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Paul Ryan, and their ilk. Come to think of it …. leaving might be just the thing to do. If that happens, we’ll see how many elections these Dem-Lites will win then. A conservative third party is looking more and more viable with each passing day.

17 10 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Ray, for your comments as always.

When I worked in the Senate, I was in four-person meetings with David Rockefeller, who was very nice and headed Chase Bank at the time. The issues discussed were banking matters. We listened, but that was it.

My sense is that the GOP was controlled by “devout” conservatives, and not by other interests. When I left the Senate and was involved in lobbying for major U.S. businesses, I found the same thing to be true.

Indeed, I was a member of the National Democratic Club and the National Republican Club of Capitol Hill, simultaneously. I felt it was good business to entertain our clients and others at whichever club they preferred, and I felt comfortable at both of them. In fact, when I worked in the Senate, there was a spirit of bipartisanship in both the Senate and House, which I believed was healthy and beneficial for the country.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/about/#comment-861

Today, there is the GOP’s “old guard” (e.g., Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Lindsey Graham), whom I do not support; and then there are the “upstarts” (e.g., Paul Ryan, who could not even carry his own State for Mitt in 2012). The truly new blood are those who have tried valiantly to defund or otherwise scuttle Obamacare and more reckless spending.

The latter are the future of the GOP . . . or they might join with Independents, and “disenchanted” Republicans and Democrats to start a new third party.

I have been an Independent for more than 20 years, after having been a Democrat first, and then a Republican. Today, Independents constitute approximately 35 percent of American voters; and they can be a very potent force for the future. If disenchanted Republicans and Democrats were to join their ranks and/or otherwise work with them, Obama and his Democrats might be sunk.

19 10 2013
RayUSA

Mr. Naegele,

You have had, to say the least, some very interesting experiences. I appreciate your insight and your willingness to take the time to share what you’ve learned in life via this blog. We need to get this type of information from somewhere …. it certainly isn’t being provided by the mainstream media. Sites such as yours are providing a very valuable service !

I share your political party experiences; raised in a Democrat home (albeit “conservative”), changed parties as an adult to GOP, became an Independent (after being disenchanted with Reagan in the 2nd. term). I admit that I have voted primarily for GOP candidates since, but also freely admit that while doing so I have had to typically hold my nose while pulling the voting lever. Many Americans have had the same experiences and are sick and tired of being forced to vote for the “lesser of two evils.”

I personally am convinced that BOTH parties are leading this country to fiscal and social ruin. With the Democrats, it is full speed ahead in the passing lane. With the GOP, it is the slower lane, but both are travelling along the same highway that ultimately leads to the same destination. I personally do not believe the leadership of the GOP has what it takes to do what is necessary to save our system from becoming just another European Socialist super state. They spout the rhetoric, but when it comes to real action they usually fold their cards. The time very well might be ripe for a viable third party. There certainly seems to be enough people that are fed up with the way the two parties have operated to make it happen !

19 10 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you again, Ray, for your thoughtful comments as always.

I agree completely. Well said.

My greatest concern is that Obama and his Democrats will ram through immigration “reform,” which may change America forever, by creating one-party rule.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/07/30/illegal-immigration-the-solution-is-simple/#comment-3100 (“Immigration Reform Must Be Blocked Forever”)

I am not against immigration. Far from it, our country is a nation of immigrants. However, Obama and his Democrats are bent on changing America, electorally.

22 10 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

When Americans Wallow In Obamacare, Their Anger Will Grow!

The Death of Obamacare

As tragic and cruel as it may seem, the best solution with respect to Obamacare is to let it roll out, and have the anger build, until more and more Americans are demanding an end to it, as well as Barack Obama’s impeachment.

Clearly, the Democrats will be bludgeoned politically in the process too . . . as more and more Americans lose faith in their government.

Obama’s name is likely to become synonymous with ineptitude and failure—with it taking on a negative connotation that may last for generations, like the Edsel.

Kaiser Health News has reported:

Health plans are sending hundreds of thousands of cancellation letters to people who buy their own coverage, frustrating some consumers who want to keep what they have and forcing others to buy more costly policies.

The main reason[, which] insurers offer[,] is that the policies fall short of what the Affordable Care Act requires starting Jan. 1. Most are ending policies sold after the law passed in March 2010. At least a few are cancelling plans sold to people with pre-existing medical conditions.

By all accounts, the new policies will offer consumers better coverage, in some cases, for comparable cost—especially after the inclusion of federal subsidies for those who qualify. The law requires policies sold in the individual market to cover 10 “essential” benefits, such as prescription drugs, mental health treatment and maternity care. In addition, insurers cannot reject people with medical problems or charge them higher prices. The policies must also cap consumers’ annual expenses at levels lower than many plans sold before the new rules.

But the cancellation notices, which began arriving in August, have shocked many consumers in light of President Barack Obama’s promise that people could keep their plans if they liked them.

“I don’t feel like I need to change, but I have to,” said Jeff Learned, a television editor in Los Angeles, who must find a new plan for his teenage daughter, who has a health condition that has required multiple surgeries.

An estimated 14 million people purchase their own coverage because they don’t get it through their jobs. Calls to insurers in several states showed that many have sent notices.

Florida Blue, for example, is terminating about 300,000 policies, about 80 percent of its individual policies in the state. Kaiser Permanente in California has sent notices to 160,000 people—about half of its individual business in the state. Insurer Highmark in Pittsburgh is dropping about 20 percent of its individual market customers, while Independence Blue Cross, the major insurer in Philadelphia, is dropping about 45 percent.

Some Policies Targeted

Both Independence and Highmark are cancelling so-called “guaranteed issue” policies, which had been sold to customers who had pre-existing medical conditions when they signed up. Policyholders with regular policies because they did not have health problems will be given an option to extend their coverage through next year.

Consumer advocates say such cancellations raise concerns that companies may be targeting their most costly enrollees.

They may be “doing this as an opportunity to push their populations into the exchange and purge their systems” of policyholders they no longer want, said Jerry Flanagan, an attorney with the advocacy group Consumer Watchdog in California.

Insurers deny that, saying they are encouraging existing customers to re-enroll in their new plans.

“We continue to cover people with all types of health conditions,” said Highmark spokeswoman Kristin Ash.

She said some policyholders who may have faced limited coverage for their medical conditions will get new plans with “richer benefits” and the policies “in most cases, will be at a lower rate.”

Paula Sunshine, vice president of marketing with Independence, said the insurer hopes the cancelled policyholders will “choose Blue when they decide on a new plan.”

Higher Costs?

Some receiving cancellations say it looks like their costs will go up, despite studies projecting that about half of all enrollees will get income-based subsidies.

Kris Malean, 56, lives outside Seattle, and has a health policy that costs $390 a month with a $2,500 deductible and a $10,000 in potential out-of-pocket costs for such things as doctor visits, drug costs or hospital care.

As a replacement, Regence BlueShield is offering her a plan for $79 more a month with a deductible twice as large as what she pays now, but which limits her potential out-of-pocket costs to $6,250 a year, including the deductible.

“My impression was …there would be a lot more choice, driving some of the rates down,” said Malean, who does not believe she is eligible for a subsidy.

Regence spokeswoman Rachelle Cunningham said the new plans offer consumers broader benefits, which “in many cases translate into higher costs.”

“The arithmetic is inescapable,” said Patrick Johnston, chief executive officer of the California Association of Health Plans. Costs must be spread, so while some consumers will see their premiums drop, others will pay more—“no matter what people in Washington say.”

Health insurance experts say new prices will vary and much depends on where a person lives, their age and the type of policy they decide to buy. Some, including young people and those with skimpy or high-deductible plans, may see an increase. Others, including those with health problems or who buy coverage with higher deductibles than they have now, may see lower premiums.

Blue Shield of California sent roughly 119,000 cancellation notices out in mid-September, about 60 percent of its individual business. About two-thirds of those policyholders will see rate increases in their new policies, said spokesman Steve Shivinsky.

Like other insurers, the Blue Shield letters let customers know they have to make a decision by Dec. 31 or they will automatically be enrolled in a recommended plan.

“There is going to be a certain amount of churn in the marketplace as people have to make their decisions,” Shivinsky said.

See http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Stories/2013/October/21/cancellation-notices-health-insurance.aspx (300,000 LOSE HEALTH PLANS IN FLORIDA AlONE) (emphasis added); see also http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/362263/500000-californians-lose-health-policies-wesley-j-smith (“[A]t least 500,000 Californians may lose their health insurance next year—and that’s a conservative estimate“) and http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/362381/alaskan-company-suspends-obamacare-enrollments-cites-faulty-subsidy-calculator (Alaska Suspends Obamacare Enrollments After Signing Up 3 People) and http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/millions-americans-are-losing-their-health-plans-because-obamacare_764602.html (“Millions of Americans Are Losing Their Health Plans Because of Obamacare“) and http://nypost.com/2013/10/25/elderly-patients-sick-over-losing-doctors-under-obamacare/ (“Elderly patients sick over losing doctors under ObamaCare“) and http://dailycaller.com/2013/10/25/michelle-obamas-princeton-classmate-is-executive-at-company-that-built-obamacare-website/ (NO BID CONTRACT: “Michelle Obama’s Princeton classmate is executive at company that built Obamacare website”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3042 (“Barack Obama’s Welfare Socialism Sparked The US Government Shutdown, Not The American Constitution”) and http://investigations.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/10/28/21213547-obama-admin-knew-millions-could-not-keep-their-health-insurance?lite (NBCNEWS: Obama knew millions would lose health plans) and http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304200804579163541180312658 (“[Many Americans] trusted President Obama’s repeated falsehood that people who liked their health plans could keep them. But Americans should understand that this month’s mass cancellation wave has been the President’s political goal since 2008. Liberals believe they must destroy the market in order to save it“) and http://www.politico.com/story/2013/10/obama-approval-rating-poll-99135.html (“Obama’s job approval has dropped to an all-time low . . . a mere 42 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s job performance. . . . The president’s disapproval rating stands at 51 percent, tying an all-time high for Obama“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3119 (“Obamacare Laid Bare: Barack Obama’s Big Lie“) and http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/for-consumers-whose-health-premiums-will-go-up-under-new-law-sticker-shock-leads-to-anger/2013/11/03/d858dd28-44a9-11e3-b6f8-3782ff6cb769_story.html (“For consumers whose health premiums will go up under new law, sticker shock leads to anger“)

. . .

Again, Obamacare—the signature and arguably the only accomplishment of the Obama presidency—will be hung around Barack Obama’s neck like a dead albatross, politically. It is merely a function of time before this happens, as more and more Americans realize fully how badly it hurts them.

Whether the issue is Benghazi or Obama’s failed Syrian “adventure,” or the far-reaching NSA spying, Obama’s plausible deniability has disappeared. The only issues are what did he know, and when did he know it? It is fair to say that he is the laughingstock of America and the world. Each time he utters a word, his nose seems to grow a bit longer. He makes Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon seem like choir boys, by comparison.

Obamacare strangling America

27 10 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Obama Is About To Play Defense For Three Years . . . Or Worse

Long-time and highly-respected Washington political pundit Fred Barnes has written:

President Obama is facing the abyss. It’s that moment when a president’s plans are overwhelmed by his problems, and he’s relegated to playing defense for the rest of his White House term. Obama’s agenda already lingers near death. His poll numbers have slipped to new lows. His speeches are full of alibis and accusations.

Obama hasn’t reached the point of no return, but he’s close. His biggest problem is the collapse of Obamacare on its launching pad as the entire country watched. And there’s worse trouble ahead. More likely than not, Obamacare will be the dominant issue in the final three-plus years of his presidency. From that, there’s no recovery.

Years on defense—impotent years—have beset even the strongest of presidents. After the Iran-contra scandal broke in November 1986, the Reagan presidency was essentially over. He served two more years and made a triumphant trip to the Soviet Union, but his power was gone. The low point was the overturning of his veto of a highway bill.

Jimmy Carter’s presidency was hardly a powerhouse. Still, it had one shining moment, when the Camp David peace accord between Israel and Egypt was signed in September 1978. What clout Carter had vanished after the “malaise” speech in July 1979. It made him a target of ridicule.

Impeachment in 1998 forced President Clinton into retreat. His popularity remained high, but he abandoned an agenda that included entitlement reform. Even an unexpected Democratic victory in the midterm elections in his second term couldn’t revive his presidency.

In George W. Bush’s case, problems in his second term quickly engulfed his administration. The Iraq war became a bloodbath, his plan for overhauling Social Security had few takers, and he was blamed, unfairly, for the incompetent response to Hurricane Katrina. A troop buildup and adoption of a counterinsurgency strategy saved Iraq from disaster, but otherwise Bush’s second term was marked by futility.

Now, with his presidency in peril, Obama seems unprepared to avert paralysis. The failed startup of Obamacare, its website a “joke” in the view of 60 percent of America in a Fox News poll, caught the president by surprise. He refused to acknowledge the magnitude of the problem, conceding only that healthcare.gov wasn’t working as “smoothly as it was supposed to.” Neither is his presidency.

From all appearances, Obama sees the Obamacare mess as partly a political headache. A headline in Politico last week captured this: “White House works to flip Obamacare narrative.” It’s as if Obama and his advisers think they’re dealing with a faux pas to be smoothed over with political spin. Commentary’s Peter Wehner calls this attitude “detachment from reality.”

True, Obamacare will be a campaign issue in the 2014 midterm elections and no doubt a significant factor in the presidential election two years later. But that’s not because Obamacare is merely a matter of politics. It’s because Obamacare is now the official health care system for 310 million people and represents one-sixth of the American economy.

And it’s a national embarrassment whose troubles are only beginning. Unpleasant shocks loom for a majority of Americans who tap into Obamacare exchanges. Those 40 years of age and younger will discover next year their insurance premiums are “a lot higher than they would pay in today’s market,” says health care expert James Capretta. That will create a furor.

So, too, some lower-middle-income and middle-class Americans will find their access to doctors is limited. Why? Because many of the country’s biggest and best hospitals and some doctors have not agreed to take on this category of patients. Also, patients will be forced to endure longer waits as a result of a doctor shortage. In 2015 and 2016, the popular Medicare Advantage program will shrink.

Low-income folks and those with preexisting conditions will prosper under Obamacare. But how will middle-income Americans feel when they learn they’re paying considerably more for the same insurance? Not happy, I suspect. Or those under 30 who chose a “catastrophic-only” policy with high deductibles? They won’t be thrilled when told they are ineligible for a subsidy, whatever their income.

The point is that as Obamacare is rolled out over the final years of this presidency, there will be numerous occasions when Obama’s promises about the new health insurance scheme are exposed as untrue. If these incidents don’t provoke a crisis, they’ll at least keep Obamacare from fading as a prominent and fiercely debated issue.

And the president will pay a price. He’ll be stuck on defense, unable to change the subject. His agenda won’t help. A $9 minimum wage, universal preschool, immigration reform, global warming legislation, more infrastructure spending, higher taxes—there’s nothing close to a national consensus in support of these liberal leftovers.

Despite all this, Obama could escape a lost presidency. He has a loyal base that’s kept his approval rating in the low 40s. (Carter and Bush dipped into the 20s.) Democrats may be dreaming when they envision a 2014 election in which Republicans suffer badly from the shutdown. But it’s not inconceivable Republicans could lose the House, and their prospects of capturing the Senate are no better than 50-50. Then and only then, Obama’s presidency could be spared an early death and the nation’s attention shifted from a dreadful health plan named after him. That’s a nice scenario, but I’m not buying it. The humiliation of presiding over Obamacare’s debut won’t be soon forgotten.

But ponder this: Had Obamacare been created as a private enterprise with Obama as CEO, it wouldn’t have lasted a week. Not only would the stumbling company have been put out of business, so would its incompetent CEO. And we’d all—well, most of us—be better off.

See http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/point-no-return_764703.html (emphasis added); see also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3109 (“When Americans Wallow In Obamacare, Their Anger Will Grow!“)

30 10 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

U.S. Warns Of Downward Iraqi Spiral

This is the title of a Wall Street Journal article, which states:

The top U.S. military commander in the Middle East said Iraq has entered a downward spiral of violence that threatens to drive the country’s prime minister further into the hands of Iran and heighten sectarian tensions across the region.

With Iraqi security forces incapable of responding, U.S. officials foresee the development of a haven for al Qaeda in western Iraq and stretching into eastern Syria.

“If left unchecked, we could find ourselves in a regional sectarian struggle that could last a decade,” said Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, the head of the U.S. military’s Central Command.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is set to meet President Barack Obama on Friday and met with Vice President Joe Biden and congressional leaders on Wednesday, at the start of a visit to Washington.

The visit to Washington comes at a pivotal moment. Gen. Austin and other U.S. officials have blamed the violence in part on decisions by Mr. Maliki’s government to exclude most Sunnis from access to any real power.

Iraq is under pressure from the civil war raging in Syria, across its western border. But Baghdad’s alienation of Sunnis has compounded Iraq’s problems, Gen. Austin said, prompting some Sunnis to offer support to Al Qaeda and leading others to tolerate the group’s presence in a way they might not if the government was more responsive.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Gen. Austin said that Shiite groups have not yet joined in the fighting in Iraq. But he said if violence continues, Shiites are likely to take part, plunging Iraq into a renewed civil war and even greater levels of violence.

“What we are very worried about is a continued downward spiral that takes you to a civil war,” Gen. Austin said. “It could easily get worse.”

The presence of undisputed militant strongholds could lead to a push by al Qaeda-aligned groups in Iraq and Syria to form what Gen. Austin called “a larger caliphate”—a conservative Islamic empire ruled by Sharia law, long a goal of al Qaeda.

The U.S. spent more than $800 billion on the Iraq war, based on Congressional Research Service estimates. But U.S. officials said this week that Mr. Maliki has squandered many of the advantages the U.S. left to him, including a well-trained military.

Mr. Maliki has flirted with making Iranian-backed militias part of the nation’s security force, a move some U.S. officials believe could further strengthen the influence of Tehran inside Iraq. Gen Austin said that the increased power of al Qaeda in western Iraq has made Mr. Maliki seek closer ties with Iran.

“We do worry that this has driven Maliki further into the hands of the Iranians, I think it has a bit,” Gen. Austin said.

A spokesman for the Iraqi delegation did not immediately comment.

See http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303618904579167911247903846

Barack Obama has managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in Iraq; we are losing in Afghanistan because of him; the Middle East is in turmoil and collapsing, while he keeps on smiling; a thorough and impartial investigation of Benghazi is required; his Syrian debacle is on display for the world to see; he has been “gutting” our military; . . . and these are simply a few of the failures that he has wrought.

On the domestic front, Obamacare is a “gift” that will keep on giving politically to his Democrats and him, for years and perhaps generations to come. Indeed, Obamacare—the signature and arguably the only accomplishment of the Obama presidency—will be hung around Barack Obama’s neck like a dead albatross, politically. It is merely a function of time before this happens, as more and more Americans realize fully how badly it hurts them.

Whether the issue is Benghazi or the far-reaching NSA spying, Obama’s plausible deniability has disappeared. The only issues are what did he know, and when did he know it?

It is fair to say that, tragically, he is the laughingstock of America and the world. Each time he utters a word, his nose seems to grow a bit longer. He makes Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon seem like choir boys, and paragons of honesty and virtue, by comparison.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3109 (“When Americans Wallow In Obamacare, Their Anger Will Grow!”); see also http://www.politico.com/story/2013/10/obama-approval-rating-poll-99135.html (“Obama’s job approval has dropped to an all-time low . . . a mere 42 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s job performance. . . . The president’s disapproval rating stands at 51 percent, tying an all-time high for Obama“)

. . .

Barack Obama must be impeached!

1 11 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Obamacare Laid Bare: Barack Obama’s Big Lie

Obama's Big Lie

Charles Krauthammer has written in the Washington Post:

Every disaster has its moment of clarity. Physicist Richard Feynman dunks an O-ring into ice water and everyone understands instantly why the shuttle Challenger exploded. This week, the Obamacare O-ring froze for all the world to see: Hundreds of thousands of cancellation letters went out to people who had been assured a dozen times by the president that “If you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan. Period.”

The cancellations lay bare three pillars of Obamacare: (a) mendacity, (b) paternalism and (c) subterfuge.

(a) Those letters are irrefutable evidence that President Obama’s repeated you-keep-your-coverage claim was false. Why were they sent out? Because Obamacare renders illegal (with exceedingly narrow “grandfathered” exceptions) the continuation of any insurance plan deemed by Washington regulators not to meet their arbitrary standards for adequacy. Example: No maternity care? You are terminated.

So a law designed to cover the uninsured is now throwing far more people off their insurance than it can possibly be signing up on the nonfunctioning insurance exchanges. Indeed, most of the 19 million people with individual insurance will have to find new and likely more expensive coverage. And that doesn’t even include the additional millions who are sure to lose their employer-provided coverage. That’s a lot of people. That’s a pretty big lie.

But perhaps Obama didn’t know. Maybe the bystander president was as surprised by this as he claims to have been by the IRS scandal, the Associated Press and James Rosen phone logs, the failure of the Obamacare Web site, the premeditation of the Benghazi attacks, the tapping of Angela Merkel’s phone—i.e., the workings of the federal government of which he is the nominal head.

I’m skeptical. It’s not as if the Obamacare plan-dropping is an obscure regulation. It’s at the heart of Obama’s idea of federally regulated and standardized national health insurance.

Still, how could he imagine getting away with a claim sure to be exposed as factually false?

The same way he maintained for two weeks that false narrative about Benghazi. He figured he’d get away with it.

And he did. Simple formula: Delay, stonewall and wait for a supine and protective press to turn spectacularly incurious.

Look at how the New York Times covered his “keep your plan” whopper—buried on page 17 with a headline calling the cancellations a “prime target.” As if this is a partisan issue and not a brazen falsehood clear to any outside observer—say, The Post’s fact-checker Glenn Kessler, who gave the president’s claim four Pinocchios. Noses don’t come any longer.

(b) Beyond mendacity, there is liberal paternalism, of which these forced cancellations are a classic case. We canceled your plan, explained presidential spokesman Jay Carney, because it was substandard. We have a better idea.

Translation: Sure, you freely chose the policy, paid for the policy, renewed the policy, liked the policy. But you’re too primitive to know what you need. We do. Your policy is hereby canceled.

Because what you really need is what our experts have determined must be in every plan. So a couple in their 60s must buy maternity care. A teetotaler must buy substance abuse treatment. And a healthy 28-year-old with perfectly appropriate catastrophic insurance must pay for bells and whistles for which he has no use.

It’s Halloween. There is a knock at your door. You hear: “We’re the government and we’re here to help.”

You hide.

(c) As for subterfuge, these required bells and whistles aren’t just there to festoon the health-care Christmas tree with voter-pleasing freebies. The planners knew all along that if you force insurance buyers to overpay for stuff they don’t need, that money can subsidize other people.

Obamacare is the largest transfer of wealth in recent American history. But you can’t say that openly lest you lose elections. So you do it by subterfuge: hidden taxes, penalties, mandates and coverage requirements that yield a surplus of overpayments.

So that your president can promise to cover 30 million uninsured without costing the government a dime. Which from the beginning was the biggest falsehood of them all. And yet the free lunch is the essence of modern liberalism. Free mammograms, free preventative care, free contraceptives for Sandra Fluke. Come and get it.

And then when you find your policy canceled, your premium raised and your deductible outrageously increased, you’ve learned the real meaning of “free” in the liberal lexicon: something paid for by your neighbor—best, by subterfuge.

See http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-obamacare-laid-bare/2013/10/31/d229515a-4254-11e3-a624-41d661b0bb78_story.html (emphasis added); see also http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2013/11/01/mother-jones-shocker-new-poll-shows-democratic-incumbents-big-trouble#ixzz2jPrsL4lG (“New Poll Shows Democratic Incumbents in Big Trouble“) and http://dailycaller.com/2013/11/05/obama-denies-you-can-keep-it-videotaped-promises/ (Obama lies and lies and lies: “[He] told his enthusiastic supporters Monday night that he never promised what video recordings show him promising at least 29 times“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3138 (“Five Years In, Obama And Bush Poll Numbers Nearly Identical“) and http://www.gallup.com/poll/113980/Gallup-Daily-Obama-Job-Approval.aspx (GALLUP: OBAMA FALLS TO 30′S [November 5, 2013]

Barack Obama must be impeached or otherwise removed from office (e.g., by being forced to resign). At least Richard Nixon had the guts, personal integrity and patriotism to resign.

See also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3114 (“U.S. Warns Of Downward Iraqi Spiral”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3110 (“Obama Is About To Play Defense For Three Years . . . Or Worse”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3109 (“When Americans Wallow In Obamacare, Their Anger Will Grow!“) and http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/11/07/207909/analysis-tens-of-millions-could.html (“Tens of millions could be forced out of health insurance they had“)

2 11 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

NPR: Yellowstone County Treasurer Admits Sending Racist E-Mail Message About Obama

Ban of free speech

Montana Public Radio has published an article, which states:

Yellowstone County treasurer and county superintendent of schools, Max Lenington, says his use of racist and anti-gay slurs in an email were a private message to his sister, and reflected his anger that President Barack Obama was re-elected.

The Billings Gazette reports Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito is investigating whether there are grounds to recall Lenington for comments made in an email sent from his work computer last year.

News Director Sally Mauk spoke with Lenington this afternoon about the e-mail, which he confirms he sent. In the e-mail, Lenington says of Obama’s re-election, “It must mean there are more lesbians, queers, Indians, Mexicans, and n____ [slur for blacks] than the rest of us!”

Lenington admits people might be offended by the remarks.

“Possibly, but I wouldn’t say it in public…It was strictly a comment to my sweet sister,” Lenington said.

Lenington believes the slurs he used are commonly used in Montana.

“I was born and raised in central Montana and that’s kind of the way we talk,” he said.

Lenington has worked for Yellowstone county for over 40 years. His term ends on December 31st, 2014. He says he’s in discussion with the county attorney over whether he will resign over the remarks but says he’s getting lots of support to stay in office.

See http://mtpr.org/post/yellowstone-county-treasurer-admits-sending-racist-e-mail

First, racism is a fact of life in America today, and globally.

Second, all Americans and peoples of other countries should read Barack Obama’s book, “Dreams from My Father,” written in his own words, if you have any doubts whatsoever about his core beliefs. And then view many of his actions and statements as president (e.g., regarding Trayvon Martin) against his own black racist sentiments.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/

Third, ideally, there should not be any racism, period. However, Obama has played the “race card” repeatedly, which is reprehensible.

Fourth, every American’s e-mails should be private. Apparently, Lenington—whom I had never heard of, before reading this article—used his computer at work to send the message to his sister; and someone went through his e-mails, and disclosed this one to the public.

The very essence of the current NSA scandals involves the interception and disclosure of private messages. Americans are aghast that anyone or any government agency could intercept and read their private e-mail messages, or listen to or record their phone calls, and disclose the contents. And of course, they are correct.

Fifth, the very idea that “political correctness” or the thought or language “police” (e.g., in the form of Montana Public Radio) should exist, or be projected or imposed on others, violates this great nation’s basic guarantee of freedom of speech. It is repugnant.

This is why all public funding of PBS and NPR must cease. Among other things, clearly neither entity criticized the hateful comments and threats that were and still are directed toward former President George W. Bush.

Lastly, I believe in this country, and I believe in Americans of all colors, faiths and backgrounds. The United States is the only true melting pot in the world, with its populace representing a United Nations of the world’s peoples.

Yes, we fight and we even discriminate, but when times are tough—like after 9/11—we come together as one nation, which makes this country so great and special. Also, all of us or our ancestors came here from somewhere else. Even the American Indians are descended from those who crossed the Bering Strait—or the “Bering land bridge”—according to anthropologists.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/america-a-rich-tapestry-of-life/ (“America: A Rich Tapestry Of Life”); see also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/07/30/illegal-immigration-the-solution-is-simple/ (“Illegal Immigration: The Solution Is Simple”)

3 11 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

The Outsiders Who Saw Our Economic Future

In both America’s energy transformation and the financial crisis, it took a group of amateurs to see what was coming. This is the conclusion of a Wall Street Journal article, which states:

The experts keep getting it wrong. And the oddballs keep getting it right.

Over the past five years of business history, two events have shocked and transformed the nation. In 2007 and 2008, the housing market crumbled and the financial system collapsed, causing trillions of dollars of losses. Around the same time, a few little-known wildcatters began pumping meaningful amounts of oil and gas from U.S. shale formations. A country that once was running out of energy now is on track to become the world’s leading producer.

What’s most surprising about both events is how few experts saw them coming—and that a group of unlikely outsiders somehow did. Federal Reserve chairmen Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke failed to foresee the financial meltdown. Top banking executives were stunned, and leading investors such as Bill Gross, Jim Chanos and George Soros didn’t fully anticipate the downturn.

The big winners were people like John Paulson, an expert in mergers who only began researching housing in 2006 and scored a record $20 billion for his hedge fund. Jeffrey Greene, a Los Angeles playboy who partied with Paris Hilton, made $500 million predicting housing troubles.

In 2006, Andrew Lahde was an out-of-work 35-year-old stuck in a cramped one-bedroom apartment; then he made tens of millions of dollars betting against subprime mortgages. So did Michael Burry, a doctor-turned-stock investor in northern California with Asperger’s syndrome.

Wall Street talks up the importance of being contrarian. But in 2007, most traders subscribed to the mantra that the Fed wouldn’t let housing crumble or that the boom would continue, while others couldn’t find a good way to short subprime mortgages. They left it for the amateurs to figure out.

Less well known, but no less dramatic, is the story of America’s energy transformation, which took the industry’s giants almost completely by surprise. In the early 1990s, an ambitious Chevron executive named Ray Galvin started a group to drill compressed, challenging formations of shale in the U.S. His team was mocked and undermined by dubious colleagues. Eventually, Chevron pulled the plug on the effort and shifted its resources abroad.

Exxon Mobil also failed to focus on this rock—even though its corporate headquarters in Irving, Texas, were directly above a huge shale formation that eventually would flow with gas. Later, it would pay $31 billion to buy a smaller shale pioneer.

“I would be less than honest if I were to say to you [that] we saw it all coming, because we did not, quite frankly,” Rex Tillerson, Exxon Mobil’s chairman and CEO said last year in an interview at the Council on Foreign Relations.

In 2003, Alan Greenspan warned that the nation’s gas fields were running dry and urged Congress to back costly facilities to import gas. Famed investors Warren Buffett and Henry Kravis invested in a record-setting utility-company buyout in 2007, wagering that a dearth of U.S. natural gas would send prices higher. Instead, the U.S. has so much cheap natural gas today that it is set to export it. The country is also pumping 7.9 million barrels of oil a day, up more than 50% since 2006 and the most in nearly 25 years.

The resurgence in U.S. energy came from a group of brash wildcatters who discovered techniques to hydraulically fracture—or frack—and horizontally drill shale and other rock. Many of these men operated on the fringes of the oil industry, some without college degrees or much background in drilling, geology or engineering.

In the late 1990s, George Mitchell, the son of a Greek goatherder, ran a midsize Houston-based company with shrinking natural-gas production. His stock price was falling, the industry was on its back, the 79-year-old had been diagnosed with cancer and his wife was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. In almost two decades of trying, his men had not been able to coax enough natural gas from Mitchell Energy’s Texas shale fields. But in 1998, one of Mr. Mitchell’s engineers finally figured out how to properly fracture shale, stunning colleagues and larger competitors while launching the American energy revolution.

Harold Hamm grew up dirt-poor in a tiny town in Oklahoma. He began school around Christmas-time each year, once it became too cold to pick cotton, and he started his career raking out oil tanks. Over the past six years, Mr. Hamm and his company have discovered so much oil in North Dakota that he is now worth $14 billion. Aubrey McClendon and Tom Ward of Oklahoma were land-leasing specialists; they managed to build the nation’s second-largest gas producer by leading the charge into shale fields. Charif Souki, a Lebanese immigrant and former restaurateur who knew more about fajitas than fracking, today runs Cheniere Energy, a Houston-based company that is on track to become the first to export gas from the contiguous U.S.

Bucking conventional wisdom is always risky, and many would-be mavericks in finance and the energy industry have failed. But corporate caution and complacency have their costs too, and today’s emphasis on short-term performance means that executives are even less likely to take long-term risks, to anticipate the unexpected. For the next great business revolution, it would be smart to bet once again on stubborn, flamboyant dreamers.

See http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303618904579169513659659306?tesla=y

Many of us felt that Alan Greenspan was a fool. Indeed, the former Federal Reserve Chairman was the architect of the enormous economic “bubble” that burst globally. No longer is he revered as a “potentate.” His reputation is in tatters. Giulio Tremonti, Italy’s Minister of Economy and Finance, probably said it best:

Greenspan was considered a master. Now we must ask ourselves whether he is not, after [Osama] bin Laden, the man who hurt America the most.

That speaks volumes.

See http://www.americanbanker.com/issues/173_212/-365185-1.html (“Greenspan’s Fingerprints All Over Enduring Mess”)

Many of us have believed that even worse would transpire during Barack Obama’s presidency, inter alia, because he is a black racist, a feckless naïf, and a tragic Shakespearean figure whose naïveté has been matched by his overarching narcissism, and he is more starry-eyed and “dangerous” than Jimmy Carter.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/ and http://www.realclearpolitics.com/news/tms/politics/2009/Apr/08/euphoria_or_the_obama_depression_.html (“Euphoria or the Obama Depression?”) and http://seekingalpha.com/instablog/2951-market-shadows/31177-interview-with-timothy-d-naegele (“Interview with Timothy D. Naegele”)

All of this is proving true; for example, as Obamacare fails—which affects one-sixth of the U.S. economy, as well as the lives of every American—and as Barack Obama fails in essentially everything that he does.

See, e.g., http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3119 (“Obamacare Laid Bare: Barack Obama’s Big Lie”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3114 (“[Obama] is the laughingstock of America and the world. . . . He makes Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon seem like choir boys, and paragons of honesty and virtue, by comparison”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3125 (“Obama Accused Of Military Purge”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/poverty-in-america/#comment-3139 (“49.7 Million Americans Living In Poverty”)

During the Great Depression of the last century, there were “green shoots” or signs that things were improving—as we have been witnessing lately. However, in the final analysis, the Depression did not run its course until the end of World War II. This time, the housing market will crumble again and the financial system may collapse, causing human suffering and economic dislocations worldwide.

Clearly, Barack Obama does not have a clue how to deal with this; and the same is true of our Fed and other governmental agencies and politicians around the world. Hold on tight. The worst is yet to come during the balance of this decade. However, it is likely that America will fare better than other countries.

3 11 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Obama Accused Of Military Purge

Obama gutting our military

According to Newsmax:

The United States military is being “purged” of officers suspected of disloyalty to or disagreement with the Obama administration, several sources charge.

“We recognize President Obama is the commander-in-chief and that throughout history presidents from Lincoln to Truman have seen fit to remove military commanders they view as inadequate or insubordinate,” Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) observed.

“Yet what has happened to our officer corps since President Obama took office is viewed in many quarters as unprecedented, baffling, and even harmful to our national security posture.”

Retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely believes Obama is “intentionally weakening and gutting our military and reducing us as a superpower, and anyone in the ranks who disagrees or speaks out is being purged.”

According to Breitbart.com, at least 197 officers, mostly at the rank of colonel or above, have been relieved of duty for a variety of reasons, or for no stated reason at all.

Nine senior commanding generals have been fired by the administration this year, “leading to speculation by active and retired members of the military that a purge of its commanders is underway,” IBD reported.

Among those officers:

Gen. Carter Ham was relieved as head of U.S. Africa Command because he disagreed with orders not to mount a rescue effort in response to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on U.S. diplomatic personnel in Benghazi, Libya.

Rear Adm. Charles Gaouette, commander of Carrier Strike Group Three, was relieved of duty in October 2012 for disobeying orders when he sent his group to assist and provide intelligence for forces ordered into action by Gen. Ham, according to IBD.

• Two nuclear commanders were fired in a single week—Maj. Gen. Michael Carey, head of the Air Force unit that maintains control of 450 intercontinental missiles, and Vice Adm. Tim Giardina, the No. 2 officer at U.S. Strategic Command. Carey was sacked “due to a loss of trust and confidence in his leadership and judgment,” while Giardina lost his post for allegedly using counterfeit gambling chips at a casino.

• Maj. Gen. Ralph Baker, commander of the Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, was fired for alcohol use and sexual misconduct charges. Defense officials told CNN the reason was “loss of confidence.”

• Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Charles Gurganus was terminated for questioning the “winning hearts and minds” policies that led to the murders of U.S. officers by Afghan recruits, according to FrontPage magazine.

Maj. Gen. Peter Fuller was relieved of his command in Afghanistan after he told a media source that Afghan President Hamid Karzai and other government officials were “isolated from reality.”

On the last day of November 2011, the administration terminated 157 Air Force majors, citing budget shortfalls as the primary reason—a move that some legal experts said was illegal.

According to IBD, a senior retired general said on the condition of anonymity that “they’re using the opportunity of the shrinkage of the military to get rid of people that don’t agree with them or do not toe the party line.”

FrontPage concluded: “Obama has made clear that he will aggressively pursue anyone who defies his agenda. Now it seems that chilling message has been sent to the military as well.”

See http://news.newsmax.com/?Z6CRXbSa.P-jo1Uf-WNTn6.Kv3ykxJR1Z&ns_mail_uid=69782&ns_mail_job=1544392_11032013 (emphasis added); see also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/barack-obama-is-a-lame-duck-president-who-will-not-be-reelected/

None of this is surprising in the least. What began with the sacking of our former military commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley A. McChrystal, is continuing unabated.

Obama’s Sequester was intended, in part, to “gut” our peerless military. His appointment of Chuck Hagel as the Secretary of Defense was intended to put a Republican “hatchet man” at the helm of our military, to execute Obama’s orders.

As I have written:

While it might be attractive for the president and the Democrats to take a “meat ax” to the Defense Department, it would be foolhardy to gut our military precisely when it has been performing magnificently and its continued strength is needed most. America’s economic and military strength go hand in hand. Both are indispensable ingredients of our great nation’s future strength.

See http://www.realclearpolitics.com/news/tms/politics/2009/Apr/08/euphoria_or_the_obama_depression_.html (“Euphoria or the Obama Depression?”); see also http://www.gallup.com/poll/113980/Gallup-Daily-Obama-Job-Approval.aspx (GALLUP: OBAMA FALLS TO 30′S [November 5, 2013]) and http://freebeacon.com/lawmakers-u-s-troops-unprepared-to-deploy/ (“Lawmakers: U.S. Troops ‘Unprepared to Deploy’—Budget cuts crippling military’s readiness“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3207 (“Barack Obama Is Gutting Our Military Forces, Which Will Affect Our National Security For Decades To Come“)

It is time for Obama to stand down!

6 11 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Five Years In, Obama And Bush Poll Numbers Nearly Identical

Obama v. Bush poll numbers

In an article by Eric Pfeiffer at Yahoo News, it has been reported:

When President Obama first ran for the White House in 2008, it was with the promise to turn the page on the presidency of George W. Bush. But for all their political differences, it turns out the American public pretty much view the two men in the same light, according to new polling data.

In the first week of November in the fifth year of their presidencies, Obama and Bush have nearly identical approval numbers, according to the latest Gallup polling.

In fact, Bush comes out one point ahead, 40 percent to 39 percent, respectively.

The Gallup daily tracking poll for November 5th 2013 puts Obama’s approval at 39 percent, with 53 percent disapproving of his job performance.

By comparison, polling for the first week of November in 2005 had Bush’s approval at 40 percent, with 55 percent disapproving of his job performance.

And the negative comparison to Bush’s numbers is potentially worse for Obama than just a tough headline.

As former Bush adviser Matthew Dowd said on ABC’s “This Week,” the real damage lies in the fact that historically low approval numbers often constrain a president’s ability to rebound with the public.

. . .

Noting that Bush’s approval free fall “wasn’t all about Katrina,” Dowd said Obama faces a similar assault from multiple fronts.

“The president’s problems have been brewing for a while,” Dowd said. “What the Republican circus did was cover up a lot of the president’s problems. That circus [] went on with the Republicans for a while. And then once that was over, it revealed a deeper problem with the presidency.”

Of course, the most recent numbers don’t guarantee that Obama’s second term will end up mirroring Bush’s, whose approval continued to fall to a low of 25 percent on three separate occasions before he left office. Still, they do place Obama in an interesting historical context when compared to how some other presidents have fared in the fifth year of their presidencies.

Pulling back the curtain further to look at Obama’s approval rating during the 19th quarter of his presidency, Obama places 5th out of the last 8 presidents who served for the same length of time.

His quarterly Gallup approval rating of 44.5 percent places him ahead of Bush (43.9), Lyndon Johnson (41.8%) and Richard Nixon (31.8%). But Obama falls behind Bill Clinton (58.8%), Ronald Reagan (61.3%) Dwight Eisenhower (59.5%) and even Harry Truman (45%).

What might be most striking to Obama supporters is to compare the various challenges faced by Bush and Obama at this point in their respective presidencies. In the fall of 2005, Bush was reeling from fallout of Hurricane Katrina and arguably the low-point of the Iraq War. And while he had successfully won re-election against John Kerry, his approval rating had dropped 13 points from 53 percent since the November 2004 election.

In contrast, Obama has dealt with the continuing drag of a sluggish economy, partisan divisions, which led to a government shutdown, criticism over National Security Administration spying accusations and the recent fallout over problems associated with the launch of [Obamacare].

And as a result of those challenges, Obama has experienced a nearly identical polling drop as Bush, falling a statistically identical 13 points from his approval ratings of 52 percent on election day in November, 2012.

Of course, nothing is set in stone. Unforeseen events could restore Obama’s approval ratings: The economy could improve, the 2014 midterm elections could boost Obama’s standing and early setbacks of [Obamacare] could recede.

But if recent history is any indicator, Obama is likely to find himself in some unexpected and unwanted company—that of an unpopular president he was elected to replace.

See http://news.yahoo.com/obama-and-bush-poll-numbers-nearly-identical-five-years-into-presidency-214919924.html; see also http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2521587/Oh-bam-Presidents-approval-rating-plummets-38-cent-overall-just-34-cent-health-care-40-cent-Iran.html (“Oh, Bam! President’s approval rating plummets to 38 per cent overall, just 34 per cent on health care and 40 per cent on Iran“)

. . .

Four issues are likely to sink Obama’s ship: (1) Obamacare; (2) the economy; (3) national security matters; and (4) the exposure of scandals surrounding Obama, perhaps even worse than those that led to Richard Nixon’s resignation.

See, e.g., http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3119 (“Obamacare Laid Bare: Barack Obama’s Big Lie”) and http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304672404579182242845017928 (“Worried [Democrat] Senators Press Obama on Health Law”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-economic-tsunami-continues-its-relentless-and-unforgiving-advance-globally/#comment-3123 (“The Outsiders Who Saw Our Economic Future”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/poverty-in-america/#comment-3139 (49.7 Million Americans Living in Poverty) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3125 (“Obama Accused Of Military Purge”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/ (“Is Barack Obama A Racist?”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/07/29/are-colleges-dinosaurs/#comment-3149 (“Political Correctness In Colleges And Universities”)

Obama will try to divert attention from his own problems by pushing for immigration “reform” that would change America forever, ending up with a one-party system of government—which of course is the goal of Obama and his Democrats!

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/07/30/illegal-immigration-the-solution-is-simple/#comment-3131 (“Big Business Lobbies For Illegals!”)

Also, he will seek to act via executive orders dealing with so-called “global warming,” or the Great Green Con, which would be illegal.

See http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/189754-obama-grasps-for-climate-legacy-as-second-term-agenda-crumbles (“Obama grasps for climate legacy as second-term agenda crumbles”)

Perhaps above all else, the political potency of Barack Obama’s namesake, Obamacare, argues for conservatives—be they Republicans, Democrats or Independents—to sharpen their ideological edges, rather than retreat or “compromise” one iota.

Obama must be impeached. The time is drawing near.

See http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/11/07/207909/analysis-tens-of-millions-could.html (52 million Americans have lost or will lose health insurance) and http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2013/11/12/calif-insurance-commissioner-more-than-1m-californians-having-insurance-cancelled-due-to-obamacare/ (1 MILLION HAVE INSURANCE CANCELLED IN CALIFORNIA) and http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/11/13/Obamacare-enrollment-numbers-shockingly-low (“The federal health care exchange signed up less than 27,000 people. Meanwhile, nearly 7 million people are expected to lose the insurance plans President Obama said they could keep. So far, five million have lost their insurance“) and http://freebeacon.com/mcdermott-i-havent-seen-this-much-panic-on-the-floor-since-911/ (“House Dem. compares Congressional panic over Obamacare to [9/11,] worst terror attack in nation’s history“)

15 11 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Why Liberals Are Panicked About Obamacare

Writing for the Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer has stated:

“Even if it takes a change to the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they got.”

— Bill Clinton, Nov. 12

So the former president asserts that the current president continues to dishonor his “you like your plan, you can keep your plan” pledge. And calls for the Affordable Care Act to be changed, despite furious White House resistance to the very idea.

Coming from the dean of the Democratic Party, this one line marked the breaching of the dam. It legitimized the brewing rebellion of panicked Democrats against Obamacare. Within hours, that rebellion went loudly public. By Thursday, President Obama had been forced into a rear-guard holding action, asking insurers to grant a one-year extension of current plans.

The damage to the Obama presidency, however, is already done. His approval rating has fallen to 39 percent, his lowest ever. And, for the first time, a majority considers him untrustworthy. That bond is not easily repaired.

At stake, however, is more than the fate of one presidency or of the current Democratic majority in the Senate. At stake is the new, more ambitious, social-democratic brand of American liberalism introduced by Obama, of which Obamacare is both symbol and concrete embodiment.

Precisely when the GOP was returning to a more constitutionalist conservatism committed to reforming, restructuring and reining in the welfare state . . . , Obama offered a transformational liberalism designed to expand the role of government, enlarge the welfare state and create yet more new entitlements. . . .

The centerpiece of this vision is, of course, Obamacare, the most sweeping social reform in the past half-century, affecting one-sixth of the economy and directly touching the most vital area of life of every citizen.

As the only socially transformational legislation in modern American history to be enacted on a straight party-line vote, Obamacare is wholly owned by the Democrats. Its unraveling would catastrophically undermine their underlying ideology of ever-expansive central government providing cradle-to-grave care for an ever-grateful citizenry.

For four years, this debate has been theoretical. Now it’s real. And for Democrats, it’s a disaster.

It begins with the bungled rollout. If Washington can’t even do the Web site—the literal portal to this brave new world—how does it propose to regulate the vast ecosystem of American medicine?

Beyond the competence issue is the arrogance. Five million freely chosen, freely purchased, freely renewed health-care plans are summarily canceled. Why? Because they don’t meet some arbitrary standard set by the experts in Washington.

For all his news conference gyrations about not deliberately deceiving people with his “if you like it” promise, the law Obama so triumphantly gave us allows you to keep your plan only if he likes it. This is life imitating comedy—that old line about a liberal being someone who doesn’t care what you do as long as it’s mandatory.

Lastly, deception. The essence of the entitlement state is government giving away free stuff. Hence Obamacare would provide insurance for 30 million uninsured, while giving everybody tons of free medical services—without adding “one dime to our deficits,” promised Obama.

This being inherently impossible, there had to be a catch. Now we know it: hidden subsidies. Toss millions of the insured off their plans and onto the Obamacare “exchanges,” where they would be forced into more expensive insurance packed with coverage they don’t want and don’t need—so that the overcharge can be used to subsidize others.

The reaction to the incompetence, arrogance and deception has ranged from ridicule to anger. But more is in jeopardy than just panicked congressional Democrats. This is the signature legislative achievement of the Obama presidency, the embodiment of his new entitlement-state liberalism. If Obamacare goes down, there will be little left of its underlying ideology.

Perhaps it won’t go down. Perhaps the Web portal hums beautifully on Nov. 30. Perhaps they’ll find a way to restore the canceled policies without wrecking the financial underpinning of the exchanges.

Perhaps. The more likely scenario, however, is that Obamacare does fail. It either fails politically, renounced by a wide consensus that includes a growing number of Democrats, or it succumbs to the financial complications (the insurance “death spiral”) of the very amendments desperately tacked on to save it.

If it does fail, the effect will be historic. Obamacare will take down with it more than Mary Landrieu and Co. It will discredit Obama’s new liberalism for years to come.

See http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-why-liberals-are-panicked-about-obamacare/2013/11/14/bd2e9834-4d6f-11e3-be6b-d3d28122e6d4_story.html (emphasis added); see also http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/what-obama-didnt-know/2013/11/15/86264212-4e12-11e3-ac54-aa84301ced81_gallery.html (“The many scandals the White House says Obama didn’t know about“)

As I have written above:

Obamacare—the signature and arguably the only accomplishment of the Obama presidency—will be hung around Barack Obama’s neck like a dead albatross, politically. It is merely a function of time before this happens, as more and more Americans realize fully how badly it hurts them.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3109 (“When Americans Wallow In Obamacare, Their Anger Will Grow!“); see also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3119 (“Obamacare Laid Bare: Barack Obama’s Big Lie“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3125 (“Obama Accused Of Military Purge“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3138 (“Five Years In, Obama And Bush Poll Numbers Nearly Identical“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-economic-tsunami-continues-its-relentless-and-unforgiving-advance-globally/#comment-3150 (“Fed Is Creating The Mother of All Bubbles“)

. . .

It is reported that the Obamacare Web site cost $634,320,919 to build.

See http://weaselzippers.us/2013/10/09/gross-u-s-taxpayers-shelled-out-634320919-to-build-obamacare-website/ (“U.S. Taxpayers Shelled Out $634,320,919 To Build Obamacare Website”) and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2470238/Obama-asks-people-sign-Obamacare-phone.html (“Obama asks people to call in to sign up to Obamacare after ‘unacceptable’ problems with $394million website… but now the PHONES aren’t working”)

Now, however, a key player in the development of the Obamacare website has acknowledged that up to 40 percent of IT systems supporting the exchange still need to be built.

See http://www.politico.com/story/2013/11/tech-chief-didnt-see-march-obamacare-memo-100058.html (“Tech chief: Up to 40% Obamacare work left”) and http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/11/20/second-wave-health-plan-cancellations-looms/ (“[A] second wave of 50 million to 100 million insurance policy cancellations next fall—right before the mid-term elections“) and http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/11/26/evidence-shows-obama-administration-predicted-tens-millions-would-lose-plans/ (“Almost 80 million with employer health care plans could have coverage canceled, experts predict“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-economic-tsunami-continues-its-relentless-and-unforgiving-advance-globally/#comment-3176 (“No security ever built into Obamacare site“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3227 (“ObamaCare’s Troubles Are Only Beginning“)

This is a scandal of Watergate proportions or worse, certainly when added to the other scandals surrounding Obama and his White House.

. . .

According to the latest CBS News poll, Obama’s approval rating has dropped to the lowest of his presidency, and support for Obamacare has plummeted. 37 percent of Americans approve of his job performance, while 57 percent disapprove. 31 percent approve of Obamacare, while 61 percent disapprove.

See http://www.scribd.com/embeds/185695292/content?start_page=1; see also http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/11/27/obama_approval_hits_all-time_low_in_ohio_120797.html (“[Obama's] approval rating hit[s] a record low of 34 percent in Ohio. Obama’s disapproval rating has jumped to an all-time high of 61 percent“)

. . .

WOULD YOU EVER TRUST THIS MAN?

Would you ever trust this man?

16 11 2013
RayUSA

I’m going to go out on a limb and make a prediction. George W. Bush is scheduled to appear on the Jay Leno show Nov. 19th. Bush does not make many TV appearances (other than to promote his book in the past) and has kept a fairly low profile since leaving office. My prediction; I have a gut feeling that Bush is going to use this venue to back Obamacare by saying something along the lines … “it just needs time and we need to tweak it, etc.” The timing of his appearance on this show seems quite odd and I can’t see what other possible motive he would have. We’ll see if I’m full of beans or not on the 19th.

16 11 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Thanks, Ray, for your thoughtful comments as always.

You might be correct, although I hope not. GWB should keep his mouth shut on Obamacare, and let it sink into oblivion.

The Republicans are certifiably crazy if they lend a hand to bail out Obama and his Democrats!

After all, Obamacare is simply emblematic of other very deep issues (e.g., gutting our military), which I have discussed above.

27 11 2013
Jerry summey

We can’t ignore the Republicans ability to snatch victory from the jowls of defeat. Their determination to be a liter version of the Democrats has not weaned.

As for GWB endorsing Obamacare on the Leno show, you would expect that type of endorsement for Jeb Bush more so than GWB.

28 11 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Jerry, for your comments.

Yes, I agree with your first paragraph completely.

With respect to your second paragraph, I missed the program live, but just watched it.

Here is the only mention of Obamacare, and GWB did not endorse it.

See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9-y96HuGiI (“Jay Leno and George Bush Get a Good Laugh About Obamacare”)

I watched the entire interview on Jay Leno’s Web site.

29 11 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Animal Farm In America: Authoritarian Lawlessness!

Animal Farm in America

In the beginning of George Orwell’s classic novel, “Animal Farm,” all of the animals were equal. However, as things evolved, the pigs became supreme; and they dictated to the other animals—because they considered themselves wiser and superior.

See, e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_Farm

. . .

George Orwell’s pigs would be proud of their progeny: Barack Obama and his Democrats!

. . .

The Washington Post‘s Charles Krauthammer writes about “An outbreak of lawlessness”:

For all the gnashing of teeth over the lack of comity and civility in Washington, the real problem is not etiquette but the breakdown of political norms, legislative and constitutional.

Such as the one just spectacularly blown up in the Senate. To get three judges onto a coveted circuit court, frustrated Democrats abolished the filibuster for executive appointments and (non-Supreme Court) judicial nominations.

The problem is not the change itself. It’s fine that a president staffing his administration should need 51 votes rather than 60. Doing so for judicial appointments, which are for life, is a bit dicier. Nonetheless, for about 200 years the filibuster was nearly unknown in blocking judicial nominees. So we are really just returning to an earlier norm.

The violence to political norms here consisted in how that change was executed. By brute force—a near party-line vote of 52 to 48. This was a disgraceful violation of more than two centuries of precedent. If a bare majority can change the fundamental rules that govern an institution, then there are no rules. Senate rules today are whatever the majority decides they are that morning.

What distinguishes an institution from a flash mob is that its rules endure. They can be changed, of course. But only by significant supermajorities. That’s why constitutional changes require two-thirds of both houses plus three-quarters of the states. If we could make constitutional changes by majority vote, there would be no Constitution.

As of today, the Senate effectively has no rules. Congratulations, Harry Reid. Finally, something you will be remembered for.

Barack Obama may be remembered for something similar. His violation of the proper limits of executive power has become breathtaking. It’s not just making recess appointments when the Senate is in session. It’s not just unilaterally imposing a law Congress had refused to pass—the Dream Act—by brazenly suspending large sections of the immigration laws.

We’ve now reached a point where a flailing president, desperate to deflect the opprobrium heaped upon him for the false promise that you could keep your health plan if you wanted to, calls a hasty news conference urging both insurers and the states to reinstate millions of such plans.

Except that he is asking them to break the law. His own law. Under Obamacare, no insurer may issue a policy after 2013 that does not meet the law’s minimum coverage requirements. These plans were canceled because they do not.

The law remains unchanged. The regulations governing that law remain unchanged. Nothing is changed except for a president proposing to unilaterally change his own law from the White House press room.

That’s banana republic stuff, except that there the dictator proclaims from the presidential balcony.

Remember how for months Democrats denounced Republicans for daring to vote to defund or postpone Obamacare? Saboteurs! Terrorists! How dare you alter “the law of the land.”

This was nonsense from the beginning. Every law is subject to revision and abolition if the people think it turned out to be a bad idea. Even constitutional amendments can be repealed—and have been (see Prohibition).

After indignant denunciation of Republicans for trying to amend “the law of the land” constitutionally (i.e. in Congress assembled), Democrats turn utterly silent when the president lawlessly tries to do so by executive fiat.

Nor is this the first time. The president wakes up one day and decides to unilaterally suspend the employer mandate, a naked invasion of Congress’s exclusive legislative prerogative, enshrined in Article I. Not a word from the Democrats. Nor now regarding the blatant usurpation of trying to restore canceled policies that violate explicit Obamacare coverage requirements.

And worse. When Congress tried to make Obama’s “fix” legal—i.e., through legislation—he opposed it. He even said he would veto it. Imagine: vetoing the very bill that would legally enact his own illegal fix.

At rallies, Obama routinely says he has important things to do and he’s not going to wait for Congress. Well, amending a statute after it’s been duly enacted is something a president may not do without Congress. It’s a gross violation of his Article II duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

A Senate with no rules. A president without boundaries. One day, when a few bottled-up judicial nominees and a malfunctioning health-care Web site are barely a memory, we will still be dealing with the toxic residue of this outbreak of authorita[rian] lawlessness.

See http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-the-democrats-outbreak-of-lawlessness/2013/11/28/3184b6f2-579b-11e3-8304-caf30787c0a9_story.html (emphasis added); see also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3156 (“Why Liberals Are Panicked About Obamacare“) and http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2013/12/04/turley_obamas_become_the_very_danger_the_constitution_was_designed_to_avoid.html (“[Barack Obama is] becoming the very danger the Constitution was designed to avoid“)

4 12 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Harvard Poll: Millennials Abandon Obamacare, Would Vote To Impeach Obama

According to a Mediaite article:

President Barack Obama has always had a broad base of support among America’s youngest voters. In 2012, 60 percent of voters aged 18-29 took to the polls to reelect the president. According to a Harvard University’s Institute of Politics poll released on Wednesday, however, many young voters are regretting the votes they cast just over one year ago.

11 percent more young adults, aged 18-29, disapprove of the president’s performance in office than they did last year. Only 41 percent of millennials expressed approval with Obama’s job performance. Of the 55 percent of young voters who admitted to casting their ballot for Obama in 2012, just 46 percent said they would do the same again.

52 percent of younger millennials, aged 18-24, told Harvard pollsters that they would support a recalling of the president from the Oval Office. 47 percent of all young voters said they would support such a measure. Fortunately for the president, no provision to recall the President of the United States exists in the Constitution.

[Editor's note: Impeachment exists, which is what happened to Bill Clinton]

Members of Congress fare no better. 52 percent of millennials would support the ouster of “all members of Congress.” 45 percent of young voters expressed their desire to remove their own member of Congress from office.

57 percent of millennial voters disapprove of [Obamacare]. 40 percent told pollsters they believe the law will decrease the quality of care while simultaneously increasing its cost. Only one third of young uninsured adults told pollster they plan to enroll in private health insurance through [Obamacare].

Millennials disapprove of the president’s performance on a number of key issues, ranging from foreign policy to the economy. . . .

Democrats continue to maintain their historic registration advantage over Republicans with young voters, but that advantage is narrowing. Democrats maintain a 16-point lead over the GOP with 38 percent of young adults self-identifying as Democrats and only 22 percent calling themselves Republicans. However, among the youngest demographic, those aged 18 to 24, only 31 percent self-identify as Democrats and 25 percent as Republicans; only a 6-point gap.

The Harvard University survey was conducted from October 30 to November 11 of 2,089 young adults.

See http://www.mediaite.com/online/harvard-poll-millennials-abandon-obamacare-would-vote-to-recall-obama/ (emphasis added); see also http://www.iop.harvard.edu/institute-politics-spring-2013-poll and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3174 (“Animal Farm In America: Authoritarian Lawlessness!“) and http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/young-pay-more-obamacare/2013/12/05/id/540292 (“[Obamacare is] intentionally designed to screw over young people“)

. . .

Obama and his White House might learn something from Ford, in terms of how it is rolling out the 2015 Mustang, almost a year before it arrives in dealers’ showrooms.

See, e.g., http://www.ford.com/cars/mustang/2015/

6 12 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

The Legacies of Nelson Mandela

Mandela

Barack Obama has hated Apartheid in South Africa and revered Nelson Mandela for most of his adult life. To him, Apartheid was a stain on Mankind, and Mandela was his hero.

See, e.g., http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/07/world/africa/mandela-politics.html (“For Mandela, Reverence, but Criticism, Too”) and http://www.newyorker.com/talk/2013/12/16/131216ta_talk_gourevitch

An outgrowth of these beliefs has been Obama’s goals of rapprochement with Iran, and a lasting peace in the Middle East. However, just as Obama and the United States have been pursuing these goals, Benjamin Netanyahu has been doing whatever is necessary to sabotage such efforts.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/the-madness-of-benjamin-netanyahu/#comment-3049 (see also the article itself, as well as the other comments beneath it)

If anything, Mandela’s death may strengthen Obama’s resolve to end Apartheid in Israel, and to “tear down the wall.” This might be one of Obama’s greatest legacies, but it will not come about as long as Netanyahu leads Israel. To Obama, he embodies white oppression.

6 12 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Woe To U.S. Allies

This is the title of an article by the Washington Post‘s Charles Krauthammer, which states:

Three crises, one president, many bewildered friends.

The first crisis, barely noticed here, is Ukraine’s sudden turn away from Europe and back to the Russian embrace.

After years of negotiations for a major trading agreement with the European Union, Ukraine succumbed to characteristically blunt and brutal economic threats from Russia and abruptly walked away. Ukraine is instead considering joining the Moscow-centered Customs Union with Russia’s fellow dictatorships Belarus and Kazakhstan.

This is no trivial matter. Ukraine is not just the largest European country, it’s the linchpin for Vladimir Putin’s dream of a renewed imperial Russia, hegemonic in its neighborhood and rolling back the quarter-century advancement of the “Europe whole and free” bequeathed by America’s victory in the Cold War.

The U.S. response? Almost imperceptible. As with Iran’s ruthlessly crushed Green Revolution of 2009, the hundreds of thousands of protesters who’ve turned out to reverse this betrayal of Ukrainian independence have found no voice in Washington. Can’t this administration even rhetorically support those seeking a democratic future, as we did during Ukraine’s Orange Revolution of 2004?

A Post online headline explains: “With Russia in mind, U.S. takes cautious approach on Ukraine unrest.” We must not offend Putin. We must not jeopardize Obama’s precious “reset,” a farce that has yielded nothing but the well-earned distrust of allies such as Poland and the Czech Republic whom we wantonly undercut in a vain effort to appease Russia on missile defense.

Why not outbid Putin? We’re talking about a $10 billion to $15 billion package from Western economies with more than $30 trillion in GDP to alter the strategic balance between a free Europe and an aggressively authoritarian Russia—and prevent a barely solvent Russian kleptocracy living off oil, gas and vodka, from blackmailing its way to regional hegemony.

The second crisis is the Middle East—the collapse of confidence of U.S. allies as America romances Iran.

The Gulf Arabs are stunned at their double abandonment. In the nuclear negotiations with Iran, the U.S. has overthrown seven years of Security Council resolutions prohibiting uranium enrichment and effectively recognized Iran as a threshold nuclear state. This follows our near-abandonment of the Syrian revolution and de facto recognition of both the Assad regime and Iran’s “Shiite Crescent” of client states stretching to the Mediterranean.

Equally dumbfounded are the Israelis, now trapped by an agreement designed less to stop the Iranian nuclear program than to prevent the Israeli Air Force from stopping the Iranian nuclear program.

Neither Arab nor Israeli can quite fathom Obama’s naivete in imagining some strategic condominium with a regime that defines its very purpose as overthrowing American power and expelling it from the region.

Better diplomacy than war, say Obama’s apologists, an adolescent response implying that all diplomacy is the same, as if a diplomacy of capitulation is no different from a diplomacy of pressure.

What to do? Apply pressure. Congress should immediately pass punishing new sanctions to be implemented exactly six months hence—when the current interim accord is supposed to end—if the Iranians have not lived up to the agreement and refuse to negotiate a final deal that fully liquidates their nuclear weapons program.

The third crisis is unfolding over the East China Sea, where, in open challenge to Obama’s “pivot to Asia,” China has brazenly declared a huge expansion of its airspace into waters claimed by Japan and South Korea.

Obama’s first response—sending B-52s through that airspace without acknowledging the Chinese—was quick and firm. Japan and South Korea followed suit. But when Japan then told its civilian carriers not to comply with Chinese demands for identification, the State Department (and FAA) told U.S. air carriers to submit.

Which, of course, left the Japanese hanging. It got worse. During Vice President Biden’s visit to China, the administration buckled. Rather than insisting on a withdrawal of China’s outrageous claim, we began urging mere nonenforcement.

Again leaving our friends stunned. They need an ally, not an intermediary. Here is the U.S. again going over the heads of allies to accommodate a common adversary. We should be declaring the Chinese claim null and void, ordering our commercial airlines to join Japan in acting accordingly, and supplying them with joint military escorts if necessary.

This would not be an exercise in belligerence but a demonstration that if other countries unilaterally overturn the status quo, they will meet a firm, united, multilateral response from the West.

Led by us. From in front.

No one’s asking for a JFK-like commitment to “bear any burden” to “assure the . . . success of liberty.” Or a Reaganesque tearing down of walls. Or even a Clintonian assertion of America as the indispensable nation. America’s allies are seeking simply a reconsideration of the policy of retreat that marks this administration’s response to red-line challenges all over the world—and leaves them naked.

See http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-woe-to-us-allies/2013/12/05/cdf511ca-5de1-11e3-bc56-c6ca94801fac_story.html (emphasis added)

10 12 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Barack Obama Is Gutting Our Military Forces, Which Will Affect Our National Security For Decades To Come [UPDATED]

Obama Guts Our Military

As I wrote more than four years ago:

International terrorism and other very real national security concerns still loom, which might produce flashpoints at any time. We have enemies who seek to destroy us—a fact that is sometimes forgotten as 9/11 recedes in our memories. While it might be attractive . . . to take a “meat ax” to the Defense Department, it would be foolhardy to gut our military precisely when it has been performing magnificently and its continued strength is needed most. America’s economic and military strength go hand in hand. Both are indispensable ingredients of our great nation’s future strength.

See http://www.realclearpolitics.com/news/tms/politics/2009/Apr/08/euphoria_or_the_obama_depression_.html (“Euphoria or the Obama Depression?”); see also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3125 (“Obama Accused Of Military Purge”)

John Lehman, who was secretary of the Navy in the Reagan administration and a member of the 9/11 Commission, has written in the Wall Street Journal:

As we lament the lack of strategic direction in American foreign policy, it is useful to remember the classic aphorism that diplomatic power is the shadow cast by military power. The many failures and disappointments of American policy in recent years, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Russia and Iran are symptoms of the steady shrinkage of the shadow cast by American military power and the fading credibility and deterrence that depends on it.

Although current U.S. spending on defense adjusted for inflation has been higher than at the height of the Reagan administration, it has been producing less than half of the forces and capabilities of those years. Instead of a 600-ship Navy, we now have a 280-ship Navy, although the world’s seas have not shrunk and our global dependence has grown. Instead of Reagan’s 20-division Army, we have only 10-division equivalents. The Air Force has fewer than half the number of fighters and bombers it had 30 years ago.

Apologists for the shrinkage argue that today’s ships and aircraft are far more capable than those of the ’80s and ’90s. That is as true as “you can keep your health insurance.”

While today’s LCSs—the littoral-class ships that operate close to shore—have their uses, they are far less capable than the Perry-class frigates that they replace. Our newest Aegis ships have been upgraded to keep pace with the newest potential missile threats, but their capability against modern submarines has slipped.

Air Force fighter planes today average 28 years old. Although they have been upgraded to keep pace with the latest aircraft of their potential adversaries, they have no greater relative advantage than they had when they were new. There are merely far fewer of them in relation to the potential threat. In deterrence, quantity has a quality all its own.

There is one great numerical advantage the U.S. has against potential adversaries, however. That is the size of our defense bureaucracy. While the fighting forces have steadily shrunk by more than half since the early 1990s, the civilian and uniformed bureaucracy has more than doubled. According to the latest figures, there are currently more than 1,500,000 full-time civilian employees in the Defense Department—800,000 civil servants and 700,000 contract employees. Today, more than half of our active-duty servicemen and women serve in offices on staffs. The number of various Joint Task Force staffs, for instance, has grown since 1987 from seven to more than 250, according to the Defense Business Board.

The constant growth of the bureaucracy has resulted from reform initiatives from Congress and by executive order, each of which established a new office or expanded an existing one. These new layers have accumulated every year since the founding of the Department of Defense in 1947. Unlike private businesses—disciplined by the market—which require constant pruning and overhead reduction to stay profitable, each expansion of the bureaucracy is, to paraphrase President Reagan, the nearest thing to eternal life to be found on earth.

The Pentagon, like Marley’s ghost, must drag this ever-growing burden of chains without relief. As a result something close to paralysis is approaching. The suffocating bloat of overstaffing in an overly centralized web of bureaucracies drives runaway cost growth in weapons systems great and small. Whereas the immensely complex Polaris missile and submarine system took four years from a draft requirement until its first operational patrol in February 1960, today the average time for all weapons procured under Defense Department acquisition regulations is 22 years.

The latest Government Accountability Office report, released in October, estimates that there is $411 billion of unfunded cost growth in current Pentagon programs, almost as much as the entire 10 years of sequester cuts if they continue. The result has been unilateral disarmament.

What is to be done? As with most great issues, the solution is simple, the execution difficult. First, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel must be supported in his announced intention to cut the bureaucracy of uniformed and civilian by at least 20%. Each 7,000 civilian reductions saves at least $5 billion over five years. Second, clear lines of authority and accountability, now dissipated through many bureaucratic entities, must be restored to a defined hierarchy of human beings with names. Third, real competition for production contracts must be re-established as the rule not the exception. Fourth, weapons programs must be designed to meet an established cost and canceled if they begin to exceed it.

While sequester is an act of desperation that adds more uncertainty to an already dysfunctional system, it does seem to be acting as a spur to focus Congress on the urgent need to stop our unilateral disarmament by making deep cuts in bureaucratic overhead throughout the Pentagon, uniformed and civilian.

The way forward for Republicans is not to default to their traditional solution, which is simply to fight sequester cuts and increase the defense budget. Instead, Republicans should concentrate on slashing and restructuring our dysfunctional and bloated defense bureaucracy. With strong defense chairmen on House and Senate committees already sympathetic to the overhead issue, and a willing secretary of defense, this Congress can do it. That will place the blame for the consequences of sequester and the earlier $500 billion Obama cuts squarely where it belongs, on the president and the Democrats.

The way will thereby be prepared for Republican victory in the 2016 elections based on a Reagan-like rebuilding mandate that can actually be carried out by a newly streamlined and more agile Defense Department.

See http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303562904579227842506498188 (“More Bureaucrats, Fewer Jets and Ships”) (emphasis added)

I respectfully disagree with Lehman. Obama and Hagel seek to gut our military, not make it more efficient. The Pentagon has always been bureaucratic. In fact, it is the only portion of American government that functions effectively and relatively efficiently. It must be strengthened; and we must stop Obama’s unilateral disarmament.

Obamacare is destroying our national health care system—or one-sixth of the American economy. Obama must not be allowed to destroy the U.S. military. Our very survival depends on it!

See, e.g., http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3156 (“Why Liberals Are Panicked About Obamacare”); see also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/emp-attack-only-30-million-americans-survive/ (“EMP Attack: Only 30 Million Americans Survive“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/china-is-americas-enemy-make-no-mistake-about-that/ (“China Is America’s Enemy: Make No Mistake About That“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/ (“Russia’s Putin Is A Killer“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/the-next-major-war-korea-again/ (“The Next Major War: Korea Again?“) (see also the comments beneath the articles) and http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/24/us/politics/pentagon-plans-to-shrink-army-to-pre-world-war-ii-level.html (“Pentagon Plans to Shrink Army to Pre-World War II Level“) and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2566638/Hagel-proposes-big-cuts-Army-2015-budget.html (“‘American dominance in the seas, sky and space can no longer be taken for granted,’ admits Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel as he slashes Army to smallest size in 74 YEARS“)

It is time for failed community organizer Obama and Sergeant Hagel to be relieved of their commands!

10 12 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Barack Obama Flirts With Attractive Blond, While Michelle Obama Fumes

Barack and Michelle at Mandela Memorial Service

One needs to look very carefully at Michelle Obama’s reactions to this . . . in the photos of the expressions on her face.

See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/denmark/10509498/Selfie-diplomacy-Michelle-Obama-looks-unamused-by-Baracks-joking-with-Danish-prime-minister.html

It has been reported that she “spies” on her husband, and takes every step possible to curb his “wandering eye.” Before they met, he had a plethora of women . . . most if not all of whom were white.

The UK’s Telegraph has reported:

For a memorial service it was a remarkably jovial scene: Barack Obama, David Cameron and Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the Danish prime minister, huddled together for a smart phone photograph.

But one person looked distinctly less amused by the world leaders’ “selfie”—Michelle Obama.

The First Lady stared straight ahead, hands clasped in her lap, while her husband laughed with the Europeans at Nelson Mandela’s memorial in Johannesburg.

Another photograph shows shows her looking on, unsmiling, as Mr Obama shared a joke with Ms Thorning-Schmidt and patted her on the shoulder.

In a later photograph, the Obamas appeared to have switched seats with the First Lady separating her husband from the Danish prime minister.

The joking appears to have stopped by then, with Mrs Obama’s back turned slightly to Ms Thorning-Schmidt and Mr Obama staring determinedly ahead.

The Scandinavian leader meanwhile looks down at what appears to be her phone.

Ms Thorning-Schmidt is married to Stephen Kinnock, the son of former Labour leader Neil Kinnock. Last year she denied persistent rumours, which emerged from a tax investigation, that her husband was gay.

The interaction between the Obamas and Ms Thorning-Schmidt was closely monitored by three of the President’s closest aides—Susan Rice, the White House National Security advisor; Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor; and Eric Holder; the US attorney general—who were sat behind.

The gathering of world leaders at the 95,000 capacity FNB Stadium is thought to be the largest since Winston Churchill’s 1965 state funeral.

See id.

Barack Obama and Blond

Perhaps Barack Obama wants to follow in the footsteps of John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton, with respect to women.

See, e.g., http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/10/04/john-f-kennedy-the-most-despicable-president-in-american-history/ ; see also http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2521587/Oh-bam-Presidents-approval-rating-plummets-38-cent-overall-just-34-cent-health-care-40-cent-Iran.html (“Oh, Bam! President’s approval rating plummets to 38 per cent overall, just 34 per cent on health care and 40 per cent on Iran“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3138 (“Five Years In, Obama And Bush Poll Numbers Nearly Identical“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3223 (“Is Barack Obama AWOL?“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3224 (“How The West Was Lost By The Selfie President“) and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2550129/So-Michelle-Barack-Obama-What-IS-state-union.html (“So, Michelle and Barack Obama: What IS the state of your union? Rumours their 21-year marriage has been racked by screaming rows, allegations of infidelity and a string of jealous fights“)

11 12 2013
BravoJuliet

I love this…you have put it all together so well. I had to bookmark this one.
Thank you.

11 12 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you for your kind words. :-)

11 12 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Autos: Barack Obama’s Fuel-Economy Schemes Are Likely To Be Rolled Back After He Leaves Office

Obama and auto bailouts

This is the conclusion of the Wall Street Journal‘s Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. in an article entitled, “The U.S. Bailout of Fiat”—and subtitled, “How a troubled Italian auto maker became a beneficiary of Obama’s zany fuel-economy targets”—which states:

Things are going well for Chrysler. Ipso facto, they aren’t going so well for President Obama’s fuel-economy schemes or his partner in the Chrysler bailout, Fiat Chairman Sergio Marchionne.

Chrysler has now reported nine straight quarters of profits on the strength of strong selling pickups and SUVs, not exactly the fuel-sipping cars Mr. Obama envisioned. This performance, moreover, comes despite the late arrival of the new Jeep Cherokee. The vehicle is getting rave reviews, but why was its rollout stalled? Chrysler needed time to fine-tune the software driving its nine-speed transmission.

Why a nine-speed transmission? Because of fuel-mileage overkill driven by Mr. Obama’s new rules, which require Chrysler steadily to increase its fleet average to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 from 20.6 last year.

Why do we say overkill? Because the technology adds more in cost than it does in value for consumers, given the declining price of gas. At $3.25, the price of gasoline today per mile traveled, in real terms, is lower than it was in the 1950s. By one academic estimate, gas would have to reach $5 before consumers would voluntarily buy the 35.5 mpg cars Mr. Obama requires carmakers to sell in 2016.

Now multiply this value shortfall by, oh, the $157 billion that even the Obama administration estimates the auto industry will have to spend to meet the mileage mandates just between 2017 and 2025. The tension is modest now, as exemplified by the Cherokee’s nine-speed gambit. But in the years ahead it will drive the industry off a regulatory cliff as America’s domestic energy resurgence (which Mr. Obama failed to notice) likely keeps real gasoline prices well within their historical range.

Let’s turn to Mr. Marchionne. Fiat, which owns a majority stake in Chrysler, received its original 20% share free from the Obama administration in return for a promise to build Chrysler the teensy eurocars Mr. Obama wants Americans to buy.

Another bailout beneficiary was a United Auto Workers health fund, which holds a 41.5% stake. Mr. Marchionne wants to buy this stake to complete a merger of the two companies, but he and the UAW are at loggerheads over price. And with every surge in Chrysler’s financial results due to surging demand for highly profitable pickups and SUVs, the price gets more out of reach for Fiat, whose fortunes have been blighted in Europe’s debt crisis. Chrysler’s profits are keeping Fiat in the black nowadays, yet Fiat’s own credit rating and turnaround efforts would be jeopardized at any price approaching the $5 billion the UAW fund is reportedly asking and that Chrysler increasingly appears to be worth.

Chrysler’s own advisers recently valued the company at $10 billion, implying a lower earnings multiple than Ford or GM. After all, Chrysler is a small regional player, though its Jeep brand has global potential. Chrysler’s valuation is also diminished by the fact that it’s shackled to a flailing European car maker. Its value is further diminished by the fact that it lacks the electric cars that Obama mandates will eventually require it to build and sell even at a loss.

Even so, investors are saying Chrysler is worth three times what Fiat is worth once Fiat’s stake in Chrysler is subtracted.

This is why, despite his confident talk, Mr. Marchionne’s impasse with the UAW health fund may prove intractable. He would undoubtedly say our valuation comparisons are unfair: Chrysler would not be doing so well if not for Fiat’s contribution; Chrysler would be doomed under the Obama mileage mandates without Fiat.

But these assumptions are questionable, especially since the Obama mandates are likely to be rolled back after Mr. Obama leaves office so his successor won’t face a new round of auto bankruptcies. Meanwhile, the UAW health fund has every reason to complain that it’s being offered a bum deal for its minority stake in Chrysler, whose implicit value is diminished with every suggestion that its profits and cash would be pillaged to fund a Hail Mary makeover of Fiat.

Chrysler is a tragedy in the full Greek sense. The 1990s and early 2000s, when America’s fuel-economy rules were allowed to lapse into irrelevance, were actually an era of vast improvement in automotive reliability, quality and, yes, fuel efficiency—though the gains were deployed mostly to give consumers more power, safety and comfort for a given level of gas mileage.

Then, George W. Bush, grasping vainly for political juju to exorcise his Iraq demons, and Barack Obama, posing as planet savior, took turns upping the ante on fuel-economy mandates that require car makers to begin making economically insane trade-offs. Follow the chain of consequences and you have today’s bizarre Chrysler situation, in which Chrysler’s taxpayer-financed rebound is in danger of being hijacked by Fiat using our own fuel-economy rules as a club.

See http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304014504579250242537507118?mg=reno64-wsj (emphasis added)

13 12 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Is Barack Obama AWOL?

This is what the Washington Post‘s Charles Krauthammer asserts:

In explaining the disastrous rollout of Obamacare, President Obama told Chris Matthews he had discovered that “we have these big agencies, some of which are outdated, some of which are not designed properly.”

An interesting discovery to make after having consigned the vast universe of American medicine, one-sixth of the U.S. economy, to the tender mercies of the agency bureaucrats at the Department of Health and Human Services and the Internal Revenue Service.

Most people become aware of the hopeless inefficiency of sclerotic government by, oh, age 17 at the department of motor vehicles. Obama’s late discovery is especially remarkable considering that he built his entire political philosophy on the rock of Big Government, on the fervent belief in the state as the very engine of collective action and the ultimate source of national greatness. (Indeed, of individual success as well, as in “If you’ve got a business—you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”)

This blinding revelation of the ponderous incompetence of bureaucratic government came just a few weeks after Obama confessed that “what we’re also discovering is that insurance is complicated to buy.” Another light bulb goes off, this one three years after passing a law designed to force millions of Americans to shop for new health plans via the maze of untried, untested, insecure, unreliable online “exchanges.”

This discovery joins a long list that includes Obama’s rueful admission that there really are no shovel-ready jobs. That one came after having passed his monstrous $830 billion stimulus on the argument that the weakened economy would be “jump-started” by a massive infusion of shovel-ready jobs. Now known to be fictional.

Barack Obama is not just late to discover the most elementary workings of government. With alarming regularity, he professes obliviousness to the workings of his own government. He claims, for example, to have known nothing about the IRS targeting scandal, the AP phone records scandal, the NSA tapping of Angela Merkel. And had not a clue that the centerpiece of his signature legislative achievement—the online Obamacare exchange, three years in the making—would fail catastrophically upon launch. Or that Obamacare would cause millions of Americans to lose their private health plans.

Hence the odd spectacle of a president expressing surprise and disappointment in the federal government—as if he’s not the one running it. Hence the repeated no-one-is-more-upset-than-me posture upon deploring the nonfunctioning Web site, the IRS outrage, the AP intrusions and any number of scandals from which Obama tries to create safe distance by posing as an observer. He gives the impression of a man on a West Wing tour trying out the desk in the Oval Office, only to be told that he is president of the United States.

The paradox of this presidency is that this most passive bystander president is at the same time the most ideologically ambitious in decades. The sweep and scope of his health-care legislation alone are unprecedented. He’s spent billions of tax money attempting to create, by fiat and ex nihilo, a new green economy. His (failed) cap-and-trade bill would have given him regulatory control of the energy economy. He wants universal preschool and has just announced his unwavering commitment to slaying the dragon of economic inequality, which, like the poor, has always been with us.

Obama’s discovery that government bureaucracies don’t do things very well creates a breathtaking disconnect between his transformative ambitions and his detachment from the job itself. How does his Olympian vision coexist with the lassitude of his actual governance, a passivity that verges on absenteeism?

What bridges that gap is rhetoric. Barack Obama is a master rhetorician. It’s allowed him to move crowds, rise inexorably and twice win the most glittering prize of all. Rhetoric has changed his reality. For Obama, it can change the country’s. Hope and change, after all, is a rhetorical device. Of the kind Obama has always imagined can move mountains.

That’s why his reaction to the Obamacare Web site’s crash-on-takeoff is so telling. His remedy? A cross-country campaign-style speaking tour. As if rhetoric could repeal that reality.

Managing, governing, negotiating, cajoling, crafting legislation, forging compromise. For these—this stuff of governance—Obama has shown little aptitude and even less interest. Perhaps, as Valerie Jarrett has suggested, he is simply too easily bored to invest his greatness in such mundanity.

“I don’t write code,” said Obama in reaction to the Web site crash. Nor is he expected to. He is, however, expected to run an administration that can.

See http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-obama-the-oblivious/2013/12/12/67acc91c-6363-11e3-a373-0f9f2d1c2b61_story.html (“Obama the oblivious“) (emphasis added); see also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3224 (“How The West Was Lost By The Selfie President“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3213 (“Barack Obama Flirts With Attractive Blond, While Michelle Obama Fumes“)

No one should be the least bit surprised about Barack Obama, certainly if one has read his book, “Dreams from My Father.” It is all there, in his own words. He has not been successful at anything other than writing, speaking, campaigning, politics and getting elected—being a professional politician. For example, the book evidences few significant accomplishments as a “community organizer.” Indeed, he writes:

When classmates in college asked me just what it was that a community organizer did, I couldn’t answer them directly. Instead, I’d pronounce on the need for change. Change in the White House, where Reagan and his minions were carrying on their dirty deeds. Change in the Congress, compliant and corrupt.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/

Also, he accomplished nothing memorable in the U.S. Senate during the short time he was actually there.

15 12 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

How The West Was Lost By The Selfie President

Obama flirting selfie

Michael Goodwin has written a fine article by this title in the New York Post, which is worth reading:

My bookshelves sag with encyclopedic volumes arguing that America and the West are in decline. But proving that a picture is worth a thousand books, the “selfie” seen ’round the world ends the argument.

It’s official—the government of the United States of Obama consists of boobs and bores and is led by a narcissist. It is no consolation that Great Britain joins us in racing to the bottom.

President Obama’s flirting with Denmark’s prime minister would be shameful on any occasion. That it happened at the memorial for Nelson Mandela only adds to the embarrassment.

But the “selfie” episode also symbolizes the greater global calamity of Western decline. With British prime minister David Cameron playing the role of Obama’s giggling wingman, the “look at me” moment confirms we have unserious leaders in a dangerously serious time.

Iran marches toward nuclear weapons and already there is talk in military circles that a nuclear-armed Iran could mean mushroom clouds in the Mideast within five years.

China is flexing its muscles throughout Asia, its ships brazenly confronting ours on the high seas. Russia is expanding its writ in the Arab lands and in Eastern Europe while making casual threats about bombing America. Syria’s Assad uses chemical weapons and Obama and Cameron rattle little sabers before meekly agreeing to become his partner.

The sign-language interpreter wasn’t the only fake at the Mandela funeral. Obama and Cameron were posing as world leaders.

They will never be confused with FDR and Churchill. The fratboys stand in stark contrast to the days when the “special relationship” meant two great leaders uniting two great countries in the fight for freedom. Those leaders understood the consequences if evil prevailed and were committed to victory.

Churchill coined the term “special relationship” during World War II and used it again in his “Iron Curtain Speech” in 1946 that marked the unofficial start of the Cold War. Fearful the West would disarm again, as it did after World War I, he wanted to combat communism by maintaining the “special relationship between the British Commonwealth and Empire and the United States.”

To him it meant our “kindred systems of society” must grow ever closer to provide mutual security and a framework for global peace. That special bond later cemented the Ronald Reagan-Margaret Thatcher partnership that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Try to imagine any of those four embarrassing their nations by acting like indulgent teenagers while civilization hung in the balance. You can’t because they wouldn’t.

Hitler’s greatest mistake was being born too soon. If he were on the march now, would there be will in Washington and London to stop him? Would there be an arsenal of democracy to save mankind from darkness?

In fact, while Obama and Cameron were yukking it up in South Africa, the White House was denouncing bipartisan efforts in Congress to pass more sanctions against Iran. Doing so, it said, would scuttle the feeble interim deal Obama and Cameron accepted. Incredibly, administration arguments echoed Iran’s position.

Try to imagine FDR and Churchill siding with Hitler against their national legislatures. You can’t because they were the antitheses of the appeasers of their times.

World War II proved that the international order collapses when there is no one to support and enforce it. Obama himself has said that, but apparently believes talk is sufficient.

Cameron also talks a good game, but hollowed out the British military to where it is no longer capable of sustained missions.

Words don’t matter to tyrants and genocidal maniacs. They push until they are convinced there will be consequences if they go further.

Our weakness invites their aggression and makes war more likely, not less. That is the perilous state of the world, as the clown kings of the West party on.

See http://nypost.com/2013/12/15/how-the-west-was-lost-2/ (emphasis added); see also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3213 (“Barack Obama Flirts With Attractive Blond, While Michelle Obama Fumes“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3223 (“Is Barack Obama AWOL?“)

The UK’s David Cameron is a buffoon, who is nothing more than “Barack Obama-lite.”

Obama is America’s far-Left, naïve, narcissistic president—our “Hamlet on the Potomac” or “Jimmy Carter-lite”—who is too arrogant to admit when he knows little or nothing about a subject, which is most of the time.

Moochie and Carla Bruni

17 12 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

ObamaCare’s Troubles Are Only Beginning

This is the title of an article in the Wall Street Journal by Michael J. Boskin—an economics professor at Stanford University and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, who was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George H.W. Bush—which states:

The White House is claiming that the Healthcare.gov website is mostly fixed, that the millions of Americans whose health plans were canceled thanks to government rules may be able to keep them for another year, and that in any event these people will get better plans through ObamaCare exchanges. Whatever the truth of these assertions, those who expect better days ahead for the Affordable Care Act are in for a rude awakening. The shocks—economic and political—will get much worse next year and beyond. Here’s why:

The “sticker shock” that many buyers of new, ACA-compliant health plans have experienced—with premiums 30% higher, or more, than their previous coverage—has only begun. The costs borne by individuals will be even more obvious next year as more people start having to pay higher deductibles and copays.

If, as many predict, too few healthy young people sign up for insurance that is overpriced in order to subsidize older, sicker people, the insurance market will unravel in a “death spiral” of ever-higher premiums and fewer signups. The government, through taxpayer-funded “risk corridors,” is on the hook for billions of dollars of potential insurance-company losses. This will be about as politically popular as bank bailouts.

The “I can’t keep my doctor” shock will also hit more and more people in coming months. To keep prices to consumers as low as possible—given cost pressures generated by the government’s rules, controls and coverage mandates—insurance companies in many cases are offering plans that have very restrictive networks, with lower-cost providers that exclude some of the best physicians and hospitals.

Next year, millions must choose among unfamiliar physicians and hospitals, or paying more for preferred providers who are not part of their insurance network. Some health outcomes will deteriorate from a less familiar doctor-patient relationship.

More IT failures are likely. People looking for health plans on ObamaCare exchanges may be able to fill out their applications with more ease. But the far more complex back-office side of the website—where the information in their application is checked against government databases to determine the premium subsidies and prices they will be charged, and where the applications are forwarded to insurance companies—is still under construction. Be prepared for eligibility, coverage gap, billing, claims, insurer payment and patient information-protection debacles.

The next shock will come when the scores of millions outside the individual market—people who are covered by employers, in union plans, or on Medicare and Medicaid—experience the downsides of ObamaCare. There will be longer waits for hospital visits, doctors’ appointments and specialist treatment, as more people crowd fewer providers.

Those with means can respond to the government-driven waiting lines by making side payments to providers or seeking care through doctors who do not participate in insurance plans. But this will be difficult for most people.

Next, the Congressional Budget Office’s estimated 25% expansion of Medicaid under ObamaCare will exert pressure on state Medicaid spending (although the pressure will be delayed for a few years by federal subsidies). This pressure on state budgets means less money on education and transportation, and higher state taxes.

The “Cadillac tax” on health plans to help pay for ObamaCare starts four years from this Jan. 1. It will fall heavily on unions whose plans are expensive due to generous health benefits.

In the nearer term, a political iceberg looms next year. Insurance companies usually submit proposed pricing to regulators in the summer, and the open enrollment period begins in the fall for plans starting Jan. 1. Businesses of all sizes that currently provide health care will have to offer ObamaCare’s expensive, mandated benefits, or drop their plans and—except the smallest firms—pay a fine. Tens of millions of Americans with employer-provided health plans risk paying more for less, and losing their policies and doctors to more restrictive networks. The administration is desperately trying to delay employer-plan problems beyond the 2014 election to avoid this shock.

Meanwhile, ObamaCare will lead to more part-time workers in some industries, as hours are cut back to conform to arbitrary definitions in the law of what constitutes full-time employment. Many small businesses will be cautious about hiring more than 50 full-time employees, which would subject them to the law’s employer insurance mandate.

On the supply side, medicine will become a far less attractive career for talented young people. More doctors will restrict practice or retire early rather than accept lower incomes and work conditions they did not anticipate. Already, many practices are closed to Medicaid recipients, some also to Medicare. The pace of innovation in drugs, medical devices and delivery is expected to slow significantly, as higher taxes and even rationing set in.

The repeated assertions by the law’s supporters that nobody but the rich would be worse off was based on a beyond-implausible claim that one could expand by millions the number of people with health insurance, lower health-care costs without rationing, and improve quality. The reality is that any squeezing of insurance-company profits, or reduction in uncompensated emergency-room care amounts to a tiny fraction of the trillions of dollars extracted from those people overpaying for insurance, or redistributed from taxpayers.

The Affordable Care Act’s disastrous debut sent the president’s approval ratings into a tailspin and congressional Democrats in competitive districts fleeing for cover. If the law’s continuing unpopularity enables Republicans to regain the Senate in 2014, the president will be forced to veto repeated attempts to repeal the law or to negotiate major changes.

The risk of a complete repeal if a Republican takes the White House in 2016 will put enormous pressure on Democratic candidates—and on Republicans—to articulate a compelling alternative to the cost and coverage problems that beset health care. A good start would be sliding-scale subsidies to help people buy a low-cost catastrophic plan, purchasable across state lines, equalized tax treatment of those buying insurance on their own with those on employer plans, and expanded high-risk pools.

See http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304403804579260603531505102?mod=Opinion_newsreel_1 (emphasis added)

This is a scandal of Watergate proportions or worse, certainly when added to the other scandals surrounding Obama and his White House.

See, e.g., http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3156 (“Why Liberals Are Panicked About Obamacare“)

17 12 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Obama’s Approval Rating Is The Ugliest Since Nixon

Obama worse than Nixon

An article in the Business Insider states:

President Barack Obama is ending his fifth year in office with the lowest approval ratings at this point in the presidency since President Richard Nixon, according to a new Washington Post/ABC poll released Tuesday.

Obama’s approval rating in the poll stands at 43%. By comparison, President George W. Bush had a 47% approval rating at the end of the fifth year of his presidency. And all other Post-World War II presidents had approval ratings above 50%—with the exception of Nixon, who, amid the Watergate scandal, had a dreadful 29% approval rating.

The brutal numbers underscore what has been something of a lost year for the President. His approval ratings have been plunging recently as a result of the botched implementation of the Affordable Care Act. In the Washington Post/ABC poll, only 34% approve of how Obama is handling his signature health law’s implementation.

Obama has also been hit by the damage of Washington’s recent fiscal battles, including the 16-day federal government shutdown. His administration also experienced a number of setbacks throughout the year — the controversy over some of the National Security Agency’s surveillance practices, the debate over military intervention in Syria, the controversy over the IRS’ targeting of certain organizations for more scrutiny, and more.

Earlier this month, Obama’s average approval rating, according to Real Clear Politics, slipped below 40% for the first time in his presidency.

Some of the key findings of the WaPo/ABC poll:

• 43% of respondents approve of Obama, compared with 55% who disapprove;

• 42% approve of how he’s handling the economy; 55% disapprove;

• 34% approve of how congressional Democrats are handling their jobs; 64% disapprove;

• 24% approve of how congressional Republicans are doing their jobs; 73% disapprove;

• On the question of who respondents “trust” to do a better job with the nation’s problems, 41% say Obama, and 41% say congressional Republicans;

• 45% trust congressional Republicans more to handle the economy—41% say Obama;

•42% trust Obama more with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act—37% say congressional Republicans.

See http://www.businessinsider.com/obama-approval-rating-polls-nixon-2013-12 (emphasis added)

Obamacare is a scandal of Watergate proportions or worse, certainly when added to the other scandals surrounding Obama and his White House.

See, e.g., http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3227 (“ObamaCare’s Troubles Are Only Beginning“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3156 (“Why Liberals Are Panicked About Obamacare“)

20 12 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Americans Finally Wake Up To Who Barack Obama Really Is

Obama is mean

The truth goes well beyond the issue of Obamacare, which is bad enough, especially when it affects one-sixth of the U.S. economy. The American people are finally waking up to how radical—and yes, racist—Barack Obama is.

No one should be the least bit surprised if he or she has read his book, “Dreams from My Father.” It is all there, in his own words, including his racist beliefs that were discussed at this blog in its very first article. Indeed, that article asked the question: “Is Barack Obama A Racist?” It was left to the reader to answer this question for himself or herself.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist

The Washington Post‘s Charles Krauthammer has written:

The lie of the year, according to Politifact, is “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” But the story of the year is a nation waking up to just how radical Obamacare is—which is why it required such outright deception to get it passed in the first place.

Obamacare was sold as simply a refinement of the current system, retaining competition among independent insurers but making things more efficient, fair and generous. Free contraceptives for Sandra Fluke. Free mammograms and checkups for you and me. Free (or subsidized) insurance for some 30 million uninsured. And, mirabile dictu, not costing the government a dime.

In fact, Obamacare is a full-scale federal takeover. The keep-your-plan-if-you-like-your-plan ruse was a way of saying to the millions of Americans who had insurance and liked what they had: Don’t worry. You’ll be left unmolested. For you, everything goes on as before.

That was a fraud from the very beginning. The law was designed to throw people off their private plans and into government-run exchanges where they would be made to overpay—forced to purchase government-mandated services they don’t need—as a way to subsidize others. (That’s how you get to the ostensible free lunch.)

It wasn’t until the first cancellation notices went out in late 2013 that the deception began to be understood. And felt. Six million Americans with private insurance have just lost it. And that’s just the beginning. By the Department of Health and Human Services’ own estimates, about 75 million Americans would have plans that their employers would have the right to cancel. And millions of middle-class workers who will migrate to the exchanges and don’t qualify for government subsidies will see their premiums, deductibles and co-pays go up.

It gets worse. The dislocation extends to losing one’s doctor and drug coverage, as insurance companies narrow availability to compensate for the huge costs imposed on them by the extended coverage and “free” services the new law mandates.

But it’s not just individuals seeing their medical care turned upside down. The insurance providers, the backbone of the system, are being utterly transformed. They are rapidly becoming mere extensions of the federal government.

Look what happened just last week. Health and Human Services unilaterally and without warning changed coverage deadlines and guidelines. It asked insurers to start covering people on Jan. 1 even if they signed up as late as the day before and even if they hadn’t paid their premiums. And is “strongly encouraging” them to pay during the transition for doctor visits and medicines not covered in their current plans (if covered in the patient’s previous—canceled—plan).

On what authority does a Cabinet secretary tell private companies to pay for services not in their plans and cover people not on their rolls? Where in Obamacare’s 2,500 pages are such high-handed dictates authorized? Does anyone even ask? The bill itself is simply taken as a kind of blanket warrant for HHS to run, regulate and control the whole insurance system.

Remember the uproar over forcing religious institutions to provide contraception coverage? The president’s “fix” was a new regulation ordering insurers to provide these services for free. Apart from the fact that this transparent ruse does nothing to resolve the underlying issue of conscience—God sees—by what right does the government order private companies to provide free services for anyone?

Three years ago I predicted that Obamacare would turn insurers into the lapdog equivalent of utility companies. I undershot. They are being treated as wholly owned subsidiaries. Take the phrase “strongly encouraging.” Sweet persuasion? In reality, these are offers insurers can’t refuse. Disappoint your federal master and he has the power to kick you off the federal exchanges, where the health insurance business of the future is supposed to be conducted.

Moreover, if adverse selection drives insurers into a financial death spiral—too few healthy young people to offset more costly, sicker, older folks—their only recourse will be a government bailout. Do they really want to get on the wrong side of the White House, their only lifeline when facing insolvency?

I don’t care a whit for the insurance companies. They deserve what they get. They collaborated with the White House in concocting this scheme and are now being swallowed by it. But I do care about the citizenry and its access to a functioning, flourishing, choice-driven medical system.

Obamacare posed as a free-market alternative to a British-style single-payer system. Then, during congressional debate, the White House ostentatiously rejected the so-called “public option.” But that’s irrelevant. The whole damn thing is the public option. The federal government now runs the insurance market, dictating deadlines, procedures, rates, risk assessments and coverage requirements. It’s gotten so cocky it’s now telling insurers to cover the claims that, by law, they are not required to.

Welcome 2014, our first taste of nationalized health care.

See http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-story-of-the-year/2013/12/19/1d862c98-68f9-11e3-ae56-22de072140a2_story.html (emphasis added)

These issues have also been discussed at length in other comments at this blog.

See, e.g., http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3227 (“ObamaCare’s Troubles Are Only Beginning“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3156 (“Why Liberals Are Panicked About Obamacare“)

. . .

The closing words in Krauthammer’s article might have read:

Welcome 2014, the beginning of the end of the radical, racist and corrupt Obama presidency.

While Obamacare alone is a scandal of Watergate proportions or worse, the specter of criminal wrongdoing hangs over Barack Obama and his administration more so than any other president of this or the last century.

See, e.g., http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3207 (“Barack Obama Is Gutting Our Military Forces, Which Will Affect Our National Security For Decades To Come“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3174 (“Animal Farm In America: Authoritarian Lawlessness!“); see also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3228 (“Obama’s Approval Rating Is The Ugliest Since Nixon“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3179 (“Harvard Poll: Millennials Abandon Obamacare, Would Vote To Impeach Obama“) and http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304367204579270252042143502 (“Obama Repeals ObamaCare“) and http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/ali-meyer/74-us-afghan-casualties-came-after-obama-ordered-troops-increased (“74% of U.S. Afghan Casualties Came After Obama Ordered Troops Increased“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3245 (“Record-High 42 Percent Of Americans Identify As Independents“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3308 (“Obama: The President Who Has Done The Most Damage“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3608 (“Obama Wants To End American Exceptionalism“)

22 12 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Obama Is Reduced To Saying That Obamacare Will Not Be Repealed As Long As He Is President, Which May Prove Ominous

See http://nbcpolitics.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/12/03/21741041-obama-on-affordable-care-act-were-not-repealing-it-as-long-as-im-president?lite and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ag4aq_ZeaUU

When I worked in the U.S. Senate and the first news of Watergate broke, I had a gut feeling that Richard Nixon would not survive. For a long time now, I have had a gut feeling that Barack Obama will not finish his term in office.

Whether it is impeachment or something else, I do not have any sense of how it will happen. I do not wish for it, nor make any predictions. There are lots of comparisons between Nixon and Obama, some of which are discussed in the article above and the other comments beneath it.

Obama is a classic Narcissist, and admitting failure may be impossible for him to do. He might “disintegrate” in front of our eyes, unlike Nixon who left with relative dignity.

Would Obama resort to drugs again? In his book “Dreams from My Father,” he wrote:

Junkie. Pothead. That’s where I’d been headed: the final, fatal role of the young would-be black man.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/

As one commenter has written:

[I]f you oppose Obama’s policies, you’re a racist; if you bring articles of impeachment, you might as well get fitted for a sheet and go shopping for burnable crosses. There is no way the GOP will develop the stones to impeach this man. They can’t even bring themselves to actually cut the budget.

Most Republicans are “Neanderthals,” who have no cojones.

Obamacare is maniacal and should not be fixed; it should be scrapped. If the GOP helps Obama to fix it, lots of Americans will never vote for a Republican again.

Lastly, in a sense, the words “President Joe Biden” insulate Obama against removal from office. However, this does not change my feeling that Obama will not serve out his term of office. . . . However, I never thought he would be reelected, so I might be wrong.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/barack-obama-is-a-lame-duck-president-who-will-not-be-reelected/ (see also the comments beneath the article)

24 12 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

What Was 2013’s Most Significant Story?

Obamas-no smiles

The dramatic failure of Obamacare is the biggest story, because it foretells the end of the Obama presidency—as the myth of Barack Obama collapses before the eyes of the world.

See, e.g., http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3231 (“Americans Finally Wake Up To Who Barack Obama Really Is“)

4 01 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

The Obamacare Catch-22 For Democrats

A “catch-22″ has been described as a paradoxical situation from which an individual cannot escape because of contradictory rules. The Washington Post‘s Charles Krauthammer has written about just such a situation confronting the Democrats with respect to Obamacare:

First order of business for the returning Congress: The No Bailout for Insurance Companies Act of 2014.

Make it one line long: “Sections 1341 and 1342 of the Affordable Care Act are hereby repealed.”

End of bill. End of bailout. End of story.

Why do we need it? On Dec. 18, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers was asked what was the administration’s Plan B if, because of adverse selection (enrolling too few young and healthies), the insurance companies face financial difficulty.

Jason Furman wouldn’t bite. “There’s a Plan A,” he replied. Enroll the young.

But of course there’s a Plan B. It’s a government bailout.

Administration officials can’t say it for political reasons. And they don’t have to say it because it’s already in the Affordable Care Act, buried deep.

First, Section 1341, the “reinsurance” fund collected from insurers and self-insuring employers at a nifty $63 a head. (Who do you think the cost is passed on to?) This yields about $20 billion over three years to cover losses.

Then there is Section 1342, the “risk corridor” provision that mandates a major taxpayer payout covering up to 80 percent of insurance-company losses.

Never heard of these? That’s the beauty of passing a bill of such monstrous length. You can insert a chicken soup recipe and no one will notice.

Nancy Pelosi was right: We’d have to pass the damn thing to know what’s in it. Well, now we have and now we know.

The whole scheme was risky enough to begin with—getting enough enrollees and making sure 40 percent were young and healthy. Obamacare is already far behind its own enrollment estimates. But things have gotten worse. The administration has been changing the rules repeatedly—with every scrimmage-line audible raising costs and diminishing revenue.

First, it postponed the employer mandate. Then it exempted from the individual mandate people whose policies were canceled (by Obamacare). And for those who did join the exchanges, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is “strongly encouraging” insurers—during the “transition”—to cover doctors and drugs not included in their clients’ plans.

The insurers were stunned. Told to give free coverage. Deprived of their best customers. Forced to offer stripped-down “catastrophic” plans to people age 30 and over (contrary to the law). These dictates, complained an insurance industry spokesman, could “destabilize” the insurance market.

Translation: How are we going to survive this? Shrinking revenues and rising costs could bring on the “death spiral”—an unbalanced patient pool forcing huge premium increases (to restore revenue) that would further unbalance the patient pool as the young and healthy drop out.

End result? Insolvency—before which the insurance companies will pull out of Obamacare.

Solution? A huge government bailout. It’s Obamacare’s escape hatch. And—surprise, surprise—it’s already baked into the law.

Which is why the GOP needs to act. Obamacare is a Rube Goldberg machine with hundreds of moving parts. Without viable insurance companies doing the work, it falls apart. No bailout, no Obamacare.

Such a bill would be overwhelmingly popular because Americans hate fat-cat bailouts of any kind. Why should their tax dollars be spent not only saving giant insurers but also rescuing this unworkable, unbalanced, unstable, unpopular money-pit of a health-care scheme?

The GOP House should pass it and send it to Harry Reid’s Democratic Senate. Democrats know it could be fatal for Obamacare. The only alternative would be single-payer. And try selling that to the country after the spectacularly incompetent launch of—and subsequent widespread disaffection with—mere semi-nationalization.

Do you really think vulnerable Democrats up for reelection will vote for a bailout? And who better to slay Obamacare than a Democratic Senate—liberalism repudiating its most important creation of the last 50 years.

Want to be even bolder? Attach the anti-bailout bill to the debt ceiling. That and nothing else. Dare the president to stand up and say: “I’m willing to let the country default in order to preserve a massive bailout for insurance companies.”

In the past, Republicans made unrealistic and unpopular debt-ceiling demands—and lost badly. They learned their lesson. Last year, Republicans presented one simple unassailable debt-ceiling demand—that the Senate pass its first budget in four years.

Who could argue with that? The Senate capitulated within two days.

Who can argue with no bailout? Let the Senate Democrats decide: Support the bailout and lose the Senate. Or oppose the bailout and bury Obamacare.

Happy New Year.

See http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-stop-the-bailout-now/2014/01/02/6b3087a2-73d7-11e3-8def-a33011492df2_story.html (emphasis added); see also http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/janetdaley/10550808/Welcome-to-2014-the-year-we-ignore-our-problems.html (“Obama’s credibility is finished“)

As we have come to know all too well, Republicans have the distinct ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, which regrettably they demonstrate over and over again. Hopefully this time they will bury Obamacare once and for all, never to raise its ugly head again.

8 01 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

Record-High 42 Percent Of Americans Identify As Independents

According to the latest Gallup polling:

Forty-two percent of Americans, on average, identified as political independents in 2013, the highest Gallup has measured since it began conducting interviews by telephone 25 years ago. Meanwhile, Republican identification fell to 25%, the lowest over that time span. At 31%, Democratic identification is unchanged from the last four years but down from 36% in 2008.

Gallup Independents Graph

The results are based on more than 18,000 interviews with Americans from 13 separate Gallup multiple-day polls conducted in 2013.

In each of the last three years, at least 40% of Americans have identified as independents. These are also the only years in Gallup’s records that the percentage of independents has reached that level.

Americans’ increasing shift to independent status has come more at the expense of the Republican Party than the Democratic Party. Republican identification peaked at 34% in 2004, the year George W. Bush won a second term in office. Since then, it has fallen nine percentage points, with most of that decline coming during Bush’s troubled second term. When he left office, Republican identification was down to 28%. It has declined or stagnated since then, improving only slightly to 29% in 2010, the year Republicans “shellacked” Democrats in the midterm elections.

Not since 1983, when Gallup was still conducting interviews face to face, has a lower percentage of Americans, 24%, identified as Republicans than is the case now. That year, President Ronald Reagan remained unpopular as the economy struggled to emerge from recession. By the following year, amid an improving economy and re-election for the increasingly popular incumbent president, Republican identification jumped to 30%, a level generally maintained until 2007.

Democratic identification has also declined in recent years, falling five points from its recent high of 36% in 2008, the year President Barack Obama was elected. The current 31% of Americans identifying as Democrats matches the lowest annual average in the last 25 years.

Fourth Quarter Surge in Independence

The percentage of Americans identifying as independents grew over the course of 2013, surging to 46% in the fourth quarter. That coincided with the partial government shutdown in October and the problematic rollout of major provisions of the healthcare law, commonly known as “Obamacare.”

2nd Gallup Independents Graph

The 46% independent identification in the fourth quarter is a full three percentage points higher than Gallup has measured in any quarter during its telephone polling era.

Democrats Maintain Edge in Party Identification

Democrats maintain their six-point edge in party identification when independents’ “partisan leanings” are taken into account. In addition to the 31% of Americans who identify as Democrats, another 16% initially say they are independents but when probed say they lean to the Democratic Party. An equivalent percentage, 16%, say they are independent but lean to the Republican Party, on top of the 25% of Americans identifying as Republicans. All told, then, 47% of Americans identify as Democrats or lean to the Democratic Party, and 41% identify as Republicans or lean to the Republican Party.

Democrats have held at least a nominal advantage on this measure of party affiliation in all but three years since Gallup began asking the “partisan lean” follow-up in 1991. During this time, Democrats’ advantage has been as high as 12 points, in 2008. However, that lead virtually disappeared by 2010, although Democrats have re-established an edge in the last two years.

3rd Gallup Indepedents Graph

Implications

Americans are increasingly declaring independence from the political parties. It is not uncommon for the percentage of independents to rise in a non-election year, as 2013 was. Still, the general trend in recent years, including the 2012 election year, has been toward greater percentages of Americans identifying with neither the Republican Party nor the Democratic Party, although most still admit to leaning toward one of the parties.

The rise in political independence is likely an outgrowth of Americans’ record or near-record negative views of the two major U.S. parties, of Congress, and their low level of trust in government more generally.

The increased independence adds a greater level of unpredictability to this year’s congressional midterm elections. Because U.S. voters are less anchored to the parties than ever before, it’s not clear what kind of appeals may be most effective to winning votes. But with Americans increasingly eschewing party labels for themselves, candidates who are less closely aligned to their party or its prevailing doctrine may benefit.

See http://www.gallup.com/poll/166763/record-high-americans-identify-independents.aspx?ref=image

As I concluded in a separate article about Independents:

Some day in the not too distant future, we will see an Independent president; and both houses of Congress will have more and more Independents who are proud to identify themselves as such. In turn, this may draw both the Republican and Democrat parties toward the center, as they vie for the support of voters, and jettison the extremist elements in their ranks.

First, we witnessed a turning away from the GOP because of Bush, the war in Iraq and the economy. Next, we may witness the abandonment of Obama and the Dems. At some point, there will be a breakdown of our two-party political system; and [Obamacare] may have served as an important stepping stone toward achieving that result, and thrusting Independents into the forefront of American politics.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/03/31/the-rise-of-independents/; but see http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/01/08/record-numbers-are-identifying-as-independents-why-it-doesnt-really-matter/

15 01 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

The Political Consequences Of Obamacare For Obama And His Democrats Will Be Horrific In 2014

This is the assessment of political pundit Dick Morris, who writes:

One of the least publicized aspects of ObamaCare is its bailout of insurance companies. Far from warring against them, as Hillary Clinton did in 1993, the Obama program is their new best friend.

Robert Laszewski, a healthcare consultant, points out that ObamaCare is really a giant reinsurance program, capping the liability of health insurance companies. Under its provisions, the first $45,000 of payments to an insured patient come from the company’s coffers. The taxpayer, through the federal government, then obligingly will pick up 80 percent of the remainder.

In addition, insurance companies are to estimate their payouts during the coming 12 months every year. If they miss, or the costs are greater than they supposed, the feds will pick up 80 percent of the overage. It is a kind of cost-plus deal for insurance companies.

All told, insurance companies are to get $1 trillion in subsidies over the next 10 years, a staggering amount of tax money. They will make out far better than General Motors, defense contractors or any TARP recipient banks.

As the enrollment in ObamaCare continues, and it becomes apparent that participation by young people will fall far short of the 38 percent projection the law’s framers anticipated, this bailout becomes a matter of life and death for participating insurance companies. Current stats indicate about a quarter of the pool of ObamaCare customers are under the age of 30. One-third are in the dread 55-65 age group, the least healthy and most costly of the demographics covered by the program.

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that the healthcare reform program has nothing to do with covering the uninsured. Eighty percent of those covered were previously insured. They moved to ObamaCare only after their current policies were shot out from under them by Health Department-forced cancellations. Indeed, surveys indicate that only about one-quarter of the uninsured have any intention of ever entering the program.

Rather, the entire plan is a gambit to switch people from private sector insurance to government-dependent coverage. The goal is socialization, not expanded coverage.

As group policies, particularly for small employers, begin to face cancellation—either because the policies are deemed inadequate or because rate hikes make them unacceptable—the ranks of insurance refugees will mount. Millions more, rendered insurance-less through ObamaCare regulations, will flee to the makeshift healthcare refugee center HealthCare.gov has become.

And they won’t be happy about it.

The political fallout from the 5 million cancellations of individual policies over the past three months will be dwarfed by the storm that will arise as tens of millions find themselves denied the option of continuing the coverage they had and enjoyed. The mendacity of Obama’s claim that you can keep your healthcare plan, if you like it will be exposed ever more plainly to an ever larger group of Americans.

The fallout from ObamaCare will continue and will escalate—and not just from those who are canceled. Much of the anger will be vented by those who opted into the program and signed up for coverage.

We will particularly hear from insured people who face high deductibles before they see a dime of benefits. An estimated 80 percent of the enrollees are signing up for bronze or silver plans. Do they realize that they will have to pay almost $5,000 in deductibles (bronze) or $3,800 (silver) before they get any payouts? Probably not. But they are about to find out.

Those with insurance under ObamaCare are also about to find out how fraudulent is the president’s promise that they can keep their doctor or hospital. With many doctors refusing to participate in the program, the president cannot keep this promise.

When all this hits the fan, the political consequence for Obama and his Democratic allies will be horrific in 2014.

See http://www.dickmorris.com/obama-bails-out-insurers/ (“Obama Bails Out Insurers“) (emphasis added); see also http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/15/us/politics/ads-attacking-on-health-law-stagger-outspent-democrats.html (“Ads Attacking Health Law Stagger Outspent Democrats“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3234 (“What Was 2013’s Most Significant Story?“) and http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/johncassidy/2014/02/the-cbos-real-message-six-million-jobs-are-already-missing.html (“THE C.B.O.’S REAL MESSAGE: SIX MILLION JOBS ARE ALREADY MISSING. . . . Everything about Obamacare is incendiary“)

17 01 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

Obama Is A Traitor Who Undermined The Importance Of The Afghan War To Which He Was Committing New Troops

The Washington Post‘s Charles Krauthammer has written:

By early 2011, writes former defense secretary Robert Gates, he had concluded that President Obama “doesn’t believe in his own [Afghanistan] strategy, and doesn’t consider the war to be his.”

Not his? America is at war and he’s America’s commander in chief. For the soldier being shot at in the field, it makes no difference under whose administration the fighting began. In fact, three out of four Americans killed in Afghanistan have died under Barack Obama’s command. That’s ownership enough.

Moreover, Gates’s doubts about Obama had begun long before. A year earlier, trying to understand how two senior officials could be openly working against expressed policy, Gates concluded that “the most likely explanation was that the president himself did not really believe the strategy he had approved would work.” This, just four months after Obama ordered his 30,000 troop “surge” into Afghanistan, warning the nation that “our security is at stake . . . the security of our allies, and the common security of the world.”

The odd thing about Gates’s insider revelation of Obama’s lack of faith in his own policy is that we knew it all along. Obama was emitting discordant notes from the very beginning. In the West Point “surge” speech itself, the very sentence after that announcement consisted of the further announcement that the additional troops would be withdrawn in 18 months.

How can any commander be so precise so far in advance about an enterprise as inherently contingent and unpredictable? It was a signal to friend and foe that he wasn’t serious. And as if to amplify that signal, Obama added that “the nation that I’m most interested in building is our own,” thus immediately undermining the very importance of the war to which he was committing new troops.

Such stunning ambivalence, I wrote at the time, had produced the most uncertain trumpet ever sounded by a president. One could sense that Obama’s heart was never in it.

And now we know. Indeed, this became hauntingly clear to Obama’s own defense secretary within just a few months—before the majority of the troops had arrived in the field, before the new strategy had even been tested.

How can a commander in good conscience send troops on a mission he doesn’t believe in, a mission from which he knows some will never return? Even worse, Obama ordered a major escalation, expending much blood but not an ounce of his own political capital. Over the next four years, notes Gates with chagrin, Obama ignored the obligation of any commander to explain, support and try to rally the nation to the cause.

And when he finally terminated the surge, he did so in the middle of the 2012 fighting season. Militarily incoherent—but politically convenient. It allowed Obama to campaign for reelection proclaiming that “the tide of war is receding.”

One question remains, however. If he wasn’t committed to the mission, if he didn’t care about winning, why did Obama throw these soldiers into battle in the first place?

Because for years the Democrats had used Afghanistan as a talking point to rail against the Iraq War—while avoiding the politically suicidal appearance of McGovernite pacifism. As consultant Bob Shrum later admitted, “I was part of the 2004 Kerry campaign, which elevated the idea of Afghanistan as ‘the right war’ to conventional Democratic wisdom. This was accurate as criticism of the Bush Administration, but it was also reflexive and perhaps by now even misleading as policy.”

Translation: They were never really serious about Afghanistan. (Nor apparently about Iraq either. Gates recounts with some shock that Hillary Clinton admitted she opposed the Iraq surge for political reasons, and Obama conceded that much of the opposition had indeed been political.) The Democratic mantra—Iraq War, bad; Afghan War, good—was simply a partisan device to ride anti-Bush, anti-Iraq War feeling without appearing squishy.

Look, they could say: We’re just being tough and discriminating.

Iraq is a dumb war, said Obama repeatedly. It’s a war of choice. Afghanistan is a war of necessity, the central front in the war on terror. Having run on that, Obama had a need to at least make a show of trying to win the good war, the smart war.

“If I had ever come to believe the military part of the strategy would not lead to success as I defined it,” writes Gates. “I could not have continued signing the deployment orders.” The commander in chief, Gates’s book makes clear, had no such scruples.

See http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-how-in-good-conscience/2014/01/16/138901d4-7ee3-11e3-9556-4a4bf7bcbd84_story.html?hpid=z2 (emphasis added)

Obama must be removed from the presidency. The myth of Barack Obama is collapsing before the eyes of the world.

See also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3231

26 01 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

Obama: The President Who Has Done The Most Damage

The following article by Dennis Prager was published in the National Review, and it is worth reading:

I have been broadcasting for 31 years and writing for longer than that. I do not recall ever saying on radio or in print that a president is doing lasting damage to our country. I did not like the presidencies of Jimmy Carter (the last Democrat I voted for) or Bill Clinton. Nor did I care for the “compassionate conservatism” of George W. Bush. In modern political parlance “compassionate” is a euphemism for ever-expanding government.

But I have never written or broadcast that our country was being seriously damaged by a president. So it is with great sadness that I write that President Barack Obama has done and continues to do major damage to America. The only question is whether this can ever be undone.

This is equally true domestically and internationally.

Domestically, his policies have had a grave impact on the American economy.

He has overseen the weakest recovery from a recession in modern American history.

He has mired the country in unprecedented levels of debt: about $6.5 trillion—that is 6,500 billion—in five years (this after calling his predecessor “unpatriotic” for adding nearly $5 trillion in eight years).

He has fashioned a country in which more Americans now receive government aid—means-tested, let alone non-means-tested—than work full-time.

He has no method of paying for this debt other than printing more money—thereby surreptitiously taxing everyone through inflation, including the poor he claims to be helping, and cheapening the dollar to the point that some countries are talking about another reserve currency—and saddling the next generations with enormous debts.

With his 2,500-page Affordable Care Act he has made it impossible for hundreds of thousands, soon millions, of Americans to keep their individual or employer-sponsored group health insurance; he has stymied American medical innovation with an utterly destructive tax on medical devices; and he has caused hundreds of thousands of workers to lose full-time jobs because of the health-care costs imposed by Obamacare on employers.

His Internal Revenue Service used its unparalleled power to stymie political dissent. No one has been held accountable.

His ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were murdered by terrorists in Benghazi, Libya. No one has been blamed. The only blame the Obama administration has leveled was on a videomaker in California who had nothing to do with the assault.

In this president’s White House the buck stops nowhere.

Among presidents in modern American history, he has also been a uniquely divisive force. It began with his forcing Obamacare through Congress—the only major legislation in American history to be passed with no votes from the opposition party.

Though he has had a unique opportunity to do so, he has not only not helped heal racial tensions, he has exacerbated them. His intrusions into the Trayvon Martin affair (“If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon”) and into the confrontation between a white police officer and a black Harvard professor (the police “acted stupidly”) were unwarranted, irresponsible, demagogic, and, most of all, divisive.

He should have been reassuring black Americans that America is in fact the least racist country in the world—something he should know as well as anybody, having been raised only by whites and being the first black elected the leader of a white-majority nation. Instead, he echoed the inflammatory speech of professional race-baiters such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.

He has also divided the country by economic class, using classic Marxist language against “the rich” and “corporate profits.”

Regarding America in the world, he has been, if possible, even more damaging. The United States is at its weakest, has fewer allies, and has less military and diplomatic influence than at any time since before World War II.

One wonders if there is a remaining ally nation that trusts him. And worse, no American enemy fears him. If you are a free movement (the democratic Iranian and Syrian oppositions) or a free country (Israel), you have little or no reason to believe that you have a steadfast ally in the United States.

Even non-democratic allies no longer trust America. Barack Obama has alienated our most important and longest standing Arab allies, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Both the anti–Muslim Brotherhood and the anti-Iran Arab states have lost respect for him.

And his complete withdrawal of American troops from Iraq has left that country with weekly bloodbaths.

Virtually nothing Barack Obama has done has left America or the world better since he became president. Nearly everything he has touched has been made worse.

He did, however, promise before the 2008 election that “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” That is the one promise he has kept.

See http://www.nationalreview.com/article/362419/president-who-has-done-most-damage-dennis-prager (emphasis added)

10 02 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

If I Wanted America To Fail

Isn’t this really the agenda for America of Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats?

See also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3231 (“Americans Finally Wake Up To Who Barack Obama Really Is”) (see also the article itself, as well as the other comments beneath it)

14 02 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

Obamas, Biden Boycott Killer Putin’s Winter Olympics In Russia

Putin is Stalin

The Washington Post has reported:

The White House announced Tuesday that President Obama, Vice President Biden and the first lady will not attend the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in February, a pointed snub by an administration that is feuding with Russian leaders on a range of foreign policy and human rights issues.

The U.S. delegation will be led by a former Cabinet secretary and a deputy secretary of state, and it will include two openly gay athletes—tennis legend Billie Jean King and ice hockey player Caitlin Cahow—in an apparent bid to highlight opposition to Russia’s anti-gay laws.

This will mark the first time since the Summer Games in Sydney in 2000 that a U.S. Olympic delegation did not include a president, first lady or vice president. The White House made the announcement in a news release late Tuesday.

Officials said Obama’s schedule would not permit him to attend the Games during a two-week period beginning Feb. 7, although they did not specify what the president would be doing instead. Obama, a major sports fan, is “extremely proud” of the U.S. team and “looks forward to cheering them on from Washington,” White House spokesman Shin Inouye said in a statement.

The U.S. delegation “represents the diversity that is the United States,” Inouye said. “All our delegation members are distinguished by their accomplishments in government service, civic activism, and sports.”

. . .

The Obama administration’s relationship with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin has deteriorated this year as the two countries have clashed on several issues. The United States blamed Russia, along with China, for blocking a United Nations resolution authorizing potential military intervention in Syria in the summer, and the two countries have failed to agree on a pact for broader nuclear disarmament.

The White House also was angered by Russia’s decision to grant temporary political asylum to Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked thousands of classified documents detailing the United States’ broad spying apparatus.

In September, Obama canceled a planned bilateral meeting with Putin ahead of an economic summit in St. Petersburg. . . .

During a news conference in August, Obama said he did not believe it was appropriate for the United States to boycott the Winter Games altogether, as it did in 1980 by staying away from the Summer Games in Moscow after the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.

. . .

Cahow, a two-time Olympian, said . . . that she believed it made sense for United States to compete in the Sochi Games, comparing it to the example of Jesse Owens, the black track and field star who competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympics in Nazi Germany.

“He demonstrated the greatness of who he was as an African-American athlete,” she said.” It’s precisely the same philosophy we should be taking to Russia. I don’t think any athletes are going to go over there just to protest Russian policy. That makes no sense. They’re going to go over there because they want to compete.”

Janet Napolitano, the former secretary of homeland security who is now the president of the University of California system, will head the U.S. delegation to the opening ceremonies, while Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns will head the delegation for the closing ceremonies.

U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul and Obama aide Rob Nabors are also scheduled to attend, along with Olympic medalists Bonnie Blair, Brian Boitano and Eric Heiden.

See http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obamas-biden-to-skip-the-winter-olympics-in-russia/2013/12/17/f7fbb148-676b-11e3-a0b9-249bbb34602c_story.html; see also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/#comment-226 (“Boycott The Winter Olympics In Sochi!“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/#comment-1028 (“Tycoon Alexander Lebedev, Putin’s “Full Of Sex” Mistress Alina Kabayeva, And WikiLeaks“) and http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/12/29/russia-train-station-explosion/4239187/ (“Suicide bombing in Russia highlights Olympics security“) and http://world.time.com/2013/12/30/ghosts-of-munich-haunt-sochi-olympics-in-wake-of-russia-bombings/ (“Ghosts of Munich Haunt Sochi Olympics in Wake of Russia Bombings“) and http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/O/OLY_SOCHI_SCENE_FANS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2014-02-06-03-42-18 (“SOCHI SCENE: WELCOME, WORLD—WHERE ARE YOU?“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/#comment-3300 (“$60 Oil Will Finish Russia’s Brutal Putin Regime“) and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2556121/Too-cold-Sochi-suffers-distinct-lack-atmosphere-stadiums-revealed-seats.html (“The great Olympic no-show: Sochi suffers from a distinct lack of atmosphere as stadiums revealed to be full of empty seats“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/06/the-silent-voices-of-stalin%E2%80%99s-soviet-holocaust-and-mao%E2%80%99s-chinese-holocaust/ (“The Silent Voices Of Stalin’s Soviet Holocaust And Mao’s Chinese Holocaust“)

Bravo!

Russia’s dictator-for-life Putin is a brutal killer; and the world needs to recognize him as such.

Barack Obama and Joe Biden have chosen to do so, and they should be praised for their decisions.

For the American president or vice president to attend the Olympics in Sochi—where Putin has a dacha—would be the moral equivalent of attending Hitler’s Olympics in Berlin.

Putin is Stalin’s heir; and Stalin was responsible for the deaths of more than 30 million men, women and children—his own countrymen—including millions during the collectivization of the Soviet farms in the 1930s. Also, as the Soviets moved through Germany at the end of World War II, they raped at least two million German women in what is now acknowledged as the largest case of mass rape in history.

Putin came to prominence as a KGB operative in East Germany—or the DDR, as it was known before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Erich Honecker’s government—which was one of the most repressive regimes in the Soviet Union’s orbit, or the Evil Empire.

Putin’s own repressive regime must be boycotted now. Indeed, it is laudable that neither Obama nor Biden are attending the Olympics in Sochi, which sends a strong message to the world.

Also, the world must never forget that Putin left the Olympic games in Beijing and traveled to the Georgian border, where he personally directed Russian military aggression against Georgia and the killing of Georgians.

This is only a small part of the atrocities that he has committed, which are discussed in my article that is cited hereinafter and the comments beneath it.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/ (“Russia’s Putin Is A Killer”)

A colleague of mine in the U.S. Congress told me when Putin came to power that he was a “smoother” version of Stalin; and my friend’s words were prescient.

19 02 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

Obama Wants To End American Exceptionalism

Ann Coulter has written:

Liberals are winning wild praise for their candor in admitting problems with Obamacare. It shows you the level of honesty people have come to expect of our liberal friends. Now, liberals are applauded for not lying through their teeth about something.

What are they supposed to say? This Obamacare website is fantastic! And really, haven’t you already read all the magazines in your current doctor’s office anyway?

The New York Times has described Obama’s repeated claim that you could keep your insurance plan and keep your doctor under Obamacare as a mere slip of the tongue: “Mr. Obama clearly misspoke when he said that.”

Misspoke? How exactly does one misspeak, word for word, dozens of times, over and over again?

That wasn’t misspeaking—it was a deliberate, necessary lie. Even Democrats couldn’t have voted for Obamacare if Americans had known the truth. It was absolutely vital for Obama to lie about people being able to keep their insurance and their doctors.

Of course, it was difficult for voters to know the truth because every time Republicans would try to tell them, the White House and the media would rush in and call the critics liars.

The White House posted a specific refutation of the “disinformation” about not being able to keep your doctor or insurance plan that was being disseminated by Republicans “to scare people.” Their proof consisted of a video of Obama clearly stating, “If you have insurance that you like, then you will be able to keep that insurance. If you’ve got a doctor that you like, you will be able to keep your doctor.”

. . .

Even when pretending to be critical of Obamacare, liberals lie about the real problems. They tell us they’re worried about the percentage of young people signing up for Obamacare. The mix of young and old people in Obamacare is completely irrelevant. It won’t help if a lot of young people sign up because their premiums are negligible.

To keep the system afloat, what Obamacare really needs is lots of healthy people, preferably healthy older people. Their premiums are astronomical—and they won’t need much medical treatment.

Premiums are set by your age, not your health. It doesn’t matter if you never go to the doctor. Obamacare punishes you for having a healthy lifestyle. The Obamacare tax is a massively regressive poll tax on the middle-aged and the middle class.

Apart from those who are subsidized, everyone pays the exact same amount in penalties or insurance premiums for his age group. It doesn’t matter if you don’t make as much money as Bill Gates. Any 58-year-old male who doesn’t qualify for a subsidy will pay the same Obamacare tax as Gates.

When Margaret Thatcher tried to impose the same tax per person, as a “community charge,” there were riots in the street.

Our extremely progressive tax system, where nearly half the country pays no income tax at all, and the other half pays about 40 percent of their income, may not be fair. But most people also don’t think it’s fair to tax a guy making $80,000 a year the identical amount as one making $80 million a year. That’s exactly what Obamacare does.

With Obamacare, the Democratic Party has foisted the most regressive tax possible on America. This ruthless assault on the middle class is all so we can have a health care system more like every other country has.

Until now, the United States has had the highest survival rates in the world for heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Cancer comparisons are the most useful because all Western countries keep careful records for this disease.

For all types of cancers, European men have only a 47.3 percent five-year survival rate, compared to a 66.3 percent survival rate for American men.

European women have only a 55.8 percent chance of being alive five years after being diagnosed with any type of cancer, compared to 62.9 percent of American women.

American survival rates for breast, prostate, thyroid and skin cancer are higher than 90 percent. Europeans do not have a 90 percent survival rate for one of those cancers.

The European rates are even worse than they sound because many cancers are not discovered until the victim’s death—twice as many as in the U.S. All those cancers were excluded from the study.

Canadian cancer survival rates aren’t much better than the European rates—and they’ve been able to sneak into to the U.S. for treatment! Women in the U.S. have a 61 percent survival rate for all cancers, compared to a 58 percent survival rate in Canada. Men in the U.S. have a 57 percent survival rate compared to 53 percent in Canada.

That’s why your insurance premiums have to go through the roof and your Obamacare tax is the same as Bill Gates’. So across the world, we’ll all be equal, dying of cancer, heart disease and diabetes as often as everyone else.

It’s not that Obama doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism; it’s that he wants to end it.

See http://www.humanevents.com/2014/02/19/new-obama-promise-if-you-like-your-life-you-can-keep-it/ (“NEW OBAMA PROMISE: IF YOU LIKE YOUR LIFE, YOU CAN KEEP IT”) (emphasis in original; emphasis in bold print added); see also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3231 (“Americans Finally Wake Up To Who Barack Obama Really Is“)

Of course Ann is correct. But this is merely the tip of an enormous iceberg, with respect to how Obama is changing America for the worse.

And we have three more years of him!

25 02 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

American Leadership Is Missing

The New York Sun has an editorial that is worth reading, entitled “The American Option”:

It’s one of the most consarned things we’ve ever seen. The revolution in Ukraine is being levied by a citizenry desperate to move out of the orbit of Russia and to become part of the European Union. Yet on the other side of Europe a movement is building for Great Britain to exit the Europe Union and return to English ideas of liberty. Why in the name of George Washington isn’t any American leader—the President, the Secretary of State, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the leader of the opposition—why isn’t someone making the case for an American option?

These columns have been banging on this drum for years now, most recently in May, when we read a headline in the London Financial Times that said: “Obama warns Cameron that Britain would lose influence in the US if it pulls out of EU.” Mr. Obama was then publicly advising Prime Minister Cameron to try to “fix what’s broken” in the European Union rather than pull out. That amounted, we noted in our editorial, to an intervention by Mr. Obama into Britain’s domestic political situation.

That was a reference to the United Kingdom Independence Party that has been challenging Mr. Cameron’s government over Europe. The party forced Mr. Cameron to promise, in January 2013, that if the Conservatives won the next election, a referendum would be held on whether Britain should stay in the European Union. The next election is now little more than a year off, so the question gets hotter, particularly since almost every poll taken in the past year has found more people favored a British exit, or “Brixit,” as it has come to be known. Just the other week the Guardian described the referendum with the word “time bomb.”

Why should it be America’s policy to oppose this? Why should the maundering socialists of Europe be the only option for countries ambitious of freedom? Has America no longer anything—no combination of trade relationships, common language, shared heritage of liberty—to offer in the way of a new pact cementing the special relationship? Can we not think of a way to invite into such a pact other countries who share our values, maybe someday even a free Ukraine that has been tested by time and revolution?

This idea has been met with some derision. . . . The idea that in the Era of Obama, with America in retreat and with our economy hobbled by a dysfunctional system of justice and a hectoring intelligentsia . . . well, let us just say that . . . the American idea as it is now practiced would be a hard sell in Europe.

For our part, we would respond that it’s a question of leadership. Right now, our president is being urged on nearly every quarter to make threats and bluster in respect of Kiev that he has no intention of keeping. He’s like an “oh, dear” in the headlights. He couldn’t even raise a political mandate for an attack on Syria in the midst of its massacre of its own people. How is he going to make a credible threat in the back yard of the Kremlin? The Republicans themselves are hobbled by a rift between the neo-conservative heroes of the Cold War and the libertarian wing that is wary of war and expeditions.

Well, here is an opportunity for both of them. While the Democrats wage their campaign to reduce the Army of the United States to pre-World War II levels, let us engage with the ideas of liberty. Surely something can be put together that is better for the aspiring Ukrainians than the dirigisme of Brussels. Surely the Britons who are polling so consistently that they want out of the trap of the European Union need not be met with opposition from the White House. Surely America can find something to offer other than hollow threats or paeans to retreat. We’d like to think it’s a job that could unite such champions as Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, and Paul Gigot.

See http://www.nysun.com/editorials/the-american-option/88603/ (emphasis added)

This is an excellent editorial. However, it flies in the face of everything that Barack Obama is and stands for.

He was raised in Hawaii and Indonesia, and only came to the American mainland when he attended Occidental College in Los Angeles. He does not believe in American exceptionalism. Rather, he believes in “global exceptionalism,” and the notion of a pan-global government, perhaps under the leadership of the United Nations.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/

After World War II, the United States achieved what this editorial is suggesting . . . and much of the world flourished. Obama is going in the opposite direction. He is not the American leader to achieve this. Paul Ryan is not either. After all, he could not even carry his own State for Mitt Romney in 2012.

Ironically, Romney might be the American leader whose beliefs and accomplishments come closest to emulating what this editorial is suggesting.

According to the latest Gallup polling: “Forty-two percent of Americans, on average, identified as political independents in 2013, the highest Gallup has measured since it began conducting interviews by telephone 25 years ago.”

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/03/31/the-rise-of-independents/#comment-3244 (see also the article itself, as well as the other comments beneath it)

Americans are thirsty for the type of leadership that this editorial suggests, but they are not finding it. And there is no question that the revolution in Ukraine presents considerable opportunities; the United States has a dysfunctional system of justice; Obama and his Democrats are waging their campaign to weaken our military; the EU has severe problems; the brutal Putin’s Russia is teetering economically; and China is challenging American leadership globally.

See, e.g., http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/#comment-3627 (“Ukraine Is On the Verge Of War And Putin Is To Blame”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/justice-and-the-law-do-not-mix/ (“Justice And The Law Do Not Mix”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3207 (“Barack Obama Is Gutting Our Military Forces, Which Will Affect Our National Security For Decades To Come”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-economic-tsunami-continues-its-relentless-and-unforgiving-advance-globally/#comment-3516 (“The Eurozone Crisis Is Just Getting Started”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/#comment-3541 (“How Long Can Killer Putin Figure Skate While The Ice Beneath Him Melts?”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/china-is-americas-enemy-make-no-mistake-about-that/#comment-3651 (“US v China: Is This The New Cold War?”)

28 02 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

Does Barack Obama Have Any Guts At All, Or Is He Nothing More Than An Empty Suit? [UPDATED]

Obama and Putin

This is essentially the question asked by the Washington Post‘s Charles Krauthammer in an article entitled, “Putin’s Ukraine gambit,” which states:

Henry Kissinger once pointed out that since Peter the Great, Russia had been expanding at the rate of one Belgium per year. All undone, of course, by the collapse of the Soviet Union, which Russian President Vladimir Putin called “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the [20th] century.”

Putin’s mission is restoration. First, restore traditional Russian despotism by dismantling its nascent democracy. And then, having created iron-fisted “stability,” march.

Use the 2008 war with Georgia to detach two of its provinces, returning them to the bosom of Mother Russia (by way of Potemkin independence). Then late last year, pressure Ukraine to reject a long-negotiated deal for association with the European Union, to draw Ukraine into Putin’s planned “Eurasian Union” as the core of a new Russian mini-empire.

Turns out, however, Ukraine had other ideas. It overthrew Moscow’s man in Kiev, Viktor Yanu­kovych, and turned to the West. But the West—the E.U. and America—had no idea what to do.

Russia does. Moscow denounces the overthrow as the illegal work of fascist bandits, refuses to recognize the new government created by parliament, withholds all economic assistance and, in a highly provocative escalation, mobilizes its military forces on the Ukrainian border.

The response? The E.U. dithers and Barack Obama slumbers. After near-total silence during the first three months of Ukraine’s struggle for freedom, Obama said on camera last week that in his view Ukraine is no “Cold War chessboard.”

Unfortunately, this is exactly what it is for Putin. He wants Ukraine back.

Obama wants stability, the New York Times reports, quoting internal sources. He sees Ukraine as merely a crisis to be managed rather than an opportunity to alter the increasingly autocratic trajectory of the region, allow Ukrainians to join their destiny to the West and block Russian neo-imperialism.

Sure, Obama is sympathetic to democracy. But it must arise organically, from internal developments. “These democratic movements will be more sustainable if they are seen as . . . coming from within these societies,” says deputy national security adviser Benjamin Rhodes. Democracy must not be imposed by outside intervention but develop on its own.

But Ukraine is never on its own. Not with a bear next door. American neutrality doesn’t allow an authentic Ukrainian polity to emerge. It leaves Ukraine naked to Russian pressure.

What Obama doesn’t seem to understand is that American inaction creates a vacuum. His evacuation from Iraq consigned that country to Iranian hegemony, just as Obama’s writing off Syria invited in Russia, Iran and Hezbollah to reverse the tide of battle.

Putin fully occupies vacuums. In Ukraine, he keeps flaunting his leverage. He’s withdrawn the multibillion-dollar aid package with which he had pulled the now-deposed Ukrainian president away from the E.U. He has suddenly mobilized Russian forces bordering Ukraine. His health officials are even questioning the safety of Ukrainian food exports.

This is no dietary hygiene campaign. This is a message to Kiev: We can shut down your agricultural exports today, your natural gas supplies tomorrow. We can make you broke and we can make you freeze.

Kissinger once also said, “In the end, peace can be achieved only by hegemony or by balance of power.” Either Ukraine will fall to Russian hegemony or finally determine its own future—if America balances Russia’s power.

How? Start with a declaration of full-throated American support for Ukraine’s revolution. Follow that with a serious loan/aid package—say, replacing Moscow’s $15 billion—to get Ukraine through its immediate financial crisis (the announcement of a $1 billion pledge of U.S. loan guarantees is a good first step). Then join with the E.U. to extend a longer substitute package, preferably through the International Monetary Fund.

Secretary of State John Kerry says Russian intervention would be a mistake. Alas, any such declaration from this administration carries the weight of a feather. But better that than nothing. Better still would be backing these words with a naval flotilla in the Black Sea.

Whether anything Obama says or does would stop anyone remains questionable. But surely the West has more financial clout than Russia’s kleptocratic extraction economy that exports little but oil, gas and vodka.

The point is for the United States, leading Europe, to counter Russian pressure and make up for its blandishments/punishments until Ukraine is on firm financial footing.

Yes, $15 billion is a lot of money. But it’s less than one-half of one-tenth of 1 percent of the combined E.U. and U.S. GDP. And expending treasure is infinitely preferable to expending blood. Especially given the strategic stakes: Without Ukraine, there’s no Russian empire.

Putin knows that. Which is why he keeps ratcheting up the pressure. The question is, can this administration muster the counterpressure to give Ukraine a chance to breathe?

See http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-putins-ukraine-gambit/2014/02/27/93ca1b26-9fe0-11e3-9ba6-800d1192d08b_story.html (emphasis added); see also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/#comment-3693 (“American Leadership Is Missing”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/#comment-3864 (“Putin’s Tactics Are Easily And Accurately Compared To Hitler And Stalin”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/#comment-3765 (“The Defining Hour For Barack Obama And His Presidency”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/#comment-4010 (“Putin Must Be Terminated”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/#comment-4044 (“RUSSIA AND CHINA PUSH FOR CONTROL OF INTERNET”) and http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/03/26/poll-obamas-disapproval-rating-hits-a-new-high/ (“Poll: Obama’s disapproval rating hits a new high”) and http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/condi-rice-blasts-obama-weakness-leadership_786123.html (“Condi Rice Blasts Obama on Weakness, Leadership”) and http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/ba82430a-bb52-11e3-b2b7-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2y96Ze4oK (“It is striking how often European officials speak warmly of George W Bush’s personal style”)

How long will Barack Obama slumber?

. . .

It has been said that he and his advisers are worried about inflaming tensions with Putin. Is this the same group of spineless, so-called “leaders” who stood aside and offered Europe to Hitler on a silver platter—or their offspring?

The United States and the West did not invade Georgia, and kill Georgians. Putin did—right after he left the Olympics in Beijing. And he did the same thing after the Olympics in Sochi, by invading Ukraine.

He must be crushed, not treated as an equal.

America and the West allowed Hitler to rise, and the cost was enormous—in resources and destroyed-cities, and a whole generation effectively lost. It is said that history repeats itself, but this need not be true.

For once in his professional career, we might expect Barack Obama to rise to the occasion, rather than cower and run, like he has done in Iraq, Afghanistan, Benghazi, Syria and elsewhere.

Does the man have even an ounce of courage, or is he yellow through and through? This is his shining moment, which is fading fast. And we know that Sergeant Hagel was placed at the Pentagon to cut it down to size, pursuant to Obama’s orders.

The buck stops with Obama, and there is every indication that he is a coward. In fact, he has never done anything courageous in his lifetime. Why should we expect anything different now? Courage does not seem to be part of his character or core beliefs.

See, e.g., http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/

All of our other adversaries—such as China, North Korea, the Taliban, terrorist groups around the world—are watching intently. Are the former Eastern Bloc countries next for Putin? What is Europe’s future? Will the balance of power in the Pacific be upset, and will there be wars there too (e.g., China and Japan, North and South Korea, North Korea and Japan)?

See, e.g., http://news.yahoo.com/japan-orders-military-strike-north-korea-missile-launches-035401914–sector.html (“Japan orders military to strike any new North Korea missile launches”)

We live in a dynamic, ever-changing world. Sensing that Obama is impotent, our adversaries may act, and act decisively around the world. Obama’s cowardice, naïveté, and overarching narcissism will have given us this.

. . .

Putin is presiding over a Russia in decline, which is why he is so desperate with respect to Ukraine. The West could drive “Mother Russia” and him into obscurity and irrelevance, as essentially a Third World country, because Russia today has so many problems economically.

Krauthammer is correct, in spades:

[T]he West has more financial clout than Russia’s kleptocratic extraction economy that exports little but oil, gas and vodka.

Despite the damage that Barack Obama has done, and keeps on doing, Americans have less than three years to go of his presidency. Also, the United States is by far the strongest country in the world, both economically and militarily.

. . .

Unless Putin and Russian forces are removed from Crimea and the rest of Ukraine, and the United States shores up our allies’ defenses in all of Europe including the former Eastern Bloc countries, there may be genuine efforts to remove Barack Obama from the presidency by impeachment.

If so, the GOP will have two choices: join the fight, or cower too.

With almost three years left of his seemingly-failed presidency, the world is becoming much more dangerous than most Americans wish to comprehend.

Putin giving Obama the finger

3 03 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

The Defining Hour For Barack Obama And His Presidency

Destroy Putin

As discussed in earlier comments: “Does Barack Obama Have Any Guts At All, Or Is He Nothing More Than An Empty Suit?”

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/#comment-3723

The Wall Street Journal has said essentially the same things, in an editorial entitled “Putin Declares War,” which should be read and reread:

Vladimir Putin’s Russia seized Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula by force on the weekend and now has his sights on the rest of his Slavic neighbor. The brazen aggression brings the threat of war to the heart of Europe for the first time since the end of the Cold War. The question now is what President Obama and free Europe are going to do about it.

With a swiftness and organization that suggests the plans were hatched weeks ago, Mr. Putin is moving to carve up Ukraine after Russia’s satrap in Kiev, former President Viktor Yanukovych, was deposed in a popular democratic uprising. Russian troops have invaded Ukraine’s territory and now control all border crossings, ports and airports in Crimea. The Kremlin’s rubber-stamp parliament on Saturday approved Russian military intervention anywhere in Ukraine, which is nothing less than a declaration of war. The new government in Kiev responded by putting forces on high alert.

***

This is a crisis made entirely in Moscow. Speaking the day Mr. Yanukovych fled his palace in Kiev, Mr. Putin lied to President Obama about Russia’s actions and intentions. So did his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, in calls with Secretary of State John Kerry. If the blitzkrieg succeeds, Russia’s assault could end Ukraine’s 22-year history as a unitary independent state. The peaceful European order that the U.S. has paid such a high price to establish after the collapse of the Soviet Union is also in danger.

Entering his 15th year in power, Mr. Putin has never concealed his ambition to recreate Russia’s regional hegemony. He has replaced Soviet Marxism with ultra-nationalism, contempt for the West and a form of crony state capitalism. He bit off chunks of Georgia in 2008 and paid no price, but Ukraine’s 46 million people and territory on the border of NATO are a bigger prize. His updated Brezhnev Doctrine seeks to entrench authoritarianism in client states and prevent them from joining free Europe.

By Saturday, it was clear that a Russian-held Crimea is only stage one. The upper house of parliament in Moscow unanimously approved the declaration of war, and thousands of pro-Russian demonstrators turned out in the industrial cities of Kharkiv and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine to demand Moscow’s protection. As in Crimea on Thursday, armed men stormed local government buildings and replaced the Ukrainian flag with Russia’s.

The eastern regions of Ukraine are Russian speaking but they voted handily for Ukrainian independence in 1991. No serious separatist movement existed there before this weekend. The local business tycoons, who run politics there, had dropped their support for Mr. Yanukovych and backed the new national government. But Kiev has limited control over military units and police, making the east a tempting target for Mr. Putin to install his own men in power.

Ukraine borders four of America’s NATO allies, who are watching closely how the U.S. and the rest of Europe respond. The U.S. has for more than two decades championed Ukraine’s independence as crucial to European security. In exchange for Kiev’s difficult decision in 1994 to hand over its nuclear weapons to Russia, the U.S., along with Britain and Moscow, promised to assure Ukraine’s territorial integrity in the so-called Budapest Memorandum. Russia is now in breach of this agreement.

Ukraine has neglected its military, spending a little over 1% of GDP on defense, and would be an underdog against Russia. But with some 150,000 soldiers and a million reserves, it wouldn’t be a pushover. The interim government in Kiev, which was appointed by the elected parliament on Thursday, needs to establish control over the chain of command and mobilize forces. Any attempt to retake Crimea would likely fail, but the imminent threat is in the east.

Mr. Putin spoke by telephone to President Obama for 90 minutes on Saturday and was bluntly honest for a change. “In case of any further spread of violence to Eastern Ukraine and Crimea, Russia retains the right to protect its interests and the Russian-speaking population of those areas,” the Kremlin said in its readout of the conversation.

A White House statement on the call said the U.S. “condemns” the Crimean takeover and called it a “breach of international law.” That will have the Kremlin quaking. The only concrete U.S. action was to suspend participation in preparations for June’s G-8 summit in Sochi. Seriously? Mr. Obama and every Western leader ought to immediately pull the plug on that junket and oust Russia from the club of democracies.

There’s more the West can do, notwithstanding the media counsel of defeat that it “has few options.” Russia today is not the isolated Soviet Union, and its leaders and oligarchs need access to Western markets and capital. All trade and banking relationships with Russia ought to be reconsidered, and the U.S. should restrict the access of Russian banks to the global financial system. Aggressive investigations and leaks about the money the oligarchs and Mr. Putin hold in Western banks might raise the pressure in the Kremlin. The U.S. should also expand the list of Russian officials on the Magnitsky Act’s American visa ban and financial assets freeze, including Mr. Putin.

The U.S. can also deploy ships from the Europe-based Sixth Fleet into the Black Sea, and send the newly commissioned George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier to the eastern Mediterranean. NATO has a “distinctive partnership” with Kiev and in 2008 promised Ukraine that it could eventually join. It’s impractical and risky to bring Ukraine in now. But the alliance should do what it can to help Ukraine and certainly boot the Russian mission, a well-known den of spies, from NATO headquarters in Brussels and shut down the useless Russia-NATO Council.

Mr. Obama and the West must act, rather than merely threaten, because it’s clear Mr. Putin believes the American President’s words can’t be taken seriously. After the 2008 invasion of Georgia, President Obama pretended the problem was Dick Cheney and tried to “reset” relations with Moscow. Mr. Putin has defied the civilized world on Syria and Mr. Obama rewarded him by making Russia a partner in phony peace talks. Mr. Putin gave NSA leaker Edward Snowden asylum over U.S. objections, and he got away with that too.

***

In the brutal world of global power politics, Ukraine is in particular a casualty of Mr. Obama’s failure to enforce his “red line” on Syria. When the leader of the world’s only superpower issues a military ultimatum and then blinks, others notice. Adversaries and allies in Asia and the Middle East will be watching President Obama’s response now. China has its eyes on Japanese islands. Iran is counting on U.S. weakness in nuclear talks.

The Ukrainians can’t be left alone to face Russia, and the Kremlin’s annexation of Crimea can’t be allowed to stand. Ukraine must remain an independent state with its current borders intact, free to follow its democratic will to join the European Union and NATO if it desires. The world is full of revisionist powers and bad actors looking to exploit the opening created by Mr. Obama’s retreat from global leadership, and Mr. Putin is the leading edge of what could quickly become a new world disorder.

See http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304026804579413900968932702 (emphasis added)

This is the defining hour for Barack Obama and his presidency. It is time for him to act . . . NOT slumber or wobble.

It is time for the United States and the West to quit fooling around with Russia’s pygmy Putin, and shut down his country economically.

Putin is presiding over a Russia in decline, which is why he is so desperate with respect to Ukraine. This process of decline must be hastened and “helped” along.

The world is watching . . .

Also, there are reports that China may be supporting Putin’s “adventures” in Ukraine. China has severe economic problems too, and is very vulnerable.

See http://news.sky.com/story/1219922/russia-and-china-in-agreement-over-ukraine (“Russia And China ‘In Agreement’ Over Ukraine”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/china-is-americas-enemy-make-no-mistake-about-that/#comment-3651 (“US v China: Is This The New Cold War?”)

6 03 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

As Long As A Democrat Sits In The White House, America Will Become A Much More Dangerous Place

This is the conclusion of conservative pundit Ann Coulter:

It’s pointless to pay attention to foreign policy when a Democrat is president, unless you enjoy having your stomach in a knot. As long as a Democrat sits in the White House, America will be repeatedly humiliated, the world will become a much more dangerous place—and there’s absolutely nothing anybody can do about it. (Though this information might come in handy when voting for president, America!)

The following stroll down memory lane is but the briefest of summaries. . . . John F. Kennedy was in the White House for less than three years and, if you think he screwed a lot of hookers, just look what he did to our foreign policy.

Six months after becoming president, JFK had his calamitous meeting with Nikita Khrushchev in Vienna—a meeting The New York Times described as “one of the more self-destructive American actions of the Cold War, and one that contributed to the most dangerous crisis of the nuclear age.” (The Times admitted that a half-century later. At the time, the Newspaper of Record lied about the meeting.)

For two days, Khrushchev batted Kennedy around, leaving the president’s own advisers white-faced and shaken. Kennedy’s Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Nitze called the meeting “just a disaster.”

Khrushchev was delighted to discover that the U.S. president was so “weak.” A Russian aide said the American president seemed “very inexperienced, even immature.”

Seeing he was dealing with a naif, Khrushchev promptly sent missiles to Cuba. The Kennedy Myth Machine has somehow turned JFK’s handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis into a brilliant foreign policy coup. The truth is: (1) Russia would never have dared move missiles to Cuba had Khrushchev not realized that JFK was a nincompoop; and (2) it wasn’t a victory.

In exchange for Russia’s laughably empty threats about Cuba, JFK removed our missiles from Turkey—a major retreat. As Khrushchev put it in his memoirs: “It would have been ridiculous for us to go to war over Cuba—for a country 12,000 miles away. For us, war was unthinkable. We ended up getting exactly what we’d wanted all along, security for Fidel Castro’s regime and American missiles removed from Turkey.”

– LBJ:

Kennedy’s successor, Lyndon Johnson, famously escalated the war in Vietnam simply to prove that the Democrats could be trusted with national security.

As historian David Halberstam describes it, LBJ “would talk to his closest political aides about the McCarthy days, of how Truman lost China and then the Congress and the White House and how, by God, Johnson was not going to be the president who lost Vietnam and then the Congress and the White House.”

LBJ’s incompetent handling of that war allowed liberals to spend the next half-century denouncing every use of American military force as “another Vietnam.”

– CARTER:

Jimmy Carter warned Americans about their “inordinate fear of communism”. . . .

His most inspired strategic move was to abandon the Shah of Iran, a loyal U.S. ally, which gave rise to the global Islamofascist movement we’re still dealing with today. By allowing the Shah to be overthrown by the Ayatollah Khomeini in February 1979, Carter handed Islamic crazies their first state.

Before the end of the year, the Islamic lunatics had taken 52 Americans hostage in Tehran, where they remained for 444 days.

The hostages were released only minutes after Ronald Reagan’s inauguration for reasons succinctly captured in a Jeff MacNelly cartoon. It shows Khomeini reading a telegram aloud: “It’s from Ronald Reagan. It must be about one of the Americans in the Den of Spies, but I don’t recognize the name. It says ‘Remember Hiroshima.’”

– CLINTON:

Bill Clinton’s masterful handling of foreign policy was such a catastrophe that he had to deploy his national security adviser, Sandy Berger, to steal classified documents from the National Archives in 2003 to avoid their discovery by the 9/11 commission.

Twice, when Clinton was president, Sudan had offered to turn over bin Laden to the U.S. But, unfortunately, these offers came in early 1996 when Clinton was busy ejaculating on White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Clinton rebuffed Sudan’s offers.

According to Michael Scheuer, who ran the bin Laden unit at the CIA for many years, Clinton was given eight to 10 chances to kill or capture bin Laden but refused to act, despite bin Laden’s having murdered hundreds of Americans in terrorist attacks around the world. Would that one of those opportunities had arisen on the day of Clinton’s scheduled impeachment! Instead of pointlessly bombing Iraq, he might have finally taken out bin Laden.

– OBAMA:

When Obama took office, al Qaida had been routed in Iraq—from Fallujah, Sadr City and Basra. Muqtada al-Sadr—the Dr. Phil of Islamofascist radicalism—had waddled off in retreat to Iran. The Iraqis had a democracy, a miracle on the order of flush toilets in Afghanistan.

By Bush’s last year in office, monthly casualties in Iraq were coming in slightly below a weekend with Justin Bieber. In 2008, there were more than three times as many homicides in Chicago as U.S. troop deaths in the Iraq War. (Chicago: 509; Iraq: 155).

On May 30, The Washington Post reported: “CIA Director Michael V. Hayden now portrays (al-Qaida) as essentially defeated in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and on the defensive throughout much of the rest of the world. . . .” Even hysterics at The New York Times admitted that al-Qaida and other terrorist groups had nearly disappeared from Southeast Asia by 2008.

A few short years into Obama’s presidency—and al-Qaida is back! For purely political reasons, as soon as he became president, Obama removed every last troop from Iraq, despite there being Americans troops deployed in dozens of countries around the world.

In 2004, nearly 100 soldiers, mostly Marines, died in the battle to take Fallujah from al-Qaida. Today, al-Qaida’s black flag flies above Fallujah.

Bush won the war, and Obama gave it back.

Obama couldn’t be bothered with preserving America’s victory in Iraq. He was busy helping to topple a strong American ally in Egypt and a slavish American minion in Libya—in order to install the Muslim Brotherhood in those countries instead. (That didn’t work out so well for U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans murdered in Benghazi.)

So now, another Russian leader is playing cat-and-mouse with an American president—and guess who’s the mouse? Putin has taunted Obama in Iran, in Syria and with Edward Snowden. By now, Obama has become such an object for Putin’s amusement that the fastest way to get the Russians out of Crimea would be for Obama to call on Putin to invade Ukraine.

See http://www.humanevents.com/2014/03/05/crimea-river/ (emphasis added); see also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/10/04/john-f-kennedy-the-most-despicable-president-in-american-history/ (“John F. Kennedy: The Most Despicable President In American History”)

However, to be absolutely fair, the Republicans are not blameless either.

We have been through two wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the American people are “bone tired” of wars, and rightly so. Our economic and human treasures have been spent in those wars; and we have led when no other country in the world was capable of leading.

I opposed the war in Iraq because, like so many others, I believed Saddam had WMDs that would be used against our brilliant and courageous military forces, like he had used them against Iran and the Kurds. I did not believe the cost was worth it.

In Afghanistan, we should have destroyed the poppy crops from Day One, which give rise to Heroin trafficking that funds the brutal Taliban. What the Taliban have done to women and young girls has been nothing less than savagery.

In the case of Putin, he is an “old school” Stalinist who learned his trade well as a KGB operative. He must be viewed in this context, not as some Westernized Russian democrat, which he is not.

He only understands raw power; and the niceties of diplomacy are a sign of weakness for him. Like Hitler and Stalin before him, he preys on weakness. To him, Barack Obama is a coward, who can be cowed.

Perhaps Putin has misjudged Obama; and finally Obama may rise to the occasion. Certainly, we have the capabilities to do so.

See, e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures#Chart_by_country_or_organization; see also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/#comment-3765 (“The Defining Hour For Barack Obama And His Presidency“)

7 03 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

Putin’s Tactics Are Easily And Accurately Compared To Hitler And Stalin

Putin is Hitler

These are the beliefs of chess Grandmaster, former World Chess Champion, and Russian patriot Garry Kasparov in a Wall Street Journal article entitled, “Cut Off the Russian Oligarchs and They’ll Dump Putin”:

For the second time in six years, Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russian troops across an internationally recognized border to occupy territory. This fact must be stated plainly before any discussion of motives or consequences. Russian troops have taken Crimea and they are not leaving, despite the Ukrainian government’s protests. Five hundred kilometers southeast across the Black Sea, Russian soldiers still occupy parts of Georgia—South Ossetia and Abkhazia—where they have been since Mr. Putin’s 2008 invasion and de facto annexation.

Mr. Putin belongs to an exclusive club, along with Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Miloševic, as one of the very few leaders to invade a neighboring nation in the nuclear age. Such raw expansionist aggression has been out of fashion since the time of Adolf Hitler, who eventually failed, and Joseph Stalin, who succeeded. Stalin’s Red Army had its share of battlefield glory, but his real triumph came at the Yalta Conference in February 1945, three months before the end of the war in Europe. There Stalin bullied a feeble Franklin Roosevelt and a powerless Winston Churchill, redrawing the Polish borders and promising elections in Poland when he knew that the Communist government the Soviets were installing was there to stay.

Although it is a poignant coincidence, there is more to this look back to World War II than the fact that Yalta is located in Crimea. Mr. Putin’s tactics are easily, and accurately, compared to those of the Austrian Anschluss and the Nazi occupation and annexation of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia in 1938. There is the same rhetoric about protecting a threatened population, the same propaganda filled with lies, justifications, and accusations. Most of the Kremlin’s statements about Crimea could have been translated from German, with “Fatherland” replaced by “Motherland.” Mr. Putin is also following the Stalin model on Poland in Yalta: First invade, then negotiate. Crimea will be forced to hold a referendum on joining Russia in just 10 days, a vote on the Kremlin’s preferred terms, at the point of a gun.

Mr. Putin’s move in Crimea came just hours after now-former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych scrambled up his puppet strings from Kiev to his master’s hand in Russia. He left behind thousands of papers and a few palaces, evidence of the vast scale of his personal and political corruption. His ejection, bought in blood by the courageous people of Ukraine, made Mr. Putin look weak. Like any schoolyard bully or crime boss, he immediately found a way to look and feel tough again. The historically pivotal Crimean peninsula, with its large Russia-leaning population and geographic vulnerability (and a Russian naval base), was the obvious choice.

As I have said for years, it is a waste of time to attempt to discern deep strategy in Mr. Putin’s actions. There are no complex national interests in a dictator’s calculations. There are only personal interests, the interests of those close to him who keep him in power, and how best to consolidate that power. Without real elections or a free media, the only way a dictator can communicate with his subjects is through propaganda, and the only way he can validate his power is with regular shows of force.

Inside Russia, that force comes with repression against dissidents and civil rights that only accelerated during the distraction of the Sochi Olympics. Abroad, force in the form of military action, trade sanctions or natural-gas extortion is applied wherever Mr. Putin thinks he can get away with it.

On Monday, the markets plummeted in response to the news that Russia had invaded a European nation. Just a few days later, as cautious statements emanated from the White House and the European Union, most markets had rebounded fully. This was due to an illusion of a resolution, as if it matters little to the fate of the global economy that a huge nuclear power can casually snap off a piece of a neighboring country.

Thanks to their unfettered access to Western markets, Mr. Putin and his gang have exploited Western engagement with Russia in a way that the Soviet Union’s leaders never dreamed of. But this also means that they are vulnerable in a way the Soviets were not. If the West punishes Russia with sanctions and a trade war, that might be effective eventually, but it would also be cruel to the 140 million Russians who live under Mr. Putin’s rule. And it would be unnecessary. Instead, sanction the 140 oligarchs who would dump Mr. Putin in the trash tomorrow if he cannot protect their assets abroad. Target their visas, their mansions and IPOs in London, their yachts and Swiss bank accounts. Use banks, not tanks. Thursday, the U.S. announced such sanctions, but they must be matched by the European Union to be truly effective. Otherwise, Wall Street’s loss is London’s gain, and Mr. Putin’s divide-and-conquer tactics work again.

If Mr. Putin succeeds—and if there is no united Western response, he will have succeeded regardless of whether or not Russian troops stay in Crimea—the world, or at least the world order, as we know it will have ended. The post-1945 universe of territorial integrity has been ripped asunder and it will have a far-reaching impact no matter what the markets and pundits say over the next few days.

For those who ask what the consequences will be of inaction by the free world over Ukraine, I say you are looking at it. This is the price for inaction in Georgia, for inaction in Syria. It means the same thing happening again and again until finally it cannot be ignored. The price of inaction against a dictator’s aggression is always having a next time. And in this market, the longer you wait, the higher that price gets.

See http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303824204579422971651210180 (emphasis added); see also http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/08/business/why-russia-cant-afford-another-cold-war.html?hp (“Why Russia Can’t Afford Another Cold War“) and http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/06/world/europe/us-seeks-to-reduce-ukraines-reliance-on-russia-for-natural-gas.html (“U.S. Hopes Boom in Natural Gas Can Curb Putin“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/#comment-3541 (“How Long Can Killer Putin Figure Skate While The Ice Beneath Him Melts?“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/#comment-3300 (“$60 Oil Will Finish Russia’s Brutal Putin Regime“)

Of course Garry Kasparov is correct; and he has been courageous in opposing the pygmy Putin.

Now, the toughest measures possible must be adopted to crush Putin—or the West will have much more serious problems ahead with him, and we will rue the day that we did not stop him now.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/#comment-3765 (“The Defining Hour For Barack Obama And His Presidency“) (see also the article itself, as well as the other comments beneath it); see also http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-obamas-inaction-enables-putins-grab-for-ukraine/2014/03/06/c4222690-a55f-11e3-84d4-e59b1709222c_story.html (The Washington Post’s Charles Krauthammer: “Would Putin have lunged for Ukraine if he didn’t have such a clueless adversary [in Obama]? No one can say for sure. But it certainly made Putin’s decision easier”) and http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21598639-west-can-punish-putins-russia-its-belligerence-ukraine-only-if-it-prepared (“Putin has trampled over norms that buttress the international order and he has established dangerous precedents that go far beyond Ukraine“) and http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2014/03/who-will-protect-the-crimean-tatars.html (“WHO WILL PROTECT THE CRIMEAN TATARS?”—”[T]hey are punishing [Crimean Tatars] because we do not want Putin here“)

The parallels between Hitler and Putin are real, not imagined. Hitler used the Olympics in Berlin as a “cover” for his atrocities. Putin left the Olympics in Beijing and went immediately to the border with Georgia, and personally oversaw Russia’s aggression against Georgia and the killing of Georgians.

Also, he left the Olympics in Sochi and began his aggression against Ukraine and the killing of Ukrainians. Like Hitler’s “brownshirts,” Putin has used Russians in uniforms that bear no insignias to threaten and attack Ukrainians.

Just listen to the fears and pleas of Ukrainians today, and you will hear the echoes of Hitler’s victims.

See, e.g., http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2014/03/the-abuse-of-ukraines-best-known-poet.html (“THE ABUSE OF UKRAINE’S BEST-KNOWN POET”—”Armed with bats, the pro-Russian [agitators, who many observers suspect were bussed in from Russia,] attacked the mostly college-age activists who had occupied the building on Freedom Square [in Kiev]. One of the occupiers was [Serhiy Zhadan]. . . . As the attackers were hitting him, the writer said, they told him to kneel and kiss the Russian flag. ‘I told them to go fuck themselves,’ Zhadan wrote, on his Facebook page”)

. . .

A “protracted irregular war” might include the destruction of Russia’s pipelines through Ukraine, by those opposed to Putin’s aggression—just as we assisted the various mujahideen groups in Afghanistan, in their fight against the Soviet Union’s aggression.

America is in the midst of an energy renaissance, and is becoming the largest energy producer in the world once again. It is time to use such leverage and other methods to aid our allies such as Ukraine and Europe, and bury the pygmy Putin economically.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-economic-tsunami-continues-its-relentless-and-unforgiving-advance-globally/#comment-3226 (“Exporting American Oil”)

. . .

It is time for the various regions of Russia to have internationally-supervised referenda to determine which “government” to associate with: the crazed despot Putin’s Stalinist regime in Moscow, or regional or other governments. It can start with Chechnya, where the vote to disassociate from Russia may be overwhelming.

All the other alienated regions—and ethnic and religious groups—can hold referenda too, choosing to disassociate from Moscow and perhaps associate with the EU or China, or whomever. Barack Obama and John Kerry can help this process along (e.g., by bringing it up at the United Nations).

16 03 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

Obama Has His Munich Moment With Putin And Crimea

Obama and Putin

This is the tile of an article by Michael Goodwin in the New York Post:

Back in September, John Kerry told Washington Democrats that America faced a “Munich moment” in deciding how to respond to Syria’s use of chemical weapons. He called Bashar al-Assad a “two-bit dictator” who would commit more atrocities unless he was stopped.

Right idea, wrong war. The real Munich moment of our times is taking place in Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin is on the march, and there’s no telling how far he’ll go if he’s allowed to gobble up Crimea without paying a serious price. That is the lesson of Munich, the infamous agreement in 1938 when Britain’s Neville Chamberlain struck a deal with Adolf Hitler that Chamberlain claimed would lead to “peace for our time.”

Virtually every president faces a Munich moment, usually more than one. It is a test of courage and wisdom over hope and rationalizations. More often than not, it involves Russia. From Stalin and Khrushchev in Soviet days to Putin now, the Bear is either asleep or ravenously hungry.

Now it is Barack Obama’s turn to face the test. Syria was a pop quiz, and we are about to see if he learned anything from his failure to lead after his “red line” pledge.

So far, his resolve remains an unanswered question. And that fits a troubling pattern.

Even as Russia invaded Georgia in 2008, Obama campaigned on the idea that the world automatically would be a better place when he replaced George W. Bush. It was a naïve and self-aggrandizing assumption, yet it was the basis of his “reset” approach to Russia.

Over several years, he could point to modest Russian cooperation on various fronts, but it came at too high a price. Some European allies believe he sacrificed their security to appease Putin.

Even during his re-election campaign in 2012, Obama mocked Mitt Romney’s observation that Russia remained our top geopolitical foe. And he blinked over Kerry’s “Munich moment” in Syria by letting Putin broker the deal that kept Assad in power in exchange for a promise to destroy his chemical weapons. The deal collapsed, and the slaughter continues.

Most important, Russia has been dragging its feet on Iran, giving the impression it wouldn’t mind if the mullahs got the bomb.

The invasion of Crimea should have removed any doubts about whether Russia could be trusted as a partner, yet Obama resisted recognizing the historic parallels. The president’s initial reaction was sleepy, his first public comments conveying a don’t-bother-me-with-distractions attitude. To underscore his indifference, he went to a partisan gab-fest before going on a golfing vacation.

In recent days, the lack of seriousness finally seems to be giving way to a realization that Obama faces a crisis of the first order. Yet what he will do, if anything, remains far from clear.

Part of the problem is that Western Europeans are assuming their usual quisling positions by resisting any meaningful financial and economic penalties. The scenario proves how corrosive the lack of American leadership can be to a stable world. Appeasement is contagious.

Meanwhile, the outcome of the referendum in Crimea is a foregone conclusion and sets the stage for Russian annexation. Obama and Kerry warn vaguely of “consequences,” but Putin is dismissive and seems more likely to extend his reach into eastern Ukraine than to back off. No wonder our allies in Eastern Europe, having lived under the Soviet yoke, are nervous.

They know the stakes. We will learn soon whether Obama does, for his Munich moment has arrived.

See http://nypost.com/2014/03/15/obama-has-his-munich-moment-with-putin-and-crimea/ (emphasis added)

As I have written above:

This is the defining hour for Barack Obama and his presidency. It is time for him to act . . . NOT slumber or wobble.

It is time for the United States and the West to quit fooling around with Russia’s pygmy Putin, and shut down his country economically.

Putin is presiding over a Russia in decline, which is why he is so desperate with respect to Ukraine. This process of decline must be hastened and “helped” along.

The world is watching . . .

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/#comment-3765 (“The Defining Hour For Barack Obama And His Presidency”); see also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/#comment-4030 (“Vladimir Putin’s Goals Reach Far Beyond The Crimean Peninsula”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/#comment-4010 (“Putin Must Be Terminated”)

17 03 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

RUSSIA AND CHINA PUSH FOR CONTROL OF INTERNET

Russia and China control of Internet

Our two major adversaries and/or enemies are trying to step into the breach of American weakness, created by Barack Obama, and control the Internet.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/ and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/china-is-americas-enemy-make-no-mistake-about-that/ (see also the comments beneath both articles)

Both countries have demonstrated their willingness and ability to manipulate the Internet in their own countries for political and strategic advantages. Imagine the damage they will do to the United States and the West if they control the Internet in any way.

Brendan Sasso has written for the National Journal:

The United States is planning to give up its last remaining authority over the technical management of the Internet.

The Commerce Department announced Friday that it will give the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), an international nonprofit group, control over the database of names and addresses that allows computers around the world to connect to each other.

Administration officials say U.S. authority over the Internet address system was always intended to be temporary and that ultimate power should rest with the “global Internet community.”

But some fear that the Obama administration is opening the door to an Internet takeover by Russia, China, or other countries that are eager to censor speech and limit the flow of ideas.

“If the Obama Administration gives away its oversight of the Internet, it will be gone forever,” wrote Daniel Castro, a senior analyst with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

Castro argued that the world “could be faced with a splintered Internet that would stifle innovation, commerce, and the free flow and diversity of ideas that are bedrock tenets of world’s biggest economic engine.”

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican, called the announcement a “hostile step” against free speech.

“Giving up control of ICANN will allow countries like China and Russia that don’t place the same value in freedom of speech to better define how the internet looks and operates,” she said in a statement.

Critics warn that U.S. control of the domain system has been a check against the influence of authoritarian regimes over ICANN, and in turn the Internet.

But other advocacy groups, businesses, and lawmakers have praised the administration’s announcement—while also saying they plan to watch the transition closely.

The Internet was invented in the United States, and the country has always had a central role in its management. But as the Internet has grown, other countries have demanded a greater voice. Edward Snowden’s leaks about U.S. surveillance have only exacerbated that tension.

China, Russia, Iran, and dozens of other countries are already pushing for more control over the Internet through the International Telecommunications Union, a United Nations agency.

The transition to full ICANN control of the Internet’s address system won’t happen until October 2015, and even then, there likely won’t be any sudden changes. ICANN was already managing the system under a contract from the Commerce Department.

But having the ultimate authority over the domain name system was the most important leverage the United States had in debates over the operation of the Internet. It was a trump card the U.S. could play if it wanted to veto an ICANN decision or fend off an international attack on Internet freedom.

The Obama administration is keenly aware of the potential for an authoritarian regime to seize power over the Internet. ICANN will have to submit a proposal for the new management system to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, an agency within the Commerce Department.

“I want to make clear that we will not accept a proposal that replaces the NTIA role with a government-led or an intergovernmental solution,” Larry Strickling, the head of NTIA, said Friday.

Fadi Chehadé, the president and CEO of ICANN, said he will work with governments, businesses, and nonprofits to craft a new oversight system.

“All stakeholders deserve a voice in the management and governance of this global resource as equal partners,” he said.

Verizon, AT&T, Cisco, and other business groups all issued statements applauding the administration’s move. Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller argued that the transition will help ensure the Internet remains free and open.

Sen. John Thune, the top Republican on the Commerce Committee, said he will watch the process carefully, but that he trusts “the innovators and entrepreneurs more than the bureaucrats—whether they’re in D.C. or Brussels.”

The transition will reassure the global community that the U.S. is not trying to manipulate the Internet for its own economic or strategic advantage, according to Cameron Kerry, a fellow at the Brookings Institution and the former acting Commerce secretary.

Steve DelBianco, the executive director of NetChoice, a pro-business tech group, said the U.S. was bound to eventually give up its role overseeing Internet addresses. But he said lawmakers and the Obama administration will have to ensure that ICANN will still be held accountable before handing the group the keys to the address system in 2015.

DelBianco warned that without proper safeguards, Russian President Vladimir Putin or another authoritarian leader could pressure ICANN to shut down domains that host critical content.

“That kind of freedom of expression is something that the U.S. has carefully protected,” DelBianco said in an interview. “Whatever replaces the leverage, let’s design it carefully.”

See http://www.nationaljournal.com/tech/when-u-s-steps-back-will-russia-and-china-control-the-internet-20140317 (emphasis added); see also http://www.nationaljournal.com/tech/republicans-fear-obama-will-let-russia-seize-internet-power-20140402 (“Republicans Fear Obama Will Let Russia Seize Internet Power”)

We are on the verge of war with Russia’s dictator-for-life Putin; and China is challenging the United States and our allies in the Pacific. Is there any reason to trust either country?

At a bare minimum, freedom of speech is at stake. Equally at risk are our national security and Internet commerce.

6 04 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

My Twilight Years—Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood

As I enjoy my twilight years, I am often struck by the inevitability that the party must end. There will be a clear, cold morning when there isn’t any “more.” No more hugs, no more special moments to celebrate together, no more phone calls just to chat.

It seems to me that one of the important things to do before that morning comes, is to let everyone of your family and friends know that you care for them by finding simple ways to let them know your heartfelt beliefs and the guiding principles of your life so they can always say, “He was my friend, and I know where he stood.”

So, just in case I’m gone tomorrow, please know this.

I voted against that incompetent, lying, flip-flopping, insincere, double-talking, radical socialist, terrorist excusing, bleeding heart, narcissistic, scientific and economic moron currently in the White House!

Participating in a gun buyback program because you think that criminals have too many guns is like having yourself castrated because you think your neighbors have too many kids.

Regards,
Clint

It is fair to say that the Obama administration makes the Nixon administration look like a bunch of saints by comparison.

And we have almost three years to go of Obama and his motley crew of discontents and zealots.

Obama smoking pot

[Note: This message has been attributed to Clint Eastwood. God only knows whether that is true or not]

14 04 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

BARACK OBAMA’S COWARDLY BETRAYAL OF UKRAINE

Barack Obama is a coward

Barack Obama is not black. He is yellow through and through.

For once in his professional career, we might expect Obama to rise to the occasion, rather than cower and run—like he has done in Iraq, Afghanistan, Benghazi, Syria and elsewhere.

He and his lackeys are rank amateurs on the global stage. While they try to bully and intimidate their foes domestically—which apparently some of them learned in Chicago—they are lightweights internationally, and the world knows this in spades.

If Obama had any guts at all, he would have gone to Kyiv himself when he was in Europe, to demonstrate solidarity with the courageous Ukrainians, like Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy went to Berlin.

The United States and the West are at a historic juncture, not seen since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the “end” of the Cold War. Sensing that Barack Obama is impotent, Putin has decided to act now, with almost three years remaining of the failed Obama presidency.

Emboldened by Putin’s success, all of our other adversaries may act, and act decisively—such as China, North Korea, the Taliban, and terrorist groups around the world. Are the former Eastern Bloc countries next for Putin? What is Europe’s future? Will the balance of power in the Pacific be upset, and will there be wars there too (e.g., China and Japan, North and South Korea, North Korea and Japan)?

Obama’s cowardice, naïveté, and overarching narcissism will have given us this.

Indeed, he has never done anything courageous in his lifetime. Why should we expect something different now? Courage does not seem to be part of his character or core beliefs.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/#comment-3723 (“Does Barack Obama Have Any Guts At All, Or Is He Nothing More Than An Empty Suit?”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/ (see also the articles themselves, as well as the other comments beneath them)

While some people will scoff at the comparison, the world stood by in the 1930s while Hitler moved through Europe. One cannot ignore his Olympics in Berlin, and the deaths and destruction that followed. Twice now, Putin has used the Olympics of the 21st Century as a “cover” for his naked aggression.

First, he left the games in Beijing and went directly to the border with Georgia, and launched his aggression against Georgia and the killing of Georgians—using a conscript army and Soviet-era equipment.

Now, he has left the Olympics in Sochi and begun his aggression in Ukraine. He cannot be humored or pandered to, any more than Hitler. He must be crushed, once and for all, so the world will never forget what happens to crazed despots and their Stalinist regimes.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/#comment-4010 (“Putin Must Be Terminated”)

The Wall Street Journal‘s Matthew Kaminski—a member of its editorial board—has written a fine article, which is worth reading:

Kiev, Ukraine

‘We’re the chosen generation,” says Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Ukraine’s interim prime minister. He’s referring to all those who made this winter’s European revolution. For the first time since 1654, when Ukrainian Cossacks formed a fateful alliance with Moscow against Polish rulers, Ukrainians are heading back West.

Their timing is terrible. Two decades ago, when the Berlin Wall fell, the West embraced another generation of Eastern Europeans. Ukraine has gotten a different welcoming committee. An economically feeble European Union gorges on Russian energy and dirty money while lecturing Ukraine on Western values but refusing to defend it. Asking for Washington’s help against Russian attack, Kiev finds a man “chosen” in the past two presidential elections to get America out of the world’s trouble spots.

Vladimir Putin sees a West made soft by money, led by weak men and women, unwilling to make sacrifices to defend their so-called ideals. In the Ukrainian crisis, the image fits. Russia’s president is many things, but most of all he is resolute. He took the EU and America’s measure and annexed Crimea last month at minimal cost. Ignoring Western pleas for “de-escalation,” Russia this weekend invaded eastern Ukraine. Just don’t look for video of T-72 tanks rolling across the borders, not yet at least.

Russian intelligence and special forces on Saturday directed local crime bosses and thugs in coordinated attacks on police stations and other government buildings in towns across eastern Ukraine. These men were dressed and equipped like the elite Russian special forces (“little green men,” as Ukrainians called them) who took Crimea. Ukrainian participants got the equivalent of $500 to storm and $40 to occupy buildings, according to journalists who spoke to them. Fighting broke out on Sunday in Slovyansk, a sleepy town in the working-class Donbas region that hadn’t seen any “pro-Russia” protests. A Ukrainian security officer was killed.

Kiev is on a war footing. Radio commercials ask for donations to the defense budget by mobile-telephone texts. The government’s decision to cede Crimea without firing a shot cost the defense minister his job and wasn’t popular. Western praise for Ukrainians’ “restraint” got them nothing. The fight for Ukraine’s east will be different.

This invasion was stealthy enough to let Brussels and Washington not use the i-word in their toothless statements. The EU’s high representative, Catherine Ashton, called herself “gravely concerned” and commended Ukraine’s “measured response.” There was no mention of sanctions or blame. The U.S. State Department on Saturday said that John Kerry warned his diplomatic counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, that “if Russia did not take steps to de-escalate in eastern Ukraine and move its troops back from Ukraine’s border, there would be additional consequences.”

By now, the Ukrainians ought to have seen enough to know that they’re on their own. Moscow has reached the same conclusion. These perceptions of the West are shaping events.

A month ago, the EU sanctioned 21 marginal Russian officials and quickly tried to get back to business as usual. On Friday, the U.S. added to its sanctions list seven Russian citizens and one company, all in Crimea. What a relief for Moscow’s elites, who were speculating in recent days about who might end up on the list. Slovyansk fell the next day.

Any revolution brings a hangover. Ukrainians expected problems: an economic downturn, some of the old politics-as-usual in Kiev, including fisticuffs last week in parliament, and trouble from Russia. Abandonment by the West is the unexpected blow. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians fought, and 100 died, for their chance to join the world’s democracies.

As an institution, the EU always found excuses to deny Ukraine the prospect of membership in the bloc one day. But Bill Clinton and George W. Bush never recognized Russian domination over Ukraine. Billions were spent—Kiev was the third-largest recipient of U.S. aid in the 1990s—and American promises were made to protect Ukraine’s sovereignty. In return, Ukraine took active part in NATO discussions and missions, sending thousands of troops to the Balkans and Iraq.

When Russia invaded Crimea and massed 40,000 or more troops in the east, Ukraine turned to an old friend, the United States, and asked for light arms, antitank weapons, intelligence help and nonlethal aid. The Obama administration agreed to deliver 300,000 meals-ready-to-eat. As this newspaper reported Friday, military transport planes were deemed too provocative for Russia, so the food was shipped by commercial trucks. The administration refused Kiev’s requests for intelligence-sharing and other supplies, lethal or not.

Boris Tarasiuk, Ukraine’s former foreign minister, barely disguises his anger. He says: “We’ve not seen the same reaction from the U.S.” as during Russia’s 2008 attack on Georgia. U.S. Navy warships were deployed off the Georgian Black Sea coast. Large Air Force transport planes flew into Tbilisi with emergency humanitarian supplies. But who really knew for sure what was on board the planes? That was the point. Russian troops on the road to the Georgian capital saw them above and soon after turned back. The Bush administration dropped the ball on follow-up sanctions but may have saved Georgia.

By contrast, the Obama administration seems to think that pre-emptive concessions will pacify Mr. Putin. So the president in March ruled out U.S. military intervention in Ukraine. Maybe, but why say so? Late last month at a news conference in Brussels, Mr. Obama also openly discouraged the idea of Georgia or Ukraine joining NATO.

The next diplomatic “off ramp” touted by the Obama administration will be the negotiations involving Russia, Ukraine, the EU and the U.S. scheduled for later this week. Petro Poroshenko, the leading Ukrainian presidential candidate, tells me that these “talks for the sake of talks” send “a very wrong signal” about the West’s commitment to sanctions. It’s a case of the blind faith in “diplomacy” undermining diplomacy. See the Obama record on Syria for the past three years.

The West looks scared of Russia, which encourages Mr. Putin’s bullying. But on the Ukrainian side, the sense of abandonment brings unappreciated consequences. Ukraine’s political elites have taken into account that Russia could reimpose its will—perhaps that anticorruption law demanded by the EU isn’t so necessary after all?

While millions of Ukrainians have united against Russia, out in the east of the country many people are fence-sitters. The fight there, as in Crimea, won’t be over any genuine desire to rejoin Russia. Before last month, polls in Crimea and eastern Ukraine put support for separatists in single digits. But the locals’ historical memory teaches them to respect force and side with winners. Left to fend for itself by the West, Ukraine looks like a loser to them, notes Kiev academic Andreas Umland.

The U.S. Army won’t save Slovyansk. But Ukraine expects and deserves America’s support by every other means that Washington has refused so far. Betrayal is an ugly word and an uglier deed. Europe and the U.S. will pay dearly for it in Ukraine.

See http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304117904579499762012132306 (“The West Leaves Ukraine to Putin”) (emphasis added); see also http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/businesslatestnews/10766324/Russias-bond-market-is-Achilles-Heel-as-showdown-with-West-escalates.html (“Russia’s bond market is Achilles Heel as tension with West escalates”)

Putin’s Russia is very weak today, and now is the time to bring him to his knees. Crimea and Ukraine must become his abyss, or far far worse. He is a malignancy that must be excoriated.

Obama and G7

16 04 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

Obama Fans Racial Hatreds

In an editorial entitled, “Coalition of the Disappointed”—and subtitled, “Obama fires up racial and gender resentments to get out the vote”—the Wall Street Journal notes:

You can tell it’s an election year because so many noncrises are suddenly urgent priorities. Real median household income is still lower than it was in 2007, the smallest share of Americans is working since 1978, and the Russians are marching west, but Democrats are training fire on race, gender and the grievances of identity politics.

“We have this congenital disease, which is in midterm elections we don’t vote at the same rates,” President Obama said at a Houston fundraiser the other day. He means that the Obama Democrats are now what they call the “coalition of the ascendent,” made up of minorities, young people, single women and affluent, college-educated cultural liberals. The problem is that this year they may be a coalition of the disappointed, so Democrats are trying to scare them to the polls with pseudo-controversies.

Take last week’s East Room reception for feminist celebrity Lilly Ledbetter, when Mr. Obama declared that “today the average full-time working woman earns just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns; for African American women, Latinas, it’s even less. And in 2014, that’s an embarrassment. It is wrong.” He’s right that it’d be wrong, except he knows this isn’t close to true.

The “pay gap” is the ratio between median earnings for men and women, according to Census Bureau data. But adjust for hours worked, occupation, decisions about marriage and children, education and risk, and equal work means equal pay. The war on women is really a war on meaningful statistics.

To wit, applying the same broad median-earnings standard to the White House shows that female staffers make only 88 cents on the dollar of their male counterparts. The White House should indict itself for disparate-impact bias. Spokesman Jay Carney defended the hornet’s nest of sexism where he works by insisting, “That the problem exists in a lot of places only reinforces the need to fix it.”

So how’s that working out? Readers may remember the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act that was the first bill Mr. Obama signed in January 2009. The measure was little more than a trial lawyer payoff, but Mr. Obama called it “a simple fix to ensure fundamental fairness” and end the injustice of “women across this country still earning just 78 cents for every dollar men earn.” Five years later, they’ve lost a penny by his own reckoning.

Still, women don’t have it as bad as Attorney General Eric Holder, who in a speech last week departed from his prepared remarks to feel sorry for himself after a testy House hearing. “What Attorney General has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?” he asked. “What President has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?”

Mr. Holder should recall the treatment of his predecessor Alberto Gonzales before implying that his critics are racist, but then he sees Jim Crow everywhere. In his speech before Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, he said the right to vote faces “unprecedented, unwarranted, ugly and divisive adversity.”

Some 34 states now require voters to show some form of government-issued photo identification, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, up from zero in 2006. The states say such rules uphold public confidence in the integrity of the ballot.

And if the states are secretly trying to suppress minority turnout, they’re doing a lousy job. The Census reports that the black voting rate rose 13 percentage points from 1996 to 2012. At 66.2% black participation in 2012 surpassed the rate for non-Hispanic whites (64.1%).

Yet every Democrat seems to have received the white supremacist conspiracy memo. Last week Nancy Pelosi said at a news conference that “I think race has something to do with the fact that they are not bringing up an immigration bill. I’ve heard them say to the Irish, ‘If it was you, it would be easy.’” Yes, the Irish. Steve Israel of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee added that “elements” of the GOP are “animated by racism.”

This color-by-numbers strategy may prove a tougher sell for young adults, who are among the biggest losers of the Obama era. The millennials (those age 18 to 33) are the first generation since World War II to be poorer and more jobless than their parents at the same stage of life, according to the Pew Research Center. In 2012 Mitt Romney won a majority of voters who entered the electorate (i.e., turned 18) during Mr. Obama’s first term, reports political scientist John Sides.

Still, student loan debt has swelled to about $1.2 trillion, and interest rates on federal bonds are likely to climb this July, so look for Mr. Obama to promise one more refinancing discount. Other millenials can console themselves with free birth control, even if ObamaCare forces them to pay artificially higher premiums to subsidize their elders.

***

Transparent cynicism is the lifeblood of politics, but it’s nonetheless notable that the only way Democrats think they can win is by dividing the electorate into blocs and inflaming racial and other tensions. Governing so far to the left has polarized U.S. politics, and now the party of the government status quo is deliberately deepening the national divide because they think that is the only way to save the at-risk population that is the Senate Democratic majority.

All this is more than a country mile away from the era of political comity that Mr. Obama promised in 2008. America’s largest problems don’t have an ethnicity or gender, and most of them could be ameliorated with faster economic growth that would benefit everyone. Sadly, the liberal strategy of cultivating resentment will only get worse as the year drags on.

See http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303663604579501572356272540

There should not be any doubts that Barack Obama is a racist.

If you have a modicum of doubt, please read his book “Dreams from My Father,” which sets forth his core beliefs in his own words. It provides a roadmap to how he has been governing, and what we can expect during the remaining years of his presidency.

The book is shocking, and I read it twice after the 2008 election, to learn about our new president. I took copious notes and converted them into an article, and tried to be as objective as possible.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/

The book is shocking to this day; and every American who wants to understand our president should read it.

16 04 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

WORLD WAR III

World War III-Drudge

Has it begun already?

Is this what Barack Obama’s betrayal of Ukraine thus far has given us? Will he go down in history as the Neville Chamberlain of our times, who handed Crimea, Ukraine and more to Russia’s Putin without a fight, like Hitler was appeased? Will Obama be viewed by history as a coward, a racist and a liar—and much much worse?

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/#comment-4422 (“BARACK OBAMA’S COWARDLY BETRAYAL OF UKRAINE”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/ (“Is Barack Obama A Racist?”) and http://washingtonexaminer.com/poll-most-americans-believe-obama-lies-on-important-issues/article/2547367 (“Poll: Most Americans believe Obama lies on important issues”)

Both Drudge and Edward Lucas—writing for the UK’s Daily Mail—have raised the specter of World War III, having begun already with Putin’s aggression, like Hitler before him. Lucas states:

Deep in the flat and featureless landscape of eastern Ukraine, it is all too ­possible that the outline of World War III is taking shape.

Whipped up by the Kremlin ­propaganda machine and led by Russian ­military intelligence, armed men are erecting road blocks, storming police stations and ripping down the country’s flag.

They are demolishing not just their own country—bankrupt, ill-run and beleaguered—but also the post-war order that has kept most of Europe and us, here in Britain, safe and free for decades.

Vladimir Putin is striking at the heart of the West.

His target is our inability to work with allies in defence against common threats. The profoundly depressing fact is that the events of the past few months, as Russia has annexed the Crimea and ­suppressed opposition in Ukraine, have shown the West to be divided, humiliated and powerless in the face of these land grabs.

We are soon to face a bleak choice. We can chose to surrender any responsibility we have to protect Ukraine and the Baltic states—almost certainly Putin’s next target—from further Russian incursion. Or we can mount a last-ditch attempt to deter Russia from furthering its imperial ambitions.

If we do choose to resist Putin, we will risk a terrifying military escalation, which I do not think it an exaggeration to say could bring us to the brink of nuclear war.

Putin knows that. And he believes we will choose surrender. For the real story of recent events in Ukraine is not about whether that country has a free-trade deal with Brussels or gets its gas from Moscow.

It is about brute power. It is about whether Putin’s Russia—a rogue state on Europe’s doorstep—can hold its neighbours to ­ransom, and whether we have the will to resist him. So far the answer to the first question is yes. And to the second a bleak no.

The Russian leader believes the collapse of the Soviet Union was a ‘geopolitical catastrophe’. He believes Russia was stripped of its empire by the West’s chicanery. And quite simply, he wants it back.

When the Soviet Union was ­dissolved in 1991, the former captive nations of Eastern Europe scrambled into Nato and the protection it offered as fast as they could.

But the bitter truth is that Russia did not reform its ambitions in 1991. The Kremlin has always retained its imperialist outlook.

While modern Germany has ­forsworn militarism and empire, and is liked and admired even by countries such as Poland, which suffered horribly at Hitler’s hands, Russia has not.

Putin believes its historic destiny gives Russia the right to seize land, intimidate and blockade its neighbours. The Russian leader sees Ukraine not as a real country, just a territory, and one he is determined to dominate.

First he took ­Crimea. Now he has launched an operation in the east and south of Ukraine.

Russian troops are prowling the border as the Ukrainian authorities launch a desperate attempt to regain control of government buildings and police stations in key ­cities that have been seized and occupied in recent days.

Only yesterday it was reported that between four and 11 people had been killed as Ukrainian troops re-took Kramatorsk ­airfield from pro-Russian forces.

Putin has presented the Ukrainian leaders with an impossible choice. Either they consent to the dismemberment of their country. Or they fight a war they cannot win.

Ukraine’s ill-trained, ill-equipped and ill-led soldiers are quite unsuited to deal with the fraught challenge facing them.

Any bloodshed against a single Russian soldier will give Putin a pretext to use his military might. For her part, Russia has played a brutally clever game. She has ­deliberately sought to humiliate and destabilise Ukraine.

Now Putin can claim his soldiers must be allowed to intervene because the very social disorder his outriders have engineered demonstrates that the authorities cannot maintain order.

The hypocrisy is breath-taking. But the Ukraine adventure is ­stoking a patriotic frenzy at home which ­distracts the public from his regime’s incompetence and thievery.

But the biggest benefit to the ­Russian president lies abroad. He makes no secret of his hatred for the West. He is contemptuous of, yet fears, our soft power. He resents the laws, liberty and prosperity that our citizens enjoy. They throw into bleak contrast the dismal life that his own ­corrupt and incompetent rule offers Russians.

He also despises our weakness. He sees a Europe and America that talk tough but have failed to ­provide a united response to the growing catastrophe. Yes, we talk a good game—Foreign Secretary William Hague has called for ‘a clear and united international response’—but our deeds do not match our words, and Putin knows it.

In his bleak world view, only force and money count. He believes we in the West are too weak to defend ourselves when threatened. So far, his assessment looks right. Even Nato—the bulwark of our security since 1949—is creaking under the strain of the Ukraine crisis.

Nato’s gutsy commander, General Philip Breedlove, wants to share international intelligence with Ukraine and boost Nato’s forces in its most vulnerable member countries: Poland and the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

But the White House has blocked the first recommendation. And European countries such as ­Germany are blocking the second.

Vainly, our leaders hope diplomacy will make Putin back down. Surely he can be made to understand that confrontation is not in Russia’s interests? The markets are already punishing the rouble and big ­Russian companies.

But that approach fundamentally misunderstands a man like Putin. He is prepared to make his people suffer economic pain and risk war for what be believes is their national interest. We in the West are not.

Having taken Ukraine, he will turn his attention to the Baltic states. Members of the EU and Nato, their lawful societies, elections and ­thriving economies are an implicit rebuke to those who preside over sleaze and brutality in Russia.

Now Putin sees a chance to humiliate them—and the West. He does not need to invade, just to provoke. Using social division and agitation he will raise the pressure—whether economic or political—on one or more of the Baltic states until it becomes unbearable.

Nato and the EU—on current form—will merely appeal for ­dialogue and threaten sanctions. ­But nothing will happen. Which means the Baltics will buckle, and Putin will take back lands which he believes are rightly Russia’s.

That will be the end of Nato—and the dawn of a terrifying new world in which international rules count for nothing and the strong dominate the weak. Russia—ruthless and greedy—can play divide and rule for decades to come.

Suppose we do try to resist, with our shrunken armed forces and craven allies? With the latest round of cuts, the British Army is about to become the smallest it’s been since the Napoleonic wars.

Meanwhile, our once ‘special ­relationship’ with America was tested by our ­failure to support Obama over intervention in Syria.

What’s worse, the West’s ­intelligence operations have been severely ­compromised by the exploits of Edward Snowden, the former U.S. intelligence contractor who has taken refuge in Moscow, having stolen tens of thousands of secret state documents.

Deplorably, the complacent and self-indulgent journalists who so damagingly published the West’s intelligence secrets and effectively blinded our spies have been awarded America’s greatest journalistic honour, the Pulitzer Prize.

If the West does stand up to ­Russia, Putin will put its nuclear forces on alert, all the while decrying our ‘aggressive behaviour’.

As the centenary of the Great War in July approaches, historians are vying to pinpoint the chain of events which started that conflict.

I may be wrong, but in 100 years time, will their successors look back at the events in Ukraine to make sense of the beginnings of the next world conflagration?

See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2605578/Edward-Lucas-I-hope-Im-wrong-historians-look-say-start-World-War-III.html (emphasis added); see also http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/04/17/jews-ordered-to-register-in-east-ukraine/7816951/ (“Jews ordered to register in east Ukraine“)

Lucas is correct that the Cold War never ended. It merely morphed into a different form, with Putin becoming Stalin’s heir—or Hitler’s, take your pick.

What Lucas fails to recognize is that the United States is still the world’s only Superpower, and the most powerful nation on earth, both militarily and economically. It has a broad array of more than adequate “non-military” tools at its disposal to decimate a weak Russia economically, and bring the pygmy Putin to his knees.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/#comment-4010 and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/#comment-4452 (“Decimating Putin: America’s Financial Neutron Bomb”)

War has begun. Russia must be dismembered; and Putin must be terminated.

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